MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 The week begins with a journey back in time to Tuesday, August 20, 2002. That's when Last Days offered a spicy synopsis of the saga of Carla Grayson and Adrianne Neff, the lesbian couple in Missoula who, less than a week after announcing their participation in a discrimination lawsuit against the University of Montana, had their home burnt to the ground, with the pair narrowly escaping the blaze with their two-year-old son. In August, the Associated Press reported on the 17-page search warrant filed by Montana investigators, which appeared to lay blame for the arson squarely on Grayson and Neff themselves. (Among the potentially damning tidbits: the intricate positioning of the gas-soaked ropes within the couple's home, and the tracing of the fire's accelerant to a bucket in the women's garage.) Upon reading the Associated Press report, Last Days promptly banged out a Montana arson update of our own, recounting the AP's allegedly damning facts and bemoaning the existence of homos so low they'd torch their own house for publicity and pity. Not long after the publication of the Last Days item, we received a fiery e-mail from Missoula resident Jess Byers, who wasted no time in tearing us a new asshole. "I am absolutely appalled you would support this slanderous slant of things," wrote Byers, denouncing the laziness and anti-gay bias of the Missoula police, and directing us to a slew of information contradicting the AP's "slanderous slant." Perusing the new documents, Last Days was treated to a fresh new view of the arson and its aftermath, a view littered with idiot cops, blamed victims, and a cornucopia of deeply tenuous conclusions. Among the highlights: In addition to grilling Grayson and Neff (a standard procedure, as a fair number of fires are set by their alleged victims), Missoula police also questioned Karl Olson, executive director of the Montana LGBT advocacy group responsible for organizing the 700-strong rally against hate crimes held in Missoula the day after the arson. Apparently doubting Olson's ability to organize such a rally without foreknowledge of the crime, police instead cast Olson as just another evil gay participant in Grayson and Neff's evil gay conspiracy. (And FYI: The positioning of the gas-soaked ropes was far from intricate, and could've been done by any homo-hating redneck in sneakers.) "Clearly the police have no actual evidence that would allow them to charge Neff and Grayson with any crime," writes Montana activist Mona Bachmann. "And yet they continue to slander Grayson and Neff in the court of public opinion, putting forward their damaging conjectures as facts." Last Days apologizes for our lazy parroting of the AP's half-assed facts, and urges the Montana police to get off their dumb butts and find the arsonist, whoever he (or she) might be.

Nothing happened today (unless you count the filming of Elimidate this evening at the Capitol Hill clubs Bad Juju Lounge and Barça, which witnesses describe as the most disheartening display of heterosexuality since the pinball-machine scene in The Accused.)

In much lighter news, today every news organization in the world reported the results of the world's largest-ever scientific study of humor, conducted by the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Studying more than 40,000 jokes from 70 countries, British researchers learned a number of fascinating facts about the shocking diversity of humor, including the Scottish love of death jokes, Americans' love of jokes that make someone look stupid, and more than 300 polled subjects' selection of the fol lowing as the funniest joke in the world: "What's brown and sticky? A stick."

Speaking of violent death: Today a Pierce County jury ordered the death sentence for Robert Lee Yates Jr., the 50-year-old former military pilot and father of five found guilty of the aggravated murders of Melinda Mercer, 24, and Connie Ellis, 35, in the late '90s. Today's verdict was a touchdown for the Pierce County prosecutors eager to override the plea bargain made with Yates by Spokane County prosecutors, who promised not to seek the death penalty in exchange for Yates' confession. Yates admitted killing 13 people and was sentenced to 408 years in prison, but Pierce County refused to go along with the deal, retrying Yates in Tacoma for the murders of the two women Yates confessed to killing in their jurisdiction. Today a seven-man, five-woman jury sentenced Robert Yates (now a jailbird Jesus-freak) to death by lethal injection.

Today brings a thrilling Hot Tip from Hot Tipper Evan, who was enjoying a birthday dinner at the legendary swank-hole Canlis this evening when his eye was caught by "three well-dressed but kind of sleazy-looking young guys" being seated at the table next to his. "They were a little drunk, and a little loud," writes Evan, who overheard enough of the tipsy trio's well-amplified conversation to discern that they were editors for "some porn conglomerate." Evan's suspicions were confirmed when, as the men's salads arrived, they pulled out three magazines--"Butt Love, Tail Ends, and Spread," specifies eagle-eyed Evan--and began discussing layouts at the table. "The whole restaurant stopped and watched them," writes Evan. "Eventually the men were asked by the management to put the porn away or leave." After a brief argument, the loudmouthed porn mavens put their skin mags away and peace ensued--at least until the guys began a loud, bawdy discussion of some "talent" they were planning on "auditioning later," prompting the beleaguered Canlis management to turn out the professional pervs once and for all. "The folks at Canlis had no sense of humor about it," writes Evan, "but it made my night." Thanks to Evan for noticing and remembering and sharing, and happy birthday to him.

Nothing happened today (except for the nonfatal stabbing of Paris' openly gay mayor by a deranged, homo- hating Muslim.)

Nothing happened today, either (except for the thousands of conscientious citizens who marched from Volunteer Park to Westlake Center to register their opposition to war in Iraq. See page 11 for a full report).

Hey everybody: This past spring, I made a concert film of my solo play STRAIGHT, and on Wednesday, Oct. 23, STRAIGHT-the-film will play at the Harvard Exit, as part of the 2002 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. Call 325-6500 for tix & info.

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