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  1. VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday he hopes to continue the openness with the media fostered by his predecessor and thanked journalists for their coverage during the "historically important'' events during the papal transition.

    "I hope to follow this dialogue with you and I share, as Pope John Paul II observed concerning the faith, the development of social communications,'' the pontiff told more than 1,000 members of the media and pilgrims in his first appearance in the vast Vatican hall used for weekly general audiences.

    Benedict noted that John Paul had been "a great artisan'' of an "open and sincere'' dialogue with the media that was started by the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s. He noted that the media in the modern age has the capacity to reach "the whole of humanity.''

    "Thanks to all of you, this historically important ecclesial events have had worldwide coverage. I know how hard you have worked, far away from your homes and families for long hours and in sometimes difficult conditions. I am aware of this dedication with which you have accomplished this demanding task,'' said the pontiff.

    The session, which lasted about 15 minutes, ended without the pope taking any questions. However, Vatican officials had said in recent days that he likely wouldn't take questions and that the meeting was more an audience to greet journalists than a press conference.

    "You could say that thanks to your work for so many weeks, the attention of the whole world has been fixed on the basilica, on St. Peter's Square, and on the Apostolic Palace, inside of which my predecessor, the unforgettable John Paul II, serenely ended his earthly existence,'' the pope said.

    Before his remarks, the pope chuckled during a nearly one-minute ovation.

    The 78-year-old Benedict is quickly setting the personal tone of his reign _ and it's not the distant and strident papacy that many feared because of his long role as the church's watchdog of theology.

    An open-air Mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday is expected to draw half a million faithful and hundreds of dignitaries to Rome. The decision for an outdoor Mass _ rather than one in St. Peter's Basilica _ shows Benedict favors the populist touch of recent popes who have made the same choice.

    There were other signs the world is warming swiftly to the German-born pope: a Polish archbishop said Benedict would be invited to his predecessor's homeland in August, and the pope's Vatican e-mail address received more than 56,000 messages in the first two days.

    Italian officials are putting tight security in place for the Mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, where dignitaries are expected to include German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder; Prince Albert II of Monaco and Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the U.S. president's brother.

    Also due to attend are the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams; Chrisostomos, a top envoy for Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Christian Orthodox, and a senior representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Kirill.

    Known as the Ceremony of Investiture, it will celebrated by the senior cardinal deacon, Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, the Chilean who proclaimed Benedict's name to the world as the 265th pontiff. During the Mass, Benedict will receive his papal Fisherman's Ring as well as the pallium _ a narrow stole of white wool embroidered with six black silk crosses _ which symbolizes his pastoral authority.

    Air space within an eight-kilometer (five-mile) radius will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (0600 GMT to 1400GMT) on Sunday, and Rome's second airport, Ciampino, will be shut down.

    Italian civil protection officials estimate that about 100,000 people from Benedict's native Germany will flock to Rome. Italy will provide German-speaking volunteers from Italy's bilingual Alpine regions to help them.

    On Monday, Benedict is scheduled to hold talks with Chrisostomos. Healing the nearly 1,000-year-old rift between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity was a major goal of the late pope.

    Later Monday, Benedict plans to visit the Rome basilica built over the tomb of St. Paul, who helped bring Christianity to regions that now are split by the Catholic-Orthodox divide.

    One decision by the pope will be closely watched: whom he picks as his successor to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    "Already Benedict XVI has become ... an 'open door' pope, cordial and spontaneous,'' said Donatella Pacelli, a Rome sociologist who studies Catholic issues.

    London-based religious commentator Peter Stanford recalled the pope's intellectual grounding as a forward-looking theologian in the 1960s who _ like John Paul _ turned increasingly conservative against secular trends.

    "It would be a mistake to see (Benedict) as simply an efficient, ultra-loyal bureaucrat carrying out another man's orders,'' he wrote. - AP


  2. If you seen me walking down the street

    Staring at the sky

    And draggin my two feet

    You just pass me by

    It still makes me cry

    But you can make me whole again

    And if you senn me

    With another man

    Laughing and joking

    Doin’ what I can

    I won’t put you down

    Cause I want you around

    You can make me whole again


    Looking back on where we first met

    I cannot escape

    And I cannot forget

    Baby you’re the one

    You still turn me on

    You can make me whole again

    Time is layin’ heavy on my heart

    Seems I’ve got too much of it

    Since we’ve been apart

    My friends make me smile

    If only for a while

    You can make me whole again


    So now I will have to wait but baby if you change your mind don’t be to late

    Coz I just can’t go on it’s already been too long but you could make me whole


    Chorus (x2)...

    Baby you’re the one

    You still turn me on

    You can make me whole again

  3. Nothing baby is gonna stop me, stop me baby

    Nothing baby is gonna stop me, stop me girl

    Nothing baby is gonna stop me, stop me (oh no oh no oh no)

    Remember the day you up and left

    I nearly cried myself to death (oh yeah)

    And then I met someone else

    She made me stop and get a hold of myself, oh yeah

    I'm doing fine now without you baby

    I'm doing fine now without you baby

    Remember the day you walked away

    I ran behind you and I begged you to stay, oh yeah

    But you never heard a word I said

    You kept on stepping and turning your head, oh girl

    I'm doing fine now without you baby

    I'm doing fine now without you baby

    I'm doing fine baby, I'm doing fine without you

    I'm doing fine baby, I'm doing fine without you

    Remember the day you up and left (remember remember, shoo-doo-woo)

    I nearly cried myself to death, oh yeah

    And then I met somebody else (been so happy)

    She made me stop and get a hold of myself (hold of)

