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!

Friday, March 30, 2007


Part 2

OK, back to the story: German/Persian husband. I understand that as a Jew I am in a unique position: we were country-less for almost two thousand years, and during those times were not extremely welcome anywhere. Even after we regained our country (after a fashion), we are vilified all other the world for trying to keep this country and protect its civilians. So, if a country, any country, was more of a step-mother than a mother to us, we do not own it any allegiance. I cannot in good conscience say that I can empathize with somebody who misses his or her country because they had to escape it due to, well, fear for their lives. I can understand missing a unique culture and a certain way of life; missing a country where an overwhelming majority of its population voluntarily, through revolution none the less, put in charge ayatollahs and religious police is simply beyond me! The guy is pining to go back; she is basically agreeable (although with a stipulation that eventually they have to come back here). While she is living there, however, I wonder how she would enjoy obeying the Sharia laws; I also wonder how they think they will be able to just return here?

So, anyway, after the visitor left, I half-jokingly said to her that I couldn't help overhearing their conversation. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, for some reason we were discussing international travel. She professed the desire to see as much of the world as possible, to which I replied that being a bit of a Western snob; I am not dying to get about ten extra inoculations so that I can see some ancient monument and the terrible poverty surrounding it. Plus, I added, as a Jew I am not welcome in most of the Muslim countries. Horrified look. "Really? Well, how would they know?" Oh, the gentle innocence... I quoted an old Russian joke to her about people hitting you on the face and not on your passport, then I compounded it by saying that it is an official policy of some of the "peaceful Muslim countries" not to admit anyone who has an Israeli stamp or visa in their passport, never mind the holders of an actual Israeli passport. The poor dear was duly horrified. How could they? I didn't feel like going into the whole tirade about the "religion of peace" and my feelings about it. One day, when she will really peeve me about it, I will give her a few of Yashiko Sagamori's articles. They are very witty, eloquent, and well researched. For that day, I was just trying to explain that Muslims do not really practice religious toleration. In their view, everybody is born a Muslim, and it is their job to bring every single lost soul back into the fold, at the sword's point, if necessary. If the ungrateful infidel will persist in his wicked ways, he or she will be put to that sword. "Well", she replied, "aren't Jewish laws along the same lines? Like, if you are born Jewish..." Oy, Gevalt! I think my triple "no" was pronounced with a slightly raised voice. At which point she looked at me with a slightly scared expression, murmured something about her being a Catholic and me probably not liking Catholics too, and scampered.

Now, why did I decide to recall that particular conversation and that particular episode? My feelings on the previous topics were basically explained, as to this. I am sure my Jewish friends do not need the commentary, but, just in case, here goes. First of all, as a side note, I do not hate Catholics. They are people just like everybody else; individual human beings, good and bad, smart and not so, friendly or hostile. They also believe that if you do not proclaim your allegiance to a certain god, your soul is damned forever; but some time ago they progressed from imposing that believe through torture and murder. Highly moral, estimable and peaceful Muslims, on the other hand, never progressed that far.

Second and most important point: Jews constitute less than one percent of the total population. Somehow, they manage to be disproportionately represented in science, politics, and news. Now, nobody, and I mean nobody, has to know anything about us or give us their love and friendship (or meaningless apologies after the drunken runts, for that matter). On the other hand, accusing us of goodness knows what without having any kind of rudimentary understanding of the basics of Judaism or our history: isn't it just a tad un-academic and not in the spirit of good sportsmanship?

Friday, March 23, 2007


Part 1

Some co-workers are nice, some are not so nice, some irritate you occasionally, some irritate you all the time, and some live to make your life miserable. Such are the facts or human relationships, and I do not think anybody, no mater how much they love their jobs, are immune from irritating or very irritating co-workers. Yours truly is no exception. My job is generally pretty boring, but my co-workers are surprisingly nice en mass. Of course, they all get moody, cranky and unreasonable, have good days and not so good days, but over all they usually do not annoy me much, with slight exceptions. One of them has a slight case of princessness (or maybe I am getting a bit cranky in my old age, but sometimes she says or does things that I can't help but call princessness); and most of the times whenever I hold a conversation with her, at the end of it I feel like calling her a useful idiot.

