05 April 2009

Flash Comes of Age


Originally published at Desicritics.org on 2 April, 2009
Copyright © R. Kossover, 2009

My youngest son was on the computer, working on the layout of a book I'm editing. His older brother was already asleep, hugging the wall as is his wont. I watched Avi as he manipulated boxes from one end of the page to the other, fitting the text I had edited in them. He was impatient, like his father is, muttering curses in Arabic and Hebrew to vent his frustration.

Flash, our cat, was laying in his bed, a small round piece of fabric with a furry piece of cloth inside. Whenever our kids are home, Flash follows them as though they were demi-gods. You can almost see the anticipation on his face. "What's next, you big hairless cats?", he seems to be asking. And whenever it is evening, and when our kids are in their room, he sleeps in his special bed in the corner. I was looking at him, thinking of how we had dragged him a third of the world away from where he was born to be with us. He is not a pet, he is our friend. Every day, I get, among my other e-mails, e-mails seeking homes for wonderful cats. This will never happen to Flash; he is part of the family.

As I dwelt on that thought, my mind drifted back to St. Paul, to a winter Sunday morning about 12½ years ago.....

Flash came of age this morning.

Flash has been our living-room lion. He is light tan with barely noticeable stripes on his body and rings on his tail. We got him 28 months ago at the county Humane Society when he was 10 weeks old. He purred in my wife's arms like he'd always belonged there.

We brought him home and the little thing ran all over the house as fast as lightning. That's how he got his name. Since then, he has grown to a respectable fifteen pounds and his lightning has slowed a bit.

We were reading the paper in bed when we heard our sons' screams from downstairs. "There's a dead mouse in the dining room! Mommy! Daddy! You gotta come see! Flash killed a mouse!" I didn't quite believe the last part about Flash actually having made the kill.

Just under two years ago, a month after we had him de-clawed, we noticed Flash stalking the kitchen appliances. Our stove, refrigerator and spice cabinet all stand cheek by jowl on one side of the kitchen, with cracks only small enough for a mouse to crawl out of. Flash's attention was focused on the spice rack - two revolving shelves enclosed in a cabinet.

After finally recognizing the feral stillness of a hunter, I opened the cabinet and turned the rack. There was a leap. Fur raced past me. The paprika can was knocked over and Flash had a grey brown mouse in his mouth.

He deposited it on the kitchen linoleum. Then he growled at it, and hissed and spat. When the mouse started to move, he stopped it with his paw, and tested it in his teeth.

Then Flash picked up the mouse, which struggled with its tiny legs, and carried it into the dining room. There he put it down once again, growled at it some more, hissed at it and played with it with his teeth and his paws. Again the mouse tried escape. Flash caught it in his mouth and brought it into the living-room near the phonograph which sits diagonally in the corner of the room. But instead of beginning to feast on his prey, he dropped it on the carpet and walked a foot away to watch. This time, when the mouse ran, he got under the phonograph where Flash's paws couldn't reach. Flash sat by the phonograph, waiting. The mouse made a run for it under the coffee table toward the sofa. Flash leapt at it and missed. The mouse fled toward the other corner of the room and got behind the sofa. I tried moving the sofa, so that Flash could get behind it and chase it down, but Flash just meowed with discouragement at the phonograph. When I picked up Flash and brought him to the sofa, he returned to the phonograph to look for the mouse. He looked so puzzled and disappointed. Meanwhile, the mouse had made its way back to the kitchen and the safety of our fortress of appliances where it disappeared. Later, traps we set caught two mice.

It was then that I concluded that Flash was just a living-room lion, the feline equivalent of a nebbish.

My sons continued to yell about the dead mouse in the dining room. My wife went downstairs to see what the commotion was all about. I was putting on my robe when she returned. The mouse was in a Dixie cup. One arm and one leg was missing. This mouse, with reddish brown fur on top and white fur beneath, looked very dead.

Then my youngest started in about the mouse turds. "The mouse pooped on the carpet, Mommy!" he yelled. "Come and take a look!"

I examined the mouse in the cup while my wife went down to examine my son's claims. She yelled up to me. "It is mouse poop, Ruvy! There's a pile of it and it's soft. Ooh, it stinks! Yecchh! Now, I have to wash the carpet off."

I continued getting dressed, grateful to be upstairs. "How's the cat?" I yelled down.

