Daily Archives: July 31, 2013

The Chosen, by Chaim Potok

When I first encountered this book during the 1960s I suppose Jews and Judaism were as much a mystery to me as they are today. I’d had a couple of Jewish landlords during the 18 months I’d lived in Boston, whom the other tenants assured me were the awful human beings they were because they were Jews, but I didn’t put much stock in it. I’d come across enough nastiness in Baptists, Church of Christers, Catholics and a Mennonite to convince me you could find that anywhere.

What a person did on Sunday, Saturday, whatever, I concluded, didn’t have much to do with what he did the rest of the time. Nobody to my knowledge has a monopoly on A-hole-ism.

I recall during basic training a guy named Wenick, from Baltimore who was ahead of me on a night march at Fort Jackson, SC, and let the barrel of his M1 sag, stopped suddenly and caught me under the chin with it was unapologetic. Clacked my teeth together on my tongue so’s it bled. Blamed me for not seeing it in the dark.

But until the other GIs told me it was because he was a Jew I didn’t know he was one. Just a careless, skinny nerd, seemed to me, who kept to himself. By hindsight I suppose he was denying his mistake because if he admitted it he’d have been blamed and it would have been attributed to his Jewishness. He was in a no-win situation.

However, other than those experiences I mostly just went around not knowing and not caring whether people were Jews unless they made an issue of it. Same with other religions.

So, when I came across The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, during the 1960s I didn’t come in with much baggage. I doubt I’d even ever wondered what it would be like to be a Jew. Particularly not a young Jewish man in New york City during WWII. The Chosen hooked me on Chaim Pokok and I read all his other books I could lay my hands on.

Lately when I was packing books I came across this one, thought I’d probably put it aside without another read this lifetime. But after I managed to offend one person living in Israel whom I admired and got a savage attack for my troubles from the other guy whom [I believe] is a piece of work and a story in his own right, I decided to refresh my memory with a quick read.

There’s a fair amount of European Jewish history in the tome described through the perspective of a Jew. There’s an explanation most non-Jewish readers won’t have known about acrimony between various sects of orthodox Jews. An inside look at operations inside the houses of worship and study.

And a fairly nice plot, character development, everything it takes to create a worthy novel.

Any of you folks out there who aren’t of the Jewish faith, who only know what’s said about them by the northeastern Jew haters, who’d like to learn more without deep studying of non-fiction might find it worth your while.

Along with other books by Chaim Potok:

My Name is Asher Lev
The Book of Lights
I Am The Clay
In The Beginning
The Promise

There might be others as well – These were listed in the front of The Chosen and I have vivid recollections of the first, vague rememberings of the others

Old Jules

The Texas-Israeli War: 1999 by Jake Saunders, Howard Waldrop

The recent thing about Israel here got me remembering this book I read back in the early 1970s. I thought I remembered it being authored by Fritz Leiber or Philip Jose Farmer, but I was remembering wrongly.

In any case, it was a heck of a good read. I’m going to keep a watch for it in thrift stores.

In a lot of ways Texas and Israel share some traits. Texas cows are the kineliest anywhere. Etc, etc, etc.

Old Jules

The TexasIsraeli War: 1999 is a 1974 science-fiction novel by Jake Saunders and Howard Waldrop

The TexasIsraeli War: 1999 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Texas-Israeli War: 1999



Learning debts incurred Universe-wise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately, learning a lot, some of which might be false, but I learned it anyway. Now that I’ve blown out enough tires on two different RVs to satisfy my curiosity I’m willing to try to apply some of it. Even though it robs my macho because of not knowing it before when I knew all manner of things.

First off, there’s the thing about tires. They ain’t as good as they used to be. Old guy behind the counter at the tire store and I conversed about it a while when we shared mutual memories of having bought junkyard tires and run them until they were down to the threads. Lots of them, and neither of us remembered much in the way of blowouts.

But now the DOT mandates they date those tires. And as a consequence, he opines they blow just about when the DOT predicted they would. The DOT gave the tire industry a leg up against criticism by providing them an “I told you so!” escape and they made great engineering use of it. Supposition, but possumly true.

Secondly, another old guy pointed out all the tires I’ve blown were right-rear dooleys. Beginning with inside ones. He opined that what I’m doing is running with that right rear wheel too near the pavement edge, maybe off it, forcing the inside-rear tire to carry all the weight. Which makes a hell of a lot of sense.

I’d been mulling over the fact every blowout I’ve had happened on highway RR479 north bound and wondering at the coincidence. It’s a fairly good Texas Ranch Road with a lot of hills and curves. Might just be I’ve been letting it drift, one wheel off the pavement instead of hugging the centerline.

Thirdly, I’ve also satisfied my curiosity about whether I’m interested in arm-wrestling lug nuts put on with impact drivers. Even with a 5 foot cheater, even with a T-bar after they’re loose, I was having to take breaks between lugs. And after I put them back on and tightened them, I’d stop a few miles down the road to check, they’d always be loose enough to require a little more tight with the bar. Half-dozen times between here and Kerrville. If an impact tool’s able to take care of just that problem of reality and confidence, it’s worth the price of admission.

[Debating with myself here, can’t recall whether 4th is spelled, Fourth, or Forth – what-the-hell]

Next: Careful examination of the half-inch drive corded hammer-drill suggests it might function as an impact tool, but it’s going to need a half-inch adapter between the drill-chuck and male socket whatchallit. If it works it’s going to be a lot cheaper than an off the shelf impact tool, and it doesn’t have a battery to go kerplunk.

Next: That trim above the right-rear wheel well [see pic] was destroyed when the tire blew. No way that piece of trim is going to jump out of the Universe at me to be replaced, so I’m going to have to find a way to innovate. Not entirely for aesthetics, but some places are pickypickypicky wanting to see pics of the rig before they’ll consider a person who wants to clean up their trash, mow their grass, listen to complaints of RV owners. In exchange for a pad with hookups, etc.

Last, I’ve been troubled because my ALT gauge doesn’t tell me squat about whether the alternator’s working or not. Couldn’t figure why. A guy on one of the vintage RV groups answered my question about it by telling me he had the same problem. Bought a cheap digital gadget plugs into the lighter socket. I got one yesterday and hot diggety damn. Yes, HOT diggety damn! You heard me right.

But I’ve digressed. The crux of it all is that, after having been provided all this new stuff to learn, I have to live long enough to use it, damn me if I don’t. Got myself a karmic debt on my Credit Card with an obligation I might carry spang into my next lifetime if I kick before using it.

So now, instead of just having to live long enough to pay back Keith and Rich for the lifesaving loans to get the RVs, instead of just having to outlive the damned cats, I’ve got to spend the remainder of my life changing blown tires and unscrewing pesky lug nuts.


Old Jules