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Miscellaneous thoughts occurring to me on a holiday weekend morning between laundry loads and while procrastinating on cleaning house

So I had this dream last night where I joined the army. My basic training was to occur daily at six p.m., and I was late for the second day, and in great fear of what punishment would occur. Fortunately, I woke up before my drill instructor (who looked frighteningly like Demi Moore in a crewcut, damn AMC for having GI Jane in the listings last night!) could adminster the yelling. And whatever.

I had another dream that was doubtless brought on by my watching one of those entertainment shows last night, which was previewing the upcoming Spielberg version of The War of the Worlds. In this dream, I successfully stopped the bad guys from taking over the world, but I'm at a loss as to how I did it. I think it was becuse I joined the army.

I'm thinking I'd better keep an eye out on what I eat late at night. Then again, both of my dreams were for the most part positive

There are cute children, and then there are extremely obnoxious ones.

Tig in frog position, legs askewThis morning, I let my cats out, and they quickly ran back in, because two small children were attempting to feed the squirrels, and when the squirrels refused to come down out of the trees while the children were watching, then proceeded to yell at the squirrels for refusing to eat their food. And not in a cute way. In a selfish, demanding, "I am the lord of the universe!" kind of way, complete with "I'm going to count to three and if you don't eat this food, I'm taking it away!"

Wow, these kids are going to be some pieces of work once they grow up. They're gone now, and my cats can walk in and out as they please. Which resulted in this photo of Tig doing the frog-leg thing.

Please note that his legs are askew. Please also note that I was piddling around, minding my own business, when Tig let out several demanding yowls. Upon investigation, and laughter, I managed to get my camera before he changed positions. So this embarrasing picture is all Tig's fault. He asked for it. I did not lurk around in the back, waiting for him to lie in an embarrassing position. Tig is now in his nest, grooming himself in preparation for his first nap of the afternoon.

There's another picture somewhere of Tig in frog-leg position, but not with his legs askew. Y'know, Tig is an absolute clown. He is the funniest cat I've ever had. I have almost no pictures of Gracie looking anything less than dignified, and most of those are taken while she is grooming. I defy anyone to look dignified while washing your butt.

Now that you mention it, "askew" is a neat word. Say it out loud a few times. Go ahead.

C'mon. Say it. Three times: Askew. Askew. Askew.



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Miscellaneous thoughts on watching a C-SPAN panel this morning because I was channel-surfing because I was bored

So I'm watching what is supposed to be a panel on "Media coverage on anti-terrorism efforts," but what seems to be a major America-bashing forum, and Hussein Ibish, the Vice Chairman of the Progressive Muslim Union is, like, 450 pounds. And I'm wondering, how the hell does he kneel to the ground five times a day to pray? Even more puzzling, how the hell does he get back up? Man, it must take like six guys to get him back on his feet. (Oh, stop. My uncle struggled with his weight all his life and weighed 450 pounds when he died. I'm very much aware of the logistics behind extremely large people.)

Michael Sallah is whining about the backlash of American Arabs in 2001 and 2002, comparing it to the Japanese Americans in WWII. He says the media missed it. Uh-huh. Some backlash. Women put on headscarves and escorted Muslim women to the stores to show that Americans wouldn't stand for the kind of behavior you see in, say, Muslim nations.

Whoops, now we're bashing Jews. I mean Israel. Ken Silverstein of the LA Times said that Israeli intelligence is a tainted source. Why? Because Israel has an agenda regarding Iran or Saudi Arabia, so any intelligence from them on those nations is tainted. And now he says that our government did not have good intentions regarding the war on Iraq. Now that's patriotism.

Wow, the Al Jazeera correspondent is calling Michael Moore anti-Arab. I think we have our yardstick from which to measure this.

Michael Sallah, Toledo Blade reporter, is now complaining about book authors and the lack of "aggressive editing" in books. The mainstream media, of course, is trustworthy because editors and fact-checkers verify the information. Like Dan Rather did on the Bush National Guard papers, I suppose.

