Monday, October 22, 2012

Flags with Chickens & Ploughs & AK-47s on them

I've been making this point since graduating high school right before Reagan was elected.  One can't force feed people ten years out of the stone age centuries of philosophical and political development.  They don't want it, don't understand it, and can't handle it.  What drives this is basically a mixture of mental laziness and stubborn faith in liberal illusions about how we're all really exactly the same because we all love our kids and enjoy hot dogs. 

I forget the talmudic source, but there's a great saying, Nefesh r'eiva, kol mar matok. To a hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet.  Hand a starving buddhist or muslim a nice Oscar Meyer, he'll eat it, and hate you for it.   The Jew might or might not feel the need to do teshuva for saving his/her life by eating treif, but hatred wouldn't be part of the equation.  There was a huge revolt in India under the British because of a rumor, like the one that precipitated the 1929 Hevron Massacre, that the new bullets were greased with pork fat.  Neither was true.  Didn't matter.  Never does.  These are the same cultural land pirates that gave Lawrence such fits, because once they had pillaged as much as they could carry, his army disintegrated.

This goes back a long way, and not just in America.  Shimon Peres works on the same delusions that fueled Herzl's Altneuland: that modern medicine and flush toilets will mystically, magically, mysteriously turn people whose greatest contribution to the world is the protection racket *, whose ideology tells them they are a superior form of life entitled to revenge for any assault they attempt unsuccessfully*, who make NASCAR loons and Soccer louts look cultured, into secular liberal democrats.  They burned the free clinic in Hevron, the first and only real medicine to which they'd ever had access, btw.

Parenthetically, the inability or unwillingness to name the problem in the obvious way to avoid "upsetting" the terrorists' sponsors and relatives (and sponsoring relatives) in Saudi Arabia, Quwait, Qatar, UAE is troubling, not to say stupid, and certainly not to say potentially disastrous.  Engineers and people I know in geology aren't sanguine about deriving huge amounts of hydrocarbon fuel from the Med field ("Leviathan") off Israel's coast, but it would be nice, wouldn't it?  Unfortunately, two large sources of oil are essentially off line, as far as the US is concerned: Iraq AND Iran.  One can understand why a guy in the White House with three muslim (two Arabic) names and a ring on his finger with the Shuhada on it would want to tone down the rhetoric and keep the remaining sources as happy as possible.

Sarah Silverman, Jr.

"Rabbi Writes Patronizing Letter To Sarah Silverman, Has His Ass Handed To Him By Her Dad"

What journalistic giant chose the title for this piece?

Well, her father has clearly read Gen.14, in Lech Lecha, next week's parsha, where Avraham pursues an army with a battalion, attacks by night, and refuses to take literally so much as a shoe lace in recompense, clearly making the point that his family is not to be trifled with.  To be honest, I've used the four letter term Mr. Silverman used in this connection, but I would not use it in public or in "print". I shouldn't like my vulgarity preserved for posterity.

I fail to comprehend why Reform beginning to call HUC-JIR graduates "Rabbi" after WW2 obligates the Orthodox to accept that claim any more than Reform is obligated, in its own secular humanist terms, to accept the traditional tenets of Orthodoxy. The graduates deserve academic respect for their MAHL, but a different title would be more appropriate.  

There is a new field called History of Science.  A PhD in that does not make one a scientist. A Reform MAHL may make one a scholar. One guy reverse engineered, e.g., five of Bialik's longest poems, tracking down the biblical and talmudic source of every phrase. It is an outstanding and valuable piece of work, at least for those of us who can read Bialik in the original Hebrew. It made a great master's thesis.  It no more makes him a rabbi than a few scales on my feet make me a lizard.

Her various relatives' interactions with the Jewish, or Israeli (not necessarily the same thing), world: why exactly does Mr. Silverman think they are relevant? How do their actions impact the value of hers? Why does he think this note is an attack on him, and his whole family? Is he defensive about his daughter's choices, perhaps as a reflection on his parenting?

