In a Doom-loop

A doom-loop representation – here it’s used in a financial sense

It’s now Tuesday July 26th, 2022. Kia ora!

Several things come to mind, as we circle in a kind of doom loop of despair. Last night I didn’t sleep well; it rained heavily, but is dry here now today and a bit warmer; I finished my course of prednisone this morning, and I still cough, have a sore chest, and shortness of breath. When I use an inhaler, I struggle not to cough, not really inhaling the necessary medicines.  It’s not a good day for me. JD wants to take me out to lunch, again; I quip that perhaps next month on our wedding anniversary might be a good date to aspire to. That’s still several weeks away.

There are several issues arising from the January 6 Committee hearings:

  • The missing Secret Service texts. It is really hard not to see a sinister sub-plot here.
  • Josh Hawley running away from the rioters, after cheering them on – to the Benny Hill theme, or Chariots of Fire. This video has been widely circulated online. I think I prefer the Benny Hill theme.
  • Mike Pence’s imminent danger, increased after Trump’s tweet; I have yet to hear a republican voice concern about his life, although I think someone did in giving testimony;
  • Trump’s refusal to act as Commander-in-Chief, raising questions about who was in charge: did Vice President Mike Pence (still alive) have authority to call out the National Guard?
  • Are republican minds being changed about Trump?  I heard a very depressing line on Sarah Longwell’s Focus Group podcast, from Wyoming: “If these were Trump supporters, where were the guns?”  Where indeed? Many of Trumps supporters came armed and prepared to Washington DC on January 6, and Trump urged for them not to be screened by the magnetometers.

In Ukraine news, Russia agreed that some exports of grain could go ahead, and then went and bombed Odessa, meanwhile assuring African allies that grain exports would go ahead. In Myanmar, the junta has carried out some executions. In southern Iran, there’s been flooding again. Wildfires are still raging in parts of Europe; it’s a naughty, selfish and very upset world.  Thankfully I’m here, and whatever my problems, I’m not in a refugee camp, or on Manus Island.

I am also listening to readings of Tom Bower’s book Revenge read by H G Tudor. These are annoyingly addictive.  They come up in a piecemeal fashion on my Youtube feed, not in any particular order.  I really should stop listening to them. But three particularly salacious revelations stand out to me. Just saying.

What else is happening? In the UK, the Tory leadership contest is between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, an unsavoury combination if ever I saw one. They both favour Home Secretary Priti Patel’s solution of sending unwanted immigrants, i.e. desperate boat people crossing the English Channel, to Rwanda.  I believe this policy was recommended by their Australian friends, the Manus Island solution for boat-people having worked so well for them (for whom, I wonder?). I posit that Truss will win for now, and then when she inevitably fails, Sunak will take over.  I trust this gives the boring Sir Keir Starmer some joy; it surely ought to. Certainly he lacks magnetism, but he has a fine name, and he’s much more electable and less toxic than the odious Jeremy Corban.

In Aotearoa/New Zealand, it’s another sad day, with flooding in parts of Christchurch, and wild weather in the South Island.  In the North Island, several school have received bomb threats, and some are in lockdown. This is New Zealand!  Crazy stuff, crazy actions, and crazy protests have taken over here, as is predicted after a plague.  And I’ve held out for two and a half years, and have it Covid 19 now. It feels like a doom-loop of crazy things happening.

JD alerts me to a video by Dr John Campbell, who, in his credulous way, has taken on board a horror story of a woman whose father died in hospital. She claimed he was euthanised.  I am very disinclined to believe this story. While elements of it may be true, some of what Dr John says comes across as quite untrue. I resent our being compared to Australia, and seen as doing worse than them. Covid is soaring over there again, too, and while our health system is undoubtedly under pressure, I guess it’s coping as well as it can under the extreme circumstances.  We still have a lot of people sick with a very contagious disease, but no one is on a ventilator; and I think if an ED were short-staffed, and a choice was to be made as to dealing with me first or a much younger person in good health, I’ve have no doubt about who should get priority.  As for funeral parlours and cemeteries being under pressure, the number of death notices in the daily paper isn’t any more than usual.

Today’s Covid 19 report is pretty dire. The Ministry of Health has reported 9,256 new community cases of Covid-19 and 822 current hospitalisations, including 24 in intensive care or high dependency units. In the past seven days there have been an average of 17 deaths confirmed each day as being attributable to Covid-19. Wastewater testing indicates there are probably far more cases of Covid 19 than reported. There were 430 cases of Covid 19 at the border. We aren’t told how many deaths are being reported today. Meanwhile, the travel vultures are out in force again, advertising cruises, locally and overseas, bike riding tours, walking tours, and trips abroad; the cost of flying has increased on pre-Covid 19 levels. Will I ever go overseas again? I doubt it somehow; my last trip to Napier was exhausting. To be honest I don’t feel like going anywhere right now, not even in New Zealand.

