MONDAY, JULY 30 The week begins with two tales of legalized pot use from North America. We begin north of the border in Canada, where today a new ruling went into effect allowing terminally/chronically ill Canadians to grow and smoke their own marijuana. Under the new ruling, Reuters reports, doctor-approved patients who are suffering from terminal illnesses or certain chronic conditions can apply for a government ID card allowing them access to the relaxing, pain-killing, appetite-inducing effects of pot. For those sick Canadians who can't grow their own dope, the Canadian government has licensed a company--Prairie Plant Systems Inc., who will grow the plants in a mine in Manitoba--to provide doctor-approved patients with a 30-day supply of marijuana. (However, this doctor-issued pot has a THC level of only six percent, compared with street pot's 15 to 18 percent.) "This compassionate measure will improve the quality of life of sick Canadians," said Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock, whose rosy opinion is shared by 51-year-old Toronto patient Jake Peters, who says he's pleased to be able to acquire his medicine from licensed professionals, rather than "unsavory characters who carry weapons."

·· Meanwhile, on the dumber side of the border: Today in Seattle, the Green Cross, a local co-operative that supplies medicinal marijuana to scores of patients, closed down operations after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the commander of the Seattle Police Department's narcotics division. At issue, according to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer report, is the state law dictating the distribution of dope to doctor-approved patients. This law states that a person delivering marijuana for medical use must "be the primary caregiver to only one patient at any one time." Police and prosecutors interpret the law to mean that each patient may have only one caregiver, and each caregiver only one patient, while JoAnna McKee, a co-founder of Green Cross, says that because she deals with patients one at a time, she is within legal guidelines. Green Cross will remain closed while its lawyers work with authorities to resolve the matter.

TUESDAY, JULY 31 Today: A creepy case of child abuse from San Jose, California. That's where Rosemarie Radovan was sentenced to three months in jail, five months of home detention, five years of probation, and a lifetime of shame for repeatedly locking her children in the trunk of her car while she was at work. The Associated Press reports that Radovan left her five- and seven-year-old sons in her car's trunk as many as 10 times a year, while she worked at an electronics manufacturing company in Santa Clara. (However, on some lucky occasions, the car's back seat was lowered so the boys could crawl from the trunk into the passenger section.) Radovan was arrested in November, after a co-worker told police he heard a child crying in Radovan's car, while he and Radovan drove to get ice cream. (In an act of heartlessness that Judge Robert Ambrose deemed "particularly offensive," Radovan simply turned up the car's radio and kept driving.) And while Radovan's sad story raises valid questions about the expense and availability of decent child care, it should be noted that Radovan was driving a new car.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1 Dear God, say it isn't so: In an exposé of near-Watergate proportions, today San Antonio TV station KSAT aired the mind-blowing accusations of a woman who claims that the nationally celebrated television psychic Miss Cleo is a fraud--and she can prove it! "She's just an actress. They told me she was," says the former Miss Cleo receptionist, who wisely wishes to remain nameless. (Hell hath no fury like a faux Jamaican psychic scorned.) Last Days is simply floored by this revelation, and looks forward to future KSAT exposés revealing that the Earth is round and pizza is delicious.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2 Yay for Jews! Today in a riveting Seattle P-I opinion piece, Seattle rabbi Moshe Kletenik came out swinging for stem-cell research, the controversial procedure employing cells from abandoned frozen pre-embryos, which has shown great promise in treating many horrible illnesses. Rabbi Kletenik acknowledges that the procedure is particularly opposed by Catholics, who believe life begins at conception, who consider in-vitro fertilization to be unnatural intervention in God's plan, and who denounce stem-cell research as murder of the blessed embryo. But according to Jewish law, God endowed humans with intelligence so we can work to improve the world, and so it is totally appropriate to use in-vitro fertilization to help infertile couples conceive. Furthermore, the Talmud states that a fetus is "mere fluid" until 40 days out of the womb, and while no one's advocating chopping up newborns, the use of pre-embryos for stem-cell research is entirely within Jewish law. In closing, the butt-kicking rabbi urged our cracker-ass President Bush to "allow funding to continue this crucial research that can potentially alleviate the suffering of so many." Hear, hear.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3 Like patronizing Starbucks or renting a hooker, visiting a museum is something that is traditionally done only in towns other than one's own. Today Last Days perpetuated this iffy tradition by traveling to San Francisco, where we had the great pleasure of visiting the Museum of Modern Art. In the S.F. MoMA's glammy halls, we strolled past many lovely works, including one that ranks alongside Mike White and Miguel Arteta's Chuck & Buck, Mark Merlis' American Studies, and PJ Harvey's Rid of Me as our favorite work of art ever: Mark Rothko's No. 14, 1960. Last Days declines to insult the universe's intelligence by attempting to describe the painting's power in writing. Suffice it to say that the wall-sized work places a giant red block above a smaller blue-black block, and somehow manages to make all who encounter it weep in awe and gratitude.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4 Speaking of intoxication by art, here's a story of intoxication by booze: Today every news source in America reported that Ben Affleck, the 28-year-old actor who impressed Last Days in Chasing Amy and bored us in everything else, has checked himself into a Malibu rehab center for alcohol abuse. Most interesting was a gossip column report from Las Vegas, where the loaded (and loaded) Affleck was seen on a "boozy gambling binge," reportedly winning $800,000 at blackjack at the Hard Rock Hotel just days before his arrival at the live-in rehab facility. (Apparently Affleck is a happy drunk: For the second time in a year, the big winner gave away $150,000 in tips.) The newly dry Affleck is in good rehab company: His chosen facility is currently home to both the perennially busted Robert Downey Jr. and alleged child-molester Paula Poundstone.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5 Once again, nothing happened today.

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