May your Fast be an easy one.
May your Fast be an easy one.
seek what is love
revealed, it says: “Peek-a-boo!”
M e s h S c r e e n
C o n t e m p l a t i v e m i e n
e x t a n t t r i – p a r t S h o j i
C o m p u t e r – g e n e r a t e d s c r e e n
F i r e w a l l E M O J I ! ! !
Pledge of Allegiance:
I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States
and to the Republic
for which it stands
Pledge Not Obeisance:
I pledge no allegiance
to a flag
of a divided Islamic Republic
Nor to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps
toward which it bends
I’ve been derelict in my duties to bring you important news items that I think worthy of publication or ponderance. However, there are sites out there better equipped and better managed to handle such tasks (and many of those will make it to my “Surf” page at a later date). My aim is to bring you a selection from life — from Israel, from Jewish life, from life in general. And that is why you will see reviews of unrelated books, music, or media, as well as light-hearted and frivolous matters related herein. It keeps me interested, and I hope it does the same for you.
Now, with that out of the way, let me get back to some serious matters. One of these is in regards to the balance of world power. The United States has been the number one super-power for many years now. We have indeed acted as a world police, of sorts, and I think that has been a good thing. I would rather a democratic nation retain the resources and military power to prevent the rise to the number one spot by dictatorial tyrannies, where personal freedoms, under their reign would, instead, be lost. This means having to put in the necessary fight needed to remain a free country. As hypocritical a notion as democracy-by-might may seem, it is only those who favor Socialism, or Fascism, or Communism who seem to object to this idea. If we hadn’t taken our stand to join in World War II, even at the late stage where we finally did, then the world just might have succumbed to the Nazi regime. I can tell you that it wouldn’t have been a good thing.
Unfortunately, this ideological left-wing group also includes young idealists, who, ironically, grew up with the freedom to decide that they would jettison the individual rights of others and who haven’t lived long enough in years in this world to have learned, or to have even experienced, what life under totalitarian regimes might entail, and who do not realize the steps one would undertake to turn a free society into a trapped society. If they did, they wouldn’t choose this fate, unless they specifically were engaging to undermine democratic ideals.
That is why America is so successful in upholding freedoms for people to live their lives free from state/government persecution of groups as a class (and we ALL belong to a group of people, of one sort or another) — and so it extends to individual rights, enshrined in our body of law. This is the Constitution, which sets out broad parameters of the societal contract we make amongst ourselves. It provides broad protections to all. It cannot, necessarily, govern individual behaviors of a person in thought or deed, unless specific laws are made (but people break these, as no law can infallibly stop an individual from going contrary to its rule) — there is free will, and there is ignorance, and there is disrespect, and there is stupidity.
Hitler’s stupidity was in thinking that micro-managing such factors as could be found in human development, even down to the genetic level in the creation of a Master Race, would leave their society culturally superior to others. That the local populace could fall for such rhetoric is testament to the gullibility, fears, and educational mindset of the population at-large.
There are others in power today with just such a domineering attitude holding sway over the countries in which they rule. It is possible that many living under such regimes believe entirely the opposite to what their official government stance has embraced. It is one thing to do so under a democracy, where one is free to believe their own ideas and to not be persecuted for them. It is another thing, completely, to have to live under a regime where you are persecuted for your difference of beliefs. If, though, you desire to impose a totalitarian regime to replace an already existing democracy — this cannot be tolerated.
Many countries have dual-governance systems, but there is always one dominant operating mode. For instance, the monarchy still exists in England, where we have the reigning family bequeathing their inherited position in society to their progeny; yet, the ruling governing body remains the British Parliament, composed of the Lordship class, and the Common(ers) class; token, but real, duties are still carried out by the monarchy in the more ceremonial aspects of goodwill and governance.
Dual-bodied systems can also exist where one such ruling body pertains to religious matters, and the other might be Parliamentary. Some, like Saudi Arabia, can be primarily religious in scope, with outlying religious jurisdiction in smaller governing bodies (generally designated to family clan-members), and positions of sheikdom. Some, such as the smallest nation on earth, Vatican City, is ruled by theocracy and papal rule, issuing doctrine promulgated through its body via edicts and, theoretically, adhered to in principle by the priestly classes. Both of these systems are mainly theocratic.
Many who are critical of religion would have to then equate these two former religions as supposed creators of the problems which they find inherent to religion, as a general course of matter. But, they don’t. Instead, they hypocritically and non-sensically criticize Israel, a democratic, Parliamentary-run system based on the British-based leftover one from the days of Mandate rule. Religious matters, while they have their own governing bodies in Israel, reside separate from State. It is a great feat that Israel has amongst the most diverse religious and cultural ethnicities thriving in its populace than almost most other nations on earth.
Many people look to such great nations when they dream of fleeing their tyrannical states in other lands. Such countries that persecute their citizens find many means and methods by which to do so. This includes forbidding their departure outside the state (this was the case for Jews, who were barred from departing many lands, including in Russia, until recently); secret police; vice squads to monitor both public and private behavior; state-run media and the suppression of free speech; official state religion, where others are barred; or Communism, where the practice of all religion is forbidden, etc.
The nations comprising what’s generally considered the Middle East are often thought of for their harsh adherence and strictures to religious principles based on their own presiding faiths, with little by way of tolerance to those practicing other faiths. Many of those countries are ruled by their majority religion, although in one or two cases it can be found otherwise.
