The post on gluckschmerz is down here. Thanks to all of those who emailed me why you were looking for the word. Meryl
On the eve of Rosh Hashana, I leave you with the text of the address by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom to the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. It is my fervent wish that we see peace in the Middle East, and particularly in Israel, in the coming year.
Chag Sameach and Shana Tovah. A sweet and happy and healthy new year to you and your families. permalink
We're instituting a new feature, where you can read the Reuters bias via just their headlines. It was inspired by Tim Blair, who found the most biased headline yet in Reuters.
For your viewing displeasure today:
Of course Israel would reject it, because Arafat, the murderer-in-chief, is the one who really wants peace, not Israel.
Actually, that one was included as a compare-and-contrast object lesson. Do you think we should retitle the above"Israel Sends Message of Peace, Hamas Rejects It"? For consistency's sake, I mean.
That's the one that Tim found that started this whole meme. Feel free to contribute any headlines you find, and if you title your post simply "headlines," it will be easier for me to track them. permalink
One of my readers sent me a letter about my first Said post that says, in part:
We have learned a new word today. Gluckshmerz.
Update: From Stefan Sharkansky, who, unlike me, can speak German:
I think I feel a new tagline coming on: yourish.com. The blog that actually teaches you something. permalink
Update 3/8/05: I have no idea why "gluckschmerz" is suddenly a hot search word, but folks, feel free to check out my main page, or some of these other posts (Hulk smash!) that you may like, particularly if you're pro-Israel, or even if you just like cats (or dogs).
One of the DVDs I rented for the boring parts of Hurricane Isabel (was I optimistic or what? Power? Ha!) was Chicago. Here's a three-word movie review: I'm buying it.
I didn't see it in the theaters for a number of reasons, but ohmigod, it's one of the best movie musicals ever. Even people who hate musicals will like it. Catherine Zeta-Jones is superb. Renee Zellwhatever was good, but I have a problem with women with soft, squeaky, little-girl voices, so except when she was singing or yelling, she grated on my nerves. Which is probably why I liked Zeta-Jones better. Well, that and the fact that Zeta-Jones is a superb dancer and singer. Hell, even Richard Gere could actually sing. Who knew?
I'm beginning to think that Bob Fosse's work will continue to live on long after him. I thought it would date itself, but Chicago premiered in 1975, and the dances are still great. Granted, he didn't choreograph it, but it was certainly Fosse-style. (If you've never seen All That Jazz, the autobiographical film of Fosse's, rent it. The Airotica scene alone is worth the price of admission.) And amazingly, the tunes from Chicago are ringing in my head today, particularly a number called "He Had it Coming," which was hilarious. "He ran into my knife... ten times."
Mini-review 2: Daredevil was definitely worth seeing. Whoever of you told me not to bother, I'm not listening to you ever again. Jennifer Garner was perfect as Elektra. Ben Afleck was actually pretty good as Daredevil, and overall, it was a fun movie. Bit of a slow start, but then, The Hulk flick took 45 minutes to get going. That final Elektra scene was taken directly from the pages of the Frank Miller comic, which I think I may still have. I'd forgotten it until I saw the film.
Saw The Return of the King preview. I can't wait for December to arrive. Or for the four-disc version of The Two Towers. But I think I'm going to be really disappointed when it's finally out, and I've seen all three films. Well, at least until I have a home theater system, and can watch them on a giant screen TV in my TV room. I wonder if I can put a projection TV on my wishlist?
One of the pillars of the development of modern anti-Semitism, also known as Middle Eastern Studies, is dead today.
Schadenfreude? You bet your ass. permalink
Nothing, but nothing cheers me up more than children.
Sarah brought the entire clan this morning for our weekly trip to the Farmer's Market, and they all decided to come inside and see Tig, who did not run screeching in fear, and actually performed tricks for them. (In spite of Heidi's doubting, I have taught Tig to stand up on his hind legs when I say "Up!" Yes, really, and yes, I'll get a picture of it someday.) Then Sarah pointed out my Hulk Hands to the kids, and along we went, bearing Hulk Hands to be shared among four children.
She's such a ham for the camera. The Hulk Hands are nearly as big as she is. permalink
If anyone knows of any pro-palestinian rallies in the Richmond area today, point them out to me.
