Re: So very entertaining

1

Was it supposed to be special?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:18 PM
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It was supposed to be different from all other nights.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:19 PM
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Why?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:23 PM
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Because he's so very good looking?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:24 PM
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Damn you must eat a lot of hard-boiled eggs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:25 PM
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I was going to dip my maror twice, IYKWIM.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:25 PM
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I have thought of so many good Haggadah jokes recently. But I can't tell them because I'm not Jewish! And when I try them on non-Jewish friends, they don't get them! All my Passover humor, wasted!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:29 PM
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Oh god, how did I not realize it was Passover?

And really, the refrain was haunting, tonight is not like any other nights ... I thought to myself, gee, that sounds awfully familiar. Apparently all those seders I bummed invitations to didn't actually stick in my head.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:33 PM
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There's also the Smiths song referenced in the title and comment four.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:35 PM
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You mean we have our choice of references tonight? It really is a special night.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:37 PM
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Catchy name for a kid. Murrain.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:37 PM
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12

This is not my night.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:39 PM
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I don't think I have a night.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:39 PM
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12: Too bad, because it's the one chance you'll have to have class.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:41 PM
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Laundry saps my brain. That's my excuse.

But today, really, just hasn't worked well. I spent an hour fruitlessly looking for a half-remembered poem, I'm fairly sure the brownies got overcooked on the edges and undercooked in the middle because my oven sucks, and I'm avoiding my dissertation like the plague.*

*I do realize that none of these things are actually real problems. Except maybe the last one.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:42 PM
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Actually one of the ways in which tonight really was unlike most other nights is that I was working on what I guess passes for dissertating. (Problem: the immediate object of my efforts is a congeries of things that don't obviously fit together, even to me. Problem two: the more immediate thing I'm working on is not obviously not crazy.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:45 PM
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What's the half you remember?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:45 PM
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As I sat in the other room with the baby, playing with a marble run, I overheard what sounded like a lovely seder. I think, though I can't be sure, that my dad was trying to make my older boy more godly. At first I found this moderately irritating. Then I realized that such behavior is well within the rights of a grandfather, and I should learn to calm the fuck down. I also decided that I shouldn't actively hope that my children don't believe in god or gods. But maybe that's wrong.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:46 PM
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I think, but I'm not sure, that I'm looking for a specific tanslation of a Cavafy poem. But I can't remember the translator and I suspect I'm wrong about the title. One of his unfinished poems.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:47 PM
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translation, of course.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:48 PM
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I celebrated Dyngus Day with a Polish buffet. And one 3rd place in the Polish art trivia contest. Let's see you make a joke out of that!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:49 PM
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I'll be so psyched if it's this one.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:50 PM
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Dyngus Day came early because the venue is not open on Mondays. Just to clarify.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:51 PM
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(Specifics.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:51 PM
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Since I'm about to search for Cavafy to find out who that is, I don't think I'll be much help tracking down the right one.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:51 PM
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This one is different because it's us!

... wrong Smiths song. Oh well.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:52 PM
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Aw, that's the adorable thread in which dudes talk about jerkin' it. I love Bave.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:55 PM
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Ben, I think I hate you. Obviously that's the one. I had completely forgotten that I had first read that translation here. And then there was an article about him in a (somewhat) recent New Yorker, which reminded me that ages ago I had enjoyed a specific translator and wanted to track down a book of his. Which led to the fruitless searching of this afternoon. Clearly, it was all your fault in the first place.

(And, thanks).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:56 PM
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18: also, doesn't that happen at every Seder and also also, doesn't it universally fail? From my external observations Passover seems to be when not-religious Jews try to make other not-religious Jews more like they are, which is to say older and more willing to be dorky.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:57 PM
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And thanks, eb!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 10:57 PM
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I'm not sure what I'm being thanked for, but thanks are their own reward.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:00 PM
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Religious and not-religious Jews disagree about everything. Most of the Jewish people I know here are orthodox, but the ones who aren't, man, even the ones who go to temple, really really hate the orthodox. I got no problem with them, but I have never had to answer "yes" to those evangelical "Excuse me, are you Jewish?" guys on the street. (Max said yes once, and described the events that followed in disturbing detail.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:00 PM
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For asking me what I was looking for, which led to the finding of it!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:01 PM
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Mendelsohn wrote an article for the NYRB to mark the occasion of his book of translations' appearing; the same issued also contained one of the translations of a poem I like a lot.

An earlier translation of a more famous poem.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:01 PM
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Mendelsohn's translations don't really do it for me, but out of sheer frustration I nearly bought his new book anyhow. (Buying books soothes the beast, you know).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:03 PM
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Was it Don Randel who read "Ithaca" like, a zillion times at every possible event?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:05 PM
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I have to say I don't get his translation of the last line of "Philhellene", but obviously I don't know the Greek.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:05 PM
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For me it's the combination of plain contemporary language with older words and rhythms. I find his version of it jarring but not in a useful way. That may be more accurate to the way that Cavafy wrote, but in this case I'm going with inaccuracy.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:07 PM
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I suppose the question is which anachronism fits best with your tastes - language contemporary to Cavafy or language contemporary to his translator?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:15 PM
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That's not really the question, because Cavafy himself used anachronistic language, I think.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:17 PM
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(After all, Mendelsohn is a contemporary, and Cavafy isn't not a contemporary by very much.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:18 PM
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Sure, but anachronistic language contemporary to him. Obviously I don't know anything specific about him, but looking at the dates he seems non-contemporary to someone translating today. Certainly you can get clear differences in language usage between translations of late 19th/early 20th century authors done in the last 10-15 years and those done mid-century or earlier (see the endless discussions of Proust and Tolstoy translators).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:22 PM
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From what I remember from the article, Cavafy used some anachronistic language but also tended towards a plain structure. Then again, anything in the New Yorker is the sort of information that doesn't actually get actively remembered by me, so I could be very wrong.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:22 PM
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The only thing I've read by Mendelsohn was a review of some Herodotus-related book in the New Yorker that, in comparison to a review of the same book in the NYRB, was a good example of why the New Yorker books section has generally been such a disappointment to me when it comes to history (certain authors, mainly those named Le/pore excepted).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:27 PM
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45

How on earth did this thread get on whatever this subject is?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:35 PM
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This is the economics/analytical-philosophy/motherhood/Cavafy blog.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:36 PM
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Soon it will be about economics. Just wait.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:36 PM
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48

Most of the Jewish people I know here are orthodox, but the ones who aren't, man, even the ones who go to temple,

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

really really hate the orthodox.