    (I'm doing fine now) I'm really doing fine

    (Without you baby) girl gotta keep you on the line

    (I'm doing fine now) yes I'm really doing fine

    (Without you baby) hey hey hey

    (I'm doing fine now) girl you didn't think that I could make it

    (Without you baby) now I'm on my own, things are really going on

    (I'm doing fine now) I'm doing fine without your loving baby

    (Without your love) baby baby

  4. Ouch

    He's chosen my attic

    I feel it in the static

    He lives in my basement

    And I can hardly face it

    My performance is easy

    I am the god of romance

    And in my confusion

    I have the right to reign

    He's stolen my Oscars

    He trades on my jokes

    He makes all my engines go oh oh oh oh

    He puts an "e" in the arsenal

    A comb in my 'fro

    Devine retribution

    And away we will go

    Hey hey hey hey

    Something's happening I can feel it

    Moving out of time you'll hear it

    Falling in the way you fear it

    Jumping thumping shout out something

    Jumping thumping shout out something

    Listen to the radio

    And you will hear the songs you know

    Make it effervescent here

    And you might have a job my dear

    My dear

    I'm searching for something

    Beyond my understanding

    Looking for meaning

    Where nothing is demanding

    There are no surprises

    Where nothing is expected

    If you offer nothing

    Then everyone accepts

    He's stolen my Oscars

    He trades on my jokes

    He makes all my engines go oh oh oh oh

    He puts an "e" in the arsenal

    A comb in my 'fro

    Devine retribution

    And away we will go

    Hey hey hey hey

    Something's happening I can feel it

    Moving out of time you'll hear it

    Falling in the way you fear it

    Jumping thumping shout out something

    Jumping thumping shout out something

    Listen to the radio

    And you will hear the songs you know

    Make it effervescent here

    And you might have a job my dear

    My dear





    Ouch ouch




    Something's happening I can feel it

    Moving out of time you'll hear it

    Falling in the way you fear it

    Jumping thumping shout out something

    Something's happening I can feel it

    Moving out of time you'll hear it

    Falling in the way you fear it

    Jumping thumping shout out something

    Listen to the radio

    Listen to the radio

    Listen to the radio

    Listen to the radio

    Listen to the radio

    Listen to the radio

    Listen to the radio

  5. Trying to be misunderstood,

    But it doesn’t do me any good,

    Love the way they smiled at me

    Held that face for eternity

    Now let them all fly off,

    When it comes down,

    It all comes down,

    And you will not be found,

    When it’s over,

    It’s all over,

    Even if I make a sound

    I’ll be misunderstood,

    By the beautiful and good in this city,

    None of it was planned,

    Take me by the hand,

    Just don’t try and understand

    Trying to be misunderstood,

    Just a product of my childhood,

    Still I find myself outside,

    You can’t say I haven’t tried,

    Perhaps I tried to hard,

    No excuses,

    I Won’t apologise,

    To justify your lies,

    Come find me,

    Tell them to me,

    Look me in the eyes

    I’ll be misunderstood,

    By the beautiful and good in this city,

    None of this was planned,

    Take me by the hand,

    just don’t try and understand

    Can’t forgive sorry to say,

    You don’t know you’re guilty anyway,

    Isn’t it funny how we don’t speak the language of love?

  6. Come and hold my hand

    I wanna contact the living

    Not sure I understand

    This role I've been given

    I sit and talk to God

    And he just laughs at my plans

    My head speaks a language

    I don't understand

    I just wanna feel

    Real love feel the home that I live in

    Cos I got too much life

    Running through my veins

    Going to waste

    I don't wanna die

    But I ain't keen on living either

    Before I fall in love

    I'm preparing to leave her

    Scare myself to death

    That's why I keep on running

    Before I've arrived

    I can see myself coming

    I just wanna feel

    Real love feel the home that I live in

    Cos I got too much life

    Running through my veins

    Going to waste

    And I need to feel

    Real love and the love ever after

    I can not get enough

    I just wanna feel

    Real love feel the home that I live in

    I got too much love

    Running through my veins

    To go to waste

    I just wanna feel

    Real love and the love ever after

    There's a hole in my soul

    You can see it in my face

    It's a real big place

    Come and hold my hand

    I wanna contact the living

    Not sure I understand

    This role I've been given

    Not sure I understand

    Not sure I understand

    Not sure I understand

    Not sure I understand

  7. Loose lips sunk ships

    I'm getting to grips with what you said

    No it's not in my head

    I can't awaken the dead

    Day after day

    Why don't we talk about it

    Why do you always doubt that there can be a better way

    It doesn't make me wanna stay

    Why don't we break up

    There's nothing left to say

    I got my eyes shut

    Praying they won't stray

    Oh we're not sexed up

    That's what makes the difference today

    I hope you blow away

    You say we're fatally flawed

    When I'm easily bored

    Is that OK?

    Write me off your list

    Make this the last kiss

    I walk away

    Why don't we talk about it?

    I'm only here don't shout it

    Give 'em time, you'll forget

    Let's pretend we never met

    Why don't we break up?

    There's nothing left to say

    I got my eyes shut

    Praying they won't stray

    Oh we're not sexed up

    That's what makes the difference today

    I hope you blow away

    Screw you

    I didn't like your taste anyway

    I chose you

    That's all go to waste it

    It's Saturday

    I'll go out and find another you

    Why don't we?

    Why don't we break up?

    There's nothing left to say

    I got my eyes shut

    Praying they won't stray

    Oh we're not sexed up

    That's what makes the difference today

    I hope you blow away

    I hope you blow away

    I hope you blow away

  8. I walk a lonely road

    The only one that I have ever known

    Don't know where it goes

    But it's home to me and I walk alone

    I walk this empty street

    On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

    Where the city sleeps

    and I'm the only one and I walk alone

    I walk alone

    I walk alone

    I walk alone

    I walk a...

    My shadow's the only one that walks beside me

    My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating

    Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me

    'Til then I walk alone

    Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah,

    Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah

    I'm walking down the line

    That divides me somewhere in my mind

    On the border line

    Of the edge and where I walk alone

    Read between the lines

    What's f***** up and everything's alright

    Check my vital signs

    To know I'm still alive and I walk alone

    I walk alone

    I walk alone

    I walk alone

    I walk a...

    My shadow's the only one that walks beside me

    My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating

    Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me

    'Til then I walk alone

    Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah

    Ah-ah, Ah-ah

    I walk alone

    I walk a...

    I walk this empty street

    On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

    Where the city sleeps

    And I'm the only one and I walk a...

    My shadow's the only one that walks beside me

    My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating

    Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me

    'Til then I walk alone...

  9. April 2, 2005

    Schiavo's autopsy completed

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Terri Schiavo's body was cremated Saturday as disagreements continued between her husband and her parents, who were unable to have their own independent expert observe her autopsy.

    The cremation was carried out according to a court order issued Tuesday establishing that Michael Schiavo had the right to make such decisions, said his lawyer, George Felos. He said plans for burying her ashes in Pennsylvania, where she grew up, had not yet been completed.

    Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, had wanted to bury their daughter in Pinellas County so they could visit her grave.

    Terri Schiavo, 41, died Thursday after the removal of the feeding tube that had kept her alive since 1990, when she suffered brain damage that court-appointed doctors determined had placed her in a persistent vegetative state. Her parents had fought in court to keep her alive, disputing the doctors' opinions and saying there was hope of improvement.

    Michael Schiavo has not spoken publicly since his wife's death, but Felos said Saturday: "He's holding up. It's very difficult for him."

    Michael Schiavo is required to tell his wife's parents of any memorial services he plans for Terri Schiavo and where her ashes are interred.

    The Schindlers plan to have their own memorial service Tuesday at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Gulfport.

    The Schindlers had sought to have independent medical experts observe their daughter's autopsy at the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's office, but the agency refused their request, family lawyers David Gibbs and Barbara Weller said Saturday.

    The autopsy was completed Friday, the day after Terri Schiavo died, and results are not expected for several weeks.

    Representatives of the medical examiner's office did not return a call seeking comment Saturday. The examiner's office has said it would conduct routine examinations and look for any evidence of what might have caused her 1990 collapse.

    The Schindlers have accused Michael Schiavo of abusing his wife, a charge he vehemently denies.

    Over the years, the couple have sought independent investigation of their daughter's condition and what caused it. Abuse complaints to state social workers were ruled unfounded, although one investigation remains open, and the Pinellas state attorney's office did not turn up evidence of abuse in one brief probe of the case.

    Gibbs said the medical examiner's videotape, pictures and tissue samples from the autopsy could be reviewed by other experts if the family asks. While the autopsy report will be a public document, images will not be made public under a 2001 law passed after the death of race car driver Dale Earnhardt.


  10. April 2, 2005

    Pope John Paul II dies at 84

    VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John Paul, who helped topple communist governments in Europe and left a deeply conservative stamp on the church he led for 26 years, died Saturday night in his Vatican apartment, ending a long public struggle against debilitating illness.

