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The Machinery of Night

I don't know where Angie Schultz has been hiding, or how long her blog has been around (which of course I could learn with a click on the archives link, but hey, it's nearly 3 a.m. and I'm exhausted), but she is effing excellent. There are so many good posts I'm not even going to quote one. Go read them. I barely even mind that she's using reverse type (although of course I'll start to bitch about that at a later date).

She's funny as all get out. She has an anecdote about the word moiety. Seriously. (But it's a really funny one.)

Spread the word on this one folks, she's a winner.

The Bear facts on building a nuclear bomb

NZ Bear explains how much uranium Iraq would need for a nuclear weapon, and whether or not the 33 lbs. (about 15 kilograms) recovered by the Turks (thank you, Turkey!) would be enough for Saddam to make an American (or Israeli) city glow.

His conclusion: Yeah.

Thanks, Bear. I'll sleep better tonight. No, not really. I'm wondering: Where is he going to aim it? Israel or the U.S.? Damn, we'd better take care of this. Faster, please.

Marry me, Mark

From Mark Steyn's latest column:

What should the West do about this problem? Well, we could start by acknowledging it. Fact: Almost all Denmark's rape victims are ethnic Danish girls or women. Fact: An ethnic Danish girl is far more likely to be raped by a Muslim than an ethnic Dane. Fact: Immigration means that more Danish women get raped. You can argue about the way to change these stubborn facts -- curtail immigration vs increase outreach, cut welfare vs educate immigrant parents -- as the People's Party and the Muslim Youth League are doing. These are tenable positions in the debate. But, when you insist someone's a "hatemonger" even for mentioning these awkward demographic trends, you're just trying to shut down the debate:

"56% of immigrant m..."


"47% of serious cr..."


"68% of reported..."


So I'm grateful to Mr. Tam. He specifically disputed one fact and he called me a hatemonger. That seems fair enough. Dispute two specific facts and you can take me to the Human Rights Commission. Dispute three specific facts and we'll play your karaoke recording on the National Post Web site:

"Hatemonger, hatemonger,

Mong me some hate..."

But just plain old unsupported cries of "hatemonger"? Save it for your next Concordia riot.

(And if anyone has his email address, someone send him along my proposal, will you?)

What other people are saying

Saw this on The Corner:

The left hates it when conservatives equate affirmative action with discrimination in the bad old days. But consider Maryland gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s ringing defense of, apparently, both in last night’s debate: “Well, let me tell you, slavery was based on race. Lynching was based on race. Discrimination is based on race. Jim Crow was based on race. And affirmative action should be based on race.”

Ah, no. I see it as a ringing endorsement of why affirmative action should be race-based (frankly, it can be no other way). The left hates it when the right deliberately misconstrues what was said and turns it into an insult, when it wasn't. Townsend was in no way defending the racism of old, but that doesn't stop Roger Clegg from accusing her of it.

Speaking of not getting it, Jonah Goldberg can't tell when Mark Twain is kidding (via God ofthe Machine). Read the letter from Twain (who went ballistic when he heard the library was banning his books) he quotes. And Goldberg says that it's okay to ban some books. Which ones, Jonah? One person's offense is another's great literature.

I like this God of the Machine guy. Found him via a referrer to my site. I especially like his short, simple reasons for a pre-emptive strike.

All wars are preemptive. Wars cost lives and money, and can only be justified to preempt the presumably worse damage of not going to war. One of the lessons of the 20th century is that a little more preemption would have saved a good deal of cure. How much better off might we be had the Allies stamped out the Russian Bolsheviks in 1918 instead of sending in an inadequate force with instructions to twiddle their thumbs? Or if we had listened to Patton and marched on Moscow in 1945? Wouldn't it have been nice to wipe out Al-Qaeda before 9/11?

Another New Yorker, hey? Hm. I'm getting more and more willing to organize and/or attend a NJ-area blogger get-together. I'm going to be back in NJ for Thanksgiving, from Wednesday to Saturday (have to come back home Saturday to teach the kids on Sunday). I'll think about it. The only thing I know for sure is that I should be hooking up with former fiancé Bruce Hill (War Now! is gone, but his brother and others at Silent Running take up the torch) around that time, as he'll be in the States for a visit. Hm. Bill, you don't think he's looking to win me back, do you? This could get interesting.

Speaking of Bill, he's got a link to a pretty funny invention. I'd have to say it's a really kick-ass invention, in fact. (I did have to say it. I told Bill I would.)

Steven Leed has a response to Tom Waits' letter praising John Densmore's refusal to "sell out" the Doors to corporate advertising. (You remember—I wrote about it yesterday.) Another New Jerseyan, but he's not proud of it. Notice that I am linking to him anyway. And will likely link to him again in the future. Perhaps I can give him lessons on being proud of having been born in New Jersey. Reason number one: It's one of the original 13 colonies. New Jersey helped make the United States what it is today. It doesn't matter if your ancestors were in Europe at the time, you live there now, and get to bask in the reflected glory. Reason number two: It isn't Delaware. More later.

Update: Steve says he's not a native New Jerseyan. Oooohhhhh. That explains it. Hey, Susanna! Sounds to me like you and he have a few things in common. Y'all should get together. Judging by something he said about his neighborhood, I have a hunch you don't live too far apart.

I feel like I need to balance out all the New York-New Jersey links with a link from another region. So I went over to Damian Penny's and cycled between pride and outrage, as I always do. Damian, I know it's not your fault, but you can't know how many times I've wanted to throw things through the monitor because of what I read on your site. I think I'll stop now and go have brunch.



The Vice Presidency and the spike file

Laurence Simon has (I think) offered me the Vice Presidential spot on his all-blogger ticket for 2004. I think he's wise to choose me. His primary qualification for VP is that he needs to have one that people won't want to have as President, so he won't get shot. Well, Lair, I think you're right. Yes, we're looking at an all-Jew ticket, but hey, nobody said it was going to be easy to begin with. And here's why no one will shoot you: This country will not stomach a female President. They don't want one, not now, anyway. Oh, they talk a good talk—Libby Dole, Condi Rice, Diane Feinstein, even the [shudder] prospect of President Hillary. Well, add my Jewishness to the mix, and then my Northeastern liberal roots, and you've got a three-strike Vice Presidential candidate. They'd rather shoot me than you, and that's what a President needs the most in a Vice President. Well, that and the ability to stop you from leaping on your opponents with a claw hammer in each hand.

