Wednesday, April 30, 2008


[Cross-posted over at the Muqata (file this under news of the weird).]

There's a notice on Indybay (SF Indy media) calling for anti-Israel Jews to volunteer for direct action and get arrested on behalf of the Palestinians.

Contrary to what you might think, there is no coven of Neturei Kartaniks here - unless they are very well hidden. The organizers and their intended volunteers are from the segment of Jewry which can best be described as "Jews of convenience". Meaning that they only admit to being Jewish if they can use it against Jews or against Israel. Jews who give plausible deniability to anti-Semites and supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah. Decorative Jews.

Here is part of the notice on Indybay:

Calling anti-Zionist and non-Zionist Jews and those in solidarity with the Palestinian Liberation struggle!

There is growing enthusiasm and support for an action to confront celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

In honor of 60 plus years of Palestinian resistance and against the siege on Gaza, there is a critical need for fierce Jewish dissent with these celebrations.

We need 60-80 Jews to take arrest and as many Jewish & non-Jewish Palestine Solidarity activists as possible to participate more broadly.

The action will include visual and creative resistance and direct action. We have a date, time and a plan and we are hoping that you will join us.

Sounds chirpy, doesn't it? Kinda like the glee-club is throwing a party. Almost makes ya want to send them a beer keg. In which case, it is probably a good thing that they tell you where to send the keg. It continues:

It is critical to attend a planning meeting for details: the next planning meeting will be Wednesday, April 30 at 522 Valencia St., SF.
Orientations will be Sunday, May 4th from 12noon to 2pm in the East Bay and from 7:30 to 9:30pm in SF — it is critical to attend an orientation in order to hear the plan, location, and meeting place and time (please e-mail below for date and location).
Please e-mail BAnakbaorganizing [at] with your name, phone number, participation interest, and how you heard about the action. Someone will call you about participating in the action.

Now, if you're reading this, you're probably wondering "surely they aren't that meshugge? Surely they don't think that this wins them any kind of cosmic brownie-points?
Sorry, but yes they are that meshugge, and yes they do indeed believe that this wins them bucket-loads of cosmic brownie-points. This is the Bay Area we're talking about; the place where 'if it can't be solved with wheat germ and tofu, it's gotta be a Zionist plot'.


On a related note, one of the pro-Palestinian organizers in the Bay Area recently moved here from Minneapolis St. Paul - Perry Bellow-Handelman. She was very active there in Jewish Community Action, gay organizing, and boycotting a major corporation because of it's labour and environmental sins.

I guess we now also import our Israel hate. We're so friggin' lucky.

Here in the Bay Area, being pro-Israel counts as a dangerous eccentricity. Or a perversion on par with being a smoker or a chicken strangler.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I was outside on the sidewalk having a smoke.

And I thought: "that's an ugly woman".

Then I thought: "no, that's an ugly man."

"With a bad haircut."

After that I came back inside.


I didn't have much of an appetite today, so I though I would have a simple cheese sandwich for lunch.

That, apparently, is a radical concept that boggles minds. The lady at the sandwich shop didn't stop at boggle, but without confirming her hunch leapt straight through to sausage! And asked what else. Not anything else, thank you, only the cheese.

Paid. Crossed street, up thirteen floors, back at my desk.

Not cheese?

Down thirteen floors, crossed street, endeavored to make clear what the ... 'beef' of my issue was. And she on her part endeavored to grasp what this crazy person was saying, and correct the situation.

Thank you, bye. Crossed street, up thirteen floors, back at my desk.

AND cheese?

Down thirteen floors, crossed street. Explained to everyone. Oh, okay, we finally get it, nods all round. A brand new product. Crossed street, up thirteen floors, back at my desk.

I now own a sandwich on which there is just cheese. Nothing else, just cheese.

Some lettuce and tomato would've been nice.


So why do I have a lunch demand so unusual that it baffled the good ladies across the street? Well, I left work at three o'clock on Thursday (five days ago) feeling quite wankle. By four o'clock I was in bed. By five I was curled up in a tight shivering ball wondering why it was so horribly cold and why the bed was trying to hurt me. Did it suddenly hate me or resent my clear intellectual superiority? Mean bastard, why, I might just do something to get even...... if only it wasn't so buggery cold.

I maintained that position and that sense of wonder till late Saturday afternoon. On Monday I went down to Doctor Jew's office in Chinatown. I was no longer a tight paranoid ball, but I lacked energy and seemed to have gained several inches around my neck.

"Say 'aah'. Again. And again, please. [Palps area immediately under jawline.] My, those glands are nice and swollen, yes sirree, rarely seen them quite so... You've got pharyngitis. Let's get you on some azithromycin."

Turns out pharyngitis is a nice scientific term for "we don't really know what's wrong, it's probably just a seasonal respiratory infection, bacterial we're guessing in your case, not strep cause you aren't in anything like the pain you were in the last time you were here". Yep.

The gamble is this: "if it's bacterial, the azithromycin will axe it. If it's viral, it will probably have been axed by your body by the time you finish the azithromicin. Unless it's mononucleosis - in which case, if you're still sick by the time the pills are gone, we might want to do a test. As an intellectual exercise, of course."

What does any of this have to with a cheese sandwich?

I shall explain. I didn't eat anything from Thursday lunch till Saturday night. No appetite. Then I had half a bowl of rice. Little appetite on Sunday (aggregate total: one bowl of rice). Had a splotch of Indian style rice pudding on Monday for lunch, and a tiny bit of rice soup with chicken bits in the evening. Eh, not much of an appetite. And the azythromicin is playing havoc with my digestive boojums, so I don't want to push the envelope stomach-wise. No bells or whistles, no hecatombs of juicy dead beast. I just wanted a cheese sandwich. And that's what I got.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Something e-kvetcher said set off a train of mental associations. This post is dedicated to him in consequence, and you may blame him of you wish.


One of the things which many people eat with "affection" on shabbes afternoon is cholent (tsholnt: chaud-lent; mediaeval French: slow heat), which is a compound of meat, vegetables, and lentils similar to both Parsi Dhansak and industrial strength spackle, and just as dangerous. According to reliable reports, cholent may contribute to heart disease, arterial sclerosis, obesity, erectile dysfunction, and depression, and may actually have caused the premature demise of more Jews than anything else in history.

It is prepared by placing the filled casserole in a dying oven on Friday before shkiya, so as to be ready to eat on Saturday around midday. But perhaps you should try beid b’hamam instead? Or even some tasty Cassoulet?

Per a discussion in meseches Kilayim (vessels), cholent is quite similar to what Yakov fed Esav, as described in Sefer Bereishis, Parshas Toldos, psook 25:29 - 30: "Va yazed Yakov nazid, va yavo Esav min ha sade ve hu ayef" ('And Jacob seethed a pottage, and Esau, coming from the field, and being faint'), "va yomer Esav el Yakov, haleiteni na min ha adom, ha adom haze ki ayef anochi - al ken kara shemo Edom" ('and Esau said to Jacob ‘let me, I beg of you, have some of this red red pottage, for I am faint – wherefore would he be called Edom').

In short, Yakov wheezled Esav’s birthright out of him in return for some beandip, nebech.

[A metzia. Such a gonif, that Yakov, tssk tssk.]

Note that Edom means 'redness', just as ‘ha adom ha adom’ emphatically points to an intense red. These both derive from adama (earth - think of red clay), whence Adam, the first man, who was made of clay. As in our day only a golem is.

[Golem = A being without a will of it’s own, created to perform the wishes of it’s master; a politician, a State Department functionary. The cognate in Arabic (gulam) means slave.]

Once Esav recovered from the worst indigestion he had ever experienced, he realized that he had been had. Since then, Esav has looked upon Yakov with disfavour.