Certain ideas may evolve and become almost new bodies, in their own rights. In religion, these become sects, which might break off into different denominations. Islam, as one religion, has many forms, besides the two main groups we are more commonly familiar with, based on whether the ruling party was to come from the ancestral lineage (a direct line of founder Mohammed, but a daughter) or to an ideological inheritor (a son-in-law of Mohammed, but male). These became the main two denominations, Sunni and Shia.
Further divisions have occured based on ideological followings of certain teachers, and might be known by the regional bases where they developed, or for certain beliefs and practices.
Some are based on larger ruling clan associations, like the former Husseini families, giving us the mid-Central Mid-East rule, around the Mesopotamian/Fertile Crescent areas. These are mostly Sunni. They became Iraq, Jordan, etc., or may have become the Alawis of Syria.
Believers might follow the teachings of an Imam, or a Maulauna in the areas of India and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia, which is mostly Sunni Muslim, follows a literal and strict form called Wahhabi. There might be as many divisions within Islam as there are in Christianity — perhaps more.
Iran, once known as Persia, has a long history in the region. Because of this, and because of their shared culture with other people from amongst the regions, many religions have been birthed in or have been influenced by that of this country. Zoro-Astrianism is one of its earlier, and draws heavily from nature and cosmology; Twelver; Baha’i; Shiism, and others have been rooted here, as well.
The Shah of Iran was deposed in a coup in 1979 by the Islamic Revolution, ushering in a religious party determined to rule with stricter adherence to literal Koranic interpretation. While this body has existed in previous times, it has both receded and grown to prominence. It is now resurgent and has been drawing a curtain around her citizens, to shield them from outside influence and to keep foreign influence from penetrating deeper than it already has.
If America had wanted to extend democracy abroad, it might have chosen 1979 to get involved. Instead, we had Jimmy Carter as resident-President, whose liberal policies included the Salt II treaties, and whose reign was favorably biased toward keeping these strict Muslim rulers in place despite protests from the citizens of the countries in which they reigned.
The next opportune chance we had to help the people of Iran in their quest for democracy came preceding the recent “Arab Spring”, when spontaneous “Happy” demonstrations broke out all over the place. But we let it die in the dust, consigning these people to: “…With Misery, under Mullah, for all.” (my take on the pledge of allegiance to the United States).
The Mullahs of Iran are their countries’ religious ruling elite. They determine adherence to Koranic principle and laws of everyday life. Hadiths are basically commentary and rulings of the Koran, already discussed and judged for compliance to- or as against- the Koran. If an individual has gone against the faith of Islam, then a fatwa can be issued against them. This is a bounty on their head — a death sentence, basically. We Jews, whether a specific fatwa has been issued against us or otherwise, already have a collective fatwa on our head, issued in the pages of the Islamic Koran. Yeah, THAT ‘religion of peace’.
A fatwa had also been issued on a Muslim author named Salman Rushdie, who had dared mention some of the tenets of Islam in his books. These were deemed blasphemous by the religious rulers of the times, who had a fatwa imposed on him. We are not talking about things that occured millenia, or even centuries ago. We are talking about this having happened within only the last three decades.
There had been such a sense of the “taboo” surrounding this book and this author (The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie) that I, myself, had a sense of foreboding about even delving into exploring what the whole issue was about. And then, I read one of his books. I think it was fairly recently, too. I looked to see if I had written a review, but none is here. Either I read it prior to my blog, or maybe I still felt apprehension about recording my thoughts, or perhaps I just felt it didn’t warrant the exertion of my time.
But, that’s not fair. And now I do. As a person who has been discriminated against in my lifetime, and in the collective past of my ancestors, I feel it only fair to speak out for one who, while he has a big voice, has also to hide from those who would try to silence it.
I forget which of his books I read. I remember it being about his actions, his time spent in hiding, and his marriage to one of the most beautiful women on this planet, Padma Lakshmi. I thought he was a wonderful and beautifully-gifted writer. That a tyrannical regime would try to silence this voice, just for expressing his thoughts in a beautiful manner, is unbelievable. Frankly, Salman Rushdie has done more for Islam than any of these creeps could do. He has shown us his own beauty, and we appreciate him.
In a spoiler alert: the fatwa was somewhat “capped”. It sortof faded into the woodwork — on the books, but without real expectation for it to be carried out. Think of the mafia, or a drug syndicate — some of the nastiest revenge-seekers you could find, and you’ve got your fatwa orders.
The fatwa, in the last decade, has again reared its ugly, fork-tongued snakes’ head. It just was re-issued. Funny, it says that the bounty amount has been raised — meanwhile, my records show from at least eight years back, that articles reported by such groups as the Middle East Media Research Institute and others, show a considerable decline (by about 80%!) in the dollar amount proferred. With the release of held Iranian bank funds and other assets, don’t they have enough to meet their former $3.3 million dollar or so rewards? What — have they adjusted for the cost of inflation?
Give up the fatwa, you cheap – *** $%&# and #$%&@ and $+-&//$!
There. I said MY piece!
In describing only what I would consider to be the Leftist penchant to keep totalitarian rule in place where Muslim authority is concerned, please see this article from Israel National News.com:
Meotti, Giulio. “The Left Stands With The Islamist Thought Police: How The European Left Stands Shockingly With The Islamists Against ‘Moderate Muslims'”; Arutz Sheva / Israel National News.com; April 1, 2016:
If I were an egg,
I might be hard-boiled or scrambled.
But, you, my dear
Are always sunny-side up!
With softness of mantle.
For Anisa Kazemi.
