Matt Rees's Blog – June 2010 Archive (8)

What's floating in the Dead Sea?

If you’ve ever slathered your skin in the healing, mineral-rich mud of the Dead Sea, you may want to stop reading now.

More than 8 million gallons of sewage from East Jerusalem is pumped downhill to the Dead Sea, raw and untreated, every day. That’s not just a little icky for those of us who like to float in the lowest body of water on earth. It’s also an environmental catastrophe, and potentially another flashpoint in the conflict between Israelis and…

Added by Matt Rees on June 28, 2010 at 2:07am — No Comments

Soggy sheep at breakfast

I was under the impression that the English weren’t allowed into Wales any more, now that Tony Blair persuaded us we ought to have at least half a government of our own and let Westminster pay for it. I assume Colin Cotterill managed to make it through the border undercover on his Australian passport. Which is a good thing, because his blog post of this week was a lovely appreciations of my homeland, even down to the 28 yards of…

Added by Matt Rees on June 24, 2010 at 1:52am — No Comments

How to keep up on the Middle East

JERUSALEM — Time was anyone with an interest in the Middle East could be guaranteed a couple of books a year would be brought out by U.S. journalists based in the region. Now many of those correspondents are history, with news bureaus closing and those that remain cutting back. The new books written by Americans tend to be by think-tank types or others whose agenda is hard to figure out.

But you know that already. It’s one reason you’re reading GlobalPost, which was founded… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 20, 2010 at 9:19pm — No Comments

Cheers for Hitler, and Brits go home

The company you keep can put the culture around you in a new light, let you see it as you haven’t before.

That’s true when I travel to different countries and discover that readers in Germany have a particular take on my Palestinian crime novels which differs from the way they look to Americans, for example.

I got to thinking about this when I was wandering the Nablus casbah this week with two German friends. An enthusiastic…

Added by Matt Rees on June 17, 2010 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Motor sport, Palestinian style

Their politics might be spinning wheels, but Palestinians are revving engines on the race track.
NABLUS, West Bank — For a change, the Palestinians gathered on the main street of Nablus were happy to be going around in circles.

Palestinian politics makes a lot of noise, only to end up spinning its wheels, moving no closer to statehood or peace. But the same combination on the race track is attracting growing attention for the…

Added by Matt Rees on June 13, 2010 at 12:28am — No Comments

Save me, Middle Eastern ladies, from the nightmare of the World Cup

The women of the Middle East are about to save me from the greatest banality known to man. I’m counting on them to care as little about the the World Cup as I do and to keep me entertained until men can once again talk about something other than the groin of volatile England player Wayne Rooney (it's strained and tender, apparently...).

Though I’ve long loved to play soccer, I scorn the watching of its endless buildup passes, the constant disappointment of a…

Added by Matt Rees on June 11, 2010 at 12:48am — 1 Comment

Big acts cancel, Israel's opera goes on

MASADA, Israel — A parade of bejeweled camels, elaborately costumed warriors and prancing horses crossed the stage. Jerusalem had fallen to a conqueror from the east. The high priest predicted disaster and the wrath of a vengeful deity. Three hours later, with searchlights flitting across the rugged face of this ancient fortress, the Jews were freed, the conqueror stood in awe of the God of the Jews, and, oh yes, a fat lady sang.

The Israeli Opera last weekend staged the… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 10, 2010 at 5:59am — No Comments

How to avoid writer's block

Writer’s block has nothing to do with writing.

That might seem obvious. When a writer wants to write, but can’t get anything out, he’s blocked. Not writing. Blocked.

But it isn’t the writing that causes the block. Neither is it some psychological problem or an inability to conjure up the Muse of inspiration.

It’s because the writer didn’t put everything on little index cards…

Added by Matt Rees on June 7, 2010 at 12:12am — 3 Comments

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