The week got off to a righteously racy start today as the Associated Press reported the discovery of a "vast cache of pornography"--including a not-insignificant amount of kiddie porn--at an Austrian seminary. According to the news magazine Profil, over 40,000 photos and an undisclosed number of films, including downloaded child pornography and original priest-on-priest erotica (!), were found last year on computers at the seminary of the Catholic diocese of St. Poelten, 50 miles west of Vienna. Following today's "emergency meeting," two of the seminary's leaders immediately resigned their posts, offering their tacit agreement with the statement issued by the Austrian Bishops Conference: "Anything that has to do with the practice of homosexuality or pornography has no place at a seminary for priests." But try telling that to Bishop Kurt Krenn, who oversees the troubled diocese and has rejected all suggestions that he step down. Speaking to Austrian television reporters, 68-year-old Bishop Krenn mentioned nothing of the child pornography (the majority of which is believed to have been downloaded from websites in Poland), but admitted that he'd seen photos of seminary leaders engaged in sexual situations with young seminarians, which the bishop dismissed as a "childish prank" that "had nothing to do with homosexuality." Austrian police say they are examining the material and investigating charges.


Today brings the story of the unluckiest man in the world, courtesy of Reuters, which reports that the unfortunate saga of David Walker began when the 28-year-old northern Englishman began arguing with a friend at a South Yorkshire pub. After downing 15 pints of beer, Walker decided to kick things up a notch, running home to retrieve his sawed-off shotgun, which Walker strategically jammed down the front of his trousers. However, during Walker's walk back to the pub, the gun went off, blasting a round of pellets into Walker's testicles (the remains of which were removed during emergency surgery) and earning the nutless wonder a five-year jail term for possessing an illegal firearm.

-- Meanwhile, back in the States: It has begun. Today the Associated Press confirmed that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have begun "quietly shipping stocks of antidotes against chemical weapons to states under a long-awaited program to boost response to a potential terrorist attack," with New York and Boston (sites of the upcoming political conventions) among the first recipients of the quietly shipped "chem-packs." While it's debatable how "quiet" any event involving news wires can be, there's no denying the necessity of the gurney-sized packs, stocked with an assortment of antidotes to those popular-with-terrorists chemicals, from atropine (to fight nerve agents) to amyl nitrite (just the thing for cyanide poisoning; who knew?). The CDC says it hopes to distribute chem-packs to every state within two years.


"Dear Last Days," read the letter from devoted reader Stacy. "While I know that gruesome acts against children have kind of become a mainstay of your column, I respectfully request that next week you not go there with the recent burning deaths of those three children. It's just a little too close to home--not that geographic distance should matter, but somehow it does make it worse; go figure. I'm just heartsick about what happened and just don't feel like reading about it again." Dear Stacy: Thanks for writing and for your respectful request, which shall be honored. Now please skip ahead to Thursday. Dear readers who aren't Stacy, particularly those lazy/busy/discerning enough to rely on Last Days for 100 percent of your news: The horrific story that Stacy is wisely avoiding took place early this morning at an intersection near Bonney Lake, where a 24-year-old man held his 18-year-old girlfriend and their three young children in a car at gunpoint, then doused them with gasoline and set them on fire. All five of the car's occupants died, but not before the young mother fled the car in flames, surviving just long enough to tell the whole horrible story to police. Now you know.

-- In much, much better news: Today a proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution with a national ban on same-sex marriage died in the Senate, after failing to gain enough votes to move the proposed amendment to the floor. "The founders wisely made certain that the Constitution is difficult to amend and, as a practical political matter, can't be done without overwhelming public approval," said Arizona Sen. John McCain. "And thank God for that."


Nothing happened today (unless you count Last Days' random spying of that groovy group singing a cappella in front of Pacific Place, who should immediately call 323-7101 to schedule an audition for Pizzazz! See upper right corner for details).


Less than 24 hours after the Los Angeles district attorney's office filed a motion requesting that celebrity defendant Courtney Love be declared a "danger to the community" and placed in protective custody, today a U.S. district court sentenced the far less dangerous celebrity defendant Martha Stewart to five months in prison for lying to the government. "My hopes that my life will not be completely destroyed lie entirely in your competent and experienced and merciful hands," an emotional Stewart implored Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum prior to sentencing. But once the sentence was confirmed, Martha was back to being a grade-A American badass: "I'm not afraid," Stewart told media outside the New York City courthouse. "Not afraid whatsoever. I'm very sorry it had to come to this... I'll be back."


Speaking of strong women withstanding inordinate punishment: Tonight in Las Vegas, adult-contemporary superstar Linda Ronstadt was booed off the stage, escorted from the premises, and formally blacklisted from the Aladdin hotel-casino after dedicating her performance of the Eagles' "Desperado" to Michael Moore, whom the 58-year-old Ronstadt praised as "a great American patriot." Be afraid, be very afraid.


The week ends with a refreshing burst of differently abled gumption, as today nearly 500 protestors from the group American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today barricaded streets around the downtown Seattle lodgings of the National Governors Association, lobbying the governors to support a resolution favoring home care over institutionalization for the disabled and elderly. Yay for disabled protestors, boo for those Ronstadt-dissing idiots at the Aladdin, who may very well turn Las Vegas into Branson, Missouri.

Hey folks: On Wednesday, July 28, the good folks at Scarecrow Video are having me in to host one more annotated screening of Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls, to kick off the release of MGM's special edition Showgirls DVD, featuring commentary by yours truly. Show starts at 9 p.m., attendees must by 17 and over, and admission is free. See you there.

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