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Iseema bin Laden

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Three thousand years of irony

About 1000 years BCE, when the people of Israel were leaving Egypt, they were attacked by Amalek, who fell upon the stragglers of the Hebrews--the sick, the old, the women with children--and killed them. One of today's Torah portions is this:

Remember what Amalek did to you as you were leaving Egypt. He happened upon you, and struck the weakest people trailing behind, when you were exhausted. And he did not fear God. (Deut. 25:17-18)

It is a reminder to the Jewish people that there are those out there who will kill us merely because we exist. Not that we need that reminder, but the irony of Danny Pearl's death being disclosed the week before Jews celebrate a holiday in which another attempt to murder us because of our Jewishness was foiled--Purim--is lost on none of us.

Remembering Danny Pearl

Tim Noah, Slate's Chatterbox, remembers Danny Pearl. He gives us this link to the Wall Street Journal's collection of the best of Pearl's stories. We won't be letting go of this one for a long time. Pearl's kidnappers deliberately sought out a Jew to kill. From Reuters:

Fahad Naseem, one of three other men in custody accused of involvement in the kidnapping, said Pearl was abducted because he was a Jew working against Islam.

Authorities learned of the killing of Pearl from a videotape of the murder sent to a Pakistani reporter in Karachi on Wednesday or Thursday.

A Pakistani official said the last words Pearl uttered on camera before he was killed were that he was a Jew and his father was a Jew.

They slit his throat from behind. Cowards couldn't even face him to kill him. Savages.

Frauds, fakes, and phonies.

Oh, look. The government is going after Miss Cleo--again.

Check out this article from the Washington Post.

Miss Cleo's real name is Youree Dell Harris. That ought to help some Google searchers. And wow--2,000 consumer complaints to the FTC. Hm. That's a lot, don't you think? And when she's done with the FTC, there are nine other states suing her for defrauding the public.

I'm of the opinion that any moron who calls a psychic hotline for any reason other than as a joke should be declared too stupid to be able to sue. But hey, what do I know? I'm just one of them there nonbeliever types.

Meryl K. Evans found this one for me: The Museum of Hoaxes. It's been added to my Portal page. That's right--it's one of the Meryl Missions: We keep you informed so you can avoid the tricksters.



Yes, I am a Jew

Daniel Pearl's last words. Then they slit his throat.

Why you should be reading Loriloo

Here's an excerpt from her archives:

But wait, there's more. Tuesday I had to go downtown to pick up my computer. In the taxi on the way back home, the driver turns to me and says, "American?" Yes. "Speak Korean." A little. "Very beautiful." Thank you. "American eyes most beautiful. You so pretty." Thank you again. In my best Korean, I say to him, "I like Korean eyes." He whips his head around, looking at me quizzically. Well, I do. Except that I later learn that I told him, "I eat Korean eyes." Will I ever learn this language? "My card. Let's make friends." I am in disbelief. This is the most that I've been spoken to since I've been here. Maybe it's something in the water.

Laughin' out loud with Loriloo. You need it, the way things are today.



The Jewish WSJ reporter is dead. Why am I not surprised?

How is it that no one saw fit to voice what every Jew knew the moment Daniel Pearl was kidnapped: That there was no way he was coming home alive from the grip of Islamic fundamentalists. I'd say anti-American Islamic fundamentalists, but then, that's a given.

Funny, none of the current stories about Danny Pearl's death mention that the first email the Journal received from the kidnappers said he'd be killed because he was "a Jew and a CIA spy". Just like few media stories mention the unrelenting anti-Semitism that is rampant in the Arab world--where governments publish "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", the blood-libel forgery that the civilized world has known to be false for decades. Where Arab leaders discuss ridding the world of Israel. Where an Ayatollah in Iran has said that if the Arab world developed nuclear weapons and dropped one on Israel, the Arabs would still come out ahead because they'd lose only a small part of the Arab World while destroying all of Israel.

Daniel Pipes has been one of the voices consistently reporting on Islamic anti-Semitism. Andrew Sullivan reports on the rise of American and European anti-Semitism--in our political leaders, and in the drawing rooms of the hoi polloi. And I see, and hear it, from many, many places.

