September 01, 2006

On My Way to New York

Soon I will be in New York City for a few days, and there’s a social blogger meetup thingie scheduled for Monday night. I’m going to be incommunicado shortly, so if you are interested in attending and aren’t some freakshow stalker type person, email Judith Weiss and get the details if you would like to join us.

judith at yehudit dot org

I’m not sure yet who will be there exactly, but Judith knows. She's in charge.

Here are some scenes from recent late-night drunken happy socializing in Jerusalem.

Benjamin and Noah.jpg

Benjamin Kerstein (left) and Noah Pollak (right).

Noah is Assistant Editor at Azure magazine. He was crazy enough to go north with me and get shot at by Hezbollah a few weeks ago.

Benjamin is the man behind the famous Diary of an Anti-Chomskyite blog. He also recently wrote a review of Paul Berman’s terrific new book Power and the Idealists for Azure.


Lee Smith in Jerusalem.jpg

Multinational bar-hopping buddy Lee Smith who traveled from Beirut to Jerusalem under fire during the Lebanon war. Lee recently wrote about the death of the great Arab writer Naguib Mahfouz for Slate and Hezbollah’s defeat for The Weekly Standard.


Me and Louis in Jerusalem.jpg

Me and Louis Stigsgaard Nissen, Middle East Bureau Chief for Denmark’s largest newspaper Berlingske Tidende.


Me and Lee Smith.jpg

Me and Lee Smith.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 1, 2006 12:02 PM
Comments

What a glorious life, hanging out with babes like the Danish bureau chief!

Posted by: Rommel at September 1, 2006 04:06 PM

Wow, just checked out Kerstein's blog, what an intelligent writer. Posters on this board, you should really check it out and scroll down to where he deconstructs MJT's interviews with the Peace Now-nicks.

MJT, I'm curious if you talked to "Louise Stigsgaard Nissen" (note: add an "e" to the end of her name) about the feelings of the Danes towards the growing Islamists in their midst. My family has a number of close friends in Denmark and, from corresponding with them, their paranoia and upset is reaching 9/11 proportions (justifiably, I might add). Obviously, Louise would have a more nuanced view, being a ME reporter, so I'm interested in her perspective.

Posted by: jjdynomite at September 1, 2006 04:12 PM

It will be good to see you back home Michael.

You journalists have quite the glamorous life jet-setting back and forth !

Looking forward to your thoughts on your most recent trip to the Middle East, and where you think events are headed. Hard to believe that Israel will be passive until the next attack on their country.

Regards,

Ron

Posted by: Ron Snyder at September 1, 2006 04:22 PM

Have a safe trip coming home and nice job on the reporting....

www.regimeofterror.com

Posted by: Mark Eichenlaub at September 1, 2006 06:17 PM

JJ, have to agree with you on the well written Kerstein piece. What a complex system of politics and culture. There was that one jolting remark about the 'reptilian mind' of street oriented leftist that raised an eyebrow. Was that a dig, or just colorful wordplay?

Posted by: allan at September 1, 2006 06:29 PM

And Benjamin is now a guest-blogger on Kesher Talk, home of your NYC party host! Something for conspiracy fans to work on.....

We've got 12 people at this dinner so far....

Posted by: Yehudit at September 1, 2006 10:49 PM

A very impressive gathering. I have been on Kerstein's mailing list for some time now, and have had wonderful exchanges with him, a real class act, glad to see that he was among the influential writers who showed up.

It must have been a night worth remembering.

Posted by: KGS at September 1, 2006 11:18 PM

You seem to be having a great time over there.

Good to see two familiar places in the same place at the same time. You don't know how weird and lonely it is to be alone without any familiar faces and no possibility of bringing that community back together. Everybody's off in Greece or England or Boston or Montreal or Damascus or Khobar or Dubai or Sydney or Miami.

My phone bill is phenomenal. My social life is non-existent. That's why I'm writing a comment on your blog at 2:06am Friday night/ Saturday morning.

