Important: Read this before sending email

Add to My Yahoo! RSS Feed




My Amazon Wish List
(Buy me presents)




Indexed Archives

Portal (links)

Contact me

Who am I?


The diary of
Iseema bin Laden

Secret Arafat
Phone Transcripts

Greatest Hits


Letters from
Captain Steve

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More




On second thought

First, a few links: Michele came back to write a 9/11 post. It's good.

Jim Treacher is having a lot of fun at Dan Rather's expense. This is funny. This is funnier. This is funniest. (Jim, learn HTML and you won't need MT.)

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:

Wind Rider: Hold on a minute.
Strange man: Hey, Meryl, how are you? Nice to finally talk to you!
Meryl: I'm fine. Uh—who is this?

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.

Here's hoping.

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. | |



The difference between the lightning bug and lightning

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 way—their 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.) | |

Friday morning news views

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.)

After 31 years, the FBI has opened an investigation into the involvement of Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat in the murders of two U.S. diplomats in Sudan in 1973, WorldNetDaily has learned.

FBI agents are now gathering evidence about Arafat's culpability in a March 1, 1973, operation in which eight members of the Black September terrorist organization, part of Arafat's Fatah faction of the PLO, stormed the Saudi embassy in Khartoum, reportedly on Arafat's orders, taking U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel, diplomat Charge d'Affaires George Curtis Moore and others hostage, and one day later, killing Noel, Moore and Belgian diplomat Guy Eid.

[...] Welsh has said he intercepted a transmission from Arafat involving an imminent operation in Khartoum, and charges the NSA has had tapes of Arafat ordering the executions, a story first reported by WND in 2001.

"They called me and said they are reopening an old murder investigation," Welsh told WND. "I met with the agents for several hours, gave them a detailed account of everything that happened, and handed over to them original copies of a lot of materials and correspondence I have accumulated over the years. They were supposed to return my things, but I'm still waiting."

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.

Key European countries are pressing Israel to end its policy of isolating Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

The subject came up in recent meetings between Israeli officials and the Dutch and German foreign ministers, Bernard Bot and Joschka Fischer. Both said that while they are not fans of Arafat's leadership, it is necessary to talk with him.

But Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom responded that Israel is sticking with its policy of isolating Arafat.

Bot, the rotating president of the European Council of Foreign Ministers, met with Shalom in Maastricht last week and said that Israel's refusal to allow Arafat to leave his Muqata compound in Ramallah is a mistake. Shalom responded that Arafat is a terrorist who cannot play any positive role in making peace.

Bot countered that isolating Arafat only strengthens him, to which Shalom responded that it is European officials' "pilgrimages" to Arafat that strengthen him, thereby preventing the emergence of a more moderate Palestinian leadership. Bot said that the Europeans are trying to persuade Arafat to give more power to Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia.

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.

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran is using negotiations with the European Union's "big three" on suspending sensitive nuclear activities to buy the time it needs to get ready to make atomic weapons, an Iranian exile and intelligence officials said.

With intelligence sources saying Iran could be months away from nuclear weapons capability, the United States wants Iran reported to the U.N. Security Council immediately, charging Tehran uses its civilian atomic energy program as a front to develop the bomb. Tehran vehemently denies the charge.

France, Britain and Germany want to avoid isolating Iran and have taken a go-slow approach, negotiating with Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activities.

"Iran continues to use existing differences between the U.S. and Europe to their advantage and tries to drag out talks with the EU to buy time," Alireza Jafarzadeh, an Iranian exile who has reported accurately on Iran's nuclear program in the past, told Reuters.

"They feel they have bought at least 10 months," Jafarzadeh said. He said he was citing sources in Iran familiar with the results of a recent high-level meeting on Iran's nuclear program attended by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Jafarzadeh said officials at the meeting also decided to allocate an additional $2 billion from Iran's central bank reserves to supplement some $14 billion already spent on what he called Iran's "secret nuclear weapons program."

The EU trio has expressed disappointment at Iran's failure to keep promises it made in October to suspend all activities related to the enrichment of uranium, a process of purifying it for use as fuel for atomic power plants or in weapons. But the three remain committed to a process of engagement with Tehran.

However an intelligence official said a failure to act now as Washington would like, could be decisive for the development of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.

