At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

EMPTYING TRASH CANS AND SCREAMING OBSCENITIES

There has been firm pressure to step-down and take a backseat this Sunday as regards the actions of the local soneiYisroel.

Our friend 'Amar' had this reaction:


I was downtown (observing) the night of the massive anti-war demonstrations in San Francisco. I think it was March 2003. I did not know what to think of the pending war, and I was curious to get the perspective of the anti-war folks.

The police permitted small groups of "demonstrators", sometimes just one "demonstrator", to stand in front of a line of cars for a long time, tieing up that line of cars un-necessarily. One "demonstrator" was letting small cars though faster, but SUV sat for a long time. Of course small cars behind the SUV were suffering just as the SUV driver suffered. This was happening all over Market street and nearby streets. There were numerous police on foot and in police cars parked, thinking all this was just fine.

Other "demonstrators" were emptying trash cans in the streets, doing various acts of vandalism.
Again, this is fine with the police.

I spent some time asking various "demonstrators" what would they propose as an alternative to deposing the Iraqi dictator. I could not find anyone that had even thought about it.

These folks that I observed and spoke to were not demonstrators at all, they were young people having fun. The police thought it was just fine.

The San Francisco police are so lame that they are more deeply frightening to me than police that are overly aggressive in policing.

So, as far as I can tell - and the JVP folks might not know this - they could get away with anything, including verbally assaulting attendees at close range, and the SF police would do nothing. At least that's on my experience. I hope I'm wrong.


-----------------------------------------------------

A dark assessment, but it is largely justified.
The police will probably intervene before any actual violence happens.
But threatening and cursing the attendees and their children will be considered free speech.
As long as nothing actually gets thrown...... while there is anybody watching.
Just grimace and bear it.


I fully expect some of the anti-Israel crowd to scream obscenities and epithets this Sunday.


The good news is that there will be plenty of witnesses.


I'll be happy to translate certain Arabic phrases for people who have never heard them before, and explain that these exact phrases were screamed by angry mobs in front of the consulate or in Civic center in the last few years, just as they were in 1929 in Hebron, Tel Aviv, Tzfas, and Jerusalem.

Who knows, it might get their danders up.
Eternal hope-springing, dontcha' know.

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RANTING, RANTING, RANTING

Treppenwitz has an excellent rant about the Quartet.

See here:
http://bogieworks.blogs.com/treppenwitz/2007/05/um_guys_i_was_k.html#comment-71230022
[Treppenwitz's blog: http://bogieworks.blogs.com/treppenwitz/ ]



Well, that reminded me of some of my own humble spleen. As indeed it could not but.


Like this:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2006/10/good-rant.html
In which I spew about the roadmap, the quartet, and the alleged importance of the Temple Mount to that other religion (you know, the 'derech achra').

And persuant the issue of Jerusalem, please also look here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2006/07/israel-and-jerusalem-facts.html
Some germane data about Jerusalem. You might want to copy it for future reference.

And then there's an opinion-piece by Rabbi Jeremy Rosen:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2006/07/not-un-by-r-jeremy-rosen.html
Though it is specific to the Lebanon mess, it also says some extremely pertinent things about the United Nations.


Feel free to tell me how much you disagree with any and all of this. I welcome your comments. Really I do.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

ISRAEL IN THE GARDENS - SUNDAY JUNE 3, 2007

The organizers of this Sunday's event want everyone to F*^&%#g-well behave!

They have sent out a document which they demand we sign, stating "all organizations participating in the day are expected to cooperate fully with the organizers of the day regarding any decisions or requests that are made for the overall safety and welfare of all participants. This includes the expectation that organizations will not engage in any confrontational behavior with any other organization present at the festival or the perimeter of the festival, and that organizations will respond to any requests made by Israel in the Gardens staff intended to ensure the overall safety and enjoyment of those in attendance."


I understand this to mean that not only do the organizers of Israel in the Gardens NOT intend to prevent JVP from setting up there, they also intend to prevent any type of response.


Typical behaviour of the Political Jews - don't make waves, don't confront, don't insult the nice German in the snappy uniform.


This is especially amusing when you consider the following message from the Bay Area Women In Black:
"We enclose an announcement from Jewish Voice for Peace who are planning a silent vigil on Sunday June 3rd outside the Israel in the Park celebration. BAWIB is not participating this year but encourage of those of you who want to register their dissent of an uncritical celebration at a time of catastrophe for Palestinian people, to join them."


As one of my friends puts it: "the Political Jews always try to ignore the protestors and always get burned. They don't learn."
An accurate assessment, as we saw most recently when Carter came to Berkeley.


Let's review previous events at 'Israel In The Gardens':


1. International Answer, screaming obscenities.
2. Women in black.
3. Nazis.
4. Rabbi Lerner's Tikkun fellowship.
5. Jewish Voice for Peace.
6. Jayferjay: Jayzus luvs ya!



It does not look like it will be any less confrontational this year. Even if we do not confront.
I will bring a can of raid. At least visually, I will be likening the other side to cockroaches.

I can understand why our group is a little tired of Political Jews and Quislings.

While for obvious reasons I cannot quite agree with the concept of entirely ignoring the Goyim, I am even less attracted to the phrase 'mah yomru ha Goyim'. Sometimes one just has to say 'bugger ha Goyim'.

Even if some of the Goyim claim to be Jews.


I'll leave it to you to figure out whether I mean the 'Political Jews' who prefer to do nothing except quietly lay low and not piss off the Gentiles, or the Jew-hating-Jews in JVP, BAWIB, and Tikkun.

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GUEST-POST: HOLLAND, WWII, AND COFFINS

In a previous posting (see here: http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2007/05/dutch-bigotry-moslim-gezin-wil-snel-weg.html ) I said a number of less than flattering things about the Dutch and their country.

One of my occassional readers had a number of things to say which illuminate another side - a side which, though I do not see entirely eye-to-eye with him, is nevertheless both valid and worthwhile.

He has graciously extended permission to post his letter, which I do below.

=================================


Well now, BOTH,


Your problems at school don’t surprise me, not because of you being American or Jewish, but you lived in he middle of Catholic country and would have had the same trouble if you had been just Protestant, that’s the way it was written in places where most of the people go to church and go to the same church.



As for your friends in Dirksland Goeree-Overflakkee, it is downright stupid to go and live there if you belong to a visible minority, again if most people there go to church, and to the same church. Better find a larger community with more people of your background, there you don’t stand out and won’t attract attention of the zealots.

You can’t change human nature, BOTH.

But you can squawk about it, and you do that very well☺


I grew up in Holland and went to a public school, we had kids with Indonesian parents, kids with German parents, and a girl with Polish parents in our class, and I actually only now become aware of that, and that’s your fault BOTH.☺
Had I gone next door to the Christian school things would have been different, of course you don’t go there unless you are Christian.



After what happened in Poland in 1939 it was utterly stupid of the Dutch government to try to defend the country against the German onslaught, a waste of young lives.
I was on the Grebbeberg in Rhenen in 1940 right after the fighting stopped and I will not forget seeing the still open mass graves nor the smell of desinfectants. I also helped making the 8 coffins for the BS. men that were ordered to attack a German wagon train (1945) with nothing but revolvers. I saw them and remember that they were all shot in the head. The BS. Binnenlandse strijdkrachten caused a lot of trouble for the civil population whenever the Germans ordered them out of their houses in the middle of the night to sweep the roadways clean of nails and cut over trees. They did do a good job robbing the distribution centers for ration tickets, a lot of Dutch Jewish survivors thank their lives on those efforts.


I think that your impression of strong anti-American feelings in Holland is mostly imagination. I haven’t been in Holland for 35 years but still I think that the general opinion there is that in spite of the very large contributions of the Brits and the Canadians, the second world war would not have been won without the might an resources of the U.S.A. without them Europe would be speaking German, and Asia Japanese. They won’t forget.


-----A. M.


=================================

The reader, doing the math, will realize that A. M. is probably nearing eighty years old, and was last in the Netherlands when Nixon was still the American president. As such, he represents a generation which was quite different from the current one - over there as much as here. Those were different times. The people who came through WWII were different people.
Europe and America have never been closer than they were then.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

DUTCH BIGOTRY [" MOSLIM GEZIN WIL SNEL WEG "]

A Lebanese refugee family in a Dutch town claims that the neighborhood is terrorizing them.

See this article (in Dutch): http://www.ad.nl/rotterdam/voorneputten/article1394650.ece

Khalil El Maoula has moved his wife and five children to a safe place, and himself sleeps in his car. He moved to the Netherlands fourteen years ago to escape violence, and has lived in the Melissant neighborhood of Dirksland (on the Island of Goeree-Overflakkee in Zeeland province) for eight years.

In recent times he has been harassed, and eggs have been thrown at his windows nightly.

Some neighbors say that the problem is the Lebanese family's own fault, and that Khalil starts fights. They also claim that the local police are not willing to step in lest they be accused of discrimination, and are consequently too timid to do anything about the family's aggression and quarrelsomeness.

