Wednesday, August 30, 2006

selichot

one of my favourite parts of the torah is in the book of numbers, at the beginning of chapter 14. the children of israel are complaining again, wishing they were dead, or back in egypt; and contemplating returning to egypt. a few chapters earlier i love the bit where they remember the melons and cucumbers and leeks they used to eat in the good old days! anyway, despite the pleas of moses and his guys, the congregation threatens to get nasty and are about to stone them when god shows up in the tabernacle. god is utterly fed up, and suggests that god will destroy them all and start all over again with moses. this could be a big opportunity for moses - to be the founder of a whole new, and hopefully better, people! so what does moses say? listen god - i think this is really bad p.r. for you. if you kill the children of israel now, the egyptians and the others won't be saying o well they were really whiny and totally deserved all they got. no, god, these guys will be saying that you are all mouth and no trousers. you made big promises, but you just couldn't follow through. don't you think it would be a better move to forgive the children of israel and give them another chance? and god responds: good point, moses. i shall do as you say.

WHAT WAS THAT?!

the holy sacred torah has a passage in it where moses argues with god, and not only is not struck down, but also changes god's mind?

indeed it is so. and it is not the only place in the torah where god's mind is changed after a discussion with a human.

this is such an important moment - i don't understand why it is not one of the most famous parts of all the torah. moses' words requesting pardon are part of our atonement services. the previous verses, however, where he dares to argue with god, are not highlighted.

i have so much to say about this, and no idea where to start.

first of all i'll go with brit, which i choose to translate as covenant. by this i mean a relationship, that i often describe on the one hand as a deal, i.e., god gets this and we get that; and on the other hand as a partnership, where we agree to work together towards a particular goal.

try and forget about all the power stuff with superman god smiting us according to his will and punishing us with his absence.

try and think about being in a relationship with someone that you think you could like if you got to know them better.

what kind of things might you do to develop this relationship in a positive way?

perhaps most organised religions started out as a way of gathering together the things they thought would help to develop this relationship.

the problem for me is that over time many people forgot that their records, their sacred scriptures, and the rituals that they had developed over the years, that these things were supposed to help them, rather than oppress them. by this i do not mean to say that if something is too difficult then it is ok to just bin it. i am trying to talk more about how the forms themselves become sacred over time, and the content within them, the thoughts and feelings that engendered them, start to melt into the faraway corners of memory.

trying to get back to the point here ... why am i so excited about the above passage of torah? because god listens. and god is flexible. and god is flexible enough to hear something difficult, and not let pride stop god from changing god's response. even the greatest power that the human mind can posit is able to turn and say hmmmmm maybe there is another way to do things. not only that, but god also is the one to begin the conversation.

whether you believe in god or not, is not the question. whether you believe in relationship, or not - that is the question! if so, what follows logically for me is how do i figure out how to be in relationship with anyone and anything? and that's where selichot comes in! selichot is a time put aside every year as we start to prepare for the new year. the summer is ending (unless you are in the southern hemisphere of course. apologies for my northerncentric perspective). it is a time when we can check in on our relationships, when we can turn to each other and ask, "are you ok?" and then, i hope, i can listen to the answer.

Monday, August 28, 2006

you tube pandas

i tubed you tube pandas

am now replaying these with great joy:



and the sneezing panda



an english version!



tai shan at the national zoo in dc a few months ago





and finally, panda preschool in china



my favourite piece of information - that while previously thinking that pandas were solitary creatures without many interests, scientists observing them now see that they like to be touched and played with and have friends with whom to play!

stuffed animal rights


betjeman's bear
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
not that i know any adults who sleep with teddy bears *ahem* but was interested to see in the telegraph today in an article about how betjeman had fibbed about failing an exam for artistic licence the following reference to his bear:

"The record of Betjeman’s pass in divinity is now displayed at the Bodleian Library alongside Archibald Ormsby-Gore, the poet’s teddy bear, which went on public display for the first time for the exhibition.

The bear was the inspiration for Evelyn Waugh’s creation Aloysius, the bear carried around by Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited. Betjeman died holding the bear in one hand and his elephant, Jumbo, in the other when he died in 1984."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

joy comes in the morning

just finished reading this book by jonathan rosen. auntie d. left it for me at pesach, and i just opened it yesterday. inside was a post-it note written in her handwriting: "a folk saying based on a saying in the talmud. a rabbi whose congregation does not (want) to drive him/her out of town, isn't a rabbi; and a rabbi they drive out of town isn't a man(woman)!"

well, i'm still here.

meanwhile, on p. 142, i read the following:

"... he realized how rudimentary his religious thoughts and feelings were; he had ignored them for so long. He had once written an article about art therapy for the elderly and one of the therapists had explained that you only draw as well as the last time you drew. For most people, this was in childhood, so most adults draw like ten-year-olds. Perhaps his religious life was like that, undeveloped and childish."

is it so for many people? that the last time they really believed in god it was the god they were shown as children: a white old man with a beard on a big throne up in the sky who knows if you've been bad or good and responds accordingly?

then you grow up and realise there is no santa, no tooth fairy and your parents screwed you and the whole world up so there is nothing left in which to believe except what you can hold in your own two hands.

has my religious life grown and matured since i was ten years old? at first i think that i had more faith then, because i believed in happy endings. on the other hand, having some small knowledge of how the world is, and all the evil and horror in it today, perhaps it is a greater sign of faith to remain within it, rather than to run screaming into the dark cloud. my father believed in the thread of gold that is the harbinger of the dawn to come. and he experienced the dawn, surviving the nazi peril and continuing to become a husband, parent and teacher. i'm still waiting.

Friday, August 25, 2006

poor pluto

the new york times reports on pluto's loss of status as a planet. does this set a dangerous precedent? for example, might qpr be in danger of losing its status as a football team?

"Editorial - And Now There Are Eight

Published: August 25, 2006

The world’s astronomers came to their senses yesterday and approved a new definition of the word “planet” that would drop tiny Pluto from the club and relegate it instead to a lesser realm of “dwarf planets.” It was a welcome step away from a proposal that would have kept Pluto as a planet but simultaneously opened the door for dozens of small, icy bodies on the fringes of the solar system.

