PA Commemorates Perpetrators Of Stabbing Attacks

Another “Almost Was”

Used to be a phrase among my particular hippie circle: “That almost was an almost was.”

That is to say, it was a close call.

This line of storms that has caused all sorts of mayhem, from strings of tornados to floods to blizzards, has been washing over western North Carolina, where I am stuck at a campground waiting for a service appointment on Wednesday.

Yesterday I was studying the sky, watching a wall cloud slowly rotating and thinking, why, that could develop into a tornado if there was more wind shear.  I was glad it was going away from where I was, in case things progressed in a bad way.

So imagine my surprise when my mother called, just as I was leaving the vet’s office in Asheville.

As usual, no matter where I am when she calls, she screamed,

“I’m in Asheville, why?”

“Can’t you hear the radio???”  She always has the radio on.  Always.

I couldn’t hear the radio, but I could hear the unmistakable National Weather Service robot voice gravely announcing something or other.

“What’s happening, Mom?  Why is there a weather alert?”


“I’m in Asheville, why?”

“You stay there.  You just stay there.  Do you have a strong building you can take shelter in?”

Then I knew what the alert was: tornado.

“Is it a watch or a warning?”


“No, I can’t.  Tell me what it says.”

Finally she calmed down enough to repeat verbatim what the alert message said.  The tornadic radar signal showed significant rotation, moving north at 30 mph (!!!), with the campground where I’ve been staying directly in its path.  I thought of all those people in their campers, motor coaches, and especially a young family in a flimsy pop-up, all out in an open field.

“Is it on the ground?”

No, not yet.

“Well, I’ll just stay here in Asheville tonight.  One or another of the stores will let me stay in their parking lot.”

Mom was relieved.

I had to replenish my supply of canned nutrients, so I went to the nearest grocery store and stocked up.  The manager kindly gave me permission to park my camper overnight.

I got on my NOAA weather app, and sonofabitch, there it was, the characteristic  bright red “hook” signature of a developing tornado.  My weather warnings app gave the usual urgent instructions for taking shelter, getting as low as possible with as many walls between you and the outdoors as possible.

I thought ruefully of the photos of the aftermath of the F4 tornado that hit East Texas the day before yesterday.  No walls left to protect anyone.  Amazing that only…I think 12 or 14…people were killed, although there are still some missing.

This is the same storm front that spawned that string of 11 tornados, in December, for crying out loud.

I don’t care what people say the cause is…when it’s 70 degrees in December, and the weather has gone crazy, it’s global warming.

I’ve been studying tornados ever since I lived in the Mysterious Midwest and had run-ins with several.  One was huge and threw a good deal of Toledo, Ohio into Lake Erie.  One went over our heads after I convinced my then-husband to please stop watching it and jump in this handy ditch with our infant son. 

And one buzzed through my yard at night and snatched the kids’ trampoline.  It ended up in a soybean field several miles away.  I found that out when the farmer showed up with our crumpled trampoline in the back of his truck.

“This yours?”


“Thought so.”

The kids dragged it out of his truck, took it apart and put it back together again.  It was fine.  They launched each other off of it until one of them broke his arm, then I took it apart and hauled it to the dump.

My son grew phobic about tornados.  In the spring, the sky was full of rotating cells.

His step-brother used to torment him:  Look!  A tornado!  There’s another one!

My son leaned over and threw up in the manure spreader.  For years after that, every time the sky looked threatening, he got sick.

When I heard there was a potential tornado heading for Marion, of course I wanted to jump in my van and go chase it…But it was getting dark, and there’s nothing more dangerous than a tornado in the dark.  Maybe a tsunami. 

So here I sit in the grocery store parking lot.  Atina’s head rests on my knee.  She snores, oblivious to the fierce wind and rain. 

The radar shows a nasty squall line, but nothing to get excited about.

But when it comes to weather, you never really know.


Went downstairs
Getta glassa cider
There I saw the bedbug
Foolin’ around with the spider
And then
Went down agin
Getta glassa gin
Sonovabitchin bedbug
Doin’ it agin

One of these days I’ll figure out how to put sound files (like, me singing, eek) on these posts.

Sonofabitch.  Two weeks ago, or maybe three, I don’t know, time is all mashed up these days–I had steroid injections in both shoulders.  Hurt like a sonofabitch, but what to do, my xrays look just like those mace things the barbarians used to swing on chains, in order to bash people’s heads in.  I mean, they have these bumps and stickers growing out of the ball part oft the joint, diving into my ligaments and muscles and cartilage and whatever else they could stick into.

