30 June 2008


The rumors about a possible appearance of naked Deborah Fink riding a bicycle caused gathering of tens of thousands hopefuls on streets of London on June 29th. Fortunately for the public health, the rumors appear to be unfounded.

However, in a possibly related incident, a person walking his dog on this date noticed something small and hairless falling down the grate of a nearby storm drain. RSPCA is investigating the incident, and anyone with pertinent information is requested to provide it here.

The Signal dept. thanks NGB for the tip.

Professor Arnd Krüger and his pet conspiracy

Choose an event in the past. The event should be famous enough for any news related to it to reverberate far and wide. The event should be remote enough to make checking the "news" difficult to impossible. Now start manufacturing the news. And voila:

Professor Arnd Krüger claims Israeli athletes murdered in 1972 knew their lives were in danger because of 'Olympic village's poor security,' but decided to stay, sacrifice themselves for Israel's interests.
This method of getting famous is becoming a routine act for some historians, it seems. Especially when their prospects of getting famous are quite low, like in case of Professor Arnd Krüger, whose area of expertise is "sport history; sport management; sport media; training theory; coaching science; track & field". Hard to become a TV star upon issuing a monograph on a revolutionary jockstrap for a baseball player.

So what does one do? Revises a bit of history, not necessarily related to his field of expertise, but one that allows him to claim some personal knowledge. Hitherto undisclosed for some reason.
In a recent lecture, Prof. Arnd Krüger of the University of Göttingen, who covered the Munich Olympics as a journalist and claimed to have known some of the murdered Israeli athletes, compared the decision made by the sportsmen to stay in the Olympic village despite the known threat to their safety to the decision made by the Jews to stay in Hebron during the 1929 Palestine riots.
Yes. Letting themselves get killed in order to promote their far-reaching interests is a well known Jooish trick, from times immemorial. Like luring all these Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and Germans to kill the Jooz to promote... whatever. Good theory.

Of course, the learned professor is now backpedaling.
Speaking to Yedioth Ahronoth on Saturday, Krüger denied ever saying he believed the Israeli mission to the Munich Olympics knew that it would be targeted, but added that "one has to assume that the sportsmen who stayed in the village knew it had poor security.
But the bird has already escaped, and professor is feverishly covering his arse:
I'm not a racist or an anti-Semite, I'm just trying to understand what really happened.
Yep. Thirty six years of trying to understand and this is what we have: a wannabe celebrity crawling to fame over people's graves. With the "what really happened" battle cry of freaks and morons all over the world.

And you know what? I really believe he is neither a racist nor an anti-Semite.

Just dreck.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.

29 June 2008

Sunday links

Here comes Haveil Havalim 171 - the Packing For Camp Edition!
Hmm... oh well.

Mugabe: I have seen my enemy and he's me!

Says Illustrious Bob. "And I have vanquished him... er... me... er... whatever".

A related headline:

Zimbabwe Elections Bulletin: President Mugabe Wins Landslide Victory Over Western-backed Opposition Party.


Anwar Ibrahim accused of sodomy

This is the big news?

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was accused Saturday of sodomy, police and politicians said, sparking speculation that he might be arrested on the same charge that led to his imprisonment a decade ago.
Why single out this man? Politicos do it to us all the time...

Another past life coming up

The previous time I have been a murderous amazon. And look: it's a female again:

In a Past Life...

You Were: A Diseased Belly Dancer.

Where You Lived: Chile.

How You Died: The Plague.

I know this one will cause a lot of envy. Keep trying.

28 June 2008

Photohunt: Bright

The theme for this week is "Bright".

It was a bright day on the beach. And one couldn't resist doing things one has done when five (or so) years old. Looking for bright and shiny objects like this:

Or this:

(Both glass shards were polished and rounded by the sea already, so people can step on them freely).

And of course, the ultimate joy of a beachcomber:

Not that bright, I am afraid, but telling.

If you liked what you have seen (or read) in this post, add your link in the comments:
I promise to visit your place as soon as possible!

To look for other photo hunters, go there.


27 June 2008

Man torches BMW 3-series - to protest gas prices?

There is something artificial about the whole story, I submit.

First of all, he "emptied a canister of gas over the vehicle". A few used newspapers would have done just as well.

Then, it is 3-series - the least wasteful of the BMW cars. Nah, the man is not serious. A serious person will start with these:

Then progress to the next step:

And only after that, proving self a real man, to the ultimate goal:

Besides, why torch you own car, when the streets are choke full with targets?

In related news: Giant hail batters 30,000 new Volkswagens.

The Jerusalem answer to Anglican rebels

No place is better than Jerusalem when squabbling about fine points of one's religion:

When 303 traditionalist Anglican bishops, together with clergy and lay members of the Church, ascended to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem this week, they were taking the spiritual high ground in the Anglican Communion's dispute over homosexuality.
Here they are, on that high moral ground:

And the high moral ground responded immediately:

But to the evident consternation of the organisers of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) they had travelled all this way to the Christian Holy City only to find the streets taken over by Jerusalem Gay Pride.
I sincerely hope the guests don't become victims of the Jerusalem Syndrome as a result. Be a pity and bad for the tourism too.

To be safe, folks - next time choose Tehran for your GAFCON business. They don't have no homosexuals there, as stated clearly by you know who...

Better fat and happy

Than emaciated and chronically pissed off. Proof:

26 June 2008

Miraculous cure of a catatonic Ukrainian

This story happened in Ukraine during the Soviet times and has two protagonists:

  • Jewish Professor of psychiatry, a diminutive man widely known for his knowledge, professionalism, ornery character and a compassion toward his patients.
  • Ukrainian Patient who got into a totally catatonic state for more than an year, without any cure in sight. Fed via a tube and slowly wasting away in a Soviet psychiatric hospital.
The doctor responsible for the Patient was totally despaired. Every known drug and every known therapy failed. Relatives visited the patient from time to time, talked to him to no avail, and, after shedding some tears, left without receiving any response. There was no hope.

And then our Professor came into the picture. He even made a bet with his colleague on success of his way of treatment. You see, he counted on the power of suggestion. Hearing and vision of the Patient were not impaired - he heard and saw everything, but apparently didn't respond to it, living deep inside his shell. Professor also counted on the ingrained discipline of an army veteran - Patient served in the army for a very long time.

The only thing to do was to prepare Patient for the appearance of a person whose voice would penetrate Patient's soul to the maximum imaginable depth. To this end, twenty or more times a day nurses, doctors and even some volunteer patients told Patient about a legendary Professor and his wizardly powers. Yes, Professor will definitely come, it is only that he is too busy at the moment, teared apart by the incessant demands of his other patients and other commitments. Of course, the whole brainwashing procedure was orchestrated by Professor, building up hope in the mind of the Patient. This centuries old remedy: belief-based cure - worked this time perfectly as well. With a small detail that is the reason for the story.

