Age Gracefully: Five years or fifty three?

Sunday marks my 53rd birthday.  I’m also celebrating it as the fifth anniversary of my transition, though I usually do that at New Year’s. I don’t remember the exact date that I said, “I have to transition or I’m going to die,” all that matters is that it happened.

I wrote a mini-autobiography (with songs) on facebook.  I won’t repost it here because it’s too long (a main post, thirteen comments and fourteen video links).  However, everything on the post is “public” so those not logged in can read it (as far as I know), you just can’t react.  I limit comments to my friends list due to harassers and “chasers”.

Though it’s only five years out of fifty three and seems like a short time, the distance I’ve come is amazing: starting out close to a mental breakdown; tentative steps in experimenting with makeup, clothes and wigs; going public; socializing and making friends; living openly full time (aside from work).  The only downer about my time since coming out is that I can’t take HRT.  I did for a few weeks about two years ago, but it put such a strain on my heart I ended up on heart medication for eight months.  (Better, now.)

Out of curiosity, I looked up famous people born on the same day.  Many I’m glad to be associated with, and one, I’m like…aiyah!  No, no, no!  The first name is my favourite of the bunch, though I’ve watched the entirety of “The Doctor’s” career.

Famous people I like sharing the day with:

1953 – Roberta Williams (games designer for Sierra Online)

1955 – Janice Dickinson (who helped convict Bill Cosby)

1957 – LeVar Burton (and 2335 – Geordi Laforge on Star Trek)

1964 – Christopher Eccleston (Dr. Who, 28 Days Later, Cracker)

1973 – Cathy Freeman (Australian olympian)

1975 – Vanina Ickx (race driver)

1979 – Valentino Rossi, aka “The Doctor” (MotoGP 7x World Champion, 115 career wins)

It is just me, or does Valentino Rossi look like Krusty the Clown from The Simpsons?

People I’m okay to share the same birthday with:

1951 – William Katt (Greatest American Hero, Carrie)

1952 – James Ingram (singer, who sadly died last month)

1959 – John McEnroe

1960 – Peter “Pete” Willis (guitarist, Def Leppard)

1961 – Andy Taylor (guitarist, Duran Duran)

1958 – Tracy Lauren Marrow (aka Ice-T)

Those I’m embarrassed to have the same birthday:

1935 – Sonny Bono

1942 – Kim Jong-Il

Here are some notable historical events from February 16:

1881 – The Canadian Pacific Railway is incorporated and operating. Without the promise of a national railway in 1871, the western half of Canada (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon) would have joined the yanquis. Instead, Canada became a coast-to-coast nation.

1959 – Fidel Castro becomes Prime Minister of Cuba

1968 – In Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system goes into service.

1978 – The first computer bulletin board system is created (CBBS in Chicago, which I mentioned a month ago).

1985 – Hezbollah is founded.

2005 – Russia ratifies the Kyoto Protocol, becoming law.

[Read more…]

How Diseases Taxi: Taiwan’s first COVID-19 death was a cab driver

A cab driver is the first Taiwanese citizen or resident to die from COVID-19.   He is the ninteenth known patient.

While it is important to find out who he caught it from, it’s also important to find out who was in his cab afterward.  Did he pass it on to others?  That could be difficult if there were no in-car video camera.  Some cabs take payment by credit card or Easy Card (metro cards for bus and subway), but even those who do ususally use cash.

Unfortunately, the title is cringeworthy.  It’s not the “Wuhan virus”:

WUHAN VIRUS/Taiwan reports first death from coronavirus infection (update)

Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) Taiwan on Sunday reported the nation’s first death from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a 61-year-old male living in central Taiwan, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The patient, who had Hepatitis B and diabetes, had not traveled overseas recently and no known contact with COVID-19 patients, according to Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC. The authorities are still working to determine how the man became infected.

“This could be Taiwan’s first community transmitted case,” Chen noted. The man is the nation’s 19th confirmed coronovirus patient.

CNA has learned the unidentified man was a taxi driver who had many customers that regularly travel to and from China, Hong Kong and Macau.

The health authorities are now checking the man’s phone records, medical records and CCTV footage of his travel history within the country in order to determine how he was infected with the deadly virus.

Multiple sources will tell you diseases are never be named after people or places because of the inherent racism and judging of people from that area.  Calling it the “Wuhan virus” plays into anti-China racism, just as “Zika”, “Hanta” and “Ebola” names do.

