April 27, 2005
New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier described Amichai's work this way: "Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Yehuda Amichai is his composure. From a life cluttered with ancient torments, with the collective memory of his people's pains and the personal recollection of his own, he calmly extracts the essences, and leaves the rest for laughter. These are elementary poems by an elementary man."
This one, i love:
A Man In His Life
A man doesn't have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn't have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
Was wrong about that.
A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
takes years and years to do.
A man doesn't have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.
And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn't learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.
He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there's time for everything.
April 25, 2005
Teaching Math in 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
Teaching Math in 1970: A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a set "M" of money. The cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100 dots representing the elements of set "M." Set "C," the cost of production, contains 20 fewer points than set "M." Represent set "C" as a subset of set "M" and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set "P" of profits?
Teaching Math in 1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
Teaching Math in 1990: By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down the trees? There are no wrong answers.
Teaching Math in 2000: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $120. How does Arthur Andersen determine that his profit is $60?
[Hard Law Firms, Soft Law Schools, 83 N.C. L. Rev. 667, fn. 12]
James at A Western Heart posts about his great grandfather, a gunnery officer on H.M.S. Good Hope, the British flagship that went down on 1 November 1914 at the battle of Coronel. The opposing German force contained the original S.M.S. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau (not their more famous WWII namesakes). Scharnhorst hit Good Hope with her third salvo, and the older ship's magazine exploded twenty minutes later. All hands were lost.
A summary of Coronel is here.
April 24, 2005
Listening to KCRA Channel 3's morning newscast in Sacramento, i was appalled to hear the news bimbo say that the Pope was given his "ring and woman's shawl" at this morning's installment ceremony.
It's called a stole, you idiot! Not common knowledge certainly, but a few seconds of research would have helped you avoid sounding like a complete ass.
"Woman's shawl?" Why not just say "shawl" if you didn't know what it was? If you're gonna make shit up, why not just say they gave him a ceremonial cigar too? Or that they passed around the ceremonial beer at mass?
i tell ya. It's near impossible to watch the news anymore.
Update: Okay, maybe i mis-heard it. She might have said "woolen" shawl. But still. How about a little enunciation?
The first symbol is the Pallium, woven in pure wool, which will be placed on my shoulders. This ancient sign, which the Bishops of Rome have worn since the fourth century, may be considered an image of the yoke of Christ, which the Bishop of this City, the Servant of the Servants of God, takes upon his shoulders. Gods yoke is Gods will, which we accept. And this will does not weigh down on us, oppressing us and taking away our freedom. To know what God wants, to know where the path of life is found this was Israel's joy, this was her great privilege. It is also our joy: Gods will does not alienate us, it purifies us even if this can be painful and so it leads us to ourselves. In this way, we serve not only him, but the salvation of the whole world, of all history.i was pleased to read the following passage from Benedict's homily, which was pertinent to a post i wrote Friday regarding inter-faith relations:
The symbolism of the Pallium is even more concrete: the lambs wool is meant to represent the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life. For the Fathers of the Church, the parable of the lost sheep, which the shepherd seeks in the desert, was an image of the mystery of Christ and the Church. The human race every one of us is the sheep lost in the desert which no longer knows the way. The Son of God will not let this happen; he cannot abandon humanity in so wretched a condition. He leaps to his feet and abandons the glory of heaven, in order to go in search of the sheep and pursue it, all the way to the Cross. He takes it upon his shoulders and carries our humanity; he carries us all he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. What the Pallium indicates first and foremost is that we are all carried by Christ. But at the same time it invites us to carry one another. Hence the Pallium becomes a symbol of the shepherds mission, of which the Second Reading and the Gospel speak.
. . .
One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. 'Feed my sheep,' says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, he says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of Gods truth, of Gods word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament. My dear friends at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another.
I greet with great joy and gratitude all of you gathered here. . . . With great affection I also greet all those who have been reborn in the sacrament of Baptism but are not yet in full communion with us; and you, my brothers and sisters of the Jewish people, to whom we are joined by a great shared spiritual heritage, one rooted in God's irrevocable promises. Finally, like a wave gathering force, my thoughts go out to all men and women of today, to believers and nonbelievers alike.
April 23, 2005
Check it out. i think it's pretty brilliant.
And was that Doug's voice i heard on Friday's Hugh Hewitt show? If so, Doug, why didn't you use that opportunity to plug my blog? i thought we were friends.
Note to anyone calling any talk radio show in the future: plug my blog!
