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Who had the link to the John Edward article in Salon, and the blog where I left my typical anti-Fraudward rant? Too much bloghopping can cause amnesia; I've forgotten where I was. I hate when that happens. Then people think I never come back and respond to their comments. I would, if I could remember where I'd left mine.

The dogs have justified their existence today. They made sure that the neighbor who wanted to borrow a wood clamp wasn't really a serial killer in disguise, with Worf and Willow, the two great Ridgebacks, shouting quite loudly in dog language, "I'm going to kill you! I'm going to kill you!", and Sparty, the 10-lb. poodle shouting, "They're gonna kill you! And I'm gonna watch!" after the doorbell rang.

Of course, it's entirely possible I gave away two of G.'s wood clamps to a complete stranger whose racket is to pretend to be a neighbor and ask for tools. You never can tell.

And while we're on the topic of dogs, may I say that I was sufficiently spooked at sleeping alone in this great big house that I did allow the dogs in my room last night. Worf, all 100 lbs. of him, was already on my bed when I got around to wanting to go to sleep. This was by virtue of my forgetting to shut my bedroom door. At first I wanted him off the bed, but then I realized I was a bit uneasy--this is a new house, with new noises, and, well, I was a little creeped out. So I let him stay, but made him move to the foot of the bed and on the other side. Which did not prevent him from moving over during the night and putting much of his 100 lbs. on my legs, if not against my side. Sparty did his usual thing and slept motionlessly once he found a comfortable spot. Which was not on my side. Willow declined politely and slept on her bed outside. (Once again, for those of you who use the metric system, feel free to convert pounds to kilograms yourself, as I refuse to bother, what with being an ignorant American and all that.)

Spock's beard, the Chomsky contingent, South Africa, and no more orange-on-black

Andrea Harris has quite the selection to choose from this week. There's her comments regarding the Chomsky & Co. letter:

My only reason for bringing this up is to tell you of what it reminded me. Remember that Star Trek (the original series) episode where Kirk, Scotty, and Uhuru get knocked into an alternate universe by mistake? And everything is evil and more violent (yet better dressed and sexier!) in the alternate universe? And how we were cued in to the fact that they were in an alternate universe that was evil by the fact that alternate-universe Spock had a beard? (You remember the scene: they quit materializing, Spock turns around, and as the screechy Shocking Ending to Scene theme music cranks up, they stare in horror at his little coffee-house goatee. Radical.) Anyway, I have figured it out: these people, all n number of them, are refugees of an alternate universe. Only in their universe, everything is the ultra-peaceful, hippies-'n'-flowers, lion-lies-down-with-the-lamb kind of place where phrases like "No More War!" and "War Hurts Children and Other Living Things" really do cast a magic spell on (potential) combatants, turning their blows into hugs, making them start macrame plant-hanger cooperatives or free-range chicken farms together.

Every once in a while, I read something and say, "Damn, I wish I'd said that!" The alternate-universe comparison is perfect, especially the "yet better dressed and sexier!" part. And check out her post on why the rest of the world--particularly the African nations--should be emulating the United States instead of excoriating us.

Oh, yeah--she now has her blog in default black text/white background mode, with your choice of three other color schemes. Thanks, Andrea. Thanks, Lair. My eyes adore you. You're making blogdom safe for the nearsighted.

Speaking of voices in heads...

Laurence Simon has added a script that turns his text/background colors into black on white, which means I can read his weblog again without getting a blinding headache. It also makes invisible any text inside his left menu, as that background is black, but hey--if you need to see it, you can select all (control-A) and then read it in white on blue again. If you're that insane, that is.

All you have to do is click on his nose. Where else would you click?

The voices in his head

Bigwig says I have conversations inside my head. Well, he's right, but I generally don't post them. Like he does. And his bio says he's a systems administrator. Ya know, I've worked with many of his kind, and knew they were a little off, but didn't realize how much. Zod, eh? Here's my favorite scene from the Mad Magazine spoof of Superman 2:

General Zod, after landing on Earth: Is this the planet Houston?

Bystander: Man, not only are they super-strong, but they're super-dumb!

I'm pretty sure I still have that issue in a box somewhere. Maybe I'll find it while packing.

"I am General Arafat!"

While reading the latest outrage from the blivit known as the Saudi Ambassador to London, I also saw this article, which details how Yasser Arafat is spending the money that idiots donate to the Palestinian Authority--and how he distributes the much-needed food to his own people.

Yesterday, Al-Watan received documents from private sources in the Cairo branch of an Arab bank showing that Yasser Arafat had deposited in his name $5.1 million into a personal account. According to sources, this is theft of Arab aid funds allocated to the Palestinians through an arrangement between Arafat and his Cairo office head Ramzi Khouri.
The sources added that nobody knows of this theft, with the exception of some of Arafat's closest cronies, including his Cairo office head Ramzi Khouri and Khaled Slam, originally from Iraq, whose real name is Muhammad Rashid and who is one of Arafat's top 'and most influential' advisors.

