A. Make sure to keep tracking Gila Weiss’s My Shrapnel blog. It is, without a doubt, one of the most compelling blogs I have ever read. Slowly, slowly, but with beautiful writing, Gila relates how her life changed one day because she was at the wrong place at the wrong time and was one of the victims of a suicide bombing at the Mahane Yehuda market/shuk in Jerusalem. It is as if the bombing and its impact on Gila are, for her, a rebirth of sorts which she keeps examining and relating to us from different angles. She tells us what led up to that decisive moment, what followed that moment and in an incredible couple of essays, the bombing itself and a light moment in its aftermath.

Really, do not hesitate for another second. Click on the links above and read Gila’s blog.

B. You should listen to Aviv Gefen singing Shahor Lavan (black and white) where he tells a woman that she may already have a boyfriend, but she is seeing life in black and white, while he, the singer, would bring lots of color into her life if she would just stop waiting and come to him now. Okay, so a synopsis doesn’t quite make it sound compelling, but it’s a good song anyway.

Did I ever tell you people the story about the Israeli man who met me many years ago and I guess I was telling him about some woman who was of interest to me but who had a boyfriend and was therefore unavailable. He told me, in this gruff and maybe steretypical Israeli bravado, “chaver zeh lo kir” or as he would say in a heavily accented English “A boyfriend is not a wall.”

A romantic comedy or two have been made from that premise.

C. No, I didn’t forget the Winograd Committee’s report. I’m still trying to digest it and gamely actually trying to read parts of it since I don’t trust too many of the media “analysts” out there. I promise to report back if I have anything worthwhile to say.

Shavua tov!

About the author

themiddle

73 Comments

  • TM, you know what they say, “[A boyfriend may be] A reason, but not an obstacle.” There seem to be vast cultural differences between what’s considered a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship in different parts of this world.

  • Well now, Froylein, I don’t know think the person speaking to me was representative of all Israeli males, just a certain subgroup.

  • I’ve been reading My Shrapnel since you first posted to it and sending it out to people. I WANT IT TO BE A BOOK!

    thanks for pointing it out to us a couple weeks ago.

  • An Israeli friend of mine once told me, “Israelis get married to get divorced.” I don’t know on what behalf of what group – if any – he was speaking, but I read a longer while ago that the divorce rate among secular Israelis has been rising. Maybe somebody’s got more info on that for us.

    My above comment wasn’t limited to Israelis though; Northern Americans and Europeans have got different views on the exclusiveness, so to speak, of boyfriend-girlfriend relationships as well.

  • Now why’d you have to go on and mix the delightful Gila with the frightful Aviv Geffen? Not treating the existence of a boyfriend as a wall is the height of arrogance. If a woman is unhappy and unsatisfied she should break up with her boyfriend. Aviv Geffen’s song is ridiculous – “Ani bah lehatzil otach” – I am coming to save you – implies that women are idiots and need to be saved by this sensitive omniscient macho man who knows what’s better. Other than the part about Gila, this has got to be one of your more retarded posts. I never mack on a woman with a boyfriend and any man that macks on a woman with a boyfriend deserves to have his head kicked in.

  • Hey ck, it’s a song! Just a song. Calm down. The story accompanying the song was intended to amuse. It was a portrayal of a certain type of person but certainly not an indication that his words had wisdom.

    And the idea was to post a couple of things that were uppermost in my mind to start off the week. I had just read Gila’s latest instalments and it just so happened that I heard this song almost immediately afterwards. The song reminded me of that hilarious guy who may or may not have believed what he was saying, but had this mucho thing going where he wanted to impress upon me his “expertise” with women.

    In other words, laugh about it. It’s a song and a little tale accompanying it. You will notice the letters denoting the different sections of the post. Let them be your guides…

  • Boyfriends and girlfriends are pretty good walls, I think. I agree with ck. Sheesh.
    Anyway, every time a guy is making eye contact with me and he’s with his girlfriend/wife, no matter how cute he is, I think eww, what is wrong with you, why would I find you attractive if you’re doing that and you’d do the same with me?

  • Muffti and Middle are not related. We are actually quite different in terms of life paths.

