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Instantman is back

Glenn Reynolds is back from vacation, so the link junkies can have their fixes. And Laurence Simon is whoring for a link from the Instantman, but it's a really funny post. He's rewritten the Pledge of Allegiance for the blogosphere. With Glenn in the lead role.

In the meantime, I'm saving up my link requests for the week of July 27th, when I will be staying up for 24 hours, blogging. By the way, full disclosure now: I will be writing some posts and storing them for the day, as it sometimes takes me longer than 30 minutes to write a blog, and, well, I have to write 48 of them in 24 hours, and that's going to be a bit much unless you want something like, "Post 40: It's five a.m. and I want to go to sleep, and there's four more hours to go, and I have nothing else to say."

Boring, huh? A little obnoxious? Yeah. Lair and I are discussing whether or not to cross-post some things. Well, I sent him an email and he never answered it, but I suppose in some places that could be considered a discussion. Certainly in some marriages I've heard of.

All right. Back to packing. Gotta finish my bedroom today.

I think the next time I move, I'm going to let the moving men pack, too.

Go to bed, Mother or,
Adventures in Packing—don't try this at home

When last we left our Intrepid Packer, she was busy writing a post after having experienced the joys of packing up her five billion or so pounds of belongings on her favorite holiday of the year, accompanied by her older brother, Eric (also known as the Kvetch King), and her mother, Mom (also known as "Mooo-oooom!").

After an exhausting day in the near-100-degree heat and near-100 percent humidity, our Packers decided to take a break for dinner and fireworks (see below), what with it being the nation's birthday and all that, and what with Intrepid Packer being unable to watch (let alone find) her videotape of 1776, thus being forced to try to remember all of the songs and dialogue (which, unfortunately, she can—to about an 85% recollection rate, we estimate). And so after the fireworks, Kvetch King goes home, having remarked ad infinitum about how hot it was, how tired he was, and how hot it was, and how it so was not cooler on the hill on the grass than down below, and that the scoreboard was going to interfere with the view of the fireworks and he should have gone home because he was tired, and it was hot, and he was tired. (And trust me, I will get a kvetching email from him after this post goes public.) Which leaves Intrepid Packer alone with Mom, who gets insulted at not being allowed to play Solitaire on the computer and being forced to use playing cards instead.

After the welcome interruption of the neighbor's return home with three more children than she left with, Intrepid Packer shows James the surprise she'd promised, which is the package of full-sized Morning Glory sparklers she bought in Virginia and illegally carried across three state lines in order to, well, break the law in New Jersey by lighting some kick-ass sparklers. Distribution of several boxes of wimpy-sized Morning Glory sparklers occurred, and then finally, the finale, wherein we light enough Morning Glory full-size sparklers to read by, spreading ash and sparks around, blackening the ground and choking the courtyard with sulfurous smoke, followed by a half hour of chats and farewells to James' cousins (way cool kids, just into their teens, and a delight to speak to). Then, back to the apartment, where Mom is still playing Solitaire the old-fashioned way, to write last night's post.

Mom finally gets bored and tired, we pull out sofabed and she gets into it. I—er, the Intrepid Packer—keeps writing. Every few minutes, Mom comes up with a statement or question. "Did you remember to call the vet for the sedative?" "Do you want to go out to breakfast tomorrow morning?" "Is there a good place to go out to breakfast around here?" "Is Gracie still under the bed? Do you think she'll ever come out? Why is she so timid, anyway?" "What room are we going to start with tomorrow?"

Finally, our Intrepid Packer says, "Mom, it's late, I'm tired, and I'm trying to finish this so I can go to bed."

"Oh. Okay. Sorry."


"So we have to work on the kitchen and what room tomor—"

"Mom! It's past one in the morning, I'm tired, and I'm trying to finish this! I can't do that if you keep on asking me questions every two minutes!"

"Oh. Sorry. Good night."

Ever have one of those role-reversal moments that it takes 24 hours to recognize?

Yeah. Well, let me tell you, they're not fun. They're annoying. They're really annoying. They're doing it on purpose, you just know they are.

Interpreting the news

I do not pretend to be one of the intelligentsia. I don't claim to have a handle on The Way Things Work, or even The Way Things Are, although I do tend to complain that things aren't The Way Things Are Supposed To Be.

But I do know this: When an Egyptian national goes to an airport and chooses the only airline in the world where he is literally guaranteed to run into Jews either in front of or behind the counter, and then proceeds to begin murdering those people—I'm going to take a wild guess on the motive here: He's out to kill Jews.

Whether or not this makes him a terrorist doesn't matter. That his sympathies lie with the terrorists is clear: He is imitating them, right down to the knife to take out some more after he runs out of ammo. In Israel, stabbings used to be a daily occurrence as well; it was common to read about elderly Jewish men on their way to synagogue being stabbed by Palestinian terrorists.

