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Gee, that was fast

Get it? Yom Kippur? Fast? Get it? Ahahahaha, sometimes I just slay myself.

(You have no idea how much fun I have making these terrible jokes.)

Anyway, another Yom Kippur has come and gone, and I (sigh) fell and scraped my knee on the way into synagogue this morning, which rather sucked, as I was expected on the bima to dress the Torah (and no, it isn't old enough to dress itself, there, I beat you to it). As fate would have it, the person walking behind me had a large Band-Aid and first aid kit in her car, so she sent her daughter back for it. Then I limped my way into the social hall-turned-sanctuary and waited for the Advil to kick in.

It was my first time ever dressing the Torah. For those readers who have no idea what I'm talking about, it's basically putting the cover and accoutrements back on the Torah scroll. When we're finished with the Torah reading, a person is chosen to hold up the Torah to the Congregation. Then that person carries the Torah to one of the chairs and sits down, rolls the scrolls together, and another person puts the binder around the scrolls, then puts on the cover, the crowns, and the breastplate and pointer (depending on if it's the first or second Torah). The K-1 teacher held up the first Torah, and I dressed it. The 2-3 teacher dressed the second one. I think they were honoring teachers a bit today.

I also got a laugh out of the R. family last night by telling them I was sponsoring the Oneg (refreshments after the service). (There is no Oneg on a Friday night when it's also Yom Kippur Eve, as you're already fasting.

Overall, it was a very good holiday. Well, except we couldn't sing Avinu Malkeinu until the very end. I thought we could do it if we called it "Shmalvinu Shmalkeinu," but I didn't ask the rabbi. He was rather busy. Oh, I had a conversation with the Big Guy about that subject that I'll have to transcribe for you when I get a little more time. Teaching school tomorrow, and still rather tired from three days of getting up at 5 or 5:30 a.m. Not used to that. At all. But I will be getting used to it, because Friday was much, much better at the new job, and I'll be giving it another chance. So maybe I will get those discount Mallomars after all. | |




Well, I worked another new job today. Kelly's getting me short-term or one-shot deals. I much preferred today's job, during which I did not have to be on my feet for 9 hours, and I was also treated as an adult by the people I worked with. The reason I hated yesterday's job so much is that the manager expected me to learn everything instantly and then snapped when I didn't, or when I couldn't read his mind.

Screw that. I will not stay in a job where I am treated poorly. And I'm especially not fond of hearing, "Well, they're a little funny about lunch around here," when I say that I didn't bring my lunch, and that I need to go out to get something to eat. I know that Federal law requires both lunch and rest breaks, so I simply kept asking when I could take my lunch until they said "Now would be a good time."

As a contrast, the two gentlemen I worked with today were kind, pleasant, and funny. Who knew that a seminar on Virginia boundary and property law could be so interesting? Hey, I don't know a thing about the subject, and I didn't get bored until the last hour. But that was fine, as I brought a book.

Of course, now that I'm home (at six p.m.), I have to cook and eat dinner, and then I have to make an apple cake for tomorrow. I have to work at Sucky Job because I told Kelly I wouldn't leave them in a hole. Then I'm having dinner with the R family, and we're all going to Kol Nidre.

Which is a long, roundabout way of saying that it was a long day today, and it's going to be a long day tomorrow, and I will not be posting on Yom Kippur until (possibly) late Saturday night. I'll try to get something of substance up tonight, and I apologize for not answering any emails this week. But if I can't post anything else until Saturday, I hope those of you who fast have an easy fast.

Hm. I have the top down on my Jeep. Do you think it would be inappropriate to keep it down during the holiday because I enjoy riding with the top down so much?

Eh. I'm going to keep it down unless it rains. My grandfather isn't around to disapprove anymore. | |




New job. Don't like it. Won't be keeping it. Makes me tired on top of intensely disliking it.

Buy more bunny cards so I don't have to keep this job. I'll have birthday cards and "whoops, I forgot your birthday!" cards up on Monday.

Also, if you want personalized greeting cards to include your own picture, send me a halfway-decent gif or jpeg or png and I can do it. Uh, no nekkid bodies, please. When I said bunny pr0n, I was just joking.

| |



Tuesday news roundup

If anyone can think of a catchy title for these posts, jump right in, please. I'm tired of the boring one.

The occupation [of Lebanon] continues. Syria is doing another one of its pretend troop withdrawals. I guess that goes along with its pretend power to continue to defy the world. My prediction: If Bush wins re-election, Syria is on the table.

