Imshin has a lot of them.
In fact, in the last few days, Imshin has written the kinds of posts
that make me return to her blog again and again and again. They're almost
too difficult to excerpt. Almost. On the
Maccabees and Hanukkah:
The idea of the Maccabees as the ultra-religious fanatics
of old is not a new one for me. Ive never really known what to
do with it, but today it suddenly crossed my mind that its the
same as the Kipling thing. Here we are judging people, who lived thousands
of years ago, by todays values. Jonathan says that if he had lived
back then he probably would have been opposed to the Maccabees. But
how can he know this? Things were quite different. He points out that
what was happening was an attempt of cultural genocide. And this is
exactly the point. In those days, you were who you worshipped. Secularism
didnt exist. Nationalism didnt exist. Cultural genocide,
as Jonathan calls it, was standard procedure for dealing with conquered
What have we had? We have had a peace agreement that
fell to pieces, when one side was asked to finish the deal once and
for all, and decided to pass. I am somehow reminded of how loan sharks
operate. You can never ever repay your debt to them because the interest
just keeps growing and growing. The Palestinians demands were
also turning into just such a bottomless pit. Just when we thought wed
given them all, or very nearly all, of what they had previously demanded,
they remembered something else. They just wouldnt let it end (or
couldnt, because in actual fact they werent truly interested
Then they embarked, with national excitement and vengeful
enthusiasm, on a rapidly escalating rampage of violence, terror, and
sacrificial mass murder, while sanctimoniously denying all the time
that their official leadership had anything to do with it. This leadership,
nevertheless, refused to take any action whatsoever against the violence,
besides rhetoric in English, aimed at the foreign media.
In its desperation, Israel had no choice but to take
responsibility for preventing the daily bloodbath on Israeli streets.
No one else was doing it for us, regardless of promises made to do just
that, in documents signed in all pomp and ceremony, to the cheers of
the world. A hard hand was necessary, was unavoidable, to prevent Israel
from descending into chaos.
But do we really want to keep on policing these lunatics,
who would rather live lives of squalor and hopelessness than move just
a little from their professed goals? No, we dont. Contrary to
popular belief, as depicted in numerous vicious caricatures in Western
mainstream newspapers, we do not enjoy fighting to keep them from blowing
up in our midst. We do not revel, as they do, in the deaths of innocents,
regrettable victims of our attempts to incapacitate the guilty.
If you're not reading Imshin,
you are missing an Israeli point of view that you will never read in the
American media. permalink
Gil's keeping track
of hanukiyot (menorahs). permalink
More PETA pity parties
This post was inspired by Doc
Schlock's post over at ATS. He got me to thinking with this:
Because of this, some tree-hugging hippie freak decides
that I should give up eating all animals. Bullshit I say. My personal
choice not to eat octopus doesn't mean I'm going to force my non-octopus
eating ways on others. I'm not going to open octopus free resturants
or break in to labs and free octopuses. If you want to eat an octopus,
more power to ya. I like to eat cow, chicken, fish, and pigs. I don't
care if you think they are the cutest, cuddliest, sweetest animals in
the world, they are still going in my belly.
Well, I eat cow, chicken, sheep, and turkey. I'm allergic to fish, and
never really liked it much, anyway (perhaps I always knew I was allergic
and was just waiting for an excuse to pass it by, or perhaps when I was
a child, I simply couldn't fathom why people would want to eat something
that was looking at themcheck out any Tabatchnik's counter and you'll
see what I mean). I have eaten ostrich and buffalo thanks to Lynn
(both quite yummy, actually). A long time ago, I had duck, but have yet
to sample goose. I also ate squid a long time ago, and didn't think very
much of it. According to some wags, since I have eaten Chinese food, I
have eaten cat.
So, fellow bloggers, what animals are on your menu? We haven't pissed
off the PETA nutjobs in a while, and the last letter I received was so
lame it wasn't even worth making fun of ("You eat meat! You're gonna
die of cancer!"). Besides, they're going to try
to frighten children at various Nutcracker events this year, so let's
add fuel to the fire. Besides, it's the weekend. It's quiet. Okay, it
won't be in another few hours, when Susanna Cornett gets here, but it's
quiet now, and a little boring. permalink
New linking category: Blogger
Hall of Fame
Greg of Begging to Differ
is mostly responsible for my going to Trilogy Tuesday. If I hadn't read
Geek Preview Roundup, I may not have known the trilogy was being shown
until after the tickets had sold out. Well, I remember things like that
for a long, long time. Greg, you have made a friend for life.
