MONDAY, OCTOBER 22 This week of prophylactic piercings, triumphant justice, and oddball exhibitionists in Bellevue kicks off with nothing but fire. Specifically, the 15 or so out-of-control blazes that will continue torching Southern California throughout today, tomorrow, and into Wednesday. Hardest hit: San Diego County, where fires will ultimately claim 1,300 homes and cause an estimated $1 billion in damage. As for today, the name of the game was evacuation; before the game's over, more than a half-million citizens will have been displaced, in the largest evacuation in modern California history. Stay tuned.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23 In much lighter news: "I was dropping a friend off at work in Bellevue when we witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime event," writes Hot Tipper Leandra. "In the middle of the intersection at 148th and Northup, there was a red Jetta doing doughnuts. The young male driver proceeded to get out, flip off everyone, crawl on top of his car (parked in the middle of the intersection), and strip off all of his clothing. After the strip show, he ran around and tried to open the car doors of everyone who was watching. Eventually the cops came and laid him face down in a puddle to make the arrest. Who said Bellevue was boring?" Dear Leandra: Thanks for writing. We don't know who said Bellevue was boring, but we know at least three people who've wondered if Bellevue has methheads. Thanks for the answer.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24 Today we return to California on fire. New developments: The announcement made by a task force of agencies—including the FBI, ATF, the Orange County Fire Authority, and the California Department of Forestry—that the Santiago Canyon Fire is officially being investigated as arson. As CBS News reports, investigators have identified two separate points of origin where they believe the fire was set, and are offering a $70,000 reward for whoever helps find the parties responsible for the blaze that has burned about 19,200 acres, injured four firefighters, forced the evacuation of 3,000 people, and caused an estimated $10 million in damage.
•• Meanwhile, down in San Diego County, 14,000 evacuees spent a second night at Qualcomm Stadium, including one Christie Williams, a mother of three who fled the fire and survived to watch endless replays of news footage showing her house burning to the ground. Speaking to CBS's The Early Show, Ms. Williams said she'd seen the footage broadcast three times, and had managed to shield her children—ages 1, 2, and 4—from all but one of the showings. Condolences to the unfortunate mom, whose freakish media-replay nightmare is doomed to become only more common.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25 The week continues with the aforementioned prophylactic piercing, from the wilds of Naples, Florida, where a 39-year-old woman stands charged with child abuse after allegedly forcing her 13-year-old daughter to undergo genital piercing in hopes of deterring the girl from sexual activity. Details on the convoluted chastity plan come from yesterday's court proceedings against the mother, courtesy of the Associated Press: On the stand, the accused's now-16-year-old daughter testified that her mother asked a tattoo-artist friend to shave the girl's head to make her unattractive to boys and later held her down for the genital piercing, designed to make it "uncomfortable for the girl to have sex." Prosecutor Steve Maresca said the mother concocted her daughter's desexification regimen after realizing that the 13-year-old had been having sex, including with the mother's boyfriend. (Note to parents in training: Should you ever find your adolescent child having sex with one of your lovers, always blame the child.) After the punitive nether-piercing became infected, child welfare officials were brought in, and the mother was soon charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse, for which she could face up to 30 years in prison. In the mother's defense, attorney Donald Day told jurors of the daughter's troublesome rebellion, casting the forced piercing as a trust-building exercise between mother and child. (Good luck with that.) While the mother awaits her fate, the aforementioned head-shaving/genital-piercing tattoo-artist friend has been sentenced to a year in jail for her role in the ordeal, and an arrest warrant has been issued for the mother's boyfriend on allegations he had sex with the girl.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26 In much better underage-sex-travesty news: Today brought a blessed avalanche of justice for Genarlow Wilson, the 21-year-old Georgia man who, as a 17-year-old, was convicted of aggravated child molestation after having consensual oral sex with another teenager. Thanks to a freakish Georgia law making oral sex between teenagers a felony (while full-on teen intercourse was but a misdemeanor), Wilson was sentenced to 10 years in prison, where he's been for the past two years. In 2006, the freakish Georgia law was changed to make oral sex between teens a misdemeanor, but a lower court ruled that the law could not be applied retroactively. Today the Georgia Supreme Court moved to clean up the whole mess, ruling 4–3 that a 10-year sentence for consensual oral sex was cruel and unusual punishment, and ordering the immediate release of Wilson. Congratulations to the Wilson family, whom we wish the best of luck with the multimillion-dollar civil suit they so richly deserve.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27 Speaking of governmental failures: Today the Federal Emergency Management Agency was ripped a shiny new butthole over a phony news conference the agency conducted regarding the California wildfires on Tuesday. As the Associated Press reports, the bogus FEMA event featured FEMA employees posing as reporters and lobbing softball questions to well-briefed FEMA spokesmodels. "I think it was one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I've seen since I've been in government," said Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff at a news conference today. "I have made it unambiguously clear, in Anglo-Saxon prose, that it is not to ever happen again and there will be appropriate disciplinary action taken against those people who exhibited what I regard as extraordinarily poor judgment."
•• Speaking of chastising the government: Today brought a humongous demonstration to the streets of Seattle, as thousands of citizens marched in protest of the Iraq war. "This has been a war for oil, for profits, and for corporations," said 25-year-old Iraq war veteran Chanan Suarez-Diaz to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "It's time for the occupation to end and veterans should be at the head of the movement to end it."
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28 Nothing happened today, unless you count Hot Tipper Dave's account of watching a semiconscious Metro rider—a twentysomething male with junkie leanings—vomit in slow motion for 10 minutes. "The drool/puke continuum stretched from his chin to his lap for a good foot or two. We informed the driver twice. He did nothing."
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