Shocker: A new study showed that Seattle is the nation's saddest large metro area, reports the Seattle Times. No duh. According to the Census Bureau, in the first two weeks of February "about 45% of Seattle-area adults said they were dealing with feelings of depression." You'd think our wet, dark climate would play a role, but the two other metro areas rounding out the top three are Riverside-San Bernardino and Phoenix. What's going on in California and Arizona?????

Accidents happen, I guess: No longer the just purview of hacks such as Joe Rogan, the Energy Department now says new intelligence has led them to the conclusion that the coronavirus pandemic was the result of a lab leak in China. According to the New York Times, some officials say that this conclusion was made with "low confidence." But the FBI made a similar conclusion "with moderate confidence" that COVID was accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which worked on coronaviruses. These announcements have *NOT changed other government departments official conclusions that COVID emerged zoonotically.

China is obviously pissed at this theory, and it said the US should "stop smearing China and stop politicizing the issue of the virus origin." We politicized MASK WEARING, no way we couldn't not politicize this. [Eds note: If you want a good counter-argument to the lab leak theory, then become a member of the If Books Could Kill podcast, co-hosted by Seattle's own Michael Hobbes, and check out this episode.]

Fuck Highway 99: Today, US Transportation Department Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced that Reconnect South Park—an effort to reclaim the 40 acres of land taken up by Highway 99 in South Park, which divides the neighborhood—would receive a $1.6 million grant through the new Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program. It's a "first-of-its-kind initiative to reconnect communities that are cut off from opportunity and burdened by past transportation infrastructure decisions." Funding for the initiative comes from Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and Reconnect South Park is one of 45 projects getting $185 million in grants. “Transportation should connect, not divide, people and communities,” said Buttigieg in a press release. 

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments over Biden's student loan forgiveness today: My butthole is clenched over this. Why do these nine sucky lawyers get to decide the fate of my body AND my student loans? Did the Founding Fathers even know what a uterus was (not fact-checking that)? Or the concept of paying $40,000 a year for COLLEGE? Anyway, the court is hearing two separate cases against debt relief filed by disgusting fucking bootlickers GOP attorneys general and two individual borrowers. Let's hope they make the right decision (lol). 

It's been 22 years since the 6.8 Nisqually earthquake: Do you remember where you were? I was in my first-grade class at Redmond Elementary—fresh from Kansas—and can only recall diving underneath my table, upset that my family had moved to such a dangerous place. KIRO 7 has some vintage videos from the incident, which makes me feel so old. Consider this your reminder to download the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System.

ICYMI: Capitol Hill Block Party dropped its 2023 lineup for its 25th anniversary. PinkPantheress! Denzel Curry! COCO AND CLAIR CLAIR!

And so did ZooTunes: Ok, this ZooTunes at Woodland Park Zoo lineup kinda slaps: Indigo Girls/Neko Case, The Mountain Goats, Blitzen Trapper, Father John Misty, Shabazz Palaces, PATTI SMITH, Tegan and Sara, Japanese Breakfast, Built to Spill, and The Flaming Lips are all slated to play this summer. See you there?

Pandemic-era SNAP benefits ending on March 1: Since COVID kicked off, the federal government has provided an increase in payments, reports KIRO. But in December, Congress voted to end that boost, meaning tens of millions of Americans won't receive crucial funds needed to feed their families. “What is really worrying me right now is having to cut down on the food I’m going to have to buy so I can have enough money to pay my rent," Leticia Brito of Auburn told KIRO. 

San Francisco could pay Black residents $5 million each in reparations on the advice of the city's African American Reparations Advisory Committee, reports WaPo. Not for slavery—which wasn't legal in SF—but for other policies "explicitly created to subjugate Black people" in the city. As you might've guessed, people are in a freaking tizzy about it.

Snow truthers, don't get too excited: It's likely we won't get any of the fluffy, icy stuff.  

For anyone that wants to get their morning off to a horrific start: Please read this supremely fucked story by The Cut's Matthew Schneier about the cult forming around Ozempic, a diabetes drug being used as an off-label appetite suppressant by actors, models, and people of means who want to live out their skinny dreams. 

Having trouble sleeping? Might I suggest listening to the BBC's shipping forecast? The New York Times Magazine wrote about the popularity of listening to hour-long compilations of radio announcements about maritime weather as they doze off every night. I haven't had the chance to try this myself, but it sounds pleasant. 

A lil announcement: After four-and-a-half years at The Stranger, Friday will be my last day! While I'll miss this alt-weekly a whole bunch, it's time for me to explore other opportunities and—honestly—take some time to recharge. Burnout came for my ass. I started here as an intern with almost zero writing experience and have learned so much. I'm forever grateful to my colleagues and readers who've supported and watched me grow along the way. There will be a couple more pieces from me that'll publish on this site over the next few weeks, but goodbye! I'll still be writing about the arts in the city and have some things in the works, don't worry. Hope you follow along! In any case, love you, stay in touch, and send me stickers! Xoxoxo. [Eds note. Teared up reading this note. The only thing keeping me together is the knowledge that you'll keep writing and thinking about the world. Godspeed, Jas.]

One last thing:

For your listening pleasure: Forever yours!

*Thanks for the catch, Toe Tag