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North Korea needed food.BBC NewsWal-Mart announced that it would export $18 billion worth of Chinese goods,Forbesand researchers in Singapore developed a system that allows people to pet chickens over the Internet.Wired NewsPakistan was working to stop bearbaiting,BBC NewsChina put a halt to the practice of using naked women for plates in sushi restaurants,BBC Newsand Warren Beatty was wondering whether he should run for governor of California.ABC NewsNew York was reviewing a law that allows convicted rapists to obtain Viagra through Medicaid,APand a parachutist died in a fall from the Eiffel Tower.News.telegraphKylie Minogue announced that she has breast cancer.BBC NewsBritish MP George Galloway went to Washington, D.C., to respond to allegations that he profited from the U.N.-managed Iraq oil-for-food program. “I met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him,” said Galloway. “The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns, and to give him maps the better to target those guns.”GuardianBefore he testified, Galloway called journalist Christopher Hitchens “a drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay.”GuardianGeorge W. Bush vowed to veto any bill that eases funding restrictions on stem-cell research,BBC Newsand Donald Trump called on New York City to rebuild the Twin Towers, only taller, and described the city’s planned “Freedom Tower” as “the worst pile of crap architecture I have ever seen in my life.”CNN.comIn Britain, Ford Motor Company suspended seven workers when they were caught looking at woman-on-octopus pornography on company computers. “Management,” said an employee, “didn’t see the funny side.”The Sun
A professor of biology at Indiana University claimed that the female orgasm was only for fun,AZCentral.comand Laura Bush went to Jerusalem, where she wore a black pantsuit and black shawl to the Dome of the Rock and the women’s section of the Western Wall. “We commit ourselves,” she said, “to reject hatred and to teach tolerance and live in peace.” She was heckled by both Muslims and Jews.New York TimesOn the same day, Ariel Sharon visited New York City, where he was also heckled by Jews.BBC NewsIn Chile, Augusto Pinochet’s doctors claimed that Pinochet had suffered a stroke; human-rights lawyers said he was just being wily.ABC.net.auVenezuelan president Hugo Chavez said that he might break diplomatic ties with the United States if the U.S. did not hand over Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA employee who is accused of blowing up a Cuban airplane in 1976, killing seventy-three people.BBC NewsAn avalanche in the Andes killed forty-one Chilean soldiers,Houston Chronicleand in West Virginia, a 1,500-pound camel sat on a woman as she painted a fence.USA TodayNear Seattle, Mary K. Letourneau, forty-three, married Vili Fualaau, twenty-two, whom she first raped when he was twelve,BBC Newsand a California man was arrested because he lived in a tent for two weeks in order to buy tickets to the new Star Wars movie; his doing so violated a requirement that, as a sex offender, he let police know if he changed lodgings.NCTimesIt turned out that a grenade that landed one hundred feet away from George W. Bush during a recent speech in Tbilisi, Georgia, was not a training device but had simply failed to work. Georgian officials offered an $11,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.New York TimesIn Bolotnikovo, Russia, a lake disappeared.ReutersPeople in Zanzibar were living in fear of a sexually rapacious, sodomy-prone goblin named Popo Bawa,Reutersand Dr. W. David Hager, the George W. Bush-appointed adviser to the FDA and a vocal opponent of emergency contraception, abortion, and pre-marital sex, was accused by his ex-wife of anally raping her on a regular basis over many years. Hager is the author of the books As Jesus Cared for Women and, with his wife, Stress and the Woman’s Body.The Nation
In Texas a five-year-old brought a loaded gun to his pre-kindergarten class,AZCentral.comand in Indiana a three-year-old boy crawled inside a toy vending machine at a Wal-Mart and had to be freed by firemen. He did not receive a toy.BBC NewsThe Bush Administration continued to criticize Newsweek for reporting that U.S. soldiers had desecrated the Koran. “People need to be careful what they say,” said Donald Rumsfeld. “Our United States military personnel go out of their way,” said White House press secretary Scott McClellan, “to make sure that the Holy Koran is treated with care.”New York TimesSince the Newsweek story broke, many other cases of Koran desecration over the last two years have emerged. Apparently, in addition to putting the Koran in the toilet, guards have urinated on it, trampled on it, put it in a urine bucket, and allowed a dog to carry Islam’s holiest book in its mouth.Financial ReviewWashington PostNewspapers published photos of Saddam Hussein standing in his underwear, shuffling around, and sleeping.BBC News The photos may violate the Geneva Convention, which prohibits “outrages upon personal dignity,” and some people questioned whether the photos could incite further violence in the Middle East. “I don’t think a photo inspires murders,” said President Bush.Seattle PI Hussein threatened to sue.BBC NewsSenators compromised on filibusters,MSNBCand a new kind of monkey was discovered in Tanzania. It communicates in honking barks rather than in whoop-gobbles.Washington PostIn Georgia a businessman named Hubert Johnson agreed to take down a large stuffed monkey that was hanging from a crane outside his drilling business. “The message to the workers is, ‘Don’t monkey around with safety’,” said Johnson, even though the monkey had its hands and face painted black and was draped in a Confederate flag.AJC.comIn Houston large black grackles swooped down from magnolia trees to attack passersby, including a lawyer,CNN.comand a man in Holland was being tried on charges that he killed his mother, skinned her, dressed up in her skin, and then went out to direct traffic and recite Bible verses. “He loved her so much,” said his lawyer. Daily RecordIn Iraq sixteen people were killed when a car bomb exploded outside of a restaurant; at least twelve people were killed in other attacks.New York TimesIraq’s unemployed were selling their organs at cut rates,News.telegraphand American funeral homes were earning frequent-flier miles every time they shipped a corpse.Wall Street Journal
More from Paul Ford:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”