A brief history of the Jewish people and the Mideast and how the troubles in the Gaza Strip came about, with maps and everything, to try to explain why the people there keep trying to kill each other… and don’t worry, I will try to make this funny, because this is a comedy blog after all… but ***WARNING*** this post is going to piss some of you off…

So I did that post the other day where I tried to explain my mixed feelings about the horrible fighting going on in the Gaza Strip between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But I forgot one very important fact. Many Americans pay absolutely no attention to history and can’t find America on the map of the world unless there are words printed on the map telling what each country is. (Sorry, but as long as I am pissing people off, I figured I would get the Americans out of the way first… I will get to the rest of you soon enough).

So, just as a little background to my earlier post, I give you the following history lesson.

First, just to set the stage, and to make sure we are all on the same page here, Israel is located at the top of Africa. Okay, now we can begin.

The Jewish, or Hebrew, people seem to have started off where they ended up. Back then, the area now known as Israel was called Canaan. There was a series of droughts and famines… because that is what happens when you live in a desert. So some of the people migrated to Egypt some time around 1,400 BCE… (Before Christian Era)… where they had steady if low-paying positions… (also known as slavery)… under the Egyptian Pharos.

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They didn’t have a lot of time for scuba diving… they were too busy building big monuments and other things. After 400 years, they decided that slavery had been a bad career choice and wanted to go back home. According to the Bible… a respected historical document that many believe is all absolutely true, even the parts that contradict other parts or are just plain horrible… a guy named Moses came and convinced the Egyptians to ‘let his people go’. Then they walked around in the desert for quite some time.

When they got home, they found that there were other people living in their lands. Obviously, this was a little awkward. But thankfully… for them, at least… their God told them to go ahead and slaughter all those rude people… and I mean all of them… women and children and even the goats. That old testament god did not mess around.

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There was much slaughtering for many years, but at last, the Jewish people had their homes back.

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Well, it might have just ended there, with everyone… well, all the survivors at any rate… living happily ever after… but this is the Mideast we are talking about…

So the lands were conquered by the Assyrians in the 8th century BCE…

And the Assyrians were kicked out and replaced by the Babylonians in 587 BCE…

Who were toppled by the Persians…

Who were overthrown by Alexander the Great and his Greeks in 332 BCE…

Now during all these change-of-ownership squabbles, some of the Jewish people left… not always by choice, many of them were sold into slavery… but most hung around waiting to see what would happen. What happened was the Roman Empire… which conquered the area and held it from 63 BCE to 324 CE… (Christian Era)…

Well by this time the Israelites were fed up and they revolted. That didn’t end well. The Romans knew all about keeping people in line. Many more Israelites were sent off to see the world… as slaves… those that weren’t just killed.

So during all of this, as I said just now, many of the Jewish people had left home on their own… before they were led away in chains… and settled all over the place. This dispersal, also known as the ‘diaspora’… looked something like this…

a 1 a 4By this time, the Jewish people were spread around like cream cheese on a bagel. And don’t forget that during all this time, with new rulers coming in every other week… or at least every other century… the people there had been doing what people always do… having sex… so by now, the races were so intermingled that it was getting hard to tell who was who… which explains why people there try so hard to hang on to any cultural or religious heritage that they can…

Well the Roman Empire folded… you know… like Empires do… and once again, things could return to normal… with constant tribal warfare and small kingdoms battling one another and new rulers coming and going and people being generally awful to one another.

And then came the Crusades…

Now, if you are a Christian or a Catholic, and, back when I was talking about that old testament god and how cruel he seemed to be, this might be a good time to remind you that you worship the same guy… and he convinced your ancestors to do this…

a 1 a 4 aAnd, you guessed it, there was much slaughtering and horribleness for many more years.

Now you may find it ironic that during many of these intervening years, the Jews and the other people of the region often coexisted peacefully, living in the same cities. In fact, when the crusaders showed up and cracked some of these cities open like big walnuts, they often slaughtered the Jews right along with whoever else was living there… sometimes even including other Christians… because, you know, once you start slaughtering people, it is hard to slow down you momentum just to ask silly questions like: ‘Hey, who are you, and are you even some one I should slaughter?’

So During all this time, once again, many of the Jewish people went out into the world to try to find other places to live… with less slaughtering going on, and fewer changes of leadership. This met with varying degrees of success, as you can imagine, because people are basically horrid to other people who look or sound or smell or act or pray differently.

