Weekly Review

Weekly Review — December 10, 2019, 3:32 pm

Weekly Review

A 71-year-old Japanese man was arrested after placing 24,000 customer complaint calls with his cell-phone service provider because he could not get his phone to play radio broadcasts.

Weekly Review — December 3, 2019, 11:52 am

Weekly Review

President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan measure that, for the first time, makes certain acts of animal cruelty, such as animal crushing, a federal crime.

Weekly Review — November 26, 2019, 12:07 pm

Weekly Review

Police officers in Rome were investigated on allegations of accepting bribes in the form of pasta and gelato.

Weekly Review — November 19, 2019, 12:35 pm

Weekly Review

An event for the book Triggered: How The Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us ended after 20 minutes when the “groyper army,” neo-Nazi supporters who are fans of the president, heckled author Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend off of the stage.

Weekly Review — November 12, 2019, 12:03 pm

Weekly Review

Vladimir Putin announced his intention to replace Wikipedia with a digital version of the Great Russian Encyclopedia to ensure the dissemination of “reliable information.”

Weekly Review — November 5, 2019, 11:46 am

Weekly Review

Alaska representative Don Young headbutted a camera in response to a reporter’s question about election meddling.

Weekly Review — October 29, 2019, 1:18 pm

Weekly Review

An inventor in Australia denied preying on desperate farmers who would pay as much as $50,000 for him to deliver 100 millimeters of rain; he claims his service, whose methods he won’t reveal lest they be stolen by competitors, includes a bridge in the space-time continuum and the application of small, strategic amounts of energy to guide the butterfly effect.

Weekly Review — October 22, 2019, 10:02 am

Weekly Review

In Oklahoma, a man who had pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with the intention to distribute had his 15-year sentence dismissed after it was discovered that the white powder he was carrying when he was arrested was powdered milk.

Weekly Review — October 16, 2019, 8:30 am

Weekly Review

In Billings, Montana, a team of sled dogs escaped from a training session and led police on a low-speed chase.

Weekly Review — October 8, 2019, 8:30 am

Weekly Review

The town of Garfield, New Jersey, was plagued by feral cats.

Weekly Review — October 1, 2019, 11:18 am

Weekly Review

A German court ruled that hangovers are a disease.

Weekly Review — September 24, 2019, 12:27 pm

Weekly Review

A doctor filed a lawsuit against former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who repeatedly farted in the doctor’s face and laughed about it, for $11,500 in unpaid fees.

Weekly Review — September 17, 2019, 8:14 am

Weekly Review

A study that compared the temperatures of French postal carriers’ left and right testicles won an Ig Noble Prize, annual awards honoring research that “first makes people laugh, and then makes them think.”

Weekly Review — September 10, 2019, 11:31 am

Weekly Review

Republican congressman Steve King drank toilet water at a migrant detention facility near the Mexican border to demonstrate its safety. “Actually pretty good!” the congressman remarked.

Weekly Review — September 4, 2019, 4:08 pm

Weekly Review

One hundred and twenty coffins were discovered beneath a housing complex in Tampa, Florida.

Weekly Review — August 27, 2019, 11:16 am

Weekly Review

In Connecticut, five men and one woman between the ages of 62 and 85 were charged with breach of peace and public indecency after they were caught having sex inside the Grace Richardson conservation area.

Weekly Review — August 20, 2019, 2:26 pm

Weekly Review

A federal judge in North Carolina ruled in favor of personal-injury lawyer George Sink Sr., who had sued his son, George Sink Jr., for using his own name at his competing law firm.

Weekly Review — August 13, 2019, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The world champion of short-track speed skating was banned from the sport for a year after pantsing a teammate.

Weekly Review — August 6, 2019, 3:18 pm

Weekly Review

The National Academy of Sciences published a study that found CEOs and CFOs who use the extramarital-affair website Ashley Madison are more than twice as likely to engage in corporate misconduct.

Weekly Review — July 30, 2019, 3:55 pm

Weekly Review

Boris Johnson was sworn in as prime minister; Donald Trump complained about Obama ruining the White House’s air-conditioning

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Trash, Rock, Destroy

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Gimme Shelter·

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I.

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.

The exterior of my hermitage was washed the color of runny egg yolk. Two redwood French doors with plexiglass windows hung cockeyed from creaky hinges at the entrance, and a combination lock provided meager security against intruders. White beadboard capped the roof, its brim shading a front porch set on cinder blocks.

After living on the East Coast for eight years, I’d recently left New York City to take a job at an investigative reporting magazine in San Francisco. If it seems odd that I was a fully employed editor who lived in a thirty-two-square-foot shack, that’s precisely the point: my situation was evidence of how distorted the Bay Area housing market had become, the brutality inflicted upon the poor now trickling up to everyone but the super-rich. The problem was nationwide, although, as Californians tend to do, they’d taken this trend to an extreme. Across the state, a quarter of all apartment dwellers spent half of their incomes on rent. Nearly half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population lived in California, even while the state had the highest concentration of billionaires in the nation. In the Bay Area, including West Oakland, where my shack was located, the crisis was most acute. Tent cities had sprung up along the sidewalks, swarming with capitalism’s refugees. Telegraph, Mission, Market, Grant: every bridge and overpass had become someone’s roof.

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Perhaps the World Ends Here·

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Climate disaster at Wounded Knee

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Body Language·

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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.

But somebody has slipped. The school is putting on the musical South Pacific, and there are not enough roles for the girls, and she is as tall as or taller than the boys, and so they have done what is unthinkable in this striving 1980s town, in this place where the men do the driving and the women make their mouths into perfect Os to apply lipstick in the rearview. For the musical, they have made her a boy.

No, she thinks. They have allowed her to be a boy.

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Trash, Rock, Destroy·

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The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

In an email before our meeting, Despentes asked that we not do a photo shoot. “There are so many images available already,” she explained. Much had been written about her, too. A Google search yielded page after page: profiles, interviews, reviews, bits and bobs—she read from Pasolini at a concert with Béatrice Dalle; someone accused her of plagiarizing a translation; a teacher in Switzerland was fired for teaching her work. The week I met her, she appeared in the culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles in conversation with the rapper-turned-actor JoeyStarr. The woman is simply always in the news.

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The Red Dot·

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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.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

The Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Jesus Plus Nothing

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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