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One last post before I go

I'll be heading out shortly to pick up CJ and go over to Norfolk for our evening of fun, protest, and eating tasty animals to show PETA how little we care for their offensive ad campaign that started all this.

However, I've got one last email before I go. It's from Lair Simon, who's having a bit of posting trouble:

Might want to let people know that Bac-o's do not contain meat. Reading the label right now and:


So if anyone is trying to cheap out and just eat a handful of Bac-o's, they are SOL.

I'll write a letter to General Mills feedback asking why they don't have any meat in them in a bit.

So, like, are they kosher then?

Ruh-roh! Rooby-roo writes readline rat Roogle!

Couldn't resist sharing this with you all. Look at the headline.

Ruh-roh! Roogle rewed rup!

Typos. As a former typesetter, copy editor, and proofreader, I feel their pain. However, that doesn't stop me from making fun of bad proofreading. [snicker]

We're number one

This week's archive page comes up first in a Yahoo search for "free sex pics woman and grills." (Look at the title next to your browser icon at the very top of your window to see why.) Obviously, someone wanted to add their own, er, flavor to International Eat an Animal for PETA day. In the number two spot is a website that does matchmaking for "adult friends." Nice little euphemism for, er, never mind. I can't think of a thing that won't bring the pr0n searches ever closer.

Arthur Silber sounds as excited as I am that the day is finally here. I've got lots of other things to write about, including a response to a discussion about how to criticize neocons (and a great big DUH in advance to Kevin Drum, who will get much, much more from me later).

Why we eat (meat)

There were more than a few letters today—er, yesterday—what with getting linked by Instapundit, the Corner, and Best of the Web (hoo-baby, a triple play!). Sitemeter is just shy of 9600 visits at midnight, which means WebTrends will tell me tomorrow that I had about 12k visitors. Mary writes:

Via your site (via Glenn Reynolds), I followed the link to the "offensive ad campaign" of PETA, and I didn't get any further than the juxtapositioning of the 1) slotted, to-be-slaughtered people and 2) chickens, and the first lines of the opening Singer quotation, when I had to leave the site. What they have done is incredibly insensitive--that's your word; but it's worse--"insensitive" is just a smidgen of what that is. I can't think of a better word, though. There are people alive today whose relatives are in that picture of the (I'm assuming) concentration camp. Do the people who funded and created and o.k.ed the PETA have no idea what those human faces represent? Thank you for cluing me in to this. I am stunned; I am completely at a loss; I cannot imagine what we can do to make them see what they have done. Please keep up the work you're doing. Thank you so much.

It's worse than you think. Elie Wiesel is in the picture of the prisoners in the bunk at Buchenwald; he saw the picture and was stunned that they used it. PETA said in a news article that they weren't even thinking about apologizing to him for it. Plus, they've taken many of the quotes from Jewish organizations and put them on their site, with their "explanation" below. Here's a roundup of negative articles on the campaign.

Proving the international appeal of our campaign, a captain in the Air Force stationed in Saudia Arabia says:

Tomorrow I won't be flying a night sortie in support of the President's War on Terror, so I will be happy to join you at Eating an Animal for PETA. Saturday night is steak night here at Prince Sultan Air Base - and even though it means more of the pestilent French will be in our chow halls than usual, it' something we look forward to. Now we have even more reason to appreciate it. Thanks.

Thank you, Captain. Say, do the French pilots bathe regularly, or is it true that Europeans don't see the need? Hope not, what with the heat of summer coming on. Phew.

Chris writes:

Hey I sent the form email to PETA but got an autoresponder with some crap about some highfalutin Jewish guy being the one who came up with it all. So obviously it gets sent to the circular file.

But I resent it, and rewrote every instance of "Holocaust" in H4x0r$p34k (hackerspeak, or leet speak if you will) and the autoresponder didnt catch it. Of course I also titled the email "Capitalism hurts animals rally - March 15" anyways just thought you might want to put some advice on your form letter so potential email'ers won't get the spam filter.

Okay. If you don't understand hackerspeak, then just don't use the word "Holocaust" in your letter. Call it "PETA's latest ad campaign" or something. But even if it gets routed to an automatic answer, they're getting thousands of offended emails, and they know it. I expect by now my buddy Matt Prescott has read this site, but I've received no letters from him or anyone else at PETA. Too bad. I'd print it here. In its entirety, even.

Admiral Quixote has some more comments:

I saw your comment and I certainly applaud supporting other groups. I think this is a good idea and I also support funding worthy charities. However, you also said "I am also offended and outraged, there is absolutely nothing we can do that will make PETA change their ad campaign."

If enough people follow both of our suggestions (eating an extra animal and wasting PETA's resources), I think they'll think twice about some of their campaigns. Even radical liberals like PETA understand the difference between effective campaigns and non-effective campaigns. Let's make their Holocaust campaign non-effective for them. Of course, I don't believe in unbeatable foes either ;-)

Obviously, you're not from the Chris Claremont school of comic writing. Ooh, where'd that come from? Anyway, you've got some good points.

Darren has a very funny suggestion:

Tell your readers when you go to a Chinese restaurant and order combination fried rice, you can eat FOUR meats all at once (ooooh, ooooh, ouch) --Chicken, Pork (dead Charlotte oink oink), Beef (dead daisy moo moo) and Shrimp! YUMMILICIOUS.

Amy Phillips sent me a long letter on why my response to PETA is wrong, and it's the first time I've read an intelligent argument. It's too long to post and it's late and I'm tired, so I'm linking instead. If you go read, please remember to be polite if you have something to say to Amy. She has the right to disagree, and sent far more than the standard "you suck!" answer. Thanks, Amy.

Michele is meatblogging over at A Small Victory. Start here and then read up.

This post at Buttafly has nothing to do with PETA or eating meat, but it was really funny, and I found it via my referrers, so I'm sharing.



A link, a drink, a slogan or two

Okay, not really a drink, unless you count the Coca-Cola (in the glass bottle, thank you) that is at my right hand. But here are a couple of slogans that Daniel sent:

"Q: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? A: Who cares, they're both delicious!"