We are much more fortunate – we have an entire row of stomach medicines at Walgreen’s; everything from pink goo-swill for acid, purple pills for reflux, green once-a-days, E-Z Pepsid, various fruit-flavoured chalk-o-tabs for bile and gas, and swallowable charcoal compounds, to complex chemical cocktails which either tighten you up or loosen you down, plus a wide choice of fibrous substances for regularity, and clay & pectin blends for firmness and smooth passage. Kaolin is a mitzvah!

[But you have to wait (unless you stocked up since last Saturday). The end of shabbes brings as much joy as the beginning did - it ain’t just the bsomim either.]


Jews are not the only tribe that favour methane-fruit bio-hazards for their day of rest - Parsees like to enjoy a fine dhansak on the weekend, followed by either a long and gut-rumbling-disturbed nap, or a half-hearted attempt at pru-urvu in the sweltering tropic heat of a Bombay afternoon.

[Dhansak = A Parsee dish of mixed lentils, meat (mutton), red pumpkin, kasoori methi (fenugreek leaf), and spices, slow stewed, and served with browned rice and potato croquettes or chicken kababs (marghi ni pattice), often on the weekend.]

Busy Bee (nom de guerre of the journalist, editor, and food-meyven Mr. Behram Contractor, himself a Parsee), often waxed eloquent in his columns for The Afternoon Despatch & Courier about this quintessential Parsee dish.

In his column on August 23, 1991 Busy Bee lamented that "the best restaurants for dhansak are closed. Café Health off Meadows Streets, where old waiters moved about in waist-coats and gave brass finger-bowls at the end of the meal; (--) Patuck next door, and Victory Stall on Apollo Bunder..."

[I wonder what caused 'em to close. Maybe it was artery-clog from too much Parsi Dairy ghee....... Pity though, they sound delightful.]

Excellent dhansak may still be had at the Ripon club, opposite Bombay University, and at CCI and Royal Yacht Club – but these are private clubs, and one must be invited.

So fond are Parsees of their dhansak, that they are nicknamed Dhansakiyas, just like Sindhis have become ‘Papad-khor’.

I think once peysach is over I'll go in search of some methi bhaji, and perhaps some pumpkin. I feel an urge coming on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


A very long time ago I knew someone who lived in Kennedy Town, which is on Hong Kong Island, and not named after an American President who was a notorious sex fiend, OR his brother.

Kennedy Town is a residential area along the water named after the seventh governor of Hong Kong, who also at various times administered parts of Africa, Australia, and Canada.
He was a typical English colonialist, whose personal life was, apparently, unexceptional. No eccentric peccadilloes to mention.
He lived in HK from 1872 till 1877.

The main reason for naming a housing district after him is that under his directions a strip of land along the harbour, looking out toward the mainland, was reclaimed.

Now, you can understand that as a Dutchman, land reclamation fascinates me. Eventually we'll have so much of the North Sea dyked off that we'll be able to invade England by paddling for a few minutes.
I am looking avariciously at Norfolk.
Estuarine swamps!

Kennedy Town is not an architecturally or culturally exciting place. Foodwise it is fun, but it is rather a way off. Middling folk live there.
Street vendors are few.
Mostly bedroom.

My friend moved out years ago.

His sister spent a year in Valkenswaard before moving to Deurne. Neither of those towns are very exciting either. Her aunt in Eindhoven had a chubby son who was the cantaloupe of his mom's eye.
Eindhoven can be exciting, at times.
It's sort of middling.

The only other thing that ties geographic location A (Kennedy Town, Hong Kong) and geographic location B (The Kempen Region, in North Brabant) together, other than the familial ties of friends, is multi-storied housing complexes, some in vibrant pink, with flaking exterior paint.
Not much to run an essay on.

The territory of the Kempen is too far inland for land reclamation to be in any way a significant factor, in case you were wondering. We're high above those Northerners, by at least a foot or two.
It's the veritable lap of security.


I am currently reading two manga series set in Japanese high schools.

Japanese high schools all have similar layouts, which allows many readers to automatically relate, and greatly simplifies set-design. Having most of the story take place in a high school or having most of the characters attend high school also gives the author a number of ready-made situations where other characters can be introduced.
And, for fan-service ('decorative feminine visuals'), the baths, sports fields, stairwells, roof tops, etcetera, can all be used for pantsu (views of feminine underwear), accidental bosom gropes, naughty winds that blow up skirts, our hero's face landing in inconvenient places........

However, neither of these two manga series are about fan-service. No pantsu!


Ouran High School Host Club is a comedy series that deals with the clichées of manga drawn for a female audience. With the exception of the hero, all main characters are male. Shallow, silly, self-indulgent rich-boy male. But the 'hero' is female - we don't find that out till chapter three.
Of all the boys, our hero (who isn't a boy) is the most likeable. He (she) is drawn in such a way that you cannot tell that he (she) is actually 'that other gender', and in any case 'that other gender' doesn't really enter into the story. What could be homo-eroticism is neutered by the egomania of the boys and the superficiality of their emotions.



On the other hand, Cromartie High School is deep. Truly deep.
It's about angst-ridden delinquents. A very texty manga.

Cromartie High School is notorious for having the most violent and under-achieving students. Bullies, thugs, extortionists, criminals, and psychopaths.

Again, no pantsu.

It is by far the better of the two series.

From Wikipedia's entry on Cromartie High School, here are some of the characters:

Yutaka Takenouchi (竹之内豊, Takenōchi Yutaka)
The leader of Cromartie High's first-year students. Known to be an incredible fighter and a reliable person. His weakness (unknown to everyone else) is motion sickness. Though he loves field trips and excursions in general, he hates having to travel because he gets sick very easily, and struggles with all of his might not to vomit.

Gorilla (ゴリラ, Gorira, Hiromi Go (豪ヒロミ, Gō Hiromi))
A gorilla. He sometimes wears a watch and is considered smarter than most of the main characters. He is also an extremely talented sushi chef. He has a sister who looks just like him but has prettier eyes and a red/pink flower on her left ear.

Shinichi Mechazawa (メカ沢新一, Mechazawa Shin'ichi)
One of the most notorious delinquents of Cromartie. Though it is suspected that he is actually a robot, no one but the main characters (Kamiyama, Hayashida, Maeda, etc.) seems to notice, including himself.


I should mention that Savage Kitten has also been reading Cromartie High School. It is somewhat disconcerting, while lying in bed with my first cup of coffee, to hear loud hoots of hysterical laughter from the kitchen. I am not ready for loud anything at that hour. But because it starts her day off with a smile I will tolerate it. Encourage it, even.

This is some good stuff. Even without pantsu.


I've parked a usefull list of Israel and Jerusalem facts over on the other side of the lizard:

Seeing as I'm using that blog ( as a spare-room, it should be easier to find stuff there than here - this blog is looking mighty like an overcrowded basement at this point (but it will never-the-less continue to be my main blog - I don't mind visitors bumping into things).


For crap's sake, keep the Dutchmen away from the video-equipment!

From the DutchNews newsletter:

Jesus is a child of rape says film-maker
Dutch film-maker Paul Verhoeven is to publish a biography of Jesus in which he claims Jesus’ father was probably a Roman soldier who raped Mary during the Jewish uprising, says news agency Reuters. Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Showgirls) has always wanted to make a film about Jesus.

Clearly, the Dutch should leave moviemaking to Hollywood, Bombay, and Hong Kong - at least they don't make movies that get people killed.


PS.: You'd think that after two thousand years of the Jazus shtoos, folks would get tired of talking about him. But nooooooooo......... !!! Oh well, fortunately the xtians don't issue fatawat (fatwas).

PS. no. 2: Good thing he waited till Heston passed away before telling us this. Can you imagine 'Moses' playing the title-role in the Jesus movie? Just two words: thick layers of pancake make-up with spray fixative, and computerized special effects up the wazoo.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Quote: Al-Qaeda's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has blamed Iran for spreading the theory that Israel was behind the 11 September 2001 attacks.


Further quoting that article:

In a two-hour audiotape posted on an Islamist website, Osama Bin Laden's chief deputy responded to questions posted by al-Qaeda sympathisers.

In response to a question about persistent rumours in the Middle East that Israel was involved in the 9/11 attacks, Zawahiri said the rumour had begun on the Hezbollah television station, Al-Manar.

"The purpose of this lie is clear - [to suggest] that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no-one else did in history, he said.

"Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it."

Zawahiri went on to criticise Iran for co-operating with the US in its 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, that helped to oust the Taleban.

"Iran's aim here is also clear - to cover up its involvement with America in invading the homes of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq," he said.


Dear readers,

I hope that you too are relishing this accusation that Iran .... (wait for it) ..... is a Zionist puppet - I know I am.
It is indirect, it is twisted and convoluted. It's parts do not add. And yet.

It is delicious.

[The logic is this: If Iran is trying to discredit Sunnis and ElQaeda by claiming that Israel was behind 9-11, and if their reason in doing so is to cover up their collaboration with the Americans (who, as everyone knows, are Zionist puppets - Ayman azZawahiri has also averred no less) in attacking Afghanistan and Iraq (which was on behalf of the Zionists, according to several internet sources, Arab commentators, and ElQaeda), then the Iranians and the Americans (Zionists) have the same agenda - which can only mean one thing: Iran is a Zionist puppet!]

One of the sayings within our own little cell of the vast international Zionist conspiracy here in the Bay Area is that we are blessed by the stupidity of our enemies.

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha Olam, she hechiyanu ve kiyemanu ve higianu la zaman ha ze.

Ve omeyn.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Too much slivovitz. Too much chrein. Both nights.

First night lost my place halfway through hallel. Shall not even mention birkas hamazon.........
But it was very good.

Second night, kept getting hit with the rubber frogs that were flying across the table.
I like frogs.
I also like rubber.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I am currently reading The Last Uniform (Saigo no Sei-fuku).
No, this is not some serious work of literature about militarism in pre-war Japan, or about post-war despair. It does not feature a protagonist agonizing over the conflict between morality and duty. It is not a soul-searching memoir of life at the front, or the futility of being an honest man in a world gone mad. It is not angst-ridden.

It's about darling little teenage lesbians at a boarding school.
The uniform which is meant is the sailor-suit type get-up with pleated skirts worn by Japanese high-school girls.

The characters live in a dorm. Each girl has a roommate. There is no sex. The illustrations are very un-teasing. These little dears are innocent and charming, rather than depraved or pantingly in-heat. Some of the dialogue is over-the-top. There are (heart-felt) crushes. There is hot tea before lights-out. And sometimes there are delicious pastries. It is all very adorable.


The Last Uniform (最後の制服, Saigo no Sei-fuku) is a manga written by Mera Hakamada.
The English translation is published by Seven Seas Entertainment. Volumes one and two are already available, volume three is still in the works, due out in August 2008. Each volume costs $11.99.
It is not about pantsu or fan-service, hence unsuitable for teenage boys.


No, this is not about politics, or any of the local radicals. It is about art. It is specifically a recommendation that you visit e-kvetcher's blog.

This post:

But before you click, make sure that you have an iron stomach.
Some of the stuff may make you ill.
Or cause you to spew hot tea all over your keyboard. It's entirely up to you.


Spiros, if you wish to tell us about art students, now is your chance. Either that or a description of the hairy gams.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Some readers of this blog have asked me "are you Dutch or American?"
They have also asked me "are you Jewish or Gentile?"


Okay, that answer doesn't really clarify things, does it?

MY FATHER'S FAMILYIn the sixteenth century, a refugee from the Spanish Netherlands fled to the north (of the Rhine river) to escape Catholic tyranny.
His grandson, Abraham Pietersen van Deursen of Haarlem emigrated to New Amsterdam shortly after marrying Tryntje Melchiors in 1629. His son Isaac Abrahamsen van Deursen was born in New Amsterdam in 1635.
Four generations later, two of Isaac Abrahamsen's descendants married. Despite one of them having a different surname, they were related to each other and to themselves, due to the custom of New York Dutch to marry among the tribe (and all who are descended from the three thousand Cheeseheads in New Amsterdam in the middle of the seventeenth century are related to each other as a result).

By that time the Dutch Calvinism of the first American generations had weathered somewhat, and other forms of Protestantism had found adherents among those people. Consequently, in addition to Calvinists, there are also Episcopalians in the family woodpile.
[Names like Jacob, Josef, Isaac, Abraham, Enoch, Efraim, David, Saul, Solomon, Selah, Shadrach, Nathan, Benjamin, and others of Tanachic provenance drench the family tree. There's also the occasional Wynand, Gompert, or Teeuwis, but they are swamped by shvatic nomenclature.]

Their grandson ended up in England after World War One, where my uncle and my father were born. Both boys returned to the US with their widowed mother during the depression. My father interrupted his studies at Berkeley to fly a bomber for the Canadians during World War two.

My mother comes from Scotch-Irish Presbyterians (in other words, hard-ass Calvinists from Ulster) who have been in the US for nearly three centuries. Her father, Colonel M., whose family had migrated west from Virginia during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, married my maternal grandmother when both of them were in Kermanshah (Persia). Both had been with the American Red Cross aid contingent to the Russians during the war, and fled south after the Bolsheviks took over.
[I possess a lovely photo of a group of gaunt men in a mixture of Russian and American uniforms standing together with glasses lifted toasting the newlyweds. Several of them seem smaller than their cavalry swords. They are very thin.]

Colonel M. was stationed in Germany during the early twenties, where my mother was born. They returned to the US in the thirties, and lived in Santa Barbara and San Francisco.
Colonel M. was stationed at the Presidio during WWII, my mother joined the Waves (and was called up again during the Korean war).

My maternal-grandfather retired in the sixties; for several years thereafter he could still be found at the Officer's Club having a cocktail in the early evening. He passed away in the mid-seventies.

My father met my mother in Berkeley after the war. After a very long courtship about which I will tell you nothing, my parents married and moved to southern California. My brother and I were born in the Los Angeles area during the Eisenhower years. All of us moved to the Netherlands in 1962.

By 1968 I was getting beaten up by my classmates in Valkenswaard for being an American, and clobbering them right back for being such pissants. By the time the Vietnam war ended I had few friends among the locals - notable exceptions being Dutch Jews, Dutch Indos, and other trans-nationals - and several enemies.
The boy-scout troop to which I unwillingly (!) belonged consisted almost entirely of religious and ethnic bigots with a sharpened talent for cruelty and mob-behaviour. I do not remember any of their names, but I keenly remember their brutish and depraved natures. None of those people were truly committed, however - it takes more balls than are possessed by your average pissant to vigorously pursue enmity when the object of that enmity fights back and is willing to fight dirty.

In high school I got along far better with the girls than the boys.
I particularly remember Bertje Clerk (very intelligent blonde girl, petite), Babs DeWaard (a small bright brunette with lovely eyes), and Uki Schneider (blonde, elfin, angelic - her boyfriend was an Indo with a devilish gleam in his eyes with whom I got along quite well).

I returned to the US in 1978 and lived in Berkeley for several years before dropping out of college and traveling to South East Asia.

I met Savage Kitten in 1989. We've been living together for nearly fifteen years now. She has no intention of ever getting married - she regards wedlock as a methodology for making Cantonese American females miserable (as, indeed, it seems to have been for many of her mother's generation). Plus I am hardly the successful Toishanese-American dentist with real-estate holdings that she has been programmed to wed.

I speak better Cantonese than she does, but she learned how to curse most marvelously in Toishanese from her mother. The Cantonese dialects are earthy.

The involvement in Judaic subjects was a gradual thing. I knew Jews when I lived in the Netherlands, and there have always been Jews on my book shelves. I find more in Judaism that makes sense to me than in Christianity.
I acquired a translation of Rashi's commentary several years ago, but it was preceded by Jacob Neusner's writings and followed by Bloom and Friedman. I now have a substantial collection of books exploring facets of Judaism and matters Israeli, but have only three New testaments - King James, Staten Bijbel, and the Nupela Testamen (New Guinea Pidgin English).

