Valentine’s Day

If you are feeling lonely this Valentine’s Day, remember that a) it is a silly celebration, and b) Teddy Roosevelt had a way worse Valentine’s Day than you are currently experiencing. The year was 1884 and, on that day, 25-year-old TR lost both his wife and his mother – the former of Bright’s disease (undiagnosed) and the latter of typhoid fever. His wife died in his arms. She was 22 and had given birth to their daughter, the formidable Alice Roosevelt Longworth, only two days earlier. Here is his diary entry for that day:

Poor TR.

(Now, if you are actually having as bad a Valentine’s Day as TR, or even worse, I am so sorry.)

Elkana Vizel’s Words

Elkana Vizel was an Israeli soldier who died in Gaza this week. He was 35 and a father of four. He wrote this letter to his family before going into battle.

If you are reading these words, something probably happened to me. First of all, if I am taken prisoner by Hamas I demand that you do not make any deal to free me from any terrorist. Our crushing victory is more important than anything else, so please, just keep on working with all your might so our victory will be as crushing as possible.

Maybe I will have fallen in battle. When a soldier falls in battle it’s sad. But I ask of you, be happy. Don’t be sad when you part from me. Sing a lot, hold each other’s hands, and support each other. We have so much to be happy about and proud of. We are the generation of redemption! We are writing the most significant moments in the history of our nation and the entire world. So please be optimistic. Continue choosing life constantly. Lives of love, hope, purity, and optimism. Look at those dear to you in the white of their eyes and remind them that everything they go through in life is worth it and they have a lot to live for.

Live! Don’t stop the power of life for a moment! During Operation Protective Edge I was injured. I had the option to stay behind, but I don’t regret for a moment that I returned to combat. On the contrary, that was the best decision I ever made.

Simply beautiful. My uncle had the same understanding of being a part of something bigger and more significant than oneself. Such young men.

Burns Night

Today is Robbie Burns Day and, it must follow, tonight is Burns Night. I don’t drink scotch or whiskey, but spouse does and will be having a nip in honour of the great poet. (I will have some wine – not Scottish wine.) My two favourite of Burns’ poems are Ode to a Mouse and The Wounded Hare. He must have been an early animal advocate – there is so much empathy in both of these beautiful works. Another Burns fan is, it would seem, our King! Not surprising – he is well-educated and cultured and we know the Windsors love Scotland. Here is a clip of him reciting Burns – it is from his princely days. Lovely.

Items Left by the Wayside: New Year’s Eve Edition

A handful of links I put aside this year – none related to New Year’s Eve, though…

That NYTimes article – two months late and yet, hats off to them for this thorough and depressing investigative report on Hamas’ use of sexual assault (or rather, depravity). A difficult read, but read it one must.

Matti Friedman on Hamas’ insight and understanding of how effed up the West is. He puts it more diplomatically than that, but I have to say, as early as October 8th, I found myself wondering if the terrorists indeed knew just how many useful idiots there were out there.

A couple of pieces from BHL – thank goodness for the old liberal lion – about Ukraine, including this, about how Ukraine and Israel are part of the same fight and about what Ukrainians need in order to win.

David Mamet on how the Democrats betrayed the Jews. Same could be said in Canada about parties that traditionally supported the Jewish community and Israel, but that now seem to be willing to seek excuses for the slaughter of Jews, and also to be hyper-critical of the justifiable Israeli response to that slaughter.

One of my favourite historians writes about a false narrative relating to Israel (one among oh so many).

Brendan O’Neill on the unholy alliance between woke-ism and barbarism.

And no list of mine can ever be complete without an animal story – a California otter was seen stealing surfboards! As I’ve said before, the animals are done with us, and understandably so.

Happy New Year, all.