More: Re: the filibuster fight, i think the best pithy argument i've heard to date came from Zell Miller last night on Hannity and Colmes. i can't remember his exact words, so i'll re-state the argument in my own.
Question: How many votes does it take to confirm a judicial nominee in the Senate? Answer fifty-one.
Question: How many votes does it take to defeat a judicial nominee in the Senate? Answer forty-one.
Does that make any sense at all?
If you ask me, the filibuster rule is stupid and should be done away with in toto.
Via Naked Villainy.
April 22, 2005
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will meet Pope Benedict XVI for the first time on Monday.That's a good thing.
Anglican insiders said it was "highly significant" that the Pope should choose to meet the honorary head of the Anglican communion in the very first hours of his official pontificate.
The papal audience in the Vatican follows his attendance at tomorrows inaugural mass at St Peters, when Dr Williams will become the first serving Archbishop of Canterbury to attend a papal inauguration since the Reformation. On Sunday evening Dr Williams will preach at the Anglican church of All Saints in Rome.
After a chilly period for Anglicanism under the last Pope because of the ordination of women priests, Benedict XVI appears eager to usher in a new era of closeness between the two communions.
More myths busted: The anti-semitic slur against the new pope is bogus:
Rabbi Di Segni quoted a letter from the pope, who said he had "trust in the help of the Almighty", in which he pledged to continue and intensify contacts with Jews begun by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.Muslims are supportive, too.
'I trust in the help of the Almighty to continue and strengthen the dialogue and collaboration with the sons and daughters of the Jewish people,' the pope said in the message, dated yesterday.
Jewish leaders in Israel and beyond have saluted the election of Benedict, saying he was a friend of the Jewish people and calling on him to continue the fight against anti-Semitism.
The new pope's conservative outlook, which has caused controversy in the Western world, appears not to overly concern religious leaders in the Middle East.And you won't hear Chris Matthew or those of his ilk mention the following tidbit either:
Jordan's King Abdullah II, a direct descendant of Islam's prophet, Mohammed, voiced his trust in the new pope's 'wisdom and courage to go forward and continue his predecessor's mission with strength and faith to bring about world peace and reinforce respect between religions.'
The Italian daily La Repubblica, meanwhile, reported that the documents Benedict had been working on before being elected pope included one allowing divorced couples who remarry to receive Communion.Which goes to show you, the unfair criticism of Benedict XVI, by leftists who had never heard of him before this week, is driven by the same thing that drives most leftist thought on any subject: an irrational fear and hatred of Christianity.
April 21, 2005
9:10 - Hey Net Worth, if the cell phone don't work, pick up a land line. That's a no brainer.
9:15 - Net Worth is making a tabouret. Magna a lazy susan.
9:25 - i'm waiting for Craig to throw a tape dispenser at Kendra. That would be funny.
9:28 - On second thought, that's not a tabouret, it's a credenza.
9:29 - Craig's doin' a verbal smackdown on Kendra. If they lose, Tana is golden in the boardroom. But Kendra has immunity, interesting. Craig has totally missed that key dynamic, which could be his undoing.
9:31 - No, i changed my mind again. Since it has wheels, it's a tabouret. It looks expensive too.
9:33 - Net Worth lost. Back to the ivory tower, boys.
9:35 - Haha, the Staples "Desk Apprentice" is actually for sale. i think it's stupid. Too big for most desks, plus you need to keep the area around it clear so it will spin, thus it takes up even more space.
9:39 - The rainbow room looks suweet. i just heard the male half of the tv audience let out an audible sigh of disappointment when Carolyn revealed she was married.
9:42 - It's traditional at my place to say "Trump" in unison when the boss walks into the boardroom.
9:43 - Can lawyers be creative? Sad to say, in my experience, mostly no.
9:45 - Alex, you're a loser, face it.
9:48 - i love that Jetta commercial where the dude's on a job interview and his car radio comes on accidentally and it's way too loud.
9:50 - Alex is the "hungriest person here." Should have had lunch before he went in. Brin has trouble "taking risks." Might have wanted to keep that to himself. Trump just smelled blood.
9:52 - "Branson went after me, I killed 'im. Cuban went after me, I killed 'im." Whoaaa. Nice trash talkin' Don. What about Martha, i wonder?
9:53 - It's Bren. He didn't want it. i just watched him commit boardroom hari-kari. Talkin' about how he'd rather be home with his kids. i can respect that. Oh well. Another bow-tie bites the dust.
