Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tales from the Old New Land - Just War - Act I - Revised

(Sound of reaching for chips in a plastic bag, a match being lit, and a smoker taking puffs. Son opens door, home from a vacation, the Dad doesn't getting up to greet him.)

Son: Hey Dad! (Dad coughs on the weed from startlement) Are you OK?

Dad: (recovered but out of breath) I'm fine, I just didn't think you'd be home so early.

Son: Wait, are you?... You're just eating falafel balls out of a bag!

Dad: Anything wrong with that?

Son: No... But can you open a window at least? The house wreaks of pot!

Dad: This is the fourth century, there are no windows.

Son: Oh...

Dad: I know we talked about my not smoking weed in the house, but I thought you wouldn't be home until prima noctis hora, so I figured there was time to air out the house. Besides, don't you Christians preach all that forgiveness stuff?

Son: Father Theodosius says I need to work on forgiving you more.

Dad: Y'know, until this moment he always seemed to me like an idiot.

Son: You should listen to what he has to say sometime. You might find it helpful.

Dad: What would be really helpful is if you got some more falafel from the cabinet.

Son: Which cabinet?

Dad: It's in the hayat (balcony) underneath the chamber pot.

Son: You really shouldn't keep it there.

Dad: It's all going to the same place eventually.

Son: Shammai says that if the place were more hygenic you'd be alot healthi...

Dad: Shammai can suck it!

Son: He's just trying to help.

Dad: That sheeny can help by getting the hell out of my business.

Son: Come on Dad, sheeny won't be a slur for another fifteen hundred years, and Shammai's the reason you still have a business!

Dad: It's his business, not mine.

Son: He's just trying to help you get on your feet!

Dad: With interest...

Son: I don't know why you're always so down on a guy who helped you stay open during seventeen different drought seasons.

Dad: He's didn't help me out of kindness.

Son: What'd he do it for then?

Dad: Mo...

Son: Don't say it!

Dad: You were the one who asked.

Son: Alright, let me get your shit falafels. (goes into the other room)

Dad: (takes opportunity to smoke)

Son: (returning to the room) Don't you want to hear about my vacation?!

Dad: You'd tell me all about it anyway.

Son: It was so amazing!

Dad: (interrupting) Of course it was!

Son: So our youth group leader took us to the oldest cathedral in the Byzantine Empire! It was, like, fifty years old!

Dad: (bored) That really is amazing.

Son: It had a painting of Jesus healing the paralytic at Capaernum.

Dad: Healing the what?

Son: I told you about that! Jesus made a crippled man walk!

Dad: Oh! That's right... And I suppose this guy turns water into wine too...

Son: (interrupting) And a painting of the Three Marys at the Tomb of Jesus!

Dad: Three what?

Son: Three Mary's!

Dad: Three Mary's?

Son: Yeah?

Dad: Three women? All named Mary?

Son: Yeah.

Dad: (interrupting) You told me about two Mary's, the one who's the mother and the one who's the whore.

Son: She's not a whore!

Dad: Yeah but in a thousand year's they're gonna think so...

Son: What?!?!?!

Dad: Never mind. Anyway, of course I remember the conversation. You told me there are two Marys. And I wondered how the two most important women in your book can both be named Mary. So I asked if people ever got to thinking that maybe there was only one Mary, and people got confused because the story got told so many times?

Son: If God says that Mary mother of God is not the same person as Mary Magdalene, then they're not the same person.

Dad: And now you're telling me there's three?

Son: Well,... actually there's five.

Dad: FIVE?!?

Son: The Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus...

Dad: (quasi-interrupting) Yeah, that's not weird....

Son: Mary Magdalene, who you think is a whore, Mary of Jacob, mother of James the Less...

Dad: That's not a distinction you wanna have....

Son: What is?

Dad: Who wants to be known as the less of something?

Son: Well, the other James was the brother of Jesus.

Dad: Wait, so the virgin had another child?

Son: She had at least four more: James, Joses, Jude, and Simon.

Dad: So she didn't stay a virgin...

Son: DAD!

Dad: I'm just saying, you'd think that mothering the son of God would be a full time job. And he wasn't even the son of God until pretty recently. Your avus (grandfather) remembered when it happened! Three hundred years, he might be the son of God, he might just be the Messiah, isn't it enough to be the Messiah? Then, the Nicean Council happens, two months, BAM! Christ the Messiah!

