Important: Read this before sending email RSS Feed




My Amazon Wish List
(Buy me presents)




Indexed Archives

Portal (links)

Contact me

Who am I?


The diary of
Iseema bin Laden

Secret Arafat
Phone Transcripts

Greatest Hits


Letters from
Captain Steve

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More




The dog days of April

Okay, it's May now, but the line just doesn't work with a one-syllable month.

Y'know, this is just an overall weird weekend. Dogsitting for Heidi means staying in Small Town South of Richmond and driving an extra 25 minutes to work, which just feels strange, as I'm a ten-minute commute away from both my jobs. And this weekend also happened to be the weekend I'm working a morning shift near downtown Richmond, then my full second shift at the climbing gym, and tomorrow it's the usual two-job Sunday: Religious school in the morning, climbing gym in the afternoon. Heidi's back Monday, but I'll be here tomorrow night, keeping the dogs company and feeding and playing with them while I'm at it.

Worf is sadI've graduated from being someone whom the dogs simply bark and jump around when they see me, to being someone whom Worf injures when he's excited. It's a fine line, you see. Worf will leap on and nip Heidi when she comes home after having been away for a while. He also does it before her daily run. It's a risk, and she's got a number of scars on her arms and legs from Worf's claws. Tonight, I earned some matching scars on my arm and perhaps on my back (man, that one hurt, and damn, I wish I'd been wearing long sleeves). Worf is currently trying to figure out how to steal one of my sneakers and get me to chase him, but he knocked down the child gate across my doorway and scared himself, so perhaps that will calm him down a bit.

Yesterday, I freaked him out completely by forgetting that when you put the probe in a roast, you have to turn the oven down yourself—the oven doesn't automatically change things for you. So I inadvertently cooked the roast at 550 for about 20 minutes, causing much splashing and smoke. I wound up literally filling the kitchen and Great Room with a layer of smoke, ran around turning on all the ceiling fans and opening wide the windows, and then thought that Worf was going to throw up because he had eaten his dinner too fast. Turns out it was the smoke alarm going off twice that frightened him into shivering and looking like he was going to be sick. Sarah G. helped me figure that out. I got worried when Worf wouldn't come inside, but instead stayed underneath a bush in the yard, and wanted me to stay out there with him. No roast beef scraps for him, though.

The picture above is Worf still feeling very unhappy. He got better about an hour later, when he decided to see if he could scare me out of chasing him off the bed. He couldn't, though he's added to his repertoire since I last threw him off the bed. Now, instead of just growling like he's going to bite you, he barks, too. Suddenly. Startled me, then I grabbed his collar again and said, "Get down!" He got down, grumbling all the way. They're about ready to settle in for the night, and so am I. I have to be up to get ready for religious school in 7 hours. | |



News of the not-here

Muslims in Thailand don't understand why Thai police killed so many of their own in the last few days. Perhaps the answer to that question can be found in this lead paragraph:

Thailand is reeling from Wednesday's unprecedented violence in its three southern, Muslim-majority provinces, where troops and police shot dead 108 gun- and machete-wielding Islamic militants after coming under attack in a series of dawn raids.

I believe the questioner in the next paragraph is wondering why such "excessive force" was used.

"The people are upset and angry," said Yosoff Samail, 60, head cleric at the central mosque in the provincial town of Pattani, where troops with rocket-propelled grenades and teargas stormed another mosque and killed more than 30 insurgents inside.

"They want to know why the army killed those in the mosque. Why did they use heavy weapons? Why didn't they ask the chief Islamic leader what to do?" he said after Friday prayers attended by more than 1,000 faithful, many spilling onto the streets.

Let's see. Perhaps the fact that they were shooting at police stations in dozens of separate areas in an attempt to overthrow the government might have had something to do with it?

Across the border in Muslim-majority Malaysia, where sympathy is strong for Malay-speaking Thai Muslims, opposition politicians branded the mosque shootout the "massacre of Pattani".

"This is an oppression, a massacre against Muslims," said Sallehuddin Ayob, youth chief of the Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS), adding that no one had proved the dead were terrorists.

No, no one had proven they were terrorists. On the other hand, they were machete- and gun-wielding young men who attacked police stations throughout Thailand. I'm thinking necessary force was used. But the UN has found another whipping boy besides Israel, apparently.

Among the dead were 19 soccer players, an entire team from the same Muslim village.

The players, all aged between 19 and 26, had planned to steal weapons from soldiers and police, local people said, but armed only with machetes against the troops' automatic rifles, they didn't stand a chance.

In Geneva, Acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan called on Thai authorities to carry out "swift and transparent investigations" into the killings.

