Saturday, September 10, 2005

Man, that’s some crazy ass shit!

Crazy ass shit. I’ve heard that refrain thousands of times. Things can be “crazy ass shit,” or something can be some “good ass shit.”

Ass-shit... Yuck!

Where the hell did this come from? Why “ass-shit?” What’s the opposite, “cock-piss?”

Man, that’s some crazy cock-piss.

Bier v. Beer

The other day in the locker room I overheard a conversation about beer. One guy was talking about American beer and how it couldn’t compare to the beer he had on a visit to Europe, yada yada. Another guy chimed in and said, “I’m from Germany und you are right. Za beer here eez nossing like vhat vee drink in Germany.”

I’ve heard this before, that European beer—specifically German and Czech— is much different than the stuff we quaff stateside. From what I understand, American beer is watery in comparison to European beer; European beer is thicker, heartier and packs more of an alcohol punch.

Be that as it may, some of America’s oldest and most well-known breweries were founded by Germans. John Gurda wrote in The Making of Milwaukee that, “The beverage of choice in the German Athens (Milwaukee), and one of its key social lubricants, was beer. Milwaukee’s first brewery, technically, was organized by a group of Welshmen in 1840, but its product found few takers in the German community. ‘Of course their brew could hardly be considered beer in its German sense,’ sniffed Rudolf Koss, Milwaukee’s pioneer German historian, ‘but to the Americans this somewhat murky, sweet, and ale-like drink was satisfactory.’”

The rest is Milwaukee beer brewing history. Indeed, some of America’s most recognizable breweries—Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz, all founded by German-Americans—remain recognizable names to this day. But curiously, these famous breweries currently produce beer that is scoffed at by beer purists.

So what happened to Milwaukee’s German brew?

Maybe Milwaukee beer changed in order to appeal to the palates of the larger society? Or, maybe Milwaukee beer is not all that different from imported European beer? As I type I’m drinking a Becks beer, imported from Germany and “brewed under the German purity law of 1516,” which, thankfully, has only to do with beer brewing and ingredients and not ethnic background (I wouldn’t feel comfortable drinking Aryan beer… and I’d hate to be restricted to drinking only Maccabi, Goldstar or He’brew beer).

But I digress. My point is that most of the imported beers I’ve drank are not markedly different from domestic beers. I guess the only way to get to the bottom of this mess is to go to Europe, maybe checkout Oktober Fest, and draw my own conclusions.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Keytar?


Remember this musical contraption from the 1980's? What sound did it make? Why don't we see these things anymore?

Daily stress may stop breast cancer: study

LONDON (Reuters) - Women with high levels of stress in their everyday lives are at less risk than others of developing breast cancer for the first time, according to research in the British Medical Journal published on Friday.

Yeah, right! Most of the women in the study probably died of stress-induced heart disease before they ever had a chance to develop breast cancer.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Ferst Klient


Yo,

I is well hexcited cuz me fink me 'as got me ferst klient tomorrow. Check it: I called a couple of homeez dat me boss-lady give me. Me said to dem on da fone: Yo, I is Zak and me is well 'appy to put u threw a werkout cuz you is a member of Bally's and you is hentitled to a free werkout wif a personal trainer. Out of four of dem, two of dem geezers made happointments! However, wen I went to put dem in da schedule book, me saw dat da boss-lady gave me an happointment for tomorrow morning. Yo, nobody told me, but it's aight cuz me is well ready.

Booyakasha gonwon!

Thoughts on Katrina aftermath

Believe it or not, but a small number of politicians and pundits from both sides are bemoaning the devastation of Hurricane Katrina as if it’s harbinger of America’s impending downfall. The extremists on both sides of the political spectrum have their own selfish reasons for what can only be described as their near gloating over Katrina's destruction. The far right views Katrina as God’s wrath against sinful New Orleans. If the rest of “sinful” America doesn’t change our ways and repent, we can expect more of the same. The far left sees the images of devastation as retribution for our alleged bullying foreign policy, like the war in Iraq. The scenes of chaos in New Orleans “prove” that we may be a power, but no longer a “super” power.

