The Judas Goat – Robert B. Parker


Fifth in the Spenser series, this one sees the eponymous private eye recruited to track down the members of a terrorist group who maimed a business man, and killed his family. Spenser gets to go abroad, and brings in the mercurial Hawk as an aide. The Montreal Olympics feature as part of the back drop.

The story is straightforward enough, though there is less of the Spenser repartee than usual, and the plot demands a tad too much on convenient events. But it’s entertaining, and certainly flows fast enough.

Not the best of the bunch so far, but neither was it the worst. I’m up for more.


These people are absolutely nuts

From the Times of Israel:

In honor of Iranian mother’s day, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took to Twitter Sunday to vent his spleen share his views on gender issues, asserting that the West considers women to be “goods and means of pleasure” and that this is the product of the “Zionists’ plot.”

You choose: he’s insane, or he’s off his medication, or he is so blighted by hatred that everything he doesn’t like is the fault of the Zionists.

Could it be all three?


Saddest Quote of the Day

The following is from the Elder of Ziyon:

“There are more NGOs in the Palestinian-administered territories than anywhere else on Earth. But they get their money from those who only want to bash Israel, not to protect Palestinians from human rights abuses by their own people. So most of them take their EU funds and rehash the information they have to write yet another anti-Israel reports while actual victims of daily human rights abuses have nowhere safe to turn for help.”

Sad. True. Awful.

(You can read the original here.)


Guardian true to its propaganda mission

I heard about it. You must have heard about it. Everyone heard about it. As the Times of Israel reported:

Intel to buy Mobileye for $15 billion in largest purchase of Israeli tech

By any sensible definition, that’s news. It’s the “largest ever purchase of an Israeli high-tech company” and it’s by one of the most famous companies, involving technology in an area everyone is talking about, interested in, and keenly watching developments there.

If you depend on the Guardian for your news, however, that deal is not there for you to read about. Some earlier activity of Mobileye, for example its Intel and BMW tie up, was reported (see here) and the report even included the dreaded (for the Guardian) “Israel” word.

But it appears this mega deal, this BDS ball-buster, this wonderful, wonderful confirmation of all that’s good in the world of Israeli high-tech – all of that was too bitter a pill for the Guardian to swallow and publicize.

What bitter, twisted, propaganda obsessed thinking.


On Peace, Trump, Bibi, and the Media

Regardless of whether you are pro or anti Trump, or pro or anti Netanyahu, if you have a shred of objectivity, you will acknowledge that the media coverage – or perhaps barrage would be a better description – of the build up to their meeting, the meeting, and the follow up to their meeting, was largely partisan in nature. Each media outlet hammered away at its own position, with substantial swipes at both leaders. Some of these media people clearly hate Trump or Netanyahu or both. And, almost without exception, a combination of their hate, and their obsession with their own view as the one true way, blinds them to doing what they should be doing.

First, they should be reporting on the facts. Not the facts as they see them, but what the parties actually said or did.

Second, they are entitled to offer up analysis, but it should be credible, and honest. Much of it isn’t.

Third, if they have any pretense of objectivity, they should be offering a perspective from both sides. And not just from the so called liberal or left wing camp.

With all of the above in mind, they may care to reflect that the objective is to establish peace, and not to establish peace only on their preferred lines. And when you stop to think about it, you may come to the same conclusion that the estimable Elder of Ziyon has here. As he writes:

“The status quo is not ideal, and Israel every day has to balance its security needs with ensuring that Palestinian Arabs have the best lives and most rights possible. Whether the world likes it or not, that is the best peace plan available today. As long as the Palestinians refuse to compromise, the status quo will remain the option that optimizes real peace.”

To put it another way, there had better be a bloody good reason for messing with the status quo.

Meantime, again thanks to the Elder, we know that Israelis do want peace and are working towards it in a way that is more practical, more meaningful, and more long term than any of the media commentators or their outlets. But you won’t see that covered by the Guardian, or the BBC, or CNN, or the New York Times. And for that inexcusable lack, they are to be condemned and scorned.


