The week begins with the crime sensation that's sweeping the nation: the felonious hoax! The latest case comes straight outta Naples, Florida, where Ronald Hilburn, a 48-year-old tennis professional, has been charged with committing a weapons-of-mass-destruction hoax after handing out Halloween candy sprinkled with flour. Reuters reports that Hilburn was reported to the police by the parents of a terrified nine-year-old trick-or-treater, certain Hilburn's dusty candy had exposed her to anthrax. Police arrested Hilburn after he admitted he'd put the flour on the candy with the "intent to scare the kids." (Following his arrest, Hilburn said that neighbors had warned him it was "not a funny joke.") Not funny ain't the half of it: If convicted of felony hoax, Hilburn faces up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. As U.S. authorities have vowed to prosecute anthrax hoaxes to the fullest extent of the law, Hilburn had best prepare for the worst.


Total control freaks got a new patron saint as the Associated Press reports the fascinating story of Harold Saber, the ailing 80-year-old man in New Jersey who drove himself to a funeral home, then died in his car. Relatives told authorities that Saber, a retired pharmacist, had been hospitalized for most of the summer and did not want to return to the hospital; more than once, Saber proclaimed he would take himself to a funeral home "when it was his time." Last Days congratulates Harold Saber on a death well done.

··Speaking of dying men: The pope has announced that he will give his blessing to the Internet. In a statement released today, the Vatican revealed that 81-year-old Pope John Paul II will mark May 12's World Communications Day with a special message dedicated to the gospel-spreading power of the Internet. Entitled "Internet: A New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel," the pope's forthcoming address follows in the glorious footsteps of such previous papal product endorsements as "Velcro: The Jesus of Adhesives," and "Pork: God Wants You to Eat Some."


Two weeks ago, Last Days regaled readers with the story of the mystery waste found beneath the rotunda of the Seattle Rep. Among the suspects for this hideous crime Last Days listed "the small handful of local actresses who could've blown the lid off the lead in Proof." Well, tonight we had the pleasure of seeing Proof with our own eyes, and while we can't deny that Heidi Schreck and Shelley Reynolds could've done bang-up jobs in the starring role, we must report that New York's Chelsea Altman gives an entirely praiseworthy performance as playwright David Auburn's stormy, sardonic Catherine. Truly, the whole production was a delight, and Last Days offers our apologies to the charming Ms. Altman and her noble castmates for the premature dis. (For those wondering if the heinous fecal crime left a permanent stain, the answer is no.)


Hot on the heels of Monday's flour crime comes today's flower crime! (Har, har!) Today in Riga, a young Latvian woman registered her opposition to the military action in Afghanistan by attempting to hit visiting dignitary Prince Charles in the face with a bunch of carnations--and she may get 15 years in prison for her trouble! Reuters reports that 16-year-old Ilina Lebedyeva attempted her floral attack on the British prince minutes after his arrival at Latvia's Freedom Monument; narrowly foiled by security officials, Lebedyeva was hauled off and charged with "endangering the life of a foreign dignitary," which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in the slammer. A teensy ray of hope for the teenage prince-basher: Latvian law allows "victims" to advise authorities on how to punish their attackers, and a few words from Prince Charles could spare Lebedyeva a severe prison sentence. (So far, the pansy-ish prince has kept mum.)


Today: An absolutely mind-blowing murder from Down Under. Once upon a time, Katherine Knight was your run-of-the-mill Australian grandmother working in a slaughterhouse. But last month, the 46-year-old Knight made headlines and history when she pleaded guilty to stabbing her lover at least 37 times with a butcher knife, skinning his body, cooking his head, and serving him up in dishes with nameplates for each of his children. In the process, Knight became the first woman in Australian history to be forbidden from ever being released from prison. The details of the killing (dished up by Reuters) are too gruesomely Shakespearean to ignore: Adhering to a plan of attack mapped out two days earlier, Katherine Knight slipped into a new black nightgown after making love with her partner of six years, John Price. Shortly afterward, Price tried to flee the house, only to be dragged back in by Knight, who stabbed him to death before skinning his body "with considerable expertise and an obviously steady hand so that his skin, including that of the head, face, nose, ears, neck, torso, genitals, and legs, were removed as one pelt," said New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Barry O'Keefe during Knight's sentencing proceedings. "The excised parts of Mr. Price were then taken to the kitchen, and... she cooked Mr. Price's head in a large pot with a number of vegetables she had prepared so as to produce a sickening stew. The gruesome steaks were then arranged on plates... and left as meals for the son and daughter of the deceased, accompanied by vindictive notes." O'Keefe told the court that Katherine Knight's evil actions stemmed from resentment over the ending of her relationship with Price, and that Knight had a history of violence in previous relationships, including slashing the throat of a former partner's puppy and smashing the false teeth of another. But don't fret: The media-anointed "Silence of the Lambs Grandma" will spend the rest of her days mulling over her hideous crimes in Mulawa jail, in western Sydney.


Today: A beguiling case of she said/she said from the former first family. According to Last Days' beloved Drudge Report, next month's issue of Talk magazine features a personal essay by Chelsea Clinton, who breaks her previously impenetrable media silence to write a detailed account of her experience on September 11. "I stared senselessly at the television," writes Chelsea, who claims to have watched the event unfold from a friend's apartment on Park Avenue South, miles from ground zero. The problem: Sen. Hillary Clinton's televised account of her daughter's whereabouts that fateful morning. "She'd gone out for what she thought would be a great jog," Mrs. Clinton told Dateline's Katie Couric, spinning a dramatic story of Chelsea's plan to jog around the Twin Towers--only to be saved from certain death by an impromptu coffee break. Ugh. As a longtime Clinton defender, Last Days can almost understand Sen. Clinton's political motives for spinning such a tale. But it's such obviously idiotic lies as this that tempt us to consider the possibility that Hillary killed Vince Foster with her own hands.


Today was Veterans Day, the annual U.S. holiday honoring veterans of the armed services. To commemorate the day, Last Days composed this haiku.

Brave folks risking lives

Killing so we don't have to

Thank you very much.

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