Ramcharan noted that under an international covenant and U.N. principles on the use of force, authorities are required to refrain from using force exceeding that strictly required.

Right, the poor soccer players, who intended to steal weapons and then use them against soldiers and police, didn't stand a chance because they were killed before they could steal the weapons and kill people with them. Poor, misunderstood children. (Social Darwinism at work.)

Hm, what does this incident have in common with Israel? Why is the Human Rights Commission going to investigate the killings? Let's think... word starts with an M... oh, yeah. Muslims. No, there is no bias at the UN. None at all. Say, where's that Human Rights Commission investigation into the Sudan? How about Syria's mass roundup and execution of the Kurds? No?

Didn't think so.

Speaking of Reuters, they're positively gleeful over the prospect of a Sharon defeat. Boys, try to keep it in your pants until the election is over, please.

Sharon faces defeat over Gaza pullout
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is heading towards defeat in a vote by his right-wing Likud party over his Gaza pullout plan, new opinion polls predict.

But a Sharon aide said rejection in Sunday's ballot would not necessarily kill the U.S.-endorsed proposal to carry out Israel's first evacuation of Jewish settlements since it returned the Sinai peninsula to Egypt in 1982.

This is just too bizarre. Gary Glitter has been ordered out of Cambodia because of his conviction on kiddy pr0n charges in 1999. And how often can you write that in a sentence?

Al Qaeda (tape not yet authenticated) is claiming the Jordanian attempted mega-attack, but insist there weren't any chemicals.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - A man identifying himself as al-Qaida operative Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi said on an audiotape aired Friday that his terror group planned to attack Jordan's secret service building, but it did not have a chemical weapon as Jordanian authorities allege.

Jordanian state television has broadcast confessions by militants allegedly linked to al-Zarqawi in which they say the group was plotting al-Qaida's first chemical bomb attack. The attack was to have targeted Jordan's secret service building in Amman, the alleged conspirators say.

"The (allegation) that there was a chemical bomb to kill thousands of people is a mere lie," the reported voice of al-Zarqawi says on a tape broadcast via an Islamic site on the Internet.

"God knows, if we did possess (a chemical bomb), we wouldn't hesitate one second to use it to hit Israeli cities such as Eilat and Tel Aviv."

Of course. Why waste your big weapons on mere Arabs when you could use them to murder thousands of Jews?


Oh, this is just dandy. American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. First we have the asshats who commit the crimes. Then we compound it by having videotape. Then we make it even worse by getting that videotape to Sixty Minutes II. And now, of course, it's on Al Jazeera and all the Arabic stations. Lovely. Way to improve America's image.

Throw 'em all in jail, and knock down the officers who let it happen. Dammit. | |

To-do lists

You know what I hate? I hate having to do a whole host of things, and not really wanting to do any of them. I have a host of things that need to be done, and little or no desire to do it. Anyone want to register MT for me, pick out an MT template, and get me going on the changeover?

Anyone want to go through hundreds of photographs and burn some new CDs as well as creating several more samples of Memory Books for the business I'm trying to build?

Anyone want to go to work for me on Saturday and Sunday while I stay over at Heidi's and dogsit instead? Okay, I'm going to dogsit anyway, but then I could burn the CDs and blog and play with the dogs instead of doing anything else on Saturday and Sunday. I expect to get very little sleep; the dogs will insist on sleeping in my bed and two of the three of them snore. And those are the two big ones. Worf growls at you when you try to move him if he's in your way. Lucky for me, he no longer scares me with those growls. Big baby. He's just complaining. I'll have to remember to gate the dogs out while I'm in the shower, or they'll leave me no room in the bed. Okay, there's barely going to be room in the first place. 100-lb. Ridgeback, 75-lb. Ridgeback, 10-lb. poodle, and me. Good thing the bed's a Queen.

Anyone want to read through the Israeli press and write a few posts for me? Anyone? Anyone? Omri? (Wait a minute: Class? Professors? Are you that young? Yikes. Boytoy alert. Strike this one off the potential virtual fiancé list.)

Oh, yeah: And if anyone wants to pay my bills for me, feel free. | |



Incendiary linking

Whew. There are flames licking out of my monitor after this post (don't miss the comments) over at Wizbang. It's in response to Hawkins' latest piece of flamebait, where he took Michele's Red Sox cap picture and posted it over on his site, insisting that her stats are up because [gasp!] the picture shows a little cleavage. Um. Perhaps the fact that dozens of blogs are linking to Michele over the Spirit of America Challenge might have something to do with the jump in stats?


