MONDAY, DECEMBER 15 This double-whammy week of facial shootings, incriminating letters to Santa, and confident foretelling of the future kicks off with Seattle Metro, with a double dose of drama reported by Last Days Hot Tippers, starting with Hot Tipper Pat: "I was riding the 358 north from downtown when a fellow passenger had a seizure, rolling from the front handicapped benches onto the floor. I was a few rows back and was going to go help—I'm trained in first aid through work—but the random assortment of people on the 358 had it all taken care of. Three teenage girls and two older men all came to the aid of this man. One guy used his coat to make him a pillow, while other people told the bus driver to stop, called 911, and made sure he didn't hurt himself during the seizure. They got his cell phone out of his pocket and called his family, and the fire crew and medics came a few minutes later. All in all, it's good to know that people will still look out for each other."
••Meanwhile on the 49 from Capitol Hill, Hot Tipper Jill was witnessing a far more typical Metro-based scene of outsider performance art, starring "a woman wearing overalls, flip-flops, and a faux-fur coat, and drinking what I assume was soda pop from a plastic QFC bag." As Jill reports, "She had emptied her Big Gulp into the bag and was drinking it out of the bag with a straw. The bag was leaky and made a formidable puddle on the seat next to her." Before long, this formidable puddle served to transition the solo performance into a duet, as "a man talking on his cell phone sat right in the soda puddle, even though many of us in the front of the bus tried to warn him. He couldn't hear our shrieks and protests over his Bluetooth. Good times."
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16 The week continues in the southern Texas town of Pharr, where a little girl's letter to Santa has led to the arrest of one of her male relatives on charges of "continuous sexual abuse." Details come from the Associated Press, which reports today's legal saga was inadvertently set in motion by a teacher at Pharr's Cesar Chavez Elementary School, who gave her class the assignment of writing "wish lists to Santa." On one 9-year-old girl's list: the wish that an adult male relative would stop touching her and her 10-year-old sister. The teacher showed the letter to authorities, who soon arrested 55-year-old Andres Cantu, whose exact relationship to the letter-writing girl and her sister is left unspecified to protect the alleged victims' identities, and who faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a young child. Investigators have refused to share the instigating letter to Santa, but the charging affidavit alleges that for as long as four years, Cantu "sexually abused the girls in their bedrooms while they slept or did their homework." Cantu was held on a $350,000 bond; if convicted, he faces between 25 and 99 years in prison.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17 Speaking of horrible news, today authorities identified the young man shot in the face outside Seattle's Garfield Community Center last night: Donnie Cheatham, a 21-year-old former basketball star at Franklin High School, who was shot last night during what the Seattle Post-Intelligencer describes as "a dispute between two groups of young men outside the center in the 2300 block of East Cherry Street." Cheatham remains hospitalized in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center, while police continue their search for suspects. As the P-I reports, "At least seven teenagers with suspected gang ties have been killed this year in the Seattle area," and in accordance with the "stop snitching" mandate, no witnesses to last night's shooting stuck around to speak with detectives. Stay tuned, and confidential to weapon-toting hotheads in the CD: Use your words. The only thing that comes close to sucking as bad as being dead is being a murderer.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18 Nothing happened today, unless you count a fittingly trashy twist in the Sarah Palin saga, as Sherry Johnston, the mother of Bristol Palin's boyfriend, Levi Johnston, and paternal grandmother of Bristol and Levi's unborn child, was arrested today at her Wasilla, Alaska, home on six felony counts "relating to the drug OxyContin."
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19 The week continues with bus-based terror on Seattle's Capitol Hill, as a pair of chartered buses slid down a snow-caked cobblestone street and crashed through a guardrail above Interstate 5, leaving the front end of the first bus dangling 20 feet above the freeway for hours while the two buses' eightysome terrified passengers escaped through emergency windows. As KING 5 reports, the buses were carrying several dozen young adults from a job-training program in Moses Lake to a downtown Seattle bus terminal, with 11 of the young adults taken to Harborview Medical Center with minor injuries from "debris and flying glass."
