It is at times an ache of the heart to be an expatriate far from one's home country, though the ache diminishes over time as the world itself becomes home. And there are special moments of reconnection. Yesterday I was gratified to note that even though my home country is extremely busy drumming up war and otherwise upsetting so many other countries in the world, its representatives running around trying to persuade other governments (despite what their populaces think) to join in a massive attack upon a practically prostrate small nation, America has taken the time and trouble, and gone to great expense (at the original instigation of that other humanitarian the Watergate guy), to let me know that it has not forgotten me. There in my mailbox, as regular as Old Faithful, harbinger of the only agonies of Spring, rested the Pasadena-phonebook-sized 2002 PACKAGE 1040-7 Forms and Instructions for Overseas Filers from that antithesis of Robin Hood, the IRA. They give us folks abroad an extra two months to figure out how to file. Inside the cover, one of the pie charts shows me that 18% of my US taxes go to "National Defense." From this distance, and from my own military experience, I can't help but wonder why they put it all in the keeping of a questionably elected draft dodger. But like I say, expatriatism does have its heartaches.