MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13 This week of fatal snowfall, graveyard protests, and headline-making sex games kicks off in Niceville, Florida, where tonight a man was quietly enjoying an electronic cigarette when things went terribly wrong. Details come from ABC News, which identifies our virtual smoker as 57-year-old Tom Holloway, who was puffing on his battery-operated smoking-cessation device in his study when it exploded, blasting his teeth and part of his tongue out of his mouth, setting fire to the room, and sending Mr. Holloway to a local burn center with severe injuries. "Holloway, a Vietnam veteran, photographer, and father of three, reportedly stopped smoking two years ago and turned to e-cigarettes to kick the habit," reports ABC. "Chief Butch Parker of the North Bay Fire Department said a faulty battery inside the electric cigarette likely caused the accident."
•• In better news, today Washington State governor Chris Gregoire welcomed anti-gay presidential candidate Rick Santorum to the region by signing legislation extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. Thank you, Governor Gregoire (and state legislators Ed Murray and Jamie Pedersen).
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14 The week continues with Valentine's Day, the holiday of love that everyone loves to hate, celebrated by at least one adventurous couple with rope, duct tape, and arrests for disorderly conduct. Details come from Portland, Oregon's KATU News, which reports the ropey saga began just after noon, when Portland police received reports of a naked woman tied up in a car with duct tape over her mouth. "Around 1 p.m., an officer in the area spotted the car and stopped a man seen walking away, [then] noticed the naked woman bound in the back of the car," reports KATU. "The man told police that he and his girlfriend were doing some Valentine's Day role-playing. Officers said his girlfriend confirmed that story." Nevertheless, both the 31-year-old man and his 26-year-old girlfriend were arrested on charges of second-degree disorderly conductand booked into the Multnomah County Jail. "Role-play all you want," said Sergeant Pete Simpson to KATU. "But when you do something that is going to generate a 911 call, you should probably do it at home."
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15 The week continues with an update in the tragic story of Charlie and Braden Powell, the young sons of the historically awful Josh Powell, who was identified as the only person of interest in the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan (mother of Charlie and Braden), before he killed his sons and himself in a gasoline-fueled fire earlier this month. Today's tiny ray of sunshine comes courtesy of Crime Stoppers of Tacoma–Pierce County, which today announced its purchase of the cemetery plots on either side of Charlie and Braden Powell's gravesite to ensure that their murderous father can't be buried alongside his sons/victims. As the Seattle Times reports, "The move was in reaction to reports that Powell's family wants to have him buried near his sons...[who] were buried Saturday in a single gravesite at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup." Meanwhile, Josh Powell's surviving relatives carried forth with plans to have him buried as near as possible to his sons, selecting a plot roughly 100 feet away. "We might not be able to keep Josh Powell out of the cemetery," Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Sergeant Ed Troyer told the Associated Press. "But it's way better than having him right next to the boys." Tomorrow, those tasked with the disposal of Josh Powell will tell CNN that Powell will be buried somewhere other than Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup. Let the healing begin (and if the healing involves perpetual vandalizing of Josh Powell's gravestone, wherever it may be, who are we to judge).
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16 In lighter news, today brings an update on the Pacific Northwest's hottest headline-making creep: Sherwin Shayegan, aka the Piggyback Bandit, the 28-year-old Bothell man who "ingratiates himself with high-school sports teams, then hoists his 5-foot-8, 240-pound frame onto the backs of the student athletes," the Associated Press reports. "Shayegan's antics stretch back to 2008 and had been mainly confined to Washington and Oregon. But since last fall, he has worked his way east to Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota, leaving a trail of befuddled athletes in his wake." Shayegan's typical avenue of ingratiation: helpfulness, with coaches reporting how he put himself to work laying out uniforms, handing out towels, and carrying water for players before trying to get busy with their backs. "He has pretended to interview athletes for a term paper, acted as a team manager, or just tried to blend in with the crowd for a piggyback payoff," reports the AP. "Because of his piggyback antics, he has been banned from high-school sporting events in Washington, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota." As for now, police believe Shayegan is back in Western Washington, where, the AP reports, "he has 16 convictions dating back to 2004 that include multiple counts of criminal trespass, vehicle prowling, resisting arrest, and a felony possession of controlled substance without a prescription." Stay tuned!
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17 The week continues with the collision of high-wattage star power and A-plus humanity at Sea-Tac International Airport, where this evening a crap-talking man got his ass elegantly handed to him by Chris Cornell. Details come from PerezHilton.com (sorry), which reports the Soundgarden superstar was spotted this evening in the Alaska Airlines lounge, where he was gorgeously minding his own business until a guy in a business suit overheard another man make a pro-Obama statement and promptly called him "a queer." "Cornell vocally stepped up in the packed lounge and slammed the guy for making anti-gay comments," an eyewitness told PH.com, quoting Cornell's clear-eyed pronouncement to the slur-hurling suit-wearer: "You're a prick. You deliberately called him a queer to make him feel uncomfortable in front of a lot of people." According to the source, the Obama supporter and various Alaska reps thanked Cornell for his eloquent intervention, and Last Days adds our thanks to the pile.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18 Nothing happened today (unless you count Whitney Houston's funeral).
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19 The week ends with cold, fatal gravity, as today two avalanches killed four people near Washington State ski resorts.
"Three skiers died when an avalanche struck near the Stevens Pass ski area in the Cascade Mountains of north-central Washington," reports Reuters. "In an unrelated incident, a 41-year-old Seattle man was killed in an avalanche at the Alpental ski area while snowboarding." Condolences to all.
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