Wednesday, July 30, 2003

SUPERMAN: My brother is bothered...(In so many ways...)
Something has been bothering me for a while that I thought you might know the answer to. I can understand why Superman might be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (appearing to fly), have bullets bounce off his chest and even his x-ray vision on the theory that gravity on Krypton was so much more intense and, as a result, his physiology would be stronger. So what seemed like normal functions on Krypton (even the "intensity" of his vision) are magnified exponentially on Earth sort of how we function on the moon. But what gives him the ability to just hang in mid-air if we still have gravity here on Earth last time I checked?

Your answers (Kat, Wen, Jason) are appreciated.

Monday, July 28, 2003

WOW: I don't normally do this, and I'm not merely asking you to agree with what he says (although I do) but Steven Den Beste Is an awesome writer. If he wrote a book, I'd buy it:
To a good multiculturalist, a native reform is automatically better than one where the local culture is polluted by foreign ideas. I don't credit that, though. I'm results oriented, and what I know is that for the last twenty years we have more or less kept out of it and let Islamic extremism spread and become more powerful, and the result has been rising hostility towards us and an increase in the lethality of their attacks. So since my narrow goal in all of this is to make them stop killing us, I can't accept the idea of letting that fundamentalist reform continue.

Read Steven's blog and see what I mean.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

HEARTWARMING: I spent part of this this past weekend at my mother's in Queens and ushered in the shabbat with evening prayers at the local high school yeshiva on my old block on 117th street. The school just let out for the summer, and there was still a handwritten note on the bulletin board in front of the sanctuary, which also doubles as a study hall -commmon practice in the yeshiva world. The note said (to the best of my recollection):
Whoever owns a jar of Folger's coffee on the top shelf of the cabinet in the dining room, I accidentially broke the jar. I'm sorry. Please see me for reimbursement. Signed, name deleted

It's been awhile since a sign like that was a normal occurence in my life. It brought back warm memories of my time spent in yeshiva and the values that were imparted to the student body that results in such respect for the property of others.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

SOBERING REALITY: It just occurred to me that for as long as I can remember, I've preferred sleeping to being awake. Why is that? I'm bummed about this one...

Monday, July 21, 2003

PATIO MAN: If you haven't already read the essay entitled "Patio Man and the Sprawl People" by David Brooks, may I humbly suggest you do so? It's an alternately hilarious and quite true anthropological depiction of suburbia.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

ROBOTOLOGY TWO COMMANDMENTS: In correct BASIC to boot!   10 SIN   20 GOTO HELL Thank you , once again, Futurama and Adult Swim.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

HEH: Anyone out there remember (fondly) Will Ferrell's Mr. Michael Shersby of the British House of Commons character? Ah, to legislate Oasis and Teletubbies...
PILGRIMS: I saw a confused mother with two preteen boys studying a subway map on the Broadway line platform this morning. So I stopped to help her out and give her some advice. It turns out that she (like so many others I have come across) was making her way to the site of Ground Zero with her sons. I extended every courtesy. My feeling is that Americans making their way to the site of the 9/11 tragedy should be accorded the same respect that other religions and cultures assign to pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Mecca or Tibet. If you live in the Big Apple (or if your blood just runs red, white and blue like mine) I'd be surprised if you didn't feel the same.
WHATEVER GOES AROUND DEPARTMENT: I read today in the NYTimes (free regsitration required) that Syrians on the Iraqi border are getting fed up with American belligerence. Frankly I have a hard time sympathising with a regime that is finally getting a taste of what it has been dishing out to its neighbors for so many years. Look at the quagmire that is the Syrian/Lebanes border or the Syrian/Israeli border for illustration. Finally the Assad family is getting cut down to size by someone it can't bully back.

Monday, July 14, 2003

ANTHROPOLOGY IN EXTREMIS: I wonder, (and my brother thinks I'm insane) can we reliably gauge a society's advancement by the quality of its bathroom tissue?

