Thursday, December 31, 2009

Salute the Lady with Clear Vision

Mushkie is a soldier in the Rebbe's Army. She's both scrupulous and meta-scrupulous. All females are encouraged to go to her blog and give her a virtual pat on the back

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm Moving out of the Ghetto!

Some of you knew already. Some of you didn't. But now all of you will know. I found a new residence near Brooklyn College. I will begin paying rent there February first, exactly 13 months after moving into my current residence in the Heights.

Some FAQS:

Why are you moving out?

I want to get out of the ghetto.

But aren't you moving into another ghetto?

Yeah, but it's a ghetto where not everyone knows my name, history, and which city my grandfather urinated in. (It was Nevel.)

Why'd you choose this location?

It was cheap.

How much less than your current abode?

Negative 100 dollars a month.


Listen, if you don't understand negative numbers, I'd be thrilled to tutor you for a nominal fee.

Are you transferring to Brooklyn College?

I dunno. It'll be painful to pass the Brooklyn College campus every day while walking to the subway station for an hour-long ride. But I like City College. I dunno.

We'll miss you in Crown Heights!

The feelings are mutual. I shall come by to visit.

In unrelated news, here's a comic:

Thanks Mottel for telling me about this site

Monday, December 28, 2009

Metametametametametametaism--AURGH!!! Gödel, Escher, Bach!

(Dowy: you once said that you don't like when posts have too many links. Don't feel the need to click on all the links. The links are just examples but don't really make a difference.)

There are songs. And there are songs which sing about other songs.

In the prayerbook, there are ostensibly praises to God. Many of those praises consist of saying, "Let's praise God."

Chassidus talks about all sorts of cool stuff. One of the cool things that chassidus talks about is chasidus.

On Facebook you can talk about your life. Part of your life is Facebook. So part of Facebook is discussing Facebook.

Of course, there are also youtube videos about youtube.

As this is a blog, let's discuss blogs that blog about blogging.

There are those bloggers who write things like, "There I was thinking what to blog about, and I thought that maybe I should blog about what I blogged about yesterday. Or maybe I'll blog about the impact of the blogosphere in politics. Oops! My mom's calling me. Gtg. But I'll be back tomorrow, to blog some more."

Then you have comments about comments.

"Oh what a funny comment that was! You always leave funny comments!"

"Well, why don't you comment on my blog?"

"I would, if you'd follow my blog."

(Now the blogger who's hosting this scintillating conversation chimes in.)

"Wow! Look how many comments this post has garnered!'

"wats garnered/"


"Sheesh. learn to spell. that;s 'What's,' not 'wats.'"

"Watch your own typos. According to Strunk and White, a semi-colon is not an apostrophe."

All these comments are just about comments.

The self-referential nature of comments and blogs leads to an interesting question: what is the point of a thing that only discusses itself? However, my point now is not to answer that question. I shall move on to the next exhibit: blogging about blogging about blogging.

I once blogged about blogging about blogging.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging.

Now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging blogging about about blogging about blogging about blogging.

Aurgh! When is this going to stop? (Fyi, that previous sentence was blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging.)

Hey! Guess what? That previous sentence was blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging.)

The following sentence is true.
The previous sentence is false.

You can't resolve this kind of stuff. You just gotta pull the plug, or else your brain will keep trying to execute an endless loop.

You may also be interested in "What the Tortoise said to Achilles."

The real place to get information about this type of stuff is Gödel, Escher, Bach, by Douglas Hofstadter. He's the guy who invented Hofstadter's rule: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law."

Added 1/13/10:
This comic is much more relevant. I know half of it is cut off. I can't be bothered to play with it, considering that the fifteen minutes of this post's fame are long gone. If you want to see the entire comic, click here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

From the Man who Redefined what it Means to be Chasidish...