    We also seem to have different taste in music. 😉

  • Yeah, one of them is the bad seed, froylein, I just can’t figure out which one.

    ck’s view is admirably principled, but the messy fact is that people are frequently taken (or, conversely, available) in varying degrees. Takenness is a kind of continuum. So in that sense, a boyfriend is not a wall. A situation, for sure, but not a wall.

    Besides– no need to vastly expand its scope: there’s betrayal enough as it is.

  • Tom, that score sounds about right. Of course, right after the victory, the information coming out now about the videotaping of the walk-through of the Pats’ opponents in their first super bowl victory is going to really tarnish their reputation.

    Just remember not to eat from that dip that others have double-dipped into.

    By the way, have you noticed that being a poster on Jewlicious requires a pretty thick skin?

  • Froylein, this post is pablum. There is nothing offensive or stupid or silly in it. It has one meaningful section, one “entertainment” section and one nothing section. It’s fluff. Suddenly we’re discussing the morality of chasing someone who has a boyfriend.

    By the way, ck, if the woman with the boyfriend is your perfect match; the most attractive, desirable and perfect mate for you in every way. But she has a boyfriend. According to you, that union which isn’t a marriage is sacred and not to be trifled with. Doesn’t that mean that you could lose that perfect match? She’ll be gone because you didn’t want to let her know that she’s a perfect match. You’ll move on and one day, she might too since after all he was only a boyfriend. Now you’ll be taken and she’ll be available and according to you, your new relationship is also so sacred that she can’t come to you and tell you that she realizes you’re the perfect match. Sounds like a lot of missed opportunities and the perfect match never happening just because you consider a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship sacred.

  • Seems the Pats are pretty heartily disliked west of the Connecticut River (I figure Middle’s somewhere to the left of Hartford).

    I’ll admit there’s something Nixonian about Belichick. If he weren’t winning, the local press would tire of his act very quickly. So far, though, no one’s gotten rich betting against him.

    As for that first Super Bowl– we stole it fair and square.

  • Middle, you know how eagerly we digress given the opportunity. 🙂
    I think it’s one thing to express your emotions for somebody who’s taken, but to become jealous and possessive over somebody who’s taken is another thing and can truly be wearing you out if you’re on the receiving end of that kind of “affection”. 150€-flower bouquets anonymously sent can have something creepy about them, y’know.

    Tom, are you talking about some American sports?

  • TM asked: “By the way, ck, if the woman with the boyfriend is your perfect match; the most attractive, desirable and perfect mate for you in every way. But she has a boyfriend. According to you, that union which isn’t a marriage is sacred and not to be trifled with. Doesn’t that mean that you could lose that perfect match?”

    You just don’t go there. Why? Because you cannot make that judgment objectively. Men are often twits and someone taken may seem more attractive because she is taken. So yeah, I don’t ever even contemplate that shit because it’s a path that in all likelihood will lead to heartache and unhappiness and a well deserved ass whupping. If the woman in question is less than completely fulfilled by her current relationship, she should leave it. And if she’s that awesome, she’s worth waiting for.

    Introduce an unprincipled but very interested third party into any relationship and the end result is rarely good. So yeah. I stay out of other people’s relationships and I stay away from people who think it’s ok to mack on otherwise engaged people. Karma has a way of dealing with douchebags like that and it’s best to stay far far away when it hits.

    btw Pats over Giants 24-17 is my guess.

  • Unbelievable 4th quarter. Unbelievable loss by the Pats. I think they underestimated the Giants and weren’t as prepared as they needed to be. I’ve never seen Brady eating so much grass in a game, they mowed his front line down over and over.

  • Hi!

    A. Thank you! 🙂

    B. I actually love that song. Yes, it is crass, but I l love it.

    C. I have also heard the same sentiment re: girlfriend/boyfriend is not a wall. However, I agree with Giyoret. If he can do it to her, he can do it to me.

    D. Screw the football-how were the commercials? Are they online?

    Gila

  • Ash Wednesday’s this week– too bad the Pats couldn’t have played the Super Bowl then. “Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return…”

    As all Boston woke up bleary-eyed and hung over this morning, the talk shows savaged Belichick (e.g., going for it on 4th and 13 rather than kicking the field goal?) and that pathetic offensive line.

