Monday, May 29, 2006

58 years ago today

May 29, 1948, 101 Squadron flew its first mission with four Avia S-199s. These four pages from "101" describe that action. Do they work for you?


Four gray-green S-199s taxi. Each carries a pair of small 70-kg bombs. The low sun glistens on their new Israeli insignia.

SUPER: "May 29; Aqir Airfield"


Lou sits in S-199 #102 on the runway. The aircraft on the taxiway are numbered 104 (Modi), 101 (Eddie), and 103 (Ezer).

Lou looks at the fighters with stars of David, at each pilot. He looks at the countryside, the country they represent. He recites the Sh'mah, the affirmation prayer of Judaism.


Sh'mah yisra'el, adonai eluheynu, adonai echad.

He carefully throttles up. 102 begins to swing left, but Lou controls it, adds more power. 102 thunders down the runway and climbs slowly into the sky.

Behind, 104 advances onto the runway.


The S-199s fly low in echelon. 102 leads 104, 101 leads 103.

Lou peers at the terrain. He looks back at Modi and raises his hands in a gesture of "I have no idea where we are."

Modi gives a thumb-up. 104 noses forward to take the lead.


Over the sea, Modi spots the inland target: Isdud. He points it out to Lou.

102 reclaims flight lead.


EGYPTIAN SOLDIERS and a dozen vehicles occupy this Arab village's town square. The EGYPTIAN COMMANDER and AIDE consult a map on the hood of their armored car.

A stork flies from Isdud over the road northeast. Below the bird, more Egyptian soldiers and vehicles line the road, concentrated at a bend in the road a mile out of town. The stork flies over a steep-walled wadi and a destroyed bridge whose ancient stone pillars still stand defiantly.

Across the wadi, ISRAELI SOLDIERS hunker down in trenches and foxholes. Some fidget in jeeps and half-tracks.

At the growl of piston engines, the stork veers off. The sound grows louder.


Israeli machine-gunners swivel north, prepare to fire.

Out of the north, two S-199s fly in on the deck. The ISRAELI COMMANDER discerns the stars of David under their wings.


Hold your fire!

102 and 104 pass over low. 104 banks away to the left.

After a moment of disbelief, the Israeli infantry cheer.


Lou spots the mass of Egyptians at the bend in the highway.



He stays to the right of the road, heads for central Isdud.


The Egyptian soldiers ignore the sound of distant aircraft. The commander scans the sky, sights an inbound fighter to the north, points it out to his aide.

The aircraft flies directly at him. Two small bombs fall from its belly.

The commander yells a warning in Arabic, scrambles under his armored car.


Lou passes low over Isdud. His two bombs explode in the square behind him.

Two more bombs hit the road farther north. Secondary explosions tear through the Egyptian column.


Egyptians run to man AA guns. Their trucks burn and explode.

104 flies south along the highway, then turns east.


A sweaty Modi pulls 104 to the left. He looks back at the burning column.

He enters a gradual climbing turn until he points into the setting sun. In front of him, greasy smoke rises from burning trucks. The air is thick with disorganized AA tracers.

Modi pitches forward to strafe the Egyptian vehicles. Recoil shakes his S-199 as his wing cannons boom.

Eddie's 101 also strafes the highway, south to north. Light AA fire peppers it.

Modi pulls up to avoid a collision with 101.


Ezer zips in low from the coast. He aims for the mass of vehicles at the bend in the road. His wing cannons boom once, then stop. His cowl machine guns tick on anemically.

He pounds the dashboard.


God fucking damn it bastard fucking Nazi fucking aeroplane!

He mashes the cannon trigger. He's unsteady on the stick. His machine-gun fire stitches the ground haphazardly.

Streams of AA tracer reach out for him. He gives up on the trigger. He weaves through the AA storm, escapes unscathed.


Modi and ground crew surround 104. Its left tire is blown, its prop blades and left wingtip bend at odd angles. Skid marks and ruts in the dirt mark its path off the runway.


