Monday, February 26, 2007


I feel fine!

No, I'm not shikker.

The instructions say not to drink with alcohol, as "alcohol could intenisfy this effect" (drowsiness). So I've avoided booze for a few days (meaning only two rather Puritanical lechaims since Friday night).

Phenylhistine DH Elixir


Cephalexin 500MG capsules

That last is, according to the label, 'a Swedish orange, oblong-shaped, capsule imprinted with 93 3147 on one side and 93 3147 on the other side'.

Take one capsule two times daily.
They smell like rotten eggs.

The elixir dosage is one teaspoon every four hours as needed.
It tastes vile. Whoever decided that artificial raspberry flavour would go well with sharp chemical exudate?

But nevertheless, I feel fine! Oh yeah, baby!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


John Dugard's latest biased editorial for the UN has been published. It is called: the 'Advanced Edited Version' of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard.

Please click here for a recent posting on BlueTruth:

BlueTruth was started recently as a group-blog which takes issue with lies, halftruths, and outrageous statements made about Israel, and about Jews.

I intend to post frequently there, as indeed do all of us, but I hope you will forgive us if at first it seems slow going - writing a clean article after wading through raw sewage is surprisingly difficult.



An Egyptian court has sentenced blogger Abdul Karim Soliman (Abdelkareem Soliman, "Kareem Amer") to four years' prison - three years for insulting Islam and inciting sedition, and one year for insulting President Hosni Mubarak.


The Sandmonkey:

About Kareem Amer,
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Free Kareem org:

Free Kareem Coalition

From the Free Kareem org ( ) website:

Interfaith Coalition Condemns Jailing of Egyptian Student over Blogposts, Calls on Egyptian President Mubarak to Pardon Abdelkareem Soliman

CAIRO – The "Free Kareem Coalition," an interfaith group of human rights activists from around the world, condemned the sentencing of Egyptian student Abdelkareem Soliman for expressing his opinion on his personal blog.

A judge in Egypt today sentenced Kareem to four years in prison for the alleged crimes of "defaming the President of Egypt" and "insulting Islam."

Dalia Ziada, a blogger and activist involved with the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, explained that Kareem’s conviction remains the first time an Egyptian blogger has been arrested for writing on his blog. "It sends a chilling message to bloggers of all persuasions in Egypt and across the Middle East. We are not free to express ourselves openly on our websites."

Kareem criticized Egyptian authorities for failing to protect the rights of religious minorities and women, and expressed views about religious extremism in strong terms.

Bahraini blogger Esra’a Al-Shafei, who launched the website to coordinate the international solidarity campaign, noted the basic human rights violation.
"I was offended by some of Kareem’s blog writings. But I cannot support his imprisonment merely because he said a few things that insult my identity. Freedom of expression and open exchange of ideas must be respected."

In November, Kareem was detained after being interrogated by prosecutors. He was held for over two months without trial and has remained in solitary confinement without access to his lawyers.

Kareem’s conviction comes despite global rallies on Kareem’s behalf, including demonstrations outside Egyptian embassies in Washington, Rome, London, Paris, Stockholm, and New York. Over 2,000 people have sent letters to Egyptian authorities demanding Kareem’s release.

Opinion editorials in the Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, and Beirut Daily Star have all also called for Kareem’s release, along with a bi-partisan coalition of US Congressional leaders, European parliamentarians, and Costa Rican representatives.

"We call on the appeals courts in Egypt to listen to international condemnation and do the right thing," stated organizer Mohammed Shouman. "Kareem’s right to free expression has been violated and his conviction should be overturned."

In the meantime, activists fear Kareem’s life is in danger and hope for high-level intervention. "We hope President Hosni Mubarak will pardon Kareem and allow him to start a new life outside of Egypt," noted Al-Shafei. "We won’t be silent until Kareem is safe."

See <> for the latest updates.


If you want to vent locally, write to the local representative of the Egyptian regime here in the Bay Area.

Abderahman Salaheldin, Consul General of Egypt
The Egyptian Consulate General in San Francisco
3001 Pacific Ave.
San Francisco, California 94115
Tel. (415) 346-9700 / 346-9702 / 346-7352
Fax (415) 346-9480

Please point out to the honourable Mr. Salaheldin that pandering to the fragile egos of the honourable sheikhs of El Azhar and president Hosni Mubarak does not create a positive image for Egypt, Islam, or El Azhar University.
Phrase it politely, and send copies to your congress-leit and local newspapers.

It is probably also a good idea to write to Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Senator Feinstein
Hart Office Building
Room 331
Washington, D.C. 20510

PH: 202-224-3841
FX: 202-228-3954


Senator Feinstein
One Post Street,
Suite 2450
San Francisco CA 94104

PH: 415-393-0707
FX: 415-393-0710


Please enlist friends and family in letter writing - the squeaky wheel does not always get the grease, but the wheel that does not squeak at all probably will not get any grease.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


[Blessed is the righteous judge]

Fellow blogger Steg's father passed away this morning.
The Levaya will be tomorrow morning.

May Steg and his family be comforted among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.


Steg's blog is one of the first J-blogs I discovered two years ago, before I started my own blog. Things that always make it sparkle are his wit and his insight. As such, I would like to consider it one of the examples I hold in front of me when blogging. Certainly an example I should follow.

But there is a major difference. I have a mean streak at times, and tend towards occassional poison penning. This is a facet which developed over the last quarter century, since returning to the United States. For a large part of that time I lived under some stressful circumstances, by myself, and people who are loosened from their moorings will, as you know, grow some quirks and mechanisms which are...... "interesting".

Be that as it may, I am not as good a person as Steg. Steg's writing shows no sign of meanness, and abundant evidence of good-nature, keen intelligence, and consideration for others. Steg is a great reflection on his environment, his friends, his family, and his parents. And he is witty.

I never knew Steg's father. But I know Steg. And by knowing the son, I feel I know a part of the father.

I wish Steg courage and strength, and I hope that he will always remember what was good. By doing so, the best part of his father will always be with him, and will be passed on to others.

The memory of good people is a blessing.
And yes, I mean that both ways.


Rabbosai, there are two things which I would bring to your attention.

One is that opposition to Israel is growing among the intelligentsia of Europe, the other is that the media is eagerly showcasing organizations that present themselves as being more politically correct versions of Jewishness.
[Well, you already knew that, didn't you?]


The Dutch, as I already noted previously, are in the forefront of both of these trends. Already a substantial number of Netherlanders believe that Hamas and Hezbollah are legitimate resistance organizations, the US is a fascist entity, and that Israel's (continued)existence is due to Jewish power, Jewish racialism, and continued Jewish brutality towards the Palestinians.
It should be no secret that they are not alone among the Europeans in thinking so - the French have certainly not hidden that opinion (and it was one of their diplomats who refered to Israel as "that shitty little country", and said that they were a danger to the world), nor have the Germans or the Scandinavians.

Britain, with well over three hundred thousand Jews, is also part of this growing phenomenon. With many British citizens openly and venomously biased against Jews and Israel, it should come as no surprise that well-adjusted and integrated Jews in England sometimes give in to societal pressures, and, perhaps seeking the approval of their fellow citizens, or perhaps affected by a version of Stockholm syndrome, start speaking out against Israel.

[One could also argue that these are often the least Jewish of Jews, being largely secular, or the most vulnerable of Jews, being largely blended-in and dependent upon their Gentile peers for validation and networking, or in fact merely a loud contrarian minority which instinctively tilts at windmills. All of this would be valid. But in that the media and intelligentsia give so much attention to these people, in order to validate and justify their own biases and bigotries against Jews and Israel, it is perhaps better to highlight the issues they have raised rather than to discuss their issues which require therapy.]


Underneath is an article about a new British organization (the IJV) from the NRC Handelsblad, which is the mainstream Dutch newspaper that tends toward a more balanced and nuanced view of politics and business, and which is in consequence characterized by the extreme left in the Netherlands as the 'voice of the rightwing and fascist-imperialist-hegemonist classes' (yes, I am very familiar with old-style Marxist polemics).

My translation is in square brackets underneath each segment.

Note several things.
Firstly, it is a puff-piece, superficial and clearly favourable about the IJV.
Three well-known Jews are mentioned as supporting the organization (creating the impression that thoughtful intellectuals are behind it).
Mention of AIPAC is in a biased form, and is immediately followed by mention of a 'Jewish financier' (can you say old-fashioned trope?).
Israel is presented as inflexible, unco-operative, and militaristic.
There is almost no hint even that the Palestinians and their behaviour are part of the problem, nor mention of attacks or Arab support for violence.