Speaking of Michele, oh, yeah. I'd choose Han, too. In a New York minute. (P.S.: Last chance to donate is today.)

Lair Simon has a great example of some kind of bias in a CNN story. Check it out.

The Italians staged a small demonstration (about 3,000 people) in response to terrorists' demands that they protest the government's policy in Iraq or the hostages would be killed. The Pope specifically asked for the release of the hostages. I'm wondering what will happen, and also wondering if it were my relative, would I have marched?

Lynn B. describes a lecture by a palestinian journalist who does not blame Israel for everything.

Judith is thinking along the lines of what I was thinking about Canada allowing some shari'a law. If you read the articles, you discover that religious arbiters have been in use by Canada (and the U.S.) for some time now. No biggie. It's not like Canada is adopting Shari'a.

And I'm off to make dinner and then go to yet another neighborhood watch meeting. Sigh. I'm so bored with this, yet we can't exactly stop doing it. The crooks are still out there. | |

Anonymous Letter-Writing Guy

We've had stories of Maintenance Guy. We will doubtless have more stories starring Maintenance Guy, because, well, it's fun to call someone Maintenance Guy and tell a story about chasing away a woodpecker from your bedroom roof. Now we have Anonymous Letter-Writing Guy, who is really funny and rather gossipy and who discusses the issues of my blog from his point of view. And he has some snarky things to say about other bloggers. He's my new gossip columnist, but for now, I'm not putting in the names or links. From a recent letter:

Again to harp on the merit issue: The guy is just not that good. Lengthy chunks of articles by professional journalists followed by two sentences: "I don't know that I agree, because as [link to male blogger whose thinking is more in tune with XXXX's] noted recently, it's possible that [insert speculative assertion here]. Still, it will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming months." I mean what have I learned from that? NOTHING. And the monotony, oh, the monotony. I just want to say to him, "Dude, I should not be able to fucking TEMPLATIZE your posts."

Heh. Can't wait to see what he has to say about the ASM Cleavage Controversy. Oh, wait, he just did. (He's really fast, and we correspond nearly every day.)

Incidentally, he's sent them all out again. Yep, wrote a follow-up post to his last one and ooh, if Michele doesn't bitchslap him for this one, that will just be all kinds of wrong, because he's got the Red Sox hat photo up.

Oh yeah--he went THERE. Claims she finally "took his advice" and "showed a little cleavage" and that's what's made the ASV traffic go up.

Not links from Lileks. Not the charity drive. Cleavage.

He's disappointed, I think, that he didn't get more responses to his last post on the issue. Nice "quality" blogging, Hawkins. NOW who's courting blogwars, motherfucker? I thought only them gossipy bitchy wimmenfolk did such thangs.

Okay, sometimes I'm going to put in the names.

Yes, we have a new regular feature here: Anonymous Letter-Writing Guy. Welcome to Snarkfest 2004.

P.S.: No, he's not talking about Glenn Reynolds in the first excerpt. Geez, folks. Number one, I like Glenn. Number two, uh, that's not a description of Glenn's style at all. | |

Secret Arafat Phone Transcripts, 2004

Note: We recently received a copy of the transcripts of a series of phone calls made by Yasser Arafat to various world leaders after Ariel Sharon announced that he no longer feels himself bound by a promise not to harm Arafat. The last time we heard from Arafat, the IDF was slowly bulldozing him into oblivion. This time, he's in even more danger.

Arafat: Mr. Secretary General, Sharon has threatened to execute me again! Of course I want more than anything else to be a martyr, but the world must not let this criminal behavior continue! Will you help me?

Deep growly voice: Who this? Who Sharon? Hulk already have girlfriend. Name Betty. Not Sharon. What you want with Hulk, stupid man?

Arafat: Er, isn't this Kofi Annan?

Hulk: Hulk not like coffee! Why you call Hulk and ask him if he want coffee? Who are you, puny human? Hulk smash! Hulk smash puny man!

Arafat: [click]

Arafat: Mr. Secretary, you must stop the criminal Sharon from sending his helicopters to bomb the Muqata. A million martyrs, marching towards Jerusalem, will avenge my death!

Hulk: What you want? Why you calling me again? Who dying? Hulk not dying! You the one who will die!

Arafat: Uh... isn't this Colin Powell?

Hulk: No! This Hulk! Hulk is the strongest one there is! Who this? Who keep bothering Hulk with stupid phone calls?

Arafat: Why do all of General Arafat's calls keep getting routed to this idiot?

