Friday, March 13, 2020

Working from Home: In Iambic Pentameter

If you should fail to find me here today
I hope you will not think I can’t be reached
Though circumstances make me stay away
My presence in the ether’s not decreased

I’m bringing all I need to work from home
You’ll find me via Slack and email too
And if you find you’re feeling quite alone
In Hangouts I can smile back at you

If you should wish to see where I will be
Please check my calendar from day to day
I’ll keep it up to date so you can see
Just whether I am here or I’m away

I thank you for you patience in this time
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my verse and rhyme

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Daf Yomi: Starting Tractate Shabbat

Berakhot has taught us a lot
I’m glad that I gave it some thought
So now the daf yomi
Begins to feel homey:
We’re starting the tractate ‘Shabbat’

My Jewish Learning Daf Yomi

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

D’var Misphatim

Today I’d like to talk to you about this past weekend’s parshah: Mishpatim. To do so, though, I’ll go one week farther back to Yitro to set the stage. At the end of Yitro, the tribes were camped out at the base of Mount Sinai, G-d has just spoken the ten commandments, and Moses has come down from the mountain to address the people. As he did, they
וְכָל־הָעָם֩ רֹאִ֨ים אֶת־הַקּוֹלֹ֜ת וְאֶת־הַלַּפִּידִ֗ם וְאֵת֙ ק֣וֹל הַשֹּׁפָ֔ר וְאֶת־הָהָ֖ר עָשֵׁ֑ן וַיַּ֤רְא הָעָם֙ וַיָּנֻ֔עוּ וַיַּֽעַמְד֖וּ מֵֽרָחֹֽק׃
witnessed the thunder and lightning, the blare of the horn and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they fell back and stood at a distance. (Exodus 20:15)
So what do they say? They tell Moses that they hear and will obey, but ask that G-d not speak to them because they’re afraid hearing G-d will kill them. Moses gets them to chill out, and then tells them briefly how to build an altar the right way. He shows them that the intense display of power isn’t the way that future praying and religious experiences will necessarily be. Thus ends Yitro.

Now, we get to Mishpatim, the reading from this past week. Immediately after this description of how to build a place to interact with G-d safely, we start with this sentence:
וְאֵ֙לֶּה֙ הַמִּשְׁפָּטִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר תָּשִׂ֖ים לִפְנֵיהֶֽם׃
These are the rules that you shall set before them (Exodus 21:1)
What would you expect to happen next? We’ve just heard about the altar. Would it follow up with a litany of rules about how to pray? Requirements of the priesthood, cleanliness, or a description of how to build the ark of the covenant? We know that’s coming, right? Maybe there’s rules pertaining to sacrifices and related rituals? It could even be a listing of holidays or festivals.

But none of this happens.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Into the Black

Into the Black

The gradual awakening from artificial hibernation runs the gamut of emotions. You start out relaxed, still nearly flatlined by the drugs that slow down your biological processes. As soon as you realize your limbs don’t respond when you try to move them, you swiftly move through panic. Luckily, the susurrus ocean rain sounds keep you from careening into a total meltdown.

A pale aquamarine display on the glass in front of you begins to come into focus. You see an outline of a generic human form to one side, vital systems outlined faintly to indicate just how perfectly healthy you still are. To the other side, the current date and time glints above a brief readout of the main starship status. Front and center, though, is a rotating diagram of the current star system or nebula.

At least, that’s what should be there. I woke to the normal calm-panic, healthy vitals, and clean bill of health for the ship. The center of the screen, though, was entirely blank. That shouldn’t be possible. The onboard AI that I’ve taken to calling “Aisha” is programmed to handle all interstellar decisions except in the event of an emergency, and there wasn’t even a trace of a rogue planet or radiation burst.

I wiggled my jaw for a minute before I could remember how to work my tongue enough to form words. “Aisha? Why?”

Immediately, the white noise stopped and her voice came in, whispering and calm as always at this early stage of awakening. “Relax, Jenny. Take a breath. Let’s work on your arms first.”

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Birthdays Happun

For your birthday, I decided to write some puns but I hope they aren’t so bad you want to punch or cake me. I just couldn’t candle it if they made you flee from my presents. If it’s all the flame to you, I’ll try really card to make it up to you. Maybe if there are enough of them you’ll forgift the whole thing.

