Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year to All

Hope and foreboding. Not necessarily in equal measure, either. What every new year has that recommends it over the old one is the promise of uncertainty, We know what happened last year. There is always the possibility that we will learn from our mistakes, tighten our abdominals, stop smoking, exercise greater patience and dedicate our lives to the selfless pursuit of Man’s greater good. There is also the off chance that pigs will fly.”
Ted Koppel, Reporter, from his book "Off Camera, Private Thoughts Made Public"

The above is my favorite New Year's quote. I used it last year too. It's my New Year's tradition, similar to ol' Dick Clark's Time Square deal.

Here's to hoping you reach for all you strive for.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Hanukkah in Santa Monica

I mentioned Tom Lehrer's song "Hanukkah in Santa Monica" the other day; here's a little movie I made to complement the music.

Click me to watch; just give it a second or two to load.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas From the Misanthrope

To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year.
E. B. White (1899 - 1985), writer

Thursday, December 22, 2005

More Rings Are Found Around Uranus

Add your own joke here:



Please don't try to include me.

Why is that so many Christian acquaintances of mine try so hard to convince me that Christmas is American, and not Christian? Why the need to show me every article talking about the American nature of Christmas, its universality, its appeal to people of all religions?

It's not that I don't like Christmas -- it's just that it's not my holiday. I don't care how many Americans celebrate it or how secular it is or that its major symbolic imagery at this stage in history couldn't be more divorced from religion; it's not a holiday for Jews.

Don't tell me you know Jews who celebrate Christmas because they enjoy the spirit of the season. Don't tell me about the kid you went to school with who was totally Jewish but had a Christmas tree because she liked the smell. I really don't want to hear it.

Christmas is, at heart, about the birth of Jesus, and Jesus is hailed by Christians as the son of God. Here's the bare truth: Jews don't believe that; it's antithetical to Judaism to believe in Jesus as anything other than a human being. And you can't expect us to be participants in a holiday which has as its raison d'etre a concept that is diametrically opposed to our beliefs. We don't even feel bad about it, so don't try to find ways to include us.

I wish my Christian friends a "Merry Christmas," and we send cards and presents as appropriate to our friends and family who celebrate it (intermarriage at work). And I have no problem with public celebrations such as the White House Christmas Tree and the like. I think we should keep the Christ in Christmas. But it's not my holiday, OK?

It's insulting to me that you can't just enjoy your holiday; you have to make me a part of it. It's a fairly close parallel to what Antiochus and the Greeks tried to do two thousand or so years ago in a little story we remember every year at Hanukkah. (OK, not a very close parallel -- but religious coercion is what we're talking about.)

Deck your halls, flock your tree, drink your egg nog, have a merry Christmas... just leave me out of it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling

It is a political error to practice deceit, if deceit is carried too far.
Frederick II (1712 - 1786), Prussian monarch

The Bush gang enjoys crying wolf whenever they want their way. We heard about aluminum tubes that could only possibly be used for nuclear weapons, mobile chemical labs that required us to attack a country, and both were out and out lies. Now there are terrorists among us that require eavesdropping on U.S. citizens. Here is why I don’t buy Bush’s arguments for secretly violating our rights. If the CIA and the FBI were not busy playing politics and if their budgets were properly maintained, 9/11 would not have happened. People were asleep at the wheel.

We had all the information to stop 9/11. We just did not fit all the pieces of the puzzle together. If we could have stopped them prior to the attack without moving toward fascism, then why could we not keep track of potential terrorists after 9/11 since the Bush gang has revamped and modified our security agencies?

The Bush gang are a dangerous lot and if the people don’t speak out, we are heading down a one-way road that will destroy everything good that this country was founded upon.

Sunrise, Tuesday Morning

He who binds to himself a joy
Doth the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity's sunrise.

William Blake (1757 - 1827), British poet, painter, and engraver

Here I am complaining about people yakking on their cell phones, shaving or eating while driving, so if I can’t beat them I’ll join them. The sunrise was so nice Tuesday morning that I had to take pictures of it.

