Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week A Big Success

In spite of a determined and fanatical Leftist counterattack, campus Conservatives stood their ground last week and delivered their terrorism-awareness message to universities all across America. They were quite successful in making many students and faculty aware of the vicious aspects of radical Islam, including its oppression of women.

David Horowitz tells the story.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Indoctrinate U

The YouTube trailer for a film about Leftist indoctrination on college campuses is a useful illustration of my last post.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Time to Eject All Marxists From the Universities

Nonie Darwish, a former Muslim, spoke at U.C. Berkeley this week on the subject of Islamo-Fascism. At least she tried to speak, but was badly harrassed by the Communist Left who reign at America's top Center of Subversion.

Do see Zombie's picture essay of the event at this link. It is enough to make your blood boil.

Personally, I am for taking over all universities, firing all Marxist professors and expelling all Marxist students. "Academic Freedom" be damned. There is no "academic freedom" on campus now, only a monopoly on thought and free expression by the Far Left.

Once we boot them out, this Leftist scum will stop undermining our society and our country and Academics will start supporting them, as any university should.

Why we continue to tolerate this enemy presence in our midst is beyond me. They add nothing of value to American democracy, pluralism or society. They are a rotten tooth in the jaw of America. It's time to pull them out by the roots.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Calif Lt. Governor Makes Ass of Himself on Neil Cavuto

Neil Cavuto interviewed the Lt. Governor of California, John Garamandi, on television yesterday. Incredibly, Garamandi blamed the California fires on the War in Iraq (and by inference, George Bush), stating that with the California National Guard in Iraq, their resources were not available to fight the fires.

Neil Cavuto wouldn't let Garamandi get away with this misrepresentation, however. Cavuto pointed out that about 1,600 of the California National Guard were in Iraq out of about 17,000 total. Garamandi tried to keep talking to prevent Cavuto from asking embarrassing questions, but it didn't work. Cavuto interrupted him and insisted that he respond to his question of "how can this be true"?

Garamandi couldn't answer, but he tried. He said 50% of the California National Guard resources were in Iraq. Really? It seems less than 10% are in Iraq. Must be that new math we're always hearing about.

Garamandi was such a typical Democrat office holder on the show. He lied and exaggerated like hell, refused to answer questions, and wallowed in demogoguery. Garamandi and his ilk have convinced the rest of the country that California is the land of Moonbats, irresponsible with facts and money, ready to embrace every silly fad that comes down the pike and totally divorced from common sense. Why do so many non-Californians believe this?

Because it's true.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Are Nutty Democrats Caused by Global Warming?

There are now about 17 fires burning in Southern California. Nutball Democrats, like Harry Reid, are saying that the fires were caused by "global warming." Wow, that's some warming. The sun must have focused through a giant magnifying glass in the sky to ignite all those fires.

Well that seems unlikely. However, as one Democrat pointed out, Global Warming has increased temperatures in Southern California by one degree, and that's what caused the fires. Holy Moley, one degree! I'm surprised the whole state didn't go up like a tinderbox. Who could survive such a radical temperature change without a fire suit?

The truth is that fires of this type are common in Southern California and have been for years. Mudslides are common in other parts of California during the rainy season, and periodically a neighborhood will slide downhill or be engulfed in a tsunami of mud. This must be a result of Global Raining. We should all take our cue from these mudslides and start building an ark.

The only known cause of Global Warming that can be predicted with any accuracy is the nuttiness of the Left and the Democrats. Every normal weather pattern or natural disaster, whether it be floods, fires, tsunamis, mudslides or hurricanes, is immediately cited as proof of Global Warming. Then we hear theories described as indisputable fact.

Nothing doing, Dems. You have your religion and I have mine.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week Begins

Islam-Fascism Awareness Week began today. Various speakers on the subject will be speaking at various universities and other forums on the subject. selected this photograph as the symbol of Islamo-Fascism Awareness. It depicts a young Iranian woman being prepared for death by stoning, a barbaric practice common in Islam. The woman was convicted of adultery and, per the express orders of Muhammad, must be stoned to death.

