Thanksgiving News Tetrazzini: Squash, Migraines, Latrines, Lastpass, and more…

userpic=turkey,turkeysThanksgiving is over, and I’m sure you’re wondering what you’re going to do with the leftover: the drips and dregs of turkey links. You’ve had it to here with sandwiches, and aren’t in the mood for stew. How about some news chum tetrazzini?

  • Squashing It. Let’s start with some food: winter squash, to be specific. All squashes are not the same, and here’s how to know when a squash is at its best. Acorn, butternut and Hubbard squash — just a few of the season’s delights — fill different culinary niches. And, although they’re all typically picked within a month or so of each other in early fall, the optimal moment to eat them can differ quite a bit.
  • The Writing on the Walls. Here’s an interesting exploration of the meaning of the writing on latrine walls in the military. Quoting a paragraph in the article: «Superficially at least, the latrinalia resembled a YouTube comments section. There were the wild accusations of servicemen with vague vendettas: “Cpt. Franklin is a pussy and doesn’t give a shit about you.” There were sweeping political pronouncements: “Kill all politicians.” Misattributed appeals to authority in defense of ill-defined ideologies: “Only the dead have seen the end of war. —Homer.” And of course, there was the passionate, ongoing discourse between the “FTA,” or “Fuck the Army,” crowd, and those who rushed to the loyal defense of their beloved institution: “You’re a pussy.”»
  • Alexander Who?. The talk of Broadway this fall is Hamilton, the hip-hop Broadway musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton. It’s got surprising traction, but doesn’t tell the whole story. Here’s what you’re missing by only listening to the show.
  • Theatre Rules. Another theatre article (alas, I didn’t get to the magic three) that covers 8 rules that every theatre person should know. I knew many of these, but didn’t know the origins of them. For example, “breaking a leg” is not a wish for bad luck, and not whistling is for your safety.
  • He said, Sheepishly Here’s one I couldn’t make up if I tried: There’s an Austrian shepard who sings Yiddish to the Syrian refugees that he rescues. This shepard drives them through dirt-paved roads to his home in Austria, a remote cabin in the woods without running water. His risks could land in him in jail, but he clearly believes it’s worth the reward. It’s personal. His Jewish father fled to Britain before World War II, escaping persecution. He draws comparisons between his father’s plight, like the plight of so many Jews during Nazi rule in Europe. “It makes me cry again and again if I think of my father, of his situation, and of other immigrants–and I put it together with these people.”
  • Password Managers. I’m a password manager convert. I used to write them down in 4pt type and keep them in my wallet, but a password manager has made it easy to make my passwords stronger, with better protection of the passwords. Still, there are flaws in password managers, such as Lastpass, which I use. But I still use it. Why? This article says it all: “There is no bug-free software and any future research on other password managers would likely have similar results,” wrote the researchers. In the case of Lastpass, they responded by fixing the issued, and implementing new security measures in response to the research. No approach is perfect — the goal is to reduce risk. Another security researcher recently showed that it was possible to steal the user passwords from another manager, KeePass, which doesn’t upload anything to the cloud. Remember: Any password manager is safer than the current password practices used by most folks.
  • A Migraine Game. The latest new game round up from BoardGameGeek had me intrigued with the first item: “Let’s start with Hannah Shaffer‘s 14 Days, which bears the subtitle “A Game About Life With Migraines” and which originated from the designer’s own experience: “I didn’t know how to talk to the people around me about how migraines were impacting my life. This game exists to help break through some of the silence and stigma around migraines, as well as other types of chronic pain.” 14 Days was funded on Kickstarter in July 2015 and due out before the end of 2015.” I contacted Hannah: you can preorder either a box or a PDF version now. The game intrigues me; I’m curious about the game play. I may order the PDF version, or wait for some reviews. It may be a good way to explain chronic pain.

 

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Yiddish on the Brain / שטאָלץ פאָטער

userpic=levysThis has been a busy weekend, but I did want to at least start working down the collected articles. This post can be filed under the category of “Proud Father”, as it all has to do with Yiddish — my daughter’s speciality.

