Happy Birthday to the Covid-19 Lockdown(s)

On March 15, 2020, everything in the state of Maryland began shutting down, including restaurants, bars, clubs, malls, gyms, movie theaters, schools, and any other establishment not deemed to be not an essential business. This basically meant only grocery stores and gas stations remained open. 

Also, with this drastic change came a mandatory mask mandate that the country hasn’t seen in 100 years. In Baltimore City alone, we were only able to partake in carryout food.  All major forms of entertainment closed for three months. 

For students at UB, we entered spring break a week early and were initially told that we would return in two weeks.  Well, the last time I stepped foot on campus was over a year ago, as I have been attending Zoom University ever since. 

With that anniversary coming up, I figured we’d take a look back at our first last year living through the Covid-19 pandemic. 

To understand the pandemic, we also have to look at how much happened from early 2020 to where we are now. 

We’ve experienced great losses of life like Kobe Bryant, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Chadwick Boseman, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Eddie Van Halen, and Alex Trebek. We have also weathered some serious natural disasters like the Australia bushfires, the Westcoast wild fires, the Beirut explosion, Murder Hornets, and a massive winter storm that decimated Texas. 

To note less severe world happenings, we’ve seen the stock market crash, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave the Royal Family, the impeachment of Donald Trump not once but twice, and a massive outcry for social justice during the Black Lives Matter protests.

Needless to say, 2020 was a complete dumpster fire of a year. However, the pandemic also offered some positive changes in the world. 

Look at how the pandemic has affected our major holidays traditions in the last year. Opening day for baseball was canceled, the NBA was forced to bubble, and the Olympics were postponed, as were most major music festivals and even some NFL games. Some sports have semi-recovered, the capacity limits for fans have dropped drastically compared to what we are used to. 

Another thing we haven’t seen in years was the closure of major amusement parks, the largest being Disneyworld. These parks have now been converted to mass vaccination sites, along with major event facilities such as Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. 

We’ve also seen the strict enforcement of capacity limits in local bars and clubs. This makes the overall outgoing experience drastically different, but people have become accustomed to these relaxing open spaces given the lack of body to body contact they’re usually subjected to.

Another industry that has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus is television and film. Back in February 2020, most major film and TV productions went on hiatus. This resulted in major premiere delays and some television shows not being able to finish their seasons. Over time, most film and TV staff were able to return to set.  However, in one instance, constant delays hit the new Batman movie directed by Matt Reeves, which saw multiple Covid outbreaks on set. Throughout other major film studios such as Disney/Marvel, similar delays have lasted over a year. This has largely affected movie theaters all across the world.  Many small theaters have closed permanently while larger chains fight to stay alive. 

With the pandemic now easing up and public access to theaters returning, reserving a whole movie theater for yourself is easier than ever. Also, with the rising demand for online streaming, subscribers can now watch more major blockbuster films than ever from the comfort of their own homes on premier platforms like Disney Plus and HBOMax.

When it comes to work and education, we’ve all been confined to our homes to get our work done. This has created an opportune environment where you’re able to complete your work from anywhere in the world. People have been leaving the cities in droves, causing the housing market to boom for the first time in years. Major corporations have extended work from home programs for their employees until 2022 and beyond. In some ways this has made life easier for all, especially those no longer paying rent for office space. 

This pandemic has taken a lot from people but also has made life a bit different in some positive ways as well.

CJ Rhem is a senior writer for The Sting.

Honeycomb Hideout: Divorcing Friends

Dear Honeycomb Hideout,

I am currently stuck between what seems like a divorce of the friend group. Without going into too much detail, my friends got into an altercation without me being present and now it seems like battle lines have been drawn. On one side of the argument I have a friend who feels they didn’t do anything wrong and apologized and on the other side I have friends who won’t acknowledge anything happened at all. It now feels like I am a child of divorce all over again. What advice do you have to offer me in this difficult situation?

First, let me just offer my sympathies to you because this situation is always a complete headache to all the parties involved. There is nothing worse than fighting inside the friend group especially since this is a group of people who are there because you seek to gain comfort from them. 

