133. The King James Bible

King James: the bangin’-est of the Bibles.

I love religion. I think it’s fascinating, and really, the driving force behind much of history.

I’m certainly not religious, but I was raised Jewish, and I do appreciate the culture and traditions of Judaism. I can read Hebrew, I know most of the prayers, and I go to services on the High Holidays. That’s pretty good.

God is a bit harder. I’m not sure I believe in God, but it’s hard for me to say I for suresies don’t. It’s probably a relic of my (very reform) religious school experience growing up. But it just feels wrong and not totally sure to say “I don’t believe in God. I’m an atheist.” Plus, if there is a God, it’s definitely the Jewish God – our God is a total asshole, completely arbitrary, and without any of that peace-and-love bullshit. The Jewish God will fuck you up, but you’d better believe anyway.

Anyway. Last year was the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible (1611). KJB is the primary Bible used throughout America, and much of the rest of the Western Christian world. It’s where the classic formally worded verses come from – “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is a King James affectation, for example. Translations straight from the Greek or Hebrew tend to just use “you.”

Sum Commandments.

The King James Bible was commissioned by King James of England in 1604. It was completed in 1611. Committees of translators were hired for the task. However, this was not the first Bible in English. In the 15th century, John Wycliffe and his followers wrote the first translation of the Bible into English, so that the common Christian man could read it (before, the Bible was just in Latin). In the 16th century, William Tyndale wrote another translation. Tyndale’s version was the first printed bible in circulation. He was a talented linguist, and his translation makes up a lot of today’s KJB. However, his work was interrupted when he was burned at the stake as a heretic. Wah-wah.

My main man, King James of England

Today, the King James Bible has a pretty interesting legacy. It’s generally viewed as the be-all-and-end-all authority of Bible study in the American Christian world. However, it’s a translation – so it really cannot be taken entirely literally for textual analysis. In the more-ancient world, scholars had to be fluent in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin to reputably analyze the Scriptures. It was understood that their original languages were important contextual evidence. But today, I often see preachers and ministers quoting from King James as if it were itself the Word of God – which nobody could possibly believe.


BFF**: In England, the right to print, publish, or distribute the King James Bible belongs exclusively to the Crown. So, even though it’s in the public domain in most of the world, Queen Elizabeth II is the only one in England with the right to lay her mitts on KJB.

** – Bonus Fun Fact

October 31, 2012. Books, Culture, History, Rectangles, Religion. Leave a comment.

132. Square Rolls

If my readers don’t know, I play the banjo. I’m no good at it, but I do enjoy it a lot. I love how the banjo sounds, and I love that it allows me to accompany myself while I sing my old-fashioned folk songs.

Aside: Buckley used to howl whenever I played the banjo, but he’s gotten used to it. Now he just watches it with distrust and skitters away when I come near him with the banjo in my hands.

Anyway, banjos are most commonly tuned to the key of G, so that when one strums an open chord on the banjo, it’s a beautiful, round G. The strings are tuned as in the diagram below.


Standard banjo tuning.


Now, when I say that I’m no good at the banjo, I really mean it. I took a few months of bluegrass banjo lessons at Swarthmore, but I haven’t taken any since. And the first thing you learn at a bluegrass banjo lesson is the most simple roll – the square roll. In the key of G.

And that is what I can do. I know a few chords, and I can pick out a 1-4-5 blues song. And it sounds lovely, thank you very much.

Maybe I can pretend that I stick to the square roll on purpose, out of solidarity with the rectangular cause. Hey, why not. That’s right, bitches. I stick to rectangles in every single aspect of my life. I am nothing if not committed, friends. You’re welcome.

October 31, 2012. Culture, Music, Rectangles. Leave a comment.

131. Thermacare Heat Wraps

As any of my readers who know me personally can attest, I have an old person bedtime. I go out, but I like to be in bed by 11. Sometimes I can make it to midnight, but no later. And, if left to my own devices, I’m often in bed by 9:30.