Begging To Differ is the
first member of my Blogger Hall of Fame, and they're going to stay there
for quite a while, center page, top. Go say hello. They also have an excellent
blog, as I mentioned
two months ago. permalink
Biased reporting, continued
The Associated Press has two articles today on the death toll due to
the current Terror War in Israel. One is titled "Mideast Death Toll
Dramatically Down." The other is titled simply "Death
Toll in 3 Years of Mideast Violence."
My biggest problem is with the second article. Here is how AP breaks
down the death toll:
TOTAL: 2,583 on the Palestinian side and 898 on the
Israeli side. The Israeli figure includes several foreigners, migrant
workers, tourists, students on study-abroad programs and staff of international
bodies killed in Palestinian attacks. It also includes at least 43
U.S. citizens, most also holding Israeli citizenship.
The Palestinian figure includes an American peace
activist crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to stop the
demolition of a Palestinian home, a British U.N. official killed
by Israeli fire during a gunbattle in the West Bank, a German doctor
killed by Israeli fire as he tried to help Palestinians wounded when
a rocket slammed into their home, several Egyptians killed in Gaza
and two journalists - one Italian and the other British - both fatally
wounded while working in Palestinian areas.
Emphasis, of course, is mine. Rachel effing Corrie is included on the
palestinian side. European journalists are included as "palestinian
deaths." Excuse me, but when did Britain and Italy become part of
the palestinian state? What kind of bullshit is this, to take deaths in
a battle zone and attribute them to the Israeli side, while quantifying
dozens of Israeli deaths by saying that the victims also were U.S. citizens
with dual citizenship? They had emigrated. They were Israelis.
Also included in the death rates for palestinians: "Suspected collaborators:
60." As if the Israelis are responsible for the murder (without trial)
of sixty supposed collaborators. No, the pals are the ones who executed
mother of seven. Yet she is included in the statistics, which are
then inflated and Israel is blamed for deaths which were not her responsibility.
AP tally article, they uncritically pass along the inflated figures,
knowing full well that people are going to go with the totals, and not
include such caveats as this:
Among the Palestinian dead, 60 people were killed by
fellow Palestinians who accused them of being informers and funneling
information to the Israeli intelligence agents.
There is little dispute that most of the Israelis killed
in shootings and bombings were civilians, but categories are still blurred.
One disputed category is off-duty Israeli soldiers; another is Jewish
settlers in the West Bank and Gaza - civilians to Israelis, combatants
and legitimate targets to many Palestinians.
Then we get crap like this in
the main article, which attempts to point out the lies by the pals,
and then devolves into more examples of mindless "objectivity:"
According to the AP count, at least 319 Palestinians
under age 18 have been killed - about a quarter in the third year of
The Palestine Monitor, a think tank that tracks the
violence, says 508 under-18s were killed - 24 of them affiliated with
The AP's count of minors killed does not include those
who perpetrated Palestinian attacks, such as the youngest suicide bomber,
who had just turned 16. At least 92 Israeli children and teens have
died, most of them in suicide bombings. One explanation is that youngsters
are more dependent on buses, a frequent bomb target.
Most of the Palestinian minors were killed in clashes
with soldiers. Youngsters routinely throw stones at troops, and some
have climbed atop tanks and armored vehicles.
Soldiers fire tear gas and rubber bullets but also
live rounds to disperse crowds. Israel says that Palestinians have sent
children into the front lines in a cynical attempt to win sympathy.
Palestinians and human rights groups say soldiers are often hasty in
Screw the AP tally. Go
here to find the real tally of the Terror War of the past three
And realize why the death toll is down: The security fence is working,
and the IDF, Shin Bet, and Israeli security services are working overtime
to prevent suicide bombings. Twenty-two
suicide bombings have been prevented in the last few weeks. There
is no "lull."
There is only good police work. permalink
Now that's a chocolate
Three pounds of solid Hershey's milk chocolate just landed in Richmond.
Thanks, Kim. Thanks, Bob.
Click for a bigger picture.
My virtual menorah: First light
Gil got me in the mood to start
My father gave me this when I first moved in with him during my freshman
year of college. That's the Lion of Judah in the center, and the menorah
is brass coated with turquoise, I think. The row beneath the candle holders
contains the twelve tribes of Israel, their Hebrew names, and their signs.
I don't know what the plants on the pillars are, but doubtless one of
my readers will tell me. You folks know everything.
Apparently I told that
same story two years ago (scroll down, no permalinks back then). I've
been told I repeat myself.
I've been told I repeat myself.
