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Location: United States

Sunday, December 31, 2023

New Year's Eve

- An etching of the Royal Fireworks display on the Thames, London, England, in 1749 - Wikipedia

It's almost New Year's Eve. Nooooooo! I hate this holiday. Not as much as the 4th of July, but it's close.

Why? Because of the fireworks. And also the gunshots and the screaming. But mostly because of the fireworks.

Fireworks are bad for the air quality and the environment. They terrify and sometimes kill birds and animals. They also injure people and structures.

But that doesn't seem to matter all those who love making really loud noises.

Saturday, December 30, 2023


Wish more people cared about the other animals with whom we share the planet.

Friday, December 29, 2023


The New York Times: A Times investigation uncovered new details showing a pattern of rape, mutilation and extreme brutality against women in the attacks on Israel.

‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7

[warning - below is an exerpt with graphic descriptions of rape and torture and murder]

[... an eyewitness saw ...] a young woman with copper-color hair, blood running down her back, pants pushed down to her knees. One man pulled her by the hair and made her bend over. Another penetrated her, Sapir said, and every time she flinched, he plunged a knife into her back.

She said she then watched another woman “shredded into pieces.” While one terrorist raped her, she said, another pulled out a box cutter and sliced off her breast.

“One continues to rape her, and the other throws her breast to someone else, and they play with it, throw it, and it falls on the road,” Sapir said.

She said the men sliced her face and then the woman fell out of view. Around the same time, she said, she saw three other women raped and terrorists carrying the severed heads of three more women ...

It is hard to read the article but people need to know what happened in Israel, what Hamas did, if they want to understand the war.

The Times of Israel: In harrowing detail, NYT reports on weaponization of rape, sexual violence on Oct. 7

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Nikki Haley

This person is the sane and decent Republican alternative to Trump? I guess she had to make sure she didn't offend all her pro-slavery supporters. And from what I've heard on the news later today - mission accomplished - the voters say they admire how well she handled the question. Republicans, you must be so proud!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

General McCaffrey

Retired General Barry McCaffrey, on MSNBC on December 23, discussing the Israel/Hamas war.

12 days of Christmas

From olden days of yore, a Christmas photo of me. It's in bad condition but I see the little tree on the right, a Burne Jones poster behind me, and I think I'm wearing an Allman Brothers T shirt, if memory serves.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Daily Briefing

I listen to the Times of Israel's Daily Briefing each morning while I wash the cats' food dishes. The news of the war and of politics in Israel seems much more accurate and detailed than I'm able to get from my usual souces in the US news.

Today they talked about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans for the war and how he is doing politically (not well at all). They also talked aboit the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, and the lies he is telling the Palestinians about how the war is going.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Merry Christmas

Masih Alinejad

On Meet the Press today, an interview with Iranian activist Masih Alinejad who works for women's rights in Iran, including the right to not have a hijab covering up her hair ...

Saturday, December 23, 2023


Watched this documentary video today from PBS Frontline that was posted a few days ago, entitled Failure at the Fence: How Hamas breached Israel’s "Iron Wall".


As we are told via the news about the death toll in Gaza, I wanted to mention something that doesn't get brought up much ... those death counts, coming from the Hamas-run government of Gaza, do not distinguish between civilian deaths and the deaths of Hamas fighters ... we are left to assume that they are all civilians. Are they?

This news story below states that the IDF estimetes it has killed about 8,000 members of Hamas so far. I would assume those deaths are part of the Gazan count of how many have died.

IDF has killed 2,000 Hamas operatives since truce ended on December 1 — spokesman

DF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says that since the end of the temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on December 1, the military has killed more than 2,000 Hamas operatives in strikes and during ground combat.

This brings the military’s estimates of Hamas fighters killed in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war to around 8,000. Another 1,000 Hamas terrorists were killed in Israel on October 7, during the terror group’s onslaught ...

You might question the accuracy of the numbers from both Hamas and the IDF, but the point is, details matter.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Dead Reckoning

This week's movie from the public library was Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One ...

a 2023 American spy action film .... It stars Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, alongside an ensemble cast including Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Esai Morales .... In the film, Hunt and his IMF team face off against "the Entity", a powerful rogue AI.

I have liked Tom Cruise as an actor since his 1985 film Legend ...

But I especially like him in the Mission Impossible films (except for #2), and this one is no exception. Many fun stunts, nice foreign locations, Tom Cruise running fast :)

Cruuse actually does a lot of his movie stunts himself. In one of those WIRED Google question videos, he mentions his many physical talents ...

The latest MI movie got very good reviews. Here's a bit of what The New York Times had ...