The PRC has taken the step of destroying paper currency from the Wuhan area.  Do they know something they’re not telling?  (Warning: South China Morning Post – link above – is a known PRC mouthpiece.)

Venn Diagram Vent: When whining goes wrong

As a foreigner living abroad, other foreigners can be very embarrassing, and not just those involved and murder and the drug trade.

A foreigner living in Taiwan who calls himself “the salty egg” is infamous for his “blog” full of his ignorance, sexism, racism and all-round stupidity.  But his latest post, “The Whiny Women of Taiwan”, take’s the pig’s blood cake.  I won’t quote it, read it at your own (white) peril.

I wrote a rebuttal, The Whiny White Males In Asia, advice for any white male considering life abroad and isn’t married.

My experience over eighteen years in Asia is that White Males who date women in country fall into these categories:

1) Lonely: The ones who want to meet women. Desperately. As I tell people, “If you can’t go three days without having a conversation, don’t live abroad.” Never get involved because you have a short term need for attention.

2) Proselytizers: Religious fanatics who view it as a “right” and “duty” to spew religion in other people’s countries. I’ve heard of some who “date, impregnate and vacate”, running away from children and legal responsibilities.

3) Incels: Those who couldn’t get a date at home go abroad, ignorantly believing that women in these countries can’t spot a loser. Trust me, women are smart everywhere.

4) Abusers: Those who hope that because they aren’t as awful as local men (in countries where Intimate Partner Violence is still common) they will somehow be more attractive.

5) Mail Order Bride Takeout: Unscrupulous companies used to matchmake women who wanted to emigrate with men who can’t get dates at home or women won’t date them. Some of those Mite Whales started going abroad to find women themselves.

6) “Yellow Fever”: The subtle racism of fetishizing a country, culture and language (e.g. weeaboos).

While the Venn Diagram of these groups is far from being a circle, there is a LOT of overlap (e.g. 2&6, 3&4&5, etc.). I knew a fundy who married a Korean woman, took her back to his country and physically and mentally abused her.

Bottom line:

1) Every country is pretty much the same except for basket cases like North Korea, China, Somalia, Zimbabwe and the US.

2) People in other countries don’t act, they react. If you’re nice, they’ll be nice. If you’re a jerk, they won’t talk to you. Nobody is obligated to kiss your posterior.

3) People are smart everywhere, except for those blinded by propaganda (i.e. those who think another country is a utopia of “freedumb”). Be honest about your country’s flaws.

4) If you’re white, never claim “racism” while abroad. First off, racism requires systematic oppression by government and every other system within a country. Second, the way white people are treated in non-white countries is far better than how they would be treated if they visited yours. They would never yell “speak my language!” at you but your country wouldn’t hesitate to do that if they visited yours.

This is not the be-all-and-end-all list, and I’ve probably got a few things wrong.  But if you do consider living abroad, be sure of your motivations and have realistic expectations.  And as I said near the top: If you can’t go three days without having a conversation, don’t live abroad because that often happens in a country where you don’t speak the language.  Clingy and needy people tend not to last, or take up bad habits.  I knew an Irishman in South Korea who got involved with the moonie cult, and seen many turn to heavy drinking.

Date And Predate: Valentine’s day sucks

A public service announcement:
In December, people are told “participate or shut up” in a commercialized event.  In May, woman are labelled “barren” and “failures” if they don’t have any sprog to participate in that commercialized event.  And in February, people are labelled “failures” for not having a romantic or sexual relationship nor a marriage during another commercialized event.
Your worth isn’t determined by whether you have someone at home to have sex with. It’s determined by how you treat others and the quality of your character. Loving yourself is all you need, don’t let corporations dehumanize you while selling products.
Some anti-valentines songs for you, this and in the comments.
 
“She Don’t Love Nobody”, by Nick Lowe
(written by John Hiatt, lyrics below)

 

[Read more…]

Music Rules: Black Sabbath, fifty years on

It’s shocking to think it was fifty years ago, but Black Sabbath unleashed their debut album on February 13, 1970.  Raise your fists and show me your horns.  The video below is a playlist of the full album.

Black Sabbath invented Heavy Metal, and their first album had all the common elements except for speed.  Ozzy Osbourne’s operatic vocals, Tony Iommi’s heavy and memorable riffs and virtuoso guitar solos, Geezer Butler’s bass performing melodies and replacing rhythm guitar, and Bill Ward’s thundering bass drums.  But most importantly, they had the songs. From the beginning, they were creating classics that still stand up fifty years later.

