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  • Poetry


Hobbits, Jews, and Romantics in the Woods

Just a few notes on the film Defiance. My housemate and I caught a free screening courtesy of gofobo.com and the Ritz East. The film is based on the 1993 book by Nechama Tec, Defiance: The Bielski Partisans, and it is an excellent story told well. Had it been a fantasy written by Tolkien it . . . → Continue reading: Hobbits, Jews, and Romantics in the Woods

Amplified Harmonic Resonance: Playlist for Monday morning, 2009-01-05

Amplified Harmonic Resonance, Playlist for Monday morning, 2009-01-05, programmer: dj Magical Adventures of Duffy Moon Year Artist Album Track No.

Title 1970 John Cale & Terry Riley Church Of Anthrax 1 Church of Anthrax 1970 John Cale & Terry Riley Church Of Anthrax 2 The Hall of Mirrors in the Palace at Versailles . . . → Continue reading: Amplified Harmonic Resonance: Playlist for Monday morning, 2009-01-05

Amplified Harmonic Resonance on WKDU 91.7FM

Tune your legacy radio sets and etherwave monitors to 91.7 on the FM spectrum Monday mornings 7am-10am EST for the next few months and you will once again hear dj Magical Adventures of Duffy Moon (alter ego of dj spaceling) presenting your breakfast and commuting audioscape in typical wonderful entheogenic fashion.

(Also available via streamin’ . . . → Continue reading: Amplified Harmonic Resonance on WKDU 91.7FM

Day of Radiance: A Celebration of Experimental Music and Parks in Philadelphia

Although the day, month, and season Brian Eno met Laraaji Nadabrahmananda in Philadelphia’s New York’s Washington Square Park in 1979 is unknown, their meeting led directly to an important album, Ambient 3: Day of Radiance (1980). In commemoration of this creative encounter, the Philadelphia Ambient Consortium is at the beginning stages of . . . → Continue reading: Day of Radiance: A Celebration of Experimental Music and Parks in Philadelphia

B’yadeinu ohr va esh | In our hands are light and fire

It is the eighth and final day of Chanukah, Chag Urim, festival of lights. It is the day after the world comes to grips with the latest horrible spasm in the terrible saga playing out between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinians in Gaza. Gershom Gorenberg of South Jerusalem, always conscious of terrible ironies, shares this:

Last . . . → Continue reading: B’yadeinu ohr va esh | In our hands are light and fire

Banu choshech legaresh

Ari, at his serendipitynow blog, points out this article at Haaretz on the naked bigotry the Muslims of Yaffo (Jaffa) recently endured at the hands of right wing Israeli extremists (of the national religious settler variety). Yaffo is a mixed ethnic Jewish and Arab town in Israel just south of Tel Aviv, a place that . . . → Continue reading: Banu choshech legaresh

Ḥanukah: Sukkot Sheni and the Brumalia

With the dissemination and availability of 2 Maccabees (preserved in the Catholic and Orthodox Christian cannons), more Jews are learning that the eight day festival of lights originated as a renewal of the eight day festival of Sukkot. That essential Fall pilgrimage and fertility festival (which included the joyous water-drawing festival, Simchat Bet haShoeva) was . . . → Continue reading: Ḥanukah: Sukkot Sheni and the Brumalia

The Longest Darkest Night of the Year

Although the significance of Ḥanukah is masked by both its commercialization (in competition with Christmas) and its status as a “minor” or post-biblical Jewish holiday, there are important reasons to believe that it is ancient, poorly understood, and quite deep.

Before he passed away this past year, Rabbi Zelig Scharfstein of blessed memory, taught me . . . → Continue reading: The Longest Darkest Night of the Year

Bond Hill and the Panic of 1873

Here’s a question to add to the list of mysteries left unresearched by my master’s thesis on the origin and transformation of Bond Hill: how was the housing cooperative and building association impacted by the financial crash and panic of 1873 and the resulting depression? There were hints of decline but I could only speculate . . . → Continue reading: Bond Hill and the Panic of 1873

At your service

I am an urban planner by profession and degree, but while I’m looking for work I am also a technology consultant, copy editor, bicycle messenger, ipod manager, technical writer, blog reader, proofreader, and coffee sipper.

