The Fades Rant

I'm the Fades, and I rant b/c i have some time to. I dont know..i'll talk about many things on this blog. Religion, girls, life. Thats about it. So really, I'll talk about 3 things.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Ode to Abba

I got a recent e-mail from a friend asking us to describe the worst thing we have/seen heard while watching a sporting event (either live or on the boobtube). I don't know the purpose of this e-mail, but I believe it had something to do with helping a friend out with a survey of some sort, and this angers me. I do not like when people do things to help others, thus reminding me of how poor a human being I am.

I couldn't think of a worst moment, or even a bad moment. I could think of only good moments and I owe that to my father, known as Abba. Here is how it went:

We played in the Young Israel little league and it was inexplicably super-competitive. Parents from Beth Shalom would yell at parents from Young Israel of Woodmere; parents would get thrown out of the games; and parents would charge the field and scream in the faces of umpires. I am happy to say that West Hempstead parents were generally less guilty of this behavior, but we still had our fair share. It was a puzzling and discouraging thing for us to see, as a bunch of simple 8 year olds.

On the other hand, the way other had, possibly the 7th furthest hand or limb on an octopus, was my father, Abba. This was his ritual, as I remember it:

(1) Calmly bring me to game, and also fill car with as much of friends as possible.
(2) Unload lawn chair and unfold near third base line.
(3) Proceed to comfortably lounge on chair and enjoy the pleasure of watching your only son play the game of baseball with fun and enthusiasm and an innocent smile. It probably doesn't get better and he realized it.
(4) Remain in chair throughout game. Events of game, will not sway you.
(5) After game, no matter what the outcome, take entire of kids to local ice cream store because they are kids and this is a simple way to give them joy. Why not?

One time, the ritual hit a snag. We were on our way back from a loss to Plainview, and therefore in between steps (4) and (5) above. Abba had WFAN on in the car, as was customary in those days, and a trade was announced. The Mets had traded Lenny Dykstra for Juan Samuel. There may have been other players involved, but I can only remember Dykstra for Samuel. Abba slammed his hands on the steering wheel upon hearing this news, and simultaneously scared the something out of me. Afterwards, we proceeded to get ice cream and enjoyed the rest of our day. I continued to play little league until 8th grade, and I'm still a Mets fan today, besides my best efforts to shake it. Abba continued his serene ritual throughout my little league career, but he was never the same Mets fan.

And that's my answer to that e-mail I got today. Upon further, and intensely deep reflection, I can pinpoint the clear-cut worst moment in my sports fandom. It was this tiny snag in the ritual - when something changed between Abba and the Mets. Something that we had shared as father and son would no longer be shared to the same extent. And that sucks.

But can the worst moment simultaneously be the very best moment? Because what happened after the moment is amazing and spectacular and wonderful to remember. What happened after - Abba's reaction - was to continue the ritual. A smile on his face and we were on our way to unlimited ice cream after another disappointing loss. Because the loss to Plainview really doesn't matter. And neither does the trade of Lenny Dykstra. What matters in the context of sports, among many other things, is the ability it has to bond us and connect us and forge relationships that would otherwise disintegrate. And something as simple as a trade can break that relationship, if a large part of the bond is based on the mutual admiration for a team that will no longer be the same.

But the bond won't break if you take the kids to ice cream afterwards. And the bond won't break if you quietly sit in a lawn chair with a smile glued to your face because you get to watch your son make lucky plays in short center. And the bond won't break if you take your son to S'lichos in the early mornings, because he might just realize that perhaps the only way to reach out to G-d is to scream out for mercy. And when you teach these things to your son so that he can implement them when he becomes a father, the bond will certainly never break.

Lenny Dykstra got traded. Perhaps it signaled the beginning of a lengthy Mets decline. It sucked. Personally, it meant that me and Abba would never look at the Mets in the same way again. That also sucked. But Abba moved on. And little league moved on. And happiness moved on. And it reminded me why sports are powerful and awesome. The Mets trade Lenny Dykstra - the best moment I ever experienced in sports.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Baby Talk

The time has come to discuss the fact that I have a child. This may or may not be the equivalent of putting up 5 million baby pictures on facebook, but hopefully it is more entertaining for the reader/viewer.

An "infant" (Query: When does "newborn" status end and "infant" status begin? Similarly, when does "infant" status end and "toddler" status begin? Is there a status in between "infant" and "toddler" that I am forgetting about?) engages in three different activities: Eating, sleeping and excreting. As parents, our job is to help the infant with these three activities. My wife is the one that assists our child with this, and I am the one that observes the activities w/out being able to contribute. However, my observations, while unhelpful to my unfortunate wife, have allowed me to share the following with you:

Eating: I want to know who came up with the infant's diet. I'm sure it was very smart people and I guess we just have to trust that this is the best thing for our infants, but can you imagine any other age-group being forced to sustain themselves on this diet? We have this giant can of "formula" sitting on our kitchen cabinet, and our child has to digest this formula about every two hours. This would be like asking me to walk around with a 40 oz. beer, but instead of beer, it is filled with milk. Every 2 hours, I have to drink this entire 40 oz. size milk drink. Do you think I wouldn't have a permanent reservation with the toilet? Is there anyone in the medical profession looking into possibly changing the infant diet? Is it really dangerous for them to have a little juice every few hours, just to change things up? We are sometimes shocked by an infant always going to the bathroom and having stomach pains, but wouldn't the same happen to an adult in a similar situation? We should probably find out, and probably can on some Japanese game show. All I know is that this can of formula is huge, and if a nuclear war breaks out, I won't have any real food, but I will have giant cans of formula.

Sleeping: When it comes to putting an infant to sleep, there is a huge dilemma. If you put the infant on her back, she doesn't sleep well (maybe 2 hours maximum). However, if you put her on her stomach, she will sleep up to 7 hours, but this is considered a dangerous practice. Apparently, if the infant cannot yet lift its head, it risks suffocation by sleeping on its stomach. I passed this information on to my grandmother, and she told me that they were told the reverse back in the day. They were warned NOT to place the infant on its back, as this may risk choking.
Wow. This is depressing. I don't know why I shared all this. I guess my point is that how do you know what to do with this stuff? Doctors used to say one thing, and now they say the exact opposite, so what the H? The Fades solution is to put the baby on its SIDE!!! This is the golden middle path in the intense infant-sleeping method debate. Of course, you will have to monitor the baby every 2-3 minutes to make sure she does not roll over on her stomach or back. The other thing that troubles me with the whole infant-sleeping thing is the baby monitor. We very recently decided to try and have our child sleep in her own room, as opposed to having her in our room. It took us 3 hours to figure out the baby-monitors, which had 10 channels/frequencies. Is this really necessary for a baby-monitor? Between these high-tech baby walkie-talkies and the giant cans of formula, the only humans that will be able to survive any nuclear attack will be the infants. (You see what I did there? Bringing back the nuclear war bit?)

Excreting: I will attempt not to be graphic when discussing this activity. I have little in the way of observations, as I am afraid to go anywhere near the baby during the process of diaper changing (for #2). I would consider participating in the #2 diaper-changing process, if I was provided a surgical mask, like Hannibal Lecter-style, or SARS-disease style. Do you remember when people were walking around with those SARS masks? I recently saw someone wearing one on the subway, and I was thinking that this may be this individual's chosen method for avoiding the swine flu. I wonder why many people felt the need to wear the masks to avoid SARS, but you don't see the same reaction with swine flu. Once again, I'm sure there are some very good medical explanations, but I am too lazy to research this topic. Anyway, I'm afraid of another human being's feces, even if that other human being is my own child. This makes sense to me, but apparently nobody else has this same problem, as far as I know. As a historical note, this is part of the reason I could never become a counsler at camp HASC; I have no idea how the counslers are able to deal with this aspect of the job. As the camp van driver, I did have to transfer stool samples (these are little viles w/ a person's crap in them) to the Harris hospital from time to time, but I tried to simply avoid looking at them. When I did catch a peak, I would gag repeatedly and swerve off the road.

I want to conclude by making a half-assed apology to infants everywhere, for unfarily portraying them as the only ones that do nothing but eat, sleep and excrete. This is pretty much what I do as well, assuming I am not at work. On a typical Sunday, I will eat...spend a few hours googling ex-girlfriends and checking their facebook pages...excrete...check fantasy basball stats...sleep (nap) a movie I have seen over 10 times, such as Mrs. updated fantasy baseball video games...and go to sleep.

When I wake up, I will look at my daughter and say - "you and me, we aren't too different after all". She might offer a smile in response. Either that, or she has gas.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Knock Knock Knockin' on the Bathroom Door

I would like to relay to you a strange bathroom incident that occured at my place of work. As a matter of background, we have 3 bathrooms on our floor: The Mens' room, the Ladies' room and the handicapped person's room. For some reason, instead of giving the handicapped person the right to one particular stall in the non-handicapped bathrooms, the designers of our office bathrooms elected to give the handicapped person his or her own individual private bathroom. Perhaps this is meant to accomodate the shy, reclusive and handicapped demographic. In general, I use the Mens' room. I have never used the Ladies' room. If I am at work late or on the weekends, I sometimes use the private handicapped room, but I won't do this when other people are around because I am afraid that I will get busted. Is using the handicapped bathroom an "ayin harah" or 'evil eye", akin to testing out somebody's wheelchair or crutches or pretending to be blind while playing a piano? Maybe. Is mentioning this point tempting the "evil eye" even more? Certainly.

After reading the previous paragraph, you may be thinking - "how often does this guy go to the bathroom"?!? The answer is many times. I go whenever I am bored or whenver I need to concentrate on some work-related or sports-related reading. I once went to take a nap. This was fine, except that I needed to lower my pants so that nobody would question why someone was sitting in a stall for 2 hours without his pants lowered. Would anyone actually investigate this to the point where they would question it? Unlikely, but one can never be too careful.