The Israeli government is correct to treat this as a terrorist act unless proven otherwise. The FBI, who couldn't find their asses these days with both hands on their butt cheeks, ought to be doing the same.

No, this wasn't preventable. We can't have an armed guard stationed at every walk of American life. Things like this, alas, may happen more often in the future. But we can stop pretending that we don't need to keep watch on Middle Eastern males. And we can be very, very thankful that El Al is the most secure airline in the world, and prevented the death toll from reaching massacre proportions.



Hey buddy, have you got the time?

I don't, actually, but hey, my mom is over here, and she's spending the night rather than driving home after the fireworks, and she's going to help me pack tomorrow, so she's earning her keep. I think that's only fair. After all, how many hours of free labor did we put in as children and teenagers while staying with our parents? I say we should all put our parents to work every time they spend the night under our roof.

And if they don't like it, we can always say to them, "As long as you're living under my roof, this is how it's going to be!"

In the immortal words of Mr. B. Bunny, the Great Philosopher: Ain't I a stinkah?

Anyway. We went to the Bloomfield fireworks celebration, and we went early enough that we got a good parking space, and I am knowledgeable enough that I knew exactly where to park to beat the traffic at the end of the event. I didn't eat nearly as much junk food as I'd intended, what with having dinner right before leaving, but I did get a great Italian Ice and some of Mom's ice cream sundae. And the fireworks were great. I love Bloomfield. For two bucks, you get a program, 3-D glasses, and something to remember the fireworks by. This year they gave us each a poster that says "God Bless America" on the top, "United We Stand" on the bottom, and has a really pissed-off looking eagle in front of the Stars and Stripes in the middle. I think I'll keep mine. Of course, Tig has no respect for patriotism. I put it on the ottoman, and a moment after I did that, he jumped on the ottoman and laid down on the poster. My cat, the un-American. Come to think of it, aren't cats by definition un-American? Hm.

The program at Bloomfield's fireworks included a carnival (ignored it), the opening ceremonies (missed 'em), the VFW Award presentation (was looking for a place to sit), the Mayor's remarks (ignored him), the recreation awards presented by the mayor (ignored them), vocalist Jackie Core (barely heard her), and finally, the act we were all waiting for—okay, only some of us—the Tim Gillis Band. I heard some of their stuff, but we moved our spot up the hill, where it was about ten degrees cooler and there was a nice breeze. So we were pretty happy by the time the fireworks ("3-D Fireworks SPECTACULAR") started, and they were particularly excellent this year. And apparently you can sponsor the grand finale; the Bloomfield P.B.A. is listed as having done so on the program.

I love the Bloomfield fireworks. I call them small-town fireworks, but a quick check on the census page shows that Bloomfield has nearly 48,000 people. (Fred, it's 8,961.5 people per square mile.) It's not exactly a small town. But it feels like one. And it's certainly not New York, whose population density you can look up yourself, lazies.

I like being able to walk on JFK Drive, a street that has no sidewalks and no strollers except during football season, high school graduation, and the Fourth of July. I like the funnel cakes and the Italian ices and the Zeppoles and the outrageously-priced glowsticks. I like seeing Sikhs and Asians and Latinos and African-Americans and Italians and Poles and Jews all gather together in harmony for a single joyful purpose. This is what makes America great. E pluribus unum: Out of many, one.

And so another of America's birthdays has passed. Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam, and may you have many, many, many more, all of them happy and free.

More reasons to visit Mac Thomason

Mac Thomason has added a wonderful piece to the Hulk Blogomania: Space Ghost gathers together Captain Euro, the Hulk, Blossom of the Powerpuff Girls, and Aquaman. It's a hilarious sendup:

Issue One, Israeli operations in the West Bank. Captain Euro?

EURO: The Israelis need to show patience with the Palestinian Authority, and allow the peace process to go on, rather than disrupting it with these senseless attacks. Answering violence with violence is never the answer. Only at the negotiating table can we find peace.

SG: WRONG! Hulk?


SG: Correct! Issue two, is toxic waste good for fish? Aquaman?

AQUAMAN: That is the stupidest thing I ever heard.

Mac also seems to be doing his best to fill in for Instantman with many news updates throughout the day. See? I told you his blog is great.



Have a glorious (and safe) Fourth!

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

You can read the rest of it here:

IOU lots of things

There are not enough hours in the day for the time being. Much as I would like to, I can't get to the Ann Coulter letters, I can't scan the blogs and post replies to those of you who cross-posted, I can't read the news the way I like to, and I can't even read as many blogs as I'd like. I gotta pack, folks, and today I uttered for the first time in my life the words I never thought I'd ever say, "Oh, God, not another box of comics to sort!"