Before I returned from the Netherlands I knew Tanach better than NT (and much better than the classmates who told me I was going to hell for not being of the same creed as them).
Since then I've also acquired a smattering of Talmud and a smidgen of Sfas Emes.

What keeps me from converting is an unhealthy level of skepsis plus the idea that one should not separate oneself from one's community (yes, that's davka poresh min ha tzibbur - but I am already poresh mi darkei tzibbur). There's more to it than that, but less than meets the eye.
[Oh, and if I were to convert, I would be living in a household with absolutely no acceptable standard of kashrus whatsoever. You go tell a Cantonese woman that shrimp and lobster are possul. That meshugge I'm not.]

Besides, there have always been not-completely-assimilated elements in the Judaic world; just think of the Erev Rav, who left Mitzrahim with the descendants of Yakov - they were probably shooting craps behind some bushes when Moses came down from the mountain.
They were also far too busy rigging poker games to be sidetracked by that whole eigel hazahav business. And that thing with the fire-pans? Pre-occupied with dice and cards, still.

Forty years later they were the only ones who looked up surprised and said "what, we're there already? How the heck did that happen?!?"

The souls of all the erev rav in existence were present at Sinai. It isn't till we drop the loaded dice that we become Jewish.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Further to Hatefest 2008, which will be celebrated this May tenth in the civic center in San Francisco, a little digging has turned up some interesting stuff.

The event is being organized by Al-Awda (The Palestine Right to Return Coalition), in order to co-opt the unaffiliated and ignorant, especially among the young. In that uncommendable goal they are being helped by volunteers from several organizations, many of which include Jews with serious issues.
[See some of my previous posts for further data, or search on the net for Bay Area Women in Black, Break the Siege, Brit Tzedek ve Shalom, International Jewish Solidarity Network, Jewish Voice for Peace, Peace and Justice, SJME - Students for Justice in the Middle East,
SJP - Students for Justice in Palestine (UC Berkeley). Some of these folks are more open about collusion than others, almost all of them support Hamas and Hezbollah.]

Tentative list of artists:
Arab Summit: Exentrik, Narcicyst, Omar Offendum, Ragtop
Dam: Abeer–Palestinian Hip-Hop crew from Lid (Israeli-Arabs turned militant pro-terrorists who endorse suicide bombing)
Dead Prez (militant black revolutionary gangsta rappers)
Fred Wreck
Ras Ceylon

There will also be performances by Boots Riley, NaR, Mamaz, Politikal Heat, Rithmatik & Patriarch, and DJ Emancipacion.

[I am terminally unhip - Who are these people?]

The day-long "Palestine, Peace and Solidarity Festival" will be free to all; teenagers (the target audience) are not known for excess cash, and if they have any, the organizers hope that they will donate it to the cause or use it to shop at the concessions.

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

NOTE: To be involved with Al Awda, one must agree to their points of unity, which include:
* An end to all US political, military and economic aid to Israel.
* The divestment of all public and private entities from all Israeli corporations and American corporations with subsidiaries operating within Israel.
* An end to the investment of Labor Union members' pension funds in Israel.
* The boycott of all Israeli products.
* The right to return for all Palestinian refugees to their original towns, villages and lands with compensation for sixty years of discrimination in lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and elsewhere.

Al-Awda also has many other demands - a number of them have been screamed at us in demonstrations - as well as several resonant rhetorical points (example: "Falastin balad'na w'al yahud qalab'na!" - 'Palestine is our land and the Jews are our dogs'), and I'm certain that their message will appeal to hip-hop fans of all ages.

Just because a middle-aged white person such as my self hasn't heard of any of the performers and utterly despises Al-Awda and everything they stand for doesn't mean that they aren't mainstream in the Bay Area.


Or leastways, I am not spam.
That is what the good robots over Blogger/Google have concluded.
I am so relieved. I thought I was toast.

This what they sent me last night:

Dear Blogger user,
This is a message from the Blogger team.
Your blog, at, has been identified as a potential spam blog. For an explanation of what spam blogs are, please see Blogger Help:
dot dot [link removed] dot dot dot
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Spam? Me? Tofu maybe, but spam? Has the world gone mad? I am not about pork.

You can probably imagine my state of mind at that moment.
Something in the vein of "Oh my heavens, they've discovered that I'm an illegal alien from outer space and killed Jimmy Hoffa. A man smoking a cigarette is coming after me, gonna kill me with an ice-pick at the cannibal chicken ranch. Digest me with extruded enzymes. My donkey is grass. I'm a goner. They're gonna report me to the IRS. My first wife will find out about my other ten wives AND the sheep. I'll have to hide my greasy leather diaper and the birches. All my base are belong to them."

dotdotdot - PAUSE - dotdotdot
"Wait a minute! I haven't done anything wrong, why am I upset? I've got nothing to worry about!"

And Blogger/Google agrees.

I am as innocent as any big black lesbian pro-wrestler can be.

Oh, and in case you really were going to come gunning for me, I live in Jamaica, and have a tattoo of a rattle snake in between my very full breasts. Honestly.


Note that this means that I will not be using the other side of the lizard very often.
I had set it up as a reserve, just in case. But I think I'll just use it as a warehouse for weird stuff.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I note, pursuant my previous post about the fund-raising Jew-hating seder to be held at a local Methodist Church, that ms. Kinneret Israel (the Festival Point Person for the Free Palestine Peace and Solidarity Festival - "Hatefest 2008", for short), seems to be involved with Jewish education in the Bay Area, particularly with the young.
[Relevant post: ]

"--Etgar (9th grade Core): Yeshi Gusfield, Jen Holzer, Kinneret Israel
Who am I? What do I believe? Why are other Jews different than I am? How are they the same? Explore issues of Jewish identity and come up with surprising answers. The class includes participation in four amazing weekend retreats.--"

[Lifted from this site: ]

I am not at all sure that it is the same person - there may be hundreds of Kinneret Israels in the Bay Area, as it is a very lovely name.
And for all I know Kinneret Israel could also be a nom de guerre - a name lifted deliberately by a pro-terror radical. It sounds so nicely Jewish.
If it is the same person, I would offer the opinion that she has no business being involved in Jewish education.

Sara Kershnar, mentioned in my previous post as the Nakba Actions Point Person, may be the large handsome lady in the photo at this site: .
Somebody going by that name has a history of social activism, anti-Israel rabble-rousing, and association or collusion with pro-Hamas and pro-Hezbollah elements.

An article by Sara Kershnar (and again, I have no idea if it is the same person - there may be thousands of large handsome women named Sara Kershnar who are anti-Israel activists) is available at this site:Õ

Let me give you a sample:

"It is an honor to stand with you today as part of a growing international network of anti-Zionist, anti-imperialist Jews whose identities are not based on Zionism but on long histories of Jewish participation in liberation struggles from Eastern Europe and Iraq to Brooklyn. Our participation in this conference reflects our commitment to these legacies and to current struggles against colonization and imperialism. Central to this commitment is solidarity with Arab liberation struggles against US imperialism and Zionism."

Another quote:

"As the 5th year of the US occupation of Iraq passes, we hold our governments accountable for their continued support of the US/Israel agenda for military, economic and political control of the region. "

And also:

"I am part of a growing movement of anti-Zionist Jews who are part of a growing Palestine solidarity movement that is part of a growing anti-imperialist, anti-globalization struggle rising from the global south from Palestine to Chiapas, from Venezuela to the US/Mexico border."

All of this, according to AlArab Online, was part of an International Jewish Solidarity Network - Speech delivered at the opening session of the Cairo Conference against Occupation, March 27, 2008.
[AlArab Online is here: ]

The Jewish establishment in the Bay Area is sodden with such people. Several years ago even I would not have thought so - surely there could not be such enthusiasm for self-destruction?

