2003 Blogathon tally:

dollar sign six two one three
(+3,700 directly donated)
Why I'm doing this
A guide to donating
Donate now by check or credit card
Read about last year's Blogathon
Read more about the Blogathon


Important: Read this before sending email

My Amazon Wish List




Indexed Archives

Portal (links)

Contact me

Who am I?


The diary of
Iseema bin Laden

Secret Arafat
Phone Transcripts

Greatest Hits


Letters from
Captain Steve

Blogathon 2003 sponsors

Kris Hasson-Jones
Lesley Sigall
Venomous Kate
Ocean Guy
Eric Akawie
Leslie Spiller
Missy Elam
Susan Strong
Ed Flinn
Meryl K. Evans
Lynn B.
Christopher C. White
Mark Roedel
Nicholas Sylvain
Jacki Wenzlick
George Jenson
Shirley Peters
Mary Campbell
Allison Kaplan Sommer
Tara Bognar
debra lundell
Danny van Over
Peter Adler
Jonathan Edelstein
Michelle Cummins
Susanna L. Cornett
Kevin Aylward
Daniel Schwartz
David Tepper
Sylvia Yourish
Mary Campbell
John F. Whitcomb (1stSgt USMC Ret.)
Sarah Miers
Craig DeBlock
Richard Weinhagen
Bruce Hill
Christopher Hlatky
Amy N. Mack
Ralph G Miller
Sarah Stein
Fredrik Nilsson
Michael Smith
Rick Richman


N.Z. Bear
Jonathan W.
Eric J.
Bruce S.
Mike Sanders
Randy R.
Israel K.
Greg M.




I've updated the list on the left, but I can't find MommaBear's name anywhere, so I'll just link her here. If I've forgotten you, let me know. Tally's up to $15,128 in donations and pledges. And the phones are still open. Blogathon pledges will be accepted through the end of Monday. Magen David Adom direct pledges are accepted 365 days a year.

Oh, and Gracie's fine. I'm not. Nothing that a good night's sleep won't cure.

What am I doing up?

Gracie had an asthma attack, which woke me up after about three hours of sleep, which, alas, is enough to keep me awake until sometime this evening.

On the other hand, I can get back to the business of guilting for dollars. Twenty bucks? I only get twenty bucks while I'm sleeping? I can see how many readers I'm getting an hour: 75 per. Only one in more than 200 pushes the pledge or donate button?

We can do better than that. I want to maintain my number one spot. (The current number one has to be bogus pledges for hits. I'm ignoring it. But the current number three is hot on my heels.)

Help me out, folks. Pledge MDA.

And we're done

Thanks for pledging. When I wake up, I'll make sure the right email information goes to everyone. (WRITE BLOGATHON IN THE MEMO FIELD OF THE CHECK AND THE COMMENTS FIELD OF THE ONLINE CREDIT FORM.)

I am glad to be done with this. As Heidi and I keep telling ourselves about the overnight shift: We're getting too old for this. I do not think I will have a third go at the Blogathon.

Final tally (for now, phones are still open): $14,950 in pledges and donations.

Well, unless we reach that 60k this time. That'd get me to try again.

Protest post, year two

That's right. Last year I was mighty pissed that we had to write 49 posts in 24 hours instead of 48 posts in 24 hours, as promised. Somewhere. I even asked Cat about it in the early days of this Blogathon. She had the nerve to say that nobody ever said anything about 48 posts. Well, it may not have been stated, but it was certainly implied.

As a result, for the second year in a row, this is my protest post. It's 47b, not 48.

A visit from the Hulk

I knew I couldn't get away with it. Mind you, I tried. But the big lunk just showed up anyhow.

"Why you sitting in house with no lights on?"

"Uh... well..."

"Hulk put on light. Hulk learn how yesterday."

"No, wait—"

"Oh. Hulk sorry. That friend on other side of wall?"

"That's my neighbor, Hulk."

"I try this light instead. It have chain to pull. Oops."

"That's all right, Hulk, I wanted a new one, anyway."

"Girl should not sit in dark. Then Hulk would not break walls and lights trying to put lights on. Why was girl sitting in dark?"

"Never mind. There's cookies on the counter."

"Hulk love cookies!" [smash] "Oops. Hulk sorry."

"So is Meryl."

"Hulk have joke to make girl laugh. Listen to joke: Hulk has been to France. France-men smell worse than Hulk. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! HULK LAUGH!!!"


Tap dancing

I feel like the Vaudeville comedian who's standing onstage, telling his jokes, and receiving a stony silence. So he starts tap dancing to see if that gets a reaction.

Go see what Lair and Kevin and Michele are doing. I suspect Lair is the only one of us who isn't tap dancing. I don't know where he gets it from, but man, I'm jealous.

I may have to resort to posting another cat picture.

Come to think of it, I'll find one just for Marduk.

The home stretch

Now we're talking the home stretch. Two more hours. Only four more posts after this one. This is the part where I coast, having used up the bulk of my energy in the rest of the course. Why, I could use a Lance Armstrong analogy, but that might be overdoing it.

No yellow Jerseys here. The French are hanging onto them in case they need to wear something bright while surrending.

The Israeli view

From Imshin:

As a former euphoric, drooling-at-the-mouth Oslo supporter, one of the things that continues to infuriate me most, even at the advent of this cease-ish fire we are experiencing (and I'm not being cynical, well maybe a little bit. Cynical but hopeful), is the feeling that Palestinians and with them most of the world, refuse to recognize our deep historical, cultural, religious and emotional connections to this land and especially to places we will have to vacate, should this cease-ish fire eventually mature into peace and coexistence. This is probably one of the greatest changes in me. I now believe it is crucial that the Palestinians learn to understand and respect our deep connections to this land. If they continue to openly and unabashedly refuse to accept that we are something other than a foreign, unnatural entity here, I doubt I will be able to trust them, or support any peace initiative with my vote.

As always, there's more. Highly recommended.

Summer is a-comin' in. Birds sing goddamn.

That's a parody of a famous poem that I learned in high school. It came to be because it's 5:44 a.m. as I write this, and the first bird of the morning is singing.

I am tempted to find a rock. But you may remember from The Woodpecker Wars that there are no rocks available here. And I'm simply not in the mood to get out the ice cubes and toss them.

I worked night shift for ten years. The worst night to work was Sunday. It always felt like you and your shift were the only ones awake in the entire world. Second-worst night to work was Friday, for obvious reasons. Screwed up your weekend big-time to have to work until Saturday morning and then go out on Saturday nights only half-awake. By the time you feel normal again, it's Monday, and time to go back on night shift. That's how I learned to nap anytime, just about anywhere, so long as it isn't too noisy. I once slept through a work crew cutting down a tree in the neighbor's backyard. I moved to the sofa in the living room and slept there. It was daytime, and I needed to sleep.

Well, I'm losing my sleep for a good cause. I seriously doubt I'll be getting many donations in the next three hours, but I sure would appreciate waking up to a bunch more.

Obligatory stupid French insult: Marduk, the French suck, okay? Geez. Not liking this deal anymore. I mean, is this not the nation that gave us french fries? Is this not the nation that gave us the French kiss? What's that? No on one, yes on two? Okay, well, one out of two ain't bad.

Let us review

For those of you reading this after the Blogathon has ended, you can still pledge. You can still donate directly. Cat's keeping the Blogathon databases open until Monday night. Magen David Adom accepts money all the time. Just remember to put BLOGATHON in the comments field of the online credit form, and in the memo field of the check.