Kidnapping: A new Iraqi business. First, we have this article from AP that details how many foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq (over 135). Then we have this article, which says that a new criminal market in Iraq has sprung up: The kidnapping and selling of foreign hostages. Nice. Note also that the article points out that Zarqawi is behind this new trend, and that he's having no trouble at all recruiting non-Iraqis to murder Iraqis. If you ask me, Iraq should declare war against Syria and Iran. Okay, so they have no army yet. It would make a point.

Former U.S. administrator in Iraq L. Paul Bremer told The Washington Timesthis summer that a captured Zarqawi bomber who failed to detonate his bomb provided some useful inside information.

"They are non-Iraqis," Mr. Bremer said of the Zarqawi group. "They tend to be from Yemen. Or Sudan. Some Saudis. We haven't captured a lot of them. We captured some. So we have some insight into the organization. It's a professional terrorists organization. It's well-done.

"They have cellular structure, so information doesn't flow very widely. Makes it difficult to penetrate. Even if you penetrate, you don't get much information beyond the cell you've penetrated. It's a very professional operation. Very dangerous. They are clearly responsible for almost all, if not all, the suicide attacks."

Al Qaeda: Yeah, they're still trying. This is pretty frightening news. I am more and more convinced that the targets will be Washington and/or New York. And I worry for all my friends and relatives up there.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded recently that al Qaeda — fearing its credibility is on the line — is moving ahead with plans for a major, "spectacular" attack, despite disruptions of some operations by recent arrests in Britain and Pakistan.

Officials said recent intelligence assessments of the group, which is blamed for the September 11 attacks, state that an attack is coming and that the danger will remain high until the Nov. 2 elections and last until Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

[...] Intelligence officials say a key figure in al Qaeda's North American operations is Adnan Shukrijumah, who is being sought by the FBI for the past several years.

One official said Shukrijumah recently was seen in Mexico and earlier had been in Canada near a university with a nuclear reactor, leading to concerns that he was seeking radioactive material for a radiological bomb.

The Mexican newspaper Proceso, quoting Mexican officials, reported earlier this month that Shukrijumah was being sought in northeastern Mexico after being tracked to Sonora in August.

Yeah, we know all about the porous borders we have in Canada and Mexico. The question is, what can we do about them?

Germany pulling away from Eurabia? It seems so.

BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) -- The Berlin state government has banned an Arab-Islamic Congress due to be held in the German capital next month to rally support for "resistance and intifada" in Iraq and Israel.

Henrike Morgenstern, a spokeswoman for the Berlin interior ministry, said Monday an advertisement for the event published in English on the Internet expressed approval for suicide attacks against Israel and the United States.

"That significantly oversteps the limit of what can be allowed in terms of opinion-forming," she said.

Interior Minister Otto Schily said last week the government believed the event was a threat to security and public order and he would work with the foreign ministry to try to stop would-be participants entering the country.

At the weekend, police said a Lebanese man who was one of the organizers of the congress had been deported to Beirut.

And then there's this. Hope you're sitting down, it's a shocker.

Interior Minister Otto Schily said the controversial West Bank barrier is effective because it has led to a drop in attacks on Israel. He also rejected comparisons between the Israeli fence and the Berlin Wall.

"Those who draw comparisons with the Berlin Wall are wrong, because it does not shut people in and deprive them of their freedom," Schily told Deutschlandfunk radio on Monday. "Its purpose is to protect Israel from terrorists."

Schily, who is currently in Israel for an international conference on terrorism, said the security barrier was the result of decades of failed efforts to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from crossing the border and attacking Israel.

"All the efforts undertaken over many years, even decades, have unfortunately failed to bear fruit," he said. "So it is understandable that Israel should try to erect a protective barrier, which furthermore has shown it works, and I think that the criticism is far from the reality."

In the radio interview, Schily also insisted the security barrier should be referred to as a "fence" and not a "wall," as it is often called in Germany.

But wait, there's more!

On Tuesday, Palestinian authorities demanded a thorough explanation for Schily's statements. Cabinet Minister Sajeb Erekat said the German minister's statements were "very strange and unusual," and not in keeping with the official German position on the barrier.

Interesting how anything that disagrees with the pali party line is "strange and unusual." Then again, for a European minister to say the fence is justifiable is unusual. But damned welcome.

