Monday, June 29, 2009

verbal shorthand

the best kinds of relationships are when two people speak the same language so much so that they dont need to finish their sentences when they speak to each other. ive had alot of relationships where the other person THINKS they get what im saying but dont. im not speaking of THOSE types of relationships. im speaking of the type of relationship where two people actually are speaking the same "language" . its so comfortable to have this verbal shorthand. so sad when its over. so hard to rebuild. so worth the effort though. the eternal quest for mutual appreciation and understanding for the essence of another.... the search continues....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

obama and the fly

if you have been reading this blog you probably know that im not big into animal or insect rights, however i did feel compelled to write about this topic. obama the fly swatter.
when i saw the alleged obama fly swatting episode the first thought that ran through my mind was "what will peta's reaction be?" well, i wasnt disappointed. peta denounced obama's actions and sent him a humane fly catcher that sucks up the fly so you can later send the fly (alive) back to nature.
anyone remember that saying"wouldnt hurt a fly"? apparently this attribute cannot be attributed to our fearless president obama. hmm....
i also managed to find the reactions to many vegans about obama's fly smashing. many defended him. they thought it only natural to swat a fly. yeah, well if bibi had done the same thing they would be all over him like white on rice!
growing up my mom had a fly swatter and she would often swat flies with it. i do remember her opening the back door of our house to try to guide bees out of the house without swatting them first.
i dont think the obama fly fiasco is a problem on a literal level, i think the issue is what it represents. what message is this fly trying to tell us? how many world leader fly swattings can you recall? obama also had a noticeable fly on his head during the presidential debates. what's up with this? what about him attracts the flies so? even obama worshippers have to admit this is kind of odd.
my final question is what issue was obama discussing with john harwood of cnn during this fly swatting? does anyone even remember?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

back on the wagon

after seeing some recent photos of myself ive decide to get back on the wagon . the diet wagon that is. ive been talking, reading and writing alot about it lately and now ive decided to do something about it. ive signed up for weight watchers online. last time i lost a sizable chunk of weight i did the weight watchers route where i attended meetings. i lost the weight i wanted, went to meetings even after i reached goal weight, but after awhile i became bored with the meetings. they were all the same. eventually i was gaining weight even though i was attending meetings.
i havent yet regained all of the weight i had lost, but i dont want to get to that point. hence my rejoining a weight loss program. i tried doing self magazine's version for awhile. its not terrible, but i like weight watchers' plan better. thus ive bitten the bullet and joined.

i have several friends who are fifty pounds heavier than i am who wont understand why i want to lose 15 pounds. i think this makes them feel bad about themselves. this time around i wont mention my weight loss plans with them.
its funny how so many of us have such unhealthy relationships with food. i tend to overindulge like pig while others prefer to starve themselves. to me these are two sides of the same coin. my issues make me want to eat more, their issues make them not want to eat.its too bad that those on each side dont help each other more. i have a good friend who is anorexic who always asks me how i can have an appetite. i of course always have an appetite. then again, its not necessarily a bad thing. the only time i havent had an appetite was right after 9/11. not only did i not have an appetite, but when i put food in my mouth and tried to eat, i could not taste it. it was like eating sawdust. after awhile my appetite came back. this experience did help me understand what might make some one anorexic. although i do need to curb my freestyle eating habits, i am thankful that i do have an appetite and that i can appreciate the taste of food.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

are engagement rings necessary?

yesterday i had a lively discussion with friends about the ritual of engagement rings . are they necessary ? are they just as good if they are cubic zirconium?
i do think that engagement rings are an extravagance, but i also know that i would want to get one if/when i get engaged. i hate to admit it, but one of the reasons i would want one is because most women tend to get them from their fiances. i dont need the most expensive one in the shop, but i would like one. at least i admit it. and yes i would like a real diamond. i know its very materialistic, but i do feel this way.
on the other hand, i dont think that i would want a big blowout wedding. if i actually found someone i would want to spend the rest of my life with i would be happy. of course i say this now, but one never know when bridezilla might rear her ugly head. one never truly knows who may turn into a bridezilla.
what ifs are always fun to contemplate, especially when they are the occasional postive what ifs. usually im pondering worst case scenario what ifs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

an unanswered query

why do the french like obama so much? this puzzles me. i encountered someone recently who lives in france and i asked her this question. she just thought that the french like him just because he's not bush. the thing is , i dont recall the french loving bill clinton so much.or any other american president in my lifetime. or at least i dont remember them giving any of them so much fanfare.
i also asked this acquaintance how she liked living in france as a former american. after all , the french never seemed to like americans all that much. she seemed to think that the french always liked americans and that they like them even more since obama is president. the french just didnt like bush. this to me was an outright rewriting of history. then again my acquaintance only moved to france six years ago. what does she know?
i still dont get it. why do the french like obama so? is it because they think he's a pushover? do they like obama because of his muslim lineage? why, why, why???

