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Quick Takes

"Quick Takes" Continued...

Issue: "2011 Books of the Year," July 2, 2011

Happy talk

Perhaps trying to deflect accusations of bias by placing their own nation atop their "Global Happiness Index," North Korean researchers commissioned by a state television network released a report that concluded that China, with a perfect score of 100, was the happiest place on earth. According to the researchers' undisclosed scoring method, North Korea finished second with 98 points. The researchers also claimed that the United States (referred to as "The American Empire") finished dead last with just two points. The report made news on Chinese internet forums like Mop where, according to MSNBC, one commenter said, "Please send me to the U.S. so I can suffer too."

Global Happiness Index

Rank Nation Points

1. China, 100
2. North Korea, 98
3. Cuba, 93
4. Iran, 88
5. Venezuela, 85
152. South Korea, 18
203. United States, 2

'We love Red'

Rather than sell naming rights to a corporate sponsor, or give them to a large donor, tiny Lincoln Elementary School in Spring Valley, Ill., decided to name its gymnasium after someone who really mattered to the community: the janitor. Students voted to honor 88-year-old Red Nestler, who had been Lincoln School's janitor for 17 years. Chanting "We love Red" during an assembly in the gym, which doubles as the school's lunch room, the students greeted Nestler at an appreciation lunch in his honor on June 1 to announce the gym's naming.

"He did everything," said principal Kim Lisanby-Barber. "If he thinks the weather's bad, he'll come over here and check to make sure everything's all right with the school. He goes above and beyond the call of duty. . . . When the teachers raise chicks here, he makes sure to come in on the weekend and check the thermometer in the incubator." Nestler planned to retire at the end of June.

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