Saturday, April 28, 2007

A small, petty world

In August last year, in the aftermath of the Lebanon War, I wrote a piece on a discussion board at the posh people's network "A Small World" (aSW for short). I re-posted it on Freedmanslife because I thought readers over here might be interested, and also it saved me writing a blog entry for that particular day...

A couple of weeks ago - fully 8 months after the posting - someone posted this pair of comments:

At 9:38 PM, Anonymous said...
You might review the terms and conditions of aSmallWorld. Discussions and content, not to mention details about members (such as names), is expressly not permitted.

At 9:42 PM, Anonymous said...
Oops... Meant to say that forum discussions and content (and member details) in aSW are not permitted to be published in public. It is a private community, and members expect their comments to remain within the community, not published to the world such as you are doing.
Underwhelmed, I responded:

At 11:32 PM, freedmanslife said...

You might want to read more carefully before making petty remarks. You would realise that my postings on this site are of MY OWN remarks on aSW and therefore I see no reason why aSW has some kind of copyright over my own writings.

The only other piece I posted was from a very pleasant guy I got into some dialogue with on aSW, on the understanding that he was favourable to a broader audience reading his insightful and interesting comments, but you don't seem to have made your dig at me under that entry.

I also note that the average thread on aSW probably has a higher readership than my blog, and that you decided to post anonymously.

If you have a problem with me copying my own words across from aSW or using those of someone I had a dialogue with, whose opinions I did not agree with but nonetheless gave them a platform on my own website, please feel free to have me banned from aSW, which frankly has deteriorated from a serious professional network into a talking-shop for trustafarians anyway.

I can only conclude that you have a very specific agenda in sniffing for this kind of thing 8 months after publication... unless you work for aSW, are the person who wrote those original remarks, or are prepared to identify yourself, kindly stop flaming my site.


Then today for the first time in quite a while, I logged into aSW out of curiosity and found this message:

From: aSW Webmaster
Subject: Blog - Request
Sent: Apr 19th

Dear Michael,

We are referring to your blog, specifically the following link
http://www.freedmanslife.com/2006/08/small-world.html

In this regard, we respectfully ask that you avoid mentioning our members by name unless you have their express permission. Would you be so kind as to edit the names out of the prose and let us know when this has been done?

Kind regards,

aSmallWorld

Now just a little peeved, I sent this response:

From: me
To: aSW Webmaster
Subject: Blog - Request
Sent: Apr 19th

George Orwell, Sharon, David, Goliath, Arafat, Abbas... wasn't aware they were aSW members.

Ah, here we are:

"I cannot wait to show Payam, Adil, Malik, Marwan et al around the cooperatively built and run gas-fired power station between Sderot and Gaza that lights the schools in which children on both sides learn about the culture of the other, and visit each other to find out more."

So one of these people is so worked-up that their FIRST NAME appears in a blog posting that is nearly a year old, on a site read by about 100 of my friends, that they have involved you and invoked the "aSW rules"?!

And in a piece which was about aSW members and everyone else finding ways to beat swords into ploughshares, and generally have uplifting and informative debates?!

I will edit their names at once, and additionally I will write a highly critical piece about some of the bile some of them - and other aSW members - spat in my direction last summer.

You had anti-Semites, Zionist-conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers and belittlers getting away with all kinds of disgraceful remarks, and you are chasing ME because I put someone's FIRST NAME on a blog 9 months ago, in a context that revealed nothing about their identities or their opinions, and was calling on them and everyone else to find positive common ground.

Shame on aSW for allowing all this to happen. I will enjoy writing a precis (with edited names of course) that shows exactly the kind of content that you seemed to miss - and hence permit - on your own site, whilst at the same time persecuting me for publishing my own words on a little-read blog 8 months ago.

No wonder this site has all but lost credibility as a quality network amongst many of its original users. You are allowing these people to take up a petty and spiteful vendetta against me and I am not going to be cowed by them. Nor should you.

