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Jo Stuart
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These articles were published Friday, Dec. 28, 2001
A. M. Costa Rica photos
They were lined up 10 deep to see the carnival parade Thursday

. . . an antique Jeep showing the colors

.  . . and a presidential candidate

Carnival parade 
steps off to please
thousands of fans

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The day was cloudy and gray, but that didnít stop the carnival parade from stepping off exactly on time at noon Thursday.

More than 25,000 persons stood 10 deep along the parade route, a four-fold increase over spectators of the horse parade the day before. That proves the attraction of music over animals.

Bands and participants came from all over Costa Rica, including one presidential candidate, Abel Pacheco, who was in the lead automobile. If crowd response is any indication, the man is a shoo-in.

A contingent of older automobiles, including a handful of World War II Jeeps followed, as did an endless wave of M-14 Motorcycle Club members.

Even the Chinese were represented with a float  reminding Costa Ricans that the Tempisque bridge is being constructed as a gift by the Taiwanese government. So were the performers from the King Brothers Circus that is in town over the holiday weekend.

Heavy security even brought out long-retired police men and reservers to keep watch along the parade route.

. . . what the crowd came to hear

Living in Costa Rica

. . .Where the living is good

By Jo Stuart

I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy

This is the time of the year when talk is about resolutions. I have a superstition that New Yearís resolutions are seldom kept, so I seldom make them. Iím not going to talk about resolutions because other things have been on my mind. I have been having some heretical thoughts about "Americaís New War."

It all started because of the news and fireworks. Costa Ricans seem to love fireworks and this past month there has been a lot of them celebrating the coming of Christmas, birthdays, what have you. Usually they are explosions followed by pretty displays, but sometimes there is just an explosion. 

At any rate, the other day, after about seven large pops went off (which sounded like gunshots to me); I went downstairs to check with Dani, our caretaker, about what was happening. He told me not to worry; it was only a fireworks celebration of something. Going upstairs, I realized that I had become jumpy from the noises. 

Although there is the security here that an explosion is nothing to be afraid of, the explosion itself is nerve wracking. My nerves were becoming frayed. This fact made me think of the news of the constant bombing of Afghanistan. How have the people there endured all of our bombing? How many nervous breakdowns, I wondered, have occurred, just from the sporadic but constant racket? Does anybody care? 

First of all, Iím confused. I thought our goal was to find and punish bin Laden and other al Queda terrorists. To this end the U.S bombed and conquered the Taliban, a fierce but frazzled army that has been fighting for 20 years. 

The various military analysts on TV are talking about our great success. It seems to me to be very much like a posse hunting for Jesse James and his gang, by burning down his family home, and killing everyone there except Jesse and his boys, who had left, therefore not getting him either "dead OR alive." Perhaps, as Mr. Bush has said, he has "slithered into Pakistan." 

Frankly, I find these phrases less than presidential. Nor do I find the adjective "evil" to be helpful. (I am beginning to think that there is a directive that all members of the administration have to use the word "evil" at least two times during any press conference when they are referring to Osama bin Laden.) Evil is such a nebulous word. In a way, "evil" like "beauty" is in the eye of the beholder" ó in this case, in the eye of the believer. "Dangerous" would be a more action-enabling word, in my opinion, and bin Laden is dangerous and should be stopped.

Speaking of evil and morality. I have heard Mr. Bush say words to the effect that God is on our side in our fight against the Taliban and bin Laden. On an historical news program, there was Brezinsky, President Carterís man giving a pep talk to the Taliban forces when the cold war was still hot, and they were our allies because they were fighting the Russians. He told them they would win because God was on their side. God, it seems, is as fickle as Hillary Clinton is about ball teams. 

Then I watched an interview of a former ambassador from Iraq. It concerned whether our next target should be Iraq because of that other "evil" man, Saddam Hussein. During the interview the ambassador acknowledged that Saddam does has anthrax because the U.S. gave it to him. I assume we did this when the U.S. supported him in his war with Iran. But I canít understand why. 

The gentleman concluded that "That is history, and we have to think of the future." History ó thatís what yesterdayís news is. And if we donít read it and remember it, how will we learn how to better approach the future? The history of this war began before Sept. 11, and I am afraid will continue through the next year and beyond.

The good news is that, thanks to the search for bin Laden, Afghanistan is no longer ruled by fanatics and the children may have a chance if the West doesnít desert them and their ravaged country once again. But Afghanistan is a country of tribes, just as America was once, and I, for one, would not know how to turn it into a nation of people. I wish the peacemakers luck.

So those are my concerns. Iím sure they are not politically correct, so now I am changing my mind and making a New Yearís resolution not to talk about the war again. Or maybe I should just resolve not to watch the news. Oh boy. 

More of Jo Stuartís columns are HERE.

Dirt bike tricks . . . 

.. . big horns  . . . 

. . . And two beauty queens

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