Saturday, June 03, 2006

Frank Rich, Honorary Blogger

Shorter Frank Rich: Iraq is FUBAR. Let's just get the hell out.

I call him an honorary blogger because this week's column is all linky. Like a real blogger, linking to the sources of his factual assertions. I haven't seen any of the Times columnists do this before. Brooks couldn't, because he makes up most of the facts in BoBo's World. Friedman, the six-monther, could keep recycling his links every six months. Dowd's links would be all snarky. But I digress.

Frank Rich, NYTimes: Supporting Our Troops Over a Cliff (TimesSelect wall)

The marriage-amendment campaign will be kicked off tomorrow with a Rose Garden benediction by the president. Though the amendment has no chance of passing, Mr. Bush apparently still thinks, as he did in 2004, that gay-baiting remains just the diversion to distract from a war gone south.

So much for the troops. For all the politicians' talk about honoring those who serve, Washington's record is derelict: chronic shortages in body and Humvee armor; a back-door draft forcing troops with expired contracts into repeated deployments; inadequate postwar health care and veterans' benefits. And that's just the short list. Now a war without end is running off the rails and putting an undermanned army in still greater jeopardy. "Today, the Americans are just one more militia lost in the anarchy," Nir Rosen, who has covered Iraq since the invasion, wrote in The Washington Post last weekend.

We can't pretend we don't know this is happening. It's happening in broad daylight. We know that "as the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down" is fiction, not reality. We know from the Pentagon's own report to Congress last week that attacks on Americans and Iraqis alike are at their highest since American commanders started keeping count in 2004. We know that even as coalition partners like Italy and South Korea bail out, we are planning an indefinite stay of undefined parameters: the 104-acre embassy complex rising in the Green Zone is the largest in the world, and the Decider himself has said that it's up to "future presidents and future governments of Iraq" to decide our exit strategy.

the ending:

...[A] country that truly supports the troops has no choice but to start bringing them home.

Ed Strong usually has the full column, though it's not up yet tonight.

Another Reason to Hate USA: We're Rude Assholes

From the Boston Globe, via Commondreams: US Soldiers Creating Road Rage in Afghanistan

This piece is written by the editor of the Northeastern (University) Voice, a college newspaper:

Although born and raised in the Boston area, the bad-driving center of America, I've nonetheless been screaming mad in traffic only three times in my life. All three were in Kabul, and all were at the American military.


On my second day with ISAF [NATO's International Security Assistance Force], I found myself staring down a US machine-gun barrel -- my driver had gotten a touch too close to a Humvee. Numerous times after that, we were cut off in traffic by American military convoys, sometimes holding Afghans back with dismissive waves of the hand, more often with weapons. I watched dumbstruck one afternoon as the lead Humvee in a convoy pulled out to block a highway for its followers -- and trained its gun on an approaching ISAF convoy.

One morning at an intersection, a pair of Humvees raced through downtown Kabul with a soldier leaning out the top of one while yelling at Afghan drivers to ``get the [expletive] out of the way."
That's when I first yelled -- in spectacularly vulgar terms -- as the soldier gawked and my driver snickered. But bad American driving in Afghanistan isn't funny. Imagine, if you would, Afghans speeding around Boston in military vehicles, bellowing at other drivers and pointing guns at anyone who tries to pass. Then imagine how we'd respond the first time an Afghan vehicle killed a civilian -- and what would happen after the 10th, or the 20th.

An American major said it is impressed on soldiers during training that they're headed to a hostile country where everyone is a potential car bomber and their best defense is aggressive driving. After that chat, a German captain said, with a straight face, that he tells his men: ``Your best weapon is a smile."

That sounded hopelessly silly. But in January, I was rolling down a main road in an ISAF pickup. A US convoy pulled ahead of us, and we watched, amazed, as the vehicles slammed through a heavy puddle and serially soaked an elderly Afghan man on a bicycle. We drew alongside him, slowed down, avoided the water, and waved, and the sodden man brightened up momentarily to grin and wave back. The smile works.

