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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Our new townhouse gets a tiny sliver of light each morning, and the sun streams in again in the late afternoon. Against all odds, I’ve decided to plant a few dish gardens because “Bloom Where You’re Planted” is my mantra. And even though my green thumb has been noticeably absent when it comes to house plants – with the exception of orchids –  I’m determined to turn my horticultural track record around and plant cacti!

After all, who could kill a cactus plant?

They grow in the desert, so water isn’t a problem. I’m really good at forgetting to water things, houseplants are low on my list of priorities falling right after dusting. Gardens, in my opinion, belong outside. But cacti, in or out, do need a fair amount of sun. Therefore I will inch my cactus gardens into that small square foot of sometimes semi/saturated/sun space and hope for the best.

We all adapt to our environment. I’ve gone from living on the edge of a bird sanctuary in Massachusetts, to the Jersey suburbs, to the mountains of Virginia. And now I’m sitting here, in the alcove of our “open plan” Living/Dining/Kitchen room in the middle of a big city. Ms Bean has adapted to a collar and leash; and Bob has changed in his own way, he’s enamored of Uber, forsaking driving, and has just walked in from his daily bike ride!

City life is looking better and better. I’m about to meet the Bride for another look at the fashions of Downton Abbey before the Cheekwood exhibit closes.

I learned a few things from my last visit to “Dressing Downton; Changing Fashion for Changing Times.” For instance, skirts began to shorten during WWI, as nurses on the front lines shortened their hemlines to avoid mud and blood. Hence the Flappers of the early 1920s. Fashion was adapting to the pragmatic needs of working women. Corsets became unnecessary, along with bustles. Eventually, women started riding horses astride in pants, they gave up the ritualized riding costume to ride like a man!

I recently found out a food blogger I follow from Charlottesville, Kathy Younger of KERF, made up with a particularly nasty troll of hers who had created a synchronous, satiric website for two and a half years. One of the many cruel and snarky comments on this other site had said that I looked like a man in my Downton Abbey-type hat. Those of you who know me know I wouldn’t really care, but what was interesting was that this troll took the commenter to task, telling them my website MountainMornings.net was actually well written and interesting!

The funniest thing is I thought the troll was a man. Why? I’m not exactly sure, the writing was sharp and witty, but Tina Fey is sharp and witty. Maybe I just couldn’t imagine a woman cutting down another woman like that. It turns out her troll was a 20 something young woman from LA, one with her own issues, and she wanted to make amends. https://www.katheats.com/i-befriended-my-troll#Z2pOl6ZWizcpyJbw.01

What I wanted to know was who was paying for this troll to write her miserable copy almost every single day? I haven’t quite adapted to the business side of the internet yet, but Kath said there “…are huge networks like Google Ads and they run all over the internet, so you can’t really pinpoint single businesses. They run on so many sites that they probably don’t even know they’re on a troll site.”

Well shame on these advertisers! And just in case you think the White Supremacists marching in Cville shouting “Jews will not replace us” – which no Jew I know would want to do in the first place – was a fluke, Facebook has just announced it will trim its targeting system for advertisers. Yep, it will no longer search for people to target in ads who are self-proclaimed “Jew haters!” I kid you not… They said they are “…building “guardrails” into its processes to stop offensive self-reported profile traits being used as ad categories.” http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41278800

Did you know that a Jew born in Israel is called a “Sabra?” The name came from a kind of succulent that grows wild and free on the coastal areas, like a prickly pear. I’ve become rather proud of my bleeding post-potting fingers.

I hope that more platforms like Facebook and Google adapt to the troll and racist/anti-Semitic sites that pop up in the wild west of wifi, because free speech is becoming a synonym for spew all the hate you can, and we better learn how to handle this new territory.

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I remember what our cousin Jamie said to me a few days after 9/11. Her husband worked on Wall Street and she lived just a few blocks away from us on the Jersey Shore. “This is how the Israelis live every day.” It made me stop and think. To live in fear of the next suicide bomber on a bus, of a woman totally covered with hijab or a burka, or a terrorist, dressed as a policeman, with a bomb-exploding vest strapped to his chest. You learn not to trust anyone unless you know them, you build a safe room in your house, and then you go about your life.

