Monday, February 27, 2006


In a comment appended to a Dovbearian blogpost, REReader writes the following:


Has everyone finished yelling? I would like to reiterate a point I tried to make earlier, when everyone was too busy shouting to listen.

The value and argument for free speech is not that some of the people who say noxious and horrible things might be right. The value and argument for allowing free speech is that when people say noxious and horrible things, other people can counter them, in public. THAT DISCOURSE, the give and take, is what ultimate results in an increase in truth and knowledge. And the obligation (yes, obligation) to address such ideas is what "shakes up the establishment," not the noxious speech.

One argument against free speech is that hey, someone said something noxious, and no one pays attention to the rebuttal, so it just does harm. The counter-argument (which I agree with) is that the rebuttal has to keep yelling loudly and clearly and make itself heard. The lack of true evenhandedness in the market-driven media (noxious speech does make a better story than a reasoned rebuttal, there's no denying) is an argument against market-driven media, not against free speech.

Is anyone listening?
[REReader 02.27.06 - 10:29 am # ]

REReader said it better than I could.

Dovbear's post commented on the sentencing of faux-historian David Irving, who is well know as a holocaust denier, nazi apologist, and all round loveable eccentric. The point which I read into Dovbear's post ( was that both the law against holocaust denial, and the sentencing, go against our values of free speech.

As, indeed, they do.

People should be allowed to publish whatever they want to publish.

Without the authorities having much say in the matter.

That does not mean that if harm was done by publishing something, the author and publisher should not be taken to task. One can sue for slander, prosecute for incitement, or take to court to demand retractions.

But only after the fact - it's a bit hard to argue that harm was done, unless the material was published. [A question of both tense and proof.]

Any limitations on speech should come from the public, not from governments or politicians, no matter how friggin' high-minded they claim to be.

It's simple - I do not trust the authorities to know when to stop.

[Please don't even think of bringing up national security as a reason not to publish - you know that argument has been abused and misused so often, by so many thorough ruffians, as to be virtually useless. Unless a national security issue can be proven, the mere claim should NOT be allowed to stifle speech, nor hide the stupidity and incompetence of people in power.]

TUB (The Ursine Blogger) wrote: "Though neither Irving nor the cartoonists should be regarded as free speech martyrs, both have scored cheap points for free expression. "

Now isn't it a bloody shame that that is so?
We've really sunk to a lowpoint if crappy sketch-artists without a sense of humour and odious cretins like Mr. Irving have become the posterboys of free-speech.

I really do believe that once we allow governments to impose controls on free-speech, we're only one step away from the dominant religion exerting its influence. And before you know it, they'll be burning Talmuds and evolution textbooks in the public square, and banning the publication of Tanya and Penthouse.

An exaggeration? You really think so?

You do know that libraries have to report you if you borrow certain books, don't you?
You would really be surprised at some of the books on the list. Go ahead, ask your library for the list - but don't be surprised if they report you.

I'm not a particular fan of either Tanya of Penthouse, but I concede that they serve a purpose (though their purpose is immaterial to the argument), and I cannot support limiting publishing or distribution of either.

NOTE: March 24th., 2011

DB comment string link: CLICK HERE

Referenced Dovbear post:

Both links also shown in the comments underneath here. The comment string takes a few seconds to load - be patient. Dovbear's blog also takes a second or two. The relevant comment string is also accessible from the post itself.

Friday, February 24, 2006


From the BBC:

In brief:
A Sudanese gentleman was forced to pay a dowry of fifty bucks for a goat that he was caught in the act of ..... congressing.

And also forced to marry the beast.

Now I know that this is not news of earthshaking importance -- even publishing the news-article could be considered in questionable taste, and far below the usual journalistic standards of the BBC.

But I can well understand why they published it.

It isn't often that you get such a chance.

So you must leap on it when you do.

As, indeed, the Sudanese gentleman in question did.

His name, by the way, is Mr. Tombe. Do any of my readers have the same last name? No?
Then I won't be inadvertently offending anyone with this, so let us proceed.

The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.

They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.

"We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together," Mr Alifi said.

Mr Alifi, Hai Malakal in Upper Nile State, told the Juba Post newspaper that he heard a loud noise around midnight on 13 February and immediately rushed outside to find Mr Tombe with his goat.

No, I'm not going to make a silly joke about 'getting his goat' - you can think of that one entirely without my help in any case.

I will however say that a good goat is hard to find.

A friend (L.E.), to whom I mentioned this incident, said "I sincerely hope that the dowry for the goat was significantly less than that which is paid for a woman."

Maybe not. Maybe they actually prefer goats.

Must make their high-school proms mighty interesting.
Save on the booze, but the decorations get eaten, and the clean-up afterwards is horrific.

Or, then again, maybe not. Maybe he's stuck with the gir..., I mean goat.
Even if he wasn't expecting any conversation or light chit-chat from his spouse, he is surely disappointed by now.

"Be-eeeh, bee-eeh, beee-eh" hardly qualifies as love-talk. Or as sweet nothings cooed into his ear.
Knowing what I do of goats, Mrs. Tombe would be more likely to nibble his ear. Or take a healthy bite, in hopes that it was a tin-can.

So Mr. Tombe might be regretting his impetuousity at this point, no matter how hard up he is, in the arid depths of the Sudan, all lonesome, surrounded by miles and miles of thornbushes, cactii, and.... other goats! [And just think of the temptation!]

But, as Maya says, "there's an easy way out. Instead of saying "Talak, Talak, Talak" which would effectively give him a divorce, all he needs to do is say "Halal, Halal, Halal", and he can have a lovely dinner".

He can even invite his friends to the feast; "She cooks well, my wife."
They will congratulate him; "Mabrouk!"
And he will say 'Bismillah!', with an expansive gesture, and invite them to dig in.

--- --- --- --- --- ---
Oh, why am I outraged, you ask?
Because at fifty dollars, he paid less than a buck per kilo of meat! Do you know how cheap that is?!?! A bargain!

And I do so love a nice bit of goat.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Two great sound files.

1. RajivPillai Govindoswami talking to Warragumba.

2. What is the number for Chaim-Modkhe Brekher?

Note: Margavriel alerted me to DovBear's latest post. DovBear's post directed me to SerandEz. On which was the link to the soundfile for 'Brekher'.


As Venky Injinir would say: "Whatever you are wanting, we are kindly NOT having!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


The Godol Hador ( said this today:

"I also expect that most mature people realize that when I call someone a 'raving lunatic' I mean it in the best possible way, with oodles and oodles of love and kisses and hugs and affirmation and empathy etc. OK, maybe one or two times there was the slightest hint of a speculation of a teensy weensy bit of annoyance on my part. For that I sincerely apologize, and I promise never ever to do it again ...."

Snnnf snnnf.... that's so sweet!!!!

It's the nicest thing anyone's said in years!

I'm touched. No, really.

For the rest of his post, go here:
----- ------------------ -----

As a conversational gambit in a bar or at the office Christmas party, apologizing for calling someone a 'Raving Lunatic™' is probably without equal.

Just remember to answer the inevitable question with "What! You mean they never said anything?".

Then answer all further queries with "never mind". Or "I guess it doesn't matter".

Monday, February 20, 2006


Are there Muslim anti-semites in La Belle France? Not if you believe the authorities.
Or maybe there are..... just as elsewhere in Europe. But to say so would inflame communal tensions, so better perhaps that a few Jews get whacked than that angry immigrant jugend set Paris afire. 'Tis a small price to pay.

Now, let me direct your attention to the following:

France arrests gang suspected in killing of Parisian Jew
By Assaf Uni, Haaretz Correspondent

PARIS - The French police arrested late Thursday night most of the members of the gang that abducted, tortured and murdered Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew from Paris. Hundreds of SWAT officers raided apartments in Bagneux and arrested 12 people. Another suspect was arrested in Belgium. "They acted with indescribable cruelty," the judiciary police chief leading the investigation said. "They kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut him and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight."


But the Paris public prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin, told Parisian Jewish radio on Thursday that "no element of the current investigation could link this murder to an anti-Semitic declaration or action." The umbrella group of French Jewish secular organizations, CRIF, issued a statement Friday calling on the Jewish community "to keep calm, cautious and wait for developments in the investigation."


A police source said the gang is a group of childhood friends who grew up in Bagneux, a suburb south of Paris. The gang includes Muslims of North African descent and is headed by Youssef Fofana, who has escaped police capture so far.


A source in the Jewish community said the gang's behavior suggested that the motive behind the kidnapping was violence for its own sake, particularly against Jews. "Why didn't they release him when the realized the family couldn't pay ransom?" asked Sami Gazlan, who is responsible for security in the Jewish community. Last Monday, a few days after the kidnappers ended contact with the family, Ilan was found near a suburban train station south of Paris, naked, handcuffed and gagged, with burns covering 80 percent of his body.


[Or at least pretend that they always been liberal and broadminded, not to say humane and tolerant.]



Here's an interview with the mother of the murder victim:

La mère d’Ilan Halimi, jeune juif parisien de 23 ans qui a été enlevé, torturé et assassiné par un gang dans la banlieue parisienne, accuse la police de manquements qui ont entraîné la mort de son fils.

Elle accuse également la police d’avoir ignoré les motivations antisémites de cette affaire, afin de ne pas s’aliéner la population musulmane.
« Si Ilan n’avait pas été juif, il n’aurait pas été assassiné » affirme-t-elle.

And, from

Ruth Halimi, la mère d'Ilan, se bat aussi contre la chape de plomb. Les médias ont minimisé l'horreur subie par son fils. Il ne faut pas parler d'antisémitisme. C'est juste un crime crapuleux, pour de l'argent. C'est bien connu, tous les maîtres-chanteurs torturent, mutilent et brûlent leurs victimes qui leur sert de monnaie d'échange ! C'est la thèse officielle.

And from Israel National News

French media reports stated the victim was “tortured to death” as well as being “handcuffed and gagged,” adding he “died en route to hospital.”

While police are unwilling to label the attacks anti-Semitic, local Jewish residents assert that the gang has been targeting Jewish victims since December.


Judiciary Police Chief Francois Jaspar and general attorney of Paris Jean-Claude Marin said that at least three other similar criminal kidnapping attempts have been reported since last December, but that previous ones have failed. ---[cut]--- Jaspar and Marin did not mention the victim’s Jewish identity or any anti-Semitic aspect in this affair but community security services suspect the kidnappers who tortured the young man may have had anti-Semitic motives.

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

I would not be so crude as to suggest that the French have not changed since the days of the Dreyfus affair. They are manifestly a different people than they were in that far less enlightened age, and also they have changed much since the regretable events of WWII.

How have they changed?

Well, they're ten percent Muslim at this point. That's a voting bloc that cannot be ignored.

Friday, February 17, 2006


BBC NEWS: In Hong Kong, more than 2,000 Muslims stage a peaceful anti-cartoon march.

Of course it was peacefull. The ghazees were outnumbered, and the Chinese government doesn't tolerate bad behaviour from heterodox sects and schismatics, let alone Fan-gui (savage hairy barbarians).

The HK riot police would've slaughtered 'em at the first brick.


Now the next subject is not something many of you will be familiar with.


Nope, nothing having to do with farmyards, OR cattle-tipping, alas.
Rather, something that some of you can look forward to when you are twenty years older than you are now.
Dry, itchy skin on your calves.

First, you must understand that good bath soap will inevitably dry out the skin - more on some parts of the body than others.

The skin is a sensitive organ, which often serves as your body's first line of defense. It produces oils, and is naturally slightly moist. Under normal circumstances you will not realize this or be aware of it - you probably don't think much about your skin, do you?

It never stopped thinking of you.

As you get older, the skin becomes less resilient, less responsive. And drier.

And at this point soap might become an issue.

You see, in colder weather, the circulation near the surface of the body kinda clamps down - exposure helps cool the body, and at this time of year you don't really want that to happen.
Your skin understands that. It realizes that you need to maintain body temperature, and it is still responsive. It loves you.

When circulation near the outer surface of the body lessens, the skin slows the production of its natural oils, and also that slight moistness, which you are unaware of.

The soap, in consequence, leaches out more than will be replaced over the next day.

And by the end of a cold week, the skin is almighty pissed (please remember that I mentioned it was 'responsive').

It has responded.

The skin of the calves has become a tormentation, which kept me up till nearly three o'clock last night.


Holy crap.

I'm not even gonna mention the hives which I occassionally also get (something growing out behind the building, my skin is allergic to - it angrifies the derma, and red welts arise).
I'm not going to say anything about the nasty huge raised red blotches, nor about having to take off my watch because the hives underneath are cutting off circulation and giving my left hand oedema. Or even about the hard pebbly surfaces that my wandering claws encounter when I scratch. Because all of this has faded into insignificance when compared to my burning calves.

This morning, before bathing, I anointed my calves with olive oil - marvelously soothing.

I highly recommend olive oil. It is also good for other minor surface ailments, and can used for cleaning out the ear, if gently applied with a cotton-tipped stick applicator or swab (cue-tip).

I smell like a salad.


Pakistani Cleric: Kill cartoonist for reward

[Civilized bunch, those Pakistanis!]

A Pakistani mullah has offered a 2.5 million rupee reward and a car to anyone who kills the cartoonist who drew the Prophet Muhammad.

[A Pakistani car. Such a metzia. What kinda car are we offering for Osama BL? A rickshaw?]

Mohammed Yusuf Qureishi, prayer leader at the Muhabat Khan mosque in Peshawar, announced that the mosque and the Jamia Ashrafia Madrassa (Assemblies of Nobility Religious Academy) he leads would give 1.5 million rupees and a car to whoever kills the cartoonist of the prophet pictures that appeared in a Danish newspaper in September.

[Remember, Islam is a religion of peace. And Pakistan is part of the Dar Es Salam - The Abode of Peace. A shining example to us poor koofers!]

He also said a local jewelers' association (The Association Of The Jeweler's Bazar) would also give one million dollars.

[A typical marketing ploy. A goodwill, advertisement, if you will. Should boost sales in that slow season between Ramadan and the next jihad. Peshawari bussinessmen need all the help they can get, seeing as the tourist trade inexplicably dried up around September 2001.]

"Whoever has done this despicable and shameful act, he has offended the honour of Muslims. Whoever kills this accursed man, he will get one million rupees from the association of the jewelers' bazaar, one million rupees from Masjid Muhabat Khan and 500,000 rupees and a car from the Jamia Ashrafia as a reward," Qureshi said, "This is a(n) unanimous decision by all imams that whoever insults the prophet deserves death and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get this reward."

[If the honour of Muslims is redeemed by murder, perhaps there was but little honour there to begin with. More appropriately, they should offer a fine fat pig instead - surely the association and the Masjid Muhabat Khan have several loafing around? Maybe a swine or two hiding behind a lectern or desk?]

He did not name the cartoonist.

[He would have, except that all of those darn koofer names are so hard! And he probably hasn't realized that there were several of them - like many fine folks in Pakistan, he doesn't (can't) read newspapers, and he doesn't get out much.]

Siraj El Haq, a senior minister in the NWFP provincial government - which is run by a hard-line Islamic coalition - told the same assembly that the government should demand the extradition of the cartoonist for trial in Pakistan.

[Yep, that's a government official of one of our allies. I really feel comforted now. Totally.]

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

In other news from the cultural war front:

India: A minister in Uttar Pradesh, Haji Yaqub, announces a $11m reward for anyone who beheads the cartoonist who drew the images of Muhammad.


