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Thought of the week:
"Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan"
-- Thomas Campbell

The RS party continues. It's fiction galore as we bring you the winners of the 500 Feat contest. It was a close race, dear readers, on both ends of the spectrum. We had some really awesome entries, and if I may be brutally frank here, we had some total stinkers. Poor spelling, weak grammar, and irresponsible editing marred many a promising story. Still more entries showed amazing vocabulary and great style, but ultimately withered out for want of a decent plot. The best stories turned out to be the simple ones, the ones that conveyed a keen insight or delivered a message, or in the case of one of our runners-ups, a neat twist in the plot. I hope all our contestants will take this as a learning experience whether they won or otherwise.

Niloy also makes a comeback this week. He's still on leave, but caved in under pressure from his fans.

I couldn't help but notice the book review we ran last week, and as someone who's read a fair share of Durell's work, I've got some observations to make.

Firstly, the fact that the author of 'My Family and Other Animals', Gerald Durell, was a travelling zoologist who collected rare and exotic animals is not only mentioned in the 'About the Author' section of his books, but repeated throughout his stories. This should explain why he stayed in Corfu for so long. In case the edition you read has no author information, Durrell was born in Jamshedpur, India. His family moved back to the UK in 1928 after the death of his father, but ultimately settled in Corfu, Greece. As a zoologist, he was moved by the various threats to endangered species, and decided that more zoos were in order for better conservation, and thus he began his animal-collecting adventures, shortly after World War II, which culminated in the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust in 1963. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org)

The second gripe that the author of the review had was with regards to the language of the book. True, Durrell has a rich vocabulary that he has no qualms about using, but what's wrong with a little dictionary exercise? Consider it a learning experience! Actually, the meanings of most of the 'hard' words he used could easily be understood from the context they were used in. I'm sorry if I sound all superior and aatelistic…as an English teacher, I can't help but advocate the use of the dictionary.

Finally, with regards to adult humor and the mating habits of lizards…well, it's a zoologist's journal; it's supposed to have scientific data on such phenomenon. What makes the book so wonderful is Durrell's witty narration that makes the technical stuff more palatable to the common reader.

Again, I apologize if my criticism of the review has been too harsh. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I was just airing mine. It was a good review, Saquiba, and we hope to see more from you in future.

Well, that's all for tete-a-tete this week. See you next Thursday!

Send your polls, love letters, hate mails, and opinions to thegirlnextdoor1@hotmail.com, or mail me at my yahoo address at teteatete_tgnd@yahoo.com

By The Girl Next Door

Oddly enough…

Train crash that killed over 100 people in Japan was caused by driver yanking emergency brake at 108 kilometers per hour in the middle of a sharp curve. "Stupid".
The JR Fukuchiyama Line train that rammed a condominium building a few weeks back was riding on its left wheels alone for the last 100 meters or so before it hit the building, police officials said as the probe into the deadly crash continued.

By analyzing data from a monitoring device found in the wreckage of the train, the Police determined it was going 108 kph when the driver activated the emergency brake during a right-hand curve. The speed limit on the curved section, which has a radius of 300 meters, is 70 kph.

The first five cars of the train derailed, with the first two smashing into the ground-floor garage of the building. A total of 107 passengers have been confirmed dead so far, and 460 others were injured.

Police believe the train -- which entered the curve at a speed well above the safety limit -- left the tracks in a nearly sideways position after the right wheels lifted off the rails and the cars tilted left. - japantimes.co.jp

US Army encourages kid to lie and cheat to be accepted. Kid turns out to be undercover journalist
In an attempt to boost slumping recruitment numbers, the U.S. Army has started offering stronger incentives to soldiers. But two recruiters from Colorado have been suspended as the Army investigates accusations that they encouraged a teenager to lie and cheat so he could join up.

A reporter of a TV station reports that 17-year-old high school journalist David McSwane is just the kind of guy the military would like. McSwane says, "I wanted to see how far the Army would go during a war to get one more solider."

So, McSwane contacted his local Army recruiting office, with a scenario he created. For one thing, he told his recruiter, he was a dropout and didn't have a high school diploma. No problem, the recruiter explained. He suggested that McSwane create a fake diploma from a nonexistent school. He recorded the recruiter saying on the phone: "It can be like Faith Hill Baptist School. Whatever you choose."

