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They stayed up late for Adult Swim. Now they’ve gone viral with TikTok’s newest trend – Gazettextra06.12.21

This is another story about a viral internet trend. But this one is different, really.

The Adult Swim trend, which has taken over TikTok this week, is bringing out a side of the platform that has been missing. Instead of just asking users to lip-sync to funny audio or get dressed up for a basic-to-bussin' transformation, the trend has demanded a more artistic approach.

"We're having to come up with very creative, unique, one of a kind content, and it's just so incredible what talent is brought out when something like this is viral," said Maya Abdallah, a 19-year-old influencer based in Los Angeles. "There hasn't been a viral trend that actually showed creativity since, I would say, early 2019."

The TikTok tributes to Adult Swim's bumps, the short segments that air during commercial breaks on Cartoon Network's late-night programming, started last month with a post by music producer VANO 3000. First, he created a song by sampling BadBadNotGood's "Time Moves Slow." Then he paired the sound with a video of a Spider-Man character actor walking through a New York City subway station, clearly annoyed that he's being recorded. The result was an aesthetic that could only be described as peak Adult Swim.

VANO 3000 describes himself as "a huge fan of Adult Swim." The New York-based producer also describes himself as both "timeless" and a millennial. "I've got Adult Swim on every night, I keep my TV on Cartoon Network," he said. He joined TikTok in January, and already has a few other viral videos and beats to his name. Still, the Adult Swim TikToks have taken off in an unexpected way. Sure, the videos are popular, but the talent and creativity on display have revealed new possibilities of form in the app.

"It's pushing the app to its limits," VANO 3000 said. "It's really showing you what TikTok is capable of, and I see a lot of people going to the app just for that trend alone."

For Cyril Palmer, a 28-year-old Los Angeles-based fashion influencer, the Adult Swim TikToks seemed tailor-made for him. His submission, a stop-motion video that showcases his skateboard and vintage T-shirt collection, has been viewed more than 8 million times.

"I'm not gonna do any dancing, I'm not gonna do any kind of comedy videos, I don't know what's super-trending on TikTok," Palmer said. "When I saw [the trend], I was just like, 'Yo, I gotta do this.'"

The response on the app has been overwhelmingly positive, which is a weird thing to say about something on the internet. As one fan of the trend wrote on TikTok, "Y'all are talented or whatever."

We asked seven TikTok users to break down their viral Adult Swim videos. In the process they talked about the childhood memories of Adult Swim that inspired them to participate, the mixture of excitement and pressure they felt from getting millions of views and the surprising joy of posting something creative not just entertaining and getting waves of positive comments.

"There wasn't really too much thought behind it," Palmer said of his initial Adult Swim TikTok. "I kind of just cleaned my room."

In the stop-motion clip the camera pans over his sheets decorated with the Louis Vuitton logo, his Michael Jackson "Thriller" poster and his extensive collection of skateboards, hats and vintage T-shirts. Palmer's TikTok also focuses on his collection, which he's been growing for years. "A lot of people have been asking me a lot of questions about my room," he said.

In typical artist form, he prefers his second take on the trend over the one that has more than 9 million views.

"I wish I'd come up with that one before the other one," he said. "But that's how TikTok works: something will hit and then you'll make something a little bit better and it won't do as well. It just all depends on timing."

Dabash has been doing special-effects makeup for about six years, so she happened to have a set of fake resin teeth just sitting around. She saw them sitting on the table and thought, "'OK, what can I do for this trend?'" she said.

"The first thing that popped into my mind was 'OK, put it in your mouth and spit it out,'" she said. "And it was just so weird."

She put a trigger warning on her video, but some were still spooked by her gruesome take on the trend. "Over 130 million Americans can't afford to go to a dentist," reads the caption as Dabash holds a pair of pliers. "Who cares. Do it yourself." She then spits out a (fake) tooth and a mouthful of (also fake) blood.

"That's kind of how the bumps were, they were very brutal," she said.

Justin Yang, an 18-year-old from Tampa, Florida, who plans to study neuroscience at the University of Miami this fall, was inspired by stress and exhaustion he made his trend video while studying for his Advanced Placement tests. In the clip, which has been played more than 12 million times since June 4, viewers can see an anxiety-inducing stack of test prep books (for AP Chemistry, Biology, Calculus and Statistics). As he lowers his head, the Adult Swim logo appears in a cluster of sticky notes. "I made this instead of actually studying," reads his caption.

"I didn't really expect anything from it," he said. "I posted it, and I was like, 'Hey, I contributed something to this trend, hopefully a couple of people will see it and like it.'"

A bigger following, however, comes with added responsibilities. "I view my account in a whole new way now," he said. "I have to take into account this new, larger audience I have, and it's very stressful and overwhelming. It really is." For now, he's not going to reinvent the wheel he plans to stick with his focus on studying and college life.

"It's overwhelming, but also exciting at the same time," he said.

At first, Abdallah didn't think she'd participate in the trend it seemed like everything had been done but the next morning she filmed a video inspired by the familiar agony of finishing assignments for summer school. For the final shot, she duct-taped her phone to the ceiling, sans case, to film an overhead shot of the Adult Swim logo popping out of a printer.

"On the very last take, right before I filmed it, it fell and my phone smashed on the ground," she said. "It was so funny." (The phone is fine.)

"Anything for the angles," she joked. "I'm dedicated to this influencer lifestyle."

Abdallah filmed the video from her parent's house in Atlanta, where she's visiting. Two months ago she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an influencer. Much of her past content consists of skits and videos describing what it's like to be a first generation Arab American.

For Abdallah, the trend brought back memories of pretending to sleep so she could stay up late to watch episodes of "Family Guy." But it also reminded her of a simpler time on the app. While she's grateful for the platform TikTok offers, she said she and her creator friends have felt burned out. With the Adult Swim trend, many creators felt like they weren't just entertaining, but getting a chance to showcase their creativity, she said.

"This has been the happiest we've been to make content in a while," she said.

A few days ago Deborah Kong, a 19-year-old rising junior at Barnard College in New York, posted a video poking fun at herself for being a corporate intern and economics major who, actually, wants to be an influencer. The next day she went viral with her Adult Swim trend video. "That's manifesting to me," she said.

"Stop caring so much about how you look," Kong advises in her video, which has been viewed more than 1 million times, as she puts on makeup. "Literally no one else notices your insecurities. Also, life is probably a simulation anyway."

At the end of the clip Kong leans into the camera and looks down, revealing the Adult Swim logo written in the folds of her eyelids.

"Since I have Asian eyelids, they can hide words or messages or designs," Kong said. "Growing up, that was actually always a big insecurity for me, which is why I wanted to incorporate that message about stop caring about what other people think."

"Don't wait for things that will never happen," reads the caption over a video of a young woman anxiously waiting for the Gold Line train at the South Pasadena station. "Time will pass. Everything does." The video ends with a Gold Line train passing by with "[adult swim]" on the side.

The comments section was a mixture of praise and people speculating on what kind of hookup Torres, a 20-year-old Los Angeles-based filmmaker, has with the LA Metro. He spent two and half hours editing the logo onto old b-roll footage.

Torres said he remembered watching Cartoon Network during his formative years and experiencing the noticeable transition to Adult Swim. "For me, when I was young, it was very ambiguous," he said. "And I just kind of took that feeling and I tried to incorporate it when I was making this video."

It was only a matter of time before someone got an Adult Swim tattoo, so Drawbaugh, a photographer and nursing home dietary aide from Westminster, Maryland, rushed to post hers. The caption read: "nothing in life is permanent ... well, maybe not nothing."

While the "[as]" tattoo in the video is a sharpie outline, Drawbaugh confirmed the real one took about 20 minutes. For the last year and half she's been giving herself simple tattoos by hand. "My first stick-and-poke ever was just Jack Black, just his name, so I felt like there was no really going back from there," she said. "I don't really mind what I do on my body."

There is also a personal connection. Drawbaugh remembers spending weekends at her dad's house when she was 8 or 9 years old and waking up around 3 a.m. to the sound of Adult Swim bumps as her father got ready for work. He'd tell her to go back to sleep, but she'd insist on staying up to watch "Family Guy" or "Robot Chicken." "He would always let me stay up and watch an episode or something until I fell asleep," she said. The tattoo is a reminder of that time with her father, who died her senior year of high school.

"Seeing the trend, it kind of brought back those memories," she said.

