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Title block

That works as well as the next one.

I am mad at Gracie today. She decided that she wanted me to get up at 3 a.m. and play with her. Then she figured she'd try it at five. Then eight.

No tunafish for Gracie.

My nephew may be coming home with me next week. We talked about his staying with me a couple of days and my driving him to his uncle's in North Carolina. So the Busch Gardens trip is going to be very different. We'll have a 13-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl, and two 10-year-old girls. The kids are reaching the point where they're really outnumbering the grownups.

But boy, are we gonna have fun.

I did not take the top off my car last night. This was a very good thing, as there was a downpour around three a.m. Oh. That must have been what woke me up then, not Gracie. But she did wake me the other two times. Imperious Mew strikes again.

By the way, I clocked myself. I can take the windows off, put them in the case, and put the top down in under five minutes. It takes slightly longer to put them back on. Time to get a tarp and keep that over the car overnight.

I miss having a garage. I had one in Montclair, and would laugh at overnight downpours. Ha! Ha, I would say.


Busy weekend ahead. It's America's birthday. Here's hoping the terrorists don't get a chance to set off their version of fireworks. I'll be at Fort Lee. I'm not the least bit worried that they'll attack an army post. It's neat being there, actually. Lots of patriotic music, and people who really care about the Fourth.

I maintain that the American Revolution is one of the greatest moments in the history of mankind. Oh, we've got our detractors, but if we opened our borders tomorrow, the rest of the world would pour into our nation. Including the French, I'd bet. | |



Those were the days, my friend

Y'know, it really is Old Home Year for me or something. First I get an email from someone I knew when I was 13. Then I get an email from someone I knew when I was, uh, 13. Junior high. Spoke to her today. She never knew the reason we lost touch in 9th grade is because I moved to Maplewood that summer. We were from such a large school system, they broke up the junior high school classes into three different high schools. We would have been in different high schools regardless, but it kinda sucked to hear that if I had gone to Rutgers New Brunswick, we probably would have hooked up again. Ah, well.

So tonight I hear from someone I knew in my later years: The late eighties. And like I said the other day, I'm pretty much stuck admitting I am who I am. As far as I know, there is no other Meryl Yourish in existence. I'd better tell my cousin not to name any of her kids Meryl. Oh, wait, her name's probably not Yourish anymore since she got married. Phew.

If this keeps up, everyone I used to know is going to send me an email asking me if I'm me. I should make up a standard response.

Let's see, who do I want to hear from... Okay, Terry from sixth grade, Jan Lucas, Shari Rubinstein, Stella Cherico, and Kevin Hawley from junior high school, and Marianne Sarno from high school.

And while I'm at it, I'd also like to hear from Hugh Jackman. I don't care if he's married. All that and he sings, too. Sigh. (But he didn't deserve the Tony. Sorry, Hugh, I may be starstruck, but I know Tony performances, and yours wasn't one.)

There must be something in the air or something. Either that, or, like, there aren't that many Yourishes in existence. Oh, that's right: There aren't. | |

Big Yellow Bomb

This article has inspired this parody. Here's the relevant part:

A soldier on the scene told IsraelNN's Ezra HaLevi by telephone that five of his fellow soldiers were lightly wounded by the blast, which opened a 20-meter-wide hole in the earth: "There were two huge explosions and now there is a giant crater where the parking lot once was - the whole structure has caved in," he said. " Thank God, they seem to have dug it under where they thought our barracks were, but instead blew up the parking lot - thank God everyone is accounted for. It is really a miracle that they didn't succeed in blowing up the barracks. There were angels guarding us tonight as we stood guarding Israel," said the soldier, "we can feel it."

