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You know it's time to get you prescription changed when you see this message when you boot up Dreamweaver: "1 local items selected totalling 87293 brutes."

What? Brutes? Huh?

Oh. Bytes.

I have a busy weekend ahead, but I'm going to promise you specific posts so that I have to write them Sunday night or Monday morning. One will be titled "The Anti-Corrie." I might write one about the different responses that men and women bloggers get, but that one won't be on your Monday morning menu. It's rather an involved piece that I've tried to write before, and it involves the concept of anger from both genders' p.o.v. Most of you probably aren't going to believe me when I say that even though you've seen me write some fairly angry pieces, you have never—and I mean never—seen me unleashed. The last person to see (or hear, rather, it was over the phone) me unleashed was an ex-boyfriend who left a suicide message on my answering machine. And no, I didn't tip him over the edge. I got him to get help. After I reamed him up, down, backwards, forwards, and inside-out for leaving that message. Trying to make me feel responsible for your decision to kill yourself tends to piss me off some.

I think giving a cat a time-out is probably a humongous waste of time, but Tig pissed me off so much this morning that I locked him in my bedroom while I finished my post-shower routine, and every time he complained about it, I told him he needed to think about what he'd done to Gracie before I let him out.

Yeah, I think I need to get out more, too.

No, it didn't really do much good. He's outside at the moment, but every time he comes inside he's annoying as hell. Well, I'm out of here in an hour, so at least he can't annoy me after that.

(Thirty minutes later) Now he's trying to hump Gracie. They're both neutered. It's a dominance thing. Sigh.

Anyway. Off to do the weekend stuff. Back later.



A riddle for you:

What time is it when your apartment complex is featured on the local news because it's having a crime wave?

Time to move.

Damn, I need to find a job.

That was quick.

Aaron has my requested Chomsky poster already.

The plate that Wind Rider built

IEAFDP plateWind Rider made me an IEAFPD plate last year, but he kept forgetting and forgetting and forgetting it. So I got it long after the day occurred, and can't find the pictures I took of it when I was going to post a picture last year. So, after a fruitless search of my pictures on CD, I decided the hell with it, and took a new picture. Click on the thumbnail for supersize.

IEAFPD: Like taking candy from babies

I probably shouldn't do this, but y'know, it's practically impossible to resist. When I started International Eat an Animal For PETA Day last year, the news was picked up by a vegan site that took extreme offense with my idea, and started a message thread. I've been getting hits from that site again. Some fool started up a year-old discussion, and the vegans are pissed all over again. Well, gee. I should apologize or something, I suppose.

Here. I'm sorry. I'm putting up this picture just for all of the vegans who think that IEAFPD is wrong:

Meat: It's what's for dinner

Those were our steaks from last year's IEAFPD. Yum. For more pictures from last year's event, start here and scroll up.

Yes, I know, I shouldn't tease them. It's like waving a red flag at a bull. But after reading a few of the messages, it's nearly impossible not to tease these schmucks. Here's an example of what passes for debate there:

As far as I'm concerned "humans" such as yourself - have no value in this world. The sooner you eat yourselves to non-existance (mad cow, flesh rotting in your colon, fat clogged arteries,etc) the better.

The animals are not mean-spirited and intentionally sinning. And yes - MURDER IS A SIN.

It's posted by "Anonymous." Imagine that. And here's one that's even funnier:

You never... i repeat, never will find that kind of logical discourse with the ever so popular hit and run tactics so brazenly and openly used on Internet message boards in general, and veg*n boards in particular.

Two, and this is important, is i don't think these wanna'be primadonnas/flunkies in particular are aware of the depths of media-induced indoctrination that exists in today's modern society.

After all... look at the results of the last presidential election, or worse yet the candidates that were offered up for the elections.

One reading of say Chomsky should cure them of that ill.

Read Chomsky. It's almost like the nutbar-left stereotype. We should have a poster (Michele, Allah*, Aaron, are you listening?) of Chomsky holding, like, a steak or something, and the words, "Got meat?" (*Highly funny, yet very offensive, poster at Allah's place. You have been warned.)

Monday, March 15th: Post your menus, post your pictures, and we'll all have some yummy, meat-filled meals. I don't eat meat for breakfast, but perhaps I'll have waffles, which are prepared with eggs. Lunch at Brock's BBQ with Sarah and the twins. For dinner: Steak, I think. Ice cream for dessert, of course, since dairy products are forbidden by the ultra-vegans.

By the way, my cholesterol, and health, is excellent, thanks for asking.

Terrorism is global: The war on terrorism must be global

The horrible terror attacks in Madrid yesterday had their origins in Israel. Not physically, no—ideologically. Ze'ev Schiff thinks so:

The Spanish say the Basque underground, ETA, has in the past refrained from mass terror attacks against civilians, preferring to target government officials and Spanish security personnel. But it is possible that ETA has changed its strategy, and has now decided to imitate the Islamic terror organizations. The same thing has happened in Iraq recently: Opposition groups are making every effort to hit crowds of civilians, in order to terrorize and to prove that the government cannot defend its citizens.

This method was used extensively against Israel even before the September 11, 2001 terror attack in the United States. From Israel and the U.S., it was transported to the edges of Europe - first to African nations such as Tunisia, Morocco and Kenya, then to Turkey, and Thursday to Madrid. And it is clear that Madrid is not the end of terrorism's road. Who knows where it will spread tomorrow?

[...] What all such terror attacks have in common is the belief that some political cause or ideology justifies deliberate attacks on crowds of innocent civilians just because they are members of "the other side," the enemy. Or in other words, that there is such a thing as justifiable terrorism. However, there is no "good terror" and "bad terror." Thus when Syrian President Bashar Assad, for instance, justifies Palestinian "acts of sacrifice" (suicide bombings), he becomes a leader who supports terrorism.

