Operation Clambake

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7/27/02-7/28/02

She has awakened

1:22 p.m. according to my clock upstairs. One thing I learned from all my years on night shift: You don't want to sleep more than four or five hours on the day you're going to try to get to sleep at a normal human bedtime. I actually got up before the alarm, as it's hot as hell out and the bedroom is upstairs, and the central air is much stronger on the first floor of the townhouse. Gee, all those words and what I really meant to say was: It was hot.

I need to link to all the bloggers who donated, sent good wishes, called, and emailed me encouragement. I will. But I'd like to single out Combustible Boy for duty above and beyond. He sent me guest posts, he emailed me frequently with subjects, and he was there all night long. His last letter was around 4:30 a.m., giving me a hard time because I made him think of the song "In the Wee Small Hours" and it kept him awake until he could find it somewhere. Sorry, C.B. But he says he got a post out of it; look forward to reading that one.

I'll be leaving this page as is until later tonight or tomorrow. When I regain my equilibrium, I'll read it. I hope I didn't embarrass myself too much in the later hours. Well, okay, that Warner Bros. challenge to Laurence Simon may have done it, but hey—Lair's the reason I got involved in this in the first place, and was a huge help throughout the 24 hours.

There was a question in email about where to send the check to Shaare Zedek: I linked to the address page. You can send a check to any address near you or straight to the hospital in Jerusalem if you like. Here's the information from the Blogathon page:

This is the Shaare Zedek page with US addresses; you can also mail directly to the hospital. And here's the page for offices throughout the world.

Thanks again, everyone. I can't tell you how great it is to know that $3000 plus is going to a wonderful cause.


Sleep at last, sleep at last...

Twenty-four freakin' hours. I got up at 8:45 yesterday morning. I'm posting this about the same time, a little after. The sun is shining brightly, which is going to be oh-so-pleasant when I try to sleep. But—we raised more than three thousand dollars for Shaare Zedek. That's $3000 they can use to buy new trauma room equipment, so they can save more people from terrorist bombs—or car crashes.

If you couldn't make it during the Blogathon, don't let that stop you. Donate now. I deliberately archived the Blogathon posts to a separate page. (With a catchy name: Blog_hell.html. Did anyone notice it?)

And may I say again to everyone who pledged: Thank you very much for opening your hearts and wallets to this great cause. I'll post the addresses as soon as I'm alive and aware again. Remember, put yourish.com in the memo of the checks. We would like them to know where the money's coming from.

And now, I'm going to sleep. If I can get out of this chair.


I have become a slug

Well, not that I'm leaving a trail of slime everywhere I go. The other slug, the lazy one who can't get up. Except I'm not lazy, I'm exhausted, and find myself unable to get up from The Chair That Swallows You Whole, even though I am hungry and my legs and neck are stiff and it would probably be a good idea if I got up and walked around a bit.

Tig wants me to get up and play with him. Gracie is in the kitty condo pretending to ignore Tig. Whoops, that did it. Cat fight.

You know, staying up all these hours reminds me how not fun it was to do this. Tonight, when Heidi called me during her regular double shift, I said, "We're getting too old for this shit." She was in complete agreement.

Of course, the worst that could happen would be if I were to get my second wind now, when I'm ready to go to bed. Have I mentioned that my bedroom window faces (sigh) east?


This is a protest post

The organizers of the Blogathon lied when they said 48 posts in 24 hours It's got to be either 49 posts in 24 hours, or 48 posts in 23.5 hours, as you start on the hour and post every half-hour thereafter.

So this is my protest post. 48 was my limit. This is just filler. I should probably number it 46b.


Now we know what happened to Davy Jones

He's shilling for the Time/Life "Sixties Gold Collection." Wow, watching the Mamas and Papas lip-synch on some variety show in the sixties, plus all those dumb videos of the sixties—granted, Davy, you have very little talent, but have you no shame?

Wait, that was a rhetorical question.

Think we should take a pool on when Wil Wheaton is going to be hawking products on infomercials?

Ooh. Did that slip out?

Where the hell did they come from?

I just got about twenty emails, timestamps ranging from 10:30 last night to several hours ago. What's up with that?


By the way, I'm unplugging the phone when I go to bed. Not that I think any of you will call me, but I'm getting telemarketing calls on a daily basis.


Bad things to do at two hours 'til the end of the Blogathon

Sit in The Chair That Swallows You Whole, with your laptop on your lap and your feet up on the ottoman, and lean your head back to ease your aching neck.

Stop drinking caffeinated beverages

Close your eyes just for a minute

Put on slow music

Turn off radio altogether

Brush your teeth and get into your jams

Set the alarm on your computer to wake you up in 20 minutes

Repeat the first bad thing over and over again until you stop typing and your eyes shut of their own accord.

Is it 9:00 yet?


I knew this would happen

This is what I thought it was going to be like in the last few hours: Excruciatingly boring. I have been writing since 9:00 yesterday morning. I am brain-dead, dead tired, tired of blogging, and tired of being awake. I want to be asleep, dreaming pleasant dreams.

And yet, I blog. Why? Because some 82 people (out of the many hundreds of daily visitors, guilt, guilt, guilt) have pledged $3,000 to Shaare Zedek Medical Center. I've collected about $125/hr for a great cause. I wish I could up that total a few thousand more. Maybe I'll leave this page up until Monday, hm? (Remember, nobody's paying me for this. Guilt, guilt, guilt. Howsabout we try for double the number of pledges by the end of the week? Lots of you out there can spare ten or fifteen bucks. Guilt, guilt, guilt.)

All right, all right, I'll just sit here alone in the dark, blogging by laptop light, my back sore, my stomach aching, barely recovered from a two-day bug, my tush tired of being sat on... yeah, I was raised by a Jewish mother. Why do you ask?

Okay. I'd best stop for now.

Update: Wow, I'm good. I got a pledge after I finished writing this, but before I posted it. Thanks, Mike. And thanks to Alex Frantz, whom I forgot to thank before.

Oh. And when you make out your checks, be sure to put yourish.com in the memo field. I wanna play with the minds of the people collecting the checks. I'll be posting addresses on Monday.


I rock

Check this out: Mind like a steel trap. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. Rosemary Clooney sang it, too.

In the wee small hours of the morning
While the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake and you think about the boy
And never even of counting sheep
When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
You’d be his if only he would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
That’s the time you miss him most of all

Actually, perhaps that title should be "I pop," but then, too many jokes. Never mind.

Damn. The first bird of the morning just started singing. Excuse me while I try to find a rock.


