The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 2, Number 10 - October 2002
What's in this issue?
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October 7 - Child Health Day
October 1 - UN International Day of Older Persons
This Day in History - October
Featured Location of the Month: ANCHORAGE ALASKA
Location: Southern Alaska, a seaport on Knik Arm of Cook Inlet; incorporated 1920. Anchorage is the largest city in the state and serves as the transportation and commercial center for much of central and western Alaska. It is connected to the Alaska Highway by Glenn Highway and is served by Anchorage International Airport, which is a major international hub for air freight.
Population (2000 Census): 260,283
Mayor: George Wuerch (Republican)
October Temperatures: Normal high of 40.5 degrees; Normal low of 28.7 degrees
Colleges & Universities: Alaska Pacific University; Charter College; Kenai Peninsula College; Matanuska-Susitna College; University of Alaska Anchorage
Events: 9th Annual Information Technology & Business Expo, Egan Center (October 1-2); 36th Annual Oktoberfest, Egan Center (October 4-5); Make it Alaska Festival, Sullivan Arena (October 4-6); The Voice Of The Drum Musical Performance, Alaska Native Heritage Center (October 9); Permanent Fund Comedy Jam, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts (October 11); Anchorage Symphony Orchestra October Classic Concert, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts (October 12); Around the World Wine Tasting and Auction, Phillips Atrium (October 12); Beringia Days 2002, Celebrating the Bering Strait Region, Anchorage Museum of History and Art (October 17-18); NYE Frontier Hockey Classic , Sullivan Arena (October 18-19); Alaska Bead Society Annual Fall Event, Anchorage Museum of History and Art (October 19); Fort Richardson 5K and 10K (October 19); Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, Egan Center (October 21-26); Quyana Alaska-Native Cultural Dance Performances, Egan Center (October 23-24); Native Arts and Crafts Fair, Egan Center (October 24-26); 20th Annual Pumpkin Prom, Anchorage Senior Center (October 25); 3rd Annual Alaska State Fair Holiday Bazaar, State Fair Grounds, Raven Hall (October 26-27); ZombieFest 2002, Sheraton Anchorage Hotel (October 26); Jazz Party, Motherlode Lodge (October 27); 8th Annual Halloween Family Concert, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts (October 31)
Places to visit: Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum; Alaska Botanical Garden; Alaska Center for the Performing Arts; Alaska Native Heritage Center; Alaska Zoo; Anchorage Museum of History and Art; Eklutna Historical Park; Imaginarium Science Discovery Center
History: The community was established in 1914-15 as the main supply base for the Alaska Railroad and grew rapidly during World War II, when it became the headquarters for the U.S. Alaska Defense Command. An earthquake in 1964 caused extensive damage to the city.
There is currently a movement in Alaska to transfer the state capital from its remote location in Juneau to a more central location, such as Anchorage, by far Alaska's largest city. There is a referendum to be voted on in November to move just the legislative sessions from Juneau; this is seen as a precursor, though, to eventually moving the entire capital.
Buono Jr., Angelo, 67, notorious criminal known as the "Hillside Strangler" who in 1983 was convicted of murdering nine young Los Angeles-area women; Calipatria, CA, Sept. 21, 2002.
Gal, Uziel, 78, Israeli army colonel who invented the Uzi submachine gun; North Wales, PA, Sept. 7, 2002.
Hayes, Bob, 59, world-champion sprinter who became a star wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys football team and was the only Olympic gold medalist to also collect a Super Bowl ring; Jacksonville, FL, Sept. 18, 2002.
Hunter, Kim, 79, actress who in 1947 originated the role of Stella Kowalski in Tennessee Williams's landmark play A Streetcar Named Desire, won an Oscar for reprising the role in the 1951 film version, and later triumphed as Dr. Zira in Planet of the Apes; New York, NY, Sept. 11, 2002.Littlewood, Joan, 87, revolutionary figure in British theater whose best-known production was Oh What a Lovely War (1963), a vaudeville-style recreation of events linked to World War I; London, England, Sept. 20, 2002.
