Friday, January 29, 2010

Even though, he may tarry / Even so, I wait for him

Waiting for the Messiah can make you feel like this.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


(A conversation which took place in Kharkov, Ukraine, between me and a bochur whose parents were from Russia)

D: In the USSR, it was illegal for regular people to have a copy machine or microfilm. The government didn't want people to be able spread information easily or quickly.

e: Wow. That's crazy. I'm proud to be an American. At least I know the press is free.

D: The Soviet government was built on lies. If people had access to non-government-sanctioned information, the government would fall apart.

e: That reminds me of how the Protestant Revolution started after the invention of the printing press, when people could get their own Bibles.

D: The people in charge always want to limit the information available to the masses.

e: But in our glorious republic of freedom, the government is not afraid of truth. They have nothing to hide. (This was during the Bush-era, when the Republicans controlled Congress, and it was cool to be pro-government.) And if they did have something to hide, we'd find out about it right away.

All: God bless America!

Well, apprantly Hereidism is based on falsehood too, because the Hareidi top-honchos are scared of information. That's right. We're not discussing pornography, evolution, Bible criticism, or any of that evil stuff. We're discussing information about what's happening in the Hareidi world. They want you to learn the news only from "respectable" newspapers like Hamodia or Yated. People should hear the news from blogs? or maybe get new ideas from anonymous commenters? People who the rabbis can't track down or censor? God forbid!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

It runs in the family

I was at my sister's wedding last Monday. (It was super awesome, but don't ask for details now. It's after my bedtime.) We were lining up to take a picture of the kallah and her siblings. "What order should we be in?" someone asked. Size order, age order and gender segregation were all quickly rejected by the assembled. "How about alphabetical order?" I* suggested. We lined up in alphabetical order (e, Me, Mi, Ne, Ye, Yo) and were duly depicted. My father noted that we followed the English alphabet, but we went from right to left (e on the far right, Yo on the far left). N'nu. We goofed. Perhaps the photographer can flip the image around.

* I'm not a 100% sure it was I who suggested alphabetical order. If anyone who was there is reading this (j.k., you listening?) and thinks I'm misremembering, please speak up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Aaron's Arduous Amorous Adventures

Aaron (Moses' brother): Hey, Reuven! I heard that things aren't so hot between you and Shimon. Well, Shimon wants to make up.

Reuven: Yeah, yeah, we all know your trick, Aaron. Don't BS me.

A: No, I'm telling the truth this time. He really wants to make up.

R: What about the hundred dollars he owes me? Or when his cow gored my cow? Huh?

A: Well, he told me--

R: Don't bother with the explanations, Aaron. The truth is that I just don't value Shimon's friendship. He has lots of character traits which I don't appreciate. He watches too much TV. He eats greasy food. He asks his mother for advice when he should be making his own decisions. And his pants and shirts always clash.

A: Shimon's less-than-desirable character traits should not be the only criterion with which you decide how much to value his friendship.

R: Oh yeah? Then what criteria would you recommend, Mister I-love-peace-and-pursue-it?

A: Um, well. Friendship is about... uh... it's about getting to. Uh, How about we ask the blog community for help on this one?

Based on what do you decide whom you want to be your friend?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Aurgh! This eats me up! "Lol" used to mean "laughing out loud." Today it is a punctuation mark.

Allow me to explain. An exclamation mark doesn't tell the readers anything new. It just tells them how the writer feels about what he or she wrote. For example:
"I'm going home" tells us where the author is going. "I'm going home!" tells us the exact same fact, but also tells us that the author is excited about this trip.

"Your mother-in-law called you an ugly bitch" tells us what your mother-in-law said about you. "Your mother-in-law called you an ugly bitch?" tells us the same fact and also tells us that the author is feeling surprised and incredulous.

Now we turn our attention to the new punctuation mark: "lol."

Below is an actual Facebook conversation:

Friend's status: everytime (sic.) I go to a cemetery I think "those lucky sons of bitches!"

Sympathetic friend comments: One day (unfortunately) you and I will be there as well. In the meantime try to enjoy your luck that you are of the "lucky" carbon to be alive. Afterwards you'll have eternity to be those "lucky sons of bitches."
*sigh* if only I can heed my own advice and preachings lol.

Suicidal-sounding status updater: I am enjoying it. Very much. Don't you see? lol

Please. Neither of these people was laughing out loud. "Lol," like the exclamation and question marks, tells us how the author feels about what he or she is writing. "Lol" means "Don't take what I'm writing too seriously. I don't really mean it. I don't know what I mean, so let's just pretend that I'm joking. After all jokes don't need to make sense lol"

Monday, January 11, 2010

How to Bake Sweet Potatoes

Right after I moved to my current residence, my mother suggested that I microwave or bake sweet potatoes for a snack. They weren't very exciting. They were kind of dry and hard work to finish. Usually I'd buy two sweet potatoes at a time and bake one of them right away. The other would often end its life wilting on the window sill.

But then my eyes were opened.

I went to my grandfather's house, and there I saw how to bake a sweet potato. Here's the recipe I have learned from my grandather's wife:
Slice the sweet potato in half. (I usually slice them into thirds, because I'm impatient.)
Put the sweet potatoes in a pan sliced-side down.
Here's the crucial part: Put a little oil in the pan
Bake until very soft.

I bake them on 500° because I want them to bake quickly. Perhaps a lower temperature would be better. I know not.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


If you asked me to define the word "funfer," I would probably start funfering.