Thursday, August 31, 2006

You Mean That I Don't Look Like an Economics Major to You?

I sailed into my writing class, took a seat in the front row, and turned around to speak to Adam.
"You're not in this class--are you?"
"I think so," I said, "this is--"
"This is Economics: Blah blah blah."
I thanked Adam for saving me from being one of those kids who get up to leave a class after the teacher introduces it and left the room to find the one I needed. Apparently, rooms 502 and 520 aren't the same.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mazal Tov

I had a baby! No, wait a minute...that one's not mine. He's both my first cousin once removed and adorable. Wishful thinking, I guess.

QOTD: IM Edition

All I Did Was Say Something About Monsey
"They need a smiley face for 'smile and nod.'"

Just Get a Cab

I took the bus into the city a few days ago and was, as oftentimes I am, asked to share my city-advice.
I was listening to my iPod and trying to ignore the woman sitting next to me's consistant stares in my direction.
"Excuse me," she said, "do you know the city?"
I asked her where she was going and, fortunately for her, it was on the upper east side (the only part of the city I actually know).
"I'm going to 70th Street and 2nd Avenue, how can I get there?"
"You can get off the bus at 42nd Street and take the 6 train from Grand Central to 68th and Lex."
She asked how far that was.
"The avenues go: Lexington, Third, Second."
"That's far."
"My mother said there's a bus. I can take a bus. Where is it?"
"Well, you can take a bus going uptown on Fifth or Third."
"Where do I see it?"
"There are small stops along the avenues, just walk up one and you'll see a stop."
"Excuse me," said the woman sitting behind me, "but I'm going in the same direction and I was going to ask someone too. How do I get to Lenox Hill Hospital on 72nd and Park?"
"You can also just take the 6 train to 68th."
"Well, I was thinking about taking a bus, but I'd need a metrocard anyway."
"Oh," I told her, "you could use quarters."
"But I don't have any quarters."
The woman next to me interrupted, "how much would a taxi cost?"
"About $5."
"Oh--that's it?"
"About that much...but I don't know how easy it will be to get a taxi in the rain."
And then the two of them finally decided to share a taxi and continued their negotiations among themselves with the exception of asking me how the avenues work.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I keep recycling the same old thoughts

The best quote said this Shabbos goes to Zahava for: "I can't imagine how someone could be so exciting that you'd want to say, 'I want to spend the rest of my life with this person!'" But to put things into context, this is the same Zahava who said, "I still think marriage is overrated...and I will think it's overrated until I find someone I want to marry."
And in other news, I can't decide how I feel about Dylan's new song, "Someday Baby" and its similarities to Muddy Waters' "Trouble No More" of which there is an Allman Brothers cover that I just heard live a few nights ago. Dylan? Allman Brothers? Allow me to explain why I'm ambivalent about this. There I was, minding my own business and listening to "Modern Times" when the song "Someday Baby" started playing. And I heard...
I don't care what you do,
I don't care what you say
I don't care where you go or how long you stay
Someday baby, you ain't gonna worry po' me any more
...which sounded strikingly familiar. So I sat and I thought about where I had heard those lines before. Then it hit me: My Gregg Allman sings
Don't care how long you go,
I don't care how long you stay,
it's good kind treatment, bring you home someday.
Someday baby, you ain't gonna trouble, poor me, anymore.
in his song "Trouble No More." Only, "Trouble No More" is really a Muddy Waters song that the Allman Brothers like to cover. Now, I don't care if bands cover other bands' songs. I also don't care if bands take inspiration from other bands' songs. But when they take a whole song and just change some lines AND CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE, I get confused. Does Dylan not want me to think this is "Trouble No More?" He probably embraces the fact that it's inspired by Muddy Waters, and as the friend who sent me the album (and he's a lot more Dylan-knowledgeable than I am) said, "I wouldn't be surprised if Bob borrowed from Muddy Waters. He's a huge fan, Muddy Waters has been spoken of quite a bit on Bob's XM show." But I don't know. I really don't know. Why didn't he just call it "Trouble No More?"