I'd tally up the figures, but it's nearly 5:30 a.m. and damn, I'm tired.

The news from Israel

Gee, there's a shocker: British WW2 documents reveal pro-Nazi mufti of Jerusalem fled to Iraq

Got 'em: Four Arab teenagers arrested for stabbing Jerusalem cyclist

Damn. Top Palestinian official survives assassination attempt

Better luck next time.

And the (sigh) obligatory French Insult: What kind of country is it whose lasting American childhood impressions are in the nursery rhyme "I see London, I see France, I see so-and-so's underpants"?


Super-tired, check.

Back is sore, check.

Listening to loud music late at night to keep you awake (but not so late as to wake your neighbors), check.

Too much junk food and soda aftertaste, check.

Desperately want to go to bed, check.

The feeling that you're getting too old for this shit, check.

It must be the Blogathon.

But hey, we're swimming in donations. However: Would someone do me a favor and donate eleven bucks to Lair? He's just shy of two grand, and has been there for what seems like forever.

Here's the Hourly French Insult that I wouldn't let ruin the previous post:

Q: What do you call a Frenchman advancing on Bagdad?
A: A salesman

A call from the sandbox

LT Smash promised he'd call this year if he could, and he's a man of his word. He called last year and helped me stay awake. This year, he got to talk for twice the usual amount of time.

I know, I'm a rube, but that was the first call I've ever gotten from overseas, let alone the Middle East.

He says it's only 104 degrees this morning, instead of the usual 112. And we both laughed as a helicopter flew overhead and he told me I was hearing a live "military operation" from the sandbox.

LT's readers are contributing to the Magen David Adom fund, and they're mostly doing it because he asked them to. There's a word in Yiddish for people like him: mensch.

It was a nice conversation, and I'm very much looking forward to LT's Richmond stop on the vacation tour. And for once, I'll be wide awake when we chat.

Like, totally

Past four thousand! Woo-hoo!

And the current totals are: $14,800 in pledges and donations.

The three, ah, bloggers did a great job on the ACME challenge. Did you go read Lair, Kevin, and Michele's versions?

And while I'm at it, I'm on the phone with LT Smash.

Jealous? You should be.

Musical memories

It's schizophrenic post time! Probably due to my listening to Alice Cooper's "Billion Dollar Babies," the album with such classics as "Sick Things," "Elected," "No More Mr. Nice Guy," and, of course, "I Love the Dead," the song that got him the attention that sold albums. I loved Coop when I was younger. I still rather like him from time to time.

Some people think he's rather tame compared to the groups we have today, but I don't think so. "I Love the Dead" is about exactly what you think it's about. So Coop didn't use swears. Well, nobody really did in those days—it wasn't allowed. Lenny Bruce kept getting arrested for swearing during his shows. Imagine Eddie Murphy being arrested for swearing—you can't conceive of it.

I saw Coop's "Welcome to my Nightmare" tour. I loved it. Come to think of it, I saw an awful lot of last tours of seventies bands. I caught Led Zeppelin's Swan Song tour at Madison Square Garden. I saw Black Sabbath just before Ozzy left it. I saw Mountain not long before Felix Pappalardi was shot (but who knew?). A then little-known group called Rush opened for them at Asbury Park Convention Center. I remember thinking, "Cool guitarist. Weird voice on that lead singer. Bring on the man-mountain!" (That would be Leslie West.)

Hey, I also liked the mellow stuff. I saw Renaissance, and ELP, and Billy Joel, and Pink Floyd (v2), CSN, and even a Lilith Fair.

But I liked the Y101 Birthday Bash better. Especially Chevelle. I won't be slowing down anytime soon.

Obligatory French Insult, from Milt K.:

The French government has banned the term Email from official communications. With apologies to Ogden Nash I say:

Le French it is a silly tongue,
one half is nose, the other lung.

A letter in re: anti-Semitism

Lynn B. sent me this before she went to bed.

Someone suggested to me recently that the roots of American anti-Semitism are just a carryover from Europe. I don't think so. Anti-Semitism is an ingrained part of Euopean culture, too old and too deep to exorcize in a generation or two. Not so in America, where I believe we really did cast off a lot of the old baggage. American anti-Semitism is a new creature with shallower roots and it's less subtle as well, harder to disguise.

Anti-Semitism here is often just another form of racism. Those who read European anti-Semitic tracts and adopt them do, of course, import those ideas, but even then it's foreign. You see classic American anti-Semitism in the KKK and Aryan Nations and David Duke, wild hatred, worn on the sleeve, or you see it in people who are suspicious of anyone "other" but will always hasten to tell you that you're ook, you're "different." My old next door neighbor was a classic example. When he was talking to me or knew I could hear him, he talked about "the blacks and the gays." (He used different words, though.) When he thought I was out of earshot, he talked about "the blacks, the gays and the Jews." He just assumed I was with him on the other two because I was white and heterosexual. Like he couldn't conceive of someone not hating people who were different.

So is American anti-Semitism "better" than the European variety? No, certainly not, but I do think it's closer to the surface so that Americans who are anti-Semitic usually know they are, whereas Europeans really don't. They're in denial.

Now, there's the "new" anti-Semitism of the Left. That's a different story. They're almost a throw-back and it's partly because they've adopted European attitudes about a lot of things. They reject America and its quantum leap out of old European prejudices, even as they claim to rebel against everything Europe traditionally stood for -- monarchy, inherited nobility, colonialism, imperialism, exploitation of the poor and the immigrant. Kind of ironic. Kind of sad.

The ACME challenge

As promised, our little group has been presented with a challenge to post about. Kevin, Lair, and Michele have all been given these instructions:

You have to find and capture Saddam Hussein using the following five items from the ACME catalog:

hitchhiker's thumb
hi-speed tonic
instant girl
roller skis

The posts will be up at the various blogs at 2:30.

(P.S.: Thanks to everyone who just donated to Lair and me. We feel so much less jealous now. Heh.)

Hourly French Insult:

Q: What did the mayor of Paris say to the German Army as they entered the city in WWII?
A: "Table for 100,000 m'sieur?"

<insert title here>

I do believe the stream-of-consciousness time of night has arrived.

I'm not jealous. Really I'm not. But in the last hour, Michele has gotten $350 in donations, and Lair and I have gotten, well, none. But we're not jealous. Nope. Nuh-uh.

Along with the flat tire, I hit my thigh on the lever on the back of the driver's seat. It is an ugly shade of reddish-purple, and this is after having iced it, immediately. Alas, a bruise.

See, here's the problem with staying up late and eating junk food. Or eating any food, really. Your stomach just feels crappy after a while. You have put too much caffeine in it, and it is objecting. Time to get the Zantac, I think.

I just took another look at this post so I could smile at the picture. Rebecca has an amazing smile. She's incredibly cute. And boy, was she smiling when Tig deigned to rub up against her. Babies and cats are a nice way to start the day. Well, if neither of them is crying, that is.

This is the 34th post I have done today. I've written most of them. There are 15 more posts to go. That kinda sucks.

We all have monitors this year. I don't know if I'm breaking any rules or not. I suppose not, as I have not received a letter, or a yellow flag, or whatever the monitor is giving us. For all I know, it's a note like hall monitors used to give you in high school. But I never got one of those. I was an angel.

