Doggy trim: Terri’s winter coat has become long, wiry, and messy. It seems like such a hassle and expense to go to a real dog groomer, so I spend an interesting half hour on the mirpeset armed with brush, comb, Furminator, and a pair of scissors. Yes, I understand the difference between a top coat and an undercoat. But in this climate and this type of dog, it is immaterial. It isn’t the most artistic job, but I manage to trim off enough hair to fill a small bag. Terri is now much softer to the touch (and she smells better, too). My little sweetie-pie sits quietly during the whole procedure. (From her perspective, she is just getting a long session of attention and patting, but I am still grateful that she is so well-behaved.) Here’s the results:
Business as usual: Hamas has gone back to firing rockets at us and increasing their tunnel activity. The entire Gaza War did little more than put a dent in their smuggling activities. Weapons are still pouring into Gaza, supplied by Syria and Iran, funding by other Arab countries. We’ll see if Mitchell’s visit will help.
Ballot blues: Yes, it is election time again. Once again, the nation suffers from Electile Dysfunction (the inability to get excited about any of the candidates). Don’t know who to vote for? Try this Knesset party quiz to see which party is closest to your beliefs. Two depressing things about it: first, it comes from the Netherlands, a country that has been increasingly outspoken in their anti-Israel stance; second, I couldn’t get closer than a 75% match to any party. Sigh! I might have to start my own. Anyone interested in starting a Pissed-off Anglo lo dati v’lo hiloni l’gamrei Environmentally Conscious Wanting Peace but not Ready to Lie Down and Die Party, let’s meet.
Spring has sprung: It is a mild, beautiful spring day but it is hard to enjoy it knowing that this is the driest January on record and we desperately need the rain. Terri doesn’t understand climate change and environmental crises, though, so she frisks along happily, eating the tender green shoots and ogling the birds. A herd of goats pass by, and Terri practically swoons with pleasure at their smell. The goatherd is talking to them the way I talk to Terri (albeit in Arabic); he seems to be chatting pleasantly with them. They make these delightful blatting sounds, plus you can hear them munching from 20 meters. Sometimes the goats are “parked” outside my apartment in the empty lot right next to the parking lot. The sound of them grazing and blatting is lovely.
FBI discloses new suspects: Who was responsible for causing the plane to crash into the Hudson river? Hat tip and naughty sniggers to Central LS.
“Dash” from Dash: I’ve been on the edge of being sick for the past few weeks. Terri has done her best to keep me healthy. (She believes that generous applications of dog slobber can cure anything.) But I feel worse. Blech. But Terri lets me sleep in very, very late this morning (thanks, Miss Doggy!), so it is late morning when we head out on our first walk of the day. The sun is shining through a layer of mist; the wadi is green and fresh; the birds are singing; the shefan selah are sunning themselves on rocks. We sit for a while on a large boulder and gaze out at the green hills. Suddenly, I see what appears to be a black bear plodding slowly towards us. It’s Dash, one of Terri’s doggy friends. Dash’s human insists that Dash is a purebred black Lab, but I think there is something else in the mix, like pony or moose. Dash carries his massive bulk ponderously, lumbering along while Terri joyfully runs circles around him. When we stop for a bit, Terri settles down and happily gnaws on Dash’s ear. She turns and grins at me, as if to say, “Life is good!”
Sometimes the surgeon goofs: Even our excellent intel is bound to slip up once in a while. This morning, IDF shells UN headquarters in Gaza. UN officials are pissed off. Gee, I wonder if they are now going to do something different, like condemn us? Oh, wait…
The goal: We are trying to stop missiles and rockets from being fired from within Gaza. We are not trying to wipe out the population. You only have to look at the stats to see that we are targeting military sites, which is damn impressive considering that Hamas likes using human shields and hiding their launchers in mosques, hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings.
A few things to consider: Others have said it first and say it better than I could:
Melanie Phillips has a few lucid things to say about the history of this an the Hamas response.
Emanual Shilo talks about the rationale behind the move to ban two Arab parties from the next elections, saying, “Despite the claims of discrimination which they commonly make, there is no denying that Israeli Arabs enjoy the advantages of living under Israel’s democracy without being asked to bear the price of its existence in terms of putting their lives on the line. They do not die on the battlefield like the Jews or the Druze, and they vehemently oppose the notion of civil service within their own communities. As opposed to most Israeli citizens, they are also not a target for terror attacks. Therefore, they continue to smear Israel’s democracy while at the same time firmly objecting to any proposal that would see even one of their villages within Israel being transferred to the Palestinian Authority’s control.”
While Tel Aviv and the Shalom Achshav crowd wail, other cities, including those with high Arab populations, seem less outraged. All this will be for nothing if we can’t get Hamas to agree to a real truce.
