How do you do, fellow Trash Pandas? It's your old pal Elinor Jones here with the latest in news and nonsense. Where to even start? Well, Valentine's Day is tomorrow and if you haven't planned anything yet, there is still time to submit a Mercury reader valentine! Nothing says romance like something free and last-minute. And if you wanna be slow about it, they can be placed through the 17th, so your personalized gift could be both free and late! Go for it! Let me know how it goes. 

Want to feel weird about Mike Pence?

I know this isn't sexy AT ALL, but it is kinda fun: Former Vice President Mike Pence is having a bad time! First, he was subpoenaed to get real about his involvement in the January 6 insurrection. Thus far Pence has been claiming executive privilege to keep the feds off his nuts, which is the executive branch of US government way of being like "you're not the boss of me and you're not my mom," but doesn't actually hold up in court. And THEN Pence's Indiana home got raided because the old men in charge can't seem to stop wandering off with important documents and then leaving them scattered about wherever they get bored. I bet people who are involved in raiding politicians' homes run into some freaky shit, and I am *dying* to know what the Pences get up to when nobody else is around. I mean, he calls his wife "mother." There's got to be some truly deranged shit in their bedside tables, and I need to know more about it. 

Oops, sorry, I realize I said this bit about Mike Pence wouldn't be sexy, but then I made it sexual. Sorry? Or, if you're freaky, you're welcome.

In other Washington DC news, President Biden gave his State of the Union address last week. He said the state of the union is strong, which is what they always say; more interesting is what the politicians in attendance said. It has been reported that the only politician more milquetoast than Mike Pence, Senator Mitt Romney, was set to bitch mode last Tuesday and told the resume-embellishing New York Representative George Santos "you ought to be embarrassed" as he passed by. Regarding the incident, Santos later told the press "I'm never going to shut up and go to the back of the room." For our government's productivity, that is probably a bad thing, but for silly columns like mine: Yes, please George Santos. Never shut up. We have word counts to meet.

And Romney knows all about sick puppies - remember when he strapped one to the roof of his family car

Cocaine Island

The New Zealand navy recently recovered over three tons of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean that had been dropped there by a drug-smuggling syndicate. The gigantic package was allegedly bound for Australia. As reported by the AP, the New Zealand Police Commissioner said that it was enough cocaine to keep Australia supplied for a year, but that his delicate and wide-eyed nation of New Zealand would take 30 years to snort the same amount. I like knowing that while Australia's population is only five times bigger than New Zealand's, they snort booger sugar at 30 times the rate. That's just a good piece of trivia to have in your pocket, you know? The commissioner also said that the cocaine is set to be "documented and destroyed." Yeah, I bet. Destroyed right up their noses.

Also, you know there's that movie Cocaine Bear coming out this year, about a bear that finds and does a bunch of cocaine? Imagine if some dolphins had gotten a hold of blow island before the cops did? Who's got "pod of juiced-up Flippers wreaking havoc on the Pacific Ocean" on their 2023 Bingo cards? 

Or what if it washed up on Oregon's shores? I don't know that three tons of cocaine would help with Oregon's issues, but it would be a nice break from all the dead whales

Actors Not Acting

Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher have a new rom-com coming out called Your Place or Mine and they're making headlines, not for excellent reviews of the film (definitely not that), but for being so totally chemistry-less on the red carpet:

Kutcher later addressed the awkwardness by saying that "if I put my arm around her, and was like all friendly with her, I'd be having an affair with her, like that would be the rumor." Ummm, what? This in the same winter that Julia Roberts and George Clooney drenched us so thoroughly with their chemistry for their rom-com Ticket to Paradise, but nary an affair rumor was spread? Hell, Roberts wore a dress covered in Clooney pics and what happened? It got people to watch their mid rom-com, that's what. Grow up, Ashton. 

If you want real romance, look no further than the official Twitter account of the Portland US Army Corps of Engineers, who are making dangerous waves sexy:

That's all I've got for you this week, friends. I hope you have a really nice one.

Your Valentine,