See the UK article that ran this picture to learn more about death by stoning. It reads,
Under Islamic law a male convict is buried up to the waist with his hands tied behind his back, while a female is usually buried up to her neck. Spectators and officials then carry out the execution by hurling rocks and stones. The stones are deliberately chosen to be large enough to cause pain, but not big enough to kill the person in just one or two strikes.
Not surprisingly, the Left opposes Islamo-Fascism Awareness week, presumably because they always support Evil in all its forms and expressions.

In all fairness to Islam, not all adulteresses are stoned to death. Some are hanged. A rope is put around the neck and the victim hoisted into the air by a crane. At least with hanging, death comes swiftly. Gays are often hanged too. Women who are raped are often imprisoned, beaten or murdered in so-called "honor killings."

More graphic pictures can be seen at the links below.

To learn more about Islamo-Fascism, do check out the following links:

The Religion of Peace

Islam is the world's most evil religion. Just because Evil disguises itself as religion is no reason to tolerate it. Get informed.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hillary Clinton's New Career

Zombie has opened a new gallery of unflattering photos of Hillary Clinton. If you find any unflattering photos, do contribute them to Zombie's new photo file.

I love these photos because they are great fodder for cartoons. I have used some of Zombie's photos to create some cartoons. Here are some of them.

First photo: Because Hillary will need a new job following the 2008 presidential elections.

Second photo: Remember Mrs. Olsen who once hawked Folgers Coffee with a Swedish accent? Hillary would be a great new Mrs. Olsen as she looks just like the original.
All she has to do is fake a Swedish accent. However, if she can fake a Southern accent, a Swedish accent is a snap.

The Harry Reid Smear Letter and Aftermath

I have often emphasized on this blog just how Machiavellian, dishonest and dirty are the Democrats in their pursuit of power. None personifies this dishonesty better than Senator Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada. Reid was a leader in the transparent attempt to smear Rush Limbaugh by falsely claiming that Limbaugh called American soldiers "phony soldiers."

The truth, well documented in the archives and transcripts of the Rush Limbaugh show, clearly show Rush was referring to leftwing posers like Jesse MacBeth. These are the phonies who dress up like soldiers and fake their military service and pretend to be either veterans or active duty soldiers who "oppose the war" - however, they never were soldiers, never served and never were in Iraq. They are part of the expansive fraud known as the Democratic Party.

Harry Reid was particularly evil in his efforts. He stood on the floor of the Senate and denounced Limbaugh for impugning actual soldiers fighting in Iraq "for his freedom of speech, blah, blah, blah." Reid's entire speech was based on a false premise and a huge lie about the real facts. It would be very difficult to believe that Reid did not know the truth while he was smearing a private citizen.

Harry Reid then wrote a letter to Rush Limbaugh's employer attempting to get Rush fired or forced to publicly apologize for a wrong he never committed. Forty-one of his fellow Democrats signed the letter. Rush put the smear letter up for auction on eBay and it sold for $2.1 million. Rush donated the proceeds to a Marine Corps charity and matched the bid, bringing the full contribution to $4.2 million. Meanwhile, the Democrats' fraud was made known to millions of Americans who listen to the Rush radio show or read conservative blogs.

Proving that he is an unadulterated slimeball, Harry Reid and the mainstream media attempted to spin the auction by insinuating that it was a joint effort between Rush and Harry Reid, or that it was Rush's way of "apologizing" for his "insult" to American troops.

The mainstream media, dependable shills for the Democrats and the Left, continue to misreport the facts, stating that Rush "called soldiers who oppose the war 'phony soldiers.' " The media joined Harry Reid's efforts to steal the credit for the charitable contribution.

Unless the Dems lie like hell, they have no chance to win the public debate. For those of you who vote for these evil people, reconsider. These people do not deserve your support or your vote.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Melanie Morgan Links to Saber Point

The lovely Melanie Morgan (see picture, at right) linked to my post called "Code Pink Crushed In Berkeley." She linked to various blogs that covered the counter protest in Berkeley last Wednesday, and my post was one of the articles listed.