Nadine post-mortem: Poor baby was riddled with tumors (probably cancer), had a weakened heart, fluid in her lungs, and a nearly-dead liver. She had clearly replaced her immune system with sheer cranky orneriness. I miss my Bed Lump. Thanks to readers who posted messages; you are all welcome to add your farewells to Miss Thing.
Taking out the trash: Ground forces get to work on Hamas targets. Peres comments that in 18 days we have done more in the war against terror than the US managed to do in all these years in Iraq. OK, that is a bit of hyperbole, but the operation objectives were to stop the missile fire on Israeli towns and cities, and to stop the weapons build-up in Gaza. Ralph Peters sums it up neatly and goes a long way to explaining the violent anti-Israel international reaction (hat tip to Central LS). (To me it just seems like more of the same knee-jerk response, from UN resolutions to demonstrations in Europe.) And as Yoel Marcus says:
“I feel sorry for the people of Gaza, but I feel even sorrier for the civilian population of southern Israel, which has been bombarded by rockets for the last eight years.”
Meanwhile, imagine the shock that Waltz with Bashir wins a Golden Globe. I usually dislike animation, so I’ve never seen it (esp. as it seems to be that gag-some anime style). There is speculation that had the voting been after the start of this war, the film would not have won, but who knows.
Don’t gag the opposition: In an act of stupidity (probably prompted by frustration), the Knesset Central Elections Committee moves to ban two Arab parties from the next elections. Granted, I think that we should expect all members of Knesset to at least support the right of the country to exist! Can you imagine a new political party in the US that was determined to destroy the country? But the ban will never hold up in court, because it wasn’t put together with a specific list of evidence. And hey, it gave Ahmed Tibi his chance to posture on TV again…
Turkey and Egypt may both be playing vital roles in any negotiation with Hamas. Hamas should be terrified of Egypt, where Islamic extremists are regularly rounded up and “eliminated” in the government’s effort to preserve its power. But Arabs killing Arabs doesn’t get much press, and if Hamas leadership is smart, they’ll stop shooting rockets, close up the tunnel system, and pray that we don’t invite Egypt in to “solve the problem.” Sheesh.
Gear up, guys:Milu’imnikim (reserve duty) forces gear up to hit the ground in Gaza. Crap. I worry about each and every one of them. I was pleased to hear Livni this morning saying that the “suits” aren’t going to solve this, because that is so true. Look at it this way:
They’ve spent eight years lobbing missiles at us. We have tried every single diplomatic solution possible, and nothing has even come close to working.
One day into this war and they are screaming to the world. It is now day 16, and yes, it sucks, but we have been getting dumped on for eight years and the world hasn’t seemed to give a crap.
Despite what Lisa Goldman (whose blog I like, BTW) says, I think that the Israeli media has been spending a lot of time talking about what is going on there, interviewing people in Gaza, worrying about the kids, the infrastructure, etc.
While there are always knuckleheads on both sides (and ultra-right loonies are like soccer fans, cruising for a brawl), for the most part the media has been extremely civil and sane. There is no saber rattling, no attempt to turn the enemy into faceless monsters. In their media, we are pigs, beasts, monsters. Here, I hear the horror of the situation. There is the widespreadfeeling that we have been pushed against the wall. We have to protect our citizens. We are trying to minimize civilian casualties. We are sorry. We have no choice. We cannot continue like this, and unless Hamas learns that they can’t fire rockets at us with impunity, nothing will change.
This is not some war fought far away, disconnected from us and our survival. Our soldiers are taking out missiles aimed at S’derot, Ashkelon, Be’ersheva. Their families are sitting in bomb shelters.
Anyhow, in my mind the world doesn’t really care about the plight of the Palestinian; their Arab brethren could have solved the problem in a year by investing in infrastucture, industry, education, rather than terror camps and weapons. Yes, that’s a Grad and yes, I’m mad.
Loose lips sink ships: The modern version is the public service announcements on the radio warning people not to give details of missile strikes (helps the enemy improve their aim) or soldiers to give details of operations. Hard to obey, because the instinct is to call a loved one when you hear the boom and make sure it wasn’t their house that was hit.
Dognapped! Terri’s doggy daycare lady lets Terri and Pinchy hang out in the sun (tied up on long leads), and several neighborhood kids decide that these must be “abandoned” dogs. They actually took Terri home with them, but their mom recognized her and they brought her back. Terri probably loved every minute of is. She is naughty but adorable.
New relatives: My sister decides that a pigless life is not an option, so here are the new family members to try to fill Mocha’s empty cage. The blond girl is Hunca Munca, and the long-haired girl is Mrs. Tiggy Winkle. Welcome to the family, girls.