Monday, October 31, 2005

28 Tishri 5766/31 October 2005: Halloween


Request: Does anyone out there have any good ’ethrogh (citron) recipes? I would like to eat mine rather than let it go bad, and I have been informed that the rind is too bitter to turn into sponge cake. Thanks in advance. (And no, I am not making a “Mr. Citron-Head”.)

Neologism of the day: “Oyful”, a term I invented to describe someone who kept saying “Oy!” an anomalously large number of times within a few minutes.

Today’s weird thing is an example of the silly things people do for Halloween, iAttire. Enjoy.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

27 Tishri 5766/30 October 2005: National Tell A Story Day


I regret to report that one of our regulars at minyan (services), Al Levine, passed away and his funeral is today. As such, I’m not really in the mood to post a weird thing. Sorry, people.


Friday, October 28, 2005

25 Tishri 5766/28 October 2005: How to torture people at NATO


Our active correspondent Barry has sent me a few links related to Republican misbehavior:Today’s weird thing is something from Emily’s collection, included below. Enjoy, and Shabbath shalom.


This is for any of you who might have majored in English:

Once you've learned to correctly pronounce every word in the following poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. If you find it tough going, do not despair, you are not alone: Multinational personnel at North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language... until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised. After trying them, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months at hard labour to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself.


Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.

Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work

Pronunciation-think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough—
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

24 Tishri 5766/27 October 2005: Navy Day


Today’s weird thing is something from Emily’s collection, included below. Enjoy.



The following tale is from the history of the oldest commissioned warship in the world, the USS Constitution. It comes by way of the National Park Service, as printed in "Oceanographic Ships, Fore and Aft", a periodical from the oceanographer of the US Navy.

On 23 August 1779, the USS Constitution set sail from Boston, loaded with 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of water, 74,000 cannon shot, 11,500 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum. Her mission: to destroy and harass English shipping.

On 6 October, she made Jamaica, took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum. Three weeks later, Constitution reached the Azores, where she provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 2,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.

On 18 November, she set sail for England where her crew captured and scuttled 12 English merchant vessels and took aboard their rum. By this time, Constitution had run out of shot. Nevertheless, she made her way unarmed up the Firth of Clyde for a night raid. Here, her landing party captured a whiskey distillery, transferred 13,000 gallons aboard and headed for home.

On 20 February 1780, the Constitution arrived in Boston with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum and no whiskey. She did, however, still carry her crew of 475 officers and men and 18,600 gallons of water.

The math is quite enlightening: Length of cruise: 181 days... Booze consumption: 1.26 gallons per man per day (this does not include the unknown quantify of rum captured from the 12 English merchant vessels in November).

Naval historians say that the re-enlistment rate from this cruise was 92%.

Monday, October 24, 2005

21 Tishri 5766/24 October 2005: Hosha`na’ Rabbah


Mental state: frazzled. I had to get out of my sukkah last night and go inside due to rain, then had to get up early for special Hosha‘na’ Rabbah prayers. I am finding myself thinking about turning my ’ethrogh (citron) into sponge cake.

Today’s weird things are things that are time-limited that are collecting in my פתגמיא folder: “U.S. rejects Katrina meals, offers them to others”, “Indian astrologer lives after predicting own death”, and “Stay-At-Home Mom Goes on Strike”. Enjoy, and hagh sameah.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

20 Tishri 5766/23 October 2005: Hol hamMo`edh Sukkoth


In the interest of cleaning out my פתגמיא folder, today’s weird thing is “Researcher Takes Aim at Alien Abductions”, which refreshingly notes how people can make the mistake of believing that one has been abducted by aliens. Also note that the people claiming that “alien abductions” are not actual abductions are psychologists, while the person cited as claiming that “alien abductions” are real is an historian.

Personal history side note: I once did see aliens, specifically of the “gray alien” variety. However, since these were the aliens who had abducted Dorothy Gale and brought her to Oz, I feel confident that I was only dreaming.

