MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 The week kicks off with Labor Day, the U.S. federal holiday that celebrates work and workers by giving a whole bunch of Americans the day off. Not among the recumbent: the hordes of musicians, artists, vendors, and tech folk who created the final day of Bumbershoot 2009, where Last Days caught the last half of an impressively melodic sit-down set by the Lonely Forest, saw the first half of a blowout show by Visqueen, and got completely soaked.
••Speaking of impressive art: This evening brought a fresh episode of Hoarders, A&E's new documentary series created by Seattle's Screaming Flea Productions that chronicles the lives of people who literally cannot throw anything away. Last Days has seen all four episodes of Hoarders, and here are some things we have learned:
1. Hoarders is 100 times more interesting than A&E's similarly psychotic Intervention for the simple reason that a guided tour of someone's hoarding is far more visually interesting than a guided tour of someone's alcoholism. Intervention's main subject is bottoming-out addicts, while Hoarders' main subject is whole houses packed with crazy. Best of all, the crazy- packed-house dwellers are sane enough to know that they need help, and they get it before our eyes. Instead of Intervention's packed-off-to-rehab denouements, Hoarders devotes the second half (at least) of each episode to hands-on dismantling of craziness. It's strangely heartening to watch these people—with the help of charming professionals—face fears they are absolutely certain will kill them but of course do not.
2. Hoarders contains some of the grossest footage we've ever seen on television. A key moment in every story line comes with the visit of the first nonacclimated party to the rancid space, as you see the smell land on their faces. In the next scene, they're hidden behind protective masks. The most recent episode featured a lady who hoarded cats and showed extensive footage of rotting cat corpses being pulled from a packed-to-the-rafters garage. We covered our eyes for at least three minutes of it.
3. Last Days dreams of appearing on Hoarders for hoarding episodes of Hoarders, which we will compulsively copy onto VHS and DVD and file away in cat-pissed-soaked cardboard boxes until the city threatens us with a letter.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 The week continues in Arlington, Virginia, where this morning President Barack Obama delivered a speech to students at Wakefield High School and across the United States, with his address streamed live on the White House website and broadcast into classrooms around the country via C-SPAN. In a disturbing twist, the president's speech to students was banned by numerous school districts, which fell for the wingnut uproar over a black Muslim socialist indoctrinating their children during school hours. (Among the gullible wusses: the Bellevue School District, which banned classroom broadcasts of the president's speech, instead offering a DVD to students for home viewing. Be proud, BSD.) Among the president's potentially dangerous tips for kids: Stay in school, pay attention, work hard, set goals, wash your hands a lot, and be careful what you put on Facebook. "What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country," said our child-poisoning president. "What you're learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future."
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 Speaking of the president speaking, today he did it some more, giving a televised speech to a joint session of Congress and calling for sweeping health-care legislation to protect the millions of Americans who have unreliable or no health insurance. "I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it's better politics to kill this plan than to improve it," said Obama of his unnamed Republican detractors, acknowledging that his proposed changes would cost about $900 billion over the next decade—"less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans passed during the Bush administration." Beyond the bracing proclamations, Obama supported but did not insist on a public insurance option (wuss) and weathered an outburst from a loony Southern senator, who vociferously insisted the president was not telling the truth when he asserted that only legal aliens would be eligible for the improved health care. But it was mostly bracing proclamations: "As soon as I sign this bill, it will be against the law for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it most," said Obama. "I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last."
••Also today: The world learned that American Idol will be replacing the lovably druggy judge Paula Abdul with America's favorite lesbian and exemplary human being Ellen DeGeneres.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 Speaking of good news, this evening brought the first Seattle mayoral debate of the general election, with Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan hitting the stage at the Cinerama for some competitive spokesmodeling of their ideals. As described by The Stranger's Dominic Holden and confirmed by SeattlePI.com's Joel Connelly, tonight's debate revealed McGinn to be relaxed, affable, and surprisingly well-informed on a variety of topics, and Mallahan to be a terse-yet-gassy sloganeer. Round two coming soon.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 Last Days will commemorate the eighth anniversary of the worst day in contemporary American history with a suitably awful story out of Michigan, where today an anti-abortion protester and an owner of gravel company were fatally gunned down in the town of Owosso. Details on the killings come from the Associated Press, which identifies the alleged killer as 33-year-old Harlan James Drake, who police allege gunned down 63-year-old James Pouillon in front of Owosso High School (where Pouillon made a perfectly legal habit of displaying placards depicting aborted fetuses, and whose students witnessed the slaying) before driving seven miles to the Fuoss Gravel Company to allegedly gun down 61-year-old Mike Fuoss (against whom Drake reportedly harbored "a grudge"). Following the killings, Drake was arrested at his home, where he reportedly told police of his involvement in at least one of the killings. This afternoon, Drake will be charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 Nothing happened today, unless you count the tens of thousands of Glenn Beck fans who took to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to protest our Muslim socialist black man of a president.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 Nothing happened today, unless you count MTV's Video Music Awards, where Kanye West bullied a little girl and Lady Gaga bled all over the stage. Nevertheless, Last Days prays that this fall's Kanye West/Lady Gaga tour comes to Seattle.