The glove is accepted [smack-smack]

Lair's challenge: use these objects out of the ACME Catalog to climb to the top of the Schmatterhorn:

  • Boomerang
  • Baseball bat
  • Cream pie
  • Piano with Middle C key replaced with a trigger to set off TNT in piano.
  • Disintegration pistol

Easy. I eat the cream pie, because I'm hungry. I use the disintegration pistol to disintegrate the walls of the bar where the piano is, and my baseball bat to hit Daffy, just because he's there and I like the way he looks with bumps on his head and stars in a circle around him. Then I climb on top of the piano, toss the boomerang at the Middle C key, and ride the explosion to the top of the Schmatterhorn.

The challenge is complete, and we still have three and a half hours left.


Now we're on level ground, BreadBoy

I've been checking out Lair's weblog, and I see that he's run out of the prepared stuff, and that he's just as damned-tired (we're beyond tired, we're damned-tired) as I am.

Perhaps it's time for another Common Household Item Challenge, only this time with only half an hour to work it. Are you up for it, Lair?

Okay. Take the following items, and tell me how you'd use them to trap a scwewy wabbit.

  • A key ring (with keys)
  • A bag of cat food
  • A straw cowboy hat
  • A Chinese fan (large, the kind you hang on a wall)
  • A pillow

If you're up for it, go. If not, I'll post it myself.


In the wee small hours of the morning

Was that the song lyric? I'm too tired to even Google it. But we're coming onto the home stretch. Less than five hours to go (thank the Lord!).

I've spoken to bloggers and readers in Texas, California, Chicago, New Jersey, and Maryland. (Dean got rained out on the beach. Knew it.)

And I'm running out of steam. Sigh. I'd give anything to be one of my cats right now. They're both sound asleep; Gracie in the kitty condo, Tig on the Ottoman at my feet. Lucky stiffs.


Diary of a drive-by tour guide

Susanna Cornett graciously gave me this guest post of her latest trip to NYC, so I'll ignore the crack about NJ at the end.--Meryl

Living in the shadow of Manhattan brings me more visitors than I ever had when I lived in the deepest bluegrass. In the three years I’ve been here they’ve ranged from old college classmate I hadn’t seen in 20 years to ex-boyfriend’s fashion-fiend daughter to uncle I usually saw only on holidays back in Kentucky. I enjoy showing people around Manhattan – a tour which almost always includes a stop at La Mela in Little Italy – but the ways they like to see it can be very funny.

Take the fashion-fiend daughter. I asked her, “What do you want to see?” She said, “Macy’s, Saks and that little consignment store that has cheap Chanels”. She and her friend spent one whole day going through Saks rack by rack. I haven’t that kind of focus for fashion. I said, “Do you want to go to any museums… see historic sites… interesting architecture…?” She said, “Well, I’ve been to Italy and seen the real things like Michelangelo. I’m here to shop.” She left with a suitcase full of new clothes including a $500 suit and five new pairs of shoes. I was left with empty shopping bags and shoeboxes to toss in the trash.

My uncle and his new wife came through this weekend to see The Big City. He’d been once before – on a Susanna-guided tour that included the WTC – and she had skidded through briefly on a tour to somewhere else. I had all day to show them around. What did they want to do?

“I just want to drive through and see things,” my uncle said.

“You want to stop anywhere?” I asked.

“Well, you said it’d be hard to find a restroom in Manhattan,” he said, “so I’d rather not stay longer than two hours. We’ll just drive around.”

So off we went, me and my uncle and his wife. Holland Tunnel – check. WTC site – check. (Can you stop here for a photo? he asked, in a construction zone.) Empire State Building – check. (There are advantages to having a sunroof – you can sightsee from the passenger seat by just looking up. And up.) Central Park – check. (Is this big? How big is this? Wow.) Metropolitan Museum of Art – check. David Letterman studio – check. Times Square – check. Macy’s – check. (Macy’s? Is this Macy’s? Doesn’t look as big as it does on TV.) Strand bookstore – check. (They didn’t care, but I almost got out at the stoplight and abandoned them to their fate. Strand, a very good thing.) We’ve not gotten out of the car yet. Houston Street – check. It’s almost 1 p.m., we’ve been in the city two hours now. Chinatown – check. It’s sprinkling. My windshield wipers won’t work. Time to head home. Holland Tunnel – check.

Noticed again that you always have to pay to leave New Jersey, but you never have to pay to get in.

I’ve decided I need to include “tour guide” on my resume. It seems to be something I do frequently, and increasingly well. Once upon a time I wouldn’t drive into Manhattan at all. These days, I’m whipping around Broadway and picking up people at JFK and LaGuardia. A far cry from the deep bluegrass.

Oh, yeah. My uncle got to the restroom on time. What a relief.


New Jersey Muslims are making good sense

From Fox News, via Tonecluster:

Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani addressed his followers recently in New Jersey, just miles from Ground Zero, and called for action and change amongst Muslim Americans.

"We have a problem in the Muslim community," Kabbani, chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, said. "What they did here is a big burden on their shoulder, and they are not going to run away, and they are going to be brought to justice."

"When America helped Kosovo, when America helped Bosnia, when America helped Afghanistan, when America helped Kuwait, when America helped Saudi Arabia from the threat of Iraq, that is what?" he asked. "That is not helping Islam?"

Kabbani works as head of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, encouraging Muslims to join the war against terror and to denounce those who defile the faith for their own violent ends.

"The Muslim community, they have been hijacked by these terrorists," he said.

Some Islamic leaders have been outspoken about anti-Muslim behavior since Sept. 11, but some clerics such as Kabbani are hoping discrimination can be lessened if Muslims work within Muslim American communities to pinpoint those terror cells that still might exist.

My home state, giving me something to be proud of. Hooray, Shaykh Kabbani!


Takin' care of business

Still more thank-you notes.

Starhawk, Timekeeper, Pontifex ex Machina, Nick Danger, BarCodeKing, Daily Pundit, my bud Da Bear, Fritz Schrank, Andrea.

Dean S., Jonathan L., Steven D. (my Clarion buddy!).

Apologies. The long day is beginning to wear on me, and I'm finding it a bit tougher to write as much as I did earlier. (And I am so dreading reading this page after I've gotten enough rest. I really do hope I'm making sense.)

And hey, while I'm at it: Thank you to everyone who logged in to take a look at what's going on today. The ten p.m. stats were up near 1200 visitors and 1900 pages views (I know, you're all hitting the refresh button). And many of the pledges today were from people I don't know, which means my readers are stepping up to the plate.

I think you all deserve a great big round of applause, and if I could find a .wav file, I'd give it to you. I'll go find one later. Update: Mrs. Indepundit found one for me. Thanks!


I want to believe

Looks like the Air Force was chasing a UFO the other day.

For Renny Rogers, it was strange enough that military jets were flying low over his home in Waldorf in the middle of the night. It was what he thinks he saw when he headed outside to look early yesterday that floored him.

"It was this object, this light-blue object, traveling at a phenomenal rate of speed," Rogers said. "This Air Force jet was right behind it, chasing it, but the object was just leaving him in the dust. I told my neighbor, 'I think those jets are chasing a UFO.' "

Military officials confirm that two F-16 jets from Andrews Air Force Base were scrambled early yesterday after radar detected an unknown aircraft in area airspace. But they scoff at the idea that the jets were chasing a strange and speedy, blue unidentified flying object.

Hm. Ya think the Men in Black were there with their little flashy things?


Questions, we got questions

Dean S., besides making passes at me via email, left me a list of questions for a blog topic or three before he took off for the beach. Say, Dean—I don't want to gloat or anything, but how'd that downpour this afternoon treat you?

Anyway, here are his questions, and I think I'll answer them:

Exactly how many men lead lives of quiet desperation?

Well, Thoreau said it was the "mass" of men, but he was an idiot who sponged off his friends and pretended to be living off the land. (Ever read Walden? There's a section there that says to always show up at your friend's house near dinnertime, because they'll invite you to stay and eat. So much for independence.) I'd have to say it's more than fifty percent. Wait a minute, how many poor schnooks live in China, Asia, and Muslim nations? Hm, add to that the people of Africa and—wow, this is too depressing to continue.

Why is it good that baseball has an infield fly rule?

Actually, I don't care about that one myself. Boring pop-up, usually an inning-ender. Yawn.

Road rage: What the #&[email protected]% is up with that?

Get off the road, asshole! Where'd you get your license, a gumball machine?

Music is to emotion as work is to _______.

Boredom.

Stuffing or mashed potatoes?

Stuffing. Especially if it's homemade.

Can the Seinfeld show be reconstituted without Jerry?

Oh, God, please, I hope not. I hated Seinfeld and don't want it to come back, ever, no matter who's in it.

Jimmy cracked corn and I don't care: Latent attitudinal problems or mild indifference?

The answer is: Ritalin.

Are people with long second toes really more amorous than the rest of us?

[Looking at toes] Uh, no comment.

Facts about Meryl that have never before surfaced. (Like, is your second toe longer than your big toe!)

Uh, Morton's Foot? Me? Says who?

I think we'll stop right here.


Nighttime thoughts

So now it's after one a.m., and I'm getting those nighttime thoughts. I've been in my new home for less than three weeks. I uprooted my entire life this month. Removed my support network, except for my one friend here in Richmond. Have I written yet about how utterly terrifying that can be?

It strikes me from time to time. It isn't that I didn't know what I was getting into, or that I didn't think about it, and investigate Richmond, and find out what it would be like down here. It's not like I haven't been here before—I've been visiting Heidi for over a decade. That's why I moved here, partly. I've fallen in love with Richmond. And I've moved closer to my best friend, who is a support network unto herself. And because my life in New Jersey had undergone so many changes over the last few years, it wasn't really that much of a stretch to leave one social network and build an entirely new one. Most of my friendships had unraveled, and the few that didn't were in different states, anyway. Well, all but a couple of people I can think of.

But all the preparation, all the thinking, and all of the prelude isn't the same as being here, and having to start all over again. One of the elements I hadn't quite realized: I'm not in my twenties anymore. It's a lot harder to make new friends. As you get older, there's a bit more stubbornness, a bit less flexibility. It's difficult right now. I'm looking for new routines to replace my old routines, but I'm replacing them with ones that right now seem alien to me.

And then today, when Larry and his family stopped by, and I was playing with the children and talking to Larry and his wife, it made me realize that this may not be so tough after all. People are amazingly kind here. I've been asked to dinner and lunch, two synagogues are vying for my membership, and the baggers in Kroger's cheerfully tell me where they're from when they see my NJ license plates. (An awful lot of them are from South Jersey, seemingly.)

So yeah, I'm settling into my new home. And it's becoming more homelike. I'm a Virginian now.


Well, that was bracing

Scott Koenig, the Indepundit just called. (You can still get my cell number if you've pledged, just send me email.) It was literally a wake-up call. I feel much more awake now. Enough to even surf over to his site, where I see he's quoted one of my favorite Joe Jackson songs, the one that starts "Everything gives you cancer." And then Scott sounds off on my favorite theme, the cancer scares. I actually lost all faith in cancer studies during my freshman year in college. My term paper for my biology class was on drug studies—the ones where they'd fill a rat full of enough LSD to kill a human, and then declare that LSD damages your chromosomes. Much of the research I found then pointed out that a human would take about 500 years to ingest that amount of LSD, and the studies were flawed.

So. I take the "French fries cause cancer!" studies with a major grain of salt, particularly because I think that the fried potato is God's greatest gift to mankind. I make my own potato chips, folks. I should offer up those for pledges, but they don't taste good for more than 24 hours, and by the time I FedExed them, to you, it'd cost me so much money I might as well have pledged myself.

If you're in Richmond, now, that's a different story. Call me.


Change of venue

Well, the laptop and cable modem survived the move to The Chair That Swallows You Whole, in spite of being unplugged a few times, dropped once (modem), and untangled

Of course, the danger now is that the Staind CD has hit the mellow (for them) section, and I want to lie back and close my eyes for just a minute. Which of course would be a lot longer than a minute. But my back no longer hurts, so it's a win-win.

I'm finding myself hitting that thoughtful part of the night. The one where I start Thinking Deep Thoughts. It's the best time for my essays.

Of course, the chorus to the Staind song just sorta threw me out of that "Well fuck that and fuck that and fuck you..." Heh. Now, boys. Surely you could have come up with better lyrics than that.

I should be getting my second wind in an hour or two. Then I'll be able to tell if I'm making any sense or not. Because, boys and girls, you have hit the stream-of-consciousness portion of the Blogathon, and, uh, I'm not as conscious as I could be. (Where's that Coca-Cola? I know it's around here somewhere!)

Combustible Boy was asking me to keep up with the playlist. It's Tool, Undertow, with the remote near to hand, because my man Maynard likes to do really weird stuff on his CDs, and there's only so much weirdness I can take. But Sober is on now, and not only is it one of my favorite songs, but it's one of my best essays.


More thank-you notes

Linda P. has pushed me over the $3000 mark. Thanks a million, Linda!

Chris Newman, I've lost your URL, email, please.

Lynn B. is on vacation now, but she'll probably write ten thousand words the minute she gets back

Stefan Sharkansky: The Shark has quite a bite for anti-Semites. (Oooh, the kid is getting punchy and it's not quite midnight.)

MommaBear! Thanks much!

Jeff Cooper: Super-duper. (Yup. Punchy. Bad rhymes.)

