Weekly Review — June 10, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

Senator Barack Obama, having amassed more than the 2,118 delegates needed to secure a majority, was acknowledged as the Democratic presidential nominee and claimed victory before a crowd of almost 20,000 people in St. Paul, Minnesota, knocking knuckles with his wife, Michelle, in a gesture known as “dap.” “It thrilled a lot of black folks,” said author Ta-Nehisi Coates. “He wears his cultural blackness all over the place. Barack is like Black Folks 2.0.”New York TimesWashington PostEarlier that evening, Senator John McCain delivered a speech to a crowd of a few hundred in Kenner, Louisiana, in which he tried to rebuff Obama’s charges that a McCain presidency would be a continuation of Bush policies. “That’s not change we can believe in,” said McCain repeatedly. Pundits were surprised by McCain’s clumsy rhetoric, by his lack of teleprompter skills, and by the fact that he stood in front of an ugly green backdrop. “Content better than delivery,” said Karl Rove. “John McCain,” said Mort Kondracke of “Roll Call,” “sounded old.”New York TimesTalking Points MemoA messenger delivered a handwritten note from McCain to Obama’s Chicago offices inviting the Democratic presidential nominee to a series of Goldwater-Kennedy-style debates. Bill Burton, an aide to Obama, told the messenger, “You know, you could have just emailed this.”PoliticoHillary Clinton announced that she was “suspending” her campaign,New York Timesand Yves Saint Laurent, who popularized pants for women, died at age 71. “My small job as a couturier,” Saint Laurent once said, “is to make clothes that reflect our times. I??m convinced women want to wear pants.”New York Times

Unemployment rose half a percentage point to 5.5 percent, the largest one-month increase since 1986. Oil prices surged by more than $11 a barrel to a new high of $138.54, and the stock market suffered a 3 percent drop. New York TimesOfficials in Tanzania reported that witch doctors were harvesting the hair, bones, and skins of albinos to make wealth potions,New York Timesand scientists who darkened the breast feathers of male barn swallows with magic marker found that the males attracted more females, lost weight, and exuded more testosterone. “It’s like you walk down the street and you’re driving a Rolls Royce and people notice,” said lead researcher Rebecca Safran. “Your physiology accommodates this.”Florida TodayThe United Nations held a three-day emergency food summit; the director of the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization condemned U.S. subsidies for biofuel, saying that they deprived people of food in order to “satisfy a thirst for fuel for vehicles.”GuardianWashington PostFor the third year in a row, the consumption of oranges in Britain declined because people were too busy to peel the rind off the fruit. The Daily Mail

V. S. Naipaul, the 2001 Nobel Laureate in Literature, declared that there are “no more great writers.”The IndependentDerek Walcott, who won the Nobel in 1992, read a new poem, entitled “The Mongoose,” that viciously attacks Naipaul’s personality and his writing. “I have been bitten,” the poem begins, “I must avoid infection/Or else I’ll be as dead as Naipaul’s fiction.”GuardianMore than two dozen vandals who hosted a party inside Robert Frost’s former home were ordered to take a class on his poetry, taught by Frost’s biographer. “This is where Frost is relevant,” Jay Parini said to the class, speaking about Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” “You come to a path in the woods where you can say, ‘Shall I go to this party and get drunk out of my mind?’ Everything in life is choices.”CNNA housing development in South Carolina was offering to any customers who purchased one of its $1 million homes a $400,000 home for free. “We thought,” said developer Dawn Berry, “‘Why does it just have to be on Pop Tarts and restaurants?’”Los Angeles TimesThe family of a former chemist for Procter & Gamble who designed the Pringles potato-chip can buried a portion of his ashes in a Pringles can,Cincinnati Enguirerand Haley, an eight-year-old Indiana girl who had emergency surgery after eating more than 10 magnets and 20 steel balls, said she swallowed the pieces because they “looked like candy.” Her parents said they were confused about how she could have done such thing because “she gets A’s and B’s.”CBS NewsScientists located the part of the brain responsible for understanding sarcasm.New York Times

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There was no slant to the sun — it was just there, overhead, burning, making him sweat, making his underwear bind and the shirt stick to his back as if it had been glued on, and why he’d ever let Carolee talk him into this he’d never know. The bus lurched. There was a stink of diesel. Gears ratcheted beneath the floorboards, metal on metal, as if they were going to fuse or maybe explode into a thousand pieces at any moment. He looked beyond Carolee, out the window, feeling ever so slightly queasy, though everyone assured him the water was good here — potable, that was the word on everybody’s lips. Plus, the food was held to the highest standards and the glasses out of which they’d sipped their rum punch and rum Cokes and rum tonics had been scrupulously washed in hot sudsing pristine well water, because this wasn’t like Mexico or Guatemala or Belize, this was special, orderly, clean, a kind of tourist paradise. And cheap. Cheap too.

On top of it all, he had a headache. Or the beginnings of one. But that was understandable, because he’d gulped down three rum punches with lunch, so thirsty he could have drained the whole pitcher the waiter had set in the middle of the table, and no, he wasn’t going to drink the water, no matter what anybody said — not unless it came from a bottle with an unbroken seal. He rubbed his eyes. He had aspirin in his kit back on the ship. Cipro too. But that didn’t do him a whole lot of good now, did it? Anonymous streets rolled by, shops, people, dogs, ratty-looking birds infesting the trees and an armed guard outside every store — or tienda, as his guidebook had it — and what did that tell you about the level of orderliness here? Buenos vecinos. Welcome. Mi casa es su casa.

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“She didn’t speak the language, beyond “¿cuánto?” and “demasiado,” but that didn’t stop her. She wanted things. She wanted life, new experiences, a change in the routine.”
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Acreage of a Christian nudist colony under development in Florida:

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Florida’s wildlife officials decided to remove the manatee, which has a mild taste that readily adapts to recipes for beef, from the state’s endangered-species list.

A 64-year-old mother and her 44-year-old son were arrested for running a gang that stole more than $100,000 worth of toothbrushes from Publix, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS stores in Florida.

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