[Oh heck, read it yourself. You'll undoubtedly see how it seeks to incline the reader favourably towards the IJV as a more legitimate voice than any pro-Israel group. ]


‘Kritiek op Israël geldt meteen als verraad’
["Criticism of Israel counts immediately as betrayal"]

Britse organisatie gaat zich beijveren voor een onafhankelijk joods geluid

[British organization will exert itself for an independent Jewish voice]

In Londen vond gisteren de eerste bijeenkomst plaats van een joodse organisatie die niet zomaar de koers van Israël wil varen. De organisatie moet vooral argwaan overwinnen van andere joden.

[In London the first meeting of a Jewish organization which aims at not blindly supporting Israel took place yesterday. The organization needs to especially counter the distrust of other Jews.]

Door onze correspondent Floris van Straaten

[By our correspondent Floris van Straaten]

Londen, 20 febr. Louter kritiek op Israël en geen kwaad woord over de Palestijnen. „Het is onthutsend", vindt Neil Singer, een van de vele Britse joden die het woord nemen op de eerste publieke bijeenkomst van de Onafhankelijke Joodse Stemmen (IJV) in Londen. „Of jullie het accepteren of niet, Israël vecht ook voor jullie", houdt hij de volgepakte zaal voor.

[London, 20 February. Only criticism of Israel but not a bad word about the Palestinians. "It is disconcerting", opines Neil Singer, one of the mainy British Jews speaking at the first public assembly of Independent Jewish Voices in London. "Whether you accept it or not, Israel is also fighting for you", he insists to the packed auditorium.]

Dat is nu precies wat de oprichters van IJV, een groep Brits-joodse intellectuelen, bestrijden. Zij ergeren zich al langer aan de wijze waarop de Israëlische regering er voetstoots van uitgaat dat ze namens alle joden in de wereld kan spreken. Hun geduld was op, toen premier Ehud Olmert afgelopen zomer tijdens de omstreden interventie tegen Hezbollah in Libanon verklaarde: „Ik geloof dat dit een oorlog is die door alle joden wordt gevoerd."

[But that is precisely what the founders of IJV disagree with. They have long been upset that the Israeli government presumes to speak for all of the world's Jews. Their patience came to an end last summer, when prime-minister Ehud Olmert declared during the controversial intervention against Hezbollah in Lebanon "I believe that this is a war waged by all Jews everywhere".]

Ook de huns inziens slaafse wijze waarop de belangrijkste Britse joodse organisatie, de Raad van Afgevaardigden van Britse joden, zich steeds achter de Israëlische regering schaarde was hun een doorn in het oog. Daarom publiceerden ze deze maand een manifest, waarin ze ervoor pleiten ook andere geluiden te laten horen „zonder beschuldigingen op te lopen van verraad".

[And further, the in their eyes slavish way in which the most important organization of British Jews, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, always supports the Israeli government, was a thorn in the eye. So they published a declaration this month in which they argue that other voices should be heard "without there being accusations of betrayal".]

De vredesonderhandelingen met de Palestijnen dienen zo snel mogelijk te worden hervat. „We verzetten ons tegen elke poging van de Israëlische regering om haar eigen oplossingen op te leggen aan de Palestijnen", aldus de opstellers van het manifest. „De lessen die we hebben geleerd uit onze eigen geschiedenis dwingen ons ons uit te spreken."

[Peace talks with the Palestinians need to be immediately recommenced. "We resist every attempt by the Israeli government to impose their own solutions upon the Palestinians", according to the composers of the manifesto. "The lessons we learned from our own history force us to speak out".]

De IJV kreeg meteen warme steun van veel joodse prominenten onder wie toneelschrijver Harold Pinter, acteur Stephen Fry en historicus Eric Hobsbawn. In de Jewish Chronicle, een weekblad dat kritisch staat tegenover het IJV-initiatief, vroegen sommige lezers zich echter smalend af wie dit groepje intellectuelen nu eigenlijk vertegenwoordigt. Ze betwistten ook dat er in de bestaande organisaties geen ruimte is voor kritiek op Israël.

[The IJV immediately received enthusiastic encouragement from many prominent Jews, among them playwright Harold Pinter, actor Stephen Fry, and historian Eric Hobsbawn. In the Jewish Chronicle, a weekly paper that is critical of the IJV initiative, some readers wondered sneeringly who this little group of intellectuals actually represent. They also dispute that there is no scope within existing organizations for criticism of Israel.]

Toch is duidelijk dat er iets broeit in de joodse diaspora, niet alleen onder de 350.000 Britse joden maar ook elders. In de Verenigde Staten wordt met steun van de financier George Soros gewerkt aan een lobbygroep, die tegenwicht kan bieden aan AIPAC, een machtige lobby-organisatie die de Israëlische regering bijna onvoorwaardelijk steunt. In Australië zijn joodse ‘dissidenten’ bezig zich te organiseren uit onvrede met de manier waarop bestaande organisaties opereren. En in Nederland werd begin 2001 Een Ander Joods Geluid opgericht.

[Evenso it is clear that something is afoot in the Jewish diaspora, not only among the 350,000 British Jews, but also elsewhere. In the US, with the support of financier George Soros, a lobby is being formed to counterbalance AIPAC, (which is) a powerful Lobby that supports the Israeli government almost unconditionally . In Australia Jewish dissidents are busy organizing because of their dissatisfaction with the manner in which existing organizations operate. And in the Netherlands a Different Jewish Sound (Een Ander Joods Geluid) was founded in the beginning of 2001.]

Maar de zaak ligt uitermate gevoelig, zoals gisteravond in Londen bleek. Ook de meeste critici van Israël ontkennen niet dat het land een wezenlijk bestanddeel vormt van de joodse identiteit. Maar betekent dat dat joden in het buitenland altijd de Israëlische regering moeten steunen? Hartstochtelijk betoogden aanhangers van de IJV dat Israël moet aankondigen dat het bereid is de Westelijke Jordaanoever te ontruimen. „Het geweld zal pas stoppen wanneer de bezetting eindigt", aldus een van hen. „Je kunt net zo goed meteen de hele boel overdragen aan Hamas", roept een ander woedend. „Als Israël ook maar één centimeter toegeeft, vragen de Arabieren meteen de volgende", roept weer een ander.

[But these are extremely sensitive issues, as became evident yesterday evening in London. Even the majority of the critics of Israel do not deny that the country is a significant component of Jewish identity. But should that mean that Jews outside of the country always have to support the government? Hangers-on of the IJV passionately urge that Israel announce that it is ready to leave the West Bank. "The violence will only end when the occupation ends", according to one of them. "You might as well give the entire shebang to Hamas", another yells furiously. "If Israel conceds even one centimeter, the Arabs immediately demand another", yet another one screams.]

Even valt de zaal stil wanneer een voormalige piloot van de Israëlische luchtmacht het woord neemt. Hij legt uit dat hij op een gegeven moment tot de conclusie kwam dat hij Israël geen dienst bewees door bommen op doelen in de Gazastrook te gooien. „Ik werd ontslagen en ben nu tuinman hier in Engeland", zegt hij. „Het belangrijkste probleem ligt bij onszelf. Wanneer je je uitspreekt word je meteen als een verrader beschouwd."

[For a moment the hall falls silent as a former pilot of the Israeli Airforce speaks. He explains that at a given moment he came to the conclusion that he gave no service to Israel by dropping bombs on targets in the Gaza Strip. "I was discharged, and am now a gardner in England", he says. "The most important problem lies with ourselves. When you speak out you are immediately considered a traitor".]

Dat laatste irriteert de oprichters van IJV in hoge mate. Brian Klug, die filosofie doceert aan St Benet’s Hall in Oxford, noemt het „een gotspe" te suggereren dat joden die buiten de bestaande joodse organisaties om van zich laten horen „marginale joden" zouden zijn. Zijn collega-oprichter Jacqueline Rose maant de joden in het algemeen zich niet altijd als slachtoffer te blijven zien.

[That last bit hugely irritates the founders of IJV. Brian Klug, who teaches philosophy at St. Benet's Hall in Oxford, calls it a chutzpah to suggest that Jews who express themselves outside of existing organizations are "marginal Jews". His colleague and co-founder Jacqueline Rose urges Jews in general to not always continue seeing themselves as victims.]