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20 Today brought a hurricane of hyperbolic weather prospects to the Pacific Northwest, with warnings of an ice-drenched kill-storm and power-jeopardizing hurricane winds resulting in a bunch of snow, not so much wind, and the loss of power to fewer than 5,000 across the state.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21 The week ends with the continuation of the weekend winter blast, with ongoing snow stranding scores of travelers at Sea-Tac International Airport and various Greyhound bus terminals. The National Weather Service is predicting up to four more inches of snow by tomorrow morning's commute.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 22 Speaking of predictions: As you may have noticed, the Stranger you hold in your hands is a double issue, requiring Last Days to report on a week that has not happened yet. And so we turn to the work of the world's psychics for a composite portrait of the week (and year) to come. First up: Craig and Jane Hamilton-Parker of the UK's Psychics & Mediums Network, who "believe everybody has psychic powers that lay dormant in the mind waiting to be triggered. Scientists call these powers Extra Sensory Perceptions (ESP) and subdivide them into telepathy (communicating by thought), clairvoyance (seeing events without using the five senses), psychokinesis (influencing matter by thought, i.e., spoon bending), and precognition (seeing the future)." Precognitating the soon-to-be present, the Hamilton-Parkers predict "a worldwide rekindling of socialist ideals and a major swing back toward communism in Russia. There will also be a serious pollution problem in France—possibly in Paris with the contamination of the River Seine. There will be a knife attack on a top celebrity. Also, a dam will burst in the Far East—maybe China. There will be an assassination attempt on Barack Obama (UPDATE: Looks like this one may have happened before the 2009 date predicted. There was a neo-Nazi assassination plot foiled on October 27, 2008. Note that these predictions were posted on October 9, 2008)."
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23 As the Hamilton-Parkers proclaim above, everyone has psychic powers, a fact that's exceptionally well-exploited by Clay Shirky, the acclaimed networks/economics/culture writer who wrapped up his stint as BoingBoing guest blogger by asking readers, "What's going to happen in the next five years or so that will catch most of the rest of us by surprise, but not you?" The cached answers offer a wealth of intriguing premonitions, as evidenced by this rich entry from respondee Allegra: "There will be a pause in the mass movement to cities as food security becomes more important. In some places, parents will send their kids to relatives on farms just to ensure they stay out of the violent and hungry cities. Middle-class liberals will find themselves purchasing guns. Heritage seeds will be big business. Marijuana will be legalized and regulated all over the Western world as governments finally do the harm-reduction math in the face of a pressing requirement to raise more money. Murder-suicides will rise in the U.S. and Canada. Almost invariably it will be a man killing his family, especially if there are disabled children or parents living in the house. Barack Obama will survive his first term in office. People close to him won't be so fortunate."
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 24 The week continues with the premonitions of the Web Bot Project, described by its creators as "a system of spiders that crawl the internet looking for patterns of behavior, trends, and chatter pertaining to coming events." Originally developed to predict stock-market trends, the Web Bot claims to be "able to forecast the future by tapping into the collective unconscious of society." Regarding 2009: "The Web Bot foresees that winter in the Northeast will be very cold, causing some schools to close and later reopen as shelters for people who can't heat their homes. The Web Bot also sees a permanent loss of low-lying territory globally and foresees that one continent in particular will get hit badly, but it does not say which one. Places to avoid: anything at sea level (Bangladesh, Florida, etc.). Prepare yourself for what is coming."
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 25 The week continues with Christmas, the annual birthday celebration of Jesus of Nazareth, the would-be Son of God whom Last Days contacted via THC-laced Ouija board. "First and foremost, I predict the ongoing exploitation of my name by alleged Christians, whose pettiness, thuggishness, and gross failures of empathy stand in direct defiance of my core teachings," says Jesus. "I also predict the widespread commercial exploitation of Beyoncé's 'Single Ladies,' including a series of TV commercials advising, 'If you like it, then you better put Febreze on it.'"
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26 The week continues with a gaze into the brain of Tampa-based internet psychic Jonas Roel. "During my free time I can be found reading the fundamental texts of yogic philosophy," writes the soulful Roel. "At night I can often be found pensively gazing up at the colossal and mystifying sky." As for 2009, Roel predicts: "During this time, some statesmen may die, but it is impossible to say whom it could be. Either a Leo, Cancer, or Virgo individual (Sun Sign or Ascendant). I prefer not to say who these individuals may be, but anyone with access to Wikipedia can search for themselves." In other news, Last Days predicts Jonas Roel will continue his reign as the world's laziest psychic.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 27 The week continues with more fascinating responses to Clay Shirky's Tuesday query, "What's going to happen in the next five years?" "The 'invisible wires' that are all around us will prove to be harmful," predicts respondee Gtron. "Tumors/cancers/mental disorders caused by wireless devices will be proven (like how long it took for cigarettes to get busted) and the industry will undergo a paradigm shift." This thread is spun with a spirit of hope by respondee Zenkat, a Pollyanna-ish Nostradamus who sees the upside of the current financial shitstorm: "This will be our last economic crash. Once the global economy has been shaken to its foundations due to the evaporation of nearly $100 trillion in funny money that was never really there, the 'Net will help catalyze the self-organization of human society and the means of production into a radically new form. Life will be very different."
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28 Our week of predictions ends with America's favorite psychic in overalls, the Old Farmer's Almanac, which offers these 2009 predictions for the Pacific Northwest: "Winter temperatures will be about one-half degree above normal. Summer temperatures will be below normal, on average, with the hottest periods in early and late July and mid-August. Rainfall will be slightly above normal in the north and slightly below normal in the south."
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