MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28 The week begins, unsurprisingly yet horrifyingly, with another terrible day in Iraq. Not just any terrible day, but one featuring the single deadliest insurgent attack since the fall of Saddam. The scene: a medical clinic in the Shiite city of Hillah, where dozens of military and police recruits were lined up to undergo physicals. The weapon: A car bomb, whose detonation killed at least 115 people and wounded more than 100 others. The culprit: still unknown, though the Associated Press cites the blast's arrival one day after the Iraqi government announced its capture of several key insurgents (including Saddam's half-brother and two men close to the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi), while Shiite politicians denounced the blast as another attempt to provoke civil war between the Shiites, who will lead the country's first Iraqi-chosen post-Saddam government, and the largely Sunni Arab insurgency. Whatever the case, a lot of people are dead, a lot of other people are not, and forever the twain shall meet.
TUESDAY, MARCH 1 Speaking of death: Today brought 10 counts of first-degree murder to Dennis Rader, the 60-year-old man in Wichita, Kansas accused of spicing up his life as a Boy Scout troop leader, Lutheran churchgoer, and married father of two by doubling as the BTK serial killer, whose nickname salutes his penchant for binding, torturing, and killing his victims. Following last week's arrest and today's charges, Dennis Rader remains jailed in lieu of $10 million bail. "I don't think my brother is BTK," said brother Jeff Rader to the Wichita Eagle. "But if he is… may God have mercy on his soul."
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2 Meanwhile, closer to home: The husband-and-wife owners of an adult home in Sequim, Washington were arrested after the iffy deaths of three elderly patients. According to KING 5, John Packer and Carolyn Hardwick opened their Garden Grove Adult Family Care home in 1999, and things started to smell fishy soon after. In late 2001, an 80-year-old woman entered the home and died two months later, reportedly after being denied emergency treatment for nine hours. The next year, another 80-year-old woman died after just two months at Garden Grove, reportedly sporting bruises on her neck, arms, and wrist. Finally, in April 2002, an 85-year-old man died after just one week in the home, during which time he received no direct care from a doctor. In November 2002, the Garden Grove home was closed by the Department of Social and Health Services. Since Friday, former owners John Packer and Carolyn Hardwick have resided in a Port Angeles jail, each facing charges of manslaughter.
THURSDAY, MARCH 3 In much lighter news: Today brings a veritable Hot Tip fiesta, with three eyewitness reports from around our fair city. The first comes from a bus--specifically, a sparsely occupied #74 Metro--on which Hot Tipper Richard was riding when he heard a series of muffled "ouch"-es coming from the rear. Upon his exit, Richard identified the source: a scrappy couple, the female of which was lovingly yanking hairs from her man's nostrils. "From the amount of time she'd spent at this pursuit," muses Richard, "I'm sure his unwanted nostril locks are still wafting through the bus." From the bus we jump to a slow-moving car, spotted by Hot Tipper Jennifer while strolling down Stone Avenue near 90th Street. "At first glance, it looked like the male driver had a sleeping child on his lap," writes Jennifer. But upon closer inspection, she realized it wasn't a child sleeping, but a lady sucking. "I presume she was an Aurora hooker," writes Jen, whose drive-by blowjob sighting was quickly superceded by the report of Hot Tipper Brecken, who, like Hot Tipper Richard, was riding a Metro bus when he was confronted by some galling grooming--specifically, a gray-haired man in his late 50s cutting his hair with a pair of kiddie scissors. Brecken reports that the man's snipped hair landed unapologetically on a disgusted female rider before the remaining locks where sprayed into place with "a white spray bottle that looked like 409 or some other sort of cleaner." Thanks to all Hot Tippers, shame on all yankers, suckers, clippers, and sprayers.
FRIDAY, MARCH 4 Late last year, Last Days ran an item decrying the conflicting colors of makeup applied to the face and neck of Molly Shen, the KOMO 4 weekend news anchor we hailed as a "perfectly wonderful human being" deserving of a more attentive makeup artist. However, thanks to a column in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Last Days learned that "perfectly wonderful" doesn't begin to capture the power of Ms. Shen, whose cheerful-yet-earthy demeanor is the hard-earned result of a childhood marked by terrifying tragedy. Details come from P-I columnist Susan Paynter: As a sixth-grader in Columbia, Missouri, 11-year-old Shen was home alone when a strange man knocked at the door, forced his way in, and raped her. Despite an exceedingly evolved mom (who made sure young Molly understood she'd done nothing to "deserve" the attack), Shen found herself surrounded by a society that had few tools for helping her make sense of the shit she'd been served--which is why Shen carries on her sex-abuse enlightenment mission to this day. After a couple decades of supporting and advocating on the back lines, Molly Shen takes her mission public on March 24, when she'll deliver the keynote speech at a luncheon for the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County.
••Speaking of badass women who deserve to be worshipped: Today brought the prison release of Martha Stewart, who wrapped up her five-month prison stint without a whimper and is poised to rule the future.
SATURDAY, MARCH 5 Speaking of survivors: Today brought the Italian homecoming of Giuliana Sgrena, the journalist and former Iraqi hostage wounded when American troops mistakenly fired on the car taking her to Baghdad's airport. Not so lucky: the Italian intelligence officer assigned to protect Ms. Sgrena, who was killed after throwing himself between the U.S. bullets and his protectee. As fingers point everywhere, President Bush has promised a full investigation into the shooting.
SUNDAY, MARCH 6 The week wraps up with two Hot Tippers offering further illumination of last week's item chronicling Starbucks' soul-molesting corporate rewrite of Jefferson Starship's "We Built This City." First up is Hot Tipper Paul: "I'm proud to say that I served as one of the stage hands that set up the eight-foot Jeffer-son Starbucks CD. Sorry to disappoint, but I know first-hand that the corporate geniuses' stage was not in fact hydraulic. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay for the performance, so THANK YOU SO MUCH for uploading the audio extravaganza in full." But Paul's welcome clarification couldn't compete with the revelations of Hot Tipper Mike: "Many of us died the same silent death several years ago at the Boeing Renton plant. Thankfully, there was no live performance, but a tweaked version of 'We Built This City' was a heavily featured theme of the multi-media display. Starbucks must have hired the same event management company, because the song was repurposed in the same damn way with event-specific lyrics, including 'We built this airplane on heart and soul.' It was incredibly lame and painful in 1996, too."
To the wonderful stranger who found Last Days' wallet on the street and heroically mailed it to us: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please drop us an e-mail, so we can praise you point-blank. Everyone else, send Hot Tips to lastdays@ thestranger.com