So if that was an offer, I accept. (It pays better than web development, anyhow.)

On to the discussion of the Spike file: I used to write my essays in Word and cut-and-paste, but then I got the DW upgrade and the better editor. I find the differences in our writing styles fascinating. The spiked items that I throw away are generally items that I realized were too narrow in scope to begin with (do my readers really care about another blogwar with someone who's pissing me off?) or just plain too dumb to ever be able to work properly (yeah, your readers really give a shit what your favorite breakfast is). Actually, one of my readers once challenged me to make a post that made navel lint seem interesting, and I did, so maybe I'll get back to that breakfast thing someday. But the blogwars—been there, done that, bored now.

The difference in anger levels of our posts seems apparent to me, though perhaps on some of my posts, not apparent to others. There are times (see below) when I post from that level, and there are times when my anger sits and simmers and comes to a slow boil. That's when I write my best essays. In my opinion, if you can submerge your anger and turn it into a more subtle vitriol, it can be a far more memorable piece than a screaming fit. Which is not to say I think Lair's style is wrong. It's just different.

But then, when Lair says "Yeah, I've been tempted to regret some of the things I post. Shucky darn, I'm all out of shits to give," it pretty much delineates our main difference. There are some issues on which I agree with him—for instance, anti-Semites can go fuck off, I am done with pretending I care what they think, or whether they live or die—but for the most part, I still have a bunch of shits to give.

Which will come in handy when I'm trying to muster up the votes in Congress that Lair needs to pass his programs. Good cop, bad cop. That will be us. Nobody needs to know how very much alike we really are.

The New York Times needs to be on the Campus Watch list

Glenn, stop feeding my fires today.

There's an article in today's New York Times about the new Daniel Pipes-sponsored site, Campus Watch. The article brings up shades of McCarthy (because of course, when you try to point out the ills of the speech of the left it is always censorship and McCarthyism, but if it's the ills of the right, it's free speech, and this, mind you, is coming from a self-proclaimed liberal). It cites various professors who, as a protest move, are boldly asking Pipes to include them in his list of professors to be watched. Oh. How original. How daring. How bold. Yeah, whatever.

But after quoting various academics, the Times concludes with this paragraph:

The universities on the Campus Watch site include Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, New York University and Berkeley, and others less prominent, where Middle Eastern tensions have erupted, including Concordia College in Montreal, where a recent fracas forced the cancellation of a speech by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

Emphasis, as always, is mine. Let's quote from an eyewitness account about that little "fracas," shall we?

The scene as we exited was disgusting. Benches were overturned, papers and garbage streaked across the hallways, and broken windows. We were shoved outside directly into a HUGE Palestinian riot, where some of our people were apparently attacked. The cops did nothing. We stood on one side of the barrier, while they stood on the other, and we faced off. On our side, we sang and danced and celebrated being free and Jewish. On their side, they threw bottles at people's heads, screamed hatred, and tried to break the barriers down to hurt us. They started tossing pennies and coins at us - one of the oldest ways to taunt Jews by saying we're all 'money-grubbing'. While we sang Hatikvah arm in arm, they spat at us. Finally we decided to disperse and leave them to their hatred.

And from this article:

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators, some of them holding Palestinian flags and wearing keffiyeh, locked arms to block an entrance to the university, roughing up some people trying to attend the speech.

Montreal Rabbi Howard Joseph and his wife, Norma, a Concordia religion professor, were kicked and punched.

"The women aimed their punches at my breasts," Prof. Joseph said.

[...] Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters managed to penetrate the building through a side entrance and occupied the front vestibule -- only a few metres from the auditorium where 500 mostly Jewish spectators had gathered to hear the speech.

Demonstrators outside smashed a large plate-glass window in the vestibule and began hurling objects at police inside, prompting officers to fire back with pepper spray.

The acrid gas began to fill the vestibule. As chaos began to take hold, police pushed back the protesters inside. In response, several hurled wooden furniture and metal chairs at the officers from an upper mezzanine.

Yeah. That was some little fracas. Those damned Jews, getting in the way of the Palestinians fists and feet. Way to go, Times. Way to keep those home biases burning. Way to make sure I never buy another issue of your newspaper.

Come on Densmore, light my fire

Via Instapundit: John Densmore wrote an article on why he'll never "sell out," that is, why you'll never hear a Doors song touting cars or sneakers or anything else on commercials. And near the end of the article, he wrote this:

Actually, it was John and Yoko who inspired me to start a 10 percent tithe, way back in the early '80s. In the Playboy interview, John mentioned that they were doing the old tradition, and it stuck in my mind. If everybody gave 10 percent, this world might recapture a bit of balance. According to my calculations, as one gets up into the multi category, you up the ante. Last year I nervously committed to 15 percent, and that old feeling rose again: the greed gene. When you get to multi-multi, you should give away half every year. Excuse me, Mr. Gates, but the concept of billionaire is obscene. I know you give a lot away, and it's easy for me to mouth off, but I do know something about it. During the Oliver Stone film on our band, the record royalties tripled, and as I wrote those 10 percent checks, my hand was shaking. Why? It only meant that I was making much more for myself. It was the hand of greed. I am reminded of the sound of greed, trying to talk me into not vetoing a Doors song for a cigarette ad in Japan.

But somewhere else in the article, he wrote this:

Why did Jim have to say we were "erotic politicians"? If I had been the drummer for the Grassroots, it probably wouldn't have cut me to the core when I heard John Lennon's "Revolution" selling tennis shoes...and Nikes, to boot! That song was the soundtrack to part of my youth, when the streets were filled with passionate citizens expressing their First Amendment right to free speech. Hey...the streets are filled again! Or were, before 9/11. And they're protesting what I'm trying to wax on and on about here. Corporate greed! Maybe I should stick to music. I guess that's why I hit the streets with Bonnie Raitt during the 1996 Democratic National Convention. We serenaded the troops. Bob Hope did it during World War II, only our troops are those dressed in baggy Bermuda shorts, sporting dreadlocks. Some have the shaved Army look, but they're always ready to fight against the Orwellian nightmare. A woman activist friend of mine said that with the networking of the Net, what's bubbling under this brave new world will make the '60s unrest look like peanuts. I don't want "Anarchy, Now," a worn-out hippie phrase, but I would like to see a middle class again in this country.