I know plenty of people that are afraid or uncomfortable using public restroom facilities. They will only use the friendly confines of their bathroom at home. I am the polar opposite of these persons; to me- the idea of going to the bathroom in public facilities is an adventure that makes life worth livin'. "Dangerous" places I have used the bathroom include: Crowded coach bus, Penn station (but used NJ transit facilities), Poland (during heritage), my wife's apartment before we started going out, Mexico (but it was at Club Med), and my office. Until recently, I did not think that there was any danger/risk in using the office bathrooms, but two recent occurences have changed my mind.

(1) The awkward encounter: We do not have separate bathrooms for partners and associates, so there is always the chance that one can encounter their boss in the restroom. Usually, this is a harmless meeting, which starts with "Hi" and ends with "how are you". However, things can sometimes get tricky, as they did recently for me. As mentioned earlier, I enjoy bringing work-related readings with me, so as to maximize my concentration and provide the best finished work product for clients. I had brought one of those "documents" with me and had placed it above the sink while I was washing both of my hands. In walks the parter and we exchange pleasantries. It should have ended there, but I decided to mention that this document was for him to review after I was done. Why did I do this? I will never know the answer, but I think it had something to do with wanting to fill the awkward conversation at the sink with something of substance. The partner was less than thrilled that I had decided to take the "documents" on a trip to the bathroom before they would end up on his desk. I wanted to make copies and let him know that I would not give him this bathroom-tainted version, but the damage was done and it was too late. I decided to give him the bathroom-tainted version, but I attached a note saying "this is not the copy that I took to the bathroom with me".

2) The surprise knock: During my morning trip to the office restroom, I was enjoying the silence, when a loud and urgent knock sounded against the main bathroom entrance. Had I accidentaly wondered to the private/handicapped restroom and not realized it? If not, why was someone knocking on a public restroom door. Should I yell "Come IN!"? I decided to remain calm and silent and awaited the surprise visitor. About 1 minute later, one of the cleaning guys came in to change the paper towels and what-not. I asked him if he was the unknown-knocker, but he did not habla english. Still puzzled by this incident 24 hours later, here is my analysis: Cleaning guy was indeed the unknown-knocker, and thought that he was entering the ladies' restroom. I know that at night, there is a cleaning lady, and she always knocks on the mens' room before entering (which makes sense). This cleaning guy was probably doing the same proper thing at what he thought was the ladies' room. Another bathroom mystery solved!

I hope that I have provided everyone with an incentive to give public restroom use a try. The adventures, mysteries and possibilities are endless. Tomorrow, I discuss the proper etiquitte for handling a bathroom walk-in.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A brief study of the various methods of transportation used by officers of the law in the city of new york (and what it means to you!)

Working in NYC, I always run into various policemen and policewomen. To cut down on writing the politically-correct "policemen or policewomen" over and over again throughout this post, I will simply use the gender-neutral phrase "cops" going forward. As a side note, would calling an officer a "pig" be considered to be a gender-neutral term - I don't know much about farm animals and their private parts, but I'm assuming there exists both female and male pigs, correct? Otherwise, how do we get piglets? In any event, calling them "pigs" is offensive for other reasons (not sure what those reasons are exactly), so we will stick with "cops".

Anyway I see these cops everywhere in the city and they come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes at the subway entrance, there are cops with machine guns and huge dogs. This is not from a video game, this is true. I guess they are more "bomb squad people" than cops, but I don't know where the line for "cops" ends and the line for "bomb squad people" begins. It probably has to do with taking an extra 6 month course in "bomb squadding", which mainly involves overcoming the fear that the giant dog will bite your face off.

Essentially, this is what I wanted to get to: How is the determination made as to what method of transportation a particular cop will be given? I'm assuming this critical determination/decision is made upon graduation from police academy, but strangely, nay, incredbily - not one of the various police academy films deal with this aspect of the police academy. In fact, all I remember about the police academy movies is that the first one has some brief nudity. I'm pretty sure we rented this when we were in 4th grade for this reason alone. I think the remainder of the police academy movies were all either PG-13 and PG, and thus lost out on the possibility for brief nudity (In general, PG-13 movies do not all for brief nudity. The only two known exceptions are Doc Hollywood and Titanic). Obviously, this led to the eventual downfall of the police academy movie franchise after 87 films.

But what really happens in the real-life police academy? I'm pretty certain it goes something like this: The police academy has rankings of all the graduating cops, just like we had in law school, or like they have in overly-competative highschools. The top tier of graduates are rewarded with cop cars and partners. This is obviously amazing because they get to travel around, turn on the sirens to scare people/get through traffic, stop for donuts - and do all of this with a friend (assuming that the top graduate cops are rewarded with a partner they get along with). This is perhaps best exemplified by the relationship and antics we are shown in the film "Superbad". The only problem is that I can't imagine that those two cops graduated at the top of their class, but maybe it was a rough year or a weak police academy class. Anyway, just as we see in the film, these guys have a great time and get to drive in circles while Van Halen blasts in the background. That is the reward for graduating at the top of the police academy class.

The middle-tier of cop graduates are given the option to take extra classes and become those weird cops that either drive the NYPD boats or fly the NYPD choppers. Who needs these guys? I guess one can make an argument that the plane-landing-in-the-Hudson River-incidents showed their possible utility, but I'm sure Capt. Sully could have done it all himself. Plus, there is the Coast Guard, so I don't see any use for these guys. But the second-tier of cop grads. are allowed the option so as to avoid the other (worse) alternatives available to the bottom-tier.

The bottom-tier of cop graduates are not given any method of transportation at all! Can you imagine this garbage? Their classmates are given a specific vehicle, while they are assigned to walk a "beat". The worst of the worst are forced to walk the beat in a dangerous neighborhood, while the best of the bottom-tier walk the subways and do random/boring checks of the subway cars. I guess they have to take public transportation to get home. Or maybe the top-tier cops pick them up and give rides, b/c the top-tier cops are also the nicest, just like the top-tier kids in highschool that are also nice.

Any centaurs that are in the police academy become cops on horses.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Finally, A guide for Mustard Users.

If you are anything like me, you have a huge butt, large stubby fingers and a tremendous bottom lip. Also, you adore mustard and insist on using with as many foods as possible. I've always enjoyed the many benefits of mustard, but my possible "over-using" of it was only recently brought to my attention, courtesy of my in-laws. Whenever we eat meals at their house (this usually occurs on the Sabbath), I insist on using mustard on most of the food items, and my mother in-law is now always prepared with a new bottle of Guldens spicy brown. Last time, I used the mustard on both chicken cutlets and a meat-pie type dish, drawing a mixture of ridicule and incredulity from the other peoples. This was the first time my use of mustard was called into question, and now I am wondering if I am using it for inapproriate foods (by which I mean foods that are not considered suitable to be dressed with mustard; i do not mean "inapproriate" in the sense that the food is shaped in a manner that brings inapproriate thoughts to the eater of said food, for indeed the "hotdog" is perhaps the most approriate of the mustard-foods).

The end result of all this self-analysis and questioning (which lasted for at least 1 minute at the time) was that I didn't care about my potential over-use of mustard. Instead, I want to help other mustard users with the problems we face, as a group. I am of course referring to the ever-growing problem of "Choice of Mustard". To put it simply, there are just way too many choices and varieties of mustard on the shelves of grocery stores everywhere. One solution is to petition grocery stores to eliminate some of these less-useful varieties, but this would take time and effort. Instead, I offer a simple guide to illustrate when various types of mustard should be purchased and used. I hope that my fellow mustard-users find this useful and that my non-fellow non-mustard-users will join us in our yellow delight.

1) Yellow Mustard: According to wikipedia, "Yellow mustard is the most commonly used mustard in the United States and Canada, where it is sometimes referred to simply as "regular mustard". I think it should be referred to as "crap mustard" or "mustard for poor people". Yellow mustard is a last resort and offers the weakest of the mustard flavors. Yellow mustard is more of a color than anything else; it is the equivalent of coloring your food with a yellow highlighter. Yellow mustard should only be used when there are no other viable options available. EXAMPLE: You are a guest at a meal and no mustard is on the table. You excuse yourself to check fridge and only see yellow mustard. DO NOT YET USE THIS MUSTARD. Make sure to also check garage and other possible storage places for possible better mustards. After performing complete examination of host's abode, proceed to use yellow mustard, but do not enjoy it.

2) Spicy Brown Mustard: Is there a plain brown mustard w/out the spicy involved? If so, I wouldn't trust it, but the Spicy Brown combo is a true delight. This should be every person's go-to mustard for the majority of food items. I believe that "Deli mustard" is the same as "spicy brown mustard" and this is no mistake my friends. The mustard makers are giving us a key clue by inserting the suggested mustard use as part of the mustard name. One thinks "This spicy brown mustard definetly looks like the best mustard, but how should I go about using it...what foods would be enhanced by the presence of this mustard?" The answer is on the label: DELI (or items similar to DELI by gezeirah shava). Of course, if "Deli Mustard" is not the same as "Spicy Brown Mustard", this entire paragraph is incorrect. Who cares though.

3) Honey Mustard: To be used as a flavoring in cooking (I am told), as a component of honey mustard tuna, or as a flavor for a variety of pretzel. If used as a cooking flavor, one should not be able to taste the actual honey-aspect of the mustard, b/c that would be gross. Now that I think about it, the entire Honey-Mustard concept is completely paradoxical, much like Barad, which contained fire AND ice! I personally try to avoid honey-mustards, but some folks seem to enjoy it. As a compromise, I would spicy brown honey mustard for use w/ meat items, but not plain honey mustard.

4) Grey Poupon: This is a brand and not a variety, but it deserves its own special category. The Grey Poupon is still reserved for the upper-class of mustard users, as was originally brought to our attention by the famous scene in Wayne's World. But you don't have to be a jerk to use grey poupon. Other explanations include: a) Amazing bottle shape: It comes in a huge wide-rimmed bottle, allowing you to scoop tons of it out at one time. b) Rich: You are rich and choose to spend too much money on mustard rather than less costly, yet equally delicious, alternatives.

