Archive | February 2013

happy not to have made another unintended trip to Tel Aviv

People who know me well know that when I am reading something intently a bomb could go off near me and I’d not even hear it. It turns out, I also don’t realize when my bus has passed its stop. On Tuesday night my already very long day got even longer. After finishing my last class on Tuesday, I’ll usually arrive home around 10:30 in the evening this semester (11 if students have questions for me after the class and so I miss the bus). It was midnight when I got home this Tuesday because I was so intently grading a paper that I didn’t realize the bus had passed my stop. Having finished one paper, I had looked up somewhere in hod HaSharon and decided that I should be able to get a good bit done grading one more. Well, the next thing I knew was that the bus had not only pulled over but that the lights went off. Yeah, it was the bus going dark that did it. I looked up. I was alone. There was not another soul on what had been a crowded bus. Confused, I stood up and asked the driver, who was surprised to see me pop up, “What happened?”

Oh, did you fall asleep? (No, I was grading a..never mind) We’re at the end of the line. End of the line, er exactly where is the end of the line?! Yeah, I was at the Central Bus station in Tel Aviv.

Argh, and, with an early morning class on Wednesday, that meant a less than 4 hours of sleep by the time I finally did get home and fix something to eat (I’d not eaten all day except for a bagele– known in the U.S. as a soft pretzel).

The good thing I learned yesterday was that the final set of exams and papers I’ve been frantically grading every minute of my waking day (plus half of a waking night) and that I thought were due to be returned yesterday (and I’m only half-way through them, so clearly not) are, in fact, not due until next week. I went in to tell them that, I was really sorry, but there is simply no way I can get them done before Friday and that would mean pulling all-nighters to do it. I mean, the papers alone are more than 1300 pages to read and mark and make detailed comments on, and the exams nearly that much again. I was like, wait, what, next Wednesday? They wrote down that the due date was today. Yeah, turns out they put down the wrong Wednesday date. I could have fallen on the floor in relief.

Another good thing that happened yesterday was that the techie guys at the university were finally able to find time to create an electronic signature for me that I need to put on some legal documents, as well as being able to insert into things like recommendation letters for students applying to grad school. The legal documents are pressing, however, and I’ve got to send them off today. I’d planned to send those documents off last night but when I got home around 9 I simply fell into bed. I didn’t grade or read a darn thing on the bus trip home last night!

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Gaza terrorists fire grad rocket at civilians in Ashkelon

The rocket landed on a road in the city’s industrial zone, causing some damage. This was the first time a rocket was fired at Israel since the conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense,in November.

A security source said that an initial examination of the rocket’s remnants showed that it was an 8″ projectile with an improved mid-to-long range. The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, claimed responsibility for the fire.

Hagel accused INDIA of terror attacks on Pakistan

Wow, I guess all this global warming has caused a pole shift and sent Mumbai out of India and into Pakistan. That supposition makes as much sense as Hagel’s claim, in 2011, that India is sponsoring terror attacks on Pakistan. Right, India, the country that has repeatedly been the victim of terror attacks launched out of Pakistan. Everyone remembers the massive terrorist attack in Mumbai, India where hotels, train stations, taxis, cafes, and the Chabad House were attacked in a horrific days-long scene of horror. There have been dozens of much smaller-scale single-target bombings and attacks in India and all originating out of Pakistan. There is absolutely zero evidence that India has launched any sort of terror attacks in Pakistan. Breitbart has the scoop and the video.

Oh yeah, and in 2009 Hagel said the U.S. should essentially invade Israel by sending U.S. troops here to impose “peace.” Go read and note that the use of the phrase used when urging Obama to override “certain domestic constituencies” is a code word for Jews in the U.S.

CAIR official tells youth to shun law enforcement, praises violent jihad group

From the Investigative Project

FBI agents are devils lurking online to entrap young Muslims in bogus terrorist plots, a leading Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) official told a group of Michigan youngsters earlier this week.

Dawud Walid, director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter, lectured area youth on Monday about his belief that FBI agents are waiting to set them up through informants. He wants the message to reach a broader audience, posting the audio online and promoting it on his Twitter feed.

He went on to talk about the Al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somali that has murdered hundreds of people.
“Have you all heard of al-Shabaab?” he asked. “Shabaab literally means ‘youth’ in Arabic, as-Shabaab al-Muslimeen is a group in Somalia that’s been involved in a lot of fighting and our government calls them a terrorist organization.”

