Hot on the heels of yesterday's celebrated recovery of seven American prisoners of war in central Iraq, the week begins with another tale of remarkable American tenacity, this one from Bremerton, Washington, where the daughter of a pharmacist helped fell an armed robber by hitting the would-be drug thief 30 times with a baseball bat. "I wanted to protect my dad," said Candice Francom to online news source Ananova, describing her response to seeing a strange man pointing a gun at her father and demanding drugs. According to the Seattle Times, Candace's father explained to the robber that his supplies of the desired drugs were low as the result of an earlier robbery. Then Mr. Francom grabbed a baseball bat and clocked the distracted robber's skull, sending the gunman staggering backward while Mr. Francom lunged for the gun. Two shots were fired, hitting the floor and a wall, and springing Candice into action: "I just picked up the bat and started hitting the guy over and over and over," Candice told Ananova. "I thought about hitting him in the head, but if I caused some brain damage and he died, I didn't want that on me. I didn't want to be charged with anything." Congratulations, Candice and Mr. Francom, and welcome back, POWs.

Sadly, not all violent bloodshed is as heartwarming as yesterday's father-daughter clobberfest: Today brought another chapter in the truly fucked-up saga of Antron Singleton--AKA "Big Lurch"--an aspiring rapper signed to Death Row Records, charged last year with murder and torture after he allegedly killed and partially cannibalized a young woman. According to E! Online, on April 10, 2002, Los Angeles police found Antron Singleton wandering around an L.A. neighborhood naked, bloody, and high on PCP. Searching Singleton's apartment, police found the mutilated body of Tynisha Ysais, Singleton's 21-year-old roommate, who'd been fatally stabbed with a three-inch blade that broke off in her shoulder blade. Even worse, authorities found bite marks on Ysais' face and lung, parts of which had been chewed and torn from her body. A search of Singleton's stomach soon confirmed he'd eaten human flesh, and the Death Row rapper was arrested on charges that could very well land him on the real death row. Today Singleton's defense got another kick in the stomach as the mother of the victim filed a wrongful death lawsuit, charging Singleton with committing his mind-bogglingly atrocious act at the behest of his label, to gain ever-elusive, increasingly expensive "gangsta cred." Also named in the suit is Death Row Records (now known simply as Tha Row), which plaintiff Carolyn Stinson accuses of providing Singleton with his own apartment and vast quantities of drugs (including PCP) "to encourage [him] to act out in an extreme violent manner... to make him more marketable as a 'Gangsta Rap' artist." Stay tuned.

Today brings the 60th birthday of LSD, whose hallucinogenic effects were first documented on this date in 1943 by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman, who'd accidentally consumed some LSD-25 while researching the medicinal value of lysergic acid compounds. In his notes Dr. Hoffman described the drug's effect as "a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness.... I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant, intoxicated-like condition characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed, I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors." Add the ability to simultaneously see the tragedy and hilarity of everything forever, and a bottomless hunger for sitar, and you've got the acid experience in a nutshell.

Today Last Days received a thoughtful letter from reader Lulu, who politely took us to task for a joke in last week's column about Catholic priests (specifically, how priests enjoy "distending the anuses of altar boys"). "How do you explain the thousands upon thousands of 'real priests,' to whom the above actions would be a horrible, disgusting sin?" asked Lulu, deeming it "vastly unfair for the great majority of men remaining true to their vows to be lumped in with that small percentage of child- molesting souls." As a member of a minority historically judged by the sins of its freakiest members, from Leopold & Loeb to that leather daddy who greeted President Clinton in a pair of assless chaps, Last Days is sensitive to the plight of the "real priests." Sadly, over the past few years a far from insubstantial number of priests were found to have participated in the execution and/or cover-up of the criminal sexual molestation of many, many children. As Last Days sees it, "real priests" have one of two choices. The first is to ditch Catholicism and devote your energies to a church that is less sick, less twisted, and more deserving of your entirely honorable efforts. Find a church that lets women in on the game, as fellow priests and wives, and if you need to scratch transubstantiation itches, try Nilla Wafers and bong hits. As for "real priests" who insist on remaining Catholic priests: You just have to toughen up. The sex scandals' icky combination of moral righteousness and violent criminality makes the priesthood something close to fair game. Priests are going to be the butt of jokes, and the defendants of lawsuits, for the next 10 to 20 years, and these men of faith must direct a portion of their devotional energies to thickening up their skins. Like Germans after 1945, this is the Catholic priests' season in Hell. But every crisis is an opportunity, and gracefully withstanding a well-deserved ribbing is an excellent way to begin regaining people's trust. Good luck, good priests.

Speaking of specious Last Days items: Today Hot Tipper Nathan informed us that the Camaro Sterilization Plan explicated in last week's column (wherein anyone willing to undergo voluntary sterilization would receive a free Camaro) was improperly attributed to Hot Tipper Bruce, as it was originally devised by the late, great Edward Abbey. Thank you, Nathan, thank you, Edward Abbey.

Speaking of the Camaro Sterilization Plan: Today Hot Tipper MX informed us that, despite its scrambled authorship, the whole brilliant plan is moot, as General Motors recently announced the imminent cancellation of the Camaro/Firebird line. Thank you, MX, thank you, GM.

The week ends with Easter, the Christian holiday commemorating the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ. But for one unlucky Hot Tipper, Easter meant nothing but stink. On a Northwest Airlines flight to Seattle from Detroit, Hot Tipper Jake had the poor luck to be seated next to a large man who looked like the comic-book guy from The Simpsons ("a little thinner, a lot balder," says Jake) and who smelled very, very bad. "It was BO plus," reports Jake, who was so tortured by the musky sour-milk stink emanating from his travelmate (who sported a T-shirt from Cincinnati's Quaker Friends Conference) that he was moved to write the man a note, detailing the importance of showering before long, full flights, then surreptitiously slipping the missive into the sleeping stink-giant's backpack. "But then I got scared he might find it before the end of the flight," says Jake, confessing that he removed the note before the smelly Quaker awoke. "Still," Jake says, "he needs to know." We agree.

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