Some people hate Heavy Metal, and that’s okay.  Nobody’s forcing anyone to listen to other people’s choices…except the majority that listen to the same top 40 pablum and record companies that want to sell it.

The Tough Guy Cowers: Duterte folds like a cheap mask

Updates on the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV):

(1)

The WHO and ICAO are still allowing Chinese nationals to dictate policy.  Why?

(2)

Philippine president and so-called “tough guy” Duterte has ordered the murders of 12,000 involved in the drug trade within the Philippines during his temporary hold on power.  And yet it only took one phone call from Xi Limping (an intentional spelling, as he limps from one crisis to another) for Duterte to start licking Xi’s boots, quivering in his own.

Duterte now tows Beijing’s line, referring to Taiwan as “part of China” and falsely inferring that people from Taiwan pose the same risk as those in the mass murdering dictatorship.  No one will be allowed to travel from Taiwan to the Philippines, whether Taiwanese national or foreigner.  There are still only 16 cases of nCoV in Taiwan, and no deaths, while the Philippines have nearly 400 (doubling since yesteday) and at least one confirmed death.

On the bright side, If it breaks out in the Philippines as it did in China, at least it won’t be Taiwan’s fault.

Taiwan hits out at China virus travel bans

Taiwan on Tuesday (Feb 11) hit out at countries that “confuse” it with China after the Philippines became the latest to impose a travel ban on the island over the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Despite its cultural links and close proximity to China, Taiwan moved swiftly against the outbreak and currently has just 18 confirmed cases of the new virus.

[…]

Late on Monday, the Philippines confirmed its current travel ban for China was being expanded to Taiwan under the so-called “one China” policy.

Beijing views Taiwan as its own territory – part of a “one China” – and has vowed to eventually take the island, by force if necessary.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Tuesday described that decision as “wrong and unilateral”.

“To confuse Taiwan with China has caused troubles for our side and in the international community,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told reporters.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has worked in recent years to warm ties with China in search of trade and investment.

(3)

There are now over 1000 dead in China, 43000 infected.  Taiwan still has few infections and no deaths, because its government and medical system are acting professionally, unlike China’s which is becoming Stalinesque.

Two “senior officals” in Hubei province (read: party apparatchiks) were fired on Tuesday.  They were likely know-nothing hacks given the jobs as rewards, and firing them intended to give the perception that the government is in control. Unfortunately, they are being replaced by apparatchiks from Beijing, whose only ability to yell louder threats at doctors for not magically fingding a cure.

If Limping were smart, he would let doctors run the show.  But instead, like Stalin, Limping is blaming the generals for his own incompetence and corruption.

China fires two senior Hubei officials over coronavirus outbreak

China has fired two senior officials in Hubei, the highest-ranking yet to be sacked, as Beijing asserts its control after the deadly coronavirus outbreak – with local officials appearing to be bearing the blame.

State media said that Zhang Jin, the Communist party chief of the health commission in hardest-hit Hubei province, and Liu Yingzi, its director, were both fired. They will be replaced by a national-level official, Wang Hesheng, the deputy director of China’s national health commission.

The sackings come days after a wave of public anger aimed at the government after the death of a Wuhan doctor who was punished for trying to warn friends and colleagues about the new virus. Li Wenliang, who succumbed to the virus last week, has become a martyr for many and a lightning rod for criticism of the Chinese state’s instinct to suppress information.

Chinese authorities appear to be ramping up a campaign of punishing local officials for the epidemic, which has now claimed more than 1,000 lives.

 

Metal Heads: The one in Louisiana is empty

I am an old school fan of anything loud played on guitars (read: I’m old and I grew up hearing it).  Whether it’s Prog Rock (Rush, Yes), Hard Rock (UFO, Golden Earring) Glam (The Sweet, Queen), Heavy Metal (Iron Maiden, Motorhead), Thrash and Speed Metal (Anthrax, Megadeth, early Metallica), Punk (The Damned, Art Bergmann / Young Canadians), Industrial (KMFDM, Skinny Puppy) or any other, I’ll listen.

But aside from Mercyful Fate, the genres of Black Metal and Death Metal never appealed to me.  Maybe the musicality is there, but I don’t hear it and I don’t like the overall sound of the genre nor the topic matter (i.e. “death”, “burial”, “afterlife”, “war”, “hopelessness”, etc.).  But even if I didn’t mind, the number of Black and Death Metal bands that tread into white supremacism and satanism put me off.  (That’s not to infer that all such groups can be defined that way.  I’m just not inclined to sift through drek to find the good stuff.)

