WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND,
OR APPRECIATING THE ABSURD
Shortly after I have discovered Youtube, I have stumbled upon this masterpiece. Here is to appreciating the absurd! I mean, take the lyrics from one of the saddest love songs, and use them to describe the agitated Muppet! Simply priceless!
Monday, December 31, 2007
WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND,
Let me start with re-telling of a joke I have seen a few years ago. A teacher is asking the kids in her class to describe, one by one, how their families celebrate Christmas. So, we have different descriptions of trees, presents, family visits, food, etc. Then is comes to a boy named Jack Cohen. "My Dad owns a toy store", says Jack, "so, every December, people buy everything in it. 'Thank Heavens for Jesus Christ', says my Dad, and we all go on vacation to Hawaii."
This year, we all wished each other Merry Day Off. That's what it was for us: great coupons for Gymboree and Barnes and Noble's, parties at work (I got mine in a few free soda cans), possible something extra from the bosses ( B and N gift certificate in my case), and, most of all, no waking up at 6:20 am! So, I personally got to sleep in, finally buy toilet brush ( do not laugh, that particular task needed to be performed since before my Birthday), cook for my family, and, the most important one, I got visited by my niece and nephew (yes, my sis chaperoned).
So, looking forward to another extra day off, which is supposed to be New Year's Day (or the anniversary of somebody's circumcision)! Yey!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I am not going to waist my time here debating the accuracy of this piece of news, or the historical facts and moral ramifications attached to it. All the information is available on the above mentioned internet, and everyone who wants to know will know all the pertinent facts. All I want to say is this: to all the Jews who participated in disseminating of this wonderful piece of news - I can not say let your conscience judge you, since you obviously lost or never had either conscience or the sense of judgement, so, let G-d be your judge. As to all the gentiles responsible for this: let all those poor, abused, tolerant of other religions, gentle, peace loving Palestinians show you the same love, friendship and tenderness they have shown to Tali Hatuel, her four daughters, and her unborn son.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Today is the second fast day of the year connected to the destruction of the Temple. We always wish each other "have a meaningful fast", but how do you really make it meaningful in between hunger pangs, serious bouts of caffeine withdrawal, homicidal tendencies during the morning commute, your bosses idiosyncrasies, etc, etc, etc?
As my train was crossing the Manhattan Bridge (thank G-d I had a seat), I was indulging in my usual Manhattan Bridge routine (usual, that is, if I manage to have a view from the window). I was enjoying the view of the Manhattan skyline (which sometimes still brings sad memories), and different thoughts were flying though my mind. I was thinking again how lucky we are to live in America; I was also thinking that, despite all the wonderful things attached to living in America, we are still in exile, and the fact that we reclaimed the Holy Land as ours does not lessen this exile much, and sometimes even makes it harder.
Few weeks ago a thought that was brewing in my subconscious for more than a decade finally moved into my conscious. That thought is very sobering and very sad: we can not live as a community and not start behaving like proverbial spiders in a can. We can not just live together peacefully, acknowledge our differences, use our brains, and just simply respect, if not love, one another. No, we can never do that. We are surrounded by enemies; every single extremist organization all over the world directly or indirectly points to us as the source of all evil and considers our total annihilation as part of their mission statement. In the midst of all this we are very busy proclaiming the superiority of our brand of Judaism (or the lack of it) and denouncing every one else's. The insanity goes across the board from the so called Ultra-Orthodox to people who proudly proclaim themselves Jews but refuse to acknowledge any kind of religious affiliation, and every one in between. Your humble servant herself was witness to more than she wanted to hear or see, and if I start to describe every single incident of sheer idiocy that made my blood boil, I will be typing this entry till next Rosh Hashana.
Can we just take five minutes to stop, breathe, and remember that we are in the bloodiest exile in our history, for approximately one third of our history, and it already cost us millions of lives of our brothers and sisters? Can we then remember that the reason for this exile was our hatred of each other to begin with? When will the insanity stop? What use is is our praying, fasting and crying for our destroyed Temples if immediately after we revert to our "normal" ways? Heavenly Father, please grant us clarity of vision to finally see this!
Alas, the latest entry was that wonderful cartoon that so eloquently shows Russian anti-Semitism and total stupidity imbedded in it. While I was trying to close the page, one of our junior architects, a very sweet Chinese dude, came to my desk to ask for something. Judging by his face, LiveJournal took its sweet time closing, and poor guy went off with a strange impression that yours truly not only has occasional fun during work, but that fun occasionally looks suspiciously like somebody's naked butt. Ow, well! Since he is working here for over a year, I am hoping for the strength of his first impression of me.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Last night our sweet girl demonstrated to us that she really accepted the membership. It was about that time of the evening when we try to persuade her to put on her pajama with feet, drink her hot milk, and actually go upstairs to bed. Right before that ritual we usually enjoy the last few minutes of horseplay (and I actually do not know who loves horseplay the most, her or adults involved). Moreover, last night we were involved in another serious ritual called "fesim" (I got her ice cream, which I am guilty of hooking her on to begin with). So, here we were: she and I on the couch with ice cream, which she always enjoys tremendously, and her Mom and little brother on the floor right by us. Then is happened: split second, and the baby brother pitched forward and hit his face on the floor (thank G-d all that happened was he got scared). While we were trying to pacify the little brother, the big sister got extremely upset: for him. She started crying bitterly, needed hugs and reassurances from Mama, and refused her "fesim"! The baby stopped crying much faster than she did; little sweedom really got upset for her little brother, could not stop crying, and declined to have more of her absolutely favorite dessert!
Later on, when I re-told the story to her very wise twenty two year old uncle, he was duly impressed and sagely pronounced that it shows that she "has heart". So, welcome to the club, my delicious curly headed gnome! These feelings will not go away ever: as much as your younger siblings drive you crazy, you never stop feeling responsible for them and being upset at all their hurts.
