Excuse Me. Have You Been Vaccinated? An Interesting Question, That

This is an interesting problem.

You take a pretty courageous, world helping step by signing up to be part of a vaccine trial. You aren’t sure if you got the real candidate or a placebo and you won’t be finding out any time soon. The province you live in implements a proof of vaccination system. You, who may or may not have been vaccinated, have no idea what to tell anyone who has to ask you about it. What happens to you? Are you denied entry to every place known to man that has been deemed non-essential? Are you let in even though you might be unvaccinated and therefore a risk?

I tend to lean toward giving all of these people medical exemptions, personally. It’s not as though there are enough of them concentrated in one area to cause a lockdown, although you could counter that by saying that it only takes one. You would be right, but if there are already people exempted for other legitimate medical reasons and if you’re going to be exempting people for reasons that ought not to exist (hello, religion), it’s seriously unfair to hang people who could quite literally be life saving heroes out to dry.

For its trial to proceed properly, Medicago is using a “double blind” experiment, meaning some participants are given the Medicago vaccine candidate, while others are given a placebo.
Neither people administering the vaccine nor those receiving it know whether they got the placebo or the real thing, and they won’t until researchers have a chance to compare the rates of COVID-19 in both groups.
Only participants leaving the trial can find out which dose they’ve received.
That’s Lacasse’s main concern right now — that other Medicago trial participants will leave the trial in order to receive an already-approved vaccine, slowing down the experiment.
It’s a concern echoed by Medicago. In a statement emailed to the Star, a company spokesperson said they were “very concerned” about the possibility of Ontario participants being denied vaccine certificates, and leaving the trial because of it.
“We urgently need the Government of Ontario to follow the example of Quebec and provide vaccine passports to clinical trial participants in order to prevent them from leaving the study,” the statement, provided by Tanvir Janmohamed, said.
“Clinical trial participants are essential to advancing vaccine technology in Canada, and should not be penalized for their choice to contribute to science for the benefit of society.”


There is an update to the story of Gary Van Ryswyk, the elderly gentleman who messed up an in-home castration surgery on a fellow he met on a eunuch website, nearly causing the poor guy to bleed to death. He pleaded no contest to the charges he faced and will be spending a couple of years in prison.

Apparently this is not Van Ryswyk’s first rodeo. How many other rodeos there have been is unclear (the number has been as high as 25 and as low as just two including himself), but the one that wasn’t him also sounds like a doozer. It happened in a hotel, for a start.

The patient was a Florida man named Scott who used the online chat handle “Wanna Be Dickless.”
The 2017 procedure, Van Ryswyk recalled, occurred in a room at a La Quinta Inn six miles from his home. Asked by a detective how the hotel surgery went, Van Ryswyk replied, “Not well.” Van Ryswyk explained that he could not stop Scott’s bleeding, prompting the patient to seek treatment at a hospital emergency room (where Scott made no mention of Van Ryswyk).
A police search of Van Ryswyk’s computer equipment turned up a file labeled “Scott” that contained an “image of a person, wearing surgical gloves, holding up a testicle.” The photo was captioned “Scott’s right nut.”
“I only did one testicle on him,” Van Ryswyk told police as he recounted Scott’s castration. At the time of the procedure, Van Ryswyk said, his wife Ethel thought he was at chorus practice.

The hotel castration, Van Ryswyk claimed, was hampered by the darkened state of the room. “The lighting was really poor in the La Quinta,” he said. “You know, I mean they’re more for romance than they are for surgery.”

They also aren’t for old dudes with failing eyesight and poor coordination, two things we’ve since learned he suffers from.

He told investigators that he thought this one would go much more smoothly because his own home, which he could use because he was now divorced, had much better lighting. Decent theory, but nope. Very clearly nope.

Hopefully prisons don’t have jailhouse medics the way they have jailhouse lawyers. Jesus.

Never A Dill Moment

I have no idea how I should start this, so let’s just get to the good stuff. *Note: Good stuff is not actually good at all…at least not for most of us.*

Eric Detiege, 47, was arrested in March by cops responding to a suspicious person call in Oldsmar, a Tampa suburb. Officers found a pantless Detiege lying on his back in front of a townhouse that was not his home.
As memorialized in an arrest affidavit, Detiege, naked from the waist down, had his penis in one hand and “a large uneaten pickle in his other hand.” Deputy Armando Feijoo reported that Detiege was “using the pickle to penetrate his rectum while he was masturbating.”

He was arrested and charged with exposure of sexual organs, but was released after posting bond. His freedom was short lived, however, as he was caught the following week shoplifting Red Bull and skinny jeans from an area Walmart.

Red Bull gives you wangs?

Anywho, Detiege wound up pleading no contest to the exposure charge and was sentenced to time already served, plus fines and court costs.

We Said Use The Knife On The Food, Not On The Dude!

