Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bulldozer drama, Obama and a Golden Mama

It's been a frantic past few days for those of us following Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama as he jets back and forth meeting with American military advisers and with Middle East leaders. It was interesting to see him wear a yarmulka (skullcap) at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Israel, as he paid homage to the millions of dead and righteous Gentiles honored there. While Obama was in Jordan on his way to Israel, yet another Arab Israeli bent on wreaking havoc with a bulldozer went on a rampage. He was shot dead by Israeli border police in the heart of Jerusalem not far from the King David Hotel, where Obama stayed. Thankfully, there were no deaths other than the assailant in this vicious attack, but at least 16 people were injured, one seriously, including an infant baby and her mother. The fact is it could have been much worse had the police not acted swiftly. According to published reports, the 22-year-old assailant was an East Jerusalem Arab who held an Israeli identification card. It was reported that his uncle is a member of the Palestinian Authority Parliament presently jailed in Israel. This second attack, like the first on July 3, attempted to inflict maximum casualties by selecting a bus filled with passengers. Were it not for alert driving on the part of the bus driver, the number of injured could have been much higher and several deaths could have occurred. According to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, this second attack could mean much more scrutiny in the hiring of Arabs to do heavy construction work in Jerusalem or elsewhere about the country.
In the meantime, another force to be reckoned with in the past, Estelle Getty, a star on TV's "The Golden Girls," passed away quietly from the effects of dementia on Tuesday. Getty, who played Sophia, a Sicilian mother to Bea Arthur's Dorothy on TV was born Estelle Scher to Jewish Polish immigrants in New York in 1923. She got her start in the Yiddish theatre scene there. As a teenager she performed in the Catskills doing stand-up, but struggled as an actress for many years. It was late in life when she achieved success playing a Jewish mother in Harvey Fierstein's "Torch Song Trilogy" on Broadway. That led to her audition for NBC's "The Golden Girls," which garnered her seven nominations for Emmys and three for Golden Globes during its run from 1985 to 1992. She won one of each: a Golden Globe in 1986 and an Emmy in 1988. Getty made a career playing mothers of every type and description. She also starred in the forgetable Sly Stallone comedy "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" and had minor roles in "Tootsie," "Mask" and "Mannequin." She began suffering from Lewy body dementia about eight years ago, which was erroneously reported by some tabloids as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease. Getty was 84 at the time of her death, but she would have turned 85 in three more days. In her honor Lifetime Channel has announced it will run ten episodes of "The Golden Girls" on Friday, July 25. Fans can vote for their favorite episode on the cable channel's website and the episode that has the most fan votes will run last.

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