The Covid Briefing Bingo vs the Vampire Woman

Welcome back, kittens. Seems like we’re here every Tuesday these days, “here” being both online and at Rideau Cottage, the substantial, foursquare, and quite un-cottage-like brick home in which the Prime Minister and his family live. He’s working from home during this, the Second of the Waves, which is why we’re here, and I can’t find myself annoyed by it. God knows, I love to see a man in good outerwear.

It certainly beats the sterile briefing room that we have had since the start of the summer. We may never see Seymour again, but we have seasonal porchscaping instead, and that’s what I call an upgrade!

Yes, I’m taking joy where ever I can find it these days. even in seasonal porchscaping. I ain’t proud.

And yes, we are still naming these posts after old Paul Naschy werewolf films, because it’s 2020 and the idea that things are supposed to make sense is just so 2018. Today’s film is La Noche de Walpurgis, which translates as Walpurgisnacht, but I’m betting you don’t speak German any better than you speak Spanish, so The Bloody Pit of Horror blog gives us a full run-down of all the other names by which this movie goes. You know it’s a totally crap movie when it has aliases. If I were to release this movie I’d do it under an assumed name too.

  • aka: Blood Moon
  • … aka: Night of the Vampire
  • … aka: Shadow of the Werewolf
  • … aka: Walpurgis Night
  • … aka: Walpurgis Night: Wolf vs. Vampire
  • … aka: Werewolf Shadow
  • … aka: Werewolf vs. Vampire Woman, The
  • … aka: Werewolf versus the Vampire Woman, The

We’re going with the last name, because, again, why the fuck not?

Linus’ story is not even the story you are reading right now


Here is your trailer, which is fun to watch while we’re all waiting for the briefing to start. And here is the full movie on YouTube, in case it’s really, really fucking late.

“Things happen that have never been seen by human beings,” so, basically #Peak2020. Perfect. “See it with someone you hate” oh man, ALL of the taglines from this movie work to sum up this year.

Now, to the cards. We’re overdue for the Seventh Generation card, and it’ll come one day, but that day is not this day. Sorry, kittens, you’ll just have to keep returning to the well. The blog. The RSS reader. The email subscription. I dunno, is the internet many places, or is it all one, and divisions purely arbitrary distinctions born of limited perspectives?

I am speaking, you understand, I am speaking only of the internet.

Oh, right, the cards:

And all the previous bingo episodes are on the Briefing Bingo Category page. Someday we’ll even create a Covid-19 Briefing Drinking Game but we’re in the middle of a sobriety pledge right now (day off to celebrate Freed Jeremy Hammond Day) so get back to us in January.

And here is our actual video for today, which 848 people are currently watching. And now, half an hour late, even us.

We’re jumping into the middle of the questions, but you can tick your “Donc” square at least.

so, yeah, I did that

Mark your “Starts more than ten minutes late” square. So it’s not just us.

Yes, mark your “New porchscaping” square. And I guess if we’re also doing squares that rarely/never change, might as well mark off the “Facial hair” square too. Will we see “cleanshaven” again? I wonder. “Back at Rideau Hall” is clearly in play (cottage/hall, whatever, it’s on the grounds of Rideau Hall). And “Holiday decorations” too, so seasonal porchscaping is a twofer!

Oh yes, mark your “Outdoors” square too. And “Outerwear” as is only right and proper. Rideau Cottage does NOT count as “on location.” Not after all these months. And finally at 23:25, Trudeau emerges from the house to begin the briefing. Mark your “Mask” square.

It was nice of him to wait for me, really it was. And I almost would have made it on time, if I had one of those coffee makers you could program. But I don’t, so I was in the kitchen brewing some Kickass blend. Priorities!

And yes, “Begins in English”. He usually only begins in French if the briefing is in Quebec.

Oh yay /sarcasm, new record daily highs of Covid-19 in multiple provinces. People, have you MET other people? Do you really like them that much, enough to potentially kill them? Even *I* would not go out and socialize with a group of people, and I HATE my roommate (I don’t, I just hate the fact that he lives here, in the house that he owns).

Now we have “Audio issues” and “Touches mic” and I should totally make a square for “Deja vu because we did this in the First Wave” for sending the military in to old folks’ homes.

Update on personal protective equipment, vaccines, and therapeutics: Since last week, we’ve sent more than 2.9 million pairs of nitrile gloves to the provinces and territories. We’ve also sent out 4.6 million rapid tests over the past few months – and millions more are coming.

We’ve received more than 24 million syringes and needles, which we’ll use when we have a vaccine. On that front, we heard promising news yesterday about AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s vaccine candidate. We already have an agreement for up to 20 million doses of it.

We’ve also signed an agreement for up to 26,000 doses of Eli Lilly’s therapeutic drug, and we have options for thousands more doses. This treatment was developed in partnership with Vancouver’s AbCellera Biologics, and is part of our support for researchers here at home.