Sommige sprekers toonden zich niet zo zeer teleurgesteld over de standpunten van de IJV als wel over het gebrek aan duidelijkheid omtrent de missie van de nieuwe organisatie. Ze raakten hiermee een zwakke plek. De oprichters bleken meer concrete ideeën te hebben over de vraag hoe het vredesproces in Israël weer op gang kan worden gebracht dan over manieren hoe ze hun eigen organisatie verder gestalte kunnen geven.

[Some speakers showed themselves disappointed not so much by the points (aims) of the IJV as the lack of clarity regarding the mission of the new organization. With this, they touch upon a weakness. The founders turned out to have more concrete ideas regarding the resumption of the peace proces in Israel than about ways to further develop their own organization.]

20 februari 2007



Addendum: Independent Jewish Voices

The Independent Jewish Voices website:

The Independent Jewish Voices Org claims five lofty principles.

1. Human rights are universal and indivisible and should be upheld without exception. This is as applicable in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as it is elsewhere.

[One can live safely and enjoy one's rights as an Arab in Israel, whereas a Jew in Palestinian towns, and most of the Arab world, enjoys few if any rights, and may actually be in mortal danger at all times. This alone would argue in favour of stressing the preservation of Israeli dominance in the former mandate territory. Until the Arab entities acknowledge the human rights of Israelis and Jews, it is pointless to speak of universal and indivisible rights. The first step, therefore, should come from the Arab side: acknowledge the State of Israel and recognize her diplomatically, remove the permanent state of war against Israel which has been legally maintained since 1949 and negotiate a cessation of hostilities, and remove the discriminatory statutes in place in the Arab states. From the Palestinians, what is required is full recognition of the legitimacy of Israel as a state in the former mandate territory plus dismantling of armed gangs and a cessation of race-hatred propaganda from Palestinian religious and educational institutions and agencies. These are not mere talking points, but absolute prerequisites to any actual negotiations.]

2. Palestinians and Israelis alike have the right to peaceful and secure lives.

[And it is right and good that the state of Israel do everything in its power to ensure peaceful and secure lives for her citizens in the face of constant threats and violent incidents directed towards them. How regrettable it is that many other states in that region are far less enthusiastic about their own citizens' rights to peaceful and secure lives. But rhetorical points aside, a good start would be for the Palestinians to take back their streets, mosques, and schools from the gangsters and racketeers that currently hold sway - unfortunately that includes the overwhelming majority of Palestinian organizations and civil institutions, which are little more than the fiefdoms of petty warlords and thieves.]

3. Peace and stability require the willingness of all parties to the conflict to comply with international law.

[There is not a single country in the world which allows international law to trump its own authority, and certainly there is no Arab country which adheres to international laws. This is a bogey, the only purpose of which is to place Israel at a disadvantage. It is particularly rancid that this argument shoud come from citizens of Great Britain, whose non-adherence to international standards during the days of empire was legendary, and which even now is in flagrant violation of much so-called international law.]

4. There is no justification for any form of racism, including anti-Semitism, anti-Arab racism or Islamophobia, in any circumstance.

[And it is fitting that one start by eliminating anti-Semitism from the public discourse, beginning with the British and European politicians who pander to their Islamic constituents by spewing anti-Israel and anti-Jew vitriol, and continuing with the more ignorant citizens of Britain who have so long been allowed to harbour hatred and bigotry. This is, for you English, so much closer to home than anything else that I am surprised that you do not consider it your primary mission. Please start by concentrating on your own society, and let the French worry about the Muslims.]

5. The battle against anti-Semitism is vital and is undermined whenever opposition to Israeli government policies is automatically branded as anti-Semitic.

[There is so much wrong with this thought that one scarce knows where to begin ripping it to pieces. Let it suffice to merely mention that the assertion that it is not anti-Semitic to criticise Israel assumes a priori that one MUST criticise Israel. Which gives undue attention to Israel, to such an extent even that criticism of other countries is far less voiced and far less heard - making clear that there is more to criticizing Israel than just speaking out; the point is to criticise Israel, not to speak out. Certainly opposition to Israeli government policies is not always anti-Semitic. But considering the circumstances of such criticism it is valid to consider all of it anti-Semitic unless clearly and contextually otherwise.]

Final note: The website of this new organization features links to several articles published on a Guardian website. The Guardian, as you undoubtedly realize, is one of the more stridently partisan rags in Great Britian, comparable to our own FOX in its biased reporting and opinionation, though on the opposite side of the spectrum. Any association with such a publication should serve to discredit the opinions in those articles from the get-go.
But never mind - the comment threads underneath those articles do so admirably.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Follow several recipes for 'ingelegde vis', which probably do not resemble the Jewish dish brought to the Netherlands centuries ago, being nowadays a rather old-fashioned first course among old-fashioned gentiles.

Note that several of the recipes mention both a measure of olive oil, and 'oil for frying the fish'. One should not use pure olive oil for frying fish - it cannot stand the necessary temperature, and tends to break down or smoke heavily. But one may add a few drops of olive oil to canola or similar oils for flavour.
For regular purposes, however, it is good to use a fine quality virgin olive oil. It really does taste better. But if one cannot use olive oil, use less oil - olive oil is easily digested, other oils can angrify the stomach.

The kinds of fish which are appropriate are those with firm flesh and strong flavour. The following are good: Halibut, Cod, Shark, Salmon, Red Snapper, Snook. But even trout can be used.

The last dish is an anomaly, being a dish from a part of Indonesia where the Portuguese maintained their influence even after the Dutch came in. It is very good. But the flavours might startle some people more than the other dishes would.

Your feed back will of course be keenly appreciated.


Two pounds firm fish, large chunks
One cup vinegar
Half cup water
Quarter cup olive oil
Quarter cup lemon juice
Quarter cup sugar
Three large onions, sliced
One lemon, sliced
1 Tsp whole peppercorns
1 Tsp salt
2 Tsp ground coriander
1 Tsp ground cumin
1/2 Tsp turmeric
1/4 Tsp dry ginger
1/4 Tsp cayenne

Salt the fish chunks, and quick-fry till opaque in a well-oiled pan. Remove and set aside.
Wipe the pan, and fry the sliced onions till they turn golden. Add the liquids and the spices, raise to boil, turn low and simmer for about five minutes. Turn off heat, let cool to warm.

Arrange the fish chunks and sliced lemon in a non-reactive vessel, and pour sauce over. Cover, and let stand half a day in the refrigerator. Garnish with parsley, and serve with crusty bread.



Two pounds salmon fillets
Two cucumbers, sliced
Two carrots, coarse grated
Two shallots, sliced thin
One cup vinegar
Half a cup of water or fish stock
Quarter cup of lemon juice
Pinches of salt and pepper

Mix everything, cover, and let chill for half a day.
Heat gently to barely boiling, then let cool to room temperature.
Serve on lettuce leaves, garnished with fresh herbs.



Two pounds fish fillets
1 Cup fish stock or water
Half cup white wine
Half cup vinegar
Quarter cup sugar
Quarter cup olive oil
Two onions, sliced
Two carrots, julienned
Two sticks celery, julienned
One or two cloves of garlic, slivered
One tsp of whole peppercorns
A few bay leaves, a few cloves
Pinches of paprika, cayenne, salt
Oil for frying the fish

Salt the fish fillets, pat dry, panfry. Set aside.

Combine everything else in a non-reactive saucepan, raise to boiling, and simmer for about five minutes. Let cool to room temperature, and pour over the fish fillets. Cover and chill half a day.



Two pounds of fish, chunked
One large onion, sliced thin
One carrot, medallion cut
Six cloves of garlic, minced
Pinches of paprika, ground cumin, salt, pepper
Three quarters of a cup each: vinegar, white wine, olive oil
Plus oil for frying the fish

Fry the fish lightly in some of the oil. Remove from the pan, and fry the onion, adding the remainder of the oil. When the onion has turned golden, add the garlic. When the garlic starts to gild at the edges, add the liquids, carrot, and spices to the pot and raise to a boil. Turn low, and simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a non-reactive dish, layer the fish chunks and the onions from the marinade, then pour the marinade over, cover, and let steep for 24 hrs in the refrigerator.