Thanks Melanie. I listen to you every morning on the way to work. It's great to know that KSFO radio (560 AM) exists in the belly of the beast, liberal San Francisco. Brian Sussman, Officer Vic and of course, the great Lee Rodgers, impart a welcome alternative to the constant leftist drumbeat of Bay Area media outlets.

I've never called into the show, but I'm out there, along with many thousands of other supporters. In fact, the show is listened to as far away as London, using the streaming internet connection at the KSFO website. Anyone can listen by connecting there.

God bless you guys and all you do for America. Someday I'd love to meet you all and shake your hands.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pete Stark Is Stark Raving Mad

Representative Pete Stark of the East Bay (Democrat, California) is a moonbat of the worst order and has often made outrageous comments during his long career as a horse's ass. Today on the floor of Congress he again proved again that "he's still got it."
Practically foaming at the mouth when Democrats failed to override the President's veto of SCHIP, Stark delivered a pained soliloquy accusing the President of being a liar and carrying on an "illegal" war in Iraq. Building to a crescendo and hoping to retain his reputation as the biggest ass in Congress, Stark raved: "You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement."

Stark later refused to apologize for his remarks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Code Pink Crushed In Berkeley

Move America Forward's counter demonstration against Code Pink on Wednesday, October 17, was a smashing success. View the pictures of the big confrontation here.

Local media reporters seemed downhearted that their "peace" allies were so outnumbered and outvoiced.

American flags were everywhere, along with signs and t shirts, to get the message out that Code Pink does not speak for the majority of Americans.

Ah Berkeley! Long a festering wound on the ass of America. Maybe it's time to cauterize it.

Melanie Morgan of Move America Forward writes:
The pro-troop movement took back the streets of Berkeley for our troops on
Wednesday! The pro-troop/pro-military demonstration was an incredible
success and you've got to see the pictures and read the reports to fully grasp
what an oustanding event took place.

The media was dumbfounded, they could not believe so many people turned out - we've had 3 sources give crowd estimates of just our pro-troop side ranging from 250 to 325 to 500. They also were stunned that we outnumbered Code Pink in countering THEIR rally in THEIR base, the heart of the anti-military movement, Berkeley, California.

Check out the photographs and all the details at the MAF website:

Lame Lies of Libelous Liberals

I have often said that the Democrats are very Machiavellian, i.e. they are utterly ruthless in pushing their agendas and goals while attacking Republicans. The past couple of weeks have really demonstrated how dishonest the Left really is. You can believe nothing they say. Rush Limbaugh nailed it when he said "Liberals lie. They just flat-out, freaking lie."

Big Fat Democrat Lies now making the scene:

1. Rush Limbaugh was accused of calling soldiers who criticize the war "phony soldiers." 41 Democrats signed a letter by Harry Reid to Rush's employer. The letter asked that Rush be made to apologize for the "slur" against these "soldiers." However, the Democrats were grossly misrepresenting what happened.

Rush was criticizing Leftists who masquerade as soldiers for the purpose of anti-war propaganda, like Jesse MacBeth, a Leftist who posed as a soldier protesting the war. However, MacBeth never served and was never in Iraq. MacBeth was literally and truthfully a "phony soldier." The Dems disingenuously sought to undermine Rush's credibility and popularity by passing off his remark as a slur against actual soldiers who oppose the war (neither of whom could be reached for comment).

Liberals nationwide joined in pushing the massive lie, on the Senate floor, on Chris Matthews show, even on the MSNBC website home page. (I sent email to the latter excoriating them for propagating a brazen lie.)

Meanwhile, Rush has the Harry Reid letter up for auction on e-Bay and the current bid is $65,100. Rush plans to donate the proceeds to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to children whose parents die in the line of duty.

2. Randi Rhodes (see picture above right), a liberal radio host on Air America, is largely unknown outside of her tiny circle of radio show listeners. I had never even heard of her before this week. However, she apparently was walking her dog one night and fell on her face, breaking teeth and giving herself a black eye. Leftist commentators on Air America and moonbat websites like Daily KOS and immediately announced that Rhodes had been mugged by a right wing fanatic and beaten up because the Right just can't stand to have competing opinions on the air. One commentator at Air America was crying like a little sissy-girl as he regurgitated accusations against us on the "hate-filled" right.

