Tuesday, September 25, 2007


A few years ago, our house was all about the narrative. Aviva demanded stories every day. Stories were the principal currency of parental bribery.

Now, however, during the Reign of Noah, we are all about the improv theater. Here are some of the games currently in circulation, and the casting thereof:

Homer & BartHomer SimpsonLisa SimpsonBart SimpsonMuch ado about donuts.
PiratesCapt. SaltybuttLassie or MaddieLaddie, aka MateyTakes place aboard the Black Pimple, in constant pursuit of, or flight from, the White Wimple, captained by nemesis Capt. Stinkyfeet. Maddie was washed overboard for many years and recently rediscovered.
Shrek & DonkeyDonkeyFionaShrekGood for introducing the richness of American dialectual English, via Eddie Murphy:
  • "but if you started with a T you'd be a tonkey!"
  • "I ain't no tonkey!"
Fancy WaiterFancy WaiterPatron #2, or BusgirlPatron #1, or Parsley the TramboyUseful for instruction on fine points of elegant dining and hostelry
Nurse BruceNurse Bruce Gumption BruceMs. Rosenbaum (a resident)Mr. Rosenbaum (a resident)Good for calming down at bedtime, and elderly reminiscences about childhood in 2007
Ben from 1975Ben, 6 years oldAvivaNoahAs a time traveler from 1975, I do not know what CDs or DVDs are, but expect robots and moonbases. It is also nice to be the same age as the kids and not worried about fine points of etiquette.
Frog & ToadToadRabbitFroga classic
various games set in Ellwood CityArthur, Binky, Mr. Read, or DaddyArthur, Francine, or AvivaAliens, Buster, or Noahand other variations
the bakery gameOsonoKikiTombo good for getting help with cooking

Some days we spend up to 80% of our time in character.

Esther is pretty much always Esther. If your Daddy is always someone new, it is nice if your Mommy, at least, stays the same. Comments (6)   permalink

Friday, September 21, 2007

I Spent the Morning Screaming

Because, as I am sure all the parents out there know, nothing is scarier than a ferocious lion putting his books and toys away!

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Monday, September 17, 2007

L'Shana Tovah

A little late posting this...

May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life for a very sweet year!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lazyweb request: Pro bono political graphic design

Okay, so this is the evil racist advertisement which the Swiss right wing party, the SVP, has posted up all over the country.

It is an ad supporting a referendum on deporting criminal foreigners, and it JUST HAPPENS, apparently, that the criminal sheep getting kicked out is a black sheep, and the good Swiss sheep profiting thereby are, you know, white.

Oh, and did I mention that in an earlier version of the poster, one of the white sheep in the background is dead with a bloody dagger sticking out of him? Presumably because SVP voters have a little trouble with, you know, implication and stuff.

In many posters in my neighborhood, I am happy to say, the letters "SVP" have been written on the black sheep, neatly inverting the message, so that it says "wouldn't Switzerland be safer if we kicked out the SVP?" I did not, I hasten to add, do any of this graffiting... yet... but it's nice to know that at least someone has the courage of my convictions.

However, I have a better idea. I would like to commission from the Internet the following posters, suitable for downloading, printing out, and leaving in places where handy Swiss anarchists will put them up.

Poster #1: In this poster, the sheep in the upper left is once more dead with a bloody dagger. The sheep in the upper right is standing around looking mournful, and the Blocher sheep at lower left is kicking out the black sheep.

But! There is also a thought bubble above the apparently mournful sheep which says "Juhui! Jetzt werden sie's nie rausfinden!" ("Yay! Now they'll never figure it out!"). Or perhaps "Rassismus sei Dank - ich werde nicht verdächtigt" ("Thanks to racism, no one suspects me!").

(German-speaking readers, please correct my grammar and idiom as indicated. Update: Thanks, Jonas!)

Poster #2: In this poster, slightly more ambitious, we see a rendition of the famous Renaissance picture of the soldiers gambling for Christ's clothes. The soldiers are the white sheep, in Roman helmets. The black sheep is Christ, on the cross, which is the white cross of the Swiss flag. The background of the flag, red, is dripping blood across the bottom of the poster. Just because, you know, you can't be too subtle with SVP voters.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Googlebombing the progressives, part 2: now this is funny

To my yet greater jubilation and amusement, it turns out that, buried yet deeper in Googlespace is another progressive Jewish congregation in Basel. This one I only found out about because when I emailed Ofek to register for Yom Kippur services they wrote back to say "what are you doing for Rosh Hashanah? Have you checked out Migvan?"

And while Ofek is a kind of committee of the main synagogue which meets occasionally, it looks like Migvan has its own premises, kid-oriented services, and a Hebrew school -- and comes out and says things like "the integration of non-Jewish spouses and children is for Migvan a high priority," which is awfully nice to hear. (Though it still doesn't have, like, services every Friday. But then, we wouldn't go to services every Friday, who are we kidding here?)

In America both Migvan and Ofek would fall, liturgically at least, and probably in other regards, in the Conservative rather than the Reform movement, but in Basel that's still pretty radical, and Migvan seems to take particular pains to be pluralistic, with even what surely must be a coded welcome to gays, viz., for membership purposes family "includes two individuals living together in a partnered relationship." And frankly, on a musical level, I prefer the Conservative liturgy anyway.

So perhaps while I'm googlebombing, those links to liberal jews Basel, progressive chavurah Basel, liberale Juden Basel, jüdische Progressiven in Basel, conservative Jews in Basel, and so on, should actually go to Migvan....

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Googlebombing the progressives

To my great jubilation, I have just located the liberal Jewish chavurah in Basel.

This was much more difficult than it perhaps should have been, because Googling "liberal jews Basel" or "progressive chavurah Basel", or equivalent German phrases such as "liberale Jüden Basel" or "jüdische Progressiven in Basel" did not... prior to my posting this blog entry... turn up any references to the egalitarian Jewish group in Basel.

Instead, Ofek refer to themselves by such bureaucratic circumlocutions as "the Association for Pluralistic Judaism"... which is probably helpful for maintaining good relations with the Orthodox-led, nominally pluralistic main synagogue of Basel, from whom they receive funding (after all, it would not do to imply that they were any kind of embryonic splinter group, as opposed to a helpful committee), but is a good deal less useful for Reform Jews in Basel seeking a progressive Jewish community in north-western Switzerland.

Nonetheless, they are clearly the real deal -- they are bringing in post-Holocaust Germany's first woman rabbi to lead Yom Kippur services in Basel. Which makes me much happier about attending Rosh Hashana services in the Einheitsgemeinde.

And if you happen to have arrived here googling in search of gleichberechtigte jüdische Göttesdienste in der Schweiz... you're welcome, and see you at services! :-)

Update: This is a very good article which explicates my annoyance at the "frummest common denominator" approach of Basel's "multidenominational" main synagogue.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Stray in the Snow

Looks like my story with David Ackert, "Stray", will be in the December issue of F&SF.

(I must say that looks like a heck of an issue otherwise -- Rickert, Moles, Marusek, and two relative newbies . I often find stories from new writers to be the best things in the print mags, as the bar for the story to get in is, inevitably, higher as a corrolary effect of author points. Also, Moles showed me the cover, and it is neato.)

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