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TWTW

The week that was

A California church invited its congregation for a Mother’s Day service in defiance of stay-at-home orders. A few days later, more than 180 people tested positive for Covid-19.

Protestors that drove hundreds of miles to Michigan for “Operation Gridlock” may have caught the virus and brought it back home. Anonymized location trails from cellphones show travelers returning home to neighboring states including Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Utah.

A man who wrote on April 2nd, “my God is bigger than this Virus will ever be” is thinking twice after being struck down by Covid and passing it to his wife.

Maybe God’s plan is just to have us all pass the dutchie and chill. Researchers in Canada have discovered that cannabis sativa strains high in CDB reduce infection by 70 to 80 per cent.

Adding new irony to David Crosby’s song, Almost Cut My Hair, getting your hair cut is now an act of defiance.

A signed pair of Air Jordan’s worn by Michael Jordan during his 1984-85 rookie season was sold by Sotheby’s for $560,000, breaking a record for the most anyone paid for a pair of used sneakers.

Pandemic Fashion is here. For the beach we have the Trikini, a bikini with a matching mask.

The NFL is building in helmets with integrated masks.

The Oakland A’s missed their April rent payment on the Oakland Coliseum. Citing financial difficulty due to the pandemic, they owe $1.2 million or a little over two pair of Air Jordan sneaks. Then again, maybe they should ask Stripchat.com who wants to buy naming rights to the New Orleans Superdome from Mercedes-Benz.

The town of Fairfield, Alabama declared bankruptcy.

Everyone has tried their hand at baking sourdough bread. As expected, hacker types are extracting efficiencies with technology.

Zoom parodies. Zoom performances, Zoom reunions, Zoom weddings. Zoom adoptions and this week a trial by Zoom and broadcasted public confessions by Zoom.

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TWTW

The week that was

Joe Exotic announced (from prison) a new fashion line. The Revenge line includes tiger-branded face masks.

Weather forecasting accuracy has been impacted by of the drop in air travel. Real-time data on temperature, wind and humidity from commercial airliners has been cut nearly 90 percent.

The Double-Rainbow guy passed away. Paul “Bear” Vasquez was 57.

Zoom conference calls are so common that they are now parodied. There are Zoom performances, Zoom reunions and Zoom weddings. And now you can adopt a dog over Zoom.

So far American Samoa has dodged the Covid pandemic. Zero deaths, zero cases. This week they announced their version of the state quarter, with a most unfortunate design.

Facebook spent $400 million for a collection of animated GIFs.

Americans spent $10.9 billion on video games in the first quarter of 2020, a new record. I’m pretty sure that record will be broken next quarter. It’s still impossible to buy a Nintendo Switch.

Taking a queue from a Chinese Elementary school, a cafe in Germany is asking customers to wear special hats to enforce social distancing.

Here in America, some restaurants are allowed to open for dining but require patrons to wear masks. Wondering how to eat with a mask? A woman in Florida is on the case.

A three-star restaurant is seating mannequins at tables to fill up the required empty space between diners.

Facial recognition technology providers are scrambling to recalibrate their software to a world where everyone is wearing a face mask. The next release of iOS will support a mask mode on Face ID.

Spotting an opportunity, DEVO has brushed off their stock of iconic red, energy dome caps and fitting them with face shields to make the perfect PPE.

Tune in today at 2pm Pacific to witness the graduation ceremony for the UC Berkeley Class of 2020 at which will take place entirely within the virtual Minecraft recreation of the campus.

Looking for some way to help those less fortunate? Check out the 1kproject and connect directly with families in need.

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TWTW

The week that was

Adrian really liked cars. He wanted a Lamborghini but needed to go to California. So he took his parents car to drive there. Adrian is five.

Things are grim in Portland. They cancelled the annual naked bike ride.

Mars Inc., the makers of M&Ms and Snickers candy bars, has filed a patent for chocolate that doesn’t melt.

Tom Cruise is flying to outer space to film a movie with Elon Musk. Really.

Elon Musk sat down to explain that language will become an inferior form of compression once we can all transmit thoughts to each other.

The European Space Agency, trying to figure out how to make concrete for a moon base where water is so valuable, hit on an idea. They’ll use human piss.

The morbid story of the week award goes to the Associated Press who brings us news of a unique solution to the coffin shortage in Columbia. A hospital bed that turns into a coffin.

The BBC could not resist sharing how Queen’s lead guitarist tore his gluteus maximus. Over-enthusiastic gardening.