Hulk: Who you calling idiot? Stupid human! Hulk not idiot. You idiot! Hulk find out where you calling from, Hulk find you and smash you and—

Arafat: [click]

Arafat: General Mubarak, my brother. You must help me. The criminal Sharon is trying to kill me—

Hulk: That you again? What the matter with you? Why you keep bothering Hulk? Hulk will smash! Smash puny man on phone!

Arafat: Iseema! Get over here at once and explain to General Arafat why his phone calls keep getting routed to that stupid American! I have made three phone calls to world leaders, and all three of them have connected to this Hulk person. Who is Hulk? Is he a Jew? I don't wish to speak to him anymore. I am General Arafat, you will not talk to me like that! Goodbye!

Hulk: [click]

| |



Pakistan ERA Watch

Presented without comment:

Man chops off wife’s nose and lips
MULTAN A man chopped off his wife’s nose and lips after her parents refused to let their two daughters marry her husband’s brothers in Bangla Qasim village in Tranda Muhammad Panah.

No one has come to the police to register a case since the family says it is a case of inter-marriage and the husbands don’t want to pursue the case, said Sarfraz Hussein Sindhu, Bahawalpur’s deputy inspector general of police. Ashiq Hussein allegedly beat up Mumtaz after cutting off her nose and lips. On hearing the news, Mumtaz’s brother Buddhay Khan assaulted his wife Haleema Mai, who is also Mr Hussein’s sister. Both women were taken to a nearby hospital where their condition was said to be critical. In another incident, six armed gunmen allegedly chopped off the nose and lips of Kher Bakhsh, whose uncle Allah Bakhsh refused to sell his land to landlord Gaman Sikhani in Dera Ghazi Khan. Police registered a case.

| |

Back to business as usual: Hatred in the Arab world

This one's a killer.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi leaders presented a new national flag Wednesday after protests that a version unveiled earlier this week resembled the flag of Israel.

The new design was more or less the same as the one announced earlier this week: two blue stripes along the bottom with a yellow stripe between them, and a crescent above them in a white field.

But the stripes and crescent were a considerably darker shade of blue than the original version published in an Iraqi newspaper, which showed the stripes as being light blue.

Many said the light blue stripes were reminiscent of the light blue bands on the Israeli flag. Hundreds of university students in Mosul demonstrated against that version Wednesday.

Yeah, well fuck you, too. How effing sick does a culture have to be to freak out because the colors of their new flag were too close to the colors of the Israeli flag?

Jew-hating bastards.

Then we have this gem:

Assad Defends Anti-U.S. Attacks in Iraq
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Syrian President Bashar Assad described armed attacks against U.S.-led troops in neighboring Iraq as legitimate "resistance" against foreign occupation.

His remarks, aired Wednesday on the Qatar-based pan-Arab al-Jazeera satellite station, are likely to strain already tense U.S.-Syrian relations.

Assad, whose country strongly opposed the U.S.-led war on Iraq, said anti-American resistance was widespread in Iraq, where most people opposed the U.S. occupation.

"The public reaction (in Iraq to the U.S. occupation) ... gives legitimacy to the resistance," Assad said, adding that Iraqi opposition stems from the killing of Iraqi civilians by American-led soldiers.

Way to keep on painting that target on your head, Baby Assad. Word has it that the chemicals used in the attempted terror attack in Jordan last week came from Syria. Perhaps it's time to start an Assad Death Pool. I say the dorktator doesn't last another year. | |

Today's moment of kitty zen

We'll just call this one "Bathing Beauty."

Gracie bathing

That's another buck in the kitty for the Victory Alliance, Lair. | |

Little things

So I hit that 5.7 that gives me the creeps this afternoon, and ran it fairly easily. I needed one brief rest and I was done. Huh. Go figure. Looks like I'm going to have to move up to 5.9s soon. And by the way, ow. I'm tired and sore and my hands really hurt.

Well, that's embarrassing. I've gotten one five dollar pledge so far, and that's it. So, do you guys not like the charity, or do you not want to pay for asking me questions? Or do you just not want to know the sorts of things that Michele's readers are asking her? Well, if you ask me questions, I'll count on the goodness of your hearts to go donate after I start answering them.

I'll be dogsitting this weekend. Should have many tales of Worf, Willow, and Sparty to share.

By the way, those of you who were waiting for my email to settle to hit my tipjar, it's settled. Stacy of Sekimori Designs is working on my new look. I'm hoping to roll it out next week.