I wasn't aware that America had been reduced to two classes. Huh. So, if there's no middle class, why are the politicians fighting over the nonexistent middle class taxes, or the nonexistent middle class vote? And where does he think the anti-globo protesters come from, the slums of Ethiopia? Oh, what do I know, I'm just a hopeless proletariat who doesn't care if rock artists sell their songs to greedy corporations. (Yes, I'll take three of those Jags, please, because Sting's song is really cool. Nice to see you think so highly of the prole's intellectual capabilities, John.)

Hey, we Jews know what your woman activist friend is talking about. We've seen them in action in Washington and San Francisco. We'll probably see them again this weekend. I don't think it was what you meant, John, but typically, the anti-Semitism of the left gets ignored while you're all pursuing the higher matters. Like ageing rock artists selling their songs to corporations for use in commercials.

And regarding those higher matters: A self-proclaimed multimillionaire writes an article on how cool and steadfast he is for not selling out. I, a member of the (nonexistent) middle class, who has lived on an income in the five figures her entire life, salute you. I don't see how you've resisted lo, these many years. It must be so hard, especially when those annoying corporations keep sending you letters offering you gazillions of dollars for one little song. Everyone knows the difference between a multi-millionaire and a multi-multi-millionaire is only another group of seven figures. So cheers for John Densmore, sitting in his mansion, and resisting the pull of the multiple millions being dangled in front of him.

Rock on, dude. And thank you for reminding me that I hate the Doors. All that posing must have gotten to me in my youth.

Lord spare us from celebrities who think they have a mission in life. I'll take the crassness of Ozzy, thank you very much. At least he's not a poseur.

One of those nights: Spike it.

Or maybe one of those days. Everything I've written this evening has been put in the spike file. The promised post on the international Zionist conspiracy is sitting and ageing for a bit; I'm not quite sure it's done yet. I may need to run it past a few of my friends for some feedback. (And for those of you who have discovered that I put drafts out there for feedback and what the name of the file is, rest assured that I will no longer be using that file name. Sneaky little buggers, aren't you? Shame my web stats rat you out.)

I've been asked to write more Cattales. I'm trying, I'm trying. I actually want to write a Dogtales, but I need to get a picture of Heidi with the three dogs trailing after her as she tries to move around the house doing simple things like putting in a load of laundry. It's absolutely hilarious to watch the parade of paws trailing behind her.

I am deliberately staying away from the latest outrages from the Middle East and from campuses across North America, because my blood pressure can't take it right now.

There are a few emails I need to catch up on, and a few websites to link. But I waited until late to write this, and I'm too tired to even check my mailbox. Although there is the letter I received during the Buffy Blogburst from the guy who decided that was the day to tell me how wrong I am on the Middle East situation. Yeah, that was relevant to what I was doing that day. Way to get me to listen to an argument—read less than a week's worth of posts and then tell me how wrong I am. That's second only to telling me that I'm a crummy writer or a stupid thinker, and by the way, would I link to this post that proves it?

So how many other bloggers out there have a spike file? Mine is called "temp" and it currently has more than two dozen posts that have yet to see the light of day. (No, it is not online. It is on my hard drive.) If you don't have one, then you need to create one. Here's a free tip toward good blogging: You need to learn how to tell when an essay is working or not working, and if it's not working, put it aside and come back to it later. Or get someone else to give you feedback on it. (Not me, unless you and I already have a relationship like that.) Or dump it for good. It's one of the secrets to my success. I write, I edit, I re-edit. I put a piece aside, and come back to it a day or a week or three months later. If it works, it gets posted. If it doesn't, it stays hidden or, sometimes, I recognize a useless idea and throw it away completely. The spike file is where my most emotional rants wind up, and often stay. Free tip number two: Don't post something that you wrote in extreme anger. Give yourself time to breathe and re-read it. You publish fewer apologies and retractions that way. (I have yet to get caught reacting to a news article that turned out to be false, or based on false information, because I won't jump on the bandwagon of outrage until I'm sure an event is true. I hate corrections. Part of that perfectionist, obsessive-compulsive thing.)

So the post about being in the blogroll ghetto will have to wait, as will the ones on faith, and moral exhaustion, my favorite breakfast, and why I don't hate journalists. But maybe they'll come out into the light someday when I can't think of a thing to write. Or when they demand my attention again.


Charles Johnson: Your influence is showing

Check out the lead in this Arab News article:

The US government’s decision to have all Saudi, Pakistani and Yemeni male visitors to the US aged 16-45 fingerprinted at ports of entry from Oct. 1, caught many Saudis by surprise, and is a rather shortsighted and idiotarian reaction to finding ways of stopping terrorists from entering the US.

Charles, they're definitely reading your website. Take a bow. You're casting quite a long shadow.

Gary's got the touch this week

A quick visit to Gary Farber's place brought me too many links to pass along. But of course, I will.

Scientology suppresses another website via search engine, and here's the heart of the matter on which Gary and I agree wholeheartedly:

What bugs me in a more personal way are all the members of the science fiction community who morally compromise with these creeps via Scientology's outreach propaganda arm, Bridge Publications, and sell their souls for some money and trinkets from Bridge in exchange for promoting "Writers of the Future," or teaching in the program (praise of L. Ron Hubbard required), or in the case of "Writers of the Future" hopefuls, in exchange for a (they hope) career boost. I don't see it as even a harmless joke, and I'm greatly saddened when I see people I respect colloborating with these evil people (by which I mean the people who run Scientology; most followers are just innocent dupes, of course).

I like Gary's take on John Dean's (he's not dead?) call for the repeal of the 17th Amendment. (What, the peons are too stupid to choose our own representatives now?) Okay. So a former member of the Nixon Administration (the ones responsible for Watergate and attempting to subvert the United States Constitution) thinks we should take the power to elect senators out of the people's hands and into the hands of the legislature. Hey, I'm sold, how about you?

And how effing stupid is Dean? Can you imagine how easy the opposition is going to have it? The text of one simple commercial, read by a man with a deep, baritone voice: The politicians and special-interest groups who want to repeal the 17th Amendment don't think the people should have the right to vote for their own senators. They think only politicians should choose other politicians. If you don't want your right to vote taken away for good, vote no on repealing the 17th Amendment. (And I didn't even have to think to make that up.)

