Hear, hear! Bret Stephens says exactly what I have been saying for years (but does so for more articulately). It makes me bonkers when those bashing us don’t get this. Hat tip to my sister Tracy.
Naughty Dog strikes again: This morning’s walk turns into the Great Escape, as Terri decides to romp off and explore some fresh cow pats. She returned 15 minutes later, tired out and looking quite pleased with herself.
Now it makes sense: I finally figured it out—Turkey is behind the flotilla because they are pissed off at Israel for not giving them a single vote in Eurovision. Hmmm. Meanwhile, a song we can all sing. Hat tip to my sister Tracy.
Peaceful flotilla or armed weapons transport? Every new piece of info makes gives lie to the Turkish outrage. Released footage shows the Israeli Navy hailing the vessel and shows the “peaceful” activists attacking the soldiers with lead pipes and trying to wrest their guns from them. Here’s one piece worth reading from Canada (despite the typo in the photo caption). Hat tip to Central LS. And here’s more… plus an opinion piece that is interesting (though please don’t ask me why Ynet is selling ad space to Scientology knuckleheads!).
Meanwhile, there were several pro-IDF rallies today at most of the major universities and even some major intersections. On the flip side, MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) is under police protection after an uproar in the Knesset, with hotheads calling her a traitor over her participation in the flotilla. (Balad is an Arab party, BTW.)
Technophobe alert: I ran into three scary cases of the technologically-challenged over the past few days.
- The first was when I faxed a document to someone. During the phone follow-up, he asked me if I needed the document back, because he could “fax it back to me.”
- The second was told to me by a friend who claims that her brother was so clueless that he would periodically confuse the cellphone and TV remote. She would get a call at an odd hour and hear the TV. (Someone had obligingly programmed in her phone number as a speed dial, and that was the button that her brother would push, while aiming the phone at the TV.)
- The third occurred during a meeting with a prospective client. They told me that they had met with another contractor who didn’t know what “hi-tech” meant. Had never heard the term. Aaaauuuuggghhh!!!!
Echos of Eurovision: Walking Terri the other night, we pass two young girls strolling along, playing music on a cellphone. The song? Milan Stanković’s Ovo Je Balkan (Serbia’s entry in Eurovision).
Welcome to the clusterf*ck: Commandos attempting to land on one of the ships were attacked, opened fire, and ended up killing ten people. Confused? In a nutshell:
- We imposed a sea blockade of Gaza to attempt to stop the huge influx of weapons (aid to Hamas in their ongoing attacks launched from Gaza).
- We kept the supply of humanitarian aid (food, medicine, etc.) going through the land checkposts (via truck, etc.).
- A group of international activists (mostly Arab PA supporters) headed towards Gaza in a flotilla of boats, including a refitted cruise ship.
- Israeli Navy warns flotilla to turn back.
- A dawn raid with a small group commandos (rappelling down from a helicopter) was supposed to give us control of a ship and turn it back.
- The commandos came under attack (knives, lead pipes, etc.) from a large crowd on the ship.
- Our guys opened fire, killing ten.
- We towed the ship to Ashdod and brought people to hospitals (Rambam, etc.).
- International condemnation and outrage on all sides breaks forth, as can be expected.
- Turkey yanks its ambassador to Israel back home.
- People here are screaming for Netanyahu to get his butt back here ASAP (he’s currently in Canada and was scheduled to meet with Obama in another day or so).
So, basically, another screwed up operation that will further vilify us (if that is possible) to the world. The big mistake seems to be that we didn’t wait until the ship was in our water; since the operation was launched while the flotilla was still in international waters, this is already turning into a major anti-Israel PR clusterf*ck. Damn.
Organic cows unite! Love the interrogation. Hat tip to my mom.
A little herring, anyone? I hope that the Eurovision grand final in Oslo didn’t disturb this little darling. Hat tip to Central LS.
Lovely Lena: German strolls away with Eurovision. While Lena was one of the bookies’ favorites to win, Eurovision remains a gloriously bizarre crap shoot, so that any friggin’ song can win any year. Styles that do well one year are suddenly at the bottom the next; singers who are wretched get points over better singers; countries continue to show blatant favoritism by voting for their neighbors, despite how horrific the entries may be (you have only to witness Portugal voting for Spain, or Greece voting for Cyprus; check out the full scoreboard here). As usual, the purposefully funny or satiric entries are way less entertaining than the supposedly serious ones. Unfortunately for all of us, the Eastern European and former Soviet Union bloc countries are getting much slicker and more professional, so there are not as many car wrecks on stage. I’m happy to say that Israel gave our douze points to Armenia, which was pretty good, but I was appalled that we gave ten points to Russia. You can still watch whatever you missed (Eurovision TV fixed their streaming feed, plus they have all the shows available to watch). You can also read all the juicy news, including the humiliation in the UK over ending up in last place (richly deserved, IMO).
Lena’s performance was significant in that there was not a sequin to be seen, no wild dancers, no pyrotechnics; just a fresh kid singing a fun and funky song. It helps that Lena can sing in English without sounding fake or awkward, unlike many of the participants who should stick to their native languages.
Turning the clock back on human development: Leave it to Texas to boldly take a giant step backward and condemns their students to more ignorance and idiocy. Nice to see an outside take on the issue. Times like this have me despairin’ for the world. Makes me miss the late-great Molly Ivans, one righteous cowgirl who was not afraid to stand tall against small-minded bigotry, ignorance, and mean-spirited redneck ideology.