2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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They stayed up late for Adult Swim. Now they've gone viral with TikTok's newest trend - Gazettextra

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Missing In Maryland: 4 People Have Disappeared – Patch.com05.31.21

MARYLAND Multiple people have been reported missing across Maryland in recent weeks, and we are hoping you can help bring them home.

Have you seen any of these people? Call the number listed or 911 to provide information. Callers may remain anonymous.

Raymond Wall, 13, disappeared from Olney on Friday, May 28. He is 5 feet, 5 inches tall and 180 pounds. When he went missing, Raymond was wearing a black zip-up hooded sweatshirt and black athletic pants. Call the Montgomery County Police Department at 301-279-8000.

Ava Murphy, 17, was last seen at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26, in Potomac. She disappeared from her home on Regency Drive. Ava has a tattoo of Roman numbers on her right collarbone and was wearing black leggings and a dark-colored sweatshirt when she went missing, according to authorities. She is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 130 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair and blond bangs. "There is no indication of foul play involved in this missing person case," police reported Friday, May 28. Call the Montgomery County Police Department at 301-279-8000.

Balla Guilavogui, 69, disappeared from Glen Burnie this week. He suffers from dementia and "was very confused when speaking with his brother," according to police, who said his phone's last known location was in Germantown in the area of Frederick Road and Oxbridge Road at 10:42 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26. He drives a silver 2011 Toyota RAV4 with Maryland tag 1BK8055. Police said he was last seen in the 400 block of Mainview Court in Glen Burnie on Tuesday, May 25, and was last heard inside the home at 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26. Police said he was wearing blue scrub pants and a brown long-sleeved shirt when he went missing. Call the Anne Arundel County Police Department at 410-222-8050.

Majai Williams, 13, was last seen by family at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Monday, May 24. Police said he left his home in Gaithersburg on a red bicycle carrying a dark-colored backpack and was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt with blue jeans and gray tennis shoes. He lives on Prism Place in Montgomery County. Majai is 4 feet tall and 90 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. "At this time, there is no indication of foul play involved in this missing person case," police said. Call the Montgomery County Police Department at 301-279-8000.

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Missing In Maryland: 5 People Have Disappeared – Owings Mills, MD Patch05.19.21

MARYLAND Multiple people have been reported missing across Maryland, and we are hoping you can help bring them home.

Have you seen any of these people? Call the number listed or 911 to provide information. Callers may remain anonymous.

Tony Singletary, 38, disappeared from Owings Mills Friday, May 14. He is nonverbal and may act like an adolescent, according police, who said he has a cognitive disability. Officials said he was last seen around 10:30 a.m. taking out the trash on Sherwood Farm Road. Call the Baltimore County Police Department at 410-307-2020.

Tamara Albert, 18, disappeared from Elkton Wednesday, May 12. She was wearing a gray-and-black hooded sweatshirt with black spandex pants when she was last seen in Cecil County. Tamara is described as 5 feet, 2 inches tall and 160 pounds. Call the Maryland State Police North East Barrack at 410-996-7800.

Victoria Carrion, 13, is missing from Essex. She was last seen the morning of Tuesday, May 11, on Punjab Circle, where police said she is known to frequent businesses. She is 5 feet, 5 inches tall and 100 pounds. When she went missing, she was wearing a white t-shirt with a flag on the front and black above-the-knee leggings. Call the Essex Precinct at 410-887-0220.

Alysa Mullhausen, 16, disappeared from Abingdon Monday, March 22, officials reported Wednesday, May 5. She is described as 5 feet,3 inches tall and 110 pounds. She has blond hair and blue eyes. Call the Harford County Sheriff's Office 410-838-6600 or 911.

Akia Eggleston has been missing since May 2017. In hopes of getting new information in the case, the Baltimore Police Department resurfaced a missing person post this month about Eggleston on the four-year anniversary of her disappearance. Eggleston was eight months pregnant when she disappeared. She was reported missing May 7, 2017, after she did not show up for her baby shower. Her last known location was near the Inner Harbor May 3, 2017. She is 4 feet, 11 inches tall and 100 pounds with brown eyes and black hair, and she has a tattoo of cherries on her left shoulder blade. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information about her location. Call the FBI's Baltimore Field Office at 410-265-8080 or the Baltimore Police Department at 410-396-2499.

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Missing In Maryland: 6 People Have Vanished – Patch.com05.06.21

MARYLAND Multiple people have been reported missing across Maryland in recent weeks, and we are hoping you can help bring them home. Three are teens. Two older adults who disappeared have dementia.

Have you seen any of these people? Call the number listed or 911 to provide information.

Callers may remain anonymous.

Amia Diamond Batson, 13, disappeared in Cambridge on Thursday, April 29. She is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 130 pounds with brown eyes and red hair (although police noted in the photo, it is black). She was last seen around 3:50 a.m. Thursday in the unit block of Devon Place. Call the Cambridge Police Department at 410-228-3333.

Alethea Loving, 15, was last seen the afternoon of Monday, April 26, in Olney, according to police. She disappeared from her home on Bantry Way. Althea has two nose piercings, black hair and brown eyes. She is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and 190 pounds. Police said there is no indication of foul play. Call the Montgomery County Police Department at 301-279-8000.

William McCoy, 69, was last seen around 1:15 a.m. on Monday, April 26, in the 1400 block of Ashland Avenue in Baltimore. Police said he suffers from dementia. When he disappeared, he was wearing a black hat, navy-blue hoodie, black jeans and black-framed glasses. He is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 140 pounds. Call the Baltimore Police Department's Missing Persons detectives at 443-984-7385.

Yencis Saravia Torres, 13, of Montgomery Village, was reported missing by her family, police said this week. She disappeared from Apple Ridge Place and is about 5 feet tall and 110 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. She has three tattoos a cross on the right side of her face, the word "Yami" on her right hand and another tattoo on her right shoulder. Call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

Bettie Moore, 72, is missing from north Baltimore. She has dementia, schizophrenia and diabetes, according to police, who said she walked away from her home in the 4600 block of Northwood Drive. She was last seen Saturday, April 24, wearing a black hat with a rose on it with a black jacket, black sweatpants and black Skechers sneakers. She is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 120 pounds. Call the Baltimore Police Department's Missing Persons Unit at 443-984-7385.

Katrina Ann Muir, 44, vanished from Gaithersburg. She was last seen by family around 8 a.m. on Friday, April 23, when she left her Badenloch Way home driving her 2013 silver Nissan Rogue with Maryland tag 7DX6132. She has brown-and-purple hair and brown eyes. Muir was last seen wearing a gray and white shirt with black pants and black shoes. She is about 5 feet, 1 inch tall and 200 pounds. Call the Montgomery County Police Department at 301-279-8000.

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Does Duff Goldman Really Get the Tattoos ‘Kids’ Baking Championship’ Winners Pick? – Showbiz Cheat Sheet02.06.21

Duff Goldman,who looks more like a biker than a baker, has become a cooking show phenomenon on theFood Network. The bald and burly pastry chef gained notoriety on the showAce of Cakes.

In 2014, the fun-loving cake maker joined theKids Baking Championshiptelevision series. His combined passion for making cakes and working with children helped create a hit show with a cult-like following.

Goldmansenthusiastic personalityallowed him to establish a great rapport with the program contestants. Whenever he loses a challenge, the kids encourage him to get a new tattoo. Fans of thebaking competitionoften wonder if the ink is permanent. We are here to set the record straight.

RELATED: Battle of the Bakers: Duff Goldman and Buddy Valastro Will Faceoff in New Food Network Show

Charm City Cakes is where it all started for Goldman. He instantly became a success after starring onAce of Cakes,where millions of viewers tuned in to learn new techniques and listen to his brilliant recipe ideas. Known for pushing baking boundaries, the jovial chef uses cooking utensils that are more akin to what is found in a repair shop.

The successful Food Network television personality studied at the Culinary Institute of America after graduating with a degree in History and Philosophy from Maryland University in Baltimore.

In 2017, Goldman opened another Charm City bakery location and the following year debuted cake mix studios where customers can come in and decorate their own cakes.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, the 46-year-old baker has anestimated net worthof $5 million and recentlywelcomed his first child, a daughter, with his wife, Johnna.

Goldman is best known for his role onKids Baking Championshipthat he co-hosts with Valerie Bertinelli. The success of the popular television series has inspired a new generation of bakers.