The sources added that some weeks ago Muhammad Rashid had bought, on Arafat's instructions, 14% of the shares of the Jordanian Cement Company for the PSCS(1) with funds received by Arafat from the Arab Gulf states, 'to increase the profits of Arafat's investments abroad,' in light of the increase in cement prices following increased demand due to the reconstruction of what the Israeli forces destroyed in their recent incursion into the West Bank cities.
The sources added that the citizens entitled to these funds appealed to the head of the committee, a Hebronite from the Al-Qawasmeh family, but received nothing.

The sources added that most of the food aid sent to the PA was sold in Palestinian and Israeli markets without being distributed to the poor and needy, and the latter began to shout 'at the top of their lungs' that a popular committee must be established for aid distribution, since they had lost all faith in the PA and its apparatuses.

They have pictures of the documents. Proof of theft. And yet, the EU will continue to insist that Arafat is the "legimitate" and "elected" leader of the Palestinian people. Is it any wonder that he eliminates all opposition? What a sweet deal he's got going. He knows the Israelis will never kill him--Sharon gave Bush his word on that. So he skims millions from the American and EU monies, and he invests in companies that will profit from the actions of the intifada! He is beyond loathsome.

I'm going to predict that you will never see the charges brought in this article on Al Jazeera. Or anywhere in the U.S. media, except maybe Fox News. Don't want to mess with that victim persona.

Read this blog

My dog-sitting weekend was in danger of being cancelled this morning due to illness, but Heidi and family are gone, camping in the mountains of West Virginia. But this morning, to cheer up Sorena, I promised her that if the camping trip was cancelled, I would sit through the Scooby-Doo movie with her. I have no desire to see the film at all. Scooby-Doo was a sucky cartoon when I was a kid, and even though we were kids, we all knew it. We used to laugh at the cheap animation and the stupid plots and count the times the same background cycled per cartoon. Those who are romanticizing how much they liked it are lying. The show sucked. It can be nothing but a sucky movie. But I would have sat through it for Sorena. Happily, I didn't have to.

But the concept of the made-from-television movie made me think a bit about the sad state of pop culture, particularly as concerns movies. In particular, the latest rash of films made from TV series. Lost in Space (the film) was on the night before last, and watching mere moments of it reminded me how bad it was. I refused to see any of the Brady Bunch films. Live-action films made from cartoons, with the single exception of George of the Jungle, have sucked so bad that they're practically enough to turn me off cartoons forever. In fact, I think the last cartoon-to-film I ever saw was The Flintstones movie, and I went to that with all the fascination of a bystander watching a train wreck. I simply had to see Elizabeth Taylor in a sabre-tooth tigerskin dress. It was as awful as I expected. Did they make a Jetsons film? I have no idea, but I didn't see it if it exists, and I won't see it if they make it in the future. (Oh, the irony of that statement to Jetsons cartoon fans.)

The thing is, the Boomers have kids of their own now, kids old enough to bring to movies about TV shows that Boomers watched as children. And there's Nick at Night, the offspring of Nickelodeon, where Barney Fife lives on, the Beaver still gets in trouble daily, Mary Tyler Moore turns the world on with her smile, and bad television shows go to live. Hogan's Heroes. Tell me, what asshole back in the sixties managed to convince his bosses, "Hey, I've got a great idea! Let's have a sitcom based on Stalag 17, but where the Nazis are incompetent, funny morons and nobody gets killed and the P.O.W. camps are FUN!"? Would he be related to the same person that said, "Scooby-Doo is hot, the Cartoon Network is hotter, let's make a live-action film with a cartoon Scooby, it'll make millions!"

Of course, it will. The youth of today suffer a paucity of imagination. They no longer read. They don't even read comic books any longer. I was in a comic shop this afternoon, and was told that the average comic buyer is male, between the ages of 29 and 31. I probably could have figured that out by the content of the comics. Lots of violence, lots of T&A.

When I was a child, comics were for--well, children. Not anymore. The Spider-Man movie, now that's for children. Well, except it's not, because the violence and creepiness of the Green Goblin character all but guarantees that the little ones will have nightmares, so you can't bring the very young. It was a movie for comic fans, but mostly it was a movie for teenagers. They're the ones who go to the movies--when they're not watching TV or playing video games. Which is what contributes to the paucity of imagination.

The most damning reason I hear from people who don't like to read is that it's "boring". Um. Well, if you haven't been reading since you were able to, if your parents allow you unrestricted access to television and videos and video games, and you are raised in a school environment that thinks the arts is something that you can cut back on whenever funding gets cut, then yeah, reading is boring. Because you never learned to like it. Because you never gave it a chance.

I knew someone for whom I coined the term "voluntary illiterate." He refused to read anything longer than a magazine article as a general practice, because he insisted that he'd rather be outside "doing something" instead of reading. Ah. Reading isn't "doing something." You're reading, so you're not--doing anything. Starting on page one and not stopping until the end of the novel counts for nothing.