Mink, Patsy, 74, liberal Democratic House member from Hawaii, who co-authored gender equality legislation, and was expected to win re-election in November; Honolulu, HI, September 28, 2002.
Phillips, William, 94, cofounder and longtime editor of the influential literary and political journal the Partisan Review; New York, NY, Sept. 13, 2002.
Rosenberg, William, 86, food franchising pioneer who after World War II founded the Dunkin' Donuts chain, which grew to encompass about 5,000 locations worldwide; Mashpee, MA, Sept. 20, 2002.
Stone, W. Clement, 100, Illinois insurance executive and philanthropist who was the single largest contributor to Richard Nixon's successful Republican presidential campaigns in 1968 and 1972; Evanston, IL, Sept. 3, 2002.
Unitas, Johnny, 69, National Football League Hall of Fame quarterback who played with the Baltimore Colts for 17 seasons and was widely regarded as the top quarterback in the history of the NFL; Towson, MD, Sept. 11, 2002.
Webster, Mike, 50, Hall of Fame center for the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers, pivotal to the team's four Super Bowl victories in the 1970s, who got into all sorts of trouble after his 1990 retirement and was eventually diagnosed with brain damage stemming from hits to the head; Pittsburgh, PA, Sept. 24, 2002.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Vatican II Recalled
By Joe Gustaitis
Forty years ago, on October 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII opened an ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church. The council, which convened over the course of more than three years, became known as the Second Vatican Council, or simply "Vatican II," since it was the second council to be held in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. (The First Vatican Council took place in 1869-70. That was also the first ecumenical council to have representatives from the United States. The first church council of all dates back all the way to the Council of Nicaea in 325.).
Pope John set the theme of the Second Vatican Council as the possible reunion of the church with its "separated brethren" (other Christian churches). And while that was indeed a key focus of the council (in a major innovation, representatives of the Protestant and Orthodox churches were invited to attend as observers), the deliberations took on much wider scope. The council eventually launched a series of reforms that greatly changed Catholicism.
The council was divided into four separate sessions, the last ending on December 8, 1965. More than 2,540 bishops and others, from all parts of the world, participated. John XXIII did not live to see it completed; he died on June 30, 1963, some three months before the opening of the second session. But before his death, he delivered an encyclical called Pacem in Terris, and its proclamation of freedom of conscience and plea for international cooperation set the tone for much of what followed. Pope Paul VI presided over the remaining deliberations. Beginning with the 1963 session, lay Catholics attended as auditors, and from 1964, they included women.
The council's eventual declarations caused considerable change in the practices of the church. Many Catholics thought they went too far, although many others thought they did not go far enough. The most obvious changes from the recent past were apparent to Catholics at Sunday Mass: Latin was abandoned in favor of vernacular language; the priest, who formerly had faced the altar, now faced the congregation; and communion was distributed in the forms of both bread and wine.
Other, perhaps more important, changes were less apparent. Some analysts contend that the most valuable reform was in the definition of the church as a unity of "the people of God," with bishops having a collegial role and the laity sharing in the priesthood and mission of the church. Freedom of conscience and the right to religious freedom were clearly upheld. Perhaps even more groundbreaking was the recognition various paths to salvation; Protestants are members of the body of Christ; Jews are "the people of God" (anti-Semitism was vigorously condemned), and "those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the gospel of Christ or his church."
These reforms were hailed by many as a great step forward in helping the church cope with the complexities of the modern world. However, some clerics objected both to the changes in the liturgy and to the progressive spirit of the reforms. One dissident, retired French Archbishop Maurice Lefebvre, went so far as to establish his own conservative fraternity; he was suspended from the priesthood and ultimately excommunicated.
Others hoped for reforms that did not come to pass. For example, a reexamination of the church's position against birth control had been part of the council's original agenda, but John XXIII was persuaded to drop it because he was advised that it would lead to fractious debates. Some thought that Paul would reopen the matter, but in the encyclical Humanae Vitae of 1968 he staunchly reaffirmed the church's opposition..