    Funny, but I thought Coach Bill and crew would be playing with the house money for years to come. That all came crashing down last night.

  • The other “football”, froylein? OK, USA v. Mexico, Wed. night in Houston…. I have a queasy feeling that Juan Carlos Cacho’s gonna do to us what Eli did to the Pats Sunday.

  • Their offensive line was pathetic. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen because usually Brady has enough time to sip some hot soup before throwing.

    Still, what the hell are Bostonians complaining about? Belichick won 18 games this season and has one hell of a record going back several years. One decision here or there doesn’t define the game, they were two minutes and a couple of lucky plays (how did Manning get away from that certain sack to throw that crazy throw and catch) away from winning it.

    The Giants were better prepared and learned their lessons well from that final game of the season against the Pats.

  • Indeed, Tom. Fußball!!!

    Mmmmm, I’ve been out partying today and still am on the champagne, so I’m tipsy, BUT here’s something for you to dance along to:

  • Cute video… It looked pretty realistic– the Brazilians seemed to dominate– until the English scored a goal. That almost never happens in real life.

    Remember to drink lots of water before you go to bed!

  • I agree with you, Middle– there’s really not a lot to complain about. And truth be told, I couldn’t help but think last night– good for Manning and Strahan and Coughlin and the rest of ’em. I’d love to hear what the Giants were told before taking the field, because in both games v. NE, they came out with tremendous intensity. The way they sustained the effort against the o line and Brady, over 60 mins., was amazing.

  • I’m ok, Tom, don’t worry. A little partying won’t knock me out so quickly. 🙂

  • Disappointed to fire up this site today and not see Middle’s detailed, dead-on state-by-state predictions of today’s Super Tuesday results. The day wears on, and looks my opportunity to make some money is circling the drain.

  • Middle’s so mysterious, he might be celebrating Mardi Gras – shmaltsiker dinstog. 😀

  • It’s like being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day– everyone’s Catholic for the day today… I’m thinking of holding off on the revels; I’ve got to vote, and I don’t want to get impaired and cast one for Ron Paul.

  • Tom, I read an article on Thomas More the other day and wondered whether he’s your patron saint.

  • Sorry, Tom, but I think too many states are a toss-up today. Got to give Obama credit for figuring out all of Hillary’s achilles heels (get it?) and going after them like a Rovian operative Republican. It’s skunky, but it’s politics.

    Did you see the Fish and Krugman op-eds in the Times over the last three days? I feel vindicated, except that I think her candidacy is extremely vulnerable right now and I don’t see Obama losing momentum – if he performs well today, he has the wind at his back but if she performs well, she still loses respect because her support has dropped.

  • Looks like she’s done well here in the East, with only CT a bit of an upset. The delegate/spin ballgame may come down to California. If she holds on there, she’ll have had a big night, and perhaps Barackmania will begin to recede.

  • Looks like a spread of about 60-70 delegates separate Clinton and Obama. As for MA, it could’ve been worse for Hillary– Teddy and Kerry could’ve extended their worthless endorsements to her.

    Huckabee gets a lot closer to the VP nod. Certainly he’s a major player at this point.

  • Fascinating night. Clinton wins the night but Obama wins a whole bunch of states and delegates to live another day. You have to wonder how emotionally and physically drained she’s going to be – if she wins the nomination – when she has to tackle McCain after this trench warfare with Obama. This may have been a bad year to have such an embarrassment of riches in Democratic candidates.

    Huckabee was a kingmaker tonight. He actually won some contests outright, but he also stole a couple from Romney. McCain will owe him, but I doubt he’ll bring him on as a running mate because it neutralizes his key strength in the national election, the (wrong) perception that he’s a moderate. By nominating Huckabee, he’ll become a walking target for the Dems and for easy, cheap attacks he could avoid by bringing on somebody without the “religion” tattoo on the forehead. The national elections are a different animal than Republican or Democratic primaries and everybody will make a dash to the Center from whatever positions they held up for their party faithful.