There are plenty of ignorant, hostile people in (most unfortunately) all of the "movements" within Judaism. Anyone who knows ANYTHING about the culture, however, knows something of Avot.  I grew up Reform (KI, Elkins Park, PA). Even before I started studying seriously (I hate to tell you, but the difference between "Hebrew School" and serious study is the difference between university science courses and watching Itchy and Scratchy cartoons on the Simpsons to learn anatomy.) I knew about that time capsule of tannaitic advice. Shaming someone in public is considered akin to shedding blood.

Wishing a woman a decent, normal relationship and family, whether she wants to pursue it or not, is a blessing.  Why so much defensive hostility in response? Threatened? To the extent that every Jewish woman who chooses to refrain from reproducing is definitely a smaller next generation, and between external threats and the propensity of the modern movements to produce large proportions of apostates, our world wide population is shrinking, yes.  

Threatened by her foul mouthed "celebrity"?  Really?  You think, because he's an orthodox rabbi, he's never heard a woman curse?  You think women in orthodox Judaism have no power?  Go to a Chabad shul once and ask the rabbi for anything but halachic advice. Watch him turn to the rebbetzin.  Anything to do with interacting with the real world, you watch who is the boss.

She is clearly a very bright youngish woman.  Frankly, I think the chances of her choosing to redirect her life into more traditional paths is minimal. I cannot see why wishing her the traditional blessing we say over any child, that s/he may grow to learning (Torah), marriage (Chupah), and good deeds (Ma'asim Tovim) should offend anyone, especially a Jew. Whether she chooses to form a family of her own is, of course, up to her. I wish her the same as the rabbi did. Go ahead.  Hand me my posterior.

Amuse bouche

Oh, Jack Welch.  What a gutless weasel.  "Those Chicago guys will do anything...change the numbers", but he's not accusing anyone of anything?  I'm just a simple guy with a worthless BA from a public university, but that sounds like two accusations (general lack of integrity and willingness to manipulate data, i.e., lie) to me.  If he stands by his tweet, he's making the accusations.  This shows how stupid Welch thinks everyone of us is. It's the old journalistic "alleged".  One can safely (i.e., without being sued) publish nearly anything if one essentially admits one has failed to check one's facts. An "allegation", look it up, is a claim, usually of wrongdoing, typically without proof, i.e., not necessarily more than a nasty rumor. Why does anybody want to read anything this robber baron (look it up) has to spew?
A Texan school district is testing RFID tags for students.  This really sucks, but answer this:  Washington DC's defense for being unprepared for the occasional blizzard, every occasional blizzard, is always "it doesn't happen every year".  Make sense to you?  Well, the one time in ten years one school has an armed intruder, a boiler explosion, whatever, won't it be a good thing to know who is where precisely and immediately?  Not to say I don't see the drawbacks.  The official motivation is apparently combatting truancy because, drumroll, funding is based on attendance!
It is actually quite deniable that the "Palestinian people" have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. They are a synthetic, syncretic people invented in 1964 by Egyptian intelligence. The cannon fodder was drawn from captive Arab populations in ARAB countries. They have suffered because their own ARAB people won't have them. Most of them actually originate from other ARAB countries, immigrating to Eretz Israel only as the influx of Zionists and Zionist money produced livable conditions for a larger population. Three generations of indoctrination in Lebanese, Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi prison (refugee) camps may have produced the illusion of social and cultural cohesion, but it was all made up in the last half century. And thanks, Russia, for the logistic and AgitProp support, and UNRWA for the "special" regime.
Some doynck has a picture of what gas prices were when Obama took office, implying the current prices are his fault and under his control, as opposed to how things were under his predecessor.  MULE FRITTERS!!!  I live in the Washington DC suburbs of Maryland. In JULY 2008, I was paying $4.09. Then prices fell, right up to the election, to $1.49, which was (just BTW) what it was when Dubya took office!  Look it up. Amazing. 60% decline in three months.  Explain THAT economically.  The prices started back up less than two weeks later, and skyrocketed back in less than two years.  No, oil didn't go up by a factor of three. And we STILL have subsidies on these companies, because a few billion in profit per quarter... PROFIT...per QUARTER... look it up... isn't sufficient reason for them to stay in the business.
Obama apparently wears, and has since before he met Michelle, a ring inscribed with the Shuhada, the Muslim declaration of faith, on his wedding ring finger.  Where did he get it, and does he know what it says?  This is not necessarily damning.  Not NECESSARILY.  This is the guy who told us his name (Barack) was Swahili.  He has two Arabic names, and a family name from a Muslim clan in mostly Muslim Kenya. Look it up, there are several swahili and kiswahili online dictionaries. Barack is exactly as Arabic as Houssein.  Was he ignorant or lying? It needs to be determined before the meaning of the statement, or the ring, can be.  Although, as a big Tolkien fan, I can't say a gold ring with an ominous inscription makes me feel exactly warm and fuzzy.
Some small minded, emasculated weasel named Matthew Desmond said, "It always irritates me that the people who say 'give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime' are unwilling to give the man a fish AND, when it comes down to it, they're unwilling to pay to teach him how to fish.  What they're really saying is 'I don't care if you starve, as long as I have a fish for myself."  