PS For those of you unfamiliar with our family, the responsible older sister just turned two years old on Hanukah!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Anyway, few weeks after that discussion, yours truly was navigating the corridors of the office, returning to her own domain. As I was passing the desk of another co-worker (who, incidentally, usually annoys me), my eyes caught the sight of her screen, and I almost fell over! There is was, the unmistakable configuration and color palette of the "create/edit post" on the Blogger! I AM NOT ALONE!! YIPPIE!!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
To tell the truth, I really did not feel like celebrating this year at all (last few years, as a matter of fact). I mean, what to celebrate? I am fast approaching middle age without any kind of significant accomplishments of any nature. Then it dawned on me: the simple fact that I am alive and well should be celebrated!
Like any normal human being, I keep forgetting all the blessings bestowed on me. So, in honor of my crossing yet another year towards the Big Four Oh, I have decided to try and list all the things for which I am eternally grateful to the Creator.
So, here they are (in random order):
My parents: even though I probably would never forget the wonderful "present" I got from them around my thirtieth Birthday (their separation), I am very grateful for my Mom and Dad. They are very sweet, loving, and caring. They remember our ages only when they remember our marital status (the rest of the time we usually did not reach the age of fifteen). They still make sure we eat (and eat properly), supply us with groceries, cooked meals, and treats, check the condition of our winter attire and our respective dwellings, and make sure we take proper care of all our health needs (of course, constantly neglecting theirs). May you both live till hundred and twenty, happy and healthy!
My siblings: for constantly explaining to me exactly what kind of Psychological disorders do I suffer from, how they manifests themselves, and how they could be treated. For making constant fun of me, my wardrobe, my hair, and my cooking experiments. For never forgetting my Birthdays and always getting me great gifts. For allowing me to be the clucking hen of an older sister and trying to take care of them in my annoying and bumbling fashion (and, in return, always trying to make sure my life is on the right track). For always taking care of me when I am sick, bringing me soup and tea, and always making sure I do get well (and Sis, as I type this, I keep remembering that only due to your therapy are my hands well and whole). I am blessed to have you, guys!
My cutie pies of nieces and nephew: enough said:)
My friends: close or far, each in your own unique way, you enrich my life and prevent me from becoming a total misanthrope and recluse.
My health: the more I live, the more I can appreciate what a wonderful and unique blessing it is.
My job: yes, it is boring, sometimes annoying, and I definitely hate the hours; but it gives me the ability to support myself, and sometimes buy toys for my niece and nephew, and even an occasional book.
My apartment: roof over my head and depository for my meager wardrobe and way not meager library of romances.
My five senses, which allow me to appreciate art and good food.
All the trips which I took, and, hopefully, all the future ones.
All the sunsets and sunrises that I was able to see and enjoy (and, G-d willing, many more to witness).
Being born a Jew and discovering precisely what it means: all the headaches, responsibilities, and clarity of purpose that comes with it.
Being a woman: hopefully, I do not have to explain that one:)
Being a naturalized American: I am free, but I was born in jail, which gives me extra opportunity to appreciate and enjoy that freedom (and this year my Birthday was actually a day before Thanksgiving, so, extra thanks).
The sheer beauty and pleasure of being alive.
For all these, and many more things I was blessed with, I am really and truly grateful. Thank You, G-d! I will try not to disappoint You.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Well, the lady can not comprehend the glorification of the bad guys that the entertainment industry and all connected to it constantly perpetrate, and the parents obviously compound, judging by the amount of the different products offered for sale. I do not have a child, but I personally do not see any reason, moral of logical, in buying toys portraying bullies, robbers, and murderers.
The main reason for this lament arrived in my e-mail around Halloween time. Like any Harry Potter aficionado worth her salt, I constantly get news updates from all different sources, plus periodic merchandise coupons from WB. Well, lo and behold, here is was: the offer for costumes for adults and kids, prominent amongst them the costumes of the Death Eaters, especially Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange. What kind of twisted loony would want to dress up as mass torturer and mass murderer who enjoys both activities? And what kind of parent would like to dress up his or her son or daughter as such illustrious personages?
OK, rant over.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
So, here is my humble suggestion to this "problem". Number one, send all the illegals back to their respective countries. That will significantly increase life expectancy by decreasing gang violence (just check out the illustrious resume of MS13), the possibility of TB infection, and the general overburdened condition of hospitals in the metro areas. Plus, it will increase the gross national product by removing the burden of this "population segment" from school systems and Medicaid, never mind the economic picture in general.
Second, and the most important one: get UN itself out of this country and stop any and all US funding for them! That will definitely increase life expectancy and the gross national product in our fair city!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Here is the link to a great article titled nicely "Death to UN".
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Since I can safely say that I am more familiar with her work than the vast majority of Jewish Democrats, with some of whom I had the "good" fortune of working for whole nine years, I was actually not surprised as a whole, just curious as to the particulars: what the heck did she do that would qualify as anti-Semitic? And why not surprised? First of all, being familiar with Ann's work, I know that she is a big fan of the "gymnast" (my family's joke) and a huge believer in the superiority of Christian religion, and second of all, again, being familiar with the general mentality of Jewish Democrats, I know of their eagerness to jump down the throat of anybody on the right, no matter the triviality, or, for that matter, the actual existence of the offense, and, at the same time, their ability to forgive any true and serious offence against the Jews and the Jewish State as long as it comes from the left.
Still, I was curious as to the exact nature of this particular episode. So, I perused that blurb and found out that she claimed that in her ideal universe everyone would be Republican and Christian; when the interviewer proclaimed that he is Jewish and what about other religions, she replied something to the extent that everyone should become Christian, and (here comes the main thing) Jews should be "perfected" by doing that thing too (becoming the believers in the divine nature of the late gymnast). Well, in my opinion, all she did was summarize their mission statement, albeit in a very non-pc manner (which is also her usual style). So, I finished reading that blurb and went on to different news.