Of course, the killer quote I found over at Gary's was a news report on Dick Armey stating why American Jews are divided between liberals and conservatives. His reasoning? Only conservatives think. Wow. This unthinking liberal has just decided that she probably won't break her umpteen-year tradition of not voting for conservatives—or Republicans. I mean, it's all so complicated. How can I possibly begin to muster the thought processes that will cause me to push down the levers on Row B instead of Row A? Perhaps I should just keep listening to Julie Brown's "Cause I'm a blond" and not think about it some more.

Gary, as for the Arab News columnist writing in favor of Saddam Hussein's overthrow, I find it completely unremarkable. The Arab News is an organ of the Saudi government. It prints what they want us to hear. The Saudis have decided to stop pissing into the wind and join the anti-Saddam corps. Ergo, their English-language state newspaper prints such articles. Yawn.

Medical professionals volunteer for Israel

Judith Weiss passed this along to me:

Medical Volunteers Study Tour 20-27 October 2002
Organizers: The Jewish Agency for Israel and The IDF Medical Corps

Goal: In the wave of the ongoing terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, and of the growing tension in the Middle-East, numerous medical professionals in North America and In Europe have expressed their will to volunteer and help the State of Israel and the IDF medical corps if such a need occurs. In answer to this, and among other actions, The Jewish Agency for Israel, together with the IDF Medical Corps have organized a study tour for medical professionals in Israel. This tour will allow medical personnel to visit Israel, thereby expressing solidarity with the country and the people, while learning about the Israeli medical system and the medical services of the Israeli armed forces. There will be a special focus on how the Israeli medical system, both civilian and military, deals with the current security situation, and with situation of national emergency. The trip will foster networking amongst Israeli and Diaspora medical professionals, and will encourage the sharing of knowledge and resources in the field.

Program Dates: The trip will take place on October 20-27

- The program is open for all licensed doctors and their spouses, including APF members.
- The program is also open for medical students who have completed at least 4 years in medical school
- The program includes overnights in Jerusalem, at a 3 star hotel, and shabbat in a 4 star hotel in Tel Aviv. The hotel stay in on the HB (Half Board) basis.
- The cost to participants is $350 plus airfare
- Participants are requested to pay for the program upon arrival in Israel, in cash or travelers cheques
- Participants must come with their own health insurance, to cover the entire stay in Israel

If you wish to register please write to [email protected] and to: Eitan Peer in N.Y- [email protected]

It doesn't say you have to be Jewish. Anyone who fulfills the above requirements and wants to experience life in Israel for a week, as well as advance your medical knowledge (here's praying there will be no terrorist attacks while you're there), email the above address.




It seems Buffy is hugely popular; the blogburst received an enormous amount of referrals (half of them from Instapundit, what with the hang-time of being the lead article for some four hours including lunchtime yesterday). But we knew that Buffy is popular. And the season premiere rocked. My jaw simply dropped at the last scene, plus, Joss Whedon scared the hell out of me throughout most of the show. I haven't been that creeped out since "Hush."

I have a busy day scheduled and may not get to much blogging until later. (Ooh! West Wing premiere tonight. Much later.) But I have a post that details the international Zionist conspiracies that rule the world. Well, except that if you don't hear from me later, or the post doesn't go up, or, well, if my computer suddenly crashes and I lose all the data in the hard drive or if my ISP goes down today, you'll know why. I probably shouldn't have mentioned it at all until I posted the information; now they're going to be after me. Hey. I didn't get my migraine yesterday until after I had my morning orange juice. Perhaps I should have it tested.

Okay, would someone please tell me who is the clown who put me on the Nigerian scam spam mailing list? They just keep coming and coming. Today's crop: One by (I'm not making this up) " harrison nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn abed." Yes, there really are all those "n's" in his name, and I'm sad to inform you that his email address is [email protected]. (Take it away, spambots!) If Jesus loves me, why is he allowing harrison nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn abed to spam me? It's a very confusing message.

Shapiro Morris has changed his name. Now it's Dr. Thomas Menakala who sent me a letter about Girl who operates computer getting my name and trying to give me my share of the $152,000,000.00 USD. See? Even the Nigerian spam artists are anti-Semites. Or maybe they're just plain ignorant. Listen, Harisson nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn (how do you pronounce that, anyway? N? or nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn? Perhaps only nnn?) uh, abed. If you change Shapiro Morris to Dr. Shapiro Morris, you'll definitely get more suckers sending you their bank account numbers. People trust Jewish doctors with their lives.

I've actually been deleting the rest of my Nigerian spam. Call me crazy. (And yeah, I read all about the secretary who cost her job $2 million USD. She's not stupid. She didn't lose her money, did she? Okay, so she's going to jail for a few years. It still wasn't her money.) A reader forwarded me another $152,000,000.000 USD letter signed by a Mr, Walter Orah , (the commas are his, not mine). Obviously the Girl who operates computer has learned her Microsoft Word mail merge, but not very well. Perhaps we should make a game of trying to guess the next official-sounding name to come down the pike. Do you think they have the balls enough to use Kofi Annan's name? I'd send him my bank account.

Hm. I do believe I have rambled long enough. Enjoy the day, and try not to send your bank account numbers to strangers in email. Send them to me instead.



More Buffy blogs added.

See below.

It's because of

Although the Instalanche is getting the word out, there are people who rely on updates from, and I'm pretty sure that Dave's program won't accept a changed post as an update. So here's the filler: More Buffy blogs below, a few more to come. Plus, I got the chance to read them all (say goodbye, migraine iris) and excerpt a few things. Still a few more to come, including a cartoon from Amptoons, so stay tuned (ooh, that was as much fun to read as it is to say).

This bodes ill

I get migraines, occasionally. They generally include an iris across my vision, which makes it nearly impossible to do anything at all while I have the migraine.

One started ten minutes ago. I have all but one or two of the Buffy Blogburst URLs, so I'm heading back to bed for a while and will pick up on it later. Meantime, if you folks want to email any interested parties, feel free to do so. This is the first Blogburst that isn't concerned with violence, bigotry, death, destruction, and—oh, wait. Yes it is. Fictional, but yeah. My bad.