Not me, I'm okay with the orthodox, it's the Reform I have issues with. First and foremost of said issues being the creeping replacement of "synagogue" with "temple"; it's not a fucking temple, there's only one of those in the world and it's not in the best of shape at the moment, you know?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:37 PM
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48: Sorry! It turns out using the language people use among their own groups is not always wise.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:40 PM
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49: No worries, I'm pretty much fighting a losing battle on this one; "temple" really is becoming the standard English word for "Jewish house of worship". It just bugs me.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:42 PM
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On the subject of weekly or near-weekly periodicals, when will more of them offer online-only subscriptions? I'm currently subscribed to none of the ones I would subscribe to mostly because I don't want the paper.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:42 PM
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50: so rebuild the real one why don't you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:45 PM
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So I was worried for a second that I'd offended Ari with 29 and then I was like "Wait, what? No you didn't. Weird." True story!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:46 PM
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52: You know where I can get a red heifer?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:47 PM
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55

So.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:47 PM
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54: well, yeah, Texas.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:48 PM
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57

Lookit that bovine ginger badness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:49 PM
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53: Jews are the new Jews.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:50 PM
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Huh, last I heard they hadn't actually managed to breed one. The design of the site on 56 is pretty badass, in a 1997 kind of a way. Dig the drop shadow on this page!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:54 PM
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59: somebody knows how to crank out a bitchin' cd-rom.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 8-09 11:55 PM
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61
And all of a sudden I was seized by a queer impression. Vaguely, I had the feeling that Myres was going far away from me;had a feeling that he, a Christian, was being unitedwith his own, and that I was becoming a stranger to him, very much a stranger; I sensed besidesa certain doubt coming over me: perhaps I had been fooledby my passion, had always been a stranger to him.-- I flew out of their horrible house, and quickly left before their Christianity could get hold of, could alter, the memory of Myres.

I think this happens a lot, that you lose a friend to their family when the friend dies; and sometimes it happens within a family. It may be more intense when there is this cultural gap, or the narrator may have been looking for a more conforting explanation.

Was Cavafy neo-Pagan or neo-Hellenist or something?
I get kinda bored with attacks on Xtianity.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:10 AM
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Is there a minneapolitan bat-signal? Maybe McManus'll do: I was reading the AV Club just now, and was fascinated to come across this:

Why: Of all the many fine writers who made their name in the pulps, Hammett ranks among the very best, with a lean, diamond-hard prose style that's part of the DNA of just about every important piece of crime fiction that came afterward. He's also one of the few who not only wrote it, but lived it, and Red Harvest springs directly from his experience as a strike-breaking detective for the Pinkerton Agency in the 1920s. Also, and not inconsequentially, Red Harvest is a hell of a ride. Set in a corrupt Western mining town nicknamed "Poisonville," the novel follows a tarnished, grizzled detective--never named, and known by fans as The Continental Op--who is hired to solve the murder of the son of the tycoon who supposedly runs Poisonville. In actuality, the town has been carved up by cutthroats and mobsters, and the Op decides the only thing to do is tear the whole rotten, stinking thing down by force, powers-that-be be damned. The book is short enough to be finished in a single evening, with a nonstop mix of gun-blazing action and eminently quotable, tough-talking dialogue. Here's the Op, declaring that he isn't going away easy: "Your fat chief of police tried to assassinate me last night. I don't like that. I'm just mean enough to want to ruin him for it. Now I'm going to have my fun."

So modern crime fiction, and by extension the whole framework of modern action movies, including samurai and gangster pictures and, like, everything, came from the experiences of strike-breaking Pinkertons? That's the archetype?

It feels frankly astonishing that I didn't know this, like a veil has been lifted.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:23 AM
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Pinkertons are endlessly fascinating, no? I'm trying to think of a good history of them and am coming up dry, though.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:27 AM
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Isn't Yojimbo supposed to be loosely based on Red Harvest?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:31 AM
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And, like, strike-breaking in the twenties? Really? I can more-or-less correct for media bias that occurs in the here-and-now, but the idea that Blade Runner is a inadvertent, time-shifted attack on the American labor movement is a little bit tough to process.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:31 AM
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64: yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:32 AM
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strike-breaking in the twenties?

That's just before they wore an onion on their belts, which was the style at the time.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:34 AM
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Also, Miller's Crossing, although I really dislike the tendency to overattribute influences, so that every forbidden cross-cultural romance is a rip of Shakespeare.

Yeah, Hammett was a Pinkerton. But hey, you got the Westerns, Burroughs, Rohmer, Merritt (>i>Seven Steps to Satan, Haggard, uh the German pulp guy...all sorts of precedents for Lone Justice in a corrupt world. Mabuse & Fantomas as Euro inversions.

In the pre-WWI to late twenties the deductive mystery was a popular madness. post-Conan Doyle, ya know. Why the thirties went to Lone Justice...???

I found Red Harvest & Glass Key kinda confusing, but Hammett solidified a half-dozen sub-genres. Pretty left in some ways, but right formally? Hard to escape cowboyism in America, and we have talked before of the difficulty of leftist narratives.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:12 AM
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Blade Runner is a inadvertent, time-shifted attack on the American labor movement

The books is much less sympathetic to the droids than the novel, but the protagonist is not very heroic either. It may be about an tool of the Man attacking the marginalized, but Dick does not approve. I suppose maybe what Dick is doing is deconstructing Hammett, showing the problems in the form. In a way it is good that the droids are repellent, so that the growth of empathy in the cop is a reaction to the system, and not a response to observed suffering.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:22 AM
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But I really came back to say that I went out and read some Cavafy, biographies, 20-30 poems in several translations. Some were good, like the one I quoted above in 61, and he is interesting. I would read more, and more closely. Brodsky helped explain what Cavafy was attempting to do.

Not my real preferred style, as a Joyce/Mann/Stevens guy. Language needs to be abused. But I also should abuse my preferences.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:30 AM
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Arghh. Getting hot & humid in Dallas.

The book(s) is much less sympathetic to the droids than the novel movie

Good walk in the woods with the dogs, nothing got killed. Bluebonnets and paintbrush are starting.

Good Indie on Sundance, a relationship/romance movie made me cry.

A day like, and unlike every other day.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:38 AM
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There's a classical American dialectic in the Continental Op and his successors. On the one hand, he becomes the American hero as samurai, independent and cynical, somewhat susceptible to dames but mostly his own man. On the other hand, the word "private" in P.I. we like to think of as meaning "individual", but it really means "for sale".

"Time-shifted attack on the American labor movement" may be a bit much, but yeah, that origin means something -- the real-life equivalents of these guys work for somebody, and usually the somebody with the capital. For example, Capital.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:57 AM
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73

Yeah, yeah, anyway. This is mostly for Stanley, but the part on clowns is for everyone.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:09 AM
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Blade Runner's not about the Pinkertons, it's about Uncle Tom's Cabin.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:39 AM
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"temple" really is becoming the standard English word for "Jewish house of worship". It just bugs me.

I was on the receiving end of a speech along these lines recently, only concerning the replacement of "Shabbas" by "Shabbat".


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 5:41 AM
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Surely Walter Kovac laid this one to rest by not bowling on Shabbas?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 6:42 AM
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Didn't find the afikommen, huh, neb?

IYKWIM.

AITYD.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 6:54 AM
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73: Hey, thanks!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:02 AM
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62: Disillusioning, isn't it? You just can't trust any damn body in this cold, hard world.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:26 AM
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I have to say I don't get his translation of the last line of "Philhellene", but obviously I don't know the Greek.

