Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tis the Season to be Mo Jolly (2)

Am I pissed off? Naw....

Only Muslims Can Use The Word Allah

CAN you make this up? No: "A church and Christian newspaper in Malaysia are suing the government after it decreed that the word 'Allah' can only be used by Muslims.

"In the Malay language 'Allah' is used to mean any god, and Christians say they have used the term for centuries."


"A spokesman for the Herald, the newspaper of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, said a legal suit was filed after they received repeated official warnings that the newspaper could have its license revoked if it continued to use the word.

"We are of the view that we have the right to use the word 'Allah'," said editor Rev Lawrence Andrew."

Yes, we are aware of this controversy even here in Vancouver, Canada; but we didn't take it kneeling down: I am personally leading a campaign to ensure that no Muslim is allowed to use the name Coca Cola. Yes, it is true that Muslims invented Coca Cola thousands of years ago, but Coke is a Christian icon, as we all know, that is misused by Muslims to further jihad against us; therefore, it is only just and reasonable that Muslims forever and anon forego the further use of, and even the infidel imbibing of, Coca Cola.

I pronounce this a fatwa, a thinwa, a deathwa, and not to forget the important things in life, I pronounce this a dagwa.

Dagwa! It's the real thing. (For Americans, of course, it's the real "thang.")

Friday, December 28, 2007

Tis the Season to be Mo Jolly

The ayatola Khomieni claims there is no fun in Islam, and he should know. But there is a great deal of mo humah in the Western world, and here, thanks to David, is a bit of it:

In case you missed it, here is The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

The winners are:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts un til you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
12. Karmageddon: It's when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes, and it's a serious bummer.
13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you
14. Glibido: All talk and no action.
15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked t hrough a spider web.
17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1. coffee, n. the person upon whom one coughs.
2. flabbergasted, adj. appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
3. abdicate, v. to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. esplanade, v. to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. willy-nilly, adj. impotent.
6. negligent, adj. absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.
7 lymph, v. to walk with a lisp.
8. gargoyle, n. olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. flatulence, n. emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.
10. balderdash, n. a rapidly receding hairline.
11. testicle, n. a humorous question on an exam.
12. rectitude, n. the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. pokemon, n. a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. oyster, n a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism, n. the belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. circumvent, n. an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

No prizes here for your winning entry but you will deserve my undying applause if you contribute something good. I'm not sure if I can use one of my favorites, it perhaps being in the blog already. Hey, why not?

Flaguellents: Loud-mouthed self-hating anti-American hippies.

Muslim Convert Falls Asleep! It's a Miracle.

Dear reader, you might be one of those cynical and hard-bitten men-of-the-world who scoffs at religious conversion, maybe one who scoffs at religion in any form of any kind; but listen, you, as soon as you finish this story you'll be on your fuckin' knees praying for forgiveness. This one did it for me. I'm now convinced. You will be too:

US priest embraces Islam Published: Friday, 28 December, 2007, 02:09 AM Doha Time

An American Christian priest, Severedo Royce, now known as Ali Guatemala, has embraced Islam and was one among the 17,000 American Muslims who performed Haj this year.

Speaking to the Saudi daily Asharq Alawsat, he said that as a divinity student he had in his final year worked as a staunch evangelist. His focus of attention was on the inmates in the prisons of Queen City, Texas.

Explaining the circumstances that led to his conversion to Islam he said: "As a divinity student one had to be well-acquainted with the sacred books of the other revealed religions. I had to read the Holy Qur'an and the very first verse I read was the turning point in my life. It is the opening lines of the chapter entitled "Cow": 'This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah'. It was an affirmative statement about the authenticity of this Book that rules out any suspicion or doubt.

"When I began reading further I found many basic points contradicting my Christian faith. So I sought the help of my superiors in the church. They evaded my questions and advised me not to read the Qur'an too much because it is the "work of a Satan!" As time passed by I became increasingly convinced that the Qur'an is truly a divine revelation, inimitable and impossible to be the work of any human being.

