It must be Fall: I wake to the wonderful smell of damp earth and ozone. It rains again in the morning.
Speaking of water… I’ve never seen a cat do this before. Hat tip to LR.
Refu’ah shlema: President Peres collapses yesterday. He is doing well and has already been released from the hospital. The man is 86 and is one of the hardest working public figures you can imagine. He routinely has long, intense days, often standing for hours at public events, enduring endless meetings, reading hundreds of pages of documents. Just reading about his average day makes me tired.
Oh, dear, didn’t we tell you? So apparently UNIFIL forces got a heads up ten days before the latest Ketusha attacks, and they didn’t bother to tell us. They told the Lebanese army, but not us, the targets of the attack. Grrr… Here we go again.
Slow down! Last week’s train derailment has triggered the expected investigations. Was it sabotage or an accident? The decision to slow trains down to a max speed of 80 kph is frustrating, because it doesn’t address the security issue or solve anything. I ride the trains quite frequently (though not that particular line), and I will continue to do so.
Madonna is ho-hum, be we love Leonard:Madonna couldn’t come close to selling all the tickets for her recent Tel Aviv concerts, but Leonard Cohen is in hot demand. Is this a sign of musical taste or politics?
Top prize: Movie “Lebanon” wins Golden Lion in Venice.
Grads falling on Be’ersheva: Two Grad-class rockets (the mid-range ketushas that were used on us in the north during the the Second Lebanon War) hit Be’ersheva this morning. Hamas uses the bizarre logic of saying that these are in retaliation for Israeli air strikes. Uh, what?! The air strikes were to take out rocket launchers that had been pummeling Israeli communities for months and months! We’re through the looking glass now, kids.
Israeli math: Thank goodness for Kamah Kessef, the website that helps you calculate how much you are supposed to give at an Israeli wedding. With the son of a first cousin getting married in a few weeks, I need to figure it out. Hmmm. That much? Oi. And me without two skekels to rub together.
Nadine update: Damn cat has gone from being lusciously fat to a sack of bones. I now have an anorexic cat. She seems totally disinterested in food, though if I heat up something and put it right in front of her, she’ll lick a bit. She ate about 1/2 tsp of expensive Italian cat food this morning (chicken and pasta, I think). Terri hovers nearby, almost shaking with excitement. She knows that she automatically gets to finish off whatever Nadine rejects.
The bitter end of a two-year drama: The bodies of kidnapped Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were laid to rest today. As a nation, we have been holding our breath for two years. We still don’t know the fate of a third soldier, Gilad Shalit, kidnapped at the same time. These were the actions that triggered the Second Lebanon War. Our heart goes out to the families of these young men.
Yom HaSho’ah: Tomorrow (Wednesday, 30 April) is erev Yom HaSho’ah—Holocaust Memorial Day. While Thursday is a normal work day, everything will stop mid-morning for the sirens. It is really something to see everyone stop and stand at attention.
I finally got around to upgrading the blog, so now I can do podcasting. This is my first attempt, recorded back on 8 April after they did emergency preparedness drills up here in the north and the sirens were going off. Fitting for the upcoming days of serious reflection.
Deja vu: They’ve been warning us for days that there will be massive emergency preparedness drills all over the country (particularly here in the north) at 10:00, but it still is hard not to react when the sirens go off.
Storm watch: Yesterday’s fierce winds and heavy rain caused flooding, power outages, and downed trees, and in higher elevation areas (Jerusalem, the Golan, etc.), the rain became snow. It isn’t anywhere near freezing in Karmiel (right now around 8 C), but there is thunder, lightening, and rain. Hail yesterday. Check out the live webcam of the snow storm in Jerusalem.
Waiting for Winograd: The formal Winograd report (the committee that investigated the government and army’s responsiveness in the Second Lebanon War) is due. Anticipation for it leads to some rather biting political satire, including Eretz Nehederet’s spoof of the game show 1 Against 100; their version: 1 Against 119 (referring to the number of Israeli soldiers who died in the war), in which Olmert, Peretz, and Halutz (former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, who was in charge of the reserve army at the time of the war) have to answer loaded questions. (The video clip takes a long time to load, so be patient.) Very funny. The level of debate, open discussion, freedom of speech, and public involvement in such issues here is a sign of a healthy democracy and open society, though you sure wouldn’t know it if all you heard about Israel came from the international press. Case in point: the recent barrage of anti-Israel press about the Gaza blockade.
Feel the love: Tennis, that is. In case you missed it, an Israeli duo takes the Australian Open. First time!
Show the love: The original Fluff Bomb, Freddie (Nadine’s number 1 long-distance squeeze), gives us a glam Playgirl pose.
Hoo-ya! I leave the house on Monday at 5:30 and get home at 22:30. Nothing like a 17-hour day to make you feel fresh and alert the next day. My day involved:
Drive to Akko. Leave my car at the train station.
Take the train to the Tel Aviv University station.
Transfer to a train to Hod Hasharon.
Grab a taxi to the client site.
Set up and teach a very demanding four-hour seminar.
Grab a taxi to Herzliya.
Eat something. Try to get some work done on my laptop.
Hike to the STC administrative council meeting.
Get through the meeting, running out about ten minutes early.
Trot very quickly to the train station in Herzliya.
Catch the train (which is running suspiciously late) to Binyamina.
Change trains to Akko. Try to get more work done on my laptop (which garners a lot of curious looks from passengers used to seeing bigger laptops).
Gill is asleep when I leave in the morning and asleep when I get home. Nadine yawns, blinks, and then slowly creeps up from the foot of the bed for a bit of a cuddle before I fall asleep. Sheesh!
Ready, set, strike! With no advance warning, Israel Railways workers go on strike yesterday from 8:00 to 11:00. I step off my train a few minutes after 8:00 and am oblivious to this, but apparently trains are stopped at stations all over and passengers and requested to get off. I feel very sorry for all the people left stranded. Ironically, this occurs the day before May Day, which is traditionally a day of the celebration of labor and workers. Hmmm.
Winograd Committee releases findings:Over seven months after the special commission is formed to investigate the government’s actions during the Second Lebanon War, the results are finally released. Olmert gets a fairly bad report. You can read an early translation of some of the report here.