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Take these links, please

Has seen the White Whale? Via, uh, I forgot. Was it Tim?

Who knew a slug could be so smart? (Who knew a slug story could be so funny?) Via my pal Dolly, who notes that at least she's not as bored as the guy who conducted the experiment. She has a point, there.

A roadblock! Quick! Someone notify the ISM!

Several roadblocks sprang up around Gush Katif yesterday to prevent the pals from traveling freely on their missions of terror, oops, way to work.

[1] sets up roadblocks in Gaza Strip to stop armed Palestinians
[2] security forces set up several roadblocks overnight Friday around Gaza's Gush Katif settlement bloc and the settlement of Kfar Darom in order to deny entry to armed Palestinians seeking to carry out terror attacks there.

What's supposed to go where those numbers are? This:

PA sets up roadblocks in Gaza Strip to stop armed Palestinians
Palestinian security forces set up several roadblocks overnight Friday around Gaza's Gush Katif settlement bloc and the settlement of Kfar Darom in order to deny entry to armed Palestinians seeking to carry out terror attacks there.

So, you think the ISM is going to protest these roadblocks the way they protest Israeli roadblocks? Nah, me neither.

Kitties on command

Lair thinks I busted the circuit in Tig's head because I've taught him to sit up on command. This is not true. Tig is six years old, and he has been taught many different things without harming his tiny brain one bit. When I say "Come say goodbye," he jumps onto his kitty condo, which is near the door, so I can give him one last pat before I leave the house. When I ask, "Do you want to be brushed?" he meows loudly and circles my legs until I start brushing him. Both he and Gracie know the word "brush," as well as "tunafish," "out," "get down," and "beat it." (That last is a variation on "get down," as I was getting tired of saying that phrase. Plus, I think it's kinda neat that I can make a 1940s gangster movie arm motion and say "Beat it!" and my cats will jump down from the bathroom sink.)

Tig knows his name and comes when he's called about 95% of the time. (He also comes when you call Gracie, and has responded to "Puppy," "Stupid," and even "Anything" after I told a friend's eight-year-old that Tigger will come when you call him anything. Tig is an attention slut.)

He knows the phrase "Go say hello to..." and will go to the person I tell him to. Well, unless he hates them. He knows that when I say "Goodbye," that means I'm getting off the phone, and he runs up immediately and meows for attention. He knows what "catch" and "baseball" mean, and he will run after a wadded-up napkin or piece of paper or plastic ring from a milk bottle top and fetch it back on command ("Bring it here").

And he has learned all of this with simple affection as a reward. He's perfectly content with "Good boy!" and some petting and a belly-rub.

He's meowing right now. What he wants when he doesn't stop meowing, if there isn't a bug involved, is for me to get off the computer and start playing with him. And if I don't, and there's a long period of quiet, it's time to worry. I just snagged him trying to get into the bathroom closet. Well, at least he didn't pull the toilet paper off the roll. He does that sometimes when he's trying to get my attention.

Oh, and then there's that Maine Coon cat thing. Suckers talk nearly as much as Siamese cats, and Tig's about 90 percent Maine Coon. Then again, Maine Coons give hugs. So I think I can handle the extra chatter.



Hudna watch

Maybe Gil's right. Certainly, this is a wonderful thing:

Hadassah Jerusalem hospitals empty of terror victims
Arutz Sheva reported Hadassah Hospital's announcement Friday that the last victim of the suicide bombing attack on a #14 bus in Jerusalem on June 11th has been discharged.

Hospital officials added that the release marks the first time in over two years that its two hospitals in Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus are not treating any terror victims.

On that note, I'm off for the rest of the day. Back tonight. Don't forget to pledge.

A hatefest at Rutgers

Charlotte Kates, a Rutgers University law student, is organizing the latest international hatefest known as the Palestine Solidarity Conference. The last hatefest took place in Toronto. Here's the little darling's press release about it. Here's my favorite part:

Among the 2003 Convention's main achievements are the following:

  • Putting the world on notice that the struggle for the right of return is alive and well
  • Providing activists from North America, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan with the space to network and plan future projects in support of the right of return
  • Recruiting new activists and establishing a new chapter in Montreal, Canada
  • Paving the way for partnering with the Palestine Solidarity Group in South Africa with the purpose of convening a conference next Winter in Johannesburg aimed at isolating the Zionist entity ion the international arena
  • Discussing with Abnaa' el-Balad's representative from 48 Palestine the possibility of establishing "Know you Homeland" project
  • Establishing mechanisms for better coordination with right of return activists in Lebanon and Palestine

Really liking calling Israel "the Zionist entity." Not. But that's to be expected from an organization led by a woman who would write this:

Israel has no "Right to Exist"
by Charlotte L. Kates

What may one call a state created from colonized land, stolen from its native inhabitants and turned over to European invaders through a process of militarily-enforced ethnic cleansing and occupation? While one may call it "the United States," one may also call it "Israel"--but one certainly cannot, and should not call it a "democratically-created state."

Here's her only nod to the possibility that perhaps, just maybe, Jews had some sort of valid reason for wanting to have a state of their own:

The Zionist movement was, in the early twentieth century, but one fringe of Jewish cultural and social organization--and a reactionary one, formed in nationalistic reaction to the internationalist organizing of Jewish socialists, communists and anarchists; as such, despite (and perhaps because of) European anti-Jewish hatred, the Zionist movement found support among various European political sectors.

Kates also acknowledges that Jews might have had a reason to choose Israel as their homeland.

A largely secular movement, nonetheless, Zionism became centered around Palestine due to its historical and religious significance.

But then, her lies and distortion of history are legion.

While Jews had always lived alongside Muslims and Christians in historic Palestine, they were Palestinian Jews; the Zionists' essential identification and role was not their religious affiliation but rather their political organization as a European settler colonialist movement, seeking the dispossession of Palestinians and the expropriation of their land. Following World War II, a "Partition Plan" was proposed and adopted by the United Nations; without consultation with the Palestinians who lived in Palestine, Palestine was to be divided into two states--a "Jewish state" and an "Arab state." Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian people resisted this new imperialist attack; there was no compelling reason to accept the splitting and expropriation of large amounts of Palestinian land for no other reason than the decision of European powers and European settlers. Confronted with the Palestinian people's desire to retain their land and independence, the Zionist forces waged an armed onslaught. Contrary to common accounts of the 1948 war, the "Arab armies" entered not the territory granted to the "Jewish state" in the partition plan, but only that designated as "Arab land"--the Zionist army was equally determined to reject partition as proposed, as it failed to satisfy dreams of a Greater Israel.

"Contrary to common accounts of the 1948 war"—that would be every single historical account. Not that the truth matters to someone like Kates, who completely passes over the role that the slaughter of six million Jews played in creating the state of Israel. She also passes on the lie that Jews are "European settlers." I can't remember where I read this, but I believe DNA testing has been done and shows that so-called European settler Jews are, indeed, cousins to the "indigenous" Arabs and Jews that remained in Israel.

Not that that matters in Kates hate for Jews. It seems to be the latest thing in her generation, apparently for whom history goes all the way back to the 1980s.

Generation X holds more anti-Semitic views than an older, more tolerant generation reared in the shadows of the Holocaust, according to a new survey by an S.F.-based research group.

[...] Gary Tobin, the institute's president and an author of the report, said the findings on young people's attitudes reflect a growing "anti-Israelism" on college campuses here and nationwide that has spilled over into anti-Semitic viewpoints.

On campuses, "You can see signs that not only say 'Stop Israel,' you can see signs that say 'Stop the Jews' and it's interchangeable," Tobin said Wednesday. "It's been building for a long time.

The nationwide poll found that 24 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 believe Jews control the U.S. news media. That is compared to 16 percent of those ages 45 to 64.

Here's what our sweetheart had to say about the attempted assassination of the Pediatrician of Death:

The assassination attempt upon Dr. Abdel-Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas political leader and spokesperson, illustrates that Israel is not now, and never was, interested in a path to peace, justice, or independence for Palestinians. Rantisi is the latest in a long line of Palestinians - political leaders, fighters, organizers and community activists - targeted for extrajudicial executions by the Israeli regime. Rantisi survived the assassination attempt, as two bystanders did not; thirty other Palestinians were injured in the attack, coming by way of missiles shot into Rantisi's jeep by a helicopter gunship that fortunately missed their target.

