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Cake Baking 101

Yesterday was Heidi's birthday. As has become Sorena's custom, she baked her mother a cake. She has her friends help her, and I'm allowed to assist as well. Heidi is banished from the kitchen completely, and Sorena yells, "Mom! Don't look!" every time Heidi comes anywhere near the kitchen. Heidi displays a remarkable ability to walk past the kitchen with her eyes shut.

I was partly dreading the cake, because a ten-year-old girl's idea of the perfect birthday cake includes about six pounds of sugar and candy on the outside of it. Last year's cake was a diabetic's worst nightmare. So I asked, with some trepidation, to view this year's supplies shortly after Sorena got home from school. To my relief, most of the money was spent on candles. The girls bought various sugary things to put on the cake, and three different colors of squeeze icing tubes. "Where are the tips?" I asked.

"What are tips?" they responded.

"Uh, you need decorating tips for this icing or it all comes out in a lump."

"Oh. That's okay, we'll just let it come out in a lump."

I offered to run out for tips, but Heidi said lumpy icing would be just fine with her, and so I continued with my supervisory task of making sure the girls didn't burn themselves or the cake. It came out just fine, and then it was time for my portion of the cooking: I brought a corned beef and intended to make latkes. In went the corned beef, no problem. I went downstairs for potatoes, feeling confident that the enormous bag I'd seen the last time I was there would have more than enough potatoes for the job.

The girls bake a cakeWell, there's this thing about Heidi and potatoes. It doesn't seem to matter how much or how little of them she buys. The day she buys them, we cook them, and everything is fine. Then they tend to sit. And sprout. And mold. And grow. I picked up the bag and saw fully-sprouted, ready-for-planting potatoes. Which would have been great if I were intending to plant potatoes. And thinking about it now, I hadn't been over Heidi's since Memorial Day, which explains why the potatoes I'd seen then were in the shape I saw yesterday. So. Off to Ukrops to pick up potatoes, asking the girls to keep an eye on the corned beef and telling them that if anyone broke in while I was gone (Heidi and G. were across the street at their neighbor's daughter's graduation party), the girls were to run into one room and let Worf out on the burglar. They all liked that idea.

Of course I picked up tips while I was at the supermarket, and when I got back, I made the latkes with a Vidalia onion (at least the onions hadn't gone bad), and let me tell you, a Vidalia onion makes a world of difference in the flavor. I may never use everyday onions again, or at least, not while Vidalia's are in season. The corned beef and latkes came out perfect, and the cake? Well, you can see the cake. Barely. That's Sorena in the middle, with best old friend Hannah, and best new friend Emily, attempting to fit [cough-cough] candles on the cake. It did not set off the smoke alarm, and it was delicious, once the wax was scraped off.

This, mind you, is why I ask Heidi for an Angel food cake for my birthday. It forestalls Sorena's covering my birthday cake with enough sugar to jumpstart a preschool class. I dunno, though. I might break down and let her make my cake this year. She has so much fun doing it. Perhaps she'd even let me help. | |



Jew hatred and the denial of Israel

Did you read the accounts of the protest outside the San Francisco ballpark last weekend? There was a celebration called "Israel in the Ballpark" that day, and the Jew-haters were out in force. Bill Hobbs is mirroring Zombie's accounts of what happened, but this is what bothered me the most:

At one point the Israel-bashers let out a huge cheer as a plane they had hired flew over the stadium trailing a message. The banner said, "Israel -- 56 years of ethnic cleansing & apartheid."

Those aren't Israel-bashers. Those are Jew-haters. To deny the existence of the Jewish State is to deny the existence of Jews. When the Jew-haters use the phrase "indigenous people" to mean Arabs, they utterly negate the three millennia of steady population by Jews, irrespective of whether or not Jews were in the majority. There were Jewish-majority cities in Israel as short a time ago as the early 1920s and 30s. The British expelled them after Arab violence and massacres, to soothe the Arabs' feelings. Funny, no one has ever seemed to give a damn about how the Jews feel about having constant violence leveled at them.

There is a current revival of the Broadway play "Fiddler on the Roof." The cast performed "Tradition" on the Tony Awards last week. And I remember thinking, "That's part of the reason that Israel was created in the first place. To stop the pogroms."

Here we are, in the 21st century, and in one of the most liberal cities of America, the right of Jews to live in their own state is being denied.