Punditwatch

Bigwig

Sarah-bugs: Love that name! Bob and Mari S., Rikibeth, Steve M., Andrew W., Jonah C., Doug L., Five-min-major, Daniel H., Peter R., and that's all I can do for now. More to come.


Time for the loud music

I always start with the Indigo Girls song, "Shame on You," from the CD Shaming of the Sun. Bouncy, bouncy, music. I've moved on to Stained's latest, and will be hitting all of my metal/rock/thrash in the next few hours, I believe. Definitely Tool.

Oh, and we've started with the sugar kicks. I bought a box of jawbreakers. They called 'em jawbreakers when I was a kid. Now they're "Everlasting Gobstoppers," after the Willy Wonka candy. In actuality, they're jawbreakers that change colors and flavors a few times.

Cat, next time, start the Blogathon at 11 a.m. It's easier to stay up all night if you get up late in the day.

I think it's also time to move into The Chair That Swallows You Whole. My back is starting to really complain about sitting in this chair all day. Wow, has it really been fourteen and a half hours?

This is also reminding me of what I used to do when we worked on the Montclarion all night. Head off into the bathroom and splash water on your face a few times, take a walk 'round the building, lie down on the tables and try to catch a nap—whoops, can't do that. Okay. Playing loud music and pounding down sugary candy and caffeinated beverages will have to do.

Stained is definitely doing the trick. Tool's next. I will never be too old for metal.

By the way, in case anyone besides me is counting, this is Official Post Number 30. Cat's got it wrong: It's 49 posts in 24 hours, if you post from 9 to 9. It's 48 if you stop at 8:30.


Phone calls

Meryl: Hello?

Heidi: Hi, just checking to make sure I have the right number before 3 a.m. (Note: she's going to call me on her break from work.)

Meryl [laughing]: Yes, this is the right number.

Heidi [laughing]: Okay, I can't talk now. Just needed to make sure this is the right number.

Meryl [still laughing]: Okay. Talk later.

(New phone numbers. Gotta make sure.)


Mom: I read all those things on that website [Shirl's]. Why does she end every part the same way?

Meryl: What do you mean?

Mom: She has the same words at the end of every section.

Meryl: Oh, that's the identifier at the end of each post. I do that, too, with my permalinks.

Mom: Oh. Howcome they're in backwards time order?

Meryl: The newest ones are on the top of the page, Mom.

Mom: Oh.

(Moms and the Internet.)


Ladies' Night

Susanna Cornett is breathing fire about the Georgia crematorium operator crying racist

Andrea Harris is ranting about 'most everything, but that's why she calls it Spleenville.

I don't visit Jane Galt nearly enough, and this post is proof of why I should: Literary criticism lives. (Yeah, that's gonna get all six of you who are interested in literary criticism to click on the link. Just do it, there are things you'll be interested in, too.)

Medley goes from a Vatican reporter blaming the Jews for the sex scandals to picking on the Guardian for picking on babies.

I haven't linked to Kathy Kinsley in a while. Now I have. Short, succinct posts on some fascinating goings-on. I particularly like the one about the woman who overpowered and shot her would-be rapist.

And, time's up. Phew. This writing on a schedule is a toughie.


An Englishman in Saud

I'm sorry, I misrepresented John R. Bradley's title at the Arab News. He's the News Editor. I feel so ashamed. Not.

Here's his complaint over at Charles' place:

I find it truly baffling that people can be so naive as to believe all the cliches about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And in the name of God does everyone who is not totally pro-West really have to be working as an agent for someone or other? I thought THIS part of the world was supposed to be ruled by conspiracy theories!

I've never expressed support for any ruling regime in the Gulf in any article I've ever published. Nor have I expressed my opposition.

My main goal as a journalist is to show that most people who write about Saudi Arabia negatively are completely ignorant of what goes on here.

I happen to like the life here. Indeed, I'm off to Sauth East Asia shortly to try to convince my fiancee that she should move out here with me.

If that makes me insane, then so be it . . .

In any case, how about of CONSTRUCTIVE debate? Or is that beyond you all?

Sure. I'm up for a little constructive debate. From a John Bradley article:

JEDDAH, 6 May — For Westerners here in the Kingdom, expatriate life means compound life. The compounds sell themselves on the principle that to live in them is to gain two things: security and easy access to resort-like facilities. The newer ones go as far as to promote themselves as permanent holiday destinations. Indeed, so accepted now among Westerners is the notion that compound life equals the good life that those who choose not to live on them — who choose, that is to say, to live among the Saudis themselves — are thought eccentric, or to hold a dirty secret.

“This wasn’t inevitable,” a veteran American expatriate who lives independently in Jeddah told Arab News. “As far as I’m concerned, compounds flourished because of ignorance on the part of both the Saudis and the Westerners, and their mutual lack of curiosity about what makes the other tick.”

[...]The debate is over, and compounds have won,” the veteran American expatriate conceded. “Especially after Sept. 11, the misconception that it is somehow unsafe or unwise to live among Saudis has become so commonplace that there’s no going back.”

There is no doubt that the facilities compounds offer can make life easier for families who have children and for Western women unfamiliar with, or just not accepting of, local customs regarding women’s dress and behavior. And those who just don’t want to learn Arabic or deal with the culture shock of living in the Middle East can simply forget about all that, concentrating instead on bringing up their children in as Westernized an environment as possible.

From tomorrow's U.K. Observer:

Expat Brits live in fear as Saudis turn on the West

Saudi Arabia's community of foreigners is trapped between bombings by Islamic terrorists, police torture and palace feuding

[...]The Western community is living in fear. It has become the target of a series of bomb attacks, carried out by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists who want to drive all non-Muslims out of the Arabian peninsula. But the terrified Westerners have received little help from the Saudi authorities. The secret police instead blame the Westerners for the attacks, locking up the innocent and forcing them to confess. Three have died. Seven are in jail. Others have been arrested, interrogated, tortured and released.

The Saudi dream of quick cash and security has ended in a nightmare of a car bomb or an executioner's sword.

[...]Danger lies everywhere. Stephen, a Canadian engineer with a Saudi telecommunications company, no longer takes his family out for picnics in the desert. Twice in recent months he has been attacked by passers-by angry at the sight of a Western face outside the safe residential compounds. They screamed insults and threw rocks. 'I just feel very insecure,' he told The Observer.

There are few who are now willing to speak out. And none brave enough to use his or her real name. Phone lines are tapped by the police and Westerners' movements monitored. The terrorists' attacks are well co-ordinated. Last month an Australian working for British Aerospace Systems was ambushed by a sniper as he drove his Jeep out of his compound in the northern garrison town of Tabuk. Although five shots were fired into the vehicle, the Australian was unhurt.

