MONDAY, MAY 24 This week—overloaded with extinguished stars, righteous repeals, pardoned fiancés, deadly domestic drama, and future-jeopardizing environmental disaster—kicks off today in Minnesota, with the fatal crash of a semitruck carrying 17 million bees. As the Associated Press reports, the crash happened along a south-of-Minneapolis stretch of Interstate 35 and involved four vehicles, one of which was an 18-wheeler transporting 7,000 beehives to Bauer Honey in northwestern Minnesota. "It's unclear how many bees got loose," reports the AP. "Several emergency workers were stung." Once the bees were dispersed via fire hose, rescue crews tended to those hurt in the crash, including two people whose injuries proved fatal. The bees remain free.
TUESDAY, MAY 25 Nothing happened today, unless you count the Washington Post story about how "the tenuous alliance among the Obama administration, the oil firm BP, and Gulf Coast officials was visibly fraying on Monday, with exasperation on all sides mounting as oil from a deep-water gusher began lapping at the region's environmentally fragile shoreline." Tomorrow will commence the rescue maneuver known as the "top kill," in which tons of mud will be pumped into a hole in the ocean floor in hopes of clogging the leak that continues to spew an estimated 15,000 to 25,000 barrels of oil each day into the Gulf of Mexico. On Saturday, BP engineers will announce the failure of the top kill, with the would-be mud plug joining the robot repairmen, negligibly effective suction hose, and improperly buoyant containment dome in the Hall of Deepwater Horizon Repair Failure. Next up: another attempt at containment, this time with a cap, the efficacy of which will be known by the end of next week. If the cap attempts fail, oil could feasibly keep spewing unabated until August, when BP will finish work on two relief wells. "It's like a bad movie that just won't end," says New Orleans mechanic Billy Altman to the New York Times on Saturday. "You know, you think they finally killed the bad guy, and then he comes back to life. It's crazy."
WEDNESDAY, MAY 26 The week continues with Gary Coleman, the preternaturally charming child actor who stole America's heart as the sweet-and-sassy ghetto adoptee Arnold on the NBC sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. No one who lived through the late '70s/early '80s will forget the Gary Coleman explosion, when the TV debut of his cuter-than-Muppet mug created an instantaneous demand for African-American adorableness so huge it required Emmanuel Lewis to help fill it. But when Strokes' eight-year run ended, things got weird, with Coleman growing into a confused and confusing adult and walking cautionary tale on the perils of stardom, pimped-and-swindled-by-your-parents edition. Of perpetual concern during good times and bad was Coleman's health, from the childhood kidney disease that mandated at least two kidney transplants and ongoing dialysis to his pneumonia-complicated heart surgery of last fall. So it's unusually sad to report that today in his home in Santaquin, Utah, Coleman fell and hit his head, suffering an intracranial hemorrhage that sent him to the hospital, where he'll be conscious and lucid until midday tomorrow, when he'll slip into unconsciousness and be placed on life support. On Friday, the support will stop, and Gary Coleman will be pronounced dead at age 42. RIP, GC; never again will you be asked to ask Willis what he is talking about.
THURSDAY, MAY 27 In much better news, today the House of Representatives and the Armed Services Committee in the Senate voted to allow repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," the law banning gays and lesbians from serving in the U.S. military, or at least requiring them to sublimate their gayness lest they risk discharge. The repeal debate now heads to the Senate, where Republicans have vowed strenuous resistance. Stay tuned. (And thank you, House of Representatives.)
••In much worse news, tonight a nightmare unfolded in Ballard, where Seattle police responded after 911 dispatchers received an alarming call. As Seattlepi.com reports, the 911 operator heard a woman scream, "No! No! No!" followed by "a thumping sound, no more from the woman and more thumping." Officers arrived at the high-rise apartment building to find a 74-year-old man dead on the pavement with a hammer in his hand and his 75-year-old wife bleeding on the floor of their sixth-floor apartment from injuries consistent with a hammer attack. "Investigators believe the two were in an argument when the man began to beat her with the hammer... leaving her mortally wounded," reports Seattlepi .com. "Police say the man committed suicide by jumping from the south windows of their apartment." Condolences to all.
FRIDAY, MAY 28 The week continues with a pair of notable legal proceedings. First up: the South Korean couple found guilty of abandoning their newborn daughter, who "starved to death while they addictively played an online game raising a virtual child," as the Associated Press reports. (Confirming the couple's stature as the worst people in the world: court affidavits recounting how the 41-year-old taxi driver and his 25-year-old wife spent an average of 10 hours a day playing with their virtual child, stopping occasionally to beat their malnourished actual baby when she cried from hunger.) Meanwhile in Seattle, Kevin Swalwell—the pyromaniacal homeless man who pleaded guilty to 11 counts of arson related to the fires that terrorized and destroyed Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood last autumn—was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
SATURDAY, MAY 29 In much better news, today the president of Malawi responded to growing international outrage and an official request from the United Nations by pardoning Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, the same-sex couple sentenced to 14 years in prison for "unnatural acts" after announcing their plan to marry. "These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion, and our laws," said Malawi president Bingu wa Mutharika at a news conference, before ordering the couple's unconditional release on "humanitarian grounds." Congratulations to Chimbalanga and Monjeza, who Last Days prays can make it out of their hateful home country alive.
••Also, today brought the final earthly minutes of Dennis Hopper, the iconoclastic American actor who made indelible impressions in Easy Rider and Blue Velvet, who died today of complications from prostate cancer at age 74.
SUNDAY, MAY 30 The week ends with a schadenfreude-rich bang in Lynnwood, where today a man was shopping at Lowe's with a handgun in his waistband when the gun accidentally discharged and shot him in the testicles. "The man was rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, but there was no immediate word on his condition," reports KIRO. "No one else was hurt."
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