Son: Is it too much to ask for you to ever be a little respectful?

Dad: I'm just telling you how good things used to be! Anyway, I want to hear more about these Marys.

Son: OK. There's the Virgin Mary, there's Mary Magdalene who you think is a whore, there's Mary of Jacob, mother of James the Less, then there's Mary of Cleopas.

Dad: ...That's a stupid name.

Son: Dad! Respect!

Dad: Is Cleopas the town she's from?

Son: No. Cleophas was either her husband or her father.

Dad: Probably both. Those fucking Jews, they're all goddamn hicks.

Son:  Don't swear Dad!

Dad: Whatever. And what's the venerable Mary of Cleopas's claim to fame?

Son: She doesn't really have one. She might just be Mary of Jacob.

Dad: Oh, what a surprise.

Son: What do you mean?

Dad: Go on, I want to know who the fifth Mary is.

Son: Mary of Bethany.

Dad: Was she married to Bethany?

Son: Please stop this Dad.

Dad: It can happen! You heard about those two wives who went to Lesbos!

Son: Women shouldn't be marrying other women!

Dad: And I suppose my Christian son doesn't think men should lie with other men either. Typical liberal bullshit. Next thing you know, revolutionaries like you are telling us that monogamy is what human beings are biologically programmed for.

Son: Look, Dad, I just think you should respect my choices.

Dad: I didn't throw you out when you told me you practice that thing, what did you call it? Ethical monogamy? ...Alright, so my son only wants to marry one woman and thinks that sexuality and gender is not fluid, it's not the end of the world, it's just that the world's changing and I'm too old to understand it. Anyway, back to this Mary of Bethany thing.

Son: I told you about Mary of Bethany!

Dad: You didn't tell me what she did! That is, if this religion of yours lets women do anything at all.

Son: She's the sister of Lazarus.

Dad: That guy who rises from the dead.

Son: The one which Jesus... (annoyed) Yeah that's the one....

Dad: (a little insistently) And what did she do?

Son: She washed Jesus's feet with nard.

Dad: The perfume???

Son: Yeah.

Dad: That's the most expensive perfume there is! She could have lived on that for a year!

Son: (Angry) Alright that's enough Dad, that's exactly what Judas said!

Dad: Judas must have had a good head for business.

Son: This is what I'm talking about! You always do this!

Dad: Do what?

Son: You always ask me questions just so you can make fun of the answers!

Dad: What's wrong with fun?!?

Son: I don't want to say any more about it because I'm really trying to respect you now.

Dad: What's the point of showing respect?! All I'm trying to do is have a good time with you and all you want to do is ruin it!

Son: I don't want to have a good time!

Dad: Well what do you want then?

Son: I want your respect!

Dad: You have my respect!

Son: Then why can't you show it?

Dad: I wouldn't try to have fun with anybody I don't respect.

Son: Dad, please forgive me for what I'm about to say.

Dad: A blessing on your house, my son. Say whatever you like?

Son: What has having fun ever done for you? What did it ever do for avus or pro-avus (great-grandfather) or generations of the Iovivuses before us? For as long as anyone can remember, all we've done is gone around smoking hash, never farming enough to sell anything to anybody else, always cutting the work day short so you can take me down to the tavern to listen whatever new Bouzouki jam band you love. You and Mom always picked up a different woman and had a threesome in the middle of your magic mushroom crops.

Dad: Yeah, but wasn't it a lot of fun?  You should try all that sometime! You might see what you're missing.

Son: Alright, I'm going over to Shammai's.

Dad: Come on son, stop this.... (tries to figure out what to say) What happened to you?! You were such a fun loving kid!

Son: I'm sorry Dad! I want more! I want to believe that my life has a purpose. Well we can't all get satisfaction out of going a million pedes (Latin for footsteps) out of our way from us to every music festival! Didn't you go to one last year where they burned some guy alive?

Dad: Come on. I had to go to Burning Man at least once.

Son: That's hardly the only time you've been at something like that. But think about how that guy felt! He was a living being, and now he's not one, some part of him might have been a divine too, and getting rid of that divine part of him probably caused him enormous pain.

Dad: That's why we always give the sacrifices opium before we do them in!

Son: Can't you hear the screaming?

Dad: Sometimes, but that's part of the fun!

