Stubborness as Proof
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The flowering vine in the fence-corner,
whose name I do not know
stretches and twists its arms
toward the light wherever it may be.
Even the disgusting jade-backed fly
recognizes light as the source of warmth and life.
This should be ample proof to discourage
even the most religious Atheist,
as if free will were not enough to show
how unnatural we truly are: we commit suicide—
and don’t bring me the lemmings
that rat we most resemble—
even science can’t figure them out!
Any self-respecting bacteria is smart
enough to demand maximum representation
in the gene pool, but having discovered
The Joy of Sex we have fun
instead of babies. Pets become
our main responsibility, making them crazy
with our twisted vine-like love
we send them to the doggy psychiatrist
and opting for brain-death by Prozac
instead of Life with God.
Sharing a poem for the last night wistfulness of Chanukah.
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A Great Miracle
Restless, I lay awake, hot nights,
on the stone roof, among the figs
drying there, my mattress soaking
with sweat, watched the sky turn pink
over Nebi Smuel, out past
the old border. A man alone
with a rifle could close the road
for hours. We leave all borders behind.
How eager I was then, and full of fear.
A great miracle happened there,
but I did not see my life hinging
on your love and turned away.
Now, I own history there not only
through fathers. I have a book
full of pictures of the Holy Land
but none of you, asleep inside.
A little "G-d Talk" lest I lose my virtual title...
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According to surveys about 90% of Americans say they believe in G-d. That makes the US perhaps the most "religious" country in the world. The question of perpetration of "bad deeds" is then begged. Is it the 10% of the population that is Atheist or Agnostic that are doing all the bad stuff (in case you don't get 'tone' from type, please note that this is a rhetorical question)? So I would ask you all to indulge me in a survey of my own that I think is more to the point. If you think it is a good survey, please feel free to post it in your blog or pass it along to your friends. I would ask for attribution, and I would be most pleased if you would direct all replies here to be tabulated. Results to be published, say in about two weeks---let's make Jan 31, '07 a deadline.
0.Are you a US Citizen?
1.Do you believe in God? (Yes, No, Not Sure)
If you answered YES to Q.2, answer questions 0,2,3,4.
If NO to Q.2, answer 0,5,6,7. Submit answers to Virtual_Rabbi at livejournal.com, please.
2.In the last week, about how many times did you RESTRAIN yourself from doing something because G-d would not want you to do it?
3.In the last week, about how many times did you PUSH YOURSELF to do something that you did not want to do because G-d would want you to do it?
4.In the last week did you do anything formal (i.e. prayer or attend a worship service) that would indicate your belief in G-d?
5.In the last week, about how many times did you RESTRAIN yourself from doing something because you believed it was wrong?
6.In the last week, about how many times did you PUSH YOURSELF to do something that you did not want to do because it was right?
7.In the last week did you do attend a religious worship service?
Thank you for your participation.
Life is filled with challenges.
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One of the most difficult challenges is to be able to see one's-self through the eyes of the other---at all--how much moreso with any clarity--and how much moreso with acceptance of the other.
This is the somewhat cryptic distillation of three recent events, only one of which involved a considerable amount of personal emotional pain. C'est La Vie! Or, as we say, "Oy, Gevaldt!"
I know I am usually more upfront and clear, but I am trying to figure out a reasonable way to talk about this.
Jew, curmudgeon, poet... and emotional dish-rag, so what else is new.
Ok, it's the 3rd night of Chanukah. I have a beautiful silver menorah that sits above the main door of the house. The cups are filled with pure olive oil. A friend of mine used to own a mop factory. He gave me a brand new mop several years ago. It's the best thing to use for wicks. I pull apart the cotton into individual strands and use a metal wick holder. This doesn't begin to descripe how lovely the whole thing is. It lasts for hours and is visible into the street. All the boys light so we have five menorahs in our window. If you have never used oil to light with, I recommend it highly. A candle doesn't begin to give the same light. Also the miracle of Chanukah was through oil.
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We could use another miracle just about now as we are being sold to the Saudis for silver.
Well this hiatus has been longer than a hernia. Suffice to call it hibernation. But then I'm not Irish, so that won't do at all. Another sillyness is signing up for a youtube account under the name VirtualRabbi. What are we to think when a curmudgeon, supposedly dry behind the ears, exhibits such behavior? I am properly suspicious of myself. Perhaps Jewish poetry videos will emerge, or G-d rants, both guarantees of wild popularity with the hoi polloi. As a curmudgeon and a Jew and as a poet, too, taking that into consideration is not only unwise, but impossible. If my mom saw this she'd think it was just another phase I'm going through. Like, yeah, mom, a 120 year phase called my life. Oh, well. Enjoy. Get ready for Chanukah, you guys.