    He was 84.

    "We all feel like orphans this evening," Vatican undersecretary of state Archbishop Leonardo Sandri told the crowd of 70,000 that gathered in St. Peter's Square below the Pope's still-lighted apartment windows.

    A mass was scheduled for St. Peter's Square for 10:30 a.m. local time Sunday. The Pope's body was expected to be taken to St. Peter's Basilica no earlier than Monday afternoon, the Vatican said.

    It said the College of Cardinals - the red-robed "princes" of the Roman Catholic church - would meet at 10 a.m. local time Monday. They are expected to set a funeral date, which the Vatican said probably would be between Wednesday and Friday.

    The statement did not give a precise cause of death.

    Bells pealed in mourning after the Vatican said the Pope died at 9:37 p.m. local time. The assembled flock fell into a stunned silence before some people broke out in applause - an Italian tradition in which mourners often clap for important figures. Others wept.

    John Paul's passing set in motion centuries of tradition that mark the death of the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, whom he led into the faith's third millennium.

    The Vatican chamberlain formally verified the death and destroyed the symbols of the Pope's authority: his fisherman's ring and dies used to make lead seals for apostolic letters.

    The Vatican did not say if the chamberlain followed the ancient practice of verification by calling the Pope's name three times and tapping his forehead three times with a silver hammer.

    John Paul's funeral will be held within four to six days. The Vatican has declined to say whether he left instructions for his funeral or burial. Most popes in recent centuries have asked to be buried in the crypts below St. Peter's Basilica but some have suggested the first Polish-born pope might have chosen to be laid to rest in his native country.

    As John Paul's death neared, members of the College of Cardinals were already headed toward the Vatican to prepare for the secret duty of locking themselves in the Sistine Chapel to elect the next pope. Tradition calls for the process to begin within 20 days of death.

    Among possible successors are German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - one of the Pope's closest aides and the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog. Others mentioned include Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Oscar Cardinal Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, Francis Cardinal Arinze, a Vatican-based Nigerian, Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn of Austria and Dionigi Cardinal Tettamanzi of Italy.

    Karol Joseph Wojtyla was a robust 58 when the last papal conclave stunned the world and elected the cardinal from Krakow, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

    In his later years, John Paul - the most-travelled pope in history - was the picture of frailty. In addition to Parkinson's, he survived a 1981 assassination attempt, when a Turkish gunman shot him in the abdomen and had hip and knee ailments. His anguished struggle with failing health became a symbol of aging and, in the end, death with dignity.

    Outside the Vatican, the crowd of faithful recited the rosary. A seminarian slowly waved a large red-white Polish flag draped with a black band of mourning for the pontiff.

    Prelates asked those in the square to keep silent so they might "accompany the Pope in his first steps into heaven."

    As the bells tolled in mourning, a group of young people sang: "Alleluia, he will rise again," while one of them strummed a guitar.

    Later, pilgrims joined in singing "Ave Maria."

    "The angels welcome you," Vatican TV said after papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls announced the death of the Pope, who had for years suffered from Parkinson's disease and came down with fever and infections in recent weeks.

    In contrast to the church's ancient traditions, Navarro-Valls announced the death to journalists in the most modern of communication forms, an e-mail that said: "The Holy Father died this evening at 9:37 p.m. in his private apartment."

    The spokesman said church officials were following instructions John Paul had written for them Feb. 22, 1996.

    "He was a marvellous man. Now he's no longer suffering," Concetta Sposato, a pilgrim who heard the Pope had died as she was on her way to St. Peter's to pray, said tearfully.

    "My father died last year. For me, it feels the same," said Elisabetta Pomacalca, a 25-year-old Peruvian who lives in Rome.

    "I'm Polish. For us, he was a father," said pilgrim Beata Sowa.

    In Washington, President George W. Bush mourned the loss of "a good and faithful servant of God (who) has been called home" and said the pontiff "launched a democratic revolution that swept Eastern Europe and changed the course of history."

    A fierce enemy of communism, John Paul set off the sparks that helped bring down the communist-led government in Poland, from whence a virtual revolution spread across the Soviet bloc. Deposed Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev said much of the credit went to John Paul.

    But his Polish roots also nourished a doctrinal conservatism - opposition to contraception, abortion and women priests - that rankled liberal Roman Catholics in the United States and western Europe.

    A man who had lived under both the Nazis and the Soviets, he loathed totalitarianism, which he called "substitute religion." As pope, he helped foster Poland's anti-communist Solidarity movement. Once the Communists were overthrown, he decried capitalist callousness.

    During the Second World War, he appeared on a Nazi blacklist in 1944 for his activities in a Christian democratic underground in Poland. B'nai B'rith and other organizations testified he helped Jews find refuge from the Nazis.

    While the Pope championed better relations with Jews - Christianity's "older brothers," as he put it - the Vatican formally recognized Israel in 1993. He also met with the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat and urged the Holy Land's warring neighbours to reconcile.

    John Paul was intent on improving relations with Muslims. On a trip to Syria, in May 2001, he became the first pope to step into a mosque.

    The 264th pope also battled what he called a "culture of death" in modern society. It made him a hero to those who saw him as their rock in a degenerating world and a foe to those who felt he was holding back social enlightenment.

    "The church cannot be an association of freethinkers," John Paul said.

    However, a sex-abuse scandal among clergy plunged his church into moral crisis. He summoned U.S. cardinals to the Vatican and told them: "The abuse which has caused this crisis is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society; it is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God."

    Critics accused the Pope of not acting swiftly enough.

    Other critics said while the Pope championed the world's poor, he was not consistent when he rebuked Latin American priests who sought to involve the church politically through the doctrine of "liberation theology."

    John Paul's health declined rapidly after he suffered heart and kidney failure following two hospital stays in as many months. Just two hours before announcing his death, the Vatican had said he was in "very serious" condition, although he was responding to aides.

    After his passing, Vatican, Italian and European Union flags were lowered to half-mast.

    People in John Paul's hometown Wadowice, Poland, fell to their knees and wept as the news reached them at the end of a special mass in the church where he worshipped as a boy.

    Church bells rang out after the announcement but it took several minutes for people inside the packed church to find out as they continued their vigil into a second night.

    Then the parish priest, Rev. Jakub Gil, came to the front as the last hymn faded away.

    "His life has come to an end. Our great countryman has died," he said.

    People inside the church and standing outside fell to their knees.

    The Pope was last seen in public Wednesday when, looking gaunt and unable to speak, he briefly appeared at his window.

    His health sharply deteriorated the next day after he suffered a urinary tract infection.

    In its final medical statement Saturday, Navarro-Valls said John Paul was not in a coma and opened his eyes when spoken to.

    But he added: "Since dawn this morning, there have been first signs that consciousness is being affected."

    "Sometimes it seems as if he were resting with his eyes closed, but when you speak to him he opens his eyes," Navarro-Valls said.

    Navarro-Valls said the Pope was still speaking late Friday but did not take part when mass was celebrated in his presence Saturday morning.

    He said aides had told the Pope thousands of young people were in St. Peter's Square on Friday evening. Navarro-Valls said the Pope appeared to be referring to them when he seemed to say: "'I have looked for you. Now you have come to me."