The crucial vote came after tumultuous debate at a meeting of the International Astronomical Union, which had been considering a proposal to define a planet as any object that orbits a star and is large enough for its own gravity to pull it into a spherical shape.

That definition was scientifically precise but led to results that offended common sense. An asteroid, a small moon, and another icy ball like Pluto would suddenly have been catapulted to planet-hood, swelling the number of planets to 12, with hordes more icy rocks likely to qualify as more was learned about them.

Fortunately, the astronomers have now added another requirement to the definition. Planets must not only be large enough to be round, they must also have cleared out the neighborhood around their orbits. Pluto would not qualify — it orbits in a belt of icy debris on the edge of the solar system. Neither would an icy rock nicknamed Xena, which orbits in that same zone, nor Ceres, a big asteroid that marches in the company of other asteroids. Pluto’s moon, Charon, which had qualified under the first proposal, is also out of the running.

Pluto, with its small size and oddball orbit, should never have been deemed a planet in the first place. Henceforth there will be eight planets, at least three dwarf planets, and tens of thousands of “smaller solar system bodies,” like comets and asteroids. Our only regret is that the astronomers chose the name “dwarf planets” for Pluto’s new category instead of abandoning the word entirely when discussing these less-than-planetary bodies."

a picture is worth ...

"New York Times - Art Review
Walker Evans. Or Is It?

By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN
Published: August 25, 2006

A PHOTOGRAPHER snaps a picture. If it’s a camera with film, a negative is made; if it’s a digital camera, a file is produced. A printer, in a dark room using chemicals, or at a computer screen, can tinker with the image, crop it, enlarge it, make it lighter or darker, highlight one part or obscure another.

In other words, the image produced by the camera, whether it’s a negative or a digital file, is only the matrix for the work of art. It is not the work itself, although if the photographer is a journalist, any hanky-panky in the printing process comes at the potential cost of the picture’s integrity. Digital technology has not introduced manipulation into this universe; it has only multiplied the opportunities for mischief.

[snip]

Is photography closer to music and theater, or to painting? A painting is what it is, and copies of it are not the same. Music and theater exist through their variety of interpretations."

did you know that i used to be a photographer? i shot sport and theatre, mainly because there was already an agreement that what was taking place was there to be watched (vs papparazzi-style doorstepping) ... and because i loved them. i stopped because i needed to curtail the development of my amoral side. it was not to do with the photographing - i still love to do that. things one had to do, however, to get assignments; and then the kinds of assignments themselves, involved a lot of lying and stomping on other people - and while i found out that i could be quite good at that, i did not want to look back on my life and see nothing but a few bits of yellow newspaper swirling in the mist. also, 15 years or so ago, i figured that technology would pretty soon make me obsolete. why pay to send me to an event, and a biker to pick up the film, and the film guy to develop it; when you could look on a computer screen at the televised version, freeze the moment you want, and photoshop it?

anyway, this piece from the ny times today caught my eye and i lifted a few sentences to share with you.

my simple response is look mate you cannot lump it all together like that. for a start just separate it out into intention - where the intention is to record an event in order to convey to the viewer what is occurring at the moment of the shot. of course this is already edited by the photographer's eye & instinct, even if this is not conscious. nevertheless, if i take a picture of qpr scoring a goal (a rare event she said sadly, especially as they lost tonight on national television. mind you they always lose on national television :-( ), i believe i am recording an historical moment (and such moments are so rare as to be truly historical etc etc ad nauseam). i believe this intention is different to one who uses the camera, and the darkroom, as media of expression of one's view of the world.

another reason that i quit photography was that i was so busy trying to figure out how to frame what i saw through my nikon, that i rarely got round to experiencing life face on. i was so busy trying to save it for the future, that i never lived it in the present. one of the reasons i do not like photos being taken during b'nei mitzvah and other lifecycle ceremonies in the sanctuary is that i believe that if you know there will be some kind of record of the event, you are less likely to focus on being there, on taking it all in. i think that if you know it will be a one-off, you are more likely to be fully present.

on the other hand, if the photo is only a matrix, what am i worrying about?! gut shabbes!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

the beloit class of 2010

highlights from the beloit college mindset of the class of 2010 include:

Members of the class of 2010, entering college this fall, were mostly born in 1988. For them: Billy Carter, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, Billy Martin, Andy Gibb, and Secretariat have always been dead.

1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
6. There has always been only one Germany.
9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents'.
18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
19. "Google" has always been a verb.
28. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.
36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
52. They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
62. Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
63. Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
66. Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.
67. Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
68. "Outing" has always been a threat.
70. They have always "dissed" what they don't like.
74. Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.
75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.

to see the rest, click here

i also had a look at the mindset of the class that graduated this year:

3. South Africa's official policy of apartheid has not existed during their lifetime.
8. Big Brother is merely a television show.
9. Cyberspace has always existed.
20. China has always been a market-based reforming regime.
22. The U.S. and the Soviets have always been partners in space.
31. Women have always had tattoos.
32. Vanessa Williams and Madonna are aging singers.
47. Hip-hop and rap have always been popular musical forms.

yes, well, i have a birthday coming up next week and therefore need to beat myself over the head about how bloody old i am. maybe i will spend the whole week wittering on about how i remember when mobile telephones were the size and weight of a brick, and complaining that qpr players never had ads on their arses when i was but a lass. time to go listen to the monty python sketch of the four yorkshiremen i think ...

a bissele yiddish patriotism

thanks to r. jordan parr in texas for the following ditty:

(1943 translation of the Star Spangled Banner into Yiddish by Dr. Abraham Asen, described as "the foremost Yiddish adapter of English poetry,")

O'zog, kenstu sehn, wen bagin licht dervacht,
Vos mir hoben bagrist in farnachtigen glihen?
Die shtreifen un shtern, durch shreklicher nacht,
Oif festung zich hoiben galant un zich tsein?
Yeder blitz fun rocket, yeder knal fun kanon,
Hot bawizen durch nacht: az mir halten die Fohn!
O, zog, tzi der "Star Spangled Banner" flatert in roim,
Ueber land fun die freie, fun brave die heim!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

a second win ...