Well, after ten or so days of the brainwashing, Patient was told that tomorrow Professor will definitely stop by. And the patient started showing some signs of excitement that developed towards dawn into a fever of anticipation.

Come morning, about six doctors in white smocks burst into the room and promptly sorted themselves in a line which would have mollified even a drill sergeant. Patient started sweating and his eyes became almost clear. And then Professor - a small, white-haired and power-exuding figure - came into the room, approached Patient an barked: "Stand up!".

And Patient sat up in his bed and, with some assistance, stood up!

Then, jabbing his finger in the Patient's stomach (because of Professor's puny height), Professor barked again: "Do you know who I am?".

And, as if there were no year long stretch of catatonic state and muteness, the Ukrainian licked his dry lips and obediently answered:

"A kike."


This wonderful bitter-sweet story was translated (poorly, I am afraid) by me from a book Walks Around The Barracks : Autobiographical Novella by Igor Guberman, an outstanding poet/philosopher, an ex-Soviet dissident, a Jerusalemite, a mensch. I hope Igor doesn't mind this rip-off. Maybe it will be another tiny push to translation of this (and many other Igor's books) into English.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.

The first jumping office building in the world

After a (future) success of the first revolving skyscraper, sheik R. Bin-Owitz of Dubai has ordered a new world wonder - a jumping office building. The building is designed by a hitherto unknown Romanian architect. It is not clear whether the architect has any experience in building anything aside of a few chicken farms, and some pointed questions were asked about his diploma.

According to the revolutionary idea, the building will collect the sheik's employees that use its offices each morning and return them home for the traditional siesta and in the evening. "This way there will be less exhaust pollution from all these Merc and Caddies", said the designer.

Being interviewed, sheik swept aside the doubters. "After all, if I say that the oil price should jump, they ask me only 'how high?', so why not a jumping office skyscraper?", was his response.

Die Verfolgung der Doris Ulfkotte

Or, in simple words - Udo Ulfkotte’s wife receives death threats. Guess where they come from.

Lotsa noise on the ether. Looked it up. Looked up the man, one DR Udo Ulfkotte.

Hmm... Could be he is a rightist wingnut. Could be not. Anyhow, thousands volunteers to off him and the spouse because of a Youtube clip? Which appears to be faked on top of all?

Quite telling. Sign of our times.

25 June 2008

Leaving the great Houdini standing

Olmert and Barak strike deal to salvage coalition

Once again.

Feel Good Factor

Poetry could be (between many other things) an art to say a lot with only a few words. I guess this is why prose written by poets tends to be economical and carries a punch way beyond its word count.

So there is no way to tear out a quote and to copy/paste it all would be impolite and stupid.

But enough of that drivel - just read this.


24 June 2008

Go, Afghans!

About cricket, about Canucks sacrificing their lives in Afghanistan, about solidarity and humanism. And yes, about some fascist scum wasting oxygen.

By Terry Glavin.

Blanca Debree - the other way

As I always say - left, right, what is important - be a mensch. Which is for linguistically challenged: A decent responsible person with admirable characteristics.

So here comes Blanca Debree, whom I had a pleasure to (virtually - that's for SWMBO) encounter in the process of shady dealings with the EtreCard widget. As she characterizes herself: "Fun-filled, full-sized conservative gal exposes the left for the traitors they are and looks for sex." Dunno about traitors, but she definitely has a way with words and a sometimes surprising outlook on the realities of political life. Like, for example:

On oil drilling in some areas of US:

First of all, I don't care about some birds or bears in the arctic. If they were smart like me, they would be Republicans, instead of furry little creatures licking their own butts and pooping out in the open like a bunch of animals.
On Fox News:
I would like to apply for a position with FoxNews. My qualifications include lying, pulling facts out of thin air, and, when necessary, straight out of my ass, and following whatever talking points are given to me by Republicans, no matter how idiotic or counter productive.
On Republican candidate for that coveted POTUS job:
John McCain has admitted that until he became a guest of the Hanoi Hilton, he did not love his country. This is just another reason why we conservatives must oppose John McCain as the Republican nominee. He is going to destroy not only the party, but will bring down our country.
In short - a fresh voice and no prisoners taken. At least for any amount of time longer than it takes to put'em down, skin'em and fillet'em.

In short - my kind of gal (SWMBO taken into account of course).

23 June 2008

Carla Bruni in Israel

Carla Bruni, one of the world's most photographed models, arrived yesterday.

The immediate effects of this singular event:

  1. The quantities of drool emanating from the paparazzi, journalists, assorted officials and Israeli male population in general postponed the expected government announcement of drought and drastic water economy measures.
  2. The attack on Iranian nuclear sites, invasion of Gaza, decapitation of Hezbollah and other miscellaneous acts of usual Zionist aggression are delayed indefinitely or until further notice.
  3. Shimon Peres was seen doing 90 push-ups in the VIP lounge of Ben-Gurion airport, with Carla and their aids counting, Dom Perignon being uncorked in the background.
In related news:

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Monday that the Israeli public believes Israel is "in a very bad state," adding that the people have lost their faith in politics.
Elders choose not to comment on this spiteful claim.

Carla Bruni appears to be accompanied by a French president, one Nicolas Sarkozy (see Wikipedia).

Abu Hamza The Hook is going places - final

This is an old post, renovated due to being too hasty a while ago. Now it is final:

The radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza today lost his high court battle against extradition to the US, where he faces terrorism charges. Two judges ruled that the decision to extradite Egyptian-born Hamza, who lives in west London, was "unassailable". The 51-year-old cleric is serving a seven-year jail sentence for stirring up racial hatred and inciting followers to murder non-Muslims.
Bon voyage, turd!

CNN says that it is not finalized yet.
A British court ruled Thursday that radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri can be extradited to the United States, a member of al-Masri's defense team confirmed to CNN, though any final decision on extradition is still several months away.
But his future cellmates are already being trained in taking care of all his needs.

Good luck, Hook (PBUY)!

22 June 2008

Sunday links

The time continues to run, downhill in its regular manner. But for a change something good has happened. Soccer Dad, the Founder, decided to show the aspiring youngsters how the thing is done, and as a result here comes Haveil Havalim 170, so take care to learn!

Israel bombing Iranian nuke centers - balls of fire?

His majesty Elbaradei courtesy of CNN:

A military strike on Iran would turn the Middle East "into a ball of fire," said Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency.