Thus anyone who objects to what the terrorists did Thursday in Madrid cannot at the same time justify or overlook similar acts of terror against other nations.

Imshin thinks so:

I saw a child on the television, the other day, a girl recuperating from a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. The bus she had been riding, on her way to school, blew up. She was fatally wounded, but somehow managed to pull through and survive.

[...] She looked like Eldest. She probably looked like a lot of children. I’m sure I wasn’t the only mother sitting there, watching her, and crying.

Today something horrific happened in Spain. When will people wake up? When will people understand that there can be no justification for terrorism?

Please listen. This is an epidemic. It may seem far away from you now, but it will reach you eventually, wherever you are. If you do nothing to stop it now, you are bringing it nearer. Before you know it, the little girl on the television will be speaking your language, will be someone you know.

And I think so.

Terrorism is terrorism. You cannot excuse the palestinian terror against Israelis and then turn around and condemn the terrorism in Iraq, in Turkey, in Spain, in Kenya. Lebanon is a terrorist training ground. The IRA holds weapons classes for Al Qaeda and other Islamic groups, teaching them how to blow people up more efficiently. The result: ten bombs killing hundreds and wounding thousands during rush hour in Spain.

The world needs to stop thinking that Israel is the problem. Terrorism is the problem. The world has been rewarding terror for decades now. Cut off the funding, cut off the support, shun leaders of states that support terrorism, jail and kill the terrorists. Or suffer your rush hour massacres.

George Bush had it right: You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists. Choose.



Time travel

Every once in a while, I reread this post and say to myself, "Damn, I'm good." (Unbridled ego alert! Oh, wait. Too late.) ((You really should read the post about the Sucky Movie Not-Quite-Marathon first, like I suggest.))

I'm trying to update my greatest hits pages. They are sadly outdated. If you have a personal favorite that you would like me to include, feel free to email me and let me know. And while I'm at it, if you find a "NEXT" or "PREVIOUS" link that doesn't work, I'd appreciate an email with the URL of the page included. I try to keep them up to date, but sometimes I miss one.

Interfaith relationships

I have spiked so many posts about this topic in the last two weeks. Let me see if I can simply write the facts and get them across without going on a tangent or diluting the message.

To mangle an old cliché, all of my best friends have been Christian. Not some of them. All of them. Two are Polish Roman Catholics, and we're supposed to hate each other, because Jews and Polish Catholics have a horrible history. Well, uh, we don't hate each other. Never did.

One is a non-denominational Protestant (which just means I'm not sure which church she's attending now). One is Presbyterian, and a minister's daughter. They have all respected my Jewishness, and I have always respected their (is this a word?) Christian-ness. I have been to dozens of Christmas Eve/Christmas dinners, a fair amount of Catholic and Protestant weddings, baptisms, funerals, you name it.

On top of that, my sister-in-law is an Italian Catholic. Thanksgivings at my brother's house feature three kinds of cuisine: Italian, American, and Jewish. My sister-in-law always cooks a kosher turkey out of respect for my mother. Her mother always cooks a special dish of meatless mushrooms because she knows my mother loves her mushrooms and can't eat the non-kosher meat.

In short, I hope none of my readers has come out of this Gibson/Passion thing thinking that I have a problem with Christians. I do not want to be thought of as a bigot. I know I tend to be a bit judgmental from time to time, and I expect it has come through in the last few weeks. This is a very sensitive topic, and tends to bring out the worst in people. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of it here.

But I wanted to say that I appreciate all of my readers. Not just the ones who celebrate the same holidays I do.

Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism

As Charles Johnson points out, news services across the globe were quick to call the horrific bombings in Spain terrorist attacks. Well, except Reuters, of course, for whom the only terrorists seem to be the heads of the U.S. and Israel.

Perhaps if the world could unite behind a simple fact, that the blowing up of innocent civilians is an evil thing, no matter what the "root cause," then we could finish destroying the terrorist organizations.

Murder by any other name is still murder. You can call a terrorist a militant, but that doesn't change the fact that he's a murderer.

It's a horrible day for Spain. Horrible. My sympathies are with them today.

Fun with Fiji

Speaking of Bruce Hill, he went to Fiji a few weeks ago, and he sent me some souvenirs. I promised him in email that I'd have a picture on my blog of a young, attractive girl modeling them. Click on the thumbnail if you'd like to see the fan and beads that Bruce sent me. (Yup, that's Max in the back, with various Hulk paraphernalia—borrowed from me, of course.)

Rebecca models the latest in Fijiwear

Bruce Hill on anti-Semitism

Bruce wrote a very powerful essay on the world's longest hatred:

"Why do you wish to join us? Do you not know that Israel is hated throughout the nations?"

But Rabbi Rosenthal knew a thing or two, and said that there is always a reason why certain formulas are in the Rabbinic Manual. Especially forms of words that have survived for millenia. They've been field tested under extreme conditions and have been found worthy of repetition and use by each generation, he said. So we ask the question. As we have always asked it.

At the time, I too felt it was a distant concern, probably more of an historical reminder than an actual worry in the immediate here-and-now. Anti-semitism was dead. Burned away in the crematoriums of Auschwitz, and blown away like smoke in the sky over Europe, never to return. It was the 1980s, Vatican II had buried the charge of deicide, Jews were no longer objects of any particular dislike anywhere, and the darkness of the past was where it belonged - in the dark, dusty corners of history, never to return.

The rest is a must-read, especially for Buffy fans. I think he nailed it right on the head.