Originally tweeted by Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) on November 24, 2020.

He’s doing his OWN summaries on Twitter? How did I not notice until now? Great, thanks, you do my work for me!

“Every step of the way” and “Finds a new way to give Canadians money” squares active for yet another new rent subsidy and wage subsidy. And “Second Wave”.

You can only mark “every step of the way” once per briefing, no matter if he says it a dozen times. Which we might see today.

“Rapid tests” square is active. Trudeau is specifically mentioning the amount of money the federal government is pouring into Alberta. Recent polls have his approval rate there at 55% while the CPC premier’s popularity is down around 30%, so this is perfect game theory in action.

Seriously, Trudeau needs an “every step of the way” intervention.

And there’s your “App” square, half an hour in. 5.4 million Canadians have downloaded it so far. Be like Sasha. Sasha was asymptomatic, but had the app, and got a notification he’d been exposed, so he went in and got tested, only to find it was positive. He’d never have known otherwise.

For once, they didn’t swap out the sign language interpreters. The mind! It fairly boggleth!

I think I need to add a square for microphone bobbling to the Seventh Generation Bingo Card. Which I’ll be making today and posting probably Friday, when there will almost certainly be another Covid-19 briefing.

Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, things are getting fraught.

Tick your “Donc” and “You can see your breath” squares. There are over 900 people watching the video of today’s covid-19 briefing. FINALLY it seems like people are catching on to these, and of course I miss half an hour of it.

And your “Vaccine” square too.

“No one place gets done with Covid-19 until all places are done with Covid-19.”

Interesting. 2800 watching the CTV live coverage of the briefing today, vs about 1000 watching CPAC. And 3200 watching the CBC version too. But then, we’ve always been outliers. still, this is the MOST popular briefing we’ve seen in terms of viewership. I wonder why.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s clearly that they want to play Briefing Bingo. RIGHT? [hint: the correct answer is RIGHT!]

Shout-out to the moderator, who does not hesitate to yell at the Prime Minister “And again in the OTHER official language” or words to that effect. Can you imagine the job listing? “Must be willing to yell at Justin Trudeau repeatedly.” How did O’Toole not at least apply?

Tick your “Building back better” square, even if it did come from a mere reporter. Also your “Drinks water” square. That was the PM. No idea if the reporters are drinking, but if experience is any guide…well…have you MET one?

Tick your “Twinkleface” square. No idea why he’s twinkling at reporters, but he’s twinkling. Mark it.

Mark your “PPE” square. I wonder how long they’ll have a glass of water on the podium? Ottawa’s bloody cold. To keep it liquid through the winter, they’ll have to replace it with vodka or gin, and wouldn’t THAT be a fun briefing? I really do have to get working on that drinking game.

I need a square for “layered outerwear” because I can see a tie, shirt, fleece jacket, and wool coat. I need a “Five Eyes” square, clearly. Good to see some questions around that. And mark your “Two Michaels” square.

“Coercive Diplomacy” should be a square. So far it’s only been applied to China, but it could have applied to Twunt’s administration as well. And mark your “My aunt calls during the briefing” square. Four Fucking Times. That’s a new personal best.

And that’s a wrap.

Meanwhile, in the US:

The thing about creating an army of losers, aka the Twunt/Q strategy, is that they continue to lose.

But also:

Dr Jekyll versus the Werewolf

Dr. Jekyll versus the Covid Briefing Bingo

So, this is where we are, kittens. Back at Rideau Cottage, naming these posts after old Paul Naschy wolfman films. Will the pandemic endure so long that we’ll run out of Naschy movies and have to begin naming them after old episodes of Kolchak?

Only The Shadow knows.

So, here we are.

Here are your Covid Briefing Bingo cards so far, and YES, yes, I know. I have to get you the seventh generation sometime before the vaccine is released!

And all the previous bingo episodes are on the Briefing Bingo Category page

Our video:

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.

And here’s the full text. Do they have a teleprompter at Rideau Cottage? Because I didn’t see him looking at any papers. And if they have one at his house, why don’t they have one in the briefing room they’ve been using all Fall?

As you can see, we are back at the old hangout, Rideau Cottage, and you can mark your square for “Seasonal porchscaping.” This is something people in Ottawa go in for bigly; being from BC I think at the very most I’d see a wreath and an inflatable Grinch, and that was in the whole neighborhood. We skipped over “Cottonwood fluff and insects” season altogether.

Pontificating for a moment I’d say that the return to Rideau Cottage means a) Trudeau is working from home for some reason. Self-isolating, perhaps? b) He’s not worried some Q-Twat will try to off him.

Let us begin, kittens.

Trudeau is in a hell of a mood. “I don’t want to be here. You don’t want me to be here. But here we are again. Cases are spiking.” This isn’t a speech on paper. He’s doing this off the cuff and memory. TBH these are always better. When it’s an emotional message, this way is better. He’s good at it.

