October 3rd, 2017

storyteller doll

Quarterly Updates, Yom Kippur, and a Few Odds and Ends

Political rants to follow in a future entry. Here’s some catch-up stuff.

Celebrity Death Watch: Joe Bailon was a car customer who was credited with creating the paint color Candy Apple Red. Barry Dennen was an actor and singer who appeared in several musicals (in London, on Broadway, and on film), notably singing the role of Pontius Pilate on the recording of Jesus Christ Superstar. Ann Jeffreys was an actress, most famous as "the ghostess with the moistest" for her role as Marion Kerby on Topper. Tom Paley was a folk musician who performed as part of the New Lost City Ramblers. S. I. Newhouse was a magazine publisher. Arthur Janov was the author of The Primal Scream and responsible for that particularly bizarre form of therapy. Robert Elsie was a linguist and folklorist, specializing in Albania. (He was the collector / translator of a story I have recently started telling.) Michael Jouvet was the discoverer of REM sleep.

Hugh Hefner was, of course, the founder and publisher of Playboy. While the magazine did publish some significant literature, we all know that nobody bought it for that. In short, he exploited women for personal gain. The word for that is "pimp."

Monty Hall was the host and producer of Let’s Make a Deal. He was also a major philanthropist, primarily donating to medical institutions.

Tom Petty was a rock star. A few of his better known songs include "Don’t Come Around Here No More," "Refugee," and "Free Fallin’." Given his years heading up the Heartbreakers, it seems appropriate that he died of a heart attack.

Quarterly Goals: I may need to rethink the definition of the word "complete." On the plus side, I have made a lot of progress on tracing down descendants of my grandmother’s first cousin, who emigrated to Petach Tikvah in the 1930’s.

Queen of Katwe: This was the only movie I saw over the past quarter. (I spent much of my airplane time sleeping or doing puzzles, instead.) Anyway, I thought it was superb. The story involves an Ugandan girl from a poor neighborhood who becomes a chess champion. There is a lot of conflict about what her role in life should be. Her coach, Robert Katande, has other conflicts, as a good job opportunity would keep him from being able to help the poor children he works with. If you’re looking for an inspirational story (with, by the way, a great soundtrack) this is a good choice.

Air Force Academy: You may have seen the video of Air Force Academy superintendent Lt Gen Jay Silveria telling cadets to get out if they can’t treat others with dignity and respect. Not to diminish from the importance of that message, but it bothered me that he referred only to race and sex in his message. The Academy has had a lot of issues with respect to religious freedom - e.g. in 2010, 41% of non-Christian cadets said they were subject to unwanted proselytizing during the previous year. (That was a while ago, but it was the only year I found survey info for. I don’t know their record with respect to LGBT cadets, but there have been plenty of sexual harassment cases. So I wish that the message had been broader.

Yom Kippur: I went to Sixth & I for Yom Kippur, which was a mixed bag. The biggest plus was that the financial appeal was actually the best I have heard. This is not quite verbatim, but the shul president said, "This is the 13th year we’ve done High Holiday services, so we think of it as our bar / bat mitzvah year. At my bar mitzvah, my aunts and uncles came up to me and handed me envelopes. We like to think of all of you as our aunts and uncles."

I liked some of the odds and ends Rabbi Miller threw in during the service, e.g. a story from Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev and lyrics from a range of songs (from Johnny Cash’s "The Man in Black" to "Seasons of Love" from Rent). I thought her sermon was a bit too long and not particularly insightful. It could have been done in one sentence. ("Be true to yourself.") As for the liturgy, I have probably already kvetched about most of the departures from tradition at other times. The main one to add to my annoyances was that I thought they gave short shrift to Martyrology and Yizkor. And I particularly disliked how they did Martyrology, with all of the readings talking about incidents in the past year, primarily in Israel. (The sole exception was the murder of Sarah Halimi in France, which the French government has acknowledged as a hate crime only in the last week.)

They had also organized a tour of local Jewish landmarks for the break in services during the afternoon. That might have been a good thing, but the tour guide could not project her voice to be heard over traffic and construction noise in the area. So I went home and napped instead.

Knitting Group: Knitting group was Sunday. Lots of lively conversation and it was good to get out of the house for a couple of hours. However, that also means that I didn’t get household stuff done, sigh.

Minor Annoyance: I know this is a first world problem but I was grocery shopping on my way home from knitting group and had four canvas shopping bags with me – two green, two red. I told the bagger to use the green ones first (because they are larger and sturdier and I didn’t know if I would actually need all four.) I had to repeat this five times before she would listen, instead of reaching for the red ones. Of course, she also had no clue how to arrange groceries efficiently, but wouldn’t let me just pack my bags myself. Grrr.

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