Tuesday, August 06, 2002

From the "Better Late Than Never" Department

Mikhail Kalashnikov, who created the AK-47 automatic rifle, said he wishes he had invented a better lawnmower instead.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, defying the Bush Administration, approved the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Actually, these are quoted from this week's Harper's Magazine Weekly Review (at http://www.harpers.org/weekly-review/). Every Tuesday they publish the highlights of the previous week's news. Past gems include:

The head of research at Walt Disney agreed to become the head of research at the National Security Agency. (July 23)

[You know, I've always been suspicious of Disney. Even before The Stepford Wives. How can any company do such spectacularly beautiful animation — Fantasia is one of my favorite movies of all time — and yet have such unappealing characters? I did love their version of Beauty and the Beast, though.]

A swarm of locusts descended on Beijing, where they were promptly gathered by the bagful, deep fried, and eaten. (July 16)

President George W. Bush told Americans to get more exercise, eat less, and stay away from tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. The government of Malaysia, concerned about rising divorce rates, encouraged Malaysians to use affectionate names, such as "darling," with their spouses. Women in Swaziland were told by a royal official not to wear trousers, and he instructed the army to patrol for offenders, who will have the offending garments stripped from their bodies and torn to pieces. (June 25)

[At least we're in better shape than women in Swaziland — our army isn't yet going around ripping French fries from our hands or demanding that we drop and give them twenty.]

A number of elderly pop stars, including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Cliff Richard, and Brian Wilson, performed at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 50-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Ozzy Osbourne sang Black Sabbath's "Paranoid." (June 11)

[This one I really don't want to think about.]

President Bush told religious leaders in Moscow that Americans "hold dear what our Declaration of Independence says, that all have got uninalienable rights." President Bush met with President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil and somehow thought to ask him: "Do you have blacks, too?" Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, interrupted the conversation and explained: "Mr. President, Brazil probably has more blacks than the USA. Some say it's the country with the most blacks outside Africa." Cardoso was later heard to say that Bush was still in a "learning phase." . . . President Bush told a group of Republican senators that Kim Jong Il of North Korea was a "pygmy." (June 4)

[A banner week for the President]

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