Ever since I returned from Cambridge, England in 1991, I have wished I could go back. There’s just no other place on Earth like it. If I was told I only had a year to live, I’d pull up stakes and spend my last days in Cambridge.
King’s College Chapel, back side, from the River Cam
I am very fond of Daniel Silva’s thrillers, about his Hero, Israeli Intelligence Operative (and now head honcho), Gabriel Allon. Gabriel has worked tirelessly for his country, eliminating terrorists of every stripe, all over the world. His first wife, Leah, who for years has lived in a psychiatric hospital in Israel, was made insane by the terrorist bomb (see A Death in Vienna) that killed his son, Danny, was sane enough to grant him a divorce a few years ago. Shortly thereafter, he was able to marry Chiara, his fellow intelligence operative. They are now proud parents of twins, a boy and a girl (see Black Widow).
All through Silva’s novels, the reader is reminded how dangerous the profession of Intelligence Operative (spy) is. A spy’s enemies are literally everywhere, following his or her every move, and plotting ways to put him or her out of action. Gabriel Allon was pretty much a ghost for a long time, his movements fairly cleverly concealed by his home Office, and his attempts to stay out of the public eye. His actions of terrorist elimination were observable. Once he is exposed, and his picture is splashed all over the press, it becomes more difficult for him to work.
I have been giving a lot of thought lately to a spy’s children. Once he is known, it becomes much more difficult for him to conceal his and his family’s whereabouts and actions. In fact, if he and his wife choose to become parents, they are putting innocent people at risk. But having children is a primal human need, and it must be a very delicate decision to make, whether to have those children, ensuring your name and memories survive you, or to decline based on the danger to everyone involved. The thing that makes a spy’s children a dangerous proposition is the fact that his enemies don’t have to kill him to put him out of action. They can just go after his family. Gabriel now doesn’t just have to worry about his terrorist enemies trying to find and kill him, and bomb or otherwise attack his country. He must worry, 24/7, about the safety of his wife and children, who now are prime targets.
I learned, actually, from the movie The Godfather, how easy it is to drive your enemy insane. Just go after what they love, and you don’t even have to get them (remember the scene with the horse’s head in the bed-gruesome). Gabriel Allon is fortunate that his wife is also an intelligence operative, and can use her own considerable wiles to protect their children from harm. But it must be very difficult to be in that situation, where you pretty much cannot ever relax, ever. You must be vigilant and observant all the time to protect the children from all the bad people out there, just waiting to pounce. They all now live in Israel, whose defense services are legendary. But you and I have read the news stories of the continuous attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians by the ubiquitous Arab terrorists, many of whom live in Israel.
So think about it. If you were an intelligence operative, would you have children? I think it’s a case of “choosing life”. You would, because of God’s Commandment to Choose Life. Life will always conquer Death.
They are both occupations. Way back in the medieval period in England, people didn’t have “family” names, since there were few enough people around. They were often known by what they did in the community. John, the miller, who owned the flour mill by the river and accepted everyone’s grain to grind into flour. If there were ten people named John in the village, they were distinguished by their occupations so people didn’t get them mixed up. So you might have John the miller, and John the butcher. Eventually, when there were enough people around, those occupations became their last names, and their children had two names, a first name and a last name.
For a while now, I have, just for fun, been keeping a list of last names that are occupations. I’d love it if my followers could add names that I’ve missed. Here is what I have so far:
Smith (as in blacksmith), or Schmidt the German variation
Fletcher (makes arrows)
Shepherd (or Shepard)
Cooper (makes barrels)
Mercer (makes thread)
Fuller (processes cloth)
Marshall, or Marshal
Mason (the Masonic order was made up of the specialized stonemasons who built early cathedrals)
My People, The Jews, are the most resilient people there are. We are Creators and scholars, in Science, Medicine, The Law, and Business. The Jews have survived attempted genocide at the hands of the Romans. (Just look at what the Roman Empire became-Italy now is a basket-case in Europe, as is Greece.)
Yet, We Survive, and Thrive. We survived the Holocaust in World War II. Six Million of us slaughtered, yet we Survive.
And we thrive today, in the State of Israel, may she live forever!
The Jews today face enemies, new and old, in the US and around the world. Islamic Terrorists seek to destroy us wherever we are found (which is basically everywhere). “Palestinians” seek to destroy the State of Israel, in Israel itself, and in the charnel-house of the United Nations (which has become a forum for the totalitarians and oppressors of the world). But the Jews will survive, as they always have. The State of Israel will survive, and thrive, and make its Middle East a better place for everyone, even its sworn enemies. Jews know how to laugh in the face of evil, and hardship.
