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Saturday morning miscellany

Otherwheres: Harrison's been bloggin' for a whole year. So In dog years, he's been blogging for seven. And he thinks Tinkerbell is a silly name for a Great Dane, too. (Harrison, it was chosen by an eleven-year-old girl. I named one of my cats "Fluffball" when I was eleven. Can you tell she was a longhair?) As for the Dandylion thing, well, y'know, let it go, Harrison. Let it go. Not all cats are evil. Although yeah, Tig would think that ducklings are cat toys. He found a starling chick that had fallen out of its nest and brought it home to me. (Then again, the thing was going to die no matter what. It could barely move, and had no feathers. Couldn't find a nest to put it back into.)Pileated woodpecker pecking for bugs

The Modulator has the Friday Ark up, of course.

Spit-monitor warning: Scott's got the best ones.

Lair Simon's Frisky University. Perhaps I should send Tig. Gracie's already too smart.

All right, this one is funny. Via brother Eric.

Hubris has part X of Roadhouse Revisited up. And I forgot to tell you about part IX. They're both pretty funny. Almost makes me want to actually view the movie. Almost.

Gratuitous Rahel link: Because I just want to send some traffic her way.

Reminder to send CB to Israel link: Don't forget, for twelve bucks, you get a nice bracelet with the Star of David on it, and you help Celestial Blue get the bucks together to spend five months in Israel. She's past the break-even point and is starting to make the money. Go, buy, give the bracelets out as gifts to the little jewishes (as my Director of Education likes to call them). They'll make great gifts for the kids, and nobody at school will have one.

Birds, birds, birds: Apparently, getting up early on a Saturday morning after two days of rain have stopped means you get to experience the different bird varieties here. I saw a flock of starlings, a male and female robin trying to drive them out of their territory, and a pileated woodpecker going for bugs. Got a picture of him, but it's not the greatest. I need a camera with a better zoom. Maybe by the time my birthday rolls around. And no, he definitely isn't Woody. Phew.

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News briefs

Caught the bastards: The IDF got their would-be twin suicide bombers. I'm sure the PA will demand their release with the next group of prisoners let go.

Syria is gunning for someone: They just tested three SCUD missiles over Turkey. Funny, I'm not seeing Turkey running to the U.N. over the violation of their airspace, nor am I hearing Kofi Annan lecturing Syria not to overfly a neighboring nation. Oh, wait, that's right. It wasn't Jews who tested the missiles. Israel Double Standard Time. My bad.

TEL AVIV, June 2 - Syria test-fired three Scud missiles last Friday, including one that broke up over Turkish territory and showered missile parts down onto unsuspecting Turkish farmers, Israeli military officials revealed Thursday.

These were the first such Syrian missile tests since 2001, the Israelis said, and were part of a Syrian missile development project using North Korean technology and designed, the Israelis contend, to deliver air-burst chemical weapons. The missiles included one older Scud B, with a range of about 185 miles, and two Scud D's, the Israelis say they believe, with a range of about 435 miles.

Little was especially startling about the tests, Israeli officials said, except the embarrassment to Turkey - a member of NATO - and the timing, during the Lebanese elections.

Then again, maybe it's Syria's bad. Axis of evil and all that. No. Couldn't be.

The Israeli military officials said they interpreted the launchings as a gesture of defiance to the United States and the United Nations by the Syrian president, Bashir al-Assad, who has been pushed in a humiliating fashion to remove Syrian troops from Lebanon since the assassination of the anti-Syrian politician, Rafik Hariri.

"This is really putting your fingers in the eyes of the Americans, saying, 'I'm not dancing to your flute,' " a senior Israeli military official said. "The tests are probably needed for the missile project, but this is Bashir taking a risk here and sending a message."

Okay, let's see. If it comes to a fight between Syria and the U.S., I pick—um—gee, tough choice—shyeah. Uncle Sam all the way.

I thought there were no WMDs in Iraq: Make up your minds, willya? Are there or aren't there?

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - U.N. satellite imagery experts have determined that material that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons and banned long-range missiles has been removed from 109 sites in Iraq, U.N. weapons inspectors said in a report obtained Thursday.

U.N. inspectors have been blocked from returning to Iraq since the U.S.-led war in 2003 so they have been using satellite photos to see what happened to the sites that were subject to U.N. monitoring because their equipment had both civilian and military uses.

In the report to the U.N. Security Council, acting chief weapons inspector Demetrius Perricos said he's reached no conclusions about who removed the items or where they went. He said it could have been moved elsewhere in Iraq, sold as scrap, melted down or purchased.