... and the first win in a cup match for about two years. qpr managed to scrape past northampton town at home 3-2, with ray jones scoring his first senior goal in the 90th minute. i tell you - i am beyond radio & telephone contact in the mountains over the weekend and the yanks sweep the red sox at fenway ... and i fall asleep listening to qpr live when northants equalise and miss the winning goal. if i were superstitious i might think that my absence is good karma for my teams :-)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

wtf!!!

floating around the blogosphere i came across the concept of private military companies and found the following at a site called 'global'security':

"Mercenary / Private Military Companies (PMCs)
The term mercenary is applied to a variety of historical situations which do not appear to have elements in common. Casca, the eternal mercenary, pulled the duty of nailing Christ to the Cross and was doomed to spend eternity as a soldier, a career that can lead to billets like sitting on five-gallon water cans in the cold desert wind on Christmas Eve in Saudi Arabia.

Estimates of the number of private international security personnel range from 15,000 to 20,000. That is as much as 15 percent of the total US presence of about 130,000 soldiers. These private contractors -- who most often work for corporations, diplomats, or journalists -- have no accountability to the US military. These private security contractors can earn up to $1,000 a day. NATO forces have used private soldiers for security in the Balkans. But the proportion of private security personnel to regular military soldiers was no greater than 10 percent.

Part of the US Occupation force in Iraq, the in-country commander, LTG Sanchez decreed that federal civilians will not carry weapons. But being well acquainted with some fellow federal civilians, if they were armed over here it would scare the "you know what". Consequently, every time civilians leave their "safe area", they must have what are called "shooters" with along. They are sometimes the mercenary security teams who are hired and paid by the contractors. Other times they are young American men and women in the US Army.

Since the end of the Cold War there has been a disproportionate growth in the tail to tooth ratio on the battlefield; that is, a marked escalation in the number of support functions relative to actual combat power. As weapons and equipment become more complex and challenging to maintain and operate, there is a greater willingness to rely on civilian contractors who can provide services ranging from monitoring advanced weapon systems to rendering technical assistance and logistical support. No longer restricted solely to acquisition and logistical functions, contractors often accompany the military into war zones and even into battle.

Is the battlefield contractor, in a sense, a corporate soldier and is the U.S. military becoming increasingly commercialized, privatized, and outsourced? The presence of civilians accompanying the force on the battlefield has legal and ethical ramifications and raises troubling questions relating to issues of chain of command, authority, accountability, force protection, and, ultimately, mission effectiveness. That presence, too, provokes discussion about the growth of the privatized military industry and the reliance on civilians in the realm of military training, international security missions, and peacekeeping operations.

The post Cold War world has given rise both to new problems and new opportunities. In many areas we need to test the received wisdom against an evolving post Cold War reality. The global confrontation of the Cold War and its massive military establishments have been winding down; instead we find ourselves in a world of small wars and weak states. Many of these states need outside help to maintain security at home. There may also be an increasing need for intervention by the international community. At the same time, in developed countries, the private sector is becoming increasingly involved in military and security activity. States and international organisations are turning to the private sector as a cost effective way of procuring services which would once have been the exclusive preserve of the military. It is British Government policy for example to outsource certain tasks that in earlier days would have been undertaken by the armed services.

The demand for private military services is likely to increase. The cases that attract most attention are those where a government employs a private military company to help it in a conflict – as the governments of Sierra Leone and Angola have done. Such cases are in practice rare and are likely to remain so; but we may well see an increase in private contracts for training or logistics. Some of this demand may come from states which cannot afford to keep large military establishments themselves. But demand may also come from developed countries. It is notable for example that the United States has employed private military companies to recruit and manage monitors in the Balkans.

A further source of demand for private military services could be international organisations. The private sector is already active and effective in areas that would once have been seen as the preserve of the military – demining for example. And both the UN and international NGOs employ private companies to provide them with security and logistics support. A strong and reputable private military sector might have a role in enabling the UN to respond more rapidly and more effectively in crises. The cost of employing private military companies for certain functions in UN operations could be much lower than that of national armed forces. Clearly there are many pitfalls in this which need to be considered carefully. There are, for example, important concerns about human rights, sovereignty and accountability which we examine in this paper.

Today’s world is a far cry from the 1960s when private military activity usually meant mercenaries of the rather unsavoury kind involved in post-colonial or neo-colonial conflicts. Such people still exist; and some of them may be present at the lower end of the spectrum of private military companies. One of the reasons for considering the option of a licensing regime is that it may be desirable to distinguish between reputable and disreputable private sector operators, to encourage and support the former while, as far as possible, eliminating the latter."

can this be for real?

here is what wikipedia has to say about it.

here is a list of private military company firms. i clicked on an israeli security company on the list and was not impressed by their highlighting of their protection of yitzchak rabin :-(

o yeah, and halliburton is on that list

i followed a link that was called 'the privatisation of peace and development' ... this is serious bloody stuff

and then there was also this lovely sentence in a box:

"Looking for a security job in a conflict or post-conflict zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan? Visit our recruitment area"

a whole part of life in this world that is so completely alien to me. IT'S NOT AN EFFING PAINTBALL GAME, Y'KNOW GUYS!!!

excuse me - i have to go and wash my brain now.

