• Charles Martel

    I’m glad to see that Sandra didn’t date Germans. So why didn’t she give an Austrian a chance?

    Maybe it was because he spoke Austrian, which I understand, according to Bozo Obama, is the national language of Germany. Or Poland. Or something like that. (Hahvahd Law Review, and all.)

  • thatsitivehadenough

    Harry Stein also wrote “I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next To A Republican” which is full of horror stories about how conservatives and/or Republicans are actually treated both personally and professionally across America.  This blatant discrimination is excruciatingly painful and damaging to individuals, and ends up skewing American institutions of learning and the media so far to the left it may as well be labeled as brainwashing.  Although I often found it very humorous, it was very, very shocking and troubling.  A book which needs to be read by anyone who is concerned with the direction the USA appears to have taken.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    In biology, it’s called the Coolidge Effect


    President Calvin Coolidge and his wife were at a government farm one day and were taken around on separate tours. Mrs. Coolidge, passing the chicken pens, inquired of a supervisor whether the lone rooster was sufficient, given the many hens in the chicken flock. 

    “Yes”, the man said, “the rooster works very hard.” 

    Mrs. Coolidge then asked, “Really? The rooster works very hard? Every day?” 

    “Oh, yes,” the man said. “Dozens of times a day.” 

    “Interesting!” Mrs. Coolidge replied, “Be sure to tell that to the President!” 

    Some time later the President, passing the same pens, was told about the roosters – and about his wife’s remark. “Same hen every time?”, he asked. 

    “Oh, no, a different one each time,” the supervisor replied. 

    “Tell that,” Coolidge said with a sly nod, “to Mrs. Coolidge.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolidge_effect

  • Mike Devx

    Ha!  I guess Coolidge, the man “known for saying very little”, had quite the wry sense of humor.

    (Either that, or Parson Weem’s progeny were busily at work…)

  • Danny Lemieux

    Good one, Z!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Most recent in media history.

  • jj

    That’s a very old story, it didn’t originate with Coolidge.  And, of course, most people (and 100% of female people) skate right on by the perfectly sound biological point it makes.  I neither approve of nor emulate Arnold, but I do recognize that he’s a mammal, and responding to over a hundred million years of mammalian evolution, which, like it or not, does to a greater or lesser degree tend to impel the male to – shall we say it biblically? – ‘spread his seed widely.’  Which is not an excuse, and does not excuse him – but it is a reality.  Most of us resist the impulse, some of us don’t.  Those in a position of societal power – top stallion – often don’t.  Most of God’s old testament favorites didn’t – and he didn’t even see it as an issue, let alone feel a need to endlessly yak about it.  (Not once did he ever tell David: “knock it off with the broads.”  It never came up.)
     
    Heard enough about it.  Heard enough from Maria – who should know better.  I’d have thought she’d have been classy enough to exhibit a little reserve and shut up about it in public, she always struck me that way.  Nice person, low-key, professional – not the type to provide ‘Inside Edition’ with weeks worth of fodder.  The ‘news’ stories have gone on for days, as we all know.  All based on a ‘story’ that could have been wrapped up and put to bed in something under a minute.  (I was never a believer in the idea that the eleven-o’clock news needs to be more than five minutes long, four of ‘em devoted to weather, which is all anyone cares about at that hour.  That it takes a half hour to get through it every night is more a function of local station economics than it is anything grandly called ‘news.’)
     
    As I said, I’m not in favor of the behavior, but I know where it’s from, and I’m remarkably bored hearing about it.

  • suek

    >>As I said, I’m not in favor of the behavior, but I know where it’s from, and I’m remarkably bored hearing about it.>>

    Heh. There are only ten commandments. Three of them relate to man’s relationship to God. That leaves seven. If sexual behavior wasn’t a problem, it probably wouldn’t rate a mention in that limited company.