Son: Well if you really want to know, it was that public mass execution you took me to when I was eleven. Once I saw that, I never wanted to be part of that again.

Dad: (sigh) Yeah, you were never as into sports as your brothers. And you were probably too young to see that. I'm sorry about that, really I am, but is that enough reason to turn your back on everything your family believes in?

Son: What do you believe in?!?

Dad: ...Y'know, I know you never met your avia (grandmother), but she was a great lady. And she had this great saying that I don't think I ever told you about. It was so poetic. She would say: "And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine, let us eat...:

Son: ..."let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." Isaiah 22:13

Dad: Oh my god you know that!?

Son: That's from the Christian Bible! And the verse before that is - 'And in that daay did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth!' You were supposed to do the opposite.

Dad: So your Lord God wants you to be miserable? What kind of miserable God would allow that!

Son: The real one!

Dad: If this God is such an asshole, why don't you just worship a different God?

Son: Well, if you must know, it's because of something Shammai said to me.

Dad: Oh can that fucking Heeb keep his huge nose out of anything at all?!?

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My Seventh Post in the Times of Israel

The Cleese Test

Monday, November 12, 2018

Tales from the Old New Land - Just War - Act I

(Sound of reaching for chips in a plastic bag, a match being lit, and a smoker taking puffs. Son opens door, home from a vacation, the Dad doesn't getting up to greet him.)

Son: Hey Dad! (Dad coughs on the weed from startlement) Are you OK?

Dad: (recovered but out of breath) I'm fine, I just didn't think you'd be home so early.

Son: Wait, are you?... You're just eating falafel balls out of a bag!

Dad: Anything wrong with that?

Son: No... But can you open a window at least? The house wreaks of pot!

Dad: This is the fourth century, there are no windows.

Son: Oh...

Dad: I know we talked about my not smoking weed in the house, but I thought you wouldn't be home until prima noctis hora, so I figured there was time to air out the house. Besides, don't you Christians preach all that forgiveness shit?

Son: Father Theodosius says I need to work on forgiving you more.

Dad: That idiot is absolutely right!

Son: Don't you want to hear about my vacation?!

Dad: You'd tell me all about it anyway.

Son: It was so amazing!

Dad: Of course it was!

Son: Our youth group leader took us to the oldest cathedral in the Byzantine Empire! It was, like, fifty years old!

Dad: (bored) Sounds amazing.

Son: It had a painting of Jesus healing the paralytic at Capaernum.

Dad: Healing the what?

Son: I told you about that! Jesus made a crippled man walk!

Dad: Oh! That's right...

Son: And a painting of the Three Marys at the Tomb of Jesus!

Dad: Three what?

Son: Three Mary's!

Dad: Three Mary's?

Son: Yeah?

Dad: Three women? All named Mary?

Son: Yeah.

Dad: (interrupting) You told me about two Mary's, the one who's the mother and the one who's the whore.

Son: She's not a whore!

Dad: Yeah but in a thousand year's they're gonna think so...

Son: What?!?!?!

Dad: Never mind. Anyway, of course I remember the conversation.   you told me there are two Marys. And I wondered how the two most important women in your book can both be named Mary. So I asked if people ever got to thinking that maybe there was only one Mary, and people got confused because the story got told so many times?

Son: If God says that Mary mother of God is not the same person as Mary Magdalene, then they're not the same person.

Dad: And now you're telling me there's three?

Son: Well,... actually there's five.

Dad: FIVE?!?

Son: The Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus...

Dad: (quasi-interrupting) Yeah, that's not weird....

Son: Mary Magdalene, who you think is a whore, Mary of Jacob, mother of James the Less...

Dad: That's not a distinction you wanna have....

Son: What is?

Dad: Who wants to be known as the less of something?

Son: Well, the other James was the brother of Jesus.

Dad: Wait, so the virgin had another child?

Son: She had at least four more: James, Joses, Jude, and Simon.

Dad: So she didn't stay a virgin...

Son: DAD!

Dad: I'm just saying, you'd think that mothering the son of God would be a full time job. And he wasn't even the son of God until pretty recently. Your avus (grandfather) remembered when it happened! Three hundred years, he might be the son of God, he might just be the Messiah, isn't it enough to be the Messiah? Then, the Nicean Council happens, two months, boom! Christ the Messiah!

Son: Is it too much to ask to be a little respectful?