Sunday, June 21, 2009

sensitive souls

whenever i leave someone a message on some one's answering machine that i have called just to chat and my friend doesnt call me back immediately i always assume that they are just busy. i assume that when the person has time to call back they will. this is always what i assume . nothing more and nothing less.
i have some friends who leave me messages that they are calling just to chat and think that im mad at them if i dont call them back within the next day. this of course is what they think because they are ultra-sensitive. usually if i dont call someone back right away it is because im busy and have no time to chat. its rarely because im mad at someone. sometimes i dont call someone back right away because i dont have a large block of time to schmooze and i know that the friend who has left a message will be offended if i dont have alot of time to chat. i wait until i have the time to chat and then i phone them. sometimes im so busy i have no time to call them briefly and tell them i dont have time to chat. that requires calling them at time when i dont think that they are home so i can just leave a message. i do try to leave a quick e-mail. this usually does the trick.
am i so arrogant that i figure that if someone doesnt return my phone call that they just dont have time? i think not. are those who think im angry when i dont call them back immediately -even when i tell them repeatedly that this isnt the case- overly sensitive? i think so. what do you think?

Friday, June 19, 2009

people for the ethical treatment of humans.

its not that i think that anyone should harm an animal , i just think that everyone ive ever met who is devoutly into animal rights is a lunatic. its their religion. they also dont usually care much for humans.
its so easy to care more about animals than about people. animals are much less complicated than humans. the time being spent worrying about animals could be spent curing world (people) hunger or promoting world peace.
cruelty-free doesnt mean a the factory making clinique wasnt harassed by their employers it just means an animal wasnt. big whoop. for arguments sake it would be nice if both werent harmed but peta doesnt think so. people dont rate with peta. anyway all cosmetic ingredients have been tested on humans at some point, it just means that the whole product hasnt been tested on animals .
animal rights activists care little about homeless people . now a homeless cat... thats another thing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

the gong show

on june third there was a book reading at borders bookstore in the city with chuck barris. chuck barris was the creator of old tv game shows such as the dating game ,the newlywed game , and the gong show. i realize many of my readers have never seen any of these shows, and im dating myself by mentioning them,but they are classics.

the gong show was the only chuck barris show where he actually appeared as the host. at the time he was in his late forties and had curly seventies big hair. the gong show was a spoof of variety shows. it was a talent contest with alot of really bad talent which was much more authentic than american idol. if the contestants were really bad they were gonged with an actual gong. it was a really silly show and it looked like chuck barris and company really enjoyed doing it. they pushed the censor envelope alot, but i have to admit that when i watched it i was too young too get that there was anything risque involved.

chuck barris wrote several books. i know that i read one of them . it was called you and me babe. i found the book at a used book shop in israel .

it was strange seeing chuck barris as an older man. i remembered him being so much younger. he still has the same sense of humor, but has an aura of maturity that was not present in his gong show years. its strange seeing someone aged without having seen all of the stages in between.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the evolution of jewish comedy

last night i attended the preliminaries for new york's funniest jewish comic competition. jewish comedy has really changed since the borsht belt in its heyday. we've come a long way since woody allen . thank goodness.

what defines a jewish comic? is it comedy about being jewish or is it jewish comedy because the comic is jewish?

a few times the funniest jewish comic was a southern jew . this proved that to be a jewish comic these days one does not require a cloying jewish new york accent. we are also in an era of third and fourth generation american jews. the jokes are different now. we are more mainstream.

the interesting thing about the funniest jewish comic competition is the religious demographics of the contestants. most of the comedians are not orthodox, but what always amazes me is that several of the contestants are frum and they do make it to the finals and have even won first place. i guess if one is frum one has plenty to laugh about!

i like hearing jokes by comics who are jewish , but i dont especially like " jewish " jokes. usually they insult jewish women too much for my taste. they also tend to not be all that funny . fortunately the new jewish jokes are different. they are more about being jewish in the world as opposed to making fun of the fact that one is jewish and pretty much self-hating.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

the calm before the heat wave

i know that im alone in this sentiment, but im really glad that there havent been that many hot days yet. its already mid-june. this also means that i havent had to use my air conditioning all that much either.
my favorite time of the year is spring and fall when you dont have to wear a jacket during the day though you may need a sweater early morning or after dark.
im not a fan of heat and humidity. its so hard to breathe when its so humid outside . i originate from a city that is even more extreme in the summer that new york. in new york it just gets as hot and humid as my former hometown two or three weeks of the year. brooklyn in the summer is like the mountains compared to my former hometown. unfortunately heat and humidity isnt somthing one gets used to .(at least not me!)
im going to savor the cool weather while its here and before my electric bill reaches triple digits.

