When Bruce Hill came to town a few months ago, we went to visit Wind Rider, what with Wind Rider being one of the guys who keeps Silent Running running. And he wanted Bruce and me to go to a restaurant for dinner that was vehemently shouted down by yours truly. It's a steakhouse, and they give you the raw hunks of meat (that you choose, of course), things to put them on, and let you cook it yourself. I fail to see the point of a restaurant where you have to do your own cooking, but then, I don't have that Y chromosome, and Bruce and Windrider both thought that idea was just great. Turned out we didn't have the time to go out for dinner, but now I see a use for that restaurant.
PETA is based within spitting distance of Wind Rider. So if he's got the day free, I think I'll drive out to his neck of the Tidewater and go to a restaurant that serves raw hunks of meat that you cook yourself. I'll bring the digicam, and maybe we can make up some signs that PETA would appreciate.
Come to think of it, if you folks want to make up some signs and take pictures of yourselves on International Eat an Animal for PETA Day, I'll be happy to put 'em up here.
In the meantime, I had chicken for dinner tonight. I'm planning on steak tomorrow. permalink
Updated Feb. 14th, 2005: Jeez Louise, people. Below is the original post, but yes, we've had IEAPD for two years running, and fully intend to have it again. Check out my main page for any details about the upcoming festivities. There's more in this new post. By the way, don't bother sending PETA the letter below. It was written in 2003, folks. The campaign is long over.
If you haven't heard by now, PETA has started yet another offensive ad campaign. This one really reaches bottomthey are using Holocaust terminology, quotes, and pictures to liken the "slaughter" of animals to the slaughter of the Jews by the Nazis.
I've already received a letter from a child of Holocaust survivors who is, of course, extraordinarily offended. But here's the thing: PETA is known for this kind of outrageous publicity stuntand that's what it is, an outrageous publicity stuntand while I am also offended and outraged, there is absolutely nothing we can do that will make PETA change their ad campaign. I'm sure they knew exactly what they were doing, have a plan in mind, and, if they withdraw the campaign, will do it according to their deadlines and their decisions.
So let's make up our own outrageous publicity stunt. Let's designate Saturday, March 15th, as International Eat an Animal for PETA Day. Everybody set the date on your calendar, and either go out and enjoy a great steak, or cook one at home. Or cook up some chicken or fish or anything else that PETA wouldn't want you to eat. And let's let PETA know how their ad campaign has affected us.
Send a letter to PETA something on the order of this one: (You can cut and paste, but you can also write your own.)
Fellow webloggers: Please feel free to join in and put up your own letter for your readers to grab. Here are the contact addresses. Obviously, the above letter needs to be changed for the international crowd. There are more country contacts on the page.
It's like my father taught me: Don't get mad. Get even.
Moammar Gadahfi and Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia traded insults on television, blaming each other for the woes of the Arab world:
Boy, I'd like to see a clip of that. With subtitles. The sheer cheek of Abdullah asking Ghadafi who put him in power isisno, it's not funny. An unelected dictator asks another unelected dictator, in effect, "Who died and made you king?" Sad.
There's a phrase we used to see in the comments of LGFand on many weblogs that we don't see much lately. Let's bring it back: Faster, please. permalink
They're saving your life, Salam. Didn't you know that? Why, they're effing heroesin their own minds. permalink
Jim Miller (who writes a damned good blog; go check it out when you're finished here) sent me an email on the above:
Well, as far as Al Sharpton is concerned, the subject is anti-Semitism, and while I agree that Sharpton is a race-baiter, he hasn't hit my anti-Semitism radar like, say, Louis Farrakhan has. Of course, it may be because when I hear the name "Sharpton," my brain immediately moves on to other things. permalink
Sarah Michele Gellar quit. This is the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I have but one word:
The rest is pretty funny, too. permalink
To: Whom it may concern
All right. We give up. We get the point. Winter is cold. Winter means ice and snow. We already know that, actually, but thank You so much for reinforcing our knowledge of what happens when water reaches temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and below. (And by the way, nice touch, sending the blizzard and ice storm while my mother was visiting, thus enforcing an extra three days of togetherness. I thought You frown upon matricide, not do things to encourage it.)