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The hardest part was to limit my choices:
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OK here is the “rabbinical” version:
1394 - King Charles VI of France orders all Jews expelled from France.
1948 - Lehi (also know as the Stern gang) assassinates Count Folke Bernadotte, who was appointed by the UN to mediate between the Arabs and Jews.
1978 - The Camp David Accords were signed by Israel and Egypt.
1271 - King Wenceslas II of Bohemia and Poland (d. 1305)
1918 - Chaim Herzog, President of Israel (d. 1997)
1727 - Glückel of Hameln, German businesswoman and diarist (b. 1647)
With typical Jewish ambivalence here is a secular version:
1787 - The United States Constitution is adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
1908 - Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge crashes a Wright Brothers airplane and becomes the first airplane fatality.
1920 - National Football League is organized in Canton, Ohio, United States.
1883 - William Carlos Williams, American physician and writer (d. 1963)
1935 - Ken Kesey, American author (d. 2001)
2003 - Sheb Wooley, American actor and singer (b. 1921)
If you don’t know who this is, he had a big hit in the 50’s with “Flying Purple People Eater.”
|Subject:||TrustFlow results for virtual_rabbi|
I tried out TrustFlow II for LiveJournal. The following people not on the friends list for virtual_rabbi are close by:
( More results below the cut...Collapse )
Created by ciphergoth; hosted by LShift.
TrustFlow II: Who is closest to your friends
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To Whom It May Concern:
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Going Underground for a while.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime or look for me on AIM from time to time.
To my constant readers, friends and commenters:
I really appreciate you all. Thanks always for everything.
Jew curmudgeon poet
Here are links for interested readers to poems published in Ariga, Robert Rosenberg's ezine:
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and to David Holzel's Jewish Angle ezine:
Both have a wealth of other material you may find interesting.
I never thought I would “cheer” a Hamas victory, but I am pleased that given a relatively democratic opportunity, even in the face of Fatah successes in negotiating major concessions from Israel at Oslo and Wye, the Palestinian Arabs have shown their true face to Israel and the world as they express their collective political will. The headlines say that the world is surprised. I am surprised that the world is surprised.
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Some suggest this will make further unilateral withdrawals by Israel more likely. If so, that would be extremely unwise politically and strategically.
Even before Sharon’s unilateral disengagement in Gaza became a reality, the mere suggestion of it caused a near civil war among Palestinian Authority factions. I suggest the reason was because Sharon’s politically brilliant announcement brought something to the situation that was heretofore absent: a dose of reality. His move declared an awareness that in spite of all PA pronouncements and US pressures, there was in fact, no partner to make peace with. Arafat’s genius was his ability to maintain the position that the reason peace was not possible was because the Israelis were not forthcoming enough. According to Arafat and Abbas, Israel never offered Palestinians an acceptable deal. Barak showed the lie to this by offering 98% of everything the Palestinians demanded. That was sufficient for most of the world, but it still allowed the Palestinian leadership and the Arab world to maintain the position that anything less than 100% was not good enough. Sharon’s plan went even farther. In the face of Arafat’s and later Abbas’ inability to control or disarm terrorists—they always claimed it was because of Israel’s provocations, while the Israelis claimed it was either lack of political will or simply a deceptive smokescreen—Sharon’s action showed that it didn’t really matter anymore. Under extreme pressure from the US to refrain from appropriate retaliation, the only other courses remained status quo or withdrawal. Status quo was beginning to be unacceptable, so Sharon tried the only other course open to him with dramatic results.
However, now that a bellicose Hamas, which has stated that no peace with Israel is possible or desireable, will control the Palestinian Authority, all acts of terror against Israel and its citizens constitute official policy of an ‘entity’ (now there’s an ironic use for a word!) if not a state, and constitute aggression which should not be tolerated and is worth of a military response which could be appropriately continued until the other side agreed to negotiate a peace settlement. Before, the PA could claim that they really wanted to try to diminish terrorism, but needed help to do so, but now the gloves are off. As the new reality emerges, new policies are required. Sad to say it, but if a Hamas-controlled PA cannot be brought to the negotiating table, unilateral withdrawals should be made only if a settlement will be truly undefendable in the upcoming, inevitable military conflict.
