Have spent a goodly portion of my day on the phone with various computers and even the occasional human being. Progress is finally being made.
When we began the day's adventures, I was assured that the Great Global Baggage Mentat In The Sky had never heard of my luggage, which had probably never existed anyway. All parties involved were apologetic to the company-mandated minimal extent. It's been uphill from there.
'Round lunchtime an American representative called to clarify things like tag numbers, bag descriptions, and on which major planetary landmass I had last seen them. I was declared most helpful, since apparently most people answer these questions with something along the lines of "Uh, black? It has wheels." My bags are nothing if not distinctive. And even in the case of my black wheeled suitcase, I was able to supply such uniquely-identifying details as the fact that my bag will be the one with two bottles of zahtar spice in the front pocket.
Armed with this information, she was able to ascertain that the two bags I'd properly checked seemed to have caught the next plane out of Israel, which landed them in customs at Newark. Messages were sent to hie ye bags hence to Mpls posthaste. The rest of my stuff -- i.e. that which Israeli security confiscated and checked on my begrudging behalf -- continued to Never Have Existed.
Cautious optimism was expressed that they just might be not existing in the company of my aforementioned stuff in the bowels of New Jersey.
At about this point, my parents, being both avid readers of this blog and remarkably effective Pains in the collective Asses of all those in positions of authority, involved their local Congresscritter. I don't know if that actually helped, since I've only gotten busy signals so far for my efforts to reach the staffer theoretically assigned to my "case." However, now at least I have the attention of someone nominally prominent to CC my forthcoming peeved letter to El Al.
That said, somebody somewhere seems to have gotten their act in gear. I just got off the phone with another AA agent who reported that my bags were being picked up in Minneapolis. And no sooner had I hung up than the delivery service called me to check that I'll be home this evening to receive four (Four! Not two, but four! No word yet on what alternate dimension they'd been hiding in.) bags. I am much encouraged. Looks like tonight will be spent taking a detailed inventory of whatever it is that'll be landing on my porch in a few hours.
Then, drafting of The Peeved Letter can commence. Although I've got a major meeting to prepare for on Monday, and didn't get any work done today, so I will happily accept suggested wordings in lieu of doing it myself.