31 October 2012

With apologies to Akaky Akakievich

But I simply have to copy here this example of poetic prowess*, seeing as how a normal reader doesn't usually bother to click through:

Absolute knowledge have I none,
But my aunt's washerwoman's sister's son
Heard a policeman on his beat
Say to a laborer in the street
That he had a letter just last week --
A letter which he did not seek --
From a Chinese merchant in Timbuktoo
Who said that his brother in Cuba knew
Of an Indian chief in a Texas town,
Who got the dope from a circus clown,
That a man in Klondike had it straight
From a guy in a South American state,
That a wild man over in Borneo
Was told by a woman who claimed to know,
Of a well-known society rake,
Whose mother-in-law will undertake
To prove that her husband's sister's niece
Has stated plain in a printed piece
That she has a son she never does see
Who knows what happened in Benghazi.

(*) I am not sure about pronunciation of "Borneo", though, and whether it will pair well enough with "to know". But then there are so many words in that darn language I am not sure about...

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Scary Monsters Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

30 October 2012

People can laugh even these days...

Hat tip: Y.Z.

And meanwhile in the forests of Maine: Andrew Ian Dodge for Senate!

29 October 2012

Exclusive: Obama presides over liquidation of Hurricane Sandy

Here it comes:

Identified as a clear and present danger (which, in the currently politically correct version, is "serious and big"), Sandy will be treated as armed and dangerous. Double tap treatment is prescribed.

28 October 2012

Etgar Keret's new house - in Warsaw

How's this for a "...but we're still here story"? Etgar Keret has had a house built for him in Warsaw, coincidentally very close to where his mother (still alive) used to smuggle food in and out of the Ghetto for her family.

Read it and both weep and give a defiant yell to the world that appears to (at the very least) heartily dislike the collective us.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Gideon Levy, the baron of deceit industry, deconstructed

This headline was depressing indeed:

Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel

Even if interpreted by the self-appointed moral compass of our nation, a survey is a survey and statistics is statistics. That is, if you forget "Lies, damned lies, and statistics", but you would think that one can manipulate the numbers only so far?

Nope, the good old saying should be modified. It should read nowadays "Lies, damned lies, statistics and Gideon Levy".

Read the expose by Ben-Dror Yemini: Haaretz, Gideon Levy, and the Israel apartheid canard.

Life for dummies. And blogging too.


27 October 2012

This reads like it's one of "Ripley's Believe it or Not" exhibits

There's a strange article in The Guardian (I know, I know) that, if it were from any one of a number of other UK papers, I'd be more inclined to give it credence. The heading tells us that the UK government has rejected US calls for the use of UK-controlled bases to assist in an attack on Iran.

The article (brought to you courtesy of The Tablet) is sub-headed "Secret legal advice states pre-emptive strike could be in breach of international law as Iran not yet 'clear and present threat'". I'm suspicious, if only because of The Guardian's increasingly obvious bias in matters Middle Eastern. Unkind of me, I know.

My problem is that the whole attitude of the article fits far too neatly into what we know of the "progressive" left's take on all things Israeli and Zionist. Still, make up your own minds as to how much strength we should place in the story.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Turmoil in Israeli politics, reports Ynet

Ex-Kadimah boss & Labor to join forces; Likud & Yisrael-Beiteinu to merge, it says here. There are those of you out there who will be much more aware of this story than me: is it true? And, if so, is it significant?

There's this quote from Shelly Yachimovich "Today it is obvious that the struggle is for the future, character and moral essence of the State of Israel. The elections are choice between a radical isolated state and a sane Zionist state."

You tell me: turmoil in Israeli politics or not? Or just business as usual? The full report here.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Does the Respect party employ openly Fascist people now?

Oh boy, you'll love (irony warning) this: via the Jewish Chronicle (and The Tablet), some idiot from the (regrettably not fringe enough) Respect Party - spoiler notice: MP George Galloway, exemplar of the one-man political party - went on the record with the following: "Naz Kahn...a new woman’s officer for Respect, made the [following] comments on the same site [which praised her] on September 30. Responding to a video called The Palestine you need to know, she said: “It’s such a shame that the history teachers in our school never taught us this but they are the first to start brainwashing us and our children into thinking the bad guy was Hitler. What have the Jews done good in this world??” "

Oh, dear, where to start? Nobel Prizes won? Inventions patented? World religions the inspiration for? (Two, at the last count, not counting our own, but I'm not sure that I'd want to take too much collective credit for that, given where that's led to)

And no, she (let alone the Party) hasn't apologised for her comments, beyond saying that " “No, I’m not a Nazi, I’m an ordinary British Muslim that had an opinion and put it across. We have worse people than Hitler in this world now.”

I wonder who she means? Who, beyond Ahmanedinejad, the Ayatollahs, Hamas, Hezbollah..., wishes to exterminate a whole people? Oh, I see, except that she fails to offer any specifics. I wonder why?

And the Party? All it said was "she now deeply regrets and repudiates that posting,”

Doesn't seem much like an apology and withdrawal to me. The full gory details are here.

By Brian Goldfarb.

26 October 2012

Che Guevara condoms: quite a necessary item

This is not a new story. Thanks to Shaun, I learned about it, albeit a bit late.

Shaun adds:
It is therefore quite ironic that such an implacable enemy of capitalism has been transformed into a shill for any tawdry product you can imagine: In Spain he is emblazoned on a cigarette packet, in Mexico on a textured condom.
Current TV site, on the other hand, put and article on the subject in the rubric "Culture". I wonder what a Che-emblazoned condom has to do with culture, but whatever.

The author of the Current piece says:
While most companies have produced such products as Che air fresheners (smells like Argentine jungle and used underwear), one company in Mexico has gone on to make a Che influenced condom. The condom itself is textured, cherry flavored, and actually usable. And, appropriately for this icon, it comes in magnum size. It's unknown if Che's face is laden somewhere on the condom itself. Due to lack of further info, the reasoning behind the product's creation is also unknown at this time.
I believe I can contribute two remarks to the text above:
  • There was only one magnum size bit on Che: his mouth.
  • As for the reasoning behind the product's creation: it is actually quite clear. Consider for a moment that avoidance of this product's use could bring on another critter like Che to the unsuspecting world...

P.S. Speaking about the Che-related business, there is an Internet place called Che Guevara Shop, doing quite a brisk business with all kind of branded junk, sex accessories included. And more power to them.

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

25 October 2012

Euphemisms, Nidal Hasan and Christina Hendricks

Euphemism is defined as "an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh".

