Day: November 21, 2020

The meanest prank pulled on Jerry on Parks and Rec

In the season 3 episode, “Time Capsule,” the folks at the Parks and Rec office try to figure out what to put in the town’s time capsule. It’s a big responsibility, and the whole thing soon erupts into chaos as everyone in the town fights over what’s going to be preserved. 

The only person who has a legitimately good idea for what to put in the time capsule is Jerry. He suggests putting in his mother’s diaries. Since she lived in Pawnee all her life, the diaries basically provide a record of everything that happened in the town. It’s a sweet moment, and Jerry managed to get through the entire meeting with mispronouncing a single word. 

It’s at this point April takes one of the diaries and reads a segment describing how Jerry played Tinkerbell in his school’s production of Peter Pan. Naturally, everyone in the office proceeds to laugh at him as he tries to explain that he went to an all-boys school.

This moment just seems particularly devastating because for once, Jerry was the big man in the office. He had something genuinely great to put in the time capsule that no one (not even Tom) could make fun of while everyone else submitted silly drawings and restaurant menus. April could’ve just let Jerry have this one, but she had to use the moment to turn Jerry into a big joke. She even translates for her new boyfriend, Eduardo, who points and laughs as well. 

There are a lot of pranks at Jerry’s expense throughout the show, but this one definitely seems the most mean-spirited. There was nothing for April or anyone else to gain by taking away Jerry’s big moment.

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Are Minnesotans becoming wimps about winter?

Jan. 12, 1888, dawned mild and bright, with no indication the day would forever be marked by one of Minnesota’s most devastating winter storms. By midafternoon, blinding snow had descended, along with 60 mile-per-hour winds. In places, the temperature dropped to 40 below.

The so-called Children’s Blizzard got its name from the many youngsters who froze to death after being sent home from school and losing their way. Raging across the Midwest, the storm took perhaps 500 lives.

“Some died within shouting distance of their own front doors because the weather was so brutal and furious,” said Bill Convery, the Minnesota Historical Society’s director of research.

This area’s early Native inhabitants and first European settlers had reason to hate winter. Back then, the season was something to survive.

With the advent of electricity, Doppler radar and anti-lock brakes, we’ve come a long way from the days when prairie homesteaders tied ropes from the front porch to the outhouse to ensure they could find their way in a blizzard.

So, why, when most of us have little more at stake than a slow commute, do many Minnesotans say they dislike winter? And when did a season that was once a source of pride become something to flee?

Paradoxically, the shift arrived in an era where winters are demonstrably less harsh, said Paul Douglas, Star Tribune meteorologist. “It’s ironic that as our winters shrink and warm somewhat over time that we complain more about them,” he said.

In the state’s early decades, enduring winter was a source of accomplishment.

Convery cited the 1886 creation of St. Paul’s Winter Carnival as a way locals thumbed their collective noses at the East Coast newspaper correspondents who compared Minnesota to Siberia, and called it unfit for human habitation.

“Historically, Minnesotans have gone out of their way to embrace their winter culture,” he said.

A recent transplant from Colorado, Convery surmises that Minnesotans who do welcome the state’s harsh winters — flush with persistent snow, overcast skies and subzero temps — do so out of psychological necessity.

“Minnesotans go into the winter with sort of this gloomy perspective, but then there’s an act of defiance that takes place where Minnesotans can turn around and embrace their own hardihood and their ability to withstand it,” he said. “And they go outside and enjoy themselves and play sports like hockey or curling. It feels like there’s kind of a sense that we celebrate winter because the alternative is too hard to bear.”

Climatologist Mark Seeley, a professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota and author of “Minnesota Weather Almanac,” said he’s seen attitudes about winter shift largely in the southern part of the state, which has been most affected by climate change, since he arrived here in the late 1970s.

Southern Minnesota’s once-continuous snow cover is more frequently disrupted by mild spells, as the state’s average low temperatures in winter have risen by several degrees and winter rainstorms have become more frequent, Seeley said.