I'm in the mood to smash something.
Just tuned into Fox News Channel's debate among some of the California candidates. Sure looks like an old-fashioned, knock-down, bareknuckle fistfight to me. Now that's entertainment! permalink
Here's a trick question for you all. Which do you think I would rather do? A) Clean up cat vomit with my bare hands or B) Read any story on Israel in the Reuters news service?
You just know a Jew-hating editor put in the two words in bold. Why? Gee, let's read the rest of the story and see if we can find a reference to Jews being too lazy to get to the Western Wall.
Nope, not there. Those Jews are too busy to get to the Wall. Not having the means or time doesn't mean "too lazy".
Nope, not there, either. Nothing about laziness, no quotes, not paraphrases, nothing. Maybe here?
Hm. Nope. So it's an editorial remark, then?
How much will you bet me that you'll never see an article in Reuters beginning, "Muslims too lazy or busy to go to Mecca..."? C'mon, any takers? Anyone?
I thought not. permalink
They make it so blatant, how on earth can any nation on earth claim they're not terrorists?
But the man is a quadriplegic! How can Israel be so mean as to try to assassinate l'il ol him? Oh, and when he says "after liberating the land," he's not talking about just the disputed terroritories. He's talking about all of Israel.
Also in the news today: More fodder for the Indymedia creeps.
You're in the armed services, gents. You don't get to pick and choose which orders to follow. Then again, 27 out of, hm... what is the number of IAF active and reserves? I'll have to go look.
I used to think these kind of prisoner swaps were a good thing. Now I think that the Israelis need to keep the murderers in prison and hold a funeral for each captured Israeli in terrorists' hands.
They really, really need to institute the death penalty for terrorists in Israel. Then we could still have prisoner swaps, but not the release of murderers for the return of Israeli remains. permalink
Lair's got his kitty bedtime stories. I have a real-life happily ever after hawk story.
There's a hawk pair in the woods behind Heidi and G.'s house. We see and hear them regularly. Saturday, two days after Hurricane Isabel, we saw one of the hawks flying over the trees. Then it landed, and we could hear it scream. It screamed again and again, greatly disturbing the local bird population, which took wing and twittered and fluttered around nervously. G. and I were trying to figure out what was going onwas there a bird fight? We saw some ravens flying around, but they were flying away from the hawk. Finally, it hit us. G. mentioned that he'd only seen one of the pair, and that perhaps the other had been killed in the storm. That made me realize that maybe this one was calling its mate.
The hawk kept screeching, loud, penetrating, echoing screams. Then after a while it stopped, and we were rather saddened to realize that no other hawk had answered it.
On Sunday, the hawk started screeching again. And so did its mate. On Monday, we saw and heard them both. So we figure that either the hawk was signalling its mate, which had perhaps gotten blown out of their territory during the storm, or it found a new one. Either way, there's a happy hawk couple living in the woods again. Well, happy for everything but the birds and critters that make up the hawks' menu. permalink
I wish I'd written this:
Getting back to FEMA, state preparedness, and the aftereffects of Hurricane Isabel, I'm still giving our government agencies a D.
Let's put in a few caveats: I understand that Isabel knocked down thousands of trees onto thousands of power lines, which will take many, many thousands of man-hours to fix the damage. I comprehend that you cannot fix it all in one day, even though Virginia Dominion contracted thousands of extra workers from as far away as Canada to help their regular workforce cope with the damage. In fact, I wasn't griping because I didn't have power. I am bothered by what I see as a lack of disaster preparedness by Americans overall.
Now, contrary to some of my angry letter-writers' beliefs, most Virginians were prepared for Isabel. They bought candles, batteries, stocked water, ice, and got ready for a power outage. But I'd like Cindy A. to tell me how to make ice last more than a day in a freezer or a cooler. How can I extend the water I've prepared for my disaster to last longer? Should I just add water to my water to dilute it? I'll use the taps that don't work, perhaps? Beginning to get the big picture here?
And when my food spoils for lack of coldness, and the stores are all closed or out of vital supplies due to the hurricane, should I just conjure food up from thin air, or will wishing really hard make some appear? How do parents feed their children when their stored food runs out? Shall we just call them idiots for not being prepared with a one-week supply of non-refrigerated food for a family of four? Sure, let's do that, okay, Cindy? Those idiots! Yes, that's constructive criticism. That really helps them feed their children.