"Eat chicken. Piss off PETA. Now that's killing two birds with one stone."

Hope these meet your rigorous slogan standards.

My standards are very rigorous. Slogans can't be obscene.

Admiral Quixote says my campaign doesn't go far enough, and that we need to hit PETA in their pocketbook. I was thinking that rather than make PETA waste resources sending junk mail, a better protest would be contributing money to the ASPCA. A quick run-through of their website shows a few things I may not wholly agree with, but nothing as disgusting as PETA's "Holocaust on your plate" campaign.

It's what's for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch. And snacks.

Brian Chapin has a graphic up that's making me hungry.

You know, reading the discussion boards that post about this really is a hoot. So far, the best the opposing side can come up with is a) I'm a skank b) I suck and c) I'm stupid.

Just once, I'd like to see someone actually argue the merits of why my response to PETA's offensive ad campaign which, let us not forget, compares the killing of food animals with the Nazi slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust, is wrong. Not that I think it is, obviously.

I imagine the reason I'm not seeing an intellectual response is because all true intellectuals realize that PETA is wrong to place animals on an equal footing with humans.

And let me be plain about this: I am wholly against cruelty to animals, and that includes raising them under cruel conditions on factory farms. But if you want my help with your cause, you need a better way than the PETA way.

EAFPD: It's already begun.

Just wanted to point out that it's already Saturday in Australia and New Zealand, and Murray's probably already enjoyed his meals immensely.

As for the rest of you, if you want to meet up in Norfolk, you have to email me and let me know you're coming. We need to make accurate reservations.

What a nice surprise

I slept in this morning, just long enough to hear a delivery truck pull up in front of my building and make me think, "Boy. I never get any presents."

It was a gift off my wish list from Marduk, who writes Babylonian Musings. Thanks so much. I've had a parody of "I'm Still Here" running in the back of my mind for weeks; I'll probably get to it soon.

In the meantime, I get to hear over two hours of Steven Sondheim, the New York Philharmonic, and a great cast of stars. Comden and Green, performing! Elaine Stritch, Mandy Patinkin, George Hearn. Someone's in heaven this morning.



Powell on the record: Occupied Lebanon

Buried near the end of this AP piece is an interesting statement by Colin Powell, testifying in front of the House of Representatives:

On another troubled Mideast front, Powell said he hoped the reduction of Syrian troops in Lebanon "is the beginning of a long draw down that would go to nothing."

"I can't be optimistic about that," Powell said, noting there have been ups and downs over the years in the number of Syrian troops in Lebanon.

So, Powell said, "I cannot tell you whether this is on a path to get down to zero and let Lebanon be ruled by the Lebanese people without the presence of an occupation army."

So now it's in the Congressional Record: Colin Powell agrees with me that Lebanon is a nation occupied by Syria. So, International ANSWER and other peaceniks: When do the protests begin?

Oh, that's all right. I won't hold my breath.

Another poster for EAFPD

And no cute puppies! I think. Not sure what that thing is the elephant is looking at hungrily. It has chicken feet, but not a chicken body. Thanks, Scooter.

Mail call

Oh, my. Lots of letters today, lots of subjects. Some old, some new. First, the old:

I just wanted to let you know that there are devout, conservative Catholics out here who hate anti-Semitism, and whose red-flags are getting triggered by this movie, too. It's not just me - take a look at some of the comments on the following weblog.

Thanks for that. On the same subject, CJ writes:

The debate/discussion you're currently carrying out at your site re "revisionist" New Testament history is fascinating. There are certain historical facts that *have* been verified to a certain extent, but what always irritates me is the way "Christians" ignore the politics of the time. The Pharisees and Sadducees were the Vichy French and Quislings of their day and they didn't want *anyone* poaching on their turf.

To set them up as representative of the Jews as a whole--the Jewish Street, shall we say--is a total crock. It's always been my belief they went to Pilate to handle the "Jesus problem" because they knew if they handled it themselves, they'd have a full-scale revolt on their hands. If that happened, Rome/Pilate would take down all of Judea and they would lose their cushy, government-sanctioned, financially lucrative positions.

Maybe the crowd *was* yelling "We want Barabbas."--a crowd full of the "usual suspects"--the same sort of "useful idiots" who today march around behind A.N.S.W.E.R.'s anti-war protests and claim to represent the "American Street." (They probably even put out an "activists wanted" call in the local first century CNN.) Whether Jesus was the Jewish Messiah or not does not enter into the argument. The powers that be thought he was going to lead a popular revolt against the government and that had to be stopped.

Christians tend to put a "holy glaze" over the past and ignore the fact that human nature plus political/financial gain never changes. We've been told by our priests and ministers *they* understand the scriptures while we're too dumb to know the basics. Bullshit. I don't check my brain at the door of the church. I tend to look at the scriptures--Jewish and Christian--as a road map of human failure and success. And the mere fact both are included strengthens the credibility of the writers. (My favorite example is what happened to Israel when Rehoboam decided to *raise* taxes on the people.) Those who refuse to look at "history" are destined to repeat it.

On the topic of Islam and women's rights, Beth Chaplin writes:

I'm no expert on Islam, and I haven't traveled to Muslim countries, but I wanted to share my point of view:

I have worked for a long time at a research lab at Harvard where we collaborate with Senegal (studying HIV). Many researchers from Senegal have spent time in our school, studying and working. Admittedly, my view of the Senegalese is biased towards those people who happened to have traveled to our lab (and so are highly educated and 'secular'), but I am struck by how different their practice of Islam from the religion that is practiced in other parts of the world. (And 95% of Senegal are Muslims.)

For one thing, the Senegalese women don't generally veil. Women drive in Senegal, study and work, interact with men in pretty much the same way they do here in the U.S. (no bans on 'talking to men not in your immediate family'), wear jeans, go to nightclubs, etc. The Senegalese constitution guarantees the right to practice any religion, and does not in any way implement sharia. Alcohol, as an example, is legal in Senegal.

I've had lots of discussions about Islam with one Senegalese man in particular, who I've worked with for many years, and he thinks that the Islam that is practiced in countries like Saudi Arabia, and the way women are treated there, is horrible. He says that the Islam practiced in most countries in Africa, particularly West Africa, is similar to the moderate Islam practiced in Senegal. Nigeria, obviously, is an exception. But in his view, far worse things happen in Saudi Arabia than in Nigeria, in terms of stonings, amputations, honor killings and the like, but get less attention because Saudi Arabia is a 'friend' of the U.S.

The Senegalese I know are religious, by the way; they fast on Ramadan, for instance. But I just get the impression that the Islam they practice is not at all recognizable as the Islam practiced in the Middle East.

I am not disagreeing with anything in your posting; just sharing what information I know. I agree with most of what you and others have posted about the Islam practiced in countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Nigeria... I just think that there is nothing intrinsic to Islam that causes its adherents to repress women, limit freedom of religion, or replace secular education with fundamentalist religious teachings.

On the topic of "Has this ever happened to you?" John R. writes:

As a matter of fact, something very similar has happened to me. About a year ago, I went to get new glasses. My new prescription (astigmatism and farsightedness) was stronger than what I was used to, and caused me all sorts of perception problems. On the way out of the doctor's office, I had to feel my way off the curb. I felt about a foot shorter!

Donald from Australia writes:

I just read your post on the forthcoming Mel Gibson movie, and the potential for calling Jews "Christ Killer" to become commonplace again. I'm not sure whether there's a major difference between the Catholic and Protestant traditions on this, but certainly as a Protestant (Baptist) I have NEVER heard anyone referring to Jews as "Christ Killers", and I can't really imagine any of my Christian friends even thinking it. I've always thought that such ideas are incredibly foolish, given that:

1) Christ was a Jew;
2) his Disciples were Jews;
3) the early Church was largely Jewish; and
4) a belief in Christ as the Son of God is a belief in Christ as the Jewish Messiah (which obvously you will disagree with).

I would hope that the "Christ Killer" slur has passed into history. However, I'm writing from Darwin in northern Australia, and I'm not really sure that Anti-Semitism has ever been much of an issue here. I like to think it's because we are a tolerant, multicultural society (plus as Australians we're far too busy thinking about important things like sport and fishing to get upset over differences in religion), but possibly it's just because we don't have a particularly large Jewish population.

Okay, this post is long enough for now. People, write shorter letters!

The world calls

It's 74 degrees outside at 3 p.m. I think I'm going to head out and not come back before dark. Alas, the hard top is still on the Jeep, so I can't drive topless. (That's going to bring more perverted Google searches.)

In the meantime, if you're a weblogger, I'd greatly appreciate if you'd pick an Eat an Animal for PETA day link (lots to choose from on this page or in last week's), or just send people this way, for a last-minute publicity charge.

If any of you regularly visit forums, you might want to bring it up there. There seem to be many, many people referred from forums ranging from duck-hunting to vegeterianism (they really hate me now). Or, if you're not a blogger but want to spread the word, you can just email your friends the url to the original post ( Anyone in the Richmond-Norfolk area and points between is welcome to dine with us Saturday night. But you've got to email us so we know how many reservations to make.

Only two days left to get the word out to as many people as we can. Go to it!

French anti-Semitic attack update

Damelon sent me the links to two accounts of the incident in French newspapers. My French is nearly nonexistent, but the more worldly of you can read about it in the original French here and here.

According to the Babelfish translations of the articles, the French are waiting for the investigation to decide whether carving a Star of David in a woman's arm can be considered an anti-Semitic act. The Jewish organizations are actually saying this.

"It is necessary to await the results of the investigation before deducing from it that it is really about a premeditated aggression with character anti-semite", declared in Reuters Clément Yana, the local president of CRIF (the Council representative of the Jewish institutions of France).

Yeah. Let's see—three men in masks grab a young woman and carve a Star of David in her arm with, what one story said might have been car keys. Let's think that one over. Hm. Does that sound like an anti-Semitic attack to you, or was it just your ordinary mugging?


Damelon says that students and human rights groups plan a demonstration tonight protesting the attack. Good. But there still needs to be something more proactive.

Letter from Gotham: On a hot streak

Everything Diane is writing lately is shimmering. She joins in the conversation about Mel Gibson's upcoming film and the veracity of biblical texts, putting her own inimitable stamp on the discussion, and handing AC Douglas his head in an oh-so-polite manner.

Then she nails the childish tit-for-tat we've seen ad nauseum throughout the blogosphere (on both sides, I might add) and explains why Jim Moran's anti-Semitic remarks cannot be compared to Jim Baker's dismissal of the Jewish vote.

Diane, I don't believe that I originated the phrase "Anti-Semites of the world, die" (I suspect Jews have been saying it for centuries). I put that meme out on this website first, but yes, you did add the caveat "of cancer." (In fact, after receiving a letter from someone who remarked upon my strong sentiments (he used the word "bias") I updated my About page to include my passion for Zionism and against anti-Semitism. And while I was at it I put a few more Qs into my FAQ page.)

And finally, Diane sends us to this wonderful Oriana Fallaci piece. Brava, Diane. Brava, Oriana.

French anti-Semitic horrors

When I was in my twenties, I was visiting my favorite aunt in San Diego, and sunning myself on a floating lounge chair in her pool. Later I discovered that the sun tanned all of my exposed skin, but as I was wearing my Star of David, it left a pale, six-pointed star mark at the base of my throat. I thought that was just great, and tried (and failed) to repeat it just about every summer for years.

I should have just moved to France.

Three masked men attacked a 21-year-old female Jewish student in the French town of Aix-en-Provence Wednesday and carved a Magen David on her arm.

According to a report on Israel Radio, the student was attacked after having attended a discussion on the situation in the Middle East held in an Aix cinema.

And to think, this happened right after the French education minister announced a program to crack down on anti-Semitism. (Of course, not long ago, Jacques Chirac insisted there was no anti-Semitism in France.)

No, there's no anti-Semitism in France. None at all.

Effing cowards. Disgusting bastards. Shall we call down the anti-Semitism slogan on them? But of course. Die.

Update: Last night I sent a letter to W. of Merde in France, asking him to forward me any information he finds on the attack. He said the print press is—as usual—not mentioning the story at all. Looks like the reason French officials can claim there's no anti-Semitism in France is because they ignore it and hope it will go away.



We have made a teenaged girl happy

This is not an easy thing to do. But here we go. Aaron writes:

My 14-year old daughter turns 15 on 3/15. We have both joked for years about being members of PETA, People Eating Tasty Animals.

This report has her shrieking with glee around the house.

(Aaron, loved the picture of Pat Buchanan as Hitler; wherever did you get it?)

Also on the EAFPD front, Damelon (he is from France—well, at least, in it) sends in some slogans:

My lame attempt at PETA day slogans:

Wear a fur. Eat a chicken. Teach a bear to do tricks. Make PETA's day.

and if I was going to make a t-shirt it would say:

I ate a horse for PETA day and all I got was this dumb shirt.

Well, I don't know that I'd call them lame. They're a sight better than the chants anti-war protesters come up with. Well, that, and you actually spelled all the words correctly.

Beaker's got another poster up. This one is erudite. (I love that word.)

Exposing the idiocy of the anti-Semites

Babylonian Musings is a blog discussing the more reprehensible members of the blogosphere, including the wretched Mikey Rivero (who, also, will get a link from me when I shake Yasser Arafat's hand). I don't know who the author is, but I do know it's a laff-a-minute slugfest as s/he slogs through the slime. (By the way, Marduk says one of the reasons Mikey hates Jews so much is because he was beat up by a girl. His first wife, who was Jewish.)

Go get 'em, Marduk.

A slogan for EAFPD

Alex Bensky came up with this one:

If it didn't have a mother, don't eat it.

Oooh, that's cold. Of course I laughed.

Oh, so did you. Stop lying.

Michele gets into the poster biz

Go check this one out. Oh, my ribs are gonna be aching tonight.

Update: Michele's daughter helped on this one, and it definitely ain't kosher.

And another

Beaker's got a poster that does not feature cute puppies, but does feature lots of yummie meat. Wow. No matter if you spell it "yummy" or "yummie," it still looks (and sounds) incredibly stupid. Let's rewrite that phrase: "Lots of delicious meat." Phew. That's much better.

In fact, it's meat from the same kind of animal I had a part of tonight. (Mmm. Sirloin.) Althought the carrot in that poster looks just a little bit—phallic. Hm.

Keep on making the posters, and I'll make a poster gallery.

Update: Beaker is at least as twisted as John. Look at this.

Update 2: So far, in emails I've sent with the link to the above picture, I've said,

"I had a cat that looked exactly like that,

except for the paws-up-and-give-me-all-your-kibble look.

except I never tried to hold him up for his milk money.

Feel free to join in.

A poster! A poster! Finally, an EAFPD poster!

Except—except—well, it's a puppy! Oh, John, how can I use that one? I could never hurt a puppy!

Couldn't you make it, like, an ugly old chicken? Or even a veal calf?

A puppy? What do you think this is, Korea?

She's alive

I'll be damned. They found Elizabeth Smart, the teenager who was kidnapped from her home last June. So while listening to CNN, I hear a moron on the air say—I believe he was one of CNN's "experts"—that there are many questions to be answered. Was she taken by force, or did she go voluntarily?


Elizabeth was 14 when she was seized early on the morning of June 5 in front of her 9-year-old sister by a gunman who may have gotten into the house by cutting a window screen near the back door. As the younger sister pretended to be asleep, the gunman threatened to hurt Elizabeth if she didn't keep quiet.

Tell me again why the networks pay people like that for commentary?

Making lemonade

I don't know who thought of the adage "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade," but I gotta say, it's a philosophy that I've picked up in recent years, and I swear by it.

I'm a glass-half-full kinda girl. And let me tell you, it took years of doing (or undoing) to go from being a glass-half-empty type. Well worth it, and keep your half-empties away from me.

Talk of war

First, the latest Michael Kelly column:

But here, where the Army's 3rd Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division wait for the word to attack, the conversation has moved entirely beyond these fictions and confections. The talk here is all much more pragmatic: beds and blankets and fuel and gas masks and so on, a million little things to get done before the beginning of the foregone conclusion.

Last week, the 3rd Infantry Division packed its big tan-white tents at Camp New York, its desert base since November, and moved to a forward position farther north in the sand. A few days later, Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, the commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division, spoke to the journalists who will reporting on the division, the main heavy armored force in the invasion. Blount was clear and matter-of-fact on the nature of the job: "Our goal is to have a regime change in Iraq, plus make sure the area is free from weapons of mass destruction."

The World Tribune, via Diane E., which bolsters her contention that the war will begin on the 18th (will we then call it the Purim War?):

The U.S. military has been ordered to launch a war against Iraq on March 18, an Israeli official said in a televised report.

Israeli government monitor, Michael Gurdus, reported on late Tuesday that the order was relayed by U.S. Central Command to all American forces in the Persian Gulf. Gurdus told Israel's Channel 2 television that he heard the order being relayed to U.S. fighter-jet pilots and others over U.S. military radio communications he intercepted.

Then there was this:

MOAB go boom

The MOAB has a relatively limited military application. It has to be dropped from a slow-moving cargo plane and is guided by satellite. A fuse detonates the bomb just above the ground, where it flattens everything in its path.

It can't be used anywhere that the Pentagon would fear civilian casualties. But the missile-shaped MOAB could have a huge impact if dropped near Iraqi soldiers.

Lastly, Lt. Smash, who is in Kuwait:



Can you hear it?

Do you know what that sound is?

That’s the sound of Time. Running. Out.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Six days, perhaps. I worry for Lt. Smash and the others I know are over there, and I worry for Salam and those like him in Baghdad.



Figure out your geek quotient

Via Mac Thomason, the Science Fiction Book Club's 50 Top SF & Fantasy Books.

I've read 28 of the 50, so I'm thinking my geek quotient isn't as high as I'd thought it was. Perhaps we should develop a percentage and geek quotient based on this list, hm?

Then again, people are going to argue over the list. Ah. Of course. Add ten points to your score if you say, "What?! What is XXX doing on this list? That book sucks!"

Twenty points if "XXX" stands for "The Sword of Shannara."

That's just put me up to 48 points.

Lord of the Peeps

Because we need a lightening of the attitude around here, I give you: Lord of the Peeps. Begin in the beginning. You won't regret it.

Also all things Peep: The Peep Research organization website, where you can see experiments conducted on a variety of Peeps, in a variety of ways. Expect PETA to launch a protest any day now.

Come to think of it, the original Peeps website, complete with annoying pop-up ads (or should that be Peeps-up?) Lots of sugary marshmallow goodness.

Very scary. Do a Google search on "peeps" and you get over half a million pages. And here I thought that my friend who served Peeps as an hors d'oeuvre at his wedding was odd. (I kid you not. That was actually the first time I ever ate one, and it's all his fault I fell in love with them.) Hey, they got married on April 1st, and when it came time to feed each other cake, counted to three and shoved the cake into the faces of the best man and maid of honor, who happened to be the groom's brother and bride's sister, respectively. It took me five minutes to stop laughing.

That's my "adopted" baby brother. He and his wife run this website, a great place for gifts. If you like SF and crafts, go check it out. He is, after all, the man responsible for getting me involved with the BBS world, which ultimately led to blogging. So I guess you can thank him or curse him, depending on whether or not you like this blog.

Eat an Animal for PETA update

Wind Rider has made reservations for a group of us Saturday night at The Grate Steak (or is that the Great Stake?), but we need to know who's going to be there. Bill Cimino, are you bringing your wife? Guy from Norfolk whose name I am blanking on, are you in? Email either Wind Rider or me.

I think we might take a field trip over to PETA HQ earlier in the day, and take picture of us protesting outside. Ideas for sign slogans welcome.

Those of you who are planning your own celebrations, take pictures (especially if you're bringing anti-PETA signs or t-shirts). I've got loads of server space and a broadband connection; email me the pics and I'll put a page or three up on Monday. Of course, if you know how to turn your picture into a GIF or JPEG before you send it to me, it would lessen my workload considerably. If you're a weblogger and post pictures, email me the URL and I'll link.

Looking forward to a great steak dinner on Saturday. Even if I am cooking it myself.

Passion play

Ted Belman chimes in on the upcoming Mel Gibson film on the last twelve hours of Christ. Diane E. steps all over AC Douglas on her blog. I'm puzzled as to how an atheist can accept the New Testament as history, but then, there goes that logical part of me again. And Diane, I included the Hebrew Bible in my previous post. I'm not a literalist. I don't really believe Methusaleh lived to be 969 years old.

I also read the New York Times Magazine article about Mel Gibson's form of Catholicism, Catholic traditionalism. The article details the nuttiness factor of Gibson's father:

On our first night together, he nursed a mug of sassafras tea while leading a four-hour tutorial on so-called sedevacantism, which holds that all the popes going back to John XXIII in the 1950's have been illegitimate -- ''anti-popes,'' he called them. As Hutton explained it, the conservative cardinal Giuseppe Siri was probably passed over for pope in 1958 in favor of a more reform-minded candidate. Hutton said Cardinal Siri was duly elected, but was forced to step aside by conspirators inside and outside the church. These shadowy enemies might have threatened ''to atom-bomb the Vatican City,'' he said. In another conversation, he told me that the Second Vatican Council was ''a Masonic plot backed by the Jews.''

The intrigue got only murkier and more menacing from there. The next day after church, over a plate of roast beef at a buffet joint off the highway, conversation turned to the events of Sept. 11. Hutton flatly rejected that Al Qaeda hijackers had anything to do with the attacks. ''Anybody can put out a passenger list,'' he said.

So what happened? ''They were crashed by remote control,'' he replied.

He moved on to the Holocaust, dismissing historical accounts that six million Jews were exterminated. ''Go and ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what it takes to get rid of a dead body,'' he said. ''It takes one liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million?''

Across the table, Joye suddenly looked up from her plate. She was dressed in a stylish outfit for church, wearing a leather patchwork blazer and a felt beret in place of the traditional headdress. She had kept quiet most of the day, so it was a surprise when she cheerfully piped in. ''There weren't even that many Jews in all of Europe,'' she said.

''Anyway, there were more after the war than before,'' Hutton added.

The entire catastrophe was manufactured, said Hutton, as part of an arrangement between Hitler and ''financiers'' to move Jews out of Germany. Hitler ''had this deal where he was supposed to make it rough on them so they would all get out and migrate to Israel because they needed people there to fight the Arabs,'' he said.

That makes me feel so much better about Mel Gibson producing a movie that will tell the "truth" about the crucifixion. Being raised by an anti-Semitic parent has never proven to rub off on the child, has it? (Yes, that was sarcasm.) I have very low hopes for this film.



No, it's not revisionist

I seem to have missed a pretty big part of Susanna Cornett's post earlier today. I'll highlight the parts in question.

I have sympathies with the rabbi, but I think we have to be very careful here with history. The New Testament makes very clear that the Jewish leaders of Jesus's day plotted against him for quite a while before eventually becoming the conduit through which Pilate became the instrument of his death. In that sense, the Jews were responsible for his death. It's revisionist to say otherwise.

Here's the problem: The New Testament is not a history book. You may believe that it is, as do most Christians. But it is a religious text. To take what it says as history, and call "revisionist" anyone that says otherwise, is to impel your beliefs onto me.

There are differing accounts of what really happened 2000 years ago. As one of the sites I linked to noted, crucifixion is against Jewish law, and Pilate was no sweetheart.