Lo and behold, that same evening I get an e-mail from my friend Moish entitled "Aren't you a fan of this woman" and containing a link to Yeshiva World with the summary of the above mentioned news and a whole bunch of commentaries. Being duly impressed by the fact that he actually remembers my rants, I replied that yes, I am a fan, but I am also a somewhat familiar with the Christian dogma realist. By the way, Moish, thanks a ton for introducing me to the Yeshiva World! Tons of fun and fresh entertainment! Then, my friend SWife posted a comment to my entry "dedicated" to the Clintons, siting somebody else who basically blamed Coulter for making inflammatory remarks right before the release of her new book and insulting another huge segment of the population, to which SWife added that, in her opinion, that is the meaning of unmitigated chutzpah, and asking me if I still liked her (Ann Coulter, that is). To cap it off, Abe Foxman's chevrah (thank G-d not my friends) issued their condemnation, and lots of other websites I frequent exploded with the whole discussion over this "controversy".
Since my friends took my liking of "this woman" close to heart, I feel that I have to add my cliched two cents to this fracas. I am still her fan? Yes. Why was I ever her fan? First and foremost, because the vast majority of the people she attacks, curses, and makes fun of are the people to whom I would dearly love to do the same; she just does is with more panache and to the bigger audience; plus, I simply enjoy reading her books and articles, enjoy her sarcasm and great one-liners. Second, believe it or not, but when she published her first book, it actually required courage to do it: she was one of the few people to publish anti-Clinton book during their first, and, G-d willing, last presidency; the other person that comes to mind in this regard is late Barbara Olsen. Considering Clintons' vicious propensity to publicly smear anyone who was on their "enemy list", send IRS after those enemies, and generally try to destroy their lives, plus their (Clintons') general non-adherence to the basic rules of good sportsmanship, it took a certain amount of bravery to write and publish books enumerating the good deeds of this illustrious couple while they were still in the White House; and both Coulter and Olsen were definitely in the position to know the pertinent facts and to realize the danger they were facing.
On to the main topic of the whole discussion, namely: anti-Semitism. One of the dudes defending Ann, in the true Jewish fashion, actually went to the dictionary, dug up the definition of an anti-Semite, and wrote his whole article based on this definition. I am feeling pretty lazy at the moment, so I will skip the dictionary and the quoting of that article. Again, being very familiar with her work, I can in good conscience say that anti-Semite she definitely is not: among opther things, she supports Israel, attacks Al Sharpton for inciting Crown Heights riots, and, correct me if I am wrong, but, to the best of my knowledge, she was the only gentile writer to point out that American Communist Party during World War II (read Russian spies) had at least as many WASPs as it had Jews (the general opinion being that that was almost exclusively Jewish territory).
As for "perfection": again, that is one of the main mission statements of that religion. They want everyone to be "perfected", not just us. According to them, there is no seeing paradise for anybody, unless they accept the "true god", or, whatever his name is, hanging on the cross. That, my friends, is difference in the religious believes, and not the statement that we are sub-human. Are Christians our true friends? Heck, no. Missionaries are a real threat to us; but a Jew brainwashed by missionaries can be saved; nothing will save a Jew killed by a suicide bomber. We have much bigger fish to fry and way more lethal enemies to deal with. If the biggest threat to us today is Ann Coulter and her ilk, forgive me, but my prayer book will fray way, way slower. And nothing, nothing poses bigger threat to us than our own: just check out combined!! statement of Abe Foxman and Al Sharpton on the ADL website (it had something to do with hate crimes). The only thing to top that one would be to publish that statement on the anniversary of Yankel Rosenbaum's death: that would have been a great comfort to his poor parents.
As for unmitigated chutzpah, Ann is undeniably a witch in a possession of great amount of chutzpa, but nobody on the political scene in America today (with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter) has so much slime attached to them or poses a greater threat to all Americans, Jews included, then Clintons.
Friday, October 12, 2007
In case of Al, he has yet some ground to cover on his slimy way down; as for the Nobel Committee - well, after bestowing the Piece Prize on Arafat, there is very little on the way down, and almost every other candidate, even a mammoth hypocrite and dirty politician like Gore, sounds almost anti-climatic.
So, all I can say is: "Well done!"
Monday, September 24, 2007
Forget for a moment that the dude is a blatant anti-Semite, Holocaust denier, and all together wants to erase Israel from the map and drown the Jews in the ocean. As James Baker so eloquently put it, "F--- the Jews!" In the final analysis, very few people care about the Jews aside from other Jews; but let us put it aside for a moment.
Let us look at the picture from a totally Jew-free prospective. We are talking about a guy who very actively participated in the 1979 American hostage crisis, and now heads a country that has no concept of "unalienable rights" granted to every human, constant and unending violations of what we perceive as "human rights", and is virulently anti-American to boot. Israel is just a "Little Satan" in their eyes; the "Big Satan" is the good old US of A; and after drowning Jews in the ocean, they would not be averse to drowning Americans as well (not necessarily in the same ocean), or just nuking them.
Along cometh Lee Bollinger, lawyer (the famous Shakespearean quote comes to mind right away), and the president of the Ivy League college, who invites this embarrassment for an earth worm to speak in front of his bunch of ungrateful spoiled brats...uh, sorry, students, siting the poor, abused First Amendment as an excuse. Since then did the First Amendment stretch to hoodlums who are not only not American citizens, but long ago belong in American jail for kidnapping and probable conspiracy to murder American citizens? Not only is the invitation extended, that bloody murdering son of a whoremonger speaks to a welcoming audience!!!
And media, oh media, our wonderful, "unbiased", liberal, terrorist-supporting media! A huge debate: should we or shouldn't we, no, really, should we or whould'n we? Never mind your pride as Americans and gratitude to the country which allows you to constantly exercise your stinking yaps, but where is your simple sense of self-preservation? What a disgusting bunch of cowardly, stupid braying asses!!!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Let the Master of the Universe inscribe and seal us all in the Book of Life! Be it His will to protect us from our own confusion, ignorance, arrogance, sheer stupidity, and baseless hatred. Let Him protect the Holy Land and all our brethren who live there from the terrorists and their own corrupt and cowardly government; and let Him instill in all of us the understanding of what being a Jew really means and the pride of being Jews.