Some bishops also wished to raise the question of whether priests should be allowed to marry, but that initiative, too, faltered. In October 1965 a French newspaper published a speech on that very topic that a Brazilian bishop was intending to deliver at an upcoming session. When Paul heard of it, he sent a letter saying that "it is not opportune to have a public discussion of the topic." He also published an encyclical, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (1967), reaffirming the rule of priestly celibacy. A petition from Catholic laywomen was presented to the council in 1963 urging a discussion of women in the priesthood, but this never happened. In 1977 the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document that barred any such change.
These topics have become front-burner issues. Many Catholics have chosen to disregard the ban on contraception. As early as 1970, Science magazine reported that 68% of white, married Catholic women aged 18-34 in the U.S. were using birth control methods forbidden by the church. The figure for Catholic women 30 and younger was 74%. By 1990, a national survey found that 75% of fertile, sexually active Catholic women were using contraceptives, and recent polls indicate that Catholic women in the U.S. use birth control as often as their non-Catholic counterparts.
Recently the issues of married priests and women clergy have became more prominent, because of a continuing sharp decline in priestly vocations and a series of scandals centered around sexual misconduct by clergy, mainly involving sexual abuse of children and adolescents
Accusations of sexual abuse by priests, and cover-ups by bishops, came to light in a number of U.S. dioceses. One of the most prominent cases involved John Geoghan, a 66-year-old former priest in Boston, who faced a great number of accusations. By the time the Boston archdiocese settled 50 civil suits at a cost of $10 million, 84 more civil suits were pending against Geoghan. Even more damaging, the suits charged that the archdiocese, several bishops, and Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law had allowed Geoghan continued contact with young boys despite knowing about his pedophilia. On January 18, 2002, Geoghan was convicted of molesting a boy at a swimming pool in 1991.
On April 23-25, 2002, the current pope, John Paul II, held a two-day meeting at the Vatican with 12 U.S. cardinals to discuss the crisis. On June 13-15, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gathered in Dallas, TX, and voted to adopt a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that mandated the permanent removal from all ministry of any priest found to have sexually abused a minor. The Vatican was reviewing this charter.
Some wondered whether admitting married men to the priesthood would make such scandals less likely. On March 15, 2002, a lead editorial in the Pilot, the official paper of the Boston archdiocese, raised this issue, asking "Should celibacy continue to be a normative condition for the diocesan priesthood in the Western Church?" and "If celibacy were optional, would there be fewer scandals of this nature in the priesthood?" It also questioned whether or not the priesthood was attracting a "disproportionate number of men with a homosexual orientation."
John Paul II has been a popular pope, recognized for his travels around the world to further the church's mission, his personal charisma, and his role in the fall of Communism in Poland. However, he is clearly considered to be a theological conservative, and he has barred any change in the church's position on birth control, priestly celibacy, and ordination of women.
Vatican II is now long passed, but the changes it introduced, and the issues it brought to the surface, still exist as the church embarks on a new century.
Meteorite Crater Found Under Earth's Surface
When two British Petroleum (BP) geologists, in search of untapped oil and gas deposits, recently surveyed early 1990s seismic reflection data from the petroleum-rich North Sea, they had no idea that they were about to stumble upon one of the world's rarest geological structures--a subterranean meteorite crater. Relatively undisturbed craters are uncommon, primarily because of the continual mixing of Earth's mantle, as well as eons of seismic activity and surface erosion. So, when one turns up 300 meters (1,000 feet) below the floor of the North Sea, about 150 kilometers (80 miles) off the coast of Hull, England, geologists' heads turn.
