Driving on Thanksgiving Day doesn't seem to me to be any different than driving on the day before Thanksgiving. Oh, driving through Virginia was fine, and south of Baltimore things went smoothly, but as soon as I got north of Baltimore, the traffic turned horrendous. It took two hours longer than it should have, I got to see about half a dozen accidents and one car fire, dozens of people pulled over by the various state troopers, and stop-and-go traffic on 95 that was almost like a welcome-home message from my fellow travelers. You know, the kind that says, "Hey, you haven't been to New Jersey in four months, here, have a taste of what you missed!" (Mind you, there are also no tolls south of Baltimore, which probably had a great effect on the traffic, but you can't discount sheer numbers, and there are a lot more people north of the city than south.)
But the rest of the day was nice, albeit a bit colder than I like it. It was nice to be with family, having a good time and a great dinner and then a cut-throat game of Uno before bedtime.
It's cutting into my blogging time, though. I was going to comment on the latest NY Times article, but really, all I want to say can be boiled down into one sentence: That woman needs to do more research before writing about blogging.
I know there are a few NY-area bloggers who were talking about getting together this Sunday. It's looking like I'll have to pass on any get-together. I only have a few days here and it's family and old friends time. Maybe once the weather turns warmer, I'll give it another try. And maybe when it isn't the official start of Gridlock Alert Season going into Manhattan.
Next time around, I think. permalink
The twin terror attacks on Israeli nationals in Kenya yesterday were not a sign of a strong, uber-menacing Al Qaeda. I read it as a sign that Al Qaeda is getting desperate.
Why attack Israel? And why outside the state? Where are the feared and long-rumored "mega-terror attacks" inside the country? Why not there, on election day (which I believe was coincidental), instead of Kenya? For what purpose, other than the murder of Jews, did Al Qaeda strike?
First, Kenya is a much softer target than Israel. Even the Pals haven't managed to fire a missile at an El Al plane taking off or landing in Israel. Second, Al Qaeda needs to regain Arab support. It is melting through their hands. One by one, slowly but surely, Arab nations are going along with the United States in our war against terror. It may not be going as fast as some of us would like (it isn't), but even Yementhe place where they carried out the attack on the U.S.S. Coleis capturing and delivering Al Qaeda members and information. When you choose between the strong horse and the weak horse, as Osama said last year, the strong horse will always win. The Arab nations that backed Al Qaeda are looking down the barrel of the guns that freed Afghanistan, and deciding that the wiser course is to be behind the guns rather than in front.
And so although I mourn the deaths and decry the barbarism that killed so many innocents, I point out that the attack on the airplane missed, and that Al Qaeda's desperation is beginning to be noticeable. With or without Osama, one by one, they will be captured, destroyed, or rendered incapable. Sure, more can spring up from the ashes. But as the United States and her allieswilling or unwillingclose in on the terrorists, Al Qaeda is trying to win back Arab support. This also explains the long treatise against Jews in the "statement" Osama released a few days ago. (Well, taking as a given the anti-Semitism of Islamofascists, that is.)
One by one, the nations that supported Al Qaeda are withdrawing that support. Al Qaeda terrorists are sweating, and it's not because of the heat of the Saudi desert. permalink
So I decided not to drive up to NJ today, because there was supposed to be a snowstorm that would be dumping 2-4 or 3-6 inches on the NY/Metro area, and I thought driving 350 miles in the snow on the most heavily-traveled day of the year might not be so much fun. I'll get up early Thursday morning, I figured, and drive on the low-traffic, clear roads.
"Well, it snowed," said my mother ten minutes ago. "They say the sun's going to come out soon." Translation: NY weather forecasters blew it again. And now it's too late to leave without getting caught in all the traffic.
I swear to God, they just throw a dart at a board in cases like this. Oh, well. I hate driving the day before Thanksgiving, anyway. Traffic is awful no matter where you are, unless you're here in the Richmond area, where the traffic is all over on the West End, and you don't live there. And even so, it's nothing compared to NY/NJ traffic.