My left shoulder felt real good after a couple of days.  Right one, not so much, but better, I’ll take better.

No pain meds, we don’t do pain meds anymore, don’tcha know.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to find that I couldn’t get out of bed the normal way. 

I sure started to, but the pain in my left shoulder gave me those black spots in my eyes and I had to lie back down and contemplate for a while.

After a suitable interval, and largely because my dog was standing by the door with her legs crossed, looking sad, I hove around and slid out of the sack, grabbing onto the towel rack (remember I live in a tiny RV where things are all squashed together) with my right hand YOW! 

Sonofabitch.  The right one too.

As if the cortisone wore off of both of them, synchronized, just like that.

I guess that is what happened.

So now what the fuck am I supposed to do?

This was my second set of injections.  So I did a little reading on the topic, and found that each injection can poke little holes in the shoulder cartilage, until eventually you need a joint replacement.

Uh, no.

But even worse, doing nothing will eventually lead to a joint replacement.

Mmmmm…, no likee.

Gotta find me a good acupuncturist.  I know one in Tucson.

Hell, I am a good acupuncturist, just real hard to hit those points on the upper back.

But sonofabitch, I’m stuck in Western North Carolina.

I had big plans to start heading West last week, but being a weather buff, I looked at the maps and said “nope.”

Good thing, because I would have headed right into that bad line of tornados and mayhem.

Driving around doing random errands, I scraped the bottom of my RV on a sharply angled driveway, and next place I camped I noticed nasty stuff pouring out the bottom of the rig.


That’s what it was.

Somehow that minor scrape opened up a pipe joint (hey, that sounds good) in the sewage system.  All well and good, since I was parked at an RV repair joint..rollll another one…

But no.  It was a couple days before Christmas, and nobody was working.

I called RV repair joints all the way to Florida and the Midwest.  Same story.

But good news!  I got an appointment for this coming Wednesday!  Only eight days I will have been hanging around here.

But bad news, if they can’t fix it on the spot…it’s my home, you know…And if they take out stuff in the sewer system, that’s real bad, because I use it…a lot…between the fucking lithium that causes me to pee every five minutes to the Crohn’s that goes in cycles, but when it goes, it GOES…

Well, my full-timers rider on my RV insurance will pay for a rental car and a hotel room if my rig is out of service, but sonofabitch, I don’t even have a single one of my vast suitcase collection with me.

Why would I?  I live like a turtle.  All my stuff goes with me, wherever I go. 

Just another small conundrum.  The RV life is never dull.

In the meantime I’m stuck here in beautiful (not) Marion, North Carolina, where there isn’t even a Cracker Barrel.  That’s how small it is.

But it does have a rental car place, which got me all excited till I called them up, and the rental agent told me sadly that they don’t have any cars at the moment.

Oh, and there isn’t any lodging here, either, not even a Motel 6.

Oh well, something will turn up.

My mother, who lives 45 minutes from here in a place that makes Marion look like a booming metropolis, offered to come and get me.

Noooooooooooo!   I’ll sleep in the woods first.  Have done so before.

In the meantime, I’m back in bed, writing this on my phone with one finger and trying to keep from moving, so I don’t hurt my shoulders.

Atina the Malligator has her 70 pound self draped across my legs, warm and heavy, sweetly sleeping, but still scanning the environment with her ears: they are always on duty.

She is a sweet treasure, my Atina.  Living in close quarters, we grow more and more in sync with each other.  She doesn’t like to let me out of her sight, so I just tie her leash around my waist, and she is content to go where I go, do what I do.

I think that’s the way dogs and their people are meant to be.  Together all the time.

If I’m somewhere safe, without cars or people or other dogs, I let her off the leash.  She still sticks close, but the difference is, she carries a toy around with her and bugs the shit out of me to throw it for her.

Which I have no problem with, except my bum shoulders don’t allow for long throws; which means in two seconds she is back with the blasted toy, wanting me to throw it again.

Where is the ten year old kid when I need one?  They could throw the damn ball while I’m busy, then disappear till I need them again.

But I’m happy to see her all waggy and full of doggie joy, so I throw and curse, throw and curse, until I see she’s had enough.

Sonofabitchin bedbug
Doin’ it agin


It’s like being in a maze, where you turn a corner and run right into a brick wall. So you know that that’s not the way, and you turn about and go a different way.

Due to the height of the walls of the maze, it’s impossible to get any perspective on anything. You only know where you are at this point in time and space.

