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Monday, October 05, 2009

Strike Two

I have a very good friend who used to bail out on virtually ALL social occasions. She couldn't explain why, and those of us in her circle of friends just gradually came to accept that Kay was a flake. Kay didn't see it that way--she found social gatherings uncomfortable and anything more than two or three people was reason to not show up.

I didn't understand it, but looking at her career, it made sense--she spent all day working as a counselor in mental health and juvenile delinquency settings, and the idea of using her leisure time to navigate through the pitfalls of social gatherings with friends, strangers, friends-of-friends and sometimes relatives was probably unappealing.

I don't have her excuse. I'm two-for-two, having missed the JBlogger Convention because of work (training day--not negotiable) and today missed the JBlogger Picnic which I've been looking forward to for a week.

Unlike Kay, I actually LIKE meeting people, and friends of friends (we'll leave relatives out of it for now, with the exception of my sister-in-law and my cousins, who are gems)and listening to other people's take on things--whether or not I agree with them.

But I got up early (0530) to get started early on work, and skipped the gym so I'd be done by 3pm, all with the intention of swinging over to Gan Sacher with my family in tow to meet with bloggers I already know and hopefully bloggers I haven't met yet.

"You guys ready?" I called, shutting down the laptop.

"Do I HAVE to go?" grumbled the teen. "I REALLY don't want to do this."

"I have a headache," the Husband muttered from the couch.

"Oh, c'mon, I've been looking forward to this all week," I remonstrated. "The weather is great, there's a sukkah, we'll stop and get burgers or a felafal so you don't have to prep or pack."

Mike rolled his eyes at me. "This is not something I really want to do...I'll go if you insist because you're my wife, but I'd rather do a lot of other things."

"I don't want to go...." the Kid announced for about the 17th time [yes, I heard you already...]

"But it's Sukkot, and I thought it would be fun to go out and do something together as a family---I want to go, but I don't want to go by myself while you guys just hang out at home...what do YOU want to do?" I asked.

"I dunno." "I dunno."


"Look, I've been glued to a computer screen for eight hours, unmoving. My eyes hurt. My muscles hurt. My back hurts. I need to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND DO SOMETHING!!" I explained as rationally as possible.

"Well, I understand that," my husband conceded. "What do YOU want to do, other than go hang out with a bunch of people I've never met and wouldn't have a clue how to talk to?"

"Why not? They're olim, like us, and Jewish, like us.....you don't have to talk about writing and blogs. Talk about life." I amended cheerily.

He sank lower in the couch. "I really do have a headache. I don't feel like being social."


We finally agreed on the (ugh) Mall -- I could use my gift card to buy books at Steimatzky's, Josh could go look for a new computer game he wants, pick up some decorations for the sukkah, and we could all sit and have a chat over iced coffees...as a family. Something we don't do often enough any more. School, work, the rush of life going by....

It was fun. Then we came home, made dinner and ate in the sukkah, and my back didn't hurt, my eyes didn't hurt and Mike's headache had gone....

So I'm sorry for acting like my flaky friend, and I realize this is the SECOND Jblogger event I've missed...but shalom bayit was important today.

Chag Sameach!

Friday, October 02, 2009


My parents tell me that when I was very little, toddling around, my father and his friends would gather to watch American football at the house during the Fall while their wives would go shopping. This meant that the men were the babysitters for the afternoon, and the toddlers learned to drink beer, eat chips, and acquired new vocabulary, like "Touchdown!"

I've been a football fan all my life as a result, and one of the nicer things about growing up in the Bay Area was going with my family to watch the Oakland Raiders slaughter, or get slaughtered, on the field weekly during The Season.

One concept I caught on to early in football fandom was "offsides." It's a tactic designed to fake your opponent into a mistake that you can capitalize on by getting him penalized. Two teams line up facing each other, with the team in possession of the ball getting ready for offensive maneuvers. The quarterback is calling a code which will signal the snap of the ball and the start of the play. The idea is to get the ball downfield in your team's possession, into the end zone, and score. The closer your team is to the end zone, the better position you're in for scoring.

"Offsides" is what happens while the count is going down. Usually one member of a team at the far end of the line will act as if the ball has gone into play by suddenly jerking, or lifting an arm off the ground, or moving in a fashion indicative of offensive or defensive behavior. He has to do this without the referee seeing him, or it's all over, because you can't deliberately fake the other team into movement. But if he gets away with this subtle movement, and the opposing team member charges across the line before the ball has been snapped, it's a penalty for that team. This is "offsides" and the penalty is that your team loses yardage and ends up in a poorer field position--making it easier for your opponent to score a touchdown.

There's a tremendous amount of willingness of the western world to hand off the ball to Israel these days. Not only does the West drag its feet regarding sanctions, but there is only lip service paid to anything remotely resembling military action, usually something vague like "all options are on the table," whatever that's supposed to mean. The general consensus seems to be, "Let the Israelis do it," while at the same time loudly warning us not to do anything rash.

Thanks for nothing, world.

Having taken out Iraqi and Syrian above-ground nuke facilities virtually next door, the world seems to think that rather than dirty its hands (and upset its trade balance), Israel should be only too happy to hit Iran's nuclear facilities and make the world safer for western interests. The argument seems to be that it's in Israel's best interest to do so, so why not subcontract the dirty work to us and not risk any blow-back from the Axis of Evil.

This is where the concept of "offsides" stops me cold.

If it's all so urgent and important that Iran be stopped from developing nuclear weapons, which they have openly stated that they intend to use against Israel, then why isn't the United Nations doing something? Isn't that the U.N. Mandate? Or why isn't NATO scrambling? Or any Coalition forces? If Iran's nukes are a threat to world peace, (and they definitely are--if Iran can get away with nuking Israel, no one is safe, folks) then why isn't the world collectively flexing its military muscle and telling Iran to stand down?

This collective pushing of Israel into military action smells like "offsides" to me. That's right -- let Israel take its best shot at taking out the almost impossible to hit, multi-site, underground reinforced nuke bunkers, and then when Iran retaliates with the nuclear device (or two, or three--that's all it would take for a country as small as ours)purchased from or donated by North Korea or the Russian mafia and delivered by its proxy Hezbollah, the world will crack its jaw yawning and utter, "oh, isn't that too bad, but Israel had it coming, after all, the Israelis started it."

I have this sense that we're being faked into moving against an opponent simply so he has the opportunity to penalize us and better his field position for the next play.

If Netanyahu were to ask me (and no, he won't) my suggestion would be that we sit tight. Don't move against Iran. Let them get their nuclear bomb (I personally agree with Bret Stevens--I think they've already purchased a couple from North Korea and have them on ice, so hitting their labs is a waste of time anyway), and then see what they do with it. I don't think even the ayatollahs have the stomach to start a nuclear war, all their bombast to the contrary. Go ahead--get your bomb and explain to your starving people that sanctions, gasoline rationing, food shortages and 300% inflation was worth it, and that's why we stole your votes, by the way.

Let them eat nukes.

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