The United States is spending a lot of blood and treasure in Afghanistan, with hopes of remaking the country after decades of war and vicious poverty. We're doing work that's underappreciated here and in the rest of the world. But daily, petty discourtesies -- more than poverty, more than battles, more than bombings -- have built enough resentment over the years to rip Kabul apart. The path to Afghan hearts and minds has a lower speed limit and a few yield signs, and Americans are desperately in need of driver ed.

'Innocents Slaughtered'

Incompetent fools, sending soldiers to kill and die

Our in bed media has never reported the truth of the atrocities against Iraqi civilians until now, when the war is going badly and the casualties have piled up and up and up. War is hideous. Our military leaders with their scrambled egg chests full of medals and ribbons are incompetent, like everyone else appointed or promoted by the Bush Administration. The soldiers are under attack by an enemy they cannot see, whose language they do not understand, a classic guerrilla war. Trained to kill, they strike back indiscriminately. Robert Fisk's editorial from the Independent (reprinted in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) is chilling but I suspect accurate.

Robert Fisk: The way Americans like their war

Could Haditha be just the tip of the mass grave?

The corpses we have glimpsed, the grainy footage of the cadavers and the dead children; could these be just a few of many? Does the handiwork of the United States' army of the slums go further?

I remember clearly the first suspicions I had that murder most foul might be taking place in our name in Iraq. I was in the Baghdad mortuary, counting corpses, when one of the city's senior medical officials, an old friend, told me of his fears. "Everyone brings bodies here," he said. "But when the Americans bring bodies in, we are instructed that under no circumstances are we ever to do post-mortems. We were given to understand that this had already been done. Sometimes we'd get a piece of paper like this one with a body." And here the man handed me a U.S. military document showing with the hand-drawn outline of a man's body and the words "trauma wounds."


We have all heard of Bloody Sunday. The Israelis sat and watched while their proxy Lebanese militia butchered and eviscerated its way through 1,700 Palestinians. And of course the words My Lai are now uttered again. Yes, the Nazis were much worse. And the Japanese. And the Croatian Ustashi. But this is us. This is our army. These young soldiers are our representatives in Iraq. And they have innocent blood on their hands.

I suspect part of the problem is that we never really cared about Iraqis, which is why we refused to count their dead. Once the Iraqis turned upon the army of occupation with their roadside bombs and suicide cars, they became Arab "gooks," the evil sub-humans whom the Americans once identified in Vietnam. Get a president to tell us that we are fighting evil and one day we will wake to find that a child has horns, a baby has cloven feet.

Remind yourself these people are Muslims and they can all become little Mohamed Attas. Killing a roomful of civilians is only a step further from all those promiscuous air strikes that we are told kill 'terrorists" but which all too often turn out to be a wedding party or -- as in Afghanistan -- a mixture of "terrorists" and children or, as we are soon to hear, no doubt, "terrorist children."


For who can be held to account when we regard ourselves as the brightest, the most honorable of creatures, doing endless battle with the killers of Sept. 11 or July 7 because we love our country and our people -- but not other people -- so much. And so we dress ourselves up as Galahads, yes as Crusaders, and we tell those whose countries we invade that we are going to bring them democracy. I can't help wondering today how many of the innocents slaughtered in Haditha took the opportunity to vote in the Iraqi elections -- before their "liberators" murdered them.

Raw Story has photos of the civilians murdered at Ishaqi. Not for the squeamish; so many are children.

The military has already investigated the slaughter at Ishaqi, and pronounced it good:

U.S. commanders used appropriate force in taking down a safe house in Iraq during a March 15 military raid that led to the deaths of as many as a dozen civilians, according to the results of an investigation announced in Baghdad yesterday.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Can You Copyright Art?

