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This required it

I normally don't post before teaching my class on Sunday.

I normally don't put a Sunday post in last week's posts. I start fresh on Sunday morning. But I don't have the time.

And you need to read this.

The effects of 9/11 linger. People are still mourning.



End the day with a laugh

Or start your day with a laugh. Or be in the middle of the day. Whatever. In any case, go to Silent Running, read this post (the one titled "Seemed like a good idea..."), and then click on the "The rest of the story" link. Follow these steps in order, and don't be drinking anything when you click on the link. You have been warned.

Update: Some people can't get to the link above. IE sends you there, Netscape does not. Instead, go here, scroll down to the first entry under the date May 9 , 2003 (or search on it) and follow the instructions above.


Israel has deported at least two American Muslims who were staying in the territories within the last week. The deportations are part of series of measures decided on after the April 30 suicide bomb attack on Mike's Place on the Tel Aviv beachfront by British Muslims. One is still at large after he failed to detonate his explosives outside the pub.

Security forces arrested two foreigners at the International Solidarity Movement's headquarters in Beit Sahour on Friday, who are also expected to be deported. The two Americans deported were living in villages in the Ramallah and Bethlehem areas.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass.

They are suspected of helping transfer money and orders from terrorist organizations overseas to groups in the territories. Security sources say a number of other foreign Muslims have recently been arrested and are also likely to be deported.

Arrested at ISM headquarters on Friday were Christine Razowsky, 28, from Chicago, and Australian Miranda Sissons, an employee of the New York-based human rights group Human Rights Watch, as well as Palestinian Fida Gharib, 22, a secretary for the organization, police said.

Wait for the howls about having their rights violated.

About 22 army jeeps surrounded the group's offices in the village of Beit Sahour, after which soldiers entered and confiscated six computers, said ISM spokeswoman Laura Gordon. Israel Police spokesman Gil Kleiman confirmed that two foreigners had been handed over to police custody and were being questioned for entering a restricted military area. He said that Razowsky was being deported on charges of illegally entering a restricted military zone.

But I'm sure that the ISM workers were "clearly marked" as ISM workers. Can't wait to see what the IDF finds on their computers.

Genocide and Holocaust

Dean Esmay wrote a post a few weeks ago that coincided with Yom HaShoah, detailing (and showing pictures) of some of the detestable history of genocide in the world. There was also an interesting debate going on in the comments. Why am I bringing up a ten-day-old post? Because Charles Johnson sent me to this essay, which details the hypocrisy of Noam Chomsky, and in which Chomsky defends the murdering regime of Pol Pot's Cambodia, where one out of five Cambodians were murdered by the government. One out of five.

Kiernan later went on to write The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide under the Khmer Rouge 1975–79, a book now widely regarded as the definitive analysis of one of the most appalling episodes in recorded history. In the evacuation of Phnom Penh in 1975, tens of thousands of people died. Almost the entire middle class was deliberately targeted and killed, including civil servants, teachers, intellectuals, and artists. No fewer than 68,000 Buddhist monks out of a total of 70,000 were executed. Fifty percent of urban Chinese were murdered.

Kiernan argues for a total death toll between April 1975 and January 1979, when the Vietnamese invasion put an end to the regime, of 1.67 million out of 7.89 million, or 21 percent of the entire population. This is proportionally the greatest mass killing ever inflicted by a government on its own population in modern times, probably in all history.

A few days ago, I went on a morning hike with a friend to break in my new hiking shoes, and as we were returning to our cars, we saw a helicopter flying overhead. We stopped to look. It was a military helicopter, and the thought that was on both of our minds is that in America, we've never had to fear the sound of helicopters above. I know Andy was thinking it, because he said to me, "You know, no matter what else you say, one thing about this country is that we don't have to worry about our own government shooting us."

No, we don't. In spite of the asshats like Chomsky, who calls the U.S. government the biggest disaster ever to happen to the world (and yet, he does not get arrested, imprisoned, and tortured for speaking these views, which he would if he lived in any of the nations he so blithely insists are better than us).

I really don't know how men like Chomsky can look themselves in the mirror every morning.


I'm still noticing the differences between Richmond and northeastern New Jersey. I knew that New Jersey's population density (most dense in the nation) created all kinds of different social attitudes. For instance, I was explaining to a native southerner what my license plate means (it's a play on the stereotypical NJ question, "What exit?"). I told her that the first time I went back to New Jersey with it and gassed up, the gas station attendant said to me, "What, you have it on your license plate so you won't forget how to get back here?" She was shocked, and even more shocked when I said I just laughed at the man. "We're ruder up north," I pointed out.

The thing I've been noticing the last couple of weeks, though, is that thunder sounds different down here. I'm trying to decide if it's because I'm in a flatter area than I've ever lived before, or if it has more to do with the way people are so more spread out, but thunder rolls and echoes for a long time here with each crash. In NJ, at least where I used to live, you hear the immediate crash, but only hear the rolls if there have been numerous lightning strikes at once. I'm beginning to think it's a combination of the topology and the lack of densely-populated areas around here. But it's taking some getting used to. Imagine hearing a sound one way all your life, then hearing it differently. It's a bit of a cognitive dissonance. I keep thinking someone needs to hit the off switch on the thunderclaps.