[...] The assassinations and assassination attempts have served as fertile provocations for armed response from Palestinians determined to prove that the targeting of their political leadership will not be accepted quietly. Such attempts have traditionally coincided with the approaches of Palestinian national discussions about possible cease-fires; immediately pre-empting such considerations, they serve as a vicious reminder that Palestinian liberation will not be granted by the oppressor, but rather seized by the oppressed.

Those "fertile provocations" always entailed suicide bombing of civilians in response. Not that Kates cares. They're only dead members of the Zionist entity, after all.

Here's her attempt to explain why she isn't advocating anti-Semitism, or threatening Jews. Or even raising tensions on campus.

In any environment of strong debate, mobilization, protest and organizing, there can be, will be, and, in fact, should be, a certain amount of discomfort, tension and conflict. These conflicts exist not because of hatred or intolerance, but because there is a very real and meaningful difference between calling for liberation of the Palestinian people and ceasing U.S. aid to their oppressors in Israel, and demanding support of the Israeli government at all times. The student and community based movement for justice in Palestine is an antiracist movement at its core-it is based on a demand for full equality for all citizens of Israel (and end to Israeli apartheid) and recognition of human rights for all citizens of historic Palestine-the rights of self-determination, of freedom from foreign occupation, of liberation from colonialism, of return of refugees.

[..] Those who, in response, defend the actions of the Israeli state, its guiding ideologies, laws and practices, who declare that "Wherever we stand, we stand with Israel," are defenders of state racism, military occupation and the denial of human rights to Palestinians. This defense of Israeli actions is in direct opposition to a movement demanding liberation for Palestine, and in direct opposition to a movement declaring that, as Americans and others, government, university and corporate money should not go to prop up the racist occupation regime. Rather, however, than addressing that direct opposition and conflict of beliefs, defenders of Israeli government policy have resorted to raising concerns about "tension on campus."

And because I know this pisses her off, I must say it: Wherever I stand, I stand with Israel. (Scroll up the page to read about the Rally for Israel from last spring, and the counter-rallies that Kates and her ilk held the next week.)

I can't excerpt any more of this hateful filth. This is what Rutgers would bring to its campus in the name of freedom of speech. Once again, the haters are teaching me how to hate. Once again, I am filled with rage at the ignorance and hatred of those that blind themselves to the reality of the situation in Israel. Once again, we hear that Jews have no right to exist. Oh, she couches it in terms of the state of Israel, but that's the undertext. Jews may not have their own state, according to Kates. They must only live in subservience to the Arab population of the region. Because, as history has shown, the Arabs have always been so good to the Jews.

And just as I would object to members of Al Qaeda having a"solidarity" conference to protest American treatment of Afghanistan, I object to this conference being held on a NJ state university campus, supported by state and federal tax dollars. Governor Jim McGreevey is looking into things. LGF is on the case as well. If you want, you can send emails to Kates or to Rutgers or to McGreevey.

But I have a better solution: Pledge my Blogathon drive to purchase an ambulance for Magen David Adom, the Israeli version of the Red Cross that the International Red Cross won't let join. Or follow these instructions and donate today.

The old adage is true: Living well is the best revenge. Nothing pisses off the Kates more than seeing the support for the state of Israel. And Magen David Adom does not discriminate in treating Israelis or palestinians—something you'd think that Kates would honor, but you know that she would not, because MDA is an Israeli organization.

Screw the Kates of the world. Support Magen David Adom.

It had to happen

Number two on the search for "hulk's doll the sun." And it's not even about the Hulk doll and his willy. Mind you, the next search will bring this page to the top, once Google has crawled my site.

Oh, and by the way: Yes, I have heard about that story. Thanks for asking.

A few more links

Gil is talking about the hudna. Good points, Gil. Very good points.

First, Deb had an imaginary conversation with Kofi Annan that I'd like to have myself. Then she sends me over to this guy, who has The Just-Us League of Blogdom (in two parts, no less), but, like, they're all DC so I don't think I can play. Plus, I'm betting they really don't want Hulk in on the action. He does tend to hog the spotlight. And break things.

Nothing specific, just Kate being Kate.

Kevin says Marvel is scrapping plans to have a mutant Princess Diana star in a comic book. Meryl says thank you, God.

Chuck is venturing over to Indymedia and posting about Iran. Brave but foolish, Chuck. He also found a couple of links about the Iranian student protests.

Miss Janis: As your email has been bounced back to me twice in the last two days, I am replying in public.

My sentiments exactly. I've been deciding whether or not to put those very words in a post. Hey, there hasn't been nearly enough controversy around here lately.

I do not know why your email client dislikes me. Is it because I haven't linked to the Axis of Weevil Himself lately? (He has mysterious powers, we all know, which include the ability to cause liquid to shoot out of our noses and onto our monitors.) Hey. When did Terry get comments going? (Or should I not admit that I haven't been there in a while?) Oh, and you simply have to read this post. The PETA morons came to his town, and Terry chronicles it all—right down to seeing the cops hand the PETA freaks a citation.

And as I am writing this in that strange time paradox that will be last night when you're reading this tomorrow, I'm going to stop now. Mostly because Tig simply will not stop meowing. I found the damned cricket for him to chase; what more does he want from me?



Many happy returns of the day!

First and foremost, Diana Moon is back. Her link has been restored to my portal page, and every single effing blogger out there ought to be devoting a post to Diana's return. That's everyone. All my buds. Let's put Diana on Blogdex and Daypop.

Secondly, that crazy guy's back, and I think he's decided it's okay to blog like he used to even if he has a new job. Go get 'em, Lair. I was starting to worry that you'd be, ah, hm, what's another word for neutered?

And would you believe neither one of them so much as emailed me to let me know they were back? They never write, they never call, I just sit here in the dark....

Blogathon update

Thanks to another anonymous donor, I didn't have to beg for pledges today. We must have that tote board move up every day, or my mood will sink so low that I think I'll be unable to post. Yup. That is what will happen.

Speaking of anonymous donors, the reason you see that (+1,800) below the tally is because an anymous donor contributed $1,800 by check without going through the blogathon pledge page. S/he put "Blogathon" in the memo field of the check and also directed the check to the attention of Gary Kenzer, the MDA director who is helping us out in our drive to raise enough money to buy an ambulance. A quick check of the three Blogamigos (Lair's term for the three of us) shows a total of $2,948 pledged. Add to that the $1,800, and our grand total as of 10:30 p.m. EST, July 10th is: $4748 in pledges and donations. Only $55,252 to go. I think we can do that in 16 days. Piece of cake.

But to help us out, I think it's time to unleash the might of our local synagogues and mailing lists. I wrote a brief PR piece (IE: right-click, save target as to download as a notepad file, Netscape: right-click, save link as) that you can copy into email and send to your local synagogue, church, chess club, mailing list, or just your friends and relatives. Here's a Microsoft Word file if you don't like Notepad. Take it down, pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the—whoops, wrong thought. Anyway. Sharing is good. So is donating to charity.

Pigs is pigs

There's a funny confluence of events regarding pork and Muslims. First, this thread over at LGF, which has an a discussion on the whys of kosher that occasionally veers into the stupid, or at least, uncited opinions presented as facts.

But aside from the don't-you-know-that-Jews-changed-over-from-goddess-worship tripe, especially towards the end, the thread has some excellent information on kosher foods, Jews keeping pig farms, and the status of pork.

And in a different piece: LT Smash has a really funny post about finding a bottle of Heinz 57 Sauce with the word "pork" crossed out.

In the middle of the table at dinner was a bottle of Heinz 57 Sauce. The label proclaimed that you can use the sauce to “add zest to chicken, steak & pork,” except the word "pork" was completely obliterated by a thick black pen stroke.

Someone in this strange land has the job of opening every box of Heinz 57 Sauce, removing each individual bottle, crossing out the word “pork,” and returning it to the box.

Between that, and watching out that no Israeli products slip in, I'm betting there's a whole bureau of people who spend their days watching for "impurities."

Religion of Peace™ Watch

So let's see what The Religion of Peace is up to regarding Israel these days:

Hamas Chief Reaffirms Truce but 'Patience Limited'

Hamas, Islamic Jihad reject request to extend cease-fire

Official: Iran will never initiate hostilities with anyone, not even Israel

Report: Syria won't use road map for peace with Israel

Let's take a look at those last two in greater depth.

"Teheran will never initiate military action, even against Israel," Maariv reports Raza Khatami, Deputy Chairman of the Iranian parliament and brother of Iranian president Muhammad Khatami, as telling a Saudi newspaper. "We are maintaining the necessary possibilities only in order to defend ourselves. Israel is concerned about Iran because we are concerned about her. How can one not be afraid of her, when she holds nuclear weapons and long-range missiles?"

