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Dot-com stocks continued their long slide into the dustbin of history.A large man with a bushy beard ran amok and shot dead seven co-workers at an Internet consulting company near Boston.A hacker named “prime suspectz” cracked the Nasdaq’s web server and left an offensive message; he also mentioned how easy it was to penetrate a Microsoft server.There were bombings in Pakistan and Indonesia and Israel.President Andrés Pastrana of Colombia was considering setting up an autonomous zone for the National Liberation Army, Colombia’s second-largest rebel group, that would be roughly the same size as the zone controlled by Colombia’s largest rebel army, which is roughly the size of Switzerland.The Twentieth Century finally came to an end.Pope John Paul II warned that a “culture of death” was threatening the future.Binyamin Kahane, son of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, who advocated extermination as a final solution to the Palestinian problem, was killed in an ambush in the West Bank. “They have to know and fear that for every hair on a Jew that is harmed, an Arab head may roll,” Kahane’s friend Tiran Pollack told a radio station. “If they understand and feel this, I’m sure we’ll have quiet, because an Arab is like his donkey. Both understand only force.”A mob ran through Jerusalem chanting “Death to the Arabs!” and beating any Palestinians they happened upon.Israeli soldiers assassinated Dr. Thabet Thabet, a senior Palestinian health official, near his home in the West Bank: Last week, an Israeli general admitted on the radio that the extra-judicial killing of suspected terrorists was an official policy of the Israeli government.Sniping, he said, was the preferred method.
Bulgaria honored Georgy Markov, the dissident writer whom Bulgarian spies assassinated in 1972 by stabbing him, in London, with a poisoned umbrella.President Clinton signed the 1998 Rome Treaty on the International Criminal Court over the objections of the Pentagon and many Republicans, who on this subject do perhaps protest too much.Israel immediately said it would sign the treaty.George W. Bush went fishing.A big snowstorm hit the American South: “It’s really the equivalent of having a nuclear device go off,” mused the governor of Arkansas, “without the mushroom cloud or radioactivity.” Police officers were shooting ice off limbs near power lines with shotguns.There were wildfires in Florida and California and on the Alaskan tundra.Vandals broke into the Civil Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama, and ripped up about 30 photographs of state troopers beating marchers on Bloody Sunday in 1965; a Ku Klux Klan hood was stolen from the museum two weeks ago.Thailand’s chief anticorruption official, the leader of the Thai Love Thai party, was forced to resign after he was found to be corrupt.A Mexican court annulled a state election because of evidence of widespread fraud.President Vicente Fox Quesada ordered a military base closed in Chiapas after 700 Indians marched on the base and demanded that he do so.An unofficial recount of Florida’s ballots was being undertaken by journalists under the state’s freedom of information act; Gore was ahead by 140 votes, and a statistical projection showed him winning Florida by 23,000 votes.Spokesmen for the Republican cabal denounced the recount as an attempt to “rewrite history”; Christine Todd Whitman suggested sealing the ballots for ten years.
Two stolen koala bears were recovered from a dung-filled San Francisco home; the koalas were stolen by two Vietnamese Buddhistteenagers who broke into the San Francisco zoo through a skylight and tried to give the bears to their girlfriends, who rejected the gifts.Experts theorized that poor people were fat because they spend too much time in front of the televisioneating Big Macs and such.Fishermen in the Galápagos Islands were resisting new fishing limits, arguing for a strict policy of natural selection in Ecuador’s conservation policies.Russian women were not getting married and having children because too many Russian men were not earning enough money; the New York Times considered this to be yet another example of “freedom’s toll.” A woman succeeded in introducing DNA evidence of infidelity into a divorce proceeding, a first.Abortion clinics in Detroit were competing for customers.Astronomers found evidence that many black holes are younger than previously thought, and still growing.The League of Women Voters said that it was closing its New York office because of financial difficulties.The Seventh World Zoroastrian Congress was held in Houston.A maker of “crush films” was sentenced in New York to 280 hours of community service for depicting women in spike heels speaking in seductive tones while stepping on guinea pigs.A new Britishstudy found that women were more likely to mate with men who show off and take risks.The Bigfoot Field ResearchersOrganization found a large imprint of Bigfoot’s buttocks in southern Washington.
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands theyâ€™d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for â€śfurtive movementsâ€ť:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature