For some reason, I'm reading

For some reason, I’m reading Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War right now. I think I’m insane because all anyone in New York or Washington ever thinks about is Al Qaeda anyway. But I figured I’d let all you know what I’m reading in case you want to read it, too, and be insane, like me and my friends in New York and Washington.
P.S. A good friend of mine absolutely believes that the “sniper” in Washington is Al Qaeda. There seems to be almost a news blackout about this possibility which only lends more magic to the possibility that this is a possibility.
Oy, see what I mean?

I heard Mr. D'Souza on

I heard Mr. D’Souza on NPR today promoting his new book, Letters to a Young Conservative.
The letters are written to an idealized person, an anonymous and gender-neutral “Chris.” I’m actually very interested in what he has to say, though like most ideologues, D’Souza makes his point by black and white clarifications. In the interview on the radio today, he expounded his theory that conservatives believe that humans are flawed and therefore need reigning in and liberals believe that humans are essentially good but need guidance. Is this not really the same thing?
I don’t know too many Jews or Muslims or Buddhists named “Chris.”

My wife and I rented

My wife and I rented the sank-without-a-trace comedramedy (I should trademark this last word) Kissing Jessica Stein over the weekend. It was an interesting movie about personal and nervous explorations of sexuality, the demands of living in New York while trying to date at the same time, and the odd role that Jewish families play in the lives of their kids today.
Well directed and acted (though I wished I could see Ms. Stein’s paintings that she so obsessed about) — the ending is a failure and I won’t say more. Well, I will say this: how did evidently talented producers decide to take away the entire meaning of a film in the last 30 seconds? Hm?

I'm officially going to be

I’m officially going to be a shill for Macworld, a magazine I used to think was distressingly useless. With the issuing and promotion of OS X, the magazine is now hitting its stride with very useful information for the novice and advanced Mac user alike.
More importantly to me, they published a GREAT, GREAT how-to article by Scot Hacker (could that name be real?) called “Serve it Up” in the November 2002 issue which explains in plain English how to set up a Web server on your little OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) Macintosh. What this means, in plainer English, is that, after following the directions, you can begin to build Web sites that are complex, data-driven, and interactive. In even plainer English, you can use your Mac to build Web sites that use a database for displaying information — which is what Amazon.com and Yahoo! and every other large site does.
I’ve been searching for one year for an article like this — either online, in a magazine or book, or in a discussion group. Much thanks to Mr. Hacker, whose article makes me say, Macworld: Subscribe Now!

It's pretty freaking strange, and

It’s pretty freaking strange, and I doubt unplanned, that the U.S. Congress declares war on another country while Northern Europeans award Jimmy Carter the Nobel.
What does this ironic juxtaposition, arena of complements, or inherent contradiction of world polity mean for the future of the world? It’s not clear from where I sit in front of this little computer. I fear that Europeans are completely out of touch with the realities and exigencies of real terrorism, that their ideals, while worth upholding theoretically, are masked by their naivite or treacly romanticism for a pre-World War II era. But I also fear that U.S. democracy is regressing toward a pre-civil liberties era.
However, when it comes down to it all — I’d rather be alive in an democratically impoverished country than dead in an obliterated one. My bet is that most Americans feel this way. Cynical? Perhaps — but based deeply in the seriousness of preservation of one’s own life.

Those of you who know

Those of you who know me know that my blood doesn’t boil easily. Then I read about Hezbollah. Little did I know how blood curdles at 146 degrees F.
This week’s New Yorker is a must-read issue for anyone, anyone interested in America’s role in the new global cauldron. More importantly, a must-read article is Jeffrey Goldberg’s “In the Party of God,” (link points to Q&A only – buy magazine at newstands now) in which he examines the incredible religious, political, media, and cultural power of Hezbollah — a band of cowards that masquerade as modern-day saviors of Islam and the world.
I can’t do it justice. Hezbollah is more tyrannical, more hysterical, more anti-Semitic, and better funded than Al Qaeda. Here:
• One poster [in a town run by the group] showed an American flag whose field of stars had been replaced by a single Star of David.” Another “portrayed the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim shrine in Jerusalem, cupped in the bony hand of a figure with a grotesquely hooked nose.”
• “A main focus today appears to be the training of specifically anti-Israel militants in the science of constructing so-called ‘mega-bombs,’ devices that can bring down office towers and other large structures.”
• Al Manar, a very popular TV program for Palestinians, is “trying to keep the people in the mood of suffering” and shows programs like The Spider’s House, which “explores what Hezbollah sees as Israel’s weaknesses” thus directly encouraging suicide and homicide bombers among youth.
• “Ibrahim Mussawi, the urbane and scholarly-seeming director of English-langauge news at Al Manar, called Jews ‘a lesion on the forehead of history.’”
I need to give credit to Mr. Goldberg for going into the den and showing what is really happening in the Islamic propaganda machine. The Saudis, the Iranians, and the Syrians are funding Hezbollah, in the hopes that the next Middle East war, perhaps sparked by our invasion of Iraq, will produce the demise of Jews in Israel and worldwide.

Yesterday, the smarty-pants at Real.com

Yesterday, the smarty-pants at Real.com decided to launch a RealOne player and service for Mac OS X. It’s a good idea — for 9.95 a month you get something — some kind of entertainment or music or subscription or download or something and you get to use their multimedia player on your computer.
For the life of me, Real.com must be the most obscurantist company around. It’s almost always impossible to figure out what their premium services are – and now there is RealOne and there’s RealOne “SuperPass.” In fact, it’s impossible, from my looking at their Web site, to figure out what you’ll receive from Real.com besides a credit card deduction each month. Does Real.com really think that we’re all a bunch of dupes and will punch in our credit card info to sign up for $120.00 per year worth of “services.” I’m totally going to “SuperPass.”

This guy, Bryan Zepp Jamieson,

This guy, Bryan Zepp Jamieson, scares the hell out of me. Not because he’s that smart or because he’s more lefty than I can stomach but because he’s sometimes just got his finger on the pulse of all conspiratorial and apocalyptic commentary. This week’s Weekly News says that the German Commerzbank may crash, a Depression is around the corner, and so on.
He also has the ugliest looking Web site in the world.