Bombs have been placed under cars, inside bins, hurled over walls and detonated outside shops. Many are covered up by the authorities, including one last year which demolished a shop wall but was blamed by police on a 'firework' thrown by children. British banker Simon Veness, 35, died in June when a bomb exploded in his car. Just nine days later an American working at the King Faisal specialist hospital in Riyadh discovered a carbon-copy device on his car.

There you go. Johnny says compounds are required due to ignorance. I'm guessing they're in existence to keep there from being a Western bloodbath.

So there's your constructive debate, Johnny. Bring it on, bubelah.


A writer for the Arab News speaks out

On Charles' comments, no less!

MUCH more to come. (So much for my dinner break. But hey, the halfway point has come and gone!)


A girl's gotta eat

It is dinner hour in the Yourish household. The chicken and corn are piping hot, and the Coke is cold. I'm taking a break, and this is all you get for the 9:00 blog.

Sorry, folks. I need a good meal in me to get through the night.

By the way, Anonymous came through, and we're past $2800. My hero!


Looking around the blogs

Joe Katzman was kind enough to fill me in on what's happening today.

Ted Barlow says Diane E. has mysterious powers, and you shouldn't mess with her:

Did you notice that literally the day after Diane E. put up Andrew Sullivan's old Bush-bashing column, Paul Krugman references it? There's no way that's a coincidence.

And right after she posts a rumor about J.P. Morgan manipulating the gold market to protect its gold short position, the SEC investigates J.P. Morgan for Enron related mischief, including, apparently, suspicious gold trades?

This woman has eerie powers. I don't want to make her mad.

But look at this: three days after I wrote about Muslimpundit going out for a loaf of bread and not returning, he returns, back to his old self, taking apart that American Jihad snot-nose. Go Adil!

And welcome back!


Why you should be reading Shirl

There are several kinds of writers. There are those who were born with incredible talent, like the Harper Lees and Mark Twains of the world. There are those who have some talent and work on the logistics, like the Anne McCaffreys and Piers Anthonys of the world. Then there are people like Shirl, who have a natural talent that just simply—works. Another chapter in her brother's life story:

The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are a natural attraction in West Michigan. (I just read where they are 1 1/2 miles wide and three miles long.) This was a great place to take a family on vacation. And if one of those family members had limited leg use? Why, DAD or, when J.R. got too tall ('cause Dad was kind of short and stubby), the NEXT BROTHER, would sling him onto their back in a modified piggyback, and away they would go. Reading that now just amazes me. We walked from Silver Lake to Lake Michigan, that's 1.5 miles, and back. Over hills. Sandy hills. This is the love of a father, this is the love of a brother.

This is the love of a sister as well. You rock, Shirl.


Love that Anonymous person!

Looka that! Two bucks shy of $2800 (by my tally—I'm tired of trying to figure out who's right, me or the Blogathon's database, so let's just say it's me). $202 shy of three grand. We can do it! I know we can!


Anti-Islamic feelings in Iran

Arny Leder sent me a letter regarding the following article (scroll down on the page, there are no permalinks). He writes:

With all the attention to developments in Iran, I do not recall seeing any reference in the blogosphere to the story below. Perhaps this will be of interest to your readers and help you with your postings today, or at least provide a change of pace. The source for the report is: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague and I have provided the URL. I was a policy analyst on Islam for RFE/RL from 1991 through much of 1993 and I currently teach Political Science at Southwest Texas State University.

The subtext, if you will, for the report below is the persistent sentiment held by many in Iran that Islam is an alien imposition. While this sentiment may not translate into hostility to Islam and we ought not exaggerate its importance, it is, nonetheless, reasonable to wonder if it compounds the growing popular resentment of authoritarian rule by Iran's religious leaders.

And here's the article:

IRANIANS COMMEMORATE ANTI-ISLAMIC HERO. Tens of thousands of Iranians gathered in early July at the Babak castle in the town of Kelidar, East Azerbaijan Province, to commemorate Babak Khorramdin, one of the first popular Persian leaders to oppose the imposition of Islam and Arab rule. Babak Khorramdin originally was known as Abdullah Babak. He and his followers promoted a purely Persian religion as an alternative to Islam. During a 20-year rebellion (816-837 AD) they killed many of the Abbasid Caliphate's (750-1258 AD) troops. In the early 1990s, an armed opposition organization called the Babak Khorramdin Organization (BKO) assassinated some Iranian officials.

The Babak Khorramdin celebration has no official program and consists of people staying overnight around the Babak castle, gathering in small groups for informal conversations or musical performances. In 2001, about 350,000 people participated in the seven-day event, but there were fewer participants at this year's commemoration. Tabriz-based journalist Ensaf-Ali Hedayat told RFE/RL's Persian Service on 2 and 4 July that the police instructed musicians and cultural figures in Tabriz and elsewhere not to leave their towns, and policemen searched cars for musical instruments. Moreover, the government ordered tourist agencies and bus companies not to take passengers to the event. According to a report in the "Hambastegi" newspaper that was cited in the 8 July "Iran Daily," every minibus driver was required to pledge that he or she would not convey passengers to the fortress. "Hambastegi" concluded that Turks and provincial locals had set out to visit Kelidar.

Persian Service correspondent Fereydoun Zarnegar explained that some provincial prayer leaders and the hard-line newspaper "Jomhuri-yi Islami" have campaigned against Babak Khorramdin, calling him a killer of Shiites and anti-Islamic. Garmi, East Azerbaijan Province, Friday prayer leader Hojatoleslam Safari criticized participants in last year's celebrations, "Iran Daily" reported on 22 July, saying that it is unethical to commemorate somebody who killed 250,000 Muslims. According to "Jomhuri-yi Islami" as cited in the 15 July 2001 "Iran Daily," the celebrations are just a pretext for "uniting the Azeris" and pursuing political objectives. (Bill Samii)

Interesting. It may not be very large, but it only takes a small pebble rolling down a mountain to cause an avalanche. We can hope.


Why Bill Quick should be on your daily must-read:

U.S.: UN resolutions must condemn Palestinian terror

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat expressed disappointment that the United States intended to block a proposed United Nations resolution on Mideast violence if it did not contain language condemning by name three Palestinian groups claiming suicide bombings.

Sorry, has-been. Nobody who matters cares about your disappointment any more.

Bill's right. Yasser who?


More acknowledgements

Bruce Hill, my former fiancé and a Kiwi in Australia looking to come to America (I said I'd marry you, just don't tell the INS).

Oceanguy, that scwewy wabbit.

Charles Kuffner, erudite and funny.

Rina S., Roscoe E., Evan K., Kris H., Racha. Thanks, all!


By bread alone

You know that old saying? Man does not live by bread alone? Well, neither does woman. And I'm feeling a whole lot better after a visit by the G.'s. Nothing picks me up more than being around children, and those kids were sweethearts. Great big baby smiles from the twins. Experiments in Slinky-walking with the older boys. Talking about giraffes and Jupiter and cats and dogs.