ElBaradei made the remarks in an interview aired on Saturday by Al Arabiya TV. The interview comes a day after reports emerged that Israel conducted a large-scale military exercise that the United States believes is in part a message to Iran that Israel has the capability to attack its nuclear program.
Wanna see some real balls of fire? Here:

Everything else is just... balls.

Canadian foot mystery contest

More entries, please!

CNN reports on yet another free-floating foot being discovered on the shores of British Columbia.

The sixth foot turned up Wednesday -- a right foot in a man's size 10 black Adidas athletic shoe, police said. As in the previous cases, however, immediate answers as to the foot's origin eluded detectives.
This here blog wants to expedite the solution of the enigma and declares a contest for the best explanation. Your contributions in comments, please. Here are some (sample) ideas:
  1. Mad scientist with a foot fetish. Stealing tissue samples from people and cloning feet in the hope to get a perfect one. Anything less than perfect gets thrown away.
  2. A gang of practical jokers that includes an undertaker.
  3. A dramatic prologue to an Adidas PR campaign - to get the world's attention.
  4. A shark with distaste for smell of human feet.
  5. A new step in aquatic evolution - a fish that tries to mimic human body, being successful with the lower extremity so far. (But Adidas?)

UFO attacks FBI in Dallas?

It looks (at the beginning) rather that UFO extracts something (FBI people?) from the building. Makes some weird sense.

More here.

Via Lesley.

21 June 2008

Photohunt: Water

The theme for this week is "Water". A fairly useless liquid, I must say. Rusts one's innards if taken undiluted. Anyway, here we go.

To start with - the heaviest water there is - Dead Sea. Needless to say - not drinkable.

But just near these deadly waters rests Ein-Feshcha oasis, where the freshwater springs created a corner of paradise full of fauna and flora one could hardly expect on the dry and salty Dead Sea shores. A freshwater crab for your attention:

And in the next shot: this thin silver band in the middle is the mighty Jordan river on its way to the Dead Sea. Some people think it's of Mississippi size - oh well...

Now on the other side of the country - the water of Mediterranean bringing nourishment to the burgeoning weeds on these rocks.

And finally - somewhere on the other end of the world, in the middle of the desert - somebody who is real happy to be near the water:

And this concludes this week water treatment.

If you liked what you have seen (or read) in this post, add your link in the comments:
I promise to visit your place as soon as possible!

To look for other photo hunters, go there.


The inhuman siege of Gaza

Gaza will go down in history as a unique "siege" in which a country that was being pounded by rocket fire provided food and fuel to a vicious genocidal enemy bent on its destruction. It is also unique because it is the only time in history that a country has been condemned for "human rights" violations because it was defending itself against a rogue regime.

24,358 trucks; 571,852 tons humanitarian assistance to Gaza since Feb 27 escalation in terror.
Details here.

Making suckers out of the whole world - right, Hamas?

20 June 2008

Richard Falk - an inmate running the asylum?

It is Fox News turn now to come down as a ton of bricks on my favorite frui professor Richard Falk.

Richard Falk, the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, investigates alleged Israeli violations of human rights law for the U.N.’s Human Rights Council. But the former Princeton professor would also like to investigate whether “some sort of controlled explosion from within” destroyed the Twin Towers, he told FOXNews.com.
And of course, many people consider him to be, how to say it gently - a bit balmy. A few tacos short of a whole enchilada. Unhinged, in short.
“I think [his beliefs are] fruitcake city, but among many delegations to the U.N. it’s probably the conventional wisdom,” said John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. known for his straight talk on U.N. hypocrisy.
But so what, I want to ask you? Even if Mr Bolton is right (and he is, I assure you) when he says:
"It’s just an example of the inmates running the asylum. It’s a particularly graphic example for Americans, but this is not an aberration — this is, unfortunately, typical of much of what goes on at the U.N."
I still claim lots of sympathy to the man, as I have stated before. Just look at that schnozzle, I beg you! Could a man with such a prominent beak of a drink connoisseur be all bad? So what if:
Falk — prior to his appointment as an unbiased human rights investigator — compared Israeli actions in Gaza to the Nazi treatment of Jews. This may have led to his appointment as the rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, Bolton said.
So what, I ask again? This is UN, the asylum, and in an asylum you expect just that kind of people and that kind of decision making. Following the same logic, I expect - no, I demand - that professor be immediately assigned for another task - a UN rapporteur on controlled explosion of WTC. Nothing less will do for my man. And from here - the road to a thorough investigation of that Lunar landing should be clear.

And my invitation for him to have a few when on the job in Israel still stands. We still have a lot of fat to chew together...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.

Canadian Pilots who fought for Israel

Shlemazl tells the story I didn't know anything about - in his usual manner after a painstaking research.

Eighty Nine Canadian volunteers joined tiny Israeli Air Force (IAF) during the 1948 war of Independence. Most had served in the RAF during WWII. There were thirteen Christians and seventy six Jews in the Canadian IAF contingent. Five Canadian IAF pilots lost their lives.
Details here.

19 June 2008

The Angry Man

I knew I was in for trouble the moment I saw him and he caught my eye. As I was trying to work out how the self service petrol pump worked I could see he was spoiling for a fight. No good, I said to myself and pressed the intercom for an attendant to come and help me. Smiling she bounced across the forecourt and then spent a few minutes swiping my card, entering by number plate and pressing the correct fuel. Nothing! Relieved at the reprieve from a sarcastic ‘you idiot waist of time’ stare, she continued, quite bemused, too wrestle with the pump.

Then the Angry Man turned towards us, a cross between John Wayne and Frankenstein, and all the other movie characters with a very slow but purposeful swagger, hands menacingly clenched into fists and the ‘I know what you did last summer stare’. We knew we were in trouble.

“What are you wasting time with him when you should be serving me?” he literally screamed, garlic and bits falafel spraying over a large radius. Unfazed, my trusty attendant ignored him and continued battling with pump. “I fought for this country, lost all my family in Europe; I pay my taxes, is it too much to ask for some help?” “Look, I am helping him, when I have finished I will help you”, she turned and smiled at me. Not sure why but I didn’t think anything of it. I of course smiled back and in the movies, the sun would have set and we’d be half way to Vegas on the back of my Harley. But reality set in rather quicker than I’d hoped as Mr. Angry yelled again, “HELP ME NOW !”

He walked back to his van and kicked the bumper as hard as he could, shouting and swearing and promising to do all manner of nasty things to the Prime Minister.

“Why don’t you help him?” I suggested to the attendant, (Anat). “He doesn’t need my help, he needs someone more qualified” she grinned.