Nidal Hasan is a US army military psychiatrist who killed 13 people and wounded 29 others in the worst shooting ever to take place on an American military base. Here is his mugshot:

Christina Hendricks is a talented young actress whose charm is exceeded only by... nothing, actually.

What the heck could these two have in common, you will ask immediately? Relax, there are no parallels at all between a murderer and a beauty. Only a small language problem, which is why the definition of the word "euphemism" starts this post. And the fact that the two articles came out on the same day...

You see, the Defense Department is battling like mad against the only logically possible definition of Nidal Hasan's murderous rampage in Fort Hood, which is, simply put, a terrorist act. The formal reason for that?
"The Department of Defense is committed to the integrity of the ongoing court martial proceedings of (Hasan) and for that reason will not at this time further characterize the incident that occurred at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009," Pentagon spokesman George Little said.
Yeah... I am sure the DoD is concerned with the sensitivity of the generals, colonels, etc who sit in the court. Flimsy as hell, that excuse, isn't it? So for now the official definition of what Mr Hasan did is "workplace violence". And of course, many, especially the survivors of the shooting, are not happy with this unexpected (or is it expected? you tell me) coyness of the military.

And what about the charming Ms Hendricks? She, it turn, protests against a euphemism used to describe her considerable charms, which is: "full-figured". She considers it rude.

Since I understand the reasoning that drives both DoD and Christina Hendricks, I would suggest a compromise for both cases:
  • Let's call what happened in Fort Hood a "work-related accident". There even is a formal definition of that term, so the DoD officials will be able to easily file the whole shebang.
  • As for Ms Hendricks: how about "boundlessly charming"?

More reading comprehension problems

That headline really threw me:

Ex-teacher, NFL cheerleader and student lover talk about relationship

Student, I says to myself, who snared a teacher and an NFL cheerleader in a ménage à trois, must be one hyperactive youngster.


24 October 2012

Italy: the verdict is perverse and the sentence ludicrous.

The decision of an Italian court is a sad milestone in relationship between democracies and science:

At the end of a 13-month trial, six scientists and one government official have been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison. The verdict was based on how they assessed and communicated risk before the earthquake that hit the city of L'Aquila on 6 April 2009, killing 309 people.
You know something is seriously wrong when a publication dedicated to science has to publish an article that says, among other things:
The verdict is perverse and the sentence ludicrous.
The accusing finger is pointed not only at the judicial system that allowed this travesty, but at the  country as a whole:
Science has little political clout in Italy and the trial proceeded in an absence of informed public debate that would have been unthinkable in most European countries or in the United States.
What next, Italy? A show trial of meteorologists? To be followed by a witch hunt for dessert?

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Horses And Bayonets Edition

Council Submissions

23 October 2012

The New Republic thinks the American people don't like the Iranian bomb any more than the US politicians

The New Republic was, back in the day, a distinctly liberal (and in the USA, that means pinko) journal. It may be a little less "left" these days, but it still knows how to draw attention.

This item suggests that not only do both Presidential candidates support a "firm line" (i.e., hit them where it hurts, in the centrifuges) on Iran's nuclear capabilities, but also that the US population does too, by a huge margin.

If correct, Netanyahu (or whoever after the upcoming Israeli election, to say nothing of after 6 November) needs to do nothing - except maybe provide a little logistical support, a few volunteer pilots to show willing, and to snarl at the neighbours while flexing his biceps.

Good news all round, I'd say. Especially if you live between the Green Line (or a bit beyond it) and the sea.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Gloom for Israel from The Commentator (but we've been here before: 1956, 1967...)

The noose tightens around Israel, guesses The Commentator
Having given you something to sigh over, while knowing that this doesn't really offer any sort of (at least short term) existential threat to Israel, how about this:

Just when thought it might be safe to breathe in again, along comes this gloomy prognostication. The author, Nick Gray, of Christian Middle East Watch offers a quick and dirty survey of the prospects for Israel, and he isn't feeling optimistic.

However, I wonder if President Morsi of Egypt didn't send along another (very private) message with his Ambassador and his friendly letter: please don't give us an excuse or reason to lose yet more troops and equipment like the last three times we tangled. I believe my generals when they tell me that we'll lose, again, big time.

Just a thought.

By Brian Goldfarb.

The socialism (or the human rights, perhaps) of fools lives - unfortunately

There's an interesting article (I use the word "interesting" loosely) in the current issue of The Commentator. The essential argument is that Labour MEPs (Members of the European Parliament), or some of them at least, are opposing the introduction of a Protocol which would extend some of the advantages of the EU open market to Israel. I'm sure that, by now, there are a lot of you out there who are already with, if not actually ahead of, me. That's right, it's because "Israeli companies would see an elimination of trade barriers in the European Union." It's the socialism, or perhaps in this case, the human rights, of fools time, to paraphrase August Bebel.

"[Mary] Honeyball [Labour MEP and one of the usual suspects in this case] writes: "The proposed Protocol is intended to eliminate technical barriers to trade in industrial products between the European Union and the State of Israel. It largely applies to pharmaceutical products, and is intended to align certain assessment standards in order to facilitate trade. In effect this means some of the benefits of the EU internal market would be extended to Israel, and would offer Israeli pharmaceutical companies easier access to the EU market."

But alongside intense lobbying from groups like the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Labour MEPs have been resisting this move which it is argued, "will bring about lower manufacturing costs for European drug companies, ultimately resulting in savings for the European governments which provide their citizens with healthcare, as well as cheaper medications for European citizens paying for certain products out of their own pockets".

When you read the actual article, you'll realise that what these people have carefully failed to mention is that the Protocol also covers Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. That doesn't matter, it's only Israel, with its appalling human rights record (it says on these MEPs cvs) that matters. Not the wonderfully positive, so much than Israel's human rights records of the other states, nor the loss to EU citizens. That's British irony, for those of you reading this late at night.

One has to wonder just what happened to their intelligence: checked at the door when they started taking the Palestine Solidarity Committee seriously, I guess.

By the way, if you're unclear what I mean about Honeyball being "one of the usual suspects", check her out on Google: one of the entries noted her (active) membership in Unison, one of the unions to pass a boycott motion at an Annual Conference. Please note that this is despite the positive reports that Unison delegations have brought back from Israel and Palestine as to the levels of co-operation between the Histradut and the PGTU.*

* see: an article by Alan Johnson, and the various references to this Unison report, found, in turn, here. As I keep saying, it's the socialism of fools time. (very deep sigh)

By Brian Goldfarb.

Want a licensed Che Guevara on your undies?

Not a problem. Just visit the Brand Licensing Europe trade show in Olympia, London.