Khalil claims that people in the neighborhood have made threats and yelled anti-Islamic slurs.



Now, before I say anything else, let me point out two pertinent facts:

1. I am not particularly favourably inclined towards Muslims in general, nor to Arabs.
While I do count a number of Arabs among my friends and acquaintances, and enjoy their company and rhetorical hyperbole, the Arab world on the whole very successfully manages to get my goat, big time.
2. I lived in the Netherlands for sixteen years, and while I speak, read, and write Dutch fluently, and do not look particularly foreign (it would be odd if I did not look like a native - the family tree is sodden with Dutch genetic material since some of my ancestors settled in New York in the Seventeenth century), I was never allowed to forget that I was not Dutch, and as a resident foreigner I should be humble, and grateful for any consideration. Many Dutch at that time were strongly anti-American, and whenever WWII was brought up they would stress that they had been liberated by Canadians (conveniently overlooking the role that the US played in the war and the American Military Graveyard in Margraten), and would proudly insist that the Dutch had fought the Germans and protected Jews (forgetting for the moment that they surrendered in mere days, may have had the largest collaborationist movement of any occupied country as a percentage of the population, and that hundreds of thousands of Dutchmen were very well paid by the Germans for betraying Dutch Jews, more than eighty percent of whom did not survive the consideration of their fellow countrymen).


It is that second point that I particularly wish to impress upon your attention. I know what shits some Dutch can be. I lived among them for sixteen years. I was beaten up several times for being American. I was told innumerable times that as a Yankee I was lower than dirt. I got bricks through my bedroom window. The local yobbos pissed against our door, graffitoed our house, and threatened my parents.
[It is to my mother's credit that she threatened them right back - and they were scared of her. Four feet eleven inches of pugnacious rheumatism and cancer. But steady hands, steely eyes, and a toughness that frightened even priests and policemen. Always be gratefull for the women in your life.]

No, it wasn't the majority that attempted to make our lives miserable. It was indeed a minority. The majority of our neighbors in Valkenswaard, of our "friends" and acquaintances in that town, of our classmates and teachers in the Openbare Lagere School and the Hertog Jan College - these were on the whole decent people. But they did nothing to discourage the rotten few who acted up.
[The local constabulary were fairly useless - after all, they had to live with those people too, and Dutch red-tape discourages all but the most masochistic of civil servants from ever opening their eyes.]

I remember several people in that town with loathing - especially the brutish little Cro-magnons in the local boy-scouts who additionally despised me because I was not Catholic, and several local parents who feared that I would infect their little darlings with unclean and heathenish Americanisms.
[Americans are, in the eyes of many Europeans, merely the savage dregs of Europe. One could also regard Europeans as the devolutionary left-overs of several centuries of ritualistic slaughter and internecine warfare, but that would be unkind. Accurate, but unkind.]

Teachers of English at the local high-schools insisted that as Americans it was patently impossible for my brother and myself to speak civilized English, read English with any significant comprehension, or even understand the subtleties of literature in English.
[They nearly flunked me because of imagined Americanisms.]

That, along with the equally adamant arrogance of my father's fellow engineers, who knew as a matter of unassailable fact that their English just had to be better than my father's, because after all they were Europeans, and he was merely an American......
[Never ask a Dutchman to write technical English. The result ranges from unreadable to nightmare-inducing.]


Let's just say that I am of two minds about the Dutch.

I like them, and gladly socialize with them. And I really enjoy a few weeks in Amsterdam every few years, to recharge my Euro-trash batteries and purchase piles of books. Plus herring, cigars, genever - zalig, joh!

But they easily get my bile flowing, though it has been nearly three decades since I lived among them.



So when Khalil El Maoula says that he is being victimized by his Dutch neighbors, I will give him the benefit of doubt. I will believe him. I will think that among his neighbors are some vicious xenophobic bastards, and that the majority of his neighbors are in a state of complete denial about the rottenness that lives in small town Holland.

I've been there.

---------------------------------------

Note to any 'Ollanders who may stumble upon this blog: Yes, I know that I am 'shearing an entire group over one comb', as you lot so charmingly put it, and generalizing unfairly about the Dutch. Tough noogies.
Just try denying that parts of your pissy little mud-country are unfriendly, with many small-minded bigots in small boggy towns - you read your newspapers and know that it is so. You yourself have probably used ethnic slurs, and you yourself are probably in a state of denial about the polarization and negativity that have finally come out into the open in the last five years. Does the name Geert Wilders mean anything to you? How about the term 'kut marokkaan'? Have you EVER objected when one of your friends refered to someone else as a kut-marokkaan, or a koffieboon, or a pinda, or a mof, or even a vuile jenkie?

And for crapssakes, don't start belligerently squawking about everything that is rotten in the US. We already know that, we live here, you utter moron. This isn't about us, but about you. If you disagree, you can always start your own patriotic Dutch-o-philic blog. It ain't that hard...... except, of course, if you cannot understand the technical instructions on Blogger because they are written in...... (wait for it) ...... English!

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SWISS SYNAGOGUE FIRE

A fire destroyed the Sephardic synagogue Hechal HaNess in Geneva early this (Thursday) morning.

Community spokesmen have so far indicated that they think it likely that a short-circuit caused the blaze, but there is a slight possibility that it may have been set deliberately.Quote from the Swiss Jewish community electronic news letter: "Die Polizei fokussiert immer noch zwei mögliche Hauptszenarien: kriminellen Akt oder Kurzschluss" (the police are still focusing on two possible primary scenarios: criminal act or short-circuit).

The synagogue is said to be ruined entirely.
Investigation continues.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

CHAG HA BLINTZIM

So you've just cruised through the entire bloggosphere and discovered that I'm the only one who posted anything today.

And you wonder how that is.

Simple.

Everyone else was up all night snarfing cheesecake in celebration of kabolos haTorah.
I, on the other hand, have a significant other.
Who is better than any darn cheesecake.

[Well, not exactly. But you know. Sometimes it's time for cheesecake, sometimes it isn't. And when it's time for cheesecake, it's time for cheesecake.]


In consequence, I had a good night's sleep, whereas everyone else is now flaked out, zonked, and in their disturbed dreams realizing that they are lactose intolerant. Severely. They already knew that, and they still remember what happened last year, but the spasms and cramps are really, really bringing that realization home this time.


Abdominal tumult interrupts their fitful sleep, borborygme punctuate their restless shifting. Sweat furrows their tired brow, as painful twitches and periodic lysis bring a scant modicum of relief.

You do not want to be around them now. It is more frightful than feeding time in the monkey house. Stuff is flying.


They will remain, fevered, in Morpheus' embrace until just about tea-time. Then their bleary eyes will open; they will wipe the accumulated crust from the corners of their lids, swing a leg over the side of the bed, and yawn. Like bears waking from hibernation, they will wash nagel vasser (or knock over the bowl), mumble modeh ani lifaneicha Melech Chai ve Kayam to themselves........

Oh heck. This would be a neener neener neener situation, except that I'm actually rather jealous. You see, THEY had cheesecake.
So it's kinda sour-grapish instead.

Belated chag sameach, y'all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

TREPPENWITZ FEELIN' MIGHTY.....

Ain't gonna mention anything about beans, or onions, or metamucil, or chocolate flavoured whatevertheheckthose things are. Nope.

This is a CLEAN post.

Just click here:
http://bogieworks.blogs.com/treppenwitz/2007/05/warning_tmi.html


Make sure to leave a note of commiseration.
Wish him well.
Feel his pain.
Feel his pain!
And imagine having to drive from Be'er Sheva to Efrat with that going on, too.

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GROUP EAT

The Finance Department will be going out for lunch some time next week, in order to celebrate new additions to the department, birthdays and anniversaries, and coming through the audit with flying colours.

There is something almost sacramental about eating with others. In many cultures, if you are asked to have a bite with someone it is a rudeness to refuse. In Tamarao we say that when you are asked, accept with alacrity. This is especially important when it comes to festive meals and celebratory events. You absolutely must eat, even if only a little bit. You are sharing in the joy of the occasion, and adding to the event by sharing in it.

Think of it as a cultural or social mitzvah.

So I will gladly be part of the happy meal.

We'll probably go to a Hunanese restaurant just south of Market Street. It is a well-known place, much loved by many who work in the downtown.

---------

HUNANESE FOOD

The problem with Hunanese food is that it is the perfect cuisine for Cantonese restaurateurs who know that they are mediocre cooks, and do not wish to have their own countrymen lambast them for serving muck. Cantonese customers who feel that the food is sub-par will be vocal, and vociferous. Even unpleasant. Perhaps lyrical. Eloquent in any case. And very hard to shut up.
[Calling yourself a Hunanese Restaurant warns the Cantonese to go elsewhere. They know.]

White folks, on the other hand, will eat anything.

Just stirfry it with chopped carrots, bellpepper, and cabbage, and call it Hunanese. Add dried chilies to the pan beforehand, and something condimental with cornstarch water for a velvety wok-glaze near the end.


