Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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Like my brownhouse:
   lemonade of Yom Kippur
Friday, September 24 2004
This afternoon I picked up a load of gravel from a quarry along the King's Highway south of Saugerties. Gretchen had helped me take the camper off the back of the truck, and that proved to be an essential preparation. After being weighed on the way into the quarry grounds, I took a wrong turn and ended up at the quarry itself. It was a vast hole in the ground, maybe 20 acres in size. At the bottom was a deep pool of water. This water was green in the way that a pane of glass is green when viewed from the side. I'd noticed at the main office that its CB channel was 30, so I radioed in to get my bearings and this was how I found my way to the proper place. There, a massive 'dozer loaded my truck. His shovel was nearly as wide as my truck was long, and he raised it like a baleful cloud above me to let the gravel slowly drop as a stony form of precipitation. The truck shuddered. After just two shovel fulls my truck had about all it could carry, a weight that the woman at the scales said was a little less than a ton. That's a lot for a small Toyota pickup, and I noticed the steering was a lot less responsive on the way home (hardly any weight rested on the front wheels). The gravel only cost me five dollars, but it wasn't the best in the world. It was wet for one thing and full of "fines" - the tiny crumbles that can clog a drainage system.

Tonight was Kol Nidrei, the night before Yom Kippur, and, not being especially interested in suffering through Jewish observances, this meant I would be doing all the things I usually do. Gretchen, however, would be attending services at the Woodstock synagogue. She'd be going with Linda, our new neighbor across the street who, like Gretchen, is a Jewish woman with a non-Jewish husband. (His religion is Golf, one of the least Jewish religions available.) Since the Woodstock synagogue has insufficient parking for all the local Jews wishing to attend Yom Kippur services, getting to services would normally be a logistical nightmare. Most people are forced to park at some satellite parking lot and ride the shuttle bus to the synagogue. But Gretchen and Linda wouldn't have that problem. They'd be making the lemons of marrying outside their religion into the lemonade of Yom Kippur transportation. It was my job to drop them off at the synagogue and it was Linda's husband's job to pick them up when services were over.
As evidence that Jews do not in fact control the world, Gretchen is quick to cite the fact that the WNBA playoffs were beginning tonight, a night when no truly observant Jew should even be watching television. When services concluded tonight, Gretchen was eager to get home in time to catch the last half of the New York versus Detroit game. Unfortunately for her, though, the ride home was considerably slower than the one to the synagogue. Never during the twelve mile drive did Linda's husband ever push his Lexus to go any faster than 30 miles per hour. Gretchen had to sit there and repress her impatience. Atoning for such feelings is one of the things one does on Yom Kippur.
As an indication of how much things have changed since we lived in Brooklyn, tonight Gretchen sided with Detroit against New York (but Detroit lost). Later we watched a west coast playoff between Los Angeles and Sacramento. Actually, I'd had no intention of watching but then Gretchen convinced me that she'd have a much better time if I joined her. Much of the fun of watching these games is the camaraderie of rooting for a team with friends. So we had a good time watching Sacramento lay waste to Los Angeles, winning by 20 points (they'd lead by as much as 28, which is almost unheard of in the WNBA).

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