So this morning, I went to Saturday Shabbat services at my synagogue for the first time since I joined, because my co-editor on the newsletter is Rabbi Koller (who is no longer a full-time rabbi), and he was being honored this morning, and I thought I should be there. And since the Or Atid folks hadn't seen me there on a Saturday, ever, I was asked to come up to the bima for an aliya, and of course I said yes. (For the Gentiles out there, I went up to the lectern to say the blessings before and after the rabbi read a Torah portion.) It has actually been a couple of years since I had the pleasure, and I discovered that sitting in the pews listening to someone else do it, and doing it yourself are two different things. But I did all right, and felt quite proud and honored. And then Catherine, who is a woman, as we say, Of A Certain Age, and who had just had her Bat-Mitzvah a few months ago, chanted the Haftorah portion that she read at her Bat Mitzvah, and I realized something.
Friday afternoon, while dropping off some the synagogue newsletter, I was chatting with the rabbi and told him that I'd never had my Bat-Mitvah. "We can fix that," he said, and before I knew it I had an appointment with him on Monday to pick up the tape of him chanting my Haftorah portion. (It's II Kings IV, 1-37.)
It's kind of neat, actually. Normally, you don't get your birthday. But the week before is a child's Bar Mitzvah, and the week after is probably Thanksgiving. So, on November 15th, I'm going to get Bat Mitzvahed. I think I'll use Henny Youngman's line, adjusted. He was in his sixties, I think, or perhaps even older, when he got his Bar Mitvah. "Today," he said, "I am a boy."
I have ten months to learn my Haftorah portion. Yeesh. Well, Rabbi Koller says he'll help, too. That's two rabbis I can draw from. Not everyone has that advantage.
This is going to be an interesting year. permalink
I've been reading around various weblogs lately, where the anti-war bloggers (mostly on the left) are responding to the hawk bloggers (mostly on the right) regarding the anti-American, pro-Communist dictatorships International ANSWER sponsoring last week's anti-war rally in Washington. Most of the anti-war webloggers insist that the hawks are being hypocritical, and that it doesn't matter much that ANSWER sponsored the rally, because the cause was just.
This is my thought on the matter: If you lie down with the pigs, you get up covered with mud. When I see signs that say "Stop the Jew$," I don't give a shit who your sponsor is. You have defeated your purpose of peaceful, inclusive protest by allowing racist, anti-Semitic scumbags to share your stage.
You know, I think I'm blank today. Wiped out. Yes, I and my weblog, we've been working hard these last couple of days. Traffic has been more than double the usual, what with Blogdex and Daypop and now Popdex picking up the Carnival of the Vanities, and the Bloggie nomination throwing some my way, and then all the folks linking to the Carnival. Weird how it took Daypop a full day to pick up on the Carnival. You want to work on that, folks.
In fact, the back-to-normal stats are sort of like having my weblog sigh, roll over, and light a cigarette. (I think she's smiling, too.)
The Weisenthal Center hasn't forgotten. It's the anniversary of the kidnapping of Danny Pearl, the American Jewish journalist kidnapped and butchered by Islamonazis.
That's what they wrote. This is what I wrote when I heard the news. And this is what I wrote a little while later. Then this came out when I'd calmed down a bit. But the final paragraphs hold true today.
I no longer wonder about the answer to the question of whether they would kill me because I am Jewish. The actions of the Islamonazis in the last year have answered that question for me.
And my anger at Pearl's death burns just as brightly now as it did a year ago. And I see no hope, at this time, of it leveling off. Perhaps after Iraq falls, the Middle East might change. I can't see it, but maybe it will happen. We can hope. permalink
France and Germany got mad at Donald Rumsfeld for referring to them as "Old Europe." This is what got them so annoyed:
This is what they said:
I think the word was "fuck." It would have to be. If I remember my French swear words, it'sit'shm. I've forgotten my French swear words. Well, at least the one that means "fuck." I remember the one that means doo-doo. (I'm using that word in order not to offend any Old Europeans who may be reading this. They seem to be a mite touchy these days.) Oh. That word is "merde," and it was taught to me by my ninth grade French teacher, whose way of teaching us French was to show us (endlessly) slides of his trip to Paris. Somebody misspelled "mardi" on a test, and he told us that we shouldn't misspell that word, because spelled "merde" it meantwell, you've figured it out by now. (And don't think I haven't noticed that the French Finance Minister's name is three-fifths of "merde." Doesn't matter that so are the first three letters of my name. I'm not French.) Did I tell you that I dropped French after the next year, when my next teacher's way of having us learn French was to assign homework every day, then go up and down the class asking students homework questions?
