Another letter, from Brandon, regarding International Eat an Animal for PETA day:
And my response:
Come to think of it, though, you might not want to invite your vegetarian friends over, Brandon. It might piss them off. Don't lose friends over the campaign. permalink
It wasn't my fault that posting was light today. I was held hostage today by a nine-year-old.
Friday is my weekly dinner with Heidi and family, and since Sorena was playing hooky from school, I was inspired to play hooky from synagogue, and also to pack a bag in case I felt like having wine with dinner and cocktails at ten, thus forcing me to spend the night, which, well, I did. The plans for today were to join Heidi and Sorena for archery, which Sorena is trying out to see if she wants to join the club, then Heidi goes off to work, Sorena and I go to lunch, and then I take her home.
Well, three o'clock turned into five o'clock turned into seven o'clock, and she'd be here yet if I didn't have to teach tomorrow.
My time with Heidi and Sorena keeps on seeming to go in waves. On Thursday, I joined them at the Carpenter Center for a performance of the Sinfonietta, the Richmond string orchestra for children, along with the various other youth orchestras as well as members of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. Sorena and the Sinfonietta went first, performing"Great Gates of Kiev" from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. It was wonderful. Later, Sorena read a letter to music teachers (the night was "Music Education Recognition Night" and honored teachers), for which she had tried out and won the job over the rest of the kids in Sinfonietta. For a nine-year-old, she was quite poised and read beautifully. She's been reading since she was three. Mind you, she'd never read aloud to me when I asked her. Too shy in front of me, but complaining to her mother that the house wasn't full Thursday night and she was disappointed. Go figure. Anyway, here's a picture of her practicing the cello. This picture in no way depicts an actual practice, which is filled with high drama, tension, laughter, and sometimes tears. But she's turning into quite a good musician, all the more so because she's only nine.
Friday was the dinner, and then today after archery, we spent the afternoon at the two playgrounds in my apartment complex and watching various Nickelodeon cartoons. When I finally took her home, we were discussing my addiction to the unfortunately named "Everlasting Gobstoppers," formerly known as jawbreakers. I told her I have to give them up soon, as I need to lose weight. She was stunned. The conversation went something like this:
"Well, I need to go on a diet. I'm at my high weight again."
You can see why we spent four more hours together than I'd planned. It's that unconditional love thing. Well, that and actually getting on a see-saw again after God only knows how many years. They're a lot flimsier than they used to be. But still rather fun. permalink
If you're not reading Dixie Flatline, you're missing a hilarious new blog. Here are just a few quotes:
DF, here's a hint: Put up separate blogs when you've got all those separate thoughts. It's kinda tough to link to anything specific. Then again, there's at least one monitor-ruining thought per section, so they're all worth reading.
Lynn B. went back in time to the mid 1930s, and found newspaper clippings that could have been written today.
Have I mentioned yet that Shanti moved? Well, my part-blogdaughter took her other blogmother in (poor Diane was shivering in the cold NYC winter), and now Letter From Gotham is over there, too. It's ratherpinkish.
Laura's done her first fisking. Awww. It's so nice to see our little girls grow up. It's on an op-ed from Newsday by a Muslim who complains that just because he used to be pals with Osama bin Laden, we think of him as a terrorist. Poor, misunderstood man. permalink
Here's the choice for this afternoon: Soap operas or the speeches at the United Nations. On the one side, you have love, hate, jealousy, deception, heroes, villains, betrayal, self-interest, and changing allegiances.
On the other side, you've got Days of Our Lives. permalink
Hey, look who's back! It's David Foster Wallace (but not the author):
Here we go again. So, what, it's Israel's fault that the Pals are murdering homosexuals? Once again, you zero in on the anti-Israeli side of the story, and completely ignore where the responsibility truly lies: With the Pals. They are both murdering men for the "crime" of being gay, and declaring them collaborators as some sick way of justifying it. This is supposed to be an anti-Israel slant because the Israelis are deporting Pals illegally in the country?
By the way, did you even notice the part of the article that says Israeli civil rights groupsIsraeli civil rights groupsare petitioning the courts to prevent this very thing from happening? Where is a similar effort on the side of the Pals? What's that? I can't hear you.