  • You identify Huckabee’s flaws, Middle, but there’s a case to be made for adding him to the ticket, a pretty good one. He’d be the Rovian choice– he mobilizes the base if McCain concludes that his rather anemic numbers in the South and border states need to be firmed up. If McCain runs as a moderate and tries to be competitive in the north (McCain promises to win NY), it’ll be up to McCain himself to campaign and win there, not his running mate, whomever he or she may be.

    Huckabee, btw, is in many ways the most liberal of the Republican candidates, on taxes, the economy, and other issues. He’s moved a bit to the right on immigration, but his position is close enough to McCain’s (and, ergo, Teddy Kennedy).

    Huckabee also has youth going for him, and he’s a solid retail politician. Finally– at some point, the Republican party is going to have to include an evangelical Christian on the ticket. The party can’t simply rely on that community’s support while forever decorously keeping it in the background.

    The Republican govs. of WI and FLA have also been mentioned, but I’m not sure that adding nationally-unknown figures who may, at best, win McCain one state, makes very much sense.

    In any event, kudos to Huckabee for waking up this morning as one of four people still with a chance to be the 44th president.

  • A footnote on Huckabee– he’s probably spent more time in Israel than any other candidate, having visited it nine times.

  • You’ve convinced me, Tom. Will you please write to the McCain campaign to endorse Huckabee – Hillary or Obama are going to need all the help they can get.

    I think what’s interesting is that Huckabee can outperform Romney with a fraction of the budget. He is, as you said, a superb politician and mobilizes the (religious/socially conservative) base of the party. Will that be enough to win this time around? I don’t think so because the Democrats are going to be mobilized. Did you read some of the exit polls on the CNN page I link to in #42? Fascinating stuff! One of the interesting pieces of data is that in most of the polls I looked at, a strong majority of both Obama and Hillary voters say they would support the other if they were the nominee. The party is torn and tearing itself up a bit over these two, but it is a unified party to replace the Republican administration. If the question then becomes where will the moderates and independents go, if Obama is the nominee, he has a decent chance of getting those. If it’s McCain against Clinton, it’s a real fight. If it’s McCain/Huckabee against Clinton, I’m putting my money on Clinton.

  • The Democrats will be fine once this contest is over, I agree. It’s been good for Clinton especially, since she’s had to refine her skills in a really tough political fight. This should bode well for the general, if she prevails.

    Wonder what will emerge from Romney’s closed-door meetings. Does he want to be VP? He should probably drop out, rebuild fences with McCain, and position himself as the VP choice of the conservative elites. Romney (my ex-governor) is a smart guy, but man, he’s run a piss-poor campaign. He just can’t connect with voters. In contrast, the Republican establishment must acknowledge Huckabee’s genuine appeal with a large swath of the R base.

    Figure McCain’s likely the next president, if one had to establish a betting line today. It’s wide open, though.

  • Although I can’t believe this might actually happen, I have to agree that McCain is formidable right now. But don’t forget a couple of things: people are angry at Republicans and with good reason; Hillary gets the female vote and that’s worth a lot. In fact, when Obama gets 70-80% of the African American vote, as you can see in the exit polls, that is still only a small fraction of the 55-60% of female voters that Hillary draws. The Oprah factor has been important for Obama because she loosens the grip Hillary has on women, but in a national election many women will vote Hillary because she’s a woman.

    I was actually thinking about the idea of “change” since everybody talks about it. If Obama wins, there is “change” because you have the first instance of crossed racial lines. However, Obama is just another in a long, udisturbed list of men. Hillary would be the first and only woman to make it. Truth be told, if she can’t make it, I don’t see how any woman could make it. She has an incredibly strong pedigree and a well above average mind. I can’t think of another woman politician in this country who comes even close (I mean, at the Presidential level, you have some excellent female senators and governors but none have credible White House experience). In my opinion, it’s a case, once again, of a woman needing to be better than the men just to compete on an equal footing.

  • Hillary’s problem, Middle, is her last name. For many, including lots of Dems, apparently, Hillary’s tied to a past they’d prefer not to revisit. This is what keeps her from seeming as much an historic barrier-breaker as Obama; even Barack is onto this and ties her to the past at every opportunity (see, e.g., today’s dump truck comment).

