New decorations went up this weekend at Pike Place Market.
New decorations went up this weekend at Pike Place Market. Pushing the Needle

Everything is back to normal, except for everything that isn't. Trash pickup: Normal. Roads: Mostly open. Schools: Closed or delayed. Weather: Rainy, with minor flooding this morning. Bus routes: Normal, with a few exceptions (which are themselves normal). The new project for neighborhood busibodies is to make sure storm drains are clear to handle the melting snow.

Washington has banned gas-powered leaf blowers. Alas, the ban is for Washington DC, not Washington state. How’d they do it? Here’s how: They organized, they presented solid facts, and they had a legislative ally.

The Dave “Team TERF” Chappelle show went on as scheduled at Climate Change Arena on New Year’s Eve, with a surprise guest making an appearance: Patton Oswalt, much to the disappointment of Patton’s fans. Here’s how he explained himself afterwards. Is this statement good enough?

Local crackpots investigate national crackpot. Three Washington legislators spent taxpayer funds to attend the "Cyber Symposium" held by pillow magnate Mike Lindell over the summer: Reps. Robert Sutherland of Granite Falls, Vicki Kraft of Vancouver, and Brad Klippert of Kennewick. Would you believe they're all Republicans?

Fire and ice in Colorado. A devastating blaze swept through Louisville, CO this weekend, destroying nearly a thousand homes. Now the survivors are grappling with dangerous cold, snow, and ice. Climate change made things worse, of course. Here’s how you can help.

Five hundred and forty dead. Serious car crashes and fatalities were declining for a while in Washington state, but they jumped up a bit in 2020 and surged even higher in 2021 — the most deadly year on WA roads since 2006. Experts are puzzled as to the cause. Hey maybe it was the cars?

Please try to contain your enthusiasm for the written word. Someone got a little too eager to enter Hugo House this weekend and drove their car into the doors. They’ll be replaced soon — this time with an accessible button for wheelchair users, so there’s a silver lining for you.

Happy new mayor week! It’s the first week of a lot of new mayoral terms across the US. In New York, incoming mayor Eric Adams rode the subway to work. What do you think it would take to get Bruce Harrell to do the same? Other than the Durkan administration doing it first, I mean. By the way here’s the mayor of Emeryville, CA:

Here’s the latest COVID guidance. The short version: Always wear a mask indoors; stay home when you have symptoms; if you must gather indoors, open a window and get tested the next day. Plan for widespread absenteeism from workplaces over the next few weeks.

Things we’re leaving in 2021: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter account. She was permanently banned from the platform for spreading COVID misinformation. Hi, welcome to America, where Twitter discourse has higher standards than Congress.

Also getting left in 2021: Final Fantasy. I hate to say it, but it looks like Square Enix is spiraling the drain yet again. The company’s president released a letter this weekend full of death-rattle buzzwords like “blockchain” and “metaverse” and the dreaded “NFTs.” The letter’s mostly gibberish, but it suggests that the company is looking into ways that they can charge users to generate content for them. Shinra would be proud.

Speaking of NFTs: Good grief, a whopping 463 of you have purchased a "Seattle Hockley Team" t-shirt, inspired by the messy Kraken NFT launch. I'll be donating 100% of my December proceeds from the sales — $1,369,76 — to the Washington Environmental Council, and will be doing the same with all January proceeds if you'd still like to get one.

Things we should try harder to leave in 2021: Racists. Some lady in Missouri rang in the new year by calling her local news station to complain about anchor Michelle Li, who mentioned on a broadcast that she was going to eat dumplings on New Year’s Day — the caller felt that was “very Asian” of her, oh no. On that note, Visit Seattle has a great listing of AAPI-owned businesses you can support in the new year.

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How did you celebrate Public Domain Day? On January 1, Winnie the Pooh entered the public domain, along with other works from 1926. (Tigger will follow in a few years.) It is absurd — and largely the fault of Disney — that it takes so long for works to enter the public domain. Here’s how America’s broken copyright system contributes to the permanent loss of culture.

Make 2022 the year you start a union at your job! Here’s everything you need to know.