The Dark Lord's Dictionary
Salamander, n. A newt-like amphibian born from fire, whose existence proves that Chazal knew more than modern scientists about the natural world.
Salamander, n. A newt-like amphibian born from fire, whose existence proves that Chazal knew more than modern scientists about the natural world.
Bounty, n. The liberality of one who has much, in permitting one who has nothing to get all that he can.
Gun, n. According to the National Rifle Association, an important catalyst in the development of good manners. The higher rate of gun ownership in the United States than in Canada accounts for Americans' international reputation for being politer than Canadians.
Nineteen, n. & adj. The age at which Ontarians become mature and responsible enough to smoke, gamble and get drunk.
Cancer, n. A disease the risk of which is increased and decreased by every food and activity known to mankind.
A few weeks ago, I concluded the e-mail by noting that while in P’ Vayeira, Eliezer is referred to as a “na’ar”, a lad, in P’ Chayei Sarah he was called “z’kan beiso”, the elder of Avraham’s household. This week I want to come back to that topic, and deal once and for all with the issue of what exactly is a “na’ar”.
Note: Last year's dvar torah (Ephraim didn't just have another kid.)
"A very short one."
Medic, adj. Of or containing the element medium in its higher valence state.
I can't figure out if this was posted properly the first time (about an hour ago) so here it is again:
Bonsai, n. A method popular in Japan of artificially dwarfing trees and shrubs so they will fit inside Japanese cars.
Inyana deyoma... Here's some work I did this week, showing the various ways Chanukka can occur in the Jewish calendar, as well as many different Chanukka-related events and their frequencies.
Bagel, n. A chewy, ring-shaped bread roll that is simmered before baking. In Toronto, its shape is mistaken for a representation of the amount of flavour it ought to have.
Swing, n. Baseball. A batter's gamble that he will hit rather than strike.
South Africa, n. A country occupying the southernmost part of the continent of Africa; ethnically, it is 13.6% white, 8.6% of mixed origin, and 75.2% African-American.
Idiocy, n. That gift of Nature with which mankind is most generously endowed.
Peacetime, n. A span of years or decades during which the modern Western chivalric code requires that powerful democracies preach pacifism, demilitarization and international cooperation and allow their sworn enemies to arm and fortify themselves, to make it a fair fight.
Boundary, n. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other.
This week’s email will be grammatical in nature, and I will make no apologies. But I hope I’ll make things clear enough, and that even the uninitiated will be able to understand.
Hydrant, n. A local access point of flame-retardant liquid supplied by dogs.
Free verse, n. Irregular
Wig, n. A device worn by eighteenth-century nobility to protect their heads from view and use.
Fraternité, n. French. Last of the three guiding principles of the French Revolution. It translates roughly as "death by the guillotine."
Rhombus, n. An inoffensive geometric shape which languishes in obscurity along with the hectometre and the word "penultimate."
Bohemian, n. A self-styled intellectual, usually young and upper-middle-class, who expresses his individuality by copying other Bohemians.
"It's not fair. This wasn't in the book. We never learned this."
Bondsman, n. A fool who, having property of his own, undertakes to become responsible for that entrusted by another to a third.
This week’s e-mail is about me. In P’ Mikeitz, we are informed of the birth of the two sons of Yosef, Menashe and Ephraim, and it is the second of these two names which I wish to address. Specifically, some of you may have noticed that by many people my name is pronounced EFF-ram, or EFF-rum, and indeed, it is far from unusual for people to give me letters or wedding invitations addressed to Efram Stulberg. The question is, where did this custom arise?
Hand, n. An especially profitable investment in which a bird yields double what is typically returned by a matured nest egg.
Bourgeoisie, n. Those wealthier or more intellectually prestigious than I of whom I am jealous or with whom I disagree.
Land on one's own two feet. American. Emerge unharmed from a difficult situation. The equivalent Canadian expression is land on either of one's feet.
Undemocratic, adj. Incompatible with the principle that political power resides in the people; hence, more specifically, in conflict with any or all of the values I personally hold.
Ordinary Canadian, n. Someone who shares my opinion. Though many politicians, elitists and special-interest groups disagree, ordinary Canadians define the term my way.
"Well, for one thing, I find that I no longer win every golf game I play."
School uniform, n. A form of brainwashing with which a school represses a student's individuality by preventing him from voluntarily copying the dress of his classmates.
Homosexuality, n. A tendency which scholarly research has shown prevalent among 10% of modern society and 95% of historical and fictional personages since time immemorial.
Italics, n. A style of print developed in Italy, in the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Beowulf, n. A piece of junk celebrated by academics in the field of English literature since 1936, when Professor Tolkien wrote a 56-page essay explaining that it was not a piece of junk.
Modern, adj. Arts. Of or pertaining to an era that ended approximately four decades ago.
Taste, n. A human artistic faculty whose influence scholars agree reached its zenith in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, declining sharply ever since. Objectively defined good taste, studied by intellectuals in arts colleges worldwide, goes, sadly, unrecognized today by tens of thousands of artists and hundreds of millions of art consumers.
Hell¹, n. Chiefly yeshivish. Where you go after living in Teaneck.