Look, there are only so many days that an adult can take of yet another snowstorm, yet another digging out, yet another horrible, slippery drive. I really don't care how many children are begging You to send us more snow, we're the ones who drive the littleangelsto synagogue and church, so I'd say that our needs trump their wish to play in the snow. Unless You want us to start a little, um, worship stoppage in reaction to being forced to have the littleangelsaround for an extra couple of weeks this winter. Not to mention all the snow tracked inside, the extra laundry due to sopping wet snowclothes, and those of us who have the misfortune of being the one with the house that all the kids love to play in and around when it snows. (By the way, remind me never to live in a house with a sloping driveway. Ever.) And we won't even talk about my slipping on the salt on the library steps and landing smack on my behind. Yes, it's finally healed, thanks for asking and no, it wasn't funny. Stop laughing.
And the way you're getting Your laughs by slamming the south with all that white stuff? If I didn't know better, I'd think You'd lost a bet with Someone elseSomeone less kind than youor something. Everyone knows southerners can't drive very well even without snow in the winter. It's sheer sadism to make those poor people learn that four-wheel drive doesn't mean you actually have traction on a snow-covered road.
As I write this, yet another winter storm watch has hit the Richmond area, and we're expecting another inch or two of sleet.
All right. We get the point. Winter is cold, and sometime ice and snow fall from the sky. Can we have spring now? Please? permalink
Look! Up in the skyline! It's the planet Krypton! No, it's the Fortress of Solitude! No, it's the new design for the World Trade Center!
Oh, I dunno. It could work. Well, okay, it could work in Kryptonopolis (that's the main city of Krypton, or at least, the city where the Els lived. As in Kal-El, sone of Jor-El and Lara (she had no last name, the sexist bastards.)) Kal-El, of course, is better known to the world as Superman (I really hope none of his enemies read my blog; I've just outed the Man of Steel. Dang.). And of course, it's frightening just how many websites you can find on a Google search of Kryptonopolis. I am so not the only comics geek on the web. But, uh, yeah, I knew all those facts by heart. Sigh.
Doesn't that second picture really look like the Fortress of Solitude from the old Richard Donner film? You almost expect to see Christopher Reeve start flying around the island. (I prefer Dean Cain, but hey, taste is subjective. And he's much hotter than Reeve ever was.) permalink
I completely forgot: Carnival of the Vanities is over on Kesher Talk. Judith, you need to send out another email asking people to plug you. 'Cause if you did, I didn't get it.
And from the list, go check out BloggerRabbit, who has a couple of funny posts. This one's about making up your own email (and answering it). This one's disgusting, but funny. (I feel your pain. I had an upper respiratory infection like that in November.) And this one says (sigh) that the rabbit may be done blogging. I always catch the good ones too late.
Terry Oglesby, as usual, is not on the list, but I couldn't stop laughing over his post on the origin of the blog.
Oh, I'm tired. Go read for yourself and click on any links that look interesting.
Yeah, yeah, I said I was tired, but then I got over to my fiancé's place, and, well, he's funny and sarcastic and out-and-out entertaining, as always. So go read this one on Robert Fisk. Then read this one about one of the fatuous twits desperately in search of relevance (that's Bill's phrase, not mineI told you he's good). permalink
MEMRI has some real gems today. One, via LGF and President Arafish, is a sweet little holiday message from Yasser Arafat to Saddam Hussein, avowing eternal love and putting in a dig for more money (you have to read between the lines) while promising to march together "hand in hand" to Al Quds Al Sharif. That's Jerusalem. Yes, this is what the EU thinks should be Israel's partner in peace.
But the kicker is this translation of a column in the Egyptian opposition daily newspaper:
Once again, the Arabs get the message wrong. Nowhere in the article is there the concept that suicide bombing is wrong, or that deliberate targeting of civilians is immoral. The only discussion of civilians is whether or not the killing of such constitutes martyrdom or suicide. The Pals should stop this practice, the author says, because "No benefit comes to the Palestinian cause from these operations."