So, as instructed, he went to a Web site and, for $200, arranged to have a phoney diploma created. It certified McSwane as a graduate of Faith Hill Baptist High School, the very name the recruiter had suggested, and came complete with a fake grade transcript.

What was McSwane's reaction to them encouraging him to get a phoney diploma? "I was shocked. I'm sitting there looking at a poster that says, 'Integrity, honour, respect,' and he is telling me to lie."
And there was more.

The Army doesn't accept enlistees with a drug problem, but that's what he pretended to have when he spoke with the recruiter. "I have a problem with drugs. I can't kick the habit. Just marijuana," he recalls telling the recruiter. "And he says, 'Not a problem. Just take this detox." He said he would pay for half of it, and told me where to go (to get it)." "The two times that I had the guys use it," the recruiter says, "it's worked both times. We didn't have to worry about anything."

So he then reported the McSwane to higher officials. "Let me sum up all of this with one word: unacceptable. Completely unacceptable," said Lt. Colonel Brodeur who heads Army recruiting in the region. - cbsnews.com

11 year old boy charged with bringing unlawful weapon to school. Deadly weapon of choice ten nails left in his pocket from Boy Scout outing
An 11-year-old boy was arrested this week for carrying ten nails in his pocket at a school and charged with carrying an unlawful weapon.

Dianne McCray, assistant principal at the School, asked the child Wednesday what was jingling in his pocket and the student gave her the 3.5" long nails. A school resource officer arrested him. His father picked him up and he was not taken to the police station.

The father said the nails were left in his pocket after a Boy Scout outing. He says it is ridiculous that his son faces an unlawful weapon charge. He says the boy threatened no one. - wistv.com

Compiled by Ahmed Ashiful Haque

RS Mailbox

Dear Rising Star,
Rising Stars is a wonderful exchange of ideas and stories for and about young people and their struggle to come to terms with the passages of life. Recently you featured a piece "Precious little girls..". The well written piece described the author's desire to have a sister. Little did he and his family realize, he COULD HAVE HAD THAT SISTER!. It's called ADOPTION.

Did Rajin's family explore the option of adoption? Did they realize there are hundreds of children scattered in many orphanages throughout the country? These are children where the parents have relinquished their rights and these kids are looking for a brother just like Rajin. I was sad when I read his story, that he had missed out on such an obtainable opportunity. In Rajin's family case, their adoption would have been considered an "in-country" adoption and therefore much easier. The process usually entails a "home study" done by a social worker, a police review and a financial review. These studies are done to protect the adopted child and insure that the family has the resources to care and raise the child.

Whether the child is your biological child or an adopted child, they will build the future of Bangladesh. Better to have all children in loving and caring homes. Husbands who complain about wives who don't have a son or a daughter, need a good slap upside the head and a review of basic genetics.

The female's egg. is neutral, it can go either way, it is the male's sperm that determines the sex of the child. So the next time, a spouse complains, arm yourself with scientific facts, you can't lose. But better than arguing, do something positive about it! Adopt! Friends of ours just adopted a baby girl from Russia. They are over the moon with the joy this child has brought them.

The process was long and expensive with travel and passports. But if you ask them, it was all worth it.

But all hope is not lost. Rajin sounds like an intelligent, caring young man from a very loving family. Someday if he marries, he and his wife will want to build a family. We hope that he and his wife will open their minds, open their hearts and open their home and adopt a child of their own. Rajin also has four brothers and maybe they will do the same.

As our friends who just recently adopted the baby girl from Russia said, "The first time we held her, we knew she was ours" And that's how adoption works.

M.E. Manzie
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Staff writers wanted for RS

Its that time of the year again when our staff writers spread their wings and fly off. If you are interested in writing please drop off your CV as well as a short sample article before the 9th of June. The article should be not more than 500 words and the topic should be on a current news event that is creating waves among the general public, or you can write a short essay about an event that made an impact on your life.
If you think you can regularly meet deadlines and submit an article every week to the boss then this job is yours. That's the difficult part. The rest of the tasks are easy such as listening to bosses scream, growing a fondness for drinking gallons of tea and generally looking busy sitting in front of a computer.
No previous experience is required other than the fact that you should be able to write correctly and creatively.


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