Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nerd Cred!

You know why chavrusas are so useful? It's not because they're good for learning with-aderabe, I often find that I learn far, far better by myself. It's also not because they're good for physical abuse when you don't understand a Shach or Taz (much to my chavrusa's dismay). No, the real reason chavrusas are useful is because when you get stuck on a hard Shach or Taz and you're too lazy to find out what the heck it's talking about in Shaarei Yoreh Deah, you can get into a fun little argument about something or other! For example, yesterday we were discussing our plans to take over the world (I think we do this about once a day) and someone mentioned the M-1 Abrams tank. Someone else then mentioned that these things weigh a ton (remember, there's only two people in this conversation) and someone else mentioned that in fact they weigh a lot of tons, and how would transportation to the field of battle be affected? I answered that C-5 Galaxy or C-17 Globemaster III's would probably do a fine job, but my chavrusa said that these tanks weighed too much, and ships would be the only effective means of transportation. I immediately said that this was ridiculous, and there began that great male ritual known as the "polite debate".

TRS: You have no idea what you're talking about.
Chavrusa: What? I just looked this up two weeks ago. Main battle tanks weigh sixty tons. No way is an airplane carrying that.
TRS: What are you smoking?
Chavrusa: What are you smoking?

After several more rounds of this brilliant banter my chavrusa produced his Palm Centro and I looked up the Abrams on Wikipedia, that most glorious of creations. At first I was troubled by the assertion that indeed a tank did weigh in excess of sixty tons (67.6 short tons, to be precise), and so I looked up the C-5 page to find out who was correct. I was further scared when I read that, "By 1980, payloads were restricted to as low as 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) for general cargo during peacetime operations." Could my chavrusa be correct? Horrors!

Fortunately I kept my mouth shut and didn't reveal this potentially damning piece of information, and, following the timeless advice of Mr. Bennet, read on. For some reason I switched back to the Abrams page and lo and behold, what did we have here?

That's right folks! It's a U.S. Army M1A1 Abrams being marshaled away from a US Air Force C-17, after being offloaded at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Read it and weep folks. That's what my chavrusa did. Turns out that in fact a C-5 can carry two of these bad boys, while a C-17 can carry one.

Score it 1-0 TRS.

I lost the next argument, and since this is a family blog I won't be getting into the details. Suffice it to say that my not knowing this was a sign of purity of holiness.

Tied at 1-1...

Today my chavrusa mentioned that his great-grandfather had served in the Royal Navy on a minesweeper in WWII, and that one of the bochurim in The World's Greatest Yeshiva's great-grandfather had also served on a minesweeper in the Royal Navy in WWII. "I wonder if they knew each other," mused my chavrusa, "I mean, how many minesweepers were there already in the Royal Navy at that time? Ten?" I of course immediately felt an urgent need to disagree (being a contrarian does have its quirks) and said, "What are you talking about? There were hundreds!"

The stage was set, and once again the trusty Wikipedia was brought out. I quickly found what I was looking for, and as I read the numbers my chavrusa's face fell.

Hunt class, Belvoir group (20 ships, launched 1916—1917) Ailsa twin-screw coastal minesweeping sloops.

Double his estimate, and that was WWI.

Hunt class, Aberdare group (87 ships, launched 1917—1919) Admiralty twin-screw coastal minesweeping sloops.

Should I even bother keeping score anymore?

Racecourse class (32 ships in 2 sub-classes, launched 1916—1918) paddlewheel coastal minesweeping sloops.

Sometimes, facts can be so cruel.

Dance class (14 ships, launched 1917-1919) tunnel-screw coastal minesweeping sloops.

As we finally reach the end of WWI... how about the postwar years?

Halcyon class (7 reciprocating and 14 turbine ships, launched 1933—1939) twin-screw minesweeping sloops.

I made the assumption that at least some of these were still serving during the war, but just to make sure-

Bangor class (14 ships, launched 1940—1942) diesel twin-screw single-role minesweeping sloops.

Can't argue with that, eh?

Blyth class (Bangor class II) (19 ships, launched 1940—1943) reciprocating Bangor variant.

Or that.

Ardrossan class (Bangor class III) (26 ships, launched 1940—1942) turbine Bangor variant.

Not bad, not bad...

Catherine class (22 ships, transferred from the US Navy in 1941 under the Lend-Lease program) twin-screw multi-role minesweeping sloops.