    "And I thank you."'


  11. Family feud over Terri Schiavo goes on

    Mark Long

    Canadian Press

    Thursday, March 31, 2005

    CREDIT: Associated Press

    Suzanne Vitadamo, Terri Schiavo's sister, left, Mary Schindler, Schiavo's mother, center, and Bob Schindler, Schiavo's father, right, pause during a news conference outside the Woodside Hospice where Schiavo is a patient on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 in Pinellas Park, Fla.

    PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - The seething feud between Terri Schiavo's parents and husband raged on even after her death, as both families planned separate funerals for the woman whose final months riveted Americans and reached all the way to the halls of Congress and the White House.

    Schiavo, 41, died Thursday, nearly two weeks after her feeding tube was removed by a judge's order. Michael Schiavo says his wife told him long ago that she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, disputed that, and held out hope for a miracle recovery for their brain-damaged daughter.

    The disagreement over Terri Schiavo's medical condition for the last 15 years may well be settled by yet another outsider. A medical examiner is conducting an autopsy that could help determine what Schiavo's state of consciousness was and whether she was abused by her husband, as the Schindlers allege. Those results are expected in a few weeks.

    The matter of burying Schiavo, though, is something the two sides have had to settle themselves. The Schindlers, who are devout Catholics, wanted their daughter's remains buried in Florida, where they live. Michael Schiavo, however, has custody of the body and plans to have his wife cremated.

    Schiavo's ashes will be buried in an undisclosed location near Philadelphia so that her immediate family does not attend and turn the moment into a media spectacle, said Scott Schiavo, Michael Schiavo's brother. A funeral mass, a concession to the Schindlers, was tentatively scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday.

    "After these recent years of neglect at the hands of those who were supposed to protect and care for her, she is finally at peace with God for eternity," said her sister, Suzanne Vitadamo.

    George Felos, Michael Schiavo's lawyer, said she died a "calm, peaceful and gentle death," cradled by her husband and with a stuffed animal under her arm. Michael Schiavo and Felos were present when she died.

    The ill will between husband and in-laws didn't abate even during Schiavo's final moments.

    The Schindlers' advisers complained that Schiavo's brother and sister had been at her bedside a few minutes before the end came, but were not there at the moment of her death because Michael Schiavo would not let them in the room.

    "And so his heartless cruelty continues until this very last moment," Rev. Frank Pavone, a Roman Catholic priest and one of the Schindlers' spiritual advisers. He called Schiavo's death a "killing."

    Felos confirmed that no one from Terri Schiavo's side of the family was with her when she died, but disputed the Schindlers' account of why that was. Schiavo's siblings had been asked to leave the room so that the hospice staff could examine her, and Bobby Schindler started arguing with a law enforcement official so Michael Schiavo had him kept out, Felos said.

    "Mrs. Schiavo had a right to have her last and final moments on this Earth be experienced by a spirit of love and not of acrimony," the lawyer said.

    On Thursday night, Bob Schindler thanked supporters during a 90-minute memorial service that drew more than 200 people to a nearby church.

    "You got us through a really tough time," he said. "We're so appreciative of it. We'll never forget you all. Thank you so, so much. And Terri thanks you, too."

    The death brought to a close what was easily the longest, most bitter -- and most heavily litigated -- right-to-die dispute in U.S. history.

    Schiavo suffered brain damage in 1990 after a chemical imbalance believed linked to an eating disorder caused her heart to stop. She had left no written instructions in the event she became disabled.

    During the seven-year legal battle, federal and state courts repeatedly rejected extraordinary attempts at intervention by Florida legislators, Gov. Jeb Bush, Congress and President George W. Bush on behalf of her parents.

    Supporters of her parents, many of them anti-abortion activists and political conservatives, harshly criticized the courts, who consistently sided with Michael Schiavo.

    Many religious groups, including the Roman Catholic Church, said the removal of sustenance violated fundamental religious tenets.

    © The Associated Press 2005


  12. Pope's Condition `Very Serious' After Heart Failure (Update3)

    April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Pope John Paul II, spiritual leader of the world's 1 billion Catholics, is in ``very serious'' condition and has received the blessing for the dying after suffering heart failure and a high fever, weeks after surgery to relieve breathing problems.

    The pope was ``conscious'' and ``extremely serene,'' said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls at a press conference in Rome. The 84-year-old pope yesterday received the blessing for those approaching death, Navarro-Valls said. His condition is stable, though ``very serious,'' after he suffered a ``urinary tract infection, septic shock and a cardiocirculatory collapse,'' Navarro-Valls said.

    John Paul II will remain in his apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square and won't return to the Gemelli hospital, where last month he underwent a tracheotomy to relieve breathing problems. The pope, who has been confined to a wheelchair as Parkinson's disease sapped his strength, has been in the Gemelli 10 times since a 1981 assassination attempt. For some, prayers to save the pope's life changed today to pleas to ease his pain.

    ``I ask the Lord to help him in his suffering,'' said Anna Mustini, 70, a native of Rome who was baptized at St. Peter's. She came to the Vatican this morning with her husband, Alvaro Tancredi, 71, who used an electric wheelchair to move around St. Peter's Square.

    Bishop of Rome

    ``He's our bishop, the bishop of Rome,'' said Tancredi, referring to the local title that popes hold in addition to that of global head of the church. ``He loved Rome.''

    Navarro-Valls said the pope was conscious minutes before he left him to begin the press briefing at 12:30 p.m. A doctor by training, Navarro-Valls has worked with the pope since John Paul's selection 26 years ago and said he has never seen the pontiff in such a condition.

    The pope requested that certain prayers traditionally conducted on Fridays be read in his room, and he received visits by high-ranking Vatican officials, including Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's secretary of state, and Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the vicar of Rome who's charged with making the official recognition of the pope's death.

    ``He was lucid; he recognized me immediately,'' Sodano told state-owned RAI television. ``He was praying with some nuns while the doctors were there assisting him.''

    Cardinals Summoned

    The world's cardinals, who will select John Paul II's successor, have been summoned to Rome, a sign that preparations are under way for a conclave, the secretive election procedure that must begin within three weeks of the pope's death.

    Another sign of the gravity of the pope's condition was a decision by the Vatican to keep open its press office, which normally closes at 3 p.m.

    Catholics around the world gathered to pray for the pope. Churches in his native Poland will stay open for 48 hours. In France, the Archbishop of Paris Andre Vingt-Trois called on all Catholics to pray for the pontiff and will hold a special mass at the Notre Dame cathedral later today, Agence France-Presse reported. In Israel, which the pontiff visited in 2000, Christians held vigils in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, AFP reported.

    The basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, over which the pope presides as Bishop of Rome, will hold a special mass tonight led by Ruini. Leading Italian politicians such as Romano Prodi, former president of the European Commission and leader of Italy's biggest coalition of opposition parties, and deputy Prime Minister Marco Follini will attend, according to a statement they made to Ansa news agency.

    Weight Loss

    The pope has been unable to speak in public since the surgery and has lost almost 20 kilograms (44 pounds). In his few public appearances since leaving the hospital March 17, the pope has appeared to struggle to breathe and has been limited to waving to crowds of well-wishers and making the sign of the cross to bless his followers.