Enjoy, and Hagh sameah.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

17 Tishri 5766/20 October 2005: Hol hamMo`edh Sukkoth


Worthy cause of the day: Oppose the reverse Robin Hood budget

Today’s weird thing is Matisyahu, billed as “The Hasidic Reggae Superstar”. (I cannot make a combination like this up!) You can read an article on him, or check out his Web-site. Enjoy.


Monday, October 17, 2005

14 Tishri 5766/17 October 2005: `Erev Sukkoth


Information on the holiday starting tonight: The Temple Institute: Articles: The Festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles).

Today’s weird thing is a little something from Emily’s collection and included below. As a special bonus, I would also like to point out the Harvey Magila dancing rabbi. Enjoy.



The National Education Association is celebrating "Read Across America"
by encouraging adults to read children.
Of course, Green Eggs and Ham is one of the most popular Dr. Seuss books.
And there's the dilemma. How can Jewish kids celebrate with green
Eggs and HAM?

So, in honor of (and with apologies to the estate of Dr. Seuss) here's a
new ending for the story:

Will you never see?
They are not KOSHER,
So let me be!

I will not eat green eggs and ham.
I will not eat them, Sam-I-am.
But I'll eat green eggs with a biscuit.
Or I will try them with some brisket.

I'll eat green eggs in a box.
If you serve them with some lox.
And those green eggs are worth a try
Scrambled up in matzoh brie!

And in a boat upon the river,
I'll eat green eggs with chopped liver!
So if you're a Jewish Dr. Seuss fan,
But troubled by green eggs and ham,

Let your friends in on the scoop:
Green eggs taste best with chicken soup!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

13 Tishri 5766/16 October 2005: Dictionary Day/Bosses' Day


I now have my lulav and ’ethrogh (palm, myrtle, willow, and citron waved during Sukkoth). Today I get to tie more sisiyyoth.

Unexpected publishing: I would like to note that a while back I posted on my Web-site a list of the books of the Orange Catholic Bible from Frank Herbert’s Dune series. (I have an interest in fictional religions. Remind me sometime to lecture on religion in Star Trek.) Apparently my claim the list is “freeware” was taken to mean it is open source, since the list has reappeared, word for word, in Wikipedia’s article on the Orange Catholic Bible. Not sure whether to count it technically as a violation of the prohibition on stealing; considering I gave a blanket forgiveness during ’Elul, I’m letting it slide.

Side note: I still don’t get why Herbert decided that Zensunnis on Arrakis worship sand-worms. I would have thought the Islamic part of the religion would consider worship of anything material an abomination.

Today’s weird thing is the Dictionary of RPG Cliches. Enjoy.


Friday, October 14, 2005

11 Tishri 5766/14 October 2005


Worthy cause of the day: Replace Simonson, Prepare for a Flu Pandemic

I now have genuine tekheleth on my talith gadhol, I have my sukkah up, and I have submitted a paper to the British Journal of Cancer.

I’m cleaning out my פתגמיא folder again. Several of these things were contributed by Barry. They are in no particular order. Please bear with me. If you’re not an observant Jew, you may want to save some of these for the first two days of Sukkoth, Shemini ‘Asereth, and Simhath Torah, when I will not be posting.Enjoy or be scared or something, and Shabbath shalom.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

9 Tishri 5766/12 October 2005: `Erev Yom Kippur/National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day/Farmer's Day


Consumer notice: Recently I found out that the tekheleth (blue dye used in sisiyyoth) I was using was made from cuttlefish ink. This is not a problem if one is a Radziner Hasidh. However, since I am not a Radziner Hasidh, I follow the majority, archaeologically validated view that tekheleth is supposed to be produced by Murex snails. This necessitated me having to order the correct tekheleth, and it came yesterday. I spent about two hours last night tying sisiyyoth on a talith qatan, and I hope to do the same for a talith gadhol today. The moral of the story: Ask in advance which mollusk your tekheleth comes from before you buy it.

Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. I’d like to take this opportunity to note a truly bizarre inconsistency we have in the Jewish community. Many Jews who are not observant will go to synagogue on Ro’sh hashShanah and Yom Kippur, which is good. What is not good is that they usually drive to do so. This is a problem since it is Biblically prohibited to light a fire on Shabbath or the Biblical festivals (Exodus 35:3), and turning on anything with an internal combustion engine (which works by burning fuel) at such times is thus Biblically prohibited. Any claims that going to synagogue is more important are fatally flawed, since public prayer is not Biblically required. Since Ro’sh hashShanah and Yom Kippur are all about atonement, it is monstrously hypocritical to deliberately drive on Ro’sh hashShanah or Yom Kippur (a Biblical prohibition) in order to pray for forgiveness in synagogue (a Rabbinical obligation, if it qualifies as an obligation at all). Much better that people pray for forgiveness at home instead. Or walk; one may consider the effort involved in walking a penitential act, though if it will result in one needing to rehydrate on Yom Kippur (also a Biblical prohibition), it is still better one stays home.

Note: According to my reasoning above, it is much better that people pray at home rather than drive to synagogue on Shabbath, too.

Have an easy fast, and may you be sealed in the book of life for a good year.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

8 Tishri 5766/11 October 2005: Hobbits and bears


I got up late today and am running rather late, so I’ve decided that today’s weird things will be two unusual articles that my RSS reader served up this morning: “More bones of hobbit-sized humans discovered” and “China bear bile farmer eaten by own animals”. Enjoy, and may you be sealed in the book of life for a good year.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Special National Angel Food Cake Day bonus


Oh, before I forget, I’m getting a little annoyed at some of the ads I’m getting in the sidebar the past few days. Since repeating “Hippo” 100 times worked to bring up advertising for something called “Blue Hippo”, I think I’ll try an experiment to deliberately bias the advertisement-choosing algorithm. Here goes:

Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater. Darth Tater.

Thank you for your patience, and let’s see what sort of silly ads are chosen in response to this.


7 Tishri 5766/10 October 2005: National Angel Food Cake Day/Columbus Day/Thanksgiving Day (Canada)


Today I have decided to clean out the folder on my desktop labeled פתגמיא (pithgamayya’, “things” in Aramaic) due to me having no material on angel food cake.Be scared, very scared, and may you be sealed in the book of life for a good year.


Sunday, October 9, 2005

Looks like Nabil Shaath lied


I have an update on Nabil Shaath’s claim that Bush claimed prophecy. According to “Bush God comments 'not literal'”, Shaath has backed down and now only claims that Bush said that God had guided his actions, not prophetically dictated them. That is all.


6 Tishri 5766/9 October 2005: Leif Erikson Day/National Poetry Day


In honor of National Poetry Day, today’s weird things are haiku error messages, included below. Urban legend has it these are error messages from the Japanese version of Windows. Though not correct, they are amusing in their own right. Enjoy, and may you be sealed in the book of life for a good year.


Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

The Web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

Program aborting:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

First snow, then silence.
This thousand-dollar screen dies
So beautifully.

With searching comes loss
And the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.

The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao-until
You bring fresh toner.

Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.

Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.

Having been erased,
The document you're seeking
Must now be retyped.

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

Friday, October 7, 2005

OK, maybe I'm the one going bonkers


I think I may be really out of it. Yes, Bush having a mental disorder that makes him think he is a prophet would explain a lot, such as how he can display unwavering certainty even in the face of contrary evidence to his convictions. However, it is pointed out by Backspin that the claim of Bush claiming prophecy was made by Stateless Arab negotiator Nabil Shaath. The Stateless Arabs have a long history (going back to the 1920s, when their state was the Ottoman Empire) of making bizarre claims for political purposes, a history which is not over yet, so I should have been more skeptical. On the other hand, White House spokesman Scott McClellan denies that Bush ever claimed prophecy, and since the Bush administration lies almost every time it collectively moves its lips, it is plausible that is there is some truth to Shaath’s claim. However, neither reason nor intuition give me any reason to believe one liar over the other. Either could be right, or the truth could be somewhere in
between (e.g., Bush told Shaath that he fought the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and has been pushing for a “Palestinian” state for religious reasons, and Shaath interpreted this as a claim of prophecy). Whatever happened, I intend to pay (hopefully better) attention to how this plays out.