Birth, n. The first and direst of all disasters. As to the nature of it there appears to be no uniformity. Castor and Pollux were born from the egg. Pallas came out of a skull. Galatea was once a block of stone. Peresilis, who wrote in the tenth century, avers that he grew up out of the ground where a priest had spilled holy water. It is known that Arimaxus was derived from a hole in the earth, made by a stroke of lightning. Leucomedon was the son of a cavern in Mount Ætna, and I have myself seen a man come out of a wine cellar.
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' "
Spine, n. A recessive trait common among Southern Baptists, occasional among Roman Catholics and unknown amongst Anglicans.
"You lived to tell the tale, did you?"
Fashion, n. An ingenious system whereby individuals are persuaded to pay large sums of money in order to publicly identify themselves as having an affinity for inglorious wastes of time and funds.
Bigot, n. One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
Bigamy, n. A mistake in taste for which the wisdom of the future will adjudge a punishment called trigamy.
"You threw a wrinkle, so it's a good thing you're using iron to smooth it out."
Staff psychologist, n. A professional whose primary mandate is to convince you that your best interests always coincide with those of his employer.
Literally¹, adv. Archaic. Literally literally, as in, "He was literally in tears at her funeral."
Phd, n. abbv. (Philosophiae Doctor - Latin). Among academics, a highly addictive drug which acts primarily on the pulmonary apparatus, catalysing the production of large quantities of hot air which in turn increases the relative altitude of the entire respiratory system, especially the nose.
Bono, adj. From the Latin pro bono, "for free;" hence, gratuitous, worthless.
This essay proposes to examine the halakhic status of Hanukka parties. I don’t mean the parties that are held one or two weeks in advance of the holiday: those clearly have no mitzvah status, and are optional at best. But what of parties held on Hanukka itself, in celebration of the great victory achieved by the Hasmoneans and the miracle of the small jar of oil?
"I immediately thought of chlorophyll; your mind went straight to feces. Why? I'm not sure. ... We have the dung person over here."
Beg, v. To ask for something with an earnestness proportioned to the belief that it will not be given.
Happy birthday to DoughBoy on his birthday! Mazel tov to Cassandra too. Looking forward to seeing both of you tomorrow at the party.
"The Zulus and the Bantus engage in that sort of drumming. You're not being multicultural."
Battle, n. A method of untying with the teeth a political knot that would not yield to the tongue.
This week’s Torah reading features yet another pair of twins, Perez and Zerah,
A fond farewell to Mr. and Mrs. G, who have seen the Star of Jerusalem* and are moving to Israel on Sunday.
"I like that, because it's one of those expressions you can use both ways - 'the bottom of my heart', or 'the heart of my bottom'."
Basilisk, n. The cockatrice. A sort of serpent hatched from the egg of a cock. The basilisk had a bad eye, and its glance was fatal. Many infidels deny this creature's existence, but Semprello Aurator saw and handled one that had been blinded by lightning as a punishment for having fatally gazed on a lady of rank whom Jupiter loved. Juno afterward restored the reptile's sight and hid it in a cave. Nothing is so well attested by ancients as the existence of the basilisk, but the cocks have stopped laying.
A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing around in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. About an hour later the manager comes out of his office and asked them to disperse. "But why?", they asked as they moved along. "Because," said the manager, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."
"It's all true. We are space aliens. I'm amazed that it's taken you so long to find out."
Barometer, n. An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.
If a windmill produces wind-energy and a paper mill produces paper, does a John Stuart Mill produce irreverent, satircal comedy show hosts? And I don't want to think about the clone armies being produced in Don Mills.
Babe or Baby, n. A misshapen creature of no particular age, sex, or condition, chiefly remarkable for the violence of the sympathies and antipathies it excites in others, itself without sentiment or emotion. There have been famous babes; for example, little Moses, from whose adventure in the bulrushes the Egyptian hierophants of seven centuries before doubtless derived their idle tale of the child Osiris being preserved on a floating lotus leaf.
Rachel died in childbirth, calling her second son “Ben Oni”, a name which Ya’akov changed into Binyamin, or Benjamin. (No doubt this is the source for those who have shortened the name to “Ben”. I know of no reason for the contraction “Yum”, however.)
The plot of land purchased by Ya’akov on the outskirts of Sh’hem (B’reishis 33:18-20) is listed by the midrash (B’reishis Rabbah 79:7) as one of three tracts whose Jewish ownership can never be questioned by the nations of the world, the other two being the Temple Mount and the Mahpela Cave. Though the modern reader will no doubt find the midrash to be somewhat dated in its political assumptions, its reasoning is really quite simple when taken within context: these three locations are explicitly recorded by the Torah as having been purchased with hard currency by the Jews (Ya’akov, David, and Avraham, respectively).
"Not only does God play dice with the universe, he plays craps."
Australia, n. A country lying in the South Sea, whose industrial and commercial development has been unspeakably retarded by an unfortunate dispute among geographers as to whether it is a continent or an island.
As mostof you know, Canada will soon be holding a federal election. Although I've lived at the same address for over a year, I was still in Toronto at the time of the last election, and so I figured that I would have to fill out a form or something in order to get registered for the correct riding.
