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A little Perspective

By Times Wires
Published March 11, 2007


Capt. America dies

O Captain! ... Captain America is dead. In the latest issue of his comic, which arrived in stores last week, the hero is shot outside a courthouse. He was presumed dead once before but it turned out he was trapped in some ice and came back 20 years later to continue his mission. So, some are naturally skeptical that he will actually die this time around, but the president and publisher of Marvel Entertainment insists that "he's very dead right now." Captain America first landed on newsstands in March 1941, nine months before Pearl Harbor - delivering a punch to Hitler on the cover of his first issue, a sock-in-the-jaw reminder that there was a war on and the United States was not involved.

Myth or real spit?

Were veterans spat upon as they returned from Vietnam? Holy Cross College scholar Jerry Lembcke found no evidence when he studied the allegations for his 1998 book Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam. For seven years, Slate's Jack Shafer has been tracking Vietnam vet spit allegations as they appear in the press, and had uncovered nothing that contradicts Lembcke's basic assessment. Until now. He was alerted to a Web link of a TV archive from the Dec. 27, 1971, CBS Evening News describing a segment about returning veteran Delmar Pickett Jr., a medic in a combat zone, who says, "Man, I got into the airport and these two dudes walked up - one of them spit at me." Watch it at Just a few days ago, Shafer reached Pickett by phone at his home in Wichita, Kan. A generation later, he remembered in detail being spat upon while in uniform inside the Seattle airport.

Happy seeds

One of the BBC's most e-mailed stories last week was actually from 2005, but it bears repeating, because it's about life and the pursuit of happiness. In an unusual three-month experiment, six specialists worked to improve the happiness levels of Slough, a typical town in the United Kingdom. The specialists took 50 volunteers from Slough, with the aim of planting the "seeds of happiness" among this core group to spread their cheer to others in a ripple effect. It worked. Here are the 10 tips the happiness experts employed:

- Plant something and nurture it.

- Count your blessings - at least five - at the end of each day.

- Take time to talk - have an hour-long conversation with a loved one each week.

- Phone a friend whom you have not spoken to for a while and arrange to meet up.

- Give yourself a treat every day and take the time to really enjoy it.

- Have a good laugh at least once a day.

- Get physical - exercise for half an hour three times a week.

- Smile at and/or say hello to a stranger at least once each day.

- Cut your TV viewing by half.

- Spread some kindness - do a good turn for someone every day.

The original report is available at

[Last modified March 11, 2007, 01:10:36]

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