Archive for October, 2008

You Could Have It So Much Better

Posted in Girls, Israel, Rants, Sem, Yeshiva on October 29, 2008 by frumpunk

As a further sign I’m getting older, my sister is currently looking into seminaries for next year. (A different topic, but seriously, I remember dunking her in the laundry basket to make her giggle, and now she’s off to sem!?) The one she’s currently almost decided on happens to be the sister school to the Yeshiva I went to, so naturally I checked out the brochures she had to see how they differ.

Now guys are naturally a bit rougher so I was expecting their creature comforts to be a bit more flowered up, but seriously, this place sounds like a hotel: ” The apartments are pleasant and cozy, heated and air-conditioned” Air-conditioned!? I used to freeze a two liter bottle of Coke and put it under my pillow just to try and feel some semblance of cool. We had a fan that we hung from the ceiling using duct-tape. And they get bloody air-conditioning!?

“With American-style mattresses, living room suites, and full kitchen facilities (stove top, microwave, toaster oven, sandwich maker and hot water urn).” We had three American mattresses in yeshiva, and they were well fought over, with seniority or coolness usually managing to clinch them. You know what the rest of us had? Foam. Foam covered in some Israeli sandpaper sheets. If you were really lucky, you might get a second foam to make it a bit more comfortable. Living room suites? The closest we got to a living room suite was throwing some pillows on someones bed, ten guys squeezing on it so we could all watch a downloaded movie on someones laptop. Kitchen facilities? Maybe if you bought them yourself. Even then you might not be allowed to keep them (fire hazard).

“Well balanced nutritious meals are provided; vegetarian and other special needs can be met by prior arrangement”. We had nutritious meals too. Chicken-based substances are nutritious, right? Basically, we had whatever came out of a big bag, or the cook could easily make. Forget nutritious, it was of questionable edibility. And I can’t imagine the response to requesting special needs meals. Actually, I can. Laughter?

I could go on about creature comforts, but that would take all day, and I’m anxious to move on. Recreation. They have a choice of extra-curricular activities, including Art, Choir, Kickboxing, Aerobics, Pilates, Karate, Dancing, Choir (yes, they listed it twice), Challah Baking, Scrap-booking, Cake Decorating, Sewing, Jewelry making, and Basketball at an indoor gym. I can’t complain, we had activities too, like basketball a couple of times a week. And learning, you could always have extra-curricular learning. Basically, I’m jealous. How awesome would it have been to be able to do kickboxing in Yeshiva? This is why guys go to town at night, there’s nothing to do in Yeshiva to keep them there. And it annoys me how guys are all assumed to be sports and fitness obsessed. When we had reps scouting us in 12th grade we asked what amenities the Yeshivas offered, and almost all of them had nothing to offer but gym and a basketball court. I’m not exactly pushing for Yeshivas to offer challah making, but they could make an effort to take care of the guys as much as they do the girls.

I’ve also got the brochures accompaniment here, a course catalog. I’d like to review it but I can’t, its just too thick. They may not learn Gemorah, but to their benefit, as they get a course on almost everything else, in almost every area of interest. From hashgafa to history, from halachos in every practical area to more esoteric stuff. This is why girls tend to know more practical stuff than guys. They get the straight scoop. While Yeshvos are obsessed with plowing through mesechtos, one size fits all, the sems are offering the girls a choice of interests and they get to hear what to do while guys are pretty much trying to learn aramaic.

All I can say is, I’m going drag and enrolling in sem. Seems like a better post-high school experience.

Blog Reviews

Posted in blogs, Funny? on October 27, 2008 by frumpunk

I’ve written some reviews of some of the blogs I read often. For the sake of fairness, I’ve limited it to people who I’ve met in real life, so you can be sure I have a good sense of the person behind the words. While writing this, I realized I would probably make a good restaurant critic or something.

Child Ish: Behold! A bastion of brilliance! Brutality bricked by brains, Child Ish channels chinuch checked with cheek. His words are an elixir for the soul and antiperspirant for the mind.

One Frum Skeptic: Sceptically speaking, OFS offers up otherworldly opinions on others. Ranting rapaciously, revealing wrongs and unravelling the rights resting within.

