Weekly Review — September 13, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

The United States observed the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. Thousands of mourners gathered at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, at the Pentagon, and in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Relatives and loved ones read out the names of the victims, bagpipers played, and six moments of silence were observed, one for each airliner and one for each of the twin towers. President Barack Obama visited all three sites in the course of the day. In New York City, he read from Psalm 46, and former president George W. Bush read from a letter to a grieving mother by Abraham Lincoln; the crowd cheered Bush, and Paul Simon performed “The Sound of Silence.” In Pennsylvania, the president and his wife laid a wreath, after which some in attendance chanted “USA! USA!” and a man shouted “Thanks for getting bin Laden!” At his final event of the day, in Washington, Obama spoke about the wars that grew out of 9/11: “Our strength is not measured in our ability to stay in these places,” he said. “It comes from our commitment to leave those lands to free people and sovereign states, and our desire to move from a decade of war to a future of peace.”NY TimesAP via Washington PostNY TimesDespite fears of a potential attack on the ceremonies, no disturbances were reported. Among other false alarms, F-16s were dispatched to escort two flights after passengers reportedly spent too long in the bathrooms, and a plane carrying Oliver North was evacuated in St. Louis after a toilet was found stuffed with paper towels.Atlantic WireBig GovernmentStLToday.comIranian authorities continued a summerlong crackdown on youth water fights, following confessions by arrestees on state TV that they were motivated by “foreign invitations” and had been supplied with pistols. “This is not simply a game with water,” said judiciary spokesman Gholam Khossein Mohseni Ejehi. “This act is being guided from abroad.”AP

The Tanzanian region of Zanzibar began a three-day mourning period after the MV Spice Islander capsized, killing at least 200 of the 800 passengers on board. “I realized something strange on the movement of the ship,” reported Yahya Hussein, 15. “It was like zigzag or dizziness.”BBCA pipeline exploded in Nairobi, killing at least 75; a bomb exploded near the Delhi High Court in India, killing 11; two suicide bombers attacked the home of a high-ranking military officer in Quetta, Pakistan, killing 23; and 24 people were shot in as many hours in New York City.APBBCAPDaily NewsRising opera star Salvatore Licitra, thought by many to be the heir to Luciano Pavarotti, died from injuries suffered during a scooter accident, and 44 players and staff from Russiaâ??s Lokomotiv hockey club died when their plane crashed after takeoff. “We have no team anymore,” said a Lokomotiv spokesman. “They all burned in the crash.”GuardianNY TimesNY TimesAs Texas wildfires raged, governor and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry called watching one from the air “surreal.” “I have seen a number of big fires in my life,” he said. “This one is as mean-looking as Iâ??ve ever seen.”Texas TribuneAt the Republican presidential debate, moderator Brian Williams mentioned that 234 executions had taken place in Texas during Perryâ??s tenure, and the crowd applauded.Telegraph

A poll of 30,000 people in 15 countries found that the world still thinks America is the coolest, and in St. Petersburg, Florida, a blood-covered, half-naked 22-year-old woman was arrested for biting the face and arm of a 69-year-old man who had been sleeping in a motorized wheelchair in front of a Hooters. “Iâ??m a vampire,” the woman said, according to an affidavit. “I am going to eat you.”ReutersSmoking GunPolice in Ogden, Utah, responded to a report that a man was slaughtering a cow in his driveway. “The cow was in the process of losing its head,” said officer Troy Burnett of the scene upon his arrival. “Itâ??s not illegal, but itâ??s absurd that people would think slaughtering a cow in their driveway is okay. Maybe on the west side of the county on one of the farms.”Standard-ExaminerHarbor, an eight-year-old black and tan coonhound from Boulder, Colorado, set the record for longest ears on a dog, a Swedish elk was found drunk up a tree after eating too many fermented apples, and Filipinos captured a 20-foot-long, 2,370-pound crocodileâ??the largest on record, though a larger one was believed to be at large.BBCYouTubeBBCGuardianA maintenance worker in Yuma, Arizona, may have caused a power failure that affected nearly 6 million people in California, Arizona, and Mexico; Google was found to be using more electricity than Salt Lake City; and the Federal Trade Commission halted the sale of AcneApp and AcnePwner, two smartphone apps that claimed to treat acne, one of them using red and blue lights. “Smartphones make our lives easier in countless ways,” said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz, “but unfortunately, when it comes to curing acne, thereâ??s no app for that.”NY TimesGizmodoPolitico

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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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