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Care for a dip? We may have jackals, scorpions, and poisonous snakes, but at least we don’t have alligators in our swimming pools. Hat tip to the good folks at HostGator.

The Journey, part 1

Where’s my full body scan? I was looking forward to the techno-thrill of Schiphol”s new biometric full-body scanners. Heck, they’ve starred in the news a lot lately, between the pure geeky excitement and the lawsuits triggered by the invasion of privacy.  But no; all I get is an old-fashioned pat-down by Inga, who is big, blonde, young, and excessively enthusiastic.  She is sooooo happy to be groping me! “Have a very nice journey,” she trills after the final squeeze.  Maybe I shouldn’t complain; it’s the most action I’ve had in months…

The flights themselves were uneventful but interminable.

The Life of an Editor

Something always slips through: I’m working on the final draft of a few chapters right now, so I am well aware of how things slip through.  Still, I was very happy to read that Major Peretz is still be considered for the position of Chief Military Rabbit.  (Read the last paragraph of the article.) Hat tip to Central LS.

The Lesson of the Day

Behind every great man is a women telling him what to wear: Proof positive. Sonia and Shimon split (nothing like deciding to break up at age 86) and immediately our normally dapper president is seen in public wearing brown shoes with a gray suit. Note the guy next to him, who appears to be laughing and pointing at the offending footwear.



A living tribute: The Bellingham Herald ran this lovely article about my sister Denise. It has one or two small mistakes (for example, Denise was very active in spinning and textile work for many, many years before she got sick), but it captures her spirit.

Schedule from Hell

If I’m not working, I must be lying down:  It has been a crazy few weeks.  I started feeling blah during the chaggim, and although it never really developed into a full-blown flu or whatever, it never really went away, either.  I was dragging myself around like a half-dead zombie (wait, aren’t zombies already dead?).  Timing couldn’t have been worse: last Monday I started two courses on the same day, which is exhausting at the best of times.  Friday’s class in Tel Aviv saw me feeling horrible.   (Maybe I should say that if I’m not lying down, I must be teaching!) By the time I dragged myself to the doctor, I was already feeling better.  That’s the downside of waiting for an appointment—you are already better or else you have died by the time it rolls around.

Meanwhile, the local news has been so depressing, I cringe every time I pick up a newspaper or turn on the radio.  The carnage on the roads continues with yet another gruesome accident in my general area (a truck trying to pass and smashing into a private car, near an intersection that I often pass).  The mass murder of an entire family in Rishon (three generations, including an infant and a toddler, wiped out in what appears to be a Russian mafia hit) has the whole country in shock.  Barak’s abuse of public funds barely had time to make the news before it was drowned out by the Goldstone Report and Turkey’s outrageous actions (no worries, the Italians are happy to work with us).  Basically, things seem to be grim and depressing on all fronts.

How do we keep our collective chins up?  I don’t know about you, but here are some of my sanity-savers:

  • My hairy mutt.  Terri continues to do her duty by making me laugh.  Her latest trick is bringing her squeaky hedgehog onto the bed and gnawing it while wriggling in ecstasy.
  • Wasabi peas.  Oh, lord, they hurt taste so good.  (Clear the sinuses, too.  Add a cold beer and you have a little slice of heaven.)
  • Running.
  • Vintage TV shows.

What’s your survival technique?

Denise Guren z”l


In loving memory: My sister Denise passed away on Sunday after a 5.5-year battle with cancer.  She courageously endured unspeakable treatments, multiple hospital stays, and, towards the end, almost constant pain.  “I’m still living,” she would tell us.  She crammed more into these past few years than many people do in a lifetime, continuing to be active in her congregations (two!), playing fiddle in her klezmer band (What the Chelm), working, and even leading a team of knitters for Keep the Fleece (a project sponsored by Heifer International, one of her favorite charities).  She loved folk dancing and ethnic music, and was thrilled to have survived long enough to dance at her son’s wedding.  She expressed her creativity through natural textiles (mostly spinning, weaving, and knitting).  Three weeks ago, I watched her spend an hour in a  natural dye shop—she was still eagerly planning new projects and looking forward to experimenting with these plant dyes.

I am grateful that I was just there and had a week with her.  The chance to say a proper good-bye is a real blessing.

This picture was taken half a year before her diagnosis.  With her is her husband, Doug Dodd.  In addition to our parents, myself, and our sister Tracy, Denise is survived by her two sons, Tavi and Noam.

The tradition of reciting the psalm eishet chayil is especially appropriate for Denise, because she truly was a woman of valor.