Leonard Simon Nimoy Z”L

I woke today and checked the overnight news to read that Leonard Nimoy had died. While he had a long and varied career, he made his earliest impression on me through his role as Spock in Star Trek. Now I freely admit that I have been a Star Trek fan from day one, so the news saddened me. But thinking of Mr Nimoy, aka Mr Spock, also brought many more warm memories.

My favorite Star Trek episode: 'The Trouble with Tribbles'

My favorite Star Trek episode: ‘The Trouble with Tribbles’

The TV series only ran three seasons, but that was enough to make me a fan. So much so, that I named one on my cats Leonard after him: not surprisingly, a slightly aloof Siamese with absolutely enormous ears.

While many people will only identify him with his character Spock, he was a multi-talented man. A writer of books, including “I am Spock” and “I am not Spock”, a movie actor and a director.

He was also a photographer, and published a book of black and white photos, ‘Shekhina’, which caused quite some controversy, due to nudity, but I thought the images were wonderful.

An image from 'Shekhina'

An image from ‘Shekhina’

I can’t imagine how many interviews he did, but I have two favorite videos of interviews from the Wexler Oral History Project.

The Jewish Story Behind Spock. Nimoy explains how the hand-gesture of the Priestly blessing became the sign for Spock’s Vulcan salute.

Spock's Vulcan Salute

Spock’s Vulcan Salute

And Leonard Nimoy’s Mameloshn: A Yiddish Story

Interview in Yiddish

Interview in Yiddish

He also wrote beautiful poetry, exploring ‘love’, and published several poetry books, including, ‘A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life’, such a juxtaposition to his cold and totally logical Spock.

It’s hard to choose a favorite poem, but these following lines have always touched me.

From the poem ‘Patience‘:

Life comes and goes.

Laughter of the past
Rings through empty hallways.

The seasoning is bitter sweet.

Searching for me,
I wander
Through a house of mirrors.

I see a myriad of images,
But none are mine.

Only distorted reflections
Of a stranger.

Someone I’ve met
But don’t really know.

I cry out my name,
But the hollow echo that responds
Tells me I must wait.

It is not yet time.

From the poem ‘I am an incurable romantic’

I am an incurable romantic

I believe in hope, dreams and decency

I believe in love,
Tenderness and kindness.

I believe in mankind.

I believe in goodness,
Mercy and charity
I believe in a universal spirit
I believe in casting bread
Upon the waters.

Nimoy’s acting made me smile, laugh, amused and entertained me. His poetry touched me, and photographs moved me.

He was a real mensch.

Leonard Nimoy: may his memory be a blessing.

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Self-Respect: It’s in ‘Vogue’

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I read a great piece in ‘Vogue‘ this week: Joan Didion’s seminal essay ‘Self-respect: Its Source, Its Power’, first published in Vogue in 1961. Fifty three years on, its message is as pertinent as ever.

Here are a few words from the essay that certainly give pause for thought.

“We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gift for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give.

At the mercy of those we can not but hold in contempt, we play rôles doomed to failure before they are begun, each defeat generating fresh despair at the necessity of divining and meeting the next demand made upon us.

It is the phenomenon sometimes called alienation from self. In its advanced stages, we no longer answer the telephone, because someone might want something; that we could say no without drowning in self-reproach is an idea alien to this game. Every encounter demands too much, tears the nerves, drains the will, and the spectre of something as small as an unanswered letter arouses such disproportionate guilt that one’s sanity becomes an object of speculation among one’s acquaintances. To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves—there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.”

Didion wrote the essay as the magazine was going to press, to fill the space left after another writer did not produce a piece on the same subject. She wrote it not to a word count or a line count, but to an exact character count – no mean feat as any writer knows.

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Signs You Have Lowered Your Standards: The Low Self-Esteem Meter

dayanhadassah:

“People make excuses because they’re either too ashamed to tell the truth or they’re not ready to admit it…and when we make excuses for others, it’s for the same reasons. “

Originally posted on frommtvtomommy:

Have you recently suffered a negative interaction with someone?

Have you recently stuck your head into an oven because you couldn’t stand one more minute dealing with people who suck?

Have you considered becoming a meth dealer and taking over the world, a la Walter White?

Are you unsure if you are settling for the same old BS that you swore you wouldn’t settle for anymore?

If you answered yes to any of these questions or you just simply want to amuse yourself or are incredibly bored, read on.

If someone is nice to you and you think, “Wow, this person is nice to me today. this is awesome,” 

You may have lowered your standards.

Severely.

Unless the person is your boss, no one should be that negative and mean to you so that when the person actually smiles or acts like a decent human being you feel the need…

View original 333 more words

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Tears of Joy

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Have you ever wondered why people cry when they are happy? It’s never made much sense to me and apparently Yale psychologist Oriana Aragon was bemused by this too.

She had conducted series of studies on the subject and now has a better understanding about why people cry when they are happy.

She says, “People may be restoring emotional equilibrium with these expressions. They seem to take place when people are overwhelmed with strong positive emotions and people who do this seem to recover better from those strong emotions.”

Aragon and her colleagues at Yale found that individuals who express negative reactions to positive news were able to moderate intense emotions more quickly.

There is also some evidence that strong negative feelings may provoke positive expressions. An example of this is nervous laughter when people are confronted with a difficult or frightening situation, and smiles have been found by other psychologists to occur during extreme sadness.

Aragon says that these new discoveries begin to explain common things that many people do but don’t even understand themselves.

She says, “These insights advance our understanding of how people express and control their emotions, which is importantly related to mental and physical health, the quality of relationships with others, and even how well people work together.”

Reminds me of an episode of  ‘The Big Bang Theory':
Sheldon: Why are you smiling?
Leonard: Yeah, Raj, why?
Raj: Uh, a smile means something different in my country. You know, tears of joy, smile of sadness. India’s a goofy place.

Aragon is the lead author of work to be published in the journal Psychological Science. Margaret S. Clark, Rebecca L. Dyer and John A. Bargh of Yale are co-authors.

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Remembrance Day

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To mark Remembrance Day a poem by Australian poet, Chris Wallace-Crabbe.

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Other People

In the First World War they…
Who were they? Who cares any more?…
Killed four of my uncles,
So I was told one day.

There were only four on that side of the family
Allegedly swept away in a few bad years
In a war the historians tell us now
Was fought over nothing at all.

Four uncles, as one might say
A dozen apples or seven tons of dirt,
Swept away by the luck of history,
Closed off. Full stop.

Four is a lot for uncles,
A lot for lives, I should say.
Their chalk was wiped clean off the slate,
The War meant nothing at all.

War needs a lot of uncles,
And husbands, and brothers, and so on:
Someone must want to kill them,
Somebody needs them dead.

Who is it, I wonder. Me?
Or is it you there, reading away,
Or a chap with a small-arms factory?
Or is it only they?

Photos: At the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, a shaft of sunlight enters the inner sanctuary and illuminates the word ‘love’ on the marble slab inscribed with the words “Greater love hath no man”.

 

 

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