Extremists on both sides gloat over the human suffering wrought by Katrina simply because they think it vindicates their line of thinking. They’ll never admit as much, but in so many of their articles and words, the gloating tone is palpable.

But both are wrong. Humans are resilient. Americans are very resilient. The vast majority of us in the middle are busy donating money and helping our fellow citizens. We will study what went wrong and why, we will learn lessons, and we will move on—just like we always have.

Yes Katrina has brought out the worst in some of us, but for a great many more, it has brought out the best.

Not enough land for peace

PA leader Abbas is now demanding lands north and east of Gaza border. This is a harbinger of things to come.

If anyone thought that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza would revive prospects for peace, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas scotched that notion last week. Full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines is insufficient, he declared: Israel must also concede additional territory inside these lines.

Specifically, Abbas demanded land north and east of the Gaza Strip. This land was indeed on the Arab side of the 1949 armistice lines, but Egypt, which controlled Gaza at the time, traded it to Israel in 1950 in exchange for a larger chunk of land that Israel held in eastern Gaza. This new border was subsequently acknowledged not only by UN Resolution 242, but also by the Oslo Accords, which the Palestinians signed. The PA, therefore, has no conceivable claim to this land: Not only did Israel "purchase" it by ceding a larger bit of land to Gaza, but the new border was recognized by both the UN and the PA itself.

Thus when PA officials first raised this demand in talks with Israel several weeks ago, Israeli officials dismissed it as a negotiating ploy. But what Abbas did last week is not so easily dismissed: In an interview published in a major Palestinian daily, Al-Quds, on Saturday, he told the Palestinian public that "the evacuation of the settlers, the settlements and the army from the Strip are steps in the right direction, but it does not mean the end of the occupation. There are lands in eastern and northern Gaza still under occupation.... We need to renegotiate the details and get back to the real border."

This statement manages to undermine every major foundation of the peace process at once.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

We Failed You? Try Again

Anne Rice blames America, not local officials.

"To my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.” — novelist and New Orleans resident Anne Rice

Let me get this straight.

Ms. Rice, you live in (what was) a very attractive city which lies below sea level. On one side you have a giant lake; on the other side you have the Gulf of Mexico. Running through the middle is the Mississippi River. All of which are above you.

Preventing those giant bodies of water from flooding and drowning you are levees. These levees are described as “century-old.” People have been warning about the devastating effects of a direct hit from a hurricane for decades.

Read the rest

Celebrity Labor Day


I’m jealous of celebrities. I admit it. However, I don’t envy their wealth, or looks, or ability to date the beautiful people, or because they get invited to the swankest parties and the hippest hangouts. No, I’m jealous of celebrities because they are showered with praise by the media just for doing the same thing millions of Americans do on a daily basis, for example, charity.

How many average Joe’s risked their lives to fish people out of water in New Orleans? Hundreds? Thousands? Why, then, does Sean Penn get all the attention?

It’s for this same reason I go crazy when celebrities sound off on politics. I’m not arguing their right to speak their minds; I'm just annoyed that, by virtue of their celebrity, their views will get far more attention and consideration than yours or mine. It also doesn’t help that most of the time they sound like idiots, too.

I think we need a new American holiday in which real, normal people take a day off work and are served by celebrities. The celebrities come to our cities and towns for a day and clean our yards for an hour, cook for us, or perhaps chauffer us around. All the while, the celebrities should be forced to listen to our political opinions as they work. It could be called Celebrity Labor Day.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Barefoot and pregnant

Saturday, 03 September 2005
Supreme Leader insisted on gender apartheid


NCRI, September 3 - In an appalling and misogynistic comment, mullahs' Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei tried to justify gender apartheid and denying women the right to political and social activity under the medieval theocracy ruling Iran.


In remarks carried by the state-controlled news agency, IRNA, last Sunday, Khamenei said, "Men are suited to enter economic and financial arenas… Women, however, have preoccupations. They must give birth and feed the child, and they are physically, psychologically and emotionally soft. They cannot enter into every field. They cannot tolerate every interaction. These create restrictions for women in financial and economic fields and related activities. Men do not have these restrictions. In this respect, privilege must be given to men because they are strong."

