Friday, June 30, 2006

Live BE Radio Saturday at 8pm and 1000 Credit Raffle!

Hello everybody, and welcome to what I hope will be another excellent edition of Live BlogExplosion Radio, this Saturday night, July 1st at 8pm est.  Last week was an amazing week, with lots of people hanging out in the ShoutBox Chatroom, partying to the tunes, making requests, and having a great time. I hope you can be part of it this week too!

And because last week went so well, I decided to spice it up a bit this week. This week, I am going to hold a raffle for 1000 credits* at 10 pm! It’s a simple raffle to enter; all you have to do is post your name (and BE username) in the comments section for this post, and you’ll be entered for the contest. At 10 pm, I’ll announce the winner, and that person will have 30 minutes to write in here or on ShoutBox to claim their prize.  If the first person doesn’t write in time, we’ll hold a second raffle for the 1000 credits.

But you don’t have to be that boring with your comment. Give me a request, a song you’re dying to here, and I’ll get it on the air for you. Mention one post your particularly proud of and give me the URL, and I’ll read the headline during the show, giving you free publicity.  Or tell me you would like to host a contest, and I’ll contact you and arrange some quick traffic to your site.  It’s my pleasure, so tell me what you want to hear on the show!

If you haven’t listened to Live BE Radio yet, it’s a fun way to hang out on a Saturday night, with friends and festivities for all, especially when you combine it with the BE ShoutBox Chatroom. So join the fun!  For 3 hours we’ll have you dancing, singing along, and just enjoying with Live BE Radio: Radio for bloggers, by bloggers, and yes, even about bloggers!

*The 1000 Credit prize will either be spread out over installments or, if I can find people cool enough to help transfer you the credits, it will appear to come from multiple sources (i.e. I transfer the credits to a friend who transfers them to you).  But any which way, you’ll get your 1000 credits, the largest raffle I’ve ever seen on BE!


Posted by Scottage at 11:24 AM / | |  

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

I was tagged today by Larko, who asks what type of watch you wear.  Well, oddly enough, Larko picked the right person to tag, as my watch is a bit more significant than some.

You see, I miss Israel tremendously, and as a result I feel it important to have a bit of Israel on me at all times. Thus, I wear the Israeli watch shown below, complete with the Flag of Israel and Hebrew letters around the dial indicating the time.

To me, it’s a constant reminder of the country I love, the country that I made citizenship to 10 years ago, and the country I hope to return to and contribute to again some day in the future.

The watch actually stopped two days ago, and requires a new battery.  Still, I wear it every day, despite the fact that it won’t tell me the time, just as a reminder of what Israel means to the Jewish people, and the goals that I am working towards.

In the next couple days, I’ll replace the battery.  But in the interim, I’ll keep wearing the watch, and longing for the day I can return to Israel. When I return, I hope I’ll be able to make even a fraction of a difference to the country that it made in my life.

So, my turn to tag 5, and I will once again try to tag 5 people I have not tagged recently. Thus, would these people please tell me what watch they wear:



Posted by Scottage at 1:53 AM / | |  

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Danger of Daily Life and Surviving Terror: My Israel Experience Part 3

The Danger of Daily Life and Surviving Terror: My Israel Experience Part 3

I was just reading a post from one of my best friends, npanth, and he spoke of a close call he had falling into icy waters.  This reminded me that I haven’t added the third (and fourth) post of my Israel Experience series, and decided there was no time like the present.  So, here we go:

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You know, it’s interesting that most people I talk to think Israel is incredibly dangerous, and yet, I don’t think of it that way.  I’m from Philadelphia, and I’ve lived in some pretty bad sections, as well as spending time in some of the worst sections in pursuit of the finer things in life (women and other amenities). And Philly always seemed much more dangerous.

In Philadelphia, danger can be around any corner. Violence is somewhat random; it just comes at you in the spur of the moment, and often without any reason or cause. Perhaps someone wants what you have, your shoes, your bag, your body, and they decide they’re going to take it.  Or maybe you just look at a person wrong.  But anyway you slice it, violence can come at you quickly and with no real rhyme or reason.

In Israel, it’s a different story. When I got there crime was not in any way a regular part of life, although crime has increased in the country. Still, crime is minimal, it is rare to hear of a mugging, a rape, or a murder, unlike Philadelphia. The only real crime is the terror, and terror takes on a very different face than the random crime of a city like the City of Brotherly Love.

While in Israel, I survived three terrorist attacks, three times where I was within inches or minutes of loosing my life, and yet I always felt safer in Israel than in Philadelphia or some of the other big cities I’ve lived in.

My first brush with terror was on Purim in March of 1997.  I was sitting in a café in Tel Aviv, called the Apropo, reading a book while waiting to meet two friends taking a bus down from my first kibbutz. My friends were late, but the book was good, and the café had great air conditioning, so I was happy where I was.

The book I was reading, From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman, mentioned that if you were in Israel he would ask you to look around at the people, and try to tell the difference between the people, basically indicating the similar features between the two people.  Being that I was in Israel, I looked up and around and only then realized my friends were over an hour late.  I asked my waitress for the nearest phone, around the corner, and went to make a call and check on their status.

While on the phone, I was remembering the passage from the book and watching the passer-bys, when a distinctive man passed. He had wild eyes, almost crazy looking, and was over-dressed for the warm Israel weather. Had I been a native Israeli, or even in the country longer, I would have immediately known something was wrong, but as it was I didn’t understand the significance of the man at first.  

Just then a kibbutz member got on and told me my friends had left hours before, and hung up to head towards our meeting place, the café.  Just as I turned the corner, I was knocked back by a rush of air, more forceful than anything I felt before, accompanied by the loud bang and a flash of light.  I went horizontal before landing on my back. A nail flying from the bomb ripped through my t-shirt, doing nothing more than scratching my belly; if I hadn’t been knocked over, it would have went into my gut.