General Bong's Pork?
---Sliced pork stirfried with dried chilies plus chopped carrots, bellpepper, and cabbage. Farfara pepper and cornstarch water added for a velvety wok-glaze.


Duke Mou's Chicken?
---Sliced chicken breast stirfried with dried chilies plus chopped carrots, bellpepper, and cabbage. Soy sauce and cornstarch water added for a velvety wok-glaze.


Black Bean Sauce Beef?
---Sliced beef stirfried with dried chilies plus chopped carrots, bellpepper, and cabbage. Coarsely mashed salted black beans (taosi) and cornstarch water added for a velvety wok-glaze.


Chubby Concubine Drumsticks?
---Small chicken drummettes stirfried with dried chilies plus chopped carrots, bellpepper, and cabbage. Plus garlic, ginger, sweetbeanpaste, and cornstarch water added for a velvety wok-glaze.


Chairman Mao's Special Prawns?
---Frozen shrimp stirfried with dried chilies plus chopped carrots, bellpepper, and cabbage. Plus ricewine, sugar, slivered ham, extra hotsauce, and cornstarch water added for a velvety wok-glaze.
[Note: Vegetarian version made with wheat gluten. Do not feed leftovers to your cat or dog.]


Imperial Golden Phoenix Meets Eight Jade Immortals For An Orgasmic Foodfight In The Azure Western Heavens At Sunrise?
---Sliced pork, chicken, and beef stirfried with dried chilies plus chopped carrots, bellpepper, and cabbage. With soysauce, sweetbeanpaste, extra hotsauce, and cornstarch water added for a velvety wok-glaze.


Shrimp or chicken added to any dish upon request, three dollars extra.


"Yummers, white person, yummers. Thank you, and come again."


I'm looking forward to sharing food with my coworkers.
I'm just wondering where to have lunch afterwards.
As far as food is concerned, the financial district is a blasted heath.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

MY GAST IS VERY MUCHLY FLABBERED!

A comment which Muse (http://me-ander.blogspot.com/) left underneath one of my posts about bank scam spam alerted me to the fact that I made it to the finals in the JIBS.

Floor me with a feather.

I didn't even know I was in the running.


See the bottom of this page:
http://www.jibawards.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=68&Itemid=193
Where you will see the name of this blog listed among the Best Kosher Food/Recipe Blog - Finalists.

[Time for a brocha: "Baruch atta Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha olam, asher flabberei et-gasteinu".]



Someone must have nominated me. I don't know who you are, but thank you.



The other finalists are :
http://rjmedwed.blogspot.com/
Because I'm In My Twenties And It's What You Do (Robbie - think about Coca Cola and brisket, among other things).
http://glutenfreebay.blogspot.com/
Gluten Free By The Bay.
http://fireinmykitchen.blogspot.com/
Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen - single dad, kosher food.
http://humus101.com/EN/
Humus 101.
http://inmolaraan.blogspot.com/
The Chocolate Lady - In Mol Araan: A blog about food and words in Yiddish and English including but not limited to cooking, recipes, culinary lexicography, delights and curiosities of the plant world, and cookbooks.
http://jcarrot.org/
The Jew And The Carrot - Jews, food, and contemporary issues.
http://www.me-ander.blogspot.com/
Me-ander. Three contributors: Sarah, Muse, and Isramom. All three of these are multi-bloggers, being contributors elsewhere besides.
http://twoheadsoflettuce.blogspot.com/
Simple recipes for vegetarian potlucks by: Ezer K'negdo, Ruby K, BZ, Suz, shamirpower, General Anna, Ahavatcafe, Amanda M, EAR, Sarah Chaya, Feygele, bgp, abunaftali, granola bard, ZT, MR.


Considering the excellent company I find myself in, I am humbled.
And I realize that I have some standards up to which to live. Uuuuy.

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I AM THE BILE-MONKEY!

Imagine a conference room with about five dozen people.

Imagine that, after discussing legitimate company business, we then get forced to listen to a well-meaning lecture about reducing our carbon foot-print, greenifying the planet, and more or less saving the cetaceans.


Did I ever mention that Mondays are not my good day?

No?

Well then, MONDAYS..... ARE..... NOT...... MY..... GOOD..... DAY!



So, while being harangued, I looked around the room.

Over half of the people there own motor vehicles.
I don't drive.

Over two-thirds of the people there have reproduced.
I have never spawned.

Over three-quarters of the people there buy bottled water.
I drink tap.


I now have some suggestions for the next person who decides a captive audience is a suitable sponge for their sanctimony.


Encourage road-rage and parking violence. Do not watch teevee, just sit in the dark. Do not read, just sit in the dark. Burn your own waste for warmth. Do not wash. Eat raw unrinsed vegetables. If you live in California, do not eat rice.

Do not drink beverages the basic ingredients of which are not grown in your micro-climate, do not eat foods that are not grown in your state, and do not wear clothes that are not made in your country.


And above all, do not presume to tell me how to live my life until I can afford to be as wasteful and self-indulgent as your own suburbanite consumerist self. Thank you. Now please breathe my second-hand tobacco fumes.

Friday, May 18, 2007

REPORTING IN WAR MODE

SUB-HEAD: Gaza is a greater mess than had ever been thought possible. Palestinian management skills leave something to be desired. Surprised?


Over one hundred rockets have been fired off at Sderot from locations in Gaza in the last week by Hamas and its pals.

Israel, which delayed reaction longer than was necessary or even sane, perhaps out of a hope-against-hope that confrontation could be avoided, has struck back in the last day and a half.

Predictably the Hamas leadership has voiced outrage and called for massive bloody revenge against the Zionist monster, threatening suicide bombings and other creative acts.

[Note of perspective: Far fewer Hamas members have perished as a result of recent Israeli actions than have snuffed it in the internecine combat between Hamas and Fatah. Note also that Fatah have suffered more casualties than Hamas in the gang-battles on the streets of Gaza these past two weeks.]


For good up-to-date coverage on this war, from a realistic and Israeli perspective, please visit Jameel at the Muqata.

Link:
http://muqata.blogspot.com/


Calling it a war is perhaps an overstatement, as there has been no significant Israeli incursion, the Qassams from Gaza in the direction of Sderot (and soon also Ashkelon) are routine and entirely predictable attempts to massacre civilians, and so far more Palestinians have slaughtered each other since this latest round started than have been killed by Israeli actions.
It is perhaps better to think of it as a Beirut-type conflict, with the sparks and shrapnel from the main participants (Hamas and Fatah) hitting the bystanders, and provocative acts by both participants the sole purpose of which is to draw the attention of outsiders, with the hope that other parties will get involved and so change the equation.

The only way in which this gangbanging significantly differs from the Beirut fracas of a generation ago is that the Gazan factions represent the same ethno-religious group, and still enthusiastically cheer the deaths of Jews. In Beirut, for a while, there were ethno-religious differences and they were more enthusiastic about the deaths of each other. Barring that, rape and torture.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

PLANS FOR SATURDAY

I'll be counter-demonstrating the Bay Area Women in Black again this Saturday. Same as the last five or six weeks. Along with about a dozen other members of SF Voice for Israel.

It's actually quite enjoyable. You see, our presence discomfits them. They feel less assured about their cause than they would if we were not facing them and disputing their point of view. Dark clouds drift across the sun for them when we are around.

Given that I am usually operating under a lack of sleep, and an insufficiency of caffeination on Saturday morning, that's one hell of an achievement. It's a lot more than I would otherwise be capable of.

[Speaking purely for myself here - other members of SF Voice for Israel are much more awake at that hour on a Saturday, and one or two of them have brass balls besides. A capable lot.]


Although the Bay Area Women in Black claim to be for peace and have endorsed the two state solution, they have demonized Israel, lambasted the IDF, praised those who used or advocated violence against Israel, said naught about the victims on the Israeli side, and stood in solidarity with anti-Semites. They standardly denounce all Israeli self-defensive actions.

Those who have stood with them have demanded an end to all support for Israel, lauded suicide bombers, and called for the violent destruction of the state of Israel and all Jews.


More than mere anti-Semitism, although that certainly plays a part, there is something obscene about the obsession that some do-goodniks have with Israel and the Palestinians, in addition to a twisted white guilt thing.


To see exactly what I mean by that, click on this link:
http://bogieworks.blogs.com/treppenwitz/2007/05/perspective_you.html
[The image is on Treppenwitz's site - he got it from elsewhere, and credits pixane.net/blog.]

"Right now entire villages in Darfur are being murdered. But please, keep talking about Israel."


Makes one wish that psychological help was more widely available. People like the Bay Area Women in Black would benefit from it.

Fortunately, this Saturday is also the day that they will have their therapy-workshop on centering themselves and cleaning their auras, or whatever it actually is that they've hired that consultant to teach them. Our presence has so upset and hurt them that they went and got some help. They're probably also going to do some role-playing exercises.

Perhaps I should lend them my mock-up of Farfur the Vicious Hamas Mouse - they probably love his soft-fuzzy charm and childish voice.