I know a soldier died in the explosion, but it would have been far, far worse if the pals had had accurate measurements. (Hat tip: Hillel Markowitz):

They craved paradise but blew up a parking lot
With a lot of sweat, and a bomb, but they missed the right spot
It's too bad, Allah is mad
Their tunnel ran a few meters short
They craved paradise but blew up a parking lot

Ooooh, bomb bomb bomb
Ooooh, bomb bomb bomb

They tunneled like rats, and loaded it up with bomb makings
And they blew it up so the Jews'd think the earth was quaking
No, no, no
It's too bad, Allah is mad
Their tunnel ran a few meters short
They craved paradise but blew up a parking lot

Ooooh, bomb bomb bomb
Ooooh, bomb bomb bomb

They craved paradise but blew up a parking lot

What can I say? Things like this occur to me regularly when my mind is allowed to wander. Well, the title occurred to me, and then I had to work on the rest. Tragedy is easy. Comedy is easy. Parody is hard. | |

Begathon, Yourish-style

So I've been thinking about this post for quite some time. Remember how I said I was going to try to take my weblog more into the mainstream? Fewer posts about Israel and Jewish issues, more post about more general topics?

Well, I can't seem to do it. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I simply can't change my style. I can't stop writing about anti-Semitism, and Israel, and Jewish issues. I find I would rather tackle those topics than many others. And rather than have a blog that's a mile wide and an inch deep, I think I'll stick to subjects I know well. That would be anti-Semitism, Jewish issues, Israel, and cats—with a little bit of humor and personal anecdotes thrown in.

In other words, nah, I'm not changing much. I finally got Stacy to finish the changes on my new design, and yes, I am going to call the weblog "Center Stage," but I'm not changing the URL. Just getting a new look.

SSo here's the begathon part of the post: I want more readers. I'm currently suffering from the summer doldrums, and my readership has hit a plateau. That happens on a regular basis, then it heads upward again. I realize I'll never make the traffic of an Instapundit, and probably not even a Michele Catalano, but you folks can help me out. Send an email to your friends with a link to Meirav was two. Or the newest Arafat phone transcripts. Or "Science Dudes, watch out!" Or It's a Dog's Life. Or send them all four links. A lot of you are on mailing lists. Well, since I'm not going to go mainstream on you, then my Jewish readers need to alert your synagogue and JCC pals to this weblog. There are a lot of people out there who don't know that there are No Israel-Bashing Zones, and this is one of them. And if they're cat-lovers, so much the better. Jews and cats, as Lair Simon says: His two favorite things. They're two of my favorite things, too.

And don't think my non-Jewish readers are going to get away scot-free. Nope. Those posts will work for anyone and everyone. Two serious, three humorous, and while I'm at it, let me throw in that really great picture of Gracie at the patio door.

Now. What are you waiting for? Pick and choose a link, or send them all. I expect to see tons of email referrers over the next week or two. If you send someone a link to here, and they click on it, that shows up in my logs. I'll be able to tell if my begathon is successful.

And you can't beat the price. I'm not asking for a penny. Just an email. Or two. Or three. Hm. No, wait! Don't spam your friends! No! Please!

(I may live to regret this.) | |



So who's going to be in NJ next week?

I'm driving up to NJ on Monday, and back here on Wednesday. I'll be spending most of my time with my family, but I might have some time for some NJ/NY area bloggers. I don't think I'll get into the City, or out to visit Michele—not this time, anyway—but perhaps we can meet somewhere in northeastern NJ. Buses run from New York to NJ, y'know. I used to take them home from work all the time.

Let me know. | |

Exercises in Jew-hatred

If you read the comments in the previous post, you can see a perfect example of anti-Semitism in action. The commenter manages to get just about every ingredient of Jew-hatred in a mere five sentences.

Firstly, I've got to say it, you're one hell of a blinkered freak.

Here we go, start off with the personal attack. Way to get my attention, asshole. Oh, and right back atcha.

Being anti-Israel or anti-Zionist is not being anti-Semitic.

Being against the Jewish state is not anti-Semitic? Really? Being against the establishment and continuation of the state of Israel—which is the definition of Zionism—isn't anti-Semitic? So, I guess being anti-France doesn't mean you're anti-French, then.