Concerning Jesus' executioner, Pontius Pilate, we have a considerable body of data that contradicts the largely sympathetic portrayal of him in the New Testament. Even among the long line of cruel procurators who ruled Judea, Pilate stood out as a notoriously vicious man. He eventually was replaced after murdering a group of Samaritans: The Romans realized that keeping him in power would only provoke continual rebellions. The gentle, kindhearted Pilate of the New Testament—who in his "heart of hearts" really did not want to harm Jesus is fictional. Like most fictions, the story was created with a purpose. When the New Testament was written, Christianity was banned by Roman law. The Romans, well aware that they had executed Christianity's founder—indeed the reference to Jesus' crucifixion by the Roman historian Tacitus is among the earliest allusions to him outside the New Testament—had no reason to rescind their anti-Christian legislation. Christianity's only hope for gaining legitimacy was to "prove" to Rome that its crucifixion of Jesus had been a terrible error, and had only come about because the Jews forced Pilate to do it. Thus, the New Testament depicts Pilate as wishing to spare Jesus from punishment, only to be stymied by a large Jewish mob yelling, "Crucify him." The account ignores one simple fact. Pilate's power in Judea was absolute. Had he wanted to absolve Jesus, he would have done so: He certainly would not have allowed a mob of Jews, whom he detested, to force him into killing someone whom he admired.

Crucifixion itself, a Roman form of execution, was forbidden by Jewish law because it was torture. Some 50,000 to 100,000 Jews were themselves crucified by the Romans in the first century. How ironic, therefore, that Jews have historically been associated with the cross as the ones who brought about Jesus' crucifixion.

Feel free to believe what you want, but don't be quoting the Bible—either New or Old Testament—as a historical document and expect me to accept it as such. That isn't revisionism. Revisionism is altering the facts of history. I'm sure you won't agree with me, but that doesn't alter the fact that the Bible isn't an inarguable, factual history of what happened during the time of Christ.

Has this ever happened to you?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, there sure is a lot of heavy-duty stuff to talk about. But I don't want to deal with that right now. I have something far more important to talk about.

I was brushing my teeth in the upstairs bathroom, which has a large mirror starting at about the height of my waist. I was not wearing my glasses, and as I looked at my reflection in the mirror, something didn't seem right. After a moment, it struck me: I looked shorter. Yes, shorter. It was a very odd feeling, one I've never felt before. So I put my glasses back on, and felt like I was the right size again.

No, I wasn't drinking anything, or taking any kind of mind-altering substance. I just thought I looked shorter without my glasses.

Maybe it had something to do with my being nearsighted. Nah. I've looked at myself in the mirror without glasses before.

Anyway. Has that ever happened to you?

Holy reunion, Batman!

The blogosphere is having its giggles over last night's "Return to the Batcave" program, the show that reunited Adam West and Burt Ward and paid tribute to the old series by having the actors track down the stolen Batmobile while reminiscing about their days on the show.

I watched the film with low expectations, and found instead a funny, warm, witty homage to the old camp show that I loved (and watched religiously) as a child. They even used the famed (and satirized) camera angles and on-screen sound effects. I used to read those to my younger brother, who couldn't read at the time. When I was mad at him and refused, he'd call my mother into the living room to read the "BAM! POW! SMASH!" parts.

It was extremely enjoyable. I laughed throughout, and thoroughly enjoyed the mixture of fact, fiction, and the frequent breaking of the fourth wall. And as I said in the comments at Silflay Hraka, the guy they got to play Batman was much hotter than Adam West ever was.

It's about bias, Susanna

Susanna Cornett is usually sharper than a razor when it comes to spotting—and excoriating—bias. But she missed the point on the new Mel Gibson film on the last twelve hours of Jesus by a mile. First, the news article:

A prominent Jewish leader on Friday asked actor Mel Gibson (news) to make certain that his new film on the last 12 hours in the life of Christ does not portray the Jews as collectively responsible for the crucifixion.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he was concerned because an article to be published in the New York Times Magazine portrays Gibson as a traditionalist Catholic opposed to the reforms of Vatican (news - web sites) II.

Heir said, "Obviously, no one has seen 'The Passion' and I certainly have no problem with Mel Gibson's right to believe as he sees fit or make any movie he wants to. What concerns me, however is when I read that the film's purpose is to undo the changes made by Vatican II."

He said that Vatican conclave was convened to deal with several critical issues, including the rejection of the notion that the Jews were collectively responsible for the death of Jesus.

"If the new film seeks to undo Vatican II ... it would unleash more of the scurrilous charges of deicide directed against the Jewish people, which took the Catholic Church 20 centuries to finally repudiate," he said.

Gibson is completing the self-financed film on the last 12 hours in the life of Christ and a friend of the Gibson family is quoted as telling the Times that Gibson will graphically portray the intense suffering of Christ, "perhaps as no film has done before." Gibson is directing the film.

The friend, Gary Giuffre, a traditionalist Catholic, also said that the film will lay the blame for the death of Christ where it belongs -- a reference that some traditionalists believe means the Jewish authorities who presided over his trial, the article said.

A spokesman for Gibson had no comment, saying he had not seen the article. Sources close to the actor said Gibson's religious views and those of his family were known.

Discussing his film in a recent TV interview, Gibson was asked whether his account might particularly upset Jews. He said, "It may. It's not meant to. I think it's meant to just tell the truth."

Now, Susanna's take on it:

I have sympathies with the rabbi, but I think we have to be very careful here with history. The New Testament makes very clear that the Jewish leaders of Jesus's day plotted against him for quite a while before eventually becoming the conduit through which Pilate became the instrument of his death. In that sense, the Jews were responsible for his death. It's revisionist to say otherwise.

Where I agree with the rabbi is that Christians should not hold Jews today accountable for that act almost 2000 years ago. In fact, many Jews of Jesus's day were not behind the plot. Jesus himself was Jewish, as were all of his apostles and all of his initial followers. The history of the Jewish people up until the death of Christ is the history of Christianity as well. Nothing is served by animosity between the two religions now, and I would say that a person proclaiming Christianity who mistreats a Jewish person is going directly against New Testament teachings. In that sense, I would join with the rabbi in saying that I hope Gibson's movie doesn't indicate there's still a score to settle.