Once again, ladies and gentlemen, these are the Arabs: Israel's would-be partners in peace. permalink
Mike Sanders is back, and back on my blogroll. His current role appears to be the existentialist of the blogosphere.
That's the thing about this Internet thing. Make one little mistake, and you get an entire back issue of the Weekly Standard in PDF format emailed to you, one article of which is written by Norman Podhoretz and denounces Pat Buchanan's anti-Semitism. It's not available online except as a PDF for subscribers, but Jonathan Last said I could quote liberally. (The use of the word "liberal" by a Standard editor, of course, without a negative adjective, is duly noted.)
Okay, Jonathan. I was wrong. Some of the right did take Buchanan to task, particularly the Standard and the National Review. Which leaves CNN, the network that claims to be impartial, still guilty of saving Buchanan's seat for him after each failed presidential attempt but the last (if memory serves again). I'm pretty sure no CNN producers read my site, so I don't think I'll have to eat crow twice in one day.
But I don't recall any politicians taking Buchanan to task for his anti-Semitism. If someone can send me information on a major politician speaking out against Buchanan's anti-Jewish views, I'll chew on some more shoe leather in public today. Unlike some bloggers I could name (but won't), I don't have a problem admitting when I'm wrong.
However, the above still doesn't change the main thrust of my post. And it's still the thing that bothers me the most about the chasm between the left and the right: The polarization of every issue. On both sides of the aisle, bloggers make me turn from their pages in disgust, because it seems to me that they're far too busy throwing insults at the other side to notice that there are issues on which both sides should be working together. Like, say, decrying anti-Semitism. permalink
Dixie Flatline is a fairly new blogger with an excellent piece on Israel.
Mike N. sent me a letter and asked that I recommend it with "Read the whole thing." Yeah, he was right about that. permalink
A few months ago, I had laryngitis, and Heidi, who is my dearest friend, was, well, less than sympathetic about it. Last night, after my third message in two days, she finally called me back. And, wellshe sounds almost exactly like I did in November. Some relevant portions of our conversation, with my laughter removed (it was, uh, in nearly every sentence):
"No wonder you didn't return my calls."
Yeah, I know. Just like Bugs Bunny: Ain't I a stinkah? permalink
Trent Telenko wrote an essay partly in response to this David Brooks piece in the Weekly Standard, decrying the perceived increasing anti-Semitism of the left. Each of them cites examples and tries to make it seem as if anti-Semitism were some kind of partisan issue. The underlying theme of both pieces, is, I think, "See? The left is anti-Semitic, and the right isn't!" Or perhaps it's "The right isn't nearly as much!" It's difficult to tell when one tries to polarize an issue that is by definition already polarized.
For the past few days, since Trent first emailed me that I may be interested in his post, I've been thinking over a response. I started digging around a bit, doing some research. No, Trent, no high-ranking Republican other than William F. Buckley ever publicly denounced Patrick Buchanan for his anti-Semitism. The Republicans shied away from Buchanan because he kept running against their guys, stealing their votes, and pummeling their platformnot because he was down on Jews. He doesn't like Mexicans or blacks or other nonwhites, either, which also puts him on the fringes.
Neither did the left do much about Buchanan. CNN cared so little about Buchanan's anti-Semitism that they kept his seat warm for him on Crossfire after each failed Presidential bid, and Michael Kinsley, his liberal Jewish partner on the show, said he'd never personally felt any anti-Semitic vibes or heard Buchanan utter anything against Jews. I guess Kinsley has a blind spot. Buchanan was the one who popularized the phrase "amen corner" to mean American Jews that support Israel. It wasn't a compliment.
So I had this post going, and it would have been a pretty long and involved one, and probably would have started a cross-blog dialogue, if not a battle. But then today, my friend called me and asked if I wanted to go see the James River at floodtide again. We wound up on the same railroad bridge near the Tredegar Iron Works that Tom Paine and I walked on in November to look and take pictures of the river. Today, we marveled at the current and the height and the waves and the noise of the river, and then Andy said, "Don't look down there" as I was about to walk over to him. Of course I looked. And saw this:
So what do you think? Was the person who wrote that a liberal or a conservative? Was it a man or a woman? Muslim or Christian? Black or white? Young or old? And more importantly: Does it matter?