Iran: Iranians wishing to buy Danish pastries will now have to ask for "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad".
The confectioners' union mandated the name change in retaliation for the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. The union said that the decision was prompted by the "insults by Danish newspapers against the Prophet". "This is a punishment for those who start misusing freedom of expression to insult the holiness of Islam."
Dearly beloved readers, I believe there are several possible versions of the new name for Danish pastries in Iran: Gul-e Peikambar, Gul-e Rasul, Mawar-e Nabi, or the full length Arabo-Persian 'Pul-e Mawar-e Sayidna en-Nabi Mohammed Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam' (P.M.S.N.M.S.A.S).
To name just a few.

This will undoubtedly cause some confusion. Wherefore I suggest that instead of any of the above, or even the term 'Roses Of The Prophet Mohammed', we simply call them 'The Pastry Formerly Known As Danish' - TPFKAD.

Or 'Moe's Bloomers'. Whatever.

Suggestions? Feedback? Sarcasm? Death-threats?
Please comment!

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Respondingtojblogs, whose picture looks so much like Butters from Southpark that they could be twins, except that one of them isn't real, raises some interesting points, eloquently, in a recent posting (

Regarding his discomfort with demands that Judaism makes on his worldview, he writes:
"The first and most obvious is the conflict between Torah and Science. I’ve seen cute ways of getting around this problem, from linguistic gymnastics to typical “kiruv klown” attacks on established scientific theory. I am not going to debate the contours of this conflict. Suffice it to say that the Torah, read literally, makes stark assertions of fact (e.g., six days of creation, existence of firmament, geocentrism, young universe, global flood, etc.) that are at odds with any modern understanding of the world. "

[Oh dear. Am I to take this as meaning that Intelligent Design isn't going to find favour with him? A pity. ]

But more to the point, "Far more disturbing then outright conflict with physical law, however, is the assumption that Judaism somehow transcends the law of time."

He clarifies what he means by saying: "My point, however, is that time does more than shape our physical surroundings. It changes culture as well. Every culture develops myths, complex social interactions, economic markets, religion, and political systems. These institutions in turn feedback on themselves and their complexity grows over time. Political and economic systems grow more complex. Some myths are forgotten, while some gain central importance to the culture. "

In short, the Judaism of today is not the Judaism of the past. So it is ridiculous to act as if it were.

To those who have rejected religion, this is so obvious as to be self-evident, but it is perhaps surprising how many people of only moderate intelligence in this world are unable to see how their own creed has changed over time - consider the Muslims who look back on a golden past, fantasizing about the companions of the prophet and the caliphate, or the Hindus who insist that the cow has been sacred for as long as there have been Hindus, or Protestants who are convinced that Luther somehow got the real deal on Christianity despite centuries of Catholic thought forming the Western Christian worldview.

Judaism today would be unthinkable without Rashi, the Rambam, and the GRA.
Yet two thousand years ago, they would have been unthinkable, and their thoughts would not have been thunk.

More to the point, while at every stage the faithful have made changes to the belief system, knowledge has increased and shattered some of the once firm bedrock on which much dogma was built. So much so for instance that one is unable nowadays to believe that the earth is flat, or this globe is the center of the universe - and these were once unassailable facts.

Science and faith are at odds. It was not science that picked this fight, and given how little of anybody's sacred scripture can be proven or is scientifically verifiable, science often seems happily unaware of the contradiction.

Not so the religious world. As is proven by the comments appended to a recent posting by the Gadol Hador (Noach Lo Hoyoh Veloh Yihyeh ).

Regarding the great flood, the Gadol protests "When are you guys going to get it?! - From a rational perspective, IT DIDN'T HAPPEN."

He concludes his posting with the words "Personally, I would say it's just as logical to claim that Zoboomafoo planted all the evidence. But if you want to have faith in a bizzarre set of miracles then go right ahead. But at least admit it's all faith. There's no reason anywhere to be found."

With the entire post some of his readers take issue. There are already over two hundred comments.

Some of them argue that a local flood is consistent with midrash - but not with Torah.

Others daringly go out on a ledge.

A very high ledge.

And jump.

Such as Lakewood Yid, who said: "what about dinosaurs? In my opinion, they existed just they didn't survive the mabul."

Note that this posits that there were dinosaurs running around five thousand years ago, before the flood (mabul). Never mind that the geologic evidence that proves their existence places dinosaurs a distance from our own time of millions of years (and never mind that the Republican Party only dates from the nineteenth century).

Happywithhislot ( spotted the contradiction, and after hinting at the sheer ancientness involved, asked "By the way, lakewood yid, are you admitting there were dinosaurs? Dont you know that is kefirah in some circles?"

S. ( asked: "Dinosaurs lived 5000 years ago?"

To which Lakewood Yid responded: "Prove it that they didn't."

At this point I dropped my coffee cup, I was laughing so hard.

For which I apologize.

It isn't nice to make fun of someone else's lack of knowledge.

Especially as having already met us half-way (by acknowledging the existence of dinosaurs), he very likely may come further along this path, over time, and accept several other fundaments of modern knowledge - such as evolution, big bang, trilobites, and gravity.

S. responded to the demand for proof that dinosaurs did not exist five thousand years ago by writing: "Whatever. It's an accident of birth that you don't believe that Jesus died for you or that Moloch wants your first born as steak."

Which prompted an unknown whom we all know and love to come out of the woodwork under the name Moloch and say "Feed me your babies, lakewood yid! I know you have very many!"

Shortly thereafter, Lakewood Yid posted what is essentially his haskafa:

"Not only here in Lakewood but also the entire orthodox jewry who firmly believe that the ENTIRE torah was given to Moshe at Har sinai. All of us stand up and say SHUT UP to a person who doesn't believe in even one part of Torah Shb'csav. You are even worse than the Tzedokim. They, at least believed in Torah Shb'csav.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a born and bred lakewooder and if I were to meet you face to face, I would sit down with you and have a nice polite mentchliche discussion with you.

But anonymously on the web I sayKEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.

Is there evidence that the red sea split???????

Is there evidence that all the water in egypt turned into blood????

Is there evidence that a mountain was uprooted and held over the jews heads at sinai?????

Is there evidence that avrohom avinu walked into the fire (kivshin ha'eish) and survived????????I could go on & on & on....Sure you may question if Noach existed. But not to declare that it never happened."


How can emunah even exists if doubt is removed from the picture? Faith lives only when one can doubt but finds a reason to suspend that doubt. Doubt is essential to the process.

Isn't such absolute certainty, within the context of an ethical belief system, a form of heresy?
Doesn't doubt have a validity for faith that absolute certainty lacks?

Perhaps equally valid is the question whether there is any way of combining two seemingly contradictory worlds.

In arguing Torah, the real world must be set aside, and in discussing the real world, the Torah must fade into the background. It is the confusing of these two mostly contradictory realms (scripture vs evidence) that bulgars up most of the public debate.

One either takes the mythos, or one takes the facts. Each approach turns the other into an intellectual construct, but neither approach allows for great flexibility in interpretation. There are parameters which limit the options.

For me, it isn't a question of trying to prove one right and the other wrong, but of logical rigidity. Specifically of applying the rules of the game exactly. And for me, being both anally retentive AND neurotic, it is also a matter of great fascination.

In reality, the flood never happened.

In the Torah, history and geology do not exist.

There is a time and a place for reality, and there is a worth and a purpose for the Torah.

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

On an entirely different subject, I have just discovered the most amazing blogger! Yehupitz!

His blog (here: is, like only a few other blogs, devoted entirely to his own gentle tongue in cheek attempt to make people think.

