Archive | Ebisu Publications

Passover: the First Cup

Passover comes after Purim and is my favorite holiday, since it celebrates a successful slave revolt. Whether that revolt actually happened is irrelevant; what matters is that the Passover legend shaped the consciousness of the Jewish people and was adopted by other people struggling to liberate themselves—most notably African slaves in the United States. The […]

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Esther = Ishtar: the Pagan Origins of Purim

Cakes for Purim Purim has been called “the Jewish Halloween.” In its origins, however, I’d say it was more like Carnival. On Purim Jews in various countries dress up in costumes, get drunk, put on plays, sing, parade, burn effigies of Haman (the traditional enemy), and eat little triangular filled cakes. Central to the holiday […]

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Oil for the Lamps of Assyria

Natural oil seep, Iraq You and I live in a petroleum-based global economy. Most likely you’ve heard of the theory of “peak oil,” meaning that there’s only so much oil in the ground. Once we start running out, prices will skyrocket. Scientists, economists, and oil industry representatives have been arguing about this theory for years. […]

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Nile Mud, Dirt, and Ancient Medicine

In December, I blogged about how modern scientists are rediscovering the use of copper to kill germs. This week I’m interested in reports of a new antibiotic, one that doesn’t seem to induce resistance. We know that the overuse of antibiotics in modern medicine and factory farming has allowed bad bugs to evolve into badder, […]

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Scurrilous Cartoons in Ancient Egypt

It has been quite a week for the cartoon industry. Seems like everyone either insists they are Charlie, or wants to murder them. I checked out the Charlie Hebdo covers published by The Huffington Post and found them adolescent and poorly drawn, sometimes obscene but never particularly funny. Certainly not worth the effort of killing […]

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The Hurricane Headed for Cuba

Cuba has been big news this week. What I’ve gathered from the papers, including readers’ comments, is there seem to be three points of view: 1) Most Americans are happy about the prospect of normal relations between the U.S. and that island nation. 2) A handful of aging anti-Communist exiles, and their Republican supporters, are […]

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Medusa Coils mentions Stars in their Courses

Martha’s The Stars in their Courses was mentioned in Medusa Coils. “I have started reading Martha Shelley’s latest novel, The Stars in their Courses. I hope to have a full review in a month or so after I have recovered from carpal tunnel syndrome. But I wanted to let you know that if what I’ve […]

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