Hurray for the good 'ol USA!

Algerine class (98 ships, launched 1941—1945) twin-screw multi-role minesweeping sloops.

The British did pretty well too, I'll admit it.

BYMS class (150 ships, launched 1941—1943) British Yard acoustic / magnetic motor minesweepers.

Better and better. And now for the grand finale...

MMS class (403 ships, launched 1940—1945) inshore acoustic / magnetic motor minesweepers.

Yup. Read it and weep. Let's just say that the score was firmly in TRS' favor, 2-1.

While we were on the subject of ships in WWII, it seemed a pity to not have another argument, and my chavrusa quickly provided one when he lamented Great Britain's pathetic carrier presence, two or three at the most during the war. I immediately rose to Her Royal Brittanic Majesty's defense (or her daddy, whatever), and said that there were certainly more than that. A little wikipediaing followed, and...

Ark Royal (1938)
Unicorn fleet maintenance carrier (1943)
Illustrious (1939)
Formidable (1939)
Victorious (1939)
Indomitable (1940)
Implacable (1942)
Indefatigable (1942)
Colossus (1943), to France 1946 as Arromanches
Glory (1943)
Theseus (1944)
Triumph (1944)
Venerable - to Netherlands 1948 as Karel Doorman, to Argentina 1968 as Veinticinco de Mayo
Vengeance (1944) - to Brazil 1956 as renamed Minas Gerais
Warrior (1944) - to Canada 1946-1948, to Argentina 1958 as Independencia
Perseus (1944)
Pioneer (1944)
Majestic (1945) - to Australia 1955 as Melbourne
Hercules (1945) - to India 1957 as Vikrant
Leviathan (1945) - was never completed
Magnificent - sold to Canada as HMCS Magnificent
Powerful (1945) - to Canada 1952 as Bonaventure
Terrible (1944) - to Australia in 1948 as Sydney
Audacity (1941) - torpedoed 1941
Nairana (1943) - to Royal Netherlands Navy as Karel Doorman 1946
Vindex (1943)
Pretoria Castle (1943)
Campania (1944)
MV Empire MacAlpine
MV Empire MacAndrew
MV Empire MacKendrick
MV Empire MacDermott
MV Empire MacRae
MV Empire MacCallum
MV Empire MacCabe
MV Empire MacColl
MV Empire MacKay
MV Empire MacMahon
MV Acavus
MV Adula
MV Alexia
MV Amastra
MV Ancylus
MV Gadila
MV Macoma
MV Miralda
MV Rapana
Albatross (1928) - transferred from Royal Australian Navy 1938.

Shall we say TRS with a decisive 3-1 lead?

All right, I'm a nice guy, I got into another argument a little later. My chavrusa and I were discussing Israel's current nuclear deterrent vis-a-vis Iran, and he mentioned the Zionist entities having three Dolphin-class submarines. I said they had more. A quick check of Wikipedia revealed that in fact we were both right! How so? Israel originally had three subs, but they ordered two more, which are currently being built in Germany, so it turns out, as I said, that we were both right.

Not wishing to waste any more time on this senseless debate I took a quick look at the Wiki page and discovered a couple interesting things. Did you know that the first two Dolphin-class subs that Israel purchased from Germany weren't actually purchased? They were donated! I wonder if they came with a plaque like all those Mogen David Adam ambulances in Israel saying, "This ambulance was donated by Young Israel of Forest Kew Bush Land Hills in memory of someone or other." As my chavrusa pointed out, they could write on the sub plaque, "This sub donated by the people who killed six million." In fact, as a quick perusal of this will reveal, Germany donated those subs because they felt guilty. Crazy.

And how about that third sub? Israel purchased it. For half-price. What a bunch of Jews, eh? Ashreinu Mah Tov Chelkeinu!

Final score: 3-1-1. TRS by two. Woohoo!


Anarchist Chossid said...

Yeah, but how many Nazis were killed by all this machinery? Ten? Wait, excuse me, fifteen and a half?

Zalmy said...

this was very entertaining and informative. thanx TRS and chavrusa.

