Friday, September 28, 2007


Imagine that you are a new visitor to this blog. You have never been here before, and you just wandered in.

You probably did so because many of your favourite blogs are somewhat quiet right now, it being Sukkos, and the bloggers being preoccupied.

According to the Zohar, when a person is sitting in his sukkah, Avrohom and six noble guests (Yitzchok, Ya'akov, Yosef, Moshe, A'aron, and Dovid) keep him company. Seven ushpizin. One for each night. So please, take a seat. Stay for a while. With the other bloggers not posting anything, my blog may be the only game in town.

I wish I could offer you something to eat...... Some pomegranate, dates, figs, or olives. But unfortunately you are probably not reading this in your own sukkah.
Unless you have a laptop. If that is the case, and you actually ARE inside a sukkah, you can recite "Boruch Attah Adonoi, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b' mitzvosav ve tsivanu leishev ba sukkah", while I sit here imagining that I can hear it, or let my mind wander through some of the scenes from the movie Ushpizin - please visualize my reposing in respectful silence while you make brocho.

In lieu of my actually saying anything new and exciting about sukkos today, I would direct you to three posts from last year.

Al Netilas Lulav
["A brief listing of things, which if you had not seen them before at this time of year, might baffle you. Such as waving palm-fronds and what looks like a lemon...."]

Shake Your Shrubbery
["...because it is absolutely nowhere near Sukkos, I decided to refresh your collective memories ..."]

["Exactly two weeks ago, in an e-mail to Tri-national Rabbi, I said "I think I'll stay away from the movie. The ads make it sound like 'Walt Disney Does Jews', for the family channel." A day later my friend the BookSeller gave me a free-pass to an advance screening at the Embarcadero Cinemas. So of course I went."]

In any case, chag sameach, and a gitte shabbes.
And see you here again next week, I hope.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


It struck me that you might need an updated calendar for this year. Especially if you are not Jewish. But even if you are, you may think that the calendar you currently work with is somewhat confusing....... Yawm Ha Mawlad Yushka seems to fall on a different day of Teves (or Kislev) every year, and the Gentile festival of eggs sometimes seems to overlap Peysach, sometimes not. It is all very strange.

So, for the benefit of MOT and Nation alike, here's the Calendar for the coming twelve months.


09/13/07 New year: Rosh HaShanah. 13 September 2007 (Thursday).
09/16/07 Fast of Gedalia: Tzom Gdalya. 16 September (Sunday).
09/22/07 Day of Attonement: Yom Kippur. 22 September 2007 (Saturday).
09/27/07 Festival of Booths: Sukkos. 27 September 2007 (Thursday) through 4 October 2007 (Thursday).
10/03/07 Great Rejoicing: Hosanna Raba. 3 October (Wednesday).
10/04/07 Conclusion of the period of the New Year and the festival of booths: Shemini Atzeres. 4 October 2007 (Thursday).
10/05/07 Rejoicing with the Torah: Simchas Torah. 5 October 2007 (Friday).
10/05/07 End of the festival of booths. Isru Chag.
Note: because the end of Sukkos coincides with the Sabbath, Simchas Torah and Isru Chag move up one.
10/13/07 Natal day of a blogger. 13 October 2007 (Saturday).
11/23/07 Second day of Thanksgiving: Roast Duck Day. 23 November 2007 (Friday).
12/05/07 Festival of lights (marking the rededication of the Temple): Chanukah. 5 December 2007 (Wednesday) through 12 December 2007 (Wednesday).
12/05/07 Sinterklaas Avond: Saint Nicholas Eve: Dutch gift-giving day for the little screamers: gifts if good, coal and a whupping if bad. 5 December 2007 (Wednesday).
12/06/07 Sinterklaas: Saint Nicholas Day: Marzipan or misery (see above). 6 December 2007 (Thursday).
12/19/07 Fasting day marking the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians; Asarah b'teves: tenth day of Teves. 19 December (Wednesday).
01/22/08 New Year of the trees: Tu Bishvas. 22 January 2008 (Tuesday).
01/31/08 Beginning of Carneval: Prince Carneval starts visiting all the bars in town to drink from the ceremonial beer vessel, which holds at least a litre. There are three hundred or more bars in town. Carneval lasts five more days. 31 January 2008 (Thursday).
02/05/08 Last day of Carneval: The totemic giant statues in the centre of town have probably been torched by the local yobbos by now, unless the police have found a safe place to hide them. But don't worry - we'll find out where they are, and they will burn. Prince Carneval has probably had his stomach pumped five times by now; a few more hours won't hurt him. 5 February 2008 (Tuesday).
02/06/08 Communal Depression. 6 February 2008 (Wednesday).
02/07/08 Chinese New Year / Tet. 7 February 2008 (Thursday).
03/14/07 Beginning of Irish Day of Accomplishments. 14 March 2008 (Friday).
03/15/07 Second Day of Irish Day of Accomplishments. 15 March 2008 (Saturday).
03/16/08 Third day of Irish Day of Accomplishments. 16 March 2008 (Sunday).
03/17/08 Last Day of Irish Day of Accomplishments. 17 March 2008 (Monday).
03/18/08 Irish Influenza Day. 18 March 2008 (Tuesday).
03/20/07 Ta'anis Esther: Fast of Esther. 20 March 2008. (Thursday).
03/21/08 Feast of Lots: Purim. 21 March 2008 (Friday). Drink and party.
03/23/08 Second day of Purim, in Israel only: Shushan Purim. 23 March (Sunday).
04/20/08 Passover; Pesach: 20 April 2008 (Sunday) through 27 April (Sunday).
05/02/08 Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). 2 May 2008 (Friday).
05/04/08 Wreath Day (Dutch). 4 May 2008 (Sunday).
05/05/08 Criticise 2nd. Generation Muslim Immigrants Day (Dutch) / Play Kickball With Wreaths Day (Muslim Immigrants). 5 May 2008 (Monday).
05/06/08 Pontificate About How The Country Is Going To Hell In Handbasket Day (Dutch). 6 May 2008 (Tuesday).
05/07/08 Israel Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron). 7 May 2008 (Wednesday).
05/07/08 Back to Normal Bellyaching Day (Dutch). 7 May 2008 (Wednesday).
05/08/08 Israel Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut). 8 May 2008 (Thursday).
05/23/08 Lag B'Omer: 23 May 2008 (Friday). Bonfire.
06/09/08 Shavuos: 9 June 2008 (Monday). Eat cheesecake.
08/10/08 Fast memorializing several tragedies, especially the destruction of the Temple; Tisha B'Av. 10 August 2008 (Sunday).

For an intro to the Jewish Calendar, see this posting:

Please note that purely for my own convenience I have interpolated a few significant days that are not, strictly speaking, of any Jewish import whatsoever in the list above. They are easy to spot. Feel free to celebrate them anyway.


Mr. Ahmed Haroun ( )
is the Sudan's State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs. In September 2007, he was appointed to lead an investigation into human rights violations in Darfur. The International Court of Justice in the Hague holds him responsible for a large number of those atrocities.
Like many politicians world-wide, he is a man of dubious morals. And like a fair number, he is an absolute waste of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. A blot on the face of humanity, which the civilized world would do well to apprehend, or failing that, excoriate.

But, rather than focusing on vicious goons and deplorable conditions in certain countries, America's European friends would rather redouble their venomous calumnies against us.

Hello? Who and what, you say?

We're by no means as bad as, oh let us say, the Sudan, Somalia, Burma.

Not that being better than those three is anything to boast of, but we're also better than China, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libia, Morocco, Algiers, Cuba, Venezuela, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Syria, North Korea..........
Yet if you paid attention to the European news media and internetfora, you would think that we are the very worst country in the world. Us, the U.S. The worst of the lot. The be all and end all of cruel and despicable tyrannies.
Last year Hugo Chavez was lionized because he bated the wolf in its own lair, this year the remarkably ignorant and not particularly bright leader of Iran was praised effusively for telling all o' them Jooooos at Columbia how wrong they were. A performance he expanded upon at the United Nations. For which even more praise.

To our " " " " " "friends" " " " " ", Mahmoud Ahmedinejad seems heroic, Herculean - a veritable primordial champion. An avatar of light fighting the force of darkness. The ultimate hobbit. Harry Potter with bells on. Jesus-Mary-and-Josef squared. Mithras and Ahura Mazda combined. Pope John Paul the First.

Unfortunately this new great and glorious paladin cannot see the blemishes on his close pals the Sudanese. Iran and Sudan have an excellent relationship marked by cooperation and collaboration. A relationship that is mutually very beneficial. And incriminating.

Which is just fine according to the good folks of Europe. No problem at all. Because Ahmedinejad is anti-American. And Ahmed Haroun (Sudanese State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs) has a name that is infinitely unpronounceable. Something foreign, don'tcha know.

Just a thought: Do you suppose that if we elect Barack Hussein Obama ( the Europeans will finally start to ignore us?

Or, oh happy thought, at least "politely" refrain from speaking about us at all.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


One of the things I always have with me is my little brown notebook. To some people, it serves as the perfect illustration of either my peculiarities (non-existent, I assure you), or my high degree of neurosis (equally non-existent - I really have to stop associating with people who recognize imaginary psychological conditions).

