Saturday, December 17, 2005

New Drink

I invented a new calming drink: Zak's All-Natural Kava-Kava Chamomile Tea. (Patent pending)

Here's what you do:

Boil water. Get pint-sized glass or mug. Place twice as much Kava-Kava extract as directed on the bottle into container. Add chamomile tea bag. Sugar is optional. Pour boiled water into container. Allow to steep and cool. Enjoy.

It doesn't taste very good, but it's not terrible. The chamomile counteracts the bitter taste of the Kava-Kava just enough to make the drink palatable. It sort of numbs your mouth, but I think it really works. Chamomile has long been imbibed for it's nice flavor and calming qualities, and Kava-Kava root is used in the South Pacific for its calming effects. Sometimes I have trouble sitting still and focusing for long periods or time (and sometimes short periods of time). This concoction, however, relaxes me and allows me to direct all my attention on the task at hand.

So sit back, relax and enjoy a steaming hot cup of Zak's All Natural Kava-Kava Chamomile Tea today.

Friday, December 16, 2005

In Iran, Arming for Armageddon

Lest you get carried away with today's good news from Iraq, consider what's happening next door in Iran. The wild pronouncements of the new Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have gotten sporadic press ever since he called for Israel to be wiped off the map. He subsequently amended himself to say that Israel should simply be extirpated from the Middle East map and moved to some German or Austrian province. Perhaps near the site of an old extermination camp?

Except that there were no such camps, indeed no Holocaust at all, says Ahmadinejad. Nothing but "myth," a "legend" that was "fabricated . . . under the name 'Massacre of the Jews.' " This brought the usual reaction from European and American officials, who, with Churchillian rage and power, called these statements unacceptable. That something serious might accrue to Iran for this -- say, expulsion from the United Nations for violating its most basic principle by advocating the outright eradication of a member state -- is, of course, out of the question.

To be sure, Holocaust denial and calls for Israel's destruction are commonplace in the Middle East. They can be seen every day on Hezbollah TV, in Syrian media, in Egyptian editorials appearing in semiofficial newspapers. But none of these aspiring mass murderers are on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons that could do in one afternoon what it took Hitler six years to do: destroy an entire Jewish civilization and extinguish 6 million souls.

Everyone knows where Iran's nuclear weapons will be aimed. Everyone knows they will be put on Shahab rockets, which have been modified so that they can reach Israel. And everyone knows that if the button is ever pushed, it will be the end of Israel.

But it gets worse. The president of a country about to go nuclear is a confirmed believer in the coming apocalypse. Like Judaism and Christianity, Shiite Islam has its own version of the messianic return -- the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam. The more devout believers in Iran pray at the Jamkaran mosque, which houses a well from which, some believe, he will emerge.

When Ahmadinejad unexpectedly won the presidential elections, he immediately gave $17 million of government funds to the shrine. Last month Ahmadinejad said publicly that the main mission of the Islamic Revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam.

And as in some versions of fundamentalist Christianity, the second coming will be accompanied by the usual trials and tribulations, death and destruction. Iranian journalist Hossein Bastani reported Ahmadinejad saying in official meetings that the hidden imam will reappear in two years.

So a Holocaust-denying, virulently anti-Semitic, aspiring genocidist, on the verge of acquiring weapons of the apocalypse, believes that the end is not only near but nearer than the next American presidential election. (Pity the Democrats. They cannot catch a break.) This kind of man would have, to put it gently, less inhibition about starting Armageddon than a normal person. Indeed, with millennial bliss pending, he would have positive incentive to, as they say in Jewish eschatology, hasten the end.

To be sure, there are such madmen among the other monotheisms. The Temple Mount Faithful in Israel would like the al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount destroyed to make way for the third Jewish Temple and the messianic era. The difference with Iran, however, is that there are all of about 50 of these nuts in Israel, and none of them is president.

The closest we've come to a messianically inclined leader in America was a secretary of the interior who 24 years ago, when asked about his stewardship of the environment, told Congress: "I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns; whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations." But James Watt's domain was the forest, and his weapon of choice was the chainsaw. He was not in charge of nuclear weapons to be placed on missiles that are paraded through the streets with, literally, Israel's name on them. (They are adorned with banners reading "Israel must be wiped off the map.") It gets worse. After his U.N. speech in September, Ahmadinejad was caught on videotape telling a cleric that during the speech an aura, a halo, appeared around his head right on the podium of the General Assembly. "I felt the atmosphere suddenly change. And for those 27 or 28 minutes, the leaders of the world did not blink. . . . It seemed as if a hand was holding them there, and it opened their eyes to receive the message from the Islamic Republic."

