Apr 27, 2006


This morning, I popped into a corner market for a cup of coffee. I go to this place all the time and the old man behind the counter and I chat about the surfacey things in our lives. He told me that when he was collecting change in a small jar on the counter to help victims of the earthquake in Pakistan, I was the only one who gave without lecturing him about Hurricane Katrina. Back in Pakistan, he was a research scientist. Now, he is old and runs a bodega. I'm not saying there is anything less than noble about bodega work, I just see a funny glimmer of sadness in his eyes when he talks about his life back in Pakistan.

So, he and I were chatting this morning when the doors flung open and in walked a couple. The man was in a velour track suit and the woman was in tight capri pants, clompy heels, a bare-midriff top with fabric-y sleeves, wore a terrible-looking hair weave and long, curved nails. They walked in with great commotion as she immediately began clomping up and down every aisle of the store, occasionally adjusting her camel-toe (blech) and handing her companion items to buy with, "Oh, buy me this" attached to every find. I was frozen, unable to leave or take my eyes from them, even though I felt terribly rude as I was doing it. When I finally did manage to wish my friend a nice day and head out down the block to my apartment, the duo had amassed a pile at the counter which included: a Massengil douchebag (I love saying douchebag), a box of tampons, Vicks Vaporub, a frozen pizza, several packaged pens and pencils, a box of Pop-Tarts ("Ooooohhhhh, SHIT, I love me some Pop-Tarts. Buy me these!"), a bottle of Windex, a jar of Vaseline, eight packages of string cheese and box of pantyliners. Call me crazy, but if I went on some golddigging bender, I don't think a corner market would be on my itinerary. I'm just thinking out loud, though. What the hell do I know?

Then, as I walked back to my apartment, I saw an old lady in a Cadillac covered (the car, not the old lady) in pink jack-o-lanterns. Some had sharp, pointy teeth, some were smiley, some were made of plastic, some were plush. Huh. So, I cocked my head to the side like I often do and walked away thinking about what a terrible gold-digger I'd be.

Later, just a bit, I ran a car-requiring errand. A jackass cut me off and slammed on his brakes, which pisses me off unendingly. I honked and flipped, my usual response, and, must like a similar experience a few weeks ago, the dude jumps out of his car and puffs his arms and elbows at me (you know that thing that Brohams do). Like I always say, the best remedy for testosterone poisoning is emasculation therapy. With my sunroof open so everyone could hear me, I pointed at the crotch of the jackass and howled with laughter. He looked left, then right, then down at his crotch before flipping me off, shouting, "Shut the fuck up! Stop it! C'mon!" and driving away.

I think it's a safe bet to assume he'll be fucking his girlfriend tonight, she won't cum for the bazillionth time and when she goes to the bathroom to finish herself off, he'll lie there and wonder if maybe, just maybe, there IS something ineffective about his weenis.

Either that or he'll flip on Sportscenter, let a stinky fart and go make himself a bowl of Coco Puffs. Blech.

Apr 20, 2006


I shit you negative, the following has occurred in the last few days:

INJURY ONE: I was helping a friend remove wallpaper and personally witnessed her accidentally slice, nay, chop her wrist open and bleed like a motherfucker this weird purple blood. She giggled like a maniac and insisted she was "fine fine fine don't let me sit down fine fine fine" as she made her kitchen to look like a crime scene.

FAINTING: After the above, long after the nonsense was over and the kitchen was being cleaned, I fruck out a little, got the creeps and fainted.

WRITER GIFT: I gave Jonathan Safran Foer a comic in Hebrew from inside a piece of Kosher for Passover Bazooka gum. He laughed and told me he didn't read Hebrew but remembered having this gum in Hebrew school as a kid. I wish there was more to that story, but there really isn't. That was just as it happened.

INJURY TWO: I was accidentally hit in the knee with a crowbar just prior to my friend chopping her wrist open and nearly bleeding to death. Another friend recruited to help with wallpaper removal was prying some makeshift nailed-to-the-wall artwork left by the previous tenants when the crowbar and artwork suddenly came loose and blammo.