They are sorted into "keep" and "dump"; anything further awaits the Post-Move Unboxing Event. My go-through boxes are mostly went; only two more left, I think. Eric has been commandeered again to help move boxes and do other moving-like things, as well as accompany me to my last-ever fireworks show in Bloomfield. (Montclair doesn't have the marching band and the Italian pastry stands.)

Susanna Cornett may or may not get a chance to stop by and sample The Chair That Swallows You Whole, but I think it's a pretty safe bet that we're eating Chinese take-out if she's here for dinner. I intend to box up all the dishes tomorrow.

James Wolf turns out to have blogged Ben Grimm's turning out to be Jewish weeks ago.

Summertime, and the living is easy. Mac Thomason is going to have a lightening of the blog, which is a shame, because I find his War Liberal to be one of the funniest, wittiest blogs around. We are currently discussing a species of walking fish invading Maryland (no, I am not kidding). I was going to tell you all to go there while I'm a bit busy this week, but he's going to be busy as well. Go there anyway.

Hm. Life was a lot easier last summer, when nobody was actually reading this weblog. (7 visitor sessions per day last July, probably half of them me. No kidding. I'm not kidding. Why do you all think I'm kidding all of a sudden? Hey, I thought I was hot stuff in August, when I shot up to 30 visitor sessions a day.)

In the interest of diverting your attention from me, ah, promoting new blogs, I have recently discovered Fred First, who writes Fragments From Floyd, and that's as much alliteration I can handle for now. I also found out that Planet Swank is in the blogosphere, and there's a new Google game that I didn't know about until I read Gregory's blog. It was fun, but not good for my ego. Meryl is... not on the first few pages of results.

I wish I had a designated blogger who could help me out here. I should appoint NZ Bear my D.B., but then again, he's got enough work of his own to do. Laurence Simon would probably be happy to post for me, but then I'd be afraid to log on and see what he'd said.

We have finally broken the $1800 mark. Two more people have generously contributed to the Shaare Zedek Blogathon Pledge Drive. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I think Laurence has been stuck at the same level for a few days, too. Someone who hasn't pledged yet go pledge Magen David Adom—please?

Apparently someone at the National Institute of Health is reading this weblog. You know, every time I think of NIH I slip back to NIMH, as in "The Secret of NIMH," which was a pretty good animated film about an NIH-like place and some experimental rats. Do you suppose anyone else has that problem? It's quite annoying, and I wish it would stop.

Anyway. If you're looking for a classic example of multiple personalities, you've come to the right place. There's an army inside my head, and they all come out in the blogs. But I don't hear nearly as many voices, I think, as Bigwig does. A fact for which I am extremely thankful. But he does a pretty funny takedown of the AP article of the Palestinian labor riot in Gaza. And his stories about annoying the wife are among my favorites. (The man is insane. The wife is a saint.)

Okay. Between all those links, the holiday weekend, and my portal page, that ought to keep you busy while I finish packing, cleaning, and moving.



My name is Meryl, and I am a blogaholic

I am turning off my computer and not turning it back on again until very, very late tonight. I started this last night, intending to put it up after an exhausting day packing. Instead, I've found myself working on it and adding to it this morning. Well. I can quit anytime I want. Just watch me.

It's search engine time

Yes, it's that time of the month, folks--the beginning, when WebTrends allows me to see many more of the searches than I usually get. I suppose I could get SiteMeter or something like that and see them every day, but that would take all of the fun out of the first few days of the month, and believe me, those of us who have to pay bills--uh, that would be all of us, wouldn't it?--need our fun during the first week of the month.

This one takes the grand prize: burqa clip art. Uh-huh. Someone wants to plaster burqas all over their website. This is one sick dude.

sex pics free, bazooms, and naked breast: [sing-song] Someone's looking for tittie pictures

incredible hulk bin laden: No, no, no. Repeat after me: "Hulk SMASH bin laden. Hulk smash bad man who hurt city worse than Hulk ever did. Well, maybe not worse, but Hulk never KILL puny humans! Bad bin Laden. Hulk smash!"

puking pictures eating contest: Ew. And may I say, "Ewwwwwwww!" Did I say "EW!"?

ny area futons: These are the sophisticated versions. The out of town futons all go to see the Lion King.

how to fake hits: Hm. First they're faking hits, then they're faking orgasms, the next thing you know it's the end of civilization as we know it.

apartment flies: Mine doesn't.

the cultural relativists solution: That would be the one where Hulk gets his brain back and declares that wrong has been done on both sides, participates in a weekend retreat with the Israelis and Palestinians, at the end of which he declares the situation has been resolved, promises funds to the Palestinians and security to the Israelis. A month later, when a terrorist bomb explodes in Jerusalem and kills 27 civilians, including a five-month-old baby, Hulk gets angry again and smashes Arafat's HQ in Ramallah, this time with Arafat inside.

great fuck saudi: I think that's a contradiction in terms

saudi xxx: Sorry, we have no pictures of Saudi women showing their ankles. I almost had a line on one showing their right big toe, but it turned out to be a fake. It was a was a cross-dresser named Abdul, wearing his sister's burqa. (Thankfully, I discovered the deceit before I sent in my $1.98.)

lies about jews history: See Arab News, Al-Jazeera, and, well, all of the rest of the Arab media, as well as Indymedia. Corollary: David Duke.

jersey chicken: Am not!

