Saturday, January 31, 2004

I apologize if my posts have been a bit on the "lurid and ridiculous" side lately. I suppose I've been unusually bored.

Religion and Politics: Today's news provides those of us who do not live in the Bible Belt with two new reasons to be grateful. The first regards the sentencing of an eighteen-year-old Kansas boy to 17 years in prison for oral sex with a fourteen-year-old boy. The same crime, if committed against a member of the opposite sex, would be punishable by 13 to 15 months of imprisonment.

"In finding that the different treatment was valid, the state court commented in its 2-1 decision:

'The Legislature could have reasonably determined that to prevent the gradual deterioration of the sexual morality approved by a majority of Kansans, it would encourage and preserve the traditional sexual mores of society.'" Read more.

Our second cause for gratitude is more laughable than horrifying. The school superintendent of Georgia has apparently proposed maintaining evolution in the state's biology curriculum while replacing the term "evolution" with "biological changes over time." The compromise has, of course, pleased no one. Read more.

Certain Jews and other non-Protestants are in agreement with evangelicals on issues such as homosexuality, evolution, and abortion. Such individuals should nonetheless recognize that attempts to turn the United States into a Protestant theocracy are not to their benefit.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Wishing my little group of readers and Jews all over the world a truly peaceful Shabbat. Shabbat shalom!
Um, in the interest of public health, I feel that I should warn you not to click on the "Tefillin" link below unless you have a very sturdy stomach.
I was looking at Nimoy's photos again today. Generally, I'm quite skeptical of visual artists whose renown doesn't come from their visual art (think of Frank Sinatra's paintings), but Nemoy's work is quite good, in my humble opinion. (I really mean "humble;" I have very little background in art.) I find his egg photos particularly compelling, but I'd rather write about the Shekhina Project, since it's caused such a stir in the Jewish community. The author of this consumer review declares: "No religiously observant Jewish male (let alone a woman) would ever pray wear [sic!] religious articles like Tefillin while thus scantily clothed, let alone naked."

Look. Nimoy isn't a halakhic Jew these days. He's trying to capture a variety of spirituality that is entirely in keeping with an ancient Jewish mystical tradition. You can call this sort of incarnationism "pagan," but you'll have to take it up with the kabbalists.

Contrast the etherial sensuality of Nimoy's photos with Yona Wallach's kinky and rather grotesque poem, "Tefillin". Andrea notes that putting on tefillin represents betrothal to God. "It's sensual, not really sexual, and certainly not BDSM."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I've just added Baraita to my links. So far it's the only blog by someone I don't know. Andrea thinks Baraita and I are long-lost cousins. Opinions?
It finally dawned on me: it was Erica who first introduced me to the Brick Testament. The next day, my Greek professor gave a presentation on the Perseus Digital Library. I was in a frivolous mood, so during the break between class and section I went up to the blackboard and wrote out the URL for the Brick Testament. The prof was curious, so I described the site, and the next thing I knew there were little lego Bible heroes up on the screen. He started clicking his way through Genesis and continued until he got to this picture, at which point he said, "that's enough," and shut down the browser.
Just learned about the bombing. Lawrence has posted some reasonable thoughts in his blog. Baruch dayan ha-emet.
Meredith just re-introduced me to the Brick Testament. And you guys think I have too much time on my hands!

Thursday, January 29, 2004

As the wife of a trekkie I just had to post this link. Talk about heresy...
It turns out that the scale is from DH's dad. His mom didn't even know about it. And I know his dad thinks he's too skinny, so maybe it's a signal to me to start feeding him better? Or maybe I'm way overinterpreting this. Yes, I am. The father-in-law mentioned that he thought we should have a scale. As Fleurdelis said, he's like one of those parents who get their kids underwear for their birthdays. It's a practical gift. And, in the end, it's a very nice scale.
Remembering Mikey

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I've honestly never known anyone who was as widely loved and admired as Mikey Butler. Baruch dayan ha-emet.
This is what the in-laws got DH for his birthday (#9820T, in case anyone cares). Am I alone in thinking he's the last person who needs one?
I'd like to wish a belated mazal tov to Kari and Ami on their long-awaited engagement. Still kvelling.
The woman with the unfortunate last name speaks the truth.
I was pleased to find that today's Boston Globe Food Section contained two not exactly earth-shaking but tasty looking kosher-friendly recipes. (Sorry about that sentence; I've been reading German.) One is a simple recipe for cod, which can't be bad since it calls for fresh ginger. The other is for very tender braised chicken.
As promised, a heretical recipe containing onion soup mix. This dish consists almost entirely of ingredients that no respectable cook would touch. On the other hand, it's quick and easy and if you live alone, it'll provide you with dinner for 2-4 days (7 or 8 if you're Erica).

A little background: When we were living together, Erica and I played around with a bunch of similar frozen vegetable recipes, most of which called for onion soup mix. (Every shul cookbook has at least one.) This is my favorite permutation:

Easy Cheesy Quiche

1 9-inch deep-dish frozen pie crust (Mrs. Smith's has an OU)
1 10-oz pkg frozen chopped spinach or broccoli
3 eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (appx 1/2 brick of Cabot -- tablet-k!!!)
2 tbs onion soup mix

1. Remove pie crust from freezer (it should be allowed about 15 mins to defrost). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat spinach or broccoli according to package directions (you can use a microwave). Drain.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly with fork.
4. Add vegetables, cheese and onion soup mix. Blend.
5. Poke a few holes in the pie crust with a fork. Fill with vegetable mixture.
6. Place the pie on a cookie sheet and bake uncovered 30-40 mins.

If you are feeling particularly heretical, you can use part-skim cheese and egg beaters. Be sure to get the triangle-k veggies.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

After reading some of the comments on my previous post and then engaging in several seconds of careful consideration, I've decided to remove the heading "heresy of the week." Pretty much everything I say or write could be considered heresy, especially with that Ashkenazi pronunciation.
"To restore its most plausible readings, to understand how the book was meant to be read, we must approach Esther as the comedy that it is. I want to press the point through a discussion of comedy because even commentators who recognize the comic nature of Esther do not take it into account sufficiently when they interpret the book. The comic aspects of the book are not incidental, merely to provide comic relief; they are the essence of the book. They define the genre of the book, and thus set the parameters according to which we should read it. We cannot appreciate the story fully unless we realize that it is meant to be funny."
--Adele Berlin, Esther

Monday, January 26, 2004

From the Library: Taking a class on Joseph and Esther made me think that it was "almost Purim" all semester long. So maybe I'm jumping the gun here, but I'd like to recommend a commentary on Esther to any of you who might be thinking that it's time to read about the megilla from some book that isn't published by Artscroll. The commentary I'm thinking of was just published in 2001. It's in the JPS Bible Commentary Series and it's by a wonderful scholar named Adele Berlin. I suspect that any medievalists who might be reading this blog would particularly enjoy it. I'll give you a quote when I'm done with my Greek take-home final if I'm not too tired.
I've been concerned about the dearth of random musings on the net, so I've decided to start my own blog. Procrastinators everywhere will be indebted to you, Meredith.