‘Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One’ Review: Still Running

[...} This time, the villain is the very au courant artificial intelligence, here called the Entity. The whole thing is complicated, as these stories tend to be, with stakes as catastrophic as recent news headlines have trumpeted. Or, as an open letter signed by 350 A.I. authorities put it last month: “Mitigating the risk of extinction from A.I. should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks, such as pandemics and nuclear war.” In the face of such calamity, who you gonna call? Analog Man, that’s who, a.k.a. Mr. Hunt, who receives his usual mysterious directives that, this time, have been recorded on a cassette tape, an amusing touch for a movie about the threat poised to the material world by a godlike digital power ...

Looking forward to part 2.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023


On 60 Minutes, an Israeli woman taken hostage by Hamas on Oct 7 tells of her experience. Here's a screen shot from the above video showing hostages being driven through the streets of Gaza as trophies after their kidnapping, the Gazans howling and celebrating ...

Tuesday, December 19, 2023


From Reuters: Vatican approves blessings for same-sex couples in landmark ruling

The Vatican said on Monday in a landmark ruling approved by Pope Francis that Roman Catholic priests can administer blessings to same-sex couples as long as they are not part of regular Church rituals or liturgies.

A document from the Vatican's doctrinal office, which effectively reversed a declaration the same body had issued in 2021, said such blessings would not legitimise irregular situations but be a sign that God welcomes all ...

People are all agog about this, but I find it somewhat depressing. Despite this declaration, nothing in church teachings about LGBTQ people has changed. Still on the books (Catechism) ...

"Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered .... They are contrary to the natural law .... Under no circumstances can they be approved." 2357

And "Homosexual persons are called to chastity." 2359

The Pope's Declaration (from the CDF) is a true paragon of pretzelization. It twists itself inside out to both say that the church can't bless "irregular unions" like same-sex marriages because they aren't real marriages, but yet still somehow can bless them in some kind of spiritually trunkated fashion, and that this new blessing thingy does not in any way change official church teaching ... Declaration, Fiducia Supplicans, On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings

Maybe LGBTQ Catholics will feel differently about this than me ... I'm not gay and not really a Catholic anymore ... but from my pov, this is another instance of Pope Francis creating the illusion of change while actually changing nothing. People latch on to the illusion, and the church deflects criticism while continuing to harm LGBTQ people with its teachings.

For those who think it is beyond the Pope's power to change church teaching, and Francis is doing the best he can against the machine ... not true. He could allow gay people to marry in the church, the same way he could allow women to be priests. He doesn't want to do that, and he won't.

Monday, December 18, 2023


When you are as rich as Musk, it's easy to shrug your shoulders at failing. Being rich means you have the endless oprions and resources to make sure you will never be punished for your mistakes. I think this is why so many of the richest people are immature self-absorbed creeps.

Our dictator

Trump, auditioning for dictator of America ...

What kind of people want this person to become our dictator? I understand that his horde of zombie cult members are morally bankrupt and intellectually brain-dead, but he is supported as well by almost every Republican politician. They are gleefully ("All I can say is: Donald J. Trump 2024, baby!") working towards having this creep ruling over us for life, for no other reason than that they will be in power too.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

On the rise

I can't count the number of times I hear on the news that our economy is great and only getting better. Is it that the government doesn't know or just doesn't care about those who are poor?

There are a lot of homeless people in my state, and the government's efforts to help seem inadequate and wrongheaded.

Most homeless people just don't have enough money to rent a place to live. They don't need counseling, they need an apartment/home - once they have that, the other stuff will follow. Ask Finland ... A Scandinavian country is close to eliminating homelessness with a simple solution. Communities around the world are racing to copy it.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Hostages killed

The Times of Israel's Daily Briefing gives more details about the accidental killing of three Israeli hostages by the IDF.

There's also an interesting discussion about Jake Sullivan's recent visit to Israel and the problems with the US's push for a two state solution, with the Palestinian Authority taking over in Gaza after the war.

I'm old enough that when I hear the words "Palestinian Authority" I think of the decades of terrorist violence committed against Israeli civilians by the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fatah, etc. I can't imagine giving them any more power in the region.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Dumb bombs and Hamas

The press is worried about Israel dropping "dumb bombs". Jake Sullivan answered a question about that yesterday on his trip to Israel ...

Meanwhile, Hamas, that warm fuzzy terrorist organization that college students are so fond of, has been working hard to expand their business ...

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Wizards in Winter

More Christmas music. This one from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra ...

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Egypt and the tunnels

- Wikipedia: Israel Defense Forces - Tunnel Found Near Egyptian Border, 2006

It's been reported that Israel may be about to flood the Hamas tunnels with sea water. If they do flood the tunnels, they won't be the first ones to do it. Business Insider has this story today ...

Israel is said to be flooding Hamas tunnels — a tactic Egypt already used in 2013, but with sewage

And here's a bit from an article from 2013 in The New York Times on this ...

