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Truth is funnier than fiction

I can't make this stuff up. I don't have to make this stuff up. The irony is in the truth of the matter.

Meg Hourihan pointed to a site for The Committee to Protect Journalists top ten enemies of freedom of the press. Three of the countries are on the UN Human Rights Commission: Russia, Malaysia, and China. And these are from last year. I can't wait to see who makes the new top ten, which list should be out in a month.

Still more links

From Victor Davis Hanson's latest column:

Military force has a great power of clarity. With the Israeli reply, the world has seen at last that terrorists with explosives strapped to their bodies prefer to blow up small children rather than roll under tanks. There are plenty of militarily significant targets now for the Palestinians "soldiers," but apparently none that offer the specter of terror, publicity, fame — and money — to be found in blowing up civilians at Passover dinners.

Instead of seeing soldiers, we witness bombers who dismember women and children on holy days; outlaws who shoot and then run for sanctuary into sacred Christian shrines; poor suspects who are summarily executed without trial on suspicion of helping the Israelis. So far, Palestinians have executed more of their own bound and unarmed civilians than they have killed Israeli soldiers in combat. "General" Arafat now nearly has the "war" he threatened and the chance for "martyrdom" he promised. The bombers have the enemy targets they desire right in their backyards. The Arab world is "united" in its furor and can easily join in to attack Israel.

War, in other words, destroys pretense.

There's more. Read the whole column.

Squishy liberal Ellen Goodman on suicide bombers. No moral equivalence for this lefty:

Nevertheless, any culture that takes pride in having the next generation as a ready supply of cheap weapons has already lost its future. Any leader who cultivates or condones suicide as its war plan has lost all moral standing. What do we say about societies that practice human sacrifice?

Geoff Meltzner gets to the heart of the world's current anti-Semitism.

Ken Layne reports again on the Continent's continuous anti-Semitism. Never again, he says. Amen.

Human Rights Watch on the UN Human Rights Commission

Want to know the human rights records of the Commission? So do I. Which is why I went to the UN site and got a list of the members of the Commission, then went to the Human Rights Watch website and did some homework. I took excerpts of the Human Rights Watch summaries of the various nations' record on human rights. This is the committee that voted 44-2 to send Mary Robinson to "investigate the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians." I wanted to see exactly what kind of cute methods of torture and subjugation the members of the UN Commission on Human Rights are fond of in their own homes.

I wanted to put the information on a separate page, but even using only excerpts it's a 13-page Microsoft Word document. Warning: It is over half a meg (606k).(UPDATE: Thanks to Kathy Kinsley, it's zipped. Duh. Can't believe I forgot to do that. Also, here's a PDF version thanks to Kevin Sweeney.) It is yours for the downloading, replete with a huge amount of information on most of the Arab states. Some nations I didn't bother with; others were not human rights abusers, some, like Bahrain, hadn't been updated for several years. I checked the U.S. page for comparison's sake, and found that where most nations have human rights complaints like police murdering inmates indiscriminately, our report complains about inmates' cruelty to other inmates. Oh, and here's a bit about the Palestinian Authority's human rights abuses:

People detained by the Palestinian Authority are frequently subjected to torture and denied access to fair trials, Human Rights Watch said in this new report. The 50-page report documents how the Palestinian Authority executive branch - including President Yasser Arafat, his ministers, police, and various security forces - has seriously undermined the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. The report estimates that as of September 2001, the Palestinian Authority (PA) was holding about 450 people in detention without charge or trial. Most were suspected of being informants for Israeli security forces; others were alleged to have sold Palestinian land to Israelis. The PA has done virtually nothing to identify the perpetrators of about thirty vigilante-style executions, the report says. The report, charges the PA with failing to bring to justice militants who have attacked Israeli civilians.

One thing I'm not certain of is whether or not I am violating Human Rights Watch's copyright by pulling together these excerpts; if I am, I will immediately pull the file and you'll have to find out the information for yourself. But it's pretty simple. Go to their Documents by Country page and just point and click.



No, really, it's anti-Zionism, not anti-Semitism!

MEMRI translates Special Dispatch No. 362: Arafat Aide: Jews Nailed Jesus to the Cross:

In his weekly column for the London based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Arafat's aide Bassam Abu Sharif charged Jews of 'nailing Jesus to the cross.' Accusing Israel of shooting at the statue of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, Abu Sharif wrote:

"This, of course, was a failed attempt to murder peace, love, and tolerance, just as their forefathers tried to murder the prophetic message when they hammered their nails and iron stakes through the body of Jesus into the wooden cross…"(1)

He also repeats the lies about Jews attributed to Ben Franklin, who never said them. But really, the Palestinians have nothing against the Jews. It's those mean old Zionists they're after!