-------------------------------------------------

Yes, I know that this is not a nice post. It isn't meant to be.
Not only do I deny that the point of view of Bay Area Women in Black has any validity, and refuse to accept that every issue has two sides - which is nothing more than a stupid cliché - but I despise them and their loathsome agenda.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

ELISHA BEN ABUYAH

Elisha ben Abuyah, a talmudic scholar from second century C.E., was excommunicated for heresy. It is said that four men entered Pardes. Ben Azzai died, Ben Zoma lost his mind, Rabbi Akiva entered whole and left whole, and Acher (Elisha ben Abuyah) cut the shoots (became heretical).
His disciple Rabbi Meir remained loyal to Elisha and is honored as a sage. Which says much. Meir digested the content of his teaching, but discarded the shell

It is said of Elisha that in consequence of his mother smelling the roasting meat of an idolatrous sacrifice he became a heretic. Yet Rabbi Yochanan’s mother even ate such meat – and Rabbi Yochanan was a righteous man.
It is written that events he witnessed lead him to question the concept of divine reward – evenso, he is counted among the righteous, because of the Torah that he learned and taught.

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TA'AVAH, CHEIFETZ, RATZON

There are three different terms in Biblical Hebrew that translate as desire.
Ta’avah (Yiddish: Teiva) is a physical urge, cheifetz is a striving towards an objective, and ratzon is an aim that will be satisfied when something is completed or achieved.
That last is particularly what is said to mark the Divine Will.

YOU WILL NOW PLEASE TO REJOICE THAT ANDREAS IS DIED

AND KINDLY BONAFIDE!

Or something.

I may have mentioned in the past that my e-mail normally gets lottery scams, viagra ads, and Nigerian bank fraud messages.
My box is fairly tumescent with scams, frauds, and especially viagra.
[And how often can I actually tumesce in decent company?]

Somebody out there thinks I'm simple.


But, 'praise the load', others wish only to inform me of the miraculous deaths of several people. Uncles, fathers, husbands, cousins, etcetera.
So sad. So very sad.

And three of those are keenly desirous that I know of the demise of Andreas Schranner.

Specifically, these kind-hearted informants are misters Saidu Dima (saidu_dima36@hotmail.fr), Deco Saidu (deco_saidu001@hotmail.fr), and Maxwell Adama (maxwell_adama004@hotmail.com), all of whom are employed by the Bank of Africa in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso ("land of erect men", formerly Upper Volta). All three have written me the most touching letters, bidding me courage in these hard times as bonafide next of kin, and requesting that I assert my rights with alacrity.
They wish me well.

I reproduce their heartfelt scrivenings below. You will please be so kind as to rejoice in the diplomatic variety and inventiveness of these gentlemen, especially the way in which they endeavor to cheer me despite the sad news of Andreas Schranner snuffing it, with glad tidings of profits to be had and monies to be made.
They are all filled with generous heart and throbbing gallantry.

============================

FIRST LETTER:


FROM: Mr,SAIDU DIMA.
FOREIGN REMITTANCE DEPT.
BANK OF AFRICA (BOA)
OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA FASO.

STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

Dear,

I write to introduce this urgent/important business opportunity to you irrespective of the fact that we have not seen or known each other before believing that it will be of immense benefit to both of us.

Let me formally introduce myself. I am mr,saidu dima the assistant manager of the BANK OF AFRICA (BOA) OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA FASO , I got your contact through network online in my earnest search,for a reliable individual who can assist me to make this transaction a reality with my believe in Allah that you will never let me down.

There is an outstanding sum of US$20.3million (Twenty million,three hundred thousand United States Dollars) that belong to one of our late foreign customer Mr. Andrea Schannier who died with his family in a plane crash that took place in 31st July 2000, Wast Africa a Miner in the Kruger Gold Company, a geologist by profession.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT THE WEBSITE BELOW.
htt://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/859479.stm.

The banking laws and guidelines here stipulates that if Such fund remains unclaimed for some years, and no body apply to the bank as his or her next of kin to the deceased the fund will be transferred into the bank treasury as unclaimed fund.

Although personally, I kept this information secret within myself to enable the whole plans and idea be Profitable and successful during the time of execution. Meanwhile, all the whole arrangement to put claim over this fund as the bonafide next of kin to the deceased has been made, and all information will be provided to you as soon as you indicate your interest and willingness to assist me.

I am contacting you because of the need to involve a foreigner with account and foreign beneficiary, I need your full co-operation to make this work out fine because the management is ready to approve this payment to a foreigner who has the correct information of this account which I will provide to you. Should this interest you? kindly furnish me with your private phone and fax numbers for easy communication.

Meanwhile, I am prepared to make sure that the bank transfer the sum of US$20.3Million to your account with my position now in the office, I can transfer the money to any foreigner's reliable account which you can provide with assurance that this money will be intact pending my physical arrival in your country for sharing. I will destroy all documents of transaction immediately we receive this money leaving no trace to any place. And will also use my position and influence to effect legal approvals and onward transfer of the money to your account with appropriate clearance.

I have resolved to compensate you by briefing a brokerage commission of 40% net per-transfer expenses you may incur, 5% set aside for general expenses, and 55% US$ will be for me and I guarantee you that all expenses during the transfer are subject to refund. Most importantly, I must emphasize that this business requires the utmost confidentiality and trustworthiness. We need to make an agreement that will bind us together and the same will protect individual interest in the near future.

In recognition to your personal executive power and investment opportunities that is bond in your country, do know that I have it in mind to establish a genuine business relationship with you in the nearest future, if you will be able to help me in order to expedite action, let me receive your approval or reply through the above addrress or Please accept my compliments, as I await your kind response through the above e-mail address. as soon as you receive
this mail you

(call me on my private phone number +226 7635 9786)

THANKS.
BEST REGARD
MR,SAIDU DIMA.
saidu_dima36@hotmail.fr

============================

SECOND LETTER:



FROM: Mr,DECO SAIDU.
FOREIGN REMITTANCE DEPT.
BANK OF AFRICA (BOA)
OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA FASO.


STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

Dear,

I write to introduce this urgent/important business opportunity to you irrespective of the fact that we have not seen or known each other before believing that it will be of immense benefit to both of us.

Let me formally introduce myself. I am Mr,deco saidu the assistant manager of the BANK OF AFRICA (BOA) OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA FASO , I got your contact through network online in my earnest search,for a reliable individual who can assist me to make this transaction a reality with my believe in Allah that you will never let me down.

There is an outstanding sum of US$20.3million(Twenty million,three hundred thousand United States Dollars) that belong to one of our late foreign customer Mr. Andrea Schannier who died with his family in a plane crash that took place in 31st July 2000, Wast Africa a Miner in the Kruger Gold Company, a geologist by profession.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT THE WEBSITE BELOW.
htt://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/859479.stm.

The banking laws and guidelines here stipulates that if Such fund remains unclaimed for some years, and no body apply to the bank as his or her next of kin to the deceased the fund will be transferred into the bank treasury as unclaimed fund.

Although personally, I kept this information secret within myself to enable the whole plans and idea be Profitable and successful during the time of execution. Meanwhile, all the whole arrangement to put claim over this fund as the bonafide next of kin to the deceased has been made, and all information will be provided to you as soon as you indicate your interest and willingness to assist me.

I am contacting you because of the need to involve a foreigner with account and foreign beneficiary, I need your full co-operation to make this work out fine because the management is ready to approve this payment to a foreigner who has the correct information of this account which I will provide to you. Should this interest you? kindly furnish me with your private phone and fax numbers for easy communication.

Meanwhile, I am prepared to make sure that the bank transfer the sum of US$20.3Million to your account with my position now in the office, I can transfer the money to any foreigner's reliable account which you can provide with assurance that this money will be intact pending my physical arrival in your country for sharing. I will destroy all documents of transaction immediately we receive this money leaving no trace to any place. And will also use my position and influence to effect legal approvals and onward transfer of the money to your account with appropriate clearance.

I have resolved to compensate you by briefing a brokerage commission of 40%net per-transfer expenses you may incur,5% set aside for general expenses, and 55% US$ will be for me and I guarantee you that all expenses during the transfer are subject to refund. Most importantly, I must emphasize that this business requires the utmost confidentiality and trustworthiness. We need to make an agreement that will bind us together and the same will protect individual interest in the near future.

In recognition to your personal executive power and investment opportunities that is bond in your country,do know that I have it in mind to establish a genuine business relationship with you in the nearest future, if you will be able to help me in order to expedite action, let me receive your approval or reply through the above addrress or Please accept my compliments, as I await your kind response through the above e-mail address.

THANKS.
BEST REGARD
MR,DECO SAIDU.
deco_saidu001@hotmail.fr

============================

THIRD LETTER:


FROM THE DESK OF MR.MAXWELL ADAMA
AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING MANAGER,
BANK OF AFRICA (B.O.A)
OUAGADOUGOU-BURKINA FASO.