Two pounds of fish, sliced thickly
One and a half cup vinegar
One cup olive oil
Half a cup lemon juice
Half a cup white wine
One lemon, sliced
One bell pepper, sliced
One onion, sliced
Three cloves of garlic, chopped
Two Tablespoons of capers, rinsed
Generous pinches of salt and pepper
Flour, tomatoes, fresh herbs
Oil for frying the fish

Salt the sliced fish and dust with flour, shake off the excess. Fry in a little of the oil till firm. Set aside.

Gild the onion, add bell pepper when the onion is translucent, and add the garlic when the bell pepper smells fragrant. When you can smell the garlic, add the liquids, capers, salt and pepper. Simmer for ten minutes.

Layer half the fish with some of the lemon slices in a bowl, and pour some of the sauce over, making sure that sliced onion and bell pepper is on top of the fish. Layer the remaining half of the fish over this, with the remaining sliced lemon. Pour the remaining sauce over. Cover, and let rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Serve with chopped tomato and fresh herbs to garnish.



Two pounds of fish, chunked
One cup each: white wine, vinegar, olive oil, pitted black olives
One each: red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, green bell pepper
Pinches of salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne

Slice the bell peppers.
Put everything except the fish in a pot and simmer for a good ten minutes. Add the fish, poach for a few seconds only, and turn off the heat. Refrigerate for twenty four hours.



Two pounds of fish, fillets
One cup of white wine
One cup of vinegar
Half a cup of lemon juice
Half a cup of olive oil
One onion, sliced
One carrot, sliced into medallions
Two Tablespoons of sugar
Small handfuls of chopped herbs, minced fine
Generous pinches of salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, and dry ginger
A few saffron threads
Oil for frying the fish

Salt and lightly flour the fish, and fry till barely firm. Set aside.
Put everything except fish and fresh herbs in a non-reactive pot, and simmer for about ten minutes. Let cool to warm.

Layer the fish with herbs in between the fillets in Pyrex, and pour the marinade over the fish. Cover, and chill at least half a day. Best after twenty four hours.



Two pounds of fish, fillets
One cup vinegar
Half a cup of olive oil
Half a cup of white wine
One Tablespoon of sugar
One teaspoon salt
Four or five shallots, sliced
One carrot, sliced
One stick of celery, sliced
A good squeeze of lemon juice
A hefty grind of pepper
Pinches of thyme, rosemary
Oil for frying the fish

Salt and lightly flour the fish, and fry till barely firm. Set aside.

Gild the shallots, carrot, and celery, till softened and aromatic.

Add the liquids to seethe, plus the sugar, salt, spices and herbs. Simmer for about five minutes, let cool a bit, and pour over the fish. Cover, and chill at least half a day. Best after twenty four hours.



A fish large enough for two people, about one and a half to two pounds.
One onion, sliced thinly.
One red and one green bell pepper, ditto.
An excessive amount of fresh ginger, cut into thin juliennes.
Half a dozen cloves of garlic, sliced.
Two or three hot peppers (Jalapeno), left intact.
One cup of fish stock.
Half cup each vinegar, sherry (or white wine).
One fresh lime, for squeezing over.
Two tablespoons sugar.
Dashes of Louisiana hot sauce and soy sauce.
A small handful of fresh cilantro (coriander leaf), for garnish.
Oil for frying the fish, and oil for gilding the onions etc.

As for the fish: gut it, clean and scale it, rinse well. Salt it inside and out (which firms up the flesh nicely), and let it drain for ten minutes. Rub with a little turmeric (no more than about half a teaspoon), and fry in a little oil till done. Set aside.

Gild the onion, bell pepper, ginger, and garlic (add the garlic to the pan later than the onion). Seethe with the liquids. Add everything except the fish and cilantro, and simmer till reduced by about half - taste to make sure it isn't too strong). Pour over the fish. It can be served at this point, but it is better to let is sit in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Garnish with the coarsely ripped cilantro, or use parsley or celery leaf if you detest cilantro (some people are perverse).

Note: Julienned bamboo shoot is a great addition. If using canned bamboo shoot, soak briefly in warm water and rinse to remove the taste of the tin. Canned bamboo shoot is already cooked - add it a few minutes before taking the sauce off the heat.

I, of course, like a dab of sambal with my fish. You might not.


This is a public service announcement.

Eephus P. writes:

I was reading my Baseball Encyclopedia the other night (insert snide remark here), and enjoyed the list of pitchers who have thrown no hitters, some of which are listed below:

Pud Galvin (1880, 1884)
Dick Burns (1884)
Adonis Terry (1886, 1888)
Cannonball Titcomb (1890)
Bumpus Jones (his first Major League start , 1892)
Noodles Hahn (1900)
Nixey Callahan (1902)
Johnny Lush (1906)
Hooks Wiltse (1908)
Ed Head (1946)
Bobo Holloman (his first Major League start, 1953)
Bill Monbouquette (1962)

In addition, four different Rubes have thrown no hitters (Rube Waddell, Rube Marquand, Rube Foster, and Rube Vickers); also, my former roommate, who knew nothing about Baseball, always found it humerous that Randy Johnson is known as "the Big Unit".



For some reason, I found this incredibly educational, and worth sharing.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Orthomom, who, my readers will recall, managed to hurt poor Ms. Pamela Greenbaum by not rigorously censoring reader-comments on her blog, makes public the affidavit which was presented to the court in support of the motion of discovery.
[See here: ]

What particularly caught my eye was the following:

12. This application also seeks a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the Respondent from disposing of, altering, and/or modifying, records regarding the blog and commenters so that the evidence is properly preserved.

13. This matter is brought on by Order to Show Cause since time is of the essence. Every day that the defamatory material remains on the internet for all to see, Petitioner is harmed and continues to be harmed.

[Source: Orthomom's blog - ]

In short, the lawyer wants a court order to prevent the removal of the material that he avers harms his client every second that it is not removed.

Might I humbly, as a matter of my personal opinion, state that the lawyer is an idiot?

I note further that the battle of wits with the unarmed continues at a good clip - some of the commenters underneath Orthomom's posting about the affidavit are quite precious.
[See here: ]

Feel free to jump in, but remember that Ms. Pamela Greenbaum's lawyer will throw poo if you call Ms. Pamela Greenbaum ugly, bigoted, or anti-Semitic. Her lack of ugliness, her disbigotry, and her noncommitment pro or con regarding emotionalized considerations of Jews are now part of the legal record. Or in any case problematic.

You are probably free to opine that Ms. Pamela Greenbaum is a cleverly disguised ten foot tall hairy green space monster (or not), perhaps has tentacles in lieu of eyes (or not), may have a secret fetish for drunken nascar drivers (or not), and trusts a heksher that civilized people would not be caught dead purchasing (or, as a matter of your personal opinion, not).

I also ask you to not get into the habit of thinking of Ms. Pamela Greenbaum as being ugly, bigoted, or anti-Semitic; that would be absolutely inaccurate. Or not.

Friday, February 16, 2007

SerandEz: Board Member Sues Google Over Orthomom?

SerandEz: Board Member Sues Google Over Orthomom?


What, you ask, is that crappy title all about? And who in blazes is Ms. Pamela Greenbaum?

Let me clarify first off that I do not know Ms. Pamela Greenbaum, and have no basis for asserting that she is un-ugly and an un-anti-Semite. For all I know, she may be so ghastly looking that little children have nightmares in which she features prominently, and it is possible that clanwatch and the ADL have entire filing cabinets filled with material about her.

[She might, on the other hand, be so drop-dead gorgeous that grown men act like boys holding their very first Victoria's Secret Catalogue on seeing her, and she could be so liberal, accepting, humanistic, progressive, and all round virtuous saintly my heavens she's a veritable mother Theresa that Chassidic rebbes bow in abject humility before her en-masse.]

Why then am I posting about Ms. Pamela Greenbaum? Why am I stressing that she is un ugly and un anti-Semitic?

Because I do not wish to be sued by her.