This man also used to marvel at how I had such a wide range of knowledge on so many different subjects. I'll tell you my secret: Um--I read. A lot. By the way, this same person could sit in a boat for hours waiting for a fish to bite, only to throw it back afterward, as he was of the "catch-and-release" school. Ya know, it strikes me that a book in one hand and a fishing rod in the other wouldn't be such a bad way to spend a morning. Well, except that I hate to fish, and can't eat them because I'm allergic, and don't like to get up early, either. But the book in the boat, now that sounds nice. It never occurred to the fisherman that he could read and fish at the same time. Thousands of hours, wasted.

This country is filled with voluntary illiterates like him. They are proud of not being widely read. They think it is an achievement to say, "I don't have time to read." They think reading fiction is a waste of time. They think that ghost-written books by William Shatner deserve to be the books they will spare the time to read. (Hate to burst your bubble, but he didn't write the Tek War novels.) In the meantime, excellent writers get shoved to the midlist--if they're lucky--and below if they're not. And the ranks of novelists get thinner and thinner as the years go by. One wonders if there will be any novelists at all by the time our children are grandparents. Surely, reading will never truly go out of fashion. Perhaps the next generation will rebel against the videogame generation, and insist instead on sitting outside on a warm summer day, in the shade of a tree, reading a novel.

Like I used to do.


The Fudd Doctrine

(With a great big thank-you to Jonathan Lichterman, frequent commenter on Little Green Footballs, for the idea.)

W: My name is George W. Fudd, Pwesident. Be vewy, vewy, quiet. I'm hunting tewwowists. Hahahahaha.

Musharraf: What's up, Dub?

W: I'm hunting tewwowists. Look! Tewwowist tracks! All over! Have you seen any?

Musharraf: Nope, I haven't seen any today. How 'bout you fellas?

ISI Chief: Not a one.

Islamic cleric: Me neither. Let me ask my brother, Abdul. (Psst--Abdul--ixnay on the errorist-tay.)

"Abdul": Nope. Have you checked over the border? I hear they're all hiding in Kashmir these days.

W: Those mawauding Muswims! They're getting cwevewer and cwevewer evewy day! Thanks, fewwas. [Turns, walks a few steps.] Hey! Wait a minute--Abdul! You'we weawing a bwack tuwban. Aw Qaeda tewwowists weaw bwack tuwbans.

"Abdul": Oh, this? [Takes off turban, is bald as an egg beneath.] That's just to keep the sun off my head. Gotta be careful about skin cancer, ya know.

W: Oh. Okay. Sowwy! Thanks, fewwas!

W: Be vewy, vewy, quiet. This time I think I have that mawauding Muswim twapped!

Arafat: What's up, Dub?

W: I'm hunting tewwowists. The twacks stopped here. Have you seen any?

Arafat: There are no terrorists in my compound. There are no terrorists in all of Palestine. There are only freedom fighters and martyrs fighting against the Israeli oppressors. I can't control the actions of others. [whispering] Kick that C-4 under the bed--no! Wait! Not literally! Don't kick it, you idi-


[Arafat and W. standing, clothing blackened, smoke pouring off each]

Arafat: Sorry, Dub. Abdullah was cooking dinner and something must have blown up in the microwave. [Aide whispers in Arafat's ear] I mean, Look! Look! Do you see what the Israelis do to me? I am General Arafat! They are trying to kill me! Me! The General who has no army! Because all Palestinians want peace, and the Israelis keep attacking our homes, killing our children--

W: Uh, wight, Awafat. I have to be going now. Bye!

Prince: What's up, Dub?

W: I've invited you to my wanch because I need your help twacking the tewwowists.

Prince: You've got it, Dub. Here are all the maps we have of Israel, the positions of their military, maps of the checkpoints, oh, those x's are power plants, natural gas and oil storage facilities, gas stations, and anything else that will blow up really good. These dots are tunnels our associates dug beneath the borders to smuggle in weapons to fight the terrorists. Also, here's a list of our men in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, as well as Iraq. All you need to get rid of the Israeli terrorists.

W: Iswaeli? I'm not wooking for Iswaeli tewwowists. I want to find Muswim tewwowists! Hey--isn't this a map of all the nucweaw weactows in the United States? What do those big wed dots mean? And those wines wadiating fwom them?

Prince: [hurriedly gathers up documents] Many apologies, that was a draft of our proposed aid to Iraq. It must have gotten mixed in with the war plan for Israel--er, the peace plan for Israel. As I have said many times, there are no Muslim terrorists. My cousins--er, those people do not represent true Islam. But of course, there are no terrorists in Saudi Arabia, and those are Zionist lies spread by the Zionist world media by Zionist and Mossad spies, who also were the ones responsible for flying into your World Trade Centers. These were the documents you were looking for--here, our bold new plan for peace in the Middle East.