This is where FEMA and the state must come in and do their real jobs, which are to help our citizens during times of emergencies and disasters. And that is what I think has been lacking. I do not believe Virginia is nearly prepared enough for disaster, and I do not believe that the federal government has our backs covered, which is ultimately what the federal government is for.
Only one Richmond-area hospital was open in the days immediately following Isabel. And it had no water for two days. How can you close a hospital? This was an emergency, and the hospitals closed? That's disaster preparedness? No, that's an abomination. No backup plans for local hospitals? I am losing confidence in my adopted state.
Cindy pointed out that this was a well-forecast hurricane. It certainly was, which makes the response on the part of various agencies even more pathetic. And I'm not the only one to think so.
Apparently, Chuck, it's not as simple as requesting FEMA's help to get what you want. Now I'm not saying that FEMA isn't doing its job. I'm pointing out how difficult it is to meet the public's needs during a very large emergency, and that's what Isabel ishundreds of thousands are still without power today, and tomorrow will be a week since Isabel hit.
Residents coped. Businesses helped. Many were grilling their meat in their parking lots and selling it to customers. Bottled water was donated by the private sector as well as FEMA: Wal-Mart and Home Depot donated water, which was distributed at fire stations. Churches opened their showers to people who had no water. Overall, there was precious little looting or profiteering. But again, it's nearly a week, and hundreds of thousands of people have no power.
Five years ago, an ice storm hit central Virginia. Many residents went days, some went weeks, without powerin the middle of winter, when freezing to death was a real risk. Dominion Power and the state of Virginia have had five years to plan for a disaster the scope of the ice storm. Their response to Isabel says to me that they have failed miserably.
A hurricane is not an unexpected disaster. There's no question of if one will hit. The only question is how bad it will be. So how difficult is it for states in hurricane paths to have disaster management programs ready to go?
Our Department of Homeland Security is supposed to help prepare our citizens for emergencies. It's the reason it was created, and why so many agencies were brought under its aegis, including FEMA. And yet, I am still unimpressed with its response to a disaster that has spread over several states and needed much federal assistance.
This was only a hurricane. I shudder to think what could happen if terrorists attack successfully again. They don't broadcast their path for two weeks, like Isabel did.
Update: Chuck's got a good response (but there was one hospital open, Chuckthe one my friend works in). I may just steal some of his points in my letter to the editor of the Times-Dispatch. permalink
So I'm finally back in my apartment, with my broadband connection (I am so not kidding about all you MT bloggers with bloated, overloaded pages that take forever to load at 56k; it's going to be my next crusade, and you will all lose, trust me on this one and give up now), the cats, the silence (for some reason, it's really quiet outperhaps many of my neighbors did what I did and gave up on the neighborhood to stay with people who actually had electricity), the lack of flooding (thank heavens for that), the fact that I missed the F1 tornado that hit the area this morning, coming far too close for comfort, Byrd Park and the area around it (I should end this sentence, look at how long it's gotten), and, er, I forgot where I was going with this.
I have a few more pictures that I'll post later. Heidi did learn to use a chainsaw (sorry, no pictures of that), and it was rather interesting and very unsettling to stand with her two days ago while we lopped off some branches of the tree that had been resting on her fence. Stinky, too. The exhaust just flies all over everywhere, doesn't it? P-U. Anyway, yesterday we cut the limbs off a tree that was sliding further into the road that wasn't on her property, but that's what you do if you have a chainsaw these days. Then she went to a neighbor's house and chopped up a fallen oak and a small pine so the neighbor's 20-year-old son wouldn't have to do it with an axe, or with a chainsaw sans lessons. Then it was time for me to finish packing and say goodbye, a prospect received with great sadness by Sorena, who would probably have me move in if she could think of a way to achieve it. Six days was enough for me, and I'm sure enough for Heidi and G. I was their houseguest since Thursday afternoon, after all. Plus, there are cats to take care of, floors to vaccuum (I never did get to that before the storm), etc., etc.