Sorry, no matter which way you turn this topic, the blame still falls on the Pals' practice of murdering homosexuals. Homosexuality isn't a capital crime on the Israeli side of the Green Line.
Oh, and I invoke Godwin's law. Phew, that was a quick leap to comparing Israel with Nazi Germany. It practically gave me whiplash. Try a new analogy next time.
Is that so? Tell it to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Turkey, Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, France, England, Irelandhell, any state in the worldwhich is probably all of themwhose borders have been changed for any reason. Ireland and Wales both have bunches of people who want to withdraw from the U.K. (Especially take note of the origins of both Jordan and Saudi Arabia. See "Ottoman Empire, end of.")
Nation-states are malleable things. We have not yet reached the era when a border is inviolable, although some Euros would like to believe we have. It may never happen. You're going to see a lot of borders change over the next few decades, I thinkstarting in the Middle East.
Once again, your grasp of concepts leaves much to be desired. If a right means nobody can decide whether you have it or not, how is it that some countries have no freedom of expression, which is regarded as a right in the United States?
Dictionary.com says it's "something that is due to a person or governmental body by law, tradition, or nature." See, there's where the problems come in. Our Founders thought that we have certain unalienable rights, and I do agree with them. But I also think that a group of terrorists doesn't deserve the same treatmentand certainly not the same rightsas, say, a group of people victimized by a tyrannical government (read: Iraq). Not until they put down their weapons of terror and treat peacefully.
States aren't usually given. You're right about that. They're generally taken by force, or granted to others by those that own the land, or, in one particular case, ceded to the United Nations and then given to those that were forcibly removed from the land generations ago.
By the way, you've got one hell of a memory. I searched my entire site and found only one other reference to Antarctica. Does two count as recurrent, or does Macromedia need to fix their search engine? Or are you keeping track? Interesting, the things you choose to notice.
*(Longtime DOOL fans will get the reference. It was Tom Horton's nom de plume as a beat poet.) permalink
Of course, there's an anti-Israel slant to it. This is the BBC.
But look how the Pals spin this one. Homosexuals are collaborators. That's a new one on me.
These are the Pals, Israel's would-be partners in peace, the people to whom the world wants to give a state. These are the people that American gays and lesbians gladly support in anti-war and anti-Israel marches. Wake up, people. It isn't Israel that's murdering homosexuals. It's the Pals giving out virtual pink triangles. permalink
Hey, the French word for "permalink" is "permalien." In English, that looks like a shortening of "permanent alien."
Some of you are asking in email how eating meat by people who would normally eat meat that day is any different. Two things: You weren't paying attention, but I'll repeat the reasoning. PETA wants us to stop eating meat, or eat less meat. We're going to eat the same amount, or more, on our day of protest against the insensitivity and offensiveness of their "Holocaust on your plate" ad campaign. In Moe Howard terms, it's a great big finger in the eye to PETA. In less delicate terms, it's a one-finger salute to PETA.
Ronnie Schreiber sent this excellent letter yesterday:
And when you read their website, you find that they don't really have the backing of Holocaust survivors at all. It's just another set of lies by the animal-rights overactivists, fruitcake department. permalink
I wasn't going to post again tonight, because, well, I'm tired and brain-dead. But then Mac pointed me to Andrew, who is blogging again, and this paragraph about Brit Hume nearly killed me. (Andrew, do Tony Snow, please? Are his eyebrows welded to his face or what?)
His Noam Chomsky is priceless as well:
Do you know, Andrew is the only person capable of making me rethink my views on war with Iraq? Not his funny posts. His serious ones. Although his funny ones can make some pretty serious points:
It's The Nation vs. National Review in the new "who's crazier?" contest. Only Andrew could think that one up, and pull it off so well. permalink
I was looking around Reuters for their usual anti-Israel slant on the bombing, and decided not to irk myself. Instead, I was reading this story about the dustup between Iraq and Kuwait at the Islamic summit yesterday (and I would still pay money to see the video, with subtitles).