    If we had Diane Feinstein or Mary Landrieu, the storyline would be different.

    I know you admire Hillary, but you’re like some Hillary supporters among my friends– oddly impatient that she hasn’t been embraced and hasn’t won yet. These feelings cause my friends to overlook her flaws (especially as a campaigner); my woman friends attribute it all to sexism.

    She’s a smart, highly-educated, well-qualified person, extremely well-versed in the issues, who entirely lacks a sense of humor or indeed any lightness or subtlety to her personality; who can’t seem to balance analytic precision with passion; and who has failed in her central task of fully emerging out from her husband’s shadow to prove to people she’s offering something different than Clintonism, Part III.

    Some of this is immutable. Some of it, perhaps, Barack will force her to address in a way that will make her a better candidate this fall. She’s off to a good start in putting Bill in the background (at least for now).

  • Is there any feasible chance of either eventually running as VP for the other?

  • froylein, Middle’s got the direct pipeline to the Clinton campaign. But my sense is that Barack would suck up too much of the oxygen as her VP, and I don’t think she’d consider anything other than the top job (and what would her husband do in that event)?

    She’s better off with someone who’s solid but less flashy, less overpowering. He’d do well to find a white male, I think, or maybe someone like Bill Richardson to build support among Hispanics.

  • An interesting side note, did you know that Protestant obedience to political authorities goes back to Luther’s and Melanchton’s theology?

  • I don’t have the remotest connection to the Clinton campaign. They’d be way ahead of Obama right now if I did. 😉 No, no, it’s not because I’m smarter, they’re way smarter. It’s because instead of playing hardball early on, I would have used warmth, love and political favors to entice people to Hillary. They alienated a lot of people with their high-handedness, while Obama was giving out hugs. Read how he won Daschle over.

    Tom, I do see her flaws. In fact, I wonder whether Obama has a better chance against McCain.

    However, I have a different reading than you about “Clintonism.” In 2000, Gore tried to avoid Clinton and “Clintonism.” He lost. Maybe he won, but it was marginal at best and the real reason they needed the Supreme Court involved is that he lost his home state. You could blame it on Nader or on Gore’s lack of charisma. You can blame it on Rove. But the one thing you can’t blame it on, which is the reason Gore avoided Clinton and his legacy, was a series of blowjobs by a young Jewish gal. Plenty of people still admired Clinton and had positive feelings about his Administration. Gore could have run on a solid – not perfect, but worthy of some boasting – record. Instead, he wanted to “get out of the shadow of Clinton.” And he lost. Kerry didn’t even try and he lost. To Bush! After we went to Iraq!

    Hillary, as the wife of Bill, can’t avoid the association with him. I don’t think anybody questions that she’s an independent thinker and only a fool would buy that Obama line “I don’t know who I’m campaigning against.” You know how you look at couples and you turn to your date and tell her, “I know who wears the pants in that house?” Think about the Clintons and tell me whether it’s Bill, Hillary or both. I’d say it’s the latter two.

    While being bombarded by attacks from pundits and political hitmen, she’s trying to walk that fine line of taking advantage of the positive in Bill’s legacy while trying to seem independent of the mistakes that were made. It’s hard.

    I guess the advantages of having Clinton as a last name balance out the disadvantages.

  • ….And the folks like Middle, who view the Clinton Administration as a halcyon period (apart from the rising tide of al-Qaeda terrorism and odd outbreak of genocide in faraway countries) will vote for Hillary anyway.

    That leaves everyone else. People want change– especially this year. Fundamentally, she’s offering 4 more years of Bill and Hillary in the White House. Hillary’s pretty explicit about this, e.g. including her White House years in her “35 years of experience”. You don’t have to hate the Clintons to find this, if not unsettling, uninspiring. And it creates an opening Obama has driven a truck through.

    What was Obama’s line about Hillary’s ‘building a bridge to the twentieth century’?…. For a Harvard guy, he’s pretty smart.

