mardi, août 30, 2005

The Gambler, by Kenny Rogers (lyrics)

These are the lyrics to a classic country song by Kenny ROgers. Josh sent them to me today. I think as I write today and think about the world, that I realize how much I haven't taken these words to heart yet. I know I shuld. Someday I might live them really, but for now I keep telling myself over and over, hoping that repetition will teach me and I'll learn my lesson well.

On a warm summer’s evenin’ on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin’ out the window at the darkness
’til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

He said, son, I’ve made a life out of readin’ people’s faces,
And knowin’ what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
So if you don’t mind my sayin’, I can see you’re out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey I’ll give you some advice.

So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said, if you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

Now ev’ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
’cause ev’ry hand’s a winner and ev’ry hand’s a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.

So when he’d finished speakin’, he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count you r money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

lundi, août 29, 2005

fun tidbits off the newsline

This article of the AP newline is kind of fun, I excerpted the super cold and the PVC part.. the PVC bit had me laughing...

Almanac Warns of 'Polar Coaster' Winter By JERRY HARKAVY, AP
LEWISTON, Maine (Aug. 28) - Get your sweaters, mittens and hats ready. The Farmers' Almanac warns that the coming winter will bring unusually sharp fluctuations in temperature, and says readers "may be reminded of riding a roller, or in this case, 'polar' coaster." "Mother Nature seems to be in the mood for some amusement this winter season," the almanac said in its 2006 edition, just off the presses.The coldest weather will be in the Northeast, which also will get plenty of snow, the almanac said. It predicts cold weather for the South and Mid-Atlantic regions and snowy but mild weather in the Great Lakes and Midwest.Parts of the Rockies and the Great Plains may have drier-than-normal weather, adding to the area's continuing drought, but wetter-than-normal weather is predicted for the Pacific Northwest and lower Texas.
mpkins get plenty of ink this year, first in recipes that include pumpkin pie, pumpkin gratin, pumpkin dip and pumpkin pancakes. But an article also describes how a hollowed-out pumpkin can be used as a boat, as is done each year at the Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Festival and Regatta in Nova Scotia. Potential participants beware: "Your pumpkin, or personal vegetable craft (PVC) as they are known, can rarely be used twice due to structural ravages," the almanac says.

08/28/05 14:49 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

I liked the usage of ther personal vegetable craft. :) Today was a good full day's work; my paws hurt.

dimanche, août 28, 2005

Overheard from TheKatzMeow106 tonight

"I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you:
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good"-"Wicked"

So lately I've had good reason to be thinking about this very topic. I thought it was fitting that TheKatzMeow said this tonight. Cats are very astute this way. I think each person has a piece of the puzzle and what I was to learn from one person, but didn't somehow really absorb I've slowly been given chances along the way to learn and to build up within myself. It's really been interesting to learn and grow like this. I'm grateful to every person who has crossed my path, because each one has taught me something interesting and new about the world, about myself, and about life.

gracias, muchos gracias...

jeudi, août 25, 2005

Samuel Beckett's Endgame

I've a tradition that when I travel I take a noted work of good performance literature and (perhaps unfortunately for my fellow travelers) I and my fellow travelers read the work aloud in voices --for a dramatic reading. This past trip was no exception and the work in question was Samuel Beckett's _Endgame_. Beckett won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1969. His plays deal with harsh topics in a manner that makes one reflect deeply and think about the purpose of life and the human condition.

I think that reading _Endgame_ so soon after I finished reading _A Grief Observed_ by CS Lewis (I'm on a CSLewis kick now having read Narnia, Problem with Pain, Screwtape Letters, A Grief Observed, Miracles, and am in the middle of the collected letters of CS Lewis vol. 2) that I'm acutely aware of how much writers try to convey the human condition with its irony, its compassion, its suffering, its futility, its tremendous network of connnections between parents and children, etc. and we read those themes again and again touched in such a great and marvelous way to our core by the beauty of a wordcraftsman's skill. I highly recommend _Endgame_ and _A Grief Observed_ to people who are interested in a quick read with a lot of food for thought. I can hardly do the thoughts justice here. In some ways Beckett presents a bleak bleak worldview, but really there's an underlying lesson of love and compassion taught in a subtle and matter-of-fact way which is really powerful, if you've the imagination to fill out the performance in your mind. Seriously, I found both of these books to be truly interesting. Htose of you who read literature are encouraged to read these two works.

I read the _Act Without Words_ by S. Beckett tonight. It, too, is powerful and majestic in a very poignant way, though not as good as _Endgame_ which has a subtlety and power rooted in its complexity and the simplicity of the words and set. Act WIthout Words (AWW) is too obvious and too crude. It makes one feel more dirty and depressed, but Endgame on the other hand is conveyed with the artistry of a Vermeer (most notably that cleverness and aura of "the Love Letter" or that artistry necessary to capture the soft and gentle "Henrikje Bathing" of Rembrandt van Rijn --Beckett's words are crafted in such a combination of that kind of artistry mixed with the brusque chunkiness of a Picasso and the flair of a Warhol print. It's really amazing. With _Endgame_, though not necessarily with AWW, Beckett scores way above S.Y. Agnon in my book.