W: I don't see Iswael on this map. Only a countwy called Pawestine.

Prince: [hurriedly grabs back document] Oops, many apologies, this is the map you were supposed to see. There, see--Israel as of June 4th, 1967. Before the 35 Year War--er, uh--the 1967 war.

W: Well, thank you, Pwince. I'll give these to Cowin and wet him deal with it. So wong, Pwince! [exit Prince] Hey! Cowin!

Colin: What's up, Dub?

W: These are the Saudi peace plans. Take them to Shawon and Awafat and see if you can make a deal, okay?

Colin: We reiterate the critical need for Chairman Arafat to show leadership by continuing to signal clearly to his people that terror and violence cannot help the Palestinians achieve their national aspirations, and to move decisively against terror and violence.

W: Oh, shut up. [blam! blam!]

And so my southern journey begins

I signed a lease today (yes, I'm writing this last night again, it's that time-warp that hits me in Virginia), put down a deposit, and pending a positive credit check will be moving to Richmond in mid-July. It's an amazing complex--each row of townhouses is built in front of a small wood, so that your terrace opens out onto pure privacy. In New Jersey, we don't have the room for that. If there's a wood, and townhouse apartments are going to be built, the wood comes down, and your terrace opens onto a small patch of green, next to a parking lot, or another building. It's one of the reasons I'm leaving New Jersey. Since the state won't put up a "No Vacancy" sign, I'm moving where it's less crowded. A lot less crowded.

I'm paying thirty percent less, and getting a dishwasher and garbage disposal, a washer and dryer, an attic, two swimming pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, and a nice apartment in a quiet, beautiful area. I'll be twenty minutes from downtown Richmond, and twenty minutes from Heidi. In fact, it shouldn't take me more than twenty minutes to get just about anywhere in the near vicinity. Central location is a wonderful thing.

Life certainly is funny. The young woman who showed me the apartment model and sold me on living in the complex turns out to be a recent college graduate--an art major--who desperately wants to visit New Jersey. Seems she's a huge Devils fan and wants to see them in action. I told her I'll help her plan her trip next fall.

Tonight was just a perfect night. I'm happy because I found an apartment. Heidi, G., and Sorena are happy because I'm moving here. The dogs are happy because we had corned beef for dinner and they got the scraps. And my latkes turned out absolutely divine tonight, pure perfection. I can't wait for cocktails on the screened porch.


Virginia report, Day Three

Sadly, I still haven't signed a lease or even filled out an application. This apartment-hunting is tough when it's in a different state. However, I have a good plan for tomorrow, and have been told quite firmly by Heidi that I must do my blogging early tonight, as I stayed up until 2:30 this morning and got a rather late start to the day as a result. Trust me, it's not going to be tough to follow her advice and get to bed early.

Several of my readers shared their embarrassing packing (or forgetting-to-pack) stories with me. It's good to know I'm not alone. Even better to get sympathetic, yet funny stories.

Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate my readers? I was thinking about that yesterday, actually. I seem to have picked up a few more of you, and I'm glad of that. Every time reaches a new level, knowing that you're out there reading my writing makes me work that much harder on it, as I've said before. You raise the bar, I work to jump it. That's what I want, that's what you want, and that's what you get.

Tomorrow morning (er, later today, I'm writing this last night): An announcement.

Tomorrow night: More funny stuff, but not personally embarrassing, thankfully.

And for now, I hear the cello lesson cease, and so it must be dessert time, kitchen cleanup time, and cocktail hour. I'll be back.


Arafat, anti-Semitism, and EU funding

Stefan Sharkansky has translated an article from the German Die Ziet that has damning evidence of Arafat's PA anti-Semitism and terrorism--all funded by the European Union donations.

... On November 15, 2000 the French Socialist delegate Francois Zimeray placed an inquiry to the EU Commission. He wanted to know why an educational system was being financed, when its text books were "nothing less than anti-semitic propaganda, which, in any EU Member State, would be prohibited under the law on 'incitement to racial hatred'" Except that the delegate was inquiring into the supervisory practices of the EU.

Foreign Commissioner Chris Patten answered that the EU Commission didn't finance the printing of the books. That is technically correct but evasive. Although the EU can't directly influence what six member nations choose to do, as a member of the international "Donor Forums" it pays for the Palestinian textbook commission and also many teachers. Does the EU care what is being taught by the teachers whose salaries it pays?

Zimeray persisted in attacking the EU Commissioner. "I asked you a precise question, and I expect a precise answer on an important matter. Are you prepared, yes or no, to ensure that the EU's aid is dependent on the respect of fundamental human rights?" Patten answered: "We will raise these issues with the Palestinians".

