Pithyism #72


OUR POLITICAL LANDSCAPE MIGHT BE less prickly were our politics not so personal.

Autumn Sunday


September the twenty-fifth –
Rain hits Sonoma.

Torah Study: Rewrite


Among its other directives, Torah contains the seeds of its own begetting — each of us is instructed to write a Torah scroll for ourselves. In that spirit, I would paraphrase one of this week’s verses to say “Torah is not in heaven, for you to say, ‘Who will ascend and get it for us?’ It is not over the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea and get it for us?’ No, the matter is very near to you — two blocks south of Sonoma Plaza and hang a left on most Saturdays — to do it.”

That would, of course, include tomorrow. We’ll leave the light on for you.

Be well, happy autumn, and Shabbat shalom!

Neal & Ann’s Torah Study
Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, 10 am-noonish (RSVP)
Torah Portion: Netzavim-Vayeilech (Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30)
Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9

“GOD” IS NOT A FAN club.

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Pithyism #3



Deadline: 2036


ONE THING I MISS ABOUT the pre-21st-century days is the sense of humanity plunging headlong toward some destination.

These days, that collective goal seems hellbound and handbasket-wrapped. But in the days and years leading up to 1/1/2000, the Great Rollover, that sense of heading toward something great and mysterious was sometimes almost palpable. Maybe it’s because we could see a deadline.

Deadlines are wonderful tools for focusing the mind. Without one, I find myself picking listlessly at the keyboard; with one, I have an excuse, however small, to get off the couch. And that’s important. Our planet’s emerging global culture is lacking something without that sense of notional and communal quasi-closure, and I would like to offer a replacement.

In just about 25 years, give or take a month (or, to put it more or less as accurately as I can, in
days:hours:etc.) an asteroid named Apophis will make its second pass at Earth and quite possibly collide with it. That’s about as dead a deadline as you can get, but it’s also a good chunk of time — it’s a quarter-century off, which is sort of good news for us would-be codgers as it obviates the need for Social Security and other obligations; it’s close enough to inspire the imagination, yet far enough to finally develop those %$#@! jetpacks. And it’s a great excuse, however small, to get off the couch.

April 13, 2036. I hope to see you there.

The View From Superman’s Cape


FLYING OVER EARTH IN THE International Space Station? This is what it looks like.

“THAT’S NOT ONLY BRILLIANT — IT’S ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that’ brilliant.”

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Moving Lines


“FOR GOD’S SAKE LET US sit upon the ground And tell sad stories of the death of kings.”
– Wm. Shakspere, Richard II

“Are you a dream, Merlin?”
“A dream, to some. A NIGHTMARE TO OTHERS.”
– Excalibur

“Well, it’s easy if you know all the notes!”
– Moosie Weinberger, a”h, on playing the piano with her nose

“Never give up. Never surrender.”
— Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart

“Are we having fun, yet?”
– Zippy the Pinhead

“Many days you have lingered around my cabin door
Oh! hard times come again no more.”
– Folk song

“In former dreams he had seen quaint lumbering buopoths come shyly out of that wood to drink, but now he could not glimpse any.”
– H. P. Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

“We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow.”
– Wm. Shakespear, King Henry IV pt. II



OF ALL HUMAN EXPERIENCES, WAITING may be the least explicable.

We usually experience Time both as a series of events (“progression”) and an eternal Now (“duration”). Progression is as a pot slowly boiling or day growing late or stomach more hungry. “Duration” is the center of whatever moment (and all moments) we experience. These levels are so seamless as to first appear invisible. (Work with me here.)

Waiting suspends your attention — you’ve given your order, taken your place in line, tried to start the engine — now what? Read more »

The Root Of All Our Problems



Faint Praise


“I DON’T MIND WATCHING HIM chew the scenery — he leaves such interesting bitemarks.”

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June 2017
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Ritual Hat Pass

G'bless'ye, sir or madam.

You Can't Stop The Signal:
Celebrating the remaining days:hours:etc until Apophis II. Live it up, Earthlings.

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