We are currently on track to exceed the American mortality from the 1918 flu. Then 675,000 died. Today, 245,000 Americans have died from Covid. In the last week, a million new infections have occurred. Within a month these new cases will result in 25,000 new deaths. 25K per week or 100K per month. The start of winter is still a month away. Three months of winter could result in 300K more deaths, but that is only at the current infection rate. Infection rates are now skyrocketing out-of-sight. 100K per month could be rather conservative. With families soon gathering for the holidays, these estimates could soon explode. We all know what to do, wash hands, socially distance and wear a mask. We just don’t want to and so far we didn’t have to, if we didn’t want to. In six months an effective vaccine will be available. I say suck it up people. Do the right thing. If not for yourself, then for those you love. Do you want to be made to do it?
Thank you for enduring the preceding health announcement, as we now resume our regularly scheduled programming. I finished watching The Queen’s Gambit last night. Netflix’s new series on coming of age, addiction, sexism and oh, chess. This seven part series follows fictional female phenom Beth as she storms the chess world, racing to out race her own inner demons. Played by two actresses, we first meet eight-year-old Beth Harmon (Isla Johnson) entering an orphanage. She learns two things within its forbidding walls, a love for chess and downers. Adopted by the second episode, teenage Beth (Anya Taylor-Joy) steps out into a world of male prejudice that she proceeds to topple, one king at a time. At its heart Gambit is a sports movie—Queen’s bishop’s pawn advances down the field for a first-down, to mix sport’s metaphors. Aided by tranquillizer induced hallucinations that feature giant ghostly chessmen, floating on the ceiling, suspended upside-down, she maps out her moves. Set in the Sixties, with mod fashions, rock-and-roll and the Cold War, Beth is propelled pell-mell towards a confrontation with the Russians. As in any sports drama, there is the action on the field and the drama off of it. It is a testament that Gambit has made the drama surrounding Beth so compelling and the chess action so exciting.