However, don’t expect your photos to come out if you shoot through the windshield, it’s not going to happen. So, I opened the sunroof and pointed east and here are my pictures. Granted they are not in the category of Hoarded Ordinaries, but it’s a start.

These photos are of the Golden State (5) freeway heading east at
6:37 a.m. Dec. 20.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

'Tis the Season for Tom Lehrer

I'm feeling the holiday spirit, and so I'm pleased to share with you a little something: Tom Lehrer's "Hanukkah in Santa Monica." If you don't know Tom Lehrer, you should.

Hanukkah in Santa Monica

[And if you want to thank me, buy something.]

For the last time: I hate celery!

On NPR this morning (liberal media alert!) I was listening to yet another story about some school district trying to put intelligent design on the same footing as evolution.

Here's what I don't get: I understand the need for debate and discussion, but do we really need to do this over and over again, to the ridiculous extreme of getting the courts involved?

Steven Jay Gould (dead thinker extraordinaire) had a great idea, which he used many of his wonderfully-readable essays and books to promote: let religion have its domain, and science its domain.

In all matters of faith and morals, where the details can not be assessed in a critical, scientific fashion, let religion have control; this includes the existence of God, how to be a good person, and how many times you have to count those beads or blow those horns to get your specific deity to forgive you.

Anything that can be checked, verified, and confirmed or refuted by the scientific method should be left to science; this includes the size and flatness of the earth, the ordering of the solar system, and -- oh yeah! -- biology.

Evolution is a verifiable fact -- so that's science. Intelligent design is a great idea in many ways, but you can't prove whether God exists, so if you want to say that some cosmic clockmaker set the works in motion that's fine, but it's religion.

What happens when religion tries to butt into scientific affairs? They could claim that the Earth is at the center of the universe, and then be proven wrong. For example.

What happens when science butts into religion's territory? They could claim that there's no scientific basis for moral behavior other than when it's advantageous to your survival, so if it won't affect your survival there's no need to be moral. Yuck.

The state-run schools can not promote one religion's views over any other, and should not teach religious ideas in place or even next to scientific fact. So let's just stop the arguing and do the right thing: keep science in our schools, keep religion in our houses of worship, and stop wasting everyone's time talking about it over and over again.

God bless.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Tips -- Make Sure There are No Twins

Do they allow tipping on the boat?
—Yes, sir.
Have you got two fives?
—Oh, yes, sir.

Then you won't need the ten cents I was going to give you.
Groucho Marx (1895 - 1977), comedian and film actor

This is the time of year when everything gets rather expensive. The gardeners and the house-cleaning person have to be paid extra, as if I don’t pay them enough already. They provide a service for which I pay them. I provide a service to my employer and I get no bonuses.

I am being somewhat facetious the gardner and house cleaner are a major convenience and they are nice people as well. Saturday morning is when the gardeners come and every other Saturday is when our cleaning person arrives.

The gardeners work in teams of two or three and I noticed last year that the team grows as Christmas approaches. This year, I decided I was going to give my favorite guy, the one who seems to work the hardest something extra. I also slip him between $5-10 from time to time. The gardeners arrived, but my favorite was dropped off by himself, so I thought this would be a good time to give him the extra money. I walked out the door and he waved to me as he normally does, but his English seems to be weaker than normal (my Spanish is non-existent). I ask where his buddy was and he tries to tell me about his brother going to Mexico next week. I explain that I will take care of his partner, but that he has received extra. He thanks me and goes to work.

His partner shows up and it’s my favorite gardener. He waves to me like he always does, his English is much better and its then that I realize they are twins! So, now I have to give the same amount to him. So this month I paid my gardeners more than twice the amount of the bill.

The cleaning lady is as sweet as they come and she arrived bearing gifts. Oh crap. I ran into the back room and threw more money in her card.

It’s better to give than receive, right?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I Feel Tortured By the Bush Gang

Under torture you are as if under the dominion of those grasses that produce visions. Everything you have heard told, everything that you have read returns to your mind, as if you were being transported, not toward heaven, but toward hell.
Umberto Eco, Italian writer and literary scholar

Anything They Say has excellent post on what a lot of double talk the ban on torture really is. I encourage you to read it if you believe that the Bush gang has backed down on anything. What is disappointing is that John McCain looked like a hero when really he is just a slimy politician too.