I remember that my most frequent response from him was "Pourquoi, Meryl, pourquoi?" because, inevitably, he had asked me a question I didn't know the answer to. ("Je ne sais pas" is the only phrase I really remember well from French class.) I sort of lost interest in French and stopped doing the homework. Come to think of it, he was reponsible for my first high school detention as well, since I'd (sigh) gotten hold of some blank nurse's excuse slips and thought I was good enough to forge her signature for an absence and cut class. (Okay, so maybe I was responsible for it, but he's the one who caught me.) He recognized the inferior work immediately and sent me to the principal's office. I learned then that I had no future in forgery, and I didn't care too much for French, either, so that let me out as, say, working for the French Embassy in New York or as a translator at the United Nations. I think, however, that it does qualify me to be on the UN Human Rights Commission. They speak French in Libya, don't they?
I think the above was a major digressive paragraph. (Is "digressive" a word, or did I suddenly become a business major and just make up a word that sounds like what I need it to mean?) I meant to get around to something like this.
Coming up next, Rumsfeld responds to the Old Europe remarks: "Neener, neener, neener!"
I normally ignore Indymedia, but I've just realized how much potential for fun there is with something as simple as their article summaries, such as these:
Okay, so I had to read the full story. Let's have a look:
Hm. That's almost coherent. But why?
Oh. In keeping with Indymedia's "open publishing" dictate, yet another Indymedia "journalist" has posted yet another full article from a legitimate news sourcewithout reprint permission. A bit beyond the Fair Use doctrine, don't you think?
All right, a quick skim. Sisters, feminism, 19th-century women didn't shave, yadda yadda yadda... oh, wait, here's something interesting:
Really? Every guy that I watched the video with joined me in saying, "Ewwwwww! Gross!" In fact, one of the funniest Gilda Radner skits ever was her drunken, drugged-out rock star modeled on Patti Smith. She would drink a beer, belch, then in one scene grabbed a comb from someone and brushed her armpit hair with it. It was hilarious. (By the way, Patti Smith played at my college. She was so out of it during the concert that she couldn't remember how to spell "Gloria." I swear.)
Oh. my. God. I have just been scarred for life by that image. Whom do I sue?
No we don't.
No we don't.
Okay, now you're talking. Michael Jackson! Catholic priests! Oprah! (Boob jobs was the topic of today's show.)
I did, this morning, in the shower. Now my legs are as soft as a baby's behind. (I once said that in the hearing of my friend's six-year-old girl, and she turned around, dropped her drawers and said, "You mean like this?")
Ha. Ha. Look, she's so brave, she won't practice what she preaches. Whereas I will blithely tell you that yeah, it's a pain to shave, and no, I won't stop. So I've been brainwashed. I also happen to think that bathing regularly is a good thing. I hear most Euros don't.
Let's see what else is on the index.
A bad-ass speech. Well. With a build-up like that, how can we resist? Very easily. Pass.
Let's judge this one by its summary, shall we? Reasons to impeach the President: Because he's not going to adhere to what the UN says. Hm. [scratches head] [thinking hard] I'm not remembering that as a valid reason for impeachment. I don't think the Constitution of the United States of America has a single line in it about the President having to obey the United Nations. Of course, it has been a long time since I've been out of collegefar longer than for the author of the above piece, I'm surebut I would stake my very life on my being right about this.
Let's look around some more.
I am becoming more and more certain that the author of this piece is below the legal drinking age.
Yeah, but so do things like What is Your Hobbit Name? An internet meme is hardly a reason to think that anyone is actually paying attention to the current vogue for more than 30 seconds.
Make up your mind. Do you need to contact your idiotic Congressional representative, or crash their email system? Are they useful or useless? Do you anticipate being able to impeach President Bush without your idiotic Congressperson?
The logic of this statement makes me ashamed that you actually spring from the American educational system. But I thank you for giving me the Articles of Impeachment. Now we can pass them along to one of our idiotic Congressional representatives and see if they agree with your assessment of the illegality of ignoring the UN's diktats.
