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Who writes this crap?

I've been ignoring the anti-Israel (and anti-America) bias in the wire services for a while, because, well, it's annoying. And sometimes, you just have to ignore the things that annoy you to save your blood pressure. Well, I was at the doctor's yesterday, and mine was 118 over 80, so I think I can handle the AP's anti-Israel, anti-America bias.

Talks on providing the Palestinians with armored vehicles will continue, al-Kidwa said.

Putin had been expected to offer the Palestinian police 50 armored patrol vehicles, but Israel had objected, questioning the need for such vehicles and leaving the plan in limbo.

"If we expect chairman Abbas to fight terrorism effectively, he can't do it with slingshots and stones. We must understand this," Putin said.

In addition to the security aid, Putin said Russia could help rebuild the Palestinian infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza, which was badly damaged in more than four years of fighting with Israel. Israel plans to pull out of the impoverished Gaza Strip this summer.

Sure, he needs armored vehicles and helicopters to continue refusing to take away terrorists' weapons or arrest anyone for any attacks on Israel.

Putin was greeted Friday morning at the Palestinian headquarters by an honor guard. A military band played a halting version of Russia's national anthem and the Palestinian anthem as the Russian leader and Abbas stood side by side.

Security officers then placed a wreath, with a banner reading "from the president of the Russian Federation," before the tomb of Arafat. Putin approached, bowed his head, stood silently at attention for a few seconds, bowed again and walked away.

I'd have paid money to hear the palestinians screw up the Russian anthem. But take notice: Putin is honoring the biggest mass-murderer of Jews since Hitler.

Putin's meeting with Abbas followed talks Thursday with Israeli leaders, where he discussed Russia's cooperation with Syria and Iran - two of Israel's bitterest enemies - and the growing problem of anti-Semitism in Russia.

Notice that the author throws in the phrase "two of Israel's bitterest enemies" with no context whatsoever, that both countries refuse to recognize or treat with Israel. They're both officially at war with Israel. Israel would like nothing better than to change that.

A day after soothing his Israeli hosts with a stern call for Iran to do more to show it's not building an atomic bomb, Putin reiterated in Ramallah that Russia had no intention of halting its nuclear-related cooperation with Tehran. However, he said his country remained committed to nuclear nonproliferation.

"Nuclear weapon proliferation is dangerous in general, and in such an explosive region as the Middle East it is very dangerous. From a military standpoint it is illogical, and from a humanitarian standpoint it is unacceptable," Putin said.

Russia is building a nuclear power plant in Iran, and Israeli officials have expressed concern to Putin that Tehran would use the technology to further its suspected nuclear weapons program. Putin said the nuclear components did not threaten Israel's security.

Actually, the UN, the United States, and the IAEA believe that Iran is working to make their "peaceful" nuclear program a bomb-producer. It isn't just Israeli officials who are worried.

"We intend to fulfill our programs with Iran, which are linked with - and I stress this - peaceful atomic energy," he said Friday.

Iran maintains that its nuclear program is peaceful, but the United States and others believe it is trying to develop atomic weapons.

Funny how the reporter doesn't mention that the IAEA is concerned, too. I guess they come under the heading "and others."

Putin arrived in the region promoting a fall Mideast peace conference in Moscow, and Palestinians responded enthusiastically. But the idea dropped off the table during Wednesday's talks in Jerusalem after Israel and the U.S. expressed reservations.

Putin said Friday he was still committed to an international gathering, adding that it would not be a summit, but a meeting of high-level experts.

Once again, the pure, innocent pals want peace, but the mean ol' Israelis and Americans are stopping them from achieving this. The reality, of course, is that both Israel and the U.S. have finally figured out that conferences are meaningless without reform, and, well, there's almost no reform going on. What the conferences do, of course, is put the PR ball in the palestinians court, who make all the right noises and make Israel look like the bad guy.

Russia is one of the four co-sponsors of the "road map" peace plan, along with the U.S., U.N. and the European Union, but the Americans have taken the lead.

WTF does this paragraph mean? Why didn't the author simply stop after the word "Union"? This is sheer editorializing.

So. Who writes this crap?



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On Second Thought

Is it really almost May? Doesn't feel like it here. It should be in the mid-70s; it's been rather cool this week. Hope the weather is going to be all right tomorrow. Chevelle is playing in town, and I'm going with my former assistant and her brother. This is going to be interesting. I told Mara last night that she's simply going to have to get used to calling me Meryl because it will be just too weird to be at a concert with two people calling me Ms. Yourish.