Altie said...

lol my eyebrows have shot into my head like this ^^ and i have a puzzled expression on my face.
see, i used to think that when guys learnt, it meant torah, but now I see otherwise...

shows how much I know.

definitly an informative post. now how much gemara did u get through?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Brings back memories of yeshiva. When I left I recited the possuk of "ub'moshav leitzim lo yashav" (being a yeshiva where they don't say the whole tehillim shabbos mevorchim, nobody knew what I am talking about)

My bava basra at home has margins of 3 prakim filled with plans for conquest of Saudi Arabia interspersed with kashes oif der ktzeis. One day I want to find out which holds together better. My world conquest plans or my svara

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Question of minhag: Does Lubavitch say tachanun on the yahrtzeit of R'Yishmael kohen gadol?

(emese chasidim, not idiots looking for a quick shacharis)

Zvi said...

Modeh B'Miktzas: no, we don't. When is his yarzeit anyway?

Great post. Really brought me back to my yeshiva days... Bullshoving and arguments... Someday I should start posting scanned pages from my notebooks...

"This sub donated by the people who killed six million." That had me laughing out loud.

Real and Wright said...

You were not both right. He won; you lost. Live with it.

Just like a guy said...

CA: How many women were raped by soviet soldiers?

Zalmy: Our pleasure.

Altie: We're not learning gemara, we're learning Shulchan Oruch.

Modeh: Who wants Saudi Arabia?

Zvi: Yeah, old shtuff is often good shtuff.

RAW: No, we were both right. Israel currently has three. Two more are on the way.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

It was Monday and a Lubavitcher started hocking no tachanun.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

I don't want Saudi Arabia. I want the part of Arabia that is currently Saudi not to be. Besides, think of all that oil.

Just like a guy said...

What kind of Lubavitcher? Really? I've never heard of that. Ridiculous.

So basically you're calling for the overthrow of the Saudi government to be replaced by...

Oil shmoil, I'm all into renewable energy, like Al Gore's self-esteem!

Anarchist Chossid said...

Every single one from East Prussia to Berlin. Three, four, sometimes five times each, bu eight to twelve men at once.

And yet they crashed Nazi regime, while numerous British and American weapons were silent.

As a Russian saying goes, you can’t throw words out of a song.

Anarchist Chossid said...

We can turn oil refineries into fortresses guarded by our soldiers. Camel drivers can have the sand.

Just like a guy said...

"Every single one from East Prussia to Berlin. Three, four, sometimes five times each, bu eight to twelve men at once."

I think that's comment of the year.

Re: Arabia: Maybe your native land would like to take this step?

Anarchist Chossid said...

Nah, it has no need. There will be enough oil in Siberia long after oil in Middle East runs out. And if Al Gore is right, soon it might be more accessible than ever.

Anarchist Chossid said...

(Not that I am looking forward to that. Russian men have not changed since the times of the war. Since the times of Mongol invasion, really.)

Just like a guy said...

Russian men not changing is a good thing or a bad thing?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Not if he is. If he were

Anarchist Chossid said...

Depends which side of the moving front you’re on. I happen to be on the other side, thank G-d. Every time I see one of the painted red haircuts of little Russian ladies in Brighton (either one closer to me or to you), I cringe.

Just like a guy said...

Modeh: Applying for e's job, are we?

CA: I don't get that comment. Please explain for stupid Amerikanski.

Anarchist Chossid said...


Depends which side you’re on. If you are living in Moscow, you want Russians to remain the same bastards. Even if you’re not and all “white and fluffy” inside (as a Russian saying goes). If you live anywhere else, you don’t want them to be successful.

Russians are the least of my worries, however. Chinese are much more dangerous. Mostly because they are much more efficient and don’t have that romantic Russian streak.

Just like a guy said...

Yes, but the Chinese have much better food.

Anarchist Chossid said...

As I said before, you’ve never tried real herring.

Besides, you don’t need China to have good Chinese food. We already have California.

Just like a guy said...

Herring: Probably true.

California: There are very few positive things about that state. I'm not sure if good Chinese food is one of them.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

CA: you and me both
Trs: No, correcting for fact. If he is implies a possibility that Gore is right. If he were implies that he isn't and we're just postulating.

Anarchist Chossid said...

If that’s the case, I don’t know what’s left. Hashem must have created California for some reason.

Anarchist Chossid said...

You don’t think there is even a possibility that the weather may go down… I mean, up?

Just like a guy said...

Modeh: Right, back in the day, e was known as "The Almighty Editor".

CA: He made a playground for BS Cunin.

Anarchist Chossid said...


e said...

Didn't read all the comments, so don't shoot me if this has been said.