A little extra time

So of course moments after writing the post below, I'm skimming and come upon a weblog called Democracy for the Middle East. I have rarely been literally thrilled with a new weblog, but this is a fine, fine weblog with detailed discussion of the ongoing problems in Israel and the Middle East. It's been around for months. It's a good compendium for web stories as well. Here's their about statement:

Welcome to Democracy for the Middle East - a news aggregation, analysis and discussion blog. [...] The DFME blog was developed to promote the idea that America and its allies will not be secure until the autocracies and predator regimes of the Middle East are replaced by democratically elected governments.

They link to and discuss articles from the usual suspects (NRO, OpinionJournal, Times, Post). Fascinating read. Can't wait until I have a bit more time to explore them. Charles, it's a new anti-Idiotarian blog for you.

If you have't caught Jay Nordlinger's latest piece in NRO, please do. He interviews SFSU's Laurie Zoloth:

Some administrators and faculty expressed a right concern, others did not. One department chairman remarked that the mere fact of a peace rally held by Jews was "provocative" — "like Sharon going to the Temple Mount." Another attitude, says Prof. Zoloth, was that "boys will be boys," and that passions must have been running high on "both sides." It was even claimed that the Arab counter-demonstrators were provoked by the presence of police barricades, placed between the Jewish students and their attackers, for "it is culturally inappropriate to put barricades in front of Palestinians." Prof. Zoloth cannot help wondering whether people would believe that the incident had even taken place, if not for the instant testimony of eyewitnesses (chiefly herself), the ensuing journalistic interest — and the fortunate evidence of police videos.

Not surprisingly, she is undergoing "second thoughts." She is thinking about leaving the campus, because how can one work, in Jewish Studies, in such a climate, and how can one recruit? "Come to SFSU, where you'll feel right at home!" Jewish students have found it prudent to tuck Stars of David under their shirts. Laurie Zoloth reflects the anguish that many in her position are experiencing around the country:

"There has been widespread discussion among Jews on the left, with a strong history on the left. I myself ask, 'How does a movement that I care about — a progressive movement — make such a dramatic misassessment? How could it possibly legitimize Yasser Arafat? How could it have gone wrong?' Lay that against what should be done in this war, or the general question of love of country, and, yes: It gives one pause. I am very devoted to the Democratic party, and here I am, talking to a very conservative, Republican magazine [i.e., National Review]. And yet it is very important to hear the truth from whatever quarter it emerges. This is a time for thinking about issues in a different way. September 11 raises questions, the politics of the Middle East raise questions . . . and all of this tends toward realignment."

Look at that first quoted paragraph. A department chair insisted that Jews holding a peace rally was "provocative." The pro-Palestinians were "provoked by the presence of police barricades." It is "culturally inappropriate to put barricades in front of Palestinians." Yeah, well, ya think maybe it's "culturally inappropriate" to put a screaming mob in front of Jews?


Moving right along

Both my brothers came over to help me pack today, albeit at different times. Have I mentioned how convenient it is to have brothers? They're bigger than I, stronger, and can do neat things like fix the flourescent lightbulb in the kitchen so that I can finally remember what it's like to have a light on in the kitchen that isn't just over the sink. (Thanks, Eric.) I mean, I probably could have done it by myself, but I thought I needed to get the smaller bulb replaced as well, so instead of experimenting with just the one (which is what Eric did), I just kept forgetting to buy a new bulb. If I were married, you see, that would be my husband's job. I'm perfectly fine with regular lightbulbs, but when you go and put something funky like a round flourescent light into the mix, I am suspicious and uneasy about changing it. I suspect evil things will happen, or at least bad breakages causing many stitches, or maybe an unexpected electric shock.

In point of fact, I absolutely loathe all handyman-type jobs. I mean, I do them, for the most part—or at least the simple ones. I can hammer a nail in the wall to hang something light. For the more complicated tasks, I generally ask a male friend or relative over to take care of it. I used to make dinner for a good friend of mine as payment for doing things like putting in the air conditioner in the bedroom. My brothers generally get no payment other than a thank-you. Such is the price of being related.

Okay, that's not true. I make dinner and give them things that they like, like bottles of Stewart's Root Beer. (We're heavy drinkers, the Yourishes. Watch out for us at parties—a four-pack of Stewart's and we're uncontrollable.)