The interview was given a day after the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced the successful test of the Shihab 3 ballistic missile. Israel's standard statement on nuclear weapons has been that it will never be the first to introduce their use in the Middle East.

Hm. Tehran will never initiate military action, "even against Israel." Why do I have problems with that statement? Oh, right. Now I remember. It's those 10,000 rockets on the border, controlled by Hezbollah, which in turn is controlled by Tehran. With a generous dose of help from Syria, of course.

Now to the final article: Syria and the road map. Note in the text of the article that not a single "leader" of Syrian-occupied Lebanon is named, much less quoted. Baby Assad speaks for his colony.

Syria and Lebanon do not need a "road map" to direct and obtain peace with Israel, Damascus Radio reported Thursday. The radio said that over 80 percent of the issues between the countries have already been solved.

According to the report, Israel must implement the United Nation resolutions and withdraw from Arab territory it occupied in 1967 in order to obtain peace with Syria and Lebanon.

The report said that Israel has recently tried to restart negotiations with Syria and disregard nine years of progress, beginning with the Madrid Convention in 1991.

Syria's President Assad denied Tuesday asking to join the road map peace plan and reiterated his country's willingness to make peace with Israel based on UN resolutions and the peace for land principle.

And that's the word from Syria-occupied Lebanon,™ the nation where Hezbollah is launching rocket attacks on Israel whenever they damned well feel like it. I do believe Tehran has already initiated military action. They just pretend that they have not.

Thoughts for the day

If Ann Coulter looked like Janet Reno, would anybody outside her immediate friends and family even know she existed?

Corollary to that: How on earth can you guys think she's hot? She's not hot! She's not even lukewarm. What, does the blonde hair immediately kick in the testosterone and produce the six-beer image that even Sullivan gets when he looks at her?

Why Meryl doesn't usually write about politics: I hate the partisan sniping that goes on on both sides. When I read the comments on blogs of the left, I feel a Hulk moment coming on. When I read the comments on blogs of the right, I feel a Hulk moment coming on. When I read the blogs of the middle—oh, wait. There are none.

Corollary to that: If anyone, anywhere, can find a single political-issue thread that does not contain ad hominem attacks, straw man arguments, and outright lies, please email me the URL of that blog. Not that I think you'll find one. People really do like to hate the people on "the other side."

Come to think of it, maybe part of the reason I like the Hulk so much is that he doesn't get involved in partisan politics. He'll smash Republicans, Democrats, and Independents if they come after him. (Yes, I saw the movie again. I told you that yesterday. Why do you keep asking me that?)

This is the nicest thing anyone's ever said about me. Defender of the faith. Thanks, Phil.

I took that political quiz that everyone's taking. It says I want to vote for Dick Gephardt for President. That's news to me. It also says that Buchanan matches my views with a -4%. Works for me. The only one lower on the list was Lyndon LaRouche, with negative seven percent. That works for me, too.

I have taught Tig to stand on his hind legs on command. That's right. I taught a cat to stand when I say "Up!" I was illustrating this talent to Heidi last week, who watched with a jaundiced eye as it took Tig five or six hearings of "Up!" to do it. She says it doesn't count. That a dog would do it on one. I pointed out that her dogs do not listen to her the first time. "Well, they're bad dogs," she said. I maintained that since cats aren't dogs, a 50% compliance rating is as good as doing it all the time. She just gave me The Look and said nothing, which may as well relate to a swear, because there's no real answer to it.

However—and don't think I won't rub this in to Heidi as soon as I remember to—Tig has been consistently rising on his hind legs to the second "Up!", and just now, I got him to do it on one. And he has done this without the aid of dog biscuits, or their kitty equivalents, anyway. The only treat he really loves is tunafish. I trained him to do this with nothing but praise and petting. Ha. Ha! I say, dog-lovers. Just: Ha!

A happy tale of Iraq—via the BBC

They've been getting bashed for their anti-Israel and anti-war bias. So I was rather surprised to find this story on Google News:

The Iraqi sandal man's tale
The man whose picture went round the world when he slapped a portrait of Saddam Hussein with his sandal following the fall of Baghdad has been speaking about his actions on that day in early April.

Jawad Kazim, a 53-year-old grilled meat vendor, whose act was caught on video and broadcast repeatedly on Arabic language satellite TV channels, said his act had been completely spontaneous.

"I was so happy at that minute I did not think of anything else except enjoying the taste of freedom," he told Al-Ittihad, a newspaper now published in Baghdad by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Shoes and other footwear are symbols of dirt and degradation in the Arab world.

[...] Mr Kazim said that on the day he had first been holding a picture of Saddam Hussein's son Uday: "Whenever a car carrying women passed by, I would hit Uday's face with my sandal and shout to them, 'This is the man who violated the honour of Iraqis,'" he said.

"Then I suddenly thought I had ignored the head of the snake [Saddam Hussein] and I saw his picture thrown by the side of the pavement so that people would step on it. I picked it up and took a single sandal to hit him in the mouth."

[...] Mr Kazim described Iraq under Saddam Hussein as a "state of terror, murder and torture".

"Under this regime and throughout the duration of its rule, Iraq became a prison for its sons. A citizen who would leave home in the morning was not sure that he would return home in the evening."

"Now, I do not feel any fear," he said. "There is no one watching where I stay and where I go."




It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoringA year ago today, about the time I'm writing this, I was driving down I-95 in the rain, trying to get to my rental office before everyone left so I could get the keys to my new apartment. I never did make it in time, or rather, I did, but the person who was supposed to wait left before she said she would.

Well, I went out to shop and catch a movie this afternoon, and as I came out of the supermarket, there were some mighty threatening storm clouds moving in. Got home, unpacked the groceries, dodged only a few drops, and even got the trash out before it really got started. This picture is what it looked like about twenty minutes ago. Gracie is completely distressed by the thunder and hiding under the bed. Tig seems to think he wants to go outside in it, but every time I open the front door, he looks at me with that "Are you effing nuts, woman? It's raining out!" look.

Sirens started almost immediately after the rain let up. I just heard on the news that 295 South is closed down by Route 10 because the Interstate split from the rapid decrease in temperature. It was 100 or nearly so; it has dropped at least twenty degrees since the rain started. That's going to be some traffic tie-up. And we're in for severe thunderstorms for the rest of the day. Ah, well. Things could be worse. And speaking of worse:

Of course, the most important anniversary to think about today is Frank J.'s, because I understand that any website that does not link to him today is going to be in deadly danger or something like that. I truly would like to know how Frank intends to take revenge on the billions of websites that won't be linking to him, but I'm afraid he might really nuke the moon, instead of just hawking the t-shirts for it. And even though Frank is hundreds of miles away from me, and, well, he doesn't know where I live, he frightens me. The man has a sword and a gun, and I understand he has ninja training. You just don't want to mess with Frank. Or tug on Superman's cape. Or shoot the Hulk, for that matter. (Yup, saw the movie again. Hey, it's way better the second time around. But Nick Nolte is still super-creepy.)

Let freedom suffocate

The Iranian students called off their demonstrations for today, in fear of violence. They were right to fear.

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Armed Iranian Islamic vigilantes seized three student leaders on Wednesday as they left a news conference where they announced they had canceled protests to mark the anniversary of 1999 university unrest, witnesses said.

Authorities have banned off-campus rallies, closed campus dormitories, postponed summer exams and vowed to deal strictly with any unrest after arresting 4,000 people during 10 nights of sometimes violent protests across the country in June.

"After the news conference when some of our friends wanted to leave, armed plainclothes men in three cars attacked the students and kidnapped three members of the Office to Consolidate Unity," Matin Meshkini, a student leader, told Reuters.

Other witnesses said some 15 people armed with handguns and with the trademark beards, walkie-talkies and untucked shirts of Islamic vigilantes pushed aside uniformed police who tried to intervene as they bundled the three into waiting cars.

"We cannot call it arrest, it was a kidnapping," Meshkini said.

These are the armed thugs who answer to no one but Khameini. Sounds all too familiar, doesn't it?

Hulk Public Service Announcement

While I appreciate all of those readers out there who have as wicked a sense of humor as I, it is important to point out that The Philosophical Cowboy was the first one to send me the URL to the Hulk-doll-with-a-penis story. And I blogged it. Two days ago. Andrew Sullivan is in my dust on this one, folks.

Somebody hasn't been paying attention....