Ron is a bull. Ron had an “itchy bum.” Ron scratched himself against a telephone pole but was a tad aggressive and brought down a transformer that was on the pole and knocked out power to 800 homes.

President Trump toured an N95 mask manufacturing plant, wearing goggles, but no mask, as the song Live and Let Die played in the background

A fight broke out in the Hong Kong parliament.

In 1847 the Choctaw people sent $170 to help during the potato famine. In 2020, the Irish people returned the favor.

Oh, and Adrian? A local Lamborghini owner read his story and popped by to give him a drive around.

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TWTW

The week that was

The White House gift shop would like to sell you limited edition Covid-19 commemorative coins.

Two spaces after a period or one? Microsoft Word has settled the debate once and for all. One is ok, two gets you a red squiggle.

Remember when they made people go outside to vote in the Wisconsin primary election? Well, now over 50 people have come down with Covid-19.

Some people should be setting a better example. After the governor of Texas issued an order closing all non-essential businesses, including nail salons, the mayor of Beaumont, Texas was caught in a nail salon. After encouraging New Yorkers to snitch on neighbors not adhering to stay-at-home measures, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio was caught 11 miles from home strolling in Prospect Park.

Armed protesters in Michigan pounded on the doors of the state capital asking to be let in when they really wanted to be let out.

The administrator of the ReOpen North Carolina Facebook page posted that she is ending her quarantine and is now an asymptomatic COVID19 positive patient.

Many newscasters, and weather forecasters, are working from home. This sometimes leads to unexpected entertainment and deft improvisation.

In a series of late-night tweets that started with Tesla stock price is too high imo and ended with, Rage, rage against the dying of the light of consciousness, Elon Musk wiped $14 billion off the value off his company.

The hole in the ozone is closing up.

Belgians have been asked to increase their consumption of pomme frites to twice a week to work down the nation’s excess inventory of potatoes.

UPS will begin delivering prescriptions via drone.

A Japanese aquarium is asking people to visit with its eels via video conference. The aquarium has been closed for two months and the eels, who are “lonely” have grown unfamiliar with humans.

As of this weekend, over 65,000 Americans have died in the pandemic. Two doctors in South Carolina, overcome with grief, are collecting stories of celebration. Isolated though we may be physically, we are not alone. Let this be a place of memorial and a reminder of the precious humanity to which we all belong.

Stay safe, keep washing your hands.

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TWTW

The week that was

We collectively gasped when we read of a tractor-trailer full of toilet paper going up in flames. This week, a more severe and darker tragedy struck when a tractor-trailer of N95 masks caught fire.

More than 40 employees spent the last 28 days living at their factory, split between two 12-hour shifts working around the clock to make polypropylene, the raw material used to make N95 masks, hospital gowns and sanitary wipes. On Monday they went home to their families.

Governors worked the phones, bidding against each other, to secure valuable medical supplies and equipment. Maryland’s first lady, used her native language and connections to score 500,000 test kits direct from South Korea for her state.

The Governor of Illinois made plans to fly charter jets to China to pick up supplies but is keeping them secret because he’s worried the feds might try to seize the shipment.

At the tail end of a press conference, President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of an “injection” of disinfectant to cure those with the virus. This forced Lysol to warn folks not to try this at home. The president later said he was asking the question sarcastically “just to see what would happen.”

The Reuters headline told all you needed to know, Special Report: Former Labradoodle breeder was tapped to lead U.S. pandemic task force

Reader’s Digest wants us to know that the Q in Q-tip stands for quality.

Remember those scary Boston Dynamics robots? The company is now looking to deploy the robots to assist in remote triage of Covid-19 patients in a dystopian version of the St. Bernard Rescue Dog.

A woman walking down a street in Toronto felt “heat and pain in her left chest.” She had been shot but was unharmed because the bullet was lodged in her left silicone breast implant.

The rapper Travis Scott held a virtual concert in the game Fortnite and 12 million showed up.

Colin Cosell, the announcer for the New York Mets and grandson of Howard Cosell, has recorded over 600 walk on announcements for medical workers and first responders.

A pro cyclist in Northern Italy is riding supplies and medicine from the next town to the elderly residents in his town.

As the lockdown in New York enters its second month, Governor Cuomo declared marriage via, “audio-video technology” legal and binding. Yup, Zoom marriages are here.

Stay safe, hug your kids (if you can).

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TWTW

The week that was

An elderly and reluctant Frenchman was ejected from an Air Force fighter during a retirement day outing. I promise you, this isn’t clickbait.

As with every news outlet, Footwear News, looking for their coronavirus story, found it.

