Weekly Review — May 15, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to withhold $244 million in United Nations dues if American did not regain its seat on the Human Rights Commission. “This is an affront,” sputtered Dick Armey, the House majority leader, “more to the whole notion of international human rights than it is to us as a nation.” Argentina recalled its ambassador to Cuba after Fidel Castro denounced the current Argentine government as “bootlickers of the Yankees.” Attorney General John Ashcroft delayed the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh after it was discovered that the F.B.I had failed to turn over 3,000 pages of interview reports to McVeigh’s lawyers. A 15-year-old boy in Savannah, Georgia, pled guilty to charges of conspiracy, bomb possession, and making terroristic threats. President George W. Bush asked Vice President Dick Cheney to figure out what to do about terrorism. A four-month-old Palestinian girl was killed by tank fire after Israeli forces shelled a crowded refugee camp in Gaza in what one Israeli general reportedly called an “exaggerated” response to a mortar attack. Two Jewish teenagers who skipped school and went for a hike in the West Bank were found dead in a cave, their heads crushed by rocks. Texas enacted a hate-crimes law previously killed by Governor George W. Bush. Richard Baumhammers, an immigration lawyer who ran amok last year and murdereda Jewish neighbor, two Asians, an Indian, and a black, was sentenced to death. A psychiatrist at the American Psychiatric Association convention announced that he was trying to come up with a scale of depravity to help courts judge the evil that men do.

Scientists at MIT’s Whitehead Institute found evidence that Europeans are descended from about 50 people who left Africa 60,000 years ago and inbred among themselves for 30 generations. A Germanresearcher found that tall men have more children than short men; they also have more wives, because they are more likely to get divorced and their second wives are likely to be younger. Alabama raised the legal marriage age to 16. A large bulge was detected in Oregon near the Three Sisters, a group of volcanoes in the Cascade mountains. The International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency were preparing to combat the inevitable challenge of genetically modified athletes. A performing rat was killed by a wayward curtain rod at a fashion show in Sydney, Australia; animal-rights groups were investigating the incident. Emmpak Foods Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recalled 254,000 pounds of hamburger because of possible E. coli contamination. An Austrian girl was attacked by a record-breaking 150 blood-sucking ticks and survived. The United NationsFood and AgricultureOrganization said that 550,000 tons of old, unused pesticides were threatening to poison food and water supplies worldwide. Three Japanese ships embarked on a two-month whale hunt, supposedly meant to determine whether Brydes, minke, and sperm whales are suffering from pollution.

Russia’s Polar Institute of Fish and Oceanography warned that over 200,000 baby seals were in danger of starving this spring in the White Sea. Environmentalists and fishermen asked the Food and Drug Administration to impose a moratorium on genetically modified fish. President George W. Bush said that free trade was “a moral imperative.” A psychiatrist at Columbia University announced a new study and claimed that “highly motivated” homosexuals can go straight. There were reports that President Bush’s nominee to run the Securities and Exchange Commission once worked for a pornography company that owns websites peddling “Teen Sex Videos” and “Live Nude Amateurs.”In Conroe, Texas, a justice of the peace ordered a boy to bend over, in court, to receive three swats. An enraged passenger attacked a tram driver in Amsterdam and bit off part of his finger. Almost 60 percent of the Army National Guard’s helicopters were grounded due to a shortage of spare parts. President Bush said that his big tax cut was the best way to deal with high energy costs. California was suffering from rolling blackouts. In Bismarck, North Dakota, police cited a seven-year-old boy for stealing $6 from his mom to buy a Beanie Baby. Perry Como died. The Buddha turned 2,545. Emperor Nero’s Domus Aurea was damaged by heavy rains.

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Editor's Note

Many comedians consider stand-up the purest form of comedy; Doug Stanhope considers it the freest. “Once you do stand-up, it spoils you for everything else,” he says. “You’re the director, performer, and producer.” Unlike most of his peers, however, Stanhope has designed his career around exploring that freedom, which means choosing a life on the road. Perhaps this is why, although he is extremely ambitious, prolific, and one of the best stand-ups performing, so many Americans haven’t heard of him. Many comedians approach the road as a means to an end: a way to develop their skills, start booking bigger venues, and, if they’re lucky, get themselves airlifted to Hollywood. But life isn’t happening on a sit-com set or a sketch show — at least not the life that has interested Stanhope. He isn’t waiting to be invited to the party; indeed, he’s been hosting his own party for years.

Because of the present comedy boom, civilians are starting to hear about Doug Stanhope from other comedians like Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, and Louis CK. But Stanhope has been building a devoted fan base for the past two decades, largely by word of mouth. On tour, he prefers the unencumbered arrival and the quick exit: cheap motels where you can pull the van up to the door of the room and park. He’s especially pleased if there’s an on-site bar, which increases the odds of hearing a good story from the sort of person who tends to drink away the afternoon in the depressed cities where he performs. Stanhope’s America isn’t the one still yammering on about its potential or struggling with losing hope. For the most part, hope is gone. On Word of Mouth, his 2002 album, he says, “America may be the best country, but that’s like being the prettiest Denny’s waitress. Just because you’re the best doesn’t make you good.”

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“Bolivia’s gene banks contain far more quinoa varieties than any other country’s, yet the Bolivians are dead set against sharing them.”
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“He explained how sober Doug structured the bits and worked out the material’s logic; drunk Doug found the funny.”
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Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:

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