But wait, there's more. Hold onto your hats, boys and girlsthere actually exists a document with the Articles of Impeachment against George W. Bush on this matter. I didn't know the gun was loaded.
We should all fax it to our idiotic Congressional representatives, with this cover page: "Dear Congressperson: Thought you could use a good laugh today. Best, etc."
Oh, if you're looking for a link, I don't link to Nazimedia. You'll have to visit the site yourself, if you can stomach page after page of virulent anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. I just delve into it now and then for material. permalink
Well, there's the fact that you can get a real, live, Israeli citizen's point of view. There's the fact that she's an excellent writer, has extremely well-reasoned viewpoints, and presents them in excellent English (must be her upbringing, hm, Imshin?). And then there are things like this, on why she will probably vote for Ariel Sharon:
Yasser Arafat (sometimes known as Arafish) has an expression he uses to charm ignorant reporters, "peace" activists, and stupid former U.S. Presidents: He mentions "the peace of the brave" that he "agreed to" with Yitzhak Rabin, the assassinated Premiere of Israel.
Here is what the "peace of the brave" means to Arafat:
Meanwhile, over in Syria-occupied Lebanon:
And remember, a Lebanese politician doesn't take a dump without first getting permission from their Syrian masters, who have occupied Lebanon since before Israel withdrew.
Why is it we never hear about things like this on Rotters News Service, or in the anti-war blogs? Oh, that's right. It dilutes their message of peaceful Arabs wanting only their own state next to Israel. Not in it. permalink
A great big thank-you to my readers. My post "They Don't Get Blog" was nominated in the best essay/article on weblogs category. And Charles Johnson is up for best political weblog. So's Andrew Sullivan. Michele of A Small Victory is up for three Bloggiesbest American, best political, and weblog of the year. And this year, I'm pleased to see Little Yellow Different nominated. I put him on my ballot. Rebecca Blood would be my choice for lifetime achievement this year, culminating the year in which her book on weblogs was published.
I highly recommend you visit the nominated weblogs. Most of them are superb. (I can't say all because I haven't seen them all yet.)
First, read. Then, go vote! permalink
Which ones to read? All of them. But, what with my recent fall and all of the attention my ass has been garnering, I'm going to award one butt gif to each post. The first group gets the big butt-cheek, because they're the ones I found extremely amusing or thoughtful or the writers have blackmail pictures of me. The second group gets a half butt-cheek. That means read them later, which you should, because none of them tried to blackmail me, and that deserves to be rewarded. (Note to contributors: If I missed you or messed up your link, email me, I'll fix it.)
The point of the Carnival is greater exposure for a wide variety of posts and weblogs that would otherwise not get the attention. Take a moment or three to look around each of the weblogs you visit. My taste and judgment aren't the same as yours. You'll find some real gems out there, and will probably not agree with my butt-ratings. (This is getting to be fun, this butt stuff. At least, until the obscene searches start coming in.)
Carnival #19 is hosted next week by Dodd Harris of Ipse Dixit (last week wasDave). Let's not forget Bigwig, whose idea this was and who may even one day take it back to Silflay Hraka, but not today. He's looking for new hosts, so send him an email if you, too, want to spend several hours reading and summarizing other bloggers' work. (It's not really that hard.) Special thanks to Laurence Simon, who gave me the butt-cheek gif that, uh, graces the page below.
DC Pierson updates Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery," in a wickedly funny post.
Tim Dunlop is trying his hand at Letters to a Young Bloggerhis advice on whether or not to blog. For some reason, I'm reminded of the scene from The Princess Bride where Billy Crystal's character says, "He said 'to blave'!"
Judith Weiss has an excellenty-reasoned essay on why the right shouldn't be so quick to take credit for everything the left accomplished since the 1960s, and why the left needs to clean its house today.
Laurence Simon is at it again, with this parody of the song "Giant Purple People Eater." (Hint: This one uses a one-eyed Egyptian-born people killer.)
N.Z. Bear wants to start a cross-blog discussion on Iraq. Any takers?
Frank of IMAO has a transcript of a Donald Rumsfeld press conference that no other media source is brave enough to publish. Why, you'd almost think he made it up.
Da Goddess has figured out Osama bin Laden's real secret plan to destroy America. Honest.
Bigwig sings songs to his toddler at bedtime, but they're balanced. At least as balanced as he. Oh, go look. You'll get it.
