Wednesday, October 27, 2004

whooo....it's been a long week and a half. lets see if we can do a quick sum up. school started. A and I saved a womans bag from a thief, i might have a thesis topic, school started, i found someone to teach me how to speak arabic, and.....i think that might be it.

schools good, i'm taking A Documentary Study of Palestinian Nationalism, History and Historiography of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and some class on central asia, but mostly because the prof. is big and jolly like santa clause.

side note: santa clause in holland is really quite the sick fuck. first off, he doesnt have elves, he has 6-8 black men (actually they're white guys that put on black face and paint their lips red) who go around taking the bad kids, putting them in burlap sacks, beating them, and then deporting them to spain. the dutch are twisted. but they're so polite!

naturally i also have hebrew and arabic class. i've also found someone to take up my offer to teach me how to speak arabic in return for teaching them english. i hope it goes well.

i might have my thesis topic down. ready? Black September: The 1970 Jordanian Civil War. It's an untouched topic. no one's ever tackled it. i might have to get to london to go through the british archives, but i've seen that i can order documents from them online. i've requested some just to see how the material is. i'd also have to talk to my advisor (same guy mentioned a few posts back....wait...did i talk about this already? it's possible...) anyway, he's got great connections in jordan, and so this could turn into something really fantastic. although dad just called a little while ago pretty upset over the thought of me travelling to jordan again. i understand him, but i'm really into this topic....it's a hard choice. lots of conflicting notions about going to any arab country. *sigh* life life life.

bah, i wont get into it. oh, A and i saving the womans bag. not that crazy of a story unless you were there. no violence or anything. she wasnt nearly as grateful as you'd expect though. that whore.

instead, lets share funny things.
in hebrew, the word "nes" means miracle. it's also shorthand for nescafe (instant coffee for the laymen)...so naturally when you ask for a big instant coffee, "nes gadol" what youre asking for is a big miracle.

good israeli response to any hypothetical situation: "and if grandma had wheels she'd be a bus."

in arabic, jesus christ is loosely translated into "mister messiah." not to be confused with mister roboto, mister miyagi, or mister rogers.

other good israeli slang: "kosemekh"-literally, your mothers cunt; "lizrok za'yn"-literally, to throw a dick, meaning, to be a jerk

ok, that's enough for now.



Sunday, October 17, 2004

School started today. There was a meeting in the afternoon where we met a couple of the new first year students. looks like a nice bunch, wish i'd met more of them, but there were a lot of people from my year that i hadnt seen all summer. T gave me a nice surprise; a caramel packed with a little sumthin-sumthin. wink wink, nudge nudge.

Had a class on Palestinian nationalism with a great prof. I read one of his books, and his introduction was briliant. All about the need for the historian to empathize with his subject. Not sympathize, mind you, empathize. It's a world of difference, and empathy is vastly important. If i get my hands on that book again maybe i'll quote a little for you.

Anyway, here's a tidbit i just came across in one of my readings.

"To stand up and declare loudly what history can achieve is fully as important as pointing out its limitations and duplicities. In this century, in particular, millions of men and women have died because they or others believed fabrications about the past fed them by politicians, by journalists, by fanatics - and by bad historians as well. If historians have any public function at all, and they should have, it is to point out that the past cannot be entirely mocked; that some truths can be ascertained amidst the myths, the memories, and the doubts. If they fail to do this, they deserve nothing better than...to be hounded from the shelter of academe and buried in unknown graves." - Linda Colley

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

i've been feeling a bit romantic as of late. perhaps it's all the reading i've been doing on terror financing. or listening to massive attack. maybe it's the beard. either way, considering that i've also been feeling acutely screwed up as of late, albeit in a calm serene kind of way, it may not be best to actively seek an outlet for these romantic stirrings.

have i really brought this topic up twice in one week? sheesh. someone find a sweatsock and jam it down my throat like an amish grandmother churning butter.

i wish my hebrew was better. it's good enough to carry any conversation, but not on a higher level. i speak street hebrew, not university hebrew. that bothers me. apparently not enough to actively fight it though. ah well. i shall try. at the very least i should start reading more.

not much else to discuss, except it's always exciting to discover that people i dont know are reading this. pretty crazy. am i really that fascinating? i doubt it. but i understand voyeurism. so it's cool.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Man was not made to shit and recline. No, i'm not being philosophical here, i mean it, man was not built to shit while reclining. Which is a damn shame, because who wouldn't want to kick their feet up and relax while pooping. Let's be honest. Don't make that face, you know you'd love it if you could lay back in one of those giant British Airways first class super-beds they always advertise, and just poop your little heart, er, colon out. But alas, we shall have to wait for the next stage in evolution for that little gem.