Geologists Simon Stewart and Philip Allen reported their discovery in the August 1, 2002 issue of the journal Nature. The two were, in effect, prospecting for BP, analyzing shock wave data collected nearly a decade earlier, which could indicate what type of materials and structures are contained in the earth where the waves travel. The method, called seismic reflection, relies on the varying properties of compression wave travel through different materials to identify potentially usable oil and gas deposits. The crater structure appeared in the midst of rocks dating to the Cretaceous (63 million to 135 million years ago) and Jurassic periods (135 million to 190 million years ago).
The kinds and amounts of rock overlying the crater suggest that the structure, about 12 miles in diameter, was formed approximately 60 million to 65 million years ago. Stewart and Allen assert that because the layers below the crater show essentially no geologic disturbance, the crater could have resulted only by force from above--a meteorite strike. Other researchers say that confirmation of this claim will require further research. The Silverpit crater, as it is being called, has an unusual formation for such a small impact structure. It consists of several concentric rings of uplifted material, normally associated with much larger impact craters. If nothing else, then, Stewart and Allen's surprise discovery will keep geologists busy for years to come.
Creative Crows Have Done it Again: Birds Show Tool-Making Skills
Meet Betty, she's a New Caledonian crow at the University of Oxford's Department of Zoology. Betty's part of a research project investigating the tool-making capabilities of her species and so far she has shown that she's no bird-brain. The researchers presented Betty and another crow, Abel, with a small bucket of food inserted into a transparent hollow vertical tube and two wires, one straight and one hooked. They wanted to see which wire the crows would choose in order to pull the tasty food bucket out of the tube. When Abel removed the hooked wire, Betty spontaneously bent the straight wire and used it to fish out the bucket. The researchers conducted new trials to see if Betty would repeat this behavior. They gave her a straight wire and she bent the wire and successfully retrieved the bucket in nine out of 17 trials.
Many animals use tools, but not many make their own. Experiments have shown that chimpanzees (animals that are much more closely related to humans than birds) are able to make tools, but only if they are explicitly instructed on how to do so. This is why it came as such a surprise when scientists observed New Caledonian crows making their own tools for foraging in their native environment in the South Pacific. However, Betty's abilities are particularly astounding, because of her lack of prior experience with pliant material. The Oxford researchers wonder whether the crows, like humans, have a basic understanding of simple physics and of cause and effect that allows them to solve problems, like the food reward experiment, by making tools. They are investigating whether the crows' tool-making abilities are products of social learning from their own species by demonstrating a way to make tools to a group of crows and placing those crows with others to see if the untrained crows learn from the trained ones. They also plan to examine brains of crows from New Caledonia shot for pest control to see if tool-making stems from any particular brain physiology.
CHRONOLOGY - Events of September 2002
Primaries Are Held in 3 States; Florida Experiences Another Voting Snafu - Major primary elections were held in Florida, New York, and New Hampshire Sept. 10. In Florida, one important contest ran afoul of voting problems similar to those that snarled the 2000 presidential election. Voting machine malfunctions were reported in 14 counties, and some poll workers were unable to operate new touch-screen machines. The tight contest for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination remained in doubt for days; finally, on Sept. 17, former U.S. Atty. Gen. Janet Reno, who was behind by 4,800 votes, conceded to Bill McBride, a lawyer, now slated to challenge Gov. Jeb Bush's reelection bid in November.
In New York, state Comptroller H. Carl McCall easily won the Democratic primary for governor after his opponent, Andrew Cuomo, son of the former governor and himself a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, on Sept. 3, withdrew his name from consideration (though it remained on the ballot) and threw his support to McCall. Cuomo's campaign had been floundering. McCall would face Gov. George Pataki (R) in November.
In New Hampshire, Sen. Bob Smith (R, NH) was defeated for renomination by Rep. John Sununu. Smith, a maverick, had briefly left the GOP in 1999, complaining that it was not conservative enough. In Washington, DC, Mayor Anthony Williams won the Democratic primary with write-in votes, after his nominating papers were found to have forged signatures and his name was removed from the ballot.