Perhaps you don’t have a significant other or know-it-all child or lucky friend to ask you for your computer help . . . → Continue reading: At your service

Kitteh Yoga

Kitteh Yoga: Exhale arch, Inhale stretch

Last night was my second night in two weeks of yoga with K. Clair and friends at her West Philly loft. I’m even starting to remember some poses for practicing during the rest of the week. But the hardest part, for me anyways, seems to be associating correctly . . . → Continue reading: Kitteh Yoga

November 4th

. . . → Continue reading: November 4th

The Idiot Wind’s Gusts are Now a Gale

Xeni Jardin over at Boing Boing has an important post analyzing the dragging death murder of Brandon McClelland, 24, last month in Paris, Texas, an area of our country haunted by a legacy of lynchings going back over a hundred years. Please read it.

In light of the McCain campaign’s stinking “idiot wind” gusting over . . . → Continue reading: The Idiot Wind’s Gusts are Now a Gale

What’s the frequency, Kenneth!? (redux)

So far there is no indication that the recent near fatal beating of KATV anchorwoman Anne Pressly in Little Rock, Arkansas, might be politically motivated other than the fact that Pressly is a member of the media and appeared briefly in Oliver Stone’s just opened critical biopic ‘W.’ But given that the daily vitriol heaped . . . → Continue reading: What’s the frequency, Kenneth!? (redux)

Translating the Hate of an Antisemitic Anti-Obama Effigy

“Is that a kippah on that anti-Obama effigy?” I couldn’t help but wonder while reading this article and watching this story that local Cincinnati station WKRC (Channel 12) aired yesterday about Fairfield, Ohio’s Mike Lunsford as reported on by Shawn Ley. (For those from out of town, Fairfield is a northern exurb of Cincinnati . . . → Continue reading: Translating the Hate of an Antisemitic Anti-Obama Effigy

Text Cloud of the Omphalos

Behold, my Omphalos as digested arithmetically (with some aesthetic treatments) by Jonathan Feinberg’s text cloud application over at wordle.net. Makes for a rather elegant visual poem, no? The wordle engine accepts site URLs, RSS feeds, or giant gobs of text. The latter is what I fed it after copying the source of my ATOM . . . → Continue reading: Text Cloud of the Omphalos

Lingle and Boxer Spar for McCain and Obama

Hawaiian Governor Linda Lingle and Californian Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) debated each other this past evening while representing John McCain and Barack Obama respectively at A Presidential Candidates Forum: America in the World – Friends, Foes, and the Future. The debate between the two Jewish politicians was organized by The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) . . . → Continue reading: Lingle and Boxer Spar for McCain and Obama

Philly Ambient Listserve Archives Alive

PHOBOS (ie., phobos.simpletone.com), the Philadelphia Ambient Consortium’s once-vital, now deceased server, held the archives of the Philly_ambient listserve prior to the listerve’s move to the less crash prone yahoogroups account where it now lives. Good thing that I kept an archive of the discussions from those fecund first three years. In the sterile yet obscure . . . → Continue reading: Philly Ambient Listserve Archives Alive

The Eye that Blinds

Years ago on mog.com, I wrote about Claus Cordes’ cover art for Klaus Schulz’s 1983 album Audentity, the new wave punk slit glasses shown in the film Big Trouble in Little China (1986), and the specialized glasses worn by Geordi La Forge, the blind engineer played by LeVar Burton in Star Trek: The Next Generation . . . → Continue reading: The Eye that Blinds

Obama in Ault Park

I rode my bicycle over to Ault Park today to hear Barack Obama speak. Navigating the hills and valleys of Cincinnati on a beautiful day, as it was today, is so much more preferable to huffing it to the park from a car parked a mile away. As it happened I was pretty . . . → Continue reading: Obama in Ault Park

Vote Today Ohio: till the Election!

