Federal Judge Alex Kozinski's 1996 Slate Diary

Previously published Slate articles made new.
July 26 1996 1:26 AM

Federal Judge Alex Kozinski's 1996 Slate Diary

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Day Seven  
Monday, July 29, 1996 
A while ago, my wife started talking about getting a boat.

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"No way," I said. "Jews don't belong on boats."

"Don't be silly," she replied. "The Old Testament is full of Jews who were mariners. Think about Noah."

"That was a case of dire necessity. Anyway, as I recall, he put up a big fight."

"OK," she insisted, "What about Jonah?"

"Proves my point," I said. "He got eaten by a fish."

"Well, Jesus was a fisherman," she insisted.

"Sure," I said, "And look what happened to him."

Some ideas can't be stopped, however, especially once my boys get into the act. They thought it was a great idea, so I reluctantly agreed. Of course, I don't know the first thing about boating, so whenever I'm out there on Big Bear Lake, as I was this past weekend, these absurd Dr. Seuss rhymes keep popping into my head. I feel a twang of reluctance about sharing them with the world--they would surely make me cringe if uttered by someone not of my faith--but self-mockery has always been an important component of Jewish humor, so here goes:

Jews and Boats

Jews and boats, boats and Jews.
Such a sight will sure amuse.

Why do they do it? I can't say.
All day long they play and play.

Say!
Look, two crawdads
they have caught ...
Such tasty crawdads
can't be bought.

But
they'll go free after a while,
'cause they're not even kosher style!

Tight and bright,
are their suits.
Their Bump-R-Tubes
are real beauts.

In the boat they jump,
Oh, dear!
To play some water games,
I fear!

I do not like
to tie a rope.
I cannot do it,
I cannot cope!
Slip knots, square knots, knots galore,
Oh! What a pain! Oh! What a bore!

It's so confusing
for a sport.
Which way's starboard,
which way port?

The kids are bumped
Bump!
Bump!
Bump!
Bump!
And in water
they get dumped.

I notice that
the engine's hot.
What is wrong?
Oh, quite a lot!

The water pump,
the rectifier.
What is that?
Please don't inquire.
A new propeller's
needed too.
And a tuneup's
long overdue.

Those who own one
know it's true.
A boat's a hole
in water blue.
A hole, a hole,
Yes! It's a sin!
A hole to throw
your money in.

Now our day is
almost done.
So much pleasure!
So much fun!
Three boys,
Mama and papa.
This family is
MESHUGGENEH!

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