Negotiations to deny this certifiable lunatic genocidal weapons have been going nowhere. Everyone knows they will go nowhere. And no one will do anything about it.

Family, honor, killing

The following feature story is about "honor killings."

Quote and link:

When news spread through the Druse section of Shfaram that Samar Hasson had been found hanging from a tree in a local olive grove, drivers on the streets began honking their horns. "Everybody was celebrating, it was beautiful," recalled a young man who works at the Hasson clan's auto parts shop in this hillside, Muslim-Christian-Druse town northeast of Haifa. "She caused her family a lot of problems," nodded a co-worker.

Aside from the family members who buried her, no one knows where the body of the 23-year-old Druse woman lies. There was no funeral, no gravestone, no prayers, no mourning.

"They took the body somewhere, dug a hole, threw it in, covered it up and that was that," said a knowledgeable local. "The family wants to be rid of any memory of her, like she never existed."

In my family it is the opposite. I told my 13 year old sister that if she didn't manage to have sex before marriage, I would kill her for family honor. She told me to shut up and tried to punch me.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

True story

Last night I couldn't sleep, so around 2am I went to lay on the couch to watch TV. I flicked on the tellie and lo and behold there was a TLC show about narcolepsy. I couldn't sleep; they couldn't stay awake.

How ironic, no?

Sowell hits the mark about the media

EU comdemns Iran


European Union

" type="hidden"> SEARCH
News | News Photos | Images | Web

" type="hidden">
European Union leaders will address the Iranian president's denial of the Holocaust as a "myth," Germany's foreign minister said Thursday, warning that patience is running out with Tehran.
The German government has condemned the remarks by

" type="hidden"> SEARCH
News | News Photos | Images | Web

" type="hidden">
's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and called on the
United Nations

" type="hidden"> SEARCH
News | News Photos | Images | Web

" type="hidden">
United Nations
as well as the EU to follow suit. Berlin says the comments will also weigh on talks over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

The EU summit beginning Thursday in Brussels will address Ahmadinejad's statements "also at our urging," Steinmeier said in the German parliament. The remarks showed "with how much irresponsibility and cynicism the Iranian government currently regards the situation of


" type="hidden"> SEARCH
News | News Photos | Images | Web

" type="hidden">
Israel and the Near East."

"I say again: the government in Tehran must understand that the patience of the international community is not endless," Steinmeier said.

Germany, along with France and Britain, has been leading diplomatic efforts to allay fears over Iran's nuclear intentions. Later this month, Iran is due to resume negotiations the issue with envoys from the three countries.

Ahmadinejad first provoked an international outcry in October when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." He then expressed doubt about the Nazi destruction of European Jewry during World War II and went further Wednesday — saying that the Holocaust is a "myth" that Europeans have used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.

Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Class Pic

Last night was our last class and Mehvish, thoughtful girl that she is, brought a camera and insisted we have a class photo. From Top from left: Desmond, Chicago native and self-described "anarchist"; Ian, Singaporean of Chinese descent; Frizzel, rural Mississippi native and Wisonsin transplant. Claims he likes our winters and hated the Mississippi heat. A very independent thinker, Frizzel also has a voice that would make Jame Earl Jones envious. Katie, a very talented visual artist and highly intelligent to boot. Said, whom I "met" online before ever meeting in person. We had intense debates about the Middle East (Said's father is a Palestinian), yet when we met in person we found each other to be completely different from our online personas. Said is a very bright, nice, and gentle guy. Seated: Heidi, the professor whom I think is attractive and want to go out with but she's probably not interested and it's probably inappropriate (which makes her all the more desirable). She said she'd turn me into a Marxist... maybe for a date with her, I'd be a Marxist for a night. Or, we could have great debates. Next to her is Nick, who is the smartest dude in the program. He's so freakin' smart, he explains the readings to the professors. Then there's me and I ain't too bright. To my left is Rebekka, who is very smart, so smart in fact that I have no clue as to what she's actually doing her thesis on because it's so complicated.

