Friday Funnies!


Why we get sick when the weather is cold

Have you, as I have, noticed that many of your friends and acquaintances are sick this winter? Or maybe you yourself got the cold or flu?

We are told that it’s an old wife’s tale that cold weather makes us sick.

Well, it turns out that the old wife’s tale is true!


A new study, “Cold exposure impairs extracellular vesicle swarm–mediated nasal antiviral immunity,” coauthored by six scientists, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Dec. 6, 2022, found the underlying biological mechanisms for why there is seasonal variation in respiratory viral infections.

Below are excerpts from the article:

Upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) pose a significant public health burden in terms of decreased productivity, absenteeism at work or school, and health care system overload. URIs may be associated with multiple clinical sequelae, such as otitis media, sinusitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and exacerbation of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Seasonal variation in increased URI prevalence, morbidity, and mortality during the winter period has been well recognized. These adverse outcomes may be further exacerbated by socioeconomic and behavioral factors as well as age, sex, and comorbidities…. Accumulating evidence suggests that temperature and humidity may independently or jointly contribute to the risk of respiratory viral infections due to changes in host susceptibility. Similarly, recent fundamental research exploring the underlying molecular mechanisms demonstrates that cold temperature may impair host innate immune response to viral infections.

The nasal cavity is one of the initial contact points between the external environment and the human body; it is highly sensitive to changes in ambient temperature. The nasal mucosal barrier therefore represents the front line of defense against exposure to inhaled respiratory pathogens through multiple host immune mechanisms. The physical barrier function of the nasal mucosa can prevent pathogens from entering the body through the production of mucus glycoproteins, mucociliary clearance, and epithelial tight junctions. The nasal epithelial cells also play important roles in the initiation, maintenance, and regulation of innate immunity. These defense mechanisms are constitutive and can be activated by both membrane-bound and cytoplasmic pattern recognition receptors that recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns commonly found in viruses. One of the best characterized classes of pattern recognition receptors is the Toll-like receptor (TLR)family, which are transmembrane receptors expressed on multiple cell types, including nasal epithelial cells. TLRs recognize components of invading microbes and trigger the first line of innate immune and inflammatory responses to combat infectious agents. Within the TLR family, TLR3 is considered a major mediator of cellular defense to viral infection, as it responds to double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), a common by-product of virus replication. While these strategies occur at the level of the epithelial cell, recent evidence has shown that active host mucosal defense to bacteria extends into the mucus itself through the epithelial release of antimicrobial extracellular vesicle (EV) swarms. EVs are lipid-bound vesicles secreted by cells into the extracellular space and have been reported in virtually all human biological fluids, including blood, lymph, and nasal mucus…. Accumulating evidence has shown that in addition to their previously described antibacterial role, EVs may also regulate innate immune responses to viral infections. This occurs through the functional delivery of antiviral agents, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), into neighboring or distant recipient cells…. Previous studies have reported that several miRNAs have direct antiviral effects or regulate the inflammatory pathways, thereby enhancing antiviral immunity against infections. In addition to transport of antiviral agents between cells, EVs can also exert direct virion neutralization by binding to virus ligands via surface receptors and block their entry to host cells.

The scientists ran a number of experiments and found that when the temperature is reduced by as little as 5 degrees Centigrade, “Cold exposure impairs TLR3-dependent EV secretion and miR-17 abundance, which abrogates antiviral activity.” In other words, exposure to cold temperature impairs the body’s secretion of the extracellular vesicles (EV) that regulate our bodies’ innate immune responses to viral infections. 

The study concludes:

[T]he potent antiviral functions mediated by TLR3-dependent EVs are impaired by cold air conditions via a 41.9% decrease in total EV release as well as reduced miRNA packaging (23.8%) and antiviral surface receptor binding activity (24.4% and 77.2%) of individual EV….

Many respiratory viruses initiate infection in the nasal cavity, which is the first region of contact of inhaled respiratory pathogens and is highly sensitive to changes in ambient air temperature. The diminished innate immune responses to viral infections at cool temperatures could thereby create a more permissive environment for virus replication compared to warm temperatures…. [I]nhaling cool air in the winter season might impair the antiviral immune defense functions mediated by TLR3-stimulated EVs and decrease resistance to infections by reducing the host cell temperature within the anterior nasal mucosa. Our observations revealed that exposure to cold resulted in increased host susceptibility to respiratory viruses, providing a potential immunologic mechanism for seasonal variation in URIs.


Wednesday funnies!



A happy ending: Florida diver rescued by family

Dylan had an Angel watching over him!

From Daily Mail:

“A  21-year-old free diver was miraculously rescued by his family after he was swept away by the Gulf Stream while diving more than five miles from the Florida Keys.