"He looks very content," my wife answered. She sounded frustrated "He's licking himself and sitting on his chair. Why don't you come down here and help me?"

I'll never know exactly what happened because Flash is too modest to tell me. A walk through the kitchen when I got downstairs revealed the probable tale of events. The trap for the mouse was set inadvertently by my oldest son, who hungrily munched on peanut butter cereal and left a mess on the floor. After leaving the mess, he came upstairs to lay down with us in bed. Then the mouse came out to check the cereal.

Bad move.

Flash caught the mouse, scared it into an upsetting intestinal episode, and gobbled up an arm and a leg.

Flash got more than just the pleasure of his first kill this morning. For a reward, he got some gourmet cat food in a can, which is something he craves.

He is more than just the living-room lion who relaxes on a chair that matches his fur. Now, when he walks, he holds his head up high. He's a mouser who's earned his keep. There is almost a swagger in his step; he has come of age.
Avi stopped manipulating the keys in the computer. Merely sensing that cessation of action ripped my thoughts back to the present. Feeling the vibration of his cell-phone, he answered before it rang, as is his wont. The conversation was in English. It ended with, "I love you, honey."

I worry for Flash. As much as he can, my son wants to be with his girlfriend. I can't blame him - and it sounds serious. Not only that, but Avi will be in the army, home only on weekends - if that. My wife will be worried sick - I'll be lonely for him. But what about the tan ring-tailed cat who views him as a big brother?

When Avi's brother gets a job in a couple of years, who will be Flash's companion then? It will be just my wife and I. We both love him dearly, but it just isn't the same. When the boys aren't home, he wanders the house, lost and lonely. We're not "his big hairless cat-brothers".

Flash came of age 12½ years ago. Now, our sons are coming of age. If Flash doesn't die of loneliness for them, at least it won't be an empty nest altogether.


A Pre-Passover Analysis on Events in Israel From the Samarian Mountains


Originally published at Blogcritics Magazine on 5 April, 2009
Copyright © R. Kossover, 2009

This writer has been relatively quiet on events occurring here in Israel. The new Netanyahu government installed here a few days ago did not seem very different from the old one that just left. Terms like "right-wing" or "hard-line" found in the mass media are just not accurate in describing the new Netanyahu regime. The Likud party that Bibi Netanyahu wants to head is really "Labor Lite", a point underlined by the fact that Netanyahu aggressively courted Ehud Barak of the real Labor Party to join the government. The real Jewish nationalists in the new Knesset - members of the National Union Party of Ya'acov Katz - were carefully excluded.

There are serious differences between Netanyahu and Barak. Netanyahu is indeed a "right-winger" when it comes to economic policy. In attempting to run Israel according to this "right-wing" economic philosophy, Netanyahu will encounter real opposition not only from Labor, but from SHAS, the political party that seeks to represent MizraHi Jews in Israel. But these upcoming clashes are not that important just yet, though they will dominate the Hebrew press after the Passover holiday.

The pressure points that the opposition might have levied on Netanyahu immediately, motions of no-confidence, and stalling the budget, are being thwarted by two measures.

One is a bill that will push off for 45 days the final deadline for the adoption of a national budget, a budget that was not adopted because of the elections leading up to Netanyahu's accession to the prime minister's chair. Adoption of the budget (or rather failure to adopt a budget) is a government-busting event. If the Knesset fails to adopt a budget on time the prime minister can be forced to resign. By pushing off the deadline for 45 days, Netanyahu gets time to try to re-rig the budget to fit his right-wing views. In addition, the Netanyahu cabinet will attempt to pass a budget for two years, Fiscal 2009, and Fiscal 2010, and thus remove this possible "killer arrow" from the opposition's quiver for a while.

The second measure is a series of electoral reforms that will make it harder to unseat a sitting regime with motions of no-confidence. Some explanation is needed here for those who do not live under parliamentary type regimes. The Germans were the first to adopt a "positive vote of no-confidence" which requires those seeking to replace the Bundeskanzler the federal prime minister, with an absolute majority of the votes in the Bundestag the German equivalent of the British House of Commons. In addition, those seeking to replace the Bundeskanzler had to have another candidate in mind, named in the motion of no-confidence. The Israelis copied this German technique for ensuring greater stability of a cabinet. Netanyahu wants to strengthen these copycat measures by requiring a majority of 80 members to overthrow a government (there are 120 Knesset members, and so 80 votes amounts to a ⅔ majority - something very difficult to attain in any legislative chamber). In addition, he wants to raise the bar for parties seeking entry into the Knesset from the present 2½% of the votes cast - effectively kicking out the National Union Party from the Knesset next time round unless it can double its vote totals. Theoretically, these measures can be seen as "good governance" - but in reality, they reduce the possible choices the Israeli voter faces to "the lesser of a few evils", effectively shutting out the voices of many Israelis from government. The technique is different but the end result is the same. Look familiar?

