Monday, February 28, 2005

MNFBBQ Debacle

Tonight I was the host of MNFBBQ.

Tonight, I dropped the ball.

To say that the MNFBBQ is the highlight of the month is an understatement. For five years, every fourth monday night (adjusted for the three weeks, and the start of football season) we get together at one of our homes, to eat BBQ and celebrate life. When football season ends, we switch to movies, preferring American Pie types to West Side Story.

Normally, my BBQs can be counted on for their consistency in movie gretaness, and most importantly, the highest rated food in the group.

Tonight, though, it was all bad. I could blame the snow, which was falling, but that would be an oversimplification of the disaster.

Unlike most members of the group, I make my own hamburger patties, rather than buy the flat ones that shrink down to the size of an adult meatball. That usually means nice juicy burgers. Tonight, though, i put too much ketchup and eggs into the ground beef, and that made the whole thing too loose, which led to them being crumbly on the grill, which forced me to overcook them so they wouldn't be crumbly, which made them taste burnt.

Then there was the fries, which I left in the oven for well over an hour, and when I finally remembered them, they looked like they had been raised in Africa. The corn dogs that I made from scratch came out OK, and the baked beans striaght from the can came out fine, but overall the BBQ was not very good.

I loved the movie Zoolander, but the group did not. They felt the gay vibe was too strong. I thought it was hilarious. They were bored.

So I came up empty. But I'll be back. My next chance to host is just 24 weeks away.

Hockey Preseason

Our season was pushed back another week, and our first game is now scheduled for March 9th. We were ready to play, but the truth is we can definitely use the extra week of practice to get ready for game conditions.

Last week, at practice, we had a second goalie who was going to come so we could play a full game. He bailed at the last minute, so instead we had one live goalie at one end and two chairs, some hockey pads, a goalie stick and an ornage cone protecting the other net.

We moved the puck well, and I sensed that the team is starting to get a feel for playing with a puck instead of a ball. There were crisp passes, hard shots, and the feeling of a team beginning to gel.

Off the rink, we have problems, but first the good news. Our jerseys look awesome. Our sponsor, Jerusalem Pizza, is happy with the design, and the pizza shop is talking about doing some kind of hockey team promotion at the store, perhaps featuring different team members each week, and giving away hockey cards of all of us.

Their was one guy we wanted on the team. His father died a few months ago, and he went home to help in the final weeks of his father's life. i am not really friends with this guy, other than hockey, but from what i understaood they did not have much of a relationship while he was still alive.

Anyway, we tried to contact him while the team was being formed, to see i he was coming back to Detroit, and if he would be available to play. He has mad skills, both in front of the opposing teams net, and a never stop moving attitude that is sure to save goals on the defensive end of the floor.

He did come back to Detroit, and we offered him a roster spot, but he wasn't sertain about his plans, and couldn't commit, so we finalized the roster without him.

Now, as you can see coming from about three paragraphs ago, he wants to play. I haven't heard from him, but four people have told me that he wants to join the team.

He would make it ten people on the team, which would complicate line changes considerably, since we would have an odd number of "out" players. Then again, what is the likelihood of having the full team show up after the first two games.

We only ordered the exact number of jerseys we needed, so we will have to order his jersey separate, which will cost him an extra $20 set up fee, plus about $25 for the jersey, since we went through all our pizza sponsorship money. In addition, the
league will charge him an extra few bucks for registering late, making his total about $160, when all the rest of us only paid $115. But that is his problem, and his choice if he wants to do it.

My problem is each extra person added means 2 1/2 minutes less average playing time, which is an issue for some people, and the complicated line changes that would develop. I don't want to spend the game worrying about playing time for everyone. I want to spend the time thinking about defense and putting the puck in the net.

The bottom line is, he makes our team better, and gives us a chance to compete with the top teams in the league. This is about fun, but it is also about competing, and there is nothing I would like more than to see the name Jerusalem Pizza with our picture on the wall of fame at Joe Dumars Fieldhouse.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Kiddush Club

If you believe in the right for Kiddush Clubs to exist, visit this site.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Time for some bitching

I hated the new look blog. Hated it so much that I couldn't post while I still had it up. So now we're back to the same boring template, and that's just fine with me. I did lose my counter, and I will never figure out how to get it back, so for now I will just have to hope people visit my blog without me seeing the stats.

Stats are what it is all about, of course. Just ask Jose Canseco. He took the juice, hit the home runs, and now is running out like a baby trying to sell his book. Its pathetic. Too bad he couldn't go quietly like Lyle Alzado. Not that Alzedo went all that quietly. I still remember his picture on the cover of Sports Illustrated talking about his drug use.

Of course, the one sport you don't have to worry about drug use is Hockey. No steroids there. Or goals. Or assists. Or a brilliant save on a two on one breakaway with 49 seconds to go.

I did have a good time went the Wife and Kids went. Not that I did anything fun. It was just nice not to be responsible for anything or anyone other than myself.

Check that. I was supposed to bring the Wife's clothes to the dry cleaner. And bring her oversue books back to the library. Chalk those up to things neglected.

I have also been neglecting my application to Wayne State's business program. I don't know if grad school is really the right place for me right now. It seems like it is just another way to put things on hold for a few years.

One of my clients finally took his project off hold, and the result is a stunning brochure that will be going out with a credit card-type piece. The brochure looks amazing. The Credit Card is still with the printer. If only my client had brought his deposit check on time, the credit card would be done too, I would have my money, and I wouldn't have to think about him until next year.

Unless he needed some other project that should take three weeks to complete that he wants to drag out for four months. Then he could call me back next week and we would get it done.

That's not all that's done. I am too.

Then again, no I'm not. I always hated when people say they are done, and keep on writing. Why not just erase the line that says I'm done, and continue from there.

Truth is, I could, but I had a good transition line from the previous paragraph, so I'm gonna keep it the way it is.

The weather couldn't stay the way it was. A great snow storm blew through her on Sunday, right on time for my great-Uncle Bernard's funeral. I don't usually speak ill of the dead, although I do make fun of them, but this guy was something. I haven't seen him in about 20 years. He, his wife and both his kids moved from here to warmer climates. They all lived in Florida. So why did he want to be shipped back to Michigan for his funeral. It would have freed up my Sunday if he had just been buried down there.

I do have to say that the graveside service, performed in blizzard conditions, was extremely picturesque. i wanted to bring a camera and start taking some pictures, but I did not want to be remembered as the shmuck who started taking pictures at his late great uncles funeral.

So the pictures live on in my head, and so does this post.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Its on

Tonight was the big night. With money and registration forms in hand, I made the trek out to joe Dumars Fieldhouse, and registered the Jerusalem Pizza hockey club. Good thing we got a sponsor, so that we didn't have to add any more cost to the league. Jerusalem Pizza sponsored our jerseys, which are gold colored, with a blue and white logo on the front, and blue and white numbers on the back.

I managed to get there without killing any more armadillos, which is definitely a good thing.

Wife and kids are still away, but the cleaning lady broke her wrist and she will not be coming tomorrow to clean up after me. Good thing I have until Sunday to straighten things out.

But without any further ado, I must leave you all and go upstairs to eat chicken and french fries.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Reader Decides

Ok, I'm a bit bored. I wrote the blog about the chicken and the underwear, and then I rewrote the blog in (what I think was) a funnier fashion.

But what kind of posts do you guys like. Read them both, comment, and let me know which one you prefer.

Eating Chicken in My Underwear

The wife and kids are gone, which means it's back to the good life. Sitting around the house in my underwear, eating chicken from shabbos, and drinking orange juice straight from the carton.

It also meant driving around looking for hookers. Hookers do not hang out in Oak Park though. The only thing I found was an opossum, which met its maker underneath my car.

Final score from my drive: Dead Opossums 1 - Hookers 0

I used to be more fun though. Back in the good old days, going out to bars with my single friends now that I had a free night. Those days are long gone. My single friends are married, and who the hell wants to go sit in a bar and drink $4 beer when I can sit at home watch TV, and file papers that have been sitting in a drawer since I moved in here 3 years ago. Oh, and I can't forget the joy of cleaning that nasty Chulent pot.

My nights are full of excitement. The Kollel twice, hockey once, and the all important comittee meeting. Which reminds me, i have another comittee meeting on Wednesday night before hockey. Oh, the exciting life I lead.

Eating Chicken in my Underwear

My wife and kids are in New Jersey, which means I have a vacation as well.

In years past, when they would leave me alone, i would run out to bars and hang out with friends. This time, I haven't been in the mood. I did finally file the big bucket of papers that has been filling up since we moved into this house in 2002. It took two days to finish, but I am glad that is finally done.

I was left with some projects that need to be done before everyone gets back. The toughest was probably washing the Chulent pot. It was exceptionally difficult to clean, and I had to recook the chulent that stuck to the side so it would come off, but that job is now done.

Next was the dairy dishes, and that too, is done.

Last night, after finishing up some household chores, I took out some leftover chicken, sat on my couch in my underweaar, watched TV and had a little feast. This morning, when i told a friend that the family was gone, he asked if I was sitting at home watching TV and eating chicken in my underwear. I guess that is the universal goal of all of us who no longer run out barhopping when the family is gone.