We will see what the response is. I am sure that the complainants, if not aSW themselves, will note this blog posting, and I look forward to receiving a formal warning from aSW on their behalf. If that does happen, they can just go right ahead and ban me - then I can publish what I like, without their censorship.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Right on cue

And I thought I was being tongue in cheek... fine, this does come from Alan "but I'm just an anti-Zionist, I don't really hate Jews" Hart, but this is someone who seems to make it onto the occasional interview with the mainstream media:

If Alan Johnston is dead, who, really, was responsible?
By Alan Hart

At a public meeting in London on Wednesday 11 April, I was asked for my thoughts (as a former ITN and BBC Panorama correspondent) about Alan Johnston's "disappearance" in Gaza. I said that I feared he could be dead, and that if he was, he might well have been shot in the head within minutes of being taken more than a month ago.

If Alan is dead, the truth about who killed him might be in accordance with the claim of the Tawhid al Jihad Brigades group that it was responsible; but it also might not be (repeat might not be).

The group which claimed responsibility in a fax to news agencies on 17 April is an Al Qaeda franchise (driven by events in Iraq), and was unknown in the Palestinian territories; and what can be said for certain is that the Palestinians were the party with absolutely nothing to gain and much to lose from Alan's permanent removal from the scene. And they had much to lose on two counts.

On Count One, Alan was not only the BBC's man, he was the only permanent foreign correspondent in Gaza. He was, in short, the best and most informed provider of news about the Palestinian side of the story; a story which, in many of its details, is an embarrassment to Israel and those governments, most notably the Bush and Blair regimes, which support Israel's efforts to break the will of the Palestinians to continue their struggle for an acceptable minimum of justice.

On Count Two, and if he has been murdered, Alan's death, if it could be blamed on a Palestinian or a pro-Palestinian Arab and/or other Islamist group, would be a huge political setback for the legitimacy of the Palestinian struggle and the present leadership of it. (The Al Qaeda franchise would not give a damn about harming the Palestinian cause).

There is a case for saying (repeat a case) that the party with most to gain from Alan Johnston's permanent disappearance was Israel. It would not be the first time that Israeli agents had dressed as Arabs to make a hit.

If Alan Johnston is dead, it's my hope that the BBC at executive management level will rise above its fear of offending Zionism too much and allow its reporters (Frank Gardner and Jeremy Bowen are second to none) to make a full, thorough and honest investigation.

I wasn't aware that the BBC had a track record of fear of offending Zionism. In fact, there is another "ism", beginning with an "I", that they tend to be a little more sycophantic towards. Anyway, I am sure the evil insidious Zionazis will take great pleasure in continuing their "false flag" plot to rid the world of journalists who pose a threat - I am waiting by my secret red Mossad phone for the call to dress up in my fave khefiyeh and track down Mr Hart.


Update: seems I am not the only one on the case: the best riposte is found over at News for Members of the Tribe.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Why I hate the gym

I was in the changing room at the gym today, after managing half an hour wheezing on the weird new side-stepper machine and 20 laps of the pool, when I overheard this dialogue between two jolly hockey sticks Guardian-readers talcuming their flabby white bottoms nearby:
"My wife is orf to Tehran next week. Bloody awful place, don't know why she's going."
"What's she going to do in Eye-rahn, and who is she going with?"
"My son, and they're going to go around on a bus. How awful, can't think of anything worse."
"Let's just hope her trip doesn't coincide with those Israelis deciding they've had enough and bombing the place."
"Yes, rotten luck that would be if she got caught up in that."
Well yes, rotten luck for readership statistics of the New Statesman, and voting figures for the local Lib Dems...

What I haven't quite worked out is why they think Israel would suddenly decide to bomb the crap out of Iran without provocation. I thought it was another example of the casual and gratuitous sport of blaming the Zionist Empire for everything.

Presumably if the flight is late into Tehran, it'll be because of the circuitous route needed to avoid overflying hostile (ie pro-American) territory, and if his wife gets a stomach bug, it'll be because Mossad are poisoning the water supply.

I'm not sure how the Evil Jooz can be blamed for LA Fitness banishing the men's shower area to a Portakabin at the back of the swimming pool for 3 weeks, then turfing us out of our own changing rooms so that the women can use them while theirs are being refurbished. This would never happen in Iran... presumably women would work out, swim and shower in full burkas in a separate gym anyway.

Besides, heaven forbid that any nation should actually defend itself against Iranian hostility, unlike the pathetic remains of this once-great country, whose media, politicians, armed forces and liberal masses climbed over each other to hand Ahmedinejad the biggest PR and geo-strategic gain possible. But somehow I'm sure that's our fault too.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A shared dream

April 13, 2007
The Post-west
A civilization that has become just a dream.

by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

I recently had a dream that British marines fought back, like their forefathers of old, against criminals and pirates. When taken captive, they proved defiant in their silence. When released, they talked to the tabloids with restraint and dignity, and accepted no recompense.

