Tribesman Guilted Into Attending Friend's Boundary Dance

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Vol 39 Issue 40

Deep Down, Woman Knows She's Watching Entire Trading Spaces Marathon

WINNSBORO, LA—On some level, college professor Lynnda Dale, 48, knows she'll watch this Saturday's entire 12-episode Trading Spaces marathon, Dale almost acknowledged Monday. "Hey, I sorta like that stupid show," said Dale, when she spotted the row of listings for the TLC home-makeover series. "I've got a lot to do, so I'll just watch one episode. But on the off chance that I get sucked in, I can do those lesson plans the next day." Dale said that if she does tune in to the marathon, she won't pay close attention to the show, but will only keep it on for background noise as she does housework.

God's Gift To Women Returned

TUCSON, AZ—Moments after unsuccessfully propositioning all of the female patrons at the Kon Tiki Lounge, God's gift to women, 31-year-old Patrick Roland, was returned to his maker Monday night. "That Pat guy was cute, but he sure was pushy," said Debbie Werner, a fellow Lounge patron. "He kept trying to buy me Cosmos, but I told him to buzz off. A few minutes later, he stumbled out the door and got run over by a bus." Werner said she hopes that next time God's feeling generous, He gives women something more useful, like money.

79-Year-Old Still Saving For Future

OLATHE, KS—Frances Buntz, 79, continues to work diligently as a file clerk at Kansas State Insurance and save any extra money she can, Buntz said Monday. "When my husband had a stroke eight years ago, all of our savings went to bills," said Buntz, momentarily resting her weight on her cane. "Since then, I've been trying to build up a little nest egg." Buntz said she hopes to someday invest in a nice little place to settle down, or some medicine.

MacArthur Genius Grant Goes Right Up Recipient's Nose

ALBANY, NY—According to friends, the $500,000, five-year, no-strings-attached MacArthur Fellowship awarded to Jim Yong Kim earlier this month went right up the 43-year-old scientist's nose. "Kim's efforts to eradicate drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis in Russian prisons and Peruvian ghettos amazed everyone—as did his appetite for top-grade cocaine," Marisa Amir said Monday. "As soon as that first check arrived, Kim was on the phone with his dealer, and two hours later, he was in a hot tub full of strippers." His first installment of money gone, the scientist then returned to the task of developing a whole-cell cholera toxin recombinant B subunit vaccine.

Bush Disappointed To Learn Chinese Foreign Minister Doesn't Know Karate

WASHINGTON, DC—While he still plans to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, President Bush was disappointed to learn that the dignitary does not know karate, White House adviser Karl Rove told reporters Tuesday. "I told George that karate is an ancient martial art of Japan, not China," Rove said. "I told him that in China, many practice kung fu—but I recommended that he stick to the more vital issue of relations with Taiwan and North Korea." In spite of Rove's suggestion, Bush plans to ask Zhaoxing to "do some of that Jackie Chan action."

Lieberman Pledges To Gloss Over The Boring Issues

HARTFORD, CT—Eager to distinguish himself in the nine-member field of Democratic candidates, presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) pledged Monday to "gloss over any and all issues boring to Americans today."

No Prison Can Hold Me, As Long As I Have My Imagination

Why, hello there! Come and have a seat next to me on the sand and gaze out over the ocean at the beautiful sunset. Listen to the caw of the seagulls! Hear the lapping of the waves against the dock! Take your shoes off, if you like. What's that you say? I'm sitting on my bunk at the Pelican Bay Correctional Facility? I'm sorry, but inmate #454336 doesn't care to limit himself to sitting inside these four walls. You see, while I'm doing 60 years to life for stabbing three elderly women to death, I can go anywhere my imagination takes me!
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Tribesman Guilted Into Attending Friend's Boundary Dance

KOROMA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA—Huli tribesman Olene, 32, expressed annoyance Tuesday after being "guilt-tripped" into agreeing to attend his friend Gumaiba's boundary dance.

Olene.