Your argument is simplistic and lacks not only information but intellectual capacity.

This is a textbook example of what the psychiatric profession calls "projection." Or, as our famous E.nough of LGF fame would say, "Pot, meet Kettle."

People can and should be able to be critical of Israel without being called Jew-haters.

You're absolutely right. And it astonishes me that so many cannot criticize Israel without using the classic symbolism of Jew-hatred. Which is what Ralph Nader did when he said that America's government is being controlled by Israel. Which is what you're going to do next.

It's Jews like you that make people think that all Jews should have died in the gas chambers.

You simply cannot get any more anti-Semitic than by making a statement like this. But I'm not surprised. After reading through this asshole's blog, I see that he is nothing but a mass of bigotry and stupidity. I mean, really—how much should we care about the opinion of a twentysomething boy who proudly states in his Blogger profile that he shaves his balls? I mean, that's not exactly the demographic I've been going for here.

I also sense a huge amount of envy for those who are, well, better than him. Because that's one of the things that chaps anti-Semites' asses the most: Jews make up only a tiny fraction of the world's population, yet we have brought the world more important inventions than any six cultures combined (excepting America, which, gee, has a lot of Jewish inventors, doctors, lawyers, writers, financiers... yeah, we got that). Polio vaccine, drip-irrigation technology (that would be those Zionists that invented that, and gave it to the world so that they can make the desert bloom), the background for most of the world's religions, and the ethics and morals that arose because of that—yeah, Jews did that, too.

The way I see it, this guy came across my blog for one reason or another, and decided to unload some of his excess crap. I figure him for a blivit. That would be ten pounds of shit stuffed into a five-pound bag. Someone may have to convert that to kilos for him. He's not that bright, and his blog says he's from Sydney. Sorry to hear that, Tom and Tim.

Too bad there's no hack for anti-Semitic comment spam. Guess I'll just have to make mine the old-fashioned way. Do let the door hit you on the ass, Jew-hater. | |



Ralph Nader, anti-Semite

After reading his interview in Pat Buchanan's rag, I wasn't greatly surprised to hear this:

"What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government," Nader said. "The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington. The Israeli puppeteer meets with the puppet in the White House, and then moves down Pennsylvania Avenue, and meets with the puppets in Congress. And then takes back billions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Washington puppet show to be replaced by the Washington peace show."

Nader spoke Tuesday in Washington at the release of a survey of American Muslim voter opinion, commissioned by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The survey of 1,161 voters this month showed that the majority of voters, 56 percent, supported the presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry, and 26% favored Nader, more than five times the percentage Nader has received in nationwide and statewide polls.

The thread over at LGF is over 400 comments long, and one in particular, by LGF reader Renna, struck me as completely right:

It also amazes me that he can think the opposite of support for Israel is the support for peace.

But of course, if you think that the Jews and Israel are responsible for all the world's ills, then of course, the opposite of Israel is peace.

By the way, this has not shown up in a single American major media outlet, or on any wire service. A major presidential candidate comes out with blatant anti-Semitic remarks, and the media ignores it completely.

Time for the anti-Semite mantra. | |

Cleaning out the viper's nest

The IDF has started operations in Gaza to eliminate the terrorist bomb factories. They're going to last months.

Responding to a continuing series of Qassam rocket attacks on and near Sderot, Israel Defense Forces troops have started a major operation in the northern Gaza Strip area of Beit Hanun and the Jabalya refugee camp.

IDF sources said last night that Operation Front Shield is likely to be conducted in a number of stages over several months.

Palestinian militants fired a barrage of homemade Qassam rockets at the town of Sderot yesterday as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the southern region. Israeli security officials said that at least three rockets landed in western Negev areas. One person was moderately wounded in the attacks, which came a day after Qassam rockets killed three-year-old Afik Zahavi and 49-year-old Mordechai Yosepov.

