Tuesday, August 25, 2009

At the Van Gogh exhibition

Aviva and her friend Alma and I went to the Van Gogh exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel.

They loved most of the landscapes, but in the end sat down in front of "Marguerite Gachet at the Piano".

Here's what Aviva drew.

Here's what Alma drew.

Here's what I drew: 1    2    3

Aviva is the one in the striped shirt.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

"We are the _______ we have been waiting for"

  1. change
  2. buses
  3. summer blockbuster picture
  4. waiters
  5. unsuspecting victims
  6. sex partners
  7. year-end sale
  8. taxi
  9. irritatingly sophistic long-winded objections
  10. Higgs bosons
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shamelessly exploting this blog's high-ish PageRank...

(In support of my very time-consuming hobby of being a synagogue president...)

If you happen to be looking for 2009 Jewish liberal High Holidays services in Basel -- that is to say, Rosh Hashana services in Basel or Yom Kippur services in Basel, for the Yomim Noraim, and if, in particular, you would like bilingual, nay, trilingual English-German-Hebrew progressive High Holidays services, that is, Gottesdeinste für die Hohe Feiertage 2009 -- in yes, Basel -- and especially if you are, say, Google...

Well! Nota bene: we (meaning Migwan and Ofek) are having some.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Kind of Conversation We Have

We are on vacation in France. It has been a long, fun, challenging day. We are in mid-getting-ready-for-bed ritual when:

Noah: Where is my toothbrush?

Me: Your electric toothbrush? It's at home. Here, Mommy bought these toothbrushes for you and Aviva for the trip. This one is yours.

Noah: That's not my toothbrush.

Me: Well, it is now.

Noah: (wailing) No! That is not the way it works! This is not the right toothbrush! I can't brush my teeth without the right toothbrush!

Me: Oh come on! Just use this one!

Noah: (in anguish) Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Me: I take it you don't want to use that toothbrush.

Noah: Yes! I want my toothbrush! Get my toothbrush!

Me: Your toothbrush is in Basel.

Noah: Aggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Me: How I wish that I could gather you up in my arms and we could fly you there through the night wind, over the storks sleeping on the chimneys, to fetch your toothbrush!

Noah: Yeah!

Me: But I do not have this power.

Noah: Arrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh! No no no no no!

Me: I suppose you could just skip brushing your teeth tonight.

Noah: But then I will get cavities and my teeth will get rotten and fall out!

Me: This is true. Well, not after one time of skipping brushing your teeth. Only if it becomes a habit.

Noah: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! No! Get me my toothbrush or I'll kill you!

Me: Noah, you know that I don't like threats like that.

Noah: Okay, get me my toothbrush or I will throw you into a tank of sharks, blithely unaware that all shark tanks have enormous drains!

Me: I cannot.

Noah: Agghhh! (collapses into sobs)

Me: (with Noah in my lap) Well, I see that there is no solution.

Noah: Agggh!

Me: It is completely, logically impossible. Nothing can happen from now on.

Noah: What?

Me: Well, let's look at this logically. There are only three possibilities. One is that we go to Basel, tonight, and get your toothbrush. Can we do that?

Noah: No!

Me: Another would be not brushing your teeth. But that, as you note, would make them fall out, so you are unwilling to do that.

Noah: Right!

Me: And the third, purely theoretical, logical possibility would be brushing your teeth with a toothbrush which is not your toothbrush, such as this toothbrush right here. But that, too, is impossible.

Noah: No it isn't!

Me: Oh yes it is. We established that earlier.

Noah: It's possible.

Me: I don't think so.

Noah: It is!

Me: Hmm. Well, since we disagree on this point, I guess the only way to find out is empirically.

Noah: What does 'empirically' mean?

Me: It means doing an experiment.

Noah: Oh, OK.

Me: So, we need to design an experimental protocol to test your hypothesis. Your hypothesis is that "Noah could brush his teeth with a different toothbrush." How do you propose to test this?

Noah: I could brush my teeth with this toothbrush!

Me: I am extremely skeptical. But, if you insist.

Noah: (brushes teeth)

Me: My God! I never believed it possible! But science triumphs once again!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bleg: Itamar Ben-Avi's autobiography

Dear blogovolume,

Where can I get a copy of Itamar Ben-Avi (aka Ben-Zion Ben-Yehuda)'s autobiography? Ideally translated into English?



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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stomped on by Yetis

Apparently I forgot to blog this: I am interviewed by one Patrick, a nice fellow despite his cryptozoophobia. He also interviewed Moles, Kosmatka and Roberson, and means to bag us all as stuffed heads on his living room wall, or something. Check it out!

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Marie Curie: Badass

Due to their levels of radioactivity, her papers from the 1890s (and even her cookbook) are considered too dangerous to handle. They are kept in lead-lined boxes; those who wish to consult them must wear protective clothing.

I mean, of course, the actual facts of the matter are tragic, and I doubt the Curies would find anything funny about the fact that Marie inadvertently killed herself by exposure to radiation.

But at a remove, there's something brilliant about the literalization of the metaphor. She was the kind of woman who discovered radioactive isotopes in her shed, and carried around test tubes of them in her pocket. Her cookbook is radioactive (which speaks volumes about the tension between the scientific and domestic spheres). Badass.

(At some point the literalization of metaphor gets kitschy, and you suspect someone somewhere is having too much fun: "it was their mutual interest in magnetism that drew [Marie] Skłodowska and [Pierre] Curie together")

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