So, few days ago another lady came into the office to discuss some kind of professional supplies with her. For some inexplicable reason they decided to stay in the lobby to hold their meeting, so I ended up overhearing most of their conversation. The supplies themselves were totally outside my sphere of expertise, or interest, for that matter, so that in itself was boring and unremarkable. The tail end of the conversation was what caught my attention. I am not sure how they arrived at that topic, but my co-worker jokingly said that she is going to divorce her husband and marry a European guy, because, apparently, Europeans have more relaxed lives then we do. Her visitor nodded and said that she is married to a "German", who can not get our "being married to our jobs". No, the quotation marks around the word German were not a mistake, because in the next sentence the lady revealed that her hubs is really from Iran; he was just living in Germany for the past eighteen years; but he still misses Iran.

Oh, how I was busting to tell them both a couple of things!! Alas, as I keep reminding my parents, they did not bring us up properly, which constantly impedes our lives. I couldn't interrupt a private conversation (even though it was held in my general working area), and tell these people that not only are they useful idiots, but ingrates as well. Yes, ingrates! Yes, nobody else in the civilized world works as much or as hard as we do here. Yes, Europeans have more holidays, better ability to have a decent lunch, etc. They also have two digit unemployment rate, much lower standard of living, and horrendous taxes. They have universal health care; we have less people (percentage vise) dying from cancer because they had to wait for half a year to see a specialist or were denied chemo because they are too old to waste money on their treatment. Yes, unless we are welfare recipients or government workers (or posses the sublime talent of one of my former supervisors), we usually spent long hours working and bust our guts while doing it; because of that we have such high standard of living and are the envy of the entire world! People from all over the world are trying to get a job in America (legally or illegally). These moronic ingrates want leisure! They can get all the leisure the want (it is a free country); they just have to remember that they wont be able to afford the shoes they were admiring on each other.

Monday, March 19, 2007



Somebody close to me pointed out that some of my blog entries were pretty bitter. Upon reflection, I decided to consed to bitterness, but I stand 100% behind what I said and how I said it. Upon further reflection, I realized that some of the bitterness is the result of discussing things that are, well, disgusting. So, for a break, I will write about something I actually enjoy.

I love New York! Love the absolute craziness of living here; this city truly is the capital of the world! Not only could you get any kind of ethnic cuisine here, the pretty sure bet is that your food is actually prepared and served by an actual representative of the cuisine country! Love the fact that I can get a cup of coffee pretty much the whole night, while in Seattle, the supposed capital of swanky coffee, I couldn't get any after 9:00 pm. Love our bridges, where pedestrians could walk next to the trucks, and you could see the whole two states! Love our museums: not only what you could see in them, but the sheer variety of the museums themselves.

Adore the average New Yorker's definition of what constitutes a lawn and what constitutes a park! And speaking of parks, where else could you find the equivalent of our Central Park? Not in the quality of grass, fountains and trees; that you could find anywhere: better or worse, that is debatable. But where else could you find a park where you could get a portrait, a caricature, a face paint, a massage, and a crazy girl yelling next to a sign that reads: "Pay me to shut up"? And that is just within the first twenty steps away from the entrance! Then you get lawns for quite recreation, lawns on which you can't go, lawns for people with dogs, lawns for people without dogs, etc, etc... And then you get a little zoo, where for a very nominal fee the rich and famous living on Upper East Side and their slightly or not so slightly spoiled kids can smell the farm animals and get in line to feed them! And right across from that you get exhibit D, where a whole bunch of tourists nearly overturns a bench in their boundless excitement to see a Mama duck with her cute little ducklings. We have the whole two botanical gardens! The bigger one is in the Bronx, and is dubbed "New York Botanical Garden"; the smaller one is in Brooklyn and for some reason is called the "Brooklyn Botanical Garden"; why was the Bronx elevated, and my own poor borough stiffed is a mystery to everyone who ever tried to delve into that question.