Speaking of anti-Semitism and Arafat

Elana S. of Middle East Realities would like to know what's up with Arafat's sudden fondness for Christianity.

I'm sorry. Did I miss something? When did the Islamic/Christian brethren begin?

I really find this disturbing because I've noticed, in recent weeks, that Arabs have devised a new strategy to act against Jews. Their plan involves leading a majority of Christians to believe that this war is a case of Jews against Muslims and Christians.

Elana, bubelah, you're close, but you're not quite there. Arafat has a pretty good grip on manipulating people, but he's missing a huge piece of the puzzle here. He doesn't get that Christianity hasn't got legions of fanatic followers that will set themselves on fire for The Cause. He doesn't get that Christians no longer flagellate themselves to prove their piety. He doesn't get that fanatics could ostensibly blow up the Vatican itself, and Christians worldwide would not rise up in anger and murder not only the people who blew up the Vatican, but every member of their families, ethnicity, and people, and then while they're at it salt the goddamned earth of the towns where they used to live. He doesn't get that Christians accepted the rules of civilized behavior a long, long time ago. Yasser--dude--it ain't the fourteenth century anymore--except in mythical pan-Arabia.

Does anyone remember the assassination attempt on the Pope? He forgave his would-be assassin. The assassin wasn't killed. He was jailed.

And Arafat is also missing the fact that while reporters can be pretty dumb, they ain't stupid. They reported that the Palestinians shot their way into the Church of the Nativity, and the hypocrisy of Muslim soldiers trying to take advantage of the centuries-old Christian concept of sanctuary is lost on no one but the idiot ultra-left. I don't know of anybody personally who thinks that Israel is warring on Christianity, nor, in fact, on Islam--and I have many devout Christian friends.

So be comforted, Elana. Christians aren't buying it, because they also know of the abiding discrimination for them in Muslim-dominated nations like Saudi Arabia. They haven't forgotten the Christian aid workers locked up by the Taliban for the "crime" of preaching Christianity. Nor have they, like Arafat seemingly has, forgotten that Jesus was a Jew.

The inmates are running the asylum

Several members of the Nobel Prize committee wish they could take back Shimon Peres' Nobel Peace Prize--the one he shared with the late Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat. Why? Because, in their words,

"Peres is responsible, as part of the government. He has expressed his agreement with what [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon is doing," she said.

If Arafat were killed by Israel, Peres could "share in the blame"

"If he had not agreed with Sharon, then he would have withdrawn from the government."

Not a word about Yasser Arafat's calls to make "millions of martyrs". Not a word about 50 tons of weapons shipped from Iran aboard the Karinne A, bound for Arafat's organization. Not a word about the daily suicide bombings and the Passover Massacre, the bomb that cause the current Israeli action in the Palestinian cities.

Excuse me please while I mention that the entire Nobel Peace Committee is made up of fucking idiots.

Oslo Bishop Gunnar Stalsett, a committee member for the past eight years, describes as "absurd" what he sees as the involvement of a Nobel laureate in human rights abuses.

No, they're not talking about Afarat's Palestinian National Authority, or the murder of "collaborators" (without a trial, witness the recent evacuation of the Palestinian jails in Ramallah and the executions therein). They're talking about Shimon Peres going along with the successful attempt by the IDF to stop the terror bombings. Let's tally things up here. The IDF has been in the West Bank for nearly a week. The last successful suicide bomber blew himself up and killed an Israeli policeman on Tuesday.

Committee chairman Geir Lundestad voiced the concern of several members that if Mr Arafat were to be killed as a result of Israeli actions, one Nobel laureate might in effect be said to have killed the other.

What breathtaking moral equivocation. What breathtaking hubris. What breathtaking stupidity. Suddenly, Shimon Peres is single-handedly responsible for the actions of the entire state of Israel, but Yasser Arafat has no responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the organizations under his blood-stained thumb--Hamas, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and the PNA

Unbelievable. Un-be-liev-able. The inmates have taken over. Have I mentioned lately that the Nobel Peace Committee is made up of fucking idiots?

I wonder what Alfred Nobel would have thought of this whole thing? Hm. I'm going to guess he's spinning in his grave over Arafat winning the Peace Prize to begin with, but here's what the Nobel site says:

Alfred Nobel was a lonely man and was often in poor health. He was very modest, often appearing shy to other people. Above all, he was engrossed in scientific ideas and in the practical management of his many European enterprises, and devoted himself night and day to his studies and work. His dream was to be of service to mankind.

In January 1897 it was learned that he had left the bulk of his considerable estate to a fund, the interest on which was to be awarded annually to the persons whose work had been of the greatest benefit to mankind.