"I went through a turbulent period of inner conflict but I was firm in my prayers that the Almighty should guide me to the true religion. Ultimately I decided to become a Muslim.

"I had to face severe opposition and anger from my family members. My sister, who is a Jew by faith, frightened me saying that the Muslims may kill me. I was physically seized with this fear and stayed away from the mosque for some time. But ultimately I discovered that it was an imaginary fear. My sister herself conceded that the Muslims had not deceived me.

"When I arrived here (Makkah) and entered the precincts of the Holy Ka'aba, I began to tremble and weep in an involuntary manner. I could regain my composure only after some time.

"I have for the past five years been using sleeping tablets for getting sleep. But when I arrived in Mina I fell asleep naturally. It is something that I have been missing for so many years."

Now, I don't care how cynical you try to be in public, you and I both know this is the proof we've all sought to show that believing Muslims are the stupidest creatures on Earth. You talk garden slugs? Nope. You say, maybe, chipmunk road-kill? Ha!. Try .... space dust? Come on friend, 'fess up: it's believing Muslims. Then again, maybe you don't like taking sleeping pills. OK, so convert. Who cares? Sleep it off. We'll pretend you never brought up this stuff. When you come out of it, we'll still be at McSorley's Tavern. 15 East 7th Street, East Village. New York , NY. "Ali Guatemala" who has a Jewish sister, was a divinity student, converted to Islam. Yee, ah. I'm in for that one. Pour me another, bartender, it's gonna be a long night.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

No Dhimmitude for Christmas

I asked my buddy just for the sake of conversation, "Why is it that I've never been robbed? I don't know anyone and haven't met anyone who hasn't been robbed. Everyone has had a gun pointed at him and has been robbed but me. What's that about?"

You see, this is the good thing about having friends when you're on the road in dangerous places: you have someone to watch your back and to take you aside at times and tell you things they really wanted to tell you long ago but never felt they had a good excuse to tip you off. Yes, strangers would like to have taken you aside, but they're never going to do it. You need a friend for such delicate things as what my friend told me. "You haven't been robbed because you look like you don't have anything worth stealing," he said. So I thought about it and wondered till I couldn't any longer, and I said, "Huh?" That's when he took me aside and explained things. Yeah, it's really good to have a friend.

"You look like a gawdam bum."

I was taken aback. I looked around me and the village we were in, a scattering of thatched huts and semi-starving peasants sitting in a stupor wherever life might have placed them at that moment for the day, and I considered what it could mean that I looked like a bum. I had to ask. My friend said, "You're wearing a faded camouflage tee-shirt in a place where people have a lot of experience with soldiers coming through who kill everyone. Hate to say it but you look like a foreigner, too. You look like a mercenary whose just come out of the jungle after a couple of months."

Yeah, but....

So he said I should start by getting a new shirt if I wanted to get robbed. I said I didn't think that's such a good idea, but he said it'd be a better idea than being killed. Friends. What a great concept.

I figured I'd start with a new tee-shirt and work my way around it, building slowly as the weeks went on. I knew what I didn't want in a new shirt, having seen the old lady squatting on the roadside begging, the lady grinning toothless and happy at me admiring her shirt, the one with the bubble-blowing cock-eyed cartoon cat slumped inside a liquor bottle, the caption saying, "Happiness is a tight pussy." It's just not me. Nor the Rambo-like guy with the bandoleers of ammunition emerging from the jungle bamboo riverbank as our skiff hit the mud and he popped out to greet us, his shirt reading: "Proud to be Gay." Nor the one his companion, the guy carrying the AK 47 and a machete, had on: "I was at Moishe Goldberg's Bar Mitzva, Yonkers, 1976." No, I wanted something stylish but not something that made a "statement." I was thinking something more sedate, something more in keeping with my low-key self. I looked around and found a pair of black pants and a jacket to match, a white shirt, and an old black hat that fit pretty well. That looked to me like sedate, and the price was good. I took the plunge. "Gimme the whole ensemble," I said. I'm not totally colorless and bland, so I stuck on a lapel pin I'd picked up in Mexico during some Halloween festival, a neat thing of a skeleton greeting people. I liked it a lot. Kind of friendly and humorous, like me, as I like to think. I got my outfit all at once, surprisingly, and also picked up a Bible so I could read a bit during the dull moments. The shop owner gave me a cross on a leather string. What the Hell. I figured I might try to blend in with the locals a bit.

