MONDAY, OCTOBER 24 The week kicks off with Rosa Parks, the Alabama seamstress turned international human-rights figurehead, who passed away today at the age of 92. Ms. Parks will forever be remembered for her 1955 act of defiance, refusing to give up her Alabama bus seat to a legally entitled white man and sparking a number of invaluable components of the American civil rights movement, from the 381-day Montgomery bus boycott (which hobbled the economy and expedited the death of segregation) to the ascension to superstardom of a young Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who at 26 took the case against Parks to the national stage. But as with many newly dead figureheads, the most impressive element of Ms. Parks's death day is the intricate biographical info unearthed via extensive obituaries. For example: Did you know that prior to her own bus showdown, Parks helped raise money for the defense of another arrested black bus rider? It was a 15-year-old girl whose eligibility as a legal test subject was revoked once local leaders learned of the girl's out-of-wedlock pregnancy and habitual cussing fits. The leaders then shifted their attentions to the quiet, polite, married, and employed Parks. Were you aware that after 30 years as a seamstress, Parks was hired by Michigan Congressman John Conyers Jr., for whom she worked as an aide from 1965 to 1988? Do you recall the events of August 30, 1994 when an 81-year-old Parks was attacked in her home by a young African-American man, who asked if she was Rosa Parks, then punched her in the face and stole $53? And isn't it nice to know that throughout the weird lawsuits filed on her behalf against OutKast—who in 1998 named a song after her—Rosa Parks was suffering from progressive dementia, with relatives suggesting the lawsuits were the work of money-grubbing caretakers? Of course it is, and for the final word on the worldwide phenomenon that is Rosa Parks, we turn to New York Times writer E. R. Shipp. Dismissing the perception of Parks as an apolitical woman whose exhaustion and aching feet sent her stumbling into history, Shipp writes, "The truth was that she was tired of being humiliated, of having to adapt to the byzantine rules, some codified as law and others passed on as tradition, that reinforced the position of blacks as something less than full human beings." Thank you, E. R. Shipp; rest in peace, Rosa Parks.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25 Speaking of superstars discovered on the bus: Today brings an impressive sighting by Hot Tipper Sharlene, who was riding the four-wheeled feast of human freakishness known as Seattle Metro when she witnessed a most enterprising driver on route 54. "When confronted with the stench of death emanating from a filthy, recently departed rider, the female driver reached behind her seat and brought forth a can of Lysol, which she sprayed copiously in the direction of the stink, then donned a surgical mask and drove on." Thanks to Sharlene for sharing, and congratulations to the driver for her emergency stink preparedness kit.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26 Today brings a story that's destined to be repeated until the end of time, or at least until right-wingers wrest control of the nation and outlaw Halloween and all attendant lore. Last Days is speaking, of course, of the scene that unfolded this morning in Frederica, Delaware, where the corpse of a female suicide victim was left to dangle from a tree for several hours due to the common misperception that she was a Halloween decoration. Details come from the Associated Press, which reports the 42-year-old woman hanged herself across the street from some homes on a moderately busy road late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Further details come from Delaware police, which told the AP how neighbors noticed the body at breakfast time but dismissed it as a holiday prank, with authorities called to the scene a full three hours later (when the "Halloween decoration" had presumably begun to drip both yellow and brown).
•• Speaking of brown: Today also brought the story of Behrouz Nahidmobarekeh, the 49-year-old Dallas cab driver on trial for allegedly sprinkling grocery-store pastries with his own dried-and-crumbled fecal matter. Details come from KGBT News, which reports that the first red flag in the saga came from customers, who complained that the fresh-baked items at a Fiesta grocery store smelled and tasted like manure. When police investigated Nahidmobarekeh (whom a surveillance camera caught sprinkling a strange substance over the store's pastries), they found a pile of feces by his bed, which authorities determined the cabbie would dry in a microwave then grate with a cheese grater. On Friday, Nahidmobarekeh will be convicted of fecal sprinkling and sentenced to five years in prison. "You just can't put any lipstick on this pig," said Judge Vic Cunningham. "It's just nasty."
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27 Nothing happened today, unless you count the withdrawal of Harriet Miers's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, a monumentally klutzy development that would have towered over most news weeks, but this week was relegated to the sidelines by the events of...
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28 After weeks of breathless waiting and incontinent speculation, today brought the first indictment in the White House CIA leak scandal, with Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, charged with obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements, for which he faces up to 30 years in prison. Best of all, today's premiere indictment is just the tip of the big stinky iceberg that could sink the Bush administration and taint its reputation for the rest of recorded history. Stay tuned.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29 The week continues with a beguiling Hot Tip from Hot Tipper Amy, who stumbled through a night of relentless oddity and had the good sense to tell Last Days all about it. "I was showing a friend from NYC around Fremont," writes Amy. "After getting kicked out of the Dubliner at 2:00 a.m., we walked down toward the Fremont Troll, where a guy stumbled out and asked if we'd ever peed on it. He insisted that it's good luck to pee on the troll and emphasized that you can really feel the good luck as you're peeing on the troll. He then hopped into a minivan and drove off. Before long we were accosted by two well-dressed guys, who asked how to get to the other side of 99. I told them about the pedestrian underpass, they said thanks and handed me what I can only assume was a goddamn crack rock. Eventually we headed to Minnie's in Queen Anne for some 4:00 a.m. pancake action. Outside the window, I saw a guy kissing a tree—with his arms around the trunk and his mouth all over. I shall always wonder if there are droves of men handing out crack and kissing trees in the middle of every night. And I'll never climb on the Fremont Troll again."
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30 The week ends with a deadly jolt in Texas, where today a Baptist pastor was fatally electrocuted after grabbing a microphone while standing in a baptismal. According to the Associated Press, 33-year-old Reverend Kyle Lake was standing in water up to his shoulders when he made his fatal microphone grab, which electrocuted the pastor and father of three before a congregation of 800. The subject of Rev. Lake's baptism escaped uninjured, and the religious implications of the electrocution will be pondered for eternity.
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