Alfred, as the inventor of dynamite, you have been of immeasurable help to the man who won your Peace Prize in 1994. Because he and his thugs use the descendant of your invention to blow up grandmas and grandpas sitting down to the Seder dinner with their families. And your spiritual descendants are shaming the foundation you left behind.

And did I remember to mention that the Nobel Peace Committee is made up of fucking idiots?

Pass the bread over here, please

Would you like to know what I'm eating right now? Of course you would. I'm eating a roll. Leavened bread. With butter. It's my first bread in a week.

You have no idea how happy a simple piece of bread can make you until you force yourself to go without for a week. And not just go without, but to substitute a horrendous oversized cracker for the missing bread. And while you're at it, substitute nearly all of the good food you love to eat with food that tastes like crap.

I think I've finally pegged the secret ingredient to kosher-for-Passover food. Crap. Because frankly, it all sucks. Go ahead, try replacing bread crumbs with matzoh meal and then try frying something with a coating of matzoh meal. It guarantees to transform anything you cook into a slab of rock-hard substance that can be used for code building materials in sixteen states. Passover cake mixes? Ugh. Blurgh. Yuck! Macaroons? Never liked 'em. Passover chocolate? The quality and taste of an Ex-Lax. Even kosher-for-Passover Coke tastes like Pepsi. Must have that secret ingredient I discovered.

This is why I decided to start my diet during Passover. The food sucks so bad, I don't want to eat. And it's working--my pants are already looser on me.

My grandfather died a few years ago. He was Orthodox, and my mother brought us up Conservative. I prefer a healthy dose of Hebrew with my Shabbat services, I keep kosher, and I do my best on the holidays. I fast on Yom Kippur and rather enjoy the marathon sessions at synagogue on the High Holy Days. (I'm not a masochist, the songs are beautiful during the Rosh Hashana services.)

But when Zayda was alive and I was a teenager, oh, boy, did I whine and complain about Passover. I'm not really up on the exact laws, so my mother and grandfather had an advantage on us. They simply told us if you could make bread out of it, it wasn't kosher for passover. How that affected vegetable oil was beyond me, but every year we cooked our chicken cutlets in peanut oil and breaded them with matzoh meal and couldn't have canned corn because you could make bread from it.

It's the twenty-first century. You can make bread from dandelion leaves if you have a breadmaker and are so inclined. I knew this even as a teenager, and the contradictions of what I was told vs. why we really didn't eat certain things bothered me like a toothache. And gawd, U-Bet chocolate syrup just blows chunks in comparison to anything, let alone Hershey's, ruining my morning chocolate milk for a solid week.

Christians talk about their Lenten sacrifice--giving up one certain food for a number of weeks. Not eating meat on Fridays. Ha. In comparison I can say only this: Passover Hulk smash puny Lent! Passover Hulk smash!

I couldn't have my usual cocktail. I've never seen a vodka that was kosher for Passover. I was in such dire straights one night last week that I actually sank to drinking Manischewitz Cream Concord wine to relax! I don't care for much wine to begin with, but Manischewitz? I'm so ashamed. I could not wait to pour the Rain last night.

Well. At least I'm done for another year. And what the hey, I did finally get on that diet. Now to get on the exercise machine.



And that's the truth. Plptptpt!

Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom writing about the spinmeisters at ABC after the President's speech today:

I'm not surprised, I must say, with the way ABC attempted to spin the Bush speech; after all, "Good Morning, America's" coverage from the region featured "reports" from Charlie Gibson based on the testimony of two "witnesses" -- the first, an American protester working as part of the "Human Shield" project (a "human shield," for those of you who don't already know, that ain't aimed at protecting Israelis in pizza parlors, I can tell you that much), and the second, a young female Egyptian national (speaking from Egypt), who maintains a home in the West Bank. Not surprisingly, both of these, uh...disinterested (snark) spokespersons offered testimony that Israeli soldiers were firing indiscriminately on Palestinian civilians (mostly pregnant children, elderly blind women, and Christian lepers, I believe it was), while the Palestinians themselves refused to fire back -- and were not, in fact, resisting at all. No food is getting in to the "occupied" cities, the two humanitarians informed GMA viewers. And no medicine is being allowed through, either.

I think you forgot to mention that it's been reported the Israelis are searching through Bethlehem for a kid named Jesus to hand over to the Roman soldiers.


Truth in advertising

Perhaps it's because it takes me a while to wake up in the morning, and when my mind is dull it tends to notice things you normally don't see. Perhaps it's because I truly am more warped than the average person, and notice things that they generally do not. But this morning, as I was applying my deodorant stick, I saw the words, "No white residue!" printed in large pink letters on the pale blue, see-through cap as I removed it. And I thought, "But there's always a white residue. I've never been able to put this stuff on clear." So, unless I apply more deodorant than was ever before known to be applied by man, I have to assume one of two things. Either the company thinks American consumers are so stupid as to not be able to see exactly what the company says we don't see in spite of the reality, or, well, they're lying to us.