Interesting article in yesterday's NYTimes about a lawsuit in which Dale Chihuly, the world-famous glass artist, is suing two of his former employees for copyright infringement. He's saying their glass copies his work. Chihuly's works are world famous, but he himself hasn't blown glass in over 25 years due to injuries. So are they his? The Times, and the art world, don't even ask that question. He designs the glass pieces, someone else executes them, it's his art. Personally, I think this is a legitimate question. Can it be art, when someone else mass-produces it for you?

That said, I love Chihuly's work. I saw his "Seaforms" show at the Smithsonian back in the 80s and was blown away. Now I look for his work in museums and galleries. My last sighting was the chandelier at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London last fall:

This suit is about the secondary question of whether Chihuly can enjoin other artists from producing work similar to his. It doesn't seem like a close call to me; Chihuly should lose. You can't trademark a process. And he doesn't even execute the pieces he claims to have made. How can he copyright something someone else makes? For real artists, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; all art begins somewhere. Can Bob Dylan sue Ben Harper? Should Balanchine have sued Baryshnikov? Corot, Monet? No. I'll be interested in how this suit comes out. Will they go to trial (shoot out at the OK Corral) or will someone blink?

NYTimes: Glass Artists Face Off in Court

SEATTLE, May 31 — As an ever-moving maestro in the world where fine art and commerce converge, Dale Chihuly is perhaps the world's most successful glass artist.


Mr. Chihuly has sued two glass blowers, including a longtime collaborator, for copyright infringement, accusing them of imitating his signature lopsided creations, and other designs inspired by the sea.


"Just because he was inspired by the sea does not mean that no one else can use the sea to make glass art," said Bryan Rubino, the former acolyte named in the suit who worked for Mr. Chihuly as a contractor or employee for 14 years. "If anything, Mother Nature should be suing Dale Chihuly."

The suit, rare in art circles, offers a sometimes unflattering glimpse at how high-powered commercial artists like Mr. Chihuly work. The two glass blowers say that he has very little to do with much of the art, and that he sometimes buys objects and puts the Chihuly name on them, a contention that Mr. Chihuly strongly denies.

He acknowledges that he has not blown glass for 27 years,
dating from a surfing accident that cost him the full range of shoulder motion, an injury that struck three years after he had lost sight in his left eye in a traffic accident.

Still, Mr. Chihuly said, he works with sketches, faxes and through exhortation. Nothing with his name on it ever came from anyone but himself, he said.

Nice analogy by Rubino's lawyer:

Mr. Rubino's lawyer, Scott Wakefield, said Mr. Chihuly was in essence seeking a monopoly over a huge field of art.

"If the first guy who painted Madonna and Child had tried to copyright it," Mr. Wakefield said, "half of the Louvre would be empty."

From Holsten Galleries Dale Chihuly page:

A True Local Hero

I've always thought that there must better models for our bureaucratic systems for taking care of people. Warehousing old people in nursing homes and isolating kids in foster care and then dumping them out on the streets at age 18 just doesn't make a lot of sense. This woman's solution, creating communities for people fostering kids, sounds innovative and promising.

Margery Eagan, columnist, Boston Herald: She shows how ‘care’ is foster care’s linchpin

Nearly 10 years ago Judy Cockerton read a story in the Herald and heard the quiet urging that may be familiar to you: I should do something.


....The difference between Cockerton and most of us: Her frantic life passed quickly before her eyes as well. But she called anyway, this wife, mother of two then ages 12 and 18, this businesswoman who ran not one but two toy stores. “And it has profusely transformed my life,” she says, in ways “I’m profoundly grateful for.”

Today Judy Cockerton, adoptive mother and ex-businesswoman, runs a nonprofit devoted to improving the lives of thousands of children in foster care. Today she opens the latest and most ambitious of her Treehouse Foundation efforts: a brand-new neighborhood of homes in Easthampton. There a dozen families with kids adopted from foster care will live alongside 48 “honorary grandparents” who’ll be part of their village of care.