  • Pop Up Exhibition. I would be remiss if I didn’t start with the news that the Magnes Library in Berkeley is doing a pop-up exhibition of my daughter’s research on Weds, December 2, from 12p to 1p. As the Magnes wrote: “ Through her knowledge of Yiddish she helped to create a flagship Digital Humanities project focusing on Yiddish books printed in California, held at The Magnes . Erin catalogued almost 100 volumes, and digitized title pages. By using the online platform, Findery as part of the Digital Programs of The Magnes, she subsequently created a literary map of Yiddish Los Angeles, which allows scholars to see that city’s hidden Yiddish heritage in a new light.” If you would like to see her Findery work, click here.
  • Wearing It On Your Tush. Would you like to wear Yiddish. The Forward had a neat article on the rise of cheeky Yiddish wear. Quoting the Forward: “As a recent profile in The Guardian explains, the Unkosher Market line is perfect for that “self-deprecating Jewish hipster of mid-level means” in your life.” My daughter, I’m sure, wouldn’t like it — first, because I’m not sure she likes hipsters :-), and more importantly, she really thinks Yiddish is too beautiful and too significant a language to be reduced to the words we make fun of.
  • So How Do I Learn Yiddish. Long ago, I promised my daughter I wouldn’t link to her tumblr. But recently she got that question — what are good Yiddish resources — so I’m going to cut and paste her response:

ay i don’t want to overwhelm you with things so here just a few things to get you started with…

1. yiddishpop is a great online language learning program and a very good starting place

2. once you get comfortable reading yiddish, reading the yiddish daily forward online is a great way to practice reading. if you dont know a word, click on it twice and a definition will pop up.

3. the world of yiddish online dictionaries. the best place to go is verterbukh which is a searchable online version of the beinfeld bochner dictionary, which is the most comprehensive. it’s not free, unless you can get it through a library which you’re a member of. or you can pay. another good place to look is this dictionary

4. here’s a useful link dump of yiddish resources from the university of kentucky

zol zayn mit mazel un zayt gezunt khevre!

Yiddish-English Dictionary:

Learning Yiddish:

Yiddish Books as PDF:

Yiddish Newspapers:

Yiddish Poetry:

Miscellaneous:

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Shticks of One and Half a Dozen of the Other: Saturday Chum Stew

userpic=schmuckThis has been the second very busy week in a row. I’ve accumulated a number of articles, but there are no coherent things, but lots of things I want to comment upon. So let’s get started with this news chum collection:

🏥  Sexism in the Emergency Room. The Atlantic had a fascinating article that I certainly believe: Doctors Tend To Take Women’s Pain Less Seriously. It is sad to think that this type of sexism still exists in the medical profession, but it does. There are fewer research projects to see the effect of medicine on women, and often a woman’s complaint is dismissed as hysteria (and by the way, if you don’t know the origin of that word, you should — it’s relevant). In this article, a woman almost dies because the doctors don’t believe her complaint about serious pain.

💏 Contributions of the Yiddish Theatre. As my daughter is busily studying Yiddish at UC Berkeley, news about Yiddish tends to catch my eye. Here’s an article about how the first lesbian kiss on stage was in a Yiddish theatre production. Specifically, the 1923 English-language production of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance, at the Apollo Theater on 223 West 42nd Street, presented the first same-sex kiss in the history of Broadway, leading to the entire cast’s being arrested on obscenity charges. Paula Vogel and Rebecca Taichman’s Indecent, having its world premiere at the Yale Rep in New Haven this month, is a delightful, unexpected, and surprising play about Asch’s play.

🎭 To Review Community Theatre? An article in the On Stage Blog has prompted some interesting discussion. Its question: Should theatre reviewers review community theatre, and if they do, should they give an honest assessment? A fascinating question: after all, these are not professional actors, so should we hold them to the same quality standards? They are often true amateurs, and the directors are equally amateurs. Personally, I tend to agree with the VC On Stage Blog: I review honestly, but try more to couch my review as constructive criticism (how to improve, instead of “Bob stunck”).