US Observes Anniversary of Sept. 11 Attacks - The first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, in which more than 3,000 people died, was observed with somber ceremonies. Pres. George W. Bush attended memorials at the 3 places where hijacked airplanes had crashed-the Pentagon; a field near Shanksville, PA; and the site of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. In London, a service remembered 67 Britons killed in the attacks. Earlier, on Sept. 6, Congress held a one-day joint session at Federal Hall, a few blocks from the New York attack site, to honor victims. Congress had not met in New York since 1790, when the capital was moved from New York to Philadelphia. Just before the anniversary, on Sept. 10, Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft announced an orange alert, up from yellow, meaning that the country faced an elevated risk of attack. Threats against US embassies abroad were cited. Vice Pres. Dick Cheney went to a secure, undisclosed location.
3 Former Execs at Tyco Are Indicted - The list of those indicted in connection with corporate scandals lengthened Sept. 12, when charges were filed in state court in New York City against 3 former leaders of Tyco International Ltd. The 3 were former CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski, former CFO Mark Swarts, and Mark Belnik, who was general counsel. They were charged with having defrauded Tyco of millions of dollars. Tyco Sept. 12 filed a civil suit against Kozlowski, seeking to recover millions of dollars.
Dow Falls to 4-Year Low - After bouncing up from a low in late July, stock averages slid again in September. On Sept. 24, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 189.02 points and closed at 7,683.13, its lowest standing since October 1998. On that day, the majority on a committee of the Federal Reserve Board decided not to lower interest rates farther at present.
Torricelli Bows out of Senate Race - Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) ended his scandal-ridden re-election campaign Sept. 30, just five weeks before the election. Torricelli was rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee in July, over allegations that he had accepted improper gifts from a contributor, and Democrats feared that his defect, which seemed likely, could cost their party control of the Senate. Democratic officials said they would announce a new candidate within 48 hours, though state Republicans vowed to fight to keep Torricelli on the ballot, arguing that the legal deadline for to change candidates had expired.
Environmental Summit Held in South Africa - More than 100 heads of state met in Johannesburg, South Africa, Aug. 25 - Sept. 4 at a UN World Summit on Sustainable Environment, which drew 40,000 delegates in all. The meeting was a follow-up on the Earth Summit in Brazil in 1992. A document adopted Sept. 4 made pledges to halve the number of people in the world lacking safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, increase use of renewable energy sources, minimize adverse effects of chemicals, replenish global fish stocks, and protect endangered species. Pres. George W. Bush did not attend.
Bush Rounds Up Support for Action Against Iraq - Pres. Bush said Sept. 4 that he would seek congressional approval for any military move against Iraq. He also promised to consult U.S. allies, many of whom opposed his plan to seek "regime change" in Iraq, where Pres. Saddam Hussein remained in power. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, in the midst of a re-election campaign, said Sept. 4 that Germany would not support an attack on Iraq even if it had UN authorization. Hussein asserted the same day that Iraq was ready for a confrontation with the United States.
Addressing the UN General Assembly Sept. 12, Bush said he would work with the UN Security Council to meet the challenge from lraq, but added that the world must move decisively to deal with the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Iraq Sept. 16 asserted that it would allow weapons inspectors back into the country "without conditions," but U.S. and other authorities were skeptical as to his intentions. Hans Blix, head of the UN inspection commission, met with Iraqi officials Sept. 17. Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld said Sept. 19 that a number of countries had pledged military support for offensive action against Iraq; the same day, Bush asked Congress to give him authority to use force against Iraq. Israeli Prime Min. Ariel Sharon was reported, Sept. 21, to have informed the Bush administration that Israel would strike back if attacked by Iraq, a move which may feared could result in inflaming the Arab world; Israel had not responded to Iraqi Scud missile attacks during the Persian Gulf war.
Rumsfeld said Sept. 27 that the United States had solid evidence of links between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government. On Sept. 28, Iraq rejected a proposal from the United States and Britain to the Security Council for a resolution calling on Iraq to make full disclosure of weapons of mass destruction within 30 days; Iraq said it would refuse to accept any new conditions outlined by others.