Still stinky (no, not me): After my morning shower, Gracie insisted on her morning bellyrub. (That's our routine. Gracie lives by routines.) Apparently, she doesn't care that the bedroom smells like rotting carcass. I decided I could stand a couple of minutes in the room and obliged. It's hard to resist the deep purr-snorts she gives when in bellyrub ecstasy.

Oh, look, it's a sofabed! The cats were suspicious for a few moments, but then decided the sofabed being out was just the greatest thing since tunafish. Both of them were under it in moments. Tig started pulling the stuffing out of the couch, which he somehow does when the sofabed is not open. We had words, he raised his paw, I raised him a spray bottle, and he retreated. Everyone slept in the sofabed last night, though. And Tig christened it this morning by throwing up on it. Well, at least I have a washer and dryer in my apartment.

There's a new dog in town: Heidi's family is getting a new dog on Mother's Day weekend. I say Heidi's family, because it seems like she just went along for the ride. I am laughing at her, actually, because she swore up and down to me that she was not getting a dog as big as Worf, that she would only get one that would be at most sixty pounds. She's not getting any younger, she pointed out, and she would be in her fifties by the time this dog was in its prime. I agreed, and agreed, and agreed, though I secretly wished she'd get another Ridgeback.

Oh, the new dog? They're getting a female Great Dane.

In the serendipity department, on my way home from my mother's, I stopped to have lunch with my friend Kim and her husband. After lunch, Bob and I stopped off to visit his parents, whom I like, and their new dog—a Great Dane. I adored her. She reminded me a lot of Worf for some reason. So when I called Heidi the day after I got home and waxed poetic about how sweet and wonderful Pepper was, Heidi said, "Oh. My. God," and told me about their trip to see the puppies.

If I were a believer in divine intervention (and I am not), I would say it was meant to be. But I'll leave that to my mother, who does believe in that stuff. Me? I'm a believer in random coincidences.

I can't wait to see the puppy. Yes, I'll take pictures and post them. We are currently discussing names. "Cry Havoc!" has been voted down. The dog is going to wreak enough havoc, what with getting to about 125 lbs.

Sixty pounds. Ha. Ha, I say!

I'm going to be laughing at Heidi about this for a while, I think.

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Reasons to hate rodents

Something died inside the wall of my bedroom. There was no odor at all when I got home on Monday, and nothing at all Tuesday, but last night, I noticed a peculiar odor in my bedroom. It got worse as the night wore on, forcing me downstairs to the sofa. I searched and searched last night and today, and found nothing. I was rather hoping to find a small creature that perhaps Tig had captured and killed, because at least then, I could have gotten rid of it and the resultant smell. But no such luck.

My apartment maintenance, of course, could not be bothered to send anyone over today. So tonight, I'm sleeping on the sofabed. I have the bedroom window open, the door closed, and a fan blowing out. The cats are quite distressed that they couldn't take their daily nap on my bed, but hey, they found a place. They're going to be even more confused when I sleep downstairs. Only Grandma sleeps on the sofabed, generally.

I can smell it a little down here. My guess is it's in the wall between my apartment and my new neighbor, though he says there's no smell at all from his side. Lucky me.

I suppose this is where I should be grateful I still have that sinus infection, and so can't smell properly yet. But I'm worried, because there is no appreciable change in odor level, and Sarah says it takes about four days for critter smell to go away.

Life is not so good today.

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Today's moment of flower zen

Here you go, Joe. This is a close-up of the clover wild violet from yesterday's Tig picture. I think you can look directly at it without seeing the flower disappear.

Purple clover

Wow, I had no idea I could take pictures like this with my three-year-old camera.

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A free and democratic state: Oh, yeah, right. Either the terrorists are going to run it, or the terrorists are going to run it. Pick your poison:

A number of masked men broke into the camp's polling station during the counting of votes of the camp's youth center elections and opened random shooting. They tore the balloting papers at the time when the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas candidates were heading for a big victory.

The perpetrators were Ismail Al-Masri, Nablus traffic police officer, Ra'ed Mohammed Rawwas, homicide officer, Nasser Al-Khatib, a preventive security element, Al'a Sakarneh, Mohammed Juma'ah Al-Qattawi, Mahmoud Al-Khatib, Tareq Abdul Fattah Mezher, and Ahmed Abu Saltah.

Brigadier general, Tareq Zaid, Nablus city police director, summoned 723 security elements prior to the election and ordered them to vote for Fatah Movement. Hamas was leading but the counting process was aborted.