Within a day or so, it was revealed that Randi Rhodes beat up herself by slipping and falling on her face, in perhaps an unconscious parody of her radio show's ratings.

The incident again reveals how dishonest, irrational and paranoid are the wailing sissy-girls of the Left. Before any facts about the incident were known, masses of liberal nutroots had jumped to conclusions without any evidence whatsoever.

3. State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) - This is a medical aid program that was authored by Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Hillary Clinton. It is supposed to provide federal dollars to states to assist families who make too much money to qualify for medicare, but still can't afford private health insurance. In other words, it's socialism. Currently the act provides $5 billion annually to states for this purpose. Recently, Congress passed a bill to expand the funding from $5 billion to $35 billion annually. President Bush vetoed the bill because he believed the bill would federalize health care, expanding the scope of SCHIP much farther than its original intent. Bush said “I don’t like plans that encourage people to move from private plans to the public. And that’s what that bill would do.”

Democrats and their house organs in the mainstream media are now slurring Bush and non-socialist members of Congress as being anti-children. One Scott Thill at Alternet asked "Does Bush hate kids?" Nancy Pelosi blamed the veto on "Hate Radio," Paul Simon, the singer, called the veto "a heartless act." One of the most extreme examples of Leftist slander came from Newsweek who described Michelle Malkin this way: "Heartless right-wing blogger attacks 12 year old brain injury victim over insurance. Sick."

The only thing sick about it is the gross misrepresentation by Newsweak. Slander is their byword. The boy's family had been used by Democrats as an example of why funding should be increased sevenfold. Malkin did not attack anyone. She merely pointed out that the family of this boy was already on SCHIP coverage and the Democrats' desired increase would have no effect on his coverage. How is that "attacking" the boy? Newsweek grossly misrepresented the facts.

The Democrats are going to try and override the SCHIP veto on October 18. They hope to persuade some of our squishy soft Republicans to support them in this regard, and all of the slanderous publicity is geared in that direction. Vote with the Dems or be slandered as "anti-child."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Code Pinko Broads Battle in Berkeley - UPDATED

UPDATE 10/17/2007: Move America Forward members and supporters showed up at the Code Pink anti-Marines rally in Berkeley today and greatly outnumbered the Code Pinkos. The latter were surrounded by normal-looking people and a sea of red, white and blue American flags. Way to go, Melanie Morgan!

Original article:
Zombie has pictures of Code Pink, a bunch of fat and homely leftists of the female variety, protesting the Marines recruiting office in Berkeley, California. Code Pink is obvious by the pink clothes they wear, their open mouths and closed minds, and the fact that most of them are fat and homely. Really girls, isn't all this protesting REALLY about the fact that you can't get laid?

Code Pink is returning to the Marine recruiting office on Wednesday, October 17, to continue making asses of themselves. Melanie Morgan has organized a counter demonstration so the Code Pinkos will have someone in their face for a change.

Below is one of Zombie's photos of the October 7th Code Pink protest in Berkeley. I Photoshopped it so it reads the way it should. See original at Zombie's site.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Fact Finding Mission to Belgium

I love that poem "In Flander's Fields" and reposted it last Memorial Day. Until recently I didn't really know what "Flanders" was. We never covered it in any of my high school or college courses. However, when in Amsterdam, we took a day tour of Brussels, Belgium and there I learned what it is. Flanders is the region of Northern Belgium; the Ardennes is the Southern region.

Canadian troops fought in Flanders during World War I, and that's the origin of the famous poem "In Flanders Fields" by Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D.

The Ardennes is where the Battle of the Bulge was fought in Word War II.

Brussells was lovely. They are very proud of their statue of "Mannequin Piss," a young boy urinating in the center of town. After hoisting a few excellent Belgian beers in the local Brasserie, I could appreciate the feeling.

We enjoyed local brews at the Brasserie and the stoic young bartender, Jerome, warmed to us slowly. We eventually won him over with sincere appreciation of his beer and by including him in our conversation. I told him he spoke excellent English. He proudly replied that he had perfected his English by watching the O.J. Simpson trial on television every day. I told him, "You must have learned a lot of bad words" and we both laughed.

He then grabbed a beer glass with the bar's logo and gave it to me as a memento. "Quick, put it in your pocket!" he whispered. I did. It survived the trip home and now serves as a Badge of Beer and Brotherhood and Brussels and Belgium and Brasseries. (Burp.)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

In Paris: Are the French Rude to Americans?

I have been as critical of France as the next guy, especially over the past five years. However, going to France and seeing and meeting French people somewhat softened my attitude. France was and is a great civilization, albeit one that is in decline. I would love to see it saved, to resume its once prominent position as a center of Western Civilization.

My attitude was softened by the courtesy shown to me by my French hosts. I went there expecting coldness and rudeness from the French, but did not get what I expected. I had been told that they would be rude to anyone who did not speak French or spoke it poorly. They weren't. My first encounter with a French person was the lovely young woman taxi driver who transported us from the train station (where we had traveled from Amsterdam) to our hotel. I gave her a preprinted card showing the name of our hotel and the address. "Nous allons ici," said I. "Okay," she replied. I hopped in front with her and let my son and nephew occupy the rear seat.

In the car she asked me in stumbling English to wear my seat belt. I said, "D'accord!" and put it on. She said, "Thank you." I replied, "Pas de quoi!" Finally I realized she could understand English so I told her what a good driver she was. She smiled. She had nice legs too, but I didn't mention that.

Many of the French do speak English and are willing to do so. Later, when we were exploring the Champs d'Elysee, I noted that most of the storefronts were in French, but had an English translation below. The French were clearly marketing to their English-speaking customers. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. I wanted it all in French. My wife, however, was annoyed that it wasn't all in English. She's a hard woman.

In the restaurants where we ate, the waiters all spoke fluent English and catered to us and tried to please us. The only time I had to speak French was the one time we went to McDonald's. The little French girl behind the counter didn't speak English. However, all I really had to do was point at the order board on the wall and hold up two fingers to indicate a double order. The Parisian McDonald's was packed. So much for the cultural purists.

Most restaurant menus were in French, but also had English subtitles. This didn't always work out. Creme Brulee was described as "Broiled Cream." It is actually a delicate custard.

My experience indicates the Parisians are not rude to Americans and if you don't speak French, go anyway. I have no second thoughts about returning to France. Next stop: Normandy.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Flying High

Considering the scary things we see these days, this Halloween may be the most frightening yet.

Picture of the cackling Cindy was borrowed from Zombie's site.

Go here to see Zombie's latest batch of pics.

Thanks Zombie, you know how we love scary stuff this time of year.

Happy Halloween!

Nobel Peace Prize: A Leftist Farce

Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts at desseminating a massive lie, that global warming is man made and caused by CO2 emissions. In recent years, critics have been saying that the Nobel Peace Prize is most often awarded to leftists and anti-American extremists, and 2007 proves once again that it's true.

Prior winners of the Nobel Peacenik Prize include Nelson Mandela (1993), Yasser Arafat (1994), Kofi Annan (2001), and Jimmy Carter (2002).

Earlier this year Al Gore also won an Oscar for his propaganda film, An Inconvenient Truth. This, in spite of its errors and false premises. But then, the Academy of Motion Pictures gave an Oscar to Michael Moore for the same thing, "best documentary," for his highly biased and deliberately slanted film, "Bowling for Columbine" in 2003. For the Left, there is no such thing as objective truth, there is only the collectivist cause and any and all means to advance it.

The Left creates its own fake causes and awards fake prizes to the fakers who advance them. It's enough to gag a maggot.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Dutch and Their Tolerance of Evil

My visit last week to Holland (the Netherlands) was interesting. It was fun to see ancient places, other kinds of architecture, use a different currency (Euros) and eat different kinds of food. All in all, I like Holland. I saw ancient cathedrals with families buried in the floor of the church, their epitaphs chiseled into the stone, their dates of death in the 1680's. I saw some of the famous windmills that were used to pump water out of Holland, since much of it is below sea level. That old tale of the boy with his finger in the dike is based on fact. As we drove along the seacoast, we noticed that the sea to our right was higher than the land to our left, the two separated by the earthen mound which supported the road.

The Dutch largely struck me as people who keep to themselves and are very laid-back. They do not get easily upset. I saw no one on the streets raising his voice. In the morning hustle to work and school, people avoid eye contact with each other. They were neither overly friendly nor hostile. We felt safe walking along the streets, though I might not have felt that way if my last name was Van Gogh or Fortuyn. Theo Van Gogh was murdered in 2004 on the streets of Amsterdam by a Muslim fanatic after making a film critical of Islam's treatment of women; Pim Fortuyn, an elected official, was murdered on the street by an animal rights kook in 2002.

Rod Dreher of National Review Online wrote this about Pim Fortuyn's murder:

Fortuyn's legion of enemies denounced him as a fascist and a racist, partly
for his tough-on-crime policies, but mostly for his belief that immigration
should stop, and that immigrants — particularly Muslims, whose views on women
and gays he considered barbaric — should be pressed harder to assimilate into
Dutch life.

While in Amsterdam, I read an English language pamphlet about the region, written for tourists. It was openly and unabashedly political, stating that after the last elections, the Dutch had voted for the Labor Party in droves, "turning Pim Fortuyn's party out of power." "Holland is tolerant again" it bragged. Obviously the writer had never read the observation of Thomas Mann, a German social critic whom the Nazis opposed, that "Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil."

Some Dutch have long been tolerant of evil. They were tolerant of the Nazis who occupied Holland during World War II; some of them turned in the Franks, which resulted in the deaths of three family members in a concentration camp. No doubt some Dutch citizen wanted to curry favor with the tyrants in the hope they would kill him last. Today some Dutch citizens want to curry favor with Muslim fanatics through appeasement and looking the other way when the innocent are murdered.
In a third example of Holland's rubber backbone, there is the story of Aayan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who fled Islam to become a member of the Dutch Parliament. She collaborated with Theo Van Gogh on his film and became the object of a Muslim death threat. The brave Dutch didn't exactly rally to her side: they tried to get her kicked out of the country in a brazen act of appeasement to intolerant barbarians.

Slate tells the story:
To give a brief back story, it will be remembered that Hirsi Ali, a refugee from
genital mutilation, forced marriage, and civil war in her native Somalia,
was a member of the Dutch parliament. She collaborated with Theo van Gogh on
a film—Submission—that highlighted the maltreatment of Muslim immigrant
women living in Holland. Van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street in
November 2004; a note pinned to his body with a knife proved to be a threat
to make Hirsi Ali the next victim. Placed inside a protective bubble by the authorities, she was later evicted from her home after neighbors complained that she was endangering their safety and then subjected to a crude attempt to deprive her of her citizenship.
Islamic appeasement by the Dutch is now in full bloom. When I visited Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam, there were various rooms set up in the annex next door with films to educate the public about the Nazi pogroms and what happened to Anne Frank. However, I wandered into one room where a rapt audience stood watching a film about the Islamic cartoon flap of two years ago. The narrator of the film sounded outraged at the "disrespect" shown to Islam, noting that "depictions of the 'Prophet' are forbidden," while the scene on the screen showed angry Muslims burning a Danish flag. I was outraged that Anne Frank House would be showing a pro-Muslim propaganda film. I said out loud, "What has this got to do with Anne Frank? Islam sucks!" and walked out. No one even looked at me.

The Dutch have learned nothing from the lessons of history. They repeat the same errors over and over. Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil. That should be the new motto of Holland and replace windmills and wooden shoes as its most oft depicted logos.

UPDATE: Aayan Hirsi Ali warns the West: we must defeat Islam.

Photo: A canal in Holland

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Visit to Anne Frank's House

Before visiting Paris, we visited Amsterdam (in the Netherlands, or Holland). While there I was determined to visit Anne Frank's hideout, the building in which she and her family lived while hiding out from the Nazis in the 1940's.

