Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bel and the detective

Jonathan was listening to some oi on his hi-fi when his mother walked in to his room. "Oy!" she said, "What is this you're listening to, and you the oe of a great civil rights leader!" Jonathan slowly turned his head to face his mother, and insolently replied, "That's none of your business, woman."

A couple of hours later Jonathan's father came home, and his wife told him all that his son had done. "Not only was the music he was listening to of a most disgusting quality," she reported, "but he said the rudest thing to me!" Jonathan's father promised to deal with the issue immediately, and following a quick gin and tonic (for courage) he retraced his wife's steps up the stairs and knocked on his son's door.

Thirty minutes later Jonathan's father was explaining to the police detective what exactly had happened.

"Well, basically, you know, he was always such a good kid. As you know, his grandfather is Carlos Frank, the great civil rights leader. But today his mother walked into the room, and what happened? He was listening to the most disgusting music and then said something terrible to her. I came in a little later from work, and after hearing what had happened I resolved to sort the situation out. Up I went to my son's room, and after there was no response to my knocking I tried to open the door. It wouldn't budge, which was odd, because there isn't a lock on the door. I shoved the door, but it seemed like there was something heavy behind it preventing it from opening, so I decided to enter through the window."

At this point the officer interjected, "And up to this point you'd heard nothing, not even when you tried to force your way in?"

"That's correct officer, I heard nothing."

"And what did you do next?"

"Well, I went to the ladder to get the garage-"

"You mean you went to the garage to get a ladder?" interjected the officer again.

"Yes, that's right, excuse me."

"And why did you decide to go through the window"

"Well, I was scared for my son-after all, maybe he was hurt or something?"


"Right, so I got the ladder and walked over to the ground beneath my son's window. I looked up to see if there was anything not normal visible, but it looked totally normal. After setting the ladder up against the wall I proceeded to climb up. When I got halfway I stopped, because I thought I had heard something, but it was just a passing rabbit, so I continued. When I got to the window I was surprised to see that I couldn't see inside it. I tried to pry it open, but it was latched from the inside, so I knocked on it. There was no answer, so I broke it open."

"How'd you do that?" asked the officer.

"Well, I had my cellphone on me, so I just hit the window as hard as I could and it broke."

"The window broke?"

"No, the cellphone broke."

"So what did you next?"

"I climbed down, got an axe, and climbed back down. I then swung the axe at the window and it cracked. I swung again, and it broke. I then realized that I wasn't able to see inside because there was a sheet in the window, so I pushed it aside."

"What did you see then?"

"Well, I, it was, crazy... just crazy."

"Hmm?" the officer asked, raising his eyebrows.

"Well, at first I didn't know what was going on. The lights were off, and there was a large golden statue on the nightstand, which had been moved to the center of the room. Jonathan was prostrated before it, and he had a knife in his hand. I jumped in through the window to the floor, and ran to my son. When I was within about three feet of him he suddenly rose up and said, 'Come no further!' I stopped in my tracks, and he said, 'Bow before the great god Bel or I shall slay you this instant!' If I hadn't thought he was serious I would have burst out laughing, it was so ridiculous."

"So then what happened?"

"Well, I said, 'Jonathan, what's going on here?' He replied, 'Will you bow or not?' Again I asked him what was happening, and he suddenly lunged at me screaming, 'Die heretic!!' with the knife pointed at my heart. I jumped to my left, and he plunged head first out the open window, screaming as he went, 'For Bellll!!!' And that was that."

"Wow, that's quite the story."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Equals life

It's strange how life works, you know? Sometimes it seems like everything is going well-in fact, you can pinpoint the exact time when you thought you had everything going for you. I had this yesterday at halftime of the Confederations Cup final between the USA and Brazil. The US was up 2-0, the Twins were winning 4-0, I thought I had a bed waiting for me in Morristown, I even thought I had a job lined up.

And today? As you probably know, the US blew the game. I came to Morristown, and lo and behold, there was no bed waiting for me. And today I got an email saying, and I quote:

"After going through over 30 applications and writing samples we have filled the job opening. Thank you very much for your time, I hope to be able to work with you in the future."

That's right folks. Things were looking up. Very up And then they were looking down. Very down. At least the Twins won, right?
Several hours later...

I got a bed. All right, it's not ideal (it's softer than quicksand), but it'll do for the next little while.

And I might have a job. That's exciting. Yup.

Of course the Twins had to lose, but whatever.
I think qtap summed it up best:

"I think you have truly shown me what it means there is good and bad in everything."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Say what?

How do you know when you've made it? When random people from Oklahoma stop you in the street and ask, "Hey, are you the real shliach?" Is that how you know you've made it?

Because it's happened. I was stopped on the street. A bochur from Oklahoma asked if I was TRS. I answered in the affirmative. Yay. Now I can die happy.
Meanwhile, in other news, I once wrote a story entitled "There was..." It's a little odd. Enjoy.

Many years ago, in a land far, far away, there was a very old man who had severe brain damage. The result of this was that he didn't recognize his children. It was all very sad. His children would visit him in the nursing home once a month, and they always made sure to bring flowers and chocolates, because who doesn't like flowers and chocolates?

Unfortunately, like many things in life, the assumptions of the man's children proved to be false, and in fact he couldn't stand flowers and chocolate. Every time he saw them he would get a pathological hatred for all things verdant and caffeinated, and once he got so angry he pulled the plug on his life support and thus life ended.

That is really only the beginning of this story, because later on all his children decided to go to group therapy in order to get over their collective grief. Their guilt was also terrible to behold, but as everyone knows guilt is good for people, so they weren't calling in the psychological people to solve that problem.