The website of her organization:

Treehouse Foundation

Bonus: The Boston Herald made all its columnists articles free, as of yesterday. The (presumably few) people who subscribed to access columns will get pro-rated refunds.

This Is Why My Old Computer Sits In The Corner

Couple's Supposedly Destroyed Hard Drive Purchased In Chicago

A year ago, Henry and Roma Gerbus took their computer to Best Buy in Springfield Township to have its hard drive replaced.

Henry Gerbus said Best Buy assured him the computer's old hard drive -- loaded with personal information -- would be destroyed.

"They said rest assured. They drill holes in it so it's useless," said Gerbus.

A few months ago, Gerbus got a phone call from a man in Chicago.

"He said, 'My name is Ed. I just bought your hard drive for $25 at a flea market in Chicago,'" said Gerbus. "I thought my world was coming down."

Gerbus and his wife had good reason to worry.

A total stranger had access to the couple's personal information, including
Social Security numbers, bank statements and investment records.

Love My Prius

I am now the proud owner of a 2006 Toyota Prius, and have been for two weeks. It's a cute little car. Twice people have seen it for the first time and said "The Jetsons". If the roof was clear, I would look like Judy Jetson. But it's silver, and sleek.

The car has lots of bells and whistles, starting out with the dashboard TV screen. This is the most dangerous feature on the car, because it's very distracting. I have now learned to ignore it most of the time, and to be judicious in my use of it. The first time I drove the car I almost drove off the road because I got mesmerized. As an average American woman (not short!) it's just a few inches too far to my right. I really have to reach for the buttons on the right side of the screen.

When you put the car in reverse, the picture of what's behind you pops up, because there's a camera in the hatchback. The rest of the time, the screen controls the audio, climate, and what information you are getting. I like to leave the screen on Trip Information, which tells me what mileage I am getting, second by second, the average mileage, and whether the car is operating on the gas motor or on the electric battery.

Speed, gear, lights and odomoter are digital, on a screen deep under the recessed dash. At night, you have to turn down the color on the dash, or you get a green reflection on the windshield.

The seats are very comfortable, both front and back. I've had three people in the back without any complaints. The only downside compared to my Camry is the trunk space. It's a small car and a hatchback, so the trunk area is correspondingly smaller.

I'm averaging 49.2 miles per gallon, and that included two highway trips back and forth to the Catskills via the Berkshires. The car gets lousy mileage going up hills, but on the other side coasting down the mileage goes up again. Having that little screen in front of you with average miles per gallon makes me very competitive. I want to get my average up! So the car makes me a more careful and fuel efficient driver. I start more slowly, because on slow starts, the car stays on the electric battery. Stomp on the accelerator and you go directly to gas engine.

Ideally, if I am going 35 to 40 MPH on a level straightaway, the car would get over 80 miles per gallon, but as I live in the Worcester hills, that doesn't happen too often. The EPA mileage rating is 51 highway, 60 city; those are my goals!

All in all, I am pleased with the car and would recommend it to others. Plus it makes me feel like I am doing something, even if it's only a little, to reduce global warming. Or as Dick Cheney would say, conservation is a sign of personal virtue, and I feel virtuous.

Cover Boys

The US's boys of summer are on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. Let's hope it works out better for these four, our key players, than the SI cover before the 2002 World Cup, featuring Clint Mathis who barely played:

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Did You Laugh On 9/11? Bush Did.

Peter Daou, Huffington Post: Bush Jaw-Dropper: 9/11/01 "Ended on a Relatively Humorous Note"

[]...Democratic Underground has dug up a jaw-dropping 2003 Ladies' Home Journal interview with the Bushes. Having been in Manhattan on that day and watched two limbs of my home city get amputated, I find the following excerpt astounding:

"[Peggy] Noonan: You were separated on September 11th. What was it like when you saw each other again?

Mrs. Bush: Well, we just hugged. I think there was a certain amount of security in being with each other than being apart.