Monday, August 21, 2006

a walk in the wilderness - the mikva

ok, so i should write about my shabbat this past weekend at the women's weekend at elat chayyim. before i say anything, please look here to see the velveteen rabbi's take on her experiences at this jewish renewal retreat centre.

first of all - why did i go? short answer is that h. was going and asked if i'd like to go to and i thought why not - it'd be nice to spend shabbat as a congregant.

i also thought that it would be healthy for me to be a little uncomfortable and push my boundaries a bit and the main thing to do that was the mikva that would begin shabbat. although i have witnessed for many women in the mikva, i have never actually been dunked myself. the reason has nothing to do with religion or theology or anything like that. the reason has always been that i am ashamed to be naked in front of a stranger. look, i grew up in england which means i haven't seen myself naked since i was small enough to share a bath with my sister; and i'm hung up about being fat - two strikes to start with.

i got there about an hour before the mikva, and wandered around emanating anxiety. when we finally gathered, those of us with body-image issues gravitated to each other and discussed whether or not we would be disrobing. meanwhile, i had noticed that the women who were leading and guiding us had badges saying 'kohenet', and i figured they had been there for the whole week and had volunteered to help us integrate into the group. they then began to smudge us. i decided not to have this done as i wanted the mikva to be my method of purification and the mikva alone. it was the mikva i feared (not to mention the thirty naked women who were about to share the swimming pool with me). we were told to find a partner so we could witness for each other. the woman standing next to me offered herself and so it began. everyone was disrobing, so i did too. once i took my glasses off, i couldn't see anyone else, and so of course they could not see me. my partner asked me how i was doing, and i said i was in complete denial. she asked if she should tell me i was naked and i said no thank you i do know that why don't we get into the water?

gosh it was cold. a couple of the kohenets were cavorting in the deep end, while the rest of us inched gingerly along until the water covered our naughty bits. a few of us went deeper, and squealed when our nipples hit the water. nu - we held hands in a big circle, and shared some of the things we wanted to wash away. nobody mentioned anger. (when i told d. that she just said, 'liars!') once i was in the water everything was fine. i have now been dunked. afterwards one of the women for whom it was also the first time said that she was disappointed that it wasn't a more spiritual experience. i told her that i had not looked for that - for me the important thing was actually, finally doing it.

i guess it was kind of like virginity, or treif food - a taboo that seems scary to violate but if and once you do, it turns out to be rather nice :-)

later i hope to write about kabbalat shabbat, and shabbat morning, but i am a bit tired. laila tov.

ps am wondering who it is in the burg who pops into the blog every now and then. say hello my virginia friend!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

treppenwitz today

a snippet of a long expression of his beliefs and feelings:

"The world is making a horrible mistake by imposing a cease-fire on Israel in its war on Hezbollah. This shameful document grants a terrorist organization legal status and standing in the international arena and fails to punish the states who sponsor it (Syria and Iran)... or hold accountable the country (Lebanon) that allows it to dominate its political life and government.

This cease fire denies Israel (and every other civilized country) the right to defend internationally recognized borders, and in fact calls into question the very concept of internationally recognized borders!!! Quite simply, this cease fire resolution codifies in black and white that aggression is the new diplomacy and everything is ultimately negotiable."

is asking 'how can we be safe and not kill anyone to stay safe?' such a naive question?

there are no rockets coursing through the sky on a trajectory that will bring them near or to my home - it is easy for me to cry out for peace. have no doubt about it, that is what i wish for. please, however, show me the alternative to standing firm at the last line drawn after line after line has been stepped over.

the other day, i went to buy munchies before getting on the train to penn station. there was a handwritten sign on the counter saying 'back in a few minutes'. as i went back out of the waiting room i looked to my left, and saw the guy behind the counter on his knees on a prayer mat. i admired him for his devotion. i don't hate him, and presume he does not hate me. i figure he is just like my father, coming to the usa to make a better life and to live in religious freedom.

meanwhile, i need to buy a transatlantic plane ticket, and am excrement-scared of being blown up in the air. d. says she won't be surprised if suicide bombers start on restaurants and other public places in nyc like they do in tel aviv, etc. is this the price a liberal must pay for believing peace is possible? is it better to die than fight back? i just don't know ...

Monday, August 14, 2006

fear & loathing in port woebegone

a stream-of consciousness moment or two for you all!

so many of us are afraid. afraid of failing. afraid of being hurt. afraid of the unknown. we would rather stay exactly where we are right now, because at least we have a handle on this, at least we can cope. the potentially negative effect of change makes it not a viable option.

how do we deal with our fears? we make boundaries around ourselves so they cannot get in. how do we deal with the unknown? we make boundaries around it so it cannot get out. naming is a powerful example of this, e.g., "gender". there is a fluid spectrum between the polar opposites of male and female. however, at birth we are firmly placed at one end or the other. the lines are drawn around us so we cannot get out. the rest of the spectrum is named as perverted, weird, wrong; and thus separated out.

d. told me about boundaries in painting yesterday. how colours blend across the borders in both directions. and how scary it can be to let them go.

a permanent status quo equals stagnation. yet the very existence of life suggests process, suggests change. how then are we to deal with it?

if it is not healthy to stay at one point all the time, then perhaps an understanding of balance may help. if one is aware of the nature of one's relationships, one might be able to act to restore the balance when things get wobbly. balance and awareness - for me the key to making the most out of my life.

and this, for me, is the purpose of religion: a basic structure upon which to lean at times when i need to; and at the same time a set of teachings that help me develop my ability to relate to my self, other beings, and the world around me. it, and i need to be flexible, able to blend without fearing loss of self.

it's ok to name things, to put them in a box and limit them ... sometimes it has to be done just so i can get my head around it. "god" for example :-) just as long as i remember that just because i named it does not define it either universally or permanently. that would be pretty bloody arrogant. as a working title, however, it can be quite useful.

i think that's where the problem with a fundamentalist perspective lies. things get set in stone forever. it may feel safer, because you don't ever have to deal with change. but that's not how the world works, so automatically there is conflict.

have to go to the office now. more another time, i hope!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

five & one half months later

qpr actually won a game. a professional game. in the championship. for the first time in fourteen matches.

uuuuu rrrrr's!

in this shot (thanks to the qpr site) ray jones, matty rose, zesh rehman & nick ward congratulate the first goalscorer martin rowlands.

what a lovely weekend - proper summer weather for a change, and a qpr win, and the scum lost the charity shield. can't get any better than that!

now back to the real world ...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

les zazous

trolling the net to see what's going on out there, came across this lovely and obscure piece in the telegraph:

"A French wartime subculture gave rise to the modern DJ, says Frank Broughton

Exactly 100 years ago, by broadcasting Handel to some very surprised ships' radio operators, Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden became the world's first DJ. To celebrate the disc jockey's centenary, Bill Brewster and I have greatly expanded our book Last Night a DJ Saved My Life - The History of the Disc Jockey (Headline). Most think of DJs as mere entertainers, players piggybacking on other people's talent. We argue that the DJ is central to the story of popular music - that as taste-maker and musical gatekeeper, he has been the main motive force in its evolution. By championing the obscure, by importing and cross-pollinating different styles, and by gleefully splintering recorded sound in ways that have horrified musicians, the DJ has been music's most ardent revolutionary.

