Previous “COVID-19” posts

A Lack of Integrity in Missouri

Missouri Governor Mike Parson's conduct is far from unimpeachable. If the citizens of Missouri are lucky, perhaps he himself is as well.

Speaking of bad judgement in the southern US, Missouri’s governor Mike Parson recently had a real one-two punch of stupidity. First, back in October, a newspaper reporter discovered that a state website was leaking data.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Josh Renaud identified a security flaw that exposed the Social Security numbers of teachers and other school employees in unencrypted form in the HTML source code of a publicly accessible website. Renaud and the Post-Dispatch handled the problem the way responsible security researchers do—by notifying the state of the security flaw and keeping it secret until after it was fixed.

Nevertheless, Parson publicly decried Renaud as a “hacker”, and attempted to refer the matter to prosecutors. This was very stupid, and at the time, pretty much everyone said as much. We now know that even the governor’s office knew how dumb it was, because two days before his slander against Renaud, the governor’s office wrote a statement of thanks.

Not content with this snafu, the administration piled on. In November, they commissioned a study of mask mandates which showed that they worked to reduce COVID-19 infections. Naturally, the anti-mask mandate administration buried the report.

I don’t know how many readers I have in Missouri, but you’ve got a gubernatorial election coming up in 35 months.

We Know He’s Got Real Balls 

How could he have thought this would work?

3.3 billion people around the world are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s an incredible accomplishment, but there’s still a lot of work to do. In particular, we need to work around things like a dope resisting the vaccine while still trying to get proof of vaccination.

Dissection Without Dignity 

Did the hotel agree to this? Also yikes.

Thanks to friend-of-the-site Jason S., who alerted me to the bizarre story of the recently departed David Saunders. At Saunders’s request, his body was donated to be used for medical research. Unfortunately, the man instead became an unwitting participant in a public spectacle, courtesy of They offered the masses a chance to witness an autopsy and dissection of Saunders’s body, in the oh-so-sciencerrific environment of a Marriott hotel ballroom, all for the low, low price of $500.


Perhaps even worse, Saunders was a victim of the global pandemic.

According to Saunders’ death certificate, he died of COVID-19, meaning a potentially infectious body was dissected at an event where people were invited to examine and touch the body.

Double yikes.

Marriage by Proxy 

“A sex tape for the government” is really quite the phrase.

If you’re like me, the following paragraph will intrigue the hell out of you:

I don’t remember getting married. It’s not that I was drunk or anything. I simply wasn’t there—I was sound asleep, 4,400 miles away. Thankfully, my groom’s sister was gracious enough to marry him for me.

Elizabeth Anne Brown’s truly bizarre COVID wedding is quite a trip.

The Braindead School 

It's a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation”. Scienceriffic!

Down in the swamps of Miami, the “Centner Academy” has a preposterous new policy:

Last week, the school made another startling declaration, but this time to the parents: If you vaccinate your child, they’ll have to stay home for 30 days after each shot.

This follows an earlier policy, where they prohibited vaccinated teachers from contact with students. It’s clear that the leadership at Centner is not comprised of the sharpest spoons in the drawer. The best part about all this, however, is the accompany image:

An awning reading “The Centner Academy - The Brain School

I suppose they didn’t claim to be “The Working Brain School”.

The Weary Affleck

His struggle is man's struggle. He lifts my spirit.

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 

This has always been a fairly bad idea, but it's especially bad in 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 

It's very difficult to pick a favorite. Maybe “Mad Cow Disease”?

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 

“Doesn't account for the complexities of the human body” is a really kind way of phrasing this.

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 

In a pinch, I'd take an oxygen enema, but I'd prefer to avoid it.

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.