Afghan Leader Escapes Assassination - An attempt to assassinate Pres. Hamid Karzai failed Sept. 5 in Kandahar. A gunman opened fire on a car in which he was traveling, missing Karzai but slightly wounding a passenger. U.S. Special Forces troops, firing back, killed the gunman as well as 2 others. Also on Sept. 5, a car bomb in Kabul, the capital, killed 30 people.
UN Admits Switzerland and East Timor - Switzerland Sept. 10 became the 190th member of the United Nations. The central European country had not applied for UN membership in the past, as part of an effort to maintain strict neutrality in international affairs. But a number of UN and other international entities were based in Switzerland, and Swiss voters in a March referendum had supported joining the UN. East Timor, newly independent, also joined, becoming the 191st UN member Sept. 27.
Arrests Made on Terrorism Charges - Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who had already been indicted in Germany on 3,000 counts of murder after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was arrested in Pakistan on Sept. 10-11, along with others with alleged ties to al-Qaeda. The U.S. States took custody of Al-Shibh, who was a Yemeni, and flew him to an unnamed military base Sept. 16. In a major development on Sept. 13-14 the FBI arrested 5 US citizens of Yemeni descent in Lackawanna, NY; they were charged in federal court in Buffalo, NY, Sept. 14 with providing "material support" to terrorists. A 6th man was arrested in Bahrain Sept. 15 and extradited to Buffalo. A 7th, described as the ringleader of the group, was believed to be living in Yemen.
2 U.S. Pilots Charged in Deaths of Canadians - Two US F-16 fighter pilots whose bombs had killed 4 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan in April were charged Sept. 13 with involuntary manslaughter and assault. The pilots had thought they were under fire from the ground; the Canadians were conducting a training exercise. A U.S.-Canadian investigation found that majors Harry Schmidt and William Umbach had acted with "reckless disregard."
Japanese Premier Makes Historic Visit to North Korea - Two countries lacking diplomatic relations since 1948 took a step toward reconciliation Sept. 17. Japanese Prime Min. Junichiro Koizumi met with North Korean leader Kim Jong II in the latter's capital, Pyongyang, where they agreed to open talks on normalizing relations. In a Sept. 17 agreement, Japan apologized for abuses during its colonial rule, 1910-45, and pledged to provide compensation, perhaps as much as $10 billion. North Korea, for its part, admitted that it had kidnapped 12 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s; Kim said that 4 of these, known to be alive in North Korea, would be returned to Japan. North Korea agreed to extend indefinitely its moratorium on ballistic missile tests, and Koizumi said North Korea would adhere to a 1994 agreement to allow international inspection to determine if it was producing weapons of mass destruction.
Israelis Demolish Arafat's Compound - Israeli forces Sept. 20 demolished all but one building in the office compound of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. Israel's renewed attack followed a suicide bombing on a bus in Tel Aviv, Sept. 19, in which the bomber killed himself and 6 others and injured scores. Israel demanded that 50 or so Palestinians (among 200 inside the compound) that Israel had linked to terrorist acts be handed over. On Sept. 29, under outside pressures, Israel pulled its forces back despite the demand; Arafat, claiming victory, left the building. Nine more Palestinians, including 6 civilians, were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza Sept. 24.
Earlier, on Sept. 1, Israel said it would investigate 3 incidents on Aug. 29-Sept. 1 in which Israeli forces killed 12 Palestinian civilians. On Sept. 11, Arafat's cabinet resigned as it faced a vote of no-confidence by the Palestinian Legislative Council.
German Chancellor Retains Power in Close Vote - Chancellor Gerhard Schröder clung to power after a close parliamentary election, Sept. 22. His party, the Social Democrats, and the conservative coalition (Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union), whose candidate was Edmund Stoiber, each won 38.5 percent of the popular vote. However, another party allied with Schröder, the Greens, won 8.6 % (their best showing ever), while the Free Democrats, who supported Stoiber, managed only 7.4%. That difference would produce an edge in Parliament of about 10 seats for the winning coalition. Schröder had strongly opposed any U.S. military action in Iraq, leaving a strained state of relations between the 2 countries. Contrary to the usual custom, Bush declined to make a congratulatory phone call to Schröder after his victory.
