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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced that Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan would be his running mate. “Someone is in a backroom, fanning Biden and breaking out the smelling salts,” tweeted one Romney supporter. “Oh yes Team Obama. Sh*t just got real.” A report suggested that 15 percent of Romney’s Twitter followers are fake accounts set up to boost numbers, and an analysis of media coverage about Ryan found that he was voted biggest gym rat by an anonymous poll of congressional staffers; that in 2005 he identified Ayn Rand as “the reason I got involved in public service,” but in 2012 said “I reject her philosophy . . . it is antithetical to my worldview”; and that he “sometimes” regrets giving up on his aspiration of becoming a professional skier. President Obama called Romney “Romney Hood,” Romney said Obama was full of “Obamaloney,” and a Romney aide accused Obama of going lower than “a world-champion limbo dancer” after a Democratic super PAC released an ad in which a worker appears to blame his wife’s death on his having been laid off from a steel mill owned by the Romney-founded firm Bain Capital. The 2012 Olympics closed in London with a celebration of 50 years of British music that included performances by George Michael, the Spice Girls, the Who, and rapper Tinie Tempah. “Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism?” former Smiths frontman Morrissey said of the Games. An English musicologist explained that many Britons don’t like “God Save the Queen” because it lacks a “climax where people feel compelled to join in,” and American hurdler Lolo Jones denied rumors that the Olympic village was overrun with trysting athletes. “I haven’t seen any hookups,” she said. “I guess we don’t have any sluts on the team.” Marijuana named after Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was being sold in California dispensaries, and U.S. tennis player Serena Williams was criticized for celebrating her gold medal with a “Crip Walk,” a dance that originated with a Los Angeles street gang. “It was just me,” said Williams. “I love to dance.” Chinese gold medalists were found to sing the most and cry the least during medal ceremonies.
Seventeen-year-old Austin Weirschke was crowned America’s fastest texter after standing blindfolded on a Times Square traffic island and texting a verse of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” in under 45 seconds. Teenagers of average weight who think themselves fat were found more likely to become fat adults, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control showed that at least 20 percent of the adult population of every American state is obese, and a Hindu leader in New Jersey was ceremonially counterbalanced on a giant scale against his body weight in platinum. July was found to have been the hottest month on record in the United States, and the first month since 2007 in which no attacks by Somali pirates were reported. “The return on investment is now just too low,” said piracy expert Stig Jarle Hansen. “Leaders are basically saying that they are getting out of piracy and going into other business, like kidnapping.” Afghan security personnel opened fire on Western troops on five separate occasions in Afghanistan, killing at least seven Americans. David Berkowitz, a.k.a. Son of Sam, who shot and killed six people and wounded seven others in 1976 and 1977, reflected on recent shooting sprees in Colorado and Wisconsin. “One day,” he said, “I hope that guns will lose their glamour.” Florida homeowners’ associations began foreclosure proceedings against banks that have failed to pay maintenance fees on the properties they repossessed, an IRS watchdog agency identified a Florida address from which 741 tax returns worth more than $1 million in refunds were filed in 2011, and Shivpal Singh Yadav, a public-works minister in Uttar Pradesh, India, was caught on camera encouraging local officials to engage in limited graft. “If you work hard, and put your heart and soul into it,” said Yadav, “then you are allowed to steal some.”
Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi dismissed the country’s two top-ranking generals and canceled a military decree limiting his powers. A 70-year-old woman set herself on fire in Israel, making her at least the fourth Israeli to self-immolate since last month, and three Tibetans set themselves on fire in China’s Sichuan and Gansu provinces to protest Chinese rule. A man was arrested in a Louisville, Kentucky, gas-station washroom for lighting the toilet seat on fire in what he claimed was a religious act, and a London man set his home on fire by microwaving his underwear. Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish “modesty patrol” was selling stickers that blur the eyeglasses of men who might otherwise be tempted to look at women whose dress could be considered indecorous. A three-year-old Malaysian girl was killed during an exorcism conducted by seven family members and their Indonesian maid. In Delaware, pediatrician Melvin Morse, a researcher of near-death experiences in children, was arrested after allegedly waterboarding his daughter, and in Utah, a Lego wheel was discovered up the nose of six-year-old Isaak Lasson, whose chronic sinus problems had baffled doctors for three years. “I put some spaghetti up there,” said Lasson, “but that was a long time ago.”
More from Sara Breselor:
Weekly Review — April 14, 2015, 8:00 am
Michael Slager is charged with murder, Hillary Clinton declares her candidacy for president, and a Utah television personality gets probation for kicking a barn owl
Weekly Review — January 20, 2015, 8:00 am
The Pope says climate change is mostly man made, Al Qaeda claims responsibility for the attack on Charlie Hebdo, and residents of a town in Denmark agree to have sex more often
Weekly Review — December 23, 2014, 8:00 am
North Korea attacks the U.S. film industry, Pakistan reinstates the death penalty, and a Pennsylvania electrician stabs a Virgin Mary lawn ornament in the head
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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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.”