Welcome to my temporary quiet: I’ve changed to a new thread on this blog to better reflect the uncanny sense of fragility in our daily lives, as if things could start up again at any minute. We talk about the quiet as temporary—something to grab and enjoy while it lasts. Ketushot still fall in my dreams; sometimes I watch them coming towards me while I try to estimate where they will hit. Sometimes I see them hit and explode and feel the shrapnel shredding the air around me. Friends alos report having sirens and rockets invade their dreams. Bracha writes, “I think that we are all suffering from varying degrees of post-traumatic stress. Our minds and bodies are now allowing us to release all the stress, sadness, fear, and anxiety that we suppressed while the fighting was going on. We were then busy with just trying to get through each day, worrying about each other, sitting on the phone and on the email trying to calm friends and family, and just coping with a situation that was so far from normalcy that no one can even grasp it — not even us. We were busy putting up a brave front and using humor (sometimes black humor at its worst!) to keep us going. The whole cope-with-the-rockets-structure that we built for ourselves has suddenly become obsolete and crumbled, leaving an adrenaline-drained vacuum in its wake. I find myself exhibiting all the signs of a person under stress — I jump at every loud noise and at ambulance sirens, I dream of rockets, wake up in the middle of the night, think about our future here and what is awaiting this country in the next round that is sure to come (bets are being placed as to when) and my imagination runs wild — Iran, Syria, the US, our soldiers and civilians caught up in an apocalypse that will leave us so broken and devoid of resources that it will take us years to recuperate (if we do at all). All this while the TV cameras roll and the world watches, keeps score, judges our conduct, and assesses our strength and likelihood to win and survive this one.”
Propaganda spin of the week: HonestReporting, a media watch-dog organization, once again exposes the ugly side of the Red Cross. I’m not surprised; this is the same organization that allows Moslem religious symbols on ambulances, but not a magen david (Star of David). There have also been a number of cases of Red Cross ambulances used by Fatah and Hamas to smuggle arms and terrorists. For a very good overview of this problem, see Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air video.
More bodacious bovines: Planning a hiking trip in Switzerland? Beware of the cows!
Gadget alert: I’m still learning my way around my new Nokia 6101, my first tri-band, third-generation cell phone. (I won’t mourn my ancient Motorola, which had become tired and had a crappy interface.) One great feature is the ability to record something and instantly turn it into a ring tone. My frantic chicken squawking enchants Gill so much that I add it to his phone, too. Now his phone’s ring tone is the envy of all the other poultry scientists and nutritionists.
Voting update: So far, only a few of you have voted on the usability issue (links to the same browser window or to a second browser window). How many times in your life will you be able to directly influence a website’s design? Vote! Write a comment telling me your preference! Remember, I have opened comments so that you don’t need to have a blogger account to participate.
Deadlines strike again: It’s alligator time for me (as in up-to-my-a**-in…), so I won’t be updating the blog again until 2 September. But just so you won’t be bored, I have homework assignments to keep you busy:
- For the metric-phobic Americans among you, get to know liters, kilos, kilometers, and degrees Celcius. Don’t be afraid! The rest of the civilized world uses them and you might want to talk to us at some point. Here is a good all-purpose conversion site.
- For the geographically-challenged, try to discover where I am in the Middle East, and stop thinking of Europe as a single large blob. These online games are fantastic learning tools. Yes, they are designed for kids, but the drag-and-drop versions (Level 3) are a hoot!
- Always meant to learn some Hebrew but never got around to it? It used to be that all the online resources focussed on siddur (prayer book) Hebrew, but now there are some fabulous resources for learning modern Israeli Hebrew. Check out this site and try a free lesson. If you can already read and just want to pick up a bit more vocabulary, try this. I like the way you can select vocabulary by functional concepts.
- Take your digital camera with you when you leave the house. Find a sign with garbled English, bad punctation, or confusing text? Send me the picture! Each year, I award a few small prizes to people who can submit original photos that can be used in one of my conference presentations on English bloopers.
- Most important of all, go outside and enjoy the day! Get some exercise. Drink plenty of water. Pat a dog. Eat some chocolate. And remember that each day is a blank check—it’s up to you what you do with it.