Read the rest, he is one sick puppy.

kitties running for cover

I’m quite enjoying all the fireworks being set off. It takes me back to my childhood and my little bro who was a serious fireworks piromaniac. He used to tie bottle rockets around roman candles and get them set so that when you lit the fuse for one the entire batch would go airborne and you’d have a skylight display only a little less impressive than the professional ones you see today. He discombobulated and recombined the contents of this and that so that you ended up lighting something that was always a surprise and a delightful one at that. The kitties, however, are not enjoying the fireworks the kids are setting off in the yard. If you walked into my apartment right now, you’d see only the two older cats that have pretty much gone deaf and so have no idea what the ruckus is all about. You’d also see all the things the hearing cats knocked down and over as they shot off their various perches when the fireworks started exploding just outside the windows and ran for dark places under sofa and bed. Heh.

just stuff

Yesterday was all kitties all the time day. In the morning I had to take Little Mouse into the vet for his steroid shot. He didn’t do as well with that last shot as he’d been doing on the one before, where he’d actually gone two months between. I’d hoped we’d see that again but this last time around he never did get back up to ‘full speed.’ I got home with him and soon after got a call from my usual pet store that they were completely out of stock of large bags of scoop-able kitty litter not only at their branch but all the other branches they’d called. This was unfortunate because I had three big bags that were pre-paid I was expecting to be waiting for me (they’ve got a buy 5 at once and get one free deal and since I go through at least 3 bags a week, this is a g-dsend in savings). So I had to run to the pet store that is located a few blocks further on from where I’d just been at the vet to see if they had any. I don’t usually shop there because the stuff they carry is at a much higher price. Lucky for me, they did have plenty on hand. Unlucky for me, their delivery guy was off sick. This meant I had to run back home and get my grocery cart and then make three trips back and forth to the store (about 6 blocks away) and to lug those 40 pound bags up the stairs one by one to my apartment.

No rest for the weary with the shops being on the verge of closing, I had to immediately run out again to the grocery store to grab necessary perishables and some dish washing liquid. I did quite enjoy seeing all the kids out and about dressed in their Purim costumes on their way to parties. The streets were full of little princesses and kings, fairies and pirates. The little girls upstairs went as a set of geisha girls in long kimonos their mother had sewn up for them and were simply adorable.

Then I got home and got back to grading. I’ve got one set of exams fully graded except for totting up the points, and one set of final papers fully graded. Today I’ve begun tackling the final set of exams and, sadly, much longer papers. There is no way I’ll be able to complete them today — they take up two shelves completely in my big ‘china’ cabinet and two drawers full of my plastic filing/storage bins. Time to slog on!

The real war on women: Just Whistle or Maybe Vomit if Someone Tries to Rape You

Unbelievable. There was incredible indignation on the Left that women might not be able to get free birth control in order to be able to have control over their own reproductive systems (and this was a non-issue because women, in fact, can get free birth control measures through most universities and through all family planning clinics) but suddenly these same Democrats are coming out with bizarre statements like Democratic Rep. Joe Salazar of Colorado in asserting that “It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles, because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around, or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be…”

Then another Colorado Sen. Democrat Jessie Ulibarri chimes in with the idea that, rather than a gun, you’d be better off with a fighting your attacker with a ballpoint pen. Democrat Colorado Rep. Paul Rosenthal suggested that women shouldn’t wander the streets or anywhere else alone and should just use “the buddy system.” We have universities now telling female students not to fight back but to use passive resistance measures like peeing themselves or vomiting.

Right, so as females we don’t have the mental capabilities to assess that there is the threat or likelihood that we might be raped, not to mention lose life and limb. We should let our attackers get close enough to us that we should have to resort to using a ballpoint pen — yes, that incredible defense weapon that every Navy Seal regularly employs, I’m sure. We should bank, not only our bodies but our lives, on the idea that a rapist, a rapist and murderer, or simply a murderer will run away in horror if we release bodily fluids. We should never dare to be out alone. When will they suggest that we all don the burka? And there is dead silence on the Left. Sandra Fluke is outspoken about getting her condoms or birth control pills as freebies but is silent in the face of this real war on women’s ability to protect themselves in the face of life-altering violation and, in all too many cases, life-ending encounters.

Let me tell you, from unfortunately very personal experience, how effective the measures these Senators’ suggestions work out. I’ve written before about how I was attacked. I wasn’t raped and I wasn’t killed, though I was injured, but both of those outcomes were only down to sheer luck, a tiny bit of my own actions, the fact that it was around 3:45 in the afternoon on a bright sunny day, and that I had a bit of forewarning –more than most rape victims have –that something was seriously amiss.