The Buffy Blogburst Index, updated

The following is the index of a blogburst, a simultaneous, cross-linked posting of many blogs on a single theme. This blogburst concerns Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff series, Angel.

Here's what we have as of 10:45 p.m. Any more, or can I go to bed now?

Peter David has a quick'n'dirty review of tonight's episode. (Yeah, the cameos of the last two minutes were absolutely jaw-dropping, but yes, it was great to see them all. And any comics fan that did not get the "Miss Harkness" joke needs to go back and read some 70s-era Fantastic Four.)

Irongall writes about trusting Joss Whedon:

Like everyone else, I've tried to guess what Joss would do next, after some twist or intense point of climax. (Joss as creator and auteur and embodiment of the show's sentience; that's how I think of it, that's how a lot of us talk about it, and though it's not fair to all the other people who make the show, it's the easiest way to discuss it.) But as the series has developed, I've learned to trust him. He won't do what I would have done, or what I think he should, or what I want him to, but even when he drops the ball I'm gratified by the playing fields he's chosen and the teams he's assembled and the plays he's run. And I like to let him lead me through the game, divulging information and springing shocks and twists on me at his chosen pace, so that I'm as shocked and amazed as I can possibly be while I'm watching, and so that I can come to realizations when he wants me to.

N.Z. Bear has a discussion with a visitor from Sunnydale:

"In your world, the lines are clearer," I conclude. "You disagree; you debate, you argue at times. But only for a few minutes. And then the path is clear; difficult, I know; horribly so at times. But you know what must be done, and nobody argues that the demon who just murdered half the town should be allowed to walk free because he grew up in a poor, oppressed dimension."

Amptoon's piece is up, complete with multiple caricatures of Willow (I should send him a photo for a caricature).

In some ways, Buffy cast members are ideal for this. I know their faces well, which is necessary for me to judge if a likeness has that feeling of "oh, her!" But I haven't seen many cartoons of Buffy characters. This is important, because most political cartoonists, when they draw (say) George Bush, aren't really drawing Bush - they're drawing a sort of unspoken cartoonist's consensus of what cartoons of Bush look like. And we recognize Bush, not because the cartoons have any particular resemblance to Bush, but because they look like other cartoons of Bush we've seen.

Not here—you have to go to his site for the graphics.

Silent Running: Tom Paine sees a parallel in Willow's descent into darkness and the Arab-Israeli situation:

Which is why I've been seeing Willow's growing seduction by dark magic, and her swiftly growing power as a rather Jewish thing. In a sense, this last year has been my own Dark Season, as I suspect it has for many of us. Willows' grief-fuelled rage at Tara's killer, his friends, her friends who try to stop her and, indeed, The Entire Universe to some extent matches my own mood.

Mac Thomason treats us to the adventures of Captain Euro in Sunnydale:

Charles Kuffner finds the common threads between Buffy and the Sopranos.

The Chosen One? One in a million? Father issues? Woke up one morning to find that the world wasn't what you thought it was? Hints of violence? Catchy hook and irresistable bass line? Are we sure these are two different shows?

Nick Danger's defending Season Six:

This is the year the Scoobies grew up. Teen angst, one of the show’s hallmarks from the beginning, gave way to the more difficult, more lasting problems that adults face. Despite the solid continuity of previous seasons, problems were often resolved within the hour, if not over the course of a short episode arc. Always lingering in the background was the “Big Bad,” the major problem that we knew our heroes would confront by the season’s end. No matter how dire the situation seemed, we never had any real doubt that our heroes would pull through.

Stacy Sekimori's got a treat: Her favorite Buffy tunes in mp3 format, available for download. Fire up those mp3 players!

Dave Tepper writes about the difference betwen horror and terror.

The real genius of Buffy is how it dresses up everyday terror with vampire fangs. The fear of loneliness. The mental rabbit-in-the-headlights feeling you get when contemplating death. Not having a goal in life. And instead of having cookie-cutter characters the way you normally do in horror, you have fleshed out, identifiable characters undergoing their terror.

Nora Cox points out that in the Buffyverse, actions have consequences.

The characters on this show have had to learn hard lessons...about love, loss, trust, and power. Every action in the Buffyverse has an equal and opposite reaction. Although some people might think a giant demon snake is an inappropriate response to sneaking out to a frat party, I wish it had happened to me (ok, not really, but if I had a teenage daughter I'd at least make her watch that episode a few times). All you have to do is recall the series of events surrounding Buffy and Angel to see this dynamic at work.

Karl Martino points out that Buffy's critics (the ones who think it's too violent or has too much sex) can't see the forest for the trees.

Buffy's storylines share a core set of values and themes that a simple, type-of-scene count will miss entirely. These are great for starting discussions on. They include the power of love, taking responsibility for others and yourself, being a leader, realizing your not the center of the universe, finding time for friends and family admist work demands (naw-I'm not kidding-really!), being a misfit yet still belonging, forgiveness, redemption, life, death, and exploring the natures of good and evil.

Barbara Hudock is addicted to Buffy. And she blames her husband for it.

In life and on screen, men carry addiction to their female lovers. Wine, cocaine, gambling. My husband’s habit left me addicted to…Buffy. Despite my 35+ years, my preadolescent heart pounded at the star-crossed lovers, the magical demons, the triumph of good over evil. It all felt so good, and it was good for both of us.

Kathy shares her pre-Buffy schedule with us. (I obsess over the VCR, too. I check and re-check and re-re-check to make sure it's going to tape the right channel at the right time.)

Stephen Green chimes in. Why am I not surprised at the subject matter he chose? (By the way, I'd just start watching. It'll be a year and a half before the rest of the episodes are available on DVD, though you could probably find someone [kaff-kaff] who has seasons four through six complete on tape).

Alex Frantz has several hours to go in his time zone, but I'm running out of time for dinner here. (Lucky for him, I read fast.)

But the Buffyverse is never without a moral center, and there is one guide to the perplexed in LA, which was explicitly stated by Angel in Season 2, where Angel's night of sex with Darla led, not to losing his soul as Darla had expected, but to his understanding that:

if nothing we do matters... then all that matters is what we do. 'Cause that's all there is. What we do....If there isn't any bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.

Crooowblog's got the reviews for us.

