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Monday, March 31, 2008
This document was found in an old chest of drawers in Great Barrington, MA. Our document experts, who examined the paper and the typeface used, have dated it approximately as having been printed sometime in 1812 or 1813.
Madison lied! and people died!
President Madison has claimed that the illegal and immoral war in which we are presently engaged with Great Britain was caused because of the impressment of American seamen. This is a total fabrication! The peace-loving Brits only started impressing American citizens because we were attacking their ships. The war was started to protect the scoundrelly, money-grubbing merchants who wanted to make money in international trade. It's all about trade!
This war has already claimed the lives of some 3,000 brave American sailors and soldiers, besides the senseless slaughter of 100,000 innocent British citizens. Furthermore, it is costing 100,000 dollars each day. Prices are sky-high! The consumer is suffering! The cost of whale oil has more than tripled!
There is strong evidence that the burning of Washington, for which the British are blamed, was an inside job. It is well noted that all the Jews stayed out of the capitol on that day.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
So what really happened?
Was Hillary exposed to gunfire? I guess not. But so what? If being exposed to gunfire is what gives a candidate the relevant experience, I recommend a visit to Detroit on a Saturday night. Hillary will hear enough gunfire to give her real street cred.
I hope she doesn't get taken out by a random gunshot.
and makes a lot of sense.
Be honest, you've all seen them! They are the punks who walk down the street talking loud and giving everyone they see "the look" that says, "Hey, you better not be lookin' at me or I'll jump your a**." They are the bleary-eyed drunks and druggies who look like they are ready to do anything for another drink or fix; they are almost any young people who are travel in "packs", acting like they are the kings and queens of the sidewalk and YOU are on THEIR sidewalk.
Also on Carnival of the Insanities.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
So these six librarians go into a restaurant. They're at a Library Convention and they're really going to party down--on the expense account, no less. Sheer debauchery.
First up are drinks. We have two people here who want actual liquor, two who want soda, and two who want drinks with umbrellas in them.
Ordering food takes forever; "The bean soup sounds good." "What are you having, Marianne?" (Every other librarian in New Jersey is called Marianne, Mary, Mary Ann, Mary Rose, Mary Lou, Mary Jane--you get the picture.)*
Soup or salad? Steak or fish? Should we stick to our diet (every other librarian in New Jersey is on a diet) or go hog wild?
A consensus having been reached, the wait staffer (we librarians don't use sexist language, but she is a woman) takes all orders and disappears to the kitchen.
The festive meal arrives and is consumed, accompanied by catching up, gossip, and gripes. Zero hour has now arrived.
The lone male librarian ventures timidly that it would be nice if we split the check six ways. The suggestion is met with scorn, and the check is scrutinized by one and all.
Lib I: "Marianne had the soup."
Marianne: "Yes, but I only had salad; you had steak--24.95!"
Lib I: "Okay. Sheila had the chicken florentine."
Sheila: "All I had to drink was a diet coke--Susan had two beers."
Lib I: "Who had the red snapper?"
And so it goes. Finally, detente is reached. It is now time to calculate the tip.
Male librarian: "Tip should be $60--five dollars each. That's three times the tax, which is 6 percent."
Librarian III, who has hitherto been silent: "Yes, but you're not supposed to count the drinks when you calculate the tip."
Male librarian: (silently) Oy vey! (Throws money on the table.)
Marianne: You gave me too much. Here--take back three dollars. Wait--does anyone have change for a twenty?
Male librarian: (Unprintable remark, silently.)
*Many librarians also answer to the name of Marie. Or Anne-Marie. Oh, forget it.
Posted by miriam at 10:56 PM
Friday, March 21, 2008
Loehmann's is my favorite clothing store, and I was really annoyed to get this flyer from them, flogging shirts with smug, trendy environmental statements printed on them.
Every time you pick up some sub-literate publication, such as Elle, Vogue, or Family Circle, some nitwit is inserting pious, self-righteous statements re the environment. Or there is a lame article about the virtue of hauling your used printer cartridges 10 miles through the Arctic on a sled in winter. Writers for these publications are not the smartest--they consider "Between he and I" an eloquent locution.
I loathe the environment. I hate it as much as Muslims hate pork.
Posted by miriam at 5:03 PM
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Non-productivity has reached new heights at the University of Chicago Hospital, making it a respectable competitor with government, public schools, colleges and universities.
Officials at the University of Chicago Hospitals say a promotion and large pay increase given to Sen. Barack Obama's wife shortly after the Democrat was elected to Congress were well-deserved boosts for an executive who is "worth her weight in gold."
Hospitals spokesman John Easton told the Tribune that Michelle Obama's salary is in line with those of the 16 other vice presidents at the not-for-profit medical center.