Dear Friend,

I am the manager of Auditing and Accounting department of BANK OF AFRICA (B.O.A) here in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of US$20.5m dollars (TWENTY MILION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND US DOLLARS) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer (MR. ANDREAS SCHRANNER from Munich, Germany) who died along with his entire family in Jully 2000 in a plane crash. For more information about the crash you can visit this site:( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/859479.stm)

Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it unless some body applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidlings and laws but unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim. It is therefore upon this discovery that I now decided to make this business proposal to you and release the money to you as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming for it and we don't want this money to go into the bank treasury as unclaimed bill.

The banking law and guidline here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after seven years, the money will be transfered into the bank treasury as unclaimed fund. The request of foreigner as next of kin in this business is occassioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a Burkinabe cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner. I agree that 30% of this money will be for you as a respect to the provision of a foriegn account , 10% will be set aside for expenses incurred during the business and 60% would be for me Thereafter, I will visit your
country for disbursement according to the percentage indicated Therefore, to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you arranged,you must apply first to the bank as relation or next of kin of the deceased with a text of application form that i will send to you when i hear from you,so i will like you to send to me your private telephone and fax number for easy and
effective communication and location where in the money will be remitted.

Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or email the text of the application . I will not fail to bring to your notice this transaction is hitch-free and that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the transfer. You should contact me immediately as soon as you receive this letter.

Trusting to hear from you immediately.
MR.MAXWELL ADAMA

Yours Faithfully,
MANAGER AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT
BANK OF AFRICA.
maxwell_adama004@hotmail.com

======================

Note: I received all three of these e-mails on the same day. I applaud the Bank of Africa in Waggadoogoo on the thorough briskness and efficiency of her staff.
Bravo, bravo. I am utterly in awe.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

SPOKEN OF IN DANIEL

[No, Steg, this is not the posting I refered to in my blikspost - that one is further down.]


Chaim writes and cites:

The uncensored Rambam wrote this in Laws of Kings Chapter 11:
"[That man] who aspired to be the Moshiach and was executed by the court was also spoken of in Daniel's prophecies [Daniel 11:14], "The renegades among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble."

"Can there be a greater stumbling block than [Chrixxxxxity]? All the prophets spoke of Moshiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior, who would gather their dispersed ones and strengthen their [observance of] the mitzvos.
In contrast
[the founder of Chrixxxxxity] caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humiliated, the Torah to be supplanted [by a pretender], and the majority of the world to err and serve a Deity other than the HaShem."


"Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for [to paraphrase Yeshayahu 55:8] His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. [Ultimately,] all the matters of [the gentleman from Nazareth] and that Ishmaelite [i.e. M-h-mmed] who arose after him serve only to pave [straighten] the way for the coming of Mashiach and for the improvement of the entire world, [motivating the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written [Zephaniah 3:9], "I will transform the people’s speech to clarity so that they will all call upon the Name ofHashem and serve Him with one purpose."

"How has this unfolded? The concepts of the Messiah, as well as those of Torah and the mitzvos have spread throughout the world, even to its farthest flung islands. These matters have been spread among many spiritually obtuse (dull – desensitized) nations, who discuss these matters as well as the mitzvos of the Torah. Some of them say: "These commandments were true, but are not in force in the present age; they are not applicable for all time." Others say: "Implied in the commandments are hidden concepts that cannot be understood simply; the Moshiach has already come and revealed them."

"When the true anointed King will arise and prove successful, his [position becoming] exalted and uplifted, they will all recant and realize that their ancestors endowed them with a false heritage; their prophets and ancestors misled them."



The astute reader will notice that a particular name is missing from the text above. I have replaced it with ‘that man’ in square brackets, as do not wish to alert certain possible readers of this blog to any part of the text above.
[For some reason, posting that man's name pulls in the oddest people - maybe they do websearches for that name, or google it. It is a pheromone of astounding potency, if nothing else.]

Why do I not wish to alert them?

Because they will comment, from a position of rigid ignorance, with many misspellings and much passion. [And note, this blog is not about the passion.]
They would also contend that there is naught in the NT that is not consistent with the Tanach. That is a point of view which is based upon a cursory familiarity with parts of the Tanach, and a simplistic reading of the NT.
It is a flawed and ignorant position which causes much trouble.

So why did I post that which Chaim cited?

Because I need a place to store it.
It occurred in a comment string on Dovbear’s blog, and you know how hard it is to remember where you last saw something and to try to retrace your steps. It’s a good citation, and a good potential basis for further discussion.

Plus, one of my fellow Anarcho-Zionists is currently whacking his way through the Rambam. He'll like the quote.

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ZESTY DIQDUQGEEKETTE, OH MY

Bad news, rabbosai: the Rabam, who is the Rosheshiva of Yeshiva Chipass Emes - West Coast (YCE - WC) soll sein shtark und gazunt, is back in the klink after righteously behaving Sunday morning. The toy store will probably not press charges provided he pays them for the window and the fifteen Hamas rats he destroyed. Negotiations continue. Classes at the Yeshiva are consequently cancelled for the remainder of the week.


Just so that you have at least a minimum shiur of YCE-WC lomdus this week, the following lecture (written on cocktail napkins) has been forwarded from the pokey.

---------------------------------------------------------


NON PERVERSE HALOCHO FUNDAMENTALISTS

A mechallel shabbas b'farhesia is davka defined by the gemora, and the Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, Mishna Brura, and the Aruch HaShulchan as having the status of a non perverse halocho fundamentalist.

This accords with the position of the Aruch HaShulchan, who states that when it comes to shabbes observance the status of the individual in question is explicitly that of a non perverse halocho fundamentalist, if done in public.

Contrariwise, the Rambam, who was either not a perverse halocho fundamentalist OR possibly the very epitome of a perverse halocho fundamentalist, in Hilchos Shabbes perek 30 halacha 15 writes "takka, shabbes is a sign between Him and us forever. Therefore, one who violates other mitzvos has the status of the wicked of Israel, but one who is mechallel shabbes befarhesia, vahine, he is (also) like one who worships idols, and both of these are like a non perverse halocho fundamentalist in all respects".

The Lechem Mishna disagrees with the Rambam, because the Rambam at the end of Hilchos Teshuva perek 3 states that anyone can do tshuva (including a non perverse halocho fundamentalist), and suggests instead a rather farkrampte resolution to the stira, which he admits appeals to him on a deeply personal level, rather like the zesty mental image of a hypothetical diqduqgeeqette reading haftaros on qelaf, or chasvesholom, the Shir Ha Shirim (asher li Shlomo). Riezig. Er shreibt that it is indeed possible to do tshuva for aveiros of this nature, but they are of such a gadlus that anybody who truly did tshuva for them would kick the bucket in that endeavor, as we see from various stories in the Gemoro, where some people did aza tiefe und gevaldige teshuva that they bought the farm.


From which we know that tshuva is like a voyage. Some people take a long cruise on loving boats, with bridge and bingo nights and dancing under a tropic moon with women not their own, others slog through the badlands eating aphid crap for forty years.

The Lechem Mishna adds "not that there's anything wrong with that".

It's all good, little butterfly.


------------------------

An interesting question is whether perverse and halochic don't contradict or exclude each other. But the meaning of "perverse" is probably not really "perverse", but rather, as Chazal (al pi der Bazler) have written, "very strongly". Thus the key concepts are perverse halocho and fundamentalism, as represented by a fundamentalist of perverse halocho.

Is it Relativistic Trans-Masoreticism? We don't know. None of this applies in any way to a Mishnaic Karaite.

Questions? Comments? Be sure to give the Yeshiva your feedback. They love hearing from all of you menuvlim. You can also communicate your thoughts to the MAGAB in Yerushalayim, whose birthday is on the eighteenth of May. He too loves hearing from menuvlim.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

WHAT HAPPENED IN FRONT OF THE CONSULATE AND HOW DID THE COUNTER-DEMO GO?

Call it a victory and gloat.
Neener... neener... neener.


We arrived at the area in front of the Israeli consulate between two o'clock and two thirty - one by one, trickling in from different directions. By quarter to three we were wondering when Amalek would finally get there.

[Note: Amalek is the most apposite term - we found out that this was a radical Islamic spin-off from Al Awda. And Al Awda is a nasty bunch to begin with.]


CANCELLED

Shortly after three o'clock, the police told us it wouldn't be happening, and started clearing away the barriers and orange cones.

The group that organized the event had gotten a permit for eight hundred people. That may have been wishful thinking, or in fact insane optimism. What they ended up with was only about twenty participants while down at Civic Center, and then they heard that we were in front of the consulate to counter-demo them.
Our being prepared may have been the last straw.

[Maybe they didn't want to face us, or perhaps they heard a boiling ibriq with some cardamom coffee beckon.......... ('Umm al 'Qahwa' is a harsh mistress).]


They called it off. They decided not to hike that last mile for a screamfest with less than two dozen people on their side. As one of our people put it, "ten counterprotestors standing in front of the consulate looks pretty good, but an angry protest march with only twenty people just looks silly".
All of it must have been just too much for them (as well as not being enough).


