Archive for May, 2008

I H8 THS

Posted in Me, Rants on May 30, 2008 by frumpunk

Whenever I hear someone talk about how bad it is for frum people to have phones that can text message I am bewildered. How is it worse than talking? Today, I understand.

See, I was talking to an old friend of Facebook who’s getting married this summer. Thanks to him, I’ll have the utter joy of being back in New York after a good four years. This guy learns in the Mir in Israel, and is an all-around great guy. I’ve known him since we were ten. This guy has the most pathetic case of text speech I’ve ever seen. I now realize that having phones that can text gives you the ability to sound like an imbecile and/or fifteen year old girl with a ADHD and a constant case of excitement. He does it all, skips his vowels, replaces letters with numbers, forgot how to punctuate…

He claims it saves time. If you’re such a masmid that you compute how long it takes to type each letter and skip some to save time, then what are you doing on Facebook? It’s a fallacious argument anyways, because to reach the numbers you have to pass over the whole keyboard or even move to the entire right side of the keyboard and back again. Did I mention it also makes you sound like a teenager?

Today we had the following exchange:

I won’t say what his whole status was, but it involved the word ‘donating’ which he spelled as ‘don8ing’.

Frum Punk:
May 29 at 4:18am
Nothing on the subject, but brilliant how you managed to save typing a whole letter by replacing ‘at’ with ‘8’ in donating.
Frum Punks Friend:
May 29 at 10:59pm
actually, it was 2 letters, thank u very much!

Shabbat Shalom!

Note: I think he’s cleaning up his act thanks to me. See how he put all the letters in most of the time? It could have been “actuly it waz 2 ltrs thx”.
Frum Punk:
Today at 12:19am
Donating = 8 characters.
Don8ing = 7 characters.

You take out two letters but put in one number. So you save typing a single character but at the cost of sounding like a 15 year old girl.

Good Shabbos!

I’m not on any dating sites, but I’ve heard rumors of women who one assumes are actually of marriageable age doing this. Heaven knows Only Simchas is infested with it. What is wrong with you people? I fear for the future. Will novels someday be published in txt? Do you people write cover letters for jobs in this sort of ape-like gibberish? Is proper spelling so difficult? I don’t expect miracles here, but put in all the letters at least.
I am aware that years spent fixing peoples computers have given me somewhat of a superiority complex but I don’t think I’m being too harsh here. A peoples roots lie in their language, and we Jews have always been known as The People of the Book. Lets not become Teh Ppl of teh Buk.
Edit: He posted this just now: u r a FB friend fiend!”
I’m a failure.

Only in Dreams

Posted in Me on May 29, 2008 by frumpunk

I had the weirdest dreams last night. This is significant in and of itself because usually I either don’t dream or don’t remember my dreams. And if I do dream, they’re usually mundane. I hear people say dreams like “so I was sitting in class when my desk turned into an flying umbrella with a yellow elephant attached and we went sailing over Paraguay…” I’ve never had a dream like that. My most common dream as a kid was getting up and getting dressed for school, until I woke up to realize I was still in bed and the carpool was honking outside. I mean, literally, I would dream about getting out of bed, brushing my teeth, washing my face and getting dressed. Nothing twisted whatsoever.

Anyways, In the first one, I was Natalie Portman. Please note, this is not the common dream guys have of being with Natalie Portman. I actually was her. Or rather, she was me. Basically, I was me but in her body, and my family was getting ready to go to some event. So I was getting dressed and put on a black suit, black shirt (yes I remember picking out the colors) and was contemplating topping it off with a white tie, when I suddenly realized I should probably be wearing a dress or something. I got very confused after that. That’s all I remember of that one.

Second dreams I was back to being me. I went on my computer and checked to see if I had any new messages on facebook or comments on my blog. When I went to my blog I saw a whole bunch of stupid posts not written by me. I tried to log in to the admin section to remove them, but it wouldn’t let me log in. My blog had been hijacked and whoever it was kept posting really offensive and/or stupid posts and people were commenting on how I’d suddenly become such a jerk, and I was angry but had no way of telling people it wasn’t me and someone was ruining my blog.

I blame this all on eating a malawa with some tikka chicken right before going to sleep. Also, has anyone ever heard that you can’t read in dreams? I learned that from a Batman episode when I was a kid where he was trapped by The Joker in a dream world and everything was twisted, but he didn’t realize it was a dream until he tried to read a book and the words were all garbled. Total bs. I read those blog posts.

Robin of Loxley and Marion Bagelle.