There is simply no way that I can reconcile Texan hospitality and the cowgirl mystique with this idiocy, so just color me confused (but note the boots).
Missing Denise: My sister’s yartzeit was Friday. Hard to believe that it has been a year. (Actually, it will be a year by the Gregorian calendar in another week.) Each holiday or event without her marks another milestone, so it was with some contemplative sadness that I found myself baking a cheesecake for Shavu’ot.
Terri is less hairy: Girl got a haircut this morning. She was well overdue. Now that the hotter weather is here, the brush is dry and loaded with burrs, so each walk ends with me picking oodles of the little buggers out of her fur. I’m lucky to have such a good girl; she sat patiently while the clippers whirred and buzzed around her.
First semi-final is tomorrow! That’s right, the insanity of Eurovision is upon us! Don’t have your parties lined up? This is your chance. The first semi-final is Tuesday, the second is Thursday (that’s the one Israel is in), and the finals are Saturday. Yeah! If you haven’t reviewed this year’s entries, you still have time.
Yikes! Haven’t posted in ages. Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do.
Seattle highlights: I’ve been back for a few weeks but it seems like just a week. Great trip. A few key moments:
- WritersUA conference: sessions went well, did some good networking, and had the final word as part of the panel of “experts” closing out the conference.
- Linking up with Ben and Stuart, two guys from my high school class. Hadn’t seen them for 32 years.
- Dinner with a friend followed by a terrific performance at Pacific Northwest Ballet: the meal was as visually interesting as it was tasty, and the performances were ranged from strangely modern to neo-classical.
- Alki Beach on a sunny, warm Saturday: great walk with my dad (see pictures of that amazing stainless steel Shelby in previous post).
- Spa Day with my mom: Olympus Spa is amazing. A far cry from the chlorine-smelling, cellphone-ringing places I’ve seen…
- Iron Goat Trail: great hike with my dad. The old railroad line is a fairly easy grade (after the initial steep elevation switchbacks) and we lucked out with the weather. The old tunnels are worth seeing and parts of the old snow sheds are still visible.
- A surprise wine tasting: stumbled across a free wine tasting at a very chi-chi gourmet food place in Ballard. Interesting, but my palate prefers a more mundane, drinkable wine. These were very challenging vinos, to be sure!
- Dinner with cousins: a charming little bistro with interesting appetizers.
- Pesach with my folks: the whole megillah, from cleaning, shopping, shlepping, chopping, cooking, prepping, etc. Low-keyed but good.
- Bargain hunting: prices on clothes and shoes in the States are a fraction of what I would pay at home. Replaced my rain shell but still haven’t figured out the mystery of the “quick pack hood” feature. Color me perplexed.
- Meeting a lovely Turkish woman while waiting at Schiphol: it is funny how you can connect with people in unexpected places.
- Seeing my nephew and brother-in-law: Bellingham day trip. Nice to see that my brother-in-law is doing OK.
- More stuff that I can’t think of at the moment! Will try to post pictures later.
World’s worst dog: Terri moved into a new class of naughtiness the other night. I was entertaining and had put the cheeses out to soften. We were on the balcony enjoying a glass of wine and watching the sunset. Came back in to discover Terri standing on a chair and gobbling cheese. She had licked up most of the camembert, which was quite ripe and therefore rather runny, and had moved on to a garlic and dill boursin. I was mortified, but my guest thought it was hysterically funny.
I’ve got a goat! After ogling this lovely hung of rock for about a year, I finally conned a neighbor into helping me heft it onto a hand cart and shlep it upstairs. It looks like a modern sculpture of a goat (at least to me). I’ll try to get pictures later…
This is just like the service I got on KLM: This skit from the old Carol Burnett Show may be 35 years old, but it reminds me of some of the flight crew on KLM and Air France. Flying on a budget can be hell.
National holiday marathon: Last Monday was Yom haShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day); tonight starts Yom haZikaron (Memorial Day), followed immediately by Yom haAtza’ut (Independence Day). It is an odd time of somber reflection and great sadness, but also of great pride. I’ve got flags flying from my balcony and will inevitably get all choked up tonight at the city’s memorial ceremony. So many strange misconceptions about my little country; I was thinking that the other day when talking to a teenage Bedouin boy who sporting braces and unaccented Hebrew. Still odder, he cuddled Terri (the overwhelming majority of Arab kids are afraid of dogs). That same day, I saw a car turn in to one of the big Bedouin houses, flags proudly whipping in the wind. Cool.
Wildlife: Haven’t seen the jackals recently, but Terri and I had a near run-in with a big snake the other night. We were jogging through a stretch of road that is pitch dark, when this big snake zipped right across in front of us. I almost stepped on it. There are apparently 41 species of snakes here, but only a handful of them are poisonous. This looked like one of those deadly vipers or even a black adder. Probably a less scary whip snake. Big (about 5 cm thick, 150 – 200 cm long), and moving very fast like a sidewinder. I’m not afraid of snakes, but I still let out a yelp of surprise. Springtime is when many people get bit, because the snakes are waking up from hybernation and they are hungry and cranky.
Even when we try to help: This nutjob (from Seattle, davka), is claiming that we are in Haiti to steal organs.
Smile for the day: Yes, that broad American English “a” is awfully hard to pronounce, eh?