1418 new cases in Ontario, largely in the Toronto, Peel, and York regions. Trudeau appeals to the citizens not to slack off on their precautions, not to have a dinner party (socially distanced or not), not to get together with friends.

The worst case scenario could see 60,000 new cases a day diagnosed in Canada. “The best way to protect the economy is to get the virus under control.”

Mark your “Outerwear” square, “Second wave” and “Starts in English” on a lighter note.

Trudeau explains that in the first wave we thought doing what kept us safe was bad for the economy, but now we know the opposite is true. Staying safe is the best way to support the economy. All the business supports have been enshrined in law now, thanks to a cross-party effort to pass it yesterday.

Yes, go ahead and mark your “stern teacher voice” square.

“Name-checks Dr. Theresa Tam” square active, mark that one off.

“They are heroes. They are going above and beyond ANYTHING they thought they were signing up for.” Trudeau asks people to think about the medical workers who face the unimaginable, every day.

Trudeau specifically challenges employers to let their workers work from home. And reminds everyone to download the app (the federal one, that works, not the Alberta one, which uh…).

Trudeau is calling out Alberta and BC about their non-adoption of the federal app. And good on him, because that is not merely stupid; it is actively preventing the federal government from saving lives.

Sooper, my internet clogged up. Mark your “Technical difficulties” square. This thing is glitching hard; it’s like watching a briefing animated by Francis Bacon.

Now Trudeau is offering condolences to the family of the Holocaust survivor who made it through WWII and came to Canada, raised a family, and recently passed away from Covid-19.

Trudeau says he’s working from home again, so he’s basically modeling the behaviour he wants to see from Canadians. Bully pulpit for the win. And mark your “Keeps the border closed” square, yay!

Sign language interpreter on the right has his groove on.

“We have a long winter ahead. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Download and use the app. Avoid gatherings of all sizes. And know that together, being there for one another, we’ll get through it.”

And marks your “Drinks water” square. Now on to the questions.

Trudeau seemed to drop the posh French accent and get a little more vernacular, get a little more Quebec, when answering that question about “So what about Christmas?”

Mark your “Swaps out sign language interpreters” square. “We have your backs” really needs to be a square in this game.

Reporter asks if Trudeau if he’ll bring in some federal rules to prevent interprovincial travel, which he does not wish to do. “Not an idea I’m even contemplating right now.” Mark your “Pushes responsibility to provinces.”

You know, this man is just damn good at this off the cuff stuff. Knitting climate change into the pandemic response with specific examples and big-picture inspiration.

“We’re seeing a lot of people falling prey to conspiracy theories” and calls out the Conservatives specifically for pushing disinformation. Dang! FIRST BLOOD!

Trudeau says he’s not advocating a national lockdown; he’s advocating listening to your premiers and local politicians. Which is a politically inspired way to make sure the negatives associate with anything and anyone other than the federal government.

Since we’re in outerwear seasons I think I should have a square for “Buttons” and one for “Zipper”. The zipper is a Canadian invention, did you know?

“Shout-out to religious holiday” of course, for all the references to Christmas.

“I think a lot of people are done with this,” says Trudeau, sounding VERY VERY DONE WITH THIS.

“It was a blunt object of a tool, a national shutdown. We’re seeing provinces using targeted shutdowns in a much better way. It’s unfair and it’s frustrating. YUP. No question about it. Everyone is sick and tired of this. We need to know that the end is in sight. We need to do one last big effort.”

Oh yeah, we had “the path forward” several times, so mark that square. “Our focus is not on politics. Our focus is on Canadians.” You know, he’s so good at this I would almost even believe him, were I inclined to anything but goth angst these days.

Mark your “Touches face” square as he listens to reporter ask if he can mandate specific ways to force people to use the app. He responds that it should be up to individuals, that making the choice is itself a meaningful act.

Last square is “Outdoors” of course which could have been your first square if you’d been paying attention at the start the way I wasn’t because I was too busy trying to get the coffee into me.

Meanwhile, in the US:

Yes, kittens, irony is indeed well and truly dead.

Frankenstein's Bloody Terror poster

Frankenstein’s Covid Briefing Bingo

Three in one week, kittens! Three Covid briefings in a single week! For fans of the bingo, this is great news; for fans of public health and individual well-being, not so great news.

Covid-19 is definitely a case of “no news is good news,” at least in countries where the government is not in the Fake News business every day, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything it stands for. Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in that country to be President?

Yet again, we should listen to Linus. And Descartes.

Meanwhile, in the US:

Sorry, where was I?