We arrived at the building a half an hour before closing time, but paid the entrance price anyway. I figured a brief glimpse would be better than nothing, as I do not know when or if I will return to Amsterdam.
The building is devoid of all furniture, which was carted away by the Nazis after the Franks were arrested. The building is a four story affair where a Dutch businessman hid the Franks and another family, the van Pels, for two years during the Nazi pogroms of World War II. The upper floors of the building were allegedly closed off and unused due to the war. In actuality, the upper floors housed the Franks and the van Pels.
We walked down a hall to where a bookcase stood ajar from the wall. Behind the bookcase was a well worn door leading to the living quarters. The bookcase had been used to hide the door.
The living quarters were quite small. There were four bedrooms, one for Peter, the son of the van Pels, one for Peter's mother and father, another for Anne's parents, Otto and Edith Frank, and finally, one for Anne Frank and her sister Margot. For all, there was a single toilet with no bath or shower, and a kitchen where meals were prepared and eaten.
I saw all of these rooms in the deepening gloom of late day, including the room belonging to Anne and Margot. Anne Frank had cut pictures of people and scenes from magazines and had pasted them with tape onto the walls of her bedroom. The pictures are still there, now covered with large sheets of glass or plastic to preserve them. Anne was in that room for two years; I was there for a minute or less.
Anne Frank was a pretty, intelligent young girl, who was taken to Bergen-Belsen, a slave labor camp, where Anne and her sister Margot died from disease. Her father Otto was the only family member to survive. After the war someone found Anne's diary still in the building and gave it to Otto. The diary was later published as a book and has been widely read and translated from the Dutch to many other languages.
I read Anne's diary, published as Anne Frank, the Diary of a Young Girl, in high school. I have read it at least twice more since then. I was always moved by it and could identify with Anne, having kept journals myself since I was 10 years old.

The picture at the top right is a picture of the building hiding-place (it is the second building from the right, with the white flagpole). The other pictures include Anne Frank's bedroom with the pictures she affixed to the walls; the kitchen; and the toilet where Peter van Pel often hid out from Anne. I took all of these photos.
It was a sobering experience to stand in these same spaces where Anne Frank lived and wrote over sixty years ago. She has always been an inspiration to me.

This is Anne Frank

Monday, October 08, 2007

My Encounter With a Young French Woman

I took French in high school more than forty years ago. It was my favorite subject. At first I was getting my usual grade of C in the class, until my teacher asked me if I wanted to have a French pen pal. I started writing to a French high school student in Lyon who was studying English. We wrote to each other, half in French and half in English. We would correct each other's mistakes. The fact that I was actually communicating with a real Frenchman in his own language really inspired me. I could see a practical reason for learning French, and my grade subsequently went to an A and remained there throughout high school.

But could I speak French today and be understood? Could I understand someone French in an everyday conversation? I would soon get to find out. My wife and I visited a drugstore (called a "Pharmacie" in French) as I had a cold sore on my lip and needed some ointment.

We went into the Pharmacie and the shelves were loaded with French products, nothing in English. I looked around but didn't see any lip ointments. I avoided the eyes of the French girl behind the counter so I wouldn't have to embarrass myself by talking to her. But finally I looked up and she was staring me straight in the eyes with a sweet smile. She said, "Bon Jour!"
I smiled back and replied "Bon Jour!" Then I thought, ah what the hell, and I let her have it with my 40 year old high school French.

"Avez-vous quelquechose pour les levres?" (Do you have something for lips?)

She replied, "Mais oui, pour les levres dessechees et fissurees?" (Yes, for dry or cracked lips?)

I said, "Oui, mais aussi j'ai une blessure sous ma levre." (Yes, but I also have a sore under my lip.)

She said, in French though I can't repeat it, "Follow me, I have something over here." I followed her to another counter where she produced a small box containing a dispenser of a French ointment. She showed me the tube inside and explained how the nozzle worked, all in French. I understood everything. However, I was afraid the stuff wouldn't be strong enough - I wanted something more than ointment for chapped lips. So I said, "Oui, mais j'ai une blessure et j'ai besoin de quelquechose tres fort." (Yes, but I have a sore and I need something strong.)