I killed an opossum last night. I was driving, and the damn thing walked into the street as I was heading for the exact spot.

Thump, and that was all she wrote for that little guy. I wonder if he is sitting in some kind of Opossum heaven, plotting revenge on my family with the opossum that my wife killed on I-80 a few years back.

Anyway, for this exciting week, here was the "fun."

Sunday Night -Sunday Night Shiur at the Kollel
Monday Night- School Dinner Committee meeting
Tuesday Night - Chavrusa at the Kollel
Wednesday night - Hockey practice and scouting
Thursday Night - Still open for suggestions. And don't say strip clubs. I made a promise years ago to my wife that i would not visit that type of establishment again. Interestingly, hookers are still OK, but who can find a hooker in suburbia anyway.
Friday night - Still open, but I will probably invite myself to a neighbor
Saturday Night - Still open.

My State tax refund check came today, so maybe Saturday night will be Casino night downtown.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

My Two Cents

OK. I finally read up on this Slifkin thing. Read through his website, read through the article from the Yated where he was banned. Read through some blogs. If I knew how to link, or was that interested in linking things, then I would try a different browser, but I am not all that interested in changing my browser just to make things easier for anyone else. Call me selfish. Or whatever.

Anyway, I read through a lot of posts, web sites, comments and articles about this Slifkin thing, and my opinion on "Da'as Torah" didn't change. Nor did my opinion of Gedalei Yisrael, Rabbi Slifkin or my belief that the Tigers have an outside chance at staying within ten games of winning the AL Central.

To me, modern day yeshiva rabbis (where the Gedolei Yisroel come from) are pretty much living with their ehads in the sand. They preach against higher education, reaching out to others, and living a non-yeshivish torah life. To be honest, I have no patience for them.

I learned many things in Yeshiva, but these two things have stuck with me.

1) Daf Yomi is a worthless exercise. It is something only small-minded Baal Habatim do who can't learn a real Seder. This opinion, which was constantly reinforced by Rabbis in the many yeshivas I went to, has stuck with me, and even though I don't have the time and never really had the patience to sit through a seder going through Gemara with all the commentaries, I can't see myself ever wasting my time with the Daf.

2) Its better not to Daven with a minyan than to Daven without a hat or jacket on. This message, too, was reinforced in many of the Yeshivas I learned in, and since the hat was one of the first things I got rid of after finishing high school, you can guess how often i have attended daily minyan since.

During my two years at Ner Israel in Toronto, the Rosh yeshiva came into the gym exactly one time. It was after night seder, and we were playing hockey against another Toronto boy's high school. The Rosh Yeshiva, together with his entourage that included the Menahel and the Mashgiach, sent the boys from the other school home, banned them from coming back to Ner Israel, and ried to drive a wedge between those of us at Ner and those who didn't go to Ner.

I don't know if Rabbi Ginsburg was a Torah gadol, but after he died, Some of the Frummie magazines did write ups on this "Giant." A Giant, of course, who was so insecure in his teachings that he was afraid that playing hockey with other frum yeshiva boys (OK, they weren't that frum. Their school didn't put them through a rigorous 14 hour schedule and threaten to kick them out of school for the mere thought of talking to a girl) would send us all flying off the derech.

Of course, that isn't all. You don't go through the Yeshiva education system with only one story of absurd rabbinical acts. It probably isn't even the most absurd thing a Rabbi did in my presence. And the late Rabbi Ginsburg isn't close to the top of my list of most hated rabbonim.

But it is an example as to why I don't bother with the opinion of the average "Torah Giant." They don't think about consequences, and very often, they don't bother getting the facts.

So does the Slifkin ban, the shaitel-follies, the Reinman debate, and the making of a Rabbi scandal change my opinion of our elite?

Absolutely not. It only serves to reinforce long-held positions about people those living in Yeshiva Fantasy Land.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A few more things...

I'm a bright guy, but some things are a little too complex for me. Like linking someone to another blog. So here is a plug for my buddy Just Passing Through's blog. It is Don't go there very often though. He writes in spurts. You may find two or three posts within a day of each other, and then wait three weeks before he posts again.

Since I wrote about the Kotel a few posts ago, I have found myself unwilling to look at porn online. Its not like I was a porn junkie before hand, but since then, I have felt it was more wrong to surf on the web's steamier side. Now I am held hostage by Cinemax for my porn fixes.

If you're one of my siblings (or parents, you never know who's reading this thing), well, now you learned something you might not have known about me.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Things are happening

The hockey team is almost set. Actually, we were set, with a full nine man roster, until two hours before our first practice. That's when I got the call from one of our players that he had just got out of the operating room, and his appendix had burst two days earlier. So we are back down to eight. If only we had gotten his check and his name into the league office before he went down.

