Saturday, September 22, 2007

Polish Hip Hop Bhangra: Best. Vid. Ever.

Yes, you read that right, Polish Hip Hop Bhangra. With Bollywood dancing.
Just in case anyone thinks I mock, I happen to love Bollywood and Bhangra (and Hip Hop, too, for that matter).
Happy Post-YK Music!

HT to BoingBoing

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Quick, Before the day is over....

More pirate festivities!

My pirate name is:

Captain Anne Bonney

Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Oh, yes!
Anne Bonney, you bet! Arrrrrr!
The other site offered that I was likely to be Grainne O'Malley, which is an even better choice (and she was, actually, a captain, ut likely, "Arrrr," never passed her lips).

And here's the name of my ship:
Sea's Damned Cannon

Monday, September 17, 2007

Movie Review of the day

Courtesy of the Onion's AV Club.
I don't usually do movie reviews, but this one has an appropriate Judaic reference. OK. Not really, but still. Hilarious:

Of course if a preeminent figure in my faith had a lucrative sideline writing ridiculous pulp fiction I’d probably downplay that aspect of his life and teachings. If, for example, Moses used his downtime writing the Torah to hastily compose a series of fantasy novels exploring the lives, loves and adventures of Thoretta, She-Ogre of The Barbarian Realm, I’d probably steer clear of publicizing his side-gig too aggressively. I certainly wouldn’t try to lure Bridgette Nielsen into starring in a feature-film adaptation of Thoretta, She Ogre Of The Barbarian Realm as a way of bringing converts to Judaism....

Battlefield Earth opens in a future dystopia where mankind has been defeated by a race of nine-foot-tall aliens from the planet Psychlo whose gnarled appearance suggests what Klingons might look like if they took their fashion cues from the leather daddies in Cruising. Humanity has finally shaken off the high-falutin’ plague of book-learning and stuff-knowing and lingers in a caveman-like state of superstition and ignorance. Rather than invoke the wrath of demons and monsters, men hide in caves and eschew all but the faintest traces of civilization. They’re like gullible souls waiting for a second-rate sci-fi writer to reveal all the mysteries of the universe to them in pseudo-religion form and charge them dearly for the privilege.

Why America is great

Unfortunately, this is not embeddable, but check it out.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Take a Break from Repenting...

And hoist the mainsail! Aaarrggh!!!

If repentance isn't your strong point, luckily for you, this year, talk like a pirate day falls right between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (September 19th, every year).
SO, feel no regrets! Take no prisoners! Buckle your swashes!

See here for a tutorial, in case your pirate speaking skills are rusty. Alas, they do seem to lack instruction on the proper way to address a female pirate, or pirate captain (Such as:
Queen Artemisia of Halicarnassus (in Greece) — 480 B.C.
Princess Rusla — Norwegian Viking.
Grace O’Malley, a.k.a. Granuaile, Grainne O'Malley —1500s, Atlantic, commanded three galleys and 200 men. (My personal favorite, having bested Queen Elizabeth in a personal meeting by use of a handkerchief))
Lady Killigrew — 1530-1570, Atlantic.
Anne Dieu-le-veut — 1660s, Caribbean buccaneer.
Anne Bonny, aliases Ann Bonn and Fulford, 1719-1720, Caribbean.
Mary Read, alias Mark Read — 1718-1720, Caribbean.
Sadie the Goat — 1800s, New York State.
Qi Sao (Seventh Elder Sister-in-law) — South China Sea, commanded a fleet of 20 ships.
Shi Xainggu (better known as Cheng I Sao, Ching Yih Saou, or Zheng Yi Sao) — 1801-1810, South China Sea, commanded either five or six squadrons consisting of 800 large junks, about 1,000 smaller vessels, and between 70,000 and 80,000 men and women.
Gertrude Imogene Stubbs — alias "Gunpowder Gertie, the Pirate Queen of the Kootenays", 1898-1903, Kootenay Lake and river system of British Columbia, Canada.)

These are from the great "Uppity Women" book series, but a quick google search will no doubt turn out even more. YOu can find a couple of short bios hereand here. This list also includes women privateers.
Nevertheless, while you are being a pirate, be sure that others will find a way to address you respectfully. A long sharp sword, an attitude and a few nasty scars from swordfighting will provoke it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Shanah Tovah!

It's a little more er, electronic than the one I remember (M'nah m'nah, with the blue squishy things...these looks sort of like I dunno, cows) but all the same....

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Converts? Not really...

Thought your overseas conversion would serve to get you into Israel? Hah! Turns out the Interior Ministry is rarin' at the bit to kick yer tushie back to galus. And it doesn't even matter exactly which movement you cotton to... yes, apparently even some Orthodox converts will no longer qualify.