5) Chinese mustard: This is to be used to kill oneself.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Curious Case of the Overzealous Samaritan

Today, like every weekday morning, I took the NYC subway system to my place of work. As usual, the subway had its share of bizzare characters, events and sights. However, this time I was the unfortunate victim of a new type of strange subway character. I refer to the Overzealous Samaritan.

Overzealous is probably not the right description for this woman's behavior, but I am not sure if overimposing is a word. I will explain her behavior and then the dear readers can vote on the correct description. Text in your answers to American Idol.

Sometimes the subway cars make sudden stops and people without good balance can fall or stumble. I am one of those people without good balance. I wonder if this is directly tied to the fact that I am a terrible athlete. Is having a good center of balance a prerequisite to being a good athlete? Has there ever been a good athlete with vertigo? I always try to bend my knees and maintain a low center of gravity to prevent from any possible stumbling or falling, but I have no idea if this is actually an effective technique. The easiest way to conteract the possible dangers of subway stumbling is simply to grab hold of the handbars, but there are a number of problems with this technique. 1) Handbars are often not available to be grabbed on crowded cars; in that case it may be better to just allow yourself to fall into a fat person's cushiony belly. 2) Some are hesitant to touch handbars b/c of germs. I am not concerned with this b/c the subway is already one big germ bubble. This has been scientifically proven. 3) I prefer NOT to hold the handbars b/c it is more fun not to. Trying to keep your balance while a drunkard drives the train is about as fun as it gets on the way to work. If you fall, deduct 2 points. If you stumble, deduct 1 point. At the end of the month, compare your rankings with friends and win a free metro card.

Anyway, I was having my fun and living on the edge this morning, when the Overzealous Samaritan ("OS") felt the impulsive need to ruin everything. Keep in mind that I was also listening to my Ipod Nano-Nano on the highest of volumes, so as to possibly annoy as many other people as possible. This OS starts talking to me, but I try to ignore her. This works for about 5 seconds and then she starts tapping me. I have to now recognize her tappage and remove my headphones for what I expect to a message of some importance. Instead I get: "You have to hold on to the bar, otherwise you will fall". I understand that the OS behavior can be defended as genuine and other nice things, but I disagree. I think the OS oversteps her boundries by directing me to hold the bar. That is my personal choice. I also believe that part of what drives the OS behavior is a self-serving drive to feed the ego. This probably is not true in many OS cases, but it sure makes me feel better about being a much worse human being than these people.

The end of the Subway ride went like this: Obviously, I had to follow her instructions or else it would have been incredibly awkward and hostile between us for the remaining 6 minutes of the ride. You do not want to create an awkward and hostile tension with someone you will never see again, but have to spend 6 minutes standing next to.

"In what other situations can the OS strike"?, you ask yourself, with that voice in your head. Apparently, the OS has struck enough in the context of plane crashes, such that the airlines now have to warn us during the safety talk to first secure our own oxygen masks and then worry about other people. I understand a parent first trying to help a child with their oxygen mask, but this type of extreme benevolence is inexcusable in any other situation. Who are these people that feel the need to go around making sure everyone else can figure out the oxygen masks before actually making sure they will live? How good must a good Samaritan be! It sets the bar way too high for other good Samaritans, imposing on them a threshold of "Great Samaritans". This is not fair to society. If everyone feels compelled to be a Great Samaritan, we will lose our Good Samaritans. Is it not better to have many Good Samaritans than few Great Samaritans?!?

Well that was fun. I hate people like the OS. I hate people that would try to help me figure out the oxygen mask w/out first helping themself. The oxygen mask game is fun, just like the subway falling game. Let me just play on my own.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An analysis of early love interests (or "Shabbos walks")

In my last rant, I touched briefly upon the never-ending topic of the now defunct Camp Hillel. I could probably write an entire book about this place. Not the size of Uncle John's bathroom reader, but maybe like a 500 page paperback. Here is a glimpse of what a chapter would like...

When I think about past love interests or girls I have been maniaclly obsessed with, I always forget to include those first few girls from my days of Shabbos walking in Camp Hillel. Well, no more! I distinctly remember going on a set of shabbos walks with 3 different girls in Bunk 5 and Bunk6. These were the summers of 1993 and 1994, so I was 10 and 11 when these occurred. I will present a brief description of each wonderful lady, followed by the lessons I hope to glean from these memories. I hope that you all can join me in my gleaning. Identities will be protected for the sake of all involved.

1. Lady #1, Summer 1993, Bunk 5: I have no clue as to how this Shabbos walk came about. It must have been arranged by counselors or other campers, b/c I have no recollection of ever initiating a conversation with a girl until last year, when my secretary asked me why I never say good morning. Now, I initiate every day with a "Good Morning secretary!". Anyway, this llady #1 was no secretary. In fact, she is now an ultra-orthodox jewish woman that shaves her head. Scary stuff. I started the Shabbos walk by asking the following "go-to" questions. I would suggest that people dating for the first time also start their dates with these innocent tidbits: A) What is your favorite color? B) What is your favorite number? I do not recall either of her answers to these questions, but I do remember her burping in my face. I was grossed out but also intrigued by her carefree attitude. I told my parents of my Shabbos walk-success in a letter delivered by postal carriers (or perhaps, only one carrier), and word got back to the girl that I was talking too much about our escipades. She decided that one Shabbos walk was enough and promptly shaved her head in protest. THE LESSSONS: Respect a lady's privacy. Sometimes they are embarrased to be seen with you or for people to know that they are associated with you. You should respect their wishes and try to carry on a secretive relationship until they dump you. Additionally, if the lady answers your questions about numbers and colors, you should remember these answers. If her birthday comes, and you are still dating, you can get her a present based on her answers. If she said "10" and "yellow", simply get her 10 yellow balloons and call it a day.

2. Lady #2, Summer 1994, July, Bunk 6: This may be the first time I felt rejection and heartbreak. Specifically, I remember that my left ventricle was severely damaged. I remember being very satisfied with Lady # 2 and really looking forward to our next Shabbos walk (we did not talk during the week). We went on two shabbos walks, but I was then victimized by a nose picking incident. I had a menacing urge to pick my nose, so I went behind the stage curtain in the Camp Hillel social hall and went to town. Unfortunately for all parties involved, Lady #2 was able to see what I was doing and called off all future Shabbos walks (although I didn't find out that this was the reason until later). I cannot fathom why I didn't just pick my nose in a place where it was absolutely certain that nobody could see. Why not go to the bathroom? Maybe because the bathrooms in the social hall always had overflowed crap from the toilet on the floor. Or maybe it was just the sense of adventure that we all love. I'm a risk-taker and it was a huge risk to pick my nose behind a stage curtain...a risk that didn't pay off. To add insult to injury, I tried to win back Lady #2 by winning her a doll in Woodbourne. It is a miracle that I won the doll to begin with from one of those grabbing machines, but she did not accept my gift. Or, she might have accepted but laughed in my face upon accepting. Either way - bad result and no more Lady #2. THE LESSONS: No nose-picking or other bad habits in front of girls, this includes holding in gas until marriage/engagement/or reasonable comfort level reached. Furthermore, it is generally a bad idea to come begging back to the girl right after being dumped. If you do come begging back and decide to forfeit your manhood, it might not be prudent to offer her a green frog doll in the process.

3. Lady #3, Summer 1994, August, Bunk 6: This is an interesting one b/c it shows that I was somehow able to rebound from the nose-picking disaster and still find a lady to escort me around camp for those long August saturdays. Once again, we went on 2 shabbos walks and this lady wanted to kiss me as well. I remember being shocked and scared and denying all her advances. The summer ended without any physical contact and I went home as the same innocent boy that had arrived 2 months earlier. I'm sure my parents were proud. THE LESSONS: Not sure exactly, but I think the "big picture" lesson is the power of the rebound and the "Plenty of fish in the sea" attitude. I was embarrased and humiliated in July 94, and had to fight off a vixen's sexual advances (kiss on the (butt)cheek) in August 94. That is quite a rebound. Sure, the second girl was not around for July and probably never found out about my nose picking, but who cares. The Fades lived another day.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Obama Pin

As all of my non-Amish readers know, Barak Obama was elected president in November 2008 and took office in January 2009. I'm assuming that Amish people know this as well, although I doubt I have any Amish readers and also have no clue as to how Amish people get their news. The news of Obama being president was probably reported by a "town crier" sort of fellow and was probably met with some skepticism. This is because I don't think there are any African Americans in Amish country (I visited there once 15 years ago, so my information is somewhat reliable), so the Amish have never seen an African American before. They probably think that the country is now being led by some other form of life and are preparing for a battle with old fashioned weaponry. They will lose (b/c we have newer and more-effective weapons). And if you are an Amish person and are reading this - tsk tsk. You are not allowed to use the computer, unless the rules have changed since I last visited your Amish country 15 years ago.

Anyway, we recall that the build-up and subsequent celebration surronding Obama's victory was huge. It was not uncommon to see many people on the New York City Subway system wearing Obama gear to pysche themselves up for the upcoming election and show support for their candidate. One would expect such gear to stop appearing after his victory, but today I still saw one lady wearing his pin on the subway. It had (brace yourselves) a picture of Obama and the words hope and change. I don't know why I felt the need to describe the actual pin.

My question is as follows: What is the time or event cut-off for wearing Obama-supportive gear? I will make a comparison to sports because it is all I know, and then give some alternatives based on that comparison:

When the NY Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, this was a huge deal for New Yorkers. I was in 6th grade and didn't care about hockey. Since that time I have not cared about hockey. But during that playoff run and stanley cup victory, I cared about hockey. Everyone cared. I didn't have cable, but I sat next to my radio and listened to the games and watched the parade. I went to Modells b/c you gotta go to Mo's and I bought my obligatory NY Rangers Champions t-shirt. When I got to Camp Hillel that summer, I saw everyone else wearing that same t-shirt and it didn't surprise me at all. But when was the appropriate time to stop wearing that t-shirt? When I saw the Camp baker wearing it (3 sizes too small) in 2001, it felt like the celebration was long over. I was embarrased for the baker and I was embarrased for the NY Rangers. The last part isn't true, b/c I didn't care about hockey.