[Written for my wife]

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Creative Haiku

This was the prompt in a “Creative Thinking” group I’m in at work: “Haikus are one of the most universal poems that anyone can create. Three lines of 5, 7, then 5 syllables. Write a 5-7-5 haiku about creativity.”

Here was my response:
A creative mind
Refuses to be constrained
So this last line has a lot more syllables than it was supposed to

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Weekend Concert

A few of my musically inclined friends put on a festival this past weekend. They’ve been planning it for months, and I helped out with some of the logistics. Since most of them don’t write their own songs, they picked their favorite bands and styles to cover.

My friend Ariel Mullens covered some 80s and 90s hits and decided to go with the stage name Ari M. A few friends sang sea shanties, and named their group after a fish and the color of the sea: Bass Teal. There was a couple who did some children songs under the name A Farmer and A Dell.

My friends Katy and Jane wanted to do a performance piece where they shaved the fur off wild animals, including a grizzly, but animal rights organizations found out about it. When I received strongly worded letters, I had to tell them, “You can’t make that bear naked, ladies.” They asked, “Really?! We have to come up with a new act?!” I replied, “Yeah, that’s what I Zedd.”

A local microbrewery decided to come up with some special sweet beers for the occasion. They named them after famous candies, and brought along a light and creamy 3 Musketeers ale, a golden crisp pilsner Twix, and a dark M&M chocolate stout. Sadly, when I asked about others they’d attempted, they told me that, try as they might, they could brew no Mars.

I got my family to help out, too. We had lots of cameras to cover the event. My sister Diane took camera one, my uncle David camera two, my brother-in-law Tom took three, my cousin Naomi had four, and my nephew Jack’s on five. My ma Sally was MC. Since he’s shy, we had to put my Pa, Nick, at the desk, though.

It was a complete success. At the end, they asked everyone involved to come on stage for a bow. I watched from the wings until they started shouting for me to come out as well. “You want me to come up there?” I asked, to which everyone replied, “Yeah! You, too!”

Thursday, March 7, 2019

News Limerick : March 7, 2019

It's Blockbuster's final location
Some visit it on their vacation
Though once quite routine
It's found a new sheen
With merchandise, hats, and libations

The World’s Last Blockbuster Has No Plans to Close

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Friday, March 1, 2019

News Limerick: March 1, 2019

“My son-in-law’s working for me
Security clearance for he!
Some worries, you say?
Just shove them away!”
He said to the powers that be

Trump directed officials to give Kushner security clearance

Thursday, February 28, 2019

News Limerick: February 28, 2017 (Cohen)

With papers provided by Cohen
It seems there’s some things quite worth knowing
But how ends this mess
Is anyone’s guess
It’s clear there’s a changing wind blowing

5 Revelations From Cohen: 2017 Checks, 'Catch-And-Kill,' Possible Book Deal

News Limerick: February 28, 2019 (North Korea)

The limelight’s a thing Trump’s enjoyed
With bluster he’s frequently toyed
But with no deal reached
Momentum’s been breached
I bet that he’s feeling Hanoi’d

Trump-Kim Summit Updates: ‘Sometimes You Have to Walk,’ Trump Says as Talks Collapse

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

News Limerick: February 27, 2019

With planes flying over Kashmir
And tensions are growing, I fear
One pilot shot down
As leaders all frown
Let's hope cooler heads will appear

India Pakistan: Kashmir fighting sees Indian aircraft downed

Friday, February 15, 2019

News Limerick: February 15, 2019

Since Amazon found its new site
Some locals declared "it's not right!
With tax breaks galore
We'll have to pay more!
So tell them to go fly a kite"

Amazon’s Retreat on New York City Headquarters Followed Unexpected Backlash

Thursday, February 14, 2019

News Limerick: February 14, 2019

There once was a rover named Oppy
The size of a good old jalopy
It had a good run
The mission’s now done
Success like that’s so hard to copy

Rest well, rover

Monday, February 11, 2019

News Limerick: February 11, 2019

Releasing the year’s new emojis
Adds food (but not berries like gojis)
With wheelchairs and canes
And shapes bright and plain
There’s yo-yos and even banjojies!

Emoji Recently Added, v12.0

Saturday, February 9, 2019

News Limerick: February 9, 2019

In FaceTime he found quite a bug
At first Apple only would shrug
But now that it’s patched
Rewards are dispatched
(Just please don’t look under the rug)

Apple releases FaceTime fix, rewards 14-year-old who discovered eavesdropping bug

Friday, February 8, 2019