Right, I was about to explain that I’m pre-blogging some of this in order to make sure we’re ready to go tomorrow at 11:30am precisely, whereupon we will all sit around waiting for five or ten minutes like usual. And that today’s episode is brought to you by the Paul Naschy classic Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror, the foundational Wolf Man movie, which you must admit has a schlock-o-riffic trailer, to say nothing of the poster.

The face that launched a million silver bullets

We got bored, kittens. Bored, and angry. And you wouldn’t like us when we are bored and angry. People were sharing our cards around without giving credit to your ever-so-humble-and-forgiving blogger, and you know what that does to us. But instead of bothering you, we simply sulked around the house all day annoying the roommate, huffing loudly, and updating the briefing bingo cards so that they all contain an active hyperlink to this very blog. Just try and share those around Slack without crediting the source NOW!

Ahem. Where was I? Other than arbitrarily using the glamorous second-person plural, the Eva Gabor of pronouns? About to tell you a long, involved joke about a screenwriter with writer’s block and an elf who comes to his rescue and what happens when the elf asks for credit, because writers are super touchy about credit, but sorry, where was I?

Oh right, about to post the game cards:

And all the previous bingo episodes are on the Briefing Bingo Category page. Earlier ones have the content in the comments section, because we were trying something new, okay? Not every experiment has to work out, OKAY?

Whew. Can you tell it’s been 12 hours since I had a coffee?

Our cast of characters for today are:

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (so posh he has TWO Twitter accounts)
  • Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough
  • Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam
  • Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Howard Njoo (either a non- or a stealth-tweeter)
  • And President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic Leblanc

And here they are:

At a news conference on Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes an announcement and provides an update on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. He is joined by federal ministers Carla Qualtrough (employment, workforce development and disability inclusion) and Dominic LeBlanc (intergovernmental affairs), as well as Dr. Theresa Tam (Canada’s chief public health officer) and Dr. Howard Njoo (the deputy chief public health officer).

Okay, let’s do this!

Before everyone arrives you can mark off “someone appears by video screen.” You can mark it off twice, in fact. And also “Starts more than ten minutes late” which is on the sixth generation card if I recall.

And we’re off. I think that’s enough French to tick the “Starts in French”.

Good lord, 1500 cases diagnosed in Ontario, 5000 new cases in Canada. Trudeau says we could be facing 6500 new cases per day in Ontario by mid-December, which is staggering. People, stay the fuck home. Doug Ford, listen to your big buddy.

On a superficial note, tick off your “blue suit” box and “Pushes responsibility to provinces” box. And “Vaccine”. I’m gonna HAVE to put “bend the curve” on the next bingo card. We are apparently no longer “flattening” it. “Bend the curve” sounds like the title of a surfing movie; I bet Trudeau came up with it.

Oh, there’s your “Names Biden” square, is it not? I was not paying close attention because I just remembered my coffee is sitting in the kitchen. Do I have a “Now more than ever” square? If so, mark it.

Everyone’s favourite square, “Finds a new way to give Canadians money”, is active now. And “foreshadows an announcement to be made by someone who is named”, the most awkwardly-named square.

Here is the PM’s post about the details:

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the details of an investment of $1.5 billion in the Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provinces and territories. This investment will help Canadians in underrepresented groups and those in sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic – such as construction, transportation, and hospitality – quickly access supports to re-enter the workforce. It could include skills training, on-the-job training, employer-sponsored training, financial assistance and benefits, employment counselling and services, and job opportunities. This funding is in addition to the $3.4 billion provided to provinces and territories in 2020-21 under the WDAs and Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs).

Helping Canadians develop the skills they need to find good jobs

Ah, there’s “Flatten the curve” which sounds practically retro in these days of bending it. And “Flu shot” and “app”. Trudeau is all, “for the love of god, people, don’t just download the app, USE IT!”.

I like how Qualtrough has kid’s art on the wall. Tick your “Someone wears glasses” box. Money for training got my attention, for sure. $1.5 billion for job training will certainly make a big difference. Now we’re on to Dr Tam.

55,000 are being tested daily with a roughly 6% positive result. I’ll come back and insert further specifics in a bit. Gotta go grab my coffee.

Yay for Twitter:

Full summary of today’s federal Covid-19 situation is on this page

And yes, this is your fault people: family gatherings, birthday parties, social occasions are how it is spreading and why it’s spiking now. “Layering our protection practices is the best protection.” And mark your “three C’s” square. Dr. Tam hands it over to Dr. Njoo and I dash out to the kitchen to get my coffee.

First question is about gun violence and where’s the long-promised federal money for gun violence prevention. Trudeau avoids answering the specific question and gives a “we continue to fight gun violence and will introduce new legislation.” Second is about how or IF the feds and the premiers are working together, specifically Doug Ford and the federal government; this is your “is the bromance over?” question. Tick the “Bromance” box.

“From the beginning” square active. Next card should have “Whatever it takes, as long as it takes”. And mark your “Throat malfunction” square; is it time for another swabbing, perhaps?

