MONDAY MARCH 27 Way back in 1993, former radio host/current Republican gubernatorial hopeful John Carlson successfully campaigned for the passage of the "three strikes, you're out" initiative, which stiffened penalties against repeat lawbreakers. Today, Carlson celebrated the effectiveness of his initiative as Cherease Cross, a 37-year-old Everett woman found guilty of robbing three mini-marts using beauty aids instead of weapons, was sentenced to life in prison without parole. "Three strikes is working as planned," Carlson told The Seattle Times following Cross' sentencing yesterday at the Snohomish Superior Court. In issuing the sentence, Judge Ronald Castleberry was required to ignore not only the goofiness of the crimes (in her robberies, Cross armed herself with only a curling iron and a bottle of perfume, and netted a total of less than $900), but also arguments from the defense claiming that a life sentence for the crack-addicted, mentally unstable Cross would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Nevertheless, the letter of the law was fulfilled; John Carlson was thrilled; and Last Days was grumpy as a goat. Don't get us wrong: We're not saying crackheads should be allowed to rob as many stores (and arm themselves with as many beauty products) as they desire, but come on. In a perfect world, the recalcitrant Cross would be facing not life in prison, but 30 years of emptying Honey Buckets while dressed in a humiliating outfit. Cost of Carlson's punishment: $1.4 million. Cost of Last Days' punishment: the price of a rainbow clown wig, a "house arrest" anklet, and big floppy shoes.

TUESDAY MARCH 28 All of London was abuzz today with talk of Kathleen Turner's naked ass. Ms. Turner, the husky-voiced, middle-aged sexpot best known for being a husky-voiced, middle-aged sexpot, is currently appearing as Mrs. Robinson in a new theatrical adaptation of The Graduate, which began previews last night at the Gielgud Theater. In the original 1967 film, Mrs. Robinson was portrayed by Anne Bancroft, who perfectly captured the character's seething alcoholic sexiness, and whose naked confrontation with her virginal paramour was suggested by images of unidentifiable female flesh flashed before the eyes of co-star Dustin Hoffman. Acting without the benefit of cinematic cross-cutting, Kathleen Turner performs the scene entirely in the buff -- and response has been highly enthusiastic. The London Evening Standard reports that upon Ms. Turner's naked arrival, "a kind of gasp -- of surprise or delight or horror -- went around the audience," adding that the actress looked "terrific," and predicting that the show's titillating fleshiness will ensure a sold-out run. Inspired by The Graduate's headline-grabbing nudity, other London theaters are jumping on the racy bandwagon, including the National Theatre, whose production of The Cherry Orchard suffered from half-full houses until grande dame Vanessa Redgrave began closing Act One by shooting Ping-Pong balls out of her vagina.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29 Is it biological, psychological, social, or merely aesthetic? Today the mysterious origins of homosexuality were made a teensy bit less mysterious as researchers from the University of California at Berkeley revealed that the relative lengths of the forefinger and ring finger can provide clues to sexual orientation. The Berkeley study, carried out on an anonymous group of 720 adults in the San Francisco area and published in today's issue of the British science weekly Nature, found that the greater the similarity in length between the index and ring fingers, the higher the likelihood of being gay. The scientists based their study on 1998 findings that finger lengths are determined by exposure in the womb to androgens, male hormones that are present in greater numbers in gay men and lesbians, which create a "more masculine finger pattern" in all homosexuals (take that, nellie-boy stereotypes!). In the wake of the Berkeley study, finger lengths join the other infallible signifiers of homosexuality: earrings in the right ear, rainbow bumper stickers, and the ability to sustain an adolescent level of emotional development over a lifetime.

THURSDAY, MARCH 30 Feminism took a historic but gruesome step forward this week as an International Criminal Tribunal began hearing the first-ever trial alleging organized, widespread acts of sexual violence against women during wartime. Today's Los Angeles Times reports on the landmark trial, in which prosecutors from a UN-created tribunal are charging Bosnian Serb paramilitaries (backed by Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic) with the systematic rape and torture of tens of thousands of Muslim women prisoners as a conscious and key component of the Serbs' campaign to "ethnically cleanse" Bosnia-Herzegovina of its Muslim population. (One European study estimates that in 1992 alone, 20,000 women and girls, mostly Muslims, were raped by the Bosnian Serbs. At yesterday's trial proceedings, an unidentified young Muslim woman testified that she had been raped so many times by Bosnian Serbs that she was unable to give a total count.) The three defendants before the UN-created tribunal -- Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac, and Zoral Vukovic -- are charged with various war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape, enslavement, and torture. Unsurprisingly, all three have pleaded not guilty, undoubtedly blaming the Muslim prisoners for tarting about with their highly suggestive full-body garments dangling from their emaciated frames, as they grieved over the loss of their husbands, children, and parents -- obviously asking for it.

FRIDAY, MARCH 31 Each week, Last Days begs readers for Hot Tips. Sometimes we get thrilling stories of publicly urinating postmen and fishmongers dissing the mayor, other times we get softcore animal pornography and city council mash notes. Today's Hot Tipper #1 was a weary-sounding gentleman who reported his sighting of "two pigeons necking and a seagull looking on in disgust" (if this is factual, it's brilliant; if it's poetry, it's also brilliant). Hot Tipper #2 was a disturbingly chipper man who called simply to exclaim, "Heidi Wills is so adorable!" (a sentiment we would happily echo if Ms. Wills weren't the only member of the Seattle City Council who has yet to send Last Days a big, fancy fruit basket -- and she will receive not one lick of praise in this column until she does). Thanks, Hot Tippers!

SATURDAY, APRIL 1 Tonight nearly 60 people waited with rapt attention for the television premiere of KIRO's hot new sketch-comedy show, The John Report with Bob. Rising from the wispy ashes of Almost Live, the least-funny comedy show in history, The John Report... features local man John Keister along with some guy named Bob and a handful of talented local actors, all laboring to create what looks to be, unfortunately, the second-least-funny show in history. The debut began relatively promisingly, with a backlog of current events (WTO, Stamper's resignation, the Kingdome) ripe for parodying. But after toothless spoofs on the most vibrant and comedically rich time in Seattle's history, the show's writers were left to fend for themselves, and the results were, predictably, disastrous. In classic Almost Live fashion, The John Report's writers repeatedly transformed one-line "jokes" into eight-minute stretches of brain-dead sketch-comedy hell. Still, it was nice to have the opportunity to see local alterna-hunk Ian Bell smooch another fella (in a staggeringly lame skit about gay carpentry), and the show featured a nice Jim Foreman joke.

SUNDAY, APRIL 2 Today was very, very pretty.

Send your Hot Tips to or phone the Hot Tip Hotline at 323-7101 ext. 3113.