Story is almost a year old, but it still serves as a good reminder for us all to be better not only this year, but for how ever many more years we’re getting before the planet melts or blows up or washes away or dies of stubbornness or whatever it’s supposed to be doing this week.

The wrong person got murdered, by the way. Assuming the facts as presented are correct, of course.

James Dixon, 28, is charged with killing Vincell Jackson, 52, who was the boyfriend of the Thanksgiving party host.
Jackson was trying to escort Dixon out of the Chicago house because he had put his hands in leftovers early Friday, Assistant State’s Attorney Susie Bucaro said. The fight moved to the porch, where Jackson was stabbed at least nine times, Bucaro told a judge Sunday.

And I Mean It!

This TV commercial keeps coming on, and is yet another example of an ad that doesn’t say what it’s for. But it’s a campaign ad, and for some reason, that bugs me even more.

The viewer can sort of discern that it’s NDP because of the talking points, but how do they know for sure? If the NDP want to use this to get people’s votes, they should try to reach as many people as they can, and not saying the party’s name decreases the chances that people will actually notice whose ad they just heard. Plus, don’t they want to get the vote of people who can’t see their ad? I know, some people will say there aren’t enough blind people to care about, but that’s not what I’m saying, even though I’d beg to differ. Think about it. I know advertisers don’t want to acknowledge this, but commercial breaks are when people leave the room to go pee, get a drink, do something else. They’re not looking at the TV screen. They might hear the ad and wonder who it’s for, but never know. But if it had said “A message from the NDP” at the end, they would know without having seen the screen. And just like that, the ad would have reached more people.

I’m a little sad, NDP. I thought you could do better.

Smoky Mountain Brain

We were listening to music out on the balcony the other night, and some songs came on that made me think of stuff I used to think when I was a kid, and it made me laugh.

The first one was Smoky Mountain Rain

I hadn’t heard that song in so long that hearing it brought back a vivid chain of thoughts. The first time I heard this song, I think I was 4 or so. I remember thinking “So…let me get this straight. You’re just riding in trucks, and then getting out in different towns and yelling her name? That doesn’t seem like it would work too well. What if you’re going the wrong way? Or what if the whole time you’re going one way, she’s going the other way? Heck, why don’t you tell us what her name is, and then we could all look for her?”
I guess I was thinking of those times when our cat would stray, and we’d go outside and call for him, or that time I got lost wandering around our huge yard, ended up walking towards the neighbours, and they had to go down the road calling my name. Whatever the reason, I put way too much thought into this song.

Then there’s the zillion songs that talk about being together until the end of time. I remember thinking “He knows when time ends? He has to know, since he can say he’ll be with her until the end of time. It’s like mom saying we go to bed at 9:00. She knows when 9:00 is and can tell us. So if he knows when time ends, when is it? And what happens when time ends. Do all the clocks just stop? What do we do then?” I don’t think I ever said any of this out loud because I think people would have laughed and laughed and laughed and I would have had another one of those moments where I looked at them and thought “That wasn’t a joke! Why are you laughing?”

This next one I thought about when I was in high school, but I still laugh because my perspective has totally changed on this song. It was “Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks.

Every time it would get to the line about “As we walked away, I looked at my wife, and then and there I thanked the good lord for the gifts in my life…” I thought “What the heck? Did the old flame turn into a psycho? Or did she become ugly and scary and evil? How would I feel if I were the old flame and my old flame was thinking ‘Gees, did I ever make the better choice by choosing my wife instead of you!'” I know now that he was just saying that it turns out that they were probably not as awesome a couple as they had originally thought and things worked out better for each of them, but high school me would always think he was saying “Sheesh! I really dodged one there! What a fool I was!”

And those were the strange old thoughts dredged up by songs. I’m sure I’ll think of more.

The Special Thing About Special Ballots

I thought I would write one more thing down about the election. It was going to be in this other elections post, but as a question. Now I have the answer, so I thought I would post it in case others were wondering too.

I was talking to a friend who had to vote early at the returning office, and she asked me “How are you going to handle this ballot?” I said I would get the poll worker to set up the stupid template thing with the holes and tell me who’s no. 1, 2, and so on, and then make a mark in the appropriate box. Then she said “But no, the ballots are different this year. You have to write the candidate’s name on the ballot.” Then I was super worried. Had they had so little time to prepare that they hadn’t made ballots where you make your little x? Were we scrambling that much?

Thankfully, that was not the case. It turns out that since she had voted at the returning office, she had voted by special ballot. I always thought you could use a normal ballot even if you voted at the returning office, but I guess not, at least not this year. These ballots are weird because they could be filled out potentially before all candidates are confirmed if the person wanting to vote is an uber keener. So they expect you to find your list of candidates, and then write down the name of the one you want to vote for on the ballot…which I could definitely not do.

So, if you thought maybe you’d have better luck voting at the returning office because there wouldn’t be heaps of humanity all crammed in there, if you’re a blind guy who doesn’t know how to write stuff with a pen, you might end up with a different problem. And now I know more about special ballots.

