Thursday, December 30, 2004

ok, translated another poem, but still didnt study hard enough for my hebrew test. eh, whatever. it's my last one ever. again, yehuda amickai...

"God Full of Mercy"

But for the God full of mercy
The mercies would be in the world and not just in his.
I, who picked flowers on the mountain
And looked over all the valleys,
I who carried corpses from the hills,
Know to tell that the world is empty of mercy.

I, who was the king of salt by the sea,
Who stood without a decision next to my window,
Who counted angel’s steps
That my heart lifted weights of pain
In the horrific competitions.

I who uses but a small portion
Of the words in the dictionary.
I, who must solve riddles against my will
Know if but for the god full of mercy
There would be mercy in the world
And not just in his.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

i'm torn between wanting a nap (undeserved, as i've found an addiction in internet backgammon...sheshbesh for those keen on the colloquial) and doing some translating. how this equals out to posting, but apparently it does.

i got my paper back on terror financing. there's a story that goes with this, and that's why i'm telling you.

i emailed the prof...we'll call him professor prick...asking if we could meet to discuss my topic. the reply..."absolutely not, i can't help you more than i help other students." Ok, well, keep in mind all i asked was to meet him in his office to talk about my topic. and no, he's not israeli. or american. he's actually british, but since no brit could ever conceive of being so impolite he is merely an imposter who can only be identified as 'prick.' now i run into him a month ago and he asks me where my paper is, so again i tell him that i'm not feeling all that comfortable with the paper and would like to meet him to discuss it. "absolutely not." thanks professor prick. he asks me when i'll hand it in and i tell him any deadline is obviously up to him. he says that means it's up to me. great, no time limit. two weeks later professor prick tells me 'i was going to email you, everyone else handed their papers in ages ago. you have until the end of the semester.' note here, less than half the class has turned in their papers to date and none of them ever heard anything about a deadline. so whatever, i just printed it out and handed it in at the office. i got a 93, but that still doesnt make up for the fact that he's a huge chunk of anal crust.


oh, i shaved off my beard this morning and now my face is fucking freezing. everytime i exhale it's like a stream of cold are going down my upper lip and over my chin. i've also learned that a beard makes your face very dirty and when you get rid of it you will look like you did when you were 15. i think if i ever grow another one i'll never shave it off. at least not in the middle of winter. (yes its cold here, shut up. actually, it's gorgeous, but it's freezing inside. fucking cynderblock buildings)

ok, i should go do...something

Sunday, December 26, 2004

So i've been translating poems by Yehuda Amichai. I'd link you to something there, but i havent found any good sites related to him, so you can do your own search. It's very difficult to translate Hebrew poetry because not only are semitic languages so very different from romance languages and germanic languages, but they are very pliable languages. it's really easy to play with the words, and the nuances are very different as are the specificities (word?).

anyway, here's a few that i translated. I'll update if there's any improvement in the translations:

Jerusalem 1985
Wishes are stuck in the graves of the Western Wall,
Pieces of paper wrinkled and stuck.
Against them a note stuck in an old metal door
Partly hidden in a Jasmine bush
"I could not come,
I hope you will understand."

From Man You are and to Man You Will Be Again
Death in the war begins
On the way down the stairs
For one young man
Death in the war begins
In the closing of a door in silence
Death in the war begins
In the opening of the window to the sight
So do not cry for the one going,
Cry for the one going down the stairs of his house
Cry for the one putting his key
Into his back pocket.
Cry to the photograph that remembers in our place
Cry to the paper that remembers,
Cry to the tears that do not remember
And in this spring
Who will rise and say to the dust:
From man you are and to man you will be again.

Thus I Will Be Increased and Thus I Will Be Holy
Between things falling and between things rising in haste
(does there) Exist a place to linger, to remain?
Between things dying and between things living
(does there) Exist a place for living in tranquillity in his house,
For one sitting in his place, for the seer, for the seen?
I am a judge, a single judgment sits on a chair
And there is no accuser and there is no accused
Only witnesses, witnesses, testimonies, testimonies.
In my childhood I knew what disease is in man,
I understood diseased animals,
In my maturity I learned that also trees
Can be diseased and suffer in silence.
I will still live to understand diseased stone,
Suffering rock, afflicted rock.
Thus the universe will encircle me. Silently.
Their silence speaks and the living will be silent. This is my place
And thus I will be increased and thus I will be holy.