TESTOSTERONE POISONING HANDLED WITH WELL-PLACED EMASCULATION: A dude cut me off in traffic, I flipped him off and he jumped out of his car and bumped his chest against my window trying to get me to fight him. I laughed and pointed as his crotch and eventually, he went away.

TRIXIES: I heard the following statement on the train by a woman in her mid-twenties-ish , "My boyfriend is Jewish and whatever, so I went to his mom's house for Easter and she made millions of food and my mom made millions of food for Easter, too, so I had, like two feasteses."

I suppose next someone is going to try to convince me puppies can be assholes.

Apr 16, 2006


In the Master's Thesis I will someday write, I want to explore the value placed upon symbols in various cultures, particularly in a spiritual or protective sense (evil eye, hamsa, hex symbols, etc.) and, and, and, how these values sort of get passed along from generation to generation and become part of cultural consciousness.

So, I've been into Romani (Gypsy) stuff lately, and I wonder about something. As Jews, we have our seder plates with symbols of pyramid mortar, of tears, of bitterness, of sweetness, of spring and renewal and the like. We, just like most religions, have small symbolic rituals that we do to remember, to observe, to find meaning and to interpret. Okay, the thing I have been wondering about lately is why we limit ourselves to just these? I mean, under the umbrella of interesting folkloric things, there are tons. And, few of us really have to limit ourselves to identifying with any one culture, no? Yes, I do things that culturally identify me as Jewish, but, for whatever cosmic reasons, I feel connected to my Alsatian heritage, my vague northeastern European heritage, blah blah blah. So, what reason could possibly exist that would limit me to only Jewish symbolic gestures? Why not, say, Alsatian things or Balkan folky things (explains my gypsy-fixation, eh?) or, and this is bound to flip out a few... why couldn't a part of a another religion be part of my Jewish practice as long as it, say, doesn't negate Judaism?

For example, what is stopping me from finding the sacredness in yoga? Nothing. I feel grounded and connected when I do yoga. Alright, what about this. I have long been aware of these tiny bottles used in some European folk/Wiccan/neo-pagan circles. Basically, you take a small sliver of wood, you write your name on one side to represent yourself and your essence. On the other side, you write the name of some one you want to think favorably about you to represent them and their essence. Okay, so then you fill this tiny bottle with water and honey or sugar and a few herbals (depending on who makes the bottle, there are some cultural/religious variations on the matter) and seal it. The folklore is that each time you shake the bottle with intention within in, the sweetness of the bottle swirls around the the symbolic essence of the two people represented and thus, favor is won. Okay, logic tells us that the only thing workable about this is the focused intention and the manifestation of focused intention within a collective unconsciousness, if even that. But, why is this different from us (Jews) eating apples and honey on Rosh HaShannah to create a "sweet" new year for ourselves? It really isn't.

I'm just saying that I don't think anyone is limited to the confines of any particular practice. Maybe, just maybe, we have been taught to believe that some things are so "hippie" or just plain "weird" that we believe that traditional religious practice is actually something born out of the 18th century. When in actuality, doing the precise things that you feel could be meaningful are a more true traditional way of practicing religion. Right?

No, no, I don't think we should have a "Chanukah bush" or anything insane like that. But, when things hint at conectedness, maybe we should listen. That's all. Judaism uses a solar modified lunar calendar. We pay attention to the seasons, we throw bread in rivers to "cast off" our shortcomings, we have a holiday devoted to hoping for rain, women gather together around phases of the moon, wine gets blessed, trees and plants have spiritual value. Now, doesn't sound a little like nature-based religion? Indeed it does. Sure, our unknowable, formless, single concept of g-d differs from the Triple Goddesses of neo-paganism/Wiccanism, but the paractices that are symbols to encourage home/family harmony (Shalom Bayit), women's lunar cycle gatherings (Rosh Hodesh), the four changing glasses of wine and symbolic food (Tu B'shevat seders, Passover seders), well, sometimes the similarities are strinking. Maybe, the acts, the gestures we make to add meaning to our lives, maybe some rituals could be shared. I mean, we shake branches in every direction with a citrus fruit pressed on top of it and acknowledge that g-d is all around us during Sukkot. Wiccans call upon the watchtower-dieties of different dirrections and a fifth direction to represent the spiritual. C'mon. Come on! It's too close not to notice. We don't even have to borrow practices from anyone else, but would it kill us to at least stare at the similarities head-on and allow them to make us question ourselves often enough to keep thinking of and looking for layers of meaning to add to our practices?