Necessary Voting In Unnecessary Elections

So we’re voting again. I’m not looking forward to dealing with this right now, but I don’t really have a choice so off we go. I thought I’d post what answers I could find about the process, and ask a few questions of my own.

First of all, if you’re wondering if your vaccine status will affect your ability to vote in person, the answer is no.

Elections Canada says it won’t require voters to be vaccinated or to show proof of vaccination in order to vote in the 2021 federal election. 
The B.C. government’s website explicitly states its vaccine card won’t be required to vote. 
A spokesperson for Quebec’s Health Ministry said in an email its vaccine passport is limited to activities deemed non-essential and a high risk for transmission. 
“Polling stations are not part of it,” said communications director Robert Maranda.
In Manitoba, a spokesperson for the provincial vaccine task force said it had advised Elections Canada that vaccine passports won’t be required to access polling stations.
Ontario’s system won’t be in place until after voting day.
In short, you can be unvaccinated and still vote in person at these locations:
• At an advance poll between Sept. 10-13.
• At an Elections Canada office before Sept. 14.
• On the Sept. 20 election day.

If you’re like me and haven’t received your voter card yet and are wondering what to do if it doesn’t show up, this should help. But I guess we should only worry if it’s not here by the 10th.

If you’re wondering where your polling stations are, type your postal code in here.

Now, here are my questions. First, I hope with all the restrictions in place, that poll workers will still help. Since the federal elections never have anything resembling a true accessible voting option, I kind of need the poll worker to read the order of the candidates and line up the template so I can mark my vote in the right spot. And no, bringing a friend or having someone else cast my vote is not an acceptable solution. It sounds like they still are supposed to help, at least that’s the theory. Let’s hope it happens in practice.

And while we’re on the subject of their idea of accessible voting, get a load of this joke of an option at the bottom of the list.

We have reviewed and updated our Accessibility Policy and Service Offering policy. Available in multiple alternative formats, it shows the accessibility services available to polling staff and electors, including:
• Sensitivity training for staff working at the polls
• Sign language interpretation services available upon request in advance
• Tools to help electors vote
• A redesigned ballot that improves readability and optical character recognition (OCR) by screen readers

The first three are fine, and the last one is good as far as making a ballot more readable, but who honestly thinks that anyone would be able to use OCR to read their ballot and then accurately cast it based on the results of that scan? Let me explain.

  • First, I would have to aim the phone at the ballot and hope it got the whole thing.
  • Then, after I got the scan back, I would have to hope that it read it properly.
  • From that, I would have to guess where each choice was written on the ballot and then hope I targeted the right spot to make my mark.
  • and then, since most OCR doesn’t read handwriting, and my mark probably wasn’t anything resembling a letter, I wouldn’t be able to verify that I did it correctly.

Anyone who bought the idea that electors will be using optical character recognition has much, much to learn. At that point, you might as well request assistance from someone with functioning eyes.

I guess I get doubly irritated, because if they just got a damn machine like the municipal and provincial elections have been using for years, they wouldn’t have to lay out a line of bunk to make people feel better about the options that are being offered. Admittedly, the machines need to be more readily available, but at least using the machines feels like a truly independent and accessible voting experience.

Happy voting, everyone.

Le Dinner Debonair

Man, some people really hated this. Me personally? I laughed and I laughed and I laughed and had so much fun. Then again, I’ve never been one to think that wrestling has to always be one thing. Giving a mostly serious presentation doesn’t prevent you from using comedy and vice versa. If the mix is presented well more often than it’s not, it works great and keeps people coming back. The WWF made a bazillion dollars doing that for years back when Vince and company knew what they were doing, and they’re still coasting on that reputation to this day. Even the territories that people like to hold up as being “serious wrestling” have had their moments. Were they as over the top as this? Generally no. But who out cringed who isn’t the point. We shit on the phrase “sports entertainment” a lot, and deservedly so. But there is some accuracy to it. At its heart, wrestling is an entertaining sport. It was that way long before my lifetime and will be that way long after I’m gone. Whether we’re talking about outlandish gimmicks, weird storylines or segments that feel more like a movie or an old school variety show, wrestling is in a unique position that allows them all to coexist with the sports aspects as long as, like I said before, it knows when to be what and how to stitch all of those elements together. The mini musical that broke out in the middle of AEW took nothing away from the first round of the world title tournament, the number one contender match for the tag titles or Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston’s extremely personal promos leading to a match where two old friends are going to beat the life out of each other, perhaps literally. The silliness was contained to one story and involved two extremely talented guys whose characters probably would end up in a douchey song and dance. It was a good example of the something for everyone part of wrestling that I find serious fans tend to forget.


We haven’t posted many jokes lately, so here’s one. Credit or blame goes to Carin who saw it on Facebook and knew I would laugh.

Q: What’s the difference between black eyed peas and chickpeas?
A: Black Eyed Peas can sing us a tune, but chickpeas can only hummus one.