Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturday reading material

Doctors did a face transplant on a woman in France. Her pet Labrador retriever had attacked her in May, and she received a new nose, chin and lips in a 15 hour surgery. It's remarkable what can be done with modern medicine, even if the phrase "harvesting the face" makes me more than a little uncomfortable.

Of course, the first thing I thought of when I read the story was the terrible Nicholas Cage/John Travolta movie. That's unfortunate. It was forced on me once, and I just didn't like it.

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And here is a happy story titled, "Russian squirrel pack 'kills dog.'" A witness said the dog was barking at the squirrels, so the squirrels attacks and "gutted" the dog. That's nice. As if I wasn't already wary, yet fascinated, by squirrels in the first place.

One sentence from the story: A pine cone shortage may have led the squirrels to seek other food sources, although scientists are sceptical.

Don't trespass near hungry squirrels.

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With the Army-Navy game today, Baltimore Sun sports columnist Rick Maese wrote a column in Friday's paper about families of former players who were killed in Iraq. The part of the story that got me the most was...

Ed Blecksmith, J.P.'s father, says he's on the verge of tears all day long. Jennifer Zellem, Scott's widow, has been a single mother for the past 14 months. Marianna Winchester, Ron's mother, is just now understanding what it means to have lost a son.

"The first six or seven months, you live in denial and shock," Marianna says. "You think it's just one long, bad dream. I tell you one thing, now that we've moved past a year, it's actually been more difficult. The reality finally hits.

"I still have his number in my cell phone. I can't erase it. You just wait for the phone to ring, to see his name pop up on there. Or an e-mail that says 'Hi mom, how you doing?' You know it's not going to come anymore. You walk into a store and know that you don't have any reason to visit the men's department. There's nothing over there for me to buy."

The ones left behind were all surrounded at first. But as time passed, everyone else was able to return to their normal lives. Soon, the rest of the platoons came home. And their sons' friends keep aging. They're getting married. They're having children.

One thing Maese does well is that, while he is anti-war (based on what I've read of him in the past), he doesn't let his views into the story, even though it's a column. He allows the family members to tell their stories. Maese is a good writer. At 26, he's also the youngest major newspaper sports columnist in the country. He has a bright future.


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