I think there are three alternatives for when to stop wearing the Obama pin:

1) Objective time-based cut-off. Not sure when this should be (1 year? 1 month?) so I guess it isn't objective. Obama himself should announce this time-frame in a press conference so that it becomes objective. He should say, "no wearing pins with my face on it starting April 1, 2009".

2) Until he starts sucking. You wouldn't want to wear the Rangers championship t-shirt if they started sucking (too lazy to research when they started sucking after 1994 and also realizing that "sucking" is somewhat of a vague term). Similarly, it would be awkward to wear the Obama pin if he started performing poorly as our president. Like if he made a rule on how many children we can have and threw extra babies down the river, you wouldn't want to be the guy wearing his pin, unless you live on said river and profit from baby-trading.

3) Until presidency ends. In the sports comparison, the NY Rangers were the Stanley Cup Champions until the next team became champions a year later. Obama is president until someone else is, so you can wear his pin every day lady.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Free Papers?

I don't understand the concept of AM New York and Metro. For those of you who do not ride the NY subway system, there are various people that stand around the subway entrances and urge you to accept these papers. They usually will add outrageous claims, such as "this paper will enhance your morning commute dramatically" or "have a wonderful day". These people often look poor.

Anyway here is what puzzles me about this seemingly free paper daily giveaway. First, are these people being paid to stand outside in the freezing cold, or inside in the urine-soaked subway, and hold bundles of papers? I have to assume that they are being paid, or else it makes zero sense for them to be doing this. There is a slim chance that they are just very nice giving people, but if this is the case, I feel like they would devote themselves to a different cause. It seems strange that a bunch of giving people would get together and decide that their collective mission in life is to give other people newspapers on the subway. Possibly, they would rather devote themselves to feeding the hungry or taking care of the ill. Possibly, they themselves are the ill.

So if they are being paid, who is paying them? We are, I think. This is probably what happens with some of the taxes we pay. The government takes some of it, and then pays these people to give out papers to us. In a sense, we are just paying for the AM New York and Metro through the conduit of our NYC govt. Does this make sense? depends on if these people would have other jobs or not. I don't know the answer to that brain-teaser, so I don't know if this whole thing makes any sense.

And finally, why, please tell me, are there 2 of these papers. I've never actually taken either of the 2, but I'm wondering what the difference is. Are these papers in competition somehow? Is one more of a tabloid and the other more serious? My bet is that the government or whoever is running this racket is playing a game with these people. They tell them "Hey, whoever sells more (the AM team or the Metro team) will get some extra money at the end of the day!" This encourages the sales teams to really push the papers on us commuters, even if we just want to listen to our I-Pods. Ironically, this extra bit of cash incentivizer will also allow these people to purchase other papers of their choice.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Toilet words.

I was recently talking to a lady who teaches little kids/ pre-school teacher. Among the various topics that came up was "toilet words". She told me that she heard some of her kids using words like doody and pishy, but that they were shockingly using such foul language outside the friendly confines of the toilet area. She told them what we have all been told one time or another: "Kids, those are toilet words and you should only say that stuff in the bathroom." I have been reprimanded for using toilet words in unauthorized places as recently as yesterday, and I am 25; clearly this is an ongoing issue for some of us.
But something funny happened in the evolution of the "toilet words" category. As time went on for us as kids, and as we got older, we learned other words. We learned the F curse and the S curse, and we learned about the word a-hole and B-I-T-C-H. And if any one of us dared to utter one of these words in front of an authority figure, we would 1) have our mouths washed out with soap (or threatened) and 2) told that these words were "toilet words" or words for a "potty mouth".
Now this is where I get confused. When did curse words mesh with words like doody and pishy and get thrown in the toilet words category. Are there a bunch of people that specifically go into a bathroom so that they can finally scream out curse words? Hey, Mother Effers!!! So happy we can curse now that we are at the urinal!!! You Sons of Bitches!!! Fun to meet you here in the ole' bathroom!
I do have a theory about how this happened. The "S" curse is used to describe bowel movements, among other things. This is probably how curse words moved into the toilet word category. Once the S curse got into this category, the other curses followed suit. And now...we have teachers/parents/mentors telling kids all over the place that they should go to the bathroom and curse to their hearts' content. See you in the Effing bathroom.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fake old people.

Hey old pals,

I just saw an ad on the television for something by a company called "Genworth Financial". I have absolutely no idea what they are selling, but the main theme of the commercial was alot of old people saying how they are 100 years old and very lucky. I have very many problems with this premise.

1) You should have seen what these people looked like, they don't look even close to 100. I think a few of them might be 90 or 85, but definetly not the big century mark. I guess this makes sense b/c there is no way to find a bunch of 100 year old actors and actresses. So they probably hired a bunch of 85 year olds instead, which are much easier to find. But they could have at least done a more convincing job with the makeup. Let me see some weird growths on the faces, or more wrinkles. COME ON Genworth!
2) The activities they showed these so-called "100 year olds" doing. One old maid was swinging on a swing. I kid you not. WEEEEEE! I'm 100!!!! I can swing all day with perfect balance and agility...I (The Fades) recently found myself on a swing and it made me nausous. I'm supposed to believe that a 100 year old hag can swing back and forth in the breeze all day without keeling over and dying. Sorry.
3) Overall unrealistic things these actors are saying. One dude says "I'm one of the lucky ones!" You are? Really? Not in the world i live in. I don't know any 100 year olds perfectly, which is good b/c they probably have a very strong old person smell. But if i did, i betcha they don't feel lucky. They probably don't remember who they are and are too doped up on all kinds of things to know how they feel.
4) Suggestion for Genworth: show me some sick old smelly people wetting themselves and I will buy your soon as i figure out what it is.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Free Menorah give away!

I had 2 finals in the past 2 days (thursday december something and friday december somethign), so I have had little or no time to prepare for the chanukah festival, or Hanukah festival, as I like to call it when I am talking to gentiles, which is never. I don't know why I felt the need to announce to everyone just now that I just had 2 finals in the past 2 days. Are people supposed to feel bad for me b/c of this terrible burden? I'm sorry I mentioned the finals.

In any event, I was not prepared for the holiday, which meant I had no menorah, no candles to light said menorah, and no latkes to eat. Are latkes really an essential part of the holiday, on par with the menorah, you may be asking yourself? Well my grandfather told me today on the phone that he read an article comparing the different holidays that come around this time of year, and that the article described chanukah as the "time jews eat latkes". This shouldn't be confused with the time jews eat kugel, gefilte fish, or even farfel. Is farfel a jewish word or generic secular term? I always wanted to know that. What about kasha varnishkas? If i walk into foodtown (is foodtown still in existence), and I proclaim that I am in search of kasha varnishkas will they know what I am referring to? But back to this newsday article- it compared the different holidays- and there are 3 you should know. Besides chris'smas and hanukah, there is also kwanza, which to my understanding is hanukah for african americans. here is my question, fellow americans who are also african...are white people allowed to celebrate kwanza?? If so, what is the process by which I can accept kwanza upon myself. Furthermore, are there in fact any white people that do celebrate kwanza. If so, where can i find such a person? Of course, if i did try to celebrate kwanza, i would have a potential problem with my own judaic practices, b/c this might be considered idol worship. I will therefore, look up kwanza on wikipedia, decide if i can take it upon myself without being an idol worship, and then attempt to become the first white male kwanza observer.

The good news is (not sure where the bad news was) that the Hillel house in Upenn had free menorahs and candles to give away for lighting purposes. When I heard this announcment, i quickly took all 150 sets, and sold them 2 days later for a nice profit. I'm the grinch that stole chanukah, but not really...b/c i'm not green. Joe greene, on the other hand, could potentially be the grinch that stole chanukah, but only if he in fact does something corrupt like taking all the free candles and selling them at a premium. But is this even corrupt...isnt this pure economics, the invisible hand at work, whatever the hell...The answer is that I dont care about economic theory and either should you.

The weird thing about this hillel free menorah give away thing (besides from the last paragraph) is that the candles they give away only burn for 20 minutes. I know that is halachically problematic- either on fri night or on all nights, but I'm not sure which. They sent out a guideline packet but I am too lazy to read through it. So basically what the hillel is saying is as follows: We will let you almost perform the lighting mitzvah for free! But if you want to actually fulfill it in a valid manner you will have to pay an additional 2 dollars for longer lasting candles.
This would never stand in the Shammai house, Abba.

Anyway this all reminds me of that story where the Vilna Gaon was on his deathbed, and remarked how great this world is b/c you can pay just a few cents, or kopecks rather, to purchase a mitzvah, and share of "olam Habah". Well, in this case it is 2 dollars b/c of inflation, but you get the idea.

I'm not sure why so many stories involving great pious men involve a deathbed.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Davening foes.

This semester I had class every morning at the very early hour of 10:30 Am. If I want to go these classes, and not steal money from my parents, then I have to wake up about 9:30 Am or so, to leave ample time for showering, reading of sports on the internet, dressing, stealing deodarant from roomate, putting on teffilin, and walking to the law school building. However, there are times when I decide to attend a minyan for morning prayer services which is conveniently held at the Hillel- on the way to my walk to law school. This minyan occurs at the even more ridiculusly early hour of 8:40 AM, which means I will set my alarm clock for 8:15- to ensure that I will get to minyan exactly 10 minutes late. Obviously, I am always happier after attending the prayer services, b/c I really do believe it helps my day get started on the right "foot". BUt there are certain negatives I have encountered with this morning minyan experience, and those negatives are actually certain individuals.

First, we have the guy(s) that brings his tefillin in a canteen, like that my Mom packed me for camp in 6th grade. There are a bunch of these guys that have decided to forgo the traditional tefillin bag, and now put their tefillin in these canteens. Can anyone please explain to me how this practice has come about? Do these people also carry reserve water supplies in a tefillin bag. Maybe they are expecting to be led on some type of rugged hike during davening, and so now they are at least prepared to pack up their tefillin and go! I think the real reason for these canteens is that presumably soldiers in Israel pack their tefillin up like this, although I have no proof for this assertion. I will have to ask one of 3 people I know who actually were Israeli soldiers. Until then, I will assume this is how the practice started. The problem is, of course, that minyan in the Hillel at Penn is not a battlefield in which we are fighting arabs. Therefore, there is no need to bring the tefillin in this canteen type device. Please stop.

