Today marks the juxtaposition of the first night of Passover (starting today at sundown) and what Americans celebrate as April Fool's day.
What few Americans know is that April Fool's Day has its origins in the Passover story. It became dissociated with Passover when it was adopted to the Gregorian calendar, switching it from a lunar holiday like all Jewish holidays to a solar holiday and fixing the date.
April Fool's Day derives from the Jewish holiday called A'fikomen, which originally came 8 days before Passover. Passover, of course, celebrates the Exodus, as everyone knows. And everyone knows that before the Jews left Egypt, Moses tried convincing Pharaoh of the validity of the Jewish religion by matching wits with the priests of Amun, a manifestation of the Egyptian sun god. This famous battle of tricks, called the A'fikomen in ancient Hebrew, did not convince Pharaoh. It took the ten plagues sent by G_d to do that, thus symbolizing the futility of human actions in comparison with the power of G_d.
The battle of tricks between Moses and the priests of Amun were celebrated in a kind of foolish, children's holiday 8 days before Passover called A'fikomen. During this time parents would hide treats and toys and children would have to find them. read more »
Chris Owens commemorates MLK, and includes a charming story about his mom, tearing up his principal back during his school days. That silly man hadn't known, one would think, that having Chris' mom up in arms really is severely ill-advised.
What is it with Albany and horses? The Times-Union reports on Shelly Silver's member items, featuring an annual tradition of $250,000 going to a charity headed by the daughter of the chairman of the New York Racing Association. He, in turn, offers his Saratoga home to the Assembly Democrats for a fundraiser every year during the races. Note: it doesn't need to be illegal to look sleazy.
The New York Times: Governor Spitzer wants New York to take the lead on stem cell research. Standing in the way, as usual, is Senator Roadblock, Joe Bruno.
Rochester Turning looks at the positions taken by local Congressmen on the Bush-McCain escalation plan to kill more Americans.
Left Behinds dissects the immigration debate with the use of a fiendish, heathen construct known as "data".
Quinnipiac polls Mayor Bloomberg, who receives a 75% to 16% approval/disapproval rating. The fallout from the Sean Bell killing is confined to Ray Kelly and the NYPD, viewed negatively by 34% and 40%, with approval at 52% and 53% respectively. That's down from Kelly 70% to 16%, NYPD 72% to 20%. Among blacks, the numbers are, unsurprisingly, worse: Kelly 32% approval, 57% disapproval, NYPD 23% approval, 63% disapproval.
Lastly, since I just noticed â€“ not paying attention here, I guess â€“ that The Politicker has a feature called 'Elsewhere', we need a new title for the daily news roundup. Suggestions in the comments, please. read more »
January first is, of course, New Year's Day in the Western world. Most people really focus on the night before and are hung over and/or lazy on New Year's Day itself.
For me, January 1st is my grandmother's birthday. Were she still alive, she would be 104 years old. In reality she died ten years ago in 1997 at the very respectable age of 94.
My family tends to live a long time. Many live into their 80's and 90's and several have lived into their 100's.
My grandmother, was born Celia Luban in 1903 in the small town of Rezekne, Latvia. For more on Rezekne itself, please see a previous diary I wrote about my attempts to find my roots and to preserve one small part of those roots. Her parents were an ill-matched couple whose squabbles spanned generations. Dora (Dweira) Luban was born in the city of Dvinsk to a rabbinical family who had hit hard times. How hard? When Dora's brother, David, turned 13 he was sent off to South America to find his fortune because their parents couldn't afford to support him. Dora and her sister, Ida, were sent off to live with relatives who had an inn "outside of town." I am not sure which town that was. Perhaps it was the town of Rezekne this referred to because later it was in Rezekne that Dora married. That inn was ruined by pogroms, though our family was warned by the Latvians in time to hide so that we wouldn't be killed because we were Jews they happened to like. read more »
There has got to be meaning to this juxtaposition :
James Brown, the hardest working man in show business who took shit from nobody and represented the emerging black powered pop culture revolution. He dies on Christmas day.
Gerald Ford, the man who had to clean Richard Nixon's shit while nurturing the emerging white supremacist neo-con movement introduced by his presidency. He dies the day after Christmas.
James Brown, no matter how fucked up his situation, he always seemed to be able to overcome through hard work and determination. His foibles? Pardonnable because even though he was superhumanly talented, his shortcomings and humble beginning just made him more like us.
Gerald Ford, on the other hand, never seemed to break a sweat. His photographs in the White House make it look like he is more like a vacationer than a president; just passing time before his time to go. And his biggest foible? Pardoning Nixon, and letting him skip free from the consequences of his corrupt actions. read more »
For normal people, Christmas is a one or maybe two-day holiday. For me, by virtue of having married into a vast Italian-Irish family, it is a weeklong, inescapable frenzy, and I am beginning to buckle under the strain.
Again, normalcy, the way things should be. You have dinner on Christmas Eve, unwrap presents that night or the next day, get drunk on eggnog, done. Finished. Move on.
We, that is hubby and myself, don't do that. We set out, this year, on Friday. We are still here, midway in our peregrinations to visit, it seems, every single individual in North America with whom hubby shares even the tiniest sliver of DNA. And at every stop along the route, the ritual continues: god-awful music - I am ready to exhume Bing Crosby and burn the remains - too much food, too much drink, too much too much too much. We do this death march by rental car; at last checking, the damned thing had recorded over five hundred miles of travel. This is not, emphatically, the way things should be.
And we're not done yet. The agony continues.