What is it about the notebook that excites their delusion?

I have no clue.

It is a perfectly normal thing.....
The first page has the opening invocation for shadow-plays, recited while the audience comes together and the gamelan players stroke the starting rhythms, the last page has, of course, the closing invocation (exvocation?), which returns the numinous-powers to their proper places and reseals the boundaries.

[Indonesian shadow-plays are in many ways exorcistic and ritualistic reframings of the mundane world, and it seems appropriate to begin and end the notebook in that fashion. Even though I replace the notebook when it fills up, I prepare the new notebook with the same opening and closing texts before adding aught else.]

For the rest, the notebook is fairly simple and entirely unsurprising. From front to back, vocabulary notes for Tamarao (an Indonesian regional language), entries in capitals, explanation in cursive. From back to front, phone numbers, addresses, key recipes, miscellaneous notes and inventory lists for my pipe-tobacco stockpile. I gradually add material to both the front and the back entries - After several months the blank pages in between narrow down to only a few unwritten leaves near the middle, whereupon I prepare a new notebook to take its place.

A sampling from the current notebook:

[Page 26]
TUNGKAWAN = Fortified multi-level agricultural storehouse.
TUMPAK, TUMPAROK = Stylized lightening bolt motif used in jewelry.
SAHUI = Ritual guest group or secondary ethnicity whose societal presence serves as guarantor or fair witness.
DJAMBO-DWIPA = The Rose-Apple (djambu) Island (dwipa); Sanskritic term for the Eurasian landmass. Note that djambo also means tuft or tassel (djambo-tumendjok = decorative turban tuft).
SAMPI = Volunteer. Self-sacrificiant. Not to be confused with 'sampe'.
SAMPAHI, SAMPAI, SAMPE = Until. Upon meeting. Next.


As you can tell, it is not alphabetic. Entries grow as I remember words, or something reminds me of a locution. It is a record of recollected word-glitterings.

The recipes near the back are far less haphazarded.

Here are two, which by themselves neatly nearly define the Dutch East Indies taste.

[Toasted coconut shred condiment]

One cup shredded coconut.
Half cup cashews.
Half teaspoon each: ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, sugar, salt.
Quarter teaspoon each: cinnamon powder, dry ginger.
Pinch: mace, cayenne.
Half tablespoon each: Louisiana hot sauce, lime juice.
Dash of hot water.

Whisk all flavourings till sugar and salt dissolve. Toss everything together to coat, let stand for an hour. Toast, spread out on a tray, for one and a half to two hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be brown and crispy at this point. Can be kept in a jar with a screw-top lid for up to four or five weeks - but you will have eaten it before then.

This is used as a textural side-dish, adding crunch to curries and stews. It can also be eaten plain, or strewn over rice. Unlike the standard version, which you are probably used to, it contains no fish-paste, and no huge amount of palm-sugar (Javanese like much more sweetness than is strictly normal).

I have substituted cashews for peanuts - some people are allergic to peanuts.

[Sweet soy-sauce]

Half cup each: sugar (white, or white and dark mixed), Kikkoman soy sauce.
Two tablespoons each: sherry, dark vinegar.
One teaspoon salt.
One whole star anise, one or two slices of ginger, and a clove or two.

Put everything except the vinegar and half of the soy sauce into a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, till the sugar is fully dissolved and the liquid syrupy and starting to foam. Stir in the remaining soy sauce and in a minute or so turn off the heat. Let it cool and strain it into a bottle. Use the dark vinegar to swish the remaining syrup coating the inside of the saucepan, and add to the bottle.

This is as close to typical Dutch and Indonesian sweet soy sauce as you can get, and far better than most brands. Plus you know exactly what is in it.

We use it in any number of dishes, but it is also good drizzled over roasted meats such as saté or little grilled lamb chops. Try it on your fried eggs.

These two preparations, along with at least one jar of chili-paste, can be found in countless Dutch kitchens world-wide. Their uses are legion.



Sarundeng (Dutch spelling: seroendeng) is based on the root 'unde', which applies to substances with a coconut meat base or a strong coconut taste. Such as undé undé - a sweet sticky shreddy compound used to fill sweet dumplings or little crepes. The praefix sa/sa(r/l/g) indicates that the substance is entirely identified with the meaning of the root word, the 'ng' ending makes it an independent noun.
Ketjap is the same word as ketchup. But not the same substance. In both Hokkien and Cantonese 'keh-tshap' (茄汁) indicates a tomato juice preparation or compound. Keh is short for 'fan keh' (蕃茄 - Barbarian eggplant, hence tomato), tshap (汁 - chup, tseap) means juice or expressed liquid. By pulping and condensing tomatoes with some vinegar (醋 - tchew) and salt (鹽 - yin) one achieved a flavour -additive that kept on sea voyages and was pretty good with fish. In Malaya, the settled Chinese eventually replaced the vinegar with soy sauce (a natural development, given that there were already so many sour flavourings commonly used locally), and ended up omitting the tomatoes altogether. Ketjap at that point simply meant a flavoured compound sauce (such as mushroom flavoured soy sauce, shellfish flavoured soy sauce, gingered soy sauce, etc.) similar to 'condensed sauce' (滷 汁 - lutjap; rice wine, spices, and soy sauce, simmered down), and eventually came to mean soy sauce itself - the basis of flavoured cooking sauces. The postfix 'manis' means sweet. Regular unsweetened soy sauce is ketjap asin - salty soy sauce.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


The blog posting of a friend in New York:

My Syrian taxi-driver this morning said that the only people who showed up were the Jooos, and the collaborationist Persians who fled to the US in the eighties (he heard it on Al Jazeera).

For those of you in the Netherlands, especially if you stemmed SP or PvdA, please do not click on the link; there are far too many Jews there for you guys to feel comfortable. Besides, you folks disapprove so horribly of everything American that you would probably vote for Ahmedinejad, and sell your own daughters into whoredom to fund him.

With fond regards,



No, they haven't succeeded in killing them all.
Not for want of trying, though.

It's just good old-fashioned denialism.

According to Mahmoud Ahmedinejad:
"In Iran we don't have homosexuals, like in your country -- In Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don't know who has told you that we have it"


Most Middle-Eastern countries assert that they do not have homosexuals, none of those people, no, not really any at all, at least no significant numbers, maybe a few westernized playboys, or transients from "other" countries like Pakistan.
And in any case, they usually blame homosexuality on The Prosyletizing International Gay Agenda and former British colonial functionaries.

At least they don't blame the Jews, or their own women.


I received my copy of Emes ve Emunah: A Sfas Emes Companion (by Nosson Chayim Leff) today.

I haven't had much time to look at it, but I will go over it thoroughly in the next few days and post a review soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Back in 1984 I lived in a residential hotel above a nightclub on Broadway.

I stayed in a small room, with a window out onto a large air well. Two dozen other rooms also opened onto the air well. On autumn evenings, with the window open, I could hear the other tenants.

Placid female voice from across the air well: "Would you like a sandwich? I could make you a cheese sandwich.... you would like a cheeeeese sandwich, wouldn't you? Perhaps....., ...... you ..... should have a cheese sandwich. Would you like that?"

Three or four times a week for several months I heard nearly identical monologues by the same voice, but I never heard a response.
Maybe her roommate was imaginary. If so, a very constipated fantasy friend. How nice.

Shrill angry voice from the top floor: "Get off me, bitch. Get OFF me, bitch. Get-off-me, BIIIIITCH! Gwan, get off! Get yourself off, bitch. Get offf!" Followed by another shrill voice saying: "you're so soft and cootchy when you're angry".

Well now.


I seldom heard the most interesting tenants, though, as their private lives were far less noisy, much more visual. I greeted them when I saw them in the hallway. The inbred-looking gimp with the tight leather pants. The drunk with the cross-eyed young wife (he was often passed out in her arms at the top of the stairs). The petite blond dance hostess with the tattooed biker-chick girl-friend. The preacher-man who spoke no English.

Also, the five hundred pound transvestite with the greasy leather diaper, who drifted the halls cocktail in hand while waiting for gentleman callers. When he was working, his three willowy roomies and the big (and very male) German shepherd would be shooed out, to go drink sodas down at Nick's.
Afterwards, another cocktail, and a cigarette. Reclining with grace, staring dreamily at the ceiling. Flaked out on the zebra-striped throw rug on the bed, door wide open, big-band music on the tape player, a spiral of rose incense drifting heavenward.
One tried not to look, but one sometimes couldn't help catching corner-of-the-eye glimpses. He was surprisingly pink, one thought.

Occasionally he would wander the halls in a flowery blue and red kimono with a purple sash. On those days he was "indisposed". Not receiving guests. In a funk or brown study. Or just taking a day off.

On weekends he would pop enough pills to put a normal person in the hospital twice over. It had little effect on him. He would titter a little more giddily, and entertain many more gentlemen. His three boy-thingies would spend all weekend at Nick's coffee shop. By Sunday evening he was positively twirling. All beams and laughs and girlish chirpy cooing, reeking of Vodka, Kool Filter Kings, and almond-scented body oil. Effusive, cheerful, and hippity-bippity-boppiting. A sight to be seen. Infectious joi de vivre.

After he moved out, I heard from the manager that between the four of them ('Sister Love-Bear and The Three Graces') they drank a crate of beer a day. The manager was sad to see them go. But happy to finally be able to throw out the zebra-striped throw-rug that had covered the bed - his dislike of that bed-cover may have been personal, but I dared not ask; he seemed to be on a first-name basis with the oily, crackly thing.

A month later the inbred gimp with the tight leather pants moved out too. He shot out all the bathroom mirrors with a Saturday-night special before leaving the building. The mirrors had offended him.

Now, perhaps you should eat a cheese sandwich?

Friday, September 21, 2007


A mass of protestors several times larger than the town itself descended on Jena in Louisiana yesterday.

This was an absurd and overblown demonstration by any standard. And everytime I see the usual suspects (King relatives, sneering Baptist ministers, and angry "spokesmen" or "leaders of the black community"), I get the same nauseated feeling in my stomach as when Bush or Cheney are on the television. Opportunists, hypocrites, swine.

Indeed, the trial of that young feller was a travesty. And the Jena six are being treated more harshly than a bunch of redneck good ole boys would've been in a similar situation.
But let us not forget that six of them ganged up on the victim.
I realize that holding to the idea that a fight should be fair and balanced is rather ridiculous and old-fashioned, but evenso.

Nevertheless, Jena was not about Jena. And there is good reason for frustration on the more richly pigmented side of the fence.


This morning I tried to flag down a taxi. On the corner opposite me, a black woman was trying to do the same. A very civilized looking black woman, clean, neat - an office worker late for work, or rushing to an appointment. In any case, both of us were clearly trying to get to the financial district, further down California street, on the other side of the hill.

An approaching taxi was heading towards the intersection, and I stopped waving. She had been there first, it was nearer to her than to me, and it would've been bad form to compete with her taxi-opportunity.

The taxi veered deliberately away from her, crossed the intersection, and stopped for me.

Did I mention that I am a white male?

I should have. I am as white and glow-in-the-dark as they come. I radiate honky.
I do not usually define myself solely in terms of gender and skin-hue, but in this case it seems appropriate, as it appears to bear greatly on what I am describing.

The taxi driver beckoned that I should get in. I shook my head and waved the taxi on.

Taking that taxi would, I feel, have been reprehensible. Either we all get treated equitably, or we all end up screwed.

I am not feeling particularly good about the experience, though, as I let a chance slip by. You see, I am not really a nice person - I have an immense streak of bitchy mean nasty a-hole in me. And this would've been a splendid opportunity to nurture that side, to have coaxed it into full riotous bloom. Fecund, rank, and gigantically unpleasant, like the Titan Arum.
I could have, and should have, and indeed would have if I had been awake enough, given that particular taxi-driver such a harangue that it would've generated nightmares and post-traumatic stress. Vented. Used pointed insults in several languages, cleanly and brutally analyzing the driver's family tree for several generations. Viciously and eloquently caused a crisis of confidence and identity that would have prompted a drastic career change. Induced fear, panic, and hysterical weeping.

My mean streak would have thoroughly enjoyed that.

Once more: Either we all get treated equitably, or we all end up screwed.
We need a thousand protests such as the one yesterday in Jena now.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


This posting is more or less about shlugn kapores.

One of the things which many shtrenge yidden will be doing at this time of year is using a live chicken for scapegoating purposes (which involves twirling it over one's head while reciting a formula). In recent years there have been accusations of animal cruelty, and disturbing reports of abused chickens kept in deplorable conditions.

The management of this blog has found a video which is quite incriminating.

[Note especially the strong Litvish accent of the gentleman distressing the chicken.]

Shlugn kapores

Surely the scenes you have just witnessed must be quite shocking to the unititiated. What is surprising is that even in this modern day and age such voodooistic rituals are performed, by people of whom one expects a greater level of awareness and intelligence.


What can you do?

Watch this video for answers!

Now, write to your local SPCA chapter, and tell them ......

Oh heck, I can't keep up the pretense - you've already realized that the idea of shlugn kapores has formed a solid link in my mind with the Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show. So, without further nonsense, here are some other great scenes.


Bananananana na





Italian food


I'm sure you'll agree that last one was very touching. Or something. I couldn't wait for a more appropriate time.
Mork mork mork.


Two years ago I told one of my colleagues that a certain salesrep would probably not respond to her queries because it was Yom Kippur.

I forgot to tell her what Yom Kippur was.

She e-mailed him, wishing him a happy Yom Kippur.


He accepted her holiday greeting with good grace. In the ecumenical spirit in which it was offered.

Ecumeny, y'all. Ecumeny.


Being a series of short prose-pieces by some eloquent people.


I like to comment-mine. But I do not always do so within the J-blogs. What follows is a Flemish exchange on the web-site of the Gazet van Antwerpen.

This newspaper:
This article:
[If you wish to read all the comments, click on the link that says 'lees alle reacties'.]

Think of this as welcome relief from the gloom and doom and the prospect of spending the coming shabbes with a wheeping and a wailing and a gnashing of teeth (or whatever your minhag is on Yom Kipper). There's time enough for that a day from now.
Right now, you need something to distract you.

Have fun.

20/09/2007 08:33

Malheureusement les flamands ne comprennent rien. Leur niveau intellectuel ne leur permet pas Il faut les traiter comme des enfants de 5 ans en pleine crise: une bonne raclée.

Robert Jeuniau, Vilvorde Halle Bruxelles.

[General import of the comment: Flemings are idiots.]

20/09/2007 10:14

@Robert Jeuniau: Vu que vous n''avez pas les capacités intellectuelles d''écrire en néerlandais dans un journal flamand, je me baisserai à votre niveau et je vous répond en français! Parce que, oui, nous en Flandre, on est capable de parler plusieurs langues à un niveua acceptable. Pas comme vous!! Est-ce que vous connaissez le mot pathétique? Prenez un dictionnaire, cherchez ce mot et vous verrrez votre photo à côté!! En dan nu terug in het nederlands: Gelukkig zijn de simpelen van geest!!

D dB, Ergens ten Velde.

[General import of the comment: Robert Jeuniau is a pathetic and simple-minded idiot.]

20/09/2007 10:23

Aan Mijnheer Jeuniau, ik heb diep medelijden met u. Zulke reacties zeggen veel over uzelf. U dient niet akkoord te gaan met Bart De Wever, alleen kan u het wel fatsoenlijker verwoorden. Ik vrees wel dat u vrij goed de Franstaligen vertegenwoordigt in hun denken en spreken.

dries romanus, lebbeke.

[General import of the comment: Robert Jeuniau is a rude idiot, and probably typical for a French speaker.]

20/09/2007 10:47

Pas du tout étonné que le dewever est indésirable à Bruxelles et en Wallonie. Qui sème le vent récolte la tempête. Quand on lit sur ces forums les réactions des flamingants, il y a de quoi ne plus ce laisser faire. Les flamands ont assez craché sur le dos des wallons. A votre tour d''etre victime de ce genre de comportement.

Robert Jeuniau, Vilvorde Halle Bruxelles. 

[General import of the comment: Oh crap, the Flemish idiots can read!]

20/09/2007 10:52

@Robert Jeuniau: ... il y a de quoi ne plus SE laisser faire (pas "ce"). Vous voyez, vous ne parlez même pas votre propre langue. Comment est-ce que on peut attendre de vous d''en parler une autre!!! Klein, klein, zielig ventje! Ca doit faire mal de se faire corriger dans sa propre langue par un flamand, hein? :-)))

D dB, Ergens ten Velde.

[General import of the comment: You moron, you can't even write your own language. Idiot!]

20/09/2007 10:56

t.a.v. Robert Jeuniau : Uw scheldtirade is het beste bewijs van uw ongelijk. Vlamingen zijn rustige, redelijke en verstandige mensen die zich niet om de tuin laten leiden door de media. Dat Franstaligen zich meer laten manipuleren door de media, hebben ze bewezen met hun goedgelovigheid bij de uitzending van het nepjournaal: "België splitst"

Marie-José Wambecq, Ranst.

[General import of the comment: Walloons really seem kind of stupid.]

20/09/2007 10:58

@Marie José Wambacq: ik denk dat ge het eens in het frans moet proberen, want simpel nederlands begrijpt die toch niet. Dat is voor hem te moeilijk, gaat zijn intellectuele capaciteiten ver te boven. Spreekt zelfs zijn eigen taal nog niet eens behoorlijk :-))))

D dB, Ergens ten Velde.

[General import of the comment: Better say it in French, the Walloon idiot doesn't speak a civilized language.]


The writing above was in reaction to the mention that Bart De Wever, chairman of the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (New Flemish Alliance) has received threats from Walloons. The New Flemish Alliance, a party of and for six million Flemings, aims towards autonomy for Flanders, and the loosening of bonds with the non-Flemish infestation to their south. The possible dissolution of the union has been mentioned during the current political crisis in Belgium; the Flemings, who contribute more to and receive far less from the exchequer than the Walloons and who have historic reasons for anti-Walloon animus besides, naturally see certain concrete advantages to the proposal. The Walloon politicians impolitely disagree.

