Wednesday, February 10, 2010


If you notice me blushing, giggling like a schoolgirl, and shyly hiding my face in my hands, please think nothing of it. I am, as they say, farklempt.
Tawk among yesselves.


Earlier this week E-kvetcher kindly gave me a shoutout by posting a gratuitous link to my blog in one of his posts:

For those of you who relish the peculiar loshon of the Irish in their own ir hakodesh, it's worth a visit.
Especially for you, Spiros.


Then yesterday, after I had quibbled with one of the commenters on Dovbear's blog ( - where I impart my dubious insights under the moniker 'Bad Penguin! Bad Penguin!'), someone anonymous wrote this in my defense:

"You're new here, so here's a brief into to our friend the Bad Penguin:
First, if you knew our Penguin the way we do, you will know that he has a very low tolerance for "hipster-douchebags," and has skewered them numerous times here in the comments.
Second, in order to fully appreciate Penguin, you have to have read him for a while. Give it time. I think of him as our resident raconteur. He's lived in various parts of the world and has stories from all of them. He often weaves them into his comments. Sometimes his comments are a little obscure, sometimes they are very biting, sometimes they are outright hilarious, often they are insightful, but, agree with them or not, they are anything but boring.
As for pipe tobacco, it's one of his great loves in life, and its a theme he brings up from time to time. If you were familiar with past comments of his, his bringing it up would have made more sense to you.
You yourself might find yourself disagreeing with him when it comes to US politics. If you are pro-Israel, however, you will love his comments. With respect to Israel, not only does he talk the talk, but he walks the walk, too. "

[SOURCE: The commentstring under this post: .
It's about Sarah Palin, who is mentioned again in this post: .
Please do join the conversation - Sarah Palin is a fascinating subject.]

Oh my. That's eppes some praise!
That's also a far higher standard than I can possibly live up to.


Moments ago I saw this in a comment-string on Jameel's blog:

"Btw, there's only one non-Jewish "Dutchman" I'll accept moral lessons from. You know who you are, penguin. :) "

[Jameel's blog: ]

Thanks, Jonathan!
But rather than moral lessons (I am not worthy, I am not worthy!), how about small arms training? I'm actually a pretty good shot.


All of this reminds me of various high-school teachers insisting that I should shut up. My being the smart-aleck in the back of the class hissing the answers was, as it turns out, not helpful. At all.
Imagine my surprise - I thought I was being charmingly gifted, and smart as a whip.

The classes were English, History, Bible Studies, Physics, Algebra, and Geometry. Those being subjects in which I got top grades.

I was extraordinarily silent in French, German, Latin, and several other fields. As you can no doubt guess, I was at the very bottom of the class in those subjects.
No gain in highlighting that, it will be painfully apparent at the end of each year.

The point here is that when I keep silent, that might be because I don't know Jack.
On the other hand, when I do open my mouth, I may just be a smart-aleck.

The only exception to that would be BIOLOGY.


Having Mijnheer H as our biology teacher in high school was a strange and beautiful thing. He had the reputation of being a monumental eccentric, unlikeable, odd. His cold fish-eyes would stare off into the distance while he monotonously droned on about stamens, pistils, cell walls, carbon, .......... an intense and boring flow of data. During that first year several of us would liven-up the class by making snarky comments about taxonomy, mutation, ribosomes, organelles, and speciation.
Mijnheer H didn't notice, and these antics kept everyone else from falling asleep.
As humour it was exceedingly juvenile.

Second year biology, however, was quite a different kettle of fish.
Human reproduction.
Oh my.

Dot, dot, dot.

Mijnheer H could not bring himself to mention various words. Ovaries (eierstok, ovarium). Testes (teelbal, zaadbal, testikuul). Vagina (schede, gleuf, vagijn). Penis (lid, plasser). Belly button (umbilicus, navel).

His excruciating embarrassment caused him to stutter uncontrollably whenever he tried to get those things out of his mouth. "Ovovavavavavavava......"
Someone would helpfully volunteer 'ovaries?' after having seen the word in the textbook.
Mijnheer H would then hiss "yes, thank you, I meant ovavavava... vaaaa... va...".