🏊 A Hole in the Ground, Filled with Water. With the current drought, there’s more an more interest in demolishing pools. It’s an interesting question, and one that I’ve thought seriously about. Pools can add to the value of a house, and in general a pool actually uses less water than a lawn. But they can leak easily — I’m pretty sure our pool has a leak somewhere in the piping deep underground that feeds the pump (I have to add water weekly). But the cost of removing the pool can be quite high — multiple thousands of dollars to remove the decking, break up the shell, etc. If it costs only an extra $50 to add water per month, it is cheaper to add water. Never an easy question.

💳 American Express in Trouble. Here’s a fascinating article about the woes of American Express: Specifically, the loss of their US contract with Costco is a big deal, no matter what they say. Amex no longer has the prestige it once had, and its higher fees often make people less likely to accept it. They can hang on, but they may be going the way of Diners Club over time.

💊 The Cost of Generics. By now, our insurance companies have drummed it into our heads: Buy generics, it is cheaper. But as we’ve read in the news, the cost of generics is actually rising, often thanks to greedy manufacturers. Who is that hurting? Small pharmacies, who are finding that their insurance reimbursements do not cover the cost of the generics. This means, due to insurance contracts, they often lose money on generics. Welcome to screwed up health care in America.

🔯 Holocaust Revisionism. This week, we had an interesting example of Holocaust Revisionism… from an Israeli leader, who proclaimed that Hitler didn’t want to kill the Jews — it was an Arab idea. Dr. Deborah Lipstadt — who was my professor for a number of Jewish Studies courses at UCLA including ones on Zionism and Antisemitism — wrote a very good rebuttal and analysis of Netanyahu’s statement. (if that link doesn’t work, go here, and then click on the article). As Dr. Lipstadt noted: “Netanyahu, however, did not paint [the Grand Mufti] as a supporter of this genocide. He credited him with coming up with the idea. There is a vast difference between the two. Historians continue to debate who originated the idea of the Final Solution. No serious historian, however, has ever laid the decision at the feet of the mufti. These are scary days in Israel. Arabs, some of whom have been incited to act by religious and political leaders, have stabbed, hacked, and stoned Jews. Others have mowed them down with cars. This inexcusable barbarism does not, however, legitimate rewriting of the past.”

🍕 Feeding the Addiction. I really try to avoid becoming an addict. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I am addicted to Afrin, but that’s a different story. This week I learned I really am an addict. So, here’s goes. My name is Daniel, and I’m addicted to Cheese.  Yup, a new study has shown that Cheese Addiction is real. Cheese happens to be especially addictive because of an ingredient called casein, a protein found in all milk products. During digestion, casein releases opiates called casomorphins that play with the dopamine receptors and trigger that addictive element. The LA Times drilled down even deeper into the study, and concluded: So the decision to call cheese crack is entirely yours. And if the University of Michigan study makes you feel better about eating a quesadilla for lunch and half a cheese board before dinner, so be it.

🍷 Liquid Refreshment Andrew Ducker over on LJ alerted me to this article, which is related to a different type of food addiction. Yes, there are people who feel better after drinking blood, but no they are not vampires. The article is an interesting study of sanguinarians  — real life “vampires” and their communities.

💥 I Feel The Earth Move. Everyone started to run scared in LA after an article from NASA saying the chance of a major earthquake in the San Gabriel Valley is 99.9% in the next two years. But then again, Dr. Lucy Jones disputes the findings.  Specifically, a yet unpublished study from seismologists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab predicted with 99.9 percent certainty that we’d get a 5.0 quake sometime within the next couple years. They were 35 percent certain that it would be even bigger, registering at 6.0 or worse. However, Dr. Lucy “Earthquake Lady” Jones, a seismologist who works with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on earthquake preparedness, noted that the claim that it’s such a high probability is made in a paper by one individual group of researchers, and the paper doesn’t document how they came up with that number so it’s impossible for us to even evaluate whether or not the statement has any validity, because they didn’t say why. She also noted this is not an official NASA claim, and pointed out that a lot of us might not even be able to feel a 5.0 quake. What’s more likely? Dr. Jones says a more likely figure is a 2 percent chance of SoCal getting a big quake—7.5 or greater—each year. But there is a certainty that eventually be a big one, so it also helps to be prepared.

