Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Ode to Genius

Colloquially Speaking is, in my humble opinion, one of the great unknown Jewish voices on the internet.

I do not say this in jest.  I do not say it lightly.  I say it and I mean it.  If you are not religiously following her blog, you should do so.  Immediately.  Like rightthisminute!

What makes her so great, so important?

Troubled past?  Check
Tragic life events which have molded her into something different than everyone else? Sadly so.
Excellent perspective?  Done
Ability to get to the heart of the issue?  Yup.
Self Doubt?  Duh.  She's Jewish, after all.

And, most importantly, Her ability to weave her thoughts into magic words and sentences that leave you tied up in knots and feeling her highs and lows.

If I were the editor of a Jewish magazine or newspaper, I would be begging her to write for me.  Read this post she just did on Sharon.  It's fucking brilliant.  I wish i could write with half as much power...emotion...as she does. Hers is a gift.  A gift I can at least share with my few dear readers.

Magic.

She writes with magic.  Magic words are words that you read and make you feel, whether you want to or not.  Magic is poetry in prose.  It's beauty painted with a keyboard as opposed to a canvass and brush.

So I do not say this lightly - nor do i say it to the detriment of others.  And it remains my own humble opinion.

But try it.  y

You might feel.

And to feel is magic.

Believe

How does it feel to believe in something so strongly, that you would die for it?

How does it feel to want something more than your own life?

What are the things that make us feel this way?  Our children/families? Yes.  Our homeland?  Sometimes.

What creates passion in us?  What drives us to the end?  Is it desire?  Passion?  Lust?

Today I'm confused.  I don't know why/  Nothing happened.  No BIG EVENT.  Just confusion.

I'm watching other people and i wonder what makes them tick.  That is not new.

I have always wondered about other people, even the ones I don't know.

But today, of all days, I wish i had a special ability to see inside each one of them.

To understand them.

To know what drives them.

What makes them believe.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Caleb Jacoby

First off, let me say that it's great news that he's been found safe.

Caleb Jacoby ran away from home.  There is much public outcry in the wake of his safe return.  Outcry as to whether or not the why's of it are anyone's business outside of his family.  It probably is none of our business (though i don't think people wanting to understand why are necessarily voyeuristic pigs with no hearts).

But on a totally selfish note, this story makes e sad.  Not sad for Caleb and whatever he was going through to make him feel he had to run away. This story resonates with me perhaps more than others.  I have left my home for days at a time.  Left home without telling my parents where I was or why I was going.  Though I never had anyone beating the bushes looking for me either.  I was lost and alone and scared.  But no one was sending frantic messages from New York to Boston to find me.

For those days, no one cared enough about me to look.  Certainly not my mother.  Not even my father.  No one.  I'm sure, on some level, everyone who lived in my house was happy to have my distraction erased for a few days.  No yelling and shouting and cursing.  Maybe my mother slightly more tolerable with me not there.
A sigh of relief in an otherwise crazed existence.

So today I'm happy for Caleb Jacoby.  I'm happy for his family.  I'm happy for everyone who followed the news and wished for his safe return (except for you drama queen/voyeurs who truly were hoping for a bad outcome - you can go fuck yourselves).  Thank goodness he's safe, and I hope that whatever his reasons were for running away - he can find peace in his life and an anchor to his world.

But today I'm also sad.  Selfishly sad for me.  For poor Cymbaline, who could have been raped and murdered and left smoldering in an alley somewhere and no one would have even have been looking.  In fact, sometimes I wonder if, at that point anyway, that would have been their preferred outcome for me.  dead in an alley.  Oh the crying and the carrying on there would have been.  Drama drama.  Sad sad.

But secretly happy.

Eh.  No need for melancholy today.  Caleb Jacoby is home safe.  And I am now home safe too.

So let's a; celebrate happy on this fine day.


Monday, January 6, 2014

The Curious Case of Max Stark

Ed's Note:  This is only partially a post on Mr. Stark.  This is really a post about the lack of ethics in the Jewish community as a whole and how that is destroying the moral fabric of our society.  So there.  That's some heavy shit.

Losing the forest from the trees.

In my own humble opinion, that's what the Jewish community is doing here.  Losing sight of the forest from the trees.

Was the Post's title and article reprehensible?  Of course. Does a slumlord deserve to die because he plastered over the sprinkler heads in his illegal lost conversions?  Of course not. Is that besides the point?YES.  Huge yes.

Up front disclaimer:  No matter what, Mr. Stark's death is a tragedy for his family and certainly something which was "undeserved".  No one deserves to die for being an allegedly bad guy (or a partial bad guy).