Pretty backward thinking, huh? Have no fear, it's not like this guy's leading a nation that has nuclear weapons... yet.

"Palestinian" makes aliya


Sep. 7, 2005
Famous "Palestinian" makes aliya
By JASON SILBERMAN

Tuvia Grossman, who was dragged out of a taxi in east Jerusalem and nearly beaten to death by a crowd of Palestinians at the start of the intifada in 2000, is making aliya today.

At the time of the attack, his story received international media attention, because a photo of a bloody Grossman, taken by a freelance photographer and mislabeled by the Associated Press, said Grossman was a Palestinian being beaten by an Israeli soldier. The caption also mistakenly placed the incident on the Temple Mount, when in fact it was at a gas station outside the Old City.

And while we're on the media screwing up at the start of the intifadah in 2000, here's an article about the infamous Mohammad al-Dura scam: Myth, Fact and the al-Dura Affair

Mellanie Phillips' take on it is worth reading, too: A Modern Racial Libel
Hat tip: LGF for al-Dura links

Monday, September 05, 2005

Grilled eggplant semite1973-style


Ingredients:

One eggplant
Olive oil
3-4 large cloves of garlic
Pepper
Salt
Oregano
Love

Directions:

Place garlic in a garlic crusher and crush it. Place crushed garlic in a small container and pour about ¾ of a cup of olive oil over it. Mix it up and allow mixture to stand for one half hour or more, although it’s not absolutely necessary. Next, cut eggplant into thin slices, about ¼ inch thin or less. Place the three slices that are largest in circumference on the bottom of a flat bottomed bowl/container. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, oregano, and love on the slices and then drizzle the olive oil-garlic mixture on top of them. Take the next sized eggplant slices, which should be just a bit smaller than the previous, and place them on top of the just-seasoned slices. Again, sprinkle salt, pepper, oregano and drizzle the olive oil-garlic mixture on the eggplant slices. Keep repeating this process until all of the eggplant slices are used up. Two or three stacks of eggplant slices should suffice. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to grill.

Make sure to grill the eggplant slices until they are soft and mushy to the bite. Grilled Eggplant Semite1973-Style can be eaten hot off the grill or chilled the next day.

Note: Eggplant in photograph uncooked.

India, we shall not forsake you

It was only a matter of time before our Indian friends chimed in about Israel’s potential links with Pakistan. In “Why is Israel betraying India?” Manoj Pundit (which is a very apt last name for a writer on current events!), Naresh Raghubeer, and Ajit Someshwar outlined various instances of Pakistani malfeasance, hoping perhaps to convince Israelis to oppose ties with Pakistan. Despite the serious concerns that Indians and Israelis share about Pakistan, I still think that Israeli-Pakistani ties are a positive development. I understand Indian fears, but I do not believe Israel would ever compromise its special relationship with India in exchange for mere diplomatic relations with Pakistan. In other words, India has nothing to fear; Israel is not about to stop selling weapons to India just because Pakistan might want them to.

Still, I can’t get over the rich irony in all of this: Here is little Israel, treated as a pariah up until the early 1990’s, who now finds itself in the center of a tug of war of sorts between India and Pakistan.

“Israel is our friend!”
“But we can play with Israel, too.”
“Israel, who do you want to play with, us or Pakistan?”
“Uhhh…”
“Pakistan was calling you names before. You can’t trust them.”
“Well…”
“Don’t listen to the Indians. Besides, they’ve only been your friend since the early 1990’s. Maybe you should consider hanging out with us once in awhile.”
“But we were your friends first...”

Muslims ransack Christian village

Palestinian Muslims rampaged through Taiba, a Christian Arab village in the West Bank after a Taibe resident had an affair with a Muslim female from a nearby village. Although the offending 30 year-old female was murdered for her "crime," her family's honor and blood-lust were not sufficiently assuaged, and so:

"More than 500 Muslim men, chanting Allahu akbar [God is great], attacked us at night," said a Taiba resident. "They poured kerosene on many buildings and set them on fire. Many of the attackers broke into houses and stole furniture, jewelry and electrical appliances."

