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The 2020 Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog


Oh my goodness, you’re here! Welcome, welcome! Come on in. Duff that snow off your boots. And for God’s sake, take off that pesky mask already! Karen and I just quarantined for six days in St. Barts! The staff at the Gustavia Hilton kept a proper distance the entire time, and they only charged us $300 a night for the room! So we don’t have the virus. Only the little people have to worry about that sort of thing. And we had the grandest time when we were in the tropics. Have you ever had spiny lobster? You simply MUST try it. Karen said it was unlike any lobster she’d ever had whilst summering in Cape Elizabeth!


[sits down on a velour sofa]


Sit down next to me, dear friend. Let’s you and I peruse this season’s catalog together, in the spirit of giving. Will there be tartan? OH YOU BETTER ****ING BELIEVE THERE’LL BE TARTAN. Other people keep giving each other highly communicable lung infections this time of year. Why not give the gift of SMEG instead, I say?





Price: $64.95


Copy: “Whether your baking project is a spectacular cookie tree or a simple holiday favorite, we have just what you need for festive holiday treats.”


Drew says: Who the **** asked for a cookie tree? Look at that thing. Those cookies have clearly been glued into place using industrial strength epoxy. You and I have no hope of replicating it. I could build a ****ing actual-size house of cards and have it stay upright longer than that pile of cookie trash.


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Apparently quarantine is getting to some people.  


Madison Heights police say man stabbed parents after being asked to turn video off, kills stepdad


Police in Madison Heights said a 28-year-old stabbed his 66-year-old mother and 71-year-old stepfather, who later died, after they asked him to turn off a video he was watching so they could go to bed.


According to police, the stabbing happened at an apartment in Madison Heights on Friday, just before midnight when Christopher McKinney attacked his parents. Police said he lived at the apartment with his mom and stepdad and was still there when police arrived. 


Madison Heights Police said that McKinney watching a video in his parents' room when they asked him to turn it off so they could go to bed.


Investigators said they argued and McKinney pulled a knife, cutting and stabbing both his mother and stepfather. Police said all three were treated for injuries and then taken to the hospital where his stepfather later died.


"He was in the stepfather and mother's bedroom where the computer was located and he was watching videos on the internet. The mom and stepfather wanted to go to sleep for the night, they asked him to leave the room so they could go to sleep and he became highly agitated. That’s when the violence started because he was asked to leave the room," Chief Corey Haines said. "They found the mother and stepdad covered in blood, all the walls, the ceiling had blood all over it." 


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The isolation of 2020 is doing weird things to our bodies


“I am seeing tons of hair loss,” Mona Gohara says.


Patients come to Gohara, a dermatologist and professor at the Yale School of Medicine, for all kinds of reasons from skin cancer screenings to cosmetic procedures. But this year more than ever, they’re worried about their hair.


It’s not a coincidence. Stress — like, say, that brought on by living through a deadly pandemic — is known to cause hair loss. Ordinarily, “90 percent of the hairs on our head are in the growing cycle; 10 percent are in the shedding cycle,” Gohara explained. “But when we’re subject to some type of physiologic or emotional stress, that cycle shifts to where the shed outweighs the grow.” The result: “people notice a massive, massive shed.”


And those stray hairs are part of a bigger trend. At this point, millions of Americans have spent nine months living through a public health nightmare and an unprecedented economic crisis at the same time. They have also had to cope with all this while avoiding gatherings, limiting physical contact, and, when possible, staying inside their homes. Put together, the isolation and anxiety of life in 2020 have brought with them numerous side effects. For one, they might be doing weird things to our bodies.


If you’ve noticed your menstrual cycle is more irregular this year, for example, you’re not alone: More patients are reporting irregular periods since the pandemic began, Mary Jane Minkin, an OB-GYN who teaches at the Yale School of Medicine, told Vox. The likely culprit, as with hair loss, is the anxiety of living in such a difficult and uncertain time. “When stressors come into play,” Minkin said, “we end up with screwy periods.”


If you’ve spotted more gray hairs on Zoom calls, there may be a pandemic-related explanation for that too. And according to some, life in lockdown may even be changing people’s body odor.


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I, for one, haven't had a period since this whole pandemic started.

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Conceived in a pandemic, born in a pandemic: The first quarantine babies are arriving


Katy Dobson and her family have taken to calling her 2-week-old boy, Atlas, a “coronial.” Atlas’s time in his mother’s womb coincided almost perfectly with the nine months that the United States has spent battling the coronavirus pandemic. He was born Dec. 8 in Pensacola, Fla., 38 weeks into his mother’s pregnancy and almost 39 weeks after the surreal Wednesday in March when Tom Hanks announced he had tested positive, the NBA suspended its season because of transmission concerns, and the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.