Mark your “Sign language interpreters swapped out” again. Trudeau is now stressing that the federal government can help, but there can be a point where they can no longer, if the rate spikes too much, enough to swamp healthcare. Thus, it’s imperative to flatten or bend or squash or nuke the curve.

Nothing I like better than lag time on the computer that means an entire paragraph is hanging in the ether while the Archons read it, but mere humans cannot. Mark your technical difficulties square.

And there’s “Drinks water”. And I should have a square for “Trudeau fails to translate the answer into the other official language.”

Question about the meeting of the PM and Premiers: why was it not mentioned on the readout. Trudeau says he’s been talking about it for months (implied, weren’t you paying attention?) And mark “PPE” and “From the very beginning” squares.

Question about dirty spy tricks by the Chinese government. Trudeau gives concerned face and talks about “coercive diplomacy”. Mark your “Two Michaels” square. Oooh, mentions the Uighurs. Didn’t think we’d get that. And yeah, I need a square for “Rule of law” because these people are neoliberals after all; it’s gonna be a perennial. I admit, I’m rather proud I could spell “Uighurs” without having to look it up. Yay, my 2/3rds of a degree is paying off!

Nice question about “do the different rising numbers mean different provinces are doing better or worse at dealing with the pandemic” which, duh. Trudeau reiterates the federal government is there to “support” provinces, businesses, citizens. And says provinces need to bring in rules about gatherings and behaviours, best practices, which is the strongest statement yet really. Again he says that we just need to take responsibility; it can’t JUST be up to individuals, but it is significantly up to individuals.

The pressure is clearly on the premiers now to answer to the public for what they have or have not done with the federal money. And Trudeau will always push responsibility to the provinces. He’s all “I can lead that horse to water, but drinking is up to them.”

[editor’s note: “horticulture” joke goes here]

“What we do in the coming days or weeks will determine what we get to do at Christmas.” Mark your “shout out to religious holiday” square. Did you know Trudeau is a Christmas baby? I have a friend who was born on Christmas, and she’s always been annoyed that she’s the one person who’s never had a free meal from Denny’s. And her family cheaps out, only giving her one set of presents rather than two; do you think Trudeau’s ever had a free meal from Denny’s for his birthday?

“Are you satisfied with what the provinces are doing with the federal support money?” Today is “ask questions that make the federal government look good and the provinces look like money-squandering yokels” day.

“We will continue” needs to be a square. Mark your “Mask” and “Maple leaf accessory” squares. And Trudeau is out.

“Winter is coming” should have been a square, oh well. Dr Tam is talking about how challenging it is for individuals to resist the urge to connect face to face with their friends and family. Winter means people will be indoors, air will be recirculated.

And there’s your “Stupid gotcha question” and Dr. Tam’s response is basically “This is how science works.” And “We answered this previously, but we’ll be happy to forward you the references if you want.”

If there was a drug that made you impassive in the face of hostile stupidity to a Dr Tam level, I would take it.

Now a question about how measles is spiking around the world, a good reminder that Dr. Tam is not just in charge of the Covid response. She says we haven’t seen a spike here, and reiterates that vaccinations are important. Follow-up question about home testing kits for Covid, and mark your “rapid testing” square. Dr. Tam says that tests are only of use after you get sick, and she’d rather focus on the prevention. “It is not a substitution for the other measures. I think we should look at everything, but right now it’s not an option that’s available.”

Question about why, given the negative outlook, the PM is talking about the possibility of people getting together for Christmas. Dr. Tam says “you can have a fun safe holiday connection if you do it safely.” and is VERY doubtful we can have a regular Christmas. “No one is advocating parties,” she says.

Holy shit, that reminds me: my Christmas ghost story anthology was supposed to have been out last month, but I can’t even finish it because of the Covid closures.

“Do you still trust the Ontario government to make these kinds of decisions?” oooh that’s the most pointed question I’ve ever heard at one of these briefings. Dr Njoo says “Our job is to look at the science and give our advice and recommendations to our political masters, and I’m sure that’s what is happening on the provincial level.”

I was wondering if Minister Leblanc would get to speak. Seems a waste to have him sitting there, not even giving a speechette/blurb. But now he gets one. My French is not good enough to follow it, but YAY thanks to random internet connections on gossip sites, I now have my very own French tutor! Bilingualism shall be mine again!

Mark the “rapid tests” square. Dr. Tam says that the country has deployed 3.8 million but doesn’t have the provincial breakouts off the top of her head.

Q: “Can you be more vivid about the consequences of 10,000 cases a day?” Even The Roommate has to laugh out loud at that. Um. Wow. Dr Tam responds we’re at close to 5000 a day now, we’re scaling back on routine surgery, concerned about ICU resources. Healthcare workers are already exhausted. She and Dr Njoo say, “Just look at Europe.” Nobody wants to be Northern Italy in the spring of 2020, for sure.