Which leads me to a stupid kid from Louisiana, an “aspiring Black Metal artist” who decided the way to make himself famous in the Death Metal scene was to burn down churches in Black communities.  Instead, he was charged with hate crimes, pled guilty and will serve a long prison sentence.  Now watch, a Black Metal band will probably write a song about him….

Fortunately, no one was injured in any of the attacks.  These were arsons, not bombings, and no one was inside at the time of the fires.  Would it shock you to learn he’s the son of a white cop?

Holden Matthews: Man admits burning churches to raise ‘black metal’ profile

Holden Matthews, 22, admitted to starting the fires to raise his profile as a “black metal” musician, prosecutors said.  He burned three Baptist churches in the Opelousas area over 10 days beginning in late March 2019.  He faces 10 to 70 years in jail when he is sentenced on 22 May.  On Monday, Matthews entered several guilty pleas for federal and state charges.  The three churches Matthews admitted to torching had predominantly African-American congregations.

[…]

Matthews, the white son of a local sheriff deputy, set fire to those churches “because of the religious character of those buildings”, they said.

[…]

Each church was razed to the ground by the fires Matthews lit, prosecutors said. No-one was injured, as it was the middle of the night.  During his plea hearing, Matthews said he specifically targeted those churches. He did so because he sought to emulate church burnings carried out by black metal music fans in Norway in the 1990s.

If your response is, “They’re just churches,” do me a solid and go away permanently.

To quote The Damned’s “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today”:

“They’re closing the schools / They’re burning the books

The church is in ruins / The priests hang on hooks

The radios on ice / The telly’s been banned

The army’s in power / The devil commands”

Taiwan Left Out: WHO is really this stupid


That’s not a question, it’s a statement: The WHO is really this stupid.  The death toll, as I write, jumped to over 800, from 300 just a few days ago.

For weeks, since the coronavirus became an issue, the WHO has refused to give Taiwan ANY medical information on the virus – not the treatment, not the spread.  Their attitude has been, “we HAVE given it to Taiwan’s government, in Beijing”.  Taiwan has been getting information third hand from other countries because asking Beijing would be pointless – they appear to be as clueless about the coronavirus as they were about the spread of HIV/AIDS.  In 2000, they arrested the doctors who blew the whistle, doctors who tried to protect the public with the facts. As I’m sure most have heard, Dr Li Wenliang, the doctor who told the world about the crisis, has died from the virus while continuing to care for patients.  And now the mass murderers in Beijing are trying to erase Li’s name from the public record.

Wuhan doctor who was reprimanded for trying to warn of coronavirus dies from infection

Ophthalmologist Dr Li Wenliang – reported to have been aged 34 – died on Thursday, according to state-run tabloid Global Times.

He was among eight people reprimanded by police in December for “rumour-mongering” over the SARS-like virus, though he was hailed as a “whistleblower” in state media posts reporting his passing.

[…]

Local authorities eventually apologised to Li, but – in January – he contracted the virus whilst he was treating a woman with glaucoma, according to the BBC. “Today nucleic acid testing came back with a positive result, the dust has settled, finally diagnosed,” he wrote last Thursday on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

The regime is also taking violent action against people suspected of being infected, in scenes reminiscent of “The Walking Dead” TV series.

Taiwan’s government is very much on top of things.  A map of “hot zones” around nothern Taiwan are publicly available (where people with symptoms or carriers have reported going) and health care system is responding quickly.  Thus far there have been sixteen reported cases, but no deaths.  H1N1 has come back and killed thirteen, but none yet from the coronavirus.

Taiwan confirms 3 more Wuhan virus cases, bringing total to 16

Three more Taiwanese were confirmed infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) late Thursday, just several hours after the country reported two new cases earlier in the day.

Of the three new cases, two are a married couple, both in their 50s, who transited through Hong Kong from Taiwan on Jan. 22 for Italy on vacation with two other family members, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said.

Taiwan is having a shortage of face masks, limiting purchase to Taiwanese citizens or foreigners with valid medical cards.  Mainland Chinese have been trying to buy them and export them to the mainland, but Taiwanese companies responded by printing the Taiwan flag on them.