    The Vatican said yesterday that the pope was receiving food through a feeding tube in his nose. He has compared his suffering to that of Christ and has repeatedly said that he would never resign even as his aides had to assume more and more responsibility for running the Vatican.

    ``I see the pope as the best possible example of human strength and dignity; he is teaching us this, maybe for the last time,'' said Maria Jankowska, 56, a high school teacher in the city of Tomaszow Mazowiecki, central Poland.

    Polish-born Karol Jozef Wojtyla has held the throne of St. Peter for more than 26 years, the third-longest pontificate in history, and the length of his papacy is only surpassed by that of Pius IX in the 19th century and St. Peter. He was the first non-Italian elected pope since Adrian VI more than 450 years ago.

    Soviet Demise

    He is credited with speeding the demise of the former Soviet Union, ushering in the spread of democracy in his native Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe.

    The leader of the Solidarity labor union movement and Poland's first freely elected post-communist president, Lech Walesa, said the pope was largely responsible for the fall of communism throughout Eastern Europe.

    ``The pope told me: `Do not be afraid - change the face of the globe,'' Walesa said in an interview with Poland's TVN24 channel, describing a meeting with the pontiff during his visit to Poland in 1979. That took place a year before the largest Solidarity strike and 10 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    ``And, after that visit, the 10 or so people who were active in the anti-communist opposition expanded into 10 million people ready to protest, ready to strike, people who trusted that communism could be defeated,'' Walesa said.

    Church Doctrine

    The pope also aggressively supported church doctrine, opposing a bigger role for women in the church, purging more progressive priests, particularly those in Latin America espousing ``liberation theology,'' and shoring up the Vatican's staunch opposition to abortion and birth control.

    People flocked to St. Peter's Square after the initial reports of his high fever last night at 11 p.m. and Rome police closed off the main road to the Vatican, the Via della Conciliazione, to car traffic. Today the basilica remained open and thousands of visitors streamed into the square, some stopping to pray beneath the window of the pope's apartment, where he would regularly bless crowds of faithful after Sunday mass.

    `Real Pope'

    ``He's struggling but he looks peaceful and he's preparing for a serene death,'' said Marcia Parecida Kniphoff, 33, a Brazilian of Polish origins who lives in Latina, near Rome. ``John Paul II has been a real pope, bringing God close to people. I've come here this morning to pay a tribute and say goodbye to him.''

    Politics also came to a standstill. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called on all parties to suspend campaigning for regional elections to be held April 3-4.

    The critically ill pope approved the appointment of a number of new bishops and other church officials, the Vatican said in a statement issued some four hours after the last news on his health. It gave no new information about his condition.

    The sacrament of the sick, received by the pope, is ``intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness,'' according to the ``Catechism of the Catholic Church,'' whose preparation the pope supervised more than a decade ago.

    The sacrament given to the pope used to be known as the last rites and was only given to someone who was very near death. Since the early 1970s the prayer is administered to anyone who is seriously ill. The sacrament involves the laying on of hands and prayer by a priest.

    To contact the reporter on this story:

    Andrew Davis in Rome at abdavis@bloomberg.net;

    Flavia Krause-Jackson in Rome at fjackson@bloomberg.net.

    To contact the editor responsible for this story:

    Heather Harris at hharris@bloomberg.net

    Chris Kirkham at ckirkham@bloomberg.net

    Last Updated: April 1, 2005 10:29 EST


  13. Terri Schiavo Dies, Ending 7-Year U.S. Legal Fight (Update4)

    March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman who became the focus of a national debate as her parents and husband fought over keeping her alive, died this morning, 13 days after doctors removed the feeding tube that sustained her.

    Schiavo, 41, died in her hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida. She had been in what her doctors said was a persistent vegetative state since a cardiac arrest in 1990.

    Michael Schiavo petitioned courts for seven years to allow his wife to die, saying she wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, disputed that and fought Michael Schiavo at every turn. The Schindlers were not with her when she died, their spokesman Paul O'Donnell said.

    ``They were denied access at the moment of her death,'' O'Donnell told reporters in Florida just before 10 a.m. local time. The Schindlers went into her room soon afterward to pray, he said.

    Congress and President George W. Bush became embroiled in the issue, taking the extraordinary step of enacting a law that allowed a federal court review of the case. The U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts repeatedly refused to intervene.

    David Gibbs, a lawyer for the Schindlers, said they ``are heartsick.''

    ``They believe that Terri is now ultimately at peace,'' Gibbs told reporters. ``They intend to comfort themselves with their faith and their family at this time.''


    Michael Schiavo asked for an autopsy so the public can understand ``the full and massive extent of the damage'' to his wife's brain, his lawyer, George Felos, told reporters on March 28.

    Schiavo plans to have his wife cremated and then have her remains placed in a Schiavo family plot in Pennsylvania, over the objections of the Schindlers, CNN reported.

    The family battle drew national attention after Michael Schiavo, his wife's legal guardian, got a court order to remove the feeding tube. Congressional committees tried to intervene, seeking to hold hearings and threatening that anyone interfering with Terri Schiavo's ability to attend --- by removing her feeding tube, for example -- would break the law. The House Government Reform Committee planned to convene in her hospice.


    A Florida judge denied a House request to delay removal of the tube until the hearings could be held and ordered it removed on March 18. Two days later, Congress rushed back to Washington from a recess to pass a bill allowing the Schindlers to file a federal case. Bush signed the bill in the early morning hours of March 21, setting off a series of federal court fights on an emergency action to reconnect the tube. Late last night, the U.S. Supreme Court refused for the sixth time to intervene.

    U.S. Appeals Court Judge Stanley F. Birch said yesterday that Congress's action violated the constitutional principle of separate branches of government. ``The legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint,'' he wrote.

    Bush today extended condolences to Schiavo's family.

    ``I urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to work to build a culture of life, where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others,'' Bush told reporters in Washington. ``In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in favor of life.''

    `Attack Against God'

    A Vatican cardinal, in response to Schiavo's death, called the court order to remove the feeding tube an ``attack.''

    ``An attack against life is an attack against God, who is the author of life,'' said Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Vatican's office for sainthood.

    U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay called Schiavo's death ``a moral poverty and a legal tragedy'' in a statement. ``The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior,'' he said.

    Theresa Marie Schindler was born on Dec. 3, 1963, in Pennsylvania, the eldest of three children. On their Web site, the Schindlers described her as a ``charming, yet decidedly bashful'' child who loved the piano and had a talent for art.

    In her youth, Terri struggled with her weight, at one point weighing more than 200 pounds. Friends and family told CNN that she always had a ready smile and a big laugh. She shied away from attention and desired a simple life with family, they said.

    Terri Schindler and Michael Schiavo met in community college and married in November 1984, just before her 21st birthday. In one of the few interviews Schiavo gave during the controversy he told CNN he fell in love at first sight.

    ``She had this persona, this aura about her that just attracted you,'' Schiavo said. ``A beautiful smile, I mean, just shy and outgoing at the same time.''


    In 1986 the couple moved to Florida, where Terri Schiavo worked as an administrator for Prudential Life Insurance Co. and Michael was a manager in a restaurant, according to a 2003 report from a court-appointed officer charged with reviewing the case.