Some of the things

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Airlines take another hit as CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dealt a blow to airlines and the broader travel industry Thursday by recommending Americans stay home for Thanksgiving as coronavirus cases surge in almost every state.

a group of people sitting on a suitcase: Airlines take another hit as CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel

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Airlines take another hit as CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel

Airlines are countering that passengers are safe on planes because of precautionary measures in place, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says people should be free to make up their minds about whether to visit family and friends during what’s typically the busiest travel holiday of the year.

“The decision to travel is up to the traveler,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said at a briefing Thursday, adding that CDC guidelines should also be taken into consideration. “It’s an individual choice to make the journey, we just want to do everything we can to do the utmost to protect passengers should they choose to make that journey.”

More than 1 million coronavirus cases were reported in the U.S. over the past seven days, the most since the pandemic started. That in turn has led to increased hospitalizations and more deaths, with the U.S. passing the quarter-million mark earlier this week.

Those case spikes are a major reason why the latest CDC guidance recommended forgoing travel at this time, saying Thanksgiving should be spent only with people living in the same household.

Airline industry executives, meanwhile, are insisting that air travel is safe, pointing to improved air quality in cabins and mandating masks for passengers and crew.

“You are safe on an airplane. The reason you are safe is because of a multi-layered approach of risk mitigation put in place,” said Nicholas Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, the main advocacy group for major U.S. airlines.

In response to the CDC’s travel warning, US Travel Association CEO Roger Dow said the agency’s guidance “further underscores the need to be really smart and highly vigilant on health and safety protocols if you’re going to choose to travel.”

Even with safety measures in place on planes, health officials are concerned that travelers will spread the virus at Thanksgiving Day gatherings and while in transit. Despite many major airlines requiring masks, airports are free to set their own rules.

Airlines are strictly enforcing their mask requirements, warning back in June that passengers who refuse to comply could be put on a carrier’s do-not-fly list.

Delta’s no-fly list includes around 550 passengers, up from 100 in July.

The airline also recently announced it will continue blocking middle seats through March to encourage social distancing.

Southwest Airlines, meanwhile, plans to resume filling those seats next month. Other airlines like United and American have not blocked middle seats during the pandemic.

AAA projected last month that 50 million Americans would travel for Thanksgiving this year, a 10 percent drop from 2019, making it the biggest one-year decline since the Great Recession in 2008.

The travel group also noted that many people will make last-minute decisions about traveling, making the CDC

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A vacation to Hong Kong is like no other


So, what’s the deal?  Did all those massive protests, the marches stretching for miles and days, mean nothing? Were they not the cries of freedom being crushed? What’s the deal with rules? If they can be so easily broken, why do we have them? At the very least, shouldn’t we be worried, maybe even outraged, when political leaders are seen resigning en masse?

I know I am, and I so wish China would leave Hong Kong alone!

Maybe we have been so distracted by our own problems in the U.S. to notice over 10,000 Hong Kong citizens have been arrested in pro-democracy riots this year. On top of that, just last week, 4 duly elected pro-democracy legislators were ousted from the National People’s Congress and disqualified from being on the ballot in an upcoming election because a Beijing ruled committee proclaimed them a threat to national security. 

This ousting, which, by the way, is a flagrant disregard of the legislator’s right to due process of law and every Hong Kongers’ right to elect their leaders and lawmakers, led to 19 other leaders resigning in protest. While showing such solidarity was an impressive move, it also left the National People’s Congress very pro-Beijing, and this, my friends, should send a shiver down our democratic spines!

In China’s Xi playbook, promise keeping does not appear to be one of the rules of the game.  According to Wikipedia, when China accepted Hong Kong from British control in 1997, a promise was made — not only to England, but also to the 7.5 million residents of the city — that Hong Kong would be protected — at least until 2047 — by a “one country, two system” government plan.

Furthermore, the signed treaty promised Hong Kong its own legal system separate from China, the privilege of multiple political parties and the right of assembly and free speech.  Of course, in all fairness, who would ever have dreamed twenty years ago a backward country like China, which so desperately needed the economic successes of one of the world’s leading financial hubs, would ever become the superpower it is today.  Being able to change and rewrite the rules of the game so easily — and without retribution— is indicative of that power.

Now, as much as I might like to expound on the injustices of China clamping down on another democracy, I am really upset because, as a travel agent, I simply do not want Hong Kong to ever change. It is a class act city, and definitely one of the most popular destinations we sell at Monroe Travel Service.

