MONDAY, APRIL 12 This week of rapping bankers, volcanic ash, and alleged assault by vomit kicks off in northeastern Pennsylvania, where this morning a 35-year-old woman was sentenced to one year of house arrest for piercing the ears of cats. Details come from the Times-Leader, which identifies the convicted cat-piercer as Holly Crawford, who was found guilty in February of cruelty to animals and ordered to shut down her website www.gothickittens.net.
In realer news, today also brought the announcement of the 2010 Pulitzer Prizes. Among the winners were two local-ish phenomena: Next to Normal, the Tony-winning musical written by Brian Yorkey that got its start at Issaquah's Village Theatre and today won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; and the staff of the Seattle Times, which responded to last fall's cop-massacre-plus-40-hour-manhunt with a multimedia info blitz that today earned them a Pulitzer for Breaking News Reporting. Congratulations to both.
TUESDAY, APRIL 13 In a strange twist for a Tuesday, nothing happened today, unless you count the hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, where a study of the failures of the recently dead Washington Mutual bank today took a squirmy turn, thanks to footage shot at WaMu's 2006 retreat, featuring mortgage brokers performing a modified rendition of Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back":"I like big bucks and I cannot lie/You mortgage brothers can't deny..." "The Karaoke-style ode to greed—complete with faux WaMu rappers tossing play money into the crowd—took place in a room full of mortgage lenders who at the time were still churning out billions of dollars in high-risk mortgages," reports Politico. "Their borrowers often had little chance of repaying the money and some had to forfeit their homes. But the lenders at the retreat, held on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, made huge fees for issuing the loans." Speaking of unfortunate mortgage shenanigans: On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission will file charges against Goldman Sachs, accusing the titanic investment firm of creating and selling a mortgage investment that was secretly designed to fail. In other news, it is not easy for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14 The week continues with a humongous earthquake in China, where early this morning a quake hit the country's western mountain region, killing at least 2,000 people and injuring 12,000 others. Meanwhile in Iceland, a volcano erupted, sending up a huge plume of ash that will disrupt international air travel for the rest of the week and beyond. But back to earthquakes: The Pacific Northwest is overdue for a proverbial Big One, and has been for long enough that it's no longer sane to pretend it's not impending. Get yourself a prep kit: www.seattle.gov/emergency. You'll sleep better, and seriously, who wants to be trapped under rubble without a whistle, some water, and a magazine?
THURSDAY, APRIL 15 Today brings some long-awaited good news for the Catholic Church, as the ongoing scandal over the church's protection of child-raping priests was briefly eclipsed by the comparatively heartwarming scandal surrounding the Massachusetts priest arrested in a prostitution sting at a New Hampshire hotel. Details come from KOAT News, which reports the sting commenced with an ad offering adult services placed on Craigslist. Among the ad's alleged respondents: 31-year-old Reverend William Ventura, who showed up at the hotel, handed over money to the would-be sex worker, and was arrested on a charge of soliciting prostitution. Whatever the case, props to Reverend Ventura for allegedly attempting to break his vow of celibacy with an adult.
Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama did a functional impersonation of the fierce advocate for gay rights he's occasionally claimed to be, issuing a presidential memorandum requiring all hospitals participating in Medicare or Medicaid to honor the visitation rights of same-sex couples. Thank you, President Obama.
FRIDAY, APRIL 16 The week continues with a story we don't want to write and you don't want to read, and yet here we are. We're speaking of course of the Whatcom County drug smuggler suspected of running a bestiality whorehouse out of his barn. Details come from the Associated Press, which identifies the convicted drug smuggler/suspected animal pimp as Douglas Spink, whose 2005 conviction for cocaine smuggling resulted in a three-year jail term followed by supervised release. Among the conditions of Spink's ongoing supervised release: don't break any laws, a condition that is under consideration after law enforcement officials searched Spink's home and found a cornucopia of evidence suggesting illegal animal pimpery. Among the items seized from Spink's ramshackle compound near the Canadian border: thousands of images of bestiality and "apparent child pornography," and dozens of dogs, horses, and pet mice. "These were mice that had their tails cut off," said Whatcom County sheriff Bill Elfo to the AP. "They were smothered in Vaseline and they had string tied around them." Among the reported "images of bestiality" was a video of a man sexually abusing dogs, the alleged star of which—a 51-year-old tourist from Great Britain—was found on the premises wearing the same clothes he wore on the alleged sex tape. The British man has been charged with animal cruelty, while Douglas Spink has so far only been charged with violating the terms of his supervised release, for which he's being held until his next hearing on April 30.
SATURDAY, APRIL 17 In barely less disgusting news, the week continues with the official apology extended by the Philadelphia Phillies to the family of a girl allegedly assaulted with vomit at a hometown Phillies game. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the saga went down last Wednesday, when an unruly fan made angry by his friend's ejection from the game allegedly purged his anger by deliberately puking all over the 11-year-old daughter of a police captain. "It was absolutely intentional," said Captain Michael Vangelo to the Inquirer. "I was five feet away from him and observed him place his fingers down his throat in an obvious attempt to induce himself to vomit. He then lurched forward and directed his vomit at me and my family." The alleged barfer was arrested and charged with simple assault, reckless endangerment, harassment, and disorderly conduct.
SUNDAY, APRIL 18 Nothing happened today, unless you count a long-awaited compassionate gesture from the pope, who finally responded to the decade-spanning hubbub over his church's support and protection of child rapists by meeting with eight now-adult victims of clerical sex abuse in Malta, where the pope reportedly allowed himself to tear up while expressing "his 'shame and sorrow' at the pain the men and their families suffered," the Associated Press reports. And all it took was a prolonged international outcry and threats of criminal prosecution.
Attention talented folk and those who love to gawk at them: On Saturday, May 1, the Stranger Gong Show hits the stage at the Crocodile. Talents will be shared, minds will be blown, and one lucky winner will walk away with $300 cash. For full info, see thestranger.com/gongshow. (And send Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.)