Suddenly out of the restaurant, a man came running out at top speed towards Mr. Angry. “What are you doing?” he screeched. A huge argument exploded which shook us to our very core (to be dramatic) the anger levels were like Vesuvius and Mount St Helens erupting simultaneously. The situation reached critical as fists were clenched. Anat looked at me and we decided it was better not to intervene.

Then, suddenly, Mr. Angry stopped shouting, walked to the front of the van, stared, mumbled something and walked over to an identical van parked by the next pump.

Anat looked at me and laughed, “He kicked the wrong van, he kicked the wrong van!”

As insurance details were exchanged, Mr. Angry, eyes heavy with shame and despondency, walked back to his van.

Then head held high again shouted across the forecourt, “HELP ME NOW!”

Barak Obama - getting in touch with his female side?

So to say...

(This here blog is still not taking sides - this was just too funny)

How to check the strength of your feet odor

You might say that you don't have any problems with the issue. Liar. Anyway:

Click to embiggen for clarity

18 June 2008

Firefox 3

After one hour: no glitches in installation, and it is self-reliant 100%. Loading time more or less the same (a bit too long for my taste). All other operations feel faster, though I haven't had any special complaints about the previous version.

So far so good. How about you?

Liat versus hadron collider

Liat Collins, the managing editor of Jerusalem Post, added her own broadside to the long history of heavy bombardment the Large Hadron Collider is experiencing lately from the well meaning laymen/women of the international press. Being somewhat trained in reading articles of the kind she has produced, I have immediately zeroed on the insidious:

But I can't help thinking that the $10 billion invested in the project over the last 14 years might have been better invested elsewhere, and the project's 6,000 scientists could have put their undoubtedly considerable brain power to granting many a wish list.
If I had a dollar... nah, make it a shekel, for every time I encounter a similar sentiment... oh well, wishful thinking at its worst. Anyhow, how can I explain to Liat that, even if that amount is invested elsewhere, the 6,000 scientists freed for other gainful employment by that move, will not be able to put their brain power to, for instance, better irrigation of African steppes. That for a simple reason that scientists, like pigs trained to discover truffles, cannot be easily (if at all) re-trained to look for (to take one example) Belgian waffles. And that all these scientists will find gainful alternative employment in the only other area that is readily available - producing all kinds of weaponry for lesser or bigger tyrants of the world.

But this, Liat will claim - and be absolutely right at that - is only a technicality. Like the fact that the mind-boggling amount of $10 billion spread over 14 years doesn't even start to compare to a military budget of a medium-to-small country or to an expense budget of a serious oil sheik.

And Liat will not be stopped after a simple expression of the commonly held sentiment as quoted above. She has more to say on the subject:
The project is being described as groundbreaking. And while I doubt it will create any black holes, it wouldn't surprise me if such a subterranean collision didn't ultimately result in, for example, unexpected earthquakes in Europe. Of course, the Big Bang could end in a very embarrassing Big Fizzle, with no world-shattering discoveries despite the participation of scientists from more than 50 countries. Or something so sensational I'll be forced to admit my skepticism was misplaced and I'll have to add apologizing to one of my never-ending lists.
There definitely is a problem of perception with Liat - to start with. Science doesn't usually progress in a series of big (or medium, for that matters) bangs. It is mostly a painstaking process of thinking, experimenting, drinking lots of bad coffee and mostly thinking again. The hadron collider is not build for a single bang - but for years and years of experiments, guided by the best minds modern physics sport. And re black holes and related (or not) earthquakes - scientists rarely, if at all, deal in terms of "has the earth moved for you, dear?". So let's forget both the Big Bang and the Big Fizzle (which is clearly the outcome desired by Liat). Even if something sensational will be eventually discovered, the mere meaning of sensational in this case is not something Liat will be able to translate into another JP article that easily. It is about stuff that not too many physicists could cope with, let alone journalists.

But the above could be also qualified as a technicality. The real problem I experience is the following: how do I explain to Liat, who is apparently a bachelor in Chinese Studies and a master in communications, who went through a career in a gossip column to parliamentary reporting to environmental journalism, that science is not about instant gratification of unbearable human urges?

Maybe by mentioning that every time that Liat presses a button on one of her remote controls, starts her laptop, switches on/off the light in her bedroom, sticks the earbuds of her iPod where they belong and writes another heart-wrenching article about one of the wide spectrum of subjects she considers herself being qualified in, she is (unthinkingly) using the results of hundreds - nay, thousands - years of scientific progress (to what end could be argued about). And that many more billions of dollars, rupees, rubles and other kinds of currency, not to mention millions of person/years of work went or, maybe, were wasted - to judge by the outcome - to provide Liat with ability to perform these routine daily chores.

And speaking about the daily chores and to-do lists: my advice, Liat, will be to add a new habit: when your review your to-do list, scratch all to-do items that have to-do with science. At least the kind of science you don't have a slightest idea about.

And resist with all your considerable might headlines like "Déjà vu, again" for your articles.

New Airline Rules

A fairly fresh one, methinks. Shows mainly how we, the passengers, adapt to the new age of flying. By joking them off.

Attendant: Welcome aboard Ala Carte Air, sir. May I see your ticket?

Passenger: Sure.

Attendant: You're in seat 12B. That will be $5, please!

Passenger: What for?

Attendant: For telling you where to sit.

Passenger: But I already knew where to sit.

Attendant: Nevertheless, we are now charging a seat locator fee of $5. It's the airline's new policy.

Passenger: That's the craziest thing I ever heard. I won't pay it.

Attendant: Sir, do you want a seat on this flight, or not?

Passenger: Yes, yes. All right, I'll pay. But the airline is going to hear about this.

Attendant: Thank you. My goodness, your carry-on bag looks heavy. Would you like me to stow it in the overhead compartment for you?

Passenger: That would be swell, thanks.

Attendant: No problem. Up we go, and done! That will be $10, please.

Passenger: What?

Attendant: The airline now charges a $10 carry-on assistance fee.

Passenger: This is extortion. I won't stand for it.

Attendant: Actually, you're right, you can't stand. You need to sit, and fasten your seat belt. We're about to push back from the gate. But, first I need that $10.

Passenger: No way!

Attendant: Sir, if you don't comply, I will be forced to call the air marshal. And you really don't want me to do that.

Passenger: Why not? Is he going to shoot me?

Attendant: No, but there's a $50 air-marshal hailing fee.

Passenger: Oh, all right, here, take the $10. I can't believe this.

Attendant: Thank you for your cooperation, sir. Is there anything else I can do for you?

Passenger: Yes. It's stuffy in here, and my overhead fan doesn't seem to work. Can you fix it?

Attendant: Your overhead fan is not broken, sir. Just insert two quarters into the overhead coin slot for the first five minutes.

