Monthly Archives: August 2006

AEIOU, long and short, in order. Manny’s newest challenge.

You can google the names, the cop-car is from the Rhyme-Police, all three are wearing Kuiper belts, and Cowper stole my “Teeth for the Toothless” song-title..(I had to find out about it after the CD was already out). Such is life in this filler cosmos. (You can listen to the song, just click “visit my web-site” and then “music“). A Gute Woche to all



Manny deMensch comes our unambigiously against obscurantism…

JS: Hey Manny, you see I put up that Seinfeld piece you did?
MM: “that Seinfeld piece…” You don’t say? How impossibly droll..
JS: Yeah, I thought it was great..”
MM: “that Seinfeld piece.. Let me ask you a simple question, Johnny. Where exactly did the Seinfeld connection come up in your lead-in..?
JS: They all know the joke, Manny
MM: …do not! What, you pay xanga by the word?
JS: I thought it would be cool just to let them put it together, you know, the “57“, the “I thought it was a prime number“…um..ketchup… dogs…buns…there should always be ketchup left over, so you gotta by more hot dogs to use it up…
MM: Hey, we’re allowed to be “far-fetched“, but a xanga’s supposed to Like… without a ladder and oxygen and climbing gear.
JS: So… Hey what’s the deal with selling hot dogs in eight-packs but rolls in sixes?”. Haha. But then you have to assume that Heintz meant, like “Enough Ketchup for 57 hot dogs“, knowing it would never work out even, until like, 1729 servings, ich vays?
MM: You saw where Klick and Klack, the Tappet Brothers brought in none less than Marty Gardiner’s son from Norman, Oklahoma, to explain the answer to “last week’s puzzler“?
JS: Yeah, that was awesome. A present for their listeners with “special needs
MM: And maybe we should do something similar?
JS: What, get Seinfeld to explain your little inside joke for you?
MM: He’s Jewish, ain’t he? Give him a call, Johnny..
JS: Uh… Manny, we’re in a different league..
MM: Don’t shut him out, man, he’s a cute kid, he could use the exposure..
JS: Droll a n d megalomaniacal, ain’t we?
MM: Ok, so we just do an explanation thingy a day after each of my posts, that’d give the audience a ray of hope, if they thought there was something they like, weren’t quite getting..
JS: Something like this here dialogue?
MM: Yeah, I mean, like what’s with the Ketchup, johnny, what’s the deal with that?

Manny’s still searching for clues…

Having bought seven 13-packs of hot dogs, and thirteen 7-packs of rolls for our post-war 91-guest cookout..(The Mayor of Haifa having been quoted on the nightly news this evening to the effect that a sense of humor is essential in war-time… this after one of the daily papers quotes Giora Eiland’s assesment that Iran would probably sacrifice half its population just to wipe us off the map), Manny decided to explore an un-resolved “issue” in  Ketchup-Folklore. He just can’t let it go that English, unlike Hebrew, doesn’t feel a compulsion to ensure that words, differing only by internal vowel-substitution, have a common thread of meaning. I mean, in Hebrew, once you learn that “Ge-SH-eM” is “rain“, it’s a natural, short progression to “meet-ge-Shem“, (“to finally happen“). The connection is simple. After nine months of rainless “summer”, it will, almost certainly, within a few short weeks, finally rain here. Makes Esperanto look…um…un-inspired.


“Tees for the Chosen..”

So here, as promised, is part one of a project I’m happy to believe will actually do something for humanity. Sorry for the colorful-but-less-than-triumphantly didactic Graph Lessons.

 See, it all started with a modest offer to a company whose name I found on a tossed-away Installation Sheet in the weeds near the empty trash can (where else?) near our new Traffic Circle. In my letter I simply introduced myself briefly, and expressed my willingness to play a part in…well.., read on..
   As it turns out, none other than Senior Vice-President for Customer Relations Alonzo B. Nye of “Nye’s-Trip Tees“, one of the leading Intersection Planning and Execution firms on the international scene found the time to answer my letter. His response, I believe, explains it all..
  My Dear yonatan:
Thank you for your inquiry. To be absolutely frank, we have been looking for some time now for a liason/translator with your obvious qualifications. Believe me, the volume of mail from your country regarding alleged poor through-put of our time-tested Tee-intersections, including, incredibly, the new Super-Tee/99, which I might mention has a spotless performance record in most of our other markets, has been noted frequently with dismay at staff meetings. Let me say, discretely, that there seems to be a certain “difficulty”, for whatever reason, in implementing what should be, in principal, a “no-brainer” traffic solution, in areas with a…um…high concentration of peoples of your Mosaic persuasion. This being somewhat of a sensitive matter, we would suggest that you take the (attached) Standard Troubleshooting Manual, and, without insinuation or recrimination “adapt” it to your co-religionists’ “special needs”. Having read your writing samples, let me say that we have full faith in your ability to tactfully carry out this task. God willing, some day soon we may even be able to joke about what you amusingly term “Tees for the Chosen.” Sincerely, Alonzo “Al” Nye

