+8 Thousands of Richmonders get a head start celebrating St. Patrick's Day during Shamrock the Block, filling the streets of Shockoe Bottom with revelry. Completely unrelated, did anyone find a left shoe, soggy, size 10?
+7 Both the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University get bids to the NCAA tournament. We have an office bracket going for the Hokie Whining Championship.
-1 Former Gov. Tim Kaine, who serves as Democratic National Committee chairman, keeps the suspense going for a U.S. Senate bid, reportedly telling a law school class that he's “likely” to run. Just the kind of bold decisiveness America's been craving!
+2 Maymont Park announces that you can now use your smart phone to participate in a scavenger hunt across its hills and valleys using the SCVNGR app. If you're over 70, we don't have time to explain. Just go see the bears.
+5 Gotta go. Guinness is calling.
+5 Best Nonscandal-Related News Coverage of a City Council Liaison: Times-Dispatch story on Yueh Hai “Eli” Wong, aide to Councilman Douglas G. Conner Jr., who is in no way, as far as we know, involved in the City Hall sexual-harassment scandal.
+4 Best Politician's Wife at a Wine Festival: First lady Maureen McDonnell, handing out the Governor's Cup at the Virginia Wine Expo in place of her absent husband. Also nominated: John Hager's wife, Maggie.
-2 Most Out-of-Proportion New Sports Mascot, Nut Division: Zinger the Acorn, which is roughly the size of Nutzy the Flying Squirrel's entire body.
-3 Most Disappointed Pupils: Anyone enrolled in a Richmond school that attempts to book an appearance by Nutzy the Flying Squirrel and gets Zinger the Acorn instead.
+1 Most Richmond Flying Squirrels Mascot References in a Single Publication: Four. Style Weekly, March 2 edition.
+6 Cupid's arrow takes flight across Richmond, with amorous outpourings floating through the air like rainbow-colored hearts atop cotton-candy clouds. It's Valentine's Day for us, or just another workday at City Hall.
-3 The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reports that donors of artifacts to Gov. Doug Wilder's failed U.S. National Slavery Museum can't get Wilder to return messages about the items they donated. Hint on getting through: Tell his secretary you're booking guests on MSNBC.
0 Residents who live around City Stadium, left vacant by the University of Richmond, worry that a high-end shopping center will take its place. Yawn. If only someone would believe in our proposal to go retro with a gladiator arena. A little mauling and goring could wake this city up.
-4 The T-D reports that Virginia bats are dying from a fungus that's causing a disease called white-nose syndrome. This, plus they have to live in caves? Being a bat ain't easy.
+8 Justin Bieber's new movie, “Never Say Never 3D,” opens in Richmond theaters. It's the story of a young boy with immense talent who overcomes obstacles, believes in a dream and earns millions of passionate fans. You know, a pre-creepy Michael Jackson.
+7 Richmonders gather around televisions to watch the Super Bowl and happily revel in American consumerism. After the commercials, some people even head out to buy a Groupon deal on 50 percent off good taste.
-3 The AAA warns that average gas prices in Virginia are topping $3 per gallon, likely to prompt lots of blaming and complaining about the Middle East. Yes, clearly those pesky Egyptians are overthrowing their government in an effort to push electric cars on us.
+4 Speaking of Egypt, we're told that Anderson Cooper is back in the country and still plans to headline the Richmond Forum on Feb. 19 and 20. Also, organizers say that despite the jostling he went through overseas, he is still “totally dreamy.”
-5 City Council aide Jennifer Walle files a lawsuit against the city, Council President Kathy Graziano and her liaison, David Hathcock, charging that the city didn't properly handle her complaints of sexual harassment. We're waiting on the mayor to weigh in on this never.
+3 A group of city boosters, ad agencies and other local groups launch RVACreates.com, an effort to get the public involved in creating a stronger brand identity for Richmond. Wait, isn't that why we got Nutzy?
+2 After a two-year period of reflection, the Science Museum of Virginia declares that it's redefining its mission. Longtime fans fear this may mark the end of a core commitment to “Out of Order” signs and Imax films about sturgeon.
+1 Speaking of sturgeon … the Department of Environmental Quality announces that it's launching a study to identify the kinds of toxins that contaminate the James River. Sounds like some catfish have been flouting the state's no-smoking laws.
-6 Speaking of smoking …a state senator introduces a bill to criminalize herbal incense, a kind of “fake marijuana” that's legal in Virginia. Because he just doesn't think police are busy enough.
-1 Speaking of a misguided effort … Traffic reports highlight Prince George County, where a tractor-trailer carrying some 200 live hogs overturns on Route 10. The driver's doing well, but the hogs are going to be executed and eaten.
+4 Speaking of animals … The T-D reports on an effort by the Richmond chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and animal control officers to trap some 75 feral cats in Gilpin Court, spaying or neutering them and releasing them into a nearby “wooded area with shelter and feeding stations.” It's all the features of prison, really: free food, shelter and unpleasant sex.
+3 The season of gun-control debates kicks off at the Virginia General Assembly, with proponents, opponents and lobbyists on all sides making their cases at the State Capitol. Can't we just pull out our AK-47s like the Founding Fathers intended and settle this once and for all?