Fred First is querying his fellow bloggers on their dialect oddities, and getting an international response. Don't let dialect discrimination overwhelm us, he says.
The Girl From Ipanema has been one of my favorite songs since I sang it in sixth-grade chorus. Madwoman Kane has managed to parody it withwho else?George Bush as the subject.
Diane L. talks about the language of love, and how different it is for men and women.
Lynn Sislo has some good words of advice to the RIAA.
Solonor has gotten his hands on the secret emails the government used to spam the Iraqi Army officers.
Lynn B. on why Israel will never give up Hebron. (Hint: The Tomb of the Patriarchs is sacred to all three major religions, and the Muslims don't want to share.)
Michele has the dubious honor of being my first-ever link to soft-core you-know-what. If that doesn't rate a butt-cheek, nothing does.
Dodd is talking states' rights and the President's attempt to limit damages in malpractice lawsuits. Why, I almost agree with what he says. (Almost.)
Windrider waxes poetic about the Axis of Weevil's gift pack, but I think I'm being insulted in the same post.
Shanti talks about quotas in her native India, and shows us how bad the quota system can be.
Michael Finley is a pissed-off poet. Yeah, I get where you're coming from, Michael. So do a lot of people.
Jim reminisces about his bachelor days, and relates the story of having to give up his dishes for their dishes.
Chuck Simmins has a lot to say to the protesters who think Saddam is an elected dictator.
Jeff's pretty unhappy with the protesters as well. It's time to wake up and smell the blood in Iraq, he says.
Fran brings us along as she looks for bald eagles feeding on salmon along the Skagit River.
Foolsblog reminisces about brussels sprouts. (My conversion vegetable was broccoli.)
Ravenwood's got a rating of the ten best generals of all time, and then throws in five furriners for good luck.
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo laments Richard Crenna's passing.
James DiBenedetto's talking about censorship, or really, the lack thereof, in his response to a whine about censoring.
John Jay Ray says scientists are fibbing about the Greenhouse Effect.
Beer. More beer. Beer in Bozeman, Montana. (Montana has beer? Who knew?)
The Texas legislature is back in session. Jack says "Send in the clowns!"
David's mad about the Michigan point system, too. (A lot of people seem to be angry about that. Go figure.)
Button gets pretty angry over the Dubai rape case, where the French woman is being charged with adultery instead of having her attackers charged with rape. Yeah, I'm pretty mad about that one, too. But not very surprised.
The Cycling Dude has, well, a cycling version of the Zorro tale. (And many other cycling stories.)
And I thought my butt jokes were on the edge of bad taste. Then I read "The Adventure of Phlemmo." Yuck.
12,000 infantry troops from Fort Hood, Texas, are on their way to the Middle East. You know, it's been a really long time since I've seen "No Time for Sergeants," but whenever I hear the word "infantry," all I can think of is Andy Griffith at the end of the film, with that great beaming smile on his face, saying, "Th' infantry!"
Hey, Doc, what are the roots of the word "infantry," anyway? It seems an odd word to describe foot soldiers, but then, I don't know my Latin. Does it mean "sore feet"?
I found this line in my temp file:
I am tired of seeing Jews sacrificed on the altars of history's hatred.
Guess I never found an essay to put it in, but damn, I like that line.
I am eating home-made potato chips, and you are not. The benefits of being Meryl.
And those home-made chips are the reason I didn't get around to the Axis of Weevil post that I keep meaning to write. I sort of have to, because I've been inducted, and it's only polite. I suppose in taking so long to get around to it, though, I may be keeping up a fine old Southern tradition. I'm not sure which one, because I know even Yankees have a fine old tradition of procrastination, so maybe it's a universal tradition I am upkeeping. To coin a phrase. permalink
Montykins. Montykins. Montykins!
Every so often, I find a new blogger that makes me simply bust a gut laughing. Well, I think I just cracked three ribs reading this one:
Not only that, but he likes The Gilmore Girls. And reading. And comics. I think I'm in love again. But Monty, take my word for it, and do not continue reading George R. R. Martin's Throne series. You will regret it. I read the first and almost liked it. I read the second and realized I will never again read anything of Martin's, not even if it's a letter to me with an enclosed check. Here's a summary of the next book: It's long. There are lots of mean people in it. There are more destriers and wizened crones. Lots of people die. There are lots of battles. And Martin's characters spout the effing history of every effing family in the entire effing made-up world before you get to the index at the end of the book, where he thinks you're actually going to read even more about these stupid effing made-up pseudo-Tudors and whatever else the British royal house names were. And the goddamned dwarf doesn't die. Or wait. Maybe he does, at the very end? I don't remember. I know he got pretty badly hurt, and I cheered that scene.