Pay what you are told to, and you could easily become a uber-rich oligarch, selling stuff like this:

(Detail of the bikini with the image of revolutionary leader Ernesto Che Guevara, worn by top model Gisele Bundchen, who parades for Cia. Martitima, 15 July 2002, during the first day of the Sao Paulo Fashion Week, spring - summer collection 2002-2003 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.)

Frankly, I like the location, but the color scheme sucks. I have in mind a few other uses for Che's image, but not sure how salable the result will be. Printable it ain't.

22 October 2012

Speculating on Iran-Israel nuclear conflict: this way insanity waits

Boys usually indulge in fantasies of a "military" type, probably from the moment they are able to construct sentences of the "If... then..." type. So a boy saying to himself  "If I had a stick with a stone tied to its end, then this jerk from the next house will really get it" and then considering an additional turn of events, like "But if that jerk had a slingshot, he will be able to get me from afar" - such boy is really a picture of male normalcy.

As we grow up, that habit of fantasizing stays with us. Indeed, as women and psychologists say, we, the males, don't change a lot. Aside from an added impossibility to leave us with the babysitter, we keep our endearing traits, warmongering included. This is why we finance various so called "think tanks", where those of us equipped with a better writing style and Ivy League diplomas, fiddle with various scenarios of all kinds of wars - from a puny local ones to all-inclusive Armageddon.

Times of Israel published a monologue of this kind recently: an article by Taylor Dinerman, titled An Iranian nuclear attack — how would it play out? In the article, the author plays around with largely imaginary numbers of nuclear devices and delivery means on both sides, with (largely based on hearsay) defensive tools at their disposal and creates a largely imaginary scenario, with the number of dead in Israel estimated from 200,000 to 800,000.

The estimate is less optimistic than the one made by Israeli professor Isaac Ben-Israel:

In Tel Aviv, 20 to 30,000 people live in a 500 meter radius, a number equivalent to the total count of casualties in all of Israel's wars until today. And all of this in one bomb. In any case, just like earthquakes we've seen, it doesn't destroy a state in which seven million people live.
I had an opportunity to deconstruct the overly optimistic numbers in this article and came to an inevitable conclusion: the nation will not survive the economic, moral and other consequences of such an event.

Taylor Dinerman makes a more pessimistic estimate - but comes to the same conclusion that prof. Ben-Israel reached:
The country would probably have lost up to 30 percent of its Jewish population, but the other 70% would be in a position to rebuild the nation and reconstitute its armed forces, including its nuclear forces.
Yeah. Both authors are united in their denial of sheer impossibility that the remaining 70% will face when dealing with hundreds of thousands still living victims of radiation exposure. The nation will become a charity case, fully dependent on the good will of others, which was rarely shown to go very far.

There is only one scenario that ensures survival of Israel: not to let Iran, or anyone else for that matter, to perform a nuclear strike. No alternatives exist. As for playing with different scenarios of such strike and counterstrike: as long as we recognize that childish game for what it is - a game - we could remain sane. Otherwise...

And, since we are dealing with childish games: here is another example, from the same Times of Israel. On September 9, 2012, Aaron Kalman publishes an article Israel could send Iran ‘back to the stone age’ with electromagnetic bomb.
Israel could destroy Iran’s electric network with a specially designed electromagnetic bomb in the event of a military conflict between the countries, The Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
There even is a picture of that device, looking like a... well, check it out.

Then, on October 14, 2012, a piece titled An electromagnetic pulse attack — the ‘other’ Iranian nuclear threat, appears to respond to the previous one:
While political scientists and world leaders ..., there is a third plausible scenario: The use of a nuclear weapon by Iran to carry out an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack against Israel, the US, or Europe. Such an attack could cause severe damage to the electrical grid in the targeted nations, to the extent that the routines of daily life — centered around the use of electrical power — could be halted, for a short or even long period of time.
Now you can see why I've started this post with a reference to the good old boyish habit of fantasizing about various kinds of weaponry and its application?

Boys will be boys...

21 October 2012

Loving Dhahi Khalfan - URGENT!

This is a call for immediate action. All the Tweeterheads, please join the new movement to help a man in a terrible situation. I am talking about the Dubai police chief, Dhahi Khalfan, who suffers some rare chemical imbalance that causes him to erupt in public places, such as Twitter. And a man looks so nice and cuddly in this picture:

For some reason he has chosen another picture for his avatar on Twitter:

I have even briefly suspected that this is another man, but the expert doesn't think so.

Anyhow, please head to Twitter and try to save Dhahi, following the hashtag #ILoveDhahiKhalfan. Don't forget, the man has brought us a few funny moments, aside of letting all 358 (by his count) Mossad people go.

After all, we don't want him to be consumed by his terrible accumulation of bile, for some reason directed against poor old Shimon, do we?

Ann Romney trounces Michelle Obama in First Lady Debate


Rabbi Ovadia: lost in translation again?

It is already a matter of tradition, that after each verbal shenanigan perpetrated by the Rabbi, some minion of his comes out with a benign interpretation. This time we may need a similar assistance, but from the translator of this article:

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Saturday welcomed Aryeh Deri back to Shas, saying that this past week, during which Deri, Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias agreed to share leadership of the party, has been "a blessing."

"We have a triple bond that won't be severed soon," Yosef said in his weekly lesson, dubbing all three politicians "rabbis."
"Triple bond"? Could it possibly be "threesome"? Or, maybe, "trifle bond"?

Just asking.

Andrew Ian Dodge on Portland TV

20 October 2012

Gaza-bound aid ship Estelle: no humanitarian aid on board

Makes sense, doesn't it? After all, Syria needs a lot of humanitarian assistance these days, and this is where uncounted flotillas are going, burdened by humanitarian cargo, no doubt.

No? You must be pulling my leg.

Fidel Castro's health and Dr Marquina's prophetic powers

According to this:

The rumour mill surrounding the health of Fidel Castro is churning despite a letter from the ageing Cuban revolutionary published by state media and denials by relatives at home and in the United States that he is on death's door.

Social media sites and some news organisations have reported allegations by a Venezuelan doctor that the 86-year-old suffered a massive stroke, was in a vegetative state and had only weeks to live. The same doctor, Jose Rafael Marquina, has made claims before that have not proven to be correct.
Anyway, it appears that the good doctor does make mistakes:
In April, Dr Marquina said that Mr Chavez, who has been battling a kind of cancer, was in his "last days" and would not last to November.
On the other hand, it's not November yet, and who knows? Besides, the doctor made another point:
...the doctor also said Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez had travelled suddenly to Havana to be with his friend and ally.
Possibly to secure a place on the same boat to the other side of the Styx? Could be a good idea.