I make out the cost of these officers to be in excess of five million dollars. And I suppose the president of the hospital makes more than they do. They all have secretaries and assistants, I imagine, which raises the administrative costs to, oh, ten million, conservatively.
Wow! You could buy a lot of bandages for that! What do you suppose these vice-presidents do? that makes them indispensable?
The actual work in a hospital is done by the doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff, like janitors, food service workers, etc. So I have been speculating about what duties are assigned to these 17 vice presidents.
Do they have a vice president of removing bubble gum from the sidewalk, or one chap who superintends the fellow who goes around the grounds with a stick, picking up litter? Someone has to make sure that the food served to the patients is tepid and tasteless. Somebody else has to dispose of all the flowers that are wilting, and yet another somebody has to make sure the revolving door in the lobby only goes in one direction. Someone undoubtedly has the job of going around to all the pay phones and picking up the change that has been left in them. Michelle O herself is VP of external affairs. Okay, that's seven I've accounted for.
I'm sure my readers can think up jobs for the other ten vice-presidents.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
James Taranto doesn't think grandmas ought to be brought into this:
Our first thought was that it was pretty low of Obama to exploit his (still living) grandmother in this way. Is it really necessary for the whole world to know about her private expressions of prejudice? Doesn't simple decency dictate that a public figure treat embarrassing facts about loved ones with discretion?
Ben, if you're reading this--don't you dare tell anyone about the time I ran a red light! Or the occasion when I stole a grape--several if the truth be told--at the fruit store. I'm counting on you not to rat me out. Your birthday is coming up, you know.
I guess no-one cares about the grandma-American demographic. We little old ladies are the ultimate victims--no-one even helps us to cross the street any more. However, I still have pictures of you at 6 months naked on a baby blanket, and I will show it to your girlfriends if you cross me.
Well, that is off my mind. We now come to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. I believe the good Rev made a very poor career choice. Christianity does not suit a man of his temperament. He would have made a good mullah, however! I can just see him with the schmatta around his head at Friday prayers, exhorting the faithful to put on suicide belts and go out and kill him some Jews.
As for Barack: Shame on you!
Posted by miriam at 11:18 PM
It's not too early to be thinking about Passover.
When I was a child seders seemed to last for eons. All my mother's family, my parents, my two uncles and their wives and children were always present, because anything bubbe hosted was a command performance. The good linens, china, and silver made the table gleam under the light of bubbe's two candelabras.
We children were excited beyond hysteria until the ceremony began, and we were forced to come to the table and stop hanging upside down from the sofa, climbing the walls, and knocking down the furniture. I particularly enjoyed the presence of my cousins because I was an only child at the time, and lonely. My eldest cousin, three and a half years older than me, was a goddess of sophistication to me; her brothers were rowdy playmates. Uncle Doc's little girls were too young to play with but they were mighty cute and dressed to the nines.
Once the youngest child present had recited the four questions the prayer competition began. Both my uncles and my cousin Bernie read the haggadah aloud --individually--in Hebrew as quickly as they could. The conversation went like this:
Uncle I: It's time for the first (or second, third, or fourth) cup of wine.
Uncle II: I haven't gotten there yet. You read too fast.
Uncle I: It's a long service.
Uncle II: All right, all right. Come on everybody. Drink the fourth (or third, or second) cup. Where's the bottle? Pass me the wine, somebody.
They raced through the prayers and then had to stop and wait impatiently for the others to catch up. It was rather like riding in a car that alternately speeded up and stopped dead, causing you to lurch forward and back.
Meanwhile, my cousin Sam and sometimes one or two of the other children would drink too much wine and slip quietly to the floor. It taught me the meaning of drinking yourself under the table. After a brief nap the culprit would re-appear, refreshed.
The two little girls were too small to read, so they raced around the table fighting with each other until Uncle Doc started yelling at them and threatening to spank them. My aunt, his wife, would burst into tears because he had shouted at the girls. She would threaten to leave. They would yell some more until he calmed down and apologized to the girls and gave them some candy or gum he just happened to have in his pocket. The girls, of course, would stuff themselves with sweets and would not eat the festive meal when it appeared.
The festive meal! Chicken soup with matzoh balls. We called bubbe's matzoh balls cannon balls. They were heavy but nourishing. Then we had chicken. With the chicken came potato kugel and chopped liver. Gefilte fish. Someone probably slipped a green vegetable in there somewhere, but I don't remember it. Bubbe didn't hold with all this greenery anyway. Her idea of a salad was: take one cucumber; add pint of sour cream; eat. And we couldn't have that, this was a fleisheke meal.
Bubbe would heap each of the children's plates with massive portions of food and then bawl them out for not eating it all. We were starved and ate voraciously. If someone had thrown one of us into the river we would have plummeted to the bottom and sunk without a trace.