This kind of thing bothers me on a grander scale, though - I abhor all this "I'm OK, You're OK!" umbrella that tries to draw all religions into the same place of amorphous "spirituality" that's at core the same thing but just expressed in different ways.

Right in the first graf. Right in the second graf. It's the third graf where you're completely off-line. What the rabbi fears, and what Moira Rogow was trying to express in your comments section, is that Gibson's movie will incite more hatred of Jews, based on the old call to arms that resulted in pogroms throughout Europe: "Christ-killers!" The description of the movie fairly reeks of Gibson's taking that tack.

And here's the wider point you are also missing: Mel Gibson is already known for the liberties he takes with the truth. Have you seen "The Patriot"? I was completely unaware that a) One veteran of the French and Indian war was single-handedly responsible for the American victory over the British and b) The British Army was filled with nothing but sadistic, brutal morons who got their rocks off murdering innocents randomly. I guess I was out sick that day in history class. Mel Gibson's attention to the truth has already been seen to be shoddy, at best. When he talks of telling the truth in this film, I worry, because I'm pretty sure he won't be.

So we have a devout Catholic, Gibson, who is so devout that he is ready to overrule Papal Authority (I thought you're not supposed to have a choice in Catholicism over whether or not you accept Vatican II—it was issued, therefore it is your duty to accept it) and bring to the forefront of American popular culture—with overseas acceptance ensured, in these times of rising anti-Semitism—the old Christ-killer call.

Susanna, Rabbi Hier is simply saying, as am I, that two thousand years of seeing "Christ killer" used as an excuse to slaughter Jews is more than enough. There isn't any "I'm OK, You're OK" sentiment here. There isn't any attempt to say that all religions are equal. What Rabbie Heir and Moira Rogow and I are all saying is this: When we hear the charge of "Christ killer," we expect the Jews to pay for it—in blood. Just take a quick look at any of the documents on this list, and you'll see why we're worried.

Now you can argue all you like over whether or not we should worry about it, but you need to get off your tangent and back to the issue, which is bias against the Jews. That's what your weblog is about, is it not? Issues of bias? Well, this sure looks like one to me.

Islam: The religion of peace—and tolerance

Lair, you got part of the article, but missed the money quote:

Prince Sultan refuted allegations that there are churches at Prince Sultan Air Base in Alkharj. “We are not against religion. We say to Christians: ‘Worship or recite whatever you want, inside your homes.’ But there has never been and will never be a church here.”

He said Saudi Arabia, being the cradle of Islam, would maintain this firm stand at any cost.

Hm. I wonder how many mosques there are in Israel, cradle of Judaism and Christianity. What was that again about Islam being tolerant of all religions? What? Speak up. I can't hear you....

Finally, a piece of normal mail

Ben writes,

This is in reference to your statement that males must be a different species after hearing a discussion about a puking contest. We are not a different species. I don't think there's a guy on the planet who would ever conceive of vomitting because of feelings of guilt after eating more than they intended to. That seems pretty strange doesn't it? Well, I guess thats all I had to write...In all fairness I did come across this website after doing a search on "puking contests."

This is in response to a post of mine from over a year ago, written after I overheard a conversation between two young men who were discussing—I swear to God—puking contests. My reaction (other than horror) was to tell one of them that men are obviously a completely different species, as no woman in existence would ever dream of having a puking contest.

Now, Ben, I admit you have a valid point about bulemia, but please remember that these are women who are suffering from a behavioral disorder. They're sick. They're not considered normal. As far as I know, these women don't challenge each other to a vomiting duel.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love men. There are many, many reasons to appreciate them, and I've long since grown out of my angry-young-woman-all-men-are-scum stage. But I'm thinking that my suspicion about men being an alien race may not be so far off the mark. Why?

Because I must point out, as you did, that you found this website via a search for "puking contest."

I rest my case.



The rights of Muslim women

Strangely enough, right on the heels of David Foster Wallace's re-emergence comes a letter from the Muslim woman who insists that Americans get it all wrong about Islam and women's rights.

You mentioned "Muslim Culture" but I think it’s important to note that there is no "Muslim Culture"...that Muslims come from every corner of this planet, from Africa to Europe, and from Asia to say that Muslims have one distinct culture, is absolutely ridiculous. Yes, they follow the teachings of the Koran, and pray to the same God (the same God, I may add, which Jews and Christians pray to), but that does not mean that they have one distinct culture. Every country has its own culture, and since Muslims come from a variety of countries around the world, a specific "Muslim Culture" doesn’t exist.

Actually, I didn't mention Muslim culture, a writer for the Arab News did. I included a link which you apparently ignored. I also said that irrespective of the fact that Islam is a religion, it has an effect on a nation's culture, just as Christianity had an effect on European and American culture over the centuries. Such a narrow definition as you propose ignores the facts. Hinduism and Buddhism shaped India. Buddhism and Taoism shaped China. And the Arab world was irrevocably changed by the introduction of Islam. The interdependence of religion and culture cannot be ignored. In fact, without the advent of a tiny religion known as Judaism, two of the world's major religions would not exist today, and the world would be a completely different place, both religiously and culturally.

You said in your last email, "Yes, Islam is a religion. But an Islamic nation is studded with the cultural effects of Islam's religion. If it is fundamentalist Islam, it is generally bad for women."

You, yourself, are to admit that it is the "fundamentalist Islam" that is bad for women, not Islam itself. Every religion has its share of extremists and fundamentalists, and unfortunately, so does Islam. I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I also believe that it is wrong and unethical for people to distort and corrupt the truth to their advantage and to fit their own political ideology. I say this because that is exactly what the US is doing: using the media as a tool to wrongly educate the public with unauthentic information about Islam, creating mass stereotyping which often results in racism.