In other news, went to a job fair this morning. It sucked, so I went to my old college and got an application for grad school. Maybe its time to go get an MBA.

I got a proof back from my printer this morning on a ojb that i dropped off a few days ago. The proof looks fabulous, and I think my client is going to be very happy with the final product.

I also burnt my second DVD from my trip to Israel last month. Then I deleted all the files off my computer, and I have my hard drive back for now.

I have given this Rav Soruskin (or whatever his name is) some thought, and here is my conclusion. i don't really care. Its not like I trusted anyone with a Rabbi title before now anyway.

Passing thru, I have given this some thought as well, and I say go down, young man, go down, and then take the full three day ski vacation.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Booby Booby Booby Boo...Uh I Meant breasts

My eight year old is brilliant. Maybe that's going a bit too far. The point is, he knows things. He reaads a lot of books, knows how to use big words, and does well in school. But did you know that he can look you straight in the eye, and every single word that comes out of his mouth is pure bullshit.

Today in carpool, he went through one story after another. My wife, driving carpool, was blown away by his unflinching straight-voiced tales. His friend believed every single word.

Personally, I take pride in that kind of skill. It just goes to show you that children learn from their parents, especially the skills parents never intend to give to their children.

We did talk about the difference between making up BS stories and lying. Lying, in case you were wondering, is when you say you didn't have the cookie when you had it. What he's doing is just telling stories. Its a fine line, but like I said, he's really smart, and he should be able to make a distinction between the two.

Later that evening, we talked about his impending shower. For a bright kid, sometimes he needs to be reminded that a shower is more than just fifteen minutes playing with yourself in the water. We talked about all the body parts he would have to wash. Everything was going fine. Then I said nipples. Then he pointed to his nipples, and said something about washing his boobs (or did he say booby, not that it matters). I wanted to laugh, but instead I told him that those weren't boobs, they were just nipples, and only girls have boobs.

Then i walk into my room, where my wife has been sick in bed for the past few days, and I burst out laughing. I tell her what the boy said, and she immediately calls him into our room.

"Where did you learn that word?" she asks him. "From daddy" he says. Busted again.

She explained to him that they were called breasts, not boobys.

Just as a side point, this afternoon he was playing hockey on the street with some of the kids in the neighborhood. The kids who go to the "frum" school. Yeshiva Beth Yehudah. When I went outside to get something from my car, guess which kids were yelling shit everytime they lost the puck. Here's a hint. It wasn't the Yeshivat Akiva kids.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Its raining in Jerusalem

I sit on my computer, in my freezing cold basement, getting ready to jump on the treadmill. But there is a delay. My computer is working hard trying to create a PDF, and I can't run a DVD while the PDF is getting generated. instead, i turn on my wife's computer, and go to I click on the full screen button, and before my eyes is live streaming video from the Kotel.

This isn't snapshots every four seconds. This is a live video feed from the heart of Jerusalem. It is almost sunrise there, and I can see the Chassidic men walking quickly toward the tunnel so they can Daven. One man, in a talis, is standing outside, in front of the wall.

An incredible scene is playing in front of me. 6000 miles away it is raining, and I am watching the rain fall, the blue and white Israeli flag waving meekly in the rain.

There is no gold-colored dome taking up the view. This is the Kotel. I want to touch the screen, feel the rocks beneath my fingers. Feel a closeness to God that you can't get anywhere else, least of all in Detroit, Michigan.

The people are walking faster now, in larger groups. Behind the kotel, some trees are becoming visible, as God is about to let his sun shine down on his home town.

I can see the plastic of the Tallis bags reflecting off the lights, and a lone woman is walking around on the Ezrat nashim side of the Kotel.

A dawn is breaking across the world. I sit here, mesmerized by what I am seeing, in awe of the technology that allows me to see it.

I want to be there right now. Away from the snow and ice that helps shape our lives in Detroit. When I touch the wall, I do not want to feel the LED monitor. I want to feel the cold warmth of those stones. See the pieces of paper left behind by thousands of other Jews.

But it is not to be. Not tonight.

So I'll take what I can get. Play the role of the voyeur. It's interesting. When you watch people's body language, you can tell so much about their kotel experience. This morning, most walk toward the Kotel as if they have been doing it their entire lives. Later in the day, though, there will be someone who is standing alone, just trying to take the entire experience in. Looking at the wall for the first time, feeling a connection to his Jewish heritage.

Groups of teens and tour groups and a million other people will walk across my screen. They don't know that they are reminding those of us who can't be there how special the Kotel is in our lives.