Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Drive A Thon History

About three years ago my friend, Gil, and I wanted to go to Chicago for lunch. We craved Burger Buddies from Ken's Diner, in our opinion, the greatest Kosher Hamburgers on the planet. If you have never eaten a Burger Buddy, you OWE it to yourself to make the pilgrimmage to Chicago. If you are firendly and tell them that I sent you, it is even likely that you will get to meet Ken himself.

It is about a 4 1/2 drive to Chicago from Detroit, which means if we drove there and back, and spent an hour eating lunch, it would take about ten hours, too long to pretend to be at work. We knew our wives would not go for it, so we needed a plan.

I should mention that Gil and I are the founding members of the MNFBBQ, an organization dedicated to football and BBQ.

We put our head together, and thought, what if this trip to Chicago was not just a way for two guys to skip work and go to Chicago, but a way to help Jews everywhere. What if we made this a Drive A Thon, and raised money to help people who were victims of terror. There is no way for a wife to say NO to that.

We started talking up the Drive A Thon to anyone who would listen. Most people laughed at us, including Micha, one of our MNFBBQ members. We randomly picked the thrid Wednesday in June, created a flyer, hung up some signs, and made plans to go. The rabbi heard about the plan, and was so impressed that he made us the focal point of his speech, criticizing those who made fun of our rediculous plan and talked about how great it was that people could take something they love, such as Burger Buddys, and turn it into a mitzvah.

Suddenly, no one was laughing to our faces, and checks starting to come in. A few people told us we needed to get Romanian meat in on the Drive A Thon, and our matching order program raised a large percentage of our profits. By the time we went on our Drive A Thon that June, we had raised about $2500 for One Israel Fund. We created a newsletter, some of which can still be found online at One Israel Fund's site.

The next year, we changed the date from the third Wednesday in June to the Second Wednesday in June, for two reasons. our kids are still in school on the second Wednesday in June, and off the third Wednesday. Even though loogic would dictate we would want to be far away when kids are away from school, our wives dictated that we would not be running off to Chicago for lunch while they were at home with the kids, no matter how good the cause was. That, and it is possible for the third Wednesday in June to fall out on my anniversary.

So we changed it to the second.

Drive A Thon was done in my Saturn. We had bigger plans for Drive A Thon II.

We got a sponsor to donate an RV, and we found someone who could volunteer to drive us the whole way. Then we got an amateur videogra[her to film a documentary on the Drive A Thon. The RV went great, we had hundreds of pounds of meat, including about 150 lbs of salami. Drive A Thon II raised about $3000 for One Israel Fund.

Which brings us to Drive A Thon III. We have sponsors for the RV, for the gas, a driver, and we are ready to roll next Wednesday. We have a man on the ground, Micha, who we have forbidden from coming on the Drive A Thon because of his skepticism. He sends out email updates throughout the day letting our sponsors know what is going on with the Drive A Thon crew, and how we are doing.

English Teachers

There is not a teacher who is disrespected more than a secular studies teacher in a yeshiva environment. Rabbeim will tell students to respect their secular studies teachers while at the same time tell students that the afternoon classes are a waste of time and merely a government requirement.

The schools don't usually go for the top-end teachers either, preferring to allocate their dollars on lesser quality teachers. This blend of low quality teachers and an imbued sense of looking down on the materials from the genral student body led to many interesting developments.

One classic teacher was Mr Hayes. His effeminate nature didn't sit well with most of us. But it was speech impediment, or perhaps accent, that caused him the most problems.

Trying to maintain order, he would say Let's be in our seats now. Except it came across as Lez Be In our seats now, a phrase that could never cause order but get the class to sit down from lauging so hard (You think it sounds adolescent? of course that was adolescent. What do you think we were?). He had the peculiar habit of calling everyone Master, which caused all sorts of problems when a Zev Bader entered his class.

My Hayes had replaced Mr Bostwick, a nice enough teacher who once decided not to come in to school one day because his car spun out and was pointed in the direction of home.

There was Mr Norde, a fiery black math teacher who enjoyed preaching that Geometry was life and once walked into the classroom to find Why is Mr Norde so tall? Hint: Because his Knee Grows written on the board. The student who wrote that was given a slap on the wrist punishment, because he was one of the top bochurim in the shuir. This was the same student who went running to Rosh Yeshiva when he came across the word breast in a Shakepeare play we were reading, and got the school to ban the play.

There was Mr Henderson, who could not say my name at all, and called me Air all semester long (A name that somehow stuck, perhaps making him the most influential teacher in my life). He once bragged to the class that he had built a boat, and then had to take it apart because he could not get it out of his basement.

Lessons Learned

Yesterday we decided to take the kids to the lake for some boating. We called some friends, made some plans, and found ourselves at the boat rental area by about 3 PM.

My oldest begged us to let him go alone in a Kayak. My middlest begged us to take a paddle boat. My littlest was wearing her life jacket and not screaming. We took that as a good sign.

So we sent out my oldest in a kayak, and got a canoe instead of a paddle boat. Paddle boats suck. You have to work really hard and don't go anywhere.

We got to the dock, sent my oldest out in the kayak, and he, along with our friend's daughter each went out to the lake in their kayaks.

Then we went to the Canoe. My middlest did not want to go in the canoe, and my littlest was having her own doubts.

I told them it was no big deal, and canoes were fun. I went into the canoe, to show them how easy it was. And while I was moving around in the canoe, trying to convince them to come in because it was safe, the boat almost flipped over, and I was tossed in the water.

My son screamed. My daughter screamed. My wife almost fell on the floor laughing her ass off.

I tried to pull myself onto the dock, but kept falling in, so a 120 pound woman who worked there tried to pull me out. I felt really bad as I almost pulled her in, but she managed to stay out of the water. I tried to lift myself out again, the whole time thinking horror thoughts about the leaches in Stand By Me.

Finally, I took off my life jacket and was able to pull myself out.

And of course we ended up in a paddle boat.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Drive A Thon 3

As many of you know, we are getting ready for Drive A Thon 3. In the past we have raised money to help terror victims, and over the two previous Drive A Thons we raised almost $6000.

As the terrorism wanes, we have shifted our focus to helping the hungry, many of whom have seen economic opportunities dry up in the wake of the terror war of the past five years. The proceeds from the event will be going to Hazon Yeshaya, the largest food assistance program in Israel. (For more information on Hazon Yeshaya, you can go to www.hazonyeshaya.org

The Drive A Thon is in Wednesday, June 8, just in time for Shavuos. We will be going to Romanian and Ken's Diner in Chicago.

For those of you who have never participated in the Drive A Thon, here is how it works.

The MNFBBQ drive from Detroit to Chicago and back in one day. Through our efforts, we raise money through mile sponsors and matching orders to Romanian, which are explained below. Orders are available for pick up on Wednesday evening at the Young Israel of Oak Park.

There are two ways to participate.

A) Sponsor us per mile that we drive to Chicago. For every 5 cents that you sponsor us ($30 for the round trip), we will bring you one free Burger Buddy.

B) Use the Romanian order form, and order your favorite salami, hot dogs and pastrami from the legendary butcher shop. Everything you order needs to be matched by your Tzedakah contribution. For example, if you order $50 worth of food, we will need a $100 check, which covers both the food and the Tzedakah.