She replied, "Mais oui, il marche bien pour ca." (Of course, it works well for that).

I nodded affirmatively to indicate I would buy it and followed her to the cash register where she rang up the sale. I smiled and said, "Merci beaucoup." She smiled and replied that she hoped she would see me again soon. I felt shy. I think she thought I was cute, in a grandfatherly sort of way, with my incompetent French.

I felt very proud of myself for the rest of the day. I had carried on a conversation, all in French, with a French citizen (a beautiful young woman). Amazingly, she had understood me and I had understood her. However imperfectly, we had communicated. My old French teacher would have been proud.

I came to a great realization: if you are forced to use a language, you will learn it. I feel that if I spent two years in France I would become quite fluent in the language. I decided then that I would renew my study of French when I returned home.

Since this is an American computer, I couldn't put all the proper French accents into the text above, but you get the idea.

Stogie Returns from France

We got in from our trip to Europe last night. Nineteen hours of traveling from our Paris hotel to our front door - it was rough. I did love Paris and most of the French people I met were quite nice, but it's great to be home.
Paris is mostly a museum of past epochs. Many, if not most, of its buildings are 18th or 19th century, with many chimneys on the roofs, one for each office or apartment. They aren't used anymore but their presence confirms the age of the building. See this impressionist painting from 1877 of this type of building - they look the same today and they are all over Paris.

Then there are the historic churches and buildings dating back to the 12th century or even before. The Tuileries is a castle-like building of bricks and turrets, where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned for the two years before she was guillotined in La Place de la Revolution, now called Place de la Concord. I also visited the spot where she and others lost their heads. Talk about class envy, the Democrats could learn something from those French revolutionaries. No wonder the Dems love them so much.

I was impressed with Notre Dame Cathedral, finished in the 12th century after 200 years of building. The acoustics were remarkable and we heard the ancient organ at full throttle, during the ordination of some new priests. This is the place in Victor Hugo's famous story about the Hunchback of Notre Dame, who hopped around the gargoyles on the sides of the building shouting "Sanctuary, Sanctuary!" We received copies of the ordination service in written form, and I found I could read and understand about 80% of it - my high school French still serves me well after 40 years. I could only understand about 10% of the spoken French, however - it is too fast for me.

I really enjoyed the Louvre and D'Orsay museums. I saw the Mona Lisa, took several pictures of it (they allow photographs without the flash), and saw many other famous paintings and sculptures. I decided that Monet is my favorite French artist. Seeing much of his work up close and in real life convinced me of this. His work blows away the others - Renoir, Gaugan, etc. I thought Vincent Van Gogh's works were mostly junk. My five year old grandson could do as well.

In the Musee D'Orsay I found Van Gogh's "Starry Night" (Nuit Etoilee) painting, the one that inspired Don Mcclean's famous song, "Vincent (Starry Night)." Watch and listen at the link provided. Okay, I will give Van Gogh credit for his use of color. Even his amateurish "Sunflowers" (which we saw in Amsterdam) is pretty for its colors. His primitive creations do have some charm, but I wonder how famous he might be today if he hadn't had the marketing inspiration of shooting himself. Just my opinion.

On one day we visited the Palace of Versailles. It was one plush place, the pad of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette before some cockaded Parisian rabblerouser with ruined teeth announced "Serf's Up." The working masses took his cue and showed up at Versaille one day to inform Louie and Marie that they were sacked. I can see why they might have been so pissed off. If you are having trouble making ends meet, a couple of 18th century yuppies living in incredible splendor simply as an accidental result of their birth would tend to be annoying. Still, I think the head-chopping thing was a bit too much. Pink slips would have been quite sufficient. And all that nonsense about "let them eat cake" was never actually uttered by Marie Antoinette. No doubt the rumor was started by Karl Rove's great, great grandfather.

Leonardo DaVinci's work was interesting - I found the painting "Virgin of the Rocks" that is discussed in "The DaVinci Code," a weird painting to be sure. Took a couple of photos of it.  I have more adventures to relate, but I will do that later.