Say, Gil's latke recipeno
offense, Gil, but that recipe isn't quite right. Here's mine:
Six medium-to-large potatoes
One medium onion
Unflavored cooking oil
Grate potatoes very fine. You can use a food processor
(I use the Braun hand blender). Squeeze moisture out with cheesecloth.
(Great substitute for cheesecloth: A hops bag. You can buy it in a store
that sells beer-making materials. You'll never use cheesecloth again.)
Grate the onion just as finely (once again, a food processor is a wonderful
Mix potatoes and matzo meal (about a half-cup, more
if needed) in a large bowl. Add eggs and onion. Put in a pinch or two
of salt and pepper. Mix well. Add more matzo meal if the batter is too
wet. Drop by the spoonsful in heated oil and flatten (a six on an electric
stove, medium-high on gas) or shape by hand and put them in. Cook until
golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towels. The above recipe serves
four; add a couple extra potatoes per extra person.
You can cut out the eggs, salt, and pepper completely without changing
the flavor. I always err on the side of less salt and let everyone flavor
their own. The reason you want an unflavored oil, such as canola oil or
plain vegetable oil, is because something as strong as peanut oil changes
the flavor of the latkes. Safflower is also a good cooking oil. My preferred
cooking oil is canola oil.
By the way, it's certainly possible to make the above recipe for only
one or two people, but don't be complaining to me afterwards, when you
can't fit into your clothes. permalink
U.S. Ambassador to Egypt speaks
of a meeting between David Welch and Arab journalists is simply fascinating.
Read it all, but here are the best parts:
Nevine Khalil: And what if there is democracy in the
region and the people decide to elect governments that are not friendly
to the US? What would you do about that?
Welch: You mean like France? This is a good opening.
Forgive me because I am not a very good diplomat and I tend to say what's
on my mind and I say it straight. It may at times bother you a little
bit, but I don't mean any offense. I just believe in honesty. So I am
going to be very honest.
So you are telling me that if there were peace between
Israel and the Palestinians, and a withdrawal to the 1967 borders tomorrow,
we'd have thriving democracies throughout this part of the world?
Shukrallah: Yes, I believe so.
Welch: Really, on the same time scale?
Shukrallah: Pretty soon.
Welch: Let's get serious. What I find completely illogical
about this position is that you cannot believe the reverse -- that democracy
throughout the region might help you in achieving peace.
Dina Ezzat: One very obvious pretext for the dictators
in this region is the Middle East conflict; they say you cannot do this
[democratise], because we are in a state of war.
Welch: If you would excuse me for saying so, one pretext
for you journalists is that you don't look at all the options.
Ezzat: How is yours an option?
Welch: We see the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict
as an essential part of the search for peace and stability in this area.
To do that you need certain conditions in place, one of which is an
atmosphere in which negotiations can proceed -- and we are trying to
have a negotiation that reaches a settlement.
I don't discard your option that it would help the
furtherance of democracy in the area to reach a solution in this conflict.
Obviously there is a connection for you, but look at the reverse too
-- it is quite possible that democratic governments throughout this
area would help in the resolution of these conflicts.
Ezzat: But isn't the first proposition more logical
because if you want to follow international law -- which you very often
like to talk about -- it would be logical to end the occupation.
Welch: UN Resolution 242, the basis of a just solution
to the Arab-Israeli problem, was passed in 1967. It took until 1978
for one Arab country to recognise it and implement it. It took another
10 years for the remainder of the Arab countries to catch up to that
Wow. And yes, there's more.
Welch: I get the message. There is a lot to debate
about what is going on these days. I can't come to terms with concepts
like imperial arrogance. What will happen to your theory of imperial
arrogance if we stun you into disbelief by leaving Iraq on 1 July in
the hands of an Iraqi government as we say we will? We've told you what
our intention is. Here is the calendar we would like to work out with
the Iraqi people -- who by the way are divided among themselves on how
they will exercise their free choice, a real problem on which I would
like to hear your views by the way, since we're talking about democracy.
At the end of the day, there is the decision of all decisions, the mother
of all decisions for the Iraqi people. They have, for the first time
in their modern political history, a genuine choice.
Gamal Nkrumah: They don't.
Welch: Really? Since when did you become Iraqi?
Nkrumah: I'm not Iraqi, but they do not. How could
they have a choice when your troops are there? They went in uninvited,
when only the UN Security Council can authorise countries to go in.
Nobody invited you. So how could they have a free choice if your troops
Welch: Well, setting aside that bundle of assertions,
we are where we are right now, and again the question is -- will they
have that choice and how do they intend to exercise it? What will we
do to help them? Will they ask us to stay or leave?
Nkrumah: Your stooges will probably ask you to stay
on. It's obvious, isn't it?
