Department Of Apropos Of Nothing…
Last night I dreamed I wrote an ode to “Avocado,” sung to the tune, “Desperado.” In my dream I was singing it, but come wake time I couldn’t remember the new lyrics I wrote.
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Department Of Random Thoughts From Last Week
Darteline: Monday afternoon, circa 3pm; caught in a sudden downpour – the proverbial cloudburst – while driving home from a movie theater. The rain is coming down so hard and blinding my wipers are on full speed and it’s still very difficult to see the road ahead of me. Moiself is able to make out the silhouette of a motorcycle in front of me, and for the first time in my life, I find moiself wondering how motorcyclists navigate under similar conditions. Do the visors on their helmets have wipers? How do they prevent their visors from fogging up?
I googled “motorcycle helmet with rain wiper,” and for some reason this image appeared. I’m thinking, maybe not the cutting edge in road safety?
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Department Of Religion’s Gift To The World
Regular readers of this blog (and other persons less emotionally disturbed) know that moiself has no qualms when it comes to quarreling with the absurdities of the faith traditions and practices I grew up with (read: Christianity). But, despite a certain religion having given the world centuries of comic-worthy material moiself had mostly kept away from doing the same with Judaism. Until a juicy nugget, in the form of a story about Israel’s utility classification and manipulation, fell into my petty hands….
Of course I’m not making up the following – there’s no need to. Because, religion.
( Excerpts from “Israel readies ‘kosher electricity’ for ultra-Orthodox households” (Washington Post, 5-7-23)
“Religious Israelis may soon have access to electric power that rabbis have approved for use during the weekly Sabbath, a techno-spiritual innovation that reflects…the power of ultra-Orthodox parties in Israel’s new government.
The program, unofficially dubbed ‘kosher electricity,’…would direct the national power utility to build…massive battery banks in and around ultra-Orthodox communities. These batteries would top up through the week with electricity from the public utility and dispense it during Shabbat hours, providing a workaround to rabbinical rules against plugging into the national grid from sundown on Fridays to sundown on Saturdays….”
Because it’s okay to enjoy the benefits of electrically powered appliances, but their devious little switches, look out! THOU SHALT NOT TOUCH – it’s WORK.
This antediluvian foolishness aside, it’s one thing to live in a world of primitive superstitions and subjugate yourself to Bronze Age rites and red tape. It’s another thing to demand that your fellow citizens make allowances for you *and* pay for you to do so:
“Since Israel’s founding, the ultra-Orthodox – also called the Haredim – have been exempted from military service, which is mandatory for all Jewish Israeli school leavers. The various ultra-Orthodox sects see it as a religious commandment to only study Jewish texts and separate themselves from modern society. They consequently receive government subsidies to study rather than work, along with general social services and benefits relating to unemployment, poverty and their large numbers of children.
( How anger over taxes and conscription is widening split among Israel’s Jews,”
The Guardian; my emphases )
“Thousands marched for a ‘Day of Disruption to Demand Equality’ focused on the unequal burdens of citizenship and status of the ultra-Orthodox….
Ultra-Orthodox citizens are largely shielded from the country’s mandatory draft and educational standards and their families benefit from heavy public subsidies that allow boys and men to devote years to religious study instead of working and paying taxes in the mainstream economy….
One man marching in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak wore a slogan that translated as ‘My son is willing to die on his tank; your son will not die studying Torah’…
‘They are not carrying with us, they are not part of society,” said Dafna Goldenberg, who served in a tank unit in the 1980s…. ‘I’m deeply worried that it will all collapse.’
(excerpts from “Israelis call out perks for ultra-Orthodox in latest protests,”
The Washington Post )
The ultra-Orthodox are the fastest-growing demographic in Israel, and the most insistent in pushing Israel’s government toward an even more hawkish, pro-military action, anti-Palestinian agenda. Yet the Haredim expect (even insist) that everyone but them do the dirty work.  IMO it’s going to be a major factor in Israel’s inevitable downfall. 
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Department Of The Blog I Had To Stop Listening To
That would be the recent episode – Success 2.0: Taking the Leap of one of my favorite blogs, Hidden Brain. The episode is introduced thusly (my emphases):
“American culture celebrates those who persevere in the face of adversity. So how do we know when to walk away from something that’s not working? Today, we kick off our new “Success 2.0” series with economist John List. He says in every domain of our lives, it’s important to know when to pivot to something new.”
After going through some legislative/corporate/business examples of should-I-stay-or-should-I-go? Should-we-fight-for-this-or-switch-tactics? dilemmas, guest List gave an example from his own life, of when he experienced the same predicament re his dissatisfaction with his marriage to his former high school sweetheart.
“This really caused me to step back, and think about whether I should end the marriage. And I started to think, “Well look, I have five kids…and I’ve invested a lot in this relationship and this family, and I don’t want to waste that…so I decided to give it a go.