When shutdowns began in the United States back in March, almost immediately there were titters and murmurs of the baby boom that would materialize nine months later. All that free time for cohabitating couples to stay home alone together, surely, would result in overflowing maternity wards come December, the speculation went. At the same time, others wondered whether worries about the devastating effects of the pandemic would cause some couples to put their plans to conceive on hold, leading to a “baby bust” in December and January.


In some cases, like Dobson’s, the former is precisely what happened: Her husband, tattoo artist Aaron Walker, 31, went into self-quarantine several days before Florida’s stay-at-home orders went into effect March 30. He was suddenly home with Dobson all day every day, “and it happened, like, that week,” Dobson, 27, said with a laugh.


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Monopoly, the Longest Game Ever, Takes Even Longer With Monopoly: Longest Game Ever Edition


If you’ve chosen Monopoly for your next game night, there’s a good chance you’re not trying to make it a quick one. The classic board game is infamous for lasting much longer than many players’ attention spans. But for true Monopoly fans, that’s part of the charm—after all, it takes time to build a real estate empire, even if yours only exists on a two-dimensional board.




Now, Hasbro is giving its most devoted Monopoly heads the opportunity to expand their domain even further with the “Longest Game Ever” edition. As Nerdist reports, the board features 66 properties, which is 38 more than the original version. And since there’s only one die (not two), you’ll be inching around the perimeter at a snail’s pace (or, to be more accurate, a tortoise’s pace—the gold and silver game pieces are shaped like tiny tortoises and hares). Auctions aren’t allowed, but there are a couple other updates that help move money. Normally, nothing happens when you land on the “Free Parking” space; in this version of the game, you get paid. You can also tear each bill along the perforated line to split them into smaller sums, which could increase your purchasing options.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank god I don't have a job like these anymore:


Is Remote Work Making Us Paranoid?


Therese Nauwelaertz had been working in information technology at a large health care organization in Seattle for nine months when she got a new project manager. She still had the same supervisor, but this new person was a layer in between them. Up until the new person started, “it was pretty smooth going for a long time,” Ms. Nauwelaertz, 48, said. But just a few days after the new manager started, “that’s when the feedback break happened.”


Ms. Nauwelaertz got left out of a strategy session via Zoom, and she only found out about it from her peers who had been included. Then the emails and chats from her co-workers slowed to a trickle. She heard another co-worker was laid off. “That’s when I got really suspicious, and the paranoia started setting in,” Ms. Nauwelaertz said.


The number of people working remotely has skyrocketed since January 2020, with approximately half the U.S. labor force working from home in the early days of the pandemic, according to a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Those workers tend to be more educated and wealthier than workers whose jobs cannot be performed remotely, and low-wage workers have been much more likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic.


While some have returned to the office since last spring, a significant number have not. Estimates of how many office workers are projected to work permanently at home, post-pandemic, range from 20 to 30 percent, up from under 10 percent before the coronavirus.


But millions more Americans communicating completely virtually with their co-workers does not mean our emotional office dynamics have caught up yet to our new videoconference world. Many are feeling a spectrum of new anxieties about their interactions with colleagues.


Employees are asking themselves questions like: Is that Slack message unanswered because I’m getting fired, or because my boss is dealing with remote schooling her kid? Did that joke land flat on that video call because it was a bad joke, or am I falling out of favor?


Small moments are becoming amplified for Shireen Ali-Khan, 37, a consultant in London. Brief interactions she’d normally let go — a minute or two out of a 10-hour day — become opportunities for obsessing, “because essentially you’re at home looking at the wall,” Ms. Ali-Khan said. She described a senior colleague asking her to manage a virtual mailbox, which, according to Ms. Ali-Khan, is a task that is far below her skill and pay level.


Ms. Ali-Khan politely pushed back, but she was given the task anyway and she felt disrespected. While this would have been a minor irritation in normal times, “you just lose a lot of that personal touch, then you read into it more, you’re going on one nugget of information,” she said — rather than a fully formed interpersonal relationship.


She ended up venting to a colleague about the interaction, which helped her feel better, and she has realized it really wasn’t a big deal. She hasn’t done anything with the mailbox, but hasn’t received any blowback from that.


Past research on the topic of organizational and social paranoia shows that working from home may exacerbate uncertainty about status, which can lead to over-processing information and rumination, said Roderick M. Kramer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, who has studied paranoia at work.


Remote work can contribute to “feeling out of the loop, because you’re missing the kinds of ad hoc conversations that tend to reassure us we’re in good standing,” Mr. Kramer said.


So-called organizational paranoia isn’t always irrational. And there’s even a term for that kind of sensible hypervigilance: prudent paranoia. “Part of paranoia is about self-presentational issues,” Mr. Kramer said. And it’s not just in our heads that we are being judged for how we look, and how our homes look, on video chats.


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Sexually frustrated: NYC ‘sex house’ residents moan about orgy-killing COVID


After 10 months of social distancing, the residents of Brooklyn’s communal “sex houses” are frustrated, to say the least.


“I’d give my left testicle to go to an orgy,” said Kenneth Play, co-founder of Hacienda Villa.