His mass appeal to the 10-year-old crowd is evident in his heavy social media presence. Goldmans Instagram account, filled with photos of incredible cakes, is where he stays in touch with fans keeping them informed and inspired.

Part of Goldmans appeal is his childlike enthusiasm that shines through on the show with every challenge that is put before him. He recently toldThe Daily Beast, kids think about food in ways that excite them, so do chefs. Goldman has a knack for making cooking fun, saying that baking is never not cool. Its never not interesting.

He explains: Still to this day, when I put a cookie in the oven and if it puffs up like its supposed to, Im like f*** yeah.

The Food Network star is known for his tattoos that seem to match his bigger than life personality. On his left bicep, Goldman sports a large whisk. He has said that it helps him with people who have a hard time believing that he is a cake decorator.

According to Famous Chefs, Goldmans first tattoo was inspired by stories his mother used to read him aboutThe Little Prince.The beloved chef also has a tattoo transcribed in Hebrew that reads Avashalom, which means Bringer of Peace. Fans on Twitter were quick to respond, the Duff Goldman cakes do bring peace.

When kids on the popular baking show encouraged him to get a tattoo, he didnt back down. After losing the challenge, he got a waffle tattoo under his right elbow. For those non-believers, the ink is real, and the waffle is there to stay.

Goldman doesnt have much luck when it comes to betting. During the Sochi Winter Olympics, he ended up with a maple leaf tattoo after losing a bet to a friend about the United States vs. Canada ice hockey game.

He recently was challenged once again by the participants onKids Baking Championship.They asked him to get a tattoo of a unicorn. True to his word, he got the ink done and now proudly wears a chubby little unicorn right about his waffle.

The kids loved that he accepted the challenge and now want him to get a taco tattoo. Fans are eagerly waiting to see if Tuesdays favorite food makes it to Goldmans arm.

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Terminally-ill man on a mission to get matching tattoos with strangers across the country – wreg.com01.12.21

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) A man battling stage 4 kidney cancer is on a mission to celebrate life and leave a lasting impact on many.

Don Caskey, an Ohio man with a love of tattoos, said he was diagnosed with the terminal illness in December 2019. By New Years Eve, hed undergone surgery to remove a kidney.

It weighed about 8 pounds, the thing was huge, just full of cancer, Caskey toldNewsNation affiliate WSAV-TV.

The disease has since spread to his lymph nodes. Last summer, the 54-year-old father of five began reflecting on life and the things that matter to him the most.

I looked down at the tattoo I got for my cancer, the dying pine tree, and I realized that I cant take anything material with me, I cant take money or cars when I die, but those memories, those tattoos, they will go with me, I believe, said Caskey, who got his first tattoo at age 40.

He embarked on a journey of expanding his collection of ink, but he didnt plan to do it alone.

I just thought Id start asking people if they want to join me, create more memories, have more human connectivity and make a lot more friends, Caskey said. At first, people thought I was kind of crazy, I mean, theyre looking at me like, what the heck, this guy wants to get in touch with me, he doesnt even know me.'

He began his tattoo journey on Aug. 23, 2020, by posting on Facebook his plans to appear at different tattoo shops to get tatted with complete strangers.

People just kind of show up, Caskey said.

Since August, he said hes gotten matching tattoos with 141 people.

So far, hes visited tattoo shops in Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Maryland, bonding with newfound friends through their love of body art.

The cancer part yeah, it sucks but Im having one of the best times of my life, he said.

Caskey kicked off the new year in Savannah, stopping by Tramp Art Studios on Victory Drive.

He said about 14 people joined him in getting matching tattoos over two days. One of them was Nina Bragg.

One of my friends and I came in to get tattoos, and he was sitting right here and asked what we were going to do, Bragg told WSAV.

I told him what tattoos we were getting, and I jokingly asked if he wanted to get one as well, Bragg said, adding, He was like, well, actually, let me tell you my story, so he told us and asked if it was okay if he could get a matching tattoo with us, and of course, we said yes.

Their tattoo of choice seemed fitting for Caskeys visit to the Peach State.

I got a Georgia peach on my butt, he said.

He said hes overwhelmed and humbled by the support that total strangers have shown him on his celebration-of-life journey thus far.

One woman who beat cervical cancer drove over an hour to Savannah just to get matching cervical cancer survivor tattoos with Caskey.

To have somebody put something permanent on their body for me, it just is huge, Caskey said. I dont know how to describe it, other than its just one of the most amazing feelings ever.

He says hes received support and messages from people all over the world. I get people that connect with me saying hey, Ive got Crohns disease, or Ive got depression, or my dad died of cancer, saying that Im inspiring them to get through whatever theyre going through, Caskey said.

Tramp Art Studios owner Kirsten Cassat, along with a few of her colleagues, also took part in Caskeys mission.

I have a lighter with Don in the middle of it, Cassat said, describing her new tattoo.

I think its awesome, Ive never experienced anybody doing what hes doing, Cassat said.

Hes really brought something new into our lives that we didnt know was going to be a thing, she added. People dont get matching tattoos with just anybody, so it is a special connection that he brought to our community.

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UGASports – The 10 biggest decommitments of the 2021 cycle – rivals.com01.12.21

Through the 2021 recruiting cycle there have been plenty of decommitments, lots of them all around the country. Here is a look at 10 of the biggest ones so far heading into the late signing period.

Overview: Earle had been committed to LSU since late April and it looked like the Tigers were going to get one of the most exciting and electric receivers in the class. However, there was some pause that he did not plan to sign during the early period because of his team being in the playoffs but then it happened - Earle flipped to Alabama which came as a pretty big surprise.

Alabama also flipped DE Keanu Koht from LSU during the early signing period. Earle could be the next elite receiver at Alabama and another weapon in the arsenal.

Farrells take: This one hurt and hurt bad as LSU loses another elite wide receiver from its home state to Alabama. Is this the next DeVonta Smith? Probably not, be Earle is very, very good.

Overview: Foreman took a visit to Clemson and loved it, so he brought his parents back to the school and they loved it, and the five-star defensive end committed to the Tigers in January. He even got a Tiger tattoo across his forearm and showed up to Rivals camp in full Clemson gear.

But that pledge lasted about three months until he reopened his recruitment. Foreman then looked at LSU and Georgia, then Arizona State came in as well. Throughout his recruitment, USC stayed involved and ended up landing him. He has the ability to impact USCs defense right away and he could be a star in Los Angeles.

Farrells take: Clemson rarely loses prospects. This one stings as he would have been an addition to an amazing defensive line and another West Coast steal. USC needed to keep him and it did.

Overview: Throughout his high school career, Garcia bounced around high schools, many times due to situations outside of his control. He even left California when a fall season was not going to happen to play in Georgia, where he went to two high schools as well. Again, he had to bounce from Valdosta to Loganville (Ga.) Grayson because of transfer rules, but he always remained steady in his commitment to USC that he made in Sept. 2019.

But when the Trojans started recruiting a third quarterback for the 2021 class - namely Jaxson Dart - Garcia wanted to look at a school he always liked a whole lot and he flipped to Miami. With a great arm, great vision and playmaking ability and mobility, Garcia could be really good if hes surrounded with top-notch receivers.

Farrells take: USC responded with Dart, but this still hurts a bit as Garcia was the Trojans' top initial target at quarterback. Miami is getting a prospect with a high ceiling.

Overview: Rarely does Ohio State lose elite prospects in its recruiting class but thats what happened with Adeleye, who backed off his pledge after four months. Adeleye also moved back from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy to Katy (Texas) Tompkins and sort of restarted his recruitment. Texas A&M, Alabama and Florida became the front-runners and while the other SEC programs had a shot, the Aggies won out. As if Jimbo Fisher already didnt have elite defensive linemen across the board, Adeleye joins a loaded group and has the ability to contribute early.

Farrells take: Ohio State will be just fine, but Adeleye was a big part of this class to be paired with Jack Sawyer. Texas A&M is the beneficiary of the pandemic in this case as he might have stuck had he stayed at IMG in Florida.

Overview: Bowman is a phenomenal athlete, the top-ranked one in the class, and legitimately could have a major impact at receiver, in the secondary and on special teams. He had been committed to Texas since July 2019 to early October but then he backed off that pledge and it became clear that a flip to Oklahoma was imminent. With so much explosiveness and playmaking ability, Bowman is a huge get for the Sooners and another major loss for the Longhorns for an in-state recruit.

