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My Free-Thinking Father, for Father’s Day

When I was a wee slip of a girl, around the time I was learning to read, I remember one day being fed up with having to pick up my room, and I said, “I wish there was still slavery.”

Dad had no idea why I said that, so he asked, “Why do you say that?” (Why is my small child a tiny Southern racist?)

“So the slave would pick up my room,” I said.

And Dad asked, “What if you were the slave?” I hadn’t thought of that.

Thanks, Dad, for asking me that question!

Here are a few random reasons I’m glad my dad is who he is:

1. Although he’s over 70, Dad still walks by bouncing on the balls of his feet.

2. Dad dated women his own age instead of girls my age.

3. He coached my soccer team for years, and let us choose our own team name.

4. There used to be a dirty, white tomcat that hung around our house, sometimes sleeping inside during the day when no one was home. It always ran away when any of us came home. One day it got hit by a car, and Dad paid all its medical bills and adopted it.

5. He has a favorite color, and it’s orange.

6. He never let me get away with playing dumb.

7. When I was very little and wanted to play with my big brother’s Tonka trucks, Dad bought me a Tonka dumptruck.

8. Dad encouraged me to have adventures, and I did.

There are more, but I’ll save them. Happy father’s day, Dad!

white cat 80s orange

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Wise Words from Homer Simpson

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Damn You Auto Correct!

If you’ve never visited Damn You Auto Correct, you’re missing an awesome chance to laugh out loud. After a few pages of these I have tears in my eyes and I can’t breathe for laughing.

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Weapons of Mass Destruction in Responsible Hands

The anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki just passed. There’s a really good online museum you can visit here: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

It’s very moving.

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Beheading Revisited

Since my earlier post on beheading, I’ve found a new piece of information.

It is from Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side, The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals. A guy named Cofer Black, who was the head of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center (CTC) during the Bush years, was hugely enthusiastic about going to war and killing people. He also ordered CIA officers to bring him the head of Osama bin Laden. Literally.

Gary Schroen, one of the first CIA officers to be dispatched to Afghanistan, was among the earliest to sense the change in America’s posture. Before leaving Langley, he described a memorable meeting in Black’s office. “Gentlemen, I want to give you your marching orders, and I want to make them very clear,” he recounted Black as saying. “I have discussed this with the president, and he is in full agreement. Your mission is to find Osama Bin Laden and his senior lieutenants, and kill them.” Schroen says Black paused then to let his words sink in. “I don’t want Bin Laden and his thugs captured. I want them dead. Alive and in prison here in the United States and they’ll become a symbol, a rallying point for other terrorists. They have planned and carried out the murder of thousands of our citizens. They must be killed. I want to see photos of their heads on pikes. I want Bin Laden’s head shipped back in a box filled with dry ice. I want to be able to show Bin Laden’s head to the president. I promised him I would do that.” He paused again and then asked, “Have I made myself clear?”

Schroen recounted in his memoir, First In, that he and his partner glanced at each other and smiled. “Perfectly clear, Cofer,” they said. “I don’t know where we’ll find the dry ice in Afghanistan, but I think we certainly can manufacture pikes in the field.”

Schroen acknowledged that it was the first time in his thirty-one-year career at the CIA that he had ever been asked to kill anyone.

Not long after, the Russians warned Black in a secret meeting that Afghanistan was the geopolitical equivalent of quicksand. Black scoffed at their pessimism. “We’re going to kill them,” Black retorted. “We’re going to put their heads on sticks. We’re going to rock their world.”

Black savored the anticipated details of Bin Laden’s death in an interview with The New Yorker magazine, as well. “You’d need some DNA,” he said, to prove to the world Bin Laden was slain. “There’s a good way to do it. Take a machete, and whack off his head, and you’ll get a bucketful of DNA, so you can see it and test it. It beats lugging the whole body back!”

That was in 2001. Before Daniel Pearl was beheaded.

In case you want to know more about Cofer Black: for all his bloodlust, he never served in the military despite being just the right age to serve in Vietnam, he has the misfortune to look a lot like Karl Rove (with a head like a wet, softboiled egg), and he has been Vice Chairman of Blackwater USA since 2005. Also:

While assigned to Kinshasa, Zaire, Black was involved in the Reagan Administration’s covert action program to arm anti-communist guerrillas in neighboring Angola.

Wikipedia doesn’t say what role Black played in

South Africa during the National Party government’s’s war against guerrilla movements opposing the apartheid system.

I tend to suspect he wasn’t fighting against apartheid.

And Wikipedia provides no source for this assertion:

…toward the end of his tenure, he was targeted by Al Qaeda for assassination.

What a disappointment Wikipedia can be sometimes. Surely they have a citation or they wouldn’t have included it.


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You know those awful, black-and-white cartoon tracts you sometimes find in public places like bus station bathrooms? The ones that point out to you that enjoying Halloween will earn you a place in hell and that people who play Dungeons and Dragons are practitioners of black magic?
They’re the creations of “artist” Jack Chick, who has his own web site.
He has it in for all kinds of non-Christians, such as witches and Catholics and scientists. Most of his tracts end with the unfortunate ignoramus or scoffer standing before a faceless male entity on what looks like a marble throne, sometimes with rays emanating from the entity’s head.
Anyway, that’s what made me think of this vision of Jack Chick coming before his creator:

god is mad

Let’s see if WordPress ever works properly and displays the picture.
I don’t hate WordPress…I just get really frustrated with it. But it lets me have a post counter, and I like that.

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Satire for Arab History Nerds

Abbasid Caliphate Endorses Obama


Breaking with the Abbasid family’s traditional silence regarding American politics, the caliph Abd Allah al-Ma‘mun today endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-IL).

According to AskThe Dead, a political blog run by a psychic collective in Venice Beach, CA, the former caliph (reigned 813-833) decided to speak out after learning that the Mongol commanders Hulagu and Timurleng had endorsed the likely Republican nominee, John McCain (R-AZ) while the caliph’s stepmother, Zubayda Umm Jafar, had declared her support for Obama rival Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

From Ali Eteraz’s WordPress blog.

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mecca cat

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Mideast Peace Through Porn

So much good material this weekend. Here’s a pretty short LATimes article.,0,5599276.story?coll=la-opinion-leftrail.

…when executives at Ratuv installed software that could track where their users were logging in, they found that the site was getting thousands of hits a week from such countries as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, even though some of these governments block the “.il” domain address on Israeli websites. So Ratuv responded by translating the entire site into Arabic, and traffic quickly skyrocketed.

Expecting Arab men to be swayed by Ratuv’s political content might be a little like expecting American men to read the articles in Playboy, but the site can’t be any less effective in changing public opinion than U.S. media efforts to date.

Well, that’s irritating. I spelled it pr0n in the title and the danged spellcheck(?) changed it on me without my consent. :o(

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YouTube Clip

You don’t need to know Arabic to find this funny or to know what Stewie is saying.

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