1. The State of Things. Tonight is a big night for speeches. The warmup act begins at 7:30 p.m., with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick delivering the State of the Commonwealth address. (Provided, you know, that it doesn’t begin to drizzle, in which case all bets are off.) Then, with barely time for a dinner break in between, President Obama delivers the State of the Union at 9 p.m. What can we expect from this year’s SOTU speech? Well, a lot of clapping. Here’s a look back at all the clapping from 2012. But don’t get all excited if you hear an announcement for a blue ribbon commission for that thing you really care about. Because here’s a look at what became of all of the president’s proposals from this time last year. John Boehner has been acting kind of crazy lately, so watch for him to light up a cigarette mid-speech. Or something. Wondering how Obama plans for the big night? His former speechwriter can explain. If you get bored tonight, and you very well might, here’s how the SOTU probably looks behind the scenes in real life. Because everything on “West Wing” was basically real, and don’t ever try to convince me of anything different.
2. Dictators, Idiots & Egomaniacs Did you ever wonder about the company that builds the flagpoles for authoritarian regimes in the Middle East? Your days of not knowing are over. It’s almost unbelievable when a Hollywood icon you’ve long admired is accused of doing something less than admirable. Allegations against Woody Allen have been back in the news of late, but is everyone jumping to conclusions too quickly? And in case you missed it, here’s my take on the terrible, tone-deaf multimillionaire everyone is talking about this week.
3. End of an era. Legendary singer/songwriter and political activist Pete Seeger died yesterday. Check out this look back at his life. “If I Had A Hammer” and “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” are among the songs old people will forever associate with Seeger, even if younger people will forever associate them with Raffi. Here’s a lengthy audio recording of Seeger singing antiwar songs in Boston in 1967. Seeger spent much of his life trying to right social wrongs, but he died with income inequality at a record high.
4. More news on the news. A Wall Street Journal reporter went out for a walk and hasn’t returned since. Gawker is getting sued. Again. Yawn. Last week, Sean Hannity shocked and scared New Yorkers when he announced his plans to move out of the city in the not too distant future. The Daily Show responded. (Imagine if Howie Carr left Boston. OMG imagine. I can’t. It’s too painful to even think about.) Nerds across the country are getting amped up for the launch of Nate Silver’s much anticipated 538 website. Bible thumper (and former Broncos quarterback) Tim Tebow is going to start guest hosting over at “Good Morning America.” Media critics are inevitably worried this could turn this hugely respected and serious news program into some kind of absurd carnival sideshow.
5. Also. You can legalize pot all you want, but some smokers just aren’t ready to break up with their dealers. The pope is cooler than you, and not just because of his awesome outfits. He’s on the cover of Rolling Stone. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s prop head from Total Recall would make a great Groundhog Day present for someone special. According to one Mormon husband, Mitt Romney is upping the standards for all Mormon husbands. Meth is basically the Adderall of North Korea. (h/t to Peter Moskowitz.) The twins from “The Shining” that have long haunted your dreams? They’re on Twitter. And finally, a “clairvoyant manatee” with a history of accuracy predicts that the Denver Broncos will win the Super Bowl. Does this mean we don’t even have to watch the game?
Five@Five is a new feature that you can expect on this blog every weekday at 5 p.m.