Fundamentalist Islam is still Islam. You say it isn't representative Islam, and that may be so. Yet it exists, and it rules a large part of the Islamic world. (Regarding that knee-jerk racism charge: If it's a religion, how can racism be invoked? Racism is discrimination based on race. There is no Muslim race, and therefore no racism.) Yes, it's absolutely wrong to distort the truth, so let's neither of us do that, shall we?

You have given me many examples of countries where women are oppressed, and are not given the same rights as men are. I find it very interesting that you can so easily state these facts. Have you, by any chance, been to any of these countries yourself in recent years? If the answer is yes, then I'm not sure where exactly it is that you went, but I suggest that you plan your next trip so that it includes a little more than the confines of your hotel room. And if the answer is no, then I don’t believe you stand in any position to make such statements, for I have been to these countries and lived in them for several years, and have had the same amount of freedom as I do here in Canada. (I drove in Saudi Arabia, and surprisingly, didn’t get arrested)

No, I haven't been to those nations. In fact, some won't let me in because I am Jewish. But the facts are easily available online, and the link I gave you was to the Arab News, published by the Saudi Arabian government. Are you saying they're lying about their own laws? And about that driving thing: Here's more evidence that it's against the law. (By the way, I exceeded the speed limit on the way home from work today. Does that mean the law doesn't exist or isn't enforced? No. It means I didn't get caught. Neither did you. It proves nothing.) Name the countries you've lived in so freely, the Islamic nations that don't supress their women. I'd love to hear about them. Just remember that anecdotal evidence does not a theory make. See the above example of my breaking the speed limit laws.

The argument that you can't form an opinion without having lived through (or in) a certain something is a fallacious argument. Men can be excellent obstetricians without ever being able to have a baby, likewise, heart surgeons don't need to have heart attacks to become proficient in their craft.

I have a mind, and the Internet has search engines. With very little effort, you can discover thousands of sources, from organizations like Amnesty International to news articles in a variety of publications. That's how I know that in Iran (and other Islamic nations), a man can have four wives but a woman may have only one husband. A Saudi Arabian woman doesn't deny that women are oppressed in her country. Egypt has just appointed its first-ever woman judge. (Oh, I almost forgot about the widespread practice of "honor killings" in Muslim countries, where women are murdered by their family members if they are judged to have had sex outside of marriage, or otherwise "dishonored" their family.) The first woman Member of Parliament in Jordan was jailed for criticizing the government. And this spring, women in Jordan finally got the right to divorce their husbands—not an easy thing in most Islamic nations—providing, of course, they give up all rights to alimony or support payments.

You also mentioned that women in Saudi Arabia had to ask permission from their husbands when wanting to leave the country. Any sensible woman, whether she be Christian or Jewish or Muslim, would most probably discuss the idea of leaving the country with their husbands, before packing up their bags and leaving without notice…unless they’re having marriage problems, in which case I don’t think any woman would stick around long enough to ask her husband permission about anything. Women in Islam don’t need to humbly beseech their husbands for permission for anything, so I suggest you check your sources on that.

Really? But in Saudi Arabia, women are legally considered dependents (they're listed that way on their husband's driver's licenses) and need either a husband or father as guardian. We're not talking about a case where a woman suddenly gets the urge to go abroad and doesn't tell her husband. In Saudi Arabia, a woman cannot leave the country without a male relative escorting her. Also in our textbook Islamic nation, women can't so much as get a telephone installed without permission from a male guardian. Nor can they sell their own jewelry—funny, I thought you said that women can earn and keep their own money under Islam—without a guardian present. I suggest you check my sources on that. Here's a start. And show me where, except for Jordan, Islamic women can divorce their husbands anywhere close to the divorce laws in, say, Canada (since you mention it). The power in Islamic nations is all on the man's side, and the children stay with the man as well.

And as for women in Islam being able to vote, I meant that women were and still are considered equal to men, and therefore, had the situation arisen, would have been given the chance to vote. Women in America fought for years for equality, for they were from the beginning considered lesser beings.

No, your exact words were: "Women in Islamic countries had the right to vote hundreds of years before women in America did. We are seen as equals in every aspect of life." There isn't any wiggle room for interpretation in those sentences. We've been voting in America for over eight decades now. Women still can't vote in most Islamic nations, but then, neither can the men. There isn't a democracy on the planet where women don't have full suffrage. In Islamic Kuwait, however, men, but not women, were granted the right to vote after the Gulf War.

I'm still not really seeing that equality-under-Islam thing you're talking about. What I am seeing is that women in America and most other western nations can do exactly what you claim women under Islam can do, but most Islamic women can only do the same when they move to a western nation—'cause they sure as hell aren't doing it under shari'a.

Try again, bubelah. I remain unconvinced.

PETA stole copyrighted photos

Okay, so maybe not exactly stole, but they certainly lied to the U.S. Holocaust Museum to get that famous picture of the inmates crammed into the bunks at a concentration camp:

The Holocaust Council was doubly angered because it was the primary source of the Holocaust images used in the campaign. The PETA Web site offers a glimpse of the display; at the end, it said “Holocaust photos courtesy of USHMM.”

But Museum officials say they never gave permission for its images to be used in such a display. PETA’s use of them “improperly and incorrectly implies that the Museum, a federal government establishment, endorses PETA’s project,” the Council’s lawyer wrote.

On Tuesday, the animal rights group responded, insisting that use of the photographs is “consistent with the Museum’s mission statement,” and claimed that an anonymous Jewish philanthropist funds the project.

The group also said it “requested, received and paid for the use of the photographs”— a claim Museum officials vehemently deny.

Arthur Berger, communications director for the Museum, said that a representative of the group sought the materials without indicating his PETA connection or how the material would be used.

“It was clearly a misrepresentation, at minimum, of what [the photographs] would be used for, he said. “There was no indication it would be used in a comparison with animals. Once we learned of this obscene connection, we sent a cease and desist letter.”

Berger said the Council is considering its next move — and reviewing its policies for the use of photographs and other materials.

What? PETA is prevaricating or breaking laws? No! Say it ain't so!


Thanks to Judith Weiss for the heads-up.


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.