Jason Vest of the American Prospect is now the third member of this panel who is critiquing a book he has not read, each time prefaced by "Trust me" from Hussein Ibish, who supposedly has read the book. The book is the one that claims the entire Saudi oil production has been secretly mined with explosives and biological and radiological elements that would be the Saudi "Samson option" and render the oil fields unusable for generations if any outside force tries to take it over. Now, I don't pretend to know the whys and wherefores of the book, but it seems to me that if you're going to have people discuss it, at the very least, they should read it. However, HJussein Ibish picked up on the important (to his organization) fact: It's based on Israeli intelligence sources. In other words, as Frank J says: It's the jooooos!

Every single member of the panel that he queried about the book they had not read still managed, in spite of saying how uncomfortable they were discussing a book they had not read, to slam the book, the author, and the source.

Okay, now they're going to discuss that the whole terrorism thing is the current bogeyman, Al Qaeda isn't really a terrorist organization (in that it's not organized), blahblahblahblahblah. Okay, so if we're exaggerating terrorism, how is it that things keep blowing up and people keep getting arrested for plotting to blow things up?

I think I'll go eat breakfast now.

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In the news

Look out! It's a fake trap! The CIA is wrapping up Internet war games. Here's how they did it:

The CIA's little-known Information Operations Center, which evaluates threats to U.S. computer systems from foreign governments, criminal organizations and hackers, was running the war game. About 75 people, mostly from the CIA, gathered in conference rooms and reacted to signs of mock computer attacks.

Ahem. How hard would it have been to set up a closed network specifically to be attacked? They could have actually gotten some hands-on experience instead of just sitting around choosing one from column A and one from column B. Gee, I feel safer, how 'bout you?

Moonbat Mahathir: Still crazy after all these years: Mahathir sat down with a Guardian reporter, who was struck by how, well, refined the moonbat was:

On his balcony overlooking the tower blocks, mosques, bridges and artificial lakes of Putrajaya, Malaysia's new administrative capital which he created in the 1990s, Mr Mahathir, 79, cuts a slight, almost self-effacing figure. His personal manner is reserved and courteous to a fault.

So let's check out that courtesy, shall we?

Asked whether he regretted his statement that "Jews rule the world by proxy", which caused an international furore in 2003, Mr Mahathir said he took nothing back.

"US politicians are scared stiff of the Jews because anybody who votes against the Jews will lose elections. The Jews in America are supporting the Jews in Israel. Israel and other Jews control the most powerful nation in the world. And that is what I mean [about Jews controlling the world]. I stand by that view."

Get the feeling if the interviewer had been a Jew, Moonbat would not have been so courteous?

Unreported escalation in violence: You won't find this in the mainstream media:

An Israeli Defense Forces armored vehicle hit on Friday a roadside bomb near the workers gate at the Erez border crossing in the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported. There were no casualties in the incident.

Security sources told Israel Radio that the roadside bomb is an escalation in Palestinian terror and that it was planted in an area under Palestinian police control.

But let the IDF kill a terrorist who's coming at their soldiers with a knife, and it's all over the world news as an Israeli "escalation in violence." Jewish Double Standard Time, as usual.

Bizarro World: In a Saudi Arabian newspaper, a columnist asks this question:

"…The extent of tremendous hatred of the Jews is baffling. Therefore we ask, 'Why do we hate the Jews?'

"The immediate answer will be: 'No, we don't hate the Jews, we hate the Zionists.' [But] this is nonsense. We don't hear [preachers saying in their sermons,] 'Oh Allah, destroy the Zionists, the Zionist enterprise, the offspring of Herzl, and the Basel plan.' Is our current hatred of the Jews the result of the political situation in general and the Palestinian problem in particular? This is a pivotal and important question, and must be answered honestly.

One has to wonder if the columnist will be forced to go into hiding for daring to suggest such a thing. Hat tip: Doug L.

A vegetable is about to be planted: Looks like King Fahd is on his way out. Unless they decide that he "recovers" and they keep him alive the way they kept Arafat alive. Either way, it's going to be tuna for the kitties soon.