I was in San Francisco at a conference with the other editors from my college paper during the year the deposed Shah of Iran came to America for cancer treatment. Near our downtown hotel during a break, we spied a protest. When we went to see what it was, we found a group of Iranian students protesting America's acceptance of the Shah on her soil. They bore signs that said, "Death to the Shah" and "Death to Israel". My blood pressure started to rise, and my friends saw this and suggested we leave before something untoward happened. Before we could take a step, a young woman walked up to us and held out a leaflet to me. Then her eyes traveled to my necklace, the Star of David that was clearly visible at the base of my throat. She looked at me with naked hatred and jerked her hand back as if it had been burned. I stood there glaring back for a few moments until my friends grabbed me and pulled me bodily away.

But somebody tell me this: What did I do to her to earn such hatred? She didn't know me. I didn't know her. I hadn't said a word. All she knew about me was that I was Jewish. And the fact that the Jews had nothing to do with the Shah's rule of Iran didn't seem to have entered into her world view.

She'd already been poisoned against me--poisoned by her clerics and by her politicians. Poisoned by her parents and by her friends. Poisoned by lies and hatred passed down from generation to generation. Nearly the entire Arab world supported Hitler during WWII; does anyone out there remember that?

Hitler did his work well, there in the Middle East. They hate as virulently today as he did 60 years ago.

Right of way

Another interesting article on America's military superiority from the British point of view, from the Times (U.K., of course).

They have a section where you can read about life this day in 1788. Now THAT's a long history of publication.

I'm leaning to the right today, after reading far too much from the left. So I visited Muslimpundit. You should too.

Also from the right: An article regarding the sanctions on Iraq, and whether or not half a million children died as a result. I report; you decide. Like I said a few days ago: There's a middle way. I believe you need to know the information from both sides of an issue before you can make up your own mind.

A link to childhood

Got this one from my brother Eric: I didn't know they don't make the little ones anymore. Those were way cooler than the large Superballs, and far easier to lose. It never occurred to us to put them in our mouths.

I also don't remember Superballs being 98 cents. Probably because by the time my brothers and I were buying our own Superballs, they came down in price. But yeah, I remember the bouncing contests we used to have with them. Who could bounce their Superball the highest, fastest, farthest?

Wham-O! was a kid's best friend. I used to have a giant-sized comic they put out, but alas, it's gone with the years. However, I still have a frisbee. Used to have a hula-hoop. Never was very good at that. Well, we can't all be good at everything. (I kicked ass in Nok-Hockey.)



Really, really, really strange search request

This is one for the books: "pertinent moor forlorn streamed grownup". On AltaVista, no less--not Google. I am both impressed and amazed. I checked four pages and couldn't find my site. I did find, strangely enough, "An Interview with Kevin Smith" on (the actor, not the writer/producer/director), Lamar Alexander's website, a review of "The Case for Marriage" on the Weekly Standard's site, and a poem called "The History of Souls".

This searcher had perseverance. And some incredible imagery. It's practically a poem. Or a personal ad. "Pertinent moor, forlorn, seeks streamed grownup for friendship, possible LTR."

All right, I agree--sometimes I frighten myself. I'll stop now.

Update: A check on Google for the phrase returned no pages. Methinks Google wins the search engine contest, moors down.

A tree fell in the forest

Hm. Apparently, I was in the Daypop Top 40 most of yesterday. However, as I've stopped paying attention to the Daypop Top 40, I didn't know that until this morning, when I first noticed Daypop in my referrer logs. So now I have a philosophical question:

If your site gets into the Daypop Top 40, but you don't know about it, does it really count?

All I can say is: Thank God I wasn't in it for one of those ridiculous "Which X are you?" quizzes. People apparently picked up on my Netscape 3.0 surfing post.

Damn. If I'd known people were watching, I'd have cleaned the house a little bit. It's such a mess lately!

Absolutely hilarious link

Check this one out: The Death Clock. You put in your birthdate, it gives you your deathdate, and counts down the seconds until.

You gotta love a guy who puts this on his FAQ page:

Why don't you ask about habits or family history?
I do not go into details because I wanted the Death Clock to be simple. You can find plenty of life insurance web sites that go deep into this kind of detail, but I wanted the Death Clock to be simple and fun. If you smoke, just take off a few million seconds.