"Being Liberal" asks if we agree.  No.  I can't help if a quote is misunderstood or misused.  I'm not saying there aren't "I got mine" people out there.  That doesn't affect the wisdom of the quote.

It is a paraphrase of Maimonides.  Maimonides (12th cent) never said give a hungry man ONLY a fishing rod. Helping a person to be independent is the highest of eight levels of Tzedaka. The point of the teaching is, if you are not rich, if you aren't a saint, you are not absolved of all responsibility to help because you are unable or unwilling to solve the whole problem.  See Avot, Rabbi Tarfon (late 1st, early 2nd cent):  "It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but you are not free to desist wholly from it.  The day is long, and the work is great, the workers are lazy, the reward is great, and the Master of the House is impatient."
"Fact! Presidents don't control oil prices!"

But he could. Wage and price controls. Nixon. Remember? Obama COULD declare that the oil giants are entitled to limited profits for the next few years, and would have to prove they were not breaking even to get a price rise. It could be done. Well, in his first two years, it could have.  You remember his first two years, when gas recouped the eight years of Bush, Jr era inflation that mystically magically disappeared in the three months before the last elections, while he kept asking the Republicans to please, please, please cooperate, while they publically declared that their big goal was to keep him from achieving squat, especially a second term? Remember them?
Scotland is holding a referendum in 2014 on whether the kingdom ought to remain united, or whether the Sassenach ought to pay for their own underclass's dole.  Flanders wants out of Belgium.  Once, all that was needed to break up a multiethnic state was the old elements of nationalism: geography, ethnicity, language, religion.  Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia fractured on ethnic lines simply because they were there.  There are several ways to consider of the break up of the FSU.  Beware, Iraq, Turkey, Syria.  But I see a confluence of nationalism and economics: Scotland and Belgium are fracturing on ethnic lines, but because of an economic gradient.  That's what I see tearing several European countries apart: when one cohesive group in one area sees itself being exploited for the good of a different group in a separate area.  There is one more factor:  size: Northeast Philadelphia wanted for some time to separate from the city of Philadelphia and incorporate as "Liberty County".  It was just too small, and had no real economic or ethnic base: the middle class largely, but not exclusively, lived in the Northeast, but many (except store clerks, waiters and dentists) worked elsewhere, many in Philadelphia city proper.  Setting up their own schools, fire, police, for example, were insurmountable obstacles.  So, I don't see Cornwall pulling free, nor (short of a big recovery leading to a huge influx of tourists into northern Spain) the Basques.  I don't see Italy disintegrating: the difference from one region to another is more culinary than anything else.  Germany, on the other hand, in the event of serious difficulties, I can imagine fractionating.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In reference to the water tunnels supplying New York City which have been leaking so badly that several upstate towns have been sinking into the quagmire for a couple of decades. One problem is "you can't shut them down" because a) NYC already stinks with quite a sufficient awfulness. No one wants to contemplate a day with 8 million toilets unflushed. b) The water pressure MAY be the only thing holding pieces of the tunnel up. Closing the inlet could collapse more than just the tunnel, because of all the water logged soil above it. How's this? Put in a pipe, like a submarine's pressure hull, the outer diameter of which is 75% the inner diameter of the tunnel. Have inflatable bags held to the exterior by vacuum. Once in place in the tunnel, inflate the bags with that self hardening plastic foam used to fix flat tires. Hold the tunnel in place and seal the leaks. Seal the intake end with submarine concrete, the stuff made in Oregon on a recipe that goes back to the Roman port od Cosa, where the Garum came from. Well? Why not?