Posted by: Charles Malik at September 2, 2006 12:06 AM

Just a question I hoped you could clarify: Are you smoking Camel Lights or American Spirits in your pic? (If Camel Lights I would make a strong argument to at least trying the Spirits?

Posted by: Mantis at September 2, 2006 08:16 AM

Charles Malik -- WHY aren't you using Skype???
Free PC-PC voice over internet, very low cost PC voice to normal phone (Skype-out). I call the USA from Slovakia for 15 min., less than $1; also I call Eldoret, Africa for pennies.

Michael, stay safe -- I'd be happier seeing a bit more writing and less promising of more. I KNOW you're trying, AND you're fantastic / perfectionist; but I'd favor a bit more quantity here even if the quality drops a bit.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 2, 2006 01:06 PM

Looking French in Algiers.

Posted by: Alan Goldstein at September 3, 2006 03:38 AM

Tom,

I'm traveling right now, and seeing my wife for the first time in three weeks, so give me a break. :)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 3, 2006 07:09 AM

Michael, I greatly admire what you've been trying to do---i.e., get a handle on all the garbage going on in the middle east, and explain it to the masses---and I like your friends, and all that.

But you've been scooped.

So maybe, before your reputation gets totally shot to hell and you become known as a "Zionist enabler," it's time to pack up and go to some more exotic---and probably cheaper---problem spot (Darfur? Somalia? Chechnya? Ukraine? Iran?), of which there's no end.

(Of course, there'e always urban Europe, if you have the bucks.)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at September 3, 2006 11:29 PM

Israel looks like a great place to go if you want to smoke cigarettes 24/7 anywhere you want.

I think I'll stay away.

Posted by: Mark at September 4, 2006 09:55 PM

Okay, those guys are just smokin' hot. :)

Figured I'd throw that out there as one of the few lady readers.

=D

Posted by: Megs at September 5, 2006 07:49 PM

They are, aren't they? I wish I wasn't 20 years older than them.

Posted by: Yehudit at September 6, 2006 08:11 AM

Yehudit,

You aren't 20 years older than Lee. Lee is old!

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 6, 2006 08:51 AM

Okay. Lee looks to be your age Michael, in that orange light. Whatever. Agreed you are all hot. Yes, waitress, I will have me one of those.....

Posted by: Yehudit at September 10, 2006 12:27 AM

Does Lee have a magazine he's attached to or a blog of some sort? I read his Naguib Mahfouz article and it was fantastic. If you're reading this Lee, thanks.

Posted by: Patrick at September 10, 2006 01:28 AM

Yehudit,

Lee is ten years older than me.

Patrick,

Lee writes regularly for the Weekly Standard and Slate.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 10, 2006 01:07 PM

Thanks, Patrick! And thanks, MT, too - I guess. In one post you say Tony Badran taught me how to smoke cigars in Beirut, because even though, as you say in this post, I am really old, apparently I did not before know how to smoke cigars - not like that is necessarily something to boast about by the way. And then here, after some nice comments from some clearly very sophisticated female readers you pretty much brush them off with, whoa, Lee is really really old! And by the way it sure doesn't help on that front either when you say I want you to pinch Tony's can for me!

Well, at least you write about the region accurately, you scoundrel! Hope things are good back in the US.

Posted by: Lee at September 11, 2006 08:52 AM

Ah come on, Lee. What fun is a blog if I can't make fun of my friends. :)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 11, 2006 09:32 AM

I was emailing Charles about what a great party I would make for him if he ever looked me up in NYC, and I wanted to include the link to my dinner for Michael on Labor Day. So I find myself at this post from 4 months ago, with the whole cast of characters from last week! Err. Let's do the timewarp again.

Great to meet you in Herzliya, Lee, and I'm sorry we never connected in Jerusalem. You may be 10 years older than Michael, but as I am 10 years older than you, I say you are a mere novice in the art of being really really old. However, I do give seminars to deserving acolytes. . . .

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Posted by: cvbcb at December 25, 2007 09:16 AM
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