And that's not even the best of the funny ones. Change modes. You'll like seeing the differences.

More shorts

Every so often, I find another blog that makes me sit back and say, "Wow. This one can write." LoriLoo is a fascinating account of a woman teaching English in Korea. And it was all her fault that I put off dinner an hour tonight. I couldn't stop reading the archives.

Ran many errands today. Stopped at Edgemont Park during the errand run to enjoy the 50+ day. While watching the Canadian geese, I noticed they kept ducking their heads underwater, over and over again, then popping them back out.

I suppose it was too much to hope they were trying to drown themselves.

The geese are Canada's revenge on U.S. pop culture encroachment, I think.

Those of you who are either late-night or early-morning bloggers have discovered a secret about this website: I frequently update tomorrow's weblogs today. I think it's an old publishing habit. Even though there really is no deadline for this blog, I like to start the day out with new content, so I'll sometimes write late in the evening and upload the page, but I'll give it the next day's date.

The stats are with me. Most of you folks are calling during work hours. Which means, of course, that you're all goofing off instead of doing what you get paid to do. I'd lecture you, but then I'd have to stand in front of the mirror and point a finger at myself, and I really hate doing that.

Besides, goofing off is a good thing. You have to recharge so you can work harder. Yeah. Right. That'll work on the boss. Try it, let me know, and if not, we'll come up with better excuses, something more work-like. Ooh! Ooh! I know! I can start a CSS discussion! (Gee, that one's not gonna get me flamed....)



Why I blog

Why we blog has become a huge discussion topic on a bunch of other blogs. My reasons are pretty simple:

I like to write. Some people like to read what I write.

That's why I blog.

I had a bout of cache poisoning

But I'm all better now.

The most bizarre thing happened yesterday. Every time I tried to get to a certain site, I was redirected to And it wasn't a voluntary redirect, either--I just wound up on the FBI's site every time I tried to access the site I was typing into the browser. So I asked around, I tried this and that, and nothing worked until I sent email to my buddy Mike S., who knows more about the Internet than anyone I know. Apparently my cache was "poisoned" on the upstream, he says, which means very little to me, but he told me to clear my caches, I did it, it worked, I'm happy.

Falling for ice dancing

I haven't really been watching the Olympics. But every time I switch over to NBC while channel-surfing, they only seem to have one competition: Ice dancing. And I know it has its devotees, but frankly, ice dancing is only slightly more interesting to me than, oh, watching my cats sleep.

But tonight, I was watching the Italian couple do their dance, and the guy fell. So at the end of the routine, his partner was crying because she knew--and I knew, and her partner knew, and everyone out there watching knew--that if you fall, you don't win the gold medal. Period.

So the commentator, who is a former ice skater herself, and possibly even an ice dancer, said, "Well, a fall is always a .2 off the top, so it's going to be interesting to see the score."

Nah. No more interesting than watching my cats sleep. At least my cats twitch from time to time, and once in a while, they wake up from a bad dream and come crying up to me. That ice dancing score was a no-brainer, which is what I think the commentator thought her audience was.



Surfing the Web in a time machine

I found a Netscape 3.0 browser hanging around on my computer, and I simply had to see what things looked like surfing the web with one. I checked here, of course--except for that email script to the left, which writes all the way to the edge of the screen and beyond, is completely readable, albeit a bit more boring without my CSS styles.

Jonathon Delacour, Justin Thyme, and Rogi are readable. Burningbird, Meryl's Notes, and Absolute are incomprehensible to 3.0. Dave Winer's Scripting News took a long time to load, but it looks almost exactly the same in 3.0 (how'd he do that?), and the archives are also available and readable. Take that, CSS snobs! Point: Dave.

Rogi's Radio Weblog is readable, but throws off a zillion Javascript errors and windows you need to close. G'day Cobbers starts off readable, but then the Blogsnob ad throws it into javascript errors. (Blogsnob might want to take this into account. ANY site with a Blogsnob ad is unreadable in 3.0). Eric Grevstad wins the Radio prize for most perfect weblog visible in Netscape 3.0 (which is why he' the only one who gets linked to here, instead of on my portal page).