You know, that insult has a certain rhythm to it. Read it. Hold it in your head:
Then think of this:
Perhaps the Iraqi delegate is a Pink Floyd fan. Who knew? permalink
Imshin summarizes the numbers of thwarted terrorist attacks in February. You know, the ones that were thwarted during the "lull" between attacksfrom today to two months ago.
There are links, but they're in Hebrew, and mine is nowhere near reading level yet. 57 terrorist attacks in 28 days. What other nation on earth has to put up with this kind of horror?
Give them a state? Sure. Put it in Antarctica. permalink
Again, from Imshin:
Steven Martinovich received a reply from PETA that is disingenuous and wrong-headed at best, and filled with lies at worst. Below are some excerpts:
I'm Jewish, he's Jewish, we're not offended, therefore you shouldn't be, either. Well, I'm Jewish, and so are a lot of my correspondents, and we're offended. The logic of this argument is, well, bushwa. And the appeal to authority isn't working on me, either. Name the philanthropist so I can send him letters, too.
I'm missing something here. Singer wasn't a Holocaust survivor, but he became a vegetarian as a result of what he lived through and what he saw? He emigrated to the U.S. before the Holocaust. So, life in America horrified him so much he became a vegetarian as a result? Flirting with the truth here again. And, um, if your concept originated with Singer, how did you manage that one? He's been dead for 13 years.
Here, however, is the most untruthful paragraph. (Warning: Graphic pictures of the Holocaust are on their site.)
When you read the page, you find the words of one Holocaust survivor. One. You have the words of relatives of those who died in the Holocaust, or children of survivors, but only a direct quote from one Holocaust survivor. Contrast that with the words "read what many Holocaust survivors and their families have said."
There are eight quotes. One is from a survivor, one is from Singer, one is from the author of a book about the Holocaust, one is from the teaching guidelines for the United States Holocaust Museum. Hell, two of the quotes on that page are by officers from other animal rights organizations. And yet, the letter would have you believe there is testament after testament by survivors of the Nazi death camps. Lies. Lies, lies, lies, and more lies in the PETA response.
Check it out. They have a site called "veganpr0n.com." (Well, it's actually named the non-anti-pr0n-hits way, but I really don't need those kind of hits, thanks.) What, are they so lame they have to put pr0n in their domain title so they can get a lot of one-handed hits?
By the way, you know you're getting to them when they start calling you names. Sling away, folks. But be sad about having to call me names. It's really convincing. Especially when you don't so much as bring up the topic that is so offensive to me and so many others: The misuse of Holocaust terms and imagery in PETA's latest ad campaign. Shows me how much you're intellectually invested in this issue. Which is to say: Not at all.
By the way, the author of the summary seems to be unable to get the point of eating meat even by people who would normally eat meat that day: PETA wants us to eat less meat. We're going to eat more or the same amount. I thought the point was rather simple, myself. permalink
Arthur Silber has a report on the Animal Liberation Front's activities, and how much they cost consumersnot to mention the lives they put at risk.
Steve Martinovitch got a reply from PETA. The response is, well, filled with lies. More to come on this one tomorrow.
Richard Bennett suggests buying sides of beef, and has the links for those of you who have big freezers.
It's been a full day, and I won't be getting to the letters about the Pope until tomorrow.
Bill Cimino really does have a hot tub. Whether or not I actually get to use it this time around is up in the air. It's that two-hour drive back to RichmondI have to teach class the next day. But I think I've found company for the ride, from a reader in Petersburg. Phew. permalink
Well, I wasn't going to post until after class and tutoring and dinner and Buffy, but then Bill Cimino had to go and email me about this:
A hot tub? Like, I should bring my bathing suit? Hm. Okay, the digital cameras will be confiscated at the door. Sure, call something like this when I'm at my peak winter weight. (Where's that Gazelle Glider? I'd better put it back together and get going!) permalink
I love today's date. It's the only day of the year that can be used as a sentence. It's an incomplete sentence, of course, but hey, this 'Murricathe nation that gave you "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should." The nation which, when our English teachers rose up as one and said that was an ungrammatical sentence (it should be "as a cigarette should") ((this was the 1960s, hold the tobacco-is-evil outrage, please)), had a typical Madison Avenue reply. The next ad campaign from Winston was, "What do you wantgood grammar, or good taste?"
