MONDAY, JANUARY 19 This week of waterfront smells, Disneyland measles, and the glorious mouth-droppings of Sarah Palin kicked off with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the federal holiday commemorating the life of the Nobel Peace Prize–winning pastor and activist whose visionary approach to nonviolent civil disobedience was crucial to the civil rights movement and every US protest movement that's come since. Despite the peaceful ideals of its namesake, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has often found itself mired in drama, from Arizona's voter-approved rejection of the federal holiday (a crazy bit of racism that cost the city its hosting gig for the 1993 Super Bowl) to the continued practice of Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi to split the federal holiday's focus between King and the also-born-this-month Confederate army general Robert E. Lee. Meanwhile in Seattle, MLK Day 2015 brought an impassioned rally and march that spun off into some civil disobedience of its own, with protesters chanting "Black lives matter" while blocking traffic on Highway 99 and the Mercer exit off I-5 to protest police violence. By the end of day, 19 protesters were arrested, one police officer was assaulted, Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo used the words of MLK and her own heroic empathy to school a repellent racist on Twitter (google it), and we didn't even use our AK. Today was a good day.

•• Unfortunately, one human's good day is another human's day the baby got shot, as proven today in Missouri, where a 5-year-old boy came upon his grandfather's pistol and fatally shot his 9-month-old brother. "The boy found his grandfather's .22-caliber magnum revolver that was being kept on a shelf built into the headboard in the master bedroom, Nodaway County sheriff Darren White told the Washington Post. The baby was in a crib in the same room when the gun went off, and a bullet struck him in the head." On Wednesday, a similar tragedy will play out in Florida, where a 2-year-old boy will find his father's gun and fatally shoot himself. Two-and-a-half-year-old Kaleb was able to "take a gun, pick it up, turn it around, and [shoot] himself dead center in the middle of the chest," as Pinellas County sheriff Bob Gualtieri said at a news conference. Both shootings remain under investigation.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 20 In lighter news, the week continued in Orange County, California, where dozens of unvaccinated students have been banned from Huntington Beach High School after being exposed to a classmate who'd been infected in the measles outbreak at Disneyland last December. "California state laws require children to be vaccinated with the MMR [measles, mumps, and rubella] vaccine before enrolling in school," reports CBS Los Angeles. "Some parents believe the shots are linked to autism and other medical conditions and have signed medical-exemption forms." As punishment for their parents' reckless experiments in purity, the unvaccinated students are banished from school until January 29. Meanwhile, the Disney Measles continue to spread, with a confirmed 42 infections thus far linked to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park. How long will it be until only those with documented vaccinations are allowed in Disneyland and its affiliates and subsidiaries? How long until some enterprising capitalist launches a vaccine-free Disney alternative? How long until a pile of dead babies helps us sort out this exploration of the bounds of personal liberty?

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21 Nothing happened today, unless you count the broadcast of the third episode of Empire, Fox's new nighttime drama created by the Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lee Daniels, starring the Oscar-nominated actors Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson and trafficking in a "shocking twist!" melodrama that suggests Scandal by way of Melrose Place (with original musical numbers by Timbaland). Presenting itself as a music-biz reboot of King Lear and/or The Lion in Winter, Empire is also indebted to the work of Shonda Rhimes, creator of Scandal, executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder, and master of creating magic by throwing ridiculously tawdry scripts at world-class actors, who make the melodrama live for at least as long as their beautiful faces fill the screen. Interested parties are directed to watch Empire episode one, which is so densely packed with incident (revelatory backstory! Multiple secret diagnoses! Gay child abuse! Spontaneous murder!) it'll make your head spin. Thank you, Empire, for providing such a glorious diversion during this time of rampant awful crap.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 22 Hot on the heels of the fortnight-ago stinkfog, this morning brought Seattle another headline-making smell. The sad source: a dead gray whale found floating under a Seattle ferry dock. "The whale's body, discovered late on Wednesday, was estimated at between 25 and 35 feet long and apparently drifted in from open waters, lodging under the busy Colman Dock in Seattle," reports Reuters. "Because of their migration pattern along the busy West Coast, gray whales are vulnerable to collisions with boats, entanglement in fishing gear, and pollution, NOAA [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] said." Tomorrow, the whale will be moved away from busy Colman Dock to a remote pier where scientists will perform a necropsy and determine the cause of death.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 23 Speaking of mammals being where they shouldn't be, the week continued with a billion-times-worse story out of Philadelphia, where a 1-month-old girl made it through all of yesterday without being fatally shot or fatally shooting anyone else, only to be mauled by her parents' ferrets. "The baby had been left unattended in a car seat on the floor of the same living room where the three ferrets were kept caged in an enclosure made of fabric and soft mesh when the mauling occurred on Thursday," reports Reuters, adding that the child today underwent surgery for "severe injuries to her face." "This is the most horrific thing I've seen happen to a child in 45 years in this town," Darby borough police chief Robert Smythe said to WPVI, which reports that Delaware County prosecutors are "considering criminal charges."

SATURDAY, JANUARY 24 In ridiculously lighter news, the week continued with Sarah Palin, the onetime GOP White House hopeful turned phrase-making reality-TV performer, who yesterday told the Washington Post she was "seriously interested" in running for the White House in 2016, and today gave a speech that will haunt her for years. The scene: the Iowa Freedom Summit, the annual conservative-values rally that this year featured Palin as headline speaker. Thanks to the glory of God, Palin's teleprompter "apparently broke in the middle of her delivery," reports the New York Daily News, leaving Palin to her own limited rhetorical devices. What came out of the scriptless Palin's mouth was a well-tossed word salad, with Palin seemingly rearranging half-remembered phrases into a jittery tower of failure. "The man can only ride you when your back is bent," cried Palin to the increasingly baffled crowd. "So strengthen it! Then the man can't ride you, America won't get taken for a ride, because so much is at stake." (Runner-up option for sample quote: "Now the press asks, the press asks, 'Can anyone stop Hillary?' Again, this is to forego a conclusion, right? It's to scare us off, to convince us that—a pantsuit can crush patriots.") Responding to Palin's speech, the Democratic National Committee had only two words: "Thank you!"

SUNDAY, JANUARY 25 Nothing happened today, unless you count the screamy send-off parade for the Seattle Seahawks, who this morning headed to Arizona, where one week from today they will make cheaty mincemeat out of the New England Patriots to win another Super Bowl. recommended

Is that how shit talk works? Did I jinx it? Gah! Go Hawks! Send hot tips to and follow me on Twitter @davidschmader.