You know, at least when David Duke and Pat Buchanan speak against Jews, I know they speak from hatred and bigotry. When the left says that Israel is celebrating "56 years of ethnic cleansing & apartheid," they couch their hatred in phrases deliberately chosen to position Israel as the villain.

So tell me, Israel-haters: What's your response to three millennia of Jew-hatred, murder, pogroms, and genocide?

"Ethnic cleansing." Assholes. If Israel had truly acted the way the protesters allege, there'd be no palestinians left to rally around.

God, I hate these people. Time to call on the mantra: Anti-Semites of the world, just die already. | |




Running out of time today. A few fast links:

Britain doesn't care that Syria is a state that sponsors terrorism, as her Foreign Office called for stronger EU trade ties with Syria.

Looks like Iraqi WMDs are being found all over the place. Jordan? What were they doing in Jordan, hm? I thought they didn't exist in the first place.

Hezbullah fired on Israeli forces from the Lebanese border again. I say bomb the rocket launchers and known positions on the border, and screw world opinion. They freak out no matter what Israel does, so hey, just do it.

More later. Neighborhood watch meeting tonight, and it's Twinsday anyway, and I'm off to work. | |



The 1998 technological revolution

Hey, when I bought my Sony VAIO laptop five years ago, it was pretty high-tech, a good model, great screen, and I loved it. I'd very much like to purchase a brand new one, but that would cost a couple of grand. So instead, I picked up the same old model, only in much better condition, at auction. And I'd like to thank three people in particular: Marek, the Timekeeper from Horologium, and Chaz from Dustbury (the last two added to my links page, something I should have done long ago).

And let me tell you, I did not enjoy the auction experience. I had to call Sarah and have her tell me that yes, I do need a new laptop, and no, the price I was willing to pay really isn't all that high, and anyway, I could hit up my readers for a few more bucks.

This would probably be an appropriate time to tell you that part of the reason I'm not blogging as much is because I hate the new setup. The laptop's video card can't handle the monitor attached, it's difficult to read or view, and the screen quality sucks—which is also why I'm not willing to work on my digital photos. I can't tell if the photos are any good or not.

In any case, the new VAIO cost me about $85 more than I'd hoped to spend (I was trying to keep the price to what my three generous readers above contributed to the new computer fund), but at least I'll have my laptop screen back again. I am so tired of having a computer monitor on my table.

And I'm going to have a working keyboard again. A dash key! A six key! A PRINT SCREEN key! I can do screen captures again. Huzzah!

Come to think of it, I'll make it a dual-HD laptop. That will give me another six gigs, which means a lot more pictures stored before having to burn a CD.

So. Heavy blogging weather due next week, as soon as I get my new old laptop. (And I sure won't say no to a little more help from the tipjars.) | |

Searching for anti-Semitism in the news: It isn't very difficult

What, I wondered, would I find if I typed "anti-Semitism" into Google News' search engine?

An article in the Lebanon Daily Star written by the Syrian minister for expatriate affairs (I suppose someone has to keep track of all the Syrians in Syria-occupied Lebanon) that manages to call Jews anti-Semites, cleverly titled "The neo-anti-Semitism of the neoconservatives."

Thoughtful observation of events in Palestine and Iraq show that the real issue is not one of faulty information sources, because US Intelligence and the US administration are not that naive. Neither is it a failure in media courage and verifying facts, because the US media apparatuses are not that feeble. The issue is deeper and more dangerous than this. It is a phenomena where Western anti-Semitism is transforming from its conventional form into a new one, where in the 21st century the Arabs have been officially chosen as the new victim, one country after the other, one people after the other - falling victims to hatred, killing, ethnic cleansing, torture, and massacres under the pretext of a multitude of reasons and justifications, including terrorism. They are not much different from the pretexts used in the past, and cannot conceal from the observant researcher that at their very essence they are but different expressions of anti-Arabism and hostility to Arab culture and existence.

Yeah. You can't turn around without reading yet another neocon calling for the extinction of the Arab states... oh, wait, that line should read "yet another Muslim calling for the extinction of the Jewish State."

This was just plain weird: An anti-piracy IT company with a pie chart on how P2P is making it easier for bigots to spread anti-Semitic materials on the Internet. (Yet another example of how Google News needs to retool its searchbots; that isn't a news site in any way, shape, or form.)

This one's an article in the Calgary Herald that's no longer available, but the headline says that a quarter of all hate crimes in Canada are against Jews.