It has always been my opinion that the Jews are the Conscience of Humanity. You will know when Humanity is well and truly doomed…when the last Jew is gone. May that never happen.
RushBabe49 is a Tiffany shareholder, and a Tiffany shopper, even with a moderate income. It sometimes amazes me that there are people who feel intimidated, and won’t enter a Tiffany store because they have to walk past the armed security guards at the door. They have been opening stores in areas of the country that aren’t highly affluent, just comfortable. I like to suggest to men that I know a near-foolproof way to give their wife or girlfriend heart palpitations. What woman wouldn’t gasp at a gift in the Tiffany blue box? This year, there are new collections, like Tiffany T, with a variety of jewelry; rings, bracelets, and earrings in gold, silver, and their proprietary “Rubedo metal”. I saw one ring, way out of my price range, but something to save up for, that definitely makes my list this year.
So here’s a way of thinking about Tiffany that might make it easier for those intimidated ones to walk proudly into their nearest Tiffany store. Just remember that to them, you are a Customer, not just a shopper. They want your business, and it’s in your best interest to think of yourself that way. Get up your courage, walk right into the store, and be sure to smile and wish the security guards “Good afternoon”. Then head right up to any counter and peruse the merchandise. Tiffany is known best for their diamond jewelry, but they also have an extensive collection of reasonably-priced sterling silver pieces. When I was single, and making a fair, but not huge, salary, I would give myself a Christmas present every year of a new pair of Tiffany silver earrings. It’s fun to walk into the store and check out the new items, ask to see something closer up, and walk out with your very own blue box, tied up with beautiful red or white ribbon. They have an extensive collection of really cute charms for a bracelet, or they can be worn as a pendant on a chain; they are adding new ones all the time.
So you gentlemen, Christmas is coming up. This year, make your lady VERY happy, and present her with something in a Tiffany blue box. She will NEVER doubt your love ever again! [and you will get on their mailing list for their great catalogs] You can start by going to the Web site, www.tiffany.com, to get ideas, and to drool.
On the Thanksgiving holiday, we give thanks for all our blessings. Here in the United States, Thanksgiving has been a national holiday since the 1860s. Yes, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November Thanksgiving Day. I want to declare how very grateful I am for having been born in the Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth, and to live in one of the most beautiful corners of that Nation, the Pacific Northwest.
My family and I really have everything we need for a comfortable, happy life. We have good jobs, so we can be productive members of society. Our Capitalist economic system here in the USA, even in spite of the onerous level of government regulation, gives us the freedom to work for one employer, rather than another; to quit our job and move to a new town to take a different job; to own, and sell, our primary residence when we move or grow out of it, or want to downsize; to save our money to buy something big like a car or a boat, from whichever source we choose; to go to our preferred store to buy our food and clothing; and to make any other economic decision for our own reasons. Any American with enough initiative can start and run his own business, and help it grow to employ others, and satisfy customers.
We are thankful for the Republic we have here, whose founding document, the Constitution, is the first, and the best ever, Law of the Land, laying out the most remarkable form of government ever invented. We just had another eventful National election-another peaceful (well, mostly), transfer of power from one President to the next. Never before in all of human history has any nation had such continuous, ongoing changes of administration with as few difficulties as the United States of America. We in America are the freest, most prosperous, most generous people in the world. Each American has at his or her fingertips the means to enlighten and enrich himself and his family. Every single American has public schools where he can learn what he needs to be a productive citizen, if he will take full advantage. Every American has the freedom to worship as he chooses, with whomever he chooses, or not. Americans have the freedom to band together with their fellows to try to influence their government, at all levels, or to run for office. I am also thankful for the all-volunteer military, whose members protect our Liberty, at home and in many places overseas. They truly are America’s Finest, and they truly reflect the spectrum of Americans-they are black, white, Asian, male and female, and they are the Brave among us.
The people of the United States of America, more than citizens of any other nation, give of the fruits of their labor, to support others who have less, both at home and abroad. America is the First Responder of the World, always at the ready to help out in a natural disaster anywhere. Even Americans of modest means find it in their pocketbooks and their hearts to donate to every conceivable form of charity. Religious Americans are the largest donors to charity in the world, and their support builds roads, schools, and wells in poorer countries everywhere. I am thankful that the American Spirit lives here, and I am proud to be a part of it.
This year at Thanksgiving, I will be grateful for our Founding Fathers, who bequeathed to us a most remarkable Nation, built upon an Idea: Liberty and Justice for All. May the United States of America be a beacon to the world forever!