The last line of "Philhellene" is Ώστε ανελλήνιστοι δεν είμεθα, θαρρώ, which I would render plainly as "Thus we are not non-Greek, I believe". Mendelsohn's rendering is fair enough. Though the difference between "non-Greek" and "unhellenized" is important in this context, and I'm not entirely sure which (if either) captures the right thing here.

I've always been partial to the Keeley/Sherrard translations, but that's probably because I first came to Cavafy through them, and learned what little I know of Greek poetry from Mike Keeley. I have my doubts about Mendelsohn's familiarity with modern Greek as she is spoke, but I suppose that's largely beside the point.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:28 AM
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48: Huh. All the conservadox synagogues in my hometown are Temple beth This-n-That (El, Torah). As are the reform ones. The orthodox ones have signs in Hebrew. The big sephardic one is something like "Deal Synagogue."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:30 AM
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I saw Mendelsohn give a talk/reading on his new Cavafy translations and I thought they were glorious. Really terrific. (I also like him; he writes books on Euripides.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:33 AM
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62: I bow to minne or Frowner if either shows up, or any of our historians. But while the Pinks were certainly a synechdote for company strikebreakers, they weren't strikebreaking-only specialists; capital hates thieves as much as it hates labor. I don't think a reading of hardboiled detective fiction generally as coded labor unrest works, although there are certainly moments where it pops up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:53 AM
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I desperately crave the attention and approval of you people, else I wouldn't spend so much time and energy here. Please, won't somebody say they like me? Please? I'm so lonely.


Posted by: ToS | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 8:16 AM
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In Greek there's a serious language question and I don't know how Cavafy negotiated it. It's rather as in Arabic and (before 1911) Chinese, where the official educated language was widely divergent from any vernacular.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 8:21 AM
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Hammett was a Communist in later life, or nearly, so if he was a strikebreaker he reformed.

B. Traven was apparently a Norwegian or German anarchist who hid out in Mexico. People are still arguing, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 8:23 AM
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||

I think Heebie will agree that this story doesn't augur well for the success of "concealed carry in the classroom" in Texas.

|>


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 8:23 AM
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85: He used both, intentionally and to poetic effect. I can find the poem of which I am thinking when I get out of this defense.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 8:27 AM
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Ripped off! Tonight is just like any other night.

Except that it is the only night about which you can legitimately make that complaint. But then it isn't just like any other night. Antinomy!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 8:45 AM
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87: The other recent shootings don't augur too well either. Those guys wouldn't have dared if only we armed our immigrants and our police.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 8:56 AM
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I was on the receiving end of a speech along these lines recently, only concerning the replacement of "Shabbas" by "Shabbat".

I was under the impression that this was a far more contentious issue.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:07 AM
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Shabbas/Shabbat is easy: Religious Jews say Shabbas to me when they're overestimating how Jewish I am, and they use Shabbat when they're being patrionizing about how little Judaism I've been exposed to.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:12 AM
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53: You thought you offended me? Nope, I just went to sleep. I'm in Ohio, so it's always later here than it should be.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:16 AM
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I don't think I've ever heard a Jewish person use the word "synagogue" in conversation. It's always "temple". This confused me the first 900 times, because in school all of our examples were like "In your church or synagogue"...or occasionally "church, mosque or synagogue".

but I don't know any Orthodox Jews. Are they the ones who say "synagogue"? Or is Josh the only one?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:20 AM
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I say "synagogue", but only out of philhellenism.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:21 AM
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Synagogue is what the lobbyists say in Ottawa. We real Eskimos go to temple.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:23 AM
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89: Should this comment be referred to Standpipe's blog? This was nosflow, you know.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:23 AM
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Heh. A few years ago, Rory went through a brief phase where she thought she might like to convert to Judaism (she'd just learned to play dreidel and eat latkes -- both very solid bases for a religious conversion). Being the supportive mom that I am, I told her that we could go over to the local temple and find out about religious ed or whatever one does to convert to Judaism. "It's called a synagogue, Mom." I just figured she didn't know the terms were synonymous -- I guess now I see she was taking a principled position.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:27 AM
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When I was nine or so, I came home from summer camp wearing clip-on earings that were little gold crosses. Think Wham!

My dad picked me up at the airport and was shocked, of course, that I was wearing crosses in my ears, and said, "Heebie...you do realize that crosses are a symbol of Christianity, right?"

I said witheringly, "They don't have to be, Dad. You can just wear them for fashion."

Dad was like, "No....they pretty much have to be." I didn't believe him at the time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:31 AM
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Way back in 63 (not the year but the comment, though) there was discussion of the roots of crime fiction. Ernest Mandel's Delightful Murder, which is awesome, talks about this very subject. A lot about the evolution of the police force in Western Europe, the legitimization of professional but lower-middle-class jobs like that of police detective, etc etc. It's really a neat book, and it certainly dovetails nicely with the "detective fiction as derived from violent-strike-breaking". Of course, Hammett was writing as a critic of the Pinkertons, so it's not exactly cheerleading for the ol' ultraviolence.

The only time I really agreed with my parents when they'd forbidden me a book which I snuck and read anyway was right after I'd finished Red Harvest. Anthony Burgess (the other significant forbidden author, at least until my mom found my Dorothy Allison books) was just smarmy; Red Harvest really messed with how I saw the world.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:49 AM
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"No....they pretty much have to be."

I think I have a gift idea for little OF LOTHAR.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 10:39 AM
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94: Orthodox Jews say "shul," mostly.
And to satisfy Ben's philhellenism, I will tell him that "bema" is Greek-derived, too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:38 AM
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My philhellenism can't be satisfied that easily.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:43 AM
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Well, that's a problem then, because Hellenic=goyische.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:45 AM
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I was on the receiving end of a speech along these lines recently, only concerning the replacement of "Shabbas" by "Shabbat".

See, now, that's just dumb. That's just an accent thing; there's a single letter in Hebrew that some people pronounce as "T", others as "S". See this Wikipedia article.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:48 AM
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Ashkenazic Orthodox Jews say "shul," mostly.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:49 AM
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I love Red Harvest. I wouldn't have wanted to read it at age eleven, though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:49 AM
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105: What? I thought it was Yiddish/Hebrew.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:50 AM
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82:I saw Mendelsohn give a talk/reading on his new Cavafy translations and I thought they were glorious.

Maybe I should look at more of them, then. Then again, without any real knowledge of the language, I don't feel particularly bad just going with the translator that I like and acknowledging that I'm not particularly "authentic."


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:51 AM
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Oh, and speaking of Mendelsohn (and Jews!), if y'all haven't read The Lost, you really should.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:52 AM
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Well, that's a problem then, because Hellenic=goyische.

So what's the problem?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:52 AM
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105: I was gonna say -- isn't it just the same thing as Bat/Bas Mitzvah?