Very important subjects

Sometimes hese thoughts hit me, and I can't generally answer them myself. So I am either simply doing the blog equivalent of thinking out loud, or perhaps I'm wondering if my readers really are as smart as I think they are.

The lightbulb in my kitchen light burned out while I was out tonight. I put in a new bulb. Why is a new bulb always brighter than an old bulb? I mean, does turning a light on and off diminish its brightness? Does the filament inside the bulb shrink or something the more you use it? It always seems so strange to me.

This is generally the kind of thing you don't mention in polite company, so I'm just going to assume that you are all impolite, or not company.

Have you ever gotten a mutant hair? A few months ago, I got out of the shower and was standing in front of the sink doing my post-shower things, when I glanced down at my right shoulder and saw a cat hair. It was white and about two inches long. I figured it was a Gracie hair. I tried to brush it off. It did not brush. Curious, I tried to pick it off. I couldn't. It was rooted in my shoulder. Now, all the other hair on my arms is still black. No white there, where it would be appreciated, instead of on my head, where it is not. I was both fascinated and thoroughly repulsed that I had a mutant, all-white, two-inch-long hair sprouting from my shoulder. I did what any other woman would do. Got the tweezers and pulled it out. It has never returned. There's no mole there. I never saw it before, and haven't seen it since, thankfully. But it was weird.

Come to think of it, I really don't think I want to hear stories about your mutant hairs. I can just imagine what Bill Cimino would come up with. (No, Bill, that is not a challenge.)

There was a guy in the gym tonight who was speaking with the exact accent that Hank Azaria used in "The Bird Cage." He happened to be belaying his partner on the wall behind the one where C. and I were climbing. I was up on the wall, and I heard him talking to his partner as I just finished a climb of mine. I thought he was busting chops and putting on the accent. I started laughing. I don't know if C. was laughing for the same reason, or because I was laughing. I know that as I got down to the ground, I was going to say something about Hank Azaria, but I didn't, because at that moment the gym's best climber was up on an extremely difficult route, and C. and I both stopped to watch him. We went on to another route, and came back within earshot of the Azaria soundalike a bit later, without him knowing we were there.

It was his real accent.

Hoo-boy. That would have been really embarrassing.

Jane Espenson has finally hit her Gilmore Girls stride. She wrote last week's episode. It was extremely funny, and it was about a death in the family. I saw more than a few Buffy moments (helped by the fact that the actor who played Jonathan is now on the Gilmore Girls), but since most of them were by Rory, they worked. Oh, and by the way: Happiness is watching three Gilmore Girls episodes in a row. I got a little behind in my viewing the last few weeks. Now I'm all caught up.

'Nuff news for now

So I think it's time for me to eat breakfast, which now must be considered brunch, as it's 1 p.m. and my stomach is growling. I was up at five this morning, chasing effing Genius (the effing cat that has the exact same coloring as Tig but not nearly the mass, who keeps coming over and trying to start fights with Tig and Gracie) away from the corner of the building, where he was fighting with some other orange cat, using the typical warm-up yowls that penetrate sleep at a thousand paces. I chased them away, put in earplugs, and went back to sleep for a few more hours.

Sometimes I get caught up in writing and put off breakfast until it turns into lunch. Then I ignore the blog for the rest of the day. Yeah, that's gonna happen today, folks.

My left tendon-slash-bicep feels fine today, but now my right shoulder hurts, the part where you move your arm forward and backward (is that the rotator cuff? I have no clue). Is this going to stop me from climbing tonight? Nah. I already set up a time to meet with a coworker, and don't have her work number. I have to be there. If it hurts too much to climb, I won't climb. Much.

I am also very much looking forward to dinner for the next two nights. Roast chicken tonight. Chicken soup tomorrow. I found that I really, really liked having half a dozen containers of soup in my freezer. A quick lunch or dinner whenever I didn't feel like cooking. This may become a staple of my diet from now on. (Yes, I never really cared for soup. No, not even chicken soup. Not until I had some really good chicken soup, which happened last month, and I'm not going into the history of my mother's cooking because some of my relatives read this blog.)

And now, your moment of kitty zen, which is necessary because there are far too many unhappy stories today: It's a Gracie-in-a-box.

Gracie in a box

Israeli news roundup

Lots of things going on over there. The IDF keeps on taking out the terrorists.

Mastermind of planned attack at Yokne'am school caught
Anas Hatanawi, a senior Islamic Jihad commander in the Jenin area who was the mastermind behind the thwarted suicide bombing of a Yokne'am school in December, was arrested together with three accomplices by an undercover Border Police unit on Tuesday.

[...] On December 12, security forces announced the arrest of two Islamic Jihad members who planned a suicide bombing at a school in Yokne'am. Munir Rabiah, 23, a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces in the Gaza Strip,and Morad Zeitoun, 20, were arrested hiding in Bardaleh in the northern Jordan Valley, not far from Jenin. The two later revealed to security officials the whereabouts of the explosives belt that Rabiah was to have used in the attack.

There was no international outcry over the attempted bombing of a school. Apparently, only the deaths of palestinian children matter to the world media.

Profile of a terrorist: This article details the upbringing and training of a palestinian terrorist from child to man. Read it and be horrified. Syria-occupied Lebanon is involved, as is Iranian-financed Hezbollah. (Oh, no, the violence is all Israel's fault. The fact that multiple other nations (no longer Iraq, thankfully) fund terror against Israel doesn't count. Or is exaggerated.)

Shadi Abu al-Hatsin, 23, a Yemenite father of two, who is considered the mastermind behind the Kassam rocket-manufacturing infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, was arrested on December 15.

Al-Hatsin moved with his mother and brothers to the Gaza Strip 10 years ago from Lebanon.