So we declared victory and left.


It was the best possible outcome for a pro-Israel counter-demo clobbered together at the last moment.
Still, I would've gladly welcomed those twenty or so radical Muslims; I was prepared to take off a shoe and wave it at 'em.
It would've been so nice seeing their wee little mob wearily turn the corner only to find us waiting. From Civic Center to Montgomery and California is not a short march, and I guess ten Zionists could scare anybody.


Note: It isn't that there aren't eight hundred extremists in San Francisco - there are several times that number. But getting even a few hundred of them all on the same page is undoubtedly a daunting organizational slog. Keeping them united long enought to riot purposefully, without them starting to go for each others' throats, is probably well-nigh impossible. Even if they do all belong to the same mosque.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

SURPRISE DEMONSTRATION, FRIDAY MAY 11

Received via-via:

The San Francisco Police Department has notified Xxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxx of a rally and demonstration planned in San Francisco this Friday, May 11, 2007.
A number of pro-Palestinian supporters will rally at the Civic Center around 1:00 p.m., after which they are expected to march to the Israeli Consulate at 456 Montgomery Street.
The anticipated route of the march is from the Civic Center down Market Street, North on Kearny, East on California, and North on Montgomery.
Marchers are expected to be in front of 456 Montgomery from about 2 p.m. until as late as 6 p.m.



I don't know who these pro-Palestinians are, and how they contacted each other.
The timing suggests SF State students, angry activist Muslims, and other less-than-fully employable people, in addtion to an opportunistic feed-off from the Int'l ANSWER rally demanding the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles scheduled for noon in front of the court house at Seventh and Mission -- that's only a short distance away from the Civic Center, and ANSWER has been known to tack their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel message onto other protests. Their pattern is "protest the war - and Israel", "protest international imperialism - and Israel", "protest sex-tourists in the third world - and Israel", "protest witch-hunts against illegals - and Israel".
An Int'l ANSWER protest seems empty and incomplete unless they also get to protest Israel.


The consulate is only a few blocks from my office, and counter-protesting the anti-Israel crowd is more or less a milchemes mitzvah. I'll be bringing my Israeli flags and my bad-attitude. If you're in the downtown tomorrow, I hope to see you there, on my side of the street. Together we shall protest for Israel.


Final note: SF State University is a hotbed of anti-Israel activism and the simmering anti-Semitism that goes with it. In some respects, SFSU is worse than the University of California at Berkeley. The SFSU campus really does feel like hostile territory, whereas Berkeley is often more like a playground infested with behavioural-problem kids.

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UP YOUR DANDER, DEAR READERS, UP YOUR DANDER

Rabbosai, I wish to bring the following to your attention:


See:
http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/wilson/51498/

"---As part of a pervasive pattern of religious discrimination a disabled Jewish US Navy veteran says he has encountered at the Iowa City Veterans Administration Hospital and Clinic, David "Akiva David" Miller writes: "Over time it has become clear that each experience of discrimination is not isolated from the others; in fact the problem of religious discrimination is systemic to the Iowa City VA.... I am a disabled veteran who served my Country honorably in the US Navy. I am also an Orthodox Jew ....not only did the hospital refuse to notify my Rabbi, as I requested, they sent a Protestant chaplain in to see me each time. The first two visits by the Protestant (Assembly of God) Chaplain were all about trying to convert me - trying to convince me that I needed Jesus, that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jews too - this while I was suffering chest pains and wired to a heart monitor!"


Find more here:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/5/1/204132/8159

And especially here:
http://iowa-city-akiva.dailykos.com/

"---Even after my meeting with the VA patient advocate and a representative from Chaplain Services Wednesday (accompanied by my Rabbi), the VA has agreed to rectify only one of the issues of religious discrimination I have brought forward: they have agreed to provide kosher food for patients who request it. During my three hospitalizations at the Iowa City VA Hospital I had been denied kosher food and had to endure each hospitalization without eating. Regarding all other issues, both those I have addressed within my blog and others: the VA has refused outright to take action on some, and others the VA has agreed only to "look into." "


Further:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/050807R.shtml

"---An Orthodox Jew and former petty officer in the US Navy said his civil rights were violated after a chaplain and officials at a Veterans Administration hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, tried to convert him to Christianity while he was under the VA's care.

----David Miller, 46, who is on full disability, said in an interview that his physician at the VA hospital told him last week to go home and pray or meditate in place of using medication to relieve the pain he was experiencing from kidney stones. When Miller complained to VA staffers that his physician suggested he turn to God to treat his medical condition and refused to prescribe pain medication, VA officials provided him with a new doctor.

"---My doctor said that since I am a religious Jew, I should try prayer or meditation to deal with the pain," Miller said. "I was shocked that a medical doctor would make such a suggestion. I immediately raised hell and was assigned a new physician."

And further on:

"---In an email response to Harkin, a copy of which was obtained by Truthout, the hospital said when a patient is admitted to the VA hospital he or she is queried about religious preference at registration.

"---There is a standard list which, includes Jewish as one of the religious preference options," Sharp said in his response to Harkin, without specifically addressing Miller's claims. "The admissions clerk should be checking with the patients to ensure that their preference or no preference is accurately indicated on the admission registration forms."

----Sharp said that in accordance with Department of Veterans Affairs guidelines, "pastoral counseling to patients" is not limited to a specific faith.

"---The spiritual aspect of health and wellness is recognized by all caregivers and addressed in all patient care settings," Sharp wrote. "


------------------------------------------------------


I'm sure that you can see the problem with this approach to the physical and spiritual well-being of a patient. And, if it happened to you, you would probably be more than a little bit upset.

I claim not to be biased against any religion (no really, I swear). My bleeding-heart ultra-liberalism forces me to consider all religions as having equal legal and social validity (I'm not talking about the quotient of absurdity - some are much higher on that scale than others).

Nevertheless, I do fear that if an 'Assembly of god' chaplain tried to treat me as a captive audience, by reason of hospitalization, I would do everything in my power to ensure the same treatment for him. His hospitalization might be longer than mine - I have no control over the impact that hard institutional furniture makes on soft, spongy crania.


I approve of David Miller taking the Veterans Administration to task on this matter. A hospital is not the place for missionary activities. If anyone indeed denied him medication and told him to try prayer, that hospital is not the place for them either. They are not fit to serve, and should not be allowed anywhere near tax-payer funded institutions.


My great-grandmother used to chase away missionaries at the door by saying in her upper-crust accent: "Young man, I am a baddist (she meant 'Bhuddist'). Now go away or I shall be violent".
Even though it would be impossible to imagine anyone so well-mannered (and so small) being violent, the approach apparently worked.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

WHAT'S ALL THIS ABOUT A MASHIACH?!?

One of the pillars of Judaism, in which it differs significantly from Christianity, is the hope and faith that the Messaiah is yet to come.

[Christianity seems to have given up on waiting for that event, and redigested some upchuck from Mithraism to argue that it has already happened, it was a life-altering experience, and you never loved them anyhow. Juvenile angst or something. As they grow up they might get over it.]


Judaism holds that the Messiah will come when there is the most need for him, to restore the kingdom and the house of David to glory. More or less.

What is one to make of this? We say bimhaira biyameinu, speedily and in our time, but do we really want that to happen?

It will mean the end of faith if it does.

It will also redeem a lineage whose signal redeeming quality is that it derives from a series of kings -- who both collectively and as individuals were not particularly exemplary.


Let's review, shall we?

David: Adulterer and murderer. Didn't build the Temple.

Solomon: Polygamist and 'accidental' heathen. Built Temple.

Rehovoam: Responsible for the division of the kingdom. Both morally and spiritually bankrupt.

Abiyam: Daddy's boy, 'nuff said.

[Update, Thursday May tenth: Regarding Aviyam, Steg ((dos iz nit der šteg) http://boroparkpyro.blogspot.com/ has a very good post, and a pertinent observation about this name: http://boroparkpyro.blogspot.com/2007/05/nomen-omen-theophorica-wanax.html
Read it, and leave a comment underneath to let him know you where there.]

Asa: Decent fellow, albeit somewhat unremarkable otherwise.

Yehoshafat: Very decent fellow.

Yehoram: Not a decent fellow at all.

Ahaziyah: Offensive idolater and mama's boy.

Ataliyah: Murderous interregentess, Ahazia's mom. Daughter of Jezebel, and a daemon worshipper.

Yehoash: Reign started with matricide, continued on to kohenicide, and finished with idolatry.

Amaziyah: Employed mercenaries to whack the Edomites. Then ruined the effect by worshipping Edomite idols.

Utziyah: Popularly appointed to replace his father Amaziyah. His successes made him arrogant, and he committed sacrilege in the temple with incense, in consequence of which became leprous (untouchable).

Yotam: Not a remarkable man, but probably a good man.