So I get home, and discover something I already knew: Cats are the laziest creatures on the planet. I left an extra food dish on the landing of the stairs where Tig now sleeps, since he's developed some kind of phobia about my room and washes his tail compulsively whenever he enters now. Of course, the extra food dish was completely empty, as was the bathroom sink that I had left with water, because neither cat could be bothered to come downstairs and eat and drink as long as it was available upstairs. We have now put a stop to that practice; calories must be expended in order to gain more of them.
There was a cricket in one of the water bowls. I was about to toss it down the sink when it started doing the backstroke. I thought it over, and poured it outside in front. Here's hoping it's smart enough not to come back inside, or it will suffer the fate of its brethren, whose body parts I find all over the floors regularly.
My freezer is empty, and I'm trying to decide on whether to take that two-hour drive up to Rockville, MD, to get some kosher meat, or wait another few weeks and just get it at my regular NJ butcher shop, as it's family birthday time soon. I'm thinking no to Rockville.
I let the cats out this afternoon, and discovered that someone's dog is running around unleashed. It's a little blue dog that sort of resembles a small pit bull. I chased it away early this afternoon, and figured that was that. A few hours later, Tig was out on the patio and the door was closed. I heard a bark, then a yip of pain, and ran out to see Tig totally puffed up, as pissed as I've ever seen him, and a dog running away top speed. Something tells me Tig was telling the dog who owned the patio. I tried to shoo Tig inside, and man, am I glad I was holding the TV remote, because Tig hissed at me, slapped it out of my hand with his paw, and made me contemplate what my hand would have looked like if it hadn't been holding the remote.
Then the triumphant kitty went inside and marked the great occasion as he always does: He went to his food dish and ate. Yep. I'm back. permalink
The Thai police prevented an attack on an El Al counter and airliner by Al Qaeda. Everyone go out and patronize your local Thai restaurant tonight in thanks!
It's more than a little unsettling that the El Al terminal was vulnerable, as El Al is generally considered to be the safest airline in the world. Here's what the article has to say about that security:
It's open season on Jews by Al Qaeda, but we sort of figured that out when Bin Laden went, "Oh, yeah, and Palestine, too!" during one of his why-I-like-to-blow-stuff-up videos. permalink
The power came on last night, according to some of the neighbors. Apparently, my court is the only one in the complex that has power. I'm not complaining; my refrigerator made ice again, the AC is working, and I'm planning on going back to Heidi's and getting the rest of my things. I brought the computer with me just in case. And may I repeat: Nearly every single weblog I read sucks at 56k. You all need to cut back on the images, background gifs, and excessive length of posts available.
In any case. Sleeping at home tonight. In my own bed. It was wonderful to have somewhere else to stay, but it's been nearly a week. Time to let them have their lives back, and get back to mine.
More about FEMA very soon, now that I'm on broadband again. permalink
A few of you have pointed out some valid issues regarding my previous post. From Chuck Simmins:
Someone who requested that I not publish his/her letter made some good points, which are made less politely in the following letter by Cindy A.:
Gee, Cindy, we typesetters have some kind of attitude. (Atex and A-M Varityper here; remember them?) You're right about some things. I know we need to take care of ourselves, and I am one of those people who bottled water, checked my flashlight and batteries, got extra cash, and, in fact, did everything except fill the tub with water because, well, I forgot. I was heading over to my friends' house no matter what, where I knew they had a wood stove, charcoal grill, and all the supplies I'd need. I brought my own flashlight and candle. And I wasn't exactly blaming FEMA. I was considering that I don't think Americans really are prepared for emergency situations very well. I do think that it's human nature, just as it's human nature to bitch about things. And Chuck showed me that I did need to do a bit more research, but I rather thought that as well. (I was in a pissy mood this afternoon; is that a good enough excuse?)
Howeverwe need to be more prepared. During World War II, every town had civilians in charge of air raid drills making sure every town knew what to do. Perhaps it's time our towns instituted the Civilian Defense once more. You're right, we do need to be more involved, and more proactive. Especially those of us who don't live in an earthquake zone, and who aren't as prepared for disaster management. permalink
It's now the fourth day without power for 40 percent of Dominion Virginia customers, including more than 300,000 in the Richmond areaof which I am one. I'm extremely fortunate that my friends have power and water, a guest room, and the kindness to put me up until the power returns to my apartment.