Farrells take: Bowman was a huge loss for Texas as he could play on either side of the ball and impact the return game. Hell likely play offense at Oklahoma and be yet another weapon for the Longhorns' rival.

Overview: Davis committed to LSU on New Years Day 2020 and that pledge stuck all the way until four days before Christmas when the four-star linebacker finally reopened his recruitment. He had a strong relationship with former defensive coordinator Dave Aranda (who took the head coaching job at Baylor) and Ed Orgeron throughout and then slowly built a bond with former LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini so theres been a lot of change in Baton Rouge.

USC continues to be the new front-runner in his recruitment but others will stick around to the end as well. With his ability to cover ground, make plays and his unique intuition on the field, Davis will be a big pickup for any program.

Farrells take: Davis is a downhill thumper and was a huge get from California for LSU to follow up with their success landing Elias Ricks. USC is the likely destination.

Overview: Texas signed two quarterbacks in 2020 and had 2022 five-star Quinn Ewers committed (he has since flipped to Ohio State) along with Milroe. But when Alabama had an opening for a quarterback, Milroe chose the Crimson Tide. Milroe, a muscled-up QB who had been committed to the Longhorns for more than a year, could remind some of Jalen Hurts down the line.

Farrells take: Milroe headed to Alabama once Ewers committed to Texas. Then the Longhorns lost Ewers to Ohio State. Milroe will likely be a star in Tuscaloosa.

Overview: Maryland scored big in Florida with two elite linebackers in Lewis and Jennings, who had each been committed to multiple programs, before picking the Terrapins and they could become stars in College Park if they continue to develop. Lewis had been committed to Tennessee for seven months before backing off that pledge and picking Maryland over Miami on Jan. 2. Jennings was with Michigan for a few months before flipping to the Terps during the early period. Both have elite talent.

Farrells take: Why are these two grouped? Because they both landed at Maryland and Mike Locksley did an amazing job luring them to College Park.

Overview: The top prospect in the state of Tennessee committed to the Vols over Ohio State and Ole Miss in mid-June and it was a major recruiting victory for Jeremy Pruitt and his staff. All fall, though, the second-best tight end nationally watched the Rebels offense closely and how Lane Kiffins system would translate to the SEC and Wolfe was impressed. In December, Wolfe flipped his commitment to Ole Miss, giving Kiffin another major weapon in his offensive system starting next season.

Farrells take: Wolfe is the top prospect in the state of Tennnesse so that hurts. He should flourish under Kiffin at Ole Miss.

Overview: Estime committed to Michigan State in mid-September and it was an impressive pickup for first-year coach Mel Tucker and his staff because the four-star is a big, punishing runner who would fit nicely in the Spartans offense. But throughout his recruitment, Notre Dame stayed closely involved and once the Irish offered, Estime decided to flip his pledge. It was always expected that if Notre Dame pulled the trigger that Estime would end up playing there.

Farrells take: Michigan State had their bell cow running back and a great get from New Jersey until Notre Dame swooped in and ruined it.

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Looking back at a year of coronavirus in Montgomery County – BethesdaMagazine.com01.03.21

Once COVID-19 arrived in Montgomery County and in Maryland on March 5, news about the pandemic dominated.

The following timeline summarizes many of the most prominent moments and developments.

March 5: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announces the states first three cases of coronavirus cases all residents of Montgomery County. The three patients contracted the virus while on a cruise on the Nile River in Egypt. They are a married couple in their 70s and a woman in her 50s, not related to the couple.

March 11: The World Health Organization declares the coronavirus a pandemic as the number of cases worldwide surpasses 120,000.

March 12: State officials ban gatherings of more than 250 people to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. New restrictions on access to state government buildings, the closing of all senior activity centers and a suspension of visits to state prisons are also announced.

March 12: State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announces that all public schools in Maryland, including the 208 in Montgomery County, will be closed from March 16 through 27.

March 16: Hogan orders all restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms across the state to shut down by 5 p.m. He also tightens restrictions on public gatherings, saying no more than 50 people can congregate in one spot.

March 17: Hogan postpones the states presidential primary election from April 28 to June 2.

March 21: A Montgomery County woman in her 40s with an underlying health condition dies. She is the first county resident and third Marylander to die from the virus.

March 23: Hogan orders all nonessential businesses to close, effective at 5 p.m.

March 24: The number of Montgomery County confirmed COVID-19 cases reaches more than 100.

March 26: Initial unemployment claims for Montgomery County increase by 1,500% in one week.

March 27: The state orders all child care facilities in Maryland to shut down, unless they provide care for people whose work is considered essential.

March 28: State officials order that an additional 500 hospital beds be made available in Montgomery County to increase availability of the number of coronavirus cases.

March 29: In a message to community members, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith details the school districts plan for remote learning.

March 30: During a press conference, Hogan announces he has signed an executive order prohibiting Maryland residents from leaving their homes, except to conduct essential business like buying food or medication.

April 7: Montgomery County is one of 12 Maryland jurisdictions to be designated a hot spot for the coronavirus. Hogan announces new state strike teams that will focus on triage and care for patients at nursing homes.

April 8: The number of Montgomery County confirmed COVID-19 cases surpasses 1,000.

April 9: Montgomery County initial unemployment claims rise 68% in one week.

April 10: Owners of some local gun stores report sales increases of nearly 200% during the health crisis.

April 12: The state Department of Health begins releasing COVID-19 case data by ZIP code, which shows Silver Spring is among the hardest hit areas in Maryland.

April 13: Local unions reach agreements with county officials that will provide additional pay for working with the public during the pandemic.

April 16: Montgomery County staff members estimate local tax revenue could decrease by $600 million due to the health crisis.

April 23: In about one month, MCPS has distributed more than 1 million free meals to students while schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

April 28: State officials begin releasing data about confirmed cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes across the state. In Montgomery County, older people living in group residences and employees at those facilities account for nearly two-thirds of the confirmed coronavirus deaths and more than a quarter of the overall cases.

April 29: Montgomery County is promised $183.3 million from the federal government to help cover costs related to the coronavirus pandemic. Officials begin planning how to reimburse or fund spending on efforts to assist residents and stop the virus spread.

May 1: Officials say more than 13,000 court hearings and 1,600 trials have to be rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

May 3: The number of Montgomery County confirmed COVID-19 cases grows to more than 5,000.

May 6: Salmon announces that all public schools will stay closed for the remainder of the academic year.

May 6: New local data show that the highest death rate from COVID-19 is highest for African Americans.

May 7: Smith says the pandemic is exposing the inequities in students access to technology, and addressing the problem will have an impact on the school districts budget.

May 14: A nonprofit group files a lawsuit arguing that Montgomery County cannot legally distribute COVID-19 relief money to immigrants without legal status.

May 20: Hotels, restaurants and a movie theater in Montgomery County are laying off or furloughing up to 366 workers because of the coronavirus crisis.

May 21: Montgomery County begins publishing its reopening benchmarks. Officials say reopening could begin in the next week or two.

May 21: The county contracts with a Rockville lab that will provide at least 7,500 COVID-19 tests per week

May 21: As it deals with a budget crunch due to the pandemic, the County Council finalizes a $5.8 billion fiscal year 2021 budget.

May 25: The number of Montgomery County confirmed COVID-19 cases surpasses 10,000.

May 29: The County Council approves an executive order for the county to begin entering a first phase of reopening at 6 a.m. on June 1. The reopening includes restaurants for limited seating, curbside services for retail stores, and other services.

June 15: County officials announce that the county will enter Phase 2 at 5 p.m. on June 19. The second phase of reopening allows limited indoor dining of up to 50% capacity, limited in-store capacity for retail shops, and an increase of gatherings to a maximum of 50.

July 7: Gaithersburg-based biotechnology company Novavax is awarded a $1.6 billion contract to continue working on a COVID-19 vaccine.

July 8: County Executive Marc Elrich proposes cutting $66 million from the countys budget to save money because of financial impacts of the pandemic.

July 28: The County Council approves a plan to procure lines of credit for up to $300 million and a savings plan cutting 72 million from the countys $5.8 billion operating budget.

July 31: Dr. Travis Gayles, the countys health officer, issues a health order that prohibits private schools from offering in-person instruction through Oct. 1.