Research for the new edition took in acid house, the births of drum and bass and UK garage, and the strange Galapagos Islands of dance music which blossomed in mainland Europe when disco dried up. But for me most pressing was the part of our story that was slipping from living memory: the birth of the modern nightclub in Paris. Exactly why does the discothèque bear a French name? Tracing the answer took us all the way back to smoky cellars in occupied Paris. It also revealed one of the most bizarre youth movements in history.

Imagine, amid the grey serge of wartime France, a tribe of youngsters with all the colourful decadence of punks or teddy boys. Wearing zoot suits cut off at the knee (the better to show off their brightly coloured socks), with hair sculpted into grand quiffs, and shoes with triple-height soles - looking like glam-rock footwear 30 years early - these were the kids who would lay the foundations of nightclubbing. Ladies and gentlemen, les Zazous.

The Zazou look was completed with high collars, impossibly tight ties and long sheepskin-lined jackets, with a curved-handled umbrella carried at all times (copied from British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, regarded as quite a style icon). Female Zazous wore short skirts, shabby furs, wooden platform shoes and dark glasses with big lenses, and chose to go hatless, to better show off the single lock of hair they had bleached or dyed. They took their name from the Cab Calloway-style scatting in a song Je Suis Swing, by their hero, French jazz singer Johnny Hess.

Like peacock versions of Hamburg's swing kids, the Zazous thrived in opposition to the Nazis' hatred of jazz. When Goebbels issued edicts banning the "rhythms of belly-dancing negroes", the remnants of Montmartre's jazz community were deported, interned, or at very least unemployed. The scene that had raised Josephine Baker to legend resorted to home-grown musicians playing US jazz standards, renamed on programmes to fool the censors.

While the adults skirted the Nazi regulations, their younger counterparts favoured far more public defiance. Raising a finger to the world, the Zazous would shout "Swing", give a little hop, then cry out, "Zazou hey, hey, hey, za Zazou!," followed by three slaps on the hip, two shrugs of the shoulder and a turn of the head. Not surprisingly, Zazous were regular targets for the boot-boys of the collaborationist Vichy government, suffering organised beatings, having their heads shaved and being cast out to sweat in the fields.

As the pogroms began, some Zazous went even further and took to wearing yellow stars of David to show solidarity with the Jews. To underline their outlaw musical taste, they wrote "swing" across them. Several found themselves in internment camps as a result. Even stranger, when liberation was imminent, female Zazous blacked up their faces to show their love for jazz and America.

Crucially, it was the Zazous who gave Paris its enduring taste for dancing in cellars to records. Unable to congregate openly, they took their precious swing 78s underground, for les bals clandestins in cafés off the Champs-Élysées or in the Latin Quarter. There, they would throw English slang at each other, swap American novels and jitterbug to all hours.

In Paris, les Zazous remain a potent symbol of resistance - against both the Nazis and the stuffiness of an older generation. They were also the first club kids. After the liberation, Eddie Barclay, wartime jazz pianist, legendary lounge lizard and founder of the French record industry, followed their example and established the first nightclub to dispense with live music. So while the precise etymology of discothèque has so far defied discovery, we know that the concept of an intimate underground record club is ours thanks to the Third Reich and the jazz-loving layabouts who defied it."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

kiss pandas


kiss pandas
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
:-)

cabrera just homered for the yanks!


cabrera just homered for the yanks!
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
i wore this shirt when we flew out to florida. explained to d. what it meant, but as a mets fan she really didn't think much of it :-)

in the airport in florida a woman pointed out the shirt to her daughter and said, 'look, cabrera!' and i smiled.

fyi

the grauniad on the leeds game

sorry for all the footie stuff (although i'm not really) but here is a lovely snippet from rob smyth today that i just had to share:

"QPR equalised from nowhere in the 81st minute, when Martin Rowlands fired home an excellent penalty after Stephen Crainey had been punished for a soft foul on Gareth Ainsworth. "These days," fumed Blackwell, "you only have to fart in the box to get a penalty."

Any wind there was was taken out of QPR's sails within a minute of the equaliser, however, when Geoff Horsfield cushioned a volley into the corner from Steve Stone's defence-splitting flick but somehow Leeds threw it away again. Terrorised by Jones, a beast of a centre-forward, they were struggling to hang on when Ainsworth's cross was turned in at the near post by Baidoo."

feeling a bit homesick for an antiquated british sense of humour - think i'll go look for my copy of 'carry on up the khyber' ...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

government-sanctioned courtesy

from the bbc online today:

"Baby badges for Japan commuters

Rail companies in Tokyo are handing out badges to pregnant women in the hope they prompt commuters to give up their seats on the capital's crowded trains. The badges come in pink and blue and have the words "There is a baby in my stomach" printed on them. Health officials said people sometimes could not tell if a woman was pregnant, especially in the early stages.

Japan is worried about a population decline and is seeking ways to make pregnancy and having children easier.

Rail officials have been handing out the badges at stations since 1 August.

One commuter welcomed the initiative.

"When I was three months pregnant and got on the train, no-one would really notice me and I couldn't really ask them to give me a seat," Yoshiko Kato told Reuters news agency.