I love this girl; You will, too. See why, at:
If I were a sandal, I might be a Birkenstock
If I were an era, it might be the Woodstock
If I were an egg, I might be Shakshuka
If You were a gun, You might be Bazooka
If I was in Judah, You’d say it was West Bank
If I were civilian, You’d say I was top rank
If I were a genre, I might be confessional
If You were the media, You’d say I was Israel
The melding of delicate flavors,
a certain symphony and savor –
the whipped, sweet meringue
Slowly, to languor.
a paean to:
Randy’s Recipes: LENT-IL Soup
Giving up meat for Lent? Try this light, yet hearty soup. Even the word root is interesting: “Lent”, and the abbreviation for Israel, “IL”. We lend something with the premise of it being given back. Hopefully, Love will not be like that — it’s not generally supposed to be (but this soup is comforting in that event, as well).
It would be a misnomer to classify this recipe as my own. It’s not. But, “Randy’s Recipes” has a certain alliteration about it that I’ve decided to keep and employ as a general category. The previous recipes have been mine (the pita one belonged to my Mother), although, like I said, the bottle of Zahatar seasoning from Pereg brand does list cream cheese, as well as pita, in its Chef’s Recommendations on where to utilize its product.
The red pottage which became a symbolic token of the birthright exchange from Esau to Jacob in no way implies that the reverse occurred in the provision of this soup and the knowledge of its preparation from my Palestinian ex-husband to myself. While the recipe might very well have remained the same all these years, there are a couple of ways to achieve it. The recipe here uses whole ingredients. I have also cooked it with spectacular results using various seasonings/spices, when I didn’t have an onion to use, and it was just as good. I forget how I did it though, so I’ll just give you the basic recipe. I hope I never vowed not to divulge this, because I would feel badly were that the case. But the marriage, I believe, was perhaps a sham, and so many of the vows which should have been an inherent part of it were discovered to be missing — you drove me from my land with your threats of bodily harm and imprisonment — slavery, even, to masters other than even yourself. I left immediately, without my things. Never mind.
Enjoy this, “on the House”.
Randy’s Recipes: LENT-IL Soup (Randyjw; February 18, 2016)
2 bags red lentils (Goya, or other brand)
1 large white, Vidalia, or yellow onion: (quartered to-eighthed or whole, at your preference)
About 8 cloves peeled garlic
Optional: Lime Syrup Slurry
Remove blemished, discolored lentils and any foreign matter from amongst the lentils, and rinse several times to remove the foamy residue accumulating at the start.
Cover the lentils several inches above their top level with water in a pot on the stove top. Turn the heat to a medium-high level to drive out the rest of the foamy matter and begin cooking the lentils. You want to leave it at a low enough temperature in order not to quick-cook the lentil, but enough to skim the foam. Skim off this foam continually, at the first — if you don’t, it will taste dirty. When the lentils seem to have given up most of its foam, add the onion to the pot, and continue cooking. Use care to check that the onion and/or lentils do not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn; for this purpose, it may be best to leave the onion whole, and slice it, if need be, at the end. Turn down the heat to a soft simmer and continue cooking. Towards the last twenty minutes or so, add the garlic to the pot (enough time to cook it until soft, but not throughout the whole cook time).
Ladle the soup into its serving bowl. Cut a lemon and squeeze some of its juice onto the soup.
For optional lime syrup slurry, prepare 1/2- to 1- day in advance. Wash 4 ripe, sweet limes very well. Zest (if inedible) or cut rind (if edible) into small bits. Place into bowl or container. Sprinkle copiously with sugar and stir. Repeat several times until a thick slurry paste is developed. Cover and place into refrigerator and let infuse overnight. Dip spoon into bowl for slurry to seep onto it. Add a tablespoon of slurry or so per serving, mixed in at time of presentation, for a slightly different, uplifting version. Enjoy immensely!
This variation, below, adds israeli couscous, spices, and mushrooms to the soup, for a heartier version:
6.9 Yums Up
Randy’s Recipes: Eaty Beety Borscht
There are certain food items or combinations that, in my mind, provide a noticeable benefit which can be felt at the cellular level. Now, don’t ask me the science behind it, or the proof that the phenomenon exists. I often propose wildly outrageous theorems based solely on creative mind-bending fancies. They occasionally feature in my discussions and writings. This is one of those times where I feel that the oft-maligned root vegetables deserve their place in the sun.
The earthy beet was often a staple found on my family dinner plate, taken with care to be put there by a Mother striving to provide balanced nutrition with a vegetable accompaniment to the main meal, childhood “ick” factors notwithstanding.
This inspired dish, from the lands of our dispersion, is based from the Jewish community of the Russian Diaspora. I believe that the nutrients found in this “earth pomegranate” enhance human functioning to its core — it’s some wild theory I hold based solely on the feeling I get soon after its consumption. So, that’s not scientific pablum, but opinion, dearests.
But, I hope you, too, will benefit from its inclusion in your menu. Please try to obtain raw produce for this dish — but if you must use the canned variety, you must.