Passenger: The airline is charging me for cabin air?

Attendant: Of course not, sir. Stagnant cabin air is provided free of charge. It's the circulating air that costs 50 cents.

Passenger: I don't have any quarters. Can you make change for a dollar?

Attendant: Certainly, sir! Here you go!

Passenger: But you've given me only three quarters for my dollar.

Attendant: Yes, there's a change making fee of 25 cents.

Passenger: For cryin' out loud. All I have left is a lousy quarter? What the heck can I do with this?

Attendant: Hang onto it. You'll need it later for the lavatory.

17 June 2008

Truce with Hamas? Let's see

Our media is quiet so far, but Egyptians are already out with it:

A senior Egyptian official said a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will start on Thursday morning, the state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Tuesday.
BBC ads another angle of the so called truce:
Hamas official Ahmed Yousef told the BBC he hoped that the ceasefire would lead to a further opening of the crossing points from Israel into Gaza, and an increase in the number of supplies.

"I am confident that everybody will abide by what we've agreed. All the groups which went to Cairo gave their okay to the ceasefire. If anybody does anything, they will be doing it on their own," he said.
That last sentence bodes trouble. And quite soon.

And meanwhile - Colbert with some Manishewitz (an evil brew if there ever was one)

(Stolen from Meryl)

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and the nervous parents

Each visit to The Blog Quebecois brings something delicious. This time:

There is more in that post.

What kind of balls?

This one comes from UEFA Euro 2008 site:

It comes to reason that policemen should be equipped with special kind of stones, but long? Must be some Mitteleuropean invention...

(In fact, the term "long ball" is more or less known in football, but...)

16 June 2008

Water-cooled chips - back to the future

A network of tiny pipes of water could be used to cool next-generation PC chips, researchers at IBM have said.
The reason is an amazing quantity of power consumed by new multi-layered IBM chips:
Each 4 sq cm sandwich is just 1mm thick but pumps out close to 1kilowatt - equivalent to that generated by a hotplate.
And the solution looks eerily familiar*:

The tiny pipes are sandwiched in a layer 100 microns (millionths of a metre) thick between stacked circuits. The tubes are hermetically sealed to prevent leaks and short circuits.

It looks like a dream of many a computer programmer come true: a PC that is a coffeemaker.

(*) At lest for a computer dinosaur like I. The dimensions of the water piping are different, otherwise it is the good ole IBM 360 CPU all over again. Well, almost.

Osprey V-22, Israeli commando and other angles

The JP military expert, the obstreperous Yaakov Katz, trumpets a new era in our commando transportation area - the Age of Osprey:

Israel has been closely following the development of the aircraft; a few weeks ago Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz, the IDF's military attaché to Washington, together with senior IAF commanders, visited the Boeing plant where it is manufactured. Senior officers said the aircraft could meet Israel's future needs, particularly in transporting Special Forces behind enemy lines.
That's good news: our commando bandits deserve a better and safer transport than these old, noisy and vulnerable Bells. Although the failure of Boeing / Bell to accommodate a forward-looking gun in the Osprey leaves some room for improvement.

Just a technical remark for Yaakov Katz re this summary of Osprey's remarkable abilities:
What makes the V-22 unique is its ability to takeoff vertically like a helicopter, with its rotors in an upright position, and then to shift the rotors 45 degrees downwards, allowing it to fly like a regular transport plane, reaching speeds of up to 300 knots, almost double that of a helicopter.
I rather hope that Boeing and Bell are not selling IAF a crippled version of the bird. Because normally one would expect the rotors to be shifted a full 90 degrees downwards.

Oh, and 100 degrees (Celsius) is when the water for your morning coffee starts boiling. Go for it.

13 June 2008

Photohunt: Emotions

The theme for this week is "Emotions".

I have chosen two cases of a clearly expressed emotion:

Happiness, like in "you shall see in a second what kind of a new mischief I have thought up!".

Ire: "Cannot you see I am resting here? Why don't y'all effing tourists respect our siesta time?"

If you liked what you have seen (or read) in this post, add your link in the comments:
I promise to visit your place as soon as possible!

To look for other photo hunters, go there.


Because It's There

Those famous words were spoken by British climber George Mallory in 1924 when he was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest. I believe that this is as good an answer as any other - to an unanswerable question.

For some reason I recalled this while reading the CNN article about the book Human Smoke by one Nicholson Baker.

Even the staunchest opponents of the wars in Vietnam and Iraq are loath to take issue with World War II, the quintessential conflict between good and evil that became the model of a morally just war.
This opening sentence of the article is faulty in my opinion: I wouldn't characterize the WW II as good vs. evil. It was rather less evil vs. more evil, but both Mr. Baker and the author of the article are confined to the Western-centric view of the war - more about it later. Meanwhile, I have realized the reason for recalling Sir George's words. Baker, as many other revisionists of history, is most probably driven by the same motive - because the history is there. Of course, a strong political belief (pacifism in his case) and unerring 20-20 hindsight, selective to the point of almost total blindness, don't cause any harm to this endeavor.

In fact, as many of history revisionists have discovered, the business definitely has its perks. Such as the 15 minutes of glory, lucrative publishing contracts and a shoal of supporters, no matter how small a fringe they belong to. Of the seven billions world population even a fringe is enough to create a considerable source of pride, glory and income. But this is less important - after all, the roads to stardom are not paved by model behavior - in most cases.

So what is the main point of the book, according to the CNN article?
Baker said he was surprised and shocked at the way Churchill responded to Hitler's attacks on Poland and other neighboring states by launching a relentless bombing campaign against German cities as well as a blockade that was designed to starve the enemy into submission.

"He was acting like a bloodthirsty maniac during that period. That has to go back on the record in all of its unpleasantness. We can't learn from a hero like that. It's a mistake to say that because Hitler was bad, we have to clean up the image of Churchill. Churchill was also bad," Baker said.

Baker maintains that Churchill's bellicose actions and Roosevelt's eagerness to supply Britain with ships and planes served only to prop up Hitler's standing with Germans and strengthen his hold on the country.
Now, the point is not necessarily new. In fact, the "pacifist" movement that protested any attempts to curb the Nazis' expansionist moves was quite strong in pre-war Britain and fairly sizable in US as well. That some of the "pacifists" were quite overt in their support of Nazi ideology is another point worth remembering. I don't know whether Mr Baker touches upon it in his book.

So - the main, and not too revolutionary, point of Mr Baker's book is: why, oh why, haven't Churchill and Roosevelt talked to Hitler, why haven't they tried to understand an pacify him?