Posted in Food, Rants on May 28, 2008 by frumpunk

When I was in high school Rosh Chodesh breakfasts were the worst. Tables filled with nothing but bagels, lox and cream cheese. I prefer plain bread to bagels and I detest lox and cream cheese. I really want to know when lox and cream cheese became Jewish foods, sanctioned as the highest level of frumkeit to the point where they’re reserved for minor yom tovim such as Rosh Chodesh and Bris Millahs. Basically, any Jewish event that takes place in the morning will consist of lox and cream cheese bagels, unless the host is rich and/or conservative when they’ll actually have breakfast food such as omelettes. By 9th grade I was bringing my own breakfast to Rosh Chodesh breakfasts, until I got hold of a toaster and brought my own cheese and ketchup to make pizza bagels.

I also don’t like cholent. I understand every cholent is different and it seems to be just me, but food cooked for two days in a slow cooker seems to make the meat chewy and the whole thing somehow less than the sum of its parts. Meat is good. Potatoes are good. Barley and lentils are good. Put them all together and you get brown goop. What started off as a way for Eastern-European Jews to eat hot food on shabbos morning has become a mitzvah in of itself, cholent is a standard of frumkeit. Non-religious people just don’t get it, and for some reason, neither do I.

To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, whats the deal with gefilte fish? Why is a bunch of fish bits minced together better than a delicious piece of haddock, halibut or salmon? I don’t even mind gefilite fish, unlike cream cheese I can quite happily eat it provided it’s slathered with enough mayonnaise. It’s the chrain that gets me. I will never understand the appeal of chrain. I hate the sight of it and people eating it getting purple on their lips makes me feel sick. The absolute worst are the mixers. They take my mayonnaise and mix it with the chrain, but they always take the chrain first then take the mayo with the same spoon before passing it to me. Then I have to try and scrape the bits of mayo that aren’t suddenly purple, hoping not to get any on my fish. And who on earth is buying that traditional “Gefilte Fish in Gelled Broth” stuff? How is this still being made? Just the sight of the jelly dripping makes me feel nauseous.

I love pasta dishes. So why do I hate yerushalmi kugel so much? Maybe it’s the seasoning? The raisins? Whatever it is, I can’t stand the stuff.

Israeli dishes fare little better with me. First time I had a schwarma I was in 12th grade. I found it disgusting. Later on I discovered I hate chumus and tachina. Today I quite happily eat shwarma with just Israeli salad and fries. When I was in Israel I would always have to repeat lo chumus lo tachina because those Israelis, bless em, just didn’t believe me. Falafel sucks, but I can digest it, again only without chumus or tachina. It’s not the worse food in the world, but what’s so great about it? Give me a piece of schnitzel anyday.

I’ll eat hamentashen, but only without poppyseeds. I like them on challah, but that many poppyseeds together does nothing for me except make my employer think I’m an addict.

All of which reminds me: Moshe, if you still read my blog, I’ll be in New York end of August and I’m holding you to that meal. What part of New York is Woodmere in?

On an non-food note: My friend went on a few shidduch dates with this girl recently. This morning she told him she didn’t want to pursue it anymore… by text message. Is this a new thing? I thought proper etiquette was through a call or have the shadchun relay it.

Mishpacharific

Posted in Israel, Politics on May 26, 2008 by frumpunk

I have a love/hate relationship with Mishpacha magazine. When it first came out I was thrilled the Jewish world had moved up in journalism enough to have its own news weekly. Of course the news is limted to short bursts in between the letters from people complaining about the number of articles on kids at risk and the major weekly feature on whichever great Jewish person died recently. Still, it’s a start. I can even overlook the typos and the pictures all taken from AP and google image search. (Did anyone see the ad on the back page last week featuring the judge with the badly photoshopped kippa on? I wonder if that guy knows his picture is there. And what a terrible photoshop, even my mother thought it was a horrible fake. Even I can do better. Anyone remember my very first header with the kippa put on Tim Armstrong?)

Anyways, last week had a feature on Barack Obama, kind of “introducing” him to the section of the yeshivish world without secular newspapers, magazines and one assumes, radio. There’s been things before that irked me enough in Mishpacha for me to consider posting about, but I only read it Friday night and by the time it’s Sunday I’m either too lazy or just don’t care anymore. This got me a bit more motivated though. I’ll go through the bits that got my goat.

First of all, they compare him to Achashveirosh! This would be acceptable in the Purim issue, but not any other time. They even sweeten it by prefacing it thusly:

“Without drawing any direct comparisons”

Brilliant, eh? Onwards:

“Without drawing any direct comparisons, one could go all the way back to Persia to see how the unworthy and unsavory Achashveirosh ascended the throne of what was then the world’s only superpower.”