    By 1990, Terri Schiavo's weight had dropped to 110 pounds. Her diet or possibly the eating disorder bulimia might have contributed to a cardiac arrest that damaged her brain, according to the court guardian's report.

    By all accounts, Schiavo at first believed his wife could recover and was devoted to her care. Within four years, he said he had largely given up hope and began ordering doctors not to treat his wife for infections. During that time, the Schindlers started seeking custody of their daughter.


    Michael Schiavo won a malpractice settlement on behalf of his wife against her doctors, split into about $300,000 for him and $700,000 for a trust fund for Terri Schiavo, the Miami Herald reported. The Schindlers and Schiavo fought over the settlement, the Herald said.

    Schiavo began petitioning the courts to allow his wife to die in 1998. By that time, he had begun a relationship with a woman he remains with today. The couple have two children. In a Supreme Court motion, the parents cited his new family in arguing that Schiavo shouldn't be his wife's guardian.

    As part of their quest, the Schindlers shared pictures of Terri Schiavo before her collapse, bringing her image into the homes of millions of Americans. They also sent out later videotapes in which she appeared to respond to family members.

    Supporters of the Schindlers' case such as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a former heart and lung surgeon, pointed to the videos as evidence that Terri Schiavo was aware of her surroundings. Neurologists who examined her said they found no evidence of brain activity and called the reactions unconscious movements; 19 Florida judges agreed over the years.

    To contact the reporter on this story:

    Kristin Jensen in Washington kjensen@Bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor responsible for this story:

    Joe Winski at jwinski@bloomberg.net

    Last Updated: March 31, 2005 13:16 EST


  14. 12:04 a.m. March 23, 2005

    ATLANTA – A federal appeals court refused early Wednesday to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, denying an emergency request by the severely brain-damaged woman's parents to keep her alive.

    In its 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said the woman's parents "failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims."

    "There is no denying the absolute tragedy that has befallen Mrs. Schiavo," the ruling read. "We all have our own family, our own loved ones, and our own children. However, we are called upon to make a collective, objective decision concerning a question of law."

    Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, vowed another appeal Wednesday.

    "The Schindlers will be filing an appropriate appeal to save their daughter's life," said Rex Sparklin, an attorney with the law firm representing the parents.

    The Schindlers said Tuesday that their daughter was "fading quickly" and might die at any moment. The feeding tube was disconnected on Friday, and doctors have said that Terri Schiavo, 41, could survive one to two weeks without water and nutrients.

    A man who answered Bob Schindler's cellular phone declined comment Wednesday.

    The Schindlers have been locked for years in a battle with Schiavo's husband over whether her feeding tube should be disconnected. State courts have sided with Michael Schiavo, who insists his wife told him she would never want to be kept alive artificially.

    The decision came less than 24 hours after U.S. District Judge James Whittemore of Tampa rejected the parents' request to have the tube reinserted, saying they had not established a "substantial likelihood of success" if a new trial were held on their claim that Terri's religious and due process rights have been violated.

    Even before the parents' appeal was filed with the 11th Circuit, Michael Schiavo urged the court not to grant an emergency request to restore nutrition.

    "That would be a horrific intrusion upon Mrs. Schiavo's personal liberty," said the filing by his attorney, George Felos. He filed a response to the Schindlers' appeal and said he would go to the U.S. Supreme Court if the tube were ordered reconnected.

    Demonstrators who gathered outside Terri Schiavo's hospice decried the decision early Wednesday.

    "This is a clear cut case of judicial tyranny. All the judges who have ruled against Terri are tyrants, and we fully expected this decision," said Tammy Melton, 37, a high school teacher from Monterey, Tenn.

    Late Tuesday afternoon, the Schindlers arrived at the hospice and pleaded with state lawmakers to save her daughter's life.

    "Please, senators, for the love of God, I'm begging you, don't let my daughter die of thirst," Mary Schindler said.

    With that, she broke down and was escorted away.

    In court documents, the couple said their daughter began "a significant decline" late Monday. Her eyes were sunken and dark, and her lips and face were dry.

    "While she still made eye contact with me when I spoke to her, she was becoming increasingly lethargic," Bob Schindler said in the papers. "Terri no longer attempted to verbalize back to me when I spoke to her."

    Louise Cleary, a spokeswoman at Woodside Hospice, said she could not discuss Terri Schiavo's condition for reasons of privacy.

    Over the weekend, Republicans in Congress pushed through unprecedented emergency legislation aimed at prolonging Schiavo's life by allowing the case to be reviewed by federal courts.

    By Tuesday afternoon, about 75 protesters gathered outside the hospice, virtually all of them upset with Whittemore's decision. They carried signs and shouted through bullhorns, and a Catholic Mass was celebrated. One woman was arrested for trespassing after trying to bring Schiavo a cup of water.

    Among those supporting the federal judge's decision was Richard Avant, who lives down the street from the hospice and carried a sign reading "Honor her wishes."

    "We represent the silent majority, if you look at the polls," Avant said. "We agree that Congress overstepped their bounds."

    The Bush administration "would have preferred a different ruling" from Whittemore, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said in Albuquerque, N.M., where the president was visiting a senior center. "We hope that they would be able to have relief through the appeals process."

    The Justice Department also filed a court statement, saying an injunction was "plainly warranted" to carry out the wishes of Congress to provide federal court jurisdiction over the case.

    Unless the feeding tube is reinserted, the department said, Schiavo may die before the courts can resolve her family's claims. "No comparable harm will be caused" by letting Schiavo live while the case is reviewed, the filing said.

    At the same time, Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, praised Tuesday's ruling. "What this judge did is protect the freedom of people to make their own end-of-life decisions without the intrusion of politicians," he said.

    Terri Schiavo suffered brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped briefly from a chemical imbalance believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder. Court-appointed doctors say she is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery.

    Her parents argue that she could get better and that she would never have wanted to be cut off from food and water.

    Associated Press Writer Jill Barton in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.

  15. Maybe tonight I'm gonna tell him how I feel

    Maybe I'll leave well enough alone

    Maybe, just maybe, he'll want to be my baby

    What if he's got plans of his own

    I'm waiting for the perfect moment

    Looking for the perfect phrase

    The one I finally choose is simply "I love you"

    As the words came out I heard a voice inside me say

    What made you say that

    Was it the moonlight, was it the starlight in your eyes

    What made you say that

    Have you been listening to your heart

    It's too late now, you don't want to (I won't let you) take it back

    'Cause I know love's

    What made you say that

    Look up to see his reaction

    And a smile slowly spread across his face

    He said "What took you so long

    That's what I've been waiting on

    I thought you'd take forever and a day"

    What made you say that

    Was it the moonlight, was it the starlight in your eyes

    What made you say that

    Have you been listening to your heart

    It's too late now, you don't want to (I won't let you) take it back

    'Cause I know love's

    What made you say that

    What made you say that

    Was it the moonlight, was it the starlight in your eyes

    What made you say that

    Have you been listening to your heart

    It's too late now, you don't want to (I won't let you) take it back

    'Cause I know love's

    What made you say that

    Was it the moonlight, was it the starlight in your eyes

    What made you say that

    Have you been listening to your heart

    What made you say that...

