+7 Richmonders wrap up shopping, decorating and office parties in the final week before Christmas. And by office parties, we mean calling in sick.
-1 The City of Richmond issues a winter-related news release with such advice as “avoid overloading electrical outlets” and “wear mittens or gloves and a hat, preferably one that covers your ears.” And whatever you do, stay away from the Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot air rifle with a compass in the stock. You'll shoot your eye out.
-2 In an interview speaking of his love and compassion for animals, Michael Vick says he'd like to own a pet dog again someday. Dogs begin dreaming about the chance to snuggle up with Vick and wrap their jaws around a nice juicy bone.
-4 In a federal indictment, The Associated Press reports, a South Richmond home is targeted in connection with a wide-reaching, underground business selling counterfeit documents to illegal immigrants. In another sign of the globalization of our economy, the fake IDs were churned out by a sweat shop in China.
+1 Famed jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. says it will open in Stony Point Fashion Park next year, the T-D reports. With Schwarzschild Jewelers, that gives Richmond two little blue boxes, many happy women and lots of men with lighter wallets.
-2 Predictably, Richmonders go nuts with the season's first significant snowfall, drawing state troopers to more than 100 reported car crashes in the metro area on Monday morning. It didn't help that half those drivers were tweeting about the snow.
-4 As the Times-Dispatch reports, the city fails to get its own permits in line before beginning construction on its new downtown ice rink. Apparently even City Hall can't understand City Hall's red tape.
+6 A dozen boats strung with holiday lights draw revelers to the 18th James River Parade of Lights. Only a few catfish were electrocuted. And they were yummy.
0 With his lawsuit against Obamacare, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli gets one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court after a federal judge in Virginia rules parts of it unconstitutional. We hope Cuccinelli's not sick on his big day.
-2 The owners of a tattoo parlor in Chesterfield continue to hit hurdles with worried neighbors and officials while attempting to open for business, the Chesterfield Observer reports. Guys, just tack on a gun range. That'll fly through approval faster than Chesterfield babies get their ears pierced.
-2 A Rudolph balloon navigated by volunteers at the Dominion Christmas Parade ruptures on a traffic light pole, causing the giant reindeer to collapse at Broad and North Meadow streets. On the upside, the pile of deflated polyurethane was recycled into gummy red and green things by a local fruitcake bakery. (See video below!)
+7 The holiday season brightens up downtown during the annual Grand Illumination, sparking lights on office buildings, James Center reindeer and the State Capitol Christmas tree. Now if we could just stop people from lighting those damn Yankee Candles.
+3 Drivers on Interstate 95 between Ashland and Spotsylvania County now may cruise legally at 70 mph, thanks to the state's new speed limit there. Not that anyone's trying to leave Ashland faster, no sir.
+2 The T-D reports that VCU President Michael Rao no longer will require office employees to sign confidentiality agreements. Meaning any day now the public will discover his penchant for rocking out to Bob Seger in his tighty whities.
+1 The Virginia Educational Media Association honors Byrd Middle School as having the school library of the year for 2010. A hushed celebration is planned.
-5 Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli advises principals and teachers that it's OK to seize and search phones and laptops of students suspected of cyber bullying and sexting. Cooch says administrators should also check to make sure Little Jimmy isn't doing any climate research.
-2 Virginia Tech thumps University of Virginia, 37-7, while the Hokies' star pupil, Michael Vick, makes the cover of Sports Illustrated. And in related news, the temperature in Hell today will hover right around freezing.
+3 Black Friday jump-starts the holiday shopping season, the Wall Street Journal reports, luring 212 million shoppers who spent an average $363.34 over the weekend. Meanwhile, somewhere on the coast, a couple thousand lemmings are laughing their asses off.
-4 Despite national protests, some travelers at Richmond International Airport tell the Times-Dispatch they don't really mind full-body searches and pat downs. The newspaper's publisher, self-appointed civic cheerleader Tom Silvestri, immediately brainstorms a new slogan: “Metro Richmond: Easy to Grope.”