I had to tell myself that the 9/11 terrorists shaved their beards and tried to look “normal” when they boarded our planes if I found myself profiling people in airline terminals. I remembered the Irish girl who’s Arab boyfriend packed a bomb in her suitcase the day before we landed in Heathrow. She was flying ElAl, so of course even in the 80s they found the bomb and arrested them. When the Bride lived in Paris her Junior year at Duke, she was profiled while trying to attend high holy day services at a synagogue. Could she recite the Hebrew prayers? After all, she didn’t “look” Jewish. Terrorists don’t all look like ninjas.

One news affiliate reported that one of the French suspects wanted to kill Jews, but his handler told him it was better to avenge their prophet by killing cartoonists. In a way this was a mistake. Because explaining the massacre of Jewish people, even today, fits into a tidy European notion of the Mid-East Conflict playing out in their neighborhood. It’s like saying black-on-black or gang-on-gang gun violence in the US doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t affect US. Mais non, let them kill each other is what conservative talk radio will say. Arab vs Jew? It’s a biblical dilemma right?

The Islamist terror campaign in Europe has focused on Jews and cartoonists, but it will not end with Jews and cartoonists. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/europe-is-under-siege/384305/

But flying planes into the Twin Towers, and now this massacre at a satirical French weekly, Charlie Hebdo, this brings the utter monstrosity of these Islamist zealots to light. It’s not just that they hate Jews, which they do, but they hate all of us…Westerners who speak freely and allow our art to be exhibited and our women to walk without covering our hair in the street.

Yes we allow photographs of a crucifix dipped into the artist’s urine to be displayed, and a painting of the Madonna in elephant dung to be in a museum. I am rather peeved that only the Huffington Post had the balls to publish the offending prophet cartoons. I guess the NYT doesn’t want to employ armed guards for its editors? Maybe every publication in the free world should pick a day to publish the offending cartoons? We should be like the Danes in WWII.

What this Paris attack has shown us, is that we are all living like Israelis now, whether we admit it or not.

If you want an in-depth look into how disaffected, home-grown terrorists are recruited from Europe and the US and taught to hate and kill in Yemen and Syria and Iraq, I’ve found this Foreign Policy website to be most instructive: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/09/live-coverage-multiple-hostage-standoffs-in-charlie-hebdo-hunt/

The terrorists in Paris want to die as martyrs, I say let them, and change the word to criminals.

By Ruben L Oppenheimer

By Ruben L Oppenheimer

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This morning Ms Bean started barking again. I looked out for deer, but looked up to find another hot air balloon coasting down the ridgeline. Good girl! Her ruff was up, and she pranced around the deck protecting us from that big monstrosity. I wonder what she’s thinking. We’ve had a number of them now, it’s not like she hasn’t seen one before in her almost 3 years on this planet mountain. They are all brightly colored, and they all make a strange noise when the flame appears in the sky.

I was surprised to find that the Facebook site I mentioned in the last post turned political rather quickly. The woman who wants to be able to drive legally in Saudi Arabia sent her sympathies to the Muslim women and children in Gaza. I almost chimed in, but restraint and common sense took hold and I held my fingers in check. There is no use arguing with people who think they know God’s will. I’ve begun the hard work of deleting “friends” from Facebook; I have no use for their racist and Nazi/quoting/end/of/the/world pronouncements about our election. As flawed as our democracy is, it’s all we’ve got.

We’re packing for our Big Chill Thanksgiving, in FL this year. These are our true friends, people we’ve known since we were teens. Smart people. There are 2 new grandbabies to introduce to the group, and another engagement to celebrate. I’m going to ask them to sign up for “Global Zero.” http://www.globalzero.org And you may want to check it out too…it’s a movement that asks the world to rethink our nuclear strategy, to “help seize a historic chance to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.” Call me crazy, but sometimes I think we might all want to choose peace.

