Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kenyan Women Ban Sex Over Political Reform

The funniest thing about this article, is that nowhere does it mention Lysistrata.

We are truly a nation of peasants!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Double Trouble

When I first saw this picture I thought this was a frum guy in a yarmulkeh. But then I noticed he had two pairs of ears. WTF? Oh- there is another guy standing right behind him!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Red Guevara Madonna

I have to say that Edvard Munch's "Red Madonna" made an impression on me.
Though I have to say, for some subconscious reason it reminds me of the Che Guevara posters...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Do not disturb?

I just noticed that about half my blogroll is now invitation-only blogs. What's that all about? Should I take them off my blogroll?


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dead Christ

Hans Holbein the Younger

Munch for Lunch

Called a buddy to see if he wants to walk over to the Edvard Munch exhibit at the Art Institute during lunch. He said "Possibly" and booked it in his calendar. He was trying to figure out what to put in the subject for his appointment - I suggested "Munch for Lunch"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

House of Idols

This afternoon, as I was headed to the train station, I looked back towards the building that I work in. The setting sun shone on the statue on top of the building and I realized that the building where I work is crowned by a statue of the Greco-Roman goddess Ceres. And I had a fleeting thought - does the statue count as an idol, and if so, am I prohibited from working inside?

Where is the outrage? Oh, wait - it's not Gaza!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oh, Canada...

My ten year old asked me to explain the Canadian system of government. I started out pretty confidently. Then I realized I have no clue... They are independent, but they are part of the Commonwealth. They have a queen... And Wikipedia is no help at all!
Both Canada and Australia are federations: therefore, besides the Crown in Right of Canada and the Crown in Right of the Commonwealth of Australia, there are Crowns in Right of each Canadian province and each Australian state. For example, there is the Crown in Right of the Province of British Columbia. The rights which the Crown possesses in right of a Canadian province are exercised by the province's lieutenant-governor (e.g., the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia), not the Governor-General of Canada, and such rights are exercised under the advice of the provincial ministers (not the federal ministers). The situation in Australia is analogous with governors and state ministers instead of the Canadian equivalents.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My brahmacharya needs testing

I was researching something which lead me to this article by the Straight Dope:
Mohandas Gandhi's sleeping arrangements attracted public attention during the winter of 1946-47, when he was trying to quell violence between Muslims and Hindus in the Noakhali district in what is now Bangladesh. It came out that Gandhi was bunking nightly with his 19-year-old grandniece, Manu. In part this was an effort to stay warm in the winter chill, but Gandhi soon acknowledged there was more to it: he was testing his vow of brahmacharya, or total chastity in thought and deed. If he could spend the night in a woman's embrace without feeling sexual stirrings, it would demonstrate that he had conquered his carnal impulses and become "God's eunuch." It turned out that Manu was not his first brahmacharya lab partner--he'd also recently gotten naked (partly, at least) with another young woman in his extended family, starting when she was 18.
Remarkably, the critics eventually quieted down. Even Bose, who quit in protest and later discussed the issue in a book, My Days With Gandhi, remained an admirer. Gandhi continued to sleep with women until his assassination in 1948, and the matter is little remembered today. The esteem in which Gandhi was held no doubt partly accounts for the lack of repercussions, along with his advanced age. His notoriously eccentric views on sex may have been a factor too. Gandhi believed that sex for pleasure was sinful (for that matter, he felt eating chocolate was sinful), that sexual attraction between men and women was unnatural, and that husband and wife should live together as brother and sister, having sex only for purposes of procreation. (I take most of this from a memoir by journalist William Shirer, another admirer.) He swore off sex at age 36, required a similar vow of his disciples, and publicly freaked when he had a nocturnal emission in 1936 at age 67. Many hearing him rationalize his unusual blanket substitute probably figured, eh, that's the mahatma for you. (For what it's worth, the kinkier takes on the story--e.g., that Gandhi was regularly massaged by naked women--have no basis in fact that I can discover.) Whether or not you buy the notion that he didn't get off on contact with his very young bedmates (or feel that that would make it any less creepy), it says something about this profoundly strange guy that you can hear his claim that naked sleepovers were tests of purity for both participants and go: You think?


I am really getting annoyed by people who believe that capitalism means democracy.

Miss California

Why the hell is everyone mad at Miss California for honestly answering a question that was posed to her?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yehuda ha-Levi

Photo by Menahem Kahana.

Menahem has an amazing gallery of pictures of Israeli Chareidim here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Art of Noise Music Monday


Sunday, April 12, 2009

totipotent or zygotelike tzfardeah

It's been a while since I thought of Professor Babich at YU - he of the Mabul fame.

Well, he's back at it - this time analyzing the plagues with his ever-keen scientific mind:

The plague of frogs commences with the following, “Aharon stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt and the frog צפרדע infestation ascended and covered the land of Egypt (Shemos 8:2). In this verse the word “frog” is in the singular and Rashi cites a Midrash contending that one frog initially emerged from the Nile River. When the Egyptians struck the frog, it fragmented into many frogs. On the surface, this appears to describe cloning, through which differentiated adult cells become embryonic or totipotent to develop into copies of the original organism. Interestingly, prior to cloning the lamb Dolly, the initial successful cloning experiments, developed in the 1950s by Robert Briggs and Thomas King, were with frogs (Rana pipens)14. With this in mind, and probably pushing a scientific explanation to its extreme, striking the initial frog may have caused shedding of its differentiated epidermal somatic cells, which became totipotent or zygotelike cells, undergoing mitotic divisions to generate multicellular frogs.

Next we should analyze whether Cylons can really clone themselves on Battlestar Galactica.

UPDATE: Seems like both XGH and DovBear have discovered the same article. Don't know if they both stumbled upon my post or found it independently...

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful?

Coming home from shul over Pesach, I found at my doorstep a package. Upon closer examination, I found inside a book - "The English translation of the message of the holy Quran", along with a note from the Book of Signs foundation hoping to accept this as a present from our Muslim neighbors. Similar books were deposited at all the houses in our neighborhood.

I was always curious about reading the Quran, so this was a good opportunity for me to acquaint myself with the Muslim holy book. So over the three day Yom Tov I read through the book.

There was a long introduction, rivaling anything a kiruv organization could throw at me. Proofs of the book's Divine origin abounded.

The text itself is not easily penetrated. I suspect it is difficult to translate from Arabic, and based on my assessment, the translator was not a native speaker of English. That said, the book has a feel of a mixture of Tehillim and Mishlei. I'd say that if the words "Allah", "Merciful", and "Gracious" were deleted from the text, the book would easily shrink by 50% percent.

Of course, now the question is what to do with this book. I don't think I am interested enough to leave it on my bookshelf. One of my son's friends was planning to stomp on it in his backyard. I find that disgusting - I hope this is not what our school is teaching him. Perhaps I will leave it on the bookshelf at our train station. Either that or put it in genizah :)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Mañana Music Monday

Mañana - is good enough for me!