He told investigators that his father – a Fedayun member in Lebanon – taught him how to strip and re-assemble weapons when he was still a boy.

After arriving in Gaza, he began compiling information from web sites and Palestinian security force members on how to assemble bombs and rockets, and how to shoot weapons.

As a pharmacology student in the Gaza Strip, al-Hatsin joined the Fatah's Shabibah (youth organization) and studied mechanical engineering, chemistry and biophysics – all of which served him in his chosen profession.

Al-Hatsin said he thought joining Hizbullah after watching a program on the al-Manar satellite TV station, where telephone numbers were published for those interested in signing up.

He contacted the organization for the first time in 2000, through his uncle Hassan Dukmak, a Lebanese-based Hizbullah operative. At first, his uncle sent him funds for para-militant activities, afterwards sending him contact information on other Hizbullah operatives.

There's your shining example of palestinian contributions to society: Their best and brightest, used to find ways to build a better bomb. Look at his educational background. An Israeli with the same heads into nanotech, or trying to discover a cure for Parkinson's. The palestinian: Bombs. Why is it we want these people to have a state again?

There's a new UN peace plan brewing. Try to keep your enthusiasm in check. I think the plan was written by Abbott and Costello.

"It is not clear whether it has the approval or support of the Secretary General or others in the UN leadership, and it is not clear whether [Roed-Larsen] has shown it to the Syrians or not. He's trying to promote it but the rest is unclear," the sources said.

According to a report in Maariv, Annan and Larsen shared the initiative with Israeli officials in Jerusalem more than two weeks ago. The proposal, stated the report, involves Israel, Syria and Lebanon issuing a joint declaration to end violence, the cessation of Lebanon-based Hezbollah activity against Israel, and the establishment of a monitoring committee made up of representatives from the UN, the US, Israel, Syria, Lebanon and France to handle any incidents that may occur. The committee would be chaired by Roed-Larsen, and peace negotiations based on UN resolutions would be resumed.

The report noted that Syrian president Bashar Assad has been receptive to Annan's plan while Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has refused to respond to it. At the UN on Monday, however, Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckherd, said he was unaware of the plan. In an interview Monday with Reuters, Lebanon's UN ambassador Sami Kronfol said he was also unaware of Annan's plan, but he praised reports of the initiative.

"We have been waiting for something of this kind for so long now," Kronfol said. The UN source, meanwhile, said the report was overstated. "This is much ado about nothing," he said.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Arafat's "Prime Minister," Ahmed Qurei, talking out of both sides of his mouth, says that peace could occur as early as next year, and on the other hand warns about "escalating violence" that will cause a "real problem" for the "U.S." (Sorry. Sneer quotes brought to you by "Damian Penny," who has honored me with my very own sneer quote post. Kewl.) Let's compare and contrast:

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei on Tuesday said he believes it is still possible to reach a Middle East peace agreement by next year if Israel takes negotiations seriously.

Qurei said high-level delegations from both sides are meeting next week in hopes of preparing for a summit between the Palestinian leader and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"We want a meeting," Qurei told a news conference in Oslo. "If this preparatory meeting goes well, I hope the meeting with Sharon will not be (very far off)."

That's one side. Now the other:

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei has lashed out at the United States in particular and the international community in general for not doing enough to achieve peace.

Interviewed by the BBC on Tuesday, he warned that Washington would face a "real problem" if it did not intervene immediately to stop the violence, and he called on Israel to agree to a mutual ceasefire and resume peace talks.

If the United States wanted to end the conflict, he said, it had to become more involved, noting: "They are not giving the attention we want because the situation is deteriorating day by day."

The US, he continued, must "put the roadmap in front of the parties to be implemented and to be respected and to bring the peace process back on track. They know how to do it if they want."

Qurei, who has declined to meet Prime Minister Ariel Sharon since taking office four months ago, said he did not object to meeting Sharon, but such a meeting had to succeed. Failure, he said, would be "catastrophic."

You know, that act would have worked a whole lot better if it didn't happen on the same day. Ahmed, bubelah, you need to work on your timing. Go back to Arafat and tell him to fix the broken circuitry.

Last, but not least, it appears the U.S. isn't the only nation with clowns in its intelligence community. Last month's "stolen security item" turns out to be the chief of the Mossad's cell phone.

A month after the public was given the disturbing news that "a sensitive piece of equipmant has been stolen from a high-ranking security figure", It was today (Wednesday) released for publication that the person involved was none other than Mossad chief Meir Dagan. The item in question was his cellular phone -- presumably containing some interesting names and numbers.

The story originally aired on Channel 10 on February 9th after Dagan discovered his phone missing when he awoke that morning in his Tel Aviv home. It was evidently stolen when his car was burglarized the previous night. He immediately contacted the local police and filed a complaint.

Security officials estimate that the damage from the information on the stolen phone could be serious. Most of the investigation is focusing on exactly what information was contained in the phone. It is unclear whether the phone -- which has not been recovered -- is in criminal or hostile hands, whether it is still in use -- and whether Dagan has been disciplined for improper care of classified material, as any of his underlings undoubtedly would have been.

Nope, probably not. George Tenet is still the head of the CIA.

The Democrats: One step closer to losing me forever

Reader Joel G. points me to this article in the New York Sun, which enrages me to the point of never again voting for a Democrat:

WASHINGTON — Senator Rockefeller, the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is demanding to know how much information a small office in the Pentagon received from the Israeli government and how much information this office shared with the Israelis, according to correspondence obtained by The New York Sun.

While Mr. Rockefeller has demanded a broad range of information and documentation on coordination with Israel, he has asked no such question about the Pentagon’s coordination with other foreign governments, according to an administration official familiar with the details of the investigation.