Aug. 3: Hogan issues an emergency order that gives local schools and school systems the primary authority to decide when to safely reopen for in-person instruction. The order overturns a previous health order from Gayles that prohibited private schools from having in-person instruction until at least Oct. 1.

Aug. 3: Six families with children in private schools in the county file a federal lawsuit against Gayles for his decision to prohibit nonpublic schools from opening for in-person instruction.

Aug. 5: County officials allow tattoo parlors, tanning salons, massage parlors, and other services to operate under Phase 2 of its reopening.

Aug. 5: Gayles issues a new health order prohibiting school reopenings, citing a different Maryland law.

Aug. 6: State Health Secretary Robert Neall sends a memo to local health officers that private schools shouldnt be closed in a blanket manner for the upcoming academic year. Officers should instead use their authority to evaluate the circumstances and propose response plans for individual schools, he said.

Aug. 7: Gayles rescinds his order to keep private schools from holding in-person classes for the fall semester, deferring to the state health secretarys memo to health officers.

Aug. 18: County officials terminate a COVID-19 testing contract with Rockville lab AdvaGenix after the state ordered the company to stop testing because of concerns about protocols.

Aug. 31: The number of Montgomery County confirmed COVID-19 cases tops 20,000.

Sept. 23: County officials loosen restrictions on religious gatherings and allow churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other religious facilities of any faith to open to the public for indoor and outdoor services with restrictions.

Oct. 2: President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda to be treated for COVID-19 after testing positive.

Oct. 5: Trump departs Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda after being treated for COVID-19.

Oct. 16: The County Council and Elrich clash over the distribution of COVID-19 relief money to the community.

Nov. 6: The county school system announces plans to begin returning to in-person instruction on Jan. 12, if certain benchmarks are met.

Nov. 10: County restaurants and businesses are ordered to limit capacity to 25%, down from 50%.

Nov. 19: The number of Montgomery County confirmed COVID-19 cases climbs past 30,000.

Nov. 24: County officials cut the gathering limit from 25 to 10 and require face coverings outdoors when people are likely to come into contact with each other.

Dec. 3: Data released by the school district show that more county students are failing math and English classes this year as they take classes from home because of the pandemic.

Dec. 9: The countys estimate for its tax-revenue loss this fiscal year improves from $192 million to $101 million.

Dec. 15: The countys Board of Education finalizes its plan to reopen schools in the new year. The reopening plan includes a new phasing schedule and a delayed return.

Dec. 15: The number of Montgomery County confirmed COVID-19 cases rises past 40,000.

Dec. 15: The county closes indoor dining and reduces retail capacity. It also changes restrictions for indoor sports and religious institutions.

Dec. 17: Local restaurants announce that they are taking Montgomery County to court to try to reinstate indoor dining.

Dec. 17: The number of Montgomery County confirmed COVID-19 deaths is more than 1,000.

Dec. 21: County hospitals expect shipments to begin for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Doses of the Pfizer vaccine have already begun to be administered.

Dec. 23: A judge upholds Montgomery Countys indoor dining shutdown, rejecting a request by dozens of county restaurateurs to grant a temporary restraining order and injunction, but pledges to hold another hearing to explore the topic further.

Dec. 29: The deadline for the county to spend federal relief funds has been extended from Dec. 30, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021. There is more than $96 million left to spend in COVID-19 relief programs.

Reporter Caitlynn Peetz contributed to this story.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at

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Chesapeake Feline Association reaches the 3,000 mark | The Bargaineer – Cecil Daily01.03.21

PERRYVILLE Its like a beautiful ballet here.

Thats how Dawn Cowhey, executive director of the Chesapeake Feline Association, describes a day of spay and neuter surgeries at the Miss Cat Clinic on Route 222 near Route 40 in Perryville.

Recently the staff and volunteers marked a milestone with its 3000th surgery aimed at reducing the number of uncontrolled litters in Cecil County. Only a year ago did they mark 1,000 spay or neuter procedures, reaching that accomplishment about a year after opening.

Your typical cat has four litters per year with each litter having four kittens on average, Cowhey explained. Doing the math with the figure that at least half of those 3,000 cats were females, Cowhey figures CFA has helped staunch the flow of unwanted kittens by about 8,000.

Theres no estimate how many kittens have been born this year, she said.

COVID closed us right when kitten season began, Cowhey said.

Some of the cats brought in on a morning of surgeries are from various feral colonies. Some came from Cecil County Animal Services. All animals adopted through the county shelter are spayed or neutered before, or not long after being adopted. Still others come from cat owners unable to afford the cost of the surgery from their veterinarian.

We give $100 vouchers, Cowhey said of the assistance program. With the surgery each cat also receives rabies and distemper vaccines and a lot of love and attention.

Bethany Thompson, veterinary assistant, is in charge of the prep work.

I do eyes, tongue, booties, shave, bladder, she rattled off. Drops in the eyes, the tongue is drawn from the mouth to monitor circulation, and baby socks are placed on all four feet to help maintain body temperature just after being sedated. After shaving the surgical area shell express the bladder to avoid soiling the surgical field.

Down the hall Julie Constantine yelled out she was ready for her first patient. Jimmy Simpson whom Cowhey called volunteer extraordinaire cradled RK in his arms until she was handed off to Dr. Constantine.

As part of Loving Touch Animal Care in Newark, surgery is no stranger to Constantine but she said working with CFA is different because shell spend several hours doing nothing but spaying and neutering. She said it becomes second nature after awhile, like riding a bicycle.

With each cat her hands worked quickly to do what was needed to render each unable to produce more offspring.

Constantine said not only does this prevent the creation of untold numbers of kittens it also improves the long term health of the cat.

It reduces the risk of mammary cancer and uterine infections in female cats, the veterinarian said. In males it prevents certain testicular cancers.

Family pets go back to their owners hours later as do the CCAS charges. Feral cats are returned to the area from which each was captured in a program called Trap-Neuter-Return or TNR. The ears of those cats are marked by removing one tip so the humans who care for the colony know at a glance which animals have received care. Over time the colony will disappear as each member dies off.

Part of each surgery is also the application of a tattoo a green line on the abdomen that signifies that cat has been surgically altered. Thats the job of Debbie Cross. She works in an area the CFA crew calls The Beach.

Covered in a large heated blanket, The Beach is the recovery room where Cross also inserts a microchip and administer rabies and distemper vaccines.

Ill give them a mani-pedi too, she joked, removing the baby socks and trimming toenails. After all that is done she gives each cat some glucose to help lift it from its medicated cloud and wraps it like a burrito until is awakens. From there the cat is handed off to Donna Corcoran who will snuggle with the cat until it is awake enough to go back into its carrier for the ride home.

Cowhey could not say enough about her band of volunteers and staff that make each surgery session work so smoothly. Along with Constantine she has vets Erin McCourt, Kerry Murphy and Judith Simpson on call for the surgeries.

Corcoran is the appointment setter for CFA; a task that Cowhey said can easily take six hours each day. Thats why the organization is preparing to take much of that service, as well as payment, online to free up the volunteers for the hands-on work.

Running Miss Cat and the shelter in North East, which is home to 50 adult cats that can be adopted, is not cheap, Cowhey noted. With the pandemic squashing their fundraising for the year CFA has relied on grants and private donations.

We were just awarded another Maryland Department of Agriculture grant, she said. That $39,100 sum will support their spay-neuter program for feral colonies. We also got a $6,000 COVID grant from Cecil County. We were very grateful for that.

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Dave Barrys year in review: 2020, what can we say . . . – The Boston Globe12.27.20

In the past, writing these annual reviews, we have said harsh things about previous years. We owe those years an apology. Compared with 2020, all previous years, even the disco era, were the golden age of human existence.

This was a year of nonstop awfulness, a year when we kept saying it couldnt possibly get worse, and it always did. This was a year in which our only moments of genuine, unadulterated happiness were when we were able to buy toilet paper.

Which is fitting, because 2020 was one long, howling, Category 5 crap storm.

We sincerely dont want to relive this year. But our job is to review it. If you would prefer to skip this exercise in masochism, we completely understand.

If, however, you wish, for some sick reason, to re-experience 2020, now is the time to put on your face mask, douse your entire body with hand sanitizer, and then to be safe don a hazmat suit, as we look back at the unrelenting insanity of this hideous year, starting with . . .


