Super-duper first things first!!! Maybe you thought Hello Kitty was a kitty, who also had, oddly enough, a smaller pet kitty of her own. YOU WERE WRONG. The company that produces the insipidly cute icon says "she is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat."

Nothing is as it seems! Russia has relentlessly denied, despite overwhelming evidence, sending its soldiers and war equipment over the border, to the aid of separatists battling government forces loyal to Kiev. (And then sometimes bringing those soldiers back home to be buried.) And yet? Russian armored columns have reportedly routed way-unprepared Ukraine troops from a town in the country's southwest.

Russia's stealth war also seems to have spread to cyberspace, with reports of hacker attacks on JPMorgan Chase and a handful of other financial companies, alleged retaliation for harsh American sanctions.

With US airstrikes against ISIS' Syrian branch still on the table, a human rights group has accused the Sunni militant army of executing some 160 Syrian soldiers who'd been trying to flee to government-held ground. Over in Iraq, ISIS has come up with a deft structure for retaining power and legitimacy—super terrorists at the top, middle-aged Iraqi bureaucrats in the middle, everyone else on the bottom. And don't believe the hype about how we successfully freed the Yazidis who'd been marooned up a mountainside by ISIS this summer. Many of the sickest and oldest Yazidis are still trapped with perilously little food or water.

Ebola's hardly begun its deadly work, scientists say. The death toll's at 1,500 or so, and the total number of cases could leap to more than 20,000—a scale no one's ever contemplated not once not ever never never.

President Obama seems ready to defer deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants—giving Democrats a lot of heartburn but maybe setting a deadly jingoism trap that Republican candidates this fall won't be able to resist.

The protests in Ferguson, over the police shooting of unarmed Michael Brown, have nudged Missouri's governor into appointing his administration's only African American cabinet member. St. Louis' former police chief has been placed in charge of policing and public safety for the whole state.

Someone's still looking for the Malaysian Airlines plane that vanished over the Indian Ocean. In case you maybe were wondering.

A top Chicago police commander beloved for his hard-edged approach to crime in troubled neighborhoods is under investigation. He'd been accused of putting his gun in the mouth of a man believed to have a gun of his own (no gun was found), and DNA tests apparently confirm the claim—leading to criminal charges.

It's good when your dad is the vice principal at your high school. And also has no ethical compunctions about changing your failing grades. Eleven times.