First, a few links: Michele came back to write a 9/11 post. It's good.
Leslie rescued some kittens. Well, she's going to drive them to their next rescuer, anyway. I couldn't rescue kittens. I'd never give them up. By the way, Leslie gets this link because she emailed me, like I requested a day or two ago. If I rarely or never link to you, send me a URL and we'll see what we can do.
My God's bigger than your God: Last week at work, the subject of God came up. "I take God on faith," I told a coworker. "Everything else, you have to prove to me." The subject came up because it seems that Aliester Crowley was a pioneering mountain climber, and a book she was sorting mentioned him. So then my coworker said, "Do you have a personal relationship with God?" and I said, "What?" and she said, "Do you have a personal relationship with God?" and I said, "A what?" and she said... well, you get the picture. It took me a while to realize what she meant, and that "Yes, we have lunch every Friday" would be a bad way to answer her. And then she mentioned Jesus, and I pointed out to her that I'm Jewish, and things came pretty close to getting to a really bad point, but we stopped the conversation and I walked away.
Which suddenly reminded me of the time when two Mormon missionaries came to my door over the summer. I was in a foul, foul, foul mood, and I hate being annoyed in my home by Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses or, for that matter, salespeople. They asked if they could have a moment of my time, and I snapped, "I'm Jewish. I was born Jewish, and I'm going to die Jewish." They attempted to start a discussion with me. "You are trespassing," I said. "There's no solicitation allowed in these apartments. Get lost or I'm going to call the cops." Then I slammed the door. Then I opened the door, and yelled, "And stop baptizing my people!" Then I slammed the door again.
I told you I was in a foul mood.
Of course, looking back on it now, it's kinda funny.
Is she or isn't she? I talked to Ilyka today. She definitely sounds like a woman, but then again, she could just be the real Ilyka's girlfriend. She said something to someone she called Mark, who spoke loudly enough for me to hear that he was, indeed, a man. But again, they could have wanted me to think that. So the jury's still out. Oh, okay, so we had a discussion which involved medical terms that only someone familiar with them, like, say, a medical transcriber, would know as quickly and easily as Ilyka knew them. And sure, she mentioned some things that made me think it was really her.
But it could have all been an act.
So in the last two weeks, I've spoken to Ilyka, Mac Thomason, and Terry Oglesby. Those last two are due to Wind Rider being in the neighborhood and having a cell phone on when I needed to ask him a question. Here was the conversation between Terry and me:
That Wind Rider. What a card. That was his way of telling me he was having lunch with Terry. And then he just gave my number to Mac. What if Mac is in reality a serial killer? What if he's got a cellar full of former bloggers' remains? Does anyone really know what happened to Josh Trevino?
I'm just sayin'.
Readin', Writin', and Hebrew: Tomorrow is my first day of religious school. Four of my students are younger siblings of former students. One is the younger sibling of a former teaching assistant. One is my boss' son.
It's going to be an interesting year. But it also happens to be my third year, which is supposed to be the year everything gets easy. That's also supposed to be the year your immunity to children's illnesses kicks in.
In any case, my early and busy Sundays are back. I teach religious school in the morning and work at the climbing gym until dinnertime. One of these jobs is going to have to go. See if you can figure out which one. permalink | |
The Daily Kos and other liberal websites are trying to ridicule the people like Charles Johnson and others who say that the National Guard memos brought out on 60 Minutes II are forgeries. They did a bit of research via Google and discovered some sites with information on IBM typewriters and fonts, and declare that the experts are wrong.
When you're talking fonts, typesetting, and typewriters, you've finally run into an area of mine in which I have not a small amount of knowledge. I have more than twenty years experience as a typesetter, desktop publisher, and web developer. I started my career as a paste-up artist for Worrall Publications, putting together seven local weekly newspapers in Essex County, NJ. I worked on the AM Varityper and Compugraphic typesetting machines before moving on to Atex, the multi-million dollar system that the New York Times was still using only a few years ago. My job was to take raw copy from various magazines and turn it into the finished version you got in the magazine, and I did fairly well at my job. I worked for what was then the largest typehouse on the east coast, Publishers Phototype. I was the manager of typesetting on my shift and was the go-to girl for new customers and special projects. When the department head needed someone to help set up a new magazine, I was always part of the team. In short, I know my stuff.
You cannot become an expert in typography by simply Googling information. That's like saying you're now a lawyer because you Googled some cases in online law libraries.
I don't think so.
It takes years of experience and application. Hunter and Zuniga are basically showing off their ignorance by attempting to fisk Charles' reproduction of the memos. For instance, here's a question a typographer would know in a heartbeat: Name three kerned pairs that are often adjusted for a better appearance.
