New Cambodian Barnes & Noble

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Issue 3205

U.S. Defense Secretary: 'I Am In Love'

WASHINGTON, DC—In a report delivered to top Defense Department officials Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen announced that he is in love and feels more alive than he has ever felt in his life. "You would not believe this woman. You have to meet her," the 415-page report reads. "She is the one. The one." Cohen was recently censured by the Clinton Administration for spending a majority of his workdays writing "Lois Burkowski Cohen" on his desk and notepads, and spinning around humming while walking. This is believed to be the most smitten a Clinton Cabinet member has been since May 1994, when Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala started going steady with Volcano star Anne Heche.

Study: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

BOSTON—A new study released in the New England Journal Of Medacine STOP Un-Medacine Medicine Medicine GO revealed that Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, once thought to stem from neurochemicl STOP Un-neurochemicl neurochemical neurochemical GO deficiencies, may actually occur from a genetic predisposition STOP Un-occur from a genetic predisposition occur due to a genetic predisposition occur due to a genetic predisposition GO. "We have meticulously researched and organized volumes of material confirming this new theory," said team head Dr. Joseph Panos of Tufts University, addressing reporters from a perfectly symmetrical podium/ STOP. Un-/ ... END.

Zoning Committee Meets, Zones A Bunch Of Shit

NORCROSS, GA—The Norcross City Council zoning committee is celebrating what it described as a "monster" zoning session Monday. "Man, we were zoning shit left and right. You wouldn't believe the shit we zoned," Norcross mayor Ben Richards told reporters after the four-hour meeting. "Aw, man," said city ombudsman Dennis Mozell, "we so totally zoned the shit out of the 2800 block of Jefferson Avenue. We're talking no commercial use—residential only. We were zonin'."

NPR Host Raises Voice

WASHINGTON, DC—All Things Considered host Robert Siegel shocked listeners during Monday's broadcast, speaking in an unusually loud voice. "Wow," said Siegel during a phone interview with author Annette Conroy, who had just made a point about the popularity of Scottish folk music in the Chicago area. "We quickly intervened and were able to restore order to the program before chaos took over," said show producer Linda Gross. "Robert is dealing with the incident and will likely return to the show next week."

Ask A Navy SEAL

Lt. Ryan Cusper is a combat-decorated Navy SEAL and nationally syndicated advice columnist. His weekly column, Ask A Navy SEAL, appears in 250 newspapers nationwide.

Tina Yothers Fantasy Camp Files For Bankruptcy

HIBBING, MN—After three years of heavy financial losses, the Tina Yothers Fantasy Camp finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday. The camp—which allowed Yothers fans to fulfill their dreams by performing scenes from Family Ties, dressing up like an actual L.A. Laker Girl and socializing with former Yothers co-stars like Michael Gross—got off to a shaky start in 1995, when only one customer paid $800 to attend the two-week camp. "We are deeply disappointed by the public’s lukewarm reaction to the camp," director Edward Boros said. "Frankly, it's baffling." The camp's owners are hoping to recoup their losses with a series of Esther Rolle-themed luxury cruises.

Anti-Bacterial Tips

With new anti-bacterial products hitting the stores every day, millions of Americans are waging a war on germs. Here are some ways you can reduce your risk of exposure to dangerous bacteria:

Road Rage

Driver aggression levels are at an all-time high on America's roads. Why are motorists so angry?

Local Teen Hates Life, Mom, Hair

HARTFORD, CT—Addressing a group of juniors assembled in the Calhoun High School student parking lot, area 16-year-old Kelly Jensen announced Monday that she hates her life, mom and hair "big-time."

Another Blues Brothers Movie? Somebody Pinch Me

Item! There's some hot news down at the rumor mill, and I want you to hear it first, my faithful Harveyheads. Remember this past January's Super Bowl, when the bungee jumper was killed just before the game?

World War II Veteran Allowed To Kill One Last German

EMPORIA, KS—WWII fighter pilot Herman Porter, 87, has been appealing to the federal government since 1948 for the right to kill one last German without legal repercussions. On Monday, the decorated soldier was granted his wish by the Senate Subcommittee on Defense Relations.

Christian Rockers Deny Kicking Ass

ANAHEIM, CA—Controversy has erupted throughout the Christian Contemporary music scene in the wake of last Friday's allegations that the Anaheim-area Christian rock trio Wÿtness "kicks ass."

Secrets To A Long Life

Recently, I was paid perhaps the highest compliment I have ever received when Time magazine named me "America's oldest living slab of carrion." Odd that such words of praise should come from the mouth-piece of my hated enemy, Henry Luce. I must remember to have Standish send him a case of corn-syrup with my heartiest wishes.
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Local Household Announces Plans To Overdo Halloween Again

HIGHLAND PARK, IL—Having hauled over a dozen boxes of lights and plastic decorations as well as a large black-cat-shaped lawn inflatable from storage, members of the Hutchcroft family announced to neighbors from their front yard Thursday their plan to completely overdo Halloween again this year.

