The week began with a sickly mew as the Spokesman-Review reported the pathetic story of Jerry Mack, the 53-year-old Spokane man arrested for terrorizing a kitten. The incident began yesterday afternoon, when sunny-day revelers in Spokane's Mission Park alerted police to the creepy man walking around waving a plastic bag containing a kitten, which the man loudly announced he was planning to barbecue. Officer Erin Blessing found Jerry Mack near the park's barbecue pit and arrested him on charges of felony animal abuse. As for Mack's victim, Spokane Police Corporal Elise Robertson described the kitten as "a little tiger, only gray" and "a little fuzzball." Unfortunately, the little fuzzball had been so mistreated by Mack that it was ultimately euthanized. "The kitten was so emaciated you could feel its ribs," said Corporal Robertson. "Its eyes were swollen shut. There was so much goo." Jerry Mack faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty of first-degree animal cruelty.

Just one week after his entertaining expose on the star-of-Rent shyster arrested on Capitol Hill, today Seattle Times staff reporter Ian Ith scored another trashy-freak touchdown with his story on Theresa Olson, the 43-year-old King County public defender currently representing Sebastian Burns, a 26-year-old Canadian facing three counts of aggravated first-degree murder. Crime buffs will recall that Burns is one of two young men charged with slaying Tariq, Sultana, and Basma Rafay in the family's Bellevue home in 1994; prosecutors allege that Burns and his friend Atif Rafay bludgeoned Atif's parents and sister to death with a baseball bat in order to acquire a $350,000 life-insurance settlement the pair planned to use to help finance their moviemaking plans. Today this sufficiently icky case got a whole bunch ickier as King County Jail guards reported seeing Olson having sex with triple-murder defendant Burns in one of the jail's interview rooms last Saturday. According to Ith and the Times, jail visitors are traditionally denied contact with inmates by means of a thick glass barrier. But because of Olson's status as Burns' attorney, the pair was allowed to meet in a semiprivate conference room, where they promptly got down to banging. The discovery of the not-so-secret tryst will have serious consequences for both lovers. After being dismissed from the case tomorrow, Theresa Olson will face punishments ranging from simple censure to a two-year suspension to lifelong disbarment. Sebastian Burns, having already spent eight years in jail awaiting trial, now faces postponements guaranteeing him another decade or so behind bars before he even gets his day in court. (As for the $840,000 that King County taxpayers have already forked out for sexy Sebastian's defense--here's to you, Counselor Robinson.)

Speaking of creepy legal arrangements: Today the Associated Press reported on Florida's mind-blowingly stupid adoption laws. Under Florida law, any mother who doesn't know who fathered her child must take out a newspaper ad listing her name, age, and physical description, along with descriptions of any men who could have fathered the child, before she can legally give her baby up for adoption. The goal of the law, approved by Florida legislators last year, is to prevent future custody battles by finding the mystery fathers before adoptions are made legal. But adoption advocates have denounced the scarlet-letter law as a draconian invasion of privacy that drives media-shy lasses to abortion. "There's no comparable law in any other state, and it's really hard to imagine how a legislature could pass such a law," said Bob Tuke, president of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. Later this month an attorney representing six women plans to ask a West Palm Beach judge to declare the stupid law unconstitutional.

Speaking of Fox, today the Associated Press aimed its penetrating lasers of truth at the network's runaway hit American Idol. In response to the AP's probing question, the show's producers acknowledged that, through the use of speedy Internet connections and powerful autodialing software, about 100 "phone phreaks" have been casting thousands of votes with the touch of a button. (For those commies who don't already know, American Idol's winners are selected by the American public, which has two hours after each show to cast its votes via toll-free numbers.) By employing broadband networks and auto-redial, the aforementioned phone phreaks have been able to generate thousands of calls simultaneously--and log upwards of 250,000 votes during each week's voting period. While this offers a reasonable explanation why contestant R. J. Hamilton (a.k.a. Puddin' Face, Faggy McEyebrowson, and "that fuck") survived for so long, Idol's producers say these high-tech calls have had a "statistically insignificant" impact on the outcome, and insist their voting system is fair. Considering that so many legitimate, pre-American Idol stars achieved their stature through a haphazard conglomeration of raw talent, good timing, dumb luck, and/or Mafia connections, Last Days agrees.

Today New York's Marlborough Gallery released the sad news that Larry Rivers, the iconoclastic modern artist the gallery has represented since the early 1960s, died on Wednesday after a bout with cancer. Celebrated as a forerunner of both the pop art and color-field movements, Rivers was a sort of rough-hewn Renaissance man, making additional names for himself as a jazz saxophonist, experimental filmmaker, and theatrical designer. Plus, he was a bred-in-the-bone straight guy who boasted some heroically levelheaded views about homo sex. "I was so straight I could be homosexual," joked the one-time lover of Frank O'Hara to NPR's Terry Gross earlier this year. "I first felt sexually attractive around homosexual men. Women didn't talk about some guy with a great ass, or a great basket. It brought me up to another level about sex, that I too could be exciting to someone." Larry Rivers is survived by his wife, Clarice, as well as five children, eight grandchildren, and the poet Jeni Olin, with whom he lived for the last five years.


Nothing happened today (although we have some hazy remembrance of a Hempfest).

The week ends with a disgustingly fascinating Hot Tip from the International District--specifically, the corner of Fifth and Jackson. That's where Hot Tipper Kento was waiting for the bus around 7 pm tonight when he witnessed a public-grooming spectacle to put all prior offenses to shame. As Kento tells it, he was one of a few people standing around the Metro bus kiosk when a "tall, middle-aged black gentleman" (who did not entirely fit the transient stereotype, no matter what our cover text says) approached and began browsing the newspaper vending machines. Passing over the Times, P-I, Stranger, and whatever the hell that "sexy computer lifestyle" mag calls itself, our well-groomed faux hobo displayed his elevated taste by selecting a Seattle Weekly. "He unfolded the pages one by one, for about five pages, then set the rest of the paper on the ground next to the bench," writes Kento. "In a split second, he unbuckled his belt and squatted down to do, you know, the 'nature-calling' thing. Then he used the pages he'd separated earlier to clean his rear end, and folded up the entire mess and dumped it in a nearby trash box." Thanks to Kento for his tastefully rendered Hot Tip, and thanks to Mr. Public Poo for cleaning up.

Hot Tips?