Conspiracy theories that the Israeli government worked with hawks in the Bush administration to maneuver America to war against Iraq are a staple of fringe anti-war rhetoric on the extreme left and right, but officials here say Mr. Rockefeller’s letter marks one of the first times the accusation has been taken up seriously by a mainstream American political leader.

Democrats in this election season have seized on the broader matter of pre-war intelligence failures of the Bush administration.

As the Sun reported yesterday, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Senator Kerry of Massachusetts, has taken time out of his campaign schedule to write to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to request records on the Pentagon’s funding of the Iraqi National Congress.

I understand the Sun is a conservative newspaper. I know that they have an agenda there. And yet, Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to the Pentagon asking, effectively, whether Israel was involved in the Bush decision to go to war with Iraq.

What the hell is wrong with these people? And of course, they're already covering their asses:

A spokesman for Mr. Rockefeller, Wendy Morigi, said the intelligence committee’s members “are going to look at all questions related to where intelligence was coming from.”

When asked whether Senator Rockefeller has queried Mr. Feith about coordinating intelligence assessments with foreign governments other than Israel’s, she said, “The committee investigation is ongoing.”

“I cannot talk about a committeesensitive letter,” she said.

Of course you can't talk about it. But you can send a letter specifically requesting information about Israel's involvement.

You are losing me, Dems. And you are really beginning to make me worry. When I was in my teens and my twenties, I thought that it was possible that Jews weren't safe even in America. As I grew older, I came to the conclusion that I was wrong. America would never fall to the same hatreds as all those countries in Europe and Asia. We're safe here.

The continued vilification of Israel—and Jews—by so many elements of the extreme left has bothered me immensely. What is bothering me even more is the movement of such language into the mainstream left. And I'm not alone in my discomfort. Most of the members of my synagogue are left-leaning Democrats. Many of them are questioning the Democratic party and its current policies. This letter is extremely disturbing, and will be discussed in many a synagogue this week.

The Dems are losing me. I suspect they're going to lose a lot more voters if they keep up this insanity. American voters—from both parties—are, essentially, centrists. Fringe activity drives us away until sanity returns.

Bigotry, however, will keep me from ever voting for them again. The Rockefeller letter is extremely disturbing.




Jewish holidays

I'm teaching my fourth graders Jewish holidays, as for their mastery skills, they have to name and explain a certain number of the holidays to me in order to pass. I've been using this popular shorthand to explain many of them, hoping it helps them learn: "They tried to kill us. They failed. Let's eat!"

So naturally, one of them says, "Hey, what about Yom Kippur? We have to fast, not eat."

Ten-year-olds. Heh.

Abu Abbas: A-bye!

Abu Abbas, mastermind of the Achille Lauro hijacking (at Arafat's behest and control, do not forget), died in an Iraqi prison today, supposedly of natural causes, at the age of 56. I wish the natural causes were a long, painful interrogation. But I doubt it. The Americans had him, not the Iraqis.

If you're in the mood for dark humor, compare and contrast these two stories: First, the Fox News story (hat tip: Michael N.). Then the Albawaba news story.

I am sorry for several things: I'm sorry I didn't have Abbas in the ATS Dead Pool. I'm sorry the bastard died so easily. And I'm sorry I can only hand out virtual sweets to you all. But damn, I'm glad he's dead. So's Lair.

There, that ought to bring in the hate mail.

In your face, Mel Gibson

Now this is true Jewish/Christian relations:

Israelis coax "Virgin Mary's" white lilies to flower specially for Easter
The Vatican and the rest of the Christian world have shown interest in the "Holy Virgin," a white Easter lily that Israeli agriculture and applied biologists have managed to prepare for flowering just before Easter. The supplies are limited because of the complexity of coaxing the bulb to flower two months earlier than its natural schedule.

[...] The white lily, which grows in Israel, is an endangered species. It grew at two sites in the Galilee and the Carmel, which constituted its most southern natural territory. It has a tall stem and small white flowers, as well as a pleasant and delicate aroma.

Naturally flowering in May to June, it was for years a symbol of Israel and was used as an image of ancient coins in Eretz Yisrael around 350 BCE.

Zakai and her team have been growing the flower bulbs under special greenhouse conditions in order to speed up its flowering before the period of special interest to the Christian world. They plan to send the first bouquet of early-flowering lilies to the Vatican on March 25.

Still waiting for Gibson to show any respect towards interfaith relations at all. I won't hold my breath.

I have no title for this post: Make one up yourself

If you haven't been over at Frank J's lately, he has an absolutely hilarious series of posts containing his email exchange with a British citizen. The more you read it, the more you can't believe this guy didn't realize Frank was playing him. Start with the first one, and read them in order. The links are in the post.

Now I know why people play sports even when they're hurting. Because it's fun. I climbed Sunday after work, and again yesterday afternoon, and then again this afternoon, even with my left elbow bothering me. Climbing is fun, and when your coworkers say, "Anyone want to climb after work?" it's difficult to say anything but yes.

By the way, that's the reason it's been a bit quiet lately. I worked a few extra shifts this week.

Alan Dershowitz was attacked by a mob of angry "peace" protesters last week. Yes, that would seem to be a contradiction in terms. Read the article and see for yourself. Via Charles Johnson. Here's a sample of what the assholes chanted:

"Dershowitz and Hitler, just the same, the only difference is the name."

Yeah. Because Alan Dershowitz dares defend Israel, that makes him equivalent to Hitler. Please, "peaceniks,"please say something like that to me, in person, while you're within arm's reach of me. I think I'd get an awful lot of anger cleansed from my system after that. Okay, so Wind Rider might have to bail me out of jail, but it'd be worth it.