Let all of us who live outside of the Holy Land remember that respecting the laws of the country in which you live is a commandment and not an option, and may all our actions always be a credit to His Name. May all of us have the strength of character to prevent us from gossiping, lying, cheating, and trying to destroy somebody else's good name.
Let us all finally unite, not just in times of sorrow, but in times of joy. Let us stop our constant narrow minded judging of each other, put aside all our squabbling over nonsensical matters that always seem so important, and just realize that "we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided". May the meaning of Arba Minim that we use on Succot be our guiding light!
All my love,
Monday, September 10, 2007
The last week's e-mail produced a slightly different reaction. At first, I glanced at the coupon. OK, only 20% off missed; and then I looked at the suggestions. Here it was, at number one: "Our greatest gift". Guessed what it was? Our beloved formed President came out with a new book, "Giving". Obviously, he is not going to write about the kind of "giving" Juanita Broaddrick had gotten from him when he was, if I am not mistaken, attorney general of Arkansas. He is going to lecture everybody on the ways to "change the world", meaning helping others!!!!
Then, next day, his lady fair's ugly mug was staring at me from the Net. There was a front page article about how much she is worth. Of particular interest was the mentioning of her "Midas Touch", citing her infamous cattle futures stunt. Midas Touch? I think there was the other, much less fancier definition for it. What was that word again? Oh, yes, fraud!
The chutzpah of this couple is breaking the Richter scale. After all their ugly, a lot of times criminal deeds that have come to light during and after their White house tenure, even the most hardened and pushy politician would have crawled into quiet corner covered in shame by now, his political career in shambles. Never before have I seen a couple where the revolting exteriors reflect their ugly souls. Unquenchable lust for power, sexual harassment, rape, the use of state troopers as personal pimps, shady and downright illegal business deals, total paranoia resulting in replacement of most of the White House staff, rents of the Lincoln Bedroom for the night in exchange for campaign donations, the constant brutal smear campaigns against anyone who opposed them, lying under oath, using IRS as a personal attack machine, granting pardons to terrorists in exchange for political favors, shamelessly soliciting gifts at the end of their tenure ( according to the list I saw, Hil did much better than Bill: way more china as apposed to golf stuff), stealing furniture from the above mentioned White house, and last, but not least, endangering our national security by totally ignoring the threat from al qaeda and putting Chinese in a position of acquiring our state secrets (among other things).
After such impressive resumes, the logical conclusion would be to see their revolting faces through the bars of federal penitentiaries. Instead, they continue to enjoy their ill-gotten gains, publish bestselling books, have the nerve to lecture everyone else on morals, ethics, and charitable works, and boldly push for the second round in DC. You have to give them snaps for sheer gal and unmitigated chutzpah!
Thursday, September 06, 2007
What makes it strange and very funny is the fact that I started the whole blog after her consistent nagging, because she was getting a bit tired of listening to my tirades, ravings, and reminiscences, as I have explained earlier. Of course, she still has to listen to most of my stories, not just read them:) One evening, when I did not make my scheduled appearance at her house, my brother-in-law got upset, claiming that I always tell "kol minei sipurim" and make her happy. Go figure...
I also remembered again how much I miss my oldest roommate. Nobody complains about my cleaning habits, missing papers, or the way I look in the morning right before I leave the house. Nobody programs the coffee maker in the evening, or cuts my hair at 11 pm, or buys me clothes at strange places like Annie Sez; no one to nag about my unflattering hairdo, or my nose stuck in a book and my "uhu" responses while I am reading. No one to surreptitiously shut down the AC during the night or to drag me to every single street fair every single Sunday for the whole summer because we were looking for a silver ring in a specific pattern for five bucks when everyone had it for six...I really miss you, sis!
Monday, August 27, 2007
First of all, she loves riding the subway. By the end of the ride, at least half the car becomes her friends, waiving and playing peekaboo, or she decides to give loud and screeching orations by picking herself up in her stroller. Unlike adults, she loves gazing at the tunnel through the windows and looking at colored ads in the cars.
At the museum, she charmed everyone from security guards and cloak room attendants to a middle-aged Italian tourist who ignored the humongous organ and decided to strike a conversation with my little American Gnome. She herself loved the huge entrance hall with it's domed ceiling so much that she did a little twirl there. We rode the escalator (wheeee), saw a whole bunch of different musical instruments (toy), saw a few pictures of what my family refers to "widow with child" (baby), and then there was a chorus of happy screeches from the balcony of musical instruments all the way down to the arms and armor collection (if you were ever at the Met and know the general layout, you can really appreciate this one). Plus there was one more picture dubbed "baby" ( little Spanish prince), to which I felt compelled to add "no, a little boy with horsey".
Then we went to the roof and enjoyed the magnificent view of Central Park, along with the shrubs surrounding the balcony (flower). After being informed that she can not touch the strange metal cylinders with the sand on top, she felt it her duty to inform everyone upon observing those things "Yabitch, fuh!" There was an ever increasing demand for milk in the Greek gallery (all the Russian speaking people can really appreciate this one); then we had to pass through the "Arts of Oceania" (or a bunch of ugly idols), at the sight of which poor child got scared and had to be picked up. In my opinion, by the way, this was the best critique on these so called "arts". At the very end the whole experience was a bit spoiled by the fact that scatterbrained aunt forgot her "sosa" (pacifier) in her stroller, so, by the time the aforementioned stroller was retrieved from the coat check and after the repeated demands for sosa, there was a full blown rebellion on my hands (use your imagination).
Every outing with our little Golden Delicious brings me such joy! Two minutes looking at her twirling are worth every single diaper I have ever changed ( and I did plenty of those)!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Now, leaving aside personal love or deep dislike of the Sci Fi genre, the usual mediocre acting abilities you can expect from TV show actors, and the standard agitprop that always seeps our way from Hollywood, Babylon 5 is interesting in a sense that it has one cohesive story and two parallel mystery lines running through it that are engaging enough; but that is not why I mention this particular experience. What really caught my attention was a little development at the end of the second season.