Then, there is the subway!!!!!!!!!!! Where else do you get the state of the art subway cars with computer displays explaining the route and telling time running on the almost state of the art tracks full of trash and delicately smelling of public restroom? Of course, there are also platforms with the state of the art graffiti that the mean MTA is trying periodically to paint over. And the entertainment abundant both on the platforms and in the cars! Solo performers and bands of all imaginable and un-imaginable music (the best being the guy that plays on overturned trash cans), a guy that tangos with an inflatable doll, a guy with a whole chorus of dancing dolls, vendors and peddlers of various wares, dancers and jugglers, singers and preachers of the hellfire and brimstone variety!! I personally do not understand any visitor who came to experience New York and refuses to ride on the subway; after all, we, the natives, manage to accomplish so much while riding: reading, writing, drawing, homework, business transactions of all sorts, beautifying ourselves and consuming our daily meals. And by that I mean breakfast, lunch, and dinner complete with sushi, soup, and entries; coffee and pastry, or chips, are for wussies!

We also boast some of the best drivers in the world! Where else could you observe such truly Olympic competition for parking spots? And where else could you see a driver of an SUV maneuver on a narrow street between about six double-parked vehicles, a city bus, and at least fifteen jay-walkers, and still manage to reach the next intersection scant seconds before the light actually turns red?

Let us also not forget our noble pedestrians, especially in the Midtown Manhattan! They have to navigate between the tourists, vendors, rubber-neckers, people full of their own dignity, people offering every brochure under the sun, people with dogs, dog's poop, and all this while trying to break the speed barrier of the crowd, which usually goes against you, no matter your direction! Honorable mention to the above mentioned jay-walkers: after all, crossing the street at the actual intersection and on the green light is so dull and puts a stain on the honor of New Your and its inhabitants!

Where else could you find so many vendors selling "designer" bags and watches for the same amount of money they usually sell umbrellas during an unexpected rain? In what other city could you find dog spas, doll hospitals, and a store that sells church paraphernalia right on top of another store that sells lingerie? Where else could you see a dignified looking businessman going to a meeting in a bicycle-operated cab, because it is impossible to get a regular cab or ride in one due to a hopeless gridlock?

We are the shopping capital of the world, with the full compliment of designer stores, which happily exist a few blocks or a short subway ride away from all kind of bargain hunters' stores, like "All for 99 cents", etc. The tourists can be easily identified by the healthy array of Macy's bags (when all the decent locals know that Macy's has no sale at the time), plus a whole bunch of bags from FAO Shwarts, Disney Store, and the American Girl Experience. What normal New Yorker ever shops in Disney store?

We are home to world-famous Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Times Square, Grand Central Station, and the Statue of Liberty. No normal, decent, self-respecting New Yorker would ever be caught touring these places; they are to be seen (or rather not seen) only in the course of a working day. So, here is another identifying mark of tourists: green Styrofoam crowns from the statue of liberty (never mind the ever-present camera). And speaking of cameras, I applaud the perseverance with which an average tourist is usually trying to immortalize our fair city. Of course, the best usually happens in Times Square; the Fifth Avenue running a close second. Imagine the courage of standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue,(during lunch hour, no less!), being constantly pushed and shoved by locals( who are always trying to cram three hours worth of errands into their lunch hour), and trying to snap the best shot of the significant other against some world-famous backdrop, like the doors to Saks. Tourists also have lively appreciation for the aspects of our beautiful city which we, jaded locals, just fail to see. A few months ago I saw a woman photographing sprinkler valves across the street from the Central Library. Speak of everyday beauty!

Our real estate prices are usually astronomical, especially if you consider the actual size of the space you are paying for. We also manage to live in some very interesting buildings and locales; some of the hippest apartments and restaurants are located in the converted storage spaces and warehouses, and some of the coolest neighbourhoods are abandoned industrial storage facilities!

And last, but not least, we are proud to host the second largest in the country (Los Angeles holds the winning spot) population of the certifiable nuts!