You noticed, of course, that much of the text above was in frog, rather than Flemish. Flemings are capable of civilized discourse in several languages - Walloons, alas, in none.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Four heavyweights in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) have issued an open letter in response to an attack on the ‘verbondenheid’ (connection) and support of the PKN for Israel.

[Note article in Haaretz here: Tip of the straw-hat: R.]

The person who initiated the attack (Henri Veldhuis) was one of the founders of the Dutch branch of 'Friends of Sabeel'.

[Friends of Sabeel is a dangerous pro-Palestinian pan-Christian liberation-theology organization with a vicious anti-Semitic agenda. Among its members are outright supporters of terrorism, and one of the causes they advocate is a general boycott of all Israeli goods, services, institutions, and organizations. They shun Jews in general, but tolerate their house-Jews who disavow support for Israel (such as Women in Black, JVP, and Brit Tzedek).]

The issue will be discussed this November at a synod of the church, which is the second largest denomination in the Netherlands.


Jan Van Der Graaf (general secretary of the Reformed Union, retired) is a good ally to have on one's side. His influence in Reformed Church circles is very wide. And he's no political novice.

Theo Van Campen, one of the others who signed the letter against Sabeel, is a preacher in Zwartebroek. But also an official within the organizational structure of the church.

Doctor Wulfert De Greef is a retired preacher.

Doctor Henk Van Der Meulen is a professor at the Protestant Theological University.

All four are old-guard, established voices within the church. They are not green, and may be said to represent the orthodox point of view.

Among other things, they accuse Veldhuis of wanting to hold the church hostage to "a Palestinian Liberation Theology", which "will not promote peace in the Middle East". This in addition to expressing the fear that his actions, if in any way successful, would damage the church, and ill-serve the Palestinians.
They reject Veldhuis' contention that the church should be connected to the "people of the Torah" (by which Veldhuis means ONLY Jews who live according to Torah) rather than connected to "the people (of) Israel" AND "the people of the Torah" (by which the church means ALL of those who share in the covenant that Hashem gave Abraham).

[Veldhuis' contention, if adopted, would open the gate to Protestants trying to define Jewishness, rather than Jews having a say in the matter. The current stand of the church is to leave definition to the defined.]

They also express surprise that Veldhuis should have repeatedly cast blame at Israel, without even a word about the jewhate-drenched ideology of Hamas, or the increasing anti-Semitism of the Arab world.

[The Church has already taken note of the grave danger from Islam to Muslim converts to Christianity. Their relation with the Jews is closer to the heart of the Church than the (mostly theoretical) modus vivendi with Islam.]


Henri Veldhuis, the Sabeel guy, is a preacher in Culemborg. He's extremely pro-boycott, and must be considered a dangerous man. He has fired back that the four letter-writers are less Biblically sound than reverend Naim Ateek, fuhrer of Sabeel, and that it is impossible to be less connected with and concerned for Palestinian Christians than connected with and concerned for disbelieving or non-practicing Jews. He also states that the connection with Israel is 'unbiblical and ethnically threatening' - by which he seems to imply that Jews are less Jewish than Palestinians (as but one of many possible shades of meaning). He represents a predominantly younger and more radical voice than the majority of the church.


Further to the idea that Dutch reformed church members might differ of opinion with the national synod, it should be mentioned that the organizational structure does not permit them freedom to act contrary to the synod. As long as the national synod supports Israel, the church supports Israel. The Dutch reformed church differs in this aspect markedly from the Presbyterian church.
If members are found to be motivated contrary to the church's ideology, they will be isolated, or they will have no other choice but to split off. There is a certain amount of freedom when it comes to interpretation, none whatsoever when it comes to deviation.

[I am not entirely sure what the current situation is with the PKN, however, as some accommodation was made to be as inclusive as possible. But given the Dutch talent for rigidity, it is unlikely that heresies will be given any leeway. Tzarich iyun.]

Additionally, any major ideological shift in favour of the Palestinian terrorist movements will necessarily cause schisms. There are several other denominations within Dutch Protestantism who would not only dispute the validity of such a move against Israel, but happily absorb any dissidents.

Note that the PKN represents a merger of the country's three largest protestant churches: the merger was supposed to unite. And it did. It also resulted in several split-offs. So instead of three denominations becoming one, they became many. A big denomination and a number of petite denominations and one-church wonders.

One other problem is that anti-Americanism and anti-Israelism are dominant ideologies in Dutch society. This does influence the environment within which the church operates. But given the assault by ultra-left ideologies on the remaining religious communities in the Netherlands, it is not likely that the majority of the church will be as easily swayed by Palestinianist sympathizers as American Presbyterians, who are proving to be a bunch of patsies.


Addendum as of 6:00 PM

Another blogger has also written about this. See here:

It has not hit the front page of the Algemeen Dagblad yet, so the usual bunch of 'sociaal bewogen' Netherlandish whackjobs have not chimed in. It will be interesting to see what writers who long ago severed all connection to their church and their values (let alone civilization and humanity) think of the issue. I expect that they will by no means disappoint my now extremely low expectations of the majority of my fellow Dutch speakers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Treppenwitz, after discussing how to hard-boil an egg, delves into other eggs.

He mentions thousand year old eggs. And balut.

[Balut, in case you did not know, is a fertilized duck-egg, nearly hatched, with a ducky embryo inside. In the Philippines it is considered a delicacy.]

I do not wish to discuss balut, seeing as Treppenwitz has already done so in more detail than I think healthy. Obsessively, yet.
Instead, I wish to speak of durian, which is also considered a delicacy and is also available in the same places as balut.

The name durian means 'spiky thing' in Malay and Indonesian. It is the king of fruits. A large foot-ball shaped globulous husk, covered with spikes, hides segments of a creamy, pudding-like consistency, very reminiscent of vanilla custard with a touch of almonds. Intense. Delicious. Addictive, even.


It smells like an open sewer.

It is rank, disgusting, and penetrating. The smell carries.

A very bad attitude, for a fruit.

One night I followed the smell for ten blocks to see where it came from. It turned out to be from a small blob of durian in the gutter at Vallejo and Stockton streets. If you are familiar with San Francisco you know that the small blob had to compete with several other smells in that neighborhood. Powerful smells.

It won. It knocked their socks off. The other smells stood no chance.

It was a fiercely pugnacious little putrid blob.

The first time I found durian in San Francisco, I took some over to the South Philly where a friend worked. "Thank you, that's very interesting, good bye!" - I was thrown out.
I called Pak Djim, and asked if he liked durian. "Oh yes, bring it on over".
As I entered his restaurant two customers on the mezzanine hurriedly paid and left. His teenage American daughter announced that she would wait the next three hours in the car out in the parking lot. His wife turned green and soon joined the daughter.
But himself, a cook, and I - we enjoyed it immensely.

A few years after that I took some over to Sam's late at night. Mohammed, at the deep fryer near the door, who had not noticed it while it was in the plastic bag, spent the next half hour wondering loudly and franticly, whether the neighbors' toilet had busted. Several regulars politely tried it before hurriedly paying for their pizza and leaving. Some gagged.
Then Louisiana Tony came happily swaggering in - ran smack bang into the wall of durian reek, and staggered back out looking hurt and confused. He cannot recall that evening in any way.

When I was still working at Fweebinc in Menlo Park I once brought a ripe, heavy, durian to work. We hacked it open in the kitchen after five. A few seconds later the facilities manager came running in, from two buildings away, convinced that there was a gas leak. Only once he was in the kitchen did he remember that there were NO GAS LINES IN THE ENTIRE OFFICE PARK. He "politely" declined to try the fruit.

One year, when Savage Kitten came over (this being before she moved in with me), I took a tupper-ware with durian out of the refrigerator and brought it into the living room. I opened it. I had scarce time to blink before she escaped to the kitchen, locked and bolted the door, and announced that she was not coming out until that frightful thing had been disposed of. She was adamant. She was outraged. And she was utterly determined to never ever smell whatever it was again. I was evil for exposing her nose to it - whatever it was. Indeed, I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself, and she couldn't wait to meet my relatives to tell them that I kept decomposing space-aliens in my refrigerator, pervert that I was. A degenerate, cruel and disgusting. A sadist. A monster, inhuman and very nasty. Utterly, completely, entirely.

"ISN'T IT GONE YET??!?!?!?!"

I have not eaten durian since.


So highly prized is durian that people will stake out each others orchards, ready to pounce the moment a ripe fruit falls. It is used in iced drinks, puddings, sweet-rice taffy (dudol durian), fermented as a side-dish, and stirfried with chilies and garlic as a sambal.

So thoroughly loathed is durian that hotels and buses will not permit it inside, airplanes will refuse to let it on, and people will hurriedly cross the street in busy traffic if they see someone coming towards them carrying a fruit. A bottle of durian atjar given to a friend can turn his wife into your undying enemy. Your girl friend will move the refrigerator against the kitchen door if you offer her any, and it will take half an hour of heavy straining to get it back against the opposite wall.

