Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Arithmetic from Hell

May 27, 2008

Take 1850, the date of the first publication of Harpers, divide by 16.97 a year for subscriptions, multiply by 4,071 dead U.S. soldiers in Iraq, multiply again by 432 dead U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, add $130 per barrel of oil since 1992, times the class of '08, subtracting twenty-five thousand people times the class of '06, minus 80,000 dead Chinese divided by 69 dams, plus 130,000 dead Burmese times five months of rain in Chile plus a 34-year-old farmer in Kumamoto, exactly equals 54 people vomiting toxic chlorine gas plus Dick Martin dying at 86 plus Charles Booth dying at 104, divided by the Twin Cities Republican National Convention times the fourth human foot washed ashore in British Columbia, divided by three guns, minus two of them loaded, times the 640 percent increase in the cost of scrap metal times food riots in 30 countries, plus 100 million to 950 million chronically hungry people divided by 20,000 tons of Japanese rice with a 300 percent increase in the price of potash divided by the 35 years nobody noticed the fertilizer executive.

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