Imagine. A company making false claims about its product.

To whom do I complain?

Keep searching

All right, I know I just did this a day or so ago, but there are some fun new search phrases that I can't let go, and my end-of-Passover blog won't hit until tomorrow late, and, well, I'm so goddamned sick of the war. Let's be cheerful for a change.

First, I'm happy to inform you that "John Edward fraud" retains its championship edge, blowing to the head of the crowd with nearly twice as many searches as the runner-up. I really am going to have to watch more than a few seconds of his show again so I can talk about him again in more depth. But I'm not sure my blood pressure can take it. There was one search on "john edward fraud?" so I would like to tell the unsure searcher, yes, indeed, John Edward fraud. If he weren't, he'd claim James Randi's one million dollar reward for proof of psychic ability. The day I see John Edward and James Randi in the same room will be the day I'm watching them on television. On split screen, most likely.

"Lunch for Tig". Um. I told you all cats know how to use the Internet, and that they know how to use Google, too. I hope he doesn't figure out how to talk, or he's going to be ordering in lunch on my credit card, I'm sure. No wonder he hasn't been eating as much cat food lately. Sneaky.

"make me believe lyrics far away from felicity" Okay. Believe me, you're far away from Felicity. (Psst--she doesn't exist; she's a fictional TV character, and she doesn't want you writing songs for her.)

Hm. Back-to-back nasty searches: "my word is my bond mean" and "geraldo israel evil". Okay, that first one--is it a mean word or a mean bond? Big difference there. And the second? Well, Geraldo is certainly an idiot, and his being in Israel and talking about being a "Palestinianist" is evil to some, but hey--the guy's not evil. Just dumb.

I miss my noisy neighbors

I can't believe I'm writing this, but I miss my upstairs neighbors. They moved out this past weekend. They were two guys in their mid-twenties, nice guys with a few odd habits. Like Larry being a Rocky Horror fanatic to the point that he runs the live show (and participates) in town every Saturday night, so that nearly every Sunday morning for the past two years, I have been awakened at 4 a.m. by a group of twentysomethings coming home well, a bit less than quietly. And Dave's fish tank somehow leaking through my ceiling on a couple of occasions. And the night they were practicing a new sketch for the Rocky Horror show, and I kept hearing shouts about "Orangina" followed by shouts of laughter. Oh, and the time Larry decided it would be quicker to dump his mattress off the balcony rather than carry it down a flight of stairs and around the building. I was rather furious about that, as it came close to hitting my balcony, and I had just been on it moments before the mattress came flying down.

But overall, they were pretty good neighbors. They were fun, and funny, and reminded me of how much fun I had when I was in my mid-twenties and my friends were over until all hours every night of the week. (There was that one party at my apartment where I and three or four of my girlfriends decided to play "Don't Touch the Floor" while dancing to Joe Jackson and playing follow-the-leader around the living room, and yes, there was alcohol involved.)

God, people get boring when they grow up and get married and have children. No, wait--I've never taught Sorena to play "Don't Touch the Floor". Kewl. Can't wait to see the look on Heidi's face over this one.

For two weeks, I'm going to have no neighbors, and no noise. I'm going to be able to sleep without the white noise machine or earplugs or having to go upstairs and ask Larry to please lower the volume on his television set. I thought it would be bliss. But it's not. I miss them.



A couple of new (to me) blogs

War now! which, in spite of its name, is not advocating war, just saying we're already in one.

Are you an ex-peacenik? Did 9/11 crash the airliner of harsh reality into the skyscraper of your liberal dreams? Are you the sort of person who used to go to Jewish-Palestinian dialogue groups and interfaith religious services but now find yourself shouting "Shoot him! What are you waiting for!" whenever Yasser Arafat appears on the TV? Yeah, me too.

A most unusual man, Bruce Hill is a New Zealander in Australia, a convert to Judaism, and now my fiancé, as I emailed a proposal and he accepted. Blog on, sweetums.

What are they saying is Mary Madigan's blog that tracks what world leaders and others are saying, among other things.

She makes a great case for the, how do you say, fact-checking ability of the leading French newspapers regarding the incredibly lame conspiracy-theory book that insists no plane hit the Pentagon on 9/11. Amazing. You can find the theory debunked all over the Internet, but Le Monde can't figure out how to find the facts. Hm. Maybe if Jerry Lewis explained it to them. "Hey LADIES!"

Just wanted to plug Mike Sanders at Keep Trying, who does. (Uh--keep trying--get it? Sigh.) He and I keep getting into trouble these days, but at least we're doing it together. Partners in crime. If you have to stir things up, make sure you have someone with you, so you can play innocent and blame it all on him. (And yes, that was facetious, as Mike is my buddy.)