Color me shocked. About Reuters, not Iran. And on the heels of this, we see that the US and Israel are on the case:

The senior US official dealing with Iran's nuclear program, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton, arrives in Israel this weekend for talks Sunday with Israeli officials ahead of a crucial meeting next week of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

At next week's meeting in Vienna, the IAEA will determine whether Iran is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons and whether the issue should be referred to the UN Security Council, a path of action the Bush administration favors.

[...] "Clearly what they're doing is trying to confuse the situation in the run-up to the IAEA meeting... Iran wants a clean bill of health. It's not going to get that," a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post. "But whether we can get a referral to the UN Security Council, I don't know."

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).

The son of Rabbi Menachem Fruman of Tekoa was married on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Thursday, without the knowledge or intervention of the Muslim waqf or the police.

Witnesses said a group numbering more than 10 men and including two official witnesses arrived during a time when Jews are permitted to enter the area, and formed a circle around the couple.

The key vows were spoken and confirmed over a cup of wine.

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. | |



A little of this, a little of that

So did you notice that you all commented more while I was gone than you have been in, like, weeks?

I did.

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 often—or not often—fast food places change the frying oil.

Hm. Now I want fried chicken. Mine, not theirs. | |

Break's over

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?

Hear this: For a long, long time to come, 144 million Russians will never forget or forgive. Several billion folks around the world won't either. Once again, a bunch of crazy fanatics led by Wahhabi, regressive Islamic thinking have succeeded in tainting the majority of Muslims who are reasonable, decent human beings.

So, the question is, why hasn't any Arab "lion-ruler" or, for that matter, any Arab civic groups spoken out against this horror, forcefully, clearly and bluntly? Should not those Arab leaders or at least their Mickey Mouse parliaments here and there come out and be counted?

Where, for instance, is the voice of Amr Moussa, the elegant, articulate and charismatic secretary-general of the Arab League? Why can he ferociously attack Israel when it kills Palestinians but remain mute when people claiming to be Muslims commit genocide in Russia, the Arabs' friend? Why did he choose not to speak out? I know Mr. Moussa. He is an honorable Arab leader. So this is not like him. Playing it safe, Amr, is not a good strategy on this one.

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!

Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), has expressed his strong condemnation and denunciation of the act of hostage-taking perpetrated by an armed group who have taken a number of hostages, including school children, in a school in the town of Beslan in southern Russia, on Wednesday 1 September, the first day of school after the vacations.

The Secretary-General made an urgent appeal for the immediate release of the hostages, particularly the children.

The Secretary-General reaffirms the position of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on such criminal acts, which are against the principles and tenets of Islam and can only do harm to the friendly relations between the OIC Member States and the Russian Federation.

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.

The Russians were allies of the Arabs. Not now. The consequences can be very grave. To get the Russians back, the least that can be done is for somnolent Arab rulers, particularly those of Saudi Arabia and Qatar — whose Wahhabi religious leaders are responsible for indoctrinating many of these criminals in Chechnya — to stop fanatical sheiks from spreading the message that what happened in Russia was a jihad, a holy war.

I say so because during the past few days, I was stunned to hear people interviewed on the TV networks Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, trying in one way or another to "explain" what happened.

Arab people and leaders, indeed all Muslims, must understand that those pictures from Russia broadcast worldwide have overtaken the images of U.S. soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, and those of Israelis killing Palestinians and bulldozing their homes.

This guy was an editor at the Times and WSJ, and here's his conclusion:

This is wake-up time. The images from Beslan will have a very long shelf life. Murdering thugs shooting bullets at little girls and boys as they try to escape is searing imagery that is burned deep into human memories.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the siege as "an attack on our country." Actually, it was an attack on everything that represents civilization, including Islam. Muslim leaders should say so.

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 question—I know I have certain biases, and they influence my thinking, but still—if 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:

Israel kills Hamas fanatics on parade
Palestinians expressed amazement yesterday at the rashness of Hamas terrorists who were bombed by the Israelis as they paraded on a football field.

At least 14 died and many more were wounded as they drilled at midnight. Aircraft and helicopters fired six missiles at members of the Izzedine al Qassem brigades, the armed wing of the movement.

