May 2007

Many thanks to Infidel753 for choosing to give this site one of five Thinking Blogger awards!

The Thinking Blogger award is meme-based, created by Ilker Yoldas. It’s a great idea. Memes were (or should have been) the original driving force behind the blogosphere.

The rules are:

  1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
  2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
  3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote

Here’s my top 5 mostly unaffiliated, fairly undiscovered blogs:

Good Neighbors

Good Neighbors is a communal blog created to “increase dialogue and understanding between all of the neighboring countries in the Middle East including Jordanians, Lebanese, Israelis, Palestinians, Egyptians, Saudis, Iranians, and Syrians.”

Imagine – people in the Middle East working together, expressing their opinions in an open forum, bypassing their loony leaders – there’s an idea that needs to catch on.

Fresh Bilge

Author Alan Sullivan shares his dream of living on a boat in Florida and his brave fight against leukemia. His descriptions of the hard work involved in keeping the boat afloat, plus his cool appraisal of the news and his own life events provide an outlook that shouldn’t be missed.

Jeha’s Nail

Lebanese blogger and skilled characaturist Jeha provides original political analysis, sophisticated social commentary and irreverently relevant pop culture clips.


Chaism’s John Atkinson comments on alternative energy at Winds of Change. On his own blog he comments on music, science, the blogworld, baseball and everything else that mostly passes under the somewhat fusty political blogworld’s radar.

Jane’s Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak provides expert commentary on a severely underreported place, Yemen. She’s been investigating the right peopIe, and has gotten results. She says “in Yemeni newspapers I have been called a Mason, a Yemeni man in disguise, a Hashimite, working for the CIA, working for the Socialists, residing in al-Arabait, and a Docile Student of a Monkey Monk.” Her Masonic Monkey Monk meme needs to be spread around.

Now it’s time for these bloggers to spread the linky love. And thanks again to Infidel753 for tagging Exit Zero.

Addendum: Seablogger Alan Sullivan reconsiders the “Thinking Blog” meme (in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way)


blue mosque


Istanbul, Turkey will be coming soon, but for the impatient, my spring vacation photos are posted faster on flickr.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately – I’ve been mostly offline, traveling in Greece and Turkey. Be back with pictures soon..


Jaffa Square


Walking down from Jaffa Square

suspended tree

Suspended tree, in the arts/crafts section of town


Waving to the tourists

Our first day in Israel was spent wandering around the town of Jaffa (about a 5 minute taxi ride from Tel Aviv). It’s a town that resonates with cultural and historical references, but to assess those references, read the Wiki – don’t pay for the film at the cultural center, which is mostly an advertisement.

However, do pay for a great lunch at one of the outdoor restaurants. The food is usually Mediterranean (as it should be, being served overlooking that sea) with arab and african influence.

My grossest great pointed archer sighting yet.

I was in the crowded 34th and 6th Subway station, (somewhere below the Manhattan Mall and Macy’s) waiting for the D train to take me downtown to Brooklyn when I heard a weird scratching noise on the pipes over my head.

Every instinct told me not to look up because there was only one thing that could be running with scratchy little claws on those slippery pipes – and if it fell, it would be falling onto my upturned face.

The scratching overhead turned out to be not one but two rats, who began screaming at each other, making that queer ‘yeek, yeek’ sound you hear in Willard movies. As the skittering grew louder, a single bone fell to the floor.

The normally unflappable New Yorkers around me were totally skeeved. It’s okay to see rats on the tracks where they belong, but over our heads? That’s not right.

UPDATE: Am I being a GreatPointedArcher-o-phobe? Maybe, but “Everyone’s a little bit speciesist”


While eating dinner in Akko, we noticed these teenagers swimming around and diving.

This was the last dive of the evening – they heard someone shouting (someone’s Mom?) then crouched down, gathered their stuff and left.

<a href=”;kassamrockets

discarded remnants of Palestinian bombs

The folks at One Jerusalem apparently took the same tour of Sderot that I took in December

During their tour, they saw some discarded rockets and some live ones. LGF has the video report.

The first shows Palestinian rockets collected at an Israeli police station, giving you an idea of how many of these attempts at random murder are going on every day. These are only the most recent rockets fired at Sderot, the ones that hadn’t been discarded yet…

..In the second video, the One Jerusalem editor and his guide are at the outskirts of the city when a rocket is launched from Gaza directly in front of their eyes—followed by loud music and chants of “Allahu Akbar!”

Mere Rhetoric describes the result of these horrific and constant attacks:

For the next day or so you’re going to see the IDF in a holding pattern. Helicopters will hover over Sderot and northern Gaza to try to limit rocket fire until a meeting this evening between Peretz and army brass. Last Sunday the regularly scheduled security cabinet meeting apparently worked out a number of contingency plans in case of a major rocket attack. They’ll choose one of those plans, the orders will go out, and some kind of operation will be implemented.

The only thing that might possibly hold off a ground invasion is if the government decides that Hamas and Fatah are killing more of each other than the IDF thinks it can reasonably do in short order. Which would be a frustrating decision, but not necessarily a numerically unjustified one. There’s nothing in the English-language Hebrew media that indicates pressure for a ground operation from anyone starting with the center-right on leftward, so the decision will probably be to escalate air strikes. Invading Gaza while the Palestinians are tearing themselves apart might be more trouble then it’s worth.

Then again – rockets are falling on schools and homes, on mothers and children. That can’t go on.

No, it can’t go on. During my tour, I could not understand how the people of Sderot had tolerated this for so long.

Next Page »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.