  • Tom – I think Clinton already has the Hispanic vote with or without Richardson. But choosing someone from the South or Southwest would be standard Democratic thinking. IMHO, neither Biden, Richardson, Kucinich or Edwards will no be asked – which is ironic because each considers themselves worthy of being president.

    But that’s neither here nor there at this point. What concerns the two candidates right now is endorsements. At a huge Obama rally here last Saturday, the most interesting aspects were what Democratic mayors and members of our congressional delegation appeared on stage with him and which didn’t. Also his passionate (desperate?) shout out to Edwards, and the way he almost alluded to Edwards being on his team – he didn’t claim Edwards’ endorsement, but he made it sound like… it was a little wordplay and a genius one at that.

    The running mates are not going to be the big names for either Clinton or Obama. Both are pretty cocksure they don’t need to bring in a ringer to beat McCain. But Richardson makes sense in the context of looking at Governors. I could see Obama choosing Katherine Sebelius over Bill Richardson.

    But right now, it’s about both getting the Edwards/Richardson endorsements, among others, before the last primaries. And Tom – I warned you about Randy Moss.

  • So Tom, you’re saying Harvard sucks?

    Just to your point about genocide and terrorism rearing their ugly heads during Clinton’s administration, you have to admit that these are not exactly his fault. We may be the world’s policeman, but even the police tends to get to a crime after it has been committed.

    But yes, compared to Bush Sr. and Bush Jr., Clinton’s years were halcyon years. Remember when gas cost a buck fifty a gallon and the national debt was at least being tackled by our government? Remember when we didn’t go into multi-year trillion dollar war commitments that hurt us and our allies more than they help? Remember when there were no signing statements and there was at least the impression that the person in charge respected historic institutions in this country? Remember when naming SC justices wasn’t done with the intent to radically modify the Court? Remember when the President could have an intellectual riff on virtually any topic and was a master politician and statesman?

    Really, it’s not that the bar was set so high, it’s that others have set it so low.

    Back to Obama. He is a sharp guy and he’s running just about the best campaign that can be run. He reminds me a little of a guy called Bill Clinton who came to DC as an outsider, as a man of change, as the person who was going to make it all better. What happened to him will happen to Obama too, the Republicans know how to play this game all too well.

  • Middle, call them and ask. If they deny, you’ve caught them red-state-handed. 😉

  • Sure. Obama will carry Alabama against McCain. Isn’t it obvious?

    Middle, looks like you can listen to your Mormon Tabernacle Choir records in peace.

  • Sorry, Middle, I’m just in an extraordinarily good mood today. I’ve got a retirement plan! (Forty years to go till retirement, but still…)

  • Without Mitt, who’ll double the size of Guantanamo?

    I voted for him for governor, and I thought he was adequate. Certainly, he’s a very bright guy, yet he ran an incredibly stupid campaign. Posing last year as a hard-right conservative on social issues was just that– a pose. I don’t think he cares a rat’s ass about those issues. Which made it easier for him to morph into John Edwards out in Michigan.

    The voters saw through his insincerity. Why the conservative elites, the National Review crowd, embraced him, mystifies me.

    I wonder what his future is. McCain and Huckabee both seem to loathe him– hard to view Mitt as VP timber. If he wants, though, he can run my 401(k).

  • Can he run my 401k too? The last few weeks took my modest, conservative little retirement fund AND PUSHED ALL ITS CONSERVATIVE LITTLE GAINS BACK ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF. Ouch.

  • It won’t change the outcome– or so the media tells us. But is it completely insignificant that Mike Huckabee clobbered McCain in Kansas today?

    And it looks like a good day for Barack…

  • I think it’s incredible that Huckabee won. Not just in Kansas, he won Louisiana as well and came in a close second in WA.

    Obama killed Hillary today. Three up, three down and all of them in convincing fashion.

    Huckabee vs. Obama instead of McCain vs. Clinton? Life is full of surprises.

  • Middle– good news:

    Even though Obama’s gotten more total votes, and won more delegates, Hillary’s ahead in the delegate count.

    Everyone settle down. It’s all under control.

  • Kristol was interesting. Does his head want Hillary to match up with McCain– but his heart want the fall of the House of Clinton just a bit more?

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