Wednesday, February 27, 2008

oh, YEAH!

Tiny Fey, "Bitches get things done!" Yes it is.

Hey, does this mean that SNL is going to be funny again now that they've got Tiny Fey back?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A few thoughts on Ki Tisa

In reading over Ki Tisa, I feel drawn to a piece of commentary that, it seems to me, every year, I come back to again.
In the episode of the golden calf, in Shmot 32:1 it says:

“Arise and make for us elohim that they will go before us, since this man Moshe who brought us out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

The Chasidic commentator R. Meir Simcha says that Israel didn’t really want to make an idol. Rather, Israel thought that Moshe was so far above them that when he disappeared, they thought God would no longer come to dwell among them. As Hirsch also comments, the people didn’t believe that God came to them, but that Moshe brought God to them.

The Torah tells us that Israel said that Moshe was “the man who brought us out of Egypt.” That means that Israel did know that it was God who brought them out. Israel didn’t confuse Moshe and God – they knew that Moshe was doing God’s work, and they heard and saw all the miracles that God did for them.
– So, after Israel made the calf, they said (32:5)

“Tomorrow shall be a festival for God!” and in 32:4, just the verse before, they announced, “This is your God, Israel, that brought you out of Egypt.”

They didn’t think that the calf was a god, they were trying to make a place for God to dwell, or perhaps a footstool, a statue of precious metals that would be sort of like the cherubim that were on the ark, which was “God’s footstool,” so that God would dwell there. Israel had the idea that Moshe was the path to God. You see, with Moshe gone, they just knew that no mortal person was good enough for the shechinah to hover over. God was not with them, God was brought by Moshe.

This should give us pause. It is so very close to the idea of God requiring a mediator in Christianity (or even multiple mediators, first, their Xristos, and secondly in some sects, the priests) – or closer to home, the idea that Rabbi Schneerson is the messiah, who will be revived from the dead. Perhaps it is a natural human feeling to want a person who is better than us to serve as a channel to the divine, perhaps it is natural to feel that we are not good enough to bring God amongst ourselves. But this is contrary to what Judaism tells us. We do not know the place of Moshe’s burial because God was concerned about this sort of idolatry.

And make no mistake: it was not the calf which was the idolatry. We don’t have to worship something as God or as a god for it to become idolatrous. It is the act of removing responsibility from ourselves to connect with God that is the essential act of idolatry. Believing that only Moshe can bring God to us, that’s idolatry, because God is not at the beck and call of a person. Any person. Our connection to God is part of an ongoing relationship that we have to build both as individuals and also as a people.

Shmot Rabbah 44:1 says:
Another explanation of ’Thou didst pluck up a vine out of Egypt’. …Thou wilt also verify the explanation: ‘Just as the living vine is supported by dead stalks, so Israel, alive and eternal, lean upon their patriarchs who are dead.’ You will thus find that Elijah offered up many supplications on Mount Carmel for the fire to descend, as it says, Hear me, O Lord, hear me (I Kings 18:37), but the Lord did not hearken unto him. As soon, however, as he mentioned the dead, and said: O Lord, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel (ib. 36), he was immediately answered; ... Moses, likewise, after Israel had committed that act [the Calf], stood for forty days and nights pleading n their behalf, but he was not answered; but as soon as he made mention of the dead he was immediately answered, as it says, REMEMBER ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND ISRAEL, THY SERVANTS. What follows?--AND THE LORD REPENTED OF THE EVIL WHICH HE SAID HE WOULD DO UNTO HIS PEOPLE. A proof that just as the vine that lives receives its support from dead stalks, so do living Israel find support in their patriarchs long dead;- hence REMEMBER ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND ISRAEL.

Israel does honor those who came before, and we depend upon the merit of our ancestors. But this is a world away from considering them the saints through whom God comes to us. The reason that the image is of a vine is that the vine appears dead, but it lives, and that is why the vine can continue to be fruitful. But that doesn’t mean that our ancestors are literally alive, nor chas v’shalom, that we should expect their resurrection to bring moshiach. To the contrary, it is because the vine that is green is part of the vine, just as the part that appears dead is part of the vine. It is only that the core of the vine is alive throughout the vine. Without that green sap and core, none of the vine will exist or bear: and what is that vine? It is God and Torah within all of us. When we depend upon the merit of our ancestors, it means that we recognize the Torah within them, and let it flow through us as well. But what happens if you think that the older part of the vine will be revived, and the green, new parts doesn’t have to bear new fruit? Well, nothing. That part of the vine is no longer the part that bears.