All of those things, of course, are provincial political responsibilities, not federal medical ones

Dammit, I’ve got as square for “Hockey” but but not one for “Basketball” despite it having been invented a few miles away. Question is about the Raptors being clear they want to play games at home. Dr. Tam says Dr. Njoo is the sports expert, hands the question off to him saying, “The ball is in your court” which gets an audible laugh, which, also, should be a square. I better get working on the Seventh Generation square.

And we’re done.

Lucy sez: fuck around and find out

The Beast and the Covid Briefing Bingo

I thought it was better this way than The Covid Briefing Bingo and the Magic Sword: YMMV

So, here we are again, a scant 25.5 hours after the last briefing.

Panta Rhei

Heraclitus of Ephesus

Today’s briefing is named after the rare Paul Naschy movie that I have yet to see, The Beast and the Magic Sword. And my day began at 6am, when I got a calendar reminder for a book launch occurring at the same time as the briefing, so that’s great. Hopefully I can watch the Zoom later.

And then continued, after a short, fitful doze, with a phonecall from some rando in Bangladesh. I don’t know anyone in Bangladesh, so I’m choosing to believe this was a call from the office of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, concerned lest I sleep through another Covid briefing. They’re big Covid Briefing Bingo fans in Bangladesh, you know. So I gave up and got up.

And in universe-upending news, I can’t find the CPAC livestream, so today we’re going with the CBC video instead. Practicing my French will have to wait. Good thing the coffee’s ready; this is way too much disruption to handle in one morning.

Play one card or play them all to win fabulous, completely imaginary prizes:

And here’s our video, which starts late, as usual.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and cabinet ministers give an update on Canada’s PPE, testing and vaccines. Chief Public Health Officer of Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo will be in attendance. To read more:

Oh, and soooper, I have internet problems, so this should go well. Mercury is OUT of retrograde, isn’t it? Even in Nepean?

Okay, we’ve got “rapid tests” and “Pushes responsibility to provinces” and “Grey suit” and “Poppy” so far. I’ll pop back in and do a summary of the contents later, when my internet stops fucking with me. Okay, I’m back and doing that now. Trudeau begins the briefing by stressing that reducing the spread of the pandemic is up to each of us. The federal government can and will do only so much, but it won’t interfere with what individual provinces are doing, although he HEAVILY IMPLIES you should be way more cautious than certain provinces are being. On which note, there’s this rather horrifying update:

GM is an American company, as is Pfizer, so that does NOT give you “Names specific Canadian company”. No squares for you!

And the new money for veterans is “Finds a new way to give Canadians money” as well as “Foreshadows an announcement to be made later”. And a reminder that this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies will be online, if they happen at all. I’ll never forget being in the Cambie pub and watching the parade go by. Everyone in that dive, including the people who were well past the point of standing by that time in the morning, stood up and raised their beers to the soldiers passing by.

And now it’s already “later” because here we are at the announcement by Minister MacAulay. Everybody theoretically supports veterans, but now it’s time for shit to get real. Here are some details from the Veteran’s site.

Non-profit and charitable Veterans organizations are experiencing a critical loss of charitable and fundraising revenues as a direct result of COVID-19, and are at risk of not being able to maintain their operations.

Veterans organizations play a critical role in the lives and well-being of Veterans and their families, as well as the communities in which they are located. They support homeless and disabled Veterans and play a crucial role in helping the Department fulfill its mandate. The Veterans Organizations Emergency Support Fund provides grants to non-profit and registered charitable organizations that support Veterans and their families. The grants will help organizations with operational costs and financial shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If your organization is facing significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for funding.

Veterans Organizations Emergency Fund

And there’s your “PPE” square. Like eight times, along with “Vaccine”. And “Rapid test” which we had earlier as well. The next briefing card is going to be dry af, because it will be all “Logistics” and “Shovel-ready” and suchlike.

We also have “Audio issues” throughout the video. And now we’re on to Dr. Tam and the statistics, average daily case count is over 3,000. Soooooooper. People, if you really can’t live without spending time with other people, maybe try harder to keep them alive!

That positive rate is half what it was last week Nope I misread. It’s up, and twice the average since the start of the pandemic.

There’s your “Three C’s” square. “Nobody knows layering like Canadians in Winter,” says Dr. Tam and this is just objectively true. And now mark your “My aunt calls during the briefing” square.

Reading between the lines (and my reading comprehension is iffy even ON the lines themselves, but hey-ho, everybody’s a pundit these days; Thanks, Twitter!) it seems like the federal government is saying,

“Look, we’ve done all we can do for you people without hurting our chances in the next election. Your premiers aren’t going to save, you, CLEARLY. They think the economy is better off with more dead Canadians. Some of them appear to be absolutely stone-cold batshit insane, in fact, so this is on you. Stay home. Mask up. For the love of god, stop killing off people just so you don’t have to eat a fucking third-rate cheeseburger by yourself.”