You see, one of the commenters on Orthomom's blog ( ) opined that Ms. Pamela Greenbaum was an ugly anti-Semite. A personal opinion, yes, but Ms. Pamela Greenbaum (about whose ugliness and anti-Semitism we know little) was so stung by this public airing of an unfavourable opinion that she is suing to have Orthomom's identity revealed.
I'm not sure how that will help her heal, nor what legitimate purpose unmasking a blogger could serve - I would've thought e-mailing Orthomom might have been the advisable option.
["---Please, dear Orthomom, I am wounded, I am hurt, I suffer, could you possibly see your way towards removing that nasty! icky! comment that called me an ugly anti-Semite? Pretty please? I'd be ever so grateful, dearest Orthomom, thank you thank you thank you - signed: Ms Pamela Greenbaum, hugs and kisses. PS. I am NOT ugly OR an anti-Semite, I'm not I'm not I'm not!---"]

As I said, I would've thought that an e-mail would've solved the problem.
[Note: If you wish to e-mail me to express your righteous anger at this sleazy posting, the e-mail address is northbeachlizard at yahoo dot com. Please don't sue me - I don't have any assets.]

Nevertheless, I want the world to know that Ms. Pamela Greenbaum is NOT ugly (although she could be), and is NOT an anti-Semite (although she could be).

My personal opinion, based on very little indeed, is that her lawsuit is ridiculous, she might be an attention-starved harpy who needs to grow up and stop throwing hissy fits, and her lawyer may be an idiot so desperate for publicity that he'll do anything.
Between her possibly gigantic ego, and her lawyer's probable court-slut harlotry, this juvenile and ridiculous lawsuit might achieve nothing except make the allegations of ugliness and anti-Semitism a matter of the public record. She will no longer be able to hide whatever she is. Again, this is an opinion. A mean-spirited opinion, indeed, but like many opinions it may also be fairly accurate and close to fact.

But I do not know. Is that clear? Don't sue me.

Here is something which I lifted from Dovbear's blog (from this posting: :

A LAWRENCE school board member fed up with anonymous kvetching about her on a blog is going to court to stop it from calling her a bigot and an anti-Semite.
Pamela Greenbaum, who serves on the Nassau town's board of education, filed papers against Google over nasty comments posted about her on the Orthomom blog <> .
In the papers filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, Greenbaum said she was "horrified" to discover that she had been labeled a bigot on the Google-owned blog after voting against using public funds for what she called "private school interests."
"I was even more horrified when I discovered the blog reported over 300,000 visitors," Greenbaum said in court papers.
Greenbaum alleges that Orthomom - which focuses on issues of interest to Long Island's Orthodox Jewish communities - slandered her by calling her ugly and an anti-Semite.
Greenbaum, who is Jewish but not Orthodox, seeks to unmask the blogger known only as Orthomom.
"Every day that the defamatory material remains on the Internet for all to see, I continue to be harmed as more such material is posted," she said in court papers.

Not only Dovbear, but also Canonist (, Chaim (, Ezzie (, and Krum ( have written about this.

The view has been mooted that it is a ridiculous law-suit, and Ms. Pamela Greenbaum is foolish and ill-advised.

Please note that none of the bloggers listed above have said that Ms. Pamela Greenbaum is ugly and anti-Semitic. Her nasty appearance and spiteful hate (or, conversely, her total fabulosity and ahavas Yisroel) are not a matter of concern. Really. These bloggers aren't in the slightest interested in what she looks like and what her feelings towards her fellow Jews are.

What does Orthomom herself say about all this?

Quote: "Pamela Greenbaum is simply not telling the truth here. I never said any such thing about her. She says that I "slandered her by calling her a bigot and an anti-semite". Lie. She might be referring to something that a commenter on my site said. She should say so.
Pamela Greenbaum also says she that she "continue[s] to be harmed" "every day that the defamatory material remains on the internet for all to see". Hm. if that were really true, do you think that perhaps Mrs. Greenbaum would have contacted me to ask me to remove the comments that bothered her so much? I have been asked in the past to remove comments and I have always done so when warranted. I have no idea which the comments in question are - my blog has gotten many thousands of comments on this matter, and Pamela Greenbaum hasn't ever contacted me.


My sympathies, in case you had any doubt, are with the defendant - I do not approve of attempts to silence bloggers by threatening to out them, and many blogs serve as safe venues for writers to express personal opinions and pose questions. There are also blogs which disseminate information and air grievances. These are all very useful things.

In some cases it is essential that anonimity be the cover of the blogger - it is not always safe to have one's name associated with unpopular statements, and dissenters have at times been stalked, hounded, or fired.
Imagine, if you will, a pro-Israel blog in the Arab world, and you will immediately grasp that there is security in one's identity not being known.

In conclusion, let me say that Ms. Pamela Greenbaum is NOT ugly (or perhaps she is, I really don't know), and most certainly is NOT an anti-Semite (or perhaps she is, I really don't know).

[Most of the foregoing is merely stated as opinion. I did mention that, didn't I?]

Now, here's a totally gratuitous, opportunisitic, and self-serving attempt to garner hits by associating the terms 'Pamela Greenbaum', 'ugly', and 'anti-Semite' : ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum ugly anti-Semite Pamela Greenbaum.

That should do it.

I might even get as many hits as Dovbear or Orthomom.

I do not know.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


A post inspired in large part by a recent RenReb post (here:
Nidah, Zivah, and Zavah.


Nidah = A menstrual woman; a state of ritual impurity (tuma) connected with a discharge of blood from the female reproductive organ. Seven days from the moment the menses (dam nidah) start are counted for nidah. Then follow eleven days of zivah (running or radiant flow - the clean and clear flow of menstrual blood that follows the expulsion of the engorged uterine lining, which is a darker and denser occurrence. Any bleeding that occurs during zivah is dam zivah. A woman who bleeds during zivah is a zavah. After ziva-zava comes a state of being tahor (pure).

But it is a different ball game after giving birth. After a boy, she is impure for seven days from when vaginal bleeding stops and until she goes to the Mikvah (ritual bath); after a girl, for fourteen days following the cessation of bleeding and until she goes to the Mikvah. Though if she has given birth by Caesarian section and there has been no vaginal bleeding, she need not wait the seven or fourteen days - she is considered to be clean (tahor).
[Please note that until the woman goes to the Mikvah she remains unclean, no matter what type of vaginal bleeding is involved. ]

Mikvah = Pool. In this context, a pool for the ritual cleaning or purifying of people (men also!) and things (cooking utensils!). Not just any puddle of water will do; it has to be Mayim Chayim - living water, meaning water that moves: river or lake water, streams, or pools of fresh rain water. It may however be 'augmented' by tap water. When making use of a Mikvah, a woman is supposed to immerse herself entirely without holding on to anything (lest that portion of the skin in contact with the support not be wet at the same time as the rest of her).
Then the blessing (bracha) is recited: "Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al ha-tevilah" (Blessed art thou O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us by His Commandments and commanded us to perform the ritual immersion).

Women MUST use a Mikvah, men MAY use a Mikvah, but are not obligated to do so. Both should wash themselves thoroughly and completely before entering the pool.

Now, all of this serves as a preambule to the inyana d'iyoma, namely
B.... E.... D.... I.... K... A.... H....
[And yes, you may scream now.]

Please first read this:
From which we might learn that we can use a Rabbi's dirty undershirt for bedikah. I'm sure that you can find one such on e-bay.

Then read this:

Note: Bedikah means inspection. In matters of tohoros mishpoche, and to be absolutely on the safe side purity and permissibility-wise, bedikas is performed post full flow to examine the state of the unmentionable parts. This is done with a white cloth, so that the colouration may be examined. Those who are uncertain may consult an expert - A Rebbetzin is a good resource for this, though overnight mailing of bedikas-cloths or the relevant untervesh to a rabbi is not entirely unknown either.

[Just make sure that you address the package correctly, as mix ups and switches are not unheard of. Somewhere, at this very moment, there is a rabbi looking with bafflement at a stuffed armadillo, while in the same town a redneck is sitting with an opened package on his table and a big goofy smile all over his ponim.]

In any case, don't obsess about it. And if you're a man, do not press your aishes chayil about it either, as she may at the time be like a cask of powder, that the slightest spark may cause to explode. Some men spend two weeks of every month in a state of timorous fear, others develop a taste for single malts and solitude. Marriage is a blessed state.

[But if your aishes chayil is a Cantonese woman, you’re in ever such luck – just make sure she gets all the lobster she needs and NO... ONE... GETS.... HURT!
Of course, then you’ll have another problem: chashash of shiksa.]