Welch: I don't think it's so obvious.
Nkrumah: For people in this part of the world, it is.
Welch: If you've made up your mind beforehand, I welcome
your views, but there is obviously no room for discussion of them.
The Egyptian press really
dislikes Ambassador Welch. They're not going to like him anymore after
I hate that spelling, but I'm trying to move forward.
Sondra K., who seems just a touch
insane (aren't we all?) forwarded me a link to a site that teaches you
how to create
your own menorahwith a potato and hardware, just in time for
the first night. Come to think of it, Susanna
couldn't have picked a better time to visit. There will be latkes with
In the meantime, I shall be following the yourish.com
tradition and put up my virtual menorah for all to enjoy. Two years ago,
I borrowed a digital camera from work and went backwards from eight lights.
Yes, yes, the comfy chair
Susanna Cornett has been giving me a hard time about The Chair That Swallows
You Whole. She said she thinks it's apocryphal. Well, it exists. Exhibit
I had to keep kicking Tig out of my chair this evening. I took away all
the things he was sleeping on, and he's still there. Although from
the back angle (you can't see it in this picture), it looks like his head
has disappeared. He's rolled into a big, fat, furry ball.
Susanna, I expect to see the truth about the chair on your blog Saturday
New Line Cinema: A company of
I mentioned that those of us who went to Trilogy
Tuesday received a gift from New Line. It turns out that this
gift was specially made for us by the WETA workshop, and is not
for sale. Kewl.
I like mine even more, now. It's an actual collectible, not just one
of zillions. Why, it may actually be worth something someday. permalink
Amish Tech Support 2004 Dead
Okay, folks. I'm going to join in this year, and I've got a few picks.
I need about ten more. Here's where I throw the question out to the audience
to see what comes back. These are my current picks:
Yasser Arafat (hoping he really does have cancer)
Saddam Hussein (won't last the year)
Pope John Paul II (I think he's finally going to buy it next year)
Phil Rizzuto, Sept. 25, 1918 (damn, he's old, it's about time)
Michael Jackson (I think he may succumb to the pressure and off himself)
Here are the
rules. Go read 'em, and send me suggestions. Time's running out. I
want to send them into Lair next week.
I'm thinking of adding some Saudi princes and/or King Fahd to that list.
I predict great upheaval in the Middle East next year. permalink
Y'know, I've been reading this
story everywhere, and I think it's just time to bring out the
dancing heifer again.
VATICAN CITY - A top Vatican official said Tuesday
he felt pity and compassion for Saddam Hussein and criticized the U.S.
military for showing video footage of him being treated "like a
Moo, Cardinal Martino. permalink
Other people's writing
Okay, first, put down that soda and don't you be eating when you click
this link. It's a quick read. Mac
Thomason on pacifists. I think that's a good example of why his weblog
is titled "The War Liberal." Then there's this
funny proofreading error that he caught. Mac's been on a roll lately.
By the way, I added two more links to the
Tolkien Blogdrizzle. Go check 'em out. If this keeps up, I may change
the Blogdrizzle to a Blograin, and maybe even into a Blogstorm someday.
Yeah, sure, send me links. I know how to edit a post.
Interesting post at the Volokh Conspiracy on Strom Thurmond's illegitimate
mixed-race daughter, and the dead Senator's decades-old
hypocrisy and cruelty to the woman for decades.
I'm with Allison
on this one: Lair's
post on Colin's prostate surgery may be utterly tasteless, but it's
Jim Treacher has picked his ten
best pieces of 2003. Hey, I'm with Jim. He hates Jimmy Kimmel, too.
(I knew I had to finish something... I have my best of 2002 hanging around
in the draft folder.) permalink
And the bias prize goes to: Reuters!
Honest Reporting has announced its annual Dishonest
Reporting Award. This year's winner: Reuters, of course.
* In January, Reuters blamed Israel for "killing"
Palestinian suicide bombers:
Iraq has paid millions of dollars to families of
Palestinians, including those of suicide bombers, killed by Israeli
forces since the start of the uprising in September 2000.
* As Israel prepared to build a wall to protect worshippers
at Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, Reuters published this headline:
"Israel to Split Christ's Birthplace with Barrier"
To emphasize its (completely external) point, Reuters
repeated the word "Christ" or "Christian" in each
of the article's first four sentences.
Read the whole article, which also gives dishonorable mention to several
other media outlets that I've fisked in these pages. permalink
Yesterday was a long, tiring, wonderful day. We got to the theater at
10:45, an hour and fifteen minutes later than I'd wanted to be there.