In a posting dated December 27 ('Dovbear: no sense of decency'), the Yehupitzer writes: "...this Dov animal has no decency. His unwarranted attacks on good people he disagrees with, such as Rabbi Emanuel Feldman and Toby Katz"

Toby Katz, you will recall, is the name of a hatemonger who writes for Der Sturme...., I mean Crosscurrents (a neo-Christian apologist blog which carefully screens the comments people post, and then selects which ones not to publish).

He writes further "That this sheigetz deserves condemnation is nothing new. What is newly deserving of condemnation is Gil's benign tolerance of such scum."

As heaven forfend I would not want to assume that der Yehupitzer redt lashon horo, it is clear that he meant this in jest.

If it weren't for Dovbear, der Yehupitzer would not exist.

Surely he is grateful to this creator?


Blogs mentioned in this post:

[He often makes good points, and his blog is well worth cruising into.]
Not The Gadol Hador:
[Despite his disclaimer, he very well may be the Gadol Hador. One of the greats.]
[A sense of humour. A realist.]
S. (Mississippi Fred MacDowell):
[One of the stellar team of Maven Yayin (
A good writer on his own as well as a member of an excellent collective effort.]
Lakewood Yid does not have a blog. Yet.
The unknown whom we all know and love, aka Moloch, wishes to remain anonymous - and if we blow his cover, a sting operation that took several years to engineer will be blown, and the TeoChew gangs will waste him. And you will have blood on your hands. Don't ask.
Oh, and you already know who Dovbear is, and where to find him. I read him on a daily basis. It's good for the circulation.
[Warning: Dovbear may cause dyspepsia for some of you Republicans, but you'll be better for it, as you had better! realize. Yes, you may thank me.]

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


So I was over at Marty's after lunch today, and without a word he hands me a newsletter for the retailers of the product that he sells.

And I read, more or less: "Dear subscribers, I am sure you have been wondering why it is that you haven't received a new issue in so long from XXX. I apologize, but in addition to having been inordinately busy due to the season, I was also out for more than a month having total gender re-assignment surgery. In order to now celebrate my womanhood........."

I was startled.

Even more when I considered that the colonel's gender re-assignment was volunteered apropos of nothing. It had no relevance to the subject at hand, nor to the merchandise about which is being newslettered. The admission was, in it's own way, a boast.

Total gender re-assignment. The most exciting thing in Indiana, for some retired colonel.
Total. Gender. Re-assignment.
Not an assignment I would have accepted.
But you know the military.....
I am sure the colonel will serve with distinction. In. This. New. Gender. Assignment.

Please join me in congratulating him.

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

In other news, after hearing about our vice-president involved in some hunting fracas, I am thinking of taking up hunting myself.
As a card-carrying liberal, I will only shoot vegetables.

It's the least I can do.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Haggis is made by boiling the 'plucks' (heart, lungs, liver - so called because they can be lifted out in one semi-attached piece by the windpipe) for several hours, then chopping them with oatmeal, onions, and spices, and filling a lambs-stomach with this mixture. The 'pudding' is then tied in cheesecloth, and boiled till done.

Scotch people, who are well-known for their culinary sense of humour, created the dish as a way of promoting the consumption of whiskey, and making bag-pipe music more bearable by comparison.]


What follows are instructions to make the beast - in Dutch, because no English speaker needs to know Scottish culinary secrets.

Men neme een lammer maag, en tevens the plucks (hart, longen, lever - zogenoemd omdat de doorsnee man dit eruit plukt en meteen wegmietert). De 'plucks' mot men eerst voorkoken, met de windpijp over de rand van de ketel hangend zodat de rotzooi deruit druipt (tjawan deronder om het op te vangen) - zo'n uur of twee, drie.

Na het voorkoken verwijdere men de windpijp, hakke de plucks middelgrof, menge het met ootmeel, gehakte ui, en specerijen, en stoppe men het in de reeds schoongemaakte lammermaag. Bind het op (zonode in een kookdoek), en laat hem in heet water gaar koken.

Het moet 'n goeie halve dag koken - maar minstens zo'n twee en 'n half uur. Nadat ie gekookt is, uit het water halen, drogen en ietwat laten verkoelen, kruiswijs kerven zodat ie van boven open is, en met veel hoeha opdienen.

Men kan zeggen dat mensen die het graag lusten het waarschijnlijk nooit zelf gemaakt hebben, en zij die het maken er nimmer een hap van willen slikken.

Men is er met onrecht trots op - zozeer dat men in Schotland tegenwoordig ook 'haggisburger' kan kopen. Maar net zoals helaas teveel tegenwoordig Brits voer blijkt het beter om er een fikse kladder sambal bij te eten (net zoals met de Britse chimichanga. Mijn hemel, wat een ketterij!).

Haggis is eigenlijk wat men een boudin of 'savoury pudding' zou noemen. En die kunnen ook erg smakelijk wezen. Men denke bijvoorbeeld aan een goeie 'spotted dick', of een 'boiled baby'.

De tegenwoordige Brit verstaat vaak de ballen van zijn vaderlandse keuken niet, en 'either boils the food to death, or fries the daylights out of it' (volgens de schrijver Amal Naj). Engeland geurt daarom naar gekookte kladder en gebrande frituur vet. En de gevolgen van ontstellende maagzuur, waar geen lauw bier bij helpt.

Bon appetit.


From the BBC:
Islam-West divide 'grows deeper'

Malaysia's prime minister says a huge chasm has opened between the West and Islam, fuelled by Muslim frustrations over Western foreign policy.

[That goes both ways. We're almighty frustrated with you too. Plainly put, we think most of you are fanatic crackpots with a chip on your collective shoulder.]

Abdullah Badawi, seen as promoting a moderate form of Islam in largely Muslim Malaysia, said many Westerners saw Muslims as congenital terrorists.

[So what you're saying is that y'all have an image problem?]

As he spoke at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, thousands protested outside at cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. "Long live Islam. Destroy Denmark. Destroy Israel. Destroy George Bush. Destroy America," protesters shouted as they marched to the Danish embassy in the rain from a nearby mosque.

[And yet you wonder why we think of y'all as congenital terrorists?]

On Thursday, Mr Abdullah shut indefinitely a Borneo-based paper, the Sarawak Tribune, for reprinting the cartoons. He described their publication as "insensitive and irresponsible". The paper had apologized for what it called an editorial oversight. The prime minister had also declared possession of the cartoons illegal.

[How do you say "thought control" in Bahasa Melayu? Yes I know that you had to do it, to prevent violence and appease the screamers who would certainly instigate and commit mayhem otherwise - but that you had to do it speaks volumes.]

Addressing an international conference intended to promote dialogue between Western and Islamic thinkers, Mr Abdullah said Islam and the West should stop demonizing each other, and try to curb extremism and promote moderation.

He said mere talk and being nice to one another were not enough, and mutual respect should replace hegemony.

"They think Osama bin Laden speaks for the religion and its followers," he said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

"The demonization of Islam and the vilification of Muslims, there is no denying, is widespread within mainstream Western society."

But Muslims for their part had to avoid "sweeping denunciation of Christians, Jews and the West", he added.

"The West should treat Islam the way it wants Islam to treat the West and vice versa. They should accept one another as equals," he said.

[And this actually proves that the prime minister is a rational and decent man - focus on that expression 'vice versa'. He admits that it needs to go both ways, that respect and decency are a two-way street. The only way either side can accept the other on an equal footing, is if they accept the other on its own terms. Which means that the Muslim world should stop criticizing and vilifying the West.]


Gentlemen, we aren't going to change just because you scream bloody murder and threaten the direst consequences (and we've come to the disappointing realization that you Muslims are not likely to change either).

The best we can hope for is a gradual lessening of your irrational hostility to the West - so please try at least to overcome your monumental hypersensitivity, and understand that we are not you. We have NO interest in being like you. We really do not want to become obedient Muslims, or be a part of the umma. We do not want to conquer you, nor do we envy you.