Yeah, I didn't think you'd believe it, but I had to try.

I do not have to include a stupid French insult until 2 a.m. Good. (Have I mentioned how tired of them I'm getting?)

By the way, I rock. (I needed one of those Stuart Smalley moments.)

Another guest post for Lair

Starhawk was kind enough to send me this guest post. (Of course, now I'm on my own until 9 a.m. That was it. We're done. Finis. Over. No more.)

Life Choices
Having reached the half century mark it is interesting to look back on how things have went. Very few of us have any idea when we are twenty how the next thirty years will unfold.

When I was in college I really didn't have any idea what I wanted to do. When I started, I wanted to be an astrophysicist. I took a Fortran course while a freshman and was convinced that programming was so hard I would never understand it. After a year and a half in a pretty tough program and not applying myself to my studies very well I decided to switch to the business college.

I graduated with a major in Finance and Real Estate. For want of anything else to do I went to work as a Real Estate salesman. I started to sell Real Estate in the worst Real Estate market in the last half of the century.

At some point I was so broke that eating became a problem. I took a job with Wendy's figuring at least I wouldn't starve. I worked for Wendy's in three different cities over a period of 5 years before I moved on to bigger and better restaurants. While still in the restaurant business, at the age of 28 I got interested in acting. I love acting. I took lessons, did showcases, auditioned, I had found my niche but there was no money in it.

Eventually I became aware that the restaurant business was a dead end. I had gone as far as I could without owning a place and the one I was general manager of got sold. I had several friends who had taken a crash course in programming at NYU and they convinced me to take it. I went from skeptical to amazed as the course progressed. Not only could I understand this stuff I actually liked it. That was a while ago and I never looked back though part of me wishes I was an actor I know my life would have been a lot different and I don't regret where I am today.

My first job was working takeout at a Howard Johnson's in Rego Park, Queens when I was 16 years old. The asst. manager had me do every other job there was. He would come over and tell me to do something and say "You must be flexible". I think that is even better advice today. Be flexible, you don't know what tomorrow will bring but if you can roll with the punches you will win in the end.

The Hourly French Insult comes via Max Power's blog, on the slide of the French gaming industry:

Faced with a couple of bad years for fruit, America made lemonade while France continues its variations on sour grapes.

Reader mail

What a timely post. I can receive email, but not send it. The mail server is screwed up again, like it was a few days ago. I don't expect it to get better by itself, and I don't really want to get a new hotmail account. (I don't remember any of my old ones.) We'll see. I may get one for the evening. In the meantime:

Update: [email protected] is my temporary address for the night. If you need a response for your email, send it to that address. Note, I can still get email at my normal address. I just can't send you anything back.

Update update: Normal email's back. Screw the hotmail account.

This is actually a fairly average letter from Combustible Boy.

Lair is talking about his pretzmaking and you are talking about your potato-frying stuff. I think that you should start writing an imitation of him instructing people bit by bit on how to do fried potato stuff.

Incidentally, when I were a teenager I once visited this friary in Maryland east of Baltimore where a bunch of Franciscan friars lived. Was an impressive place, this huge mansion-like building out in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere that had this big two-story library room and all. Neato. But when I told one of my friends about it later, he said he couldn't hear the word 'friary' without imagining a huge room where hundreds of people were constantly picking baskets full of french fries up out of gigantic deep-fry vats and dumping the fries into bins or something. This provoked quite an interesting image.

Tally ho!

It's midnight. We have received, so far, $14,135 in pledges and direct donations. Michele is only four dollars away from $3,000; I'm $52 away from 4k, and Lair is $109 away from two grand. Well done, people! Let's get over those markers and see what else we can do. We've got nine more hours! And I'm stuck in exclamation mode! Help! Stop! Please!

Of course, my biggest problem right now is trying to decide if I'm going to change over the date in my permalinks, as technically this post will be midnight, July 27th. But I don't think I want to bother.

Oh, all right. It's really not that much more effort. I'll change the date.

Lame French Insult of the hour: I took French in junior high and high school, and the teachers grew progressively worse each year. (It was a series of bad luck with teachers, not by choice.) My tenth grade French teacher also taught German and we all said he spoke French with a German accent, but we were too young to get the humor of that. I quit in eleventh grade, when, on the first day of class, I realized I was sitting with the C-D average students (I was an A-B average). So I had the hour free, instead. I think I learned more during free period than I ever had in French class.

God's greatest gift

I have maintained for years that I think God's greatest gift to mankind is the fried potato in all of its myriad forms. Growing up, my father never thought it was worth the time saved to make those crappy frozen fries, and we children soon learned to disdain them and make our own, all the time. Over the years, I have bought many different kind of vegetable peelers and slicers and fryers. For the past few years I've been buying the Daisy electric frying pot for about $17 from Target or K-Mart, and tossing it when it gets old and crummy. I'm on my third version of the "V slicer" or "Super slicer," plastic models of the mandolin slicer that professional chefs use. My peeler of choice is my Swiss peeler that I picked up in Englishtown, NJ for five bucks (and I don't know what happened to my spare, but damn, I wish I had it).

I make homemade potato chips, potato sticks, french fries, waffle fries, and various shapes in between. Not so often as I used to, but I get the urge from time to time. My absolute favorite kind is just taking the vegetable peeler and peeling a potato down, slice by slice. Those are the thinnest, crunchiest, best ones. And old potatoes taste better than new, though new ones cook better. All potatoes taste better after soaking in water in the fridge for a day. The starch turns into sugar and sweetens the flavor of the potato. Yukon Gold and russets are the best; red potatoes the worst (too moist). You're supposed to soak the raw sliced potatoes in ice water for at least an hour before cooking, but I rarely have the time or inclination for that. Sometimes I just peel the slices right into a frying pan of hot oil. They never make it to the bag.

Well, a few weeks ago, while looking for things to wash off the paint on my car, I found a restaurant equipment shop nearby. I walked in, and was in heaven: Right inside the door were the industrial-sized fryers that I've dreamed of having in my kitchen someday. That someday won't be now, because they're (sigh) about $1,300 on sale. And because I live in an apartment. The countertop version drew my interest for a while, until I asked the price: $350. Still too much to spend. But I did get something I've wanted for ages, that is increasingly difficult to find: A wire fry basket and a steel pot for the stovetop. (I was there a couple of days ago; alas, it's not in yet.)

The other "alas" in this story is the mandolin slicer, which is beautiful and has a julienne attachment, and a crinkle-cut and waffle-fry portion as well. But it's about $130. (Plus, it's French. I don't think I'm allowed to buy it.)

On the serious side, it's not in my budget. Yet. I wonder if I could find one to put on my wishlist. But the catalog has no website address, and in fact, hasn't even got a price on a single item in there. D. M. Jeffers. Oh, well. I'll have to settle for the fry basket. Can't wait.

It's the middle innings

We're nowhere near the home stretch. Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to conserve my strength, which pitches to come up with that will work, which to save for later—and how to do it without falling asleep.

I dont' have a kitchen timer. If I want to nap, I'd have to set an alarm. Or the microwave. Which probably would be a bad idea, as you should be cooking something in it if it's running.

The thing is, the only caffeinated beverage in the house that I like is Coke, and I'm tired of it. I wonder if I should try drinking coffee? I hate the stuff, but maybe if I could drink, like, half a cup, it would wake me up.