Dad: I'm just telling you how good things used to be! Anyway, I want to hear more about these Marys.

Son: OK. There's the Virgin Mary, there's Mary Magdalene who you think is a whore, there's Mary of Jacob, mother of James the Less, then there's Mary of Cleopas.

Dad: ...That's a stupid name.

Son: Dad! Respect!

Dad: Is Cleopas the town she's from?

Son: No. Cleophas was either her husband or her father.

Dad: Probably both. Those fucking Jews, they're all goddamn hicks.

Son:  Don't swear Dad!

Dad: Whatever. And what's the venerable Mary of Cleopas's claim to fame?

Son: She doesn't really have one. She might just be Mary of Jacob.

Dad: Oh, what a surprise.

Son: What do you mean?

Dad: Go on, I want to know who the fifth Mary is.

Son: Mary of Bethany.

Dad: Was she married to Bethany?

Son: Please stop this Dad.

Dad: It can happen! You heard about those two wives who went to Lesbos!

Son: Women shouldn't be marrying other women!

Dad: And I suppose my Christian son doesn't think men should lie with other men either. Typical progressive nonsense. Next thing you know, revolutionaries like you are telling us that monogamy is what human beings are biologically programmed for.

Son: Look, Dad, I just think you should respect my choices.

Dad: I didn't throw you out when you told me you practice ethical monogamy. So my son only wants to marry one woman and thinks that sexuality and gender is not fluid, it's not the end of the world, it's just that the world is changing and I'm too old to understand it. So now back to this Mary of Bethany thing.

Son: I told you about Mary of Bethany!

Dad: You didn't tell me what she did! That is, if this religion of yours lets women do anything at all.

Son: She's the sister of Lazerus.

Dad: That guy who rises from the dead.

Son: The one which Jesus... (annoyed) Yeah that's the one....

Dad: (a little insistently) And what did she do?

Son: She washed Jesus's feet with nard.

Dad: The perfume???

Son: Yeah.

Dad: That's the most expensive perfume there is! She could have lived on that for a year!

Son: (Angry) Alright that's enough Dad, that's exactly what Judas said!

Dad: Judas must have had a good head for business.

Son: This is what I'm talking about! You always do this!

Dad: Do what?

Son: You always ask me questions just so you can make fun of the answers!

Dad: What's wrong with fun?!?

Son: I don't want to say any more about it because I'm really trying to respect you now.

Dad: What's the point of showing respect?! All I'm trying to do is have a good time with you and all you want to do is ruin it!

Son: I don't want to have a good time!

Dad: Well what do you want then?

Son: I want your respect!

Dad: You have my respect!

Son: Then why can't you show it?

Dad: I wouldn't try to have fun with anybody I don't respect.

Son: Dad, please forgive me for what I'm about to say.

Dad: Of course. A blessing on your house, my son.

Son: What has having fun ever done for you? What did it ever do for avus or pro-avus (great-grandfather) or generations of the Iovivus clan before us? For as long as anyone can remember, all we've done is gone around smoking hash, never farming enough to sell anything to anybody else, always cutting the work day short so you can take me down to the tavern to listen whatever new Bouzouki jam band you love, always picking up a different woman and feeding her your so you can screw her in the middle of your magic mushroom crops. Well we can't all get satisfaction out of going a million pedes (footsteps) out of our way to every music festival from us! Didn't you go to one last year where they burned some guy alive?

Dad: Yeah, but wasn't it a lot of fun? What happened?! You were such a fun loving kid!

Son: I'm sorry Dad! I want more! I want to believe that my life has a purpose. Well we can't all get satisfaction out of going a million pedes (Latin for footsteps) out of our way from us to every music festival! Didn't you go to one last year where they burned some guy alive?

Dad: Come on. I had to go to Burning Man at least once.

Son: That's hardly the only time you've been at something like that. But think about how that guy felt! He was a living being, and now he's not one, some part of him might have been a godly part too, and you probably killed that god part of him with enormous pain.

Dad: That's why we always give the sacrifices opium before we do them in!

Son: Can't you hear the screaming?

Dad: Sometimes, but that's part of the fun!

Son: Well if you really want to know, it was that public mass execution you took me to when I was eleven. Once I saw that, I never wanted to be part of that again.

Dad: (sigh) Yeah, you were never as into sports as your brothers. And you were probably too young to see that. I'm sorry about that, really I am, but is that enough reason to turn your back on everything your family believes in?

