MONDAY, DECEMBER 19 The week kicks off with conclusive proof that American kids are getting smarter, or at least more discriminating, as the Associated Press hyped findings that U.S. teens are smoking less and taking more pain pills. According to the government's annual survey of teen drug use, nearly 1 in 10 high-school seniors tried prescription painkillers last year, while teen cigarette smoking fell to its lowest level since the survey began. "The best news in this year's report is the significant decline in cigarette smoking," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Not just because that ultimately is the most deadly drug but also because it confirms that drug abuse is best reduced through sensible public health measures rather than criminal penalties, prosecutions, and prisons." Apparently the Big Tobacco–funded parade of ridiculous/hideous/achingly earnest anti-tobacco ads is working, but one can't dismiss the influence of culture in the cigs-for-pills tradeoff; that wasn't a crushed Kool emblazoned across Eminem's debut CD. Still, props to the young'uns for giving cigarettes the boot, and here's hoping their celebrated pill-popping remains more reasonable (enjoying a couple spare Vicodin during a Law & Order marathon) than not (snorting crushed Oxycontin before gym).
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20 Today brought a modicum of resolution to the agonizing saga of Kevin Jung, the 45-year-old father of two and prominent lawyer in Bellevue's Korean-American community who was shot three times in the head last November by former Snohomish County deputy prosecutor William Joice. This morning, Joice met his fate in King County Superior Court, where jurors sought not to implicate Joice in the shooting (he freely admitted to pulling the trigger, three times) but to suss out Joice's intent. As the Associated Press reports, the 51-year-old Joice testified that he fired three shots into Kevin Jung—his opponent in a legal battle over a gift-shop franchise in Lynnwood—because he was faring poorly in the case and only wanted to wound Jung to give himself a chance to catch up. Armed with this shoot-to-wound theory, Joice's attorney hoped to convince the jury that the shooting was not premeditated, thus Mr. Joice shouldn't be convicted of attempted murder. But Joice's claims of a spur-of-the-moment, never-meant-to-be-murderous shooting were belied by the facts, including but not limited to the rental car Joice acquired to commit the shooting, surveillance video from a hardware store showing Joice purchasing materials for a homemade silencer, and last but not least, the "murder kit" found by police in the trunk of the aforementioned rental car, featuring a 9mm pistol and a fake beard. Today William Joice was rightly found guilty of attempted murder, for which he's expected to receive between 20 and 25 years in prison. Meanwhile, Kevin Jung remains in an Eastside nursing home with brain damage so severe he cannot speak, compounded by the indignity of being critically wounded by a total fucking idiot.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21 The week continues with a graphic sighting reported by Hot Tipper Jeff, who was pulling into the parking lot of the Lake City Way Value Village when he was confronted by "a forklift and many onlookers." The cause of the commotion: "A friggin' enormous seagull hanging upside down from a light post," reports Jeff. "Apparently the bird had managed to wedge its foot into an angled piece on the post and had been hanging upside down long enough to have filled a large swath of the parking lot underneath with blood and vomit. The bird's leg was obviously twisted and broken, and the situation found its way to the following conclusion: Some guys from the tool-rental place next to the Value Village would rise up on the lift and clip the bird's leg with a tree pruner. Most parties present seemed to be okay with this solution and I am reasonably certain the bird would have sawed his own leg off just to get the hell out of there. The leg was clipped, the bird dropped about 15 feet, then flew to a nearby rooftop, hopefully on his way to find some Neosporin or at least saltwater. Cheers to the couple that seemed to take charge and to Value Village and the tool-rental place for all the support. Jeers to Seattle City Light and the other organizations contacted who insisted we should 'let nature take its course.' God knows the seagull's natural enemy is the light post."
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22 When it rains, it pours: Today brings another Hot Tip, this one from attentive Hot Tipper Kelsey, who was riding the 121 Metro Express to downtown this morning when she noticed a lady board the bus in the Industrial District. "It was a really rainy morning and the lady was soaked," writes Kelsey. "She went all the way to the back of the bus and just stood there, sobbing and repeating over and over, 'Someone's made me wet again!' She began to pace as she got louder and louder about how wet the rain had made her and how her 'fucking hands' were wet. Finally she sat down and began sobbing louder then ever, then just like that she turns to the guy next to her and says in a completely normal voice, 'Excuse me, sir, do you know what time it is?' after which she went back to sobbing and cursing the clouds for making her wet." Beguiling denouement: "When I got off the bus she followed me for two blocks, sobbing and screaming, 'LARRY!'"
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23 Speaking of the confused and perhaps crack-addled: Today brings an update on Michael Jackson, the disgraced former genius/celebrity acquittee whose Bahrainian vacation has been rocked by (more) disturbing allegations, this time involving animals and his own children. First comes the report from Fox News alleging that the animals at Jackson's Neverland Ranch farm are starving, due to Jackson's alleged failure to fund their sustenance. Detailing the "dismal state" of the Neverland farm since Jackson fled with his three children for Bahrain, Fox reports that unpaid bills have left parts of the sprawling ranch without electricity and the farm's animals with very little food. And while underfed llamas are no joke (have you ever heard the one about the underfed llama? We rest our case), Jackson is facing weightier accusations from Debbie Rowe, his ex-cosmetic-surgery nurse, ex-wife, and mother to two of his three children, who reportedly filed papers this week accusing the singer of abducting their two children. According to "entertainment news network" TMZ.com, Ms. Rowe has filed a custody suit against Jackson, suggesting Jacko's open-ended relocation to Bahrain is in violation of a pre-existing and deeply mysterious custody agreement. Stay tuned, and may God be merciful enough to allow Michael Jackson's kids to live long enough to write the books Last Days is staying alive to read.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24 Nothing happened today, unless you count this important correction from reader Andrew: "I'm sure you've received a few e-mails informing you that Hot Tipper Bevin [who reported being hit on by lanky radio freak Howard Stern at a Sonics game] was bamboozled by a Stern look-alike. The look-alike is a Chehalis High School graduate with a very bad wig on. Hopefully Bevin didn't give 'it' up for the Sirius T-shirt-wearing phony."
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25 Nothing happened today.
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