Robert Kennedy Jr. wrote an interesting historical piece on torture in the Los Angeles Times Saturday Opinion section, which set America apart from our enemies from the very beginning.

Enjoyable Animated Piece

Comedy is medicine.
Trevor Griffiths, British playwright

Here is another clever piece from JibJab, it’s a round-up of Bush’s year in 2-0-5. (click on the link above, not the picture to see the video)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Faux Mea Culpa

Sincerity is all that counts. It's a wide-spread modern heresy. Think again. Bolsheviks are sincere. Fascists are sincere. Lunatics are sincere. People who believe the earth is flat are sincere. They can't all be right.
Tom Driberg (1905 - 1976), British politician and journalist

What did he know and when did he know it?

If it is widely known now by the public that Bush used bad info, then he obviously knew a long time ago. If he is truly taking responsibility then it is time to clean house and get rid of a vice president a defense secretary that steamed roll over evidence and expert advice to push forward a failed plan, but he is not.

This is a clear case of a public relations stunt to raise his poll numbers so his gang can get odious legislation passed.

The white house gang knows that celebrities are forgiven for their trespasses of drugs, prostitutes and old girlfriends and boyfriends, so they are looking for their absolution. The American people will be foolish to approve anything more from this gang.

From Frank Rice’s Nov. 27th column in the New York Times
...There is more going on here than politics.

Much more: each day brings slam-dunk evidence that the doomsday threats marshaled by the administration to sell the war weren't, in Cheney-speak, just dishonest and reprehensible but also corrupt and shameless. The more the president and vice president tell us that their mistakes were merely innocent byproducts of the same bad intelligence seen by everyone else in the world, the more we learn that this was not so. The web of half-truths and falsehoods used to sell the war did not happen by accident; it was woven by design and then foisted on the public by a P.R. operation built expressly for that purpose in the White House. The real point of the Bush-Cheney verbal fisticuffs this month, like the earlier campaign to take down Joseph Wilson, is less to smite Democrats than to cover up wrongdoing in the executive branch between 9/11 and shock and awe.

The cover-up is failing, however. No matter how much the president and vice president raise their decibel levels, the truth keeps roaring out. A nearly 7,000-word investigation in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times found that Mr. Bush and his aides had ''issued increasingly dire warnings'' about Iraq's mobile biological weapons labs long after U.S. intelligence authorities were told by Germany's Federal Intelligence Service that the principal source for these warnings, an Iraqi defector in German custody code-named Curveball, ''never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so.'' The five senior German intelligence officials who spoke to The Times said they were aghast that such long-discredited misinformation from a suspected fabricator turned up in Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations and in the president's 2003 State of the Union address (where it shared billing with the equally bogus 16 words about Saddam's fictitious African uranium).

Be afraid, be very very afraid.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Tom Waits Kind of Morning –
A Misanthropic Rant

And the ambulance drivers don't give a shit, they just want to get off work.
Tom Waits, Singer, song writer

Misery is the River of the World. I wanted to make a Waits CD for the drive to work. I selected the songs and prepared to burn the disc, but soon discovered I was out of blank discs. I saved the list for another morning.

In the car I knew there was a Waits CD. The glove box doesn’t open because all the CDs are piled in and have jammed to keep it from opening. A few smacks and I got it to open. Shuffling through the CDs I don’t see Waits. I search the seat dividing console where there are several more CDs. No Tom Waits. Back to the glove box and slowly check again, I know there is one in here. Eureka!

I know have the soundtrack to a mentally crappie morning that has been building for a while now. The part of the family tree related to my grandparents on my mother’s side is in the December of its days. My great uncle passed away. I was not particularly close with him, but I have found memories of him when my mother and grandmother visited him or visa versa. My second cousins who I usually see at funerals anymore will be at the memorial on Sunday.