Japan's fertility rate has continued to fall in recent years, hitting a new low in June.

Officials have predicted a serious effect on the economy and have introduced a variety of initiatives to persuade women to have more children.

These have included expanding child-care facilities, improving employment conditions for mothers and even government-sponsored speed-dating."

qpr's first point!


06 rowly vs leeds
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
for all the newspaper stuff about qpr, the qpr report link on the right is really good.

we drew with leeds 2-2 at home, but it was one of those games when we equalised in injury time and snatched the point. the magnificently-named shabazz baidoo was the scorer.

amazing how a little thing like that goal can raise the spirits of thousands of people.

o yes, and england won the test match against pakistan ... now to see if the yankees can make it 3 out of 3

Monday, August 07, 2006

religion without services or ritual?

an article from today's daily telegraph:

"Religion off the agenda in 'church of laughter'
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

(Filed: 07/08/2006)

For those who are curious about Christianity but disillusioned by the institutional Church, there is a novel solution - drop the religion.

The Rev Ian Gregory, a cleric well known to readers of The Daily Telegraph for launching the Campaign for Courtesy in an attempt to improve manners, has embarked on a new project which he calls "Christianity without religion".

Out goes the "archaic mumbo-jumbo" of church services and the "silly arguments about things that don't and shouldn't matter"; in come chats about anything that makes you feel good and the world's first dedicated "laughter room" because "laughter is as important as prayer".

Mr Gregory, a congregational minister who retired last year after 20 years, is launching the radical experiment in an unused chapel in Cheadle, Staffs.

He said that he had recently realised that much of his ministry had missed the point.

"I look back on the past 20 years and think, what the Dickens was I doing? I now advise people who are bored with church not to go," he said.

"People are fed up with religion. The bar-room talk is that it causes too much trouble in the world. But people are intrigued by spirituality and by figures such as Jesus and Buddha."

The traditional Sunday morning service will be replaced by "coffee and laughter" - videos of classic comedy films during which people will be able to come and go or read the Sunday papers over tea and toast.

Mr Gregory, a colourful figure who prefers bright ties and a trilby to clerical garb, will then be available to people for "one to one personal consultations" and "healing prayers".

He will also launch a course devoted to people's self-image and confidence, with sessions entitled "Have you a right to be happy?" and "The art of conversation."

In a concession to more traditional religion, he will hold Christian worship on some Sunday afternoons, which will consist of a mixture of hymns, prayers, readings and discussions.

Mr Gregory said that religion-free Christianity was first promoted by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian who was hanged by the Nazis in 1945 for his part in a plot to kill Hitler.

"He saw the way people were disillusioned with church, but attracted to Jesus Christ," said Mr Gregory. "I'm convinced that Jesus Christ had profound and important things to say to people, but they have got lost in squabbles and worries about church buildings.

"The politics has taken over and the message has been obscured."

The Church of England has been experimenting with new ways to attract people back to the pews, but none so extreme that they dispose of institutional religion altogether.

The Rev Mark Ireland, the Church of England Missioner for the Diocese of Litchfield, wondered whether Mr Gregory's church was proclaiming the "good news of Jesus Christ" in what he was doing.

"People are very interested in the good news but not so interested in church," he said. "We have to accommodate that. But church is an indispensible part of the package. Being part of a worshipping missionary community is how we encounter God.""

i love the idea about the importance of laughter. i have, however, 2 big problems with this approach: i think music is as important and effective as laughter; and then there is the issue of comfort and support at times when you and/or the world are in trouble. i just finished reading the david mccullough biography of president john adams, and right at the end noted the following quotes:

"Admire and adore the Author of the telescopic universe, love and esteem the work, do all in your power to lessen ill, and increase good, but never assume to comprehend." (p 630)

&

(to his grand-daughter) "You are not singular in your suspicions that you know but little. The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know ... Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough ... So questions and so answers your affectionate grandfather." (p 650)

is it not possible to accept that there are things we cannot know, and at the same time aspire to grow in knowledge? does it have to be faith or reason? i believe that religion developed precisely in order to encourage ethical behaviour in the face of a sense of powerlessness about our world and the things that happen there. and the core of ethical behaviour is how we relate to each other. thus, i suspect that getting rid of communal services in favour of individual chats may not be as helpful as the minister hopes, since it removes a major opportunity to be in community.

i'd be happy to stay after services to watch a bit of 'little britain' though!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

reuters admits doctoring of photo

big surprise - some of the photos of what is going on in lebanon, and presumably everywhere else, have been digitally 'enhanced'.

see here for a link to the reuters story.

lies, damn lies, etc.

from today's sunday times

"The Sunday Times August 06, 2006

What the British Jews think of Israel's war
There are doubts about tactics, but also resentment of media bias, says David Rowan

When two shipwrecked Jews were finally discovered on a tiny desert island their rescuers could not understand why they had spent their days building three synagogues. “Isn’t it obvious?” one of the dishevelled survivors shrugged. “An Orthodox one for me, a Reform one for him — and a third that neither of us would ever set foot in.”

When I began editing The Jewish Chronicle three months ago I was warned that this ever-so-slightly opinionated community of 300,000 or so people might drive me to empathise with Golda Meir’s supposed complaint to Harry Truman: that if he thought he had problems, she had to run a country comprising a couple of million prime ministers. Maybe it’s the centuries of Talmudic debate, but oy, do the Jews love a good argument.

So it is remarkable, amid all the juicy communal rows and furious falling-outs that normally tumble like manna onto our news pages, to see such a high degree of unity in support of Israel’s assault on Hezbollah. Even after Israel’s disastrous and widely condemned airstrike on the Lebanese village of Qana last Sunday barely a handful of our readers have been willing to voice open criticism of Ehud Olmert, the prime minister.

In private conversations with rabbis, activists, educators and ordinary secular and religious Jews from Gateshead to Golders Green, I heard all sorts of nuanced views last week, ranging from deep sadness at the suffering on both sides and reservations that Israel’s bombing campaigns might be undermining its longer-term security to anger at a perceived media bias in Hezbollah’s favour.