Fist-sized Beet(s), trimmed; leave the skins on the beet(s) to impart flavor: (I generally use between 1-3 for myself; gauge according to desired volume)
Some people would insist this soup is incomplete unless it contains at least one of the following items:
Garlic: (powdered, minced, chopped, or in cloves)
Cucumbers, diced (within the body of the soup)
Cucumbers, sliced (atop soup)
Trim from the bulb of the beet(s) any extraneous matter, such as root, hairs, etc. Scrub and rinse the beet(s) clear of all dirt — in a soup, you don’t want to taste that! Use enough water to reach to about 1/2 to 2/3 of the beet level. The point is to thoroughly infuse the water with the beets, and not to add beets to water, almost as if an after-thought. Cook the beet(s) in a pot on the stove top until you reach this desired effect, checking that water hasn’t evaporated (more can be sparingly added, if required). The skin should be readily removable, once cooled. Remove the beet(s’) skin(s). Chop the beet(s) into small pieces and add back into the soup. Add a good scoop of sour cream and stir-in, to taste. If adding other ingredients, most can be inserted towards the end of cooking, and cucumbers or garnish applied/inserted in the finishing touches. Enjoy lukewarm, or further chilled from the refrigerator.
4.9 Yums Up
For Anisa (and Japan)
The individuals who make up the WordPress community, each and every one, are truly really special people. I’ll call the camraderie and insight, along with some good sense and thoughtful interaction, a form of “comfort food”. It has become, to me, a sisterhood of sorts: trading recipes, lamenting lost loves, sharing bits of your soul through words and poetry.
They’re personal relationships on a public level, and public relationships on a personal level. It’s a great joy to share someone’s happiness and uniqueness — to celebrate with them their expressions of selves; the ups, the downs, and to offer your own conversations to the mix.
My profile gives a synopsis of my gratitude to be able to share viewpoints from my own perspective, on both a personal level, to an extent, and in a broad forum that the internet can provide. I would have no voice under tyranny. While circumstances are less than ideal to hear similar views from the mainstream media, on college campuses, in governmental and international forums — all of whom have declared mine as invalid; persona non-grata in a supposed democracy — still I yet fight for and find here the free expression of ideas which are representative of the ideals we strive for under democracy. We may not always reach fruition in our personal purpose, and it may not always work out fairly or to one’s own personal gain.
Yet still it is the ideal which to cherish.
As Jews, we are engaged in the fight for our lives, because in the “courts” of public opinion we are already condemned. I have stared down my self-declared enemies nose-to-nose, and I have bellowed like a bull; signed petitions; written the President; gone to Israel to help lighten the burden.
To use some Biblical analogies, there is a time and a season for everything. A time to hate and a time to love.
Our beloved King David was not a perfect man. In placing Uriah on the front lines of battle, he caused his death as surely as doing the deed. Because of this, the L-rd would not allow him to build the Temple. But David was allowed to gather the materials so that his son, Solomon, could build it. Thus was the first Temple of G-d’s abode created.
The Jews lived under a period of dayyanim (Judgeship/Judges) (if my sequence is correct), for a long time prior to their establishment of the successive monarchies, which would produce the likes of David and Solomon. It was the Prophets who first anointed the Kings, with Divine oversight.
Our first Jewish king was named Saul. His son, Yonatan, became the best of friends with David, the shepherd from Bethlehem. David would delight King Saul with music and melodies that he played. King Saul eventually grew paranoid in the power of his position, or in the recesses of his mind, where he began to suspect that David wanted to usurp his power and authority because David was blessed with many talents and success in applying them. It was David, the shepherd, who was able to defeat Goliath (Golyat) of the Philistines, as well as win many more battles against thousands more, the extent to which had eluded King Saul. The truth was blocked from Saul’s consideration in his mental incapacitation, as the insecurities and over-shadowing of David’s star exceeded his. He then began to persecute David as his alleged offender, to the point where he planned to get rid of him, once and for all.
Yonatan was able to warn David of his father’s intentions, allowing for his escape. He shuffled around from place to place, hiding amongst the varied population. Saul eventually caught up to David at Ein Gedi, I believe it was. But David remained hidden against Saul’s murderous intent. While Saul slept, David crept up to him and sliced off a corner of his garment. When Saul confronted David finally, David was able to prove that if it had been the murder of Saul for which he was being accused, than he had been close enough to do so while King Saul slept. The fact that he had the corner of the garment and that he did not kill King Saul was proof that he was being persecuted without reason. That David was wise enough to back away from King Saul’s wrath spared his life.
There is a time for war and a time for peace.
Randy’s Recipes: Caper Caesar Salad
For heavy-on-the-veggie eaters, the caper berries in this recipe replaces the anchovies normally found in regular Caesar salad recipes. There’s no need to measure any quantities, either — just use the amounts which suits your tastes. One head of lettuce will generally make about four 1-quart containers, and will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Lettuce (Iceberg, Romaine, or those which suit your preferences)
Carrots, bias-cut (I generally use baby carrots, but it doesn’t matter)
Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese
Capers, finely diced
Green Olives, diced chunkily (optional)
Other raw vegetables of your choice (optional)
Croutons (optional; Make your own by substituting bread for the pita wedges in my toasted pita chips recipe)
Canned or frozen vegetables: stringbeans, asparagus, peas, etc., sliced
Chunk or shredded cheeses
Meats: antipasto-style; chicken, turkey, salami, ham, etc., sliced
Bacon or bacon-substitute bits
Nuts: peanuts, sunflower kernels, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, filberts, etc.
Marinated artichokes, sliced
Meals: corn or Matzah
Hearts of Palm, sliced
Ramen or chow mein dry noodles
Cut all non-raw and non-vegetable items and put aside. Cut the lettuce and vegetables and place in a large colander. Rinse well, leaving water moisture in lettuce. Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle lettuce with parmesan cheese and mix, coating well. Add all other ingredients and toss well.
5.4 Yums Up
Update: In fairness to respect of food classification, I changed wording from my original article to reflect this. This corresponds to the more exacting terminology correlating to “conscientious consumption”, I’ll call it, of food evolution and its processes. Of recent note is the topic being reported, breaking roughly half-an-hour ago in news outlets, of the amount of filler found in sprinkle Parmesan cheese canisters. The food additive, known as cellulose, “plumps” food by extending its volume. It is a vegetative, organic product produced by the plant kingdom. While it is used by humans in the manufacture of many products, including as wood pulp used in the production of paper, it is also the stringy stuff you find when you bite into a stalk of celery. Basically, it’s plant fibre. It is being used in sprinkle Parmesan cheese, basically as an anti-caking agent — I guess the issue under recent investigation is whether the amounts added represent more “filler” than initially stated. I realize the importance that people might place on food labelling, it’s accuracy, and what is going into their foods and packaging. It is an established, acceptable product, in my estimation, to add to packaged foods, and I’ll continue to do so, despite this contrary media storm. I just thought it was important to correct my usage of certain words, given hardcore adherance by some to their definitions, and I note that with respect, as it does matter to them. I would expect the same, say, from other labellers — for example, it’s important to label Kosher products correctly, for religious adherance. Now let’s focus on the double-standards applied to labelling Israeli products, versus no requirements applied to items produced in acknowledged “conflict” zones, and we’ll be all set. For now, I’ll continue sprinkling my cheese as I please!
Randy’s Recipes: Toasted Pita Chips (Mom’s)
(Updated: 05/21/2016; I found the actual recipe)
Old and improved! These are really delicious and easy; they’re actually one of a recipe my Mother used to make.
1-1/2 – 2 small packages Pita bread
1-1/2 sticks butter
2 Tablespoons minced parsley
1 Tablespoon chives
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Large garlic clove, crushed and minced
Cream together all ingredients, except pita bread. Let stand, covered, for at least one (1) hour. When ready, cut pita loaves into halves, and then quarters or thirds. Spread creamed butter mixture onto one side of pita bread. Place on baking sheet and bake 3 to 4 minutes at 450°F.
This can be cooled, then frozen, then reheated by baking for 2 minutes.
8.5 Yums Up
Randy’s Recipes: Easy Blue Cheese Dressing
This blue cheese dressing is so easy to make, and way better than the store bought kind. No measurements are required; adjust to taste.
Mayonnaise (I prefer Hellman’s)
Gorgonzola Cheese (or Roquefort)
Sour Cream (optional)
Garlic: Minced or Powdered (optional)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate, then serve.
5.4 Yums Up
Randy’s Recipes: Easy Herbed Cheese Spread
This easy herbed cheese spread tastes like its more expensive store-bought duplicate. Buying the dry spices once will extend your kitchen considerations much farther than just buying one small tub of spreadable cheese. No measurements are needed — just season to taste, but always start lightly and then add more, if required.
I didn’t realize that the basic version listed here (without my additions) is actually listed on the side of the Pereg Zahatar bottle as one of their Chef’s recommendations.
Zahatar Seasoning (Pereg brand is good)
Minced Garlic (optional)
Green Schug (optional)
Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Harissa, or your favorite hot sauce
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Chill, then serve.
7.1 Yums Up
Aman Mohammed: La Tradition du Hejaz/The Tradition of Hejaz (CD); OCORA Collection; OCORA C560158; 2001; Paris (02/14/16 Google search; landing page description for the following: (http://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/200702/music/default.htm) – (Information not accessible); Maison de Radio France, Piece 1275, 116 Avenue du President Kennedy, 75786, Paris, Cedex 16 (02/14/16: (https://www.discogs.com/label/57784-Ocora)).
Per Wikipedia.org, accessed 02/14/2016, OCORA (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocora) specializes in world music field recordings. It was established as part of state-owned Radio France in 1957, located at Maison de La Radio along the River Seine.
From the liner notes: Hijaz: Arabic for “barrier”; name of mountain chain running parallel to the Red Sea, separating the coastal plain to the west and the desert plateau of Nejd to the east. King Abd Al-Aziz Ibn Saud conquered Mecca in 1925 from Cherif Hussein (whose descendants went on to rule Iraq and Jordan).
Great liner notes include a quick, brief synopsis of Saudi/Middle Eastern history and a great compendium of study of the Arab styles of music and the origins of the styles by ethnomusicologist, Jean Lambert. Most surprising is the map showing the word, ‘Israel’, on it. Track 5 is a nice poem (the words to most of the tracks are translated).
It would be worth getting this c.d. just for songs 7, 8, and 9 alone.
Receive a free 15-song download selected from the catalogue of Rounder Records in honor of the customers who have supported Rounder for 45 years. Celebrate this anniversary and milestone with the gift selected for you at the noisetrade.com box on the Rounder website. Offer may be time-restricted and limitations may apply.
and scroll down to click on the noisetrade.com offer for your free 15-song gift pack from Rounder Records. Fiercely Independent!
Anthology of World Music: The Music of Afghanistan; (p) International Institute for Traditional Music (Berlin). Originally issued as the UNESCO collection. Original Fifty Albums of Anthology of Traditional Music of the World, published by Barenreiter Verlag/Musicaphon. © 2003 Rounder Records Corp.; One Camp Street, Cambridge, MA, 02140. (http://www.rounder.com/) email: (firstname.lastname@example.org) Rounder-82161-5121-2. Commentary by Professor Alain Danielou (1902-1994). Edited for the International Music Council by the International Institute for Comparative Music Studies and Documentation (Founder, and first Director, Professor Alain Danielou). Succeeding Prof. Danielou was Professor Ivan Vandor.
The dust-jacket of this c.d. notes the many influential elements of the countries surrounding Afghanistan upon its music, including ancient forms of Greek, Iranian, Turkish, Indian, Russian, Roma folk music, and even stylings resembling those of the European Middle Ages! It’s no wonder, considering that Afghanistan is situated almost at the juncture of where these civilizations meet.
Some of the instruments used in these recordings include: versions of a Lute, known to them as: Tumbur (plucked); Dambura (two-string); Dotar (three-string); Bowed Instruments: Ritchak (popular in the North); Sarinda (popular in the South); Drums: Dhol (two-sided); Zer-Berhali (one-sided); Doirah (tambourine); Sornai (oboe; found in tombs of Sumer; “Sahnai,” in India); Tula (flute); Cheng (called a “Jew’s Harp” and said to be known all over the Orient).
In totality, this is a very nice sampling of Afghan (Afghani) music.
Randy: On the Origins of Cats
Randy: “I think that Cats were created
from the Side of Woman.”
And G-d Laughed.
Fighting Fire With Fire
“I’d rather go down in a blaze of glory, for you to remember my eternal flame, than to be scattered to the wind like ash.”
For Pete’s sake (sorry, Pete)… If things couldn’t get more heated in the Dems versus Guppy race, we now have the latest running mate, named “Cheese”, entering the political arena. Heading one of the top (late-breaking?) items on the news story carousel is an article featuring the eighty best cheeses from around the world. As like wine, the cheese industry has evolved protected Provenance Labeling and guards their recipes and methods with care. The newest Labeling fiasco, though, is in finding that one of these eighty best cheeses include one called “Akkawi”, from the great, non-existent state of Palestine! Quick! Five points to the first person who can define the borders to this fake state! Whoops! Time’s up! You failed! That’s because it doesn’t exist! The Arabs live either as citizens, just like everyone else, in Israel, or they are under Israeli sovereignty in Israel, but in either mixed areas or under (semi-) autonomous rule.
The article, which I had to track down again because it disappeared before I could write down the information, is here:
http://www.gourmandize.com/article-1973-around-the-world-in-80-cheeses.htm. (The culprit is #3 of 81 photos).
Try to look up Ackawi (variant: Akkawi) cheese, and you run across the cheese site, cheese.com, which explains the “origins” of the cheese, thusly. They say that the cheese is named “Ackawi” because that is the Arabic name meaning that it comes from “Aker”. Acre(English) / Akko(in Israel) is a city bordering Haifa, in the north of Israel! This city is purely in Israel and there is absolutely not one shred of any city called “Aker of Palestine”. Both this gourmet blog site and this cheese site misidentify the city (or state) of origin of this cheese! Considering that the European Union and the United States are bullying just one country, Israel, to label goods manufactured from what they consider “conflict” areas, I want to know where this outrage of a cheese, labeled from a non-existent state replacing Israel, comes from?
See the offensive cheese here:
I wonder what they had to pay to secure that cheese.com generically-named website? The domain name must have been pretty tough to secure!
As it turns out, the article had a strange footer… Copyright WorldNews Inc. Cheese as a news site? Well, I love cheese as much as the next guy, but this is just a bit much, isn’t it? Well, no; as it turns out, it isn’t. In fact, WorldNews Inc, according to their LinkedIn site, employs between fifty-one and two-hundred people, and maintains “over 20,000 global thematic and regional news sites”. Wikipedia.org, accessed February 11, 2016, lists them as a news aggregator founded in 1995 and launched online in 1998, earning mention among Forbes’ 2000 “Best of Web” in just two years’ time. And Reddit, accessed same date, lists WorldNews Network with over ten-million (views?), with filters: Refugee crisis, Zika, Syria/Iraq, Ukraine/Russia, and Israel/Palestine! Reddit’s statement includes also what is disallowed, which is: US Politics/US International News. Why not? Is this, like, some kind of a spy front? WorldNews Network, at their site, offers language services in: German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Hindi, Chinese and Japanese. They also have travel and education services — and no, I’m not a travel agent promoting their services! This is not an endorsement, whatsoever. In fact, it’s sort of an inquiry in the opposite direction! Their regional editions include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Iran, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Phillipines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, VietNam. Wow. It sort of reminds me, since I had written about it not too long ago, of the BBC, in comparison with the language translation abilities and the scope of its reach. That is impressive! Especially with the speed with which they were able to get it into Iran. Huh. It didn’t even seem like the agreements had even been complete, let alone the ink having dried yet, on the lifting of sanctions on the country of Iran.
So, what news are they aggravating? I mean, aggregating? Al Jazeera. I think I recall reading somewhere that it means, “the Islands”, in Arabic (I might be wrong; I don’t speak Arabic). The station is quite biased against Israel (I’ve watched it). The six articles at the top of the network site accessed yesterday (http://wn.com) are all about Bernie Sanders; other article topics list: Syrian war; poor treatment of terrorists; climate change; Ferguson, Missouri and biased policing practices; black voters — you get the general idea. And in the business arena, they follow the same model that the current petroleum giants, such as BP (British Petroleum), and others have been rolling out: combining petroleum services with renewable alternatives. WorldNews Business is offering service in this, as well: Solar power, oil investment, and silver prices.
With all this cheese stinking up the place, it’s almost sure to draw rats!