But wait, there's more!

Schliy's "understanding" for Israel's need to protect itself against Palestinian attacks follows earlier statements referring to Islamic terror as the "greatest threat to the civilized world."

Woo-hoo! I like this guy.

Once again, it's all on Israel's head. Colin Powell is doing his thing, where he makes sure to blame Israel for everything while not being clear that the reason there are no negotiations is because there is no partner for peace on the palestinian side.

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Colin Powell is seeking assurances from Israel that a pullout from Gaza would be a first step in peacemaking with the Palestinians and not be followed by a long timeout in seeking an overall settlement.

[...] An interview Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave an Israel newspaper last week sent a ripple of dismay through the Mideast. Sharon was quoted as saying that since the Palestinians were not interested in negotiations Israel may call a timeout after removing the 8,000 Jewish settlers and the troops that protect them from Gaza.

Sharon also affirmed an intention to hold on to at least part of the West Bank.

The White House and State Department quickly produced statements saying the projected Gaza pullout was seen as a way to jumpstart the U.S.-backed road map for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

And Israel's ambassador to Washington, Daniel Ayalon, offered assurances Israel remained committed to the road map.

Powell wants to keep peacemaking hopes alive, although he acknowledges getting started requires a clampdown by Palestinian leaders on terrorists who attack Israel.

Sentiment in the United Nations is strong for an Israeli withdrawal on the West Bank as well as from Gaza.

Powell is due to meet Wednesday with some of the strongest proponents of Israeli withdrawal on all fronts, including other members of the informal group known as the Quartet: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Russian and European Union leaders.

Whoops, my bad, look, there are fifteen whole words devoted to the fact that Israel cannot negotiate because, well, the pals want to keep killing Israelis.

And may I point out that we've finally found something that knocks Israel's anti-terrorism tactics off the Google News radar: Iraq and Rathergate. You have to type in a search most days to find the latest news on Israel. Let us all say: Yay.

And that's a wrap. | |

The bunny mystery revealed: Personalized greeting cards

I have joined the ranks of entrepreneurs and started my own business. It's licensed, zoned, permitted, and name-registered. (And ain't America grand? It cost me only $90 to do all that, and I didn't have to bribe a single person.) Part of that business includes making personalized greeting cards, as I mentioned before. Now add to this equation my sometimes warped mind, and I came up with a funny greeting card to offer to my readers.

Screenshot of front of card

Screenshot of inside card

Screenshot of back of card

Now bear with me, because my business is but an infant, and I'm working out some kinks, but I have to start somewhere.

Here's the deal: For two dollars, you get a personalized greeting card mailed to anyone in the United States. For a little extra, I'll mail it overseas for you, depending on how much extra air mail costs. You can order two cards for three dollars. At some point in the future, I'll have a CGI form asking for all the details, but again, nascent business here, working out the kinks. So for now, here's what you do:

1. Hit my Paypal button (preferred, Amazon takes a higher percentage) for $2 for one card, $3 for two. If you want more than two cards, add $1.50 for each additional card.

2. Send me an email titled "Bunny card" with the personalized message and how you would like your signature to appear. If you don't want it signed, write "No signature." Include in the email the address where you want the card sent. Specify if this is the recipient's address or yours. If it is the recipient's, I will address and mail the card for you. If it is your address, your card will arrive with a blank envelope for you to address and mail.

3. Order more cards when I get them up. There will be a page with screenshots and choices up soon.

Coming soon: Personalized cards where you can send me the picture that will appear in the card.

And please note, these cards are printed on card stock that you can buy from your local Staples. The stock is decent, but not quite as good as the kind you buy in the Hallmark store—yet. Give my business a chance to get going.

Special note to those of you who have already hit my Paypal and Amazon buttons in the past: You've got a free card with your name on it. Email me details and I'll send you a card, or wait until there's a selection. I'll have more cards up by the end of today.

P.S.: That bunny belongs to my friend Kim. His name is Screwy Rabbit, and that's one of his favorite toys. And yes, he's neutered. | |



Gone in 60 minutes

Or however long it takes me to get a consensus.

This is going to sound really strange, but I'd like you to take a look at these three pictures and tell me which one looks the best. And yes, that rabbit is doing exactly what you think he's doing. Which one shows him humping the globe the best?

All will be revealed by tomorrow evening. Just bear with me until then.