He said the missing material can be used for legitimate purposes. "However, they can also be utilized for prohibited purposes if in a good state of repair."

He said imagery analysts have identified 109 sites that have been emptied of equipment to varying degrees, up from 90 reported in March.

Right. No WMDs. And yet, the UN says that materials taken from Iraq could be used to make, gee, WMDs. Can we say, I hate the media? I knew we could.

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Thursday Miscellany

I keep the aluminum foil in a drawer with various other wraps. I take it out and use it. I put it back. I close the drawer. The top pops up and blocks the drawer. I push the top down and close the drawer. Next time I need to open the drawer, same thing happens. I do this over and over again. Today, for some reason, my brain clicked on a solution. I put the tin foil in sideways. The top opens and doesn't block the drawer.

I have no idea why it took me so many times to figure that out.

Sometimes, I have no common sense at all.

I found the cats CD that I made for Lynn. Because I couldn't find the one I made for her, I simply made another copy and sent it off. See, she's cat-crazy and her guy is allergic, so instead of saving all my Tig and Gracie pictures off the website, I thought I'd go through my collection of pictures and burn a CD. Wow, I had a lot of pictures to send her. So now I have another cat CD. I'm thinking of making up a contest, but you guys aren't very big on contests. So who wants it, and why do you want it? (I'm betting Rahel jumps all over this one. I guess I'd better figure out the postage to Israel.) You can put it in the comments or you can send me email.

We're kick-starting the Neighborhood Watch that we started last year. I checked out the crime statistics in my neighborhood. In spite of my hearing gunshots on a regular basis, crime is down by 24%. Now if only we can stop the little shits who think firing off automatic weapons is a fun way to spend a Saturday night. Get firecrackers like I did, you little pishers.

I'm going to use that reduced crime statistic to get a discount on my rent. Margo and I, we are the Neighborhood Watch for my apartment complex. We organized it, we make sure things get done, and we're the only ones who started last year who are still doing it. Time to let management know that not raising our rent isn't good enough. They're getting the good PR through our efforts. Payback time.

Ya know, call me a cynic, but I don't believe that the "sneakemail" domain is being used to defeat spam. Why do I disbelieve this? Because every single letter I've gotten has been unsigned blog spam. "News" events. "Read this!" breathless commentary. Yeah, read this [gesture]. (Old BBS phrase I learned from a teenager.)

Sneakemail is now in my spam filters. If you have something to say to me, use a real email address, or stick it in your ear. Or somewhere else less pleasant.

I totally want a picture of this billboard. Any of my NJ readers know of one?

I have been extended at my temp job. Turns out they need me to do what I'm doing for the whole nine yards, not just the two or three they thought they needed. Today, I managed to make my boss think that I am the Best. Temp. Ever. Finished in one day what she thought would take me two.

I told you I'm fast. The good news is, there's enough to do that even I can't finish it before the end of June. Which is good news for my ability to pay the bills. Plus, by that time, I'm hoping to have moved from Temp to Employee of Really Good Company Only Twenty Minutes Away.

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Out out, damned terrorists.

Reuters gives Nasrallah a tongue-bath

An Arab call for change in Saudi Arabia

An Arab call for change in Syria

A PA refusal to change corruption

Suck it up, Muslims

Israel in NATO? Say, did we move the North Atlantic?

And I need to get to work.

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Puppy pictures

If this picture looks familiar, it's because of, well, y'know, that circle thing.

Tinkerbell stealing my sneaker

It's pretty amazing. She's in almost the exact pose Worf was when he stole my shirt. You should see it in all its 2048x1536 glory. She's a cutie, the Dane with the silly name. (Tinkerbell. I think they should just call her Belle, because she is gorgeous.) She's also twice as big as she was a couple of weeks ago.

And she's not housebroken yet. Not by a long shot. She took herself out to pee while I was there, and then five minutes later, squatted on the rug. Yep. This one has a way to go.

So glad she's not mine.

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What cease-fire?

Five Islamic Jihad terrorists were arrested before they could pull off a double suicide bombing in Jerusalem tomorrow.

I should like to point out, once again, that Jerusalem is on the Israeli side of the Green Line, which is now being referred to as the 1949 Armistice Line.

A double suicide bombing planned to take place in Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood Thursday morning was foiled recently by the Shin Bet security service, the Israel Defense Forces and the Jerusalem District Police.

Five Islamic Jihad activists have been arrested in connection with the affair; security forces also have seized the two explosive devices that were to be used in the attack. The two would-be suicide bombers have yet to be apprehended.