But our worst enemies in the Bay Area have indeed often proven to be Jews - Jews who are Jewish merely when it suits them to be Jewish, and only Jewish to the extent that it benefits their purposes. Jews who willingly are the good Jews. Jews who allow the sonei Yisroel to use them as cover for anti-Semitism. Jews who wish to destroy Jews.
They and their sympathizers have penetrated many Jewish organizations, and made pro-Israel advocacy controversial and even dangerous in the Bay Area.

These people are not batel b'shishim - they are poison in any quantity.


Cross-posted at The Muqata (, which you should visit often as a matter of both minhag and self-improvement.

The text below represents a new level of anti-Semitism and cotton-wool Jewish self-loathing in the San Francisco Bay Area. It also represents an ignorant and self-righteous welt-anschauung that is truly and utterly dangerous.

Unfortunately it does NOT represent a minority point of view in many circles. I wish to post it here so that you may know exactly what we're up against in California. And note particularly the mention of a "liberation seder" at a Methodist church - to me this is such a series of misnomers and wrong concepts that it does not, cannot, compute. My mind is boggled.

[I will be attending two seders - both in the East Bay, neither in anyway whatsoever resembling the nakba seder.]

--- --- ---

[from e-mail]

Get Involved! Nakba Bay Area Jewish Anti-Zionist Efforts

Dear Bay Area "No Time To Celebrate" signatories and IJSN friends,

Last Thursday 20 people attended the Bay Area organizing meeting for Jewish anti-Zionist actions around the 60th anniversary of the Nakba. The energy at the meeting was great, and people are ready to step up into action this spring! We heard back from many more of you who could not be there and are very committed to being involved. At the meeting, a decision-making process for selecting areas of work to move forward on, was framed by the call to action from the "No Time To Celebrate" campaign

You can read and sign the pledge at:
and that from Palestinian organizations calling on international civil society to commemorate Nakba through boycott of Israel celebrations and actions to highlight the history of Palestinian resistance at:

Three workgroups were formed to organize the major efforts we identified as most vital:

1. Holding a Liberation Seder is solidarity with 60 Years of Palestinian Resistance;
2. Organizing Nakba Direct Actions;
3. Supporting the Free Palestine Peace and Solidarity Festival.

Following is more information about these efforts and ways you can get involved in each one.

We hope you can all join us for the next meeting on *Wednesday April 16, 7pm at 474 Valencia in San Francisco.
We are so excited to come together with you all to stand with Palestinian resistance on the 60th anniversary of the Nakba!

Areas of work and how to get involved:

Liberation Seder - Sunday, April 20, 5:00-8:30pm, Lake Merrit United Methodist Church, 1255 1st Ave, Oakland.
The Seder will be a community building event and a fundraiser for IJSN and the Palestinian Popular conference. The Seder will be geared towards promoting several Bay Area Nakba activities, including the May 10th Palestinian Cultural Festival, the Handala campaign, and the Palestinian Popular Conference.

What you can do:

1. Come and bring guests! rsvp to
2. Bring an item of food (wine, matzah, parsley, boiled eggs, oranges,
olives, juice, horseradish, a dish). E-mail the Seder Point Person, Eric Romann at to let him know what you are making!
3. Help with set-up and/or clean-up, be there for all the behind-the-scenes action! E-mail to sign-up for a shift.
4. Perform a piece of poetry or music, again, contact Eric at if you have a piece you'd like to offer at the Seder.
5. Spread the word!

Nakba Direct Actions:

We are organizing two major direct actions. We need everyone to participate in order to demonstrate, through our numbers and passion, exactly how substantial Jewish dissent to Zionism is! Please contact the Nakba Actions Point Person Sara Kershnar at to get involved and/or to join the next workgroup meeting on April 21, at 7:30pm.

Roles to play will include:

1. People to participate in direct actions.
2. People to come as allies and in supporting roles.
3. People willing to develop materials for distribution, design visuals for the action, and plan an art party.

Free Palestine Peace and Solidarity Festival:
Saturday, May 10, all day at the Civic Center
This festival is being organized by the local Palestinian Nakba Committee, and will feature a fabulous line up of performers, as well as other cultural and political opportunities.
IJSN has been asked to recruit volunteers, provide logistical support, participate in, fundraise for, and promote the event.

The festival workgroup will be sending out an e-mail in the next few days with a list of ways you can be involved and support the festival.

Please contact Festival Point Person Kinneret Israel at to get active before then and/or join the festival planning conference call on Thursday April 10th at 5:30pm.

--- --- ---

Please note that the e-mail reproduced above shows a clear link between methodists and the El Awda crowd, who advocate the destruction of Israel. El Awda insists upon a right of return to the Holy Land for Palestinians, and obligatory return to Poland for Jews. They are silent about the Jews expelled from Arab lands. It would not surprise me if they have other plans for them.

The Methodists, of course, are simply mis-informed idiots. We have a lot of those in the Bay Area. The involvement of the Methodists with the nakba crowd and anti-Israel Jews is very disturbing. The divestment movement flourishes at present among such people.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


San Francisco, April 9th., 2008. Closing ceremony of Olympic Torch relay in city cancelled because of mobs.

In a typical show of sanctimony and hypocrisy, protesting Berkeley earth-mothers and blond-dreadlockers sabotaged the Olympic torch relay today, ruining or preventing nearly all of the planned festivities.

Oh, there were also some Burmese and Tibetans, who unlike the Berkeleyites do actually have a valid bone to pick and a legitimate point. Had it been merely the Burmese and Tibetans, this whole thing would not have affected traffic, nor cost so much.

Unlike the anti-everything cossacks from Berkeley, the Chinese who came out in droves to peacefully express their ethnic pride tried to avoid confrontation, and, remarkably, did not engage in any violence - though one would be hard put to figure out why, as they certainly had reason to be outraged.

Judging by snippets of conversation I overheard while down at Justin Herman Plaza, most of the Berkeleyite anger seemed to veer into racist territory.
I saw one sign that used the term 'Chink-Nazi', another that accused the Chinese of turning Tibet into a killing field - not the Chinese government, but 'the Chinese'. Besides being hyperbolic in the extreme, it was a clear expression of the anti-Chinese bigotry that is so important a part of the West-Coast social and cultural fabric. And quite unconsciously so - the poor deluded greenies carrying those signs were probably incapable of understanding how their message might offend.

Several signs implied that the Chinese were racists - not a few in terms that showed a mote and beam obliviousness. The general tone being one of self-satisfied priggishness from the mostly middle-class non-Chinese, keenly felt disappointment from the many Chinese-Americans.

The live band was rather un-interesting. It's a miracle nobody tried to burn the torch in effigy. Perhaps later tonight.

At one point, the police had to protect several lion and dragon dance troupes from the angry young white people and their Tibetan and Burmese friends. Seeing as lion and dragon dance troupes are usually kungfu associations, this may have prevented serious mayhem. Those who study martial arts will endure...... Until the first rock hits the first face.
Even though the martial-artists were much outnumbered, I would've put my money on them rather than the scragglies that surrounded them. Pity that their moment to shine was ruined by the unwashed unemployable intolerables.

What could have been a massive feel-good event (ethnic and cultural pride, a share in Olympian glory, inter-ethnic and international brotherhood, San Francisco prestige) was turned into just another exercise in Bay Area smugness. Not only the runners and the Chinese community, but all citizens of San Francisco lost today. Berkeley is a monumental burden.


BBC article excerpted below. Whaddya bet this will be soaped over by the usuals as 'justifiable', and a 'reaction to inhuman bla bla bla'.

Israel's reaction will be considered disproportionate. Because of the difference in numbers of dead - only two (!) Israelis versus seven (!) peaceloving Palestinian butterflies. Never mind that Islamic Jihad failed their aim during a blatant act of terrorism, whereas the IDF struck back while in pursuit of murderers, after having been surprised, and unfortunately failing to prevent two brutal murders.