  16. Don't.. don't you wish we tried

    Do you feel what I feel inside

    You know love is stronger than pride

    Don't.. no don't

    Let your anger grow

    Just tell me what you need me to know

    Please talk to me don't close the door

    Cause I wanna hear you.. wanna be near you

    Don't fight.. don't argue

    Give me the chance to say that I'm sorry

    Just let me love you

    Don't turn me away.. don't tell me to go

    Don't.. don't give up on trust

    Don't give up on me.. on us

    We could just hold on long enough

    We can do it.. we'll get through it

    Don't fight.. don't argue

    Just give me the chance to say that I'm sorry

    Just let me love you

    Don't turn me away.. don't tell me to go

    Don't pretend that it's ok

    Things won't get better that way

    And don't do something you might regret someday


    Don't give up on me

    We can do it.. we'll get through it

    Don't fight.. don't argue

    Just give me the chance to say that I'm sorry

    Just let me love you

    Don't turn me away.. don't tell me to go

    Don't fight.. don't argue (Don't give up on me)

    Give me the chance to say that I'm sorry (say that I'm sorry)

    Just let me love you (Don't give up on me)

    Don't turn me away.. don't tell me to go

    Don't fight.. don't argue

    Give me the chance to say that I'm sorry

    Just let me love you (don't give up on me)

    Don't turn me away.. don't tell me to go

  17. Home Sweet Home?

    Craig Morris 02/05/05

    Culture Shock USA - Part I

    I had not been home for almost eight years. A lot had happened in that time. From Europe, my fellow Americans seemed to have lost their capacity to think straight. Some in Europe and the States rightly spoke of a slippery slope into totalitarianism. I long hoped that my country would at some point understand what the Patriot Act (1) represents. But not even the disgraceful conduct of our soldiers in Abu Ghraib was enough to keep the current administration from winning a majority in the elections of 2004.

    Would I come home to an America too scared of terrorists to understand my fears? Would I understand my fellow Americans at all anymore? And would they understand me? What is life like in the heart of the Imperium Americanum? Would I be held at the border if I was not able to provide officials with an address of where I was going, as happened to my sister-in-law ("Erwartest du heute Besuch?" (2)), or was my name on a no-fly list (Will the World Finance the Imperium Americanum? (3)) because of the criticism of the current administration's foreign policy I had already published?

    Put all of your bags on the conveyor belt, take off all watches, jewelry, belt buckles, and other metal objects and put them in a bin, also take off your jackets and put them in a bin, take your shoes off, whoever has a six-pack can come right on up front, we'll also be checking for smiles - you back there: stop yawning!

    The security guard at the international Airport in New Orleans obviously wanted to become a standup comedian. Instead, he spent his time keeping people in a good mood by interweaving nonsense into the deadpan commands he was barking out to the passengers waiting to undergo security checks.

    Ever seen a crowd of laughing people at the metal detectors in an airport?

    Let's get right to the point: I had a great time in my 30-day stay in the US. What's more, little had changed. Sure, lots of things were different, but it was all mainly just the continuation of where the country was headed in the mid-1990s. In other words, for me the US had changed as though September 11 had never happened.

    Recent American Homeland Security policies remind many shocked Europeans of the barbaric practices of the Nazis or former communist East Germany. But I did not by any means have the impression that I was entering a country about to lose its democracy; this was not Nazi Germany in 1933, as some fear. However, this realization also left me at a loss, for it meant that my country did not have to change its character fundamentally to bring about the things that had made such a comparison imaginable for so many people.

    When I was in school, I learned that the anti-communist tirades of Senator McCarthy were an un-American aberration. What my country had done a few years before in Vietnam had not yet made it into my schoolbooks.

    And when I was getting my master's degree at the University of Texas during the first Gulf War, then-President Bush Sr. went on television to explain why we had to intervene militarily in the Gulf. In his hands, he held a report by Amnesty International about Saddam Hussein's terrorist régime. "They're gonna laugh him out of office", I thought, expecting the media to point out the next day that Amnesty International has similar reports about most countries, but we are not invading everywhere. But the media did not report this.

    Instead, students at UT Austin were soon selling T-shirts with I'd fly 10,000 miles to smoke a camel (4) written on them. Every day, I walked by such a stand, but I always managed to spare myself the embarrassment of pointing that there are lots of camels in Saudi Arabia, the country we claimed to be defending.

    So I come from a country that is able to produce something like McCarthy, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars I and II every 10 or 20 years. These events are not un-American aberrations; they are defining moments in my country's history. For many Americans, they are something to be proud of.


    The "old" Hardy Street in downtown Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where I went to elementary school. Four lanes with a turning lane in the middle, and the stores are close to the street

    What had changed?

    The US is moving further and further away from an infrastructure that would allow people to get around without a car. Urban sprawl continues unabated.


    What looks like a highway is actually just the extension of Hardy Street. It still has four lanes, but now there are also four turning lanes - a total of eight lanes instead of five. In addition, there is now a wide median. To the right, the first free-standing stores are being built - but the storefronts are no longer directly on the street, but rather behind a ditch. The strip mall is so far behind these free-standing stores that you wouldn't even expect there is one in this picture. Lots of space for cars, but you'd better not try to walk anywhere - or catch public transport. No bus stop here.

    When I visited the old part of Hattiesburg that I used to live in, it was clear why there was so much development on the outskirts of town: the old part of town has been written off. Whites know why: blacks have "taken over" - "there goes the neighborhood". And when white flight sets in, the money moves out. As a friend of mine in Germany from Baton Rouge put it, "America's cities look like a bomb has gone off in the middle of them. But in the suburbs, everything looks OK".


    When I was a boy, I used to eat pizza here - right in the middle of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The fine print on city-limits signs in the US reads, "No deposit, no return".

    Meanwhile, indoor shopping malls have come up with ways of attracting senior citizens: they are marketing themselves as air-conditioned exercise arenas with in-house ambulance services. The elderly can have their daily walk without suffering from the heat of the South, and if anyone has a heart attack, help is not far - right between the ice cream shop and the everything-for-a-dollar mart.


    The Turtle Creek Mall offers two oxygen units and an external defibrillator.

    So are American shopping malls finally turning into a sort of neighborhood after all, where people bump into each other and chat without necessarily wanting to buy something? When Americans ask me why I like to live in these cramped old European inner cities, I usually try to sell the idea by comparing European town centers to our malls. Imagine there are apartments and parks above the two floors where everyone goes shopping. Most stores are then closer to your front door than your own car is. Everyone likes to walk everywhere, neighbors bump into each other all the time, and eventually everyone just hangs out without wanting to buy anything. Up to now, every American I have talked to has found that notion appealing, but I have yet to see any apartments on top of malls.

    Culture shock?

    I really only experienced culture shock once during my stay, and that was on the very first night. But it lasted the whole 30 days.

    My brother picked me up from the airport in New Orleans, and we went to eat Mexican with his wife. I was a bit jetlagged, but my brother and his wife said that I shouldn't miss the place they wanted to take me to.

    The food was great, but everyone in the restaurant was sitting on rinky-dink benches, and the ventilation, lighting and plumbing were hanging down from the uncleaned ceiling without any further decoration. It was a dive, and everyone seemed to like it that way.