This is not the kind of maze you spend all of your time trying to find your way out of. On the contrary, we are trying to find our way in.

Lilith Meets Erdogan: Neo-Sultanism Arises

Oh yes! Oh yes!! Thank you for sucking my brains out of their sloshy pans and taking them on a ***magic carpet ride*** I needed that…

An Early Christmas Gift For My Christian Friends

Ancient inscription points to Jewish past for early Christian site

Well, yeah.  I’m always jarred by the newspapers’ spin on ancient finds that have to do with the overlap of Hebraic and early Christian/Gospel period culture.


Yes.  Jesus was a rabbi.  He taught over there.  So why wouldn’t people continue being Jewish?

Yes, eventually there was a new religion built around the teachings of Jesus, and Jesus’ teachings themselves were built around the teachings of HIS teachers, just like we have done for 5000 years and counting.

So this new find is good news for everybody, because it gives us a much better picture of how people lived together way back in the days of the Second Holy Temple, up on the eastern shores of the Kineret, which is Hebrew for the Sea of Galilee.  There are some mighty good fish in there, but you have to watch out because the Jordan River flows under there and creates extremely dangerous (deadly) currents.

OK, so read the article and let me know what you think!


There is a force that hates beauty and light.  We call it simply “the other side.”

It’s pure physics.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The other side hates holiness.  Whenever I express holiness, there is sure to be some kind of pushback.

Fortunately, this time it only came (heaven protect me) in the form of a broken tooth, in a place in my mouth that will require an implant because of the other dicey teeth in the immediate vicinity.  I was eating a potato chip, to honor the holiness of Hanukkah by eating something fried in oil.

Well, it’s off to put on my silk underwear, under my pajamas, because for some reason I have no heat tonight.  Hmmmm.

Eff you, other side.  You may cause me discomfort, but the light will grow anyway.

Third Light From The Left


This is a Yerushalmi Hanukiyyah.

That is, it’s an antique Hanukiyyah, made in Jerusalem at least a hundred years ago, of brass which was, like so many things, probably salvaged from the sheet brass used in old automobile reflectors.  Not very old in Jerusalem years!

I bought it in downtown Jerusalem, six or eight years ago.  I was about to get on my bus–the number 21 bus that goes to the German Colony, Dov–when a flash of brass and glass caught my eye.

Before and during holidays in Israel, tables go up on every reasonably flat surface, and the place becomes a heaving jumble of street sales.  Most of it is table cloths, needful supplies, decorations…And occasionally something very special.

This was so very, very special that I stepped backward off my bus, nearly causing the sort of cultural disaster that only happens in ethnic groups like mine, where men and women are never supposed to touch one another in public.  But I couldn’t stop for that.  I had to run and make my deal with this guy before he got away or sold it to someone else.  No, impossible.  This Hanukiyyah is mine!

He hailed from an old Mizrachi Yerushalmi family, by way of Cairo.

Mizrachi means “from the East,” and Yerushalmi, “Jerusalemite.”

That is to say, after having been dragged off into exile from Jerusalem by the Persians, Babylonians, Greeks, or Romans, his family either made it directly to Egypt, or got there courtesy of Queen Isabella in 1492, when many of those who were exiled from Spain–Portugal headed for Cairo to join family there.  In the 1500s there was a migration back into the Holy Land, with further tricklings here and there, augmented by serial expulsions of Jews from Cairo, minus their wealth….

But not without their breathtaking skill at making something out of nothing.  In this we excel, having had to do it over and over and over and over and….

How much is it?  Kamah zeh???


Two thousand????   I don’t have that much!!!!

Appraising look.

Aht Amerika’it, nakhon?

Well, yes, I was born in America, but now I am from Jerusalem…

Ahhh…Aht be’emet Yerushalmit???!!!

Yes, I am a Jerusalemite-ess!!!

Tov, az, yesh kaspomat shamma.  (Hooks shoulder in the direction of ATM.)

Beseder, aval ain li col-kakh harbe kesev ka’zeh…Fine, but I ain’t got that much money!

We settled at rather more than I would have liked to have parted with…But he saw that my eyes were firmly dilated and fixed on this magical carpet ride of a light box…And I reminded myself that when one finds an object of great power and beauty, it is not an accident, and we must pay whatever we can raise, to draw it near to us.

And now I sit, on the other side of the world, and dream of the magic this Hanukiyyah has brought me.

Like the time a tour guide tapped at my open door, in my ancient Jerusalem neighborhood where the custom is to light one’s Hanukkah oil lamps out of doors. 