9:59 - In the cab, did i hear Brin clicking his heels together three times?
Germans have average lengths of about 3.4 inches, Israelis 3.27 inches, Turks 3.07 inches and Filippinos 2.89 inches. Italians were the longest at 3.54 inches, and Americans averaged 3.46 inches.All i can say about that is...
The study did not measure the penises when they were erect.
And that there's one group that's conspicuously absent from the study.
My offensive starters as of today are:
Catcher: Victor MartÃnez, Cleveland, slumping right now, but i hope he can regain his 2004 form soon.
First base: Paul Konerko, Chicago Sox, currently leading the majors with seven home runs.
Second base: Clint Barmes, Colorado, averaging .652 with 8 RBI and an on base percentage of .714 in the last week! He's currently second in the majors in both batting average and on base percentage, behind...
Third base: Edgardo Alfonzo, San Francisco, that's right, i have the number one and number two major league batting average and OBP leaders on my team. They're fucking keeping me afloat. And you know what the funny thing is, i picked up both of them after the draft as free agents. i should be a talent scout.
Shortstop: Pedro Feliz, San Francisco, tied for fourth and eleventh in runs scored and RBI, respectively.
Outfield: Jim Edmonds, St. Louis, love this guy, he's been on my fantasy team every year.
Outfield: Matt Lawton, Pittsburgh, perrenial underachiever on a mediocre team.
Outfield: Sammy Sosa, Baltimore, whom i'm a little worried about, but i couldn't say no to the trade when Victor offered him.
Utility: AdriÃ¡n BÃ©ltre, Seattle, who had a monster year last year, and better deliver this year. i've noticed that former Dodgers often seem to do well during their first year with a new team.
Defensively, my brilliant pickup was Toronto rookie Gustavo ChacÃn, who was just sitting there in the free agent pool with three wins, nobody noticing. So i snagged him. Similarly ignored is the supremely talented, but sometimes inconsistent Dodger starter Odalis PÃ©rez, who's having a great April.
My disappointments have been the injured Eric Gagne, who was my #1 draft pick, and Barry Zito, who seems to be having trouble adjusting to life without Mulder and Hudson. But he'll come around. So will Mike Lowell, my old standby the last couple of years. He's in the middle of the worst slump i've seen him in since i've been his fan. Snap out of it, mi borinqueÃ±o!
If i can get some save production out of Trevor Hoffman and/or Gagne comes back healthy, i might move up even more. If i don't jinx everything with this post, that is. Still, it feels good to be out of the cellar.
April 20, 2005
It's a long one, but if you've never read it please enjoy it all the way to the end. Longfellow was great at telling a story, and this is a great story to tell. Listen to the galloping rhythm of the meter as you read. It's wonderful.
Paul Revere's Ride
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.
Stirring. Doesn't that give you goose-bumps?
The other poems i've memorized include Jabberwocky, The Star Spangled Banner and Desdemona's lines from a scene i did for a college acting class. The only one still left in my head is Jabberwocky.
If you're interested, here's a history of the various frigates named H.M.S. Somerset.
April 19, 2005
i'm ecstatic about the selection of Cardinal Ratzinger, which is strange since i'm quite liberal on many Catholic issues. It's not just because we share a Bavarian ancestry. i really believe that the Church needs an orthodox leader after the touchy-feely pontificate of John Paul II.
The list of changes i would favor in my Church is long. But my faith remains strong. i'm not going to leave the Church because women can't be ordained, for example. It is good that the Pope is more conservative than i am. That's something the reformers seem to forget. When religion doesn't set moral standards, it ceases to be a religion, and becomes a social club.
Also, the media critics don't want to admit that most of the Catholic world is very happy at the selection of a conservative cardinal. It's just here in the godless west that you hear the whining. i am hopeful and happy about Pope Benedict XVI because he has already signalled that he will not lead the Church into error by chasing after fallen Catholics. It is up to the faithful to remain in faith, not the other way around.
Lastly, i'm sick and tired of hearing the talking heads question whether Cardinal Ratzinger will be too divisive, when (they arrogantly surmise) the Church needs a uniter. i'm reminded of the following words of scripture:
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. [Matthew 10:34-36]Two thousand years of Catholic tradition and teaching should never be thrown out lightly, and certainly not on the basis of any CNN poll or Andrew Sullivan column.
Viva il Papa nuova.
Update: Zomby has a great post on this very thing.
developing . . .
Seriously, it's kind of exciting. i hope it's the German.