Diver and spear fisherman Dylan Gartenmayer described the moment he heard the hum of his grandfather’s boat as he hopelessly lay watching the sun set over shark-infested waters.

Hours earlier on Thursday afternoon, he had been with two friends as he descended for his final dive of the day around the West Sambo Reef.

Beneath the surface he was caught in a current that drew him 150 feet below the surface and spat him out around a mile away.

His friends notified both the US Coast Guard and his family, who began a desperate search, racing against the setting sun.

After emerging he swam around a mile back towards the reef, where he cut free mooring buoys which he tied together to form a makeshift raft. ‘I was watching the sun drop pretty quickly,’ said Gartenmayer in a video posted to social media.

Fishing bait started washing up around him, attracting the attention of sharks.  I’d just seen a reef shark swam past me,’ he said. ‘I had a bunch of bait start blowing up around, I could see mackerel skyrocketing.’

As the temperature began to drop and a chill set in, the diver described how he used the buoys to keep his body as far out of the water as possible. ‘I was starting to shiver at that point and my hands were starting to feel a little numb, so were my toes, so I knew this was starting to get serious,’ he said.

A rescue mission involving coast guard boats and aircraft was underway, but they were unable to spot him.  ‘I had a small plane fly above but they didn’t see me,’ he said. ‘About 30 minutes later they flew back again, still didn’t see me.’

‘Shortly after that the sun had disappeared past the horizon. Looking to the east it was pitch black, looking to the west you could see the remnants of the sunset. As I saw the sun disappear I knew things were starting to get a little more dire,’ he said.

But then the amateur search party led by his family struck gold. ‘By some miracle my parents and everybody else on board my grandfather’s boat ended up driving and basically landing right on top of me,’ he said.

‘I could hear the engines running and I knew from there that was actually my grandfather’s boat.’

Read the whole story here.


An act of kindness: Hody Childress donated money to pharmacy for those who could not afford medication

A generous man: Hody Childress (center)

God Bless Hody.

From Daily Mail:

“An Alabama farmer spent some of the little money that he had to help members of his community to pay for their medical bills. Not even Hody Childress’s family members knew about his generosity until shortly before his death at the age of 80 on January 1.

The revelation about his acts was first revealed to many at his January 5 funeral, after the town’s pharmacist told family members.

Childress’s daughter Tania Nix told The Washington Post that she didn’t know what prompted her father to go to Geraldine Drugs in Geraldine, Alabama, a town of around 900, each month and give $100 to the pharmacist to help those struggling.

Nix did speculate that when her mother struggled with multiple sclerosis, her medical bills and drugs were expensive. Her mother, Peggy, passed away in 1999. He began his altruistic tradition in 2012.

Nix said that a woman recently wrote to her to tell her that Childress’s money allowed her to afford an EpiPen for her son, while another said that she burst into tears in the store when she was told that there was a fund that would help her to pay for her and her daughter’s prescription.

The pharmacist at the drug store, Brooke Walker said that Childress told her when he first handed over the money: ‘Don’t tell a soul where the money came from – if they ask, just tell them it’s a blessing from the lord.’

Nix said that a woman recently wrote to her to tell her that Childress’s money allowed her to afford an EpiPen for her son, while another said that she burst into tears in the store when she was told that there was a fund that would help her to pay for her and her daughter’s prescription.

The pharmacist at the drug store, Brooke Walker said that Childress told her when he first handed over the money: ‘Don’t tell a soul where the money came from – if they ask, just tell them it’s a blessing from the lord.’

The pharmacist told a family member that she didn’t let Childress’s donation go on painkillers, only antibiotics and life-sustaining medication.

On two occasions she used the money for non-medical reasons, once to help a woman who was in an abusive relationship to get back on her feet and once to help an elderly man who was caring for his special needs son and his wife, who had broken her hip, to pay for a used washer and dryer.

Nix told WaPo that her father told about his donations as he became gravely ill with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease over the holidays.

She said: ‘He told me he’d been carrying a $100 bill to the pharmacist in Geraldine on the first of each month, and he didn’t want to know who she’d helped with it — he just wanted to bless people with it.’

Read the whole story here.

h/t Breitbart


Happy Friday: A little something to make you smile (and cry)

A cancer patient went to the hairdresser. The stylist then surprised her.

Be sure to watch until the end!


Marine uses his intel training to track down woman’s abducted Yorkie dog


Yorkie Avery returned home safely!

From Daily Mail:

“A former Marine Corps intelligence operator who helped capture al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq used his skills to track down a Maryland dognapper after a Yorkie’s sudden disappearance left a family devastated.

Rick Machamer, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, learned Raquel Witherspoon’s beloved pet had been stolen after watching the local TV news and believed he could help.

