MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26 Last Days fervently hopes that yesterday all of our readers joined the Society for Prevention of Abuse toward Zeppo Marx (SPAZ for short) in celebrating the "Zeppocentennial," the 100th anniversary of the birth of Herbert "Zeppo" Marx. To salute the notoriously unfunny and widely disliked straight man who clomped awkwardly through five Paramount films, the president of the group, Aimée O'Connell, encourages people everywhere to take a moment to acknowledge others who may be similarly overlooked or unappreciated in their lives. Last Days joined in the fun by calling Mayor Paul Schell's office and saying, "Thanks for nothing!"
··Also today, Reuters reported that if the "Girl from Ipanema" were in Rio de Janeiro for Carnival festivities, she would find plenty of impetus to go "Ahhhh!" as she went walking past 10 tons of dead fish. For the second year in a row, sewage from neighboring apartments, Rio's steamy temperatures, and problems with canals have contributed to a plague of stinking snooks and porgies just a couple of blocks from Rio's poshest hotels along Ipanema beach. "It's a serious situation," Andre Correa, the state environment secretary, said on Friday.
··Also today, the Seattle P-I reported a serious situation so dreadful, Last Days can barely bring ourselves to repeat it. Joseph Rosenow, a Level III sexual offender (the category for those at a "high risk to reoffend") who was only recently released from prison for raping an acquaintance at knifepoint, was arrested late Saturday night as a suspect in the death of a 15-year-old Lake Cushman girl. According to Mason County Sheriff Steve Whybark, Rosenow brought the fatally maimed girl to Fir Lane Health and Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home that employs his wife Patricia. About 10:30 p.m. Saturday, police arrived and the girl was flown to Harborview where she was pronounced dead soon after. Joan Zook, superintendent of the Shelton School District, said, "The whole community is in shock. Nothing this horrific has happened here before." Last Days wishes in vain that nothing that horrific would happen anywhere again, ever.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27 Humankind's enduring tradition of blithely brutalizing the perceived "other" was in full swing today as Reuters reported that Indonesian police have begun shooting at rioters in Borneo in an attempt to quell a wave of ethnic violence in the world's fourth most populous nation. Dayaks, the descendants of feared headhunters, have been killing Madurese immigrants and burning their homes, often beheading the victims and ripping out their hearts. National police chief General Bimantoro, quoted by the official Antara news agency, said latest reports put the Borneo death toll at 303. The rampage has forced some 30,000 Madurese to flee their homes but officials have said thousands of Madurese remain trapped in Borneo with little or no food.
··Also today, Last Days was far, far away from the embarrassing and pointless Fat Tuesday melee in Pioneer Square, which the P-I reported resulted in 21 arrests, 71 hospitalizations, and tragically--one death. We were letting the good times roll at Ballard music venue the Sunset Tavern--bedecked in beads and awash in beer, shaking our booty to the righteous old-school New Orleans sounds spun by KCMU's Roadhouse DJ Greg Vandy and his co-conspirator, the Rev. Spenser Hoyt. Meanwhile, a million or more people managed to jam themselves onto the streets of Louisiana's "The Big Easy" for a raucous, libidinous, alcohol-fueled celebration in which police reported no serious incidents.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28 Last Days' commitment to helping Seattle recover from today's 40-second earthquake (which registered 6.8 on the Richter scale) consists solely of our refusal to talk about where we were and what we were doing when it happened.
··Also today, Last Days' dreamy speculation about climbing a mountain of tainted chicken has been supplanted by a Reuters report that the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a New Jersey specialty-foods importer will be recalling about 3,700 pounds of imported Hungarian salami. Even though the tubular delicacy may contain listeria monocytogenes, which could cause an uncommon but potentially fatal disease called listeriosis, Last Days cannot stop thinking about what it would be like to clamber to the top of four tons of lunch meat.
THURSDAY, MARCH 1 The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of a convicted murderer in North Carolina today, hours before he was scheduled to die, Reuters reported. Forty-year-old Ernest Paul McCarver was sentenced to die for stabbing to death his former boss at a cafeteria in Concord, northeast of Charlotte, in January 1987. McCarver's last meal (flounder, French fries, coleslaw, hush puppies, Mountain Dew, and vanilla pudding) had already been consumed when the stay was granted.
FRIDAY, MARCH 2 Under a new state law to be enacted today, South Dakota will bid a long overdue adieu to more than three dozen racist and offensive town and place names such as Squaw and Negro, Reuters reported. The names deemed by the bill to be "offensive and insulting to all of South Dakota's people, history, and heritage," will morph into monikers like Last Chance Gulch and Serenity Lake. No word on what the western state plans to do with its back stock of comical souvenirs that read, "My folks went to Squaw Teat and all they got me was this stupid T-shirt."
· · Also today, South Dakotans are not the only folks trying to rewrite history. Reuters reported that Afghanistan's ruling Taliban--defying widespread protests and diplomatic pressure--used mortars and cannon to destroy two famous Buddha statues that soar 125 feet and 174 feet above Bamiyan in central Afghanistan. Metropolitan Museum of Art director Phillipe De Montebello said on Thursday that the museum would be willing to buy and retrieve statues of a reasonable size and put them in a secular environment "where they are cultural objects, works of art and not cult images." No word on whether the repressive regime intends to sell comical souvenirs that read, "My folks went to Bamiyan to destroy the Buddhas and all I got was this confining and constricting head-to-toe woolen burqa."
SATURDAY, MARCH 3 The United States built a secret tunnel under the Soviet Embassy in Washington, but investigators believe the operation was betrayed by Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent arrested last month on charges of spying for Moscow, The New York Times reported today. The secret tunnel operation, which officials indicated was run jointly by the FBI and the National Security Agency, was part of a broad U.S. effort to eavesdrop on Soviet facilities and personnel operating in the United States. Last Days wonders if the FBI and NSA were inspired to perpetrate this ridiculous stunt by watching the same rerun of Hogan's Heroes we recently saw when we had the flu.
SUNDAY, MARCH 4 The U.S. Coast Guard seized about 8.8 tons of cocaine with a street value of more than $500 million from the fishing vessel Forever My Friend off Mexico, marking the fourth largest cocaine seizure at sea, Reuters reported today. Coast Guard officials aboard the destroyer USS John Young boarded the Belize-registered boat on February 24 and found the drugs stowed in a hidden compartment under fish and ice. The bust brings the total amount of cocaine seized this year to over 26.4 tons. In 2000, the Coast Guard set a record for cocaine seizures, capturing just over 68.3 tons, officials said. Sixty-eight tons? Last Days would like to bring the week to an inspirational end by inviting our readers to close their eyes and imagine themselves scrambling to the top of that snowy peak.
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