One of the main characters in the show is an alien woman called Delenn. She comes from a race called Minbari, which, of course, is much superior to Earth on many different levels. Even though officially she is just an ambassador to B5, in reality she is a member of the ruling Grey Council, and her real mission is quite different. There is a prophesy of the terrible ancient enemy coming to destroy the galaxy, and humans and Minbari are destined to unite in fight against that enemy. More than that, the prophesy alludes to the fact that Delenn most probably will play a crucial role in that fight. So, believing herself destined for that important mission, Delenn plays a diplomat in order to start preparations for the war.
Later on, in order to breach the gap between humans and her race, she undergoes a painful transformation in order to become half-human. As a result, she is shunned by her own people who are unaware of the greater mission, and later on loses her seat on the Council, which is aware, but stops trusting the prophecy and Delenn.
To top all this off, she must somehow prove herself to the other ancient race, which is running the whole show. So, while trying to explain why she thinks the prophecy meant specifically her, what her true motives are in all this, and why she thinks she is not really full of arrogance, Delenn is faced with an unbearable situation: she might die, or her friend might die trying to protect her. She keeps insisting on protecting her friend and sacrificing herself. "This is my mission: life! It does not matter if it is one life or one billion; I have to protect it!" is her anguished reply. She is willing to die alone, ignobly, unacknowledged, without any kind or hero recognition just to protect another being; and by making that choice she proves that her intentions are pure and noble, and there is no arrogance and self-delusion.
Now, just imagine doing that to any aspiring politician!!! Let them forget laurels and do meaningless and boring job; let them experience disdain and physical discomfort; and in the end, let them prove that they are willing to sacrifice their life without any kind of acknowledgement in order to save just one human life! It boggles the mind, does it not?
Monday, August 13, 2007
This one is short and sweet. I observed it about five years ago during the evening rush hour on either A, C, or E train.
Due to the above mentioned rush hour, the train was pretty full, and since it had bench seats, the seating space was even more limited, because even the skinniest Y chromosome carries have an uncanny ability to occupy at least a space and a half on those benches.
Diagonally from me the following tableau was taking place: a gentleman of the old school, about seventy five years old and in possession of a cane, was persistently trying to give up his seat to a pregnant woman in her early thirties, while the above mentioned Y (and, for that matter, X) chromosome carriers in their thirties and twenties were taking advantage of their seats by occupying themselves with weighty matters like newspapers, magazines and snoozing.
Despite the adamant protests of the pregnant lady, the old gentleman won the skirmish and proceeded to his destination hanging on to the pole with one hand and to his cane with the other, while the rest of the seated population blissfully continued with their very important matters at hand. Hurray for chivalry! It is still alive!
Friday, August 10, 2007
According to the "influential Iranian daily newspaper Kayhan" Harry Potter books are nothing more than Zionist ploy aimed at "disturbing young Muslim minds". So, Harry, and, by association, Joanne Rowling, Mazal Tov and welcome to the club!
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
My sister's gentle (about one year worth of) badgering opened the door. At the time Harry and I met, he already finished his fourth year at Hogwarts. I instantly fell in love with his world, and the amazing imagination of his creator and her wonderful sense of humor. Like everyone else, I had to suffer the three year waiting for the fifth installment, and the subsequent two years each for sixth and then the final seventh. In the interim, there were the usual heated discussions, musings, and loads of guessing; and, of course, constant re-readings.
Now that the saga is over and almost all the questions have been answered, so that we can compare notes and see who and when was right, there will be no more anticipation, no more waiting, no more British Amazon or mad dashes on Saturday night to book stores, there is a certain sense of loss. We will never say good buy to Harry; but the relationship will be different from now on, and that brings forth a bittersweet feeling.
Of course, as usually happens in the case of something very popular, everyone and their brother had to get on the bandwagon and express their opinion; and, as always, the predictability of the usual stupidity is amazing. For example, I do not know who first decided that JK took her ideas from Star Wars, but the idea stuck and every single critic felt it incumbent upon him or her to repeat it. Then there were the usual musings about supposed other sources, like Lord of the Rings, the discussions of why the books are so popular, the predictions of wherever or not they will survive after this generation, the critique of her writing style, mentionings that for some people reading her books is like being subjected to the Cruciatus curse, counting of the amount of cliches on every page, the phrase "her flatfooted dialogues", the suggestions that here she sacrifices the plot for character development and here she sacrifices character development for the plot, the learned scholars' discussions of what and how supposed to happen according to the cannons of classical literature and mythology, hints that she was lying about having the whole series in her mind beforehand and only writing them when her first books turned out to be so popular, et cetera, et cetera... The most fun ( at least for me) was provided by our Christian "brothers". From paralleling Harry to the late JC to accusing him of teaching witchcraft and occult to our children and everything in between, like predicting the future disobedience of children as a direct result of reading those books; let's just say it was very, very amusing.
I just feel like adding my two cents worth to all this. As I always maintained, liking or not liking of any kind of literary work is a purely personal and subjective thing; on the other hand, repeating somebody else's moronic opinions, usually without touching a book, is, well, moronic; plus it reminds me of the good old Soviet phrase: "I did not read, but I feel honor-bound to say..." Of course, the craziness will slow down a bit simply because there are no more books to look forward too; but surviving for the next few generations? Hell, yes. Classic or not? That will probably be decided in about hundred or so years, because, let's face it, "true classics" have to be at least that old and written by somebody dead. As for all the discussions of literary merit or the lack thereof, allow me to paraphrase the dialogue from one of my favorite BW movies. It was called "Love in the Afternoon" with Cary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn in the lead. Cooper's character keeps giving compliments to Hepburn's, to which she replies "I am too thin, and my ears are too big, and my teeth are crocked, and my neck is much too long" to which he replies: "That's true, but I like the way it all hangs together!" True beauty does not have to be symmetrical and perfect to give immense delight and sublime pleasure.
