Tag Archives: Snoopy the Goon

RIP Snoopy

My good friend Snoopy the Goon, Israeli proprietor of the blog Simply Jews, passed away Nov. 27. Presumably from complications of high blood pressure and the side effects of a beastly drug he was taking for high cholesterol. You will be very much missed, Mr. Goon, by many of us who called you friend. Prayers are in order for his wife, children and grandchildren, who must now deal with their grief.

Snoopy’s great adventures

For those who follow the adventures of my Israeli pal Snoopy the Goon and wonder where he’s gotten to the last few days, he’s in the outback of Australia with the Mrs, about 800 km from Brisbane.

“We are in Australia with our daughter, gallivanting in the boonies and photographing birds and other animals. I hope we’ll survive the experience – the regime reminds most of all an army boot camp, the chiefs are really fanatics of bird photography.

“The country is amazing in all respects, wildlife being only one of them. It appears that Australia is a nanny state second to none. A lot of rules, regulations etc. Cigarettes, for instance, are not on display in the places that sell them, the procedure is somewhat furtive, like buying narcotics…

“…and here is another curious item: the tipping in restaurants and other situations is not a done thing here.  I am not a sociologist, but the result is terrible service in the restaurants. At least this is an obvious one. Slow, mix-up with orders, no attention to the timing of the dishes etc. During a breakfast in a similarly upscale eatery one of our group didn’t get his order at all, in spite of the waiter been reminded twice. When our guide went to complain, he was told that the kitchen is ‘very busy’!

“We were told that the waiters’ salaries are good enough so they don’t rely on tips. You can easily deduce the result.”

For more of Mr. Goon’s inimitable style, try his blog Simply Jews where friends are holding down the fort in his absence.

Why no gun massacres in Israel?

Well, they have no gun-free zones, those pretty party-invitations for mass murderers.

But you would think, being surrounded by Arab enemies, would guarantee a massacre or three every now and then in the Jewish State. But no, not at all. And my Israeli pal Snoopy the Goon gives his take on why.

His angle mainly is on the gun, which makes a certain sense, I agree, though I tend to think it’s a little like blaming the doctor for the disease. Nevertheless, give Mr. G.’s effort a considered read:

“Oh well, now to the main question: It is really a hard one. The fact is that no Israeli kid (or a grown-up) I know of ever attempted the kind of unmotivated massacre that happen in other places and, especially, in US. There were a few cases of mass murder aimed at Arabs, though.

“How to explain it? I can only use my own example. As a boy, like most boys, I was fascinated by guns. My pocket money was mostly spent on the local shooting range (air guns only, of course), and I was really interested in all kinds of guns, cannons, rockets, etc.

“After the boot camp here in Israel, where you get ‘married’ to your gun (in IDF you don’t store your gun in the armory for the night or for any other time periods, for that matter – it stays with you, even on a furlough). You shoot a lot, you train a lot, and every time you are shooting for training purposes, you go through the safety drill, even in the reserve service.

“So with time any fascination, feeling of novelty etc get very far behind you. And when you check it in at the end of your duty period, it is a welcome good-bye and nothing more.

“As for personal use (handgun): I have never been sufficiently trained on one, only some brief courses for general acquaintance, nothing more. I know that for me, without training, the gun will give a false feeling of safety, and I will be generally better off without it.

“I would (maybe) have considered the short version of M16, which could be as useful as a handgun in right hands, but much more precise and lethal – but in Israel you can’t get one legally. [He means the M4 and if he means the full-automatic military version, you can’t buy that in U.S. either without a special permit].

“As for general population: I know that most of the people that went through combat training feel exactly like I do. So Israelis that are still fascinated with firearms in adult age are, most probably, not coming from combat service. Those who carry—either because of their security duties or because they travel in the West Bank—are not enamored with their guns, for overwhelming majority. It is just there to be used if and when necessary, nothing more.

“Unlike many other folks, I will not call hysterically for more gun control…education is more important, in addition the process of issuing a permit should be adjusted to look closer into the mental state of the person who requests it. The last few cases—this Connecticut one and the Arizona—both kids were mental cases, I am ready to bet on it. In Israel at least, you can be quite sure (not at the level of 100%, of course, but fairly close) that such a case will not get a gun permit.

“I still support that Heinlein saying (I frequently repeat it without regard to tragedies like the last one) about the armed society being a polite society. The other side of the coin is arming the wrong people… but I know you agree on most of the points I made here.”

