Twofer Tuesday: Covid Briefing Bingo Double Bill

Well, possums, we were bad. We neglected you last week AND this week; what is it about Tuesday that makes it so damn difficult to liveblog the Covid briefing?

I’ll tell you: my god damned alarm not going off. What, after all, is the point of technology if we cannot use it as a convenient excuse when we want. My phone has many thousands of times more computing power than was used to send the Apollo astronauts to the moon, but what do I need it to do? Provide plausible cover for when I sleep in.

Mission. Accomplished!

Moving right along, or left along, which is more to my anarchal communist taste. Tastes. But the less said about those, the better…

The Irish variety is rarer than you might think

We, meaning me, are calling you, meaning you, “possums” because

  • hopefully there is more than one reader of this blog these days
  • Armie Hammer has ruined “kittens” forever
  • wemeaningme aremeaningis big fansmeaningfan of Dame Edna, and Dame Edna loved her possums
See, wemeaningme wouldn’t lie about that

Anyhoodle, we missed both last week’s and this week’s Tuesday briefings, so we’re going to do a twofer today on Tuesday. Yes, you can mark your “Alliteration” square.

Here’s the video from today, since we’re doing these in reverse order because wemeaningme aremeaningis arbitrary that way. 33,000 views so far, one of the more popular ones.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians from outside his home in Ottawa on the federal government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. He announces the launch of a federal program to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million to businesses hardest hit by the pandemic. Eligible businesses can start applying to the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) on February 1 at principal financial institutions. The prime minister also faces questions on potential travel restrictions, Canada’s vaccine supply, the European Union’s threat to limit vaccine exports, and U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order imposing a “Buy American” agenda.

And our bingo cards, and yes Imeaningwe know we’re overdue for a new one. I’ll get on that once I’ve caught up on the briefings and finished my contact tracing course.

Interestingly (at least to memeaningus) downloads of the Briefing Bingo cards have dropped to historic lows, from their previous 1000+ per day rate. One can only assume that the market is saturated, and that everyone who wants to play is indeed playing already. Without a robust immigration program, or Canada suddenly becoming trendy internationally, we fear we may have topped out!

But let us begin. There are two whole briefings to call, and ain’t none of us getting any younger, not even Justin Greybeard Trudeau.

Mark your “Rideau Hall Meaning Cottage” square, “scarf,” “gloves,” although he is carrying them and not wearing them because no doubt they interfere with his ability to flip the pages of the speech, and “outerwear.”

And “Starts in French” again. If we had a “dumps on vacationeers” square you could mark it, but really: we should all dump on them anyway at this point. Or at least close the border while they’re abroad and hey, I hope you really, really love Jacksonville, because you’ll be there awhile. And as I say that, he announces that the “air border” IS, effectively, closed to non-essential travel. No more flying to evade the closed border with the US. And we, meaning for once all of us, don’t get any specific information about boats, but just don’t push the Coast Guard and the Navy. Like, ever. Mark “Reiterates the border will remain closed.”

Mark “Can see your breath” by which we mean Trudeau’s breath, not yours, and wemeaningI swearmeaningswear that wemeaningI really didn’t intend this to be a framing device for today’s briefing, but we shall see how it goes. My follow-through sucks these days.


Mark your “My aunt calls during the briefing” square now. “Keeping Canadians safe” should have been a square months ago, along with “Whatever it takes, as long as it takes”. Oh well. Missed the boat on those, and we aren’t allowed to take boats anywhere these days anyway.

“The tools to test and trace” the spread of teh virus gives you your “Alliteration” square, next to “Donc” it’s my favourite one. Who doesn’t love alliteration? I bet you could interview literally a million people (but you shouldn’t; that would be a super-spreader event for sure) and not find one who actively opposes alliteration.

Dammit. Mark your “Forgets my coffee/tea in the kitchen” square. Dammit.

“Rapid tests” square active. And mark “Refers to the season” and “App” in French. I lived in the NWT and never realized Iqaluit was pronounced that way. The things you learn at the Covid Briefing Bingo.

“Moderna” and “Vaccine” squares and “Pfizer” active now. I’m getting better at this French For Comprehension thing. And, “Spring/Summer is coming”.

Yes! There it is. “Finds new way to give Canadians money.” And not only can you mark the square, but as of five days from now you can apply for these government-backed loans, which I as a Highly Effected Business might just do. Pet-sitting is still deader than a doornail, but doggy daycare and boarding are going great guns.