Succeeding Miserably
from the man who redefined what it means to be chasidish
(with only the most moderate of editing by your truly)
The obedient boy
A reluctant non-rebel
Freedom is his daydream
A glorious future awaits him

If he can do what's right

He lacks the courage to follow his mind
Like a bee flies about the window
Because he is afraid of darkness
Uncertainty and difficulties
Hopes that time will change things
The pieces will fall in place

They never do

Resigns his destiny to fate
Locks himself with invisible chains
Does everything he loathes
Beats and chokes his soul
Until it flies away and dies
Imprisons his intellect
Adjusts his scruples to match his appearance
And fakes the rest

He has settled down, his peers think

Alone, he walks among the crowd
Keeping his opinions to himself
Shying away from controversy
Biting his tongue

Raises children to worship bullshit
Lives a dull and meaningful life,
For purposes not worth a damn
A happy life, he thought

Old, broken, and ill
Lies on his deathbed
Feels like shit
Like Ivan Ilyich
Hasn't accomplished anything
Nothing to be proud of
Worked all his life to become The Unknown Citizen
And succeeded miserably
Oh! He won't go gentle into that good night

Or will he?

What's done is done
If he knew back then
How life would end
Perhaps he would have packed up,
And left

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Yesterday, I was walking to my domicile from the Presdient Street 2 station. As I was walking between New York and Brooklyn, I noticed that the sidewalk had been shoveled in front of every single house on my side of the street, with one exception: the vacant house on the block. The snow had been shoveled off the porch and the part of the front walk nearer the house. But the rest of the walk and the sidewalk in front of the house was covered in ice.

Who spent his or her time shoveling the porch, but couldn't be bothered to shovel the sidewalk?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Near Disaster Nearly Averted

A mere twenty minutes ago was the linear algebra final. In brief, he's what linear algebra entails: you do simple things like add, subtract, and multiply. But you gotta deal with a bunch of numbers at once (usually nine [because they like to use three by three matrices]). This drives me crazy. When you're dealing with all these numbers, you're bound to make a silly mistake somewhere. And good luck catching your mistake.

So there I was, trying to evaluate simple determinant, and for some reason I thought that 30*10 was equal to 40. Aurgh!!! Nothing was making any sense. I was stuck trying to solve this quadratic equation that had no solutions. And if I couldn't solve this equation, then I'd need to get the next two problems wrong, because they were based on this equation. So after many long torturous minutes of wasting precious exam time trying to solve this insoluble equation, I went of the teacher and asked him what to do. Said the wise teacher, "You've got the hard part right. Just look more carefully." (He said "got" rather than "gotten" because he's German and speaks British English.)

So I sat down and sweated some more, until the light bulb went off in my head, and I said, "Oh!!! 10*30 is not 40! It's 400!"

I resumed my scribbling but things still weren't making sense. I looked and looked for other simple mistakes, but none were to be found. The teacher saw my frantic squirming and came over to me. "You look like you're in a rut. Continue with the other problems, and get back to this one later."

"I finished all the other ones." said I, "I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. I already realized that 10*30 is 400 and not 40, but the quadratic still makes no sense."

"Are you listening to what you're saying?"

The light bulb went on again! 10*30 is not 40. Nor is it 400. It's 300!

The quadratic equation suddenly became simple, and everything worked out nicely. I know I got that problem (and the ones related to it) right, but I'm still not so sure about the others. Who knows what other silly mistakes I made without realizing it? If I was nervous enough not to know that 10*30 = 300, then I could have made all sorts of silly mistakes. So I'm sitting tight, waiting for him to post the final grades.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Yud-Tes Kislevs of My Youth

were a 48-hour haze of farbrenging, learning chassidus, doing mivtzoim in the cold, and late-afternoon naps. And this year? We kicked off Yud-Tes Kislev with a nice hullyenish at the TRS-LE7 residence. 'Twas quite the fun.

Tonight there's another hullyenish, but we'll talk about that later.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thinking is so 80's

So Chelsea Clinton is engaged to a Jewish guy, which leads to the great questions like: Will she convert? Is this "good for the Jews"?

This article quotes all sorts of people whose "expertise" ostensibly makes their musings more relevant than other people's musings. But after all the musings, the article doesn't tell you anything you couldn't have thought up while hanging around and chit chatting with friends.

Is this the function of an article? To replace chit chatting with real people? Or should articles tell us something we didn't know before and challenge us to think?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Word of Wisdom from Alan Watts

If the universe is meaningless then so is the statement that it is so. (The Wisdom of Anxiety, page 114)