. . . which begins with all of Washington, as well as parts of Virginia and Maryland, gripped by the gripping historic drama of the impeachment of Donald Trump. Remember that? How gripped we were?

To set the stage: Back in mid-December, the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment, after which Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in accordance with the US Constitution, handed out souvenir signing pens. Everyone expected that Pelosi would then send the articles to the Senate. But, as of early January, the Senate has not received them. People are wondering if Pelosi, what with her various official duties and hairdresser appointments, simply forgot to send the articles. Eventually, however, the articles arrive at the Senate, where majority leader Mitch The Undertaker McConnell promises that the impeachment issue will receive full and fair consideration. He is, of course, joking, but this is not obvious, because even when Mitch is in a jovial mood he looks like a man passing a kidney stone.

Meanwhile in other political news, all eyes are on Iowa as it prepares for the caucuses, which are closely scrutinized because they are the first opportunity for a tiny group of unrepresentative voters to engage in an incomprehensible and deeply flawed process by which they anoint presidential candidates who traditionally go on to fail.

In international news, Chinese news media report that a man in a city named Wuhan died of a mysterious new virus. This is not considered a big deal in the United States, since it has nothing to do with either impeachment or the Iowa caucuses.

A much bigger international story concerns Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who announce via Instagram that they are sick and tired of being part of the British royal family and want to just be regular normal everyday hard-working folks making millions of dollars solely because one of them was born into, and the other one married into, the British royal family. This plunges Great Britain into a crisis the likes of which it has not been plunged into since Brexit.

In sports, Major League Baseball is rocked by scandal with the release of a report concluding that the Houston Astros engaged in an elaborate multiyear cheating scheme, which critics charge enabled the team to win the 2017 World Series as well as six congressional seats in the 2018 midterm elections. By way of punishment, the league sending a clear message to future would-be cheaters rules that all players involved in the scheme will continue to play baseball in exchange for enormous amounts of money.

Speaking of scandal, in . . .


. . . Washington and its immediate suburbs remain gripped by the Senates historic impeachment trial of President Trump, with Democratic prosecutors arguing that Trump illegally pressured Ukrainian leaders to benefit himself politically, while the Republican defense team claims that Trump was playing golf at the time. Under the watchful eye of Chief Justice John Roberts, who is kept from nodding off by a law clerk armed with a pellet gun, everyone, in accordance with Senate rules, repeats everything 127 times, after which the Republican majority, to the surprise of anyone who has the IQ of sponge cake, acquits the Republican president. Washington and its suburbs immediately start looking around for a new historic thing to be gripped by.

In the midst of the impeachment drama, Trump delivers the State of the Union address, an awkward affair that begins with Speaker Pelosi refusing to use the traditional high privilege and distinct honor introduction; then Trump refusing to shake Pelosis hand; then Pelosi tearing up her copy of Trumps speech; then Trump hocking a loogie onto Pelosis suede pumps.

OK, the loogie part did not happen. As far as we know.

Things go more smoothly for the Democrats in the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses, with Bernie Sanders emerging as the clear front-runner, which only seems to make him angrier. A new challenger emerges in the form of charisma-impaired billionaire Mike Mike Bloomberg, who uses his personal fortune to hire a vast army of consultants to supply him with a powerful arsenal of focus-group-tested policies, retorts, memes, jokes, and humanoid personality traits. Nevertheless he struggles in the debates, the low point coming when Elizabeth Warren, during a heated exchange about nondisclosure agreements, pulls the waistband of Bloombergs underpants over the top of his head, a debate tactic known as the atomic wedgie, first performed by Lincoln on Douglas in 1858.

Despite all these exciting political developments, the number one concern of the American public, based on the amount of passionate debate it generates on the Internet, is the burning issue of whether it is, or is not, OK to recline your airplane seat.

Remember? Those were good times.

As February draws to a close, 2020 seems to be shaping up as a typical election year, in which the political-media complex is repeatedly engulfed by raging apocalyptic dramas that the regular human public pretty much ignores.

And then, unfortunately, comes . . .


. . . which starts off calmly enough, as the Democratic Party, desperate to find an alternative to 132-year-old white guy Bernie Sanders, settles on 132-year-old white guy Joe Biden, who cruises to a series of primary victories after replacing No Malarkey with a bold new campaign slogan: Somewhat Alert At Times. And then, sprinkled in amid all the political coverage, we begin to see reports that this coronavirus thing might be worse than we have been led to believe, although at first the authorities still seem to be saying there is no reason to panic, but all of a sudden there seems to be no hand sanitizer for sale anywhere, which makes some sense although there is also no toilet paper, as if people are planning to be pooping for weeks on end (ha) and now theyre saying its a lot worse than the flu and we need to wash our hands and not touch our faces and maintain a social distance of 6 feet and use an abundance of caution to flatten the curve (whatever the curve is) but theyre also saying we dont need face masks no scratch that now theyre saying we DO need face masks but nobody HAS any face masks but hey heres a funny meme about toilet paper but ohmigod look at these statistical disease models WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE but Trump says maybe this hydroxysomething medicine will work no it wont work yes it will work no it wont and now theyre saying there wont be enough ventilators or hospital beds or PPE and Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx are saying everybody has to shelter at home or else WE ARE ALL DEFINITELY GOING TO DIE hey heres another funny toilet-paper meme but seriously what is PPE and is that different from PPP and where will we get the ventilators and there wont be enough hospital beds and there is still no hand sanitizer and I keep touching my face and they just canceled the NBA can they even DO that wait now they canceled ALL the sports and closed all the schools the colleges the stores the restaurants the bars the theaters the hair salons the parks the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and now theyre saying we need to stay at home for HOW LONG what about the toilet paper I cant stop touching my damn face are you seriously telling me all this is because somebody ate a freaking bat maybe Amazon has toilet paper ohmigod theyre sold out too WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THE TOILET PAPER not another Zoom meeting I am so tired of shouting at people in little boxes maybe I should take a shower but whats the point hey heres a bunch more funny memes ohmigod look at the stock market the price of oil maybe Ill just take a peek at my 401(k) oh NOOOOOOOO and WHAT ARE PEOPLE DOING WITH ALL THIS TOILET PAPER and how long do we have to keep being abundantly cautious what did Trump say about the ventilators and what did Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci say about what Trump said about the ventilators and what did Trump say about what they said about what he said about the ventilators ventilators ventilators LOOK AT THESE MODELS WE ARE STILL GOING TO DIE but do we really want to go on living in a world where theres no toilet paper and every single TV commercial sounds like as we navigate these difficult times together, the National Association of Folding Chair Manufacturers wants you to know that we are committed to running these TV commercials with a somber narrator voice telling you how committed we are and hey do you think that Carole Baskin woman actually fed her husband to a tiger maybe we should order pizza tonight wait I think we had pizza last night are you sure its Tuesday because it feels more like Thursday no please God not another freaking Zoom meeting stop already with the memes if the tiger ate her husband shouldnt there be a skeleton somewhere are we flattening the curve yet Dr. Fauci Dr. Birx because were in a recession no wait maybe its a depression look at the unemployment numbers we are never going to recover from this if the virus doesnt kill us we will starve to death we need more money from the government we need billions no we need trillions no we need MORE trillions where is this money coming from we have to open the economy up but if we do WE WILL ALL DIE hey I found some toilet paper oh no its one-ply which is basically the same as using your bare hand thank God I also found some hand sanitizer and speaking of good news Bernie Sanders is endorsing Joe Biden so apparently theyre both still alive if I see one more meme I am going to puke in my face mask Im afraid to get on a scale my thighs are basically two armadillo-sized wads of pizza dough hey Dr. Birx Dr. Fauci when will we have a vaccine when will we have herd immunity when can we go outside when can we go back to work what is the new normal good lord what did Trump say about disinfectants DONT INJECT CLOROX YOU IDIOTS what about the food chain what about reinfection what about the second wave hey theyre showing the NFL Draft and Georgia is opening the tattoo parlors and holy crap now its . . .


. . . and we are, as a nation, exhausted. We are literally sick and tired of the pandemic. But amid all the gloom, there is a ray of sunshine: As we go through this harrowing experience affecting all Americans, in both red states and blue states we are starting to realize that our common humanity is more important than our political differences.

Ha ha! Seriously, we hate each other more than ever. We disagree about everything when to reopen the economy, whether to wear masks, whether to go to the beach, whether its OK to say China everything. Each side believes that it is motivated purely by reason, facts, and compassion, and that the other side is evil and stupid and sincerely wants people to die. Every issue is binary: my side good, other side bad. There is no nuance, no open-mindedness, no discussion.