President Bush: But the day ended on a relatively humorous note. The agents said, "You'll be sleeping downstairs. Washington's still a dangerous place." And I said no, I can't sleep down there, the bed didn't look comfortable. I was really tired, Laura was tired, we like our own bed. We like our own routine. You know, kind of a nester. Like the way things are. I knew I had to deal with the issue the next day and provide strength and comfort to the country, and so I needed rest in order to be mentally prepared. So I told the agent we're going upstairs, and he reluctantly said okay. Laura wears contacts, and she was sound asleep. Barney was there. And the agent comes running up and says, "We're under attack. We need you downstairs," and so there we go. I'm in my running shorts and my T-shirt, and I'm barefooted. Got the dog in one hand, Laura had a cat, I'm holding Laura --

Mrs. Bush: I don't have my contacts in, and I'm in my fuzzy house slippers --

President Bush: And this guy's out of breath, and we're heading straight down to the basement because there's an incoming unidentified airplane, which is coming toward the White House. Then the guy says it's a friendly airplane. And we hustle all the way back upstairs and go to bed.

Mrs. Bush: [laughs] And we just lay there thinking about the way we must have looked.

Noonan: So the day starts in tragedy and ends in Marx Brothers.

President Bush: That's right -- we got a laugh out of it." [Emphasis added]

I don't even remember smiling on 9/11.

And then we get today's news, that the Department of Uber Alles, I mean Homeland Security, has cut terrorism funding for New York City by 40%, in part relying on a DHS form which says that New York City has no national monuments or icons worth protecting. They're the Marx Brothers, all right -- the most incompetent boobs ever to run this country.

Why I Will Never Vote for John Kerry for National Office Again

He didn't stay and fight for every vote, like he promised. The Robert F. Kennedy article in tomorrow's Rolling Stone on the theft of the 2004 election is too little, too late. We are stuck with the class clown at the helm for another two and one-half years. God help us.

I'm supporting John Bonifaz for Secretary of State in Massachusetts, because when he heard that Kerry lost Ohio, while Kerry took his $15 million war chest and went home, Bonifaz bought a plane ticket to Columbus and fought to have the votes counted.

No more Vichy Democrats. You can't win if you don't fight.

Robert F. Kennedy, Rolling Stone: Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

Like many Americans, I spent the evening of the 2004 election watching the returns on television and wondering how the exit polls, which predicted an overwhelming victory for John Kerry, had gotten it so wrong. By midnight, the official tallies showed a decisive lead for George Bush -- and the next day, lacking enough legal evidence to contest the results, Kerry conceded. Republicans derided anyone who expressed doubts about Bush's victory as nut cases in ''tinfoil hats,'' while the national media, with few exceptions, did little to question the validity of the election. The Washington Post immediately dismissed allegations of fraud as ''conspiracy theories,''(1) and The New York Times declared that ''there is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a large scale.''(2)

But despite the media blackout, indications continued to emerge that something deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots -- or received them too late to vote(4) -- after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment -- roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush's victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.(11)

Any election, of course, will have anomalies. America's voting system is a messy patchwork of polling rules run mostly by county and city officials. ''We didn't have one election for president in 2004,'' says Robert Pastor, who directs the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University. ''We didn't have fifty elections. We actually had 13,000 elections run by 13,000 independent, quasi-sovereign counties and municipalities.''

But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) -- more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio's Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn?t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)



Little Ricky Santorum, who doesn''t live there anymore, trails Bob Casey in Pennsylvania opinion polls by 23%, 56 to 33.

Coingate impresario Tom Noe plead guilty yesterday to illegally funneling campaign contributions to President Bush; prosecutors plan to recommend a two-and-one-half year sentence, while he could have gotten 15 years and a $950,000 fine. He still faces charges of embezzling from Ohio state worker's compensation funds.

