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!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


When they were babies, they were both on the baldish side, especially Mini Not Me, whose head had almost as much hair as his knees. Now they both have beautiful heads of hair, representing, among many things, interesting genetic mix. Mini Me's hair is light brown, with golden highlights and crazy curls, which (if she lets) can become beautiful ringlets. Mini Not Me, on the other hand, is dark blond, also with golden highlights, but pretty straight (with occasional curl thrown in for fun). As a result, they are both called Fluffies, but only Mini Me is called Curly; Mini Not Me, on the other hand, is called Blondie.

Like any decent American kids, they spent a decent amount of time traveling in cars. For Mini Me, it is Aba's car and Mommy's car; for Mini Not Me, it is Aba's car and our car.

Mini Not Me has very interesting color recognition system: he knows black; everything else is either orange or purple. "What color is Mommy's car?" "Our car is orange (or purple, depending on his mood)". In mundane reality, the said car is white.

My purse is considered by both of them something of the equivalent of the Aladdin’s cave; therefore, as soon as I show up, they usually proceed to turn it upside down and start hunting for treasures. Sometimes they get a surprise - something they did not see before; but usually those are the same items over and over again. That does not really deter them, as those items are usually the coveted prizes (it may also have something to do the fact that I have a “Princess Belle” wallet and “Play With Your Food” Calendar); but anything, even without obvious pictures, is fun and fair game. One time Mini Me got a hold of my wallet, emptied it of all contents (and believe me, it was quite full), and arranged everything into the known only to her sub-categories. Another time, when we were on the subway coming home, and she was getting a bit cranky, I, in a fit of desperation, took out my key chain and explained to her the meaning of every single discount card attached to it (again, I have a pretty decent number of those). She perceived it as a game of recognition, and now periodically likes to take that blessed key chain (which in itself is a Hogwarts crest) and name all the cards. On another subway trip, in the similar circumstances, I took out my calendar and just went over the pictures, explaining what was on it and how fruits and veggies were arranged to resemble the subject. She again perceived it as a legitimate reading material, and few times I spotted her filching that effing calendar out of my bag and reading it. Mini Not Me, on the other hand, once filched out my Politically Incorrect Guide to Constitution and attempted to read that one.

On our last outing, I noticed an interesting thing about Mini Not Me: he sits in his stroller with one leg bent at an angle and its ankle on the opposite knee. The first time I perceived somebody sitting like this was back in Moscow, when they were interviewing some English speaking foreigner. I have no blessed idea who that dude was or what the interview was all about, but that relaxed posture was burnt in my mind as an example of a free Westerner. And now Beloved Nephew, all of two years old, is sitting exactly like this in his stroller! All I can say is “thank G-d” – for many, many things.

Mine Me, as noted on many previous occasions, is a great member of our club (the club of oldest sisters, that is). She takes her responsibilities very seriously. So, one time, when I was giving both of them a bath, I saw her performing our "scrubby" song and routine on her brother - she was bathing him, using the song I composed for her, again in a fit of desperation, when she was less than eighteen months old. Let me tell you something - moments like this are more precious than rubies.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Thank G-d, this year we had an improvement in weather over the last three ones, the first rainy night non-withstanding (another hint?)

Personally, I had a very enjoyable Holiday, highlights of which include:

A very enjoyable first meal with great friends, where I met another couple who, of course, knew my sister. It's amazing, but usually when I introduce myself as "Sally's sister", it works about ninety five percent of the time, and everyone knows what I am talking about and immediately claims to see the resemblance. We started an evening with champagne, which turned out to be a little mistake, as overtired ladies became slightly sleepy, but it did not really diminish our enjoyment at all. Aside from great food, there was a great conversation and a lot of jokes. Plus, ladies got a chance to entertain themselves by observing the gentlemen, who, after being politely begged not to discuss politics, switched to wine and steaks, which they discussed with great enthusiasm for about an hour; after which they switched to matters concerning human anatomy and physiology.

First morning brought a chance for an extra bonding experience with Mini Not Me. I came in early (for a Yom Tov) to assist the beloved sibling in taking her beloved progeny for Birkat Kohanim. Mini Me was not in the best of moods; and finally I was dispatched to the place of worship with Mini Not Me (in case they would actually do everything according to schedule). Sure enough, beloved nephew and yours truly walked in just as Kohanim were saying "Baruch Ata..". We made it by the skins of our teeth. In the absence of the older sister, Fluffy behaved admirably, and answered "Amen" very sweetly (and when he was supposed to). On the way back we took a little detour in order to walk around our glorious neighborhood and look at the "beautiful flowers". It was also an opportunity for Mini Me to have a little bonding time with Mommy (who was obliged to take her to a different place of worship).