So basically, Mahmoud Abbas sent his goons to make sure Hamas didn't win in Hebron. Gee, tough choice: The terrorist, or the terrorist? Even better, a palestinian legislator is telling Hamas that there's NFW they're going to win.

However, the same Fatah sources quoted another MP, also Fatah cadre, as telling a special meeting for his Movement in Ram town that Fatah should win with all means possible in that village.

Hatem Abdul Qader told the Fatah cadres that even forgery could be pursued to ensure a Fatah victory in that occupied Jerusalem locality.

Is anyone alerting Jimmy Carter about this?

Israel's getting more bunker busters: If I'm not mistaken, she already has bunker buster bombs. And this additional 100 bombs fits completely with my prediction some time ago that part of the agreement between Ariel Sharon and George Bush is that Israel is going to supply cover for American raids on Iranian nuclear sites. The IDF and USAF, I think, will work hand-in-hand for that one, or the USAF is going to paint the blue Magen David on some planes and pretend to be Israeli. It's called plausible deniability, because then W. can stand in front of the UN and say, "Hey, it wasn't us! We have no control over the Israelis; they're a sovereign nation.

You don't need bunker busters to take on the pals. You do need them to destroy the nuclear capabilities of your sworn enemies, though. And purchasing 100 of them? That's a signal that Iran is going to lose her nuclear capabilities one way or another.

Israel's Fifth Column in action: I guess the Arab Israeli members of the Knesset like getting down and dirty with their constituents.

MK Mohammed Barrakeh was lightly wounded from a stun grenade that hit his leg as hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli demonstrators protested the construction of the security fence at Bil'in, west of Ramallah.

In an attempt to disperse the protesters who threw stones at troops, the elite Prison Service Massada unit who specializes in dispersing riots was dispatched to the area.

Border Police, Israel Police and IDF forces clashed with demonstrators at the site and were forced to use tear gas and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse them. In several instances physical scuffles broke out between security forces and demonstrators. According to reports, an Associated Press photographer was also lightly wounded from a stun grenade.

The village has been the site of numerous demonstrations almost on a daily scale to protest the ongoing construction of the security fence.

And the fence goes rolling along. Hm. I feel a song parody coming on.

Operation Iron Fist! Abbas tells his goons to use an iron fist to prevent terror attacks on Israelis. It is not reported whether his goons fell on the floor laughing.

Abbas to PA police: Use iron fist to enforce truce
With the increase in Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the past few weeks, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that the ceasefire must be maintained – even if the Palestinians have to resort to using force against the violent elements.

"We must use an iron fist against whoever violates the consensus," Abu Mazen told Palestinian security forces during a visit in the Gaza Strip, Army Radio quoted.

Those of my readers who are Marvel comics fans may recognize the name. Well, yes, there was a comic book superhero called Iron Fist. Nobody liked him, or really read the comic because, well, it sucked. I really like that I found this profile on a site called "The Second-Stringers of Marvel Comics."

Oh, this is precious: The Rand Corporation thinks the best way to join Gaza and the West Bank as a palestinian state is by high-speed rail line.

A $6 billion high-speed rail line linking the West Bank with the Gaza Strip could make a Palestinian state without contiguous borders viable, said a report released Wednesday by the Rand Corporation, a US-based think tank.

It proposes building a rail line linking, within a 90-minute ride, the major towns and cities controlled by the Palestinian Authority, such as Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and Gaza City.

The railroad, which would cross into Israeli territory but not stop in it, is essential because it will provide the backbone for a new infrastructure for the state, Rand senior analyst Steven Simon told The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview.

Hey, great idea! The Israelis can throw stuff on the tracks and "inadvertently" cause derailments, as payback for all the years of terror attacks. And blame it on the various factions.

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Mary Chapin Carpenter things: If you're an MCC fan, and want to join Ben F. and me in Northern Virginia on June 9th, let me know by May first. Tickets are $26.50 counting fees, and only lawn seats are available. So I guess that means we can all buy our own, hm?

Guest post things: Those of you who volunteered to be guest bloggers, be patient. You're all going to be needed, actually. More details as they become available.

Nightmare things: How is it that my cats woke me up half a dozen times before the nightmare, and twice after the nightmare, but they couldn't wake me up while Godzilla was searching the building trying to find me and eat me? Damned cats. No use at all. And that's the last time I drive down Route 301 and think, "Wow, that tree looks like a T-Rex in this light."

