The week got off to a lethally shocking start today, as Reuters reported a tale of pork, power tools, and a pair of pitiful passings from the outskirts of Budapest. The saga began on Saturday, when residents of a small Hungarian village gathered for their annual pre-Christmas pig-killing party. (Now there's a fresh idea for Martha Stewart.) Celebrations soon took a dark turn as a visiting Croatian man shocked himself to death while trying to knock out a pig with a homemade electric pig stunner (yet another great Martha notion). Then things got really funky: After attempting to rescue the Croatian man by unplugging his faulty pig stunner, the owner of the pig, a village local whose somatic empathy should soon be a matter of world renown, had a heart attack and died. There is no word on the fate of the pig.


Today: A story of almost unprecedented creepiness from Seattle's smelly sister to the south, Tacoma. This morning in Tacoma Superior Court, a man accused of raping teenage girls after promising to make them plus-sized models entered a modified plea of guilty in exchange for reduced charges. Prosecutors say Timothy James Lynum used phony business cards to convince three girls, ages 15 to 19, that he was a fashion photographer. (The Associated Press reported Lynum met two of his victims at the Tacoma Mall, and picked up the third on the street.) "Once the girls agreed to model for him," court documents said, "[Lynum] attempted to persuade them to perform sex acts on video for money. Girls who didn't perform as told were raped." Today Lynum accepted an Alford plea, in which he did not admit guilt, but acknowledged that a jury would likely convict him; Lynum's plea covers three counts of third-degree rape, three counts of possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor. Considering Lynum's shameless preying upon chubby teenage girls--easily the most vulnerable among us--Last Days looks forward to Lynum doing some "modeling" of his own during his recommended five-year sentence in the big house.


As avid readers know, if there's one thing that piques Last Days' interest (besides infomercials, Tolstoy novels, and candy that tastes like medicine), it's the innocent discovery of a long-dead body. Today the Associated Press reported the discovery of just such a body in the town of Warminster, PA, where a man who bought a condo sight unseen at a sheriff's sale found a badly decomposed corpse lying in the middle of the living room. Police believe the corpse to be the condominium's 49-year-old former owner, described by neighbors as a "hermit" who kept the apartment dark by putting duct tape over the insides of the windows. And while the rotting body was not being cared for by a heartbroken orphan, Last Days is pleased to report the presence of three years' worth of unopened mail lying just inside the door.

··Speaking of fascinating discoveries: Today the U.K. Guardian reported that astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have detected the atmosphere of a planet circling a star 150 light-years away. According to the study (led by David Charbonneau of the California Institute of Technology), the latest planetary discovery is different from the other 80-plus planets identified around distant stars in recent years. Most of those planets had to be inferred from the gravitational wobble they create in their parent stars. But the tilted orbit of the newly discovered planet (located in the constellation Pegasus) leads it to pass in front of its star, causing the star to dim very faintly every 3.5 days, and enabling researchers to detect an extraterrestrial planet directly for the first time in history. Congratulations to the smart astronomers, who we hope will repay our praise by naming the new planet either Mrs. Nelson or Funkytown.


In the lamest case of feigned ignorance since Clarence Thomas described sticking a pubic hair on Anita Hill's Diet Coke as a whimsical joke between peers, today Spanish soccer star Francisco Gallardo expressed his total surprise at being investigated by the Spanish Football Federation after biting a teammate's genitals to congratulate him for scoring a goal. "I don't think what I did was very noteworthy," Gallardo told Reuters. "I had completely forgotten about the celebration by the time the game had ended. It would be a shame if I was punished for such a minor matter." Unfortunately for Gallardo, Spanish sporting authorities are considering a variety of punishments--including fines and suspension--should they deem his penis-biting "celebration" an infringement of what the rule book describes as "sporting dignity and decorum," and what Last Days describes as "some freak-ass kinky shit."

··Also: Today brought the death-by-cancer of beloved Beatles guitarist (and slightly less beloved solo artist) George Harrison. The so-called quiet Beatle penned a handful of eternal pop songs (our fave: "Here Comes the Sun"), played on a handful of eternal pop albums (our fave: Rubber Soul), and married the woman who broke Eric Clapton's heart (inspiring the also-eternal "Layla"). Acknowledging that the Beatles consisted of one deep, dark genius, one grating wannabe, and two hardworking schmucks, Harrison distinguished himself from fellow schmuck Ringo Starr by cultivating an exceptional musical talent. Acknowledging that the Beatles are dying in order of coolest to lamest, Harrison triumphed over grating wannabe Paul by cultivating the virtue of humility, along with the virtue of not doing duets with Michael Jackson. Happy trails to Mr. Harrison, who, as a devotee of Eastern religion, has most likely dissolved into white light in a space beyond time where the sitars never cease. Or maybe he's being reborn as a dachshund as we speak. (P.S. The concept of the Beatles' coolest-to-lamest death tendencies was developed by and stolen from Ms. Hannah Levin.)


Hey, did you hear that after 20 years of fruitless searching, today King County authorities finally arrested a suspect in the Green River killings? So did we.

>>Also today: A bunch of people marched from Capitol Hill to Westlake Center to protest something or other.


Today Last Days accidentally broke 15 years of vegetarianism by unknowingly consuming some Easy Cheese flavored with bacon. It was delicious.


The week concludes with a return visit to everybody's favorite hate-packed marrieds, The Lockhorns. For over 125 years, comic artist Bill Hoest has brilliantly illuminated the wedlocked human condition through his inky protagonists Leroy (a lecherous, penny-pinching drunk) and Loretta (an ugly, gossipy hag who can't cook), two spouses whose inexhaustible hatred of each other is matched only by their inexplicable refusal to get a divorce. Today's strip offered yet another primo dose of Hoest humor, as Leroy ripped Loretta three new assholes, dissing her mother, her hairdo, and, as always, her cooking. In these topsy-turvy times, when buildings tumble and postage kills, it's nice to have something to rely on. Thank you, Mr. Hoest.

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