Friday, February 27, 2015

“In homosexual sex you know exactly what the other person is feeling, so you are identifying with the other person completely. In heterosexual sex you have no idea what the other person is feeling.”
-William S Burroughs
I think there is a fallacy among human beings that just because we have certain physical and mental characteristics in common, we can unerstand how another human being feels and thinks.  I am pretty much convined that it is not so.  I believe human belings can be grouped along certain dimensions, and people in the same group have a better chance of understanding each other.
I cannot understand people who lie.  It's not I've never resorted to lying, but for me it is something that I force myself to do if necessary.  And it drains me emotionally and physically.  But it seems to me that it really comes naturally to many people, and they enjoy it.  Furthermore, there is a group of people, who when they discovered someone has lied to them, seem to take it in stride.  Which I guess makes sense.  If they are liers as well, they understand that it's just part of doing business.  It IS the human condition for them.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sidney Morgenbesser, NYPD, and the Categorical Imperative

Morgenbesser was leaving a subway station in New York City and put his pipe in his mouth as he was ascending the steps. A police officer told him that there was no smoking on the subway. Morgenbesser pointed out that he was leaving the subway, not entering it, and hadn't lit up yet anyway. The cop again said that smoking was not allowed in the subway, and Morgenbesser repeated his comment. The cop said, "If I let you do it, I'd have to let everyone do it." Morgenbesser replied, "Who do you think you are, Kant?" The word "Kant" was mistaken for a vulgar epithet and Morgenbesser had to explain the situation at the police station

Friday, February 20, 2015

Some oldies, but goodies

Q: What did Germany inherit from Marx
A: East Germany - the Communist Manifesto, West Germany - Capital.

Q:  Is Communism a science?
A: No, if it were, they would have tried it on dogs first.

A lecturer is saying that Communism is on the horizon.  Someone asks:  What is the horizon?
The lecturer answers, it's an imaginary line where heaven meets earth, and which constantly moves away from us as we try to get closer to it.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Oath of Fealty of the Aragonese Lords to their Monarch

We, who are as good as you,
swear to you, who are no better than us,
to accept you as our king and sovereign,
provided you observe all our liberties and laws,
but if not, no.

The Catalans' sense of otherness — the separation, cultural and institutional, from the rest of Spain — comes through loud and clear in the oath of allegiance their leaders swore to the Aragonese kings in the 15th century... . Catalans have always waxed lyrical over their medieval defiance of kingship and railed against 'centralism' — rule by Madrid. Their political history is one long rebuke to the dominant ideology of Europe: that of the nation-state that subsumes and represses cultural differences within it.
Barcelona, by Robert Hughes 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Ex opere operato" and geirut

Interesting - recently there has been a lot of discussion in the Jewish world about whether conversions can be invalidated retroactively if it is found out that the beis din may not have been kosher.  e.g. after the Barry Freundel mikvah scandal.

Apparently the Catholic church dealt with a very similar issue:

Ex opere operato is a Latin phrase meaning "from the work worked" referring to the efficacy of the Sacraments deriving from the action of the Sacrament as opposed to the merits or holiness of the priest or participant. In modern usage, the phrase often refers to the idea that sacraments are efficacious in and of themselves rather than depending on the attitude either of the minister or the recipient. For example, Confirmation might be held to bestow the Holy Spirit regardless of the attitude of both the bishop and the person being confirmed.
In antiquity, the idea led to a schism among the Donatist Christians. The Donatists held that "one of the three bishops who had consecrated Caecilian was a traditor", and therefore, Caecilian's consecration was invalid. They furthermore held "that the validity of such an act depended on the worthiness of the bishop performing it" and Caecilian and his followers "responded that the validity of the sacraments and of other such acts cannot be made to depend on the worthiness of the one administering them, for in that case all Christians would be in constant doubt regarding the validity of their own baptism or of the communion of which they had partaken."
Today, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, to make the fruits of the sacraments requires that a person be properly disposed. This means use of sufficient grace via the sacraments is not automatic. There must be, at least in the case of an adult, an openness to use the sufficient grace which is available in a sacrament. When the recipient is properly disposed, the sufficient grace of the sacrament is efficacious.
This principle holds that the efficacy of the sacrament is a result, not of the holiness of a priest or minister, but rather of Christ Himself who is the Author (directly or indirectly) of each sacrament. The priest or minister acts "in persona Christi" (in the person of Christ) even if in a state of mortal sin. Although such a sacrament would be valid, and the grace efficacious, it is nonetheless sinful for any priest to celebrate a sacrament while himself in a state of mortal sin.
The principle of ex opere operato affirms that while a proper disposition (openness) is necessary to exercise the efficacious grace in the sacraments, it is not the cause of the sufficient grace. Catholic Christians believe that what God offers in the sacraments is a gift, freely bestowed out of God’s own love. A person's disposition, as good as it may be, does not automatically bring God's blessing.
In the Anglican Communion, the principle of "ex opere operato" is made conditional upon worthy reception. Article XXVI of the Thirty-nine Articles (Of the unworthiness of ministers which hinders not the effect of the Sacrament) states that the ministration of the Word (Scripture) and sacraments is not done in the name of the priest or minister and that the efficacy of Christ's sacraments is not taken away, nor God’s grace diminished by the sinfulness of clergy. This is because sacraments have their efficacy due to Christ’s promise to His Church.

Fifty Shades on Socialist Feminism

Pretty funny stuff, actually...

After I send in my preliminary report, Christian Grey turns up at my work unannounced.
‘I can’t stop thinking about you, Emma,” he says, “I feel like you really see me. Like you know parts of me nobody has ever known before.’
‘That’s because nobody has ever taken a detailed look at your overseas tax holdings before.’
‘I’d like to take you to dinner, but first you have to sign this non-disclosure agreement.”
“I’m signing nothing,” I say. “Come back with a detailed breakdown of your payroll and we can talk.”
Christian Grey fixes me with a penetrating stare, like he wants to beat fifty shades of shit out of me.
“Stay away from me, Emma,” he says, “I’m dangerous.”
“Alright,” I say, “Get the hell out of my office, I’ve got work to do.”

Friday, February 06, 2015

Victoria Hanna- Aleph-bet (Hosha'ana)

Translation from the Jewish Standard article:

Man and beast
Flesh, spirit and soul
Sinew, bone and skin
Likeness and image - a tapestry
Splendor resembling futility
Compared to images of beasts
Luster, figure and stature
Renew the face of the earth
Planting trees in desolate lands
Winepresses and stacks of grain
Vineyards and sycamores
To the demarcated land
To heal with powerful rains
To give life to forsaken refuse
To sustain with vegetation
To enhance with sweet fruits
To invigorate with flowers
To rain on the sproutlings
To pour a stream of cool waters
To cloak with droplets
To elevate the thirsty earth
Which is suspended on silence

Lord who saves
Other than You there is no Savior
You are powerful and abundantly able to save
I am impoverished
Yet You shall save me
God is the Savior
God delivers and saves
Those who cry to You - save
Those who yearn for You - save
Satisfy Your lambs
Cause an abundance of crops, of trees, of vegetation - save
Let the wind bring the soaring clouds
Let the stormy rains roll in
Let the clouds not be withheld
God who opens a hand and satisfies Your thirsty ones - satisfy
Your callers - save
Your beloved - save
You seekers - save
Your wholesome ones - save

Allahu Akbar