Ezer cranks down the flaps, aggravates a blister. He lowers the landing gear. He sees the men and the wrecked 104 ahead.

He lands a shallow approach, rolls past the wreck.


The control tower is equipped with a few radios and little else. Milt works a radio, chews an unlit cigar. Modi and Ezer, still in flight gear, and Milt watch Lou's 102 taxi.


Red Leader to Oklahoma tower.


Oklahoma tower to Red Leader. Go ahead.


I have a spot of damage here, chaps, but I have Oklahoma in sight. Request clearance.

The three pilots in the tower scan the sky but see nothing.


Oklahoma tower to Red Leader. You're cleared to land, but we don't see you.


Roger, Oklahoma. Red Leader on final.


Red Leader, we don't see you.


Red Leader to Oklahoma. I'm landing runway sixteen. Look south.

The pilots look south. There's nothing there.


Red Leader? Cohen? Eddie?

An ugly plume of black smoke sprouts on the southwestern horizon, two miles away.


Well, shit.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Webs 1, dryer 1, chicken salad 0

I tore the dryer apart yesterday. I took off the back plate, lifted the top, and removed the vent the lint trap slides into.

The drum was a bit stiff, but I pushed it with some force and it started to rotate more freely. The blower fan didn't turn either. I pushed that, then it too spun freely.

I plugged the dryer back in and it worked.

I guess the water filtered down through the lint trap to the blower fan on the bottom and brought some lint down with it, like sediment. The water evaporated, and the lint build-up seized the blower fan's axle. That's my assumption, anyway.

But give the dryer a point toward a draw. As I reassembled it this morning, I dropped a screw down the vent. It fell below the fan, I was sure - there was nowhere else for it to go - but I couldn't see it behind the fan blades. I figured that if the fan were moving, I could see through it enough to spot the screw. As I sped the fan by hand, my finger slipped off and the sharp edge of a steel panel sliced it open. I didn't need stitches, but it is my right index finger, so I offer the dryer its due. I found the screw, though.

I shudder to think what a service call might have resulted in. A new motor? A new blower? Would a repairman come in, wiggle the fan and drum and leave? I suspect not.

Today, Child Three and I visited a film set in St. Henri. Robert the director was filming the script I helped him with earlier this year. Patrick, the assistant who drove the children and me to the "Dr. Bethune" set last summer, was on Robert's crew. I think I recognized another face as well. We arrived during lunch break and stayed on set a total of two hours, long enough to see two shots. Robert asked Child Three to come up with an idea for his next film. It looks like it'll be a war movie, with ten people and two catapults on each side. No horses, though - the siege engines will be towed by donkeys.

On set, I ate a dubious chicken salad wrap that today's warm sun had been heating for who knows how long. So far, I've kept it down.

Bonus WarBirds video:

WarBirds has a new beta version out that establishes that state of the art of flight modelling. This video shows a low-level dance among flak bursts between a Bf 109E and a Spitfire Mk I.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


For the past month, I've been searching for an external story on which I could hang the internal story of "By the Book". I had been toying with a court case, but it felt so bolted on, inorganic to the spine of the story.

This morning, I discovered how to sew them together. Sort of. I have the first few sutures in place, but I'm sure that as I write, the rest will tie things together. The result should be more healthy patient than Frankenstein monster.

I am raring to get at this. Unfortunately, Elvi's recording DUBB's second album in studio this weekend and I have the kids. This week will be filled with visiting family and events: Child One is having her bat mitzvah next Sunday.

As long as this temporary delay sharpens my hunger to get this idea and subsequent thoughts onto the page, it's not a problem.

Bonus money pit update:

The van sucked up $1,500 for repairs. Our plumber thinks the dryer just needs a new belt, and maybe a new fuse. Let's hope. I'm about to tackle it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Inside the "House" (spoilers)

I'll leave more complex analysis of this week's "House" to other people, like Diane. I just want to point out that House's nemesis in the episode is named Moriarty. I hope I don't have to point out that that is the name of Sherlock Holmes's nemesis, but I just did anyway.

