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President George W. Bush traveled to Europe, where he declared an end to the Cold War, suggested that a U.S. missile shield was “not something we ought to be hyperventilating about,” and suffered a stomachache that left him “slightly indisposed.”New York TimesNew York TimesForbesIn Iraq, the Sunni-dominated IslamicArmy announced that it would no longer threaten the “project of Jihad” by continuing to fight Al Qaeda.Washington PostA security assessment found that just one third of Baghdad’s neighborhoods were under U.S. control, police recruits shot a “suspicious woman,” a Catholic priest was kidnapped along with five boys, and 27 corpses, each shot in the head and showing signs of torture, were recovered.BBC NewsBBC NewsWashington PostWashington PostProposed “War Czar” Lieutenant General Douglas Lute described the results of the U.S. troop surge as “uneven.”Air Force TimesNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said people stood a greater chance of being hit by lightning than dying at the hands of a terrorist, and that anyone worried about it should “get a life.”WCBSTV.com via DrudgeA “clearly deranged” German man attempted to board the Popemobile in the Vatican and was beaten by the Vigilanza, the pontiff’s security force.New York Times and Washington PostGovernment doctors announced that the machine controlling Dick Cheney’s heart was old and should be replaced.ABC NewsChina was in the grip of “Web 2.0 madness,”CNETthe U.S. military was developing lethal water guns to combat scuba-equippedterrorists,.Wiredand three adulterers were executed by firing squad in Khyber, Pakistan.BBC NewsHillary Clinton thanked God for helping her endure the sexual indiscretions of her husband.CNN
The Republican presidential candidates met in New Hampshire to engage in “verbal combat” over immigration,New York Timesand Eric Alterman, author of the “Altercation” blog, was arrested after an altercation with police at the Democratic debate.CNNTwo John McCain campaign officials were fired for refusing to “rape and pillage” church directories for potential donors.Washington PostJohn Edwards said it was fine if Rudolph Giuliani chose a campaign platform of “four more years of what [the current] president has done.” “He will never be elected,” Edwards added. “But he is allowed to do that.”Washington PostViolence erupted in the Alabama state senate when a Democrat called Republican Charles Bishop a son of a bitch. “I responded to his comment with my right hand,” said Bishop.CNN“Fleeting expletives” were ruled legal by a U.S. court.Times of LondonThree Finnish fishermen were abducted by the Iranian government,BBC NewsU.S. efforts to recapture a shipping vessel taken by pirates off the Horn of Africa failed, New York Timesand Spanish naval authorities threatened to board two boats they believe hold stolen treasure.Yahoo NewsGlobal warming was linked to an upsurge of cat sex,LiveScience.comand NFL running back Clinton Portis explained why he ridiculed laws against dog fighting. “I’m not even a pets man,” Portis explained. “I’ve got a fish–that’s the easiest thing to keep up. I’ve never been into dogs, never dealt with dogs, don’t like playing with dogs. But at the same time,” he added, “there’s a lot of people who are crazy over pets.”CNNS.com
Students at Harvard University were scalping tickets to their own graduation,CNNhigh school officials in Galesburg, Ohio, withheld the diplomas of five seniors after their friends and families cheered too loudly at the commencement,New York Timesand three students were arrested in Aurora, Illinois, following a cafeteria food fight. “Milk cartons, full pop bottles, and blue slushies were flying around,” said one student. “Kids literally bought the food to throw it and, to me, that’s a little expensive.”CNNThe Spanish people resisted a government proposal to add lyrics to the national anthem. “It’s fine to identify a country with music,” said one Madrileno. “But a country with words, no, I don’t like it.”BBC NewsIn China, a spike in the price of pork tenderloin and bacon caused people to begin eating more fish,New York Timesand it was reported that Xiang Xiang, a five-year-old panda bred in captivity and released into the wild, was found dead in February. Wild pandas are suspected.BBC NewsForest guards in western India were using cell phone ring tones of cows mooing, goats bleating, and roosters crowing to lure hungry leopards away from human encampments. CNNIn Selmer, Tennessee, a preacher’s wife was sentenced to three years in prison for murdering her husband, whom she said forced her to perform “unnatural” sex acts with a black wig and platform shoes on,CNNand in Bautzen, Germany, three teenagers were found not guilty of impairing the sex drive of an ostrich.New York TimesBritain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds banned the word “cock” from its website. “Tit” and “swallow,” however, were still permitted.News.com.au via Nerve.comScientists successfully produced talking construction paper, trained dogs to track polar bear feces, and made stem cells out of adult mice.BBC NewsNew York TimesMedical News today via google newsCultural taboos against the public discussion of menopause were in decline among the American middle class,New York Times via Nerve.comand in England, gingerists, or people with a bias against red hair, were subjecting the auburn-headed to slurs like “you ginger bastard” or “you right ginger whinger.” BBC NewsThe Internet’s storehouse of wisdom, information, and pornographic images was determined to weigh 0.2 millionths of an ounce.Discover
More from Theodore Ross:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands theyâ€™d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature