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I can't decide if he hates all women, or just the lawyers. But while I was trying to decide, I found this, and five minutes later, I picked myself up the floor and regained my breath and decided that, well, he's funny. So I'm thinking the misogyny is just a schtick.

And there are these letters to Nigerian spammers to look at as well. Funny, funny guy, this one. Well, except that it seems the only people who thought Rat Race was funny are people like me, who recognized the homage to It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and just enjoyed it. I guess that ends my chance of a date with him.

Random thoughts

Yesterday afternoon I was over at Heidi and G.'s for our weekly dinner, and they asked me if I had watched the Michael Jackson documentary the night before. No, I said, shuddering—I caught about 30 seconds and was too creeped out to watch any more. So they spent the next half hour entertaining me with what they had seen, punctuated by G.'s hilarious imitations of Jackson. And I remembered this link from Silflay Hraka, where you can see the evolution of Michael Jackson's face over the years. (And before I forget, may I say to Bigwig, a hearty F-U for introducting me to blogpot, because I usually type into the address bar the first few letters of the website I'd like to go, e.g., "silf," and now it's sending me to blogpot, which has a zillion pop-up windows and has nothing to do with Hraka, although it is a huge piece of hraka that has taken the blogpot domain, and trust me, people, you do not want to see this for yourself. Because "blogpot" comes before "blogspot" in the alphabet, and if there's a way to delete single addresses from the browser memory, someone email me, 'cause otherwise I have to wait whatever the amount of time to let it disappear by itself.)

Oh. The link was down yesterday, but it's back up now. There's also a really dumb "What's that UFO in the video?" thing about 9/11, but, well, let's just say the author of this site is pretty good at being snarky about Michael Jackson's plastic surgery, but is wholly unable to tell the difference between a UFO and a bird in a video. (Click on the word "Video" on the top left, and don't get me started about effing bad web designers who don't let you know when a word is a link again.)


I caught the Croc Hunter this morning, doing his Discovery Kids show. And while I think he is quite insane, it's also obvious he knows what he's doing. I've grown very fond of Steve Irwin, actually. One of the bits involved moving the oldest croc in his zoo, named Alison, who was 60 years old. Apparently, at age 60, crocs can still mate and lay eggs. Well, and they can take Steve Irwin's arm off, if he's not careful. (And no, this picture isn't what it looks like.)

Anyway, that particular bit reminded me of a scene from Shirley Jackson's autobiographical work, Raising Demons, in which she and her husband were discussing Toby, their dog, who at that time is about 13 or 14. Her husband is saying that Toby is getting on in years, nearly 100 in human years, and Shirley said that Toby followed her and the kids in the car recently, and she clocked him going 25 miles an hour—uphill. She could only hope, she said, to be able to run that fast when she was that old.

"It would probably depend on what you were chasing," her husband told her.



Bombs and the religion of peace: Two viewpoints

Palestinian propaganda: "Our mosques are being attacked by the Israelis. They want to destroy our peaceful holy sites."

Terrorists hide explosive belt in mosque
Jerusalem Post: Chief of police for the Sharon area, Lt.-Cmdr Amihai Shai, has said that the capture of two terrorists Thursday, and the disarming of the explosives belt the two had hidden in a Taibeh mosque, had thwarted a major terrorist attack in an Israeli city.

Police Say Find Explosives Belt in Mosque in Israel
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli police said Friday they had found a suicide bomber's explosives belt hidden in a mosque in Israel, and said it was the first such discovery since the Palestinian uprising began more than two years ago.

Jerusalem Post: Security forces captured two Islamic Jihad terrorists Thursday at an IDF checkpoint north of Nablus. The terrorists led Shin Bet investigators to a Taibeh mosque where they had hidden an explosive belt in the toilets.

Reuters: The army said the belt was discovered Thursday as a result of "precise intelligence information" from two members of the militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad who were captured by Israeli forces in the West Bank. Packed with about 30 pounds of explosives, the belt had been placed in the washroom of a mosque in the Israeli Arab town of Taybeh near the West Bank, police spokeswoman Shira Lieberman said.

Taybeh is along a route that suicide bombers have used in the past when infiltrating into Israel. Islamic Jihad has killed dozens of Israelis in suicide bombings during the 28-month-old Palestinian uprising for statehood.

Taybeh mayor Salah Jabara condemned the use of the mosque as a hiding place for explosives. "In the final analysis, bombs harm Arabs and Jews alike," Jabara told Israeli Army Radio.

Police did not say who they suspect may have placed the belt in the mosque. Israeli Arabs, who make up some 18 percent of the population of the Jewish state, sympathize with the Palestinian revolt but have largely stayed on its sidelines.

Jerusalem Post: Police and army sappers placed their lives in danger in order to defuse the bomb and not cause damage to the building.

Investigators say that the terrorists endangered the lives of hundreds of Muslims who were to go to the mosque to pray this morning, reports Army Radio.

Reuters: Lieberman said experts moved the explosives out of the mosque before defusing them.

"The use of a mosque to hide explosives shows that Palestinian terrorists will stop at nothing to harm Israelis," said David Baker, an official in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office.

Jerusalem Post: Lt.-Cmdr Shai said that the mosque's trustees had no hand in hiding the explosives belt in the mosque's toilet.

Shai added that Taibeh mayor had greatly helped police in their investigation.

Reuters: Amichai Shai, police chief of the Sharon district where Taybeh is located, told Army Radio that security forces have previously found explosives hidden in mosques in the West Bank, but not in Israel.

At least 1,819 Palestinians and 700 Israelis have been killed since the uprising began in September 2000.

Survey: Nine out of ten terrorists prefer Reuters News Service.

I think it was the Catskills remark

Quite possibly the best post Bigwig has ever written. I can't even spoil it for you, it's too funny and witty and sharp as a fencepost all in one.

Plus, he makes up for finding this game for me. I'm a touch typist, and when last tested, clocked in at over 100 wpm on an IBM Selectric. I'm generally a lot faster on a computer keyboard. I love this game. Type the letters as you see them. Warning: Very addictive to typing geeks.



A new generation

Solly and and Mrs. Gedankenpundit welcome Eli to the world, and as we see, their son is already starting off on the right foot politically.

Eli Ezekiel--ain't he cute?

This event is wonderful in so many different ways. Great for Solly and his wife, a very cute commercial for LGF, and an anti-Semite's worst nightmare: Another Jew enters the world. Mazal tov, Solly.

Why I don't write news analysis

It's too potentially embarrassing. Witness:

President George W. Bush's actions have not matched his rhetoric with regard to Iraq. In his State of the Union address, he reiterated his willingness to act alone against Saddam Hussein if he must. However, once again, the words were not accompanied by the troop movements which would have demonstrated that he is serious

[...] Key members of that community were not persuaded that the administration was serious, however. The deployment of four heavy divisions and the heliborne 101st Airborne Division would have made the administration's point.

Of course, immediate deployment of these units seems unlikely, given the political situation. If the Bush administration had been serious about pursuing military action on its own, these units would have been ordered to the Gulf weeks ago.

The window of opportunity for Gulf War II has probably closed for the near term. It looks like Saddam Hussein has dodged another bullet.

(Thomas Houlahan is director of the Military Assessment Program of the William R. Nelson Institute at James Madison University. He has served in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and on the XVIII Airborne Corps staff and is author of "Gulf War: The Complete History").

That was published on February 3rd. Today:

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — The Army's 101st Airborne Division received orders Thursday to deploy overseas.

The legendary division -- along with its 270 helicopters -- will "support possible future operations in the global war on terrorism," according to a statement released by the public affairs office at Fort Campbell, where the division is based.

The division will deploy to the U.S. Central Command area of operations, the statement said.

The exact location and number of soldiers deploying was not disclosed. The 101st has about 20,000 soldiers.

You think the director feels a bit foolish today? That's why you rarely see political commentary here. If these guys who are supposed to know what they're doing can't get it right, how can I possibly assume that I've got a handle on it?

I assure you, I'd be embarrassed like that on a regular basis if I tried my hand at current event punditry. No, thank you.

Short stacks

According to the Saddameter, chance of invasion is at 95 percent since Powell's speech this morning.

I'd be more impressed if they had a pool with a date and time.

Speaking of Slate, this article on Spongebob Squarepants makes as little sense as the cartoon. If anyone can figure out what the author is trying to say, well, don't bother emailing me. Sorry, she blew her chance.

After watching all those Wal-Mart commercials, I have decided that my next career move will be Wal-Mart Associate so that I can be profiled in a commercial. "What I like about Meryl is that she's always so nasty to the customers. You'd think she hates her job or something."

Today was obviously Catterday. This afternoon, several of the neighborhood cats decided to come on over and say hello to Tig and Gracie while they were out on my patio. One was Friendly But Noisy Orange Cat, who stunned Gracie into inaction until I heard the strange yowls and went to see the motionless tableau, causing her to flee quickly inside and, from the safety of my feet, hiss at the orange cat. The other was The Black Cat Who Yowls Like A Female Cat In Heat. I have pictures of Tig and The Black Cat, whom I think is trying to make Tig his bitch, but who may only want to be friends. They got about four or five inches apart before Tig wimped out and ran inside. Gracie went all poofy from this side of the door, and pictures will be on Cattales in a day or three.

I believe The Black Cat is a full male. The reason I believe this is because several weeks ago, upon his first visit to the patio, when he saw Tig, he turned himself around and sprayed a jet of foul-smelling male cat spray onto one of the patio plants. I was so moved by this display of prowess that I chased him away. He's still afraid of me. I intend to keep it that way. And I really want to know where he lives, so I can bitch to his owners to get him away from my patio.

By the way, the results of my three-syllable parody contest were mostly unprintable. Really, people. All that goat-bumping. You just want me to get disgusting referrers, don't you? MommaBear, I'm surprised at you! Dave Tepper, too. And the ubiquitious, yet always worth reading, Alex Bensky. That's right, all three of them are potty mouths.

But Mr. Bensky got himself out of the doghouse with this missive:

I'm normally with you on the subject of spam, but just a couple of weeks ago I was told that, "Sorority Girls Are Looking for a Man Like {Me}." Now, I don't have any current interest in sorority girls, Meryl, and when I did they wouldn't give me the time of day. But it's nice to know I still got it.

Definitely a glass-half-full kinda guy, our Alex.

And old friend of mine, who knows how much I loathe John Edward (the schlock that pretends to talk to the dead, not the Democratic Senator being primed for 2004, whose name is John Edwards, anyhow), asked me if I knew about the "pet psychic" on Animal Planet.

I did, actually, and she makes me want to throw a brick through my television. Actually, she makes me want to have just one minute alone with the morons who pay her money to read their pets' minds. Yes, you too can prove how breathtakingly stupid you are by giving money to a woman who says she can read your pets.

You know, you wanna pay me the money you're paying her, and I'll be happy to tell you what's wrong with little Rover and Snookums. In fact, I'll charge you 75% of her fee. You'll save money, I'll make money, it's a win-win.

There will be no links in this post to either of those frauds, and while I'm thinking of it, people still arrive here by searching for "John Edward fraud," and last month, "John Edward fucking fraud," a phrase with which I wholeheartedly agree.

Well, since it's been that kind of a post, that kind of a day, and that kind of a week, I thought I'd give you all a butt update. I was warned that it would take at least six weeks for my sore behind to heal, and this warning was delivered by no less than two nurses. Tomorrow makes three weeks (and it's going to snow again tomorrow, and do you think I'm going to the library? Not on your goddamned life.), and, well, I'm thinking the six week estimate was off by about two and a half weeks. Yes, I'm still sitting on a pillow while I work on the computer, but I haven't had an Advil in two days, and was down to two of them, once a day, only when it really started bothering me.

I find it incredibly amusing that not only can I write about my bruised butt, but that hundreds of strangers are actually going to read what I wrote, and some bloggers might even link to the post about my butt, bringing even more strangers into contact with the story of my behind. And there isn't even a picture, so you can strike the lewdness factor.

I've said this before but it really is true: I'll never be able to run for public office. You just know my opponent is going to dig up my old posts and talk about how I'm unfit for office because I mentioned my butt so much on my weblog. (It used to be a fairly shapely behind, but then I quit smoking and gained a few pounds, and, and—I really better stop. What if I want to run for office someday?)

Oh. I was getting to a point, here, but I got distracted by my own butt. Hm. Wonder what a shrink would make of that? Anyway. Apparently, I have a magic butt-healing factor. Perhaps there's more of the Hulk in me than I ever knew.

Okay, I'll just stop now.



Priceless artifact still exists

"Moon Landscape," the drawing by Peter Ginz, who was killed at Auschwitz, did not die with the space shuttle. Col. Ilan Ramon brought a copy with him, not the original.

That's good to know.

But the tiny Torah scroll that survived the Holocaust most likely was destroyed in the accident.

Not for children

This link is hilarious. I can't even use its real name, for fear of the disgusting referrals it will bring me, but it's funny. And the funniest of all is the letters page, as Sean Hannity apparently let his listeners know this site exists.

