what do you do the night before your trip?

Why, write about food, of course!

So now I realize why I was drawn to these polenta latkes–I’m traveling through Rome to get to Israel, and polenta is Italian, so that make sense now! I was also on the phone (thanks to gethuman.com, because the number provided by Alitalia was unproductive at best) on hold with Alitalia to figure out my code. It turns out I have to wait one hour to actually book my ticket for tomorrow night. I’m a bit antsy, I guess.

Anyway, these were really really tasty, albeit as messy as any frying, and for those of you who want to limit your egg consumption, but don’t care about the amount of oil, these are perfect. Or should I say “perfetto!”

And they also mask any other smells in the house beautifully.

Always looking for the silver lining.

Polenta latkes from the LA Times

Olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 1/2 cups polenta or yellow cornmeal
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add polenta slowly, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until polenta comes away from sides of pan, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

While still hot, spread polenta about 1-inch thick onto an oiled baking pan. Cool, cover and refrigerate until cold and firm, several hours or overnight. Using a (2-inch) round scalloped cookie cutter, cut polenta into rounds and transfer to a large platter.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in nonstick skillet and brown polenta rounds, turning occasionally, until brown and crispy on both sides, 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels and repeat with remaining polenta rounds, adding additional oil as needed. Serve immediately or reheat just before serving.

IMG_20131129_124240_572

Enjoy!

Seriously!

do i wish we could all re-set?

The other day, I went to my Verizon phone store, the one with the guy who could not be more helpful last year. I really needed his help again with my smart-allecky-phone. It was sending me text messages what seemed to be every 15 minutes from 6250 with the message VZWNMN:1. I finally figured out it was every time I received an email. Of course, I tried looking online first. Of course, I tried calling for tech back-up. They said I should just delete my email and then re-set it. I did not want to do that. I didn’t see how that would help with texts. And I just didn’t trust them. I didn’t have a personal connection and I didn’t think that they would succeed, even/especially since the online conversations concluded that they had no idea what they were doing, and even though they said it was all fixed.

So the visit.

When I entered the store, I waited just a little while for my guy to be available, but he had never heard of this before. He wasn’t giving up so easily. He also spent what seemed like an hour on the phone with Verizon tech support, But while he was we were waiting, I was also observing all kinds of other things going on. There was an interesting parade of customers. I would group them in two groups.

First, come the women without a clue.

I was, of course, one of them.

There was the woman who, from the back, looked like an overeager twenty-something, dressed in what I’m sure she thought was the highest of fashion and money. Probably the money was right. She came to ask why her phone was so slow and you can delete messages? And as you can figure out, once she turned around, I saw a woman (I think) older than me, but made me think– was I pretending to be so much younger than I am and who was I kidding? When she left, my guy said, “She’s one of our regulars. But I see that you knew that, didn’t you?”

I did. They were so very kind to her and they were being so very kind to me. I appreciated that even more.

Then there was another woman who came in to buy an Iphone, since she figured it was time for her to have one along with her husband and daughter, but she really didn’t need to have so many things on it, since she wasn’t going to use them, but shouldn’t she have the same thing and maybe she would have use of them? And I remembered that was me when I bought my smartphone last year.

Then come the men with no patience.  Need I say more? Neither did he. I think he likes talking with the ladies.

There was a TV on showing For Rent on HGTV. I do not have cable and I was not familiar with that show beforehand. I don’t think I’m going to look to watch it again, but it was there, so…

What was particularly interesting was that the real estate agent was obviously very pregnant. That’s a good thing to see that a woman can work and be pregnant and not hide behind a couch. Her name is Jody Gilmour, and I see from the google that she has been pregnant twice while filming the series, leading people to believe she’s perpetually with child.

My guy turns to the screen and then says, “Wow! She’s really pregnant, isn’t she? I don’t like to say that to a woman because I could be very wrong and that wouldn’t be good, but that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?”

We women in the store agreed that it was a good idea not to mention it first.

He then went onto telling us how his wife is due with twins this February and they are nervous because nothing is wrong. With their first baby, she had a lot of false positive tests which led them to believe that their baby would have all kinds of developmental problems and disabilities. They couldn’t believe that things would go so well because they realized how Complicated Life Is.

And if he hadn’t said “It’s a miracle that things usually go so well” first, I would have said it. But I assured him that I completely agree.

In the end, he decided that the only way to fix my phone was to re-set it completely.