One of the main reasons, in my humble opinion, why these books are so unbelievably popular, aside from Rowling's unending imagination and humor, is their deep humanity. Everybody can relate to them and everybody can find some parallels to their lives in there. There are a lot of likable and admirable characters, but not one of them is perfect; they are all human, with their flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings. In our wonderful times of nihilism, modernism, post-modernism, general fascination with psychotics and perversions, moral relativism, and very strange definitions of when and how and under what circumstances does human life have value, how can a simple story about school for magic and its students attract attention and become a bestseller? The "childish" book about ordinary people with extraordinary talents living right next to us is fascinating enough; when you add to it the beauty of friendship, loyalty, selflessness, humility, innocence, heroism, love being "the deepest magic of all", and the morality tale of "our choices, not our abilities, which make us who we are", is it any wonder that everyone from seven to eighty seven years old can't get enough of the book?
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Like every normal, red-blooded New Yorker, I spent at least two hours of every working day on the subway. As I mentioned before, New York subway is not just a mode of transportation; it is a constant source of entertainment and adventure. Here are some of mine.
I love riding the subway chiefly because this is my reading time. So, in order to maximize the enjoyment, I have to make sure to get a seat (at all times) and to insure that the AC is working (during the summer months). The latter is achieved by simply touching the poles (although I know I look totally demented while doing so). The former, on the other hand...That requires art, one of the applications of which is following: during rush hour (if you have time), do not, under any circumstances, take Brooklyn-bound train on any stop located in the heavy Midtown shopping areas (like 34th or 42nd Street). Instead, take a north bound train for a few stops, then you can board the train when it is less crowded, and you will be insured a comfortable ride back home. Q train makes this especially easy for the past few years, since it finishes its route on 57th Street and then goes back. So, if you are shopping in Macy's, take the uptown train, ride two stops backwards, wait a little while, and you are on your way back to less exiting borough, but in comfort.
Which is precisely what I was doing one nice winter evening. After semi-successful shopping excursion I got on the uptown Q on 34th Street, found a seat, and opened my book. At the time I was reading Othello. Now, as previously mentioned, I get very passionate about my reading material and very involved with the characters and story line. As the train was trundling towards 57th Street, I was deeply involved in Othello's tortured monologue about his love for Desdemona and his deep feeling of betrayal at the news of her supposed infidelity. The more I read, the more disgusted I became with the stupid idiot. Unfortunately, I can never keep a poker face and contain my feelings inside. So, I kept shaking my head, raising my eyebrows and muttering. At one point I proclaimed out loud: "Just over a handkerchief, you stupid idiot!"
Diagonally from me there sat a middle aged, mild mannered looking tourist, who kept staring at me with fascination and horror. Here it is at last, one of authentic New York loonies! I saw him fiddling with his camera strap; fortunately, he obviously was not sure if I am harmless enough to permit picture taking. So, I continued cursing Othello, and he continued to stare at me and play with his camera.
Finally, we arrived at 57th Street. Since I had already found a favorite perch, I ploughed on through the misadventures of the jealous Moor. The kindly tourist decided to take pity on me before leaving the train. He cautiously approached my bench, looked down and pointed at the door: "it's the last stop." "Yes, I know, thank you", was my response with a smile, then I bend my head to continue sympathizing with Desdemona. The poor guy gazed at me with renewed terror and quickly run out of the car.
Till this day I have no idea if he had regrets for not taking that souvenir shot.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
That remark started an interesting discussion of its own. I replied that I am not dying to become a babysitter, because being responsible for somebody else's kids, especially tots, is not worth any amount of money. Plus, I added, working with their parents is usually no mean feat also. Since we were talking about Manhattan prices, he assumed that I was talking about Manhattan parents (even though I meant the ones in my sister's neighbourhood actually), and so he told me the following story.
He and his wife have family friends, who, though being of middle class income, somehow managed to land themselves digs in the Upper East Side. The "matriarch" of the family (let's call her Amy) is usually being snubbed by the other mothers of her children's classmates. To compound the situation (or to make it ironic), her older daughter is absolute bosom buddies, or BFF, with the daughter of the chief snubber, so to speak.
One time Amy was babysitting her daughter's friends after school (although there was some kind of fancy name for it, something like "family sharing", basically, it was free babysitting). When the "chief snubber" came to repossess her progeny, she naturally inquired what was served for lunch. Imagine her horror at the response "Mac and cheese"!!! "All those carbs!" Now she hates the poor Amy not just for being beneath her financially, but also for introducing her daughter to peasant, full of carbs, but actually beneficial to growing children, food (which her daughter, of course, loved).
Why did I chose to re-tell this story, which my sister actually dubbed "one of the saddest" she had ever heard? You see, the cynical and the misanthropic part of me thinks that the bosom buddies situation between these two girls is an aberration due to their young age, and in a few years, once they become teenagers, the daughter of the chief snubber will become the part of the coolest crowd and will drop Amy's daughter like the proverbial hot potato. The idealist and the unbeatable romantic in me, on the other hand, says no, this is not an aberration. These two girls like each other despite the general air of bourgeois snobbery all around them. So maybe, the disgusting chain of snobbery will be broken by them. They will truly be best friends forever, support each other through all the ups and downs of their lives, and share many more bowls of macaroni and cheese.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Not to be outdone, South part ( where yours truly resides) decided to follow suit, but in a slightly new direction. For one thing, where is a totally different ratio of hippies and yuppies to the general population; on the other hand, the ragtag band of the recent influx of immigrants (mostly illegal) is amply represented, my favorites being Muslims of any ilk and Russians (real ones, not Russian Jews). So, wannabes galore from all groups. There is only one problem: two cultural attributes of "in" neighbourhood are largely absent. Can you guess what they are, aside from the park? Trendy coffee shops, mainly Starbucks, and book superstores like Barnes and Noble.