Picture one

Picture two

Picture three

Thanks. | |

Monday morning in the news

Of course, RatherGate is the top story on all the networks. CBS finally admits the memos are fakes. Allah's got the best headline. I find myself heading to Allahpundit on a regular basis now. I've been trying to write something about my opinion of Allah changing that doesn't sound condescending, and have been unable to do so. So I'll simply say I like Allah a whole lot better now that he no longer does the "Jew this" and "Jew that" schtick that used to bother me so much. He should be on everyone's regular-read list.

They're not shooting off firecrackers. Sure, it's Reuters, and therefore biased, but read it anyway to see what it's like to live in Israel—not in a "settlement," but in a town in Israel within the so-called "Green Line"—and have your life threatened by rocket fire on a regular basis. Here's a taste:

"I hear a boom and my body trembles. I can't live like this. The child, poor thing, she cries so much," said Oriloh, 31, panicked by a rocket strike while she was out shopping.

"We sleep in fear. Even the sound of the garbage truck sets everyone off," said Levy, 54, at a run-down corner store.

The IDF is now using radar to track the Kassam rockets, giving Sderot a few seconds to run for cover. In the meantime, the pals are stocking up on weapons ahead of the pullout. Color me unsurprised. With any luck, though, they'll use them to kill each other instead of Israeli civilians.

Israe is winning the war on terror. According to Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael Oren, Israel has solid victories in the war against palestinian terror. (Go to Bugmenot for username and password for this, and any other registration-required article.)

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, had planned on offering the usual complaints when he visited Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week. There was the stalled road map, Israel's security fence, and the recently announced expansion of West Bank settlements close to the Green Line. But, before he arrived in Jerusalem, something happened that changed Lavrov's agenda: the massacre of Russian children by Chechen Islamist terrorists. And so, when he met Sharon on September 6, the main topic of discussion was what advice and assistance Israel could offer Russia in the fight against terrorism.

Ironically, Israel had just buried 16 people--many of them Russian immigrants--after the simultaneous suicide bombings of two buses in the southern city of Beersheba. According to Hamas, those attacks were retaliation for the assassination, five months earlier, of its spiritual and political leaders, Sheik Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Yet the fact that it took Hamas almost half a year--and dozens of failed attempts--to make good on its threat to inflict immediate and massive punishment proves just how successful Israel's war against terrorism has been.

During those same six months, the Israeli army destroyed most of what remained of Hamas's organization in the West Bank and a substantial part of its infrastructure in Gaza. Just last week, Israeli gunships rocketed a Hamas training camp in Gaza, killing 15 operatives. Hamas leaders, who once routinely led rallies and gave interviews to the media, don't dare show their faces in public anymore. Even their names are kept secret. Hardly a night passes without the arrest of a wanted terrorist. Hamas's ranks have become so depleted that the organization is now recruiting teenagers: At the Gaza border, Israeli forces recently broke up a Hamas cell made up of 16-year-olds.

Meanwhile, life inside Israel has returned to near normalcy. The economy, which was shrinking in 2001, is now growing at around 4 percent per year. Even the tourists are back: Jerusalem's premier King David Hotel, which a few years ago was almost empty, recently reached full occupancy.

Read the whole thing.

The Axis of Evil strikes again. More Iranian spies, taking more videos of more places that look like terrorism targets to me. You know the old saying: If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck—it's a terrorist. Jews in Buenos Aires protested the acquittal of the yet more members of the conspiracy that bombed the Jewish Community Center in Argentina, killing 85 and wounding hundreds.

Incursion saves lives. The IDF probably stopped a Rosh Hashana terror attack in the Sinai because of last week's Gaza incursion. Yes, that's right, killing terrorists saves innocent lives. Who knew?

Another one bites the dust. More targeted killings, more Hamas threats. Keep on keeping on, IAF. You're saving lives.

Off to get new tires today. If anyone feels like hitting the tipjar, I sure won't say no. Five bucks apiece from all of you who never contribute, and I'd still have thousands to go before I come near what Andrew Sullivan has raised. Humph. (That's to him, not you.)

| |



How tired am I?

So tired that I'm not putting this post into an archive page, or even creating the archive page, which I do every Sunday.

Long day teaching and working at the climbing after a long day driving and working at the climbing gym. And, uh, woken up by Tig an hour and a half before the alarm, the bastard. I'm going to wake him up next time I see him sleeping.

I'll be back on my game tomorrow, after I've rested. | |


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.