Tattoos in Hebrew have become very popular. I see them everywhere. Unfortunately, very few tattoo artists can actually read or write Hebrew, and this has led to a lot of misspelled and mistranslated Hebrew tattoos. Below is a tattoo on the arm of a man in Bentonville, Arkansas. He thought his tattoo meant ‘strength’ in Hebrew. It actually says ‘matzo.’ He had this tattoo on his arm for years before he found out the true meaning after he met a real Jew for the first time in his life, who translated it for him. The other picture is that of a more commonly misspelled Hebrew tattoo. The tattoo artist made a small mistake in the shape of one of the letters. This tattoo is supposed to be the name of God in Hebrew. Instead it says: ‘He shall be pregnant.’ This is not an isolated case. It appears that there are many other people in the United States, mostly fundamentalist Christians, with tattoos on them that say ‘He shall be pregnant”. Misspelled Hebrew tattoos have been seen all over the U.S. There are several web sites that just show pictures of misspelled Hebrew tattoos. Here is one of these web sites. Bad Hebrew Tattoos.
Jews and Tattoos. The Bible prohibits Jews from getting tattoos. In the Book of Leviticus it says: “You must not put tattoo markings upon yourself.” This line was part of a larger prohibition against idolatry. At the time the Old Testament was written, it was a common practice in the Middle East for people to tattoo the names and images of their gods on their bodies. Up until World War 2, it was generally only the orthodox Jews who took the Biblical prohibition on tattoos seriously, but after the war, tattoos became a taboo for Jews everywhere. Immediately upon entering Nazi concentration camps, Jews were tattooed with numbers on their arms. After the war, tattoos became an unpleasant and unwanted reminder of the Holocaust for Jews. Today, it is virtually impossible to find a tattoo artist who is Jewish or who can actually read Hebrew.
“Joan of Arc defeated the English in the Hundred Years War. Even after the English burned her at the stake, Joan would not give up and continued to fight the English until they left France.”
“We took a tour of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The tour guide was a French priest who spoke English surprisingly well considering how short he was.”
“Alexander the Great was needed back in Greece, but he was in Persia, and he couldn’t be in 2 places at the same time. Only Roman generals could do that.”
Christopher Columbus really is buried in Spain and the Dominican Republic. At least that’s what I tell my students. He may also be buried in Cuba. Christopher Columbus was initially buried in Spain, but his body was dug up and reburied so many times that historians don’t know where it is. His body was dug up and reburied once in Spain before being dug up again and shipped to the Dominican Republic and reburied there. In 1795, France took over the island of Hispaniola, where the Dominican Republic is located. The Spanish dug up what they believed to be Columbus’ bones and shipped them to Havana, Cuba for yet another reburial; however, we are not sure they got the right bones. When Spain lost the Spanish-American War in 1898, they dug up the bones yet again and shipped them back to Spain. Today, there is a magnificent tomb of Christopher Columbus in the Seville Cathedral in Spain, but there is another equally magnificent tomb of Christopher Columbus in a cathedral in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Both countries have documents to support their claims that they have Christopher Columbus’ remains. In addition, there is a marked grave in a cemetery in Havana where the Cuban government claims that Christopher Columbus is buried. It is highly unlikely that we will ever know for sure where Christopher Columbus is actually buried. This is a touchy subject in all the countries that claim to have Columbus’ bones.
About Salt Lake City and salt water taffy. It is obvious why people mentally associate salt water taffy with Salt Lake City. Salt water taffy is the top selling souvenir at Brigham Young University’s campus store and at tourist hotel gift shops all over the area. Not only do they sell a lot of salt water taffy in Salt Lake City; they also make a lot of salt water taffy in Salt Lake City. The 2 biggest manufacturers of salt water taffy in the U.S. are both located in Salt Lake City: Taffy Town and Sweet’s Candies. Each of these companies make tons of salt water taffy every day. They make very good salt water taffy in Salt Lake City, but it isn’t made with water from the Great Salt Lake. I know a sales rep for Taffy Town, and he tells me that many of the people who visit his company’s factory store assume that their salt water taffy is made with water from the Great Salt Lake and are shocked when employees at the store tell them the truth, which is thatyou can’t make candy (or any other edible product) with water from the Great Salt Lake. The water in the Great Salt Lake is not potable (safe to drink.) The Great Salt Lake is a terminal lake; that is, the lake is a dead end. It has no outlet to the sea. Like the Dead Sea and most other desert terminal lakes, the water in the Great Salt Lake contains a lot of toxic materials, like mercury. I understand why tourists assume that the salt water taffy that they sell in Salt Lake City is made with water from the Great Salt Lake, but it isn’t true, and it never was. Besides, as I said, there is no salt water in salt water taffy anyway.
Below is a section of the For Rent ads from the San Francisco Chronicle in 1970. Look at the prices. Although it may seem hard to believe, back in those days, San Francisco and Berkeley were considered cheap places to live, that is, compared to big cities back East like New York and Boston. One of the main reasons why the hippies came to San Francisco and Berkeley in the 1960s was because they could find cheap housing here. Counter-culture people in every generation move to places where they can find cheap housing. Then they move elsewhere when housing gets expensive. That is something that never changes. Tourists, mostly from foreign countries, still go to the Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco expecting to see hippies and ‘flower children’, but there aren’t any. A 1 bedroom apartment in the Haight Ashbury district now rents for $3,000 to $4,000 a month. Of course, a portion of the increase in rents in the Bay Area can be attributed to inflation, but only a portion. When I arrived in Berkeley in 1972, I rented an apartment downtown for $80 a month, and I knew people who were paying much less than that.
Rabbit Foot Keyrings. This is one fur product that has always been a mystery to me. I do not understand the appeal of this product. I sometimes see rabbit foot key rings for sale in stores. Do people really believe that carrying a dead rabbit’s foot in your pocket will bring you good luck? Yes! I once saw a man playing blackjack in Las Vegas, holding a rabbit’s foot in his left hand. When he won a big bet, he kissed the rabbit’s foot! As I left, I wondered: ‘Why would anyone imagine that a rabbit’s foot will bring you good luck?’ Obviously, cutting the feet off a rabbit didn’t bring the rabbit good luck! Well – did it?
ATM Withdrawal Fees. These are less expensive, typically $2 or $3 per transaction, but they can add up. You can avoid these fees by using your own bank’s ATM machines or by using your supermarket’s cash-back feature when you pay with a debit card, which at most banks is also your ATM card.
I saw this product at Berkeley Bowl. I read the back labels on household chemicals like this. Some toilet bowl cleaners contain ingredients that can damage the plumbing, like hydrochloric acid. This product befuddled me. At the bottom of the back label (below) it says that this product is ‘GLUTEN FREE.’ Now, I don’t doubt that they are telling the truth about this product being gluten free, but what’s the point? Do people drink this stuff? Toilet bowl cleaner isn’t a beverage.