Modeh: in general, chabad doesn't skip tachnun on yartzeits. The rebbe (or maybe the frierdiker Rebbe) once said, what better day is there to ask for forgiveness than a tzaddik's yartzeit?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

CA: weather yes, apocalypse no.

Real and Wright said...

"Two on the way" will count when they get there.

Sebastion said...

Instead of looking all this stuff up, you could have just asked me. duh.

Just like a guy said...

RAW: Whatever.

Sebastion: duh.

bonne said...

The sole excuse for such nerdy debates is that you're planning to take over the world. I think I'll call you two Pinky and the Brain. Hm.

Just like a guy said...

Nu, which am I?

bonne said...

Well you look more like Pinky so...

Just like a guy said...


Cheerio said...

i must confess to a fascination with yeshiva life. girls have teachers who go off topic, but even the ones who go way way way off topic have never produced anything compared to this.
now me being me, i'm also going to confess to a burning curiosity as to what the second argument was about...

Just like a guy said...

Finally someone who gets it!! (at least someone who commented)

No one else asked about the second argument. I'm very proud.

Altie said...

well u make it sound like something very bad, and who wants to be the 1st one out of the masses that can confess to wanting to know something bad?

so u gonna share or wut? knowing u, its probably not all that bad.

Just like a guy said...

It's like by davening, where it says bad things about the first guy to leave shul...

I'll take that as a compliment. Just for the record, my kallah agreed.

Altie said...

well i respect cheerio for asking.

but then, ur kalla would have to think that way, wouldnt she ;)

Just like a guy said...

lav davka. Just because I say it doesn't mean it's appropriate. I mean, usually it is, but that's just because I'm a really wonderful person. Yup. Regardless, for more info on argument #2...

Altie said...

u are a wonderful person in trs world. unfortunatly, i have never entered that world...

Just like a guy said...

That's because you never paid the entry fee.

Altie said...

thats cuz u told me that i should follow the yellow brick road and I CANT FIND THE DAMN THING!

you are bad at giving directions. i hope i never bump into u when im lost.

Just like a guy said...

Those who can't see, because they refuse to see, and those who can't hear, because they refuse to hear...

Altie said...

is that like from a song or something?

na i can see planty, but your wacky world must be hidden from sane people like me. After all, I only hallucinate on sunday's.

its a good thing though, i'd probably go crazy in your world.

Just like a guy said...

Yes, it's from a song.

Altie said...

oooo i knew it! I heard it a long time ago, i really liked it. its a slow song, right? whos the singer?

its abt ppl denying g-d, right?

Just like a guy said...

It's sung by Gershon Veroba on Young Judea, and I suppose it's a relatively slow song.

More specifically, about people who say that the Gulf War was not a miracle.

Altie said...

right. k i really liked it. though i havent actually listened to jewish music in a while. most of it sucks.

so how come u didnt take my advice and go to sleep? or do u want to reach 70 comments here too?

u dont have to be jealous, u are almost as good as me. (snort.) pat yourself on the back, little boy.

Just like a guy said...

Altie said...

ok i'm gonna guess that u posted that link to prove that u indeed get more comments than me. 253- impressive!!

but abt the actual post, and the comments.

comments: funny, it seems to be a conversation between you and Le7 (too bad i wasnt around back then, i probably wouldve guessed something was up.) so it doesnt really count, cuz u could have done it over IM, but chose to have it there.

post: u say "I am not going out, I am not planning on going out any time soon," and yet you are engaged a mere 5 months later. impressive.

"Quite possibly, four months from that first date, you will be married" almost true, in your case.

There are many things about that post that impresses me about you and your conduct, and the 253 comments is the least of it.
funny that u decided to link it now.

All i can say is, cool 4 u. maybe i will attain such greatness in my own time. but then, who can overshaddow the mighty trs?

Just like a guy said...

1. Correct.

Comments: You want other examples of 100+ comments, before le7 was around?

And yes, you should have been there, twas a lot of fun.

post: at the time...

who can overshadow the mighty TRS? Good question.

Altie said...

no comment.

Just like a guy said...

And thus endeth the conversation.

Altie said...

at a measly 58 comments. oh joy.

gnite. have a great life.

Just like a guy said...

I'm working on it.

Altie said...

ugh i shouldnt comment again but like to have the last word. is it too much to ask u to shup up now?

and hows that working out for u?

Just like a guy said...