Then it was a great lunch with different friends. The food was also fantastic, and the company delightful and blessedly devoid of annoying people. Plus, LPC was there, and we were very glad to see one another. The general conversation was very pleasant in general due to the above mentioned absence of idiots.

The rest of the meals were spent with family and accompanied by usual family scene.

The recurring amusement of the hour was connected to my shoes. In case I did not mention it before, I am an epicurean when it comes to clothes and shoes, as in they need to be comfortable first and foremost; all the other considerations come after. In lieu of this, I usually wear flip-flops for about eight months out of twelve. High degree of comfort is paramount when purchase is contemplated. Price usually comes as a second consideration - necessary evil. Cuteness comes third (but still important). So, thanks to e-bay, I was in possession of a very comfortable and extremely cute pair of Vera Wang flip-flops (and I swear, the fact that they were Vera Wang had nothing to do with my acquisition). They looked quite ordinary if not for one important detail: they were decorated with fair imitation of the De Beers diamond. The amount of stares I got! Apparently, not only is it pass nicht to wear flip-flops in the Heilige Flatbush, those jewels basically slaughtered everyone I have encountered on the streets.

And, just to add additional excitement to the Holiday, George went after my Shavout bouquets - poor kitty was nutritionally deprived and decided to supplement his diet with fresh vegetation.

On the serious and sober note, I kept thinking about true meaning of this Holiday, how we perceive it, and there are we really on the spiritual level. That thought actually entered my mind few days before; it was supplanted for a little while with the usual excitement and a sense of peace that always comes with finishing all the preparations and lighting the candles; but then it came back. We are chosen by The Creator for a very special and unique mission; and on Shavout we re-experience the time when we were given "tools" to fulfill that mission. But where are we today?

Most of our brothers and sisters are non-observant; moreover, have little desire or inclination of even exploring the rich and unique treasures for observance and preservation of which their ancestors were brutally slaughtered by tyrants and angry mobs again and again. Our communities are full of, not to put too fine a point on it, shettel mentality. The situation in Israel brings tears whenever you try to dwell on it, and most of it is the result of Jewish actions, not our enemies’. Our religious educational system is thoroughly corrupt and rotten to the core; and the latest pedophile scandals are just one of the bitter examples. Our youngsters, imitating their arrogant, uneducated, and narrow-minded parents, themselves are narrow-minded, uneducated, and full of chutzpah. There are way too many single people and way too many divorces - and this time, you cannot blame feminists for it; the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the so-called community leaders, who turned a seemingly natural process into a circus of monumental proportions. There is constant strife between different religious factions other the matters of absolutely supreme importance - like who wears a hat and how. The communities and individuals who are supposed to educate and lead the next generations to Torah are, again to put it mildly, not up to the task. And, the most painful of all, we are plagued by the curse that landed us in this exile to begin with - there is too much baseless hatred. Maybe we are supposed to fall to the 49th level of tumah again, like we did in Egypt, before the ultimate redemption comes? May Our Heavenly Father show us the way! L'Shana Ha'Baa be Yerushalaim!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Karate Kid classic scene

Here is to all underdogs and to winning against bullies!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Part 5

Today, despite the severely inclement weather (OK, torrential rain definitely qualifies as that in New York), I was determined to go out during my lunch break. Of course, I had to take into account the proximity of the destination; for which I had two choices - library of coffee shop. For reasons known only to The Creator, I decided on the first.

So, here I come, slightly resembling a drowned rat, holding my dripping Muggle umbrella in one hand and a book I wanted to return in the other. I approach The High Priestess, I mean the clerk, greet her, offer her my book and my apologies for it (the book) being slightly on the damp side. She Of The Supreme Power Does Not Great a Mere Mortal or Smile in Return. Instead, she looks at me with a straight face and intones the following: "Ma'am, I have to warn you, if you will bring books that are Too Wet, you will be charged for damaged books."

Yours truly, slightly taken aback by this display of Supreme Logic, automatically reaches for the self-defensive humor: "So, now I will be charged for the natural disasters and acts of G-d?"

The High Priestess, aka the clerk, does not appreciate or, for that matter, understand the mere mortal humor. She looks at me unblinkingly and repeats with the same intonations: "Well, Ma'am, I wanted to warn you that this time is OK, but next time you will be charged for a damaged book."

I just collected my receipt, thanked her (again with a smile), and departed for the reserve shelves. But here is my question: how did she know that I am a right wing Jew face? Because, let's face it, right wingers are always blamed for the results of the natural disasters, and Jews are always blamed for the results and for causing those disasters to begin with. Again, to quote Goshka, "Life!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


“Love is something you can only find in a movie for the adults” – our Dad used to kill me with that phrase every time he vetoed a late movie:)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


One pretty fine Thursday afternoon, I left work and boarded the Lexington express (one of the “best” lines in MTA) with the intention of visiting Fluffys after work (yea, my sis too). Unfortunately, judging by the early signs, i. e. more than usually crowded platform, I got the feeling that this subway ride is going to be even more fun than usual.