Friday, August 25, 2006

I've Got One More Silver Dollar

Sometimes you hang out with someone so often that all the things about them that annoy you start to eclipse what you like about them. Which is often the case with siblings. :) However, my brother Josh was away at camp all summer so it's like we're starting fresh. I took him hiking yesterday (he came back earlier this week) and have to say--he's a pretty cute kid. We ended up deciding that whoever carried the knapsack got to carry the camera and he was very into his picture-taking. As a matter of fact, he recorded three three-minute long segments of our hike with the video feature of the camera and they turned out a lot of fun. I mean, the best part was when I was chasing him to get the camera back after his third time tripping and the camera was flying all around and all you hear is his laughter, but it's awesome. So anyway, I wanna have a kid. What? Did I just...did I just say that? Have a very peaceful shabbos.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Think This Was My 5th Time Hearing Midnight Rider Live

I went hiking in New Jersey yesterday with Eliana. Then I hurried home to shower and get ready to see the Allman Brothers. I went to see the Brothers at PNC with Zvi and, as usual, they put on a great show. It didn't top their performance on Aug. 23, 2005 but they opened with "No One to Run With." Exactly! (Then: Trouble No More, Midnight Rider, Rocking Horse, Soulshine, Who to Believe, Black Hearted Woman, Anyday (a cover), Melissa, Who's Been Talking (cover), Ain't Wastin' Time No More, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, and encored with One Way Out.) And then today I went to Six Flags with Nukes, Moishele, and Nukes's friend Marina. Basically, I was working all summer and now that I have two weeks off--one of which is before school starts--I'm cramming my summer vacation into it. Cheers.

(There was a purple house with a purple car. Plain ol' awesome.)

"Oh, it sounds like bats."
"Four. Four more cars."
"Um, did you hear what I said?"
"I said it sounds like bats."
"I know."
"So why'd you say...?"
"It was purely random."

Monday, August 21, 2006

I Had a Diary in Second Grade that I was Bored of After Three Days

It is a good idea, then, to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about. And we are all on our own when it comes to keeping those lines open to ourselves: your notebook will never help me, nor mine you. "So what's new in the whiskey business?" What could that possibly mean to you? To me it means a blonde in a Pucci bathing suit sitting with a couple of fat men by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Another man approaches, and they all regard one another in silence for a while. "So what's new in the whiskey business?" one of the fat men finally says by way of welcome, and the blonde stands up, arches one foot and dips it in the pool, looking all the while at the cabana where Baby Pignatari is talking on the telephone. That is all there is to that, except that several years later I saw the blonde coming out of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York with her California complexion and a voluminous mink coat. In the harsh wind that day she looked old and irrevocably tired to me, and even the skins in the mink coat were not worked the way they were doing them that year, not the way she would have wanted them done, and there is the point of the story. For a while after that I did not like to look in the mirror, and my eyes would skim the newspapers and pick out only the deaths, the premature coronaries, the suicides, and I stopped riding the Lexington Avenue IRT because I noticed for the first time that all the strangers I had seen for years--the man with the seeing-eye dog, the spinster who read classified pages every day, the fat girl who always got off with me at Grand Central--looked older than the once had.
from Joan Didion, "On Keeping a Notebook"
At the Shabbos table this week, I repeated a conversation I had overheard while going down to the 6 train at Grand Central on Thursday. It went something like this, "So I was hanging out with my cousin and his friends, and they're like, from Oklahoma and Canada, right? So we're hanging out and it's like 2am and one of them goes, 'I think I'm going to go take a walk.' But I told him not to. I don't think it's a good idea for someone to take a walk at 2am their first time in the city." And his friend said, "I know--they could get lost or something."
I don't remember who asked this, but someone at the table was curious to know this conversation's significance--why I cared to hear it (I mentioned that the kid started talking while I was putting in my earphones and I waited to turn my iPod on until after the punchline because once I heard "Oklahoma" I knew there was no other way for the conversation to go) and then repeat it. But I didn't have an answer then and I don't have one now. Have a good day.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