Whether I was in the café or hadn’t been knocked over, to me it doesn’t get much closer than that. But the statistics are on your side in Israel. During the seven years I lived in Israel during this last stint, less people were killed by terror than by car accidents.  11 of 12 terrorist attacks were prevented, predominantly because all Israelis look for things that are out of the ordinary, and become the best defense against these attacks.  And Israelis know the types of places that are targets of terror, and can avoid them.

Generally speaking, I think of Israel as far safer than Philly or the other big cities I’ve lived in.  People know what they’re facing and how to avoid it. Terror acts are fewer and farther between.  And far fewer people have died at the hands of terrorists in Israel in the past 10 years than have died from violent crime in Philly.  Sure, I’ve come close to being killed in Israel, multiple times, but all things considered, I think Israel is far safer than big cities in the US.

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Posted by Scottage at 2:08 AM / | |  

Where 'Ya Been

My friend NPanth recently pointed me to a great site, called Visited Countries, which I highly recommend. Basically, what you do is put a checkmark by any country you've been too, and it creates a map of the world with your visited countries in red. My map looks like this:

What does your map look like? Obviously, you click the above link to create your own map, but I'm going to tag a few people to create a map to post on their site. So, will the following bloggers please stand up?:


Tag, you guys need to tell us where you've been. Hope you enjoy, and thanks for playing. Others who fill in the map should also link here, so we can all see where you've been. I hope everyone enjoys!


Posted by Scottage at 12:26 AM / | |  

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My Renter and Host

I want to give a shout out to both my renter and my host this week, as both have amazing sites that I really enjoy reading!

Utenzi’s site is a great mix of whimsical and serious. You can’t help but be cheered by pictures of her furry friends staring out at you, and I do mean staring.  I forgive the fact that she’s a Hurricanes fan (Go Flyers!), and her site just keeps me smiling. Click on the link on the left of the page (why I’m not linking in the post), and check out some cute and fuzzy bunnies!

But it’s not all fun and games at Untenzi’s site; she has a serious side too.  I was more than impressed with her piece on Capital Punishment, and I learned quite a bit about longevity from reading her site.  Over the few months I’ve been reading Utenzi’s site, I’ve always been impressed by the balance, and I’m sure you will be too.

As such, I would like to offer 25 credits to anyone who can tell me what she had for breakfast when she was over at her friend’s house.  So click on the link on the left side of this page, locate her breakfast post, and report back…I’ll be happy to give you some BE credits.

My host this week is TheWriteJerry, and I guess the best way to put it is that he is the yang to my yin.  Where I am liberal, Jerry is conservative. I am Jewish, he is a born again Christian. But make no mistakes about it, Jerry is an amazing writer, and really should be read. I hope that one day we can do a point/counterpoint, because I think it would be really fascinating. Go into his archives and check out the inkblot piece, and Silent Bravery had me standing up and applauding.  Check him out, you’ll be glad you did!


Posted by Scottage at 1:32 AM / | |  

Monday, June 26, 2006

Italian Blogger Censored; Reporters Without Borders Defends

Many times since I began blogging last December I’ve been asked why I blog, what point I see in it, where’s the value. And to me the answer has pretty much been the same: it’s a way to express my views, uncensored, and allow others to challenge those views and sometimes even refine them. To me, freedom of speech is essential in a free society, but blogging represents a way to have your free speech heard, and promotes dialog with other people utilizing their freedom of speech.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who want to limit that free speech.  News has been spreading rapidly of an Italian blogger, name Roberto Mancini, who was sued for defamation of character relating to multiple posts on a blog people presume is his blog. And while there may be a big pond between Mancini and me, the threat to the blogosphere, which I have come to love, can be felt even here.

The case has many oddities. First, it has not been proved yet that Mancini is the author of the blog, though when they raided his home they found materials associated with the blog. Additionally, the comments which Mancini were sued over were not his own posts, but the comments made by readers of his blog.

But perhaps odder, when Mancini lost his court case last month, it was not because he or his readers had actually defamed the four people who filed the suit, as none of the accusations have been proved false to date.  Instead, it appears he’s been convicted of using bad language on his blog, and of allowing bad language to be posted by commenters.

"The columns by-lined General Sukhov are certainly written in an extreme style, but the complainants were not able to show they were untrue,” the press freedom organisation said.

“It looks like the blogger is being punished for his bad language and not because he posted false information, which is unacceptable. He was found responsible for comments posted on his blog by some of his readers, a decision which goes against European jurisprudence.”

“This verdict could well have a negative effect on the Italian blogosphere, in pushing people running a blog into wrongly censoring messages posted by visitors,” said Reporters Without Borders.

Friday, the above mentioned group, Reporters Without Borders, picked up Mancini’s case, arguing that the nearly $17,000 fine was unjust and would irreparably damage the Italian blogosphere.  I for one don’t doubt it, though I think it damages the blogosphere in general. To me, censorship is censorship, and it goes against all the blogosphere stands for. If we begin to censor blogs, we strip away the free speech of writers like you and me, and that cannot be tolerated. Hats off to RWB for picking up the case!

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Posted by Scottage at 10:19 AM / | |  

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Haveil Havelim #75 is up, and It's Awesome!

AbbaGav is hosting Haveil Havelim, and between his normal witicisms and amazing pictures, this is (in my humble opinion) the best HoH I've seen yet. So whether you're interested in the best writing by Israeli journalists from the past week or just up for a good belly laugh, go check out Haveil Havelim #75 at AbbaGav! It's a great way to start your week.

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Posted by Scottage at 10:22 AM / | |