Tuesday, April 02, 2013
The Sky Is Falling!
You have to love the second item here. (Item number 4 as listed.) Science is beginning to catch up to how, whoa, the planet has not warmed in twenty years. But not to worry! Not only do they have a handy-dandy explanation for it that still manages to blame us poor humans (never mind that print has been going out for only five or ten years or so), they're able to spin it into yet another pending disaster! I guess just as everything was due to "global warming" (and, of course, our fault), so too global cooling is our fault (actually, I see it's already on that list), and it's going to be a doozy.
Don't these people ever get tired? No, I guess not.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
Friday, February 01, 2013
How'm I doin'?
I remember seeing Ed Koch in person only once. (I imagine I saw him a bunch more times than that, especially in the Israel Parade, but I don't recall them.) I was walking down Fifth Avenue- this was years after he left office- and he was coming out of one the high-end men's shops. A couple of construction worker types were standing on sidewalk and saw him. "Ayyyyy! Ed Koch!" one yelled in thick New Yawkese. He smiled and waved at them. No, he didn't ask them how he was doing, as far as I know, because that would have been too perfect.
"Ehhh...The Vatican think's he's cuckoo. I think he's cuckoo."
"I have the body of a Greek god."
James and Joel, who had a show on the same radio station as him, used to play the above quotes of his, among others, as bumpers. No, they don't have to make sense to be funny.
Gonzo: "Mr. Mayor! Mr. Mayor, I'm looking for a frog who can sing and dance!"
"If he can balance the budget, I'll hire him!"
And a worthy sentiment: "The people have rejected me and they must be punished." And punished we were.
I can't say he was that great a mayor- certainly not as good as Rudy, of course- but he had personality. And that, as we know, goes a long way. My father remembers him as the East Side's congressman. (My father taught at Ramaz.) And his military record should be pointed out. The rest...well, on balance, pretty good, for a Democrat. I shall refrain from quoting R' Kahane.
Oh, and the bridge naming? A lot more deserved than RFK, I'll tell you that.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Two Funny Points
Two funny points, just like the title tells us:
A famous painting is up for sale. The webpage describing it ends with this tantalizing note:
"The past few years it has resided in a religious museum [The Living Torah Museum in Brooklyn- NL, via the first link above], but doctrinal differences have insisted that the painting be deaccessioned."
That last word must be a specialized auction house word meaning "sell," but I'd love to know what "doctrinal differences" even means.
Machsom Watch is a typical leftist agitator group who tries to act against the "occupation." Every now and then there's an ad in the paper advertising one of their tours, which I guess are designed to turn their participants against the "occupation" as well. You can see an internet version here.
The kicker line for me always comes toward the end:
"All zones and roads are under the control of the IDF."
Well, yeah, the Palestinians are a bunch of murderous thugs who you wouldn't trust with anything, much less your life, and we need the IDF to defend us. But let's protest the IDF and try to hand more land over to the Arabs, eh?
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
My great-aunt Edith, of blessed memory, was quite the woman. Among many other accomplishments, not the least of which was being the powerful matriarch of an incredible family, she was one of the "Rosie the Riveters" during World War II, working in a bullet factory. Decades later, into her eighties, she would still roll up her sleeves and show the forearm muscles she'd developed back then. (I remember my mother arranging to have her recognized as "citizen of the year" or something similar by her home community in Cleveland, hearth of the clan.)
Tante Itka, as we called her, was Russian-born, salty as any Yiddish grandmother. She once boasted to us- without exaggerating a bit- that "The Malach HaMoves was my shadchan," that is, the Angel of Death was her matchmaker. (She was introduced to her first husband at a cemetery- I think they were attending separate funerals, she of a Christian Science cousin who'd died young. You can't make these things up.) We were eating when she told us this, and she began to laugh so hard that some food went down the wrong tube. Nothing serious; she coughed and cleared it up, and immediately began laughing again. "See?" she said, "I mention the Malach HaMoves and here he comes to get me!"
OK, one more story (of many I can tell) before I get to my point: She visited Russia for the first time since she'd left in the early 1920's when one of my cousins (her granddaughter) was volunteering for Jews there with YUSSR. She got off the plane, opened her mouth, and Russian, a language she hadn't spoken a word of for about seventy years, began rolling fluently off her tongue. A YU publication quoted my cousin describing how they still had outhouses where she was. It then went on to quote Itka: "Well, at least you had a seat on the toilet."
