Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Home Again

Craig and I got back on September 24. We’re trying to whip the house into shape and get situated again. Owing to the short-term recall problem, I do very poorly when my patterns get disrupted. Once I have a pattern, I’m good at sticking to it, because it’s in longer-term memory and pops up just fine. But when patterns are disrupted, you stop using the memory of the procedures. This forces you back into short-term recall, as you reinvent the activity. Relying on short term recall = consistent fuck-ups. The equation is that simple. So basically I’m swamped and at my most inefficient right now.

I need new infrastructure. The system of prompts I had is out of commission after a major disruption. Specific alarms that I set on my cell phone will have been turned off and I have to remember to turn them back on, etc. Often, this can take several days of fuck-ups. My life is a series of daily alarms. Out of sight, out of mind. I get lost in what I’m doing very easily and distracted from what I’m doing just as easily. I won’t remember to do things like laundry or start dinner if I don’t have the alarms. If they’re not on, I won’t necessarily remember to turn them on. Eventually, you get the system back in place. But the infrastructure has to be re-established. There’s no option for “hitting the ground running.”

Plus I’ve got to choose new times. I have to be up at 5 am every fucking day this term. I got shafted on TA assignments, so I’m teaching at 9:30 am and 12:30 am. There’s a two hour gap between classes. Just more proof that I need to fucking graduate. My present prof wants me to carry a copy of The New York Times to every class. This way, I set an example. I think this will have no impact and is a waste of time.

I forgot to take the negative led off the pickup’s battery before I left. The battery was very sadly dead on our return. I charged it up some on 6 amps, Craig jumped me and it was fine. But I’ve only driven it to campus once. Last night, I forgot to remove my cell phone charger from its socket. So naturally, it was completely dead this morning. So I have it charging today on 2 amps, hoping that tonight it will be roaring to go. I wasn’t having any alternator problems before I left to the best of my knowledge, so I’m hoping that the battery was weakly charged after only one round trip to campus. We’ll see tonight.

So, on the whole, I’m cranky. I’ve got to start writing again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

National Christians Go to the Movies Day in Israel

The sun has just set and Rosh ha-Shana, the Jewish New Year, has begun. Dinur very wittily calls Christmas “National Jews Go to The Movies Day.” I thought he might get a kick out of the role reversal. Although I must confess I was very able to empathize before, having spent many years of my life in a Muslim country. Ramadan, in particular, was impressed on my mind. Experiencing someone else’s dominant religion is always interesting. I think it’s actually `Eid al-Fitr today as well. Gotta love the lunar calendar.

From my perspective, Rosh ha-Shana will be like the Sabbath on steroids. Everything will shut down for the weekend, including the bus system. I have no idea if the movie theaters will actually be open. Of course, this is a cultural difference predicated not on religion, but on dedication to capitalism. I look forward to all these vestiges pre-capitalist society vanishing in some near future. Between this sort of thing and Ramadan, studying the Middle East is nigh near intolerable. Surely religious minorities everywhere ought to be able to enjoy the American freedom of going to the movies on majority religion feast days…

Of course, I’m thinking a lot about identity here in Tel Aviv. I remember when I worked at the Texas state senate as a messenger. This was the summer of ‘93. Once, Senator Armbrister, who was a very nice man and very easy to work with, asked me if I were “the Jewish messenger.”

I stared at him rather blankly and said, “No Senator, I’m Catholic.” It hadn’t dawned on me that my “look” might have contributed to the decision to hire me until that very moment. Likewise, it hadn’t dawned on good Senator Armbrister (who is really a very nice man to work with) that I wasn’t Jewish. Of course, if I were, how would I have answered that question? Given that I know Senator Armbrister is a very nice man, how must identity work in his mind for him to even ask the question?

Needless to say, I am deeply aware of the fact that I look really Jewish. I’ve been told this since puberty when my nose swelled up like a balloon. Of course, at the time, I simply assumed it was because most Texans are too stupid to tell an Arab from a Jew. While there is some (small) truth in this judgment, it is not the correct interpretation in this case.

You see, I remember the first time in Jordan that someone thought I was an Israeli. This was back in the ’95-’96 school year, when I was on Fulbright. I was completely psychologically unprepared for this moment. I was a lot younger then and hadn’t the first clue that I was a homosexual. I took identity for granted back then. I was in Jerash (the tourist site in Jordan that, unlike Petra, is really worth seeing, IMHO). I was laying on my back in one of the stage entrances to the Roman coliseum, taking a photo of how the ceiling’s corner had been constructed. Yes, I’m a geek and yes, I love Roman architecture. Sue me. The security guards looked at me with a marked hostility. One asked the other in Arabic, “What’s he doing?”