Note too, that the term bedikas also refers to bedikas chometz = searching for the last hidden morsels of chometz with a candle for showing, by the casting of shadows, where crumbs on a smooth surface might be, and a feather for delicately gathering all the minute fragments. When the crumbs are found they are tied in a parcel with the remains of the candle, the feather, and a wooden spoon protruding as a handle to hold it all by when immolating it the next morning.
It is an issur to have chometz in one's possession from before the beginning of the Passover holiday till after it is over, being eight days in chutz le aretz (outside the land - outside Israel), seven within the land.

Pesachim, the third tractate in Mo'ed, in the first part, Pesach Rishon, goes into excruciating detail on ridding chometz from our abodes and our lives, in every conceivable way. It's one heck of a read.

Many modern poskim opine that a good scrubbing with a rag dipped in household cleanser is more than adequate, provided that the cleanser be allowed to soak into every crack and crevice, which will make whatever chometz is thus drenched both unfit for any possible consumption, and something which a dog will not eat (one of the conditions of acceptability).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Sadly, both of these fine tobacco products have apparently been discontinued; the assault by sensitive types with delicate noses proceeds apace. Both were appeals to the taste buds of an older era.
And both were, after a little age, quite remarkable.

By Cornell & Diehl
Invented by William Serad
Crumble cake

All the good stuff in right proportion, which is not surprising for a compound invented by noted tobacco scholar and afficonado William Serad. Dark, rich, chunky.

I'd venture to guess that both Sobranie and Bengal Slices were underlying inspirations for this product, though after the space of a few years aging (it is no longer available), that is hard to say for certain; much has changed inside this little tin. One of the things that is highlighted is how well Turkish pairs with Syrian Latakia, versus how fragile that combo can be with Cyprus leaf. Probably because Syrian contrasted better; Cyprus "Latakia" is after all Smyrna seed-stock, rather than Shek El Bint, which was in some ways slightly similar to Burley, albeit with a winey base flavour rather than that chocolate note that good Burley often has.

This is a very fine product.
A great pity it is no longer made.

Cornell & Diehl

Two kinds of Latakia, with red and bright Virginia, and a little Perique. Plus Burley, because the company in question has a Burley fetish.
Complex, and almost overwhelming, even after a few years age. This absolutely demands a glass of sherry.

I could go on and on about booklined studies, and darkened rooms with Persian carpets and antique furniture, but I won't. Nor will I talk lasciviously about sex, as so self-indulgent and sensuous a confection might tempt me to do.
It actually smells like several churches in Switzerland and Southern Germany. Imagine, if you will, the lone Latinist of some agrarian burg smoking this while listening to tawdry confessions. He wishes his sinful parishioners had more imagination. Can't they at least engage in something he hasn't heard before?
Sorry, meine kinder, pork chops on Friday don't cut it.
Won't even give you gout, or a social disease.
The father in Rome doesn't care.

Please go away, and leave me in peace.

Oriental tobaccos that have a few years maturing in the can behind them often reduce down to a fine grey ash, with little grit. Sometimes their essential Levantine spiciness mellows to a fine degeneracy, often they are mellower and more balanced. The Latakia softens, the Turkish acquires perfume.


NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


Jameel at the Muqata reminds me that Purim is coming up.

And we all know what that means, don't we?

Yep, Peysach is just around the corner.

Which, in many households, means a frantic cleaning at some point to remove all traces of chometz and anything that might possibly ferment, or be mistaken for something that might ferment, or be substituted for something fermentable, might have been fermented as part of a decaying process (so get rid of the compost heap), or even sound like something that you mother-in-law might think of as a chometzdikke substance in any language, especially whatever ghoul-tongue she spoke in the old country.

Because, of course, the commandment is that on the night commemorating the freeing of the slaves, one is commanded to live in quavering fear of one's mother-in-law. She knows from kosher so much more than you that you should be grateful, you wretch, her daughter is far too good for the likes of you. Now tremble and obey.

If you don't go over every possible place where there might be chometz with a feather, she'll find that overlooked little crumb the moment she opens the door.

The M&Ms disguised as pills in the night-stand drawer? She'll throw them out.

That pack of Snackwells you hid behind the loose panel in the closet? She can sniff it out.

The pack of kosher le peysach cake and muffin mix with a hechsher she doesn't accept? The one you buried in a rubbermaid box in the flowerbed? What a coincidence, that is exactly where her nasty toy poodle wants to dig.
[You always wanted to have the little monster stuffed and mounted as a hunting trophy, didn't you? Pity you dilly dallied. Too late now.]

I suppose it's no consolation that the other son-in-law, the successful heart-surgeon she always boasts about, has had no better luck with 'Old Eagle Eyes'. She forced him to sell his BMW for the duration one year.

And right about now, you start wondering why you go to all this trouble. Why do you shampoo the carpets and scrub the cupboards? Why do you go over the cooking surfaces with scouring pad, sandpaper, blowtorch, chisel, your wife's make-up brushes, and a magnifying glass? Why do you cover every surface in the kitchen with wax-paper, aluminium foil, new marblelite, asbestos matting, and Nasa-grade heat tiles? Why do you tromp up and down the stairs with two dozen crates of Passover plates and cutlery, all of which are heavy, cringe-ugly, and heirloom quality? Why does your wife have crying jags for no apparent reason for an entire month, and wake up screaming in the night? Why does your little daughter look at you with wide frightened eyes from that corner where she spends most of her days trembling?

And then it hits you.

It's all pointless.

Problem solved.

Simply go to your shvigger's house for both nights. Heck, stay for all eight. That way the old fruitbat will never come over here herself, neither will that drippy heart-surgeon the GOOOOOD son-in-law with his flashy BMW and whiny brats, you won't have to clean at all, why, you can even leave the half-eaten bag of Rolled Golds and the empty pizza box in the den.......

Which, of course, is exactly what Old Eagle Eyes wanted.
You'll make her so happy.
That miserable heart-surgeon putz won't be the favoured son-in-law ever again.

A weight is lifted off your shoulders.

Ah, fresh air.

No chains.




Yeah yeah, I know this is WAY too early, Peysach ain't till April. But you wouldn't have read it then anyhow, you'd be far too busy going all neurotic and retentive to have time for my blog. Really.
So here it is. Now get on with your life, don't have any nightmares, and get ready for Purim.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Yesterday I mentioned that I would be seeing Dr. Jew today in connection with a sore-throat from the sitra achra. Really, I cannot exaggerate how sore was the throat. Give it a name and call it Darth Vader (which is what I sounded somewhat like).

I mentioned the rapid strep test as a probable option.

Lesson one:
The rapid strep test is not used very much anymore. Some doctors will only use it if they have an kvetshing mother to pacify, and are fairly certain that the test will show a negative. Reason being that if there is sufficient evidence for a bacterial infection, they will treat it anyhow, and a rapid strep test would only confirm what they already knew.

Lesson two:
Do NOT respond to a casual remark said to no one in particular in a waiting room crowded with little old Cantonese people. Despite the evident deafness of at least half the people there, all two dozen of them heard the kweiloh clearly speak idiomatic Cantonese, and for the next half hour I had at least three conversations going on at once. Which, with a sore throat, is painful.

I guess some of them had never spoken to A... REAL... LIVE... WHITE... PERSON... WHO... UNDERSTOOD... A... HUMAN... LANGUAGE.

It's rather like being a carnival attraction.

Do not feed the round-eye, or poke him with a stick. He's real, trust us.

Savage Kitten had warned me that this would happen.

Lesson three:
Chinese do not line up very well. Forming orderly lines is something their contrarian nature utterly rebels against. What they form is a pulsating amorphous mass with a spigot. The person who is next in order is extruded from the spigot. It's like water overflowing, or perhaps sand in an hourglass. It is anarcho-syndicalism in action.

Lesson four:
More than fifty years ago there where two friends who graduated and returned to Chinatown at the same time, where they opened their practises side by side. One practise was a medical office, the other dispensed medicines and filled prescriptions. Their grandsons now run both businesses.

The two men were Jew Shi-Loong and Cheng Tai-Keung. Which the alert observer will find out by reading the framed congratulatory calligraphies on the walls of the medical practise, in which both men are named, and in formal language wished prosperity and a lifetime of approval for the benefit that they will surely be to the community.

Lesson five:
Azithromycin is taken once a day for five days. The most common side effects are diarrhoea (4 - 5%), nausea (3%), and stomach pain (2 - 3%). Less than one percent stop taking Azithromycin because of side effects. There is a Wikipedia article on Azithromycin, which says pretty much exactly what the manufacturer's site says, and what every other internet source says.