More filthy lies from Michele

She's spreading more lies about me, and I haven't the time to get back and give you the full details of her Olsen Twin obsession (there are two restraining orders involved, I hear). But I figured I could at least fill you in on Michele's unhealthy fascination with two of the worst actresses ever to hit American TV and film.

(Was I supposed to know what that lyric was to or by? Because I don't.)

Maybe it's just pro-Arabism

Frank Sensenbrenner reports that the Mayor of London met with representatives of an Arab organization that openly supports Hamas and Hizbullah, all in the name of tolerance, of course.

The fact that the mayor has also said that the "overthrow" of George W. Bush would give him more pleasure than the fall of Saddam is probably not a reason to think badly of him, either. Nice guy.



Indymedia finally gets too sickening for Google News

Some months ago, I wrote to Google asking them to remove Indymedia from their list of news sources due to their overwhelming anti-Semitism. Apparently, I'm not the only one who did so, and Google finally removed nazimedia.

But it sure took them a while. This was their first reply to me, dated January 6th:

Hello Meryl,

Our news sources are chosen without regard to political viewpoint or ideology. This occasionally leads to some unusual and contradictory groupings, and it is exactly this variety that makes Google News a valuable source of well-rounded information on the important issues in the news.

We will however re-review the inclusion of Indymedia.

We aim to include as many news sources as possible in Google News, and we value your opinion. If there is a news site that you would like us to add to our news crawl, please send us the URL. While we can't guarantee that we will add all sources that are recommended, we will review all the suggestions we receive.

The Google Team

Yeah, Charles, we won—but it took them four months to figure it out. I guess the good news is they can't claim we had any kind of campaign to "censor" them. But of course, they already have, haven't they? Well, we all know Meryl's response to anti-Semites, don't we? Say it with me, folks: Die, already.

Today is going to be a loooong day

On and off and on and off. The cable modem, of course. I think I'll just go out and wash my car, as it's threatening to rain and there may as well be a reason for it.

By the way, I forgot yesterday was Israel Independence Day Happy 55th birthday, Israel! (Sucks to be you, anti-Semites.) Actually, no, I remembered it, but forgot to post about it.

I was out with Heidi and Sorena most of yesterday afternoon and evening. It's been so long since I was over there, Worf the Ridgeback decided he needed to give me a special greeting, which means he whined at me and grabbed my wrist with his teeth. Thankfully, he didn't press down. I learned a very long time ago that some dogs show affection by grabbing your hand with their teeth. I was, let's see, 19 at the time, and the dog in question was a champion standard poodle, and I was living in the Seattle area at the time, and I frankly wished that the dog would have just licked my hand instead of grabbing it with a bunch of really sharp teeth, but I was smart enough to stand still when he did. "Uh, Mickey," I said to the owner, "King is biting my hand." "Oh, that's just because he likes you. That's a sign he's accepted you." "Oh." "Don't worry, he'll let go eventually." "Oh."

Well, Worf just wanted to play a little and let me know that I am required to show up at least once a week in the future. Then he bumped me a bunch of times and we had to stop because Willow was taking on Sparty, the miniature poodle who tends to get chewed up and stepped on during exciting moments, like my return after an absence of several weeks. Dog treats all around, and back to the dog beds.

Really, if you ever let your ego get too far above you, just go visit someone else's dogs. They are completely unimpressed with you unless you have food for them, and after they've eaten the food, they disappear and go to sleep. Well, unless they follow you down to the basement and start playing tug-of-war with the dog rope, but none of the pictures came out light enough to show you, alas. However, the one of Sorena with her new glasses did. Ain't she cute?

I hate Comcast

For nine of the past ten months, my cable service was AT&T Broadband, which was ultimately swallowed up by Comcast. I am thoroughly familiar with Comcast's high prices and awful services by virtue of its monopoly over most of New Jersey. But I had forgotten just how much they suck, and how much I hate them. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, my cable modem kept going out. I'd be surfing along, and suddenly a page wouldn't load, and I'd glance down and see that the cable light on the modem was off. So I rebooted, turned the thing off for five minutes, did everything they would tell me to do if I called the tech line, and still the cable kept going out. So I called the tech number on my bill, pressed the appropriate buttons on the menus, and was told that I had to call 1-800-COMCAST for service. So I called 1-800-COMCAST, pressed all the appropriate buttons, and was transferred to the tech line. The one that says to call 1-800-COMCAST and then hangs up on you.

They have an effing infinite loop on their tech service line. But I didn't think that was possible until I tried it two more times. I thought perhaps I was choosing the wrong menu options, or that maybe it was a simple glitch in the system. No, it's true. Comcast has an infinite loop in its tech service line. So I hit the menu buttons for someone who wants to order cable modem service instead, got a human, and told him that I wanted a tech, and that I wanted also to speak to his supervisor when we were finished to tell him about the infinite loop. And since the modem was working by the end of the call, I didn't ask for a service call. My mistake.

More problems last night. I unplugged the modem before I went to bed, and let it rest for the night. This morning, more problems. No cable connection at all. I call the tech line again, by doing an end run around the correct menu buttons, because I doubt they'll have fixed that tech line yet. And am told I can't bring my modem to a Comcast center and exchange it; I have to have a tech come to my house and will I be free on Friday from noon to four? No, I have to leave at 3, I say. Sunday from 8:30 to 12:30? I teach. Monday? I don't want to wait four days for cable modem service. I tell her to schedule me for the Friday slot, and what if he comes after 3? They'll close the ticket and I'll have to call and start all over again.

When I had AT&T Broadband, the service was excellent, and the tech support was fast and wonderful. I hate Comcast. Comcast sucks. Comcast sucks great big... no, I'll stop now.

All I can say is, I'm glad I keep forgetting to cancel my emergency AOL backup account. It has just made every penny spent worth it.

Hulk needs to smash Comcast. The antitrust laws aren't working.

Hulk smash breakfast!

Doc Weevil sent me a note last week telling me he found an unusual item of Hulk-related merchandise. This arrived in yesterday's mail:

Hulk cereal - front Hulk cereal - rear

The side of the box tells you what everything is. The green thing that looks vaguely humanoid is, of course, the Hulk. The yello asterisk-shaped thing is [collective gasp] the explosion that turned him into the Hulk. The red brick is a brick. Yes, really. I suppose it's so kids can collect bricks and make it seem like the Hulk smashed through a building. (No, I said kids, not me. No, I haven't even opened the box yet, and I wouldn't play with the cereal that way. I would not. Shut up. No, you shut up.) Ahem. The white and blue thing near Hulk's left fist is a lab beaker. Something tells me, though, that the movie is going to play fast and loose with Hulk's origin. Here's the full text from the side, well, with some editorial comments mixed in:

Bruce Banner [at least they got the name right, none of this David Bruce Banner crap because of the TV series with Bill Bixby] endures a life without a past [huh??], yet filled with dreams [I repeat, huh???]. As a genetic scientist [I hope he's not an Israeli genetic scientist, you know the kind of rumors that happen around those guys on weblogs], Bruce studies the effects of gamma radiation on damaged tissue [what, not on marigolds? Sorry, obscure reference alert]. Unaware that there is a monster inside him [aren't they all, until they have a few beers, then it's wham, bam, sorry I hit you, Ma'am], Bruce continually struggles with fits of anxiety and rage [I'm betting that's due to his enduring a life without a past that is filled with dreams, which sounds awfully frustrating and annoying].

One day during a freak lab accident [so, like, this is now the Flash's origin, and the gamma bomb that Dr. Banner developed for the Army is just not gonna happen, huh? PC weenies], Bruce's inner beast is unleashed [hey, I unleash my Inner Bitch sometimes, see, I knew there was a good reason Hulk's my favorite!]... and he becomes the most powerful being on the face of the earth.

Well, I'm going to see the movie regardless of how much they seem to have changed the Hulk. By the way, the cereal contains 13 grams of sugar per serving, 30 mg of sodium, and 150 calories with a cup of fat free milk (at least double that if you use whole milk). Hey, this Hulk doesn't have nearly as many veins popping out as the current comic book Hulk does. Too much body fat. He must be eating his own cereal. With whole milk.

Thanks a ton, Doc, you brought a huge smile to my face yesterday.



Carnival of the Vanities

I almost forgot: It's at Common Sense and Wonder this week. Go look. Especially if you liked "Where's Waldo?" or other puzzles. You have to move your mouse along the picture, then hold it when the pointer turns into a hand, and the TITLE attribute will give you a brief synopsis. Way cool, Common Sensers. (Nice image map, dudes. What'd you use to create it?)

On other blogs

Mac Thomason has a new Captain Euro post. It's "Captain Euro in Baghdad." It's a must-read.

It's bad enough that Frank spreads filthy lies about Glenn Reynolds. Not that I really care, as I'm not Glenn, so Frank's lies dont' really matter to me. But now Michele is spreading filthy lies about me. This cannot be borne.

What Michele is really trying to do is deflect attention from the truths I have discovered about her, namely, that she has seen Celine Dion in concert twelve times, and I've got someone working on getting me pictures of Michele at a Britney Spears concert. Yeah, she only wants you to think she's a metalhead.

But that's not the worst of it. Ask her about the Olsen twins. Go ahead. Ask her. You'll all find out tomorrow.

The latest from Captain Steve

Hurry up and wait. It's a way of life in this business, and it's best to not let it bother you. It saves a lot of frustration.

That's what I'm telling myself anyway.

After days of feverish activity preparing to get into Iraq - gathering people and equipment, planning for food, water, transportation, ammo, and security, everything has come to a screeching halt. We are delayed; perhaps for several weeks. It would be easy to be frustrated and disappointed, but it wouldn't do any good.

So with a little luck and a lot of begging, I got myself reassigned to my old crew. My unit is beginning to send people home, and with me back on the jet, someone else is free to go. So something good comes from a little disappointment. It's a fair exchange.

Besides, there's a good chance that I'll be home soon myself - in a couple weeks maybe, and if they activate the team a few weeks after that I might still get to go. I'll just get a bit of a family vacation first. Who can complain about that?

And being back with the crew is nothing to complain about either. It's not exactly the same crew - some folks have already left on the flights reserved for people with sick family members, weddings, or graduations to attend. Still, there are more original members left on our crew than on most of the others. We've complained least about being here, so more of us remain. That's fine. I'm glad we're not what Sideshow calls a "Frankenstein Crew" - a mixed together bunch of leftovers from crews that have disbanded. There are still enough of us here to maintain the traditions that have bound us. For the most part, we'll go home together, finishing as a team.

Speaking of Sideshow, He and Doby shipped out just a few minutes ago. I'm sorry to see them go, but glad they'll be with their families in a day or two.

I can't imagine what it would have been like without them here. Doby, the Quiet Man, was as good a roommate as one can wish for. I hope I was half as easy to live with as he was but the odds are against it. He and Sideshow both took turns helping me keep things in perspective. I could have been overwhelmed by any number of things - loneliness, goofy decisions by higher-ups, the frustrations of living in close quarters - without them around. Together the three of us either got things fixed or decided we could laugh at them broken. God speed you guys. See you at home.

So now I'm one of just a handful left in my building. No one to yell at for not putting new toilet paper on the roller or for leaving their shaving in the sink. No one to wake me at all hours with hilarity in the day room. It's not possible that I miss it, but I'm coming close.


Today we flew our first day sortie since the war began. We stepped to the jet at about 0900, and in no time at all, the temperature in the cockpit was well over 100 degrees. It was so hot outside that our maintenance workers had to wear gloves to keep from burning their hands when they touched the jet. After engine start and taxiing to the runway, we waited about 12 minutes for clearance to take off. We sat at the end of the runway as the sun baked the pink sand. One of our air conditioning units overheated while we waited. By the time we took off everyone was a sweaty mess. Once airborne though, with the engines running hard, the AC worked all too well, and I went from heat prostration to pulling on my winter weight flight jacket. There's very little middle ground temperature-wise when we fly.

It had become the pattern over the last several weeks that we would fly at night, and see what we were flying over only in the hour or so of daylight on the way home. So it was strange to have hours of daylight in which to peer at the ground. We overflew several airfields that we had attacked. They each had a precise row of bomb craters straight down the center of their runways. They were spaced with perfect precision, as it someone had marked the impact points ahead of time with a tape ruler. It brought to mind all the old photos of airfields and factories targeted in previous wars - how for miles around the ground would be pock-marked with craters, and sometimes the target itself would go unscathed. A friend of mine used to fly B-17s in WWII, and he told me that when his bomb group flew it took 3 hours to get them all off the ground, and their formation was 100 miles long. They would leave several square miles of holes in the ground, come home with only half the number of planes and men they started with, and perhaps not touch their target. These airfields we saw today, which were in perfect condition except for the neat row of holes down their runways, were attacked by only a handful of aircraft, in some cases maybe only one. Amazing that we could have come so far in so short a time.


Some of the French are still here, although many of their jets are gone. All over our compound were posted flyers advertising a big swim meet at the pool - French teams versus American teams. Our boys shaved themselves and swam lots of laps in preparation. The day of the big race - the Frogs didn't show. Go figure.


We're leaving Saudi Arabia. American forces will all be based elsewhere by August and I couldn't be more pleased. I've chaffed at the concessions we make to this culture based on slavery, and been insulted by every restriction placed on us in the hopes of not offending our hosts - who despise us regardless. That may be just fine for folks in the State Department, who seem to enjoy apologizing for America, but it's just too much to take for those of us who defend her. Let us choose our friends more wisely in the future. Yes, yes, I hear you saying we needed the Saudis and had to placate them. They needed us far more than we needed them though, and we should have driven a harder bargain. They would have respected us more.


A couple days ago we stayed up late to watch the President land on the deck of the Lincoln. It did our hearts good to see him wearing a flight suit. It was a brilliant way of showing that he is truly our Commander in Chief; and that he does not take lightly the responsibility of sending us to war. We felt connected to him, respected by him. We have missed feeling this way for 8 long years.

And Secretary Rumsfeld visited. They had to limit the number of us who could be told where and when he would speak, because if we all knew the base would have shut down. Everyone wanted to see him. As it was those of us who couldn't attend saw it on TV. The Secretary of Defense embodies characteristics we admire. He does not waste words. He does not suffer fools gladly. He lets you know pretty much exactly how he feels about things. He spoke for just a minute or two (something always appreciated by troops who are standing for the duration) and for the rest of the time entertained questions from the troops. I've seen generals who wouldn't allow themselves to be interviewed without questions written in advance, but the SECDEF is too classy for that. Too sure of himself and of what he believes in. The only question he said he wouldn't answer was, "when are we going home?" We'll learn that soon enough


So that's the news. I'm thwarted, at least temporarily, in my attempt to get into Iraq. I'm back to flying with my crew, hand in glove. Some of my friends are headed home. The French remain beneath contempt. We are shaking the Saudi dust from our feet and we are proud of our leadership and confident in their orders. Shining through all this is the growing hope that we will be home very soon. Life is good.


A few more things

Lair Simon wants me to move the blog over to Moveable Type. You know, I don't really give a damn that Ben and Mena are moving up. Until they fix the goddamned bug in MT that will not allow me to ever change my status on a blog's comment windows if I accidentally ONCE have the "no" button checked on "Remember personal information?", Moveable Type is no better than Blogger in my eyes. I cannot tell you how many times I've had to re-enter my personal information in comments boxes on Moveable Type blogs. If I weren't a fast typist, I'd never comment again on Amish Tech Support or Cut on the Bias (ew... bugs!) or a host of other MT blogs.

This is probably going to sound strange to anyone who isn't a writer, or who hasn't been with me for most of the last two years. I realized yesterday that I have suddenly changed the visualization I get while writing posts. First I would think of myself as the audience as, well, I was it. Then I would think that my friends were the ones reading the weblog, so I'd unconsciously or consciously tailor things I wrote to that audience. (It's not quite as cut-and-dried as that sounds, but that's a small approximation of what happens inside my head while I'm writing posts.) After I started getting a real audience, I found myself writing for them, and for the unknown others that I knew were reading (if not, say, writing emails to let me know they exist). Well, yesterday, I sort of realized that I'm writing for just one person right now. Mara, who is one of my madrichim, keeps popping up in my head as the audience I'm writing for. Which really is going to have an effect on this weblog, as she is a teenager. A mature teenager, but a teenager nonetheless. (Meantime, I am trying desperately not to think of the fact that her mother also reads this blog, because that makes me begin to imagine a conversation between the two of them and I'm starting to really worry about myself, because these are real people, not fictional ones, and, like, they need to get out of my head and let the fictional people start talking again.)

I never should have told anyone at my congregation about this weblog.

Regarding my post on the rich Jewish conspiracy keeping Israel afloat, Alex Bensky writes:

Actually, on my alternate history newsgroup someone once posted: "What if there really was an international Jewish conspiracy?" The best answer was from a guy in Scotland who says he's not Jewish. He said that anyone who knows any Jews knows there wouldn't be a Jewish conspiracy. There'd be five hundred conspiracies, each arguing vehemently with the conspiracy next door over some arcane point.

Wind Rider posted about his visit here. He mentioned that he needed directions three times. What he didn't say was that he can't follow simple directions, not that I don't give clear directions. Hey, I'm just protecting my reputation here, because I am not the one who, when told, "Drive to the Y and make a left" interpreted that as "Make the first left you see" and drove into the wrong apartment complex. To make it worse, someone in that complex has a yellow Jeep, so Wind Rider is sitting in his car staring at the strange Jeep and telling me he's right in front of my apartment, while I am standing at the front door and there is no car in front of me that is not parked between white lines and not running.

We made quite the late entrance at the Teacher Appreciation Dinner, and let me tell you, the Sunday after, every single teacher wanted to know who I brought with me to the dinner and services that night. The only way I think we could have stood out more was if he'd been in uniform.

(And it's "money god". Charles is the Chinese money god, not money man. With, like, five sprites attending him. Or just five really short Chinese guys.)

Damn. Only two weeks of Buffy left. Well, my pal Dolly sent me a link to a summary of the script of Eliza Duskhu's pilot for a new series that seems to be a cross between Quantum Leap and Groundhog's Day. It looks promising. But I don't think she's going to be kicking butt and taking no prisoners, like she does as Faith. Well, at least Angel has been renewed. And rumor has it major Buffy characters are going to join the cast of Angel. Dawn and Connor would be a hoot.



A few things

This ought to piss off the anti-Semites: Israel Bonds sale breaks record. New York-area Jews bought $46 million in Israel bonds on Sunday. That damned conspiracy of rich Jews keeps on keepin' on. (This paragraph is dedicated to Mikey Rivero, Justin Raimondo, and all the other Jew-haters online. And offline, come to think of it.)

It has come to my attention that Bill Bennett, the obnoxious moralizer, has been caught with his hand in the roulette wheel. Rather than write a thousand words of how wrong I think he is, I'll just link to Michele first, and then to Michael Kinsley, who is still off my marry-me list but working to get back into my good graces. Work harder, Michael. (By the way, Stanley, the flaw in your argument can be extended to divorce. It's legal, and Bennett wants to make it harder to get. Michael's right on this one, you're wrong. You are grasping at straws.) ((P.S.: Notice how I refuted your argument without insults. It can be done in the blogosphere. You're just reading the wrong blogs.))

I also can't resist linking to Richard Bennett's take on the issue, because, well, it's funny.

I think Aziz is falling for me. He keeps mentioning me in his comments over at his place, even though I haven't said a word to him since last week. It's obvious to me that if this were a 1940s comedy, he'd be proposing marriage in the final reel.

Of course, I'd say no. And it's not even the Muslim/Jewish thing. I just can't see myself married to a crashing bore.

Damn. I think I just did that juvenile scorn thing again. I'm so sorry, Tac. Well, no, not really. Maybe someday I'll be ashamed of my ability to direct withering blasts of juvenile scorn here and there, but for now, I like being a superhero.

Now, just Imshin

This is the real Israel you seek. Come here on this day, for this is where it is to be found. Come and see them. They are all here, tens of thousands of them, and more. The parents who buried their children, never to dance at their weddings; the children who grew up not knowing their fathers, with no one to call "Abba" (Daddy); the wives who grew old alone with their memories of young handsome husbands, of love that was not destined to mature; the men who held their friends in their last moments, forever to ask themselves why they were allowed to continue their lives.

This is their day. On this day we share their pain with them. On this day we honor them and their terrible sacrifice.

Yom Hazikaron

Remembering Israel's fallen soldiers: Imshin, Gil, Allison, Ha'aretz:

"It is my duty to eliminate war in the country and bring security and peace. It is our duty to the people of Israel and the bereaved families,” Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Tuesday afternoon at the main memorial ceremony for the 2,000 victims of terror at Mount Herzl, Jerusalem.

At a memorial ceremony in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon, Sharon vowed to move forward on the path toward peace. He said that if the new Palestinian government does not disappoint the many who are hanging their hopes upon it, the chance to make peace will not be passed up, even if it comes at a painful price. "I will not be deterred if I know that the moment of truth is at hand to put an end to war and bloodshed and to bring peace for generations," Sharon said. "I have set my obligations and swear to do everything within my power to open the road to peace," he said.

Israel's Memorial Day for its 21,540 fallen soldiers began Monday night, with a siren at 8:00 P.M. A second siren, two minutes long, was sounded Tuesday morning at 11:00. Since last Memorial Day, 255 members of the security forces have been killed.



In defense of Diana Moon, and other things

Actually, she's defending herself from some pretty nasty accusations, guest-blogging over at Junkyard Blog. And, as always, if Blogger's archives are hosed, just go here and look for Diana's name.

Go to Kesher Talk and just read and scroll down and read some more. And click on the links. There are many excellent suggestions; too many for me to follow tonight.

Michael Totten is a liberal blogger with whom I agree on many subjects. And it's link to fellow writers day (I've just declared it), so there you have it.

Roger Simon: He's the other fellow writer I'm going to link today.

And to make sure that I'm not being a sexist, I will link to Joanne Jacobs, who is not a fellow, but is a writer. Say, Joanne, I was just informed that the Richmond area is dying for new teachers. It is entirely possible that within a few months, I could be teaching high school English. Then you could write about me.

I owe Dean Esmay a link from last week. I'll go general instead of specific, for now.

I haven't linked to Susanna Cornett in ages, and it turns out she's now south of me. Huh. Well, only temporarily, until it's permanent. (She's going to move back home.)

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Andrea's blog?

I'm sure there are a bunch of people I've been meaning to link to lately, but I've forgotten which ones. Wait, now I remember. Ocean Guy. A general link first, more specific links to come.

Israel's Memorial Day

Allison has reprinted an excellent column (if the archives are hosed, go here) on her blog about the grief that Israelis go through on their Memorial Day, which starts at sundown tonight:

Six months ago, our eldest son, Ari, was killed in a raid on Hamas terror headquarters in Nablus. This week, with our own sense of terror in our hearts, we face our first Remembrance Day as grieving parents.

I have grappled with death and mourning before. As a pulpit rabbi for more than two decades I counseled hundreds of families who suffered a loss. I have lived through the deaths of my grandparents and my parents. I have helped to bury uncles and aunts, even an occasional colleague.

But all that was different. Those were "normal" deaths, the passing away of an older generation, one expected to give way to those born later.

Nothing can prepare a person for this kind of trauma. It is jolting, sudden, unnatural. It is not supposed to happen this way, neither by the laws of nature nor by the tenets of Divine justice. And so it must generate the deepest, darkest questions.

Does God exist? Is He alone in control of the universe? Is He a God of compassion and love? Does He care? And if He is all of these - as we are taught from day one in heder - just what is He thinking when He lets a brave, gentle, giving, pure-hearted boy die before he has begun to taste life?

Read it all.

Kicking a man while he's down

Of course I can't resist. I did promise you an Agonist stats watch, but for some reason, Kelley closed his stats so that if you want to figure out how many hits he gets per day, you have to actually go there and, like, write down the stats at a certain time, and then check again 24 hours later. Far too much trouble; suffice to say when I did it a week and a half ago, it was about 10k hits per day. Oh, how the mighty have fallen, and yet, there are still too many people reading The Plagiarist. Then again, lots of people watch Fear Factor, but I'm not one of them, either.

And I must point out that the Command Post, whose stats are still open (and for whom I used to write and yeah, Michele, the post is in the mail, I swear, no problem), is averaging about 30% more visits than our beleaguered and unashamed Plagiarist. (By the way, what was up with the email I was getting on his past? Don't be sending me anonymous crap; it's either from someone too gutless to confront him or it's from someone trying to set me up. So either grow some balls and do it yourself, or don't expect me to fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book. I fact-check my own posts. What makes you think I'd believe an anonymous emailer?)