An Israel Time Experience

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

The week starting Sunday 5 February, an email went round the office warning us that there would be an electricity outage on a particular morning between 7.30 and 8.30 AM. I was using a desktop, so followed the expert advice and turned off my computer before the scheduled break, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Eight-thirty came and went without a sniff of an outage. Back to work I went.

Later that week, another email announced that the outage had been postponed, and would be on the following Wednesday (15 February) from 7.30 to 8.30 AM.

Once again, come the appointed time, I followed the expert advice, turned off my computer before the scheduled outage, and waited.

And waited.

This time I waited until 8.20 AM before deciding enough was enough, and I had work to do. Can you guess what happened?

At 8.25 AM, while busy working away, the electricity was cut… Bastards! It was only a 15 minute outage, but why oh why couldn’t they have managed to do the whole thing inside the allotted time?

Ah well, at least my computer wasn’t damaged. Though I am having some problems with the printers..


On being back in employment

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

My time at HPE (after a few weeks of gardening leave) finished up, officially, on 31st January. That was a Tuesday. Technically, I was unemployed on the Wednesday and the Thursday. But on the Sunday, the 5th of February, I started a new job. Hooray!

I did not enjoy the job hunting process – I don’t suppose most people do – but am delighted with the end result. It seems to be a good company with good people and some interesting work.

The added twist is that virtually everything is different from how it was in HPE. This is not a criticism, but a recognition that I was so settled in that last post, I had stopped thinking about the world and employers outside. Of course they are all different; I just hadn’t taken that on board.

One of the real bonuses about the new job is that it is in Herzliya, making the commute that much shorter and easier. (You know how much I love driving in Israel.) Even better, it’s in easy cycling reach, so I will be able to pedal to work if I want to. Despite the winter weather, I have done it once so far, and had a blast. I arrived in the office soaked through, muddy, a bit tired, and very, very happy. (Yes, there are shower facilities!)

So here’s to me being back in employment. It’s a good place to be.


An Israel Post Experience

In December last year, I ordered a copy of Swordpoint Miniatures rules from Gripping Beast. Typically, stuff from the UK takes about 2-3 weeks to arrive. Over the festive season, deliveries slow up. However, I only received a note to come and pick up my package last week. Since it appears to have been posted in the UK around the 4th of December, that’s over 8 weeks. Quite a delay. However, in the scheme of things, the delay is nothing. But, this is what my package looked like when I picked it up:


You may see the edges of the envelope are somewhat frayed. In fact, they are not frayed, they are severed. Here’s what the package looked like when I flipped the front of the envelope open:


I didn’t need to cut or tear anything; it was already ripped on almost all of the sides. And the contents have been washed, dried, crumpled, and generally beaten about.

If this had happened on the UK side, the package would have gone back to Gripping Beast. So, it looks as if Israel Post lived up to its reputation of not caring a bit about the stuff it delivers. What can I do? Not much. The rules are readable, though I have had to tear apart some pages that were stuck together. It’s not exactly mint condition. I feel as if I haven’t so much paid for post and packaging, as having paid for post, packaging, pulverizing, soaking, drying, and bending.

Thank you Israel Post.


What’s a bit of bribery got to do with dignity?

He never lets on But I know 'cause he once told me He let me know a secret about the money in his kitty He's gonna buy a dinghy Gonna call her dignity

“He never lets on
But I know ’cause he once told me
He let me know a secret about the money in his kitty
He’s gonna buy a dinghy
Gonna call her dignity…”
Lyrics to Dignity by Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue
Image source: WikiMedia

From the You Could Not Make It Up department:

Bribe-taking ex-chief rabbi invited to speak on ‘Dignity of Rabbinate’
Despite pleading guilty to corruption charges on Tuesday, Yona Metzger was not disinvited to Thursday’s conference

Continue reading


Quote of the Week

From the Elder of Ziyon:

“Everyone who has tried to explain historic antisemitism and its more modern version of anti-Zionism has missed the issue. The real answer is that some people simply are consumed with hate that is so pervasive, and so delusional, that it overrides any other human attribute including self-preservation. It cannot be explained any more than schizophrenia can be explained. It may be chemical.”

Harsh? Not after you have read the shocking narrative here.