At first I didn't like the class, but I soon grew to enjoy the discussions and debates. Despite the fact that I often stood alone on many issues, nobody ever took political or philosophical disagreements personally. We all had fun.

Iran Leader Escalates Holocaust Rhetoric

I'm listening to all of these different commentators trying to explain why Ahmadinejad keeps making his disgusting remarks. I don't really care why he makes them. I don't care if he is crazy, sane, or just trying to vie for popularity (It's sad that Holocaust denial and threats of destroying Israel make anybody popular...) . All I know is that these threats must be taken seriously. Hitler threatened to kill all of the Jews in Europe, but nobody believed him. We can't make the same mistake again.

Iran beware: in 1939 the Jews were helpless. Now we have Israel, the most powerful country in the Middle East with arguably the best airforce in the world. Israel has crack commandos, submarines, spy satelites, Jericho cruise missiles and nuclear weapons. The Jewish people will NOT allow another Holocaust to happen. Look at Israel's history; she will not wait to be attacked.

Whether or not most Iranians despise their leadership is a mute point at this time. That's the sad truth. But if things become "hot," they will have to know that it is because of the actions of their leadership. It's such a pity that Iranian-Israeli relations are at such a low, especially considering that the two peoples were friends in antiquity, and allies until 1979.

Israel, I hope you're warming up those F16's and F15's and preparing any other tricks you have up your sleeve.

TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad escalated his anti-Israeli rhetoric Wednesday, calling the Holocaust a "myth" used by Europeans to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world."Today, they have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets," Ahmadinejad told thousands of people in the southeastern city of Zahedan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Iran Leader Reiterates Holocaust Doubts

I'll never understand this mindset held by so many neo-Nazis and Muslims; the mindset whereby one denies the Holocaust yet on another level wants one.

In a sense Ahmadinejad is a blessing because he's articulating what many Muslims think and feel regarding Israel, but are perhaps smart enough not to say. The "civilized" world can't ignore these existential threats to Israel, they can't just brush them under the (Persian) carpet and go on with business as usual. The result is increased sympathy and support for Israel, which Israel needs and sorely lacks. If diplomacy is like poker, Ahmadinejad is the worst player in the world because he keeps showing his hands.

As the famous country song goes, You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, and know when to give up on developing WMD's...

Kazakhstan pulls plug on Borat website

Money quote:

Afterwards, Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry said it could not rule out that he was under "political orders" to denigrate Kazakhstan's name and threatened to sue him.

Cohen, who is Jewish, responded to the legal threats on the site in character, saying: "I have no connection to Mr Cohen and fully support my government's position to sue this Jew."

In typical vein, he went on: "Please, captain of industry, I invite you to come to Kazakhstan, where we have incredible natural resources, hard working labor and some of the cleanest prostitutes in all of Central Asia."

Read the whole thing, here.

I love Borat. I love U.S. and A. I love sex!

Good bye

Went to a little going away party for a friend of mine last night. I hadn't hung out with him for a while, partially because I hadn't been going out much lately. But I had a great time; we all did. I had a couple of pints, no big deal, but then the bartender announced he was "buying" shots for everybody. Next thing I knew, there was a shot glass of Jameson in front of me. Oh boy!-- not Jameson on a Monday night!

Anyway, my friend is moving, at least for 6 months for now, to Seattle because like so many of us here in Milwaukee, he's sick of freezing his ass off every winter.

Generally I don't like to make big pronouncements (because you never know what the future holds and where the river of life will take you) but I want to move to southern California. Why can't I live in a beautiful climate? I think my brother is down with it also, which is cool because it's easier to move with somebody you know, and to have a ready-made roommate.

Of course, this is just an anouncement on a dark, cold-not-yet-frigid, winter day. Any move would not be able to take place until next fall at the earliest.

Again, excuse the dearth in postings, this is a busy time. After my last paper is completed, I'll get back to blogging more.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Two down, two to go

Knocked off two powerpoint presentations this week. One took an extraordinarily long time to complete because I had to browse through so much microfilm. Then I had to scan-print from the microfilm, as well as take notes about the various publications, and then scan the printouts at home in order to insert them them into the PPT, and also create text to go a long with the presentation. Took forever.

But it's done.

Now all that's left is a take home final and my term paper. I'm looking forward to blogging about issues of importance, but for now I need to stay focused on school shit.


see web stats