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Writing things: You may have noticed that my writing seems to be returning. Of course, now that I'm back in the workaday world, I'm suffering from the old "Got a great idea but can't stop working to write it!" routine. In fact, I have a Star Wars humor piece that may or may not be posted on this blog. Depends whether or not I sell it first. And may I say: Yay me. (Humble? Me? Never.) Of course, it's making me want to do more posts like the one below and fewer cut-and-paste news roundups. But it's also making me work on essays in my head. I do believe I'm going to have one on the AUT and/or Amnesty thing in a few days.

Ear things: Y'know, Doc, if you think that listening to the sound of blood flowing through your carotid artery is completely harmless, why don't you figure out a way to block your own ear so you can hear the sound of your blood flowing through your carotid artery and see how fast it drives you crazy? All I can say is, it's a good thing it was temporary, because it was driving me nuts. It's like someone standing next to you going "WHOOOOOOO" in your ear the whole time. But there's no one you can smack to make it stop.

Okay, maybe you can smack someone who may or may not deserve it (Doc), but it won't make it stop.

Thankfully, mine stopped. Phew.

Squirrels: The new woodpeckers: I'm telling you, there is a squirrel running around outside with a bullseye on his furry little back. Sorena got an air rifle for Christmas; I'm sure she'd let me borrow it.

I went food shopping after work, and bought some fridge packs of Coke (five for ten dollars! Woo-hoo!). So I had to make two trips from my car to the apartment. I left the gate to my Jeep open. I come back, and there's an effing squirrel on my spare tire on the back of my gate. I chase him off, then he tries to get inside my apartment, because I left the door open because I'd be walking inside with arms full of fridge packs. So I chased him out of there, and he ran up a tree. I watched him for a minute or two, because if he went on the roof I was going to have proof that he's the one inside my wall.

I'm gonna catch that little bastard. Or have him taken out. Just wait and see.

Language things: Would one of my British readers kindly explain to me what a "stitch-up" means?

Babysitting things: I was watching three of the four G.'s last weekend, and towards the end of the evening, we were all getting a bit crabby because Sarah was late coming back from a party and we were hungry and unfed, so I hypnotized the kids by showing them trailers for movies like the Fantastic Four. Apparently Max has that annoying habit of constantly asking "What's happening? What's that? Why he do that?" during a film. I will not be going to the movies with him until he grows out of that. I saw the FF trailer about half a dozen times. I liked it a lot better when I saw it during Revenge of the Sith. Looking forward to it, though I wish they'd used the Thing with the sharp contours. I don't like Lumpy Thing. Gee, I could have subtitled this one Thing things. Maybe next time.

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The Lost season finale summary: Don't read it. You'll be sorry....

Well, at least until I get bored and do another one. Oh, and by the way, consider this the Good Parts Version, all you Princess Bride fans. And if you haven't seen the episode, you'd better stop reading this until you have.

[On the raft: The boys are on the raft. Suddenly in the background, we hear some eerie music. But there are words, too: "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship."]
Michael: Sawyer, will you shut up? God, dude, we're gonna be at sea for a long time, and you have to start out being annoying from the get-go?
Sawyer: Hey, do you like my new hairdo? I tied it myself.
Walt: Sayid's hair is prettier.
Jin: For this, I left my wife? Oy!
[Meryl: Hey! Korean, not Jewish! Hey!]
Walt: Dad, I just wanted to say—
Michael: Sorry, Walt, time to cut to a commercial. Hold it for the next scene.

[On the beach: Claire is frantically trying to get her baby on. Shannon is trying to pack her stuff and Boone's, but Boone's not there to insult her and help her carry the bag anyway. So Sayid does it.]
Shannon: Sayid, I just want to say—
Sayid: Later, Shannon. We have to cut to a commercial.