Anyway. Last night D and I went down to the beach to, well, just sit on the beach. It's nice at night cos it's usually really quiet and it's still warm out. We went to the religious beach, as per usual, since it has that nice wall around it which allows for a certain sense of detachment. (as though anyone here needed to feel more detached) well, there happened to be a bunch of religious guys there last night too, about 7 or 8 of them. Young guys, around 20, and they were quite jovial. Some of them ran into the water dancing and singing. Very funny. I've never been particularly (read, at all) religious, although i've never hidden my small envy of those that truly love devoting themselves to their faith (or anything, really).

D had his gee-tar with him, and some of the religious guys that didnt go swimming came up to us and wanted him to play for them. D was quite shy with them, which was surprising as he's a fair bit more religious than i am, and generally tends to like opportunitys to speak in hebrew (he came here not knowing a word, and has made some really impressive progress). I on the other hand, was quite friendly. Perhaps it was the Johnny Walker. The three religious kids were really impressed with my flask, although they wouldnt take a drink. They really liked smelling the alcohol though. They didnt think they could handle it though, and i couldnt convince them to take a swig. It's funny when D takes a sip, cos he makes this awful face and lets out this kind of painful hissing sigh, then promptly asks me, "how the hell can you drink this stuff straight like that?" Years of practice boy, years of practice.

One of the religious guys, we'll call him A, stuck around. He and i started talking and after a half hour or so D picked up and went home. A and i kept talking and talking until almost 4 am. It was my first real conversation with a haredi. We're talking white shirt, black pants, black skullcap, studying torah from 7am until 1am (he's on vacation until sunday, hence being at the beach so late). Still, it really wasnt the kind of conversation one would expect at all. We talked about god, of course (i was pleasently surprised that he didnt push anything on me, not in the least, perhaps not unlike the way meat eaters are surprised that i dont push vegetarianism on them. although i wasnt nearly as suspicious of him as meat eaters are of me). We also talked about secular-religious relations here in israel. He seemed honest and open about it. he didnt understand why the secular are so vicious to the religious (and they can be), and he really seems to push for better understanding between the two.

We talked a lot about women. He was very focused on this. He was also really surprised by a lot of my answers to his questions. He's a sweet guy, apparently very shy around girls. I told him he shouldnt be. He was really shocked that i hadnt slept with anyone in three months, he seems to be under the impression that anyone secular has sex every day, all the time. He was particularly unnerved over my "it's just sex" comment. I explained that eventually you get to the point in life that, if you dont really feel for someone, then it's just sex and it probably wont happen more than once or twice. This of course is just me. I realize now that i was surprisingly open about what i want. i went on about my "we're all ugly at 80" thing about why you want to find someone that you really love to be with. I was much more impassioned last night than i am now, and probably a good deal more poetic, but then again, i had been drinking. Either way, he seemed quite impressed. On the other hand, he has to stay virgin until he gets married, so perhaps anything i have to say about sex would have appeared impressive.

We also talked a little politics, as per usual here. he said that he's usually left, but whenever there's a bombing he just feels like he's on the far right of the spectrum. it's understandable. Still he seemed quite tolerant. i dont know if that's age or wisdom, but i hope he stays that way. sweet guy.

anyway, tomorrow morning i'm off to hang out with saba yossef at some tv studio in givatyme. he's being interviewed for channel 2 apparently. i always like going to these things with him, i feel like a personal liason. i imagine he likes that feeling as well, perhaps it brings him back to his days in the big political circles.

Monday, October 11, 2004

so i should probably be feeling lonely since i just made a huge thing of stirfry (came out quite good, thank you for asking) and i'm the only one here to eat it. not that i couldnt have invited friends over to join in (one might wonder why i did that, perhaps fear that it would turn out crap), but i didnt. it's actually a good question to ponder why i didnt do that. perhaps i've just been around people a lot the last couple of weeks and some time alone is called for. could well be it. i do like my alone time.

i guess perhaps this is an interlude. i'm at a strange point in life. i dont feel confident enough to start a serious relationship (see previous relationships....on second thought, dont) yet the casual couple-o-night stands just arent satisfying. i guess i've realized that the next time i meet someone that i want to be with, it'll have to be someone i'm truly in love with. problem is, will said lovee also be lover? it wouldnt be easy for said lovee. sure, might seem like a breeze at first, but so does a storm. (oooh, how poetic and selfdeluted!)