Dodgeblog has a late entry: He's a convert now. "Pap, lame American crap" my eye. I could have told you how wrong you were. Next time, just ask.

And this guy Ryan jumped into the Blogburst, so what the heck. There's room:

I wanted to BE Xander. I wanted to date Willow. (Sorry y'all, gimmee Alyson over Sarah any day). I wanted to be able to write one-liners as effortlessly as these writers did. Everything about it just seemed way too good to be true.

Mine's below. No, I'm not going to link it, ferchrissakes, it's three lines down!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Yeah, it is for everyone

The show is entering its seventh season this year. Its successful spinoff series, Angel, begins a fourth season. Buffy is more than a cult hit. Cult hits last a couple of years, maybe three, then they get canceled, in spite of excellent reviews and a stalwart fan base. Cult hits live on in rerun history. Buffy is heading for season seven, and shows no sign of losing its fan base. The big question for next season is whether or not Sarah Michelle Gellar will sign on for Season Eight.

So what is it about the show? How is it that the story of a former cheerleader who was chosen to be the Slayer, the one who fights demons and vampires, has managed to appeal to enough fans to survive happily in syndication while so many other teen-oriented shows failed to make it past their sixth week?

It could be the excellence and realism (allowing for the demons, of course) of the writing. The plots don't end in neat little happily-ever-after scenarios. Buffy's mother dies of a brain tumor, her first love becomes a murderous sociopath, she spends her nights slaying demons and saving the world, and her days working at a fast-food joint. Her kid sister isn't really her sister, well, she is now, but she used to be a ball of energy. Her best friend is a witch who just went power-mad and tried to destroy the world. Her other best friend was about to marry a former demon whose job it was to curse men who hurt women. Of course he left her at the altar. Oh, and that death thing? Buffy came back—from heaven—because Willow (the witch) cast a spell that jerked her out of Paradise, right into her coffin—six feet under the earth.

It could be the characters. They change and grow. We met them as sophomores in high school and watched them grow through their various stages. Willow went from super-nerd to confident witch, oh, and she came out of the closet while she was at it. Xander went from being an insecure, wisecracking teenager living in his parents' basement, to foreman in a construction company, living in an outstanding retro-furnished apartment that I wouldn't mind having. Buffy? She's grown in power and wisdom, taking on the mother role for kid sister Dawn, and realizing that yes, there are more fun things she would rather be doing, but Slaying is what she was born for—and likely what she will die from.

It could be the plots. It helps to know some background, but there are more than enough stand-alone episodes per season. Two of my particular favorites are the Halloween episodes. In "Halloween," the characters are turned into the characters of the costumes they were wearing. So the town is filled with child-sized ghosts, goblins, and demons as Buffy becomes an 18th-century woman whose superpower is to faint when something stressful happens. Xander's Army fatigues and toy gun become the real thing, and the games that ensue are wonderul. That particular episode is matched two years later by "Fear, Itself," where the characters get stuck inside a frat house that becomes inhabited by a fear demon that pretty much wrecks the Halloween party. The episode seesaws between humor and horror (a large bunny suit, a chainsaw-bearing Giles, and corpses that rise up and talk, for instance), with the end as a literal foot-stomper of a gag. That and "Hush" are the two episodes I choose to show people who have never seen the series before as examples of what they're missing. (In "Hush," Joss Whedon's skill as a writer and director are showcased. There is no dialogue at all for 29 minutes of the episode, and the gang has to fight the creepiest villains ever without being able to talk.)

It could be the humor. Besides wiseass lines in all the episodes, there are some that are purely funny. Beer Bad is one of the the best, complete with obnoxious pseudo-intellectual underclassmen who discuss Thomas Aquinas and put down the proletariat bartender (Xander). In Band Candy, all the adults in Sunnydale act like teenagers due to enchanted chocolate bars, and Buffy has to put up with seeing her mother fall for Giles' teenaged personality. (And in a later episode, after Buffy gets the ability to hear thoughts, she tells Giles, "Sure, we can work out after school. You know, if you're not too busy having sex with my mother!" as he walks straight into a tree. (Never underestimate the value of a well-done sight gag.)

But overall, it is Buffy's universal reach that keeps the show a hit. Teenagers watch it because it's about teenagers. Adults watch it because the themes it covers are universal: Lost love, loneliness, being different, the end of innocence, loving the wrong kind of men, fear of losing control, the death of a parent, mob mentality, taking responsibility for your actions, feeling out of place, betrayal—the list goes on. The monsters that Buffy deals with are most often the physical representations of the real-life monsters we've all met at one time or another. The actors are fond of telling interviewers that if Joss Whedon had had a good experience in high school, Buffy wouldn't exist. Sorry your high school years sucked, Joss. But your fans are glad they did.



Please allow me to repeat myself: Anti-Semites of the world, just die

Ribbity Frog has an excellent response to the most effing clueless moronic piece I have ever read in any newspaper outside of the Arab world. Nice job, Independent, employing effing morons like this.

Worst of all is the stupidity of publicly humiliating the Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat. Any reasonable observer will have his or her criticisms of Mr Arafat's duplicitous and weak leadership (even if those in positions of responsibility, apart from President Bush, will keep those opinions to themselves).

Why will they keep those opinions to themselves? Why do European leaders remain silent when they KNOW that Arafat has been encouraging terror, embezzling EU money, torturing his own citizens and has shown no inclination towards reaching a peaceful settlement with Israel. They have not remained equally silent in their criticisms of Sharon.

But the bulldozing of everything in his Ramallah compound except for his office can achieve nothing positive. Mr Sharon knows that it would be even more foolish to kill Mr Arafat, so he hopes to force him into exile instead. This amounts to an admission of Israeli failure.

Why is this an admission of failure? Perhaps it is a clear sign that Israel has weighed up the options available and chosen what they regard to be the best in the circumstances. It would be the easiest thing to kill Arafat, but the intelligence services advise against it.

More surfing

Bigwig catches up with Laurence Simon in the tastelessness marathon. (Don't worry, folks, this one won't be over for years and years and years, and maybe years.)

Speaking of Lair, he's running for President in '04. I wanted to be Attorney General, but he's—get this—using this Tony Woodlief guy. Hey. How is he any more qualified to be the top law enforcement agent in the country than I? Which of us has been arrested more times, huh? Huh? Inquiring minds want to know. However, I'll take Secretary of Education. I happen to have an in with the Education Testing Service. Together, we can mold the minds of America. Beware.