    There are three facets to the problem. One is progeny. Birth control mechanisms today reduce that problem significantly. A second is trust. In a marriage, man and wife take an oath to “forsake all others”. Not only does adultery break that oath, but it breaks the trust one partner has in the other to be honest in their relationship. And of course, the last problem is simply the inability of the individual to master their own desires. The “me” factor. The “it isn’t wrong because _I_ want it” factor. The “I’m the ultimate judge of right and wrong” factor…which slides into the “no false gods” element.

    Given the nature of humanity, I can understand why you’re bored.

  • Charles Martel

    I think Maria is miffed on several levels, including the homeliness of the woman Arnold was servicing. It’s insulting that he would have found somebody so plain so attractive when he was married to a woman who was very successful not only because of her abundant intelligence and skills, but also her good looks.

    That can only serve to remind her that if she was not good enough for him then, she is even less good enough for him now. For Maria is slowly being victimized by the Kennedy Curse. On the male side of the family, the curse is either being assassinated or indicted on charges of rape or manslaughter. On the female side, the curse is The Curse of Rose. Every Kennedy woman faces the inevitable prospect of turning into a carbon copy of Rose by the time she is 60.

    I have been observing Rose colonize Maria ever since she and Arnold arrived in Sacramento. The pronounced bones, the skinny face, the hair piled unnaturally high—a budding Rose, a, as SADIE might put it, Rosebud.  

  • jj

    Oh, Sue – the Old Testament is mostly a hoot, during the course of which God is mostly either a loon, a homicidal maniac, or just amusing himself in some ineffable manner.
     
    I presume you refer to the ten commandments – though they were not referred to as such at the time – that appear in Exodus 20.  (I suppose it’s ten, though you can come up with nine, ten, or even eleven, depending on how you count the first few verses.  (Don’t make graven images; don’t bow down to graven images – is that one?  Or two?  Are they themselves merely a subset of #1 – no other gods?  By counting “no graven images” and “no bowing down to them” as one, and counting “no other gods as a separate one, you get to ten.  Depends where the commas were, I guess.)
     
    Anyway, I imagine you – like most people – refer to Exodus 20 when you refer to the ten commandments.  But then, what goes on in Exodus 34, when Moses schleps back up the mountain to get a new set of tablets (to replace the ones he broke over Aaron’s head)?  On the two new tablets he records what he calls: “the terms of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.”  (Remember, nobody – at the time – called the first set that.)  34 lists these commandments, and they have practically nothing to do with the first set, the collection of “thou shalt nots” from Exodus 20.  The laws in Exodus 20 were never called the Ten Commandments – but these explicitly are.  The new ten include only two of the earlier ones, (Sabbath to be kept, idols not to be made).  But then the other eight are all about observing Passover – (#3), bringing the first fruit of the harvest to the table – (#9), never appearing before God empty-handed (#5), not boiling a kid in ts mother’s milk – (#10 – I always liked that one), etc.
     
    So – which ten commandments?  The ones Moses actually called the Ten Commandments had zip to do with sex of any kind – not a word.  Or, really, much human behavior at all.  All about relating to God – which he apparently thought import enough to call “commandments.”
     
    Though I do have to admit, they’re not nearly as catchy as the Exodus 20 ones, the “Thou shalt nots,” which is probably why they caught on.  They’re all technical and procedural, not very exciting.
     
    What strikes me about the first ten, Exodus 20, is that they’re more rules for a functioning society – particularly a straggling remnant of a society that’s trucking around in circles in the desert, and can’t afford all the infighting that leads to the young men getting killed.  Leave each other’s girls alone, don’t steal from each other, no murdering – come on, we need everybody, let’s try to hang together and not piss one another off, we’re trying to survive here.  A set of rules by which we can function and maybe even survive.  But nobody ever regarded them as – ta-da – the Ten Commandments!  Nobody at the time, that is.

  • suek

    >>What strikes me about the first ten, Exodus 20, is that they’re more rules for a functioning society>>

    Exactly. However you view them, that’s the basic underlying principle. “Can’t we all get along?” Sure…as long as we all follow the rules…and of course, we have to all agree on the same set of rules. When we don’t, all hell breaks loose.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    It looks like they were pissing on the rules until Moses got fired up and came down the mountain with Divine Fire in his hands.