[In the jungle: Crazy French Chick (a.k.a. Delenn) leads the guys (and Kate! Don't forget about Kate!) to the Black Rock, which turns out to be a brown ship. With skeletons and chains in it. Oh, and really old, crappy dynamite. Arnst spends his time making the entire audience say, "So when's this redshirt going to blow up already, huh? Huh? C'mon, guys, blow him up! Blow him up!"]
Arnst: Y'know, don't think I don't know there's a clique on this island, and I'm not in it.
Hurley: Dude, that's because you're not cool.
Arnst: What? I'm a high school science teacher! Chicks really dig high school science teachers!
Hurley: Dude, you're not married.
Arnst: Uh—oh, hey, we have to cut to a commercial.
Hurley: No we don't, dude. You're just a bit player, only the regulars get to say that.
Crazy French Chick: I've led you to the dynamite. Have fun storming the castle. I'm going back to the beach to steal the baby.
Locke: Did she just say she was going to steal the baby?
Jack: I don't know. It's time to cut to a commercial.

[On the beach]
Crazy French Chick: Charlie, I need Sayid! Hurry!
Charlie: Hey, he's spoken for. Talk to Claire.
Crazy French Chick: It's an emergency. I need him to help me make my hair more manageable.
Charlie: Oh, in that case, I'll be right back. [Runs]
Crazy French Chick: [to Claire] Can I hold the baby?
Claire: No! You're a crazy French chick and you have a gun.
Crazy French Chick: The better to head-butt you with. Thanks, I'll take the kid.
[Later] Charlie: Claire! Who took the baby? Was it crazy French Chick?
Claire: Oh, aren't you the brilliant one now!
Sayid: I'll get the baby back.
Charlie: No, I'll get the baby back.
Claire: No, I'll get the baby back!
Audience: Oh, go get the baby back already. Geez. Cut to commercial!

[On the raft]
Michael: Jin, who made you this cool Korean-English dictionary?
Jin: Gee, there's only one other person on the island who can speak Korean, who do you think wrote it, schmuck?
Michael: I'm sorry, I don't speak Korean. I didn't catch that.
Jin: Starboard. Port. Aft.
Michael: Cool. I wish she'd made me one of these things.
Audience: Hey, moron! Ever hear of speaking a word, pointing to what it means, and repeating it? You can teach each other! Geez! Cut to commercial!
Sawyer: No, we can't cut to commercial yet. I haven't taken my shirt off.
Audience: You haven't been working out as much as you need to, either. Jack is hotter.
Sawyer: Damn. Cut to commercial.

[In the Black Rock]
Locke: This must have been a slave ship.
Kate: What gave it away, Sherlock? Was it the rows and rows of chains and skeletons in the hold?
Jack: Hey, I think I see the dynamite.
Kate: Cool! Let me pry open the top and see if I can cause an explosion.
Locke: Don't be ridiculous. We're all regulars. Nobody but the contract players are going to get blown up today.
Arnst: [From outside] I heard that! Right he-eere!
Hurley: [From outside] Well, dude, he's right. Do we really need to have the scene where you stupidly wave a stick of dynamite around and get blown up, or can we just stipulate as to the matter and move on?
Arnst: Well, I get to tell Kate to take her shirt off.
Hurley: Dude, Kate would take her shirt off if the dog barked at her to do it.
Arnst: Damn. Cut to commercial.
Hurley: Dude, you can't say it. Bit player, remember? I have to say it. Cut to commercial.

[On the raft]
Michael: Hey, we hit a log and our rudder broke!
Audience: Yeah, you're fifteen miles offshore and you hit a log. Like we don't know what's gonna happen next.
[Sawyer takes off his shirt, dives into ocean, grabs the rudder, nearly drowns. But don't worry ladies, he doesn't. He's a regular, not a day player.]

[In the jungle]
Sayid: Charlie, you got knocked in the head with a rock and you're bleeding too much. You have to go back.
Charlie: I don't get it. I'm bleeding too much to keep up with you, but not too much to pass out from loss of blood if I try to go back to the beach?
Sayid: Good point. Okay, stay here and pass out from loss of blood.
Charlie: Wait a minute! No! You were a soldier. How do you treat wounds like this on the battlefield?
Sayid: We call for a medic.
Charlie: Funny.
Sayid: Okay, then I'm going to pour gunpowder into the wound and light it.
Charlie: MEDIC! MEDIC!!

