Dan Corkery: So what's news this time of year?

Dan Corkery: So what's news this time of year?

For a sizeable portion of America, the week between Christmas and New Year's is a vacation.

Sleep in, eat out, watch football, go bargain hunting. Schools, colleges and universities close. So do many companies.

But not in the news business. We still have pages to fill and websites to update, even if little news is being generated.

The Associated Press, for example, sent just three stories with Washington datelines on Christmas Day. On Dec. 26, AP doubled its output, to six.

Yet reporters and editors across the country know slow news days are no excuse: Ya' gotta feed the beast.

That means a few odd stories, by virtue of timing, find an audience.

Such as the article about a Houston couple on their first date.

According to a story this week in the New York Daily News, Lindy Lou Layman was drunk and in the $14 million mansion of prominent attorney Tony Buzbee on Dec. 23. Buzbee says it wasn't a date; she was at his place with other people. (Psst, Buzbee, first date makes for a better story.)

Because she was in bad shape, Buzbee called an Uber ride for her.

But she didn't want to leave. So she trashed three paintings, including two Andy Warhols (worth $500,000 each), and two abstract sculptures, according to prosecutors.

You'd think she'd know better. She's a court reporter.

Last weekend, police in Fairfax County, Va., say two men stole an unlocked, unoccupied Honda Civic that was warming up. When they were arrested shortly afterward, the Washington Post reported, one of the men was wearing a T-shirt that said: Trust Me.

A young mother in California had to trust strangers.

"Oh my God, I'm having my baby," the woman shouted at a Mexican market and butcher shop in Fresno on Dec. 26.

Issamar Sepulveda, co-owner of El Parian, told the Fresno Bee that she and her staff sprang into action. The cook, the butcher and the cashier (no mention of a candlestick maker) helped her deliver the baby. The butcher took off his apron to catch the baby.

Sepulveda cut the cord — with scissors (perhaps the butcher was too busy with the apron to get a sharp knife).

Baby and child are doing well.

And so is Baby Fiona. The hippo.

Clearly, I have not been following important animal news this year. Fiona was born six weeks premature last January at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The staff have nursed her to good health. They have also made her an internet sensation. She has her own show at CincinnatiZoo.org and on YouTube. She has a hashtag (#TeamFiona) and official merchandise.

AP gave Fiona four paragraphs this week to preview her birthday party next month.

Had Fiona not survived, she likely would have gotten more attention from no-nonsense AP.

That's what happened to Tundra the polar bear, who was euthanized last weekend at the Bronx Zoo. He got six paragraphs.

Tundra, who suffered from acute kidney failure, had lived a full life of 26 years, much longer than most male zoo-raised polar bears.

Speaking of males, two of them (the human kind) got a frosty reception at a comedy club last month in Los Angeles, and now one of them is suing.

When comedian Iliza Shlesinger performed her "Girls Night In With Iliza — No Boys Allowed" at the Largo at the Coronet club, George St. George and a friend bought tickets and were told they'd have to sit in the back. When they returned for the show, they were refused entry and offered refunds.

St. George's suit says the "No Boys Allowed" show violates California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits "ladies night" promotions. According to Rolling Stone, St. George has filed other suits challenging "ladies nights" promotions.

I wonder what his reaction would be if St. George lived in Sweden. There, the Church of Sweden has advised its clergy to refer to God in gender-neutral language and avoid masculine terms such as "He" and "Lord."

Archbishop Antje Jackelen told PBS News Hour recently that "God is beyond our human categories of gender" and that gender-neutral language is "not something that's newly invented."

"We are not worshiping political correctness," the Lutheran archbishop said. "We are worshiping God, the creator of the universe."

And that's all the news that fits this week. Happy New Year.

Dan Corkery is a member of The News-Gazette's editorial board. His email is dcorkery@news-gazette.com, and his phone is 351-5218.

Sections (2):Columns, Opinion

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