A few odds and ends:
1) A short while ago a fellow blogger put up a post, since taken down, about people introducing sports team cheer song melodies into nusach hatefilah. I don’t know why he took the post down, because I would expand the point further. Why is every kosher takeout in my neighborhood now offering super bowl halftime party packages? Is everyone having a party except me? Maybe subconsciously I'm writing this post because I'm jealous that no one has invited me to their party (...yet - there’s still time!) Rather than emphasizing greater heights of kedusha, modern frumkeit often amounts to nothing more than finding ways of being matir and machshir the lowest elements of modern culture. On Rosh Chodesh Adar the Beis Din would make announcements about shekalim and kilya'im. R' Ahron of Karlin explains that the shekelim used for the purpose of korbanos, to come closer to Hashem, go hand in hand with the birur of avoiding kilayim, a mixture of ideologies, tov and ra.
2) Jumping from low culture to high… (the amazing thing is that you can easily get a big glatt hechsher on your superbowl party hero, but art and literature are always treif gamur, but that's another discussion). For those in NY, the Met currently has on display two items of interest. One: a stone floor mosaic found in Lod in Eretz Yisrael dating from the third century and remarkably well preserved. Nice website here. Second: a 12/13th century copy of the Rambam which happens to be open to the Rambam’s description of the bigdei kehuna, so it’s inyana d’yoma.
3) With all the bad weather (and yes, I know compared to Chicago we are getting off easy) I was wondering if rock salt is muktzah on Shabbos. It seems to be like stones/gravel, which would be off limits barring any preparation, but if you know the storm is coming and you have in mind before Shabbos that you need it, is there any reason why the rock salt should still be muktzah? My son mentioned to me that he saw in some English language book that you can salt because of sakanah, which I don't understand. Plenty of people rush off to work before salting their walk; no one rushes home from vacation to salt their walk -- what happened to the sakanah in these cases?
The obvious lesson here is that if one truly desires to be a nediv lev and give, whether it be to give charity, to give over Torah, to give in some other way, “V’Yikchu,” we will be able to take from Hashem the kochos and materiel we need and be able to fulfill that desire.