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Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Three Shekels

Eric Trump said that Bob Woodward would amass 3 extra shekels from his book:
"Don’t you think people look through the fact, you can write some sensational, nonsense book, CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president," Trump said on Fox News, referring to "Fear," Woodward's book.

"It’ll mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels, at the behest of the American people, at the behest of our country, that’s doing a phenomenal job by every quantifiable metric."

I do not know if this means Eric Trump is anti-Semitic. I think it does mean that he has interiorized a number of racial stereotypes during his life, and they are so much part of his psyche that they seem "commonsensical" or part of normal converse.

Why 3?
Why 3 shekels? I mean, Woodward would probably get three million dollars more in sales and unless the exchange rate is $1 million US to 1 Israeli shekel, there would be more than three. So why three?

Maybe Eric Trump meant half-shekels and had in mind
Why Three Half-Shekels?

The basic explanation for why it is customary to give three half-shekels is that the Torah portion that mandates the half-shekel contains the word terumah (“offering”) three times.8 Others explain that it corresponds to the three times it says the words machatzit hashekel (“half-shekel”).9
Three Fasts

The Lubavitcher Rebbe provides another connection. On fast days, the rabbis recommend that a person donate the amount of money he would have spent on his daily meal to charity. Thus, the fast day does not simply pad your bank account, but actually goes to help someone in need. In the Megillah, before Esther approached the king to invite him to her private party (which ultimately led to Haman’s downfall), she told Mordechai: “Go, assemble all the Jews who are present in Shushan and fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days . . .”10 In memory of those three fasts, we give charity in threes.11

Or perhaps Eric studies ancient potteries and ostracon:
The Three shekel ostracon is a pottery fragment bearing a forged text supposedly dating from between the 7th and 9th century BCE.[1] It is 8.6 centimeters high and 10.9 centimeters wide and contains five lines of ancient Hebrew writing.[2] The inscription mentions a king named Ashyahu donating three shekels to the House of Yahweh. No king named Ashyahu is mentioned in the Bible, but some scholars believe it may refer to Jehoash, who ruled Judea 802–787 BCE.[3]

The ostracon was purchased by Shlomo Moussaieff from the Jerusalem antiquities dealer Oded Golan. Doubts about the authenticity of this and other artefacts sold by Golan began to be expressed in the late 1990s, and in 2003 Professor Christ Rollston, a leading authority on Northwest Semitic inscriptions, said he is "confident beyond a reasonable doubt" that the "three shekel ostracon" is a forgery.[4] The same negative conclusion was reached on the basis of scientific examination of the patina.[5]


According to your order,

Ashya- hu the king, to give by the hand of

[Z]ekaryahu silver of Tar- shish

for the house of Yahweh

3 shekels[6]
Three Shekel Ostracon 

Three shekels must be some alt-right code:
12: A number often used as the numeric symbol for the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang. The number one represents the first letter of the alphabet, "A", and the number two represents "B". 

and  1  +  2  = 3  !

And that is quite a feat by any unquantifiable metric.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Follow The Funerals

When globe-trotting and zipping from country to country, one may tend to lose one's perspective and forget whether one is in a country that the SHOTUS  ( "S***-Head-of-the-United-States" ) favors or disfavors. I mean, were I to stumble into North Korea, say, would it be on a day that Kim Jong Un is considered "mad" or on a day Kim is considered "a genius"?
Hard to keep track.

Except in the Middle East.
The infallible proof for whether one is in a favored state or not is summed up in the pithy maxim "Follow the funerals", meaning the funerals for children, who have been starved by sanctions, succumbed to illnesses due to lack of medication or medical treatment, or - when all else fails - bombed into Paradise by the Saudis and their American supporters.
It makes me remember walking through Toronto's Hospital For Sick Children last year, an institution known locally as Sick Kids, as in (Hospital For) Sick Kids.
So I think there must be a Middle East Dead Kids institution somewhere; sort of a clearinghouse for the peripheral fatalities and the collateral damages of our diseased policies. I don't want to walk through it. The photos are enough.