The other said, “Oh, he’s just taking a photo of the corner.” They both sounded contemptuous. I immediately greeted them in Arabic. Talal’s Lesson One of Third World Dictatorship Etiquette: always be polite to the cops. They both gave me a nasty stare and walked off.

I was absolutely floored. People don’t give you nasty looks for no reason in Jordan. People are friendly. And being polite and speaking Arabic seemed to make matters worse, which isn’t usually the case in Jordan. I was stunned. When I got to the Temple of Diana, people also gave me dirty looks. This sort of thing usually doesn’t happen in Jordan (especially if you are male, which solves 93 percent of your Arab world problems, very sadly). When I got to the nyphaeum, some kids had climbed to the top and shouted down at me, “Shalom!”

Shalom? I thought, dumbstruck. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Oh my God! They think I’m an Israeli! I was quite distressed. I expected this in Texas. I never guessed it could happen in Jordan. I really look like a Jew, I thought, even to other Arabs! I spent an impassioned fifteen minutes trying to persuade these kids that I was from Fuheis. I speak damned good Arabic with a real Arab accent. On my best day in Jordan, I went about 25 minutes chatting with a cabbie before we got to talking about something complex and he realized that my Arabic wasn’t native and asked, “Where are you from?” As that’s usually the first word out of the cabbie’s mouth in the Arab world, I am deeply proud of that statistic. But I wasn’t making any sales with these kids. I was an Israeli tourist in my own goddamned county (or one of them, anyway).

And here in Israel? I fit right in unless someone asks to see my passport. Being a quarter Swedish, having bluish eyes and a lighter complexion than most Arabs apparently has its advantages in Israel. After they’ve seen me twice, security guards often wave me through without further inspection. This floors me. There’s lots of security here, but I can’t say their commitment impresses me. I don’t understand why these guys make people here feel safer.

I’m pretty sure that I’d be treated differently here in Israel if I really looked really Arab. This has its ironies. Last week, when I was at the supermarket, two of the stockers were talking near the front of the store. They were speaking Arabic. I watched them with a little longing. Even though lots of people speak English here, it’s rough being in an all-Hebrew environment. Let’s face it: `ivrit sheli stinks! Well, the Palestinian stocker stared me down quite violently. I didn’t stop smiling, but I looked away, as I didn’t want to get into a fight. Undoubtedly, he learned young to stand up for himself and wasn’t going to take some Jew looking down on him. But I wasn’t some Jew. I was an Arab, like him. And I wasn’t looking down on him. I was thinking how awesome it was that he was speaking Arabic, how “at home” hearing that familiar language in this foreign place was. But of course, starting a conversation would have been intensely awkward. I’m some Jewish-looking gay bearish guy standing in line with my domestic partner at a Tel Aviv supermarket. Who the hell would believe I’m an Arab? What would an Arab be doing here, if not working as a stocker? And after the second intifada even that is way less likely.

The more I study violent identity conflict, the more I realize that all the clichés are true. Many, many people in different societies are people of good will. The trite truism is true. It’s just that the in-group, out-group distinction is more basic and prior to that good will. When you leave the sphere of hanging out only with people you knew and grew up with, identity is determined by markers that allow you to slot the individual. The rationalization of the capitalist economy teaches us over and over again that no system of markers is foolproof. I slip under the markers here quite easily until someone looks at my passport, which isn’t often. Haim Gal, the archivist here, thinks that with my beard, I look like a rabbi.

The rationalization of identity and technology leads to bizarre situations. I have had my first experiences with computer support here in Israel. Our internet died, so my landlady hooked me up to Hot, the Israeli cable provider. The woman I spoke to was named Manar. She was an Arab Israeli, but spoke no Arabic. Just Hebrew and excellent English. She lives in (what’s left of) Palestine and I speak better Arabic than she does. The second time I had to call up, my service rep was Palestinian woman whose name I forget, but only spoke Hebrew and Arabic. I’m quite proud of the fact that I made it through a long customer service call in Arabic and actually got our internet back up. In fact, what was entertaining was that we both had to make reference to English words, as the operating system was in English. Moreover, she called a computer a mikhshav not a hasub (extra linguistic points if you figured out that both words actually have the same root—see, I told you I was a geek!). It was the ultimate postmodern moment. An Israeli-Arab helping an Arab-American get his internet connection back up, her using her standardized call center politeness, and us throwing three languages around. She and Manar had asked me where I was from as part of the conversation. I asked the second woman where she was from, and she responded, “Ana min Hot…” (I’m from Hot). I told her I understood. Yeah, her answering that question for real could lead her to a lot of compromising situations. I hadn’t meant to be rude. Not that she treated me as if I had been. She was a smoothie and well-versed in call center etiquette.