Yesterday we received the first numbers from our get out the vote early event from Vote Today Ohio HQ. Tate Hausman writes:

During Golden Week, Vote Today Ohio banked ~3,300 Obama votes, plus 621 voter registrations. Did we hit our ambitious 10,000 goal? No. Did we make a critical contribution in America’s #1 battleground state? . . . → Continue reading: Vote Today Ohio: till the Election!

Dawn After Golden Week

Yesterday the Scion xA and I got some street time shuttling students from Xavier to the Board of Elections building downtown and back. Who knew you could fit six people in that hatchback? From noon to five pm, I manned the “overflow vehicle” because our regular shuttle (a Windstar van donated for the day by . . . → Continue reading: Dawn After Golden Week


This is the last day of Golden Week, the week in Ohio when the periods for voter registration and early voting overlap allowing new voters to register and vote on the same day. Our teams are working hard to make one final push to get out the vote. I made posters like . . . → Continue reading: ELECTION DAY IS NOW

Vote Today * * * Ask Me How

Vote Today Ohio sent out the latest numbers just after midnight this morning on how many early voters our teams managed to shuttle over to the Early Voting Centers.

9/30: 380 votes 10/1: 429 votes, plus 121 new registrations 10/2: 449 votes, plus 306 new registrations 10/3: 776 votes, plus 391 new registrations

That’s 2,034 . . . → Continue reading: Vote Today * * * Ask Me How

Vote Today Ohio

Early voting began in Ohio this past Monday, September 29th. Over the weekend, I was making maps for Vote Today Ohio, a volunteer group hoping to make the most of a “Golden Week” during which Ohioans can register to vote and actually vote via absentee ballot on the same day. Field teams fanned out across . . . → Continue reading: Vote Today Ohio

Kabul, Afghanistan August 2008

Fellow Daniel Pinkwater afficionado 3m1ly recently returned from Afghanistan on official snark-out business and posted images gleaned from her travels at her flickr account.

Shipping Containers in Kabul (from 3m1ly's flickr photostream)

. . . → Continue reading: Kabul, Afghanistan August 2008

Post-Parks Conference Thoughts

I’ve taken more notes than I’ve been able to blog just yet, and the conference is already over. I came to the conference to see what opportunities there might be for a former researcher for a major park advocacy group to stroll back into the world of park professionals after cutting his teeth working on . . . → Continue reading: Post-Parks Conference Thoughts

Urban Parks 2008: Opening Session

I’ll be blogging the Urban Parks conference session as I attend them. The opening session occurred yesterday evening.

Luis Garden Acosta, founder of El Puente, a community based human rights and environmental organization in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, and recipient of the Heinz Award for the Human Condition, provided a rousing keynote address, “Parks: . . . → Continue reading: Urban Parks 2008: Opening Session

Body & Soul: Urban Parks 2008

Over the next few days I’ll be in Pittsburgh for the Body & Soul: International Urban Parks Conference. Besides attending sessions and workshops, I’ll also be monitoring certain sessions to handle audio-visual and other computer issues that often arise. I promise to blog, or at least twitter, interesting ideas gleaned from the conference here at . . . → Continue reading: Body & Soul: Urban Parks 2008

On Mind Flayers and the Faith of our Fathers

Isaac S. and I were talking role playing and the biological basis of behavior for Mind Flayer society again this past Shabbat when our conversation meandered into the ever fertile field of movement ideology and identity politics in American Modern Orthodox Judaism. (In hindsight it seems appropriate we were taking a stroll through Spring . . . → Continue reading: On Mind Flayers and the Faith of our Fathers

Ghost Recon and the South Ossetian War

My friend Guilherme R. and I were chatting about the terrible new war in Georgia’s South Ossetia (soon to be Russia’s South Ossetia?), and he blew my mind recalling the premise of a particularly prescient video game released back in 2001, “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon.” From wikipedia:

Ghost Recon begins in 2008, with civil unrest . . . → Continue reading: Ghost Recon and the South Ossetian War

Rockboxing the iPod Classic (6g and above) (was The Forbidden iPod: HFS+ on Windows)

UPDATE (May 2013): For the record, I’ve formatted my iPod back to FAT32 so I could install the open source Rockbox operating system for music players. (Rockbox will run on the iPod Classic if you first install the opensource Emcore firmware). I’m happy to run open source software on hardware that was difficult to reverse-engineer.