Now, let me pause here and say that few things piss me off more than people that claim two religions. You cannot, I repeat, cannot be "half-Jewish". To say that implies that you are buying into the Nazi propaganda that Jews are a race, instead of Judaism as a religion. Jews are a spiritual community and you either are or are not. It is okay to say one of your parents was Jewish or something along those lines, but, please, do not ever say that you or someone else if half-Jewish. So, my point is that there are some people that say things like, "Oh, I'm a Buddhist Jew." Nope. I think it's fantastic to be inspired by other religions, and it's even fine to modify a tradition of certain religions (keyword: certain, meaning not every) to enhance your own Jewish practice. After all, a Christian came to my Passover seder last week and found great meaning in it and is considering celebrating Passover next year with a more-Christian feel to it for himself and some Christians that he knows. I'm tickled pink that someone in another religion found meaning in Judaism. He felt connected to the Exodus story and honors Judaism by making this connection, I feel. Granted, a Christian looking to Judaism is perhaps different than even the reverse, just for doctrinal reasons, but you get the idea. But, to say you're a Buddhist Jew or or Whatever-Jew implies that there is only room in Judaism for certain rituals, and that sort of thinking seems very un-Jewish to me. I just can't shake the feeling that bridging cultural and religious gaps could enrich us all. I mean, some Sephardic Jewish brides observe hand-henna rituals before their weddings. Isn't that a beautiful way to plug in and find understanding in parts of Hinduism or Indian culture?

I think finding sacredness in the ordinary is a large part of Judaism, but also, to me, I think Judaism is patchwork by nature. We all bring something to the table and all of our perspectives are valid and okay and worth discussing. Americans in particular tend to think of Jews who look like me, the eastern European (Askenazi) Jew. But, there are Jews all over, from many cultures and each of us find our meaning in different places. I don't see anything in the world wrong with getting more into our roots and following unexplainable interest-hunches and seeing where they lead.

That said, I saw an Easter serving dish that looked like a seder plate and I finched. Yeah, we put an egg on our seder plate, we don't so much decorate it to hide the fertility goddess aspect of it.

Apr 15, 2006


How is anyone expected to listen to Balkan Beat Box and not dance? And, while we’re on the subject of Bands I Enjoy, I’ve been rockin’ out to Gogol Bordello a bit lately, too. Now, the super-duper thing that I realized is that Balkan Beat Box links to Gogol Bordello on their website, yes, yes, but also to Big Lazy, a band I first heard at Black Betty in Brooklyn about five years ago when I still lived in New York. I loved them then and I love them now. The nicotine song from the 1999 self-titled album is my favorite.

Pssh, you’d think these dudes are paying me to plug, them, but they are not. I don’t know any of them. Just a fan.

Shabbes could not have been better. I shook things up and did things a little differently this week and enjoyed it immensely. Actually, my birthday was fantastic, too. I think this year of my life is off to an excellent start.

Apr 12, 2006


Chag Pesach! The seder was lovely tonight and I'm minutes from falling asleep, terribly happy and stuffed with delicious food and delicious wine. But it'll be my birthday in a matter of hours, so I had to stop by and write a bit. It's funny, I hear people complaining about aging and it makes me laugh. Would we really like to be young and dumb forever? Fuck no. I think birthdays are fantastic. So what if crows' feet are creeping up on me? So what if I have lines to show how much I've laughed? And, the more gray hairs I have, the less black hairs I have to bleach in order to make them magenta. Bring it, I say.