Also via Charles, Victor Davis Hanson has a blog, or at least, a website. This is going to be interesting. A quick sample:

If the Israelis could cut off the European subsidies to Arafat's corrupt apparatus, and its appendages like Hamas—as well as creating a global culture of abhorrence for any who employed suicide bombing—then their present strategy of hunting down terrorists, isolating and humiliating Arafat, and offering freedom and prosperity for hundreds of thousands of Arabs residing inside Israel would end the intifada rather quickly.

That's from the article on how to beat the American military. A good read.

Lots of people are emailing about the second annual Eat an Animal For PETA Day. I'll have many links later, but Aaron has some good posters about the event. I think it's his way of stopping me from pounding him over the Blogopoly thing. Actually, it's probably better that I pound people who really deserve it, like those schmucks in the Dershowitz incident. Give me some time to do a little research, and we'll be back to them.

International Arab Women Whining About Jews Day when they should be whining about the men in their own countries instead

Just when you think you can't stomach any more blaming of Israel for the Arab world's problems, out come the wives of the various dictators, kings, and kleptocrats—just in time for International Women's Day—to complain not about the wretched situation about women in Muslim nations, but to blame their problems on Israel.

First ladies from around the Arab world opened a conference Monday calling for a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and better human rights, including the rights of women.

The two-day conference, under the slogan of "Together for Justice, Together for Peace," features Susan Mubarak, Asma Assad, Fatima al-Bashir, Queen Rania and Queen Sabika al-Khalifa, respectively the first ladies of Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Jordan and Bahrain.

Let's count: Dictator's wife. Dictator's wife. Dictator's wife. Dictator's wife. Dictator's wife. Oh, you can call them "kings" or "sultans" or even, in Mubarak's case, "president," but they're all dictators. Here's a clue, sweeties: Your effing husbands are part of the problem, which makes you all part of the problem.

Also attending are Sheikha Hossa, wife of Kuwait's Crown Prince Sheik Saad al-Abdullah Sabah, and Lala Mariam, sister of Morocco's King Mohammed VI.

Dictator's wife. Unelected "king's" sister.

In an opening speech Lebanon's first lady, Andree Lahoud, called for a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict based on justice, saying that a U.S. bias toward Israel was hurting the Arabs.

"The Arab peoples have been feeling for long decades that their existence, dignity and future are targeted," Lahoud said.

"Today, the situation is getting worse in view of Israeli intransigence, the unilateral action of the big power (United States), and its bias for the country (Israel) that has usurped legitimate Arab rights in the absence of effective international initiatives to search for peace based on justice," Lahoud said.

Wah, wah, wah. Look what the Israelis did to us. Blah, blah, blame the Jews, wah, wah, wah.

She underscored the need for building "a state of rights" in the Arab world to protect human rights, including the rights of women.

Apparently criticizing Arab governments for not allowing women equal rights in political and social life, Lahoud said, "There can be no state of rights if half the population is excluded."

This is an AP story. Don't you love the "apparently criticizing Arab governments" line? Apparently? Puh-leeze. By the way, there can also be no state if your husband is a Syrian sock-puppet. Syrian-occupied Lebanon has gone down the toilet since its little civil war in the eighties, which I suppose Lahoud will also blame on Israel.

"The Arab woman, despite all difficulties, has succeeded in achieving great progress in several fields," Lahoud said.

Name three. Bombmakers and giving birth to suicide bombers don't count.

She said that even without a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, "we are determined to proceed with our efforts to upgrade the status of women, and enhance the chances of her participation in all fields."

That's right. Upgrade the status of your women, and stop whining that the Jews are the reasons your countries are so backwards. A quick glance through the Daily Star, one of Lebanon's main English-language dailies, tells me you need to concentrate on your own backyard. Here are just a few of the articles I found there:

Mothers in Arab world feel like prisoners in their own homes
Tunisia is the only country in region where women can authorize their children citizenship, but only with spouse’s consent
With the sole exception of Tunisia, where recently women have been allowed – but only under strict guidelines – to pass on citizenship to a Tunisian born child, it is only men who can pass their nationality on to their wives and children. In nearly every country across the Middle East and North Africa, the relationship between the state and women is an indirect one, arbitrated by a male kinsman – a brother, father or husband.

According to the report, “For the average Arab woman, basic citizenship rights such as the right to vote, to have an identity card or a passport, to access social protection schemes and entitlements, to send children to school, to marry, to travel … and to pass on citizenship to their children are either lacking or granted through the mediation of a male family member.”

[...] “Children are denied vaccinations. Husbands and their children are denied employment and voting rights,” she said, adding that the stress and frustration often result in broken homes.

Although most Arab countries are signatories to the UN’s Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (along with other international conventions that grant women similar rights), not one upholds Article 9, which grants women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of children.

How about that... the Arab nations are not sticking to the United Nations rules. And yet, we have no resolutions condeming Arab nations' discrimination against women. Oh, that's right: The General Assembly is dominated by the Arab nations and their voting blocs.

But wait, there's more:

CAIRO: From the balcony of her 14th-floor apartment, Nawal al-Saadawi looks out over the working-class neighborhood of Shubra, the Mahad Nasr Hospital and the Nile winding its way into the greener distances north of Cairo. It’s an appropriately sweeping view for someone who has always looked far beyond narrow, inherited perspectives. Yet these days Saadawi, Egypt’s pre-eminent feminist writer, keeps the shutters mostly drawn, saying the long hours she spends typing at the computer have made bright light painful to her eyes. Seated in her dim and modest living room, fulminating against local and international powers, Saadawi almost seems trapped in her pinnacle.