[...] Among the survivors was Mohammed Abdel Moiti, who said he could remember nothing of the attack. He maintained that the group were not fighters but were taking part in a "summer camp" and had been doing sports training.

However, a Hamas spokesman, Mushir al Masri, admitted that they were being trained as "elite groups to terrorise the enemy" and promised that "this ugly crime will not go unpunished".

The attack was also condemned by the Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qureia. "There will be retaliation and the retaliation will be justified," he said.

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.

A senior Israeli official, who participated this week in talks held in Jerusalem with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, told me, "We gained the impression that President Putin now understands the significance of the world danger presented by the Muslim jihad."

No one could express this better than Putin himself in his speech to the nation, after the terrible massacre: "We have to admit we showed no understanding of the danger occurring in our own country and the world at large."

Better late than never.

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.

Arab League chief Amr Moussa on Wednesday rapped the United Nations for its resolution on Syria and Lebanon.

Speaking to reports after a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Moussa said that the United Nations Security Council should tackle main issues on maintaining international peace andsecurity.

"However, the council has not tackled Mideast crises, including what is going on in the Palestinian territories," Moussa said, referring to a recent UN resolution on Syria and Lebanon."Such double standards raise many questions about the role ofthe council," he said.

By the way, Lebanon is ignoring a UN resolution, but the world is ignoring that fact.

On Sept. 3, Lebanon rejected a UN Security Council resolution demanding respect of the country's political independence and Syrian forces' withdrawal from it.

"This resolution is misplaced since it goes against the principles of non-interference in internal affairs," Foreign Minster Jean Obeid said in a statement.

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. | |



Effective Animal Training (MGB)

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!

| |



Hulk Smash Election!

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:

Pass the sunblock, Hulk.
Why girl need to put goo on skin? Hulk never need goo on skin, look at Hulk. Green as can be!
We've been over this before, Hulk. I'm merely human.
Bah. Girl puny human.
Fine. I'm a puny human. Puny humans need sunblock.
Girl want Hulk to put goo on back?
No! Er, no, Hulk. Last time you tried I wound up half a mile in the ocean.
Bah. Hulk got girl out before shark eat her.
You know, Hulk, sometimes you're—
[Cue: airplane flying up coast, bearing a "Vote Kerry/Edwards!" banner]
What plane say?
They want us to vote for John Kerry in the election.
What election?
An election is how we get our leaders.
Leader! Hulk hate Leader! Leader very bad. Try to kill Hulk many times with squishy men. Hulk can't punch squishy men.
No, not the Leader. Our leaders. Like the president.
Who president?
Bush. Our president is Bush.
President is bush? HAHAHAHAHA! Puny humans led by plant!
[sigh] No, Hulk. The president's name is Bush.
That stupid name.
No argument here.
Why plane want different leader than Bush?
That's what we do. Every four years, we have two people run against each other to see who will be our leader.
They run into each other? Hulk like that!
No, um, they go around the country and make speeches and try to get us to vote for them.
Speeches? Bah. Talk, talk, talk. Hulk bored with talk. Hulk like to smash. Leaders smash?
Well, we are at war. So you could say that some of our leaders smash.
This Kerry smash?
No. He doesn't want us to be at war. He'd stop us from smashing—er, fighting in Iraq.
Do Bush smash?
Bush is the one who sent us into Iraq, so yes, Bush smash.
Bush smash. What Kerry do?
Well, he talks. Rather a lot, come to think of it.
Bah. Talk, talk, talk. Puny humans talk too much. Hulk tired of talking. Hulk want to smash. Hulk like to smash. Hulk vote for Bush. Bush smash! Hulk smash! Hulk is the strongest one there is!
Okay, Strongest. Let's stop talking and get some Italian ices.
Girl put money away. Hulk get this one.

(Yes, I'm going back on break now. But the rest is doing me good; I got a Hulk post out of it.) | |



Mystery Guest Blogger 3.5K (MGB)

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.

So let me introduce myself, or not. I'm Meryl's Mystery Guest Blogger (MGB). Not Mystery Date, just MGB. So just go ahead and stifle with the rampant speculation. Yeah, Lair, I'm talkin to you.

Anyway, my philosophy on the whole gig? What else?

'drive it like you stole it'...

| |



Labor Day break

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.

Tig is troubled

| |


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.