Random Cool Stuff Day

Just Because Who Doesn't Like Cool Stuff

Random Cool Stuff Day

Hi! Today’s a day for some recommendations!

First, this book— especially if you liked ON REPENTANCE AND REPAIR. This is the work in real time.

Rebecca Clarren wrote THE COST OF FREE LAND: JEWS, LAKOTA AND AN AMERICAN INHERITANCE as a way of grappling with her own family’s history. Her ancestors fled antisemitism in Russia at the turn of the 20th c. and wound up settling on a 160-acre homestead in South Dakota. What nobody talked about, though, was how this land was stolen from the Lakota. In the book, she grapples with the personal and national consequences of this legacy of violence and dispossession—and looks movingly at what can be done from here.

Secondly, there’s the impeccably-named @Wedgie_BCE on TikTok, a PhD student who teaches cuneiform—the writing method—and all sorts of fascinating stuff about ancient Mesopotamian cultures, sometimes through a queer and/or gender lens, and sometimes just offers some great unfiltered gender theory. Yes, you should start at the beginning of the account to get the whole thing but here, get hooked on this one, talking about how the snake in Genesis fits into a wider pattern of snakes in ancient Mesopotamian oracle culture:

@wedgie_bceCuneiform Sign of the Day 26: muš, ṣir; MUŠ = ṣēru = snake #cuneiform #akkadian #sumerian #mesopotamia #history #ancient #language #ancientneareast #babylon #assyrian #iraq #syria #kurdistan #middleeast #swana

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I mean, it’s so fun. It’s a descendant of the Lindy Hop, and I think (?) evolved from the swing revival of the 90s—remember Squirrel Nut Zippers and Swingers and all that? Anyway, WCS is a partner dance that, in competition form, as far as I understand, generally involves a) being paired with a random partner on the spot (pick a number from the hat kind of thing) and b) performing to a totally random song that they could not have predicted/anticipated and, as such c) total improvisation.

But these are people who love to dance, and just watching them figure out each other’s next moves and capacities, have fun and do cool things spontaneously, and then be tickled by each other because it’s all happening on the spot? So fun.1

An artist whose work I really dig: val, aka h0ly_g0lem on IG, does gorgeous, powerful, Jewish queer ceramic art that’s all really wild and beautiful:

And hey, let’s go golem themed? There’s Jay Smith’s stunning prints, including the golem who holds the world:

And of course, the Golem_Museum, an online museum of sorts, impeccably curated by my friend, the wonderful Rabbi Josh Fixler:


For those of you who might want to give the gift of a Life is a Sacred Text subscription, we’re running at 20% off through the rest of the month.

Hope you’re feeling some the light in these darker days.

Remember that winter is traditionally a time for hibernation. Make sure to plan time for a few naps, OK? Let yourself rest and regenerate. xo

  1. (Yes, it’s totally dominated by what appear to be white, cis, opposite-sex dance partners—even the one or two same-sex dances I found just weren’t on the level of these examples. But come oh, just watch people be surprised and amused and take each other’s bait perfectly, it’s so fun!)


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