MONDAY, JANUARY 8 The week began with the very bad news of the drowning death of renowned metal-fabricating artist David Gulassa, 40, whose body was pulled out of Lake Union early Saturday morning. Both The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that Gulassa, an avid adventurer, had been kayaking late Friday night without a light and was warned by a Harbor Patrol unit to go to shore. Though Gulassa responded with a cheerful, "This is not a good idea, I understand!" something obviously went horribly wrong before he made it to dry land. This vital and generous man will be much missed, though his work at the Bellevue Art Museum, the Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University, and Washington state's World War II Monument will give testimony to his talent for generations to come.
··Also today: The Associated Press reported that police in Elkhart, Indiana are looking for a woman who delivered marijuana brownies to the Central Fire Station on December 23, "sickening" 11 firefighters and sending two others to the hospital for "treatment." Last Days hopes emergency infusions of salty snack foods and cable television quickly stabilized these innocent victims.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 9 Though Last Days has enjoyed President Clinton's relatively peaceful reign, we fully expect to relish reliving our halcyon, Reagan/Bush-era youth (which we spent hurling Molotov cocktails at the pigs). Unfortunately, not everyone's so hopeful: Today Reuters reported that more than 200 groups representing women, labor, minorities, gays, and environmentalists would try to block the confirmation of John Ashcroft to the position of attorney general. This rabidly conservative foe of abortion rights, affirmative action, and gun control may just find his path to the White House blocked by catchy chants, menacing papier-mâché puppets, and flaming Last Days.
··Also today (in the "too-little-too-late" department): Reuters reported that eight of the nation's largest news organizations have hired the National Opinion Research Center to examine the 180,000 uncounted Florida ballots and report on which one of those idiots was really meant to rule the world.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10 Tonight Last Days Jr. and Last Days Sr. gathered to watch the well-intentioned but maddeningly ham-fisted made-for-MTV movie about the hate-motivated murder of Matthew Shepard. But after smoking a joint and tossing back a couple of beers, we found our fingers creeping inexorably toward the remote to zap ourselves onto Temptation Island, Fox's much-ballyhooed new "reality series," in which four heterosexual couples were dumped into a tropical paradise swarming with vacuous, telegenic sexual predators who will stop at nothing in their efforts to tear the sweethearts asunder with the savagery of a pack of wild dogs. This harbinger of civilization's demise (which looks like Survivor without the body fat) had all the spontaneity of a state funeral, though we did pick our favorite couple (who looked like a low-rent Pamela Lee and Russell Crowe), whom we nicknamed Punky and Thuggy. The most thrilling moment of the show was the appearance of the sexy single Carla, a pink-haired grunge kitten who claims to be a singer from Seattle, and who was obviously handpicked to "tempt" Thuggy. Who is she??? And in what karaoke bar does she ply her trade? Last Days implores Hot Tippers to send in any info you've got on this punk rock would-be homewrecker.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 11 Today Reuters reported that scientists have genetically engineered a rhesus monkey with an extra gene containing green fluorescent protein taken from jellyfish. Gerald Schatten of the Oregon Regional Primate Research stressed that little ANDi (backward for "inserted DNA"--isn't that cute?) is not green. "These are not Day-Glo monkeys," he said, though cells containing the protein can be seen glowing under a special microscope. Last Days desperately wants one of the little critters as a night lamp and looks forward to the day when they're available in a bulk bin at Archie McPhee's.
··Also today: Reuters dished out the heartbreaking news that Socks, the world-famous cat who resides at the White House, will be abandoned by Bill Clinton when he moves to New York in a couple of weeks. Apparently the finicky feline never really made peace with Buddy, Clinton's brown Labrador. And apparently Socks is but the latest in a long line of pussies to be loved and left by the president.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 12 More "God complex" news! Today the Associated Press reported that scientists in Sioux Center, Iowa successfully stripped a cow's egg of its DNA and implanted it with cells from an endangered Asian gaur ox before gestating it in an ordinary cow's womb. The little mutant, nicknamed Noah, keeled over from common dysentery just two days after birth. Last Days recommends that these cross-species cloners deal with their loss by watching Jurassic Park a hundred times in a row.
··Also today: In a story eerily reminiscent of last week's elephant homicide, the New York Post reported that 24-year-old U.S. Peace Corps volunteer Natalie Waldinger of Huntington, New York, was photographing a pachyderm in pastoral Ruaha National Park in central Tanzania when, much like a spoiled American celebrity, the elephant became enraged by the clicking sounds of her camera and trampled her to death.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 13 Well, you could have knocked us over with a feather today when Reuters reported that former President Ronald Reagan, 89, underwent surgery on Saturday to repair his right hip, which he had broken in a fall at his home. We would have been willing to bet a bucket of jellybeans and our last block of government-issued cheese that the doddering old fascist was already dead.
··Also today: Today Dr. Zoran Stankovic (head of the Department of Forensic Medicine of the Yugoslav Military-Medical Academy) announced via Reuters that 400 Bosnian Serbs have died of cancer since living in an area heavily bombarded by NATO bombs containing depleted uranium. These deaths, which total about 10 percent of the population, make it difficult for NATO to continue denying that depleted uranium causes serious health problems. "If it is so harmless," Stankovic succinctly said, "I would like them to collect all the remainders of the DU shells, take them to a nice house somewhere in Brussels, store the shells in the cellar and have their children playing in the house."
SUNDAY, JANUARY 14 Tonight a nearly hysterical Hot Tipper, whom we shall call S., chilled us to the bone with this tale of phobias made manifest. "More than anything in the world, I'm terrified of snakes and gore," said S. "Tonight I turned on the TV and landed on the Nature Channel, featuring hideous footage of a humongous snake. Quickly I turned the channel and immediately landed on that fucked-up surgery network, which was showing close-up footage of a triple bypass procedure. Shrieking, I flipped the channel again--and landed on a station that was showing--I swear to God--someone performing surgery on a snake." While Last Days guesses that the final procedure was a dissection rather than an operation, we agree with S.'s conclusion that the universe is trying to torture him.
Send your phobic Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the 24-hour Hot Tips hotline at 323-7101 ext. 3113.