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I’ve had enough of the General failures – old men and their sexual peccadillos. Hamas and Gaza are in the news this morning. Could the fragile MidEast peace crumble; what would it look like, to have Israel and Palestine peacefully co-exist? I’m becoming more and more of a pacifist, deploring war of any kind and for any reason. I’ve followed the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt via Facebook. But yesterday comments turned ugly, anti-semitic diatribes quoting wikipedia articles about which tribe actually owns their sacred land. Luckily, this morning by way of an Atlantic article, I found a different Facebook page, “Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself.”
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Teach-me-how-to-drive-so-I-can-protect-myself/132205866854879?ref=ts&fref=ts

A 32 year old IT consultant, Manal al-Sharif, started this page after deciding she should be able to drive a car around her home country of Saudi Arabia. She posted a video of herself ranting away while driving about the utter ridiculousness of this ban on women drivers. She was arrested, then released. Her Facebook page had 12,000 fans, and now it has 8,019 – hmmm, I wonder who’s been censoring her readership? Although well educated women in Saudi Arabia are not finding any jobs, simply because of their gender, female lawyers have recently been allowed to practice in the kingdom. Change is coming, just not fast enough for some.
http://amanpour.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/20/saudi-princess-opens-up-about-womens-right-in-saudi-arabia/

Here is a video about the freedom project in the Arab world. It is poignant, it is timely and it asks us to think about what choices we might have if we were born in Japan, or Mexico. The arbitrary nature of life on earth; we sometimes forget how our opinions have been formed over years of culture and family like a smooth stone. When old men send the young to war, over boundaries, over religion, over oil, what if we were all to stand strong and say, “No.” This is the existential crisis of our time. We women need to drive that conversation.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve become completely pissed off about the coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Nothing against you, London, you’re brilliant! On this beautiful morning, Americans are waking up to the Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings “Third Gold Medal Story.” The funny thing is, in our inter-connected world, there is absolutely no way NOT to hear about their victory, so staying up past your bedtime to watch the inevitable just seems well, to me, pointless. Which is why I’m so pointlessly tired this morning. Hooray for them http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/kerri-walsh-misty-may-tre_n_1757636.html and kudos to these California goddess’ who were lucky to have been born into stable, “normal” homes, graduated from college (Long Beach State and Stanford) and still manage to dominate their sport while looking good playing volleyball semi-naked in the sand in their mid-30s.

Now, let’s take off our sunglasses and cut to some of our other athletes. The not so lucky ones, like Lolo Jones. First of all, what a name and what a babe! I caught an interview where she mentioned “all the hate,” right after Rachel Maddow did a PSA about how Lolo was homeless for awhile as a kid…with the Salvation Army in the background. Now remember I love the Salvation Army, they were the only charity to show up after the Flapper’s car crash. It seems the “hate” Lolo was getting in the media came from, of all places, the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/sports/olympics/olympian-lolo-jones-draws-attention-to-beauty-not-achievement.html?_r=4&adxnnl=1&smid=tw-share&adxnnlx=1344524444-dC2lqwNIBMdznmbDmYzc1g
“Jones has received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign.”

I looked at the nude picture she was criticized for, sitting backwards on a chair looking over her shoulder; I thought we saw more skin in beach volleyball. It was like a modern VerMeer painting. I felt so bad for Lolo coming in 4th in the hurdles, but imagine she was 4th in the WORLD. Who is the NYTimes to say she’s all looks and no substance?

Now we have Gabby Douglas, the golden girl gymnast with a megawatt smile. And instead of focusing on her achievements, the media follows the trail of yellow/twitter/journalism about her “Flying Squirrel” nickname and Gabby’s family dealing with bankruptcy, and her hair…??

So Serena Williams is standing on the winner’s podium, her Afro flying gloriously around her face, getting her Gold Medal when the American flag flies off in the wind just as the words in our anthem begin, “…and our flag was still there.” And everybody smiles and congratulates each other, and gets the irony. But it’s all good, until she does a little Crip walk on the sidelines. OK so her extemporaneous dance is what you highlight? All those male peacocks, preening and posing and dancing at the Olympics and this offends?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/serena-williams-olympics-_n_1757245.html

A word to the wise young, female athlete. Don’t be too pretty. Do have a professional do your hair, and Don’t dance as if no one is watching. OR just ignore the blogosphere, the twitter feed and the main and not-so-main stream media. They haven’t caught up to you yet. This is the year of the woman at the Olympics – every country has been represented by our gender. For some reason, that fact doesn’t really make me rejoice.

But this does: a young Jewish gymnast , Aly Raisman from MA, dedicated her Gold Medal to the Munich 11. Thank you ALy, for doing the right and proper thing. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2185361/Olympics-2012-U-S-gymnast-Aly-Raisman-reveals-gold-medal-winning-routine-tribute-1972-Munch-Games-massacre.html

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