What's happening, Trash Pandas? I'm Elinor Jones, and I've rounded up some of the best, silliest, stankiest garbage from around the webs and listed them here for you in this column, which is called...THE TRASH REPORT! Please don your cutest protective gear and dive in with me, okay?

Balloons, Schmalloons

At the time of this writing the top news story of the day is the alleged Chinese spy balloon that is calmly booping along over the United States. The Pentagon has advised against shooting the balloon down, which to me sounds like a direct challenge for the millions of gun-obsessed Americans who think they could be the one to shoot it down, so good luck to this balloon. Honestly though, having been online on Balloon Boy Day back in 2009, I carry a lot of balloon skepticism. It's just like... a balloon? Okay, let me know if there's a big ol' house attached to it with a crotchety old man inside, and then I might care. (If between my deadline and the publication of this column a war has broken out between China and the United States, I'm sorry for being flippant.) (Edit: Biden has since ordered the balloon shot down, and it was blasted to hell. Why else would we spend $1.9 trillion annually on our military?! Think about this next time you're at Oaks Park and you pop a balloon with a dart for a dollar.)

Famed hornball Dr. Ruth had a similarly breezy response:

Speaking of horny, I love this news: "U.S. reports blowout job growth; unemployment rate lowest since 1969." All together now: nice

And remember the guy who was suspected of stealing two monkeys from a zoo? Well they just caught him, and he was arrested at an aquarium! I'm glad all the aquatic animals are safe, but I am dying to know what he was planning on stealing! A stingray? Otter? A freaking S H A R K??? If I were in the business of animal security, I'd at least let people attempt the theft before stopping it, just for the story if nothing else. 

Updates for February

It's February now, and as the highly-evolved people that we are, we've turned to a giant rodent to predict our weather future. According to Punxsatawney Phil, we're in for six more weeks of winter. And hey, did you know that other places have a special groundhog that they turn to for meteorological advice? It's true! But sadly for the town of Val-d'Espoir, Quebec, when they went to rouse their groundhog, Fred, from his den, he was dead, and the town went forward with their event using a stuffed animal—which is about the bleakest shit I've ever heard. So I looked it up and it turns out that groundhogs usually only live for about three years, and Fred was freaking NINE, so it seems like somebody should have checked on him at some point before they got everybody all psyched up on seeing him! It'd be like gathering the townspeople to celebrate a human being turning 200 years old and then they were dead. Like, what did they expect?

Another thing that happens in February is that it's Black History Month, which I always love because a lot of smart people share smart things and beautiful art. Then there's how the Miami Police Department attempted to celebrate Black History, which was neither smart nor beautiful: They unveiled a new police car. According to the Miami Herald, "the red, yellow, green, blue and pink vehicle includes Black fists raised in protest and an outline of Africa." Hello, 9-1-1? I'd like to report a crime, and that is how criminally misguided a painted cop car as a tribute to Black Americans is!

Twitter used @gummipies summed up the fuckedupedness better than I ever could:

Stiff Upper Lip < Bloated Lower Lip

Conservative man who will not stop talking, Ben Shapiro, seems to have a thing for public humiliation and now it's thanks to some unfortunate lip filler he obtained. No shade on fixing up a rusty face (I personally love the glossy flat expanse that is my botoxed forehead), but either be honest about it, or be more subtle so there isn't an entire instagram account devoted to tracking the movement of your bottom lip. 

@arden_rose #stitch with @real.benshapiro ♬ original sound - Arden Rose

Keep Telling Them Portland Sucks

The Willamette Week recently ran a cover story about how six people they talked to are leaving Portland due to high taxes and perceived lawlessness. Meanwhile, Fox 12 let it slip that Portland is nowhere near being the most dangerous city in the United States. But hey, best of luck to "the Willy Week Six," and feel free to keep telling everyone that Portland sucks even though it doesn't. We need more negative attention. Keeps away the nerds.

Unfortch, it seems that we are keeping away one person who is decidedly not a nerd: Beyoncé released the schedule for her upcoming world tour and Portland did not make the cut. She'll go to Seattle, which is close enough, although that does make it a lot more expensive for us to attend. Beyoncé in 2022: Quit your job! Me: Okay! Beyoncé in 2023: Have a bunch of disposable income! Me: Aw, crap.

Get This Cat!

Whenever I'm up against any sort of tiny deadline, I must first review all of the available pets at the Oregon Humane Society, and I was delighted by this darling boy, Tucker:

Tucker is 1 year old and weighs 11 lbs, but most importantly, he looks exactly like Matt Damon. Remember a few years ago when every movie poster was just a bunch of words on Matt Damon's face? Because look:

For only $100 you can adopt Tucker and get years of snuggles and purrs, plus that amazing poster I just made in Canva for free. Wow!

On that note, I gotta scram, I totally just beefed this deadline while making that dumb poster and I gotta lie low for a while. 

In secret,