It's been nine and a half hours since the Blogathon started. I just got recharged by an hour and a half's visit with some really nice folks. I can get by until tomorrow, now.


Words of wisdom

Larry had a good one. Sticker in the kitchen of a restaurant:

"Vegetarian: Indian name for bad hunter.


Light posting

I know, I know. But it's a lot more fun to play with Jake and Nate and Max and Rebecca than it is to surf and post. Jake says I should write about a giraffe. Apparently, giraffes are his favorite. And there are giraffes at the Richmond Zoo. We'll have to see. Rebecca, however, is full of wisdom about the goodness of ropes for teething nine-month-olds. Her brother is currently trying to find something to be entertained about. Twins, schmins. They're completely different personalities.

Your regularly scheduled program will return after the G.'s depart.


Chocolate chip cookies and kids

The G.'s are here, with their children. Tig surprised us all by coming up to the baby while I was holding her. And the chocolate chip cookies that Mrs. G. brought are phenomenal. There will be none left by morning.

Too bad I can't share them with you all.

No it isn't.

And a new sponsor. Thanks, Jonathan L.!


The Hulk takes a few shots

So some of you are wondering: What am I wearing? (You are too.)

Nothing. I just took a shower.

Okay, I'm lying. I'm wearing my brand-new Victoria's Secret—okay, I'm lying again. I'm wearing sweats and my Hulk t-shirt. Because I'm going to need the strength and stamina of the Hulk to get through the next sixteen and a half hours.


Meryl: Hulk, how do you think I can get more people to pledge?

Hulk: Hulk smash people who not pledge! Where are they? Hulk smash!

Meryl: No, Hulk, that won't work. But I do notice that I'm seeing a lot of familiar names, and not enough strangers. Which means those quiet ones, that I like to call my "invisibles," aren't pledging so much.

Hulk: Hulk smash invisibles! [pause] What invisible?

Meryl: That means you can't see them.

Hulk: Oh. Harder to smash, then. Let me try here!

Meryl: No, wait, Hulk, that's my—sofa.

Hulk: Oops. Hulk fix. Oops again. That was other chair. Sorry. Thought it could handle Hulk. Puny chair. Buy better next time! Say, was cat underneath chair?

Meryl: HULK!!

Hulk: Hulk just kidding. Cat upstairs hiding under bed. Want Hulk to get cat?

Meryl: No, I think it's time for you to go catch up with Rick Jones. Thanks for stopping by, Big Guy. Next time I'll have better insurance!

Hulk: Bye!

Meryl: Wait, let me open the—[CRASH!]—door. Damn. That's the last time I invite a superhero into my home.


Dave Tepper be Blogathonin'

And I didn't realize it. He's blogging for the WWF, and he started it before they released that ridiculous report that said we'd need a new planet by 2050. So go here to contribute. (Ut-oh. The lights just flickered. If you don't get an update for a while, it's a blackout.)


Ahh. That's better.

I think Mother Nature heard me. It's raining cats and dogs in Richmond right now; started just after I got out of the shower.

But I feel so much better now. And I'm especially pleased I'm not caught out in the rain anywhere. Larry G. and his family are due to arrive in about half an hour; Larry, postpone it if it's raining, or bag it altogether. I have food to get me through.

Wow, thunder. And we have a serious drought going on here. This is a welcome change. (Just unplugged the laptop. The cable modem? I'm leasing it, who cares?)

Next up: A guest-post by the Hulk.


The kindness of strangers

Combustible Boy has written a guest post, replete with HTML, so I can go take a shower. (I'm posting this a few minutes early.) Thanks tons, C.B.!

Meryl prepares for the Blogathon:

Here's what I'm predicting for the subjects: There will be controversy. There will be humor. There will be sex. There will be politics. There will be insects. And there will be junk food, but that's just for me. Sorry. There are too many of you to share.


A BLOGATHON IN ONE ACT
by Combustible Boy

[MARY MATALIN and JAMES CARVILLE are setting up a picnic in a secluded spot in Rock Creek Park. JAMES is rolling out the blanket and setting up a boom box while MARY looks through the picnic basket and cooler; they're in the middle of a discussion of the news.]

    MARY

I'm telling you, the government keeps finding new ways to pry into our lives today, and the Democrats are just using a few corporate scandals as an excuse to push more government on all of us. Never mind that there wouldn't be so many scandals if the Clinton Administration hadn't taught us that you can get away with anything.

    JAMES

Now, you know that's got more to do with that dang ol' Ashcroft fella findin' danger everywhere he looks and castin' new rules about indiscriminately. That man's like a blind coon dog with a turd on his snout -- everywhere he goes he knows somethin' smells funny, but he'll be goldanged if he can pinpoint just where it is.

    MARY

Ah, never mind that, let's just enjoy our lunch.

[MARY digs a few things out of the picnic basket and cooler, getting a frustrated expression on her face.]

    MARY

Now, honey, how come there's nothing but turkey sandwiches and fresh fruit in the basket? And just bottled water in the cooler? Where's the Snickers bars, Twizzlers and ice cream sandwiches I told you to pack this morning?

    JAMES

Well, all that sweet stuff, I done gave it to Meryl so she could get herself through her little ol' Blogathon today. There weren't enough of it to go 'round for the rest of us. Besides, with all that sugar around, these dang ol' ants would be swarmin' all over even worse then they already is.

    MARY
    [disappointed]

I guess you're right about that.

    JAMES

Now you cheer up, sweet pumpkin britches, I got somethin' that'll make you feel good.

[JAMES sticks a cassette in the boom box and presses the play button. The thumping, bass-heavy strains of Prince's "Controversy" issue forth from the speakers.]

    MARY

Oh baby, you know what I like!

[They have sex.]

CURTAIN.

THE END
A Combustible Production, MMII


Taking the Arafat Challenge

So, Lair's items to me are as follows:

  • Dr. Theopolis from the Buck Rogers television series.
  • Monopoly Board.
  • Barometric drinking bird.
  • Marvin Zindler's hairpiece.
  • Battery-powered walking pig toy (it also oinks)

I simply had to check out the hairpiece, so here is Marv's picture from the KTRK-TV website. Ain't it a beauty? Sort of makes me wonder if the guy is for real or a Disney Animatronic Robot. (This one is beginning to frighten me. And you all thought Traficant's hairpiece was awful.)

So, how will these items work to finish off Yasser Arafat once and for all?

