Scribe, ut possis cum voles dicere: dices cum velle debebis (Pl. Ep. 6.29)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ten Million Dead Girls

Apparently in India it is illegal to reveal the gender of an unborn child to the parents, because if it's a girl there's a good chance they'll kill her. A physician was jailed there for two years for this. Note that the doctor did not perform an abortion, but only revealed the gender. I thought about it from the perspective of human rights and freedoms and decided that i support the Indian authorities on this one. The doctor surely knew the law and if the child was aborted as a consequence of what he had done then he participated in denying the right to life from someone who's going to be born in just a few months and it is just as bad.

I'm not pro-life for religious reasons. Religious and "moral" bigotry is the reason for many abortions of children born out of marriage. If a woman became pregnant from someone who's not her husband, then she was either raped, in which case it's not her fault at all or wasn't so religious in the first place and should have been responsible enough not to become pregnant. If she's still afraid that her family will hurt her if her pregnancy is revealed, then someone should help her leave this family. Violence against the fetus is not a solution for violence against the woman.

Abortion for economic reasons is wrong too. Both parents should be responsible, and if they don't have any means to feed the child, someone should help them. Killing the child must not be an option. The answer to overpopulation is education and responsibility.

And i have nothing against abortions of children about whom it can be known for sure that they will have severe diseases.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Gathering Moss 17 - That's It

Come on come on come on,
Love's the sweetest thing
That we have.

I stopped to park today and i wasn't sure whether the spot was legal. I asked a guy in the car near me whether i could park there and he said: "Yes - but i'm answering you as an exception, because i don't talk to settlers."

He saw the orange stripes on my car. Later i thought that i should have answered: "Thanks and by the way, i'm a settler from Haifa"1, but it's good that i didn't. I really should stop thinking about it.

Israelis like to feel safe in their hate. East vs. West, Sephardi vs. Ashkenazi, Everyone vs. the Russians, Everyone vs. the Settlers, Everyone vs. the Ethiopians, Jews vs. Arabs. All of these animosities will persist as long as at least one of them is legitimate. Today is one of those very rare days when i just want to pack and leave.

I voted National Union. Everyone calls them conservative racist extreme right, i call them the most humane party available. At least they don't pretend to like the Arabs like everybody else.

I volunteered as an observer for Green Leaf. I despise their hate towards the settlers, but i like their fun anarchist pose, so i helped them a little to receive their fair chance. In my ballot box they received three votes. The other Greens received seven. That weird Pensioners Party received a lot of votes in my ballot box too.

As for the actual final results - there are NO final results yet. We all read the same crappy news sites. I don't care too much. Hate, hate everywhere, i can't stand it any-more-more...

1 He might have not known that Giv'at Yearim is not a settlement and if i would say "Jerusalem" he would probably hate it too.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Gathering Moss 17 - The Universal

I'm past 444'th entry.

Every paper that you read
Says tomorrow’s your lucky day
Well, here’s your lucky day

It really, really, really could happen.

R.I.P. Stanisław Lem

R.I.P., Stanisław Lem, one of the greatest underrated science fiction writers.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

People Speaking - Common Sense

— "You just cannot explain anything that happens in this country with material common sense. You've been in the army, you've seen how it works - don't tell me that such an army could win the wars with common sense, courage and good planning. It could only be a miracle. All, all! of this country is run by miracles, overt and covert. So just sit and do nothing. Try the best you can, and let the miracles do the rest."

Saturday, March 25, 2006


The Belarusian opposition, which is obviously unhappy about the re-"election" of A. Lukashenka, has reassembled in larger numbers to mark the "Freedom Day", commemorating the foundation of the short lived independent Belarusian state in the beginning of 20th century. And the police beat them and arrested some. There are reports that one protester was killed, and both opposition candidates are arrested. Everyone's favorite Belarusian blogger wrote about it. Read the BBC for more.

In the comments to that post Suzanne asked me to tell my opinion about Olmert's so-called "Convergence" plan. My opinion is that it is, quite obviously, a total disaster - but there's nothing new about it.