I highly recommend it, and you should really try it sometime.
Expand your horizons.

Oh, and it's probably kosher.

Monday, September 17, 2007


As Dov Bear says, ‘The study of multiplication assuredly leads to division, and from this mixing with goyim and women naturally follow.’

We reject modern mores, how much more so modern math?


In another few days a ritual will take place that I have never seen, but have mixed feelings about. What could be called 'chicken whacking'.

If you are Jewish, you already know that I speak of waving an angry chicken overhead on the day before Yom Kippur.

Why do I have mixed feelings about it?

Not what you might think - it does not matter to me that a chicken is unnecessarily made indignant, and its future as food does not bother me either. I am not a vegetarian, and my affection for chickens is entirely gustatory.
Nor does the anger of the chicken disturb me - it is good for a chicken to feel a more complex emotion than "mm, grub, cluck".

[A chicken is a remarkably dull animal with only the most simplistic and superficial weltanschauung. Being angry, for once in its life, is probably good for the chicken.]

The slaughter of the bird following its brief time airborne does not bother me. The blood from the cut throat of the animal flowing out represents the sins of the person above whose head the bird swung now flowing away, according to one interpretation. I'm okay with that symbolism.

What bothers me is the superstitious taam of the entire affair. It shmeks of voodoo. Which the original scape goat did not quite. There's a difference between an act done for a collective, and witnessed as such by that collective, and an act done for oneself.

Rich symbolism, versus self-centeredness. It seems.

Also, and this is perhaps the crux of the matter, chickens have notoriously jumpy guts.
I remember as a child once chasing a chicken around the yard, and being amazed at how often in that short stretch the creature vacated its bowels. Little stinky puddles of smoo.
I therefore do not accept that swinging such a dangerous fowl over one's head can be "cleansing".

Meh, bring a rain coat.

[Or, instead of a chicken, which is a personal substitute for the ez ozel anyway, go whole hog; swing a goat - one for each member of your family.]



Shlugn kapores = the waving of a live chicken (or its monetary equivalent) three times over the head of a person, while chanting: "zeh chalefosi, zeh tamorosi, zeh kaperosi. Zeh hotarnegol yelech le misoh, va'ani elech le chayim tovim arukim ve shalom" (This is my substitute, this is my commutation, this is my atonement. This rooster will go to death, and I will go to a life both long and peaceful).

The father of the family first does this for himself, and once he has 'atoned', and is newly 'guilt-free', he can do it for all other members of the household, using a chicken of the same gender as the person underneath. For a pregnant woman one uses two birds, one of each gender, for both the woman and the unborn child in the womb.

Afterwards the birds are slaughtered, and the flesh or its monetary equivalent given to the poor.

Just think how much more the poor would appreciate a nice sinful goat instead.


Here's a thought for the new year; why not study the Sfas Emes parsha by parsha?

[SFAS EMES: The Lips of Truth, after his magnum opus, Rabbi Yehudah Leib Alter, b. 1847, d. 1905, second Gerrer Rebbe, grandson of the Chidushei HaRim.]

There is no better way than by purchasing:


By Nosson Chayim Leff

Binding: Hard Cover / 304 pages
Published by Targum Press

Targum Press has just published a Sefer entitled :Emes Ve'emunah : A Sfas Emes Companion. This Sefer presents a ma'amar of the Sfas Emes for each Shabbos and Yomtov of the year. The presentation (in clear, concise English) comes together with the Sfas Emes's own text in lashon hakodesh.

Published with letters from leading Rabbonim--yeshivish, modern, and chareidi. To help newcomers gain access to the Sfas Emes, the Sefer includes a glossary of the Hebrew words used in the presentations.

You can purchase the Sefer at your local Seforim store, or order it online, at

You can own this Sefer--and and have access to the Sfas Emes's extraordinary Divrei Torah--for $27.

[Targum Press:]


Please note that while I cannot actually offer a review of this book yet (as my copy will probably not arrive until the end of this week), I have read Dr. Leff's weekly lessons on the Sfas Emes, and on that basis feel competent to recommend his seifer highly, and encourage you to acquire your own copy.

Friday, September 14, 2007


The opinion piece below was published in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday, which surprised the hell out of me because our Bay Area newspapers normally serve as mouth-pieces for the insane, the irredeemable, and the infantile.

Antisemitism never dies
By Victor Davis Hanson

Who recently said: “These Jews started 19 Crusades. The 19th was World War 1. Why? Only to build Israel.”

Some holdover Nazi?

Hardly. It was former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan of Turkey, a NATO ally. He went on to claim that the Jews — whom he refers to as “bacteria” — controlled China, India, and Japan, and ran the United States.

Who alleged: “The Arabs who were involved in 9/11 cooperated with the Zionists, actually. It was a cooperation. They gave them the perfect excuse to denounce all Arabs.”

A conspiracy nut?

Actually, it was former Democratic U.S. Sen. James Abourezk of South Dakota. He denounced Israel on a Hezbollah-owned television station, adding: “I marveled at the Hezbollah resistance to Israel. . . . It was a marvel of organization, of courage and bravery.”

And finally, who claimed at a United Nations-sponsored conference that democratic Israel was “much worse” than the former apartheid South Africa, and that it “undermines the international community’s reaction to global warming”?

A radical environmentalist wacko?

Again, no. It was Clare Short, a member of the British parliament. She was a secretary for international development under Prime Minister Tony Blair.

A new virulent strain of the old anti-Semitism is spreading worldwide. This hate — of a magnitude not seen in over 70 years — is not just espoused by Iran’s loony president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or radical jihadists.

The latest anti-Semitism is also now mouthed by world leaders and sophisticated politicians and academics. Their loathing often masquerades as “anti-Zionism” or “legitimate” criticism of Israel. But the venom exclusively reserved for the Jewish state betrays their existential hatred.

Israel is always lambasted for entering homes in the West Bank to look for Hamas terrorists and using too much force. But last week the world snoozed when the Lebanese army bombarded and then crushed the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, which harbored Islamic terrorists.

The world has long objected to Jewish settlers buying up land in the West Bank. Yet Hezbollah, flush with Iranian money, is now purchasing large tracts in southern Lebanon for military purposes and purging them of non-Shiites.

Here at home, “neoconservative” has become synonymous with a supposed Jewish cabal of Washington insiders who hijacked U.S. policy to take us to war for Israel’s interest. That our state department is at the mercy of a Jewish lobby is the theme of a recent high-profile book by professors at Harvard University and the University of Chicago.

Yet when the United States bombed European and Christian Serbia to help Balkan Muslims, few critics alleged that American Muslims had unduly swayed President Clinton. And such charges of improper ethnic influence are rarely leveled to explain the billions in American aid given to non-democratic Egypt, Jordan, or the Palestinians — or the Saudi oil money that pours into American universities.

The world likewise displays such a double standard. It seems to care little about the principle of so-called occupied land — whether in Cyprus or Tibet — unless Israel is the accused. Mass murdering in Cambodia, the Congo, Rwanda, and Darfur has earned far fewer United Nations’ resolutions of condemnation than supposed atrocities committed by Israel. A number of British academics are sponsoring a boycott of Israeli scholars but leave alone those from autocratic Iran, China, and Cuba.

There are various explanations for the new anti-Semitism. For many abroad, attacking Jews and Israel is an indirect way of damning its main ally, the United States — by implying that Americans are not entirely evil, just hoodwinked by those sneaky and far more evil Jews.

At home, there are obvious pragmatic considerations. Some Americans may find it makes more sense to damn a few million Israelis without oil than it does to offend Israel’s adversaries in the Middle East, who number in the hundreds of millions and control nearly half the world’s petroleum reserves.

Cowardice explains a lot. Libeling Israel won’t earn someone a fatwa or a death sentence in the manner comparable criticism of Islam might. There are no Jewish suicide bombers in London, Madrid, or Bali.

This new face of anti-Semitism is so insidious because it is so well disguised, advanced by self-proclaimed diplomats and academics — and now embraced by the supposedly sophisticated left on university campuses.

When national, collective or personal aspirations are not met, it is far easier to blame someone or something rather than to look within for the source of the failure and frustration. More recently, someone must be blamed for getting terrorists (with oil and its profits behind them) mad at us.

That someone is — no surprise — once again Jews.


Article here:

Rightwing Islamic bigot Necmettin Erbakan:

Fervent supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah James Abourezk:

Leftwing firebrand Clare Short:


Kudos to the San Francisco Chronicle for at least making a stab at being fair and balanced. That is so refreshing.
Still doesn't quite make-up for their not mentioning the five thousand plus pro-Israel demonstrators in Justin Herman Plaza on Sunday April 15, 2002, but at least it's a start.
Let's hope they don't spoil it by bland neutral puppies and butterflies blather about the next International ANSWER march down Market Street in October.

The SF Chronicle can be read here:
I often end up buying the paper edition, despite owning no pets.


The United Nations, Berkeley, and San Francisco are merely suburbs of Brussels.

