So you know what’s a huge pain in the ass? Owning a car. On a related note, I need to install a front license plate on a car that’s recently been registered in a state that requires them after many years of being registered in a state that doesn’t. It seems like there should be some sort of device to hold the plate on, but there isn’t. Do I have to just buy one?
October 23, 2006
October 20, 2006
From a crime alert e-mail I just received, describing two incidents this past week:
An unknown subject knocked on a resident’s door, once the resident opened the door, several masked intruders forced their way into the apartment and demanded money and marijuana. One of the intruders was armed with what appeared to be a rifle or shotgun. The resident reportedly surrendered money and marijuana to the intruders, who then fled.
A female resident reported that she was awakened by a subject who reportedly was removing her bedroom covers from her. The subject reportedly fled the room when the resident was awakened. The resident fell back asleep. A few minutes later, the female resident was again awakened, by the same subject turning a light on in her room. The intruder again fled when the resident was awakened this second time. The victim described the intruder as an Asian male, in his 20s, wearing a light colored shirt and blue jeans.
That first one happened literally around the corner from where I live.
So I generally meet with my thesis advisor on Fridays at 2:30 to discuss my progress. This week he had another obligation at the same time, so we couldn’t meet then. I found out about this at 2:00 when I checked my e-mail. It’s not a big deal; the same thing happened last week. We’ll just meet sometime next week instead.
However, I also had an assignment for a class I’m taking that was due at 3:30 in the instructor’s mailbox, and I was going to turn it in when I went to the meeting. When I learned that I didn’t have to go to the meeting I somehow forgot about it and just stayed home. Around 4:30 I suddenly realized that I had missed the deadline and hurried over to turn in the assignment, but the mailroom was already closed. I sent an apologetic e-mail to the professor with the assignment attached, and I hope that’ll be okay. I hate it when this happens. A change of plans tends to throw my life into chaos.
October 16, 2006
After much increasingly anxious waiting, today I received my absentee ballot. Watch out, Heather Wilson.
October 12, 2006
Here’s some good news (via Yglesias). It’s long past time there was an organization to challenge AIPAC’s image as the one and only voice of American Jewry on Israel issues, and this new group looks like it’ll have the funding and connections to fill that niche. I do worry, however, that having Soros on board might cause some problems with their image; as the article points out, he really isn’t known as a Zionist. It might have been better to stick with committed Zionists who also lean to the left and favor peace. There are an awful lot of people like that in this country, and they’ve been effectively shut out of the national discourse on Israel for a very long time. On the other hand, Soros has a lot of money and attracts a lot of attention, and the advantages of that could very well outweigh any problems with his personal views. In any case, this is definitely a positive development.
October 7, 2006
October 5, 2006
Have you ever noticed that URLs are merely strings of letters that can be segmented into words in ways different from the original intent? I have.
October 2, 2006
It seems I’ve been tagged with this here book meme that’s been going around. I don’t actually read that many books, so this should be interesting…
1. One book that’s changed your life
I wouldn’t say there are any books that have really changed my life as such; there are some that have nudged me in different directions academically or politically, but it’s never been drastic. One book that has had a fairly large effect on my thinking is Arthur Hertzberg’s The Fate of Zionism. While I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, it’s a thought-provoking look at the origins of the Zionist movement and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
2. One book that you have read more than once
I almost never re-read books. There are too many books I haven’t yet read to waste times on ones I have. The only books I can think of that I’ve read more than once are ones that I read on my own then later had to read for school. The one in particular that comes to mind is Brave New World. I liked it a lot when I first read it, and it held up well on re-reading.
3. One book you would want on a desert island
Something big, fat and non-narrative. A scholarly edition of someone’s complete works (Shakespeare, say) with a long, detailed introduction and lots of notes sounds good.
4. One book that made you cry
I don’t think a book has ever made me literally cry; I seldom cry in any case. I did choke up a bit at parts of Beowulf.
5. One book that made you laugh
The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy. That is one hilarious book.
6. One book you wish had been written
My grandparents had a good friend, practically a member of the family, who always wanted to be a writer but was never able to. He led a fascinating life, and I wish he could have written a memoir, but he was always very poor and too busy working until he was quite old, and by that point he was too feeble to write anything. I miss him; he used to tell great stories.
7. One book you wish had never been written
The DaVinci Code. No question. I haven’t read the thing, but it distresses me how many people assume it to be historically accurate when it’s so obviously just a shoddy bestseller.
8. One book you are currently reading
I’m between books at the moment, and these moments can last for months. I just finished Tristam Shandy, which was pretty great. Not sure what or when I’ll read next.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read
So many. Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton has been on my bookshelf for months now; I don’t know when I’ll get to it (it’s so long!), but I really should just start it already.
Services today were nice. I like spending as much time as possible in services on Yom Kippur; it distracts me from hunger. The sermon was done by a student, which has never happened before in my time here, and it was so much better than the ones the rabbis give that I was amazed. Structurally it wasn’t as coherent as it could have been, but it brought up issues that the rabbis rarely raised and addressed them in what I thought was a more useful and thought-provoking manner. The guy talked about how Judaism isn’t obsessed with sin the way Christianity is, and yet it is only on this one day of the year, the one day that is all about sin and repentance, that everyone comes to services. He went on to talk about some other stuff which didn’t seem too closely connected to that but was still interesting, about the three covenants we as Jews have: with God (the covenant with Moses), other Jews (the covenant with Abraham), and non-Jews (the covenant with Noah). Interesting stuff, and a breath of fresh air.