But publicly, for all the doubts being expressed about the efficacy of Olmert’s military strategy, there remains an extraordinary degree of agreement that he is absolutely morally justified in pursuing his lonely battle against the terror force next door. Because this conflict, it is widely understood, is a battle for Israel’s very survival against an enemy — backed by Iran and Syria — committed to eliminating the Jewish state.

For a mere newspaper editor to claim to speak for the diversity of British Jewry would be to invite an e-mail rocket assault as ferocious as anything raining onto Haifa and the Galilee. So what we have been doing, as the paper where the debate is taking place, is listening to readers’ views, asking questions and reflecting the breadth of opinion, from gung-ho heads of public companies to liberal Peace Now activists, even holding our breath to acknowledge ultra-religious anti-Zionist extremists such as Neturei Karta, whose rabbis march alongside Hezbollah flags and befriend Iranian Holocaust-deniers in their mutual quest to terminate the state of Israel.

Shortly before Qana we sent our reporters out on the streets across Britain to ask Jews, in roughly proportionate numbers to the community’s population distribution according to the census, whether they supported Israel’s actions in Lebanon. Of the 100 who responded 84 said “Yes” and just six said “No”. When asked, more specifically, whether they felt that Israel had overreacted in its response to Hezbollah, 70% felt that it had not, and only 20% felt that it had — a marked contrast to surveys in the national press.

Last week, as media coverage conveyed an increasingly decontextualised picture of Israel as the aggressor in this conflict, and commentators felt daily less restrained from making shameful assertions about its “genocide” and “Nazi-style collective punishment”, we repeated the exercise by talking to a range of public Jewish figures in fields from academia to the arts.

This time, with many respondents expressing heartfelt concern about civilian deaths in both countries, a widespread sympathy for Israel’s need to respond determinedly was tempered by an increasingly outspoken minority view that in practice its military strategy had proved flawed.

Authors such as Dannie Abse and Lisa Appignanesi told us that Israel’s military response to Hezbollah had indeed been “disproportionate”; the playwright Arnold Wesker, while blaming Hezbollah and the Lebanese government for the conflict, worried that “hollow Israeli apologies” for Qana demonstrated a “blind(ness) to the image they are allowing to be presented to the world”.

Such increasingly open criticisms are still far from the dominant views of mainstream British Jews, for whom the psychological safe haven that is Israel must be protected at all costs from enemies committed to its extinction. More representative of our mailbag are the comments we reported from the writer Simon Sebag-Montefiore, who berated the few “silly Jews in comfortable Hampstead villas” who failed to see that “Israel has every right to defend itself against Hezbollah, a powerful anti-western, Iran-backed terror state-within-a-state [that had] fired missiles from civilian areas precisely to provoke tragedy”.

Maureen Lipman, too, was contemptuous of “assimilated, sometimes self-despising Jews such as Gerald Kaufman and Harold Pinter” who had been openly critical of Jerusalem. “What exactly is a proportionate response to unprovoked attacks on a country’s borders and to the kidnapping of members of its armed forces?” she asked. “A letter? A sanction? A slapped wrist?”

But if openly articulated dissent within this community is beginning to grow amid deep soul-searching about Olmert’s dangerously overbullish military assessments, his forces’ poor intelligence gathering, and the wider consequences of such widespread destruction of Lebanese infrastructure and services — not to mention the heart-stopping images of dead children beamed around the world’s television networks — there are two aspects of this conflict that continue to unite most readers in agreement.

First, there is a widespread perception that much of the British media — in particular the BBC — is failing to report the conflict fairly. With more than 2,000 Hezbollah rockets pouring into Israel, with hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians displaced, with loose talk on broadcast discussions of Israeli “war crimes” and rather less focus on Hezbollah’s own breaches of international law — there is an assumption among many of our readers of an instinctive anti-Israel bias.

Second, and far more significantly, there is a fear that events in Lebanon will make life more difficult for diaspora Jews wherever they stand on Lebanon. In last week’s paper we covered the desecration of Berlin’s Holocaust memorial, the vandalism of Jewish shops and synagogues from Sydney to Rome, and Mel Gibson’s outburst about Jews being “responsible for all the wars in the world”. We also reported on growing evidence of anti-semitic attacks in Britain including the swastikas and phrase “Kill all Jews” daubed onto a Jewish doctor’s home in Hampstead Garden Suburb.

That, in essence, is why what unites British Jews matters more at a time like this than what divides us. Because, as a rabbi reminded me last week, when a Lebanese-born Hezbollah suicide bomber killed 85 Jews in Argentina 12 years ago, he didn’t stop to inquire where they each stood on the war.

David Rowan is editor of The Jewish Chronicle"

plus ca change


burnley 2-0 qpr :-(
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
did anybody expect us to win? perhaps not. did anybody hope we would? absolutely! honestly, what a day ... rangers lose, the yanks are blanked, and pakistan put on a great 3rd-wicket stand against england.

on the other hand, this evening over at d's i discovered the dog whisperer on television. after watching 3 episodes i am now a much more confident human. i just have to remember the power of the pack

Saturday, August 05, 2006

space centre piglet


piglet @ the challenger launch pad
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
another picture from florida. don't you think piglet actually looks like the space shuttle here? it's the arms ...

the game has started.

uuuuu rrrrr's!!!!!

qpr qpr qpr


06-07 ward in action by nico
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
am v. excited - the season proper begins in 10 minutes. am ready to listen live online, and meanwhile have the test match cricket scoreboard on my desktop. these are the lovely last days of summer!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

great big ooooops & sorry

turns out it was LARRY miller not dennis and i have been hoist by an internet canard. apologies to all millers and their friends. thought my source was reliable. he thought his source was reliable. sadly, a fine example of lashon hara, and i apologise to all of you also. here is the explanation from www.snopes.com:

"Dennis Miller is celebrated for his R-rated, no-holds-barred political commentaries because they cut to the heart of disturbing issues by using humor as a lens through which to view current events. His "rants" make us laugh, but they also make us think, which lifts his form of humor above mere entertainment and into the realm of provocative editorializing that so often helps folks see old situations in a new light.