“We are literally making electricity out of thin air.” Almost by accident, Yao noticed the devices he was experimenting with were conducting electricity seemingly all by themselves.

An evangelical pastor in Virginia who vowed to keep preaching unless he was “in jail or the hospital” succumbed to Covid-19. Florida declared professional wrestling an “essential business” so matches could continue.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci is everyone’s hero. A Connecticut toy company is making a Dr. Fauci plush doll. As of this writing, the petition to name him People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive had over 18,000 signatures.

Thousands protested Michigan’s stay-at-home laws and marched on the capital holding signs that unironically said Live Free or Die.

In Kenya, the Governor of Narobi said that they will be tucking a small bottle of Hennessy into the care packages going out to its citizens.

Stimulus checks from the US Treasury went out with the expected mix-ups. Scores of deceased received a check and one firefighter in Indiana was shocked to find himself $8.2 million richer instead of the expected $1700.

Just in time for the afore-mentioned stimulus checks, Apple announced the iPhone SE at a $399 price point. Meanwhile, if you were the proud owner of a top of the line Mac, a set of wheels would put you back $699.

The pandemic has postponed many trials winding thru the judicial system, including one for Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

Land o’ Lakes butter decided it was time to retire the Native American “maiden” from their packaging. The new package just has a lake.

Looking to spice up your next Zoom call? Invite this farmer’s lama or goat and totally confuse your colleagues.

The National Guard was called, in Vermont, to build a hospital, in four days.

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TWTW

The week that was

Nudists sunbathing in the Czech Republic were reprimanded for not wearing masks. “Citizens can be without clothes in places designated for this purpose, but they must have their mouths covered,” said the police spokeswoman.

As the novelty of the daily presidential briefings wore off and we grew weary of hearing the president boast of his accomplishments, the nation found solace and sage advice in the twitter account of a frozen meat product.

A university in Japan is giving graduates the chance to walk the stage to receive their diploma, via a remote-controlled robot.

What’s weirder then playing professional sports to an empty stadium? Playing a professional sports to a stadium of robot mannequins.

While preparing for the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, Congo was hoping to be able to announce the end to the Ebola outbreak. Then someone got Ebola.

An Australian astrophysicist was admitted to the hospital after getting magnets stuck up his nose while inventing a device to stop people from touching their faces during the coronavirus outbreak. “My partner took me to the hospital that she works in because she wanted all her colleagues to laugh at me.”

Due to the pandemic, the US Postal Service is suspending delivery of international mail to nearly two dozen countries including the Cayman Islands, Honduras, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Botswana. Oh, and the US Postal Service is nearly out of money and it may impact their ability to deliver ballots in the upcoming election.

Tesla shared a prototype of a functional ventilator using spare parts from its automobile production line.

The New Zealand sex toy industry reported a spike in sales in the days leading up to that country’s lockdown. The largest retailer, the Adult Toy Megastore has been deemed an “essential business” by the government and allowed to stay open.

Honolulu police will use aerial drones to keep people off the beaches. A loudspeaker on the drone will announce “Aloha, the stay at home order is in effect. Please do not gather or sit on the beach.” No word on if there will be a Hawaiian music accompaniment.

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TWTW

The week that was

Field hospital tents were set up in New York City’s Central Park in anticipation of an expected surge of Covid-19 patients. The last time this happened was during the Civil War. Later in the week, the naval hospital ship Comfort docked in New York harbor.

Comfort’s sister ship, the Mercy docked in Los Angeles harbor and was later attacked by a reality-challenged individual who attempted to ram the ship with a train.

The National Symphony Orchestra was let go by the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Their last paycheck will be on April 3.

Kobe Bryant’s used towel from his last game with the Los Angeles Lakers sold at an auction for $33,000.

Home from school and stuck in social isolation, students from UPenn, BU, UCLA, Northwestern, Oberlin and other schools worked together to re-create their campus, online, in Minecraft. Many of these projects will now serve as a virtual stage for commencement ceremonies.

President Trump announced that Navy ships will be deployed near Venezuela to beef up counter-narcotics operations. A Venezuelan Navy offshore patrol vessel sank after ramming a cruise liner in the Caribbean Sea. The cruiser, which had a reinforced hull to sail through ice-filled waters, suffered minimal damage.

The coronavirus has taken out of commission one of the largest ships in the US Navy. The captain of the ship was later relieved of duty.

Tragedy struck as a truck carrying thousands of rolls of precious cargo crashed and burst into flames.