I do agree with most of the points. But not with one facet of Israeli gun culture: registration of all guns in private hands is required there. Not here, not in most states, certainly not in Texas, and that’s fine with me, because I don’t think it’s any of the state’s business who owns a gun and who doesn’t.

Things We’ll Miss About Israel

As Mrs. Charm, Mr. Boy and I return to Texas today from our 10-day visit to Israel, here are some of the things (a few cribbed from this insider’s list) we’ll miss, in addition to my longtime blog-friend and host Snoopy-the-Goon and his family:

Fresh vegetables for breakfast.

An entire country slowly shutting down and settling into Shabbat around 4 pm, every Friday.

Seeing young children on urban streets after dark, not always accompanied by an adult but unafraid.

The generally friendly people who seldom failed to nod and say “Shalom.”

The supply of beautiful women, with generous decolletage, which never seemed to run out.

Chez Stephanie B&B ski resort (photo above) on the slopes of Mount Hermon where we stayed one night. Wonderfully cool temperatures after much lowland heat and humidity.

The brave young soldiers of the IDF, men and women, black and white, their automatic rifles slung over their shoulders at the mall and on the street. Even hitch-hiking, which they are no longer supposed to do.

Pretty sunsets and puffy clouds which easily rival the Texas ones.

The smell of eucalyptus at Bet She’an in the lower Galilee.

The steep, ancient rock path at Gamla which Mr. Boy’s encouragement (“just a little way more, dad”) finally got me up to the top without a heart attack.

The informal (“individual,” Snoopy says) way most Israelis dress most of the time.

Camel Crossing signs in the mountainous Negev Desert.

The thousands of prayer notes seeking help from God rolled up tightly and stuffed into crevices in the Kotel.

Ice cream on a stick for five shekels (about a dollar).

The funny way some of the lower-domination coins are larger than the higher-denomination ones.

The way drivers sat patiently, without honking, in an almost two-hour traffic jam in Jerusalem caused by forest fires whose smoke blanketed the main highway, but honked repeatedly in the hour-long jam caused by Russian PM Putin’s visit to the city.

Riding the Swiss cable car at Masada.

The hugely-generous buffet supper and breakfast at the Lot Hotel on the Dead Sea, and the colorful flowers in the courtyard at Gil’s Guest Rooms where we actually spent the night—even if the Wi-Fi had a poor signal and kept cutting out.

The round-abouts which make a lot more sense and are easier to use than the four-way stops in the U.S., where no one can remember who is supposed to go first.

Those curious buttons on the tank tops of Israeli toilets: I finally figured out the difference between the two of them shortly before we left.

The juicy cucumbers you can eat like popsicles, without cutting them, one bite at a time.

Diced cucumbers and tomatoes of the ubiquitous Israeli salad.

Red-clay tile roofs on many residences and more all the time.

Roof-top water heaters which make a lot of sense in a country with so much sun. And would in Texas, too.

Sparklers on restaurant birthday cakes.

Psychedelic Cow

Snoop’s good work from his recent visit to the Rancho, this one of the painted cows in front of the Texas State History Museum in downtown Austin.

Israel’s “silent majority” speaks up

“This post is mainly for my friends abroad, wherever they are, who may have trouble projecting their beliefs and experiences onto our small but peculiar country….

“It started in a small way, with the cottage cheese boycott. Was it the surprising success of the Facebook-led “uprising” or other reasons, but the unrest spread and continues to spread, expanding into new domains and involving more and more citizens, hitherto inert and apathetic.”

My Israeli pal Snoopy the Goon offers a tentative explanation of the new phenom of Israel’s “silent majority” which has recently hit the streets of Tel Aviv and elsewhere to protest high prices, low influence and, well, my advice is to go here and read it for yourself.

Especially if  you think Israel is only about their decades-old trouble with the intolerant Muslims and the recent dispute with Obamalot.

Touring the Golan Heights

One of the places Snoopy and I were planning to visit in October was the Golan Heights. Now he’s recovering from a heart attack and I’m trying to decide whether I’m still adventurous enough at sixty-six to go there alone.

Fortunately, there’s always Michael Totten, and his good reporting, editing and picture-taking. This piece of his on the Golan both encourages me to go and makes me realize that I don’t have to. Thanks to the Web, and its undercutting of the old mass media gatekeepers, I can get a feel for the place without leaving home.

I used to donate money to Michael before he went to work for Pajamas Media. Then I got to the bottom of his piece and discovered he still needs contributions. I sent him ten bucks. If you like the piece you should consider it, too. It’s much cheaper than a trip.

UPDATE:  Snoop returns to posting. He’s just going to be a lot slower for a while.