On the other hand, there is starting to be more toilet paper.

President Trump continues to provide leadership during the crisis by repeatedly pointing out that he knows an incredible amount about viruses more than most medical doctors! and is frankly doing a terrific job. For its part, the White House press corps, seeking as always to be fair and objective, asks the president many probing questions, all of them variations of Why are you so despicable?

Meanwhile, in a basement somewhere in Delaware, Joe Biden and his campaign team have managed to procure a webcam, which they intend to use to log on to the Internet so that Joes campaign message can go viral, just as soon as Joe decides what it is.

In scandal news, the Justice Department moves to drop all charges against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. Outraged Democrats claim this is a travesty of justice; outraged Republicans claim it is proof that the Deep State tried to stage a coup. And thus we are back to arguing about the 2016 election, which we are going to keep arguing about until everybody involved has been dead for 50 years.

In sports, the National Football League is also trying to adapt to the pandemic, exploring the possibility of a season with no fans, no coaches, and no players. Were thinking of just showing 60 minutes of referees throwing penalty flags and peering at replay monitors, says NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. So it wont really be much different.

Toward the end of the month the economy is starting to open up, the virus numbers in many places seem to be improving, and people are starting to venture out of their homes. For a few minutes, the nation seems to be groping its way, an inch at a time, toward relative calm. And then . . .

WHAM, 2020 strikes again, this time in Minneapolis, where the horrendous killing of George Floyd at the hands of police ignites a protest movement that quickly spreads across the nation, sometimes mutating into violence. In the past, such movements tended to lose energy, smothered under a thick cloud of politicians platitudes, but this one has legs, and as we enter . . .


. . . the protest movement grows in size and passion with frankly not a whole lot of social distancing. In Washington, D.C., large crowds gather in front of the White House. President Trump, angered by reports that at one point he retreated to an underground bunker, states that in fact he was merely inspecting the bunker.

To demonstrate that he is not the kind of leader who hides in bunkers, the president courageously goes outside (after the protesters have been cleared away) and personally walks several hundred feet to historic St. Johns Church, where he holds up a Bible. Or possibly it is a thesaurus. The important thing is that it is a serious-looking book and a strong visual, at a time when what this wounded and divided nation needs, more than ever, is strong visuals.

For their part, the Democrats, fed up with the longstanding pattern of systemic racism and police misconduct in major US cities, vow to bring about real reform, just as soon as they can figure out who, exactly, is in charge of these cities. One much-discussed reform proposal is defunding the police, which is clearly defined by its proponents as taking the funding away from the police as well as not taking the funding away from the police.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are rising alarmingly, especially in the South. President Trump, having apparently decided that the best way to deal with the pandemic, as chief executive, is to occasionally tweet about it, focuses his efforts on getting reelected. He holds a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where, addressing an issue of concern to all Americans, he explains in detail that the ramp he had to walk down at the West Point graduation ceremony was slippery AND steep. The president gets a big hand from the crowd when, displaying leadership, he drinks from a water glass with one hand.

During this period the Biden campaign focuses its energies primarily on being in Delaware.

Also during this time important news events are occurring in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and possibly even Canada. But we frankly do not have time to think about these places.

In sports, Major League Baseball owners and players, faced with the very real threat that the Houston Astros will win the World Series unopposed, reach an agreement to hold a shortened season, with a few COVID-related rule modifications:

The batters box will be an actual plexiglass box completely enclosing the batter.

In the event that a batter gets on base, all players on both teams will immediately be tested for coronavirus.

At the end of nine innings or one week, whichever comes first, the team with the fewest positive tests will be declared the winner.

Speaking of positive tests, in . . .


. . . COVID-19 cases continue to rise sharply in some Southern states, accompanied by what the World Health Organization describes as an alarming spike in smugness in some Northern states, notably New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo unveils a poster, for sale at $11.50, commemorating, in a cartoony manner, New Yorks pandemic experience. Really. It is as if the White Star Line sold whimsical souvenirs of the Titanic.

Meanwhile in Delaware, Joe Bidens team continues to ponder the question of who should be Joes running mate, the goal being to find somebody who A) is a woman and B) has a name that Joe can remember.

Kanye West announces that he is running for president, representing the Birthday Party. In any other year this would seem ridiculous, but in 2020 a lot of people are like, Why not?

In other political news, the coronavirus continues to disrupt both major parties convention plans. The Republicans, having already moved Trumps acceptance speech to the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, announce that they are now considering the Roll n Shoot Bowling Alley & Gun Range in Elwood, Oklahoma, contingent on the availability of a long enough extension cord. The Democrats have also downsized their convention, which was originally to be a four-day event at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee but is now going to take place mainly on Instagram.

On the diplomatic front, the Trump administration announces that, after tense high-level negotiations, it has reached a peace agreement under which US troops will be withdrawn from Portland, Oregon, where for many weeks protestors have been seeking social justice via a combination of peaceful demonstrations and arson.

By far the months most disturbing event occurs on July 15 when Twitter, responding to a cyberattack, temporarily suspends many verified blue-check accounts. Within minutes emergency rooms in Washington and New York are overwhelmed by media thought leaders whose brains are literally exploding from the pressure of unreleased insights. Meanwhile in the rest of the nation, non-elite Americans wander the streets aimlessly, with no way to know what they should think.

In sports, the Washington Redskins, bowing to mounting public pressure, announce that they are changing their name, which critics say is insensitive. They will henceforth be known as the Pittsburgh Redskins. In Major League Baseball, the teams begin a shortened season with stadium seats occupied by cardboard cutouts representing fans, except the Houston Astros, who use live human snipers.

Speaking of threats, in . . .


. . . President Trump escalates his attacks on TikTok, a Chinese-owned social-media app that threatens our national security by causing millions of Americans to learn stupid dances while Chinese people are making useful products to sell to Americans.

In other foreign-policy action, Trump brokers a historic Middle East peace agreement, which, along with the estimated 45 previous historic Middle East peace agreements, brings the Middle East one step closer to potentially being on the verge of reaching the brink of what could some day become a stepping stone to lasting peace, although you should not hold your breath.

Meanwhile at home, the nations mood is increasingly tense and angry as Americans are bombarded all day, every day, with a constant stream of news about protests, boycotts, disruption, despair, and rage. And thats just on SportsCenter.

California, as it traditionally does at this time of year, bursts into flames. Adding to the citizens misery are rolling electrical blackouts, possibly related to the fact that the state Legislature has banned all sources of electricity except windmills and 9-volt batteries.

In politics, controversy swirls around the US Postal Service, which until now most Americans have viewed as a non-sinister agency whose function, as authorized by the Constitution, is to faithfully, rain or shine, deliver vast quantities of bulk mail to us so we can discard it unread. But now there are reports of USPS mailboxes mysteriously disappearing from the streets, which Democrats charge is part of a sinister Trump administration plot to sabotage mail-in voting, the theory being that voters, having no place to deposit their mail-in ballots, will give up in despair and, we dont know, flush them down the toilet or something.

While this alleged conspiracy is being debated, Steve Bannon, a former influential Trump aide with the uncanny ability to always look like he just woke up in a dumpster, is arrested by this cannot be a coincidence agents of the US Postal Inspection Service. Bannon is charged with fraud in connection with a GoFundMe project called We Build the Wall, which is supposedly raising money for President Trumps largely imaginary wall between the United States and Mexico, although according to prosecutors a better name for the project would be We Basically Keep the Money.

In election news, Joe Biden makes history by choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate; if elected, she would become the first US vice president whose name can be rearranged to spell I Alarm A Shark. During the Democratic debates Harris leveled some harsh criticisms at Biden, but a Biden campaign source says that Joe has forgotten all about that. Literally.

For his part, Trump dismisses rumors that he might change running mates, telling reporters Im very happy with whatshisname.

Because of the pandemic, both parties hold their conventions virtually. The Democrats adopt a sweeping platform filled with bold policy initiatives that nobody will ever look at again. The Republican platform consists of, quote, whatever was in the presidents most recent tweet.

Speaking of principles, in . . .