I am not holding my breath, whatever is left of it, in  any case. 

"Lomonosov or Zuckerberg?" or unbearable pain of a good priest

Fate (or, rather, email) brought to my attention a peculiar article in a peculiar publication. The name of the publication - Russian People's Way*, the motto of the publication - Orthodoxy Autocracy Nationalism and the interesting habit of mentioning their main staff members' nationality and religion (which, for most of them is Russian and Orthodox, for those that are not Russian or Orthodox, nothing is mentioned); all this points to a pretty cool bunch.

The article in question is titled Lomonosov** or Zuckerberg? and was penned by one Alexandr Shumski, who is presented as "a priest, a writer and a publicist". I shall provide here a translation (with Google's help) of most of this remarkable opus with some running commentary. So take a deep breath, here it comes:

The other day we in Russia were granted a visit by a young American billionaire with a speaking first and last name - Mark Zuckerberg [if you don't get the meaning of the "speaking name", more examples: Vasily Ivanov will not be a "speaking" name to the author, neither will be John Smith], the founder of the so-called Facebook. Zuckerberg came as a master, with not too much respect for aboriginal [sic!] people. This attitude to the local population was emphasized even by his appearance. Zuckerberg was dressed in a gray undershirt [see the photograph from the article below, it is the Zuckerberg's regular T-shirt that the priest calls "undershirt"], about the same undershirt I put on after bathhouse under my shirt [now you know too...]. In such underwear American Mark Zuckerberg met with representatives of our scientific and political establishment.

But the purpose of his visit is thievery, as was definitely stated by an NTV presenter Tatyana Mitkova. It turns out that Mark Zuckerberg came for our talent. He needs good programmers and computer scientists. Naturally, we are talking about young people. Someone might say, "Oh, he's not abducting them, he just buys them. Why do you call him a thief?" Legally Zuckerberg is not a thief, he is doing everything according to the law, otherwise he would not be Zuckerberg [notice the oblique reference to the "speaking name"? Wait for more]. But, as Lenin used to say: "Technically correct, but in fact a mockery." [apparently Lenin has become acceptable to some scions of recovering Church?] I believe that the law that allows some Zuckerberg to come any time and and buy whatever he wants is a thieves' law. In Soviet times [wow - hear, hear - a priest nostalgic for Soviet times, when his Church was persecuted and practically extint!] this was impossible, thus we [sic!] created a great science, flew in space first, created the world's best weapons [hm... and folded like a house of cards eventually - I wonder why?]. So what is preferable for Russia: a restriction that prevents zuckerbergs [now that "speaking name" became an identifier of a group] from robbing my home or a liberal system - the game were the ball goes only one way, in which we lose everything and gain nothing, except a dirty Zuckerberg's shirt as a memento.

Someone might say, "So pay as much as they pay and there wouldn't be a brain drain." Russia and the Russian has never been and will never be competitive with zuckerbergs over money [heh.. indeed - "zuckerbergs" do sit on all that gold]. It is an axiom [sure, sure, Father]. Consequently, if we are to survive, to become a great power again, we must take the necessary restrictive measures, saving our intellectual resources. Whether we want it or not, we again have to remember Comrade Stalin, who understood this very well [no comment, I am rather speechless].

It was a bitter pill - to watch Mark Zuckerberg's meeting with the rector of Moscow State University Viktor Antonovich Sadovnichy in the university library. Zuckerberg, of course, showing off in his underwear, and Sadovnichy expressing joy on his academic face [how do you recognize an academic face?]. But suddenly, something totally unexpected happened. Zuckerberg got out a black sweatshirt with a hood and the word "facebook" And Sadovnichy, with strained smile, put this jersey on! It looked extremely silly and demeaning. Some punk billionaire makes an eminent Russian scientist, Vice President of RAS, respected and honorable man, wear a black sweatshirt with a non-Russian inscription [non-Russian, imagine that! sheer debauchery!]. All this was like a secret and at the same time a public ceremony, like an initiation [you all understand clearly what kind of initiation could be performed by "zuckerbergs", I only wonder about the good academician's foreskin]. I can not understand Victor Antonovich, why did he do it? I can not imagine that he liked it [who knows, the good Father should try it once, I suggest]. There wasn't a gun at his head at this point [who knows? one can point a gun from under the table too], so why did he disgrace himself? I do not blame Victor Antonovich, because I myself felt very ashamed, as if I myself put on the zuckerberg's hoodie.

This story looked like a symbolic act, like a putdown of all Russian science.
Believe me, my dear Victor Antonovich, I do not aim to offend or condemn you, but what I saw on Tuesday, caused me an unbearable pain.

Well, enough is enough. A few words on the general background of this "article". After the late Soviet Union's official religion, i.e. communism, largely vacated the scene, the revitalized Orthodox Church rushed to fill the created vacuum. As with any great turmoils, this one was used to the utmost by the different kinds of vermin, including characters of the Black Hundreds type, ultra-nationalists and, I guess, the ex-communists and ex-KGB characters that found themselves beached.

The expectations of the Western community that is used to see, as their own custom, religion as a stabilizing and benign influence, are not exactly met by the current state of ROC - Russian Orthodox Church, where the extremist element is quite strong, and the influence it wields, via the ever-growing power and influence of ROC, grows accordingly.

So don't make the mistake of considering our good Father Alexandr to be an exception. This mistake could be costly.

(*) Actually the literal translation of the last word is "Line", but it doesn't convey the meaning. So...

(**) I am aware that some names in the article may not mean a lot to the reader, so:
Lomonosov: Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov November 19 1711 – April 15 1765 was a Russian polymath, scientist and writer, who made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries was the atmosphere of Venus.

19 October 2012

A question

It is the title of the best political post I've seen for quite some time. Since it's short, I hope the author wouldn't mind if I copy it here in its entirety:

Whatever happened to "No blood for oil"? We spilled the blood already, so what's holding up the oil which was the real reason for going to war in Iraq, according to Democrats? Is George W Bush hogging it all for himself?

The Upside of "Fun Size", or May Contain Peanuts

Details inside.

How to enslave humans 101

To all who still doubt the superiority of feline folks.

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

18 October 2012

The fragility and strength of democracy

I've just come back from a lecture sponsored by the Electoral Reform International Services organisation (and for those of you with knowledge of the UK lobby scene, it shares only the name with the lobby pushing for proportional representation). For the last couple of years, they have sponsored a lecture on, essentiality, democracy outside the magic circle of the established and stable democracies.