Hong Kong’s medical workers are threatening to go on strike if Hong Kong doesn’t close the border with China.  Some may see this as using the virus to protect Hong Kong’s sovereignty, but given Beijing’s murderous actions of the past year, who can blame them?

Coronavirus: Hong Kong medics tell gov’t to offer more support or face mass resignations

Medical sector strike organisers have urged the Hospital Authority to offer staff more support to handle the coronavirus outbreak or face mass resignations.

The strike, led by the newly-formed Hospital Authority Employees Alliance (HAEA), began on Monday. Thousands of public healthcare workers have demanded the Hong Kong government close its remaining border crossings with mainland China in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. All travellers from the mainland will be required to enter quarantine for 14 days from Saturday onwards.

There have been over 28,000 confirmed cases of new infections worldwide and over 560 deaths – including one in Hong Kong, according to official figures. The novel virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, and resembles the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed more than 300 people in Hong Kong in 2003.

The HAEA hosted an information stand outside the Prince of Wales Hospital to receive questions about the strike from residents.

“The government is impotent – only Hong Kong people can save themselves! Close the border fully now!” participants chanted.

 

[There is an update in the post on February 12. – Rhi]

The Philippines is taking reasonable precautions:

Taiwanese need to provide travel history to enter the Philippines

Taipei, Feb. 4 (CNA) From Saturday, Taiwanese wishing to visit the Philippines will be asked to provide a recent travel history when applying for a visa following the extension of a travel ban on foreign travelers who have been to China or its special administrative regions within the last three weeks, according to the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO).

All foreign travelers – – regardless of nationality — who have visited China, Hong Kong or Macau with the last 21 days will be barred from entering the Philippines, MECO said. [Emphasis mine. – Rhi]

On Sunday, Filipino authorities banned all travelers from China, Hong Kong, and Macau, one day after a Chinese national from Wuhan — ground zero of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak — died in the Philippines, becoming the first fatality outside China.

 

Vietnam took unreasonable measures against Taiwan until money changed their minds.  They intended to ban all Taiwanese and resident foreigners in toto until Taiwan’s government said, “Well, if we’re unsafe, then so are your airplanes.  We’ll keep them here until the virus passes.”  Grounded airplanes lose money every hour, and Hanoi knows it.

Vietnam reverses Taiwan flight ban after causing chaos

Taipei, Feb. 1 (CNA) Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) has confirmed that Vietnam has withdrawn its previous announcement that it was imposing a ban on flights with Taiwan to keep the threat of spreading coronavirus at bay.

Vietnam’s civil aviation authorities announced a ban on all flights to and from China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan for a period of 90 days that was to take effect Saturday.

[…]

But the Vietnamese civil aviation authority did a quick about face, reversing the ban on flights with Taiwan, according to both the CAA and VietJet Air, which had three planes at Taoyuan International Airport waiting to return to Vietnam after the ban took effect.

It was not immediately clear if Vietnam was only lifting the ban for Taiwan and not the other three countries and territories.

Vietnam’s initial move came amid growing concern over the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2018-nCoV) in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 that has ballooned into 11,791 confirmed cases and 259 deaths in China as of Friday.

Outsourced: Is the coronovirus a pangolin-demic?

There have been accusations that the coronavirus began with bats (and attempted racist insinuations about mainland China’s eating habits), but scientists may now know either the source or at least the “potential intermediary host” as they call it: the pangolin.

Scientists identify pangolin as possible coronavirus host

The endangered pangolin may be the link that facilitated the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) across China, Chinese scientists said on Friday.

[…]

After testing more than 1,000 samples from wild animals, scientists from the university found the genome sequences of viruses found on pangolins to be 99 per cent identical to those on coronavirus patients, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

The pangolin is considered the most trafficked animal on the planet and over one million have been snatched from Asian and African forests in the past decade, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

They are destined for markets in China and Vietnam, where their scales are used in traditional medicine – despite having no medical benefits – and their meat is bought on the black market.

The country which eats bear paws and bear bile soup is eating pangolins.  And using pangolins in “traditional medicine” which helped decimate rhino populations.  How is it “traditional” if the animal isn’t a native species?

If this is the answer, that’s a good thing.  But as we have a knack for doing, we created our own problems.  Again.

 

Running Gag: This job posting is a joke

A job posting for a Taiwan-based factory appeared this week in multiple places. A company is seeking factory workers to put together components, and the ad targets Philippine people (most of whom speak English fluently) with college educations.