. . . → Continue reading: Rockboxing the iPod Classic (6g and above) (was The Forbidden iPod: HFS+ on Windows)

More on Emergency Broadcast Network

Ten years ago I was in Philadelphia and excited to learn that Emergency Broadcast Network (or EBN for short), an art music/video project would be touring with dj Spooky providing live mixed visuals and even performing their own set. I had first seen their work in college in the mid 90s, probably on a friend’s . . . → Continue reading: More on Emergency Broadcast Network

You Don’t Mess With the Samson

I promised myself that I would not think too hard about You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Robert Smigel and Adam Sandler’s comedy film this summer. But alas, reading about the story of Yiftach in the haftorah reading this past shabbat, I couldn’t help but think of the context of Zohan within the context of . . . → Continue reading: You Don’t Mess With the Samson

Jeer at them

Yochanan Lavie, who regularly reads and comments over at failedmessiah.com, recently shared this poem inspired in general by the sickness and evil near the root of Aaron Rubashkin’s animal slaughtering and meat processing factory in Postville, Iowa, and specifically by Rubashkin’s use of PR flacks, paid industry “representatives,” and the Orthodox establishment to shill for . . . → Continue reading: Jeer at them

Zer Presence

Besides working through the problem of what is meant by being asked to worship an invisible, non-verbally communicative superbeing (who is yet imagined to be present, personal, and ready to intervene), my next most-difficult problem when conforming the god of my imagination with the god of Jewish liturgy has always been how to avoid thinking . . . → Continue reading: Zer Presence

Netflix Widget for WordPress

This post goes out to all the wordpress users out there who wanted to use Albert Banks’ Netflix Plugin for WordPress but were frustrated at the plugin not being accessible as a sidebar widget. I added some code to widgetize the plugin that I adapted from this goodreads plugin. If you want you can download . . . → Continue reading: Netflix Widget for WordPress

Cain and Abel

From her yeshivah digs in Jerusalem, Gella Solomon (of Nogah Chadash) writes to me of an aggadic commentary she’s recently composed on the story of Cain and Abel (or transliterated, Qayin and Hevel). Her midrash, narrated by Cain is deeply humanistic — Cain expresses himself and his experience of fratricide in human terms that easily . . . → Continue reading: Cain and Abel

Behemot and Bahamut

The umbilical cord of my omphalos winds its way back in time to the blessings of my mother and father, but also inwards and outside-of-time, stretching into a womb land that is all myth and dream and imagination. With some effort I can follow my way back into this makom, this space and hopefully return . . . → Continue reading: Behemot and Bahamut

The Two Lovers

On this trip, I had the pleasure of sharing a day trip between D.C. and N.Y.C. with a friend of an acquaintance. As it happens, by which I mean, by the tender coincidences blessed upon me in the happenstance of creation, this fellow, Eli K-W, also happens to love Jewish myth and has lately been . . . → Continue reading: The Two Lovers

Blacks, Jews, and the Post-Racial Candidate

This week I’m in New York City for the New Voices Conference in Independent Jewish Student Journalism. “Blacks, Jews, and the Post-Racial Candidate” was the subject of last night’s (May 28) panel discussion at the Center for Jewish History (CJH).

