The Week in Review
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18 This week of corpse-flavored water, awards-season drama, and the gross mishandling of pit bulls kicks off in Oregon, where an 11-year-old girl is believed to have caught on fire thanks to a combination of hand sanitizer and static electricity. Details come from the Oregonian, which identifies our young protagonist as Ireland Lane, who was recuperating from a small head injury earlier this month at Doernbecher Children's Hospital when she suddenly ran screaming from her room with her T-shirt on fire. Lane's father caught her and quickly smothered the flames with his own body, but not before the sudden and mysterious shirt fire caused third-degree burns from the girl's belly button to her chin, for which she will require skin grafts. As for the cause of the fire: After initial investigation unearthed no clear culprit, suspicion turned toward the rare but extant flammability of alcohol-based hand sanitizer mixed with static electricity. "The last thing [Ireland Lane] recalls that day is using sanitizer to clean the table that rolled over her bed," reports the Oregonian. "Ireland's father recalls that before the fire, she was playing, making static electricity with the sheets on her bed." Condolences to all, and good luck to Ireland Lane who, incidentally, is also a preteen cancer survivor.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 The week continues in Southern California, where today complaints of low water pressure at Los Angeles's Cecil Hotel drove a maintenance worker onto the hotel's roof, where he discovered the cause of the problem: the human corpse decomposing in the hotel's rooftop water tank. Details come from CNN, which identifies the body as that of Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old Canadian last seen in the hotel on January 31 and whose parents reported her missing in early February. While LAPD detectives investigate Lam's suspicious death, residents of the Cecil Hotel are left to grapple with their new knowledge. "Tourists staying at a Los Angeles hotel bathed, brushed teeth, and drank water from a tank in which a young woman's body was likely decomposing for more than two weeks. It was not clear whether the water presented any health risks to those who consumed it," reports CNN. "The water did have a funny taste," said British tourist Sabrina Baugh to CNN. "We thought it was just the way it was here."
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 Speaking of stories so riddled with horror that Last Days considered ignoring them, the week continues in Las Vegas, where a woman stands accused of having sex with a pit bull. As FOX 5 News reports, police were called to the home of a 23-year-old woman after neighbors complained about what she was doing in her backyard. Cops arrived to find the woman—who appeared to be under the influence of drugs or mentally ill, according to the police report—engaged in sexual acts with a pit bull. "Police said she could not identify herself and was unable to answer questions about the current date or name of the president of the United States," reports Fox 5, adding that the woman reportedly told police, "I'm bipolar." The woman has been charged with open and gross lewdness, while the dog was claimed by animal control. Condolences to both.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21 Speaking of deeply troubled people's regrettable dealings with pit bulls, the week continues with Lindsay Lohan, who late last year filed a lawsuit against the rapper Pitbull after he name-checked her in a song and allegedly ruined her life. As MSN reports, Pitbull's 2011 song "Give Me Everything" featured the line "So, I'm tiptoein', to keep flowin'/I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan"—which Lohan and her lawyers labeled "disparaging and defamatory statements" that caused the actress "tremendous emotional distress." "In her complaint, Lohan asked for a permanent injunction preventing any further distribution of the song, plus an injunction ordering the defendants to surrender all existing copies of the song to Lohan," reports MSN. "Naturally, she was also asking for an accounting of the profits that the song had generated for the defendants to date, and 'compensatory damages in an amount to be determined in the court.'" Unfortunately for Lohan, today US District Court judge Denis R. Hurley rejected Lohan's claims in full, tossing out her complaint and granting the defendants' motion to dismiss. "In his ruling, Hurley found that the song, as a protected work of art under the First Amendment, doesn't violate the New York Civil Rights Law," reports MSN. "As for the claim of emotional distress? Yeah, that didn't fly either, with Hurley ruling, 'Even if the defendants used plaintiff's name in one line of the song without her consent, such conduct is insufficient to meet the threshold for extreme and outrageous conduct necessary to sustain a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.'" Better luck next time, litigious Lohan.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22 Speaking of people who seem incapable of telling the truth with their mouths, the week continues with Lance Armstrong, the cancer-besting cyclist who ruined his career by lying over and over again about taking performance-enhancing drugs before finally admitting that, yes, he did take performance-enhancing drugs. The latest group to join the pile-on: the US Justice Department, which today revealed that it's joined a lawsuit against Armstrong "in an attempt to recover more than $30m in sponsorship money that the US Postal Service paid to help the disgraced cyclist's team to compete," the Guardian reports. "In adding its name to the lawsuit, the Department of Justice said that $31m of taxpayers money was handed over on a 'contractual promise to play fair and abide by the rules.' It is now seeking damages from Armstrong, his team manager Johan Bruyneel, and holding company Tailwind Sports."
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23 Nothing happened today, unless you count the Razzies, the annual awards honoring the year's worst cinema. Dominating this year's Razzies: the Twilight franchise, which claimed worst picture (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2), worst supporting actor (Taylor Lautner), worst screen couple (Taylor Lautner and the weird interspecies child he falls in love with), and worst actress (Kristen Stewart).
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24 Nothing happened today, unless you count the Oscars, the annual awards ceremony honoring the year's best cinema. Dominating this year's Oscars: the lameness of Seth MacFarlane, who crapped up his hosting duties with 10,000 tons of unfunny, retrograde sexism and general suckiness as a human.