Whose Land?

The last thread on Israel and Palestine took less than 24 hours to get to anti-Semitic comments, which is surprising because I predicted it would take at least 32 hours. To provide some comic relief to all of us, here is a beautiful video demonstrating why the “this land originally belonged to X” argument is futile.

If you think about it, you will realize that the same kind of video can be made for any territory on this planet, except maybe the South Pole.

Spanish Santa Claus

From a student’s essay:

The Magi, or the Three Kings, are the Spanish version of the Santa Claus.

I’m reading this essay while discussing in an earlier thread of this blog whether it’s surprising that my students don’t know that the Jews who live in Israel today are “the same Jews” that appear in the Bible.

P.S. OK, there is more on the Magi in the essay:

The only difference between the Magi and Santa Claus is that Santa Claus comes before Christmas and the Magi after Christmas.

The student apparently has no idea of any special relationship between the Magi and Christmas.

Conversations with Email

The last weeks of the semester are so overwhelming that I started talking to my work email.

“Ah, here you go again,” I say to it reproachfully whenever it starts beeping hysterically, announcing a fresh barrage of messages I need to answer. “This is just plain mean on your part.”

“Beep, beep,” the mailbox responds cheerfully.

“Seriously, buddy, just quit doing this,” I say. “I just spent two hours showering you with attention.”

“Beep, beep, beep,” the mailbox continues unapologetically.

“Please, just have mercy on me!” I beg. “I need at least an hour to myself.

The mailbox is quiet.

“Thank you for understanding,” I say.

“Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep!” it laughs, triumphant.