Unfortunately, my predictions ended up being true; the only bright spot in the whole debacle being a seat I had wrestled. Finally, at Bowling Green, we were informed that the train was not going into Brooklyn, but turning back. A huge wave of disgruntled humanity exited the train, carrying yours truly along. By now it was over an hour after my departure from work, and I realized that I will not see Munchkins that evening. So, after arranging with my sister for a rain check (or is it "MTA is run by morons" check?), I decided to try and enjoy the evening.

First on the list was, of course, food. So, I trekked to the one of the two kosher establishments in the area. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that it closed down since my last visit downtown. Then imagine the unpleasant feeling when I realized that it was closed down by the Department of Health. Needless to say, the hunger pangs disappeared.

Further examination of the sky revealed more than few clouds (a good chance of torrential rain), so the excursion to our favorite "pak" was scrapped as well. Disappointed, but not deterred, I went to the bookstore.

Upon arrival at that fine establishment, I decided to visit the least pleasant part of it - the ladies room - before visiting more pleasant ones. As my luck would have it, that coveted place was being cleaned. For some unfathomable reason I decided to hang around and wait for the cleaning lady to finish. That turned out to be a slight miscalculation on my part.

So, here I am, just perusing the cookbooks and not-too-surreptitiously observing the progress of the cleaning. Meanwhile, the other ladies ignore the sign and barrel on. They were stopped and directed to the men's room by the enterprising cleaning personnel. At this point I decided to ignore the cookbook and observed the fun.

Sure enough, first adventures female soul knocked on the door, ascertained that the men's room was empty, and went in. Immediately after this, a man wanted to use the facilities. I warned him just in time. While he was waiting, another guy showed up, and they had to wait together. The second arrival even complimented the first one on his being a gentleman (the rest of this conversation would be better off to remain unpublished).

Finally, the adventures female exited, and the waiting males entered. Meanwhile, the cleaning lady was still busy cleaning the ladies' and directing everyone to the men’s. Yours truly continued to peruse the cookbooks, direct the hapless of both sexes, and generally observe the entertaining tableau.

The last female - non-adventurous, but desperately in need, since she was pregnant - beseechingly looked at me before I had a chance to open my mouth and offer my guard services. I assured her that I will not allow anyone of the male persuasion to enter the coveted facilities, and she disappeared there with a grateful smile. About three more males were stopped in their tracks to the bathroom till the pregnant woman emerged. She was profusely grateful, and even offered to do the same services for me; she also warned me that the men's room was really in a disgusting shape.

Since I accidently walked into three different men's bathrooms prior to that memorable evening, I did not need any additional warnings. I just thanked her with a big smile and returned to my observations and my cookbooks.

Finally, the cleaning woman finished her job, at which point she decided that she is going to preserve the integrity of the said job and not allow anyone into the ladies room for another half an hour. Few more brave female souls wanted to visit the coveted place and were also directed to the men's! At which point my capacity for entertaining oneself (and my patience) ran out, and I point blank asked her why I cannot go into the ladies’ is she was done. To which she replied to me in Spanish and again pointed to the men's! Wrong language, hon!

For those of you who know my political pet peeves, English as a national language is one of them; and I refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of Spanish here in any shape or form. So, when she compounded her nonsensical behavior by speaking to me in Spanish that was the end of Ms. Nice Girl. I told her that I do not speak Spanish, but I can see that she is done with the ladies', and I am going there, sign or no sign. She added some more annoyed phrases (I am sure also very complimentary to yours truly), and huffily removed the sign, after which she proceed to finally clean the men's. To give her credit, the bathroom was thoroughly cleaned.

After that adventure, the rest was a bit anticlimactic. I visited all the favorite sections of the store; found one book which I wanted to acquire as a present, and of which, of course, they only had one bedraggled copy; got some cards, most of which I did not need; refrained from getting a coffee in view of the recent events, and finally decided that MTA probably sorted out their mess, and I can go home.

The last was too optimistic: I ended up waiting for the train for about twenty minutes, after which it arrived stuffed like a sardine can. Needless to say, I came home late and hungry (thanks, sis, for feeding me).

