MONDAY, JULY 16 This singularly awful week of American history kicks off with a relatively light story from the place where Washington State meets Canada, where two unsuspecting men were recently busted by border patrol for illegal candy. Details come from KOMO News, which identifies our subjects as Brandon Loo and Christopher Sweeney, two Washington men who'd traveled to Vancouver and "decided to bring home some treats for friends and family." The men's treat of choice: Kinder Eggs, a candy available in Canada that involves a chocolate egg with a toy inside. Unfortunately, one nation's whimsical treat is another nation's fatal choking hazard, and, thanks to the US restriction on "non-nutritive objects embedded" in food items, Kinder Eggs are illegal in the United States, a fact Loo and Sweeney learned point-blank at the border. "[The guard] said, 'Are you aware Kinder Eggs are illegal in the United States and carry a $2,500 fine per egg?'" Sweeney told KOMO. "I actually laughed." Unfortunately, Kinder Eggs are no laughing matter, with US Customs and Border Protection seizing 25,000 Kinder Eggs in the last year alone. Nevertheless, for their ingenuous ignorance, Loo and Sweeney were sent on their way with a warning and a ridiculous story to tell for the rest of their lives. Dear God: Please allow this nation to one day control guns a fraction as well as it controls Kinder Eggs. Amen.
TUESDAY, JULY 17 Nothing happened today, unless you count this dumb story out of Snohomish County, where today a hazardous material team was dispatched to deal with an unknown white powder scattered over an Edmonds roadway, and where investigators blocked traffic for more than an hour before realizing the scene involved not terrorists and anthrax but birds and groceries. "A witness finally told [investigators] that a couple of crows were to blame," reports the Snohomish County Daily Herald. "[Snohomish County Fire District 1 spokeswoman] Leslie Hynes says a woman was going jogging when she noticed the birds dragging a bag of white flour. Hynes says the woman took the bag away from the birds, put it in a garbage can, and kept running. It took firefighters about an hour to clear the scene."
WEDNESDAY, JULY 18 Speaking of uppity sky-rats that eat garbage, the week continues with Michele Bachmann, the googly-eyed US representative from Minnesota who's been working a 21st-century Dominionist spin on old-school McCarthyism since at least 2008, when she appeared on MSNBC to accuse President Obama and an unspecified percentage of Congress of holding "anti-American views." Today Bachmann reached another McCarthyesque milestone in her life, thanks to her recent campaign against Huma Abedin, the deputy chief of staff for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (and wife of former representative Anthony Weiner), whom Bachmann has accused of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. As reward for these baseless claims, Bachmann was today confronted with her very own "At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" moment, as her former campaign chief, Edward Rollins, took to Fox News to decry her insanity. "I have been a practitioner of tough politics for many decades," wrote Rollins in his editorial. "There is little that amazes me and even less that shocks me. I have to say that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's outrageous and false charges against a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, reaches that threshold. Her unsubstantiated charge against Abedin, accusing her of some sort of far-fetched connection to the Muslim brotherhood, is extreme and dishonest... Shame on you, Michele!... As a devoted Christian, you need to ask forgiveness for this grievous lack of judgment and reckless behavior."
THURSDAY, JULY 19 In actual news, the week continues in Seattle, where today brought some long-awaited forward motion in the case of Justin Ferrari, the 42-year-old father of two who was driving with his family through the Central District when he was fatally hit by a stray bullet. Today a 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of firing the deadly shot, and tomorrow the suspect will be identified as Andrew Patterson, now charged with second-degree murder and ordered jailed on $2 million bail. In the meantime, some infuriating details from the pre- arrest investigation: "Witnesses to the shooting told police the gunman and three other men were fighting on opposite sides of East Cherry Street near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South just before the shooting," reports KING 5. "They said someone called the gunman, later identified by police as Patterson, a 'bitch,' causing him to pull out a handgun and fire three shots." If convicted, Andrew Patterson faces between 15 and 23 years in prison.
FRIDAY, JULY 20 Meanwhile in Aurora, Colorado, in the wee hours of this morning, a bunch of people who'd shown up for a sold-out midnight premiere of the new Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises suddenly found themselves part of the largest mass shooting in US history. The horror began after a person allegedly "entered the movie auditorium wearing a ballistics helmet, bulletproof vest, bulletproof leggings, gas mask, and gloves," reports ABC News. "He detonated multiple smoke bombs, and then began firing at viewers in the sold-out auditorium." Ultimately, the shooter unloaded four weapons' worth of ammunition into the crowd, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others before being apprehended by police in the parking lot. Identified as 24-year-old James E. Holmes, the suspected shooter will warn his arresting officers that he'd booby-trapped his apartment with explosives. Which brings us to...
SATURDAY, JULY 21 Nothing happened today, unless you count the controlled detonation of the allegedly booby-trapped apartment of Colorado shooting suspect James E. Holmes, who'll make his first court appearance next Monday, and we'll deal with it then. Until then, condolences to Colorado and to all the rest of us trapped in a society ruled by the gun lobby.
SUNDAY, JULY 22 In happier sad news, the week continues with J.P. Patches, the TV clown who entertained several generations of Northwest kids with his daily shows on KIRO 7, whose news department today had the sad duty to inform us that Chris Wedes, the man who created J.P. Patches, has died at age 84. "The JP Patches show was first broadcasted in black and white... in 1958, live from the 'city dump' where he served as mayor," reports KIRO. "The shows were spontaneous. Nothing was scripted. And if something went wrong on live television, they just rolled with it." The results were beloved and highly influential. In the words of Seattle performance artist/2012 Stranger Genius Award nominee Grady West (the man behind Dina Martina): "J.P. Patches was a huge part of my life, as he was for any kid raised in Seattle. Captain Kangaroo and all the others did their duty when it came to reading storybooks and teaching manners—J.P. was no different in that respect—but he and [his costar] Gertrude were actually hilarious and the 'goofball' element was much more prominent on his show. Plus, you could always hear the crew totally losing it behind the cameras, which made you feel like you were really in on the joke. At the end of his morning show, he told you to go to school, and then he was on again in the afternoon to welcome you home from school. That's two live shows every weekday and one on Saturdays, not including countless personal appearances. Looking back, I realize he was one of the most consistent and positive things in my childhood. He was my idol."
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This article has been updated since its original publication.