Second, we have the guy that comes to minyan daily and davens every word, and seems to be a real solid consistent Jew, yet inexplicably brings a newspaper with him, and reads it whenever he has a free moment. He seems to daven faster than everyone else, only to have time to read the top stories from today's news. Is it important to stay up to date with the current events? Probably, although I am not good at that. But does this have to be done during davening? Probably not. I'm not trying to rebuke this fellow, i just find the process to be odd. Also the folding of the paper is noisy. And it isn't really even a legitimate paper this guy is reading, its usually just the daily pennsylvanian, which is the school local paper. One other note about papers- why is the NY Times designed the way it is? It is very very impossible to read it while sitting on a toilet.

Third, we have a guy that sits right next to you, and moves his chair really close for some reason, and then proceeds to blow his nose and examine it for the rest of the services. He uses every tissue that exists in the room, and crumples them up in little balls on the table. Some of these tissues touch the edge of your siddur and make u want to vomit. Sometimes he will sneeze and cough to give himself a break from the noseblowing. Usually, the sneeze or cough will result in some spit being fired onto your face. This will ruin the morning prayer experience.

So there you have it folks. Is it good to start your day by praying ? Sure is. But just make sure to avoid some of these known foes along the way...or else your prayer time won't be too enjoyable.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My poor attempt to copy Bill Simmons' diary idea

For those of you who don't read Bill Simmons of's "page 2", you probably don't understand the title of this Rant, and you probably do not enjoy sports at all. (or, you might in fact enjoy sports, but not have a sense of humor). In any event, one thing Bill Simmons does on occasion is keep a diary while watching different sporting events. I always found this to be one of the most entertaining things he does, so I figured, why not copy it. Here goes nothing...

It is Monday night football, and the Giants are playing the Jaguars. It is currently the 3rd quarter, so let me summarize some of the things that have happened so far.

Before the game, I was at my friend "Av" and we played Madden o7. I used the Giants and he used another team I cannot remember. He beat me by a small margin, and said "I hope that doesn't happen to the real giants tonight". Strangely, it seems like that will actually happen. Voodoo s.

Another thing I noticed before the game is that Chris Berman's hair is very terrrible. Its not just a combover, but a combover plus. He has like a big bush of hair blowing in the wind behind his comb over and it is bizzare. If I end up going bald, I will choose to avoid that fate and instead just suck it up or shave my head completely. I mean, suck it up AND shave my head completely. Sometimes the word "eem" in the Torah can mean 4 different things according to rashi, but the word OR cannot mean the word AND,which is why I fealt the need to correct the previous sentence. This ain't no Torah, despite what you loyal readers may think. A final thought on baldness is the "toupee". I think the key to wearing the toupee or however the hell you spell it, is not simply to get a great toupee (that goes without saying), but to make the toupee switch early on in the terrible "going-bald" process. Then, once u make that early bold decision ,your friends can make a party and roast you, and then just get used to it. 10 years down the road, people will only make fun of it behind your back. I know some friends that are going bald, but they have already missed this "switch to the toupee" deadline. Good luck guys.

Another thing that happened during this first half, is my friend and one time sleep partner "meir" sent me a text message, saying that it seems like the Giants play alot of night games. He is a Pats fan, so his team is very boring. But so are the Giants, so I think his point is : why should all of America have to sit through so many nationally televised (and boring) Giants games? The answer probably has something to do with allowing me to spend my sunday's watching all my fantasy football players while shifting the focus purely to the Giants for my night games. In reality, of course, this game I am watching right now has huge fantasy implications as well. I am down 7 points to some dude, and I have eli manning, and he has no one. Basically, I should win...and I think I already have. No one even knows what I am talking about right now. When you tell someone else (presumably a straight male) about your fantasy team, you think it is the most exciting thing ever. Then when some dude tells you that he just made a great trade for joe borowski, you think to yourself "I dont give a damn loser...shut up and pass me the diet wild cherry pepsi". It is the same thing as discussing your dreams with someone else...jim gaffigan discusses this in his comedy routine. Great. Now I am stealing from both Bill Simmons and Jim Gaffigan. Now there are 2 guys I'd like to meet in a pub. And Chuck Klosterman. And Chaninah Ben Dosah. He'd turn all the beer into flax.

So, the Giants are playing in Jacksonville, and the mascot for these Jaguars is a large yellow creature of some sort. I'm happy the Giants don't have any mascots (or even one) , b/c most mascots are stupid and irrelevant. But if the Giants were to get a mascot for some absurd reason, I would want it to be named Gino the Giant. I would want this mascot to be a real actual giant, preferably the one that played Carl in the amazing and emotional "Big Fish". If not, I would choose Yao Ming. Could you imagine that? IF Yao Ming was on the Rockets, but in his spare time, he would be a mascot for an NFL franchise. Would that count as being a "2 sports-star"? Are any females still reading this?

One thing the fat yellow Jaguar mascot keeps doing is after the Giants make a FG or extra point, he stands under the goal post and waives the "no good" sign. This is dishonest, as the FG clearly goes through the uprights. He is also guilty of mocking the refs and trying to cause machlokes on the field. The Jaguars mascot has bad middos, but as a "rasha" will be awarded in this world, thus helping the Jaguars beat the Giants tonight. And yes, that is a pessimistic fan's prediction. Its the 4th I will now turn my whole focus to the TV. After the game (and inevitable Giants defeat) I will continue with some final thoughts.

After the game...

Crap, I was right. I didn't really think they were going to lose, but I thought that if I write that it will become some type of reverse jinx or hex, and that they would actually win. I actually do believe in this type of reverse s, but I cannot tell you why. Anyway, Giants played like crap, so they deserve this loss.

In more important news, I just watched the video of Michael Richards' racist tirade on youtube. I also just saw his apology on Letterman, and this is some entertaining stuff. I personally think this all just shtick, like Andy Kaufman, b/c that is the only way Richards can save his dying career. Good move by him doing this Kaufman-esque shtick.

Good night.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Gelilah Guy

I've noticed that there are a grand total of ZERO comments on my previous entry which discusses the various elements of a "favor". Should I take this to mean that no one is interested in this topic? Perhaps no one is reading this blog anymore and everyone has forgotten about me. Or perhaps I'm not funny anymore. No matter, I will continue to rant starting now:

I used to be good at this thing called "going to morning services" or "minyan". Now, I don't go as often as the glory days (years 2001-mid 2003), but I still try to put together some good streaks. For example, during the 10 days of repentance, I made it to every morning service except for that was pretty good. Anyway, I'm not so hard on myself for this lazy behavior because I have rollover minyans from the glory days. What are these rollover minyans, you might query? Well- rollover minyans is a system I thought off back in the days of Reishis. I decided that I should be allowed to miss one morning minyan a month. Now, since there are some months I haven't missed any minyans from back in the day, I have all these rollover minyans stored up for now. And I am cashing in baby. Now that I think about it, I think it was that I could miss one minyan a week or maybe one a day. Yeah...that makes more sense.

Anyway, it seems now that every time I show up for these services I am offered the honor of "Hagbah", or lifting up the ToYrah using only the power of your wrists. I think that this is happening to me b/c G-d is playing a practical joke on me. I have a bunch of normal fears- clowns, bees, long-term relationships, the dark, fruit, but I also have this one fear that isn't very normal. I am afraid of Hagbah. There. I said it- and i feel better. I'm simply not a Hagbah guy, I'm a Gelilah guy. In fact, I'm pretty good at Gelilah, and I once was able to dress the Toyrah in under 8 seconds. Granted, that was one of those small Toyrahs that kids sometimes have for some weird reason but still. Also, I have been know to perform 3 Gelilahs in one service! This obviously occured on everyone's favorite- Shabbos Rosh CHodesh CHanukah, but you all knew that.

Why am i so afraid of Hagbah anyway? It is a culmination of other fears- it stems from the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure and public embarrasment . All 3 of these factors come together to cause my fear of the Hagbah process. Hagbah is not something I have ever had the chance to practice, and so I don't know if I can even do it. Sure, my friends "chief" and "kogz" would sometimes spend random afternoons going to the Beis Medrash and taking out all the Torahs to practice Hagbah, but I had better things to do with my time like watching the Steve Harvey show. (hey steve!) As a consequence, I missed out on all this potential Hagbah practice, and now I am paying the price. By the way, re-runs of the steve harvey show are still available on BET- subscribe now.

I also just don't think I'm physically capable of this feat of wrist strength. I need not look any further than the activity of bowling to prove that I simply don't have strong wrists. I once went on a date to a bowling alley that cost like 45 dollars a round or whatever its called. A frame? I don't know, who cares, not the point. First of all, the girl, who appeared to be of averege female strength, was able to choose a ball that was much heavier than mine. I chose a 7, which is the same size ball I chose when going on bowling trips with ruach day camp 15 years ago. But this girl was able to choose like a 9 or 10. Secondly, she was able to bowl the right way, with the straight wrist s, but everytime I gave it a go my wrist would strangely turn and the ball would be sent to the gutter. Overall this date was a debacle for me, and it made me question my manhood. Luckily, I was able to stare at the girl's rear end every time she bowled, so the date was pretty good. But I think she knew I was doing that because my mind, like my bowling ball, was in the gutter.

Anyway- bottom line: Hagbah, like the mundane act of bowling, requires strong wrists. Clearly, I lack that. (and i'm not even getting involved here with the cases of "uneven Hagbahs" i.e - where one side is much heavier than the, I am so afraid that the Torah is gonna drop during those dangerous Hagbahs. Am i the only one?) Since I lack the physical wrist power, I must stick with my Gelilah talents. Although, maybe if I am staring at a girl's rear end, I shouldn't be allowed to do Gelilah either.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How to ruin a favor (or maybe not).