Never in my life could I have anticipated this bizarre, syncretic set of conversations!

The place where people sometimes do get a little funny about me is actually in the archive. You see, everyone there knows that I’m an Arab. I think that’s a little weird for them. Of course, I would imagine that not many Arabs have come there to read the Arabic newspapers. The same papers that are collected so assiduously there are for the most part forbidden at a Palestinian university like Beir Zeit. I’d like to be sanctimonious and leave it at that, but many aren’t available at Arab universities anywhere, thanks to our fine Arab commitment to sad little dictatorships with no sound economic development policy (not that I’m bitter). This lack of open library stacks, after all, that was what drove me to come to Israel in the first place.

My second or third day there, Mikha, the guy who assists Haim, was moving several boxes of papers back to the stacks. Apparently they had just been scanning a large stack of Filistin, Palestine’s leading paper through the mandate that kept printing in Jerusalem up through ’67. Of course, those of you with a little Arabic know that the word Palestine is a Latin corruption of the word Filistin. So when moving the boxes he threw them down in a joking way and said in Arabic, bir-ruh, bid-dam, nafdi ya-filistin! This is a Ba`thist chant that usually ends with the word “Saddam” or “Hafiz” (and now, I suspect, Bashar)—in the soul, in the blood, we will sacrifice, O [INSERT BA`THIST LEADER HERE]. I gave Micha what I hope was the strangest look. “Well that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?”

“Maybe if you’re a Ba`thist…” I said.

Little things to test my reactions. People greet me in Arabic with this sort of weird air about them, as if they weren’t quite sure how to respond to my presence. I mean, when I learned Hebrew, I did assume that it would be used for more than an occasional sports-related conversation with Dinur (which, lazy student that I am, I don’t do enough of). Perhaps they only learned Arabic to read the newspapers. I mean, there are lots of Arabs nearby. One of the janitors working in that very building was a Palestinian woman (she got engaged just before Craig and I left the country). But apparently me being there among the Arabic newspapers is as weird for them as for me. In a way it’s reassuring that I’m not the only one who’s a little edgy in this situation.

One of the undergraduates walked up to me the other day and showed me a political cartoon in a March 2002 issue of ash-Sharq al-Awsat, the Saudi-owned Arabic daily out of London. You’ll recall that this was the time at which the “Arab Peace Initiative” was advanced by the League of Arab States—an offer of complete recognition and normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for complete withdrawal to the 1948 borders. The cartoon was a picture of the Arab League building with all of the flags of the Arab states in front of it hanging at half-mast. He asked for “the interpretation of an American researcher.”

Yeah, right, I thought. My American aura is what brought you here. But maybe it was. Who knows? The question, however, seemed quite loaded to me. After all, from the Israeli vantage point, the cartoon was not flattering.

I did what a scholar should do in such circumstances, which is to give a genuine interpretation. So I told him, “They’re mourning the death of pan-Arabism.” This seemed to surprise the student a little, so I explained. “The Arab-Israeli conflict is viewed as a zero-sum conflict by both sides. Any possible compromise must be viewed in that framework. The Arab League made an offer to recognize Israel. This is tantamount to admitting defeat, especially after the Arab failure to create political unity after the collapse of the UAR. From that time forward, the only real project that expressed pan-Arab sentiment was the liberation of Palestine. An offer to accept Israel in the 1948 borders is a tacit admission of defeat. The pan-Arab project was a failure.”

The student seemed taken aback. I said to him, “For what it’s worth, the Israelis rejected the offer out of hand, adding insult to injury. For them, of course, this gesture wasn’t nearly enough. In a zero-sum conflict, compromise is rarely a viable means to a solution. I don’t know if you know any American history, but there was this guy named Henry Clay—”

“—the Great Compromiser!” the student finished. “Yes, I know him!” I must admit that I was quite impressed. Most of my students don’t know who David Ben-Gurion was, let alone someone a little more second-tier like Levi Eshkol. This kid has read enough American history to know who Henry Clay was and speaks English. While analyzing a cartoon doesn’t suggest Arabic skills, he may well have those as well. Most of my students are not bilingual. Most people in Tel Aviv seem to be. As our education system declines into the sewer, I can’t help being a little envious.