In order to see what had improved, the German Christian Democratic member of the European Parliament, Armin Laschet, went to Palestine in July 2001. He maintains that nothing happened, nobody changed the instructional materials. Even worse. The old anti-semitic books had been newly reissued, using the European aid. The bindings indicate which country is the sponsor. Armin Laschet even pressed Yassir Arafat. The latter claimed that he saw no reason to changed the new books and had no money to quickly replace the old ones. Arafat forgot to mention that the American government had long ago offered to pay for the immediate and complete replacement of the old books. Arafat declined this offer, preferring instead to use the low-obligation European aid to rebind the old war books.

Just call me a trendsetter

Charles Kuffner has a funny song parody based on one of Tom Lerher's. Here's my favorite verse:

Oh, the old school hates the new kids
And the new kids hate the old school
And the techies hate the newbies
And everybody hates Ted Rall

We're warped, and proud of it.


The long and the shorts of it

Another delightful day in Richmond. Not a whole lot of apartment-finding done, but a whole lot of socializing. And chasing of dogs. Worf (sigh) long ago figured out that if he steals anything that belongs to me, he will get chased. So while Heidi and I were in my room, trying out a new bed ruffle, he was stealing a t-shirt of mine from my bag, which is on the floor and unzipped. It took us a while to corner him and get it, and then Heidi discovered that the reason Sparty was growling was because Worf had stolen more than one article of clothing, and Sparty had retrieved and was trying to chew on--double sigh--one of my bras. This was probably out of revenge for my catching him chewing on a phone cord he'd found somewhere this morning, and taking it away from him.

Did I say I wanted dogs? I think I'd better think it out again.

We went out for dinner tonight to a barbecue restaurant. Turned out it was buffet night, and part of the buffet was fried chicken, which both Heidi and I were in the mood for. Actually, I was also in the mood for corn fritters and hush puppies and many things southern, and fried, and the buffet rewarded us with pretty much all we wanted, and the basket of dinner rolls and fried things sufficed for the rest. They even had fried okra at the buffet. Tried it. I'll pass, next time. (I know, Susanna, you're feeling jealous, but hey, you can cook the stuff yourself. And it was your recipe for fried corn that got me thinking about the corn fritters at Brock's.) I love the south. Especially the food.

I've been trying to figure out how to write this particular little anecdote. It is about the most embarrassing packing story I will ever have, I think. I'm not quite blushing while writing it, because I almost never blush, but I am debating whether or not to publish this. Ah, what the hell. It's kinda funny.

I was really tired Monday. I got very little sleep Sunday night, and a very late start Monday afternoon, so my drive was both long and tiring. I packed my things in the morning, and did not make a list of things to pack this time, trusting instead my (tired) memory. Bad move. Very bad move. Because this morning (I'm writing this late Tuesday), after the dogs were walked and breakfast was eaten and my plans for apartment-hunting were mapped out, I went to take a shower. I chose shorts, blouse, socks, bra, and started digging through my bag for the undies. And discovered that although I did laundry on Sunday, and put my socks and underwear neatly in my armoire drawers as I always do, and took them out Monday morning and packed my bag, I had completely--completely, mind you--completely forgotten to take any panties. They are sitting neatly in my armoire drawer in New Jersey. All of them. Except the ones I was wearing.

It's rather easy to borrow, say, a few pairs of socks from a friend if you've forgotten to pack, say, socks. I'm sure we've all done it at one time or another. Or a toothbrush--you just go buy a new one, or maybe your friends have an extra. I once even used Sorena's bubblegum-flavored toothpaste the time I forgot to bring my own toothpaste. (NEVER again will I EVER even REMOTELY try anything like toothpaste that is bubblegum flavored. Heidi is a cruel, evil woman who knew damned well it was a digusting flavor for adults. She offered it on purpose. And Sorena couldn't get over her puzzlement about my preferring mint-flavored toothpaste to hers. "But Aunt Meryl, it's really good!" Yeah. Sez you, kid.)

I'm digressing again. I'm afraid I don't know anyone who either borrows or lends underwear, and the mere thought of it is creeping me out, and frankly, until I started writing this, never even crossed my mind. So I went out to the kitchen and told Heidi that I had forgotten to pack my underwear, and we needed to get to a store that sold it. She very kindly did not fall on the floor laughing, although she did grin hugely.

So I washed out the pair I was wearing, took my shower, dried the wet undies with my hair dryer, got dressed, and we made a stop at Kohl's this afternoon while running our other errands, and I picked up what I needed. And got another embarrassing story for the Yourish file.

I still can't believe I forgot it all.

First, the linkage

Okay. Just about anyone who sent me a letter with a link in it gets a free pass tonight. Folks, I'm in Richmond, apartment-hunting, and, well, goofing off. So go check out Vegard Valberg's Captain Euro blogs (he sent two letters, he gets two links). Go check out File13's response to my rant about reverse type. (Not sure if it's up yet, as he got impatient for an answer and I was, well, sitting out on the screened deck, chatting with Heidi over a nightcap. More important things call, Lair.)

Christopher Newman has lots of new things on his weblog about Oriana Fallaci, including a translation of her article in response to criticism of her new book. Read it quickly; he might have to take it down. Scroll around his blog, it's got some excellent posts.