Let’s skip forward to modern times… because it is safe to assume that the Mideast was still making sure that their slaughtering quotas were being met.

The Jewish people living in Europe began to wonder if living where they were discriminated against and treated as second-class citizens was really such a good deal. And a few of them decided to go back home once again. This must have been a tough choice to make, all things considered.

In 1882, the first Zionist settlement of European Jews was established back in the homeland. I have no idea what the Jews who stuck it out in the Mideast through all the rest of that time felt about this… but the other local inhabitants were too busy trying to survive in a desert to get worked up about it. I guess this is how we white people stole America from the Native Americans. The secret is to show up in a small group at first and try to remain inconspicuous, inviting your friends and neighbors and relatives to come and join you until all of a sudden you outnumber the people who you want to displace.

Well then World War One… the ironically named ‘war to end all wars’… happened, and Britain took Palestine from the Ottoman Empire. So it was Turks out, England in. And the British sort of made a promise of sorts to the Jewish people that they could have a small piece of land for their very own in the land that was once their homeland… and then wasn’t… and then was… sort of… and so on and so on… when they signed the Balfour Declaration in 1971 creating the Jewish National Home. I strongly suspect that the British didn’t do this to be nice to the Jews. They most likely thought it would be a good way of getting a few more Jews out of Britain and back where they belonged. Besides, they were planning on sticking around and running the place anyway, so having the Jews all in one spot would make things easier for them.

More and more Jews moved back from Europe to the ‘Holy Land’… because in many parts of Europe, life was hard on the Jews… especially in Russia, where they had periodic ‘pogroms’… which is a fancy way of saying ‘let’s go out and beat up or kill some Jews today, because nothing else is going on’… But by now, the local Arab inhabitants were starting to notice that there were a lot of Jews around, and they began to get nervous about it.

And then World War Two happened.

And things got really bad for the Jews of Europe… like more than 6 million of them being slaughtered on an industrial scale bad… because slaughtering people with swords was just too much work and much to slow for those oh-so-Germanically-efficient Nazis.

At the end of the war, the Jews in Palestine… and here it is important to remember that Palestine is a place… it is not a ‘people’… the people of this area were from all over the Mideast, coming with each new wave of conquerors, and then intermingling with other people until it was sort of an Assyrian/Babylonian/Greek/Roman/Turkish/Arab stew… but anyway, the Jews living there started a resistance movement against the British. Because that worked out so well against the Romans and all those other conquerors.

The Jewish Resistance Movement began actually attacking the British. Ironically… wow, history has a lot of irony in it, doesn’t it?… the Jews had few weapons, so they had to resort to terrorist-style bombing and sniping attacks… which is an awful lot like the Palestinians… which, once again, are not an actual race or group of people… have had to resort to against Israel in the Gaza Strip…

At the same time, the Jewish resistance began to smuggle Jews from Europe… once again, the ones that were still alive… into the ‘promised land’ in old freighters and whatnot… because the British, even though they felt horrible about the gas chambers and death camps and all that, were not allowing new Jews into Palestine, going so far as to lock up the ones they caught in camps, another supreme irony of history.

By now, the British were beginning to figure out that having an ‘Empire’ in the new, post-WW2 era was not only embarrassing, it was downright impossible. So they decided to cut their losses and hand the whole Palestine problem over to the U. N.

And in 1947, even as the now disgusted Arabic people were beginning to attack the Jewish people in the area, and the British were pulling their last troops out… the U. N. came up with this awesome idea…

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That right there, on the right, was the U. N. plan to divide the whole area up into a nice, easy to manage zoning system that would solve all of the problems of the Mideast and end the slaughtering. On the left is the map showing the ancient plan that King David came up with to stop the fighting between the Jews and the last Philistines that the Jews hadn’t slaughtered and the Phoenicians whom they hadn’t slaughtered yet, and thereby cause peace to break out.

That plan evidentially didn’t work any better than the plan the U. N. came up with.

A weird civil war turned immediately into the Arab Israeli war of 1948. And on May 14th of that same year, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the grand opening of the Jewish State of Israel…

Which led to this…

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That’s right, a bunch more slaughtering. Because by this time, all the countries around Israel had decided that they didn’t want the Jews coming back home. So they all swore to attack them and destroy them and drive them into the sea… because… you know… it’s the freakin’ Mideast.

So Israel, a tiny little country with not many weapons, was attacked by a bunch of much bigger, well-armed countries… over and over again… and totally kicked their asses.

And after each war, Israel kept at least some of the land that they had fought and died over, and grew much bigger… and more powerful

But they still had those people living within their borders who were more or less just caught up in the sweep of history, and sort of considered it to be their home too.

And very little compromising was done.

And there was more slaughtering.

And now, Israel went from ‘oppressed minority fighting boldly in rebellion against tyrannical overlords’, to being what the ‘Palestinians’ consider to be ‘tyrannical overlords’… and the irony of history has come full circle.

And now we have this…

a 1 a 7A tiny piece of land inside the State of Israel, where they sort of keep the ‘Palestinians’ herded together… concentrated together, you might almost say… like a… I don’t know… what’s the word? Concentration camp?

Now don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that simple. I point that out for the sake of irony. The Palestinians are letting a few bad people make their decisions, and these people have been terror bombing and suicide bombing and rocket bombing and mortar bombing and sniping and so on since way back when Israel was just a gleam in Ben-Gurion’s eye.

They used to be more free to move about the country, but there is only so long you are going to put up with people trying to blow you and your children up before you put them where it is easier to keep an eye on them… this is why we invented jails, to keep people who misbehave where we can keep an eye on them. The thing is… oh boy, you knew there would be a thing… is that they are keeping all of the people in jail, not just the criminals. But on the other hand, you could say that they are just giving a tiny homeland to the ‘Palestinians’ which is exactly how Israel started out… again…

And besides, how can this…

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…not be the perfect way to solve all that slaughtering that has been going on in the Mideast?

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The ways of the WordPress Overlords are indeed strange and mystifying… (or): So, tell me a little about yourself…

I keep getting messages from WordPress that I have a new follower… but I swear, some of those people are already following me. Obviously, it is not my place to question the methodology of the exalted humans… and perhaps aliens… who run this fabulous and quirky blogiverse we all inhabit… but I will anyway… because… you know… I have a head full of crack squirrels…

Have any of you noticed this strange phenomenon of the repeat followers? Am I just going senile? Are people unfollowing me and then refollowing me? And seriously, Mr. Spellchecker, how are unfollowing and refollowing not real words?

And this one bit of confusion led me to contemplate a few other facets of blogging that I am a little confused by. I seem to be being followed by quite few companies, businesses and corporations. I am not complaining, mind you, I just wonder if this is happening to you as well. I know corporations are people… according to prevailing Republican theory… but doesn’t it seem like they should be too busy doing work to spend time reading our blogs?

And as long as I am ranting about this stuff, I have to say that lately, my spam mail has been really lame. Most of it is composed of comments made by my favorite minions. People I know have been following me for a long time, and are helping out on that post where we are trying to break the record for the most comments on one WordPress private blog post. It seems that if a person leaves too many comments in one day, the robot guardians of WordPress assume they must be spam. But we didn’t get over 30,000 comments on one post without working at it, so these things are going to happen. But I used to get all kinds of crazy spam. I did posts about it. Now I get spam from my friends… or from people trying to sell me Adderall. What the hell is Adderall, and why are so many people trying to sell it to me. I get dozens of these a day? It sounds like it might be a drug that helps you do math. So maybe I do need it. Because I can’t… do math, I mean.

So anyway, I was wondering if we could take a brief poll… or if you could tell me a little about yourself. Because I can’t be sure who is slipping past the robots. Maybe you could answer a few quick questions…

1. Are you a real human being?

2. Have you ever followed me, unfollowed me, and then refollowed me?

3. Is there only one of you?

4. Are you a corporation?

5. Are you a human that works for a corporation but spends all of their time reading my blog… (which I am totally okay with, just so you know)?

6. Do you know what the hell Adderall is, and if so, can you tell me why they seem to think I really need to be taking it?

7. Do you ever wonder if WordPress is just messing with our heads?

8. Are you glad I ask the crazy questions, or do you just want me to go back to doing whatever it is I normally do around here… which really makes no sense at all because I don’t do anything ‘normally’ around here, and this is an awful lot like some of the stuff I do do…  ha… I said do do…

Okay, enough of that… please join me tomorrow for a special post that clears up the questions that were raised by that post I did about the Gaza Strip. I am going to do the entire history of the Mideast… with maps and stuff… to explain why things are the way they are between the Israelis and the Palestinians. No… don’t worry… I know, we are talking about centuries of bloodshed and violence… but it is going to be funny… trust me…

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Please follow my blog… before James Bond shoots me in the head…

I have never kept it a secret that I am the evil criminal mastermind in charge of a secret organization bent on conquering the world. I have a secret lair in a hollowed-out volcano somewhere in Southern California and an army of loyal minions and everything.

The good news is that, unlike most evil criminal masterminds, I am not going to take over the world using space lasers or nuclear weapons or a deadly virus or by starting world war three. I am doing it with my blog. I just want everybody on the planet to follow me. And then I can make all of you laugh at my antics.

The bad news is that being an evil criminal mastermind bent on world conquest pretty much guarantees that, one of these days, James Bond is going to break into my lair, blow up all my minions… and we still have openings in the minion army if anyone is interested in applying for a position… and then kill me in some gloriously gruesome fashion.

So if you wouldn’t mind, just so I can at least say I got as far in my plans as some of those other evil criminal masterminds… and you know James Bond never shows up until the very last minute to save the day, because that is just the way these things work… can you please just follow me. James Bond does not like to be kept waiting.

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I knew I forgot to do something…

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Now that I have… temporarily… shaved off my mustache, I should really change my little cartoon version of me… where is my cartoon razor?

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So… does he look younger too?

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Let’s talk about the Gaza Strip… you know… because this is a humor blog…

The trouble between Israel and the Palestinians is complex. It is not easy to come to grips with what is happening there. It is one of those issues that I have very strong feelings about… but those feelings are very mixed.

On the one hand, I hate what the Israelis are doing. It is hard to watch a country with a very powerful military go up against a group of people who have no organized military at all. It seems so unfair… so lopsided. The Palestinians have no air force, no tanks. It feels like watching a really big bully beat up on a small child.

But here is the thing… you knew there was going to be a thing, right? The Palestinians bring this upon themselves. No, it isn’t that simple. Not all the Palestinians start these problems. Just a very small and very militant portion of them. But these militants are some sick people. They are actively trying to destroy Israel. That is their stated goal. They start these troubles on purpose, lobbing rockets into Israel, purposefully aiming at civilian targets. They want to kill women and children. They are very clear about that.

On top of that, they don’t give a crap if Palestinian women and children are killed when Israel responds to these attacks. In fact, they consider it a good thing, because the news footage of wounded and killed women and children helps their cause in the Muslim world. They even go so far as to set up their rocket launchers and mortars near schools and hospitals and then they ask their own people not to leave when Israel drops leaflets telling them that they are going to bomb the site. Martyrs are what the militants are looking for. The more the better. Remember, these are the people who convince other people… including women and children… to strap bombs to themselves to turn themselves into living… and dying… weapons to attack civilian targets in Israel. Sometimes, people teach their own children to be suicide bombers.

Maybe it isn’t fair that Israel has tanks and aircraft and the Palestinians don’t. But ask yourself what you would do if your neighbor started throwing hand grenades over your fence into your yard… aiming at your children. If you had a tank, wouldn’t you use it? I think maybe you would.

The former Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir, once said something like this: The fighting here will never end until the Palestinians learn to love their own children more than they hate the Israelis.

So yes, I hate it when Israel drops bombs and people are killed. But if you think they are enjoying it, or doing it for fun, you are wrong. They do everything they can to minimize civilian casualties. The idiots on the other side… not all of them, but enough of them… do everything they can to maximize civilian casualties… on both sides of the fence.

I don’t have answers. I don’t have solutions. I just have an ache deep inside my soul.

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Why yes, I do make a splendidly adorable baby bat, thank you for noticing…

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No, we didn’t really have to hang upside down… that is what Photoshop is for… here is the original picture…

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Willie wasn’t quite sure what to make of all this, but he finally decide that if his dad and I were okay, then he could get a little closer too…

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Because… baby goats!!!

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We took Willie to the petting zoo at the Safari Park. He didn’t really want to meet the animals up close, which is weird, because he lives with a big dog… bigger than most of those goats… but hey, we all like different things. And the cool thing about taking a kid someplace is that you get to have fun too, right?

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So I made friends with some goats. I love goats. They have devil eyes… but sweet devil eyes.

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And they always look like they are smiling… sort of like me now that I shaved my mustache off.

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That one is looking at me… dreamily… because animals, and babies, love me.

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Big Johnny, Willie’s dad, made some new friends too.

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Now you may not know this, but, like dogs, a lot of animals have a favorite place that they like to have scratched. If you can find that place, you have made a new friend for life. Guys, there might be a lesson in there someplace…

a 1 a 7And I might not still be talkin’ about goats…

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