The funniest thing of all to me is how so many people seem to think this is a serious movement. Er, maybe I shouldn't have used that word, exactly. Via the Volokh Conspiracy.

Carnival of the Vanities #20

It's over at Lesley's place, and I haven't much time to review entries today, so you're on your own, kids. Maybe later.



Semi-annual spam rant: Send the children out of the room

I managed to blow up my mail email account with my ISP. So they've routed my email to a new program they're trying, and I get to remake all my filters, learn all the new rules, swear out loud at the idiots who designed the filters option page and thought that putting "edit your own filters" on top of a list of three checkboxes, without the hypertext underline so you can't tell it's an effing link, so you think it's an effing title of the list instead, was a good idea. So I go back and forth with my ISP's tech, who probably thinks I'm the dumbest dumbass he's ever met, and who would speak slowly and clearly if I were talking on the phone instead of emailing, and when he finally realizes what I'm missing and why I can't create my own filters, he tells me the above, and then I feel first like a total moron, and then get mad at the assholes who designed the stupid page.

Stupid developers. Breaking the first rule of web design: Make it idiot-proof. You tell me: Does this look like there's a link in that list?

Stupid filter list

No, it looks like a list with a title that says, "Edit your filter rules," and three checkboxes beneath. If they used the hypertext underline which, you may notice, that I do everywhere except in the permalinks (because if you don't know that a permalink is a link, you need to put down the sharp objects and walk very, very slowly away) precisely because I refuse to confuse my readers, HTML4.0 specs or no HTML4.0 specs, then I wouldn't have gone two days swearing at the above menu, trying to find an option, any option, that would allow me to create my own filters. Gee. Ya think they might have thought of titling it "CREATE OR EDIT YOUR FILTER RULES"?

Naaaah. Too idiot-proof. Schmucks.

So I finally start remaking all my filters, and gee, the one that the program says is an obscenity filter isn't catching all of them. Like, it's missing one with "fuck" in the subject. Somehow, it caught "f1ck," though.

And there's another thing. Do those effing spam artists think that if they type the word "f1ck" and send out their obscene email, that people who have "fuck" in their filters are actually going to say, "Oh, it's 'f1ck,' not 'fuck,' that's different. I think I'll read this email about f1cking horses, because it's not filthy and disgusting and nothing that I have any interest in whatsoever."

It's the same principle behind their spelling sex "seks." What is the point of that? What? Hey! Assholes! Listen up! We don't want your spam no matter which way you spell the effing words! So what's the point? "Gee, if I can only get one letter past their spam filters, they're sure to click on the link and send me their money!" Do they even have a brain?

I cannot say this any more clearly: No. No, no, no, no no. And, uh, no!

I hate spam. I hate spammers. I hate having to add seks and f1ck and horse and viagra and mortage rates and ink cartridges and everything else that winds up in my filters, to my filters. And I'm not too fond of this new program, that doesn't show me the domain from which the spam originates, so I can't just blanket get rid of .ru and .jp and all the other offshore email bouncers the spammers are using.

And worst of all: My ISP thinks I'm going to actually pay them to put on spam filters that they should have on as a part of their service to me! That's what I'm paying a monthly fee for, goddammit.

I hate spam. It raises my blood pressure, dreadfully. I'm going to stop now, before I burst a blood vessel.

The grand cross-blog experiment

N.Z. Bear wants to get a cross-blog debate on the war in Iraq. He's arranged with Stand Down to see if they can't get an intelligent debate about the war, sans the acrimony and hopefully of a higher level. He even thinks I should take part in it. We'll just have to see.



Short stuff

Gil's back! No wonder I was getting referrals from his weblog. Go say hello.

Is anyone I know going to SXSW? Nikolai sent out an email to all the nominees asking if we're going (no, I'm not) and if we have someone we'd like to accept the award if we win. Now, far be it from me to commit the sin of hubris, but hey, ya never can tell, and, like, there are two books being awarded in my category, one of which I even would like to read, and another of which might actually have a friend's articles in it (ya never can tell!), plus, hey, I could write a speech! It'd be fun! You could read it!

Hey. No applicants that cannot read well need apply.

No, I'm really not joking. If you're going to SXSW, and you want to accept the award in the event that Megnut doesn't win it and I actually do, email me.

Terry, that ain't the way to do it. That's cheating. (Kabillion? I think you made that up. Everyone knows the right term is either jillion or gazillion.)