The Islamic Jihad network from the Tul Karm and Jenin areas is said to be behind the planned attack. The same network was responsible for the February suicide bombing at the Stage nightclub in Tel Aviv that left five Israelis dead.

[...] Security forces made their first arrest in connection with the affair Monday, apprehending Bethlehem resident Iad Fuajara, 27. He was arrested on his way back to Bethlehem from Ramallah, where he had met with another activist in the network, Mohammed Radad, 24, from the village of Tseida, near Tul Karm.

Fuajara told his interrogators that a few days earlier, he had been recruited by fellow Bethlehem resident Hamza Brijia with the intention of taking charge of the suicide bombers. Brijia was released from administrative detention in late February, and since has served as head of the Islamic Jihad network in Bethlehem.

Fuajara added that the two suicide bombers were set to detonate their explosive devices in Ramot simultaneously - on a bus, in a coffee bar or in a synagogue. He said he had met up with the two men, who were in possession of the explosive devices, at a mosque in the Shuafat refugee camp, in northern Jerusalem. He had tried on two occasions to get them into Jerusalem, but was unable to bypass the roadblocks, he recounted.

He then hid the two explosive devices near Beit Hanina, and the two would-be bombers returned to Tul Karm. Fuajara met again with Radad last week, receiving money and instructions from the Islamic Jihad man.

Gee, ya think this will be on AP or Reuters? No? Me neither. I found it in The Age of Australia, but nowhere else. I won't hold my breath.

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The fruits of peace with Arab nations

It's so good that Egypt and Israel made that peace treaty. Like, they can be good neighbors now, right?


Egypt blocks prominent playwright from entering Israel to receive honors

Egypt has blocked Egyptian playwright and satirist Ali Salem from entering Israel to receive an honorary doctorate Wednesday from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Salem, considered one of Egypt's most prominent contemporary playwrights, thanked the university for the honor and apologized for not being able to attend the ceremony.

[...] Since the Oslo Accords, Salem has braved criticism for publicly preaching peace and normalization of ties with Israel.


Israel should not expect Egypt to prevent any terrorist attacks that may emanate from the Gaza Strip after Israel's withdrawal, Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Assef Ibrahim said Monday.

"Don't expect Egypt to be your policeman in Gaza," he told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview in his Tel Aviv office. "Egypt will not play this role. This is basically an Israeli problem and an Israeli question [which] you have to solve yourselves."

Israel, however, could expect better control of smuggling across the border were Egypt allowed to station more troops, Ibrahim said.

How kind of them to say they're going to make people obey the laws . Except they're already not doing it.

Israeli military personnel stationed here told WND yesterday the weapons flow continues, with tacit support from the Egyptians.

"We have not seen the Egyptians lift a finger to stop the tunnels and the arms smuggling, which is happening regularly," said an Israeli Defense Forces officer stationed at the Egypt-Gaza border who asked that his name be withheld. "If Israel doesn't work to stop the Palestinians from bringing in weapons, no one is going to do it."

Then there's this:

NEW YORK - Egypt is demanding that a conference of members of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty issue a summary statement urging treaty members to take operative steps to compel Israel to permit international supervision of its nuclear program.

However, it vehemently opposes any mention of Iran's nuclear program in the summary document, sources involved with the conference said. They said Egypt is insisting that the document focus solely on Israel's nuclear program, in order to isolate Israel diplomatically and bar it from scientific ties with other countries in the field of nuclear research.

Egyptian representatives, they added, told other conference delegates recently that "there won't be a summary statement" if it does not include explicit steps against Israel.

Yes, it's a good thing that Egypt and Israel are friends now. God only knows what Egypt would be like as an enemy.

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Other people's words


Blood pressure alert. Read at your own risk.

This is why Lair has the horrible reputation that he has. Go ahead, read it, and tell me you didn't laugh. I won't believe you.

Michael Ledeen says Bush is straying from the War on Terror. Gee, I think he may have a point, what with Bush referring to the 1949 Armistice Lines. Talk about your steps backwards.

As always, Judith has tons of great reading at Kesher Talk. The Muslims Against Terror rally. Ariel Sharon in NYC.

Via Judith, Are you a literature abuser? (Full disclosure: Yes, I am.)

That ought to keep you busy for a while.

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Send a blogger to Israel

Celestial Blue is selling bracelets to sponsor her trip to Israel. She needs to sell a whole bunch of 'em, but it's for a very good cause. I've been linking to her for ages, and I'd appreciate it if you helped her out. The bracelets are beautiful (CB is modeling them in the above post), and CB's kinda cute, too. Help her out, folks. I haven't asked you for tzedaka (charity) in a while. This fits.

Wow, five months in Israel. I'm jealous.