I was driving across the Willey Bridge on Sunday morning, trying to figure out what was so different. Something was slightly off, and my mind needed to process exactly what it was. Then it hit me: The trees all had leaves. Between one week and the next, the James River became a beautiful, tree-lined river again. I need to get an early morning shot of that particular view. It's gorgeous. | |



Yes, I'll take requests

Eric A. says he wants me to write a Hulk post. He's pledged a few bucks, and suggested I offer a Hulk post for $100. Okay. I'm offering. Hulk will answer your questions for $5 a pop. You get me twenty questions, and we have a Hulk post. But hurry it up: The challenge ends at 3:01 a.m Thursday night, leaving us with only 28 hours to raise as much as we can for the Victory Alliance. | |

Money for questions

So I figure I'll leap into the last days of the Victory Alliance and take a page from Michele's book: I will answer readers' questions for charity. I think, though, it'll be easier if you donate yourselves to ask me questions, although I will certainly accept matching fund donations. A single question is going to cost you a minimum of US $5. Multiple questions: Okay, three for ten bucks, and if you donate $20 or more, I'll answer five questions. If you're planning on asking questions that aren't going to embarrass me (much) in public, put them in this comment thread. If you're planning on asking intensely personal questions, put them in email and you might get an answer in public that only you will be able to reference. But really, folks, let's remember that I don't generally give that kind of information to people who have known me for years, so don't be asking me how many sex partners I've had or some other question that I would normally never tell a stranger. This isn't the Springer show, after all.

Forward me your paypal receipt letter, and change the title to "QUESTION," and we'll get started after I get back from the Daniel Pipes lecture tonight. I've just created a rule in my emails to move all the questions into a separate folder.

The question-asking ends at 3:01 a.m. Thursday morning. Not that I expect to be up at that time, but you may ask questions up until midnight Pacific Standard Time. I'll answer them on Friday.

I may regret this, but we should be able to raise at least a few hundred for charity, right? | |

Links and things

Gary Farber found a Muslim ERA Watch article for me: Female suicide bombers' families only recieve half the amount that male suicide bombers receive. He links to an interview with ex-terrorist Abdel Rantissi, the late and unlamented.

And here Gary links to a disturbing report on German anti-Semitism, right after the ADL disclosed that Germany is the most anti-Semitic European nation. Looks like my trend towards finally starting to give Germany the benefit of the doubt has been knocked right back to refusing to buy German products.

Imshin posted pictures of her kitten, who is refusing to cooperate and pose for her. Well, Imshin, what did you expect? She's a cat! So, is she waking you up in the middle of the night? Kittens do that, y'know. Just like all babies. (Must. Not. Give. In. Must. Not. Get. Kitten.)

On a more serious note, Combustible Boy sent me a link to this Fark thread discussing the new leader of Hamas. After reading through the uninformed, uneducated, offensive Jew-hatred from the anti-Israel side, I decided that the best way to counter it was with this post from Imshin, who correctly points out why Israel must deal with terrorism the way she is now dealing:

If we are gentle to cancer, if we say, ‘We should give our cancer love and compassion, and then it will change its mind and go away’, then our cancer will laugh in our faces. This victim is an easy one, it will scorn.

To survive cancer we must be very strong and determined. To survive cancer we must inflict unspeakable agony on ourselves. Sometimes, we have to cut out parts of our bodies. Other times, we have to pour poison inside us, again and again. Often, we must destroy parts of our body that are not cancerous, just because they happen to be adjacent to parts of us that are. We have no choice but to be very cruel.

The alternative is to endure slow torture, a hell on earth, followed by annihilation.

CB thinks that the fact that so many Farkers on the thread agree with Imshin is a good sign. Here's hoping.

By the way, I took a leaf from Charles Johnson regarding redirects. He likes to mess with people's heads when he's linked from a site he doesn't care for, or when a person links him with a nasty reference. So people from DuToit's and Misha's websites are going to get a bit of a surprise when they click on the link to my discussion on feminism. And I would like to point out that Stacy Tabb suggested an easier redirect than creating a javascript. She sent me an example of the code, and then I found a source on the web, read up on what needed to be done, and bookmarked a tutorial for future reference.

Gee. Programming is hard. Maybe I should leave it to the boys, and not try to fill my pretty little head with code.


| |

A letter to one of Israel's founders

The following letter was sent to me by regular reader Mark F, on the occasion of Israel's Memorial Day and Independence Day, two holidays linked as perhaps we should link ours—close enough that you realize the sacrifices our soldiers make for our independence.