This has nothing to do with hatred or depravity - it's just that since you started destroying our classic Mediterranean civilization and building your exclusionary empires on the wreckage, we've gone in a different direction and developed something else, and we have actually gotten quite good at it; we call it by various names - 'liberal democracy', the 'enlightenment', 'modernity', 'humanism', 'freedom' - perhaps you've heard?

In any case, mass conversion at the point of a sword ain't gonna happen, and simplistic pamphlets about the Prophet only enchant the simple minded. Rigidly blinkered Quran-freaks with closed minds will not convince us either - though a broad-minded, literate, and witty approach would definitely win friends.

But if you keep up the angry drumbeat, we will eventually close our doors, and lessen points of contact.

Which will mean that, in the end, you will loose.

Why will you loose?

Because that change in which you do not engage, would allow your societies to react to shifting circumstances, and innovate. It would allow your students to develop flexible minds. It would promote development. It would enrich your cultures, and broaden your horizons. It would turn the sterile ideological wasteland into a garden.

But without change, your best and brightest will scrabble for refuge in the West, and your verkrampte hardliners will continue to organize violence, tyrannize their fellow citizens, and burn your societies. And you will stagnate.


In other Muslim news, around 10,000 Muslims stage a silent protest rally in Bhopal, India, carrying banners reading: "Stop all anti-Islamic activities... Do not invite disaster."
[Is that a threat?]


Concerning the cartoons, permit me to post a few links that show what others within the oilam are saying.

Here's Chana, a young blogger who is more mature and thoughtful than many twice her age:
I do not agree with her on this issue, but her postings are well thought out. Many of her postings are startlingly lomdish.

Here's Fleur de lis:
Again, a somewhat nuanced approach to the cartoons.

One of the commenters who shows up regularly on Chana's blog (and on Dovbear: is 'Jameel at the Muqata', a settler with a keen mind - which I acknowledge though I cannot rationally support many of his opinions (emotionally yes, but that is a different matter):
He too has something to say about the cartoon controversy. Just cruise through his recent postings.

Here's a thoughtful and witty Arab commenting on the cartoon controversy:
He shows that there is still much hope for liberal Western civilization.

Last and least, my own take. Last as a matter of modesty, and least because that modesty is well-deserved; I am not nearly as good a writer as I would like to be, which I learn on a daily basis from reading everybody else's stuff.

Regards, and a gitn shabbes y'all.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


From the Volkskrant:
AMSTERDAM - VVD-politica Ayaan Hirsi Ali heeft tijdens een bezoek aan de Duitse hoofdstad Berlijn donderdag de publicatie van spotprenten van de profeet Mohammed geprezen. De Europese media en journalisten die zich daar tegen hebben uitgesproken noemde zij hypocriet en ruggengraatloos.
[During a visit to Berlin on Thursday, Dutch liberal party parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali praised the publication of the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. She called the media and journalists who have spoken against the publishing hypocritical and spineless.]

"Intellectuelen en journalisten, die leven van de vrijheid van meningsuiting en censuur accepteren van de zijde van islamitische extremisten, verschuilen zich achter nobel klinkende begrippen als 'verantwoordelijkheid' en 'respect', maar tonen in werkelijkheid hun gebrek aan ruggengraat en bereidheid om hun principes hoog te houden", aldus het Tweede Kamerlid."
["Intellectuals and journalists, who live by the freedom to opinionate, and yet accept censoring from Muslim extremists, cower behind noble-sounding concepts such as 'responsibility' and 'respect'; but in reality they show their lack of spine and any determination to maintain their principles", according to the member of parliament.]

She said that the publication of the cartoons had been beneficial, as it highlighted once more that a segment of the Muslim community neither accepts the values of liberal democracies, nor tolerates freedom of speech.

In her opinion, there is an inalienable right to insult, and she advocates examination and criticism of Islam, averring that it is a creed that threatens open societies.

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

Quote "In Islam there is a hardline Islamist movement that rejects democratic freedoms and seeks to destroy them."

Ms Hirsi Ali also rebuked European leaders for not standing by Denmark, and appeasing fundamentalists.

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


The following is on behalf of MarGavriel
(link: )

It was copied verbatim from DovBear
(link: )

Mar Gavriel writes:

A few weeks ago, the president of the Old Broadway Synagogue told me that if I could somehow procure sifrei nevi'im on qelof for the schul, he would let me leyn haftorôth out of them. Mind you, though, the Old Broadway Synagogue is an ailing old schul, just barely holding on to itself, and it certainly does not have enough money to buy sifrei nevi'im.... Please tell me of any institutions in New York that own qelofin of sifrei nevi'im. I recognize that my dream of owning sifrei nevi'im (and kethuvim, and Torah) will not be fulfilled in the near future-- though it will אי"ה be fulfilled eventually, for I will write them myself. However, with a little help from you internet personalities, I hope very soon to fulfill my dream of regularly leyning haftorôth (and, when relevant, meghillôth) from full qelofin.

If you have any idea what he is talking about, and would like to help please respond directly to the Mar, himself, at

Note: It appears Mar Gavriel wishes to read the haftarot from a klaf in shul, and would like to either do it in your shul, or in his shul using klafin which he is hoping you can supply. But you'll have to ask him to be sure.


This is MarGavriel's own post, lifted directly from his blog:

Sifrei Nevi'im (more)
a certain Shabbos a few weeks ago, the president of the Old Broadway Synagogue told me that if I could somehow procure sifrei nevi'im on qelof for the schul, he would let me leyn haftorôth out of them. Mind you, though, the Old Broadway Synagogue is an ailing old schul, just barely holding on to itself, and it certainly does not have enough money to buy sifrei nevi'im.

Now, I have found out that there are apparently various institutions around New York City that own sifrei nevi'im, but do not use them. I know that Park East Synagogue owns a set of sifrei nevi'im, but uses it only for occasional "bar mitzvah" readings. I have heard rumors that other synagogues own sets, but do not use them. And I have recently discovered that the library of JTS owns a few sets, and they certainly do not use them for anything.Now, I would like to write to one of these institutions, and see whether any of them would be willing to lend their qelofin to the Old Broadway Synagogue for use on Shabbothôth. However, I don't have any official connection to the Old Broadway Synagogue, so I would be signing the letter just as "Mar Gavriel". (Well, actually, I would use my real name, and not my blogname "Mar Gavriel", but ye know what I mean.) That would sound pretty pathetic and unprofessional. Perhaps I should speak to the President of the Old Broadway Synagogue, and draft the letter together with him, and print it on the letterhead of the Old Broadway Synagogue, and have the president sign it? But I'm too scared to do that-- he might say: "Sure, if you precured the qelofin, we would let you leyn out of them, but leave me out of it." If he said that, I would feel hurt and rejected.I have spoken to an important employee of the JTS library, and he has told me that I could send an e-mail to Dr. David Kraemer, chief librarian of JTS, but that there was not much chance that Dr. Kraemer would take my request seriously. After all, a library is a library, and libraries are not in the habit of lending scrolls to synagogues for liturgical use. As the library employee told me: "There's always got to be a ספר שבעֲזָרָה, and those are they." I said: "But there are three sets! And nothing is being done with them!" I suppose that I shall write an e-mail to Dr. Kraemer, even though its prospects of success will be low.

Dear readers of this blog, please help! Please tell me of any institutions in New York that own qelofin of sifrei nevi'im. I recognize that my dream of owning sifrei nevi'im (and kethuvim, and Torah) will not be fulfilled in the near future-- though it will אי"ה be fulfilled eventually, for I will write them myself. However, with a little help from you internet personalities, I hope very soon to fulfill my dream of regularly leyning haftorôth (and, when relevant, meghillôth) from full qelofin.