We are having rallies against the Post (a paper, by the way, which staunchly has the back of Israel and Jews in general perhaps more than any other except the Journal).  But we are losing sight of the bigger picture.

This man allegedly was involved with bad guys,.  He allegedly had tens of millions in bad debts.  He allegedly lent money to Jews with a 30% vig.  He was allegedly reported for fondling a woman on the subway.

The list goes on and on.  And the answer?  He was a tremendous philanthropist who gave tons of money to Jews.

Regardless of the source of those funds.  Regardless of the lives stepped on in the process.

Here's my question - the one I'd like to see asked - Does God even want tainted charity?  Everything I've ever been told on this subject by people whose opinions I care about suggests that it's better for organizations and schools and rabbis to not take tainted money than use tainted money for good purposes. In other words, when it comes to ill gotten charitable gains, the ends do not justify the means.

If that's the case then the excuse of "well he gave a lot of money to charity" would never be a white-wash for a person'r misdeeds. So that so many names we see on the sides of buildings would be rolled over with titanium paint so that they will never again see the light of the sun.

Losing the forest in the trees.

Our lives, our beliefs are compromised.  Compromised by our desire for gold.  By our leaders looking the other way.  By our own lust and greed.  By everything which ill gotten gains can buy - honor, possessions, other.  It's all gone sour. and we can pretend that the ends justify the means, but they do not.  And as even our most segregated communities begin to fall prey to this, where does that leave us as a people?

Was Mr. Stark an outlier, or just one in an assembly line of the new paradigm - the new cookie cutter.  Our new god - the god of money.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Storm Is Coming

No, literally.  There's a big old storm blowing in tonight and tomorrow.  and Friday?  Holy crap.  between the snow and the single digit temperatures - well y'all can bet I won't be leaving the house on Friday.

But this isn't really a gripe email about the storm.  Let's face it, we didn't have much of a winter last year and this winter hasn't exactly been a top 10 worst of all time either (so far).  It's really an observation. not sure if this is a social media thing, or just an information overload thing, but i feel like we have been waiting on this storm forever.  I remember when it was supposed to be a 1-3 inch thing.  Then 2-4.  Then 3-6.  Now 6-10 with blizzard winds.

I remember trying out Twitter a few years ago.  I lasted a week.  It was information overload.  Too many things coming at me too fast.  This storm has the same feel to it.  all we are missing is Lonnie Quinn taking off his jacket and rolling up his sleeves.  Then we will know we are in for it.

Why am I writing this?  Perhaps because it's post-New years.  I got to work early, because I plan on leaving early.  Shabbos doesn't stop for bad weather.  Neither does the morning meeting (though I hope it's cancelled - fingers crossed) I have scheduled in Brooklyn today.

So yes - a storm is definitely coming.  It's been coming for days now.  Then it passes and all we are left with is the clean-up.

Funny, sounds a lot like life.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

T'is Almost the End of Another Season of Discontent

I do not pretend that it catches me the same way, but I understand men's obsessions with sports.  The drama.  The excitement.  The athletic grace of of three hundred pound man running in what's known as the "open field", trying to find a little skinny man to throw to the ground.

Yes, it was that time of year.  The last Jets home game of the season.  And I am contractually bound by marriage to attend at least one game a year or else I am considered an unfit, unloving wife.  Whatever.

So there I found myself at the new Meadowlands, formerly known as Giants Stadium Even Though the Jets Play Here Too.  Whatever, don't bother, it isn't worth t.

The Jets were playing the Cleveland Browns, a team even more known for its ineptitude and suckiness than the Jets.  As an added bonus, they are also the team which Ezzie roots for.  And the team was out of playoff contention so all the angry fans are done at this point.  And what the hell, it was supposed to be 70 degrees so at least we wouldn't freeze our asses off.

So we set out as a foursome, David and I, and our good friends Steven and Jennifer (names may or may not have been changed to protect the innocent) to the game.  Ground rules were simple.  We were not getting there 14 hours early in order to set up a grill, eat meat and drink beer at 11 in the morning.  We were going to get there regular time, like right before the game, to cut this torturous experience as short as possible.

And so it was.  We arrived to our spot at 12:15, cranked out one beer apiece (hey, tradition is tradition right?) and then headed for our seats.

Now understand.  David's family are season ticket holders for a very, very long time.  They have really good, low seats in the middle of the stadium on the same side as the Jets team.  In the olden days, you could watch Red Ryan's stomach jiggle when he walked.  Now we have new, svelte Rex Ryan and I swear the jets really know how to ruin all my fun.

Here are some snippets and observations from the game:

Celebrity Row or Celebrity Zero.  Unlike Basketball and Hockey games at Madison Square Garden, which are literally teeming with famous people, no one shows up to football games.  And even if they do, you can't see them.  people who do show up are all angry white guys with green jerseys on in 20 year old puffer jackets.  Meaning that people watching is at an absolute low at football games.  bad times.