Meryl: Okay, now I'm bored. Let's flash-forward.

[At the cave] Charlie: Here's your baby, Claire.
Claire: Hey, what's with the Madonna statue?
Charlie: Whoops! Here, you take the baby, I'll take the heroi—er, statue.
[Sayid stands underneath the waterfall in the most effeminate pose ever by a straight man (portraying a straight man) on television.He tosses his head.]
Shannon: Sayid, I'm not sure I want to date you anymore. You're kinda creeping me out.
Audience: Excuse me, but who slept with her brother?
Shannon: STEP-brother. Not related!
Audience: EW! EW! EW!
Sayid: [Blinks eyes at Shannon]
Shannon: Okay, when you put it that way. But no more tossing your hair. It makes you look sexier than me.

[On the raft]
Sawyer: We're rescued! Hurray!
Ugly guy on boat: Nope. We only want the kid.
Other ugly guys on boat: [Looking mean and stupid]
Walt: Dad! Help!
Michael: Hey! Howcome you had some kind of special prescience about the hatch but not about this pirate crew?
Walt: I have special knowledge now. But we have to cut to commercial, so I can't tell you what it is.
Jin: I can tell you. Phew, they smell. Haven't bathed in months, I think. Oh, by the way, duck! They're throwing a bomb!
[Raft blows up, Walt's taken by Ugly Guys On Boat, everyone else is in the water.]

[At the hatch: BOOM!] [It blowed up real good] [Locke and Jack move the hatch and look down]
Jack: Wow, that is one deep hole.
Locke: Yep.
Kate: So, like, this is what Boone died for?
Locke: Yep.
Jack: Y'know, one of us has to go down there.
Hurley: Cut to commercial, dude. Oh, darn. Season's over. No time to climb down that hole.

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British media bias watch

The BBC report on Amnesty International's latest release is a superb example of the bias against Israel in the British (and other) media.

The BBC article is titled "Amnesty slams Israel 'war crimes'," though it pretends to balance things out by mentioning other nations towards the end. Oh, and it mentions the palestinians once or twice.

Let's take a look at this mathematically. The Amnesty report is on human rights abuses and covers 149 countries, including some pretty awful human rights abusers like China, Iran, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and many more. A quick look around the BBC website turns up zero articles defining North Korea's human rights violations. You won't find one on Saudi Arabia, either. However, a bit more searching on the BBC site and you can find another article detailing America's so-called human rights abuses.

Let's use a bit more math. There are twenty paragraphs in the Israel article. Twelve paragraphs deal with Israel's alleged violations. Only one paragraph mentions the palestinians suicide bombings and mortar attacks. There is another that compares palestinian sucide bombs with Israel settler "violence:"

It also condemns the killing of Israeli civilians by Palestinian militants and violence by Jewish settlers.

This is the only place in the article where the BBC manages to bitchslap the terrorists, but not without first going after Israel:

"Certain abuses committed by the Israeli army constituted crimes against humanity and war crimes," Amnesty's report says.

"The deliberate targeting of civilians by Palestinian armed groups constituted crimes against humanity," it adds.

The article then expends all of six paragraphs—at the end—to cover the rest of the Middle East. I couldn't find a single BBC article on the human rights violators in Asia, Africa, or South America.

I guess it's far more important to slam Israel than, say, the Congo. Or Sudan. Because after all, Israel and the U.S. are well-known as the worst human rights abusers in the world.

Oh, wait. My bad. No they're not.

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Job things: So I have another temp job at a company I'm trying to get hired full-time by (and oh, wasn't that a sentence structure my English teacher would kill me for), and once again, I am proving that I work too fast for my own damned good. It's supposed to be a three-week temp position, and I think I've just reduced the time needed to do the job by some fifty percent. Look, I try to slow myself down, but then I only make myself about one and a half times faster than the average worker.