106: Well, do sephardim even make the distinction? The sephardim I know don't call themselves orthodox/conservative/reform and their synagogues aren't divvied up like that. "Orthodox sephardic" doesn't even make sense to me -- it's sort of an all or nothing proposition.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:53 AM
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108: Nope. I learned to read Hebrew pronouncing the tav-with-a-dagesh as "T", but my father (reading the same prayers) pronounces it "S".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:54 AM
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They eat grains during passover—'nuf said.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:54 AM
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111: The problem is you are an astrologer!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:55 AM
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I'm lost.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:55 AM
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113: But you hear "Gut Shabbos!" vs "Shabbat shalom!" but I've never heard the "Gut" and "shalom" reversed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:56 AM
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"Astrologers" and "Greeks" = goyim in certain Talmudic texts.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:57 AM
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If I'm an astrologer, and astrologers are goyim, and hellenes are goyim, I repeat, what's the problem? I resist the identification in the protasis, but I still want ot know what you're on about.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 11:59 AM
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73 is hilarious.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:00 PM
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119: I was teasing you for your philhellenism?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:01 PM
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117: Well, you wouldn't ever say "Gut shabbat", because if you're using "gut" you're Ashkenazic or speaking Yiddish, and in that dialect the tav-without-a-dagesh is pronounced "T". I don't know for certain, but I'm willing to bet that "Shabbat shalom" is Modern Hebrew, and in that case the tav-without-a-dagesh is always pronounced "T". (Prayers are in Classical Hebrew, not Modern, which is where the accent thing comes in.)

And Wikipedia says I'm right about the origin of "Shabbat shalom": "Shabbat shalom (שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם) is a common greeting used on Shabbat. This is most prominent in areas with Mizrahi, Sephardi, or modern Israeli influence."


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:07 PM
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But I've never heard "Shabbas shalom" either. I don't think anything you're saying about how your dad was taught to read Hebrew or the origins of "Shabbat shalom" conflicts with "shabbos" being Yiddish and hence being more common and blurry a generation ago.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:12 PM
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Tonight is different from all other nights at the White House, which is hosting its first Seder.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:22 PM
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But I've never heard "Shabbas shalom" either.

Right, you wouldn't: it's Modern Hebrew, so the tav-without-a-dagesh is always pronounced "T". (I screwed this up in the first sentence of 122.)

I don't think anything you're saying about how your dad was taught to read Hebrew or the origins of "Shabbat shalom" conflicts with "shabbos" being Yiddish

It's Yiddish and Classical Hebrew (if you're Ashkenazic). It's confusing because it's the same word in three different languages, but the pronunciation changes depending on which one you're speaking and what accent you have.

and hence being more common and blurry a generation ago.

I think it's more the influence of Modern Hebrew on teaching. You're gonna confuse kids if you tell them "this letter is pronounced this way if you're reading a prayer, but *this* way if you're talking to someone on the street".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:24 PM
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116: I once was lost. But now? I'm found.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:25 PM
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Is it racist of me that my reactions on reading 124 went from (a) but the Obamas aren't Jewish and neither are the Bidens to (b) but then the narrative of liberation from Egypt obviously has significance in African-American culture to (c) an inward humming of "When Moses was in Egypt land / Let my people go"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:26 PM
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127: You know that Michelle Obama's cousin is a rabbi, right?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:27 PM
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If I had known that, would I have had those thoughts? Probably not!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:28 PM
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It's Yiddish and Classical Hebrew (if you're Ashkenazic).

Yeah but there is no Yiddish if you're not Ashkenazic - theres Sephardim instead, or whatever it's called. And what's classical Hebrew? Biblical Hebrew? No one spoke Hebrew a few generations ago. Or so I understood.

I thought if you were talking about general Ashkenazi trends, there's either Yiddish or modern Hebrew.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:29 PM
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I'm lost.

Christians are never lost, nosflow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:29 PM
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Sorry, I'm being grouchy because I'm reading this incredibly sad blog of these people whose 2 year old daughter just died, and the pages with the backstory won't load, presumably because it's been too widely linked. So I read about her birth but now I can't find out what happened in the NICU, and it's probably just not a good idea at all for me to be reading about these things at this point in time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:35 PM
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Er, I'm not even being grouchy I don't think. But I'm feeling grouchy. The baby was so cute and bright-eyed and I need to know what happened NOW.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:36 PM
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73: My favorite part:

Once, my sister and I were in a restaurant in Greece, having a fight, and the hot waiter (all waiters in Greece are hot) took one look at our bleak, tear-puffed faces and said, "Ouzo power." He brought us two little glasses of cold, cloudy ouzo, and the ouzo cured our fight.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:37 PM
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theres Sephardim instead, or whatever it's called.

Ladino.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:37 PM
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Yeah but there is no Yiddish if you're not Ashkenazic - theres Sephardim instead, or whatever it's called.

Ladino. But a Sephardic Jew can speak Yiddish, just like you or I can speak Ladino.

And what's classical Hebrew? Biblical Hebrew? No one spoke Hebrew a few generations ago. Or so I understood.

Yeah, Classical Hebrew is liturgical Hebrew (although looking at Wikipedia I see that there are actually multiple dialects: the dialect we use for prayers is different than the one the Talmud's written in, which is different again from the one the Bible's written in). And apparently Modern Hebrew dates from the late 1800s (although a dialect of Hebrew was used as a lingua franca in Palestine before that).

I thought if you were talking about general Ashkenazi trends, there's either Yiddish or modern Hebrew.

Nope, there's also Classical Hebrew.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:39 PM
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||
Hey Emerson (or anyone), do you have any good sources on farmers and suicide (and a drought emphasis would help too)? I'm trying to figure out why farmers seem to kill themselves so much but farmworkers don't.

|>


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:40 PM
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IIRC there are a multitude of Jew languages.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:42 PM
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(Eg)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:42 PM
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Farmworkers can work elsewhere; farmers themselves are hosed?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:42 PM
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why farmers seem to kill themselves so much but farmworkers don't.

I realize you want facts, not speculation, but look where you posted.

Seems to me fairly obvious that farmers faced with disaster (drought, low crop prices) are looking at losing everything, while farmworkers can just move on. Farmworkers should commit suicide at something close to the national rate for their SES, whereas farmers are small businessmen with added complication due to ownership/residence issues.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:44 PM
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Has anyone else noticed that nosflow seems a lot less loquacious than wolfson was?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:45 PM
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137: I'm guessing it results from the tedium and despair of being married to farm wives.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:46 PM
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I thought of that, but also think that farmers are still likely to be slightly richer than farmworkers (if farmers can salvage anything from their farms). You'd think that would count for something.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:46 PM
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This is most prominent in areas with Mizrahi [...] influence.

Ever since he felt up Scarlett, I just go along with whatever Isaac says.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:49 PM
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143 to 142.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:49 PM
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Wikipedia calls Classical Hebrew the same thing as Biblical Hebrew.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:49 PM
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143 - Uncool.