💺 The First Jumbo Jets. Airline Reporter had an interesting exploration of Delta Air Lines and their first jumbo jets: the 747-100s. Delta ended up settling on the DC-10s and L-1011s, and of course, now uses different jumbos. The article provides a great insight on why airlines order what, and what happens to an aircraft after it is no longer needed.

🍏 They’re back. Yay. Pippins are back in markets. Get them while you can.

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Saturday News Chum

userpic=observationsIt’s Saturday, and that means it’s time to clean out the accumulated links.  As I’ve got about an hour before I jump into the Fringe, let’s get going:

 

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Oh Boy, A New Game

“Who is that yold ridin’ that camel / The guy from Miami on a real big mammal
A hat for ten, twenty for two / The very best deal a schmuck can do!

When the camel moves, it shakes his kishkas / He loves his latkes and he eats his knishes
Drinks his seltzer and always pishes / Passover comes, it’s gefilte fishes

He toots his horn, a fine clarinet / Makin’ music for the Yiddish set
He is furblunjet, a little small / And mittin drinnin, for a matzoh ball.”

Yes, I’ve finally got it. Thanks to a trade on Boardgamegeek, I am now the proud owner of a copy of “Look at the Schmuck on that Camel” (yes, it is a real game). All it cost was my copy of “Return of the Stainless Steel Rat“. The game was published in the mid-1990s by Victory Games, a unit of Avalon Hills at the top of their catalog.

This looks hilarious. The goal of the game is to teach Yiddish, but there is no winner because there is no way of keeping score, except, as the manual notes “in how many units we sell, in which case when we count the money at the bank, it tells us whether we won.” It is a group game, because, as the rulebook states “One should not play with one’s self”.

It came with a catalog of products, Schmugs, Schmolo Shirts, Rap Schmats, Putts (golf balls), Tee Shmirts, Schmorts, Schmuck Links, Schmearrings, Schmin, and so on. Alas, I don’t think any of this drek can be purchased today. Oy.

P.S. Remember to beware The Tower.

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See Jane schlep. Schlep, Jane. Schlep.

I just received my copy of Yiddish with Dick and Jane. Funny book. Funny. To give you an idea:

Susan is with Dick’s friend Phil.
Phil puts his arm around Susan.

“I wonder why they are at that motel,” thinks Dick.
“They must be going to a party to celebrate some simcha.”

[…]

Someone comes out of Tom’s house. It is Stanley.
“What is Stanley doing there?” asks Dick.
“Maybe Tom wants Stanley to sell the house for him,” says Jane.
“You know how Tom hates to handl.”

Tom comes out.
Tom kisses Stanley on the mouth.
Sally starts to laugh.
“No wonder Susan is with Phil,” says Sally. “Tom is gay!”

“Tom is more than gay, Sally,” says Dick. “He is overjoyed.”

“Of course,” says Jane. “Stanley must have just told Tom what a good price he can get on his house.”

Oy Gotenyu,” sighs Sally.

Note: This entry was originally posted on Observations Along The Road (on cahighways.org) as this entry by California Highway Guy. You may comment either here or there (where there are comment(s)).

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See Jane schlep. Schlep, Jane. Schlep.

I just received my copy of Yiddish with Dick and Jane. Funny book. Funny. To give you an idea:

Susan is with Dick’s friend Phil.
Phil puts his arm around Susan.

“I wonder why they are at that motel,” thinks Dick.
“They must be going to a party to celebrate some simcha.”

[…]

Someone comes out of Tom’s house. It is Stanley.
“What is Stanley doing there?” asks Dick.
“Maybe Tom wants Stanley to sell the house for him,” says Jane.
“You know how Tom hates to handl.”

Tom comes out.
Tom kisses Stanley on the mouth.
Sally starts to laugh.
“No wonder Susan is with Phil,” says Sally. “Tom is gay!”

“Tom is more than gay, Sally,” says Dick. “He is overjoyed.”

“Of course,” says Jane. “Stanley must have just told Tom what a good price he can get on his house.”

Oy Gotenyu,” sighs Sally.

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