The problem is when we become emotionally attached to the fallacies of the idolatry. When there is comfort in an imagined past in which everyone knew their place and were rewarded for it, in which we view with sentimentality the way people lived, and disregard that which is before our eyes as sin and wrong, we are already setting ourselves up for failure. There is no one who should come between us and God. God does not require a footstool, Moshe is a leader, not a channeler, and certainly not a magician making the spirits do his will. To excuse oneself from the duty of bringing moshiach because someone else is there to do it, or be it, that's idolatry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Architechtural Porn

As someone who loves books, I mean really, really loves books, this site made me -can I say this?- slide right out of my seat, staring.

Our house currently is full of books in boxes, because we just don't have wall space for bookshelves (not to mention we lost a couple of cases in transit) and so I have no way of getting at all my books at once.

SO looking at this extremely clever use of space is very appealing. My next life, perhaps, when I have a budget for this sort of thing.

ht to boingboing

Monday, February 04, 2008


Have problems with Comcrap? yeah, you and everyone else in Montgomery County, the county that warns people against their evil practices - and then lets them continue to have a monopoly here.

But Consumerist to the rescue. They have given up the escalator phone numbers for Comcost. Let the fun begin!

Thanks Consumerist!

These support desk people have national access:

888-345-5731 National Support Desk - Dispatchers, day of install issues, etc. IVR requests Remedy TTS ticket number, but once you're on the phone they're not likely to turn you away, even if you just need a box hit.
877-456-5488 Support Desk Pager
Manager Elizabeth Carpenter - Cell - 267-303-1123, Desk - 856-317-7417, Pager - 888-438-2983
Director Mike Nocitra - Desk - 484-530-5541, Cell - 610-306-3750
The latter two are pretty much required to be nice to you and help you as much as possible even though it's nowhere near their job description. It's not as if they can refuse to take an escalation, even if you escalate yourself to them.

The below people can help if your account number starts with 01603, 01622, 01711, 01692, 05818, 09547, 09549, or 09560:
Barb Fry - Retention Sup - 717-202-8130
Brandon Mitchell - Billing Sup - 717-202-8142
Cory Graby - Sales Sup - 717-202-8281
Dennis Shadle - Sales Sup - 717-202-8106
Don Brickley - Service Sup - 717-202-8112
Elisha Kunkle - Sales Sup - 717-202-8290
Giancarlo Rodriguez - Marketing Manager - 717-202-8176 (Not really a sup per se, but can get things done quickly if need be)
Jawal Boyd - Billing Sup - 717-202-8139
Jeff Eck - Billing Sup - 717-202-8234
Jen Boyer - Billing Sup - 717-202-8235
Mary Ellen Fahringer - Sales Manager - 717-202-8122 (She is the manager of the Sales Supervisors above. If you get nowhere with them, it might not hurt to drop MEF's name (Yes, she is called "Mef" by anyone who knows her) and mention you have her number and would be happy to call her if necessary)
Mike Noren - Billing Sup - 717-202-8218
Peggy Shea - Sales Sup - 717-202-8217
Sherree Henley - Retention Sup - 717-202-8115
Tim Miller - Billing Sup - 717-202-8136
Tom Zimmerman - Billing Sup - 717-202-8135

(Sup hours can vary widely. Try them all. Leave a voicemail. Or ten. Then call MEF and tell her no one will return your calls. They'll get back to you.)

And then there's the bridge and headend people. It's not their job per se to help customers, but if one called them, the bridge has access to help and would be angry enough to do it just to make someone go away, and the headend, while not all THAT useful, is important enough to irritate someone into taking action on your behalf...

Lebanon Call Center Bridge 717-202-8202 (7 AM-12AM)
Lebanon Headend 717-202-8190

The sups and other numbers on here are limited to a certain geographic area, roughly PA from the New York line to the Maryland line, west as far as Breezewood, East to just shy of Plymouth Meeting.
Additionally, any Comcast customer in rural WVa, VA, or a small piece of PA west of Mercersburg who is CONSTANTLY getting misdirected to either Pittsburgh or Lebanon PA, we route calls based on the number you call from, and it inevitably ends up wrong if you're in one of those areas and a legacy Adelphia customer. So go right to the source. You are in "corp" 01626, and are served out of the Hancock, MD service center and the Manassas, VA call center. Only the people in Manassas can pull up your account. Dial direct 703-740-2225

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Someone had apparently been recently viewing Life of Brian

Don't forget: the weekend, the 40 hour week, health bennies...
It's an Australian clip, but it still works.