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Because I shouldn't be the only one having fun with this

I should have linked to Lair's post on the effects of link-whoring stunts earlier. Now it's going to be an experiment in the sociology of the blogosphere. (I'll explain fully later.) Lair said:

Too many good bloggers get sucked into traffic for its own sake with these link-whoring stunts and they stop posting the content that made them good bloggers in the first place.

NZ Bear went from being a highly observant and astute individual blogging to nothing more than an emcee for his link-engines, a mechanic enslaved by the prison of his own design.

[...] I've shelved the idea. Fuck it, fuck it to hell. I'd rather write than edit or collect. Better to be the iron instead of the magnet. Instead, that domain will probably be a one-time-only stunt on April Fools for a parody of Glenn's site. Or perhaps a Purim gag?

Unless the others want to get one of their posts here a little more traffic, no Carnivals for ATS. I've had my fill of cotton candy, and the elephants leave a big mess.

Over to you, Lair. If I were to suggest a monopoly piece for Lair, I'd use, oh, a rampaging lion, probably. Or a sabre-tooth tiger. Yeah. That one.



Getting six-fifty with it

Last night I met Heidi at a local antique dealer's for an auction. The auctioneer was, well, a good ol' boy who likes his food and his smokes, that's for sure. It took me a while to understand him. At one point, I said to Heidi, "Did he just say 'getting jiggy with it'?" She laughed and said she didn't even think the auctioneer knew there was a word "jiggy." Turned out he was saying something like "Can I get six-fifty for it?" At one point, he started saying, "Ladies, now pay attention," which amused Heidi and me no end, and, of course, caused instant imitation and repetition. I mean, it's not like we need a reason to make fun of people. We do it without being given any encouragement. But then again, this guy did the equivalent of waving a red flag at a bull by telling us ladies to pay attention. (There were many men in the audience. He didn't seem to think they needed being told.)

"I do believe he's being sexist," Heidi said. "Pay attention," I told her. (Repeat variations of the same for the next thirty minutes. Hey, I didn't say we're mature when we make fun of people.)

But the funniest thing to me was the way the furniture was displayed. The buyers sat in chairs in the middle of the main showroom. In order for everyone to be able to see the furniture, a group of young men would hoist them up (if possible) for potential buyers. I told Heidi that their position was probably called "Guy Who Holds Up Furniture At Auctions." Heidi opined that they probably didn't have an official title. Two or three of them would lift a table and display it to the buyers, and if it was a dining set, six of them would hold a chair each while two more held up the table. I found it altogether hilarious, and particularly enjoyed the utterly bored expression on Guy In Black Shirt Who Has Really Neat Eyebrows. I thought he'd fit perfectly in the New York club scene. He got his finger smashed by the lid to a cedar chest and didn't change expression in the least, though his face got suddenly very red.

The best moment was when a bedroom set went on sale. It was a seventeen-piece set, complete with a king-sized bed frame, and the entire audience flinched when all 17 pieces were lifted at once. Hell, Heidi and I were all the way in the back, and we jumped a bit. It looked like an antique bedroom set was about to come crashing out at us and crush us all.

Anyway. She got the table she wanted, for the price range she wanted, and we were out of there at 8:30, laughing over being told to pay attention by a good ol' southern boy. And I got yet another taste of southern (antiquing) life.

Time out for a laugh

Doug L. sent me this in email, and as I am now a Virginian, I feel it is my duty to post it:

After his death, Osama bin Laden tried to enter heaven, but he was greeted at the gate by George Washington, who pummeled him across the face and yelled at him, "How dare you try to destroy the nation I helped conceive!"

Patrick Henry approached and punched Osama in the nose and shouted,"You wanted to end our liberties but you failed."

James Madison entered, kicked Osama in the groin and said,"This is why I allowed our government to provide for the common defense!"

Thomas Jefferson came in and proceeded to beat Osama many times with a long cane and said, "It was evil men like you that provided me the inspiration to pen the Declaration of Independence!".

These beatings and thrashings continued as John Rudolph, James Monroe and 66 other early Americans came in and unleashed their anger on the Muslim terrorist leader.

As Osama lay bleeding and writhing in unbearable pain an Angel appeared. Bin Laden wept in pain and said to the Angel, "This is not what you promised me."

The Angel replied, "I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you in heaven. What did you think I said?"




Mel Gibson's daddy: Classical anti-Semitism

So much for Gibson's claims in the 20/20 interview that the New York Times "took advantage" of his father, or that Frank Rich wrote a hatchet piece. This was in the Australian Age:

A week before the United States release of Mel Gibson's controversial movie, The Passion of the Christ, the filmmaker's father has repeated claims the Holocaust was exaggerated.