If you live outside the Detroit area and would like to sponsor miles, we will be happy to eat your Burger Buddy at Ken's Diner, and send you a picture of your delectable treat. If you would like to send us a check for this great cause, you can send me an email at mnfbbq@yahoo.com and I will give you our mailing information.

This is the last week you can get your order in for the Drive A Thon. We need to have our orders in by Sunday night, June 5.

Thank you for your support of this great cause.

Friday, May 27, 2005

What could it be

My numbers are down today. Big time.

Almost 30% fewer visitors than average. Could be the holiday weekend. Orthomom is also down about 30%. But Still Wonderin is up and Only Passing Through is on target.

Could be no one showed up when I announced I had to work today. But I think i know what's going on.

Today's posts just sucked.

Enjoy the holiday. Air Time will be back next week with Scary Bat Mitzvah Stories, The Night the Yeshiva Burnt Down, the Yonason gets the Boot, Mr Hays, Mr Norde and much much more.

Maybe even the famous Nachman hot dog incident.

Shattered Dreams

We are in Israel, walking around Bayit Vegan, near Beis. I am with Menachem, who left Mercaz, and Yonason, who was kicked out. There are others there as well, like Avi and possibly Dudi and probably Nachy.

It is Lag BaOmer, and we need to find wood for a BBQ. All around us, there are bonfires, but we have meat, and now we need a flame to cook that meat. Menachem has two steaks. There are hot dogs as well. Enough for everyone.

I am one of those chosen to find wood, while others are given the task of finding the right place for the BBQ. They find a sand box in a playground, and park themselves. We find wood piled near people's doors, and we swipe it. I think we are caught once, but we return the wood and get it from another house.

Finally we have enough wood, and the BBQ is on, when tragedy strikes. It is staggering to think about what was involved up to this point, but lets try. A cow and bull frolick in the meadow. Months later, a calf is born. This calf grows up, being cared for by ranchers who feed it and watch it and wait for it to get big enough to kill. The animal, which has lived in Nebraska its whole life, now finds itself in a crowded pen, but the worst is still to come.

The cow reaches the front of the line. She is ready. This is what she was born to do. She sticks her neck out, and seconds later, she is dead. She is processed, packaged, and put in a refrigerated truck, bound for Brooklyn. Tragic as it sounds, though, the worst is yet to come.

Menachem's father walks into a Brooklyn butcher, and picks up the piece of meat. He has a son learning in Jerusalem, a son who would be proud to do justice to the cow who gave its life up for food. A cow who dreamed sweet cow dreams of landing on a grill and being served alongside some potatoes or fries.

A cow who never thought she would be priveleged to be eaten in Jerusalem, but secretly harbored that wish.

Menachem's father goes on a plane, the meat in a carry-on bag, frozen. It gets to Israel, and sits in a freezer for a few weeks, while Menachem finds the perfect time to eat the steak.

The perfect time is now. It is Lag BaOmer, and there are fires all around us that are worthy of this cow, whose only dream other than being eatin in Jerusalem was to be cooked on a fire that was made for a mitzvah like Lag BaOmer.

The hot dogs are on sticks, the steak on a makeshift grate, when it happens. One of the steaks falls off the grate into the fire. The cows dreams have been shattered. She gave and gave and gave to be able to be killed and eaten and cooked in jerusalem, and now the dream is over.

Rescue efforts are attempted, but not successful. Menachem will eat one of the steaks, the other lies on the floor, adding fuel to the fire of that Lag BaOmer night.

Happy Lag BaOmer.

Patting Myself on the Back

I just figured out how to create a PDF with a mapquest link built into it that goes to a specific address. Thought you should know this work time isn't being completely wasted.


Seems they actually have work for me to do this morning. Be back later.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Classic Dinner

There seems to be no one eating dinner besides Mrs Air Time and Me. The boys are out. The daughter already ate.

Which means no conversation about school. Or recess. Or burping, farting, baseball card talk, fighting or any of the other wonders we get every night when we sit down for dinner.

Just two adults sitting and eating and watching TV, just like we did before kids.

Batlun Row

There are a number of seats lined up against the southern wall in the Yeshiva Gedolah beis medrash. At night seder, and during chavrusa time in the mornign, our class sits along this row. There are probably between eight and twelve of us, paired up in Chavrusas along the row. Most of the conversation along the row is not focused on the Gemara. It is a section we call Batlun Row.

It is along Batlun row where I learn to put a lighter in my hand, let the gas out, flick the lighter, and have a fire burning in my hand. There is no topic that is too taboo for discussion along the row. Rabbis, kollel members, older beis medrash guys, girls, sports and music are all fair topics for the row.

One day, while sitting in Batlin row, we find a bag of candy left over from an Auf Ruf. My chavrusa dares me to throw the bag and hit the bima during night seder. We are both amused as the rabbi leaning on the bima is stunned and looks around when the bag thumps loudly into the bima.

The rabbis try to break up our row, but after a few days, we always end up sitting back in the same place.

The Ziggy Story - What did G-d want?

In 1991, there was a long road that led up to Ner Israel. Today the road is gone, but imagine if you will for a moment a long straight road surrounded by trees on each side. At the end of this road is a stately-looking building, the main building of Ner Israel.

Now, imagine if you will, that it is Purim time, and the senior class (us I guess, although I don't think I was invovled) put a large wooden half-circle head with a nose hanging down on the roof, so that when you drive up Yeshiva Drive, it appears that Ziggy is peeking over the building at you. There are also large fingers that hang over the building, so it looks like he is holding onto the top of the building.

Keep that in mind for a minute, we'll get back there.

For some reason, I had a lunchtime Chavrusa, a Junior from Hamilton named Josh. Every day josh and I would sit at the same table, and learn Navi. We chose Divrei Hayomim, because we were told it was all names and should be easy for us to translate.

Purim has been over for a few weeks, and the powers that be in the yeshiva have urged my classmates to take the Ziggy down. As they are taking Ziggy down, he falls, and on his way down to the ground, he shatters a window in the Beis Medrash, spraying little pieces of colored glass all over the table where Josh and I learn at every day. At the exact time that Josh and I usually learning.

Except on this day, for some reason, we did not learn together. Others who were in the Beis Medrash at the time tell us of the lous crack of the glass and how we would have possibly been seriously injured had we been learning there that day. They declare it is a miracle that we weren't there.

The rabbis, of course, have a different take on this. Had we been sitting there and learning, they declare, the Ziggy would have never fallen in the first place. It was only because we skipped our seder that day that the Ziggy fell.

Obviously I don't know who was right. Was it the people who declared it was a miracle that we skipped learning that day, or the rabbis who said we could have prevented the whole thing by just showing up that day?

Free Advice

If you are a involved in an organization that asks different professionals to volunteer for your cause, you need to read this.

The rest of you can read it to.

As a graphic designer, I get requests from local orgainzations to help them out with posters, signs and booklets, whatever they need printed. I am usually happy to help out, and have gotten a few decent clients who saw work I did and needed something done.

But I was really irked this shabbos when someone from our shul sisterhood asked if I could help her with the sisterhood's newsletter.

I have done work with them in the past, and will forever refuse to do so again. After the Casino night I worked on for them, which included hundreds of dollars worth of work and laying out money to have things printed (which I was reimbursed for) I was not sent a thank you note, like the event volunteers were. I was also left off the shul listing of volunteers.

It wasn't intentional. It was an oversight. Even more ironic, I set up the mail merge for the thank you notes, I just never checked to see if I was on the list of people receiving the note.