To Block Gaza Tunnels, Egypt Lets Sewage Flow

And Egypt also tried seawater to flood the tunnels next in 2015, according to Reuters ...

Egyptian flooding drowns Gaza's tunnel business

So, not a new idea.


It's almost Christmas. We need some music from Pentatonix ...

Saturday, December 09, 2023

Daily Briefing

Some interesting insights on the Israel/Hamas war from the military correspondentat of The Times of Israel on today's Daily Briefing podcast. He talks about the effort by the IDF to save some of the hostages, which failed ... about the Palestinian male prisoners in their underwear seen in photos online ... about how long the war is expected to last.

Friday, December 08, 2023

RIP: Ryan O'Neal

Actor Ryan O'Neal has died.

I recall my whole family going to see Love Story in 1970. It actually won some awards. Here's a scene from the film ...

I didn't see many of his movies but there are a couple I especially remember ...

Barry Lyndon (1975) ...

- A Bridge Too Far (1977) ...


Let's just admit that the pro-life movement does not give a poop about women's health or even their lives. We have known since forever that "exceptions" to abortion bans are cruel jokes ... the requirements are very hard to meet and even if they are met, good luck finding a doctor who is willing to risk prison to act on those exceptions. Abortion bans with exceptions are just a pro-life subterfuge to get the gullible to support them.

Opinion: This Texas woman is exposing a chilling truth about abortion law

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Looking for her cat

So glad she was able to find her cat and he was ok. I had read of another released hostage who went back home to look for her 16 year old cat, but found him cut up into pieces by the terrorists.

Like this lady, about 300,000 Israelis have been displaced by the destruction of their homes by Hamas in the south, and evacuations from homes in the north due to attacks from Hezbollah.

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Denny Laine

Denny Laine, co-founder of bands Wings and The Moody Blues, dies at 79

I first knew of Denny Laine when this song by the Moody Blues, which he sang, came out (1964) ...

He left that band and I'm glad, because my favorite Moodie, Justin Hayward, then took his place as main guitarist and singer. Here is Justin with the Moodiy Blues in 1968 ...

Anyway, Denny joined Paul McCartney's Wings band in 1971. You can see him here playing a double neck guitar with Paul in 1978 ...

After that he did solo work and I lost track of him.

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Music break

Foolish Heart by Steve Perry of Journey,1984

Rapes: more

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke at the UN about the sexual violence used by Hamas against Israeli women and girls, and the silence from everyone about this ...

Monday, December 04, 2023

The rapes

Newsweek: The Silence From International Bodies Over Hamas' Mass Rapes Is a Betrayal of All Women

Boston Globe: Israeli women and girls were raped during Hamas attack. Where’s the outcry?

Times of Israel: Global women’s rights groups silent as Israeli women testify about rapes by Hamas

Maybe you wonder why I'm writing so many posts about the Israeli/Hamas war? I'm not Jewish so I suppose you could say I don't have a dog in the fight, but I do. Because I care about fairness and the truth.

I have been constantly appalled since this war began by the world's obvious hatred of Israel ... the slanted news coverage, the ignoring of actual facts, the protests against a country reeling from an attack we ourselves would never tolerate and would respond to with rage.

Sunday, December 03, 2023

On Meet the Press

John Kirby was on Meet the Press to answer questions about the Israeli/Hamas war. I was struck by the relentless nature of the questions asked by Kristen Welker.

Kirby pointed out that ...

1) It was Hamas that broke the temporary truce by not wanting to give up the remaining civilian women and child hostages they still have. And Hamas never let the Red Cross see the hostages it holds, although they did agree to do so.

2) Israel has taken numerous steps to lessen civilian casualties in Gaza, including providing maps that show where there will be action and where it is safe. And also that Israel has made more efforts to keep civilians safe than any country has in a war, one they didn't start. And they are continuing to send in humanitarian assistance to Gaza, including fuel.

3) The US will support Israel militarily in this war, without conditions, while still working to prevent civilian deaths and to get another temporary truce.

But that didn't seem to matter to Welker. The perception of the war appears to be more important to most people than the actual facts about the war.

In the news

So much going on.

A new movie I'm looking forward to seeing and which has received good reviews is Godzilla Minus One ...

And George Santos has been kicked out of Congress. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

And a woman 70 years old has given birth to twins through IVF. It's news because it's unusual, while old men like Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Mick Jagger, Alec Baldwin, etc etc etc, having babies is presented as totally normal. What's really odd is that humans and just a few other species are the only female creatures that don't contimue to give birth up until old age and death.

And more is coming out about the way the women and child hostages kidnapped by Hamas were mistreated ... Freed Israeli hostages tell families of beatings and death threats ... Hostages Freed From Gaza Recount Violence, Hunger and Fear.