Thing is, the shooter is called Moriarty only in House's hallucination. So House himself gives this man, this internal opponent/consultant/other half, that name.

I can't help wondering whether Sherlock Holmes exists as fiction in the world of "House". If the detective books exist, then Greg House has to know about them, and the amazing coincidence that he also lives at 221B. If the books do not exist, then House thought up the name Moriarty on his own, seemingly without reason.

I think I prefer the second reason, but next season, some character will mention Holmes, and it will ruin the series for me.

The pipe to the back hose is fixed. Small steps, small steps....

Bonus Irrational League update:

I had something else to put in a Bonus, but I've forgotten what it was, so I might as well post baseball stats. I'm in first, one point ahead of Frank. Although I've spent most of the time since the last update in second place, I was up by six or so points a couple of days ago.

.290 batting average (1st)
82 HR (2nd)
319 RBI (2nd)
38 SB (7th)
4.11 ERA (4th)
1.33 WHIP (4th)
26 wins (tied 2nd)
17 saves (6th)


I received two lovely packages today (Wednesday).

Ismo Santala hangs out at the Artful Writer forums where one lazy Sunday evening (Finland time) he decided to give away his copy of Robert McKee's "Story" to the first person who's reply.

One lazy Sunday afternoon (Canada time), I found Ismo's post and was the first to reply. His generous gift arrived today.

I've twice mentioned that David Mamet wrote a script about the ferrying of aircraft to Israel. The second package was that screenplay. A bit of research led to Mamet's stage agent in New York, who then gave me the name of his screenplay agent in California. I called up and explained that I'd like to read it. The assistant I spoke with told me to put it in an e-mail and they'd get the message to Mamet.

Today, "Russian Poland" dropped through my mail slot - with a small handwritten note from the author thanking me for my interest.

Either I misunderstood Soly (see the first 101 link up there) or Soly has his information wrong. Regardless, this script has nothing to do with 101 Squadron (phew!). It involves the ferrying of an anonymous twin-engine fighter-bomber (in my mind, a Beaufighter) from Italy to Israel in 1948, but most of this mystical script takes place in shtetls. It was a quick read, and intellectual, too. You can read about a reading of the script Mamet gave at the Jerusalem Film Festival in Forward.

Bonus minivan update:

Looks like the van needs a new engine. Again. And the place that put in our last one, and guaranteed it for a year? Out of business.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sorry for the disruption is undergoing a server migration. I went ahead and registered with new DNS servers before I had the new IP address I'm still waiting for. Anyone who tried to visit for a good chunk of Tuesday saw a page with ads.

I reverted to the original IP address while I continue to wait. Were I really clever, I would have done that from the start.

From now on, the changeover should be practically seamless.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rainy and downcast

Montrealers have been living under the edge of the system that has flooded Boston and soaked New England. It's been raining off and on here since Tuesday, but it's more depressing than threatening to property.

I've been in a bit of a funk, but it's not the rain. Usually, I feel down when I don't do anything. This week, I finished up a research job, did a bit for Alex, and wrapped up the first draft of "72 Virgins". But I still feel blah.

Fans of my vehicle trouble will be delighted to hear that the van stalled on Elvi early this morning as she returned from a DUBB show. It's a holiday weekend in Canada, so we don't have to scramble to get the kids to school tomorrow. Then again, nobody will work on the van tomorrow either, so the Monday holiday just delays the inconvenience.

Part of the problem is cash flow, which is tight with Elvi in grad school. She has decided to take her master's rather than fast-tracking into a Ph.D., program. She'll apply for jobs and doctorate programs. In the meantime, we're essentially living on a credit line bought with the house's increased property value. It has more than doubled since we bought it in 1999. Thankfully.