Assailants Kill 29 in Hindu Temple in India - Assailants armed with automatic weapons attacked a Hindu temple in Gandhinagar, India, Sept. 24, killing 29 and wounding 74. Infantry commandos killed 2 attackers.
Nearly 1,000 Dead as Senegalese Ferry Sinks - An overloaded Senegalese ferry sank off the coast of neighboring Gambia Sept. 26-27, causing the death of almost all of the more than 1,000 persons aboard. Fishing boats rescued 64. The vessel was designed to carry a maximum of only 600.
Serena Williams won her 2nd U.S. Open tennis singles title in Flushing Meadows, NY, Sept. 7, defeating her sister Venus Williams, 6-4, 6-3. On Sept. 8, Pete Sampras won a record 14th major singles title, defeating Andre Agassi, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 for the men's U.S. Open singles championship.
The U.S. trailed 9-7 going into the final round of the Solheim Cup on Sept. 22, in Edina, MN, but won 7 matches and tied 3 to surpass the 14½ points needed to win. American Wendy Ward, 56th on the LPGA money list, provided an emotional lift for the U.S. when she tied Sweden's Annika Sorenstam, the world's best player, in singles competition.
Europe reclaimed the Ryder Cup Sept. 29 defeating the U.S., 15½-12½, at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England. In singles play, Europe led off with its best players, winning the 1st 3 matches. Little-known Ryder Cup rookies Phillip Price, who defeated Phil Mickelson, and Paul McGinley, who halved his match with Jim Furyk, kept the pressure on the U.S. team. By the time Tiger Woods conceded a 4-foot put to halve the final singles match with Jesper Parnevik, the outcome had long been decided.
The 2002 Major League Baseball season ended Sept. 29. The National League Division winners were Atlanta, St. Louis, and Arizona. San Francisco made the playoffs as a wildcard. In the American League, the Division winners were the NY Yankees, Minnesota, and Oakland. The wildcard was Anaheim. On Oct. 1, the playoffs were scheduled to begin with Minnesota at Oakland, Anaheim at New York, and St. Louis at Arizona. San Francisco and Atlanta were scheduled to meet Oct. 2. The AL batting title went to Boston's Manny Ramirez, who finished with a .349 avg. San Francisco's Barry Bonds took the NL batting title (.370).
OFFBEAT NEWS STORIES
- Edward A. Thomas
Gifts from the Heart
In a gesture of sympathy to the United States, members of a Masai tribe, who live in a remote village near Kenya's border with Tanzania, donated 14 cows, the most precious gift they can give, to America to aid in the recovery from the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
People who live in the Masai village of Enoosaen had heard about the attacks from local radio stations, but did not understand the impact of the events, until Kimeli Naiyomah, a tribe member who is now a medical student in the United States, returned home for a visit. Naiyomah had been in New York City when the attacks occurred. Once the stories of that day were related to the Masai, the villagers were greatly saddened.
The tribe elders blessed the 14 cows, which they consider as sacred, and presented them to William Brancick, deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. Because of the difficulty in transporting the animals, the embassy planned on selling them and using the funds to purchase Masai jewelry, which would be displayed at a September 11th memorial in New York City.
A website, "Thanks for the cattle," http://dual-boot-comp.com/14cattle/ , set up by Rob Kent, a computer programmer from Tuscan, AZ, who studied in Kenya, is accepting thank yous from the American public; these will be translated and sent to the Masai tribe.
Calling all Chocoholics
Fortnum & Mason, an exclusive grocery store in Britain, is searching for a new chocolate taster, and they will pay $54,400 (35,000 pounds), a year, for a person with the right skills.
