The week begins with a flurry of updates on Roy Horn, the blonder half of "Siegfried &" who was mauled by a tiger before 1,500 spectators at Las Vegas' Mirage Hotel. During an otherwise routine performance on October 3, the 59-year-old Horn was knocked to the ground and dragged from the stage by a 600-pound royal white tiger named Montecore. As Horn remained in critical condition at Las Vegas' University Medical Center, his friends rushed to put a happy face on the potentially fatal incident. "What happened Friday night was a fluke," said Mirage owner Steve Wynn in an exclusive interview with KLAS TV. "Montecore would never attack Roy. In a way, the tiger was trying to protect him." According to Wynn--who was in Idaho when the mauling occurred--the trouble began when the tiger "became fascinated and distracted by a woman with a big hairdo in the front row. As usual, the heroic fellow that he is, Roy jumps between the woman and the tiger.... The tiger gently reached up and grabbed Roy's right arm with his jaws, between Roy's elbow and wrist in a very gentle way." From within the tiger's jaws, Horn told stagehands he "didn't want anything to happen to the cat," then commanded Montecore to release his grip, whacking the tiger several times with a microphone for emphasis. The tiger complied, Horn fell to the ground, and stagehands rushed to his aid--re-startling the cat into picking up Horn by his neck, severing Horn's vertebral artery and causing him to suffer both a stroke and massive bleeding. This story was corroborated in a slightly different form by Siegfried Fischbacher, Roy's right-hand man, who on Wednesday told CNN and ABC that Montecore had been trying to "help" Horn after the illusionist "slipped" during the routine. Bullshit, a bunch of animal experts will tell the Associated Press on Thursday. "That was a typical killing bite," said Jonathan Kraft of the Arizona-based nonprofit Keepers of the Wild. "I admire the guys. I just think they are sending a wrong message. These are wild animals." This view was shared by Louis Dorfman, a Dallas animal behaviorist who described Siegfried's account as "a beautiful story [that] just doesn't wash. Roy got lucky." The lucky Horn remains in critical-but-improving condition and has been communicating through hand signals.


Speaking of Germanic goofballs getting lucky: Today Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former bodybuilder-turned-action-hero accused of a lifetime of sexual misconduct before embarking on the most blatantly cynical political campaign in contemporary American history, was elected governor of California.


Speaking of men being placed where they shouldn't: Today Tommy Chong, lifelong pot enthusiast and half of stoner comedy duo Cheech & Chong, reported to a federal prison in Bakersfield, California, to begin serving a nine-month sentence for selling bongs over the Internet. Last February, the 65-year-old Chong was busted under John Ashcroft's Operation Pipe Dreams--the attorney general's crackdown on black-market drug-paraphernalia sales over the Internet. After Chong pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge of peddling drug wares online, Chong's lawyer pleaded for a light sentence, suggesting six months' house arrest and six months' probation. Instead, U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab threw the book at him, giving the self-professed "ganja guru" nine months in the slammer, underscoring Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Houghton's contention that Chong earned his fortune hyping drug use and flouting law enforcement. Despite the stupidity of his life, Tommy Chong has remained upbeat, ribbing his prosecutors during an online chat with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "It seems to be the only weapons of mass destruction they've found this year." Best of luck to the unfortunate inmate, and here's hoping "Smoking Out Chong" becomes the hot prison game of 2003/2004.


Nothing happened today (unless you count the public retraction made by Maryland's first lady Kendel Ehrlich--wife of the state's Republican governor, Robert Ehrlich--who spiced up a speech last week by expressing her willingness to shoot Britney Spears. "Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would," Ehrlich told the audience at a domestic-violence prevention conference, blaming Spears for "exaggerating the importance of sex for young girls." This week, Ehrlich spokesperson Meghann Siwinski told Reuters that the first lady "inadvertently used a figure of speech" during a public appearance, but had no literal interest in gunning down the pop slut.)


Following the recent deluge of horrific stories of child abuse, Last Days promised ourself we'd lay off the soul-crushing kiddie shit for a while. But all promises went out the window today as we were made to witness some violently ignorant parental behavior with our own eyes. The scene: an opening-day Meridian 16 screening of Kill Bill Vol. 1, Quentin Tarantino's dazzling-and-not-much-else Samurai epic. The culprits: a late-twentysomething couple--a man in his late 20s and a woman a touch younger--attending Tarantino's R-rated bloodbath with two little girls, aged approximately five and seven. Unfortunately, as Last Days soon learned from a summoned manager, subjecting children to horrifically violent images breaks no existing law. "I've seen parents take little kids into the worst stuff in the world," said our sympathetic Meridian manager. "It's horrible, but it's legal." Dear everyone: If you possess the ability to have children but lack the compassion to entrust your kids to a reliable surrogate while you attend the single most violent film in the history of American cinema, please, do it up the butt.


Today E! Online reported that, for the first time in history, every slot in Billboard's Top 10 singles chart is occupied by an African American artist. The world- historic list from first to last: "Baby Boy," by Beyoncé featuring Sean Paul; "Shake Ya Tailfeather," by Nelly, P. Diddy & Murphy Lee; "Get Low," by Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz featuring Ying Yang Twins; "Right Thurr," by Chingy; "Frontin'," by Pharrell featuring Jay-Z; "Damn!" by YoungBloodZ featuring Lil Jon; "P.I.M.P.," by 50 Cent; "Into You," by Fabolous featuring Tamia/Ashanti; "Stand Up," by Ludacris featuring Shawnna; and "Where Is the Love?" by Black Eyed Peas featuring no one. Congrats to all of this week's Billboard chart champs, who should prepare to be eradicated from the face of the earth by OutKast/ Andre 3000's "Hey, Ya," which, if there's any justice in the world, will take and hold the number one slot on every chart everywhere until it's pronounced the United States' new national anthem.


The week ends with a heartwarming cautionary tale from a Hot Tipper in Oakland, an unnamed young legal professional who was enjoying lunch in the San Francisco courthouse's courtyard when she "accidentally swallowed a whole turkey meatball and started choking." This led to gagging and upchucking, yet the meatball remained. "I had two napkins, which I used to cover my mouth as I discreetly tried to dislodge the meatball. After much more gagging and upchucking, it dislodged. But I had nothing to wipe my face with." And so, like many women before her, Ms. Meatball was required by fate to wipe her face with an Always maxi pad. "Yeah," says our week-ending heroine. "It was bad."

Confidential to the lady who left me the phone tip about the doctor spotted getting a new passport: Call me, wouldja? 325-0355, ext. 3014. Everyone else: Send Hot Tips to