Our landmark week of dead celebrities, executed soldiers, and sensible court rulings got off to a seedy start today with reports of two fascinating criminals. Criminal #1 hails from the freaky-crime capital of North America, Tacoma, WA, where 36-year-old Harold McCord committed a variety of crimes (assault, robbery, domestic violence) before garnering his "third-strike" conviction on June 13 for kidnapping and assaulting an ex-girlfriend at a Tacoma bus stop. After receiving his mandatory life sentence without parole, the desperate third-striker took matters into his own hands, shaping the cardboard backing of a notepad into a three- dimensional model of a .25-caliber handgun, which he then stuffed with toilet paper, wrapped in newspaper, and inked black with a pen before using the faux firearm to escape from Tacoma's Pierce County Courthouse. The Seattle Times reports that Harold McCord was exiting a brief hearing in a fifth-floor courtroom this morning (during which his handcuffs and leg shackles had been removed) when he broke free of his police escorts and ran. One Pierce County police officer managed to tackle McCord while two more drew their guns and ordered him to surrender. McCord responded by producing his meticulously realistic paper gun and pointing it at the head of his tackler, inspiring officers to lower their weapons and freeing McCord to flee through a second-story exit, hijack a nearby truck, and speed away. After 24-plus hours of fugitive freedom, McCord was tracked by police to Monroe's Morning Run Apartments, where seven officers from the Special Emergency Response Team kicked in an apartment door and shot McCord five times, with the unlucky criminal airlifted to Harborview and soon pronounced dead. Also wounded in the face-off was Monroe Police Sergeant Eduardo Jany, whose non-life-threatening injuries in the arm and finger were originally attributed to Harold McCord. However, a search of the apartment turned up only one gun, which sources close to the investigation identified as belonging to the wounded officer; another source told the Times that Sgt. Jany appeared to have been accidentally shot by a fellow officer. Needless to say, authorities are investigating. Criminal #2 is the endlessly reprehensible Chante Mallard, the 27-year-old nurse's aide from Houston, TX, who began her trial today for the murder of Gregory Biggs, the 37-year-old homeless bricklayer Mallard hit with her car, then left to die in her windshield back in October 2001. In a rare display of common sense, Chante Mallard never denied fatally hitting Gregory Biggs with her car after a night of drinking, smoking pot, and taking Ecstasy. But the fatal collision was an accident, not murder, posited Mallard's hapless defense team, urging today's jury to reject the charge of murder in favor of a lesser conviction for failing to stop and render aid. Unsurprisingly, the jury saw through the hoo-ha, and on Thursday, Chante Mallard will be convicted of murder.


Speaking of the barbarity of humanity: Today the Associated Press reported the story of Pham Thi Hanh, the 49-year-old Vietnamese woman arrested in Ho Chi Minh City after deliberately disfiguring the face of her fashion-model daughter. Police say 22-year-old Vo Thi Thu Tram, a well-known Vietnamese model, was sleeping in her apartment when her mother entered and tipped a pot of boiling vegetable oil over her face. According to the city's police newspaper, the oil-pouring mom was motivated by anger over her daughter's alleged stinginess after gaining fame and fortune. Last Days has no doubt the woman's severely disfigured daughter will be far more generous now.


Barbarity, continued: Today London's Evening Standard reported that three of the six British soldiers killed yesterday in Iraq were executed after surrendering their weapons to an Iraqi militia. In other bad news for the western allies, today two American soldiers in Iraq disappeared. On Saturday, U.S. Army officials will announce the discovery of the two soldiers' bodies outside Baghdad. "People say the war is over," said Renisse Philippe, father of slain sergeant Gladimir Philippe, to the New York Times. "But the war is not over."


Just weeks after Canada saw fit to legalize gay marriage, today the United States finally denied law enforcement officials the right to arrest consenting adults for engaging in same-sex sex in the privacy of their own homes. (Ain't no mountain high enough!) In a thrilling 6-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Texas' same-sex sodomy laws to be unconstitutional, reversing the Court's infamous 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick and scoring a much-needed victory for civil rights and the separation of church and state. Congratulations and deep thanks to Lambda Legal, which fought this frequently ridiculous battle with intelligence and grace, and to John Lawrence and Tyron Garner, the Texas sodomites who offered themselves as guinea pigs in this long-overdue civil-rights experiment.


Speaking of triumphant days for homosexuals: Today Last Days had the great pleasure of attending the second night of the Bent music festival at the Crocodile Cafe, featuring postmodern rock band par excellence Imperial Teen. Having spent the past seven years loving the band from afar via record, we were thrilled to finally have the opportunity to experience the band's noisy candy magic firsthand, and they didn't disappoint, especially guitarist/vocalist Will Schwartz, the cutest queer with a guitar since Carrie Brownstein. Thanks to Imperial Teen for a great show that filled Last Days with something shockingly close to gay pride.

SATURDAY, JUNE 28 Nothing happened today.


Today brought Seattle's first Gay Pride parade of the post-illegal-sodomy era, drawing thousands of queers and well-wishers to the streets of Capitol Hill, where they cheered, cruised, and, hopefully, picked up after themselves. But the real action was going down at Westlake Center, where not one but three Hot Tippers witnessed this fascinating late-afternoon hubbub at Third Avenue and Virginia Street. According to e-mailed reports from Hot Tippers Peter, Niki, Alex, the action began with the appearance of an Emerald City garbage truck, which had somehow caught fire, then dumped its burning cargo onto the western end of Virginia. As sanitation workers scrambled to squelch the flaming refuse, onlookers' attention was soon drawn away by a man, described as very fat, very hairy, and completely naked, strolling down Fourth Avenue toward Westlake Center. The fleshy hairball was soon joined on his naked stroll by one agitated woman--who issued insults on the man's weight and apparent lack of genitalia--and at least one smart citizen with a video camera. Thanks to Peter, Niki, and Alex for sharing, and a big box of Altoids to whoever sends in footage of the naked hairball in action.

··Perhaps in response to the naked hairy man, today Katharine Hepburn died. The legendary screen actress will be forever beloved for her fierce talent, independent spirit, and singular ability to be both gorgeous and funny as shit. R.I.P., Ms. Hepburn.

Confidential to Bones Barrone: Would you like to be our 2003 Pizzazz! cover model? If so, drop a note to Everyone else, send Hot Tips to