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Last Days

The Week in Review

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 The week begins with the sweet, murky stench of marijuana, which will lace its way throughout the week after completely stinking up today's item from the World Tribune, commemorating pot's new status as the revenue generator of choice for al Qaeda terrorists. Details come from Saudi security sources, which report the shift in terror-funding trends away from the traditional alcohol-and-narcotics trade toward a hot new market for pot, pot, and more pot. "In the space of one year, Saudi border police intercepted 10 tons of cannabis coming from Iraq," a Saudi source told WorldTribune.com, specifying that profits from the pot boom had funded insurgent attacks in both Iraq and Saudi Arabia. For the record, insurgent attacks are bad (see Thursday). But here's hoping at least some of that terror-enabling wacky tobaccy found its way into U.S. troops, who could undoubtedly use an entertaining and comforting time killer, and who are going to have a shitty enough time returning home without lugging along low-level heroin addictions.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 Speaking of controversial pot smuggling: Today brings a world-class Hot Tip from Hot Tipper Lawrence, who was heading for his departure gate at Sea-Tac International Airport last week when he found himself in the middle of every responsible pot smoker's nightmare. "I was heading through the primary gate checkpoint with just my shoulder bag," writes Lawrence. "After my bag went through the x-ray machine, an airport worker appeared and said she needed to search the bag, which apparently had a few lighters floating around in it." After stepping to a side table, Lawrence waited while the worker searched his bag's various pockets and compartments, not paying much attention until he heard the worker say, "Uh oh." Lawrence writes, "I looked over and the worker was holding a small glass pipe. It was empty, but had obviously been used, and I swear to God I'd forgotten that damn pipe even existed until I saw it in her hand." Lucky for Lawrence, the pipe-finding employee was a doll: "She said she was required to hand me over to the cops, but said they'd probably just confiscate the pipe, read me the riot act, and send me on my way. 'Keep cool and you'll fly,' the worker said, eventually returning with four uniformed policemen, which would've been scarier if they hadn't been joking among themselves. 'Fifth one tonight,' I heard one officer say. 'And it's not even Hempfest!'" From this jovial opening, things turned quasi-serious: "The lead officer took me aside, wrote down my driver's license and flight information, and gave me a lecture about flying with contraband," writes Lawrence. "It was humiliating and frightening, but thank God that stupid pipe was empty." Once safely on board, Lawrence's relief was eclipsed by gratitude for his angelically empathetic airport worker. "I wanted to write a letter praising her to her supervisor," writes Lawrence. "But I didn't want to get her in trouble. If you could sing her praises in your column, that would be grand." Lawrence's wish is our command.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 Speaking of Hot Tips: Today brings a far-less-illuminating-but-that-doesn't-mean-we're-not-going-to-report-it sighting from Hot Tipper Eva, who was strolling home from the Broadway Market QFC when she witnessed a dazzling display of indie animal husbandry. "I was walking past a gaggle of street kids with tough-looking dogs," writes Eva. "Suddenly, one of the guys picks up his dog by the haunches and with a napkin pulls something turd-sized out of his dog's butthole." "Oh, it's a chicken bone!" the young man exclaimed. "Sure enough, the dog had passed a slimy drumstick bone with his owner's help," writes Eva. "This may not seem like much written down, but the whole three-second incident is permanently imprinted on my brain in slow motion."

•• Speaking of chicken bones yanked from dog's asses: Today Representative Tom DeLay was indicted on charges of conspiracy relating to an alleged campaign-finance scheme, forcing the Texas Republican to relinquish his post as House majority leader.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 Meanwhile in Iraq: Three car bombs killed 60 people and wounded 70 more north of Baghdad, while a roadside bomb killed five U.S. soldiers in the western town of Ramadi.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 The week continues with horror on a more personal scale, thanks to 20/20, the ABC news magazine, which tonight showcased a segment on Fantasia Barrino. For those who don't know, Fantasia is the 21-year-old single mother from North Carolina who seized the top spot on season three of American Idol. But underneath the triumph lay a humiliating secret, which Fantasia revealed tonight to 20/20's millions of viewers: She can't read. Never mind that confessing your illiteracy must be more embarrassing than falling down, mispronouncing a word, and accidentally pooping your pants all at the same time—tonight Fantasia fearlessly offered herself up as a spokesmodel for the estimated 25 million Americans (that's one in five adults) who are functionally illiterate. Best of luck to the bad-ass Fantasia, who will be learning to read with a tutor between opening gigs on the forthcoming tour of worship-worthy pop overlord Kanye West.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1 Today the week's thematic waft of pot smoke went public with the Smoke-Out on Teletubby Hill, the grassroots celebration scheduled today at Capitol Hill's glorious new Cal Anderson Park. Designed to salute the park's resemblance to the land of the Teletubbies via the eternal deliciousness of pot, the event was scheduled to climax at 4:20 p.m. with a mass marijuana smoke-out. Unfortunately, the fledgling buzz of the drizzle-soaked crowd was officially harshed by the Seattle Police Department, which dispatched a dozen or so bike cops to politely but firmly maintain order. When invaluable pot activist Dominic Holden urged police to respect the voter-approved I-75, which makes personal pot smoking the police department's lowest legal priority, the spokesperson cop replied with what seemed like an inspired bit of doublespeak: Yes, smoking pot is a low-priority crime, but not when it's happening in a high-priority park, and the police presence had less to do with punishing potheads and more to do with setting clear boundaries about what will and will not be tolerated in this fledgling city park. (And, eureka, pre-publicized marijuana smoke-ins aren't among the desired activities.) And so potheads were punished—specifically Holden, who was nabbed after he concluded his levelheaded plea for police to focus on real drug crimes by flaring up some green. Holden was sanctioned with a seven-day park exclusion notice, while the rest of the crowd escaped with an implicit warning: If you want to smoke pot in the park, be discreet and don't put up fliers about it.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2 The week finishes with August Wilson, the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright whose battle with liver cancer ended this morning at Seattle's Swedish Medical Center. A towering figure of American theater, Wilson will be remembered for his 10-play cycle charting a century of African-American life in the United States. A denizen of Seattle for the past 15 years, Wilson will be remembered by locals as a quietly friendly, cafe-haunting hard worker, happy to plop himself down among pierced-lip diarists at Capitol Hill coffeehouses to hash out his latest theatrical landmark. RIP, Mr. Wilson. We were lucky to have you.

Send Hot Tips to lastdays@thestranger.com.

 

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