Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Human Cost of War

As I drove to town this morning I was stunned to see a display of white and red flags completely covering the lawns of Southern Oregon University. They stretched out for blocks! A small sign said Iraq War Memorial.

I stopped and talked with some folks at a table on one of the lawns. The exhibit is traveling throughout the country to demonstrate, visually, the cost in lives in Iraq since 2003. Each red flag stands for 5 American deaths. Each white flag stands for at least 5 Iraqi civilian deaths due to the conflict.
The project is called the Iraq Body Count Exhibit. I plan to come over on Saturday to help take down flags. They will then travel to Sacramento where they need 100 volunteers to place flags in front of the California State Capitol for Memorial Day.

Big numbers like 86,000 sort of skid off my brain, but seeing the flags, rows and rows and rows and rows is just heartbreaking.

To learn more about this exhibit or make a donation to help keep it moving, visit

Edit: After I wrote this post I found the brochure from the Iraq Body Count Exhibit. They have the number of Iraqi deaths at 655,000 and American deaths 4050. The figure of 86,000 above came from a different site (also informative) They have, obviously, used different sources for determining the number of Iraqi civilian deaths. Whatever the number, it's too many.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Whole Foods - Ashland Style

Like fafner, I am doing my best to make friends with vegetables. I'm planting lettuce and sugar peas along the path to our front door. As soon as I finish writing this post, I'm heading to the kitchen to roast a cauliflower I purchased from Josh and Melissa of Barking Moon Farm. Our local Grower's Market has a number of booths and CSA's similar to theirs. We are blessed here in the Rogue Valley.

Over the past year I've read thousands of words regarding diet and healthy eating. So controversial! Fats, yes or no? Meat, yes or no? Grains, yes or no? But there is some agreement, best summed up by Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. He says, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." And, I would add, the occasional brownie or lemon bar.

I thought it was so sweet of Lydia (comment in last post) to wonder if I was having too much fun to post or was in too much pain. I didn't quite realize that when Spring blew in, blogging would become something I should do rather than something I love doing. I'm not keeping up reading my favorite blogs (see blog roll for some great suggestions) and even find myself skipping The Elder Storyteller's Place to head outdoors. But I'll be posting irradically. If you want to catch the occasional blurb, you can subscribe for e-mail updates. The form is in the sidebar.