So I'll be joining Sorena and her friend and parents in going to see Harry Potter this afternoon, instead. I think that's a whole lot better than sitting on the NJ Turnpike swearing at all the lousy drivers. permalink
I am really, really, really, really glad Scott didn't read my blog before Bruce and I made plans for last weekend. (Don't tell Ellen my eyebrows are rather thick these days.) Read this and you'll see what I'm talking about. Don't be a fool and drink or eat anything while reading it. It is effing hilarious. permalink
Damn. Now I've fallen to the Tolkien quote geeks. Oh, well. More good news from Israel. The IDF got a couple more terrorists:
Reading about this article gave me a Laurence Simon moment. I was thinkingperhaps we should start a drinking game. Every time the IDF gets a few more terroristsdead or alivelet's have a celebratory drink for each.
This story's a hoot:
Yes, it's a very different kind of democracy. It's almost just like Western democracy, except for the Western part, and the democracy part. But all information sources are open to the Syrian people. Well, except if they try to utilize them, they go to prison or are executed. Then there are the pesky details of Syrian-occupied Lebanon, and that uprising in Hama in 1982 that was crushed so utterly and yet so ignored by the United Nations and the rest of the world.
Still, I got a laugh out of that Kaddoura guy calling Syria "democratic." You mean, they have elections? Like they do in Iraq? Wow, democracy in action. Let me put Syria down on my list of countries to move to if I ever leave the U.S. Oh, but wait. There's that pesky anti-Semitism thing, too. Never mind. permalink
Not much time today. I'm getting ready to head north tomorrow, where it's going to welcome me with a snowstorm. Yeah, I have a 4-wheel drive Jeep, but driving in the northeast corridor blows chunks without the weather sucking as well. I may postpone my trip to early Thursday morning.
Two email notes: First, I'm a lot behind on answering your letters. Apologies. Second, someone has a virus and doesn't know it, and sent it to one of my private accounts. You may want to check your hard drives for the effects. Look in your sent folder for a letter titled "A new game" from "mspss" on 11/24. And geez, peoplewhat are you doing giving me virii anyway? Safe computing! Safe computing! How many times do you have to be told?
I have discovered another raison d'etre for squirrels. They exist so my cats can chase them up onto the fence and then look up hopefully as the squirrels swear at them. Gracie is particularly working to perfect this custom. When I get the time and the exact timing, I'm going to create a little MPEG of her doing the squirrel hunt, and post it. Alas, no sound, so you can't hear the squirrel trying to make me blush. permalink
Michele is sponsoring a fund-raiser for the IDF at her site. Pizza and donuts. She's trying to get enough money to serve a whole battalion. Go check it out and contribute a few bucks. She's up to $800 so far, and looking for $1000 by the first day of Chanukah (that's the day after Thanksgiving). The organization set up a special donation page so the donations can be put together and then given to the IDF. That's a mitzva, Michele. You're on my Righteous Gentile list for it. (Well, you were already on it, but then, you must have known that.)
Mike Sanders fisks a fisker. Check this one out, it's yet another example of some idiot going off the deep end over something Mike said, and Mike's level-headed response. One of these days I'm going to have to put up a post about what on earth it is that Mike does that drives people into frenzies. I've been reading the same words they have, and it simply escapes me. Mike posts his opinions and feelings. People seem to think he has no right to them. Go figure.
This one is enough to make you cry: An article in the Washington Post on how shari'a law is savaging the masses in Nigeria.
Damian, why do you think anti-Semitic asshole Mikey Rivera (who should drop dead, thank you) is going to admit to being an anti-Semite? Even more puzzlingyou weren't looking for a straight answer, were you?
Rachel Lucas hates college. I remember days like that, except for the mountain bike part. I gotta say, it's nice to see someone else bitching about it for a change. Rachel, girl, six months after I bought my first-ever off-the-lot brand new car, it got hit in the parking lot, getting pushed about twenty feet and causing extensive damage to the rear. Hit and run, of course. I was on campus late putting the newspaper to bed. Boy, did I check every single pickup truck and high vehicle I saw for blue paint over the next few weeks. Never found it. In a related, yet strange notethat was the same year I stopped car thieves from stealing my brother's car. I'll tell you that story another time.
