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Day By Day by Chris Muir

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Wake-up calls

I'm tired: You can tell when I'm too tired. If I don't post for an entire day, I'm tired, mind and body. Sometimes, I just can't take reading about another anti-Israel, anti-Jewish incident. That's when my soul gets too tired. It was like that yesterday, but I was also exhausted, thanks to some asshat who decided 3 a.m. was a good time to sit out in the parking lot with his car stereo blasting. I lost an hour and a half's sleep on the day when I was on the go from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. I'd promised Ilana that I'd be in synagogue on Friday to see the first part of her Bat Mitzvah. She did a wonderful job, as I knew she would.

Another good blog: Lynn B. has sent me over to the Red and Blue, and now I'm sending you all. I'm having a bit of a tiff with a commenter there; do me a favor, keep out of it. This one's mine. For now. Of course, if she shows up here, she's going to be banned in a heartbeat (see: No Israel-bashing zone), so if you have anything to say, say it fast.

You'll plotz: I have some very important things to do regarding getting the new job, so I may not get to posting anything today. But Geoff C. sent me this hilarious flash link, so go learn Yiddish with Dick and Jane, and try not to be drinking anything while you learn.

Is he or isn't he? Let me ask you this, folks: I just got a call from the car dealership that I bring my Jeep to for servicing. The guy on the phone said that he's calling me because the service department noticed that my Jeep is in phenomenal shape for the mileage it has on it. I've got about 55k miles, and have had exactly one thing go wrong with the Jeep, and that was in the first two months I had it. The radiator blew a hole, but it was probably a bad seam on the manufacturing line. Nothing since. I get the oil changed every 3-5000 miles, tune it up on the schedule Chrysler recommends, and have never been in an accident with it. (Almost had one on Thursday, but I react quickly to schmucks who think that it's okay to have half their car out of the driveway in spite of a stop sign on their end.)

So the guy says the service department noticed the car was in such great shape they told the pre-owned sales department, who obviously want me to sell them their car and then buy a new one.

Here's my question: Are they totally snowing me? Do they really give a damn that my Jeep is in great condition, or do they just want me to buy a new car? I told the guy that I seriously doubted I'd be approved for a loan right now, what with lack of decent job, debt up to my ears, etc., etc. He said I'd be surprised at the deals that Chrysler will make now, since it's the end of the year.

As I was writing this, I remember that I was telling the guys behind the service sign-in counters how great my Jeep was, and that I'd had nothing wrong with it in four years. So he probably wasn't lying about that. Maybe.

So. Snow job, or do they really want my Jeep?

Noon Update: Just got a call from one of the salesman at the dealership, who said, "I hear you're lookin' to buy a new Jeep."

Well, that answers that.

| |




Thing 1: I had that dream about college again last night. I keep on dreaming that I'm failing out of classes, mostly because I don't go to them, and then can't graduate because I don't have enough credits. A few months ago, I dreamed the exact opposite: That I buckled down, attended all my classes, and got the grades and graduated. I do believe I'm a little stressed right now. And I'm not surprised at the dream, but really glad I had it last night, and not two nights ago. And I don't really understand the part about the naked giant, but hey, it was a dream.

Thing 2: Tig did not wake me at 5:30. He woke me at 5. I did not kill him, but I did try to hit him with a t-shirt. He ran away and shut up. When I woke up at 8, he was sleeping on the pillow next to me. So I woke him up. We're even. Not.

Thing 3: I'm really, really tired this morning. My eyes don't want to focus, they want to go back to bed. But I have to return the video projector and screen that I rented for my workshop, so I can't.

Thing 4: Thank you, Harry, for the birthday presents. I cannot wait to watch Into the Woods with Sorena, who saw it live with Heidi and me at Dogwood Dell two summers ago. And Sarah McLachlan is always great. Well, except when I don't want to be depressed.

Thing 5: I really like this style. I will probably add it to my repertoire. See, that's one of the reasons you folks like to keep reading. You never know what I'm going to do. Frankly, that's one of the reasons I like to keep writing. I never know what I'm going to do. There are times for routines, and there are times for variety, and if you can't have variety in your routines, well, you're probably those really boring teachers we all had in high school, the ones that I threatened my students with on Tuesday.

