MONDAY, AUGUST 16 The week began with a disturbing burst of violent homophobia in West Seattle, reported by eyewitness/victim/Hot Tipper Rosemary. According to her eloquent eyewitness e-mail, Rosemary and her girlfriend were driving home after visiting West Seattle's Easy Street Records (where they'd purchased a copy of Kraftwerk's The Man-Machine) when "three twentysomething white males pulled up next to our car and shouted, 'Look at those filthy faggots!' They proceeded to call my girlfriend a 'fat little fucker' and an 'ugly fag,' and hollered that I would 'really love their big dicks!'" recounts Rosemary. After three minutes/one mile, the men concluded their manly bullying of outnumbered women by spitting on their car and speeding off. "For the record, this is the first bout of homophobia I've ever experienced in this town," writes Rosemary.

-- Kraftwerk-loving lesbians aren't the only ones getting fucked with: Today in Tacoma, a 40-year-old job applicant fled an interview after a carjacker made off in his extended-cab pickup truck, in the back seat of which was the owner's 6-month-old daughter. The Associated Press reports that the unnamed man was interviewing to be a cook at Big Nick's Pizza and Pasta when he saw a woman break into his truck--which was locked with the air-conditioner running, to protect the sleeping infant inside. "He just flew out the door," said Big Nick's owner Nick Delin, who helped his panicked applicant track down the thief in his SUV. After Delin and the dad cornered the truck in a gravel parking lot, police arrived and arrested the female driver--who repeatedly insisted that she thought the baby was a fake--for investigation of auto theft and first-degree kidnapping. Meanwhile, the AP reports that the baby slept through the whole affair, and the man got the job at the pizzeria.

-- Speaking of good news: Today the Washington State Court of Appeals shot down the lawsuit brought by Sound Mind and Body against the Fremont Sunday Market, ruling that the whiny sports club "failed to show it was specially injured" by the market's weekly closure of one block of North 34th Street.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 17 In far worse news: This morning in Seattle, a 30-year-old woman in Eastlake awoke around 2:00 a.m. to find herself underneath a stranger who'd entered through one of the ground-floor apartment's semi-opened windows. The Seattle Times offered a play-by-play: After being raped, the woman managed to smash a glass lamp against her attacker's face; the wounded intruder then tied the woman up, covering her eyes and hanging out in her apartment for nearly two hours, during which time he mocked his victim (reportedly asking why she "didn't have a man in the house to protect her"), asked if she had any money, and, finally, stole her car. Around 4:00 a.m., the woman managed to untie herself and fled to a neighbor, who called 911 and got her on the road to Harborview. Unfortunately, the blindfold did its job, and the Seattle Times reports that "the only description police have is that [the attacker] is white, may have cuts or bruises to his face from being hit with the lamp, and may still be driving the car he stole from the woman"--a two-door silver 1997 Honda Civic. Any tips, call the cops. And all of you in first-floor apartments: We know it's hot, but when the rapists come out, the windows gotta lock.


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18 In a well-timed bit of vengeance-by-proxy, today brought a harrowing story of sexual predation, criminal voyeurism, and vigilante justice courtesy of crime website theSmoking Gun. The saga began last Saturday, when Mario Russo, a 44-year-old man in North Royalton, Ohio, was discovered pantsless in the shrubs outside a 5-year-old girl's bedroom window. Upon being discovered by a group of six people--including the little girl's mother, aunt, and their boyfriends--Mario Russo was promptly clobbered. According to the police report, officers found Russo in a bloody clump on the grass, his pants around his ankles with "a twig inserted into his rectum and false teeth laying in the grass." (A witness told investigators of hearing a female yell, "Put it in his ass, he wants it in his ass," an allegation confirmed by the girl's aunt, who told police of sexually assaulting Russo with a tree branch.) All six attackers were arrested and have been charged with felonious assault and rape, while Mario Russo remains in fair condition in the intensive care unit of Cleveland's MetroHealth Medical Center.


THURSDAY, AUGUST 19 Even forgetful readers will remember last week's item on Gayle Grinds, the morbidly obese woman in Florida who died after surgeons attempted to remove her from her couch. Today the Palm Beach Post ran a posthumous profile of Ms. Grinds, illuminating the sweet, sad life of the woman who literally couldn't live without her sofa, and answering a fair number of the questions that have haunted Last Days' brain since we learned of the super-sized saga last week. First: Don't feel bad if the story left you spooked; according to a hospital spokesperson, several members of the rescue crew have sought counseling since attempting to lift the 4-foot-10, 478-pound Ms. Grinds from her living-room couch, only to draw screams of pain from the woman whose six years of immobility and countless months of untended excrement caused the skin of her back to intertwine with the fabric of her couch. Second: Take comfort--it wasn't always like this. Prior to her tragic death, Gayle Grinds was a gregarious, well-liked woman-of-size (300 lbs., but mobile) known for her good cooking, big appetite, and generous foster-parenting of her deceased sister's two kids. Her obesity she attributed to a thyroid problem, and things carried on acceptably until a fall left Grinds with a broken leg, which, after extensive surgery and a year of painful recovery, healed--only to break again. "There is one thing that kept my sister on that couch--fear," said Gayle's older sister Vivian Kendricks. "She had been in such pain when she broke her leg that she was too afraid it would happen again." Morbidly obese and increasingly depressed, Grinds sank into the couch, "mostly watching TV" while the steadily increasing squalor of the house--food in all stages of disintegration, digestion, and expulsion, attendant wrappers and roaches--repelled all but one of her acquaintances, "longtime boyfriend" Herman Thomas, a hard-living, sporadically employed 54-year-old with a history of drug- and alcohol-related arrests (including a 2002 DUI on his bicycle), who apparently fed Gayle Grinds but did nothing else to care for her. Lastly: What about the couch? The Post describes America's most famous piece of furniture as a "dirty burgundy-and-gray fabric couch" surrounded by "dozens of empty Publix soda cans, empty bags of Doritos, Ruffles chips, and rotting, maggot-infested oranges." Thank you, Palm Beach Post, RIP Gayle Grinds.


FRIDAY, AUGUST 20 Today in Seattle's U.S. District Court: 31-year-old Pakistani Usman Hayat pleaded guilty to attempting to extort $685,000 from Eddie Bauer, after threatening the Redmond-based company with bogus evidence of child-driven sweatshops. Hayat faces a fine of up to $250,000, and up to two years in prison.


SATURDAY, AUGUST 21 Today in Wunsiedel, Germany: Over 3,000 neo-Nazis marched in honor of Hitler deputy Rudolf Hess, with a reported 74 Hess-lovers detained by police for carrying banned weapons and symbols. If you want to be a neo-Nazi, you've got to follow the rules.


SUNDAY, AUGUST 22 Today in Norway: Masked, armed thieves burst into an Oslo museum and made off with two paintings by Edvard Munch, including the oft-stolen The Scream.

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