Militant attack on Israeli border

At least seven people are reported to have been killed following a raid by Palestinian militants near a border crossing between Gaza and Israel.

Two Israeli workers were killed as a fuel depot at the Nahal Oz crossing in northern Gaza came under attack.

The Israeli army said at least two militants were killed as they fled. Another three Palestinians were killed by Israeli missiles, reports said.

The raid happened just after a fuel delivery to Gaza, sparking a gun battle.

"They killed two of the depot workers, shot them dead."

The Israeli army said two militants were killed as they fled back into Gaza after the attack. At least one other was reported to have escaped.

Later Israeli aircraft hit a vehicle in Gaza City which the military said was carrying Islamic Jihad militants who took part in the attack.

The group said several militants were injured in the strike.

Islamic Jihad was one of three groups to claim responsibility for the border raid.

Its spokesman, identified only as Abu-Mujahid, said the attack was aimed at breaking the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, imposed after Hamas seized control of the territory last June.
"This was a martyrdom-seeking [suicide] operation aimed at kidnapping Zionist soldiers," he said. "It's been code-named Breaking the Blockade. It demolishes the continuous Zionist arrogance against our people."

Hamas itself has not said it was involved in the operation.

[Source: and remember, copyright of the cited text belongs to the B buggery BC. Who are 'impartial'. As is well known. By everyone who doesn't ken otherwise.]

Expect all the customary denials and justificatory waffling from the apologists soon. As well as outrageous statements. And a heartfelt plea from paragons such as Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu for world-wide understanding of the gentle Gazan Buddhists and sneering condemnation of the Jews Israelis' regrettable tendency to not learn anything from their own history.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Tomorrow, according to Indy Bay, there will be a "nude run for human rights" along the Embarcadero. Timed to coincide with the Olympic Torch run.

It is being put together by George Davis (naked yoga guy), and has been endorsed by nudes4peace.
[nudes4peace: ]

== == ==

While I'm royally pissed that all the crackpots are coming out the woodwork to make a spectacle of themselves tomorrow in San Francisco (get ye back to Berkeley, rabble!), I heartily approve of the nude run for human rights.

I myself will NOT be taking part. I should not be seen in public in the buff. Thank me, I'm not a giver.
But I am very much looking forward to seeing elderly nakedies huffing down the Embarcadero, rubbed all over with baby oil because the original Olympians covered themselves with olive oil.
[I guess the substitution with baby oil is to keep people from licking them. I don't know.]

There's nothing quite so intellectually stimulating as the thought of out-of-shape nudies trotting from the cops, slipping around on their own oil, and wheezing asthmatically. In public.

== == ==

But more than likely they'll bail.

Not that they're anyways shy about showing off their grosser parts in a mixed crowd, good heavens no.

They probably just don't want to freeze their saggy butts off.

It is cold here.

== == ==

It is cold, windy, unpleasant. Bone chilling. This is not naked weather. This is the kind of weather in which you bundle up in your bed with an extra comforter, listening to the snow weasels outside clacking their little cutleries as they try to get in to eat you.
[Snow weasels come down from the north during cold weather to consume humans, bringing their heirloom table-silver with them (for convenience, and that sense of home). There's a trail all the way up to Alaska littered with the bones of their victims. Or so Savage Kitten tells me during cold spells such as this, as she holds on to me tightly trying to absorb all of my warmth. Heat vampire.]

How do we know that snow weasels eat humans? Simple - no one has ever lived to tell the tale of encountering the little beasties. They're that clever. And that ferocious. Ravenous little carnivores.

They probably don't eat elderly exhibitionists, though.

Too stringy.

And too oily.


One of the crusty old farts at the cigar bar is nicknamed 'Boots'.
I finally found out why.

About thirty five years ago he took a job at an engineering firm here in San Francisco. Moved out from Denver and started on a Thursday. His first night in San Francisco he behaved like a good little boy and quietly went to his hotel.

But Friday evening after work he decides to have some drinks, as the wife and kids are still in Denver and he doesn't know anybody in the city or have anything else to do. One thing leads to another and he ends up taking some trollops and an equal number of bottles of liquor back to the office for a late-night party.

Saturday morning he wakes up. The bottles are empty, the ashtray is overflowing, and the tarts have left. There's a pair of panties in his out-box. He's hung over, bleary-eyed, buck naked, and he needs to leak worse than a race horse. So he gets up off the floor and stumbles out into the hallway.

There's over a dozen people out on the floor.

The company is behind on several projects and people are working over the week-end.

The first one to see him is the senior partner's secretary - as she later explains, he's got the runtiest dang thing and ugly spindly legs, but what she really notices are the storm-trooper boots.

He ain't wearing anything else except those boots.

Well, other than the smell of bourbon and cigarettes. But you can hardly call that 'wearing'...... it's more like a halo or a battle-aura, really. Though it suits him better than the boots.
Why is he wearing storm-trooper boots?
One word: Traction!
He is an engineer, after all. And therefore acts logically.

Monday, April 07, 2008


Yesterday evening I studied over at a friend's house. I forgot to remove my keppel when I left. I was not reminded that I had it on till I reached the bar for a nightcap.
[I was already raising the Scotch to my lips when a fellow bar-patron noticed it.]

Let's just say that I was even more carefull not to make a fool of myself in public than normal. Please try to imagine what a monumental internal struggle that is.

Friday, April 04, 2008


One of the key texts of the long Atjehnese struggle for self-determination (starting from the Dutch invasion in 1873 more or less till the Tsunami) was the Hikayat Prang Sabii - The Narrative of the Sacred War.

This long poem (two thousand lines) was written by Teungku Djik Panté Kulu while traveling from Jeddah to Penang after completing the pilgrimage during the Dutch-Atjeh war.
It celebrated the resistance to the Dutch, and the urge to continue the struggle, not because victory was inevitable (it wasn't), but because it was the right thing to do.

Verses of this poem were recited before battle. When fighting the Dutch. When fighting the Japanese. When fighting the Indonesians.

Some people know it by heart. It is probably one of the very few things in their own language that they know so well, because literate Atjehnese have always written in Arabic or Malay more than their own language.

Anyhow. Can't find it on the net. Would appreciate pointers. Remember, two thousand lines. Thanks in advance.


Note: As an indication of Atjehnese stubbornness, let me cite a description of one of Atjeh's greatest heroes, Tjut Nya Dhien ('Tjoet Nja' Dhien'):

"None of those men who were leaders in the long holy war of Atjeh against us hated us as fiercely or fought us as resolutely as she did, and few sacrificed so much, of both their power and property. Never, in her resistance, did she deviate by even one step, never did she doubt, never could she be bought. Transported, she died in exile. "Resigned", they say - but that cannot be believed! And why should we even desire any resignation from her? As a salve on the wounds of our conscience? For the greater glory of our triumph?
No! Let us honour her as indeed our bitterest enemy, who was finally broken by our might."

Tjut Nya Dhien (1848 - 1908) was the daughter of one commander (Nanta Setia) and the wife of another (Teuku Ibrahim Lam'nga) in the fight against the Dutch. Both fell in the battle of Sela Glé Tarun in 1873.

After their deaths, she assumed command of their troops and continued the struggle against the Dutch until 1901, spending most of that time in the jungles and hills.

Her second husband, Teuku Umar, died in battle in 1899. Together they fought the Dutch for nearly two dozen years.

When the Dutch captured her, Tjut Nya Dhien was old, worn-out, arthritic, and nearly blind. And still she fought - she was taken in battle. They exiled her to Sumedang in Java, where she died six years later. She spent those last years teaching the Quran to local people.
It wasn't until the republican period that her grave was found - the marker gave the nickname that she had been given by the locals, who never knew her real name. But there had been only one Atjehnese female political prisoner ever in that town......

Her daughter, Tjut Gambang (wife of Teungku Dhi Buket, who was the son of Teuku Tjik Dhi Tiro, Acheh's most famous guerilla leader) continued the war in the jungles of Atjeh, dying in combat in 1910.

