May Day

Mostly links today, I suspect.

A Fabled Place Forsaken, Contaminated by War [NYTimes, free registration required] I’m glad we got to go to Petra in 1999, back when peace seemed at hand in the Middle East. The place is spectacular and was well-worth the trip and hassle. My pictures didn’t do it justice, but they help to trigger memories.

54 Ways You Can Help Israel [via Ilana]

Other than that, it’s been a quiet day here — the weather improved enough at lunchtime that I could walk over to a nearby restaurant and meet a colleague for a discussion, then walk home again and still stay comfortable and dry. I got sucked in at Whole Foods, though — I made the mistake of looking at their bakery, and a Mint Chocolate Cookie jumped out at me and said, “buy me! eat me!” and so I did. It was OK, but not worth the price or the calories; I would have been better staying with my usual, a fat-free chocolate chewie (which, in case it matters to you, is also leaven-free, and therefore OK during Pesach).

Pizza Hut sponsors Book It!, a program to encourage reading by bribing schoolkids with free pizza coupons (and, not-so-incidentally, encourage their parents to have a pizza and buy highly profitable sodas for the whole family while they’re in the restaurant). Jeffrey doesn’t need any bribing to read, but we usually redeem the coupon anyway (and fall into Pizza Hut’s trap by doing so). The last coupon of the school year expires on May 1st, and the restaurant was packed with families redeeming that coupon — including us. There are worse things to eat, and definitely worse places to buy pizza. And we had water instead of sodas anyway.