I talked a bit about things with Elvi, and coincidentally with Alex when I saw him yesterday. He boiled the problem down into a demi-glace of disappointment. Basically, I'm doing a bunch of little things. I'm writing a successful short or two. I'm doing research jobs. I'm teaching part-time. But there's no grand plan. As Alex put it, "a bunch of little things don't add up to much." That's it. Damn those writers and their keen, delicious insight.

I have no grand plan. I roll forward, picking things up things like a Katamari Damacy, but also leaving a trail behind me so I never get bigger. And lately, I'm picking up broken pipes, broken dryers, a need for new glasses and contact lenses that I can't afford, and now a broken van.

Alex suggested I look into writing for animation, which is a big market in Montreal. If you see a "Cailliou" in which he frets over his eyesight and makes stupid cooking references, you'll know I succeeded.

Bonus birthday wishes:

Amid all this, I forgot my brother's birthday yesterday. Happy birthday!

My sister's birthday is today. I doubt she reads 101, but just in case: happy birthday!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What I do to actually make money

Reader's Digest is the most keenly fact-checked magazine on Earth. I may have alluded to this previously, but one of my freelance gigs is research for its Canadian edition (affectionately known as CRD).

What usually happens is that the magazine assigns me an article to fact-check, and I have to attribute every phrase of it to multiple sources. Even if it's a quote, I need to find a second source to back that up.

I used to write CRD's "It's a Fact" feature, in which the magazine answers reader mail with questions like "Why do men have nipples?", "Who invented the Tooth Fairy?", and "Why does a stop sign have six sides?" (That's a trick question - stop signs have eight sides. Why? Because the first stop signs were shaped like coffins, which also have eight sides. That one took a lot of digging to unravel.) If you go to the site and click on the sample questions, you'll see an abridged version of one of mine - the sumo wrestler question.

I loved doing those questions, but the editor I work with prefers that I handle more complicated articles, so he took me off that beat. I tend to get the more technical stories, which is fine. I worked on this one, about a trucker in mortal peril. A lot of the stories involve mortal peril. I don't get too many of the fluffy pieces.

I'm finishing up work on another assignment, one on road safety. The article mentions a man whose wife was killed by road debris. Starting with nothing more than a name on a RCMP press release, I had to track this man down. I went through Canada411, two newspapers, two TV stations, two crown counsels, and one church looking for him. He was not an easy man to find. He called me this afternoon - one of the lawyers had left a message for him at an old phone number and word got through.

I'm professional about it, but it's difficult to talk to these people, especially at first. You never know how they are dealing with the tragedy, psychologically. Physically, even the non-fatal incidents often leave injuries that take years to heal. And I'm never one of the first to talk with them. By the time I get to them, they recounted the incident countless times. Until I can gauge where they're at, it's like driving on wet ice - which is literally what they may have done.

So this man - let's call him Joe - calls me today. Joe's wife was killed in a terrible, random accident right in front of him and their three kids three years ago. And I have to talk to him about it. And ask him about the man who drove the other vehicle involved in the accident.

Joe made it easy on me, by being an extraordinarily decent human being. He had nothing but empathy for the other driver, who was equally innocent but blamed himself for Joe's wife's death. It was inspiring.

There is one thing that many of the victims I speak with have in common. They do love to talk. That makes my job easier at first, but it's hard to hang up the phone. I get paid by the hour, so no big deal.

Bonus good (and bad) newslets:

"Sheep's End" is back in the TriggerStreet top ten.

Miguel Ojeda just grounded into a double play to keep Brad Penny on track for a win in Colorado.

We figured out why our dryer was getting wet. The pipe leading to the backyard faucet is split, so when Elvi used the hose outside, water would spurt out and land on and only on the dryer. The bad news is that we have to pay to fix that pipe and that the dryer no longer operates. The problem is not something simple, like the fuses.

