Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s been awhile

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Somehow I have moved away from blogging on my own site, tending to use the professional political page I created on Facebook. Lest you think this site has disappeared into the dustbins of the internet, I’m back. 

Book Review: Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter

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Next month, Blake Crouch’s new science fiction thriller Dark Matter will be released.   Crouch is known for his “Wayward Pines” trilogy, currently adapted as a Fox TV series.  Dark Matter is a stand-alone novel which draws on a fairly common thread in science fiction — quantum physics and the multiverse.

What if you could in effect go back in time and change a decision that you made 15 years ago?   What if you could live an entirely different life based on the choice you didn’t make?  What if everything you cherished was taken away in an instant?  Would you fight to get it back?   Blake Crouch’s new book uses science fiction to explore just such questions, drawing on the premise of multiple universes, and even Schroedinger’s Cat, on a fast-paced romp.


This is a book designed to be read in one or two sittings.  For me I started it, and found myself almost half-way through it before I realized it. When I returned to it, I just kept reading, well past my normal bedtime, to finish it.   Every once in a while you find the book you don’t want to put down.   Dark Matter is just that book.

That said, once you figure out what is going on, there is still some physics to grapple with, and you need to be paying attention.  But that is true of almost every book that uses this type of plot device. Is the book truly original?  Probably not.  Does it make it any less enjoyable?  Definitely not.   And compared with the ending of the Wayward Pines trilogy, which left me frustrated, and so mad, that I wanted to throw my kindle across the room, this book resolves itself nicely.

I received a pre-release copy of this book from 



Farewell to Jerusalem

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Tomorrow morning, I will leave Jerusalem for the second time in less than 12 months.  The concept of that is hard to grapple.  The fact that I have been here twice in such a short time really is a testament to the pull that this city has.  In the seven days I have been here, it has been a whirlwind.  I was incredibly lucky, in that I was invited to join along on 3 1/2 days of programs organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, which had organized a world class, extremely fair and balanced, trip for a group of evangelical thought leaders, designed to explore the different dynamics of the conflict; to see the deeper narratives; and get a small taste of Israel.

In the last week, I have met with, or listened to a long list of people, in reverse order, including:

  • Professor Moshe Halbertal, senior fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute
  • David Horivitz, editor in chief of the Times of Israel
  • Salim Munayer, director of Musahala: a reconciliation program
  • Kids 4 Peace
  • Deborah Applebaum
  • PLO chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat
  • Dr. Kahlil Shikaki, Director, Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research
  • Mr. Amir Dajani, Managing Director, Rawabi, a new Palestinian planned city
  • Gal Berger, Israeli Journalist
  • Avi Melamed, Fellow of Intelligence and Middle East Affairs, Eisinhower Institute
  • Udi Cohen, director, Citizens Accord Forum for Jews and Arabs in Israel
  • Rabbi Arik Aschermann, senior rabbi, Rabbis for Human Rights
  • Professor Yossi Klein Halevi, senior fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute
  • Eliyahu McLean, Abrahamic Reunion
  • Bassem Eid, Palestinian Human Rights Activist and Political Commentator
  • Shaul Judelson and Jawad, Friends of Roots
  • Walid Issa, Shades Negotiation Project
  • Rabbi David Rosen, interfaith director for judaism outside of the US
  • Rev. Canon Hosan Naoum, dean of St. George’s Cathedral
  • Poet Rivka Miriam

Add to that, visiting Jerusalem’s Old City on Shabbat, the grave of Oskar Schindler, the tomb of David, the Tower of David museum, the Israel Museum, west jerusalem, Yad VaShem,  Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity, Ramallah, Rawabi, the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, the Gush Etzion settlement bloc (ok, it was dark out, and we pretty much just went to the winery), and numerous neighborhoods in West Jerusalem.  I even learned how to navigate the public bus system.  And a wonderful dinner with a friend’s daughter.

I’ll admit my blogging has been sporadic.  Look at all those people and places.  An awful lot of material and ideas to think through. But there will be more to come, over the next week here in Israel, and in the month to come.

Tomorrow, phase two begins.  Light rail to Central Bus station, and then an express bus to Haifa, where I will spend the week in the German Colony, and will spend every possible minute reuiniting with the friends forever kids and their families.  Then a night in Nazareth to spend with Raed, and then the last four days in Tel Aviv, with more meetings, and some opportunity to explore a part of Israel I haven’t seem before.

Our room

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The journey begins

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The trip began this morning with the bus ride to Chicago. And then had a 90 minute wait before I could check in with Delta because they weren’t open yet. But now I’m all checked in and waiting for the flight to Paris.  Just had a lot of fun trying to speak with an old Lebanese man who doesn’t speak much English, and of course I don’t speak much Arabic. So we compromised and spoke French.  Ca va bien.

Packing day!

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The day has come.  Figure out how to get a boatload of stuff into one bag and keep it under 50 pounds.  Exciting stuff.

Happy National Camera Day!

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It is a good day to take a picture.

Courtesy of: SnapKnot

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