On Pickles and Skunks

Pickles and skunks must have something in common because while driving home today I passed through a spot of skunk odor and the first thing that came to mind was, "ooh! I want to have a pickle!" But then, I was a little dehydrated...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Good Shabbos

My sleeping baby and I wish you a good Shabbos. (Technically, she's not my baby, but she fell asleep on me so I'm calling her mine...and this was at the other wedding I had this week.) :)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

QOTD: LCL Edition (only my cousin should get that) with Picture Bonuses

I played mommy today to a couple of the world's cutest kids. Yeah, that's right--I worried about which skirt is the easiest to wash smashed cookie crumbs and lollipop stains out of, which shoes I could wear to a wedding and still run after little ones in, what hairstyle would keep the most hair out of my face and away from grabbing hands, etc. when I was preparing my outfit yesterday. And I have to say that I want to have a baby. What? Sorry.

It was late and the Palisades appeared before us in endless curves of darkness. The two kids were asleep in their carseats behind us while my cousin and I talked about our summers. "Why can't we just fall in love and have kids?" she asked. And so I made her quote of the day. :)

If I tell you the story it won't be funny, but let's just say that after I pulled into my driveway I noticed my glasses were on the hood of my car.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Because I Noticed a Paper with Va'ad HaRabanim in Big Letters

Sometimes you find yourself lucky. One day you win tickets on the radio to a jazz concert. Another day you stumble into an ice cream shop for an iced coffee and discover that they're kosher and you can get a smoothie. Perhaps you'll see a necklace you like for a price you wouldn't even consider and the lady in the store asks you what you'd pay for it, you say "25" and she says, "okay." Maybe you'll even win a game of 500 and then 750 playing darts at your friend's birthday party. It might even happen that you find a dress similar to the $450 one you fell in love with that turns out to fit you so well, you buy it in two colors (not the $450 one, the similar one).
You're probably thinking, "sure, I know such lucky things happen to people, but it could never happen to me." But I, however, have words of encouragement and good news. Every single lucky thing I listed can and just might happen to the ordinary American citizen. I know, because they all happened to me. As a matter of fact, all those events befell me on the very same day.
Now allow me to put things into perspective. It's not that I'm generally an unlucky person, but my luck usually falls under the "close call" category. For example, if I forgot to study for a test or figured we'd have a snowday and purposely didn't study back in high school, the teacher would miraculously decide to push off the exam for another day. There were times when the one time I actually did my homework turned out to be the one time the teacher decided to do a random check. Basically, my good luck was more Gd taking care of fools than actual good luck.
It is for this reason that I have concluded that dreams can come true. So keep on truckin' and have a Shabbat shalom.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

He Said It Best

The only intro I will give this article is the following:
a. How did it slip under my radar yesterday?
b. Thane Rosenbaum looks like Gene Wilder and for that, I'd share any article of his.
c. If I were to indulge myself in sharing just how much I agree with this article, I would never stop. So thank you, Mr. Rosenbaum, for doing such a great job on such a true subject.
d. Y'know how complex issues don't really hit you until your mind simplifies them to the one sentence point? While driving to work this morning my brain said, "oh, so I guess society's going to pot."
Anyway, enjoy the article and, while I never ask for comments, I'm actually curious to hear what you have to say about don't be shy to speak up!