Play is one of more than 30 residents, ranging from ages 20-45, who live in the three Bushwick houses (the Lodge, Villa and Tower) operated by the Hacienda sex club.


Along with the residents, the club has more than 700 members. Before the pandemic, the roommates (who have their own bedrooms but share a kitchen, living room and bathrooms) hosted bacchanals at the Villa once or twice a month. Hundreds of Hacienda members would flirt, soak nude in the backyard hot tub or descend to the mood-lit basement to get it on.


In 2019, the club hosted 19 “play parties” — orgies — as well as 45 other events. In 2020, there were only five before the pandemic.


“Sexual isolation was difficult to grapple with,” said Violet, a resident and party planner who, like others, asked to withhold her last name. “We couldn’t meet new people or feel desired the same, so there was definitely an upsurge in my own self-pleasure routine.”


Maybe no one suffered more than Play: “In 2019 I had about 100 lovers. But for 2020 the number’s more like five.”


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  • 2 weeks later...

Apparently the Dutch aren't handing quarantine too well:


Netherlands on brink of ‘civil war’ as rioters strike again over COVID-19 curfew


Anti-lockdown protesters in the Netherlands set fires, looted stores and fought with cops for a third consecutive night of rioting after a strict curfew was imposed — with a mayor warning the nation was “on our way to civil war.”


At least 184 people were arrested during Monday night’s ongoing riots as at least 10 cops were injured as police in some cities fought back with water cannon and tear gas, officials said.

So far, rioters have struck in at least 20 cities and towns across the Netherlands since Saturday, when the nation was forced into its first curfew since World War II.


“We haven’t seen so much violence in 40 years,” Koen Simmers, of the police trade union NPB, said on television program “Nieuwsuur” (“Newshour”).


Monday’s violence left a trail of looted shops and burned cars in cities including Rotterdam, The Hague and the capital, Amsterdam, as well as a town close to it, Haarlem, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).


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Woman goes viral after appearing on TV with dildo behind her


A UK woman being interviewed from home got a rise from TV viewers — who noticed the prodigious sex toy sitting on a shelf behind her.


Yvette Amos was telling the BBC about how people were being “passed over” for jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, but what captivated “Wales Today” viewers was the dildo apparently being used as a bookend, the Sun reported.




Some viewers have even called for Amos to receive a “damehood” for doing a bang-up job and spicing up the humdrum news report.


“Was that on the 6’’-**** News?” Declan Cashlin wrote.


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So they go into lockdown after one case, and the people resort to panic buying.  :ols:  How nice it would be to have so few cases.


Perth shopper is 'bitten on the NECK' and has toilet paper ripped from her hands as panic buying grips West Australia during five-day lockdown


A female shopper in Perth reportedly was 'bitten on the neck' and had her toilet paper stolen after Western Australia announced a draconian five-day Covid lockdown. 


The alleged assault came as West Australians were mocked for their panic buying after Premier Mark McGowan announced the extraordinary measures on Sunday.


The woman reportedly 'bit a customer on the neck' and stole her toilet paper in South Perth.

Locals are in a panic after the state recorded a single case of coronavirus on Sunday - the first in the community in 10 months.


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Zombie nation: Third of adults walking around in concussion-like daze due to stress, lack of sleep


Here’s a pretty good reason to make sure you’re getting enough rest and relaxation in your life. More than a third of people are walking around with the same symptoms as concussion due to stress and lack of sleep, suggests a new study.


A survey of more than 31,000 people shows that insufficient sleep, mental health problems, and stress were the causes of a whole host of symptoms doctors are used to seeing in head injury patients. Symptoms of what doctors call post-concussion syndrome (PCS) range from persistent headaches, dizziness and anxiety, to insomnia and loss of concentration and memory.


While 27 percent of people report having several of these symptoms, between one-half and three-quarters say they experience at least one. The most common symptoms are fatigue, low energy and drowsiness. Yet despite their findings, researchers believe the number in the general population could be much higher.


The study, funded by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the US military, was designed to improve care for athletes and soldiers who suffered concussions. A total of 2,039 military service academy cadets and 18,548 student athletes were surveyed.


“The numbers were high, and were consistent with previous research in this area, but it is quite shocking,” says study lead author Dr. Jaclyn Caccese, assistant professor in The Ohio State University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, in a statement. “These are elite athletes who are physically fit, and they are experiencing that many symptoms commonly reported following concussion. So looking across the general population, they’d probably have even more.”


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  • 2 weeks later...

Wanted man hands himself in to police in bid for ‘peace and quiet’ in prison


A wanted man handed himself in to police rather than spend any more time in lockdown with the people he lives with.


He volunteered himself to officers on Wednesday afternoon in a bid for some “peace and quiet”, police said.


Being cooped up in the pandemic has led many to yearn for some space from the people they share homes with.


But the man appears to have got to the point where even a return to Her Majesty’s prison estate was preferable.


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