Apr 9, 2006


Want to hear some really wonderfully weird shit? I was just reading about adipocere and, while absolutely fucking revolting, I can't stop reading about it. Get a load of this:

"Adipocere (grave wax) forms in fatty regions of the decomposing body including the cheeks. Grave wax is a crumbly white, waxy substance that accumulates on those parts of the body that contain fat - the cheeks, breasts, abdomen and buttocks. It is the product of a chemical reaction in which fats react with water and hydrogen in the presence of bacterial enzymes, breaking down into fatty acids and soaps. Adipocere is resistant to bacteria and can protect a corpse, slowing further decomposition. Adipocere starts to form within a month after death and has been recorded on bodies that have been exhumed after 100 years. If a body is readily accessible to insects, adipocere is unlikely to form."

Blammo! I found this crazy website in my searching, Death Online containing all sorts of tidbits like "corpse fauna" and man, oh, man, I am hooked. It is especially excellent as I have my coffee and pumpernickel bagel. Don't you just love how needles make me sob like a toddler and somehow corpses are perfectly reasonable as breakfast research topics? Aren't I a little Pooh bear? Aren't I darling?

Oh, but on a far more pleasant note, I am also putting together my haggadah for the Pesach seder this year. B'nai Yisroel! Run, do not walk, to this site Open Source Haggadah and you can build your own and print it out, picking and plucking from the material of different affiliations. Not surprising in the least, I loved the feminist and revolutionary gems the most, as I found a some of it to be very introspective and insightful about metaphors of personal slavery to things or people or vices, and some of it to be very deliciously sharp-tongued criticism of war and political oppression.

"We didn't land on the matzah ball! The matzah ball landed on us!"

Apr 5, 2006


Wearing the ridiculous shower cap thing to color a section of my hair this evening made me realize that I'd look okay as a surgeon. Tis a shame I have such little interest in such a pursuit-- I can't even get a flu shot without fainting! Pathetic, isn't it? Yes. Pathetic, but true. I am unafraid of plenty but terrified of needles. Particularly in my inner arm or the top of my foot or the back of my hand. Anywhere veiny. Ack! See? I can't even really say or think "veiny" without getting woozy.

A year ago October, I was in a serious car accident. I was fucked, for the most part, but was keeping my cool in the middle of paramedics and glass and all sorts of shit. Until, that is, "...Start an IV of..." and I came unglued. Now, imagine! I'm calm and trying to focus on the situation and being A Responsible Adult when suddenly a woman with a needle reduces me to not only tears but big, pathetic sobs and gasps and apologies and my eyes rolling back into my head. I wish I could say that I was making this up, but, alas, it is true. I flipped and fruck out until her metal needle was replaced with a plastic one that would have to stay put for a while. The plastic one still hurt my feelings and made me uncomfortable and was torturous, but it was, somehow, better than the metal one. I have no idea why that is, that metal creeps me out so much, but I have come to accept it. When it comes to needles, I'm a total pussy.

What I'm not a pussy about, though, is haircolor! And, in honor of my (shh!) approaching birthday, I am making my stripe magenta. Glorious. And, to keep the color rolling, I painted the office in my apartment green. Something about this birthday seems different, somehow.

Apr 2, 2006


Oh man. I just had the worst nightmare. It was one of the worst kind, too, where I wake up thinking someone is in the apartment but my glasses are out of reach and it's far too dark to see much of anything anyway. I kept still in the dark for a few moments before I heard my cat wriggle into a better sleeping positing as he let out a deep exhale, then jumped to attention and as he tried to hack up a hairball. Nice.

I wish someone would create a nightmare hotline to help nightmare sufferers get a grip and get back to sleep. You could call up and pick out soothing grandmotherly voices, the voice of a half-asleep lover, a cat purr-- anything, anything really, that would help you back to sleep.