Dessert featured, but was not limited to, Manischevitz macaroons, served in the can. The featured wine was Mogen David.
After eating, there was a timeout while the children searched for the afikomen and the adults sat still and burped.
Since I was not used to staying up late, the remainder of the seder was one big blur to me, except for opening the door for Eliyahu hanovi. Then came Chad Gadya, which meant the end of the service and blessed release.
And then we did it again the next night.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The New York Times explains Spitzer. Apparently, all the big kids do it:
“I think biologists could tell you this has something to do with natural selection — the person who acquires power becomes the alpha male,” said Tom Fiedler, who teaches a course in press and politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School....
Politics and sex is an old story, and as Mr. Fiedler and others point out, it simply reinforces the lessons of the aphrodisiac of power taught in Shakespeare.
I thought if you were an alpha male, you got it for free.
Posted by miriam at 1:41 PM
Saturday, March 08, 2008
I set the alarm for 7 a.m. last night, in order to attend the re-dedication of our synagogue, which has undergone a reconstruction process. I truly meant to go. But when the alarm went off, I had second thoughts.
Taking an inventory of my mental state, I discovered that I had nine-tenths of a headache. That is, I didn't have a headache, but I would have one if I got up. It was waiting around the corner for me. It might get worse as I brushed my teeth. It might go away under the shower. Or not.
Then I considered the re-dedication ceremony. If the synagogue could make such an event of a cantorial audition, what would they do with a re-dedication ceremony? Would local dignitaries be invited to speak? If invited, would they come? Would the place be surrounded by state police, thus making my premature getaway impossible if my headache recurred?
Would the politicians just be introduced, to polite applause? Or would they make lengthy remarks? Would Sen Joe Biden be there?
I went back to sleep.
Posted by miriam at 11:25 AM
Friday, March 07, 2008
1. A dealer in a specific commodity. Often used in combination: an ironmonger.
2. A person promoting something undesirable or discreditable. Often used in combination: a scandalmonger; a warmonger.
tr.v. mon·gered, mon·ger·ing, mon·gers
Is it fear-mongering to suggest we have real enemies?
America is at war. I can attest to that after serving in Iraq as an Infantry Platoon Leader with the Army’s First Calvary Division. My unit, an Infantry platoon, was responsible for capturing terrorists. I can tell you first-hand that we are fighting a very real enemy, radical Islamic terrorists, who want to do harm to America and her citizens. We are fighting the same terrorists that recently strapped bombs onto women with Down's Syndrome and forced them to walk into a crowded marketplace and explode the bombs....
My comrades in uniform, brothers and sisters and moms and dads, have given their lives in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism. This Congress, meanwhile, refuses to authorize our intelligence officials to collect important information that can disrupt terror attacks and refuses to give our law enforcement community the legal authority it never had before 9/11, but so desperately needed.
We are not particularly interested in terrorism, but terrorism is interested in us.
Posted by miriam at 10:23 PM
My parents were weird about food, possibly because they never got enough of it as kids. My mother (and the rest of her relations) believed as a matter of faith that any child who failed to finish a meal was doomed to die of starvation. My father as ardently believed that a child should eat a well-balanced meal containing the proper nutrients. As it happened, he had a book by an expert which contained the details of a proper diet. At the top of the list was milk.
Drinking a quart of milk a day, as advised by the book, was a non-starter in my household, because my mother kept kosher. Also, I didn't like milk and still don't. So dad concentrated all his milk drinking energies on the breakfast table, where I was enjoined to down 8 oz of the nasty white stuff.
I should mention here that I was the kind of child who, as an infant, held my breath until I passed out. In short, very fond of my own way. And as much as I didn't like milk, I so much more didn't like it in the morning when I was nervous and anxious about going to school and facing the rigors of the first grade.
So, having imbibed the stuff, I rode to school in the family car with the milk lurching around in my stomach and threatening to come out every time we hit a pothole. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn't.
Other foods triggered different battles: I remember sitting at the table staring at my dinner until bedtime on more than one occasion. There were lots of things I didn't like--anything with mayonnaise in it, anything with fat in it, anything floating in soup--the list is endless. Fortunately, I outgrew this and can eat anything, and do.
By the time my brother was a toddler, my father was out of the picture, so the scenario was different. He was a spindly little guy, not thin, but not fat either. Mother would heap his plate with about 2,200 calories and then worry if he didn't finish every bite. If he left any food on his plate, she took him to the drive-in and bought him chocolate shakes and French fries. This continued until he was 5'8" and weighed 220. Then he had to lose the weight.
He told me that his feet hurt all the time when he was fat; he thought it was normal and was surprised that when he lost weight his feet stopped hurting.
The result for me was that I refused to cram anything down my children's throats. I trained myself not to notice whether they had finished their meals or not. I am proud to say that they actually lived to grow up and did not starve to death.
