MONDAY, OCTOBER 10 Our week of kooky correspondence, poisoned police procedures, and ridiculously random death kicks off today with the multiplying miracle of Viagra. After resuscitating two previously endangered species—the erectile-functional over-50 husband and the sexually satisfied, non-adulterous wife—Viagra and its wonder-siblings Cialis and Levitra have been credited with benefiting three other legally traded species. Specifically, the hooded seal, the harp seal, and the Alaskan reindeer, each of whose death rates have significantly declined thanks to Viagra and co., which have drastically reduced the demand for wild-animal body parts used in traditional cures for impotence, including the genitals of both the harp and hooded seal and the antler velvet of the Alaskan reindeer. Details come from New Scientist, which reports the findings of a new survey conducted by researchers in Canada and Australia. Since Viagra's introduction in 1998, researchers have watched worldwide trade in antlers fall from $700,000 in 1997 to $200,000 in 1998, and the number of traded seal penises fall from 40,000 in 1996 to 20,000 in 1998. In addition, seal penises suffered a precipitous drop in price, with the price-per-wang falling from $100 to $15 by 1999. Thanks to Pfizer for continuing to improve the lives of both animal and man, and congrats to the seals and reindeer, who get to keep their wangs and velvet, respectively.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11 The week continues with the legal and moral nightmare that is the case of the 13-year-old West Seattle babysitter accused of murdering 19-month-old Freya Garden, who died from injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome after being left with the young babysitter on January 16. Today the second-degree murder trial against the teen commenced at King County Juvenile Court. As Court TV reports, at the center of the day's proceedings was the babysitter's alleged confession, related to Seattle police in the hours after Freya Garden was rushed unconscious to Harborview. Further details come from the Seattle Times: In the statement of probable cause used to support the criminal charge against the babysitter, police and prosecutors said the babysitter told police how she shook Freya while giving the toddler a bath, and shook her again after she refused to stop crying. After the shaking, Freya Garden stopped breathing, the babysitter called 911, and Freya died the next day at Harborview, with an autopsy finding injuries consistent with being shaken, including brain damage, bruising caused by hemorrhaging, and internal bleeding. And so the babysitter was charged with second-degree murder and brought today to trial—where Judge Mary Roberts promptly barred half of the statements the babysitter made to police, ruling that the police had not properly informed her of her rights before questioning her, and seriously hobbling the prosecution. Tomorrow Judge Roberts will continue the slaughter, lambasting Seattle police for their bungling of the investigation before dismissing all charges against the babysitter with prejudice, thus depriving prosecutors of the ability to refile charges against the teen. "If there is a lesson to be learned here from this case, it's that we clearly need to sit down and talk about what is appropriate procedure when questioning juveniles," said Deputy Prosecutor Kathleen Van Olst to the Times. (According to Washington State law, parents must be present during the questioning of a child under 12, but no mention is made of children between the ages of 12 and 16.) But all this is of little comfort to the family of the dead child. "Freya did not just out of nowhere collapse and die," said the toddler's great-aunt, Filina Niemeyer, to the Times. "[The babysitter] confessed to shaking Freya and those injuries led to her death. Where is the justice?"
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12 Speaking of ridiculously tragic death: Today brought an exceedingly unglamorous end to a 28-year-old man in New York, who was getting a tattoo at an unlicensed Brooklyn parlor when he stood up, got dizzy, and fell headfirst into a plate-glass display case, smashing the glass and fatally slashing his own throat. (Horrible fact: The tattoo was a drawing of a devil's head entitled "Last Rites.") But even falling down to death can't compare with tomorrow's ridiculously tragic fatality in St. Louis, where an 8-year-old boy will step out of his grandma's house to catch a praying mantis in a jar only to be caught in a fatal hail of gunfire. St. Louis authorities told the Associated Press they weren't sure if the boy was a target or just got caught in the crossfire, while relatives told reporters they believed the shooting was retaliation for their efforts to report drug dealers in the neighborhood.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13 In much lighter news: Today Last Days took a rewarding cyber-stroll through The Smoking Gun's early Valentine's present to the world—the creepy-crawly letters of mutual commendation that passed back and forth between governor-turned-president George W. Bush and longtime-Bush-crony-turned-Supreme-Court-nominee Harriet Miers, posted yesterday on the TSG website. Among the revelations: Harriet Miers's weakness for exclamation points and the softcore kiddie-porn photography of Anne Geddes; Dubya's habit of missing birthdays, then sending belated greeting cards bearing walruses and cryptic postscripts: "P.S. No more public scatology."
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14 Speaking of public scatology, here's some crazy shit that went down this evening near the corner of 11th Avenue and John Street, where Hot Tipper Danny P had ducked under a tree to avoid the sudden ferocious downpour when he saw coming his way a jogger of distinction. "At first I thought he was just wearing shorts," reports Danny P. "Then I thought, 'Maybe he's wearing a thong?' until I realized he was completely naked—no shoes, nothing. He was in his mid-20s, with short, dark hair—just a normal-looking guy who seemed completely oblivious to both the pouring rain and his total nudity." As he jogged past Danny P, the naked man slowed down just enough to ask a question: "Want a blowjob?" "I said, 'No, thanks,'" reports Danny P, "and he continued running down 11th, crossing John and out of sight." Could today's friendly naked jogger be the same naked jogger apprehended after Thursday night's Against Me! show at Neumo's? If anyone has insight, please e-mail email@example.com. (And if you're curious about that first naked-jogger man, check out Slog, The Stranger's blog, at www.thestranger.com.)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15 Nothing happened today, unless you count Iraq's world-historic vote to approve its new constitution or Toledo, Ohio's ridiculous race riot, wherein a bunch of white supremacists marched through a predominately black neighborhood, resulting in 114 arrests, 12 injured police officers, and at least one burned-and-looted business.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16 The week ends with—surprise!—violence in Iraq. Following yesterday's roadside bomb that killed five U.S. soldiers on the outskirts of Ramadi, today a group of about two dozen Iraqis gathered around the remaining wreckage—only to be hit by U.S. air strikes. According to the U.S. military statement, the crowd was setting another roadside bomb when F-15 warplanes hit them, killing around 20 people the military described as "terrorists." According to the Associated Press, several witnesses and one local leader said the victims were civilians who'd gathered to gawk at and take pieces of the wreckage.
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