Trust me on this one. Don't read the rest.
As for the rest of you, read the rest of Monty. Hit that "previous" arrow in his journal and discover Teddy and the Mystery Parrot or how to build a better crackpot. Recommended especially for days when you're not feeling so hot. permalink
Much of the butt-ugly work is already done, and you will understand that reference on Wednesday, my children. The Carnival emails keep arriving. I am caught up. The rest of you, get going! I teach class tomorrow. Buffy is on tomorrow night, and it's a new episode. Send me your submissions before the Advil wears off and it hurts to surf again. Remember, deadline is 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday, January 21st. permalink
Solonor pointed me to this site that found a bootleg copy of FOTR with a really bad transcript of the dialogue. It is utterly hilarious. Go, read, but put down your coffee and soda first. permalink
It occurs to me that my tales of woe may not be engendering as much sympathy as they might. In fact, it does seem to me that some of you are actually snickering about my inability to sit comfortably. So I thought of a way you could all reproduce what happened to me last Thursday.
Here's what you do. Lie on the floor on your stomach. Better yet, lie outside on a hard stone surface. Get your spouse or a friend or relative to drop a 100-lb. weight on your ass from a height of, oh, two and a half feet. To make it more realistic, make sure the weight falls vertically so that it practically bisects your butt-cheeks. (And just imagine the searches I'll be getting with that phrase.) By "bisects" I mean in the shape of a cross, not parallel. If you want to be even more realistic, you could add weight in 10-lb. increments until I told you to stop, which would equal my current weight, but frankly, I'd rather die than admit my weight on the internet, so you can stick with the single 100-lb. weight. (Once again, for those of you using the metric system, you're simply going to have to do the math yourself. I'm afraid I can't convert to kilograms.)
All right. Ready? I'll wait. Go ahead and perform the experiment, and then come back and try to sit in your regular computer chair and surf the Net.
Would you like an extra pillow?
(Three weeks. Three weeks, my friend the nurse said, before the pain goes away. I have a literal pain in my ass, and ya know what? It's not funny.)
Update: For those of you who may not be wholly familiar with my Inner Bitch, yeah, the above was a joke, too. It is funny that I hurt my butt, especially since if it came down to a choice between me and the senior citizen couple who went towards the stairs after I fell down them, and whom I prevented from walking on the stairs (they hadn't seen the fall), then, well, I'll just suck up the pain (figuratively speaking, of course) and deal with it. Well, and bitch about it a bit. Okay. A lot. Happy now? permalink
Oh, no, not Israel. Saudi Arabia.
Yes, it's significant that Saudi Arabia practices sexual apartheid and yet does not have economic boycott petition drives launched against it. It's significant that a Saudi woman cannot travel outside the country without the permission of her guardianwho is either her husband, father, or a male relative.
But wait, there are signs of progress! Saudi women have been issued their very own ID card. Previously,
And then there's this editorial complaining about the slings and arrows that Saudi women suffer, written byis it true?a woman:
I can tell you what people think of you when we read this sort of thing, sweetie. We think you live in a medieval country with laws that discriminate against women, minorities, any religion other than Islam, and non-residents (just read a few articles about how foreign workers are treated in Saudi Arabia). And you think the government needs to apologize to women? How about changing the laws so that you're not treated like your husband's and father's belongings? Or is that just too much freedom for you to conceive? permalink
WAY more than three. Go read them all. You are strongly advised not to be eating or drinking while reading these comic strips.
Now I'm off to catch up on the Axis of Weevil over at Possumblog. I think I've been inducted, but I was a bit occupied this weekend. permalink
I'm hosting #18. I've just sent out the monster email, after wasting only about fifteen minutes before realizing that Dave must be using Outlook or something like it, and that Netscape Mail, which I use, requires commas between email addresses. Sigh. I am so rusty on tech-like things. I should try to get a programming job just to make myself relearn these things, not because I want one.
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.