MONDAY DECEMBER 18 This week of bitten infants, papal pleas, and trans-global Hot Tips kicks off with some impressive news about pot and the U.S. economy. Details come from a study conducted by Jon Gettman, public policy analyst and former head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, who today identified marijuana as the United States' largest cash crop. With U.S. growers producing nearly $35 billion worth of the sweet stuff annually, American pot easily grosses more than American corn and wheat combined, with the past 25 years bringing a 10-fold increase in the domestic pot harvest (from 1,000 metric tons in 1981 to 10,000 metric tons in 2006). What does it all mean? Americans love their pot, and the gazillion dollars spent by the U.S. government to control the cultivation and use of marijuana have been a total waste. "Marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of the economy of the United States," said Gettman to Reuters. "The focus of public policy should be how to effectively control this market through regulation and taxation in order to achieve immediate and realistic goals, such as reducing teenage access."
••In much less sensible news: Today also brought ridiculously hideous death to three men in central California, whose twin-engine plane crashed into a tank full of raw sewage at a wastewater treatment plant in the town of Gilroy, killing all three passengers and submerging their corpses in untreated feces. Condolences to all involved in the crash, rescue, and reportage.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 19 The week continues with the aforementioned bitten infant—a month-old baby girl in Louisiana who first made headlines on December 10, when four of her toes were gnawed off by the family pit bull, leading to the arrest of her parents (who claimed to be sleeping during the attack). Today brings another twist to the icky saga, courtesy of the Associated Press, which reports that the baby's mother—22-year-old Mary Hansche—now contends that the gnawing of her baby daughter's toes was not the work of the family pit bull but the family ferret. "The way the bite marks were on her foot, the ferret being out of its cage, I knew it wasn't the dog," said Mary Hansche to Louisiana's KTBS-TV today. Nevertheless, the father—26-year-old Christopher Hansche—still blames the dog, telling police the ferret remained caged on the night of the attack. (Hint: If you and your spouse can't even agree on what type of animal gnawed your baby's toes off, you probably shouldn't have children.) As for the world's worst parents (this week): No matter which pet was involved, the charges remain the same—child desertion and criminal negligence, for which both mom and dad remain jailed in lieu of $50,000 bond. Meanwhile, the six-toed baby has been released from the hospital and remains in state custody.
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 20 In much lighter news: Today that living testament to hubris and hypocrisy Pope Benedict XVI got all gussied up and made some pronouncements. Cheered: the Spirit of Christmas™ and the importance of setting up nativity scenes in the home. Jeered: "false prophets [who] continue to offer cheap salvation which ends up in deep delusions." (Insert "takes one to know one" crack here.)
THURSDAY DECEMBER 21 Nothing happened today, unless you count the breathtakingly fierce charges filed against eight Marines accused of executing and/or covering up the slaughter of 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha last year. Four of the Marines were charged with murder, while the other four were charged with failing to investigate and properly report the slaughter. Stay tuned.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 22 Today brings a beguiling Hot Tip from the United Arab Emirates, courtesy of Hot Tipper Christianne: "I live in Al-Ain, which is in the middle of the desert, on the border with Oman. Today I was on the way to my neighborhood grocery store, which is near my compound (yes, I live in a compound) and located in sort of a fake mini mall. Next to the grocery store there's a small shop that sells, as far as I can tell, slutty maternity outfits, children's garments, and other clothing designed to charm any 15-year-old wannabe hooker. I've lived in the Middle East, where wacky window displays are commonplace, for a while, but when I walked by the shop today I found myself staring at their new window display in a complete state of shock. In the window was a very pregnant-looking mannequin wearing some orange atrocity and showing plenty of mannequin cleavage. Protruding from the vaginal area, just under the hem of the mannequin's garment, was the head of a black baby doll, with its eyes turned toward the 'audience.' Now, this is a city where most women cover their faces, and to find someone highlighting a pussy, albeit a plastic one, was fucking amazing."
••Speaking of highlighting a pussy: Today Sean "P. Diddy" Combs was dealt some delicious professional humiliation at the hands of Macy's, which announced the yanking of two styles of Diddy's Sean John hooded jackets from the store's shelves and website, after the garments' allegedly faux-fur trim was revealed to be actual dog fur.
SATURDAY DECEMBER 23 Nothing happened today.
SUNDAY DECEMBER 24 The week ends with the night before Christmas, commemorated most bracingly by Hot Tipper Lov. "This evening I was riding the #75 bus to Ballard and had the glorious privilege of watching the man across the aisle surreptitiously pull long, stringy boogers from his nose and bring them to his mouth, where he would alternate between placing them on his tongue and rubbing them on his lips like some sort of nasty-ass lip balm. I literally almost threw up on myself. And now I can never apply lip balm with my finger again." Thanks to Lov for noticing and sharing, and happy holidays to all.
Dear everyone: Next Thursday, January 4, I'll be hosting one of my semiannual annotated Showgirls spectaculars at the Triple Door, and tickets are going quickly enough we've added a second show: Wednesday, January 3, with both shows in honor of the child-advocacy heroes at Washington State CASA, whose mission you can read about at www.washingtonstatecasa.org. As for the sketchiness of raising money and awareness for needy kids by screening one of the most offensive movies ever made: Yeah, it's weird, but the kind of postmodern, frequently childless freaks who flock to things like Showgirls screenings make a dynamite volunteer pool for CASA. For tickets, call 838-4333. (And send Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.)