Dead animal things: I'm pretty sure some animal crawled inside the walls of my bedroom and died. It stinks to high heaven up there, and I slept on the sofa when I woke up at 5:30 this morning. To make things worse, my stomach has a rock inside it. At least, that's what it feels like.

I do believe I am going to get grumpy today.

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Today's moment of kitty zen

I was working on this earlier, Rahel, but Fireworks kept erroring out on Gracie's picture. All fixed now.

Gracie the jungle kitty

I couldn't get Tig's picture down to a decent size. In fact, the above picture is larger than I like to make it, but hey, it's a light week. So here's a thumbnail of Tig. Click on it for the full effect. I found him lying in a part of the yard he's never laid in before, and he looked beautiful in the sun.

Tig thumbnail

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Other people's blogs

Arnold Leder has a fact-filled (and link-filled) essay about the British academic boycott of Israel, well worth reading. I have to edit the essay I started last weekend and get it up, I think. Meantime, Arnold's essay says much of what I wanted to say, only with more links.

Marathon Pundit has an amazing amount of information regarding the firing of Thomas Klocek of DePaul University, for daring to tell palestinian students that most terrorists are Muslims. There are so many places to look; I hardly know where to tell you to start. So just start at the top and scroll down.

Lair Simon has a better post on why the pals are upset about the X-Ray machine at the Gaza crossing. And oh, yeah: Booyah! (Only Lair could write that one.)

Okay, I admit it. I fell for it. But I was so busy with Passover I couldn't post about it, which is a good thing. I was out for Goldstein's blood. Oh, yeah, my post would have dripped so much acid your monitor would have melted. It's a loyalty thing with me. One of these days, I'm going to write about the time my younger brother wouldn't let me beat up the kid in sixth grade who was picking on him. So I blackmailed the kid a few weeks later, when the opportunity arose. Oh, yeah. You don't mess with me or mine.

So. In an ironic twist, score one for following G-d's commands preventing me from making an ass of myself in public over a "spat" on atheism.

The embarrassment level would have been quite high. Lucky for me, I don't blush easily.

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Israel briefs

I repeat, what cease-fire? More rockets were fired at Sderot, and once again, may I point out, that Sderot is part of Israel. Abbas says it was a bunch of rebels not playing by the party line. Uh-huh.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas condemned Tuesday evenning the firing of two Qassam rockets at Sderot by Palestinian militants earlier that evening.

Speaking to reporters in Gaza Abbas disassociated the Palestinian mainstream from the attack and called on those behind it to desist.

"This is a rogue operation, the act of individuals," he said. "Such an act does not serve the Palestinian cause at all, and these operations must be stopped by all means."

Once again, we have the non-condemnation condemnation. Not, "This act is wrong." Not, "We should not be firing rockets at civilians in Israel." Instead, we get the standard this "does not serve the palestinian cause." Eff you, you Arafat clone.

On the other hand, this is good news:

The town's Qassam warning system was successfully activated in both incidents.

Oh, and there were more violations of the cease-fire, which will not be reported in the mainstream media:

On Tuesday morning, Palestinian militants fired an anti-tank missile at Israel Defence Forces troops in the Philadelphi Route, the strip of land in the Gaza Strip bordering Egypt. No soldiers were wounded in the incident.

Also Tuesday, IDF soldiers arrested three Hamas members close to Qalqilyah in the West Bank.

The three were caught with explosive devices, Israel Radio reported, and were planning to carry out an attack inside Israel.

What cease-fire? Oh, this one?

Israel Defense Forces soldiers arrested two Palestinian teenagers at the Jalameh roadblock in the West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday morning, after they were found to be in possession of explosives and weapons, Israel Radio reported.

According to the report, the two - aged 15 and 16 years - told interrogators that they had been acting as couriers for terrorists.

The radio said that the two have apparently entered northern Israel from the Jenin area on several previous occasions, each time carrying several packages.

So, what were these nice teenaged boys carrying?

The two were in possession of 12 pipe bombs and two makeshift guns, the radio said.

Where are the outraged human rights reports on using teenagers as weapons couriers? Oh, wait, never mind. The palestinians get a free pass on that.

Look out! It's those X-Ray eyes! The PA shut down the Rafah crossing on their side, denying their people egress to Egypt. The organization that brought you false reports of Israel poisoning palestinian schoolchildren now tries to get attention by claiming that Israel is trying to cause cancer. You may commence laughing now.