During the group therapy the question was broached as to what exactly the children could do to get over their collective grief. One of the grandchildren proposed that they separate the collective grief and make it more personal, as that would save them all a lot of money with the group therapy. The group therapist quickly pointed out that this course of action would result in the group therapist losing his current position, and probably end up with much death, and possibly dismemberment, for the group therapist's family members, many of whom relied on him for their daily bread and caviar. Another family member, this time a favored nephew, proposed that the group therapist's family members stop eating caviar, and instead eat sushi, which had the undoubted advantage of not only being tastier but also cheaper.

A fracas ensued as a troop of Russian and Japanese performance artists burst into the room and started to argue about the relative merits of their respective national foods. Most of the family members started to throw the complementary doughnuts, thoughtfully provided by the group therapist, at the Russians, because no one likes sturgeon anyway. Incredibly enough, no one was hurt.

The local Shliach walked in and said, "What in the world is going on?" Immediately everyone stopped what they were doing and began to explain. The Shliach was not very impressed with their explanations and decided to do something drastic. He turned off the lights, and bedlam instantly commenced. The editor being out of town on a Hawaiian vacation, grammar started to dissolve in on itself and whole sentences began to die. Lakewood itself, home of more giants in Torah per capita than any other township in New Jersey, and also one of the last remaining real tennis courts in the world. But that's another story for another day.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kosher Cooking Carnival #43: The S. S. Mein Kind Edition

Hey there folks! Do you know what time it is? It's time for the 43rd edition of the Kosher Cooking Carnival! Woohoo! The KCC was founded by Batya of Me-Ander and is run by her too, which means that if you want to host a KCC in the future all that's needed is to drop her a line. Here are the previous 42 editions, please enjoy them as much as you enjoy this edition (which is to say, immensely).

#1,#2,#3,#4,#5,#6,#8,#9,#1,#11,#12,#13,#15,#16,#17,#18,#19,#20,#21,KCMC,#22,#23,#24, #25,#26,#27,#28,#29,#30,#31,#32,#33,#34,#35,#36,#37,#38,#39,#40,#41,#42

And now... on with the show! The food! Whatever.

(Just) Desserts

(I'm a big believer in eating dessert first)

Ilana-Davita presents Red Summer Dessert posted at Ilana-Davita. I was going to make a joke about hunting for this (Red October?), but I couldn't come up with one. Oh well.

Nitzana Nissan presents Cherry with a Twist posted at Lost Star of David. L'fum tzaara agra, right?

Anything Kosher!

shorty presents Carb free (gluten free!) Sushi "Salad" posted at What's for Shabbos. Sounds healthy. And yummy. And healthy. Yup.

Diet Food

muse presents Delicious Kosher Restaurant Diet Meals posted at me-ander. I always thought the whole point of a diet was that when you went to NY you were able to pig out.

Every Day Meals

Devo K presents Mexican Casserole posted at In the middle, on the right. My sister made something like this for Shavuos. Everyone said it was delicious.

Nitzana presents Summer Gazpacho posted at Lost Star of David. True story: My mom ordered gazpacho on a date with my dad. My dad, being a true gentleman, also did. When it arrived my father took a spoon and started blowing on it. After a couple of puffs he tasted it... he couldn't believe it had cooled down so quickly!

Sahara Reins presents How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs posted at Fowl Visions. Another true story: The mashpia of Tomchei Tmimim Brunoy was also the cook, and he was once directed by the Rebbe to make the food taste better. He wasn't very in touch with the world, but he was a big chassid, so he decided to make the food taste better. He knew that the bochurim also complained that his hard-boiled eggs were hard, so he resolved to make them softer. The next morning he woke early and put the eggs on for an additional ten minutes...

Ilana-Davita presents Quick Tomato Pie posted at Ilana-Davita. If I ate this my mother would be very proud. And my sisters. And my kallah. Come to think of it, who wouldn't be very proud of me? Me!

Leora Wenger presents Tomato Sauce Alternative posted at Here in HP. But can you use this for pizza?

Jewish Holiday Food

mominisrael presents 7-Minute Low-Fat Microwave Cheesecake posted at A Mother in Israel. Who doesn't like cheesecake?

Yoav B presents Food and Detention posted at Israeli Soldier's LIFE & THOUGHTS, saying, "Detention in base during the Shavuot holiday... Not seeing home and eating milky food- what could possibly be worse?" In case you're wondering, it's a Mitzvah D'oraisa to eat meat.

Restaurant or Cookbook Reviews

Batya presents Stretching Out The Big 6 posted at me-ander. I didn't know you could turn sixty more than once.

Watch Me Eat
presents Watch Me Eat: Ben's Deli in Boca Raton posted at Watch Me Eat, saying, "Eating at a Kosher restaurant in Boca Raton, FL called Ben's Deli." The last paragraph was a shocker.

Traditional Food

Leora Wenger presents Tabouli with Orange posted at Here in HP. Since when was tabouli traditional? But anyway, this looks very delicious.

Miscellaneous Shtuff

vegefood presents Spicy Chicken with Green Chillies | Vegetarian Culinary Recipes posted at Vegetarian Culinary, saying, "Great vegetarian culinary recipe for spicy chicken with the delicious green chillies. Mmm!" What I don't get is, how do you have chicken that's vegetarian? Maybe I'm just slow or something.

NerdMom presents Ancient Gingerbread posted at Nerd Family Food. Random fact: I used to be famous for my gingerbread men.

Mrs. S. presents Who you callin’ chicken? posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress. Umm...tastes like chicken.

Ariel Ben Yochanan presents Make your own bread! posted at The Torah Revolution. Obviously we have different definitions of the word "easy."

TRS (that would be me) presents Siman 69, Halacha 19, posted at The Real Shliach. In case you wanted to know about that red shtuff coming out of your chicken.