You're asking me to shut up on my own blog? The nerve!


Altie said...

lol ok that is mean.

fine i'll go, though u are a few comments short to compete with mine. at least tnite.

im going im going, but I WIN! (for tnite.)

and posting your own lame comments to get the numbers up doesnt count.

Just like a guy said...

Mazel tov on winning your little battle.

Altie said...

ok now u are just being mean.

take that back.

now u see why i dont get u? u are ungetable despite what cheerio says.

Just like a guy said...

I don't see why you don't get me. Expound please.

Altie said...

i dont think u really want to know wut i think. (especially since u have a hard time staying serious.)

these comments are getting dangerously close to 70-something, are u sure you are not doing this by purpose?

Just like a guy said...

Correct you are. I don't really care what you think.

Altie said...

:O (that is a little guy with his mouth REALLY wide open.)

u dissapoint me. and here i really though u were trying to be serious for once. oh well.

Just like a guy said...

I work in reciprocal relationships. If someone cares what I think of them then I care what they think of me.

Altie said...

and u think i do care what u think, or i dont care?

Just like a guy said...

Until proved otherwise, I assume that you don't.

Altie said...

(8 more comments to go.)

I do care, per se. i care what people think of me. but i am not going to get all emotional and heart to heart in this here forum.

Just like a guy said...

And thus, for the second time tonight, endeth the conversation?

Altie said...

why the question mark?

what do u think of me, or do i not want to know?

(though maybe u shouldnt answer that here. i dont know.)

Just like a guy said...

You probably don't want to know.

Altie said...

oooo that bad?

ok now i REALLY want to know. care to share?

Just like a guy said...

On one condition: You don't curse me out afterwords. Or even try to change my mind. Agreed? Agreed. Excellent.

You're a normal teenager. That is to say, you think you know everything and you're immature.

Altie said...

ok, i can see why you would think that, from the way i have been acting lately. Just remember one thing: u only know my online profile, you never met me in real life, so that is not a fair chance.

think i know everything? maybe. knowledge is a tricky thing.

immature? u are way off base. again, remember you dont really know me.

i am not much of a teenager anymore. just one more year to go. and guys arent all that mature at your age (insert number here) either. not to say that u are immature, i wouldnt stoop to name calling.

i am not insulted, cuz i do see how u would get that impression. and try to chane your mind? no, thats impossible. and only my actions can prove anything to u.

do u want to know what i think of u?

just btw, in a few hrs other ppl will be reading this exchange. everything seems different at 5 am. (holy shit, i was supposed to go to sleep 3 hrs ago!)

Just like a guy said...


Anarchist Chossid said...

i must confess to a fascination with yeshiva life. girls have teachers who go off topic, but even the ones who go way way way off topic have never produced anything compared to this.

You’ve never had a pleasure of having Rabbi Metzger as your teacher, have you?

“Rabbi Metzger never digresses; he only extrapolates.”

Anarchist Chossid said...

just btw, in a few hrs other ppl will be reading this exchange. everything seems different at 5 am. ijust btw, in a few hrs other ppl will be reading this exchange. everything seems different at 5 am.

You just think everyone who visits this blog has equal lack of life as you two.

Probably right…

Just like a guy said...

Why is this equal lack of life? Aderabe, this is life!

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

The blog or pahpelling zich mitn shikereh chavrusa?

Just like a guy said...

In the immortal words of Jane Austen, "Both, I imagine."

Anarchist Chossid said...

One of the five signs of life is movement.

Altie said...

lol if this is life, then shoot me

troubledjew said...

well since youre planning on taking over the world.............

also in regards to british carriers its possible youre friend was comparing them to the usa or japanese carriers force which were able to project force with their carrier groups. on the other hand the british carriers although used against the bismarck and against the italian fleet at anchor (something which should have warned the u.s of what could happen at pearl harbor) were smaller and did not carry large amounts of airplanes. I think they mostly carried biplanes or only a few modern fighters, and were used for asw etc.

Just like a guy said...

Impressive comment. Nice.

Mushkie said...

Altie, you're giving teenagers a bad name...I still have to be one for another 4 years and chances are TRS' opinion of them will change only if he loses a few arguments with you.

Btw, I feel bad for your chavrusa. Did you shove all that awful incriminating info in his face?

Just like a guy said...

My poor chavrusa, as you so generously term him, does the same thing to me.