Weekly Review — May 24, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Lost Souls in Hell, 1875]

Lost Souls in Hell, 1875.

North Korea needed food.BBC NewsWal-Mart announced that it would export $18 billion worth of Chinese goods,Forbesand researchers in Singapore developed a system that allows people to pet chickens over the Internet.Wired NewsPakistan was working to stop bearbaiting,BBC NewsChina put a halt to the practice of using naked women for plates in sushi restaurants,BBC Newsand Warren Beatty was wondering whether he should run for governor of California.ABC NewsNew York was reviewing a law that allows convicted rapists to obtain Viagra through Medicaid,APand a parachutist died in a fall from the Eiffel Tower.News.telegraphKylie Minogue announced that she has breast cancer.BBC NewsBritish MP George Galloway went to Washington, D.C., to respond to allegations that he profited from the U.N.-managed Iraq oil-for-food program. “I met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him,” said Galloway. “The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns, and to give him maps the better to target those guns.”GuardianBefore he testified, Galloway called journalist Christopher Hitchens “a drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay.”GuardianGeorge W. Bush vowed to veto any bill that eases funding restrictions on stem-cell research,BBC Newsand Donald Trump called on New York City to rebuild the Twin Towers, only taller, and described the city’s planned “Freedom Tower” as “the worst pile of crap architecture I have ever seen in my life.”CNN.comIn Britain, Ford Motor Company suspended seven workers when they were caught looking at woman-on-octopus pornography on company computers. “Management,” said an employee, “didn’t see the funny side.”The Sun

A professor of biology at Indiana University claimed that the female orgasm was only for fun,AZCentral.comand Laura Bush went to Jerusalem, where she wore a black pantsuit and black shawl to the Dome of the Rock and the women’s section of the Western Wall. “We commit ourselves,” she said, “to reject hatred and to teach tolerance and live in peace.” She was heckled by both Muslims and Jews.New York TimesOn the same day, Ariel Sharon visited New York City, where he was also heckled by Jews.BBC NewsIn Chile, Augusto Pinochet’s doctors claimed that Pinochet had suffered a stroke; human-rights lawyers said he was just being wily.ABC.net.auVenezuelan president Hugo Chavez said that he might break diplomatic ties with the United States if the U.S. did not hand over Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA employee who is accused of blowing up a Cuban airplane in 1976, killing seventy-three people.BBC NewsAn avalanche in the Andes killed forty-one Chilean soldiers,Houston Chronicleand in West Virginia, a 1,500-pound camel sat on a woman as she painted a fence.USA TodayNear Seattle, Mary K. Letourneau, forty-three, married Vili Fualaau, twenty-two, whom she first raped when he was twelve,BBC Newsand a California man was arrested because he lived in a tent for two weeks in order to buy tickets to the new Star Wars movie; his doing so violated a requirement that, as a sex offender, he let police know if he changed lodgings.NCTimesIt turned out that a grenade that landed one hundred feet away from George W. Bush during a recent speech in Tbilisi, Georgia, was not a training device but had simply failed to work. Georgian officials offered an $11,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.New York TimesIn Bolotnikovo, Russia, a lake disappeared.ReutersPeople in Zanzibar were living in fear of a sexually rapacious, sodomy-prone goblin named Popo Bawa,Reutersand Dr. W. David Hager, the George W. Bush-appointed adviser to the FDA and a vocal opponent of emergency contraception, abortion, and pre-marital sex, was accused by his ex-wife of anally raping her on a regular basis over many years. Hager is the author of the books As Jesus Cared for Women and, with his wife, Stress and the Woman’s Body.The Nation

In Texas a five-year-old brought a loaded gun to his pre-kindergarten class,AZCentral.comand in Indiana a three-year-old boy crawled inside a toy vending machine at a Wal-Mart and had to be freed by firemen. He did not receive a toy.BBC NewsThe Bush Administration continued to criticize Newsweek for reporting that U.S. soldiers had desecrated the Koran. “People need to be careful what they say,” said Donald Rumsfeld. “Our United States military personnel go out of their way,” said White House press secretary Scott McClellan, “to make sure that the Holy Koran is treated with care.”New York TimesSince the Newsweek story broke, many other cases of Koran desecration over the last two years have emerged. Apparently, in addition to putting the Koran in the toilet, guards have urinated on it, trampled on it, put it in a urine bucket, and allowed a dog to carry Islam’s holiest book in its mouth.Financial ReviewWashington PostNewspapers published photos of Saddam Hussein standing in his underwear, shuffling around, and sleeping.BBC News The photos may violate the Geneva Convention, which prohibits “outrages upon personal dignity,” and some people questioned whether the photos could incite further violence in the Middle East. “I don’t think a photo inspires murders,” said President Bush.Seattle PI Hussein threatened to sue.BBC NewsSenators compromised on filibusters,MSNBCand a new kind of monkey was discovered in Tanzania. It communicates in honking barks rather than in whoop-gobbles.Washington PostIn Georgia a businessman named Hubert Johnson agreed to take down a large stuffed monkey that was hanging from a crane outside his drilling business. “The message to the workers is, ‘Don’t monkey around with safety’,” said Johnson, even though the monkey had its hands and face painted black and was draped in a Confederate flag.AJC.comIn Houston large black grackles swooped down from magnolia trees to attack passersby, including a lawyer,CNN.comand a man in Holland was being tried on charges that he killed his mother, skinned her, dressed up in her skin, and then went out to direct traffic and recite Bible verses. “He loved her so much,” said his lawyer. Daily RecordIn Iraq sixteen people were killed when a car bomb exploded outside of a restaurant; at least twelve people were killed in other attacks.New York TimesIraq’s unemployed were selling their organs at cut rates,News.telegraphand American funeral homes were earning frequent-flier miles every time they shipped a corpse.Wall Street Journal

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That year, the year of the Ghost Ship fire, I lived in a shack. I’d found the place just as September’s Indian summer was giving way to a wet October. There was no plumbing or running water to wash my hands or brush my teeth before sleep. Electricity came from an extension cord that snaked through a yard of coyote mint and monkey flower and up into a hole I’d drilled in my floorboards. The structure was smaller than a cell at San Quentin—a tiny house or a huge coffin, depending on how you looked at it—four by eight and ten feet tall, so cramped it fit little but a mattress, my suit jackets and ties, a space heater, some novels, and the mason jar I peed in.

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I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

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That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

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