Let me just start by saying that tonight I will turn 24 years of age. I know this because facebook says so. I will be celebrating this birthday by studying for a midterm in securities regulations. If anyone wants to join in on this festive celebration, please let me know. In all seriousness, birthdays defintely have lost the excitement they used to have. 21 was a big celebration, b/c of the legal drinking and all. 22 was also good for some reason, and 23 wasn't bad. For whatever reason I'm just not feeling it anymore. Perhaps it is b/c of a song that "mom" reminded me of today, which I have probably listened to over 500 times during my life so far. That song is "Old Man" by Neil Young, and it is depressing s. It mentions the age of 24, and if you are so inclined to be in a state of depressing s, i urge you to view the lyrics.

And that is enough of that. Something I always had a hard time doing for other people is this strange thing called "Favors". I'm not talking about when people ask me to do something completely unreasonable; I'm talking about a simple favor- like if you are driving by here, can u pick me up or something. By the way, me and my former roomate ("eric") used to come up with all types of characters as if we were about to write a sketch comedy show and perform it in our apartment. (we did make some small videos, to be viewed by special request). Anyway, one of these characters was "Unreasonable Favor man" - a character that always asked you to do the most unreasonable and inconveniant favors. I definetly have a problem doing unreasonable favors, and when people ask them from me I think that is absurd. But I also had a problem with regular favors.

I decided with the new year rolling around and all that, I should try and work on this and kicked things off with a major favor operation. My former chavrusah who may or may not be named Uri Burger runs a little "4 species business" in his spare time, and sells the species to UPenn. He knew I was driving from NY to Penn and asked if i could bring down the 80 or so species multiplied by 4. Now then, one might even classify this as a manifestation of "unreasonable favor man", but even then- I was willing to do this favor. This all sounds like a major step for a self centered shmuck like myself, but I will now explain how I proceeded to ruin or "federize" this favor.

I Federized the favor in two distinct ways. Uri offered to let me take a set of species for my own use as a reward for doing him this favor. First of all, this might ruin the favor right here. If one is receiving a reward for doing a favor, does that remove the status of favor. Perhaps a small reward really doesn't... but I kind of turned it into a big reward. In the store, I told the people that Uri said I can take an esrog of my own, and asked them where the most expensive esrogim were. I then grabbed a 70 dollar esrog and said "in your face esrog workers of uri". So now I had abused the reward system of this particular favor and perhaps tarnished it completely.

By the way, you might be thinking that this is halachically problematic, b/c I was given my esrog as a gift and it is not really my own esrog. You might be right or you might not be right, but this is not the place for this discussion. But if you were thinking of the Halachic ramifications of this long winded story, good job by you.

The second way in which i "federized" this favor was upon arrival at the Upenn. I found a great parking spot near my house, which is no easy task. As many of my readers know, finding a great parking spot is perhaps the best feeling in olam ha'zeh. Anyway, the delivery spot for all these species was 3 blocks away at the Hillel, but there was no way I was leaving this spot and driving to the Hillel. The result of all this was that 3 guys had to walk from the Hillel to my car and carry all the species through the dangerous streets. And all of this was on erev yom kippur, so these guys were probably busy. But I was busy too- watching Sunday NFL football, and that was no time to complete the favor in the right way. So I watched these 3 pious guys struggle with the boxes of species, and wondered if the Jets would indeed finish the job against the Colts that day. Sure enough they couldnt, just as I couldn't complete the favor.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Rav's Machzor

This marks the beginning of the third season of the Fades Rant. If you missed the first 2 seasons, you should check the archives. I would say that the first season is the best, and the second season has some memorable moments as well. As for this new third season, I don't really know what to expect. I will attempt to be honest and self-depricating, and all should enjoy. During the break between writing this blog, I was very busily(made that word up?) involved in religious processes. First there was the new year and 10 days of repentance, followed by the day of atonement. Then, we just finished the tabernacles holiday, culminating in a day of drinking heavily and stumbling through the streets of new york city. Here is one of my favorite highlights from this year's High Holiday season.

Using "The Rav's new machzor" on yom kippur davening: I first saw this new machzor at one of those Judaica stores, and was immedietly tempted to purchase it for 35.95 or whatever ridiculus price they chose to charge. Was this another one of The rav's minhagim - overcharging for a machzor? Anyway, I decided to hold myself back from purchasing this machzor, b/cng I realized that I had built up a pretty large collection of religious books which I hardly ever look at . I decided that maybe it is time to read the books I already own, before going out and purchasing every new book that comes out. Anyway, this turned out to be a great decision, b/c when I walked into the minyan at UPenn for kol nidre, there was a table with 400 of these new machzors; apparently someone had decided to donate them for use at Upenn on yom kippur. This makes sense to me. Upenn likes to be one of these very intellectual places, and the Rav was a very intellectual Rav.

I was quite happy to use this brand new machzor, mainly b/c it had that "new book" smell. ON yom kippur, when I cannot use my mouth device for eating, i like to replace it with my nose device for smelling. I feel very satiated when I smell delicious food or other pleasent scents. I think this is b/c 50% of the satisfaction we get when eating is purely from the taste. The other 50% is from the food in our stomach. I made this up, by the way. I'm no effing scientinst. Anyway, so while there is nothing you can do on Yom Kippur about the stomach-satisfaction part, there is definetly a way to replace the taste-satiation part. All you have to do is replace it with smell-satiation. I did this by smelling packs of gum, standing outside food carts during the break and smelling mexican food, and of course- smelling the amazing and incomparable "new book" smell.

The Rav's Machzor also brought me an unexpected source of entertainment during the lengthy Yom Kippur services. I was expecting the machzor to have a different nusach- accoring to the way the Rav davened himself. But ALAS! or LO and BEHOLD!, the nusach was the same as any other artscroll machzor. The main difference was that little footnotes (as opposed to big footnotes) , on every single page with said something like "the Rav's practice was to omit this paragraph" or "the rav would say this only once". etc... Luckily, me and my former roomate who was sitting next to me, are good at the skill known as "mocking". We started making up our ownartscroll footnote minhagim highligted by me saying to him "Here, the Rav would eat a hot dog, but not with sourkraut". After making this joke, I said the AL Cheit for "mocking" with a little extra kavana. The other very bizzare aspect of this machzor was the sources. Most of them are from sifarim written by the Rav or his talmidim, which is to be expected. However, I did come across some "questionable" sources. For example, a footnote told me that the Rav switched the order of a few tefilot during mussaf. The source for this minhag was simply "Shucky Friedman". Umm- was this just some guy who was sitting near the Rav one yom kippur and heard him switch the order of 2 tefilos. Is he sure he heard this correctly? Did he then call artscroll and say "Hey, just wanna let you know, I'm pretty sure there was a switch in the order here...oh, who am i? Well, i'm shucky, i'm not a rabbi, just an carpet salesman...i once sat 3 rows behind the rav."

Thanks- Shucky Friedman, u made it into the new machzor.

In all seriousness, the new machzor has a nice introduction and explains some parts of the service very well. Additionally, I am not sure if the Rav had sourkraut on his hotdog.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hate on an elevator

I've been meaning to write these two anicdotes (not to be confused with antidotes - like how torah is the antidote to the satan) for quite some time and I believe that they indicate why there is prevalent anti-semitism in this world.

Story one occured before getting on an elevator, in the James Tower, located on the Upper West Side. I was with my friend Owen, and we were going to visit the Steens in 8-H. As luck would have it (or wouldn't have it) only one elevator was working on this rainy friday afternoon, and all the Jews in James Tower were returning for the pre-shabbos rush. For readers not familiar with some of the basics of the Upper West Side, there are 3 buildings in which 90% of all single Jews live. They are (in alphabetical order) "James Tower, Key West, Westmont"...and all three have a "the" in front of the name, but i didn't include that just now b/c that would make alphabetical order annoying, and who doesn't love a good alphabetical order.

Anyway, this James Tower has 20 something floors, and only had this one elevator, and it was taking forever. I even considered walking the eight flights, but then remembered how I am extremely lazy. After repeatedly pressing the UP arrow, even though this doesn't help at all, I decided to also press the DOWN arrow as well. I'm not sure why I did this, b/c DOWN goes to the basement, and me and Owen didn't need to do laundry...we needed to get UP to 8H. Finally the elevator arrives and it is apparently going to go down b/c of my mistake. But then it does that weird elevator switch thing where it decides its not going down, but instead is going up, and the doors almost close without anyone of th 343 people wanting to go up even entering. Luckily, a heavyset bald man who was sweating stuck his fat foot inbetween the closing doors and saved us all another long wait.

So why is this a negative portrait of the Jewish people, you might ask? B/c once we got on the elevator this man unleashed a verbal tirade on me and owen, but mainly on me. He called me out in front of everyone on "my pressing the down button and wasting all of our time". I shook my head and laughed at this stunning accusation and that just got the fatman angrier and angrier. He said " shake your head, that will get you far in life". But so far its been working, so I'm not sure what the meaning of that comment was. Finally, after he finished his diatribe, I remarked out loud to the elevator "Is this an episode of Curb your this guy for real?" Of course, this was merely a rhetorical question, so nobody answered.

People like this guy...he is one reason for anti-semitism. You cannot freak out if someone accidentally presses a down button. Then again, I didn't do it accidentally, just for no reason...although there isn't that great a difference. Also, the guy wasn't wearing a yarmulka so I actually have no proof that he was Jewish. But only Jewish singles, and some african americans live in James tower, so I must conclude that he was in fact a very stressed out Jewish male. As far as my research goes, there are no african american Jews in James Tower, but there are many in Beit Shemesh.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

a young man's journey through bloomingdales

I'm done working and I got a job offer from my law firm (mazel tov, kiddush), so now I feel like I can write about my summer working experience just a little bit. I still am always nervous that the firm will somehow find out I write on this blog, and somehow interpret everything I say as racist or sexist or something (and usually it is), and then fire me before I even set my small foot through the door. In any event, here is what I now feel comfortable discussing...although this blog will probably still be somehow traced back to me, at which point I will be fired.