There's chocolate milk, but that's not very caffeinated. On the other hand, it tastes really good. Like liquid ice cream. Perhaps I will have that, after all.

And I'll drink it like a guy, too. Straight from the bottle.

Ah, the small joys of living alone. Not having to share your favorite foods is one of them.

And it's time for the Hourly French insult, which is actually starting to piss me off. Damn you, Marduk, and your stupid hoops.

Q: What do you call a French fighter coming to the rescue of American and British soldiers in the Iraqi desert?
A: A mirage

The end of friends

I called my brother tonight. He ran into an old friend of mine in a bakery last week. I haven't seen or spoken to her in years. Of course I was curious, and asked about her health, and her children and her husband and her father. Got the mini-update. We talked for a while, and then my brother said the former friend of mine said she had no idea why I had terminated the friendship.

"That's why it ended," I told him. "Because no matter what, it's always my fault."

We were friends for decades. We met when I was thirteen and she was twelve. She lived across the street from me, and we became best friends. Stayed pretty close through our teens and twenties. It was in our thirties that things started falling apart. You'd think that as she got older, she'd get out of the habit of always having things her way.

When we were teenagers, she got into Transcendental Meditation and harried me until I broke down and got "initiated" and started meditating. I ultimately dropped it. She went vegetarian and tried to get me to do the same. I refused. She gave up on that when she realized it wasn't going to work. She got married and pregnant, and after she had her son kept bugging me to get married and have babies. Yeah, that didn't work out too well, either. But that didn't stop the insistence on sameness. She sold a certain long distance plan; I should join her. She worked with the Natural Law Party; I should help her. She even bought me a coat identical to hers, so we would look the same. Everything was her, her, her, her, her. My plans, my likes, and dislikes were given only nods—when I came over for dinner, the vegetarian food was put aside for chicken or beef, to the great relief of her husband. But the sales pitch to come work with her wasn't. It culminated one day in a screaming match between us when she simply would not hear the words that I was saying, which were effectively that I would never sell that phone service, that I hated sales, and was not and did not ever want to be a salesman.

That got through to her, but our relationship went downhill from there. She stopped calling. So did I. I started thinking. I realized that in every single fight we'd ever had as children (by which I mean teens and twentysomethings), she had apologized only once. Once, in twenty years. She never took responsibility for her actions then, and she's not taking responsibility now. She told my brother she doesn't understand why I terminated the relationship?

Right. It wasn't just me. It takes two. I simply grew tired of having a take-take relationship. If you want to be my friend, you have to understand a few simple things: Every relationship is give and take. If I'm doing all the giving, I'll be taking my leave of you. Oh, and don't try to force your likes and dislikes onto me.

It's as simple as that.

Haim Potterovitch and the Sorcerer's Kiddush

Via reader Eric A., this one's for you, Andrea. Well, and for everyone else, too.

Our hero, Harry Potter, is a boy living in a dismal situation with relatives who just don’t understand. They’re selfish, and they insult Harry and demean him. Harry’s Uncle Vernon is a gluttonous, immoral and self-obsessed ganef (thief). The rest of his family is even worse. They are ruled by their yetzer hara (evil inclination)—but I won’t start interpreting yet.

One day, Harry meets a wizened old sage with a white beard flowing to his knees. He reveals to Harry the secret about his ancestors and their ritual practices. Uncle Vernon and family think these practices are disgraceful and barbaric, but Harry feels an affinity for them.

He’s taken to a yeshiva-type boarding school called Hogwarts Academy, where all the students wear unusual garb and have magnificent feasts once a week. There, Harry quickly becomes acclimated to Wizard culture.

Harry occasionally visits the home of his best friend Ron and learns about the way Wizards live—the specially-segregated food they eat and their unique vocabulary, which sounds remarkably like Yiddish. Uncle Vernon forbids Harry to use Wizard words like “muggles” and “schlep” or to practice his favorite pastime, the game of Quidditch (pronounced KID-dish).

It's very amusing, even if you're not Jewish. Thanks, Eric.

The Hourly French insult, from reader Greg:

Q: What would the French call a nuclear explosion in Paris?
A: Proof that more inspectors are needed.

Looking around

Lair is in rare form fisking an editorial in the Arab News that takes issue with the deaths of the Hussein monster spawn.

Michele is still into pop culture mode.

The three of us have surpassed the $14,000 mark. Yay you! (Yay us?) And $35 more to Lair jumps him up another notch, to fourth. Less than $46,000 to go.

Tim Blair's effing hilarious. (Tim, howsabout a Blogathon plug? They can keep donating even after we fall asleep!)

Charles, as always, is on the job.

And I'm tired of blogging, and we're only at the halfway point. I suspect my "This is aggravating rant" is going to come far earlier this year. But I'm also going to repeat my protest post. It's 49 posts in 24 hours, not 48. (Believe it or not, I'm also tired of posting French insults. One or two once in a while, okay. 24 in 24 hours? Bo-ring. Not unlike my high school French class. Does that count?)

Why I keep on talking about it

Lair linked to an article in the Jerusalem Post that about blew off the top of my head again. No, I never stop getting angry over it. No, I never will. There are days when I am less angry than others. But this is why I will not stop writing about anti-Semitism, and particularly Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism, which has overtaken European Jew hatred in the top spots on the Kill the Jews chart:

In a secret humanitarian rescue mission dubbed "Ezra m'Tzion" (Help from Zion), six elderly Jews were brought from Baghdad to Israel on Friday by the Jewish Agency, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the Prime Minister's Office.

After landing at Ben Gurion Airport in a Jewish Agency-chartered 40-seat aircraft, the six former refugees were taken to a hotel in Yehud. Naima Haleli, 99, suffering from exhaustion, was first taken to hospital.

The five other evacuees are Ezra Levy, 75; Salima Shemesh, 75, originally from Basra; Sasson Salach Abdul, 90, an employee of the Iraqi railway authority until he was fired in 1951 for being Jewish; Naima's daughter Hatoun Dayan, 70; and Meir Yehezkel Shabad, 46.

Fired for being Jewish. Fired for being Jewish. Let me put that to you one more time: He was fired for being Jewish. As to the rest of the Iraqi Jewish population?

Iraq once had a thriving community of 130,000 Jews, but about 120,000 made their way to Israel between 1949 and 1952, with smaller numbers of Jews leaving the country in subsequent years.

Why is that again? Oh, that's right.

Iraq became an independent state in 1932. The 2,700-year-old Iraqi Jewish community has suffered horrible persecution since that time, particularly as the Zionist drive for a state intensified. In June 1941, the Mufti-inspired, pro-Nazi coup of Rashid Ali sparked rioting and a pogrom in Baghdad. Armed Iraqi mobs, with the complicity of the police and the army, murdered 180 Jews and wounded almost 1,000. Additional outbreaks of anti-Jewish rioting occurred between 1946-49. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Zionism became a capital crime.

In 1950, Iraqi Jews were permitted to leave the country within a year provided they forfeited their citizenship. A year later, however, the property of Jews who emigrated was frozen and economic restrictions were placed on Jews who chose to remain in the country. From 1949 to 1951, 104,000 Jews were evacuated from Iraq in Operations Ezra & Nechemia; another 20,000 were smuggled out through Iran.

There are about 28 Jews left in Baghdad. Twenty-eight, out of 130,000. Most of them are in Israel now. Whoops, I keep forgetting. Israelis are all descended from European colonial settlers, not the 700,000 Jews forced out of Arab countries in the 1940s and 50s.

