Friday, December 22, 2006

Rabbis without God

The Jerusalem Post is reporting:
"In an unprecedented event in Israel, seven secular Jews who view Judaism as a culture, as opposed to a religion, will be ordained as rabbis Friday in Jerusalem."
As the few and brave readers of this blog know, I am involved in a local Secular Jewish congregation--one that is a related organization to the one that is doing the ordaining in Israel: International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism--so this is good to hear.

A hat tip to Jack Silver by way of my wife for this news.

Philosophy of Ambiguity

My uncle sent these to me and I thought many of them where funny enough to pass along:

1. Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

2. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor....

3. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

4. If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?

5. The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.

6. I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

7. What if there were no hypothetical questions?

8. If a deaf person swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap?

9. If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

10. Is there another word for synonym?

11. Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"

12. What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

13. If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?

14. Would a fly without wings be called a walk?

15 Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?

16. If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless or naked?

17. Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?

18. If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?

19. Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines?

20. How do they get deer to cross the road only at those yellow road signs?

21. What was the best thing before sliced bread?

22. One nice thing about egotists: They don`t talk about other people.

23. Does the Little Mermaid wear an algebra?

24. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

25. How is it possible to have a civil war?

26. If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown too?

27. If you ate both pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?

28. If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

29. Whose cruel idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have "S" in it?

30. Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" instead of "assteroids"?

31. Why is it called tourist season if we can't shoot at them?

32. Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?

33. If you spin an oriental man in a circle three times does he become disoriented?

34. Can an atheist get insurance against acts of God?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Deathly Hallows

Rowling has announced the title to her next and last Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Sounds a tad ominous, no?

The article from the BBC has some interesting quotes from Rowling about her mixed emotions on finishing the last book.

Hat tip to my beautiful wife.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Just how do you spell it???

The LeeVee's video for How do you spell Channukkah?:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Hanukkah Rocks Review

Here's my review, written for the Or Adam newsletter, of The LeeVee's Hanukkah Rocks CD.

Just how do you spell Hanukkah? And is it apple sauce or sour cream for your latkes? These are the question posed by The LeeVees in their holiday album: Hanukkah Rocks. Adam Gardner and Dave Schneider combine for this fun, contemporary, and entertaining album of new Hanukkah songs. Released in October 2005, Hanukkah Rocks seeks to fill a gap in Hanukkah music. Outside of the ubiquitous "Driedel Song", there aren't too many songs out there for Hanukkah. Gardner and Schneider, both established musicians with their respective bands (Guster and The Zambonis), successfully fill this void with sure to be classics like "Latke Clan": "We'll put the oil into the pan/So come and join our Latke Clan/'Cause we are latke fans" and the hilarious "How Do You Spell Channukkahh?": "I remember when I was/In Elementary School/A Spanish kid told me/that it starts with a silent J/But Julio was wrong". These songs capture the secular sense of Hanukkah that connects most Jews to the holiday, but they are also good enough to listen to year round. Other songs are about the love for kugel, the adventure of the Jewish Matzoh Ball, and the unofficial Jewish tradition of going for Chinese food on Christmas day. The album is often amusing and always fun; and furthermore, full of the joy of being Jewish.

Hanukkah Rocks, Reprise Records
Available online at

Monday, December 04, 2006

My American Accent

Hat tip to Philosopher Stone for this. His, he asserts, was dead on. As for me, not quite. Maybe I over thought questions...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
North Central
The Inland North
The Northeast
The South
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Sunday, December 03, 2006

More Updates...

Some other items of interest (to me at least):

1. Saw the new Bond movie on Saturday. Daniel Craig is fantastic as Bond. Bronson brought a lot of romantic elements back to Bond after Dalton's more naturalistic portrayal, but Craig, and the movie as a whole, really brings out the true romanticism of the character and the story. Bond is a true hero in a grand adventure; and the movie avoids the cynicism and cheesiness that often accompany such films. One gets the feeling that this must have been what it was like to have seen Dr. No with Sean Connery for the first time in the theaters. The rest of the cast is quite good as well. I am looking forward to next Bond already.

2. Kristen and I have been listening with our friends Amy and Michael to the Teaching Company's: Introduction to Judaism course. We listen to the tapes and then go over the discussion questions and other issues raised by the lecture. A much more effective method than just listening as I walk the dog half a sleep in at 6am. We are almost done with the course and will then listen to Jewish Intellectual History.

3. We've started an Or Adam Book Club. We're going to start in February and then meet every two months. All the books will have Jewish theme or focus of some kind. The first book is The Song of Hannah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy. One of the other books we are doing is Betraying Spinoza by Rebecca Goldstein. It's a biography of Spinoza, but Goldstein is a philosopher and so I expect it to get into his ideas. I know little of Spinoza, and so this will be a good opportunity to pick up a little more.


To my loyal readers, if there are any, it is time for an update on what I've been up to.

I've applied for several full-time teaching jobs for Fall 2007. Mostly Northeastern schools; small liberal arts colleges with a strong emphasis on undergraduate education. I think that is the kind of school I'd be happiest at, and moreover, I think that kind of education environment is, for most students, the most beneficial and rewarding. I'll be attending the Eastern APA meeting in DC; I am hopeful that I'll have some interviews. For those outside of the philosophy world: the Eastern APA conference is both a philosophy conference with presentations and the like but it also the main stage for the first round of job interviews.

The dissertation is under way, and I am targeting finishing in May. A bit on the aggressive side, but my chair and I are confident and optimistic. We have worked out a plan that is doable.

Part of the dissertation involves using characters from Robert Parker's Spenser series. I am using the characters of Spenser and Hawk to focus the questions and problems of Practical Wisdom that the dissertation is focused on. As such, I am reading several of the novels so that they are more fresh in mind.