Friday, December 24, 2004

I sent a festivus greeting card to my sister telling her she's a disappointment. I also sent it to a few other people, but then got tired of the tediousness of the task. Still, happy festivus to the rest of us. i think i'll have a festivus party next year. if my apartment were bigger i could have had one here.

so according to this my birthday song in the states was some crappy song by Air Supply, but thankfully in britain it was the specials' "ghost town." i'll take that as a good sign.

i've also been using Yahoo's Music Launch thing. I've been enjoying it because while you're totally limited in what genres you can pick individually, you can make a huge collective of different genres by creating your own station. there are pros and cons to this. the pros are that you rate the songs/artists/albums and yahoo slowly learns what you like. It's not bad at this, and i've heard a couple of new artists that i like and never heard of.

on the con side they throw in these 30 second ads every four or five songs. but the commercials are really funny. for some reason most of them are aimed at what i can only assume would be dubbed 'urban nerds.' i particularly like Launch's self-congradulatory commercial featuring a guy who's doing his best to sound like he's straight outta the hood (or the trunk or the rear axel or whatever it is) but is doing a terrible job of it. please, you want ghetto we'll go to warsaw bee-otch. ugh..yeah.

as long as you keep rating the stuff, it gets better. but they dont seem to have enough albums of different artists. my player just played Mos Def, which reminds me of the time he came to New Paltz during my year long sojurne at New York's hippie capital, and showed up two hours late, stoned and drunk, played two songs, demanded his money, and promptly left to go beat his bitches. ah, good times.

saw oceans 12 yesterday. good flick, but it felt they just kinda made it up as they went along. brad pitt doesnt eat enough during the movie. the best part is...well, i wont say, but the funniest part is when george clooney asks everyone if he looks fifty and they all say he does.

bah, merry festivus

Monday, December 20, 2004

fucking brilliant

personal favorite: "Chomsky: How do you think these wizards build gigantic towers and mighty fortresses? Where do they get the money? Keep in mind that I do not especially regard anyone, Saruman included, as an agent for progressivism. But obviously the pipe-weed operation that exists is the dominant influence in Middle Earth. It's not some ludicrous magical ring."

oh, and i like this one from hitchens on the 60's.

Monday, December 13, 2004

so today before class starts, The Advisor (as he shall be known from now on) points me and says, "you, we need to talk after class, i have news." I wish his face was more readable "good news or bad news." He looks ??surprised/confused??? for just a brief moment and says, "good news. no problem" and then makes that hand gesture which in baseball means "safe" and in israeli parlance means "all taken care off" although it's done far less dramatically (unfortunatly).

so guess what kids, i'm going to london for four weeks! rawk on. four weeks in the national archives. i'm very excited. in other archive news i got an email from the folks at the nixon archives. man are those people on top of their game. they (actually, one very kind researcher there) sent me an email with all kinds of good information that will help me. looks like i'll be in washington for a week come february. that's exciting cos i havent been there in about 10 years and would really like to see the smithsonian and do a white house tour (i dont think i ever took one, and it just doesnt seem right not to have done that at least once in my life).

i got a congradulations and a minor chewing out by dad today. the former regarding the grant, the latter regarding my possible journey to jordan to do research. that's very iffy. it would totally depend on what i dig up at the archives and if there's anyone The Advisor can hook me up with over there. I shall have to discuss it with him more throughly. I know he's not big on interviews. besides, its really the sort of thing i should only be doing if this ends up being publication worthy. well, we'll see where this takes us. probably best to just get all the archived material from here, the US, and london and write out the thesis, then see what turns up before i start applying to scholarships to do work in jordan.

so this is good. i have a plan. leave here at the end of july, be in london, get back to new york in september to write my thesis, finish in a few months, then find an LSAT course and take the bloody test already....which means come summer i'll be a free man.

options options.....the dream is still to just get a pickup truck, a dog, and drive around the country working odd jobs while spending my free time just reading, writing, and wandering. it should be feasible. then again, i've also thought of going to volunteer doing something outdoors up in alaska. i miss that place so much. still, as josh says, 'live the dream' so i'll try. that's still a fair ways away and i've got lots of reading to get to.

Monday, December 06, 2004

ok, i'm a big fan of the steven martin "king tut" skit...although i certainly seem to be alone in this (at least with anyone under 30...please, like you didnt know there was a little old man hidden inside me?) so i truly enjoyed this

funky tut

i was tempted the other day to take a picture of the beautiful blue skies we've been having, but then thought of the rage of jealousy that you would all get thrown into (although they say the rain will really start tomorrow...and if so then it'll probably stay for two months)

visiting home in february is going to fucking kill me...i dont remember what snow is like. fuckblarggle.

no final word yet on my grant from school, but my advisor says he thinks there should be no problem getting it. it's actually from something called the lewis fund, of which i have a sneaking suspicion is connected to bernard lewis, which is just dandy by me. then again, it could just be my advisor pulling strings. well, he does have an office next to lewis'. Although my advisor has the much nicer one. then again, lewis doesnt teach here, he just gets an honorary office. could be a closet. i'm not sure. he also shares the honorary office/closet with the university president. hmmm, suspicious.

i feel like i had a lot more to say, but i guess not. maybe i'm just really friggin tired. it's possible. i have so much shit to get done. fuuuuuucklafjalrrraggleballllgle. is there a gland that produces laziness? cos i need to remove that shit fast.