Reading Rabbinic Literature by Jacob Neusner. His controlling organizational P.O.V. for this book (re-expressed on p15, which see) is that we cannot reliably (falsifiably) attribute rabbinic sayings. It seems a reasonable approach. He gives his reasoning, which seems well thought-out & supported. Even if it's not the only reasonable approach, still is one possible & worthwhile approach. In any case, this approach causes me to wonder about "well known" descriptions of style/attitude/outlook: For example, regarding the famous tale of the "wise-ass" "potential convert" approaching Shammai & Hillel—it is frequently said that the response of each is "characteristic." To what extent is this … true … and to what is it an accretion of inappropriate and/or inaccurate myth? I guess that I can consider answering my own question by saying that even if we can't be sure of individuals perhaps the "schools" really do/did display describable inclinations as symbolized in that tale. Or maybe not. I guess I'll have to think on this some more.
20 January 2006, Noon
Observations at Confusion hotel:
– The hotel restaurant is (Don) Shula’s American Steak House (a chain—I don’t know if/how associated with Mariott in general). Funny that one of the items on the menu is Grilled Dolphin Sandwich. Brings up … odd … images.
– In the room, the hotel has thoughtfully supplied cute little bottles of Bath & Body Works® AROMATHERAPY Orange Ginger Energizing Volumizing Shampoo, Bath & Body Works® AROMATHERAPY Orange Ginger Energizing Volumizing Conditioner, and Bath & Body Works® AROMATHERAPY Orange Ginger Energizing Nourishing Body Lotion. I’m oddly pleased that the body lotion isn’t “volumizing” … although I guess if it’s “nourishing” it might be “volumizing” over time…
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Ran into Jim Frenkel in the hotel lobby at 2am when I arrived from the train; he said he’d just come from the treadmill. For years I had thought I’d first met “Broadway” Jimmy Frenkel in his (then) office at Dell Books in New York City in the late 70’s (NYC being one of the places I stayed and worked for a while during the years I traveled the U.S., staying with fen and working through temp agencies). Turns out we actually met at Saint Louiscon—the 1969 WorldCon—he was one of the couple dozen fen who crashed with us and helped a bit with room costs in the Minneapolis in ’73 bid-party-suite at that convention. Jim is very fond of bringing this up when we meet these days. He’ll turn to any available bystander(s) and say, “Yeah, Fred and I &hellip we go way back… Why, we even slept together at a WorldCon back in ’69.”
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I’m thinking I maybe should reassess the whole train thing. The seats, while affording much more leg room and reclinability and comfort than airplane seats, aren’t really that comfortable for such a long haul—my body aches a bit, although this morning’s hot bath helped somewhat. Also need to investigate the guitar case issue; I know it violates their standard luggage size restriction, but it is a musical instrument, which, according to their rules, appears to warrant an exception—I need consistency. If can’t bring it, don’t allow me to check it in Minneapolis without much comment and then give me grief about it just as I’m about to disembark in Birmingham (which happened this time). Will they give me cr*p when I try to board Monday morning? [Update, 1 February— No problem while embarking; in fact the conductor helped lift it onto the train, even after I said “just take the yellow step-stool away and I can hoist it up.” And in Chicago they checked it for me without batting an eyelash. I guess if I plan to bring it on a train again I should contact somebody in Amtrak administration and get a clarification &hellip written if positive, don’t ride the train if negative.] As far as the seats go, it seems that even the Business Class upgrade on the CHI to BMM leg, while helpful to the point of necessity, wasn’t really sufficient to prevent cramps and aches.
A tip: If taking the train in the future, instead of a precise time arrangement with the hotel let them know the ETA, carry their phone number and tell them I’ll call them when the train reaches Royal Oak; making sure, of course, that they understand that I’ll be arriving at Birmingham. The point being that then they don’t have to have somebody waiting at the station for however long the unscheduled delay is. If going with this plan will need to watch for the Royal Oak station (after leaving the Detroit station)—nobody (at least in Business Class) was detraining at Royal Oak, so no announcement of the station was made in that car.
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Forgot my razor (not surprising—it’s a expensive straight-razor & I tend to leave it at home when I fly for what are probably obvious reasons) and toothpaste. I carefully put a hair brush next to my kit but it either didn’t make it into the suitcase or went for walkies while in transit (not impossible—I went into that suitcase a couple of times for a book and a transit pillow). Just rectified the first two omissions at the hotel “essentials” shop/rack and the lack of the brush probably won’t be a problem, especially since I did remember to bring my for-the-shower hair-scrubbie-brush-like-object. [Update— Found the brush. I had transferred it to one of the drawers with my clothes without noticing it. Heh.]