• GOLFING IN JANUARY: Reporter Mark Rice-Oxley has never played the Royal St. George's course where the British Open is being contested. And he admits that if he shoots under 100, that would be an exceptional day for him. But Mark did play on an adjacent course in Sandwich, England, that offered many of the same climatic and topographical challenges seen by the pros at St. George's.
"I was visiting family in Sandwich at New Year's and we decided to clear our heads the next day with a round of golf. The course had all of the hillocks and humps and unpredictable bounces, plus a bone-chilling, onshore wind that left us shivering in four layers of clothing."
• SNOW SHOVELS TO IRAQ: The Monitor's Peter Ford suggests that it is not entirely clear how much use some of the foreign soldiers backing up US forces in Iraq will be, though doubtless the platoon of Estonian divers will find the warm waters of the Shatt al Arab more hospitable than the Baltic.
In the course of his reporting, Peter came across one sign of just how unfamiliar some of the reinforcements are with peacemaking in exotic climes. The 374 Danish soldiers stationed outside Basra, in southern Iraq - where temperatures regularly hit 122 degrees F. - were recently unpacking the gear sent to them from Copenhagen. They discovered their logistics officers had thoughtfully equipped them with a batch of snow shovels and a lawn mower.
David Clark Scott