Tunnel 1 was completed in 1917 and runs into Tunnel 2, completed 1935. Can't find their start dates, but I bet they were post Civil war. But Tunnel 3, intended to allow 1 and 2 to be closed for repair, was authorized in 1954. Phase 1 was built between 1970 (16 year delay!) and 1998. Phase 2 won't be done, if all keeps to schedule, until 2020 (original estimates were 2012, so "on schedule" is already 8 years late). 66 years.


Last Angry Woman?  Really?  You are assuming I'm American.  You are correct, if a bit incoherent.

I personally have never held a major event. The largest event I've ever personally organized was for about 120 people.  Mittford held an Olympics in Salt Lake City.  It came off pretty well.  So, for that matter did the fourth London games.  If there was a bomb scare, very badly handled, at the Atlanta games, it says nothing about ME, ROMNEY, SALT LAKE, the LONDON GAMES, or PRESENT DAY AMERICA.  

Recall how many games have been held here:  St Louis (1904), Lake Placid & L.A. (1932), Squaw Valley (1960),  Lake Placid (1980), L.A. (1984), Atlanta (1996). One incident.  Britain has had four, all in London. What, there isn't another decent sized city in the whole country?  Four, and not a single major incident.  Good for you.  Yes, I'm assuming your defensiveness stems from a stung British inferiority complex. 

That "we" have held more games than "you" and only had one apparently home grown incident proves my point, which apparently you missed.  OF COURSE we could have been more security conscious.  AND SO COULD YOU.  

The nature of a mass public event makes that incredibly difficult. For one thing, pissing off tourists will diminish the profits, the point of the whole futile exercise.  Unless a games is held in Pyongyang, we can expect compromises to be made between hospitality and security, here, there, France, Australia, Moonbase Gingrich, anywhere. In other words, what Romney said to a batch of kneejerk hypersensitive picts was essentially true:  You did a good job, balancing antagonistic factors.  If you had prioritized security over hospitality and worldwide tourist shilling more, you might have done better, from a pure security perspective.  Which is what he said.  That was, of course, NOT, and never is, the ONLY perspective to consider in planning a huge event like an Olympic Games.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Amuse bouche du jour

Three interesting things today:

Why Turkey will not enter the EU: The "process" is designed to be interminable, and Erdogan sees it as a tool to free rampant, militant Islam of all restraint, crushing the Kemalist institutions that guaranteed ACTUAL freedom in Turkey for nearly a century.

The Three State Solution: Egypt and Jordan accept responsibility for the Arab populations of Gaza and Yosh, AND Israeli sovereignty over Jewish population centers in the later. Oh, Danny, really? Why? They've rejected their own people for so long, what makes you think the East and West Arabs will go for this? In exchange for what?

I keep seeing articles in Israeli media, but hardly anywhere else, indicating concern for the Coptic Christians of Egypt who are now going through what the reviled, robbed, and finally exiled JEWS of Egypt experienced in the 1950s, Shia Muslims and Bahais somewhat later. When the Egyptians came for the Jews, they cared not, for were they Jews? Now the Egyptians are coming for the Copts, and there is NOONE to protest in their behalf. And the crocodile is still hungry.

Monday, October 1, 2012


"Gaza Mom Chooses Israeli Hospital to Save Baby

After losing 3 babies to rare birth defects at Egyptian hospitals, a Gaza mother followed doctors' advice and took her fourth to Israel."

This poor "Palestinian" woman apparently has children with congenitally blocked bowels.

CHOOSES. SHE CHOSE an ISRAELI hospital, and the Jew Devils took her in and SAVED HER CHILD'S LIFE. Because Jews are so evil and cheap and set so low a value on life. Gee, they didn't chase her off with a stick, in "apartheid" Israel? No, she just crossed into Israel at the Erez checkpoint and went to an Israeli hospital. I'll bet she has full Israeli medical coverage. BTW, why do Egyptian hospitals suck so bad, and which Gazan doctor said, "If you want decent care for your little Arab baby, go ask the Jews"?


