The Week in Review
The week begins with the fascinating story of a 38-year-old woman from Enumclaw, who was innocently driving around Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood last Friday when she found herself immersed in a nightmare. According to the woman's police testimony, she was carjacked at knifepoint by a man who robbed her of $40, then forced her to drive him around all weekend in her Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera sedan, eventually parking the car in Enumclaw and locking the woman in the trunk, where she was discovered this morning by a passerby who heard her pounding and wailing. But all it took was a few probing questions from Enumclaw police and the woman's story collapsed faster than Mariah Carey. According to the Seattle P-I, Enumclaw police questioned the would-be victim for four hours before confronting her with the cornucopia of discrepancies in her story--upon which the woman immediately admitted she made the whole thing up (and locked herself in the trunk of her boyfriend's car). "The woman's motive seems to have been a desperate need for attention," said Enumclaw Police Lt. Eric Sortland, who promptly arrested and jailed the desperately needy woman for falsely reporting a crime.
TUESDAY, MAY 7
Maybe it was a case of guardrail surfing gone wrong, or maybe just dumb luck meets a wind gust, but whatever the cause, the effect was singularly tragic for Brett Jensen, the 19-year-old University of Washington student whose booze-fueled delusions of youthful immortality succumbed to the unforgiving law of gravity this morning when he toppled 30 feet from the deck of his frat house to land on the pavement below. The Seattle P-I reports that the fatal accident occurred shortly after 1:00 this morning at the UW's Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, where a house member reports hearing a thud before spotting Brett Jensen on the pavement outside. Others present say Jensen was alone when he fell from the third-floor rooftop deck (which is surrounded by a three-foot-high wooden railing) and that he "had been drinking but did not appear drunk." Several people attempted to resuscitate Jensen at the scene before he was whisked via ambulance to Harborview Medical Center, where he was soon pronounced dead. Adding insult to tragedy is Brett Jensen's status as the second UW student to die from an accidental fall in just over a year: In April 2001, 18-year-old Gary Gilbert perished after tumbling from his dormitory's fourth-floor balcony. Last Days offers condolences to the family of Brett Jensen, who, despite his fatal klutziness, seems to have been the very model of a Promising Young Man (in his final year at Everett's Cascade High, Jensen served as both valedictorian and class president). As for the surviving UW students: Last Days understands that stupidly risking your life is an essential part of the college experience, from snowboarding while drunk to experimenting with an all-Ecstasy diet. But for God's sake, be careful.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 8
Today brought a heap o' trouble for the FBI, as the bureau's very own director, Mr. Robert Mueller, confessed that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation largely ignored an appeal from one of its field offices to investigate suspicious pilot training by Middle Eastern men two weeks before the September 11 attacks. In front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and everyone, Mueller acknowledged that a smoking memo (sent from the bureau's Phoenix office, and alerting the Feds to the suspicious number of "people of interest" enrolled in various aspects of pilot training and civil aviation in Arizona) was indeed received by the FBI, but "was not acted on by September 11." (According to an FBI official who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Phoenix office sent the July 2001 memo to inspire the Washington bureau to provide local agents with a nationwide list of flight schools, for easy supervision, as well as to request visa information on some of the foreign students coming to the U.S. to study flying.) And while FBI Director Mueller acknowledged that the agency should have paid more attention to the memo from Phoenix, he made clear that the FBI could not have thwarted the September 11 attacks even if it had paid attention to the memo it didn't pay attention to. Whew.
THURSDAY, MAY 9
Speaking of goofy gaffes: Today the Associated Press reported on the messy merchandising mishap currently making waves at ABC. At the center of the mini-snafu is Todd Manning, a fictional character on ABC's never-say-die soap opera One Life To Live, portrayed by actor Roger Howarth. So popular was the recurring character that ABC execs licensed and produced a collectible Todd Manning doll, selling the daytime-TV action figure through the network's online store for $19.95. But after only a few days, the Manning doll was unceremoniously yanked from the ABC site, with marketing execs citing Todd Manning's "unsavory past" as the reason for the about-face. For those out of the soap opera loop, Manning's unsavory past includes one attempted murder and two attempted rapes, the latter of which left him with a menacing scar down his right cheek--a flaw lovingly reproduced on the Manning doll. "We didn't exercise proper sensitivity to the history of the character of Todd," said Sally Schoneboom, vice president of media and talent relations. "We have reevaluated and decided not to sell the doll." In the wake of ABC's decision, the American toy industry is said to be reevaluating a number of other collectible figures based on characters with unsavory pasts, including the predatory homosexual robot C-3PO and notorious cum slut Malibu Skipper.
FRIDAY, MAY 10
Just in time for the weekend: The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a new alert about possible U.S. terrorism attacks. Time magazine reports that the FBI has instructed its field offices and 56 federal terrorism task forces to advise mayors and police chiefs to tighten security around "soft targets"--non-governmental buildings where large numbers of Americans gather, from busy shopping malls, restaurants, and supermarkets to large apartment buildings. Only Greg Nickels knows which of Seattle's "soft targets" are at the highest risk, but Last Days is grateful to Time for providing us with yet another reason to stay away from malls and stadium rock shows.
SATURDAY, MAY 11
Today Last Days received an absolutely galling Hot Tip from that bastion of good-natured smut, Toys in Babeland. Earlier this week, the ladies at Toys received their very own cease-and-desist letter from the most litigious band in rock, Metallica. Seems the notoriously fussy metal band is none too happy about Toys' use of the name "Metallica" for one of their stainless-steel vibrators; in a letter dated May 6, Metallica's lawyer ordered Toys to stop using the name--and to deliver all remaining Metallica vibrators to the band immediately. (Nice try, schmucks.) For now, the store has renamed its controversial toy "the Heavy Metal Vibe"; here's hoping they retaliate by renaming their ugliest buttplug "the Lars Ulrich."
SUNDAY, MAY 12
Today was Mother's Day.
Hey folks: On Wednesday, May 29, I'm hosting a very special screening of Showgirls, Paul Verhoeven's notorious cinematic atrocity--which also happens to be the most entertaining movie ever made. Come out to the glamorous Showbox (1426 First Ave.) for a night of booze, boobs, and transcendental badness. Advance tickets are available ($8) and recommended. Call 628-3151.