And may I say: That is one ugly Hulk doll. I mean, how difficult is it to make a doll face resemble a cartoon character? Oh, and no, I don't want one. I'm perfectly content with my Hulk Hands.

Hm. I'm thinking I might not have really wanted to write that paragraph exactly that way. Ah, well. It's not like I have a reputation to maintain because I'm trying to raise $60,000 for Magen David Adom or anything like that. (By the way, no one has pledged since early yesterday. Tally has not moved in a while. Guilt, guilt, guilt.)

Indymedia Iran protest watch

On the eve of the biggest student protest in Iran in four years, one that may tip the battle in the true reformists favor, I did another search of the main Indymedia sites for news that the world's largest group of professional protesters might give it up for their brothers and sisters in Iran. Here's what I found.

Indymedia main page: Nothing.

San Francisco: Still nothing.

Fresno home care workers given small raise, no union contract
Queers Arrested for Joining the Gay Pride Parade
Gay Liberation: Some Gains, Many Challenges Ahead
Mobilize Against Agriculture Privatization in Sacramento: June 20-25
Berkeley Bowl Fires Union Organizer and Hires Union Busting Law Firm
HRW: No Evidence of Iraqi Gunfire at al-Fallujah Massacre

Washington, D.C.: Nothing on Iranian protests.

Bush Moves Ahead with a Plan for World War
...In recent months Bush officials have threatened Iran, North Korea, and Syria on top of current military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, all the while pursuing unprecedented military spending increases in the U.S. Congress.

Portland, Ore: Whoa, a hit! And on the main page, too!

Hands off Iran, let people decide. A demonstration in support of Democracy in Iran

Beirut, Lebanon: This one's a doozy.

New Yorker seeks knowledge on Iranian student movement

I am a student in New York City and have seen what our protests look like and how our government reacts. Recently there has been an escalation in the student democracy movement in Tehran. The BBC reports that right wing militias and secret police are attacking the people's movement that seeks to get rid of the corrupt and powerful and bring democracy and basic freedoms. But I do not want the BBC's opinion. I would like to know the opinions and stories of those in Tehran. I am amazed at the courage that students as well as ordinary people have shown. However, I can find nothing on the IMCs about Iran. If someone who is involved in the Iranian demonstrations reads this or if someone knows an English website with their words on it could you please email me and tell me a firsthand account of what is happening. I am always hearing that students are in solidarity with each other, your struggle is just and noble, if I knew how to help I would.

Once again, Indymedia: Behind the curve when it comes to real fights against fascism, sees fascism only in the world's democracies. Iranian student protests? What are those?

These people put tens of thousands of marchers in Washington to protest Israel's self-defense against palestinian terror in April of last year. Yet they are silent on the biggest push towards democracy from a fascist regiime that the world has seen in quite some time.

And I am not surprised. Are you?




No less than a conservative publication than the Wall Street Journal is eviscerating Ann Coulter. "The Maureen Dowd of the conservatives." I am content.

Leslie pointed out this link to an article about "ambush TV" shows, which are nothing but cruel practical jokes captured on video. I like this bit the best:

It's the dirty little secret of the industry: quiet settlements and public cases against ambush TV shows are flooding in, says Candyce Miller of the Insurance Information Network of California.

"They've become the lawsuit du jour in the entertainment industry," Miller said.

Go get 'em, Sparky. Shut down those nasty shows. I have never, ever appreciated any kind of mean practical joke. If someone is hurt, there is no joke. Making someone think they've been exposed to radioactive material? Wow, what a knee-slapper. And let me tell you, if any of my so-called friends set me up for one of those jokes, that'd be the last they ever saw of me. I simply do not understand people who think there is humor in meanness.

Diana Moon, the woman who introduced me to the word "effing," thereby cleaning up my potty mouth on this blog, recently went on a trip to the country (way in the sticks outside NYC), sent me this in email:

We passed a town called Effingham on the way to North Conway, NH. There's also a South Effingham, and if memory serves, an East Effingham. (No West Effingham, or maybe memory is failing.)

There is also an Effingham Falls.

Effingham. I like that. You effing ham! There, see? Works great.

Jim P. has figured out the ARF mystery from last night.

ARF stands for Almost Ready to Fly. They're model airplanes.

You got spammed by a model airplane salesman a day before somebody looking for info on them did a search. I searched with that string and didn't see a result from your blog so I added "Yourish" to the string and came up with this page. That page has every word in the string.

So it looks like it was just a coincidence. Then again, keep a look out. Once is coincidence, twice is suspicious, three times is a conspiracy.

Yeah, you never can tell when they're watching you. They're probably also responsible for making my six and dash and delete and Home and F2 keys stop working, then start, then stop, then start. (They're still working since I discovered the slam 'em hard method of fixing.) And they probably know where the government is hiding the alien bodies, too.

I'm sure you've all heard of this by now:

Stonehenge has dominated the Wiltshire landscape for more than 4,000 years and is one of the world's most important heritage sites, but its purpose has remained a mystery. Some researchers have claimed the stone circles were used as a giant computer; others that Stonehenge was an observatory for studying stars and predicting the seasons; and a few have even argued that its rings acted as a docking pad for alien spaceships.

Now a University of British Columbia researcher who has investigated the great prehistoric monument for several years has announced he has uncovered its true meaning: it is a giant fertility symbol, constructed in the shape of the female sexual organ.

'There was a concept in Neolithic times of a great goddess or Earth Mother,' says Anthony Perks, a gynaecologist who decided to investigate the idea that the circles could have symbolic anatomical links. 'Stonehenge could represent the opening by which the Earth Mother gave birth to the plants and animals on which ancient people so depended.'

Yeah? Then which stone's the G-spot?

Stupid Hulk link of the day

Leave it to our northern neighbors to come up with an article that takes the Hulk's rage seriously.

Scientist Bruce Banner was told both his parents died when he was young, so he's understandably upset when dad turns up alive as the new night janitor at the research lab where Bruce works. Dad, still a mad scientist by day, tells Bruce that he used him as a human guinea pig when Bruce was just a kid. It created a mutant freak inside Bruce that lies dormant until he gets angry. Dad then riles Bruce, making him recall confusing and disturbing flashbacks, which makes him really mad.

The confusing and disturbing flashbacks pissed me off, too. I really don't think the comic book panel style works all that well on the movie screen.

A green glint appears in Bruce's eyes which quickly colours his entire body. The seams of his clothes stretch and tear as he grows to almost three times his normal size. He then uses his girth to crash through windows, walls and ceilings, laying waste to everything and everyone in his way.

You forgot to mention the purple pants. The purple pants stay on. They're really part of Hulk's power, you know. He turns huge and green and super-strong, and his pants turn purple and stay on no matter whether he's the Hulk or Bruce.

OK. So he's had it tougher than the rest of us. That's no excuse for "hulking out," says Joy Muller. Not in the movies, and definitely not in real life.

On a recent trip to Ohio, the Edmonton chartered psychologist, who works with kids and families, slipped into a darkened cinema filled with "a gazillion" kids to catch the movie version of The Hulk, the comic book hero of her youth.

Beepbeepbeep! Idiot alert! Supposedly educated woman cannot estimate the size of a movie theater audience, despite the fact that many theaters actually have crowd size limit warnings on the doors to the theater.

Muller remembered a kinder, gentler hulk, that focused more on the mild-mannered Bruce Banner. What she saw made her worry about the message moviegoers, kids in particular, are taking with them when they leave the theatre: throwing a tantrum makes you powerful and gets you what you want.

Uh... would that "kindler, gentler hulk" be the 1970s TV series? Because it really doesn't matter how much you focus on Bruce, when the beast within becomes the beast without, it's all about the Hulk. Only during the seventies, he had really bad hair. (Everyone had really bad hair in the seventies.)

"It gives people permission to do something that's not OK," Muller explains. "You're supposed to learn how to deal constructively with anger, not turn green and explode."

Children, you all have my permission to turn green and explode. On the count of three: One, two, three. Hey. What's the matter with you? None of you turned green and exploded! Except for little Bobby, but I told him not to eat three packages of Gummy Worms after the tub of popcorn.

Wait a minute—you mean to say, people can't really turn green and explode? Bummer.

What movies like this do, is normalize aggression and violence, making it more of an everyday thing, blurring the line between what's real and what's not, she says.

Absolutely. Whenever I get pissed off at the old lady ahead of me in the line at the supermarket taking forever, I turn green, grow to Hulk-like dimensions, and roar and smash everything in sight. Oh, wait. That's just in my head. In reality, I say nothing and think nasty thoughts. This would go right along with the last paragraph, where we learned that real people can't turn green and explode.