There's a Republican Security Council ad out listing numerous violent acts by muslims against Americans since 1979, including terror attacks on civilians (e.g., Achille Lauro) and military personnel (e.g., Khobar Towers) and attacks on US Military personnel deployed abroad (e.g., Afghanistan). One can't really compare their killing armed Americans who came to their own tin piss pot excuses for countries to stop them from murdering EACH OTHER (and shipping opium products world wide) with them coming HERE to murder Americans. Each has its own heinousness. And they missed the 2002 Beltway Sniper, the airborne soldier who grenaded the officers' tent in Kuwait in 2003, and the Pakistani Mumbai attack of 2008.  I'm not sure if there were Americans killed in the multiple train bombings there in 2006.


ebay asks:  If I drove a Maserati, I would _________. (Insert YOUR dream.)

Not.  I would never drive a single vehicle for the price of which I could have a fleet of hondas, the maintenance of which would require me to have another car half of the time and cost as much as the car itself.  It's like asking how I'd enjoy my coffee at $20 a cup, like that nauseating stuff that ferments in a rodent's digestive tract in Borneo. I understand that there isn't much of it.  Who wants to spend their working life up a rat's butt squeezing turds?  But that isn't a reason to pay extra for fecal coffee. Scarcity of penis substitutes isn't a good reason to pay two to three times the average annual American income for this little red motorized dildo.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sept 20-24

Sept 20, "So, WHY didn't Moshe Rabbenu get to take an El Al donkey into Eretz Yisrael? Well, when the Shotrim, Datan and Abiram (Edward G. Robinson and Frank de Kova (F-Troop's Chief Wild Eagle) in the movie), met him on the way out from kvetching to Pharaoh, he ricochet-kvetched to H": Things are WORSE! Why did You send me? Rashi comments: You are not up to Avraham's standard. When I told him to sacrifice the son for whom he waitd so long, through whom I had said his inheritance would descend, he just got up early the next morning and set out to do it. For this, while you WILL see My victory over Egypt, you will NOT see My victory over the kings of Canaan. This does not quite explain why Avraham pleading for Sodom is not equally "quibbling with H"'s methods", though."

Sept 20, "Lessee... on the one hand, Israel says it's okay with a civilian nuclear program in Jordan... on the other hand, the US warns Israel that any actio on Iran's nuclear program would likely lead to a rupture of the current worthless (okay, tha
t's just MY opinion) ties with Egypt and Jordan. Ah, Ike's Atoms for Peace. Like partition, it worked so well. The question is, would it lead to a cessation of US baksheesh to those countries?"

Sept 21, "I do not understand. In my culture, Judaism, we have a principle older than Islam or even Christianity governing the relations between Jewish law, Halachah, and civil law of any country in which we live as a minority. It originates with the
 prophet Jeremiah at the beginning of the Babylonian expulsion. Dina d'malchuta dina. "The law of the land (literally, kingdom) is the law". Unless a civil law specifically requires something forbidden or forbids something required by scripture (e.g., eating a weekly ham sandwich, or forbiding circumcision), Judaism requires us to obey the laws of the country in which we live. Why exactly can't that standard be extended to any other groups that have their own legal traditions? Why exactly can't they be required to extend respect to American society, if they hope to have American respect extended to their cultural standards?"

Sept 24, "Anyone else hear the ticking? From the "friendly, peaceful" demands to "renegotiate" the Egypt and Jordan piece (deliberately spelled thus) treaties? Agreements Egypt, at least, has been in breach of practically since the first American ba
ksheesh arrived? The situation, though, especially in Sinai, has gotten ridiculous. Riots everywhere? Saudi funded Egyptian newspapers fomenting revolution in Syria at three removes? Did I mention Iran? But the ticking is so soothing. You have to understand, the NRC "strategy" called "Defense in Depth" has spread to State: Nothing will go wrong. If anything were going to go wrong, it would have already, but it hasn't, so it won't. It won't. It WON'T. Shut up. Sort of like the guy who jumped off the Empire State Building, and said, as he passed each floor, "So far, so good." Johnson and de Gaulle's advice in June 1967 was to wait for the Arabs to strike. Besides, you know to what previously solved case this situation reduces: Osirak. Wait for Israel to handle the problem (could that sixth German Dolphin sub Ehud Barak wants be a cruise missile launcher?), condemn Israel, go to Bullfeathers for bourbon and backslapping about how successful THAT total lack of action was."

