Saturday, September 16, 2006

Start of a Fresh New Week

Happy New Week, everyone.

I know some of you were worrying, since my last post was quite depressing (or just depressed, depending on how much you empathize), and I haven't posted for several days. Don't worry, I'm fine. I'm not going to lie - last week was a bummer in many ways. But I'm OK.

Not much new to report, but here are some odds and ends I've been thinking about:

1) Why do people need sleep? I'm not asking what are the health benefits of sleep-- those are well documented. I'm asking, from the perspectives of religion and of evolution, why are we designed in such a way that sleep is necessary?

From an evoluntionary standpoint, it seems strange that the species most dominant in the world, human beings, need as much sleep as we do. Sleep makes one vulnerable, for example to attack by other animals. Wouldn't it have made more sense for evolution to select those who are genetically needy of the least sleep?

And from a religious standpoint it's even more strange. Here God puts us in the world to serve Him, to develop the world, and to fix its problems. And yet he creates us in such a way that 1/3 of our lives must be devoted not to our purpose in the world, but to lying still with our eyes closed. Why not create humans beings the way humans have created electronics-- in need of fuel (that is, food) to keep us going, but not sleep? That way, as long as we keep eating at regular intervals, we can keep going, like energizer bunnies. Why make us in such a way that we have to rest so utterly for several hours a day?

2) APPRECIATION WEDNESDAY ON SATURDAY NIGHT: The heart is an amazing thing. The heart never sleeps! From before we are born until we die, the heart just keeps on beating, without ever stopping to take a break. That is amazing. It makes me tired just thinking about it. How amazing that we each have a muscle that can keep going like that. When I stop to think about the fact that my heart beats, whether I'm conscious of it or not, well, it's just a miraculous thing.

(But why aren't ALL of our muscles and organs like that?)

3) I've been noticing a lot more people in my neighborhood speaking French. Must be lots of new French immigrants here. French women are very slender. And they dress impeccably. (I hate them.) :-P

4) Via Manolo, the I Hate Crocs blog. Read it. Live it. Get me the "Friends Don't Let Friends Wear Crocs" t-shirt. I cannot wait for that trend to end.

5) I love the variety of my work. Recent clients have included, in addition to several Jewish papers in the States (reporting/journalism): a travel portal about Jerusalem (content writing), the corporate magazine of a large pharmaceutical company, and a Jerusalem-based company that rents out satellite services, television production equipment, and studio space to news organizations. I'm also writing the chapter of a book, commissioned by a Jewish foundation in the US.

I learn so many interesting things. Just this past week, when writing about tourist attractions for Christians, I learned what the Ascension, the Visitation, and the Magnificat are. Did you know that John the Baptist's parents were named Elizabeth (probably Elisheva) and Zachariah? Not I.

I learned why pharmacuetical companies' marketing offices are particularly busy in September, and why the issues of child custody and support in a divorce in Israel is sometimes decided by the secular courts and sometimes by the rabbinate. I learned that film is made of chemicals which smell more and more powerfully of vinegar as they break down, and that there was indeed such a thing as color film in the 1930's. I learned that Japanese women are really into elaborate, feminine, neo-Victorian jewelry that has lots of lace and crystals and pink in it.

Perhaps someday some of this knowledge will come up at a cocktail party and I can "wow" people with my, uh, extensive knowledge of, um, random facts.

And I learned that The Coffee Shop on Rachel Imeinu Street closes their cash register at about 3:30 in the morning but does not kick people out, and that Emek Refaim street does empty out eventually, certainly by 4 am. I also learned that the chocolate souffle at The Coffee Shop is served warm, with a small scoop of ice cream, and is heavenly.

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