The Best Motto

Gd, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannon change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

You woke up this morning - Congratulations! You got another chance!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Or Reality Bites

This fine morning those of us fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to go to work had to navigate something that has a very poetic for such a nasty condition thing called wintry mix, otherwise known in New York as wet snow, rain, slush, puddles, extra grumpy people, treacherous sidewalks, clogged drains, and umbrellas sailing half an inch from your eye. Yours truly was one of these fortunate people.

Considering my total lack of proper footwear (another long story), I was very fortunate in a sense that I almost reached my office building without any mishaps; almost, of course, being the operative word. On the corner of my building, waiting for the light to change (I am dorky like that), I was splashed almost literally from head to toe by a passing black Kraut (read fancy) car that seemed to be in extreme hurry. After I regained my equilibrium by denigrating the driver and his ancestry in two languages, all of the sudden I remembered a movie called "That Touch of Mink", after which I dissolved into the uncontrollable giggles.

"Touch of Mink" is an old goofy comedy starring Cary Grant and Doris Day. Its contents are not extremely profound, but quite entertaining, and, considering the subject matter, really clean. The reason I remembered this movie was because Day's character, a clean cut small town girl, gets dowsed with the puddle water in the beginning of the movie by a passing fancy car of the rich businessman played by Grant. What ensues after that is a very entertaining comedy of errors: Day's character gets to spend some time with Grant's, even advise him on important business matter, receives a proposition to be his mistress, gets a wonderful new wardrobe from Bergdorf (completed with mink coat), and gets whisked away to a tropical paradise.

Of course, her small town morals got in the way, and eventually, after some pretty hilarious twists and turns, they got married.

So, for some unexplainable reason, here I am, sitting at my desk in my drying denim skirt, working and contemplating the disparity between Hollywood and reality. As my little friend Goshka said, while sitting on his potty, "Life!"

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Or Remembering St. George

It probably would be a complete chutzpah on my part to re-affirm that King Solomon was a very wise man and a great prophet. But, as mentioned before, I am approaching the middle-age marker; and along with this usually come certain weariness and philosophical introspections (not that I did not over-analyze everything to death when I was younger). But, the more I observe my fellow humans and the more I try (albeit meagerly) to self-educate myself in history, the more I realize the beauty of this profound statement from Ecclesiastes.

Nothing is new under the sun. People seem to be changing constantly: food, clothes, customs, languages, borders of the countries, countries themselves; progress here, regress there, freedom, slavery, cannibalism, advance of human rights... Humanity (especially civilized part of it) seems to be constantly in motion, hopefully towards the better things. And then you stop and look a bit beneath the surface of things, and you realize that nothing really changes, and that the time basically goes in circles, like the times of the year or the phases of the moon. Human beings (even the civilized ones) are actually diminishing with each generation removed from the original pair created by G-d. And all the darker parts of the human soul rear their ugly heads again and again.

Believe it or not, the disgustingly idiotic circus of the past few months otherwise known in this country as the last Presidential elections presented a wonderful demonstration. American public had to opportunity to observe, or even to participate in the oldest, and, in a sense, most repugnant rituals of humans: idol worship, black ingratitude, and the mass hysteria of the demented mob. By the last count, the rituals are still in full swing.

Few months ago, I got into another philosophical mode while reading one of Prelutsky's articles. In it, he was mocking the college commencement speeches that are always praising the graduating class as the best of the best. According to him, most of the graduating youngsters are not dreaming of slaying the dragon; they just want to find a job and start paying off their tuition loans. I agree with Burt that graduating classes are rarely the best of the best, especially in the view of their overwhelming participation in this wonderful cult of personality we all are currently witnessing. But what a sad thing to think that the younger generation is not dreaming of heroic actions! When else in your live can you dream of slaying a dragon and saving everyone, if not when you are a teenager or a young adult?

And sadder still is the realization that even if you did daydream of being a hero in your younger days, the older you get, the more you realize that dragon is not the worst you will have to engage in battle if you want to retain your humanity. Dragon lives in you: your lack of faith, moments of despair, hopelessness, and evil inclination in general. But from the outside enemies, dragon, as horrible and vicious as he may be, always attacks head on. The bloodiest, most exhausting, and sometimes seemingly hopeless battles would always be with jackals and snakes.

Finally, on the heels of all the different disjointed thoughts and musings, another realization crystallized in my mind quite some time ago - I have a bad case of a very old Jewish sickness. Which one is it? The desire to stick my stiff Jewish neck in the matters that should not really concern me as a Jew; you see, I know that this country is only a stop on our very long journey back home, to the Holy Land. But I love this country; I love it with every fiber of my being. This country sheltered me, allowed me to discover who I am and to be who I am, and, as I mentioned before, most probably saved my life. Gratitude is in our genetic makeup; and I will not give up on this country. I will resist her enemies (especially the domestic ones) as much as I can; and I will pray to The Heavenly Father to continue to protect and to bless this here US of A.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Just a little update on the library situation (so to speak). As this "goes to print", Regnery has published fifteen books in the PIG series (Politically Incorrect Guides). By the latest (one second ago) check of the NYPL catalog, library has five titles from these series available. And here are the amusing numbers:

PIG to American History - 58 available copies (when I checked it out, there were 95).