Angie, that's effing hilarious. (Oh, Angie... will you ever have an alternate-color blog, one which isn't reverse type, for those of us whose eyes water after two minutes of reading white on black? Alas. Sigh. Sniff. And all that.) Her post on space flight after the shuttle disaster is a great read, too.

On a more serious note, Wind Rider—who knows whereof he speaks—talks about the shuttle disaster from a pilot's point of view.

Wow. Lynn B. has a serious mad on for Gerald Kaufman, and with good reason. This is the British politician who defended the anti-semitic cartoon the Guardian ran last week. Scalding good fisking, what?

I just have to brag about it

I normally don't do this, but I'm the number one return on a search for horse rode in on preposition.

Mind you, I have no idea what it means, but I'm number one.

Where's my trophy?

Bring out your blogs

Two new ones, found via Lair. First there's Dustbury, whom I also knew of from a previous Carnival of the Vanities (which is at Lesley's this week, by the way), but neglected to follow up on. Well, now I have. I really like his post on accusations of McCarthyism.

A link on Dustbury led me to Lactose Incompetent, which is not only very cleverly named, but is quite fun to read. His collection of posts titled "Pretention" is utterly hilarious. And, er necessary, because his archives are blown and you can't get the first one in the series, so read the PDF. Or scroll down to the bottom and catch entries 2, 3, and 4.

Joshua Sharf has details on a rally against terrorism. It's being called a pro-war rally, but I don't think that's quite the right description. Here's the press release; decide for yourselves.

(For some reason, I want to put butt-cheek gifs in front of each of those paragraphs. Hm. Wonder why?)

L.T. Smash: A journal from an officer in Operation Enduring Freedom

One of the things that's happened in the past year is I've made friends with many members of the military. Some of them even have weblogs. One of them is L.T. Smash, a reserve officer who was called up a while back.

We’ve been busy for the past couple of days, verifying inventories and going over checklists.

Today I took care of some personal financial preparations. We finalized a re-financing of our home mortgage at a much lower interest rate, and we spent a couple hours with our financial adviser. Both my pay and my tax status will be dramatically different in 2003, so we had quite a few adjustments to make.

I also purchased some more life insurance.

No orders yet. I guess I have a weekend off. Probably the last one for a while, so I plan to enjoy it.

He's over there now. I'm glad to hear he's all right. I have my theories of where he is and what he's doing, and I will not so much as mention them in email. He asks that all of you who have theories keep them to yourselves as well. Not a problem, L.T. What do you think we are, the New York Times?

One size fits all

Last week, I wrote a parody of a parody of "If You're Happy and You Know It." Well, this week, I have another version, and I've discovered something amusing: The last three syllables are pretty much interchangeable with, well, lots of things. Observe:

If Osama is your hero, blame the Jews
If your GDP's near zero, blame the Jews
If your nation has no future and your wife won't let you smooch her
If your women have no rights then blame the Jews

If your ruler's not elected, blame the Jews
If your nukes are not perfected, blame the Jews
If your leader's a dictator and the people's hopes are faded
If your ruler is a Ba'ath, blame the Jews

If you sit on top of oil, blame the Jews
If your Wahabs are a-boil, blame the Jews
If your folks came from the sand dunes and their progeny are all loons
If your state religion's Wahab, blame the Jews

If you want elections later, blame the Jews
If you're really a jew-hater, blame the Jews
If your name is Abu Amar and your children are all bombers
If you want no Israel state, then blame the Jews.

Now, upon realizing how simply the last three syllables can be changed, I've alread come up with "Kiss my ass" and "Go to hell." (Can you tell I was more than a little angry when I thought of those two?) So let's have a competition, shall we? Come up with your own interchangeable words—and they must be no more than three syllables, or the meter is ruined—and I'll publish them, with credit to the author. Tell me how you'd like your name mentioned (initials only, first only, first and last initial). Okay, poets, go for it.



Sometimes, the humor is obvious

A few folks are getting annoyed at statements like this coming from Palestinians and other Arabs:

"We heard that the Israeli was a pilot in the Israeli air force who had participated in the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor," said Jamil Shehadeh, a 22-year-old mechanic. "God is great because this pilot has now been punished for the crime which he committed."