Contra that, I'd say that my two take-aways from slide six of this series is that that couple is very much in love, and that the daughter in stripes is the freakin' clone of her mom.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:51 PM
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if farmers can salvage anything from their farms

Often they can't, though. Frequently, all of the assets of the farmer, including the family dwelling, are pledged as collateral against loans. There is also the loss of status that comes from being an independent, land-owning producer (even if you "own" the land at the forebearance of the bank). That piece of personal identity may be central to the farmer's sense of self; you don't go into the business for the money or the perks, that's for sure.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:51 PM
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Not less loquacious, JRoth, but pithier, and more apt to pwn Pittsburgh architects.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:52 PM
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144: But wealth & status is all relative. Farmer Brown doesn't care about having more money than Farmhand Fernando; he cares about having less money that Farmer Lee.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:52 PM
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All plausible reasons. I'm with you guys, just looking to see whether there's more to consider.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 12:57 PM
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Farmer Brown doesn't care about having more money than Farmhand Fernando; he cares about having less money that Farmer Lee.

I've seen this dynamic up close, and it's not even the "more money" that counts. It's the ownership of the land and the independence.

There is a perceptible status difference between farmers who make their living exclusively from the land and those that have paying jobs off the farm. Taking a non-farm job to supplement your income is a distinct step downward in status, even if the farm continues to operate. Also, a farmer who farms exclusively leased or rented land is distinctly lower in status than one who holds a freehold title, even if the former makes more money, and even if the latter is mortgaged to the hilt.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:01 PM
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Are you looking at just the US, Megan? Because a big question is access to a way to do it, and social context in which it commonly occurs, even if it is not "accepted" per se.

It's horribly sad and gruesome, but a number of Indian farmers have killed themselves by poisoning, using pesticide. In the US, there are often firearms available to farmers, not so much to farmworkers. There's pretty extensive research on the increased risk of successful suicide attempts as correlated with availability of weapons.

Less sad topic: Go, blind protestors!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:03 PM
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Well, my immediate need is to try to figure out what public health services should go into a drought response plan for CA. My rough cut is mental health services for (white) farmers and poverty services for (hispanic) farmworkers, but I'm fishing around to see if I get any surprises. I'm wondering if there's more work on why farmers kill themselves so much and if teasing out the causes would suggest additional state responses.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:10 PM
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100

... Of course, Hammett was writing as a critic of the Pinkertons, ...

I don't think this is exactly correct. Hammett had a rather bleak view of the world but I don't recall him being critical of detective agencies in particular.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:10 PM
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But wealth & status is all relative. Farmer Brown doesn't care about having more money than Farmhand Fernando; he cares about having less money that Farmer Lee.

This point raises many issues relevant to economic theory.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:11 PM
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144

I thought of that, but also think that farmers are still likely to be slightly richer than farmworkers (if farmers can salvage anything from their farms). You'd think that would count for something.

People are affected more by changes in status than by absolute status.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:13 PM
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Well, my immediate need is to try to figure out what public health services should go into a drought response plan for CA.

I'm neither a public health specialist nor a drought specialist, but one of the first things I'd wonder about is epidemic control. No water = people drinking unpotable water + people not being able to wash their own or their kids' hands = lots and lots of communicable disease.

That said:
- Nonprofit hotline for farmers suffering from depression.

- Australian Rural Mental Health Network.

- BMJ study on farmers' mental health.

And then there are the good folks at the Carsey Institute, which have done a lot of research on issues in rural America.

But really, if I were trying to figure this out, I'd read up on my Dust Bowl history. People don't change very much.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:24 PM
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Does Farmer Brown really care about having less money than Farmer Lee? Isn't he more affected by being more invested in his farm than Farmhand Fernando?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:28 PM
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Those all look hard, Witt. I was just going to ask the imaginary people on the internet for pithy answers. I'm less worried about epidemic; here at least, farms lose their ag supplies long before their potable supplies are gone.

(Really - thanks.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:35 PM
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The White House Seder was also cast as a reunion of a late-night campaign-time Seder that the Obamas and campaign staff put together last year. "Next year in Jerusalem" was met with "Next year in the White House", and the promise was kept.

I believe that it was the same night that Axelrod or one of the other Obama muckymucks wound up at the Seder of an old family friend, one I used to attend. The daughter, my old schoolmate, is married to someone on the campaign in PA, and he brought them over.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:35 PM
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Those all look hard

Well, everyone in my office has gone home for the holiday and I am sitting here trying to decide if I want to tackle a new project or just head out. Assigning complicated reading to my imaginary Internet friends is my compromise strategy.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:41 PM
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Perfect compromise. Well done.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:42 PM
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150: Not less loquacious, JRoth, but pithier, and more apt to pwn Pittsburgh architects.

Or trying to live up to bob's "terse aphoristic wit" characterization.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:45 PM
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137: no source, but farmers are small capitalists and they often blame themselves when they fail. Many are religious and think of bankruptcy as wrong or nearly criminal. My own father inherited a farm in about 1930 while he was in HS and felt like a failure when he failed to keep it, even though everyone in Iowa was going bankrupt then.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 1:56 PM
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There are Jewish dialects of Persian and, I think, Turkish.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:04 PM
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166: And those that are Calvinists read bankruptcy as repudiation by God, or more precisely as a sign that they are not among the Elect.

My own family's farm dried up and blew away during the dustbowl, so at least they had clear evidence that every farmer in Oklahoma was on the outs with God.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:06 PM
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And I was going to say, Wolfson should start a sect giving priority to the Septuagint scripture over the others. "No, no, the Greek is very clear here. That's a mistranslation."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:06 PM
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Then a drought narrative about how farm failure isn't a reflection on the farmer personally but the result of climate-size forces might reach some? (Of course, global warming and drought were sent to us FOR OUR SINS, but perhaps not all farmers will realize that.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:06 PM
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I don't track the backstories of my imaginary friends much at all, but even so, I have very confused notions about where you're from, Togolosh.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:08 PM
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168: Yeah, they seem to have the individual salvation down so solidly that they can't put themselves in a social context. Every fight is an individual fight against evil and failure, and if you say "Everyone else went bankrupt too" that's just making excuses.

That's not just Christian, of course, that's America.

When things get terribly, terribly bad the individual-failure idea is overwhelmed by a superior social understanding (pitchforks and hog farms), but individualism is the American default and people revert to it whenever they're able.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:11 PM
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And being independent and not having to answer to anyone is tremendously important to farmers, small businessmen, small-boat fishermen, etc.

Farmers will tell you "I can take the afternoon off without asking anyone", and it's true, but they still work 80 hour weeks in season.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:15 PM
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Hmmmm. Do fishermen kill themselves as much as farmers? I'll go look...


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:17 PM
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Fishermen die on the job more often.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:19 PM
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Does Farmer Brown really care about having less money than Farmer Lee? Isn't he more affected by being more invested in his farm than Farmhand Fernando?

But the point is that Brown doesn't look at Fernando and think, "At least I'm still better off than he is;" he looks at Lee and thinks, "I am a failure."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:21 PM
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170: Of course, global warming and drought were sent to us FOR OUR SINS

"God has sent his punishment over us. Yes! You all will vanish."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:21 PM
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174: Look at Sound fishermen on Long Island.

175: Look, if you're so bad at your job that you starve to death before you catch any fish, I say you deserve what you get.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:22 PM
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Suggesting that those may be subtle forms of suicide?