What a change. People looked at me and I got RESPECT. People stood and looked and didn't try to sell me rubbish or their daughters or anything. Very nice. No one reached for a gun. Too cool, said I. I went looking for my buddy to see what he thought of my new get-up.


It was then I decided that I should buy a bullet-proof vest and risk getting shot. I recalled Robert D. Kaplan writing an article about them. I didn't have so many options as he. I had to go around to policemen on the sly and offer to buy from them. That's a story for another occasion. Below is Kaplan's piece of good tips for you this Christmas season. If you're European, this is the best thing you'll read all this week, and perhaps ever.

Body armor is a must in some lines of work, and it gives "fashion plate" a whole new meaning

by Robert D. Kaplan

How Do I Look?

For years I had been borrowing this particular piece of sartorial equipment. Now I felt that I had reached the stage in life where I needed something that fit right, set the appropriate tone, and was hanging in my own closet ready for use. I am not talking about a tuxedo. I am talking about body armor: a vest that holds steel, ceramic, or polyethylene plates for protection against 9 mm, 5.56 mm, and 7.62 mm rounds, and also against various fragmentation devices.

I thought that buying a bulletproof vest and helmet would be simple, but it quickly became complicated—so many choices, so many Web sites, so much conflicting advice from friends. In the early twenty-first century there is a big demand for this type of thing. There are waiting lists for certain vests, and not all sizes are in stock. Just as there are people who attend soirees, company dinners, awards nights, and charity balls, there are people who find themselves in war zones, and they need to be protected but also to look right.

I was attracted to one Web site,, which advertised "Clearance: Great Products at Blowout Prices." It offered machine-washable Point Blank Concealable Armor with removable panels. Another Web site,, offered similar vests to "put the odds back in YOUR favor."

But I didn't want concealable armor that fit under a shirt—I am not a Secret Service agent, a police detective, a convenience-store clerk in a high-crime area, a drug lord, or a Mafioso. I wanted tactical body armor that fits over a shirt or a jacket. And the array of tactical body armor offered on the Internet seemed endless.

Friends in the Marines and the Army Special Forces recommended that I buy a vest and plates that gave Level III or IV protection. With that in mind I found a Military Outer Tactical Vest (OTV) I liked for $790 at Bullet, and an even nicer Paraclete Modular Armor Vest—a "hybrid composite [of] Goldflex and Spectra-flex"—sold by for $1,990, with soft-armor panels and Velcro pockets for hard-armor trauma plates.

When it comes to armor plates, you pay for lightness. As one Web site put it, an iron stove will stop a bullet, but who wants to wear an iron stove strapped to his body? Thus nine-pound steel plates cost $110 apiece on Bullet, whereas ceramic plates that weigh only five and a half pounds cost $245 apiece, and "maximum coverage" ceramic plates that weigh 7.9 pounds cost $280. The lightest plates—three pounds—are made of polyethylene, and cost $395 each.

All right, I thought. I'll buy polyethylene. Trouble is, polyethylene can deteriorate when exposed to excessive heat—so don't leave your IBA (Individual Body Armor) in a vehicle cooking in the sun, one seller advised. Well, I had just spent a summer in the southern Philippines and part of an autumn in Afghanistan cooking in the sun. Moreover, the polyethylene plates did not fit inside some of the vests I liked.

There were other decisions, too. Did I need side plates? I remembered hearing a colonel berate a sergeant in Afghanistan for not having side plates. "Do you want to die, son?" the colonel asked. "Well, sir," the sergeant replied, "my first wife is getting one half of my retirement pension and my second wife the other half, so it's a good question."

Then I discovered an entire new range of plates, some offering point-blank Level IV protection: if 7.62 mm armor-piercing ammunition hits you twice in the same plate, you are still protected. A single Multi Hit III++ Hard Armor Plate costs $1,678.95 at Paraclete The top of the line from this Web site was a Level IIIA releasable vest filled with multi-hit plates for $7,300.05, complete with pockets for ammunition, magazines, and explosive devices such as flash bangs.

I also had to choose a color. The vests that interested me came in black, plain tan, smoke green, woodland camouflage, and desert or tricolor camouflage. Black was out of place everywhere I had been. Plain tan attracted me, because it would set me apart as a journalist without being too conspicuous among the desert cammies worn by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Woodland camouflage is the forest-green pattern used by the U.S. Army in every theater except the Middle East; I had seen woodland vests used occasionally in the Middle East, though I had never seen desert cammies used in South America or the Pacific. I liked woodland, but smoke green might be an alternative, I thought.

My decision was further complicated by the Marines. They wear digital cammies in a pattern different from the woodland and tricolor designs of the other services. Would they be offended if I wore woodland?

As with a lot of clothing these days, there were accessory items to consider. Did I want groin protection? Well, why not? The problem was that, as I had learned in the southern Philippines from observing an exercise featuring low-level explosives, groin protectors are cumbersome, albeit useful if something explodes at your feet.

There were other possibilities too. Members of an Army Special Forces team I had encountered in southern Afghanistan didn't like any of the vests on the market, so they ordered ceramic plates from the United States and had an Afghan tailor design vests for them. After all, why not employ and consult the locals, in order to win hearts and minds? I tried on one of the Afghan vests. No, I thought, it wasn't me.

In London, if you have money and you want an expert to make decisions about your dinner jacket, you might go to Savile Row. In the United States for this kind of thing you might go to Fayetteville, North Carolina, outside Fort Bragg, home of the Army Special Forces, or to Jacksonville, North Carolina, home of the Marine base Camp Lejeune.

In Fayetteville, I learned from a friend who has had a lifetime of experience in plainclothes intelligence work overseas that "there are vests and there are vests, and there are plates and there are plates." He warned, "Don't just go buy something over the Internet." He also advised me against buying any plates not made of boron carbide or silicon carbide or not in "tiled array"(if a plate cracks when one bullet hits you, you want the damage isolated to a tile, keeping the rest of the plate intact). Another friend told me that stopping rounds from an AK-47 isn't enough; a plate has to be able to stop armor-piercing bullets, too.

In Afghanistan I had noticed that if body armor is too heavy, you wind up taking it off at every opportunity. And bad things happen when you least expect it. In the end I traded some protection for lightness, figuring that if my body armor was comfortable, I'd wear it more often and be better protected. I bought a ProMAX Tactical Vest for $750, with front and back polyethylene plates. I had been advised that the plates, snug inside the vest, would be protected from the sun for at least a few years. I had asked for tan, but it was sold out in my size, so I settled for desert camouflage. The total package cost $1,540 at, an Austin, Texas, firm with great customer service. A helmet and ballistic eyewear (from another Web site) added another $340 to the bill. The helmet was covered in a desert pattern, and the salesman sent along a woodland cover for use outside the Middle East.

Everywhere in my odyssey through the world of body armor, salesmen mentioned satisfied customers. It was the unsatisfied customers I worried about.

The URL for this page is

I figure if you're going to get shot, at least make it hard on the shooter.

On that note, I leave you for the day, dear reader, with a heartfelt " Merry Christmas."