Robyn, you'll be happy to know that beautiful Green Goblin background still shows up just fine in 3.0. Todd, you'll be less happy to know none of your words on Excess Bloggage do. It's that Blogsnob ad, again.

I knew without even looking that Rebecca Blood would have a 3.0-viewable site.

Metafilter is readable, but really ugly.

The only professional site I bothered with was, which took long to load, but looks normal.

Now, a lot of you out there are probably saying, "Gimme a break! A 3.0 browser? Let them upgrade if they want to read my site." Well, that's one way of looking at it. My way of looking at it is: I wish they'd upgrade, but I won't push them away if they don't. I still won't create separate pages and browser-sniffer scripts, but I'll keep trying to create pages that you can read in 3.0 browsers. If you must. (Must you really?)

Teaching the world, one student at a time

The Paper Clip Project is a project that arose from a deputy principal's desire to teach diversity to a small-town Tennessee middle school. He started with teaching students about the Holocaust, and his student turned into a still-ongoing lesson in civics. Now they're either trying to buy an authentic cattle car that once brought Jews and others to the death camps, or they've already purchased it. Can't find the most up-to-date news article. It's stories like this that make you realize that hatred and bigotry will not conquer.

New Cattales




Interesting read

Okay, Andrew Sullivan has been removed from my regular reading list because of his insistence on imagining an American Fifth Column regarding September 11, and also because he's become an absolute bore over Paul Krugman's Enron money, but I do still check him out from time to time, and the man knows how to direct you to fascinating articles. Check out this Financial Times article about the American military compared to the rest of the world's forces. Makes their attitudes a bit more understandable. Also makes me want to stick out my tongue, but I'm bigger than that. Really.

You must be joking

As a corollary to the below, another thing I was fond of was buying all kinds of joke stuff, like the infamous "Snake in a can" and cigarette loads and yes, I admit it--Whoopee cushions. April 1st was always a dangerous day to be around me. I discovered, to my utter shock, that the snake in a can worked on nearly everyone I knew that long-ago April Fools' Day when I was in college. So of course I kept offering people peanuts, and of course they kept falling for that old chestnut.

After about the fifth person had been startled by the cloth-covered "snake" that shot out of the peanuts can, he said, "That is such an old joke. How can you pull such a stupid joke?" To which I replied: "How can you possibly fall for such a stupid joke?"

Actually, it was a good lesson. I came out of those years knowing how trusting the average person is, and determined to only take advantage of it one day a year. Oh, look. April 1st is only a few weeks away. Let's go see what I've still got left in the joke trunk.

College days

You've probably figured out by now that I was never the most serious of people. When I was younger, I was especially fond of the occasional practical joke. I was never into the kinds of jokes that humiliated people. I liked the gentle elbow nudge, although my methods could certainly be classified as Three Stooges. Subtle, they weren't.

One of the other editors on the school paper was, I felt, entirely too serious. Plus, she was always bumming my cigarette lighter from me, and I had to track it down before going to class most of the time. I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone. I picked up a squirting lighter from somewhere that looked exactly like a plastic butane lighter, and I waited for a chance. Well. One day she was interviewing one of the best-respected English teachers of the college, in the Montclarion office. So I hung around and deliberately left the phony lighter where Naedine would probably pick it up. This, of course, was in the days when it was still legal--and acceptable--to smoke anywhere we damn well pleased, don't forget. I may even have deliberately left the lighter on the desk I knew she would use for the interview. I really was a bit of a brat back then, I guess.

Dr. Benediktsson arrived, and I slipped around the corner of the office to the advertising desk and waited quietly, pretending to do homework. I could hear the interview going along (quite well, as I recall). About ten or fifteen minutes into the interview, Naedine yelled, "YOURISH!", and I started laughing. She'd fallen for the squirt lighter. Dr. Benediktsson thought it was funny, too--no harm done, but I made myself scarce.

But I probably should apologize or something. I did embarrass her in front of an interview subject. Not that it left a lasting scar or anything, but--hey. Sorry, Deenie. It won't happen again.

Last week's blogs are archived.