    Humans are like that. Whenever there is a chance of cooperative success, there’s always some faction (like the Left) that wants to come in and grab everything for themselves. Until some greater power stops them.

  • jj

    Okay – you buy into Exodus 20, the rules for surviving a ramble through the desert.  Go on from 20 into 21-23, and what do we have?  Well, now we get into the nitty-gritty of governing, and God follows up with the day-to-day laws and ordinances.  He starts – naturally, given the history so far – with slavery.  He has no rooted objection to it, of course, but he does set out some rules.  Verse after verse about how long a slave must serve his master, what happens to a girl whose father sells her into slavery, who owns a slave’s wife and children, blah-blah-blah.
     
    Then come the punishable items, and it’s pretty clear that God’s a hanging judge.  Punishment for idolatry: death.  For intentional killing: death.  For insulting a parent: death.  For striking a parent: death.  For kidnapping: death.  (Never mind that a few books from now David, Joshua, Solomon – just to name a few – indulge in all these things and get off with it.  In fact they get rewarded for it.)  Bestiality: death.  False witness: death.  On the other hand, seduction of a virgin – no problem, just pay off her family.  If you shove a pregnant woman and she miscarries, you have to pay a fine to her husband – killing a fetus is merely a property crime requiring financial compensation, it’s not a murder.  But – not much about sex, licit or otherwise.
     
    Chapter 24, by the way, is interesting.  Moses announces that it’s time to sacrifice some bulls to reinforce the statutes.  (Whence cometh the bulls in the middle of the desert – unknown.)  So they kill them, and Moses dips his hands into the blood and flings it over the assembled crowd, splattering them with bull blood.  This is interesting because as an act it’s ancient – and pagan.  It’s often difficult to tell if the Israelites were really polytheists who thought their god was the head god, or if they were indeed monotheists who believed he was the only one.  (Given the first commandment – or whatever – of Exodus 20, plus the bull blood, plus the golden calf, plus a few other behavioral tics I’d say they were polytheists who thought they’d hitched their wagon to the top god, but certainly not the only one.)
     
    Then come several chapters – entire chapters – devoted to interior decorating.  When it comes to building his tabernacle, God is a detail freak, even down to the decorations on the candlesticks and the stitching on the high priest’s robes.  (At one point he even rolls out samples of lamps for Moses to study.)  Chapter 32, Moses is still up on Mt. Sinai making notes on architecture  (Noah spent 40 days up on the mountain.  Noah got 40 days of rain.  The Israelites wandered (in an area about the size of Massachusetts) for 40 years.  What’s up with 40?)  The Israelites get restless.  They demand that Aaron, Moses’ brother, make a god for them.  Aaron, licensed silversmith (I guess) agrees and casts the golden calf.  He builds an altar to the calf, and declares a festival.  Moses arrives back at base camp in the midst of the party, has a cow, and this is when he breaks the tablets.  (Full disclosure: It doesn’t say he broke them over Aaron’s head, I added that.)
     
    So ,referring back to chapters 21-23 and the rule that says the punishment for idolatry is death, what happens to Aaron?  nothing, not a thing.  In chapter 40, God confesses that the workmanship on the golden calf was really very good (full disclosure: I added that, too,) and he not only gives Aaron a pass on the whole episode, he makes him and all his descendants the chief priests!  In perpetuity!  Forever!  Mr. Golden Calf – probably the most incompetent and certainly the most faithless man among them gets the job.  Oy!
     