Just the facts, please

Yasser Arafat, April 3, 2002:

"Today they attacked Bethlehem where Jesus was born. Can you imagine? They are striking the church of the Virgin Mary."

Yasser Arafat, December 18, 2001:

"One of our cubs or one of our flowers [i.e., a male or female Palestinian youth] will wave the flag of Palestine, Allah willing, over the walls of Jerusalem, its churches and its mosques, whether someone likes it or not, and whomever does not like it can drink the water of the Dead Sea.

I appeal to my beloved in Jerusalem: 'More determination, more strength, more resolve. And Allah willing, we will pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Allah willing, Allah willing."

A fallen Pooh Bear

Reading a post over at G'Day Cobbers reminded me of the following:

A long, long, long time ago (and I probably should have deleted the third long, because now you all think I'm really, really old and I'm not, I'm only really old), a friend and I went to Walt Disney World during the off-season, which was my favorite time to go, because in February the park lacks the usual long lines of tourists. Plus, at that time, my mother was working for Eastern and got us incredibly cheap rooms at a local hotel, which fit our budget nicely. So off we went to the sparsely-populated park. We were the only passengers on the tram ride from the bus stop to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom, and the tram driver was extremely chatty. And although he seemed very pleasant, there was also something that was strangely frightening: When he talked about the actors who played Disney characters, he called them by name--but it felt almost as if he meant that they were truly Pooh and Tigger and Mickey.

He told us that some of the larger costumes held small air conditioning units to help keep the actors from collapsing during the hot Florida summers. He told us that the characters were not allowed to speak at all, or they would lose their jobs. They couldn't break the illusion. That seemed pretty reasonable, except when something unexpected happened.

He told us a story about an actor in a Pooh suit, the one with the honey pot on its head. It's a very unwieldy costume, and apparently something happened that caused the actor to overbalance and fall to the ground. Well, because of the honey pot, Pooh Bear could not get back up. He rolled around trying to regain his feet, and all of the children and their parents thought this was part of the show and fell into gales of laughter and took pictures. This poor man could not ask anyone for help, lest he lose his job. Our driver didn't relate how long Pooh was stuck there, but he stayed on the ground until a couple of the other characters came by and saw what had happened. Picture Goofy and Mickey to the rescue, picking up Pooh Bear from his ignominious position. We did, and we laughed.

It's a strange world, the world of Disney. I think I'll stay in this one.

More links

Instapundit calls this a thoughtful piece on Arab anti-Semitism. I call it a brilliant piece. I can't write unemotionally on this topic, but Glenn Kinen can. Give it a look.

A cry for peace

Something that the Dvoraks and Beams don't seem to take much stock in is the ability of a weblog to enable its writer's thoughts to play themselves out in front of an audience. The weblog is unscripted, unedited (save by yourself), raw, WYSIWYG. Mine is, anyway. It is a form of stream-of-consciousness, taken over periods of time. This morning, a funny post about search requests. This afternoon, rage, rage against the dying of the--I'm not sure. But I raged. And when my best friend called me tonight, the friend whom I have been avoiding calling for days because I know she is on the opposite side of my belief on the Israel/Palestinian issue and I was afraid the wall was near breaking, I snapped at her first thing, answering her "How was your Seder?" with "Better than the one in Israel." And later in the conversation, we finally broached The Unspeakable Topic: She gave me an earful of what she thinks the situation has devolved into, and no, we didn't get into a fight over it. I listened. I listened, and frankly, agreed with some of the things she said with respect to Israel's behavior toward the Palestinians. We even argued over her use of the word "idiot" to describe the Saudi youth she had seen on the Barbara Walters special--without my "spitting sarcasm". There was one thing that Heidi mentioned that struck a nerve.

I can understand their rage, she said.

The problem that I have with that statement is--I get it. Even I can understand their rage. Never condone or understand any of the ways they have seen fit to exercise that rage, but yes--I understand their rage. The truth of the matter is, I am one of the people who believes that Ariel Sharon is partly responsible for the Lebanese camp massacres. I believe he looked the other way while they went on. I was astonished and dismayed that he was re-elected. But I never agreed with the reaction to his visit of the Temple Mount, and I don't believe the Intifada was a rightful response to it. It is a Jewish shrine too; the Palestinians have to grow up and acknowledge that Jerusalem is a three-religion city, and learn to live with it.

If you go back to my first blog, and my original premise for this weblog, I wrote that it will no doubt undergo changes, as I believe, like Socrates, that the unexamined life is not worth living. And in the past week, particularly tonight, I have been examining my life, and my thoughts--and finding them unsatisfactory in the extreme. I am surly and churlish and combative here and elsewhere, online and off. I have found common ground with people whose views I used to cheerfully and regularly battle. I am ignoring the baser aspects of certain arguments because I agree with the better parts of those arguments. And I've figured out part of what's been bothering me. It isn't the turn to the right that I fear--it's the turn to the hate.