For me, Hong Kong is like Las Vegas. You simply have to see it to believe it. As much as the locals love to complain about the property prices, humidity, and the traffic, I am sure they must realize they live in one of the most unique cities on the planet. There is just so much to love about Hong Kong:

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Jan Morris, travel writer hailed as the Flaubert of the Jet Age, 1926-2020

Jan Morris, the writer celebrated for her lyrical, evocative prose and hailed as the Flaubert of the Jet Age, made her name with a bald report of barely a dozen words. “Snow conditions bad,” it read. “Advanced base abandoned yesterday. Awaiting improvement. All Well.”

That downbeat dispatch, carried by runners down Nepal’s Khumbu valley then telegraphed to London, was in fact a coded message designed to protect a famous journalistic scoop. On June 2, 1953, the day of Elizabeth II’s coronation, its true meaning was revealed in the Times: Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay had become the first to stand on the summit of Everest.

Morris was the sole reporter on that expedition, an experience which would have been the pinnacle of most careers. For Morris, who died on Friday aged 94, it was just one chapter in a long adventurous life of remarkable breadth and scope. She was a child chorister at Oxford, a soldier crossing Europe in the second world war, a feted historian, one of 20th century’s greatest travellers, a Booker-shortlisted novelist and transgender pioneer. Along the way she met Che Guevara in Cuba, exposed French collusion in the invasion of Suez, and lived on Field Marshal Montgomery’s houseboat on the Nile.

James Morris was born in Somerset in 1926, to a Welsh father and English mother. It was a musical childhood — his brothers became an organist and flautist and James went as a choral scholar to Christ Church Cathedral School in Oxford then Lancing College. In 1944 he joined the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers, serving as an intelligence officer in Italy and Palestine and at one point being stationed in Venice — the city that would become the subject of the award-winning 1960 book that would establish his reputation as a travel writer.

After the war he worked for the Arab News Agency in Cairo, returned to Oxford to read English and edit Cherwell, the student newspaper, then joined the Times, first as a subeditor then correspondent. In 1949 he met and married Elizabeth Tuckniss — a relationship so joyful and intense he would accompany her morning commute by bus across London just so they could keep talking — and they went on to have five children. In 1968, he published the first volume of the Pax Britannica trilogy, a monumental account of the British empire which the Times Literary Supplement declared “a tour de force”.

But though the life of the dashing army officer and intrepid journalist seemed to epitomise the era’s ideal of action-man masculinity, Morris knew all along he was living in the wrong body. Sitting under his mother’s piano aged three or four, “her music falling around me like cataracts, enclosing me as if in a cave”, Morris realised he “should really be a girl. I remember the moment well and it is the earliest memory of my life.”

Supported throughout by Elizabeth, he began hormone treatment in 1964 and in 1972 had reassignment surgery in Casablanca, returning afterwards to resume

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Donald Trump Jr. positive; Thanksgiving travel not advised


A coronavirus vaccine might not be widely available until several months into 2021.


The U.S reported a record high of more than 195,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 Friday, the same week the nation surpassed 250,000 deaths from the coronavirus, by far the largest total in the world. Experts say it will get worse.

“Cases and deaths continue to increase steadily in most states,” a Thursday Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation briefing says. “The pace of increase is faster than we expected, leading us to revise upward our forecast of deaths by March 1 to 471,000.”

The influential model’s projections assume 40 states will reinstate social distancing mandates by that time. If they don’t, IHME researchers say deaths and cases will be even higher.

Meanwhile, numerous high-profile political figures including Donald Trump Jr. have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. Florida Sen. Rick Scott announced Friday he has tested positive. He is the second Republican senator, along with Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, to announce positive tests this week.

And Rudy Giuliani’s son, Andrew, announced Friday he has tested positive for COVID-19, a day after he attended a news conference with his father and other members of President Donald Trump’s legal team alleging baseless claims of widespread election fraud.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 11.9 million cases and more than 254,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 57.6 million cases and 1.37 million deaths. 

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.


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Kansas counties that opted out of face mask order saw COVID-19 cases rise

We already know that wearing face masks in public spaces slows the spread of COVID-19. And now the coronavirus situation in Kansas is providing further proof.