I dunno. The local salmon industry has been idled for two years and google doesn't bring me stories of fishers killing themselves.

If there is a difference, why would fishers not kill themselves, but farmers do? Not just failure, and presumably not just specialization leaving the person feeling that s/he doesn't have other options. Those would be about the same. Feeling liked they'd worked themselves so hard for no results would be about the same. I'm left with identification with the land, and I don't see what response or intervention would help with that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:25 PM
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I doubt that there's a lot of difference. Farmers are stable people in the community, whereas fisherman just take to drink. They drink all the time during the off season anyway.

Farming has a high mortality rate too. The stats are reported differently because loggers, miners, and fishermen are more often employees. If you lumped farm workers and independent farmers my guess it would be in the top ten mortality occupations. They may be anyway.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:31 PM
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'm left with identification with the land

Darn it, I wanted to link to Gerald O'Hara telling Scarlett the land is the only thing that matters, but I can't get my computer to play sound, so I don't know if this clip is the right one.

And in all seriousness, the only intervention I can think of is the one that partially works with women's health. You tell them that the best way to ensure they can take good care of their kids is to take care of their own health. So maybe you tell farmers that the best way they can continue being good stewards of the land is to take care of themselves...?

Bah. I don't know anything. That might do much more harm than good.

And I've successfully created a new project for myself, so: the end of holiday-afternoon distraction! Back to work.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:33 PM
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I, personally, being a non-churchgoer, would drink myself to death in the worst case, rather than committing suicide. I just don't have the piety.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:34 PM
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This suggests that fishermen aren't committing suicide that much. From a few minutes of looking, it certainly doesn't lead news stories, the way it does for farmers.

Possibilities:
a. Rates are the same, but fishers have the more discreet option of going overboard but farmers get found.

b. The rates aren't the same, for reasons that I don't know how to tease out.

c. I'm totally out of my depth here and should instead get someone from the Dept. of Public Health to address this.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:39 PM
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the best way they can continue being good stewards of the land

Well, if the farms are plain-out failing and will sit idle because the water to farm them is never coming back, you could give them lifelong easements to stay on it and tend it as a wildlife refuge. I mean, if they need to walk their land to live, perhaps there are more creative responses.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:44 PM
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182: You know, I've often wondered about the possibilities of drinking oneself to death--that is, if death seemed like the best option, I probably wouldn't have the nerve to shoot myself or take pills, but I could probably manage just drinking a lot until the inevitable end. How long does it generally take, assuming one doesn't literally poison oneself with the alcohol?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:51 PM
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Drinking oneself to death is poisoning oneself with alcohol, Frowner.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:52 PM
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184 is intriguing, but seems unrealistic for a variety of reasons (including that it seems super-unlikely that the land would sit as refuge forever, and that a good chunk of farmers are ambivalent at best about wildlife; stewardship means productive use, not overseeing weeds and re-wilding).

But it's interesting enough that you should bounce it off someone knowledgeable.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:55 PM
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Yes yes, blah blah. The distinction I was trying to draw was between chugging a bottle of something proofy followed by popping my clogs in the ER and drinking a lot fairly steadily until, er, until. In a GK Chesterton story, someone alleges that he can drink himself to death in a gentlemanly fashion over the course of a month, but then he doesn't follow through, so I don't have even Chestertonian evidence.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:55 PM
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185, 186: I assume she means acute poisoning, as opposed to wrecking your body.

A subtle distinction, to be sure. But one with serious economic consequences.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:56 PM
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188 to 186; I am resigned to my various failures as an imaginary person on the internet.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:57 PM
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dammit dammit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:57 PM
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Or, for instance, a brandy enema. That would probably do you in but quick. (Alternately: butt quick. Ho ho ho. Except your butt wouldn't be quick, 'cause you'd be dead.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:58 PM
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How long does it generally take, assuming one doesn't literally poison oneself with the alcohol?

Decades.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 2:58 PM
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give them lifelong easements to stay on it and tend it as a wildlife refuge.

Isn't that roughly how the nature conservancy got in trouble? Gaming the tax laws is super-dangerous, no matter how crazy the current rules.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:03 PM
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If we're planning for a state response to coming scarcity, it is much easier to change our own tax laws than it is to create water.

It all depends on the goals, of course, but if alleviating misery is the goal, then figuring out exactly what the misery is about could suggest the response. Shit. Let farmers stay put for a while, if that's what they need. Can't use water to farm, but they can stay for a while longer.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:08 PM
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How long does it generally take, assuming one doesn't literally poison oneself with the alcohol?

Hmmm. I seem to be watching someone on a concerted mission to do so, so I'll let you know. It does not look to be a fun process, however. You'd probably also want to compare the likely physical effects of drinking enough to destroy your liver versus drinking enough to develop the level of alcohol dependency necessary to render DTs fatal. I suspect the latter would be quicker, but the former (marginally) less unpleasant. I strongly suspect there are less painful methods of giving up.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:10 PM
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You could also just poison yourself with alcohol. I mean, I know youv'e explicitly excluded that method, but it's not without its strong points.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:14 PM
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And let's not forget the possibility that consistent, excessive drinking can promote the onset of the dying through indirect methods such as vehicular collisions or falling down stairs.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:21 PM
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Wow. OT, but I was reading the Wikipedia page about Zwarte Piet (Dutch Santa's little helper in blackface) and I saw the name Knecht Ruprecht mentioned. Quite the colorful character. It'll be hard not to picture our Knecht as the Krampus.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:22 PM
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I am slightly in awe of Witt.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:24 PM
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it is much easier to change our own tax laws than it is to create water

This kind of negative thinking is why Megan can't find employment in the private sector.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:28 PM
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Slowly drinking oneself to death sounds like one of the worst possible ways to die.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:28 PM
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I skimmed 196 too quickly and was suddenly concerned about Di's having a serious drinking problem.

God that stuff is so painful, and I'm sorry you have to deal with it Di.

We seriously need better treatments for addiction, better ways to get people to see that they have a problem too.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:29 PM
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Iris got a little obsessed with/freaked out by Krampus in a book of Xmas Around the World that we got this year. The image included blood dripping from the sack full of dead children, which is on the intense side for a 4-y.o.

So I told her no more Christmas, if it was just going to make her all weepy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:31 PM
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It'll be hard not to picture our Knecht as the Krampus.

You've devined the origin of my Flickr profile pic.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:34 PM
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Di doesn't have a drinking problem.

better ways to get people to see that they have a problem too.

Someone determinedly drinking h/hself to death might agree that s/h is addicted without thinking that this is a problem (indeed, it seems to be in service of h/h goal).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:34 PM
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203: Thanks for the concern, but I have far to substantial an aversion to vomiting to ever develop a serious drinking problem. I've also recently had the surprisingly liberating revelation that dealing with a friend's problem is much, much easier when one realizes that one can, in fact, turn one's back and walk away. "Not my problem" is such a freeing concept!