Sunday night, our house was egged. We're not sure why. My family is inoffensive, and I haven't provoked anybody in years. It was a concerted effort, with four raw eggs launched at once. Three hit windows, which were easy to clean. One hit the siding on our second floor. We can't clean that off until the pipe in the basement is fixed. The big question is: am I old enough to grouse about neighbourhood hooligans yet?

Monday, May 15, 2006


"Sheep's End" has dropped out of TriggerStreet's top ten and languishes in the 600s, a victim of a less than stellar review. It continues to sport a blue star, which indicates that it once was a top ten script. It's no big deal. Nobody rushes to TriggerStreet to buy scripts.

On the bright side, my Irrational League team is back in first after a seemingly endless period in third place. I wonder how long I'll stay at the top. I lost three starters last week: Woody Williams is out for two months with a torn calf muscle; Ben Sheets is out for an indeterminate time with a sore shoulder; and Odalis Perez was sent to the bullpen. Thank goodness Brad Penny's MRI was clear.

.295 batting average (1st)
64 HR (2nd)
247 RBI (3rd)
33 SB (tied 6th)
4.22 ERA (5th)
1.33 WHIP (4th)
23 wins (1st)
15 saves (5th)

I'm in first by two points over the dreaded Frank.

This morning, I submitted my application for part-time teaching next year. JOUR 428 was not on it, but I did check the box to let the department know that I'm available for any courses that may open up. You know, just in case somebody changes their mind. Because the kids don't need 13 weeks on blogging. Just saying....

I also received my teaching evaluations. I can't share those with you online, but you can find me at Apparently, I'm good and hot.

Now, back to Filemaker Pro work for Alex and research work for Reader's Digest. I'm gonna get cracking again on "72 Virgins" this week.

Friday, May 12, 2006

TriggerStreet top ten!

I put up that 2.0 version of "Sheep's End" I finished a couple of weeks ago on TriggerStreet to see what the folks there thought.

The first version had settled in at about #930 out of the 2,500 or so scripts TriggerStreet has online.

The newer version has garnered seven randomly assigned reviews so far, and I've been waiting for it to hit double digits before mentioning the gist of any critiques here. After seven reviews, yesterday this version ranked around #400. Top 20% is nothing to sneeze at.

Today, "Sheep's End" found its way into TriggerStreet's top ten screenplays. The top ten on TriggerStreet are selected outside the standard ranking system, and generally come from the top 400 scripts. They stay in the top ten until knocked out by a competitor or a lack of credits (earned by the author's reviews). The top ten placing sounds more impressive than it is, but it's still an honour, and it's rare to get into that elite class after only seven reviews.

Reviewer #1 was the most enthusiastic, calling my screenplay "postively delightful" and expressing hope that it would get made. He liked how I kept Hawthorn a down-to-earth protagonist with continuous obstacles.

Reviewer #2 mostly tried to teach me how to write the English. You get those reviews on TriggerStreet every once in a while.

Reviewer #3 enjoyed my "subversive comedy", but felt my heroes' goals were not ambitious enough. He said I aimed "for a three star movie and hit the mark but there are five stars for the taking." Worth thinking about.

Reviewer #4 thought I "really brought these people to life... by mere moments that contained pages worth of information about them." He appreciated my "fantastic" dialogue and its "juicy subtext", but had a few questions about motivation. That was a big problem in the earlier draft, so I'll look at that again, if I take another whack at this. I may move on.

Reviewer #5 also really liked it, but questioned the stakes. He also questioned the fantasy elements. Fantasy is derivative by nature, and I tried to break that with a less fantastic plot. Still, it's more to chew on.

Reviewer #6 echoed the first: he wants to sees this on a screen one day.

Reviewer #7 didn't like my jokes, but still enjoyed the read.

There we go (and, yeah, as far as I can tell, all seven reviewers are male). I'll probably get two or three more reviews, but not from anybody who has $20 million to blow on a fantasy adventure. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 11, 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.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

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.

Monday, May 08, 2006

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.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

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.

Friday, May 05, 2006

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.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

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.

Monday, May 01, 2006

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.