I think people can be quite cruel, even with the best of intentions. suspicion of said cruelty in just as terrible. If Person 1 is apparently incapable of falling in love with all the trust, openess, honesty, etc. it requires because of X reasons, and Person 2 claims to be in love with Person 1, can it not be simply for the reason that Person 1 is so repressed and closed off that what Person 2 really feels is an insatiable curiousity, even deep sympathy, for Person 1, and thus confuses these emotions for love. Things are more complicated when Person 2 is a female, as females are generally prone to reaching out and trying to heal those in need, even patheticly repressed men. perhaps especially pathetically repressed men.

So should pathetically repressed Person 1 need to give in to Person 2's feelings of alleged love, only knowing that Person 2 will not be so eager be with Person 1 once he has been pathetically open, honest, trusting, etc?

No, i imagine what Person 1 needs is someone that sees right through his bullshit and can still care for him. But that would take some serious 8-day burning oil miracle type shit.

Either way, Person 1 clearly needs to get some serious help before he eats all the stir-fry, because lets face it, the only thing worse than being pathetic, repressed, and in need of help, is being pathetic, repressed, in need of help, and fat.

UPDATE

so remember the last post? well, look at this article on Kerry in the NY Times Magazine...very revealing. but what i particularly liked was this part:

"Kerry's guardedness has contributed to the impression that he does not think clearly or boldly about foreign policy. In his short but fascinating book titled ''Surprise, Security and the American Experience,'' the Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis suggests that Bush's framework for fighting terrorism has its roots in the lofty, idealistic tradition of John Quincy Adams and Woodrow Wilson. (The book was so popular in the White House that Gaddis was invited over for a discussion.) ''What Bush is proposing is quite long-term, quite radical and quite Wilsonian,'' Gaddis told me when we spoke; when I asked him about Kerry, he said: ''I don't know where Kerry is on this. I don't have the slightest clue.''

maybe i'm not so full of shit after all....

Saturday, October 09, 2004

I have a cousin in Florida who's a classic American liberal. I still love him though. Anyway, i just sent him an email that i thought i'd share.

Perhaps, at heart, I am an idealist, and that's the reason i like bush. I see hope. I see him changing the way the US has historically fought wars since WWII. I see the Reagan in him, the way he is taking on what everyone believes to be an impossible enemy with impossible schemes. The world sees a man whose intelligence they question, and i see Lincoln, the president known for being awkward and stumbling (until he would give a speech that left the audience breathless...here is where i imagine listening to bush giving a speech in a world where there are no constant tv pundits and commentators, spinners and counter-spinners, where there is just a man declaring his profound belief in democracy, liberty, and human rights). America has spent a century becoming the strongest nation on earth. It is without a doubt the strongest, most unique empire in history. However, since the end of the cold war what it has lacked is vision. I think this is often confused with having an enemy, but that is not what i mean. What i mean is going back to what the founding fathers called an "empire of liberty." I think, that on some level, 9/11 reminded some Americans of that dream, and how in the mess of the cold war and in the wake of the Soviet collapse, Americans had forgotten that dream. The 90's allowed America to get fat on its economy and finally sleep that heavy dreamless sleep it had yearned for since the second world war had ended. The communists were done for, it was timeto rest. But that was wrong, because the vision had not yet been fulfilled and the opportunity to work closer towards achieving it had been squandered. America continued to trade progress for stability as though the Soviets still existed. Imagine if Bush 41 had had the vision his son has, that he would have put the American troops on the road to Baghdad and said "It is time to bring democracy to this country." Imagine if he did it and had succeeded. It's not unthinkable. Almost all of the Arab states supported the war, and that particular gulf war had been the only time the UN actually succeeded in working as a cooperative body in employing the use of force.

I dont know how deeply i can state this: Iraq is not vietnam. It simply is not. The americans in Iraq today are not the draftees from Vietnam. They know why they are there. Every heavily publicized battle is followed up a month or two later by a far less publicized success in defeating that insurgency. Al-Sadr and his Mahdi army have been reduced to ashes. There's no way to say that mistakes have not been made, but this is simply not on the scale of vietnam. Iraqis are in charge of their own government. They're going to hold elections in January. You dont organize elections, establish schools, rebuild\infrastructure, and conduct local elections (and they have taken place) by using B2 bombers and smart bombs. So much for Bush's foreign policy being focused solely on military might.