I dreamed that a kindred German government, which best knew the wages of appeasement, cut-off all trade credits to the outlaw Iranian mullahs — even as the European Union joined the Americans in refusing commerce with this Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic, and thuggish regime.

NATO countries would then warn Iran that their next unprovoked attack on a vessel of a member nation would incite the entire alliance against them in a response that truly would be of a “disproportionate” nature.

In this apparition of mine, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, in Syria at the time, would lecture the Assad regime that there would be consequences to its serial murdering of democratic reformers in Lebanon, to fomenting war with Israel by means of its surrogates, and to sending terrorists to destroy the nascent constitutional government in Iraq.

She would add that the United States could never be friends with an illegitimate dictatorship that does its best to destroy the only three democracies in the region. And then our speaker would explain to Iran that a U.S. Congresswoman would never detour to Tehran to dialogue with a renegade government that had utterly ignored U.N. non-proliferation mandates and daily had the blood of Americans on its hands.

Fellow Democrats like John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, and Harry Reid would add that, as defenders of the liberal tradition of the West, they were not about to call a retreat before extremist killers who behead and kidnap, who blow up children and threaten female reformers and religious minorities, and who have begun using poison gas, all in an effort to annihilate voices of tolerance in Iraq.

These Democrats would reiterate that they had not authorized a war to remove the psychopathic Saddam Hussein only to allow the hopeful country to be hijacked by equally vicious killers. And they would warn the world that their differences with the Bush administration, whatever they might be, pale in comparison to the shared American opposition to the efforts of al Qaeda, the Taliban, Syria, and Iran to kill any who would advocate freedom of the individual.

Those in Congress would not deny that Congress itself had voted for a war against Saddam on 23 counts — the vast majority of which had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction and remain as valid today as when they were approved in 2002.

Congressional Democrats would make clear that, while in the interests of peace they might wish to talk to Iran, they had no idea how to approach a regime that subsidizes Holocaust denial, threatens to wipe out Israel, defies the world in seeking nuclear weapons, trains terrorists to kill Americans in Iraq, engages in piracy and hostage taking, and butchers or incarcerates any of its own who question the regime.

In this dream, I heard our ex-presidents add to this chorus of war-time solidarity. Jimmy Carter reminded Americans that radical Islam had started in earnest on his watch, out of an endemic hatred of all things Western. I imagined him explaining that America began being called the “Great Satan” during the presidential tenure of a liberal pacifist, not a Texan conservative.

Bill Clinton would likewise add that he bombed Iraq, and Afghanistan, and East Africa without congressional or U.N. approval because of the need for unilateral action against serial terrorism and the efforts of radicals to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

George Bush Sr. would in turn lecture the media that it was once as furious at him for not removing Saddam as it is now furious at his son for doing so; that it was once as critical of him for sending too many troops to the Middle East as it is now critical of his son for sending too few; that it was once as hostile to the dictates of his excessively large coalition as it is now disparaging of his son’s intolerably small alliance; that it was once as dismissive of his old concern about Iranian influence in Iraq as it is now aghast at his son’s naiveté about Tehran’s interest in absorbing southern Iraq; and that it was once as repulsed by his own cynical realism as it is now repulsed by his son’s blinkered idealism.

I also dreamed that the British government only laughed at calls to curtail studies of the Holocaust in deference to radical Muslims, and instead repeatedly aired a documentary on its sole Victoria Cross winner in Iraq. The British, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish foreign ministers would collectively warn the radical Islamic world that there would be no more concessions to the pre-rational primeval mind, no more backpeddling and equivocating on rioting and threats over cartoons or operas or papal statements. There would be no more apologies about how the West need make amends for a hallowed tradition that started 2,500 years ago with classical Athens, led to the Italian Republics of the Renaissance, and inspired the liberal democracies that defeated fascism, Japanese militarism, Nazism, and Communist totalitarianism, and now are likewise poised to end radical Islamic fascism.