The New England Patriots flew their team plane to China to pick up a load of 1.2 million N95 masks and bring it home to hospital staff in Massachusetts.

A New Jersey paper delivery man took it upon himself to bring more than just the daily news and is now taking orders to deliver much needed groceries to his homebound, at-risk clientele.

The Pentagon confirmed that it’s working to provide FEMA with 100,000 “pouches to address mortuary contingencies.”

A group of MIT scientists have designed a ventilator that can be made from readily available hospital gear for about $500. Open Source communities are sharing designs for ventilators and masks.

A 104 year-old World War II veteran from Oregon became the oldest survivor of the coronavirus.

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TWTW

The week that was

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were officially postponed to 2021 – which presents a problem for those in charge of branding.

Air traffic coming in and out of Chicago Midway was shut down when three staff members tested positive for Covid-19. During the shutdown, “student pilots took advantage of the situation and began taking off and landing at MDW for fun.”

As the situation in Florida started to get worse, a correspondent for the Canadian magazine MacLeans picked up and left for home and wrote about it in Escape from Florida: My 2,400-km drive back to the sanity of Canada.

Things are so bad that even Waffle Houses, that stalwart institution of the South, is closing down under a Waffle House Index Red conditions.

With air travel dried up, the major airlines had to look for places to park their grounded planes. Delta took over several runways at Atlanta airport to park some of the 600 planes they put out of service.

Stuck indoors under a citywide shelter in place order, residents of San Francisco are delivering rolls of toilet paper by drone.

Faced with a world without live sports, casinos are scrambling for new things to bet on. In the “this will not end well” department, a Las Vegas casino is filing paperwork to take bets on the outcome of the presidential election.

Other businesses had to retool themselves including the movie theatre that is now in the popcorn business, the hockey equipment company that is making face shields for hospitals, and the sail maker that has redeployed their industrial sewing machines to make medical masks.

With the streets of San Francisco empty, this drone pilot saw an opportunity.

As more people are working from home, dress code only applies from the waist up for the videoconference. Walmart shared that shirt sales are up but pants and skirt sales are down.

By the end of the week, after many were finishing a second week of sheltering in place, with the pandemic overwhelming NYC hospitals and looming over New Orleans, Today show host Hoda Kotb (a Nola native) broke down after interviewing New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees who just donated $5 million to help feed Louisiana during the crisis.

Hoda, in this moment, became all of us

In that brief moment, Hoda let out the gasp of raw emotion we’ve all been holding back. The sheer magnitude of the growing disaster we know we will face in the coming weeks must be met with acts of courage and generosity that we hope will be just as infectious as the virus we are fighting.

We can only beat this by working together like never before. More than any war, this is a global fight against a common enemy. More so than global warming which is abstract and distant the coronavirus is not only global but immediate. If there is any silver lining on the horizon, it’s that this threat to our way of life is bringing us together, around the world, to work as one, like never ever before.

Stay safe everyone.

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TWTW

The week that was

A law limiting a trucker’s driving time was suspended nationwide for the first time since 1938 to allow for emergency transport of medicine, supplies and food.

California issued a statewide “shelter in place” to slow the spread of the coronavirus. All but essential businesses were ordered to close. The San Francisco Department of Public Health was quick to point out that cannabis is an essential and marijuana delivery service Eaze noted a 38% jump in orders.

More traditional New York, also under a statewide shelter in place ordinance, will keep its liquor stores open. People are drinking something called a quarantini.

Lines were epically long at Costco and other supermarkets as households went into full on panic-buying mode. If you’re wondering where all the toilet paper went, you might want to go to North Carolina.

Other businesses sadly suffered including Powell’s Books in Portland and the Boba Guys in San Francisco.

A lawyer has decided to sue China for $20 trillion for causing the global COVID-19 pandemic.

With everyone working or studying from home we’ve all been catapulted into the ReadyPlayerOne society that used to just exist in science fiction. Video conferencing software Zoom has become the defacto way to connect. People now joke that they now know what the “Z” in Gen Z stands for. Some creative uses of technology include:

Marvel introduced the latest group of super heroes and reminded us how much comic books have changed.

  • Screentime can see augmented reality and real-time maps, and can “instantly Google any fact.”
  • Snowflake is non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns and throws snowflake-shaped shuriken.
  • Safe Space can materialize pink forcefields, but he can’t inhabit them himself.
  • B-Negative is a goth kid obsessed with all the music and attitude of a “classic” long-past decades like the ’90s.

I’m getting old.

The feature image, a render of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, is by Kris Tremblay.