Hutton Gibson's comments, made in a telephone interview with New York radio talk show host Steve Feuerstein, come at an awkward time for the actor-director who has been trying to deflect criticism from Jewish groups that his film might inflame anti-Semitic sentiment.

In his interview on WSNR radio's Speak Your Piece, to be broadcast on Monday, Hutton Gibson, argued that many European Jews counted as death camp victims of the Nazi regime had in fact fled to countries like Australia and the United States.

"It's all -- maybe not all fiction -- but most of it is," he said, adding that the gas chambers and crematoria at camps like Auschwitz would not have been capable of exterminating so many people.

"Do you know what it takes to get rid of a dead body? To cremate it?" he said. "It takes a litre of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million of them? They (the Germans) did not have the gas to do it. That's why they lost the war."

But wait. There's more, elsewhere:

A week before Mel Gibson's movie about Jesus Christ hits theaters, his father has gone on an explosive rant against Jews - claiming they fabricated the Holocaust and are conspiring to take over the world.

"They're after one world religion and one world government," Hutton Gibson, 85, said in a radio interview that will air Monday night. "That's why they've attacked the Catholic Church so strongly, to ultimately take control over it by their doctrine."

In the bizarre interview, Gibson also said Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan should be lynched and called for the government to be overthrown.

[...] Gibson repeatedly smeared prominent Jews as money-grubbing power-mongers.

"Greenspan tells us what to do. Someone should take him out and hang him."

He even belittled the Pope's reported endorsement of "The Passion," recounting how Mel referred to the pontiff as an "ass."

Gibson reserved most of his vitriol for Judaism, asking: "Is the Jew still actively anti-Christian? He is, for by being a Jew, he is anti-everyone else."

Mel Gibson's spokesman, Alan Nierob, had no comment on the elder Gibson's tirade.

But Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said they were the words of a "classical anti-Semite."

So, I guess that Feuerstein took advantage of the poor old Jew-hater, too. Made him say all those nasty things. Uh-huh. Sure.

Eff off and die, Gibson the elder. We don't like you, either.

Welcome back, you two crazy kids!

Da Bear is blogging again.

OK folks, a little announcement. I've decided to return to my roots, so to speak, and try to focus more of my blogging energies on, well, blogging. Writing. Thinking. Yammering away and sharing my allegedly creative energies with y'all through my own little corner of the blogosphere here at TTLB.

And I'm linking to him to make him keep his promise.

Speaking of returning to the blogosphere, Asparagirl is back, too.

I'm baaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaack.

After being MIA from the blogosphere for far too long--six months!--I'd like to announce that I'm back in the blogging business with the launch of this site, the Protocols of the Yuppies of Zion. Scott and I, as you may or may not have heard, have gone and gotten hitched, and we've decided from now on to share both our online life as well as our offline. Our beloved old blogs have therefore closed up shop, and this is the home base for all our new bloggy goodness. Please update your blogroll, change your links, blah blah blah.

Am I the only one who finds it incredibly suspicious that both Brooke and Da Bear return to blogging with one day of each other? I mean, okay, so she says she's married to Scott Ganz, and he says he's took, and not by Brooke—but I find it mighty suspicious. They both live in California, too. And they both work with computers. I'm tellin' you, something's up here.

Say. Has anyone ever seen NZ Bear and Asparagirl together? Huh? Huh?

I'm just sayin'.



Link-whores and blogging

Aaron seems to think that what I said about his Blogopoly game was nasty. Aaron—dude—you think that was nasty? Honestly? Because all I did was call it as I see it. Give me one reason for the Blogopoly board other than the linkage, and I will take back what I said. Think hard now.... Nah, I didn't think you could give me any other reason.

Here's the thing, and I don't mean to pick on you, Aaron, but you've given me the latest example of link-whoring and the blogging pecking order: I simply don't care much for the metalinkage. Carnival of the this, Carnival of the that, Battle of the Blogging Consortium, Letter of the Day: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Been there, done that, have too many t-shirts. While I don't mind being in them from time to time, I tend to go for merit links. That means I much prefer being linked because people think the quality of my post deserves a link, not because someone else linked to me in some kind of gimmicky thing like a Monopoly Board.

That's how I've managed to achieve blogging status. A gimmick link is fleeting. A merit link is a blue-chip investment, because a blogger that links you because s/he likes what you write is more likely to keep reading your weblog, and link again in the future. Same thing goes for readers. How many new readers do you keep from an Instalanche? My readership goes up solidly every single time. How many of you have created a gimmick post, gotten linked by Glenn, and seen your traffic return to exactly the same numbers three days later? Cotton candy is a fun snack, but you can't eat it for dinner. Here at, we serve up full-course meals.

And Aaron, if I'm supposed to feel hurt and insulted because you you removed my place on the board and linked my weblog to an image of the Monopoly dog, it's not working. On the other hand, it's not very conducive to my linking you in the future.


