7.13.2002

What's a shanda?

Yiddish for "shame," as in, "it's a shanda that kids these days don't know about their heritage."

Please tell me that you've heard someone use the word before.
Hadn't heard that about the national parks in Israel. I know some people there as well, and my dad has said that it really bugs him that I might not get the chance to go for a long time. (There's always Birthright Israel, which gives college students who never went the chance to go-- for FREE.)

On a side note, what's a shanda?

Sorry about your Chicago friends, but those of us stuck at home working won't really shed a tear.
I know that this a little late, but I just heard of this today. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority has been forced to close Masada, Ein Gedi, Caesarea, among other sites, due to a lack of funds. Apparantly, the tourism situation has been so (unsuprisingly) dire, that the Authority lost nearly 80 million NIS (New Israeli Shekels).

Not that I was allowed to go to Israel this summer (my mom said something about buses), but it's a complete shanda that they were forced to close these parks. Ein Gedi is a lovely spot on the Dead Sea; there are a lot of nature reserves in the area, as well as the Salty Sea itself. Caesarea is perhaps my favorite place in all of Israel (except perhaps the beach in front of the Tel Aviv Hilton). It's an old Roman town, full of old ruins, bordering the Mare Nostrum (Latin for Mediterranean). I've been there twice, and, if I recall, there was a lot of development on the second trip, indicating that Caesarea was a thriving tourist area. If that had to close, the situation must be completely dire.

And don't even get me starting on having to close Masada, ever-popular spot for picnics, bouts of heat-exhaustion, and bar mitzvahs. I suppose it's metaphoric that they had to shut this down; it was the last stronghold of Jewish resistance against the Roman legions. The end? All the Jews killed themselves rather than submit to the besieging army.
Ah, am here in Chicago still, and most of my friends have returned home (were taking shorter classes).

And, the worst thing, is that I think AOL ate the e-mail I sent them. It's not in my outbox. I feel like an idiot sending them two e-mails. I suppose I'll wait a bit and send another one...

All lonely here. And this is so a way to avoid studying for my midterm.
I wonder if this op-ed is in favor of school choice. It would seem so, but then it's the Times.
Personally, I think the problem with the study on marriage is that people don't understand nowadays that you have to put something into one to get a result. There was a book about the recent American phenomenon known as the "starter marriage." What it entails is a short marriage where the parties involved know that if it doesn't work out, they can always get a divorce.
I think this is a disgrace to the institution of marriage. (That, and The Bachelor. ) You're supposed to work...That's something I respect about cultures that don't recognize divorce (except, of course, in cases where one of the parties is at risk)...like those old people who sit next to each other on TV or in movies and talk about how their parents made them marry, so they eventually fell in love. As Golde said in Fiddler, "I suppose I do [love you]."
"There was emotional bruising on both sides," said a WB spokesman on Buffy the Vampire Slayer's move to UPN. That, and why the biggest winner in the deal was 20th Century Fox.
Well, well, seems it's not only Zimbabwe (currently holding an correspondant for The Economist) which has issues with journalists.

Joel Mowbray, lovely, lovely, NRO writer was detained for a little while at the State Department after having been leaked a confidential memo on the Visa Express program, which Mowbray has written many strongly worded articles against.

As NRO says, free Mowbray!
Is it just me, or does that look like a roll of toliet paper around Rumsfeld's hand?
"We cannot accept a structure that may transform the political criticism of America's world role into the basis for criminal trials of Americans who have put their lives on the line for freedom" says Negroponte.

UN passes resolution granting US peacekeepers immunity from ICC for one year. US extends peacekeeping mandate.

The Magnificant Zarquon -- resident psychic -- predicts that this will happen again, exactly the same way, next year. He advises certain journalists to begin writing their ledes.

Can't we just admit that the UN is an overblown bureaucratic system completely unsuited to fulfill its mandate?

We can't? Why not?

Oh. Politics. Bleh.
More on Dr. Waite and marraige:

First off, Waite, with Maggie Gallagher wrote a book entitled "The Case for Marraige: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially". I've never heard of this book, but from the title, I am able to safely make an educated assumption about what Dr. Waite thinks about the hallowed institution of marraige, namely, that it really is all that and a bag of chips.