You can probably understand why this material fascinates me. There is much here to admire.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I am in receipt of an e-mail that brings a smile to my face. Partly because of an orthographic element - double vowels are used a lot in Dutch, and Dutch is the first language I learned to read and write - and partly because the message itself is just so darned funny. Made much more so by the orthography.

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 8:49 PM
very CheapPrice Bacheelor, MasteerMBA, and Doctoraate dip1omas arcf u3lyw53a

We can assist with Diplomas from prestigious universities based on your present knowledge and LifeExperience

No required examination, tests, classes, books, or interviews

Bacheelor, MasteerMBA, and Doctoraate diplomas available in the field of your choice -
that's right, you can become a Doctor and receive all the benefits that comes with it!

No one is turned down
Confidentiality assured

For US: 1-309-407-3749
Outside US: +1-309-407-3749

"Just leave your NAME & PHONE NO. (with CountryCode)" in the voicemail

Please call today!!


My gratitude to Herschel McKnight <> knows no bounds.

Now all I need to do is invent a field of my choice, and I'll be all set to receive all the benefits that "comes with it".

Got any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


One of the things we ate at yesterday's farewell luncheon was an appetizer consisting of roast-duck chunks rolled in a lumpia wrapper with some crunchy veggies.

It was very tasty. But one person said that "it seemed rather fatty".

Well duh. It's a duck. Insulation is what keeps Donald warm and buoyant; that's why he's the life of the party.
[Like Bambi and Thumper, Donald and his nephews are very nice eating. Scrooge McDuck not so much - stringy. But he'll do in a pinch.]

There are tons of Indonesian recipes for duck. Which is not surprising for a rice-growing culture. Rice paddies and complex irrigation systems mean ducks.
You've probably had salted duck-egg in a mooncake without wondering why the Chinese prefer duck eggs to chicken eggs. The rice-paddies are the reason. That, plus you can herd ducks, whereas chickens take no direction. Duck are orderly, chickens are stupid and chaotic.

Here's an Indonesian duck dish that will also keep the Chinese people in your family happy.

[Soured duck.]

One duck of four to five pounds.
One dozen shallots, sliced fine.
Several cloves of garlic, minced.
Equivalent amount ginger, ditto.
Four cups dark rice wine.
Four cups stock reduced to one cup.
Four TBS each: soy sauce, vinegar, sugar.
Hefty pinches mace, cinnamon powder, dry ginger.
Whole peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves.
A jigger aged vinegar.

Chop the duck into chunks through the bone. Brown the duck in its own fat, set aside.
Gild the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Add all other ingredients including the duck chunks, raise to barely boiling, then simmer on low for about twenty minutes.

Serve with a lime juice sambal and dressed cucumber. Rice is of course part of the meal, and some yau choi or greens in pot-liquor also go very well with this.

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

[Dressed cucumber]

Two cucumbers, peeled, seeded, coarse chunked.
Two TBS each vinegar, water, sugar.
One Tsp salt.

Dump everything in a pan and heat, stirring, till the sugar has dissolved. Decant and let it sit in a cool place for a few hours.

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

Another fine addition to the table if you're serving duck is a dish that contains papaya. Papaya assists in digesting meat and is loaded with antioxidants - you probably have a relative who has a bee in his bonnet(*) about those things, don't you?

[Green Papaya (duong) Soup]

One green papaya (approx 1½ pounds); peeled, seeded, and sliced.
A dozen black mushrooms; soaked, stemmed, halved.
Two stalks of lemon grass, bruised to release flavours.
Two or three shallots, chopped.
Two or three Roma tomatoes; peeled, seeded, chopped.
Some chopped celery - the quantity is up to you.
One Tsp ground coriander.
Half Tsp each: sugar, cayenne, turmeric, ground pepper.
Pinches cinnamon powder and dry ginger.
Two TBS each: lime juice, soy sauce, rice wine (or sherry), olive oil.
Six cups of clear broth.
One or two cups water.
Minced scallion, parsley and cilantro.

Sauté shallots, garlic and ginger till colour turns. Add spices, stir fragrant, and seethe with the rice wine. Add everything else except the scallion, parsley and cilantro. Simmer till the papaya is tender. Add the scallion, parsley and cilantro just before serving.

Sanak Mantep - Eet Smakelijk - Bon Appetit.

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

Note: the phrase 'bee in the bonnet' has a lovely, if somewhat unprintable equivalent in Tamarao: PUNYIP RI MATA - a punyip ('poon-yip') in the eye.

Mata means eye. Ri means in, at, on.
And punyip means...... well, errrrmm, eh...... you know that demanding thingy that feels like a small nose, which, um, the gentler gender has located at one end of the crevasse muliebre? Precisely! That is the punyip.

The phrase also means that you can't see the forest for the trees. It's all a question of perspective.


I thought of naming this post 'bowel cleanser and artery clogger'.
Then I realized that might put you off, and I decided against it.
Just thought you should know.

An hour ago my boss and I were discussing the lunch plans of one of our coworkers. This lead inevitably to the farewell luncheon for another coworker, which all of us attended yesterday. I remarked that I was surprised that XXX had ordered yellow curry - he's very health conscious and does not eat fattening foods. Yellow curry, as you probably know, is made with lots of coconut milk. Perhaps XXX did not realize that coconut milk is choc-full of fat.

Coconut milk, along with bacon, gehakte leber, and roast duck is proof that someone out there does not want us to enjoy what we eat. Either that or suffer consequences.

[For roast duck, see here: ]

On the other hand, what if certain foods came with a built-in control on over-indulgence? Something that kept you from eating more than you should?

[Seethed meat]

Twenty pounds of cubed water buffalo.
An amount of chopped Thai chili of slightly greater volume than the meat.
Twenty stalks lemon grass, whacked with a rock to bruise 'em.
Twenty teaspoons of turmeric.
Twice as much ground coriander seed as turmeric.
Garlic and ginger - use your own judgment.
A few pinches salt.

Put everything in a deep pan. Add coconut milk to cover very very generously. Plus some. Simmer till the coconut milk is entirely taken-up by the meat and the oil comes out. Remove the lemon grass at this point. Turn the heat up a bit, and frazzle the meat chunks in the oily paste to seal them. Serve at a feast when the harvest is in or your daughter gets married to the hadji in the next village over.

Now, the alert reader will have already started wondering about the amount of chili. The chili is the control mechanism - more than one or two chunks of this dish may prove dangerous to your equilibrium. Seeing as the meat will be suffused with a rich greasy coconuttiness, you can well imagine what an excessive amount would do to your arteries. The chili prevents you reaching that point.

If you do not regularly eat spicy food, decrease the amount of chili as you see fit, but keep it spicy.

Note: Diners who keep shtreng kosher should grate their own coconuts and make their own coconut milk with the gratings - the nut is sealed, ergo there is no chance of dubious inclusions. You might want to avoid lemon grass also because of the shrotzim issue. Throwing in some dried tangerine peel (large pieces, bought in Chinatown) works just as well, and is beneficial to the internal organs, though the taste will be different. Or omit, as some cooks do. The turmeric is essential, both for flavour as well as colour. The proportion of coriander to turmeric is standard in many dishes.

Further note: No feast is complete without a bittermelon dish. Cut the bitter-melon in half, scoop out pith and seeds, slice thinly and strew salt over. Set to drain. Two hours later squeeze, rinse, and repeat. Drain, pat dry, and add some chopped tomato and scallion, plus a drizzle of olive oil. Or you could cut the bittermelon into chunks after de-seeding and de-pithing, and cook it like any other vegetable. Be aware that white people at your banquet may be dismayed by the bitter taste.
Just give them lots of beer and they'll shut up.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


The Geert Wilders movie, and all the screaming and yelling about it, reminded me of the issue of Muslim penetration as it was experienced in Indonesia and Malaya.

From the first Muslim merchants and missionaries to hit the tip of Atjeh eight centuries ago to the present, Islamicization has been both a constant and an irreversable process in the Malay-Indonesian zone. Atjeh converted earliest (and prides itself on being the gateway to Mecca), the great empires of Sumatra and Djawa have been replaced by Muslim sultanates and susuhanates, and even Kota Ambon today has more mosques than churches, despite the long Christian presence in the Moluccas.
Indonesia rules more Muslims than any other country.

However, several native ethnicities did not become Muslim despite conversionary effort and warfare.
The Menadonese are still solidly Christian, the Moluccers and Bataks are half Muslim, half Christian, and half Heathen (okay, so the math indicates that they're aren't quite stable yet..... religion is not necessarily a matter of certainties), and the Javanese are Hinduist Muslims - Muslim in avowed creed, semi-Hindu in certain practices, Hindu-Buddhist in magic and mysticism, and pre-Islamic in superstition and supernatural belief.

Becoming Muslim is an ongoing process for several groups.
The Atjehnese and the Minangkabau are similar in that descent is reckoned matrilineally, inheritance favours the females, especially as regards farm-property and the actual agricultural means of production (excepting pepper gardens - often developed by Atjehnese transplantees who settled outside of Atjeh proper).
Men are the backbone of Mosque and Madrasa, but must move out of both their mother's home, and often their villages, in order to make a life for themselves; a life which becomes less their own once they get married, as the property is held by the women. All over Indonesia you will find Atjehnese and Minang men engaged in business. Their womenfolk remain in Sumatra, and welcome them back periodically, before tiring of them and sending them away again. The men absorb Islam through mens' societies, and by going off to Islamic study-halls out in the countryside.
These are not patterns we normally associate with Islam, yet both the Atjehnese and the Minang are solidly Muslim. Far more so than the Javanese.

The Madurese are, apparently, also Muslim - but everyone else prefers to consider them devil-worshipping vampires and socially unacceptable. They are Muslims, but no civilized Muslim wants them in their Mosque.
[Warning: poetic exaggeration here. Madurese are much disliked. Let us not dwell on why.]

Some societies have disappeared. Been swamped. Totally over-run. Become Malay.

Anyone who converts to Islam becomes Malay. And eventually loses his culture.

[This counts especially for coastal Borneo, where every single Islamicized society lost a greater part of its distinctiveness and acquired Malay as their language and Malay customs in lieu of their own. This process was in some cases sped up by colonialism.]

I am not fond of Malays. Perhaps I am a racist. I do not like their food. Or their culture. Tak suka orang melayu, tak suka makanan-mereka, dan saya tahu mereka bukan bangsa adib, tidak halus.

On the other hand, I am quite partial to Atjehnese. Spunky people, stubborn and talented.
The Buginese are also admirable.

All of this is a preamble to a short Tamarao text I wish to present to you, the 'Rhetorical Statement Regarding The Places Which Are Habitable By Civilized People'. First in Tamarao, then in English translation.


Djaaa na kawm Muslim tamo mata-mi, ngitembiya ngon dapet wambo; pangkod, kreang, tembeng - kutamto marede, makaga nente angin. Dang samahang na Ngarab, Malayo, tan Lanon; Muntawan, Kwantan, tan Mindanawa, buwana-mi sametek gila-dugatso. Sepa tanggat nente dema? Tathapi hara balang hara mesti ne; esa lampo pa lelem, tarang tja. Esa pagad nente dambo, larang-kandong tja.

"The evil of the Muslim horde meets our eyes, the tribal war unity must not falter; long spears, swords, and war shields - all are firm, hard against the sky. With the commonality of Arabs, Malays, and pirates from the North; Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, and Mindanao, our world is entirely blood-crazed. Who can effect against them? But above all it is essential to do so; one lamp for the dark, lo it is bright. One fence against the forest, lo it is a civilized zone."

[Partial annotation: Ngabaeng - expressive statement. Kinatao - the places where people (tao), by extension civilized people (tao neang adib), can be found; all civilized places are one, all civilized people are alike. Djaaa - (pronounced jah-ah-ah) evil (from Arabic Jahat). Kawm - group of people who have something in common (also an Arabic term: sheaf, collection, aggregate). Tamo - to meet, to encounter or be encountered. Mi - second person plural possessive postfix (kami - we inclusively, kita - we excluding the person addressed). Ngitembiya - Ritual first person plural pronoun for the head-raiding war group; the collective of warriors, those who will take heads in battle, the fighting line of the tribe. Ngon - negative: cannot, must not. Wambo - falter, tremble. Pangkod - a long spear with abundant crimson horse-hear tufting below the blade. Kreang - kris; a wavy bladed dagger or battle sword much prized throughout the Indonesian area. Tembeng - painted war-shield upon which weapons are struck rhythmically before battle to work up the fury of the warriors and terrify the enemy. Kaga nente angin - hard against the sky: strong in the face of fate. Lanon - Moro pirates from western Mindanao, much feared as slave-raiders and despoilers. Muntawan - Coastal Sumatra. Kwantan - The Receptacle; the Malay Peninsula. Buwana - world. Gila - eccentric, insane, Gila-dugatso - having the coarse appetites of a carrion eater and the passions of a rabid beast. Lampo - Lamp, light (from Portuguese). Pagad - fencing around a field. Dambo - forest, jungle. Larang-kandong - Fields (larangan) and cattle-holds (kandong - also means bag or womb), and by extension the agricultural base, and hence the heartland of a society.]

Evocative, no? I find it quickens the blood.

It presents a picture of a society that felt itself under siege by Muslims - as, indeed, many societies in the Indonesian world have been. Prior to the Dutch asserting colonial control over lower Borneo, both the Buginese and Makasarese from the south, and the Moros from western Mindanao assaulted tribal territories along the Borneo coast. Several of the kingdoms that later came under Dutch authority began with Muslim invaders planting themselves violently among the natives, whom they converted by force or enslaved. Other petty kingdoms represent ruling houses given a new lease on political life by conversion to Islam and subsequent assistance from other Muslim polities. By the time the Dutch held these areas, the non-Muslims had mostly vanished along the shore, and the Malay rot had set in.

This is similar to what Geert Wilders fears will happen to Europe. It is a somewhat apocalyptic dread.

I am not nearly so despondent, however. The Balinese resisted Islam, the Batak are by no means mostly Islamic, and several ethnic groups in the interior of Borneo and the uplands of Celebes are still ferociously non-Muslim. The Javanese span the range between barely any ken of Islam to Islamic fanatics (it would be hard to argue that the Javanese ruling classes are fully committed to Islam in any case). And it must be said that the aggression of Islamic polities in Indonesia had much more in common with Masonic brotherhood than Jihadi fanaticism. Islam gave one valuable contacts with an entire (mercantile, cultural, and political) network throughout the region, whereas traditional beliefs often isolated societies from even their ethnic relatives.
For some, Islam was indeed a more civilized system.

[What about the people who speak Tamarao? I believe that by-and-large they have been subsumed, but I doubt that Islam did it. Between colonialism, the socially destructive impact of the oil-industry in Eastern Borneo, the Japanese invasion focusing on the oil-industry, revolutionary Indonesian nationalism, and 'transmigrasi' (the Indonesian resettlement policy for alleviating population pressure and stifling ethnic irredentism by moving large numbers of Javans to other islands), they seem to have disappeared from the radar. I have found no evidence of their existence on the internet, nor in any scholarly writings. Perhaps they are called something else now. I really don't know. I knew people who spoke the language in the Netherlands, I have not met any here.]

What does Islam offer Europe? Perhaps the question should be what Europe offers Muslims.
Quite probably more Muslim migrants will Europeanize than Europeans become Islamic. The top of European society may be self-satisfied about its perceived cultural superiority and fearful of being swamped by other cultures - but it is still the top. The oligarchies that control European societies are not easily displaced, and their norms are not easily pushed aside.

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