The Forgotten Rachels: In contrast to Alan Rickman's play about Rachel Corrie, Tom Gross discusses the Rachels killed by terrorists. You know, the people killed by the ones Corrie was attempting to "defend."

My Name Is Rachel Thaler is not the title of a play likely to be produced anytime soon in London. Thaler, aged 16, was blown up at a pizzeria in an Israeli shopping mall. She died after an 11-day struggle for life following the February 16, 2002 attack when a suicide bomber approached a crowd of teenagers and blew himself up.

She was a British citizen, born in London, where her grandparents still live. Yet I doubt that anyone at London's Royal Court Theatre, or most people in the British media, have heard of her. "Not a single British journalist has ever interviewed me or mentioned her death," her mother, Ginette, told me last week.

Yeah, Alan Rickman has gone into my "don't pay for a movie he's in" file, joining the scientology morons and Mel Gibson.

Somebody pinch me, I'm dreaming: It's in the Christian Science Monitor, and it's not reflexively anti-Israel. Read this analysis of where Abbas has gone wrong courting "militants."

Well, that's about all I can take of the news for now.

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Syria in brief

Penalty for late withdrawal: The troop withdrawal is supposedly complete, and yet, Syrian intelligence troops remain.

Syria has not withdrawn a significant part of its intelligence presence in Lebanon, undermining its claim yesterday to have ended its 29-year intervention in its western neighbor, U.S., European and U.N. officials said.

[...] U.N. member states and the Lebanese opposition have told the United Nations that Syrian military intelligence has taken up new positions "in the south of Beirut and elsewhere, and has been using headquarters of parties affiliated with the government of Syria as well as privately rented apartments for their purposes," said a report Annan made to the Security Council and released yesterday.

[...] Syrian intelligence is also deployed in Palestinian refugee camps and communities, some of which have suddenly grown larger, U.S. officials and Western diplomats said. One Palestinian community in the eastern Bekaa valley, which is tied to the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), is of particular concern, as are strategic locations inside the Lebanese border with Syria, Western envoys said. The PFLP is based in Damascus.

Syria's intelligence network has been its chief means of influencing Lebanese political and economic life for almost three decades. About 5,000 Syrian intelligence operatives were deployed in Lebanon, U.S. and European officials said.

So the Dorktator continues playing the game. And American Marines land in Israel to practice war games. Can you hear the clock ticking, Assad?

The sock-puppets have spoken, and they're speaking with a Syrian accent: Syria's installed Lebanese government has given itself a vote of confidence, so it can extend its own sock-puppet rule over Lebanon.

The legislature, whose term was set to expire May 31, approved a bill extending its term until June 20. Politicians have said the country cannot logistically hold elections in all regions in a single day, opting for staggered voting.

Mikati's government was approved by a 109-1 vote, with three lawmakers abstaining, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced after a count. The legislature has 128 members.

Before the vote, Mikati repeated his pledge to hold parliamentary elections before May 31.

Yeah, because it's so tough to hold elections on a single day in a country of less than four million, as opposed to, say, a country of 280 million like the U.S. Oh, wait. The U.S. can hold all of its elections on a single day, from school board all the way up to President. Gee, I guess it can be done—if you're not a puppet government trying to illegally hold onto your power.

And don't forget about Michael Totten, blogging from Lebanon. Here's why he says Lebanon matters.

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What truce? Once again, the non-truce actions ignored by mainstream media:

An Israeli reservist was killed when a Palestinian taxi intentionally crashed through a checkpoint north of Hebron on Monday. The driver was killed by the soldiers. Meanwhile, near Itamar in Samaria, a 13-year-old Palestinian handed over a 13-kilogram explosives belt to security forces at a checkpoint. He was handed over to security officials for questioning. Officials believe the explosives belt was to have been used in an attack in Israel.

Also Monday night, Palestinian gunmen fired a Kassam rocket and a mortar shell towards a Jewish settlement in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, Army Radio reported. No one was wounded and no damage was caused in the attack.

Kisufim crossing was closed down after Palestinian gunmen fired shots towards an IDF jeep at the site, army officials said.

This is what the major media outlets refer to as a "relative lull" in the violence. But when the IDF stops a ticking bomb, Israel is suddenly "violating the truce."

What fighting terror? The PA is not doing its job. Color me surprised. (No, not really.)

Of the 50 terrorist attacks against Israelis that were thwarted during recent months, between five and seven were stopped by the Palestinians. The rest were foiled by Israel, a senior Israel Defense Forces officer in the Central Command told Haaretz.

