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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Archive for May 2006

BlogRolling hiccups

I’ve noticed that a significant portion of the blog links I registered in my BlogRolling experiment are not showing up.

The factor that distinguishes the blogs that are not playing nice is the software they use.

Jane Espenson: Greymatter
Chris Soth, Screenwriting Life, John August, Thinking Writer: WordPress
Artful Writer: Movable Type
Konrad West: ?

WordPress and Movable Type are not obscure, and BlogRolling should, in a theoretical sense, record and note updates to these blogs. Some, maybe all, have RSS feeds, so there’s no reason BlogRolling should skip them. I don’t think BlogRolling should, in the sense of is trying but failing to, be recording updates to these blogs. I suspect the BlogRolling is merely ignoring them. The help forums at BlogRolling are a mess of spam and don’t seem active, and I’m left to guess.

Nevertheless, the service is still handy and time-saving, so I’ll continue to use it. Also, I love those little flags.

Prague in the spring

A blogger known as Brigand e-mailed me through his secret identity to ask me about the 101 Squadron ground crewman who was known as the Belgian. All I know is that he was from Belgium and a survivor of the war in Europe.

Brigand also informed me about an article in Haaretz about an exhibit set to open at the Czech Army Museum, in Prague. The exhibit will present artifacts, documents, and photographs that will help illuminate Czechoslovakian aid to Israel in the War of Independence. The Haaretz article, “The communists who saved the Jewish state“, describes not only the exhibit, but also the work that went into bringing it into existence, and the lack of public acknowledgement of Czecholsovakian aid over the last 58 years.

Unfortunately, I don’t see myself making it Prague in the near future. If curator Shosh Dagan finds her name in this post at some point, please e-mail me.

Webs 3, House 1

Although, I must note, that score is only valid since Saturday.

The house threw four things in my face recently, and I’ve handled three of them, albeit with some rough spots.

One of the sockets of the light fixture in the dining room sucked the life out of a fresh light bulb then stopped working entirely. I replaced it successfully. The new fixture is flush to the ceiling and works. It even looks nice.

One longstanding problem with the house has been the sump. When dry, it leaks sewer gas into the house and smells. We’re still alive, so it can’t be that dangerous, but it is unpleasant. The city came by to look at the problem and decided it wasn’t their problem – the men told us to keep the sump full of water and that would solve the problem.

Until this weekend, we’d have to manually dump buckets of water, or water and bleach, into the sump. Meanwhile, the washing machine has been draining into a sink. I think I’ve solved the problem by extending the washing machine drainage tube to empty into the sump. It’s not a perfect solution – the heavy, metal sump lid is waiting to break someone’s toe – but I will count the outcome as a positive.

I have to give the house a point for another basement problem. When it rains, the top of our dryer gets wet. The weird thing is that the wall beside the dryer and the ceiling above it stay completely dry. The lint trap is also wet, but I don;t think the water is traveling down the duct and into the machine because the bottom of the lint trap stays dry. Only the top is wet, and I think that’s from moisture that drips in from the top. We see no drips when it does rain. It’s like the water just materializes.

My third point in my neverending battle was nearly a loss, and also involved water. Our kitchen sink has been slowly clogging. Elvi tried Drano, but that didn’t help. The clog closed for good Saturday afternoon, as Child Three’s birthday party got underway.

My vigorous plunging brought up a clay-like gray goop and clumps of black hair – odd, because none of us has black hair. My friend Neil showed up for the party and decided to help….

Sunday, we rented a rooter and an apprentice plumber. He cleared the clog, replaced the broken sink drain, and reattached all the pipe.

Final score: 3-1

Bonus pointer to screenplay tips:

Story editor Christopher Lockhart, of Two Adverbs, has a magnificent post on dramatic story structure in his Inside Pitch blog. Read it, spec monkeys.

The new McFatridge in my life

If you want to understand that post headline, you need to ask me to read “Sheep’s End”. Or you need to know where I took the name from. That story I’m saving for a rainy day.

Friendly students have inquired and learned who will be teaching JOUR 428 Online Publication next year.