Via Michele: A site for people who are even stupider than people who give money to John Edward. You can send a telegram to a corpse. No, I'm not kidding. These people don't even deny they can't guarantee delivery. They just prove that P.T. Barnum was right: There's a sucker born every minute. And Mencken was right, too. People are stupid.
Okay, that's it for tonight. I'm beat. If you need more, find your own links. permalink
Saturday night, Bruce and I met some friends of mine for dinner at a Lebanese restaurant (ain't irony grand?), and then went to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens to see Judy Bressler for an evening of Klezmer music (learn more here). It was a fairly big night for the Richmond Jewish community, and several hundred peoplemostly Jewishwere at the concert. There were a lot of older people, which was not surprising. Richmond has a large number of German Holocaust refugees and survivors, which is why Richmond also has its own Holocaust Museum. There were a lot of silver-haired people in the audience.
A woman in the row directly in front of me caused my heart to skip a beat when she turned her head. She looked almost exactly like Grandma Shirley. Most of the faces seemed familiar. They looked like the family I've known through the years. They talked like my mother's cousin Shirley, or looked like my great-uncle Sam, or cousin Irwin (the bum!), or great-aunt Liz.
There was a point in the middle of the concert when I was happily listening as Judy sang songs like The Anniversary Song (when all the married people in the room gave a collective inaudible sigh and glanced at their spouses) and other Depression- and WWII-era songs written or sung by Jews. But it made me start wondering how it must have felt to be Jewishin Europeduring the 1930s and '40s.
How did it feel, I wondered, when gatherings like Saturday's were forbidden by law? When Jews were no longer allowed to work. Or slaughter animals according to Jewish law. When signs began popping up saying, "Jews not welcome." When Jews who had lived in Germany all their lives were stripped of their German citizenship. When Jews were forced to sell their businesses for a fraction of their worth.
How did it feel to have your name changed by government edict? To lose your job because you were Jewish. To have your professionals stripped of their credentials and unable to practice law, or medicine, or anything else. To be forbidden to gather to worship. To be forbidden from attending public events. To have your entire fortune taken from you, and then be moved from your home into overcrowded housing. To be taken from your home and beaten, tortured, killed. To be under a curfew, shot on sight if found outside during curfew hours. To be forced to wear a yellow star. To be forced into ghettos. To be shipped off to the concentration camps.
To be honest, I didn't get that detailed in my thoughts Saturday night. I did today, while researching this essay. On Saturday, I just looked at the crowd and wondered, what was it like when the brownshirts came through the doors? Why did they do what they did? What on earth is it about us that causes so many to hate us, to harm us, to kill us? All we are doing, after all, is living. Only that.
I thought, and thought, and thought. And I came up with only a single reason: Because we are Jews.
You would think that after all these years, people could come up with a better reason for trying to exterminate us. But apparently not: being Jewish is still reason enough.
Of course, it's not the 1930s or 1940s. There's a major difference in the dynamic now. This time, we will not go quietly to our deaths. This time, we stand our ground and declare that Jews have as much right to live as anyone else. This time, we make the haters show themselves to be haters. This time, we fight for ourselves. Is that why the hate is so rabid in the Arab world today? Is that why the Europeans despise Israel so?
I don't really know. But it's gotten to the point where I no longer care. Welcome to the anti-Semite's greatest nightmare: the Jews won't be rolling over and dying any time soon.
Deal with it. permalink
If you had any doubt in your mind that Al Qaeda and the rest of the Islamofascists are anti-Semitic bastards, read these excerpts from the supposed bin Laden letter:
One might point out that the letter is sorely lacking in the distinction between Zionism and Jews. One might point out that no, it isn't. Bin Laden wants us all dead. Jews, Crusaders, Hindus, moderate Muslims, atheistsif it ain't his form of Islam, kill it. The only good infidel is a dead infidel, right, Osama?
Personally, I think that letter was written by committee. But the consensus of the committee is clear: Die, infidel, and most especially, die, Jew.