But we know that it’s much more than that, don’t we?

another set of real-life emails

The government is broken. A lot of things are broken. I have fashioned 3 drafts of posts that I thought to write this week, one on the legacy of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and powerlessless. One on the Pew Commission and Jewish continuity. Another on to-do lists and their limits.

But I’ll write instead about my laptop.

Did I ever mention how it fell ‘way back in Australia and the case cracked? I had waited to get to a safe time without travels in order to send it in to get repaired.

I did. Three weeks ago, at least now. And I’ve been trading emails back and forth to the company ever since then. Okay, I gave them a few weeks to repair it. They said 5 days. I figured 2 weeks is what they meant.

This the first round of emails:

From: Warranty Help
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 3:47 AM
To: mysending
Subject: Regarding issue:

Hello Mysending,
I apologize for any inconveince caused. 

As per your concern, I have sent an email to our repair depot, to get an update on your claim status.

However, as a courtesy, I have issued you a full refund of the warranty price and the warranty is now completely free for you.

Moreover, your warranty will still continue and is active and in good standing.

The refund will reflect on your account within 3-5 business days.

Square Trade also offers warranty for any electronic item that you will be purchasing from any retailer and retailer’s website within 30days from your purchase date. We also cover eBay purchased electronic items as long as they are within 30days from the purchase date or the auctions close date.

You can also reply to this email or call 1-877-WARRANTY (1-877-927-7268) US & Canada only, 24/7.

Thank you,

Jessie
SquareTrade Care Specialist
re: Ticket [#00035…..]

Your comment:
I tried calling your phone line to find out what has happened to my laptop. I sent it in over 3 weeks ago. I sat on the phone for at least 20 minutes only to be disconnected. Here is my warranty

8/26/2013 – Claim Approved (more….)
This is my response:

Thank you for your response. I don’t really care about the refund, since I paid it in good faith (not that I’m objecting to receiving it), but I just want to know the status of my laptop! Are you considering putting in another way to find out such a status? This seems pretty round-about.

Basically, I need to know the timeline and whether I should be purchasing another laptop before a big trip that I am making. I had sent it in the window that your site had made about repairs. I need accurate information.

Thanks again.

mysending

This is the email I got Wednesday.

Hello {!Contact.FirstName},

I really do apologize for the inconvenience caused.

As per your concern, i contacted the repair depot and got the answer that parts have been ordered and its really difficult to get these parts.

However, they will be delivered and installed by Friday.

Moreover, if the parts are not delivered by Friday then we will simply go ahead and process a reimbursement for you, of the purchase price of the laptop, so that you can purchase a new one. 

I really appreciate your patience and once again I really do apologize for the delay that has happened.

You can also reply to this email or call 1-877-WARRANTY (1-877-927-7268) US & Canada only, 24/7.

Thank you,

{!User.Alias}
SquareTrade Care Specialist
re: Ticket [#{!Case.CaseNumber}]

Your comment:
{!Case.Description}

 I feel like taking a red pen and crossing through all of the mistakes and sending it back to them.

It’s Friday today. Should I create a poll to see how many of you think that I will actually hear from them today?

Should I be happy that they’ve refunded my money?

No! I just want my laptop back.

And for them to use spell-check.

And my name.

 

fear of declaring

Two weeks ago, two women invited me to join goodreads via Facebook.

I have not yet joined.

Goodreads wants to access all of my information. They want my friends, my first born (NO! Dear daughter, fear not!), my opinions.

It’s too much!

I like reading. I love buying books, even. I’d probably get a lot out of it.

Or maybe not.

Why do I need to tell people what I’m reading?

(I know some of you are thinking why do I need to share here what my thoughts are about why indeed.

So more about that later.)

I am reaching my threshold of things to share.

I don’t want to lose my anonymity on some things.

The NYTimes published a piece on June 8th that’s gone all around the webuniverse by Jonathan Safran Foer about How How Not to Be Alone. Here’s just a snippet:

THE problem with accepting — with preferring — diminished substitutes is that over time, we, too, become diminished substitutes. People who become used to saying little become used to feeling little.

Most of the time, most people are not crying in public, but everyone is always in need of something that another person can give, be it undivided attention, a kind word or deep empathy. There is no better use of a life than to be attentive to such needs. There are as many ways to do this as there are kinds of loneliness, but all of them require attentiveness, all of them require the hard work of emotional computation and corporeal compassion. All of them require the human processing of the only animal who risks “getting it wrong” and whose dreams provide shelters and vaccines and words to crying strangers.