G-d bless my fair city and its quirky inhabitants! May He protect us from United Nations, The New York Times, Al Sharpton, Katha Pollitt, our own Department of Education, terrorists, and all other enemies, foreign, and especially domestic. May He always grant us Mayors ala Rudi and may our cops only be busy with jay-walkers and crazy drivers! May the students at Columbia, NYU and CUNY be blessed with normal professors! May we always have tourists to irritate us and spend money in our overpriced stores! May we always be the business capital of the world, so we could all have jobs and money to shop in our over-priced stores! May we soon rebuild the World Trade Center to ten times more its former glory! May American flags always fly over the Brooklyn Bridge, and may they be illuminated by myriad of fireworks every Fourth of July! Amen

Monday, March 12, 2007


This past Saturday I was invited to lunch by an acquaintance of mine. She shares an apartment with two more single girls, and the crowd that congregates there is always very diverse (in age, education, socio-economic background, and, most important, the brain power). Whenever I go there, I can always count on couple of things: I will leave that apartment feeling very old after listening to at least three girls discussing their post high school plans, we will swap at least two horror dating stories (and I mean horror, no jokes), there is going to be at least one horror story about life in general (again, real deal), and at least one person is going to irritate the living daylights out of me. This time there were no exceptions to any of this. And the personal irritation factor is what prompted me to write this entry.

All of you are aware that this past weekend we switched to daylight savings time. All of you are aware that we did it earlier than we usually do. Not all of you are aware of the fact that from now on we will always do it this way: three weeks earlier in the spring and one more week in the fall. Apparently, a resolution was passed back in 2005 for "broader energy conservation" or whatever verbiage they used, and here we go, my friends! Now, the logic of scrambling our internal clock twice a year always eluded me, no matter how it was explained to me, till I finally read about that resolution, which, frankly, made me even angrier than I usually am every spring when I have to wake up at 5:00 am because the government had declared it to be 6:00 am. So, when I arrived at that apartment, we naturally started talking about it. I expressed my wish for Al Gore & Co. to start conserving energy instead of torturing the rest of the population every year, to which one of the girls just smiled very indulgently and told me something along the lines of you can't do anything about it anyway.

That, my friends, is the crux of the problem! That attitude: I am only one person, so what can I do about it? Plenty, actually: the whole study of history is about just one person at a time; but never mind this; most of us are not aspiring for greatness. We just want to make a decent living, find somebody to have a family with, raise that family (preferably in a decent home with plenty of food and creature comforts), and an occasional (or not so occasional) good time. Between the job, the school, household chores, spouse, kids, shopping, home improvements, bills, irritating family members, doctors, lawyers, taxes, favorite TV programs, vacations, latest articles in Glamour or Sports Illustrated, who has time to vote, let alone know whom are we voting for and who exactly are the candidates? Who has time to rally, protest, write to Radio and TV stations, newspapers and magazines, or just to keep abreast of the news ( not the New York Times, CNN or Playboy variety)? Believe me, people, when I tell you that I am in the same pond. Sometimes I come home so tired that I have no energy left to cook myself pasta or take out the trash; somehow the country's problems are minuscule and far behind when I open my electric bill and see the amount due plus the surcharge because I simply forgot to pay my bill from last month. Life is life, and our own everyday concerns are more worrisome than global problems.

But how do you feel about working every fourth hour (at least) for the government? How do you feel after filling out a job application and knowing that because you are "white female", your chances of getting that job just diminished significantly (and if you are "white male", G-d help you). How do you feel knowing that your hard work and sweat feeds an enormous government machine on all three levels (federal, state, and local), and the bureaucrats on all three levels exist mostly just to make your life's burdens even more burdensome? How do you feel about constant government interference in our economy, which eventually may cost a job to you or somebody you know and love? How do you feel about the pathetic state of our public schools and the fact the only alternative will come out of your own pocket? How do you feel about horrible state of our universities, where young people are supposed to be given a chance to learn, explore, and broaden their minds, but instead are indoctrinated into one specific ideology, and G-d help them if they resist? How do you feel about pedophiles leaving jails before their sentences are fully served and settling next to you? How do you feel about millions of illegals giving birth here at your expense? How do you feel about freedom of speech and press being basically the prerogative of the so-called "liberals" and "progressives"? How do you feel about members of the "religion of peace and brotherly love" settling in droves right next to us, demanding preferential treatment, and multiplying like rats, again at our expense, while creating numerous terrorist cells here and supporting more cells abroad?

