Archive for January, 2009

The Last Jihad by Joel C Rosenberg

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

The Last Jihad by Joel C Rosenberg

This is the first book in a series. It was written just prior to the 9/11 attack. The author shelved the book for a year. In 2002 he brought the book to the publishers and it went into printing. Why the delay? Because what he was writing about was a work of fiction that almost came true.

We know the history of what happened on 9/11 and what the US did in response. That the war on terror did not stop until it included Iraq. In this story, written before the US went to war in Iraq, Joel wrote this story. It is interesting to see how he thought the war on terror was going to unfold.

If you want to know one possible scenario, what could have happened if the US didn’t invade Iraq when it did, then this is a good story.

I quickly read through the book. It is was quite enjoyable. I recommend it.

The mirror reveals all

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Last night, as Linda was preparing for bed, I went to straighten the sheets and the blankets. I started on my side to tuck in the blankets under the mattress at the foot of the bed. Then I carefully lined up the sheet with the blanket and smoothed it down. I then go around the bed and do the same on her side. As I headed for the hallway I have to pass a large mirror on my left. I took a quick peek at myself.

Now I usually go about the house shirtless. You see it is too hot in the house for me but perfect for Linda. I say this so you can understand what happened next.

As I passed the mirror my attention was drawn to a dark area on my side. I stopped and lifted my arm. Now my eyesight isn’t too good but I did notice a dark discoloration. I sidled up closer to the mirror. It looked like a very large bruise yet I don’t remember injuring myself. Perhaps it was a bleed under the skin for some other reason. I was getting concerned.

I drew closer to the mirror. O my, was that dirt? How on earth did that happen?

Closer still and the truth was revealed. It was a shadow caused by my ribcage. Now I know I was loosing quite a bit of weight but I never thought I would see my ribcage again.

So, I go to bed happy knowing that there is a body beneath the store of fat I have been carrying for twenty years. Lucky me! 😉

Hamas vs Israel

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Hamas, everyday, said hello to Israel by launching a number of rockets into the nearby towns and cities. For seven years they said hello this way. Just think, this is the way they honour a ceasefire. I know that last ceasefire was only for six months. Why did they decide to end it and not merely extend it? Oh, they have a host of reasons they give. Most of those reasons, if not all of them, are hogwash. The reason they fight is because they hate. Hate knows no bounds and will suffer no insult.

Israel, everyday, took care of the wounded. Sometimes they tried to take out the attackers. Sometimes they succeeded. Sometimes they didn’t. Once in awhile they killed or injured non combatants. There were apologies and displays of sorrow when then hurt the innocent. They wanted to keep the ceasefire going. They were willing, begrudgingly, to suffer the losses caused by a handful of Hamas good morning rockets. Yet instead of the continuing bad peace Hamas up the attacks by a ten fold increase. For this reason Israel attacked. Though Israel is causing a lot of damage and deaths, it is limited to Hamas targets. Sadly, they still kill innocents in the crossfire. They sorrow and apologize and will try to help when the battle is over. They fight because they are angry at intransigent men who do not know the way of peace. They fight because the have to, not because they like to.

Over all I think it is sad. The Israelis pulled out of the Gaza strip, unilaterally two years ago, in the hopes that there may be a respite from violence. It was the perfect opportunity for Hamas to show how they can care for their own people. How they could begin to build a just society. How they could control the violence toward Israel. If they would have even done that in part, without rockets being launched, Israel could have become a very helpful friend. Alas Hamas did not take the opportunity. They dug tunnels, they smuggled in weapons, built rockets to kill Israelis. In the fighting now happening Hamas even kills or wounds in the leg Fatah Palestinians when they get in the way.

Perhaps if Hamas were merely angry with Israel peace may have some prospect of becoming a reality. But they are hate-filled people and sadly Israel must do what it is doing. If they succeed. If Hamas is defeated. Then perhaps the Palestinians who remain, and are only angry with Israel, can begin moving toward a peace.

The Secret Trial of Robert E Lee
by Thomas Flemming

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

The Secret Trial of Robert E Lee by Thomas Flemming
publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

This is the kind of book I enjoy reading… historical fiction. Take a subject. Mix in some historical figures. Weave a story surrounding this event. In this case we are taken to the 1860’s at a time just after the US Civil War. In history, when Robert E Lee surrendered the Northern Virginia Army at Appomattox to general Grant all of Lee’s soldiers were given amnesty for things done during the war. This story proceeds from the standpoint that there was a secret trial of Robert E Lee for treason and various war crimes including the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

In this telling of post war politics there is much information woven into the story. You can begin to grasp the true reasons behind the war. It is also a good view of what elements on the yankee side tried to do following the war. I have been reading bits and pieces about this historical era for decades and find it a true history. The “trial” never happened but the rest of the history did. It is the first book I have read about that time period that reflected my knowledge of those events.

Thomas Flemming is a historian as well as a writer. He weaves a pretty good story laced with historical facts. This is a recommended read.