TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30 As everyone in the entire world now knows, today Seattle's reputation as a hyper-polite, non-jaywalking hub of liberal nicey-niceness was irreparably stained as all hell broke loose on the streets of downtown. Kicking off with the smashing of the windows of a McDonald's (home of labia-scalding coffee) and wrapping up with the destruction of a Starbucks (home of boner-bending toilet seats), the ramshackle riots completely eclipsed both the WTO conference's opening ceremonies and the peaceful, law-abiding protesters -- and led to some of the most entertaining news broadcasts in local history. Highlight: the tear-gassing of a number of newscasters and reporters, all of whom struggled valiantly to maintain their professionalism while their faces spat forth phlegm. Runner-up: KOMO 4 anchor Dan Lewis' heartfelt (and seemingly impromptu) moralizing on legitimate versus illegitimate protest, and inspired dissing of downtown's hooligans without a cause.
··Meanwhile, in that nebulous area between Fremont and Phinney Ridge: A collection of enterprising, riot-savvy lawbreakers took advantage of the beefed-up police presence downtown by burgling private residences. One unlucky man returned home to find his Plexiglas door smashed in and a good portion of his personal belongings gone: stereo equipment, computer, even his favorite socks. A call to the police department proved fruitless, as our men in blue were too busy clobbering the masses to waste time with mere larceny. "I couldn't get a police officer out here until Saturday afternoon," said our unfortunate burglary victim. "And now I have to buy all new socks."
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1 Today the riots -- and thrilling riot news coverage -- continued, with "protesters" smashing their way up to Capitol Hill, police punishing anyone within firing range with tear gas, concussion bombs and rubber bullets, and soon-to-be-former Mayor Paul Schell issuing the most offensive ban in Seattle history, outlawing the possession of gas masks within city limits. Meanwhile, ABC managed to lure our attention away from the anarchic mess with an absolutely riveting episode of 20/20, focusing entirely on whores! Entitled Women of the Night, 20/20's tale of two hookers shared the life stories of Cozy, a middle-aged, upper-class, modern-day Geisha-type, and Derann, a haggard junkie who sleeps in a cardboard box, shoots up in her neck, and gives blowjobs to migrant farm workers. To their credit, 20/20 focused their very adult and responsible story on two prostitutes who look absolutely nothing like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. To their detriment, they allowed the segment to be reported by the smug-as-shit Cynthia McFadden, who should be shot out of a cannon into a brick wall. (On an inadvertently lighter note, the show's first commercial break began with a booming "Ho! Ho! Ho!" -- leading into JC Penney's ubiquitous but ill-slotted holiday commercial.)
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2 Tonight: a tale of deception, compunction, and redemption on Capitol Hill. Tonight at a popular, multi-tiered Cap Hill restaurant, waitstaff and diners alike thrilled to the appearance of lefty fave Ralph Nader. In a beautifully written and lyrical account, our Hot Tipper reported on Nader's 12 dinner companions ("They all looked exactly like Nader -- even the women!") and on Nader's server, Angie, a devoted and principled waitress for whom the Nader Affair became an impromptu morality play. As our Hot Tipper informs us, restaurant policy states that large parties have an automatic 18% gratuity added to their bill, and responsible servers always mention this auto-gratuity. Perhaps Angie was exhausted from labor- and riot-induced stress; perhaps she was slave to an unconscious urge to test Mr. Consumer Watchdog at his own game. For whatever reason, Angie neglected to mention the auto-gratuity -- and was shocked when world-renowned scam-sniffer Nader gave her an additional 20% tip! And though Angie should have reveled in the glory of having duped the master, her ethics and fear of karmic retribution kicked in, and she asked a manager to remove the extra gratuity. Last Days applauds Angie for her combination of fiscal mischief and moral rigor, and hopes she will consider being Ralph Nader's running mate in the 2000 presidential election.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3 Today brought the untimely death by ovarian cancer of one of American film's great comediennes, Madeline Kahn. Kahn, a talented performer who understood the value of a pretty woman acting like a complete idiot, will forever be remembered for her fearless performances in Paper Moon, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. R.I.P., goofy lady.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4 Today, as the WTO mayhem came to something of a close, Mayor Paul Schell called for "healing," city officials sucked up to citizens with offers of free downtown parking, and relieved Seattleites shared their views with the local and national media. "It's been an odd week," said local Sue Castonguay to the Associated Press. "I'm sympathetic to what the protesters were doing, but the violence -- it really does feel like rape to a lot of us who live here." Last Days shares Castonguay's views, and agrees that seeing the windows of your favorite chain coffee shop smashed is much the same as being brutally and personally violated by a merciless sexual predator.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5 Speaking of ridiculous overstatement, today Cuban President Fidel Castro condemned the "brutal methods" used by Seattle police in handling the WTO protests, and branded local police action as worse than the repression seen under Chile's murderous former military ruler Augusto Pinochet. Reuters reports that the 73-year-old Castro insists that if the "blood-curdling" police violence seen in Seattle had transpired in Cuba, NATO would have invaded on grounds of human rights abuses. Following his "worse than Pinochet" pronouncement, Castro announced that the opening of Seattle's Pine Street was worse than the bombing of Dresden, and that the Seattle City Council defeat of his soul brother Charlie Chong was worse than the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
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