Overall, I think our disaster management teams are a disgrace. I think we're in a lot of trouble if Al Qaeda manages to pull off another attack, and I think that a determined terrorist group could do more damage to the U.S. economy by merely targeting power stations or a series of transformers in highly populated areas rather than running a plane into the Capitol Dome.
Look at the latest disasters to hit the nation. The blackout earlier this summer showed that there is no practical evacuation plan for Manhattan and the New York area. If I lived in Manhattan or on Long Island, I'd go out and buy an inflatable raft large enough to carry me and my family, and keep an extra canister or two to inflate it. You sure as hell can't get out the usual access points during a catastrophe.
As far as I can tell, FEMA is great if you want to get the money to fix your home up after disaster has hit. Where were the FEMA teams when Virginians and Carolinans needed water, food, batteries, ice, and flashlights? Granted, Hurricane Isabel was nowhere near as deadly as many natural disasters, but it was an overarching disaster for, say, families with small children, the elderly, the handicapped, people who are on constant medication or needs constant medical attention. And it's a major discomfort and pain in the butt for the rest of us.
On the flip side, we should all be prepared for emergencies. Many people were prepared, or got the things they needed in the final days. But many people also didn't do something as simple as pick up an extra few dollars cash on Wednesday, when the weather was still bright and sunny out. Or fill their vehicle's gas tank. Or check to make sure their flashlights actually worked.
Someone said somewhere that our civilized behavior is only a thin layer, and that if a true disaster strikes, you'll see rioting, looting, and rampaging in places like Manhattan. I was extremely skeptical of that line of thought. But after four days without power, and looking at a week before it's fully restored, and thinking about people who aren't lucky enough to have friends like Heidi and G., I'm starting to think there may be trouble ahead.
And trust me, neither a visit by Tom Ridge nor President Bush makes me any more confident that my power is going to come back on any sooner. America has gotten far too soft and complacent. You'd think 9/11 would have been a bigger wake-up call. permalink
I haven't been home yet today, but I expect the power is still out. The phone service is. You don't even get the courtesy of one of those messages telling you the service is out. You simply connect and get nothing.
The Richmond area is coming back to life. The Times-Dispatch has the best coverage around here. It's about the only game in town. Not too many cities are multiple-newspaper cities any more, and no, you can't count USA Today. But there are still many areas without power, some even right down the street. We have no idea why we were the first on the grid to be fixed, and we're not complaining. Apparently, local markets are grilling their meats and selling them low-cost to folks who have no power to cook their won. Even so, most of the food vendors in the area stand to lose a lot of money this month.
Heidi and G. and I are extremely pleased that the Noisy Generator Neighbors behind are still without power. Payback for making it harder for us to sleep the other night, although Noisy Generator Neighbors to the east got their power back, making my rest a bit easier, as the guest room faces east.
Religious school has been canceled this morning. My synagogue has no electricity or water. Services were canceled Friday and Saturday as well. On the other hand, Bingo is on, as the Bingo hall is in a part of town that has power and water. Lucky for me, I'm not working Bingo tonight.
In a way, I feel like I'm on vacation again, visiting Heidi for a few days and heading back to NJ after my time off is done. Only I'm driving to Richmond every day to check on the status of my apartment and cats, pick up more clothes and objects like my old metal Coleman cooler (the one with the bottle opener built into the handle), and listen to the latest rumors from the neighbors as to when our power will be restored. Then I load up the car and come back here, where things are getting back to normal except for the massive amount of meat that still needs to be cooked. And the three bags of charcoal on the patio. And the five gallons of bottled water on the counter.
Yesterday morning, we boiled water on my propane-powered hibachi to make coffee. This morning, the familiar sound of grinding beans filled the kitchen, and the espresso maker did its usual thing. I think it may be time for me to admit defeat over at my apartment and grab the last of my breakfast-making materials (I think I left a loaf of bread in the fridge) and bring them here. I've no idea when I can go home to sleep. It's a crap shoot.
Wind Rider's blogging from hijacked computers at Circuit City, and I'm not sure how the rest of the Axis of Isabel is doing. It's not so easy to surf at 56k and by the way, fellow bloggers? You're bandwidth hogs. Try surfing without a cable modem or DSL and see how little you like the wait for loading that occurs on most blogs.
By the way, the Axis has been updated with the latecomers who emailed me after I lost power. Go see how everyone else fared. permalink
Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.