These are just some of the problems facing this great nation. All of them, my friends, result from politics. All of them are fostered on us by a pretty small, but extremely industrious, loud, pushy, and shameless group of people; they do not speak for most of the Americans; but people who disagree with them or oppose them mostly remain a "silent majority". When I look at it logically, I can see why: when you have a life and a purpose to this life, you usually do not spend your time teaching everybody else what to do (while, of course, excluding yourself); you just live! When you have a family (or hope to have one day), you just concentrate on that. On the other hand, all of the "political activists" on the left either do not or did not have families and children, or foisted the everyday care of those children on somebody else. Brilliant Tammy Bruce called these people "malignant narcissists", or "mal nars." Awesome name! So, here we have it: the vast majority of citizens on one side, leading productive lives (or at least trying), and not dirtying their hands with politics, and a relatively small group of mal nars on the other, constantly telling everybody how to live their lives, and destroying our economy, religions freedom, family life, constitution, the whole fabric of our great country; even trying to control our thoughts and feelings! So, you see, we cannot remain silent majority any longer! If we do not at least try to take a little time away from our daily lives and try not only to stop these mal nars, but actually fight them, soon, very soon, they will succeed in changing the whole fabric of this country to such unrecognizable degree, that we won’t be able to live our daily lives the way we want to.

That, my friends, is the reason I care so much about politics. Even though I was not born in this country, but got transplanted onto it, I love it! I love the great principles of individual freedom and responsibility on which USA was built, and I hate seeing that being corrupted and destroyed! We have such great opportunity for a wonderful life here; but we no longer can just build it and enjoy it; we have to fight for it!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


One of my all time favorite comedians, Michael Zhvanetsky, once said something which was brilliant and very funny and sad at the same time. Of course, it loses something in the translation, but the gist is pretty clear. He joked that people always ask him if satire, in his opinion, is a weapon of offence or defense. He said that for him it is always defense: "I leave my home, go somewhere on the trolley, somebody is extremely rude to me, so I come home and write a response..." I do not claim to possess a talent even closely coming to Zhvanetsky's, but here goes.

Today I decided to spend my lunch at my absolutely favorite lunch spot: the book store. Today, somebody resembling a traveling salesman was hanging by the entrance. Now, one of my besetting weaknesses is that I absolutely cannot just tell somebody to go fish and leave me alone; I always have to be polite about it. Moron! The traveling salesman saw me and started his pitch: "Excuse me, do you have a moment for the environment?" I already knew exactly what it meant, so I politely told him that I am a Republican. For this crowd that usually works like a matador's cape to the bull, but that I have forgotten. "So?" with growing resentment. "So, I do not believe in global warming", said I and went to the store. 20 minutes later I emerged to see the traveling salesman with his assistant. They looked at each other, smirking, and then the first guy yelled after me: "George Bush believes in global warming!" "Then he is an idiot!" was my graceless response, which was probably what he was aiming at in the first place. How many times do I have to remind myself not to engage in verbal altercations with these people? They are not interested in exchange of ideas; they just need to yell you down and have the last word.

Now, the truth is, George Bush is not an idiot, and he definitely does not believe in global warming. What he does believe in, for some reason, is the fact that if he is going to ponder to the opposite side on all the domestic issues, somehow everything else is going to fall into places. Oh, George, George! Didn't you learn by now that you can never expose your fear or your jugular to the jackals? Because that is what these people are: jackals, morons, or useful idiots. They do not really care about the troops, illegal immigrants or the environment. They love to tell everyone else what to do, but never follow their own advice. The day after Al Gore won his Oscar, the information about his own living arrangements came to light. Now, I do not remember the exact figures, but rest assured they were astronomical. Plus, do not forget the private jets all those "green" people fly on. The list goes on and on and on.