Which it's not. Simply, it's not. And this issue shows once again the basic fallacy that reoccurs frequently in any social commentary written by a conservative (with a few notable exceptions, like Andrew Sullivan). They assume, falsely, that everyone is the same and that, more importantly, everyone has the same values. And these values stay up late and watch Sesame Street a lot. I quote from an article by Gallagher published on the Independent Women's Forum.

Marriage is a public act by which private lovers try to create a tie so firm that a child's heart can rely upon it. It is a spiritual, moral, economic, sexual, child-rearing, and legal public union, and therefore, as an ideal, it is as popular today as it ever has been. But one of the reasons that fewer Americans have lasting marriages is precisely because we have retreated from these understandings of marriage and have tried to strip it down to a private, emotional relationship.

And here is where they make a huge logical error. Marriage is not for the children. Yes, they benefit from a marriage, and it is important, when considering divorce, to consider what impact it will have on the children, but it is important, first and foremost, to remember that everyone, married people included, is an individual, and that they must live for themselves. I suppose I'm being slightly like Ayn Rand in this, but within a marriage, the individual is the most important part. The whole is neither more nor less nor equal to the sum of the parts. Although the ties that bind two married people are huge and complex, the indivdual person still stands out as the most important aspect of the marriage. To lose ones self in a marriage is not healthy. To sacrafice one's individuality for the "sake of the children" is a foolish, foolish way of justifying a marriage. If the indivdual is not enhanced by the relationship, then the individual needs to get out.

Marriage is a public act, in that it is a legally binding pledge, but that public aspect is merely the framework erected around a private commitment. Theoretically, without the legal aspect, marriage would be no less strong. Two people who are in love would hopefully be so even if their love could not be examined in a court of law.

Other Resources:

Course Outline for Sociology Class
Conservative Interpretation of Waite's Work
What is it with these U of Chicago people?

Apparently, Linda Waite, a sociologist here, has released a new study which, according to Reuters, "concluded that about the same proportion of couples who avoided divorcing despite an unhappy marriage ended up just as happy five years later as those who had split up."

See my other post for more thoughts on marriage in general, but in response to this report specifically, read on:

The question that this naturally raises is: what about ten years later? 15? 25?

I dare say that if Waite were to do a follow up study, she would find that the divorced people would be happier than the people who were still trapped. What seems most likely to be the case here is that the divorced people were going through the anxiety and stress of the legal procedings -- and the readjustment to the single life -- whereas the married people are still unhappy because of their deadend relationships and depressing daily lives. For the divorced people, they were still approaching the light at the end of the tunnel, whereas the married people have yet to realize that they're in a tunnel.

7.11.2002

Last one for today I promise. I accessed this blog through NYC Bloggers (which happens to do the cutest thing where you register your blog in accordance with your subway stop) and I have one thing to say to you Sarah: If you EVER insult chocolate rice cakes in front of me again, you are in SO MUCH TROUBLE!!!!! (Yes, that's 5 exclamation points-- no one gets between me and my chocolate rice cakes.)
Sorry for the diatribe. I've been suffering from a bit of creative thinking, due to my recent proximity to four year olds. Speaking of which, today was "Visiting Day." That involves parents coming in towards the end of the day to screw up the schedule and ensure that it is very difficult for us to get the kids to do anything. Only one kid didn't have a parent there. I felt so bad for him. I also felt bad for another kid, until his CEO mom and scrubs-clad father showed up late. It's not about working parents, it's about balancing your work with good parenting. Apparently, the mother that didn't show never knows what's going on in her four year old's life. Nice.
I finally have something serious to add to the discussion. It was something I thought of last night.
I really hated a history teacher I had in the past, and I've often tried to figure out why. I really feel like I know what it was.
She couldn't determine when something's historical significance was greater than something else's. For example, when most other classes started with the exploration by Europeans, our class began with Muhammud and the spread of Islam. Not that it's unimportant, but I think it would have been better to examine perhaps how Islam changed the areas. Instead, we started at the very beginning, learning about Muhammud's life BEFORE he was a prophet. I don't think that historically, Muhammud's childhood is any more significant than say, Buddha's.
Another example: We spent three months studying the French Revolution, and oh...a day learning about-- three if you count a discussion of what caused it-- World War I. Now, I don't know which has the greater historical significance (I have never known how to spell that word...), but in a course entitled "Modern World History" I'd expected a little more modern, and a little more world.

