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General Motors announced that it will eliminate the jobs of 25,000 blue-collar workers in the United States by the end of 2008; the cuts amount to 22 percent of the company’s hourly work force. Washington PostTwenty-eight bodies were found dumped on the street or in shallow graves in Baghdad. Four U.S. soldiers died in Iraq, bringing the total U.S. casualties since the war began past 1,700.APIt was reported that interrogators at Guantánamo Bay tortured prisoners with the music of Christina Aguilera; it was also revealed that American military torturers performed a satirical puppet show for one victim. Drudge ReportTwo crows attacked a jogger in London, drawing blood,This is Londonand a dead goat’s head was found in the Maryland woods.Sentinel and EnterpriseBombs killed ten people in Iran; an Iranian official blamed the United States.BBC NewsAustralian officials were investigating allegations that prison guards tricked a prisoner into inserting a sausage into his rectum,Herald Sunand Australia won an international sheep-shearing contest. The contest was judged on speed and lack of nicks.AFPA flash flood in China killed ninety-two people, most of them young children.BBC NewsDwarves fought bulls in Mexico,Reutersand in the Solomon Islands a hermit who had lived in a cave for forty years decided to return to his village after his fire went out.The New Zealand HeraldScientists in California sequenced the genes of an extinct cave bear using material extracted from its teeth, and now plan to sequence the genes of Neanderthals. “I think it will work,” said a scientist. “It is just a matter of time.”BBC News
A study showed that the world military budget was about $1,035,000,000,000 in 2004; the United States accounted for nearly half of that.Washington PostRecently released emails showed that Air Force officials knew all along that a contract for leased refueling tankers was actually a bailout for Boeing. “We all know,” wrote an official in the Pentagon comptroller’s office, “that this is a bailout for Boeing.”Washington PostBody parts, including a leg and part of a spine, fell from a plane approaching JFK International Airport in New York City. The parts came from a stowaway who had hidden himself in the plane’s wheel well. “[I] heard pounding,” said the plane’s pilot, “but nothing appeared wrong.”ReutersScientists in Los Angeles created a fusion reaction at around room temperature using a pyroelectric crystal.The Christian Science MonitorVoters in Nevada elected a former stripper to be a judge,APofficials in Dortmund, Germany, were preparing to host a game of the upcoming World Cup by setting up “sex garages” for assignations with prostitutes,Reutersand the Xochiquetzal home for elderly prostitutes was slated to open in Mexico City.News24.comAn Italian court ruled that Sicilian authorities had acted improperly when they took away a man’s driver’s license because he was gay; the man’s lawyer said that the arrest had caused his client to suffer hair loss.ReutersResearchers found that one in five women would consider having their breasts removed if it reduced their odds of contracting cancer,Reutersthat babies are soothed by suckling the nipples of men,Times Onlineand that 99 percent of women are against comb-overs.WebIndia123.comA vaccine against the Ebola and Marburg viruses was found to work on monkeys,News24.comand surgeons in Peru separated the legs of Milagros Cerron, the thirteen-month-old “mermaid baby” whose legs were fused from thigh to ankle. Some of the surgery was broadcast live.News-Medical.netIn Augsburg, Germany, zoo officials were being criticized for a planned attraction that will show elephants and rhinos in their “natural environment” by surrounding them with black men in grass skirts.The ScotsmanTwo women were upset when they visited a Houstonmausoleum and found that the cremated remains of their mother had been replaced by a can of sour-cream-and-onion potato chips. Local6.com
Janet Reno had a fender-bender in Florida.Florida TodayPlastic surgery on women’s genitalia was becoming more popular; surgeons reported that they were keeping busy plumping outer labias, tightening vaginas, and restoring hymens.MSNBCThirty-five percent of America’s annual clam harvest was found to be toxic because of red tide.New York TimesScientists studying the Devils Hole pupfish, of which only 180 remain, accidentally killed eighty of them.Live ScienceBritish pranksters kidnapped a Dalek from Wookey Hole Caves.BBC NewsIranian companies were planning to build bicycle factories in Venezuela.Islamic Republic News AgencyPink Floyd announced that it would reunite for a concert, Chron.comand Paul Ankareleased an album on which he sings “The Lovecats” by The Cure and “Eyes Without a Face” by Billy Idol.New York TimesAnne Bancroft died.The Belfast Telegraph-DigitalA new Bach aria was discovered in Germany,CNN.comand Israeliscientists were raising a date palm from a 1,990-year-old seed found at Masada.IHTDisney digitally reduced the size of Lindsay Lohan’s breasts to make a film called Herbie: Fully Loaded less offensive,Hollywood.comand Microsoft opened a new Chinese Internet portal that forbids some users from publishing personal home pages with the words “demonstration,” “democratic movement,” and “freedom.”MSNBCMichael Jackson was acquitted. The New York TimesPolice in Nigeria arrested a cow for murder,AFPthere was a wave of Canadiancanola robberies,CBC Newsand researchers discovered a formula to determine the humor value of a sitcom: (((R * D + V) * F) + S)/A.The Guardian
More from Paul Ford:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in Californiaâs ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as âinvasive,â âexotic,â âalienâ â all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as âindigenously Californianâ elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a âhome without its mother.â Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the âworldâs biggest selfies,â and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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âShelby 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.â