SNOW! SO MUCH SNOW! (At least in North Portland?) I really hope you didn't decide to brush off your car, if you have one, and then put it on one of our interstate highways. That snow probably doesn't look so charming when you're stuck treading water in vast seas of brake lights.

Wintertime, meanwhile, is still more real and actually calamitous everywhere else in the country. For example, it could be a rotten year for citrus crops.

Please excuse the news judgment that had me putting weather—so visceral! so immediate!—above appropriate genuflection over the death, announced yesterday, of South Africa's Nelson Mandela.

I guess it's also time to think about everybody else who died in 2013, too. Like the 41-year-old visionary who invented Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Taco. (Confidential to the world: The awkward applause over dead people no one's remembered in years is always my favorite part of the Oscars.)

The unemployment rate has dropped to 7 percent, its lowest point in five years. But, of course, that good news comes with several caveats: Many millions of people have given up the hunt for work altogether, the numbers of the "long-term unemployed" haven't much budged, and it's still almost twice as hard to find work if you're African American.

Not only did the president meet his deportation-facing uncle from Kenya, a departure from the original story dished out by the White House, but he also apparently briefly lived with the man.

Barack Obama has a major crush on the new pinko pope (like the rest of the thinking, feeling world), calling him "soulful."

Oh, shit. Out in productive Washington, DC, another government shutdown countdown is underway.

And that's not the only standoff in Congress, apparently. This one's about the farm bill. And if it persists? It could make a basic staple like milk really expensive.

Some badass surfer in Australia had no idea, until after it happened, that a shark spent some idle moments gnawing on his body.