To summarize this pretty typical for New York evening:

I have spent more than four hours in total in order to reach my humble abode; was treated to 9,667th demonstration of MTA's incompetence and stupidity since our arrival to this fair city; spend about six dollars for absolutely no logical reason; realized for the 666th time that eating at home is better than in a typical kosher establishment; appreciated again the idiocy of Mayor Bloomberg in his refusing to build public bathrooms in New York; was treated to the 1000th demonstration of general human idiocy in performance of the queen of the hill routine; and, finally, while perusing the cookbooks, I came to the realization that I am a fairly decent cook myself and can have my own cookbook - at least on the level of the ones I was perusing. So, in the future, my blog would feature the additional segment of recipes.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Or My Short Response to Barack Obama

Tuesday night, arriving home at the un-G-dly hour of ten forty eight pm, after a relatively uneventful day at work and a very enjoyable evening spent with beloved sibling and munchkins, I came to a strange conclusion: the night is young, and going to sleep just to be refreshed for the next workday is passé.

So, in accordance with this plan, I spent about half an hour playing America's favorite sport: flipping the channels on my TV remote. On the thirty fourth minute I realized that I will probably not see anything even remotely worthwhile, so I decided to finish my latest Netflix arrival. That was "Music and Lyrics", and I highly recommend it as a very sweet, light-hearted, feel-good with happy ending romantic comedy; plus, it had very enjoyable musical numbers in the style of the 80s music (OK, I am getting on in years).

After finishing the movie, I decided to play a bit on the Youtube; another very pleasant and time consuming activity, during which I found a music video of Sara Brightman singing "Harem". Sue me, but, despite the objectionable words due to the objectionable subject matter of this song, I actually enjoy the music and the beat (hey, nobody said that I was sane).

Next morning, while trying to wake up in the shower after half the night spent on those home entertainments, I was suddenly struck by this freaky connection: the movie and the song represented something diametrically opposed.

Now, a lot of people more gifted than yours truly already wrote brilliant summaries and responses to Obama's latest round of Muslim bootlicking, excuse me, attempts at diplomacy. But here is my short and not humble two cents worth of personal opinion.

Despite the fact that our non-esteemed supposed President went to Ivy League schools, and yours truly went to "Dura" college, I am firmly convinced that I am more knowledgeable in history than he is, even though I majored in psychology. All his claims to Muslim achievements are in error; whatever they supposed to have brought to civilization was brought by other nations and other religions. And even though thousand years ago they were better at medicine than the Europeans, come on! Even I am better at medical knowledge than the people who were convinced that you can heal wounds by the means of a fried field mouse. And they, by the way, made significant advancements since then; as apposes to the supposed beacons of civilization who only know how to torture and kill practically with their bare hands, but not to heal.

But Muslims always were, are, and will be famous (or infamous) for their elaborate harems and the entire culture attached to it (although that also was invented before their time).
Americans, on the other hand, are famous for their constant and almost unwavering hope for a better tomorrow. The Kenyan bastard stole that concept, trivialized and cheapened it in his campaign. But the concept is alive and well.

Other countries also make movies that have a happy ending, and that extol the healing power of love, friendship, art, and hope; but somehow, American movies are still the best and mostly unique in that regard.

And that, my friends, is the ironic connection that my head made when it was trying to wake up while being shampooed.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Part 4

Today, I decided to visit the little stinking (literally and figuratively) library branch next to my office. And since I have a "reader's crisis" for about a month now, I thought I would just peruse the paperback section, especially mystery and romance, to see if anything would inspire me, or at least call my name.

Few years ago Signet reprinted almost the entire Agatha Christie collection, and there is a fair to certain chance that you can find at least one or two of them on the shelf - library pages did not have a chance to destroy all of them, and half of them were not stolen yet. Sure enough, the mystery section did not disappoint, and I found a good number of Christie books there.

Of course, as Murthy's law would have it, the one I really wanted was damaged (it started on page 43); so, being my usual idiotic self, I decided to take it to the clerk, so that she could "depreciate" this book.

My turn came pretty quickly. I plopped my selection on the counter and gave her a damaged book first with a short explanation. By her facial expression I quickly realized that she thought I was returning it damaged; I explained the situation again. She checked it, confirmed that it did, indeed, start on page 43, and then politely asked me if I wanted it. I just replied with "no, thank you." "Ah, I understand, it is damaged, so you do not really want it". And she put it aside, on the pile of freshly returned books.

Oy, gevalt!

Monday, June 08, 2009


Editor's note: Due to the usual circumstances beyond my control, this post appears today, as opposed to yesterday.

Happy Birthday to my delicious nephew! May Hashem bless you, with your smart eyes, professor's head, pinchable checks, huggable everything, and mischievous smile!

Love you much!

Hugs and kisses,

Your Papi

Friday, June 05, 2009

Scent of woman - Tango

A fantastic scene from a great movie


Today is National Doughnut Day!

Happy Holiday to our brave police forces and all the doughnut lovers across the country!