Israel vs Hamas

If there's one thing this world needs, it's another opinion on the Middle East. So here's my contribution to the feast of reason. Grab a plate...

The only thing Hamas does effectively is manipulate world opinion. Their technique is to goad Israel into attacking them and then maximizing Palestinian civilian casualties. This creates anger toward Israel and sympathy for the Palestinians.

They maximize Palestinian casualties by firing into Israel from residential areas, schools, mosques and hospitals. Israel, of course, destroys these rocket sites. Israel drops leaflets, calls and texts to warn civilians and tell them where to evacuate to so that they will be safe.  

Hamas tells the people that if they evacuate, then they are collaborators. In a way, they are. Part of the IDF's mission is to not kill innocents. So when innocents evacuate, they are helping the IDF fulfill its mission. But when they don't evacuate, and die, their deaths sway public opinion. 

The Israeli military has a choice -- destroy the rocket sites or allow Israelis to in rocket attacks. Palestinian civilians who don't want to die have a choice -- evacuate and hope they aren't shot as a collaborator or don't evacuate and hope the Israelis cancel the attack. 

Israel wants Palestinians civilians to choose the first option. They try to convince the civilians to evacuate hours before they attack. Fifteen minutes before the attack they try to scare them into evacuating by dropping a small "roof knocker" mortar onto the targeted building.

Hamas sometimes responds by gathering children onto the roofs of targeted buildings. Israelis stop the attack. The rocket site is protected and Hamas can continue firing into Israel.  But it doesn't make the news and if it did, it would merely make Israel look good and Hamas look bad. Perhaps this is how Hamas protects its best artillery.

Hamas' effective PR strategy is to force civilians to stay *inside* targeted buildings so that they are killed by Israeli attacks. This creates anger and hatred toward Israel and support for Palestians. It's a PR win.

Not all Palestians have to be forced to face the Israeli bombs.  Some stay willingly, willing to sacrifice their lives for their cause, which is to take over Israel and make it Palestine. If I were a Palestinian, I think I would stay willingly. Hamas cannot win militarily. The civilians who sacrifice themselves, in a way, are the true soldiers among the Palestinians. They die, and all they win with their sacrifice is a few percentage points in public opinion polls. But it's all they can toward their cause, and eventually perhaps the world will turn against Israel and they will win. 

I have to respect Palestinian men, women and children who choose to die for their cause, even if I don't agree with the cause. And I respect Israel's IDF, the most effective, ethical and battle-hardened fighting force in the world. They protect the Israeli people. 

What I don't respect are newspapers that allow themselves to be manipulated by Hamas' strategy of sacrificing civilians to get public relations points. If newspapers reported the whole analysis as I've done here, maybe Hamas would choose another strategy to fight the Israelis and fewer women and children would die.

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You know you text too much when...

I just wrote some meditations on barking dogs. I wrote it by hand in a paper notebook, finished it, turned the page, sat back, looked at the notebook and, for a fraction of an instant WAITED FOR IT TO TEXT ME BACK.

I have been texting too much. 
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Mindfulness Meditation: A tool to let you govern your own mind

Life: Happy or Crappy?

I think one key to whether I live a happy life or a crappy one is what I choose to pay attention to. Paying attention to dogs barking, little aches and pains, and the voice in my head that's kind of a miserable whiner is not a recipe for happiness. Or achievement. Or anything good. 

Meditation is a way to train the awareness. 

The following exercise has been a great tool for disciplining my emotions and recovering from grief. I wish I'd known of it years ago. They ought to teach this stuff in high school. I bet the crime rate would go down. Here it is. 

Mindfulness Meditation Made Ridiculously Easy

Step 1

Breathe in and tell yourself, "I'm breathing in."

Step 2

Breathe out and tell yourself, "I'm breathing out."


When your mind wanders, gently redirect your attention to your breathing.  

The gentle redirection of your attention when it wanders is the essence of this exercise. So you don't ever have to feel like you're screwing up. 

A lot of instructions tell you to do this for 5-10 minutes. I can do it for about one minute and I found it just one minute very helpful.

Here are some other online resources:


This site has five has basic five mindfulness exercises and explains the philosophy behind them clearly, with detail, and in a somewhat mystical manner

Good Life Zen

This page has detailed instructions for a simple meditation exercise. Here's a wonderful bit of wisdom:

Set yourself a regular schedule, but make sure this schedule is ‘too easy’, and ‘too short’. If you want to create a habit of daily meditation, you’re much more likely to be successful if you treat yourself with kindness and don’t demand the impossible.

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Are hangovers preventable?

Problem: You get hangovers
Solution: Four easy steps below 

Apparently, hangovers are preventable. Alcohol does specific things to your body, and by addressing and fixing each thing that alcohol screws up, you can save yourself some misery.

This is hangover prevention, so do all this stuff while you're still drunk. Before you go to sleep/pass out.

1. Drink water.  Alcohol messes up something in your kidneys and makes them pump out water. Dehydration is the #1 cause of headaches. (You don't even have to be drunk to get a dehydration headache.) So drink a lot of water. One glass of water for every glass of devil's brew you drank. Maybe more. Whenever you pee, drink enough to make up for what you pissed out. But do not drink your pee. No matter how drunk you are, remember: water. Not pee.

2. Protein.  Processing the alcohol uses up amino acids, so replace them. Get some protein. Milk is perfect. So are eggs. There's a reason why a lot of hangover remedies involve a raw egg. Go eat one. In a glass of water. Damn, why did you get so drunk? Chug that raw egg, enjoy the slime. You're drunk anyway, go for it. You could probably cook it if you trust yourself with a stove. Oh, just man up and eat it raw.

3. Water soluble vitamins. Did you know that English people call being drunk "pissed"? Whole lotta pissing going on here. You're pissing out vitamins right when you need them most. Get some B vitamins in you, some C and some K. Oh, you don't carry around a medicine cabinet as you go carousing? Well, eat some bread then. That might have some B vitamins. And eat an orange. Or drink orange juice. No, don't put vodka in it. Are you taking this seriously?

4. Anti-inflammatories. Take an aspirin or an Advil or an Aleve. Do not take Tylenol. Tylenol is not an anti-inflammatory. I would say, "stick with the ones that start with 'A'", but, damnit, Tylenol is acetaminophen. Your drunk ass is going to mix that up for sure. Just take an aspirin. Or an Advil. Or Aleve. Aspirin, Advil, Aleve. Oh, just put one in your pocket before you start drinking. No Tylenol.

Good luck and Godspeed, my friends. And if you should decide to not get so stupid shitfaced that you need to try hangover remedies, I say well done.

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Found wisdom: If it's worth shooting, it's worth shooting twice

Found wisdom: if it's worth shooting it's worth shooting twice. Pin It Now!