Let's take a quick review of the punishment Col. Ilan Ramon suffered at the hands of God:

He was a member of the squadron that bombed the Osiraq nuclear reactor in 1981. In the ensuing 22 years of his life, he flew as a fighter pilot in Lebanon, got his B.S. degree from Tel Aviv University, was promoted to Deputy Squadron Commander, Squadron Commander, and then Colonel. He got married, had four children, and was ultimately chosen to be the first Israeli astronaut in space. He became a national hero twice over—once for being chosen for the Space Shuttle, and again when the details about Osiraq were released.

Hoo-wee, that was some awful punishment the heavens sent down on Col. Ramon for preventing Saddam Hussein from being able to drop a nuke on Washington or Tel Aviv.

Sometimes, you just have to laugh.

In other news

Haggai says I'm wrong in my assertion that Hizbullah will open a front in Lebanon once America attacks Iraq. Well, I was thinking (and hoping) that Haggai's right, but I've seen a couple of articles in the Jerusalem Post that make me more worried that it will happen. There was another today

In addition to terror, escalation in the north, and rumors, other spokesmen who addressed the group said the government is preparing for an escalation of violence in the territories during the war, and disturbances among Israeli Arabs.

Gilad, who was responsible for Iraq in Military Intelligence during the Gulf War in 1991, said that one of the main differences this time around is the war’s aims: last time it was to drive Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, while this time it is to drive him from power.

There was another article recently that scrolled off the contents (sorry, Haggai) that also adds to the theory. But of course, we won't know until something actually happens, and that's not looking likely until sometime in March now. Like I said: I sure hope Haggai's right on this one.

Requiem for Columbia

And so seven astronauts meet their doom in a fiery display, played and replayed until you want to scream at the television producers to make the screen go black, stop showing it, roll a different tape, please, no more! You saw this happen before, seventeen years ago, and the numb shock you felt then is repeated. Please, let it be a mistake, you think, and still the television screen shows the smoking ruins on the ground, the trails of smoke in the sky, the blackened debris in the field—the broken and empty helmet in the grass.

The crew of ColumbiaAnd the world sends condolences, that is, most of the world. Some of it cheers the deaths of the few, the brave, the small cadre of spacemen and spacewomen, whose pictures will have black bunting around them now. They have been Up There, and we have not, but their deaths, some say, is due to arrogance. Arrogance, for wanting to forward humankind's knowledge? Arrogance, for daring to touch the sky? These were not Icarus, his flimsy wings fastened with wax melting in the heat of the sun; not Phaeton, riding the horses he could not control, to his death. Neither are we the ancient Greeks, fearful to learn too much lest we incur the wrath of the gods. Arrogance? I think not.

These were seven people who wanted to advance the course of science, or simply fly as high and as far as humankind could go—seven men and women from three different nations and seven different backgrounds. There was no arrogance, only exuberance, and excitement, and a thirst for knowledge.

Others say it is the will of God, but that was an awful lot of trouble to go through to take just seven people. Time was when He'd send a plague that would kill thousands, or use His people to rend a wall with horns and conquer those within. It wasn't God that took the Columbia crew, but rest assured the finger-pointers will find out exactly who is to blame, and the rending of shirts (not their own, the scapegoats') will occur. The finger-pointing has already begun, and yet, when the blame is all but settled, the Columbia Seven will still be dead, and their families will still mourn them. (Are they still naming schools after Christa McAuliffe?)

Still, there are those who take pleasure in the deaths of the seven, and see it as an example of their god smiting the mighty America. Don't waste your rage on them. Their countries are doomed. They can hear the sound of history overtaking them; they can see the minute hands on the clocks of their way of life ticking away. None of the nations of those that cheer the loss of the shuttle have the capacity to create a machine that could fly as high; none of their societies would countenance a black man, a Jew, an Indian woman, and an American woman to crew the ship. Their women cannot so much as guide an aircraft to a landing; their society falls partly because of its refusal to do so. And they know this. They know it, and still they hate us. And so they hiss their malevolence and spit at nations like America, and take joy in our sorrow, and pride in our pain. Don't waste your rage on them. Pity them, and move on.

We count on them, the brave ones. The ones who risk all for the good of humankind. We sit, comfortable and warm, as they fly into the cold and the vaccuum, risking their lives. Risking their lives. We watch them float in space or, more likely, we stop watching as, bored, we've seen it all before.

And then the trail of smoke cuts the blue sky of a Texas morning, and suddenly, we're watching again. But now—now we mourn. Now we remember that they risk their lives, these brave men and women who fly into space.

Honor them.

Yitgadal v' yitkadash sh'mey rabbah



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.