Giving this disaster a different name every time will not change its nature. The only thing that changes is the promise. In 1993 Rabin promised peace in exchange for territory. In 1996 Netanyahu promised "safe peace". In 1999 Barak promised "better future" or something. Then Arik Sharon promised that the disengagement will bring "security" and "redeployment" of the army. He didn't even mention peace. We didn't get any peace; we didn't get security; as for redeployment, well, no more troops are dying in the Gaza strip, which is good, but Hamas are preparing for another war, so it doesn't really matter.

And under those different names the disaster remains the same - evacuate the settlers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Evacuate, disengage, pull out. Evict, transfer. Drive away. What's the difference?

Did Russia evacuate its settlers from Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg) exclave, a.k.a Eastern Prussia? Did China evacuate the many millions of Chinese settlers from Turkestan and Tibet? Are they the problem? Am i crazy, am i the only to miss this simple fact there are some terrorists around here who really don't mind whether it's convergence, disengagement, or some peace process? That they just want to kill us? That they don't care whether one lives in a village in Samaria or in downtown Tel-Aviv? So, are those settlers a problem? Why isn't anyone talking about evacuating Arabs who came to live in sovereign Israeli territory in the last few decades? Because, quite simply, evicting people from their homes is unthinkable. Unless they are Jews, of course.

And now Olmert, who was until recently one of the champions of supporting the settler movement, has became the champion of the eviction. He promises "permanent borders". Only a fool will believe that ridiculous promise - the borders that he promises won't be permanent, because the UN won't recognize them, EU won't be happy about them, Hamas will kill because of them and the US government will say that it never promised to support Israel's decision to keep the so-called "settlement blocs" (and, judging by the way the Disengagement from Gaza went, Olmert is simply lying about the "blocs" anyway). He says that he finally realized that permanent safe borders are important, and to create permanent and safe borders some settlers need to be evicted. What he really realized is that a politician who anounces that he is going to evict any amount of settlers immediately becomes the darling of the media, the UN and the EU (there are no Jewish settlers in the media, the UN and the EU). So, if it makes him the prime-minister for a few years, why not try it? He's calling it "convergence", which is a good word to put people in the suburbs of Tel-Aviv to sleep. Now that the "Hitnatkut" - Disengagement is over, and no-one wants to hear this word anymore, there will be the "Hitkansut" - Convergence. Very quickly the Israeli bourgeoisie will not want to hear this word anymore either and will consider the settlers' protests as a mere annoyance stuck in between reality shows, soap operas and basketball games. That is, until the war with Hamas breaks out. But that war won't hurt Olmert's family - his children live abroad. And in the meantime he'll play a little with being a head of state. And the public is asleep. And the public will blindly vote for Olmert, without even considering the alternatives. Without even bringing to mind that evicting people - any people - from their homes and destroying whole villages is just bad on every possible level.

But then maybe the opinion polls are just lying, or as they say in Ukrainian - "пiдрахуйство"1. We'll see about that on Wednesday. Until then - "You and me are idly gathering moss..."

1 пiдрахуйство - technically, this word word means something like "recounting" in Ukrainian, and is used in the sense of faking opinion polls or the vote count. But to everyone who knows Russian - and most Ukrainians know Russian, often even better than they know Ukrainian - this word sounds much more like cuntfagdickery. In the USSR faking votes and opinion polls is a known fact and an accepted norm; Israelis, on the other hand, won't admit anytime soon that such things are accepted, but fall for it just as well. The closer the results will be to the opinion polls, the more i'll think that they are fake. It's just impossible that so much people would vote for Olmert's ridiculous lies. Conspiracies, conspiracies everywhere.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Lost and Found


  • Visa card.
  • Employee card.
  • CD's: Television - Marquee Moon1 and Sonic Youth - A Thousand Leaves2.
  • A bunch of headache and common cold drugs, which i put in a bag that i used a lot in 2003, but not much in the last year. They still have not expired.