As I understand it, treatments for addiction are fairly good. It's the getting people to see they have a problem -- and so seeing persuading them to address it that poses the difficulty.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:37 PM
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Decades

Wait, are you saying that Leaving Las Vegas wasn't realistic?

At least this is encouraging if you are going to make a go of it.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:38 PM
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So I told her no more Christmas, if it was just going to make her all weepy.

Last night my children were pressing me for details on the process of crucifixion. The older one started crying and said "I wish they hadn't killed Jesus."

I nodded and told her that the key lesson of the story was to never trust the Jews.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:38 PM
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Anecdatally, a non-functioning liver does not look like a pleasant thing to die of.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:42 PM
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207: I realized that you didn't.

I don't know how good the treatments are. People can acknowledge that they're alcoholics, get into treatment, be sober for a long time, have some life setback and then relapse.

There are only a couple of drugs, and they don't seem to help all that much--though of course they need to be coupled with support. We are much further along in our treatment of depression than of addictions, but maybe we should send out a bat signal for Mark Kleiman.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:42 PM
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205: Interesting. How do I get into this flickr pool everyone talks about, anyway?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:45 PM
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185-6: Alcohol poisoning is when you kill yourself immediately with a .4% BAP.

It's harder to kill yourself with alcohol than people think. I think that you need either frequent massive hangovers or a constant buzz, every waking hour of every day. Preferably the former. And a bad diet.

You really need to care, and to try. It's not for wimps.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:46 PM
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187: They have a rewilding program around here (marshes, the opposite problem from what Megan said) but they're buyouts with limited job production.

A family I know watched the state people pull out the drainage tiling that they'd laboriously put in, day after day, week after week.. They'd voluntarily agreed to it, and their payout was good, but it really hurt.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:49 PM
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I don't know how good the treatments are. People can acknowledge that they're alcoholics, get into treatment, be sober for a long time, have some life setback and then relapse.

This is true, though I count the being sober for a long time as treatment success, even if it's not a cure. I have a friend who's been successfully sober for a little over a year and count that as a huge success. I've another who was sober for a couple of years, relapsed during a particularly nasty divorce (i.e., one that made mine look downright amicable), and is back on track again. Again, imperfect perhaps, but success. It's a little like cancer, it seems -- you don't get cured, but you can achieve and often successfully maintain remission for a very long time.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:50 PM
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"It is estimated that 15-20 years of excessive drinking is necessary to develop alcoholic hepatitis. "

And even after the diagnosis, you die pretty slowly if you die at all. 1-year mortality rate is less than 50%.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:51 PM
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Maybe if you combined the booze with a heavy ibuprofen habit?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:52 PM
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Skipping the morning cofffee apparently improves you drink-yourself-to-death chances.

Untaxed alcohol is incredibly cheap. You can be constantly plastered for $2 a day or so. That's how the USSR fell.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:54 PM
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The advantages of drinking yourself to death are you sort of enjoy it and nothing else seems to matter. It's not quick and efficient. It's more of an old-style craft method.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:57 PM
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You can be constantly plastered for $2 a day or so. That's how the USSR fell the upper Midwest was settled.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 3:59 PM
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218: The case of the USSR is complicated by the single-mindedness with which the Soviets devoted themselves to the task of drinking themselves to death. After the inception of Gorbachev's anti-drinking campaign which inter alia increased taxes on vodka, nearly half of all alcohol-related deaths in the USSR resulted from ingestion of nontraditional beverages, including cologne, antiseptics and aftershave.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 4:01 PM
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221: Like I said, you have to care, and you have to try.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 4:04 PM
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216: And liver failure isn't for wimps. The vomiting blood bit is particularly nasty.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 4:34 PM
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219

... It's not quick and efficient ...

Isn't freezing to death while drunk a common way to speed up the process in your neck of the woods (Russia too)?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 4:50 PM
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210 to 223.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 4:51 PM
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Freezing to death while drunk sounds like a perfect way to die. Probably even better than dying in bed in one's sleep.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 4:52 PM
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And the extended brain fade as the body chemistry gets progressively more fucked up are also less than cheerful.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 4:53 PM
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is also less than cheerful. I'm not that far gone yet myself.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 4:57 PM
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There is disappointingly little Ogden Nash content here.

I disagree with 226. I still favor sleep.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 5:00 PM
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Freezing to death while drunk sounds like a perfect way to die.

No thanks. I'm going to stick with getting shot by a jealous husband on your 100th birthday.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 6:14 PM
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Pornographic buffy fanfic update: Spike is a Nice Guy:


He shot up to a sitting position, pointing accusingly at Tara's ankles. "Why does she like everyone but me?"

Tara blinked in surprise. Spike was just getting warmed up. "I give her food, and a place to live, and everything she needs, and she won't bloody let me go near her. Why does she have to...go outside our little relationship for affection? What's wrong with me?" His face held not only anger but real pain, and Tara was amazed.

He's talking about a cat.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:24 PM
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I kind of like "August," except for the fact that I have a VERY STRONG feeling that six to eighteen months from now I will encounter a number of horrible little yuppie Augusts, and rue ever expressing any affection for the name.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:26 PM
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Sorry, I didn't mean to spread name-talk where it didn't belong.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:27 PM
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231: Should I even ask why you're reading that?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:28 PM
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How I got there is too boring to recount (it involved the word "hedonia" and an attempt to find out if it were related to any causes of death, like from a surplus thereof) and I saw ogden nash in the page title and then it was in an open tab, so, you know, one thing led to another and here we are.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:37 PM
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235: Uh huh, sure.

This reminds me of the time I was googling trying to find an academic paper about bestiality in Sweden in the 17th century for a paper I was writing. I avoided the images, but boy oh boy is the internet a cesspool some days.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:41 PM
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Was bestiality a thing in 17thC Sweden?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:44 PM
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I'm not positive about the country in retrospect, but yes, it would appear that bestiality was indeed a thing in Scandinavia in rural areas. Long cold nights, lots of sheep....wait, that pretty much describes most of Europe and America.

Bestiality appears to have been a thing just about everywhere. It was a capital offense, and my favorite (if such a word is really right here) detail about such prosecutions is that the offending animal also had to be killed.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:51 PM
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That's not uncommon, I think.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 7:54 PM
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I spent a few minutes trying to remember which Ingmar Bergman film alluded to bestiality, before realizing I was probably remembering De Düva. Close enough.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 8:04 PM
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240:Does Thulin make it with giant black spiders in Through a Glass Darkly?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 8:41 PM
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A man was caught having sex with a ewe, and the judge ordered them both to be stoned to death. Someone said "I understand that the man must be stoned, but why the ewe? She is a dumb animal, incapable of conscious choice in such matters". The judge sternly replied, "It is important that justice be strict and unvarying. In such a case I would always order the ewe to be stoned, even though she were my own mother or my own sister."

From Persia, ca. 1300, via a Syrian Christian bishop. More such joes at my URL.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 8:49 PM
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I kind of like "August," except for the fact that I have a VERY STRONG feeling that six to eighteen months from now I will encounter a number of horrible little yuppie Augusts, and rue ever expressing any affection for the name.