    This is all pretty removed from what we were talking about, but it’s such fun and has such a high proportion of random lunacy that once you get started it’s hard not to go with it a ways.  In all the above chapters – and those to come – not a word about sex.  God doesn’t care.  The Exodus 20 – the “thou shalt not” commandments which Moses broke over his brother’s head were desperate measures for a desperate time.  The genuine Ten Commandments from chapter 34, which were at the time called the Ten Commandments by both God and Moses, which the others were not – say not a word about anybody’s sex life.  All the boys had harems and numerous wives, Joshua, David, Saul, Amnon, Gideon, Eli, Solomon – the whole boiling of the Deity’s favorites.  (Bathsheba wasn’t the only wife of somebody else David got involved with – he was such a horndog he picked up a widow at her husband’s funeral – that was Abigail.)  And they all treated women like garbage.  And they all believed in, and practiced, mass murder to the point of genocide.  One person’s offense gets entire cities leveled.  In the book of Joshua it’s just all killing – Joshua and the Israelites killed by the thousands, men, women, children, animals.  And Solomon, perhaps the horniest old goat in history, had a copulation cabinet of seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines.
     
    As I said, I don’t approve of Arnold, but he made a simple mistake: he thought marrying into the Kennedy family made him a Kennedy.  He thought wrongly, as it turns out.  On the other hand, unlike the above-named crew he never killed anybody.
     
     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    In most of the divine revelations in the Old Testament, I would assume it was Mose’s actions, rather than God’s. A lot of things back then were attributed to God’s will or miracles, but I just think people were superstitious back then and attributed way too much to God that actually resulted from the actions of normal people, like Moses.

  • jj

    Exactly, Y.  You’re Moses, world’s worst navigator (40 years?  In the space in which they were wandering, over the course of forty years there must have been at least one Israelite footprint in every single square foot.  How the hell can you get lost for forty years in something the size of Massachusetts?), and you got some problems.
     
    The people are restless.  (In fact – as Exodus will tell you – the Israelites started complaining and kvetching and wishing they were dead – or back in Egypt – three days in to this trek.)  Your strong young men – whom you rely upon – are behaving like young men.  They’re grabbing at each other’s girls.  The strong are beating up the weaker.  They’re robbing each other.  They’re fighting constantly, and even killing one another.  You need these clowns, they’re your strong backs.  So what do you do?  You climb the mountain, and have a talk with God.  Even if he’s not there, you say you had a talk with him.  You come down with a bunch of rules, coincidentally rules that are ideally suited to make everybody behave in a desperate situation like the one you’re in.  No flirting with other people’s chicks. Definitely no bopping other people’s chicks!  No stealing, no fighting, no killing, etc.  And no fighting about religion – we’re all going to worship the same guy the same way!  In other words, you go make up some simple rules, and come down and tell the boys that God told you to tell them to knock off the disruptive crap.  We’re all in this together, trying to survive.  (“Hey, Ali?  Mohammed here.  Hey, you know what?  Al-Lah says to tell you to give me your daughter.  Yeah – the nine year old.  I know it’s pervy, but that’s what he says, we gotta do it.”)
     
    Same channel, a couple thousand years earlier.  Moses probably made up the Exodus 20 rules.  God may have had something to do with the Exodus 34 ones – they actually involve stuff that mattered to him – but not those first ones.

  • BrianE

    jj, you missed all the rules in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy– well not so much Numbers since a lot of that is just a bunch of Numbers.
    Practical things like when you see a bird sitting on eggs, you can take the eggs but you must leave the mother bird be.
    Or don’t wear clothes made of wool and linen woven together.
    Or men shouldn’t wear women’s clothes and vice versa.
     
    God gave the Israelites plenty of rules, some practical, some spiritual and some that make no sense to modern people like us.
     
    But as to the rules in making the tabernacle, not much is different today, when you think about it. I want to build a house, and there are rules telling me how far the house has to be from the sides of the property, how thick the walls have to be, how many rooms it has to have, what size it has to be, how tall it can be and so on and so on.
     
    Your confusion as to which 10 commandments are the 10 commandments comes from watching to much Charlton Heston, although I will say he was a good Moses, even if his portrayal of Ramon Vargas in “A Touch of Evil” was a bit over the top. OK, so maybe Moses was over the top also.
     
    As to the law, Paul puts it all together in Romans when he reminds us the law was never intended to save us, but to make clear that we are incapable of being justified by the law. Even Abraham was justified by faith, an essential element of a spiritual life.
     