"Some people saw them carrying weapons. They first attacked houses belonging to the Khoury family [looking for the man who had the affair with the women, not realizing he had already fled the village.] Then they went to their relatives. They entered the houses and destroyed everything there. Then they tried to enter the local beer factory, but were repelled by PA security agents.

Well, at least the PA prevented a tragedy from turning into a disaster. Taiba beer is pretty good, too.

Mobile Hospital Delayed By State Officials

The North Carolina mobile hospital stranded in Mississippi was developed through the Office of Homeland Security after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With capacity for 113 beds, it is designed to handle disasters and mass casualties.

Equipment includes ultrasound, digital radiology, satellite Internet, and a full pharmacy, enabling doctors to do most types of surgery in the field, including open-chest and abdominal operations.

It travels in a convoy that includes two 53-foot trailers, which as of Sunday afternoon was parked on a gravel lot 70 miles north of New Orleans because Louisiana officials for several days would not let them deploy to the flooded city, Rich said.

Yet plans to use the facility and its 100 health professionals were hatched days before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, doctors in the caravan said.

As they talked with Mississippi officials about prospects of helping out there, other doctors complained that their offers of help also were turned away.

A primary care physician from Ohio called and e-mailed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after seeing a notice on the American Medical Association's Web site about volunteer doctors being needed.

An e-mail reply told him to watch CNN that night, where U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt was to announce a Web address for doctors to enter their names in a database.

"How crazy is that?" he complained in an e-mail to his daughter.

How crazy is that? Good question. As they say in Japan, it's unbereivaber. -Hat tip: LGF

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Israel and Pakistan

I was a bit suspicious regarding past and now recent diplomatic feelers put out by Pakistan towards Israel. One of the world’s largest Muslim countries, Pakistan was never a direct combatant against Israel, but a lot of the rhetoric emanating from Pakistan was of the anti-Semitic paranoid variety.

Now I realize that my suspicions were misplaced and childish. Indeed, I’ve long been fond of telling people that there’s no such things as friends in international relations, only interests. For some reason I forgot that important point because upon hearing about the latest meeting between the foreign ministers of Israel and Pakistan, my cynicism kicked in.

The Pakistanis are worried about Israel and India’s growing military alliance, I thought. Or, maybe the Pakistanis think relations with Israel will take pressure off of them and improve their relations with Washington? Yes, I really did forget the old IR dictum.

There is nothing wrong with Pakistan wanting relations with Israel for its own purposes and perceived best interests—that’s how the game is played. This elementary point was hammered into my thick skull in large part by reading the huge volume of reader’s comments at the Jerusalem Post, which you can read here. A lot of the contributors made some great points that I had overlooked.

For example, Israel’s relations with India are very important, but wouldn’t improved Israeli-Pakistani relations irk India and run the risk of harming the relationship? Maybe, but probably not. As one of the Pakistani contributors pointed out, India has close relations with most Arab countries, as well as Iran, so surely Israel can have relations with Pakistan.

Here is a potential benefit for Israel that I haven’t heard discussed:

If we take into account that Israel already has full diplomatic relations with three Arab countries as well as an ongoing dialogue with the Palestinians, relations with Pakistan will isolate Iran by highlighting Iran’s anachronistic and belligerent stance vis-à-vis Israel. The more isolated Iran is, the better. Israel and Iran had diplomatic relations until the Islamic revolution in 1979. Since then Iran has become one of Israel’s most implacable foes, and if it becomes a nuclear power, will become Israel’s greatest existential threat.

Both Israel and Pakistan have a lot to gain by having diplomatic relations. Without getting overly excited and misty eyed, I completely support this potential new relationship.

Now I can finally enjoy my sole Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan CD without feeling guilty!

Feds to Blanco: Evacuate. Blanco to Feds: No

Impetuous Bush haters! Wipe the egg off your face as you read this Washington Post article excerpt.

Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday.

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.

Read the whole thing if you like.

I already wrote two postings related to the reactions to this natural disaster here and here. The above reinforces my views that it’s ill-advised to politicize Katrina, and that if you must, at least wait until the facts come to light. But I guess when you or a loved one suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS), clear-thinking is the first thing to go.


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