Well folks, that's it. I hope you've enjoyed your time here on the TRS blog, and remember, food is always good. Submit your blog article to the next edition of kosher cooking carnival using our carnival submission form.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Yummy and not so much

I was in Empire Kosher tonight shopping for my sister (I'm a nice guy, eh?) when I ran into Aryeh Schwartz who informed me that there'd be a farbrengen tonight by his home with Rabbi Mendy Schapiro (LA) in honor of Gimmel Tammuz. I promised to come, remembering the superb peanut butter cookies which had been served at the last such farbrengen that I attended.

Sure enough, when I made it up to Aryeh's fourth floor apartment there they were, several dozen delicious peanut butter weight increasers. Aryeh mentioned to me that his brother in law (Menachem) had told him that I had blogged about these cookies previously, and so they had made sure to bake them. Thanks Menachem!

Before I forget, Fitz Shpiegelman wanted me to mention him. For all those keeping score, Fitz just finished learning Smicha in Atlanta and is a really swell guy. Just saying.

Anyway, of course, Rabbi Schapiro said lots of great things. I didn't write anything down at the time (as I had my hereditary seat on his left side), but one thing he said really struck me.

Once upon a time there was a guy who came home and told his wife of fifty years, "Honeybunches? You know what? There's one thing that all rich people eat that I've never had the opportunity to partake of."

His wife said, "Yes, what would that be?"

Her husband answered, "Blintzes!" "



"From what do you want blintzes?"

"Well, all the rich people eat them, so they must be good. I'm sixty five years old, and I think it's time for me to finally live in style."

The man's wife was very sympathetic to his plight, but pointed out a slight problem in his plans. "You know," she said, "there's a reason that through forty five years of marriage I've never made you blintzes. They're too expensive!"

"So?" her husband countered, "We'll use substitutes. For example, in real blintzes there's white flour. Well, we can't afford that, but we can afford something else that's white and powdery-baking soda!"

(I won't bore you with the rest of the ingredients, but suffice it to say that the resulting "blintzes" were very strange indeed.)

The man bit into his "blintz" and told his wife, "You know, it's true."

"What's true?"

"The saying that all rich people are crazy. Have a taste, these blintzes are disgusting!"

What's the lesson from this story? Very simple. We know that the very best life is the chassidic life. We know that the only path to personal fulfillment and global change is through doing what we're supposed to do. And yet... and yet we often say, "It's nuts! Who wants to live like that?"

The problem is that we do only a little bit of what we're supposed to. Sure, we're "living a chassidic lifestyle," but what does that really mean? Anything? We're putting garbage into the equation, no wonder that's all we're getting out of it. You can't say that being a frum Jew is ridiculous until you've actually, properly been a frum Jew. Until then, you're just eating baking soda and who knows what else!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


How long?! How long?! Ad mosai, till when?!
How long?! How long?! Ad mosai, till when?!
When all the hearts are broken
How can You shatter a dream?
When all the world is trembling
How can You shake anything?
When all the songs have ended
Only Your song will sing better
You're the only who can put a broken heart back together

Courtesy of 8th Day/Jewish Music Lyrics

Yup. Gimmel Tammuz. 15 years. Everyone on the blogosphere is writing about it tonight. But what is there to say? The wound is still raw. Even worse, for many people, it's starting to close. What do you say at a time like this? I don't know. I wish I did.

Nu G-d, we're waiting.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hafuch ba, hafuch ba

The Rogatchover Gaon was once walking down the street when he was accosted by (insert great scholar's name here-I can't remember which one, but he was great) who said, "Mazel Tov!" The Rogatchover, already an old man at this point, said something to the effect of "Huh?" The great scholar explained, "Well, you hold that kiddushin is a peulah nimsheches, that the act of sanctifying a woman for marriage (in effect declaring that she is now only available for one man) is a continual action, i.e. it's not that you sanctify her once, you are constantly effecting kiddushin upon her. So, since you have 'just not' gotten 'married' to your wife, I said Mazel Tov!"

The person who told me the above story, Rabbi Aaron Gancz, added that as far as he knew the great scholar was being a bit facetious, because he didn't hold of the Rogatchover's great chidush here, and wanted to express that in a humorous way.

The Rebbe says in a sicha (or it could be in a footnote, I forget exactly) that the union between man and woman makes no sense whatsoever. How could it be that two opposites could come together? The Rebbe explains that for this you need a peulah nimsheches, a continuous action, to allow for this meeting of diametrical forces. And what is the practical lesson from this? A person thinks that he's gotten married and now he's done; he's fulfilled all he had to do, and now he can live the rest of his life in peace. The Rebbe explains that this isn't the case! Kiddushin is a peulah nimsheches, without continuous work on the part of the husband and wife a marriage won't last! It's not enough to put in effort in the beginning and assume that everything will continue without a problem; instead a person needs to constantly work on maintaining and improving their marriage.

Hat tip to
Dovid and Sara for inspiring this early morning post

Monday, June 22, 2009

Powerhouses of Hostingness

This post is new, brand new, hot out of the oven and fresh and various things new (not to mention innovative). All right, it's really not. It's old, recycled, freezer burnt. But never fear, it's good shtuff. After all, could a farbrengen with the inimitable moi be anything but? I think not. Still though, I realize that some people tend to glaze over when they find out that they're reading a rerun, so I intend to offer snarky editorial comments, which will be identifiable by their being bold in nature. As in, to boldly go where no blogger has gone before.

First aired on Monday, April 7, 2008, I present to you for an encore performance, "The Rashab, Akiba, and other shtuff".