Ahaz: Headstrong and degenerate. There is nothing good to report about his reign. But at least he was not afflicted with tzaaras, unlike his grandfather

Hezekiya: A king worthy of praise, who was in many ways admirable. He sought to eradicate heathen behaviours that had crept in, and reassert independence from the Assyrians.

Menashe: Upon his succession at twelve years of age he promptly undid the good works of his father. Imprisonment by the Assyrians may have made a man out of him - he abandoned idolatry and got his kingdom back. He is not counted as a splendid success, even though his reign was longer than most.

Amon: Degenerate idolater.

Yoshiyahu: A reformer who got rid of much idolatry, who was both a good man and God-fearing. His reign ended badly for him and his people.

Yehoahaz: An idolater who was taken captive by the Egyptians. He died in exile.

Yehoyakim: Half-sibling to Yehoahaz, whom he replaced at the behest of the Egyptians. He was a book burner and tyrant whom the Babylonians waged war against. His body was disposed of with a marked lack of respect.

Yehoyachin: Son of Yehoyakim. Other than that he was hauled off to captivity in Babylon, there is little worth saying about him.

Tzidkiyahu: Brother of Yehoahaz and Yehoyakim. He was brought to power by the Babylonians, but conspired with Egypt against them, because of which Jerusalem was destroyed, his children were slaughtered before his eyes, and his eyes were then put out. He remained a captive the rest of his life in Babylon.

Shealtiel: Son of Yehoyachin. Heir to the kingdom of Judah, which remained in Babylonian hands.

Zarubavel: Grandson of Yehoyachin, who returned with the exiles from Bavel. Last royal of the line of David.


All in all, a line remarkable for the sheer number of idolaters and their misrule. One can well imagine why the exiles in Bavel dreamt of a restoration - there was much in need of restoring.

Clearly the promise of the redeemer is a question of faith - not only in the rectification of the world, but also in the rectification of a family.

Perhaps the family of David is a paradigm for all families, the tribe a paradigm of all tribes, the events that culminate in the redemption a paradigm of events.

The prophets have seized upon the redeemer as a rhetorical device for simultaneously castigating the Israelites while promising a relief from injustice. Carrot and stick.

On the other hand, the reason for the continuing hope for the redeemer is probably not all that different from why the Israelites wanted a king in the first place.

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WHAT IS THE BAD NEWS?

Conversational fragment overheard while leaving the lunch-room:
"The good news is they eat homeless people and piss gasoline".


Now there's a conversation I wish I had heard more of.

Either that person lives on a different plane, or has taken leave of his senses.
Would you, dear reader, care to speculate about the meaning of the sentence?

Is it the end of the world, or the beginning of a world more wondrous and disturbing than we can possibly comprehend?

Please, let your thoughts run wild.
All comments will be appreciated.
perhaps together we can attain enlightenment.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

FIGHTING WORDS

Back in April of last year I wrote “Part of the Judeo-Christian tradition is reaction towards each other, and there is also some influence on each other's thought. Neither side lived in a vacuum. But there is no shared focus. The sharing, or overlap, is in source texts. So, chucking the gospels etcetera out of the window, one is left with a Judaic foundation.”

[See comments on this post: http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2006/04/haskafic-miscellany-faith-versus.html]


This was in response to Lipman, who wrote: "I'm afraid there is no Jewish-Christian heritage. If you subtract all things Christian, there'll be nothing left. Christianity did away with anything Jewish."

At that time I agreed with him in the main, while still stubbornly holding on to the term "Judeo-Christian".



BUT LOOKING AT IT AGAIN.......

The problem is that the term "Judeo-Christian" only works if one is standing entirely outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition, looking in. Much like an angry Jihadi speaking of the 'Zionist-Crusader Alliance'.

If you are on the inside, as anybody reading this blog is bound to be, it is a loaded term.
A Jew using the term would by doing so seem to admit that there is a parity, while a Christian would probably imply that there is an equivalence. A Mormon would use the term inclusionarily, with an un-said assumption that Mormonism perfects the tradition.


In point of fact, there is no such thing as a Judeo-Christian Tradition unless you're an anthropologist, nor is it correct to speak of shared Judeo-Christian values. Yes, Christianity is in some ways derived from a Judaic root, but the moment you accept the Nicaene creed, you have chucked Rabbi Akiva out of the window. Along with the mitzvos, the ikkarim, and much else.
When a Jew suggests such a commonality, that Jew is perilously close to the position of the messianics, and dangerously close to the precipice. One cannot remain Jewish if one accepts Jesus and the teachings of Christianity as within the tradition, or even as a reflection of the tradition.

Likewise, if one acknowledges the Jewish roots of Christianity, one must also recognize that Jesus, like one's own appendix, is not necessary and serves no purpose. Anything else fudges the distinctions.

One need not go so far as to label Christianity a form of idolatry, like the Rambam called the superstitious practices current in his day, but there can be no such thing as common observance, worship or prayer. Anything that has observant Jews and practicing Christians involved together in a religious context is, from both a Judaic and a Christian point of view, ab initio invalid - though both creeds assert the singularity of the deity, they do not share a deity. The Christian conception of the divine differs so much from the Judaic conception that there is no point of commonality, and from a Jewish point of view, taking part in a religious ritual with a believing Christian must be considered either heretical or heathen - in any case, a perverse waste of time.


WHO USES THAT TERM ANYHOW?

Another problem with the term Judeo-Christian is that the people most likely to use it are also often the ones who seek to convert Jews or who think that Jews should be converted.
The term contains the suggestion that there is much that both sides have in common and that the differences between Christianity and Judaism are mere details of hue and not of content. Consequently, because a secular non-observant Jew will likely know very little about Judaism, and may not have ever seriously studied any part of the texts, there is a great danger in the use of the term Judeo-Christian - the term, though resonant, is entirely false.
It is a seductive lie.

[More than mere suppresio veri, suggestio falsi - the usage and context of "Judeo-Christian" is blatanly destructive, in that it can twist and subvert truth. ]


If Jews convert to Christianity they lose much. When Christians convert to Judaism, it may turn out well. But Judaism does not demand converts.

There is only one side that needs to mind its own business. And stop using certain words.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

WHAT HAPPENED TO LEARNING?

Mere years after arriving in the Netherlands, the Academia Y Yesiba Ets Haim was founded by Sfardic refugees in Amsterdam in 1616.

In Rotterdam, Abraham De Pinto (Don Gyl Lopes Pinto, born Lisbon 1588, died Rotterdam 1668) who had fled from Antwerp with his entire family and his dependents in 1647, and converted back to the faith of his ancestors, founded the Yesiba De Los Pintos in 1650 / 1651, with Chacham Josiau Pardo (son of David Pardo, and grandson of Yoseph Pardo, chief Rabbi of Amsterdam) as Ros Yesiba.

At that time there were only a few thousand Sfardim in the Netherlands. At its height, the Sfardic community barely hit the five thousand mark. But it had TWO yeshivos, and printed many books that were disseminated all over Northern and Eastern Europe.


The greater Bay Area has half a million Jews - that's more than a hundred times the number of Sfardim in the Netherlands during the Golden Age.

But, to my knowledge, there is not a single yeshiva in the Bay Area.

BRIEF NOTE: TWO WEB LINKS

Our counter protests are having a bad effect on the Bay Area branch of Women-in-Black.
In addition to hiring a psychic healer to guide them through recentering their gravity or rectifying their auras (whatever - it all sounds like voodoo), this past shabbes they brought white sage to their silent vigil.

White sage is used for purification and to drive away evil spirits.

[Bay Area Women In Black (BAWIB) resemble the Israeli activist group only in name, and in that a few of their members are (allegedly) Jewish - a number of them are of no known Jewish heritage and affiliated with groups which support Hamas and Hezbollah.]

Who are these evil spirits that they wish to drive away?

Errrrm.....
That would be us. 'SF for Israel'. Plus some of the kehilla of Beis Avrohom. We're "diluting their message" and 'disturbing the force', or something.

[They are very upset that we do not agree with their pacifistic "destroy Israel and all will be well with the world" message. We're such selfish Zionists.]

For further data, follow this link:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2007/04/women-in-black-some-more-background.html
Note especially the mention of the Schijveschuurder family in the piece, as in part it explains much of my involvement, and they deserve to be remembered.


One other link that I wish to bring to your attention:
http://www.blue-truth.blogspot.com/
This is the blog of a number of Bay Area Pro Israel activists. Please read, comment, give suggestions and feedback. And feel free to pass the link along to friends.
A sheynem dank foroys.

Friday, May 04, 2007

BROCCOLI - TOO HORRIBLE TO EVEN THINK ABOUT

Several times over the past few weeks one of my coworkers has used the microwave in the lunchroom to heat up something nasty that contains broccoli (I believe that whoever it is uses this substance for lunch purposes).

Whenever they have done so, the hallway between the fire doors and the elevators has had a reek that fair makes me gag.

People who know me will attest to my insensitivity and nasal fortitude. I've been known to relish the aromas of tar, cow pastures, and even tanneries. I'm particularly fond of blue cheese, rank cigars, and the woodshavy odour of joggers.