Taiwanese people and foreigners have been mocking it for its sexism, low pay and ludicrous working conditions. The posters and company are so shameless that they have made no attempt to change the posting or address the criticisms.  And yet the sad truth is, many Filipinas will be lining up and to apply for it.

The pay is underwhelming, to say the least.  By law, the minimum wage in Taiwan is NT$23,100 per month (US$765, C$1018).  NT$23,800 is PHP40,000.  That might do well in the Philippines, but here it’s barely enough to survive, even if contract workers live in dorms (which they usually do).  Most company dorms have curfew, so the employees usually do little more than work 5-6 days per week, shop for food on Saturdays and then party on Sunday afternoons.  (I’ve been to a couple of these Sunday matinee bars, they’re loud and wild.)

Earn as much as NT23, 800 or P40+++ plus OVERTIME!!!

The “qualifications” are a mixed bag.  Some make sense (e.g. no Colour Vision Deficiency, if working with transistors or other colour coded items; no sweaty hands, if working in a moisture sensitive environment), while others are utterly ludicrous (e.g. how do tattoos affect working?).  Do I need to tell you that “no left handers” made me roll my eyes?

Qualifications:

  • 20-30 years old / female
  • 157 cm above in height
  • Weight limit is proportion to height
  • With related factory experience
  • College graduate
  • Good in math
  • 20/20 vision no colorblind
  • No sweaty hands / no lefthanded
  • No tattoo

The body judgement and the potential for sexual harassment is what irked most people.

A screen shot of the original job posting and full text of the ad are below the fold.

[Read more…]

Death Camps: Calling it a hospital is woo, Han

If a video posted on twitter can be believed, China’s much ballyhooed “ten day hospital construction” in Wuhan looks like a hospital and more like a death camp within a city.  The rooms look like cells, with iron bars on the windows, locked from the outside and only an air lock to pass food and medicine through.  Will only doctors be allowed inside?  Will there be any doctors?

The text on the video says people will either walk out or be incinerated after they die.  Given Beijing’s murderous attitude towards human rights (“you are property of the state and disposable”), I’m tempted to believe it.  Beijing’s “official” numbers of “cured and dead” will likely be as fictional as US body counts in Vietnam.

Brain Drain: From the stupor bowl to the toilet bowl, then the kidney bowl

Another year, another “world championship” game played by the only country with teams.  I won’t be watching, and no, I’m not interested in the “drag queen” ads that will be shown.

What does interest me is seven years ago, Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City team succumbing to CTE, first murdering his girlfriend and then himself in front of his coach.  I want to know what Laurent Duvernay-Tardif “thinks” he will accomplish by playing a stupid and dangerous game instead of doing rounds in a hospital.  I want to know why that “sport” still exists.

Using the NFL’s own pro-reference site and list of players who died from 2010 to 2019 (changing the URL is easily done), I looked at players’ age of death and what positions they played.  Which positions were the most dangerous (there is no “least dangerous”)?

Total deaths of ex-NFL players (2010-2019): 1359
Deaths of ex-NFL players age 20-55: 179
Deaths of ex-NFL players age 20-40: 65

Deaths of ex-NFL deaths by position 2010-2019, 
and how many died in that age range:

Position.....20-55.....20-40
QB.............3.........2
RB............22.........8
WR............13.........4
TE.............7.........4
OL............33........11
DL............40........10
LB............27........14
DB............19........11
KP.............5.........1

(Excuse the use of the PRE tag.)

It’s horrendous to think that almost 5% of deaths were men under age 40, and 13% were under age 55.  These number can’t be used to calculate a death rate amongst current and former NFL players, because that would require tracking all of them and I don’t have the time or resources.  Yes, all, including those who only played in training camps, since all of them will have played college and high school football.

These numbers would change drastically if you count other decades.  In the past 20 years, NFL tight ends have become receivers, not blockers, so modern players suffer fewer injuries.  Since the 1990s, NFL linemen have averaged over 300 pounds per man.  Mike Webster, the first high profile case of CTE, weighed less than 280 pounds when he played.  There were no 300 pound players in the 1980s.