  Ok, the STM was basically boiler-plate stuff, a quick read, actually. A sweet tone pervaded its advice on sign-placement, preservation of clear sight-lines, road marking templates. The impression was of a company who sincerely wanted to be helpful, useful, motherly, I’d even say. And what Al couldn’t have known was that intersection ettiquette was for me not some quick idea I’d come up with to get a closer look at the new 500 Euro bill. No, I’d had this “jook b’rosh“(cockroach in the head, lit. or ‘an idea which won’t go away’) since ’94, when I’d done the lion’s share of the field research for Prof. DeSotre’s definitive psycho-traffic analysis paper. (Tel Aviv University Press, 1996) Think hours of sitting at intersections carefully writing down all 17 parameters for each stupid Subaru. I’ll also take credit for the now-standard acronym, ACRIDS, (Acquired, Culturally-Reinforced Insolent Driver Syndrome). Although my thin popularization book, “The Man Who Mistook his Wife’s Subaru for a Penis” didn’t do much more than raise a few eyebrows in the cut-out racks, I decided about a year ago to take a few months off from the Institute to “write the book” on bad drivers. Those “Red-light Rambo’s” we’re all too familiar with. Nothing less than the “Ram-zor Rambam“, my goal here.. (‘ram’zor‘=hebrew for traffic-light, ‘Ram’bam‘, Acronym for Moses Maimonides, middle-ages author of “A guide to the Perplexed”, treatises on Halacha, the Jewish law and its practice) Wow, that was quite a paranthetical, but I was afraid you wouldn’t get the pun, as usual, dear reader. My new book I’ll probably call “Standards for the Vershtunken“. No parantheses..look it up yourself.
    Soooo… let’s jump in headfirst and layout the “first principles” of the “Tee Intersection”  It will soon be obvious that we have both “Day one” problems, that is, issues inherent in the very fact of merging two or more traffic flows, and “Derivative” problems, our local specialty, caused by drivers who assume, rightfully and sadly, that “day one” problems have yet to be mastered and overcome by their fellow motorists. A few drawings may help here:

The “Potemkin” Synagogue”

     “Ask not, that ye be not asked“. Jesus’s supposed to have said that. Actually, “Judge not, that ye be not judged“. I’m trying to figure out why my partner in this Dome project took a half an hour to make sure we were talking about the same phrase, which he knows from its Russian version. Where’s it’s relevance? I mean, just because I can’t stop screaming upward to some non-existant god about how the millions spent on this synagogue could’ve funded basic child-care for half of Burundi… Alex sure had no problem translating Marx’sReligion is the opiate of the people“, so where’s the problem taking a well-deserved swipe at the Imaginary Rabbit? Really, when you see the Great Hall, “finished” for the cameras, (except for the Great Ceiling, whose rough concrete and exposed re-bars sticking through the pours at all angles furnish a wide selection of seating-opportunities for the pigeons, whose foot-high piles of rich guano litter the gold-speckled floor tiles), you realize that Something is Wrong with This Picture. Of course, newbie that I am to things Levantine, I had to be let in on the secret by a cynical and trusted friend. Rich donors, probably from the States, pay for parts of the construction, get a Plaque, and if they’ve been burnt before, kindly request a photo of their plaque “in situo“. I havent seen the plaque for the dome yet. The paint’s still wet on the “situo“. They’re probably waiting for somebody to under-write the stained glass. And so, while we await the birth of another sucker, (oughta take about a minute or so), and I wait to be paid for my construction skills, (which may take somewhat longer), I found an un-documented option in good old MS-Paint. Potemkin-izer, I call it. You may vaguely recall the story of the Russian general who, in an attempt to impress Cathy the Awesome, built facade Villages. Alex knew just who I meant; we’re only bickering about the moral implications. Anyway, I “added” the glass. (see below). Cathy should be “satisfied” (sorry, couldn’t resist!), and I just wanted to see how it will look, someday, when the cameras come out and the pigeons wait discretely for humans to finish their little Potemkin tour. All I ask, I guess, is that the kids in Burundi get a little picture of the plaque, too… Meanwhile, Crimea river, I’d rather B in the C of A-zov.

maybe this picture is a little better… I tried to add a horsey, but she ran away before I could “save” it. Katerina’s got her own, anyway…

Just spent an hour trying to clearly show how Purple Car’s “world-line” passes “over” Red Car’s “world-line”. All this just to give dumb Purple-car a way to salvage his fragile ego. He can now say, “Haha, I’ve had mechanical sex with this intersection MORE RECENTLY than Red Car…” Red Car replies, “I had her, na, na!” They’re both right, of course, but I don’t care any more… So tomorrow, we’ll drive onward, against the traffic, borne back ceaselessly by the, well, you get the drift…

Carlsberg xanga disclaimer…

There is a small, but non-zero probability that my site is the best one on Xanga. That’s about all I can truthfully assert. I am busy preparing an interesting article on traffic flow. There’ll be math, sex, violence, shiny cars, exotic foreign tongues… hey, whadda you ppls want? Amos, Al, Manny, Gato, and me are all playing bumper-cars on the floor, looking for strange attractors and hamiltonians. Life at its best… Stay tuned…

Meanwhile, proof that man can fly..