Alot of the summer working at the law firm is really not spent "working" at all. Rather, there is a sizable amount of "wining and dining" going on. In other words, we go to lunch at solo and prime grille everyday, order lots of food, and then get back to the office and take naps. The dining becomes so excessive that I started to hear myself complain "that I'm sick of solo", or "why can't the service at prime grille be a bit quicker". When I hear these types of complaints being voiced, I always imagine if homeless people were able to listen in on this. If a group of homeless individuals would somehow hear this, I think they would throw their bedpans and loose change at me. I actually am not sure if they have bedpans, but what I'm trying to tell you is that they would be so angry that they would actually throw away the change they have earned by begging all day. By the way, if NYC is so concerned about the homeless (but they aren't) they should do something about the bathroom situation. I mean, that would at least be a good start. Maybe bedpans should be distributed and there should be bedpan emptying centers. Or even better would be public bathroom facilities with showers for the homeless. B/c really- I am tired of waking up every morning and smelling urine on the streets. I was actually walking by a homeless man once, and he started to urinate as I walked by him... I.e- he wasn't even obeying the "Drunk wall rule". To quickly elaborate, the drunk wall rule is that if one is drunk and wishes to urinate in public, he/hopefully not she MUST find a wall to urinate on. You can't simply just stand in the middle of a street or alleyway or muvoy (from gemara) and urinate. The only exception to this rule is the "Drunk telephone rule", which is to pretend you are talking on a public phone in NYC and actually just stand there and urinate. I only know these rules based on hearsay.

Anyway, the point is that we get wined and dined a ton,and part of this is that we get taken on trips or outings, like Lag B'omer back in the day. So one of these outings was a trip to a country club for a day, and you can choose golf or tennis or kayaking for your activity. I decided to choose laying on my ass by the pool all day, which wasn't actually a choice. The only problem with my decision, was that I lacked a bathing suit, which meant I had to go purchase one on short notice. In my defense, I tried to go to urban outfitters, but all of their "board shorts" were hanging off me and showing my butt crack, and i didnt think that was a good country club look. So I decided to go to BLoomingdale's (Or Gehennom) b/c it was the next closest store to the office. Now I should have realized that I was in for trouble when I saw a limo pull up, and a lady and her daughters got out for a day of shopping. Now- realize that this means that this lady has a limo take her shopping. Lets just stop and realize that and recognize that it should blow our minds...

That being said, I entered the flagship Bloomingdales, thinking that it was similar to Macy's and JC Penny, and not more similar to Nordstrom and Sax 5th Ave. (i think the hierchy is Nordstroms, Sax 5th ave, Lord and Taylor, Bloomingdales, Macys , JC Penny, National Wholesale Liquidators). I was immedietly greeted by a older male who smelled better than anyone I have ever met and had very small cool glasses on. He was either a flamboyant homosexual of european descent, or was just a metrosexual. Either way, he asked if i could use help with anything, and instead of just saying "just looking around", i found myself asking for a bathing suit. "Peter" as he was called, already knew that he had me and he told me to follow him to the bathing suits "section".

What happened in the next few hours is somewhat inexplicable, but it should teach everyone some important lessons. Peter first asked me if i want a tight bathing suit that highlights my dimension, and thus confirmed his true gayness. After insisting on a loose bathing suit, Peter barraged me with expensive bathing suits, until i finally was forced into buying one for 55 dollars! Thats right, i now own a 55 dollar bathing suit, and I will probably wear it no more than 3 times. The story unfortunately got much worse, as Peter decided that I could use new cologne, and perhaps a nice polo shirt to wear at the country club dinner/cocktail party. The bottom line is that I was brainwashed by this gay peter. I was willing to do whatever he told me to do or buy. I found myself in love with this salesman and his shopping acumen, and wishing that he was jewish and sitting next to me in shul on yom kippur, b/c he smelled really amazing.

Total bill at Bloomingdales: 189.76
Realizing that if someone approaches you and asks if you need help, to simply say "Just looking around": Priceless.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

subway stories.

As some may know, I reside in NYC for the months of the summer. More specifically, I live on the upper western side, yet my place of work is located on the east side, somewhere in the 50s. (I know the exact address, but I don't want to write it here, lest I become that "one guy" who started blogging about his job and put some inappropriate things on his blog and got fired. That guy's name is Lester. Lest I become that guy lester...strange.) Anyway, what this all means is that I have to figure out a way to get to work every morning, and that usually involves a lot of subway riding. There are some mornings where I will even ride 3 trains, and this is very bad.

Why is this very bad? A few reasons. First of all, the subway platform is the hottest place on the face of this here earth. I was thinking about this while I was sweating profusely this morning, and wondering if there is any way they will ever ever install air conditioning down there, or maybe gigantic fans or something. To make matters worse, I am usually wearing long sleeved shirts, even though many people at the firm wear short sleeve polos right now. I have about 5 solid (as opposed to striped or patterned-which I am inexplicably afraid to wear) short sleeved polo shirts, but I usually only wear them on fridays and weekends. By the way, not that I am a fashion guru or anything, but I beg any male who is reading this not to wear a button down short sleeved shirt to work. OR ever. Don't do it, its worse than wearing a turtle neck. So the point is that I feel compelled to give all my shirts "even-wearing" time, although some of them are old, stained, or missing buttons. I don't know why I do this with my shirts, b/c they are inanimate objects and do not have feelings. It is Ok not to wear all of them equally, yet I refuse to do so.

So I am sweating my butt off on the platform, and the train finally arrives, and this is good b/c the inside of the train has AC. If you see a car with no one in it, that probably means that the AC is broken so do not enter. It is either that or someone went to the bathroom in it, vomited, or was murdered or maybe only stabbed. But crowded air-conditioned cars have problems as well. Of course there is always weird contact moments where I find my hand on other people's butts, but thats all fun and games. The real awkwardness sets in if you actually get a seat, but people then hover over u menacingly. This happened to me last night, while I was traveling with some females who I know by name. I sat down, and a second later, some old dude's crotch is right in my face. To make matters worse, he stared menacingly at the female, thus accomplishing the rare yet amazing feat of "freaking 2 people out at once by simply standing still". Thank you old crotch man.

The subway also provides for the most random of all run ins. ("Random Min Ha'Random") I have no idea what the proper etiquette is for these type of run ins. Inevitably, you will run into 2 or 3 people a week who u have not seen or spoken to in the last 5 years. About once every two weeks u will run into a girl you dated. Once a month, you will run into a person you added to facebook, thinking you will never see them anyway, so why not add them at 5 AM. The subway is crowded and you cannot really even stop and chat to talk to them. I say give em a wave, a smile, and say "i'm sorry, i gotta run to work". This excuse doesn't always work, especially at like 10 PM. Or if they know that you don't have to run to any work at all, b/c you spend your time writing crap like this.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Enemy territory

It has certainly been awhile, and this is because I got the ole writers block, which is better than having the ole scurvy...I was recently home for a July 4th extravaganza and Mom began to criticize my recent posts on this here blog. Mom asked me why all I seem to write about is synagogue and stuff of that ilk. The truth is that I used to write about food and deli alot, and before that I wrote about dating alot. But something I really never got to discuss in full detail- and it really deserves more than one rant- is going to the bathroom. I love going to the bathroom b/c it is when I can concentrate the best. I can study there for hours at a time, and the knowledge just flows into me...maybe as the waste leaves my body, I am able to replace it simultaneously with exciting law knowledge...who knows. At work, I sometimes go to the bathroom to take naps, b/c I cannot nap at my desk, as this is deemed "unprofessional". Now that I think about it, taking a nap on the toilet is probably more "unprofessional" but no one is able to see. To make it super-authentic, I even lower the trousers, so I can trick people into thinking I am actually using the bathroom. I am devious. Is this too much information for you people?

Anyway, so u all get the point- I appreciate a good bathroom outing. Sometimes, however, bathroom conditions are far from ideal. This tragic situation occured to me on Wednesday evening of this week. A female companion of mine suggested that we go get Ben and Jerry's ice cream on 104th street in NYC. As a side note, since when is there a Ben and Jerry's on 104th street??? Why was I not notified of this amazing discovery until this week. I am very upset. Anyway, I got chocholate fudge brownie frozen yogurt, b/c Mom has instituted a new rule that I can no longer eat ice cream b/c it is making my romp get fat. I also have to drink diet snapple, diet coke, and skim milk and splenda in my coffee. This won't ever work b/c I still drink beer. Strangely, Mom has not yet passed a rule against beer drinking.

So as you might remember from a post entitled "The Lactose Intolerance", sometimes my stomach reacts unfavorably to the presence of Lactose. I just realized that Lactose is similar to the expensive brand Lacoste. Not sure if there is any other connectionl, other than the fact that I am "Lacoste intolerant" as well, b/c I hate people who wear those shirts. Ironically, however, I myself have some lacoste items, so this may mean that I hate myself. More on this at a therapy session later. The point is that I had to really go to the bathroom, and so I asked the female companion if I can use her facilities. I knew that this was a dangerous proposition, but I was getting hit hard, and I had to do this. I asked her where the spray was as well, and this made us both uncomfortable.

This female has two roomates and they were both home = 3 girls in the apartment that I feared would all stand next to the door and try to listen to me on the toilet. That is why the first thing I did upon arriving in this strange, rose-scented bathroom, was turn on the faucet, shower, take out a set of drums, and make any other noise I can so that they could not hear me actually excreting. I'm pretty sure this plan worked to perfection, but I then encountered 2 more obstacles.

First- I wanted to make sure the bathroom was as clean and pleasent as it was when I entered. This meant that I would have to spend the next 14 minutes cleaning every spot of the room, so that the 3 ladies would never ever remember that I desecrated their bathroom palace. I scrubbed, I poured toilet cleaner in the toilet, and that just turned all the water blue. I also had to spray, which brings me to the second obstacle...