I will mention, in passing, Gershon Gorenberg’s response, also going around, in the Daily Beast about Shabbos being the perfect place to start unplugging.

Even Fast Company, which is all about being connected,  has been featuring manifestos on how to unplug from the onslaught of technology.

But then there’s this. We are in a new reality. We need to make friends with it. Or build walls. Or make whatever kind of relationship where we’re in charge. (Daily Beast indeed!)

And then, in the same ezine that publishes about how to step away from the Beast, there’s an article about Facebook’s Secret to Building Friendships, about ” how the social network leverages social design to spur friendships”.

As a primer, though, Adams has developed a three-pronged understanding of how people work.

  1. Identity “We’re all unique. That’s the most important part of how we see the world, what we say or don’t say, and we all have this desire to be unique. That’s identity. That drives a lot of things, what we share or say.”
  2. Connectedness “All the people we’re connected to–that’s another huge component, and it’s a bit of a paradox. People want to feel unique, but they want to feel part of something.”
  3. How we talk “How do we build our relationships? How do we tell the story of our life that tells our identity? The way I’ve been talking about that is, if you look at how people interact in the real world, it’s all lightweight interactions. You say something. I say something back. It’s not a monologue, and a lot is not just speech but light gestures and body language. All those tiny, tiny things. And what’s interesting is that the aggregation of those things tells an amazing story. It takes weeks, months, and sometimes years to form these deep relationships with people.”

In other words, to create meaningful relationships online, you have to model them after meaningful relationships offline. And those are often built by just being around someone a whole lot.

Oh.

So what does that mean?

It means that we have added ways to be close to people.

It does not mean that we can or will and certainly not should replace the old realities.

Touching.

Laughing with someone until you both start crying and when you see that you both are, you burst out crying again.

But isn’t it true that we can improve our lives by sharing ideas and stories and imagination in different ways with great benefit to all?

And that is what I gain from this. I share my ideas with the world and they share back their humanity.

Sometimes with more feeling than other times, no doubt. But it has been an enriching experience.

I’ll still keep checking in with Facebook, too, to see what my cousin is doing in New Zealand and what the new babies are doing. Maybe it should be considered our new form of sending postcards, sometimes with photos and sometimes “wish you were here”.

But wait–apparently you can sign up for goodreads without going through Facebook!

The things you learn can astonish!

oh big brother

or with emotion; with caps like this: OH BIG BROTHER!

We’ve been overrun by men in the house. It’s really not that many, but it means that there is no privacy during the day. Men in the bathroom downstairs, blocking my bedroom. Men outside my study window, in their fix-it van.

You would not believe the amount of people who thought we were living in that little thing while they’re doing the remodel.

People are funny. But we have no choice. We have to figure out a way to live with them, don’t we?

I’m also faced with the possibility/probability of having 4 young men stay with me most of the summer, since I can’t find other housing for them. Not really looking forward to that, especially since we’re having windows replaced after the bathroom is done.

I really don’t know how this is going to play out.

That’s okay.

Privacy is clearly not to be. Even going out for a walk in the woods. Mr. Google knows where you are. Verizon knows.

And WordPress knows. They just told me:

You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

Thanks.

President Obama said it last Friday, as quoted here in an insightful article in The Week about the balance between privacy and security:

I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.

That’s easy for him to say. I say we don’t really have a choice.

And so to counter this, our granddaughters, aged 11 and 9, have now joined our family email chains. Here is an example of our youngest one.

 ha copy

And her response to her cousin’s email saying how she liked her signature here was:

I laughed out loud!

LOL is right.

We cannot escape, so we might as well laugh.

Unless you are from the Onion.

Then you can make everyone else laugh.

Having earlier in the day set his Gchat status to “invisible,” local man Jeff Young, 29, reportedly spent his Wednesday afternoon monitoring the comings and goings of his various online contacts as a silent and unknowable observer, espying the world and its madding crowd from his lofty, impregnable perch. “Here I lurk, unseen and yet all-seeing, privy to the deepest and darkest secrets of all who toil below me,” Young said, moments after withdrawing into the virtual shadows, all evidence of his very online existence obscured by an unassuming gray circle in his Gchat sidebar. “I am a watcher of limitless vision, unknown to the watched, gazing with fearsome power and great solemnity upon those pitiable fools whose online presence lies in plain sight. Lo, in my omniscience, I am akin to God Himself.” At press time, Young’s girlfriend had somehow breached his seemingly impenetrable observatory, demanding to know why he was ignoring her.