Wind Rider didn't believe me
when I told him people would be lining up before 9:30 and that we wouldn't
be the first ones there. But I've definitely mellowed. I didn't try to
kill him right then and there, when I first saw the line of people ahead
of us. First I made him stand in line while I went to see how many people
there were, found out that the LOTR theater held 450 people, and we'd
still get good stadium seats. That's why Wind Rider is still alive today.
Really, the seating was key to my enjoyment of the day. We wound up just
about dead center of the stadium section. I was happy. Wind Rider was
forgiven, and the day went pleasantly forward.
Regal Cinema and New Line did a wonderful job in Richmond. They let
us into the theater shortly after 11, warned us to keep our stubs with
us at all times for re-entry, stamped our hands, and gave us the run of
the place for the rest of the day. They were serious about not gaining
re-entry without ticket stubs. I heard four people got kicked out. We
kept the same seats throughout the day.
The Guy In Charge told us quite firmly before beginning the films to
turn off or silence our cell phones, warned he would throw out anyone
whose cell phone rang, said essentially, "Don't make me come down
there, I want to watch the films, too." But I don't think the warnings
were necessary. The audience was the best audience I have ever seen a
film with. People were friendly and courteous between films, quiet during
them (at the appropriate times), and pleasant at various places in and
around the theater. There were a few people in costume. Some people had
driven from D.C. or Charlottesville. A few people were selling tickets
at the door for face value. An announcement was made inside; the tickets
got sold immediately.
The excitement level rose as the day wore on. Every single person in
that theater was a fan at least of the films, and most likely also of
the books. Numerous copies of the trilogy and other Tolkien novels were
in evidence. At first I thought I'd made a mistake watching my DVDs two
weeks ago, but that was the un-fever talking. After a while I realized
that yes, I really was watching the books that I love come to life, or
at least, come to film. The lethargy from the cold disappeared in the
minutes leading up to the first film. I found myself saying at the end
of FOTR, "Okay, now I'm psyched for the trilogy." Seeing
all three films, back-to-back, in a theater, was a once in a lifetime
I had a wonderful time. And New Line gave us presents: Collectible film
cells in a frame. Mine has Pippin (my favorite hobbit of the films), Faramir
(on which actor I am gaining a great crush), and Grumpy Hobbit (don't
know his name, but he's in the beginning of FOTR, looking askance at Gandalf,
and returns for a grumpy part in ROTK). Wind Rider's, which is now also
mine, has Merry and Pippin, Arwen carrying Frodo to the Ford of
Bruinen, and Denethor (boo! hiss!). I have no idea how much they cost,
but they're mine now, precious. All mine.
My review of The Return of the King: Go see it. No spoilers here. Yes,
there are parts where you say, "Hey! That wasn't in the book!"
But the battles are glorious, the story is magnificent, the effects are
marvelous, and I don't know if WR looked sideways at all while we were
watching the final installment, but if he did, he would have seen me in
total thrall to the mood of the scenes on the screen. I'm just a great
big kid when I'm watching a good movie, and yesterday, I saw three of
them, and got to spend the entire day in Middle-Earth.
You know, I'm thinking that I wouldn't mind making this a twice-in-a-lifetime
experience. Yes, I'd do it again. Yeah, I guess I really am a little bit
The morning after
I'm back, I'm awake, and Wind Rider and I are heading out to Waffle House
for breakfast. I think sitting in a darkened theater for fourteen hours
defeated my cold, since my un-fever appears to be gone.
Wind Rider has his
account of the day. Mine will be up later. All I have to say is I'm
really annoyed that I missed three of the questions, and need to reread
the books. Can't believe I put Minas Morgul instead of Barad-dur in the
"name the two towers" question.
Yeah, I'm a geek. Toldja so. permalink
Off to Middle Earth
And yes, I still have a cold, and my un-fever was at 97.3 an hour or
so ago. It was down to 95 at 5 a.m. I don't sleep well when my temperature
In the meantime, Judith Weiss
suggested these Tolkien links for you.
Rhys Davies (Gimli the Dwarf), anti-idiotarian
Okay, this flash animation is just plain scary. Gollum
rap. Yes, really.
I'm outta here. permalink
The French, zey are so sophisticated...
A French reader evidently liked my Saddam
Hussein interrogation transcripts, and posted
them on a French forum.
So a really smart French forum reader, Dr. No, asked this:
les source de ce site sont -elles fiables ?
c'est juste une question , ce n'est pas une accusation
With the help of Babelfish, I made out the secret code:
the source of this site - are they reliable?
it is just a question, it is not an accusation.
You just can't put anything past those guys. Even when the title of the
post that includes my "interrogation" is "We are amused."
Psst... French readers.... c'est une plaisanterie. (Babelfish again. I
have forgotten nearly all the French I learned in high school. Except
for the swear words.)
I wonder what Dr. No would think of Iseema's diary. permalink
I'm pretty sure that my chest cold of the past few days is not what Nate
had, but I'm thinking the thing I have today may be the reason he was
cranky and whiny on Friday. Unfortunately, the orange juice, Tylenol,
and cold medication isn't making it go away. On the other hand, I would
watch The Trilogy if I were on my deathbed. I would come back from the
grave itself to see all three Tolkien films in a row, which I am doing
tomorrow, no matter how I feel.
Wind Rider said he wants to
come along, but I suspect he's beginning to regret it. I sent him an email
telling him that the hour he'd like to get here is Daylight Slacker's
Time; we have to be on line at a reasonable hour in order to get decent
seats. Mind you, if it were up to me, I'd be there at 1:30 for the 2:00
show, but I went to the theater today to scope things out for tomorrow,
and the manager told me that last week's ROTK preview had the winners
of tickets from a radio station lining up three and a half hours early.
Ticket winners, not necessarily all Tolkien geeks.
Yeah, I'm a Tolkien geek. I said so before, and I'll say it again. I'm
a Tolkien geek, and I want to have decent seats for the films. So I'll
be standing on line for hours tomorrow.
I have been unable to write "Confessions of a Tolkien Geek,"
because I think the one I wrote today rather sucks. However, while writing
it, I discovered that, er, I already
wrote it. Two years ago, when the first film came out. You'd be amazed
at how much of today's essay was a rewrite of the first one. Well, except
I deleted most of the repetition, so you can't read it. But trust me,
you would have been amazed. Or bored, come to think of it.
Yes, the medication is kicking in. I have a temperature of 96.3; I get
un-fevers when I'm sick. When the mercury hits triple digits, I immediately
call the doctor, because something is seriously wrong with me when that
happens. When it hits 102, I worry that my brain will explode. Hasn't
so far, but you never can tell with fevers.
Maybe I'll write something after having seen all three films in a row.
I don't just watch movies, when they're good, I get lost within
them. That's part of why it's important to get good seats. I won't be
able to enjoy Middle Earth from the front row, far left side of the theater.
As for talkers sitting near me: Well, keep an eye out for the news from
Richmond. If there's a violent murder at a Tolkien movie, likely I'll
need some help raising bail money.
Tomorrow will be this Tolkien fan's dream come true. I never, ever thought
that special effects would get to the level where the Lord of the Rings
would be made as a live-action film, let alone made as three superb films
by a Tolkien fan. I've been reading the books since I was twelve, and
had resigned myself to knowing them only through my imagination. And had
I still been living in NJ, I would never have managed to get tickets to
It isn't often you get to fulfill a
what-if wish. I went to Jamaica in my twenties and found it as wonderful
as I had read about in an old Dennis the Menace comic book that stuck
with me through my adulthood. I suspect tomorrow will feel about as good,
except without sugar cane and beaches. But there will be popcorn. And
You can't find that in Jamaica. permalink
The Tolkien Blogdrizzle
Well, since only a couple of people wanted
in on the act, I thought I'd better change its name from blogburst
to blogdrizzle. Maybe it should be a blogspritz. Perhaps it will become
a blogburst over time, as I've just decided if you submit it, I will link
(unless it's totally disgusting, as I said two weeks ago).
In the meantime, Mac
Thomason has brought back Captain Euro to help Gandalf, Aragorn, and
company with the negotiations at The Black Gate.
EURO: Gandalf, mon ami! That was quite a fine joke
you played on me with your letter! You actually convinced Frodo to avoid
me. Still, we can laugh about it now.
MOS: Enough! I have tokens that I was bidden to show
He displays Sam's short sword, Frodo's cloak, and Frodo's
mithril chainmail. PIPPIN gasps.
MOS: So you have yet another of these imps with you!
What use you find in them I cannot guess; but to send them as spies
into Mordor is beyond even your accustomed folly.
EURO: Imps? I will have you know that this sort of
labeling comes very close to hate speech, and should not be used, especially
in such a formal setting. Hobbits are a very courageous and sturdy people,
and I will not have them maligned. Even now, two of them are --
ARAGORN jumps on EURO, covering his mouth with one
hand and choking him with the other.
GANDALF: Aragorn, choke him not. I have a feeling even
such as he may yet have a part to play. Please, allow him to speak,
as long as he (whispering) doesn't give anything away.