Lost and not yet found:

  • My favorite nail clipper.
  • Beige pants.

1 No, not the one that i lent to Manfred "stdlib" Libster in 1998. I already bought another one since then, but if you are reading this - i'm still waiting for you to return it.

2 Yes, the one i bought in the middle of Programming Course and violently robbed RoZ of his megacool discman so i could listen to it. Oh, those were the days.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


I've been following the election campaign in Belarus, which ends today. And only today i suddenly noticed that three out of four candidates are named Alexander (also spelled Alaksandar in Latin-script Belarusian, Аляксандар in Cyrillic-script Belarusian and Александр in Russian).

Saturday, March 18, 2006

If the Alarm Clock Rings When You Are Not Fully Asleep

Wait until you're properly sleeping and then wake up.

Kinda Made Me Cry - Humanity

Yesterday i drove through Bney-Brak and stopped at a traffic light. An old man with a trolley bag crossed the street. When he reached the other side, the trolley bag stumbled upon the sidewalk and opened and several potatos rolled out onto the driveway. The old man looked miserable. For a brief moment i was sad about the wasted potatos, but immediately understood that for him it's more than wasted food - he doesn't have much money to buy it. There's also the matter of "thou shalt not destroy" (Deut. 20:19) and preparing for the Sabbath. I really wanted to go out and help him, but everything happened too fast. He managed to gather a few of them, but the cars passed every few seconds. He kept looking at the pavement with hope of gathering them all until the last one was smashed by the indifferent cars.

Later i heard on the radio about bird's flu that was discovered in some kibbutz in the south. It's headline news. All the birds in the area will be killed. The saddest part was the description of the way they will be killed - "poison will be added to the birds' drinking water; the government will compensate the farmers". It would sadden and shock me even if i wouldn't be a vegetarian. The poor birds, miserable enough as they are, won't even know that the water they're drinking will kill them. One day the government will do it to people - in the name of public health, security, order and democracy. They won't even be anyone left to compensate.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Gathering Moss 17 - Made Me Cry

This time i don't have a TV and i'm watching the election videos on the web.

Likud's videos didn't make me cry. They made me laugh only occasionally. All of them have Russian subtitles, but the one in which Shcharansky speaks in Hebrew has also Hebrew subtitles.

Kadima's videos didn't make me cry. They made me laugh quite a lot though. La-la-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la-la, Kadima!

Herut's videos didn't make me cry. They did surprise me with their quality. I guess that it means that producing good-looking content with digital equipment is getting cheaper. And their song is groovy. But not enough to make me cry.

Ale-Yarok's videos didn't make me cry. They are quite original, not bad at all, and i am surprised at how well they are putting their message through - that they are more than just a pro-legalization movement, that they support ecology and human rights and freedoms and all that. Several friends of mine, most of whom are definitely drug-free, told me that they are seriously considering it as their prefered option. But i also remember the stupid cynical video that they shot in Gush-Katif a few weeks before its destruction. It didn't make me cry - it made me angry.

Lieberman's video was supposed to make me cry, but it made me roll on the floor laughing. He's going on with mixing Russian and Hebrew to a completely nonsensible but a very effective campaign. The singer is Alexander Rosenbaum, one of the most famous representatives of the Soviet bard movement. My father hates him, but a lot of Russians think otherwise. He's Jewish, of course, but get this: He's a member of the Duma, the Russian parliament, from the ruling party, a kind of Russian Kadima; and he is also a Cossack. This part i haven't yet understood myself.

Hetz and Shinui's videos didn't make me cry. They are just silly and disgusting. They weren't so bad three years ago. How desperate must they be to produce something so abominable. I lost the last drops of respect i still had towards them.

Avoda produced no sensible videos. It almost made me cry.