The following was written to my father by a friend of his in Israel. The "Ezer" that Mr. Friedgut refers to is none other than Ezer Weizmann. My father, a member of the original IAF, met him in Israel in 1948-9. They have stayed in touch over the years and still occasionally speak by phone. I mention this because for me, this has always underscored the fact that Israel is such a small and unassuming country (contrary to what the leftist propagandists here in America have to say about Israeli "colonization", and other such drivel), and the people who were central to her creation are themselves an unassuming bunch. I have always felt an immense amount of pride that my father was among that small group of people that includes the likes of Ezer Weizmann, Golda Meir, and Moshe Dayan, to name a few, who were central to the creation and continuation of the State of Israel. I hope you find Mr. Friedgut's sentiments worthy of sharing with others. I have secured his permission to pass this on to anyone who may benefit from it.

Subject: Israel at age 56
It's that time of year again when my thoughts wander back to pre-1948 and you and your friends who contributed so much and made things happen. On Saturday, I drove up to Jerusalem and along the way - along through Bab el Wad - saw the skeletons of the "armored" cars that tried to break through and bring food to Jerusalem. As usual at this time of year, they were draped in blue and white flags and bunting, and I couldn't help but think of all the blood that had soaked into the ground around them in those battles to relieve a besieged city.

And, of course, not far from there is the monument to one of the many airforce planes that crashed on its mission. In the opposite direction, on the way to Tel Aviv, is Latrun where so many Mahal volunteers and even more recent immigrants, saved from Hitler's death camps lay down their lives so that a Jewish state could be born. Some of them were brought to that battle directly from the ships that transported them from DP camps to what everyone hoped would be a new life. Many of them died because they didn't understand the orders of their commanders in the field, not having had time to learn even a minimal amount of Hebrew.

Without a doubt, the sacrifice of more than 21,000 soldiers who have fallen in combat since November 29, 1947 was for an important cause. The state that people envisioned was to solve "The Jewish Problem" once and for all. And we were going to build a model society, a light unto the nations, as Isaiah called it. We started out pretty well and did many great things. But I suppose nobody and nothing is perfect. Many many mistakes were made and not all the people who arrived to these shores were the ideologists that first populated this arid little country. We are now going through a very difficult period and many of the manifestations are unappetizing to say the least. Our mood is sombre and we are in a collective depressive phase of our manic-depressive existence.

Much of the blame is to be laid at the feet of the Palestinians - especially Arafat who is a crafty, insincere snake who is not to be believed and not to be trusted. But we have some pretty terrible people of our own and in addition the realities of facing potential catastrophe on a daily basis does things to people, not the least of whom are young soldiers, manning road blocks and outposts and confronting hate-filled Palestinians daily. They have not received the training they need to handle the masses of angry people they have to treat on a daily basis and very unpleasant clashes occur between the "occupying forces" and the "downtrodden Palestinians" in whose shoes I would not want to be for even one short, fleeting second.

We here are too close to the daily events to stop for a moment, take a step back and look around at what you guys and we have made happen. With a bit of perspective, one can see that veritable miracles have taken place in this little piece of land over the past 56 years. Few countries can boast of the successes we have achieved in immigrant absorption, in agriculture, in science and technology. All of this while the entire society has been constantly under fire, businesses, hospitals, schools and others have had to give up their employees for a month each year and send them off to the active reserves, not to mention situations like the Yom Kippur war in which some soldiers on reserve duty disappeared from home and work for over six months.

If we look around at our neighbors, those who are patiently waiting for us to sink back into the sand, there is no comparison. They have remained stuck somewhere between the seventh and the thirteenth centuries. Their societies are sick, their leadership and civil services are corrupt, their populations have not been able to utilize what education they have received. They are veritable basket cases.

So we shouldn't only look at the clouds enveloping us on this 56th independence day. We should look back with some pride on our accomplishments, and - while patting ourselves on the back - we should stretch out our hands to world Jewry and to the many volunteers over the decades who have come to lend a helping hand. We should recognize that much of what was accomplished was achieved because of you. And for this we owe you a very large debt of gratitude.

The following piece was sent to me by my brother Ted, an incurable optimist. It is an indication of the road we have come down. If the Bureau of Statistics had added information on the value and composition of manufacturing and of exports in 1948 and today, it would give an even better picture.

I hope this 56th Day of Independence finds you both healthy and happy and that you are proudly flying your airforce flag on an occasion that you definitely deserve to celebrate.

Unfortunately, your friend Ezer is not doing too well. Yesterday, on TV I saw a shot of him taken in the mid-seventies. What a difference between then and now.

All my love to Blanche. I hope her pain is less.


| |



Cognitive dissonance, palestinian style

The contradictions abound here. How can anybody take these morons seriously?

A Palestinian schoolboy delivered a speech on behalf of his peers. "We warn you against coming close to our president," he said. "O enemies of life, don't play with the fire. If you kill our president, you will kill peace."