Here's the thing, Trent. Here's the thing, David Brooks: It makes no difference to me, or, in the end, to any other Jew, whether the person who hates us is a liberal or a conservative. It doesn't matter if they're Republican or Democrat or independent. Anti-Semitism isn't an ism of the left or the right. It doesn't discriminate against anyone but Jews. Is the level of anti-Semitism on the left rising? Or is it just being noticed more? Is the level of anti-Semitism on the right going down? Or are we just not noticing it as much because we're too busy staring at the left side of the aisle?
Or perhaps the level is going up on both sides. I don't know. But I do know this: When you get into your pissing match over which side hates the Jews more, you're forgetting that while you're arguing, the anti-Semites are pissing all over me and mine. So maybe you should dump the blame game on this particular subject, and remember that anti-Semites are equal opportunity haters: They don't care where you're from, so long as you hate the Jews.
How about not making Jews your ideological kickball on this matter, hm? It's bad enough that they hate us. We don't need you arguing over who hates us more. permalink
Long-time readers know that I teach the fourth grade class in my synagogue's religious school. I just happened upon the job. The fifth grade teacher was trying to talk me into discussing the opening with the director of education, and I didn't push, because although I've looked into becoming a teacher in the past year or two, I didn't see how I could just jump right in. But the rabbi's wife found out that I was interested, dragged me to the director at the Oneg after services one Friday night, and one appointment later, I was the new fourth grade teacher. There were a few surprises along the way. The kids said and did some unexpected things. It took me a while to get the routine down. Early on, one of the kids actually told another teacher that I was too soft on them, which is why I was having classroom control problems. He was right.
But those days are behind me. I've figured out the balance between lack of discipline and being overly strict, and I've even bonded with the one student that didn't care for me from the first day. Or at least, if not bonded, we've got a truce that has been kept these past couple of months and looks to last the rest of the year. I'm finding that I'm fond of that student, too, and will miss him/her as much as I'll miss the rest, I think.
Yesterday, I didn't walk into class with a carefully printed out lesson plan to hand to my assistants. I wanted to try flying by the seat of my pants and declared it "Student Lesson Plan Day," where they would decide what we were going to do. I told them they had to read from a chapter in the book they hate the most. It's called Living As Partners With God, and the reason they hate it is because it's a book about concepts and philosophy, and nine-year-olds want to deal with things that have results they can see, like learning to read and write Hebrew. In order to make the lesson more palatable, I waited for the groans to stop and told them I had an idea to make the book more fun: Read from it in funny voices. I also suggested we do it first and get it out of the way. They liked both ideas, though we did have to stop the lesson from time to time because the teacher was laughing too hard. We got through a good bit of the chapter, and discussed it until all of us got bored with it and moved on to Jewish Jeopardy and reading.
I gave them about a ten-minute indoor recess (too muddy outside), ending with "Walk like a freak" because a couple of the kids who weren't playing whatever game they were playing with the ball in the other room complained they needed exercise. I told them to walk around the room. They said that would be boring. I said then walk in a strange way. "Like a freak?" one asked. "Sure," I said. I've noticed that I tend to say yes to a nine-year-old without really understanding what s/he means. I figure if it doesn't involve violence, I can always tell them no if it turns out to be really inappropriate. (I've also learned to warn the children that fart jokes are inappropriate for beginning-of-class joke time. Count on a child to go for the bodily eruption jokes every time.)