0 Former Gov. George Allen announces that in 2012 he'll take another shot at the U.S. Senate, declaring that “It's time for an American comeback with leaders who listen to ‘We the People.'” Allen's hoping this new song will surpass his one-hit wonder, “Macacarena.”
-5 Developer Justin French pleads guilty to defrauding taxpayers in U.S. District Court. He hasn't been sentenced, but there's a chance he'll head to the first house he ever lived in that wasn't built on historic tax credits.
+6 New-to-the-scene Shockoe restaurant and nightspot Off the Hookah sees a surge in weekend revelers who roll in to check out the slick club concept brought from Florida, with flavored shisha smoked in hookahs and a kitchen run by Ed Blase. Which makes perfect business sense, because smoking from a bowl always makes us hungry.
+2 The T-D reports that the Quan Am Phat Dien Buddhist temple gets a visit from Cambodian Prince Norodom Yuvaneath, son of former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk and the half brother of King Norodom Sihamoni. Yet another case of Cambodian nepotism.
+1 Gov. Bob McDonnell uses the words “job” or “jobs” 33 times in his State of the Commonwealth address, with “wine” used three times, and “bourbon” and “gin” getting one mention each. Yet another politician who can't get his priorities straight.
0 A new session of the General Assembly gets under way Jan. 14. And on this day in history 40 years ago, “All in the Family” premiered, featuring prime-time television's first toilet flush. Coincidence?
+6 Social media site Tumblr, which lets users share their lives through short and fast blogging, celebrates the opening of its satellite office in Richmond. The expansion comes just when we thought we knew enough about what people do when they're bored.
+4 Popular modern-furniture store and Shockoe fixture LaDiffAcrence announces that it's opening a second location in Short Pump. Asked about progress on the expansion, co-owner Andy Thornton replies, “Sofa, so good.”
-2 A Henrico County mom is charged with 19 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the T-D reports, after police say they caught underage kids drinking at a New Year's Eve party. What's worse, they were being subjected to Justin Bieber's new acoustic CD.
+1 Peter Mark, the longtime artistic director booted from the Virginia Opera, announces that he's starting his own opera company. “I will show them all!” he thunders, shaking his fist in the air, shedding his black cape and stomping off to take a bath in bitter, glorious revenge.
+1 The Virginia Tourism Corporation and Virginia Film Office roll out their new public service announcement featuring Gov. Bob McDonnell and Garth Brooks. Ah, so politicians are what Brooks meant by “Friends in Low Places.”
+2 The University of Richmond expands transportation options for students, adding access to a ride-sharing website, self-service Zipcars and a downtown shuttle. Note to students: This will not affect existing services. Those who drive Mercedes are still eligible for a free tire rotation by President Ed Ayers every 3,000 miles; personal chauffeurs will continue to receive half-off coupons for their monthly hat shinings; and your mom may deduct mileage when she stops by to do laundry.
-5 The webmaster of the popular local aggregator RichmondGoodLife.com says he's cutting back the site to food news while he diverts his energies to a book on restaurants. Well, that and seeing what this whole fresh air and sunlight thing is all about.
+4 Court charges are dropped against that guy who stripped to his underwear at the Richmond International Airport to protest invasive security measures. But his abs of steel are declared a crime of sexy proportions.
+10 Filled with joy, hope and high expectations, Richmonders loudly ring in a new year. Even City Councilman Charles Samuels is spotted with a small noisemaker, resolving to kick up his wingtips a decibel higher this year.
-4 Speaking of City Hall, Councilman Marty Jewell asks for an investigation into whether a council liaison inappropriately touched another council liaison. If only we'd known this stuff goes on, we could have gotten out of so many parking tickets.
0 The T-D reports on coyote sightings in Chesterfield County. And from Short Pump, calls continue to pour in citing a cougar overpopulation at Kona Grill.
-2 A fire leaves no injuries but heavily damages Zorba's Greek and Italian restaurant in the West End. Which fills the air with plumes of unfortunate but really delicious smelling smoke.
+1 At Richmond International Airport, the T-D reports, a 21-year-old man from Charlottesville is arrested after stripping down to his underwear to protest security screenings. He did not appear to be carrying a weapon.
+2 On the eve of Christmas Eve, Mechanicsville native and pop star Jason Mraz announces his engagement to singer and songwriter Tristan Prettyman over Twitter, writing: “SHE SAID YES.” Then they snuggled up for some hot and heavy Facebook poking.
-7 A Christmas storm strands holiday travelers in airport terminals, at the train depot and on guest beds across the city. And if you stood just downwind of the Greyhound station after the long winter's night, you could have caught the magical whiff of Santa's cold and clammy underbelly.
-3 After closing for Christmas Day, the city's new skating rink, RVA on Ice, shuts down on Sunday because of the winter weather. Because, you know, who wants to be outside with all this ice?
0 Heading into New Year's weekend, Richmonders get ready to bid adieu to 365 days of iPads, foreclosures, no more Ukrop's and Ken Cuccinelli. Goodbye 2010, to which some people are referring as the Year of What the Hell Just Happened.
+9 Then again, there's hope for 2011, what with Jason Mraz getting married and the city's new ice-skating rink and whatnot. That's right, kids, this year it's time to dream big.