This year, the lecturer was one Mohsen Marzouk. He's a democracy advocate from Tunisia, and has been for some years with a track record to prove it. Given the geographical context, Tunisia and the Middle East and North Africa, it is of supreme interest to note that the word Israel came up only once, and then in passing, and only because it has a vulnerable border with Syria. Well, it's vulnerable only if you're not a member of the IDF, a military planner with the IDF or an Israeli, of course.

As an aside, the talk was held in what I'm told used to be the Conservative Party headquarters in Smith Square, Westminster but is now the home of the European Union Commission and European Parliament in London. Still, I'm sure they'll have carried out an appropriate exorcism ceremony before moving in.

What I found intriguing about the event was less what Mr Marzouk had to say (and that was very interesting on the chances for democracy taking root and flourishing in the Arab Spring countries and elsewhere in the region), and more about the thoughts that it triggered in my mind as to what was required for a democracy to become and remain stable.

I came up with a list of about 10 factors. I'm not going to bore you with them, but among them I thought that these were quite interesting: freedom of and from religion; the rule of law (no arbitrary actions on the part of the state); and the acceptance of collective as well as individual rights. What would your list include or exclude?

As to the fragility of democracy, with at least 10 factors needing to be in place, it's astonishing that they have survived for so long, not least in the so-called Anglo-Saxon democracies of the UK and Commonwealth Dominions (and I'd include India in that list) and the USA. Perhaps there's something in the common culture, and the fact that they've avoided invasion by non-democrats (interesting that: when was the last time genuine representative democracies went to war against each other?).

Balancing that, of course, is the problem of succession for authoritarian regimes. If they can't guarantee the control of the army, they have no way of ensuring peaceful (or at least unopposed) succession. One of the most interesting comments that Mohsen Marzouk made (among a large number) was to suggest that, if you get the rules right, even a non-democrat can be constrained to act as though they were a genuine democrat. We'll all have our candidates for that role of the constrained authoritarian. I know who mine is for the UK!

That said, democracies have no problem with succession: either the electorate or the political parties sort that one out.

And I think that Israel fits in just fine with the list of democracies: 64 years and counting ain't bad in this wicked world.

By Brian Goldfarb. 

What price freedom?

In this post I raise what I consider to be a real problem for those of us who are lovers of freedom: how far do we restrict other people's freedom to protect ourselves?

I'm very much aware of this argument. Indeed, I've got into trouble with good friends by arguing that, if we're not careful, we'll protect ourselves so much by restricting other people's freedom that what's left won't be worth protecting. That is, our freedom-hating opponents will have won because we'll have done their job for them in restricting the freedoms they hate and we cherish.

So, what's brought this on? An article on the UK's United Synagogue's Community Security Trust (CST) website. It's title is "Online radicalisation. 'Lone wolves' of all stripes". It tells the story of a Moslem couple in Manchester who radicalised themselves via the internet, and how they were caught by sheer accident.

The author, Mark Gardner, notes how anti-social behaviour, whether, literally, social or political, doesn't need the internet. Indeed, he cites the example of the Turner diaries (a fiction, in the strict sense of the word), published (in hard copy form) in 1978, which was responsible for the spread of white racist "survivalism" in the USA. However, given current technology, he argues that "...the furthest extremes of far right and Jihadist ideology unite not only in their choice of targets [Jews], but increasingly in their electronic modes of propaganda, indoctrination and incitement. The far right have long operated in this manner out of necessity: but the Internet facilitates their hatreds in ways unimaginable to the mad, sad and bad Nazi grouplets of earlier decades; and now Al Qaeda is fast heading in the same direction."

At one level, of course, Gardner's right: look hard enough on the net, and one can find the anarchists', or Al Qaeda's, cookbook, on bomb making. But, come on, any half aware extremist could make their way to a large University bookshop in the nearest large city and do the same, paying cash to avoid being traced, without access to the net. Or self-educate themselves on all sorts of political doctrines, extremist or otherwise. Still, as Michael Moynihan says, in The Tablet of 15 October "It’s time to admit that banning Mein Kampf while allowing anti-Islam cartoons is a double-standard".

We really can't have it both ways. While acknowledging, as I've said numerous times on different sites, that my freedom to wave my fist around ends where your nose begins, my freedom to upset you with my views or my ability to view what you see as objectionable or dangerous material on the net is very different. Provided that I'm not breaking a very necessary law to protect other's freedoms, I should be allowed to say what I want. That is, I still want to protect the vulnerable, such as children, but my right, in general terms, to upset you should be sacrosanct.

And the 20th Century's greatest mass-murderer (or equal greatest with Stalin - I'm not inclined to split Jesuitical hairs on this one), one Adolf Hitler, needed only a prison cell and unlimited supplies of paper to write the century's most notorious call for genocide.

But I defend Mark Gardner's right to disagree with me, should he read this!

By Brian Goldfarb.

What is a pol doing for $200,000?

I would rather ask what wouldn't a pol do for such an amount, but let's flow with the story:

A Pittsburgh woman is suing Democratic state Rep. Jake Wheatley, saying he only coughed up half of the $200 prize he promised the winner of a community day cake-baking contest.

Fifty-five-year-old Democrat Denise Robinson says the dispute isn't about the $100, it's about the principle.

The paralegal says, "If my state rep will breach a contract for $200, then what is he doing for $200,000."
Hm... the principle. The principle is... just a sec, it's about $100, isn't it? So there you are.

17 October 2012

Judith Butler is the perfect recipient for a prize named after the patron saint of obfuscation

That's a great title for this piece. The author, one Liel Leibovitz, uses his space (a couple of pages) demonstrating how Adorno and Butler deserve each other: they are both boors.

I can't begin to do justice to Leibovitz's efforts: you'll have to read it yourself. It did raise a an admiring smile from me. Hopefully it will from you as well. Here's a taster: "...we need thinkers who speak in clear and compassionate voices. This is certainly not Adorno..." Nor, by implicaton, is it Butler.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Kafka's papers saved for the world!

On a lighter note from me (well, I think it's lighter, but then that assumes that you think that Kafka is light compared with, eg, Iran's nuclear programme), an Israeli court has finally (how many years has it been?) decided that the sisters don't have the right to hang on to Kafka's papers.

They decided that Max Brod's view, expressed in his will, that these papers should be on display, and that place should be Israel (given when Brod died, after the establishment of the State), is the right one.

All is not lost for the women who had the papers: any profits accruing from sale of images, etc, will go to one of them.

Given that Kafka was a literary surrealist, the decision (and the time taken to reach it) does him justice. Hopefully, the shade of Kafka will have forgiven Brod for not burning his papers, as instructed. We're certainly the richer for that.