Update to the update: Note to the non-Catholic, but curious: If you thought the conclave was exciting, wait until you see our convlex!
developing . . .
April 18, 2005
There are two types of interview questions. The ones they ask you and the ones you're supposed to ask them. The ones they ask you are easy to answer if you read enough guidebooks and have some idea of how to sell yourself. The ones you're supposed to ask them are just plain stupid.
That's because there's really only two questions that you need to ask, and you can't ask either of them. They are:
1. How much are you gonna pay me? andThe first question makes you sound greedy and selfish, when you need to sound as though all you care about is how much you can help them. The second question just makes you sound like a slacker. You should never sound like a slacker, even if you are one.
2. How much work do i have to do?
So instead you end up asking the lamest questions, which you memorize from the back of one of those interview guides. Here are some gems:
What qualities would you expect the successful candidate to possess?Ugh, "the successful candidate?" Please shoot me if i ever talk like that.
Do you have a mentor program?Mentor? i don't need no stinking mentor. i don't want no stinking mentor.
How would you describe your management style?Hmm. i prefer non-existent.
Does your firm encourage participation in pro-bono or volunteer work?Pro-bono? Like i have time for that shit. On my off hours, i intend to be medicated. Just tell me how much you're gonna pay me.
What do people like most/least about working here?Uhh yah. That's sure to get an honest answer.
What do you see as the overall growth areas for the firm in the next few years?Like i give a crap. i know i'll be doing hours of mind-numbing discovery on whatever case my partner assigns me, and then i'll watch as he cherry picks my billables. So again, just tell me how much you're gonna pay me.
Besides the above mentioned two most important questions, which you can't ask, i came up with some other useful questions, which you also cannot ask. Like:
Is your firm personal-call friendly?i wish i had the guts to ask some of those questions. But unfortunately, interviewing is a game you gotta play by the rules.
Who are the hot single non-gay prospects around this place?
What's your hangover policy? Do you want me to come in, or stay home? Cuz if i come in, i'm not gonna be much good to anybody, lemme tell ya.
Do i have to wear hose?
Do i have to wear shoes?
What's your freak/snitch/bitch/pompous-ass : normal person ratio?
What about a company credit card? Any chance of that?
Company car? No? How 'bout a masseuse?
Do i get the corner office?
[T]hat's the critical error the insurgents made. They thought they could keep the Marines' heads down. But he gets back up.Hell yah.
Three important lessons for the would-be terrorist, from this story:
1. This is why we shoot when a vehicle doesn't stop.
2. Terrorist attacks are becoming fewer in number, but sometimes reflect more sophisticated planning.
3. Marines will still kill their ass dead.
Knocked down by that blast, with bricks and sandbags collapsing on top of him, [Lance Cpl. Joshua] Butler struggled to his feet only to hear a large diesel engine roar amid the clatter of gunfire. It was a red fire engine, carrying a second suicide bomber and passenger. Butler says both were wearing black turbans and robes, often worn by religious martyrs.
Amid the chaos of that first bomb blast, supported by gunfire from an estimated 30 dismounted insurgents, the fire engine passed largely undetected on a small road that leads from town directly past the camp wall, according a Marine report.
'I couldn't see him at first because of the smoke. It was extremely thick from the first explosion,' Butler says. When the fire engine cleared the smoke, it was much closer than the dump truck had been.
As the driver accelerated past the 'Welcome to Iraq' sign inside the camp's perimeter, Butler says he fired 100 rounds into the vehicle. The Marines later discovered the vehicle was equipped with 3-inch, blast-proof glass and the passengers were wearing Kevlar vests under their robes.
Pfc. Charles Young, 21, also of Altoona, Pa., hit the fire engine with a grenade launcher, slowing its progress and giving Butler time to recover. Without breaching the camp wall, the driver detonated the fire engine, sending debris flying up to 400 yards and knocking Marines from their bunks several hundred yards away. Butler, less than 50 yards away, again was knocked down by the blast, which partially destroyed the tower in which he was perched. After he crawled for cover, a third suicide bomber detonated outside the camp. That blast caused no damage or injuries. Sporadic fighting continued for several hours.
Meanwhile, Cpl. Anthony Fink of Columbus, Ohio, 21, fired a grenade launcher that the Marine unit says killed 11 insurgents. The Marines' 'React Squad' swiftly deployed against the remaining insurgents.
'We were able to get the momentum back,' Diorio says. He also says that Husaybah townspeople later reported 21 insurgents dead and 15 wounded. No Marines were seriously hurt.
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