Everything Goes to Hell. As I drive east toward corporate Mecca the morons who I have to share the freeway with slowdown considerably to stare at the sun. Here is a news flash, auto manufacturers installed those mirrors above the steering wheel primarily as a means for blocking the sun from blinding you while heading east in the morning and west in the late afternoon. I realize this may come as a shock to the women applying makeup or plucking their eyebrows or the men shaving and brushing their teeth on the way to work.

God’s Away on Business. A co-worker told me he couldn’t do my job.
“You handle assholes so well. How do you do it?”
“It’s called paying the mortgage.”

Why do assholes always sharpen their knives on your mistakes?

Bathroom Sex -- Do Not Disturb

No one can be as calculatedly rude as the British, which amazes Americans, who do not understand studied insult and can only offer abuse as a substitute.
Paul Gallico (1897–1976), novelist

These days it seems that private behavior has become public behavior with a complete disregard for others. If you point this out to the offender(s) you will be the subject of their scorn. A perfect example of this is the story of the British couple heading toward Jamaica for vacation.

I’m certain they wanted a story to tell about joining the mile-high club. The intoxicated couple snuck off to the restroom and then forgot they were not in a soundproof booth; the flight attendants ordered the pair to stop coupling and return to their seats.

Instead of being embarrassed about the airline interruptus, the self-centered duo became even more obnoxious by yelling, spiting and swearing at the British Airways staff including the pilots, which left the pilots no choice but to make an unscheduled landing to have the pair arrested.

Now the amorous louts really have a story to tell -- getting arrested and facing a fine of nearly $60,000.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I Got Mail

This is the night mail crossing the border, Bringing the cheque and the postal order, Letters for the rich, letters for the poor, The shop at the corner and the girl next door.
W. H. Auden (1907 - 1973) poet

I received this last night, but I thought I would answer through a posting.

I saw your comment regarding "Tookie", that there is no need to be as barbaric as he was, well... if we were as barbaric as he was, WE WOULD KILL HIM AND THREE OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS...WITH A SHOTGUN!!

I wonder if you would be so cavalier about this subject had it been your family that was murdered in cold blood via shotgun.

For such a "misanthropic" anthropoid, you are strangely compassionate and concerned about the human race that you supposedly loath so much. Do I detect a tinge of Humanitarian!!!

Don't be a hater!?!?!


Dear MPA,

Thanks for your note. You should have posted it. Yes, I am strangely compassionate, just don't lollygag on the freeway in front of me. I strongly believe that the state should not be in the business of killing its citizens. Frankly, I think killing Williams was an easy way out rather than making him spend the rest of his days confined in a jail cell. As I wrote in my post, his death will not help the victims in anyway.

Granted, if it were my family member or a close friend I would not be objective, but I would certainly try, I might not succeed.

Regarding my pseudonym, I picked it because I find my opinions are not commonly held, which makes me feel a bit like an outsider. I did not select the name for its dictionary meaning -- One who hates or mistrusts humankind -- but from the phrase by William Hazlitt that is under my profile.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Schwarzenegger Buckles to Lynch Mentality

There is one, and only one, thing in modern society more hideous than crime — namely, repressive justice.
Simone Weil (1909–43), French philosopher

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today rejected clemency for Stanley Tookie Williams, who was convicted of murder.

It would have taken someone with much more mental strength than Schwarzenegger to show mercy and compassion – something Williams did not do. Now, the state ends up performing its own lynching through lethal injection.

It seems to me that living in a cage is much more of a punishment than dying.

I’m disgusted that people can be happy or pleased with an execution. Once Williams is dead will the murdered victims return? Will the families who lost their loved ones stop grieving or missing them? Nothing will be resolved. We will have just lowered ourselves to a killer’s level.

From “” The drugs are administered, in this order:

Anesthetic - Sodium thiopental, which has the trademark name Pentothal, puts the inmate into a deep sleep. This drug is a barbiturate that induces general anesthesia when administered intravenously. It can reach effective clinical concentrations in the brain within 30 seconds, according to an Amnesty International report. For surgical operations, patients are given a dose of 100 to 150 milligrams over a period of 10 to 15 seconds. For executions, as many as 5 grams (5,000 mg) of Pentothal may be administered. This in itself is a lethal dose. It's believed by some that after this anesthetic is delivered, the inmate doesn't feel anything.