The "Walk like a freak" thing lasted a bit longer than I'd wanted. There's a one-minute egg timer that came with a game one of the parents gave the class for Chanukah, and I use it in cases like that. "One minute left," I declared, starting the timer. While my back was turned, one of my students flipped the timer. I missed it. But I caught him the second time, and he cheerfully told me that I'd missed him the first time. Not in a "ha-ha, we got you" kind of way, just a confession of mischief. They do that every time they manage to put one over on me. They haven't yet figured out that I remember what they do, and make sure they don't get to do it a second time. Hey, they didn't even figure out that the Student Lesson Plan Day looked almost exactly like a day when I planned the lesson. But they sure felt like they ran the show on Sunday.
You would think that the kids would catch on to the fact that, well, I've caught on to them. But they don't seem to have made the connection. I know when they're going to go off topic. I know when the wiseguys in the class are going to make a smart remark instead of giving me the answer to a question, and have learned to say, "Everyone with a sarcastic comment put your hands down" and watch all of the hands in the class go down. I've figured out how to make a student forget that she just bumped her arm and it hurts and she wants to tell me how much it hurts or just sit and cry. (Just ask them a question about themselves, and off they go, every time. If it's a serious hurt, you'll know the difference.) I can gauge when I've lost their attention and it's time to switch to another lesson. I've figured out how to make their most hated lessons palatable. I can tell when they need to physically blow off steam and get a longer-than-usual recess, or some kind of physical activity instead of a simple read-from-the-book lesson.
So yeah, I think I've hit my teaching stride. During the winter break, I had no intention of teaching a second year. Now I think I'll stay. permalink
Not here. But it isn't writer's block. I just want to keep on doing non-writing things today. (Almost caught up on three weeks' worth of The Gilmore Girls. Got those errands done. Took a nap.)
So instead, go wish Diane a happy one year blogiversary.
It's Susanna Cornett's blogiversary, too.
And go wish Stefan Sharkansky a happy birthday. It's also today.
Life intrudes into my blogging career. How dare it?
Gotta run to deliver the synagogue newsletter before the admin has a coronary waiting for it, then return a pillow that smells like mold, then I think I'll head out to River Road and see how much higher the James has risen. (And let me tell you that the weather forecasters, once again, got it wrong. Sunny and low fifties my ass. It's just as cloudy and chilly today as it was yesterday.)
In the meantime, two separate Winds of Change authors have mentioned Trent Telenko's article about anti-Semitism to me, asking me to comment. Best be careful what you ask for, fellas. I've been working on it in my head. (Comment number one: Ah, hello? Returned? It never left.)
On another note, there's a poseur Hulk weblog on Blogspot. It's not me, as you could tell after reading one entry. I won't point to it, because, well, it sucks. I won't give it the traffic. But I wanted to let you know that the real Hulk, the genuine, bonafide article, has been spotted in the Richmond area. I expect to hear from him soon. permalink
Okay, I loved and love Simon and Garfunkel, and seeing them open the Grammy awards with "The Sounds of Silence" was wonderful, but, um, could someone tell me something, please?
When did folk rock come back into style? I mean, gawd, James Taylor? Isn't he dead yet? And that guy that won the pop awardhey, I'm not that old, but I couldn't understand one word in two that he was singing. Good job, dude, you've got the mysterious folk singer down so pat you're guaranteed chicks by the gazillion. And now I have to (sigh) hear the Dixie Chicks do Stevie Nicks. The song was cool when I was in college, and then I grew up and got taste. Ladies, you're better than that!
(By the way, Tony Bennett may not be near death, but the man is flirting with senility. Get him away from the microphone. Please.) permalink
My first Virginia winter, which is far colder, snowier, and icier than I had expected (knowing full well that Richmond tends to be less wintry than New Jersey, and let me tell you, I'm damned disappointed in my new home), has even worse results from all this bad weather. The James River, which this summer was so low as to be causing fish to keep scraping their bellies on the bottom, is overflowing. A friend and I went out to River Road (a neighborhood of very high-priced homes) and brought back a picture show. And the peak isn't supposed to hit until Tuesday afternoon. Ut-oh.
Regarding the picture on the left: We decided we probably wouldn't go swimming even before we saw this sign, and also discussed whether it should read "15 really stupid people have drowned here," instead of "15 people." Yeah, well, that's me. I like my humor dark and my waffles light.
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.