The week got off to a nerve-wracking start today as Last Days visited the Safeway grocery store on 15th Avenue, where our eyes were scalded by a sight so terrible we were tempted to kill ourselves and everyone we've ever met while screaming the day and date at the top of our lungs. There in the refrigerated section, chilled and glistening like creamy yellow harbingers of doom, sat innumerable cartons of holiday egg nog. Making matters worse was Last Days' inability to leave the store without purchasing two gallons of the atrociously premature nog.

··In other "Christmas is only 69 days away!!" news: Tonight Last Days saw a television commercial for the toy most desperate to become this year's Tickle Me Elmo/Furby/ .57 magnum must-have kiddie toy: the Love to Dance Bear, a shimmying teddy who "puts the 'ha!' in cha-cha-cha!" Has there been a blossoming of interest in spicy old-school dances among contemporary toddlers of which Last Days is unaware? Or is this simply advertising in its purest form, by which a superfluous, charmless product will be miraculously transformed into an item for which hysterical parents will eventually stab each other in the necks? We have two and a half months to find out.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17 Everything is horrible, part 974: Today the Associated Press reported the horrific story of the identical 13-year-old twins charged with beating and raping a 40-year-old woman in New York City. The incident occurred on Sunday, October 15, when the victim and her two-year-old son returned home with bags from the grocery store. Police say the twins offered to help with the bags, then shoved their way into the apartment. One of the twins dragged the woman to the bedroom, beat her with a plastic jug of water, then raped her in front of her son. (The spare twin allegedly pushed the child to the ground and held a hand over his mouth to stifle his cries.) The twins stole $375 in cash from the woman's purse and fled, and the victim and her son were treated for cuts and bruises. At a court hearing where the two 13-year-olds were charged with assault, burglary, robbery, and rape, the twins' grandmother cast aspersions on the validity of the victim's claims. "They're skinny boys," the grandmother insisted. "A 40-year-old woman could knock the devil out of them." "Yeah," said the twins' grandfather, "and what was that hussy doing flouncing about in broad daylight with those sexy grocery bags and that cockteasing two-year-old? Obviously she was asking for it."

··Speaking of bad taste: Today Al Gore and George W. Bush engaged in the third of their televised debates. Once again the stiff, prissy Gore clobbered the dumb, lumpy Bush, and once again Bush somehow came out ahead, securing a small but crucial lead over his opponent 16 days before the election. There can be only one explanation: God hates us.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18 Speaking of would-be presidents, tonight on the very good television show The West Wing, the president of the United States found himself face to face with a controversial radio personality who just happened to look, talk, and act exactly like Dr. Laura--and he ripped her a new asshole! The already-legendary scene featured President Martin Sheen beating the shit out of his Dr. Laura piñata by eloquently, intelligently, and ferociously debunking her lame-brained theories on the inherent immorality of homosexuality. "It was the most exciting thing I've ever seen on TV," says Last Days' rarely histrionic friend Rick. "It made me wish Martin Sheen were our real president." A fine idea, marred only by the fact that such an arrangement would require our country to bestow an inordinate amount of prestige upon Emilio Estevez.

··Meanwhile, in real president news: In an interview with the gay magazine The Advocate, President Clinton theorized that homosexuals and African Americans stood by him throughout his impeachment ordeal because they understood what it was like to be "publicly humiliated and abused." The president's statement punctures the previous theory attributing homosexuals' and African Americans' support of Clinton to gay men's understanding of the appeal of receiving oral sex in unseemly locales, and African American men's understanding of the appeal of a pretty lady with her big ass shoved in a thong.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19 Today in the Spokane County Court, Robert Yates, the 48-year-old Army veteran and father of five, pleaded guilty to the murders of 13 women in Spokane and southern Washington state. Thanks to a plea bargain, Yates' admission of guilt will spare him the death penalty, but earn him 447 years in prison.

··In other "dangerously crazy motherfucker" news, tonight George W. Bush appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. Unfortunately, Last Days was unable to watch the program, as David Letterman ceased being amusing to us once we turned 14. However, reputable eyewitnesses report that the snarky, gap-toothed goober was admirably ferocious in taking the weasely Bush to task, grilling the compulsively chortling Dubya on his beloved death penalty, nailing him on Texas' crappy environmental record, and forcing him to defend himself against charges of chronic stupidity. Meanwhile, far away from television, Last Days saw a perfectly lovely bit of hand-penned anti-Bush agitprop displayed in an apartment window at the corner of 12th and Howell: "George W. Sucks Cajones."

Good news for monkeys, better news for humans: Today in the journal Science, a coalition of scientists announced that monkeys infected with an unusually virulent strain of the AIDS virus have been protected by a "supercharged" vaccine, made of DNA combined with an extra immune protein, which boosts the immune response of the monkeys to the point where the virus becomes undetectable. "We haven't made a vaccine that will prevent AIDS infections," writes senior author Professor Norman Letvin. "However, the findings suggest that a vaccine might slow progression after an infection has occurred, and decrease the likelihood of an infected individual transmitting the virus." Whoo-hoo!

Speaking of researchers: Today pointy-heads from the University of California at Berkeley announced that computers and the Internet have created an explosion of data, leaving people "drowning in a sea of information." According to the study, the world has produced 250 million megabytes of data for every person on Earth--enough data to fill computer floppy disks stacked to the moon eight times. To refrain from adding to this onerous glut, Last Days will provide no more information today. Instead here's a drawing of a pretty flower.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22 Today at the Scottish Rite Temple, a memorial service was held for Chris Takino, the much-beloved founder of Up Records, who died of leukemia on Friday, October 13. R.I.P., C.T. You and your work will be greatly missed.

Wandrie, call me. Everyone else, send Hot Tips to or phone the 24-hour Hot Tips Hotline at 323-7101 ext. 3113.