Cat things: Tig scared the crap out of me a few nights ago by not coming home for some three hours. I finally gave up and went to bed while he was still outside. About 2:30 a.m., I woke up, went downstairs, and he was meowing pitifully at the patio door. He really hates being locked out. The next day, he barely moved off the patio. I'd like to say he learned his lesson, but I know he's going to do this to me again. Meantime, Gracie would love to be an only cat. Every time he disappears, she takes his spot on the bed.

TV things: Wow, the last line in the season finale of the Gilmore Girls episode got me to swear and laugh out loud. "Holy [bleep]!" I said. Not what I expected. In fact, nothing that happened in the finale was expected. Perhaps if Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino had been consulted by George Lucas, we would have gotten better dialogue than, "Hold me like you did beside the lake at Naboo." (I'm sorry, that's making me laugh out loud again. And not just because Naboo is a word you have to laugh at.)

I hear those of you who time-shift the Gilmore Girls with a Tivo didn't get the last line. Well, I tape the old-fashioned way, and I tape an extra five minutes. I got it. HA-ha.

Underthings: Well, no, I'm not really going to discuss them. I just thought this would make a great addition to the "things" theme.

Ear things: Y'know, something happened yesterday that has made my right ear's tinnitus worse than ever. In fact, I'm getting more and more sure that there's some extra fluid thing going on in there, as I'm having terrible allergic reactions to this horrid excess amount of pollen in the Virginia spring. Never been allergic to pollen in my life, but this year, I'm feeling it. I tried jumping up and down, yawning, various head shakes, and nothing. I know there's something going on, though, because there are angles that make the roaring disappear. Temporarily.

I sure hope this isn't related to that thing that Lair wrote about a month or so ago, which inspired one of his readers to warn him that roaring in the ears can be fatal if left untreated. No, I don't think I'm exaggerating. I was kind enough not to comment then, but I can't stop thinking about it now.

Listen, if I die of something related to the roaring in my right ear, would you kindly think of an epitaph on my tombstone that will not cause people to collapse in hysterical giggles?

Not only that, but the damned noise is making it hard to go to sleep. I had to turn on the white noise machine last night so I wouldn't hear the roaring. Instead, I heard a thunderstorm. While it was raining outside. Yes, that's right—it was raining outside, and I had my Brookstone White Noise machine tuned to the Thunderstorm channel. I think tonight, I'll do the Ocean Waves. That ought to drown out the roaring in my ear.

Oh. I wrote this in that time-machine thing again. It's getting posted before I go to work, but I'm writing it last night so I can go out and get gas tomorrow morning.

Well, it makes sense to me.

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Arutz Sheva has some examples of anti-Semitic cartoons that appear in official PA newspapers.

Then there's this charming piece:

A Palestinian teachers union has called for the dismissal of Al-Quds University President Sari Nussaiba for "normalising ties with Israel" and "serving Israeli propaganda interests".


A statement by the Palestinian Union of University Teachers and Employees (PUUTE), published on the front page of the Ram Allah-based daily Al-Ayyam, on Monday accused Nussaiba of "normalising relations with the Sharon government" despite the Israeli prime minister's policy of "bullying the Palestinians and stealing their land".

"This constitutes a strong blow to the Palestinian national consensus against normalisation with Israel," said the statement.

Sari Nusseiba, by the way, is generally considered a palestinian "moderate." Guess normalization with Israel isn't exactly what the pals want, hey?

You know what his real crime is, though:

Two years ago, he and a former head of the domestic Israeli intelligence service, the Shin Bet, signed in Switzerland the so-called Geneva initiative, which stipulated that Israel had the right to be an exclusive Jewish state.

Right. The three no's rear their ugly head once more, only this time, the pals are being a bit more subtle about it.

I am really, really, really hoping that it's true Zarqawi was injured. I hope he's in great pain, and dying. No, I hope he's dead. Yeah. That's about it. Tuna for terrorists if he buys the farm.

