American Elephants


The Fourth of July in Iraq by American Elephant

BAGHDAD – How are you spending your 4th of July holiday? While most Americans probably slept, 1,215 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines raised their right hands and committed to a combined 5,500 years of additional service during the largest reenlistment ceremony in the history of the American military. Beneath a large American flag which dwarfed even the enormous chandelier that Saddam Hussein had built for the Al Faw Palace, members of all services, representing all 50 states took the oath administered by Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of Multi-National Forces Iraq. [read more]

Now that’s patriotism! Watch the “related videos” at the end to see the entire ceremony. Very cool.

These men and women, and a total of 8,000 troops from seven bases around Iraq were then treated to 3,000 fresh, authentic deep-dish Chicago style pizzas, shipped directly from Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in Chicago:

The 3,000 pizzas — each with a pound of cheese and packed with other toppings — were cooked by Lou Malnati’s Restaurant staffers last week, then shipped though New York, Belgium and Bahrain on their way to U.S. troops around Baghdad.

The logistical nightmare of frozen freight and military regulations cost nearly $100,000 to pull off, most of that coming from donations from the restaurant chain and DHL Express.

But the idea came from retired Master Sgt. Mark Evans and his 16-year-old son Kent, Illinois residents who have sent much smaller care packages to overseas troops in the past

“My son and I were having a man’s night — eating some of Lou’s pizza while the women were out — and they were talking about the war on TV,” he said. “He asked me about the food over there, and I told him, ‘They do their best, but it’s not like home cooking. They don’t have pizza like this there.’

“Then he asked if we could get some over there.” [read more]

Evans plans to repeat the operation, and hopes to provide enough pizzas for all the troops next year. For more information, or to contribute, visit Pizzas4Patriots.

The military provided ribs, corn on the cob and red, white and blue cake for others, and yet other troops had no special Fourth of July celebrations, just hard work in unforgiving heat.

We wish them all a very happy Fourth as we celebrate the freedom that they are protecting.



Not in a Million Years! by Emerald City Elephant

For the third time in three years, Kent Couch of Bend, Oregon has taken to the skies in a lawnchair supported by nothing more than 150 helium party balloons. He carries with him a BB gun and blowgun in case he gets too high, and 15 gallons of cherry Kool-Aid as ballast to release if he gets too low — and one supposes, to drink if he gets thirsty.

Couch hopes to fly his chair all the way to Idaho. Last year, he flew 193 miles to northeastern Idaho. I just hope he makes it safely back to Earth.

ADDENDUM: Mr. Couch flew his lawn chair more than 200 miles across eastern Oregon, and touched down gently in a pasture just outside Cambridge, Idaho.  Cambridge is a very small farming community with a population of around 300, located on the Weiser River in central Idaho.  Half the town turned out to see him.

The flight took about nine hours.  Mr. Couch says “Things just look different from up there.  You’re moving so slowly.  The best thing is the peace, the serenity.” He said he’d go to 30,000 feet if he didn’t shoot a balloon every now and then.  He carried a Red Ryder BB gun and a blow gun equipped with steel darts to control the lift, and a parachute in case he popped too many balloons.




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