I happen to be reading Judges today (haftorah for parshat Beshallach), about how “In the days of Yael the highways collapsed and travellers took to the backroads…” (Judges 5:6, a post-apocalyptic scenario that has a certain ring to it) when I came across this little story (Judges 4:18-22) which I decided needed a proper Hollywood screenplay translation. This modern rendering is true to the original, but when when stripped of Olde English forms and rendered in a more plain English fully realizes its raw brutality. No larger meanings or religious homilies are offered or intended.

I also decided to re-edit it so that it is entirely in the present tense, while the original is largely in the past tense (with some exceptions.) I see this as a TexMex Western. Yael is perhaps a mestizo woman living alone, Sisera a mighty cattle rustler, Barak the righteous arm of the law. I leave the details to others.

18

….Yael goes out to meet Sisera, and says to him: ‘Come this way, sir! Come toward me. Don’t be afraid.”

So he follows her into the tent, and she hides him under a rug.

19

And he says to her: ‘Please give me a little water to drink – I am thirsty.’

She opens a container of milk and serves him.

Then she covers him again.

20

He says to her: ‘Stand in the doorway of the tent, and if anyone should come and ask “Is someone inside?” just say “no.”

21

Then Yael, Heber’s wife, takes a tent-stake and a hammer in her hand, and creeps softly toward him, and pounds the tent-stake through his head.

It strikes all the way through to the ground, for he is exhausted and deeply asleep.

He is dead.

22

Now here comes Barak chasing Sisera!

Yael goes out to meet him and says to him “Come, I will show you the man you are looking for.”

He approaches her and… look at that!

Sisera is down and dead, with a tent-stake right through his head.

THE END

You can see what an improvement this is on the Olde English version here:

 

I really like this musically.

Wilco – One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend) (Audio HQ) – YouTube.

 

Reminds me of 1977. Still speaks to 2012.

http://youtu.be/zjoE6MiuQUM

via Peter Tosh – Downpressor Man (1977) – YouTube.

 

A long windy and probably doomed defense of the 4th amendment.

Wyden Floor Statement on FISA Reauthorization Act and Proposed Amendments – YouTube.

 

The Life we have is very great.
The Life that we shall see
Surpasses it, we know, because
It is Infinity.
But when all Space has been beheld
And all Dominion shown
The smallest Human Heart’s extent
Reduces it to none.

 

I’m enjoying these sounds.

via BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON – Ghosts Of Barry Mill (OFFICIAL) – YouTube.

 

Just like you, I’ve stared for hours at Vitruvian Man (1487) and said, yes, I see that you can draw a circle around the extended arms and legs of a man Leo, but why?! Why would we do that?!! Well it took a few centuries for folks to work out the details, but at last we have the answer.

Vitruvian Man – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

 

… Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.

Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.

Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully.

The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

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