2016 ELECTION: Ted Cruz is now the Iowa frontrunner: “Since the last time the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg polled in the state, in October, Trump’s actually gone up two points. But, as then, he trails someone else by a significant margin. The someone else in October was Ben Carson. This time, it’s Ted Cruz. We’ve seen this at the national level — Carson sinking and Cruz gaining. Now we see it in Iowa…There are two other nuggets in the poll which are good news for Cruz. The first is that he, like Trump, has a more committed base of support.”
MARTIN SHKRELI: Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli is about to hike the price of another drug, which treats Chagas disease: “Mr. Shkreli said on a conference call with KaloBios investors last week that if the company won F.D.A. approval for benznidazole, it would have exclusive rights to sell it in the United States for at least five years. He said the price would be similar to that of hepatitis C drugs, which cost $60,000 to nearly $100,000 for a course of treatment. In Latin America, benznidazole costs $50 to $100 for the typical two-month course of treatment.”
NORTHERN IRELAND: Health Minister Simon Hamilton says ban on gay blood donation should be axed if group confirms it’s safe: “In a response to an Assembly question, Mr Hamilton said yesterday that no policy decision can be taken while court proceedings were ongoing. He said he had written to Mr Hunt asking that the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs provide the current state of evidence regarding the risks for recipients of blood and to give their assessment of the levels of risk. He added: ‘If such a piece of work affirms emerging evidence that blood safety has been increased in Great Britain, it would be my view that such evidence should be followed and that Northern Ireland should adopt the same policy on blood donations from men who have sex with men as the rest of the United Kingdom.'”
INTERNALIZED GAY AGEISM: Another problem for gay older men: “Fortunately, the researchers identified one factor that shows promise in at least partially softening the “social stress” of IGA: mattering. “Mattering,” according to the paper, “refers to the degree to which people feel they are an important part of the world around them.” It goes on: “People with a high sense of mattering feel that others think about them, seek their advice, or care about what happens to them.” A sense of mattering could come from a variety of sources, but one that immediately comes to mind is for young gay men to make a point of spending time and developing friendships with older gay men.”
WTF: Pringles is releasing a set of scented candles: “Three flavours of Pringles Scented Candles, created this year to celebrate the fact the nation gets tucking into Pringles at Christmas time. A Pringles spokesperson said: “What better way to create the perfect festive atmosphere than with the scented Pringles Candle. It’s just not Christmas without the scent – and, of course, delicious taste – of Pringles.”
IN MEMORIAM 2015: Turner Classic Movies salutes all the actors, actresses and filmmakers who have died this year:
MUSIC: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” is no longer the most-played song at your local mall – now it’s The Shins’ “Wonderful Christmastime”: “The company PlayNetwork works with 400 brands to compile their playlists for their stores. They’ve put together a list that shows the songs that will be played in retail the most, which if you do any gift-shopping that’s not purely online, you’ll most definitely hear it. And if you work in retail, apologies to you because you’ll hear them ALL. THE. TIME. ”
RUPAUL: RuPaul heads back to the ’80s, featuring vintage footage of himself in his new video “Nothing for Christmas:”
JOB HAZARDS: This mailman in Falmouth, Massachusetts gets attacked by a pack of wild turkeys every single day.
SUNDAY SCRUFF: In which Derek Theler convinces you to see the film How Sarah Got Her Wings.