Into the lion's den

Israeli military reporters were invited to lunch with Jibril Rajoub, Yasser Arafat's national security adviser. (When last we saw Rajoub, he was attempting to convince the representatives of the American Jewish Congress that he thought suicide bombing was a mistake. Please try not to laugh.)

The article is a fluff piece with no real news to it, but the moderated comments below are fascinating. There are comments from Israelis from the left and right, Americans, and Europeans. I didn't know the Jerusalem Post was allowing comments on their articles. This must be a new thing. Go read them, and pay the most attention to the Israeli comments if you want to know what people in that nation are thinking.

Here's my theory on Israeli policies: People like Imshin, Allison, Tal, Gil, and Sha are the ones I listen to regarding what is best for Israel. Not American Jews, and certainly not the EU. So this new message board for Post articles is a good way to get a broader idea of what Israelis think.

Oh, and that puff piece on Rajoub? Pure PR, and the writer fell for it.

Targeted marketing

Let's see what's in the mailbox this morning... Trey is no longer asking me if I want to get laid TONIGHT, but Nigel is. The ads for vriagra and a lónger penís abound. (Do you suppose a pénis is different from a penís, or are they all pretty much alike, and all, according to the spammers, desperately in need of adding to their léngth?)

I like this one: "Gratis Gillette scheerset!" I have no idea what it means, but I like it.

Amalia Bowles says "We can help you overcome yourself!" I had no idea my personalities were at war; please, in the future, write to me, my faithful readers, and warn me of these events.

I thought "Passion should last forever" was another letter about the Mel Gibson movie, but then I saw it was from Romantic Nights, which is a very strange name for a person, so I declined to open it.

Church Match asked me if I'm "Still Single Past Valentine's." Yes, and if I go with a Church Match, I will still be single past Christmas. I like Church folks very much, but I think we may not be such a good marriage match. Yup, targeted marketing in my email box.

On a similar note, "How would you like to be called REV" was another intriguing email. Hm. Start my own church. The Church of Meryl. Sarcasm would be our theme. Just imagine our services. We'd make fun of everything and everyone. I suspect the church would remain very, very small. And hey, can you be a Jewish reverend? And have a Jewish Church? My head is starting to spin over that.


And so many people just want to say hi or hey to me. That's nice, that people are so friendly. You wouldn't suspect them of sending viruses in those emails at all. Nope. Not even after you've gotten the hundredth one.

Well, that's our inbox since last night. I receive well over a hundred spams a day, and that's not counting the ones that get automatically deleted on the server with my filter rules (that's where all the pr0n spam goes; my filter rules are bigtime potty mouths). I even have a rule called "Meryl" to filter out the real emails where some of you put my name in the header, and the "Meryl, stop the ageing process!" can be found and thrown away. I expect I may be deleting some of your real emails. Sorry 'bout that, but I prefer getting rid of my spam on the server rather than wasting my bandwidth downloading it. Whoops. Gotta go. I hear the chime of another email. Ah. It's Ida H. Mayfield, just saying Hi.



Virus question

I've received about half a dozen emails that all begin with ID and some nonsense word like "tjxqkjmwtw." The letter contains an executable file with yet another nonsense name like "vqjeeuwh.exe." Of course, I'm not about to click on it. My problem is that I updated my virus definitions today and Symantec is not detecting this as a virus. I can't find anything about it on their website.

There's no way an executable file emailed to me from a stranger can be anything BUT a virus. Is anyone else receiving these emails? I can't possibly be the first and only.

Update: Thanks, Lair. Just updated my virus definitions again.

Worldwide anti-Semitism

Damian Penny's been working overtime on this issue lately.

There's the UN, of course, an organization that refuses to so much as recognize anymore that anti-Semitism exists. The full Commentary article is here. I'm not up to reading it today.

There's a Syrian cartoonist who refused a UN award because it's named after an Israeli. This one is wrong in so many ways, it's beyond fathoming, not least of which is that he received the award in the first place.

And of course, there's the fence being built to keep terrorists out—of Saudi Arabia. The one that the world has no problem with, even though Yemen says that the Saudis are cutting deep swaths into their territory. But apparently, it doesn't matter, because Jews aren't building the fence.

And then there's the British MP who said she would be a suicide bomber, too, if she lived in the West Bank or Gaza. She visited Israel and spent some time with a suicide bomber's family, and found much to sympathize with. On the other hand, she had nothing good to say about the Israelis:

The next day back in Israel, I couldn't find anyone who was willing to see why the Palestinians resorted to suicide attacks.

Some of the Israeli arguments had truth in them, but it was all so negative.

Yeah, damn those negative victims of suicide bombers. Why can't they just understand?

Good morning to me

This letter made me laugh, which is nice to do first thing in the morning:

How can you tell when someone is addicted to blogging? When she posts that she's too tired to post.