That's why I blog for Israeli charities. It puts the top of my head back where it belongs.

Hourly French Insult:

"Did you see the new bomb the government came up with? It weights 21,000 pounds. The Air Force tested this bomb in Florida and the bomb blast was so strong at Disneyworld 25 French tourists surrendered." —Jay Leno


Things are starting to pick up again. We're at $8600 even in pledges, and $5,300 in donations, for a grand total of $13,900. C'mon, folks, ten bucks puts us at $14k. (Choose Michele or Lair, we want the 1-2-3 spots again.)

Sorry for the lameness of this post. It's been eleven and a half hours. Plus, my fellow bloggers keep distracting me with chats. I knew I shouldn't have downloaded Trillian.

I'll do better at 9.

It's tune time

Currently on the lasertable: Chevelle, Wonder What's Next, track one. Next up: Tool, most likely. My selection of CDs from which to choose (this is for the early part of the night, nothing mellow yet):

Tool: Aenima, Undertow
System of a Down: Toxicity
Linkin Park: er, their last one (it's borrowed and ripped)
Staind: Break the Cycle (have they done that yet?)
A Perfect Circle (featuring Maynard; haven't listened to it in a while)
Alice Cooper: Billion Dollar Babies, Love it to Death
Joan Osborne: Relish
Melissa Etheridge: Brave and Crazy
Bonnie Tyler: Faster than the Speed of Night (love that CD)
Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell 1 & 2

Nope, not in the mood for Mary Chapin Carpenter or Loreena McKennitt or Stephen Sondheim yet. But with loud tunes playing, I expect the intelligence level of the posts might, er, suffer. And Michele is making cracks about my taste in music in our chat room, but she can kiss my CDs. Bon Jovi fan.

This Hourly French Insult is by reader Gary R.: As long as we're telling French jokes, here's one from Jay Leno albeit a couple of years old:

At the time there was a record heat wave in France, a lot of people passing out from heat prostration, etc.

Leno: "The French government said people should stay in their houses and do nothing - just like World War II."

(The previous post was thanks to a URL send from Lynn B.)

Saudi ERA Watch: Their own ID cards

Yep, Saudi women have their own ID cards now. Except, well, it doesn't seem to matter in the slightest.

“I will never forget the day my ID card was issued,” she said. “I remember the excitement of going to fill out the forms, getting my picture taken, and finally, the joy of just holding it in my hand. As I traced the edges of the long overdue card that actually was mine, and mine alone, I felt liberated and somehow more independent.”

Yes, getting a card that identifies you as a separate entity, rather than your husband's or father's property would make me feel a bit more independent, too. Well, except that you have to beg for it first.

“Coming from a rather conservative family,” she continued, “permission to get my ID card did not come easy. In fact, ironically, it was the circumstances of my society that finally made my family agree that it had become a necessity. Being separated for a long time before my divorce was finally legalized, I was always constrained by the need for my legal guardian’s permission to do almost anything that required formal papers.”

Permission to get her ID card. How—liberating.

The problem with that was that Amal’s legal guardian then was the husband she was divorcing — you can imagine the awkwardness of asking the man from whom you are separated for his family ID card every time you want to document anything legally, or even withdraw money from the bank. “With some reservarions my family decided to let me be one of the ‘pioneers’ among women and have my very own ID card.”

American female pioneers: Doctors, lawyers, scientists, soldiers, astronauts. Saudi female pioneers: Own their own ID card.

But wait! Our Pioneer is encountering problems.

First, I needed a new mobile number. When I applied for a new number at STC (Saudi Telephone Company), however, I was told I would still need permission from my legal guardian to do that. Moreover, my ID card was useless; they wanted the old family card.” In the end, Amal got her new mobile — but with “wasta” (pulling a few strings).

So what will Our Pioneer do?

Next, Amal went to annul the legal power of attorney that she had previously given her ex-husband, but the judge would not accept the ID card as proof of her identity. Instead, he requested the presence of two males who would testify that she was the person on the family card. “Ironically,” Amal said, “the two men who testified do not even know me — they were just friends of my brother’s who happened to work in the building.”

Of course! Get your family to help you pioneer.

A few months after her ID card was issued, Amal was legally divorced. Hence, her name could return from her ex-husband’s family card to her father’s family card. When asked if that helped, Amal answered: “Yes, it is a relief now that my father is the man I have to go to for all my legal papers — but I am immensely disappointed how worthless the card is that I had thought would make my life easier.”

That's some concept, a woman having a separate identity from her father or husband. Too bad the Saudis can't seem to get it through their kaffiyehs.

The way I understand it, most Saudi people object to ID cards for women because they require a picture. What I cannot comprehend, however, is how readily these same people allow the same women to own passports. In fact, many women in this country have passports.

Please. Don't use logic. It's racist and humiliating.

What is the difference between the picture on a passport and the picture on an ID card? The only logical conclusion I can come up with is that the people objecting to women’s ID cards are doing it for another reason: to restrict a woman’s freedom and make her dependent on a man. That is not religion. That is pure male chauvinism. Our religion is much more lenient than that. Our religion is more encouraging of women. Our religion is not a weapon to be used for hidden agendas.

Religious police! Over here! Got another one for you!

Over three years ago, Crown Prince Abdullah said: “Saudi women are first class citizens with rights and responsibilities; and when we talk about the development and growth that our country is going through on all levels, we cannot exclude or ignore the role of Saudi women and their contributions to this growth.”

Yeah, and he also said that the 15 hijackers weren't Saudis, either. The Truth Is Not In There.

That is the difference between a country that strives to move forward and one that, instead, chooses to remain where it is until one day it realizes that it is greatly lagging behind.

You got that right, sister. And they will continue to lag behind as long as they refuse to utilize fifty percent of their human resources. Not that I expect it to change anytime soon. Well, maybe come the revolution.

Someone else's work

Haven't peeked in on Kevin in a while. I he still boring—er, I mean, posting about tech?

Gail sent me some neat links. Like this one. Is this guy a creep, or what?

This one is fun. Silly, Flash-heavy, but fun.

I like this one because the ads are in Chinese.

More later.

This Hourly French insult is from Mac Thomason again:

F is for the failure of their economy...
R is for the running they'll do...
A is for away, the direction they'll run to...
N is for nukes, and who let THEM have them?
C is for Chirac, about whom the less said the better...
E is for the EU, which they want to rule.

Put them all together and they spell "FRANCE", but I don't know why you'd want to do that.

Jerry Lewis time

And it's not even Insult the French Hour.

Wait a minute. The similarities are eerie. Muscular Dystrophy Assocation. Magen David Adom. He's a Jew. I'm a Jew. Pledges. Money. Suddenly, I feel an overwhelming urge to shout, "Hey, LADY!"

Where's Ed McMahon?

Latest tally: $7,840 in pledges, $5250 donated directly, for a grand total of: $13,090.

The good news: Pledging will be open through the end of Monday. The better news: You can donate to Magen David Adom anytime (don't forget to put BLOGATHON in the comments field of the online credit form or in the memo field of your check). The not-so-good news: We're far shy of the $60,000 it costs to buy the ambulance.

But I still think we can do it. Maybe not today, and maybe not Monday, but I think we can achieve that goal.

The dinnertime guest post hour

Hey, you try posting every half hour and see how much free time you have to cook.