The ubiquitous American pressure stands in the way. The extent to which Israel is a true vassal-client-state of the US is simply unknown to most. Will more unilateral withdrawals be made, even if strategically unwise, due to massive political pressure? It remains to be seen, but possibly, yes. How does the Hamas victory change the Israeli political landscape? How will Olmert frame his calls for further dismantling of settlements? Other than US pressure, what possible reasons will he give? All this is being said, of course, only with regard to the external political situation and without regard to the internal upheaval caused both politically and socially by the disengagement, about which the debate continues to rage, only to be decided with Israel’s own upcoming elections.
ADDITIONAL THOUGHT: It is fascinating, even shocking to realize that this may be the first time in history that a reasonalbly democratic election with a large turnout voted overwhelmingly in favor of terrorism and war when faced with a real choice. The Palestinian people have expressed their will--and it is for continued violence. There is not even a fig-leaf of pretension, or statements that they would prefer to make peace. Even the Nazi party only garnered a weak plurality of the vote (some 35% I think) and had to take over essentially through coup d'etat. Can anyone remember such a case?
Apropos of Vayera, I offer this brief, stolen poem. Speaking of stolen moments, I welcome your comments, criticisms, slams, jams, retorts, praises and Bronx cheers. Don't feel you have to know me well or know me at all. Just dive right in. At this point in the non-conversation I seem to be having with the cyber-void out there anything would be welcome. This is proof that there may indeed be life on other planets. Maybe they are just like blog-lurkers. They notice, but aren't saying anything. Do you think I should add Martians to my Friends List? Nah, they only like poetry that rhymes.
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Jew curmudgeon poet at large, adrift in the cyber desert...
A Family Tragedy
Lot's salty wife
altered Lot's life
It's rough being married
to a pillar of the community.
Here is a another poem that appeared on the ezine, The Jewish Angle, edited by David Holzel. http://www.mindspring.com/~dbholzel/1001.html
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Yeah, I know it challenges the comfortable status quo of get-along go-along thinking, but that's my job as a poet. Now I'm supposed to say something about being sorry if I offended anyone, but, uh... well, as the cash register in the supermarket says: "Have A Nice Day!.
Those Hungry Jews
We eat flat crackers, hang around all night
at the drive-in-Seder. This be the Bread
of Affliction: we listen to Rabbi
moon about Holocaust, a Holocaust, yawn
like dawgs put to sleep. Forgotten, a train
wails in the distance. This night is different.
Faces baked in matzoh, someone's uncle
married a shikse, little Christian children,
ageing unmarried sisters, HIV positive
brother. Who watched this bloody bread?
At the train as ordered, life is over, cracked
in half, stolen. A Federation man
says this train goes to "Continuity,"
shoves me a one-way ticket. Afikomen.
© Ben Pincus
Today everyone is agog over the terror bombings in London. To quote 'Deep Throat' of Watergate infamy: "Follow the money." We should be squeezing the heck out of the Swiss and other money haven countries to reveal the secret bank accounts. All the pettit dictators, all the despots who steal their people blind, and yes, the terrorists are protected by the international banking system--who by the way are NOT Jews. This is the real problem of terror, not the low-level guys who suicide to blow a bus. Clamp down on the money and you will stop the logistical flow to the terrorists. So why don't we do it? Probably because our politicians are financed by slush funds in the same banks, and they also have accounts there. Open the accounts to scutiny and you will find all the secret Nazis, closet Facists, dirty pols, etc. The Saudis, by the way are into this big-time, playing both sides of the street. They claim alQuaeda are rogues and renegades and then they finance them with billions in bribes. The Syrians and Iranians give them money, access and protection. Squeeze the Swiss, the Saudis, the Syrians and their ilk. So instead what does the US do? It squeezes Israel to let convicted terrorists out of jail, because they say that will bring peace closer. But of course they would never release suspected, not convicted, terror suspects from Abu Graeb or Guantanamo.
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And now for a word from our sponsor, stay tuned for the rumors behind the news...
This poem appeared first on David Holzel's ezine, The Jewish Angle. http://www.mindspring.com/~dbholzel/1001.html
The Unilateral Heart: Closing
For a few bright weeks, I was shining
like a star. Now I am like you –
negotiating peace, but afraid of love.
Wearing your wristwatch to bed,
never quite naked before me,
our pasts strapped to a roadmap
of drunken sheets, a measured
fig-leaf, this hellish season
of someone else's timetable:
as though we had sinned against
your ageing ex-lover—
so like Rimbaud, dissolute,
limping off to colonize Africa,
illuminated between us like a flag,
flying in this bleak desert, unable
to be discussed, impossible to ignore.
copyright 2004 Ben Pincus