Do you have what it takes to be a chocolate tester? The position involves traveling around the world tasting chocolate, and helping to find the very best for the Fortnum & Mason stores. Job duties job include eating half a pound of chocolate a day. The outgoing chocolate buyer, Jenny Cork, may possibly have had her tongue in cheek when she said, "I admit it's been tough, a horrible job. I wouldn't recommend it." Cathy O'Neill, the personnel director, advertised it as "the best job in the world," and judging by the flood of applications that came pouring in, she may be right.
As for me, I'm heading to the candy machine. I had the same reaction when I saw "Chocolat!"
Links of the Month
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
Whenever my co-worker Felicia and I used to travel, we always composed rhyming poetry on our air flights back home. We're still at it, though our travel days together are long over. The Rhyme Zone http://www.rhymezone.com/ is a dream come true for us would-be-poets, because you can type in a word, and the site will find you rhymes, from single syllable words to multiple syllables. You also have the option of getting synonyms, antonyms, definitions, and more information for that word. Let's give it a try:
Felicia and I enjoy writing in rhyme,
Have you been tessellated? It has nothing to do with sharing a meal with my friend Tess. A tessellation is any repeating pattern of interlocking shapes. Have I lost you yet? The artist M.C. Escher excelled in creating these types of patterns. Just visit Totally Tessellated at http://library.thinkquest.org/16661/ and you'll see what this is all about.
I hope this next site doesn't cause hundreds of protesting magicians to appear at my doorstep; yes, I'm unveiling a site that gives away some of magic's secrets http://www.allmagic.com. Okay, so you won't learn the secrets of Houdini's tricks, but this site does offer up a variety of interesting items, including easy-to-learn tricks, a guide to finding dealers of magic, a calendar of future magic events, and columns by magicians, as well as links to other magic sites. I'm still trying to figure out how to turn a co-worker into a rabbit! (Even if that trick is old hat.)
Ever heard of wedding insurance? If the groom doesn't show up, does the bride-to-be get her money back? Just for your information, you can get policies that cover cancellation of events due to weather, key people unable to arrive, or problems with service providers. I went to a great wedding this weekend, and thought I'd find a good source for weddings, which I did at http://www.weddingchannel.com/. If you have a wedding to plan, this site offers a compendium of information for the planning process, with advice for newlyweds, and a source for the wedding guests -- registries of major store chains.
The last time I dressed up for Halloween, I went as the Invisible man; wow, was it hot under those bandages! I'm always looking for good Halloween costumes, and I found some sites that offer ideas. At the Costume Idea Zone http://www.costumeideazone.com/default.asp, I found a recipe, oh I mean costume, which I thought was cute: Deviled egg - wear all white, paint a yellow circle on your stomach, wear devil horns and carry a pitchfork. And for kids who use wheelchairs, I found a listing at a school site that had some wonderful suggestions, http://www.bridgeschool.org/about/about_halloween.html.
When I was 17, I interviewed my grandfather for a family tree project that I had to do for school. My grandfather was a born storyteller, and he provided me with a solid groundwork from which I eventually began an earnest look at my genealogy. Twenty-five years later, I know he'd be pleased that I have made contact with, and met, descendents of his siblings, 100 years after he emigrated from Lebanon. My search began at Cyndi's List of genealogy sites http://www.cyndislist.com/, which boasts 161,850 links. Admittedly, I got lucky early on; I located e-mail addresses for people with the same last name (Maalouf) in Brazil (where some of my grandmother's family had ended up), got a reply from someone in Canada, and was hooked up with this gentleman's father in Lebanon -- who then visited the town of my grandfathers birth, met with the Mayor of the town, and in turn was introduced to members of my extended family. I now have a photograph of the house my grandfather was born in, built by my great-great grandfather. Ah, the Internet is a wonderful tool!
Oddest site of the month: The Traffic Cone Preservation Society http://animation.filmtv.ucla.edu/students/awinfrey/coneindex.htm.
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