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President George W. Bush officially replaced the phrase “stay the course” in Iraq with “We will stay in Iraq,” and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki insisted he never agreed to a U.S. timetable for reducing sectarian violence. “I’m not America’s man,” he said.Chicago TribuneNew York TimesNews.com.auDefense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told critics of the war to “back off.”Yahoo NewsIn Basra, Prince Philip of Britain assured the troops “at the sharp end” that “a great many locals do very much appreciate what you are trying to do for them,”New Zealand Heraldand Senator Rick Santorum said, “As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It’s being drawn to Iraq.”New York TimesGerman soldiers serving in Afghanistan snapped commemorative photographs of themselves with the skull of a reputed Taliban militant.Deutsche-WelleVice President Dick Cheney denied that “waterboarding,” a banned interrogation method, was the same thing as giving a terrorist detainee a “dunk in water.” He also said his term as “Vice President for Torture” was over.VOA NewsA United Nations official claimed that the United States has become a role model for prisoner-abusing governments around the world.Washington PostMexican president Vicente Fox called a proposed 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border an “embarrassment,”Yahoo News and Los Angeles admitted that it has 1.3 million outstanding parking tickets.New York TimesFrench youths seized and burned three buses in a Paris suburb. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin promised an immediate response to the disorder: “We cannot accept the unacceptable.”ForbesNorth Korea warned the United States not to make any “madcap nuclear moves” or to proceed with any “wild design to ignite a nuclear war,”Korean Central News Agencyand Russian president Vladimir Putin blamed a failure to adopt a “proper tone” in diplomatic negotiations with North Korea for the current weapons crisis.United Press InternationalThe government of Niger told 150,000 Arab nationals that it was “high time” they returned to their native homeland in Chad.BBC NewsAn official in the Netherlands suggested Dutch troops bring “a few prostitutes” along on foreign military missions,Yahoo Newsand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged Iranians to have more babies. “It is said that two children is enough. I oppose this,” he said.New York TimesPresident Bush admitted that he frequently consults “the Google.”Wall Street Journal
Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling was sentenced to 24 years in jail. “I feel terrible about what happened,” Skilling said, referring to the company’s collapse, which cost investors and employees more than $62 billion in devalued stock and pension plans. “That’s not to say I did something wrong.”New York TimesFord Motor Company announced $7.6 billion in third quarter losses,Sydney Morning HeraldDaimler Chrysler also lost $1.5 billion during the same time period,New York Timesand thousands of American soldiers were avoiding overseas duty by going deeply into debt.Washington PostThe Reproductive Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, revealed that men who use their cell phones too much could be making themselves infertile.The IndependentThe American Association of Trial Attorneys announced it would change its name to the American Association for Justice,New York Timesand scientists concluded that fat people lower the fuel efficiency of automobiles.Local6.comA physicist at the University of Central Florida proved that vampires are mathematically impossible,Livescience.comPresident Bush called Nancy Pelosi a “secret admirer” of tax cuts,New York Postand the city of Madison, Wisconsin, announced that its Halloween festivities will be a success if the police are not compelled to pepper-spray angry mobs of drunken residents.CNNChinese president Hu Jintao was purging disloyal party members,New York Timesand England’sQueen Elizabeth II strained her back.New York TimesSheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali, mufti of Sydney, Australia’s largest mosque, compared unveiled women to “uncovered meat.” “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside,” said the mufti, “and the cats come to eat it . . . whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat’s? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.”GuardianA pelican attacked and ate a pigeon in London’s St. James’s park.BBC News
John Spencer, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from New York, denied he had ever called Hillary Clinton ugly,Breitbart.comand WyomingRepresentative Barbara Cubin threatened her congressional opponent, Thomas Rankin, after he insulted her during a debate. Cubin told Rankin, who has multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair, that “If you weren’t sitting in that chair, I’d slap you across the face.”Caspar Star Tribune via Drudge ReportActress Mary Carey, star of such films as Pussyman’s Decadent Divas 29 and Tit Happens, dropped out of the California gubernatorial race to care for her mother, a schizophrenic, who was injured while jumping from a four-story building.Yahoo News and IMDB.comCharlie Brown was running for Congress as a Democrat in Roseville, California.Washington PostHunters in west Texas were stalking feral pigs,New York Timesrich Americans were vacationing in packs,New York Timesand an “unknown discharge” turned a half-mile section of China’s Yellow River “red and smelly.”New York TimesFormer heavyweight champion Trevor Berbick, the last man to defeat Muhammad Ali, died of a “massive chop wound” in Norwich, Jamaica;Observerand Lim Pov, a Cambodian taxi driver, was killed when two unknown assailants “chopped” him to death with a hatchet.Phnom Penh Post
More from Theodore Ross:
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 California’s 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 “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — 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 “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” 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 “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”