1. WHAT HOLIDAY IS THIS, ANYWAY? Today is Presidents’ Day, and that’s pretty confusing. Are we celebrating all the presidents generally? Or their birthdays? Or only some of them? Isn’t today George Washington’s birthday? No, it is not. But today is Michael Jordan’s birthday? Yes, it is. But he isn’t the president, right? No, he is not. To some extent, what you’re celebrating today depends on where you live. In 2009, the New York Times aptly described the holiday as “something of a muddle.” Others say it’s just a terrible idea. So why do we continue this charade? Well, car dealerships are pretty into it. Maybe we should reinvent the holiday as a day to celebrate the best fake TV and movie presidents? Happy Jed Bartlet Day!
2. SOCHI: NBC’S PINK-EYE CRISIS COMES TO AN END, AND MORE. The great pink-eye crisis of 2014 has come to an end. Bob Costas is back! Here’s everything you missed from Sochi on Saturday, in GIFs. And here’s a rundown of everything from Sunday. The US came out on top against Russia in men’s hockey. And while there was no obvious butt checking, the game wasn’t without controversy. Here’s a summary of the nail biter, and here’s the game winning goal. The Canadians are convinced that the US fixed the ice dancing competition. Curling is great for lots of reasons, including these possibly rule-violating pants, but also all of the yelling. The Jamaican bobsled team has its own retro video. An NBC reporter made Bode Miller cry, and the Internet did not like it. Experts warned Sochi organizers that to make downhill skiing tracks fast enough for Olympic competition, you need tons and tons of salt. They didn’t listen. There are indications of increasingly lax security. There’s also lots and lots of fog. If you think Matt Lauer is going to wake up early, stay up late, and then be forced to drink McDonald’s coffee, you’re nuts. That’s why NBC got sneaky with its own secret Starbucks operation. (Speaking of secrets and Starbucks, there are a whole bunch of secret menu items you should be ordering.)
3. IS IT GETTING WARM IN HERE? A recently published study indicates that while Americans respect scientists, they don’t understand science. Almost a quarter of us think the sun revolves around the earth. (It doesn’t.) That could explain why so many people aren’t vaccinating their kids. Bill Nye and Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn debated climate change on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday. Here’s a fact-check of everything that was put forth during the debate. And here’s a look at how climate change is transforming the earth, as viewed through before and after photos. You know who loves all this crazy weather? Meteorologists.
4. WHERE AM I? Ever wonder why maps show South as “down” and North as “up”? The United States of income tax, mapped. Area codes have come to define our perceptions of who people are, but how much longer will that hold true? Does “Where do you live?” mean the same thing in Boston as it does in Chicago? Nope. And someone made this map showing the geographic settings for Disney movies. But this is still my favorite map.
5. ALSO ... Last week, BuzzFeed published a lengthy Donald Trump profile. Trump apparently did not like it. So he fired the handler who had talked him into doing the interview in the first place. You’re more likely to find them sifting through stacks of paper than conducting stakeouts, but political private eyes are still very much a thing. Is Mitt Romney the GOP’s new attack dog? And if so, does anyone know the Republican policy on strapping attack dogs to car roofs? A new report details North Korea’s “crimes against humanity.” There are new details on how the real life castaway survived more than a year at sea. If you missed Ellen Page’s coming out speech, you should take 5 minutes and watch. Now. Could your next Boston apartment be a micro-apartment? Some moron went and named their child “Facebook.” Next time you don’t feel well, your doctor just might prescribe some time spent reading comic books. You’ve heard about the tragic news of Marius, the giraffe fed to lions by a zoo in Denmark. But what about Mary, the elephant lynched almost 100 years ago in Tennessee? Just when it started to seem like all zoo-animal-related news was bad news, Prince William announced he wants all the “royal ivory” destroyed. Here’s more proof that reality television poses health risks: A snake handling reality star died. From a snake-bite. Charlie Sheen got engaged this weekend. If you’re not the lucky girl, consider yourself lucky.
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