Have I been that unclear about how little I welcome war? Have I been so angry that you're equating me with the drumbeaters who want to wipe the Arabs out of the desert and claim the oil fields for our own? Do you count me now with those who want to drop a nuke on Baghdad? Has my rhetoric risen so high that I am that unrecognizable from the woman whose blog you started reading however long ago?

Apparently, the answer to all of the above is yes.

I received two letters tonight. One was from someone who reads my weblog out of some form of masochism, as I quite clearly told him long ago that his anti-Semitic screeds are not welcome in my mailbox--which hasn't stopped him from writing. As I deleted his current letter, I caught a little bit of what he wrote--that quote by the Hamas leader who says that Israel will be defeated because "Jews love life too much". My correspondent fractured that quote into "Jews value Jewish life above all else," a typically anti-Semitic canard. Let me in response quote to him, and to you, one of the most important teachings in Judaism: If a life is lost, it is as if a whole world is lost.

A life. Not "a Jewish life". Any life. An Arab life. An Israeli life. An American life. A Palestinian life. Even the life of my anti-Semitic correspondent. To lose a life is to lose the world.

That's one of the reasons you don't see any Israeli suicide bombers.

The other letter I received tonight was from a man I've grown to be friends with via correspondence and our weblogs. The post that I put up this afternoon distressed him so greatly that he summarily ended our friendship, and told me he would no longer be reading my weblog. I'm going to break my rule of private correspondence and quote an excerpt from his letter without permission, because it was his letter, along with Heidi's phone call and the contradictions seething in my head, that made me take a long, hard look at what I've become.

"It's been tragic watching one of my first and favorite Weblogs change to a daily scream of anguish, then anguish and hate, then just hate and demands for bloodshed."

Is that truly what you're getting out of my weblog these days? Because hate isn't what I'm trying to express. Anguish, yes, because my people are being murdered for what they are. Anguish, because anti-Semitism is on the rise seemingly all over the globe. Anguish, because when I see a burned synagogue, a bombed-out restaurant, a mob chanting "Death to Israel! Death to the Jews!" it creates in me a rage that burns so hot I can never truly express it. And I suffer also a sorrow that is equally difficult to express, a sorrow that comes from thousands of years of the tragedy of Jewish heritage, and that we drink with mother's milk.

And I find that your opinion matters to me more than I knew, because it was the pebble on the mountaintop that caused the avalanche of introspection, and we'll just stop with the metaphors now and see if we can find our way out of this sentence.

Hey. That was humor. Is that a crack of light I see, away off in the distance?

Come back, E. Don't stop reading, and don't stop writing. I can no more go back to being a squishy liberal now than I can go back to being a virgin (oh, did I type that out loud? Damn.). But I'm not as far gone as the post (which I deleted) led you to believe.

Sometimes, all it takes is a pebble--disguised as a farewell note.

Please stay.



A question for the relativists

It occurs to me that I need one simple question answered, and only one. Let's for the moment drop all of my arguments about the Palestinian suicide bombings, the refugee problems; in fact, let's assume for the moment that I agree with everything you say regarding the Palestinian side of things. Except for this.

I have one question, and one question only: In what way does blowing up families sitting down to the Passover dinner aid the Palestinian cause? Please explain this to me in short, simple sentences so that I may follow your logic. Let me repeat it in simpler phrases: How do suicide bombings advance Palestinian self-rule and solve the refugee problem?

No, don't go on about how they're driven to it by the wretched excesses of the Israeli oppressors, or the conditions of the camps, or the Right of Return, or for whatever other reason you can think of. Answer the question, simply and directly: In what way does blowing the arms and legs off old men and women and children solve the problems of the Palestinian refugees? You can start like this: "Blowing up innocent men, women, and children helps solve the Palestinian refugee problem because..."

When you can answer that question to my satisfaction, then I will begin to take your arguments seriously.

Links, links, who's got the links?

Really funny link from my pal Dolly. Easter may be over, but this one will absolutely slay you. Warning: No drinking while watching, or your monitor will be the worse for it.

Really serious link via Instpundit: Michael Gove, writing for The Times of London on the problem with peace plans:

In the past week, 45 Israeli citizens have been murdered by terrorists: 22 while sitting down to dinner to celebrate the holy festival of Passover; 14, including a 54-year-old father and his two children, while relaxing in an Arab-run restaurant on Sunday. These victims, like those of September 11, were ordinary citizens trying to lead lives of blameless decency, relying on the forces of a democracy which seeks to play by the rules to defend them against killers who deliberately target civilians.