Jacob Da Jew: Jacob jests jovially, just because. Injustice demands Da Jew, dangerously deviant and definite with dialect. Fearlessly fantastic and freely ferocious. He’s never better than when he goes videoing with Frum Satire.

The Babysitter: Adorably awesome and always alert, Babysitter builds upon bounties of brilliance. Channeling child care with life lessons, she seldom sees anything but the best in any situation.

Insanity Now, Serenity Later: The Russian bear of the blogworld, Moshe meshes mind-melting maths with maybe the highest order of rants. He’s a martial arts master, a chief chef and a great gajin. Unpredictable, but he’ll never disappoint.

Modern Uberdox: Modern? Maybe. But a mighty mind melding modernity with mesechta. Wit winged with wisdom when walled with The Way.

Gemora Sex Stories

Posted in Funny?, Heimish, Weddings on October 23, 2008 by frumpunk

Hesh has a hilarious post up about the euphemisms used in Yeshiva when sexual topics came up in the gemorah. One story that that just reminded me of; I don’t remember the mesechta, I wish I did. Basically, the gemorah asks a questions about a certain Rav (I think it was Rav Papa) concerning with how exactly he was able to have sexual relations with his wife when he was so fat. Apparently he was so fat that they reasoned his stomach would be getting in the way of his “ervah” (as our teachers called it). After a protracted discussion, the gemorah reaches the conclusion that as you get fatter, your “ervah” grows ever longer so you can always, y’know.

(I didn’t learn that in shiur btw, I knew this guy who was very good at learning, and also got a kick out of finding sexy stories in the gemorah. Very immature, and only slightly wrong. I mean, he was learning, right?)

Socialism Is The Answer

Posted in Politics, Rants on October 23, 2008 by frumpunk

Look, before I write this, let me just say; I really hate writing about politics. Its not fun to write about and few things are less interesting to me as a reader than reading about someones personal opinions on politics. I’m going to write better posts soon, maybe even some comedy again, if I can just find my elbow. But in the meantime I want to rant, and I have a forum in which to do so.

Uninformed people regurgitating useless opinions, spelled badly. They annoy me, and I probably don’t do myself any favors when I check out political news from Jewish websites. (You know the ones.) I’m reading the comments on a post, and this was a new one, as they were discussing Obamas economic plans back and forth. One thing that stood out in particular was the amount of bile being spewed over the apparent socialistic tendencies of Obamas idead. Socialism! The devil, apparently, stealing your money to give it to people who don’t deserve it! Lazy, good-for-nothings! Now the interesting thing there, is the audience spewing this bile. The yeshivish crowd, with its kollel lifestyle is entire socialistic. From the obvious of food stamps and Medicare to the less easily calculated parent support, they only survive due to socialism. Especially from the government, that’s what gets me. All these Jews who ardently vote Republican, how many of them make enough to not be hurt by Republican economic policies? Socialism can only help those of you at the lower spheres of the economic classes.

Secondly, and less popular, socialism is awesome. Trust me, I’ve lived between America and the UK most of my life, I have lots of experience with both. You know whats awesome? Having no money and being able to see a doctor. Having no money and being able to get a prescription. Having no money and being able to get glasses or contacts. Having no money and getting a well subsidized education. (Yes, even religious schools. We don’t get that whole “tuition crises” over here.) Do we pay for it? Hells yeah. 17.5% sales tax. Does it hurt? No, because I make more money per hour. The whole thing evens out.

Fact is, socialism says one simple thing: that we as a country are willing to pay to make sure everyone else has the basics when it comes to healthcare and the ability to get an education without money or scrambling for scholarships. That whole idea is anathema to Americans, its every man for himself there. The very thought of paying to help strangers seems to be bile in the American gullet.

And that’s very sad.

(Before commenting: were you planning on posting some handpicked study that apparently shows that everyone in a social healthcare system is dying in the waiting rooms trying to see a doctor or get a transplant? Save it, those are long debunked. They handpick cases where something went wrong and try to make it an example of the whole system. More people die in America even with health insurance, being denied their procedures.)

Real Eel Veal

Posted in Funny?, Me on October 19, 2008 by frumpunk

I was putting some sliced meat left over from Yom Tov on my plate when my sister comes over to see what I’m doing. For context, she went to an aquarium today with some friends. She asks what I’m having and I say its veal. She goes “ugh, you’re eating those slimy electric things that swim in the ocean!?”.