By Brian Goldfarb.

I'll believe it when it happens

It says, in the report via The Tablet that "European Union governments agreed further sanctions against Iran's banking, shipping and industrial sectors on Monday, cranking up financial pressure on Tehran in the hope of drawing it into serious negotiations on its nuclear program."

Umm, I'll believe that when it happens. Effective sanctions, that is, when they can't even proscribe Hezbollah.

Among the gems in the story is this one from (Lady) Catherine Ashton, the EU's Foreign Affairs spokesperson: 'Ashton last met Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili in Istanbul in September for a session that her spokesman described as "useful and constructive".' That's what this lot are always saying, even when they know they've been taken for a ride by the Iranians. I suppose they have to keep pretending, otherwise they really would have to just go home.

By Brian Goldfarb.

16 October 2012

Why We Recoil at Unpleasant Sounds, or FARS against Mahmoud the Mad

Usually loyal to the hilt, this time FARS dared to put up an article with a well hidden, almost subliminal, but still detectable, criticism of the fearless leader.

In a study published today in the Journal of Neuroscience and funded by the Wellcome Trust, Newcastle University scientists reveal the interaction between the region of the brain that processes sound, the auditory cortex, and the amygdala, which is active in the processing of negative emotions when we hear unpleasant sounds.
And more:
Rating 74 sounds, people found the most unpleasant noises to be:
  • Knife on a bottle
  • Fork on a glass
  • Chalk on a blackboard
  • Ruler on a bottle
  • Nails on a blackboard
  • Female scream
  • Anglegrinder
  • Brakes on a cycle squealing
  • Baby crying
  • Electric drill
But to anyone not deaf, it's clear what (or, rather, whom) FARS were aiming at:

You know that the future is already here...

when you read a sentence like this one about a new computer:

The screen is drip resistant, and it has a drain in case you spill on it.
Oh well...

15 October 2012

Somebody, please explain this to Swedish FM...

Because 1) I don't know no Swedish and 2) Even this article I have to translate from Hebrew, since I didn't find yet its English counterpart in the English version of Haaretz. So:

Yitzchak Bachman Lavie, Israeli ambassador to Sweden, was called for a reprimand by the Sweden Foreign Ministry. Swedes protested a publication of an article in Haaretz that quoted an anonymous source in Israeli Foreign ministry. The source claimed that Sweden opposes additional sanctions against Iran due to its economic interests.
Carl Bildt, Swedish FM, demanded of Israel explanations on what he defined as "anonymous slander" in the press from Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Senior sources in [Israeli] Foreign Ministry say that, according to the information that they obtained, Swedes are concerned with the fate of the huge deal between Tehran government and Swedish communication concern Ericsson.
That Ericsson story: true or false? Who knows, but the original article in Haaretz that lighted a fire under the Swedish FM's backside, says, between other things:
The Swedish communications giant has signed a series of agreements with government-owned company Irancell in recent years. Last October Bloomberg reported on Ericsson's supplying to Irancell communications technology that allows the tracking of cell phone users' whereabouts. According to the investigation, the Iranian regime used these systems to locate opposition activists.
For fairness sake, I can't say that Swedes are greedier than other countries who still keep trading with Iran or, for that matter, with many other repugnant regimes. However, to complete the picture:
Over the past week, pressure has been put on the Swedish government to drop its opposition to the new round of sanctions.

According to the Foreign Ministry official, the Stockholm embassies of Germany, France and Britain lodged a complaint at the Swedish Foreign Ministry. They gave examples of the effect of sanctions on the Iranian regime, but Swedish officials replied that sanctions only harm the Iranian people and do not change the government's decisions.
Anyway, the post is not about these gory details of Ericsson deal with Tehran, but about something else... just a sec, I shall look at the beginning of that post. Oh, yes: somebody with working Swedish: please explain to Mr Bildt that Haaretz is not a part of Israeli government but, rather, an independent media company and, as such, can (and does) publish whatever the heck it desires, while all the powers that be of the Israeli Foreign Office can't change a single letter in its edition.

This kind somebody might also draw Mr Bildt attention to the strange similarity of his ministry demarche to the protests of various Arab rulers lodged with European and other Western governments, when a newspaper publishes something that, in the ruler's opinion, insults this or another aspect of the Religion of Peace. Or summat...

Thanks anyway.

Update: And thanks to Peter for the timely reminder (in the comments to this post) on Mr Bildt's deep knowledge re freedom of the press.

Music to my ears!

“The Palestinians have never been among the top-10 priorities of any Arab government. Arab leaders don’t give a damn about the Palestinians. They have simply used the Palestinian issue to divert attention from their own failures – to cover up their ineptitude, inadequacies and corruption. Their oppressive security measures were never meant to combat ‘Zionist aggression’ but to suppress the anger of their own people. It’s been an exercise in cynicism, pure and simple. And even Western governments swallowed it.”

Further, "The region is splitting apart and ready to explode out of its largely artificial boundaries along two major fault lines, ethnic and religious."

I won't spoil your fun any further, just read the article from The Commentator.

Does this mean that Israel could be the last man standing? How's that for (potential) irony?

Now you know the reason for the heading to this piece.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Telling it like it is, from The Commentator

Every so often, one comes across an item that really resonates, really tells it like it is, that says what we feel, but because it's someone else, liking it and agreeing with it doesn't cause those close to us to roll their eyes and accuse us being obsessed with, or paranoid about, say, the Middle East. Well, me at least! This is one of those times.

One of the best quotes I've come across recently from a non-Israeli, let alone non-Jewish, source on how Israel's right to self defence is viewed in the West is this: "Whether it is Israel’s dealings with the Palestinian Authority, with Hamas, with Hezbollah, with any number of other terror groups, with neighbouring states, or with Iran, large sections of the Western world seem to believe that they know better than Israel how to provide for its own security." If you hadn't guessed already, that's from Richard Shepherd, founder/publisher of The Commentator.

Mind you, he doesn't stop there. He goes on to say "The real truth is that most western states don’t ultimately believe Israel does have a right to defend itself, and that is because they are not ultimately committed to Israel’s existence in the first place, especially in so far as backing Israel gets in the way of good relations with Islamic states abroad and Muslim populations at home." Isn't it great when someone outside our very own 'magic circle' tells it like it is?

What brought on this music to our ears? How about this: "So, what to make of Hezbollah’s admission that the drone shot down over Israel by the Israeli air force earlier this week was one of its own, and that said drone had been put together from Iran-supplied materials?"