Vegard Valberg got tired of spammers, too.

And now I'm tired of surfing, so go do it yourself, please. Come back later for the Buffy BlogBurst.

More sexism

There's a conversation going on at Blogroots about sexism in blogging. I would say "Only on the Internet can you find a line like 'If you honestly believe that I'm interested in turning your scrotum into a dadaist crucifixion piece, then you've truly misconstrued the boundaries of civilized society and a post intended as obvious satire,' " but I think I heard someone say that once in the pub at Montclair State College (after much wine and beer was ingested).

I think, folks, that the best things to come out of Dawn's accusations of sexism in the blogosphere are twofold: One, we are talking about it. Discussion is a good thing. And two, women bloggers are getting more exposure. I've seen many, many posts on the order of, "Wow, I didn't know about those women bloggers until you linked to them. Thanks."

By the way, I missed Richard Bennett's rip, so here's the link now. Ah, Richard, that's what I love about you. You always take the moral high ground in any discussion. And damn, nobody can misinterpret quotes like you (mine was about interest, not knowledgeability) or pile on misleading data.

Meryl's shooting from the hip. Men and women aren't equally knowledgeable about current events, politics, and foreign affairs. The Pew Center found a sizable knowledge gap between men and women in the ability to identify world leaders

Your table was cherry-picked from an article and points out only one small aspect of the news-seeking public. For instance, there's this lead paragraph describing the information displayed in the table you quote:

Although most Americans pay relatively little attention to international news, they exhibit a fair degree of knowledge when it comes to foreign leaders and issues. More than four-in-ten were able to identify Yasser Arafat as the leader of the Palestinians (48%) and comparable numbers knew that the euro is the new European currency (44%), and that the state of Israel was established in 1948 (41%). In fact, more Americans answered those three questions correctly than identified Donald Rumsfeld as the secretary of defense. Just 29% were able to name Rumsfeld.

Of course, if you look at the section above, you find that knowledge of international affairs increases with both age and education, and that interest in the subject among female college graduates has nearly tripled in the last two years. (That's from "Section III: International News ­ Modest Interest Beyond an Elite Audience".)

I find most interesting the statistic that only 21% of Americans overall are interested in international news, which rather flays your contention that men are political whizzes and women are into watching Oprah. The overall gender breakdown for that is 26% of men and 16% of women show an interest in international affairs (and don't forget to take into account that plus-minus 3% factor. The difference could be as low as four percentage points.)

So Richard, perhaps your statement above should be emended to read "In spite of the fact that four out of five Americans are uninterested in world affairs, a slightly larger percentage of men are more knowledgeable than women about certain international facts."

But then, that would be losing the hyperbole, and that's what makes your Omphalos so interesting, Richard. Misleading, but interesting. (By the way, thanks so much for the sources. Hugs and kisses.)

One more on 9/11

This one belongs on A Perfect Morning. Diane E.'s take on the 9/11 anniversary:

The anniversary brought the day back in all its horror. Watching the towers fall at work, feeling so helpless, thinking of your friends and colleagues in that building (Jackie, Rob, Mark, Jonathan, Anahid, Caroline, Marshall, Jan, Alan and Gifford). Walking home that crazy beautiful day and saying to yourself, "How can I be walking home when...." No one knew that "only" 3,000 people had been killed. As we all remember, the death toll was feared to reach into the tens of thousands.

If you're not reading Letter From Gotham regularly, you're missing out on a lot.

Sir Linksalot

You know, if that title isn't an Asian country yet, give it time. It will be. (I think that as long as I'm channeling my Inner Bitch, I may as well channel my inner wiseass. Er, okay. I always channel my inner wiseass.)

Bruce Hill's War Now! has been shut down. That would be why I'm not linking to it. Taking its place is Silent Running, a double-fisted (quadruple-fisted?) group blog run by Murray Hill, Bruce's brother (not the old New York area phone exchange). Bruce's voice will be missed. Mostly. But we have Tom Paine and Wind Rider and Murray to take his place.

Susanna Cornett is slapping around some stupid young thing who manages to make the vast majority of loony-leftists look intelligent. Yeah, that's a little harsher than I usually get, but check out this idiotic quote:

Is a death not a death? Rather than obfuscating the nature of war with rhetoric that dilineates "terrorists" or "soldiers," let facts be facts. Israel is a violent, hateful nation that is also the United States' dependent. Must we assume Palestines will submit to their ridiculous demands just because they cannot afford to fight "fairly"?

I'd link to her blog but, well, I don't want to. You'll have to read Susanna's post to get there. (Wow, that first sentence is like, so profound, you know? "Is a death not a death?" Kewl. We should get that, like, tattooed.)

Lynn B., who is my blogdaughter (and yet, I am younger than she—how can I be her blogmom? The mind reels, and she's gonna be so mad I divulged this fact...) Where was I? Oh, yes. If I'm following this post correctly, Lynn got Electronic Intifada all pissed off because she threw a pebble down the mountain of lies about the Jenin non-massacre that caused an avalanche and ultimately wound up as a story in Ha'aretz (albeit no credit for Lynn, boo!). Upshot: EI is unhappy. Now there's a surprise. See if you can follow the maze to the same conclusion I reached, and rest assured, if I'm wrong, Lynn will correct me. (She can be such a nag, that daughter of mine.) Update: Toldja I'd have to do this. Lynn got the story from Ha'aretz, not the other way 'round. Of course, anyway way you look at it, Electronic Intifada is pissed off, and that's a plus in my book.

Ronnie Schreiber needs our help. He wants to go to Israel to participate in a bike ride for chairty. He's going to bike from Jerusalem to Eilat to raise money for Alyn Hospital, a hospital that treats patients regardless of origin. (Funny how so many Israeli hospitals are like that, isn't it? In that "violent, hateful nation" that twit above decries. Moron.) Anyway. Please click on the link to Ronnie's page for more information. We raised a lot of money for Sha'are Zedek Hospital, and there are even more people reading this page now, so surely we can help him raise a couple grand. (By the way, if you've forgotten to mail in your pledge to Sha'are Zedek, don't feel guilty. Send it now. And remember, I can't tell it's late. Just pretend it was sent out weeks ago.)