What peace? There's peace? Where? Not in Israel, certainly.

Addressing the crowd, a defiant Arafat said he is not afraid, because he considers himself a "martyr" for the Palestinian cause. He also referred to himself as a mountain that could not be moved by any wind.

I think that was a misquote. I think he probably referred to himself a man whose wind could move a mountain.

"All of us are martyrs-in-waiting," Arafat said. "I want to stress to all that the threats made by Sharon and his gang will not prevent our people from pursuing their struggle until they achieve all their rights. Everyone must know that we are determined to march toward Jerusalem and to sacrifice millions."

And yet, he has not marched toward Jerusalem to make good on this promise. In fact, he threw out 21 thugs to prevent the IDF from coming in after them. C'mon, Arafat. You're a martyr-in-waiting, here's your chance to wait no more!

Almost immediately after the interview with Sharon was broadcast, Arafat phoned a number of Arab officials and briefed them on the latest threat.

Among those who received phone calls from Arafat were Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara, Egyptian Intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman, and Jordanian National Security Adviser Saed Khair.

Hm. Double hm. Time for a sequel, methinks. | |

Fighting your fears

Ilyka linked to my post last Sunday about a little girl afraid of heights that we got to climb higher than she thought she would. Yeah, I'm still working to overcome that fear of heights thing myself. Yesterday after my shift, I hooked up with Cute Canadian Guy (who is so much younger than I as to qualify for Boytoy, which, of course, does not prevent my coworkers from teasing me about him) to climb. The way it works in the gym is pretty neat. If you don't have a climbing partner and you see someone else who is on their own, you simply walk up to them and ask if they want to climb. CCG was bouldering last Sunday, and I asked if he wanted to climb after I got off shift. Which, apparently, was more than enough to start my coworkers (nearly all of whom are in their early twenties, if that) teasing me about him.

Anyway. There's a route that isn't too terribly difficult. It's a 5.7. I'm a 5.8 climber, and I've climbed some 5.9s. I thought it would be a snap. But it's not. The route is on the wall we call the Monolith, and it goes past part of the high ropes team-building equipment. About ten or fifteen feet from the top, you're dead even with the plank bridge. That's where my fear of heights kicked in the first time, and I had to stop and go back down. The second time, I was even closer to the top, less than ten feet. I had to stop and go back down again, because I was shaking with fear. Yesterday, I saw S. in the gym and asked if he wanted to climb when I got off shift. Sure, he said. I figured I'd start with the route that I couldn't finish, and went up with an attitude that either I was climbing that route, or I was going to die trying.

I started to shake when I got up to the plank bridge, and just decided to grit my teeth and ignore it. I'd been telling pre-teens all day how to defeat their fear of heights; damned if I was going to not follow my own advice, particularly after I got one boy to climb to the top of a route that he didn't think he'd even finish. I think I stepped on a rock that wasn't part of my route, but I got to the top.

The more I think about it, the more I realize why this one was so hard. The hand holds are nearly all finger holds. The route is all about learning how to climb using really difficult holds. Or, rather, mildly difficult holds compared to tens and elevens, for instance. So the feeling is that your hands are going to slip off the hold and you're going to fall. It's related to the problem I have with walls that have a backwards incline. If I feel like I'm going to fall backwards, it's a lot harder for me to climb that route. It's also difficult to climb a route that's on a corner of a wall. Anything that makes me lean my body into a position that feels like the next logical step is a fall makes climbing a lot tougher on me.

But yeah, I'm getting there. Still afraid of heights, but not like I was in November. | |

The F-word, redux

Apparently, my raising the subject of feminism has resulted in a bit of a backlash. Color me unsurprised.

James, really—sulking is so unattractive. And may I give you a little tip on using humor in a post? It's supposed to be funny.

Regarding this post, which attempts to parody the original boobies link: Interesting how James links to the post that removes entirely the context for the hat post, and doesn't link to my post at all, which gives vital background for why he put up the hat post in the first place. It also is the post that seems to have pissed him off so much in the first place. (And once again, the rule on humor prevails. Unless you were trying to go for juvenile scorn, in which case, well, you're just about up to the level of my fourth graders, who still laugh at fart noises. Keep trying; I'll let you know when you improve.)

It almost seems as if James doesn't want anyone to know that he made an offensive and untrue remark about Michele, what with the way he edited his post and posted a non-apology apology there, as well as the one in my comments thread. From his post:

[Snarky comment deleted]*
*If you’ve followed the link from another site trying to follow an ongoing controversy, you know what it said. Apparently, people were taking an intended joke seriously and actually harrassing the joke-ee.