Actual Conversation that took place during the game:

Me:  who is that number 11, he catches the ball really well.  And he's a little due.  I like that.

David:  Jeremy Kerley.  He does it all.

Me:  Curly, like curly fries?

Him:  No.  K-E-R-L-E-Y.  Kerley.  Like Jeremy Kerley, number 11 on the Jets.

Me:  Well, I like him anyway.  Though it would be cooler if his name was curly like curly fries.

Steven:  You should see his beard.  It's magnificent.

Insert Rant Here.  Late in the game it started to drizzle rain, which led to an interesting debate among fans in our area as to whether the super bowl, which is being played in the Meadowlands this year, should ever be played in a cold city like New York if there's no roof on the stadium.  Yawn.

Wouldn't we be better off if everyone spent more time debating stuff like, how can we fix our economy?  Or fix our government?  Of make a health care law that actually makes sense and works?  Instead we debate if the world would end or not if it snows during a football game.

Ezzie Must Be Sad.  After taking a 10 to zero lead to start the game, Cleveland completely fell apart after.  The Jets tied the game before halftime and crushed the Browns in the second half of the game.  Some guy who never caught a touchdown pass all season caught two and the incredibly intriguing Geno Smith also ran for a touchdown.

Why intriguing you ask?  I'm glad you did!  He's a rookie the Jets picked to replace the incredibly hot but also incredibly awful Mark Sanchez.  And he's had a bad season.  But when he looks good he looks good.  So he'll probably get 2 or three more years of playing time while the team figures out what they have and then by the time they realize he sucks, the will have wasted those 2 or 3 seasons.

(By the way, the prior paragraph were words of wisdom espoused Sunday by Steven and David.  I take no credit for this in-depth analysis of things I don't care about.)

So in the end, Ezzie must be very sad this week, I managed to get through my wifely duties unscathed (thank you Jennifer for being there for me) and the jets season will be blessedly over next week, which means David and I can actually do shit on Sundays without him telling me he can't do anything because he won't miss the Jets (until, of course, the weather warms up and then he plays gold on Sundays, but that's a conversation to have in the spring.  Oh and PS, don't feel too bad for me, I get my stuff too).  And everyone celebrated the win as if it meant something (after all the season really ended with last week's loos when the jets fell out of contention for the playoffs).

Did I learn any valuable lessons?  No.  Did it totally suck?  No.  The truth is I'll do just about anything with David and our friends and be happy (except, of course, being pitted on some sort of island or enclosed area and having to participate in some sort of Hunger Games-like fight to the death.  That probably wouldn't be too cool.

And since the Knicks absolutely suck this year, I don't feel the need to go to too many of those 41 games at home this season.

Anyone have good tv suggestions?






Monday, December 16, 2013

Just One Line

One single, pink line.

It started with an innocuous statement.  Just a flippant mention of a problem.  And a suggestion as to what might be causing that problem.

A suggestion that would, if true, change everything. 

One line vs. two lines.  A second pink line which is the difference between my world staying the same and everything changing. 

One single pink line.

I don't even know how to feel.  Happy?  Sad?  I just feel numb.  Like the promise of a whole new world has just been held out to me and pulled away by ever cruel fates.

But I am not ready, right?  isn't that my mantra?    Is anyone ever really ready?  Yesterday I would have wanted the answer to be "negative".  But that was before someone said to me "maybe you are pregnant".

Four words.  A life altering event.  Maybe you are pregnant.  Maybe your body is preparing to form a human life and bring it into this world.  A daughter.  A son.  My child.  David's child. 

Not ready?  Who is ever ready?  Maybe this is life's push to you.

One single pink line.

The difference between yes and no.  Between things going back to the way you claim you want them and life changing course forever. 

I look at the prophet.  Stare at it.  Wonder how long it takes to change.  Will it change?  Willing it to change.  What about the second time through?  How many times does it take to be sure? 

Then I cry.  Cry not in relief, as perhaps I would have yesterday.  But crying for what could have been. 

And now the tears are all gone and I'm numb.  Because that's all it was, just one single pink line.

Things can continue as they were.  Because after all, I'm not ready right?  I'm not ready to stop my fun and put my career on hold.  I'm not ready to raise a child.  Not ready to...just not fucking ready.

Except all of a sudden that feels like a lie on my lips.  Because I am ready.  And now I know I am.  Because the feeling of.....loss....that I am currently feeling tells me that I am ready. 

One single pink line.

The difference between nothing.  And everything.

And I hope this numbness goes away.