The Week in Review
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29 The week begins with a blast of righteous indignation from an unlikely source: Brown-haired, two-eyed game-show host Pat Sajak, who stepped away from the Wheel of Fortune to pick up the trumpet of justice, with an editorial published today by humaneventsonline.com. Entitled "A Hush over Hollywood," Sajak's cri de coeur targeted a long-overdue-but-who-would've-thought-Pat-fucking-Sajak-would-be-the-one-to-bring-it-up topic of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker (and distant relation of Vincent) who was brutally murdered on November 2. "Theo van Gogh... was shot while bicycling through the streets of Amsterdam. The killer then stabbed his chest with one knife and slit his throat with another. The presumed murderer, a Dutch-born dual Moroccan-Dutch citizen, attached a five-page note to van Gogh's body with a knife. In it he threatened jihad against the West in general, and specifically against five prominent Dutch political figures. Van Gogh's crime? He created a short film highly critical of the treatment of women in Islamic societies." Following the Dutch television broadcast of van Gogh's film Submission--chronicling a Muslim bride's abuse at the hands of her husband and uncle, including a depiction of a whip-lashed female body bearing Koranic script--the 47-year-old filmmaker received numerous death threats, with threats soon giving way to tragic action. But editorialist Sajak (obviously inflamed by his two and a half decades playing Waylon Flowers to Vanna White's Madame) is mad about more than van Gogh's violent death. "I'm trying to understand the nearly universal lack of outrage coming from Hollywood over the brutal murder," writes Sajak. Unfortunately, Sajak's theory on the motives behind Hollywood's mysterious silence is high-grade hokum. "Is it just possible that there are those who are reluctant to criticize an act of terror because that might somehow align them with President Bush, who stubbornly clings to the notion that these are evil people who need to be defeated?" asks Sajak. "Could the level of hatred for this president be so great that some people are against anything he is for, and for anything he is against?" Closer inspection of the source site finds Sajak's musings to be in fitting company. Billed as "The National Conservative Weekly," Human Events belies its strategically nebulous title with right-wing content of the President-Bush-is-a-man-of-God/Ann-Coulter-is-a-woman-of-beauty variety. Still, Sajak's question is worth answering, so we'll take a shot. Either (A) Things have gotten so continually horrifying on the global scale that unless something happens within the borders of the United States, to someone attractive, Hollywood can't be bothered to care about it, or (B) Violent Muslims are some scary motherfuckers--like Scientology scary--and the majority of intelligent people will find ways to rationalize their avoidance of being placed on psycho-Muslims' shit lists. RIP Theo van Gogh.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30 Today Reuters reported the cosmically unfair story of Philip Quinn, the 24-year-old man in Kent, Washington who placed a lava lamp on his stove, only to have the lamp explode and lodge a fatal shard of glass in his heart. Besides grieving friends and family and a mildly embarrassing obituary, Quinn's death leaves behind a slew of unanswered questions. Did he know the stove was on? Did he hope heat would make the lava blobs go faster? Couldn't God have restricted the punishment for Quinn's admittedly thoughtless deed to a mere third-degree burning?
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1 Speaking of eternal mysteries: Today the Associated Press shared a fascinating tale of love and devotion from Oregon's Multnomah County, where 31-year-old Carrie Lynn Wheeler was yesterday sentenced to three years in prison for spiking her husband's tacos with rat poison. Vociferously objecting to the sentence was 57-year-old Steve Wheeler, Carrie Lynn's husband and victim, who told the sentencing judge, "To put it simply, I think this is overdone." "You are a very compassionate man," said Judge Jean Kerr Maurer, accepting the whipped Mr. Wheeler's plea for leniency while displaying her disdain for the taco-tainting Carrie: "If you had been more successful, Mr. Wheeler wouldn't be here to speak on your behalf." According to their attorney, the Wheelers plans to stay married while Carrie "works on her mental health issues."
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2 Speaking of dumb couples: Today brings the deeply instructive story of John Douglas Sheetz and Misty Ann Holmes, the young Florida couple (he's 18, she's 17) arrested after notifying police of the quarter-pound of marijuana stolen from their home. According to the Associated Press, Sheetz and Holmes called police after discovering a break-in at their home. Foremost among the reported stolen items: a bunch of pot the couple told police they planned to sell. Completing their triumph of idiocy, the couple allowed authorities to search the apartment, facilitating the discovery of stems and drug paraphernalia and leading to their arrest on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3 In far more terrifying news: Today brought the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, who used his departure from the Bush cabinet to deliver a blood-chilling terror warning. "For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do," said Thompson during his morning press conference. "We are importing a lot of food from the Middle East, and it would be easy to tamper with that." Specifying that only "a very minute amount" of food gets tested at ports and airports, Thompson confessed that he worries "every single night" about the possibility of a terrorist food attack. Asked by the Associated Press to address Thompson's concerns, President Bush was typically brilliant. "We've made a lot of progress in protecting our country, and there's more work to be done, and this administration is committed to doing it."
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4 Speaking of potential terror sites: Today the forthcoming trial of the century took a dramatic leap forward as Santa Barbara police concluded a new two-day search of Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch by extracting a DNA sample from the criminally beleaguered pop star's mouth. The historic swabbing paves the way for Jackson's criminal sexual molestation trial set to begin January 31, and provides an official beginning to Jacko Suicide Watch 2004.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5 Speaking of newsworthy swabbings: Today brought a pointed Hot Tip from reader David. "I wait tables at a fairly upscale Belltown eatery and was serving a couple in their 50s. After the meal, I brought the check--and found the lady at the table with her hand in her mouth, digging away like she was trying to find lost Inca treasure with what looked like a bumpy finger cot or an incredibly small 'Rough Rider' condom. It was only after questioning the other servers that I found out it was a new product: Oral-B Brush-Ups. Anyway, it was totally disgusting and inappropriate and we at the restaurant thought you should know." Dear David: You are entirely right to be disgusted. Thank you for noticing and sharing. Dear everyone else: In case you've been spared the commercials, Oral-B Brush-Ups are "textured teeth wipes" one slips on one's finger for on-the-go teeth cleaning. However, "on the go" does not necessarily mean "in public," and Oral-B Brush-Ups should only be used in semi-private places (public restrooms, unattended Honey Buckets, solo elevator rides).
Sam Kehl: E-mail me! Everyone else: Send Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.