I may be paraphrasing a bit.

Oh right, here’s what he actually said:

With rising cases of COVID-19 here at home, there’s added pressure on all orders of government to keep people safe and to protect jobs.

But I would hope that no leader in our country is easing public health vigilance because they feel pressure not to shut down businesses or slow down our economy.

I understand that worry, but let me tell you: that’s how we end up with businesses going out of business and the economy damaged even more.

Beating COVID is the only way to protect our economy.

Prime Minister’s remarks on the COVID-19 situation and support for Veterans

And all of these references to Remembrance Day count as “Shout-out to non-religious holiday” although if you’re in a military family you’re allowed to tick off the “Religious holiday” square too. Because OBVIOUS REASONS that’s why.

Woohoo, Dr. Njoo gives us “Button Down Oxford” so mark that one off. I’m unreasonably excited for this, because I’ve been locked down with The Roommate and his endless television reruns for the past eight thousand months, and am starved for entertainment.

Good questions from @LeDevoir about why, if we can release people from immigration detention centres during the pandemic, why can’t we do it all the time. And it gets a “Covid makes things hard, we’re focused on the pandemic” response. Which I’m definitely going to use the next time the Roommate asks why I haven’t washed the dishes.

This whole briefing is one big “Pushes responsibility to provinces” really. It’s like Trudeau is passive-aggressively using the briefing to avoid having a Hard Conversation with his buddy Doug Ford.

And there we have “Sign language interpreter is swapped out”. The next bingo card should have “Challenges” on it, for sure. Maybe “Do the right thing” too.

And there you go, “Drinks water” square. Trudeau reassures the reporter and the citizens that invoking the Emergency Act is not a family tradition. Well, that’s a relief. I already had “Stock up for emergency lockdown” in my calendar for 2050; I wonder which Trudeau will be Hereditary Prime Minister then.

There’s “From the very beginning” and “Avoids mentioning Trump” when asked if he had any “unfinished business with the current President”. Which we all know he has plenty. And “Mentions Biden by name” which looks like it’ll be a regular in the briefing.

Meanwhile, in the US, the fascists just fucking went ahead and did it:

And Minister Anand “Mentions reporter by name” so mark that square. And yes, mark “Someone appears via video”.

And there’s your “Shades Harper” square. Love that one.

The Ratanzi case is god’s gift to the Tories, but it caught them so much by surprise that they haven’t had the chance to take advantage of it. Yet. They’ve put all their hopes in the “Scandal” basket rather than the “Issues” basket.

And now we have the “Gesticulates” square in spades. And the reporter tries to nail Trudeau down to comment on Alberta and Ontario, which he completely ignores in favour of national generalizations.

“From the very beginning” is now active. But come on, there needs to be a national mental health solution. Not “oh, there are lots of charities, try them”. And Trudeau is out, and yes, “Camera follows Trudeau out even though someone else is speaking.”

Dr. Tam gets a question which relates to my interests directly: what does science tell us about transmission aboard airliners. She says they have not received a report of transmission aboard an airliner at this point, which is better than I thought.

On a less serious note, Dr. Tam gives you your “Florals” square for her top. It’s hard to see behind the sign, but it’s definitely a floral print. On a more serious note, Dr. Tam and Minister Ananad are pretty excellent at explaining the challenges to dealing with the pandemic from a logistical and scientific perspective.

And thats’s a wrap. I’ll be back later to review the video and add what I missed, so check back in a couple of hours.

Meanwhile, in the US.

Assignment Terror

Assignment Covid-19 Briefing Bingo

Once again, Linus knows his shit.

Yes, I’m late. After all these months of limbo I actually forgot how to set an alarm properly, and set it for tomorrow instead of today, so I slept right through the announcement this morning. Which was at 10am: who’s awake at 10am, I ask you? Civil servants and medical personnel and the kids who work the drive-thru, that’s about it these days. And sad, lonely bus drivers with 80 empty seats and no one to talk to. No one.

Ahem. That’s A Mood, isn’t it? Anyway, we’re here now, so we’re doing this.

Play one card or play them all to win fabulous, completely imaginary prizes:

Today’s bingo is named after Assignment Terror, probably the second-worst Paul Naschy monster movie. And here’s your CPAC video.

On Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes an announcement and responds to questions from reporters. He is joined by federal ministers Navdeep Bains (innovation, science and industry), Catherine McKenna (infrastructure), Maryam Monsef (women and gender equality and rural economic development), and Pablo Rodriguez (the government House leader). The Prime Minister announces that the federal government will invest 1.75 billion dollars to connect under-served areas to high-speed Internet by 2026. This is additional funding of $750 million to the $1 billion originally announced in the 2019 budget. Justin Trudeau also comments on his congratulatory message to U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden following the latter’s election win. The Prime Minister discusses the news that the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech may be 90 % effective in preventing COVID-19 infections. He states that this vaccine should be available in the first three months of 2021,and that it would first be given to priority populations.