+3 Actor and all-around eccentric Crispin Glover is making an appearance at the Byrd Theatre on Friday, showing his film “It is Fine! Everything is Fine!,” signing books, and answering questions from the audience. The only question the Score has: “When will we get our damn Hover Boards!”
-3 Facing questions about his leadership and with his inauguration on hold, Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao learns that the Board of Visitors is hiring a consultant to evaluate his performance. You can bet Rao wishes he'd never thrown that toga party at the Delta House.
0 After an election turnover, Eric Cantor becomes majority leader of the House of Representatives — the first Virginian elected to that position. The winds of change may be blowing, but that dude's hair still hasn't moved.
+2 Producer and director Steven Spielberg lunches with Virginia film officials at Millie's Diner, The Washington Post reports. Storyboard production immediately commences on his next Hollywood blockbuster, “Jurassic Encounters with the Devil's Mess.”
0 The Virginia Opera Association fires artistic director Peter Mark, who's been with the organization for 36 years. In opera terms, that's equivalent to 2,457 fat ladies.
-5 The director of Richmond's parks and rec department resigns after a city auditor's report uncovers thousands of dollars in waste, including 135 hours of worker overtime to build a reception desk. To be fair, have you ever tried putting something together from Ikea?
+3 Hampden-Sydney College formally installs its first black president, featuring keynote remarks from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. Who should be wrapping up episode nine of those remarks right about … now.
+2 The Martin Agency announces that it's won the advertising account of Cool Whip. Which is a painful reminder that selling air and fluffed up oil in a tub is just another way to make millions that we didn't think of first.
+8 A record 16,106 people run in the SunTrust Richmond Marathon, McDonald's Half Marathon and HCA Virginia 8k over the weekend. We haven't seen this many skinny people sweating since needle exchange day at the free clinic.
-5 It's revealed that a former Virginia secretary of finance, John W. Forbes II, pleaded guilty to fraud for siphoning millions of dollars from a fund meant to help economically struggling communities in Southside and Southwest Virginia. Now, who's going to take the blame for the car tax?
+1 Riding a wave of publicity from President Obama's reference to Slurpees, 7-Eleven brings its Slurpee Unity Tour to Richmond on Nov. 16, 4-6 p.m., at 9500 W. Broad St. Mark this on your calendars as the day America became one — and a frozen-drink maker proved its capitalist superiority.
+4 Cooks face off with concoctions of chicken, veggies and tomatoes during the Brunswick Stew Festival at the 17th Street Farmers' Market. There haven't been this many boiling cauldrons in one place since Christine O'Donnell's concession party.
+7 Richmonders turn back their clocks an hour. This is normally when we'd rail against this city for being stuck in the past, but we're too giddy over the news of next summer's comeback tour with the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block.
+6 The Richmond Forum and Virginia Union University are visited by the President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, also known as the Iron Lady of Africa. This confuses some attendees, who show up wearing their ComicCon-inspired Stark Industries Mark IV Armor and repulsors.
-1 Known for its no-nonsense service and red-eye gravy, McLean's Restaurant moves down the street to 3205 W. Broad St. This is the biggest news to shake the diner world since Liberty Valance took the wagon wheel off its entrance.
0 Merchants gear up for a renovation plan to turn Willow Lawn into an open-air mall. Because nothing says Christmas like maxing out your credit card on Old Navy hoodies while freezing your ass off.
Special Edition: Halloween Recycling
-2 This year's costume, Chilean Miner: sunglasses, mud-covered, underground for weeks on end. --> Next year's costume, Justin French.
+4 This year's costume, Justin Bieber: iconic head of hair, golden voice, hordes of screaming female fans. --> Next year's costume: Gene Cox.
0 This year's costume, BP Oil Spill: Shiny black wig, drain on the budget, endless self-gushing. --> Next year's costume, Eric Cantor.
+3 This year's costume, Mike the Situation of “Jersey Shore”: gelled-up hair, prominently defined abs, dancing shoes. --> Next year's costume, Mr. Gay Virginia.
+1 This year's costume, Lady Gaga: raw meat, backup dancers, Alexander McQueen platform shoes. --> Next year's costume: Sam Moore's Steak and Legs All-You-Can-Eat Buffet.