Friday Five (lonely elephant edition)

We have reached the first Friday in December. Which seems both weird and miraculous, time having become a fog for so many of us. I suspect that I am not the only one who frequently checks the calendar to count how many days we have to endure before January 20th arrives.

It has been cold and dry this week. Because there has been nearly zero cloud cover all week, the temperature drops every day drastically come night fall. Which, this time of year, happens before 4:30. I don’t know if it’s related to the weather, but all week long two of the four squirrels that regularly come to the squirrel feeder on my deck and dig around in my flower pots, have be really angry at each other. The keep getting into fights, anyway.

But let’s get to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: two stories that have nothing to do with any of the anxiety-inducing things happening in the world, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and allies, five stories about space science, five stories about the pandemic, five stories about crooks & liars, and five videas (plus notable obituaries and some things I wrote).

This Week In News We Need Right Now!:

Cher singing to “The World’s Loneliest Elephant” is all the sweetness you need today.

A Little Bit Of Christmas.

Stories of the Week:

A Day In The Life Of Dr. Anthony Fauci – What does one of the top infectious disease experts do when he’s sidelined by the White House during COVID-19? Plenty.

Hello! You’ve Been Referred Here Because You’re Wrong About Section 230 Of The Communications Decency Act.

‘Time For My Flag to Go Up’: How Anti-Trumpers Are Reclaiming the American Flag – Over the past four years, the flag has been re-cast as a kind of MAGA shorthand. Now, Trump foes are ready to take the symbol back.

Fewer than half of Americans know that alcohol is a carcinogen. Big Booze wants to keep it that way.

Mysterious Monolith Update: Racists Destroy California Monolith, Proclaim Christ Superior to Space Aliens.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Federal judge rules requiring “proof” of gender identity for a passport is unconstitutional – The judge granted a transgender man a passport, saying the government violated his Fifth Amendment rights.

LGBTQ Organizations Urge Media to Stop ‘Deadnaming’ Transgender Stars After Elliot Page Comes Out.

Corporate America loves LGBTQ people & anti-LGBTQ politicians – The US Chamber of Commerce says it supports LGBTQ equality but it is spending $2 million to support two anti-LGBTQ Republican Senators in their runoff election – and that race will decide the fate of LGBTQ rights.

A New Day for Queer People in the South – North Carolina’s ban on local protections for LGBTQ people expires today. But more fights lie ahead.

Hate crimes on the rise in King County, prosecutors say – The King County Prosecuting Attorneys Office says 51 hate crime cases have been reported so far this year.

This Week in the Space Science:

China’s Chang’e-5 Moon mission probe touches down.

A very ancient globular cluster orbits the Andromeda Galaxy.

Huge Puerto Rico radio telescope, already damaged, collapses.

Asteroid 2020 SO images reveal mystery object is likely a piece of NASA rocket.

Betelgeuse went dark, but didn’t go supernova. What happened? – The bright star’s great dimming may have been a big dust burp.

This Week in Crooks, Liars and Other Deplorable People:

Former U.S. Attorney Asks Georgia to Investigate Lindsey Graham for Potential Election Crimes.

Here Are the Threats Terrorizing Election Workers – Incendiary rhetoric by President Trump and his followers is fueling a wave of threats against election workers. Some have received death threats and images of nooses and been told “You’re a traitor.”.

Judge denies motions to dismiss 2 of 6 counts against Kyle Rittenhouse – Kyle Rittenhouse bound over for trial on six counts.

Trump-appointed former Miller aide banned from Department of Justice after trying to obtaing case info – Banned From DOJ Offices For Snooping.

The Coup That Hasn’t Happened Yet – Oh, you thought there would be a coup just because the president repeatedly said there would be?

This Week in the Pandemic:

WA nurse has lingering effects from COVID months later, returning to work.

102-year-old woman beats COVID-19 twice.

Vaccines Are Coming, but Pandemic Experts Expect a ‘Horrible’ Winter – With vaccines and a new administration, the pandemic will be tamed. But experts say the coming months “are going to be just horrible.”

Coronavirus Was Already Spreading in America by Last Christmas, Study Finds.

Hawaii police arrest couple who boarded flight despite testing positive for coronavirus.

In Memoriam:

Legendary Science Fiction Author Ben Bova Has Passed at the Age of 88.

David Prowse, “Star Wars” and “A Clockwork Orange” Actor, Dead at 85 – He’s best known for his work bringing Darth Vader to the screen.

David Prowse, Actor Behind Darth Vader, Dies At 85.

Gay wrestling star Pat Patterson dead at 79.

Pat Patterson, WWE Legend and First Openly Gay Wrestling Superstar, Dies at 79 – Hall of Famer was WWF’s first Intercontinental Champion and later created the Royal Rumble Match.

Things I wrote:

To absent friends… 2020.

Words and numbers and other things that matter.


Sykes Calls This Time ‘The Most Dangerous 60 Days Of The Trump Presidency’ | Deadline | MSNBC:

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New Orleans Orgy Organizers Regret Lax Enforcement Of Social Distancing Rules:

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John Mulaney on Secret Service Investigation, SNL Joke Backlash & Writing for Seth Meyers:

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President Obama’s Mother-In-Law Helped Keep The First Family Down To Earth:

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Bells, Bows, Gifts, Trees:

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