Saline solution flushes the intravenous line.

Paralyzing agent - Pancuronium bromide, also known as Pavulon, is a muscle relaxant that is given in a dose that stops breathing by paralyzing the diaphragm and lungs. Conventionally, this drug takes effect in one to three minutes after being injected. In many states, this drug is given in doses of up to 100 milligrams, a much higher dose than is used in surgical operations -- usually 40 to 100 micrograms per one kilogram of body weight. Other chemicals that can be used as a paralyzing agent include tubocurarine chloride and succinylcholine chloride.

Saline solution flushes the intravenous line.

Toxic agent (not used by all states) - Potassium chloride is given at a lethal dose in order to interrupt the electrical signaling essential to heart functions. This induces cardiac arrest.

Within a minute or two after the last drug is administered, a physician or medical technician declares the inmate dead. The amount of time between when the prisoner leaves the holding cell and when he or she is declared dead may be just 30 minutes. Death usually occurs anywhere from five to 18 minutes after the execution order is given. After the execution, the body is placed in a body bag and taken to medical examiner, who may perform an autopsy. It is then either claimed by the inmate's family or interred by the state.


There is more credit and satisfaction in being a first-rate truck driver than a tenth-rate executive.
B. C. Forbes (1880 - 1954), U.S. publisher

I need something to take my mind off all the bad news going around. I suspect these trucks are not real, but they do look rather interesting and if they were on the road, I might not hate 18-wheelers so much. I received the photos via e-mail from a second cousin. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

No Time for the Times -- Except on Sunday

He types his laboured column—weary drudge!
Senile fudge and solemn:
Spare, editor, to condemn
These dry leaves of his autumn.
Robertson Davies (1913–1995), Canadian novelist, journalist

I canceled my subscription to the Los Angeles Times and I miss my newspaper, but I also miss my baseball team (the Dodgers), but that is a story for another post. The times (and the newspaper) continue to change and not for the better.

The LATimes fired 85 reporters because revenue was down. My little protest of this fact was canceling my subscription that I had since high school. Yes, I realize this creates a catch-22. Well, I’m sure it didn’t help that the tax judge ruled against the newspaper's parent company the Tribune Co. to the tune of $1 billion, which is why it is eliminating sections, firing columnists, and cartoonists. It is a perfect example of why conglomerate media ownership is a bad idea.

Tribune Co.'s (owner of the L.A. Times) appeal of a U.S. Tax Court setback that could cost it around $1 billion in federal taxes and penalties for a 1998 divestiture. Tax pros generally don't believe that the media giant can erase that huge bill in appealing the decision to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, but they are keeping track for possible clues on how far businesses can go in engineering deal structures to sidestep taxes on often-huge sell-off profits. (Mergers and Acquisitions Journal, December 1, 2005)

I still have my Sunday subscription to both the LATimes and the New York Times, but if I had my choice I would take the Washington Post, but they don’t have a national edition.

Newspapers have been a dying industry for some time. I was talking to a friend who is going through the USC MBA program, he has only the foggiest notion what is transpiring in the world, the nation or in his backyard, but he’ll be able to make a fortune soon. Current events or being connected means nothing in our capitalistic society. The only thing that matters is how you can get others to buy your goods.

My prediction for newspapers is that they will eventually disintegrate similar to Marty McFly’s picture of his parents in the movie “Back to the Future,” to a Sunday only production. There will be internet versions of the newspapers, but the tradition of reading the newspaper with breakfast will disappear, just like time for breakfast.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Richard Pryor Dead at 65

"It's been a struggle for me because I had a chance to be white and refused"
Richard Pryor (1940 -2005) comedian

According to CNN, Richard Pryor died of a heart attack at his home in the San Fernando Valley sometime late Friday or early Saturday, Flyn Pryor said. He had been ill for years with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

The comedian was regarded early in his career as one of the most foul-mouthed comics in the business, but he gained a wide following for his expletive-filled but universal and frequently personal insights into modern life and race relations.