As I point out, these issues are not the immediate ones that need to be looked at. The immediate issues that need to be looked at are found at Debkafiles. In today's (5 April 2009) lead article, US, Japan, S. Korea, Russia fail to intercept North Korean ballistic rocket launch, we find this money line: "And North Korea showed Israel that it was dangerous to rely on Washington and the rest of the international community and their diplomacy to put a stop to Iran's drive for a nuclear weapon."

It's important to remember the real source of this information - the Israeli Mossad. Debkafiles is the back door of the Israeli Mossad, and they almost brag about this at their site. These are spies or former spies who want very much to believe that America is an ally of Israel. They are admitting that this belief - the wet dream of nearly every Israeli leader - just ain't so. So, as this writer has been telling you and everyone else who could read his words, Israel is on its own. We are alone, and if we want to prevent Iran from attacking us, we will have to do it alone. End of discussion.

The second important issue found at Debkafiles is the result of a poll of Arabs living in Judea and Samaria. According to an Independent Norwegian poll: Palestinian majority opposes two states. Here's the money line: Its main discovery was that a majority, 53 percent, of Palestinians (like Israelis), is against two states. Both Jews and Arabs living here oppose this two-state solution garbage pushed by the great powers and the establishment media here and throughout the world. So, to put it bluntly, it is time to abandon a bad solution that will never pass muster with the 10 million inhabitants of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. It is time to finally listen to what they have both been saying for quite some time - "we want one country here!"

I speak for the majority of the population here in saying that we do not want any Arab state here. Given that we are the majority, and we have the overwhelming military ability to enforce that statement - NO ARAB STATE HERE - then there should be one State from the Jordan to the sea - ISRAEL. The solution? Judea, Samaria and Gaza must be annexed to the State. End of conflict. Those Arabs who insist on dismantling the Jewish entity must be expelled, and if they actively rebel, they must be killed. But the details of living together can be worked out.

There is no reason to kick Arabs or Jews out of their homes here. If the king of Jordan hasn't got the foresight to give Arabs in Judea and Samaria citizenship in his kingdom, they will have to become citizens of an autonomous Arab entity in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, a self governing district that will effectively control most aspects of governance in the territory it controls. But the present "rulers" of the territory, el-FataH and Hamas, terrorist organizations both, must go. In addition all the copycat organizations, PFLP, Islamic Jihad, HizbAllah, etc. etc. etc. must also go. In short, they must leave or die. If that takes a war to establish finally who rules in Israel, then so be it. We have had wars before. But any Arab willing to live in peace in this country should be welcomed and his security on his land guaranteed. At the national level there should be several commissioners to represent this Arab entity, commissioners chosen by the Arab government of the autonomous entity. There must be in place a program to develop Gaza, Judea and Samaria, with an emphasis on expelling the UN and all of its representatives and a program to establish micro-loans to small Arab enterpreneurs, and macro loans to larger ones, a program similar to MATI, which helps Jews establish businesses here in Israel. With this kind of a mechanism, Arab refugees can be repatriated from Lebanon, which actively discriminates against them. There is no reason for Jews or Arabs whose ancestry traces to this land, to live where they are not wanted.

Would the Egyptians be happy with this? No. Would the Syrians be happy with this? No. Would the Saudis be happy with this? No Would the Iranians be happy with this? No. Would the Americans, Europeans and other imperialist powers in the world be happy with this? No. But frankly, their wishes do not matter. We live here, and we must make the best of what we have here - the rest of the world be damned.

And now a reminder for all Americans reading this article. Your president, the alleged leader of the free world Barak Hussein Obama, bowed to an Arab king at the G20 meeting a couple of days ago. So we know who is really boss, don't we? It is not your president

To my Jewish co-religionists who think they are getting the best of things by staying in Exile, remember that Passover, the holiday upon which our Redemption will be based, is coming in a day or so. There are four words at the end of the Passover Seder that can save your lives if you do what they say:


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