I like it that way. I need a lot of sleep. Plus I get some good puppycuddletime in. Always a plus.
This weekend, however, it seems like my back has caught up to my bedtime. I threw it out. Like, woke up this morning and couldn’t move. I went to my parents’ house and my mom taught me some stretches. The first consists of lying on your back and pulling your knees to your chest to a count of five. The second is pulling each leg to your chest individually, and the third is pulling your pelvis off the ground and clenching your butt muscles while keeping the small of your back on the floor. They helped, but not as much as my mother’s heating pad. I sat on it for half an hour while I watched Nurse Jackie. Good show.
Finally, I could move enough to leave their house, and I stopped at the CVS to buy a heating pad of my own. I also saw these dreamy items:

Making my day today.

Yes. Thermacare Heat Wraps! Formulated especially for my lower back pain. And in two sizes, S-M and L-XL. Convenient.


And they feel awesome. They have this little cloth thingy that wraps around your torso to hold the gel heat pads onto your body. Nothing sticky has to touch my skin, which I like. The packets are air-activated, so I don’t have to do anything other than take them out of the packaging to turn them on. And they last for eight hours. I’ve had this one on for three, and it feels fantastic. My back is still tight and painful, but not as bad as it was before!
Most importantly, they were, like, 4.99. The heating pad I bought cost 17.99. Granted, I can use it more than twice, but for the convenience, these gel things are a pretty good deal.



October 27, 2012. Rectangles, Science. Leave a comment.

130. Bill Cunningham New York

I was raised on the New York Times‘ Sunday Styles section. My mother, one of the most fashionable women I know, reads Sunday Styles religiously every week. As I grew up, I learned to read it, too, although I had to go second. And any reader of Sunday Styles knows that the best part of the section is Bill Cunningham’s “On the Street.”

Cunningham photographs fabulous men and women, generally on and around 5th and Madison Avenues. He notices trends – one week, for example, everyone will be wearing neon yellow. Another week, bold florals. It’s a democratic way of establishing trends – Anna Wintour and Vogue are not deciding what’s hot, the people on the street are. And, man, are they fabulous.

Hats Hats Hats

Bill Cunningham himself is not just a talented fashion photographer, he’s also an adorable man. And he is the focus of a documentary that came out in 2010 called “Bill Cunningham New York.” The film interviews many fabulous informal fashion icons, including my personal favorite Iris Apfel. It also focuses on Bill Cunningham’s adorable life. He’s lived in an apartment in Carnegie Hall forever. His neighbors are appropriately nutty. He rides a bicycle and wears a ratty blue jacket.

The cutest man in the entire world.

My favorite thing about Bill Cunningham is his sense of fun and whimsy in the fashion world. He appreciates the bizarre. He loves to photograph dogs and women (and men) in outrageous patterns.

Doggie. Fabulous doggie.

This film really embraces Bill Cunningham as a person and icon. He is lovable, and this film emphasizes all of the best things about him. It’s definitely a fluff piece on Cunningham, but – hey – it’s a feel-good movie about a generally feel-good person. I highly recommend it for a nice evening full of eye candy and adorable, quirky old people.

Speaking of adorable, quirky old people – here’s Iris Apfel.

Basically, thanks Bill, for the best fashion photography out there. And for being so damn cute.

October 24, 2012. Animals, Culture, Fashion, Rectangles. 1 comment.

129. Buckley’s Squeaky Blankey

I probably haven’t talked enough about my dog here.

His name is Buckley. He’s the cutest little guy in the world and I love him more than anything. Like, really, anything. Even Bergdorf Goodman.

Surriously. Is anything cuter than those ears? Those eyes? That faaaaaace?

Anyway, Buckley loves squeaky toys. He loves to produce lots and lots of squeaks in rapid succession, especially when I’m trying to watch Buffy or talk on the phone. He also really likes to destroy the toys. But they make him so happy before they are destroyed that I keep buying them. What can I say, I’m a sucker for my puppy-boy.

The best, least-destroyed toys I’ve found have been Kyjen Invincibles. They still squeak when punctured, and they also make a really hilarious/obnoxious squeak. Most of them have several squeakers involved. Additionally, they’re pretty reasonably priced for dog toys – coming out at about 8.99.

I called this one the “Squeaky Spidey.”

One day, I was in TJ Maxx killing time. I went to look at the dog toys, and found this, for 3.99:

Squeaky Blankey.