AP has a story about moderate Republicans; says Blutarski Sweeney faces a "tough challenge" from Kirsen Gillibrand (who I learned from 20TrueBlue blog pronounces her name "Jill-i-brand")


Australia's Harry Kewell won't be fully fit for the World Cup group games.

Peter Crouch's scored England's third goal in their tune-up against Hungary last week, then did an 80s-style robot dance; here are photos, and video of the same dance, on a dance floor. Too funny.

The US beat Latvia 1-0 in Hartford Sunday night (we were there!) in their final tune-up before Germany and the World Cup. Eddie Johnson looked good; a crappy officiating crew from Canada kept calling him offside when he wasn't (we were sitting on the 18 yard line so we had the perfect view in the first half.) Brian McBride, or McHead, was magnificent, playing the entire game and scoring the only goal after getting a giant egg on his forehead from a clumsy Latvian attempted head. Landon Donovan kept taking most of our freekicks, why I can't imagine, as Eddie Lewis is much more accurate. Pablo Mastroeni played well but ran out of gas about the 70th minute. Johny O'Brien played 65 minutes; he's still not 90 minute match fit.

As preparations for our trip to Germany intensify, blogging will be light. I'll have a computer in Germany, so will be filing a few reports from there. Go USA!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

It's a beautiful day today. In my memories of childhood Memorial Days were always like this, sunny and blue, although Coach Mom tells me that there were a few Memorial Day celebrations held in school due to rain. I grew up in a small town in the Catskills, and Memorial Day was definitely a town event, as opposed to a family day.

We kids woke up with excitement for the parade, which usually started at 11:00 a.m. The churches and civic groups made floats, and we'd run all over the neighborhood through wet dewy grass checking on the progress of tying crepe paper flowers on chicken wire sculptures, or what was being done to decorate the wagon the Boy Scouts or FFA were going to ride in.

The parade lined up at school, went from Maple Avenue, to Lindsley, to Union, then on to Main Street, past the traffic light at the corner (biggest crowds there), past the fire house, and eventually to the cemetery.

Very little, we marched with our classes, holding a bunch of fragrant purple and white lilacs from the bush that grew next to the house. In 3rd or 4th grade we started riding our bikes, bringing up the rear of the parade, red, white and blue crepe paper carefully pulled in circles through our bike spokes, playing cards affixed with clothespins to give a satisfying whap, whap, whap as we pedaled.

From 7th grade on, I was in the marching band. Some well-meaning band leader back in the 50s had purchased an expensive set of uniforms for the school band. They were heavy boiled wool, jacket and long pants, with a semi-Prussian hat with a jaunty white feathery plume, which strapped onto your head. We only wore the damn uniforms on Memorial Day, and occasionally 4th of July when it was hot. Therefore wearing them was misery. My high school band teacher marched alongside us with a spray bottle filled with water. When we stopped periodically to play, he'd spray us in the face, concentrating on the kids with the heaviest instruments. One year a girl in my class fainted dead away.

The veterans marched, or walked, or limped; from the really elderly men from WWI, to the scraggly Vietnam vets. Most of the Vietnam vets didn't participate. The rest of the parade consisted of the Ladies Auxiliary, the firemen, their Ladies Auxiliary, the town's oldest and newest fire truck, the police car, the Firemen's queen on the back of a convertible, with her court, and floats by the churches, the Women's Club, the Lions Club, the FFA, the FHA (Future Farmers of America, and Future Homemakers of America), the Grange, Gold Star mothers, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and various others. Despite all these participants, being such a small town, the parade was short, and never took more than 15 minutes to watch, although if you marched it was longer.

At the end of the parade, there was a short ceremony in the cemetery. Veterans were remembered, and a lone trumpeter hidden up on the mountain played "Taps". For me, the most powerful part was always the recitation of this poem:

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army


715 for Barroid, but double asterisk:

1 * for for steroids

2nd * for hitting it off Byung-Hyun Kim, a headcase pitcher who is thankfully no longer a member of the Red Sox.