Blogger Rabbit has astonishing pictures of the
surprise new ending to The Return of the King, starringyou won't
believe thisMadonna! I can't give any more away, you'll simply have
to check the link for yourself.
Peter's got a
nice, wistful post about the various films, Tolkien in general, and
Peter Jackson what-ifs.
Oh. My. God. It's a cross between Buffy: The Musical and Lord of the
Rings: Once More With Hobbits.
Clever, clever, clever! You simply have to check out each individual song,
a Theory" is HILARIOUS.
And my piece, Confessions of a Tolkien Geek, will be up (and linked)
More on Saddam's capture
There is a wealth of stories on the capture of the biggest mass murderer
since Pol Pot. Here's a nice set
of links from vigilant.tv.
Here's an article to set your heart aglow from Reuters: Saddam
surrender seen as cowardice:
"The main commodity of his rule was death, but
it was a weapon that he was not willing to use upon himself," Jawad
al-Anani, a former Jordanian foreign minister and Dubai-based political
analyst, told Reuters on Monday.
"The fact that he chose to stay in that hole with
the mice shows that he was clinging onto life, no matter how bad it
was. Eventually, he was a coward."
[...] "His image has been totally undermined,"
said Iraq expert Mustafa Alani from London's Royal United Services Institute.
"Everyone expected him to fight to the death or
commit suicide, but that is a choice he did not make. No one likes to
admit it, but he's a coward."
[...] Like other controversial events, Saddam's
capture spawned conspiracy theories in the region, with many Arabs saying
he had not offered any resistance because he had been drugged.
Prominent Saudi columnist Dawood al-Shirian said he
believed Saddam could have been given a sedative before the medical
checks but dismissed talk that a narcotic gas had been piped into his
hiding hole prior to his arrest.
"He is a gang leader to which words like 'bravery'
and 'dignity' do not apply. I think that he was a broken man who was
tired of being on the run and of being betrayed," Shirian said.
And look: The Indymidiots are in the Arab world, too!
Gulf analyst Moghazy al-Badrawy said the timing of
the arrest was perfect for a U.S. administration trying to divert attention
from scandals related to its Iraq dealings.
"The U.S. version of events is too perfect, too
suspicious," he said. "I think he was caught long before it
was announced, but it will be years before we know what really happened."
There's an interesting twist to the above angle in this
Guardian story, but notice the word substitution:
As often, when faced with inexplicable situations
in the Middle East, some resorted to conspiracy theories. One idea gaining
popularity in Jordan was that Saddam must have been secretly "medicated
not to resist" before the American forces closed in on him.
It's not inexplicable. Many Arabs do not want to believe that their "hero"
did not resist to his last breath. Subtle little distinctions like this
make me loathe the Guardian.
And finally, you gotta love this description
of the hut over the spider hole:
The hut consisted of one room with two beds and a fridge
containing a can of lemonade, a packet of hot dogs, an opened box of
Belgian chocolates and a tube of ointment. Several new pairs of shoes
lay in their boxes scattered around the floor.
Soldiers said it was unclear whether the food and other
items belonged to Saddam.
The other room, open to the elements at one end, was
a kitchen with a sink fed by water from a cistern on top of a chicken
coop at the other end of a small yard.
Pinned to the outside wall of the hut was a cardboard
box depicting biblical scenes such as the Last Supper and the Madonna
and child with the English inscription "God bless our home."
Inside the bedroom was a 2003 calendar in Arabic with
a colorful depiction of Noah's Ark.
Of course you realize Charles
and Lair are going to have a
field day with the news of that tube of ointment. permalink
Exclusive! The Saddam interrogation
Yes, in the grand tradition of Iseema bin Laden's
diary and the Secret Arafat Phone Transcripts,
yourish.com brings you the Saddam Hussein
interrogation, part of which can be read in Time
Magazine. But there's more:
U.S.: How are you?
S.H.: I am sad because my people are in bondage.
U.S.: Would you like a glass of water?
S.H.: If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can
I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?
U.S.: Well, how 'bout a beer, then?
S.H.: Okay, but only if it isn't that Zionist beer. I will drink, but
I will still be sad because my people are in bondage.
U.S.: So tell us where you're hiding the weapons of mass destruction.
S.H.: Weapons of mass destruction? We have no weapons of mass destruction.
Iraqis are too sad to operate such weapons, because we are a people
U.S.: Dude, that is getting so tired already. Can't you come up with
a new line?
S.H.: You see what I mean? Iraqis cannot even use their own words about
being a people in bondage, we are such a people in bondage.
U.S.: Permission to slap him upside the head, sir?
[deleted for security purposes]
U.S.: Did you hide the WMD in Lebanon, like some people are saying?
S.H.: First, I am not saying we had WMD, because we did not, and the
Americans invaded our country on a false pretext. But if we had WMD,
and again I am not saying we did, and we wanted to put them where you
could not find them, you would not need a passport to get them back.
U.S.: Are you saying they're in Iraq?
S.H.: I cannot say, because we do not have them.
U.S.: Well, if you didn't have them, why didn't you let inspectors go
into your palaces?
S.H. We didnt want them to go into the presidential areas and
intrude on our privacy. Alas for my people, who suffer a bondage greater
than any people have ever suffered.
U.S.: Well, until 9 April, anyway.
S.H.: Do you mock me? Mock me, then. I am already sad. Your words cannot
make me any sadder, because we are
U.S.: Yeah, yeah, I know, "a people in bondage." Dude, I'm
going to ask my C.O. if I can smack you again if you don't stop with
S.H.: May I have another beer?
U.S.: So let's talk about the people who helped you running up to the
war. Word is that Jacques Chirac was feeding you private information
until the very last minute.
S.H.: That is a baseless accusation! President Chirac is a great man,
and a wonderful humanitarian, and you will not find a shred of evidence
connecting me to his re-election campaign! No more than you will find
any information connecting me to George Galloway!
U.S.: Dude, while you were in your rathole, we found proof that you
paid Galloway to work for Iraqi interests.
S.H.: I am so very sad. How can I think about other world leaders while
my people are in bondage? You, uh, found the checks?
U.S.: Your signature was on them, dude.
S.H.: May I have another beer?
U.S.: Let's talk a little bit about Mohammed Atta.
S.H.: I do not know such a person.
U.S.: Mohammed Atta, Abu Nidalyou remember Abu Nidal, he's the
guy who committed suicide while in your country by multiple gunshot
wounds to the head.
S.H.: Ah, him. Yes, it was an unfortunate suicide.
U.S.: Dude. Multiple gunshot wounds to the head. You had him murdered.
We know it.
S.H.: I did not have him murdered. It was suicide. He fell on his gun,
and it went off several times. And hit him in the head each time. It
is pure coincidence that my son was there.
Nidal taught Mohammed Atta, didn't he?
S.H.: I do not know what you are talking about. How can I remember such
things while my people are in bondage? [*urp*] I need to use the bathroom.
U.S.: How can you use the bathroom when your people are in bondage?
S.H.: You mock me now. But the great Iraqi people will rise up against
the occupiers, and restore Iraq to
Sorry, folks, the interview simply ended right there. I'll try to get
more of the transcripts at a later date. permalink
The reaction on Saddam: Not everybody's
Reuters had this quote in their story
about worldwide reaction to Saddam's capture:
Many Palestinians were seized by disbelief and gloom.
The former Iraqi ruler was a hero to some for his anti-Israeli stand
and for helping families of Palestinians dead in an uprising.
"It's a black day in history," said Sadiq
Husam, 33, a taxi driver in Ramallah in the West Bank. "I am saying
so not because Saddam is an Arab, but because he is the only man who
said no to American injustice in the Middle East."
And here's more pain from the pals in
Saddam should have put up a fight or committed suicide,
they said, and his surrender is a stain on Arab honor. "It is a
big defeat for all Arabs and Muslims," said Raji Hassan, 29, watching
TV with friends in a Gaza City coffee shop.
[...] Horani said he had expected Saddam to be more
courageous. "I had expected him to have fought back, or at least
end his life," he said. "But then again, all dictators are
[...] "I love him so much, I can't stand watching
it while he's in custody," Raafat Logman, 23, said as he was shooting
pool. "We are surprised. We are so sad," said Sameh Aloul,
Ah, schadenfreude. Yeah, you're gonna get a lot of that around here.
How can I not, when you have pictures like this to make fun of?
This is Saddam's Unabomber look. Fits perfectly with the hiding place.
Caught like a rat in a hole. Try him and fry him, folks. Okay, hang him.
Or cut off his head. Whatever they do in Iraq.
Mind you, my personal method of execution is to post flyers asking relatives
of executed and missing Iraqis to gather in the main square in Baghdad,
then drop off Saddam and let them have him. That, I think, would be a
fitting end to the world's worst mass murderer since Pol Pot. permalink
Let the joyous news be spread....
The wicked old man will soon be dead.
Crack your best bottle tonight and drink a toast to our armed forces.
Hussein has been captured! permalink
Last week's blogs are archived.
Looking for the Buffy
Blogburst Index? Here's Israel
vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon.
Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try
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.