The following is a guest blog by Jane Finch of The Daily Rant.

Who Would Win?

I'm so excited that Meryl has invited me to guest-blog this weekend, as she goes the blogging distance for a great cause…by the way, I'm still waiting for that FedEx shipment of Lair's pretzels to put me in that giving mood.

So, what to blog about…socialized medicine? Boring, and besides, the US already has it, albeit disguised as a benefit for the elderly and needy. Iraq? It's the weekend, for goodness sake. The virtues of big government? Not even I, a pinko, could promote that one with a straight face on my own blog, much less as a guest here. And it would be too, too cruel to mention the twins whose name shall not be spoken this weekend.

However, you people are a whole new audience out there…what better time to spread the word about Canadian World Domination! I can hear the scoffing already…"as IF"…"get out of here, you Canuckian hoser"…."Blame Canada!"

Well, let's test it out in a little trial of "If America fought Canada, who would win?" Forget politics and social policy and all that stuff, and let's get to the heart of the matter, the deciding factor, the one thing near and dear to North American hearts on both sides of the 49th parallel: junk food.

And you'll see that it's no contest:

  • Krispy Kreme vs. Tim Hortons Pffffft….as if some poor pathetic sissy Yankee donut could hold a cholesterol-laden candle to the great and mighty Tims. You'll learn to say "a dutchie and a double double to go" and like it.
  • Cheetos vs. Cheezies. No contest. In the "junk food hearts and minds campaign", one bite of the far superior crispy, cheesy, crunchy Cheezie will have you former Americans burning your Cheetos by the semi-load. No more snacks sticking to the roof of your mouth…just pure, unadulterated transfat cheese-snack heaven.
  • McDonalds fries vs. Poutine. Well, I have to admit I like McDonalds fries….they'll do in a pinch. But put them up against a heaping bowlful of McCain's fries smothered in gravy and fresh cheese curds and tell me what you'd rather have your heart attack eating.
  • Smarties vs. M&Ms. Smarties kick M&M butt. Once you future southern Canadians have heard the jingle, "When you eat your Smarties do you eat the red ones last?" you'll be lining up, especially after we tell you it's an anti-commie thing.

So, without further ado, you may as well start studying the map of your future land now:


There is one thing that can hold the Canuckian hordes back….and that's cash for MDA. As many of you no doubt know, CMDA is fighting through the various appeals courts to retain its charitable status in Canada. I don't know what set off the Canada Customs and Revenue yapping dogs off to revoke the CMDAs status, but I can say at least that department is continuing to allow the CMDA to operate as a charitable organization until the case is finished with all the legal appeals. It just sucks…here's an organization that operates on the front lines and knows no politics other than the politics of saving lives and treating the injured and sick. And I can't think of a worthier cause to stay up 24 hours for, and think Meryl, Michele and Laurence are doing one hell of a job…even if I didn't get any pretzels and have to learn to make my own.

And the obligatory Hourly French Insult, this one from the French themselves:

The Emperor of Germany is the King of Kings; the King of Spain, King of Men; the King of France, King of Asses; the King of England, King of Devils. —French saying current during the reign of Emperor Charles V

A growl from the den

MommaBear sent me a guest growl.

Some Background truth on Jenin!

MB just finished watching a show on the History Channel about Modern Marvels-Booby Traps. Within the show was a very dispassionate examination of the sophistication of those paleos when they set out a horrendous number of booby traps trying to protect their arms stores and bomb-making facilities in Jenin [ you remember, when the IDF allegedly massacred the "innocent" people of the town ]. They raised the bar of advanced techniques to use with those fiendish devices. They freaking loaded up the whole damn town. Much was learned about just how far a murderous group of thugs can wreak damage, if troops are unawares.

Nice folks, them !!

That goes along with the definitive study of the so-called "massacre" that I blogged a few weeks ago, and that was mostly ignored by the major media. Who cares about the truth when the lie has become so widespread?

Recent searches

Found a bunch of funny ones, and some that just make you go "huh?!?!"


So was this: puking jewish men

One has reason to wonder about the quality of some of the upcoming AOL blogs.

Altavista has the weirdest combinations of all: terrorist potato idaho ahmed FBI. Uh-huh. (Run away! Run away!)

How do I find a word that sounds like angry: Can't think of a way at all. Mangry? Gangry? You're SOL, poet wannabe.

interesting facts about Saudi Arabia: Watch for a post on Saudi women and IDs later on today.

is ann coulter a man: Well, that would explain a lot.

overweight pictures of sex positions: I have yet to see an overweight picture, but if I do, I'll be sure to post one. If it isn't too heavy for my computer.

one weekend a month my ass: Hehehehe. National Guard, eh?

wild gnu: On my site? This phrase got you to my site?

tunafish lawsuits: WHO let my cats find a lawyer? Who?!

watch out for low flying planes: Okay.

big butt post: I am not!

how do i make my dog start eating chickens: Why do I get the feeling this searcher wasn't talking about chickens that are already dead and packaged for home consumption?

how much child support will i have to pay in kansas: I'm guessing the same amount you have to pay in your current state, asshat.

"hulk roar": No, get it right. Hulk smash!

And our French insult for the hour:

"We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it." —Marge Simpson

Stream of blogishness

Damn. Only four o'clock and I'm blank. This bodes ill for later on. But no, dammit, I'm going to save Jane's guest post for when I really need it.

Well, I could send you elsewhere. Kevin has insulted me, for that he must die.

NZ Bear says the ecosystem is fixed. NZ Bear already contributed; I think I forgot to add him to the sidebar.

It absolutely is fixed, I'm back ahead of Kate for the first time in ages. [waving to Kate] It won't last long, but it's good to be back in the mid-40s. Oh. Hey. I probably shouldn't say that.

More donations are coming in; look at the renewed totals. Thanks, everyone!

By the way, Cat finally wised up and is leaving the pledges open through Monday, so everyone who reads this back at the office and slaps their forehead saying, "That's what I forgot!" can still donate through the Blogathon.

Taking AIM

Kevin went and got me to download and install Trillian, and then get an AIM screen name. So we've been chatting. Which means this post is not going to be of the highest quality. Well, I could include Kevin in my hourly insult fest.

All donors can ask for my AIM screen name. Anyone else wants to chat with me, you have to give me a guest post. And may I say that the guest posts are going to come in mighty handy around dinnertime, and again in the wee small hours of the morning (eh, C.B.?).

Hourly French insult, this one also a food-oriented one:

Years ago, Heidi's husband, G., read us aloud an article in the newspaper on the French custom of eating ortolans, a small songbird that they have eaten to near-extinction (it is now a protected species). The eating of this bird is so disgusting that it is done under a napkin—that is to say, the bird-eaters wear hoods so no one can see them eating. Why? Because the bird is so tiny it can't be cleaned.

It is cooked in its entirety, and the custom is to turn the bird around and suck the entrails out through its ass (I am not making that up), then you pop it into your mouth and crunch it whole, bones and all. Appetizing, isn't it?

By the time G. finished reading the article (which I have been unable to find on the Times-Dispatch's archives), Heidi and I were breathless from laughing so hard. The story has turned into a saying for the three of us when something disparaging about the French comes up: "What do you expect? They eat ortolans."

More reader mail

Hey, feel free to send letters. They're a lot easier to post than original material.

Remember the fuss from the sexist top 20 list?

Wayne T. has a Susan B. Anthony story. Well, sort of.

