Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Remains of the Day

I just sat down to eat the very last of the Thanksgiving pie and I wanted to share some with Oren. Here you go.

Mmmm, mmmm.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

At minyan this morning the question was raised, do you say Tachanun on Thanksgiving? One of the ironic ex-New Yorkers replied, "Yeah, but without kavonah."
So, ma nishtana?

At the gym this morning Fox News advised how to avoid over eating. Their #1 suggestion was: Don't wear elastic waist pants to the table.
Why does America need to be reminded not to wear elastic waist pants to the dinner table? We are Homer Simpson.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Funny v. Unfunny

I don't know how the Hollywood studios hope to exact concessions from the writers guild. Essentially, you are pitting yourself against America's funniest and most articulate rhetors. The longer this thing drags out the more sympathy the writers will draw. At least in the mean while we get to read funny writers being bitter. The no pants line is for you Oren.
12:15 p.m. A man in a suit passes by. He yells, “I hope you all get fired!”

Look — this is weird for us, too, you know. Writers are not a naturally combative species. We’re used to sitting in front of our computers and crying. Fresh air is like poison to us. If protocol didn’t dictate otherwise, it’s very likely we would never wear pants. But we’ve given up our salaries and our jobs — easily the only jobs we’re qualified for — to stand outside and yell at people. So, for the sake of decency, could you please not yell back?

1 p.m. My shift is over. I stumble off, still walking in vague ovals, dazed at the possibilities that this early freedom holds. Should I go to a museum? Maybe get a much-needed haircut? Who knew there were so many hours in the afternoon? Who knew there was so much sunlight during the day? Overwhelmed by my options, I go home and fall asleep. -NYT
In other news, I learned a cool word this morning: otiose (pronounced O-She-Oz, rhymes with Cheerios) meaning indolent or without purpose. Can pants be otiose?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Proximity and Religion

I have this theory: you're only as frum as you are close to NYC modified by your proximity to a large US city. So a typical conversation I had last year was:

Random Ortho: Where do you live?
Zev: Philadelphia.
RO: Oh, I have a cousin in Philadelphia. Do you know the butcher there? He is really good...

This year it's:

RO: Where do you live?
Zev: Ann Arbor.
RO: Oh.
or alternatively:
RO: Oh, that's near Detroit, isn't it?

My speculation is that there exists a presumption (which in itself makes it true, in a sort of way) that you need community to be frum. The largest community in the US is NY, hence one can be most frum in NY. Inversely, if you do not live in NY you are less frum.

That is if you fail at the above game. If the interlocutor can locate another frum reference point in your community you may still participate in the larger doxus-community. The presence of this reference allows others to ascertain the religious environment of a particular place and thereby ascribe an in/out distinction or level of commitment to you, the non-New Yorker.

Judaism, unlike Protestant Christianity, is really predicated on community in a ritual sense. What is interesting is people probe at this (by talking about their nephew Chaim Straussman who lives in Philly) without even knowing that that is what they are doing.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Quote of the day:
"This is an extremely difficult decision," [Sen. Charles E.] Schumer said in a statement, adding that Mukasey "is not my ideal choice." -AP
You have got to chuckle a bit at Schumer though, having personally recommended Mukasey to Pres. Bush. I in the words of Sen. Leahey, "I don’t think I have ever seen him in a pickle,” What do you expect from Chuck, he has never had to deal with pressure from his own base before.

That being said, I do support Mukasey. After the first day of testimony from Mukasey the Times was quite sanguine about his prospects for confirmation calling them something like a "slam dunk." Someone asked the Lede, I believe, how they know Mukasey is really so moderate. The Times responded by saying that he has an 18 year record on the bench indicate his positions. At the back-end of this, I just find it sophomoric that 18 years of rulings can be trounced by one equivocal statement on water-boarding.

Power of Procrastination

Theorem: Pp=te/ta
The Power of Procrastination is proportional to expected time to complete some arbitrary chore over the actual time it takes to complete that chore. The Pp of the Daily Show would then be a very small number (<1) while the Pp of one's doctoral thesis would be a very large number.

Ex. Sally normally washes the dishes once every other week. Given that she has a paper to write for tomorrow the paper's Pp is 336p. How long does it actually take Sally to wash the dishes?
A. 1 hour.

I am still working on a theory for Pp wrt time remaining. It is clear, a priori, that Pp increases as the due point approaches, but I am not exactly sure what that relationship is yet. Seemingly, te is a constant so Pp must vary with ta, but how?