MONDAY, DECEMBER 17

The week kicks off with the fascinating case of the snoozing, tardy juror in Vancouver, Washington. This morning in Clark County Superior Court, the opening statements in a domestic violence case ground to a halt with the snores of a sleeping juror. The Associated Press reports that snoozy Juror #11--a man in his mid-40s--quickly caught the attention of Judge John F. Nichols, who tried to wake the man by noisily dropping books on his desk, then loudly calling the man's name. (It eventually took two nudges from nearby Juror #10 to rouse the sleeping citizen.) Upon waking, Juror #11--dressed in a T-shirt reading "I'm not stressed--just focused"--explained that he'd been up late the night before, and assured the judge he would be okay. All was fine until lunch break, which commenced with Judge Nichols giving a standard pep talk about the importance of returning on time, noting that jury trials cost the county $1,000 per hour. When Juror #11 wandered in from lunch 20 minutes late, the fed-up judge gave the man the boot, and is now considering a penalty. "Theoretically, he's in contempt of court," the judge told reporters. "I think we should do something, but what? Not pay him his $10 [the daily juror's fee]? Make him show up for jury duty again?" As Judge Nichols seems legitimately stumped, Last Days opens the question to you, dear readers:

How should Judge Nichols punish Juror #11?

a. Put shaving cream on his face and place his hand in warm water.

b. Make him perform yardwork and household chores for the jurors who managed to maintain consciousness during the trial.

c. Shoot him up with speed and make him watch a triple feature of Judgment at Nuremberg, Inherit the Wind, and My Cousin Vinny.

Send your votes to: howtopunishjurornumbereleven@thestranger.com.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18

Today, not one but two tales of hideous animal slaughter. The first (and worst) comes from White Plains, New York, where today a prison guard at Sing Sing was convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals for crushing five kittens to death in a trash compactor. The Associated Press reports that guard Ronald Hunlock, 47, found the kittens during a search of an inmate's cell last month. Hunlock ordered the prisoner to put the kittens in the trash compactor; when the inmate refused, Hunlock did it himself. "In the overall scheme of things in today's world, the lives of five kittens could easily be considered of slight significance by some," said Judge Peter Leavitt, announcing his verdict after a non-jury trial. "This court feels differently." In addition to the five kittens, Hunlock was also convicted of attempting to kill the kittens' mother, who escaped from the compactor at the last minute and has since been adopted. In a lovely bit of poetic justice, the newly fired prison guard now faces up to two years in prison.

>>In other animal slaughter news: Today Reuters reported the tale of the Finnish commuters on a train to Helsinki, who were barraged with images of butchered animals when five minutes of brutal slaughterhouse footage was shown repeatedly on the train's television screens. Among the gory visuals were a big white goose being slaughtered with an axe, and a pig split in half and hung from its feet with hooks. Even more disturbing is the fact that the video belonged to the train's conductor, who accidentally displayed his treasured home movies to the startled passengers. In the timeless words of 227's Jackée, "Ew."

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19

Today kooky news sites around the world reported the results of the British Association for the Advancement of Science's experiment to find the world's funniest joke. To select the winner, the scientists polled more than 100,000 people from over 70 countries, and while the winning joke--involving Sherlock Holmes, his sidekick Watson, and a mysteriously stolen tent--left a bit to be desired, the experiment still managed to drive home two very important lessons. (1) Majorities are rarely funny; and (2) the British Association for the Advancement of Science has obviously never heard the joke, "How do you get a gay man to have sex with a woman?" (To receive the punch line, send a self-addressed stamped envelope, a photocopy of your ID, and a check in the amount of $1 made out to New Beginnings Women's Shelter to: Punch Line, c/o Last Days, 1535 11th Ave, 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA 98122.)

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20

Today brought the announcement of the nominees for the 2001 Golden Globe awards, including a whopping six nominations for the biopic A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe as Nobel Prize-winning math genius John Nash. The Ron Howard-directed drama has recently come under fire from gay rights activists for deleting all references to its hero's well-documented homosexuality. "It's alarming in this day and age that [the movie makers] find same-sex love too offensive to be depicted in a major motion picture," a spokesperson for the gay media watchdog group GLAAD told the Drudge Report. But gay folks shouldn't get too uppity: While the wussy filmmakers are indeed guilty of omitting the numerous accounts of Nash's homosexual life found in the film's source material (Sylvia Nasar's acclaimed Nash biography, also titled A Beautiful Mind), their decision was based on money, not homophobia. And uppity gays should respond in kind: Skip the gay-washed movie, splurge on the gay-friendly book.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21

It was conceived as a bit of fleshy, fundraising fun: Firehouse Hunks, a 2002 calendar featuring glossy beefcake shots of 12 of the best looking members of the New York Fire Department. But when the September 11 attacks claimed the lives of three of the would-be pinups, the calendar idea was promptly forgotten--but not for good. Today the Associated Press reported that relatives of the lost men are pressing to have the calendar issued as a tribute, leaving New York fire officials to grapple with the age-old question, "When is it okay to eroticize the dead?" For an answer, Last Days turns to the lessons of history, which teaches that the key to the question is time. With both Marilyn Monroe and Jim Morrison, the lusty masses needed a number of years to forget the gruesome particulars of each celeb's death before they could get back to panting. But more recently, the equally gruesome death of Aaliyah resulted in the immediate release of a video depicting the freshly dead diva crawling half-naked on a beach and instructing viewers to "Stroke it for me." Obviously the lusty lag-time has shortened significantly, and the NYFD would do well to tap the fundraising, fox-honoring power of Firehouse Hunks ASAP.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22

Nothing happened today (except for that guy who tried to blow up an American Airlines flight with his shoes.)

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23

Same as yesterday, only without exploding shoes.

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