Thing 6: Oh, that. Well, there have been some behavioral issues lately, so I read my students the Riot Act on Tuesday, gave out many, many negative points, and told them that I work really hard to make their studies entertaining, but that I could be excruciatingly boring for the rest of the year, and they'd still learn what they had to learn. You should have heard the collective mental gasp go up as I threatened my students with seven months of boredom. I figured that was the best threat I ever made. Punishment? Been there, done that, can handle whatever you throw at us, Ms. Yourish. Boredom? No! No! Please, anything but that!

Hah. This was possibly inspired by one of my students, who told the others on Sunday that I'm the "funnest" teacher they're probably ever going to have. This was after she discovered that I not only know what Fuse is, but I like to watch it.

If you have to ask, you're too old.

Thing 7: We'll be back later with the news. I do believe I may get to Brock's for lunch today. | |



So, where were you?

I was busy. Job from Hell in the morning and afternoon, then preparing for the new job, then running a sample workshop, which will, with any luck, turn into a new career. And no, I can't get into any more specifics yet. Just keep wishing those good thoughts for me.

Mind you, there were some very good moments today, and one of the best was discovering that Mallomars did, indeed, get shipped to us today. There's a box on my table right now. I think I'll have some after I have some chestnuts.

Mmmm. Chestnuts. They're an acquired taste, but if you've acquired it, nothing beats the first chestnuts of the season, since it's been generally more than six months since you last had any. I had my first chestnuts of the season Saturday night, after discovering them by accident at a local supermarket. Pure heaven. I once told my brother that the best thing about living alone is that I can cook up a whole batch of chestnuts and not share them with anyone. He can't do that anymore. His son likes them, too. Interesting—my father passed along his love of chestnuts to us, and now Dave's doing the same to his son.

I think the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a chestnut. They're so good, I'd face the Wrath of God to have them.

I am quite tired. Been on the go since 5:30 this morning, and only got home around 9:30 tonight.

I am going to kill Tig if he wakes me up tomorrow. This morning, the alarm went off at 5:30 and both Tig and Gracie expressed their displeasure that I woke them up with my noisy machine. Tomorrow, I don't have to get up until 8 or so. I fully expect Tig to be yowling at 5:30 for me to get up.

Cats. | |



Tuesday morning news briefs

The proxy war continues: More rockets fired from Lebanon, and Lebanese police call it a "criminal" action. Yeah, like the Lebanese mafia is trying to strongarm Israeli border towns into paying protection money.

Security officials said Monday night's katyusha attack was likely carried out by Palestinians operating out of Lebanese refugee camps. The officials said that Hizbullah controls Lebanon's border with Israel and that all security events are coordinated with the Shi'ite terrorist group.

Hizbullah denied it was involved in the latest katyusha attack. "We have nothing to do with the reported rocket attack. Whenever we carry out an attack, we usually issue a statement adopting it," a Hizbullah spokesperson said.

A Fatah spokesperson in Lebanon also denied his group was involved in the attack.

Gabi Ne'eman, Shlomi Regional Council head, urged the government to respond to Monday's attack. "I don't understand why we did not respond 10 days ago [to the Hizbullah drone]. When there is a response, there will not be katyushas fired at us," Ne'eman told Army Radio.


Oh, yeah, that'll work: The IDF has eased up on actions in the territories. Expect an explosive response.

The IDF has reduced its activities in the territories to a minimum and is limiting its actions to thwarting "ticking bombs" since Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat flew to France for medical treatment on October 29, a senior government source said Monday.

He was responding to questions as to whether Israel would reciprocate to the announcement that Islamic Jihad and the Aksa Martyrs Brigade would halt all attacks in Israel until the PA's elections on January 9.

"We are not getting involved in this," he said. "What counts are results, not declarations."

He said Israel has already reduced military activity to a minimum, and has "eased up" on targeted assassinations. "The standing orders that have been in effect since Arafat went to France are not to escalate matters and not to create friction. These orders still apply, although we will take selective actions against 'ticking bombs,' " he said.

Because it's always worked in the past, right? Keep your heads down, my Israeli friends.

Two Jews, three opinions, one Israel: There are many issues Jews disagree on, but there's one that unites us all.

Although the vast majority of American Jews is still located on the liberal side of the map, as surveys and the recent elections demonstrated, conservative positions are no longer considered unusual and are slowly but surely making their way into the heart of Jewish American discourse.

Nonetheless, as the GA opening events demonstrated, a complete consensus exists on one issue - unqualified support for Israel. Despite a variety of opinions on Israel's political path, concern for Israel's security unites the entire community.