I then explained to her what veal is, and how its different than an eel.

She’s fifteen. Should I be worried?

They All Suck

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

Dammit people. This was supposed to be the great election that would fix America. The early campaigning was so promising as well. Then it all went to hell. My man Huckabee is beaten by McCain, Obama won the Democratic primary, but then that was expected. McCain seemed to be alright back in the day, but once he started running for president I started to dislike him more and more. Now its not the mudslinging and stupid accusations that annoy me. The annoyance is that after eight years of ‘W’ its come down between “Inexperienced senator with great oratory skills, with his sidekick, old guy with experience who will do nothing” and “Probably more Bush policies with his sidekick, female moose killer”.

Seriously, the Palin choice pissed me off to no end. McCain had a chance to show himself as a real candidate who was about the issues, and for his VP he picks someone purely to lure the disgruntled Hillary supporters. Great, another VP with a record of lying (the bridge to nowhere thing) and to top it off, all I’ve seen her do is whip crowds into a frenzy with no real substance. Isnt that what Obama was already doing for the previous year or so?

I don’t like Republican policies. But I don’t have anything to like about Obama/Biden either. I’m abstaining this one. As for why I liked Huckabee; politics aside, he seemed to be the only candinate who was a real person, not a set of talking points and quotes.

All that aside, the Jewish press really doesn’t like Obama. In the issue two weeks ago, Mishpacha published a large photo of Obama squinting into the sun, making him look really odd, and I’ve received the same letter from two separate Jewish organizations warning how bad Obama will be for Israel. I’ve already stated my opinion on Israel and American politics earlier.

Also, everytime I read the comments on a  VIN article on politics, I lose a little more faith in humanities right to free speech and democracy. http://www.vosizneias.com/21509/2008/10/19/chicago-il-i-respect-mccain-but-i-am-endorsing-obama-he-is-better-for-the-economy/

Posts From 3AM

Posted in Funny?, Me, Politics on October 18, 2008 by frumpunk

So I haven’t posted in a while. I blame it on a combination of being semi-homeless (I’ve been living out of two suitcases since August) and having no internet where I’m staying. Working thirteen hour days until Succos didn’t help either. But I’m back, to quote Yeedle: “Y’all know me, still the same OG, just been low key.”

Here’s some posts that weren’t ever really posts, but rather stupid little thoughts/scribbles. Real posts coming soon.

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When I’m in America, if a girl hits on me I cant help but feel insecure that it might just be the accent. Being back here removes that doubt, though it seems to happen less which probably proves that theory. On the other hand I’ve been hit on by gay men here but not there.

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Flashbacks of a Fool might be the best movie I’ve ever seen. And its also the first movie I’ve ever seen that is English but doesn’t pander to its Englishness or twist it for comedic benefit. The whole thing could have worked with replacing a seaside town in England with a farming village in Louisiana, but what’s so great about it is that it works despite being English, not purely because of it the way most English films do.

Plus the soundtrack is awesome. “Shake your head girl with your ponytail, takes me right back”.

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If east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet, where’s the twain?

(On twack twee.)

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What annoys me about Judaism is that there doesn’t seem to be an objective wrong and right. I wait three hours after meat. So that apparently means that someone who waits six and eats a cheese sandwich after five is doing an averiah, while its all right for me? Also, do chassidim believe on some level that everyone who has normal haircuts and doesn’t have the shaved head and peyos will be punished for it? Same goes for shaving. And why do they shave the heads? I understand the peyos, but is the shaved head simply to save money on haircuts, or is an actual part of their systems of belief?

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Jewish Institutions That Will Never Exist:

Toronto Institute of Torah Study

South Hebrew Institute of Torah

Central Louisiana Institute of Torah

Brooklyn Office Of Brocha Sellers

(I could go on, but thats bad enough)

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Why is it that incredibly fat women seem to be on a mission to wear incredibly tight cartoony shirts, usually featuring Tweety Bird? This might be a purely Wal-Mart phenomenon, but I’m sure I’ve seen it other places, if less often. Maybe Tweety Bird is a mascot for fat people? After all, little Tweety isnt in the best shape either. Her body is basically round as well.

I made a graph to prove the empirical truth of this data:

Fig 1. (Click for large)

Fig 1. (Click for large)