To be fair to the denizens of my neighbourhood, I do not think a lot of them are pining for a book superstore. Coffee, on the other hand... In the absence of Starbie, here comes DD. The fact your you will be lucky if your "no sugar" would not be translatd into sickeningly sweet cup of weak joe does not usually deterr anyone. Every time you walk into one of them, you are guaranteed to see at least one bunch of strange (and sometimes smelly) characters discussing their business (shady or otherwise). Then, a few weeks ago, one dude pulled something totally hilarious (although at the time is was maddening, because he was right in front of me and holding up the line). That character ordered (ready for this) a caramel latte, 2/3 regular, 1/3 decaf, not too sweet, and some more specifications that I do not recall. Stupid idiot! Sure enough, about five minutes later he got something which was half regular, half decaf. He thought about it hard, left the store, came back and asked to add some more regular, because otherwise it was not strong enough; then he confounded it by asking for a very specific amount of cream! All he needed to do is not to pretend where he was, buy himself coffee (0r brew it at home), take the train, and then stop by Starbie on the way to work. This way, he was saving himself from about fifteen minutes lost in the morning rush, never mind the general disappointment. No, he wanted to pretend.
What really put me in the reminiscent mood was the following. There is a new "super luxury" condo attached ( and I mean glued to one wall) to my building. Due to the above mentioned glued wall, which successfully deprived some people of their windows, plus the amount of time the construction took, plus the prospect of the lost parking spaces, there was a certain amount of curiously attached to who eventually will occupy those condos.
Now, the contractor, being a true Brooklynite, had produced two "penthouse" suites on top of the "super luxury". That alone is hilarious: the best few from those penthouses would be the Verazzano bridge; the rest is a very panoramic view of South Brooklyn, slightly obscured by the church on the corner. So, finally, somebody bought the cheaper penthouse suite (the one attached to the above mentioned wall). Then, few weeks later, I observed something totally incredible: there was a whole bunch of laundry, including the unmentionables, drying on the line on the balcony of that penthouse! Here is something you would never see on Upper East Side!
Hurray for South Brooklyn!! Even our wannabes are one of a kind!
Friday, June 15, 2007
Of course, in every discussion like this there is always going to be at least one person, most assuredly a Jew, who will feel it incumbent upon him or her to point out that our people provide sufficient excuses to hate them. Just look at the people who orchestrated the Russian revolution, or the members of the American communist party during and after WWII! To this I somehow always feel compelled to reply that a little band of Communists would not have been able to accomplish what they did anywhere else but Russia, and American Communist Party which doubled as USSR spies during the war had plenty of WASPs in it; but those two specific examples require a separate discussion apiece. My point is and always will be that Gentiles do not need excuses to hate us; moreover, that hatred is almost always irrational.
Case in point: the general outlook at our somewhat tumultuous relationship with our "brothers" in "monotheistic, Abrahamic, peaceful" religion of Islam. As much as uprooted Sephardim would like to reminisce about the "good times" and the fact that before the official establishment of Israel we were able to co-exist quiet nicely and peacefully with our Muslim "brothers", the fact remains that such reminiscences are mostly chimeras. Although at certain points in history Muslims may not have been as vicious and obvious in their hatred as our other "brothers", Christians, we always have been "infidels".
As soon as we have established some kind of recognizable presence in the Holy Land, the murderous hatred for the infidels reared its ugly head and became very apparent for the international community. A tiny country, not visible on most maps, with its name sticking out into the Red Sea, Israel was constantly attacked by its Muslim neighbours and was able to miraculously survive and defend itself. In the midst of this struggle all of a sudden we see the "birth" of heretofore unknown nation called "Palestinians". Everyone with a little grain of logic, never mind the rudimentary knowledge of history and geography, would recognize this "nation" for what it is: a terrorist organization created with one single agenda in mind - to destroy the Jews and the Jewish state.
So why are these "people" recognized as a nation, given diplomatic status, etc.? And why, all of a sudden, do we see sudden rise of love for Muslims amongst the Westerners? Europeans, and, by the same route, Americans, were never big friends with Muslims and Muslim-controlled countries. So, what gives? Maybe, subconsciously, they see a power that will finally put "paid" to the "Jewish problem"?
In the eyes of the international community, Jews and the Jewish state are somehow the only entity that has a totally different set of laws applied to it, especially when it comes to self-defence. The whole situation would have been very interesting for the sarcastically-minded, if it was not so heart-wrenching. Deciding to appease the terrorists and bowing to international pressure, the cowardly and corrupt Israeli government decided to grant the "Palestinians" some of the "occupied" territories. In the latest round of that saga, Israeli army was sent to remove Israeli "settlers" from their homes, and poor "Palestinian refugees" finally got the a part of "their historic" land to finally create their own state. "Peaceful refugees" promptly took control of that land and, using crude, but very effective Anglo-Saxon expression, shitted it up and destroyed everything in sight, and then they proceeded to have "Democratic" elections, during which they by overwhelming majority elected Hamas.
The entire civilized world reacted with absolute bewilderment and dismay; they did not expect that! They expected the "pro-Western" Fatah to win! Your humble servant's reaction to that was "are you all suffering from Helen Keller's affliction or are you just plain morons?" They are not "a people", they are a terrorist organization, no matter who or what is leading them; and the only difference between Fatah and Hamas is that the Fatah has some semblance of PR ( and is also more corrupt). Washington's decision? Let us funnel few millions from the monies confiscated from American citizens under the guise of taxes to the "pro-Western" organization. They need our support! And, once we are at it, let us supply them with arms and ammo, because Muslim terrorist do not have enough of that to attack the above-mentioned American citizens (and not necessarily the ones of the Jewish descent).
Then, a little while ago, another piece of breaking news splashed across the international media: the fighting broke out in "Palestine" between Hamas and their opposition. Another round of surprise and another round of American help to "pro-Western" Fatah. My reaction? I hope they will all kill each other soon. New York Times' reaction? Palestinians never did anything violent to one another; it is all Israel's and America's fault.