Europeans would advise their own Muslim immigrants, from London to Berlin, that the West, founded on principles of the Hellenic and European Enlightenments, and enriched by the Sermon on the Mount, had nothing to apologize for, now or in the future. Newcomers would either accept this revered culture of tolerance, assimilation, and equality of religions and the sexes — or return home to live under its antithesis of seventh-century Sharia law.

Media critics of the ongoing war might deplore our tactics, take issue with the strategy, and lament the failure to articulate our goals and values. But they would not stoop to the lies of “no blood for oil” — not when Iraqi petroleum is now at last under transparent auspices and bid on by non-American companies, even as the price skyrockets and American ships protect the vulnerable sea-lanes, ensuring life-saving commerce for all importing nations.

I also dreamed that no columnist, no talking head, no pundit would level the charge of “We took our eye off bin Laden in Afghanistan” when they themselves had no answer on how to reach al Qaedists inside nuclear Pakistan, a country ruled by a triangulating dictator and just one bullet away from an Islamic theocracy.

And then I woke up, remembering that the West of old lives only in dreams. Yes, the new religion of the post-Westerner is neither the Enlightenment nor Christianity, but the gospel of the Path of Least Resistance — one that must lead inevitably to gratification rather than sacrifice.

Once one understands this new creed, then all the surreal present at last makes sense: life in the contemporary West is so good, so free, so undemanding, that we will pay, say, and suffer almost anything to enjoy its uninterrupted continuance — and accordingly avoid almost any principled act that might endanger it.

©2007 Victor Davis Hanson

Friday, April 13, 2007

Reformed terrorist says what?!

The Trouble With Islam
Sadly, mainstream Muslim teaching accepts and promotes violence.

BY TAWFIK HAMID
Tuesday, April 3, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Not many years ago the brilliant Orientalist, Bernard Lewis, published a short history of the Islamic world's decline, entitled "What Went Wrong?" Astonishingly, there was, among many Western "progressives," a vocal dislike for the title. It is a false premise, these critics protested. They ignored Mr. Lewis's implicit statement that things have been, or could be, right.

But indeed, there is much that is clearly wrong with the Islamic world. Women are stoned to death and undergo clitorectomies. Gays hang from the gallows under the approving eyes of the proponents of Shariah, the legal code of Islam. Sunni and Shia massacre each other daily in Iraq. Palestinian mothers teach 3-year-old boys and girls the ideal of martyrdom. One would expect the orthodox Islamic establishment to evade or dismiss these complaints, but less happily, the non-Muslim priests of enlightenment in the West have come, actively and passively, to the Islamists' defense.

These "progressives" frequently cite the need to examine "root causes." In this they are correct: Terrorism is only the manifestation of a disease and not the disease itself. But the root-causes are quite different from what they think. As a former member of Jemaah Islamiya, a group led by al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, I know firsthand that the inhumane teaching in Islamist ideology can transform a young, benevolent mind into that of a terrorist. Without confronting the ideological roots of radical Islam it will be impossible to combat it. While there are many ideological "rootlets" of Islamism, the main tap root has a name--Salafism, or Salafi Islam, a violent, ultra-conservative version of the religion.

It is vital to grasp that traditional and even mainstream Islamic teaching accepts and promotes violence. Shariah, for example, allows apostates to be killed, permits beating women to discipline them, seeks to subjugate non-Muslims to Islam as dhimmis and justifies declaring war to do so. It exhorts good Muslims to exterminate the Jews before the "end of days." The near deafening silence of the Muslim majority against these barbaric practices is evidence enough that there is something fundamentally wrong.

The grave predicament we face in the Islamic world is the virtual lack of approved, theologically rigorous interpretations of Islam that clearly challenge the abusive aspects of Shariah. Unlike Salafism, more liberal branches of Islam, such as Sufism, typically do not provide the essential theological base to nullify the cruel proclamations of their Salafist counterparts. And so, for more than 20 years I have been developing and working to establish a theologically-rigorous Islam that teaches peace.

Yet it is ironic and discouraging that many non-Muslim, Western intellectuals--who unceasingly claim to support human rights--have become obstacles to reforming Islam. Political correctness among Westerners obstructs unambiguous criticism of Shariah's inhumanity. They find socioeconomic or political excuses for Islamist terrorism such as poverty, colonialism, discrimination or the existence of Israel. What incentive is there for Muslims to demand reform when Western "progressives" pave the way for Islamist barbarity? Indeed, if the problem is not one of religious beliefs, it leaves one to wonder why Christians who live among Muslims under identical circumstances refrain from contributing to wide-scale, systematic campaigns of terror.

Politicians and scholars in the West have taken up the chant that Islamic extremism is caused by the Arab-Israeli conflict. This analysis cannot convince any rational person that the Islamist murder of over 150,000 innocent people in Algeria--which happened in the last few decades--or their slaying of hundreds of Buddhists in Thailand, or the brutal violence between Sunni and Shia in Iraq could have anything to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Western feminists duly fight in their home countries for equal pay and opportunity, but seemingly ignore, under a façade of cultural relativism, that large numbers of women in the Islamic world live under threat of beating, execution and genital mutilation, or cannot vote, drive cars and dress as they please.

The tendency of many Westerners to restrict themselves to self-criticism further obstructs reformation in Islam. Americans demonstrate against the war in Iraq, yet decline to demonstrate against the terrorists who kidnap innocent people and behead them. Similarly, after the Madrid train bombings, millions of Spanish citizens demonstrated against their separatist organization, ETA. But once the demonstrators realized that Muslims were behind the terror attacks they suspended the demonstrations. This example sent a message to radical Islamists to continue their violent methods.

Western appeasement of their Muslim communities has exacerbated the problem. During the four-month period after the publication of the Muhammad cartoons in a Danish magazine, there were comparatively few violent demonstrations by Muslims. Within a few days of the Danish magazine's formal apology, riots erupted throughout the world. The apology had been perceived by Islamists as weakness and concession.

Worst of all, perhaps, is the anti-Americanism among many Westerners. It is a resentment so strong, so deep-seated, so rooted in personal identity, that it has led many, consciously or unconsciously, to morally support America's enemies.

Progressives need to realize that radical Islam is based on an antiliberal system. They need to awaken to the inhumane policies and practices of Islamists around the world. They need to realize that Islamism spells the death of liberal values. And they must not take for granted the respect for human rights and dignity that we experience in America, and indeed, the West, today.

Well-meaning interfaith dialogues with Muslims have largely been fruitless. Participants must demand--but so far haven't--that Muslim organizations and scholars specifically and unambiguously denounce violent Salafi components in their mosques and in the media. Muslims who do not vocally oppose brutal Shariah decrees should not be considered "moderates."

All of this makes the efforts of Muslim reformers more difficult. When Westerners make politically-correct excuses for Islamism, it actually endangers the lives of reformers and in many cases has the effect of suppressing their voices.

Tolerance does not mean toleration of atrocities under the umbrella of relativism. It is time for all of us in the free world to face the reality of Salafi Islam or the reality of radical Islam will continue to face us.

Dr. Hamid, a onetime member of Jemaah Islamiya, an Islamist terrorist group, is a medical doctor and Muslim reformer living in the West.

Try this for controversial!

Sod it, may as well really hit the ground running. Some of you may have noticed that the BBC has been a bit less focused on making Israel the very spawn of the devil in recent weeks. This might be because of the mysterious disappearance of Alan Johnston, their Liberated South-West Palestine correspondent.

However, there has been plenty of coverage over his disappearance, and in fact even some "Days of Action" by the Palestinians themselves (apparently this does not include rampaging through their own greenhouses, shooting each other or blaming the Zionists, so I'm a bit unclear as to what that actually left them to do all day), and a speech by Ban Ki Moon, the successor to that well-known friend of Israel, My Cloud Monkey.

What seems to have escaped everyone's attention is WHERE THE FUCK WERE THE BBC AND THE UN AND EVERYONE ELSE WHEN THEY KIDNAPPED OUR SOLDIERS ACROSS THE GAZA AND LEBANESE BORDERS, YOU BUNCH OF ORFTORFU-PRACTISING SHITES (OR SHOULD THAT BE SHI'ITES)?

Now I have your attention, we shall move on to the main controversy. Please do not treat this as a leak from Mossad, although if the British TV series Spooks is as plausible as they like to think (oh coincidence, it's a BBC programme!), they are just about incompetent enough to mention it on a blog...

How come nobody in the Holocaust-denying, Protocols-reading, Bushitler-chimpmonkey- electionrobber-oilstealer-hating contingent (aka most of the Middle East and most of Middle England) has claimed that it woz those evil Zionazis wot dun it?

Surely it's obvious (in fact, we at Freedmanslife even called for it) that, if the BBC and its reportage present a direct threat to Israel's safety and wellbeing in the world, as they stir up immediate hatred and create a long-term innate bias amongst the liberal suckers who actually still believe them in the post-Gilligan era, they and their journalists become legitimate obstacles for Israel to remove?

We also know from our wonderful media sources that Israel has a big list of scum they are prepared to release for whatever is left of its kidnapped soldiers. Could it be that the saintly Mr Johnston, a "friend of Palestine" according to remarks by prominent PA folk, is a bargaining chip? Or are the Isra-aliens even more insidious, by "disappearing" him and letting those otherwise peace-loving Palestinians turn on themselves again, as they blame each other in a bid to find out who has taken him?

The plot thickens... well, it thickens as much as I can be bothered to think of new twists. Still, it's more plausible than the latest series of "24", isn't it?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Beginning

It seems the hard disk obviously was not quite as full as I thought...

Also thanks for the supportive comments from Armenian Christian, Hilton Truffle Cake, Ofer K, Yodeller, Freedmansmum and Freedmansister, to name but a few who demanded a resumption of service. I feel I must oblige!

So a bit more news from Freedmanslife then. I had a great trip to Israel, where I spent a delightful Pesach with friends and family.

Much of the time was spent with the wonderful Westonians, who still hold the title of coolest aunt and uncle in our family, which may say more about the competition than about them... Highlights included a hilarious game of Articulate, especially the Armenian Christian trivia and Freedmansdad's desire to win ("come on Roooth, get ON with it"), and a night at Badolina which was immortalised by Freedmansdad's response to the awfully slow service:

"No, no, nah-no no, it's not funny... no, it's not funny - it isn't funny... yes, no no really, it is NOT funny. I don't think it's very funny - it just is not funny. No no ne no no. It isn't funny! Can I have the kheshbon* please, we're leaving."

Just as soon as he finished his speech, the waiter disappeared with a big smile on his face, and came back with all our main courses. Best of all, he turned to dad and said "Eeeeh, no no, it eesn't fanny! No, rilly issnot fanny!"

At which point we all cracked up - even Freedmansdad.

* Whenever in Israel, Freedmansdad has developed a habit of littering his English with the handful of Hebrew words he has picked up. This leads to such classics as "actually we were in Yerushalayim today" and most famously "shtayim of those please" - matched only by Freedmansmum's peerless pronunciation of Ben Yehooooda and the Sephardi post-Pesach party now named after a Moroccan Hotel as mamounia rather than mimouna.

But then she is the daughter of Freedmansgran, whose classics include fat Geordie footbalista "Gaza" and underachieving British tennis flop Tim Denman, as well as Greek deli classic tarasalamata...

Also I enjoyed the usual excellent hospitality at Whiskey A-Go-Go, though there was no sign of Sideshow Bob this year, and we all reconnected with our new spiritual home in Tel Aviv, the glorious Buchovsky bar on the corner of Dizengoff (or if you're John Simpson in the BA in-flight mag, Ditzengoff) and Frishman.

There was come exciting beach drinkery, including an excellent banana and mint smoothie with the National Express himself, a late-night mint tea on the sofa with Peanut Marble, most of a bottle of excellent merlot with My Little Pony (and boyf), Fondue (and girlf), Simone de Beauvoir, Lobester, Armenian Christian, Perpetual Student, National Express (and Manc mate) and Freedmansister, and perhaps the most exciting of all, a limonana with a (the only) real-life Freedmanslife fan who isn't obliged to be, known to you as Ofer K, and his buddy Samson.

Among the home-made culinary highlights were the young beef with figs and tarragon prepared by a very special young chef (he's also quite a dab hand at kedgeree brunches), Naomi the Caterer's honey and thyme ice cream, which nearly made up for her making us wait 90 minutes in the car park at Arlozoroff, Freedmansdad's matza brie (our unique recipe calls for a savoury version with a stack of fried onions), and of course anything made by Freedmansmum or Freedmansister, but especially the wonderful home-made lemonade.

I should also mention the other moments of top-notch scoffery: the chocolate truffle cake at the Hilton with one of freedmanslife.com's biggest fans; the shoulder of veal and medallions of chicken with date and apricot at David's Citadel (thanks to my new friend Mahathir), the lovely post-Pesach fress at the dinky Pasta Penne Bar on Bograshov, and the amazing choc brownies, cake and jammy strawbs at the ashkenazi mimouna party on the rooftop at Hovevei Tzion.

There were some more sombre moments of course, for example the compulsory visit to the Family Battleaxe, and a trip to the Palmach Museum to learn how we fought tooth and nail for the right to give it all away whenever the pussies of the BBC, UN or EU tell us to.

Other than that, an exciting calendar of travels has unfolded for the coming months... from 22nd-29th April, I'll be in New York for Yom Haatzmaut, then Oklahoma City with my new friends Sean the Sheep, Dan the, er, Man, and Iggy Groovy (Freedmansmum inadvertently helped with that one), then back to NYC for some morey Doree glory.

Then I'll be back in the Holy Land from mid-June to early July for back-to-back weddings (Velvet Katyusha and Peanut Marble - not to each other, that would be weird) . In between, some festivities and familiarisation with the John Lewis wedding list, courtesy of the nuptials of Peripatetic and The Only Jew In Wickes (again, not to each other, though that might have worked out ok).

After this extravaganza, it's off to Toronto in late August for Vietnamese Tea Diver's shebang with Dr Green (big hi to Doc Giant Squid who was here in London for about 5 minutes just before yom tov, I enjoyed our stroll and seaweed crisps). Then Freedmansister and I are taking in Niagara and Montreal before coming back home.

Not content with these Airmiles boosters, we are popping over to Zurich for Rosh Hash with the Yodellers, and then Bison and I get straight on the plane to Israel again for 10 days of fun with our friends Elvis and Lemar, who are also getting married (to each other) - and I will get to dance with Lemar's gran at the party, she's so cool!

Are you keeping up?!

Well, that's it for the moment... I feel rejuvenated... at least until the next huff.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The End

It's been fun but I have now grown out of the need to seek your attention, and am sick of writing this pap, only for nobody to read it, or if they do, to largely fail to give it an interesting response. Thanks for sticking with me this far. Ideological, girl-related or Apprentice-cussing rants will now be restricted to personal appearances.

Time to be just like the rest of you, and have no opinion/keep it to myself. And possibly start using the internet for its main purpose - downloading porn... I'll reconsider my position once the hard drive is full.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

That big time out

Well, here we are again, 2 months after the last posting. Sorry about that. No real real excuse, just been rather busy with work, a spot of writer's block, and a sense of helplessness against the tide of dross that passes for journalism, politics and popular entertainment.

So a quick précis of the last 8 weeks:

1. The Apprentice restarted. I missed the first episode, but everyone's so disillusioned that I couldn't find anyone who had recorded it, to borrow from. So that's a write-off. Shame, as I gather the candidates are an even bigger bunch of morons than in previous years. The Big Koala must be sick of it.

2. A vague attempt at dalliance with the opposite sex ended abruptly when I realised she would only ever be my fourth love, after myself, my business, and my food.

3. Iran did some stupid stuff with some British soldiers. Of course there must not be too much of a fuss, let alone any military strikes, even if they are held in unknown conditions with no Red Cross or diplomatic access. After all, there is no casus belli in constantly harrassing your neighbours, sending help to terrorists, devising weapons of mass destruction, then kidnapping soldiers operating under international law. See how well we have learned from our mistakes in Lebanon? ORFTORFU!

4. Tony Blair got a bit closer to stepping down, David Cameron got a bit closer to succeeding him, save for the economy-fucking interregnum of the dour Scots bloke.

5. Some early runners and riders for the 2008 US election did a whip-round for funds, blathered a bit, and generally scared the poo out of most non-Americans that the world's only superpower, with 1/4 of a billion people to choose from, could produce a multiple Hobson's Choice.

6. Israel stayed on the map, managed a credible 0-0 home draw with England in the football, avoided making any important decisions on the future of the region, whilst slinging plenty of mud at senior politicians, most of which will probably and quite rightly stick.

7. Steve McClaren made himself the most hated man in England (after Tony Blair of course, the evil Bushitlerpoodle), for taking one of the best starting XIs on paper and making them look like cardboard cut-outs on the pitch. 52 minutes to score against Andorra?! Even I could manage it, and I play in goal.

8. Er... writer's block kicking in again - someone remind me what else happened...

More soon, supposedly I am on holiday, can relax and find time for this blathering.