MONDAY, MAY 16 The week kicks off with an intricate media mess courtesy of Newsweek, who instigated the ongoing shit-storm with an 11-line item published in the magazine's May 9 issue. Strewn among other news bits in the front-of-book "Periscope" section, the fatally contentious item reported the discovery by U.S. military investigators of Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay, where interrogators reportedly brandished copies of the Islamic holy book and attempted to rattle Muslim detainees by ripping pages from the Koran and ﬂushing them down the toilet. Then people started dying, with at least 17 killed and 100 more wounded during furious Muslim protests in Afghanistan. After being blasted by the White House for "damaging the image of the United States abroad," today Newsweek retracted the story, claiming they could no longer substantiate the Koran-abuse allegations. "We regret that we got any part of the story wrong," wrote Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker. "[We] extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst." Despite the retraction, the Muslim world remains enraged. (An enraged Muslim-who'da thunk it?)
TUESDAY MAY 17 Nothing happened today, unless you count the unequivocal sign of the impending apocalypse provided by tonight's debut episode of UPN's Britney and Kevin: Chaotic, an hour of primetime network television that will live in infamy forever, or at least until bottomlessly trashy Britney (who smoked throughout the ﬁrst episode, casting her content-free reality show as the world's canniest cigarette commercial) broadcasts the birth and/or miscarriage of her skanky spawn on pay-per-view. (Look for the afterbirth on eBay, and catch new episodes of Chaotic while you can on UPN.)
WEDNESDAY MAY 18 Today brings but one example of the countless acts of everyday heroism that make America the greatest country on earth between Canada and Mexico. The place: Lynnwood's Alderwood Loews Cinemas. The occasion: a midnight screening of Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith, hailed around the globe as George Lucas' return to cinematic form, or at least better than that snail-paced trade-embargo drama starring Natalie Portman and a Rastafarian Muppet. The problem: technical difﬁculties, which resulted in the ﬁlm starting and stopping twice in the ﬁrst hour before failing completely not half way through. The hero: the young female employee required by fate to inform a sold-out crowd of sci-ﬁ famished freaks that the new Star Wars movie they'd been staying alive to see would not be resuming-and who lived to tell the tale. Thanks to Hot Tipper Erik, one of the screening's ousted attendees who brought the tale to our attention, and hurrah for the unnamed Loews employee, who clearly deserves a raise, if not a Congressional Medal of Honor.
THURSDAY MAY 19 Finally: a big news day for pudding. The ﬁrst story comes from Bihar, India, where Reuters reports members of the cow-herding Yadav caste forced a government school to stop serving federally mandated lunches after discovering the meals' rice puddings had been made by women of the lesser Dalit caste, whose members comprise 16 percent of the country's one-billion plus citizens but are regarded by some Indians as less than human. Indian ofﬁcials are investigating.
•• In other pudding news: Today Last Days was blessed with news of the brand-new chocolate pudding concocted and hyped by Sylvester Stallone, who touts his sugar-free, protein-rich dessert-in-a-can as "one of the best things you can snack on" in a press release blessed with the ickiest headline in history: Sylvester Stallone Launches Pudding.
FRIDAY MAY 20 Today brought the long-awaited nuptials of Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau, who celebrated their romantic triumph over criminal adversity and unlucky 21-year age difference by getting married at the Columbia Winery in Woodinville. If it's any consolation, it sounds like the wedding sucked, with Entertainment Tonight detailing the bride's harried entrance under "intense security" with a sheet over her head. Things went more smoothly for the groom, who only had to stand and watch as his future wife/former elementary-school teacher-into whom he's repeatedly launched his pudding, creating two of the ceremony's ﬂower girls-made her way down the aisle. Best wishes to the Letourneau-Fualaaus.
SATURDAY, MAY 21 Nothing happened today, unless you count the international Hot Tip sent by Hot Tipper Andrea, who was enjoying a Mexican getaway with friends when she was assaulted by a hideous sight in her hotel's lobby bar. "Sitting at the crowded bar was this guy with one of his bare feet on a neighboring barstool," writes Andrea. "To our amazement and horror, he was picking at his feet with his ﬁngernails. Whether he was peeling calluses or just scavenging for toe jam remains undetermined. However, he looked like Gollum, his voice sounded like a cross between Yoda and Goldmember, and he may have been German, but I'm not sure."
SUNDAY, MAY 22 The week ends with a glorious cheer for Owen Thomas Lemoine, the son of Last Days' best friend-from-high-school-and-beyond Mindy, to whom Last Days' inferior alter ego, "David Schmader," today became godfather. Question: What kind of idiot casts a godless homosexual pothead as overseer of an innocent infant's moral and spiritual development? The kind that wrangles her early agnosticism into regular attendance at a shockingly progressive Episcopal church-speciﬁcally, Pasadena's All Saints, where this morning Rector Ed Bacon delivered an ass-kickingly intelligent sermon that resurrected Last Days' faith in both human evolution and live theater. As for our purported godlessness: Let's say theology is an octopus whose body is God and whose ﬂailing arms are the various faiths, the vast majority of which, given Last Days' God-given drive to fall in love with members of our own gender, have offered nothing so much as a thousand and one reasons to steer clear. Part of our negative bias is backlash against a young life spent in Texas, where fundamentalist faith in the Bible is as much a given as the deliciousness of meat. (Now that Texans own the country, the rest of you have some idea how this feels.) The remainder of our religious resistance comes from entirely adult suspicions about the treachery of language, particularly in allegedly holy matters, where attempts to shove words in God's mouth can so easily do more harm than good. Add to these biases the endless crap instigated by the religious right, who wouldn't know a Christ-like impulse if it blew up NASCAR, and you've got someone ready to identify as Godless simply for convenience. But despite the diabolical arms, Last Days continues to love the octopus' big inky body, whose spirit as we understand it was channeled most ably this morning by Rector Bacon, who offered a 50-minute glimpse of a world Last Days grew up fantasizing about-populated with rigorously thoughtful believers who understand the difference between a faith-based gang and a legitimate spiritual community, and who have no difﬁculty casting their lot with the gays. A-fucking-men.
Dear Seattle churches: Think you've got what it takes to get Last Days' faith-based juices going? Send explanations/invitations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone else, send Hot Tips.