I have good reason for hope. After all, I used this blog to publicize my interest in gather a minyon to recite the qerôvo אעדיף כל שמונה on the First Day of Hanukko, and I succeeded in gathering that minyon. And my current quest is much more "conventional" (or "established") than the other one-- after all, the practice of reciting that qerôvo was restored to the liturgy only by yours truly, whereas the practice of reading haftorôs out of full sifrei nevi'im was restored to the liturgy by none other than the GR"O!

So please, please-- I beg you all! Please tell me of schuls that own sifrei nevi'im, which either
use those qelofin in their regular liturgical practice, and are looking for ba`alei qeri'o;or
do not use those qelofin in their regular liturgical practice, but would be willing to lend them to the Old Broadway Synagogue, or at least allow me to set up a second minyon in the home-schul of the qelofin, and let me leyn from them in that minyon.Please-- I really want this, and the internet should help me fulfill my dream. And if you don't know of any relevant sources of qelofin, don't just give up: ask your friends! And ask your friends to ask their friends! I really want this!I am going to post about this every day now. Every day, there will be a new obsessive post about qelofin, just to keep you reminded.I beg you!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006



RUSH: We've got a little office pool going on here, folks, and I wanted to share it with you, regarding the funeral. First, when's it going to end? The other things that we're looking at -- who's in the house? You've got Bill Clinton, you've got the Reverend Jackson, and you have Teddy Kennedy, and those are just the known culprits. I'm sure that there are others who fit the mold. They're all in the House. So here's the little office pool that we have going here. Here you might want to have your own version of this in your office or your home today. The end of the funeral, when it's all over, how many women will be picked up? The next question we're asking ourselves, how many babies will be born nine months from today? I mean, you've got Bill Clinton in there; you've got Jesse Jackson and Teddy Kennedy -- and the next question we're asking, "Will a car fail to negotiate a bridge somewhere in Georgia late tonight, and if so, who will have been driving?"


Okay, folks, that's on the Rush Limbaugh website.

Is there any doubt that he's a shameless piece of garbage?

The key word to keep in mind is bhainchot - he may not actually have a bhain (or if he does, she's told him to go chot himself), but the term fits his manners, morals, and intellect.

Yes, I know many people listen to him, and agree with him.

They're fools. And probably depraved.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Cartoon link, for those still curious about the illustrations that have gotten our Islamic Bretheren all hoppin' mad:

Comment on a Dutch site:
"---Bloedige aanslagen op WTC, Madrid en Londen met duizenden doden. Geen enkele reactie uit Mosimlanden. Theo van Gogh vermoord om zijn mening. Christenmeisjes onthoofd door Moslims in Indonesie. Geen reactie. 12 cartoons over de profeet in een krant die niemand leest en moslimwereld ontploft. Haat en hysterische taferelen en schuim op de mond. Europa moet als een blok achter Denemarken en zich niet gaan verstoppen. "
[Bloody strikes on the WTC, Madrid, and London, with thousands of dead. No reaction from the Muslim countries. Theo van Gogh murdered because of his opinions. Christian girls beheaded by Muslims in Indonesia. No reaction.
12 cartoons about the prophet in a newspaper that no-one reads, and the Muslim world explodes. Hate, and scenes of hysteria, and foam at the mouth. Europe should stand as one with Denmark and not run and hide.]

He's right, you know, the Muslim world are being a bunch of slimy hypocrites.

Anybody remember Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg?

Those cartoons ain't sacrilege - the prophet was just a man. And a prophet only by the standards of a religion he created. Which the rest of us kinda disagree with.
[Yes, I know he was supposed to have been divinely inspired. Bla bla bla. If I swallow that nonsense, next you'll be asking me to believe that the carpenter was the son of Mithras or Zeus or some such crap. Ain't gonna happen, dearie.]

It just is NOT rational to burn down embassies. The Muslim world should collectively take a deep breath, swallow some valium or smoke some ganja, and learn to act like normal human beings.
[Perhaps if they did, their opinions would be taken seriously. And their currently rather repressive and backwards cultures might be respected. At the moment, however, they look kinda stupid. As they do with depressing frequency. ]

While we concede that all those screaming little countries with their frequent juvenile hissy-fits ARE. EACH. VALID. NATIONS. AND. SHOULD. BE. LISTENED. TO., we prefer to ignore them. It's hard to respect raving loonies. Really.

[And, to cock a snook at them, please note the following gratuitous and otherwise entirely pointless juxtapositioning:
MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam.- MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam.
There. I feel better now.]

I'm not trying to suggest that the prophet Mohammed was a pig sallallahu Aleihi wa Salam, heaven forfend, nor that he ever was blessed enough to enjoy some nice barbecue ribs - but he has been depicted in European art as variously a pig sallallahu Aleihi wa Salam, an ass sallallahu Aleihi wa Salam, a daemon sallallahu Aleihi wa Salam, a fallen angel sallallahu Aleihi wa Salam, a vampire sallallahu Aleihi wa Salam, a horned serpent sallallahu Aleihi wa Salam, and several unmentionable other things sallallahu Aleihi wa Salam.

There is in fact a long history of depicting him as any number of unpleasant or unclean things - sallallahu Aleihi wa Salam - so the Muslims might as well get used to it.

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

And pursuant the matter of depictions, I note the following:

"An Iranian paper is holding a contest for cartoons about the Holocaust, to retaliate against the publication of images of the Prophet Muhammad."

"It also asks for cartoons covering "America and Israel's crimes and plundering"."


You know what this means, don't you?

Tons of really bad drawings circling the globe. First a few simple-minded scrawls from nameless hick-provincials in Kermanshah and Ferozabad, then obscene photo-shop miracles from Heinrich, Jean-Paul, and Bubba Sprocket, and then incredibly well done and incredibly disgusting masterpieces of insulting filth from every Tom, Dick, and Harry with perverse artistic sensitivities.

We're better at this than the Muslim world; we invented cartoons and vicious propaganda illustrations. So at least we'll have a good giggle occasionally.

I suppose we should be overjoyed that little Ahmed and Bugbug BenAli will now finally get art-classes, but the results won't be worth looking at. Far better to teach the little tykes to read instead. I've heard that they lag a bit on that score.

I suppose critical thinking would be too much to ask.....

Unless 'Humanism For Dummies' gets translated into Persian and Arabic.

[Here's that gratuitous and otherwise pointless juxtaposition-text again!
MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam.- MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. - MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. -MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam. - MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam.- MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam.- MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam.- MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam.- MOHAMMED. PIG. PROPHET. Sallallahu Aleihi Wa Salam.]

Ooooooh!!! .....

I need a cigarette now...., how about you?

I think I'll go smoke a Camel.

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

By the way, Sallallahu Aleihi wa Salam is traditionally appended to mention of the prophet. It means 'peace be upon him and blessing'. Which is rendered into English as 'Peace Be Upon Him' - abbreviated as PBUH. Peebooh!

Oh, and here's another link for those cartoons:

Or also:
See article titled: 'Groep Wilders betuigt steun aan Deense cartoonisten en publiceert spotprenten' dated woensdag, 1 februari 2006, under which you will sees a clickable 'lees verder'. Click it.

Groep Wilders is the website of a Dutch politician, about whose ideology I will not comment.

Unless you read Dutch, skip the text and scroll down to the cartoons, which are presented as a public service on his site.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


A friend, posting to a mailing list to which I also belong, writes:

"Vinden jullie dat de Denen over de schreef zijn gegaan?Of vinden jullie - met alle respect voor Mohammed - die haast mondiale korte lontjes-islam-amok de cartoons aangaande ook zo overdreven? Of mag ik, als ongelovige (lees: verder ge-evolueerde gelovige), mij er niet mee bemoeien?"
[Do you think that the Danes went too far? Or do you think - with all due respect for Muhammad - that that almost proverbial short-fuse Muslim temper has gone too far regarding those cartoons? Or should I, as an unbeliever (read: further evolved believer), not dare to have an opinion concerning this matter?]

To which I responded:

"Die cartoons waren in bad taste. Dat will niet zeggen natuurlijk dat men er woest tekeer over zou moeten gaan; ook dat is in bad taste.Ik stel voor dat de Scandinaviers en anderen afdrukken wat ze willen, en de Muslims voornemen voortaan desbetreffende kranten nooit meer te lezen."
[Those cartoons were in bad taste. That of course does not mean that violent rioting was justified; that too is in bad taste. I propose that Scandinavians and other print whatever they want, and that Muslims resolve to henceforth not read the newspapers in question ever again .]

Overigens, sommige commentaristen suggereren dat de woede aangestookt word door politici in de Muslim wereld - men zou zo de aandacht van eigen recente stommiteiten kunnen afwenden.
[By the way, some commentators suggest that the rage has (deliberately) been fed by politicians in the Muslim world - as a means of deflecting attention from their own recent stupidities.]

Stel nu, pervoorbeeld, dat men in een Europeesche krant een spotprent afdrukte met Mozes als stereotypische haakneus-woekerjood. Ik kan mij al voorstellen welk een woordenstorm daarover zou oplaaien.
[But imagine, for example, that a European newspaper printed a cartoon of Moses as a stereotypical hook-nosed miserly Jew. I can already envision the word-storm that would spark.]

Moet men het kunnen afdrukken? Natuurlijk.
Is het verfoeielijk? Natuurlijk.
Zaait het haat? Zeker.
Maar daar zijn volgens mij wel wetten tegen.
[Should such things be publishable? Of course.
Is it despicable? Of course.
Does it sow hatred? Assuredly.
But I think that there are laws against that.]

Gij hebt mij hier op de lijst al tekeer zien gaan over Anti-Amerikaansche bigotrie en stommiteit van Europeesche zijde, of in Nederlandsche kranten, is het niet?
[Y'all have surely seen me rage on this list about Anti-American bigotry and idiocy from the Europeans, or in the Dutch newspapers, isn't it?]

Maar ik heb nimmer een ambassade in de fik gestoken. Zoiets is volslagen mesjogge.
[But I have never set an embassy on fire. Such an act would be utterly insane.]

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

As a final note, these riots are, in a way, typical. The Muslim masses have been encouraged, by their leaders, to act like emotional children. Necessarily this must mean the occasional temper-tantrum, the fit of hysteria, and the stomping of little Islamic feet.

There are more than enough intelligent Muslims to prove that this is not a behavioral pattern inherent in the creed, but rather a Pavlovian reflex put in place by dictators who prefer their people uninformed, childish, and incapable of intelligent organized actions.

Friday, February 03, 2006


You've probably read about the cartoons which are roiling up emotions in the Muslim world.
The issue is that to many Muslims any depiction of a prophet or of G-d is blasphemy.

Well, good - I can understand, if not entirely sympathize, with their point of view.

But as I understand it, one is always free to NOT buy the offending newspaper, NOT go to the offending art exhibit.

A certain amount of self-control, self-censorship over one's senses, is necessary to maintain sanity.

It says in Parshas Shoftim (note: the fifth of eleven sections of Sefer Dvarim (Deuteronomion), verses 16:18 thru 21:9), verse 16:18 "Shoftim ve shotrim titein leicha bechol shaareitcha asher Adonai Eloheicha nosein leicha ..." (Judges and guards shall you appoint in all gates which the Lord your G-d has given you..).

[Note: Shaar = Gate, but also contextually meaning settlement or city.]

The Sfas Emes (Rav Yehudah Leib Alter of Ger, 1847 - 1905, grandson of the Chiddushei HaRim), reading 'gates' as here also suggesting openings to the soul and doorways for the divine, shpers that we should guard our eyes, so that we do not see what we should not see, and guard our ears, so we do not hear what we should not hear.

In other words, it is wise to use judgement and common sense in our seeing and hearing.

Precisely this then is much missing from the world.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Management of this blog is proud to announce that it has discovered another brilliant blog - Muttawa blogspot:

You will please kindly note that I have already pasted the clickable link on the side, underneath the Shaigetz.

The bannertext describes it as "The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment."

Well, that's like saying that Mar Gavriel writes about shabbes, or the Gadol Hador writes about stuff - both statements are accurate, but they don't even begin to describe the marvels of the blogs in question. And so it is with 'The Religious Policeman'.

As just a sample, please click on this link
to see the 'Muslim Offense Level' explained.

Or check out this wonderful statement:
"Cartoons? Yes, cartoons. Not the revoltingly anti-semitic ones that we all so love and appreciate. No, these are different. These are those Danish cartoons, again."

But I really recommend that you start at the beginning, where the author of 'The Religious Policeman' started:

Or click at random, and find treasure. Like this:
in which he explains what the prohibited items (that shopkeepers must not sell and customers must not buy) are according to the Saudi religious police. It's a good one.

Or here:
Where you will read about bloodmoney. Quote: "You Christians out there, forgiving for free, you are missing out on a business opportunity here!"

I do not know whether this blogger and I would get along - there are undoubtedly matters where we do not see eye to eye - but if we ever meet, I would hope we would.
I appreciate his wit.

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A big thank-you to Shnoon, for sending me the link and introducing me to the religious policeman.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


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This post is for Steg (dindš), and also for Rabbi Jeremy Rosen, who is a grandfather for the sixth time (mazel tov!), and who consequently mentions bris in a recent shiur.
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Steg (dindš) writes: "Moshe describes himself as ‘aral sefatayim — "of uncircumcised lips". When he is attacked by God on the way back from Midyan to Mitzrayim, Tzipora saves his life by circumcising their son. In cutting away their son's foreskin with a stone knife, she circumcises her husband's lips. The child is now unblocked from entry into the Hebrew/Israelite covenant; Moshe is now unblocked from leading the Israelite Nation into the future."

[See: ]

To which I commented:
vatikach tzipora tzor vatichrot et-arlat bena vataga leraglav vatomer ki chatan-damim ata li

Assuredly one of the most meshune statements in the parsha.
Even subsequently modified into "chatan damim lamulot", it makes scant sense. But note that in the entire parsha, this is the clearest statement about circumcision, which is only hinted at, though several times, before.

Where upon Steg (dindš) naturally asked "Where are other hints, other than `aral sefatayim?"

In answer thereto:
Moses' mother:
Psook 2:2 "vatahar haisha vateled ben vatere oto ki-tov hu vatitzpenehu shelosha yerachim" (And the woman conceived, and bore a son; and when she saw him that he was a fine child, she hid him three months).

Why did she hide him? Could she not have claimed, if asked, that it was the son of an Egyptian that she was looking after or wetnursing? Had the child been uncircumcised, yes. But since the days of Abraham, as a sign of the covenant, Hebrews had been circumcised.

Pharaoh's daughter:
Psook 2:6 "vatiftach vatirehu et-hayeled vehine-naar boche vatachmol alav vatomer miyaldei ha-Ivrim ze" (And she opened it and saw it, the child, and behold a boy that wept, and she had compassion for him, and said 'this is one of the Hebrews' children').

She saw at once that the child was circumcised.

Pharaoh's daughter and Moses' sister:
Psook 2:7 "vatomer achoto el-bat-paro haelech vekarati lach isha meineket min haivriyot, veteinik lach et-hayaled" (then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter 'shall I go and call you a wetnurse of the Hebrew women, to nurse the child for you?').

Why a Hebrew woman? If the infant was circumcised, which was not the custom among the Egyptians, Pharaoh's daughter knew where he came from. The evidence was on him, so to speak.

