So much bad news, so little time: There are days when it just doesn’t pay to stay informed. Seems like there are more and more of them lately. Yesterday’s topics included:
- Analysts all speculate what will happen if Iran’s President Ahmadinejad ever becomes the ultimate power in Iran; in technical terms, we’ll all be in deep doo-doo. Currently, the only thing stopping him from launching missile attacks on Israel and other western powers (it really makes sense to let them become a nuclear power, yes?) is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader. Of course, calling Khamenei rational is like calling Nadine svelte, but unlike Ahmadinejad, he at least doesn’t have a death wish.
- Local analysts say that we have pretty much given up on the idea of disarming Hezbullah or even keeping them to the north of the Litani. Crap, crap, crap…
- Annan asks France to lead UNIFIL forces in Lebanon for six months (Italy will take over after that). And we all know how warm and sympathetic the French are to us. France has consistently been leading Europe in anti-Semitic attacks for the last few years, to the point where we’ve had a huge increase in French aliya (Jewish immigration to Israel). To underscore the point, French President Jacques Chirac said UNIFIL forces in Lebanon don’t need 15,000 troops, calling that figure excessive. Yet all military advisors make it clear that a very large ground presence is exactly what is needed to keep Hezbullah from launching attacks again. Yeah, these are really the guys to put in charge.
- President Katsav’s sexual misconduct case gets uglier and nastier; Shelly Yacimovich, one of the few bright lights in a tarnished and aging Avodah (Labor party), calls for him to step down while the investigation is going on.
- One soldier dies and another remains in critical condition from heatstroke during the intense training exercises conducted on recruits trying to get into the IAF pilot training program. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of washouts for every pilot who actually completes the program. Granted, we have some of the best combat pilots in the world, and many international experts consider our training to be pretty cutting edge, but something is going wrong if our kids are dying of heatstroke.
- Even though traffic cops are back on the roads now, armed with radar and writing tickets with a vengeance, we have still managed to return to the pre-war levels of highway carnage. For example, a man was killed in a head-on collision between a car and a truck near tzomet Oshrat (up here in the north in our area) on Friday morning when he tried to pass in a no-pass zone. But it’s important to remember that despite our narrow roads, livestock hazards, and insanely bad driving, our actual mortality rate is one half that of the States on a per capita basis. The only factor that I can think of is that alcohol is not yet as big a problem.
So I have to find other ways to cope. The best way, as I’ve mentioned before, is reading alternative press; not so much the wacko-fringe-eyeball-rolling-nutjob press, but the small, quiet stories that never seem to make the front page. They inevitably give me a sense of hope about our future on this planet. And they are out there, if you know how to look for them:
- Linguist Alert: cows have accents!
- Inventors tackle serious challenges, like creating a device to fling a rubber boot.
- A cow is spotted flying above Madrid.
- Not another cow story: this one is about ram groping in Iceland.
- Trying to figure out what kind of a grand send-off you want? The Chinese have a few ideas of how to liven up your funeral.
Friends may die, but they never really leave you: Today marks the ten year haskara (memorial) for a friend of mine. We were the same age, both living alone in Karmiel, both English-speakers, and although we didn’t have a lot else in common, we became friends. When I think of her (which I do frequently), I always smile; I remember her at her quirky best, not at the end of her battle with cancer. Perhaps this is the most any of us can hope for—to live good, full lives and trust that when friends remember us, they will smile.
Go out and do something today that will make your loved ones smile.