MONDAY, OCTOBER 8 The week kicks off with some smashing news from Stockholm, where today a panel of international smarty-pants at the Karolinska Institute announced the recipient of this year's Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine: Seattle's own Dr. Lee Hartwell, president of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and professor of genetics and medicine at the University of Washington. Hartwell, 61, won the freakishly prestigious award for helping to unravel the mystery of how cells divide by studying extensively the genetics of yeast cells. When Dr. Hartwell first began studying baker's yeast, he was unsure if his research would carry over to human cells; lucky for everyone, it did. "His work has led to an explosion of knowledge," raved Dr. Ruth Kirchstein of the National Institutes of Health in The Seattle Times. "As a result, we have a deeper understanding of normal cellular functioning as well as the molecular basis of diseases like cancer and some birth defects, in which cell division goes awry." Congratulations to the brilliant Dr. Hartwell, who will share the $943,000 prize with Paul Nurse and Timothy Hunt of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, for "basic discoveries in cell development."

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9 Speaking of geniuses: Today the Associated Press reported the story of a man in Merced, California, whose Burmese python ate his pit bull. According to police reports, the man called authorities last Friday, after his 200-pound python escaped from its cage. The snake was quickly found, but the man soon realized his 30-pound pit bull was also missing. Police solved the mystery in no time. "In the middle of the snake, there was this big round bulge," said Merced Police Commander Tom Martin, adding that it took three hours for the owner and a friend to corral the snake, as police officers stood by for protection. Officials are now investigating whether the dog-swallowing python should be considered a wild animal and removed from the premises--a move that would leave the bereaved pit-bull owner with no pets at all. But don't worry: He'll always have his nunchucks, meth lab, and subscription to Mullet Monthly to keep him company.

· · Also today: A Pakistani man sentenced to be strangled, chopped into 100 pieces, and thrown into a vat of acid for the murders of dozens of children was today found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide. Reuters reports that Javed Iqbal and his 14-year-old accomplice Sabir committed suicide "by taking a poisonous substance," jail officials say. In March last year, a Lahore judge sentenced both Iqbal and Sabir to the strangled/chopped/dissolved punishment--the same fate that befell their 100 child victims. Instead, the pair killed themselves just four days after the country's highest Islamic court had agreed to hear their appeal against the death sentence. Whoops.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10 Almost one month ago today, Islamic terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners, killing the flight crews before crashing the planes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. We may never know what was going through the hijackers' minds as they executed the worst act of terrorism in American history. But today The Boston Globe revealed what was on the hijackers' minds before the attacks: hot, hot pussy. According to Boston authorities, on the night before the attacks, four of the suspected hijackers called a number of Boston escort services, inquiring about available sexual services and haggling over price; a driver for one of the services told reporters he twice drove a prostitute to the suburban hotel where two of the accused hijackers were staying. And while history will remember these men for their willingness to die for their religion, Islamic law requires those who engage in prostitution to be publicly stoned to death.

· · Also today: Comedian Paula Poundstone was sentenced to five years probation, 180 days in rehab, and a lifetime without foster children after pleading no contest to child endangerment. Additional charges of committing a lewd act on a child were dropped by the prosecution last month; Poundstone has since denounced the charges as "simply not true." Reuters reports that the child endangerment charge stemmed from an incident in which an intoxicated Poundstone drove four of her foster kids to an ice-cream parlor. (At least she's a fun drunk.) As for the dropped "lewd conduct" charges, no one's talking. Last Days' guess: A soused Poundstone passed out in front of the kids with her robe open, or drunkenly slipped some tongue into a goodnight kiss. Either way, Last Days wishes her the best of luck with her new sobriety and adult sexuality.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11 Tonight: An absolutely chilling killing on Queen Anne. That's where Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Wales, a respected federal prosecutor and fervent gun-control activist, was working in his basement office when he was shot to death in what law-enforcement sources are describing as an assassination. Over the years, Wales earned a reputation as "a tireless and exceptionally fair prosecutor of white-collar crime" (according to the Seattle Times) and served as president of the gun-control advocacy group Washington CeaseFire. The FBI has issued a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Wales' slaying; in the meantime, investigators are focusing on Wales' recent prosecution cases and his involvement in gun-control issues. The Times quotes Wales as repeatedly referring to the NRA as "anti-government," "anti-Constitution," and "essentially an anarchist institution." Last Days fears Wales lost his life proving himself right.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12 Today Last Days had the great displeasure of seeing a bus ad for the new women's fragrance by Ralph Lauren. The new perfume's unfortunate name: Ralph. (Apparently Heave and Blet were already taken.)

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13 Today Last Days observed the Shabbat.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14 Besides a renewed faith in humanity and a whole mess of rug burns, the greatest gift our boyfriend, Jake, has given us is a deep appreciation for the sublime narcotic effect of Law & Order. In this time of plane wrecks and anthrax, nervous citizens should take comfort wherever they can find it, and for Last Days, this comfort has been found squarely in L&O's televised halls of justice, where no one ever stands still, supermodels know how to act, and all problems are solved within 57 minutes. From the lulling sound of the show-opening voice-over ("In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups..."), to the reassuring sight of Jerry Orbach's phenomenal false teeth, to the deep satisfaction of watching multicultural democracy in action, Law & Order is a completely legal dose of broadcast smack. And with basic cable providing at least 14 episodes a day, our fix remains secure.

Hey moviegoers: This Monday, October 22, I'll be hosting and narrating a screening of Mr. Wrong, the romantic comedy that dares to ask with a straight face, "Why can't Ellen DeGeneres find a husband?" It's at the Egyptian Theater, 9:30 p.m., as part of the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Hope to see you there.

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