The first drama of the new year.
The first drama of the new year. john shepherd / Getty Images

Leaked audio reveals Trump threatening Georgia’s Secretary of State if he doesn’t “find” more votes. The Washington Post somehow acquired audio of Trump’s rambling call with Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump says that the Secretary of State is committing some vague “criminal offense” and taking "a big risk" by not overturning the election. That might be a violation of US Code Section 52, which prohibits election interference, or Section 18, Chapter 41, which bars extortion. AOC says he should be impeached for the call (there’s about two weeks left in his term.) Trump also told a lawyer on the call, Ryan Germany, “you have a nice last name.” What????

Goodbye, Bean Dad. The main character of Twitter this weekend was Bean Dad, aka Seattle musician, candidate, and occasional Stranger contributor and subject John Roderick, who tweeted about a particularly vexing interaction in which he drove his daughter to tears by withholding food until she could figure out how to operate a manual can opener. On one hand: Parenting is difficult, there are no rule books, and kids cry at all kinds of bizarre things. On the other hand: His description of the interaction does not come off as particularly kind, and personally I am dismayed by authority figures who train children to regard food as a punishment or reward in such absolute terms. Anyway, before long, people noticed that John has been tweeting no-joke “jokes” about Jews and other minorities for years, and by the end of the weekend his Twitter account was gone.

Virginia State Senator A. Benton Chafin and Pennsylvania State Rep Mike Reese both passed away after testing positive for COVID. Chafin’s cause of death was COVID complications; Reese’s was an aneurysm. (The virus appears to be linked with neurological complications that may involve aneurysms, though there’s no way to know if that was a factor here.) Various other Pennsylvania legislators tested positive in November and December.

There’s a gay social media civil war going on right now. After a bunch of circuit queens posted about their plans to throw a giant COVID-spreading New Year’s party in Puerto Vallarta (which is supposed to be locked-down), gay Twitter responded first with exasperation and then a Marple-level investigation into the identities of those in attendance. By analyzing social media posts, including Venmo transactions (why are those public?????????), they were able to name and shame a bunch of parties involved on the GaysOverCovid Instagram and Twitter accounts. Everything was pretty tidily summed up on New Year’s Day, when the party gays went out for a defiant cruise, and then their boat sank. Zack Ford has the best writeup of the whole situation.

It’s not just the gays. A bunch of gross Republicans threw a no-mask party at Mar-a-Lago, with Vanilla Ice (?????????) headlining. Idiots in attendance posted photos to Instagram and Facebook. One claimed that his fiancé, a pharmacist, was fired for attending the party. Huh, he must work at one of those weird pharmacies that doesn’t want their employees to be disease vectors. Anyway, now a Florida state rep says Mar-a-Lago should be fined and closed, HAHAHAHA.

A fugitive in Texas grabbed a pastor’s gun and shot him with it. The shooter, Mytrez Deunte Woolen, was being chased by cops and hid in a church; when Pastor Mark McWilliams discovered him, he pulled his gun and ordered the intruder into the floor. But Woolen overpowered him, shot him, and fled. He was later apprehended and will face murder charges.

Homelessness still exists. You’re never going to believe this, but even after the cops forced people living in Cal Anderson Park to leave, some people are still experiencing homelessness! KIRO discovered a camp at Pendleton Miller Playfield, less than a mile away from Cal Anderson. Well, surely they just need to be moved out of there, and then the problem will be completely solved.

Over a thousand beautiful images from Ghibli movies are now yours for the downloading. Studio Ghibli just made 1,178 hi-res images available for you to download and set as your wallpaper or whatever. The colors are not as saturated as I recall, but maybe that’s just what growing old is.

Seattle girl becomes robber for excitement. Search is started for Betty Cinnamon. One hundred years ago this week, the Seattle Star reported that Miss Fay Engstrom, “a cultured, modest, studious-appearing girl of 21,” attempted to hold up a detective at the corner of Yale and John for no reason other than thrill-seeking. She was arrested and sentenced to four months in prison. Also in the news was Miss Betty Cinnamon, “the most beautiful salesgirl in Seattle.” Though her mother claimed that her daughter had fallen into the clutches of some “designing men” who had taken her dancing, Betty turned up two days later at a lady friend’s house; turns out she’d run away from home after a fight with the parents.


Aliens might’ve shot some junk at us a few years ago. A Harvard astronomy professor suggests that an interstellar object that passed through our solar system in 2017 might have been some discarded space-junk from another civilization. It was oddly shiny, it moved weirdly, and it was a super bizarre shape — a spaceship, perhaps? Avi Loeb theorizes that it was a discarded piece of old tech, trash that happened to blow our way like a bunch of apes noticing a drifting plastic bag. It’s comforting to know we might not be the only polluters out there.

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Flash is dead. Adobe has officially turned off Flash, which means you can’t play Farmville anymore. And while it’s not especially urgent that you uninstall the old software, it couldn’t hurt to keep your system tidy and remove all traces of it, on the off chance that future hackers find some way to exploit the old code. Here’s how to remove Flash from Windows and Mac.


This year they did virtual fireworks at the Space Needle. How are they going to top that one? Maybe a mix of real fireworks and augmented skymapping next year. Anyway, here's what it looked like, and here's what it reminded me of:

Giant cat menaces train. Toot toot.