What a Week!: Nov. 29-Dec. 5

Texting turns 25, Christmas vandals, vermin in the White House, glitter bans and TIME's important person of the year

Texting Turns 25

While it’s hard to imagine, as I write this sentence with two thumbs on an iPhone, texting wasn’t a thing before the early ’90s. In fact, the first ever SMS message was sent 25 years ago this week. A British software programmer sent the message, “Merry Christmas” to a colleague from a computer (cell phones could only receive texts at the time). Fast forward two decades and texting is the preferred method of everyday communication (and if you’re gonna call, don’t you dare leave a voicemail). But before shorthand and emojis took over, it all started with a standard holiday greeting. HBD, txt!

Dictionary.com’s Word of the Year

Various dictionary tools from Oxford to Merriam-Webster annually announce their word of the year: the most searched term or one that best encapsulates the previous 12 months. Sometimes it’s not even a word, like when 2015 was summed up with the laughing with tears emoji. According to Dictionary.com, while users looked up “collusion,” “dossier” and “fury” in droves, the most popular term of 2017 was “complicit.” Ivanka, take note. There was a 300 percent spike in searches for complicit — which means choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others — compared to last year. That can be connected to the first daughter (not you, Tiffany). With Ivanka boasting comparatively progressive views on equal pay and family leave, LGBTQ issues and climate change, many hoped she would mitigate Donald Trump’s ass-backwards views. Since clearly that’s not the case, critics dubbed her complicit in her father’s passing of shitty policies. After flubbing the use of the word in an interview, Trump’s favorite daughter (sorry, Tiffany) admitted she didn’t know what it means — a running theme for the Ivy League grad. But don’t just blame Ivanka — everyone knows the first family subscribes to alt-definitions.

Animal High Jinks

When a New Jersey town’s Christmas lights were cut, the hunt for the vandals was on. But it turns out the culprit was something far less sinister than a Grinch with scissors. As the Jersey Shore town of Sea Girt prepared for its annual tree lighting, it was discovered that light wires had been cut in multiple areas of the holiday display. Police thought it was some meddlin’ kids, but when a squirrel was caught chomping on string lights, they realized he was the source of the snipping. Either the squirrel celebrates Festivus or liberals have recruited animals to aid in their war on Christmas. Meanwhile in Florida (which should be the name of a show or at least a nightly news segment), a possum lived out my personal fantasy of sneaking into a liquor store after hours and drinking the night away. An employee found the juvenile female possum next to a broken bottle of bourbon, clearly intoxicated. Poor girl should have busted into some Gatorade! She was taken to a wildlife rescue, given fluids and released back into the wild. We are all this possum.

White House Vermin

Speaking of rodents, the White House is apparently infested with mice, cockroaches and ants, and I’m not talking about Jeff Sessions, Paul Ryan and Kellyanne Conway. Maintenance work orders for the building reveal that the grounds are plagued with pest infestations, including cockroaches in various areas, mice in the situation room and a dining facility and a colony of ants in John Kelly’s office. Some of this is to be expected — the White House is old AF and hundreds of people come in and out every day. And even though Trump is reportedly a germaphobe, he seems like the guy at work who’d be single-handedly responsible for maintenance issues. Every office has one: that coworker with no self awareness who microwaves tuna in the break room, clips his fingernails at his desk and disposes of rotting food in his cubicle trash can. You know the dude leaves empty KFC buckets lingering in the oval office for days at a time.

Scientists Call for Glitter Ban

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and, perhaps, the most glittery. From sparkly greeting cards, giftwrap and holiday decorations to makeup and craft store aisles, glitter is everywhere. But some environmental scientists want to abolish the fairy dust. The shimmery substance is classified as a microplastic, which presents the risk of ocean pollution and harm to animals that eat it. And if you’ve ever been to a strip club, you know that shit is easily transferred and difficult to get rid of. So some scientists believe the stuff should be banned, like when California barred microbeads in products like facial scrubs. Isn’t the world is a dark and drab enough place with glitter? Maybe they really just mean to ban the 2001 Mariah Carey film? Either way, scientists have serious beef with beautiful messes.

TIME Person of the Year Shortlist

The 10 candidates for TIME magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year were announced Monday with the most influential being unveiled Wednesday morning. The list includes Amazon CEO and richest man in the world Jeff Bezos; the undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children by their parents known as the Dreamers; Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins; supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un; quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick; the #MeToo movement that helped shed light on the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault; special counsel Robert Mueller; Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, who was appointed in July; Chinese president Xi Jinping; and I may have trouble typing this but Trump was r... Trump was ri... Trump was right about the magazine considering him, because he’s on there, too. He received the honor (?) last year, so if he was named 2017 POTY, it would be the first time someone was recognized two years in a row. Obviously POTY doesn’t have to be a single human being, so I’m not sure why TIME snubbed Fiona the hippo, who this year brought divided families together and distracted us from possible nuclear holocaust from her home in the Cincinnati Zoo. #JusticeForFiona

This Week in Questionable Decisions…

1. The Jersey Shore cast is reuniting for a “family vacation” MTV special. Are they bringing their children? GTLD (gym, tanning, laundry, diaper change)!

2. NBC fired longtime Today host Matt Lauer early Wednesday morning after he was accused of sexual assault. That was actually a great decision by the network, which, wait a minute, allowed him to have a secret button so he could lock his office door without leaving his desk?!

3. Walmart was revealed to have sold, through a third-party, a T-shirt suggesting to lynch journalists. What did we ever do to you, besides expose your egregious business practices at every level?

4. Former INXS guitarist Kirk Pengilly told Australian Associated Press that he misses the days when “life was so simple and you could slap a woman on the butt and it was taken as a compliment, not as sexual harassment.”

5. The holiday gift Kushner Cos. sent to corporate friends this year is an embroidered bathrobe, which, besides being kind of intimate for company swag, symbolizes the article of clothing sexual assaulters like Harvey Weinstein successfully ruined this year.

6. The New York Giants benched quarterback Eli Manning in Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, ending his 210-game consecutive starts streak.

7. Eminem gave Elton John and his husband diamond encrusted cock rings (is there a non-NSFW term for that?) as wedding gifts.

8. The Off-Broadway play Afterglow encouraged audience members to go nude at a Sunday performance.

9. Saturday Night Live went heavy on the stereotypes in a skit parodying Irish airline Aer Lingus with Irish-American host Saiorse Ronan. The airline had the last laugh, though, crafting a Trump-esque tweet about the “unwatchable,” “not funny” sketch.

Contact T.C. Britton: [email protected] 

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