" For many Europeans, Israel can’t hold a candle to the lure of the Arab world. When push comes to shove, their vast markets, energy resources, geographic proximity, and political clout in multilateral bodies usually trump anything Israel can offer. And with growing Muslim communities in their midst, many Europeans are increasingly concerned about antagonizing potentially volatile groups who could express their anger in the voting booths or the streets."

There's more. All of it can be found here:
[Article by David Harris published in the JPOST on September 11, 2007]

An article by the same author in the JPOST earlier this year details a different aspect:
" Two recent polls tell us what we already knew: Israel is relatively popular among Americans and the subject of considerable antipathy among European democracies."
" ... Americans are more pro-Israel than they were 10 and 20 years ago and now sympathize with Israel three times more than with the Palestinians: 58 percent to 20%."
" In the second poll, the BBC asked people in 27 nations to rate a group of countries and found that Iran and Israel were almost tied for the spot of the country most people saw as a "mainly negative influence." Only in the US and Nigeria did a plurality see Israel as a "mainly positive" influence. By contrast, in Germany, France and Great Britain, 77%, 66% and 65%, respectively, viewed Israel as having a "mainly negative" influence. "

More here:
[Article by David Harris published in the JPOST on March 7, 2007]

David Harris eloquently details what many of us have argued for years, often to the deaf and dumb brick wall of our European friends and acquaintances. This is what we're up against.

Please note especially that the three European countries named stand in for all of them; in some countries the anti-Israel negativity is slightly less, in others slightly more.

[The Benelux countries are much more anti-Israel than they imagine themselves, the Scandinavians sanctimoniously pretend blamelessness, and as for the easterners, the less said the better.]

Given that a recent poll also shows that nearly half of the Europeans believe Jews have too much influence in politics and business (yes, that stereotype still thrives in Europe!), one can state that European anti-Israelism is virtually the same as anti-Semitism. Or as close as makes no difference.


Just checked my Yah Heww! e-mail account.


Over thirty messages telling me in no uncertain terms that my masculinity is too small.


Rather than immediately and venomously writing an angry response stating that the organ in question is ten feet long, hard as plank, and can batter down the doors to Castle Anthrax, I started wondering.

[Castle Anthrax: see here:]

Maybe these correspondents are telling me something. Maybe they're saying they're big as bucket and can accommodate all the bull elephants in Africa. If so, I truly feel sorry for them. Their womanhood has been wasted, and they probably smell rank and frowsty from two blocks away. Poor dears.

No sproing left at all.

I guess if you're stuck in a cat-house in Vladivostok, the only thing to do when you're bored in between visits by the fleet is to send insulting e-mails at random.

And I can really understand that; before caller i.d., when I was angry and frustrated at the world I would occasionally call strangers late at night and tell them something outrageous and unbelievable. It's the same concept.
Now that everyone has caller i.d. however, that door is closed, and one can no longer do that. Anonymous e-mails have necessarily replaced that option.

So type away, ladies. Send all the size-queen messages you can, and type faster, before the festering sores and infections make your last three fingers fall off.

Life is good.

Don't forget to use spell-check.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Paprikasz Burgonya

This is the well-known heartclogger, which is actually quite a bit better for you than you thought. Especially if you keep kosher.

Three large potatoes, peeled and chunk-cut.
Three small sweet peppers, chopped.
Three roma tomatoes, or one beefsteak tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped.
One large onion, chopped.
Two or three cloves garlic, chopped.
Two Tablespoons Paprika.
One teaspoon Cayenne (more or less, it's up to you).
Half teaspoon Cumin or Caraway seeds.
One cup sherry.
One cup (vegetable) stock or water, more as needed.
Salt and pepper.

Olive oil or clarified butter – two to four tablespoons.

In an enameled stew pot, heat the grease and gild the onions, peppers, and garlic. Then add the cumin or caraway seeds and paprika, stir very briefly till fragrant, and seethe the pan with the sherry, stirring loose any crusty bits. Add the potatoes and tomatoes, plus the stock or water to cover. Simmer for thirty or so, till the potatoes are soft and the liquid has become a thick ruby sauce. Now adjust the taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with sour cream (smatana) on the side, for glopping over.

Note: Gentiles would use rendered animal fat to fry the onions, peppers, garlic. And there's nothing wrong with that. But doing so makes it inappropriate to add the smatana. And you do want to dump LOADS of smatana on top. Do not fight the urge.
So, if you're Gentile, use chicken stock and clarified butter or drippings. If you keep kosher, use olive oil and vegetable stock.

Further note: Yes, I know cumin and caraway do not taste the same. But in this dish, they are interchangeable. Using caraway seed is culturally appropriate, using cumin is more Indian and subcontinental. I always have cumin in my larder. Caraway, not so much.


Chopped liver.

One pound chicken liver or somewhat more.
One onion, chopped coarsely.
Quarter cup rendered chicken fat or clarified duck grease.
Three hard-boiled eggs, chopped coarsely.
One teaspoon paprika. Or more. It's up to you.
Generous pinches salt, pepper, cayenne, dry ginger, and mace.

Add the grease to the pan, heat it up a bit and add the onion. Sauté till the onion is lightly gilded, then add the chicken liver and seethe till cooked. Decant contents of pan to a bowl, add the eggs and the spices. Work over with a large fork, or a round-bladed chopping implement (such as used to be widely sold before electric mixers and laziness were invented).
Alternatively, work over on a flat surface with a chef's knife or Chinese cleaver. Once the ingredients can no longer be separated, even though they may be identified at sight, the chopping should end - it will now be a grainy-textured gunk.

Serve with rye bread, melba toasts, small pickles. And sherry. Make small talk.

Or simply flake out in front of the teevee late at night with a box of crackers and smear it on thickly. You should always keep the sherry bottle on the floor next to the chair in the teevee room for just such occasions - you would not want to wake up someone in the next room with sounds of dissipation.


Balkan Pepper Stew - Letsho, Letcho.

Half a dozen fresh peppers, chopped – Bell, Mulato Isleño, or fresh ancho (or a variety of smaller green and yellow peppers).
Half a dozen Roma tomatoes, or three or four beefsteak tomatoes. Peeled, seeded, chopped.
One large onion. Chopped.
One or two garlic cloves, optional, and however you like them fragmented.
One Tablespoon Paprika.
A quarter teaspoon caraway or cumin seeds (different in taste, but either works).
Salt, pepper, cayenne.

In the skillet, sauté the onion in olive oil till starting to colour. Add the peppers, and stir-fry till fragrant. Add the tomatoes and spices, and simmer for about ten minutes. It should be a moist stew with a recognizable lumpiness, neither soppy slop nor stiff goo.

Can be augmented with chunked zuchini or smoked sausage, even a nice fatty paprika sausage or something from Louisiana. If your name is Spiros, leave out the onion – I know how you are about those things.

This can also be used with little meatballs as a side dish, or with a fried egg for breakfast.


Note: Something like this was what Dovbear (the blogger, not the bawuste Maggid of Mezeritch) dined on following the fast of Tisha B'Av. But you probably did the same with herring, kichel, and a shot of Talisker, didn't you?


Note for English-speaking readers: the following is nasty editorializing in Dutch. It is meant for a Dutch audience, even though I doubt that many of them will grasp the nuances. Hope springs eternal. So does snark.

Artiekel in het NRC:
Citaat: " Nederland is niet solidair genoeg met de troepen in Afghanistan, vindt minister Van Middelkoop van Defensie. „De kritiek en de scepsis zijn te veel overheersend." "

Om een schrijver van vorig jaar even te quoten: "Of die vriend nu bewust gekozen heeft voor het leger of voor zijn 'nummer' moest meevechten weet ik niet. In het eerste geval weet je dat dit het gevolg kan zijn indien je denkt dat je met wapens meningsverschillen kan oplossen."
[Dit was in reactie op een sneuvel bericht.]

Nederlanders geloven graag dat men altijd wel evenredig met anderen kunt onderhandelen. Hun eigen geschiedenis geeft daar blijk van.

Haal die Nederlandsche manschappen maar terug uit Afghanistan. De doorsnee Nederlander waardeert hun absoluut niet - en het internet komentaar liegt er niet om - maar instede blijft alles wat met militairen en landsverdediging van doen heeft verfoeien en kasteiden.

Niet dat men Nederlanders van lafheid kan beschuldigen; bange wezels zijn het echt niet. Nee, wat verbale aggressie betreft munten zij ver boven de meesten uit. Maar kijk eens, het is typisch Nederlands om te verbalizeren, en tevens typisch Nederlands om terzelfdertijde afzijdig en ""neutraal"" te willen zijn.

Het zal dus beter zijn als Nederland minder internationaal meedoet. En, in een Europeesche co-operatief kontext, hare strijdkracht afschaft. Men kan handhaving van vrede toch beter aan grotere buren overlaten.

Met pacifistische groeten,


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


A friend forwarded a news clip about a restaurant worker on the East Coast crushing garlic with his feet. A huge bin of garlic. Sneaker-clad feet. In the parking lot behind the restaurant.

Well, that IS efficient.

Kudos for inventivity.