    Our right standing before God comes not from the law but by faith in Jesus, who fulfilled the requirements of the law. But then you probably already knew that.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Moses was just as illiterate as his other guys. There was no reason to believe he was capable of making up anything, let alone that it would actually work to any great extent. Yet it did. That is indisputable fact. Which is concurrent with victory in battle, as graced by the providence of God. As it is the continuous unbroken chain of victories for America, another gift of divine providence. Fact, not theory.

  • jj

    Didn’t miss ‘em – they’re not germane.
     
    Yes, building inspectors can be a pain in the ass.  They generally don’t tell you how to stitch your clothes, though, nor what the lamps in your house should look like.  I have no opinion about God as the world’s first interior decorator – I merely note it.  And note that he spent verses and verses on it – the world’s first murder got much less play.
     
    My ‘confusion’ doesn’t relate to Charlton Heston, whom I never watched.  Nor is it ‘confusion,’ it stems from the fact that the people at the time did not call what was in Exodus 20 the ten commandments, but did call what was in Exodus 34 by that term.  Don’t actually know what Heston did – could never stomach more than the first few minutes of the movie.  Didn’t deal well with Jeffrey Hunter, either.  I may be among the (probably) very few who has never seen any of them.  (Took about a forty minute break in the middle of Ben-Hur to pop into the deli beside the theater for a sandwich and a coke when younger.  Ham and cheese, as I recall.)
     
    The old testament and the new testament are different universes, and Christ is not relevant to the old one.
     
     

  • Charles Martel

    Ymarsakar, careful about Moses’s illiteracy making it less likely that he could have made things up. Mohammed (ptui) was supposedly illiterate and the guy made everything up as he went along.

  • suek

    The point I was making, jj, was that the restrictions on sexual behavior rated up there in the top ten.

    Nevertheless, keep it up…I’m enjoying it!

    As far as I’m concerned, whether you consider the bible to be divinely inspired or not, it’s a history of human behavior that shows that we haven’t changed a whole lot over the last 3000 years or so. We might _know_ more, but it hasn’t changed our behavior much.

  • BrianE

    Yes, Moses was raised in the House of Pharoh and would have been highly educated. What he didn’t feel comfortable doing was speaking in front of people.

    jj, the Old and New Testament are intertwined if you are a Christian. As an Orthodox Jew, you might feel differently.

    Jesus refers to the Old Testament often, accepts the Mosaic authorship of the Pentatuch and it’s Divine authority. Old Testament Christology is accepted in Christianity.

  • jj

    Brian – I don’t much care, but – I was speaking of them, not us.  David, Saul, Solomon, Absalom, Amnon, Joshua et al’s standing with the lord did not depend in the least on Paul, or Christ.  Paul and Christ had zilch to do with them, and they didn’t know any more about either of them than they did about 747s.  (They would, however, have clearly understood: ‘coffee, tea – or me?’)  The two testaments do not relate, except insofar as Christ either inserts himself, or is inserted into a relationship with some events of the Old, in order to be seen as fulfilling prophecy.  Jesus of course was a good observant Jew, naturally he refers to the Old – it’s his book.  And the New borrowed freely from the Old.  Abraham and Isaac are re-purposed for the New, with the difference that in the New God didn’t let the sacrificial son off; the brothers got twenty pieces of silver for their sale of Joseph, a millennium’s inflation and Judas got thirty for his sale of Christ – there are hundreds of Old stories re-purposed and run again in the New.  And you come to some odd interpolations, like 2nd Samuel chapter 7 – which is an interruption, makes zero sense in context, and could well be seen as important to Christians – who aren’t due on stage for quite a while.  The stuff about one of David’s heirs is almost too clearly a reference to Jesus.  It doesn’t really fit in the flow of 2nd Samuel to this point, and it’s out of place with what follows, too.  So the scholarly conclusion is that this was either added later by Christian writers, or (more probably, to my mind) it’s the basis of why Jesus always claimed descent from David.
     