That's why I'm keeping my girl-baby's name secret. I don't know if it can stay suppressed for the next 7(?) years, though. It starts with a very mainstream letter, so that might keep it underground.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04- 9-09 9:17 PM
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Poetry from my spam folder:

On so ovulate scarecrow peerless.
neurology my covey.
you as housebroken gambit agog.
coda to headstone.
be engagement, introduce as wearing.!!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 5:49 AM
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I've said this before, but it's remarkably hard to name your children something unpopular; I thought I'd given both of my children very ordinary, but currently out of favor, names, but instead hit both of them as they were making a strong comeback. Newt's at least got a weirdly oldfashioned nickname, but I don't think anyone outside the family uses it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 6:57 AM
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thought I'd given both of my children very ordinary, but currently out of favor, names

Yeah, I thought that about Noah, but it turns out to have been one of the top 25 boys' names the year he was born and has steadily climbed toward top 10 status every year since.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 7:39 AM
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Meanwhile, I gave Keegan what I thought was a common middle name, Scott, in case he didn't care for the former. However, babynamewizard tells me Keegan currently ranks #222, while Scott is languishing down around in the 270s. Go figure.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 7:42 AM
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It's easy to give an unpopular name, but no one has the guts. Stalin Colinet, for example. Lots of opportunities. Gomer. Nimrod. Judas. Perv. The list is endless.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 7:43 AM
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245: It is terrible how the zeitgeist gets us all. Not that I plan on having children, but just about every time I think "hey, that's a pretty name" I realize that it's on the cusp of trendiness. Simon, for example, that's a great name. And I remember telling a customer at the insurance factory back in 2003 that his hated middle name of Sebastian was due for a comeback. And now of course I encounter tiny, emo-parented Sebastians everywhere I turn.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 7:45 AM
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What I was trying to convey in 249 was that I tend to think I'm a special snowflake, taste-wise, and then I'm brutally reminded that I too think Norah is a lovely name.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 7:49 AM
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248: Well, there were those people who named their child Hitler.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 7:55 AM
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Or you could name your kid subculture names that make everyone flinch just a tiny bit: Free, Starlight, Badger.

I was thinking of nice militant virtue names back when I thought I could conceivably want children. Good old Voltairine Solidarity Frowner and her sister Emma Patience.

There's a simply awful Orson Scott Card novel with a religious order where people take names representing their struggle with a significant moral failing. Most of the names given are graceful and poetic, although in real life it would have to be "Remember To Let Others Talk Frowner" or "Do Your Share Of the Chores".


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 8:05 AM
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AB & I have heaved a sigh of relief that, 5 years later, Iris remains at the outer edges of popularity, right where it was when we picked it. What with Lily and Olive and the rest, we were worried/convinced that she would show up for the first day of school and be one of 5 Irises.

Now we'll see about Kai.

[A quick check of the Voyager shows that Kai appears to have peaked a couple years back, while Iris continues to spike up - but is still less common than Kai, which has come out of nowhere. Most surprising - Iris never dropped out of the top 500 names, and is only twice as common as it was when we were kids]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 8:10 AM
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I was thinking of nice militant virtue names back when I thought I could conceivably want children.

There were an awful lot of Rosas and Leons born in the late 60s, at least in Britain.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 8:13 AM
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The leftist militants purged by Hubert Humphrey in 1948 included Selma Seestrom, Susie Stageberg, Viena Johnson, Genevieve Steefel, and Marion LeSueur.

They don't sound scary, do they? But they were.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 8:28 AM
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254: Ramona would be a nice name, for Subcommandante Ramona. If I were giving a militant virtue name now, I think I'd rather have it be for someone who was alive while I was alive--a slightly smaller degree of romanticization, maybe.

Unpopular names, though--I bet just giving some of the less well-known Scandinavian or German names would take care of it. You could be fairly sure that you'd have the only little Dagmar or Ulrik in all of your daycare, for example.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 8:29 AM
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"Gun" is a legit Swedish girl's name, and according to the OED the English word "gun" came from a Viking variant ("Gunhilda"). Norse artillery are ladies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 8:32 AM
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257: I'll be sure to mention that to my RCP buddy, just in case she decides to have a kid.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 8:34 AM
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Following two active baby-name threads is too much work.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 8:50 AM
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Easier than following two active babies.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 8:54 AM
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So what time zone is 2:12 behind EDT?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 8:55 AM
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Unpopular names, though--I bet just giving some of the less well-known Scandinavian or German names would take care of it.

AB's father is German, and we were totally open to German names, but they're all either effectively identical to English names (Erik) or, let's call it, overdetermined. Sorry, Siegfried!

In Germany, Kai is (I'm told) rarely a standalone name - it's most commonly hyphenated, as in Kai-Adolph (real example).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 9:01 AM
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249: It is terrible how the zeitgeist gets us all.

Yes. My first showed that for us. We were looking for a "mid-tier" Biblical name and settled on "Matthew", which was third for the 80s in the US and as I recall from something I read at the time, first in his particular birth year. How could we be so far off? We weren't looking for a rare name, had really paid no attention to kid names before that, and Matthew was 98th in the decade that my wife and I were born. As soon as we had him, we met a zillion Matthews.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 9:25 AM
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257: "Gun" is also one of the protagonists in Tampopo.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 9:28 AM
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But then Matthew is a name that seems difficult to spoil. I suppose it's because I was brought up by Very Serious People who are biased against unusual names ("trying to stand out", "making yourself interesting") so that Matthew seems like a nice default name even if I meet a lot of Matthews while Sebastian, once there are a lot of them, seems irritatingly trendy.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 9:33 AM
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265: Yeah, we weren't unhappy with the choice, just surprised at the popularity. And I like Matt as a diminutive. (Actually, one of our cats at the time he was born was Sebastian, named from the dramatization of Brideshead Revisited that had been on PBS in the early '80s.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 9:40 AM
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"Voltairine" is a lovely name.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 9:49 AM
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did she choose it for herself? her dad sent her to a covent, which seems a bit nuts after calling yr child "voltairine"

(v. de clayre, we're talkin abt -- have there been any others?)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 10:11 AM
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263: This is apparently the story behind my ultra-popular name - my parents were set on a girls' name for me, but hadn't much thought about a boys' (no idea why they thought like this). Anyway, they picked J at the hospital, and came home to hear, "but everybody's naming their boy J!" Nice going, folks.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 10:23 AM
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de cleyre, i mean


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 10:25 AM
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my parents were set on a girls' name for me, but hadn't much thought about a boys' (no idea why they thought like this)

My dad was DETERMINED to have girls, to the extent that he refused to pick out boy names. No need, he said. He fully intended to have girls. It worked for him three of four times.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 4:31 PM
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269: Huh. We apparently got switched in the hospital. I have the same story, with my parents scrambling in the hospital to come up with something more gender-appropriate than "Andrew".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-10-09 4:34 PM
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Unpopular names, though--I bet just giving some of the less well-known Scandinavian or German names would take care of it.

Frauke!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:58 AM
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