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Reporters on the Job

All the Trimmings: Frontline marines in Fallujah are having a surprise for Thanksgiving, says the Monitor's Scott Peterson: hot turkey, steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn on the cob.

"They thought they were going to have to make do with the Turkey MRE (meals ready to eat), which is nothing to write home about," says Scott, who is embedded with marines and put Meal #18 to a taste test on Wednesday.

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The main course is labeled "chunked and formed turkey breast in gravy with potatoes," and is a slab of meat in a pouch, heated with a chemical heater. Then there is another pouch, with "filled pretzels, cheddar cheese."

"The highlight was definitely the 'Chocolate sports bar,' " says Scott. "These marines were hoarding cans of spam and Vienna sausages. They are overjoyed at the prospect of a REAL turkey dinner."

Anything for an Anecdote: While reporting on sex trafficking spurred by the presence of UN peacekeepers in Pristina, Kosovo, correspondent Michael Jordan went to a villa that a source had told him about. But one thing had slipped his mind: security. "A couple of guys immediately demanded ID, and I realized I hadn't prepared a story. But they asked, 'Are you UN or NATO?' And I could say no. Then it was, 'Are you just a visitor?' I assured them I was just visiting, showed my passport, and I was in."

The boss sent a woman over, and it was understood that Michael would have to buy her a drink - an $18 glass of juice, as it turned out. "We chatted, and after a while, she tried to gauge what I was looking for. I hemmed and hawed, and acknowledged to her my anxiety. She told me I could come back another time; she seemed to be a decent person. As she walked off, I made some excuse to the boss, and left - much to my relief."

Cultural snapshot

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor


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