Today (All right, it's not, get over it) is the anniversary of the passing of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rashab. He was an interesting personality, as a quick search on Google will bear out. According to many he was medically depressed, or as the Rebbe (Or was it Freud?) put it, “The head grasps what the heart is unable to contain, and the heart cannot tolerate.” He was known to compare himself negatively to his predecessors, and to wonder if he was accomplishing anything. (If only people nowadays accomplished what the Rebbe Rashab did and had these feelings...)

I think that everyone has these feelings at one time or another. We all feel inadequate, and wonder what the point is. Actually, the Rebbe Rashab never wondered about this, because he knew exactly what the point was: To make a dwelling place for Hashem down here. The only difficulty is in the implementation. A similar query was posed to me by a well-respected person, “How does one do Teshuva?” I responded, “Regret the bad you've done and resolve to do only good in the future.” Again, a simple answer, but ever so difficult to apply practically.

This is something which annoys me to no end; why can't people just do the right thing and stop thinking so much? In the long run they'll be so much happier, so why bother with all the stupidity in the middle? Obviously I'm mainly addressing these comments to myself. We have a heart, and it exhibits strangely powerful tendencies which cause some bad things. (You bet I'm addressing myself here)

A Bochur here at YHSTC (A good yeshiva, if I do say so myself) told me on Shabbos that he has a Facebook account. I began to tell him of all the evils to be found on social networking, and he stopped me with, “Oh, I'm careful, no harm will come my way.” This argument was so obviously flawed that it took all my analytical powers to comprehend how a boy who I thought was quite intelligent could make such a mistake (Or at least try to excuse himself with such a pathetic attempt).

What's the problem? We pray every day that Hashem not expose us to temptation. Going on Facebook, and truth be told going online, is exposing oneself to major temptation. Fine, so I'm a hypocrite (You can say that again). Big deal (Actually, it is). Everyone at some point in their life has to understand that life is not black and white, and that hypocrisy is a necessary component of survival (Doesn't make it right). Conservative talk show hosts are always going on about the “hypocrisy of the left” (A year later...they're still doing it!); I would venture to say that conservatives are just as hypocritical as their liberal colleagues (As true today as it was a year ago). All that's needed is to change the word to “compromise” and everyone feels good. Does it accomplish anything? Possibly not. But then when did the pursuit of truth become the standard that all of us lesser mortals were forced to be crucified upon (Never, but it should be, no?)?

Getting back to temptation, which is something that I'm sure all of us are happy to have (Not all the time [I should hope]), the Talmud also states that one can't trust himself until the day he dies. No man, no matter how holy, is immune. Rabbi Akiba once said that he was too old, and the evil inclination had no power over him. The Satan appeared to the great sage in the visage of an extremely beautiful young maiden, and Rabbi Akiba was so taken by “her” appearance that he began to follow (According to the man is his Yetzer Hora). The Satan started to run, and the Rabbi followed in close pursuit. Eventually “she” ran up a tree, to the end of a branch, and Rabbi Akiba was about to grab “her” when Satan revealed his true colors (Truth is, is Satan really a "he"? Maybe he's an it? It's an it? Whatever). Rabbi Akiba learned that no man is safe, not even a person who is renowned as being the savior of the Oral Torah.

(The lesson for the rest of us? Be frum!)

The end

In other news, I made a hachlata to read every comment I write before posting it. You know what happened? I didn't post about ten comments today. I didn't not refrain from posting because they were infantile or puerile, but because they would have involved me in senseless machlokes which would of course have prevented the Messiah from coming. And anyway, I've got a sour taste in my mouth from stupid comments.

U'msaymim b'tov, if you want to read a post that Cheerio once called "Powerful", read this. I read it tonight, and thought it was pretty good. And it has Rabbi Manis Friedman in it. Anything with Manis in it can't be too bad, right?

Ouch, that hurts

How in the world do I have a sunburn on my neck? All right, the truth is, I don't actually have a sunburn on my neck, it just feels like I do. How do I know that there is no sunburn on my neck? Because my neck has not been exposed to the sun. Because there has been no sun recently. It's like the whole New York metropolitan area went under a vast dome-like structure which seems to think that it would be most fun to rain all day. How miserable. Rain is wet. Wet is not a natural state for human life. Well, it is, but only for nine months. After that people like to dry out and realize their life-long dream (up to that point, anyway) of breathing on their own.

So about this sun burn shtuff. As I said, I don't like it. It's weird. It's uncomfortable. It reminds me of my days in the sun. Or, the day after my days in the sun. You know the routine.

Perhaps there's a new type of burn-the rain burn. It's possible, no? After all, if people can get burned by ice and boiling water, why not rain water? Here's my theory: the water in the sky percolates a bit and then comes down and falls unto the earth from whence it came as "rain". At that point the earth responds appropriately, with thousands of people pulling out umbrellas and even more running inside to spend fifteen minutes looking for the umbrella that they just put down yesterday. But it's not there. And that's neither here nor there.

So where does the rain burn come in? Very simple. Some people are very holy, and they're extremely averse to the slightest suggestion or whiff of scandal. So what happens at that point. I'll tell you. At that point the rain says, "Hey, what is going on oh fine feathered friends?" Any fine feathered friends who can hear the conductor are then uninvited to the party, because who wants to come to a party when there's a whole bunch of crazy birds there anyway? Maybe if the birds were in chafing dishes, or rejoiced in the name of "roast turkey breast" they'd be acceptable, but that hasn't happened yet, and current experience has taught us to expect that it probably won't happen in the future either. More's the pity.