His audacious style influenced an array of stand-up artists, including Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and Damon Wayans, as well as Robin Williams, David Letterman and others.

Former Sen. Eugene McCarthy Dead at 89

Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it's important.
Eugene McCarthy (1916-2005), Senator

Eugene McCarthy was a politician you won’t see much these days – someone with principles.

According to CNN, former Minnesota Sen. McCarthy, whose insurgent campaign toppled a sitting president in 1968 and forced the Democratic Party to take seriously his message against the Vietnam War, died Saturday. He was 89 and died in his sleep.

Eugene McCarthy challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson for the 1968 Democratic nomination during growing debate over the Vietnam War. The challenge led to Johnson's withdrawal from the race.

The former college professor, who ran for president five times in all, was in some ways an atypical politician, a man with a witty, erudite speaking style who wrote poetry in his spare time and was the author of several books.

Dyke is Politically Correct

This is a celebration of individual freedom, not of homosexuality. No government has the right to tell its citizens when or whom to love. The only queer people are those who don’t love anybody.
Rita Mae Brown, writer

It’s official dyke is now a politically correct term.

I suppose this has come through continual use. A women’s Motorcycle Contingent that wanted to trademark the phase Dykes on Bikes had been originally denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office because they felt dyke was a disparaging word for lesbians. However, a clothing manufacturer attempted to use the phase or something similar, which prompted the motorcycle group to seek a patent, which was eventually granted.

According to a Reuters article, The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Brooke Oliver Law Group said the word "dyke" is no longer viewed as derogatory.

"Within the lesbian community that term has been reclaimed as a very positive term that denotes strength and pride and empowerment," said Shannon Minter, a lawyer for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Mercy and Clemency are Needed

We hand folks over to God’s mercy, and show none ourselves.
George Eliot (1819–80), English novelist

Stanley Tookie Williams is set to be executed Tuesday, if California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger does not provide a last-minute reprieve. Most of the blogs that I have seen (including B2 below) do not believe Tookie’s life should be spared.

I do and here is my reasoning. The hope of putting one into prison is to reform that person; however, we know that our prison system is not a place for reform. It’s more of a place to learn how to be even more brutal and uncaring. Tookie killed four people and he has refused to tell police what he knows about the crime that he contends he is innocent of, which is why he has not apologized. It’s obvious that he cannot be released upon the streets because he appears to still operate from a gang mentality, which is all he has known since being an adolescent. However, he has reformed to at least earn life in prison rather than being executed, which puts the state on the same level as a rival gang.

Tookie’s efforts in prison have resulted in writing a number of children’s books, preaching non-violence. While he has taken four lives that can never be returned and caused grief to innocent families, he has also saved numerous lives. Should that not count for something? Maybe, living the remaining days of his life in a cage?

Nookie for Tookie!

Click the image above to get the full-size, full-color poster -- print it out and make your voice heard! And what the hell, there are shirts, too.

We Long Bony Dorks

I once blogged about one of my favorite poems, Gwendolyn Brooks' "We Real Cool." Now someone has written a series of poems based on this idea: what if poets wrotes poems whose titles were anagrams of their own names? Here's the twist on Brooks:

We Long Bony Dorks
By Gwendolyn Brooks

The Mathletes.
Seven in the Computer Lab.

We long bony dorks. We
Real big on quarks. We

Quote Python lines. We
Know arcs and sines. We

Not good at sports. We
Black socks with shorts. We

Beat up at noon. We
Out-earn you soon.


Please visit and check out the E.E. Cummings, David Mamet, and William Blake. And, maybe my favorite, Samuel Beckett's "Bake Me Cutlets."

[Thanks, BoingBoing!]

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Lennon Addendum

Imagine crystalled John's dream. It crystallized his idealism. It was something he really wanted to say to the world.
Yoko Ono-Lennon, John's wife

Q (from Simply Put) and I were having an offline conversation (corporate speak) about Lennon tunes, which brought to mind two items: one, my favorite post-Beatle Lennon songs, and, two, where I was when I heard the news about Lennon’s death. Check out the photo from Yoko that Q posted, very sad.