PIG to Darwinism and ID - 4 available copies (originally purchased 5).

PIG to English and American Lit - 1 available copy (originally purchased 2).

PIG to Global Warming - 0 available copies (originally purchased 3); one in storage (huh?); one missing and one lost - Al Gore's supporters falling on the sword for this one and stealing these two copies to the monetary detriment of themselves?

PIG to Constitution - 2 copies available (originally purchased 2); both constantly on hold for somebody else.

Burt Prelutsky - latest book just published (non-political, by the way), another book released few years ago - library catalog does not recognize this name.

One the bright side - 85 copies of Jerry Corsi's book and 72 of David Freddoso's still available on the shelf.

Latest Ann Coulter - 115 copies (some still on order); around quarter of them already on hand (my Dad's, among others), and 59 holds.

The general logic still escapes me, but 115 copies of the most denigrated rightie in the heart of New York - rock on, Ann!

Hava Nagila

I am hosting a little contest: please explain this bizzare performance

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


My very first teacher of Judaic studies, ZT'B, once told this slightly amusing parable to my Dad. It will loose some in the translation, but, hopefully, you will get the gist of it.

Jews are different from all the other nations. Gentiles have wisdom and stupidity distributed equally: some get more, some get less, but everyone gets some of both. With Jews, it is quite different: nine hundred ninety nine Jews get only wisdom, and the thousandth gets all the stupidity allotted for this group. They are called The Legion of the Thousandth, and all of them can usually be found in the Israeli government.

After receiving the extremely disturbing news this Motzei Shabat about the cease fire in Gaza, the first thing that popped into my mind was this parable. There is no other explanation for this unilateral surrender, aside from extreme stupidity and extreme cowardice. For the second time in two years, treacherous and corrupt Israeli government managed to snatch the defeat from the jaws of victory. They could have put paid to both Hezbollah and HAMAS, but no; something as simple and as straightforward as defending their citizens is "above their pay grade". Rockets are still firing towards the south of Israel, and HAMAS's jackals are doing celebration dances.

My little, slightly tattered note is staying in my prayer book. Please protect us, Heavenly Father! Protect us from all our enemies, especially the ones within; You are our only hope!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Weekend before last (after the supposed birthday, not the supposed circumcision) turned out to be quite entertaining. First of all, after years of trying to interest yours truly in going to the Hashivenu retreat, my sister finally convinced me to go this year.

Here is a short list of memorable highlights:

Got to babysit an almost empty office (besides me, it contained one harassed marketing coordinator and one rotten intern, who literally fell asleep by his workstation).

Got to travel on Metro North for the first time in my life; the excitement included figuring out how to purchase a ticket, find a train, and navigate without the help of very useful uniformed employees of the above mentioned Metro North. Also, got to carry my Minnie Mouse suitcase.

Took a scenic ride with my brother in law through the charming city of Hartford (on the way back figured out that I could have actually walked from the station, if not for my blessed dyslexia).

Got acquainted with the Hartford's Hilton, which apparently just turned Hilton this year, and was previously Sheraton. According to my sis, I have missed on heavenly bed and bath experience. But hey, to me going to a nice hotel is already a wonderful pastime.

Got to eat a lot (and I mean a lot) of food; some was delicious, some so so; but the presentation was fantastic either way.

Got to use my bathing suit, which was specifically purchased for my Aruba trip, and since then was idling away in my dresser.

Met an amusing couple from Queens; observed their extremely entertaining interactions with the waiters.

Due to the superior organizational skills of one of our dear friends, ended up meeting and sharing a room with a very interesting lady (more on that to come).

Remembered once again why I avoid places where my people congregate in great numbers.

Witnessed my sister's great act of assertiveness; you go, girl!!

Managed to snap some cute pictures of munchkins.

Over all, it was an enjoyable Shabbat.

Which brings me to Sunday.

On Sunday we were supposed to attend our cousin's wedding ceremony. Highlights included the following:

Fluffies, overexcited from our previous trip, decided that they have exhausted their quota of decent behavior, and ended up demanding Mommy exclusively, which prompted some tricky manipulations on our side, resulting in somehow coming home hungry.

I personally could not understand the constant rendition of bad poetry by the guy leading the processions, but hey, I am strange like this.

Likewise, I could not, for the thousandth time, understand why Goth clothes are de rigor for all the occasions, especially weddings.