Okay, let's make it easier on you. Charles gave examples in the comments to his post; do you remember which two he named? There are several in this paragraph. Why would they be kerned? What size fonts would you generally want to kern and why?
You see? You can't become an expert overnight. In the 1980s, when we used the Atex system, a new customer would give us copies of their magazines and tell us to match the type. We had to identify the font, type sample copy into our system, and then play with the kerning and word spacing until we had a match. And trust me, this was not an easy thing. Each font was set up specifically in the system. Glamour required completely different word spacing than Harper's Bazaar (which I hated to type, by the waytheir editors were constantly insisting on lowering a rule half a point, which only someone in the field would even notice).
So. When looking at the typography involved in creating a memo, you can't simply make up the rules. You need to have a background in type. The bloggers at the Daily Kos do not have this background. Charles Johnson does.
The difference between looking up information on the Internet and having years of experience, such as Charles and the typography experts that are examining the memos, is, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.
There are an awful lot of lightning bugs flapping around the blogosphere today.
Update: Now you can see Atrios make an ass of himself over trying to explain kerning. See Charles' rebuttal. And may I say, "I'm not a typographer, but I play one on the blogs" is a mantra we may need to start using for these fools.This is almost as funny as when my boss at Fortune 50 company explained cookies to me after he read about them on the NY Times website, but wasn't computer-savvy enough to just hit the enter key every time a network reboot error message popped up on his screen. (He'd ask me to call tech support every time. I'd go over to his computer and press the enter key.) permalink | |
Thirty years overdue: The FBI has opened a murder case against Yasser Arafat for the deaths of two U.S. diplomats to Sudan. (Hat tip: Sean M.)
I'm of two minds about this. It might be the Bush Administration's first salvo to really get rid of Arafat as leader of the PA. If the FBI brought evidence that Arafat was guilty of murdering diplomats, even thirty years ago, it would delegitimize him even further. However, we are talking about the rest of the world, which justifies palestinian terror by saying Israel brings it on herself, and this week is trying to convince Israel to stop isolating Arafat and start dealing with him politically.
This, by the way, is how Arafat manages to get away with only lip-service to reforms, while constantly refusing to take action. (I can't find the link to Arafat's latest bait-and-swtich by one of the Jewish bloggers who posted on it; email me if your'e reading this.)
I am also rather skeptical of WorldNetDaily articles to begin with. So while I would welcome a successful outcome, I doubt it highly. And frankly, these days, the FBI can't seem to find its ass with its own hands, so I seriously doubt they're going to come to any successful conclusion.
This is from Reuters? This is from Reuters? I hope you're sitting down, because Reuters has an article explicitly accusing the Iranians of playing for time while they develop nuclear weapons.
Color me shocked. About Reuters, not Iran. And on the heels of this, we see that the US and Israel are on the case:
Once again, let me make my opinion that nothing military can possibly happen to the Iranian nuclear reactors without the full knowledge and consent of the United States. No, wait, I take that back. An air attack cannot be accomplished without U.S. knowledge. If the Mossad has some people inside Iran who attack from the ground, that's different.
But it suddenly occurred to me that the likeliest scenario is that it will be a coordinated ground-air assault. Agents in Iran will either get GPS coordinates or place GPS devices in the nuclear facilities, and smart bombs will take care of the rest, human shields or no human shields.
It's our Temple Mount: A couple was married on the Temple Mount on Thursday (Hebrew link).
Ha. And good for them. Watch for the outpouring of Muslim outrage for defiling "their" holy place.
There is much more, but once again, breakfast calls. And I have no milk. Hm. Perhaps I'll have waffles and orange juice for breakfast this morning. permalink | |
So did you notice that you all commented more while I was gone than you have been in, like, weeks?
I was starting to wonder if anyone is reading this blog anymore. I mean, the stats are down a bit. Summer's over. Get your butts back in gear, read, link, comment!
Okay, that was gross. I looked up at the TV and saw a commercial touting an "ooze-control tip." Against my better judgment, I glanced up again to see the product. Phew. Polident. That could have been a lot worse.
Found this site in my referrers. It's good. And I think I figured out why Beth has been blacklisted by her own movement. (What? Linking to a hawk on Israel? FASCIST!!!) Anyway, go check it out. The site design is lovely, too. It's a weblog newspaper. In spite of my low opinion of many journalists, I still am very fond of the news business itself.