Friday, June 12, 2009

anti-semitsm rears its ugly head....

i never watch the tv news. ok , maybe not never, just not very often. whenever i do watch the news something earth shattering happens. (what are the odds?) .
wednesday i was at home watching the news and was confronted with the anti-semitic rampage of an 88 year old white supremacist at the holocaust museum in washington.
for all those who think it folly to hunt down nazis even now 60 yrs after world war 2, just listen to the headlines. an 88-year-old anti-semite devotes his time to committing hate crimes and opens fire at the holocaust museum in washington killing a security guard and traumatizing all who are present by such crime. he certainly was no puttering old man.
not only can a leopard not change his spots, neither can an old nazi. he may even strike again as we have so unfortunately witnessed so recently.
my heart goes out to the security guard who was murdered and to those who were present for such tragedy.
have a good shabbos folks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

where's the middle road?

it is so easy for a new baal tshuvah to go the extreme route. the frummer the better. why try to coast and find a heter when one can just blindly follow the strictest view.(yes, i know that all new bts are not like this, but im just trying to make a point) .

in my parents era the accepted view was that women would get married and be stay at home moms while the men would go to work and make a living. these days if one chas v'shalom wants to be a stay at home mom it is quite frowned upon. there just is no middle of the road. whatever happened to doing what is best for ones self instead of abiding to a bunch rules made by who knows who. why does it always have to be the extreme view? why must everyone abide by only one view?

the worst is when certain hair types are in style. the blowout is always in style with curly haired jewish women, but in the outside world sometimes curly perms are in - shirley temple, the 1980's, and sometimes straight is in as in usually. the thing is one was born with a hair type and weather be damned, there isnt always anything one can do about it.

i think that religion is very extreme these days. the frum are moving further to the right and the non-frum are moving more to the left (if this is even possible). we should all be who we are, ultra- orthodox or ultra-reform, but i do think that there are plenty of us who are somewhere in the middle and the middle is okay too. people dont fit into pat categories. the idea is what direction one is headed, not how far the journey. are we all striving to do mitzvot at our own levels?

i never get how people are so all or nothing about judaism. if they dont do everything then why bother? NO ONE is perfect at anything . i guess it takes a certain extreme personality to take the all or nothing approach. then again, all or nothing is the easy way out. doing the best one can is much harder. it requires much more stamina. when one is a do the best one can type, one may have setbacks, but one owns what one does do. its all about where one is going. part of my day job is teaching. ive taught adults, ive taught children. the one thing ive learned is that there are many ways one can reach the same endpoint. everyone doesnt think the same way , one just has to find what works and go with that. one will eventually "get it" . we all have individual hashkafahs that we have to "go with" and this will help us get closer to hashem.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

hands of my father

every time i see a deaf person signing i am mesmorized. its a most beautiful language to watch. i always hope im not being impolite when i am watching.

often there are people signing at book readings or shiurim that i have attended. most recently there was a translator signing at barnes and noble at union square for a larry king book reading. though i wanted to watch the signing it was also distracting, not unlike subtitles in foreign movies. if you dont need the translation it can be distracting.

as a child i learned the alphabet in sign language which proved to be more fun than passing notes in class. at some point i remember learning how to sign shema as well.

over shabbos i read the most incredible book. hands of my father by myron uhlberg . this is about the hearing son of two deaf parents. this is one of the most beautifully written books i have ever come across. the photos that are included are fabulous. myron uhlberg's parents were born in the early 1900's to jewish immigrant families. though their parents never learned sign language themselves, they loved their deaf children enough to send them to deaf schools so that they would be able to read and write .they learned sign language from their school friends. louis and sarah uhlberg married and had children during the depression. louis uhlberg supported his family as a printer. both of myron's parents knew that hearing people did not think of deaf people as being completely human or intelligent. they did not care. the times they lived in were not very accepting of those with disabilities. they persisted and lived full lives. they had a strong marital bond and deeply loved their children.
for young myron it was challenging to be the hearing child of deaf parents. his first language was sign . the first words he signed were 'i love you' . from the time he was six years old he became his fathers voice when needed. he also heard what hearing people said about deaf people which was tough for a child. especially tough for a child who knew how very special his parents were.
the most wonderful part of the book is how the author really lets the reader get to know his parents, especially his father. his father did not let his disability get in his way. he could not hear, but his other senses were heightened . because he could not hear he could clearly see who people were . he could not be fooled by people whose words did not match their facial expressions, because he could not hear them in the first place. it was also wonderful to read how this hearing boy had a normal childhood even in such a unique situation. he had to be adult when he had to speak for his father, but his father still wanted him to be a child.
louis and sarah uhlberg grew up in a tough time for deaf people, but they were very strong people. they had families who never truly understood them or had faith in their abilities , but managed to have a marriage any couple could envy and raise two very special children.
unfortunately louis uhlberg's parents werent able to give him a connection to judaism. it was also hard for louis uhlberg to reconcile how hashem could have made him deaf. in his youth shul's werent deaf friendly.
it was a pleasure reading such a loving tribute from a son to his parents. it was such a pleasure getting to know them. it was hard to put the book down.
this is a book of triumph over the face of adversity which i highly recommend.