That's right, the bastards are still firing rockets into Israel proper. Go to the second link above, and you can see a picture from Reuters showing one exploding outside of Sderot.

Still waiting for the condemnation from Kofi Annan. I guess he only gets upset when palestinian women and children are hurt or killed.

For everything you never wanted to know about palestinian rocket scientists, check out this article in the Jerusalem Post:

Since the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip first developed the crude Kassam rocket about two and a half years ago, they have launched about 300. According to IDF statistics, 70 have hit Sderot, 160 landed in open ground across the Green Line, and some 20 in Gush Katif. This is in addition to the some 4,000 mortar rounds that have been fired. A large percentage of the Kassams have been duds.

The Palestinians have experimented with the Kassam design to boost its warhead and range. Their ultimate goal is to hit Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's ranch, some 10 kilometers from the northeast corner of the Gaza Strip.

[...] Until Monday's attack on Sderot, no one had been killed by the Kassam. But that was only luck. "I don't think that there has been any major change in the Kassam. It is true that there were fatalities. But they could have come from the first or second attack or the 300th," said Yiftah Shapir, a missile expert and senior researcher at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies.

The Kassam that killed toddler Afik Zahavi and Mordechai Yosefov, 50, in Sderot Monday was considered more advanced, as the warhead was filled with more powerful TNT and not home-made explosives.

Still, Shapir said that the latest rockets, dubbed "Nasser 3," do not appear to be a major leap in capabilities.

The Kassam is a simple product made with ordinary pipes and worked on standard lathes. Thin fins are welded to its sides to give it moderate stability, and it is stuffed with a solid concoction of propulsion fuel. The more difficult part is the warhead. But that is operated by a simple fuse that detonates upon impact. They can only be aimed in a general direction, with an accuracy of some 10 percent of their range. Fired from the Beit Hanun area to Sderot, eight kilometers away means they may land 800 meters from their target. This makes it more of a terror weapon than a tactical one.

Terror weapon or not, these rocket attacks will continue until the palestinians decide to stop them. Which will be never. I have no faith whatsoever in the ability of the Egyptians to tame these terrorists. I no longer have any faith that Ariel Sharon has any kind of plan, either, other than "Get the hell out of Dodge." And I don't think that's going to work.

| |



Where is the outrage?

Rockets fell on a nursery school. A four-year-old died. The world, with few exceptions, is silent. Why? Because it was an Israeli child. Reverse the situation, have a shell fall and kill a four-year-old palestinian boy, and the world rushes to condemn Israel.

This, as Anne Bayefsky said, is anti-Semitism in action.

This is the child who died. His mother still doesn't know her baby is gone. His father said "It wasn't his time to die, I would have gone instead of him."

One thing that is absent from the funeral: The cries of revenge on Afik's killers. Complaints that the government isn't protecting the townspeople, yes. Prayers for peace and protection, yes. And statements of determination.

But no cries of revenge. There is no cult of death in Israel. Jews are taught to revere life. Islamists think that's a weakness. I think it's one of our strengths. | |



The "cycle of violence" strikes again

Of course, it's all Israel's fault. If they hadn't gone and killed all those terrorists, then the terrorists wouldn't have done anything to them. Right?

Uh, no. The terrorists pulled off an attack on an army post. A four-year-old was killed by Kassam rockets that struck Sderot, which is a community in southern Israel. (Not a "settlement." A town in Israel.) And what does Reuters say?

About a dozen people were wounded.

It was the first time Qassam-2 rockets fired from Gaza, whose small payloads usually cause no serious injuries, had killed anyone in Israel. Sharon planned to hold security consultations later in the day, an official said.

So those dozen people, what, fell on the ground in shock and wounded themselves? Reuters reporters can't even stop from contradicting themselves in their own articles.

Then there's this piece of crap about how the slain terrorist "stood up to Arafat," the clear implication being that Israel has killed a reformer. Funny how Reuters doesn't seem to care that this "reformer" was responsible for suicide bombings and the deaths of innocents.