If you’re anything like me, you treat the small group of friends you have like family and fighting between them can be very stressful and traumatizing. I also noticed how you mentioned being a child of divorce, so this must be hitting a bit harder for you. 

I will say this as a child of divorce: you probably feel like it’s your job to get in the middle of this and try to fix it. While your intentions are in the right place, don’t do it. Since this situation didn’t involve you, don’t put yourself into it; you will only do more harm than good in the long run of things.

In this situation, stay neutral. Be Switzerland!

I know this may be difficult, but keeping your hands free of the situation will serve you well. If your friend group is like a family, something I learned is that families are going to fight and that is a natural thing. 

The only difference between friends and family is you don’t get to choose your family. With that being said, there’s a very strong possibility that you will all come back together in a short amount of time.

If we have to address the worst case scenario that your friends won’t make-up, that leaves you the options of still remaining friends with both parties or picking a side. I personally recommend the former but to each their own. 

Since you’re friends with both and neither side is budging, I have bad news for you: it’s going to be your childhood all over again. It’s going to be Saturday morning soccer games where your mom is in her lawn chair and your dad is on the bleachers with all the other hungover parents. 

This situation is not ideal but you still will have both groups of friends there for you at major events you’d want everyone to be involved in like birthdays, graduations, and weddings. My advice would be to inform both sides that you will be inviting the other so they do not feel like they are being blindsided showing up to an event and the other is there. 

One reality you may have to also face is they may skip events due to this, so you may have moments where you have to pick and choose who you invite to what. In my opinion this option is flawed because eventually you’ll seem like the bad guy for not inviting someone to something. 

Remember you didn’t cause this problem and if your friends care enough about it they can conduct themselves like adults for your behalf.

I wish you the best in your new social circle and if you just want to cause chaos you could try the parent trap method or like an escape room forcing cooperation but the results of this may vary.

Your friend, 


Honeycomb Hideout is the anonymous advice column from The Sting.

Honeycomb Hideout: Getting Back Out There

Dear Honeycomb Hideout,

With vaccines and everything opening back up with spring, I feel like it’s time for me to get back out there. I have been swiping through the whole pandemic and after talking to a few people I have a few I want to meet up with. Do you have any advice for someone who has been out of the game for the last year? 

Your friend, 

Back Out in Baltimore

First, let me say welcome back to the outside world BoB! 

Let’s start by getting to the most basic piece of advice I can give in any dating situation, which is be yourself. No matter how fun, crazy or sad you are, just be that. 

Now thinking about how Spring is around the corner and the weather is getting warmer offers you some more options when it comes to going on dates. There’s plenty of outdoor dining all over the city or you could take a stroll around Federal Hill or Patterson Park. 

There’s also the option of walking around the Harbor or Fells Point, however I recommend bringing a jacket because it gets cold by the water. These are just some basic ideas of some date options for you but whatever you and the other person want to do, go for that.

Now about how you’ve been fever swiping: it sounds like you’ve built up quite the roster to choose from. You can play this many ways. You could go into like the bachelor/bachelorette or even like the hunger games where only the strongest competitor survives. However, I just live for chaos so maybe you won’t look at it that way. 

Thankfully all the power is in your hands so I recommend going with your gut and just feel things out. We’re all coming out of this pandemic together and we’re all going to be a little socially awkward and not pick up on social cues cause we’ve been on house arrest the last year.  

Regardless, just get back out there! This pandemic has taken a lot from everyone and life is meant to be lived, so do exactly that. 


The Color Theory: The 90’s Are Back

Photo: Joshua Rondeau (Unsplash)

Ladies, how many of you are digging through your mom’s closet right now? If not, you definitely should! As some of you may have heard, 90’s fashion has skyrocketed back into the fashion realm in recent memory. Fashion influencers and major celebrities, such as Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber, are becoming “re-inspired” (as you may say) by hopping onto this nostalgic trend.