Now the SHOTUS has decided to cut off  $25 million in medical aid to Palestine:

Washington's decision on Saturday to scrap its $25m financial assistance to a network of six hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem was sharply criticised by Palestinian leaders and health officials, who called it a "cruel" and "unjustified" act of "political blackmail".

Maybe some of those Evangelical Christians who want Jerusalem in its entirety restored to Israel should go over and "faith heal" those Palestinian children. Maybe.

The good news is that the largest recipient of US foreign aid, to the tune of $6 billion plus, has its pipeline of support flowing unimpeded, thanks to SHOTUS and Kushner.


Saturday, September 08, 2018

The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Show Runner

Kelly Macdonald and Irfan Khan; Puzzle

I am being ostracized by those with whom I go to films. It had been said that I hate films and there are no films that I like, which is a gross misrepresentation. However, there are a lot of bad films, and our little circle of "friends" often gets charmed into seeing a parcel of them based upon the positive reviews of on-line critics who seem to be easily impressed.

We saw Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman and even though I may have felt great team spirit against the rampant racism of the present age, I found the movie pretty pedestrian and often boring.  I have not been totally on board for Spike Lee for quite a while. While I consider Do The Right Thing to be a masterpiece, I sort of fell off the Spike Lee Joint wagon at the time of Malcolm X, which I did not like, even though I liked Denzel Washington immensely.

We saw Puzzle which was quite nice. 
The male leads were David Denman - whom we remember as Roy from the TV series The Office - and Irfan Khan - whom I insist upon considering the new PM of Pakistan ( who is actually Imran Khan ) and who seems to have the country under control and uses his ample extra time for appearing in films.
I certainly wish that Benazir Bhutto had had this type of situation, God rest her soul.

We saw "The Wife" which was an abomination...
Glenn Close is in "The Wife" and I was trying to think of a film she has been in that I could compare this to, and discovered that there is no film I liked that scintillated due to the acting abilities of Glenn Close. Not a one. She has been in films I liked, but I think I have always found her uninteresting.
She-who-must-be-obeyed observed that she was distracted during close-up scenes during which Close's angular features were suddenly offset by the intrusion of her "hammy" hands! It's true. I could not say something like that without being stoned by the combined frowns of the villagers, but She can compare Glenn Close's extremities to a pair of large jambons and no one says boo about it!

Well, that is a director-problem or an editor-problem. I certainly cannot fault Ms. Close for having hands like those of Brendan Gleeson

 The only way out is to not say anything about the films. My friends, of course, see through this and immediately make the conclusion that I did not like the film and am being my usual negative self.
In my defense, I use the following scale to rate films:

Writing/Story makes up 60% of the rating, followed by Editing with 10%, Acting with 10%, Camera Work with 5%, Lighting with 5%, Foley with 2 1/2 %, Gaffer with 2 1/2%, Continuity Girl and Best Boy with 2 1/2% between them, and Directing with 2 1/2%.

(The story for The Wife was indescribably dopey. Look it up somewhere where they give a rip if you truly wish to find the story-line.)

I used to include Producers in the rating system, but ever since Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel had featured a bakery called Mendl's which had distinctive pink boxes and had had an ad campaign that had sent some of these Mendl's boxes to real-life bakeries around the country... 

... And I had seen one such advertising box in The Home Bakery in Rochester, Michigan... Which is where I buy my buttercream filled long john dougnuts once a month... And where I had declared that I was a friend of the producer of The Grand Budapest Hotel, the producer being none other than the great Harvey Weinstein  (it is not a lie if it is for doughnuts!)  and I must have one of those Mendl boxes for my long johns.

They were impressed even if they weren't quite sure who Harvey Weinstein was, but were very sorry they could not let he boxes go. Then with the endless passage of time, and Harvey Weinstein's creds having gone south, they began to give me funny looks when I came on my monthly jaunts. So I wear a disguise. And it sounds a lot like a Wes Anderson movie, and that makes it more than tolerable; it makes it great!