Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Joseph Saperstein Frug

In a follow-up to the announcement of last week, I thought I should mention that my newborn son was (if you'll forgive the expression) christened at a brit milah ceremony yesterday in Ithaca, New York. His name is Joseph Saperstein Frug. He is named after my late mother, Mary Joe Frug (z'l). His Hebrew name, Yoseph Zvi, also honors my wife's paternal grandfather, Rabbi Harold Saperstein (z'l), whose Hebrew name was "Zvi".

Sara introduces Joseph and Snark

Posting will, as previously mentioned (and for the obvious reason), be light for the next few weeks. Happy New Year to all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby Saperstein Frug

My wife's and my son was born Sunday evening, December 21, at 7:23 p.m., weighing 7 lbs. 13 oz. We just brought him home from the hospital. He and his mother are both healthy.

His name will be announced as part of a traditional Jewish brit milah ceremony next week.

Updates to this blog will be somewhat sporadic for the foreseeable future. I hope to post more baby pictures, and hope to resume regular blogging in a few weeks.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Seem To Have Gone Mostly on Hiatus Here...

Sorry to have been absent. There hasn't yet been any particular reason -- I just haven't had anything pressing to say, and other tasks in life have taken priority over the non-pressing things.

"But the word 'yet'...". Yes: soon there will be a particular reason, and when there is, I'll announce it here. (This will make sense once I do, I promise.) So not only has posting been light, but it will continue to be light for a while.

My guess/hope is that I'll pick up the pace in the New Year. So check back in January for more bloggy goodness. In the meantime, you can always browse the archives; I'm sure there's something there you missed. (Really; yes, you too..)

But I will be back before then to clear up the cryptic comment in paragraph two.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Teachers' Job Description; or, The Nature & Purpose of Education Revealed

And that was the trouble. If you didn't find some way of stopping it, people would go on asking questions. The teachers were useful there.... They taught children enough to shut them up, which was the main thing, after all. But they always had to be driven out of the villages by nightfall in case they stole chickens.

-- Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men, Chapter 1

Plus! Bonus quote from the subsequent lesson:
"Zoology, eh? That's a big word, isn't it."
"No, actually, it isn't," said Tiffany. "Patronizing is a big word. Zoology is really quite short."

-- Ibid.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I Surf, Therefore I LInk

Diversions, amusements and the like. Some take off of politics, but almost none are primarily political:

The next President of the United States: 35 photos from the campaign. There's a whole essay to be written here about the iconography of power: Obama is mostly shown either alone or with a huge crowd in which individuals are barely distinguishable; most of the rest are with his family. There are a few of (essentially anonymous) supporters. The only campaign operative, I think, is shown from the back. There's no sense of the real nature of political power -- its complexities, the many people who influence it and create it and have it -- in these images. But since I don't have the energy, right now, to spell any of this out, I'll just say that there are a lot of very beautiful images there. (via)

• I sometimes think my unbounded admiration for Borges's stories and essays interfere with my paying due heed to the brilliance of his poetry. (Or maybe it simply doesn't translate as well? In this case it seems to, anyway.)

An extraordinary video of probably the most famous excerpt of Harvey Milk's most famous speech: the visuals and music wonderfully complement his (very moving) word.

Worth it for the opening panel alone.

Famous paintings recreated using vegetables. Really well done, actually.

A kick-ass Haiku. I'm totally serious: a kick-ass haiku.

The onion continues its reign of reportorial brilliance.

Characters from The Wire redawn in the style of The Simpsons.

A fun video of Stand By Me. (via)

Criticising the criticism of James Wood. (Interesting even if you are, as I am, only moderately familiar with his work.)

Alone doesn't mean lonely.

These links have been piling up for a while, so in most cases I've forgotten where I saw 'em. My apologies for lack of back-linking.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Shame on the New York State Senate Democrats

Update (Weds. Dec 10): It looks like I may have spoken too soon. According to the latest news reports (via), the Senate Democratic leadership has called off negotiations with the homophobic three, saying "we would rather wait two more years to take charge of the Senate." Bravo for them!

(END UPDATE. What follows is the original (now superseded) post.)

It seems that the deal just reached to organize the NY State Senate with a Democratic majority was achieved by agreeing not to bring a bill to allow gay and lesbian citizens equal marriage rights to a vote. (Blog links via.) (Back story: The bill passed the house last term, and the Governor has promised to sign it, but the Senate has heretofore refused to bring it to a vote; the hope had been that the November Democratic capture of the Senate (32-30) would allow it to proceed.)

Shame on the Democrats of New York, who have achieved power by selling out the rights of our gay and lesbian citizens. And shame above all on Pedro Espada, Rubén Díaz and Carl Kruger who insisted upon the maintenance of this injustice. I have no doubt that these little Wallaces squatting in the doors of marriage rights will be, in the end, remembered with the disdain they have earned. But it's little consolation to a movement for equality that has taken far too many blows recently.

I had hoped for better from my state. I really did.

Now to target the supporters of bigotry, and elect people who will recognize the rights of all their constituents -- not just some.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Price the Memorious

Life imitates Borges. (via)

Update: Jonah Lehrer mentions a second real-life case, as well as the Borges story. (again via)

Update 2: On the flip side, a patient with the condition depicted in the film Memento (and as such a key figure in the development of neuroscience) died this week. His NYT obituary tells the (sad but fascinating) story.