A Violent Weekend

A bubble of peace: Gill and I have a quiet and pleasant weekend, combining Simchat Torah, our wedding anniversary, and dinner with Gill’s father and brother. But elsewhere, the country goes through a tense and eventful weekend.

  1. In S’derot, Qassam rockets break up a Simchat Torah celebration.
  2. In some of the bloodiest fighting in years, IDF troops and IAF air strikes kill 11 Palestinians in Gaza; two are definitely civilians, while eight are definitely terrorists (and one still uncertain). IDF is trying to stop the rocket fire into S’derot and other Israeli communities. Naturally, the Palestinian leadership starts talking “massacre” and I’m sure the international press will trot along after them.
  3. In Akko, clashes break out between Jews and Arabs during a Simchat Torah procession.
  4. We yank our idiot of an ambassador out of Australia after he says some insanely stupid things.
  5. The latest analysis of the situation along our norther border is that Hizbullah is just biding its time.

Add to this mix the continued nuclear threat from Iran and North Korea, Liberman’s insane attempts at Knesset “reform,” and the latest reports of the dire state of our educational system, and it is hard to see anything but gloom and doom.

Luckily, it is time again for the Ignoble Awards, a delightful hat-tip to some of the zanier contributions of the world’s scientific community. The 2006 winners are sure to give you something to smile about. A few of my favorites are:

  1. Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University for his report in Applied Cognitive Psychology, “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.”
  2. Francis M. Fesmire of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine for his report, “Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage.” The award was also given to Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan, and Arie Oliven of Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, for their identically-titled report.
  3. Antonio Mulet, José Javier Benedito, and José Bon of the University of Valencia, Spain, and Carmen Rosselló of the University of Illes Balears, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, for their study “Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature.”

I take a few minutes on Saturday to do some theraputic surfing, catching up with more fat cat videos and other various blogs, and in the process discover this inexplicably bizarre farting pig cartoon from Belgium. It appears that Flemish-speaking children are forced to watch worse crap than Teletubbies.

And that, alone, should cheer us up.


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