John Hawkins gets the link because, well, white power morons are morons, and deserve to be outed as such. Go get 'em, John.

Bear, I hope your dad's okay. And I hope that fire goes out, and soon!

Been meaning to link to Silflay Hraka for a while now, but kept forgetting. If you've read Watership Down, the title is both amusing and informative. So is the weblog. There's a post about why we should be going to war with North Korea, and why no one in the world seems to care--not Amnesty International, or the Greens, or the anti-abortionists (forced abortions of Korean women repatriated from China forcefully, after having married and gotten impregnated by Chinese farmers--because the babies are "impure"). Excellent writing. Some of it makes you want to cry. Some of it makes you want to laugh, though. Funny. Heidi and I were discussing this very evening how her husband stops for turtles, too.

To the folks who have sent in thoughtful and eloquent letters re: the reverse text rant and the Milwaukee polyglot jibe in Captain Euro: I'll definitely get them posted when I get some time. I'm here through the weekend, but my hosts are leaving Friday afternoon and it'll be just me and the dogs after that. As the dogs tend to be lousy conversationalists ("Woof!" and "Yipyipyipyipyip!" are about the extent of their end of things), I'll have a lot more time on my hands this weekend.


Doggone it

I own cats. I've never owned a dog, though at age 14, I tried desperately to persuade my mother to let me keep one of the puppies my best friend's dog had had. No luck, and since then, nothing but cats. So I'm used to them in all of their shapes, sizes, mood swings, behaviors. When I say, "Want to go outside?" to my cats, they come running--for the door, ignoring me completely in their mad dash to get out of the house. They're cats. You just shrug and get out of the way.

Here in Virginia, Heidi normally runs with Worf, the Ridgeback that is in perfect shape and can run two miles a day, and Sparty, the miniature poodle. The overweight Ridgeback, Willow, must be walked until she sheds some more weight. It's really hot today, so Sparty can't make a two-mile run without seriously hurting himself. So I waited until Heidi was gone a few minutes, and went for the leashes to take the other two dogs for a walk around the block. It's the gratitude and joy that makes such an enormous difference. Willow was leaping three feet in the air--an amazing feat when you consider she weighs nearly fifty percent more than she should--and wagging her tail furiously. I was trying to set up the choke chain, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what loops through what to create the whole choke thing, so after about a minute or so, with Willow leaping over me and Sparty waiting anxiously for me to start the walk, I just gave up and hoped that we didn't meet anything that required me to pull on a choke collar. (We didn't.) And of course, about a minute before the end of the walk, the mental image of the correct way to loop a choke collar entered my mind, embarrassing me no end as I remembered how simple it is.

My cats are more affectionate than many, but still--it's a heck of a lot more fun to watch a dog get ready for a walk than it is to let a cat out. I could barely get out of my room this morning, because the second I opened the door, I was mobbed by the dogs. Last night, I dogproofed my room before sitting down in the kitchen to relax after the long drive. While Worf watched, I pushed my sneakers under the bed, because one of the ways he gets our attention is to steal our shoes or sneakers if we're stupid enough to leave them unguarded. So I said to him, "Look. I'm putting them under the bed, you're done here." Well. Apparently, that was considered a challenge, because two minutes later, he trotted into the kitchen doorway with my sneaker in his mouth. Sonofabitch had pulled the sneaker out with his paw. This is an improvement in the learning curve, and may I remind you that it's been only two weeks since I was last here, and he didn't figure that out last time. This dog is frighteningly smart. And decidedly cheeky.

I dunno. I may have to seriously consider a dog next time around.


SFSU: Still shameful

Joe Katzman has a post today on the aftermath of the SFSU situation. The arrest of the lone Jewish rally attendee is starting to stink more and more like it was done specifically to fulfill that rotten "equivalence" statute--not because she called the Palestinians a name. If it wasn't, then why did the Muslim leaders offer to drop charges against her in exchange for dropping charges against the Palestinian protestors?

Go see what else Joe has. Today's a traveling day. I'll have more later this week on this topic, to be sure.

The warblogs and the techblogs

Inspired by the New York Times article on the rivalry between techblogs and warblogs, I hereby present a song based on Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Farmer and the Cowman" from Oklahoma! Dave Winer is Andrew Carnes, Glenn Reynolds gets to be Will, Matt Welch is Curly, I'm Aunt Eller (but much, MUCH younger), Rebecca Blood is Ado Annie. Just for this song, of course. (And may I point out: I am neither a techblog nor a warblog. I just blog.)

The Warblog And The Techblog
The warblog and the techblog should be friends
Oh, the warblog and the techblog should be friends
One explains why bombs explode
The other likes to write in code
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends

Internettin' folks should stick together
Internettin' folks should all be pals
Warblogs blog with the techblogs' daughters
Techblogs blog with the warblogs' gals

I'd like to say a word for the techblog,
He wrote the code that you folks are all using

He wrote the code that Blogger's always losing

And Blogger's servers often are caught snoozing!