So now I have my spare room separated into go-through boxes, gone-through boxes, comic boxes, and things not yet in boxes. My living room is full of boxes of comic books, things to be gone through, and things to be boxed. The hallway between the spare room and bedroom is filled with comic boxes (gone through; keepers). I think I should be able to go through all the things in the spare room tomorrow if I give it the old college try.

What is the old college try, anyway? It's an old expression, but what, exactly, does it mean? Some people try hard in college. Others skate through it. I know; I skated through any class that bored me, and tried hard in classes that I loved or that I had to pass because they were required. Perhaps I should just give it the old Yourish try, and forget about that college thing.

One thing I've discovered for sure while going through all my things: I have too many comic books, and I'm not giving them up. They're going to cost me between 50 and 44 cents a pound to move, but dammit, I'm not giving them up! I'm estimating about 500 lbs. worth of comics, probably more. Ah, well. C'est la hobbie. (Did I mention that I'm not giving them up?)

There was a point today when a Charlie Brown "AAAAUUUUGGGGGHHHH!!!!" was dying to come out, but I got past that, and even though I can't watch TV without moving a whole bunch of boxes and I'm tripping over boxes everywhere I turn, I'm starting to get really excited about the move. I'll have my new phone number on Friday, and have to track down which cable company serves the area I'm moving to, but everything else is just about set. I've been trying to avoid the old, "Gonna be busy the next few days; posting will be light" warning, but I don't see how I can avoid saying it. I'll be logging on, but I won't have time to scan the news and get outraged by or amused with the things I read. You'll just have to settle for moving reports, which may not be particularly moving, although if I find anything amusing I will certainly pass it along. I'll have to remember to write about the flag we found (my father was a Vet) in a day or so. A good story for the Glorious Fourth.



It's Stereoptype Clobberin' Time!

Who knew? The Thing, founding member of the Fantastic Four, researches his roots and turns out to be—Jewish.

Ben Grimm was created by writer Stanley Lieber and artist Jacob Kurtzberg - two men of Jewish heritage who worked professionally as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. In 1961, they produced a comic book called the "Fantastic Four," about a man whose limbs could stretch to preposterous lengths, a teenager who could become a creature of living fire, a woman who could make herself invisible, and Ben - "the Thing," a monstrous creature with rocky orange skin.

It's probably significant that he was an outcast, an object of misunderstanding and fear. And that his humor helped him cope. I'm told Kirby kept in his home a private sketch of the character that was never intended for publication. It depicted Ben wearing what "Fantastic Four" editor Tom Brevoort calls "full Jewish regalia" - one imagines the dark hat and long coat of the Hasidim - and holding a Torah.

Evidently, in the minds of his creators, Ben was always Jewish. But they never called him that in print. I guess they never felt they could. As Brevoort puts it, "The expectations of the time didn't permit that."

Forty-one years later, things - no pun intended - have changed. This month, Brevoort published a story that takes Ben back to his old stomping grounds and, for the first time, reveals his religious roots. "You're really Jewish?" asks the villain of the piece.

"There a problem with that?" replies the Thing.

"No," says the bad guy, looking into that craggy, orange puss. "It's just... you don't look Jewish."

Via Karl Martino. Thanks, Karl. That was a great article. Boy, would I love to see that picture of a Hasidic Ben Grimm.

Quick headlines

18 Americans turned away from entering Israel
JERUSALEM (July 2, 2002 8:17 a.m. EDT) - Israel barred 18 Americans from entering the country and put them on a flight back to the United States on Tuesday as part of a policy of refusing entry to foreigners who want to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

The Americans arrived at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday with the aim of going to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Tova Ellison said.


American tycoon completes balloon journey, sets record
KALGOORLIE, Australia (July 2, 2002 10:30 a.m. EDT) - American adventurer Steve Fossett drifted into aviation history Tuesday, becoming the first person to fly a balloon solo around the world.

Flying through the darkness over the ocean south of Australia in his silvery Spirit of Freedom balloon, Fossett crossed east of 117 degrees longitude, the line from which he set off two weeks ago.

The Chicago investment millionaire covered more than 19,250 miles on the trip, finally succeeding in his sixth attempt at the record.

Bad. (Think those millions might have been put to a better use?)

U.S., Afghan officials probe attack that killed dozens
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (July 2, 2002 8:54 a.m. EDT) - Afghanistan's new regime was looking for answers Tuesday to why U.S. planes bombed a central Afghan village, killing scores of people.

The U.S. military said American forces came under fire. Survivors say the planes attacked a wedding, killing mostly women and children.

"We are sending a team to investigate, to find out what happened," said Tayyab Jawad, a spokesman for newly elected President Hamid Karzai.

Very bad, if true.