I kid you not.
Anyway. I know there are lots of letters out there to get to, and I'll get to them soon, but Tuesdays are my short days. I have to go teach my class how to be good Jews. In fact, I shall teach them to march forth! Yep. And it's a beautiful day out, so they can have an outdoor recess.
So, I'll get to one batch of letters, and then it's time for lesson plans and teaching the kids. I shall march forth this afternoon.
I really love today's date. permalink
Well, since you brought it up, Steven, yes, I definitely support the war in Iraq. And I'd heard of the The Lysistrata Project via Doc Weevil. But you also bring up an interesting myth, that of the myth of sisterhood. Well, except it's not exactly a myth, but it is certainly highly overestimated.
While it is true that most women bond better with other women, I have long maintained that middle-class female liberalsespecially upper middle-classhaven't got a clue about the way things really are, and are also in denial about the competition between women of their own class. (There have been many interesting articles and some books written on this topic, which you can go Google for yourselves, as I've had quite enough of researching for the day.)
For instance, those women have no idea what the working stiff world is like. I started life in a blue-collar working family. Dad drove a truck or hauled barrels for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer for more than thirty years.
You know those fights you see on Springer and those talk shows? Yeah, they're exaggerated, or set up, but they're not far from what really happens in a working class bar on a Saturday night. I used to go to Cryan's in Irvington, NJ, way back when. My best friend lived and grew up in Irvington, a working-class town next to Newark, and I'd spent six of my formative years there. The people we hung with at that time went to Cryan's. There was never a night without at least one fight between two women, always over one of them trying to make time with the other's boyfriend. And when I say fight, I mean outside-the-bar, knockdown-dragout, crowd standing around cheering kind of fight.
There wasn't any feeling of sisterhood between the two battling over the boys. And there was no feeling of sisterhood between rival groups of girls in high school and, sadly, beyond. MJ and I had our run-ins with a girl from her high school who simply disliked her, and never really cared to give us a reason. We thought for sure she'd grow out of it once high school was over, but nope. Rosemary kept up her animosity for years. It made for interesting trips through the local watering holes, although most of our altercations with her ended in the empty-threat kind. (MJ's father was a town politician and had a lot of influence, which everyone in town knew.)
An aside: One of the reasons I loathed "Good Will Hunting" was because a story about Boston's tough working class written by two middle-class poseurs rang so false it made me want to beat them up. But I digress.
So The Lysistrata Project is probably just a feel-good thing for a bunch of misguided women, and adds yet another nail to the loony left's coffinand keeps me firmly on the side of people like Diane E. and Lynn B., who also support the war, and who are part of my blog sisterhood. Which really does exist. (Okay, you can insert an ascii grin there for me.) permalink
Well, a catblog and a kidblog. First, the catblog: Gracie generally sleeps on my bed, in the bedroom upstairs. But cats have phenomenal hearing, and she's a light sleeper. When she hears me brushing Tigyes, I said brushing Tig, even if he's not making a soundshe wakes up and comes downstairs for her turn with the brush.
Today, I decided to give them a treat: Tunafish. I took the can out of the fridge, started opening it, and called "Gracie," and before I finished her name, she was downstairs meowing. I think the sound of my taking the can out of the refrigerator woke her up. Amazing.
Anyway, here's a shot of Gracie at the patio door, trying to get my attention so she can come inside.
More often than not, that scene is accompanied by frantic mewing. You'd think she thought I was never going to open the door for her ever again or something.
Kids say the darnedest things, but we knew that.
On Sunday, during the afternoon music and prayer-learning session, I addressed the assembled kids and told them that I was the editor of the Update, our synagogue newsletter, and that I'd like to run a column from the young people in the congregation and call it "I've Got Something To Say." I told them there would be a 500 word limit on entries, and the director of education hurriedly said that was a maximum. Which relieved Jeremy, a third-grader, no end. But he wanted to know if there was a minimum number of words. I thought it over and told him yes, I'd require at least 100 words from the youngest children. We broke up shortly after, and one of my fourth-graders walked up to me on the way back to class. "Miss Yourish," he asked, "what if you only have 99 words?"