Shoulda picked Abbas in the Dead Pool: I think he's a marked man, myself.

The moderates. By far the weakest, this faction has three well-known figures: Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), the new head of the PLO; Abu Ala (Ahmed Qurei), the prime minister, and Muhammad Dahlan, leader of a Gaza militia that is powerful but has little organization and few supporters.

A pragmatic point of view is unpopular among activists who have been indoctrinated to glorify violence, hate Israel, and define moderation as treason.

Because, well, gee. They tried to kill him two days ago. And today?

Many members of the Fatah are angered at the news that the Fatah Central Committee is likely to nominate Mahmoud Abbas as its candidate for the planned January 9 general elections in the Palestinian Authority, according to a PA source close to Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.

"In Fatah, they know that Arafat never forgave Abbas now Abbas wants to take Arafat's place, and many don't like it", one PA source said.

Yup. Wish I'd had him in the Dead Pool.

Shyeah, right: The PA says they want Al Aksa to stop terror attacks.

Most Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades members reportedly back the Fatah political leadership's call to stop terror attacks against Israel, but only on the condition that Israeli security forces cease hunting them.

And there is one of those supposed "truces" again:

Islamic Jihad and Aksa Martyrs Brigades leaders in the West Bank said Monday they would unilaterally cease all attacks in Israel for 60 days in order to help facilitate elections for Palestinian Authority chairman, slated for January 9.

Except for this:

Islamic Jihad and the Aksa Martyrs Brigades have vowed to continue fighting the IDF within the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Both groups deem soldiers and settlers as legitimate targets.

Hamas will not join the Fatah-led cease-fire, its spokesman Sami Zuhri said Monday evening. "We reserve the right to retaliate for Israeli aggressions," he said in a telephone interview.

Uh-huh. Peace. For the groups that are dedicated to the end of the "Zionist enemy." Okay. I'll believe it when I see it. Until then, call me a realist. | |



And on my birthday, too!

Noah Shachtman, whose name is as difficult to spell and type as the word "strengthen," and who just sold DefenseTech, profiled blogger charities in the Times today. Strengthen the Good gets most of the article (and deservedly so!), but yours truly and our efforts to buy MDA an ambulance during the 2003 Blogathon gets a mention as well.

I haven't given up yet on that idea, by the way. I'm just trying to figure out how to go about doing it again. | |

Arafat's Legacy of death

Add more blood to the man's legacy. They've named a rocket in his dishonor.

Aksa: New 'Yasser 1' rocket can reach Ashkelon
Footage showing members of Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigade in Gaza City carrying the newly manufactured Yasser-1 rocket, which they claim has a 15-kilometer range, came as no surprise to Israeli security officials on Sunday.

"It is no secret that all the terror organizations operating in Gaza, whether Hamas, Fatah, or Islamic Jihad, strive constantly to improve their capability," a security official told The Jerusalem Post.

According to Fatah activists interviewed on various networks, the rocket can reach Ashkelon, and scores of rockets have already been amassed in the group's arsenal.

Yes indeed, these people want peace.

It doesn't seem that it's going to make a great deal of difference who is in charge. Arafat left his people with the idea that they could eliminate the Jewish state, and now they're carrying on in his footsteps.

Newly appointed Fatah head Farouk Kaddoumi on Friday said that Yasser Arafat "had joined the tens of thousands of martyrs among the Palestinian nation."

Speaking on the al-Jazeera television network, Kaddoumi said Arafat had left behind a generation of Palestinians who will "work towards the fulfillment of his dream that a Palestinian boy will fly the Palestinian flag above the walls of Jerusalem."

[...] Top Fatah operative Hussein al-Sheikh confirmed that the Palestinians were headed toward an escalation. "We will continue to believe the gun is the way to get rid of the occupation," he said. "This is Abu Amar's promise and this is his will and we will continue to be true to them."

Explain to me how that doesn't mean the extinction of the state of Israel. No, don't bother. You'll only get banned from my comments for that. The above story proves what the IDF says in this news article:

Palestinian terror organizations are likely to step up attacks against Israel in an effort to keep a moderate Palestinian leadership from establishing itself, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon said Sunday.

Ya'alon, briefing the cabinet on the security situation in the Palestinian Authority following Yasser Arafat's death and funeral, said there has been a slight decrease in the number of attacks recently. He attributed this to Arafat's death and the Id al-Fitr holiday.