It’s something she comments on herself. “Women are not liberated here … I am not liberated. I am in a cage. In my country, I am in a prison without bars.”

Saadawi complains that she has been ostracized by the Egyptian government.

“If I cannot speak on the TV, if I cannot write in the big newspapers, if I cannot speak on the radio, if I cannot teach in Cairo University … what’s this?” she asks.

It's called "discrimination," Saadawi. That's something on which all the Arab (and Persian) nations are experts.

And of course, there's our favorite ERA Watch topic: Saudi Arabia.

Economic need should drive reforms allowing more women to join Saudi workforce
Only 5 percent of kingdom’s workers are female, although they constitute 55 percent of university graduates

Tofool is finishing her last semester at King Saud University in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. She is 22 and bright, but prohibited from stepping off the university campus freely simply because she is a woman.

“Sometimes I finish my classes at 9am, but I have to wait for another three hours so that my father or brother would pick me up,” Tofool said.

Her father, brother, or mother must arrive and show their identity cards to university guards before she is allowed to leave the campus.

“I feel that there is no trust,” she said in a telephone interview this week with The Daily Star. “They (university officials) don’t let me feel confident that I can be responsible for myself, or that I can do anything on my own,” she added.

In addition to restrictions on their movement, Tofool and her friends must abide by a strict dress code even though no male students are allowed on university premises.

There are women stationed at the gates of the university whose job is to check if the girls are adhering to the dress code: a long black, dark blue or brown skirt with no slits and a white, blue or beige blouse.

There are more restrictions yet to come for Tofool following her graduation later this year. Namely, finding a suitable job in an environment where demands as simple as driving a car and traveling freely are categorically rejected and outlawed by the powerful religious establishment.

Only 5 percent of the working force in Saudi Arabia is women, although 55 percent of university graduates are females, according to Nahed Taher, a senior economist and the first female to work as a consultant to national commercial banks in the kingdom. “This means that 50 percent of the university graduates are not working,” said Taher, who obtained the figures from the Higher Education Ministry.

Brilliant mathematical deduction there, Sherlock Ali. Good to know you're a senior economist.

Let's take a quick comparison of the various Middle Eastern states' women's rights, and Israel. Israeli women can work, are drafted into the army, can vote, marry at will, walk around unescorted, and oh yes, they can also run for public office and become the Prime Minister if the voters wish it.

But yes, it must be Israel that's causing all the problems in the Arab worlds. Nope, can't grant them uppity women equal rights until there's peace between Israel and the pals. Certainly can't let Arab women vote without peace in Israel, first. No, you can't allow women to pass on citizenship to their children without first solving the Israeli-palestinian problem. And Saudi women couldn't possibly enter the workplace until after the palestinians get a state, with Jerusalem as its capital.

You're absolutely right, O Queens, Princesses, and President-for-Life wives: It's all Israel's fault. Damn those infidel Jews.




Vote for Angel

E! Online has a poll where you can vote for E! (wow, I hate typing that) to attempt to save an endangered show. (I didn't know Enterprise was in danger. Oh, well.) Go here and vote for Angel in the poll, and you'll make a lot of Joss Whedon fans happy. Buffybloggers (Gary, Mac, everyone else), let's get a movement going. It can't hurt.

International I'm Writing Posts Day

I am definitely in one of those moods. I apologize ahead of time to everyone I'm going to offend, because, well, I feel like offending people today. I suspect it's partly due to the exhaustion of the weekend, and the fact that I have various aches and pains in my body and, like, I never had aches and pains from physical activity before, except for, like, muscle fatigue. But I have a pulled muscle in my left arm, and a shredded fingernail on my right forefinger, and I find new bruises on my legs a few hours after I climb—every time—and I'm watching the weight loss show in my face first and foremost, which is kinda cool, because I hate the rounded look. It's much more artistic to be lean and drawn and tall, and as I can't ever be tall unless they figure out some kind of growth hormone for the already-grown, I want to be lean and drawn again.

Okay, just a flat stomach, then.

I do, however, have The Artiste's Dress Code down pat: It's black.

Perhaps I should get myself an editor who can get me to stop writing those runon sentences.

Naaaaah. It's fun, confusing my readers.

On a serious note, I'm working on an essay that will probably offend a great number of people who read it, but hey, it's my opinion and my blog, so it will run. The subject is anti-Semitism and religion.

And I've decided to put up cat pictures whenever I damn well please. I skip over all of Lair's gardening posts. Cat-haters can feel free to skip over any cat posts. By the way, looks like Lair is celebrating International Women's Day with his usual offensive humor. That's my boy. (Oh. That's why he knows it's today.)

You know, I don't really apologize to anyone I'm going to offend. And I rarely apologize to those I have offended, unless it's because I insulted them by accident and they didn't deserve it.

Yeah, I know what it is. I was around high school kids this morning. The mood is catching. Perhaps I should send out some applications for those teaching positions, after all. I'd love to have a chance to let the youth of the nation corrupt me. Really. People my age can be so boring.

International Women's Day

I did not know it was International Women's Day, did you?

I'm torn between writing two different posts about it: One, a very serious post that points out that the American media is pretty much ignoring this event. (Well, except since I'm an American woman, and had no idea that there was any such thing as IWD, although I don't get press releases faxed to me every minute by a zillion different groups, including the IWD organizers which, I think, are a couple of Marxists or something who thought this would be a good day to get women to, like, parade or something, and look, another really long runon sentence with insufficient punctuation.)

Anyway. My other instinct was to beat Kim du Toit to the punch and write a scathing essay, using many popular culture references (commercials! Damn them!), on how International Men's Day has been totally ignored, or makes men look like doofuses, or that there isn't an International Men's Day, and by God, it's all women's fault, and go out and get a gun and some testicles, goddammit!