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The Syrian sock-puppet speaks

Syrian sock-puppet and pretend president of Lebanon Emile Lahoud is mouthing his Syrian masters' wishes:

BEIRUT - On the eve of the fifth anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, President Emile Lahoud yesterday vowed to recover a disputed border area and said the conflict with Israel would continue until there was peace in the Middle East.

"Lebanon has been the only Arab country ever to drive Israeli occupation forces out of its territory and the only Arab country to regain its legitimate territorial rights without making any compromise or concessions," Lahoud said in a statement.

The United Nations declared Israel to be in compliance with the demand for withdrawal, and has said that Lebanon's claim to the Shebaa Farms area is invalid. But why should that stop them? It's Jewish Double Standard Time, as usual.

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Muslim ERA Watch

We haven't done this in a while. The World Economic Forum, which is that strange group that brings us Davos every year (this year made famous for causing the loss of a CNN executive after he refused to give up the transcripts of his speech about how evil the American military is), rated 58 countries on how they treat women. They have declared a "Gender Gap" list. I am inclined to look at this list with a bit of doubt, but hey, let's see who ends up on the bottom.

49: Venezuela
50: Greece
51: Brazil
52: Mexico
53: India
54: South Korea
55: Jordan
56: Pakistan
57: Turkey
58: Egypt

Why, look at that. The four lousiest countries to be female are all predominantly Muslim. What are the odds? But hey, let's keep on hearing from Muslims how Islam is a religion that values its women.

Oh. Israel was number 37 on the list, but I'm thinking there was more than a bit of bias putting her that far down.

Saudi Arabia wasn't on the list. But I'm betting they'd end up dead last:

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's appointed consultative council has shelved a proposal by one of its members to lift the ban on women's driving in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom, newspapers reported Monday.

And regarding Kuwait granting women the right to vote and hold office: There's a huge catch:

KUWAIT CITY -- Parliament extended political rights to Kuwaiti women yesterday, but religious fundamentalists who opposed women's suffrage succeeded in attaching a clause requiring future female politicians and voters to abide by Islamic law.

It was not clear whether that meant a strict dress code or just separate polling stations and election campaigns.

Uh-huh. Not clear. Just give them a chance, and they'll clear it up for us. And it won't be in women's favor, either.

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Revenge of the Sith, briefly

Well, Heidi and I saw the latest Star Wars episode last night.

It sucked.

It really sucked. Oh, the special effects and battle scenes were awesome. But as usual, the plot was stupid, and the dialogue was horrendous. Worse than usual, actually.

"I could write this dialogue," she said.

"Sorena could have written this dialogue," I replied. (Sorena is her ten-year-old daughter.)

I understand that Star Wars has crappy dialogue and lousy acting. But usually it's only partly crappy dialogue, not all crappy dialogue.

I think Peter Jackson proved that you can have a film series that has epic battles, amazing special effects, a plain good vs. evil theme, and still have great acting and dialogue. The thing is, you need to start with a good writer.

Which Lucas isn't.

More later. I'm sure I've jump-started the Star Wars geeks who read this blog, but hey—I don't think having a decent script is too much to ask in a film. Heidi and I were laughing at nearly all of the spoken lines. Quietly. We didn't want to ruin the movie for the people around us, but the six p.m. showing was pretty sparsely populated.

I don't think I'll be paying to see this one twice.

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Short-timing it

Off to work at a real job for a few weeks. Then I'm going to see Star Wars tonight. I'll be back, as someone once said.

Meantime, about time: Sharon says there must be real, uh, peace, before he'll start peace talks.

More on the AUT boycott.

A U.S. Senator tells the Muslims to concentrate on their responsibility for their problems before insisting it's Israel's fault.

The NUS is launching an inquiry into anti-Semitism charges that caused Jewish officers to resign.

And Condi Rice is going after Syria again. Hm.

Wow, a Protestant who thinks boycotting Israel is unproductive!

Right. Off to work.

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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.