Etc...

OK, so now you know

There is scholarly research, and then there's the paper that University of Pittsburgh linguist Scott Kiesling has just published on the origins and uses of the expression "dude." He discovered, for instance, that it first meant "old rags," although by the late 1800s it described a meticulously dressed fellow, and that its current popularity traces to the 1982 coming-of-age movie, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." What else? Well, it's appropriate for a wide spectrum of emotions: from a simple greeting, to surprise, to empathy, to disgust. Says Kiesling's paper, "dude" derives its essence from a "cool solidarity" (almost always between males) that's understood to mean, "I'm your friend - but not much more than your friend."

Bush reelection victory is rated top story of 2004

President Bush's successful quest for a second term, in one of the most contentious political campaigns in US history, has been ranked by newspaper, news agency, and broadcast news editors around the world as the year's top story. In an annual poll of subscribers, the Associated Press said Bush's reelection Nov. 2 over US Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts drew 15 first-place ballots. Mark van der Velden of the South African Press Association justified his vote by saying: "It's not really a US presidential election; it's actually Americans choosing the world's leader. The rest of us are just spectators." The top 10 news stories of 2004, as voted by AP subscribers:
1. President Bush wins reelection
2. Iraq
3. Terrorist bombings in Madrid
4. Death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
5. Massacre by terrorists at school in Beslan, Russia
6. Mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib
7. Crude oil price tops $55 a barrel
8. Expansion of the European Union and NATO
9. Ukrainian presidential election controversy
10. Humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan

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