Friday, April 27, 2012

A Novel Plot

I had never heard of Christine Brooke-Rose, but upon reading her obit I was amused by this description of the plot of her novel Xorandor:

" Xorandor, for example, concerns a sort of sentient silicon pebble which overdoses on Caesium, becomes convinced it is Lady Macbeth and threatens to destroy the world. The work is narrated in the form of an invented technological slang dialogue between a pair of twins and their computer."

The full obituary may be read here.

Rain Rain Go Away

After much of the country having been put on drought warning, we appear to have had a month's rain in a few days. That may explain why I opened my front door the other day to see the above view.

Reminded me of Make Way for Ducklings, a book from my childhood over which my sister and I fought for ownership as adults.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

There's a hole in my sock

Memories. They keep coming back to you like ... memories. (For those of you who may remember her, thanks to the Chicken Lady from the Kids in the Hall for that quote)

This morning I put my heel through a sock while dressing. It's a simple sock - a white ankle sock with a small navy Nike flash around the top. I should just bin it. The problem is, this pair of socks is the only tangible souvenir I have of a brief encounter when I turned forty and went mad for a few months.

After 5 years as a rabbi in the Shenandoah Valley I was lonely. I'd been offered a new contract, but turned it down. Put my stuff in storage, and got a mobile phone. With no plans in mind, I accepted a High Holyday gig in Seattle, and decided to drive there from Virginia. I earned $1800, and kept on driving until it ran out.

It was in San Jose that I met her. Mutual friends invited us out to dinner. She was a cantor, and we bonded through the music of Kurt Weill. We went home together, and I didn't leave the flat for 3 days. Then it was time to go, and I got back in my car and headed East.

That's what I remember. Except for the bits I couldn't possibly write down. The memory may be inaccurate, fraying at the edges during the past nine years; tidied up a bit for brevity or clarity. All that is certain is that she gave me this pair of socks. They were still in a plastic wrapper, and she did not want them washed and returned. I don't remember why I needed them. I just know that each time I put them on I think of her for a moment, and smile.

There's a hole in the heel of one of my socks. I don't want to throw it away although I should. I'm wearing it right now, and I'm smiling.

Friday, April 06, 2012

An Orange on the Seder Plate

Taking part in this year's campaign by Nashot HaKotel aka Women of the Wall. It must be at least 25 years since the first feminists added an orange to the symbols on the Seder plate. WoW asked us to photograph ourselves with an orange upon which was written one's name and current location. So here I am (wearing the QPR Dennis the Menace shirt just after returning from the Arsenal game).

So why an orange? The story is circulating that Susannah Heschel (daughter of the great rabbi Abraham Joshua H) once asked an orthodox rabbi when he thought women would be allowed to stand on the bima and lead the community in worship. His supposed reply was that it had as much chance of happening as there was of bread being placed on a Seder plate. Turns out that this is not what actually happened. According to Heschel herself, the issue was solidarity with Jewish lesbians, and since one should not put bread on the Seder plate, she decided that an orange should be used instead. The full details may be found here.

Today, in solidarity with LGBTQ people, women, and anyone marginalised and suffering from prejudice, we maintain this custom.

Passover Greetings

Our Seder is almost ready to go. Just waiting for one more guest (apart from Elijah). As we read and discuss our ancestors' journey from slavery to freedom, I hope to work hard in the coming year for those in our world who are still enslaved.

Wishing peace and joy to all. Chag sameach!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Happy Happy Happy

Adel Taarabt's impromptu Tommy Cooper impersonation last Saturday vs Arsenal

And to think that my fear of utter humiliation by an Arsenal team on a 7-win streak almost led me to call Chris and ask him to find another buyer for his ticket! Luckily I did not, and was present for a stunning 2-1 victory.

It's impossible to describe the utter exhilaration of the nanosecond after your team has scored a goal. All I can say is that I was so energised that I was able to run up all the stairs at the Metropolitan line station to catch the train and not even feel out of breath!

And so the dance of hope continues. One week salvation seems quite possible , and the next relegation is imminent. Baseball season has started, but it's just not quite the same.