And I believe this idea is what bothers me about much of the way history is taught and thrust on an unsuspecting public. In an effort to not offend or exclude anyone, wooden masks and Renaissance clocks are equated. The previous article, written by a hero to us conservatives in blog-world, goes on to describe elitism, but he makes some great points about history as well.

PS. I have always loved history in school. It's just that this one teacher's class has stuck in my brain because I never knew why I disliked studying what we were learning. I realize now. I couldn't find out why I had to learn it.

7.10.2002

My turn to recant* something I said:

I did not mean to imply that the Blue Man Group was apocalyptical, merely that they were more than slightly critical of modern society. Which they were: they poked fun at how seriously we take ourselves and how gravely we think of our inventions. It was conceptual -- performance -- art at its most inventive.

And don't dis conceptual art. I have a crazy aunt in Berlin who's very good at it.

*recant comes from Greek, through Latin, both of whom translated the phrase "sign again" into their own language to mean the time when one corrects a previous statement, just as a singer would sing a wrong note.

7.09.2002

I'd like to clarify that last post. I meant nothing to disrespect the Blue Men. I've seen them twice, and I loved it both times. However, I hope that their show was nothing more than a creative outpouring of weird ideas and not, as my dear friend suggests, a whosemewhatsical end of the world piece. I can't STAND conceptual art.
"artistic vision"?"frothy white sea"?"show was somewhat apocalyptical about the quality of humanity's future."? WHAT THE HELL?!
Sarah-- it's guys in blue masks doing things they think are cool. Period.

I've seen it twice. Once before it was really big.

It means NOTHING.

I do agree that by not releasing their name the Afghans seem a bit sketchy. It's like what happened here to Rick Reilly. If you have no reason to keep something a secret, you might as well tell it.

And gee...there's anti-semitism in Michigan? Perish the thought. We should all move somewhere forgiving -- like, say France.

"I mean, that man [Rep. Sander Levin] has never owned a Christmas tree. He's not a Christian. And I'm thinking, `Jeez, how can he represent me then?'" [William] Callahan said in an interview.

Well, maybe Levin's had a Chanukkah bush?

7.08.2002

So, apparently, unless we hand over the source who mistakenly told us to bomb the village in Afghanistan, the US is to be considered the new enemy. Says Jaan Mohannad, the governor of the province in which the attack took place, "The Americans for sure know who this person is. We know him too, but we don't want to reveal his name."

Why can't they release the name? Does anyone else think that there's something else going on here?
I'm sure whether to be amazed at their devotion to our president, or sickened that they won't let go of the whole matter. Did the news not get to Iowa that the election was over a year and half ago?
Went out on Saturday night (what? Sarah went out?) to see Blue Man Group down in the Briar Street Theater here in Chicago. I was completely blown away by their artistic vision: both what they said and how they said it. I can't even explain how I felt when I left their theater, at once both uplifted for having seen such genius, and sad, for their message was deeply cynical about the "wonders" of the information age.

Their finale especially struck me as ominous and eerie. What happened was as such: hanging in the back of the theater are large rolls of toliet paper, and when the time comes, the assistants begin passing the paper over the heads of the audience members, who grab it and help pass it down. Since it's all in one roll, the strips of paper going overhead are continuous and unbroken, giving the entire seating area the appearance of a frothy white sea. Added to this is a strobe light and psychadelic music that would give even the most experiance LSD user a strange trip.

The strobe light is what did it for me. Because it breaks up the rolls of paper cascading down the seats, it put me in mind of a sea of lemmings rushing to their death, which is, I suppose, the image that the BMG wanted us to get, as their entire show was somewhat apocalyptical about the quality of humanity's future.

7.07.2002

Sorry to say that if you try to call at one in the morning, obviously no one will answer. Even in my house.

And are you able to buy National Review, as Jonah Goldberg would put it, on dead tree? I've never been able to find it!
Wow, Becky, where are you? And is this why you're not answering the phone?