That's not all. Shepherd goes on to quote the unlovely Nasrallah as saying the following about that downed drone: '“Today we are uncovering a small part of our capabilities, and we shall keep many more hidden… It is our natural right to send other reconnaissance flights inside occupied Palestine … This is not the first time and will not be the last. We can reach any place we want [inside Israel].” Funny how short some people's memories are! Just after the last major confrontation between the IDF and Hezbollah, Nasrallah went on the record, saying that if he'd known what the Israeli response would have been, he wouldn't have engineered the confrontation.

Some people have very short memories. Either that, or they are both incurable optimists and suffering from severe short-term memory problems.

By Brian Goldfarb.

It's not all gloom and doom out there

A quick post to tell you that there are good people out there, so we're not alone!

Isn't it great when people state the necessary (not to say the downright bleedin' obvious - old British saying) truth in a forceful manner? Thus, The Commentator's Douglas Murray has this to say about Hezbollah (aka "the party of God"): "It is not surprising that bad people exist. What is surprising is when we allow them to use us."

As is noted further down this site, the EU refuses to ban Hezbollah, citing some spurious nonsense about a separation between military and political wings, not recognised by Hezbollah itself. I won't bore with you repetition of what you already know, just leave you with the link. Just a reminder that The Commentator is one of the good guys on the Middle East.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Great Prophet World Prize - the Islamic answer to Nobel

No kidding:

Iran announced on Saturday that it plans to award Nobel-like science and technology prizes to selected Muslim scientists.
And the purpose of that step is:
The Iranian biennial award is called the "Great Prophet World Prize", according to the Iranian vice-president, who said the move is meant to promote rivalry among Muslim world researchers and scientists.
Rivalry... hm..., I would have said that scientists don't need any special promotion of rivalry among them, but whatever. The people of FARTS FARS know better, I guess.

After a few years of rivalry training the IslamoNobel winners will eat their soft-shelled Western colleagues for breakfast. So watch out. 

Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley - theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design

Whatever, but sounds mysterious.

14 October 2012

Oh, Debka, Debka...

In the Debka usual style:

Hizballah official? $5bn?

First of all, there wasn't any fleeing Hez official, it's all just rumors.

Besides, it was only $5M, in old and torn banknotes that will take forever to repair... nah...

The Bolshevik Jews what rule Britain

Here they are:

The revealing picture above is taken from a clip below, where one of the chief conspinuts and overall brainiacs, Jeff Rense, interviews one Rifat. Sorry, I don't know who Rifat is, but he obviously has something to do with the the learned Imam Abu Hamza aka The Hook.

The whole interview where Rifat draws a compelling picture of Jew-controlled Great Britain:

Tee hee...

Science on men's attraction to breasts

A bit of a confusion that subject,really. One thinks that at one's advanced age one can't be surprised by discoveries in this er... area. But no, here it is:

Recent studies have found that nipple stimulation enhances sexual arousal in the great majority of women, and it activates the same brain areas as vaginal and clitoral stimulation. When a sexual partner touches, massages or nibbles a woman's breasts, Young said, this triggers the release of oxytocin in the woman's brain, just like what happens when a baby nurses. But in this context, the oxytocin focuses the woman's attention on her sexual partner, strengthening her desire to bond with this person.
The scientist quoted above is Larry Young, professor of psychiatry at Emory University who studies the neurological basis of complex social behaviors.

I guess that this "complex social behavior", what was for uncounted millennia fairly common, is elevated now from a simple popular practice to the level of scientific theory.

I submit that some psychiatrists should get out from their labs a bit more. And see more than just laboratory rats.

P.S. Actually not rats it is voles in this case. See this:

13 October 2012

The Winners of the Inaugural Walter Duranty Prize

The field is quite crowded, so it's not an easy choice, but with some effort...

Andrew Ian Dodge on Fox Bangor

12 October 2012

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Gideon Levy and the ugly act of not-rape

There are only a few barbaric acts perpetrated by human beings that overcome rape in their inhumanity and ugliness. I hope we all can safely agree on that. That fact, however, is in strange dissonance with attempts by some uber-progressive folks to pin on IDF a new kind of barbarity: not-rape*. You see, the almost total lack of cases where an IDF soldier rapes a Palestinian woman (or man, for that matter) bothers the heck out of some people. It has even become a subject for a scientific degree (of a kind) a while ago.

The thesis of this scientific opus was that our soldiers don't rape Palestinian women because of a political/racial imperative, which is apparently very simple: fear that the offspring of this union will not be recognized as Jewish. The idea, as expected, was met by scorn and ridicule it so richly deserves, which scorn and ridicule didn't penetrate the thick walls of the academic establishment where the degree was nurtured and eventually awarded.

Now a new voice has joined the (weak) chorus of IDF-not-raping-issue analysts. This time it is a trumpeting and powerful one, that of self-appointed Moral Compass of the Nation, one Gideon Levy of the Haaretz newspaper. And here is his contribution to the research of not-rape:

The Israeli Jewish journalist Gideon Levy who is known for his pro-peace and pro-Palestinian stance says something quite terrible in your film — that unlike in other conflicts where rape is used a weapon, there is no case of Israeli soldiers raping Palestinian women because they have been dehumanized to such an extent that they cannot be objects of desire.
What can I say? Nothing. Well, one image, borrowed from the rocket science, comes to mind. Rocket, you see, propels itself by ejecting material from its back end. Gideon Levy, similarly, reaches the impossible heights of moral superiority by ejecting excrement from his back end - on his own people.

A veritable shitstorm, is our Gideon Levy.

(*) Maybe I am totally wrong here, maybe there is no dissonance and the folks mentioned are simply jumping mad, because IDF soldiers wouldn't do what these folks would like them to do. The easier to nail them to the wall of shame. But we can't be that suspicious, can we?

Update: In an unexpected turn of evens, Gideon Levy published recently an article (Hebrew only, you will have to use Google translator), where he laments the recent despicable lie that one of his haters entered into Levy's Wikipedia entry. According to the lie, Levy's father was hiding his Nazi past. Despicable indeed, no matter what the reasons for that act are.

But can you really feel any compassion for the man whose life is dedicated to prove to the world that his own nation is no better than Nazis?

Can you take seriously a man who complains about lies on the Internet, while filling his newspaper's pages with lies - both direct ones and lies of omission?

You reap what you sow, Mr Levy.

"We feel terribly awful"

This is real sad. Nah, not really:

The winner of a cockroach-eating contest has died minutes after downing dozens of the live bugs. Edward Archbold, 32, had won a python for polishing off more cockroaches and worms than around 30 other contestants.
As for that expression in the headline of the post, it's by the roach store owner Ben Siegel, and I really feel for him. I didn't participate, and I already feel terribly awful from nausea.

RIP Edward, but you (and the other 30 contestants, by the way) are not a great loss to the gene pool.

11 October 2012

Just when you thought it was safe to visit France...

So I opened my on-line copy of The Tablet and out fell this little gem. It would seem that the French coppers are not nearly as incompetent as Peter Sellers (as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther films) made out.

Witness the following: " French police officers investigating a group of young Islamic radicals have uncovered bomb-making materials and weapons... most of the arrests were made on Saturday in a number of cities across France and the police said then that some guns and ammunition had been found. In Strasbourg, one suspect, Jérémie Louis-Sidney, 33, fired on the police and was shot dead." Furthermore, "the police said on Saturday that they found a list of Jewish institutions and their addresses when searching the homes of the detainees."

Pretty scary stuff.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Kitkat makers Nestle hide tracking devices in chocolate bars

Grand idea that:

KitKat maker Nestle has hidden tracking devices in their chocolate bars as part of a new competition in which lucky winners will be hunted down and handed a briefcase containing thousands of pounds. Once one of the lucky bars is opened, the GPS will be activated and a signal will be sent to the competition organisers at Nestle.
But what happens if a hungry buyer scarfs the bar without opening it? And then the nature does its shtick? According to the article:
The company says that within 24 hours the winner will be located by a helicopter, which has a team on board to hand-deliver a briefcase containing £10,000 in cash.
I only hope they have a good plumber aboard.

Defacing a Rothko, pissing in a Duchamp, etc.

There is a great deal of noise in the press about that Russian guy who left his signature on a Mark Rothko painting. Here is a part of the painting with the addition:

Says the alleged vandal:
But I believe that after a few years they will start looking for it from the right angle. So that's why I did it.
May the connoisseurs of the art and treasurers of Tate spit in my face and beat me black and blue, but frankly I can see some truth in what the vandal is saying. The painting is much more alive now.

As for the other case mentioned here - a man pissing in a Duchamp "fountain":

If there is justice on the planet or even somewhere among the stars of this universe, the man who did it will get a prize. And the more men (and women, properly equipped, of course) do it, the better for this specimen of art.

As for kissing a Cy Twombly canvas (like this one, I wonder?) while wearing lipstick: not sure anyone, the author included, will notice. So it's neither here nor there.


10 October 2012

Larry Derfner is a nincompoop, and this is final

It is the second time that week that I post on the subject, but this one will be the last for a long time, I hope. His display of terminal idiocy must be spread further than the limited confines of +972 allow, is the only reason why. Here is how elegantly Larry pushes the envelope of his own mother tongue, explaining how Mizrahi* Jews shouldn't count as refugees anymore:

They are not refugees. A refugee is somebody who flees his country and becomes stateless, homeless, because no country is willing to take him in. The Mizrahim, on the whole, fled their countries under duress in the post-’48 atmosphere in the Arab world, so they fled as refugees – but they were helped in and even pulled in immediately by Israel and made citizens of their new country, their own country.  The Mizrahim were refugees only for a brief, transitional period, and that period ended 60 years ago, more or less.
How do you like that definition of a refugee? Toot your horn if you do... meanwhile, for Larry's sake, I will copy a few dictionary definitions of  "refugee":
  1. One who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.
  2. A person who has fled from some danger or problem, esp political persecution
  3. A person who, by reason of real or imagined danger, has left their home country or country of their nationality and is unwilling or unable to return.
  4. An exile who flees for safety
I hope the above is sufficient to notice that refugee is defined by leaving his home country, mostly under duress. And that one stops being refugee only upon return to that same country. I hope that the discerning reader will agree that this is not mere nitpicking.

I also hope that the same discerning reader will agree now that Larry Derfner is a... oh, I already said that.

(*) A Hebrew slang for the Jews of Middle Eastern extraction.

Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka and G-protein-coupled receptors

Quite interesting, too.

From the river to the sea Palestine will be free?

This is not a call for coexistence, far from it. Not even for a bloodshed followed by a subservient dhimmitude, called "one state solution". This is a clear and unambiguous call for a genocide.

And this battle cry is especially touching and poignant when issued by an (ex)Israeli lady, as you will see in the clip below:

The histrionics of the lady point to a serious chemical imbalance and an urgent need for a quiet and padded environment for indefinite period. Anyone recognizes her?

Anyway, watch the clip, read this article about the circumstances of the disturbance and check out the Youtube page where the clip comes from, it's highly educational.

Testing, testing

"Kalashnikov's answering machine".

  • If you find the above funny, please say so in the comments.
  • If not, please say so in the comments too.
  • It is not my joke, so feel free.

You are allowed to use Wiki for that word you may have trouble with.


09 October 2012

Danny DeVito: left by Rhea Perlman because of his vision problem?

That a woman will leave a man with poor eyesight, and that after 30 years of marriage, may sound cruel and unusual, but this is what it says here:

Danny DeVito's wife 'ended 30 year marriage because of his wandering eye'

Unfair, I say.

Serge Haroche and David Wineland: good job, that!

And an interesting article, albeit in that other language - ask Google to translate it for you.

Seeing purple on your iPhone 5?

You have to know that, as usual with iProducts, it is your fault, dear customer.

Earlier this month, an AppleCare support representative responding to an iPhone 5 owner's complaint about the issue said the purple flare was "considered normal behavior" for the devices camera and suggested: "Our engineering team just gave me this information and we recommend that you angle the camera away from the bright light source when taking pictures."
To resolve the issue to full customer's satisfaction, two additional alternatives are recommended by Apple:
  1. A simple laser surgery that will add a special filtering layer to the customer eyes' cornea, allowing the eye to see the real color(s) of the picture. It is promised that the next generation of iPhone* will perform the surgery automatically, once the customer has entered his credit card number into it. Meanwhile Apple customer centers will perform the job.
  2. For the cases when the surgery fails to remove the purple halo (estimated as 3 to 9 %% of the population only), a pleasing screen protector will filter out the halo for a symbolic price of $27.99 (incl. installation, not incl. local taxes). 
  3. For final improvement of customer satisfaction, customer representatives will offer the customer a close-up view of the upper left corner of iPhone 5 back cover, with it pleasing arrangement of camera and flash and finely crafted gently rounded corners. It was experimentally proven that watching the close-up improves the customer's happiness index by at least 12 points. 
(*) When asked, Apple customer service reps refuse to divulge the name of the next generation iPhone. From disjointed mumbling of one rep it seems that the name of the next generation is one thing that the late Steve Jobs didn't spell clearly for the record, causing interminable ongoing sessions of the company executives and of the board of directors.