And even though I do not need the recognition, I do need more than a warm thank you for that amount of work.

If you are running an organization or event, and you are asking professionals to volunteer their time and expertise, you need to treat us right.

At the very least, a thank you note. Inclusion in the newsletter or program, along with what we did, and perhaps our business name.

Otherwise, the next time you need great-looking print materials, you'll find yourself fighting with some desktop publishing piece-of-garbage software to try and get your materials to look good, and it will never look right.

Ten More Days

My kids have ten more days of school. Which means only ten more mornings of carpool. Assume my wife drives two of those mornings, which could happen, so I am down to only eight more driving days.

Which is really good, because I do not like the kids I have to pick up every morning.

This is our last carpool year at school. With three kids going to school next year, two in car seats, we are not going to carpool again.

The End of a Dream

After kicking off our best player, it shouldn't be any surprise as to our playoff fate. Jack Attack crushed us 9-2, knocking us out of the competitive bracket, and dropping us into the recreational bracket for the recreational championship.

Is winning the recreational bracket like kissing your sister? I don't know, because A) I can't really say that I have kissed my sister and B) because we lost in a heartbreaker last night.

We dug ourselves into a 4-1 hole, before fighting back to tie it at 4. I had the game-tying goal, a surprising development considering I only scored two other goals all season. They scored, we tied, and with three to play we were tied at five.

It seems we can't play a game without controversy, and this game was no exception. After not calling a single penalty all game, the ref blew his whistle and called tripping after their top player fell down. They scored on the power play, got another goal when we were pressing our guys up to get the game tying goal, and scored an empty netter to ice the game.

Our guys were pissed off about he call, bitched and bitched at the ref, with one guy calling him a pansy, anti semite and awful ref until the ref called the game with about 20 seconds left due to being verbally abused.

Can someone explain this to me.

Including the playoffs, we played 12 games. Two of those games were called prematurely by the refs because our guys were yelling at the ref. I would be surprised if any other team had a game called because of yelling at the ref.

It was the same ref in each instance, and we had an incident with the ref making a call against us that killed us in another game, which we gave him an earful but didn't have the game called.

Is there anyone who believes that screaming at the ref, calling him names and questioning his ability to ref a game is helpful to the team? Am I crazy for thinking that if we yell at the ref in one game, he is not going to give us the benefit of the doubt in the next game?

At least time it was nearly the incident as last week. This time it was contained to the side of the court.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


It's time to put all the events of last week behind, and get ready for the playoffs. We play 2 games tonight, first at 8, then at 10. I've had my pregame meal, and in the spirit of the playoffs, did not shave today.

We need to come out so strong, and get a quick goal or two. It is too hard to play in this league from behind. We've done that too often the past few weeks.

The format is interesting. We are the 7 seed in a field of 8. 1 plays 8 and 4 plays 5 at 7 PM. 2 plays 7 and 3 plays 6 at 8 PM. The four winning teams are then set to compete for the championship, and the four losers are bracketed off in the recreational championship series. At nine, the 1-8 winner plays the 4-5 winner, and the 1-8 loser plays the 4-5 loser. At ten, the 2-7 winner plays the 3-6 winner, and the losers of those games play each other.

By 11 PM, there should be four winners. Two in the championship game and two in the recreational league championship game.

I can't imagine what it will be like to play two games in one night. But I will tell you about it tomorrow.

Interesting Yeshiva Architecture

Being exposed to a number of different Yeshivas, I thought I would share with you some of the interesting architectural features of some different Yeshivas I attended, along with any history of the building that I may know.

Yeshiva Gedolah - Detroit, The building was originally a school. At some point the yeshiva moved in, before being kicked out, and then they moved back in again.

Interesting building feature. The Michetza between the men's and women's section is a solid wall with two windows cut in.

Even more interesting feature - At some point, a radio station moved into the building, and built a radio tower that goes hundreds of feet into the air on the school's property. The irony, of couse, is that Yeshiva students cannot listen to anything that is broadcast from their school building.

Ner Israel Toronto - School moved to the middle of nowhere when Toronto's outskirts reached the old school. Once again, the school finds itself surrounded by urban sprawl.

Interesting building feature - There is a Mikvah next to the gym. And after a shower, your hair will freeze on the walk to the school building from the dorm in the winter.

Another interesting building note - In 1990 the yeshiva banned the wearing of suede kippa, allowing students to wear black velvet kippas. That same year Allannah Myles came out with her song Black Velvet. That purim, hanging in the Beis Medrash, was a large oversized black velvet kippa which said Bat Mitzvah of Allanah Myles on the inside.

Mercaz HaTorah - Not very much of architectural interest there. However, one day some guys found/stole a female mannequin, brought her to the dorm and put her on the balcony, almost causing the Chief to fall over dead.

Skokie - The king of Architecture. The Beis Medrash has a dome roof. The dorm and classroom building are in the shape of an H. When they built the building originally, they wanted to spell out the letters HTC (Hebrew Theological College) with the buildings . I believe the Beis Medrash is in the shape of a C.

Most interesting feature - There is a tunnel that connects the Beis Medrash to the dormitory, making it unnecessary to go outside to get to minyan. Very valuable feature in Chicago in February.

Even more interesting historical note - From at least the early seventies to the early nineties, each senior class painted a mural on the wall with each graduates name. There are also rooms for storage in this tunnel. If one searches, they can usually find adult-oriented material inside these storage rooms.

Two to go

We have finally received disc 7 of 7 of the first season of the O.C.

I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating. Watching a show a year late on DVD saves 18 minutes an episode. Multiply that by the 25 episodes we have seen so far, and you know how much time we are saving by watching this show.

Anyone have any suggestions for good stupid TV on DVD. The dumber the better. We prefer hour long shows like the O.C.

Oh, and don't suggest 90210. We watched too much of it on reruns over the years to get into it again.

Bad Mom

This morning I was driving my daughter to her day care, when a five year old girl, who I have nicknamed the Pee Girl since she had an accident at my son's fourth birthday party, walked into the street without looking. I was far enough away that I could slow down, but close enough that she should have waited. Her mom, who was walking behind her, held up her hand to me so that I would stop, and did not even say anything to her daughter.

I am not in favor of hitting kids unless they are doing something dangerous, but don't you think Pee Girl would be better served by hdr mother grabbing her and pulling her back out of the street than allowing her daughter to just cross without looking, and relying on me to stop?


The credit, or blame, depending on your perspective, lies with two people in our class. They came from out of town, dropping in on our class in ninth grade. Their contribution, or crime, was awakening the class to girls.

We knew there were girls out there. They just weren’t nearly as interesting as the Wings, Pistons, Tigers and Lions. Could a girl come back from 3 ½ games behind the Blue Jays with seven games. Could a girl score 25 third-quarter points with a sprained ankle on the NBA’s biggest stage.

And so we entered ninth grade fairly oblivious to more than half the world’s population.

Yahu and Nachman came to Detroit for ninth grade, and with them, changed the character of the class.

Yahu came from Baltimore, and wowed us with tales of his eighth-grade girlfriend, Esty Ambush. The name, we found out later, he made up. Was there really a girlfriend with a made up name, or was the entire story a fabrication. Could it have been a composite sketch of a number of girls and experiences? I doubt we’ll ever know. The important thing, though, was that he got us all to stop thinking about sports, and start thinking about girls.

Nachman, on the other hand, had a real girlfriend, who I met on a number of occasions. But we’ll get back to Nachman another time.

Yahu had a thing for my cousin. The radio station had a goodnight line every night at midnight. So Yahu called up the goodnight line, and said goodnight to her for the entire Z95.5 listening audience.

From that night on, the goodnight line became to focal point of our day. Every conversation centered on who said what on the goodnight line the night before.

Messages were cryptically short, and it wasn’t always clear to us who was saying what to whom.

The highlight of the entire Goodnight Line experience happened when my cousin, in a very pissed off voice, told some of the guys they were “rude, crude and thoroughly unattractive,” a line she still laughs at today.

I think Yahu managed to last through tenth grade before finally moving on, but his impact on our class remained long after he had gone.

NOTE: If you remember other Goodnight Line Highlights, feel free to add them into the comments section.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The visit

With all the hockey stuff swiriling around, there is only one yeshiva story I can write today.

We are in Toronto, Grade 11. Maybe grade 12. I don't remember anymore. There is a lot of whispering during Night Seder. Tonight, the boys from our grade at Ohr Chaim, are coming up to Ner for a hockey game that is all about bragging rights in shul for the local Torontonians.

The game is unofficial, of course. If the rabbis knew about it, they would lock us in the Rosh Yeshiva's office until those traif Ohr Chaim boys left. They are, after all, the other school. They do not have any respect for Torah, learning, or Judaism. How could they? They are allowed to hang out with girls, which to our understanding is two steps worse than eating traif on Yom Kippur.

Somehow they sneak into the building. Night Seder and Maariv finally end, and we leave the Beis Medrash to change and play.

Within minutes we are in the gym, hockey sticks in our hands, ready to play. Ready to play Jewish boys who are just like us, who in a few years will become part of the community that we live in, or at least the community that the canadians live in. The game starts, and we are crushing them. Even with two Americans on our team, we are too much for Team Ohr Chaim.

The game is fun, there is not a single halacha being broken, except for having those tamei Ohr Chaim students in our school. Somehow, word of our game gets out, and reaches the upper echelons of the Hanhala.

There will be one night in my two years at Ner where the Rosh Yeshiva and Mashgiach are seen in the gym.

This is that night. It takes the top level of administration in yeshiva to purify our souls, to save us from whatever might happen when sweat is exchanged in the corner between members of these two schools.

The Rosh Yeshiva, the Menahel and the Mashgiach descend on the gym. They are wearing their shocked faces, faces that ask how in the name of all that is right in yeshiva could someone let these guys into the yeshiva gym. You can sense the mashgiach planning on sprinkling the entire gym with ashes from the Para Aduma, as he wonders how long the gym will have to be fumigated for before things can erturn to normal.

The Rosh Yeshiva is deep in thought as well. If someone brought pork into the kitchen, they would go through the entire kitchen with a blow torch. But what to do with a gym and students. Can you put them to a blow torch as well? Will that Kasher them?

The Menahel is trying to remember which lecture he is supposed to give in this situation. Fortunately, he remembers the insurance policy.

The Ohr Chaim guys are told to leave the gym, and never come back. We are told that the Yeshiva's insurance policy doesn't cover those people.

Just Another Manic Monday...

Or soemtimes you just have to laugh.

Here is how Monday went...daughter woke up with blood in underwear, but being almost three we ruled out her turning into a woman. The doctor wanted to see her at 7 PM to check for possible urinary tract infection. Then the boys had an end of year program for one of their extracurricular programs, so they didn’t get home until almost 6. It was cold, so we went to turn on the heat. I went downstairs, and smelled smoke, so we called the fire department who told us to go outside and wait until they got there. Still no dinner. Then we realized we had to take 8 y-o-son for 7 PM Piano lesson, so Mrs Air Time, daughter and son need to leave by 6:45 to get son to piano and daughter to doctor. The police came, checked out the furnace, where the smoke was coming from, and told us it was safe to come in, and don’t turn on the heat until it is fixed. Then they pointed out several fire hazards in our basement (now cleared away – we are safe again). The kids can come back in the house, but we have fallen behind in grocery shopping, so there was nothing but waffles in the freezer, which we tossed in the toaster for the kids. Off to piano and the doctor for those three; me and 5-y-o-son play video games waiting for 'dre to call me back. Now I have to pick up 7-y-o. from piano, taking 5-y-o with me even though it is now past his bedtime. Get home. Kids are freezing and wearing extra heavy PJs. Daughter gets home. She is fine. Blood in underwear is mystery, but fortunately does not need to be dropped off at rabbis house in a brown paper bag. House is getting colder, Pistons are on TV, 'Dre is still not calling back. Pistons win. We consider trying turning on the furnace but decide we would rather not wake up in the middle of the night looking and feeling like charcoal. Furnace guy comes and charges $$$$ to fix furnace, while telling us that he has four other furnaces to fix today and it is already mid-May.

Feeling Sick

I have this sick feeling in my stomach that won't go away. It stems from the Andre incident. I waited all day for an email from him. I called him and talked to his wife, and waited for him to return my call all evening.

He did not return my calls, and so this morning I sent him an email kicking him off the team.

I know I made the correct decision here. But I still feel sick about it.

Monday, May 23, 2005

EOD Update

Well, I sent Andre an email at 9:22 this morning. 4:54 PM, and I have not heard back from him. Is he waiting until after 5 to respond, to push this off another day? His flurry of calls to my teammate indicate he received the email I sent. Some kind of response would have been nice.

Listen to the radio

When I was a kid, I would climb into bed with a small, battery operated radio. It was always tuned in to the Great Voice of the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR 760, the flagship station of the Detroit Tigers. I would lie in bed imagining the Tigers beating the Jays and Yanks and Red Sox.

When baseball season gave way to hockey season, Sid Abel would replace Ernie Harwell as my chaperone to dreamland, and I would listen to the Wings play the Leafs and Blues and Hawks.

Games were televised, but they were few and far between, and besides, they usually fell out on a Sunday afternoon.

My eight year old loves sports. Nights like tonight kill him, because he wants to stay up late and watch the Pistons. It playoff time, and while I would let him stay up and watch the finals, he doesn't get to stay up late to watch the Eastern Conference Finals.

Here's the funny thing. It has never occured to him to ask if he could listen to the game on the radio. With almost every local game in every sport on TV, the only time he thinks of radio is in the car.

If he asked to listen to the game in bed, he would get an instant yes.

Instead, we are going to send him to bed right before the 8 PM tip off. He is going to putz around in our room, trying to watch a few minutes. My wife is going to turn off the T. He will go to bed. I will go downstairs to turn it on there. Around 10:30 or 11, he will come down stairs, say he can't sleep, and sit on the couch to watch the end of the game. We will tell him to go to bed, he will make up an excuse to stay up, and being the strict parents that we are, he will watch the end of the game without any snacks.

Why don't we tell him he can just listen in bed? What, and ruin all that fun.

The Dark Side

There are a few mainstream schools in Detroit. Yeshivat Akiva, where I send my children, Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, where I went to elementary school, and Darchei Torah, which began when YBY was not far enough to the right for some parents. There may be some other schools, like Lubavitch, but I don’t really know.

We frequently attend events for our school, supporting our children's education, but we rarely attend the other schools' events. We have gone to the YBY annual dinner, buy an occasional raffle ticket, and give money to the other schools when there is an appeal in shul, because we believe there is a place for all the schools in our community, even if we don’t like the way the other schools brand orthodoxy. Still, even at the dinner we sit with family, and don’t mingle very much with the YBY crowd.

Last night was the exception. We went to the YBY auction. It was a combination silent auction, live auction and chinese auction, with a strolling dinner. A friend and former classmate asked us to come, and did. We had a nice time, and my wife won a bracelet for her efforts.

The truth is we did not feel uncomfortable at all being parents of the other school, but it felt odd to be around couples with whom we shared a past but no longer shared a present. It wasn’t the individuals, either. Many of the people I saw last night I play hockey with or see on a semi-regular basis. But it was the whole crowd together, looking at them and seeing that they have developed into their own community, one that we are no longer a part of, which felt strange.

The Andre Midday update

Andre has not responded to my email. He has called one of the guys on the team about repeatedly this morning. The team member has not taken any of the calls.

So...he has received my email that I want to talk to him...and he is trying to find out what has been said so far before he responds.

The Andre Incident

I talked or emailed everyone on the team individually over the past week in the Andre Incident.

Of the seven who were there, only one said to talk to him and see if he accepts responsibility for his actions and a willingness to change.

Everyone else wanted him at the very least suspended for one game, and everyone else wants him off the team next season.

My first hope was that the league would suspend him. That didn't happen. So now I have to.

I sent him an email this morning asking him essentially the same question I asked everyone else. How would he like last week's incident addressed. His response will either say that he addressed it when he apologized to the team (the lamest apology I have seen this Giambi), that it should be addressed by the team having his back when he goes to fight the league, or that what's done is done and lets move on.

I practiced the conversation with my wife yesterday, when we were driving yesterday. She did a pretty good job being a stubborn hockey player. She even through in a couple of curse words to make it all more realistic. So I am ready to go one on one with him.

I still don't know the measure of response though.

Assume he is apologetic (not likely, but let's play out all possibilities), and says look, I lost my head, I should have gone off the floor. I am sorry I embarrassed the whole team, caused a massive chilul hashem and let our team down. It won't happen again.

The league has decided he doesn't deserve to be suspended for a playoff game, although they did issue quite a stern warning. If it seems sincere, should it be accepted and we move on to the playoffs. We have two games this Wednesday. One at 8 PM and on at 10 PM. Should he be suspended the first game? For both games?

Assume he is belligerent, refuses to accept any responsibility for what happened, and wants to know why the team doesn't have his back when he is fighting the goyim?

What level of penalty is the right dosage? If we suspend him for one game, will he come play angry at the team in the second game. Whenever he comes back to the team, assuming we can move ahead in the playoffs, will it be as a player who is willing to play with his teammates. The crime doesn't seem to merit being kicked off the team completely, but if he misses both the first two playoff games, and we survive to play in the finals, should he come back. Will he even want to, or will he come back, act disruptively, and cause a huge scene.

He does have one thing over us. He has a jersey, and he knows that if he does not continue to play for our team, he needs to return the jersey. Will getting the jersey back become a problem?

There are little to no social repercussions for me, regardless of what happens. He is relatively new to town, lives on the other side, does not have kids who are school age, davens somewhere else, and if we didn't play hockey together, I never would have met him. Its not like the other guys on the team who I have known for most of my life.

This is right up at the top of the list of stupid things I have needed to be involved with. Hopefully, it will all be resolved today.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Mishmar, Skokie Style

Yeshivos like to get their guys to learn late on Thursday night. Perhaps this is because Thursday Night is the Friday night of the yeshiva world, and they want to limit their student's interaction with the outside world. Or maybe it is because they know that as Yeshiva boys, we will be falling asleep early on Friday night, and sleeping through Shachris on Shabbos morning.

On Toronto they would tempt Mishmar goers with Donuts. Mercaz would schedule Chaburas that ran until just after the last bus went to town. But Skokie was the king of Mishmar. Perhaps there was a late learning session, it seems to me that there was. I do know that there was a late night hockey game.

From about 12-2 every Thursday night we would play floor hockey at the elementary school right near the diner where the girls were at when Nachman and Dave had their infamous interlude. Primarily Skokie guys, there would be guys would come from all around to play with us, including some guys from Telshe Yeshiva, and friends of different players.

It was a physical game, and one night a skinny lightweight friend of my roommate's got into a fist fight with Tani, a huge guy who had a dorm room and seemed to learn at the Yeshiva every once in a while.

On occasion, Skokie would spring for a post game BBQ, and we would finish the game and be treated to burgers and dogs. Skokie knew how to do Mishmar right.

Then, there were the nights we had to take Mishmar matters into our own hands. One night, after hockey, Dovi, who roomed with Tani and is not the same Dovi many of you know, turned 21. He went to the grocery across the street, and bought beer. A ton of beer. Hoping to be ID'd, he was disappointed when they let him buy and walk on through. Chimney turned his aspirin bottle into a homemade bong using a pen and the foil from his pack of cigarettes. (He was off the tree, but he still loved to make bongs, and would use it with plain tobacco).

The next morning, the Skokie Beis Medrash guys were not on davening. None of them. And the rabbis were not too pleased when they came up to the third floor and found garbage cans filled to the top with beer bottles, and the place smelling like smoke.

There was another witchhunt for the responsible for party, but no guilty party turned up. We were now all on probation.

There is a picture of Nachman and Dave, sitting on my couch in the dorm, quite close to one another, both drinking beer while nachman enjoys a cigarette as well.

Little did either one of them know of the betrayal that would one day transpire.

R.A.B.B.I. Revisited

There has been considerable local buzz about the R.A.B.B.I. newspaper since I wrote a post about it last week. That buzz has turned up an original issue of the short lived paper. The owner of the paper has agreed to put it up for auction on Air Time.

Moer details to come.

Actual message on my machine

Air, I just wanted to let you know I was having a tough day at work and Lippy sent me over to your website and got some kicks and stuff. I even directed Gershon there to see what you wrote about him. Anyway, much appreciated and give a call if you're ever in Toronto.

If anyone ever tells you that blogs are a waste of time, link them here. Air Time may have saved this guys life.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Different ways to find Air Time

Did you know...

If you type how to draw breasts in google, Air Time comes up as the 50th choice.

bernard funeral detroit, mi 2005...brings up Air Time as the eighth choice.

sheirut leumi...brings up Air Time as the #1 choice

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Tears in my eyes

I admit it. I will cry every once in a while. Like when the old guy got up to pitch in the Rookie. And tonight, when Reggie Miller had his shot blocked by Big Ben, there was a tear wanting to come out.

Forget the rings he never won and the all star appearances and the playoff highlights. One of the rarest thing in sports is to see a guy call in quits in the same uniform he was drafted in. Hell, Eli Manning never took one snap with the team he was drafted with before demanding a trade. But Reggie. 18 years with Indiana. Its an incredible level of dedication to one city in the era of free agency.

In Detroit, we had a few guys like that too. Guys like Tram and Lou played the middle of the infield for the tigers for 17 years together. Both retired wearing the olde english D on their head. Barry lit up the Silverdome for over a decade, and even though he betrayed his team and his fans when he called it quits two days before training camp, at least he never demanded a trade or signed somewhere else like Emmitt, and will always be remembered wearing Honolulu Blue and Silver. Stevie Y may or may not be done, but for 18 years he wore the winged wheel across his chest. Drafted at 18, named captain at 19, he has had an incredible run here, one that was cut short by the NHL labor dispute. And who could forget the smiling assassin, Isaiah, or his backcourt mate, Joe. They lit up the Silverdome and the Palace, winning two championships, never wearing another teams colors.

There aren't too many of these one team wonders left anymore.

Unless you count Bobby Higgenson.


What do you do when the waste of time that you love (hockey) interferes with the waste of time that everyone reads (blogging)?

There are no easy answers.

Who needs a reason

Canada is cold, snow is all around us. Maybe there is a reason for this event; maybe there is not, but Yitzi decides we need more alcohol in the dorm. Specifically, we need some Molson Special Dry. We are in Canada, where the legal age is 19, and there are plenty of people who Yitzi can have pick up some beer for us.

Yitzi, together with Sholom, are the keepers of the Canadian tradition. They have memorized Strange Brew, and spend most days calling each other Bob and Doug, their conversations limited to Good day, eh and I have to pee so bad i can taste it.

He takes orders from the guys, and gets a Two Four. Maybe more than one. That's what they call it in the great white north. Not a 24-pack. Just a two four. It is from the Beer Store. Not a liquor store or convenience store. The Beer Store. The sell one product, and the entire store is a giant refrigerator. It is what Beer Heaven must look like.

The private dorm fridges aren't safe from raids or accidentally being discovered, but it is snowy out side, and nature has provided many of us with its own fridge system. I have a set of drawers for my clothes. It is made of plastic, and turns out to be an excellent place to pack with snow and hide beer in.

It only needs to be hidden for a few hours, before drinking begins.

We drink the beer. Gershon (not the 6 footer) has one beer and throws up. He claims he was sick before he started, but his protests go unheard. He is forever known as Gershon One Beer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What next

I seem to have gotten the F word out of my system. All it took was a 25-minute ride home, a highly descriptive conversation about the game and the incident with Mrs Air Time and some blogging.

In case you don't get what pisses me off, here it is. Call it what you will, but me and the guys on the team live for that hour on Wednesday night. We play the game because we love it. The passing and shooting, and yes, the hitting. I come home from a game and I am so high I don't come down for three hours. Tonight, Dre sucked all the life and energy out of the game with his thrid period meltdown.

What's next with Mr Klein and the team?

The playoffs start next week, and we need him. But he is really disruptive to the team, and I don't think his head will be in the game next week either.

Kick him off the team? I don't want him for next season, but should I kick him off for next week's playoffs?

I want to kick him off. I have no social obligations toward him. I grew up with the other seven players on the team, he is new to town. I don't live near him, daven in his shul, or send my kids to the same school as he does. I only see him during hockey, so there are no social repurcussions to kicking him off.

I could let him play in the playoffs, and then tell him we don't want him back for next season. That really isn't as embarassing to him as kicking him off now.

Mrs. Air Time says to sleep on it, and give it a few days. Maybe she is right. She's a smart lady.

Readers beware...Prolific Use of the F Word Follows

I am so f***ng pissed off. The final game of our season was tonight. We already had a playoff berth set, but this was a chance to show how we belonged. This was a game against the second best team in the whole f****** league.

And we played like heroes for 30 minutes. After two periods we were trailing 1-0. Despite one of our best players being out of town. Despite playing against a team that seemed to have a never ending supply of fresh legs coming off the bench.

The third period started horribly, we gave up a few goals, and with five minutes to go we were trailing 5-0 when it happened.

Andre is our best player. By far. French Canadian by birth, a**hole by age 23. But, man, you watch him play, he can f**** move that puck. He has the hardest shot in the league and the league's smallest brain. He's a head case. If he's losing he's bitching to our players. Or the refs. Mostly the refs. But he bitches the team out a lot too.

He took a stick to the back of the head. I was standing right there, it happened quickly, and he has a cut across his neck to prove it. But this is hockey, and these things happen. And the refs missed it. because they make $20 an hour and don't really give a s***.

F***** in 'Dre goes after the guy who slashed him. Just gets right in his f****** grill, and the ref finally blows a whistle and calls a penalty, even though 'dre has not touched the opposing player.

'Dre needs to leave the court, but he refuses, despite me trying to walking him off. Despite sid trying to walk him off. Despite everyone telling him to sit down and shut the f*** up.

Like I said, he's a f****** head case.

Finally, after making everyone stand around for five minutes, he leaves the hockey area.

A few minutes later, and now there are less than two minutes to play. Andre f****** head case klein comes strolling back onto the court. The refs tell him he is kicked out of the game. He refuses to leave the court, yelling that he wants to talk to the owner of the facility. Yelling at everyone.

Real f****** head case.

The refs blow the whistle, and call the game a forfeit. After the customary handshake he gets back into the other team's faces. They should have kicked his f***** a** straight through the plexiglass just to shut him up. He walked off the court yelling and screaming and threatening to call his lawyer, which he did, standing in front of the sports office.

dumb f*** of a headcase who made an a** of himself in front of the whole f****** league and administration and team.

Did I mention our jerseys say Jerusalem Pizza on them. With hebrew letters. And a big ole mogain david.

F****** jacka** headcase.

Editor's Note: After I finished this, it occured to me that with prolific use of the F word, there would be good chance I would be blocked from my blog at work tomorrow. Sorry for all the stars. It was good therapy anyway

Boomer is Coming

It is Succos in Israel. There is no schedule to follow. No rules to keep. No rabbis to listen to. Except in Mercaz. We have been warned about dating girls, talking to girls, being seen with girls, even thinking about girls. These creatures who we have been so sheltered from are completely off limits.

If you are for some unforseeable reason forced to spend a meal with a girl, you must mumble the Shema for the entire time you are sitting at the table as she is, so as to not to be tempted to talk to her. OK. maybe I am exagerating. But only a bit.

We, of course do not listen. We are eighteen and nineteen years old, and when we open a gemara, we are thinking about girls. When we are sitting in shiur, we are thinking about girls. When we listen to the Chief give one of his endless mussar shmoozes, we are thinking about girls.

And so, whenit is vacation time, we are looking for girls.

It turns out that there is a hunting ground to find girls. Hundereds of them, just sitting around, waiting to be found by someone. And one bitch who doesn't want anyone to talk to her, she is there to pick up a package or meet a parent's friend from home.

These places are hotel lobbies.

We, the students, know it. Mercaz knows it. Boomer knows it.

We are forbidden to go hang out in hotel lobbies, unless we are there with parents or other adult friends from home. We go anyway.

There are two hotels where everyone congregates. The LaRomme and the Plaza. It seems the more Yeshivish crowd hangs out at the Plaza; the modern crowd is at the LaRomme.

It is the second day of Yom Tov, and Boomer walks in. I am told that Mercaz students were hiding behind couches and around corners. Boomer does not catch anyone. He talks to some people, who are allowed to be there, and heads to the Plaza, where a large group of Mercaz students are hanging out.

It seems to me now that it was a girl named Debbie, but it could have been my roommate Menachem. Either way, one of them had the hotel staff call the Plaza with a message. One minute later, a staff member at the plaza walked through the lobby of the hotel with a sign saying Boomer is Coming.

Boomer walked into the Plaza, saw that everything was fine, and made the long trek back to Talpiot.

Some dispute over Crying

There seems to be some dispute about the accuracy of the Crying post. Lippy claims to have been in St Louis, which although may have made some of the facts questionable, it does not call into dispute the basic premise of the story.

Interestingly, and unbeknownst to me, Nachman reads this blog, and he remembers this story differently. Earliler today, through a third party, I have invited Nachman to post his recollection of that evening. I have not heard back from him.

I have done some independent research as well, and thought back to that story. Nachman was kicked out of Yeshiva for this incident. It was not the first time it happened in his colorful yeshiva career. Like the other times where he was kicked out, he managed to get himself back in. So although he was expelled, since they let him back in, in practice it was more like a suspension.

As for Dave, their are two theories as to what happened.

Theory #1: He was asked a question, did not realize the Rosh Yeshiva was fishing for information, and came out with the whole story, trading immunity for testimony.

Theory #2: Dave was mad at Nachman for a previous incident (which I don't remember anymore but I knew at the time). This was his revenge.


"Heint in America, the Matziv is terrible," the rebbi tells us in that uniquely yeshivish blend of yiddish, english and hebrew, his hand rubbing his chest in between the buttons on his shirt. His hand moves toward his belt. "Gay rights and premarital mayses. Oy."

We are told that every day in ninth grade.

We are also told that there is nothing in the world worse, we are told, than being a Baal Habaus. We are warned of the dangers of the world outside the Beis Medrash. We are told that college is a dangerous place and no yeshiva boy should ever go to college. If you need a parnassah, you can always go into chinuch.

Some people buy into it, I'm sure.

But we are American kids, and we don't think that America is so bad, even with gay rights and premarital sex. In fact, premarital sex sounds pretty good to ninth graders.

As Americans we have come to respect the power of the press. And so, in Tenth grade, just outside the watchful eye of Principal Rabbi Blitz, meetings take place. We need a school newspaper, one that will capture the spirit of the students.

Our school has computers, and we have spent the semester learning Word Star, a program our computer teacher has told us is the top word processor on the planet.

Deece is the editor, he assembles a few writers, and within a few days, The first issue of the Radical Adolescent Baal haBatim Institute, or R.A.B.B.I., as it says across the masthead of the paper, is ready.

The paper is about 4 pages long, and includes such memorable lines as the one from Jay's gossip column which reports that Rabbi Blitz has been traded to New Jersey for an undisclosed amount of cash.

Bee, a Junior from Chicago, believes in the project, and pays for the entire first printing.

The paper goes on sale for ten cents each. This whole project has been completely underground. Still, word filters up to the Hanhala that we have published a newspaper.

Rabbi Blitz comes over to Deece, and asks where his copy is. Deece has one of the all time greatest lines, when he tells Rabbi Blitz "You can have a copy, but you'll have to pay your dime just like everybody else."

Rabbi Blitz is not amused. There is an intense amount of yelling and screaming. Deece is not kicked out of yeshiva, but his fate is sealed.

He, like most of our class, will not return for 11th grade.

Lippy Von Lipenshtein

I am on TWA flight 800 from NY to Tel Aviv, via Paris. It is the same flight, years later, that will mysteriously fall out of the sky in pieces after leaving JFK. Some say it was terrorism. Others say it was a mechanical malfunction. The important thing is it did not happen on this day in 1992.

I am flying with a friend with whom I went to elementary school. He has a friend on board as well, from high school. His name is Lippy.

Lippy, or Lip, in more formal times, is the one person who went home for Pesach our year in Israel and brought something back for me, a Mr. Goodbar. I don't know why I asked him for that candy bar, but I think still have the wrapper tucked away in an old scrapbook.

He is a loyal friend, the kind who draws a line in the sand and will never cross that line.

We spent two years in yeshiva together, the first in Mercaz, the second in Skokie. There are things you should know about Lip.

He is the impetus for this series of stories on Air Time. It was his semi-anonymous suggestion a few days ago that led me to write the first post, which led to opening a wave a memories that had not been repressed, but put aside, memories that have begun to flood out since I started writing this series.

He is also the first person I ever saw who could take off his underwear without removing his shorts, an excellent skill to have when you spend as many years as we did in a yeshiva dormitory.

He introduced me to his traditzkys, his word, not mine. Important ones, like always swigging from a Scope bottle as we pulled into Slice of Life on a Saturday night, and spitting it out the window as we pulled into a parking spot.

One day while walking in New York during the week of my Sheva Brochos, we ran into Lip and his girlfriend. I was eating a pickle, and the juice from the pickle shot into his girlfriend's eye. They broke up almost immediately thereafter. Since breaking up, they got back together, got married, and had some kids.

I do not believe I have seen her since the pickle incident.

It was through Lip that I met a cast of character; Mick, Way, and Josh, to name a few. Faig too. But she is an old story, one that he can get into on his blog if he ever writes one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Saturday night. We do not know it yet, but this will be the last Saturday night Nachman will be in our Yeshiva. All we know right now is that it is Saturday night, and we are going to the movies.

I can't explain why we picked that movie. Maybe we had seen everything else that was out there. Maybe we were intrigued by the rumors we heard of the surprise ending. I can tell you with utmost certainty that none of us knew the secret of the Crying Game.

We had no idea what we were in for when we went to theater, plunked down our eight bucks, grabbed some cokes and started to watch. We did not know we were going to be introduced to transexuals who could pass as women and really be men.

When it happened, when the trans character came out, literally, from the veil of femininity, there was an audible ughhhh coming from our section of the theater.

Everyone who was there that night agreed that there was a palpable feeling of nausea that ran through us at that defining moment.

And so it should come as no surprise that as we drove home from the theater, we needed something to clear the pallette. And when we drove next to some hot girls, flirted some, and got flirted back to, we followed.

Unfortunately, they went to the diner that was located right next to the Yeshiva.

What happened next is a bit of a blur to me. I think we parked in the Yeshiva lot. Nachman chose to go to the diner and hang out with the girls. Lip and I did not go. I have always believed that Dave went with Nachman, but that is where the story gets really murky.

Did Dave go in the diner? Or did he just look in, and then report to the Rosh what he saw? And how was it that the next day Lippy's and my head were on the school chopping block.

How was it that all of us who went to the movie that night ended up being nearly expelled, with the exception of two people. Nachman, who was expelled. And Dave, who was given a free pass?

EDITORS NOTE: Lippy has categorically denied being involved in this story. He claims he was not in Chicago the night of the incident. He also signs his posts anonymous and clearly lied in his second point in the comments section.

Breaking the Fast

It is Wednesday night in September. An hour earlier, Yom Kippur ended. Expiation of sin. A clean slate. Beginning of vacation.

Two taxies are on their way. Each car will hold seven of us, and soon we are at the beach in Tel Aviv. The sun rises and we daven in a minyan on the beach. We have three weeks of vacation, almost no plans, no responsibilities.

Even the Mercaz spy has faded into the background.

By Thursday evening we are exhausted. We have somehow made it to Netanya, and our original group of fourteen has shrunk to 3 or 4. We go to a dance club, my first time. I am wearing a tank top, shorts and a baseball cap, and I am completely underdressed.

I can’t dance at all. I have no rhythm, no sense of beat or music or movement. Yonason jokes that I look like I am boxing, the way I am jumping up and down. This is the night I begin my streak of never meeting anyone in a dance club, with the exception of the night we accidentally went to a gay club. With girls.

We are up all night again, for the second night in a row. There has been a considerable amount of alcohol consumed over the past two days, but no one is noticeably drunk.

Soon, we are down to just three of us. It is Friday morning. Shabbos will be in soon, and we have no plans, no food, not much money with us. We are, of course, starving. We find a bus back to Jerusalem, buy some rugelach, and sleep straight through to Motzei Shabbos.

Virgin Eyes

My eight-year-old loves going online. He usually goes to SI for Kids.com, cartoon networks' site, ro PBSKids. On all those sites thwey have games and other content he is interested in.

We have two rules for him to go online. He needs permission and supervision. Since we have two computers next to each other, I can work on my mac while he goes online on the computer next to me, or my wife can work on her PC while he goes online on my Mac. It doesn't happen all that often, but he can usually get online at least once a week.

Last night he wanted to try something new. He typed in Kitten Cannon or Cannon Kitten or soemthing like that and hit enter. I was supervising, but not very closely. He clicked on a link that came up, but it was not the game he was looking for. I didn't look too closely at the screen, but there was a banner that was advertising something sexy.

I know some of you have eight year olds. What do you do protect your kids from seeing things they shouldn't when they go online?

Legend or Myth

I have been hearing his legends for years. Today I will finally meet the man behind those legendary stories. Or is it a myth. Since arriving to Ner Israel in 11th grade I have been hearing the stories of Yonason. Every time I return after vacation, I am deluged with more Yonason stories. Yonason Yonason Yonason. It is all my classmates want to talk about. The man who left (or was kicked out) after 10th grade has become worshipped by those he left behind.

You would like him, they tell me. He is the coolest guy on the planet.

I have painted a picture of him in my mind. He is six feet tall and huge. His legends brim with stories of girls and defying authority and drinking and smoking.

The day has come. He is going to Mercaz, and I will finally meet the uber-bocher.

He walks in the room. Every image I had of him I shattered. He is not huge. He is not six feet tall. His is shorter than I am.

In four years he will walk down the aisle at my wedding, but today, I am not impressed.

Three hours later we have escaped from night seder to find the girl he helped at the air port. A girl who’s name he cannot remember, but knows it sounds like the sportscar Miata.

We wander around Ben Yehudah street that night, stopping for beer, calling out Miata.

Amazingly, we find her.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Main Characters

Three days into what I am calling my Yeshiva Daze project, and I still haven't touched many of the main characters.

Menachem - The roommate who betrayed me
Dovi - Who couldn't walk into a room without running into girls he knew
Lippy - He drew lines he would never cross, no matter what, and inspired this bit of bloggering
Gila - The girlfriend. She starts out as good, before turning evil. Or maybe that was me turning evil.

And many many more...

Smokin at the Boys Club

We are in the woods. Winter is fighting spring, and losing the battle. There is a chill in the air, but there are signs of rebirth on the trees that surround us, and provide cover. I am with Jonathon and Gershon. We have formed a BBQ club, and cook our food on a small hibachi, using branches from the woods that surround us for fuel for the fire.

The food inside the building is as bad as anywhere I have ever eaten; outside, we eat like kings. Hamburgers and hot dogs, with the occasional steak or chicken thrown on. School rules require us to sneak out one at a time into our hideaway. There are others in the woods too, rival clubs, but on the same side as we are in our rebellion against Yeshiva.

It is time to bentch, and Jonathon takes out a cigarette. It is not the first time he has smoked out one of our meetings. In fact, it has become a tradition that he light the cigarette and smoke through bentching.

Today is different, though. I am sick of Ner. I am ready to graduate and tired of all the bullshit that comes with being in Yeshiva. I ask him for a cigarette, which he is happy to give to me. I am seventeen, smart enough to know better, but as they say, too young to care.

Years later, when I run into Jonathon at Center Island in Toronto, I intorduce him to my wife as the guy who gave me my first smoke.

A pattern started to form. Whenever I was feeling angry, or frustrated with Yeshiva, I would smoke. Maybe it was once a week. Probably less frequently than that. It didn’t change anything, although it did make me feel better.

It was not until the following August, at Mercaz, when AJ taught me how to inhale, that I found out I had been doing it wrong for all those months.

Can Your Momma Dance

11th grade. A new school in Toronto. At least, new for me. Ner Israel has been in Toronto for decades, although it has recently begun a move to the far right, a move, it turns out, that means had I applied there in 2005, I, along with the majority of my classmates, would not have been accepted. But that seismic shift is years away. Today, the Yeshiva is at the beginning of its right wing revolution. Over the 12 months, suede kippas have been banned, as have polo shirts and t-shirts with words on them.

My Rebbi’s name is Rabbi Feivishevitz. It takes almost two weeks before I discover his name is not Rabbi Feivel Shevitz. He is balding, with a reddish beard. He speaks with an accent, as if English is not his first language, as if he is from the shtetl and every R is rolled and every W turns into a V and there are lots of gutteral sounds emerging in words that should not a CH sound, as if he was not born in North America.

The dining room at his house has been decorated by his wife. In one corner stands summer-type objects, including a tree with leaves. The opposite corner contains a bare tree, and other wintry items. When one student in the class mentions this dichotomy, it is his wife who shouts from the next from, “that’s the point.”

There are still a few months before Rabbi Feivishevitz and I will have our falling out. That day when he walked over to me out of the blue and told me I am no longer in his shiur will come in February, but today, he is focusing his attention on a classmate. On this day, his attention is on Dudi. Sitting in shiur, not bothering anyone, Dudi is engrossed in a drawing that he is creating. Rabbi Feivishevitz stands up, and grabs the paper away from Dudi. He sits down, and looks at it for a moment.

Then he reads the caption running across the page. “Your momma can’t dance, and your daddy don’t rock and roll.” The rabbi pauses for a second, before adding “Vat a deprived child.”

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Night of 40

It is Thursday night in August. It is Thursday night, the first week in Elul. It is Thursday night, the first week in Mercaz HaTorah.

Throughout the week there have been orientations, shiur assignments, new roommates to meet and a new schedule to follow. It is supposed to be the start of the most meaningful year of our lives. The start of a year where we make the transition from high school student to full-fledged adult.

There are 80 first year students, still fighting jet lag and weariness and loniliness, many away from home for the first time. Most looking for a night out. A chance to get away from the rigid structure of Yeshiva.

Have a few beer. Meet some friends. And if things go right, maybe meet a few girls.

Disappearing in small groups of 2 or 3, slowly the Beis Medrash empties out, each group careful not to be seen by anyone, never admitting to another where you were going. There is still distrust. No ones knows who will turn out to be a Mercaz spy, who will have you thrown out of the school for the unwritten crime of talking to a girl.

There are over forty first year Mercaz guys at Ben Yehudah this evening. One genius member decided to count.

The next day the news is all over Mercaz. Over 40 first-year guys left night seder and went to Ben Yehudah. Their are emergency meetings with all the first year students. Rabbi Rotman, who will come to be known as the chief to this class, goes before the student body and declares that forty guys at Ben Yehudah isn't a night out, "it's an orgy."

Rumors abound that Mercaz will be sending out a spy to ben Yehudah on Thursday night's and anyone caught will be expelled.

It is Thursday night again, one week later. I am sitting upstairs at Apple Pizza, clearly in the forbidden zone, enjoying a slice. I look outside, and see Boomer, one of the Mercaz Kollel members, walking through the street.

Yeshiva Daze

I hope you enjoyed reading the previous post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Usually, when I think back on my Yeshiva days, I normally skip over all the day to day events, and jump ahead to the larger conclusions. