Monday, March 15, 2004

A really rather good blog on all things Israeli. All things Israeli-Palestian, but that doesn't flow as well, and it's mainly on the I-P conflicts and related matters, rather than including the rest of Israeli life, but I'm guessing the chosen topic tends to dominate. But anyway a fairly fair[1] and sensible assessment of the current affairs of that part of the Middle East.

[1] That's in the non-Fox news sense (thank god, that due to digital wonderfulness, my choices of news channels aren't restricted to Fox or CNN anymore. Admittedly I can't get either now, but they're not really a great loss [well CNN was ok, I suppose]).

Enlightening random search of the day: To stick someone's face in the cold snow, ice or slush whitewash. There was I thinking it meant something as innocent as deliberating deceiving or hiding the truth from people, when all along it's some charming ritual. Fortunately Friday's snow has gone, and it's much warmer now, so no one in this household can get ideas (well unless they think of using the freezer, but I'm not sure bags of frozen peas would have the same effect).

"How do I explain this?" search of the day: What is the source of the phrase "friends of Dorothy"?. What has Canada's education system been teaching you Mr Curious of Calgary [it's where the hit came from]? So do I attempt to explain, or do I differ to someone who is more knowledgeable about such matters (which would be a fairly hefty proportion of the population)?

As I understand it (can you spot the "I'm probably wrong" get out clause?), the term relates to the film, The Wizard of Oz. Reputedly camp and/or gay men intensely like the kitsch musical, and so are ardent fans of the film [the implication being straight men are distinctly less enamoured of the film]. In the film the principal character is a naive girl called Dorothy, who, during the film, makes friends with many different characters (some of whom are arguably camp). So the term FOD either means a man who is likely to like the film or who is reminiscent of the camper characters. As campness in males being strong equated with being gay, the term is thus used to denote a homosexual man.

How to kill any subject dead: just ask me to explain it.

I hope that was enriching to you as the new meaning of whitewash was to me (well it wouldn't be hard).

And I just found out that The Wizard of Oz was a remake of a 1925 film.

So, what should one make of me putting the topics of a whitewash, a friend of Dorothy and Ariel Sharon in the same post? Hmm...I'll be expecting the "incursion" next Tuesday then. [Don't worry, Mr Sharon (golly, two girl's names, that guy is doomed from the start), being that way inclined is perfectly acceptable now].

By the way, much of this post is written in jest, with a playful spirit, so please don't take it too seriously. As in, please don't sue me. Or nuke me. And even hate-mail can get a bit irksome after awhile.

And what do we make of the new Spanish Prime Minister deciding that Spain no longer wishes to have anything to do with Iraq? My initial response is that it's cowardice, but that feels unfair to say it. How much of the PM's decision was based on the train bombings in Madrid? Well, given that his victory is widely suggested to be a result of the attacks, it does seem that a terrorist attack has made the government agree with the terrorists' aims[2].

So terrorism works then? Some how I doubt this is what many other countries wish to hear.

[2] This is assuming that the attacks were arranged by al Qaeda[3], and it was their aim to make Spain rue its involvement in Iraqi Liberation Coalition [or whichever term best suits your rhetoric].

[3] It has also been suggested that it was the previous Spanish Government's readiness to blame ETA, their selection of the nearest scapegoat, that strongly contributed to their electoral defeat. I wonder how the Spanish, and the international media have pursued this.

Initially when I heard of the attacks, I heard bomb and Spain and that made ETA. Then when I heard of the scale of the attacks, and the co-ordination, I thought of the West's nemesis du jour, al Qaeda. Much of the debate has been is it A or B, followed by examinations of the modus operandi of both. It bears the neither the clear-cut hallmarks of either, but a mix of the two. So what does this mean? Is it one or the other? Maybe it's some other group entirely.

But I wonder, could it be mix of the two? Can there be some common ground between the goals of the organisations, or is a purely mercenary deal, and marriage of money and information? ETA provides the local manpower and knowledge, even some of the materials, al Qaeda provides specification and the backing.

Is this possible? Can terrorism be outsourced, do terrorist subcontractors exist? Why not, it's a confused capitalist market. Though for the time being I think it's merely inconsequential hypothesising. But as much of the media has realised, after the initial hysteria, it's simply much too soon to tell.

[And somehow I doubt it, ETA doesn't seem quite that evil (or foolish), but at that end of the spectrum do shades of grey still exist?]

And now onto something else: Just to make you feel utterly shallow [click "physical attraction test"]. A version of Hotornot that has theories and planning behind it. Though I don't agree with the bit about the noses. It reckons one can only have a hook or a ski-jump for a nose, and nothing in between [it didn't help I was looking at the eyebrows at the time]. It also refers to various features as ethnic or exotic. Sorry, but I don't think of features common in Dorset as exotic.

Anyhoo, that's enough for this post.

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