I read the news today, oh boy…
I was proofreading in the newsroom of our local newspaper when the photographer came in and asked why the radio was playing Lennon and Beatle songs. I replied with the shocking news, so I guess if he doesn’t remember my name he’ll know remember some guy in the newsroom told him the news. Where were you when you heard the news?

My favorite Lennon songs are:
Watching the Wheels
Nobody Told Me
Jealous Guy
Working Class Hero
Imagine (trivia: Phil Spector sang backup on this song)
Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out
Borrowed Time
Starting Over
How Do You Sleep (trivia: this is about Paul McCartney responding to McCartney's dig on "Too Many People")

What are your favorite Lennon songs?

Nothing will stop me, and whether I'm here or wherever I may be, I'll always have the same feelings [and] I'll say what I feel.
John Lennon

Isn't it a Pity

Isn't it a pity
Now, isn't it a shame
How we break each other's hearts
And cause each other pain
How we take each other's love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity
"Isn't it a Pity" by George Harrison, (1943-2001) singer/song writer, Beatle

December is a bad month for former Beatles. John Lennon was killed 25 years ago today. George Harrison died four years ago December 1, 2001. Time just zooms by. I'll play a few of their songs in their honor.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Year Santa Almost Didn't Make It

Can someone out there please tell me why, every year, the television channels are filled with stories like "There Almost Wasn't a Christmas," "The Year Santa Almost Didn't Make It," and "The Christmas That Almost Wasn't"?

Why is there this fascination with Christmas almost being ruined and then saved at the last minute? This is the sort of neurosis I expect (and get) from my fellow Jews (Purim: all of the Jews are almost killed, but then they aren't; Hanukkah: all of the Jews are forced to give up Judaism but at the last-minute there's a miraculous military victory; Passover: all of the Jews have left slavery only to be trapped by the Red Sea, but then the waters are parted at the last minute and they get away; you get the picture, right?), but it just seems odd coming from the Christian side of the fence.


There comes a time... every bloger's life (or ex-blogger, as the case may be) when he goes crazy with greed. This, my friends, is that time. If you are offended by blatant commercial pitches that only seem at first glance to offer you content of any real value but are, instead, mere shams designed to bilk you of your hard-earned cash, then do not -- DO NOT -- read the two posts below this one. If you do, you have only yourself to blame.

Shin happens.

The creator of Shabot6000 (an extremely funny and irreverent Jewish-themed cartoon) is showing off his new Got milchig? shirt, purchased at the ever-irrepressible YidGear. (Don't miss the Shin Happens gear, still available in time for Hanukkah!)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Palestine awake!

I love cleaning out the garage and, conveniently enough, my wife loves piling stuff up in the garage. So I get to indulge my fancy, knowing that my wife will make sure I get the chance again... and again... and again.

The primary reason I love cleaning out the garage: organizing everything into those great storage tubs, labeling those tubs, and then stacking the tubs high into the rafters, hoping that my system of bungee cords and rope will keep everything in place. A second reason I enjoy this pasttime is that I frequently stumble upon something I'd forgotten I had -- case in point, a hardcover book from 1926 called Palestine Awake: The Rebirth of a Nation.

Author Sophie Irene Loeb was born in Russia in 1876 and died in New York in 1929. She was president of the Board of Child Welfare of New York, and in 1921 established the first child welfare building -- and she was also a proto-Zionist.

Her book, which includes 16 black and white plates, is just great to read (and look at -- the photo here is a"religious settler," as pictured in the book). As a page out of history, nothing beats books about pre-mandate Palestine.

Loeb interviewed (among other officials) Ragheb El Nashashibi, then the mayor of Jerusalem, on various Palestine-related matters; his answers are fascinating, and include gems such as:

"I can see no reasons why the Jews and Arabs cannot work together in this great country. There is room for all, and up to the present time there have been no serious quarrels."

But enjoy as it I do, I must part with it -- gotta make room, you know. If you're interested, check it out on eBay.