The moral logic of self-defence, intuitively grasped across the West after September 11, licenses a nation under such attack to seek out, punish and disable those responsible. But the West today seeks to circumscribe, hedge round or deny morality in Israel’s hour of mortal danger and put its faith in the discredited expediency of “peace plans”.

Damian Penny is going on my blogroll. Glenn's right, this one is superb.

Carol Lay's comic on

Josh Trevino on the Palestinian refugee problem. Search on 1 APRIL 2002 if need be. Dammit, Josh, put in permalinks!

Site stuff

In my never-ending quest to make things easier for people (and in a shameless try for still more page views), I've put the Secret Arafat Phone Transcript in its own file, accessible from the menu directly to your left. It's still in the archive of last week's posts, however, as people put up links to it. (Thanks, Adil! Thanks, Glenn! Thanks, everyone else!)

First day searches! Yummy, but fewer calories!

I love the first days of the month. I get to see all the search requests, and all the referrers. At least until John Edward fraud takes over again and blows the single-digit searches off the top 50. (I'll have to see how many months in a row this is, but it's gotta be at least six months running).

"Diet blogs." That's an interesting search phrase, especially since I've just revamped Now with 50% less fat and fewer calories! Read my blog and lose weight at the same time!

My Altavista stalker is back. (So soon?) I know you're out there, and you know I'm over here, so I know that you know that I know you're being watched while you watch me. Got that? Well, listen, bub, may I point out to you that I personally know at least a dozen guys over six feet tall and weighing no less than 200 lbs.? So don't get any ideas, bub. [glaring] Oh, the search: reusing infest prussianize puritanizers soonest.

It's the "infest" that's worrying me. Dude, two suggestions: Take a bath, then go to a health clinic to get rid of that infestation. No, wait, three suggestions: Give me at least a week or two between searches, or I'm going to start ignoring you.

Will you people give it up on that "Meredith Viera naked" search? You're not gonna find it, and you're especially not gonna find it here.

This one's a news headline: "black bear attacks New Jersey". Well, it did, but we survived. There was only one of him and eight million of us. I think he's a rug in Trenton now. No, uh--I think he's a rug on Ted Koppel's head right now. Yeah.

Hey! Someone was looking for Charles, who is the Money God in my antique "Chinese reverse painting". I'd point to the article in my archive, but that would mean I'd have to look it up myself, and, well, I don't want to. You do it. I already know what I wrote. And, like, some of my older writing is kinda sucky, so I'm not pointing to it. I can't decide whether or not to get rid of the old archives, because they bring people here via search engines, and I must be keeping some of you, because the stats keep on climbing.

Have I mentioned how nice it is to have you all here? My readers rule, man! Bright, educated, thoughtful--well, a few nutcase stalkers, but hey, what's life without challenges? Remember, this is one of the few blogs in existence where a search on "Thurber the dog that bit people" will bring you here. That, or "topless exercise."



More funnies

Some hilarious Metafilter links:

Really, really, REALLY great parody of Wil Wheaton

The secret technology behind Google's search engine

From Daypop, and not sugar-coated--beware! Graphic photos included:

Peep surgery: separating the Siamese Peeps.

My kinda girl


And so I'd like to extend my hearty, personal, sincere thanks to the Palestinian Authority, to Hamas and Hizbollah and Islamic Jihad and the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and of course to the Al-Aqsa Brigade, perpetrators of that charming massacre in Netanyia just the other day. You guys did what I thought was utterly impossible: you made a mostly secular American chick proud to be a Jew. You got me to actually care about what happens in some oxymoronic God-forsaken Holy Land. You made me think about how I can help people with whom I have almost nothing in common except for our common history of being hunted and hated. You made me honored to support a people who believe in democracy and an open society, people who won't kill based on race or religion but who will kill and be unashamed to do so to defend those freedoms, to defend their right to exist. You gave me back a piece of my identity and heritage that was on the road to being assimilated right out of my All-American Girl life. You created a miracle; you made me give a shit. You made me a Zionist.

Welcome back to the fold.

April the First

Just in time for April Fool's Day, Brother Eric sends me a link that is simply full of--well, let's just say if you're not the swearing type, you'd better not go here. The joke carries on a bit too long, and it gets predictable, but it's worth a giggle or two. Sharon, you're gonna love this one for sure. And here I thought I wasn't going to find anything funny for today.

Okay, it's low--but damn, it's funny. Satire Wire, proving they're hipper and edgier than The Onion:

Controversial "Egan's Law" Expected to Gain Widespread Support

And whatever you do, don't click here.



A proposal for the protestors

Here's my idea: Let all the Euro-protestors into Israel. Set them all up at one hotel. Then set up meals for them in the hotel's banquet hall three times a day, and make sure there are no Israeli police or military guards at the doors of the hotel.

