IRAQ 25K. At icasualties.org, the site which tracks American and coalitional deaths and woundings, there is a fantastic slideshow essay put together by Glenn Kutler for Newsweek to mark the 25,000th American casualty -- about 22,000 wounded, and nearly 3,000 dead -- in Iraq. (Click on the impossible-to-miss graphic in the top-right corner of the site to start the slideshow.) It is sobering to watch.
He also notes that if you divide the months into yearly quarters the total for Q4 '06 look pretty grim...
In fact, if December 2006 does, tragically, reach 106 fatalities, the Oct-Dec 2006 will become the deadliest calendar quarter of the war, with 281 fatalities. During the fourth quarter of 2004, which included the Fallujah counter-offensive, there were just 272 American fatalities.
I've never thought of grouping the deaths by quarter, but here's a quick and dirty graph (click image to actually see the graph):
While reading this review of Christmas DVDs at Popmatters (yes, Popmatters has become my favorite place on the web to get my mind off of the monotony of watching the mortal coil explode into pink mist), I found that Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman is being released in a new DVD edition.
This is great news for my wife and daughter. Great news for the wife because The Snowman is a gentile tale of a boy and his snowman, no mischievous elves, no villainous mailmen or other evil doers trying to stop jolly ole saint nick from his appointed rounds. In one word The Snowman is calm and clam makes my better half happy. For my daughter it’s good news because any combination of the word Christmas and those three magic letters “DVD” sends her into ecstasy.
For me the mere mention of the name Raymond Briggs makes me smile, not because of The Snowman, and not for his cautionary tale of nuclear war When the Wind Blows. No, the reason I love Raymond Briggs is because he gave the world Fungus the Bogeyman.
And Christmas and Fungus the Bogeyman are forever tied together in my heart because, to the absolute horror of my sister-in-law, I gave the book to my nephew (William) as a Christmas present. The previous year I had sent him A visit to William Blake's inn: poems for innocent and experienced travelers, a lovely book of children’s poems celebrating the work of William Blake that she adored. No doubt, she was hoping for another eloquent work of children’s lit and she was not amused when young William unwrapped the illustrated guide to the life and times of Fungus, a subterranean boogeyman with a bad case of the blues.
I recall when the Go Go's released their first LP, I didn't buy it, instead I did what few others did, I bought Holly Beth Vincent's first album The Right To Be Italian. While others were doing that stupid new wave pony dance to "We got the beat" I was listening to "Tell that girl to shut up." Anyway, this YouTube clip is Holly Beth's very percussive version of the Buffalo Springfield's song "For What it's Worth" from her excellent second album, Holly and the Italians.
As this review from Popmatters.com suggest their are 2 great songs on the album, "Just Like Me" and "Unoriginal Sin", the first is an ode to unexpectantly finding yourself waking up with the perfect companion and lover, while the second is a cathartic plea to a lost and confused lover. Songs this raw and passionate are a rare find, they are on par with Lou Reed's best work. It's sad so few have ever heard this music.