sept 24, "It looks like the honeybee problem is man made and worse than I ever thought. A new (1994) type of insecticide causes it, and it spreads so fast because bees do not, in the US, primarily make honey. They are trucked from farm to orchard to pollinate, and fed modified corn syrup laden with... just the sort of neonicotinoids that cause CCD. Apparently, the California almond growers use half the bees in the country. Something like 25 times the revenue of US honey making in almonds. What do we lose if we continue this way? Fruit, berries, onions, pumpkin. Say goodbye to Thanksgiving dinner as we know it. Apple/blueberry pie. French Onion Soup. ANY decent soup. Triple berry smoothies."

Sept 14-19

Sept 14, "Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan (attacking Germans. Germans?), Akko, Yerushalayim. Somehow, ISRAELIS managed to keep rioters out of US embassy. "Only a strong, ISLAMIC state will 'quell the rage'". Appease Arab barbarity now?!? Oh, oops, sorry, "militants" storm peacekeeping base in Sinai. Missed that one. Are you getting this yet?"

Sept 15, "It's an interesting experience, not needing a vest, either to cover the stretch of my shirt over my paunch, nor the unsightly muffin top. Also, being able to button the neck of a shirt in which I couldn't do that when I bought it for my father in law's funeral in 2005."

Sept 16, "Just read about the Smurfette principle: in any cartoon not specifically aimed at girls (She-Ra, Gem, Princess Guenevere), either there will be only 1 female character, who will B essentially "the" chick, or there may B "feminized versions 
of the existing male characters" (Daisy Duck, Minnie Mouse). The Archies & spinoffs (Sabrina the teenage witch, Josie & the Pussycats) & Scoobie Doo R apparently the exceptions that prove the rule. Tula the Geomancer on Pirates of Darkwater was clearly more than just the "chick", but she was pretty much the only female ever on the show. There were numerous females on Gargoyles, but I don't recall any besides Demona & Angela, Goliath & Demona's "lost" daughter, appearing for more than an episode or 2. Every clan obviously needed an egg layer. I don't know that I'd call Wonder Woman exactly the "chick" of the Justice League. Personally, I always found her ability to stop bullets with manual dexterity & bracelets more impressive that Superman's solar powered invulnerability, but I'm hard pressed to name another "chick" in the pantheon before 1980. Things seemed to pick up (even out?) with Raven & Starfire in the Teen Titans, but I was a big Avengers & Xmen fan, not a DC expert. While later groups did include multiple simultaneous females (Rogue, Storm, Shadowcat, Phoenix, even the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants had Mystique & that blind, elderly precog), the XMen only had Wondergirl for years. Reflexively as I wanted to snort derision at this idea, one thing struck me. My daughter LOVED Avatar, partially for the strong, active, independent female characters: Katara, Toph, Azula, Mai, Tai Lee, Katara's mother (Kya) & "Grangran", Zuko & Azula's mother Ursa, & many incidental but significant females. When we looked for action figures, we never found any females. Ever. Even on ebay. We never found an Iroh, either, but she's got Aang, Sokka, Zuko, Bumi, Roku, even a plush Momo. No females, though, & that's a 21st century series."

Sept 18, "Love the Romney response to the Romney take on Mencken, that 47% of America is composed of parasitic fools. Inelegant phrasing. Like there's a way to say, "Screw you guys, I'm going home" that will inspire affection and confidence."

Sept 18, "Apparently, Romney has said something else that deeply outrages the Liberal Blogosphere: "The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in achieving peace." Oh, My G-d, the man has been reading what the Palestinians themselves have been saying, or accounts of what effect twenty years of concession, appeasement, and political correctness have actually had, instead of clinging limpet-like to a bunch of warm, fuzzy, but baseless assumptions about "universal values". I think THIS Republican must have LEARNED something at Harvard."