Now a new generation has picked up the gauntlet. My daughter negotiates with her 6-year-old about every bite of food, making mealtime discussions rather monotonous. The kid, who is smarter than I ever was, considers her nagging as so much white noise and ignores her, thus sparing his sanity. But he still has to finish three bites before he can have dessert.
Posted by miriam at 1:27 PM
Thursday, March 06, 2008
We can blow up the country by ourselves.
New York City police officers and firefighters cordoned off much of Times Square for more than two hours after a small explosion — set off, the authorities said, by an “improvised explosive device” — damaged the front of the Armed Forces Career Center on the traffic island bounded by 43rd and 44th Streets, Seventh Avenue and Broadway at 3:43 a.m., officials said.
This depresses me, that someone would like to do harm to their own nation. If you were a fish, would you want to destroy your own pond?
Posted by miriam at 1:52 PM
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I am writing to thank you for your interest in my renewing my subscription to your magazine. You appear to think that I will got a lot out of continuing to subscribe. And I have really enjoyed some of your articles on fitness, diet, and makeup. However, I don't think I quite fit into the demographic you are seeking.
I have subscribed to your magazine for over a year now, yet I have not succeeded in resembling your typical reader, as shown in the illustrations in your publication. Though I try to stand up straight, eat healthy and exercise, I have never succeeded in becoming a six-foot tall, 110 lb model. Not even close.
Judging by the women I see, on the street, at social affairs, and even in the gym, hardly any other American women resemble the models in your magazine.
Below is someone who looks more like the average American woman. In a recent survey it was revealed that 3 out of 4 American men would not kick this woman out of bed. Even though she has hips.
Posted by miriam at 10:47 PM
Sunday, March 02, 2008
To understand this story, you must know it takes place in California.
A close relative has purchased some land and wants to build a house on it. Since it is unimproved farmland, she and her husband have to 1) build a road; 2) put in wiring to attach to the electric grid, under the road; and 3) install a phone line, also under the road. No telephone poles, of course, they're unsightly. I don't know what the other stuff is costing, but the least expensive item on this shopping list is the phone line, @$40,000, give or take a few thou. She won't tell me what the rest of it is costing, rightly fearing that I would have a heart attack.
For some reason, the local authorities--planning board or whatever--have never granted permission to build this house. It's been five years since they bought the land. The New Jersey solution--pay somebody off--is not available in this case. They have had to hire a lawyer to plot their course through the planning and permitting stage.
The deal-breaker for me is, this is in a so-called "scenic area," which means that you have to use approved materials and paint your house in certain approved colors, and no others. The house can't be too tall, or too short. God forbid that Californians out for a scenic drive in the country should encounter a--gasp--purple house. The shock! The outrage!
Back in the sixties and seventies, enlightened people used to sneer at the soul-destroying conformity of suburbia, where every house was the same, and no doubt filled with Republicans. There were even songs about it:
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.
You get the idea. When other people do it, it's ticky-tacky, when Californians do it, it's scenic preservation.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
It was the anniversary of my mother's death, so I went to the Sabbath service at our synagogue. Little did I know they would be auditioning cantors. And of course the prospective hire has to prove her lyrical chops. When I say her, I mean her, because most of the candidates have been women.
Didn't I read--I think it was a book called Heartburn by Nora Ephron--about someone being the first Jewish Kimberly? Well, Kimberly is old hat now, but the prospective cantor was the first Jewish Caitlyn I've ever encountered. I'm sure there are plenty of them, but she was my first.
Anyway, she had a lovely voice--just beautiful. I would also give her high marks for her Torah knowledge. But one thing drove me crazy. All the tunes she sang were new to me.
I learned the entire Shabbat service when my oldest grandson studied for his bar mitzvah, a process that seemed to take about ten years. I could sing it in my sleep. But don't change the tunes on me. I like the ones I'm familiar with.
Ms Caitlyn gave it an extra spin, demonstrating her virtuosity by singing endless repeats of verses. As I said, she was terrific. And what a set of lungs! The girl had staying power.
The only thing was, the service lasted three and a half hours. It was longer than the previous contender, the Martin Luther King Interfaith service, and it's unfair to compare the two, because the MLK thing had contributions by clergypersons and choirs from all the churches around, plus readings from the works of the great man.
Today's service was about as long as a Wagner opera, but with no intermissions. It went on so long that the president didn't even make the customary announcements, wearily advising those assembled to consult the monthly bulletin for information. Then everyone made a beeline for the bathrooms.
It's called involuntary servitude.
It's taking place at Whitman College. Aha! I said to myself--it's named after Christine Todd Whitman, who with her innovative fiscal policies, first dug the hole the State is in financially.
But it isn't. It's named after the president of E-Bay.