Yeah, hardly drawing a comparison there. How would one draw a comparison between Obama and Achashveirosh? Why not also not draw a comparison by pointing out that Hitler had little experience when he was elected in Germany? (Also, the wrongly apostrophised ‘world’ annoys me.)

“Obama has also benefited from an American entertainment industry which in recent years has actively promulgated the concept of a woman or minority president, ingraining into viewers’ minds that a black, female, or Hispanic president would be “cool.” “

I’ve seen very similar point made… on White Power websites. Yes, the reason Obama has gotten this far is because the media has brainwashed those apikorsos who watch tv into thinking it would be cool to have a minority president. Yeah, I know after watching that movie where Chris Rock was a president I left the theater thinking how cool it would be to have a black president. Just like the movie it would be a laugh a minute! Hey, that guys black! I should vote for him, that way it would be like a “hip-hop” white house! And the grammar is getting worse. I thought the proper placement of commas is taught in elementary school?

“People who know Obama well say he is not only a gifted orator, but also quite conceited and elitist.”

No source given of course. Did I mention that people who know Bill Gates well say he likes to start his day skinny dipping in a swimming pool filled with mayonnaise?

“Whether Obama, if elected, will be a good president for Israel and the Jews is an open question, but there are certainly considerable grounds for concern. His long-standing membership in a Chicago church led by a pastor who has expressed and written virulent anti-Israel propaganda is far from comforting.”

His pastor is far more anti-American than anything else. Does that mean Obama hates America and is only running for president to destroy it from within? The rest of the article mentions how apparently all of his advisers hate Israel, are pro-Hamas and even worked for President Carter. That would only matter if they were his foreign policy advisers, which none of the ones mentioned are, with the exception of the ex-Carter one. Israel managed alright during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, and he’s confirmed to be pro-Palestine. Who says that this adviser even shared his views? Everything else related to Obama and Israel I wrote about much earlier.

What’s the point of all this anyway? Mishpachas readership will only vote Republican anyways, nevermind the fact that Israel did just fine under Clinton and every other Democrat.

I do have to give credit where credit is due though. They used some decent vocabulary, and managed not to imply he’s Muslim.

Ouch.

Posted in Music on May 25, 2008 by frumpunk

Weezer just released the video for ‘Pork & Beans’. They’ve managed to drudge up every youtube celebrity and ancient meme from the past few years to star in it in what I can only assume is some bid for new relevancy. Everything from ‘all your base are belong to us‘ to ‘Chocolate Rain‘. Only the Diet Coke and Mentos guys are cool enough to actually get this kind of recognition. The stuff takes talent. Remember what I said in OMIGOSH? Yeah, looks like Weezer is officially dead. I was literally cringing while watching it. I’m just gonna hold on to the Blue Album and Pinkerton, occasionally play Green and Maldroit, and pretend they broke up after those and never actually sunk to this level. Maybe if I upload a video of me sobbing videogame catchphrases in an ironic tshirt while pretending to swing a lightsaber, I can be in the next single?

A Punk Primer

Posted in Music on May 21, 2008 by frumpunk

I got an email from Frum Librarian asking for advice on getting into punk. I’ve decided to make it a post as I feel this kind of growth is important for our community. What menahel could muster up the energy to reject someone from his school when he’s just been grooving to Less Than Jake, or getting upset over the increasing instrusions in private life that the government has given itself the power to do and Bad Religion just made you aware of it? (You’ll notice that LTJ isn’t on the list. That’s because I focused on recent albums and I just didn’t like ‘In With The Out Crowd’ and I’m saving ‘Losing Streak’ for a later stage. You’ll also notice that was a run-on sentence. I’m not perfect.)

Just to be clear, this is my list of punk for people to start with. For one, I only included mainstream bands. Reason for this is that they can afford to have good recordings. Nothing turns people off punk like the bad recording of early punk. If all you’ve heard all your life is top fourty hits with gleaming, soapy clean production then ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ is a bit jarring to hear. I’ve learned that from experience. Secondly I wanted recent stuff from bands still around and touring. There’s nothing worse than getting into an album to find out the band has been broken up for years. This kind of ruins the community aspect, not to mention being able to see a show. Also she gave me a list of stuff she likes which is all the mainstream stuff from the 90’s like Green Day, Blink 182 and funnily enough; AFI.

Here’s my message back to her:

Hey, sorry it took me so long. First of all instead of downloading each song you can probably find them and just stream them using Seeqpod. (http://www.seeqpod.com/)

So what you have there is the typical 90’s pop-punk list with the exception of AFI who used to be hardcore then went emo with Sing the Sorrow. I’ll do a few steps. First of all you want some mainstream sounding stuff with decent production as that’s what you’re used to. Lack of production can be a turn-off for people getting into punk. All early punk had lo-fi production that makes it hard for people to get into it.

