Thursday, July 24, 2014


I’m reading with wonder and amazement the various articles and, even more, so the commentary on those articles, about the Israeli actions in Gaza.  It appears that the Israelis have managed to piss off many folks around the globe. The disproportionate Palestinian death rate is of course to be expected since Hamas fighters don’t really fight. When approached by troops with guns, they fade into the shadows and push unarmed civilians out into the open. No, Hamas is at its best when firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel. 

Or, perhaps when they convince some young thing to don a dynamite vest, walk into a crowded marketplace and detonate the vest.  Makes me wonder what the relative death toll is—Israelis killing Muslims, or Muslims killing Muslims?

I have always been struck by the strategic calculus in play. At the beginning, in 1947-48 when the world agreed to establish a Jewish state after the Holocaust, the formal armies of the opposing Middle Eastern states—Jordan, Egypt, Syria, et al began attacking with regular army troops, tanks, planes, etc. That went on for about 20 years—say 1967 and the six-day war. It seems that those nation-states finally awoke to the cold reality that, each time they attacked Israel, they got quite bloody and generally lost some of their territory.  At some point, they must have decided collectively that attacking Israel frontally and with formal armies was a losing proposition. So, they withdrew their pseudo-armies from the field and elected a different strategy—throw civilians into the fray. Give civilians some arms and, especially, some rockets and let them harass Israel by firing indiscriminately so as to kill Jews wherever they could.  That game continues. 

And of course, throughout the Middle East, the anarchy continues with “civilians” using dynamite vested individuals, and now real arms, planes, tanks, missiles, to destabilize not only Israel, but all of the other states.  As a result, the entire region could best be described as anarchic. Adults no longer seem to be in charge anywhere, including Israel.

I wonder, how many people have to die before we conclude that too many people have died??

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

on 59 Years

July 2nd, 1955
Other planets, other times . . .
Every time that I glance at a picture of some friends, in faraway places and times, I am drawn into the world of science fiction—those folks exist somewhere still and if I could only cross the barriers of time and space, I could find them and query them on how life is in their land.  So it is when I view pictures of myself and my lovely bride at the inception of our life together. It is now 59 years and counting since we joined forces and became a tribe of two . . . to be more a bit later.  I had little idea what life would deliver to me and to my bride after we joined forces. And being a kid from Brooklyn, with little travel and even less adventure in my then 20 years, I could not have foreseen the glorious days ahead.
We have moved through exciting and troubled times in our lifetimes—the first and grandest Republican depression, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War,  the Civil Rights Freedom Movement, the election of John F. Kennedy, arguably the most exciting election in my lifetime, then his tragic ending, perhaps inevitable in this bizarre land we call America.  Yet, with all the hate this land of ours continues to generate, much goodness also continues to flow through the land and our life together has managed to capture much of the goodness.  I would say we have been blessed, but that implies an outside hand and no such hand exists. Instead, we have been fortunate, lucky perhaps to have lived the life together that we have.
Every morning now, my bride and I share a little cappuccino and head out to our little pond, where we feed our koi’s and observe our nature preserve. We are surrounded by beauty and by little beautiful critters. Before we drink our cappuccinos, we clink our cups and say, “To us,” a small ritual, but an important one. Then we sit, smile and commune with each other and with our little friends.
In the evening, we complete a similar ritual, although this time with a glass of wine. We observe, we talk to our koi’s, expecting no response, but instead giving them our smiles. They are lovely critters, and because they exist, they give us pleasure, the gentle kind.
So, for brief moments, we relax and forget about our planet and its many, many terminally stupid inhabitants. We are in our little world, and ours is a gentle world. In our world, we are very happy. And we are surrounded by love even outside our little world of two, because we have a large and loving family. The family gives us much love and kindness and we return it in kind. Whether people are blowing themselves up in far away places fails to puncture that love.
And so we celebrate 59 years together and hope for many, many more years. I love my bride now even more than at the beginning of our lifetime together. Our love is now complex and rich.

And so, my love, here’s to us . . .  somewhere, my love those folks pictured below continue to exist . . . we hope they are happy as are we. 

us at 17ish

Rev. Z . . . he who joined us together


Married . . . finally

The cake

Our home . . . Sunnyvale, the 1950s, before it became Silicon Valley

Who knows . . . the 60's

Dressed for dinner
The return from India

The 70s . . . DC life

Bethesda, a bit later

The Millenium turns

Turning 65

Celebrating 49 years with a 9,000 mile road trip
Our glorious little pond