The National Union's videos made me cry. I swear that it's not because i'm gonna vote for them. Quite objectively they are the best, production-wise. Their jingle is the best, their cinematography and editing are superb, and the texts are carefully worded and well-enounced. If only they were so good a few months ago, Gush-Katif would not have been destroyed. They finally dumped their old trademark home-video quality and boring style which only religious people understand. While Likud are busy showing how bad Olmert is and how good Bibi is, the National Union are producing videos in the best of the old Likud style: good-looking and smiling Israelis, mostly young, mostly non-religious, running around fields, and looking at the sky. In fact, they are doing it much better than Likud ever did - for a few moments they even show people drinking coffee on a street of a big city. Admirable subtlety.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


I think that i like Microsoft's new search engine.

Searching for "aharoni" brings up "Aharoni in Unicode, ya mama" as the first result.

Monday, March 06, 2006

People Speaking - Allocution, part 2

— "I told him things, because he asked me. So i replied."

— "He didn't ask anything! He spoke in Hebrew!"

See also here.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Gathering Moss 17 - Ride

I gave a ride from Hertzliya to Haifa to some guy in his late thirties. Because i'm so nice, i took a path that was a little longer to bring him closer to his home.

He didn't speak most of the time, but towards the end he became chatty. He thanked me for giving him a ride and said that many people never give rides. Including himself. Then he wanted to talk about soccer and had hard time understanding that i'm not the right person to speak about it. So, quite expectedly we eventually reached he topic of elections. I asked him who is he voting for.

— "No-one! There are all thieves."

— "The current prime-minister is a thief, you say? So vote for someone else."

— "One thief goes, another one comes. Who are you voting for?"

— "Probably the National Union."

— "What, the Russians?"

— "They used to run together with Lieberman, who is Russian, but now there are mostly religious settlers."

— "So it's Shcharansky, right?"

Poor confused guy. I am just telling him that the National Union has nothing to do with Russians anymore, and he brings up Shcharansky, who never had anything to do with them in the first place. But why should he listen?

— "... Well, it's not related, Shcharansky is just running with Likud now ..." It was futile.

— "Why vote for him? Do we need a Russian prime-minister? It's the last thing we need. Soon all the road signs will be in Russian. And all the politicians will be Russians. And all the shops will be Russian. Do you realize that?"

— "Oh. Hmm."

— "What do we need them for, these Russians? And the Ethiopians too? Why did they bring them here? What did they give us? Poverty, prostitutes, crime, and they speak Russian everywhere. Really, what did they give us?"

— "A ride."

— "Ehh ... what?"

— "A ride. The Russians gave you a ride."

— "What?"

— "What if i told you that i'm Russian?"

— "What? Really?"

— "Yes, yes."

— "Well, i didn't mean ... I was talking about the new Russians, those that came just now, lately ... When did you come?"

— "Ten years." (Well, actually fifteen, but i was fucking with him, and i wanted to do it with shorter words.)

— "No, you're a veteran, i'm talking about the new ones." He was bravely ignoring the fact that the majority of Russian immigrants came to Israel more than ten years ago, but it's not very important. He was ignoring many other things. In the meantime, we arrived close to his neighbourhood.

— "OK, would you like to get off here?"

— "Yeah, yeah, brother, thank you. Thank you very much for giving me a ride. I didn't mean to ... you know."

Scott Adams says that telling stories about people like him sound much better when they end with the sentence "... and then he voted." It is funny, but in principle i really believe that everyone has to vote, even the people with whom i disagree. Yesterday was the first time ever that i sincerely wished that he would really not vote.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Made Me Cry - Kit Kat ChunKy

An idea for an advertisement for Kit Kat ChunKy:

An ordinary looking engineer sits at his desk and works with a computer. Then he goes to a candy vending machine and sees a Kit Kat ChunKy inside. He buys one. He looks around, and buys another one. And more and more until his money runs out. He goes back to his desk and puts them all in his drawer. Later (show a clock or something) he eats one. In the middle of it he cries. Fade out. That's it, no tagline is necessary.

That's just what happened to me today.

Work Work Work Work

As i already said once, there's NOTHING like Kit Kat ChunKy.

In the candy vending machine here, there was no Kit Kat ChunKy for a couple of months. Now it's back. The second i saw it, i bought four.