MONDAY, MARCH 4 If there's one thing that makes Last Days want to grind our teeth to bloody shards, it's mainstream news' evergreen habit of brightening the day's events with a cute'n'cuddly story of a canine up for adoption/ down a well/on the way to Mars. So it is with profound apologies that we open this week's column with the story of doped-up dogs in the City of Peace. Today Reuters reported on the Israeli veterinarian Valium rush, spurred by the scores of panic-attacked pooches on the war-torn West Bank. According to local vets, escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence is bringing the sounds and stresses of war closer to home, giving countless Promised Land pooches panic attacks marked by howling, uncontrollable shaking, aggressive behavior, and loss of bladder control. "Only today I treated an Alsatian who has stopped eating and refuses to leave his house," said Jerusalem vet Benny Sapir, who said he hasn't seen this many nervous dogs since Iraq showered Tel Aviv with Scud missiles during the Gulf War. Last Days sends condolences to the quivering, urine-soaked dogs and their long-suffering owners while counting the minutes until Israel's first canine suicide bomber blows a Gaza café to Kingdom Come.

TUESDAY, MARCH 5 Speaking of freakiness in foreign lands: Tonight in the Sicilian city of Messina, thousands of miracle-hungry Catholics flocked to the Church of Madonna of Pompeii after news broadcasts reported that a statue of the revered Padre Pio had begun weeping tears of blood. (For those out of the Catholic loop, Padre Pio da Pietrelcina is believed to be the first priest in centuries to show the stigmata--the wounds to the feet, hands, and side suffered by Christ at his crucifixion. Following Padre Pio's death in 1968, the monastery where he served has rivaled France's shrine at Lourdes as the Catholic hotspot #1, attracting seven million visitors a year.) Padre Pio's bloody tears were first noticed tonight by a passerby, who notified a local priest of the red substance leaking from the eyes of the seven-foot bronze statue. Crowds gathered as word of the would-be miracle spread, leading police to take a sample of the oozing liquid for analysis and inspiring Messina's bishop Giovanni Marra to warn believers "not to make a big deal" over the weeping. Bishop Marra's warning will prove prescient: On Thursday, Italian police will identify the statue's tears as human blood. On Friday, an Italian woman will contact the newspaper La Repubblica to report that the blood belongs to her drug-addicted son, who confessed to smearing his own blood over the statue's eyes to dupe the faithful. Despite the junkie blood fiasco, Padre Pio will be canonized by Pope John Paul on June 16, which is nowhere near as sexy as it sounds.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6 Speaking of misplaced belief: Today the Federal Trade Commission announced that the makers of Wonder Bread and its advertising agency have settled charges that they engaged in deceptive advertising practices by claiming their calcium- enriched bread makes kids smarter. Today Reuters dished the dirt on the splashy settlement: In a Wonder Bread ad that ran in the summer and fall of 2000, a character named "Professor Wonder" said calcium helped children's minds work better and improved their memories. The FTC charged that the makers of Wonder Bread, Interstate Bakeries Corp., had no evidence to support their claim, and that ad agency Campbell Mithun LLC knew or should have known the claims were unsubstantiated. Interstate Bakeries has since claimed that independent research showed calcium could improve memory, and defended the ad for making its claims in "an exaggerated fantasy situation." Despite the company's proclamation of innocence, Interstate Bakeries says it chose to settle the charges "to keep legal fees down." Professor Wonder could not be reached for comment.

THURSDAY, MARCH 7 "Holy fuck." That's what Last Days and countless other citizens said today as we read the horrifying reports about Chante Mallard, the 25-year-old woman in Fort Worth, Texas who's been charged with murder after hitting a homeless man with her car, then leaving him to bleed to death over two days in her garage. Forever dispelling the myth that Ecstasy turns users into love-drunk huggy bears, Mallard admits to being high on E the night she drove her car into Gregory Biggs, breaking the 37-year-old homeless man's legs and sending his head crashing through her windshield. According to the confession Chante Mallard has given police, after the collision she panicked and drove home, concealing her car in the garage with Biggs still alive and wedged in the car's windshield, his broken legs splayed on the hood. (Holy fuck.) Over the next two days, Mallard occasionally checked on Biggs, who remained trapped in the car's windshield, where he pleaded with Mallard (who works as a nurse's aide) to get him help. After Biggs bled to death, friends helped Mallard extract his body from her windshield and dump it in a park, where it was found on October 27. "We've just redefined inhumanity here," said Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Richard Alpert, who hopes to prosecute the cold-blooded Mallard for murder. "If [Biggs] had gotten medical attention, he probably would have survived."

FRIDAY, MARCH 8 In much, much lighter news, tonight Last Days tuned into the never-say-die news program 20/20, where we thrilled to the mustachioed visage of one John Stossel, host of the in-your-face, Nell Carter-indebted editorial segment "Give Me a Break!" Implored to give Stossel a break this week were the Little People of America, whose midgety knickers were in a bunch over the legal and ethical implications of dwarf tossing, the barroom/frat house activity in which willing, well-padded little people are picked up and hurled for sport. So offended were the Little People of America that they convinced the Florida legislature to outlaw dwarf tossing in 1999, thus inspiring Stossel to reply (three years later), "Give me a break!" Supporting Stossel's cry for bodily freedom was Dave Flood, a three-foot-two dwarf who just wants to be tossed. "I'm a grown man," said Flood. "I don't need [the Little People of America] to tell me what I should and shouldn't be able to do." Currently working as an oil-wrestling referee in a Tampa strip bar, Flood says he could make big bucks exercising his right to be tossed--a right John Stossel believes should belong to every American. "If activists get to decide for everyone," argued Stossel, "then the busybodies, in the name of perfect safety, will eventually take all our freedom." Dave Flood had even stronger words for the toss-squashing Little People: "Kiss my midget ass."

SATURDAY, MARCH 9 Nothing happened today.

SUNDAY, MARCH 10 Nothing happened today either.

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