MONDAY, MAY 18 This week of urban wildlife, empowered farewells, and ostentatiously small-dicked pimps kicks off with an imperfect burst of progress in Washington State, where Governor Chris Gregoire today signed legislation granting registered same-sex domestic partners all the rights and benefits extended to opposite-sex married couples. The new "everything but marriage" law—which expands same-sex couples' rights while codifying their inequality—will go into effect July 26.

••In other good news: Today the well-known poll-smokers at Gallup offered heartening hard evidence on the decline of the Republican Party, confirming that the GOP's eight-year cavalcade of illegal war, criminal torture, and Fox News affiliation has added up to a mass exodus from the Republican Party among nearly every demographic, earning the GOP its worst positioning against the Democrats in nearly two decades.

TUESDAY, MAY 19 Today brings the debut of the week's breakout star—the mysterious black bear first spotted in Seattle on Sunday (when it was seen wandering at Discovery Park and in Ballard) before making appearances yesterday and today in Shoreline. Panic-dispelling details come from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, which told KIRO that the 2-year-old bear poses little danger to humans, is likely afraid of both people and dogs, and will not be actively pursued by authorities "unless it's trapped in someone's garage or up a tree." Tomorrow, the mysterious bear will make another appearance in Shoreline, and on Thursday, its cultural stature will be cemented by the city's first hysterical bear sighting, with a Beacon Hill resident calling police to report the bear she'd just seen carousing and eating caramel ice cream near her home on South Ferdinand Street. (As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports, officers arrived to find unspecified animal tracks and a decimated half- gallon of dulce de leche ice cream, but the Department of Fish & Wildlife doubted the credibility of the sighting. "This is typical of whenever we have one of these incidents," said Sergeant Kim Chandler to the P-I. "Everybody starts seeing bears, cougars, and coyotes.") As for today and the future, the department offers tips on proper bear etiquette: "If a bear walks toward you, identify yourself as a human by standing up, waving your hands above your head, and talking to the bear in a low voice. Don't throw anything at the bear and avoid direct eye contact, which the bear could interpret as a threat or a challenge." (Invaluable insider tip: "Don't use the word 'bear,' because a human-food-conditioned bear might associate 'bear' with food... people feeding bears often say, 'Here, bear.'") Closing tip: "Don't run from [a] bear unless safety is very near and you are absolutely certain you can reach it (knowing that bears can run 35 miles per hour)."

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20 Nothing happened today, unless you count the 2009 American Idol finale, wherein Adam Lambert—the flamboyant season-long favorite identified by New Yorker music critic Alex Ross as "the strongest musical talent who's ever been in the competition"—lost the Idol crown to Kris Allen, a nice guy with nice looks and a nice voice and however many more obsessed tweens with his voting number on speed dial to secure him the win.

THURSDAY, MAY 21 As history buffs will recall, last November, Washington voters passed I-1000, which allows terminally ill adults with less than six months to live to self-administer lethal medication prescribed by a physician. Today, the Washington Death with Dignity Act was given a human face, courtesy of Linda Fleming, a 66-year-old Sequim woman who made her living working with the homeless and mentally ill and spent her spare time painting and making pottery—until earlier this year, when Fleming was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer. As her cancer progressed, the P-I reports, Fleming suffered increasing pain and had difficulty swallowing, and she began acquiring the I-1000 necessities, including two oral and one written request for medication, two diagnoses each of her medical condition and mental competency, and physician verification of her informed-patient decision. "The pain became unbearable, and it was only going to get worse," said Fleming in a statement released by the group Compassion & Choices of Washington. "The powerful pain medications were making it difficult to maintain the state of mind I wanted to have at my death, and I knew I would have to increase them. I am a very spiritual person, and it was very important to me to be conscious, clear-minded, and alert at the time of my death. I am grateful that the Death with Dignity law provides me the choice of a death that fits my own personal beliefs." After making all necessary arrangements, Fleming ingested her lethal dose tonight with her family, physician, and beloved Chihuahua by her bedside, leaving a heartbreaking final statement proving that not even those who kill themselves necessarily want to die. "I had only recently learned how to live in the world as I had always wanted to, and now I will no longer be here," said Fleming. "So my fatal disease arrived at a most inopportune time." RIP, Ms. Fleming, and thank you, I-1000 conceptualizers and foot soldiers.

•• Also: Today brought another component of closure to the friends and family of Shannon Harps, the 31-year-old Seattle woman and Sierra Club worker fatally stabbed outside her Capitol Hill apartment on New Year's Eve in 2007. Today, James A. Williams—a 50-year-old man with a long history of schizophrenia and criminal violence—pleaded guilty to Harps's murder, for which he'll receive up to 35 years in prison.

FRIDAY, MAY 22 The week continues with a psycho goofball for the ages: Brandon Lemar Brown, the 25-year-old Seattle pimp found guilty yesterday in King County Superior Court of child rape and promoting commercial abuse of a minor. The goofball part: As the Seattle Times reports, Brown's defense rested on his penis, with Brown claiming he couldn't have raped the 15-year-old girl he was pimping out because she couldn't accurately describe his penis, which is, according to the sworn testimony of its owner, half- circumcised, oddly marked, and "extremely small." "However," the Times reports, "a police detective disagreed with his description." After jurors spent yesterday deliberating over police photos of Brown's penis, they found him guilty of third-degree child rape and commercial abuse-promotion, for which he faces up to 12 years in prison.

SATURDAY, MAY 23 Nothing happened today, unless you count Hot for Teacher, the jaw-droppingly actual dance party hosted this evening at a Pioneer Square nightclub by DJ Vili Fualaau and MC Mary Kay Letourneau. (To paraphrase DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, "He's the DJ, She's the Raper!") See page 39 for more.

SUNDAY, MAY 24 Nothing happened today, unless you count Sasquatch!, Folklife, and the thousand other things folks were lucky enough to do in the glorious Northwest sun.

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