Why Is the Letter Z Associated with Sleeping?

Z isn’t associated with sleeping, specifically, but rather with snoring. ... Z as shorthand for snoring is a relatively recent invention. It came into common use with the advent of comics. ... the first use of “z-z-z” to represent snoring given in the OED is from a 1924 publication by the American Dialect Society, implying it was in popular use some time before. straightdope.


Una pagina della Bibbia al giorno

You might have seen them on the train during your daily commute: On the Long Island Railroad they’ve been known to sit together and speak in low voices; on the subway they tend to sit side by side and just read to themselves. For almost eight years they’ve kept up the same routine, and on Wednesday [Aug. 1], these commuters, along with tens of thousands of Jews all over the Tri-State area, will flock to the Meadowlands. There isn’t a football game and no one will be protesting the Internet (that was Citi Field); instead, they’ll be celebrating the siyum hashas, or the completion of daf yomi, the seven-and-a-half year cycle of studying all 2,711 pages in the Babylonian Talmud.
While the New Jersey celebration will be the largest—the MetLife Stadium holds around 100,000 and most of the seats are expected to be filled—smaller festivities are scheduled in Toronto and many European cities, while a weeklong convention is taking place in Tel Aviv. Daf yomi literally translates to daily page, and if you stick to the schedule, in just under eight years you can finish all 36 tractates of the Talmud. Often misunderstood as a rulebook, the Talmud is better described as a compilation of years of rabbinic discussion of Jewish law—including arguments, allegorical stories, and the occasional joke. slate.


Vidal's Crime Novels

... readers, please be wary of any attempt to dismiss any period of Vidal’s novelistic activity, even that least well-known one in the early nineteen-fifties, during which Vidal produced genre fiction under a pen name [Edgar Box]. Vidal’s crime novels don’t merely share the high wit and style of his more “serious” fictions; they also drop some rare clues about the nascent thinking that went into the more oft-cited efforts. newyorker.



In un bell'articolo Francine Prose affronta la questione del male, ispirata anche dalla strage di Aurora. "But if we no longer believe in Satan, then what do we make of our sense that something is wrong with the world, that a random malevolent shooter lurks in the schoolyard or the cinema lobby? Our collective disquiet about the mass murders of our time is intensified by the sense that they select their victims at random; that they have come from different backgrounds and harbor dissimilar grudges, and that we have failed to come up with an “explanation” for their actions, or a reliable template to help predict or avert an attack. And yet we remain reluctant to accept the possibility that evil is not a problem that can be solved or a question that has a solution. How do we reconcile our wish to prevent further violence and to protect ourselves and our families with the suspicion that, as those who believed and believe in Satan would argue, evil is an element in the universal order, an aspect of nature and of human nature, a force and a constant threat that exists—and will continue to exist—despite our best efforts to understand and eradicate it? nybooks.


L'etimologia di Fart

It cannot but come as a surprise that against the background of countless important words whose origin has never been discovered some totally insignificant verbs and nouns have been traced successfully and convincingly to the very beginning of Indo-European. Fart (“not in delicate use”) looks like a product of our time, but it has existed since time immemorial. Even the nuances have not been lost: one thing is to break wind loudly (farting); quite a different thing is to do it quietly (the now obscure “fisting”). 
Both words for the emission of wind (fart and fist) were current in the Old Germanic languages. Frata and físa (the accent over the vowel designates its length, not stress) turned up even in Old Icelandic mythological poems. According to a popular tale, the great god Thor was duped by a giant and spent a night in a mitten, which he took for a house. He was so frightened, as his adversary put it, that he dared neither sneeze nor “fist.” In another poem, the goddess Freyja, notorious for her amatory escapades, was found in bed with her brother and farted (apparently shocked by the discovery). oupblog.


Storia delle donne che leggono

John Ferguson Weir
Belinda Jack, The Woman Reader (Yale UP), esplora l'universo delle lettrici lungo la storia. Belinda Jack è intervistata su The Browser:
So when did women start reading, and what kinds of books were they reading?
Of course, the earlier back you go the less sure we can be. But it’s pretty clear that there were female Babylonian scribes in ancient Mesopotamia. The assumption is that if they were able to operate as scribes they must have had some reading ability. They would have acted as readers in market places and been reading letters for the illiterate and also lists and simple kinds of legal documents. thebrowser.