Here is a recipe from giverecipe.com for Kunefe, a dish served as typical “Palestinian” fare, and a background on its history, the locations from where its ingredients are sourced, and the proper way to prepare it, from a restaurant owner specializing in its preparation (afar from its original source).
Kunefe, much like baklava, soaks in syrup. I enjoy the tastes of both, but find the after-effects of these oily-syrup treats to be more than my gastronomic appreciation can bear.
Update (October 19, 2018):
United With Israel Staff. “France Forced to Stop Discriminating Against Israeli Products”. unitedwithisrael.org; October 16, 2018:
Security, In the Shape of an Under-Arm Holster
My Own Personal Conceal/Carry Preference
Israel, shown with its Sinai Peninsula, Judaea and Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza — and without its eastern portion beyond the river (now known as Jordan) and Armistice lines.
What does it mean to be an “activist?” I’m not going to give you the Oxford or Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of the word — that would be too predictable for an article about “activism”.
I’m not going to relate the tireless saga of the struggles of the Civil Rights movements, and the incredible accomplishments inspired by the often selfless acts of people such as Martin Luther King, Jr., or Dred Scott — because they are well known.
But, the activism I’m referring to comes from within. What is it that drives us each and every day? What fuels our passions and our dreams to live a better life? Each action we take on a daily basis will have repercussions for the world we leave our children tomorrow.
If you were to ask me, I would tell you that every issue is a political one. Life, itself, is one, big political issue. Love ’em or hate ’em, politics finds its way into every decision we make and its penultimate consequences for the course of our lives. The friendships you make are a barometer of your inner mind. The choice of college major and job choices you make might determine the trajectory of your career path well into the future. Your involvement in the parenting of your children or the decisions made in the hiring of the school board will help to influence the decisions your own children will make.
And these children will be the generations who will become our own leaders, involving the making of collective decisions which will impact the greater whole.
Whatever it is that you do, you’re doing something that involves politics, no matter the level of participation. It might not take much dedication, or it may involve intense, concerted efforts to reach the results of pursuit.
As an impassioned couch potato, I signed numerous petitions which I thought conformed to the general hoped-for outcome of issues which represented my outlook. After numerous years of adding my name to petitions others had written, I decided to become more physically present to the challenges I hoped to overcome. This provided immense satisfaction, and represents a period in my life of which I’m most proud and at which I was at my almost personal best. It was probably one of the happiest points in my adult life, as well. Because I was living it with passion and determination. The goals were clearly defined and I could work to reach them, step by step. The end goal was something I fervently believe in and was willing to stand up and be counted among its supporters.
So there, to me, is the basis for politics and activism. To find what’s important to you, to find your passions (your causes) and to try to live them mindfully. What are yours?
Walking along the path to the driveway the other day, I noticed a curious sight. In the corner of my eye, a shadow zipped across the gated entrance and quickly stopped again. It had been coming toward me, beginning its entry to the property, when, just as suddenly, it had turned and reversed direction upon my approach.
I had seen its black-and-white visage, and the shadow it cast along the driveway pavement held no secrets as to its identity when it literally “turned tail” and ran. Wondering what “Kitty”, the feral cat of the community and of G-d was up to, I peeked under the vehicle she had lodged herself under.
She had first liked to hang around by the driveway and take shade beneath the vehicles on hot days. Cars and cats don’t mix well, but she would elude human capture as soon as you tried to get near. She didn’t seem interested in the three cats across the street — they eventually moved away, anyways. I thought perhaps she was visiting with another cat I once saw in a fenced yard around the corner.
Then, one day I spotted her in the neighbor’s driveway. I also saw her going up the neighbor’s walk to the fence, as if she was choosing the wrong household. Then, I noticed that the neighbors had a cat, sitting in the window. She went up to it, peering at it, seeming to puzzle the perplexity of a cat behind glass.
Apparently, the cat was kept indoors, safe from the vicious dogs they trained to protect their property, slamming themselves uncontrollably against the fence as I passed by on the other side to my apartment. As they say, good fences make good neighbors. Except that they weren’t such good neighbors, keeping the dogs out all night barking, until my repeated calls to the cops finally seemed to cure them of this habit.
The lady next door actually briefly moved into the apartments up from mine. She brought two dogs, and would release them by my apartment to poop where they pleased (without picking up after them) and let them run leashless. Seeing Kitty one day, one dog charged after her. The dogs prevented me from passing as they guarded the lady and her property, now on the walkway up from mine. It was my only access to get out and they were blocking it. It sort of irks me that my landlord had to confirm my story with another of my neighbors (who had luckily also seen the dogs running leashless all the time) before he believed me and took action to ask the woman to leave. I don’t understand the whole thing. She is either the Aunt or the Mother to the guy next door. I don’t know why she moved here when her relative lives next door. She also had a dish installed for wireless service, which I didn’t want put up intercepting my service. Why not put it on the roof next door? Why do they sometimes park their vehicles here and receive important mail here still? She moved out and moved in next door. I guess their ideas of neighborliness perhaps don’t exactly meld with my own concept of the same.
I can definitely tell when Kitty has been around other people; she becomes more wary and apprehensive. It takes patience and a little time to get her back to where she’s more trustful. We’re kind of still working on this. We stepped outside a day or two ago, and she seemed frozen to the earth. The dogs behind the fence caught whiff of an intruder — the cat the neighbors keep indoors away from their own ruthless security dogs. Kitty seemed to implore me to do something to intervene in the sudden cruel sounds of attack by these dogs and the screams of its animal victim. I heard the lady say, “I don’t know how she got out”. Kitty went back inside with me, although it was she who had wanted to leave prior to that, and was eventually placated and back to normal.
