Monthly Archives: May 2004

Towel Day – May 25

In Memory of Douglas Adams
Towel Day – May 25th
A tribute to Douglas Adams 1952 – 2001

You sass that hoopy Douglas Adams? Now there’s a frood who knew where his towel was. You are invited to join your fellow hitchhikers in mourning the loss of the late great one. Join in on towel day to show your appreciation for the humor and insight that Douglas Adams brought to all our lives.

What do I do?
Carry your towel with you throughout the day to show your participation and mourning.

When do I do it?
May 25th, 2004

Where do I do it?
Everywhere.

Why a towel?
To quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine soredly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a brush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Seeking Book Recommendations

I am seeking recommendations of well-written Young-Adult novels. (novels targeted to the high school aged individual). Science Fiction/Fantasy in particular, but not requried.

I am about to start reading Allende’s City of the Beast,
I have read Hiassen’s Hoot, and all of Rowling.
I’ve even read Judith OBrien’s Mary Jane (Peter Parker’s girlfriend) – though I wouldn’t call that good writing.

I am attempting to write some YA fiction myself, and have been intentionally immersing myself in the literature.

Wherever thou goest, I will go

To mark Shavuot (which is on Tues. May 25) Dennis Prager writes on the merits of seeking converts.

The paragraph on how non-Jews resent Jews not proselytizing was, as Prager expected it would be, surprising. Like many, I have always looked at it as a good thing. We resent others trying to convert us, so we assume they would feel the same if we did so. And why seek converts? We don’t feel you have to be Jewish to reach heaven (non-Jews only need to follow the laws given to Noah). Our lack of proselytizing has nothing to do with a feeling of superiority or purity, but I guess it is possible some might view it that way. (Especially with the unfortunate dual possible meaning of ‘chosen’).

Could any committed Jew argue that if there were millions more people living Judaism, the world would not be a better place?

Imagine a world in which 100 million Jews were trying to lead lives in accordance with Jewish values. Imagine a world that set aside its preoccupation with money one day each week. Imagine a society in which tens of millions of its members really believed that gossiping was wrong, where a sex ethic lying between hedonism and sexual repression became the norm, where people consulted Jewish laws before entering business deals. Imagine a world that read the Torah weekly; that studied biblical and other Jewish texts a few hours each week during office hours.

However, Prager does put an interesting provision on his essay that I wonder might contradict his assetion on resentment.

He suggests Jews only try to convert non-Jews who aren’t already practicing a form of ethical monotheism. That is — there’s no need to convert Christianity (if we accept their premise that 3=1). And we don’t need to convert non-terrorist Islam. (Islam is as much a religion of peace as Chirstianity and Judaism — there are just some practitioners who torture and twist their scripture to their own ends.) It’s the pagans we should be addressing.

This might raise the sympathies of Christians and Muslims, but do Pagans really resent us not proselytizing? Or will they now be disturbed that they’re getting it from an additional direction?

Of course, this betrays my views. The seven Noahide laws do include monotheism. So according to traditional Judaism, Pagans aren’t going to be around at The End of Days. So we ought to have the same motivation as Christianity does to seek their conversion. My belief that monotheism is the one Noahide law that isn’t necessary for ‘salvation’ is heretical.

Here is how I would write the 7 Noahide Laws:

1. Not to deny God(s).

2. Not to blaspheme God(s).

3. Not to murder.

4. Not to engage in incestuous, adulterous, or bestial relationships.

5. Not to steal.

6. Not to eat a limb torn from a living animal.

7. To set up courts to ensure obedience to the other six laws.

In addition to adding the (s)s, I deleted a word from #4 #7 is not meant for the individual, but is required for “Righteous Nations”.

Homogenize Milk – Not Students

Proud of my former HS. (At least the students)

I was in Jr. High when Voluntary Deseg began. The one issue the students interviewed in the article, and others in related stories, haven’t mentioned much is, at least as I understand it, that the money recvd from the state for the deseg students don’t only go towards the deseg students.

It goes to purchase books, and pay for programs all students use. The state might be cutting back on the money it provides, but the money will still provide services for all students. Cutting deseg doesn’t necessarily mean more money for everyone else. But even if it did, as Dr. Puhr (an Excellent English teacher I remember quite well) points out – diversity itelf provides an education a homogenized district cannot.

And as the students visually pointed out in their protest — Clayton would be as homogenous as it was prior to the 1980s once again without deseg.

The comment by the board member in the article was horrible. “Perhaps a more homogenous district would be easier to teach.” I guess he apologized for the phrasing because he was unable to apologize for the thought.

ACLU case you won’t hear about on Fox or Limbaugh

Ignorant people, like this letter writer will often say, “The ACLU says that it will defend religion against government abuse, but I haven’t heard it has done so in all its years of litigations.” (letter dated May 13, 2004)

Here’s a May 12th article from the Detroit Free Press, with the header: “ACLU gets Bible verse back in local yearbook”. A student submitted a bible verse to the yearbook for “student qutoes”, the school refused it, and the ACLU took the school to court. (And won)

ACLU case you won’t hear about on Fox or Limbaugh

Ignorant people, like this letter writer will often say, “The ACLU says that it will defend religion against government abuse, but I haven’t heard it has done so in all its years of litigations.” (letter dated May 13, 2004)

Here’s a May 12th article from the Detroit Free Press, with the header: “ACLU gets Bible verse back in local yearbook”. A student submitted a bible verse to the yearbook for “student qutoes”, the school refused it, and the ACLU took the school to court. (And won)

If this is their only defense…

In their defense against Eminem’s lawsuit, Apple says “no viewer would have thought the use of the song would have implied Eminem endosed the iPod or iTunes. ”

The ad had a child singing “Lose Yourself”, and Eminem says he never gave permission.

As an intelligent viewer who understands how copyright law works, whenever I hear a song in a commercial, I assume the company had to pay the owner of the song money to use it. That said, normally its the artist performing the song — and not a 10 year old child covering it. But I would still have assumed Eminem had given his permission.

Note: I own an IMac and an IBook, and I am a faithful, loyal Apple customer. I just don’t think this legal argument will hold water.

If this is their only defense…

In their defense against Eminem’s lawsuit, Apple says “no viewer would have thought the use of the song would have implied Eminem endosed the iPod or iTunes. ”

The ad had a child singing “Lose Yourself”, and Eminem says he never gave permission.

As an intelligent viewer who understands how copyright law works, whenever I hear a song in a commercial, I assume the company had to pay the owner of the song money to use it. That said, normally its the artist performing the song — and not a 10 year old child covering it. But I would still have assumed Eminem had given his permission.

Note: I own an IMac and an IBook, and I am a faithful, loyal Apple customer. I just don’t think this legal argument will hold water.