I need to do a linkfest soon. Here's what I'd like to do: If you're a blogger that I've never or rarely linked to, email me. I think I'll put up a pot luck link post. But if you have something specific in mind, let me know. I can tell you now that my readers generally will click through if I say that I read your post and loved it, but rarely click through if I just put up a link and a lukewarm endorsement..
Y'know, it's bad enough we got socked with that monsoon a week and a half ago (I was at Shockoe Bottom today and have pictures to show later). But we keep on getting more rain. Sunday we got drenched. Yesterday we got drenched. In fact, yesterday we had tornadoes and tornado warnings and watches throughout the area, but all west of me, thankfully. The big story on the news was the one of the guy whose mother woke him up from a nap to tell him a tornado was about to hit. He hurried her into the bathroom, pushed her into the tub and jumped in with her, then the tornado took their entire roof off and destroyed their house. They showed him on the news, breathing quickly, obviously still suffering from shock, telling the story.
And today, we've got more rain. Because, y'know, we just need a bigger crop of mushrooms.
How wet is it? I think it's killing the dandelions, that's how wet it is.
You can't watch an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie anymore without thinking of him as governor. Last night, T3 was on cable, and I kept thinking, "Dude, you're the governor of California, and you're beating up a woman. Don't you know how that's going to go down with female voters?"
I made sweet potato chips this afternoon. Of course, now the apartment smells like used frying oil, because once you cook sweet potatoes, your oil is done. Very high sugar content ruins it. Two things, actually, make you have to throw away oil, and I don't know how the fast food places manage not to have this problem, because the other thing is chicken. You can kiss your oil goodbye once you fry chicken in it. Then again, I really don't want to know how oftenor not oftenfast food places change the frying oil.
Hm. Now I want fried chicken. Mine, not theirs. permalink | |
Thank you, Mystery Guest Blogger. I'll take over from here. First, the news, then the fun stuff.
The silence is deafening. An American Muslim asks: Where is the Arab outrage over Beslan?
Good question. Where is our old buddy Amr? Hm. Let's check the website. News, news, news. Nope. Nothing there on Beslan. (Really lame Flash intro to the main page, though.) Oh, wait, here's some news. Oh, no, that's complaining about Israel. Wait, this? Nope, Israel again. Oh, this isn't Israel. But no, it's just a months-old thing about the Frankfurt Book Fair. Yeah, that's important. Say, here's the OIC's denunciation. Use your asbestos gloves, it's a real scorcher!
Hoo, baby, that's tough. Good thing his appeal was so effective. I couldn't find any expressions of sorrow over the outcome, though. Guess infidel children don't matter so much.
But do you see a common theme in these two pieces? Here, let me quote from the USA Today piece again.
This guy was an editor at the Times and WSJ, and here's his conclusion:
Is it my imagination, or is he more concerned with the bad effect that Beslan had on Arabs than the fact that it was a horrible act? That's a serious questionI know I have certain biases, and they influence my thinking, but stillif I'm not mistaken, the theme of this piece is, "Arab leaders, wake up! You just lost a really big ally because you didn't say you condemn the attacks in Beslan."
Is this a great headline or what? The Telegraph calls it what it is:
No, it will not be justified, because the Hamassholes (thanks, Lair) blew up two buses a few days ago. This was Israel telling Hamas that they're not finished destroying the terrorist organization yet.
Russia and Israel, together again. Many people have forgotten that the Soviet Union was Israel's friend when the modern nation was born. Then came the Cold War, and "any friend of the U.S. is an enemy of mine." Well, now Vladimir Putin has discovered a common bond: Terrorism. Even though he said that Russia still supports the pals, this piece by Uri Dan makes me think that was for public consumption only.
I'm sensing a trend here.
And in other news, it seems that the UN is calling on Syria to cease its occupation of Lebanon. Meantime, Syria and Lebanon thumbed their noses at the world and went ahead with the unlawful extension of Syrian sock-puppet President Lahoud's term. The Lebanese cabinet is resigning in protest. Meantime, Amr Moussa has apparently found his tongue to object to something.
By the way, Lebanon is ignoring a UN resolution, but the world is ignoring that fact.
Okay, I get it. Iraq can ignore UN resolutions and not be penalized. Lebanon and Syria can ignore UN resolutions and not be penalized. Israel ignores nonbinding UN resolutions (as does every other nation), but she gets called the nation that ignores UN resolutions.
I'm working on an essay along that theme. It's not quite out of the pot yet. (That's the pot inside my head.)