Sunday, July 13, 2003

GRANDMA: Today I visited my grandmother in her nursing home. "Bubby," which is the Yiddish affectionate for grandma, turned 93 this Friday past, and is still as sharp as a razor. My Bubby is an incredible woman. She came to America alone and single in the 1930's, survived the depression and a world war, worked as a laborer in the garment industry, raised money for war bonds and gave generously to that cause out of her meager salary, volunteered as an air raid warden in the 50's, raised a daughter (my mom) and remains a modest, caring and maternal figure to my family. In short, she is like everyone else's amazing grandmother, which is to say that she makes our generation look spoiled and unaccomplished by comparison. Why do I mention this? Not to crow about my devotion to my grandmother, which I beg of you dear reader(s) not to compliment me on. But to discuss an idea that's been fomenting in the back of my head for some time now. I visit my grandmother because -in addition to feeling an immense sense of gratitude for all that she has accomplished in her 93 years- I truly enjoy -and, frankly require- her company. Bubby gives me sage advice and tells me stories about her life and her past that are as much a part of me as if they had originated within my person. Looking around, though, I see a great many men and women like my grandmother -some old, some not so much so- who require companionship and the respect and gratitude of those who came after them and do not receive what they deserve. WHY IS THAT? The local church groups or Jewish outreach and "Bikur Cholim" squads, while admirable, are an inadequate substitute for what these people really deserve. To that end I propose the following:
The notion of civil service as a noble pursuit is well formed in our heads, especially after 9/11. Why shouldn't civil or volunteer service to the elderly have the same exalted status? After all, aren't we just returning the favor to those whose lives were spent enhancing our own? Now I'm not saying everyone should run out and visit a nursing home tomorrow, but if we all took stock of our time and what we value as important, shouldn't we all come to the realization that we should set aside some time in our lives to devote to this issue in much the same way many of us volunteer to be emergency medical workers, firemen or auxiliary police for a few years out of our lives?

As it is said when discussing an intractable talmudic conundrum "Tzorech Iyun," literally: requires more scrutiny. This issue will not go away and must be addressed. Your constructive comments are appreciated.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

CREATURE OF THE NIGHT: My GF & I saw Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo live last night at the Beacon. Wow, she can still belt 'em out, although she's not much of a performer. Her husband Neil, though, has enough "Cabo Wabo" juice for the both of them. Some observations:
  • Pat's crowd is very ambiguously gay and/or middle aged (a no brainer.)
  • It's been awhile since I've seen that many mullets and cowboy boots in New York (hell, on the East Coast.)
  • Bass players always look like they'd be just as happy chilling on the couch as playing a gig, even when they're doing their solo.
  • Green Vinyl Dream, who opened for Pat, are a competent bunch that sounded amazingly like Candlebox, whose CD I purchased around ten years ago. LA is full of these polished, talented yet unexciting bands. Pity, because they'd probably find a better following doing East Coast gigs that in the wild, wild west.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I'VE GOT A FEVER: OK, I've been neglecting my blog for awhile. Suffice it to say that I (finally) have a life outside of my blog and have been busy in other avenues of pursuit. Last Thursday I was at Arlene's Grocery with my friend Benji. We snuck in near the end of the evening to catch the Brain Surgeons. The Brain Surgeons features the musical stylings of Albert Bouchard and his wife Deborah. Al was formerly the drummer for Blue Oyster Cult, so the audience was treated to such BOC standards as Godzilla and Don't Fear the Reaper. Now here's the funny part. Deb called for a volunteer to do the cow bell for 'Reaper and a young, long haired, Birkenstock clad hippie type took up the call. Someone in the audience gave the troglodyte (well, that's pretty much what he looked like) two glasses to clink together and he proceeded to make a total ass out of himself during the rock classic. I mean, hasn't he at least seen the SNL skit with Will Ferrell and Chris Walken? All he had to do was bang the glasses together in a steady ryyhm. but NOOOO! he had to get all improvisational in his altered state. Near the end of the song, when some guitar solo work was being done, the moron tried to share the mike with Deb and was mercifully yanked from the stage by a fellow attendee. It's funny (a) how dated I feel when I'm at a concert and I'm in the minority of folks present (in an admittedly tiny venue) who even know that this kid was doing anything wrong (let alone the lyrics to Don't Fear the Reaper) and (b) how much that SNL skit has become a part of the BOC lexicon worldwide. More on the dude who yanked the hippie -who turned out to have an interesting story too- at a later time.

Friday, July 04, 2003

STAY TUNED: Was on a bit of a bender last night. Had lots of epiphanies & interesting thoughts. Stay tuned as I unravel them and write them down. Happy Birthday America!

Thursday, July 03, 2003

KARMA: People who celebrate the same birthday as me:
  • Tonya Harding
  • Sammy Sosa
  • David Schwimmer
  • Nadia Comaneci
  • Neil Young
  • Wallace Shawn
  • Grace Kelly
RECURRING DREAM DEPARTMENT: I'm late for a plane & I haven't packed. Any budding Josephs or John Edwards out there wanna give this one a crack?

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

MY FORTUNE: Many a false step is made by standing still.
UPDATE: Natch, Lycoris doesn't yet work on my hardware. Gonna have to go with a more mainstream distro like RedHat.
PSYCHED: I just got my Via EPIA M "Dream Catalyst" mainboard.. I'm building a PVR/media center for myself and just upgraded the mainboard to something that can really handle DVD playback at fullscreen. Plus the new board has Firewire and USB 2.0 built-in. Then I'll install Lycoris and Freevo and get a wireless keyboard and gyroscopic mouse to make the whole kit work from my couch.