Son: What do you believe in?!?

Dad: ...Y'know, I know you never met your avia (grandmother), but she was a great lady. And she had this great saying that I don't think I ever told you about. It was so poetic. She would say: "And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine, let us eat...:

Son: ..."let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." Isaiah 22:13

Dad: What?

Son: That's from the Christian Bible! And the verse before that is - 'And in that daay did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth!' You were supposed to do the opposite.

Dad: So your Lord God wants you to be miserable? What kind of miserable God would allow that!

Son: The real one!

Dad: If this God is such an asshole, why don't you just worship a different God?

Son: Well, if you must know, it's because of something Shammai said to me.

Dad: Oh can that fucking Jew keep his nose out of anything at all?!?

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Tales from the Old New Land: Episode 1 - Just War - More of the Beginning

(Sound of reaching for chips in a plastic bag, a match being lit, and a smoker taking puffs. Son opens door, home from a vacation, the Dad doesn't getting up to greet him.)

Son: Hey Dad! (Dad coughs on the weed from startlement) Are you OK?

Dad: (recovered but out of breath) I'm fine, I just didn't think you'd be home so early.

Son: Wait, are you?... You're just eating falafel balls out of a bag!

Dad: Anything wrong with that?

Son: No... But can you open a window at least? The house wreaks of pot!

Dad: This is the fourth century, there are no windows.

Son: Oh...

Dad: I know we talked about my not smoking weed in the house, but I thought you wouldn't be home until prima noctis hora, so I figured there was time to air out the house. Besides, don't you Christians preach all that forgiveness shit?

Son: Father Theodosius says I need to work on forgiving you more.

Dad: That idiot is absolutely right!

Son: Don't you want to hear about my vacation?!

Dad: You'd tell me all about it anyway.

Son: It was so amazing!

Dad: Of course it was!

Son: Our youth group leader took us to the oldest baptistry chapel in the Byzantine Empire! It was, like, fifty years old!

Dad: (bored) Sounds amazing.

Son: It had a painting of Jesus healing the paralytic at Capaernum.

Dad: Healing the what?

Son: I told you about that! Jesus made a crippled man walk!

Dad: Oh! That's right...

Son: And a painting of the Three Marys at the Tomb of Jesus!

Dad: Three what?

Son: Three Mary's!

Dad: Three Mary's?

Son: Yeah?

Dad: Three women? All named Mary?

Son: Yeah.

Dad: (interrupting) You told me about two Mary's, the one who's the mother and the one who's the whore.

Son: She's not a whore!

Dad: Yeah but in a thousand year's they're gonna think so...

Son: What?!?!?!

Dad: Never mind. Anyway, you told me there are two Marys, and now you're telling me there's three?

Son: Well,... actually there's five.

Dad: FIVE?!?

Son: The Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus...

Dad: (quasi-interrupting) Yeah, that's not weird....

Son: Mary Magdalene, who you think is a whore, Mary of Jacob, mother of James the Less...

Dad: That's not a distinction you wanna have....

Son: What is?

Dad: Who wants to be known as the less of something.

Son: Well, the other James was the brother of Jesus.

Dad: Wait, so the virgin had another child?

Son: She had at least four more: James, Joses, Jude, and Simon.

Dad: So she didn't stay a virgin...

Son: DAD!

Dad: I'm just saying, you'd think that mothering the son of God would be a full time job. And he wasn't even the son of God until pretty recently. Your avus (grandfather) remembered when it happened! Three hundred years, he might be the son of God, he might just be the Messiah, isn't it enough to be the Messiah? Then, the Nicean Council happens, two months, boom! Christ the Messiah!

Son: Is it too much to ask to be a little respectful?

Dad: I'm just telling you how good things used to be! Anyway, I want to hear more about these Marys.

Son: OK. There's the Virgin Mary, there's Mary Magdalene who you think is a whore, there's Mary of Jacob, mother of James the Less, there's Mary of Cleopas.

Dad: ...That's a stupid name.

Son: Dad!

Dad: Is Cleopas the town she's from?

Son: No. Cleophas was either her husband or her father.

Dad: Probably both. Those fucking Jews, they're all goddamn hicks.

Son: Dad! Don't swear!

Dad: Whatever. And what's the venerable Mary of Cleopas's claim to fame?