Second- Remember how I asked the female if they had spray? Well, they did, and she even told me that it was in a corner next to the toilet. What she didn't tell me was that said corner was also stocked with female-oriented products known as tampons. Now, I mean when elaine wants to stock up on sponges on Seinfeld. I guess these girls get this stuff at Costco or whatever. The point is that I did not plan on sifting through boxes of tampons in order to locate a spray.

I gotta tell you- I was seized with such a mad panic when I didn't see that spray at first. I had no idea what the hell I would have done. Luckily, I found it and sprayed it for 10 minutes straight, before passing out on the floor from the chemicals. I never want to go to a girl bathroom again-its forever marked and etched in my mind as "enemy territory", and I want 2 bathrooms when I am married, and I want mine to have a piano in it, so my musically talented friends can play tunes for me...preferably show tunes, and no jewish music, b/c then I would sing along and i think that is not allowed.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

shul seat stealer

It seems like all I ever write about these days is my time spent in synagogue. I'm not sure what that means. In any event, I will now record a completely true and somewhat disturbing incident that occured right before my very eyes this past shabbos.

I was in western hempstead, and decided to attend the "teen" minyan, b/c the "young adult" minayn did not meet this week. I'm not sure when I'm gonna have to start going to the old adult minyan...i wonder what the cut-off is. I say that under 30, you can still go to young adult minyan, but over 30 you should never be seen there. In addition, if you are bald or have grey hair, you should go to the regular adult minyan. I would make some type of married-rule and say that all married people should go to a regular adult minyan, but it seems that people like to get married as young adults these days, and thus belong in the "young adult" minyan. Then again, if you don't live in west hempstead, you probably don't have any clue what the hell I am talking about and you can just pretend you didn't read this whole paragraph.

Anyway, sometimes there are strange adults that sneak their way into these younger-generation minyans. I'm really not sure what these guys are doing here. The "leader/founder" of the minyan is an older fellow and he belongs. Same goes for parents that are drifting in to hear their kids leign and s like that. U "shep nachas". But there are also alot of parents who come by to spy on their kids and make sure they r in the minyan. Those parents annoy me. I am going to start coming to their minyan and spying on them and make sure they are davening properly and what not. I'm also gonna come to their office and spy on them and make sure they r doing their jobs. But even worse than these parents, are the parents that come to the minyan with their kids and sit with them the entire time. This has to be torture for the kids. I think the whole point of these minyans is to give the kids some freedom and time to develop their own davening feelings and skills. Actually, I have no idea what I'm talking about and I don't really know what the point of these minyans are. If anyone does, please tell me. The point is that the parents that come to the minyans with their kids are annoying to their own children, and more importantly, to me.

And this weekend in particular was dificult. I got up from my seat to tell my friend yoni wiesel what happened in every MLB boxscore that I had read at home. Naturally, on shabbos, no matter how late I wake up, I still go through every box score in the paper 900 times so that I can be even later to shul. Now then, telling all the boxscore details to yoni during torah reading can be quite a long process b/c you can only say them in between aliyahs, and that is a minimal window of time. So I must have been standing next to him for about 2 aliyahs, when I large balding man decided to take my seat. This is bad b/c he clearly saw me sitting there 6 minutes ago, and he clearly saw me standing in the back discussing important baseball pitches, like chris capuano's increasing # of quality starts. It would be one thing (a misdemeanor) if he would have stolen my seat while I went to the bathroom. It is a completely different thing (a felony, for which hot malten lead should be poured down his fat throat) to steal my seat right in front of me. And to top it all off, it was an aisle seat.

The guy spent the rest of davening harrasing his own children and ruining their day. I was angry for a few hours about this, but now I realize that his children probably hate him, so that is enough punishment.

Happy Father's Day you seat stealer.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

top 12 list

I went to synagogue services this past saturday morning, and much to my chagrin or dismay or any other word that you wanna insert here, I realized that I was in for the longest Torah reading of the year - Parshas Nasoh. Don't be a wise ass here and tell me that the double parshos are longer, I am only talking about single parshos. To make matters worse, Parshas Nasoh is really long AND repetetive, b/c it goes through all 12 of the Nesi'im and the gifts they brought to the Tabernacle's Inaguration party. Now, that was a party! In any event, it is very hard to sit through this part of the Torah reading, b/c you cannot really even entertain yourself by reading the english notes in the bottom of the stone chumash. Luckily, however, I am distrubed, and was able to entertain myself by compiling the following top 12 list: And before I present you with this list, I just want to say that i am kind of stealing this from Dave Letterman, and I probably won't make any more lists again, but I figured I should give it a shot, so thanks Mr. Letterman...

"Top 12 Nesi'im":

12) Achirah ben Aeinan, from Naftali: Does anyone know this guy? he seems to constantly slip through the cracks
11) Achiezer ben Amishaday; from Dan: his name is a tounge-twister, knocking him down on the list.
10) Pagiel ben Achran;Asher: Nickname "pag", not very popular
9) Gamliel ben Pidatzur; Menashe: Was Menashe the son that was supposed to get the Bracha, but Yakov switched his hands? I think so.
8) Elishama ben Amihud; Ephraim: Or maybe it was Ephraim...can't really remember.
7) Avidan Ben Gidoni; Binyamin: I associate him with a Professor Giloni I had in YU. Our personalites clashed.
6) Elyasaf Ben Diuel; Gad: Brought one silver plate as part of gift.
5) Shlumeil ben Tzureshaday; Shimon: It's not everyday that one man bring a Par, Ayil, and Keves to the Tabrernacle!!!
4) Nesanel ben Tzuar;Yissacher: His tribe learns alot of Torah, so that is nice.
3) Eliyav ben Cheilon; Zevulun: his tribe supports Yissacher's tribe, so he is the man.
2)Elitzur ben Shdeyur; Reuven: I moved him up to #2 b/c he comes from Reuven and Reuven was the why not #1 u ask?B/c...
1) Nachshon ben Aminadav; Yehudah: This was an easy choice. He jumped into the ocean and put his life on the line...Respect.

And I'm done.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

wireless distractions

Did you all have a nice Shavuos? It is also known as Pentacaust, which doesn't sound nearly as nice. The Rabbis also refer to it as Atzeret, and that just confuses me. I think there are 6 other names but they escape me at the moment. Speaking of Pentacaust, I just got my grade back for a class I took called Law and the Holocaust. I got a B; I might have simply gotten a B because my final was a bit on the short side. I simply wrote "The Holocaust was against the law, just like Darfur." (Cr: Abba) (Mom- don't be upset...the professor is an anti-semite) Seriously though, I had a very difficult time paying attention to anything in this class. Perhaps it is because I have heard and been educated about the Holocaust since I was little, so the material in this class seemed very repetetive to me. Or perhaps it is because we have wireless access in the classroom (which I think every school has except for YU) and I have, which means I can watch baseball games during class instead of listening to the professor. As a side note, maybe it is great that YU does not yet have wireless because absolutely no one would pay attention in shiur if you could go on I had enough problems paying attention as it was, and I had to have this guy kick me whenever I fell asleep. But here is the kicker; sometimes, the "kicker" himself would fall asleep, and this was trouble, b/c Rav H. would just pull me up by the back of my hair. I think this was his way of simply insisting that I get a haircut.

Although Law and the Holocaust seems depressing, I can tell you all one funny story that occured in this class: One time my friend (also Jewish) was watching a game, while the professor was showing us a video on Nurenberg Trials or something. Then his sound suddenly went off, and everyone knew that he was watching a baseball game instead of watching the informative Holocaust video. I found this humerous, but I think I would have been mad if it happened to a non-jew b/c I would have thought that it is insensitive for him/her to watch sports instead of paying attention. Even more insensitive and offensive would be if a guy was on a pro-nazi site during the law and holocaust class. That would not be nice.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

codifying the theory

Upon reviewing my last entry, I realized that I did a poor, if not terrible job, of explaining my theorietical justification for not ever planning on learning how to cook. So here, being that I now work at a law firm, I will attempt to clarify and codify the theory. I'm pretty sure that codify is the wrong word here, but I am enjoying using it.

We will now refer to the theory as "The NON-COOKING JUSTIFICATION THEORY", and it will be stated as follows: "A male is justified in not cooking, nor ever attempting to cook, if he meets the following two qualifications:
1) He must be able to afford to buy food from a professional chef or store.
2) He must not be a better or more skilled cook than said professional chef or store.
First, notice that this theory only applies to male humans. If you are female, this theory will not exempt you from attempting to learn the art that is cooking.
I arrived at this theory based on the rational presented in the previous entry. Once again, that rational stated that we should not cook our own food, just like we are not expected to make our own clothing. Implicit in this logic is the 2 conditions mentioned above - that we can afford to buy our own clothes (and food), and that we cannot do a better job making our own. If we cannot afford it, then we should do it in a cheaper way...i.e-make the food. And similarly, if we can make it better ourselves, we should do that. Otherwise, however, there is simply no excuse.

So for me- i fit into both conditions. 1) I can (thankfully) afford to buy my food, rather than spend time laboring in the kitchen. I hate laboring, but I love labor day, and that is somewhat of a paradox. In any event, I'm not trying to brag here and say that I can afford lavish meals at prime grill every day, but I can afford the empire packages of turkey bologna, chicken bologna, and just plain bologna (pronounced Bah-low-knee). Again, the clothing comparison comes into play here...we buy our clothes, even if not everything we buy is the most expensive of things. We will buy some banana republic, some gap, and some old navy. Sure, I'll have the occasional steak dinner, but I'll also mix in plenty of gross empire deli. And that is no excuse to attempt the art of cooking, unless of course, my cooking would be superior to the gross deli.

All this talk about bologna reminds me of one good Rav Hirsch("Rav H") story from my days in the University of Yeshiva. One time Rav H made us a party in shiur because we had finished something. I can't remember exactly what, but I know it was talmudic. Anyway, there was a plate of pastrami, a plate of corned beef, and a plate of bologna. Obviously, everyone went straight for the first 2 superior meats, and everyone just ignored the plate of bologna. The entire pile was just sitting there, and it was getting Rav H upset. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore, and he gave it to us. "It's a Bizzayon to the bologna!!!" he shouted.
It was indeed.

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