Blog: March 2023

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Frogs

Somebody said today is World Frog Day (who knew? not I!), and with Pesach coming up soon that led to some discussion of the second plague, and somebody linked to a passage in the talmud about it and I have questions:

Rabbi Akiva says: It was one frog, and it spawned and filled the entire land of Egypt with frogs. Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya said to him: Akiva, what are you doing occupying yourself with the study of aggada (stories)? This is not your field of expertise. [...] Rather, the verse is to be understood as follows: It was one frog; it whistled to the other frogs, and they all came after it. (Sanhedrin 67b)

(Convention: the parts in bold are in the original text; the rest is editorial elucidation. The talmud's discussions are often quite compact.)

If I'm reading this correctly, Rabbi Elazar's objection to Rabbi Akiva's statement isn't the claim that there was one frog that then produced more. Rabbi Elazar is fine with the "one original frog" idea. No, he's disputing how the other frogs got there; Akiva says the first frog spawned them, while Elazar says it summoned them.

Rashi elaborates Elazar's complaint: Akiva should refrain from stories about frogs and focus on more serious stuff, like laws of plagues and afflictions, that Akiva actually knows something about. Which makes me wonder what any of them are saying about Elazar's knowledge, since it's apparently ok for Elazar to talk about this stuff. This is Elazar ben Azariah, who at the age of 18 was miraculously given white hair overnight so that the other sages would take him seriously as (briefly) the head of the Sanhedrin. It's not like he's some nobody who doesn't know more "serious" stuff and is only equipped for stories.

What a peculiar passage.

And also: world frog day? Really? (Search engines produce hits. And I found it on a list on Wikipedia, for what that's worth.)

Free to good home: Pennsic house or parts thereof

Please share a link to this post with any SCA (etc) or tiny-homes people you think might be interested.

I have a house on a flatbed trailer. It lives at Cooper's Lake in western PA, where Pennsic is held. When I set out to build it, I first got Dave Cooper's approval of the plans so there would be no issues with using and storing it there. All was good. But times have changed, there are new people with new business interests running Cooper's Lake now, and many of the "old" trailers, including mine, have been evicted. In my case, my trailer has to be gone after Pennsic 50, this August.

The trailer is not road-legal; it's only been driven on Cooper roads for the last 20 years. Legality aside, I doubt the trailer would be safe at real road speeds. (The campground has bumpy dirt roads and traffic moves at 5-10MPH.) It's not practical for me to disassemble the house and rebuild a smaller version of it to take to and from Pennsic every year: I don't have the storage, the towing vehicle, or the fortitude. I don't think I'll go to enough more Pennsics to justify all those costs.

Perhaps you have those things, and interest? Or perhaps there are parts you can use?

Parts of the house are in good to very good condition and could perhaps be reused for a different building project. The roof was new in 2019, put on a month before I got the eviction notice (sob). It's made of ABS pipe, cut to look like tiles, and it does a good job of both protecting and cooling the house. I can talk more about its construction. The loft floor is made of 2x4 tongue-and-groove whitewood and, being interior, has not been exposed to the elements. The doors are in good shape (you probably want to refinish them). Some other lumber can probably be reused for the right project.

I would be sad to trash all this if there's someone who can make use of it and who can come collect it in August. I'm not looking for money; I want to reduce waste.

If you're interested, please get in touch -- click through to the Dreamwidth post for some contact options or use the "contact" link on this site or use any other path you know to reach me.

A few pictures: Read moreā€¦