Remind me not to do that again. Only the display was damaged, not the CPU, which saved me a little money--but not much. I'll have the laptop back in about a week. Meanwhile, I'll make do with [*shudder*] writing on my work computer, and reading the actual paper paper. I've become frighteningly used to having a source of all knowledge with me wherever I go. Yes, I am obsessively attached to the hunk of silver that came to me late in its life, gently used, but still "nimble and quick." A week apart will probably do us both some good.
Meanwhile, this coming Shabbat I get to chant the funny part:
27 When the ass now saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; and Balaam was furious and beat the ass with his stick.
28 Then the Lord opened the ass's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?" 29 Balaam said to the ass, "You have made a mockery of me! If I had a sword with me, I'd kill you." 30 The ass said to Balaam, "Look, I am the ass that you have been riding all along until this day! Have I been in the habit of doing thus to you?" And he answered, "No."
I've heard people chant this in all manner of silly voices. I won't--I'm afraid of making a fool of myself even under the most restrained of conditions--and I also always keep in mind the wonderful short story readings at Symphony Space, where the truest, most honest character renditions are in the voice of the actor, more or less (B.D. Wong, in particular; this isn't the story I heard him read, but he's so brilliant that I'd listen to him recite the phone book). I like the parasha's confident, cheeky, annoyed donkey, and the sheepish reply by Balaam. (In the triennial reading, his last word, "No," is unfortunately also the end of the aliya--so everyone will be singing along, and the drama of its brevity will be lost.) Balaam, fighting to curse but only able to bless, would have little energy left while waging his struggle. He says many other words later on, but I imagine them all in a whisper. I think the rebuke in verse 29 would be his one remaining loud, strong utterance.
I'm going to try to keep this in mind while chanting, but nerves may dampen the interpretation. Hopefully I'll be having enough fun to let myself be a (kosher) ham, for a change.