The COVID Crisis Continues 

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

In the past ten months, all manner of rules and regulations have been modified to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. A moratorium has been placed on evictions, and the expirations on things like car registrations have been extended, to reduce the need for folks to leave their homes. These changes were made to reduce the spread of the virus, and to lessen its harmful societal impacts.

Unfortunately, it clearly hasn’t been enough. Now, another rule is being modified, as Los Angeles County has suspended cremation limits. So many people are dying from COVID that LA needed to choose between the threat to public health caused by diminished air quality and the threat caused by an excess of corpses.

Stay home. Wash your hands. Wear a mask.

Today Is a Good Day

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

The horrific presidency of Donald Trump has ended. America, and the world, survived what I dearly hope will be the worst presidency of my lifetime. President Joe Biden is now the 46th president of the United States.

Small even in his departure, Donald Trump chose not to attend his successor’s inauguration. So much the better. The last minutes of his dishonest, divisive term found him exiled in Florida, while the world watched power transfer to President Biden in Washington, D.C.

There’s an incredible amount of work to be done, but let’s take just a moment to appreciate the end of something wretched, and the beginning of a chance for better. Today is a good day for America. Today is a good day for the world.

A Joke That Nearly Brought Down The House 

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

This is quite a story, but it’s even funnier if you remove the word “candle” from the headline.

Ripphy Dabyah to You!

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Recently, because it was my birthday, I received a digital birthday card.1 This card had a fun balloon theme, and featured some excellent animated confetti cannons as well. As I always say, digital confetti is the best confetti, because you don’t have to clean it up.

In addition, it contained some fun new ways to celebrate someone on the occasion of their birth. “Happy Birthday” is just a little worn out, you know? Why not:


DARPYHA HIPBY!

Or perhaps:


RIPPHY DABYAH!

If that seems too far off the original message, you might like:


HAPPY BRIHDAY!

All of these alternatives offer a fun way to spice things up.2 In 2021, I’ll be wishing everyone a “Ripphy Dabyah” on their special days.


Footnotes:

  1. I actually received three different e-cards, and they were all sent by folks aged 69 or older. I’m not sure what it means that only senior citizens have adopted digital greeting cards, but I do find it notable. Also notable is that two of the three cards came from jacquielawson.com, a wonderful business created by accident at the turn of the century by a woman who is now in her mid-70s. ↩︎

  2. If you’re wondering why they all lack a letter “T”, well, that gets filled in by a laggard balloon at the end of the card. ↩︎

It’s Unusual to Not Be Able to Tell 

Friday, January 15th, 2021

I don’t know if this was a civil disobedience thing, a sex thing, or both.

It Happened Again

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

If you search Wikipedia for “Impeachment of Donald Trump”, you’ll currently get the following results page:

A Wikipedia disambiguation page, linking to Donald Trump's first impeachment, as well as his second.

I’m sorry, you’ll need to be more specific.

No, No, No 

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Weddings occupy far too prominent a place in American culture, with some couples going so far as to take on massive debt to finance excessively lavish celebrations that they can’t really afford. In the era of COVID, however, weddings have the potential to kill more than just your credit score. It’s unfortunate, but as with so many things in the past year, the responsible thing to do in a pandemic is to cancel gatherings.

Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to do that. It’s been nearly a month since I read this article on weddings in Texas during COVID-19, but I can’t get it out of my mind. It begins with a bridesmaid telling a wedding photographer that the groom had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The woman thanked [the photographer] for still showing up, considering “everything that’s going on with the groom.”…“So I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And she was like, ‘Oh, no, no, no, don’t freak out. He doesn’t have symptoms. He’s fine.’ ”

No! That is not how this works.

She recalls one bridesmaid telling her, “I’m a teacher. I have fourteen students. If I’m willing to risk it, why aren’t you?”

No! What?! One fears this selfish person teachers her students that if all their friends jump off a cliff, they ought to as well.

[The photographer] recalled one conversation from that wedding, before she left the reception. “I have children,” she told a bridesmaid. “What if my children die?” The bridesmaid responded, “I understand, but this is her wedding day.”

No!

Stay home. Wash your hands. Wear a mask.

There’s No Shortage of Available Numbers

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been amused by the various phases governments throughout the US have used for their re-opening plans. In Massachusetts, the whole thing is an overcomplicated mess, with steps within phases. Fortunately, by staying home as much as possible, I’m able to avoid the need to really understand our current status.

More recently, I found similar nonsense when it comes to vaccine waiting lists. My mother lives in New Jersey, and I wanted to get her in line for the COVID vaccine. After signing up, she wound up in “Phase 1C”, which amused me.


Via NJ.gov

The rather difficult to read graphic above shows that Phase 1A is healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, while Phase 1B is other essential workers. Phase 1C is adults over 65, and adults with various medical conditions, while Phase 2 is the general public. New Jersey has four distinct groupings, yet only two phases. It’s needless nonsense.

When it comes to receiving the vaccine for a deadly pandemic, being in Phase 1C sounds pretty good. But for anyone who stops to think about it, that’s obviously just Phase 3. Calling it “Phase 3” would make it more clear that it’s behind “Phase 1” and “Phase 2”, which I suppose some view as a downside. To me, avoiding insulting attempts at diversion is a good thing, as is being honest.

I’m pleased to note that while Massachusetts doesn’t yet have a waiting list, we do have just the type of straightforward system I’m suggesting.


Via Mass.gov

I’m in Phase 3, which I much prefer to Phase 1C. That said, the “order of priority” could well turn into a source of unnecessary complication.

Somehow, however, it’s already even worse in California. Friend-of-the-site Chris D. was researching there on behalf of his own mother, and found this chart:


Via CA.gov

While California’s chart is the easiest to read, its contents are even more absurd. Imagine actually trying to explain this to someone:

“So, you’re in group 1C.”

“Oh, great, it sounds like I’ll get the vaccine soon.”

“Well…”

“Ah, I guess there are two groups ahead of me, right? I’m after 1A and 1B, so I’m really in the third group.”

“Close! Group 1C is actually the fourth group, behind 1A, 1B Tier One, and 1B Tier Two.”

There are, literally, an infinite number of whole numbers. Perhaps New Jersey and California could just call things what they are.

DR Is the Danish Equivalent of PBS 

Monday, January 11th, 2021

A Danish kids show called “John Dillermand” probably doesn’t sound too interesting, until you learn that “Diller” is Danish slang for “penis”. Apparently, the title character has an absurdly long male member, and uses it in all manner of situations. It’s difficult to believe this is real, but you can see the opening credits right on YouTube.1


John Dillermand’s diller tames a lion


Footnotes:

  1. Archived here ↩︎

These Precious Days 

Friday, January 8th, 2021

Over at Harper’s, author Ann Patchett has a beautiful story of her newfound friendship with a woman named Sooki Raphael. It’s a long read, perfect for the weekend, at the end of a long and tumultuous week. I hope you’ll enjoy it.