From my comments:

The "boobies" thing was a reference to a post on Dean Esmay's site a few days ago when the competition started up. The "logo" business was confusion on my part, having skimmed a series of the seemingly endless posts hawking the contest. Michele was designing logos for people to put on their sites and offering, separately, to dedicate a post to the individual donors. I conflated the two into her designing logos for sites. Big whoop.

Still seeing a whole lot of tap-dancing, and not a single sincere admission of guilt. "Oh, I was just kidding" is one of the most reprehensible excuses ever invented, because it immediately shifts the blame from the person who made the offensive remark to the person who didn't think it was funny, because people always point out that humor is subjective. Yes, it is. The concept of disrespect is also subjective. But James disrespected Michele with that "boobies" remark, and he continues to disrespect us both by posting snide little references in his linkfests. And the reason I bring up the issue of disrespect is because that was the subject of my previous post on feminism—not what James wrote about. Once again I point out that James wrote his post before I did anything but say I was thinking of writing a rant about feminism. He jumped to a series of wrong conclusions about what I was going to write, and then got bent out of shape when I refused to engage the topic on his terms.

The other bloggers in this debate seem upset that I refuse to go along with the usual "women in the blogosphere are being oppressed" debate. Once again, that wasn't my issue. Been there, done that, have the scars to prove it. (Kate was on the same side of the debate back then. The link's been updated; see for yourself..)

On the other hand, I haven't yet seen a substantive response to my pointing out that conservative bloggers are mislabeling and misinterpreting feminism, using the name of the movement as a substitute for the behavior of some idiots on the radical side of the movement. There are many, many women out there who are feminists, yet who don't approve of what the leadership of NOW is doing.

I won't let their mislabeling hijack the meaning of the word any more than I will let the radical left hijack the word Zionism and try to twist its meaning. That they insist on doing so blows some giant holes in their side of the debate. That James Joyner thinks that boobies and limp parodies are the way to continue substantive debate also speaks volumes. | |



I'm so tired my blood is yawning

That was Michele's metaphor, which I love and will remember for the rest of my life. I doubt I'll credit her that long, though. I figure after a year or two, I'll stop, just like I stopped crediting Diana for introducing me to "effing." But damn, that's a great, great line.

Yes, correspondingly, posting has been and will be light. I have about enough energy to muster up this post, then head off to bed. Stayed up too late last night finishing up my Israel History Board Game for today's Israel Fair at religious school. The kids seemed to like the board game part of it, but had little patience for the historical facts on the cards, or for my trying to explain to them exactly why the British turned back Jews fleeing from the Nazis during 1939-1945 (and then again for the next three years at the behest of the Arabs). I say again, Imshin, I think you're better off where you are.

By the way, expect some catblogging from Imshin soon. They got a kitten. We want pictures, of course. You could enter them into the Carnival of the Cats, which is at The Waterglass this week. Tig, of course, has an entry. He's had a full day today. He slept through all of it, then when I came home sometime after 7, he went outside for a few hours. Now he's lying down a few feet away from me, going back to sleep. Tough life.

By the way, nobody's working harder to bring in the bucks for the Victory Coalition than Michele. If you haven't donated yet, and you have a few bucks, it's for a great cause. Remember, she helped raise bucks for Magen David Adom last year. Let's try and repay the favor.

Lynn B. on Yom HaZikaron, Israel's Memorial Day. Allison Kaplan Sommer on the same. Also via Lynn, I'm changing my Jooglebomb to Judaism 101's definition of who is a Jew. The Wikipedia has a lot of work to do before I'll use it as a main source on things Jewish. Its history of Israel is rather biased, and not in Israel's favor. I would encourage all of the bloggers who read me to do the same. And for those of you who want more information about Judaism and can't wait for my essays on it, check Judaism 101's main page. It's chock-full of information that may very well answer the questions you were going to ask me.

By the way, I've finally decided on a comments policy. If you post something that I find incredibly stupid and annoying, I'll delete it. I've been deleting stupid and annoying comments. Complaints about free speech are directed to the Complaints Department. The email address is biteme at

Ah. Tig's just leaped against the patio door and captured a flying critter. I think it's a moth. I think I'm not letting him in until he drops it. I can't teach him to stop playing with his food, and then the powder and pieces of moth get all over the floor... it's disgusting. Oh, and it's cricket season. I caught Gracie staring at one that had climbed a few feet up the wall. I put it in a cup and tossed it outside. I really hate finding cricket legs all over the floor.

There is something to be said about winter. It isn't much, but at least there are far fewer bugs. | |


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 is also a good bet if you've never been here before.