Son: She doesn't really have one. She might just be Mary of Jacob.

Dad: Oh, what a surprise.

Son: What do you mean?

Dad: Go on, I want to know who the fifth Mary is.

Son: Mary of Bethany.

Dad: Was she married to Bethany?

Son: Dad! Stop!

Dad: It can happen! You heard about those two wives who went to Lesbos!

Son: Women shouldn't be marrying other women!

Dad: And I suppose my Christian son doesn't think men should lie with other men either. Typical progressive nonsense. Next thing you know, revolutionaries like you are telling us that monogamy is what human beings are biologically programmed for.

Son: Look, Dad, I just think you should respect my choices.

Dad: I didn't throw you out. So my son only wants to marry one woman and thinks that sexuality and gender is not fluid, it's not the end of the world, it's just that the world is changing and I'm too old to understand it. So back to this Mary of Bethany thing.

Son: I told you about Mary of Bethany!

Dad: You didn't tell me what she did! That is, if this religion of yours lets women do anything at all.

Son: She's the sister of Lazerus.

Dad: That guy who rises from the dead.

Son: The one which Jesus... (annoyed) Yeah that's the one....

Dad: (a little insistently) And what did she do?

Son: She washed Jesus's feet with nard.

Dad: The perfume???

Son: Yeah.

Dad: That's the most expensive perfume there is! She could have lived on that for a year!

Son: (Angry) Alright that's enough Dad, that's exactly what Judas said!

Dad: He must have had a good head for business.

Son: This is what I'm talking about! You always do this!

Dad: Do what?











--------------------------------------



Dad: You ever get to thinking that there's a slight chance that there was only one Mary, and people got confused because the story got told so many times?






Dad: This whole Jesus thing of yours is really obnoxious.

Son: Well we can't all get satisfaction out of going a million pedes (Latin for footsteps) out of our way to every music festival from us! Didn't you go to one last year where they burned some guy alive?

Dad: Come on. I had to go to Burning Man at least once.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Tales from the Old New Land Reboot - Tale 1 - Just War - A Very Little More

(Sound of reaching for chips in a plastic bag, a match being lit, and a smoker taking puffs. Son opens door, home from a vacation, the Dad doesn't getting up to greet him.)

Son: Hey Dad! (Dad coughs on the weed from startlement) Are you OK?

Dad: (recovered but out of breath) I'm fine, I just didn't think you'd be home so early.

Son: Wait, are you?... You're just eating falafel balls out of a bag!

Dad: Anything wrong with that?

Son: No... But can you open a window at least? The house wreaks of pot!

Dad: This is the fourth century, there are no windows.

Son: Oh...

Dad: I know we talked about my not smoking weed in the house, but I thought you wouldn't be home until prima noctis hora, so I figured there was time to air out the house. Besides, don't you Christians preach all that forgiveness shit?

Son: It's OK. Father Theodosius says I need to work on forgiving you more.

Dad: That idiot is absolutely right!

Son: Don't you want to hear about my vacation?!

Dad: You'll tell me all about it anyway.

Son: Oh it was so amazing! Our youth group leader took us to the oldest baptistry chapel in the Byzantine Empire! It was fifty years old!

Dad: (bored) Sounds amazing.

Son: It had a painting of Jesus healing the paralytic at Capaernum.

Dad: Healing the what?

Son: I told you about that! Jesus made a crippled man walk!

Dad: Oh, that's right!

Son: And a painting of the three Marys at the tomb of Jesus!

Dad: Three what?

Son: Three Mary's!

Dad: Three women? All named Mary?

Son: Yeah.

Dad: I mean... don't you think it's a little weird?

Son: What?

Dad: ...That they all had the same name?

Son: No... (considering) Not really... (faith comes back to him) No!

Dad: You ever get to thinking that there's a slight chance that there was only one Mary, and people got confused because the story got told so many times?

Son: I have no idea what you're talking about.

Dad: Who were these Mary's?

Son: Mary, mother of Jesus.

Dad: OK, so far, so good.

Son: Mary Magdalene, the


--------------------------------------



Dad: This whole Jesus thing of yours is really obnoxious.

Son: Well we can't all get satisfaction out of going a million pedes (Latin for footsteps) out of our way to every music festival from us! Didn't you go to one last year where they burned some guy alive?