“Well, then you know at the end of the day, all the compromises failed and we had a civil war. Compromise doesn’t work in zero-sum conflicts.” I don’t know if anyone has ever tried to prove that. It might make an interesting research project.

“You don’t think it could be the League mourning the deaths of the Arabs who died in the Intifada?” he asked.

“Well, I guess anything is possible, but this image isn’t the most direct way to express that sentiment. Why would you need the Arab League building in the picture if you weren’t trying to say something about the institution itself?”

He thought for a while. Apparently he had been attached to his previous interpretation, which suggests that perhaps he hadn’t brought the article to test my politics after all. “I see your point. It is a better way of looking at it,” he said. He nodded and walked away.

The last image I had is of my landlady. Craig and I had wondered, after getting a good look at the Tel Aviv, if receiving the apartment in the state we had received it was par for the course. After meeting Raya, we’re pretty sure that it is. She seems like a very nice and sincere woman. Craig and I both liked her immensely. She asked in out forty minute, delightful conversation in the kitchen, if Craig and I were going to go to Jordan. I told her that I thought it might be awkward, as I really wasn’t out to my father’s family.

“They wouldn’t be accepting?”

“I don’t even know if they have any clear way of getting their heads around it. We don’t formally exist in their culture.”

She nodded. She clearly understood the tragic nature of what I felt. She told me about her brother and his American partner who live in Toronto, where they can be legally married. Her dad had trouble accepting her brother’s homosexuality for many years. “Such a small thing to make such a big deal about,” she said.

Ellis said it might be hard on me. Ellis was right.

But I don't want to end on that note. Craig and I are getting used to Tel Aviv. In many ways, it has been easy. For example—

See? They clearly knew we were coming. Craig and I couldn’t resist buying lemon-scent Fairy for all our manual dishwashing needs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Photos for Briggs

Briggs wanted pictures. Here's the best 15 of the lot I took in Jerusalem. You can click for somewhat larger versions, but only one is over 200k in size. They should pop up quickly. This is a view of the Old City taken from the Mount of Olives.

These are the city walls, again from the Mount of Olives.

This is a Russian Orthodox Church. I forget it's name, again taken from the Mount of Olives.

This is a view of the West Jerusalem taken from Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum.

This is Craig, with West Jerusalem in the background, again taken at Yad Vashem.

This is a windmill in Jerusalem. It was not built by Don Quixote, but from the story the tour guide told, it might as well have been. Sadly, the details are fuzzy in my memory. I don't know that I trusted our tour guide to begin with.

This is the Abbey of the Dormition.

The Dome of the Rock and one of the minarets of Al-Aqsa Mosque, taken near the entrance to the Wailing Wall.

Al-Aqsa Mosque, taken near the entrance to the Wailing wall.

This is a close-up of the Dome. You can click onto it to get the full resolution. I didn't scale it down—so if you click on it, you'll get over a meg of data. But you can really see a lot of the detail.

The domes of Al-Aqsa Mosque, taken at the Wailing Wall.

One of the many beautiful rooftops in the Old City. Craig does our porch with flowers in Seattle like this. It's rather permanently given me a soft spot for porches, terraces and rooftops of the sort.

This is opening of the Fatiha from the Quran. It's inscribed in the room in which Jesus was supposed to have had the Last Supper, from the period when the room was made into a mosque.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Christian Coffee in The Jewish State

Living with Craig all these years has made me a little more interested in aesthetics. The most aesthetic thing about our crappy apartment is making Turkish coffee in the morning. So I played with that process this morning. First, our kitchen is dark. Now, this camera is magnificent at letting in light. In fact, it's overexposing my outdoor pictures—I have to play with the manual and figure out how to avoid that problem. But in the dark kitchen, it has a slow shutter time. As a result, kitchen pictures tend toward blurriness, as it is very difficult to keep the camera perfectly still during that long shutter time.

This problem can be solved by using a tripod. Note the picture below of the bukraj is nice and clear. The word is Turkish, I think. It's what we call a Turkish coffee pot in Jordan. They call it other things elsewhere.

The only really nice thing about our cesspool apartment is the roughly three square feet of marble countertop. The Middle East on the whole is big on marble countertops. Most older houses have them. Anyway, you add three heaping tablespoons of Turkish coffee and two level tablespoons of sugar and mix them up like so:

I probably should have had "action shots" showing the spooning. I was lazy. I'd never make it in advertising. Plus, the focus should have been on the contents of the pot. Anyway, you then add water. I didn't get an action shot there, either. You live; you learn.