Imagine how utterly crippled he was as regards the erectile tissue (zwellichaam) in the corpus cavernosum (pl: corpora cavernosa) and corpus cavernosum urethrae.


What should have taken less than two weeks according to the lesson plan lasted over four fun-filled months.

We had discovered that by NOT helping him with the words, the entire two hour class would consist of him hissing and gulping as he fought his way into the third or fourth sentence of the paragraph.
The poor man was red-faced and drained at the end of each class.
It was enchanting.

Even the girls in the class got into it - imagine a fresh-faced young thing innocently asking him about the septum pectiniforme. Or, heaven forefend, the FRENULUM!!!!!


Unfortunately the school administration eventually solved the problem by switching him out with the big curvaceous blonde who taught the same subject.
She had no issue with any of the vocabulary, and even though I had memorized all of the Latin terminology for the reproductive organs by the time I was nine, I still learned an enormous amount from her lectures.
Especially after she visited a slaughterhouse and brought in the bull pizzle for dissection.

If you will forgive the simile, comment-string conversations are like biology classes - sometimes you have to dissect with care and attention to the fine details, and sometimes you just gotta grab the bull by the horn.
What matters is your grasp of the subject.


jonathan becker said...

isn't the incestuous little "j-blogosphere" a delight? i'm fairly new to it myself, but i love that people get to "know" each other (through their writing) and the frequent cross-pollination can be heartwarming, or at least interesting. i find dovbear a bit frustrating, as he clearly has invented a persona from which to write provacative things and as we know, you can't get to know an actor personally from the roles s/he plays. but the character he has created is an excellent one, and does it's job well, and it posts so much that we can't help but occasionally getting a peek at the human pulling the strings.

re: my veiled shoutout to you on muqata: knowing that you read this blog caused me to mind my p's and q's when talking about "goyim" and "dutchman", and i think this is in general a positive phenomenon. it's not about political correctness, it's about being mindful that there are actual human beings behind all these labels. i think blogging may be contributing to the betterment of society in this way, at least.

i've been commenting for about 3 years on a relatively small atheist/leftist blog that i find interesting and amusing (though i am neither of these things). i got started by arguing vociferously and at length, both with commenters and the blog owner, about the frequent anti-israel and sometimes blatantly anti-semitic postings, which i saw as a stain on an otherwise class act.

long story short: i don't think a lot of those people even thought of jews or israelis as humans, despite their sometimes prodigious intellects. my presence in the comments helped change this and i take some pride that, having been accepted as a member of that particular commenting community, the blog has very much changed it's tone on jewish/israeli issues. not that they're zionists, exactly, :) but they're much more careful to do their homework before posting nasty references to the jews.

here's a current thread on which i overpost shamelessly (been home sick for a few days):

so what am i saying here in this ridiculously roundabout way? being a credit to your people (whatever you mean by that- in your case it may be san franciscans) in public forums is a noble thing to be. dutchmen, goyim, sanfranciscans, pipesmokers, epicuraeans and, um, weird manga fans can all sleep more soundly, knowing you're out there "representing".

Anonymous said...

Your fan club grows.

I knew you were worthy of further exposure when I first discovered you, at the soda counter in the mall.
Oh, wait. That wasn't you.

But still, my brother, may you continue to grow from strength to strength.

We few, we happy few, we band of weird manga fans?????

The back of the hill said...

Your fan club grows.
Protein supplements.

I knew you were worthy of further exposure when I first discovered you, at the soda counter in the mall.
Strawberry and protein smoothie with wheat grass and lutine.

Oh, wait. That wasn't you.
Oh crap, you're right! I would NEVER drink some kind of froo-froo diet gloop.

But still, my brother, may you continue to grow from strength to strength.
Alas, caffeine is not a growth hormone.

We few, we happy few, we band of weird manga fans?????
And by our united forces we will defeat the evil-doers! And free the high school from the evil that is known as the kendo club! Banzai!

Anonymous said...

Your fan club grows.
Protein supplements.

No. Sigh. Simply overeating. And lack of exercise.
And a franatical devotion to the pope.

Oh, wait. That's not us.

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