She’s certainly qualified as a journalist. Apparently, she wants to focus the course on blogging and citizen journalism next year. I do appreciate the irony of teaching citizen journalism in journalism school.

I covered bloggging for less than two hours in my course this past semester. Several of my students already blogged before they set foot in my class.

How much can you say about blogging and how truly non-lucrative it can be? I hope the students get something out of it, something that will help them in the future.

On the bright side, I found a kiwi shirt to go with my tie. It’s not Geoffrey Beene, but it’s the right colour and almost the right size.

Bonus comment on my now third-place Irrational League team:

.300 batting average (1st)
53 HR (2nd)
190 RBI (3rd)
24 SB (8th)
4.25 ERA (6th)
1.32 WHIP (5th)
16 wins (5th)
14 saves (tied 4th)

Yeah, my pitching has taken a pounding, but I still believe it’s the best in the league in terms of talent. We can drop one player a month and add another. On May 1, I dropped future all-star but current AAA player Corey Hart and picked up Hector Luna as injury insurance.

It’s the character, stupid

The promise to include the original theatrical release of “Star Wars” as a extra on the next version of the DVDs has prompted a moderate amount of bruhaha and celebration among fans.


In the original theatrical release, Hans Solo shoots the bounty hunter Greedo to avoid being taken captive or killed.

In the remastered film on DVD, George Lucas changed the scene. Solo still shoots Greedo, but only after Greedo shoots first.

What’s the big deal? What can screenwriters take away from this nerdy debate?

The change doesn’t affect plot. It doesn’t affect backstory. It doesn’t affect anything but character.

Yet that one little change, of Han Solo’s character, led to a major outcry among the movie’s fans.

The lesson? It’s character that matters.

Yom Ha’Atzma’ut

A scene from the work in progress titled “101”. I’m not sure this scene will make the cut, and I already have a new draft without it, but it’s appropriate to the day.


Czech officers and men, including the instructor Prokopec and base commander HLADEK, mingle in a small celebration. A cook ladles punch at one end of the hall.

A shortwave radio is set up on a table. The five students hold drinks but concentrate too hard on the radio to remember to sip. The Czechs partake freely.


…We yet call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and play their part in the development of the State, with full and equal citizenship. We offer peace and unity to all the neighboring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all.
Our call goes out to the Jewish people all over the world to rally to our side and to stand by us in the great struggle for the dream of generations – the redemption of Israel.
With trust in Almighty God, we set our hand to this declaration in the city of Tel Aviv, on this Sabbath eve, the fifth of Iyar, Fifty-Seven-Oh-Eight, the fourteenth day of May, Nineteen-Forty-Eight.

The party lets out a celebratory roar. All five student pilots rejoice. Alon and Weizman hug tightly.


Israelis! We’re Israelis now!


Yes, Ezer. Israelis.

Czechs surround and congratulate the five.


Mezzel taff. That how you say it?


Close enough.




It’s not every day you get to hear a country born.


The British are pulling out. The Arabs are attacking. The Jews are fighting to hold on. Beyond the name, nothing changes.

For one man’s experience of the original day of independence, read Yehuda Avner’s account, recently published in the Jerusalem Post.

Cute flags

The “NEW*” text looked ugly, so I whipped up a tiny mail flag to indicate updated blogs.

Like them?

Sunday night BlogRolling

“Sheep’s End” is done. Taxes are done. The Habs are done, just about.

I spent the last two hours converting my screenwriter blogroll collection to a BlogRolling collection.

BlogRolling is a nifty service that indexes your blogs and raises a flag when they contain new posts. On 101, for now – and shame all of you who link here with “101 Squadron”, which may be the domain name, but the blog is just “101” – on 101 for now, that flag will be NEW* and it should stay up for 48 hours after a new post is made in my blogroll.

I like the service, and I think it could become a Big Thing, but BlogRolling needs to make the conversion process easier. I spent more than two hours playing with CSS and organizing links, and I have, what? Two dozen?

If BlogRolling can automate the process, look out.

Every click…
...contributes to world domination.