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A Wicked, Wicked Man (video)

At our synagogue, we have yet to do a pirate-themed Purim spiel, inspired by Edward Kritzler’s history of Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean. (And that is a true fact.)

We also have yet to do a Spongebob-Squarepants-themed Purim spiel, inspired by the conceptual pirate-themed Purim spiel, and (conceptually) featuring (parodies of) such classic hits as “The Best Day Ever,” “The P.U.R. Song,” “The Very First Purim,” and “Mordechai’s Ripped Pants.”

(This year, our teens are doing a courtroom skit, whose climax is a parody of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”… “I see a little silhouetto of a man— With a noose! With a noose! And he’s building a gallows! Fifty-cubits-high thing, very very fright’ning me! Elohenu, Elohenu… baruch shem k’vod malchuto, malchuto… I’m just poor Mordecai; nobody loves me. He’s just a Jew from a Benjamite family. Spare him his life from this monstrosity! Easy come, easy go, will you let us go? Tefillah! No! Please do not kill the Jews— Kill the Jews! … Oy! Oy! Oy! Oy!… Oh Elohenu, Elohenu, Elohenu, let him go! The Aggagite has a devil of his own for me, for me. For me! [insert headbanging here]“)  Click to continue »

The Twenty-first Century Meeting

Sometimes all you can do is laugh, to keep yourself from crying.

Therefore, here’s a video of every conference call you’ve ever been in…

(Except for the one with the speakerphone that doesn’t quite work right, and you can’t understand anything anyone is saying.)

Ain’t technology great?!

I have to admit, it was way less entertaining back in the twentieth century.

God Gets Mail

Dear God,

Just a quick note: I think your thermostat is broken. The temperature is supposed to be in the 40′s.

Tim from New England

Or does God use a weather-control grid?

The Dangers of Shopping at Target

“Alternate Target” by Naolito (deviant art)

Yesterday, I discovered that it can be dangerous to shop at Target.

…wearing a red shirt.

I was walking along, minding my own business. I had been re-listening to season 1 of Gregg Taylor’s character Martin Bracknell’s radio play Black Jack Justice (one of my favorite latter-day online radio series). I had paused my smartphone’s podcast player and removed my earbuds, and was poking through my email, when a guy walked up to me.

“Hi. How’re ya’ doin’?”

“Hi. I’m fine.” Me, suspicious, interrupted.

“Do you work here?”


“Oh. Sorry.”

Then his friend called to him, “Hey, I think it’s over there.”

And the kicker: he was wearing a red shirt, too.

Where is a bona fide red-shirt when you need one?


P.S. Okay, so maybe not quite as dangerous as I originally implied. But enjoy these red-shirted photos anyhow:

“Curse of the Red Shirt” by Damatris (deviant art)  Click to continue »

If We Switched Sexes on Valentine’s Day

We stay-at-home dads see this video from a special perspective:

Working moms, do something special for your husband-homemaker today.

And everyone, have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!


Found in My Bathroom

Looks like somebody left a little pea on the toilet seat…

Have a great weekend!


P.S. Photo courtesy my daughter, Abbie.

Bits & Pieces 2014-01-30

Links and things that I’ve run across recently.

… or not so recently.

Perl and other programming stuff

Some of what I’ve been doing during my absence from this blog, and some stories I hope to tell in more detail both here and on my software-development blog:

  • Tom Metro and I launched a new brand for our Perl project consulting: welcome to The Perl Shop.

  • I gave a talk on Perl 6 benchmarking, for our local Perl Mongers group, in December.

  • I also participated in the Dallas/Fort Worth Perl Mongers Winter Hackathon. I hope to write more about the experience, the reason I participated, and my data-deduplication solution, all on my SD blog.

  • In the interim, I also happened upon a phone interview with a local company looking for real developers to do advanced JavaScript stuff. I imagine it’s probably a really nice place to work, but I was left with a less-than-competent impression based on the interviewers displayed programming skills. That’s yet another story, but it’s also how most companies do programmer interviews. Brief lesson: if you don’t mind looking like an idiot, feel free to follow what all the other idiots are doing.

Getting Drunk on Fringe

I’ve been slowly making my way through Fringe on NetFlix.

I discovered a new drinking game. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Watch Fringe with me.  Click to continue »

The Curious Story of Tamar

Matthew begins his gospel by breaking the rules.

It’s not so much that he includes a boring genealogy that breaks the rules—although from a storytelling perspective, starting with a boring genealogy certainly breaks the storytelling rules. To the ancient Jews, genealogies were very important, and they pop up throughout the Bible.

Rather, it’s the way that Matthew tells his genealogy that’s likely to raise eyebrows.

For one thing, he names several women, which is definitely against the rules. The last was Bath-Sheba; King David murdered Uriah in order to steal her for himself. And in David’s ancestry, he mentions Ruth, who was a Moabite. And before that, Rahab, the whore from Jericho. And before that, Tamar, the mother of Peretz and Zerach, of whom you may never have even heard.

She is not to be confused with King David’s daughter Tamar, raped by her half-brother Amnon, who was then murdered by her other brother Absalom. (Sheesh! Being in a royal family sure does result in a lot of drama, doesn’t it?) That Tamar has a different story.  Click to continue »

The Trouble with Religious Morality

Today’s Quote

The trouble with religious morality comes not from morality’s being inescapably pure, but from religion’s being incurably unintelligible.

(Bernard Williams)

Williams, Bernard. “God, Morality, and Prudence.” Morality: An Introduction to Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993. 72. Print.

Sir Bernard Williams was a British moral philosopher, and one of the most influential of the latter half of the twentieth century.

He didn’t propose any systematic philosophical theory—indeed, was suspicious of any such attempt. Rather, he tried to address the question of how to live, focusing on the complexity of everyday life. The study of ethics, he argued, should be vital and compelling. He wanted to find an approach that was accountable to psychology, history, politics, and culture.

(Source: “Bernard Williams.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Jan. 2014. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.)  Click to continue »

Being a “Good” Parent

I ran across this e-card on social media:

“Some people need to learn to be a parent and not a friend. Quit being scared of making your kids mad. They'll get over it.”

Maybe… But I also think it’s more complicated than that. Our job as parents is to teach our kids how to be adults. So in every experience, we should be looking for the learning opportunity and how to make it real to our kids.

But upsetting them needlessly, or—what is worse—treating them to our own fear and anger, is unlikely to prompt them to internalize the constructive wisdom they’ll need those few years hence, when they accept complete responsibility and control for their own lives.

And this has nothing to do with being afraid your kids will hate you. Out of all the people I know, I don’t know any parents who seem to be afraid their kids won’t like them.

And that’s also not the same as making them mad, because it’s possible to be mad at someone and still have a close relationship with them. And I imagine most parents understand this, because how often are we mad at our kids?

Mostly, the dysfunctions I observe with parents and their children—or at least the phenomena that scare me—revolve around parents who can’t trust their kids, and kids who can’t be honest with their parents. If anything, I would think this more likely the result of not being afraid enough of upsetting one’s kids (whether by making them mad, or sad, or just plain disillusioned), and neglecting to balance these negative feelings with a healthy dose of positive love-activity.  Click to continue »

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