October 8th, 2006

little review

Poem for Sunday

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Younger son's soccer game got rained out, so we drove to Baltimore and went to the Maryland Historical Society, which usually costs money but is free this month as part of Free Fall Baltimore. They have some great exhibits including an original longhand manuscript of the Star Spangled Banner, religious artifacts, slave-made pottery and instruments, locally-made silver and clocks, magnificent furniture, a local historic art gallery and a kids' room where ours got to practice dredging oysters and sitting at desks with inkwells. I always forget that this state was so invested in the tobacco trade and that slavery was actually legal here longer than in the Confederacy, since the Emancipation Proclamation didn't apply to Northern states which the Union army emphatically made certain Maryland remained, but this state also has a historic commitment to religious freedom -- got around restrictions on Jews holding public office by letting anyone who believed in an afterlife hold the positions -- and produced many of the great debaters, orators and literary abolitionists because of its position at the center of the conflict.

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And speaking of Jewish historical stuff, a friend of my uncle's discovered this site, which purports to reveal which Jewish families are direct descendants of King David in order to hold a "family reunion" with uncomfortable political overtones about who should own Jerusalem. My mother mentioned it to me because her original family name is on the list, and when I looked up the name in a superficial Google search, I was surprised to discover that the Jews from the cited dynastic family came from the Polish-Belarussian border, which I believe is where my mother's family was also from. It turns out there is a worldwide DNA project to determine whether the family of that name from the Polish border and the family of that name from the Ukraine are related, though I wonder whether frequent Ashkenazi Jewish genetic problems like Tay-Sachs are also being tracked. I did notice that many common American Jewish names are listed as likely descendants of King David, which would (conveniently for certain political groups) give a great many American Jews a "personal claim" to Jerusalem. Hmm, if it turns out I am descended from King David, it would make me a cousin a few thousand times removed of Jesus Christ, too...I wonder if the Davidic Dynasty people would think I should feel a personal attachment there?

Watched SGA's "Suspicion," was somewhat underwhelmed at Weir's governing even though Tayla keeps saying she'd do exactly the same things, loved paralyzed!Rodney and John taunting the Wraith. Rejoiced at the fall of the Yankees, couldn't bring myself to care about the Mets-Dodgers results (I have relatives on each side who were going to be gloating either way). Sunday I would like just a bit of sunshine so we can enjoy the fall outdoors a little!