'Bout all I can say is: Nope. Die yourself. My guess is that the next phase of the shooting war begins on the dark of the moon, January, 2003. In Iraq, just like it was 12 years ago. Here's hoping some of our planes make a side trip to that desert sea (warning, it's DEBKA and not a reliable source) to lob a few missiles at our buddy Osama. permalink
Now that I've got a few minutes to myself (but only a few, as I have the edits on the synagogue newspaper to do, the pictures from the school's outing at the "continuing care" facility (that's old age home to you and me non-PCers), a soap opera to catch up on (yay! Gilmore Girls was hilarious, Angel was awesome, and now that Bruce isn't watching Buffy while I'm trying to work, I can actually concentrate), I can catch up a bit on what I missed the previous few days. Wow, that was some bunch of parenthetical statements. Oh, and the title is a joke. Honest. Kidding. Really. Swear.
Bruce will be back in New York by the time you read this. It was interesting to realize how many differences there are in our cultures. Something that the average American takes for grantedlike knowing what to do with the empty paper cup you get from a fast-food joint (I took him to Popeye's)causes a world of confusion in strangers to our land. I mean, think about it. The poor guy gets an empty cup and has no idea that the drink dispenser is over to the left of the counter and he's expected to pour his own. You find yourself explaining things you never thought to explain because, well, the guy's got different life experiences than you.
If I'd had a little more time, I'd have been able to take Bruce to the ultimate American consumer experience: The Mall. Maybe next week, he says, when I'm back visiting my folks in New Jersey. Yeah, right. Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day Weekend. I'll wave goodbye as you head off for the mall yourself. permalink
(Psst: You need to read this first.)
What with all the other de-linkings going on in the blogosphere, I have an announcement to make:
I am delinking from myself. That's right. Inspired by this post over on LGF, I realized that yourish.com is a horrible, horrible site and needs to be punished. (Bad girl! Bad!)
The fact of the matter is, I have to say that that yourish person is a potty-mouth, posts mean things about terrorists, Islamofascists, and anti-Semites, and, well, I just can't sanction talk like that anymore. Why, the next thing you know she'll be posting pictures that glorify guns and violence, telling anti-Semites to just up and die already, and advocating the overthrow of the dictatorships of the entire Arab world. And then where will we be, with such hate speech as that in the blogosphere? People might get the idea that they could say anything they wanted, anytime they wanted, anywhere they wanted so long as it fit the model of not shouting "Fire!" in a crowded room. We can't possibly have that around. What the hell did we have a Revolution for in the first place? The Bill of Rights is far too precious to be left to interpretation by the common man. That's what we have the Supreme Court for.
I can no longer in good conscience include on the yourish.com's blogroll any weblog that has provided a permanent blogroll link of its own to the site known as "yourish.com." Neither will I be able to ever link again to any of my own posts. I am, in effect, looping myself out of the loop, if you get my drift. And if you get my drift, uh, please tell me what I'm trying to say, because I've just succeeded in totally confusing myself. It's kinda like those Zen koans that used to confuse the hell out of me in college.
But in plain talk, here's the deal: If any of you out there link to me, don't. And I won't link to me, either. Because, dammit, uh, I forgot why.
Oh! Wait! I know! BECAUSE IT'S BECOMING A FAD!
Delink me, dudes! Delink me! DELINK ME!!!
[Editor's note: Meryl has been apprehended and sedated. She should be back to normal tomorrow. It seems she had an overdose of something the past few days, quite possibly fun, as she's been pretty out of it lately and forgot what it was like. Either that, or she's just too excited about her new guns. Uhwhat this means is: NO! DON'T LOSE THOSE LINKS! WHAT, ARE YOU NUTS? KEEP LINKING! KEEP LINKING! Geez.] permalink
Update: Try the main page. This page is fifteen months old, though much of it is (sadly) not yet outdated.
Kim du Toit found a bigger gun than the one I posted about a couple of days ago. But Kim doesn't know that I also put a deposit down on a bunch of 16-inch guns that we found on the Wisconsin. So Kim, uhyep, my gun's bigger than yours.
Check out the shells. They're taller than I am. Of course, I'm only about 5'3", but stillboy, those are some big-ass bullets. Okay, so I have to pay for this on on the installment plan. But it'll be worth it. No criminal's gonna come near my house with those babies sticking out the front window. permalink
Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. 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.