Step one is recent punk with good production from mainstream bands:

Bad Religion: The Empire Strikes First

My absolute favorite hardcore album in years. It’s a better listen if you like politics and/or are a little left leaning. Anyways the songs are solid and the harmonies really elevate it from the pack.

Songs to download:

Los Angeles is Burning, Atheist Peace, Gods Love, Live Again (The Fall of Man).

Bad Religion: The Process of Belief

Another BR album. They’re my favorite band so that’s to be expected. This was their great comeback after a lackluster few albums.

Songs to download:

Sorrow, The Defence, Supersonic, Kyoto Now!

Bouncing Souls: The Gold Record

This is a lot more mature than their earlier stuff, with a good sound and decent songs.

Songs to download:

The Gold Song, Letter From Iraq, Lean on Sheena, Better Things.

Descendents: Cool To Be You

So you like blink-182? The Descendents wrote the rulebook that blink made succesful. Every pop-punk band listened to “Milo Goes To College” a hundred times before starting their own bands. This is their 2004 album. Again, picked for the production values so it’s not a hard listen.

Songs to download:

Nothing With You, ‘Merican, Cool To Be You, One More Day, Anchor Grill.

NOFX: They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live!

If the Descendents are the grandaddies of pop-punk (and the Ramones are the godfather) then NOFX is the immature uncle. This is a recent live album but I picked it because it’s a good way to hear new and old stuff on one album and it’s also really funny.

Songs to download:

What’s The Matter With Parents Today?, The Longest Line, Stickin’ In My Eye, Murder The Government.

Rancid: Indestructible

If you’re getting into Rancid you should start with “And Out Come The Wolves” but this is a great album as well.

Songs to download:

Back Up Against the Wall, Fall Back Down, Memphis.

I’d like this list to be longer but that’s a good start for a night of downloading. Problem is I haven’t been looking for many newer bands. Everything I’ve listened to in the last few weeks has been from the 80’s or early 90’s. Some bands I’m saving for the second part which is older stuff from the 90’s leading a bit more into the hardcore end of things. I’m posting this on the blog though, so you’ll probably get some good advice there from stacy and others. That’s a good five bands to start with.

Recipe For Hate

Posted in Politics, Rants on May 19, 2008 by frumpunk

The last post got a decent amount of discussion in the comments and I personally received several messages on Facebook about it. One person was upset that I posted at all, saying the stories are false and have been around forever. Basically, frum urban legends, like the hot dog at camp story. I don’t live in New York or in a community like it, I was simply posting things I had trouble believing myself so I asked you out there who live in these communties to tell me what you know. Most of the comments seem to corroborate the stories in some way or another. I was told that I shouldn’t have posted because it’s a Chillul Hashem and all I’ve done is give the non-frum something to point at about frum communities. The question here is do you practice censorship based on possible Chillul Hashem? My feeling is no, because that seems to be the standard rule and it only works until the scandal reaches epic proportions and gets published anyways. Ask the Catholic Church about that strategy. Besides the point, this isn’t even one of the major blogs.

I’ve been inundated with negativity lately. Publishing anything negative is a lightening rod that will split any group into two camps. There’s “thank you for saying that, these things need to be publicized” and “we have enough hate from the anti-semites, we don’t need a Jew doing this to us”. From the comments to the post which are currently being debated in a facebook group discussion that I can’t read because you apparently can’t join a group message you weren’t originally part of, there seems to be a degree of truth to the stories. Just last night I read some posts on various blogs from late last year about Sephardim not being allowed into Ashkanazi yeshivos in Israel. Seems when a community gets large enough everyone likes to split up into their own factions and obtain that wonderful feeling of superiority that you get from excluding others. I base that on having mostly lived in small communities where everyone davens and learns together. It’s like when I went to the Golan a few years ago and we davened at a shul that had seemingly everyone in the Golan there for shabbos. Seeing striemels mix with velvet mix with srugies mix with hats of various colors mix with… it’s heartwarming. But when Judaism is split into factions based on where your ancestors are from and who they followed as their leader, that’s a recipe for hate.

Update: To make a few things clear; first of all, I don’t claim that what I read is the truth, whether it be the sephardim exclusion or anything from the other post, there’s no evidence of anything besides the fact these stories exist. I tend to think there’s some truth in it, but I don’t know. My point is that it’s sad when stories like this exist, even if it’s an isolated case as I’m told the sephardi exclusion one is.