Previous “COVID-19” posts

The Weary Affleck

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

At some point in my travels across the internet, I was introduced to this fantastic paparazzi shot of Ben Affleck:

Ben Affleck, alone, looking weary

I believe it was presented as something along the lines of “Thanksgiving with your ex-wife and the kids”. Whatever the actual context, it’s an amazing image that beautifully conveys exhaustion.

In the midst of the COVID pandemic, I found myself identifying with Affleck’s evident weariness, and looked the photo up again. I soon found myself laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the picture itself. He’s so over absolutely everything!

In an effort to more deeply connect with this, I weighed the idea of making this picture my phone’s lock screen:

Weary Ben Affleck as an iPhone wallpaper

As I do with all of my life decisions, I discussed this with my pal and podcast co-host Amy Jane:

A discussion approving the setting of the weary Affleck as an iPhone wallpaper

After chatting extensively about the picture, I did indeed set it as my lock screen, where it remains to this day. Every so often I notice it, and it gives me such a chuckle. The weight of the world is clearly on Ben Affleck’s shoulders. The man needs a goddamned cigarette and a brief moment of solitude. But can he get it? NO! No he cannot, because a paparazzo is lurking in the bushes. Of course a paparazzo is lurking in the bushes. Welcome to the 21st century.

Much more recently, I received a package from print-on-demand marketplace Redbubble. Having not ordered anything, I was quite surprised to unpackage it and find this:

The weary Affleck on a t-shirt

I guessed correctly that Amy had spotted this shirt and sent it my way. She really gives great gifts. As you can see, the shirt got a little wrinkled in transit. I was thus planning on washing it before wearing it anyway, but that plan became more urgent when I caught a whiff of the shirt. In a word, it stunk.

Packing slip

In case you can’t read that, it says:

The vinegar scent is part of the pre-wash print odor of our high quality, water-based ink and will wash away in the first rinse cycle.

I’m glad they warned me, because the stink was quite noticeable. Doesn’t it seem like once they identified the issue, though, they might actually rectify things before sending out the item?

Anyhow, to thank Amy, I decided to send her a photo of me wearing my new shirt. Naturally, I wanted to do my own weary Affleck pose. It was surprisingly difficult! In 2021, I find I can readily access my own ennui. However, with the camera snapping away, I also found myself repeatedly cracking up. The whole thing was simply too ridiculous! Eventually, however, I think I nailed it:

Not bad, right? In case you’re wondering, I’ve now managed to fit five weary Afflecks into this post, along with one Paul-doing-a-weary-Affleck. I hope you’ve enjoyed it even a tiny fraction as much as I have.

Try Not to Get COVID or Mono 

Monday, October 11th, 2021

Today is the 125th running of the Boston Marathon. Ordinarily a spring event, this year’s race was pushed to the fall due to COVID-19. In reference to the pandemic, the marathon offered an unusual tip to reduce the spread of COVID.

The Boston Marathon specifically recommended “refraining from kissing a stranger around the halfway mark of the Boston Marathon,” referencing a Wellesley College tradition that gained momentum in the 1970s.

“Kissing a stranger while halfway through a marathon” may not be the most embarrassing way of getting COVID, but it would definitely be up there.

Joe Mande’s Pandemic Hats 

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

In 2020, much of the world was locked down due to the COVID pandemic. For some reason, many, many people baked sourdough bread. Comedian Joe Mande went a different route. He started custom embroidering random words and phrases onto baseball caps. They’re tremendous. From multiple caps supporting “Tacos” to classing up a Miller Lite hat into “Literature”, each work is a wonderful bit of ridiculousness.

A large collection of custom hats
[Photo credit: Joe Mande]

Back in January, Uni Watch interviewed Mande about his work. It’s a great read, and it includes a slew of great pictures.

A sadly non-custom-embroidered hat tip is due to friend-of-the-site John M., who pointed me to this story.

Previously in amusing hat embroidery: Those Are Some Bad Hats, New Era

The Opportunity Cost of Ivermectin 

Monday, September 13th, 2021

I’ve been alternating between being bemused and aghast when I hear about people taking horse dewormer to deal with COVID symptoms. We have a proven preventative! The COVID vaccines are an incredible achievement, and absolutely everyone who can take one should take one. If you don’t trust that, why on earth would you trust a different medicine developed by science which isn’t at all indicated for this? The mind simply boggles.

I had not previously seen an explanation for the origins of this nonsense, however, so I was glad to read this piece from the Washington Post

So how did people get the idea that [ivermectin] can treat covid?

The idea that ivermectin could be a coronavirus treatment began gaining steam in the spring of 2020, when Australian researchers observed that the medicine killed the virus in a laboratory setting. The findings had notable caveats, however. For one, the amount of drug required to have an effect on the virus was much higher than the amount approved for use in humans, and could be fatal. And lab-based tests, where the drug and virus interact in a petri dish, also don’t account for the complexities of the human body.

By that same token, did you know that bullets can stop cancer if applied correctly?

Mitigating Ventilator Shortages With Butt Breathing 

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

When I read a headline like “A breathing tube through the butt could be an alternative to mechanical ventilators”, I think “OK, but you first”. Still, given the fact that ICUs around the world to have often run out of ventilators due to COVID, this research could one day prove life-saving.

Sir Charles Does Not Mince Words 

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

Never let it be said that Charles Barkley shilly-shallied when it came to the question of whether folks should get vaccinated against COVID.

Paying Through the Nose for COVID Tests 

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

Prior to COVID-19, XpresSpa ran a chain of dozens of airport neck massage locations. When the pandemic made that business model untenable, the company pivoted to a new XpresCheck brand providing airport COVID tests. At $250 a pop, they’re making very good money off travelers with very few options.

Reframing the Options When It Comes to Vaccine Skepticism 

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021

I recently read a smart reframing of the debate when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, intended to counter vaccine skepticism. In short, everyone is going to get vaccinated against COVID. Would you rather be vaccinated by a scientifically developed, widely tested vaccine that has proven itself to be incredibly safe, or by the virus itself, which has killed millions of people?

[A]ll of us are going to get vaccinated one way or the other. Sooner or later…people who don’t take one of the approved vaccines will get the virus. They might think of that as an alternative to vaccination, but it’s not. The virus will do the same thing the vaccines do: It will provoke their immune systems to develop antibodies. The difference is that the virus, unlike the vaccines, will attack their bodies and quite possibly kill them.

An abrupt vaccination entirely against your will is not the way to go.

J&J Can’t Catch a Break

Monday, June 14th, 2021

Let’s recap a few things when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in particular:

  • Many people are worried about the COVID-19 vaccines, period, and hesitant to get them.

  • People are also worried about the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine specifically, due to both its slightly lower efficacy numbers, and the temporary pause which was implemented back in April.

  • Further, previously reported problems with the Emergent Biosolutions factory in Baltimore have given reason to be wary of recent doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

With that in mind, here’s a ridiculous plan (emphasis added):

About 60 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine that were produced at a troubled factory in Baltimore will have to be thrown out, the Food and Drug Administration announced Friday. The FDA determined that the tens of millions of vaccine doses that were produced at the factory, operated by Emergent BioSolutions, were possibly contaminated, The New York Times reports. The FDA will, however, reportedly allow 10 million vaccine doses to still be distributed with warning labels noting that regulators can’t guarantee that Emergent “followed good manufacturing practices,” the Times reports.

Just throw these doses out! By mixing these dubious doses in with J&J doses that are not so labeled, the entire supply becomes questionable. As a patient, who would want that risk? No one should have to worry that they’re receiving a dose that “might not have followed good manufacturing practices”.

Get in Early on the Next Pandemic 

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

You’re a trendsetter, an influencer, a real groundbreaker. Now thanks to CVS, when you protect yourself against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, you’ll also have the chance to win a “pleasure” cruise. Catch the next pandemic before it gets popular.