And that's a wrap for now. I'm starving. permalink | |
Meryl and I have had an off and on discussion that I think it is high time to share with the wider world. The subject of the discussion is animal training. No, not training the animals to do what we want them to do, but vice versa. The effective training by the animals, particularly cats, of the humans they deem to allow to serve them. Anyone that owns a cat knows exactly what I'm talking about, although, except in the privacy of their own homes, and usually without witnesses or recording devices, they rarely admit it.
Two cases in point: Gracie and Tig's complete manipulation of Meryl, and the wiles of an animal that isn't even mine, Tremain, upon yours truly. Yes, Tremain isn't even my cat. He "belongs" to my sister. As if.
While it is a well documented fact that Gracie and Tig have Ms. Yourish wrapped around their little dew claws, it's probably not the best of examples. While Meryl will go on and on about how she's trained Tig to sit up, do the NYT Crossword in pen, or some such (usually feats he only accomplishes without witnesses, btw), it's actually just a sign of the influence the little beasties are exerting upon Meryl in their day to day human behavioural maintenance program. They're teasing her with the prospect that they'll actually appear to be following her lead when she attempts to demonstrate her dominance over them to visiting humans. And however stubborn she may become about admitting it, the result usually is reminiscent of Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the Football. Yes, that would be Meryl on the sweater with the zig zag pattern, folks.
It's a daily thing in that case, and as such, not totally illustrative. The list of things that Gracie and Tig have conditioned Meryl into doing, in brutish, Pavlovian terms, is long and varied. Meryl's entire day, particularly her activities in her own home, are absolutely dominated by this conditioning. Which is why I bring up the second example, to demonstrate the absolutely Machiavellian tendencies of these completely mercenary and hedonistic creatures.
Pavlov? Machiavelli? Mercenary? Hedonisitc? How can I be so harsh? On the contrary, I'm cutting the little beasts quite a lot of slack, by large measure.
Tremain (along with Gracie, Tig, Nardo, Edloe, Oscar, and a host of others) is the epitome of what I'm talking about. Upon my arrival at my relative's house, I was greeted with suspicious observation, and the testing and evaluation began immediately. Every single action of those first few days screamed 'what can I get out of this one?' Food? Attention? My first mistake was to heed the smooth, lyrical requests for a refill of the food bowl. By putting some more into it, I might as well have tattooed "sucker" across my forehead. It just opened the door to even more demands; this appeasement, this weakening of the will, and lowering of the interspecies barrier.
It didn't take long, although I was willing participant. The crying at the door, the solicitations for an ear rub, the hint and overture to use the brush. They all came flooding helter skelter shortly therafter. A master of manipulation this one - in less than two short weeks, a large portion of his devious goal was realized. I was actually paying deferential attentions to his whims. Scandalous.
It was a cathartic moment of realization, that hit me like a ton of bricks, on the day that I found myself hand feeding the little bastage chunks of my Church's Fried Chicken. No, not simply tearing off pieces and putting them on the floor (those were ignored, with a certain haughty disdain, to be certain), but hand feeding, morsel by morsel, almost to the point of mesmerization and dismissal of my own plan to enjoy my lunch, in peace. The mask came off. The charade was ended. All pretense had to be set aside. It was time to recognize the line, and stick to it.
It didn't help much that when this episode was revealed to Meryl, that she took great amusement from the entire situation. The cell connection was spotty at best, and I didn't quite catch what she said, as it sounded somewhat nonsensical, like phushea huipped, but the meaning was clear. I was being caught up, in a thrall, and my free will was draining away. But no more. I see it for the blatant and naked manipulation that it is now, and I will no longer be moved by the psuedo-plaintive mewings. I'm now jaded to the faux affectionate leg rubbings.
They affect me not. Bah!
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As my regular readers know, the Hulk makes appearances on this blog from time to time. During my time off, I had the opportunity to discuss the election with him. Our conversation went something like this:
(Yes, I'm going back on break now. But the rest is doing me good; I got a Hulk post out of it.) permalink | |
So, it looks like Ms. Yourish has decided to take a break, but still wants to keep her readership amused. Not that my contribution will be anything more intellectually satisfying than Moe hitting Curly with a sledgehammer. Still.
Anyway, my philosophy on the whole gig? What else?
'drive it like you stole it'...
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I was thinking of taking a vacation from the blog. I never thought I'd ever say that, but I think I need to stop for a few days. You may have noticed my output is down significantly, and I feel like my heart isn't in it nearly as much these days. I think I need to step back and see how things go for a few days. I was rereading some of my older posts, and the passion seems to have dulled quite a bit.
There's a possibility I may have a guest blogger or two. We'll have to see. The vacation will probably start tomorrow or Tuesday, and last through most of the week.
In the meantime, here's Tig's opinion on my taking a vacation.
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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.