Cases in hospital include: Northland: 19; Waitematā: 99; Counties Manukau: 60; Auckland: 89; Waikato: 100; Bay of Plenty: 41; Lakes: 12; Hawke’s Bay: 35; MidCentral: 49; Whanganui: 14; Taranaki: 14; Tairāwhiti: 3; Wairarapa: 15; Capital and Coast: 28; Hutt Valley: 27; Nelson Marlborough: 14; Canterbury: 149; West Coast: 1; South Canterbury: 12; Southern: 41. You’d certainly expect those numbers to be coming down, but they’re not. In the US, Joe Manchin has tested positive for Covid 19. Here in New Zealand, students returning to school for Term 3 are advised to wear masks.

Today I take a shower and change my pyjamas, but I do not get dressed.  It’s a great saving on clothes, anyway! I get emails from my favourite cinemas, the Penthouse and the Lighthouse, telling me what’s on. I won’t be going there for a while, either.

Last night we watched a documentary on Te Whakaata Maori (formerly Maori Television) about the late Alexander McQueen. What an amazing and innovative designer he was!  How sad, too, that he was so talented, but then got into drugs, got Aids, and took his own life.  What a splash of talent he was! And how sad that once he got on the bandwagon of success, he found that he couldn’t get off. It wasn’t for want of admiration, or encouragement.

It’s now Wednesday July 27th.

Again, I didn’t have a great night. After listening to several podcasts, I put on a long Youtube recording of the beautiful voice of late great Sir John Gielgud reading Brideshead Revisited. This has the convenience of not stopping: while I often go to sleep through podcasts, I tend to wake up when they stop. Some of the podcasts on Apple keep going, but not all, and you want them in the right order. I wake up and wonder just where we are in the story (which I’ve read more than once, and watched the sumptuous television show).

This morning I zoomed into a Stroke group session which had two young people speaking about their personal stroke experiences. I find this quite depressing. I don’t ask anything (!) It strikes me that over 10 years on, nothing much has changed in terms of anyone taking you seriously. The two young people who spoke were very eloquent: but many of the things they were experiencing echoed with me, things like losing one’s ability to concentrate, getting very tired, being unable to run after young children, losing some movement in odd places although still looking pretty normal. Unlike these two brave souls, my eyesight and speech have been affected. Some advice from recent stroke patients was to pray, and keep trying; older folk might advise acceptance, since in my experience things have got worse, not better.  It also struck me that everyone experiences stroke differently in terms of ability to read, write, use a computer or a mobile phone, while looking pretty “normal”. Another frustration is losing one’s friends, since one now lives in such a totally different world: it’s as though your former friends don’t understand the new world you inhabit (as you don’t either). Everything has changed, and basic “recovery” can take six months, or up to two years.

There’s wild weather across New Zealand, but not in Wellington; there’s been flooding in Christchurch and some houses in Dunedin have been evacuated, and many roads are closed. I remain safe and warm, if very frustrated, as I continue to cough and feel quite weak.

Today’s Covid 19 report is predictably bad. There are 8730 new cases of Covid-19 today and 808 people are in hospital with the virus, including 25 in Intensive Care. There’ve been 45 deaths! The total number of people who have died with Covid-19 is now 1427. They’ve stopped initially publishing the daily number of deaths recorded. Apparently there were 38 deaths notified yesterday – no wonder they’ve stopped reporting them; I think that’s the highest daily total yet. Dr Ashley Bloomfield gave his final media update.

Of the 45 people whose deaths were reported today, three were from Northland, eight were from Auckland region, one was from Waikato, three were from Bay of Plenty, two were from Lakes, one was from Tairawhiti, one was from Hawke’s Bay, one was from Taranaki, two were from MidCentral, three were from Whanganui, four were from Wellington region, five were from Nelson Marlborough, eight were from Canterbury, three were from Southern.

One was in their 40s, three were in their 50s, five were in their 60s, eight were in their 70s, 12 were in their 80s and 16 were aged over 90. Of these people, 25 were women and 20 were men.

Today’s hospitalisations are in Northland (14), Waitematā (114), Counties Manukau (54), Auckland (108), Waikato (89), Bay of Plenty (38), Lakes (13), Hawke’s Bay (35), MidCentral (51), Whanganui (14), Taranaki (14), Tairāwhiti (four), Wairarapa (11), Capital and Coast (26), Hutt Valley (14), Nelson Marlborough (18), Canterbury (137), West Coast (one), South Canterbury (12) and the Southern region (41).

In Ukraine, the HIMARS are making a difference to the Ukrainian forces. Putin has threatened to greatly reduce the gas supply to Europe, mainly affecting Germany. In the US, the Department of Justice is investigating Donald Trump’s actions around the events of January 6.  In the UK, David Trimble has died – one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement (signed at Leeds Castle) settling the ghastly political and religious violence in Northern Ireland.  There’s a good podcast on this on The Rest is Politics.  This was Alastair Campbell’s proudest moment, and I don’t blame him – it was a huge achievement, now, sadly, largely forgotten. I have been to Leeds Castle in Kent; it’s well worth a visit. A proud moment for me too.

In the northern hemisphere the heatwave continues, and in Europe and Great Britain they try not to use air conditioning, for fear of its effect on the environment. As with any crisis, those most affected just try to survive.  Meanwhile, some continue to deny the effects of climate change as it sweeps the earth.

That’s it for now. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.

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