Saturday, May 29, 2021

Quarantine, Week 63: Revisiting the Past

I was not expecting nostalgia week to be this week, but it happens.

First, today is the anniversary of War Machine coming out four years ago, the first time I helped the script writing of a movie!  Well, sort of.

Second, speaking of Afghanistan, I gave a lecture to the NATO Field School, a program led by Alex Moens, a CDSN co-director, on ISAF's performance in Afghanistan.  So, that forced me to think about my two most recent books which not so recent anymore.  The students asked really good questions and made me think a bit about whether the stuff I believed then applies now and what I thought about Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan.  And ye olde ambivalence returned--I know that leaving will not help Afghanistan, but I also know that staying a year would make a huge difference.  So, a tricky thing to end one's participation in a forever war, which, yes, will continue.

Third, less nostalgia and much more dark history.  Despite studying the 67 page citizenship test guide, I really don't know much about Canadian history.  That was driven home yesterday, when news broke that someone had found 215 bodies of indigenous kids who had been taken from their families and forces into residential schools.  CNN calls it unthinkable, but it has been known for a long time (although not by me) that kids died at these "schools" at a rate similar to POWs in German camps during WWII.  That the lack of medical facilities and, to be blunt, the complete and total apathy about the condition of the kids meant that TB and other diseases ravaged them.  Just awful.  I knew it was bad, but not this bad.  And the residential schools didn't close until ... 1996.  25 years ago?!  That is appalling!  

But not everything was old or awful this week.  We had a student defend her dissertation proposal in record time, making my proposal class look good. Of course, it was entirely her focus and work that made it happen, but I can still do a happy dance.

My niece graduated from law school (keeping the streak alive, as she is the only lawyer in this next generation of Saidemans [my cousins' kids are too young, so they could be lawyers too].  The rest of the children of my siblings have neatly avoided that whole law school thing.  Anyway, back to the new lawyer who will be doing much good, as she is very much a social justice warrior.  We are super proud and know that:

On the vaccine front, Ontario is now moving towards second doses as we have reached 60% of folks getting their first ones.  That appears to be the magic number for when the pace of first doses slows and there "needs" to be more arms for the vaccines that are piling up.  The new schedule suggests June or early July, which are upon us, for me and Mrs. Spew.  So, maybe the date on my first vax document of
mid-July will actually be realized.  But still so much uncertainty and little faith that they will get their shit together.  

It has been six months or so since my last haircut, and my hair is now longer and thicker than any time since my teens, I think.  So much hair over/around my ears that masks and glasses slide off a bit.  Not long enough for a manbun.... but I can see it from here.

Good weather and clarity about the relative safety of the outdoors has meant more conversations with neighbors.  We don't wear masks outdoors while still keeping a distance.  I hope that other lessons will be applied--less pandemic theater of wiping down surfaces and perhaps more thought about ventilation--would be nice.  I wish Ontario would relax the outdoor rules--folks can gather in groups of 10 but no sports leagues.  Which means no ultimate.  I am much more confident that we can play ultimate and not transmit the disease, but governments lag.  

Similarly, a report came out saying that Canada should do away with much of the travel quarantine bs for those who are vaccinated and for those who are partially so.  Which means, yes, they need to start deciding how to implement vaccine passports of some kind... despite leaving the collection of data to the provinces.  Sometimes, Canada does federalism in the dumbest possible ways.  

The highlight of next week will be the 50th episode of BattleRhythm--the podcast has been much work but very much worth it.  We still don't really know who the audience is, but it does seem to have one.  I am very grateful to Stef vH for agreeing to do it, as she puts a lot more work into it than I do.  And our producer, Melissa Jennings, does such a great job with it.  I will write more about the two years of podcasting next week.  I will note hear that when someone tells me they follow me on twitter, I get embarassed and apologize (I am not alone as there was a thread this past week where that was the modal response).  But when folks say they listen to the podcast, I do feel pride.  Perhaps because my social media stuff ranges from least thoughtful and edited (twitter) to half-baked (Semi-Spew) to most considered and edited and with smart, careful hands on the wheel (the aforementioned SvH and MJ).  

My American friends have a three day weekend to kick off summer.  Enjoy!  We had ours last weekend.  Get vaxxed and again!



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