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Baghdad Observer blog now written by Merced's Mike Tharp

Baghdad Observer is now written by Merced Sun-Star's Mike Tharp. Tharp, a former war correspondent, is on assignment in Baghdad for McClatchy.

A taste of Tharp: The glamor and glory of a war correspondent. Five straight days in the same clothes. Five hours on plastic chairs between planes at London's Heathrow Airport, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Four hours on metal chairs at Istanbul's airport, 11 p.m.- 3 a.m. No luggage after landing at Baghdad International Airport at 6 a.m.. It stayed in Turkey. Earlier, Nasif, the bureau manager, kindly dispatched a driver. He returned with shampoo, two pair of pants, two shirts, disposable razors, shaving cream, two undershirts (called "wife beaters" in trailer parks) and two pair of underwear--briefs, colored in green, blue and orange triangles with "Dream Man" stenciled around the waistband. We always wondered what the Scots wore under their kilts. Now we know what some Iraqi men wear under their dishdashas, the gray or white neck-to-ankle robes.

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