Of course, the worst part of the search is that it turned up over a thousand articles with the word "anti-Semitism" in it.

| |



When Teacups Attack!

I was attacked by a Teacup Chihuaha yesterday. No, I'm not kidding. Yes, really. I swear.

See, my neighbors have this dog that I hadn't seen at all, but I've heard it every time I go outside. It sounds really tiny, like it's barking from a huge distance (and the fact that it's a teacup Chihuaha means it is barking from a huge distance). Anyway, I've been really curious to find out what kind of yip dog it was, and yesterday, I was outside while my neighbor's mother was walking the dog. So I found out what it was. And later that evening, I met my neighbor walking the dog, and decided to see if it would let me pet it. The thing is about two pounds. I asked. Gracie weighs twelve pounds. Tig's head is half the size of the dog.

So I'm talking to my neighbor, and cautiously putting my hand down for the Chihuaha to sniff, and it's barking and growling and baring its teeth at me, and I'm trying to decide if it means it or not, and I'm moving very slowly and cautiously and speaking softly, when it decides, apparently, that I am menacing it. So the dog grabs my pant leg in its teeth and pulls, and I burst into uncontrollable laughter, which prompts the dog to continue tugging and growling, which makes me laugh even harder. My neighbor finally picked up her dog to keep it from holing my pants cuff, and I managed to stop laughing. Until I got inside, anyway.

You know, even standing next to that thing, it sounds like it's barking from a distance.

Chihuahas are awful enough. Why would anyone want to make them even smaller and more annoying? Tig could sit on that thing and squash it. Hell, Tig might think it was a rat and try to kill it.

Anyway. I didn't want to post about anything controversial. And I'm too tired to crop new cat pictures (sorry, Rahel). Lots of Neighborhood Watch things going on, plus the new job, plus waking up at (sigh) six a.m. when I didn't have to get up for nearly two more hours (my commute is three-tenths of a mile) and being unable to get back to sleep.

Time to go to bed now, I think. | |

Can't do it

I am still unable to verbalize any sentiment other than "Assholes!" when trying to read up on the ANSWER protest over the weekend.

However, I am going to initiate The Anti-Semite of the Week here, and the guy in this picture is the first winner of this dishonor.

Anti-Semitic anti-Israel proteser

If anyone gets hold of this guy's name and address, send it here. I'll make up a certificate and mail it out to him.





This is really stupid. A Reuters article echoing a Times article claiming the Repubs are too stuffy to see anything other than standard tourist fare Broadway plays. Hello, they're tourists. They're going to want to see tourist shows, like (gag) Lion King and Aida. These critiques certainly are offering us a dog-bites-man look at the theater choices of conventioneers in New York.


I have not linked to Lesley in ages. I like this post about The Producers, but it made me dizzy. It could be depicted with one of those infinity pictures, I think.

Scott wants to know: Who's teaching our children?

Maybe I should become a teacher, after all.

Pure, naked fury. That is all I can say for now, having read this post and seen this picture. International Assholes had a protest against Israel set for the anniversary of the beginning of the Six-Day War.

There will be more—much more—tomorrow, after I've had time to calm down a bit. | |

The UN reacts to an act of war

Syrian-occupied Lebanon has launched yet another rocket attack against Israel.

Rockets were fired toward Israel from southern Lebanon early Monday. A Lebanese security official said they landed just meters short of the border.

No injuries or damage were reported.

Where is the United Nations' outrage?

A statement from the United Nations office in south Lebanon said the rockets were fired from the Naqoura area. UN officials are investigating the incident.

Whew. I feel so much better now. The UN is investigating. Okay. Any year now, they'll come out with a report. Condeming Israel, I'm sure. | |

The most obnoxious email spam yet

Got two emails in the last day from an excrescence that calls itself "" It purports to have a database on various people, and sends you an email that states breathlessly:


Advisory - Someone who knows you is attempting to share opinions and experiences about you in our online community.

The purpose of this email is to inform you that a posting has been made about you at our website. This is email is not commercial in nature.

If this email message was delivered to your spam or bulk email folder please notify your ISP or spam filtering company regarding this mistake on their part.

To view what the user posted about you use this link: [link deleted]

I cannot tell you how aggravated this particular piece of filth makes me. Okay, I know that stupid people fall for this crap. I know that they will actually pay to see what is being said about them by whom. Because if they didn't, this website would not exist. But really, these asshats expect you to sign onto a system that they are creating so that you can find nonexistent posts about you that their effing system put there to keep idiots coming back.