For example, a cross-marketing ploy has The Hulk shilling Dodge minivans. In the TV ads, mild-mannered Bruce Banner stands by a red Caravan that he wants in a green colour and he hulks out to get it.

Oh, please. Everyone knows how stupid that commercial is. Hulk would never be caught dead driving a minivan.

"Temper tantrums are not acceptable, have never been acceptable," Muller says, "and it's not OK to stand there and flex your biceps and say 'Now can I have what I want?'" It's not OK for a kid or a 50-year-old administrator who says 'I want it this way and I want it now!'

Really? I was fired by a boss who did just that, except for the flexing his biceps part. What planet are you living on, Doc? Oh, wait. You're a shrink in a nation that has national socialized health care. Never mind.

The Hulk can reinforce that destructive message, or it can be used to teach anger management, Muller says.

Behave like the angry green guy in real life and you risk losing your family, your job or being locked in a soft-padded room, she says, something kids have to be taught.

Once again, ignorance of the real world is no excuse!

Learn too, that just because you say you're sorry after you do something destructive, it doesn't mean that it's OK to keep doing it, she says.

I'm sorry for making fun of you, but you're saying really stupid things. Hm. Somehow, it still feels okay to keep doing it.

When you're frustrated, don't get angry like The Hulk or stamp your feet like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind and put off thinking about the problem until tomorrow. Whatever it is, deal with the situation and get on with it, Muller says.

Thus proving there's nowhere you can't throw in a Gone With the Wind reference with just a teeny bit of effort.

"Identify the problem, create alternatives, pick two that you're happy with, and try both of them until you find the one that works," she advises.

Thus assuming you're always going to be wrong on the first try. Wow, there's a shrink with confidence in her patients.

"If you're too steaming mad to think of any alternatives, put yourself in water.

The Hulk did that. He got missiles shot at him. And a nuclear bomb.

"Go have a bath, go have a shower, cool off, figure out what to do and then do it," she says.

You know, Faith did that after Angel beat the crap out of her, and she broke the wall in Wesley's shower. Oh, wait. We're switching universes here. Okay, back up a minute: There isn't a bath or shower in the world big enough to cool off the Hulk. Niagara Falls might work, but he's not known for taking baths. He's known for leaving giant holes in the ground as he leaps across the desert. Oh, and for throwing Hulk-sized temper tantrums.

As for The Hulk, the movie, take your kid with the anger management problem and then talk about it. Take your kid that doesn't have an anger management problem and then talk about it, Muller says. Be an informed parent and help inform your kids.

Okay, kids, let's talk about the movie: Don't you wish you could turn all green and super-powered when you got mad? "YEAH!" Yeah, me too. Let's go find us a gamma-ray bomb to expose ourselves to. Nevada trip, anyone? "YEAH!"

Really. Why do they write articles like this? Do they truly think people are so stupid that they'll watch a movie like The Hulk and think, "Hey, what a great way to take care of life's problems! Turn all green and super-powered and smash things!"

I can tell you from experience that (sigh) it doesn't work in real life.

Adventures in insanity

Okay. No, I'm not a mechanic, and really, I prefer to let mechanics take care of my car, although I have a pretty good idea of exactly what is wrong with my car when something does go wrong with it, and I'm not talking about the time my radiator sprung a leak. I know the sound of a starter that refuses to start the engine. And what I'm hearing right now, and have been hearing for the past ten minutes is a starter that refuses to start the engine. My neighbor has been unsuccessfully trying to start her van for ten minutes.

Ten effing minutes.

I am not exaggerating. She just waited all of ten seconds and tried it again.

So what's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome each time?

Pass the salt and the dictionary

Time to eat my words:

Bombing Threatens Mideast Truce
CBS News - 1 hour ago
"Abu Mazen, we know, is a relatively weak man," who tends to "run
away from problems rather than try to solve them.". Two bodies ...

Suicide bomb shatters fragile ceasefire
The Age, Australia - 5 hours ago
The militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for a bombing
in central Israel that killed a 65-year-old woman, violating a week-long ...

Truce Might Not Last Dar Al-Haya

Whoops, no, that last one blames Israel for not releasing prisoners. Funny, though—I could only find the top two stories that blame the bombing for threatening the cease fire. Most of the rest say it's Israel's fault for refusing to release all the palestinian prisoners. I swear, Oslo is being relived before our very eyes, with different players in some roles.

Blogathon thanks

Two more donors: CCM White, Perishabl, and Seattle_Skies.

I am completely overwhelmed by the generosity you're all showing. Our current total is $3,422 in pledges, and I know for a fact that $1,800 of it is already in Magen David Adom's hands. (It was a donation made by check outside the Blogathon, anyone else who wishes to do so just click on the donating guide and follow the instructions.)

I'll say it again: My readers rock.

Shudna Watch: Week Two

A suicide bombing in Israel kills an elderly woman, but not a single headline reads "Palestinians Risk Defeating Roadmap With Continued Terror Attacks." In an almost-balanced article by Reuters, you have to dig hard to find the big, big lie in the article. Can you find it? It's in this section:

"The attack was warranted by continued Israeli violations, the last of which the unjust discrimination of prisoners to be released," said senior Islamic Jihad official Abdallah al-Shami.

Shami was referring to conditions militants had set for adhering to their truce declaration, including prompt release of all prisoners and an end to Israeli military incursions and blockades of Palestinian cities.

Israel has suspended "track-and-kill" operations against militants in response to the truce declaration and pulled back troops from some occupied areas of Gaza and one West Bank city.

But Sharon's government says further disengagement must await a crackdown on militants by Abbas and it has also dismissed the terms set by militants to honor their truce, saying it deals only with Abbas's administration.

Disengagement and prisoner releases are among the steps mandated by the road map but the two sides have disagreed over who should do what first and how much.

Here's the Big Lie. The road map says:

At the outset of Phase I:

Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.

Israeli leadership issues unequivocal statement affirming its commitment to the two-state vision of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel, as expressed by President Bush, and calling for an immediate end to violence against Palestinians everywhere. All official Israeli institutions end incitement against Palestinians.

And on security, it states:

Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.

Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.

GOI takes no actions undermining trust, including deportations, attacks on civilians; confiscation and/or demolition of Palestinian homes and property, as a punitive measure or to facilitate Israeli construction; destruction of Palestinian institutions and infrastructure; and other measures specified in the Tenet work plan.

Relying on existing mechanisms and on-the-ground resources, Quartet representatives begin informal monitoring and consult with the parties on establishment of a formal monitoring mechanism and its implementation.

In fact, there's not a single word about prisoners in the entire document. Go ahead. Read it. Search for the word "prisoner." You won't find it.

Come to think of it, you will also not find anywhere in current media a statement from the pals calling for an unconditional end to violence against Israelis.

But we shouldn't let facts get in the way of the pals getting their own state without the cessation of murdering civilians. Hey, it's just another bunch of dead Jews, right?


Junk mail rules

After having received one too many stupid and annoying emails, I think it's time to warn my readers about headers that will not make it to my inbox.

I certainly hope I don't have any readers using the names Tom Flocco or Thom Hartmann. They're in the kill file, as they refuse to take me off their mailing lists, and their websites are idiotic, paranoid, moonbat pieces of conspiracy theory garbage. The one that tipped the scales this morning: Flocco sent out an email insisting that Katherine Harris was killed on a plane that went down in Toronto. Uh, no. Quick Google news search result: Plane went down, Chicago lawyer died, no mention of Harris. Moron. (Remind me to write an essay about how easy and fast it is to squash a rumor like that. Took me two minutes.)

Try not to use the word "URGENT!" in your header, especially in all caps. I don't open those; they get deleted on the server.

Putting my first name in the title is always a bad idea; many spammers put the name of the recipient in their title to make it seem more personalized. So if I see "Meryl," I don't even read the "blahblahblah" after it, the mail gets deleted on the server—unless I recognize the sender. Now, there will be those of you out there who think it will be funny to put my name in the title of your next email. I won't read it. Trust me on this one.

A "Re:" in the title of an email I never wrote or read before will probably get you in the trash bin, unless I recognize your name. I'm sorry, but it's a major tool of spammers. Be careful when sending me email regarding something I've written. Your best bet is to spell out "regarding" if you really want to use the word.