Sept 19, "Get this straight: If you say something that upsets a muslim, and he chooses to go on a murderous rampage instead of calling you an idiot or writing a letter to the editor of initiating a lawsuit, it's your fault. Their standards must be 
respected everywhere, they have no need to respect anyone else's anywhere. International bodies should make the exercise of free speech illegal HERE because it might "cause" riots in the Muslim world. Or Paris. Or Sweden. This is what they are saying, loud and clear, over and over."

Sept 8-14

Sept 8, "PLG. PRD. BDL. QDSh. ChLQ. ChTzH. Why do we need 6 verbs for "separate"? QDSh means set aside for a particular, holy, purpose. BDL seems to mean a dichotomous division. ChTzH, means to bisect, as an arrow (Chetz) does a bow (Qeshet). ChLQ, which seems to mean divided evenly in more than two parts. PLG appears to indicate a natural division, as in Palgei Mayim, streams of water. But I'm still trying to figure out why we need PRD, what specific shade of meaning it represents.

Similarly for beautify: PAR and HDR can both be used for that, as in tiphara/tipheret or hidur mitzvar (doing a mitzvah not merely minimally but beautifully, joyfully).
So why would Rashi say that a perfectly common comprehensible shoresh/root in our parsha today was ACTUALLY a unique word, found nowhere else, meaning one of these two things?"

Sept 10, "Only Jerusalem has a monument to the victims of 9/11.  
Let's see.... HOW many of our Arab allies have a memorial to the victims of 9/11 in their capitals? Oh, right, I forgot, the US doesn't recognize Jerusalem, the only place with a Liberty Bell Park, a Kennedy Memorial, a 9/11 memorial as the capital of Israel. Because it would upset our Arab "allies"."

Sept 11, "September 11, 2001. I was on a treadmill at Gold's Gym, now closed. The tvs all faced in; the treadmills all faced the windows. I got off, and noticed lots of folk staring at the monitors Two weight machines later, everybody was watching the monitors. It felt like the 1986 day the Challenger crashed. I walked past the EE lounge at UMCP about 30 seconds into the 72 second flight. On the way home, 
I was astounded there was no traffic. Most of the way up 270, I turned on WTOP, and... BOOM. This 2001 day, I saw the smoke from the Pentagon. My 4 year old was in the kiddie room, where the very nice Afghani lady who ran it, Hamida, was freaking out because her daughter was a Marine corporal who worked there, & she didn't answer her phones. Fortunately, she had the day off and had just turned them off. My wife had chosen that day, of all days five years before or after, to take the metro UNDER the Pentagon, and of course cell phones did not work in the metro at that time. It was, as the Chinese say, an interesting morning."

Sept 12, "Interesting... anyone else note that the argument and tactics against human induced climate change almost exactly parallels the same industrially generated delays regarding CFCs?" (See Sept 24, BEES)

Sept 14, "Egypt... Libya... Yemen... Now Tunisia... Because we have freedom of speech, not because of Israel. Because an Egyptian Coptic Christian made a film. How many people died because of films in which Jesus was shown as less than perfect? How many movies show David, Solomon, Samson, Abraham, Moses as less than perfect? When was the last time Israeli Jews attacked the American embassy, or there was an antiamerican riot at the Vatican? Are you getting this yet? When did the archbishop of Canterbury lead a frothing mob against the embassy in London, or hindu clerics whip a pack of howling jackals up against the Mumbai embassy?"

Sept 1-8

Sept 1, apropos of Republican advice, "One might consider whether their advice was worth having, considering the results the first time. There's a value to experience, of course, but OUR experience is they crashed the system (allowed the crash and militated to make the "system" vulnerable) and then stood in the way of remediation while blaming their successors. Of course, NAFTA, a Clinton era "accomplishment", exacerbated the problem."

Sept 3, "Apparently, another batch of lovely fellows took umbrage that a woman was sitting in the front of an Israeli bus. Thankfully, they seem to have inflicted nothing more violent than loud noise on her.

I don't quite get what these idiots are trying to achieve by displaying such hideous middot. My daughter went to an orthodox school, where her favorite teacher was an "ultra-orthodox" rabbi. He hol
ds an annual barbecue for his fourth graders, boy and girl alike, at his home. We go to a Chabad shul, and this is NOTHING my rabbi would condone. When those awful people spit at those little girls in long skirts and called them whores, we got three sermons in a row on how awful and how totally unjustifiable such behavior was on a Torah basis.

