MONDAY, AUGUST 28 The week kicks off with a flurry of ridiculously dramatic legal activity, beginning with the arrest of Warren Jeffs, one of the FBI's 10 most-wanted fugitives and polygamist figurehead par excellence, whose capture today in Las Vegas played out like a scene from classic noir. The setting: the side of a Nevada highway, where a maroon Cadillac Escalade had been pulled over by a patrolman curious about the luxury SUV's paper license tag. While questioning the car's three occupants—an incognito Jeffs in back, his brother and one of his wives up front—Nevada Highway Patrolman Eddie Dutchover noticed the man in back refusing to make eye contact, choosing instead to eat a salad with increasing agitation. The giveaway: the carotid artery pumping frantically in the backseat salad eater's neck, which inspired the investigating officer to remove the occupants from the car for further questioning. Once separated, the subjects soon provided conflicting testimony, Officer Dutchover called for backup, and the FBI soon had its hands on the elusive fugitive leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, wanted on a variety of charges including child rape. Searching Jeffs's SUV, FBI agents found what CNN described as Jeffs's "fugitive kit," featuring 15 cell phones, a police scanner, several laptop computers, at least $54,000 in cash, and a bunch of wigs. Talking to CNN, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he wants his state to try Jeffs first, as the Utah charges—two counts of rape as an accomplice, for allegedly arranging marriages between men and underage girls—carry a penalty of five years to life in prison, while the Arizona charges bring a maximum of six years. Jeffs is expected to be transported to Utah by early next week.
•• Speaking of kinky sociopaths, today brought an unceremonious end to the saga of John Mark Karr, the grade-A American wacko arrested after confessing to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, who was today revealed to be a big, fat, crazy liar, as DNA evidence failed to place him at the murder scene. Prosecutors abruptly dropped their case against Karr, who's now free to continue his life as a self-professed female-child-loving murderer with dreams of undergoing gender-reassignment surgery and working as a nanny in Europe; Last Days predicts he will have a reality series before the end of this sentence. (Speaking of Karr and television, Last Days looks forward to Steve Buscemi in A&E's With Her When She Died: The John Mark Karr Story.)
TUESDAY, AUGUST 29 Nothing happened today, unless you count news reports about the scores of Irish children who watched as a clown was crushed to death at a Dublin circus. According to the Associated Press, the clown was dangling from a cage suspended from a hot-air balloon; when the balloon exploded, both man and cage fell, with the latter fatally crushing the former.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30 The week continues with one of the more amazing Hot Tips Last Days has ever received, courtesy of Hot Tipper Horationsanzserif's Lover, who begins by explaining the lay of the land: "Near my house is an ongoing public-utilities project that often reroutes two-way traffic down a narrow side street. Around rush hour today, I noticed two cars—a newer SUV heading south and an older Oldsmobile heading north—in an apparent standoff, with neither letting the other pass. Actually, what I saw was the SUV driver—a Gordon Gecko type—shrieking every possible 'bitch'-related phrase at the driver of the Oldsmobile, a hippie guy who sat motionless in his vehicle. Soon, the SUV driver was joined in his torrent by an equally shrieky blond woman, who pulled up behind the hippie in the Olds, thus spurring the SUV guy to return to his vehicle and accelerate full-throttle into the Olds' front bumper. Here's where it gets AWESOME: The SUV driver then got out of his car to retrieve something from the back seat. A rifle? A tire iron? No—his INFANT SON, whom the man handed to the blond woman (did they know each other?) for a better view of Daddy's next act: jumping up and down on the Oldsmobile's hood, after which the man retrieved his son, backed up his SUV, and went home." Deep thanks to Hot Tipper HL for watching and writing, and congratulations to the hippie in the Olds for winning the standoff.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 31 The week continues with another Hot Tip, this one from the wilds of White Center, where Hot Tipper Jennifer was watching a broadcast of the Seahawks game in the lounge of the bowling emporium Roxbury Lanes when she was struck—and stricken—by the sight of "a pretty normal-looking guy," with his head tossed back and mouth wide open, flossing his teeth at the bar. "The most disgusting part was when he cleaned off the floss and put it back in his pocket," writes Jennifer, with palpable horror. Meanwhile, today Last Days paid a visit to a real-life dental hygienist, who flossed our teeth for money behind closed doors, and jokingly discouraged us from further humiliating public flossers. "People need all the flossing encouragement they can get," said the wise hygienist.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 Tonight Last Days joined a bunch of other people in crowding into Seattle Center's McCaw Hall for People Talking & Singing, the all-star benefit for 826 Seattle starring Dave Eggers, Sarah Vowell, Daniel Handler, Smoosh, Colin Meloy, and the hilarious John Hodgman. Ostensibly devoted to bridging the worlds of music and literature, People Talking & Singing was a delightfully mixed bag, with the people talking proving far more engrossing that the people singing. Great exceptions: Stephin Merritt, whose songs repay close listening like good literature, and "secret guest" Ben Gibbard, whose exceedingly lovely voice was deployed to great effect in a duet of Blur's "End of a Century" with Decemberist Meloy, and by itself in a cover of the Band's "It Makes No Difference." In the end, a good, messy time was had by all, and the event raised a buttload of money for 826.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 Nothing happened today, unless you count a bunch of stuff at Bumbershoot.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 The week ends with reality TV's first major death, thanks to the poisonous stingray barb plunged into the heart of TV's "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, who was snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef this evening (in U.S. time) when he was stabbed in the heart by a stingray; the 44-year-old Irwin died almost instantly, before a handful of horrified friends and a film crew. Footage of the fatal attack has been handed to Queensland police, with a TV broadcast pending. "My number-one rule is to keep that camera rolling," Irwin once insisted. "Even if a big old alligator is chewing me up, I want to go down and go, 'Crikey!' just before I die. That would be the ultimate for me." As "an insider" tells Britain's Daily Star, "This is exactly what Steve would have wanted. He knew the dangers and was totally up for the cameras to get everything." R.I.P. Mr. Irwin.
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