I did try for the action shot when lighting the stove (no pilot light—just a match), but I didn't angle the remote correctly and missed my shot. I was, again, too lazy to reshoot.

You will want to stir the coffee once as you start boiling it and again just as it starts boiling. Note that the grate on the stove makes a pleasant background for the photo. This apartment doesn't totally suck after all!

Invariably, the coffee will boil over. Just as it does, snatch it from the fire, stir and then put it back on again. You repeat this proccess twice more. Thad Tierney once told me, "Oh! You make Christian coffee!"

"Christian coffee?" I ask.

"Christian coffee!" he says. "Muslims only let it boil once. Christians do it three times for the Holy Trinity."

I had no idea that I made Christian coffee. My mom never told me the theology behind it when she taught me how. Of course, she's from Bridgeport, Connecticut, so whichever one of my dad's relatives taught her may never have explained this logic to her either. But there we are—a tutorial on Christian coffee from the Jewish state, inspired by an Irish guy from Wisconsin, who's still not as big a Packers fan as I am but apparently has a thing or two to teach me about the Middle East! It's a small fuckin' world!

Pouring, of course, has its own set of dilemmas. The autofocus targeted the rim of the cup. This is undesirable when empty, as the eye is drawn to the cup itself, rather than the contents. As a result, the image appears blurry.

There are ways of targeting the autofocus and them moving the focused object out of the center of the screen and maintaining that first focus. As is, the camera tends to retarget. I need to learn that technique. Like I said, I've been lazy.

Then, of course, pouring technique is everything. Note that I have a coffee stain on the back right of the cup. Sloppy! I'd make a terrible geisha. But note the fact that as the surface of the coffee rises, you mind the unfocused body of the cup less and less, as you are seeing an increasingly focused surface of the rising liquid. I imagine the proper solution is to pour a little, refocus, pour a little, refocus, etc. It sounds like a pain in the ass, especially when you're making your first cup of the day.

The final product follows. Again, we would want to see the final picture served up with a tall glass of mineral water and perhaps a cookie. But my desire to drink my coffee won out over my need to have my coffee.

And that was my most boring post ever! Well, maybe not. I just wish it was. Sigh.

Cozy Bear at The Wailing Wall

So by the time that Craig and I got to the Wailing Wall today, I had to go to the bathroom. Welcome to multiple sclerosis. It's like I'm a pregnant woman. Anyway, when I get back, I look around for Craig. Lo and behold I spot him approaching the Wailing Wall in a yarmulke! See for yourself!

And Craig starts praying! Please bear in mind that my partner isn't Jewish!

When I asked him later, he said he wasnt praying. He was just "feeling." He had an intuitive instinct that he shouldn't pray, he should just be open to a feeling. Craig he felt love and warmth. It was overpowering.

Then the rabbi who had just fleeced him for 50 shekels came by to fleece him down for more...

Then the rabbi's buddy got into the scene...

By which time, Craig figured he'd had enough of the Wailing Wall!

And here are, of course, the obligatory pictures of the Dome of the Rock and the Holy Sepulchre

And last, but not least, here's one of a Palestinian guy selling pomegranates by the Jaffa Gate.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Sunrise over The Irish Sea

When we took off from Seattle our route took us directly over Canada. We caught up with nightfall somewhere over Hudson Bay. Craig reached over and lifted the window cover and said, “Look!” We’d caught up with dawn and saw the sun rise over the Irish Sea. Sadly, my camera was in the overhead compartment, but it really doesn’t matter. The window was way too smudged to get a good photo. I lifted the one above from the internet. For what it’s worth, it’s prettier than the one I could have taken.

It was so odd to come against the limits of reality. Natural time feels like it is a universal. Night comes and day follows. But it doesn’t work that way in flight. You catch up with the night and then pass through it. It’s been a very long time since I was able to run up against a limit that wasn’t induced by multiple sclerosis. It was a bit of a thrill.

Strange that we caught up with the dawn over the Irish Sea. We’d just passed over Dublin. I couldn’t help but think of my pub band. I miss getting tanked and singing Irish songs. It’s the truth. But I also miss being young, being a romantic. I had a student this term who was a romantic. It was painful to watch, especially when his passion would interfere with his ability to internalize discipline. It was painful to watch because I knew what the price of internalizing discipline would do to him. Is it worth it? Yeah, it’s worth it. But you can’t understand at that age what cost is, let alone how much it will cost you. Paying hurts. When I look at him, I can’t help but flinch.

