MONDAY, JULY 30 This week of expired titans, Indian blackouts, and Octomom in Tacoma kicks off in South Boston, where today a priest was busted for a creepy child-sex-related crime. What makes this news, instead of just another Monday in the Boston Archdiocese: According to prosecutors, 39-year-old Franciscan priest Reverend Andrew J. Urbaniak was not only trafficking in kiddie porn, but was actively downloading child pornography when police presented themselves today at the South Boston rectory where Urbaniak lives and works. As the Boston Globe reports, today's bust at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church followed a two-month investigation by the Boston Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the State Police Crimes Against Children Unit. At his arraignment on Wednesday, Urbaniak will plead not guilty to charges of possession and dissemination of child pornography, and be ordered held on $10,000 bail.
TUESDAY, JULY 31 The week continues with one of the uniquely bittersweet experiences of the 21st century, when the sadness of losing a beloved artist is mitigated by the outpouring of attention the sad death inspires. (For example, Last Days will be very sad when Bob Dylan dies—but it will almost be worth it to experience the international avalanche of Dylan commemoration that will hit in the days after his death.) Today's sad death with mitigating circumstances: the great Gore Vidal, who must be called Last Days' favorite writer, as unlike other contenders (Joan Didion, The Notorious B.I.G.), Vidal was several amazing writers in one. His 1948 novel The City and the Pillar was one of the first novels to deal openly with homosexuality. His 1968 novel Myra Breckinridge was blasted as pornography, hailed as an eternal masterpiece, and vies with Lolita as the greatest first-person narrative ever written. His brilliant historical novels (Julian, Lincoln, Burr) made history read like pointy-headed celebrity gossip. And the lifetime of pieces gathered in the 1993 collection United States Essays 1952–1992—covering everything from politics to movies to sex—reveal him as the smartest, funniest, bitchiest man of the 20th century. Today, Vidal died at his home in the Hollywood Hills at age 86. To wrap up this commemoration, two paragraphs from the New York Times. The first comes from Vidal's NYT obituary: "By the time he was 25, [Vidal] had already had more than 1,000 sexual encounters with both men and women, he boasted in his memoir Palimpsest. Mr. Vidal tended toward what he called 'same-sex sex,' but frequently declared that human beings were inherently bisexual, and that labels like gay (a term he disliked) or straight were arbitrary and unhelpful." And from the forthcoming correction: "An obituary about the author Gore Vidal... included several errors. Mr. Vidal called William F. Buckley Jr. a crypto-Nazi, not a crypto-fascist, in a television appearance during the 1968 Democratic National Convention." RIP, Gore Vidal.
•• Also today: India suffered the largest electrical blackout in history, which extended almost 2,000 miles—"from India's eastern border with Myanmar to its western border with Pakistan," reports the New York Times—and left more than half a billion people without power. (For the day, as electrical power will return to India by this evening.)
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1 In stupider news, today brings a story of uncontrollable passion from Kansas, where a couple stands accused of shoplifting a tube of K-Y Jelly from Walmart and using it to get busy right there in the store. Details come from the Smoking Gun, which identifies the alleged lovers as 22-year-old Julian Call and 35-year-old Tina Gianakon. "Municipal Court complaints filed against Call and Gianakon accuse them of engaging 'in sexual intercourse or sodomy with any person or animal with knowledge or reasonable anticipation that the participants are being viewed by another,'" reports the Smoking Gun. "Additionally, the pair was accused of shoplifting the sexual lubricant and other items."
THURSDAY, AUGUST 2 In much better news, the week continues with the glorious triumph of American gymnast Gabby Douglas at the London Olympics, where today the 16-year-old Virginia Beach native won the individual all-around gold medal, becoming the first African American to claim gymnastics' biggest prize.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 3 The week continues in Tacoma, where this evening Last Days had the mind-bending pleasure of attending Nadya "Octomom" Suleman's meet and greet at the Castle Megastore, where Suleman was autographing copies of her brand-new porn film. As history buffs will recall, Suleman burst into America's consciousness in 2009 as the lady who had the desire, drive, and funding to get her face surgically altered to resemble Angelina Jolie's and give birth to octuplets conceived via in-vitro fertilization. Then it came to light that Suleman already had six children that had also been conceived in-vitro, and that the Angelina Jolie–resembling mother of 14 was unemployed and on public assistance. Which brings us to today, when, after years of vowing never to do porn and insistently rejecting the nickname "Octomom," Suleman appeared at the Tacoma Castle Megastore to promote her new porn film, Octomom Home Alone. As its title hints, Suleman's porn tape involves no sex with anyone else, but is merely a series of "erotic vignettes" that require Suleman to diddle herself in various rooms of a house. At the Castle Megastore, the Octomom Home Alone DVD was on sale for $19.99—a price that also got you a face-to-face with Suleman herself. Now perhaps you're wondering: What kind of people show up to see a woman who's famous for cutting up her face, implanting things in her uterus, and being forced by financial necessity to make masturbation porn? Answer: Stranger columnists and about a dozen or so others—a couple of older men alone (sure), a couple of younger men with dates (romantic!), and at least one family (more later). As for Suleman, she looked pretty (getting Jolie's face carved into your face has its benefits) and was very friendly—asking people's names, posing for photos, and responding to fans' kind words with a gushy "Theenk you!" Perhaps unsurprisingly, Suleman was dressed like a porn star in a tight, tiny strapless dress that covered her from bust to upper thigh and super-high stripper heels. More surprisingly, attendees seemed genuinely happy to meet her. "Stay strong," said a military veteran who treated Suleman as if she were just another American struggling through tough times. Then there was the aforementioned family, featuring a senior-citizen mother with two adult children, all of whom crowded around Octomom for a photo and autographed DVD. God bless America, and good luck, Octomom.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 4 Nothing happened today, unless you count the arrival of a Pacific Northwest "heat wave" (90-plus degrees!) that will inspire a weekend full of sweat, weird eating (who can cook? Have some cereal), and skinny-dipping that will for many Seattleites be the premier memory of summer 2012.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 5 In incalculably worse news, today some loon with a semiautomatic handgun entered a Sikh temple in a Milwaukee suburb and fatally shot six people before being killed by a police officer. Tomorrow, police will identify the gunman as 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, "who served in a US army psychological operations unit before he was discharged in 1998 for a pattern of misconduct, including being drunk on duty," reports the Guardian. Also: "The Southern Poverty Law Center... described him as a 'frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band' called End Apathy." The FBI is investigating Page's ties to various white supremacist movements and treating today's tragedy as a "domestic terrorism-type incident."
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