4 Tishri 5766/7 October 2005: Bush is totally bonkers


I would like to emphasize in advance that I could not have made up today’s weird thing, which is bizarre enough that I had no doubt it would be today’s weird thing. Yesterday Barry sent me a link to “Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq, Afghanistan: BBC” (and yes, that title is accurate). I hoped it was merely bad reporting. Unfortunately, Bush’s claim to prophecy was repeated in “Bush: Iraq invasion was my mission from God” this morning. I do not know which deity allegedly has been speaking to our questionably elected president, but it was probably not the God of the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. If it was the first, Bush would have been read the riot act on his efforts to rid the US of social justice and turn the country into an authoritarian dictatorship, not to mention his idiotic “road map”. If it was the second, Bush would have arguably been told to be pacifistic. In any case, since Bush is not producing any reason to believe him (like a nontrivial prediction or a miracle), he is lying, in which case he is a false prophet and thus deserves death (at the hands of a court only; if you kill him extra-judicially, you are a murderer), or he is delusional. In either case, he is unfit for public office and should be removed immediately. You may want to contact the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives about this.

Shabbath shalom, and may you be sealed in the book of life for a good year.


Thursday, October 6, 2005

3 Tishri 5766/6 October 2005: Fast of Gedhalyah


This is a fast day, and I got in late, so there will be no weird thing for today, especially since I don’t have one planned in advance. Those who wish for something to do may look at the end of the Book of Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) for the incident commemorated today.

Also, Jehosaphat and Dinah Olsen wish me to convey that their son Robert “Bobby Awesome” Olsen has been grounded for posting to my blog again without permission. Reportedly he said something like “Hippos made me do it”, but his parents did not believe it.


Wednesday, October 5, 2005

yeah like now dude


Today’s weird thing is aaron s a dork who thinks he has to celebrate every holiday 4 2 days how stupid so go look at;_ylt=ArYIPT4OepieCjYExjffvjBU.3QA;_ylu=X3oDMTA4ZnRnZjhkBHNlYwMxNjk1

yeah star trek rocks!!!!!!!!!. Enjoy.

bobby awesome

Monday, October 3, 2005

29 'Elul 5765/3 October 2005: `Erev Ro'sh hashShanah/National Computing Day


Barry asked me to note “Palestinian police storm into Gaza parliament”. This is actually sort of weird since there was a severe lack of blaming Israel, but instead there was a lot of blaming Abbas for not giving the police the right equipment to fight Hamas. I pray this is a step in the right direction. May you be written and sealed in the book of life for a good year.


Sunday, October 2, 2005

28 'Elul 5765/2 October 2005


Seasonal note: Ro’sh hashShanah (the Jewish New Year in Tishri) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) are a time when we are judged by God. It is clear from the Hebrew Bible that God is eager to forgive us for our sins. If God was intent on punishing us (as some have misinterpreted the Hebrew Bible), He/She would have not bothered encouraging us to repent. Large sections of the Hebrew Bible are dedicated to noting where we have gone astray, noting what the consequences of our mistakes will be, and begging us to get it together and behave ourselves. Indeed, it is said that Yom Kippur itself brings atonement. However, God can only grant forgiveness against Him/Herself; for sins against other humans, one must seek the forgiveness of those one has wronged. I would therefore like to apologize to any of you I have sinned against and ask your forgiveness. I make mistakes regularly in many things that I do, including in how I treat other people, but I am resolved to try to improve myself, even though the road is rough and I will probably never reach the end of it. Knowing that other people are likewise imperfect, I forgive unconditionally those who have sinned against me. We are all in this world together, and maybe if we all try to be a little nicer to each other, we can make it a better place. Thank you for your attention.

Astronomy news: “Scientists Discover 10th Planet's Moon”, and in harmony with the planet being nicknamed “Xena”, they nicknamed the mood “Gabrielle”. (Go figure.)

Today’s weird thing is an article on people admitting blame, “This Just in: Flops Caused Box Office Slump”. Let’s hope this results in better movies in the future. Enjoy.