Open Thread…?

I’m about to take off for a couple of hours, and don’t know if TNC will open his OTAN or not today. (It’s already a few minutes past-N, and so far, no OT). So, just in case – here’s a thread if folks need it! Rules are here & if you get stuck in moderation, I’ll get you out as quick as I can! (Which might not be as quick as anyone would like for a couple of hours, but I’ll do my best).


  1. TNC just posted a few thoughts: a simple tribute to McDuffie, an article on why journalists shouldn’t interview actresses at meal times.

    It takes awhile for him to do a OTAN if he’s catching up. I’d also figure he’d be a bit hesitant after the last few open discussions went bad.

  2. as reported earlier, my kitty Page is at the vet’s now, undergoing surgery. I hope it’s just a cyst. I hope she’s okay. I know she was terrified and unhappy and I left her there with other people who stick things into her and stuff.

    My older cat Tehya was cautious all morning. She knew a cat in a carrier meant going to places she might not like going to, and had this “you’re not taking me” look on her face for the last three hours. Only twenty minutes ago did Tehya actively approach me for a leg rub.

    • I hope your kitty comes home soon all okay and happy to see you!

    • Said it there, will say it here: All good wishes to the sickly kitty and to her friend… and to their dad. It sucks to take them in and know how they’ll suffer in the absence of their beloved person….

  3. CitizenE

     /  February 24, 2011

    Emily, do we have a word for a woman equivalent to “mensch,”(I never heard one growing up) or am I simply stuck with stating what a mensch you are?

    • Though “mensch” is masculine in gender, it isn’t masculine in meaning and can be applied to women just as easily as men. If that bothers you, I don’t think you understand the way gender-inflected languages like German and Yiddish work.

      • CitizenE

         /  February 24, 2011

        English not so long ago also spoke of man as humanity. Be a man! I quite understand gender inflected languages; actually, it is the lack of inflection here that I am wondering about, especially since women in Jewish culture have such a gender inflected historical role and esteem for such, and given that it is the language of my grandparents that I only have a smattering of familiarity with, was simply asking Emily who might know more than I if there were a word that conveyed a feminine connotation that would stand next to the lack of inflection in the word “mensch.”

        • But Yiddish of course comes from German, where it acquired most of its grammatical properties, including the gender inflection. So I wouldn’t go looking for some sociological, Whorfian connection between gendered roles in Judaism and gender inflection in Yiddish. If what you’re looking for is a particularly feminine-leaning word that has the rough meaning of “mensch,” you got me. All I was pointing out is that, whatever you may think from the fact that “mensch” is cognate to “man” (which in Anglo-Saxon times was in fact purely gender-neutral in meaning), it isn’t a word that implies maleness per se.

    • Both of you know more about it than I do! I don’t think I would, personally, describe a woman as a mensch, but just because I it sounds like “man” to my under-educated word.

      But I accept the compliment with great pleasure! Thank you! You are very kind indeed.

      • CitizenE

         /  February 24, 2011

        And I don’t ever recall it in usage from anyone in my family–“Oh her, she’s a real mensch.” In my memory the compliment was always used for men. I was kind of hoping that the treasure of the household that signified traditional Jewish femininity might have had a word for someone a cut above, such as you.

        • I have several memories of hearing my family use it for women (sometimes even for characters in movies). I don’t know how representative that is. My parents are a bit removed from the Yiddish language. Both of my grandfathers could speak it, but they usually didn’t. My dad’s dad was American-born and spoke mainly in English; I didn’t even know he was fluent in Yiddish until very late in his life, when he grew less inhibited. The main language of my mom’s family is Polish, probably because my grandmother comes from a generation of Polish Jews who assimilated somewhat. My parents still would use more Yiddish words than I do–things like “Nu?” and “Vey iss meer.” But unlike some other frum kids of my generation, I was never taught a single Yiddish song.

          • CitizenE

             /  February 25, 2011

            My dad when troubled would send out an “oy vey” on occasion, and if especially so, he added the ejaculation,along with the phrase “is mir,”hil-ay-ir-la,” which I never knew if it were a real Yiddish word or simply a word of his coinage. But my kids were little and got into annoying little kid complaint mode, I would sing to them over and over and over:

            “Oy vey!
            Oy vey!
            Oy vey is mir

            About ten repetitions usually did the trick of informing them to knock it off.

            • CitizenE

               /  February 25, 2011

              A ps–the chant must be sung with profound melodrama to achieve full effect.

  4. BJonthegrid

     /  February 24, 2011

    Hey Emily, you know if you want to do this periodically I am game. Just wanted you to know I was thinking about your “Zionist” post. I read it last night along with the two others you recommended. I am still so lost with the “Why”. I mean it seems no matter where the Jews settled, there was drama!

    Was any of this about lack of resources or was it just strictly religious “Blood Libel” hatred. The Holocaust is certainly not about resources because Germany was doing well when Hitler started his crimes against humanity. Is this because the Jewish People weren’t “missionary” like and didn’t try to convert others and therefore stood out? Do you believe the same thing could happen again now that Europe and other parts of the world is more secular. I ask all of this because I really do fear for Israel, given how world demographics are changing.

    I am an American so that whole melting pot, especially if your white – I see that here (most of the time). Why didn’t it happen in other places – ever? My perspective maybe off being that I am from the group having the hardest time “melting”.

    I know you have stuff

    • I’ll have to think about this and get back to you with a clearer head!

      But to the subject of the Open Threads: My experience in the summer was that they just didn’t fly when the official OTAN was running. If TNC takes more days off and tells us about them in advance, I’m happy to do this. Otherwise, I think it lacks a certain… oomph, or something!

      But I’m glad you enjoyed it. It was fun for me!

    • When Hitler rose to power, Germany was experiencing severe economic problems courtesy of the global depression and their losses from WWI. When the economy is doing badly, who do you blame? You got it, it’s us Yidden working behind the scenes to wreck the economy and turn all goyim into our slaves.

      This is a recurring pattern, of course. In America during the Depression, we had Father Coughlin. Now we have Glenn Beck and his weird Soros obsession. Neither one of them, of course, was/is like Hitler, but it’s generally true that when a country’s economy goes into a toilet, it often provokes an upsurge in populist anti-Semitism.

  5. BJonthegrid

     /  February 24, 2011

    I don’t know how “I know you have stuff” got on my comment…..I didn’t write it

  6. dmf

     /  February 25, 2011

    for sorn, ee, TNC, and all fellow travelers, and of course friday:

    Driving Montana, Alone
    by Katie Phillips

    I smile at the stack of Bob Dylan CDs
    you are not holding in the passenger seat.
    Storm clouds have gathered. My “Wow” rises
    over the harmonica for your benefit,
    but you cannot see that one sunlit peak

    in the midst of threatening sky. The road turns
    wet at the “Welcome to Anaconda” sign,
    and I pat my raincoat, loosely folded
    where your lap should be. “Anaconda was almost
    the state capital,” I say, but that’s all I know,

    and you don’t ask for more. You wouldn’t mind
    my singing and swerving onto the shoulder
    for more snapshots over the car door.
    And it’s only when I get just south of Philipsburg
    that your not being here feels like absence.

    I want you to see these dark rotting barns,
    roadkill of Highway One. It seems only you
    could know why my eyes fill the road
    with tears again when a flock of swallows
    swoops through an open barn door
    and rushes out the gaping roof.