· · Speaking of holes in your head, Bonny Lee Bakley, the 45-year-old wife of actor Robert Blake, was found shot in the head in the passenger seat of Blake's car on Friday night after the couple had a meal at a Los Angeles restaurant, Reuters reported. The 67-year-old star of the Our Gang comedies and the TV series Baretta told police he had left his wife alone to retrieve a gun he had left inside the restaurant and returned to find her dead. We would rather not report any more repellent aspects of this sordid tale but instead would prefer to share with readers our childhood memory of going to the local mall to see Baretta's beloved cockatoo. His name was Fred and his handler let us feed him a cracker. Let's just remember the good times, okay?
TUESDAY, MAY 8 William Beith, a 28-year-old former Baptist school principal, allegedly abducted an 11-year-old girl named Gabrielle Marshall. Beith was arrested after police tracked both of them to a Las Vegas Budget Motel, Reuters reported. The Nabokovian tart was last seen running through the parking lot of an Indiana Wal-Mart after reportedly fighting with her parents. Authorities said she probably called her Humbert Humbert, with whom she had already engaged in sex at a school-sponsored camping trip, to pick her up. As FBI agents pursued them across the country, the pair sent letters to their families in which the sixth-grader apologized to her parents but said she was "having fun." The girl's parents were elated to hear that their daughter had been found. "We believe none of this would ever have happened unless we prayed,'' the girl's father said. "We give God the credit for this."
· · Also today, perhaps the Almighty can also be credited with encouraging 33-year-old Jason Pritchard to allegedly slash the throats of four boys, aged seven to nine years old, who were lined up on an Anchorage playground for breakfasts offered to low-income families. All four boys survived the attack. Reuters reported that the religiously-minded lunatic, who has a long history of stalking and threatening children and who once tried to castrate himself to make himself more pure, refused to answer a judge's questions at a court hearing and had to be strapped into his chair to keep him from wandering off. He argued repeatedly that children should be killed to protect them from sin. "Kill the young children first, then kill yourself," he shouted as he was dragged out.
· · Also today, a corpse flower--so noxious, its odor is compared to a rotting body--bloomed for the second time at the University of Washington. The Amorphophallus titanum is native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra and has bloomed in the United States just 20 times. The botanists kindly opened the greenhouse to curiosity-seekers eager to enjoy the stink.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9 When Timothy McVeigh--the best thing to happen to capital punishment since Ted Bundy--meets his fickle maker, it will be with a specially written trumpet fanfare ringing in his ears, Reuters reported. The composer of the "prequiem" called "Ave Atque Vale" ("Onward Valiant Soldier") plans to broadcast it over a radio station on the day of the execution. The Los Angeles musician, David Woodard, claims he wishes no disrespect to the families of the bombing victims. "I do not have any desire to aggravate... those people... who must be feeling incredibly disconnected and psychically bruised," said Woodard. Presumably if the survivors could get their hands on the sensitive artiste, they would help him more clearly define the terms disconnected and bruised.
THURSDAY, MAY 10 The deputy inspector general for tax affairs found that IRS employees used about half their online time at work to visit sex sites, gamble, trade stocks, participate in chat rooms, and shop, the Scripps Howard News Service reported yesterday. The IRS says it is imposing new rules on how employees can use the Internet as a result of the investigation. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he's not satisfied with the agency's response. "It's reasonable to expect a basic level of service from the IRS to taxpayers," he grumbled, noting that during this year's tax season, 37 percent of taxpayers calling the IRS for tax information didn't get their calls answered. Those who were lucky enough to get a response were given wrong answers 47 percent of the time.
· · Also today, one of the first cruise ships to visit southeast Alaskan ports this season was cited for illegally dumping concentrated sewage into the scenic Inside Passage, the U.S. Coast Guard reported. Tests performed by an independent laboratory on effluent samples from the ship showed fecal coliform 3,500 times the allowable federal standard, and suspended solids 180 times the standard. Apparently the offending Norwegian Cruise Lines was simply getting a head start on "President" Dubya's plan to shit all over the Alaskan wilderness.
FRIDAY, MAY 11 A wrongful-death lawsuit became the back door through which the Supreme Court could sneak its definition of a 12-week gestated fetus as a person, Reuters reported today. The case stemmed from the Dec. 13, 1995 death of Evangeline Aka and her unborn son about 30 hours after she was admitted to the hospital so that labor could be induced. Aka's husband, Philip, claimed the defendants were medically negligent in unnecessarily inducing his wife's labor and failing to resuscitate his wife or the unborn baby. "Given this [the court's] amended definition of 'person,' the Legislature plainly affords protection to unborn viable fetuses," Chief Justice W. H. "Dub" Arnold wrote for the court. Hunker down, friends, it's going to get worse before it gets better.
· · Also today, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced a one-month delay in the execution of Timothy McVeigh, just five days before his big death festival, after the FBI belatedly turned over more than 3,000 pages of recently discovered documents and other materials to McVeigh's defense team. "It's just a monumental embarrassment. That's what it is," said one obviously demoralized FBI agent.
SATURDAY, MAY 12 Computer geeks and sci-fi dorks around the globe were saddened when they learned that Douglas Adams, the 49-year-old author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, died suddenly of a heart attack at his Santa Barbara home. So long and thanks for the laughs, Doug!
SUNDAY, MAY 13 Before we'd even had a chance to recover from yesterday's sad news, we were clobbered with the Reuters report that at the age of 87, the crooner Perry Como had permanently left the auditorium. The bluest skies he ever saw were in Seattle....