Met with a passing acquaintance, who was desirous to know how come I was at this particular wedding; maybe I was a friend of the bride? No, cousin of the groom. Cousin of the bride? Can't be! No, cousin of the groom. No way! Apparently, if I do not belong to their circle of young, hip, recently discovered Judaism Jewish professionals, I somehow do not know anyone, or have any friends, never mind family members.

Last, but not least: despite all hope and precedent, could not get drunk after three!!! drinks.

Over all, it was a great weekend. On the side note, I got reaffirmation of my previous plan: if and when I find somebody crazy enough to marry me (and get crazy enough to marry him), we will definitely elope! (Destination to be kept in strict confidence till actually needed).

Monday, January 05, 2009


(I have wanted to write this post for a little while, but now, unfortunately, it became current)

As mentioned before, my daily prayers are usually accomplished on my morning commute. To that effect, my trusty and much worn compact Artscroll Siddur had been a permanent resident in the succession of wacky purses I usually carry. Few months ago, while leafing through the usually unused sections of my Siddur, I have stumbled on a little paper stuck there.

The paper, ironically, was torn from one of those standard note pads one usually gets with the requests for donations from strange places one never heard of before. It is a little square made out of cheap recycled paper, and on top of it there is a quote in English from Psalm 23 "Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life". The note itself contained four names, written in standard black ballpoint pen and half faded already: three of those names were the names of the soldiers, whose kidnapping started the last war with Hezbollah; the fourth name was a name of the unknown to me Israeli civilian.

Those were the people we were all praying for back than: kidnapped soldiers and civilians caught in the cross fire and asking their brethren outside of the Holy Land (through the chain of Rabbis) to beseech The Heavens on their behalf. Few days after I have discovered this paper, we all heard "breaking" news about Israel exchanging a whole bunch of Muslim terrorists and murderers for the remains of the two of the soldiers.

Today, a fresh name goes on the other side of this paper: a name of another IDF soldier whom I do not know, and who needs all the prayers we can offer because, while I am here, in the comfort of my office, sipping my tea, he is out there, in the harm's way, defending the Holy Land and our brothers and sisters. Defending them from the vicious thugs who call themselves freedom fighters and the followers of the only true and peaceful religion; baby killers who hide behind their just as vicious and just as murderous wives and daughters; and while this battle is taking place, the almost entire so called international community will shed crocodile tears for the "poor, innocent, homeless, displaced Palestinians". There will be moans and groans about the "humanitarian crisis" in the Gaza, followed by inevitable condemnation of the "Zionist aggressors".

Merciful Heavenly Father, please protect all your children and the Holy Land! Please do not forsake us!


As mentioned many times before, my favorite niece looks very much like yours truly. It's not just the facial features and the mop of curly hair; she has a lot of my mannerisms, poses, and gestures, which my sibling loves to point out on numerous photographic representations of our Golden Delicious.

But few weeks ago she solidified her status. When she decided to cut short her "vacation" by her grandmother and return home early, the first thing she did was to pack all her stuff. "Oh, that's what Barb used to do when she was little" was a unanimous response from all the family members who remembered me at my tender years.

So, it is now official: Mini Me is in fact Mini Me!

Friday, January 02, 2009


OK, I have been tagged for two memes (or whatever they are). I am not tagging anyone, because I think all the bloggers I know already got tagged by this, but here goes.

BOOK Meme:

"...You do not need to look like a duchess.'

She accompanied him through the house, thinking she would rather not ride alone in a carriage with him again. She had never entirely recovered from the long journey from Rouen.

The carriage waited in all its splendor. Daniel settled across from her and the wheels rolled. "

OK, I have a whole bunch of romances all other the place at work (I do need to utilize the drawer space, after all). That one was from "The Seducer" by Madeline Hunter (and despite the title, it was really a great love story).

NEXT Meme:

7 facts about me:

1. I do not have a driver's licence, and never finished my driving lessons.

2. I know how to milk cows.

3. My personal library contains about 800 romances.

4. I was able to name all the wives of Henry VIII: their names, their order, what happened to them, and what happened to their offspring. That was long before Cinemax launched it's series about Tudors.

5. I hate putting on make up for purely practical purposes (and not moral, religious, or nonconformist reasons, as people believe). Aside from taking time, I usually feel suffocated if I cake my face with anything even slightly oil based.

6. I am a single girl without kids, but I can hold my own (and even offer informed opinions and advise) in the conversations with parents. I even have my favorite brand of diapers: Huggies, of course:)

7. I am one of the few people who, being born with curly hair, actually enjoy having them curly, and adamantly protest against all the attempts to straighten it (even if one of my former friends claims that straight hair is more elegant).

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mini Me!

Here is to my wonderful niece! May Hashem bless you, and may you always be a blessing and a source of joy to us and all the Jews!

Many Happy Returns, little one!