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - When Israel killed its most wanted man in the West Bank, it may also have removed a headache for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

As the most senior commander for the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in its West Bank heartland, Nayef Abu Sharkh had led a drive to unify the disparate bands of the armed faction within Arafat's Fatah movement.

But he was also at the vanguard of calls for Arafat to clean up corruption, jettison a generation of politicians seen as discredited by many young Palestinians and to hold elections.

"Abu Sharkh had threatened Arafat that if the Brigades' demands for democratization were not met, the armed groups which form the bulk of the younger generation would leave Fatah or carry out elections in defiance of the old guard," a senior Fatah official said.

Abu Sharkh, 38, was killed at his hideout in Nablus on Saturday with five other militants.

He had been in the job for two months.

The Israeli army said Abu Sharkh was behind a suicide bombing that killed 23 people in Tel Aviv early in 2003 and numerous other attacks.

Then, of course, Reuters reported with great glee the attack on the IDF outpost later in the day. The Reuters count: Five or six dead, "scores" wounded. The actual count: One dead, five wounded. Retractions: None.

But the worst is yet to come:

Rescue efforts were hampered by Palestinian gun and mortar fire directed toward the scene, on the route to the Gush Khatif settlement bloc. The militant Islamic Hamas movement and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed group in President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed joint responsibility.

They called it retaliation for Israel's assassination of two top Hamas leaders earlier this year as well as the killing of a leader of the al-Aqsa Brigades in the West Bank city of Nablus Saturday.

The factions said 3,300 pounds of explosives were hidden at the end of a 350-yard tunnel under the post.

Cheering crowds of tens of thousands of Palestinians filled the streets of Gaza City in celebration. Gunmen fired in the air and youths set off pipe-bombs.

"God pleased our hearts. An eye for an eye," they chanted.

There is going to be a war after Israel withdraws from Gaza and the West Bank. Mark my words. The pals will not stop firing rockets, and they will not stop suicide bomb attacks.

I'm beginning to believe that Egypt's role in all of this is to prime the Gazans to be their front line soldiers. | |

Bits and pieces of this and that

I like this guy. I have no idea who he is, or even if he's a guy, but damn, I like this blog. Soup Tree. Nice concept.

It's old home month for me. A few weeks ago, I heard from someone I haven't seen or heard from since I was 13 years old. Then last week, I got an email asking me if I'm the Meryl Yourish that went to [name withheld] Junior High School. Yes, I am, and yes, it was a long time ago, and geez, Googling my name is going to bring me email from lots of people I used to know, I think. Especially now, when more and more people have internet access. So perhaps I should run this pre-emptive strike: If you knew a Meryl Yourish at any time in your past, it was probably me. As far as I know, I'm the only one with that name in the country, if not the world.

Which is, frankly, really cool.

My Jeep got rained on a bit Friday night. I heard the rain start as I was lying in bed, and thought about getting out of bed and putting the windows on. I had the top up. I decided against it. Well, it poured. Oh, well. That's what the plugs in the bottom of the Jeep are for, and it's mostly dry now. Sunny tomorrow, so that ought to finish it up.

I watched the moon as I was driving home from work Saturday night. Not through my windshield. Over my head, where the roof would be. That's why I don't mind too much that the carpet is wet. It'll dry.

There appears to be a wasp's nest in the roof of my kitchen. I saw a wasp fly into a hole under the shingle. It didn't fly out. That would explain my visitor from last week, and the dead wasp on my laundry pile, and, oh yeah, the wasp that got into my kitchen this evening.

The bugs have it in for me this summer. Or, as one of the rental agents said to me last week: Welcome to life in a forest. (My development has many, many trees and is sort of in the woods.)

The Terriorist thinks that Tig is a danger to me. I'm going to talk to Tig and tell him what this dog wrote about him, and get back to you later in the week. I suspect the fur will fly over this.

