Commentary: Joe Bob's Week in Review

By JOE BOB BRIGGS  |  Aug. 23, 2002 at 2:24 PM
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Monsoons and landslides have left 900 dead and 25 million displaced in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, while Prague and Dresden have been wrecked by floods of epic proportions. Tokyo is so hot that old people are keeling over on the street. The polar ice cap is melting, causing swarms of insects to infest Alaska. The West Nile virus is turning up dang near everywhere. One of the worst droughts in history has turned Arizona and Colorado into a tinderbox. And 10 million people are currently threatened by flooding in China. When President Bush was handed a report from his own employees on global warming being caused by fossil fuel emissions in wealthy countries, he said, "Yeah, I've read what the bureaucracy put out." A White House spokesman later corrected that statement, saying that Bush hadn't read the report at all. Please hand him his fiddle.

Members of the Animal Liberation Front cut the fences and destroyed the pens at an Iowa mink farm. Of the 1,200 escaped mink, 600 were recovered, 599 were run down by cars or killed by dogs, and one managed to make his way to a gay bar in Chicago, where he was taken in by drag queens, nursed back to health, and fashioned into a boa.

Eve Hibbits of Brilliant, Ohio, was tossed into the slammer on three felony counts of child endangerment -- when her children got sunburned at the county fair. Sheriff Fred Abdalla made the arrests, and the children were taken to Trinity Medical Center in Steubenville, where a spokesman said, "We treated the minors for second-degree sunburn. Most people who get sunburned get second-degree sunburn. It means any sunburn that is beginning to blister." Not only did the mom spend a week in jail, but she'll be prosecuted for the sunburn, and Children's Services will now check up on how she's treating her children. The first time one of them gets a stomachache from too much candy, this woman is going DOWN.

University of North Carolina freshmen settled in to discuss their summer reading assignment -- the Koran -- just hours after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Family Policy Network, which had tried to stop the teaching. Hundreds of students wore Islamic dress for the day, to show their support for Muslims, and the cafeteria served lamb kebab in pitas, that really spicy kind that's all squishy around the edges.

The Princeton Review named Indiana University the number one party school in the nation, with Clemson University as the first runner-up, followed by the University of Alabama, Penn State, and the University of Florida. The American Medical Association once again criticized the rankings, saying that they are irresponsible and tend to glorify high-risk drinking. Student body presidents at each of the five schools called for restraint and common sense as they celebrated their new fame, while students at losing schools -- especially Chico State in California -- were so depressed that they had to get drunk.

The University of Florida was especially peeved about its relatively low ranking this year, because the Gators had made such great strides in the party field. ABOR, which stands for Autonomous Beer-Opening Robot, is the creation of Jean-Philippe Clerc, a mechanical engineering student who built ABOR to roll along a counter-top, approach a beer bottle, open it with a church key or screw off the top, depending on the needs of the occasion, then back away. In keeping with University of Florida tradition, ABOR is also equipped with fake ID.

Zimbabwe continued to arrest white farmers who refuse to turn their property over to the state. So far more than 200 people have been jailed on charges of being white. And they said ethnic cleansing was so '90s.

Woody Harrelson pronounced the war on terrorism "bull----" in an interview with the Mirror of London, adding that American soldiers are themselves terrorists. Sell this man a farm in Zimbabwe.

Infants that are breast-fed for nine months or longer grow up to have an average of five more IQ points than babies that are bottle-fed, according to a study in Copenhagen published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They are also five times more likely to log on to

The government of Singapore is handing out advice booklets for singles, telling them how to have dates. "We aim to empower singles by helping them with basic courtship skills, showing them that it's really a natural process," said Tan-Huang Shuo Mei, director of the government's Social Development Unit. Singapore is concerned with a declining birth rate, and nothing solves that problem like Third World dating services for people with limited access to condoms.

When Ryma the giraffe died at the National Zoo, the Washington Post asked for the animal's medical records and necropsy and pathology reports. The zoo's response: releasing the records would violate the animal's right to privacy. The zookeeper-animal relationship is sacred, said Zoo Director Lucy Spelman, and that extends as well to the records of Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, the two pandas that are getting closer and closer to having sex on the zoo grounds. The Post gave up and settled for an interview with the pathologist, but remember what happened to the Catholic Church. How many baby zebras must be fondled before the law is changed?

The Langtrees brothel in Perth, Australia, had to close its doors for a day because the prostitutes were all so worn out they could no longer perform. The unprecedented measure was taken by brothel owner Mary-Anne Kenworthy after attempting to service three U.S. Navy ships that landed at Fremantle with 5,500 sailors stressed-out from war duty.

(Joe Bob Briggs writes several columns for United Press International. Contact him at or through his Web site, Snail mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221.)

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