Hello. Recently, Iran has banned American music in their country. I think this is a wonderful thing. As a matter of fact, I believe that Canada should do the same, for both American and Canadian music. But it should not stop there. All media should be completely banned with severe consequences for all those who go against the law. Some repercussions may include the forced removal of appendages, toes, fingers, a tongue… Personally, I have never watched a movie, I have never heard any kind of secular, popular music. But from what I do hear and see, it is destroying the nation, destroying society and the spirituality of our people. Thank you for your time.
Top 5 things I should be doing right now but am instead checking this site for the upteenth time today.
The mayor of a Brazilian town is trying to introduce a law making it illegal for residents to... die. Mayor Roberto Pereira da Silva, of Biritiba-Mirim, came up with the idea as a solution to a municipal difficulty; the town's only cemetery is full. His proposal to the town council asks residents to "take good care of your health in order not to die" and warns that "infractors will be held responsible for their acts." . .
1) Timatim fitfit
Arrest, v.t. Formally to detain one accused of unusualness.
God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh.
-The Unauthorized Version
This week’s parasha contains the cryptic incident involving Reuven and Bilhah, in which a literal reading of the verse (35:22) seems to indicate that he slept with her. Chaza”l (Shabbos 55b) tell us that this is not to be taken at face value: what in fact happened is that after Rachel died, Yaakov had moved his bed into the tent of Bilhah, rather than into the tent of Leah. Reuven, Leah’s oldest son, felt that this was an affront to the honour of his mother, and moved Yaakov’s bed into Leah’s tent. The question is, how does the gemara know this? In fact, it is the subject of debate amongst the tannaim, and some seem to hold that Reuven in fact did commit a more serious sin. So the opinion which says that he did not must be based on a reading of the verses, rather than some sort of tradition passed down through the generations; otherwise, why the argument?
"Left to their own devices, the three networks would televise live executions. Except Fox - they'd televise live naked executions."
Armor, n. The kind of clothing worn by a man whose tailor is a blacksmith.
Gaby 'n Fish
Arena, n. In politics, an imaginary rat-pit in which the statesman wrestles with his record.
The following enlightening sentence appears in fine print at the bottom of a letter I received today from Sears and JPMorgan Chase Bank:
Gaby 'n Fish's list
I’m not sure how this has happened, but I’ve been motivated to make a post by a bus advertisement for the second time in one week. This particular advertisement was for the “Book of Lists” by the father, son, and daughter team of Irving Wallace, David Wallechinsky, and Amy Wallace (shouldn’t they all have the same last name?). Included in the ad were many of the list titles found in their books, and I was quite unimpressed with the selection (to say the least!). This got me thinking about lists, and I came to the conclusion that choosing the title of the list is equally as important as choosing the contents of the list.
"If that happens, I'll just buy a new audience."
There is a rather cryptic verse in this week’s parasha, which goes as follows: “And the eyes of Leah were ‘rakos’ and Rachel was beautiful in form and complexion” (29:17). What does the Torah mean when it tells us that Leah’s eyes were “rakos”?
Archbishop, n. An ecclesiastical dignitary one point holier than a bishop.
"I would be obliged if you guys would use the skills you learned last day to fill these out."
Date:....You decide for a change. I'm getting sick of this.
After three days of silence, Captain Salamander and Bob the Builder have made their first move. In two separate attacks early this morning, one by Captain Salamander and one by Bob the Builder, a total of six people have been kidnapped and are being held hostage. The first attack, performed solo by Bob the Builder, occurred at a local grocery store just after opening. Bob the Builder threatened his captives and onlookers with a grenade, before making his getaway in a big yellow truck named Skip. Hours later Captain Salamander went to work holding a father and son at gunpoint before making his escape with the two hostages.
Caption: A security camera shows Bob the Builder holding a grenade, his hostages at his mercy.
Caption: Captain Salamander smiles sadisticly as he captures his two hostages.
Following her blow up with Yaakov, Rachel tells him to take her maidservant, Bilhah, “that she will give birth, and [and I will raise the child] on my lap, and I will also become built from her [i.e. blessed with children]” (30: 3). In the age before fertility medication, this seems to have been a fairly common practice. It was employed by Sarah when she failed to conceive from Avraham (16:2), and it was also used by Leah after she stopped giving birth following her fourth son (30:9). Rashi notes that the word “also” in Rachel’s comment to Yaakov was a reference to the tactic employed by Sarah. But once we strip beneath their superficial similarities, we find that these three cases are in fact rather different.
Question #1: How many letters of þe English alphabet do not appear in the word "Canada" or in þe names of any of þe Canadian providences?
Apostate, n. A leech who, having penetrated the shell of a turtle only to find the creature has long been dead, deems it expedient to form a new attachment to a fresh turtle.
"Why don't you answer my stupid questions?"
The identity of the plants picked by Reuben for his mother, known in Hebrew as “duda’im”, has been the subject of much debate. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 99b) cites three explanations. Rav says they are “yavruchei”; Levi says they are “siglei”’; R’ Yonasan says “s’visqi”.