I'm off now to read _The Storyteller_ by Mario Vargas Llosa. that, too, should be fabulous. Llosa won the 1995 Cervantes Prize and also the Jerusalem Prize. We'll see how well it flows shortly.

In closing, here are a few notable quotes from the text of _Endgame_:

(Grove Press edition pages noted.)
pp22-23 - " G-d damn you to hell, Sir, no, it's indecent, there are limits! In six days, do you hear me, six days, G-d made the world. Yes Sir, no less Sir, the WORLD! And you are not bloody well capable of makinng me a pair of trousers in three months!"
(tailor's voice scandalized.) "But my dear Sir, my dear Sir, look -- (disdainful gesture, disgustedly) at the world-- (pause) and look (loving gesture, proudly) --at my TROUSERS!"

p 56 Nagg to Hamm: " I hope the day will come when you'll really need to have me listen to you, and need to hear my voice, any voice,"

p.57 Clov "I love order. It's my dream. A world where all would be silent and still and each thing in its last place, under the last dust."
Hamm "What in G-d's name do you think you are doing?
Clov "I'm doing my best to b=create a little order."

p.68 (stage directions omitted) Hamm " You weep, and weep, for nothing, so as not to laugh, and little by begin to grieve.
All those I might have helped.
The place was crawling with them!
Use your head, can't you, use your head, you're onn earth, there's no cure for that!
Get out of here and love one another!..."

pp75-76 Clov to Hamm "There's one thing I'll never understand.
Why I always obey you. Can you explain that to me?"
Hamm in response " No.... Perhaps it's compassion. (Pause.) A great kind of compassion. (Pause.) Oh you won't find it easy, you won't find it easy."

pp80-81 Clov "I say to myself --sometimes, Clov, you must learn to suffer better than that if you want them to weary of punishing you --one day. I say to myself --sometimesm Clov, you must be there better than that if yuou want them to let you go --one day. but I feel too old, and too far, to form new habits. Good, it'll never end, I'll never go.(Pause) Then one day, suddenly, it changes, I don't understand, that either. I ask the words that remain -- sleeping, waking, morning, evening. They have nothing to say. (pause.) I open the door of the cell and go. I am so bowed I only see my feet, if I open my eyes, and between my legs a little trail of black dust. I say to myself that the earth is extinguished, though I never saw it lit. (pause.) It's easy going. (pause.) When I fall I'll weep for happiness."

p 82 Hamm "Old endgame lost of old, play and lose and have done with losing."

Ciao, Bellissima.

dimanche, août 14, 2005

Meowmix ranks things

as a normal post isn't possible due to a fast and a secessation of rational thought... thanks to the secessation of a normal amount of food in the body and mind... so I, the cat, am writing.

From Lemony Snicket's "The Wide Window" -

"If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats."

This great quote was sent in by my friend David. Let's put our paws up for David and clap. meowmeow. 5 paws rating

On another not-so-related topic, we saw the documentary/movie "Zerach" about Zerach Warhaftig and his efforts to get the Jews of Lithuania out before the Nazis invaded. It was excellent and 7000 Jews owe their lives to him... notably the Mir and Telz yeshiva bachurim who were able to get out via his work and planning. It was amazing to watch and learn about. Well worth your time. 4 paws rating

A great place to get chocolate dipped orange peel if you like such things without the bitter aftertaste, if you like biscotti --amazing biscotti, and if you like random cookies and chocolates... she's hoping to get pareve milk chocolate.. can't wait to try that. she'll fedex you anything you want... for a feww of course, but it's worth it.
4.5 paws rating.
*** recent food ratings:
corn soup with frozen pack of beans, corn, peppers add salt and pepper. 3 paws
(imagine brand) butternut squash soup add salt. 2.8 paws.
sauteed golden zucchini with salt, maybe add baby portabella mushrooms, add salt. 4 paws.
sauteed zuchinni with tomatoes and eggs and onions, add salt. 3.5 paws.
tofu and baby bok choy. add salt. 3.25 paws.
baby bok choy, alt or salt and ginger. 3.25 paws.
mushrooms and tofu. sweet auce, hot pepper sauce, or soy sauce. 3.5 paws.
herb mixed into baby greens salad, served with orange and yellow bell peppers and sliced almonds. 4 paws.
rice congee with onion soup stock. 3 paws.
rice congee? cooked with onions, cooked with tomatoes and eggs, or else cooked with garlic and/or with napa cabbage. 3 paws.
plain cut up orange and yellow bell peppers. 3.5 paws.
chicken of the sea sells their tuna salad packs online through amazon and are o-u kosher and very worthwhile to take on travelling trips. meowmeow. 3 paws rating.
Lastly, there is an excellent story about the Ethiopian Jews and their discovery of the destruction of the Temple. I haven't the paw strength now to type it up (Cat paws are not known for their ability to fly over typing keys.) so I'll either have to tell it later or else you should goole the story online and find it... it's amazing. 5 paws rating.

