Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bird-Brains Lose





I like animals.  I believe that animals need to be treated humanely by humans (which was NOT the case with Cecil the Lion).  But humans have one thing animals have not:  Responsibilities.

Many of these animalphiles seem to overlook the fact that animals have no responsibilities.  Because animals can never be held to the responsibilities humans are, they must necessarily be subservient and secondary to humans.  Animals can cause great harm to humans, and to civilization (which is based upon humans having responsibilities).  When animals such as Travis the Chimpanzee act up, they need to be put down. 

In a court of law, Travis can never have been "guilty" of anything because he had no responsibilities to neglect or flout.  The killing of animals, then, is often necessitated through no fault of the animal; they are just being animals.

Like the birds that often frequent the vicinity of airports.  Bird ingestion by aircraft engines can yield disastrous results.  Some bird-brained self-appointed guardians of birds attempted to prevent the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from ridding the wetlands around the airports it operates (JFK, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, and Stewart) of migratory birds who pose aviation hazards.  The Port Authority duly obtained appropriate depredation permits from the Department of Agriculture, so Friends of Animals brought suit against DOA and its various subagencies (including the Fish and Wildlife Services), challenging the issuance of the permits, and arguing, among other things, that the permits were not species-specific.

Friends of Animals lost in the District Court; they appealed.  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court and confirmed the validity of the permits.  The Port Authority is now free to cull the bird hazards.

Friends of Animals has vowed that they will continue to challenge the culling of birds at the Port Authority airports.

My question:  How many FOA people have traveled to or from the New York area via one of the Port Authority's airports?

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Hairy Situation in Israel




There is one thing here in Israel that is quite difficult for me to swallow.  No, it is not the current wave of terrorism!  It is the simple act of getting a haircut!

As Debbie Schlussel has long observed, America's males are being feminized.  I would not necessarily rate myself as a 10 on the Macho Scale, but there are certain women/girl things that make me most uncomfortable, like walking by the cosmetics in the drug store or department store.  You know, the real personal, female-gender-specific stuff.

And, unlike Debbie's speculations regarding Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen, in the 3 decades of our relationship my wife has never even asked me to go out and buy her personal feminine paraphernalia for her.  She knows what the answer would be, and that is fine with her.  [I don't ask her to do my marketing for me for my personal male-gender stuff either.].

So it came as a culture shock for me to find that just about all haircut establishments here cater to either gender.  For my first haircut here, I found a shop where at least the women go to a closed-off stall, but even that was not the unabashedly male barbershop I had been using on Long Island for 20+ years (not that the Long Island place didn't service women customers, but they did so in an unqualifiedly male atmosphere, even the two female barbers there).  A simple haircut and some red-hot conversation!

Fortunately, I now have found a third barber shop in my town that doesn't also promote itself as an establishment for doing nails and womens' wigs and all of those perfumery preparations, such as the place my wife patronizes.

And it is no coincidence that all three of these places are owned and operated by emigres from the Former Soviet Union.  The Russians appreciate a real man, unfeminized by the politically-correct fashionista culture.  And so does my wife!

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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Off the Wall, Off the Rails




Darius McCollum has impersonated New York City transit workers, and, in such capacity, collected fares, operated New York City subway and commuter trains and buses.  His rap sheet reflects more than 30 stays as a guest in the Big House as a consequence of such activities, most of his adult life.  Now, having been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, he is claiming an addiction and demanding treatment as an addict instead of further disposition in the criminal justice system (read "jail time).

An acquaintance of mine, an Asperger's person who is a group manager at a national accounting firm, isn't buying McCollum's addiction excuse.  I'm not buying it either, but one person who is putting his money down on that number is filmmaker Adam Irving, who is doing a movie called "Off the Rails" about McCollum.

The whole thing would be a comical farce if the lives and safety of so many people were not jeopardized.

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Friday, January 01, 2016

Just Another Day





Here in Israel, the New Year for the Gregorian calendar is not the big deal that it is in the USA or Europe.  It is not a national holiday; people go to work as usual (though this year it falls on a Friday, which is the beginning of the weekend).

December 31 is the feast day of St. Sylvester, who, as Pope, was instrumental in expelling Jews from Jerusalem and who otherwise was unfriendly to the Jews.  Accordingly, in Europe the practice has developed to call New Year's Eve "Sylvester."  That practice is followed to a large extent in Israel, which, in my opinion, is one reason why New Year's Day is not accorded such an exalted status here.  Another reason is that on New Year's Day, a Jewish boy born the previous December 25th is in his eighth day and accordingly, receives his circumcision.  On the Catholic Church calendar, then, New Year's Day is the Feast of the Circumcision. Given the long history of the often animosity-driven relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jews, many Jewish people, if they do not eschew the usual American and European-type practices regarding New Year's Day, do not avidly partake in them.

In Israel, the New Year is Rosh HaShanah.  Way back when I was employed by the US Department of Defense, we frequently did an informal munchies spread to mark the new US Government Fiscal Year on October 1st.  Though many hotels and bars and restaurants in Israel (especially in cities such as Tel Aviv and Haifa) do mark the New Year at midnight on December 31st, it generally is like a new fiscal year here, with no ball drops or similar events.

Last night, my wife and I had a quiet evening at home.

To all my friends:  Whichever way you may commemorate the passing from December 31st to January 1st, I wish you a Happy New Year, and,  in my unbounded optimism, hope and pray that it will be better than the year that has just passed.



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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Seasonal Affective Disorder 2015 - 2016



Nothing particularly inspiring to blog about these past 3 weeks (must be the usual seasonal affective disorder).  Everything pretty much routine for everyone here.

Last week I completed an intensive Hebrew language improvement course, which has helped me noticeably (though I still need more of it; have an appointment to discuss a possible course given in January by a local purveyor instead of having to shlep into Tel Aviv 4 days a week).  Approximately one-third of the last class were French, about one-fourth from the former Soviet Union, about one-fourth Anglos, and a few from other miscellaneous places (including Latin America, Denmark, and Italy).

Though Christmas is not my holiday, I do hope that my Christian friends had a merry one.  Back in the States, several of my neighbors had some, shall we say, very visible Christmas light decoration displays (some of which were reported in the local newspaper).  Israel being Israel, there is not too much of that to be seen here, though there is a visible Christian community in my town, most of whom are employees of American companies who have been assigned to the Israel offices, and who commute to Tel Aviv or Ramat Gan (and in the case of one I know, to the Holy City of Jerusalem).  There is a store in town that sells Christmas decorations; the owner tells me that the people who come in to buy them often remain loyal customers throughout the year.

Some potentially interesting personal and professional plans are now shaping up for me and for my wife.  Nothing to report yet, but perhaps some of the events in the offing  shall bring me past this current burn-out.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
 

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