Anyway, I was checking out my stats on the various ecosystems today. On NZ Bear's, coming in at number 48, right on Virginia Postrel's tail, is me. Coming in at number 46: Our pal Sean-Paul. Gee, guess all those New York Times and CNN articles didn't do so much for you over the long run, hm? A mere two slots in front of l'il ol' me. [snicker]

Over on the Myelin Ecosystem, I am saddened to admit I have fallen out of the top 100 for the first time in a very long time. I'm down at slot 163 with only 123 links. And our buddy Sean-Paul? Well, he's all the way up in the 75th slot, with 222 links. Funny, he was in the top ten everywhere not so long ago. I wonder what happened?

By the way, if effing Michele (effing slot 55) could zoom up the effing ecosystem list because she was effing delinked and it made her effing sad, then I should be able to zoom up it because I've fallen down below the effing top 100 and my effing ego is so deflated that I might be forced to, uh, forced to—wait, let me think, I'll think of something, hold on—I've got it! No, it isn't swear more. Why do you ask?

If you don't link to me, I'll quit blogging. Yep. That's what I'll do. Quit. Today. Cold turkey. No more. Nada. Nothing.

Oh, okay, so you don't buy that one. Then I'll get rid of my cats.

FINE. I'll throw a temper tantrum. And you know I can do that one. So stop laughing, and start linking. Dammit.

The Road Map

I'm going to flout conventional wisdom here, and put my neck out with this statement: The so-called Road Map is a stillbirth, and President George W. Bush knows it, and what's more, doesn't expect it to succeed.

Yes, it's very Oslo-like, and it seems that the Israelis are going to be forced into making concessions while the pals only have to announce to various Western journalists that they really, really, really are against terrorism and want peace with Israel. It does seem like the world is going to push Israel up against the wall until she bleeds, and that the pals will have their state—a terrorist state, right on Israel's border and working toward the destruction of the Jewish state.

But I'm not buying it.

You may remember that before American troops went into Afghanistan, pundits (both from the left and the right) were insisting to the very last minute that W. wouldn't follow through, or that if he did, it would be a debacle on the scale of Vietnam. Then we read that W. wasn't effectively fighting the war on terror, that too many Al Qaeda terrorists had gotten away in the battle, and that we shouldn't bother with Iraq until we'd settled with Al Qaeda first. Then of course, there was the whole year-plus process leading up to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Have you forgotten Andrew Sullivan's Wobbly Watch posts? Or that Bill Quick insisted that W. would never go to war with Iraq? Or Steven Den Beste's "rope-a-dope" posts? Or the many newspaper and magazine columnists saying the same things? I haven't. And yet, all the while, President Bush said nothing beyond what he needed to say, and quietly insisted that Al Qaeda would pay, that Saddam Hussein would not be allowed to keep his weapons of mass destruction, and that terrorist organizations and the states that support them would be stopped.

Last year, the President declared that he would no longer deal with Yasser Arafat. He said the pals needed a new representative, and that he'd deal with them when they chose someone new. He has kept that promise. Bush also said that the palestinians would not get a state until they renounced and ended terrorism. They have not done so. I see no reason to believe he's not going to keep that promise as well.

I gave W. the benefit of the doubt on Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, and Iraq. I chose to keep my doubts to myself (for the most part) and wait and hope that he would do the right thing. He has proven by his actions that he is a man with a plan, and he told us that plan on September 12th. This is a war against terror, and the pals have a state chock-full of terrorists.

I think the President knows full well that the "Road Map" is doomed from the start. I think he knows that Arafat is still pulling the strings over there, and that terrorism is the lifeblood of the Palestinian Authority. And I think that President Bush is simply waiting for the failure of the Road Map before he tells the "Quartet" that it's time to dismantle the palestinian terror operations—just like Al Qaeda is being dismantled, and just like Iraq's dictatorship was dismantled. Syrian dictator Baby Assad can see the writing on the wall. He knows that Israel gave the United States significant amounts of support for the war on Iraq. Only Yasser Arafat, it seems, still stupidly clings to the notion that his friends in Europe can save him.

So I'll stand with the President on this one, and give him the benefit of the doubt once again. Because I think that W. meant what he said about states that harbor and succor terrorists, and right now, the pals are nearly as high up on that list as Al Qaeda, the former Iraqi regime, and Syria. Don't think he hasn't been briefed about the significance of the months-long stay in Syria by the two British Muslim terrorists who perpetrated last week's attack in Tel Aviv, and don't think he hasn't noticed that two palestinian terror groups claimed responsibility for the blast.

I'm not worried about the "Road Map." It's not time to worry yet.

The Woodpecker Wars: The sequel

Last Thursday morning at the usual time (6:30), I was awakened by the now-familiar sound of a woodpecker hammering on my chimney hood. But unlike all the other times, the hammering stopped soon after, and then picked up again, farther away, on someone else's chimney. I got out of bed and went downstairs to see where he was, and as soon as Woody saw me he took off from the chimney two doors over.