It's here that rain burn really comes into its own as a force for good in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republican operatives named Colin and sporting trimmed mustaches that, when touched by the right dye, immediately spring into the latest collectible craze of flowering beauties. Lest anyone think that someone might not appreciate this obvious effort on the part of whomever it is that is putting this whole shebang together, it's really necessary to first say that at the time no one thought anything too terrible would occur. You could say that no one thought Egypt would lose so pathetically, but as their coach said, it's all because they couldn't concentrate. If that's a good excuse for some people who have a whole nation relying on 'em to provide glory, then certainly for a humble blogger like myself it'll eminently suitable.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Haveil Havalim 222: The The The The The Edition

Welcome to the I'm-writing-this-Haveil-Havalim-on-Tuesday-because-I-have-a-smicha-test-(melicha, simanim 69-78)-on-Sunday-morning-and-I-need-more-than-three-hours-of-sleep-the-night-before-edition of HH!

Or maybe it's the My-kallah-is-in-town-and-I-have-better-things-to-do-(I know your skeptical, but it's true)-than-sit-in-front-of-a-computer-screen-for five-hours-reading-people's-posts-edition of HH!

Perhaps it's the I've-always-desperately-wanted-attention-and-I've-finally-figured-out-a-sure-fire-way-to-get-it-edition of HH!

Or maybe it's the I've-just-used-more-hyphens-in-four-paragraphs-than-the-average-blogger-uses-in-a-month's-worth-of-blogging-edition of HH!

Because, as you know, every Haveil Havalim has to have a theme, a leitmotif, a general idea running throughout that connects the disparate posts into the semblance of a whole that we might wish them to be, an association of thoughts that act together (in concert) in a presentation of commonality that might be missing if the theme weren't there, a... you get the point. So, without further ado, I present to you THE GREATEST HAVEIL HAVALIM TO EVER BE (PARTIALLY) TYPED ON AN iPOD TOUCH (OS 2.1!) IN THE HISTORY OF MAN OR MACHINE!

But first, a word from our sponsors...

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothing but 'hevel,' or in English, 'vanity.'

So here we are, all ready for a new edition of HH, and the time has come for me to make a big admission of guilt: Whenever a new HH is hot off the press I immediately scroll down looking for my name and seeing what was written about me. Because really, isn't that the point? I'm sure I'm not the only blogger who engages in this shockingly narcissistic behavior, and therefore I'm saddened to have to tell the vast majority of you that in fact I won't be writing anything particularly special about you. Sorry. Now on with the show.

First of all, most importantly, my wonderful Kallah le7 blogged all about our meeting and engagement for The Jewish Wedding Network with First Comes Blog, Then Comes Marriage, and she also blogged about other facets of being engaged on her own blog, Free Elisheva!, with Stream of Unconsciousness: Wamma Bamma Engagement Update Edition. For really cute pictures of my (and her future) nieces, check out The Day After: A trip to the Brooklyn Children's Museum over on the TRS+le7 blog.


presents When Jews are Targets posted at My Views on the News, saying, "Delusions become dangerous not when we start to believe them but when we stop questioning. Why are we afraid to face the obvious facts? Because the facts hurt too badly. So we hide behind two-state solutions, and pullouts, and dialogue and bridge building..."


Chaim presents The Jailhouse Bar Mitzvah Scandal posted at Chaim Rubin, saying, "About Jailhouse Bar Mitzvah"

Leora Wenger presents Haveil Havalim and JPIX posted at Here in HP, saying, "Please advertise JPIX. So everybody, whatever JPIX is, go do it!

presents Noodle Google...er...Koogle posted at Tikkun Olam, saying, "Don't know if this falls under the category of culture or religion or humor or...tragedy."

HistoryLady-Light presents We Are Settlers: Plain and Simple posted at Tikkun Olam.

rutimizrachi presents It's not about the Holocaust, Mr. President. posted at Ki Yachol Nuchal!, saying, "Rabbi Cardozo gives a little history lesson to Mr. Obama."

e presents Internet is Evil at The Highway back to Krenitz.


presents Who Is Rabbi Lemming? posted at Esser Agaroth.

Toby Curwin
presents No, it doesn't really say that... posted at A Time of the Signs.


Joel Katz presents Religion and State in Israel - June 15, 2009 (Section 1) posted at Religion and State in Israel, saying, "Shalom, Religion and State in Israel is the only review of media coverage on issues of religion and state in Israel. Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement."

Joel Katz presents Religion and State in Israel - June 15, 2009 (Section 2) posted at Religion and State in Israel.

Yisrael Medad presents West Bank Birthing posted at My Right Word.

Jacob Richman
presents Good News from Israel: Pictures of the Ma'ale Adumim Anglo Forum posted at Good News from Israel.

Ariel Ben Yochanan presents IDF Is Not a Jewish Army posted at The Torah Revolution.

presents Adam Adama posted at Israelity.

presents The iPhone finally makes it to Israel posted at Israelity.

Yisrael Medad presents OU Goes Up to Temple Mount posted at My Right Word.

presents Liev and Naomi’s Israeli vacation posted at Israelity.

Avraham Rephael (aka Bar Kochba)
presents One Land for One People posted at For Zion's Sake.

presents Beach Grievance posted at Esser Agaroth.

presents Why Can't Israel Be A "Normal" Country? posted at Shiloh Musings.

Mrs. S.
presents Guest Post: Rak Smachot posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress, saying, "Thanks for all your efforts!"

presents Disengage posted at Occidental Israeli.

Robert J. Avrech
presents Obama's Anti-Rational Losing Streak posted at Seraphic Secret.

Ben-Yehudah presents Speaking The Truth posted at Esser Agaroth.


Devorah presents A soul's sole concern posted at Mashiach is coming.

Schvach Yid presents Schvach - פני דל posted at Schvach - פני דל.

Rabbi Leigh Ann Kopans presents Let's Talk About Hair posted at Ashi & Rami.

