Happy Rosh Hashana! L’Shana Tovah! Happy New Year!

· dKo journal, Edgewise, Paleoblogs

May your name be inscribed for good in the Book of Life!
I understand there is another New Year, celebrated on January 1, but I think we need all the New Years we can get. The Jews actually have two. One is the start of the first month of the Jewish Calendar, in the Spring, when life sprouts out of the ground for reasons it will not reveal.
The reason we have Rosh Hashanah as a second New Year is that it is the birthday of the Universe. Happy Birthday Universe!
My Own Obviously Optional Religious Note:
Rosh Hashanah has another importance too, because of the Book of Life. This is, of course, the book we are writing just by being alive. Rosh Hashanah is an ideal time to take stock of what we have written in this year’s edition. The saying is, “On Rosh Hashanah it is written; on Yom Kippur it is sealed.” My friends from publishing will understand this very well. On Rosh Hashanah it is in galleys; on Yom Kippur it is shipped. So, many people use these days to make their last minute corrections.

But, wait!
We can make corrections any time, and they are reflected in all that was written in the past.
Here we have these two ideas on the table: One is you can make a turning any moment of any day. When you choose it, it is there. Every time you close your eyes, every time you open them, you see the promise of forgiveness waiting.
The other is a structure that forces you to stop and face yourself, that asks what you’ve been doing with your life, have you measured up to your own idea of kindness, is there someone you’ve forgotten and wanted to forget. You know them all, because they are your questions, but now you feel you have to answer. Why now? Because this is the time.
Two ideas on the table. I’ll take both!
There are some really wise ideas structured into the Rosh Hashanah tradition. The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the “Days of Awe.” A lot of things we’d like to repent of require some preparation first. So it takes time.
Sometimes we have to earn our repentance. When we are sincere, God would be willing to just forgive us everything, right then and there. But that just isn’t possible. If you have offended God, God can forgive you. But if you have wronged another person, how can God forgive you? Only the one you have wronged can do that.
So the Days of Awe are sacred to forgiveness, for going to the person I’ve avoided, looking them in the eye and, speaking on the level, expressing my regret. It is required that if there are amends to be made, I make them first. If recompense is owed, I pay it. I must sincerely intend not to repeat what I have done, and I must express that too. Then your regret has been earned.
On the other side, during the Days of Awe, forgiveness cannot be withheld--not without violating the spirit of the days, which has come down to us as a gift, and is prepared to set us free, if we will set each other free.
You can’t go back, but you can turn around.

Terrorism and Appalling Taste

· dKo journal, Edgewise, Paleoblogs

“After Mr. Qaddafi’s renunciation of terrorism and his agreement to end programs to develop unconventional weapons, the United States last year removed Libya from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.” NYT“>
DKo: It was the “unconventional weapons” that really got our generals’ goats. Qaddafi painted his fighter-bombers in the most garish purples and pinks. He had machine-guns that fired smelly pellets of Limburger cheese. No respect! It was an embarrassment for everyone. We put a stop to it.

Deadline Approaches. Bush Unconcerned.

· dKo journal, Edgewise, Paleoblogs

“President George W. Bush and his Democratic foes…fire the opening shots in a long-brewing clash likely to seal the fate of US war strategy….set[ting] the stage for Bush’s critical progress report,…due by September 15.” AFP
DKo: So, why is Bush so unconcerned about this deadline bearing down? The answer, say confidants, is he plans to download a paper from the Internet.

The Ticking Time Bomb

· dKo journal, Edgewise, Paleoblogs

“They would put people naked for up to 40 days in cells where
they were deprived of any kind of light.”
“History Will Not Absolve Us,” Nat Hentoff, the Village Voice, August 28th, 2007
DKo: Why does it go on and on? For one thing, they frighten us with stories of the “ticking time bomb.” This prisoner knows exactly where it is. How can we be so sure? Because the scene is taught primarily in movies. We saw him do it; we saw it with God’s eye. So we beat the Hell out of him. It’s a movie, so it works.
But I don’t think that ticking time bombs tick for forty days. I don’t think we know what we are looking for. I don’t think the torture gets it out. So, please, tell us: How many ticking time bombs have you actually stopped? In the last four years, how many? Was it even one? You have tortured thousands. So, tell us, out of thousands, was it even one?
If there has been one, and someone beat the Hell out of him, and really stopped a bomb going off, and lives were really saved, then charge and try him–he broke the law. I promise you, he will be probationed; he will be pardoned.
You keep them in the dark. You keep them there forever. If you stopped a ticking time bomb, try the truth.

Concerning Vampires

· dKo journal, Edgewise, Paleoblogs

From the promo for a play I’m going to see, “DRACULA,” Bram Stoker, “We think you’ll find it nothing less than epic…”
I can believe it. There certainly must be something fundamental about the Vampire. There’s not much that competes with it for perpetual fascination. There used to be the gunfighter; I remember watching 15-20 Westerns a week, and the gunfight never got old. No more.
The Martial Artist is a contender. I don’t think The Rock Star is, not as the subject of stories anyhow. Angels were coming on strong for several years, but faded. Certainly, The Babe. (In the fifties, they came up with the phrase “Sex Symbol.” Marilyn Monroe was a Sex Symbol. Where did they get that? Jung, I suppose. So, it is probably true, but they were also in denial about just plain Sex.) The Babe who is also The Martial Artist is newish, but I think she’s here to stay; she has it all.
The Zombies are always hanging around, but in a second tier. Spies
need to be in really good movies now, to steer clear of farce. Then there’s the Slasher. Always a kind of farce, appreciated by the audience. I am just too old to get it, but they have the numbers.
The non-Slasher Serial-Killer has become an irresistible protagonist, but I suspect more to the screenwriters, as prefabs for loosely integrated and yearned-for multi-orgasmic plots. By now the story has to carry the appeal; I doubt it’s a bona-fide audience-driven archetype.
Superheroes, for sure! I don’t care what the superpower is; I want to see that movie. This place used to be filled by the Galahad Knight, or simply by The Hero. Hercules was mortal, but a demigod, based on his Heroics. He must have founded a thousand cities. He had an inexhaustible litany of locales and legends to his name. I don’t think Achilles had “legs” like that.
Anyway, I am always up for a vampire.
The Torah says many times, “Thou shall not eat the blood, for the blood is the life.” The Breath is mentioned at the Creation, but mainly it is the blood.
A non sequitur story I liked from the Buffy series spinoff, Angel. (He’s a Vampire with a soul. Drinks animal blood.) A Demon makes him go through memories of all the people he had killed (before the soul). He says he can no longer live with it. The Demon says he doesn’t have the courage to end his life. He says, “I don’t need courage. I just need the sun to rise.”
–David