Saturday, September 21, 2013

Really Bad Joke...

Top of the evening to all...

For those who do not know, it is a custom during the holiday of Sukkot to take the Four Species, commonly known as a lulav.  The four species include myrtle branches.  In Hebrew, the myrtle is called 'hadas.'

Apparently, there was a shortage of hadasim this year.  They searched high.  They searched low.  They could not find any.  One frustrated merchant was heard to say the following:

.אין כל הדס תחת השמש

I would like to apologize for this joke.  As well, if you are not a Hebrew speaker, please know that I am unable to render this pun in English.

Have a good evening.


I Can't Win...

Good evening all...

With all of the Jewish holidays falling in September, we were very excited that we would have good weather for Sukkot.  For those who do not know Sukkot, we build temporary booths in our yards, and we take our meals therein.  Evenings have been lovely.  Days...less so.

Why have days been less lovely?  I have never seen so many yellowjackets.  They were all over the sukkah.  They chased us inside.

I thought they liked beer.  So I had purchased remarkably bad beer to put some out for them.  Please note: they do not like beer.

They do like grape juice and honey.  My experiment has somewhat worked in this regard.  I put some honey in a wine bottle.  I now have about 50 yellowjackets captive.  I am not letting them go.

I had also put some grape juice in a plastic bottle.  It was possible to feel the buzzing through the bottle.

It is supposed to be cooler this week.  Perhaps they will all stay home.

Moadim l'Simchah.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Can We Please Have an Intelligent Conversation?

Top of the morning all...

You are now likely aware of the goings-on at the Washington Navy Yard.  This one is personal for me, as you might imagine.  My administrative requirements are handled at the reserve centre in DC.  All DC-based Naval personnel had to report in yesterday (either by phone or by computer).

I wrote several months ago after the massacre in Connecticut that the nation had to have a conversation about this, and that not all of the answers could be connected back to having lenient gun laws.  We had to discuss violence in movies and in video games.  We had to have a conversation about mental illness. Failure to consider all of these issues will lead to a hollow reaction that will not address the problem.

It is turning out that yesterday's shooter had been hearing voices.  As well, there are reports he had been spending as much as 16 hours a day playing violent video games.  It is inconceivable to me that anything we might do 16 hours a day would not affect us.

I again say this: the laws in the US as regards procuring a personal weapon are simply too lenient.  However, we must consider these other factors.  People who wish to procure a personal weapon will do so, no matter the law.  What motivates a person to load the weapon and squeeze the trigger is a separate set of questions.  That separate set of questions yields a separate set of answers.

Had base security been on the ball, he would not have gotten onto the Yard with a weapon.  Had his arrest record been determinant, he would not have been able to purchase a weapon.  There are too many stopping points in the trail that led to yesterday's shooting.  Had any one of them been given the necessary consideration, none of this would have happened.

On a separate note, the shooter had a police record and a discipline record with the Navy.  He also had a job working as a sub-contractor for Hewlett-Packard.  He worked on Navy computers, including our intra-net.  It is shocking to me that he might have been allowed near those things with such a background.  It really makes me question what a security clearance is actually worth.

In honour of the US Navy, I refer all to the singing of the Navy Hymn.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Cost-Therapy Equation

Hi all...

After years of emotionally exhausting research, I have finally identified the cost-therapy equation.  It is an important theory for all who have to get up in the morning and go to work.

Here is part of how I identified it.  Before I left for Japan, Jennifer had to quit her job in order to be, in effect, a single parent.  Her job required full-time hours, lack of sleep, some weekends away, and a lot of logistical challenge working with one car and kids going to school far from the house.  She could not do that with me gone.

After I got back, Jennifer started a new job.  The hours were only part-time, and we took a net pay cut of ~$2500/year.  The hours, as I said, were part-time.  I usually pick up the kids from school one day a week, though her schedule would allow it.  She is home nights.  She has been gone for a total of three weekends.

To understand the cost-therapy equation, you have to ask the following question: does the amount of money being earned pay for the therapy you need as a result of your job?  I can tell you - the extra ~$2500/year Jennifer brought in did not cover the therapy we needed as a result of her job.

The challenge to this equation is the other side.  Sometimes, a bad job pays for therapy.  We need to pay bills.  The inability to do that can often yield more stress than the lousy working circumstances.  Having watched many people deal with the angst of unemployment, there is a limit to the tongue-in-cheek nature of this blog entry.

Have a good day all.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Scenes from an Airport

Good evening everyone...

I am sitting here in Norfolk International Airport.  United Airlines did not think it necessary to have my luggage arrive on the same flight I did.

While I was sitting here, a woman in a bit of a rush pushed a cart past me.  The cart had several large boxes and was labelled as containing donor organs.  I asked her if she needed help.

Suddenly, the luggage does not seem quite as important.

This is a definite good news-bad news situation.  Obviously, someone just died.  On the other hand, someone else now has a chance at life.

Sign your donor cards.  I have done so.  I would be honoured to be a witness on your card.

Please note: there are no halakhic objections to this.  I do not know how it came to be that you have to be buried intact, but it is utter nonsense.  Not that it matters.  All commandments are suspended when saving a life anyway.

Have a good evening.