What a Week! Jan. 25-31

The Cincinnati Zoo has been nursing premature baby hippo Fiona around the clock; Greenpeace activists revealed a huge 'Resist' banner near the White House; the 'Doomsday' clock has ticked closer to midnight.

Feb 1, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Baby hippo Fiona was born six weeks before her due date. - Photo: Cincinnati Zoo
Photo: Cincinnati Zoo
Baby hippo Fiona was born six weeks before her due date.

A gaggle of Greenpeace activists climbed a crane in D.C. to unfurl a huge (yuge) “Resist” banner near the White House on Wednesday. The sign was soon removed but not before someone snapped the perfect shot of it floating above Chez Trump. One protester live-streamed the stunt on Facebook. Greenpeacers are known for sneaking into tall, unsuspecting places and displaying protest banners — they famously scaled the P&G towers here in Cincy in 2014. The banner was only on display for a few hours, but armchair activists could feel good about sharing the image for several days.


Word came Thursday that the “Doomsday Clock” has ticked forward for the first time since 2015, moving 30 seconds closer to midnight with two and a half minutes to go. So WTF is a Doomsday Clock? A Marvel supervillain timepiece? Can you buy it at Hot Topic? Does it reset every time a televangelist wrongly predicts the apocalypse? Unfortunately, no, it’s not any of those things. The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic countdown to worldwide crisis maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board. Created in 1947, the time is calculated based on the threat of nuclear war, climate change and developments in science and technology. Oh, and midnight = global catastrophe. The furthest it’s even been was 17 minutes to midnight in 1991. The Cold War was officially over, nuclear weapons were being destroyed and life around the world was generally pretty decent, which might be why so many Millennials are considered wimpy and lazy today. They had it so good in the ’90s! In 1953, the clock ticked closest to midnight with just two minutes to spare. The Cold War was ramping up, with the U.S. and Russia in a race to test hydrogen bombs. But it probably didn’t take a hypothetical risk clock for people to realize we’re basically living in the 1950s.


Closing out his first week as president, Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning refugees and all non-U.S. citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Noticeably absent from the list are Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Saudia Arabia, Turkey and the UAE — countries that are home to Trump properties. Airports across the country were flooded with protesters over the weekend, calling for the release of detainees affected by the ban. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance went on strike Saturday, enacting a temporary ban of its own at JFK airport. Noticeably absent from that strike was Uber, which continued to service rides to and from the airport. The rideshare company became Public Enemy No. 1 after CEO Travis Kalanick was appointed as an economic advisor to Trump, and the company’s scabby actions over the weekend prompted many Uber users to bravely delete the app and switch to Lyft, Uber’s pink mustachioed counterpart. The 99 percent of Uber drivers who also work for Lyft reportedly responded with a collective ¯\_()_/¯.


Saturday marked the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year, or a second chance at those already-failed resolutions for the rest of us. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2017 is the year of the rooster. Full disclosure, we did just spend 20 minutes trying unsuccessfully to find any reference to the “year of the cock” in order to make a dick joke. 


The Screen Actors Guild Awards took place Sunday, marking the winding down of awards season. It’s the last chance for TV shows and stars to snatch awards until the Emmys this fall (the Oscars Feb. 26 close out film award season). The SAG Awards are kind of fun to watch because they’re all about the acting, so you don’t have to sit through any boring technical categories (sorry everyone else who works in film and TV), but it’s also a “for actors, by actors” kinda deal, which means the SAGs are essentially a thespian circle-jerk. Two seconds into the show it was clear that if Trump thought the Golden Globes were a little too political, he was in no way prepared for what the SAGs had in store. Everyone had a thought to share about the administration’s stance on immigrants, Muslims, discrimination and division, fromMoonlight’s Mahershala Ali (winner, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role) to Ashton Kutcher (who wasn’t nominated for anything, he just has a lot of feelings). The politically charged evening culminated with the casts of Stranger Things (winner, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series) and Hidden Figures (winner, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture) delivering two very powerful speeches that echoed much of the evening’s collective sentiments. As a fired-up Chief Hopper accepted on behalf of the Stranger cast, nominated star Winona Ryder displayed a rollercoaster of emotion onstage, looking confused, then scared, then elated, and we’re pretty sure she mouthed “fuck yeah” once. Wynona is all of us. She should honestly win a SAG Award next year for this wide-ranging performance.


Not sure if anyone realized this, but just because 2016 is over doesn’t mean people are gonna stop dying. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that this will continue to get worse. This week we lost Mary Tyler Moore, British actor John Hurt, the “father of Pac-man” Masaya Nakamura and Emmanuelle Riva, the oldest Best Actress nominee in Oscar history.


One ray of light in an otherwise bleak week came from the Cincinnati Zoo, which is now home to a new baby hippopotamus! Mama Bibi gave birth six weeks early to a 29-pound girl. That might sound like a giant baby, but because she’s a premie, she’s about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for her species. We’re rooting for you, little hippo! The world needs a hero right now!

CONTACT T.C. BRITTON: [email protected]