Florida loves guns, but not water bead guns, apparently. Sheriffs charged a 14-year-old with a felony for shooting a 12-year-old classmate with a toy gun like this one.
Florida loves guns, but not water bead guns, apparently. Detectives charged a 14-year-old with a felony for shooting a 12-year-old classmate with a toy gun like this one. Amazon.com/SPLATRBALL

Big deal: Washington state's next ferry has a name and it's...

"This will be a defining tragedy of our generation": Updated data from Johns Hopkins University confirms that COVID-19 has killed over 800,000 Americans. "We've gotten to the point where our eyes glaze over on these numbers. But by now, almost every one of us knows someone who has died of COVID-19," said an infectious disease epidemiologist to ABC News. In our area, University of Washington researchers are finding that the omicron variant is surging.

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There's still a lot to learn about the variant, but the current news is mixed: "In the population in the South African study, the Pfizer vaccine's effectiveness against infection dropped down to about 30% for the omicron variant, compared with about 80% against the variant before omicron, the scientists reported... With 30% effectiveness, there will be very many breakthrough infections," reports NPR. Adding: "The researchers found that two shots of the Pfizer vaccine still offered about 70% protection against hospital admission." The shots protect.

Everyone would like to apologize for making teachers dash for cash as half-time entertainment: The South Dakota junior league hockey team and mortgage company that hosted the event say Oopsie. "We can see how it appears to be degrading and insulting towards the participating teachers and the teaching profession as a whole," they said in their statement on the viral PR disaster. Slog's Mudede had a lot to say about it, too, in this Slog post where he compared the dashing to Squid Game. Before you read it, check out the poll at the bottom of this post.

I learned today that you can night skate at the Kraken Community Iceplex. Will someone teach me 🥺 👉 👈 ?

The Kraken also just announced a limited edition NFT collection: It goes on sale on December 20 and they say it will capture "the essence of the Kraken brand." The NFTs will come with a range of prices, starting around the cost of four Kraken Dogs.

And in other local NFT news, we're getting a physical NFT museum—"an offline space," lol—in Belltown in January. The "Seattle NFT Museum" says it will open January 14 and showcase work from digital Seattle artists like Neon Saltwater. More Slogs on that soon.

The Library of Congress announced this year's list of films it's inducting into the National Film Registry: Among the inductees are Selena and WALL•E, as well as sci-fi and fantasy blockbusters Return of the Jedi and The Fellowship of the Ring. Divine and her shit-eating grin are also included with Pink Flamingos, and the influential The Watermelon Woman finally got its spot. Here's director Cheryl Dunye speaking about the film:


And here's the complete list in chronological order:

1. Ringling Brothers Parade Film (1902)
2. Jubilo (1919)
3. The Flying Ace (1926)
4. Hellbound Train (1930)
5. Flowers and Trees (1932)
6. Strangers on a Train (1951)
7. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
8. Evergreen (1965)
9. Requiem-29 (1970)
10. The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)
11. Pink Flamingos (1972)
12. Sounder (1972)
13. The Long Goodbye (1973)
14. Cooley High (1975)
15. Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979)
16. Chicana (1979)
17. The Wobblies (1979)
18. Star Wars Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983)
19. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
20. Stop Making Sense (1984)
21. Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987)
22. The Watermelon Woman (1996)
23. Selena (1997)
24. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
25. WALL•E (2008)

Thanks for your patience yesterday as we took a Slog break to work through nearly 10 hours of your amateur porn: We've almost narrowed down the finalists for the next HUMP! Film Festival, which premieres in January. (Did you hear we're going on tour???) Among the quotes said in yesterday's jury: "Did they film this Shrek orgy at Evergreen College?" "Do we have a rule against submissions with modern dance?" "We can't forget the people with giantess fetishes."


In case you missed it: Dave Chappelle is coming to Climate Pledge Arena for a New Years Eve show. The comedian's controversial and transphobic Netflix special The Closer has lodged itself into the cancel culture wars; Seattle Pride released a statement saying "it is concerned that Mr. Chappelle’s purposeful homophobic and transphobic remarks are being given a platform at Seattle’s new Climate Pledge Arena." If you're looking for other things to do this New Years Eve, The Stranger staff will have some recommendations on the blog tomorrow.

Conservative KIRO radio hosts give thumbs-up to nepotism: I don’t expect a Seattle Times Editorial Board takedown of Seattle Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell hiring his niece to a top spot in his administration anytime soon.

Is this a blatant case of nepotism, or does it make sense?

“It makes sense,” KIRO Radio host Gee Scott said. “Is she qualified? Yes — according to what they say, yep. If she’s qualified, then she’s got action in being able to do it. This happens in the private sector. This happens all over the country. As long as the person is qualified, then I am OK.”

“Oh, is this being kept a secret? Is everybody being transparent? Is everybody above board with this conversation?” he added. “Yep, I’m good.”

Host Ursula Reutin shared that under the city’s ethics code, apparently a niece is not considered immediate family.

Who hurt this mailbox? So rude.

The District of Colombia is suing the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers for allegedly conspiring to terrorize DC by plotting an attack on the Capitol on January 6. The lawsuit accuses the far-right groups of coordinating the attack to disrupt a peaceful transfer of power from the Trump administration to the Biden administration.

Be like the grandmas: And stand against gun violence. On the night of the 9th anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, Grandmothers Against Gun Violence gathered in Westlake Park for a day of action and candlelight vigil. Find out more about the group here.

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Courtesy Margaret Heldring

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Rescue teams in western Kentucky are still digging through debris, searching for survivors and bodies after tornadoes tore through about 200 miles of the state last weekend. As of Tuesday, 74 people have been confirmed dead and over 100 remain unaccounted for.

Senate Democrats voted to raise the US debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion Tuesday, bypassing a GOP filibuster. The US House is expected to vote on raising the debt ceiling later this week.

I wonder what the grandmas would say about this: Orbeez are in the news again, thanks to an idiotic sheriff's department in Florida, which brought the popular superabsorbent polymer water balls (originally made to hydrate soils) back into headlines this week. The toy...

I once got high and ordered 90,000 of these little balls. Then I couldnt get them out of my apartment. I have a lot of thoughts on them.
I once got high and ordered 90,000 of these little water balls. Then I couldn't get them out of my apartment. I have a lot of thoughts on them. THE STRANGER

... is sometimes put into plastic guns and shot like paintballs:

Now the headline: 14-year-old shot classmate with toy gun; boy faces felony charge, Volusia deputies say

That 14-year-old said he found an Orbeez gun in the back of his sister's car and thought it would be funny to shoot a group of classmates as they drove past them. He ultimately hit a 12-year-old classmate, and the sheriff's department said the girl got a welt on her stomach. The water gun hanky-panky apparently incensed the department so much that they charged the child with a felony for shooting a "missile" or "hard substance which would produce death or great bodily harm." The substance is literally water, so the state should have a hard time proving water is hard.

But Florida has done stranger things, and earlier this summer authorities charged a 20-year-old Black man in Naples, Florida with battery for doing a similar prank.

Orbeez are well-known to cause injuries when used incorrectly, but usually only when kids swallow them or drop them into their ears. Internally, they can be harmful. Externally, they mostly splat. (Bad for eyeballs though.)

A court date is pending: Being a prominent Orbeez reporter, I'll keep you updated.

While we wait: (This video? Also a prank.)

The Portland Mercury's Isabella Garcia contributed to this round-up.

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