See how long it takes them to go from being pro-Palestinian to pieces of Palestinian suicide bomber victims. My guess is 24 hours.

Impressionable young minds

There is a train of thought about the suicide bombers going around that needs to be stopped immediately. The current rash of female bombers is frightening people, and theories are being profferred--does this mean the terror groups are running out of male volunteers? Is this a message of the expendability of women in Arab nations? And the young men blowing themselves up--is this a message that the peace process will never, ever work?

No, it's a message that General George S. Patton learned a long time ago: Remember that famous quote? Something like "Give me a man when he's 16, and he's mine for life". (The full, correct quote would be welcomed. I couldn't find it.)

The only thing easier than brainwashing a teenager is brainwashing a child of single digits. Brainwashing a twenty-something is no more difficult. And the evil men--and women--doing the brainwashing don't have to work hard at all.

I saw Franco Zefferelli's version of "Romeo and Juliet" when I was sixteen. I vividly remember sitting on the curb in front of a friend's house, talking about how incredibly romantic it was to want to die for love. Some years later I realized how incredibly stupid it is to die for love. But if someone had gotten to me when I was sixteen and told me that I would be serving a greater purpose by strapping 20 pounds of explosives around me and blowing myself up in a room of my enemies, I'd have to say it wouldn't have taken much of an effort. American teenagers are ignorant, and we give them a fairly decent education. Imagine how ignorant their peers in the West Bank must be.

It doesn't take much effort to convince a 22-year-old that he is doing something important, either. Give me a class of college seniors for one semester, and I'll have a decent percentage of them convinced of anything (within reason) you tell me to, and if you give me more time to influence their minds, I can convince them of unreasonable things. Let's not forget the Arab propaganda machine, which has been working since the 1930s to tell the world of the less-than-human status of the Jews--thanks to the Arab nations working hand-in-hand with their then-partner and now model, Adolf Hitler. It takes almost no effort to convince even educated teenagers from the West Bank of the "necessity" of self-immolation to defeat the hated enemy.

Don't give the terrorists more credit than they deserve. Shame on those mothers who take pride in the deaths of their babies. Shame on those fathers who take pride in the deaths of their sons. And shame, most of all, on the orchestrators of these horrible tactics--those who take innocent young minds and twist them to a terrible purpose, so that we sit in open-mouthed shock as we hear their videotaped last words, parroting the slogans of their sponsors. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Altavista and the psych ward

Okay, now I'm just plain scared of the people who use the Altavista search engine. I'm no longer getting poetry, I'm getting really, really weird searches, and it troubles me that they keep on finding my site with them.

"austrianize normanizations shakespearize storage perpetrators "

I'm starting to think I have a stalker out there with a very strange sense of humor, who spends his time thinking of phrases like the above and puts them into the Altavista engine until my site comes up.

And believe me, I have never written about austrianizing normanizations of shakespearize storage perpetrators. I wrote my treatise on the balkanization of normanizations of shakespearize storage perpetrators.

My name is Geraldo J. Fudd

I normally don't do this two days in a row, but my brother Eric came up with a great idea at dinner tonight. (Or should I say a gweat idea?) In any case, Imagine, if you will, Geraldo Rivera as Elmer Fudd. With apologies to Elmer Fudd, of course. Well. Here is Gewaldo J. Fudd, Fox News cowwespondent. Hahahahahahah. And by the way, thanks to Glenn Weynolds of Instapundit for the link, and, as always to Adil Fawooq at Muslimpundit. Hahahahahahah.

This is Gewaldo J. Fudd, Fox News cowwespondent. I have a gun, and I can use it. Weally! Wait! Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm hunting tewwowists. No, not Osama bin Laden. Dang. It's only that wascally Palestinian, my new fwiend and the deadly dangewous wepwesentative of Hamas, Abu--Amiw--uh, we'll get his name in a minute. Fiwst, let me give you my thoughts on Iswael, especially on Awafat undew siege in Wamallah. That's wight, Chaiwman Yassew Awafat is having a wough time of it, going without watew and electwicity and wunning low on cell phone battewies.

"Well, Geraldo, it's the Israeli terrorist regime that is forcing--"

"Mistew Abu--Amiw--uhh, wait just a minute, siw. Now we all know that what you need to do is sit down awound the negotiating table and just wip this thing out. That's wight, I think you and the Iswaeli negotiatows need to just twy a little hawdew!"

And this is as far as I can go, because let's face it--if you can't hear an Elmer imitation, it's not nearly as much fun, and this is a bitch to keep typing w's for r's, and twying to wemember if Elmer ever pwonounced his l's, and--oh, never mind, I'm going to stop now.

Last week's blogs are archived.