Schvach Yid presents Schvach - פני דל posted at Schvach - פני דל.

Cynthia Samuels presents Don't Gel Too Soon : Sunrise, Sunset: an Amazing Day of Jewish Rituals posted at Cynthia Samuels, saying, "This is an account of a single remarkable day of Jewish ritual - from bris to funeral to wedding to bar mitzvah, and what it means."

Eliyahu Fink
presents What Is The Appropriate Reaction? posted at Pacific Jewish Center | Rabbi.

presents Conversations in Klal: Ordering Klal's Problems posted at Conversations in Klal.

presents New Blog: An Archivist Discovers the Rebbe posted at The Chabad.org Blog, saying, "Chabad.org launches a new blog exploring the Rebbe's life and teachings. Manuscripts, letters, firsthand experiences and more."

presents Silencing Dissent, Hushing Up Scandal posted at BARBARA'S TCHATZKAHS.



Baila Brecher
presents a powerful post, The executioner in my living room posted at Ill call Baila.

Home Shuling
presents It doesn't take $95 posted at Home-shuling.

presents Don't Have the Answers, But Glad You Asked posted at Nad-ned Nad-ned.

rickismom presents Spouses and Parents: Giving us Wings posted at Beneath the Wings.

presents American Jews: Obama or Torah? posted at APRPEH, saying, "Will Obama finally be the tool to wrench American Jews from the Democrats? Also a review of Bibi's Bar-Ilan talk."

Josh Waxman presents Was Rachav an innkeeper or a harlot? posted at parshablog.

presents The Fool Who Beats His Head Against the Wall posted at Tikkun Olam, saying, "self-explanatory"

presents Presidential Seal of Approval posted at Movin' On Up!, saying, "It is a little self-aggrandizing, because I also want to get my comment on her article out there; but I think this is a very good essay by Laura Ben-David."

Barbara presents U.N. to Sue Israel? posted at BARBARA'S TCHATZKAHS.

APRPEH presents Will The Jews Choose Obama Over Israel? posted at APRPEH, saying, "Based upon articles by Jeffrey Goldberg and Samuel Freedman, this post takes the opinion that Jews should not support Obama's efforts to stop Jews from living in Yehuda and Shomron."

Them Random Shtuff

Aaron Honung presents Why The Forward is Wrong on J-Org CEO Pay posted at TJC Newsdesk.

Something Different
presents Basar V'dagim and WHICH Matamim? posted at A Blob of Something Different.

Mordechai Torczyner
presents Who needs rabbinic leadership? posted at The Rebbetzin's Husband.

CA presents "
Corpse in the living room; a girl’s best friend" posted at V = I·R "[the real modern Orthodox blog]"

Lion of Zion presents Tzitzit Wearer and the Most Beautiful Girl in the World (Idan Yaniv) posted at Lion of Zion.

Yossi presents Facebook Frustrations over at A Bochur in Lubavitch.

Cheerio presents I'm Back at Questing.

C Presents Talking about little kids making jokes... at Not Really THAT Frustrated....

Altie presents It's raining, it's pouring at BLoGGinG FrOM ThE HoLy LAnD.

Auntie Mims presents A letter to G-d at Dichotomy: A split by which a person experiences or sees opposing forces.

Sarabonne presents Jolly Green Giants at Musings.

C presents Ramblings of Procrastination at Not Really THAT Frustrated....

Cheerio presents Sarah Rifka at Hip in the Heights.

Mottel (Mazel tov!) presents Picture of the Week: Still Alive After the Wedding Edition at Letters of Thought.

Altie presents Blog Name at BLoGGinG FrOM ThE HoLy LAnD.

e presents This Is Your Religion, Part I: Healing Clothes at The Highway back to Krenitz.

The end.

Please send your posts for the next edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival via the Blog Carnival Submission Form. If you're interested in hosting or receiving more information about the carnival, please contact Jack at talktojacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-net (and please, for the sake of our hosts, try not to submit more than 3 posts a week!)

I'll be hosting the Kosher Cooking Carnival next week, and I should have a little more time for it than this one... so send your shtuff in! Excellent.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

For LO, and there was-whatever it was, that's what was

I'm happy to say that I'm working hard on a couple of projects right now, and I really don't have time to post anything significant here on good 'ol TRS. So how about some Judaism, originally presented by Rabbi Chayim Friedman on Friday, May 16, 2008, entitled "Birds of a feather".

Our gallant leader, fresh off conquering the summit of indifference posed by his charges, Farbrenged last night about a variety of topics. One of them was Shiluach Haken, the biblical command to send a mother bird away from her nest. This Mitzva is a big Segulah, a gigantic merit, for having kids and meriting long life, which would seem to be mutually exclusive, but there you go. The Zohar says that when this Mitzva is performed, and the mother is sent away from her chicks, she goes up to heaven and starts crying to G-d that her children have been taken from her. The entire heavenly court comes to her aid, and they begin to plead to G-d, asking why this terrible thing had to happen. G-d responds, "This mother's children were taken from her ten minutes ago, and all the celestial beings have come to protest. My children were taken from me 2000 years ago, and no one says a thing." The Zohar continues on to say that the Mitzva is most effective on Shabbos and Yom Tov, when you can't do it anyway, so what that's about I'm not quite sure.
Happy? Of course you are. Everyone reading TRS is always happy. In order to continue that, here's a little bit of Shlichus, Yossi style, originally published on Friday the seventh of December, 2007, as "A couple of parades-The Rifyon Special".