Time to break out the guilt

Okay, folks. The Blogathon totals for both Laurence and me have remained static for about three days now. I realize we have 25 days to go before the Blogathon, but still—there are a lot of people out there that read this site every day, and to date, only 47 of you have pledged.

Last month's stats are in, and they're a truer gauge of my current averages than May, as Instapundit linked to me more than a few times that month. With only two minor Instamentions in June, I'm up to about 655 visits per day. Using the same 60% ratio, that's about 400 uniques per day. We're talking a bare ten percent donation level.

And here's where I bring out the big guilt gun: I don't even have a tip jar out there, folks. Every cent of this website cost is on my dime. I'm not asking for money for me. I'm asking for money for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, a hospital in Jerusalem that wants to upgrade its trauma center. A hospital that doesn't care if you're rich or poor, Israeli or Arab—only that you need their help. They're a non-profit hospital and they turn away no one.

Laurence is going to blog for Mogen David Adom, the Israeli version of the Red Cross that is barred from participation in the International Red Cross for the most spurious of reasons—because the Star of David is its symbol. Mogen David Adom gets almost no money from the would-be parent organization, although the Palestinian Red Crescent—whose ambulances were just used in another attempt to smuggle terrorists into the Gaza Strip—gets plenty of money from them.

As I said the first time I mentioned the Blogathon, if my readers contributed only ten dollars each, I could raise thousands for Shaare Zedek. The generous contributors so far are averaging nearly $38 a pledge, and I am very grateful to them. But there's another number that's been pledged a lot: $18. 18 is the number for chai. Chai means "life" in Hebrew. People have been pledging chai and twice-chai, or $18 and $36. And remember, every cent of your pledge is going to go directly to the hospital. No middlemen. I don't touch a dime. You pledge today, or tomorrow, or on the 27th, and then you mail out a check on the 28th.

Okay. End of begathon. Now back to our regularly-scheduled program.

Just a few things

I've told you folks about Heidi dozens of times. She's my best friend that lives south of Richmond. She's the reason I'm moving southward, having fallen in love with the area due to visiting her there for the past eleven years. She offered to come up here and help me pack, even.

She's going to be out of the state during my move.

I told her tonight that I'd be holding this over her for at least three or four years, and I know she reads the weblog from time to time, so I figured I'd start tonight. Oh, yeah, this one will be wearing thin on her by September, I think.

The last week or so I've been doing a lot of barefooting, what with it being summer and my hating to wear shoes. I noticed a really neat thing. You can always tell when you're walking where a cat was sleeping, as the rug stays warm for a while after they get up. Big "awww" as you step on it and smile.

Then this morning, I realized the flip side of barefooting and cats. Because you can also always tell where you cleaned up cat vomit on the rug by walking on the still wet spot. Carpet takes a long time to dry.

I've resolved my Bruce Hill/Bill Herbert fiancé dilemma. Forget Utah and polygamy or polyandry or pollyanna or whatever it's called. I'll just stay engaged to both of them and let them work harder to get me. The way I see it, it's a win-win situation. But yeah, Bill is in the lead right now by virtue of being in the same hemisphere. Bruce is catching up by naming me "F**ked site of the week" for my post on swearing. (This is the most self-referential post I have written in a long, long time; forgive me, folks.) Ya think he's trying to get a Yahoo! pick of the week slot by using those asterisks?

If this keeps up, I'll have quite the collection of bloggers by the end of the year. Who says all of the good ones are taken?


Wow, I got a lot of mail about the Ann Coulter post below. There were some thoughtful responses, including one from Bill at Ideofact, that I may excerpt later on. But for now, all I'm going to say is that I still think the woman is a nutcase who deserves to be laughed at as much as we laugh at Cynthia McKinney. It is late, and I am tired, and I have a full day of packing scheduled for tomorrow. I have a full day of packing scheduled for Wednesday. I have a full day of packing scheduled for Thurs—oh, wait, it's the Fourth. Phew. Only a half day of packing.

But you get the point.



The natives are getting restless

Thousands of Palestinians rallied in Gaza yesterday—against the Palestinian Authority.

In the Gaza City march, the demonstrators expressed their anger at the PA, accusing it of corruption, but stopped short of attacking Arafat. At the end of the rally, demonstrators shouted slogans in support of Arafat in response to Bush's call to oust him, according to a Palestinian source. But in general, the mood was against the PA, the source added.

"There is no problem with al-Khetiar [the old man], but all faces around him must be removed," said Ahmad el-Laham of the Khan Yunis refugee camp, as others nodded agreement.

"Some of those who should be serving the public are robbing the public," said Tawfik al-Mashwaki. He said he traveled five hours through Israeli checkpoints to attend the rally.

Most of the demonstrators were Palestinian laborers. The crowd marched on Arafat's damaged headquarters to express its anger.

"I warn that there is a hunger revolution coming... It is not politics anymore, it is survival," said Bassam Abu Sharif, an adviser to Arafat.