    For four weeks, I went from one hole in the wall to the next. In a bar in Austin, Texas that was even called The Hole in the Wall, the ceiling was covered with nothing more than grey fire-resistant foam that had been sprayed on. But the best part was the shack on the outskirts of Hattiesburg, Mississippi that by all accounts had the best barbecue in town.

    "Leatha's" had obviously been built by the people who did the cooking. The floor was cheap plywood that groaned under the weight of Big Mama Leatha, the hospitable chef whose own girth was the best recommendation for her cooking. They must have spent days picking out the furniture for the place, for no two chairs were alike. But the food was great, and our waitress popped up with a pitcher of sweetened iced tee before I had half-finished my glass - all you can eat & drink, a concept practically unknown in Europe.

    Near the end of my stay, I spoke with my brother about this culture shock. He said that everyone just wants to have good food, and if the place is done up too fancy, you just have to pay more.

    You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy

    This culture shock was not, however, severe enough to prevent me from feeling right at home, especially in Leatha's shack out in the country in Mississippi. No one felt any need to hide their poverty or their wealth. And anyway, the people who had money did not want to go to some fancy restaurant with white tablecloths, wine glasses, and more silverware than you can shake a stick at; they would rather drive an expensive pickup to a shack where you can eat piles of great meat with your hands.

    Strangely enough, after reading all the hubbub about SUVs, I suddenly found myself unable to understand what the big deal was. Southerners have been driving pickups for decades, and these Hummers (which I had not yet seen in real life) did not look that big at all next to the pickups I was used to seeing. And anyway, the biggest vehicle you can buy is not an SUV, but a CXT (5) - a real cabin for an 18-wheeler with a permanently attached bed in the back instead of a trailer hitch.

    Probably, SUVs have only raised such commotion because soccer moms outside the South began using them as family cars. In the South, Hummers fit well into the landscape. After all, it was not so long ago that we really needed off-road vehicles. (I may be wrong, but somehow I can't imagine "soccer mom" being spoken with a Southern drawl.)

    I knew that I had really made it back to the Deep South when Leatha's son, said to suffer from a slight mental impairment, came to our table after we had placed our orders and asked us what song he should sing. We chose the Christmas classic "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire", which the young man promptly began crooning after sticking his hands in the pockets of his overalls.

    Frank Sinatra would have sounded similar shortly before dying of thirst. To make matters worse, our crooner was singing the lines of the lyrics in a more or less random order. That made it difficult for him to know when he had finished. So when he hit a spot that could be taken for a finale, we all began clapping to convince him that the song was over and that he had made everyone happy.

    Which he had. I felt like I was in one of William Faulkner's stories; it is often so hard to tell which of his characters still have all their marbles. The people with no psychological excuse are often the worst. Everyone a potentially crazy Southerner. But common Southern decency - or as one of Faulkner's characters (6) once put it, "Dammit, sir, will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?" - demands that you not go around judging other people, for nobody is perfect, and those who are without sin should cast the first stone.

    "There you go", I thought to myself, "now you're thinking like someone from the Bible Belt. Welcome home. And now pass me some of them beans."


    (1) http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/04.02A.JVB.Patriot.htm

    (2) http://www.telepolis.de/r4/artikel/14/14893/1.html

    (3) http://www.telepolis.de/r4/artikel/14/14556/1.html

    (4) http://www.no-mac.com/site/639008/product/B-7

    (5) http://www.internationaldelivers.com/site_.../severe/cxt.asp

    (6) http://roads.virginia.edu/~drbr/wf_rose.html

    Telepolis Article-URL: http://www.telepolis.de/r4/artikel/19/19386/1.html


    Copyright © Heise Zeitschriften Verlag

  18. Why Did I Marry A Military Man?

    When the last line has been cast, and you're left alone,

    You wonder..... Why did i marry a military man?

    When it is the 27th of the month and you only have 84 cents,

    You wonder...... Why did i marry a military man?

    When the washer won't wash, the dryer won't dry, and the vacuum won't vacuum all in one day...

    You wonder........Why did i marry a military man??

    You stop and count and find in 16 yrs you spent half the time alone

    You wonder............ why did i marry a military man?

    it is Christmas morning and all the shining faces, except one, and you are hoping that the bikes hold together.

    You wonder....... Why did i marry a military man?

    Then one morning you find all the days are crossed off, it is time for the shining star to come home.

    While you watch them pull in, the lump in your throat grows

    You know why you married a military man....

    You remember all of the other homecomings, the look in his eyes when he sees you, the gentleness as he hugs each child..

    You know why you married a military man

    The feel of his hand on your arm and the way he says, Hi Hon YOU LOOK GREAT!!!

    You know why you married a military man

    You snuggle down, his arms hold you close and you know......

    Why you married YOUR MILITARY MAN !!!!!!!!

  19. One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

    He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all

    grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

    A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was

    astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the

    donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

    As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the

    animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon,

    everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of

    the well and happily trotted off!

    Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to

    getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of

    our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just

    by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

    Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

    1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.

    2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happen.

    3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

    4. Give more.

    5. Expect less.


    Enough of that crap...

    The donkey later came back and bit the **** out of the farmer who had

    tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected, and the farmer

    eventually died in agony from septic shock.


    When you do something wrong and try to cover your a**,

    it always comes back to bite you.

  20. On the first day God created the cow.

    God said, "You must go to the field with the farmer all day long

    and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the

    farmer. I will give you a life span of sixty years." The cow said,

    "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years.

    Let me have twenty-five and I'll give back the other thirty-five."

    And God agreed.

    On the second day God created the dog.

    God said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at

    anyone who comes in or walks past. I will give you a life span of

    twenty years." The dog said, "That's too long to be barking. Give

    me ten years and I'll give you back the other ten."

    So God agreed (sigh).

    On the third day God created the monkey.

    God said, "Entertain people, do monkey tricks, make them laugh.

    I'll give you a twenty year life span." The monkey said, "How

    boring, monkey tricks for twenty! years? I don't think so. Dog gave

    you back ten, so that's what I'll do too, okay?"

    And God agreed again.

    On the forth day God created man.

    God said, "Eat, sleep, play, have sex, enjoy. Do nothing, just

    enjoy life, enjoy. I'll give you twenty-five years." Man said,

    "What? Only twenty-five years! No way, man. Tell you what, I'll

    take my twenty-five, and the thirty-five the cow gave back, and

    the ten the dog gave back and the ten the monkey gave back, that

    makes eighty, okay?"

    "Okay," said God. "You've got a deal."

    So that is why the first twenty-five years we eat, sleep, play,

    have sex, enjoy life, and do nothing; for the next thirty-five

    years we slave in the sun to support our family; for the next ten

    years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren; and for

    the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

    Life has now been explained.

    And there you have it.

  21. Instructions on how to clean your toilet

    1. Put both lids of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of pet shampoo to the

    water in the bowl.

    2. Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.

    3. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids.

    You may need to stand on the lid.

    4. The cat will self agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from the toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.

    5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "power-wash" and


    6. Have someone open the front door of your home. Be sure that there are no people between the bathroom and the front door.

    7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.

    8. The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through the bathroom, and

    run outside where he will dry himself off.

    9. Both the commode and the cat will be sparkling clean.


    The Dog

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