And the next few months were difficult, and by the time the summer rolled around I was holed up mentally, I was keeping everything in, I was making occasional snide comments, to my wife – I really wasn’t a great husband or father. So I said, ‘Well, give it some more time,’ and then six more months went by and I found myself even more miserable and making my wife’s life miserable…and that’s when I asked for a divorce.
This of course was a very difficult decision, as it went against everything I had been taught…and I really felt it was important to keep the family intake, especially for the kids, and I just realized that I was growing tired of making the rest of the family suffer during these dreadful times, and that’s when I decided to ask for a divorce….”
His whiny self-justification made me wanna….
“I was growing tired of making the rest of the family suffer.” Well, then, stop making them suffer – that’ll be one less thing to make you tired. (And his kids were suffering? Duh. They were starting to realize that they had a self-absorbed asshole for a father).
“I found myself even more miserable.” What passive language.  You just happened to *find* yourself miserable?
No where in List’s story does he mention seeking counseling,  or doing any kind of active or introspective work to find out what had led him to the point that he would consider abandoning a long-time marriage and FIVE children. Rather, he whines to himself about his own discontent. Why didn’t this educator and author, “noted for his pioneering contributions to field experiments in economics,”  turn his supposedly keen analytical mind to the most important field “experiment” of all – that of raising and nurturing a family?
When it comes to marriage and relationships, moiself is in no way one of those *suck it up and be miserable no matter what the cost* people. Still…we’re not talking about a corporate ad campaign that needs to be retooled or dumped, or a legislative initiative that needs to be tabled. We’re talking “pivoting to something new” as in leaving your wife and your children? As in, your family; your people – not corporations or career or educational plans. Human beings. A bit more difficult to just walk away from when “it isn’t working,” and rightly so.
List whimpers about being unhappy and moping for six months and making everyone else in his family unhappy. Dude, do the work. Find out what caused your attitude. Do whatever you have to do to stop sulking and making others unhappy, instead of using their unhappiness – which you admit you caused – to justify your decision. Yep, I’m calling List out, without further or in-depth knowledge of his personal story, but he’s the one who told his story in such a shallow, self-serving way.
From what I’ve read over the past couple of decades on this subject – from studies done by the organizations from the National Institute of Health to Psychology Today, to articles written by marriage and family counselors – the evidence can be summed up in a headline I saw a few years ago. Moiself cannot recall the heading verbatim, but can summarize it: Absent emotional or physical abuse, guess what – Your kids don’t care if *you’re* unfulfilled/bored/unhappy. Kids want an intact family.
“Should You Stay Together Only for the Kids?
Many parents believe that divorce will cause irreparable damage to their children. Some parents are so worried about this that they remain in unhappy, conflict-ridden, or even abusive marriages. What does the research say? Is it always best to stay together for the kids?
The short-term answer is usually yes. Children thrive in predictable, secure families with two parents who love them and love each other. Separation is unsettling, stressful, and destabilizing unless there is parental abuse or conflict.”
(Psychology Today 5-29-19 )
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Department Of, And In A Related Story….
Dateline: Wednesday afternoon. MH, working from home, walked downstairs from his office to my office, with a perplexed look on his face. He told me he’d been catching up on some podcast listening while doing some mundane tasks, and he had a lot of Hidden Brain episodes in his podcast feed, and he started listening to a recent one in which the guest, a supposedly intelligent man, relayed a personal story which really put MH off by the man’s self-centered passivity and lack of self-awareness….
“Let me guess,” moiself interjected. “I bet it’s the podcast I’m blogging about this Friday.”
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Department Of The Best Bumper Stickers I’ve Seen Recently…
Other than my current crop, of course.
The folllowing two, on the back of a burgundy minivan in front of me yesterday, made me pull over to the side of the road to laugh (and write them down):
My Driving Scares Me, Too
Condoms Prevent Minivans
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Freethinkers’ Thought Of The Week 
George Bush says he speaks to god every day, and Christians love him for it. If George Bush said he spoke to god through his hair dryer, they would think he was mad. I fail to see how the addition of a hair dryer makes it any more absurd.
( Neuroscientist, author and philosopher Sam Harris )
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May you savor the petty satisfaction of turning off a podcast which annoys you;
May your motorcycle helmet be both stylish and safety-enhancing;
May you relish the freedom to use electric appliances at any time of any day;
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 From serving in the military and harassing and killing Palestinian citizens, to hiring a shabbos goy to push a fucking button on their sabbath.
 Inevitable, to moiself. Do the math: Israel is surrounded/outnumbered by their enemies, and seem determined to keep enemies as enemies instead of working toward peacefully co-existing with their neighbors and finding a humane solution to – or even acknowledging – the mistreatment and displacement of Palestinians.
 Along with that passive-aggressive classic, “Mistakes were made.”
 possibly starting for himself alone, but also couples counseling.
 “free-think-er n. A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists. No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.” Definition courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, ffrf.org