Editor's Musings

Ions ago, one of my jobs in life was as a press man at a place in Elmvale called Bayweb. They printed flyers, newspapers and magazines.

A sort of friend offered me the job. Starting wages were less than what I was making at that time but there were opportunities offered that left me thinking that could lead to a better life and more pay.

Besides, I had worked outside most of my life in the environments that came with each of the seasons. Working at Bayweb meant inside - no dealing with the weather and a constant temperature. And it was a short walk from home.

On top of that, with  the 12 hour shifts, it was 4 days on and 4 days off. That meant that I was off 50% of the time. Wonderful!

Bayweb had just installed three or four new Solna presses that came from Sweden. Each line was a state of the art piece of machinery. The paper passed through 4 printers each adding one of the 4 colours needed, then into a heater which dried the ink, then through cutters and folders and unto the conveyer from were they were tabulated into bundles and the next physical job was to tie the bundles and place on the skids.

The installers were there getting everything up to speed and I can remember the tall Stetson wearing (cowboy hat)engineer from Texas explaining that the air and heat used to dry the ink would be piped out into the scrubbers and exhausted into the air. I asked what would happen if they weren’t used and he said, the greenery downwind would gradually be poisoned and die. As I was often at the ball park and fairgrounds just south of the building, I would listen for the drone of the fans and wondered who was maintaining the scrubbers. And when I could hear nothing, I wondered if they were bypassing or not printing at that time.

Being there at the start of their use, I was privy to the education from the start to finish and in short order moved from installing the large rolls of paper and tying bundles to installing the plates that transferred the ink to the paper, feeding the paper through the lines. Once the press was started, there were adjustments to the synchronizing of the plates  and the cutters and folders and when satisfied with the print copy, firing the presses up to about 25,000 copies an hour. Always, always you were pulling a paper off the conveyer to make sure there were no problems. I heard about one pressman who got things running and then may have wandered to another part of the plant thinking his quality control was finished. At the end of his 12 hour shift and 225,000 copies later, there was a problem and the complete run was garbagerized. So was his job.

I worked there for none months.

I found that with 12 hour shifts, there were four days of work and with your beddy bye rests, there was little time to do much else.

With the four days off, when you called your buddies to go golfing or fishing or to go for a beer, they were working. Family weekends were seldom feasible and often, you missed your kids concerts or sporting events.

In other words, from my normal lifestyle, it was an upheaval.

Nine months later, I was running complete shifts on my line while the press foreman who made way more than me ran another line and seemed to have total confidence in me. I appreciated that and occasionally after work, invited our shift (generally about seven) over to my house for a  couple of beers before they went home to bed.

None months later, I had not got a raise. I went to the sort of friend that hired me and he kindly said - you work over there so deal with that segment. I went to the human resources and the department heads and made my presentation one of the points being that I was a loyal employee and had never missed a day of work - and none of my work had been garbeurated so I was an asset to the company.

A week or two went by and no ne had bothered to reply to me. I got to work and finished a run on some product, quietly went and changed back into my street clothes and went to tell the management I was gone. There were 3 or 4 of them in a group when I announced I was out of there. One commented on me having said I was an asset to the company and very loyal which made the hair on the back of my neck bristle a little and I replied that it was great to have worked like that but it would be nice to have management that had the same concern for their workers.  Later that day, the press foreman came over to my house to get me to come back. He was disappointed he had spent so much time training me for a job  - and then I walked away. No one from management called to offer me a raise whatever percent - I wanted 50% because that would bring me to about 75% of the press foremen - so I guess they thought I was not an asset to the company.

I can remember doing a run of the Super-Shopper - and then later it became the Simcoe Shopper or vice versa. The stapler or cutter was not working properly so I was on a watch to solve the problem. I could easily see if everything was okay with my peripheral vision so I looked through the booklet to see what was for sale. There was a Jukebox advertised - CHEAP. I made a call and at the end of my shift, went and bought it. It didn’t work,  I suppose one of the many tubes was caput. I cleaned the dust out of it, found a few quarters in the bottom, and a year or two later sold it...still not working.

There is a reason for telling you all that.

When that bundle of flyers is thrown off at your driveway, and you go through them, have you noticed that COVID 19, the coronavirus is not mentioned. Maybe you might have noticed that grapes or bacon, or hamburger are all on-sale at numerous grocery store.

I can remember doing runs of flyers, one run was a million copies, that were dated for sale months down the road. We were not supposed to take any of the flyers out of the building. I never did. I guess I wasn’t that interested in grocery shopping back then.

But today, I scrounge through them and sometimes record the savings that interest me and we go for a drive. Actually, it may not be so much for the savings but for the fun of another store,  a purpose for going and the trip - sort of like visiting another country or town or beach.

How long before these flyers start mentioning their COVID 19 sales? I predict that it’ll probably be a month of more if at all because the situation is so volatile and unknown.

We won’t see most flyers coming out the week that the COVID 19 quarantine ends offering specials to get people back in their stores.

We’ll see.


COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind. Some things about it, besides getting sick and hoping we will be one of the 98% plus that get better, can be frustrating.

Number one on the list are those that say, “You should have done such and such!” These people’s hind sights are mostly 20/20. But if we had done a 100% reversal of what we did do, and no one got sick, the same people would have been saying “You didn’t have to do such and such!” Again, with hindsight 20/20 vision.

Number two is this social isolation. I get what it is all about but there are many who have stayed home for two weeks, with no symptoms, but they still can’t go out because other people are still arriving from other countries or areas  and they might be carrying the virus.

Until Monday at noon, you could still go on an aeroplane flight with little or no restrictions but in downtown Toronto, you could be fined if you are part of a group of more than five people. Kind of tough for families of six or more who live in apartments or condos and want to go to the park to walk/play.

As well, in some part of the country the police were stopping people and checking that all occupants lived at the same address - subject to fines.

I would like to have seen everyone, I repeat everyone, confined at the same time.

But our governments are not organized enough.

So until we have an antidote, a serum of some sort, or a convincing needle or pills to cure it, or until we get it and recover and are now supposedly resistant to the virus, we may live in an unknown hodgepodge environment.


Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), sold under the brand name Plaquenil among others, is a medication used for the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria. Specifically it is used for chloroquine-sensitive malaria. Other uses include treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda. It is taken by mouth. It is also being used as an experimental treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This is the drug that some doctors have used to treat their patients with COVID 19. One doctor treated 350 patients who were diagnosed and none died. Another doctor treated 80 patients and only one died.

Other reports suggest that only hours after taking the drug, people with Covid 19 have improved and if in the hospital, were allowed to go home.

This drug has not been tested by the drug administration people so is not recommended for use. That could take upwards to a year when they get ready. A serum, an inoculation is also probably about a year from being available.

Even if this hydroxy pill saves only a small percentage of patients, and if the patient is willing, they should be allowed to use it.

Would you with-hold a possible cure or would you let the patient die?


Did you weigh yourself before the confinement started?