The techblog is a good, informing netizen
No matter what the warblog says or thinks
You seldom see him argue in a warblog

Unless a warblogger says his code stinks!

The techblog and the warblog should be friends
Oh, the techblog and the warblog should be friends
The warblog rags the left with ease
The techblog leans left, if you please
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends

Internettin' folks should stick together
Internettin' folks should all be pals
Warblogs blog with the techblogs' daughters
Techblogs blog with the warblogs' gals

[Aunt Meryl]
I'd like to say a word for the warblog
The screen he reads is difficult and backlit
He writes for days on end
With jist a pundit for a friend

[Ado Rebecca]
I sure am feelin' sorry fer the pundit!

[Aunt Meryl]
The techblog should be sociable with the warblog
If he blogs by and asks for a kindly link
Don't treat him like a frog
Make him welcome in yer blog

But be sure that you point out that his blog stinks!

(fight breaks loose, Aunt Meryl fires a gun and everyone freezes)
[Aunt Meryl]
Ain't nobody gonna slug out anythin'. Sing it Dave!
(Points gun at Dave) Dum- didy-dum-dum-dum!

The warblog and the techblog should be friends

[Added voices]
Oh, the warblog and the techblog should be friends

One explains why bombs explode
The other likes to write in code
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends

[Aunt Meryl] [Cain't improve on perfection in this verse]
I'd like to teach you all a little sayin'
And learn the words by heart the way you should
I don't say I'm no better than anybody else
But I'll be damned if I ain't jist as good!

I don't say I'm no better than anybody else
But I'll be damned if I ain't jist as good!
Internettin' folks should stick together
Internettin' folks should all be pals
Warblogs blog with the techblogs' daughters
Techblogs blog with the warblogs' gals



Captain Euro: Anti-American propaganda

Yeah, I know--it's such an easy topic. It's sweeping the blogs. I suspect Lileks could write his next two months' worth of blogs on the awful Captain Euro online comic. Mac Thomason did an excellent parody. But even setting aside how stupid a concept the comic is, how badly written, and how far behind the curve the European PR people are, everyone so far has missed a spot.

The scene: A cave complex where the soon-to-be Captain Euro is doing research on the original inhabitants of the cave. (He has many talents.) At one point, he meets an old woman who asks him leading questions, enabling the writer to daringly use the skill known as "exposition" to explain the pictures on the walls of the cave--and take a dig at the U.S.:

Captain Euro: My research shows it was a primitive European tongue.
Old woman: Who would understand that kind of language?
Captain Euro: I would, actually. I'm a polyglot. As a child I was involved in a languge experiment. I speak many languages.
Old woman: I wonder if they'd understand polyglot in Milwaukee? (country music plays in the background)

Let's ignore the insult for a moment. Forget the fact that I doubt more than a dozen people in all of Europe know that Milwaukee is a city, not a state. Wisconsin is one of the most European-settled states in the nation, and its people remain predominantly white (88.9%, v. 75% U.S. average) and of European descent. It's in the part of the U.S. where many Germans and Scandinavians settled. As far as being polyglots, the Germans had a little trouble assimilating into American culture, first setting up private schools and teaching exclusively in German. (They eventually taught in English as well, as they were forced to by law, thus actually pioneering bilingual education in America.) In effect, the European writers of Captain Euro are insulting their relatives' descendants.

But yeah, Captain Euro, I think the average Milwaukee citizen has a good handle on what a polyglot is. Or should that be, "Ja"?

Buffy blogging

Over at Josh Trevino's place, Bruce Hill wrote a post on blogging, and in it, has decided that I'm Willow, Laurence Simon is Xander, Glenn is Giles, Andrew Sullivan is Spike, and all bloggers are Buffy. The fact that he's made me both Willow and Buffy is far too sexually confusing for my tastes (should I fall in love with myself?); I respectfully decline to be Ms. Rosenberg, as I think Wicca is a bunch of bullshit, anyway.

I rather think he's missed a good Scooby member in Mac Thomason, the guy with a wise remark for everything. The grown-up version of Xander that we saw in his twin episode (not the wedding episode, yuck!)? And Mac's a Buffyblogger, as are Dave Tepper, Da Bear, Jim Treacher, Gary Farber, and Croooowblog. (There are far too many o's in that name, dude.) Come to think of it, Laurence should be Jonathan and Mac should be Xander. But who gets to be Faith? (Insert menacing music here.) Wesley? Cordelia?

Mac and I were briefly discussing having a Buffy Blog Burst next week to coincide with the release of Season Two on DVD; it died from lack of time. But I think it would be fun to do at a later date, so any blogger who is a Buffy fan who wants in, email me and I'll keep a list. Start thinking of topics, and email them, too. Silly. Serious. What the hell, it's summertime, we're going to need some silliness to fill the slow news days. God willing, there will be slow news days.