According to the JPost, this past Monday distributed a preliminary draft of new citizenship criteria. The new rules would no longer grant citizenship to converts from abroad, instead,

the convert would be asked to fulfill requirements that include: a minimum of nine months in a preparatory course in Judaism; proof of participation in the activities of a Jewish community abroad for at least nine months after conversion; and residing in the Jewish community that performs the conversion for at least three months prior to conversion.

In addition, converts who converted abroad and apply for Israeli citizenship would face rejection for a number of reasons: The convert applied previously, before conversion, for Israeli citizenship and was rejected; the convert stayed in Israel illegally for a period of at least six months; the convert has relatives in Israel [who he or she wishes to join]; and the convert applied for citizenship immediately after converting and family members, who did not convert, want to come too.

So, if you have Jewish relatives, and you want to join them, your conversion is automatically suspect. Nice. Got relatives who aren't Jewish who want to come? Conversion doesn't count. Sweet!

The Ministry claims this is to "prevent exploitation of the conversion process to obtain Israeli citizenship."

As one rabbi stated, there are some obvious problems with this new set of restrictions, first,

the Interior Ministry has no right to be involved in determining the length of time it is necessary to prepare for a conversion. There is nothing in the law, neither Jewish nor civil, stating a minimum period of time.

"Second, it is unfair to disqualify a convert from citizenship simply because a previous request for citizenship was rejected or because he or she has relatives in Israel.

Then, as the article itself says, this new set of regulations seems to be trying to do an end run around the Supreme Court's ruling that the ministry may not set criteria defining a religious act such as conversion; if this isn't an attempt to do just that, I'll eat my fuzzy purple Borsalino.

This whole thing is disgraceful. Mishpat echad yihiyeh lachem. yeah, right.

*HOT* tip of the day

How to bake cookies in your car, as the posterto Boingboing noted, "Best car freshener smell ever."

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Kibbutz revival?

A few days ago, the New York Times ran an article describing the apparent renewal of kibbutzim in Israel. After years of decline, beginning inthe 1980's, recently, people are again lining up to get into kibbutzim.
The article points out a couple of interesting things, one of which is explicit: that the renewed kibbutzim are not quite (for the most part) run inthe way that traditional kibbutzim were run, but rather as, "a kind of suburbanized version of it."
The article continues, explaining,

On most kibbutzim, food and laundry services are now privatized; on many, houses may be transferred to individual members, and newcomers can buy in. While the major assets of the kibbutzim are still collectively owned, the communities are now largely run by professional managers rather than by popular vote. And, most important, not everyone is paid the same.

kibbutz life

Now, granted the old, purely socialist system didn't really work all that well. We all know human nature, and in Israel, as anywhere else that this particular ideology was exercised, all kinds of unfortunate consequences resulted, the mildest of which is the obvious: that many people just didn't pull their weight. Not to mention all the later reported problems with the communal children's houses: the bullying and sexual abuse that sometimes resulted.

Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder about some things that weren't said: the recent changes in Israeli (following American) society such as the "greed is good" mentality of the 1980's resulting in the dismantling of Israeli social support systems - and how that process perhaps actually contributed to the current revitaization of the kibbutzim, as people tire of a society in which everyone is completely out for themselves, and the future is economically very uncertain. I also wonder if the suburbanization of the kibbutzim is any kind of success story. Aren't there other ways of attracting people into a community?
In some ways, it seems to me that this question is the exact same one facing Jews in communal institutions all over the place: how do you entice people into building communities in which people are actually part of a community and not just a fee for service relationship? The sad thing is, that this is indeed what most people are craving, but at the same time, our societies are currently so individualistic that we see any kind of responsibilty to others over the long term as inconvenient. And let's not even get started on the subject of intergenerational responsibilty. Of all the various shuls and independant minyans out there, how many are genuinely welcoming of people of very different backgrounds and places in their lives?

How have we come to this? -"young professionals" minyans, 20 something minyans, old fart minyans, whatever... where is the sense that we need to sacrifice having things our way some of the time? And I am not targetting any particular group when I say this. In my opinon, there is no one who isn't a culprit. From wealthy older folks holding onto services which barely anyone attends, to younger groups who are unwilling to make any kind of provisions for people who might not love the all-Carlebach channel. I suppose I could list on forever all the diferent niches who aren't talking to one another. And lest I leave it out, that includes the various "movements" as well.

I suppose I have wandered a bit astray from the point of the article, but I often wonder, when we talk about renewal, if the things we are renewing have the value and the solidity to really be communities for the long term, because what I don't see in many of these renewed communities, is obligation, love, or community.

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