[...] According to unofficial Israeli figures, at least 120,000 Palestinians worked in Israel before the intifada began, earning up to $30 a day. According to World Bank statistics, 50% of Palestinians now live on $2 a day or less.

There is reportedly close to 60% unemployment in the Gaza Strip. Dahman said at least 135,000 people lost jobs during the 21 months of violence, 40,000 of whom used to work in Israel.

The price of violence, people.

Conservative blind spot

Scoobie Davis started a blog to fact-check Ann Coulter's ass.

Regarding the War On Terror, on page 5 and 6, Coulter makes the accusations that “[i]n lieu of a military response against terrorists abroad and security precautions at home, liberals wanted to get the whole thing over with and just throw conservatives in jail” and “[l]iberals hate America, they hate ‘flag-wavers,’ they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam (post 9/11). Even Islamic terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do.”

Two of the sources Coulter uses to arrive at these scurrilous conclusions are New York Times columns by Frank Rich and Bruce Ackerman. On page 5, Coulter writes, “New York Times columnist Frank Rich demanded that [Attorney General] Ashcroft stop monkeying around with Muslim terrorists and concentrate on anti-abortion extremists.”

REALITY: I checked the column Coulter cited and found that nowhere in the column does Rich even remotely suggest that Ashcroft curtail efforts against Islamic terrorists. In fact, I checked every post-9/11 Times column by Rich and found that Rich has not made any such demands of Ashcroft. This is one of Coulter’s lies that I e-mailed to Alan Colmes who interviewed Coulter last night (6/25/02) on Fox News’s Hannity & Colmes show. Colmes confronted Coulter with this. Coulter’s response: “that is an accurate paraphrase...” (I’ll provide a full transcript of Coulter and Colmes’s exchange on this matter later).

I don't have a problem with debate. I have serious problems with flat-out lies being passed along as "proof" that liberals are evil. And let me tell you, if I have to declare myself one way or the other by declaring myself with or against Coulter, then I am once again a liberal, of the bleeding-heart variety, and unashamed to be so.

I don't hate America. I don't hate flag-wavers. I don't hate abortion opponents, and I certainly don't hate all religions except Islam. "Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do," Coulter writes.

Unbelievable canards. This woman slams millions of freedom-loving Americans—a phrase that can also be applied to liberals—without shame.

The fact that Coulter can proclaim this crap and not be excoriated from the rooftops of all conservative institutions bothers me a great deal. A great deal.

How you can claim this woman as one of your own astonishes me. How you can respect anything this woman writes astonishes me. How you can take seriously anything she utters angers me.

You ask liberals to decry the Cynthia McKinney loons. Fine. Now I'm asking conservatives to do the same for Ann Coulter. Stop being proud of idiots like Coulter and slam them the way you slam McKinney. I'm getting a little tired of the bozos getting a free pass because you agree with a few of the things they say. Fair practices, my conservative friends—that's all I'm asking for.

I swear

I have come to the sad conclusion that I will probably never be a Pick of the Week on Yahoo!, or a Site of the Week on AOL, or, in fact, picked by any of the mainstream sites. It's because I use swear words. I've been a very good little camper lately, barely using any of the forbidden words, but they've been pushing very hard to come out. It's part of what I am. I swear. I like to, especially while driving. Actually, I don't like to swear while I'm driving, but it seems to be the inevitable result of, oh, being cut off by an idiot refusing to look to her right before coming into my lane.

I've been using "WTF" lately, because it seems more decorous. And I've changed some swears to other words ("asshole" to "moron" is a big one these days), and you folks might have gotten the impression that I am a lady. (Excuse me while I fall on the floor in hysterics at the mere thought of typing that.) Sorry. I like to swear. My daddy taught me, and he could swear better than four or five sailors put together. It took me a long time to clean up my act after seven years of living with Dad. But I worked pretty hard at it, and now I only swear like a sailor when I get really, really, really angry.

A true story: I once outswore a truck driver. I was driving to work, near the Meadowlands Arena, years ago. You have to loop around Route 20? 120? (can't remember, it's been a while) from Route 3, and there's a part of that turnoff that splits up. It's a three-lane road there, with clearly delineated signs. The right-hand lane goes to the Meadowlands, the left lane goes to Route 3 eastbound, and the middle lane allows you to choose either one. I'm in the middle lane, an 18-wheeler is in the right lane, no one is in the left lane. I need to veer to the right to get to work. The idiot in the truck suddenly realizes he needs to continue on to Route 3 and he is in the wrong lane (again, in spite of signs clearly indicating the right lane is only for the Meadowlands and you need to be in the left lane for Route 3). So he goes straight, and my choice is to be squashed by an 18-wheeler or move over and let him in. Furious, I slip into the left lane and lean on my wimpy little Ford Escort horn. I now had to go to the next exit, which was the Meadowlands Parkway, and turn around and get onto Route 3 westbound to get to work. So I get past the truck and get off on the Parkway, and I'm stopped at the traffic light at the end of the ramp, listening to loud music and fuming about the jerk who nearly killed me, when I suddenly realize there is a voice yelling at me over my music. I look to my left, and see the truck driver waiting to turn left at the light. He's yelling at me for cutting him off. So I turn off the radio and roll down the window and let loose a volley of invective indicating exactly what I thought of him, his lack of driving skill, and his ancestry back several generations. He stopped yelling and sat there looking rather stunned. When I finally paused to take a breath, there was a brief moment of silence, followed by two words from him: "Your mother!"