You don’t have to be an expert in physics to understand F=ma, that when players are larger, stronger and faster they will cause and suffer more injuries.  NFL careers continue to get shorter and shorter due to the number of injuries (source: Wall Street Journal):

It’s not just shortened careers, either, it’s post-career misery.  Ex-NFL players suffer arthritis at three times the rate of the average US male, along with knee, back, joint and other chronic ailments.  And worst of all, the long term effects of Post Concussion Syndrome.  There are over a dead hundred players whose brains are in jars, proving the effects of CTE, but I worry more about the living.  Le’Ron McClain knows something is wrong with his head, but the NFL ignores him when it comes to liability and doctors don’t know how to treat him.  I fear he is in a long slow decline and will never be healthy again.  I hope I’m wrong.  And he’s only one of hundreds.

A hundred years ago, in 1905, Theodore Roosevelt threatened to ban football because of all the injuries and deaths.  He should have done it while he had the chance, the way many countries banned auto racing after the Le Mans disaster of 1955.  Injuries are so common in touch football (allegedly a “non-contact” game) that helmets are being made mandatory in many places after numerous head injuries.

 

 

 

Schools Out: This should interesting….

I just got word that the Taiwan government is extending winter vacation for children.  Normally public schools would go back on February 17, but it’s being extended until Februarty 25 because of the coronavirus (9 cases in Taiwan) and a resurgence in H1N1 (13 confirmed deaths).

I have no word yet whether this applies to my school, a private academy.  I am scheduled to work tomorrow.

It makes me glad I stayed home during Chinese New Year, cleaning my apartment, writing and giving my ears and voice a rest.  I didn’t see another person for seven days.

“May you live in interesting times”, as the Chinese curse goes….

Shut-Ins Shut In: Seven days of isolation

During the Chinese New Year holiday (January 23-29), I left my apartment only three times – buying water from the coin op machine, doing laundry, and visiting the supermarket 200 metres away (which was mostly empty of people).  Originally I had intended to go clubbing once and to see friends, but I got lazy and used the time to write.  I didn’t lock myself in because of the coronavirus, but in retrospect I’m glad I did.  When I finally did poke my head out on Thursday to go to work, everyone in sight was wearing a mask except me, on the street and on the bus.  I haven’t felt so out of place in a long time, but at least I wasn’t a carrier.

Guo Jing of Wuhan, China, stayed home seven days for her safety and kept a diary which the BBC published. She says people were kicked off public transit if they didn’t have a mask. I got weird looks on Thursday for not wearing one.

Below are some excerpts from the BBC item:

Coronavirus Wuhan diary: Living alone in a city gone quiet

Wuhan has been under lockdown since 23 January, to try to contain the infection. Transport is shut down, most shops and businesses closed, and people are being advised to stay at home.

[Guo] Jing is a 29-year-old social worker and rights activist who lives on her own. For the past week, she has kept a diary, which she shares here with the BBC.

Thursday 23 January – the day of the lockdown

I didn’t know what to do when I woke up and learned about the lockdown. I don’t know what it means, how long it will last and what kind of preparations I should make. […] Many more people are wearing masks. Friends have told me to stock up on supplies. Rice and noodles have almost sold out.

* * * * *

Friday 24 January – a silent New Year’s Eve

The world is quiet, and the silence is horrifying. I live alone, so I can only tell there are other human beings around from the occasional noises in the corridor.

I have a lot of time to think about how to survive. I don’t have any resources or connections.

* * * * *

Saturday 25 January – Chinese New Year alone

Today is Chinese New Year. I never have much interest in celebrating festivals, but now new year feels even more irrelevant.

In the morning, I saw some blood after I sneezed, and I was scared. My brain was filled with worries about sickness. I was wondering if I should go out or not. But I had no fever and a good appetite, so I went out.

I wore two masks even though people say it’s pointless and unnecessary. I am worried about [poor quality] fakes, so a double mask makes me feel safer.

* * * * *

Sunday 26 January – making your voice heard

It not just the city that’s trapped. It’s also the voices of the people.

On the first day of the lockdown, I couldn’t write [anything about it] on social media [because of censorship]. I couldn’t even write on WeChat. Internet censorship has existed for a long time in China, but now it feels even more cruel.

* * * * *

Tuesday 28 January – finally sunlight

Panic has driven a wedge between people.

In many cities, people are required to wear a face mask in public. On the face of it, the measure is to control the pneumonia outbreak. But actually it could lead to abuse of power.

Some citizens without a mask have been thrown off public transport. We don’t know why they didn’t wear a mask. Perhaps they couldn’t buy any, or they didn’t know about the notice. No matter what, their rights to go out should not be taken away.

She says a lot more in the item.  It reads like a creepypasta without a monster at the end.