Monday, February 22, 2016

People and things that annoy me (in no particular order)

Let me stress again the "no particular order" part. And I am well aware that many of these are first-world problems and annoyances of a privileged person. But I am in a bad mood and feel like venting. And what else is the Internet for? Okay, here goes:

1) People who do not wait to make left turns in the middle of the intersection but hang back making it impossible for anybody to go around them. But the people who go through yellow lights when there is opposite traffic waiting to make left turns are just as bad, maybe worse.

2) People who are planning not to vote if Bernie Sanders doesn't get the Democratic nomination. Hillary Clinton may not be your dream candidate folks, but anyone she appoints to the Supreme Court is going to be better than anyone the Republican candidate(s) would appoint. And there are many other examples where her being President would be a better outcome for America and the world than any of the Republicans.

3) Ralph Nader. For all the good he has done, I still can't forgive him for spreading the idea among some progressives that there isn't much difference between the two major parties in the US. See above. (Also does he know he borrowed the "not a dime's worth of difference" meme from George Wallace?)

4) Pedestrians who wave drivers who are stopping for them to go through the intersection.

5) Students who sit in a dark room until the instructor comes in.

6) People who use Saline Street as a short cut to Brown's Hill Road. This is very specific to my neighborhood in Pittsburgh. But you know who you are. You are not objectively stupid or immoral like the people in #2. but you do annoy me.

7) The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for three reasons: a) The new "insider guide" is stupid fluff. If you think this is going to save the print newspaper, think again. b) The editorial obsession with the state-owned liquuor stores. c) Putting the comics and the crossword puzzle in different places: they shuld always go in the Magazine. This started when David Shribman became editor. He came from the Boston Globe. And I hated this in the Boston Globe when I lived in Boston. Draw your own conclusions.

8) Islamophobic Jews. Islamophobia in general is bad, of course, but I am particularly annoyed by my fellow Jews who have fallen prey to ignorant nonsense. Call me a tribalist.

9) People who approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a zero-sum game. Is it so hard to try to understand context and feel empathy and concern for Israelis and Palestinians?

10) Cotton candy and petting zoos. No reason. Totally irrational. They are linked in that my kids like both of them and know that I hate both of them. Note: I don't find the people who like these annoying (well, not most of the time).

11) Giant Eagle: why are some of the products my family likes in the Greenfield store and not the Squirrel Hill store AND other products my family likes in Squirrel Hill but not Greenfield?

12) Republicans who talk about how lots of Democrats voted against the Civil Rights Act and lots of Republicans supported it. This is annoying and pernicious. It is only relevant today in that it shows how much the parties have changed in the last 50 years. There used to be liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. The former species is nearly extinct and the latter has become very rare. (Just realized that in a way George Wallace was not so far off in 1968 when there were liberal and conservative branches of both parties and Nixon and Humphrey would both be considered centrists these days. But Nader was very wrong in 2000.)

13) Myself, I guess. What kind of person is annoyed by Ralph Nader and not George Wallace?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

(some of) What I read in 2012

September 2012
Joseph Gaer and Ben Siegel, The Puritan Heritage: America's Roots in the Bible
Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections
David S. Reynolds, Faith in Fiction: The Emergence of Religious Literature in America
August 2012
Ayelet Waldman, The Big Nap
Barbara E. Mann, Space and Place in Jewish Studies
Jay Michaelson, Everything is God: The Path of NonDual Judaism
Amanda Cross, No Word from Winifred
Francesca Trivellato, The Kindness of Strangers
CP Snow, Last Things
CP Snow, The Sleep of Reason
Yoel Finkelman, Strictly Kosher Reading
Jonathan Riley-Smith, What Were the Crusades
Ann Blair, Too Much To Know
Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian
Ellis Peters, One Corpse Too Many
July 2012
Polybius, The Rise of the Roman Empire
Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind
June 2012
Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetary
Barbara Burstin, Steel City Jews
Elaine Showalter, Faculty Towers: The Academic Novel and Its Discontents
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It
May 2012
Lisa Jardine, The Awful End of Prince William the Silent
Sara Paretsky, Bitter Medicine
Will Eisner, Dropsie Avenue: The Neighborhood
Will Eisner, Fagin the Jew
Sara Paretsky, Breakdown
Peter Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism
April 2012
Zachary Schiffman, The Birth of the Past
Sara Paretsky, Body Work
Jean Smith, A Masculine Ending
March 2012
Hazard Adams, Academic Tribes
Nicola Upson, An Expert in Murder
Edward Goldberg, Jews and Magic in Medici Florence
P.D. James, Death Comes ot Pemberly
January 2012
Sharon Kahn, Fax Me a Bagel
David Weiss Halivni, The Book and the Sword
William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
Jane Langton, Steeplechase
Donna Leon, Drawing Conclusions