The first day one takes two tablets, on subsequent days one takes one tablet. Until the six pack is finished.

And yes, I do feel much better already. I can just feel all those little bacteria dying. And I am enjoying that feeling.


Thank you, HalfNutCase and e-kvetcher for your commiseration and kind words. And yes, I'll go to the doctor much sooner in future.


Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders of the Freedom party said yesterday that if Muslims want to stay and be a part of (Dutch) society they should tear out half the Quran and discard it, as it espouses values and attitudes which are incompatible with western civilization. He also made mention of Muhammad's favourite wife, Aisha, whom the prophet became engaged to when she was six, and married (with consummation) when she was nine. He further pointed out that if the prophet Muhammad were alive today, he would have to be deported as an undesirable or locked up as a terrorist. Naturally, the internet is buzzing, with several writers having fits.

His party has nine seats. Judging by some of the reactions, they may have two or three times that number after the next election (four years from now, or earlier, if the just formed cabinet falls).

He's a hatemonger, and intemperate. But he's also a ballsy loudmouthed gadfly. And pisses off the standard-issue Dutch politicians and Hague bureaucrats.
Sort of the Pim Fortuyn of anti-Islamists.
[His site was where I first found the cartoons, by the way.]

For some odd reason, many Dutch, who normally support all the usual liberal humanist progressive points of view, seem to be of the opinion that if he gets whacked, that's to be expected, only natural, perfectly all right, and his own fault.

They may be overlooking the idea that he has every right to say whatever intolerant thing he wants to, and has a right to protection if there are threats upon his life.

Instead, many have opined that a recently uncovered plot to assassinate him in a suicide car-bomb attack which aimed to also kill as many innocent bystanders as possible was probably justified.
[How do you say 'chicken' in Dutch? Kip. But it doesn't have quite the same connotations. Say 'lafaard' (coward) instead.]

Link to the Algemeen Dagblad article (in Dutch):

Link to the Gazet van Antwerp article (also in Dutch):{16FE8039-3F50-41FF-A3F8-625F0ACD9869}

[ Zelfmoordaanslag tegen Nederlands politicus beraamd ]

Quote: "De Nederlandse rechtspopulist en fractieleider van de Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) Geert Wilders is vorige week bedreigd met een zelfmoordaanslag. Twee jongemannen zouden het plan hebben om Wilders neer te schieten en vervolgens een busje vol explosieven bij de politicus tot ontploffing te brengen. Daarbij moesten "veel onschuldigen omkomen in de enorme chaos"."
[Translation: The Dutch rightwing populist and parliamentary fraction leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) Geert Wilders was targeted last week for a suicide attack. Two young men apparently planned to shoot Wilders and subsequently detonate a van filled with explosives at the scene. It was intended that "many innocents should perish in the enormous (ensuing) chaos.]

According to the file, the planners were not fundamentalists, but merely sought revenge on behalf of Muslims and Islam. There have been a multitude of threats on Wilders' life in the past, primarily because he will not shut up and play nice with the Muslims.

As you might have noticed, we Dutch speakers sometimes get a mouth on, and say things which are not exactly easy on the digestion. Geert Wilders, whose opinions I mostly do not share, seems to have a talent for that. A talent which Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh also had.

Abrasive utterances are a fine Dutch tradition, treasured because they get under the skin of all the right people. They should be encouraged, especially in a country which suffers from massive mental rigidity such as the Netherlands. Dutch deftigheid often needs a clout in the face or a poke in the eye.

If anything happens to Geert Wilders, the public discourse will be less offensive, but very much poorer, and likely stifled.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Several months ago, when Rabbi Pinky was in town, we walked along Grant Avenue looking at Chinese store-windows filled with bric-a-brac.

When we noticed a sign. An election sign.
A sign that said, in big friendly letters,


At which point Rabbi Pinky happily exclaimed "I am Jew!".
Then, few seconds later, and more wistfully, "I want that sign. I really want that sign."

This is relevant precisely how?

Well, having struggled for over a week with the sore-throat from hell, I shall be going to Dr. Jew tomorrow for a rapid strep test. Drs. Jew and Jew have offices on Clay Street just before Stockton. Savage Kitten speaks highly of them. And they accept new patient walk-ins. Their office is in Chinatown, on the bus line from my front door to my office.

One possibly problematic factor is that I am allergic to Penicillin and all of her siblings and cousins. Anything that has the family name cillin. These are davka the medications prescribed for streptococcal infections.

This could be educational.
[Actually, all interactions with modern medicine are educational.]


Please note:
Strep throat spreads from person-to-person through contact with respiratory secretions that contain the streptococci. It is highly contagious. But do not worry - you cannot catch it from reading this blog.

Just make-sure that there is NO contact between your lips and your screen while reading this, and be sure to wash your hands.

Further note: a rapid strep test takes no more than fifteen minutes or so, and if positive conclusively proves strep throat. If the results are not positive, but there are good reasons to nevertheless suspect strep, a bacterial culture will be done, which may take a few days before the results are in.

Symptoms of strep throat, in case you are wondering, are the sore throat from hell.
Bacterial infections of the respiratory region are often marked by unpleasant discharges from the affected area.

Chloraseptic lozenges, chamomile tea with lemon and honey, and aspirin. Whiskey is also excellent.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Another "only in San Francisco" occurrence.

"SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco police confirm that well-known Jewish scholar and author of books about the Holocaust Elie Wiesel was accosted and dragged out of an elevator last week by an apparent Holocaust denier who wanted to grill Wiesel about his writings."


From the San Francisco Examiner:
"In a posting Tuesday on the anti-Zionist Web site ZioPedia, a writer using the name Eric Hunt takes credit for the attack: “After ensuring no women would be traumatized by what I had to do (I had been trailing Wiesel for weeks), I stopped the elevator at the sixth floor. I pulled Wiesel out of the elevator. I said I wanted to interview him.

Further quote:
"Police haven’t officially identified a suspect, but a source close to the investigation said Eric Hunt is the focus of their probe. "


The anti-Zionist website mentioned ( appears to be a glibly produced hate venue that loads incredibly slowly. It bears further investigation.
But you have probably already seen much the same elsewhere, perhaps not as slickly thrown together. Pro-Palestinian polemics, articles hypercritical of Jews, allegations of Zionist conspiracies and Jewish cabals, attempts to discredit politicians, slander, libel, outright vicious untruth. Nothing particularly original.

Eric Hunt's action could be no more than an attempt to boost readership for his dreary site.

Note that a quick check on the internet yields only one listing for an Eric Hunt in San Francisco, on twentieth Avenue. But the name Eric Hunt could be a pseudonym, and there are at least four other people by that name in California. The surname Hunt is not at all uncommon, the given name Eric is almost generic. And that our city has its share of nuts, well that we knew already.

The organization claiming copyright on ZioPedia, which calls itself 'Rebel Media Group', appears to be based in Sydney, Australia. It also owns 'Jews Anonymous' (, which says that "the only requirement for membership with 'Jews Anonymous' is a desire to stop being a Jew. The primary purpose of J.A. is to help Jews to rid themselves of any sense of chosenness and superiority over their fellow human beings and embrace all of mankind, regardless of heritage, nationality, religion or race.”

The guiding light of this fascinating little internet cult is Andrew Winkler, also of Sydney. He is obsessed with Jews. And a prolific writer. A very useful idiot. Who might benefit from medication - I suggest anti-inflammatories and prozac.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I would really like to draw your attention to a new blog:

Let me quote here the first posting, which explains the raison d'etre:
"Here we will be refuting the accusations and exposing the lies that are being told on the streets and in cyberspace about Israel, Jews and pro-Israel organizations.

A severe campaign of disinformation is underfoot that relies on anti-Semitic stereotypes, intimidation, half-truths, and outright lies. These campaigns have gone almost completely unanswered. Until now, they have also gotten little press and were deemed by many to be inconsequential. Given the media blitz that has surrounded Jimmy Carter's book, the Mearshimer-Walt paper, and the coordinated media campaign accusing "Jews," and/or "Zionists" or suppressing free speech and access to the media, we decided it is time to fight back."

The severe campaign of disinformation refers (in part) to two other new blogs, namely Muzzlewatch ( ) and Independent Jewish Voices (, both of which are, shall we say, suspect and biased.

