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!

Monday, December 21, 2009


As previously mentioned, MBS and MNM know me as Papi. MBS, being a big girl, understands that her cool aunt also goes by another name; for MNM it is a bit of a different story.

So, a few days ago, a family friend, who, in the best traditions of our community, also happens to be the mother of MBS’s favorite classmate, came to Beloved Sibling’s house to pick up her progeny. In the process of doing this, she also informed Blondie that she knows his aunt Barb – which information was completely indigestible to our big boy. After being informed of this amusing incident, I asked him if he knows who Barb is – blank stare. “It’s I, SiM”. With a superior, I-do-not-have-patience-for-this-nonsense-young-lady-look, Beloved Nephew very firmly told me “you Papi!”; case closed.

A little while before that, he was playing with my wallet and came upon my NRA membership card. “Ducky” –was his exited observation. “No, sweetie, that’s an eagle.” “No, ducky!” “No, big boy, that birdie does not look like a ducky at all”. “Ducky!” Now I just have to inform NRA that apparently their seal was changed.

And, in slightly related news, a love seat in the living room received a serious kicking yesterday after Golden Delicious bumped herself on it. “You no hurt Eh, you bad boy!” – were the admonishing words that accompanied the kicks.

Friday, December 18, 2009


The following story also took place shortly after MMM made her glorious entrance into this world.

Yours truly was walking back to the office after a satisfying meal when she got a phone call from Beloved Sibling. The Very Important Matter of Shopping for Mini Mini Me was discussed. All of the sudden, in the middle of the conversation, I saw a familiar face attached to a familiar hairdo that was approaching me from the opposite direction. The hand attached to the body with the familiar face waved at me and the mouth on the familiar face cracked a smile.

I got really excited. “Nechama – I thought – so happy to see her since she moved to New Jersey a donkey’s age ago!” :”Uh, uh, uh, guess whom I just met on the street!” – was my happy squeal into the receiver. Of course, my poor sister was at sea, so I just wished her well and hang up. Nechama stopped, but did not hang up on her phone call. I just stood there, smiling like an idiot – I really was that happy to see her. She continued chatting and after a first polite smile did not really pay attention to me.

OK, she did not see me or hear from me in a long while, but she was my sister’s friend, for goodness sake! What happened to her? Finally, she reluctantly finished her call and decided to waste some rudimentary conversation on yours truly. And, boy oh boy, it was way beyond rudimentary; it was stifled and cold. We wished each other Shana Tova, of course, and then I, in very exuberant tones, told her about the MMM’ arrival; very un-exited reception. Then I asked her if she was working in the area; she just looked at me with a slight disdain before confirming the fact. I offered to exchange phone numbers (so we could stay in touch somewhat); again some kind of very cold and put-down compliance.

Finally, after about two minutes of this nonsense (and her offer of meeting for lunch one day, which I knew would never materialize), we wished each other the best for the remainder of Sukkot and the coming year, and I returned to the office. Her behavior continued to baffle me, though; again, granted, I did not see her for a very long time; but such drastic change? What the heck happened to a warm, exuberant, down to earth, wonderful Nechama? Needless to say, I did not say anything to my sister; she, of course, did not ask, being busy with the new baby and all.

I, on the other hand, while relegating this dumb incident to the back of my mind, could not give it a complete and proper rest. Another disappointment, in a long line of disappointments; well, people do change, and usually not for the better. And only after about two or three weeks of those musings the condemned by enviro-wacos invention of Thomas Edison flickered to bright light in my head. OMG (as the modern generation likes to summarize it), it was not Nechama at all! It was Odette, or Violette, or whatever Frenchified nonsense name her parents gave her! The girl who was introduced to me by my friend Ellie; and which friendship left me nonplussed, since Ellie is a very warm and sweet person, and Odette is so clearly not! If my fried brain would have recognized her as Odette, it would have steered my body to the opposite side of the street, and only then commended to one of my hands to wave in a non-committal greeting! At that point I did share the story with my sister – and man, did we laugh!

And that is why, Boys and Girls, Ladies and Things, your humble servant would never make a reliable eye-witness in court!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


G-d bless this country!

Happy Chanukah!

To all my Jewish brothers and sisters, regardless of your religious affiliation (or the lack of such) I wish a happy and joyous Chanukah (however you would like to spell it)!

Here is to remembering the true meaning of this wonderful holiday, to miracles, to our spiritual survival, to the peaceful light of the Menorot, and to the fantastic taste of sufganiyot and anything fried in olive oil!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mozart - Symphony No 25 (Remix)

Another dabble with the classics that I found enjoyable (picture including)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Karl Jenkins conducts Palladio

Have been crazily listening to this for the past four days; gorgeous!

Friday, December 04, 2009


I had the supreme privilege of growing up in one of the worst anti-Semitic countries in the world under one of the most anti-Semitic regimes in recorded history: Communist Russia. Most of my childhood memories associated with those privileges are not very pleasant; but some things were so illogical as to border on the bizarrely hilarious. This is one of them.

Like any Jewish parents worth their salt, so to speak, my parents wanted to give their children, especially girls, musical education. In the high hopes of that happening, a piano was purchased when yours truly (an oldest child) reached the age of five. As a side note, a memo to all the parents out there – I am all for broadening your child’s horizons and giving him or her music lessons; but, unless there are prodigies on the scale of Mozart, signing up a five-year old for serious music lessons is a serious waste of your time and money. But hey, according to one of my psych professors, every parent by default experiments on the first child – due to the lack of experience. So, my poor parents learned their lesson after few months, and the piano was relegated to the status of just plain big piece of furniture for the time being.

Fast forward a few years; I think at that time the hopes for my brother to become a musician were dashed, but in my case they were still strong; plus, my younger sister was about to be engaged as well. This time, because there were two of us, hiring a tutor was not feasible, and our parents decided to enroll us in the music school. So, our poor Mom was forced to haul us from one school to another to another to another – only to be told, again and again, that her daughters have very little or no talent what so ever and will not be enrolled.

That statement may be true in my case (my musical talents are rather mediocre); but in the case of my sister it was nothing more than a bold-faced lie. Beloved Sibling is graced by The Heavenly Father with many talents, and being a great musician is one of them. So, what gave? Well, apparently, the latest directive in Moscow at that time was not to enroll “blackies”, especially of the dreaded Jewish variety ones, in the music schools, especially – GASP – in the capital.

Finally, a music school was found outside of the city boundaries (at that point we did live on the outskirts), and they were more than glad to take us (even me with my mediocre abilities). However, due the unfortunate circumstances of us wasting all this time inside the city boundaries, all the piano classes were full. Our Mom was given a choice of enrolling one daughter in the violin group and another one for the cello. My memories are hazy as to why precisely we ended up with what we ended up (I think it was due to size), but in the end, my sis went for the violin lessons and I went for the cello ones.

And so it came to pass that, due to the bizarre idiocies of the Russian comrades, we both ended up learning how to play not just one (because eventually both of us took piano lessons), but two musical instruments.