MONDAY, OCTOBER 20 This week of eyeball assault, backwards vandalism, and the New Depression–induced pawnshop renaissance kicks off with aftershocks from the first of the week's little political earthquakes, instigated by longtime John McCain ally/GOP spokesmodel/retired general Colin Powell, who shocked both Republicans and Democrats with his passionate endorsement of Barack Obama on yesterday's Meet the Press. Even better, Powell's praising of Obama was preceded by his dissing of McCain. "In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to how to deal with the economic problems that we were having, and almost every day, there was a different approach to the problem," said Powell. "I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin... I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made." As for the Endorsed One: "I've watched [Obama] during this seven-week period, and he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge, and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a vice president that, I think, is ready to be president on day one, and also, in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor." As for what it all means, take it away, Politico: "The endorsement is likely to help Obama convince skeptical centrists that he is ready to handle the challenges of commander in chief, and it undercuts McCain's argument that he is better qualified on national security issues." Bravo!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21 The week continues with a sad spin on Last Days' weekly pimp theme, as a today in King County Juvenile Court a 16-year-old girl was sentenced to at least two years in juvenile detention after pleading guilty to killing a man who'd hired her for sex. Details come from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which identifies the slain john as 49-year-old Francisco Pena, who was stabbed to death in his Kent home back on April 5. Interviewed by police, the aforementioned 16-year-old girl confessed she stabbed Pena when he refused to let her leave without having sex with him. Originally facing 10 years in prison for second-degree murder, the girl instead entered a modified guilty plea of first-degree manslaughter, receiving two to two-and-a-half years in juvenile detention. Condolences to all.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22 Today brings an answer to the question, "What does the start of a major recession look like?" courtesy of an Associated Press report on the recession-fueled rejuvenation of the pawnshop industry. "In recent weeks, jewelry buyers and gold brokers across the nation have seen a sharp increase in customers—of all economic backgrounds—trading in their possessions for cash," reports the AP, citing the 400 percent increase in business seen by Cash for Gold USA, an internet site that pays cash for mailed-in gold, and the 25 percent increase in walk-in traffic seen by New York City's Empire Gold Buyers, whose owner notes the postcrash presence of "Wall Street–types." Meanwhile in Portland, a jewelry buyer confirms that the market's never been so good—or so depressing: "Little old ladies are coming in with Whitman sample boxes filled with odds and ends and trinkets," said Dan WenDell, owner of Portland's Diamond and Jewelry Buyers.Com. "I used to be in the jewelry business. I am in the recycling business now."

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23 In lighter news, today brings a report of "a little weirdness at Southcenter Mall" courtesy of Hot Tipper Desiree: "I was on the lower level, buckling my little girl into her stroller when a woman walked by, pointed her finger at a man, and yelled 'Stay away from me!' The man was just standing there, seemingly unaware of why the woman was freaking out. Then he turned to me and said, 'She must have seen me do this a couple weeks ago,' after which he placed his pinkies near the outer corners of his eyes and popped his eyeballs out of their sockets. I said, 'Yes, that's probably why she asked you to stay away,' and went about my business. It definitely made my trip to Southcenter worthwhile."

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24 The week continues with the greatest new celebrity to hit the American stage since Mucinex's family of talking mucus-wads: Ashley Todd, the 20-year-old McCain volunteer who burst into the public consciousness on Wednesday, when she called Pittsburgh police to report the big black Barack Obama supporter who saw her McCain bumper sticker and beat her up, carving a "B" into her cheek to "teach her a lesson." As right-leaning news outlets seized on the story, people with eyes noticed the "B" scratched into Ms. Todd's cheek was backward, while investigators became increasingly alarmed over inconsistencies in Todd's statements. Today Ashley Todd met with Pittsburgh investigators to work on a composite sketch of her attacker, and delivered the money-shot punch line: She made the whole thing up. Among the duped: John McCain and Sarah Palin, each of whom phoned the "victim" yesterday to offer support. Ashley Todd (who reportedly admits to a history of mental illness) has been charged with filing a false police report and remains held in Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. In closing, we quote the wisdom offered yesterday by John Moody, the executive vice president of FOX News, who wrote, "If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain's quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting." Here's hoping FOX is reporting the truth for once.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25 Nothing happened today, unless you count HUMP! or the horrible tragedy that swirled around Jennifer Hudson, the Oscar-winning pop star whose mother and brother were found murdered yesterday in their Chicago home, and whose missing nephew will be found dead by the end of tomorrow. In custody: William Balfour, J-Hud's brother-in-law and stepfather to her murdered nephew. Dear God: Not to be crass, but there are approximately 15 million celebrities who deserve murdered families more than Jennifer Hudson. If you'd like a list, let us know.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26 Speaking of ridiculous tragedy: The week ends in Westfield, Massachusetts, where today an 8-year-old boy accidentally killed himself with an Uzi at a gun show. As police told the Associated Press, the boy had been firing the submachine gun under adult supervision at the Westfield Sportsman's Club's Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo, when "the front end of the weapon went up with the backfire and he ended up receiving a round in his head." The boy later died at a hospital. "It's all legal & fun!" read an ad for the expo on the club's website. "No permits or licenses required!!!!'' recommended

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