• Gaza Counterculture: Staff writer Ilene Prusher returns to duty Friday after a one-year sabbatical, jumping into the middle of Israel's Gaza pullout. Thursday, she and another reporter went to a strip mall near Gush Katif, a collection of Jewish settlements (this page). It was about 10 p.m. "Only one restaurant was open, and I thought it would be difficult to find one of the opponents of disengagement who had entered Gaza illegally because they would be trying to hide out from the police," she says.
But a teenager came over to her table and initiated a conversation. He bragged about being able to get around all the Israeli checkpoints. "He and his friends struck me as free-spirited fugitives. They didn't know where they would lay their heads for the night. They are a strange mix of young people who are both right-wing and counterculture, as if the disengagement protests are a variation on the protests against the Vietnam war or civil rights movement."
• Resisting Temptation: Staff writer Danna Harman got up early last Sunday to cover a charity auction of dresses worn by Mexico's first lady (this page). But there were only four bidders and 70-plus journalists. "I felt bad for the charity, and the first lady," says Danna. Then, she started looking at the dresses. "There was an Oscar de la Renta red number, and a purple Armani gown worn on the first visit to the White House in 2001. I had a pocket of cash to pay my intern. Cash. Dresses. Me, and no other bidders in sight. I was sorely tempted," says Danna. But when she saw the media swarm on another buyer, she decided she really didn't want to appear on national TV as a bidder in the event.
David Clark Scott