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Laying the rumors to rest

Matt 's getting so desperate for links (and obviously has far too much free time on his hands) that he's gone and searched through Silent Running to find every post related to tales of my and Wind Rider's adventures, and is using them to conclude that there is something other than friendship going on between us.

Geez, Matt. You really need to get a hobby.

And, uh, dude—it was a Tolkien marathon. Get your geekness on right, willya?

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Introducing Politically Incorrect Surfer Dude

So, like, I was watching this thing on TV, like, the news, I think, and some chick was whining about how there are all these poor people who want to come to America but like, there aren't enough jobs and stuff, and I was like, whoa! Don't talk about jobs before I've had my morning latte, okay? And the chick was like, "blahblahblah, Americans are rich and lucky and they should share their stuff with, like, people who aren't," and so, like, I figured out what to do.

You know how there are all these environmental dudes who say that we shouldn't put chemicals on food, because it's like, bad for you, and there was this thing out just the other day that said it was even worse for dudes, that there was some chemical that causes our packages to, uh, not develop so well (not mine, dudes, don't even go there), so, like, here's my idea: Instead of using chemicals on plants, why not hire all those poor immigrants to, like, stand around in the fields all day and wave the bugs off vegetables and stuff?

Anyway, like, that's my idea, and like, I'm gonna write a paper for biology class, no, wait, probably chemistry class, and like, see if I can get a grade out of all this, too.

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Credit where it is due dept.

I didn't see anyone mention this editorial from Thursday's Washington Post about the latest Amnesty International report. (Of course, that may be because I was busy last week.) But it's worth mentioning now.

IT'S ALWAYS SAD when a solid, trustworthy institution loses its bearings and joins in the partisan fracas that nowadays passes for political discourse. It's particularly sad when the institution is Amnesty International, which for more than 40 years has been a tough, single-minded defender of political prisoners around the world and a scourge of left- and right-wing dictators alike. True, Amnesty continues to keep track of the world's political prisoners, as it has always done, and its reports remain a vital source of human rights information. But lately the organization has tended to save its most vitriolic condemnations not for the world's dictators but for the United States.

[...] But we draw the line at the use of the word "gulag" or at the implication that the United States has somehow become the modern equivalent of Stalin's Soviet Union. Guantanamo Bay is an ad hoc creation, designed to contain captured enemy combatants in wartime. Abuses there -- including new evidence of desecrating the Koran -- have been investigated and discussed by the FBI, the press and, to a still limited extent, the military. The Soviet gulag, by contrast, was a massive forced labor complex consisting of thousands of concentration camps and hundreds of exile villages through which more than 20 million people passed during Stalin's lifetime and whose existence was not acknowledged until after his death. Its modern equivalent is not Guantanamo Bay, but the prisons of Cuba, where Amnesty itself says a new generation of prisoners of conscience reside; or the labor camps of North Korea, which were set up on Stalinist lines; or China's laogai , the true size of which isn't even known; or, until recently, the prisons of Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Bravo, WaPo, for calling a spade a spade.

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What cease-fire?

Let's see what's been happening the past few days in and around Israel.

IDF Nabs Man Carrying Explosive Belt

IDF patrol attacked on Philadelphi

Hamas Man Killed in "Work Accident"

Gaza City Car Blast Kills 3 Hamas Members

RPG Kills Hamas Man as He Tries to Fire It

Unmanned Israeli Plane Hits Palestinian Mortar Crew

PA police, Jihadists clash after tunnel discovered and PA discovers weapons' smuggling tunnel

Shots fired at IDF post in Gaza

Palestinian boy caught with bombs

Second Teen Caught with Bombs This Week at Checkpoint

Hizballah Fires Mortar Barrage at Israel

Abbas: Suicide bomber era may be over

Says during interview with ABC: 'We stopped culture of violence; Palestinians view it as something that should be condemned'

"We have started to deal with the culture of violence, we stopped the culture of violence and the Palestinian people have started looking at it as something that should be condemned and it should stop."


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Today's moment of kitty zen

It's another twofer, and even more rare, a picture of Tig being nice to his sister. I haven't figured out exactly what this means in cat behavior, but he will occasionally lick Gracie's ears, which she utterly adores. Sometimes he will lick her ears just before jumping on her back and grabbing her by the scruff, which she utterly loathes, of course. Go figure. Meantime, it's a good picture for captioning. Kindly keep the suggestions relatively clean. This is a family blog.

Tig and Gracie, together again

I am also remiss in linking to the Modulator's Friday Ark, which has been linking to me lately. You can see cat pictures and other critters over there.

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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.