“The ’90s have had a long, bad reputation when it comes to modern fashion – the pieces associated with it remains among the most fun and offbeat in a woman’s wardrobe” (Lifestyle Asia Magazine)

When it comes to the ’90s, what is one piece of clothing that you think of first? Baggy jeans, blazers, starter jackets, fanny packs? The list goes on.

Photo: Cindy Crawford (CR Fashionbook)

Well, my curious reader, seems like baggy jeans are back in style and are here to stay in 2021. With our new way of living and working, baggy jeans seem to benefit us more in our present time. With its ultra-wide legs, baggy clothes give you comfortability without living behind the fashion. Many have embraced this ongoing trend, referring to this phase as one of their favorite clothing styles to date. 

The “baggy cut” seems like it is only exclusive for jeans. It meshes well with different types of pant material, such as: cargo, perforated, faded, asymmetrical, in leather or imitation leather, ripped, and color coordinated to complement various styles.

Photo: Nicholas Cage on SNL (Getty Images)

Since the reemergence of baggy clothes, other 90’s trends survived the test of time. Some may consider the sophisticated blazer jacket being a timeless gem – landscaping across all different kinds of generations throughout different eras. For all you fashionistas out there, you may have seen different levels of blazers making an appearance on the runway in many fashion boutiques and shows. Before, blazers with vibrant colors and loud prints were very popular – according to Darcy Schild and Erin McDowell from Insider

Nowadays, blazers are increasingly focusing more on simplicity with the use of solid colors (such as: black, beige, brown, and nudes). What makes this piece of clothing so timeless is its versatility. You can combine blazers with jeans, dresses, baggy shirts, graphic tees, or leather pants – for all you 90’s connoisseurs. If you want to be a lot more brave, you can wear a silky dress with a blazer and still look CHIC!

Photo: Victoria Beckham (Who What Wear)

Personally, I cannot live without a blazer in my wardrobe. The most recent combination I have done with a blazer was wearing it under a black turtleneck shirt, leather miniskirt, and a pair of Dr. Martens – otherwise, known as a pair of “chunky boots”. However, if you are not a skirt/dress person, a pair of baggy jeans would go perfectly well with your outfit of the day.

Happy Nostalgia!

Artjona Lireza is a staff writer for The Sting

Friday Groove: George Harrison

When I worked at Record and Tape, we had a poster in the back room of the Beatles, with handwritten labels above each member. Ringo’s said “Stupid Head.” John’s said ”Dumb Head.” What Paul’s said is too vulgar for this publication. But George’s said “Eh, he’s ok.”

Over the years, I don’t really recall hearing anyone say anything bad about George Harrison. Meanwhile, I’ve heard people say a lot about the other three members of the Beatles. Even before knowing much about Harrison’s music, I could tell something was different about him. He didn’t seem as pretentious as Paul. He didn’t seem as hot-headed as John. He didn’t seem as drunk as Ringo.

A few years ago, when I came across a clip of George Harrison on The Dick Cavett Show, he proved what I suppose I had always known about him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone who was as purely human as he was. As he made quips to Dick Cavett, you could tell he was uncomfortable with the prospect of being interviewed in front of millions of viewers, as anyone might be in a similar situation.

He wasn’t there to show off or brag about what he had done recently. When pressed about what he had said to John Lennon at a recent movie premiere, Harrison replied “I said ‘Hi, hello.’” There was no profound conversation or intense encounter. To me, in a way, that was almost better than anything he (or anyone for that matter) could have made up.

I think there’s a misconception about professional musicians that they’re these larger than life figures who are always out at parties or events, or always on tour. George Harrison, by no means, was larger than life, but just because he wasn’t larger than life doesn’t mean he didn’t have a large life. 

Born in Liverpool, England in 1943, George Harrison started playing music with Paul McCartney and John Lennon in his early teens. In the Beatles, Harrison couldn’t fully express himself. Stuck playing lead guitar and singing background vocals to the overwhelming majority of songs that were written by Lennon and McCartney, Harrison was only able to get a couple of songs on each record. 