Gov. Laura Kelly issued a face mask mandate in early July, and the counties that upheld the order saw a decline in cases, while the counties that opted out saw cases rise, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday.

“Countywide mask mandates appear to have contributed to the mitigation of COVID-19 transmission in mandated counties,” according to the report, which analyzed county-level data one month before, and after, the governor’s mandate went into effect.

As of mid-August, 24 of Kansas’s 105 counties had abided by the state mandate or adopted their own mask mandate, and 81 counties had opted out, as Kansas law allows. At that time, the number of new daily cases per capita – calculated as a 7-day rolling average – had decreased an average of 6% among counties with a mask mandate and increased by 100% in counties without a mandate. Read more.

Canada’s largest city going back on lockdown

The province of Ontario announced Friday that Toronto and the surrounding Peel Region will go into lockdown on

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TSA Sees Spike in Passengers Nationwide as Travel for Thanksgiving Takes Off

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has seen a sharp rise in the number of airline passengers over the past two days as some Americans have started traveling ahead of Thanksgiving.

text, whiteboard: A passenger enters a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at O'Hare International Airport on October 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. TSA screened more than a million passengers on November 20.

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A passenger enters a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at O’Hare International Airport on October 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. TSA screened more than a million passengers on November 20.

Daily figures show TSA processed 1,019,836 passengers on Friday. On the same day in 2019, there were 2,550,459 passengers. This decline is almost certainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday was the first day since October 18 that TSA has dealt with more than a million passengers. This is a significant increase from the day before, when just 907,332 traveler were processed. There were 703,135 on November 18.

How Does A Vaccine Work? What To Know Amid COVID-19 Pandemic



TSA has processed more than a million passengers on just two days since June 5. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in March this year.

The rise in passengers comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised against traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19,” a CDC advisory said on Thursday.

“Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year,” they said. One spokesperson said that “celebrating virtually” was a better option.

The CDC advised people who do choose to travel to take precautions such as social distancing and mask-wearing.

TSA reiterate this advice in a statement to Newsweek, saying: “For individuals who travel we urge that they heed CDC guidance on ways to protect themselves and others during that travel by using face masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing.”

Guidance on COVID-19 travel precautions is available on TSA’s website. This includes washing hands “directly before and after completing the security screening process.”

“We will continue making the checkpoint experience as healthy as possible while executing our security mission,” TSA said.

The number of Americans flying is expected to increase as Thanksgiving approaches next Thursday. This time last year, TSA was screening around 2 million passengers a day.

Journalists and social media users have pointed to crowds at airports amid concerns that holiday travel could exacerbate the pandemic. Scenes at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in Arizona were a particular cause of concern on Saturday, with others highlighting relatively sparse crowds at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia and LaGuardia Airport in New York.

NBC Chicago reported crowds at O’Hare International Airport in the city, citing long lines and limited social distancing. Denver Post enterprise reporter Jon Murray tweeted on Friday that Denver International Airport’s United Airlines terminal was busier than it was

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The Pandemic Travel Hotspot Marrying U.S. Visitors In The Mediterranean

John Lennon married Yoko Ono there in 1969 because he said it was “quiet, friendly and British.” It has the only wild monkey population on the entire continent and there are no rivers and streams. And interestingly for somewhere undergoing a tourist revival for marrying Americans, it has one of the highest divorce rates in the world, per square capita.

Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on a small peninsular in Spain that juts out into the entrance of the Mediterranean sea. It is 3 miles (5 km) long and 0.75 mile (1.2 km) wide with 30,000 residents living under British control. It’s a tiny place, with only 29 km of roads.

It’s also become something of a pandemic hotspot for American and British travelers, lured by the accessibility, the warm Mediterranean temperatures and lighter travel restrictions for U.S. visitors.

For travelers arriving from the U.K., there is an air travel corridor in operation, meaning that travel is allowed between the two countries and there is no need for proof of a negative Covid PCR test upon arrival or quarantine.

As reported in The New York Times, many Americans traveled there to get married over the summer –in part, because as borders continued to close over the summer with a U.S. travel ban in place, Gibraltar remained open, and as countries limited the number of people allowed to gather in one place, many couples headed out to Gibraltar for a quiet and romantic elopement.