This morning, at 7 a.m., I heard Woody Effing Woodpecker continuing the second front of the war: Two or three chimneys to the left of my bedroom, more faintly, but still able to awaken me, apparently. This time, I wasn't nearly as energetic and just shut my eyes and went back to sleep (it really was a long, low-sleep weekend). So now I'm wondering: Who's got Woody on their chimney?

I'm pretty sure it's not the nice young metalhead couple next door. It sounded farther off. With any luck, it's the chimney that belongs to the schmuck with the white trash friend who parked his pickup truck sideways while visiting his buddy, leaving the driver side door open and the awful rap music blasting loud enough to be heard three blocks away. What the hell is wrong with people that they think their music is what everyone wants to hear, anyway? Effing idiots.

I wonder if I can figure out how to get Woody to peck on chimneys by request. There's this neighbor across the way that thinks nothing of throwing a loud, weeknight party, and the one a few doors down with the annoying dog, and... hm. This bears further thought.



Laughing it up

Nathan S. sent me a link to this flash movie that, well, I just don't get. I think it's beyond me, somehow. Or maybe too sophisticated for my juvenile scorn (oh, God no, I'm not going to let that go for at least six or eight years). [Update: Keep poking. I just laughed so hard I scared the cat. Well, hell, the bunny scared me first. Thanks for the tip, Eric!]

But this one—this one simply slayed me. It's called "God Saves the Titanic." If you don't find it funny, well, get out of here and don't come back. You're scary.

That's about all I have the energy for. It's after nine, and I'm going to sit down and watch Wednesday's West Wing and go to bed. I hear that Aaron Sorkin has been reading my weblog, and that there's a woodpecker involved. Hm. I know a copyright lawyer. We'll have to see.

Shame, Britannia

Okay, so I'm not that tired. Well, I am, but this sort of thing energizes me. And not in a good way.

Tony Blair is now being told by British anti-Semites that he is also unduly influenced by Jews, including Foreign Minister Jack Straw, who apparently has a Jewish grandparent. Bruce points out that that's exactly what Germany put in its Nuremberg laws: A single Jewish grandparent made you a Jew. So glad to see that Britain has changed so much in the past seventy years.

Then, when you're done with that, check out Allison's take on it, which, well, sounds a lot like something I would have written. But she beat me to it. I expect the Blogger archives are hosed; go here and scroll down. (It's under "Quote of the Day: I'm no anti-Semite, my children worked on a kibbutz.")

Oh. And there's the little matter of the dozens of British Muslim wanna-be suicide bombers, too. All in all, a black week for the Brits.

Wake me up when it's tomorrow

The problem is, I stayed up late Friday night and got up early Saturday for services (okay, so I was a half-hour late, but still—up late, up early, not good). Then I stayed up a bit too late last night and got up very early this morning, although it was a sans woodpecker moment. Believe me, when you have lousy dreams, you don't need a woodpecker pecking on your chimney (and I'm quite worried that the Woodpecker War II has broken out already, but more on that another time).

But yesterday was a long day. Andy and I decided to go shopping for something after services. He wanted me to buy hiking shoes and I wanted me to buy the new Chevelle CD. So we wound up going to Fredericksburg, which is an hour north of here, and which has this mall that can only be described as a strip mall on steroids. It has what seems like thousands of unconnected strip mall anchor stores: Best Buy, Borders, Target, Sports Authority, various chain restaurants of the less appetizing kind (Appleby's? Friday's? IHOP? Ugh.), and thousands of cars and lights and tons of traffic, and the next thing I knew, it was nearly 9:30 and the only thing I'd bought all day was the Chevelle CD (ten bucks at Best Buy! Hoo-wee!). But we did manage to find me hiking shoes, at a store that I'd never heard of before: Dick's Sporting Goods.

Of course there were about four or five hundred jokes made about the name of the store, because we didn't know exactly where it was ("You don't know Dick's!" and "Where's my Dick's?" or "I'm looking for Dick's!"), and then I simply had to ask the nice young gentlemen waiting on me whether they got a hard time (no pun intended) about the name of the place where they worked. Yeah, they did. But there was something even funnier and far too foul for this family-oriented weblog (okay, you can stop laughing now) for me to repeat, but it had something to do with lacing up my hiking shoes more tightly, and a comment that Andy made that nearly made him blush when I burst out laughing over it (he wouldn't let me tell the shoe salesmen), and I was torn between trying to decide if I was being juvenile or if, as I have often said, one of the ways you can determine maturity is by whether or not a person gets the double entrendres.

Anyway. I now have an inexpensive Chevelle CD and an expensive pair of hiking boots, and neither Andy nor I could solve the mystery of why we saw so many Fredericksburg teenage girls all decked out in prom wear, being escorted by boys in t-shirts and shorts. If that's the style nowadays, I'm damned glad I was born when I was born. Look, if I'm going to the bother of getting myself all made up and dressed, no way in hell would I allow my date to be in anything less than a good suit, though a tux rental would be required for formal dates.

If any of my readers are from the area and could explain this strange phenomenon, please share. I wanted to whup them all upside the haid for being such bums to their girls. In the meantime, it's been a long day, and I'm tired. There was religious school, a staff meeting, and grocery shopping today. That's why you haven't had any updates since yesterday morning.


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.