That cabbagey pong, however, is my Waterloo.

Blurrk!

I have to take my snuff box out of my breastpocket and shove pulverised tobacco up both nostrils with alacrity, for fear of nauseated heaving.


Now, please follow me into a different subject for a few seconds, if you will be so kind.

In the not-too-distant future, easily available oil supplies will run out, and we will be more likely to use alternative energy sources and bio-fuels. Almost anything that can rot can be turned into a fuel source, and enzymes, yeasts, and molds are our friends in that regard, as they breakdown or "digest" substances, and produce byproducts that can be further refined for a multitude of uses.
There already exist such marvelous products as potato-starch plastics, bagasse (sugar cane pulp) papers and disposable plates, corn plastics and corn diesel. The possibilities for inventions and neato-keen advances are endless. Some of the stuff that will be developed in the next few years will astound us AND enrich our lives.


Here's a horrid thought...... somebody will discover a way of making a superior bio-fuel out of broccoli.


Then, everytime I step outside to smoke, the exhaust fumes from the cars in the street will make me choke on an upwash of my own sick.

Please, ban broccoli now, before it's too late. It has to be done. For the good of humanity. Do it, or I'll stand facing you. My those are nice shoes...., expensive?

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CARTER AND CONTIGUITY

Final paragraph of article about Carter in the Berkeley Edu news center blurble (http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/05/03_carter.shtml ):

"---Asked what students and others can do to help him in his efforts to shed light on the Palestinians' trials, he had an equally firm answer. As candidates for the presidential nomination pass through California in the months to come, he said, audiences should compel them to make this straightforward pledge: "If elected, I will do everything possible to promote balanced negotiations to achieve peace and security for Israel and a secure and contiguous state for Palestine."
"If they won't make you that pledge," Carter said firmly, "don't support them." ---"



From the entry for 'contiguous; in Encarta (http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/dictionaryhome.aspx ):

con·tig·u·ous [ kən tíggyoo əss ]

adjective

Definition:

1. adjoining: sharing a boundary or touching each other physically

2. neighboring: situated next to something else or to each other

3. continuous: connected together so as to form an unbroken sequence in time or an uninterrupted expanse in space


----------------------------------


Contiguous? Either he means that Israel should take back Gaza or give up all of the center of the country plus the Negev.


From Pride and Prejudice:
"From this day onward, you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do NOT marry Mr Collins, and I will never see you again if you do."


Quite the choice, isn't it? What is clear is that neither Carter nor many in his audience have a good knowledge of geography and history. Or maybe they do, and they are evil.

That pledge advocates splitting Israel, or destroying it outright.

Any candidate who will not make that pledge shall not get Carter's approval.
But any candidate that DOES make that pledge, should not get anybody else's approval.

I'm glad he drew that line so clearly.

And more than ever I regret having voted for that loathsome man. Even though at the time, it was the least unappetizing thing to do, given that the choice was between a terrible rightwing ideologue and a nookyooler fizzizzist.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

THE HIDDEN TELEPHONE BOOTH IN ANOTHER DIMENSION

Midianite Manna (http://www.midianitemanna.blogspot.com/) has inadvertently created a completely hidden room in the bloggosphere.

And, having the opportunistic sensibilities of a Dutch anarchist squatter, I feel like I'm eyeing a prize mansion on one of the inner canal rings of Amsterdam. The moment the owner goes on vacation to Paramaribo, that squatter could just move in and bring a whole bunch of pot-smoking tie-dyed weasels along. Put up some disco-balls, and hack into the electric grid to power-up a cannabis plantation.

Or some other equally loopy fantasy. The point being that the doorway is unlocked, and the Benz is in the driveway. The blender is plugged in, the liquor cabinet is open, and there's a goat on the hallway rug. The butler has the day off, and the maid went to visit her mom. Whatever. It's a metaphor.


What happened is this: Midianite Manna put up a posting for a limited time so that a conversation could take place in the comments about something Chaim G. wrote elsewhere.
She warned her readers that she would take down the posting permanently that same afternoon.


Which, true to her word, she did.


Now, here's a peculiarity of blogger: The comment section has it's own address. And in consequence, the comment section is still out there, floating somewhere in outer space, with no way for anyone to discover it. Neat, huh?

I just love the oddness of a hidden room. A chamber of secrets.

I may invite others in, seeing as I have the address. But it would only be with the express approval of the blogger herself, as whoever has access and posts comments there would be walzing around in a mansion that she used to occupy.
Any comments, in consequence, get e-mailed to her in-box. So she herself would have to be in on it. Otherwise it could be a nuisance.

Think of it as an opportunity for a coffee-klatch, or a discussion group among friends.

Feedback, please. Especially from Tzipporah. Let me repeat: especially from Tzipporah.

CARTER INCONSPICUOUS IN BERKELEY

Probably the most anaemic description of such an event ever: http://www.dailycal.org/sharticle.php?id=24935 .


Quote: Oakland resident Jane Courant, who held a poster that said “Jimmy Carter Represents Jewish Views”, said Carter’s book fairly described the conflict, but understood some students’ objections.

“Nothing in Carter’s book was inappropriate, but I could see how the word ‘apartheid’ was objectionable,” she said. “But I think he’s just speaking the truth about how people are living.” "


Clearly Jane Courant is not a particularly critical reader – my reactions to Carter’s book are not yet as bad as my reactions to portions of Rav Shneer Zalman’s Tanya, but as I get further into it, it looks increasingly likely that I will do what Dorothy Parker suggested should be done with a book of which she disapproved – it should not be put aside lightly, but “hurled with great force”.

It is repulsive.

Seventy pages in and nearly every page-margin has my pencil scribble. This drecky shtik polemic is destined to become the new protocols. There is not a page without either an objectionable comment about Jews or Israelis, or some factual omission that glares like a greasy forehead.
Not even the Palestinians come off well - unless being portrayed as good natured and somewhat simple-minded nonentities with no real role other than the noble savage is considered 'well'.

Only someone from a background in the racialist era of the Deep South, steeped in the attitudes of that age, could have written such an apologia.


I did not see any mention of any manifestation in Sproul Plaza in the Daily shrdlu – did neither Hillel nor the Carter camp notify the SF Chronicle? If so, how odd.

I guess this is what happens when, against our better judgment, we allow the campus Hillel to set the tone for the response. So insignificant an expression of opposition to Carter achieves naught.


This is what Berkeley Hillel sent out:

UC Berkeley Pro-Israel Activist students have been working closely with Hillel and other organizations since the announcement of Carter's visit on May 2nd was first made.
We have decided to focus our activism in 3 areas to protest the misrepresentations about Israel contained in Carter's book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

[Misrepresentations? Or is that a polite understatement? I guess 'Der Ewige Jude' was also mere misrepresentation? Boys, whimpering diplomacy towards someone so wrong so publicly will not have any impact. Perhaps you should try screaming bloody murder as a gambit instead.]


We have organized a press conference/gathering on Lower Sproul Plaza at 3:30 this coming Wednesday, May 2nd, just prior to the address. At the rally we will express our feelings about Carter's presence on campus and speak out about his anti-Israel bias.

[Feelings are good! Have you considered crystal-healing to adjust your auras? Forming a circle of loving kindness? Holding hands? Burning sage?]


Members of the community with a connection to Cal are encouraged to attend to support students. They are asked to wear Cal gear and not to bring signs as there will be ready-made signs by the students.

[Ooooh, craft projects! Artistic! Self-expression! What you are actually saying is 'please don't disrupt our teaparty with anything disturbing'.]


Students are encouraged to attend the lecture and to ask tough questions. Questions will be submitted on 3 by 5 cards and the moderator will select which questions to pose to Carter.

[In other words, a tightly managed and staged appearance, with pre-screened questions. You do not want ANYONE to shake the equilibrium of an ex-president (who happens to be wrong) and faculty members attending in hopes of being photographed with an ex-president (who happens to be wrong).]


Toward that end we are providing handbills to be handed out with questions we think should be posed to the former President.

[Not only are the questions to be put to the ex-president prescreened, but you also wish to impress upon everyone the need to abstain from independent thought. Free speech is dangerous.]


We believe that the press conference / gathering with an emphasis on student voices will make the most powerful statement. We strongly discourage separate efforts that may dilute the impact we all seek to make. We urge all community members who are interested in attending to be supportive of and respectful of the pro-Israel students' activist program during the Carter visit.

[Honestly, you didn't make ANY statement. None. So much the opposite of powerfull that it was not even noticeable. Separate efforts (differently put: ignoring your pooferish bleating) would have been much more effective, but we co-operated with you. We dreaded that doing so would turn out to be a mistake, and in that we were not disappointed. But it WAS a great mistake. ]


Dear Berkeley Hillel, the next time you wish to organize a teaparty, please don't. And don't ask us to respect you either. We're kinda upset with you at present.

A period of introspection is in order. Please examine your karma for bald-spots. And seriously consider a high colonic saline - it's cleansing.
 
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