David R.

Heh. I'm not addicted, David. I can quit anytime I want.



I swear.



Positive developments in France

This is hopeful:

French President Jacques Chirac broke protocol on Monday when he descended the red-carpeted steps of the Elysee Palace to welcome President Moshe Katsav who had taken swift strides down a very long red carpet in an attempt to overcome the late afternoon cold of Paris.

Israeli diplomats saw this as yet another sign of the determined effort that France is making to improve bilateral relations with Israel.

As a rule the president waits at the top of the stairs to receive his guests.

The break with protocol was not the only magnanimous gesture made by France. Israeli journalists stationed in Paris said that they had never seen so many national flags in the center of the city.

I'm willing to put my optimist's hat on and hope for the best here.

Katsav and Chirac spent a long time discussing France-Israel relations, the Middle East conflict, the Iranian threat., anti-Semitism and other issues. The two got on so well that they were more than 40 minutes late to a news conference attended by some 70 journalists.

Chiraac said that Katsav's visit presented the opportunity to strengthen and deepen old and far-reaching ties between France and Israel, and to demonstrate France's determination to continue to support the legitimacy and security of Israel.

"This is the heart of our foreign policy," he said.

This did not deter Chirac in his meeting with Katsav, from voicing certain criticisms of Israel's handling of the Palestinian situation.

"I was frank and honest as a friend," he said.

But Chirac did not flinch from acknowledging the price that Israel has paid to terrorism.

"There is no justification for terrorism," said Chirac, who condemned it unconditionally.

That's good to hear.

Chirac who has declared on several occasions that France is opposed to anti-Semitism, said this again to Katsav and reiterated it at the news conference asserting "France is relentlessly fighting racism and anti-Semitism.

"France will not relent in its struggle to eradicate anti-Semitism," he said, " and that is why we do not accept the accusations leveled at us and the honor of our country."

I don't know that I'd call it relentless. But I'm glad to hear that Chirac is making these efforts. His meeting President Katsav is significant in itself. The Jew-haters in the Muslim community can't be happy about that. But there is still a lot of work to be done. One meeting with President Katsav and some statements to the newspapers doesn't cut it. When France steps in and stops the bigotry in the schools and elsewhere, then I'll believe they're working "relentlessly" to eradicate anti-Semitism.

No news is a good day

Sparty needs a clipSpent the night at Heidi's, enjoying the news-free time, the snowfall (about three inches, but most of it melted already), and the company. Worf stole my sneaker right off the bat, right out from under me, in spite of my shooing him out of the guest room while I changed from sneakers to slippers (five straight hours on my feet; I needed a break). Sparty has no face. Heidi doesn't want to clip him because his fur allows him to go out in the cold winter days and laugh at the short-haired Ridgebacks shivering in the yard. But she needs to clip his face, I think. You can't see it. And he's already nearsighted to begin with, so if you were, say, a really cruel person who got her kicks teasing a nearsighted dog whose face fur is too long, you might, say, toss carrot scraps to the dog and watch him walk right past them. Which is not something that I did, mind you. But I was thinking of it, since I threw him some carrot scraps and he couldn't find them without my pointing them out to him. And in that house, it's either move fast or lose your food. Ridgebacks are among the world's greatest dog thieves. Besides stealing my sneaker literally right out from under my nose, he stole both of my boots this morning, which were drying out in the hallway.

I supposed I could go see what the news is, but I'm betting it's a lot more depressing than my last 24 hours. We had chicken soup (with matzo balls!) for lunch, and this time, I did not make them so big that they needed to be renamed monster balls. Now, the chicken soup for lunch thing may seem totally innocuous to you, but I must point out that it is the first time—ever—that I have had a sit-down lunch with the entire family at Heidi's house. I have known her since 1990, and visited her home since 1991, and that was our first real lunch. Ever. Seriously. Oh, we've had lunch outside the house together. And I've had lunch by myself, or with Sorena. But Heidi isn't a lunch person. She's the type who eats breakfast, snacks throughout the day, and then has dinner. Mind you, I'm not so big on lunch myself unless I'm working a nine to five job, but I was suitably impressed about our lunch (which was excellent) that I feel I must announce to the world that I have finally had a real, honest-to-God lunch with Heidi, G., and Sorena. And it was really good, too.

She is so going to kill me if she reads this post. Oh, well. What are friends for?



Out of steam

I think I waited too long to post something tonight. Between the stomach flu, the asshat who woke me up at 2 a.m. by playing loud music in his truck while he sat outside for unknown reasons (my friggin' windows were shaking), working pretty much nonstop at the gym today, and the wine with dinner at Heidi's, I'm rather out of it.

I think you'll all survive until tomorrow.

By the way, it's snowing here. I brought my boots. We'll see if I need them tomorrow.


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.