Red State Jews
August 9, 2006; Page A10

This is a soul-searching moment for the Jewish left. Actually, for many Jewish liberals, navigating the gloomy politics of the Middle East is like walking with two left feet.
I would know. For six years I was the literary editor of Tikkun magazine, a leading voice for progressive Jewish politics that never avoided subjecting Israel to moral scrutiny. I also teach human rights at a Jesuit university, imparting the lessons of reciprocal grievances and the moral necessity to regard all people with dignity and mutual respect. And I am deeply sensitive to Palestinian pain, and mortified when innocent civilians are used as human shields and then cynically martyred as casualties of war.
Yet, since 9/11 and the second intifada, where suicide bombings and beheadings have become the calling cards of Arab diplomacy, and with Hamas and Hezbollah emerging as elected entities that, paradoxically, reject the first principles of liberal democracy, I feel a great deal of moral anguish. Perhaps I have been naïve all along.
And I am not alone. Many Jews are in my position -- the children and grandchildren of labor leaders, socialists, pacifists, humanitarians, antiwar protestors -- instinctively leaning left, rejecting war, unwilling to demonize, and insisting that violence only breeds more violence. Most of all we share the profound belief that killing, humiliation and the infliction of unnecessary pain are not Jewish attributes.
However, the world as we know it today -- post-Holocaust, post-9/11, post-sanity -- is not cooperating. Given the realities of the new Middle East, perhaps it is time for a reality check. For this reason, many Jewish liberals are surrendering to the mindset that there are no solutions other than to allow Israel to defend itself -- with whatever means necessary. Unfortunately, the inevitability of Israel coincides with the inevitability of anti-Semitism.
This is what more politically conservative Jews and hardcore Zionists maintained from the outset. And it was this nightmare that the Jewish left always refused to imagine. So we lay awake at night, afraid to sleep. Surely the Arabs were tired, too. Surely they would want to improve their societies and educate their children rather than strap bombs on to them.
If the Palestinians didn't want that for themselves, if building a nation was not their priority, then peace in exchange for territories was nothing but a pipe dream. It was all wish-fulfillment, morally and practically necessary, yet ultimately motivated by a weary Israeli society -- the harsh reality of Arab animus, the spiritual toll that the occupation had taken on a Jewish state battered by negative world opinion.
Despite the deep cynicism, however, Israel knew that it must try. It would have to set aside nearly 60 years of hard-won experience, starting from the very first days of its independence, and believe that the Arab world had softened, would become more welcoming neighbors, and would stop chanting: "Not in our backyard -- the Middle East is for Arabs only."
It is true that Israel has entered into peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have brought some measure of historic stability to the region. But with Israel having withdrawn from Lebanon and Gaza, and with Israeli public opinion virtually united in favor of near-total withdrawal from the West Bank, why are rockets being launched at Israel now, why are their soldiers being kidnapped if the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and the intentions of Hamas and Hezbollah, stand for something other than the total destruction of Israel? And if Palestinians and the Lebanese are electing terrorists and giving them the portfolio of statesmen, then what message is being sent to moderate voices, what incentives are there to negotiate, and how can any of this sobering news be recast in a more favorable light?
The Jewish left is now in shambles. Peace Now advocates have lost their momentum, and, in some sense, their moral clarity. Opinion polls in Israel are showing near unanimous support for stronger incursions into Lebanon. And until kidnapped soldiers are returned and acts of terror curtailed, any further conversations about the future of the West Bank have been set aside.
Not unlike the deep divisions between the values of red- and blue-state America, world Jewry is being forced to reconsider all of its underlying assumptions about peace in the Middle East. The recent disastrous events in Lebanon and Gaza have inadvertently created a newly united Jewish consciousness -- bringing right and left together into one deeply cynical red state.
Mr. Rosenbaum, a novelist and professor at Fordham Law School, is author, most recently, of "The Myth of Moral Justice" (HarperCollins, 2004).
From the WSJ.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

קוּמִי לכי (לָךְ) רַעְיָתִי יָפָתִי, וּלְכִי-לָךְ

Anyway, I just wanted to wish a chag sameach to all those who love Tu b'Av as much as I do. When I was dressing at 7 yesterday morning (after not having slept a minute the night before) my mind was as far as possible from remembering it was the day before Tu b'Av and I accidentally wore all white. It wasn't so bad because about 70% of my summer wardrobe is white and I was still able to wear (almost) all white was the tradition among the bnot Yisrael.
Cheers to those taking advantage of the mazal associated with this date. I should probably get a little tefillah in before the day's end. Not that I don't all the time... :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

QOTD: Band Edition

In Other News: I Ate Breakfast Today
"You're obsessed with the Allman Bros."

Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, I Looove Sea Water

At around 12:30 my brother and I decided that we were going to go jet skiing. We changed into swimwear, grabbed a couple of towels, and hopped into my car. We drove and drove and drove all the way down to Exit 30 on the Garden State Parkway (an exit we previously didn't even know existed) to a place in Ocean City, NJ which is past Atlantic City. We didn't take that many pictures, but we documented the road trip.
Act One: The Drive There
Scene One: Meat Being Eaten in My Car
Ari as Meat Eater
Filmed by
Not the Driver

Scene Two: Getting Off Exit 30
Me as The Driver
Filmed by

Act Two: The Ride Home
Scene One: Ari Driving
Ari as The Driver
Filmed by

The End!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Give Me a "C"! Give me an "H"! Give me an "A"! Give me a "T"! Give me an "A"! Give me an "N"!

Hey, look! My friends and I spotted the most corny bumper sticker in the world! It reads, for those of you who can't tell: I -heart- MY CHATAN! And what made it so funny was that the person had it smack in the middle of the front of the hood of the car...but kol ha'kavod! I wish I had had my camera with me, but all I had was my phone. And here it is:

I also wish my camera was with me later for this picture, but oh well.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I Should Probably Stay Away from People Who Know the Word Kindersuchtig

My 12 year-old brother is home from camp this weekend due to severe dehydration (the makings of a Hollywood star, perhaps?). He's an inch and a half taller than he was when he left and his hands are now bigger than mine. That's not saying much because I have small hands, but still--I'm 21 and he's 12! Anyway, he told my father on the ride home that he has a shidduch for me. A Belgian counselor who's "probably older than 18 because his campers are 15." Gotta love younger brothers.

And have a Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It Just Started Pouring Outside

I just want to state for the record that I am currently on my third Tisha b'Av dvar Torah because the first was turning into a book and the second wasn't cohesive. I started the first one at about 11am, so even if I end up posting a dvar Torah about Tisha b'Av after the day is over and it's written horrendously, you are all obligated to read it anyway.
I hope, for those of you fasting, it is going well and meaningfully.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

But All Are Agreed as They Join the Stampede--You Should Never Take More Than You Give

My house is so cold it can singlehandedly keep New York cool. As a matter of fact, it's so cold that I felt the need to go outside in order to warm up. I went out back just for a minute and realized that I hadn't gone on the swing set in ages. The last time I went on a swing was two summers ago when I was at Camp Moshava for the Hillel Leaders' Assembly. But since then? Never.
I got on the highest swing so that I wouldn't break my toes and started pumping my legs. I couldn't help but sing to myself (Nants ingonyama bagithi baba, sithi uhhmm ingonyama. Nants ingonyama bagithi baba, sithi uhhmm ingonyama. Ingonyama. Siyo Nqoba. Ngonyama nengw' enamabala, ngonyama nengw' enamabala, ngonyama nengw' enamabala, ngonyama nengw' enamabala...From the day we arrive on the planet and, blinking, step into the sun there's more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done. There's far too much to take in here--more to find than can ever be found...) and it was pure and simple bliss.
Actually, speaking of the Lion King, I recently found the most beautiful song ever online. I'm not sure if it's African or Dutch (note to self: ask Gal if the words are Dutch) because it says that it's the Nederlandse Lion King cast, but it might just be one of the African songs. But it's amazing. And the man who sings the opening for Circle of Life, Lebo M, has many other gorgeous songs that Limewire helped direct me to. Thank you, internet.
Anyway, I was thinking about how recently I told my mother that when my sister and I were younger, our goal was to get the swing high enough to flip around the bar at the top of the swing set. I thought I was letting her in on our little secret, and I actually debated with myself for some time before I told her. She simply looked at me and said, "I know." I can solidly say that was the exact moment I lost all hope in mankind. Then I probably had a piece of pie or something and my hope was restored. I don't know where I'm going with this.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Love the "Ozone Alert: Take Mass Transit" Sign I Passed this Morning on the Highway

I had to run back into the house this morning to get a paper towel after the over-the-shoulder-part of my bag managed to dip itself into my iced coffee. I unlocked the front door and put my hand on the door handle to open it. But my hand slid off. You see, the door handle--the brass door handle--was sweating. Thank you, folks, that's all.
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