Sometimes, I forget how literal kids can be. I told Aaron that I'd accept a column that only had 99 words. He thought that was just great. permalink
I've got a few facts for you, Jesse.
The Vatican did not establish full diplomatic relations with Israel until 1997, nearly fifty years after Israel's birth.
The Pope said that Israel was "desecrating Christian holy sites" when the IDF surrounded the Church of Nativity during its takeover by Palestinian terrorists, yet didn't mention later how the church really was desecratedby those selfsame terrorists.
When Kurt Waldheim's Nazi past was revealed, the Pope didn't let that stop him from honoring the man that no one else in the world would meet with.
The Vatican signed an accord with the Palestinians condemning any "unilateral action" on Jerusalem by Israel. No such accord was signed with Israel when Jordan ruled Jerusalem, threw out all the Jews, forbade Jews to visit the Western Wall, and descrated Jewish holy sites and graveyards.
Yeah, he issued a document condemning the Holocaust. But it took a long time, said some things that made you wonder if he really meant it, and didn't stop him from allowing crosses to spring up over Jewish remains in Auschwitz, or the beatification of Edith Stein, or other acts that show he doesn't really seem to give a damn about what Jews think.
Here's the thing: After centuries of bigotry, hostility, and murder of Jews by Catholics (among others), we tend to be extremely suspicious of the Church, and adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Some scholars argue that Christianityparticularly Catholicismis the glue that held anti-Semitism together over the centuries. Even today, in the 21st century, we hear cries of "Christ-killers," and not just from laymen.
I am all for interfaith relationships. I especially would like to see the various Christian denominations get along with Jews. But you don't turn around centuries of institutionalized bigotry in a few years. Glenn Reynolds is right to call those actions anti-Semitic. No, Jesse, not every criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. You're right about that. And maybe the Pope didn't intend for any of the above to be seen as anti-Jewish or anti-Israel.
And yet... Embracing Kurt Waldheim? Giving him one of Catholicism's highest honors? Issuing statement after statement in support of the Palestinians while also issuing statements against Israeli actions?
And then there's that little thing about refusing diplomatic relations with Israel for the first 49 years of her existence. Huh. Go figure. It almost makes you think the Vatican has something against Jews.
*Update: It occurs to me that I need to add a postscript to my Catholic readers. I honestly don't think that most people, particularly Catholics, are anti-Semitic. Two of my closest friends were Polish Catholics. But actions are actions, and thus, the above post. permalink
Last week, my rabbi sent out an email alert: David Duke was planning to speak at the Sheraton in Richmond, his feeble last hurrah before going to prison to serve a sentence on tax evasion and fraud charges. Should we protest or ignore the jerk is what my rabbi wanted to know. I said if we show up, let's bring signs wishing him fun in prison and accusing him of tax fraud, certain to get his gall more than objections to his anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant bigotry.
Turns out we couldn't have done more than add insult to injury. Read this article in the Forward, it's absolutely hilarious in parts.
But they didn't have to. They swallowed their "white pride" and patronized Jay Patel's Quality Inn (click on the Ashland link for a photo). No offense to Quality Inn, but could that setting be more pathetic? Yes, it could. Because it irked them to pay money to an Indian-managed establishment:
Schadenfreude. It's a word I'm beginning to relish. permalink
Shortly after I posted the below, I received this letter from Leah:
Yes, some of the people I link to go a bit farther than I would, and I haven't been posting all of the email I've gotten for that reason. But humor is subjective. One person's joke is another person's shockingly unfunny statement. I link to Lair Simon on a regular basis. Lair offends everyone from time to time, including me. When I find him being particularly tasteless, I say nothing and move on. I've got to be really and truly offended by somethinglike, say, the PETA "Holocaust on your plate" campaignbefore I'll do something like, say, start an International Eat An Animal For PETA day.