. . . the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg triggers a classic display of Washington-style ethical consistency as both political parties, addressing the issue of when the vacancy should be filled, passionately embrace positions diametrically opposite the ones they passionately embraced in 2016. Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat, arguing that she is perfectly qualified for the high court because she is a woman, but not like super hot. Critics allege Barrett belongs to a dangerous religious cult that subjugates women by forcing them to become Supreme Court justices. Everyone prepares for a cordial and informative confirmation process.

In other political news, The New York Times, in a politically devastating career-ending bombshell report, reveals that an analysis of Trumps tax records shows that pretty much his only major success, as a businessman, has been playing the part of a successful businessman on a TV show. Coming on the heels of two politically devastating bombshell reports earlier in the month one alleging that Trump mocked the military, and one that he lied about the seriousness of the coronavirus this brings to an even 500 the total number of times Trump has been devastated by bombshell media reports.

Joe Biden leaves Delaware briefly to give a campaign speech in Philadelphia, where he makes the following statement: If Donald Trump has his way, the complications from COVID-19, which are well beyond what they should be its estimated that 200 million people have died probably by the time I finish this talk. Then its back to Delaware for Joe.

The biggest political event of the month is the much-anticipated Trump-Biden debate, a lively affair featuring a frank and open exchange of sentence fragments. Biden inspires his supporters by appearing, most of the time, to be fully aware that he is participating in a debate. For his part, Trump displays presidential leadership by firmly yet calmly reassuring an anxious nation that the election will be a complete fraud. When its over both sides declare victory as debate moderator Chris Wallace retreats to his dressing room to ingest Xanax pills through a funnel.

In college sports, both the Big Ten and Pac-12 vote to resume playing football. Conference officials say they will implement strict medical protocols to ensure that the athletes can safely resume violently injuring each other.

The pandemic continues to dominate the news in . . .


. . . when the White House announces that President Trump is infected with the coronavirus, as are the first lady, White House staffers, and others who have been near the president at events where many people did not wear masks or observe social distancing. This seems to suggest, crazy as it sounds, that the virus who could possibly have known this? is an infectious disease that you can catch from other people.

While hundreds of certified Twitter users without medical degrees offer their insights on this situation, the president begins a course of treatment at Walter Reed that includes an antibody cocktail, an antiviral drug, a steroid and this really happened a motorcade ride around the hospital. Trumps doctors describe the motorcade as a totally standard medical treatment that is not insanely irresponsible at all.

Meanwhile the virus continues to spread through the White House, eventually infecting everyone in the executive branch above the rank of custodian. But never mind those people: The important thing is that the president recovers quickly and announces that COVID-19 is frankly no big deal for anybody who has a large team of doctors, 24/7 access to a world-class medical facility, and a helicopter.

The Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett after she successfully completes the traditional Judiciary Committee hazing ritual, in which she must answer questions for three consecutive days without saying anything.

Joe Biden enters the final stretch of the campaign with a schedule that sometimes has him doing as many as one appearance per day. Also taking a brutal toll on the former vice president is the fact that he must repeatedly, day after day, deal with the grueling physical strain of not telling reporters what he thinks about packing the Supreme Court. At one appearance, when asked about this, Biden says (this is an actual quote): the moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be on the answer to that question. While reporters wrestle with the Confucian profundity of this statement, Joe is whisked back to Delaware.

In other political action, Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris square off in a debate, and the only thing anybody remembers about it 10 minutes later is that a fly landed on Pences head. Two weeks later Trump and Biden have their second debate, during which Trump accuses Biden of wanting to force Americans to have little, tiny, small windows and Biden says Come on! roughly 200 times.

In social-media news, Twitter blocks a New York Post story about incriminating e-mails allegedly found on Hunter Bidens laptop, on the grounds that the story is of questionable origin. This is of course a violation of Twitters extremely strict accuracy policy, under which every single tweet that Twitter does allow to be published is 100 percent vetted and legit.

In sports, the coronavirus causes major disruptions in the fall football schedule, the result being that on a single afternoon the New York Jets wind up losing to both the Kansas City Chiefs and Vassar. On a happier note, the World Series, for the 11th consecutive year, does not in any way involve the New York Yankees.

The month comes to a close with Halloween, a spooky, scary time when the nation is haunted by a relentless onslaught of political TV attack ads in which basically every candidate for public office is depicted as a hideous bloodsucking ghoul. Voters universally detest these ads and the toxic political climate they create, but highly paid campaign consultants continue to produce them, for a sound, data-derived, poll-tested reason: These consultants are scum.

With October finally over, a divided, weary nation trudges into the crucial month of . . .


. . . when finally, after all the politics and the platitudes, the debates and the demagoguery, the rallies and the riots, the allegations and the alliteration, its time for the American people to do what they have done since the founding of the republic: eat all their leftover Halloween candy. Theres a lot of it this year because there were few trick-or-treaters, leaving many Americans with no choice but to snork down the weight of an adult male cocker spaniel in mini-Snickers. But we do it, because we are Americans, dammit.

Then, at last, its Election Day. Millions of voters lurch to the polls, unless they already voted, in which case they remain on the sofa, burping up chocolate fumes and anxiously watching the cable-TV network of their choice.

Political experts are confidently predicting an easy Biden win, possibly a landslide, based on input from professional pollsters armed with conclusions derived from sophisticated statistical analysis of data obtained via surveys of the seven Americans still willing to answer the telephone.

But the actual race turns out to be much closer, and several days pass without a clear winner as the various states count ballots via their individual methods under our quirky, zany Electoral College system. Florida, which has totally screwed up in previous elections, surprises everybody by reporting the vote count almost immediately, thanks to an executive order by Governor Ron DeSantis to just go ahead and reuse the results from 2016, since we counted those already. But the process is much slower in states such as Pennsylvania, which uses the base 17 numbering system, and Arizona, where by law votes must be tabulated on cowhides.

It is not until Saturday that the news media call the election for Biden. President Trump accepts the defeat with the calm, mature grace and dignity that have become his trademark as leader of some imaginary nation that we are fantasizing about in this sentence.

In reality Trump claims that he won the election BY A LOT, but it is being stolen from him via a vast, sophisticated, malignant, and purely hypothetical vote-fraud scheme. To combat this fraud, the president forms a crack legal team headed by former sane person Rudy Rudy Three is Giuliani, who presides over what future scholars will view as the single greatest event in the history of America, if not the world. This occurs when the president announces via tweet that his lawyers will hold a news conference at Four Seasons, Philadelphia. Everyone assumes he means the Four Seasons Hotel, but in fact and here we have definitive proof that there is a God, and He or She has an excellent sense of humor the event takes place in the parking lot of a company called Four Seasons Total Landscaping, which is located across the street from a cremation center and down the block from the Fantasy Island Adult Bookstore.

We are not making this up. Nobody could make this up.

The Four Seasons event turns out to be a good indicator of the competence of the Trump legal team, and it eventually becomes clear to everybody not living in the White House that Trump will not successfully challenge Bidens win. But it is also clear that, just as in 2016, the media elite greatly underestimated support for Trump, who somehow got more than 74 million votes despite the fact that the media elite doesnt personally know any Trump supporters, and in fact has devoted four solid years to declaring that anybody who doesnt hate Trump as much as the media elite does has to be a racist idiot. So who on earth could these 74 million Americans be? Its a mystery that probably will never be solved, at least not by the media elite.

Meanwhile on the coronavirus front, there is good news and bad news:

The good news is that several drug companies announce that they have developed promising vaccine candidates, while Budweiser reports significant progress on a hard seltzer that also can be used as hand sanitizer.

The bad news is that the number of cases, in what feels like the 37th wave, is spiking once again, and American consumers are once again creating shortages of toilet paper by buying enough rolls per household to wipe every butt in Denmark for a year.

President Trump, carrying on a cherished White House tradition, pardons turkeys named Corn and Cob and a former national security adviser named Michael Flynn. Corn and Michael Flynn were convicted of making false statements to the FBI; Cob was serving a four-year sentence for tax evasion.

Joe Biden, preparing for a historically difficult transition to a presidency that will be confronted with a daunting array of critical challenges both at home and abroad, fractures his foot playing with a dog.

As the month draws to a close, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving as the Pilgrims did, by gathering with their loved ones for a communal meal in the basement with the lights off so as to avoid detection by the authorities.

And then, at last, the finish line of this wretched year looms ahead as we stagger into . . .

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Dave Barrys year in review: 2020, what can we say . . . - The Boston Globe

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