how to explain tweeting to my father

and other questions I got from him yesterday:

  1. “If I found some apple strudel in his freezer, and I defrosted it, can I re-freeze it? Actually, there were 2, but I’m eating most of one while we talked.” Yes; if it survived so long without noticeable freezer burn (“what’s that?”), it can be thrown back again. What about cutting it up into pieces so you can have some? “Why would I do that?”
  2. “Did you talk to your sister?
  3. Did you tell her she shouldn’t be talking to so many people?
  4. Did you tell her that she should take it easy after the long night in the hospital with your nephew?
  5. Did she tell you everything would be okay and did you believe her?” Yes. No. No; she’ll do what she needs to. No. Just you.
  6. “Did you talk to your daughter? Did she get back from Israel okay? Is everything set now?” Yes. She found a nice apartment with beautiful views and space–4 bedrooms. “I’m coming!” Yes, she’s counting on it.
  7. Why are there not enough personnel at the local post office and why are they hiring more at congress? How can I find out how many staff people there are in a congressman’s office? And what is Legistorm? And what is the tweet that they want me to see there? Why would I want to do that?

Okay, what?

I don’t know what Legistorm is and why do they want you to tweet?

So I walked out of the kitchen to my computer and found this:

About Us

LegiStorm launched in September 2006 to bring valuable information about the people of Congress to the public. We became widely known by being the only online source for staff salaries, financial disclosures, trips, gifts and earmarks. We’ve expanded our offerings to include the most accurate and up-to-date contact information and the most detailed intelligence on Hill staffers available.

Based on Capitol Hill, LegiStorm separates itself from other congressional information providers by the depth and quality of our research about the staff that are so critical to decision-making on Capitol Hill. While others struggle with the most basic information about the people of Capitol Hill, we go far beyond to provide educational backgrounds, employment histories, social media links, hometowns, hobbies and activities, family connections, and much more.

We are fiercely non-partisan. We receive no funding from any political group apart from their paid subscriptions to our products.

LegiStorm was founded to bring greater transparency to the workings of Capitol Hill and we are committed to creating products to help make our democracy work better. We provide basic information about congressional staff salaries and other information for free, on limited basis, as a service to the general public.

LegiStorm is focused on our clients and committed to meeting their needs. We’re still growing. We recognize that our clients are the experts in their fields and by working with them; we’ll create products and services that set industry standards.

So now, backstory: My father has been trying to go to the Post Office closest to him in LA for the past week. Every time he has tried to go in, the lines have been out the door. One day, it was actually closed, since there is only one woman working there and she had to go to lunch. Or something close to this. I wasn’t really paying enough attention to this story, I must admit. It kept growing, so then I tried to pay attention. So he was told that this was because of the cutting back in government. But then (and I really admit I don’t remember who told him about this site) he saw a headline that Gary Ackerman doubled his staff salaries before leaving office!

And that’s when it became personal. How can this be for real, if we’re getting shafted?

And what is this Storm Feed?

StormFeed

StormFeed

StormFeed gives you access to every press release and official Tweet from every office on the Hill, every time, in real-time. Miss something? No problem: StormFeed is full-text searchable.

Oh. Thank G-d!

That will make things easy for him!

So I actually proceeded to tell him about this week’s Torah portion (specifically Leviticus 14: 4) and the process of healing that the person afflicted with the condition known as tzara’at (poorly translated as leprosy, but it’s not a purely physical condition) had to go through, which included the gathering of two birds. When you hear birds chirping, and you don’t know what they’re saying, it sounds like nonsense. And the person who was afflicted with this tzara’at should know that what s/he said, especially if it was against someone else, was just nonsense. And so that’s what tweeting is; just nonsense.

“But when I hear birds tweeting, I look up and listen and am very happy.”

Oh, so forget about it. I forget that you live in LA and don’t hear birds all the time. So it is a treat for you.

So treat the tweets the same way you would something you don’t like.

Like cutting back postal workers while congressmen continue to live large.

Watch our, U.S. government; you have no idea who you’re dealing with!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 15 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

i should be unpacking, but

instead I’ll unpack here.

Definition of UNPACK

transitive verb
1
a: to remove the contents of <unpack a suitcase>b:unburdenreveal <must…unpack my heart with words — Shakespeare>
2
: to remove or undo from packing or a container <unpackedhis gear>
3
: to analyze the nature of by examining in detail :explicate<unpack a concept>

I have been thankfully too busy, or preoccupied, at least, to hyperfocus on the tragedy of Newtown. Passing by the area on the way home today made it hard to avoid thinking about it. Seeing any of the millions of articles online/on air made it harder yet.

