Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Chag Sameach Sukkot 5773

In less than 2 hours, the Holiday of Sukkot will be upon us.

I have been building my sukkah and prepping it, my wife has been cooking, and I now need to take care of a few odds and ends, take my shower, and get ready.  We are expecting guests for dinner in our sukkah tonight.

Wishing all a Chag Sameach!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Easy Fast to All

Tonight at sundown is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.  There is much to be accomplished today in my busy schedule,  I at least take this opportunity:

A.  To wish everyone an easy fast;

B.  To forgive all who in earnest ask my forgiveness for whatever they may have done or not done during the past year; and

C.  To sincerely beseech the forgiveness of all whom I may have wronged or slighted.

I further note that tomorrow, on Yom Kippur itself, Iran's evil leader Ahmadinejad is slated to address the UN General Assembly.  The scheduling is at a time when Jews are preoccupied with Yom Kippur.  This calendar placement, I believe, is deliberate and intentional, and was done with the connivance of the Obama administration.

To our Christian (and, I am informed, a number of Sikh) friends who plan to be there to speak out in protest, I extend my greatest appreciation.  You surely will be remembered by me, and by Higher Powers as well.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Hazards of Smoking

The Third Stanza of "The Star Spangled Banner" begins

"And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution."

While Francis Scott Key had in mind the pollution of the British troops on American soil during the War of 1812, some kinds of pollution work to defend America.

Specifically, air pollution!  At least it did in the case of Abdullah Ismail.  He is (or rather, he WAS) the Pakistani who inhaled the smoke from the American flag he was burning.  Some of those synthetic fabrics can emit noxious fumes when combusted!

"And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Sunday, September 16, 2012

They Loved This Country


Those four words, read by Barack Hussein Obama from the teleprompter when the remains of the four Americans killed by the Muslims in Libya were transferred home, were the headlines on the front page of the paper edition of today's Newsday.

Yes, they loved America (notwithstanding Chris Stevens's tendencies to follow his boss in kowtowing in dhimmitude).

But does Obama love America?

[Michelle Obama has already established that she doesn't even like the country of which her husband is nominally the President.].

The irony does not escape me.

Rosh HaShanah will be upon us in less than 24 hours.  My wife and I are doing the usual prepping, along with all the other things that need to be done in our normal routines.

In the (highly likely) event that I do not return to blogging before the sun goes down tomorrow evening, I wish all L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu, a happy and healthy New Year, with all the best fortune and luck.

Because the way things are looking, all of us -- Christian and Jew alike -- are going to need all we can get!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Writing Written Off

Busy day.  Was in court this morning (traffic court, got good plea bargain for my client).  Got to campus in time to teach my courses.

Some of the courses I teach are designated as "Writing-Intensive" courses in the College's "Writing Across the Curriculum" program.  As the name implies, this means that students are expected to do a significant amount of writing as part of their coursework.  The course numbers for the "Writing-Intensive" courses in the WAC program all have a "W" suffix to the course number.

Simple enough!  Straightforward enough!  Should not be susceptible to any ambiguities!

So today, I had a student ask me what the Midterm Exam would be like.  I told this student that it would be all essays.  The student then started whining to me about how he preferred the true-false and multiple choice type exams.  I responded that I, too, preferred the T/F and multiple choice exams because they were easier to grade, what with the Scantron forms and machines.

The student (American-born, I might add) then whined that he had enough writing to do anyway.

I know that I speak on behalf of just about every professor in every college in America when I say the following:

Read the official description of the Course in the College Catalog.  The official description means what is says.  Read the Course Syllabus!  The Course Syllabus means what it says!  And if you are not prepared to do all of the work as described in the Catalog or Syllabus, then do us each a favor and drop the Course!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Missing Words

In keeping with Jewish tradition, for the first year after my Dad's passing (actually, the first 11 months, but now we're getting a bit complicated) I am not going out of my way to listen to music.  This doesn't mean that I do not hear music, or that I run for cover whenever music is played; it just means that I will not play my piano, go to concerts, put a music CD in the player, bring up any music files on the computer to listen to while doing work, or take any other affirmative steps to hear or play music for my own pleasure.

So the only other things available on the radio while driving are the talk stations and the news stations.  I tune into the all-news ones because they give traffic reports every 10 minutes.

Today, of course, was September 11th, so the ceremony at Ground Zero was covered extensively (as it should be).

But two words I did not hear were "Muslim" or "Islam."

And those two words (or at least one of them, inasmuch as they actually are different forms of the same word) are the key to the event that was commemorated.

Never forget!  Never forgive!  Remember what happened or you will give the enemy a big victory!