Photo of Justin Trudeau going meta by Adam Scotti on Medium

Trudeau puts on his gloves as he prepares to take the media questions, smiling because he knows he just dropped a very, very positive bombshell and that if the media ignores this and just asks about the Governor-General, they are the ones that will look bad, not him.

Speech, by the way, was only seven minutes long. By this time next month I expect the Covid briefings will just be a GIF tweeted on the @CanadianPM account.

“Just watch me,” he thinks.

Marieke Walsh, Globe and Mail with the first question, about how export limits will impact Canada’s vaccine supply. Mark your “Twinkleface” square. He was twinkling before she even asked the question, so one guesses onemeaningthisonethisonerighthere that he knew she wouldn’t ask about Payette.

Pfizer and Moderna are taking Trudeau’s calls, which is more than they’re doing for mine. Which reminds me to send them another round of emails. Trudeau basically reiterates that we’ll all be vaccinated by September if we want it, which one (I’ll spare you this time) begins to doubt. One’s roommate works in a hospital, directly with patients and medical staff, and has been told he won’t get his first dose before the end of February. Trudeau says he spoke to the Moderna CEO an hour and a half ago, and everything will proceed according to the existing schedule and all the doses reserved for Canada will be available to Canada.

Next question from Lina Dib of Presse Canadienne, with another question that just allows him to reiterate how locked-down the borders are, and how nobody should be traveling, and how our precautions are robust and effective. And mark your “Donc” square and “Gesticulates”, you always get that one when he is speaking French. And, I guess, “Donc” too, come to think of it. Hard to work it into conversation in English; believe me, I’ve tried.

But seriously? No square for “Keeping Canadians safe?” What’s up with that, Briefing Bingo Card Maker?

Next Q is from Le Devoir, but I can’t get the reporter’s name for the life of me. Sorry, reporter. Sorry to that man. Yet another version of the same damn question gets yet another iteration of the same damn answer, plus extra gesticulation. Don’t these reporters prepare extras? “Donc” again. But not a single “Every step of the way.” Perhaps our message got through?

Askley Burke, CBC. Mark your “drinks water” square, and this is an excellent question about why the government isn’t making a big deal of the vastly different results between a good mask and a really good mask. Trudeau’s still having difficulty getting morons to wear a mask in the first place, let along a decent quality one. One way he could do it would be to leverage his privilege and create a whole social snobbery around masks (that would work in Ottawa and may in fact already be in play if I can judge by who in my family wears one and who does not), but he’d have to do it by wearing one even while he’s giving these briefings, and the tv people just won’t have that. Not to mention the audio people.

Now Chris Reynolds, CP mentions “Biden” so mark that square. OOOH, mark your “Shades Trump” and “Every step of the way” squares, and mark them with extreme vigour. He’s smiling with relief at not having to work with that knucklewalking chud anymore. “Building back better” active as well, and a big verbal hug from Trudeau welcoming back “our nearest ally and closest friend” the USA. He must be sleeping so much better these days.

As are we all, possums. As are we all.

I think, looking at this expression, I might need a square for “an aura of zen-like peace descends upon the Prime Minister”. Because yeah, that happened.

And mark your “Fails to translate into other official language”. Aw.

Radio-Canada with yet another variant of the vaccine supply question. “From the very beginning” again! And “GAVI” yay for GAVI!

Kinda sad that not one reporter had the nous to create a new question on the spot about the new program. You coulda got out in front of the pack!

“AstraZenica” square active now.

Michael le Couteur at Global National is up, with a question about “hardening the border” but a comparison to two countries that are literal islands. “From the very beginning” again, too. Trudeau reminds us “we brought in a travel ban very quickly,” plus mandatory quarantine measures. Mark your “Drama occurring off-camera” square for whatever happened stage right that made Trudeau chuckle visibly if not audibly. Do I have a square for “Side-eye?” I NEED ONE OF THOSE!

Okay, “Verbal malfunction” square active now, because it’s “Following SOOT” not “Following SWEET”. That’s what you get for being bilingual.

Next up is Mackenzie Gray with CTV News, whose bio has the immortal line, “Mackenzie speaks English and enough French to know when to get a politician to repeat a good French clip in English.” This is a key skill in Canadian media and…literally no other country or field. Sadly, he has exactly the same question as everyone else, and gets basically the same answer as everyone else: we’ll be all caught up by late March. And we in Canada can’t do anything about refitting a factory in Belgium.

And not one question about the Governor-General. I’d have lost a bet. Clearly they’ve already made up their minds about who to replace the last one with.

