Retiring "YodaYid"

My number one rule about blogging is not to blog about the blog. But if you're at all interested in this blog as a whole, this is important enough to break that rule.

I have decided that I'm going to let go of the "YodaYid" handle, and continue to blog under my real name, Daniel Tsadok.

I made up YodaYid more than ten years ago. I thought it was quite clever at the time, and when I decided to start a (then anonymous) blog in 2004, that was the first handle I could come up with.

The main reason I'm letting go of YodaYid is that it doesn't really reflect the content of this blog. Anyone who sees the title of the blog expects Star Wars- and Jewish-related posts. I do occasionally write about those topics, but I feel the name has been something of a restriction, not on my writing, but on reader expectations.

The other reason is that it's a silly name. When I first started this blog, it was silly. That was the tone I was going for, and YodaYid reflected that. I still go for the silly posts occasionally, but not as much as I used to. It's impossible to take anything seriously with a Photoshopped Yoda in your face.

The last and biggest reason is that I'm just not that into Star Wars anymore. Part of the reason that I'm not so into Star Wars anymore is that after Episode 3 came out, I simply let go. The story is over, and it's time to move on. Episode 3 didn't really leave much room for anything interesting to happen between its ending and the beginning of Episode 4. Besides, there does come a point when you grow out of these sort of things :-)

The David Brin article that I wrote about a little while ago also had an impact on me, and I had promised in that post to talk more about the Brin article. I haven't done so partially because Star Wars is just not on people's minds right now, including, for the most part, mine. It's hard to get motivated to write a post when you think no one is going to care. So all I'm going to say is that the Brin article splashed a lot of cold water on what was left of my feelings for Star Wars. I spent too much time as a die-hard Star Wars fan for those feelings to be extinguished completely, but naming my blog after a Star Wars character no longer seems appropriate.

With that, I hope you continue to read my stuff at my shiny new location! WordPress lets me import all my old posts, so all the old YodaYid stuff will be there.

May the Force be with you ;-)



Charity - Good and Bad

I went to a fundraiser earlier today for a group dedicated to feeding the hungry in Israel. The organizers gave a brief speech and included some statistics about poverty there. Here are some from 2007 cited in Haaretz:
  • 1.6 million Israelis (almost 25%) live below the poverty line.

  • "The number of children living in poverty reached 804,000; or 35.9% of all Israeli children."

  • "40% of the families living under the poverty line are working."

  • With devastating numbers like these, there's clearly something fundamentally wrong. The key sentence is the first one in the Haaretz article: "Despite the improvement in all of Israel's economic indicators in 2007, a rise in the minimum wage, increased employment and higher real salaries; the country's poverty level remained almost unchanged in 2007." The Israeli economy is doing very well, so why are so many people so poor?

    The fundraiser I supported today seeks to address this issue by going to restaurants, caterers, and military bases, and bringing leftover food to people who don't have any. This is a wonderful idea, and I'm all for it, but it's a bandage on a much bigger problem. The poor people who don't have food need fundamental policy changes, not scraps from the tables of rich people. I'm happy to have helped via this organization, but I would be much happier if there was no need for this group (among many other private groups dedicated towards helping Israel's poor). Poverty in Israel should be on the extreme fringe, as it used to be.

    UPDATE: The charity is Table to Table. I didn't originally post the name of the group because I didn't want it to seem like I was singling them out (since the point of my post is that the people benefiting from T2T and similar organizations need reform much more than they need charity).



    Double-Clicking The Grey Lady

    A friend of mine showed me that if you double-click on a word on The New York Times' website, it will open up a dictionary definition of that word. I find that a bit pretentious, but it's also a smart idea, especially if it frees the Times writers to use bigger words!


    p.s. Yes, I enjoyed coming up with the title of this post...

    Punished For Pennies

    This story brought a smile to my face: twenty-nine middle school students in Readington, NJ were given detention for using pennies as lunch money, as part of a prank, CBS reports. Not a few pennies, of course - each student involved brought in 200 pennies, resulting in almost 6,000 pennies that the cashiers had to count. Students say that they were protesting the lunch period being too short.

    Punishing the kids was probably not necessary, especially since many of the students rolled their pennies up (where does one get 200 pennies anyway? This must have taken some planning). I understand the school's position, but the students came up with a creative and (admit it) funny way to express themselves. Instead of throwing them in detention, why not have an assembly and discuss why the lunch period is so short, and what the kids could have done to protest it?

    Anyway, the kids aren't done. They continued their protest the next day by bringing their lunch from home (always a sensible option anyway) and are wearing t-shirts that say "Got Pennies?".

    Hopefully the school will realize they've got some pretty smart kids there, and try to find a way to work with that instead of alienating and fighting them.

    Via Consumerist.