okay, ciao,
cat going offline, toodloo.

vendredi, août 12, 2005

a funny new gadget

It's a purr detector.

jeudi, août 11, 2005

mikvah post for those women whohave written asking about what the mikvah experience is like

NB I wrote this a while back and really want to keep itonline for those women who write asking about this experience. It's in very unprofessional form so I'm terribly sorry, but of course if you have questions please write to me and I will do my best to answer any queries you have.

mikvahs are scary primarily because you don't know what they're going to be like. They're
> actually usually warmed up so it's like being in a large bathtub. You'll
> have privacy as only one woman goes in at a time, the attendant will just
> make sure to check your back for loose/stray hairs if you've long hair,
> generally they are good about respecting your privacy and won't ask to
> inspect anything which would make you feel embarrassed, though she may ask
> you if you checked here or there. They might ask you but probably won't
> look to see if you have washed your hands and cut your nails. Basically, as
> long as you look like you'll be okay, they'll be okay with it. You won't
> ruin the mikvah if you don't have all this stuff cleaned up is the thing,
> you'll only ruin your own tevilah,which is really the reason they trust you
> so much. You can't really ruin your tevilah if you follow the directions,
> so it's pretty much a low-key, low stress sort of thing. You might feel a
> bit like a lost wet puppy or wet cat throughout the process, because it's so
> daunting, and can encourage the forlorn lost feeling with it's strangeness,
> but really it is a very simple and quick thing. You'll walk down the stairs
> into the big bathtub, and will be asked to let go of the robe or sheet as
> you walk in and you'll be able to keep your back to the attendant the whole
> time. Occasionally, they don't wan the sheet going with you so they'll tell
> you they'll turn their back to you and you'll leave the sheet up at the top
> where there is generally a railing and then you'll walk down the stairs
> (which are a normal size for stairs) and once you're in you'll say so and
> the attendant will turn back around. The attendant may be overly
> helpful -like trying to help you take off and wrap up in the sheet, but it
> isn't a really big deal since you are always free to assert yourself and say
> if you want her help with the sheet or not and generally, she's just trying
> to keep things going . Usually the mikvahs aren't any bigger than about two
> bathtubs in width and length, height about the same as two-thirds of a
> shower stall.. the floor will be sloping so that taller people go farther in
> and shorter people stay closer to the stairs or it will have a short
> section -about the size of a shower stall and a tall section also about the
> size of a shower stall, where there's a step from one into the other section
> in the mikvah itself. A lot of short people walk to this step, part and do
> tevilah at the junction because it is easy to pick up your feet here float
> for a moment and come up. then you'll back up onto the short section of it
> and say the bracha. The short section was water just below my armpits to
> give you a sense of how short the short section is. You can easily stand up
> there and be totally aware of your surroundings. You'll pick up your feet
> and kind of do a curled up ball thing for tevilah, since your feet can't
> touch the floor of the mikvah. Tuck your head so your hair gets all wet,
> hold your arms out and your legs somewhat apart. It's actually fairly
> pleasant. I wish I could go again, too. :) Heck, if we could have dual
> appointments at the mikvah I'd go too. :) It's actually like an all too
> brief moment at a spa. Sometimes the attendants do silly things like chatter
> on about their children, but usually the attendants are quiet and just do
> their job. Generally conventional wisdom says that they only chatter if
> they know you well and otherwise stay quiet respecting your space. The
> attendant is really not interested in you or your body. She's just going to
> watch you go under, so she'll tell you how to do the tevilah and there's
> usually a sign someplace in the big bathtub with the bracha and she'll let
> you go under and when you come up she'll probably (depending on frum the
> mikvah people are) put a towel on your head so your head is covered while
> saying the bracha. that last part isn't halacha, but custom. she might
> also instruct you to put your arms over your breasts or to cover your body
> in some way while saying the bracha. Again more minhag, etc. I find that
> part silly. After all you're naked and supposed to be naked. so then after
> that the attendant will leave and you can come up however you want to, no
> one will see you and then you hop back into the changing room which is
> adjacent to the mikvah and you can either shower or whatever, but you'll
> have a towel or a few, your clothes, usually a hairdryer, etc. to regroup
> back into the normal world ;) It's not so scary, really. Any questions?

mercredi, août 10, 2005

article that chills the soul

I'm not necessarily astonished at this article, which appears in the two comments below. Be forwarned that this is a long article, though worth reading. click on the link below to read it in it's webform. The radical Muslim views expressed in it are indicative of the young Muslims of France and the young Muslims of the EU. Interestingly, I was quite disturbed to see the huge number of Muslims growing to even larger proportions in Philadelphia about a month ago when I visited there. It's of huge importance I think to educate our children in the ways of Islam, what is right and what is wrong about Islam, how to understand them and how to deal with them properly... The phrase "know thyself" is rooted in the idea that if you know your opponent well, you can makke a good showing. In that case your opponent is yourself. It holds true of other situations and cases. I'm sure that seeking to understand them is vital.

more on this later, I've got to run.