First: I join one of those "Peaceful protestor" groups so that I can get access to Yasser himself. When he tries to (bleagh!) kiss me, I skillfully evade and offer him a gift: Dr. Theopolis. The Doc has been briefed ahead of time to schmooze the old "general" to lull him into a false sense of security. In about five minutes, after telling him how great he is, how the world's Muslims think of him as Abu Amar, and how he could probably be the President of Palestine after getting rid of the Jews, the Doc convinces Yasser to dismiss all the guards, hangers-on, and other peace "protestors." We seal the deal by giving him his second gift, the barometric drinking bird. Arafat watches the bird in fascination, his head nodding unconsciously in rhythm with the bird's.

We are alone. To dull his suspicions further, out comes the Monopoly Board. "Shall we play a game?" Arafat sits. The bird keeps nodding. His begins to drift off.

Now I let loose the secret weapon: The battery-powered walking pig. Arafat, good Muslim that he is, recoils in terror. The pig drives him towards the wall, oinking cheerfully. When Arafat reaches the corner, I pick up the bird, advance cautiously, and when I'm within reach I say, "Look! It's Christiane Amanpour, you're on CNN!" Arafat looks, I thrust the bird into his eye. Unfortunately, I used the beak, not the neck. It isn't long enough to kill him, so I take out Marv Zindler's hairpiece and beat him to death with it. (Gotta love hairspray.)

Over to you, Lair.


I think this post is mostly filler

Buffy fans will recognize where I stole that title from.

It has occurred to me that things are going to get kinda difficult in a few hours. As a result of not being able to have any prepared posts—which I was going to write Thursday and Friday, the two days I was down with a virus—is that I have about twenty minutes per hour to myself. But not at one time. It's ten minutes here, ten minutes there, fifteen at the most. The cross-blogging is actually helpful, as I know what I'm posting at 3:00, and it's allowing me to put in a filler post now. I may actually get time to get showered before my guests arrived, but there will be no time to do any housecleaning. And my clothes have been in the dryer since sometime this morning. I keep forgetting about them, and haven't the time to fold and sort. Well, at least they're clean.

I cannot imagine anyone who is a parent doing this. I was expecting to be able to write some, surf some, upload a prepared post every other hour or so, and relax a lot.

Whoops.

Oh, well. You folks are pledging, right? Right? Right?

Whew.


My fellow Blogathoner lost her webring buddy, and is afraid she won't get many visitors. So I'm linking to Rickabeth. She certainly has an interesting format.

Wow! Just got a $100 donation from AnnB! Thanks!

I can't stop using exclamation points! Help!!


The moment you've all been waiting for:
The cross-blogging begins

There are a lot of you who read both my and Lair's blogs. We know that. We know you've been hoping for a smackdown between the two of us. Well, we're on it.

Lair and I have challenged each other to a contest: How would you assassinate Yasser Arafat using five common household items?

My items to him:

  • Box of Baby Wipes
  • Feather duster
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 pkg microwave popcorn, extra butter
  • 1 large plastic bucket without handle

His items to me: You don't want to know. Actually, go there.

We have an hour to come up with a post. Be back at 3:00 for the results.


More email

Reader Andy F. doesn't think that Governor Gray Davis' orders to institute actions to prevent anti-Semitism at California universities is going to work.

That's not how university politics works.

While it is nominally true that the purse strings matter, and factually true in the long term, the governor is likely to be ignored wrt fine-grain and short-term issues, such as this.

The short reason is "tenure"; they know that Davis will be gone long before they are (even if he gets reelected). The long reason is a sense of entitlement.

Also, there's credibility. Do you think that they think that Davis actually cares? Or, is it reasonable (for them) to believe that he's just "making a statement", and since that statement is intended for consumption by others, they can make some appropriate noises and then continue on as before.

There's also "fight the power". They may see Davis as a right-wing nut who they have a moral duty to oppose. (From their point of view, he is.)

There's also will. Is Davis willing to cut the purse strings over this? My guess is that he isn't, and I don't see why their guess would be any different.

There's also importance. This is important to them. Why would they think that it's important to Davis?

I hope you're wrong, Andy—but we'll be keeping an eye on things no matter what.


Update: Everything's fixed.

Go ahead now and pledge, pledge, pledge! (That's me, Lair, and Shirl.)


Omigod, don't panic!

The pledging links and participants list of the Blogathon are currently down. I feel it's appropriate to quote this from the main Blogathon news page (which is working):

90 minutes to go. Before we begin, some words of calming advice:
If you use a service to blog, and it goes down for a little while, don't panic. No one is going to be disqualified for missing a few posts because of technical difficulties.

If you don't post right on the half hour, don't panic. You should be posting once in every 30 minute block. About every 30 minutes. There is no Blogathon Gestapo.

If your server goes down, don't panic. It will probably come back up shortly.

If your computer crashes, don't panic. Just reboot and continue.

Seeing a pattern here? Don't panic. Have fun. You have enough to worry about. Just stick with it for 24 hours, and I'll see you on the flipside.
by...Cat Connor... Saturday, July 27, 2002

Cat, don't panic. ;-) Things will work out just fine. Folks will be patient. I know my readers will. And look, you've given each of us a blog topic. There's an upside.


Paying the piper

Some months ago, Shirley Peters was tag-teamed by Shelley Powers, Jonathon Delacour, and a few other people in their web circle. The reason she was jumped all over? She had the nerve to express her opinion that a certain Mikey G. was both "anti-Meryl and anti-Semitic." I'd give you the URL, but Shelley pulled the post some time ago. Not long after I searched for it to copy, I believe. Shirl's quote is italicized. Update: Shelley sent the URL.

-- On a more serious note, Mike Golby was forced to, yet again, defend himself from the label of "Anti-Semitic". A weblog reader tells Mike the following in a comment attached to one of Mike's posts:

Just a little feed-back from a sporadic reader. You do come off as anti-Semitic and especially anti-Meryl. I know neither of you, and I'm from the midwest of the US (read cornfields and Bible Belt) and I thought your post a month ago or so directed towards Meryl was heartless. I wanted to say something then, but didn't, but here you go again, so I just thought I'd give you some disinterested feedback.

What a foolish comment. And what a thing to say to a person -- hello, I don't read you that often, but you seem Anti-Semitic to me. Anti-Meryl, too. However, I'm disinterested so don't take it personally.
All together now folks: Airhead alert!
Mike took the reader's comments personally; most people would. And he responded, accordingly, in a manner that was both eloquent and passionate.

This was in addition to the comments over at Golby's place, where Jonathon wrote:

Once again, Mike, you astonish me. I would, having visited Shirl's weblog and noted its utter vacuity and lack of moral purpose, have dismissed her opinion as worthless and moved on to more important things.

This, mind you, from the man who jumped all over Mike Sanders for referencing Richard Bennett's post on Dave Winer with a response titled "Attacking the (person not the) argument." I'm still waiting on a retraction of some sort for attacking Shirl's person, rather than her argument.