    Deuteronomy is mostly another mess, but I’m surprised you didn’t point out the one thing that it does do: resolve the commandments.  (I didn’t mention because I figured somebody else would.  Come on, Sue!)  In Deut 5 it resolves the conflict by rewriting history.  Old Moishe reissues the “thoug shalt nots” of Exodus 20 and declares them to be the Ten.  From a theological and ethical perspective there’s no question that the Exodus 20 are superior, zippier, and have a lot more panache than the Exodus 34, which are a set of pretty dull rules.  But – there is no getting away from the fact that the Exodus 34  are the Ten Commandments.  They are called that, at the time, by God and by Moses.  Now Deut comes along to correct Exodus.  Hmmm.  A later interpolation?
     
    I wonder.  I also wonder if perhaps this isn’t a reflection of a conflict between two different visions of Judaism.  It might be that many priests and leaders – including whoever wrote Exodus (because Exodus clearly calls the E-34 rules the Ten Commandments, not the E-20 ones) – regarded the laws of chapter 34, which outline essential ritual obligations, as the most important rules.  And it could be that Deut – a later book – is an attempt to refute that, and claim the spiffier, more exciting, universal “thou shalt nots” of E-20 as the real deal.  A little Orwellian action, here.  Perhaps.
     
    Because there’s no question, the E-34 commandments were originally called “commandments” because they’re about relating to God.  In the popular mind the E-20 “shalt nots” are alleged to be a guide for moral living, and how to be good – but that’s not what they are.  They don’t in fact teach us how to be good, or moral, they don’t teach anything about morality.  They just forbid – zero teaching.  The E-20 ones are designed for keeping order, not teaching.  They concern how the Israelites acted toward each other so their society could function.  They make no attempt to impart morality, they just say what not to do.  No explanation.
     
    And Sue – check Leviticus 18.  Himself explains himself a bit in that one – and we are told why he’s so worried about sexual misbehavior (though the behavior of his favorites indicates clearly that he’s in fact not.)  Anyway, he explains it – at least for that moment, the time of the explanation – and I bet it’s not at all what you expect.  He says the Israelites must follow sexual laws in order to keep the land pure.  He could not care less about the people and whatever they’re up to, but they have to keep the land undefiled.  It’s about the dirt – not your soul!  According to God the land is alive, and can be purified or defiled.  It can even rise against whoever’s standing on it, and spew them off, it doesn’t like them.
     
    This makes some sense.  A whole lot of Genesis, and a lot of Exodus is about real estate, when you get right down to it.  Like Trump, God can’t go a chapter without a real estate deal.  In Genesis he promises land to Abraham (off the top of my head) at least four times – with different sets of boundaries each time.  (“Promised land” indeed.)  In Exodus it’s all about the real estate, and who can go and who can’t.
     
    I can’t go flying off on these tangents.  The Old Testament is just more fun than practically anything.  You should read it some time.
     
     

  • Mike Devx

    jj: A whole lot of Genesis, and a lot of Exodus is about real estate, when you get right down to it.  Like Trump, God can’t go a chapter without a real estate deal. [...] I can’t go flying off on these tangents.  The Old Testament is just more fun than practically anything.

    I’ve enjoyed your affectionately acerbic commentary on parts of the Old Testament!  And the give and take between you and BrianE been educational for me as well.  It certainly is a *diverse* set of books, in tone and content.  Be careful reading to your children at night from “Song of Songs”!  Some of those could trigger an early onset of puberty.

  • suek

    >>I can’t go flying off on these tangents. >>
     
    Why not?
     
    >>The Old Testament is just more fun than practically anything. >>
     
    Somehow I suspect you’d make it moreso as a teacher than the ones I had…
     
    >>You should read it some time.>>
     
    I’m Catholic.  We get it in bits and pieces all the time – but not in a unified whole.  I’m obviously out of my depth here…but I’ll heed your advice.  Somehow, I suspect it will be a bit like Ivanhoe… I had to read it three times.  First time, the first half didn’t make a lot of sense, but when I got to the second half, I realized that it explained the first half.  Second time around, I put the second half together with the first half, and it made sense.  Third time around, I actually enjoyed it.