Peering under the vehicle to try and coax Kitty out from under, I looked at her, and, ‘Whoa!’ Where was the black heart on her nose? I didn’t get it. Here were the black and white markings. Here was an almost perfect replica of little Kitty. But she got up at my approach, and quickly scampered beneath the truck of the neighbor next door. And here, now, was Kitty, peering through the chain links for a while to look at the other kitty.
I’m not sure how our no longer quite feral cat determined that she belonged to our community and was always in the neighborhood. Perhaps this other cat is a relative who holds a clue. In any case, Kitty turned and walked with me back down the pathway and into the apartment.
Thanks, Kitty, for showing your compassion and caring for others. I hope, one day, that your kindness can be met in the treatment you receive. Thank you, little lovebug, for paying it forward.
Abraham was the first Zionist.
On Zion (II):
G-d, actually, was the first Zionist.
Abraham was the first Zionist.
A loud and raucous group on college campuses has been pushing American Universities to join the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions movement, and they have somewhat succeeded in bullying the financial departments of these schools to pull out money they previously invested, and which generated fantastic returns and dividends to the schools, due to their belief that this Middle Eastern nation and its government engage in massive, wide-scale oppression and subjugation of its people. The matter and its mantra have been so popular, that it has been the major directive of an entire body of world leaders engaged in measures to curtail this threat to the world. Additionally, this world body exacted further requirements that this nation submit to the labeling of products manufactured in so-called conflict areas, so that economic boycotts may be effective in crippling the economy of this possibly nuclear-armed state. Special sessions convened by the UN have set into motion these measures, first demanded by the European Union (in present times and in days of yore) and succeeded by the United States. We should shout to the world that this country is “Iran”!*
The actual target of these discriminatory measures, however, is Israel. In response, Israel is penetrating new markets in cross-continental shows of commercial support. The same type of discriminatory laws which previously prevented Jews a livelihood by barring them from the craft guilds or Universities of Europe, enabled them to excel in the few areas in which they were allowed to operate. What was the bane to its perpetrators became the boon to its recipients. Such restrictive actions having the inverse, and unintended, effects certainly proved a frustration in limiting these major players in this arena and dealt the narrative a jarring blow.
Thanks to BDS — But, no thanks!
* Country names appearing in this article have been changed (to protect their innocence, it is said).
The following article gives a succinct background treatment to and summarizes the Jewish experience regarding the proliferation of anti-semitism on campus:
Hausman, Matthew M., J.D. “Gross Hypocrisy Or Willful Complicity: The U.S. Campus: Free Speech Is Hardly Being Respected; Anti-Semitism Is”; April 2, 2016. Arutz Sheva / Israel National News.com:
Update June 7, 2018:
Here’s a great quote from Steven Shamrak countering BDS:
Buy Israeli and end discrimination of the BDS and Labeling movements. Sites producing Judaica and Israeli goods will be featured sporadically to show interesting products.
Robert Indiana, an American artist, created the iconic LOVE sculpture, comprised of two letters, “L”, “O” (tilted to lean forward from the “L”) situated on top of the “V” and “E”. The form found expression in many products during its heyday, including as pendants for necklaces. An equally stunning statement in Hebrew, the AHAVA sculpture, and other sculptures of the same concept in additional languages, all with the meaning ” Love”, have sprung up around the world.
Peter Max defined a generation with his iconic and immensely popular “LOVE” logo and work. Such work created an entire culture, inspiring the art of the era.
I was lucky enough to attend an opening reception for one of the studio galleries of Peter Max’s work. Most impressive, to me, were his depictions of Lady Liberty.
As a Jewish artist, Peter Max has made a major impact in the future for the fuller appreciation of modern art, while similarly expounding a universal proclamation to love — the antithetical and transverse message to those condemning us with their own messages of hatred.
His official website, where you can view his works and purchase posters and other items is:
Show your love for Israel and the Jewish people, and maybe your love for someone else, as well, this Valentine’s Day, with these special heart-shaped jewelry items, as well as the “AHAVA” designs, found online via the Simon Wiesenthal Center gift shop, whose agency I wrote briefly about in the article, “Let’s Not Forget”. They also feature some other beautiful pieces, such as the silver with scroll-ornamented design and blue “Chai” (meaning “Life”) matchbox cover, which also looks like it could possibly be used like a pillbox, found in the Clearance section; the silver filigree-style Jewish star with turquoise center necklace is also really stunning. Check out other items for purchase (or admiration) here:
and then click to open where it says “Shop”, and that will go to a new page with a listing of product categories to browse at your leisure.
No shame for promoting this endeavor, and it helps multiple good causes.
Update (October 19, 2018):
United With Israel Staff. “France Forced to Stop Discriminating Against Israeli Products”. unitedwithisrael.org; October 16, 2018:
Shir – Israeli Songs
Listen in Spotify to the soul-rending songs of the Jewish spirit (must have Spotify installed to hear in entirety; these are just samples).
This experience replicates some of the religious prayers and rites of our people through our actual prayers/songs, as well as being culturally interpreted through new, modern song, which, nevertheless hearkens back to the past. Some of these songs were born in kinship with the rebirthing of the nation, and reflect that. Overall, you will hear the melancholic minor-key beauty so particular and prevalent in the essence of our souls.