The voice of the Internet essay now attributed to him seems to many to be his, and its appearance in their inboxes emblazoned with a notation that it's "from Dennis Miller" confirms this perception. Yet the piece now being laid at his feet is not his work; it's the effort of another social commentator who bears a similar name.

This diatribe is actually part of a column by humorist Larry Miller which appeared in the Daily Standard on 22 April 2002. It is a reaction piece to a 10 April 2002 FOX News Network

interview conducted by Greta van Susteren with Ishmael Abu-Shanab, spokesman for the Hamas political wing in the Gaza strip, and American attorney Stanley Cohen, who has represented the head of Hamas.

The version circulating on the Internet omits a four-paragraph lead-in about the ludicrosity of anyone named Cohen's defending Hamas, the Palestinian organization responsible for the 27 March Passover bombing that killed 19 and injured 100 at a hotel in Netanya, as well as many other bombings. It also leaves off the five-paragraph finish primarily devoted to a discussion of Colin Powell's (then) projected peace mission and disparagement of van Susteren's politeness to her two guests. The core of the article — the "brief overview" — is reproduced faithfully.

This was not the first piece by Larry Miller to have gained widespread Internet circulation while attributed to a different source. In March 2002, his essay decrying a tendency to minimalize the horror of terrorism and society's washing its hands of problems that don't yield to easy solutions ("You Say You Want a Resolution") rocketed through cyberspace attributed to Gen. Richard E. Hawley, a United States Air Force general.

Larry Miller suffers the unenviable fate of seeing not one, but two of his essays acclaimed by the masses but attributed to other writers. This is not the sort of fame every author aspires to."

a message from mel gibson?

just found this on yahoo news:


"Rabbi invites Mel Gibson to speak at Yom Kippur
Wed Aug 2, 4:29 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A well-known American rabbi has invited actor Mel Gibson, who has come under fire for recent anti-Semitic remarks, to speak at his synagogue for Yom Kippur.

"I wish to invite you to come and speak in order that you might directly express to the Jewish community your remorse," Rabbi David Baron, of the Beverly Hills-based Temple of the Arts, wrote in a letter to the actor dated August 1.

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, falls on October 1 this year.

Gibson, who checked into a detoxification program on Monday, apologized to the Jewish community on Tuesday for anti-Semitic remarks he uttered while being arrested for drunken driving and asked to meet Jewish leaders to make amends.

"I am not just asking for forgiveness," he said. "I would like to take it one step further, and meet with the leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing."

The TMZ.com celebrity website released a police report in which the devout Catholic director of the blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ" referred to "f...ing Jews" after his car was pulled over in the dawn hours Friday at twice the legal speed limit.

"The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," he was quoted as saying in the report after first asking the arresting police officer: "Are you a Jew?"

Rabbi Baron, who describes his Temple in a letter posted on the TMZ.com website as "the largest entertainment industry synagogue in the United States," said that the key to Gibson's apology "is the sincerity of the individual and it must be demonstrated in word and deed."

Every year Baron invites a high-profile celebrity to speak at his synagogue for Yom Kippur. In 2005 New York Senator Hillary Clinton spoke about personal forgiveness, the letter read."

o dear o dear o dear
cynical ravaj says great shot rabbi - maybe if i had ideas like that i would have a much more successful career in the congregational rabbinate.
non-cynical ravaj is already asleep - i should go join her ...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

a message from dennis miller

a very old friend out west just sent me the following words, attributed to dennis miller. what do you think of them? meanwhile, a new friend with whom i had a fine indian meal last night said to me it is better to let israel go than to behave intolerably in order to save it. what do you think of that?

"For those who don't know, Dennis Miller is a comedian who has a show called Dennis Miller Live on HBO. He is not Jewish.
He recently said the following about the Mideast situation:

"A brief overview of the situation is always valuable, so as a service to all Americans who still don't get it, I now offer you the story of the Middle East in just a few paragraphs, which is all you really need.

Here we go:

The Palestinians want their own country. There's just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians. It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern invention

Before the Israelis won the land in the 1967 war, Gaza was owned by Egypt, the West Bank was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians."

As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the "Palestinians," weeping for their deep bond with their lost "land" and "nation."

So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word "Palestinian" anymore to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy
at our deaths, until someone points out they're being taped. Instead, let's call them what they are:
"Other Arabs Who Can't Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death."

I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then: "Adjacent Jew-Haters." Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing. No, they don't. They could've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, especially two years ago at Camp David but if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living.

That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region want: Israel. They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course -- that's where the real fun is -- but mostly they want Israel.

Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel - or "The Zionist Entity" as their textbooks call it -- for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on God's Earth, and if you've ever been around God's Earth . . you know
that's really saying something.

It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Middle-east. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.

Chew this around & spit it out: 500 million Arabs; 5 million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that, if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals..

Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din
of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

My friend Kevin Rooney made a gorgeous point the other day: Just reverse the Numbers. Imagine 500 million Jews and 5 million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it. Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of course not.

Or marshaling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab State into the sea? Nonsense. Or dancing for joy at the murder of innocents? Impossible. Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their
bread with the blood of children? Disgusting.

No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.

Mr. Bush, God bless him, is walking a tightrope. I understand that, with vital operations in Iraq and others, it's in our interest, as Americans, to try to stabilize our Arab allies as much as possible, and, after all, that can't be much harder than stabilizing a roomful of super models who've just had their drugs taken away.

However, in any big-picture strategy, there's always a danger of losing moral weight. We've already lost some. After September 11th, our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the countries that supported them. Beautiful. Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day), start to do the same thing we did, and we tell them to show restraint.

If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east of the Jordan."

you may not appreciate the manner in which this is presented ... consider, however, how much of what he refers to is accurate.

l'shalom