[Note also that a lactating Hebrew woman would have recently given birth - this suggests a knowing complicity between the two women. A woman nursing a daughter would've shared her milk, and given the greater share to her own child. A woman without a son would've been able to give the infant her undivided attention. Why would these considerations not have occured to Pharaoh's daughter? But this is not mentioned in this passage. Which indicates that no questions were asked.]

Psook 2:11 "vayehi bayamim hahem vayigdal Moshe vayetze el-echav vayar besivlotam vayar ish mitzri make ish-ivri meechav" (And so it happened in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren, and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian strike a Hebrew, one of his brethren).

His brethren: he knew that he was Hebrew, because the mark of the covenant was on his body, and only Hebrews had had cause to cast a boy-child into the Nile, as had happened to him - which is why his adoptive mother had named him Moses, as it says in psook 2:10 "vayigdal hayeled vateviehu levat-paro vayehi-la leven vatikra shemo Moshe vatomer ki min-hamayim meshitihu" (And the child became big, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became to her as a son, and she called his name Moses, and said 'because from the water I drew him').

We can assume that his mother and Pharaohs daughter did not hide this from him, and that he therefore knew also the significance of circumcision.

Maybe you will ask 'was there no difference in appearance between Egyptians and Hebrews?'

It has been suggested that Hebrews and Egyptians indeed did not look alike, but there is a hue of bias in that suggestion, a shade of that nine-teenth century European despicion of the Meditarranean type.

Instead think back to the last book, when Yosef's brothers saw him in Egypt, they at first did not see Yosef, but saw an Egyptian instead.

And still to come, when Bethuel's daughters answer their father's question, they respond "... ish Mitzri hitzilanu miyad haroim vegam-dalo dala lanu vayashke et-hatzon" (... an Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and moreover he drew water for us, and watered the flock).
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[Editorial note, February 5th: When I wrote Bethuel (above), I meant Reuel.

As it says in Psook 2:16 "Ulechohen midyan sheva banot, vatavona vatidlena, vatemalena et-harhatim lehashkot tzon avihen" (Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water the flock of their father);
Psook 2:17 "Vayavou haroim vayegarashum vayakam Moshe vayoshian vayashke et-tzonam" (And the shepherds came and drove them away but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock);
Psook 2:18 "Vatavona el-Reuel avihen vayomer 'madua miharten bo hayom'" (And when they came to Reuel their father, he said 'How is it that you returned so soon this day?');
Psook 2:19 "Vatomarna 'ish mitzri hitzilanu miyad haroim, vegam-dalo dala lanu vayashke et-hatzon" (And they said: 'An Egyptian man delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and furthermore drew water for us, and watered the flock').

Nope, no idea why I made that mistake. But in relation thereto, a meise shehoyo: Once the reverend Spooner (Rev. William Archibald Spooner, 1844 - 1930) delivered an entire sermon, and, having finished thought for a moment. Whereupon he ascended the podium again, and informed the audience, which had listened to him as if spellbound, that everytime he said Aristotle, he had actually mean Saint Paul.
For further Spoonerisms, I recommend a brief side-track into this:
And this is like that.]

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Postscript:Shmos chapter four verse 25: "vatikach Tzipora vatichrot et-arlat b'na vataga l'raglav vatomer ki chatan damim ata li" (then Tzippora took a flint and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his (Moses') feet, and said 'a bridegroom of blood are you to me').

Circumcision is an element that is first mentioned here in this narrative, but seems ever-present; surely Moses was circumcised (how else would Pharaoh's daughter instantly know that he was a Hebrew baby), and Moses himself would undoubtedly been keenly aware of the practise as a mark of the Abrahamic covenant.

How odd then that Moses had NOT taken care of his own son's circumcision, and that it was left to the daughter of a Midianite priest to do so. Especially in light of the task Moses had been given.

Please give me your feedback, comments, and reactions.
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People who know me know that I am in favour of a partial retreat from the Shomron (Samaria - what some of you call the west bank).

My main reason is that I do not believe that there is any way to incorporate the 'west bank' Arabs into Israeli society, and I do not want Israel to ever have a non-Jewish majority - preferably not even a sizeable non-Jewish minority.

Another reason for favouring a partial retreat is because of security issues.
Retreat, put up a fence between Israel and the Arabs, and then whack anybody who crosses the frontier.

Naturally, I do not believe that the pre-1967 lines have any bearing on the "still-to-be-determined" border.

Yes, I know the international community insists that the retreat be to the pre-1967 line. But they can go fly a kite. Made out of a pre-1967 map.
Or, if they are so inclined, they can do with the map what a relative of mine recommended another relative could do with his airplane: "fold it until there's nothing left but sharp corners, shove it up ......., and pound sand after."

In short, bulgar the international community.

In a previous posting ( I wrote: "Those of us who believe it is right to hold onto ALL of Shomron will make it a very bitterly yielded concession indeed - an indisputably, very evident to everybody, agonizing amputation."

And that is what is happening at present. The bitter and painful retreat from Jewish lands is being fought out in our days, and there is incredible suffering and heart-ache.

Which these photos on Jameel's blog show:

Please, click on the link, and look at the pictures. Look at the pictures. Look at the pictures. Look at the pictures. !!!!!!!!!!

Now, I know some of my readers are inclined to whine about how the Palestinians have also suffered blah blah blah, and blah blah blah.

Frankly, I don't really care about the Palestinians.

I try not to forget that they are human also, but I'm sick of them and their supporters, and that ultra progressive sense of outrage over what has happened to those poor innocent little victims etcetera etcetera. Buncha sainted bloody Gandhis and all that.

Eleven tenths of their misery is entirely due to the actions of their own warlords, bullies, murderers, and thieves.

Whatever the Arabs do to each other (such as shoving each other into camps and maintaining a system of apartheid for over fifty years) does not really mean much to me. Sure, it's sad, or whatever, but my piles do not bleed for them.

Not when they stick it to each other with such abandon. Not when more Arabs have been killed by Arabs since the end of the Ottoman empire than by all the non-Arabs combined. Not when Arabs happily riot and kill over idiotic minor matters. Not when clan-feuds, corruption, and sadism seem to be the primary political currency in the Arab world.

I have no issue with their tribal brutality. They do it so well.

And like the international community, they too can go bulgar themselves - or, more likely, each other.

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As an afterthought, I can almost hear some of you acting horrified at my disparagement of the international community. "But what about the quartet?" some of you will ask.

What about the quartet?

The quartet comprises the United Nations (mostly failed states and gangster regimes), the Europeans (allegedly better than the U.N., but with a far worse record vis-à-vis Jews and Muslims), Russia (a failed economy, a failed political system, and a failed society - which has never shown impartiality or lack of bias), and (drumroll please) the United States (big oil, small minds, and military-industrial interests all combined).

All parts of the quartet have such beautiful records of keeping self-interest out of the equation.

The United Nations and Europe said jacksh.. about the annexation of Timor L'este for a quarter of a century. They haven't done crap-all about Kashmir. How about the Kurds? Tutsis? Any other noticeable successes?
And if Clinton hadn't pushed the Euros against the wall, they and Russia and the UN would have happily sat back while the Serbians pogrommed Bosnia and Albania off the map.

The only logical reason to include Europeans and Russians (as interested parties) in the process might be because of the absolute importance of Jerusalem. Which ab initio should mean that the status of Jerusalem is not negotiable.

What about Jerusalem?

The Temple Mount is only of very minor importance to Muslims. Yes yes, I know that the prophet Thingummybob is alleged to have ascended to heaven on lailat el qadr from there, but that's a load of horse pucky -- the dome of the rock was built to mark conquest and dominance, and then named Al Aqsa to assert a claim to the place and to mark the extent of Muslim power at the time; no connection whatsoever to the night journey.

The city is the very heart of two of religions, but at best merely the spleen of a third. An only comparatively recently discovered spleen at that. And it appears that that third group have a plurality of spleen in any case.

Why should the Arabs have any part of Jerusalem?

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