I'd be mad at Harrison, but he links to the story behind that duck photo that's made the rounds of email lately. The photographer saved all but one of them. Thanks, Harrison. I really hated seeing those photos and thinking of the poor ducklings.

And no, I didn't think of them as cat toys.

Joe G. got such a kick out of the Manhattan driving stories, he grabbed a picture of this great parking job near his home. I think his title is about right: Best parking job ever.

And, uh—that's Joe's car. He parked it that way.

Parked cars in NYC: Adventures in spatial relationships

Perhaps this isn't the time to tell him that I failed parallel parking on my driving test once upon a time.

These are two really funny links, with one for background purposes. You need to go to them in order. First, go here to see what Bucky Badger looks like. (The reason I needed to know is because Sarah and Larry G. are Wisconsin alumni, which is why they found the badger song in the first place.) Okay. Then go here. Max was singing this song last week, and Sarah needed to explain to me what he was singing. Last, but not least, click on this link, especially if you're a LOTR fan. Mind you, even though the last two links are really funny, I must give you fair warning: The song is incredibly, annoyingly catchy. You will find yourself singing it, either aloud or in your head. And it's really, really stupid.

In other words, perfect for me and my readers. | |



A lazy Sunday afternoon

I took off from work today. There are no parties scheduled, it's dead, and my boss knows I'm twelve minutes away if a large party suddenly decides to climb rocks indoors on a beautiful summer Sunday in Richmond. So I'm surfing the web, writing posts, taking pictures, and all-around enjoying my first Sunday off since Easter. I slept very late this morning. I would have slept even longer, but Wind Rider called me from the road. He's currently discovering the joys of traffic on the Northeast Corridor. He hit some typical NJ traffic on the Turnpike, which I explained to him was not really 95 as I told him he could hop west to Pennsylvania and get on 95 if the traffic got too bad. I don't think he liked that idea, though I find the ride past Philadelphia nicer than being on the two-lane section of the Turnpike. There's always traffic on the Turnpike.

Anyway. Yay for lazy Sunday afternoons. I haven't even showered yet, and it's after three. I'll get to it before WR gets here, and then he can tell me all about his New York trip over dinner. He drove around Manhattan, he told me. "Nobody drives around Manhattan," I said. "It was fun," he said. Yeah, it's all fun and games until you hit the block party in the Village and discover the true meaning of the word "gridlock."

Which he did.

Well. Off to finish my lazy afternoon. I tried to edit Jake's birthday pictures into a memory book, but damn, I'm feeling too lazy for that, too. I tried to get to my long-promised full-page kitty pictorial for Rahel. Too lazy and tired for that, too. (I have a legitimate excuse. Working seven days a week will do that to you.) But I did crop one picture for Rahel and the other cat-lovers in my audience. This is the view from my patio door on a sunny day. Tig has discovered the joys of sleeping in the sun.

Tig, asleep in the sun

Good thing cats don't get sunburn. For Tig, and frankly, right now, for me: Life is good. | |

The re-emergence of French anti-Semitism

How can you tell that the level of anti-Semitism in France has reached heights not seen since the 1930s? When the man who is a former Prime Minister of France, a current member of the European Parliament, and in line to become the next president of the European Union tells an audience in Egypt that the Balfour Declaration was "a historic mistake," I think we can safely conclude that French Jews are in grave danger once more.

Michel Rocard, who is said to be in the running for president of the European Parliament for the coming two and a half years as part of a political deal, spoke about Israel in a lecture last week in Alexandria, Egypt. Israel is a "unique and abnormal condition," he said, "because it was created with a promise, and [because] millions of Jews gathered from all around the world, creating an entity that continues to pose a threat to its neighbors until today."

Even more disturbing is how little press attention this has garnered. But then, we have the Euro-Palestine party in France, state officials refusing to take action against anti-Semitic attacks, French textbooks that attack Israel, French Jews leaving France in rising numbers, and anti-Semitic attacks in France on a regular basis.

J'accuse, France. J'accuse. | |


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.