As every intelligent person is aware, all life on earth is likely to end at midnight on December 31. Unfortunately, this includes my life, and a little less unfortunately, yours. I would like to dedicate this final column to all the people who've been instrumental in creating and sustaining Last Days: Rebecca Pellman and Sean Nelson, the original authors of the column, who have since found far better lives as a supermodel/publicist and a glamorous rock star, respectively; all the conservative Christians, celebrity newscasters, dingbat movie stars, bigoted athletes, drunken stagehands, and other assorted freaks who've kept this column packed with material from the get-go; and you, dear reader, for helping me achieve my dream of paying my rent by making cheap jokes at the expense of others. Writing this column has provided me with many hours of joy, and has helped me to maintain my pathetic illusion that even the worst and stupidest components of life resonate, however dimly, with beauty and meaning.

See you in Hell,

David Schmader/Last Days

MONDAY, DECEMBER 20 Sixteen days ago, Saturday Night Live aired the parody skit "And So This Is Hanukkah," in which several comedians pretending to be rock stars made ludicrously stereotypical jokes about Jews. Ten days ago, NBC appeased a grousing Anti-Defamation League by promising never to air the offending segment again. Today, in a surprise reversal, NBC announced that due to "overwhelmingly" favorable viewer response, the network will air the segment again, without edits. Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman told Reuters that he respects the network's right to disagree about the sketch -- which features Britney Spears (portrayed by Christina Ricci) saying that Christians have forgiven Jews for "having killed our Lord" -- but added that he considers NBC's decision to credit the reversal to viewer opinion "a lot of baloney." In spite of Foxman's justifiably hurt feelings, Last Days halfheartedly applauds NBC for (eventually) sticking to its guns and giving the people what they want. However, Last Days would like to point out that people should not mock the Jews for killing Jesus. We should mock them for doing such a shabby job of it.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 21 Faced with the prospect of our forthcoming fiery demise, tonight Last Days did what we always do in times of stress: Got stoned and went to the movies. The venue: Uptown Cinema in Queen Anne. The film: Man on the Moon, featuring the previously unbearable Jim Carrey doing a lovely impersonation of Andy Kaufman. The night's true star: the wacko in the back row, who spiced up the proceedings by shouting, "You murdered your husband!" whenever supporting actress Courtney Love appeared on screen. The scraggly young man (who bore an unnerving resemblance to Eddie Vedder) was also fond of loudly praising the genius of Jim Carrey during the film's quieter moments. And while many in the packed screening believed the man's ramblings to be an inspired Kaufman-styled promotional stunt, others were understandably annoyed, and applauded heartily when police arrived to haul the babbling loony off into the night. (For the record, Last Days' occasional references to casual drug use are not meant to inspire anyone to do drugs. They are meant to inspire everyone to send drugs to us.)

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 22 For the most part, Last Days' "millennial anxiety" has consisted of garden-variety Y2K skittishness combined with end-of-an-epoch vertigo and a basic fretfulness about what to wear on New Year's Eve. But today these nebulous worries gave way to legitimate fear as Seattle city officials announced the cancellation of an elaborate New Year's Eve fire ceremony due to worries of a terrorist attack. The Seattle P-I reports that city officials have no specific information that the Seattle Center celebration will be a target for terrorism, but chose to postpone the $120,000 fire ceremony (designed to symbolize "renewal and hope") due to "general safety concerns." Still the unspoken message is clear: There will be no renewal, there is no cause for hope, and there's a very good chance that Seattle Center will play host to plenty of fire on New Year's Eve without the help of corporate-sponsored art projects.

··On a lighter note, there was a very pretty full moon tonight.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23 Today in Los Angeles: Santa goes nuts! This afternoon at L.A.'s Westfield Shoppingtown Promenade Mall, a Santa-for-hire lost his mind after being asked to cuddle a bawling toddler. The Associated Press reports that 33-year-old mother Kelley Fornatoro told Santa that her 19-month-old son Brian would stop crying if Santa hugged him. Santa responded by announcing, "I will not imprison your child," and calling the young mother "an evil person." When Fornatoro told Santa she was going to file a complaint, Santa leapt from his throne and said, "You can complain about me if you want, but I am Santa Claus. I am the best person in the world." The woman then told the best person in the world that he should not be allowed near children, thus inspiring him to rip off his wig and beard and begin tearing off his clothes. The raving, stripping Santa was led away by mall security and promptly replaced.

··In other unfortunate Santa news: Today in Chile, a 28-year-old man in a Santa suit was assaulted and robbed by angry children after he refused to give them toys and candy. Reuters reports that Santa-suited Cristian Parenti was forced to seek medical attention after a group of children pelted him with rocks, striking him in the head, chest, and eye. (To add insult to injury, at the hospital, Parenti learned that the glue he used to attach his beard had burned his skin.)

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 24 Roughly 1.4 million New Year's Eves were ruined today as the U.S. Customs Service announced its seizure of 700 pounds of the drug Ecstasy, en route from France to the United States. Reuters reports that six U.S. citizens have been arrested in conjunction with the shipment, which was seized in San Bernardino, California, and is said to have a street value of over $30 million.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25 Today was Christmas, and to celebrate, the Pope gave a very long, slow speech. In Vatican City's St. Peter's Square, the 79-year-old pontiff delivered his "Christmas message for the new millennium." Entitled "Urbi et Orbi" ("To the City and the World"), the Pope's opus was, for the most part, a complete bummer, fixating on death and regret, and urging believers to make a "pilgrimage in time" to recall the horrors of the past to make for a better future. Along the way, the Pope dissed racism and senseless violence, promoted Third World debt relief, and called for an end to abortion and the death penalty. In closing, the Pope read Christmas greetings in 59 languages, tied an impressive array of balloon animals, then performed a karaoke duet of Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" with Luciano Pavarotti.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 26 Who cares?

Hot Tips? I no longer need them. Send your final goodbyes to or phone 323-7101 ext, 3113.