We want to be able to do something; wave our magic wand and make it all better. Make it so that it never happens again. Wave our children, or at least ourselves, into a false sense of security, re-patch the bubble of pretense.

Jonathan Tobin said it well about this impulse to respond in Commentary:

But what we don’t think about in these days of shock and grief is whether the proposals floated during such times have more to do with our need to feel in control of events than a rational plan of action. The “don’t just stand there, do something” impulse is natural in politicians who always wish to be seen as having the answers. But the notion that we can legislate or preach such insane acts out of existence may reflect our unwillingness to appear helpless in the face of evil or madness more than anything else.

The idea that we can’t do something about incidents such as Newtown makes us feel small and helpless and is rejected out of hand. At such times as these, those who preach sensible caution about legislation rather than knee-jerk action are dismissed as naysayers and defenders of an indefensible status quo. Americans are a people who like solutions, not philosophical discourses about terrible events. We crave leaders who will tell us they have answers.

Perhaps anger about Newtown and other incidents will be enough to help pass far-reaching restrictions on gun ownership or influence the entertainment industry to change its ways. But the only likely outcome is that schools will be transformed into fortresses even more than they already were. The rhetoric we hear after Newtown, as it is after all senseless crimes, will make many of us feel better and allow politicians to pretend that they are doing something. But the impulse to respond will be about our desire to have the illusion of control over uncontrollable events.

I shudder to think of how I would have responded, if it happened while I was still teaching–would I be as quick-minded and brave as those teachers? I know I won’t pass any judgment on that  mother, even if I cannot fathom the need for such guns in anyone’s house. There are quite a few articles about Israel and its gun salience, but, from what I can tell (see Ezra Klein learning this here), the truth seems to be that Israel limits its guns more and more, making it less likely that this kind of tragedy will occur.

So I’ll just post two photos I took with my new smartphone from when I took the big kiddies to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, and I’ll let you draw your own conclusion about the power of play.

2012-12-09_13-38-14_410

 

2012-12-09_13-38-23_625

 

I know it’s not enough, clearly. But let’s play with it a bit before we proffer any ideas that just won’t work.

do i respond or let it be spam?

Here is a comment that went into my spambox about my previous post about Israel not going away:

this is nothing but israel being a big bully and showing it cares nothing about peace only death and destruction.

It was batched with another big fish:

Hey there, You have done an incredible job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.

What makes Akismet note what is spam or not? I’m no computer scientist, but usually it’s the website that they’re “representing”. In the first case, it’s a “Hurry! Grab the gold!”; in the second, “Smart New Eye Drops!” So they both sound spammy to me, too.

Okay, so I peeked.

This is what Akismet says about their process:

5 things every blogger should know about spam

1. Web spam is different from email spam.

Email spammers want you to buy their product. You are the target of the ad contained in each email spam you receive. Comment/web spammers want your readers to buy their product. You (the blogger, author, moderator) are not the target.

2. Web spammers are social engineers.

Email spammers write messages to get your attention. Comment spammers write messages to escape your attention. They want you to believe they are real bloggers, real people, writing real comments, so you’ll approve the comment and publish it on your site. They use flattery, appeal to your good nature, and simply lie in order to convince you to give them the benefit of the doubt.

3. Web spammers are basically advertising on your blog..

..and they’re keeping all of the profits. They’re not even asking your permission first. Right now someone is offering to sell links from your blog to anyone willing to pay a few dollars (or a few cents). If your blog is well known, it may even be listed by name, with backlinks for sale at a set price.

4. It’s all about the backlinks.

Web spammers are selling links from your blog to their clients. They do this to game the search engines and trick your readers into visiting dubious web sites. Their clients are sometimes seemingly harmless, but are often peddling fake pills, porn, scams and malware. Sometimes they’ll use “buffer sites” – that is, innocent looking web pages intended to disguise the fact that they’re really advertising something more sinister.

5. Spammers employ humans.

Not all spam is delivered by spambots. Spammers are increasingly using humans to write and post comments by hand. Typically they are exploiting low-paid workers in internet cafes, schools and factories. Sometimes they are viral marketers paid to promote a new product. Either way they are trying to exploit your blog for their profit – and hoping to do it without you noticing.