Why this flood of memories? Well, today brings news that Daniel Inouye has passed away. As is known, he lost an arm fighting in World War II. Once, my mother accompanied my great-aunt to the airport; they were in the lounge waiting for her flight and Senator Inouye was seated nearby. Itka leaned over to my mother and in a stage whisper asked, "How does he make his tie?" Ah, bless her memory.
As to Senator Inouye himself, only three words need be said- three words, or a symbol thereof, which will almost certainly appear on his tombstone: "Medal of Honor."
My old friend Sussman once told me a story of a man who interviewed for a job and didn't get it. (This may have been in the 1950's.) After he left, the man who conducted the interview was asked why he didn't give him the job. "I can't take seriously any man who would wear a lapel pin," he answered. The other man looked at him as if he was nuts. "That was a Medal of Honor pin!" he exclaimed. The interviewer bolted out of his chair, ran out of the office, caught up to the interviewee, apologized profusely, and offered him the job.
That's the proper reaction to any Medal of Honor winner, and to Senator Inouye's death. R.I.P.
On a completely different point, is it too much to ask that anyone who pontificates on the question of gun rights at least learn the correct meaning (or lack thereof) of words like "automatic," "semiautomatic," and "assault weapon?" Please?
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Inherit the Earth
I spent yesterday afternoon and evening, and the wee hours of this morning (I got home after 1:00 AM), driving around the Judean Hills, delivering and monitoring polls for a primary election. Exhausting but interesting and instructional, not to mention that I wasn't doing it for Olam HaBa. At least one freaky and slightly disturbing fact was learned: Arabs and Jews can argue over the (vast, I've come to learn) West Bank all they want, but at the end of the day, when the silly humans are asleep, the real masters of the land come out: Felis Catus, in some feral version, I suppose. I mean, you're driving down a pitch-black, deserted road somewhere outside Hebron when suddenly a small furry thing that in a very different context would look cute on your sofa dashes across the road. Where do they come from? How do they survive? How do I resist the temptation to feed the cute kitten mewling in our garden?
So they won't feel left out, let me point out that wild dogs, donkeys (both pulling carts and carrying old Arabs), sheep, and camels were all spotted. The ones you really have to watch out for are the wild boar, but I didn't see any.
This morning I spotted a cool sign outside a branch of Steimatsky's, the book chain. (The original store, in fact, on Jaffa Road.) Translated, it read "There are people who simply feel compelled to read every sentence they see." I didn't get it at first (my psychologist better half informs me that this true from a psychological point of view, which is logical), until I realized that I was, indeed, reading it, despite the fact that it made no sense. Ha!
As to the other election, well, I see that I said this four years ago. Not sure I'd be as optimistic anymore, not that I was much back then. Instead, it's time to quote Herman Wouk again, once again on his grandfather:
What my grandfather would think if he knew that the awesome Guide for the Perplexed was available in a paper-bound English translation for less than two dollars, and that American college boys skimmed it in a weekend and wrote confident twenty-paged theses on it, I cannot imagine. My grandfather always retained the impression that America, at least the Jewish part he knew, was more or less mad.Make that more. Much more. And especially Jews, but everyone else too.
I am left with Ben Hecht, writing of Malchiel Greenwald, probably standing just around that same Steimatsky's, just under fifty-nine years ago:
As is his daily habit, Malchiel has had a satisfactory conference with God in his synagogue. Whatever else you can say about Israel, it is a satisfactory thing to be able to stand in practically the same place in which your forefathers stood twenty-five hundred years ago and offer God unchanged hallelujahs.Amen, Ben. That was me, this morning. (And, of course, you can say plenty of other good things about Israel as well.) I will admit that the One and teh gays [tm, sic, sick, whatever] were among the things that got me out of the US, but Israel pulled for much better reasons.
Monday, October 08, 2012
Herman Wouk on Simchat Torah
"...A powerful jubilation irradiates the synagogue. The time comes when the rabbi is himself drawn into the rejoicing and solemnly dances with a Holy Scroll in his arms. My grandfather, patriarchal and reserved all year long, was still performing this dance in his nineties, a few shuffling, tottering steps, his face alight with pleasure as he clasped the Torah in his old arms."