The reason I'm bringing this up today: Because Shirl's Blogathon posts on life with her brother, who has Cerebral Palsy, are so good they are taking my breath away. Because I'm still aggravated by the rotten treatment Shirl got from that old gang of mine. Because Mike Sanders doesn't blog on Shabbos or the weekend, and with the voice of my conscience stilled for the moment, I am finally going to blog my feelings on this issue.

Airhead. Vacuous. Worthless. These would not be terms I'd apply to Shirl, but they do fit the comments from which I took them.


Everybody's a critic

Look at this. It's not even noon, and already I'm being insulted. Mike emails me:

I figured that I have two pledges in me and so many good causes that are being blogged for that I was going to have to wait to see who was the most entertaining... and I've got to say lists of people who have contributed to your blog are pretty dull... well maybe not for the people that you are naming but I, the average Joe Schmo need wild and varied content! Dance for them bucks, Meryl!!

Dude, you just don't get the finer points of posting lists of contributors. First of all, it's a way of saying thank you. Secondly, it's a post. I have no prepared posts, so I have to come up with something every half hour. Except that it takes me between ten and twenty minutes to write a short post, leaving me whatever is left of that half hour to do other things. That's not a whole lot of time to take care of those annoying things like eating, showering, bathroom breaks—you know, the things that they didn't tell you about in the small print of the blogathon. It's taken me two hours to finish eating breakfast. I am now even more grateful that Larry G. is arriving late this afternoon with family and food.

Besides, your letter was time-stamped 11:19. Hey. Give me a break, it's only been a couple of hours! You want madness, tune in at 3 a.m. I guarantee you madness by then.

The other reasons for posting lists of contributors: I promised I would, and I don't break my word. Plus, it encourages more people to pledge. (Hint, hint!)

"Dance for them bucks"? Ahem. This ain't no strip joint.

Man. What a tough crowd.


Knights of the left

Haggai from Michigan has a better name for the loony left than, er, loony leftists.

Liberals like us who want to disassociate ourselves from the looney Chomsky/Fisk brigade should come up with an appropriate name to describe them. My nomination is "knights of the left." It comes from an interview I read last year with the former Israeli foreign minister, Shlomo Ben-Ami. He was the #2 negotiator at Camp David under Barak. When asked why Camp David failed, he said that it was because the Palestinians refused to make any counter-proposals no matter what they were being offered, and then angrily pointed out that "contrary to the nonsense spouted by the knights of the left, there was no ultimatum."

I like the term because it conjures up a Don Quixote image of windmill-chasing fantasies, which describes the wacko left all too well. I recall some astonishing craziness from a Nader voter in 2000: he said that he wanted Bush to win in order to trigger a populist revolution that would topple "the establishment" and sweep the knights of the left into power in 2004. That bit of self-important political suicide prompted me to think of the John Goodman quote from "The Big Lebowski" about why he thought that nihilists were worse than Nazis: "Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, but at least it's an ethos."

I like it. Knights of the left. It does conjure up Don Quixote images, as well as Monty Python images. "Come back here! I'll bit your kneecaps off!" (or words to that effect; I've never been interested enough in any routine to quote it in its entirety except for "Who's on first," and that only because I had a poster with the words to it and could pratice it.)


Sponsors, sponsors, who's got the sponsors?

Oh, I do. I'm not going to remember to do this in any particular order, so let's get a few more out now.

Mac Thomason, my pal who brings us the news on The Dreaded Chinese Snakehead Fish, the Fish That Walks (and Breathes!)

Bill Herbert, my fiancé who writes funny, biting posts about idiotarians

Mike Sanders, my friend whose posts seem to raise the ire of certain sections of the blogosphere like no other, which confuses me no end.

Meryl Evans, my name-twin in Texas who works pretty hard for Israel, herself.

Thanks also to readers David, Larry, Sonicblue and Donna!

More to come as the day wears on.


I forgot one.

Yesterday I mentioned the things to expect during the Blogathon. But I forgot one. Violence.

After only an hour and a half, and due to the fact that I have no prepared posts, I've realized that I might get a mite testy by the end of the day. So please forgive me when I do, because I'm pretty sure it's an inevitability.

If this keeps up, I might get desperate enough to post pictures of my cats.

Well. The least you can do is contribute to Shaare Zedek. There's still about a 90% non-contributor rate out there, which saddens me. Six hundred-plus (non-Instalink) visitors a day, on average, and only 69 sponsors as of 10:30 a.m.

Wait! I know! I'm giving away free words with every contribution today. That's right, you get to read 48 posts in 24 hours! Hey, how can you go wrong with that? And not only that, you can use my words anytime, in any situation, thereafter. Free words, no fair use constraints—why, it's an invitation to plagiarize. That's right, impress your friends. Guys, impress that girl you've been wanting and see if those free words don't just get her into the bedroom. Use them in any combination, and you've got words for every occasion! I'll even throw in a few swear words so you can tell off that asshole that sits next to you at work.

yourish.com. The place on the Internet where you can get all the words that are fit to speak. And then some.


Shirl's blogging, too!

I had no idea that Shirley Peters was as crazy as Lair and I, and is in the Blogathon. She's blogging for the United Cerebral Palsy Association. I'm heading off to make a contribution. (Shirl, you need to put a link to the pledge page on your site. Grab this one.) Look for Shirl by her first name, and her weblog is The Other Side.

Pony up, people, please. CP is a tough thing to live with.


I nearly forgot:

Thanks to Susanna Cornett and Yehudit, Evan, and Peggy for their generous donations.


But seriously, folks

Among the gazillion messages about the Blogathon (I really hate Yahoo Groups, but had to join it for the 'thon), I got a new Nigerian scam letter! I am so pleased, as it will become grist for the post mill later on today.

And here's my favorite part: It's written by Paul Williams. You would think that the residuals from "Evergreen" alone, that hideous Streisand tune, would be enough to keep him going for the rest of his life, without even considering "Rainy Days and Mondays" (Carpenters) or "The Family of Man" (Three Dog Night). (Who?).

Guess it's not easy being him.


Welcome to 24 hours of blogging hell

No fever. This is a good thing. 24 hours of blogging. This is, uh, maybe not so good. But it's too late, I'm already involved, and we're off to the races. This one is a boring post, sorry, just woke up a little while ago. I'm also repeating yesterday's final words:

And I'm asking my fellow bloggers to direct people to me and to Laurence Simon, and to anyone else in the Blogathon that they know about.

Open your hearts and wallets, people. Shaare Zedek and Magen David Adom are great charities. They help save lives. Like Laurence says: Give until it doesn't hurt anymore.

Be back shortly.


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Last week's blogs are archived. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.

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