The light turned green, he turned left, I turned right, and I think it's safe to say I won that one.

Damn, I like to swear sometimes. So I hope you don't mind, but the kiddie-proofing has worn off, and sometimes, just sometimes, I have to say, "What the fuck?"



Bits and pieces

Overheard at the movers last week:

"Yeah, this is the moving company. We can't move you. You have bugs. We can't move bugs."

The Blogathon total has been stuck at $1778 since sometime Saturday.

It ain't over 'til it's over

I'm sorry, Bruce, but I have to break off our engagement. Between the fact that you're in Australia while I'm in America, and the fact that, well, I found someone else—it's over.

Bill Herbert has won my heart away from you with his new website, "What DIDN'T Really Happen," the site where he takes on Justin Raimondo and other anti-Semitic morons (the site name is, as well as stupid conspiracy theorists just begging to be deflated. And deflate them he does:

But out of fairness, I will acknowledge that the comparison was not intended to suggest that Raimondo buys into the same idiotic theories that Ruppert and McKinney suggest. His is an entirely different flavor of dementia. But when it comes to his methods, there is simply no daylight between them.

Like Ruppert, Raimondo flagrantly distorts the public record to make his case, and has himself perfected the "selective vacuum-cleaner" approach to research that Normon Solomon used to describe Ruppert. Take his treatment of the 60-page draft DEA report on the so-called Israeli "art student" spies. As Bruce Ralston has shown, Raimondo's interpretation of the document literally parodies itself, attempting to create mass hysteria at the fact that a few of these students had lived mere blocks from "an address" of four of the 9/11 hijackers. A cursory reading of the document shows that this "address" was a Mailbox Rentals store, where perhaps hundreds of other suspicious characters may have "lived." Flit provides other examples of Raimondo's command of forensics.

But cheer up, Bruce. You and I will always remain friends. Or—wait! I have it! I could move to Utah, and be a polygamist. Women are allowed to have multiple husbands there too, right? It's the "what's good for the goose" principle.

There you go. I'll just have two fiancés for now, and ultimately two husbands later on. Works for me. You guys don't mind sharing, do you?

Hulk smash pop psychology!

Gary Farber mentions an article by comic book writer Gerard Jones that details how important The Incredible Hulk was to him as a child—and that violence is good for kids.

One of my mother's students convinced her that Marvel Comics, despite their apparent juvenility and violence, were in fact devoted to lofty messages of pacifism and tolerance. My mother borrowed some, thinking they'd be good for me. And so they were. But not because they preached lofty messages of benevolence. They were good for me because they were juvenile. And violent.

The character who caught me, and freed me, was the Hulk: overgendered and undersocialized, half-naked and half-witted, raging against a frightened world that misunderstood and persecuted him. Suddenly I had a fantasy self to carry my stifled rage and buried desire for power. I had a fantasy self who was a self: unafraid of his desires and the world's disapproval, unhesitating and effective in action. "Puny boy follow Hulk!" roared my fantasy self, and I followed.

That's two from Mother Jones this week. From conservative webloggers. What on earth is going on in the world? Oh, and Gary—it would have been even funnier if the guy's name was Rick instead of Gerard. Rick Jones writing about The Hulk. Where have we seen that before?

Southern hospitality

Susanna Cornett had me over to supper tonight, and treated me to a good old-fashioned Southern meal. Fried chicken, fried corn, mashed potatoes, biscuits, gravy—major, major yum. Really good meal. She invited me for dinner after I mentioned in one of her comments that her recipe for fried corn sounded wonderful. It was. Actually, it was even better than it sounded.

We had a nice evening, in between her obsessively checking her website stats. No, just kidding. Once we got away from the computer, she was fine.

You know, this is really strange timing. I'm getting to know people like Susanna and Diane E., and I'm moving 350 miles south in a week and a half. Kinda sucks, because I'm making new friends that I'm going to miss when I'm gone. On the other hand, they can visit me in Richmond, and I can meet the Richmond area bloggers. And the D.C. bloggers. And the North Carolinians. It's something to look forward to.

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.