Meeting the web, one blogger at a time

Last weekend I met Diane E. This weekend I met Susanna Cornett. Plans are to stop in Philadelphia a week from Monday, on my way back from the upcoming Virginia trip to finalize an apartment, and meet with Lynn B. (who has no blog, yet, but whose email has been the basis of many of my blogs) and maybe Karl (though he's being a bit tardy about answering the email. Karl, don't you love me anymore?). Oh, and when I get back, to get into the City again and catch up with Mike Sanders.

I'm all for a blogger bash in principle--but I've found that it's nice to meet just one or two people at a time, hang out, go to a movie, have dinner, get to know one another. Susanna and I not only got to shop Montclair's Church Street, we got to see Meryl go through a moral dilemma at the Frame Shop. (I ordered a print the last week in April and have been overlate in picking it up, and thought I found it set out for sale at less than half what they were going to charge me. Turned out it wasn't my print. But I couldn't have bought it for the lesser price even if it had been mine. I wasn't brought up that way.) Of course, there was no dilemma when I found the Shirley Jackson book that both of us wanted. I found it first. (Mind you, she may never forgive me for this.)

But the day had a happy ending--I have my Howells watercolor Birds of Paradise print, in a beautiful frame, ready to be hung. And Susanna got to sample Holsten's, a restaurant/soda shop right out of the sixties, but without the tacky sixties motif. It looks that way because, uh, it was built in the sixties. No retro in Bloomfield. That's Montclair's schtick. Next time I'll take her to The Soda Pop Shop, preferably on a Tuesday night, and we can sing TV theme songs and win prizes. A nice time all around.

Back when I was a liberal

This article in Yahoo! News brought an immediate smile to my face as a memory surfaced that I hadn't thought of in years.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The FBI, working covertly with the CIA and then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, spent years unlawfully trying to quash the voices and careers of students and faculty deemed subversive at the University of California, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The memory it returned? My college newspaper. There was a freshman there whom I dubbed "Gidget" because of her extreme naivete, cheerfulness, and outright annoying energy. At the time, I was a jaded upperclassman, a bleeding-heart liberal, and an anti-Reagan. Gidget, of course, was a Reagan supporter. A few of us in the newsroom were discussing a protest at Berkeley where students had been arrested for protesting Reagan's policies.

"Well," Gidget said, "if they didn't want to get arrested, they shouldn't have been protesting." We all burst into laughter before explaining to her about a little thing called the First Amendment.

And the above news item brought it all back. Ah, memories.

How Arafat keeps his peaceful promises

A quick look at a three short articles in the in the Jerusalem Post.


Arafat asks US to move quickly on Mideast peace plans

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat asked the United States Friday to convene a Mideast peace conference as quickly as possible.

Arafat, whose Ramallah-based Mukata compound was raided by IDF troops on Thursday in retaliation for a bus bombing that killed 17 Israelis, called for quick action regarding the Mideast crisis conference scheduled in Turkey next month.

"I am telling Bush and Mubarak to accelerate their efforts to save this peace process before it collapses," Arafat told reporters at his headquarters.


Arafat threatens 'disastrous explosion'

In a speech broadcast today, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat threatened that if Israel does not retreat from PA-ruled areas that there will be a "disastrous explosion that will impact stability of the whole world."

According to the Palestinian Authority's official news agency WAFA, in an address broadcast in Spain to an awards ceremony honoring EU Middle East envoy Miguel Moratinos, Arafat claimed that "the situation in Palestine is at the edge of explosion."

Arafat warned that if Israel does not withdraw from Palestinian held territory immediately, "enabling our people to practice their legitimate rights of establishing the independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the whole region will witness a disastrous explosion that will impact not only the region but the stability of the whole world."


Gaza divisional commander: no change in Palestinian strategy

The three terrorists who were killed Friday when an explosive device they were carrying went off near the Sufa post were planning to set off a series of powerful explosive devices inside the Green Line, Gaza Divisional commander Brig.-Gen. Israel Ziv told Israel Radio Saturday.

Of the three, one was a member of Islamic Jihad, he said. Another was an officer of the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Service.

Ziv told Israel Radio that in his estimation, there was no change of strategy among Palestinians. He said there is a general effort to carry out more and more terrorist attacks and diversify the methods of their carrying out. He claimed the IDF dismantles several tens of explosive devices every evening.

This is from Colin Powell, after the latest terrorist attack at Meggido, which killed 17 and injured 50:

"We note the Palestinian Authority's condemnation of the attack and reiterate the critical need for Chairman Arafat to show leadership by continuing to signal clearly to his people that terror and violence cannot help the Palestinians achieve their national aspirations, and to move decisively against terror and violence."

That's what happens when you issue empty platitudes and don't back them up with the barrel of a tank or three. The Sultan of Lies merely talks out of the other side of his mouth.

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 is also a good bet if you've never been here before.