Dang, I can’t tell on these screens whether that’s a blue suit or a grey one. I’m in a generous mood, so if you have one marked but not the other, mark the one you don’t have. If you don’t have either, take a look and let me know what colour you think it is in the comments.

“Shovel-ready” is a good option for the next card.

I do not have ANY squares relating to the internet, nor any “Shows hope for the United States” because who saw that coming, but it’s an interesting briefing anyway. Trudeau sends congratulations to Biden and Harris and the United States, mentions the message of inclusion and diversity inherent in the election of Kamala Harris.

And then a discussion of the importance of the internet which, here we all are, aren’t we? Well, the few who are not soon will be, with the expansion of high-speed internet to isolated areas. My friends in Keremeos had to wait six months for a connection at all, and in Tofino I figured our best bet was satellite, with a startup cost of $1500. This low orbit satellite program sounds very interesting. The $1.75 billion broadband fund will make a huge difference.

And excellent news on the vaccine front:

Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19, indicating the company is on track later this month to file an emergency use application with U.S. regulators. The vaccine is among seven that Canada has pre-ordered.


Other than the suit colour, of course the first square active is your “Wears mask” square. Mark your “Maple Leaf accessory” square, your “Someone appears by video” and “Begins in English”. And right away, “App.” And “Biden mentioned by name” which is on the sixth generation card. “A specific Canadian business is mentioned” as well. Oooh, and “Avoids mentioning Trump by name”.

And “Someone is wearing glasses”. As a glasses-wearer, I’m glad to see it. #BringingGlassesBack And poppies all over the place, mark that square too.

Oooh, Justin Ling did not come to play. I like that reporter. He’s got a very pointed question about the human rights violations in the federal solitary confinement system. He’s got all the details: the system has not changed, and it is incompatible with the changes proposed. The response is equal parts deft and mealy-mouthed, and 100% meaningless.

“The Two Michaels” square is active thanks to CTV’s reporter. Trudeau gives the same lecture about China’s bullying and punitive imprisonment that he gives every time.

I like that Trudeau refers to “The current US president” and “The American government” and absolutely will not say the man’s name. “Ozymandias” square would be active, if it existed.

And “Drinks water” square is active. And “swaps out sign language interpreters” so that’s apparently not a lunch-related thing. Is it an exhausting physical activity? I can’t imagine it’s that much more tiring than simply being Italian and engaging in conversation, but what do I know? Can anyone with expertise weigh in on this?

Oh yeah, we have a “Facial hair” square. So obviously that one’s active. He said “Pardon” but it was in French, and I only have a square for “Sorry” in English, so I’m going to be a hardass and say no, you don’t get that one this time.

And there we have “Concerned Priest Hand Clasp” and “Gesticulates”. Again, just thumb gesticulation, but it counts.

Reporter asks Trudeau if he is not personally responsible for the atrocities occurring in long term care homes, which come the fuck on! That gets us a placid “Pushes responsibility to provinces”. Definitely mark your “stupid gotcha question” square, for that and this:

Another question about Trump, and another response that does not mention him by name. These questions just let Trudeau stare deeply into the camera and murmur “My job is to protect Canadians” and the camera just swoons. Honestly, he should tip the reporters for that question every time. Reporters could use the occasional fifty bucks.

I said Fifty. Times are tough, my dude. Newsboy caps don’t buy themselves, you know.

And there we go, “donc.” God, I love that word. Trudeau is out, but for once the camera does not follow him out.

Minister Bains says “competition” will keep the price of the high speed internet down. Of course, it hasn’t done that so far; at one time Canada had the most affordable broadband in the world, but now it’s one of the most expensive places. So this $1.75 billion is going to go to Canadian and foreign companies, but it’s NOT going to help individuals afford the internet. And the whole “rely on capitalism to do the best for you all” is bullshit; if capitalism worked this way, we would not need the government at all.

Probably the last square you get “Reiterates the border will stay closed.” I wonder if that fiberoptic loop in Yellowknife will EVER get used; it was installed years ago, but the local internet company didn’t want it competing with them, so they simply refused to connect it to the internet, and the government just went “Yeah, okay, I guess.” And it lies there still, unused. Perhaps it will never be used.

Interesting. I was not aware of the $10 a month internet plan. And of course there are still freenets around: apparently there are over 300 people in Ottawa still on dialup. I learned that at digital democracy day which, ironically, was only advertised online, ie it was designed so that it could not reach ANY of the people it was designed to help. Nonetheless it was considered to be a great success and there was a very nice afterparty at Shopify.

And that’s a wrap. And A Mood. See you next time.