I'm not going to weigh in on this sexism thing (like you were waiting with baited breath for me to pipe in) but your mention of Susan B Anthony reminded me of ... what else, another Army story. This isn't so much military-related, actually; it just happened to take place while I was still serving. Anyways:

Do you remember before the gold dollar with ... eh (Sakajaweia?) on it was put into circulation, the Post Office vending machines would give Susan B. Anthony dollars for change? I recall one night I went to the club to play some pool (this was near Fort Gordon, Georgia), and all I had in my pockets were about $30, all in Susan B. Anthony dollars. So I get to the door and try to give the bouncer the coins to pay the cover. Nope, they only accept US money ... (??!!). I spent the next 5-10 minutes, much to the irritation of the folks behind me, explaining that this really was legal tender. Eventually, the guy takes the coins and lets me in muttering under his breath. Lord ...

So I go to the bar to get some quarters (for the pool table) and of course, this means I have to break my 'dollars.' I hand the bartender a Susan B. Anthony dollar and ask for four quarters and she throws it back at me and says, "Nice try." (??!!!) Lord. So I show her the coin. .. yes, this is a real dollar, legal tender and all that. Again, about five minutes wrangling with this woman and she finally agrees to give me change, but I had to throw in my phone number as part of the deal ... don't ask

Anyways ... I'm now sitting on one of the bar stools, wanting to order a drink but terrified to do so; I was actually considering buying a drink with the $4 I had just got in quarters, since I was kind of afraid of what the bartender would ask me to do next time if I tried to break another Susan B. Anthony dollar. Then this guy sitting next to me says, "Hey buddy, do you have any more of them coins?" I answer him in the affirmative and show him my collection and he says - and I swear I am not making this up!! - that he will buy five of my Susan B. Anthony dollars for two dollars each (!!!!). Hmmm ... not a bad investment. I pretened to be hesitant, but eventually handed him over five coins, pocketed the $10 and told him to tell his friends ... and then ordered two stiff drinks.

This is why I say that if I had no conscience, I would be a rich man.

Channeling my inner Lair

Sometimes, it just hits me like this. So naturally, I threw it over to Kevin, who is blogging for autism research. (P.S.: I forgot Emily Jones is blogathoning, too, for AIDS research. Go Emily!)

Rejected Blogathon Themes:

Describing your bowel movements throughout the day; no repeats, please

24 hours in the bathtub, complete with rubber ducky and webcam

Building a life-size model of the Hulk using chewed-out pieces of Wrigley's Doublemint gum
(Second choice: Half-chewed broccoli)

The Blogathon Foot Fetish Fantasy Tour
(Related: Toenails of Blogdom—all shapes, sizes, and colors)

The Blogathon Liposuction Event (canceled due to no takers)

That's about all I can come up with at the moment. Can't wait to see what Kev's doing.

Hourly French insult, from reader Glenn F.:

In traveling around Europe, I've often said that the Swiss are the nicest people money can buy. The French are the nicest people money can't buy. And you take it either way: either you can't buy politeness at any price (inexcusably rude without cause), or you can't buy politeness at any price (effusively wonderful without cause).

Fix-a-Flat: The story in pictures

flat tire

A sad, unhappy tire

screw in tire

The culprit

Pop-a-Lock to the rescue!

Hurray! Mr. Fixit arrives!

All done. Until Monday.

Happily ever after: Until we have to buy the new tire.

Having my say

Lair is having a bit of a tiff with the guy who runs the coyly named "Book of FSCK". I say let's call a fuck a fuck, shall we?

Now, Jonas is upset that Lair went off on his plan to sit a candlelight vigil for deceased ISM member, Rachel Corrie. You remember her, don't you? She was killed while trying to stop a bulldozer from destroying a tunnel used to smuggle weapons into the territories. It was a horrible accident, but she is lionized as someone who gave her life for peace. And her death is being used for propaganda purposes: They say she was murdered. Uh-huh. (I have this bridge in Brooklyn...)

She didn't give her life for peace. She gave her life for terrorists. The ISM is an organization that has been covering for terrorists, and providing cover for terrorists. They work only for the palestinians, they are run by the PA, and they are staffed by the PA. What more proof do you need than to have a terrorist found cowering inside the ISM offices while the IDF searches for him? A true champion of peace would be working to end palestinian terror, not ignoring it as a "legitimate" form of resistance.

I said nothing, even though Jonas took a slam at me simply for supporting MDA:

Amish Tech Support won’t “rub your faces in the misery, inhumanity, suffering, and stupidity in society”. Well, at least not during Blogathon. During blogathon we’ll make Pretzels. The rest of the year, we’ll stupidly tell xenophobic jokes, and relay the lies and 19th century nationalistic crock from Little Brown Shitballs. Right on. I wonder if Yourish, Amish Tech Support, or anyone else out there, actually realizes that Magen David Adom works closely with the Palestine Red Crescent (that’s “Paramilitary Baby Killers” for all you xenophobes out there) and the ICRC (that’s “ineffective terrorist supporters”), sharing resources and patrol areas.

That’s it for this time for your all’s “misery tourist”. Being the “suicidal friend of terrorists”, I rest my case and go enjoy this wonderful Sunday afternoon. Letting racist goons ruin that would be bad.

But now, well. Time to have my say. How—condescending. Why would I know anything about the charity for which I am trying to raise enough funds to buy an ambulance? Hell, I must be one of those racist goons from "Little Brown Shitballs." (What, you can say "shit" but you can't say "fuck"? Loosen up, dude. Try it. Fuck. Fuck. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.) (Apologies to my readers for the return of the pottymouth, but hey, sometimes you just have to say, what the fuck.)

You got your ears pinned back by a Holocaust survivor for daring to call Lair a Nazi? Good for you, you little pisher. Except you haven't quite learned the lesson.

I still believe he is wrong. I still believe that any form of xenophobia and racial classification bears fruit to, and lends power to, nationalism and nazism. But, as I am now reminded via eMail, assholes and idiots are not necessarily Nazis. Oftentimes xenophobia and racism is the result of undereducation and fear, not hatred and Nazism.

There is no such thing as "nazism." There is only "Nazism." By changing it from a proper noun to a common noun, you are minimizing the horrors of the Nazi movement—which was unique in human history—to something that can be ascribed to anyone.

Try again. Yeah, Lair can be an asshole and an idiot from time to time. But he's not the one going to a candlelight vigil for someone who worked with terrorists who work overtime to kill Jews. You go to your vigil. We'll go buy an ambulance that will pick up the pieces of the people Corrie was working against, after her buds blow them up.

Hourly French insult: From a Fox News article by Julia Gorin:

The French even managed to innovate in animal cruelty. The popular dish Foie Grois (search) is liver from a goose that has been mechanically force-fed to make its liver work overtime and become soft and fatty. Last April, a top Paris restaurant celebrated its one-millionth 8-week-old duckling to be strangled and cooked in cognac and its own blood, then served with a souvenir numbered tag. Its owner reportedly remarked, "If for the chef each dish is a work of art, for me, it's ... the return of a happy moment. ... There is nothing more serious than pleasure."

