Newsflash! Hollywood is really weird. Though it is always extremely popular for a celebrity to have a stalker, now even the Hollywood stalkers have their own stalkers--in this case Ben Affleck. Dig this: Alleged stalker Matthew Hooker--who not only has been ordered to stop bugging the shit out of starlet Nicole Kidman, but is also threatening to run for President--is now accusing Pearl Harbor bohunk Ben Affleck of stalking him. According to Hooker (on his website --don't miss it), Affleck has been following him around in order to "ruin my reputation with leading actresses." He also claims Affleck has tailed him while disguised as "a Frenchman." And what exactly does a "Frenchman" look like these days? In Affleck's case he had "a 'pencil' or 'toothbrush' mustache and a French shirt on." Regardless, Hooker has had just about enough of this stalking-the-stalker business, as he writes, "Ben, if you think by smearing me you so you can get Gwyneth back, or date Claudia, grow up." No doubt this infuriated Affleck, who probably threw down his "toothbrush" mustache, and yelled, "You win this time, Hooker. But if you think I'm gonna vote for you for President, you can forget about it!"

Today, according to the Register Guard, Eugene cops confiscated 19 pounds of marijuana and $10,000 in cash from the well-known Christian denomination: The Popular Society of the I Am Assembly. The millennium-old group was founded shortly after Joseph Smith led the Mormons on the search for the golden plates; spiritual leader Sativa Mary Jane led a similar search a year later for the golden buds, which were discovered growing in the Humboldt forest. The current leader of the sect, Daniel Carl Ernst--Saturday Market Food Vendor by day, spiritual deity by night--explained that the tenants of the religion involve "not damaging other people or property, and striving for good health." Clearly, these goals can only be accomplished through one form of worship: smoking a shitload of Killer Green Buds (also known as KGBs), a mandatory practice for all members of The Society. The sect also claims to be a distributor of medical marijuana, and several of Ernst's "patients" told the press that with Ernst's weekly distribution of stanky nugs, they'll no longer suffer from conditions like "cachexia [defined as "general ill health and malnutrition" by the Medical Encyclopedia] and "debilitating pain to the shoulder and the knee." Ernst faces charges of delivery, manufacturing, and possession of a controlled substance. Luckily, Ernst won't have to deal with any of that; like the religious guru that he is, he explained that "The Church is not beholden to the state Our authority comes from within." Hmmm lucky him.

Hugs can kill! And if you don't believe it, just ask One Day Hot Tipper, Susan, who was almost hugged to death today on a busy Portland street. Here's the horrible, but true, story: Susan was waiting for a bus on the corner of 5th and Salmon when she was approached by a very large black woman who identified herself as Tina. After brief introductions, Tina asked Susan if she'd like to have dinner. After politely refusing, Tina then asked, "Well, then can I have a hug?" Susan figured "What could it hurt?" and gave the woman a hug. That's when the large woman threw her arms around Susan, and began squeezing her with great force. "Okay! Okay! I have to go," Susan said, struggling to get free. But the woman wouldn't let go. Susan thought tickling her might work, but that only spurned the woman on: "Tickle me again," she said. "Rub my hair, and other things." The woman then dragged Susan across the street and slammed her again and again into a tree. And here's the worst part, folks! Though Susan screamed repeatedly for help NO ONE on the crowded street heeded her call. Eventually, Susan managed to slip free and jump on to a waiting bus. Tina stood outside the bus screaming Susan's name as the bus pulled away. According to two other friends of Susan's, this is not the first instance of Tina's attempts at hug-ocide, so if you are approached by this woman, by all means, do not hug her! She's not only armed, she's dangerous!

And it's not only the populace of Portland who are cowering in terror; New Yorkers are shaking in their Guccis because of a two-foot-long alligator lurking in Central Park. Realizing that city-folk have no experience in capturing such a dangerous and wily beast, officials have turned to an expert: Mike "Possum" Bailey, a Seminole Indian and gator wrestler from Florida. Possum's proposed game plan is simple--wait until night falls, and then lure the errant alligator to him by imitating the sounds of a frog or splashing fish. "To get an alligator to come to you," Possum sagely notes, "don't let him see you because you're big. They get intimidated by large things. They only eat small prey." And though gator catching is rough business (just ask former attorney general Janet Reno), Possum is excited about the job. "This is a nice thing for me," he said. "I've never been to New York before!" After the capture, Possum plans on perhaps taking the alligator to a couple of Broadway shows and maybe lunch at the Carnegie Deli. They make a nice matzo ball soup.

Whoopsy! It turns out that the Great Central Park Alligator wasn't an alligator after all--it was a "spectacled caiman," whatever the hell that is. In other news, some hunters have killed, skinned, and disemboweled a goggle-wearing matted terrier they claim is Bigfoot.

In the ongoing efforts of "the man" to squash hippie frivolity, Idaho legislators have asked the Forest Service to crack down on this summer's Rainbow Gathering, due to take place in Boise National Forest. The first Rainbow Gathering was held in Colorado in 1972, and since then, 20,000 hippies and wannabes have gathered on public land every summer to (in the vaguely threatened words of today's New York Times) "espouse peace and environmentalism." Idaho, known for its progressive politics and tolerance of alternative lifestyles, refused the Rainbows proper permits and is now fining early arrivals right and left for various infractions. Our source at The Orange County Register says that the hippies are organizing, planting homemade land mines, and digging a catacomb of Vietcong-like tunnels in preparation for a police insurgency. Or maybe they're just gardening.

The Oregonian
reported today that relatives and neighbors are rallying to the support of Andrea Yates, the maternally challenged woman who systematically drowned her five small children in the bathtub last week. "I liked her very much," the paper quoted home school supply storeowner Terry Arnold as saying. Ms. Yates' overly-accepting-and-just-a-little-creepy husband, Russell, has also come to her defense, calmly attributing her behavior to "severe postpartum depression," and pledging his forgiveness and understanding. Andrea Yates submerged her five children in the tub, one by one, and held them under the water until they were dead. She had to chase her oldest child, age seven, through the house. His body was still in the bathtub when the police arrived. "I'm not saying what she did was right," allowed Terry Arnold, "but we shouldn't rush to any judgments." Makes you worry a little less about caimans.

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