I wanted to give Bill Allison top spot on a Monday morning, but all those other things got in my way. I'll give him top spot another time. He has a terrific blog that makes me wonder exactly how he finds time to blog, what with working, raising a family, and doing all that reading, but it's obvious: Bill's a Renaissance Man.

I cannot write anything on this issue that will not come out as five hundred words of swears. Rick Heller, however, has written a succinct, cogent response to this pathetic excuse for a column in the Boston Globe. (And if you scroll down, you'll see Rick's having terrorist nightmares. Haven't had those yet, Rick, but I don't count them out.)

This woman reads a lot. Joanne Jacobs, who has been added to my links page, really gets around. And she used "jejune" in a sentence that mocks the use of "jejune." My kinda woman.

I think that's it for the linkage for the moment. It's Monday, folks, don't forget to check out what you missed over the weekend by reading last week's archives. Tell a friend. Tell two friends. Wow, I'm plugging myself. I haven't done that on my own weblog before. (Yes, I have. That's what the left menu and the bottom paragraph are for.) Look at that, I'm even criticizing myself. I'd better be careful before all the voices in my head come out and I start sounding like Bigwig.



Allah have none of that

Thanks, Joe. Just when I needed something for my Inner Bitch to take apart today, you sent me the link to this site, Jews for Allah. And at the risk of insulting, well, lots of people, I have to point out that you've missed a source for, well, hilarity. (But then, you and I have different ways of looking at things.) The logic behind this dude's suppositions is almost enough to make me respect the logic of Ann Coulter. Almost. Let's examine, for example, the insistence that Solomon referred to Muhammed in the Songs of Solomon:

Muhammad's name appeared in Haggai 2:7 under the hebrew word mahmad which means praised one (Muhammad is Arabic for praised one). We won't mention the fact that Muhammad lived centuries after Solomon. Oops, did I mention it? And like, we probably shouldn't also mention the similarities between Arabic and Hebrew which, like, include words that sound the same and mean the same thing. But hey, continue.

It almost undoubtedly is referring to the Arabic Prophet Muhammad. Ya think? Of course, he could be referring to Morrie Fishman, who lived next door to my mother in Newark during the 30s and 40s. Morrie, Mohammed—similar enough for my purposes.

The 5th chapter of Songs of Solomon is discussing someone. Wow, that's deep. I'm betting he's going to get around to saying that someone is Muhammed. Jews will say it is discussing Solomon, (pay attention, please, I just said it was about Morrie Steinman, and I am a Jew.) while Christians will say it is discussing Jesus (that's a shocker). Considering this is the Songs of Solomon, it would seem logical that it is discussing Solomon. And again: Ya think? The verses describing this mystery man (singing.. "Mystery date... are you ready for your mystery date?") have the narators (look! typo!) speech conjuagted (look! another one!) in the feminine (meaning it is a woman who is describing this man) so it is possible that it is one of Solomon's wives discussing her Husband (Solomon). Ahem. The wives. How is it you reach this conclusion from a culture that, in certain Islamic nations don't even teach women how to read? Just wondering. However, if a Christian tries to assert that Jesus is being discussed, then they are insinuating that this is discussing a future prophet (a man who was not yet alive at that point), a prophesy Oh, that's what a prophesy is. Something that's going to happen in the future. Not retrofitting what was written in the past..... If the 5th chapter of Songs of Solomon is looking into the future, then there is no doubt it is discussing Muhammad. Toldja he was going to say it was discussing Mohammed. That leap of logic was so fast it hurt my neck to watch it fly by. If chapter=future then not-Jesus, Mohammed. Altogether, everyone: HUH?

The next verse is a howler. I didn't write the last sentence. The author did.

Throughout the chapter, someone is being discussed. Whomever it is, verse 15 says his "countenance (face) is as Lebanon", so this is an Arabic gentleman (or Arab looking), a Semitic man none the less. Blahblahblah, more description, amazingly fitting Mohammed, blahblahblah. This also can be atributed to Muhammad who although having a rosy, golden color, had white armpitts Don't shoot until you see the whites of his armpitts! (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 17, Number 141 says you could see the whites of his armpitt when he raised his hand). WHAT'S THE POINT?!?!

Glad you asked.

Discussing skin color, and hair color is fruitless, And yet, you just spent nearly 200 words discussing skin and hair color and if I was basing it solely on that, it could be describing ANY Semitic man. Say it with me, folks: Ya think? However, this person's name is given. In reading the English translation of Songs 5:16 it finishes the description by saying "He is altogether lovely". The words "altogether lovely" was translated from mahmad. We'll take a closer look at this four character word, and prove this is talking about Muhammad... Nah, we're about done with this.

[...] In conclusion, if Songs of Solomon chapter 5 is discussing a man to come after that time, it is without a doubt Muhammad, as it even mentions his name. Because, like, it's almost like the Bible Code! Yeah! You can predict the future with it! Muhammad, mahamad, what's the difference? Any Christian who believes Jesus is the Messiah, and believes that books were sent down by God after the TaNaKh (Jewish Bible), then surely they should take into account what they just read here, Yes, you should take it into account and please, stop laughing. and consider the Qur'an before making a decision. That's fair. Let's consider it. Say, wait a minute. I thought this was Jews for Allah. Why are you trying to convert Christians? Wow. Even in the Jews for Allah site, we don't get no respect.

There's lots more. But that was the first page I clicked on, and now I'm too worn out to look anywhere else. Although he wraps himself into a pretzel to attempt to prove that Mohammed did not slaughter Jews by the hundreds, and you'll never guess whose fault it is that story gets so much play: That's right. The J-E-W-S. And "Was Moses or Mohammed Kinder to Jews?" is a hoot. Way to try to attract Jews, dude—call Moses an anti-Semite. Yeah, that'll work.

And if you're not Jewish or Christian, but you've been persuaded to convert by the sparkling wit and intellect of these arguments, it's all right—all are welcome in their "rainbow of Nations." (Wow, can they possibly make those page names any longer?)

Me, I think I'll stick with Judaism. I'm thinking that if the word mahmad came up in our Bible at all, it meant exactly what it's supposed to mean: mahmad. (Oh, like I paid attention to what this guy was saying? Yeah, right. Dictionary, please.)

Last week's blogs are archived. 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.