The week began with a bracing call to arms from none other than singer/actress/celebrity spokesmodel Cher. Discussing the forthcoming presidential election on the music website Wall of Sound, the original Mrs. Bono revealed that behind the plastic surgery that has given her the face of a four-year-old lurks the heart of a revolutionary and the mouth of a drunken sailor. "Has everyone lost their fucking minds? Doesn't anybody re-member the illustrious Reagan-Bush years when people had no money and no jobs? What has happened to people's memories? It's like they have Alzheimer's or something." The razor-tongued Oscar- and Grammy-winner then took specific aim at dumb old Dubya, fearlessly declaring her dislike and distrust of Bush, before branding him both stupid and lazy. "I'm passionate about this because I'm so scared," said the ass-kicking geriatric. "I don't want to see what happened years ago happen again. The idea of old people eating dog food doesn't appeal to me. Call me old-fashioned. I just don't like it."

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31 Today, a Halloween story for the ages. This afternoon on Seattle's Capitol Hill, a pretty woman in her 30s visited the Group Health Cooperative, for what she describes as "a routine check under the hood." Not until she was on the table and in the stirrups did she realize that, because today was Halloween, she would be receiving a pap smear from a doctor dressed as a bucket of popcorn. "She had an overflowing bucket encircling her body, and a melting butter crown," reports our lucky gyna-girl, who also noted Dr. Redenbacher's crafty deployment of pipe cleaners with popped kernels attached on her crown and shoulders. So what was it like to be prodded in the hoochie by a becostumed doc? "It was perfectly fine, once I got over the shock," says our lady friend. "Still, the doctor seemed a little grumpy." Last Days would like to say that, despite all the cruelty, ignorance, and fear, the fact that we live in a world where a woman can receive a pap smear from a grumpy bucket of popcorn makes us very happy to be alive.

As the CNN of the alterna-slacker community, Last Days has spent the past several years gussying up news events to entice even the least connected and most shiftless of readers. To achieve this end, we are often required to indulge in high dramatization, hyperbole, and haiku. However, once in a blue moon, we are presented with a story so riveting that we need do nothing but report it verbatim. Here is such a story, lifted directly from The Guardian:

"The German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, yesterday accidentally extinguished Israel's memorial flame for the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

At a sombre ceremony in the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, Mr. Schröder turned a handle that was supposed to make the flame rise. It went out instead.

The Israel prime minister, Ehud Barak, who had accompanied the German leader to Yad Vashem's hall of remembrances, stepped forward to try to help, but was unsuccessful. A technician eventually ignited the flame."

Speaking of staggering discoveries: Today the Associated Press reported on the man arrested in Amarillo, Texas, whom police discovered to have more than $8,000 wedged in his buttcrack. Thirty-two-year-old Carlton Meridith was nabbed by Amarillo police on Tuesday after he was caught smoking marijuana; a routine police search turned up a total of $14,000 cash on Meridith's person, including the aforementioned $8,000 in his buttcrack. "That's 80 $100 bills," said police Cpl. Brent Harlan, graciously assisting those of us assiduously trying to form a cogent mental image of the crack deposit. Mr. Moneybutt told his arresting officers that he made the $14,000 sponsoring a St. Louis rap group called Forty Caliber; St. Louis authorities claim no such concert has taken place in recent months and that they were unaware of any local band by that name. Meridith was booked and released on a marijuana possession charge, while the money remains in police custody.

··Also today, Last Days could not stop thinking about that accidentally extinguished Holocaust memorial flame. Through sheer human ingenuity, we have been able to put a man on the moon, map the structure of DNA, and invent Liquid-Plumr Foaming Pipe Snake. Can't we somehow manage to rig the Holocaust memorial flame so it can't be accidentally extinguished? For an answer, Last Days consulted our smart handyman friend Andy, who shared our consternation. "All it would take is a metal pin restricting the movement of the flame's control handle," said Andy. Israel, take note.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3 Today we could tell you about the midday rally led by Ralph Nader at Seattle's Town Hall, where 1,200 Green Party supporters whooped and hollered for the man who has led a vigilant and romantic battle against America's tired two-party system (and who, by the time you read this, will be just another well-meaning schmuck smacking his forehead with disgust at our choice for president of the United States). But instead we shall continue our obsessing about the Holocaust flame fiasco. So, as the story goes, the German chancellor (Why, oh why did it have to be the German chancellor?) moved in to "turn the handle that was supposed to make the flame rise." Can someone explain to us why the level of the flame was made variable in the first place? Do they raise the memorial flame on those days when they're feeling extra mournful about the six million dead? Or maybe when the Yad Vashem house band tears into their fiery rendition of "Free Bird"?

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4 Does anyone else find it vaguely distasteful that victims of the Holocaust are memorialized with a gas flame? Just wondering.

··Also today: In an effort to cleanse our mind of our Holocaust flame obsession, tonight Last Days attempted to find distraction in television. However, we were promptly confronted by a disturbing new Burger King commercial, in which a tongue with an Indian accent stands at a podium to inform us of the deliciousness of Burger King's new food products. Then came Saturday Night Live, which instantly reanimated our obsession with the Holocaust flame by reporting the story during "Weekend Update", capping it with the funniest joke the show has made since 1979: "Upon realizing he'd accidentally extinguished the flame, the German chancellor offered these words: 'Mein bad.'"

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5 Today an obese man fell to his death from the Splash Mountain ride at Disney World. Meanwhile, Last Days laid our flame obsession to rest by composing this memorial haiku:

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