MONDAY, MARCH 13 It's a fact: Death comes to us all, but for some it comes with a ridiculous punch line. From the patriotic-martyrdom-turned-friendly-fire homicide of Pat Tillman to the morbidly obese lady whose skin grafted over her sofa, the Grim Reaper obviously has no problem making his quota through methods so terrible and perverse they register as hilarious. Today this fact was made tragically clear to the family and friends of 18-year-old Tara McAvoy, better known as the deaf beauty queen fatally struck by a train. Ms. McAvoy's journey to the ironic afterlife began this afternoon in Austin, as the deaf-since-birth athlete/actress/beauty queen—who was scheduled to represent Texas at the Miss Deaf America Pageant this July—made her way from her family's home to her mother's workplace by walking north along the railroad tracks. Further details come from CNN, which reports McAvoy was using her phone to text message family members when a northbound train came chugging up behind her. Unable to alert McAvoy via horn, train operators activated the emergency braking system, but it was too late. The train's snowplow/cattle guard caught the 18-year-old from behind, and Tara McAvoy was pronounced dead from "multiple traumatic injuries." R.I.P., Ms. McAvoy, and condolences to your family and friends, who not only lost a loved one, but must also suffer through countless reports of your ridiculously unfortunate death, like this one.
TUESDAY, MARCH 14 In much lighter news: Today brought an intricate sighting from Hot Tipper Donte, who began issuing live eyewitness reports at 12:13 p.m.: "There's a guy doing kung fu on the sidewalk at 19th and Madison. Not in any 'he's studied for years' sort of way, but in a 'guy in jeans kicking a telephone pole' kind of way. When he started, he was alternating between kicks and punches, but now he's just continuously roundhouse kicking the pole. He 'fights' for a minute, then rests and paces, taking puffs on his cigarette." Between 12:18 p.m. and 12:21 p.m., Donte reports watching the mystery kicker progress to kneeing walls and elbowing windows, eventually settling into rotating bouts of boxing, pacing, and stretching. The whole thing ends at 12:22 p.m., when Donte watches the man stub out his cigarette and enter the building he was just kneeing and elbowing. "Could that just have been a guy on a smoke break?" asks Donte. Yes and no, says Last Days. Considering the smoking, pacing, and kicking, what Donte saw could indeed have been an employee on break from a horrible, horrible job. But considering the locale (19th Avenue and Madison Street is home to the Capitol Hill Alano Club) and the time (Tuesday noon brings a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous), we're tempted to view today's jagged ballet as the work of a brave and troubled man hashing his way through a fucked-up few minutes without his habitual painkiller. Thanks to Donte for noticing and sharing, and best of luck to the possible recovering alcoholic/budding performance artist.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15 Speaking of sudden celebrity: Today the Chicago Sun-Times introduced the world to a bloody new star—Jakub Fik, the 33-year-old Chicago man who made headlines the world over simply by severing his wang and throwing it at police. Details come from the Sun-Times, which reports that officers first arrived on Fik's block on Chicago's Northwest Side at 8:20 a.m., after receiving reports of Fik smashing car windows. When cops found him, Fik had broken into an unoccupied house; when a collection of officers assembled on the front lawn, Fik went ballistic, bursting from the house naked, bloody, and armed with a bunch of knives, which he proceeded to throw at the cops. Mixed in among the knives was Fik's aforementioned severed penis, which Fik threw at authorities before returning to the house for another batch of throwin' knives. "About 10 feet from the front porch, right on the sidewalk, was his penis," said Chicago Police Sergeant Edward Dolan, who managed to stun the X-rated litterbug with a Taser and take him into custody, where Fik was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of criminal damage to property. En route to his penis-reattachment surgery, Fik told paramedics he was distraught over problems with his girlfriend in Poland; following the surgery, doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital listed Fik "in good condition."
THURSDAY, MARCH 16 Speaking of bombshells from Chicago: Today Last Days and countless other citizens tortured their psyches with details of the Department of Justice's huge new child-pornography bust, announced yesterday at a Chicago news conference and designed by God to molest your soul forever. As ABC News reports, 27 people have been charged in the vast online sting, with arrests made in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee, as well as Australia and Britain. At the center of the charges: Bartlett, Illinois's Brian A. Annoreno, who allegedly produced live streaming video of himself molesting an infant, then sold online viewing rights to the 26 other indictees. "The behavior in the chat room and the images sent around the world... are the worst-imaginable form of child pornography," said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Meanwhile, citizens across the globe questioned the value and karmic prospects of a world that contains live molestation of infants via pay-per-view.
FRIDAY, MARCH 17 For what seems like centuries, the Denny's restaurant chain has trafficked in low-level violence, from egg-induced intestinal distress to well-publicized instances of racism. But this week, Denny's became a contender for the deadliest place on earth, with no less than five people murdered at three different Southern California Denny's restaurants. The Denny's killathon began on Wednesday, when a transient with two handguns shot up a Denny's in Pismo Beach, killing two people and wounding two others before killing himself. The bloodbath continued at a Denny's in Ontario, where on Thursday a 37-year-old man was fatally shot in the restaurant's parking lot. Today the whole thing wrapped up in Anaheim, where a gunman opened fire in another Denny's parking lot, killing one man and seriously wounding another. As the Associated Press reports, "authorities are investigating," but the moral is clear: Don't go to Denny's unless you're ready to die.
SATURDAY, MARCH 18 Nothing happened today, including the murder of anyone at Denny's.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19 Speaking of ridiculous bloodbaths: Today brought the third anniversary of the war in Iraq, a dreadful milestone marked by stupid euphemism, furious protests, and incriminating apathy. First up is the presidential address from the White House lawn, a two-minute masterwork of avoidance during which Dubya neglected to mention insurgent attacks, mounting death tolls, or the word "war," choosing to characterize the day as "the third anniversary of the beginning of the liberation of Iraq." Then came the protests, from the New York Times column by Paul D. Eaton, the retired Army general who helped train the Iraqi military from 2003–2004, and who today blasted Donald Rumsfeld as "incompetent strategically, operationally, and tactically" before demanding the defense secretary to relinquish his post, to the hordes of people the world over who took to the streets to denounce the United States' continued involvement in Iraq. In Seattle and the rest of the U.S., the third-anniversary protests drew far smaller crowds than expected, leading many to rail against the fatal apathy of the age. In defense of the apathetic: After watching the government's response to Katrina, it's easy to understand why some Americans devalue public protest—if the powers that be couldn't be bothered with the life-and-death pleas of abandoned Americans in the Superdome, they clearly couldn't care less about antiwar protests stocked with well-fed citizens in non-flooded streets. Still, as gestures of solidarity to sane people around the world, such American antiwar marches are invaluable, and Last Days feels shitty about staying home to read a book about Michael Jackson and watch 42nd Street.
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