I dont confuse Israel's wars with America's. Some might be voting forBush on the grounds that he's good for Israel, but i believe that's a secondary product of him being in office. Bush knows enough that he wont get anything of our Arafat, and Sharon is a lieing snake. So he does what's logical, leave both sides to their own doing and step in when there's someone to talk to. But while Israels wars shouldnt be confused with America's, neither should they be compared. Anyway, i do hope youre wrong, because i just dont like the alternative to losing in Iraq or Afghanistan. Democracies are like people: born in blood, fragile, and they must learn to crawl beforethey can run.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I dont really know how to start this. I'm thinking of last night, after i finally walked out because i couldnt watch the news anymore, how walking down the street you could hear the news still pouring out of the open windows. If i listened closely i probably could have heard an unbroken stream of reports and commentary. Mostly just about how no one knew anything. When they first kept trying to insist that it might have been a mere gas explosion, i wanted to start throwing things. Because you see in their eyes that the reporters are thinking the same thing that everyone else is thinking, "Obviously it was a terrorists, but please for the love of god let it be something else...gas explosion, mob hit, aliens invading, anything, i dont care just not another one."

If i'd started writing last night this would probably be more interesting, more full of emotion, but right now it's all just coming down and life is already back to normal. phone calls, plans, eating. The frustration and the anger and the drinking and the chain smoking ended sometime in the night. Forgotten until the early morning when the phone calls asking if you're ok. Then more television, until finally people start to wander off, remembering that there's something that needs to be done. the tv can wait. the news will be on later. it always is.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

i have a new phrase that i like, "word is born"

i hope i get to use it sometime. that would require someone to say something so true and sincere that i'd get to say it. something like, "hey d, youre a big fat jerkface with a crooked asshole." and then i could just sigh wearily with the boulder weight of age and whisper "word is born."

something like that.

i've also decided that being in debt with the bank sucks balls, because it essentially means i'm broke. and being broke is like having one long hangover. there are all these things you need to do, but each one makes you want to vomit all over your shoes. i wonder if bloody mary's in the morning would cure poverty.

ahh, life life life. what to do with you?

watched sean of the dead, the british zombie romantic comedy. good flick. very british. the english know what i mean. fish and chips this, you fuckers! ahh....love the english.

introduced my friend to zardoz. she now understands why i can watch any film and afterwards say, "well, it's still no zardoz."still, after E watched it, she really seemed to understand what Boorman was trying to do. unfortunatly, she may be alone in this. personally, i just revel in showing the film to people for the first time. it's a true cult classic, not in the rocky horror sense that everyone has seen it and has gone through some rocky phase. no no, zardoz fans are true fans...there can be no bubbly joy, only hysterical insanity. NO NO I WILL NOT GO TO SECOND LEVEL WITH YOU NO NO!!! THE GUN IS GOOD, THE PENIS IS EVIL! ahhhh, so many classic lines.

thank you sean connery. thank you for wearing little red underwear with that horrible pony tail. thank you for starring in what is certainly your worst role. thank you for the single greatest fall of all time. thank you for breaking through the impenetrable plastic. but most of all, thank you for that incredible final shot. (E insisted on watching that shot twice, and that was before the story of the kid that connery made leave the country for ruining it)

so go out and rent zardoz. because you know you want to. and if you've already seen it a million times, well, cant hurt to look again.

there you go.

Friday, October 01, 2004

hmmm...its hard to tell how successful i've been in this little photography experiment....we shall see. anyway, there are two pictures from sinai now. look at them and gorge yourself on jealousy for being somewhere else. as i do daily.


check this shit out! i think i sorta figured it out....kinda....maybe Posted by Hello


in Sinai Posted by Hello

in Sinai Posted by Hello

blah blah blah. i need to work harder on this paper. and i have to get these arabic translations done. soooooooooo lazy. it's bad. real bad. but i'll do better. i will. promise. swear. heart my fingers crossed.

yeah. i have E's dog for the weekend while she's off at some hippie festival. yucadafrblaarglebarfbarfblarggle. that's all i have to say about that. not really. she just called to tell me all about the ugly naked people groping each other there. if someone wrote an article about this it'd be called "bearded guru guy orchestrates orgy of ugly people." seriously. blarfbarfglarble.

ok, im trying to figure out how to put pictures on this thing, but like martha stewart in jail, i'm about to get fucked. lets try anyway!