Dad: Come on. I had to go to Burning Man at least once.

Tales from the Old New Land (Reboot) - Episode 1 - Just War - Very Beginning

(Son opens door, home from a vacation, the Dad doesn't getting up to greet him.)

Son: Hey Dad! (no response) Aren't you going to give me a hug?

Dad: You're not going anywhere...

Son: Wait, are you?... You're just eating falafel balls out of a bag!

Dad: Anything wrong with that?

Son: No... But can you open a window at least? The house wreaks of pot!

Dad: This is the fourth century, there are no windows.

Son: Oh... Aren't you going to ask me about my vacation?

Dad: You'll tell me all about it anyway.

Son: Oh it was amazing! We went to





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Dad: This whole Jesus thing of yours is really obnoxious.

Son: Well we can't all get satisfaction out of going a million pedes (Latin for footsteps) out of our way to every music festival from us! Didn't you go to one last year where they burned some guy alive?

Dad: Come on. I had to go to Burning Man at least once.


My Third Post for the Times of Israel

Daniel Barenboim's Orchestra

My Second Post at Times of Israel

The Imminent Decline of Pikesville

Friday, November 2, 2018

When Facebook Becomes Blogging


I may be the only person in the world personally affected by this who is not involved in it (and I suppose that's the reason it's happening), but this labor dispute at the BSO is a tragedy. The management is saying that there isn't enough money to keep the Baltimore Symphony a full-time orchestra. At the end of this, the BSO may be demoted from a 'major American orchestra', a term used to mean a full-time one, to a 'minor', part time one. The best musicians will start applying elsewhere where they can make more money and work more, and that will push off more potential donors.

In a few years, anybody else who cares will have died. If you explained to anybody under the age of 70 that classical music was literally the soundtrack of daily life for everybody who is now over seventy, hardly anyone would believe you. It seems so completely distant from today's life that it must have disappeared overnight. But how have all these symphony orchestras kept going for so long? When I was a kid, it was three orchestral concerts in Baltimore every week, nearly all of them sold out. 50% of the people who went back then are clearly dead now, and a good half of the ones left seem barely able to walk. Twenty years before I was born, the Philadelphia Orchestra would come to Baltimore and do an entire mini-season of concerts at the Lyric Opera House.

If the musicmaking weren't so great, the BSO would be the most depressing place in Baltimore. But the BSO is not the most depressing place in Baltimore, it is the best thing about living in Baltimore. I'm single and eccentric, so I go out of my way to go to a lot of orchestral concerts far afield. And I often wonder why I do, because on any given week, the BSO may outplay every orchestra until you get as far afield as Pittsburgh. But i's the BSO who gave me the passion for this music. Perhaps its a paradox, but the very fact of the precariousness of the arts in second-tier cities like Baltimore and Pittsburgh and Cleveland means that the practitioners have to bring their A-game every week or else there will be no audience at all. And, of course, there may be no audience even so.

I may be alone in my generation in believing that high culture is at all important. It is obviously far from what's most important in the world; and there are hundreds of issues at stake right now which are far more important than events like this. And long before the crises of the last few years emerged, there were millions of Americans who believed that high culture is just a more pompous form of what popular culture gives us much more directly. Even a lot of classical musicians believe that today, and I suppose there was a time when even I believed that myself, or at least tried to convince myself that it was true. But whatever you believe about it, classical music is an unbroken tradition which has existed for hundreds of years and it is dying out. Dying is the most inevitable part of nature, and eventually comes for everybody and everything, but the greatest reason to immerse yourself in the arts is that it's the only proof we have that anything at all defies the cycle of nature. It takes you to places and eras and worlds which you never would be able to imagine yourself without them. The loss of something like this is like a fire at the BMA or the Walters - hundreds of paintings and architectural artifacts that are completely unique and reach to us across centuries and let us commune with the ambitions and yearnings of people and places long dead. It only takes an instant to destroy all that uniqueness which has lived for centuries, and once erased, you can never get it back.

All artists have ever wanted to do is make your lives more joyful, more meaningful, more beautiful. It's almost a cliche that Americans don't like the high arts, which we perceive as something elitist, and that Americans don't like history, the lessons of which we perceive as not applying to us. But it would seem of late that we're drawing closer and closer to learning that the lessons of history still very much apply here. If America lets things this beautiful die, how much else can it allow to die?