I just logged in with a hotmail account to find the price structure. It will cost you anywhere from $5 to $25 a month to search this idiotic site whose sole purpose is to fleece you of your money by searching this site.

I'm pretty sure my readers are smart enough not to sign up for this crap. But please—spread the word to anyone who may not get that this is a scam.


Now here's my question: Where do I complain to get these bastards shut down? The fact that this website exists is annoying me more than I can comprehend. | |



More UN terrorist activity

The IDF got another suicide bomber before he could kill anyone. Guess where he hid his bomb belt?

Soldiers from the elite Duhifat (hoopoe) unit last night detained 18-year-old Maned Krini, who was planning to carrying out a suicide bombing, details released for publication revealed.

Defense officials estimated that the would-be bomber intended to blow up at the Kalandia roadblock north of Jerusalem in the coming days. The terrorist tried perpetrating his attack on Friday but then turned back. He hid the 25 kg. explosive belt at an UNWRA school in the village of Silwad north of Ramallah. The charge was only discovered last night following Krini’s interrogation.

Of course, they'll say he did it without their knowledge and permission. Like using UN ambulances to transport terrorists. We're supposed to trust the UN again because...? | |

D-Day through the eyes of the BBC

If you don't read Silent Running, you're missing an astonishing amount of scholarship, creativity and effort put into the SR D-Day commemorations. The crew over there is rewriting history in that they're writing up accounts of the invasion of France as today's BBC might write it. One of the authors is "Bob Fisker," so that gives you an idea of the angle they're taking.

Go. Read. Link. It's a view of D-Day that, thank God, we never saw before. And a lesson for today's war correspondents. | |

The end of an era

I voted against Ronald Reagan. Twice. And thinking back to all he did, I hated his economic policies, hated his polices on affirmative action, abortion, and most domestic issues. I thought he was nuts to initiate SDI, then known as Star Wars. No way would we be able to complete a missile shield that would save us from atomic war, and it seemed a ridiculous waste of money that could be spent on the poor instead.

The New York Times obituary discusses Reagan's effect on ending the Cold War:

It was Mr. Reagan's good fortune that during his time in office the Soviet Union was undergoing profound change, eventually to collapse, setting off a spirited debate over Mr. Reagan's role in ending the cold war. His supporters argued that his tough policies were the coup de grâce and his detractors attributed the end to the accumulated influence of 45 years of the American policy of containment. But wherever the credit was due, the thaw came on his watch.

Mr. Reagan stood in 1987 at the Berlin Wall, the material symbol of the divide between East and West, and threw down a challenge to Mr. Gorbachev that will long be remembered. "Tear down this wall," he said. "Ttear down this wall."

Michael R. Beschloss, the presidential historian, said he believed that the cold war had ended more quickly under Mr. Reagan than it would have had his opponent, Mr. Carter, been re-elected in 1980.

"With Reagan," Mr. Beschloss said, "the Soviets could no longer con themselves into thinking they would prevail in the cold war because the American people had lost their will and strength and lost their taste for confronting Soviet aggression. They were sufficiently convinced that Reagan meant business."

The Soviet economy, he said, was beginning to flag and Mr. Gorbachev was selected and "charged with improving the economy and making the best deal he could with the West."

What the Times fails to point out is that Reagan increased the military budget to the point that the Soviets, with their failed economy, couldn't keep up anymore. I remember being incensed about the increase in the military budget, too.

Reagan did many things that I hated, and had many policies that I loathed. The thing is, if he were up for re-election right now, against John Kerry—I'd vote for Reagan. He was right about missile defense. He was right about the Soviet Union. He saw the greatest danger that faced the world at that time, and did his best to combat it.

I am getting closer and closer to voting for Bush. I don't think that he's another Reagan. But I do think he knows what the greatest danger of our time is. He knows who the enemy is, and what needs to be done while he is president.

Domestic policies can be, and are, affected by Congress. But only the president has the ability to send our troops into battle (yes, with the consent of Congress; I know my Constitution).

We are at war. That is the issue I will use to decide who to cast my vote for in November. And I'm not about to vote for someone who thinks we should hand over American authority and decision-making to the United Nations, which gives equal weight to the dictatorships of the world as it does to democratic nations. The Democrats have all but lost my vote by choosing Kerry. | |


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.