The following titles are always deleted on the server: "Where have you been?" "I'm waiting for you" and "I'm here all alone." So not interested in the latest hotties. And that last phrase, from a "Michele," got me to open an email I thought was from this MIchele, bored on a Friday night and wanting to chat. It wasn't, and sent off a flag to the pr0n spammers that they had a live mailbox. Damn them all to hell for using a one-l Michele! I'd never have opened it otherwise.

Now, you're probably all thinking, but Meryl, why don't you just use the spamkiller provided by your hosting company? Well, I'm so glad you asked. Because, dammit, it should be part of the package, not something I have to pay extra for. Plus, no matter how good your spamkiller is, the crap gets through. So now I check my email on the server, and unfortunately, the website spam processing rules have to be far more specific than the ones for my old email address that gets given out everywhere (and has a zillion spams per day as a result). But there are days when the spam outnumbers the real email here by two to one. I debated changing the site emailbox, but y'all are so used to it, I don't want to rock the boat.

Okay. Done griping about my junk email for the day. Thanks to the Blogathon and the end of the Fourth of July weekend, my real emails are far outnumbering the spams. So I can get back to complaining that I'm backlogged answering your emails.

Coincidence? I think not.

So this afternoon, I get a very strange email, with some kind of picture attached (I didn't bother looking), about a meg in size. The text is something about ARF planes. I don't know what ARF planes are. For all I know, they're planes that bark. Maybe the acronym means "A Real eFfing" plane. I delete it, and think of it no more, other than the usual "What idiot would try to sell me a plane?" kind of thought.

Then, tonight, I get this partial search. I think it was looking for "ARF planes weblog." My website shows up on the second page of that search.

Insert Twilight Zone theme music here.

I understand spam, but not spam followed by mysterious searches about the spam subject. Wouldn't you think the search would come before the spam?

I think somebody's messing with my head here. Hey. Not funny.



More Blogathon thanks, and suggestions

A big thanks to Lynn B. and Janet P. for pledging today. We've now officially surpassed last year's total. And I have come up with ideas for those of you who like to get what you pay for: Donations for post ideas. I'll take the twelve best ideas from donors who email a topic for me to write about. Dunno if I'll write it before and post it during the blogathon, or write it the day of—it'll depend on how complex the topic is. Doesn't matter if you've already pledged or if you pledge and then email me the topic idea. The pledging is the thing. (Well, and then the follow-through, of course.) I'll post the topic ideas as I pick them. (What, you think I'm crazy enough to let you pick them for me? You want to do that, you'd better be pledging in the triple digits, and yes, those of you who have pledged in triple-digits or more can pick a topic.) But really, folks—try not to make them too stupid. I have a reputation to uphold. You don't want people thinking I'm the type of person that links to guys playing Macbeth on their testes or painting their naked bodies with Spider-Man colors, do you?

And here's something that I think ought to please long-time fans: I intend to write an essay on what it is about the Hulk that draws me to write about him so much, and post it during the 'thon. I've been mulling it over in my head for some time now, and I think it's about ready to come out of the pot. (Note to new readers: I have always envisioned my idea factory as a giant, bubbling cauldron, much like a witch's brew. When a certain story or essay idea is done percolating in my subconscious, it floats to the top of the cauldron. Those tend to to be my best work.)

So go ahead and challenge me with twelve more topic ideas. I need to write 49 posts. It is an untruth that there are 48 posts in 24 hours. There are 49, because the first post is at 9 a.m., and the last is at 9 a.m. the next day. Count 'em. Forty-nine. And Cat said I can't kick off a half-hour early, and she also said they never said anywhere officially that there are only 48 posts, thus skillfully evading both my accusation of untruth in advertising and my annoying post from last year (read post 47, near the top of the page).

Funny search requests

Got some real doozies this time around.

nude pictures of the olsen twins that wouldn't be web restricted: This is YOUR fault, Michele. Your fault. You had to start spreading filthy lies, didn't you? You made me talk about your fixation with the Olsen twins, and now look! Now look! (And how sick is that request, anyway? I mean, ew. The whole friggin' nation saw them grow up. They're like, everyone's annoying kid sisters. Ew. Ew. Ew.)

easter island cultural faux pas: I'm guessing, "Hey, dudes, those are some big ugly heads y'all have on this Island," is one.

find deathdate: Okay. One question: Why? I mean, really, this is the sort of thing I'd much rather be surprised with. You know, like, wake up one morning, go through your day, and then hear, "Surprise! It's your turn today!" from the Angel of Death. Much better than finding out today that my deathday would be, oh, April 16, 2020. Because then I'd know. I'd start obsessing about only having 17 years left. Which would totally suck, actually, as I'm rather counting on hanging on through my 90s if I'm healthy. I didn't quit smoking so I can die young, y'know. Damn, I wouldn't even be old enough for Social Security. Now that would suck.

ode to a hummingbird: Look, I wrote it in sixth grade, and I said I wasn't going to reveal more than the first line. Damn you all, how did you track it down? How?

pictures of muslim holocaust: You won't be finding any. There was none. Idiot.

most satisfied toupee wearers: It's simply begging for us to complete the sentence, isn't it? Go ahead, send me emails, I'll publish them. I'll start: Most satisfied toupee wearers don't conduct searches on the Internet; get yourself a better rug, dude.

hulk.bin: Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. dO0d!1!11

suicide bomber animated gif: What every jihadi website needs.

tolkien tattoos: Are you trying to tell us something, Andrea? Should we start a pool on which one she'd get? (My money's on Frodo, with the sword, over Gollum.)

And that's all for now. Tune in next time, when I'm sure the word t-e-s-t and most of the letters in icicle show up in many, many searches, thanks to that funky MacBeth.

Terrorist Sympathizer Watch

A reader emailed me about this supposed "news" cartoon story published in the New York Times. I couldn't quite wrap my head around what to say, but Dave Sax does, in this comment at LGF.

I disagree that Sacco is portraying these people as victims of both sides. If you'll notice, he says (to paraphrase) the IDF operations "have succeeded in driving a wedge between the Palestinians and the militants. Though Palestinians here support the resistance in general, I've heard the gunmen called useless colaborators, because their ineffective attacks invite a crushing Israeli response."

The REALITY is, Palestinian gunmen are far from "ineffective". They recently murdered a toddler who was sitting in a car with her father - and that is one of just many examples of gunmen murdering Israelis . And he frames Palestinians' anger at gunmen in terms of the gunmen NOT BEING SUCCESSFUL ENOUGH, and provoking an Israeli response that is dispraportionate to said "ineffective" gunmen.

So, the Israelis are heartlessly waging a war against little bands of Palestinians that really aren't a threat to Israel in the first place.


I say he's putting ALL the blame on the Israelis, showing that the Israelis intentionally sew seeds of discourse by turning Palestinians against each other. (He practically says as much on the next panel).

On a similar note, Stefan Sharkansky takes issue with an editorial in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which says the Israeli investigation which concluded that Rachel Corrie's death was accidental "could" be accurate, and then insists they've seen evidence to the contrary.

That is a ridiculous answer. They do not tell us (let alone show us) which photos they're talking about and give no factual basis for the claim that these photos inculpate the bulldozer driver. By the same specious reasoning one could point to this photograph of P-I editorial page editor Mark Trahant, who is responsible for the unsigned editorial at issue:

One could say "Mark Trahant might not be a peeping tom, but we have seen photos which seem to suggest otherwise. We welcome a thorough investigation so he can clear his name. That's our editorial opinion. You may see the same photos and disagree."

Plenty of outrage to go 'round today, folks.

Male call

Nick S. is objecting to one of my links.

I looked at the naked bodypaint Spiderman. I am *not* looking at a man playing Macbeth with his testes. Is this some sort of stunt to boost donations? ("Donate now, or I will post links that will make you go blind!")

Eric A. sent me this link, but I think it's a poseur. If Galactus doesn't talk like a walking thesaurus, it ain't Galactus.

Obsession? What obsession? I don't have a Hulk obsession. (Meryl SMASH anyone who say she obsessed!) Philosophical Cowboy, indeed. Cowboy That Needs Smashing, I'd say. Er, no, I wouldn't. Hulk would. Er, no, he wouldn't! Well, he would, but I wouldn't know that. I do not have an obsession with the Hulk. Much.

Given your obsessions, I thought this would interest you.

Follow the link, it's effing hilarious. A little girl won a Hulk doll at a fair and found out what he's really hiding under those purple pants. (Note to Nick: It's safe to look. It's only a toy. A boy toy, actually.)

