You have to laugh

Laughter is the best medicine.

I suppose if you have been brought up to believe that it is fair, reasonable, and right that people’s life and liberty should be sacrificed solely in the interests of demonizing the Jewish State, it’s no great leap to sacrifice the chance to visit your grandmother to keep the fires of hate burning. What a great example of citizenship that is!

Oh, and in case you missed it, the Obama administration banned an Israeli MK from entering the USA in 2012 for his extremist views. Sauce for the goose… Pretty rich of those USA parliamentarians to cry wolf now.

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Who ran from Iran?

The cartoon in today’s Haaretz made me smile:

The Hebrew says “Who is the commander?”

Quite.

It didn’t take much to work out that Iranian activity in the Straits of Hormuz would be directed towards British interests. It’s unclear if the Royal Navy has the capacity to protect all such interest, but my guess is that it’s not possible. Smaller, faster attack boats and helicopters can run rings round frigates and the like. So, Britain is stuck. Banning its own ships won’t go down well. (Though insurers may effectively bring about that result.) A military response is unlikely. Either Britain caves – a diplomatic disaster – or it weighs in with its own sanctions and gets ready for the long haul.

Or a war breaks out between Iran and the US. And maybe with the Europeans. I hope not.

On a related point, I do remember Obama or Kerry hectoring Israel about what would happen if Iran broke its pledges under the nuclear deal. Why, the sanctions would snap back. Israel had nothing to worry about.

Well, Iran broke its pledges and the sanctions by the Europeans are unsnapped. So, if Israel were relying on the Europeans to keep them safe, they would be wasting their time. In this regard, Bibi is right.

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About that war on drugs…

From the Times (behind a paywall):

“At nearly 22 [drug-related] deaths per 100,000 people, Scotland’s death toll has overtaken the United States and is now three times the UK average.”

According to the article:

“A deadly cocktail of opioids and “street valium” is driving drug deaths in Scotland, which now has the highest mortality rate in the developed world.”

Scotland, you have a problem.

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Cannabis

This falls under the ‘You learn something new everyday‘ category.

From ‘Can Cannabis Fix the Opiod Crisis?‘ in the July 2019 issue of Scientific American:

“…These polarized views can, in part, be explained by the drug’s complexity: cannabis is not a single substance, but rather a mixture of more than 500 individual chemicals whose proportions vary from one plant strain to another.”

That complexity (and the fact that most cannabis is prepared for the illegal market) is also one reason why it has proven difficult to draw clear research conclusions about whether cannabis is good for you or bad for you.

Fascinating.

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Total English?

In short, no.

The following appeared on a Ra’anana building fairly recently. (It’s still there as at the time of posting.)

Expect correct English?

This rubbish arises because it’s a direct word for word translation from the Hebrew way you would say expect more. The lack of a capital letter after the full stop is, so to speak, the icing on the cake.

In a country brimming with native English speakers, this is inexcusable from – presumably – a professional company; whether Total-E or their marketing people, they should have done better.

As far as I can tell, it’s some kind of gym/fitness venture. For their sake, I hope their business is more fit for purpose than their marketing.

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How to Make More Money by Paying More Taxes

This may be a first. Companies in Israel have been making money by paying too much tax.

I’ll pause while you take that in.

In essence, after a reduction in the tax rate, companies did not reduce their tax payments. Whether this was done deliberately or otherwise is not certain. However, when it came time to reconcile payments, these companies were due a refund. And here’s the kicker. The refunds attracted interest at 4%, a rate higher than the companies could have received had they paid the money into a bank… In short, the tax man became a kind of bank!

The worst effect is that because of this somewhat strange set of circumstances, the budget predictions are off, and the state is looking at a deep deficit. Oh dear.

Check out the report in Globes, here.

Only in Israel?

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Alan Abel

Alan Abel. Source: Wikimedia


This, from the Times obituary, should brighten up your day:

In the late 1950s Alan Abel, a young jazz drummer, was driving through Texas and found the highway blocked by a copulating bull and cow. The horrified expressions on the faces of other motorists gave him an idea. He founded the spoof Society for Indecency to Naked Animals (Sina), which campaigned to “clothe all naked animals that appear in public, namely horses, cows, dogs and cats, including any animal that stands higher than four inches or is longer than six inches”.

Abel hired an actor friend to play Sina’s earnest, bespectacled president, G Clifford Prout. He invented slogans — “A nude horse is a rude horse” and “Decency today means morality tomorrow”. He air-dropped clothes into a field of cows, added shorts to the Greyhound bus logo, and staged a demonstration outside the White House to urge Jacqueline Kennedy to cover her horse’s private parts.

The hoax — a satirical take on the moral censoriousness of the times — succeeded beyond his wildest expectations. The media was totally hoodwinked.

It gets better. But the finish is, I believe, unique:

Alan Abel, hoaxer, was born on August 2, 1924, and really did die, after a heart attack, on September 14, 2018, aged 94.

The whole thing is here (behind a paywall). The Wikipedia version is here.

I have never heard of Abel before reading the obituary. Sounds like he was one of those guys that gives power to the saying ‘nowt so queer as folk.’ But I do like how often he took the media for a ride.

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