Of all the bizarre coincidences, I was watching the new Star Trek movie as the sun rose. Now Simon and I have an argument about the movie. I like it and he doesn’t. I understand his position to a certain extent. I mean, they let a by-and-large two-dimensional villain blow up Vulcan. I mean, they blew up fucking Vulcan! Talk about maiming your original Star Trek universe. I see his point. And Nero was a lame villain. Simon had other points that didn’t register as neatly. He didn’t like Simon Pegg as Scotty, saying what had once been a serious character had been converted to comic relief. I dunno. The most memorable Mr. Scott moments for me were from The Trouble with Tribbles

I liked Scotty as a bar-brawling Scottsman who then proceeded to beam all the tribbles into the hold of a Klingon D-4 cruiser “where they’ll be no tribble at all…:” Certainly, I relished the fact that the new Scotty made Admiral Archer’s dog the victim of an experimental transporter accident. I always hated that mutt.

I love dogs. But come on. A dog on a starship? A starship captain who sleeps with his dog in sickbay and gets offended when new alien species find dogs objectionable? It was too much. Scotty fries Porthos in a transporter accident? I love it!

But you see, I think that blowing up Vulcan took balls. The thing I hated about the Enterprise series (the one with Scott Bakula in it) was that they didn’t have any. I thought the Tucker-T’Pol relationship was awesome. Connor Trinneer definitely needed more fuck scenes. Craig and I really loved the one where he ran around the ship all episode long in his underwear. The guy is not only cute, but he’s seriously hung. Seriously. I don’t know jack about how women view the world, but Craig and I believed that Trip was a product that would move off the market quickly. T’Pol needed to close the deal.

But sci-fi seriously now—a love relationship between a really masculine, but nonetheless emotionally expressive human male and a sensual if repressed Vulcan female had great energy. I thought they made a great couple. Watching them work through a relationship as the series would have progressed would have been, well, fascinating. The writers were just too fucking limp-dicked to mess with the formula. I hate that. Take some fucking risks!

Well, this group of writers that weren’t scared of cracking some eggs to make their omelet. This line of history will be totally different. Yeah, I see what Simon says that in a way it’s disrespectful. We cherished all those stories (except Star Trek V—did anyone like that movie?) and now they don’t exist. But what I came back with was that Star Trek wasn’t just sci-fi anymore. It is, in the purest literary sense, mythology. What makes myth work as a literary form is its timeless capacity for being told and retold. I am excited by the possibilities.

And yeah, this means something personal to me. Destroying Vulcan totally changed Spock. I think maybe Kirk is the only reader here who knows me long enough to remember this, but Mr. Spock was my childhood hero—half one thing and half the other, a super strong mind ruled by logic—what wasn’t to find cool? I even identified with him getting beaten up at school all the time.

This Spock, however, is different. Compare and contrast Old Spock with Lieutenant Uhura—

Mr. Spock: Miss Uhura, your last sub-space log contained an error in the frequencies column.

Lt. Uhura: Sometimes I think if I hear "frequency" again, I'll cry.

Mr. Spock: Cry?

Lt. Uhura: I was just trying to start a conversation.

Mr. Spock: Well, since it is illogical for a communications officer to resent the word "frequency"... I have no answer.

Lt. Uhura: No, you have an answer. I'm an illogical woman who's beginning to feel too much a part of that communications console. Why don't you tell me I'm an attractive young lady or ask me if I've ever been in love? Tell me how planet Vulcan looks when the moon is full.

Mr. Spock: Vulcan has no moon, Miss Uhura.

Lt. Uhura: I'm not surprised, Mr. Spock.

—with New Mr. Spock and Lt. Uhura:

This Spock, among other things, gets laid. Surprise, so does the new Talal. Small wonder I like the change. The old Spock viewed his human side as his weakness, but is now willing to integrate it. The new Talal has had a very long time now to examine and integrate his human frailty. Moreover Spock as a character has a new beginning. And watching the sun rise over the Irish Sea, I realized that I, too, have a new beginning, even if it’s come late in the day. This Talal won’t be like the other Talal. He has a lot of new weaknesses, but he also has new strengths. But for better or worse, this Talal caught up with the sunrise. Maybe he’ll even graduate. So yeah, I hope the new Spock makes it, because maybe I’ll make it too.