Thursday, August 16, 2007

Some good news: according to Blake, Magazine Street is now open all the way, baby. However, I still have to wonder about the foundations of the nearby houses and the shenanigans of the mechanic that is over there, so that "Liberate Lower Magazine" on my sidebar is gonna be there 'til I get the whole story. Knowing this town, one open intersection doesn't conclude a municipal maelstrom of a story such as the one surrounding Magazine and Melpomene. Da link stays for now.


A week or so ago, I did a little Torah and Talmud study at a bar in St Louis concerning alcohol and Judaism. One of the passages we studied pertaining to this topic reminded me of the justification a rabbi found that allowed Hank Greenberg to play on Rosh Hashanah many decades ago.* Many, many times on this blog, I have referred to the first part of this passage as an illustration of Judaism's attitudes towards alcohol consumption on one particular holiday. The first sentence of the passage, however, is a tad less sinister and blackly humorous than the whole thing. Read on:

Talmud Megilah 7a: A person is obligated to get drunk on Purim until they do not know the difference between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordechai. Rabbah and R. Zera joined together in a Purim feast. They became mellow, and Rabbah arose and cut R. Zera's throat. On the next day he prayed on his behalf and revived him. Next year he said, Will your honor come and we will have the Purim feast together. he replied: A miracle does not take place on every occasion.

Considering recent horrific events at a Mid-City neighborhood bar, I think many more miracles are needed these days for all of these people in my city, because there is no time like the present. Yes, there is the (hopefully) temporary insanity of oppressive heat and the threat of a hurricane approaching the Gulf, but there is another part of this that has been sorely neglected - the long-term effects of feeling neglect on a local, state, and federal level. People are crazier here in general, and there are fewer places for those who seriously need the help to go. The people who are finding solace and companionship in their neighborhood watering holes, which could be construed as a certain type of community center in these parts, are running screaming and scared from them instead. My heart goes out to the family of the deceased, and, at this point, I'm wondering if I shouldn't create some sort of "NOLA R'fuah Shleimah" sidebar graphic. Only problem is, the fact that it would be a "sidebar" is a tad too ironic. Ugh.

Update: Editor B gets it. This is not a "sidebar" occurrence. This is awful.

Yet another update: Alan gets serious. Why the hell can't the criminal justice system in this town be? Perhaps because this city has been written off as unreachable and unsaveable. Bull.

Update, 8-20: Schroeder posts on the memorial for Nia at Pal's. Remember what I said about local watering holes? RIP, Nia Robertson. I only hope the law enforcement entities in this town will take their hints from the Pal's patrons and really help take back this city. Too much to ask?

* Greenberg received Talmudic advice from his rabbi, who found a passage stating that, in Second Temple times, children had played in the streets on Rosh Hashanah. Turned out that Greenberg's decision to play, and the decision many synagogue-goers made to listen in on the game surreptitiously during High Holy Day services, was based on a Talmudic passage that Roman children had played in the streets on Rosh Hashanah. Ooops. At least Yom Kippur is still sacred in the minds of Jewish ballplayers...

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