"This is the last thing I need tonight," said Olene. "I had a really bad day. I'm beat from a long day of hunting, and I broke my favorite hongoia bone knife. All I want to do is kick back at home, maybe craft myself a new knife. Instead, I have to go out to Gumaiba's boundary dance. What a drag."

The boundary dance is a traditional ceremony performed by Huli tribesmen to mark the territory owned by their hamigini emene, or sub-clan. Gumaiba, 30, first invited Olene to the event last week, when he handed his friend a hand-painted, bark invitation. According to Olene, Gumaiba has reminded him of the dance several times since then.

"I certainly hadn't forgotten about the dance, although I tried to act like I had," Olene said. "I was trying to avoid [Gumaiba], but then he cornered me at Wabe's mourning feast. Gumaiba said he'd been working on a new reed skirt all week, and it was really coming together. He said the show was going to be totally different from the others."

Olene said Gumaiba then used guilt to coerce him into attending the boundary dance.

"Gum mentioned the time this dandaji warrior was pissed because he thought that I had slept with one of his wives," Olene said. "Gum brought up how he gave one of his own pigs to the guy to get me out of the bind. I've always been grateful to him for that, but using it to get me to come to his singsing seemed pretty low."

Members of the same clan, Olene and Gumaiba have known each other since childhood.

"Gumaiba and I go way back," Olene said. "We're not close-close, but we always run into each other at the shrine. He's a good guy."

Olene has attended three of Gumaiba's boundary dances in the past.

"It's usually an okay time," Olene said. "Gum always has good tobacco, and it's pretty funny to watch him pick up on the village wali after the show."

"It's just, look, he's not a very good boundary dancer," Olene said. "It's sort of painful, as a friend, for me to sit through it. The worst part is talking to him after the dance. I hate to lie, lest the ghosts of the dead strike me down. But I can't tell him the truth, either."

Gumaiba began performing boundary dances two years ago. Olene acknowledged that his friend has improved his presentation in recent months, by adding more plumage to his manda wig and by obtaining an impressive array of pajabu cordyline leaves for his buttocks. Olene maintained, however, that no costume alterations will help Gumaiba's poor dancing.

Gumaiba (far right) attempts to keep up with more talented performers at a March boundary dance.

"If Gumaiba thinks he's protecting his space with that ritual, he's kidding himself," Olene said. "I was at his first two, and that put me in the clear to miss some for a while. But I knew it would be hard to dodge this one, because I've skipped his past three."

Olene told Gumaiba he wanted to make the dance, but that he didn't have a gift to bestow upon those hosting it.

"Gumaiba said he would list me among his family members, so I didn't have to worry," Olene said. "I said that I didn't have anything to barter for food and drink. He said, 'Come on, Olene, I'll get you a sweet potato if you come.'"

Olene quickly realized that he had run out of excuses and told Gumaiba he would be at the show.

"I thought that maybe I could still get out of it," Olene said. "But when Gumaiba dropped by my hut last night, he had that desperate look in his eye. I knew he wasn't there to shoot the breeze about the heavy rains the dama was throwing our way. He made some small talk about the homogo's newest wives, but sure enough, after a couple minutes, he brought up his sacred boundary dance."

"That's when he really laid it on thick, telling me that tonight was really important to him," Olene said. "He said he needed lots of people to show up to see him, or he'd lose his spot in the next dance. I was considering consulting the wisdom of the homogo for more excuses, but really there's no use. I don't think there's any way to back out now."

In spite of his trepidation, Olene said he will attend with a positive attitude.

"It might not be so bad," Olene said. "Like I said, Gumaiba is a really nice guy. And he plays a pretty good gãwã. Once, when he was jamming on it, he got the whole village dancing. I don't know why he doesn't just stick to the gãwã. For some reason, he's gotta think he's some sort of boundary dancer, too."

Resigned to attending the dance, Olene said his new goal is to get back to his hut at a reasonable hour.

"If I work it right, I might be able to get home before the moon passes behind the tall tree," Olene said. "I just have to put in an appearance and let him know that I'm there. Once Gumaiba gets into his groove, I should be able to duck out without him noticing."

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