Feeding the masses requires strange things.

Like gloves.

I just love those rubber gloves they make food-service employees wear nowadays – pick up the dustpan with the rubber gloves, pick up dirty plates, cutlery and leftovers with the rubber gloves, pick up the sodden rag for wiping counters, implements, and work-surfaces with the rubber gloves..... see, the only things NOT contaminated will be the hands in the rubber gloves.

Those hands remain pristine.

And who doesn't want to be served by a wait-person with pristine hands?



Lest any of my European readers now wish to sneer about American restaurants, I would remind them of an inquiry a few years ago into Shawerma places in the Netherlands. It appears that most of the owners and staff of those popular Middle-Eastern grill rooms and late-night snacketarias will not and can not eat the meat they serve. For two reasons: firstly, whatever the heck they call it on the menu, it's pork; and secondly, most of it is rotten.

Here are some good links for miserable Shawerma in the Netherlands:
Smerigste’ shoarma blijft populair bij stappers met trek ('Nastiest shawerma remains popular with hungry drinkers').
AD: broodje shoarma ook in Delft niet best ('Shawerma sandwich in Delft also not up to snuff').
Broodje shoarma op eigen risico ('Shawerma sandwich at your own risk').
Kwaliteit shoarma bedroevend ('Quality of shawerma is tragic').

The most detailed article was in the Algemeen Dagblad, entitled: SHOARMA: BROODJE BEDORVEN BEDROG (Shawerma: Bun of Spoiled Dishonesty).
The writer was Paul Hovius. It was published in late summer 2002

It no longer appears to be available on the internet, so, for those of you who are curious, here are some quotes.

"Maar de liefhebber is gewaarschuwd. Over de duistere wereld van vieze ondernemers, bedorven vlees en lam dat geen lam is."
['But the afficionada has been warned. About the dark world of unclean proprietors, spoiled meat and lamb that is no lamb'.]

"Uit een onderzoek van het Algemeen Dagblad naar de kwaliteit van shoarma blijkt dat er bij de verkoop van deze hartige hap op een werkelijk ongelooflijke manier wordt gerotzooid en geklungeld. "
['From investigation by the Algemeen Dagblad into the quality of shawerma it is evident that there are unbelievably dirty practises and perversions associated with the vending of this tasty dish'.]

"Alles wat God, Allah en de Nederlandse wetgever gezamenlijk hebben verboden, kom je in de praktijk wel een paar keer tegen."
['Everything which God, Allah, and the Dutch lawmakers collectively have forbidden, you will encounter a number of times in the real world']

" de dagelijkse praktijk is het bij de meeste verkooppunten van shoarma een doffe ellende."
['In daily experience, it is a deeply miserable situation at most sales-locations for shawerma']

"Hygiëne lijkt een onbekend begrip."
['Hygiene seems an unknown concept']

"Het is eerder regel dan uitzondering dat vlees ongekoeld op weg is naar verrotting. Er wordt gespot met de meest elementaire regels die bij het bereiden van levensmiddelen in acht dienen te worden genomen. "
['It is more often the rule than the exception that meat is unrefrigeratedly on the road to rottenness. The most elementary rules of food-service are sneered at.']

"... maar liefst 9 van de 58 keer kreeg het panel shoarma voorgeschoteld die ,,niet meer geschikt was voor menselijke consumptie.'' Het vlees was in die gevallen volledig bedorven."
['At least nine out of fifty-eight times the panel was served shawerma which "was no longer suitable for human consumption." The meat in those incidents was entirely spoiled.']

"De lamshoarma stinkt en is oneetbaar. Volgens de eigenaar is er niets mis mee. ,,U weet niet hoe lamshoarma smaakt. Heeft u het wel eens eerder gegeten? Het behoort zo te ruiken. Dat zijn onze kruiden.''"
['The lamb shawerma stinks and is inedible. According to the owner, there is nothing wrong with it. "You do not know what it tastes like. Have you ever eaten it before? It is supposed to smell like that; those are our spices".']

"De eigenaar weigert overigens zeer resoluut de proef op de som te nemen.
Met een beroep op zijn geloof, vertikt hij het om van zijn eigen lamshoarma te eten. Waarom wordt duidelijk als de uitslag van het laboratorium binnen is.

['The owner nevertheless resolutely refuses to try it himself. Falling back on his religion, he firmly refuses to eat his own lamb shawerma. Why becomes clear once the results come back from the laboratory.']

The Algemeen Dagblad also researched other branches of the food-service sector. Shawerma parlours were be no means the worst offenders; half the herring places in the Netherlands did not meet reasonable standards, most cups of commercial coffee were pretty darn horrid, and many meat markets hadn't a clue about hygiene, butchery, or even basic quality. So, if you go to Holland, eat in Belgium.
[The Netherlands lags considerably behind Belgium, both as far as food safety is concerned, and particularly as regards food quality and cooking-skills.]

Since then, other news articles have dwelt lovingly on the incidence of food-poisoning in Spain, Portugal, France, North Africa, and Greece. Germany and Turkey got high marks for safety and cleanliness, as did Israel and Thailand.

English food, even fast-food, was described as mostly safe but largely inedible. Thick slices of Spam, battered and deep-fried, with soggy chips. Boiling fat and burning starch. Beans in a can. Or curried gristle served by Bengalis who were never even once visited by the culinary-inspiration fairy.


This isn't what you think. It isn't lashon hara about some odious pissant, like you might logically expect from me, nor is it an irritable screed. It is a sweet posting.

Cute, even.

And, dare I say it, kawaii!

Earlier today I was returning from my morning visit to the tobacconist. As I was about to cross Post Street, a scene from 'Howl's Moving Castle' (an animated movie by Hayao Myazaki) went through my head.
By the time I passed the news-stand and the filthy sleeping drunk with the exposed hairy butt-crack, I was thinking of another one of Myazaki's movies, Tonari No Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro).

The story tells of two little girls who with their father move to a haunted cottage out in the countryside. Soon they discover that, though isolated, they are not alone. There are shy soot-ball creatures in the house, and a family of trolls lives nearby. There is an adult troll, and two little trolls - in a way a mirror of their own family. The term 'totoro' is a childish malformation of the term 'troll' (normally pronounced 'torōru' in Japanese).

You may read all about the movie here:
I encourage you to rent the movie. It is charming.

And here, for your time-wasting pleasure, are three youtube clips:
Waiting for the bus. Probably one of the most charming parts in the movie takes place when the two girls are at the bus stop with umbrellas, waiting for their dad to return from the city. A large friendly monster joins them.
Growing magic trees, followed by a midnight ride on the pelt of a roaring troll.
A very long clip. Mei spots the two young Totoro and pursues them to their hiding place inside a hollow tree, where she discovers the big mac daddy of all Totoro.

I do not know precisely what spurred the memory. Perhaps it was the residual fragrance of the pipe-tobacco, or, more likely, it was the weather. It is a very humid day in San Francisco today, not cold but rather a little warm. Summerish. And overcast, but with a silvery quality to the clouds. Think rain, think large leaves.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I feel I have to say that.

I shall explain.

I took two aspirin on Sunday, while watching the Chabad Telethon.

That evening, Savage Kitten prepared seethed goat for dinner. It was very rich, and there was a lot of spicy grease left in the pan, some of which I sopped up with bread and sambal. It was delicious. But very rich.

I had an aspirin on Monday as soon as I got in to work.

Monday afternoon I had rich greasy pizza with garlic and extra cheese for lunch. By four o'clock, the pregnant ache in my left foot had become quite throb-some. I was pushing it.

I took another aspirin.

When I came home, she screamed that I should NOT enter the kitchen. Meanwhile, my foot had really become a pain in the......

About twenty minutes later, Savage Kitten came out of the kitchen with a large bowl of......
Which, as you know, is very rich.

I ate much. And it was lovely.

More aspirin.

Went to bed at ten o'clock. And kept starting awake, due to pain in my left foot (precisely where the big-toe joins the main part of the pedal extremity itself). A taught sensitivity of the skin, coupled with painful twitchiness, and some swelling. Plus a throbbing sensation that faded in and out; a dull feeling as if the foot was clamped in a thumb-screw several sizes too small.
Slumber was fitful. No nightmares, but instead, creative re-interpretations of the pain in the foot by the mind. Fevered dreams of jungles, hot sunlight, and whales on many legs crashing through the distant trees. Definitely whales, though. Humpbacks and blues, but wearing camouflage colours. And beluga whales (delphinapterus leucas) wearing Viet-Cong black.

I believe I finally dropped into a deep sleep around three thirty. When I got up at seven, the pain had subsided considerably.


This morning, on the internet, I read:
".....some over the counter medicines such as ibuprofen can reduce the pain and inflammation slightly and provide temporary relief, but aspirin should not be taken as it can worsen the condition. "


[To recap: One aspirin before lunch. One aspirin around five o'clock. One final aspirin after nine PM. Apparently that was a stupid move (or: three successive stupid moves). I was much vexed.]