One wonders. Torah teaching on the subject is from Brachot: Who embarrasses his fellow in public is as if he shed (literally poured) blood. Shaming a person publicly is elsewhere one of the several reasons it would have been better if that person (the shamer) had not been born.

What I can't figure out is how they can even speak to her: Avot 1:5. "Yossei the son of Yochanan of Jerusalem would say: not engage in excessive conversation with a woman. This is said even regarding one's own wife--how much more so regarding the wife of another. Hence, the sages said: One who excessively converses with a woman causes evil to himself, neglects the study of Torah, and, in the end, inherits purgatory." So, how dare they even address her?"

Sept 3, responding to a Reuters story, ""Iran could strike U.S. bases if Israel attacks: Hezbollah" BEIRUT (Reuters) -They could strike, and have struck US bases and other assets (Pakistan this morning? USS Cole? 9/11? US embassies in Africa? Khobar Towers? The first attack on the WTC? Marine barracks and embassy Beirut?), whether Israel attacks Iran or not. And not just the Iranians: there is enough of it that there is a term (Green on Blue violence) for Afghan trainees attacking American trainers, just like "Palestinians" did Israelis in the same situation. The Argentine Jewish Community center, of course doesn't count."

Sept 5, "It's so inspiring that the British policy of denying Jews any rights that "upset" Arabs, of recognizing the Muslim right to express "upset" violently and destructively, has spread from the British mandate for A Jewish Homeland in Eretz Yisrael ארץ ישראל to so many other places, many supposedly "sovereign" states."

Sept 8, "Many moons ago, in the green of the world, around the bicentennial, I looked up my last name. I found it odd that it meant "small lake or pond: tarn" in German but "river" in Yiddish. I chose the German meaning, and have been using Agami אגמי as the Hebrew version since the early 1980s. My daughter has heard this, like so much else, FAR too many times, but apparently, because it has a Dr. Who resonance (the companion du jour is Amy POND, whose daughter is RIVER Song, because the people who raised her had no word for pond), suddenly, it's COOL. Like bow ties and fezzes."

Sept 8, "So, I'm reading Yehoshua chapter 9, because Joan is napping and Jessica is at a friend's house (napping, I later learn), and it's Shabbat, soooo... I don't know how I missed the NUMBER of parallels to earlier Hebrew models. He meets an ange
l before a momentous confrontation like Yaakov, he stops the Yarden like Moses does Yam Suf, AND he leads his men on a forced 20 mile up hill night march and beats a confederation of kings in a rescue mission like Avraham. I mean I read this last Summer. And I guess you could say he massacres Yericho and Ai, like Shimon and Levi."

Sept 8, "The shofar or ram's horn has been used to call Jews together at least since the Exodus from Egypt (Yetziat Mizrayim). Today it is played in the synagogue on weekdays after morning services (Shacharit) throughout the month of Elul, culminating on Rosh haShanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) in the month of Tishrei. In the Jewish tradition, this represents the forty days Moses spent on Mount Sinai betreen the incident of the Golden Calf (Egel haZahav) and the gift of the second set of tablets (Sh'nei Luchot haBrit) containing the Ten Commandments (Aseret haDibrot).

There are four "notes" played in various patterns throughout the High Holiday services. T'ki'ah ia a long, uninterrupted blast. Sh'varim (broken) is three short blasts. T'ruah is approximately nine very short toots. T'ki'ah g'dolah is basically a T'ki'ah held for as long as one has breath.

Playing a shofar requires practice. It is very similar to playing a trumpet, or any brass instrument, except that the mouthpiece is not as easy to use. Basically, one presses one's lips together and forces breath out through them, producing the sort of vibration we all remember from kindergarten. Holding the shofar against one's vibrating lips produces the clarion, inchoate call we all know so well.

But here's the catch: Each shofar is unique, and most are not deliberately worked into a nice, symmetrical, trumpet-like mouth piece. The only way to get one to work is to hold it up to one's mouth and try and try and TRY……. until that sound starts coming out.
B'hatzlachah! (Best of luck!)"