This Week in Review
MONDAY, OCTOBER 31 The week kicks off with Halloween, the annual celebration of evil that's always perfectly fun until someone gets traumatized. Such was the case for one horribly unlucky woman in New York City, whose night of hell commenced at 6:00 p.m. with a loud knock at the door of her West 24th Street apartment. "FDNY!" hollered a man who the New York Daily News reports was dressed in fire gear with a mask and helmet. "We have a report of smoke and I am here to make sure there is no fire in your apartment!" Upon opening the door, the NYDN reports, the 34-year-old woman was confronted by a gun, followed by a chemical-soaked rag; for the next 13 hours, the would-be fireman subjected his victim to a parade of horrors, from sexual violation (which the victim reports was videotaped) to modeling at gunpoint (with the victim forced to try on clothes and shoes while the sick-fuck faux fireman took photos). The attack ended around 7:00 the next morning, when the attacker left and the woman awoke to find tape over her mouth, loose binding around her wrists, and chemical burns on her face, for which she was at a local hospital. Terrifying final detail: The victim reports that her attacker knew personal details about her life, such as her recent job loss, suggesting the man either knows her or stalked her. Police are investigating.
•• In much lighter Halloween crime news: The Northwest found its own seasonally inclined criminal in Thurston County's bank-robber witch, the 20-something woman who dressed in full Halloween regalia—complete with a long blond wig and a big pointy witch hat—to hold up a Washington Mutual today in Lacey, Washington. Details come from KOMO, which reports the woman executed her theft with a letter presented to the teller claiming the witch was armed and wanted money. The teller dutifully handed over the dough, carefully adding a red dye pack, the explosion of which caused the robber witch to lose a good deal of the loot along with her hat, which police are now checking for fingerprints.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1 After weeks of sweating through the vicissitudes of his ever-more-threatened cabinet, today President Bush turned to the relatively light task of outlining his plan to prepare America for a pandemic flu outbreak. Speaking at the National Institutes of Health, Bush detailed his $7.1 billion strategy, which according to the Associated Press includes $1.2 billion for the vaccination of 20 million Americans against the current strain of bird flu, $1 billion to stockpile antiviral drugs that lessen the severity of flu symptoms, $2.8 billion to speed the development of vaccines as new strains emerge, and $583 million for states and local governments to prepare emergency plans to respond to an outbreak. By next week, Dubya will be joined in his bird-flu fretting by another cartoon figurehead who pretends to like black people: Colonel Sanders. According to AdAge.com, Kentucky Fried Chicken is busy preparing "a consumer education plan to reassure customers that it's safe to eat chicken." "[We] have been developing contingency plans which we hope we won't have to use," announced KFC's parent company, Yum Foods, in a statement. "The World Health Organization has been clear that you can't get the flu from cooked chicken, which is perfectly safe to eat." Still, some analysts worry that the Colonel doth protest too much. "There is a risk if a company jumps the gun and starts screaming a bit too loud that something may be safe to eat, because it may scare customers," said James McCoy, a senior analyst at Mintel. "If Yum came out now and said, 'It's okay to eat chicken,' consumers probably would be wondering, 'Why are they telling us?'" Stunning fact floating around in all this preemptive reassurance and speculation: On per-capita average, every citizen in the U.S. will eat 90 pounds of chicken this year.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2 The week continues with the ongoing degradation of Michael Brown, the former chief of FEMA whose failures helming the federal response to Hurricane Katrina had secured his stature as the grossest example of George W. Bush's fatally irresponsible cronyism even before today's revelations put the gloss on the piñata. Last Days is speaking, of course, of the deeply damning emails composed by Brown during the thick of the Katrina disaster and published today on the website of Louisiana congressman Charlie Melancon. Among the delights: Brown's response to a desperate SOS from a FEMA employee on the ground in New Orleans ("Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?"); Brown's missive to a FEMA colleague the morning Katrina hit ("Can I quit now?"); and the fact that Brown remains on the federal payroll with a $148,000 annual salary (after resigning, Brown was given a 30-day salary extension by Michael Chertoff, who said he needed Brown's "expertise" in investigating what went wrong with the federal response; this extension was renewed in mid October).
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3 Today brings not one but two Associated Press stories involving Super Glue. Story number one comes from Greenburg, Pennsylvania, where a man is suing his ex-girlfriend for using the aforementioned Super Glue to affix his genitals to his abdomen and his butt cheeks to each other, then leaving him to walk a mile to a gas station to call for help. (The man wants $30,000 for his crotchular pain and suffering, the woman claims the gluing was a consensual act that caused no lasting damage.) Story number two comes from Boulder, Colorado, where a man is suing Home Depot for ignoring his cries for help after he found himself Super Glued to a men's room toilet seat. According to the man's lawsuit, at least two Home Depot employees were alerted to his sticky predicament but "believed it to be a hoax," with store officials calling an ambulance only after the trapped man hollered for help for 15 minutes. "This is not Home Depot's fault," said the 57-year-old glue victim to the [Boulder] Daily Camera. "But I am blaming them for letting me hang in there and just ignoring me."
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4 Nothing happened today, unless you count the explosion of the long-simmering race-and-class riots that will spend the next several days (weeks?) engulfing the suburbs of Paris.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5 Speaking of effed up: Today a whole bunch of kids in New York got a grade-A mind-fuck at the AMC Empire 25 theater, where a packed house had gathered for an 8:45 p.m. screening of the new film Chicken Little. The problem: Instead of G-rated Disney animation, the kid-packed audience found itself watching Andrea, a Spanish drama which opens with a young boy committing suicide by hanging himself from a tree. The New York Daily News reports that after five minutes of children crying and mothers screaming for managers to stop the film, Andrea was stopped, Chicken Little was started, and all patrons were offered coupons good for a free movie.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6 The week ends with further sass from Mother Nature, including a non-injurious rockslide that forced the closure of Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass, a deadly tornado that killed 22 people in Indiana and Kentucky, and a much-needed day of glorious sunshine in Seattle.
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