You see, my dear Western non-friends, "Jewish problem" will never go away. We are vulnerable, but not totally destructible (just spent a bit of time with a few dusty History volumes). You can embrace these murderous thugs, the only faction in the world producing suicide bombers, all you want. They will not, despite your best hopes, put "finished" on Jews or Jewish state. We will bleed and suffer a lot, but we will not go away. Your "helpers", on the other hand, will not contain themselves to killing the Jews alone. You, all of you, are just as much the infidels as we are, and they will treat you accordingly (already are, come to think of it). Your blind cowardice and your blatant and virulent anti-Semitism, examined with a plain, straight logic, just looks like extreme stupidity. I hope you will wake up in time to see it and to save yourselves. We have already survived and outlived many great civilizations; we will survive and outlive you. It is up to you to see that you do not become just another part on the History line and a few broken pots and old paintings in the museum (provided the members of the "Religion of Peace" will leave that much).
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Today is the 19th anniversary for our family. On June 12 nineteen years ago we boarded the plane from Moscow to Vienna. Nineteen years of being free!
Only recently did I realize the significance of that anniversary: we left the cursed totalitarian Russia exactly a year after President Reagan made his famous speech by the Berlin Wall! Rest in peace, Mr. President! You accomplished a great miracle! Thank you, G-d, for our freedom!
My sister had a little boy! The second member of our family born in America!
He was born on Thursday morning at 10:15. At that time he was 9 lb 2 oz and 22 inches. Most of his weight seems to be concentrated in his head; the rest of him is pretty skinny:) So, another smart Jewish head. He has a sister who finally realized that "baby" is not just a cute toy, but a contender for Mama's attention, so good luck to both of them (never mind my sister). He is also a typical boy: he demands more food and attention than his sister did, and his cry is much louder!!
He is tiny, red, slightly wrinkled, soft and very huggable. I love him!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Just finished another excellent book from the "Politically Incorrect Guide" series. This one was especially dear to my heart, since I am an avid reader, and overwhelming percentage of what I enjoy reading is British. The woman who wrote it sounds like a very enjoyable college professor of English literature with a great sense of humor and totally in love with her subject.
Actually, I had a professor like this. I loved her and took all my English prereqs with her. There was only one problem with good dear Dr. E.: she always assigned the most depressing reading imaginable; either a piece that was written by an author who was slightly deranged, or, if we were studying a particular author, she would invariably pick up his or hers most depressing work. Aside from that regrettable tendency, Dr. E. was a great prof.
She had a saying: "The best way to kill a book is to give it for an assignment in school". I tend to agree with her there for a number of reasons: first of all, you have to be in a mood to read something. The book may be the greatest in the world, but your mind has to be tuned to appreciate it, otherwise, it is just a waste of time. Plus, I never enjoyed all the dissecting done in classes. "The country was going thorough a war, and you can clearly see it in this piece." "The author was going through financial problems, and the hero of the story reflects this." "This work is imbued with revolutionary pathos!" I always had one question for all this nonsense: "How do you know that?" Unless you have a telepathic connection with the author (usually deceased), you have no idea what he or she was thinking or feeling at the time, and how exactly it is reflected in the writing, no matter how great an expert you are on the biography. Unless a letter or a journal survived that clearly indicates the connection between the writer's life and his or her writing, all the rest is just a guesswork and a matter of personal perception. So, yes, giving out a literary piece for an assignment in school is a very sure way to kill the true appreciation for it.
Or so I thought till I read Elizabeth Kantor's PI Guide. As much as I heard and read about the loony left's taking over of the colleges, nothing paints the exact horror as specific pictures. Apparently, students now a days either are not required at all to take English Lit as a prereq., or they are required and offered courses in English Lit., but only to teach them the horrors of Western Civilization, and the racism, misogyny, and the hatred of the homosexuals inherent in the above mentioned Civilization. Kantor makes a very good observation: professors who used to teach garbage like Marxism are not needed that much anymore. So, where could they transfer to? They can't teach science or math, so they somehow end up the literature department and continue to teach their miasma under the guise of English Lit.
Kantor gives a whole bunch of examples of loony teachings, saying that "English professors are so politically correct they're beyond parody." Here are some courses offered as "English": Comparative Cross Dressing; Gender Relations in the 19th Century Romantic Ballet: Sex, Drugs and Crime; Latino/a Popular Culture; Sex Outside the City; The Bourgeois; Race and Ethnicity in the Caribbean. She also gives some specific examples of PC language imposed in classes: subject instead of human being or person, the literary production instead of the work of literature, binaries instead of truth and falsehood, Marxist instead on Communist, priveleges instead of benefits, and so on. Suffice it to say that the blood boils from such garbage.
Most of the book is dedicated to basically going over the greatest English writers and their major work, touching on the main biographical points and explaining why all these works are classics and what we can learn from them (aside from supposed "priveleging" of white males to the detriment of everyone else). Despite the fact that I do not necessarily see all of these literary works in the same light (like nothing will convince me that I will enjoy The Taming of the Shrew), her sheer enthusiasm and obvious love for her subject was very contagious.
She concludes the book by offering the ways of teaching English Lit to yourself. I found that especially delightful: finally somebody tells me that it's OK to think of the literary characters as somebody real and argue with them. Plus, she suggest starting an amateur production of Shakespeare with your friends and relatives. What a grand idea! (Moish, how about you as MacDuff)?
As much as I enjoyed Kantor's witticism, the sad conclusion is inevitable. Long gone are the days when the worst what could have happened to you while studying English Lit. was somebody with Dr. E.' propensity for assigning depressing works. Now the wide-eyed college freshmen are subjected to English professors like Grover Furr, credited with saying: "This article outlines Joseph Stalin's attempts, from the 1930s until his death, to democratize the government of the Soviet Union", and instructors teaching "theory", "meaning Marxism, feminism, deconstruction, bashing of dead white males" and general "resistance to literature". Let us also not forget that a lot of it is done using our tax dollars. Great!