MONDAY, APRIL 19
It's the problem that's threatening to turn Oregon into a 97,052-square-mile Honey Bucket: roadside urine dumping. Today, to fight the epidemic of plastic jugs of urine being tossed from cars onto the roadside, the Oregon House Transportation Committee endorsed House Bill 3530, which would make improper disposal of human waste punishable by fines of up to $2,500. The Seattle P-I reports that the bill would target all urine-tossing motorists, but would specify harsher penalties for commercial drivers; in addition to pricey fines, pro truckers found guilty of piss-littering could face license suspension. State officials blame the boom in abandoned jugs on increased competition in the trucking industry, which deters truckers from stopping for pee breaks, but Oregon trucking associations are crying foul and playing innocent. "I don't think there's any evidence it's the trucking industry," said trucker lobbyist Robert Russell, adding, "Whoever's doing it shouldn't be doing it." Bill 3530 now goes to the Oregon Senate Transportation Committee.
TUESDAY, APRIL 20
Today in Littleton, Colorado, two trenchcoat-wearing, Hitler-obsessed, KMFDM-worshipping social outcasts, armed with three large guns, a machine pistol, and more than 30 homemade bombs, murdered 12 fellow students, and one teacher, and wounded 23 others at Columbine High School. As the nation lost its shit over this latest and bloodiest example of violence perpetrated by American kids, politicians and pundits tried to answer the question, "How could this happen?" Most blamed the desensitizing level of violence portrayed in the entertainment industry -- from the prevalence of graphic murders dramatized on network television to the popularity of hyper-realistic shoot-'em-up video games. While the desensitization argument is indisputable, the fact remains that kids have always been cruel and violent, and it is the job of guardians (both governmental and parental) to make it as hard as possible for these fucked-up little freaks to get their hands on legitimate weapons of destruction. In this, both the government and the parents failed. (One of the killers' families neglected to notice the presence of both bomb-making materials and the sawed-off-shotgun barrel in their son's bedroom, while U.S. gun control laws remain the laughing stock of the world.) The tragedy in Littleton will do nothing to alter our gun control laws, but 50 bucks says at least one of the parents of one of the killers will commit suicide by the end of next week.
··· Let's not forget today's other tragedy: the death of Señor Wences, the Spanish-born TV ventriloquist who slapped a wig on his fist and called it art. After fearlessly breaking the lipstick-on-the-hand barrier, Wences entertained humanity for over 40 years. "S'alright? S'alright!" The rest is silence.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21
Today, on its 37th birthday, the Space Needle was designated an Official City of Seattle Landmark. Having met all six criteria for landmark status under the Seattle Municipal Code (including being tall, pointy, and useless), the unfortunate monument was honored by Mayor Paul Schell, members of the City Council, and Space Needle owners the Howard S. Wright family at a late-morning ceremony at the Seattle Center Flag Plaza Stage. Built as the centerpiece of the 1962 World's Fair to "represent American aspirations toward technological prowess in the 21st century," the Needle has continued to attract tourists and repel locals for nearly four decades, and has been home to numerous weddings, one birth, and three suicide leaps. Next up for landmark status consideration: the Fremont troll, Jean Enersen's hair, and Seattle Times columnist Emmett Watson.
··· Also today: A creepy coincidence at the Meridian 16 Cinemas. Early this afternoon, an African American man (well, actually he's from Zimbabwe) ventured out to a matinee of the new Eddie Murphy/Martin Lawrence flick, Life. While waiting in the ticket line, he noticed a tall, thin, somewhat pimply man in his early 20s standing around in a long, black trenchcoat. "This was the day after two thin, somewhat pimply boys with racist leanings in long, black trenchcoats blasted their way through the Colorado school," said the understandably nervous man, whose apprehension turned to anxiety when he noticed that the would-be Trenchcoat Mafioso was attending the same film as he. "But then I realized it was unlikely that a trigger-happy racist would spend his afternoon at an Eddie Murphy movie," said the man. "Still, I took a seat very close to the exit."
THURSDAY, APRIL 22
Today was Earth Day, the annual celebration designed to promote environmental awareness, encourage conservation of the Earth's natural resources, and provide corporations with the opportunity to distort their hideous anti-environmental track records by spending one day a year handing out Frisbees made from post-consumer waste. But in the U-District, a spasmodically violent blues fan forsook honoring the earth to stage a one-man protest against bad rock music. While stopped at a red light in his SUV (whose stereo blasted forth B.B. King), the man leapt from his vehicle with an acoustic guitar and announced, "Bad rock & roll! This is bad rock & roll!" He then raised the guitar over his head and smashed it three times to the pavement, sending splintered guitar bits flying, and impressing passersby. The man then got into his car and drove away.
FRIDAY, APRIL 23
Today Governor Gary Locke wussed out of the first college-commencement address of his term, after learning he would be sharing the stage with the audio-taped voice of death-row inmate, anti-death-penalty poster guy, and lefty hero du jour Mumia Abu-Jamal. The Seattle P-I reports that Locke was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the Evergreen State College graduation ceremony on June 11, but he backed out in order to protest the inclusion of convicted cop-killer Abu-Jamal and to support law enforcement officers, (Locke is a former prosecutor who backs the death penalty, enjoys strong support from law enforcers, and is up for re-election next year.) Locke had planned to speak to the students about the optimistic future he sees for today's young people, but instead will offer them only a perfect portrait of a quitter.
SATURDAY, APRIL 24
Colorado's not the only state plagued with psychotic teens. Here's a freakish tidbit from our very own Renton, reported in today's Seattle Times. On the evening of the Littleton massacre, a 17-year-old Renton boy returned home "visibly upset," and demanded that his mother drive him to the store to buy cigarettes. When mom refused, the boy announced that he had chopped off a kitten's head with an axe on the family's porch. The mother soon found the dead kitten and attempted to call the police, but found that her phone line had been severed. The mother then craftily agreed to drive her son to the store, where she called the police and had her son arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree animal cruelty. Eep.
SUNDAY, APRIL 25
As this awful week of urine, teenage slaughter, and kitty-killing came to a close, Last Days tried to ease our angst with some mindless late-night television viewing. However, we were promptly assaulted with an absolutely atrocious MD toilet-paper commercial, featuring a shot of a toilet and a portentous voice-over informing viewers that using strong, absorbent toilet tissue such as MD greatly reduces the risk of besmudging your hands with feces. Following this icky revelation we were treated to footage of Vice President Gore addressing mass mourners at a Littleton memorial service; as usual, Gore displayed all the spontaneity and emotion of an artificial limb. (Plus, that man has got some major comb-over action going on with his soon-to-be chrome dome.) But our spirits soared with the sight of kick-ass insurance commissioner Deborah Senn talking tough on KONGTV. Despite her unfortunate leisure suit, Senn displayed all the sass 'n' smarts she's known for, and the hope that she will whup the crusty butt of Slade Gorton in the next Senate election is enough to keep us alive for another week.
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