I attended a couple of parades in the last several days. The first was the world-famous Hollidazzle. Not so world-famous? Not a problem. What happened was that we decided to go on Mivtzoyim on Nicollet Mall again, only problem being that they have a holiday parade on Thursdays and weekends. Did that bother us? Certainly not. Most of the people looked at me like I was crazy. Looking for Jews? At an X-Mas event? But hey, I found several, and gave out 4 menorahs, so it was all good. Admittedly, only two of those Menorahs were to Jewish people. I also got into a nice little fight with a Baptist. He started trying to proselytize to me, and I kept trying to explain that I wasn't interested. He didn't really get it. "But your sin!" he said. "What about my sin?" I responded. "Your sin!?" He said again. I asked, "What business of yours is my sin?" He said, "How will you get to Paradise?" I told him that I could care less about Paradise. I wanted to tell him that he wasn't religious, just selfish, but his wife and kids were with him, so I didn't really have the heart. I'm religious because I want to serve G-d. I was created to serve G-d. I am not doing this in order to sip nectar, play the harp, or get seventy virgins. Or white grapes. That's simply not the goal of my life. Though those white grapes sure do sound tempting.

Oh, the second parade? YHSTC's very own Menorah parade. I got a ride with a a dedicated reader of this blog, because Shillibeer's car had a bottle of vinegar explode a couple of days ago, and as you may one day find out, that's really not such a good thing. So yeah, the parade was nice , even if most of the Menorahs didn't actually light up, and the Kumzitz at Yeshiva afterward was enjoyed by the thousands who attended. You don't believe me? You doubt the veracity of my numbers? Were you there? I didn't think so buster.

Oh, and in between the parades, the Rosh came to town. He was, as always, quite entertaining. He started to curse me out, for not standing during Keriah, but then I told him that there was another Minyan for it later on. I'm just glad he didn't notice my cuff links.
Meanwhile, in other news, though I distinctly remember writing it, I can't find my post that deals with reasons why people would want to worship the sun. Perhaps it's the post that's referenced on July 15, 2007 over here. Go look it up.

Nerd Cred!

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

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

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

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

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

Score it 1-0 TRS.

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

Tied at 1-1...

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

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

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

Double his estimate, and that was WWI.

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

Should I even bother keeping score anymore?

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

Sometimes, facts can be so cruel.

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

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

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

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

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

Can't argue with that, eh?

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

Or that.

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

Not bad, not bad...

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

Hurray for the good 'ol USA!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Drive them out!

I'm not a racist. I love all humanity. The true joy of assisting my fellow man in any and all activities brews through me with all the passion normally associated with high-end coffee makers. This is why last night was truly disturbing to me.

I turned off the lights at 12:15 last night. I fell asleep at 1:30. All right, this may have had something to do with my listening to a podcast of This American Life, but that's neither here nor there. Point is, I was rudely awakened at fourteen minute to three by a noise so loud that it could not be tolerated. At first I thought it was my roommate's alarm clock, but it was too loud, and eventually I realized that it was the fire alarm. I kept out of bed (a minute later), put on socks and shoes, made sure my roommates were right behind me, and joined the growing hordes (I use the plural because four separate programs were affected) congregating at the swimming pool. Eight minutes later a copper showed up, and soon after him four fire trucks and several vehicles belonging to the volunteers who make up the Morristown Fire Department. Fifteen or twenty minutes after that we were allowed back in, and half an hour later I managed to fall asleep.

The reason for my racist reaction? Who did you think it was that pulled that fire alarm? A full-blooded American? No-sirree! It was a couple of Brazilians who are departing and who thought they'd give us a nice parting gift.

Ridiculous, eh? You'd think that people who are old enough to join the armed forces of this glorious land would have a brain capacity that exceeded that of your average twelve month old. Actually, now that I think about it, my darling niece Chaya (whose birthday is on 2 Tammuz-send presents now!) would never do such an idiotic thing. So obviously these hispanic idiots are severely mentally retarded.

Why am I harping on foreigners here? Two years ago, when I was in the Rabbinical College of America Tomchei Tmimim for shiur daled, the first fire alarm of the year (we had nearly fifteen in about four months) was caused by, guess who? Frenchies. Turns out he put his siddur on top of a fire alarm setter-off pull thingies. At 1:30 in the morning. Of course, how he managed to pull it up when the siddur was officially on top remains a mystery to this day...

Later that year we had another fire alarm. Why? Because some brilliant Frenchie sprayed deodorant into the smoke alarm in his room. What a genius.

So anyway, the firefighters are present, and guess what? A brilliant foreigner has to start running around taking pictures as if he was a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer! And he should have known better too-he speaks English (or whatever it is that Australians speak). Nevermind that he looks like a complete fool and is getting in the way of the fire people-he has to take pictures.

If I sound crotchety it's because I am. That's what happens when I don't get enough sleep. What's my solution? Cancel all I-20s and tell them foreigners to go back to where they came from. We don't want 'em here, them and their sleep-deprivation tactics. Heck, they're worse than the federal employees at Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay! At least there the inmates got a little publicity. But here, at RCA in Morristown, NJ, our sadistic torturers work in silence, with nary a publication to cry foul at their treatment of us. Sick.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Siman 69, Halacha 19

I was wondering this afternoon, "What in the world shall I write about for tonight's post?" A few minutes later I learned the following Halacha, and I knew that my question had been answered.

Tur Shulchan Oruch: The Rambam writes that even after meat has been properly salted it's necessary to put it in boiling water before cooking it in order that all the blood remaining inside the meat will be "sealed in" and won't come out afterwords.

(The Rambam is concerned that the remaining blood in the meat will come out when the meat is cooked. If the blood is "sealed in" then the meat is kosher, because any blood remaining inside is kosher [It's generally not known {except by those who happen to be learning smicha} that meat does not have to be salted in order to be kosher. As long as all visible blood is washed off the meat it's permissible to take a bite, right then, right there. However, in order to be able to cook the meat it must be salted.])