Just a couple of weeks into my first semester in college I was walking home, in a “good” neighbourhood on a beautiful Autumn afternoon. There were people out and about in their yards and on the sidewalks. There were kids coming home from elementary, middle, and high school, looking just like me, with their little backpacks on their shoulders. There were people home. There was a tiny, very old and neglected, Jewish graveyard on the corner that I often stopped into and pulled weeds and set the small stones that had fallen off back onto the headstones. I thought about it but didn’t stop in there that day, an inconsequential decision that may have saved my life. I did see a car that was parked at such an angle that it caught my attention, made me wonder and give it a second, though fleeting, thought as I made my way across the small side street, around the car, and back onto the sidewalk.

Just steps beyond the car, I heard the car door open and only glanced back because that car had been pulled into a parking position (and overlapping the crosswalk) at such a strange angle. Had the car been pulled to the curb in a normal fashion, I’d never have noticed or have thought to look around and there is 100% certainty that I would not be alive to write this blog post. What I saw was a man lunging out of the front passenger door at me with his hands outstretched. I was a gymnast and a sprinter and fight or flight took over and I flew before I was even consciously aware of the situation. It was only seconds, a second (?) later when I heard his feet pounding behind me that it came home to me that this guy was trying to grab me.

I screamed. I screamed for help, I screamed “Fire!” (because I’d learned that screaming ‘fire’ will bring people out to help who otherwise would not want to get involved), I screamed for my mother. I dropped the backpack carrying my books and my new penny loafers off my left shoulder to the sidewalk in the hopes he only wanted to rob me and all the time I kept running for my life. I didn’t need a whistle. People were out on the street and in their yards and in their houses who could see what was happening and not a single one came to my aid. Not a single one so much as yelled. There could have been a bank of call boxes end to end for blocks and if I’d stopped to try to dial one, I’d be dead now. He didn’t want my backpack, he didn’t want to rob me. He wanted me. He just kept coming.

I almost got completely away. At a little less than 90 pounds I could get through the spaces between cars that anyone any chubbier could never manage and at the first runnable space between the bumper-to-bumper parked cars I tried to zip through. Maybe law-makers in Colorado should next suggest that girls wear crew cuts. He got me by my pony tail streaming out behind me and jerked me back. I kept screaming, I kept fighting and no one came to my aid. I struggled enough and, because he’d grabbed my hair and not my body, it took that nano second of him trying to change his grip from my hair to my waist to carry me back that was really, probably, my salvation. I’d gone airborne backwards and landed in a heap. I was, in the meantime, trying to scramble onto hands and knees and away on hands and knees.

There was a sewer lid there among the grass along that narrow track between sidewalk and street and it hadn’t been fitted down properly, so the edge was raised. In that last desperate struggle, I was pushed forward through the grass, across that sewer lid, the raised edge of which shredded my left shin down so the bone was visible, and was pounded and thumped black and blue by his big beefy fists. His accomplice, the driver of that oddly parked car, was yelling at him, with a number of expletives mixed in, to leave it, to come on, that they needed to get the hell out of there.

I can only assume that, because it was broad daylight and there were so many people around, they. very incorrectly as it turned out, assumed that one of the many people out and about and in their houses watching might intervene or at least call the police. I can only assume that it was because I had managed to sprint so far that he didn’t want to risk trying to drag me the distance back to the car. Was it one, the other, a combination of the two or something else? I’ll never know. Whatever the reason, he left me, taking my dropped backpack on the way, and the car peeled out. Even then, no one came to my aid.

I knocked on doors and no one would let me in. I limped to the end of the street and was shocked to see that damn car, having made a block or two, driving along the street in front of me. Finally, a kind woman walking her dog grabbed me and helped me to a nearby neighbourhood pharmacy and the police were called. They found lots of eyewitnesses then. It didn’t help the twelve year old girl, out playing in her own front yard with her little brother, who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered a couple of blocks over, by suspects of matching description, matching car. They’ve never been caught.

I’m left with the memories of a big, muscular, beefy man wearing lime green pants chasing relentlessly after me on an absolutely beautiful Fall day. I’m left with the memory of people seeing but just turning away. I’m left with the knowledge that, if I’d have been carrying a gun, my memories would be completely different. And I’m left with an ever-present scar running from just above my ankle to just below my knee, reminding me just how damn lucky I am to have it and still be alive.