And can there be any doubt?

And now, an interlude while I walk the dog.

A slight case of Ottawa weather.

Okay, dog walked. Duty done. Upward and onward and so on…

Here’s our video for last week’s Tuesday briefing. As before, the squares are “Outside” “Outerwear” “Scarf” “Gloves” “Rideau Hall/Cottage” and “Can see your breath” or at least his.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians from outside his home in Ottawa on the federal government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. He also comments on reports that United States president-elect Joe Biden plans to withdraw authorization for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline is intended to carry bitumen from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. The prime minister also faces questions about Canada’s supply of Pfizer vaccines and about the fate of Conservative MP Derek Sloan. Party leader Erin O’Toole wants to remove Sloan from caucus for accepting a donation to his leadership campaign from a known white supremacist.

Right away, we get “From Coast, to Coast, to Coast,” which, honestly, I thought we’d never see again. I think that one’s on the first generation card. And mark your square for “Vaccine” as well. And your “CBC cadence” for some reason which he usually avoids these days. “Passive voice” if I ever write the next card, is going to get a workout too. Where is the editor on this!!!???!?!?!?!?

That’s how you pronounce “Nunavut?” I’ve only lived in Canada almost all my life, which includes most of the Silurian period, or it feels like it after the year we’ve had, eh? and didn’t know it was pronounced that way. Not like Canada to leave out vowels.

I invented vowels, did you know?

“Pfizer” active now. Why are all the lectures about not travelling delivered in French lately? Are the Quebecois fleeing to Montego Bay in record numbers or something? I mean, in ordinary circumstances it’d be hard to blame them: Vermont is south of Quebec. But these times? However tedious, they are not ordinary.

“Spring is coming” square active now. We’re gonna get one every single briefing you just know it, right up till it switches over to “Summer is coming.” And mark “Feel parents’ pain” too. I think “Committment to Canadians” qualifies you for your “Alliteration” square.

“Specific Canadian businesses named” and “Shades Trump” and “Biden” squares. And “Ambassador” as well. He can hardly contain himself when he says he’s really, no, REALLY looking forward to working with the incoming administration, and nobody on Earth doubts it, least of all that lame orange duck in the White House.

“Building back better” and that would have given you alliteration too, if we hadn’t had it already. And I’m feeling generous, so have an “Unequivocal statement of optimism” square as well.

And now we’re on to the questions from the media, at the 8 minute and 47 second mark.

It’s The Traveller Question again, so I’ll make the comments brief and only say that you can mark “Gesticulates” for the answer here. And “Neglects to translate the answer into the other official language”.

Next question is Biden/Keystone XL, which gets the “I have supported it for years, and advocate for it at the highest levels of the incoming Biden administration” and you can mark your “Shades Harper” square.

More of the Same Old Vaccine Supply question, with more of the Same Old Vaccine Supply Answer. The whole “more contracts, more doses per Canadian” etc, etc. “First wave” intended in a different sense, but mark it anyway.

And the Same Old Vaccine Supply Question Yet Again. Good lord.

“Fails to translate the answer into the other official language” is not just active, it’s hyperactive.

Finally a question that’s new from Kevin Gallagher of CTV National News: what can be done about far right groups trying to gain political influence in Canada, infiltrating political parties and gaining access to public money? Mark your “Shades Trump” square, multiple times. Turns out the Liberals have been calling on O’Toole to remove Sloan from the Tory caucus for months. But O’Toole is apparently totes cool with the whole white supremacy thing (why is it always the most inferior people who love this shit?) until it gets out to the media. “We are pleased that Erin O’Toole has finally decided to take leadership, and we’ll see how that unfolds.” SHAAAAAADE!

Mark your “Uighur” square. Pointed question about three specific Canadian companies, asking if Trudeau can confirm those companies do not use Uighur slave labour. And he cannot. “We are checking up on it” basically.

Next up, Mike Blanchfield of the Canadian Press has a question about what, specifically, Trudeau is going to do when Biden is inaugurated. Phonecall? Zoom? Subscribe to his OnlyFans (just kidding about that last one, and I’m too classy to make a Melania reference). Trudeau reiterates he supports the now-dead Keystone XL pipeline, but he does it as if the project is not dead. You’re gonna need a bigger priest, my dear, if you want to bring this puppy back. The “Uh” quotient is through the roof on this particular answer, so methinks Trudeau knows that as well as I do.

“Building back better” yet again. And that’s a wrap.

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