The officer said Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas produced results "only when all else had failed and a sword was hanging over him. There is no action against the terror organizations or the terrorist infrastructure."

Yes, because that's exactly the way his predecessor, who hand-picked him, did it. The apple didn't fall far from the tree because it's the same poisoned apple.

What truce with Egypt? They're allowing arms smuggling from the Sinai. I'm not a diplomat, but I'm pretty sure that's against the Camp David Accords.

The Israel Defense Forces will soon be deploying large numbers of troops from elite units to the area of the Egyptian border as part of a bid to deal more effectively with arms smuggling from Sinai into the territories.

A discussion this month involving Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon and senior IDF officers culminated in a decision to deploy reconnaissance battalions and a force from an elite unit in the vicinity of the border, from Rafah southward, in the direction of Eilat.

A senior military source told Haaretz that the IDF was having a tough time dealing with the smuggling in the area, estimating that huge quantities of arms were being channeled from Sinai into the West Bank.

[...] The deployment of the troops from the special units comes as part of an extensive operational and intelligence effort related also to the disengagement plan. IDF officials have identified a Palestinian attempt to boost smuggling to the West Bank, with the aim of bringing in not only assault rifles, but also arms that "tip the balance," as military sources define them - anti-tank rockets, anti-aircraft missiles, military-grade explosives and materials to manufacture Qassam rockets.

[...] The smuggling routes run from deep in Sinai to the area of the border, and from there, to the southern Negev, the Arava and the Jordan Valley. The weapons then go from the Jordan Valley and the area of the Judean Desert into the West Bank cities - Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron.

Military officials note that Bedouin citizens of Israel are also playing a part in the smuggling operations.

Nice. Another Fifth Column to worry about.

Okay. More later. There's a new Gilmore Girls episode on tape for me to watch.

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Okay, so who likes Mary Chapin Carpenter?

She's playing in the Filene Center in Vienna, VA on June 9th. I want to see her. Very much. Anyone else interested?

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Home is where the cats are

I am home. I am tired. The cats are very happy to see me, and Tig is even happier that I let him out. Five days indoors! Ohmigosh!

Gracie is currently yowling for me to come upstairs and play. I just may do that.

Sorry. I know, light content. But driving 360 miles always makes my head go blah.

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Seder snippets

Making a list, checking it a zillion times: My mother has a tendency to try to do six or eleven things at once. And there are about fifty or sixty things to be done in order to make a Passover seder, even one that's only for the immediate family. She thinks my means of organization is a wonderful thing. Here's the secret: I made a list. First I sat her down and said, "Mom, what needs to be done?" Then I wrote it down. Then I crossed it off as we did things. Then I made revised lists. Of course, half the time, I was saying, "Mom, stop. That's on the list for tomorrow. We have to do this now."

Then, of course, when various family members came early, I set them to work and took a break. No, I do not clean up the dinner table when I've spent the last two days preparing the seder and cooking the dinner. And by the way, my chicken soup was awesome this time around. It gets better every time.

In the land of the Jews, the kosher caterer is king: One of the local supermarkets was selling pre-cooked Glatt kosher chickens. We bought two on Thursday. No cooking the main dish tonight. This Passover was a major challenge for religious Jews, because you can cook on Passover, but not when it coincides with Shabbat. So there was a large market for pre-cooked Passover meals. And those of us who are not as religious benefit by proxy.

Speaking of Jews: That giant sigh of relief you heard on Thursday was mine. It's so nice to be able to find everything you need in nearly every supermarket you go. Well, except for Goodman's matzo. That's hard to find everywhere. Mom's giving me hers.

Hey, Passover food that didn't suck! Manischewitz fixed their cake recipe. The Passover cakes were good last night. I think I'm going to buy one and make it at home. And they got rid of that creepy Grandma Manischewitz character on the boxes. Man, was she a serial killer or what? I'm telling you, she was offering poisoned food to all the neighborhood kids.

It's an acquired taste: My nephew decided he'd try the wine last night. One of the Yourish Passover traditions is Manischewitz concord wine. We no longer drink grape concord. Now we drink cream concord. And yes, well, it kinda sucks. But Alex wanted to try it. We warned him he might not like it. He decided to try it anyway. I'm slightly ashamed to report that we all laughed at the expression on his face. Okay, no, not really. I'm not embarrassed. It was funny. I hope that doesn't make me a horrible aunt.

Alex decided to drink grape juice after all.

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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.