Witherspoon was sent texts together with a video of her dog, Avery, a Yorkie, locked in a cage together with a ransom demand for $1,200.

Despite filing the case with the police, she was told that it would be a week before officers could even begin looking at the case, so she went to the local media noting how the dog was an emotional support animal for her 12-year-old daughter, Semaj.

Machamer, who owns a Norwegian elkhound and a Pomeranian was troubled by the thought of someone stealing his beloved pets and got in contact with the family. ‘I couldn’t fathom my reaction if someone took one of my dogs, especially if they sent a picture of one in a cage,’ he said to the Washington Post.

The former military man’s skills lay in tracking and gathering information. His skills were such that he was honored for taking part in operations that saw him help  capture al-Qaeda leaders in al-Anbar province in Iraq. Machamer, a United States Marine Corps veteran completed three combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Hero Marine Rick Machamer

He offered to help Witherspoon track down her dog and she quickly accepted. Avery was dognapped in June, with Machamer’s involvement in rescuing the pet only coming to light this weekend.

Machamer, who runs a corporate intelligence firm that carries out opposition research for political campaigns, first used his resources to trace the phone number of the dognapper.

He ran the suspect’s phone number through an online database and used software to extract geolocation data from the video of Avery in her cage but it yielded no clues.

He then searched through customer reviews of local salons near Witherspoon’s home, hoping he might find the perpetrator thanks to her distinctive dyed red hair that could be clearly seen on doorcam video. Once again, no useful information could be gleaned.

Machamer then decided to run the dognappers number through his personal Instagram account in an effort to see if any profiles were connected to the number.

Incredibly, Machamer found a lead through the social media platform, which linked him to a body piercing business near Witherspoon’s home and a post that also linked to the owner’s personal Instagram account.

Machamer discovered that the owner had posted about another dog that had gone missing in Witherspoon’s neighborhood before Avery was taken.

A little bit of Googling saw him come up with a social media post about the missing dog.

There was even a picture of the family speaking to police about the dog together with someone that looked distinctly like the dognapper from Witherspoon’s doorbell camera. The photograph even displayed the address of the home.

Four days after Avery went missing, Witherspoon also received a tip that someone in the same house that had just been pinpointed by Machamer was indeed behind the dognapping.

Together the pair gave the information to police and Avery was recovered two days later after a Prince George’s County Police detective went to the home and retrieved the dog.

‘I was like, “They got him back!” said Witherspoon’s daughter, Semaj. ‘I didn’t want to face the reality of not seeing my dog again.

A 16-year-old girl was charged with stealing and admitted to being involved in the theft together with an attempt to extort Witherspoon in return for the pet. She pleaded guilty before trial.”

Read the whole story here.


Whale watchers witness baby calf birth

How amazing would it be to see something like this?

Read the full story about this whale watching adventure here.


The virtue-signaling mayor caption contest

This is our world-famous 265th Caption Contest!

Here’s the pic:

About the pic: New York Post reports that after “dying to go” to the Metropolitan Gala “for years,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, finally got his wish. Adams, 61, arrived at the May 2022 Met Gala wearing a statement suit adorned with custom art from Laolu, a Nigerian artist who is based in New York City.

You know the drill:

  • Enter the contest by submitting your caption as a comment on this thread (scroll down until you see the “LEAVE A REPLY” box).
  • Body and Soul‘s writers will vote for the winner.
  • Any captions proffered by our writers, no matter how brilliant (ha ha), will not be considered. :(

This contest will be closed at the end of Tuesday, January 17, 2023.

‘To get the contest going, here’s my caption:

Meanwhile, new12brooklyn reports that “Gun violence is on the rise in New York City.” So much for virtue signaling….

For the winner of our last Caption Contest, go here.


We have a winner!


Our writers dutifully voted for their #1 and #2 captions. Each #1 vote is worth 4 points; each #2 vote us worth 2 points.

And the clear winner, with three #1 votes, totaling 12 points, is:

Jackie Puppet!

Here’s his caption:

Does this mustache go with my dress?

Auntie Lulu and Brian Heinz (each with one #1 vote), and greenworxx and vett (each with two #2 votes) are in second place, each with 4 points:

Auntie Lulu: “I wonder if this tool will be wearing his red dress to prison?”

Brian Heinz: “Well it looks like we lost Mr. Clean to the trans sect.”

greenworxx: “Tranny, liar, nutter, thief…..too bad he’ll soon be full of grief!”

vett: “Now there’s a face not even a mother could love.”

Calgirl is in third place, with one #2 vote and 2 points:

“Check me out: I don’t even require “underwire” or exposed bra straps with this dress. Who knew?”


Congratulations, Jackie Puppet!

For all the other caption submissions, go here.

Be here later today for our next Caption Contest!