In America: Signs of hope? Americans apologise for Bush victory

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The Independent Online

* It's been quite a couple of weeks here at the centre of the political world. The early exit polls, the realisation that those polls were wrong, the electronic maps of the US turning red, the situation in Ohio, the concession speech, the victory speech. It was all too much.

* It's been quite a couple of weeks here at the centre of the political world. The early exit polls, the realisation that those polls were wrong, the electronic maps of the US turning red, the situation in Ohio, the concession speech, the victory speech. It was all too much.

Indeed, the shock to your diarist's system was such that he has spent the past week in bed with flu. Those still raging could, however, do better than turn to a new website www.sorryeverybody.com, a charmingly put together project in which people from across the US pose for photographs while holdings signs apologising for what transpired on 2 November.

"Most people who think carefully understand that Americans are not really any more jingoistic or xenophobic than people in other countries, but it never hurts to reinforce, especially considering what happened on 2 November 2004. What must it have looked like to the world outside our borders?" asks the website.

What makes the site such a delight is that it contains the sort of opinions that would drive most Bush supporters to distraction. How about this piece of hand-wringing? "Situations like this are great sources of misunderstanding and rancour between cultures. We don't pretend apologies are the solution, but we don't see the harm in offering them."

* THE DELIGHTFUL Nigella Lawson was in town last week, appearing at a mini-bash at the British Embassy to promote her new book Feast, which comprises recipe ideas for celebrations and parties.

Ambassador David Manning hosted the event, to which the finest British journalists were invited to meet Ms Lawson and sample some of her food. [That bout of flu prevented Pandora from attending.] Not surprisingly the combined allure of the domestic goddess, along with free food, a free bar as well as a free signed copy of the new tome, ensured a better than healthy turn-out. And the verdict on the cuisine. "Well it was not amazing," said one ungrateful hack.

"But it was better than you usually get at the embassy."

* A LETTER arrived this week announcing a neighbourhood meeting to discuss various matters, including a request by Pandora's neighbours at the Argentine Embassy to erect a statue of Eva Peron a first lady of Argentina who died in 1952.

Apparently the diplomats wish to put up a bronze statue of the film actress, who went on to marry Argentine president Juan Peron, outside the embassy in Washington's Dupont Circle. One wonders why it has taken them so long to recognise the woman whose story inspired Lord Lloyd-Webber and Elaine Page.

Perhaps Argentina's recent economic woes have led them to remember the first lady's adoration by the country's working classes. Anyway, the statue gets my vote.

* AMERICANS - INSULAR and uninterested in the wider world? Never. The CBS television channel had to apologise to viewers this week after it interrupted the conclusion of an episode of the popular crime drama Crime Scene Investigation with a piece of news from the real world.

The network broke into the end of the show to report the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Scores of angry viewers telephoned CBS to complain about this brush with reality, leading CBS to apologise and blame a producer who foolishly thought people might be interested in world events. "An overly aggressive CBS News producer jumped the gun with a report that should have been offered to local stations for their late news. We sincerely regret the error," the network said in a statement.

* Have you noticed anything a little strange in the shop windows recently? No? Then look more closely. Pandora is delighted by a recent Reuters story from New York that reports that the bums on mannequins are getting bigger.

Apparently influenced by the bootylicious curves of the likes of J Lo and Beyonce, mannequin-makers have been putting a little more padding on their models. They have even given the new-look mannequin a name - "Sex".

"It's absolutely the trend," said Dwight Critchfield, creative director for mannequin firm Goldsmith. "These mannequins look great, and there is a real sex appeal about them. J Lo was the first to stress that women shouldn't be afraid to show their curves, and the popularity of rap made that shape more acceptable. And it is about these low-riding jeans looking good on a sexy, tight fit."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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