Now this is living!

Since Army ordnance Spc. Matt Dubbs was home on leave from the war in faraway Iraq and had just one wish, organizers of the annual Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb., decided the least they could do was to accommodate it. And that was: to serve as grand marshal of the opening day parade? Judging the pie baking contest? Perhaps a kiss from the festival queen? No, no, and no. After months of duty in the hot, dusty desert, what Dubbs most wanted was to immerse himself in the green fields he remembered from having attended the festival as a youth. "Where we are is just so bleak; it's nothing like here at home," Dubbs said. So, last Wednesday, there he was, occupying a place of pride in the cab of a combine during a demonstration for festival-goers.

Going, going - gone! Homers fly off bonds's bat

Now that Barry Bonds has surpassed baseball's 700 home run milestone, fans are counting down the four-baggers until the San Francisco Giants' slugger establishes a new major-league career mark. He first must overtake Babe Ruth and then Hank Aaron. Given his current pace (a home run about every 13 turns at bat), Bonds should be the new king of clout sometime during the 2006 season, which would be his 21st in the majors. Among the game's elite sluggers, Mark McGwire most regularly hit balls out of the park (every 10.61 times at bat, followed by Ruth at 11.76). The all-time home run leaders, with the number they hit so far or in their careers (Mickey Mantle, by the way, is 11th on the list with 536):

1. Hank Aaron 755
2. Babe Ruth 714
3. Barry Bonds* 701
4. Willie Mays 660
5. Mark McGwire 583
6. Harmon Killebrew 573
7. Reggie Jackson 563
8. Sammy Sosa* 571
9. Mike Schmidt 548
10. Rafael Palmeiro* 538 *still active


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