Another quote:
"High levels of uric acid in the blood are caused by protein-rich foods. Gout (a form of arthritis which affects mostly men after 40) occurs when mono-sodium urate crystals form on the cartilage of joints, on tendons, and in the surrounding tissue. "

[And it is NO comfort to read that according to some ancient Roman physician, it seldom occurs in Eunuchs or boys before coitus, or that suppression of the menses may cause it. Fascinating, yes.]

Now, like me, you probably remember the unloving description of the gouty grandfather in Little Lord Fauntleroy as a crusty, foul-tempered old geezer. If not, no matter - there are several other literary portraits of elderly men with gout and horrible attitudes. Their number is legion. They drink sherry or port, swear at the butler, throw objets d'art at their family members, scream, and spend whole days in their suite with the curtains drawn, affected foot elevated, grumbling, and smoking incessantly

I am not like that at all.

And just to prove that, this evening I shall have some more of that delicious gehakte leber which Savage Kitten made for me. Plus some sherry.

Friday, September 07, 2007


I can not resist the lively market place of ideas and bile that is the blog of the bear. It's a compulsive thing.

And he has the most diverse readers, too.

Including, chos vay forefend, Christians!

Follows a SMALL cherry-picked sampling of comments appended to a recent Dovbearian post about Mother Theresa and her crisis of faith, as recently revealed in published letters.
[This post:]

Within mere seconds in blog-time, the comment-thread degenerated into a Christian love-fest. An odd developement, but like a nudist train-wreck, fascinating to watch.

We'll start with Lipman, who commented before the Christians crawled out of the woodwork:


Catholic or Jewish, there's certainly a fundamental difference between saying there is no God (or god, or 1/3 god), and being brouges with it (or him, or a fraction of them).

Writing this, I'm sure there are traditional ways of combining this, for instance if she (hypothetically) didn't believe God/Jesus was benign, one could equate this with a denial of god (3/3 or 1/3) as taught by Catholic doctrine. But that would be pilp-, sorry, Jesuite sophistry.
Lipman Homepage 09.06.07 - 1:20 pm


MT rejected the son. (or didn't feel the sons presence or whatever)

WHAAAAAAT???? A MOTHER rejecting the son?

Has child services been notified?

If I were MT I would cede custody to the father, hope to never see the little bastard again and never look back!
The Bray of Fundie Homepage 09.06.07 - 2:53 pm #


Enough already with the Jesus shtoos ...

Abe 09.06.07 - 5:10 pm #


Did I miss something, or did this suddenly turn into the I Love Jesus website? Why should we waste our time talking about this illegitimate son of a hair dresser
baruch 09.06.07 - 9:35 pm #


What is the role of Jesus in Judaism? I was born a Jew and later found the Lord. Most Jews do not seem to be knowledgable as those posting on this blog.
Jonathan 09.06.07 - 10:16 pm #


There aren't enough crackpot sects among our Jewish bretheren that offer you rapturous invitations to lunacy? I mean if you can't resist worshipping dead people, consider Lubavitch or Breslov. At least you'll remain in the tribe.
Abe 09.06.07 - 11:18 pm #


Yep, that's what they always say about us Jews: We have better sects.
Lurker 09.07.07 - 7:00 am #


I'm glad Jesus loves you because I sure don't. You are obviously one very confused individual. I imagine that you probably grew up reformed or conservative pretending that you were a goy and then decided to make it official. This is why I send my son to a Yeshiva.
baruch 09.07.07 - 7:22 am #


Speaking as a Jew, I think that perhaps the Jews should reconsider their outright rejection of any honor for this "Jesus" fellow. Of course, there is no need to follow the Chrisitian Trinity stuff, breaking up the One God into three sefirot, the "F-ther," "S-n," and "Holy Gh-st." After all real Jews would never, ever, break up their One God into multiple sefirot, would they?

No, a kosher Jewish theology of Jesus would go as follows:

Jesus was, indeed, the Mashiach, but G-d had him killed before he could Save the World, due to the Sinas Chinam then prevalent in k'lal yisrael at the time. The crucifixion was a warning to the Jewish people that was disregarded, which thus led God into messing with minds of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, and thus the destruction of the Temple and our current exile.

As nearly all of Jesus' teachings are consistent with (i.e. ripped off) the Torah, we can consider him as basically a great rebbe who really did die for our sins, though, of course, his death didn't absolve us of anything, as it was done as a warning.

Thus, "Jesuser Jews" could follow the following simple customs:

1)They could observe the Birthday of Jesus as "Chag HaMolad" on December 25. While this is not exactly the same as turning Christmas into a Jewish holiday, it would go a long way to ending the December Dilemma, as well as making the winter solstice less depressing for Jews on those years when Chanukka falls out weeks before the solstice. I believe there is already a sefer of halacha out on this subject ("What if Christmas were a Jewish Holiday?"), so it should be pretty easy for Jews to observe Chag HaMolad.

2) The Yartzeit of Jesus (known to the goyim as "Good Friday") should be observed as a solemn day of repentance (after all, Jesus died for our sins, and we still didn't do anything about them.) I would recommend the following observances:

a) fast from sunrise to sunset, with a modest and subdued Shabbos meal as a break-fast.

b) midnight s'lichos services at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. (Reform services to be held at the Garden Tomb.)

c) Abbreviated s'lichos prayers as part of chacharis and mincha services.

d) A custom of eating candy eggs at the break-fast meal, as eggs are a sign of mourning.

All of this could spiritually prepare us for Tisha B'av.
Jesus H. Christ Homepage 09.07.07 - 8:57 am #


Moabite...was the above comment you?The Bray of Fundie Homepage 09.07.07 - 9:33 am #

"Jesus H. Christ"
I know that you are in part pulling my leg, but your suggestions make sense and would appeal to a lot of Jews who have come to know the Lord but who do not want to reject Judaism. I never felt loved and acccepted before I accepted Jesus as my Lord and personal savior. This is true for many Jews that I have come to know. Also, Baruch you seem like a very angry man. My parents actually go to a local Bais Chabad and the Rabbi has invited me on more than one occasion to attend servce. He speaks of the Messiah and has asked me about the Lord.
Jonathan 09.07.07 - 11:33 am #


Abe 09.07.07 - 11:55 am #


your suggestions make sense and would appeal to a lot of Jews who have come to know the Lord but who do not want to reject Judaism. I never felt loved and accepted before I accepted Jesus as my Lord and personal savior.

Nudnick!! That's NOT what I meant. Jesuser Jews only believe that Jesus was mashiach who lost his job because he couldn't get the Jews to stop bickering amongst themselves. At most his words would be studied as one might study the works of a great rabbi. No Jesuser Jew would ever "accept" Jesus as his "Lord" and "personal savior." That would be the height of blasphemy. The only "Lord" a Jew has is the One God YHVH, and the only "personal savior" a Jew has his himself (or herself), through the performance of mitzvos.
Jesus H. Christ Homepage 09.07.07 - 11:57 am #


Thank you for clarifying your position, but believe it or not your previous suggestions seemed to make sense and would help me feel more comfortable being Jewish while maintaining my faith in the Lord. I know that many Jews consider Jesus to be a great rabbi but have trouble accepting him as the annointed one. Is there anything I could do to convince them that he is the "moshiach." The Rabbi at my parents' Bais Chabad also suggested that I have a meeting with him before Rosh Hashanah. I suspect that he is curious about my ideas and wants to help spread the word of the Lord.Jonathan 09.07.07 - 12:21 pm #


I met a girl at college who is also Jewish and who along with her parents accepted Jesus as her Lord. She also keeps kosher and says she observes Shabbat. Her dad is even a rabbi, and I'm going to ask him to get me ready for my meeting with my parents' rabbi at the shul. I know that Jesus loves me and that's all the suport I need.
Jonathan 09.07.07 - 2:07 pm #



I suffer from bulemia and until I read your posts, I was having trouble throwing up today. Thanks for your efforts.
Abe 09.07.07 - 3:08 pm #


It all started when went to a bible study group at my college. I never met such nice people in my life. My interest in the Lord was not an intellectual thing at all. I always thought that Judaism was just so cold and mechanistic. When I accepted Jesus as my Lord, I was filled with a feeling or peace that I had never experienced before. Many of those who post on this blog seem to be mean sprited which is what I always found with my parents and their friends in the religious Jewish community. I also find Chabad to be obsessed with ritual with no real feeling toward other people and to be overly concerned with the superficial aspects of life.
Jonathan 09.07.07 - 5:59 pm #


Thank you for ruining my Shabbos. You should be so lucky as to have been born a Jew. You are most likely a disturbed person who needs urgent psychiatric care.

baruch 09.07.07 - 6:04 pm #


I cannot say that I've ever enjoyed a discussion about jayzits more. It even reminded me of the Bible study group I attended three Thursdays in a row, over twenty years ago. The preacher's wife was this lovely young thing.... a round-headed brunette, creamy-skinned, petite, and discrete of mammary. Lordy, she was cute. Ooo-wee!

That old-time religion always reminds me of eye-candy.
That, and chewing gum.
Be sure to tune in next week, when Yonosson discovers Moishe Rabbeinu and is saved hallelujah, plus further episodes of "My Muddah De Voidjin", by Abe.

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