New Cambodian Barnes & Noble

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA—The paint is barely dry on the new Siem Reap Barnes & Noble, a gleaming, $6 million, 60,000-square-foot book store/coffeehouse that the American bookselling giant boasts is the finest in this rural village of 2,100. But already a serious question is being raised: Can the new bookstore—with its enormous selection, discount prices and chic espresso bar—peacefully co-exist with smaller, independently owned bookstores in the area?

Store manager Amy Kleinert believes the answer is yes. "Barnes & Noble's presence will help local book sales," said Kleinert, who was previously regional manager for Barnes & Noble's Seattle-area stores. "Our store will stimulate an interest in reading, which can only be a good thing for all area book sellers."

Less optimistic is Tuel Cheng, a used-book dealer and small-press operator who was recently forced out of business. "Hun Sen's troops came in the night to burn my books and smashed my son's skull on the type racks," he said. "I ran and hid in the jungle. If they see me printing books again, they will torture me to death."

But for all the debate, the new Barnes & Noble has suffered from nothing so much as overcrowding. At the store's gala grand opening Monday, employees were pleasantly surprised to see thousands of Cambodians massed outside as early as 4 a.m. The instant the doors were unlocked, thousands of eager new customers charged through the doors to browse the latest best-sellers, check out CDs at the music section's 35 listening stations, and wash their clothes in the men's room urinals.

Open less than a week, the store is already drawing rave reviews from countless Cambodian book lovers. "There is good water here," said Lon Nai, a Batdambang-area farmer who journeyed 150 miles for the grand opening. "I can keep my pigs free of the sickness with this water."

"It is always the same temperature in here, not like the tent where my family lives in the jungle," said Pursat resident Chun Baro from a secluded spot deep within the bookstore's "Wellness And Nutrition" section. "I do not care if I am executed for being in a book store, as my father and three brothers were in 1979. I am cool and dry."

In addition to the low prices and friendly atmosphere, Baro praised the store's convenient hours, open until 10 p.m. weekdays and Saturday. "Nightfall is the worst time," he said. "That is when the death squads come out."

Speaking from Barnes & Noble's New York headquarters, John Day, company vice-president in charge of overseas expansion, said that Cambodia represents an outstanding new market for the book chain.

"Cambodia has all the signs of being a book-friendly country," Day said. "Did you know that only one Cambodian in 10,000 has a television set? That, to me, is the hallmark of a literate culture."

Day said that Barnes & Noble tends to do best in progressive, left-leaning cities like Berkeley, CA, and Austin, TX, qualities he sees in Cambodia. "They have that same sort of open-minded, hippie culture there—communes are very big in Cambodia."

Despite the company's enormous size, Barnes & Noble is very much committed to the communities in which it does business, Day said, and Siem Reap is no exception.

"The Cambodian government has established many exciting-sounding 're-education camps' where both intellectuals and everyday citizens can be sent at any time," Day said. "Well, we at Barnes & Noble have always supported re-education in America, and we intend to extend this policy to our new customers." For every hardcover book sold, Barnes & Noble will donate a dollar to the Cambodian government to help re-educate local children.

The store has also worked hard to be accessible to everyone, offering a ramp at the front entrance for its many legless customers.

"It's a helping hand, sure," Day said. "But we believe that a helping hand is just plain good business."

As at other Barnes & Nobles, the Siem Reap store has a Local Authors section, which is dominated by the political tracts of noted late-'70s writer Pol Pot.

"So far, there hasn't been a whole lot of customer traffic going through the section," assistant manager Ken Woodson said. "Perhaps we need to publicize it more. We've tried to get Pol in for a book signing, but we haven't been able to find him."

The community-centered approach is paying off: Shoppers have packed the store since opening day, taking advantage of Barnes & Noble's encouragement of casual browsing.

"This a friendly store," Woodson said. "Some places frown on what retailers call 'camping,' but we actually have a policy of putting comfy seats at the end of each aisle. They're very popular—I've seen entire families share one of our overstuffed sofas. Sometimes it seems like our regulars never leave."

So what books have been the biggest sellers at the new store? According to Woodson, most popular are 2,000-plus-page items, such as the Norton anthologies, the collected works of Proust, and the two-volume Riverside Shakespeare.

"I like this one," said Cheun Norresaprong of Phnom Penh, holding up David Foster Wallace's hefty, critically acclaimed novel Infinite Jest. "It will burn for hours, enabling me to cook life-giving grubs and twigs for my children."

Like Norresaprong, farmer Chira Samrong is also a voracious reader—and a serious lover of Tolstoi, to boot. Loading his ox cart with 54 copies of War And Peace, he said, "If I can obtain 200 of such books, I can build a house that will withstand the bullets of Hun Sen's guerrillas and Ranariddh's royalists. My wife was shot in the face last spring."

While Barnes & Noble officials would not comment on the possibility of additional Cambodian locations, store manager Kleinert foresees a bright future in the country.

"Everything about Cambodian bookselling has offered me an incredibly fresh challenge. It's wonderful to enter a market where your customer base has such a diversity of needs," Kleinert said. "The future holds bright promise. For Barnes & Noble in Cambodia, this truly is Year Zero."