The Carls-Borg Unification Conjecture

    And they said the three-body problem was intractable! I’ve just spent the better part of five years working out the Schroedinger Wave Equation for an (arbitrarily-chosen) one billion opinionated, preference-expressing, beer-guzzling Eigen-values, complete with functors for taste-bud coherence, neural-network repeatability, and even Peer-pressure (in Newtons per square centimeter). And now, I read, for the first time, amazingly, that my ground-breaking LebensArbeit has been stolen, published, and copyrighted by none other than those Quantum Brewers, Carlsberg Beer. I guess I don’t that much begrudge them the honor… after all, their support for Neils Bohr and the Boys at the Copenhagen School was critical in the early 20th century to the development of the now-accepted-but-with-reservations probabilistic model of reality at the smallest sub-atomic levels. It turns out, just like with the photon’s position, that the most you can rigorously say about a Beer is what’s printed on the bottom of the can: PROBABLY THE BEST BEER IN THE WORLD. I personally prefer Tuborg Red, but hey, look what those Bohrs at Tuborg found appropriate to print on their cans: “OPEN UP”  Duh…So that’s why all the beer kept dripping out when I opened the can! Illuminated and inebriated, I now turn to my final project… Nothing less than a Unified Field Theory uniting Carlsberg probability with Tuborgian gravity. I smell a free trip to Stockholm…

“I did not mention sex to that septa-pus…”

   Nu..b’emet!! This handy hebrew phrase should be used whenever the speaker would be saying in english, “c’mon… are you serious? Maybe you should take your brain in for its 25,000 mile checkup!” And this was my reaction exactly to a first-ever, evil little e-mail I received last night. A little background.. I periodically search “hebrew” on xanga, principally to locate people who might need help or encouragement learning the language. Wouldn’t want to think I stood idly by while some earnest student called a dryer an “embarrasment-machine” by mistake. I’ve made a lot of friends this way. Sooo.. a few days ago I came upon a particularly touching and thought-fully written account of a young person’s attempt to be welcomed by a certain religous institution. At the end of the post was a box with the heading “Add Comments“, so I left a short sentence or two of encouragement, along the lines of “be strong, know that you are right, and know that five minutes in israel would convince you (and your persecutors) that jews come in all flavors, tints, and persuasions.” With that I moved on, having been supportive and factual. End of story.
    …Or so I thought. The angry email, sent through some annonymous “twinsR-us” empty site, by who knows who or what, screamed, “Why is an old man sending messages to a little girl??? Stop it!!!” I include my response (below), but, point-by-point here, I’d first ask how it could be that that old man Jonas Salk developed the Polio vaccine when everyone just knew he was doing it to save the lives of luscious little girls whom he could later ravish in their sleep? I never even looked at the age of the poster, other than a quick glance at a fuzzy profile picture. I would have left the same comment for a Martian, a seven-legged octopus, or a pachysandra cutting, for that matter. The only reason I ever look at “age” is to prevent embarrasing myself by telling 99-year-olds to “Cheer up, you got your whole life ahead of you, mate!”. Ok, I suppose there are poor-souls on xanga preying on youngsters. And maybe these youngsters are too young to perceive that someone like me, (who thankfully has not for a second lacked willing, age-appropriate, intelligent and satisfied lovers), is not a likely pediatrist…, whatever. Maybe they confused me with Haim Ramon or Moshe Katsav, our Ministry of Justice head and President, respectively, who are both lately defending themselves against grave charges of Kissing-on-the-lips and worse. It’s a no-win story, and painful to read about, given that either alternative, guilty or innocent,  leaves our society feeling insulted and confused.
More probably, the emailer doesn’t know where israel is on a map. I’m just glad I chose to defend myself, rather than responding with a wimpy “sorry, it wont happen again, thanks to therapy and your wise intervention.” If a reader has a different “take” on this episode, or a similar story to offer for comparison, I eagerly wait to be further educated in this area.

To xxxxx:
   Not knowing to whom exactly I’m replying, I’ll just state the facts. In
searching “hebrew“, which I do every once in a while to find people whom I
help with the language, I found what I thought was a touching and
well-written post. I didn’t bother to even look at the age, if it appears at
all. Anyone who knows me would laugh at the suggestion that I have any
interest whatsoever in bothering youngsters. To say that is an insult to my
years spent helping people all over the globe. The “gist” of my comment,
which should have been clear to anyone even partially literate, was that a
few days of seeing what the ethnic make-up of israel looks like, would be
the perfect antidote to the rough treatment the poster received. I hope you
understand now.  I obviously will never again bother to even look at the
site in question, for fear of offending you, who ever you are. You owe me an
apology, but I wont hold my breath for that, either. I stand by my comment,
which I typed, innocently, into the box under the title “Add Comments“,
Sorry if I didn’t see the little print which said “only if you’re under 13
Maybe I need glasses. You need help of a different kind.
jonatan sollberg