I had mine blazing inside this very Hanukiyyah, balanced on a stool in the stone archway of my home.

The guide explained that he had a group of college girls from Petah Tikvah, and could they come in and listen to me play the violin?

Oh dear, I had not counted on anyone actually hearing me play!  I was just doodling, you see….But by that time my living room was full of giggling fresh faced girls.

To put them off the violin, I ran in the kitchen and fetched the box of fresh sufganiyot I had bought for a party later that evening; also mugs and hot cider.  Soon they were giggling and nibbling, and I pitched into an old-timey American fiddle tune and made their toes tap inside the ballet flats in which every Israeli school girl runs over the hard stone pavers.

A sufganiyah…now that is the substance of which years of joy are made.

It is nominally a filled doughnut.

But nothing, nothing like American jelly donuts, ugh, or even Boston Cremes!

Sufganiyot are filled with things like pistachio, halvah, almond paste, and of course chocolate (bitter, milk, white), dates, oh, what endless varieties of flavors, and can be had in spelt flour too.  But fried.  Always fried, because the secret of Hanukkah is in the Oil.

Reach Out and Gift Someone

OK this is a text test:  How many of you are old enough to remember the jingle, “Reach Out and Touch Someone?”

Don’t everybody jump up at once, now!!!

It was the telephone company, AT&T, fondly known as Ma Bell, before the telephone conglomerate was broken up, and waaaay before cell phones were imagined, except for James Bond’s rad Wrist Communicator, which Apple has now made available for gifting.


I said “gifting.”

Since I don’t watch TV or pay attention to anything modern that doesn’t have wheels, these things come as a shock.

The first time some unsolicited caller announced that she was “reaching out to me” for a donation to my Alma Mater, I thought she was joking.  She wasn’t old enough to remember Ma Bell.  Hell, she probably didn’t even know who James Bond was!

Then I got into a fight with Duke University over some very shoddy treatment I received in their hospital’s ER, and someone from there “reached out” to me, and for all the good that did they could have reached up their own ass, because I am still getting bills from them, in spite of having paid already.  I think the time has come (the Walrus said) to “Reach Out” to a lawyer.

I suppose that if language did not change to keep up with the times, we’d all be speaking Old English.

My linguistics professor hammered it into our brains that “Language IS culture.”

Language both defines and expresses cultural norms and attitudes.  Language expresses the character of culture.

If you’ve learned a foreign language or two or ten, you have experienced an eye-opening phenomenon: language encodes culture, and other cultures don’t think like we do.

We’ve all heard about how the Eskimo people (Inuit) have hundreds of words for “snow,” each describing subtle nuances and characteristics of different kinds of snow.  English has a few, especially if you’re a skier, but not more than twenty.

I was amazed to find, when I learned Hebrew, that there are at least 15 words for different kinds of love, at least that many for beauty, but only one for death and one for hate.  And if you want to say you don’t like something, you say, “it’s not nice, for me.”  Or, “That doesn’t find grace in my eyes.”

Getting back to reaching out and gifting something to someone–it bothers me.

It bothers me because what we might gain in new and kind of pretty language, we lose in directness. 

Don’t tell me you’re reaching out to me to collect money.  Tell me you’re calling me.  I’m calling to tell you that your bill is so overdue, we’re going to gift you by reaching out to your credit report. 

What is this “gifting” shit, anyway?  Who started it? 

You want to give somebody something?  Just haul off and give it to them.  Don’t get all hoity-toity.  Just go ahead, wrap the damn box, put their name on it, and give it to them!  Are they going to stick their nose up in the air, hand the damn toaster back, and say “Noooo, uh, I only accept things that are GIFTED, not GIVEN.

Fine.  Give me that box.  I’m gonna haul off and RE-GIFT it to someone who actually wants a toaster.

Rahm Delivers: Stop Police Mayhem!

Finally some meaningful action in reaction to the shooting of a teenager who was holding a knife.  The incident happened in 2014.

The cop who shot the teen 16 times has since been convicted of first degree murder, a real step forward in this culture of protecting police who murder.

But Mayor Rahm Emanuel took it one step further, giving the boot to the Superintendent of Police in Chicagoland. 

I hope this will be the start of a trend to hold police AND their supervisors legally responsible for their actions.  Police are not above the law!  And even if the kid had a knife…there are many ways of subduing a suspect without using a gun.  Even if the cop felt his life was truly in danger, it doesn’t take 16 bullets to neutralize one kid with a knife.