As turmoil grew within the band, Harrison quit on multiple occasions, with the most iconic departure occurring on January 10, 1969. After McCartney and Lennon continuously shot down song after song of Harrison’s, he had had enough. He went home that day and wrote the song “Wah-Wah,” which would later appear on his second solo album. Of course, Harrison came back to finish the rest of the Beatles’ recordings, but within a year, the band broke up for good.

In 1970, about a month after the Beatles broke up, Harrison went to work on his magnum opus. The triple-LP All Things Must Pass, which featured some of the greatest musical talent of the time, including Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Pete Drake and too many others to count, was released in November of that year. 

It’s hard to find the right words to describe that album. I don’t have another piece of music in my collection that even remotely compares to the raw emotion that Harrison digs into on the record. It has made me laugh. It has made me cry. Tracks like “What Is Life” and “Art of Dying” make you want to roll the windows down and turn the volume up. Tracks like “My Sweet Lord” and “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp” are delicate and timeless. 

Easily, All Things Must Pass is my favorite record of all time. Even as I try to put some variety into what I listen to, I put that album on the turntable at least a couple times a month.

All of Harrison’s other eleven solo albums are fantastic pieces of music too. Isn’t it a pity that he was so constrained in the Beatles? Who’s to say what some of those records would’ve looked like had Lennon and McCartney given Harrison more freedom to express himself. Later in his career, he also appeared alongside Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison in The Traveling Wilburys.

Harrison’s ventures weren’t limited to just music either. He was a founder of HandMade Films in 1979, which helped produce the films Life of Brian (1979) and Time Bandits (1981). When Monty Python lost their funding for Life of Brian due to uproar from the Catholic Church over the film’s content, Harrison took out a second mortgage on his home to fund the film’s completion. The only condition was that he got to be in the movie.

On Thursday, George Harrison would’ve turned 78. There were tributes on Facebook from former bandmate Paul McCartney and millions of fans everywhere. I personally threw on his 1974 LP Dark Horse to mark the occasion. 

Although Harrison passed away 20 years ago this November from cancer, his legacy continues. His son, Dhani Harrison, recently revived his father’s old record label Dark Horse. Next month, the label is releasing a compilation of Greatest Hits from The Clash frontman Joe Strummer.

I always get a little upset when there’s an artist I couldn’t appreciate until after their death. Of course, being only three when he died, it’s not through any fault of my own. I do take comfort, though, in knowing that Harrison did finally get the recognition he deserved after the Beatles broke up, and that he was able to have such a successful career while also maintaining such a deep sense of humility.

Tony Sheaffer is editor-in-chief for The Sting and writes Friday Groove, a weekly music column.

The Color Theory: Four Looks

Going into this week, I needed some inspiration. I was looking through some old posts made from previous UB students (which you should definitely check out in the archives page), and I found this article made by recent graduate Benjamin Kahn – who I can say is the “predecessor” of The Color Theory.

Ben wrote a weekly column on men’s fashion called Kahnjucntion – hence, his last name (no?). After he left and graduated from UB, I stepped in and rebranded his fashion column into an influential streetwear column. So anyways, shout out to you Ben!

Here are four looks based on the type of persona you can define yourself with:

The Anime Fanatic

Whether you are an anime fan, or just simply like graphic tees, this one is for you! Maybe add a bomber jacket with this fit too?

The Photoshoot Fresh

Don’t be afraid of looking tacky – sometimes GOOD accidents happen. Here, I found a really bright and vibrant button-up from H&M and built my outfit from there.

Seems like button-ups will never go out of style, as it always makes you look more clean and crisp. All in all, just pretend that you are going to model for someone or going out on a date, you want to have a good impression!

The Simple, Yet Laid-Back

Still want to make a good impression, but don’t want to put so much effort into your look? Neutral colors are the way to go! A mix of white, black, and (maybe) grey can be incorporated into your outfit for this very simple look.

The Rockstar

Be influenced by your favorite musicians and take a look at their wardrobe. Another thing to note, bring their album art into life with your own style of streetwear. For example, you might of seen people reflecting their look with Tyler The Creator’s Flower Boy album.

Jeff Dominguez is the Communications Director for The Sting and writes The Color Theory, an influential fashion column.