And by suspect and biased I mean basely slanderous and despicable.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Yes, yours.
It is.

You need a tee-shirt. You need a RenReb tee-shirt. With matching RenReb coffee mug.
Go here:
Spend like a madman.

Then go here:
And discover why you just spent like a madman.

To really understand the RenReb gestalt, you must understand these two words: cockyhead, nidah.

Once you understand you'll be glad you understand. But until you understand, you won't understand. Is that clear?


The e-mail below is a new twist on the scam first pioneered by the West Africans, which originated in Nigeria but is now also practiced by adroit operators in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Benin, and Liberia, among other places. Read, enjoy.

-----Original Message-----
From: barbara []
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 5:46 AM
Subject: FROM: CPT.Babara J. Minnich.

FROM: CPT.Babara J. Minnich.

Important Message .

Good day,

My name is . CPT.Babara J. Minnich, I am an American soldier, I serve in the Military of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq, as you know we have being attacked by insurgents everyday and car bombs. We where lucky to move funds belonging to Saddam Hussein?s family hopping it was a bomb in the box, later we find out it was a fiscal cash .
The total amount is US$10,000,000 Ten Million United State dollars in cash, mostly 100 dollar bills which is still in our co sturdy at the military base camp, now we find it as a Big Risk on us if the Iraqis People get to find out about this box of money because we are not allowed to have any money in our position for that We are seeking for a trustworthy foreign business partner who can help us in receiving this box of money

so that He/She may invest it for us and keep our share for banking. This is our plan of sharing my partner and I will take 60%, you take the other 40%.

No stress attached, for we have made all necessary arrangement for shipping it out of Iraq, Iraq is a war zone. We planed on using diplomatic courier service for shipping the money out in one large silver box declaring it as family valuables using diplomatic immunity.

If you are interested I will send you the full details, my job is to find a good partner that we can trust to assist us. Can I trust you? When you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for quick communication also your contact details. This business is risk free. The box can be shipped out in 48hrs. Please send your reply to my private mail box:


CPT.Barbara Joan Minnich


Note: There is something about the writing style that suggests a native language other than English. The termination of the private mail box Ms. Minnich lists suggests a French connection, but that does not necessarily mean that she is based in France - much of West-Africa speaks some form of French. I also wonder about the name 'Barbara Joan'. It sounds so wholesome, doesn't it? So very girl next-door. So very innocent. And so very suspect.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Matthew LaClair, a junior at a public high school in New Jersey, taped his American History teacher saying some rather stupid things.

No, this posting is not about privacy. Whatever a teacher says in the classroom is not private, and the teacher has no right to claim it as being said in confidence.

What the teacher, David Paszkiewicz, said was that evolution and 'the Big Bang are not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark, and that only Christians had a place in heaven'.

[Source: ]

The student taped the statements because he was afraid that without solid evidence the school administration would dismiss the allegation or simply not believe it. The 'it' in question being that the teacher was, with the voice of authority, saying things that are inappropriate for a classroom and immaterial to the subject that he was supposed to be teaching.

All three of Mr. Paszkiewicz's statements fudge the Constitution’s separation of church and state. And clearly they are partisan and discriminatory towards non-Christians. Naturally I have a problem with this, as some of my best friends are non-Christians. Even some of my relatives are non-Christians. Heck, I too am a non-Christian. And Mr. Paszkiewicz is a moron and a bigot who should certainly not be teaching, and arguably not be on the public payroll in any function whatsoever.

Bernadette McDonald, the president of school board for the Kearny School District, has since ordered that teachers should receive instruction on the Constitutional separation of church and state and how it applies in the classroom. She has also asked the school board to adopt a policy showing "its strong commitment to the principle that the personal religious beliefs of our instructional staff have no place in our classrooms."

School officials have taken unspecified corrective action against Mr. Paszkiewicz.

That's not enough. The bozo should be fired. He does not belong in front of a classroom. Whether he belongs in the municipality of Kearny in New Jersey, or even anywhere in North America is a different matter.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Rabbi Yakov Ben Asher (1270 – 1340), was a son of Asher Ben Yehiel (the Rosh, also known as Rabbeinu Asher; 1250 or 1259 - 1328), who was a student of Rabbi Meir Ben Baruch of Rothenburg (1215 - 1293).

Yakov Ben Asher's codification of Halacha (the 'Four Rows' - Arba Turim - ארבעה טורים) was long the standard, and his division of Halacha into four categories is still normative. It is from the name of his work that his appellation is derived: Baal HaTurim = Master Of The Rows.

The four Halacha categories he set out were Orach Chayim (the Path of Life – worship and ritual), Yoreh Deah (Instruction of Knowledge – ritual prohibitions, purity and impurity), Even Ha Ezer (Rock Of The Helper – family law, including divorce), and Choshen Mishpat (the Breastplate of Judgement – administration and adjudication).
[Why only four categories, when the Talmud itself speaks of six? Because two categories are no longer applicable in golus and since the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash.]

The book’s title, ‘four rows’, is in reference to the lines of precious stones on the breastplate (chosen, prounced with a gutteral 'kh')) of the kohein gedol, as described in Sefer Shmos, Parshas Teitzaveh, where Aharon receives a turban, shirt, pants, gartel, eifod (apron), chosen (breastplate), and a tzitz (turban badge). Plus a robe with bells on the hem so that his coming and going will be noticeable – from which we learn, mashma, that a man should cough discretely or otherwise announce his presence, even when entering his own home.

The Arba Turim was of great influence on subsequent Halachic writing, effectively setting standards that later generations of scholars strove to emulate. Rabbi Yosef Karo (also known as the Mechaber – compiler or author) based his own work Beis Yosef on the Arba Turim.

Rabbi Yakov Ben Asher also wrote a Torah commentary, which, in addition to pshat, also veers off into Gematriot (a translation is available from Mesorah Publications).

Yakov Ben Asher, his father, and his brother Yehudah, left Germany in 1303 because of government persecution - Emperor Rudolf I of Habsburg (born 1218, excommunicated by Innocent IV in 1254, crowned emperor in 1273, died 1291, not a moment too soon) had decreed that all Jews in his domains were Servi Camerae (slaves of the treasury), making them subject to greater than usual exploitation and extortion.

Asher and his sons settled in Spain, and are considered intermediates between the Franco-German Tosafists (supplementarian commentators of Torah and Talmud, students and descendants of Rashi) and the Sephardic Talmud-Torah scholars.

Note that Asher Ben Yehiel’s teacher, Meir of Rothenburg, also tried to escape from the greedy clutches of the Habsburgs, but was seized in Lombardy and imprisoned in Alsace, where he died in 1293. The authorities released his body, in return for an enormous ransom, fourteen (!) years after his death. Gentile authorities were nothing if not creative when it came to developing new sources of revenue.



ROSH = Rabbi Asher Ben Yechiel, 1250 - 1328, student of the Maharam (Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg, 1215 - 1293). After the rampaging crusaders went nuts in the Rhineland in 1306, Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel fled to Barcelona, then to Toledo, where he was appointed head judge of the Jewish community there. The Rosh represents the transition from the Ashkenazic Tosafists of France and Germany, whose age was ending, to the Torah and Talmud scholars of the Sephardic golden age in Spain.

And speaking of the Rosh, I would like to go off on an interesting tangent here regarding loans, as this expands upon the theme of a recent conversation at the tobacco store.
Rather than engaging in usury (ribis), halacha holds that money advanced be considered an investment, which entitles the investor to a specified share of the profits, and imposes at least part of the risk upon him. This is what is referred to as heter iska (from Aramaic; ‘heter’, meaning allowance for, clause permitting, and ‘iska’ meaning enterprise), which converts a loan into a partnership (shutfus; assigning partners) or agented investment, which grants the one who lends the funds a part in the profits, and implies a stake in the enterprise as a silent partner (the ‘borrower’ is technically the employee or aqent of the ‘partnership’, and must be recompensed – usually this is done with a nominal sum).

Now note that such an arrangement can amount to a fully realized lien on at least part of the corporate assets, which Rabbeinu Asher holds will guarantee payment of debt. The Talmud states that collateral in lieu of a lien under certain circumstances invalidates any claim to a share of proceeds, whereas the Rema (Rav Moshe Isserless) avers that the non-Jewish laws and financial practices of the country are in principle valid and legitimate, even if not expressly supported by Halacha.

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