Friday, June 5, 2009


ever since the kindle has been invented i have considered buying one. not being one to make snap decisions i still have not purchased one. one reason i havent purchased one yet is because you cant use a kindle on shabbos. of course i usually read magazines on shabbos . but this is besides the point. a kindle is certainly lighter to carry around than a book. you dont need a computer to upload the books either, they can be put directly onto the kindle itself. now there are also some cool kindle covers that are even in my favorite color purple.
im not sure how i feel about viewing book pictures on a kindle. its a different experience. looking at a print of a photo is totally different than viewing a digital photo on the camera itself. i think it might be hard to get used to . with a kindle you can buy a book and even store it on the kindle or on your computer for reading at different juncture. you own the book, but just virtually. its not exactly the same thing. then again, i am still one of the few who borrow books from the public library. the books on loan from the library are never really mine either and it doesnt bother me all that much.
travel would be easier with a kindle . i wouldnt have to buy as many books pre-vacation. i would still need to bring some books if i was to go a away for a long yom tov. a kindle would still lighten my luggage.
eventually i will break down and get one. too bad im so technologically reluctant.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

melt down

sometimes i feel like my life is running on high speed and i cant seem to slow it down. i get up, rush to get ready for work. go to work. work is a high paced environment. i scramble to do errands after work. i rush to get together with friends. on days off im overbooked with social commitments. before i know it monday rolls around and i havent had more than five hours of sleep each night. when does it end? is it just the life of a new yorker or is this life in general? the economy is what it is , but i feel like im experiencing merry-go-round meltdown. need some change fast before its too late!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

swine who?

i hate to admit it but my life has been so hectic lately that i havent given much thought to the "swine flu plague". last week i did actually see an elderly woman wearing a surgical mask. its great. she's shielding her mouth so whatever she is emitting wont spring into my air.
im not saying we shouldnt be careful, but i think that the media is going overboard. ive never heard of so many schools being shut down due to an illness that it doesnt seem like too many people have contracted. b"h . i suppose i could say that there arent so many cases of swine flu because the schools have been closed, but im not completely sold on that concept.
though im not busy obsessing about swine flu i do think that people should take heed of personal hygeine like washing one's hands when one come's home after riding public transportation, etc.
to health! l'chaim!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


dylan's candy shop had some great barbie doll art. unfortunately there were no pictures of ken.

old young people

i have friends who like to kvetch that they are old. it bugs me because i dont think of myself as old. when my friends start kvetching about aches i keep thinking is it just them or am i in deep denial? (btw, my actual age is irrelevant for this topic, so dont even go there in your brain) part of my feeling of agelessness is due to the fact i do not have kids or even nieces or nephews. another reason i feel young is due to my upbringing. i grew up surounded by elders who felt young at heart no matter what their age. they may have looked aged but that was where it ended. i have a great uncle who started drawing in his late seventies. my grandmother was an associate travel agent who oraganized and led trips for senior citizens until she was eighty. i have been fortunate to have elders who always seemed up to date with life instead of living in the past.i try to emulate them. i think that this is what keeps me young. i try to be able to relate to young and old alike in an age appropriate manner.
i dont want to get old before my time. many of my peers have cried old at 35. to me this is so sad. why waste time feeling old? maximize life. feeling old never helps. it just makes one feel depressed. i really dont feel old . what good would feeling old do anyway? three years from now i will wish that i was as young as i am today. i want to feel the hope of youth as long as i can, if not always. when one stops striving one becomes old. when one stops having hope GAME OVER.

Monday, June 1, 2009

salute to israel parade 2009

it was a beautiful day for a parade, except for the brief rain at 4:20 yesterday afternoon when i was leaving the post - parade concert in central park.

the parade was as enjoyable as ever. kahane chai or jdl or whatever they are calling themselves these days were there selling meir kahane's books. they had the book why be jewish . that book had been out of print for years. i had been trying to find it ever since i took it out of the library about ten years ago. though the pop-culture references in the book are dated, the sentiment is not.
its always fun to see the professional marching bands mixed with the usual hodgepodge of parade marchers.
enjoy the pictures.