But then I decided that would be annoying to write, so I think instead I'll just post this, direct you ahead of time to the Moo, and wave kindly at Kim and the Mrs. when they check in to see what I'm saying about them.

Anyway, if you're interested in finding out what International Women's Day is about, go check out Google News. But do it quickly, it's almost over. And don't ask me. I haven't a clue.

Other places

Jim Treacher is simply hilarious. Practically all the time. If your'e not reading him, you should be.

Words of wisdom from the Possumblogger. Terry, for some reason, now when I see roadkill, I think of you. Stop tallying the roadkill on your trips. Or maybe stop writing about it.

I've been receiving a lot of letters from new bloggers lately. I'm sorry, folks, but it's been hectic. So do me a favor: If you're a new blogger who has sent me a letter recently, send me another one so your email isn't buried in my inbox. I don't promise to link, but I do promise to read.




So let's see... two chick flicks, back to back, on HBO on Friday. (Wow, Angelina Jolie in a Marilyn Monroe wig simply does not work, and, like, she's not funny, either. And White Oleander... what was with that title? I don't get it.) Work this weekend—very tiring, more so than it should have been. Purim party at the synagogue last night (Happy Purim, everyone!), Purim readings at school this morning (I paused every time I said "Haman" to give the kids a little more time to boo and make noise, which I think they appreciated), and by the way, Rahel sent me this link to a poem about Queen Vashti (who may well have been the world's first feminist, and who lost her position after refusing to be objectified), work this afternoon, climbing after work (I'm no longer a 5.7 climber; I have graduated to 5.8 routes, yay me), the weather has settled down thanks to an evening thunderstorm (boo! no more 80s!), my muscles ache from climbing and belaying (ibuprofen before bed), and this sentence may actually end sometime tonight.

Phew. There we go. On the other hand, I'm feeling more like writing these days.

Lynn B. got to vicariously experience the thrill of Tig coming when called, as we were on the phone while I was outside this morning trying to get my cat in before I had to go to work. He actually runs the last few feet. It's rather cute, and totally atypical for cats. Both my cats come when they're called, most of the time. Perhaps I can capture it on my digicam, and put up an MPEG.

There are many serious things happening in the world. I think I'll just briefly link and acknowledge.

Josh Sharf has words and pictures to yet another anti-Semitic incident in Denver. Josh, man, what's going on in your city? Hey, Goldstein, isn't that your neck of the woods? Here are the posts: First, second, third.

Several things happened in Israel over the weekend. First, the IDF successfully thwarted an attempted suicide bombing of Jerusalem—by raiding Ramallah. You remember Ramallah. That's the town where you can find Arafat's terrorist-covering Mukata, which holds up to 200 terrorists at one time.

Six Palestinians were killed in a failed attempt to blow up suicide car bombs at the Erez Crossing. The Crossing is one of the most important places for palestinian workers from Gaza to enter Israel. There's now talk of permanently closing it if the terror attacks don't stop.

Israel may peramnently close the Erez checkpoint between Israel and Gaza if terrorist attacks there continue, Maariv reported Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon saying Sunday.

"Everything that is happening here leads me to the conclusion that we care about employing the Palestinian families in Gaza more than the terrorist organizations do," Yaalon said.

Funny, but you don't see the ISM protesting terror attacks at the crossing. You'd think they'd want to do something to help the Gazans keep their jobs in Israel. By the way, look for international and UN condemnation if Israel closes the Erez junction. Because Israel has no right to deny the impoverished Gazans jobs. Uh-huh. Use your effing tunnels to sneak into Egypt and find jobs. What's that? No jobs in Egypt? They don't want any palestinians in their country? Imagine that.

Let's see... the PA is asking for international troops to intervene again, yeah, yeah, yeah, heard it all before, oh, please. That's because the IDF raided Gaza and killed a bunch of terrorists. Funny, they can't seem to condemn a single bus bombing. And get a load of this:

"We strongly condemn the serious Israeli crime, which proves that Israel talks about a pullout from the Gaza Strip in English but gives orders to destroy the Gaza Strip in Hebrew," PA Negotiations Minister Saeb Erekat told reporters.

There's your perfect example of the palestinian spokesliars' ability to take a criticism thrown at the pals—in this case, that they say they abhor suicide attacks in English, but praise them in Arabic, and it is documented—and try to turn it around on Israel. I should have put Erakat on my Amish Tech Support Dead Pool list. I'm sure the bastard will be out with a statement tomorrow on how the IDF put dozens of people out of work after destroying their bomb factory.

Interesting. David Denby calls the Passion "one of the cruelest movies in the history of cinema." Meantime, Christ himself (really! that was the name on the email) sent me an email directing me to the place to buy the movie merchandise official Passion nail necklaces. One of my readers has a strange sense of humor.

Remember that story going around the blogosphere last week about how the same unemployment rate was low under Clinton, but high under Bush? Glenn commented on it. So did Tim Blair. But only Ryan did the math. Turns out that the same unemployment rate does mean two different things during two different time periods. Go take a look. And take a second look at the main blog. The Dead Parrot Society has a lot of interesting posts.

For instance, via DPS, I found this Wired article that says that many of the most-read blogs steal their ideas from smaller bloggers and—gasp!—don't give the little people any credit!

(Wow, that's news. Quick, someone call a newspaper.)

I, of course, always credit my sources.

Would you believe, almost always?

Would you believe, most of the time?

Would you believe, only when I'm caught? Oh, no, wait, that's Sean-Paul. (Inside joke alert!)


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.