I really don't think Fred was serious about hurting a live animal for that recipe, or that the people in his comments really want to eat a spotted owl. The people suggesting veal for dinner on the 15th are making that suggestion in part because veal is the poster child for PETA's food animal cruelty campaigns. (For the record, I rarely eat veal, partly out of a sense of guilt, and partly because it's so expensive. I have a practical guilty conscience.) The thing is, people tend to exaggerate given half the chance, and PETA has given us more than half a chance. This campaign simply begs for the same kind of outrageousness, but I don't really believe that anyone is going to go out and be deliberately cruel to animals because of it.
While I appreciate your point of view, Leah, and agree that some of the jokes are tasteless or cruel, fair warning: I'll probably be linking to more people with the same sentiments.
Here's a link you'll probably like: Megan McArdle, a vegetarian, is joining the campaign, but not in the way you think. In fact, Megan's essay is pretty close to what I think about animal cruelty. PETA has no chance of getting my help with any of their campaigns due to their utter offensiveness and stupidity. Now, if Megan started an anti-cruelty campaign, I'd be on board in a minute, with checkbook in hand. You'd think PETA would get a clue. permalink
Some really good ideas coming down the pike. CJ says:
Now there's an idea. Wind Rider, our agent in the area, should be able to scout out the grounds and let us know if that's a possibility.
Cold weather? Nah. This is Virginia. In spite of our lousy weather so far this winter, it's March. That means the warm weather should be here to stay. It's 47 degrees outside right now (11:30 a.m.), and was quite nice yesterday.
Okay, Norfolk bloggers and readers: Send me an email if you're within spitting distance of PETA and would like to, well, spit at them. Figuratively speaking, of course.
Alex Bensky has a few fowl words for us:
In point of fact, I'm a f*cking straight, but thanks for asking. permalink
A week and a half ago, I was wondering why some MSN group had 100-plus hits in my referrers list. That would be because someone swiped an entire post, picture and all, and put it on one of those group message boards. Okay, it was attributed and even linked back, but peopletry to understand this: When you link to a graphic directly on my site, you are stealing my bandwidth. I'm paying for that. Not you. You are effectively putting your hand in my pocketbook and stealing from my wallet.
Kindly send people here to read my posts, and don't link to the pictures on my server.
Don't make me come over there. permalink
I am in awe of LiveJournal. One person put the anti-PETA protest post on her or his website, and thanks to the LiveJournal friends option, a large percentage of my referrers are from various LiveJournal sites. This is what Rebecca Blood meant when she wrote about communities in her weblog book. It may not be as high and fast as an Instalink, but my money is on the staying power of this network. The message is going out like the ripples from a stone thrown in the center of a pond.
Kathy Kinsley, one of the Bellicose Broads Brigade (hi, MommaBear!) has big bird plans for the day:
Can't get any decent kosher veal down here. It'll have to wait until I get up to NJ for the holidays. But I'll be quite happy with my steak over in the Tidewater. (Any bloggers in the Norfolk area, email me and we'll see about meeting up with Wind Rider for dinner that night.) permalink
Definitely worth reading the whole thing. permalink
Time to open the mailbag. It seems the anti-PETA campaign is flexing its chops (yes, there will be many bad meat-related puns for the next two weeks; feel free to chime in with your wurst). Michele of A Small Victory has signed on, as has Dean Esmay, Arthur Silber, the Bellicose Broads Brigade (as my dad would say), Emperor Misha, D.C. Thornton, and a slew of LiveJournal weblogs (just lovin' the cat story I found via Eleanor).
By the way, you don't have to eat just beef. Meat is what we're talking about, plus fish, plus seafood (eww, little crawly things like shrimp), as well as beef, lamb, veal, ordare I say it on this weblog?pork.
To the letters. Buck says:
Point taken, thus the addition of veal to the above list. April writes:
Glenn, look at thatApril's a two-fer, and has a good idea. Donate blood, and then replenish yourself with a great big dinner made from animals!
Jeff L. is going to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn for dinner that night. Mmmmm. Luger's. Well, maybe next time I'm up in NJ I can find the time fornah, I'd rather go to Katz's.
Keep those cards and letters coming. I'll be back later with a picture of the kosher rib steak I picked up for dinner. (Mmmmm. Rib steak.) Pre-cooked, of course. permalink
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.