Yeah. Indeed, why haven't people tried to talk with Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Pol Pot, why don't they talk enough to Kim Jong-Il, not to mention Sheik Nasrallah, Mugabe and myriad other tyrants and mass murderers throughout the history? Surely, given some frank and convincing talking-to, all these people could have been persuaded to become no more harmful than lambs. After all, Hitler has done no more than "attacks on Poland and other neighboring states". That could have been a result of temporary indigestion which is an occasional burden for a vegetarian like Hitler.

Hmm... there must be some snag in the above logic. Somehow Mr Baker forgot that Poland and "other neighboring states" happened to become occupied as a result of these "attacks". With well-known consequences. Unless, of course, Mr Baker thinks that the consequences could have been avoided as well by talking to Hitler in a right way. Or, as it may happen, Mr Baker just isn't interested very much in the fate the befell all these Eastern heathens.

And this is the second important point: for some reason, as I have mentioned at the start of the post, Mr Baker focuses on Hitler - Churchill - Roosevelt trio, disregarding the Eastern side of the map. Whether it comes from ignorance or from some intentional oversight I wouldn't know. The CNN article disregards the issue as well. But I couldn't.

You see, my problem with Baker's theory is of a practical nature. Given, for the purpose of the exercise, that by cuddling up to Hitler instead of confronting him, Churchill and Roosevelt could have prevented Nazis' westward expansion, what about the Operation Barbarossa? Conceived and planned in meticulous detail long before the beginning of WW II, this operation eventually failed and was the ultimate cause of the downfall of the most evil regime in history.

But what if Baker's villains, Churchill and Roosevelt, have decided to stay away from assistance they have generously provided to the Soviet Union, as Baker's guidance would have been? What if the Red Army failed in its resistance? For me the answer is quite simple - I wouldn't have been born and somebody else would have had to respond to Mr Baker's well-meaning drivel.

On the other hand, both Baker and his readers would have been exemplary citizens of the Third Reich and a post like this one would have hardly be possible in the circumstances.

Oh well. The post is getting too long, the weather outside is getting too attractive. Time to forget Mr Baker and his crapola and deal with more pleasant matters.

Only... maybe later in the day I could raise Kim Jong-Il on Skype and talk him into stopping the starvation of his people and accumulation of all kinds of Dongs - medium or long range as they may happen to be. After all, he is so ronely, and a good talking-to may just be what the doctor recommends.


Cross-posted on Yourish.com.

12 June 2008

Judge Alex Kozinski and visual art

So what - a judge with a lively interest in photography? Matter of taste, I say.

Besides - he is in charge of a big obscenity case right now, and without doubt he is entitled to an in-depth study of the subject matter - that is, before he comes up with a decision. Or whatever a judge must come up with. Here is the picture of the judge:

The picture illustrates the curse all photographers are trying to cope with: you just have to show that left hand raised (for some reason, no matter), and then you can't get rid of the lady on the right that is in no way what the photographer really intended to start with...

Anyhow, I hope not to be convicted in an obscene act after posting the above picture. To balance the impression, I am offering the surfers another one, for sure totally innocent:

So relax and stop looking for the judge's collection of dirty pictures.

OK, if you absolutely have to - click here.

P.S. If you know how this freaking flower is called, let me know - it's in my garden, for crying out loud!

11 June 2008

Oh boy, have I got news for you!

The story is almost unbelievable:

A man was handcuffed, arrested and dragged before a court after falling off the settee with laughter while watching Have I Got News For You.

Christopher Cocker, 36, was enjoying the BBC1 show when a joke made by panellist Paul Merton had him doubled up with laughter.

He collapsed on the floor - but the thud startled his downstairs neighbour who, believing he had collapsed, called police.
It seems that exaggerated sense of humor (like in ROTFLMAO) should be restrained in some cases. On the other hand, some may say that this has happened due to BBC being biased.

Not only was the man arrested, he has also been sprayed by something called PARVA and punched for his trouble.
Jonathan Taylor, defending, said: 'The officer accepts in his statement that he struck my client and then sprayed him again.'
All this for getting tetchy about disclosing his name. Which, upon retrospection, could be a bit of a burden indeed in this case...

But I shall not rest before I point out the real culprit of this mishap. Which is no other than the contractor who built the building where Mr Cocker and his attentive neighbor reside. After all, if the sound of a body descending from a sofa for a bit of ROTFLMAO could disturb the neighbor, it says everything about the quality of acoustic protection. It is simply criminal, I say.

10 June 2008

Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and $1.99 a pop

Says CNN:

Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones are offering Internet viewers the lurid details of encounters they claim they had with former President Clinton -- for $1.99 a pop.
A picture (is it a promo, I wonder?) of the two attached:

Judging by the above, the price looks just right, but I think I'll take a rain check.

It is so nineties...

Gina-Lisa and her sex video

Not to be found here, that's for sure. But you get a special treat today - both romantic and relaxed:

So cool down. And no more surfing for Gina-Lisa and her amazing talents, you hear?

08 June 2008

The Grail Quest - Part 2

By now with all the Da Vinci madness the small village of Rennes-le-chateau has once again been in the spotlight. You’ll have to look up the remarkable story of abbé Bérenger Saunière and how his strange find of a few parchments earned him unbelievable wealth. Also how the whole area, the churches and local natural landmarks link up in a series of perfect geometrical shapes most importantly the pentacle.

It’s hard not to be drawn in by all this madness. There are elements I don’t believe in for example the Grail, the holy blood lines and all the mysticism associated with it. But the Knights Templar did have a very special knowledge of geometry that is a fact shown in thousands of cases, even by lining churches and other locations in perfect measured geometrical patterns. That, I think, was the knowledge, the Grail, they had. Just like the ancient Egyptians who created and built the Pyramids and placed them at exact angles etc, this incredible knowledge has been lost.

Try convincing Roger. Well you don’t have to but since this knowledge the Templars had was ultimately Jewish, Temple of Solomon and all that, I felt it was my mission to put the record straight. So I invited him to Israel. Where better than to continue his Grail quest than where it all began?

Israel is absolutely full of Templar buildings, monuments, and legends. In order to get into the mood I watched the essential Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Then I drove to airport to collect Roger. “Did you know,” he said, “that from the air, London airport takes the shape of the Star of David”. We hadn’t even left the car park, but Roger was already in the Grail zone.

Where to start? Well I needed to know what Roger wanted to get out of this trip. “I want to find the beginning of the Grail trail”. So off we went to Jerusalem. We had a tour of Davids Tower, saw the Crusader halls and heard about the battles for Jerusalem. Meanwhile Roger inspected every stone, apparently looking for something. Then he went outside and started drawing what he saw. There is a minaret which sits on top of many civilizations worth of building works. There is also an arch. Roger drew a line from the top of the minaret to the arch, then from the base of the arch back to the base of the building the minaret stood on and then back up to the top of the minaret. “A perfect triangle”, he announced in triumph. I hadn’t the heart to tell him that joining any three lines would give him a triangle and that the minaret was not crusader.

