Askew

Joel Schatz

Joel Schatz offers a slightly off-center look at the news.

Askew

A Pooper Scooper on steroids, a backhand plea for peace, Eichmann’s ears, and an unplanned summit

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Poop zapper

Coming soon from Israel, that hotbed of high tech—Ashpoopie, the pooper scooper that disintegrates dog doo.

Biotech inventor Oded Shoseyov came up with the idea after he was contacted by an Israeli who was fined for not picking up his dog's droppings. As Abigail Klein Leichman reports on IsraelSeen.com, Ashpoopie is "a pooper-scooper with a critical difference: After it gathers the droppings, it turns them into odorless, sterile ash within seconds. All the dog-walker has to do is push a button to release an activation capsule from the cartridge inside the unit." And yes, folks, we do have video of that.

The device, developed by Paulee CleanTec of Ramat Gan, reportedly won rave reviews at a major pet-industry show in Las Vegas, and is expected to be available in the United States this year.

But, Paulee CleanTec CFO Moshe Hibel notes, doggie doo is just the beginning. Leichman quotes him as saying that a device for cat litter boxes already is being discussed, and the technology could be adapted to other uses, such as airplane toilets and porta-potties. And, he adds, the chemical reaction involved creates heat that could be converted to energy to flush the toilet and, possibly, power the lights.

Priorities, people

Israel's top leaders continue to debate whether they can and should launch an attack to derail Iran's nuclear threat. But at least one Israeli is urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off—until after Madonna's May 29 concert in Tel Aviv.

According to Alexander Marquardt of ABC News, "Bibi don't start a war with Iran until after Madonna's show on May 29," is the name of a new Facebook page started by artist Kobi Zvili.

"With just over 350 likes and only posts from Zvili, the page hasn't exactly gone viral," Marquardt reports. And the page itself acknowledges its tongue-in-cheek intent.

"We are pro peace," it reads. "We love Madonna, and it's just our humorous way of dealing with not so humorous life in the middle east."

It was his ears

Real-world spy capers usually remain pretty hush-hush, even decades later. But details of one of the 20th Century's most intriguing—Israel's 1960 identification and kidnapping of Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann from Argentina—are being revealed in a major museum exhibit curated by none other than an active member of the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad.

"Operation Finale: The Story of the Capture of Eichmann" opened this month at Tel Aviv's Museum of the Jewish People. As described by Amotz Asa-El of the Wall Street Journal, the exhibit reveals a remarkably low-tech operation that was launched, after much prodding, because "a German-born Argentinean Jew suspected that his daughter's suitor was Eichmann's son."

Hundreds of documents, artifacts, photos and displays outline the intricate plan to capture Eichmann—who was living in Buenos Aires as Ricardo Klement—and get him safely to Israel to stand trial. But none of that could occur until Israeli authorities were convinced that Klement was, indeed, Eichmann.

"Authorization for the kidnapping," the Journal reported, "ultimately hinged on a draftsman's meticulous analysis that proved the target's ears matched Eichmann's ears as they appeared in his SS file photo."

You'll never guess who's here!

For years, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga were political adversaries, until fate threw the two together. Well, perhaps not exactly fate, but certainly some fancy diplomatic juggling.

Both heads of state scheduled state visits to Israel on the same dates. Fearing the African leaders would both cancel if they got wind of who else was blowing into town, Israeli diplomats kept mum.

Once the two Africans were settled in their respective hotels at a discrete distance from one another, Israel's ambassador to Kenya, Gil Haskel, broke the potentially unsettling news. In a bit of shuttle diplomacy, Haskel delicately asked each if they were willing to meet the other to patch things up. With diplomatic aplomb both men politely agreed … and within a jiffy found themselves in a hotel lobby deep in conversation over East African affairs and the crisis in Somalia.

The Kenyan leader crowned the historic meeting that broke the ice—"the Holy Land Summit." - Courtesy www.chelm-on-the-med.com.

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