MONDAY, JULY 17 The week begins with a startling exposé of litter in Washington state. Today the Seattle P-I reported on the $170,000 study recently conducted by the Washington Ecology Department--the first study of our state's litter and litterbugs in over a decade. The findings, of course, were illuminating. Nearly 40 percent of the four million pounds of litter dumped annually on Washington roads gets there accidentally (tire shards from semi-trucks, stuff blown out of pickup beds), with young men responsible for the majority of non-accidental litter material. The study also found that many people suffer from litter "blind spots," which cause them to view certain objects as trash that should be disposed of responsibly (such as hamburger wrappers and Coke cans) while viewing others as magical objects that instantly evaporate as soon as they touch ground (such as cigarette butts, which account for 65 tons of roadside litter each year). The Ecology Department has determined that a three-pronged approach is necessary to curb the litter load. Prong #1: A hard-edged, shame-inducing new media campaign. Prong #2: A series of anti-litter public education programs. Prong #3: Stiffer enforcement of existing litter laws. (Litterers currently face a minimum $50 fine under state law.)

TUESDAY, JULY 18 Nothing is more refreshing on a steamy summer evening than good creepy art, and tonight Last Days had the pleasure of taking in some of the best creepy art we've seen since--well, since last week's social-service videos: Chuck & Buck, the smashing new film directed by Miguel Arteta, written by and starring the fearless Mike White (and featuring a lovely cameo by The Stranger's very own Jamie Hook). For those not in the know, C&B is the story of a very nice, very regular guy and the developmentally stunted man-child who loves and stalks him, and it is, as our friend Chip pointed out, the most accomplished homo-themed feature since Midnight Cowboy. After the film, things got even creepier, as audience members were invited to attend a post-screening soirée at Seattle's country-and-western gay bar the Timberline. Last Days heartily applauds the promotions genius who realized that the only way to celebrate a homoerotic stalker love story is with same-sex line dancing, and hopes everyone reading this column will go see Chuck & Buck (and then go dancing at the Timberline) right away.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 19 Sometimes it's nice to live in a big, rich bully of a country. Today the U.S. Export-Import Bank announced that the United States will loan $1 billion a year to sub-Saharan African countries to help them buy U.S.-made drugs to aid the fight against Africa's rampaging AIDS epidemic. Today's plan builds on the pledge made in May by several U.S. drug companies to provide AIDS drugs at major discounts to countries that cannot afford commercial prices. However, even with the slashed prices, many in Africa--where nearly 24 million people on the continent have either HIV or AIDS--will be unable to afford the life-prolonging drugs. Perhaps the billion a year might be better spent by paying 100 million Africans 10 bucks apiece to slap South African President Thabo Mbeki--who continues to cast doubt that HIV plays a part in AIDS--in the face, or by hiring hit men to assassinate the child-raping South African boneheads who believe that having sex with a virgin eradicates AIDS.

THURSDAY, JULY 20 Today: a fascinating tale of public flirtation, gender confusion, and missing pets in downtown Seattle. This story comes from Hot Tipper Eric, who was playing basketball at Denny Park this afternoon when one of his teammates--"a hormonal fellow in his late teens"--stopped to whistle loudly at a sultry blonde driving by in a Honda Prelude. To his great surprise, the Prelude stopped, the driver got out, and the whistling boy discovered that the object of his tuneful attentions was, in fact, male. "Were you whistling at me?" asked the Prelude owner (who, according to our Hot Tipper, bore a not insignificant resemblance to Sammy Hagar). "Sorry, man," said the embarrassed but refreshingly non-confrontational teen. "I thought you were a female!" "Oh," said Sammy Hagar dejectedly. "I thought you found my dog." Mr. Hagar then turned and walked sadly back to his car, drawing our Hot Tipper's eyes to the heartbreaking "Lost Dog" sign taped to the Prelude's rear window.

FRIDAY, JULY 21 With the Republican National Convention barely a week away, the city of Philadelphia is busily bracing for what organizers say could be the largest protests ever seen at a U.S. political convention. And today, Philadelphia police wisely cracked down on what is certainly the single greatest threat to American peace and democracy since the unpleasantness of the morning of December 7, 1941: puppet theater. Reuters reports that inspectors from Philly's Department of Licenses and Inspections showed up early this afternoon on the premises of Spiral Q Puppet Theater, where they promptly ordered the venue closed due to potential fire hazards (specifically a propane tank, an extension cord running between two floors, and the lack of an "on-site fire safety system"). Last Days is certain that the venue's designation as headquarters for two local groups (the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and Asian Americans United) that are planning a protest march for opening day of the convention is purely coincidental.

SATURDAY, JULY 22 In other "stupid abuse of authority" news: Today, snazzy entertainment website Mr. Showbiz dished the dirt on the absolutely idiotic report filed by Danish police to Denmark's Parliament, which declared good-hearted rock band Pearl Jam to be "morally responsible" for the fatal trampling of nine audience members during the band's performance at the Roskilde Festival. It's hard to know where to begin making fun of the Danish cops' pussy-ass claims that Pearl Jam's "whipping a crowd into a frenzy" was "appalling under conditions like those at the festival, where the ground was slippery and visibility was poor due to vapor in the air from many thousand people sweating." Never mind that Pearl Jam was paid a huge sum of money specifically to "whip that crowd into a frenzy," and never mind that if Pearl Jam had refrained from exciting the crowd--perhaps by playing Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle" for 90 minutes straight--there would have been far more rioting and death than what had already transpired. Obviously Pearl Jam is to be blamed for everything, from the slipperiness of the ground to the sweatiness of the audience members. But why stop there? Last Days would like to take this opportunity to formally charge Pearl Jam with "moral responsibility" for the bubonic plague, the stock market crash of 1929, and the awarding of 1995's Best Picture Oscar to Mel Gibson's Braveheart.

SUNDAY, JULY 23 Today didn't exist.

Send Hot Tips to or phone the 24-hour Hot Tips Hotline at 323-7101 ext. 3113.