Interrupted service

The break in blogging has not been caused by the Gaza situation – although I have had a few diversions to bunkers, here, there, and other places. There’s been a problem with my hosting service. This is the first time in a week I have been able to access my site. And I had so much to say…


70 years ago

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0. See

Source: UK National Archives. Licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.

Was the D-Day invasion the beginning of the end for the Nazi regime? I’m not sure it matters. The Allied soldiers fought bravely, and died for a noble cause. We should never forget their sacrifice.


All the mince in the west end

I am not a theater lover. I won’t normally go willingly to see a play. I have fallen asleep at some top rated events, and snored my way through some much loved (by others) musicals. But there was one play that was deeply significant in my life. It inspired me to find out more. It intrigued me with its style of presentation and its arguments. It toyed with my emotions as no stage production ever had – or would again. And it burned itself on my consciousness, never to be forgotten:

John McGrath‘s The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black, Black oil.

It was a play that sent shockwaves through society. Arguably, it marked the rebirth of Scottish Nationalism as a political reality. It revitalized theater (for those who like that sort of thing) and gave vested, comfortable interests a kick up the backside. It challenged the status quo. It challenged the affected to do something. It was a political and social catalyst.

Check out this post at Bella Caledonia. I especially enjoyed this:

Here’s what theatre writer and director Davey Anderson said about the play.

“I saw the Cheviot on my honeymoon. It was October 1973, we’d got married in my home town, Rutherglen, and decided to take a road-movie holiday, hippies that we were …

“First stop Kyleakin, Skye. The gig – Kyleaking Village Hall. The Audience – the good people of Skye. The Performers – a bunch of folk who didn’t seem ready: five minutes to go and they were still setting costumes, tuning instruments and blethering with each other and the audience.

“Where were the curtains, the hushed reverence, the dinner jackets, the blue rinses?

“… That night in a community hall in Skye proved to me that theatre was far from dead, as I has assumed it to be.

“All the mince in the West End, where the actors couldn’t even be arsed acknowledging the presence of the audience was forgotten. Here was theatre that spoke to you about your life, the important things, the daft things, the things that give you joy and the things you can change. The company were startling in their energy, anarchic versatility and joyous commitment.”

Glorious. And, yes, very appropriate in the light of the forthcoming independence referendum. I won’t be voting, but I haven’t stopped caring.


The new face of terror

Smile! (But not for the Israelis.)

Smile! (But not for the Israelis.)

From Ynet:

Hamas appoints female writer as Western media spokesperson

Israa Al-Mudallal, 23, will represent Gazan terror organization to foreign press. She hoped to speak to Israelis, but Hamas was quick to remind her of ban on Israeli media

Hamas’s new face: Meet Israa Al-Mudallal, a young 23-year-old journalist and writer, the first to be appointed as the Hamas administration spokesperson to Western media.

Hamas has recently decided they wanted a new figure to present their messages to the world, and Al-Mudallal, who comes from an aristocratic Gazan family and has spent many years in Britain – where she attended London’s Bradford College – won the job. As part of her role, she opened Facebook and Twitter accounts, where she plans to engage her message.

The new spokeswoman has many plans to change the stereotypes affiliated with Gaza, as well as plans to present the regime in Gaza to Israeli media. “I will address Western and Israeli media,” she said in an interview, “and I will work on changing the media discourse, painting a different picture of Palestine and Gaza. The West does not understand religious discourse.”

It may be that Al-Mudallal is unaware that the Hamas administration has ordered to ban all Israeli media and journalists over a year ago, but the discrepancy was apparently amended as she has now aligned with the policy and refused to speak with Ynet.

The appointment of Al-Mudallal is part of a new plan by Gaza’s Hamas government to improve its relations with Western media. “(The appointment) comes within the framework of the development of Palestinian dialogue with the West, in a bid to find foreign language speakers to present the government’s views as well as the Palestinian issue,” said Ihab Al-Ghosein, head of the government’s media relations bureau and Gaza government spokesman.

Al-Mudallal has in recent months worked on a novel, however she fears she will be unable to complete it due to the demands of her new job. “I have a great love for literature – and not for politics. I know I will now lose much of that joy in my life. I will miss it.”

A love for fiction will come in handy as a Hamas spokesperson…


Knights of Jerusalem


Source: Wikimedia/Paul Friel (

I know nothing about the following Jerusalem based event, other than what is in the featured piece below. But it’s a Guardian mention of Israel and Jerusalem which is possibly unique, as it has no anti Israel bias!

The introduction:

Into battle with the Knights of Jerusalem – in pictures

The Knights of Jerusalem historical festival is now in its fifth year and is the only known Israeli tournament accredited by the Historical Medieval Вattle International Association. The festival features re-enactments of medieval battles, with enthusiasts from around the world fighting with full armour and swords.

You can see the action, here.


Dead end

My watch died today. It’s a Seiko Arctura Kinetic Susan bought me for Chanukah about seven or eight years ago. It has been the watch that has lasted me the longest, which since it was also the most expensive, may reaffirm that you get what you pay for.


Wearing something like that every day, and checking the time as often as I do (ahem) its passing is noteworthy, at least to me. So, I’m sad that it’s gone. Time (sic) to get a new watch.


A Glasgow joke

With thanks to Jeff, please enjoy the following – a popular one liner in Scotland at the moment:

“Summer’s my favorite day of the year.”

I almost feel sorry for them.


Jerusalem Marathon

Tomorrow (Friday 1 March 2013) is the date of the Jerusalem Marathon. There’s a nice post about it from the Times of Israel, here.


We will have a family representative at the race. You will notice I did not say “in the race.”  (Sarah-Lee is working there.)

Good luck, Sarah-Lee! Here’s hoping the race, and all the associated events, go well for all concerned.