Update: You so have to go see the picture on the link to the original story. It's hilarious. Well, maybe a bit disturbing, as the Cowboy wrote me, but I laughed out loud.

Alex Bensky had a word or three about the camel story I wrote about last week:

Sounds like a worthwhile program. I expect they'll have some starting problems but should be over the hump soon. Now it'll be safer if you want to go out at night and walk a camel for a mile.

And once again, I'd like to thank everyone who had suggestions on how to fix my keyboard, but I think I've finally figured it out myself. Every time the six and dash and home and delete and F2 keys stop working (which I nearly always find out because I'm trying to type a dash or delete something, pressing down firmly (the keyboard equivalent of whupping it upside the head) seems to work. For now.

I wonder if I'm going to be holding this thing together with string and chewing gum someday. Oh, well. But look: 6-6-6-6-6-6-6-6-6-6... wow, it's tough to stop once you get started.

Blogathon update

More thanks to Leslie S., Me_echo, Starhawk, A. Karpel, LT Smash, Anonymous, Idomoggie, Michael L., Flinn, Meryl Evans (my name-twin), and a big thanks to an anonymous donor who sent a huge check in the Blogathon's name to Magen David Adom.

Okay. Let's talk statistics here. It's been four days, and I've got seventeen sponsors in that time. Also during that time, I've had about 5,000 visitors, maybe 60% of which are unique. (Using the advanced math I learned in high school, that leaves about 2,883 visitors who did not donate.)

Somebody's not contributing to the Blogathon. I know a bunch of you are waiting for the day of the Blogathon itself, and that's fine. I know many of you were on a long weekend. But you're back now. It's the busiest day of the week for me. Time to pony up, people. (Oooh, I'm so impatient.)

Here's my call to my "invisibles," those of you who read regularly and don't have a blog, or post comments anywhere, or send me emails. The ones who found this site using a search for "fish heads" or "john edward fraud" or "miss cleo" or "stan lee" or "hulk smash" or "stephen speaks passenger lyrics" and who stayed because you liked what you read. You folks are the ones that are going to make the difference in our drive to get enough money to buy an ambulance for Magen David Adom. The chai donation is $18, which is two dollars less than Andrew Sullivan asked from his users to pay for his time and effort on his site. (And by the way, I'm a lot funnier than Andrew. He doesn't even have any Hulk posts.)

I'm not asking for a salary. I'm only asking for money for a good cause: The Ilan Ramon Ambulance (oh, did I forget to tell you that Lair wants to dedicate it to the Israeli Astronaut who died on the space shuttle?).

If you don't want to do the whole Blogathon pledge thing, you can still contribute directly to Magen David Adom. Put the word "Blogathon" in the comments field of the online donation form, and your donation will count towards the ambulance. I don't care if you do it that way and don't bother with the Blogathon pledge page at all. You can drop me an email if you like, and I'll keep the tally below the numbers, as I'm doing with Anonymous Donor's Large Donation. And if you don't want to do anything that allows me to know you're sending in money, you can send a check to the attention of Gary Kenzer at Magen David Adom, put "Blogathon" in the memo field, and he'll credit it to the ambulance fund.

If any of you are hesitating because you can't decide who to contribute to, Michele, Lair, or me, don't sweat it. We don't care. It's not a contest. We are a team, working toward the same goal. Pick one, and the other two won't mind.

You folks have been very, very generous so far, and I thank you all for it. We've already gotten pledges for only $98 less than the entire amount pledged last year—and it's only been a few days.

You know, when you take that statistic, I'm very heartened about raising the entire amount. Besides, my readers rock. This is a known fact.

The Holocaust, uncovered—again

Bigwig is creating an internet testimony to the Holocaust, using photographs found at the bottom of a filing cabinet. He has been posting these photographs daily. Today's are of Schwarzenfeld, a town that seems to have been overlooked.

For the victims of Gardelegen, there is at least some remembrance. It's a different matter entirely when it comes to those murdered at Schwarzenfeld There's nothing on the Net about the Schwarzenfeld graves, and the Holocaust survivor memoirs I've found mentioning the town only do so in passing.

The Ohrdruf pictures posted earlier may have been unseen for sixty years, but they at least depicted scenes that were known from other photographs, scenes that anyone with interest and a browser could have found.

No such pictures exist on the Net of the Schwarzenfeld killings, or of the camp at Schwabmunchen, the subject of the next post in this series. The mere mention of either is almost as scarce.

Which is the whole point of these posts. In the years to come, information not on the Net might was well not exist. There may be more information about the deaths at Schwarzenfeld available offline, though I haven't found it in any of the libraries at UNC, and if it was important to anyone, it would have been posted long ago.

A few hundred dead in one small German town is just a drop in the ocean of millions that died in World War II, but their deaths deserve what memory we can give them nonetheless.

The posts have been collected here. Many are graphic, as are all photographs of the victims of the Nazis. And they are proof that the Germans knew what they did was so wrong, the heavens should have opened and destroyed them for it. They tried to kill all the prisoners of the camps as the Allied forces approached. Thousands were murdered in those last days and weeks. The guards could have simply fled, but too many of them tried to "hide" the evidence of their brutality. The photos and testimonies Bigwig is publishing are the results of those attempts.

"The Prisoner Beat His Brains Out WIth A Rock" is one such story. Don't worry, there's not a photo of that scene.

Read them all. These events need to be remembered. Read them all, and then you'll see why it enrages me to hear the Israelis are committing "genocide" on the pals, or how Gaza is a "giant concentration camp." Read them all, and remember that the real concentration camps were built to hold and murder Jews. Many others died there, yes—but the majority of the camps were built for Jews.

By the spring of 1942, the Nazis had established six killing centers (death camps) in Poland: Chelmno (Kulmhof), Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Maidanek and Auschwitz. All were located near railway lines so that Jews could be easily transported daily. A vast system of camps (called Lagersystem) supported the death camps. The purpose of these camps varied: some were slave labor camps, some transit camps, others concentration camps and their sub­camps, and still others the notorious death camps. Some camps combined all of these functions or a few of them. All the camps were intolerably brutal.

The major concentration camps were Ravensbruck, Neuengamme, Bergen-Belsen, Sachsenhausen, Gross-Rosen, Buchenwald, Theresienstadt, Flossenburg, Natzweiler-Struthof, Dachau, Mauthausen, Stutthof, and Dora/Nordhausen.

In nearly every country overrun by the Nazis, the Jews were forced to wear badges marking them as Jews, they were rounded up into ghettos or concentration camps and then gradually transported to the killing centers. The death camps were essentially factories for murdering Jews. The Germans shipped thousands of Jews to them each day. Within a few hours of their arrival, the Jews had been stripped of their possessions and valuables, gassed to death, and their bodies burned in specially designed crematoriums. Approximately 3.5 million Jews were murdered in these death camps.

Many healthy, young strong Jews were not killed immediately. The Germans' war effort and the “Final Solution” required a great deal of manpower, so the Germans reserved large pools of Jews for slave labor. These people, imprisoned in concentration and labor camps, were forced to work in German munitions and other factories, such as I.G. Farben and Krupps, and wherever the Nazis needed laborers. They were worked from dawn until dark without adequate food and shelter. Thousands perished, literally worked to death by the Germans and their collaborators.

In the last months of Hitler’s Reich, as the German armies retreated, the Nazis began marching the prisoners still alive in the concentration camps to the territory they still controlled. The Germans forced the starving and sick Jews to walk hundreds of miles. Most died or were shot along the way. About a quarter of a million Jews died on the death marches.

Bigwig is performing a great service by publishing these histories of atrocities. I cannot emphasize enough that you should read them.

Now that's an essay

Dean Esmay on why America is not an Empire:

For those of you who would say that America is an Empire now? Please show me the Empire whose Emperor submits himself to popular election every four years, and is limited to 8 years in power at most. Whose most controversial decisions have to be ratified by a majority of 535 elected legislators--legislators who quite frequently tell him "no," and can overrule him any time they think he's gone too far.

Please show me the Empire where critics of the government, no matter how angry and vitriolic their rhetoric, are allowed simply to continue their insults and provocations because everyone recognizes the fundamental right to express contrary opionions.

Please show me the Empire which, for the price of a week's wages (a few hundred dollars), a few tests which the average 15-year-old could pass, and a couple of years of minor bureucratic hassles, would make you a full-fledged citizen with all the rights and priviledges of any native-born person.

Why this essay wasn't linked as often and as far as Whittle's is beyond me. Dean said what he had to say in exactly 682 words, including the song lyrics. Hats off to you, Dean, for showing bloggers how essay writing should be done.



In other words...

I've forgotten how good Sean Kirby's blog is. Shame on me for not visiting more often.

Scott and Ellen have a wonderful series of pictures and captions on the birth of their daughter Olivia. Go check them out. And a belated congratulations, Scott and Ellen!

Zachary Cohen started a blog called "Exposing the Exposer," which spends its time pissing off Mikey Rivero, unrepentant and unadmitted anti-Semite and Holocaust Denier (they do sort of go together, don't they?). It's a group blog now, and will fill in the hole left by Marduk's European vacation (sigh), although they don't come up to his level of acid wit. (Sorry, guys, he's just better at sarcasm. It's a gift.) On the other hand, the entries alone can be hilarious. I laughed through the one about Arthur Miller accepting an award from Israel. The Mayor of Jerusalem was more than a little annoyed at Miller's criticism of Israel, and took off on a criticism of Miller.

Via AMCGLTD, those Car Talk guys took a poll on the ten worst cars of the Millennium. I am sorry to say that my first car made number two on the list. I was a naive teenager, what can I say?

Gil's back from exams, but he needs some ideas. Gil—hello—can you say "hudna"? I knew you could. Now, can you say "shudna"? Yeah, that's what I'm calling it.

You know, I was going to say this about the road map and the ISM. Now I don't have to.

This is not a contest. It was obviously rigged. Because HULK SMASH SPONGEBOB! HULK SMASH! HULK NO MELT! SMASH! SMASH! (Via Combustible Boy, whom I forgot to put on my links page until now.)

"Gentleman, you may remove your blouses." Yeah, like the man said: Only in the military.

One other thing: In the last couple of weeks, I accidentally lost or deleted some emails that I had earmarked for answering later (note to self: Create a new folder for emails to answer later). If I didn't send you a response, please email me again. There was one in particular whose name I have forgotten—was it an Eric?—that sent me an email that absolutely deserved a response, and I apologize for having deleted it. Please don't think I'm ignoring you. I do try to answer most email, especially from people who have never written to me before. Well, unless you're writing to tell me I'm a jerk. I generally trash those emails (are you listening, PETAns and Indymidiots?).

Sorry about the mix-ups.

All right. I'm done here. Time to get some sleep.

The monkeys are on the Internet

You know that saying that if you put monkeys in front of a typewriter and gave them enough time, they'd come up with Shakespeare? Well, the monkey syndrome is all over the Internet, and I just watched a Quicktime video of some guy performing Macbeth with his testes. No, I am not making that up. No, I cannot believe that I typed that. Yes, I really did watch the video. I had to. I even upgraded my Quicktime to see it, something I've ignored for months. It was like some kind of compulsion. I had to see how on earth he would do it.

See, I kept seeing links to this Wizbang blog being back, and even though I didn't know he was gone, enough of the blogs I read plugged his site that I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. It's all his fault. Blame Kevin. He sent me there. I may forgive him, though, because he has a pretty good blog. I'll bet he didn't watch Macbeth. Most guys decline to look at other guys' equipment, even if it's on a little tiny Quicktime screen (and come to think of it, how bad does that make this guy look, what with size things and all that). I recommend watching it while you're throwing a party and everyone is drunk. It might even be funny by then. When I told Heidi about the site, she said, "But why? why would someone want to do this?"

I have no answer to that question.

By the way, having seen Macbeth on The Site I Refuse To Name For Reasons of Yucky Search Requests Afterward, I'm done. One is all you need to see. You all tell me if I should have watched Thelma & Louise or Jaws instead.

There are some strange, strange people in this world, and apparently, most of them have websites.

Fight! Fight!

You know, I really should be beyond all this, but, well, I'm not. Look at me, a grown woman, Master of Juvenile Scorn.™

Well, over at Doc Weevil's place, Wind Rider is taking on Tacitus and Kevin Drum, which is pretty funny, as they are on the right and left, respectively, so Wind Rider's duking it out with just about everyone. The funniest bit, of course, is where Tacitus accuses Wind Rider of being Bruce Hill.

Now, I could get really lascivious and say that I know Bruce Hill, because I've slept with him, but that wouldn't really be true. I've slept in the same apartment as he, but he was firmly esconced on the sofabed downstairs. (I am not that kind of girl. He didn't even buy me flowers!)

I have not slept with Wind Rider, but we did experience G forces together at Busch Gardens. That's G forces, not G spots, gutter-minds.

And I was at the initial meeting of Wind Rider and Bruce Hill, and there's a picture up on Silent Running to prove it. I took it. I'd tell you which one was which, but I think it deepens the mystery to decline. Murray would have me say that Wind Rider's the good-looking one, but as I'm not Murray, I think they're both good looking. So sorry, Tac, but munch on your words. They're not even twins.

The Fourth at Fort Lee

I spent the late afternoon and evening of the Fourth of July at Fort Lee. Fort Lee is an Army base that has thousands of new recruits at any given time. It's a training center, I think. While we were wandering around the field where they set up the games for the kids and the food for everyone else, two groups of soldiers came marching by chanting their various left-right chants, and getting instructions from their drill sergeants before being dismissed to join the fun for a few minutes and then go sit in the bleachers to the right of the bandstand. They're very young, the new recruits—fresh-faced and fresh out of high school, it seems. But glad for a break from the routine, I'm sure.

I wasn't in Virginia last year for the Fourth, and the year before was pre-9/11. So this was my first time back on an Army base after the attacks. Security was much, much tighter than three years ago. We needed to show photo IDs, and G. was annoyed to find that his usual parking lot was closed off.

Just before dusk, I did a circuit of the track to see the rest of the booths, and wound up in front of the bleachers filled with soldiers. It was an odd feeling, looking at those children and realizing that many of them could soon be in Iraq. One of the soldiers who was killed recently was nineteen years old. Nineteen. It made me remember this passage from Harpo Marx's autobiography, Harpo Speaks!, on entertaining the troops in WWII:

...for us on stage, it was also a time of deep heartbreak. I used to look out at the seas of young faces, with laughter rippling across them like sunshine, and marvel that any of them could even crack a smile, knowing what they were going through and what they were headed for. In my mind I saw them as thousands of Billies—not as the men they were but as the kids they had been just ten or fifteen years ago, hoping that Daddy would keep on playing and making funny faces and bedtime would never come.

Granted, Iraq is not as dangerous as, say, heading to Guadalcanal or the beaches of Normandy. But the risk is there, even, as we learned to our regret, to those that man the supply lines.

Looking into the bleachers at that sea of people in uniform, I wished I'd had my camera with me at that moment. Maybe next year.

Then again, maybe next year, we'll be done with Iraq and the rest of the hot spots.

Nah, I don't really believe that, either. But I tip my hat to those who serve.

Europeans move against anti-Semitism—sorta

Well, I guess I'm going to have to eat my words from yesterday. Apparently, Europe is doing something about the rising tide of anti-Semitism in its midst.

Meeting in Rotterdam, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe adopted a resolution urging governments to enact laws forbidding hate crimes, educate youth against racism and anti-Semitism, and train police to recognize and respond to hate crimes.

But how can this be? Just a short time ago, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana told members of the United States Congress that there is no anti-Semitism in Europe. What made them change their minds?

The resolution, introduced by U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, said disaffection with Israeli government policies toward the Palestinians was being used as a cover for anti-Semitism. "Anti-Semitism can't be allowed to camouflage, cloak or conceal its ugliness as mere policy differences with the State of Israel," Smith told 300 delegates.

Oh. It was introduced by an American. I see. Say, what is this OSCE thing, anyway?

The OSCE is the world's largest regional security organization with 55 member nations from Europe, as well as the United States, Canada, Russia, and a number of central Asian countries.

So what does it do?

Lawmakers from around Europe resolved Sunday to lobby their home legislatures to take action against rising anti-Semitism and hate crimes.

Ah. They urge. They resolve. They adopt resolutions.

Hoo-wee, that's going to deter the haters in Europe to stop going after Jews. Look out, a resolution has been adopted!

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, which tracks anti-Semitism, says attacks against Jews in Europe have reached the highest level since World War II. Since 2001, the center has documented 1,300 anti-Semitic acts in France, including the stabbing of a rabbi in Paris early this year, and the brutal beating of two Jewish boys in March.

Yeah, we know. That's why French emigration to Israel is up to the highest level it's been in years. Nice try, Mr. Smith, but a Band-Aid won't do squat on a wound that requires stitches.



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.