Which reminds me of another two episodes, which took place a couple of years ago (2004 to be precise, the election year), when I was working in Carrol Gardens section of Brooklyn. Carroll Gardens used to be Italian blue collar neighborhood, but couple of years ago it became very expensive, hip and "it" place for well to do professionals, which in New York usually translates into another hotbed for extreme left elements. One time, when I got off the train, I was accosted by another wide eyed activist, this time a girl, who started by saying: "You are registered as a Democrat..." That was not a question, but a statement of facts. I replied that no, I was a Republican. I do not think she believed me, just though that I wanted to get rid of her and therefor invented such an implausible lie. Then, couple of weeks later, some enterprising soul went around and put the whole bunch of graffiti around the sidewalks that read: "Osama votes Kerri". Now, whoever did this was very brave, but very foolish. I sincerely hope that he or she was not caught, because going openly against that loud "pro-human rights" crowd is not very conducive to anybody's health. But, never the less, I enjoyed them: not only was it a nice change, it was the truth! The euphoria did not last long: somebody from the opposition painstakingly worked on every single graffiti to change them into: "vote Kerri". And to cap it off, a pair of twenty-something local girls looked at that and remarked that they were very happy somebody did that. Oh, what a wonderfully clear illustration!!! They yell till they are horse about the freedom of speech and the First Amendment (even though the majority of these yellers have never read the original text of the First Amendment), but then somebody exercises the right to free speech against these self-proclaimed human rights activists... Well, the opposition is not just silenced, it's gagged.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I decided that before I continue commenting on topics that bother me, I have to actually tell a bit more about myself, so the reasons for my anger and frustration may be clear (or clearer).

First of all, I am a woman (in case it was not obvious before).

Second of all, I am Jewish. That is the corner stone of my existence. I am what is commonly called Orthodox, which means I drive my employer crazy with strange schedules and Holidays that fall in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, I am committed to Judaism.
I have a very kooky, but wonderful family. Unfortunately, my parents decided a short while ago that they do not like each other anymore, so, at the ripe old age of thirty I became a "child of divorced parents". I try to joke about it, but sometimes it still bothers me. I also have amazing siblings. They are the best in the whole world! I am the oldest in our family, so I drive them crazy a lot; they usually pay me back handsomely.

I am also a "singleton"; I was never married, hence my addiction to Bridget Jones. I am a hopeless romantic, maybe that is why I am still single:).

I grew up in Russia when it was still called USSR, in Moscow, of all places. We came to America when I was almost 18. I won't say that my childhood was unhappy. I had my parents after all, and they tried to shield us as much as possible. But I resent and will always resent being called "Russian". I am a Jew from Russia, and that is a very big difference. For this, and many other reasons, I love America very much and consider myself an American patriot. I am a huge fan of late President Reagan, and yep, you guessed it! I am a right-winger politically, and very passionate about the topic. I firmly believe in American Constitution (the real thing, not the misinterpretation). I wish people would be more serious about studying it and the American history (again, the truth, and not the PC version).

I am also a New Yorker who actually loves New York! Well, Manhattan anyway. I can't imagine living anywhere else, and I am a true child of the big city.

I also love, love, love to read! I never go anywhere without a book. My sister's favorite story is how I once went to a wedding reception with a book:) I also love to discuss what I have read ad nauseum (to my listeners). My sister finally learned a valuable lesson of not recommending anything to read, let alone nag me to read it! Ahhh, Harry Potter:) But more on that later.

I also have strangely non-female characteristics: I hate to shop for clothes, wear make-up, or look in the mirror. My only female weaknesses are perfume and nails. I am a big cat person, but for the reasons too long to explain I live with a hamster named Degenerate (The First or The Second, I am not sure), and a palm plant which I am trying not to kill.

Last, but not least, I resent people not using their brain. I believe that accounts for tremendous amount of everyday frustrations and serious problems in the world. Some time ago, while studying the book of Genesis with my brother, I came upon one commentary, which made a tremendous impact on me. I do not remember the exact quote, but the general meaning was that a lot of people's sins are the result of them not using one of G-d's greatest gifts, the brain! How painfully true that is! The more I think about it and look around, the clearer the truthfulness of this statement is to me. How many people go through life doing things that are totally devoid of logic just because "that is how it is done" and "everybody does it like this"? When you stop and think and try to analyze so many things accepted as the way of life, you will begin to see their total irrationality, it not outright stupidity. So, Barb's world seems and feels like a wonderland most of the time