Despite the decrease, Ya'alon said that after the ceremonies for Arafat and following the end of Id al-Fitr on Wednesday, there is likely to be a wave of attacks to torpedo attempts to establish a moderate Palestinian leadership.

And not that I'd call Abbas a moderate, but someone definitely doesn't want him taking over for Arafat:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Gunfire erupted Sunday in the tent set up for mourners of Yasser Arafat just after his successor as PLO leader arrived, and one Palestinian policeman was killed and five other people were wounded, witnesses and hospital officials said.

Gunmen fired in the air about five minutes after Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat's longtime deputy chosen over the weekend as his successor, arrived in a motorcade. Abbas' bodyguards also fired in the air, the witnesses said.

Abbas was not wounded.

Suleiman Mahdi, a Palestinian Authority driver, said Abbas was shaking hands with visitors when the gunfire erupted. Security officers immediately surrounded Abbas, he said.

"They took him to a safe place, then he managed to get out of the area," Mahdi said.

Associated Press Television News footage showed a group of about 20 men entering the mourning tent where Abbas, Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan and other key Palestinian leaders had come to mourn for Arafat, who died Thursday.

The gunmen, clad in green, shouted, "Abbas and Dahlan are agents for the Americans!"

Yeah, what-EVER.

I don't see a way of healing such a desperately sick society. If they can't heal themselves from within, Israel is doomed to more years of terror and war. And while I'm still glad that Arafat is dead, and wish he'd died years ago, I don't see all that big a difference. Yet. I hope I'm wrong. I hope the pals surprise me. But I'm not expecting it at all. | |

Israel: Healing the world, one step at a time

Israel is once again showing the world that tikkun olam is not just an obscure concept; healing the world is an everyday thing.

Eighteen children who were injured and held hostage during the Beslan siege two months ago are in the middle of a three week visit to Israel to heal wounds - both physical and psychological ones.

The children, along with their parents, were invited to Israel by the mayor of the coastal city of Ashkelon. Various Israeli volunteer organizations and companies contributed to make the trip possible.

[...] "They'll be seeing a lot of the country - thanks to the generosity of the Israeli people. Both the Tel Aviv and Rishon Lezion municipalities have offered to host them; they're going to visit the Dead Sea and the Ramat Gan Safari zoo. Everyone's been great with their offers to get involved," said Weinstein-Berkovitch.

But sightseeing and relaxation is just one aspect of the visit. What the Israeli organizers hope is that the medical and psychological care that the children will undergo will have a long-lasting impact on aiding their overall recovery.

"They spent their first days at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon where they underwent medical checkups and psychological evaluations. We're going to provide them with art therapy as well, which we hope will help them communicate, as it's still difficult for them to verbalize about what happened. We have so much experience in dealing with terror and trauma, so we want to offer our help to the children to enable them to speed their recovery," said Weinstein-Berkovitch.

The children will also be counseled by specialists from SELAH - the Israel Crisis Management Center, which was founded in 1993 to help immigrants in crisis.

The sad news, of course, is that Israel has become a country that has many experts on recovering from terrorist attacks. And still, their first impulse is to help others.

I don't suppose you'll see this anywhere in the mainstream media, though. Good news doesn't sell. | |



A lazy Sunday evening

Wind Rider came over tonight to help me network my old and new computers and transfer data. I tried it myself, but the direct cable route wasn't working, and, well, I put the wrong name in the wrong box anyway, so... hey, I made him dinner. And Tig and Gracie entertained him, too.

He brought Lair's bread over, and some candy from Texas, but he forgot the barbecue sauce. I'm trying to figure out how the two of them decided that I'm crazy for barbecue when I don't eat pork, and only just started going to certain barbecue restaurants around here, and frankly, mostly for the fried chicken. And, um, Lair, I'm really sorry, but that bread isn't my type. I don't care for parmesan or jalapeno, and only like garlic in my Chinese food (and not too much). Wind Rider kept most of it. He really liked it.

I did cut a big piece to share with Heidi and G., who will probably love it. I'll be over there tomorrow for my birthday dinner.

Oh, the lazy Sunday evening? It wasn't us. It was this guy:

Tig on the back of the sofa

Tough life, isn't it? That's the back of my sofa, which has very soft cushions. And a very contented cat, who stayed still for this picture even though a few minutes beforehand, I was brushing Gracie. The lure of the sofa was stronger than the lure of the brush. | |


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 is also a good bet if you've never been here before.