How can Akismet help?

Akismet monitors millions of blogs and forums, watching the methods and tricks used by spammers in real time. We know all about their spambots, comment factories, buffer sites and social engineering tricks. Akismet will use this knowledge to warn you when a spammer – automated or human – tries to sneak a spam comment past you. So if you notice a comment in your spam folder from someone you don’t know, or linking to a web site you’ve never seen before, take a good look at it before you hit the Unspam button: in all likelihood, Akismet put it there for a reason.

So do I just drop it or do I engage (not by publishing their website, of course!)?

On the one hand, they asked for it.

On the other, people who speak in those terms don’t really want to hear but just want to have a bully pulpit.

On the third hand, maybe there is another way to go about it.

Suggestions? Thoughts?

I promise I won’t put you in spam, although Akisnet might.

You never know…

But for sure, I’m not buying the eye drops.

i’m no fan of football or gangs, but this is ridiculous

Did you see this yet?

IIlegal procedure: Student penalized for wearing No.18 Manning jersey

Not everyone is ready for some football.

Ahead of Sunday’s opening game between Denver and the Pittsburgh Steelers, one Colorado school district has decided to gang up on an 8-year-old student who was prohibited from wearing Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s No. 18 football jersey to class.

The Weld County School Systems is sticking to its guns – or a policy – that prevents No. 18 on clothing worn in school because it is believed to represent gang affiliations.

“They told me I couldn’t wear 18 anymore because it’s a gang number and I had to take it off,” said Konnor Vanatta, during an interview with FOX31 Denver before Sunday’s big regular-season game, the first for Manning since his trade to Denver in the offseason after a hall-of-fame-worthy career with Indianapolis Colts.

A spokesperson for Weld County District 6 explained the policy has been around for more than three years and applies to the numbers 13, 14, 18, 31, 41 and 81.

“Peyton Manning’s been my favorite football player for a long time,” said Vannatta, who wore a No. 61 jersey the following day to protest the policy and was met without restraint.

His mother, Pam Vanatta, also thinks the penalty is uncalled for and should be further reviewed.

“I’m pretty upset the schools have come down to this and I think they need to start paying attention to the education the children are getting rather than then what they’re wearing,” said the student’s mother.

The school is standing by its call.

“We’re Broncos fans ourselves, it has nothing to do with that we’re just wanting to set a consistent solid, example,” said spokesperson Roger Fiedler. “We do try to really discourage and take a stance on any sort of clothing or display of gang-affiliated material or signage.”

Pam Vanatta said the family is all for school safety, but this time the No. 18 should be celebrated, not feared.

Okay, so why is #18 feared? Who knew? Why, Wikipedia, of course!

18th Street gang, also known as M18, Calle 18, Barrio 18, La18 or Mara-18 in Central America,[2][8][9][10] is a multi-ethnic transnational criminal organization that started as a street gang in the Rampart area of Los Angeles, California.[1] They are considered to be the largest transnational criminal street gang in Los Angeles and it is estimated that there are tens of thousands of members in Los Angeles County alone.

18th Street gang members are required to abide by a strict set of rules. Failure to obey the word of a gang leader, or to show proper respect to a fellow gang member, may result in an 18-second beating, or even execution for more serious offenses.[14] According to the FBI, some factions of the 18th Street gang have developed a high level of sophistication and organization. The 18th Street gang is of Chicanoorigin and was formed by Mexican-American youth who were not accepted in the existing American gangs. 18th Street gang members often identify themselves with the number 18 on their clothing and sporting clothing from sports teams such as the Los Angeles DodgersLos Angeles Lakers and Oakland Raiders. 18th Street will use the symbols XV3, XVIII, 666, 99,(9+9=18), and 3-dots in their graffiti and tattoos. 18th Street colors are black, blue. Blue is to represent Sureños (despite being a non-Sureños affiliate), the gangs from the oldest barrios in Southern California, and black is to represent the original color for the gang. The 18th Street gang is occasionally referred to as the “Children’s Army” because of its recruitment of elementary and middle-school aged youth.[15]

Oh…

Still…

Greeley, Colorado?

Oh, mymymymy.

And why do I care, in the first place? There’s all kinds of other garbage going on that I don’t comment on. But the truth is that the number 18 is considered a special one in Judaism, since it is the numerical value of the the word Life–חי, with the ח being the 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the י being the 10th, so 10 +8

And if you have to ask why Life should be a value, well, then, we’ve got much bigger problems.