Pledges, totals, and ambulance drives

I've added Marduk's $25 per insult to the direct-donation total, as his word is good, and I expect him to be happy with the ones we've put up. And if not, dammit, we'll add more until he is. Lair's pledge total is $1,401. Michele's got $2,356. Added to my pledges and the direct donations, which I've been getting both from Magen David Adom and from your emails (you are emailing me if you're bypassing my Blogathon pledge page, aren't you?), we've got $12,555. Only $47,501 to go before we can buy an ambulance. (We've also got at least a thousand from the Purple Shamrock Crew via LT Smash, and perhaps another $2,000 from Emperor Misha's readers.)

Okay. We can do it. Pledge! Pledge! Pledge! (Or donate! Donate! Donate!)

Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

Fix-a-flat: Wow, that was fast

The kind people from Pop-A-Lock have been and gone. I gave them some of Sarah's cookies, which they loved. Pictures will be added shortly. And Chrysler's automated service just called to tell me that my roadside service should already have arrived. (Yeah, don't hold your breath waiting for me to take the customer service satisfaction survey today. I'm a bit busy.)

I may need a new tire. Sigh.

The French insult, from Sarah G., who saw Dennis Miller on Leno: "Only the French would have the leader in a bike race wear a yellow jersey."

Fix-a-flat: Running the numbers

From the online site final screen:

What's Next?

1. Your request will be processed in approximately 5-10 minutes. Service on average takes 45-60 minutes from the time we process your request. We do require that you be with the vehicle or available at the contact phone number you provided.

2. An email will be sent to you with the name of the tow company, estimated time of arrival and the time your assistance was arranged with the tow company.

3. An automated phone call will be placed to the contact number you provided us stating the name of the tow company, estimated time of arrival and the time your assistance was arranged with the tow company.

We at DaimlerChrysler thank you for the opportunity to serve you. You will be receiving both an e-mail and automated phone call with the tow company name, estimated time of arrival and the time the dispatch was secured.

Thank you for visiting We appreciate your feedback, and encourage you to email us at [email protected] with any comments you have on our site.

How they stack up: I submitted the form just before noon. I received an email at 12:20 and a phone call at 12:22. They both say I'll have someone here in 30 minutes. And you've gotta love the name of the company they're sending to fix my tire: Pop-A-Lock.

Oh, and I crashed my computer trying to put up the photo. You'll have to wait for that. I'm four minutes behind schedule. Which is far better than Chrysler, though.

Experiments in flats

I picked up a screw in my left rear tire last night. It's all Kroger's fault. They have to carry Shenville Farms chocolate milk, and I wanted some for the Blogathon. Anyway, flat tire today, and I discovered that Chrysler has an online roadside assistance service. So I'm trying it. Just submitted the information. Let's see how long it takes them to get to me. (By the way, the nutty keyboard strikes again—there are sixes in my VIN number, and my six key is broken. Again.)

Ooh. Pictures to come. This Blogathon stuff can be educational!

The hourly insult, also from G.: The French never engaged in a war that someone else couldn't win for them.

If you have insults for the French (and Belgians), help me earn $25 an insult/hour from Marduk.


I've finally gotten the donors in the left margin. If you don't want your full name there, send me an email and I'll take care of it. (I also finally remembered that if I signed into the Blogathon site as a member, I'd get all your names in one easy-to-post list.) If I missed you, email me.

Although it is not French Insult Hour, I did receive a spam email that begs to be made fun of. The title is "Want to make love like a teen?"

What, you mean awkward, inexperienced, quick, sloppy, and sub-standard?

No thanks.


Sarah and Rebecca G. delivered my homemade challah and a tin of Sarah's three-chip chocolate chip cookies. Rebecca was enthralled with Tig, who was less than enthralled with her, however.

Tig and Rebecca

We kept trying to get a good picture. This is the best we came up with. Gracie came to sniff at Rebecca, but left before I could get a picture. I don't remember the cats being quite as mellow last year, but then, we had all six G.'s last year, including two young and active boys who I taught to extend my Slinky all the way down the stairs.

The French Insult Hour has struck:

"In certain public indecencies the difference between a dog and a Frenchman is not perceptible." —Mark Twain

(And Belgians.)

You are not alone

(Show tunes. Blame Michele.)

Found a referrer from a blog I'd seen a couple of times before in my logs: Crossing the Rubicon. She has excerpts from an article in Psychology Today about the differences between men and women. A few of my favorites:

- Male attention span as teen: 5 minutes.

- Female attention span as teen: 20 minutes.

- Women learn to speak earlier, know more words, recall them better, pause less and glide through tongue twisters.

- Men produce twice as much saliva as women.

Which answers the question I've alway been unable to answer: Why do men spit so damned much? Also, her post on her son and his friend tormenting her daughter rang far too close to reality for me. (Two brothers, one older, one younger, teenage years were sheer hell.) Well, except I've always thought dead baby jokes are funny. Sick, but funny. Go visit her, and leave a comment. (Ergo the title of this post.)

Reader mail

Michael L. has figured out the omens of the owls.

According to Robert Graves in "Claudius the God," the second volunme of his I, Claudius novel that purports to be a memoir by the Roman Emperor, a German chieftain, held prisoner in the same jail as Herod Agrippa just before Tiberius died, told Herod that it was good luck if an owl drops dirt on you. Graves probably based this on an ancient superstition. He was a trained classicist I believe. So it's a good portent if any of the owls you saw dropped dirt on you, but not otherwise.

That's what I like about my readers. They're so helpful.

On the other hand, I've been meaning to publish this letter from Mario F. for a while now.

I have read and enjoyed your blog for quite a while now, and yet I'm always surprised when you say that you're a liberal. After all, You hate PETA and Indymedia. You support Israel. My guess is that you call yourself liberal because you're a social liberal. I think of myself as conservative because I'm a fiscal conservative. But I don't think we disgree at all. I think you're a moderate, but if you are a liberal, you're not the kind conservatives hate.

Thanks, Mario. It's nice to know I'm not hated. Much.

And the 10:00 insult: My best friend's husband, G., is a car afficionado. He rebuilds things like Triumph Spitfires (which is a real hoot to ride in). He told me that the American car designs had elements borrowed by the British and Germans, the British and Germans had car designs borrowed by the other designers, but nobody ever copied a French car design. (Or Belgian.)

My, time flies

I'd forgotten how fast half an hour goes when you're not putting up something you prepared. Remember, folks, if you want to guest blog, email me and we'll talk.

I got enough sleep, but damn, it takes me a while to wake up. Go check out Michele's blog. Chris Muir made her her very own Day By Day strip for her them. And let's all go see what Lair is doing. I'll have those two up in my windows for the rest of the day. Oh, yeah. Marduk said we have to insult the Belgians, too. But they're so close to the French as to be up their butts, so we'll just assume that insulting one is insulting the other.

Welcome to the Blogathon, 2003 version

And we're off. Here's one thing you're going to see throughout the day: An insult to the French every hour on the hour. Marduk has promised $25 per insult, which is $600 by the end of the Blogathon. He didn't say I have to make them all up myself. And my first one is borrowed from Mac Thomason's post on the fire in the Eiffel Tower: Only the French could manage to set a steel tower on fire.

In all the ensuing posts, the Marduk insult will be set off from the rest of the post.

Sarah G., who brought the entire family here last year, is due soon. She's bringing me a homemade challah. If you were a studio audience, I'd say give it up for Sarah. But then, she's also going to the Amelia County Beef Festival later today, and I am not. Perhaps the challah is a guilt gift, because she and Larry invited me.

There. I'm giving up beef for the blogathon. The least you can do is pledge. Or donate now.


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.