It’s a Kyjen. It’s also leopard print. It’s also got no less than sixteen squeakers. That’s right, folks. All the squeakers you could ever want and more. And – as if this toy could get any better – it’s a rectangle! Oh, joy of joys. Miracle of miracles.
Needless to say, Buckley and I love this toy. I’m not sure if he appreciates the leopard print as much as he should, but, hey, we all have our faults.

Ok, one more picture of my baby.

Water bottles make the best crinkly sounds!

October 22, 2012. Animals, Rectangles. Leave a comment.

128. “The Classical”

My senior year of high school, I met one of the most magical people I’ve ever known. Her name was (and still is) Juliet Gordon. We formed a band with one of our teachers at our progressive private high school called the Tennessee Valley Authority. We played folk music. Juliet and I sang, the teacher played guitar, and Juliet played mandolin. It was really awesome. Like, really, really, really awesome. And that wasn’t even close to the extent of the magic that Juliet brought into my life – together we explored Virginia, music, and fashion.

Anyway, now Juliet is finishing up school at Colorado College. She has embraced music as her true love, and she and her band came out with this album. It’s really, really unique and interesting, and also nice to listen to. Here‘s a music video of their song “Man on the Stairs.”

You can download the album here. I’d at least check out the video and give it a listen. I think you’ll agree that Juliet’s voice is truly amazing, and that the music is really, really cool.

October 22, 2012. Culture, Music, Rectangles, Truth. Leave a comment.

127. This Video Featuring an Owl and a Dog


I really identify with this bird. We both like feathers (make you feel fancy). We both like cuddling with our canine friends (soft. warm.). I feel like we could be really close, special friends, if only we could ever meet.


October 8, 2012. Animals, Culture, Rectangles. 2 comments.

126. TajTunes

Sometimes, I have trouble expressing what I want to say.

Ok, that’s not true. But, if I did have that problem, this website would solve it.

Tajtunes.com is an Indian (dot, not feather) website offering singing telegrams delivered to the phone number of your choice. Although it’s based in India, they will call anywhere in the world for the reasonable price of $6.99. And it will be the best 7 bucks you’ll ever spend.

For example – let’s say you want to tell your significant other how happy you are, but don’t know how to express it in your own words. However, you don’t want to buy a Hallmark card – it’s just too impersonal. Also, you don’t want your man/lady to understand a word of what you’re saying.

You’d go here and purchase the song “I’m so happy.”

This is the image associated with the song on TajTunes, just to reinforce the general sentiment.

Here are the lyrics:

I love it when you call me… (ring-a-ling-a-ling)
I love it when you sing… (lah lah lah lah LAH)
I love it when you hold my hand… (Awwwwww…)
And even when you cry… (wah wah wah)

I’m so happy. I’m so happy.
I’m so happy when I’m with you.
I’m so happy. I’m so happy.
I hope I make you happy too.

I love it when we spend time… (tick tock, tick tock)
I love it when we laugh… (hah hah hah)
I love it when we hug and kiss… (smooch)
And even when we fight…. (you jerk!)

I’m so happy. I’m so happy.
I’m so happy when I’m with you.
I’m so happy. I’m so happy.
I hope I make you happy too.

Oh yeah… I hope I make you happy too…
Oh yeah… I hope I make you happy too!

They’re deep and beautiful. But they sound even more deep and beautiful when you listen to the clip of the person singing it. I’d post the clip here, but I don’t know how to. Just click through and check it out for yourself.

If you’re single, don’t fret. There are many different categories of songs, including “encouragement,” “congratulations,” and “birthdays.”
Super Duper Job” is another favorite of mine.

Imagery. Teh best.

This guy is personalized, for maximum impact. Lyrics:

Super duper job!
Super duper job!
(Recipient’s Name), you’re a pro!
A great action hero!

Super duper job!
Super duper job!
You gave it all you got
And did a super duper job!

When you put your mind and heart into it
There’s nothing you can’t do

Super duper job!
Super duper job!
You’re brilliant, magnificent,
Excellent, resilient
Because (Recipient’s Name)…
You did a Super duper job!

It’s beautiful. The tune and intonation really make it for me.

Anyway, explore and enjoy. And, to all my loved ones, this is what you’re getting for every holiday for the next ten years.

October 3, 2012. Culture, Music, Websites. Leave a comment.