Surprise, surprise: Something really really stupid is going on in Texas. Today the Dallas Morning News reported on the plight of Rudy Salinas and Scott Dowdle, two very nice men in Waxahachie, TX, who have spent the last three-and-a-half months caring for the crack-addicted baby born to Salinas' ex-wife on January 1. (The baby's mother was arrested on felony drug possession in February and relinquished parental rights in early March; the baby's father is in jail for vehicle registration tampering and parole violation.) Last week, an Ellis County judge ordered the baby removed from the home of the two men -- despite state Child Protective Services findings that the home was safe and appropriate, despite state law allowing same-sex couples to serve as foster or adoptive parents, and despite the fact that the two men are not gay. Salinas, a wrecker driver, and Dowdle, a service station manager, have shared a small mobile home since their respective divorces six years ago; at an April 9 guardianship hearing, Salinas denied under oath that there has ever been any physical or romantic relationship between himself and Dowdle. Still, Judge Bob Carroll claimed the "current placement of the child is NOT in the best interest of the child" -- a decision supported by the baby's incarcerated father, who claimed two guys living together "ain't right." The baby is scheduled to be taken from the two men and placed in a state foster home one week from today -- and Salinas and Dowdle are shaping up to be the biggest non-gay gay rights figures since Tinky Winky.

From the stupid state of Texas we move to the wonderful world of condemned meat. Today the USDA declared 30 million pounds of hot dogs, lunch meats, and sausages made by Arkansas meat plant Thorn Apple Valley Inc. to be unfit for human consumption, reports Reuters. Unfortunately, the bad meat is currently scurrying its way 'round the globe, with nearly 12 million pounds of the stuff reportedly exported to Russia and South Korea. News of the USDA action has alarmed U.S. meat analysts, who fear the export of the tainted meat "may sour" foreign countries from accepting even donated U.S. meat products. But all is not lost: Under federal law, the 18 million pounds of condemned meat remaining in the U.S. can be made into pet food.

Sad, sad news: Today celebrated performance artist, porn star, and all-around sex goddess Annie Sprinkle (currently in town performing at the Velvet Elvis Arts Lounge) received a crushing blow when her houseboat home in Sausalito, California was destroyed by fire. Reportedly caused by a candle left burning by her housesitter, the blaze wiped out the majority of Sprinkle's personal and professional life: her computer and its contents, her camera equipment, her photo archives, master copies of her videos, her wardrobe, drafts of her upcoming books, and worst of all, her two cats. Most impressively, Sprinkle has remained in Seattle to fulfill her performance obligations through this weekend. Like most artists, Sprinkle doesn't have insurance, and while she is of the disposition to view such a tragedy as a "cleansing opportunity for rebirth," this is some fucked-up shit, and anyone who's ever been touched by Sprinkle's work should send warm thoughts and cold cash to Annie at P.O. Box 396, Sausalito, CA 94965.

Today was Tax Day, and all over the city, procrastinators were in a dither, desperately attempting to make sense of their fucked-up financial lives. Around The Stranger, more than one person's savings were entirely wiped out from misjudging their tax burden: "I will be eating nothing but Top Ramen for the next seven months," said one unlucky soul. Others were happily surprised by the leniency of allowable deductions: "My accountant told me that, as an artist, I have the right to deduct everything that makes it possible for me to make my art -- books, CDs, movie rentals, supplies, even booze!" God bless America.
7#183;· Meanwhile, today at a lovely local independent bookstore, a clerk received a phone call from a man asking, "Do you sell new or used books?" "I told him 'new,'" said the female clerk. "Then he said, 'So let me tell you about the time I had sex with a Hoover vacuum cleaner.'" The clerk hung up, and the man proceeded to call back three times, pulling the exact same stunt with three different female employees. Finally, one was smart enough to hit *69, phone the man back, and threaten, "We know your number, and if you don't stop calling, we're going to call you back every five minutes for the rest of the week." The man never phoned again.

Today the standard direction of local air masses was reversed from ocean-to-land to land-to-ocean, allowing warmer air from Eastern Washington to flow over the Cascades and causing temperatures to rise to a freakishly high and record-setting 80 degrees. Seattleites responded to this terrifying phenomenon by crowding into public parks, renting kayaks, and wearing far, far less than they ever should.
7#183;· While the rest of the city was relishing the unseasonable warmth, 175 Alaska Airlines ticket agents and baggage handlers in Seattle and Portland called in sick to work, resulting in the cancellation of 28 flights and affecting nearly 1,500 passengers, reports The Seattle Times. Although Alaska's baggage handlers have been negotiating for a new contract since 1996, and the ticket agents since 1998, an organized sick-out would violate the workers' contract. Airline officials are assuming all 175 were legitimately ill, and are requiring all absent employees to bring a doctor's note the day they return to work.

Today: Two tales of vomit. Tale #1: A personal account from a lovely young lady we'll call Pukeena, whose story of gastrointestinal woe began at a barbecue, where she consumed a hamburger, some soba noodles, and some barbecued shrimp with a delicious cilantro-garlic-lemon sauce -- all washed down with the deadly alcoholic triumvirate of beer, champagne, and whiskey (in that order). At home an hour later, she barfed up the majority of her buffet into the toilet; the rest emerged an hour later, and was deposited in a saucepan beside her bed. Tale #2: An eyewitness account of public puking in the Pike/Pine corridor, involving two fratboy-types stumbling along the intersection of Bellevue and Pine. Our witness saw one of the men brace himself against an apartment building, then bend at the waist to spout out three bursts of pure liquid. "It was like Niagara Falls," said our lucky spectator, "except for a couple of solid things that looked like mothballs."

Our week wraps up with a whacked happening from the streets of downtown. At 6:30 pm, at the corner of Boren and Howell, a green Audi Quattro spewing bursts of black smoke came to dead stop at the traffic light. Unable to restart the car, its owner -- a middle-aged guy in a snazzy running suit -- abandoned the Audi and staggered off down the street. "He looked completely wasted," said one bystander. The police ("one of whom had a surprisingly cute, small butt -- for a cop") were called to deal with the deserted car, and eventually the man staggered back. Seeing the cops, the man attempted to walk right on by, but his staggering caught the cops' attention, and soon the truth came out. The man was frisked, questioned, and, finally, loaded into an ambulance. Meanwhile, his Audi was pushed into a neighboring parking lot by an ambulance attendant and the cop with the cute butt. "It wasn't really all that exciting," said the bystander. "Are you sure this is news?"

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