Moderated by Marissa Brostoff (New Voices contributing writer), the panel consisted of Sam Freedman (Columbia . . . → Continue reading: Blacks, Jews, and the Post-Racial Candidate

Taco Maria Needs Your Love

You need a cat. Yes you do. Already have one? Does it have FIV? Great. Because I know a very special kitteh that needs a home and has FIV (NOT infectious to humans). Taco Maria is a great cat, a rescue from Hurricane Katrina. She needs to be quarantined from other cats so they don’t . . . → Continue reading: Taco Maria Needs Your Love

On Frida Kahlo’s Jewish Identity

Frida Kahlo’s genealogy, at least on her father’s side, was finally established by historical researchers Gaby Franger and Rainer Huhle for their book on Guillermo Kahlo’s photographic work, >Fridas Vater: Der Fotograf Guillermo Kahlo (2005). The historians learned that Guillermo Kahlo was the scion of a long line of German Lutheran Protestants. Left uncertain was whether Frida’s Jewish ancestry was 1) via her paternal grandmother, Henriette Kaufmann, 2) via crypto-Jewish roots on her mother’s Spanish-Mexican side, or 3) a complete fiction. Personally, I’ll take Frida at her word. As cruel as it seems to me for an art exhiition curator to ignore Frida’s Jewish identity, it seems even more obnoxious to question it. I imagine that Henriette Kaufmann’s family was Jewish and hailed from Arad, not very distant from my own ancestral roots in Nagyvárad, Transylvania. . . . → Continue reading: On Frida Kahlo’s Jewish Identity

Feeling Philo for Philly

This last week I’ve been in Philadelphia, part of a three city trip to reconnect with friends, explore possibilities such as RRC and Penn’s GSE-JRE, and stumble upon whatever serendipities the cosmos has placed before my blind third eye. Philadelphia is wonderful, by which I mean, it is full of wonder even when it is . . . → Continue reading: Feeling Philo for Philly

The House that Emma Built

In the House that Emma Built There are two chambers One looks upon the other And the other looks outward

A turntable spins ye-ye A darkness sleeps in fits A cat speaks in Mandarin and the walls, last forever

A man is hidden under the boards While the window glares on its curtains All lines . . . → Continue reading: The House that Emma Built

Downtown Baton Rouge Needs an Independent Cinematheque!

“Downtown Baton Rouge needs an independent cinematheque!” I exclaimed desperately to Emma Chammah. The architect is familiar with these bursts of urban sentiment from her city planning apartment mate. But she agrees, as do most folk who live and work in the city. Sure downtown now has a selection of bars and restaurants, as well . . . → Continue reading: Downtown Baton Rouge Needs an Independent Cinematheque!

Seven Kings

In the beginning, there were seven kings

One created a kingdom of earth and became suffused with it. One created a kingdom of one and hid himself in it. One created a kingdom of love and filled it with two and a challenge to entice them. One created a kingdom without number and became lost . . . → Continue reading: Seven Kings

An introduction and archive for Piyutim (sacred Jewish musical poetry and song)

An introduction to Piyutim (piyut.org.il)

A piyut (piyutim, pl. hebrew) is a sacred musical poem, sung as part of a communal prayer service but just as often after a good meal with friends and family. I was raised with these songs and tunes, learning a new one occasionally while eating as a guest at someone’s . . . → Continue reading: An introduction and archive for Piyutim (sacred Jewish musical poetry and song)

Shuffle Album : Album Shuffle advice for 1.0.3 ipod firmware updaters

This is an informational post for ipod classic owners out there. The recent firmware update 1.0.3 changed the functionality of the shuffle songs feature. Until you follow the following steps, the menu setting for “Shuffle” will have no effect.

To change the ipod from shuffling songs to shuffling albums follow these steps:

1) Go ahead . . . → Continue reading: Shuffle Album : Album Shuffle advice for 1.0.3 ipod firmware updaters


credit: based on the original Rothko Tiem Nao! by Emma Chammah

Aharon Varady

Aharon Varady

Community Planner (M.C.P.) and Jewish Educator (M.A.J.Ed.) working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of Torah study. I am the founding director of the Open Siddur Project, http://opensiddur.org

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Current Playlist

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