Roger took some rubbings off of one of the walls which he claimed was a lion, but like looking at the clouds; you see what you want to see. Roger had a lion and a triangle. A symbol of the crusaders and geometry, he was a happy man. Insane but happy. I could feel a touch of the Jerusalem Syndrome about him and decided just to agree with him and suddenly longed for his three day trip to be over.

Roger took out his map and drew a line from Jerusalems Old City to Caesarea, up to the Crusader castle of Beauvoir, near Bet Shean and back again. With eyes alight with the flame of, OK I’ll use the word again, insanity, he exclaimed with much excitement “another triangle!”

Ok now this is where it gets a bit weird. We travelled north via Jaffa to Caesarea and then Nazareth and finally Beauvoir (great view). Roger took his map out linked all the places and nearly fainted. He had found a pentacle. Not very symmetrical one but that was enough for him. We were on the verge of discovering something. Then Roger started linking Crusader sites in the north, like Acco, Tiberias, etc and found more pentacles. “Absolute coincidence, the geometry is completely off, there is no symmetry and in more than one case you’ve started at the end of the place name and not the place marker”. Roger ignored me and in a frenzy demanded we go back to Jerusalem.

Finally day three had arrived and Roger was due to return to the UK. It had been a real experience but what on earth had he discovered from all of this? I arrived at Rogers’s hotel to pick him up. The hotel told me he had taken a taxi to the Old City and said to meet him by the Kotel / Western Wall.

Roger took me aside. “I have discovered that there are ancient tunnels under the Temple Mount. I was talking to a guy in the hotel bar who told me he could take me there. I am supposed to meet him here in ten minutes.” I pointed to a sign saying Tunnels tour, just above his head”.

I suppose despondent, disappointed and down right depressed doesn’t even come close to describing Rogers’s mood. I thought he would cry. He wasn’t allowed to climb to the Temple Mount, he had only found a few markers and codes in the Old City but they were on the usual tourist routs anyway. He had found his Templar pentacles but even they were a bit, how can I put it, manufactured.

So I took him to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, gave him a lecture about searching his heart for what he was looking for and shoved him inside. I sat outside chatting to a couple of soldiers and told them about Roger, Glastonbury Tor, pentacles, Rennes-le-chateau and Dan Brown. An hour later, Roger reappeared from the Church, dazzled by the sunlight, but unusually elated.

He refused to tell me why and no matter how much I pushed him he kept quiet. As I said farewell he took a step back and said to me “I found it, the Grail, I saw it. A monk in the Church showed it to me, said it was a holy cup, the holy cup. He offered me a drink and then asked for a donation. I asked him if I should renege on all my possessions as others had done before me, he said he needed just enough money for a taxi, so I gave him $50, I hope that was enough. I also know the secret of the Grail, but that I can’t tell you. Farewell old friend”. And with that he disappeared into the crowd.

But that’s not the end of the story…………………

05 June 2008

Reverend Goldstein and the Jewish Question

This funny and fairly unusual material comes courtesy of CAMERA:

The Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, a denomination that is considering divesting from Caterpillar in protest of Israeli policies at its upcoming General Conference, has published a “Mission Study” by Rev. Stephen Goldstein, an ordained Methodist Minister who serves as Assistant General Secretary for the Mission Personnel Program Unit of the General Board of Global Ministries.
That's some title. Let's call it AGS for MPPU of GBGM for clarity, OK? So what does the Reb. Rev. Goldstein say about them heathen Israelis?
The main thesis of Rev. Goldstein’s blurry, inaccurate and one-sided hagiographic treatment of the Arab-Israeli conflict is that Israelis are too obsessed with the Holocaust to affirm the humanity of the Palestinians and too crippled by their history of suffering to take the risks needed to make peace. In his text, Rev. Goldstein, a Jewish convert to the United Methodist Church, portrays Israel as exhibiting the same characteristics of Jewish life and Judaism that he found repellent and dissatisfying as a youth while growing up in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Uhu... Never been in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Dunno. But a childhood trauma is definitely there, we need only to find out what it was.

On page 102, Rev. Goldstein writes, “Standing behind each Arab or Palestinian, Israelis tend to see SS men determined to push them once again into gas chambers or crematoria.” In his discussion of the Six Day War (discussed below), Rev. Goldstein portrays Israelis as suffering from a “psychosis” and as “hysterical.”

Ultimately, Rev. Goldstein portrays Israel as congenitally incapable of completing one of the most basic tasks required of any sovereign state – maintaining peaceful relations with its neighbors. He does not, however, fairly or accurately describe the obstacles Israel has faced in the pursuit of peace.

Oh boy. SS man behind every Arab (or Palestinian, whatever it means to the Rev.)... Heavy stuff, dude. But what clinched it for me was that long word "congenitally". I have looked it up, and here is what the dictionary says:

Congenital: Present at birth but not necessarily hereditary; acquired during foetal development

Wrong word, Reverend. But I wonder, whether this unfortunate choice of the adjective has something to do with a small problem acquired by Rev. Goldstein after the birth? I mean that circulation... no... circumstance... no... aw to hell with these long words! Anyway, here comes the Jewish Question:

Did they cut off too much?

Mistrial for man who shot 6 at Jewish center

A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case of a man who stormed into a Jewish center two years ago and shot six women, killing one, as he ranted against Israel and the Iraq war.
Jurors had indicated in questions posed to the judge that they were hopelessly deadlocked and struggling to determine whether Naveed Haq, 32, was not guilty by reason of insanity, as he claimed.
The labyrinth of the American jurisprudence is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. And everyone thought that it's a clear cut case.
Haq's lawyers, however, argued that he had a long history of mental illness that had been worsened by a change in his medication. A defense expert diagnosed bipolar disorder with psychotic tendencies.
Just a technical detail: electric chair is bipolar too, it could be a meeting of likely minds...

04 June 2008

Anthony Julius letter to the UCU on UCU boycott motion

The attached text quarters, dries and hangs out for everyone to see the whole dirty UCU boycott issue. Anthony Julius should definitely become a full Elder, if he wishes to receive this doubtful honorific.

As for Ms Hunt and her pet boycotters - let's see them squirm.

The following letter was sent to Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the UCU from attorney Anthony Julius representing various members of the UCU on June 3, 2008.

Sally Hunt
General Secretary UCU
Egmont House
25-31 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

3 June 2008


Dear Ms Hunt

Motion 25

I act for certain groups of UCU members adversely affected in one or more ways by the passing of Motion 25, in respect of which they reserve their legal rights. The purpose of this letter, however, is not to threaten legal proceedings. Such a letter, couched in more formal terms than the present one, may follow in due course. My clients’ object here is to set out their concerns, in the hope that these concerns will be addressed when the NEC next meets.


On Wednesday 28 May 2008. UCU Congress passed Motion 25. Following a skewed and partial account of one aspect of the Israel - Palestinian conflict, and an affirmation that “criticism of Israel or Israeli policy are [sic] not, as such, antisemitic,” it resolved upon a course of boycott initiatives.

Prior to the vote, you announced, “the union will defend their right to debate this and other issues Implementation of the motion within the law will now fall to the national executive committee.” I understand that the NEC is meeting shortly for this purpose.

My clients consider Motion 25 to be both a “boycott motion” and anti-Semitic.

Motion 25 is a boycott Motion

That the motion cowers in the shadow of an (unpublished) legal opinion regarding the illegality of last year’s boycott motions does not mean it is not itself a boycott motion. It is merely a craven version of a boycott motion.

The invitation to “colleagues... to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions,” the commitment to distribute material intended to promote “discussion by colleagues of the appropriateness of continued educational links with Israeli academic institutions,” and the resolution to “investigate [Arid College] under the formal Greylisting Procedure,” comprise the opening stages of a campaign of boycott. it would be dishonest to suggest otherwise.

Motion25 is anti-Semitic

Motion 25 is anti-Semitic because it is, in combination:

(i) Irrational, that is:

(a) It does not tiow from any general principle, given general application. On the contrary. It is no different in character to a motion that resolved to boycott all Jewish-owned businesses considered delinquent, but no other businesses, though similarly or more delinquent. Its promoters could not give a non-anti- Semitic answer to the question: why just those businesses?

(b) It is contrary to the equality principles that the UCU itself embraces, and which it constitutionally binds itself to promote.

(c) It is incoherent on its face. The merely “apparent complicity of most of the Israeli academy” cannot furnish the justification for any sanction by the union. What is “apparent” may not be real. in addition, the “complicity” identified by the Motion is not related to any specified vice, It is enough, it would seem, for the promoters and supporters of the Motion that Israeli academics are “apparently” complicit in some or all of the things that the Motion lists in its opening section. This should not, however, he enough for any rational or fair-minded person.

(ii) Continuous with episodes in anti-Semitisms history, that is, in

(a) Its completely false claim that attempts were made “to prevent UCU debating boycott of Israeli academic institutions,” which rehearses the anti- Semitic trope that Jews endeavour to stifle free expression in pursuit of their own nefarious interests.

(b) Its stipulation that Jews (“Israeli colleagues”) submit to questioning on their views as a precondition to continued collaboration with UCU members, which revives the anti-Semitic programme that what others may enjoy as of right, Jews must work for.

(c) Its conceptualising of the Israel / Palestine conflict as a melodrama (pure villain confronting pure victim), which reproduces the anti-Semitic scenario of wicked Jews preying upon defenceless and innocent gentiles.

(d) Its proposed boycott of Jews. which has been a staple of anti-Semitic programmes for at least 800 years. Indeed, the history of anti-Semitism is in substantial part the history of boycotts of Jews.

(iii) Frivolous (both intellectual/i,, and iizoralli), that is, it is

(a) Indifferent to the pain it will cause Jewish members.

(b) Indifferent to anti-Semitism, by implication treating the charge of anti-Semitism as made in bad faith.

(c) Indifferent to the anti-Semitism it will foster.

(d) Dismissive of the possibility that some “criticism” of Israel may indeed be anti-Semitic, and fails to consider whether its own proposals fall within that category.

(e) Ignorant of/indifferent to the impact of a boycott campaign on Israeli society, and/or Palestinian society and/or research projects currently being undertaken by UCU members. an society and/or research projects currently being undertaken by UCU members.

Causes of action

Of course, in the event that Motion 25 is not rescinded or otherwise treated as defunct by the NEC, litigation may well follow. The possible causes of action against the UCU and its trustees have been set out in detail in the unchallenged legal opinion obtained by Stop the Boycott (STB). and there is no need to repeat its contents here. It is, however, worth elaborating the ambit of the likely claim against the UCU for harassment under s. 3A(l) of the Race Relations Act. that is, the creating of an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and / or offensive environment for Jewish members of the union and/or violating their dignity. Such a claim would rely upon, among other matters:

(a) The conduct of the boycott debate, which (contrary to Standing Orders) was not balanced.

(b) The moderating of the on-line forum for UCU members, known as the “Activists’ List,” which sanctions the open and incontinent expression of anti-Semitic opinion.

(c) The penalising of anti-boycott activists, by exclusion from the Activists’ List or by causing manifestly unfounded allegations of racism against them to proceed to formal inquiry.

(d) The failure to engage adequately or at all with concern regarding the union’s institutional anti-Semitism expressed by Jewish union members and by representative bodies of the Anglo-Jewish community.

(e) The failure to respond adequately to the Report of the Parliamentary Committee against Anti-Semitism.

(f) The rebuffing of Gert Weisskirchen, the OSCE’s special representative on anti-Semitism.

(g) The failure to respond adequately to the steady stream of resignations by Jewish union members from the union.

Motion 25 is just the latest discreditable manifestation of the UCU’s culpable indifference towards Jewish union members, and indeed, to the many Jewish and non-Jewish members who believe that unless an academic union is committed to academic freedom and the equal treatment of academics, it is nothing.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Julius
Direct Tel: -4-44 20 7440 7025
Direct Fax: 44 207404 l7I
E-mail: anthony julius@mishcon.com

Just another day in the office

03 June 2008

Kurt Cobain’s Ashes Stolen

The sad incident occurred recently and created a lot of rumbling in the City of Angels.

According to reports, Cobain’s ashes have been stolen from Courtney Love’s house in Los Angeles. Never one to shy away from the media, Love has revealed that she used to carry the ashes with her inside a pink teddy bear shaped bag along with a lock of Kurt’s hair "I used to take them everywhere with me just so I could feel Kurt was still with me. Now it feels like I have lost him all over again."
The reason for the exceptional excitement caused by the theft is quite extraordinary: it appears that when sniffed in the usual manner, the ashes create a high tenfold as strong as a comparable quantity of cocaine. "Of course, the stuff should be stepped on before distribution, I mean it is like a nuke going off in your noggin", told us Donald W., a local expert.

In related news: indignant Seattle fans demand that the ashes be returned to the home base: