Weekly Review — June 28, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Runaway Raft on the Tigris, March 1875]
Runaway Raft on the Tigris.

Bombs went off in Baghdad and Kirkuk, gunmen killed three people in a Baghdad barbershop, then blew it up,Reutersand suicide bombers killed thirty-three people in Mosul.Bloomberg.comTwenty-one thousand people gathered at Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice.United Nations turned sixty.Sify.comSeventy-six insurgents were killed in Afghanistan, although the United States said that number might only be fifty-six, and that they were having trouble keeping a tally of the dead.CNN.comIt was revealed that North Korea had approached the United States in 2002, offering to “resolve the nuclear issue” if North Korea’s sovereignty was acknowledged; the Bush Administration rejected the offer.ReutersThe United States was negotiating with Iraqi militants, including members of the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, which is responsible for the attack on a U.S. dining hall last Christmas that killed twenty-two people.Times of India“The reality,” said Senator Chuck Hagel (R., Nebraska), “is that we are losing in Iraq.”U.S. News and World Report“Insurgencies,” said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “tend to go on five, six, eight, ten, twelve years.”BBC News“I think about Iraq,” said President George W. Bush.ReutersThe University of Connecticut was planning to offer a master’s degree in homeland security,CNN.comand the United States admitted to the United Nations that U.S. prisoners have been tortured in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at Guantánamo Bay.The IndependentCanada appointed an ambassador to Iraq,The Ottawa Sunand judges in North Carolina were preparing to deliberate over whether the Koran can be used instead of the Bible to administer oaths.JournalNowAt the U.S. Justice Department, the $8,000 modesty curtains used to cover the bareness of the statues of Majesty of Justice and Spirit of Justice were removed, once again exposing an aluminum nipple.BBC NewsIt was revealed that the Defense Department, in violation of the federal Privacy Act, has been building a database of thirty million sixteen- to twenty-five-year-olds. “If you don’t want conscription,” said the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, “you have to give the Department of Defense, the military services, an avenue to contact young people.”The New York TimesThe U.S. Navy sent a letter to Fola Coats, an eighty-year-old Arkansas woman, asking her to join the Seabees.KATV.com

Italy sentenced ten former Nazi SS officers to life in prison in absentia,BBC Newsand ordered the arrest of thirteen people linked to the CIA on charges of kidnapping a terror suspect.IHTSwiss railways shut down due to a power failure, Swissinfo.organd gnawing rats shut down telephone, mobile, Internet, and electronic-banking services for 100,000 New Zealanders.APZimbabwe bulldozed some children,The Independentand in Kenya forty-eight people were killed and many others blinded by illegally made alcohol.BBC NewsA second case of mad cow disease was found in the United States.APA monkey in a diaper attacked a fast-food worker in Kentucky,6ActionNews.coma shark killed a fourteen-year-old girl in Florida,CNN.coma very large clam was discovered in Maine,The Ridgway Recordand a two-headed kitten died in Oregon.Local6.comIn Spartanburg, South Carolina, a man was caught molesting a dog. “He had his pants down,” said the owner of the dog, “and he was doing sexual activity with the dog like a man would do to a woman.” The dog, Princess, later died of related injuries. Fox CarolinaBritish taxpayers were each paying the equivalent of $1.12 yearly to support the royal family. “We believe,” said the keeper of the privy purse, “this represents a value-for-money monarchy. We’re not looking to provide the cheapest monarchy.”It was reported that Princess Diana once had an affair with John F. Kennedy Jr., but did not pursue the relationship further because they were astrologically incompatible.News.com.auPresident Bush announced that he would visit Vietnam in 2006.CNN.com

The Supreme Court ruled that the government can take property under eminent domain for private development. “Under the banner of economic development,” said Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, “all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded.”The New York TimesA car belonging to the police chief of Washington, D.C., was stolen.ReutersIn India a fourteen-year-old girl was granted an annulment of her two-year marriage,BBC Newsand in Ethiopia a twelve-year-old girl was abducted and was about to be forced into marriage but was rescued by lions, which ran her captors off and guarded her until police and relatives came to her rescue.APThe president and CEO of Formula One racing, discussing racer Danica Patrick, said that “women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances.”ESPNIn Mississippi, Edgar Ray Killen, an eighty-year-old former Baptist preacher, was sentenced to sixty years in jail for organizing the killings of three civil rights workers in 1964,Reutersand the NAACP named former Verizonexecutive Bruce S. Gordon as president.The GuardianBill Clinton appeared at a Billy Graham rally in New York City. “God bless you, friend,” said Clinton.APAmerican evangelist Benny Hinn flew to Nigeria in a private jet to hold a three-day crusade, but only a fraction of the expected number of people came out each night. “Four million dollars down the drain,” he shouted from the pulpit.BBC NewsThe Jordan River was filled with sewage, forcing pilgrims to bathe in special pools with treated water.ReutersAn Irish man covered himself with 200,000 bees, still 150,000 bees short of the world record,BBC NewsBangladeshidoctors removed a dead fetus from the abdomen of a teenage boy,BBC Newsand a Florida man on an oxygen machine died when the electric company turned off the electricity to his son’s home.HeraldTribune.comTigger died, as did Piglet.CBC.ca

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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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“He explained how sober Doug structured the bits and worked out the material’s logic; drunk Doug found the funny.”
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