Not two weeks ago did Last Days' two favorite people in the world--our fella Jake and actress/model Angie Harmon--warn us about the burgeoning threat of video voyeurism. (He'd watched a Lifetime TV movie on the subject, starring she.) For those out of the Lifetime crisis loop, video voyeurism is the catchy title given to the high-tech horndog hobby of videotaping people without their knowledge, particularly if the people in question are undressing and/or going potty. Filthy furtive filming is nothing new: None other than Chuck Berry got busted for it way back in the '80s. (Is there a popular art form he didn't invent?) But in our new "a camcorder in every home" era, video voyeurism is nearing epidemic proportions--and today the epidemic hit somewhat close to home, as Bellevue police arrested the man they believe to be responsible for rigging hidden cameras in the ladies' room of a popular Bellevue restaurant. According to the Seattle P-I, Eastside authorities apprehended a 40-year-old maintenance man employed at the Bellevue eatery Coco's, after a female patron directed them to suspicious holes in the restroom ceiling tiles; further investigation revealed a video camera wired to recording equipment on the restaurant's roof. No word yet on how long the ladies of Coco's were being watched in the john; stay tuned for details.


Don't say nothin' bad about my Georgie: Today brought the Associated Press story of the U.S. Air Force colonel suspended from duty after badmouthing President Bush. "This guy is a joke," wrote Lieutenant Colonel Steve Butler in a letter published in the Monterey County Herald. The Desert Storm veteran (who's served in active duty since 1979) also blasted Bush as a "sleazy and contemptible" opportunist who allowed the September 11 attacks to happen because "his presidency was going nowhere." Unfortunately for Colonel Butler, military law's Article 88 prohibits "contemptuous words against the president," and for his candor, Butler's been suspended and could face a court-martial. (Maximum punishment under Article 88: Dismissal, forfeiture of all pay, and confinement for one year.) Despite suspicious appearances, today's item isn't an isolated example of Republican paranoia. In the '90s, an Air Force general was fined and forced into early retirement for referring to President Clinton as "gay-loving," "womanizing," "draft-dodging," and "pot-smoking."


Today was pretty.


Just two weeks after the mind-boggling wince-a-thon Divas Las Vegas, today VH1 attempted to win back Last Days' favor by airing an exclusive exposé on our celebrity obsession du jour--R. Kelly, the R&B megastar with an alleged soft (and wet) spot for videotaping himself engaging in splashy sex with underage girls, who was arrested yesterday in Chicago on 21 counts of child pornography. With its thrilling mix of messy celebrity, pervy sex, and brazen stupidity, the R. Kelly saga (a.k.a. Pampergate) has plenty of everything Last Days craves in a celebrity scandal, and we anxiously awaited what we hoped would be the greatest hour of TV since the E! True Hollywood Story of Gallagher (and the most delicious dose of schadenfreude we've enjoyed since learning of an ex-boyfriend's fat intervention). And while VH1's exposé was not without its charms or revelations (did you know that in a room full of beautifully juicy and available 22-year-olds, Kelly would allegedly but infallibly direct his attentions to the pimply, shy 13-year-old in the corner?), any pleasure to be found in the R. Kelly mess was finally trumped by something close to pity--if not sympathy--for this widely beloved and successful man allegedly compelled to whiz on gawky teenyboppers. To quote one R. Kelly associate after another, "The brother's got problems." Stay tuned.


Today ABC News published an absolutely amazing interview with Johnelle Bryant, a government loan officer in Florida who shared the mind-blowing story she'll be telling to friends, family, and licensed professionals for the rest of her life. During the year 2000, U.S. Department of Agriculture employee Johnelle Bryant was visited by not one, not two, not three, but four of the al Qaeda hijackers responsible for the September 11 attacks. "I had terrorists in my office, and I helped them," says Bryant, still somewhat dazed by her brush with evil, and rightfully so--the missed hints, ignored threats, and plain old complacency involved in Bryant's meetings with al Qaeda members would mortify anyone if they weren't so ridiculous. Most persistent, Bryant said, was ringleader Mohamed Atta, who arrived in her office sometime between the end of April and the middle of May 2000. After informing Bryant that he'd just arrived from Afghanistan, Atta requested $650,000 to rig a twin-engine aircraft with a chemical tank so he could follow his dream of becoming an American crop duster. (According to American intelligence, packing twin-engine planes with explosives to make "flying bombs" had been al Qaeda's plan since the mid-'90s; when that plan stalled, the terrorists switched to hijacking passenger jets.) It gets worse: After initially refusing to conduct business with loan officer Bryant as she was "but a female," Atta eventually calmed down enough to inquire about security at the World Trade Center, drop the names "al Qaeda" and "Osama bin Laden," and make chit-chat about blowing up Washington, D.C. When Atta learned there was a loan application process (rather than just cash in a bag) he became "very agitated," with Bryant ultimately rejecting his loan request but kindly steering him to other government agencies better suited to his needs. A few weeks later, Mohamed Atta returned to Bryant's office--this time slightly disguised in glasses and claiming to be an accountant in need of $500,000 to buy land for a sugar-cane farm. Again, Atta was denied, and throughout the Afghani shenanigans, Johnelle Bryant chalked up all oddness to "cultural differences." "I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help make his relocation into our country as easy as I could," Bryant said to ABC. "How could I have known?"


Today brought the Boston Globe story of the sex-and-drug-drenched high-school scavenger hunt currently turning the city of Newton on its ear. An estimated 150 students participated in the officially unsanctioned but decades-old tradition of the senior class scavenger hunt on the evening of May 28--and now 12 to 14 participants are facing possible criminal charges. From the start, Newton South High School's 2002 scavenger hunt was a far cry from the goofy game of yore: To foil police, student organizers penned two lists--an edited version for cops in the event of arrest and the real list, eight pages of raunchy, often criminal demands that made Last Days feel like a 400-year-old man. (Greatest hits: "Drink 1 tsp. of cum," "Fuck in front of judges," and "Kidnap a pod person.") But even the abridged list is no walk in the park, boasting such commands as "Shit in a bag" and "Shave your pubic area." "Evidently in years past it was much more innocent," said Newton South Principal Michael Welch. "However, it has evolved into an event that is at a minimum disturbing, and, at the other end, certainly criminal."


Today was pretty too.

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