It has always been known as a place with limited wedding bureaucracy; it’s one of the reasons that John Lennon married there, because France required couples to be in the country for two weeks before the wedding.

Gibraltar, however, only requires couples to present their passports and birth certificates, and stay in the territory overnight, either before or after their wedding. Conveniently, they receive their wedding certificate in the mail within three weeks and it is recognised worldwide. It’s also one of the most economical places to marry as there are direct flight connections.

Many couples remain in Gibraltar to honeymoon. It has Unesco protected sea caves, underwater reefs and great dive sights. It also has impressive tunnels blasted into “the rock” (as it is known) by the British to carry arms up to the ledge overlooking the French and Spanish would-be conquering forces. Couples can hike up to view Mount Sidi Musa on the northern tip of Morocco, which is one of the pillars of Hercules in Greek mythology.

It’s a controversial place to some–Hitler held talks with General Franco over the idea of giving the small peninsular to Germany; the plan was called Operation Felix.

Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht and Spain has had issues with Britain still claiming sovereignty over it; an issue which reignited with the U.K.’s departure from the EU. As reported by the FT, about 15,000

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CDC pleads with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel

NEW YORK (AP) — With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation’s top public health agency pleaded with Americans on Thursday not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household.

The Thanksgiving warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came as the White House coronavirus task force held a briefing for the first time in months and Vice President Mike Pence concluded it without responding to questions by reporters or urging Americans not to travel.

Other members of the task force — whose media briefings were a daily fixture during the early days of the outbreak — talked about the progress being made in the development of a vaccine.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech will seek emergency government approval for their coronavirus vaccine on Friday. And infection disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci sought to reassure the public that the vaccine is safe while still encouraging Americans to wear masks.

The CDC’s Thanksgiving warning was some of the firmest guidance yet from the government on curtailing traditional gatherings to fight the outbreak.

The CDC issued the recommendations just one week before Thanksgiving, at a time when diagnosed infections, hospitalizations and deaths are skyrocketing across the country. In many areas, the health care system is being squeezed by a combination of sick patients filling up beds and medical workers falling ill themselves.

The CDC’s Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz cited more than 1 million new cases in the U.S. over the past week as the reason for the new guidance.

“The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household,” she said.

If families do decide to include returning college students, military members or others for turkey and stuffing, the CDC is recommending that the hosts take added precautions: Gatherings should be outdoors if possible, with people keeping 6 feet apart and wearing masks and just one person serving the food.

Whether Americans heed the warning is another matter. The deadly comeback by the virus has been blamed in part on pandemic fatigue, or people getting tired of masks and other precautions. And surges were seen last summer after Memorial Day and July Fourth, despite blunt warnings from health authorities.

The United States has had more than 11 million diagnosed infections and over 250,000 deaths from the coronavirus. CDC scientists believe that somewhere around 40% of people who are infected do not have obvious symptoms but can still spread the virus.



Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced the imposition of an overnight curfew on most residents as the most populous state tries to head off a virus case surge that officials fears could tax the state’s health care system.

What officials called a limited stay-at-home order requires nonessential residents to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Saturday. It lasts until Dec. 21 but could be extended. It covers 94% of the

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Marriott, Tacoma, jewelry store, apartments, open

The long-awaited Marriott Tacoma Downtown opened Wednesday.

Located at 1538 Commerce St., the hotel is next door to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

The News Tribune reported that the hotel has 22 floors and 304 guest rooms.


The Purple Peacock has opened a permanent location in Point Ruston at 5103 N. Main St.

According to its website, the business offers jewelry, furniture, home décor and gifts.

It will be open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


The Village on Main apartments have opened their doors at Point Ruston.

Located at 5020 Main St. in Tacoma, the apartments are advertised as being pet friendly and with underground parking availability.

In post on social media, the locations are listed as actively leasing and available for tours.

Chase Hutchinson is the reporter for The Peninsula Gateway. He previously covered art and culture for The News Tribune as well as writing film reviews. He got his start in journalism at The Puget Sound Trail, the college paper of the University of Puget Sound from where he graduated.

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