The Tur writes that we don't have this custom (to put the meat in boiling water after salting), because once it's undergone proper salting we assume that there's no blood remaining inside the meat.

The Beis Yosef writes that since many argue with the Rambam we don't hold like him, but if it's possible to follow his words than it's good to.

Shulchan Oruch: After meat has been salted and washed it's permitted to put it even into water that is not boiling, and some require that it be put into boiling water. The Ramah says that the minhag is like the first opinion, which is the primary opinion.

The Shach, after explaining all that I said previously, says that any liquid which comes out of the meat after it's been salted is just juice, even if it's red in color.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The bungalow

This past shabbos I was perusing a periodical of dubious origins (if I recall correctly it was Mishpacha) when my sister directed me to look at the advertisement on the back cover. It was for a Boro Park electronics store, and featured two "packing lists", one for the bungalow and one for camp. Besides for the fact that both lists were absolutely ridiculous (you might as well stay home if you need half of what they suggest) there were a couple of items which struck us as being rather funny.

In the camp section they have "video-less iPod" or something like that. This is itself is not funny, and actually makes quite a bit of sense. After all, we wouldn't want little Yoely watching Prison Break, would we? What is funny is that in the bungalow list it says "DVD player (for rainy days and the van ride)". So it's not okay for little Yoely to watch Prison Break, but little Suri can?

Ahh, they can only watch on rainy days. Does G-d not care if you watch movies when it rains? Oh, I get it! G-d can't see through the clouds!

Of course, this still leaves us with the issue of car journeys- after all, it says in the Shema "uv'lechtecha baderech"? Perhaps when travelling the DVD player can only be used for Jewish movies like Schindler's List and The Little Mermaid.

So once you're in your bungalow colony with your four thousand dollars of electrical shtuff the question arises, "How do I safeguard all my electrical shtuff?" The answer of course is that you shouldn't bring any of it to the bungalow colony but instead should leave it at home. But who's going to watch it at your house? Your husband of course! And this way, he can use the DVD player the whole week (he's lonely without his family). But what about on the weekends when he drives up to be with his beloved family? He can bring all the equipment with him! But how will he watch DVDs (after all, it was purchased with travelling in mind)? He can go up with a friend! This way, not only will one of them be able to drive while the other watches, but they'll be saving the environment too, thus potentially qualifying for tax rebates!

As you can see, Boro Park electronics stores have your best interests at heart, so go patronize them today! And don't forget little Yoely maybe you can buy him a used carburetor or something to make up for the video-less iPod.


Two seminal events happened in the previous 24 hours: Nemo told me that I need to be more controversial, and I started getting emails from Haveil Havalim, which made me realize that next week it's my turn. AWK!!

To celebrate these two occurrences, I think I'll just post something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Sounds good? Well, you already had the new, so here's something old, originally published on October 29, 2007, entitled, "So then":

Education is a terrible thing. Or maybe not. Tonight the Shluchim from YHSTC went to Chabad of S. Louis Park, otherwise known as Rabbi Shagalow, for a Shiur on the Friedriker Rebbe's epistle on true education. What struck me the most was how much I don't enjoy Jewish geography, the game you play to figure out how everyone is related to everyone. But guess what? I'm not actually related to anyone. Well, at least to anyone in Lubavitch. Point is, I stand there on the side, catching onto a stray name that I can at least claim acquaintance with, while everyone else is figuring out how they're fourth cousins with half the universe.
Anyway, we discussed talents that people have. Which got me thinking, what talents do I, your faithful blogger, have? Writing relatively humorous stuff? Check. Eating Sushi? Check. Accomplishing great things? Well, do I? Have I? Will I?

Problem is, I started writing this now, past midnight, because I figured that it would be good to blog while my gristle was still fresh off the grill. But instead it's turned into one of those soul-searching, touchy-feely type blogs, and I for one am not interested in writing that kind of thing. So instead, I'll tell you all that it's not who you know, it's what you know. Right?
Something borrowed? Check out these idiots in Seattle.

And finally, for something in blue, what could be better than this?

Friday, June 12, 2009

4 AM Poetry

So there you are

at the farbrengen

patronizingly helping that bochur out

or making him think you're helping him out

or even convincing yourself you've helped him out

but have you helped him out?

who knows?

who cares?

oh look, they brought out soda-pass it here white boy!
You know

if you somehow corralled all the cows in the world

into a pen

not too big

just right for them

they'd still

have emotional issues
beer is not

a solution to life's problems

but sometimes

it's a good substitute
Tuesdays have been better

but I wouldn't bet

on them being much better

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lessons from a bird

Tonight there was a hakhel gathering for smicha in Morristown-here is one of the gems that was related.

There was once a bird who was sleeping (undoubtedly he had been farbrengin the night before) when the rest of his flock went down
south for the winter, and he had to go alone. He left so late that it began to snow when he was only a couple hours into his journey. He was soon caught in the blizzard, and he became trapped under the snow. A horse came over and began to go to the bathroom, and as the excrement poured over him the bird began to sing from pure joy. After all, the excrement would melt the snow and he'd be able to fly! Before the snow was gone a fox came over, saw the bird, and realized that he'd soon have a good dinner. The fox began to lick the excrement off the bird, who realized that he'd have to make a run for it-as soon as the fox had finished licking, before he had a chance to bite the bird, the bird would fly away to safety. Unfortunately though, the bird mistimed his jump for freedom, and he was eaten by the fox.

There are three lessons that can be learned from this story.

1. Not every time someone goes to the bathroom on you does he mean to do you bad.

2. Not every time someone licks you does he mean to do you good.

3. Don't sing when you're lying in excrement.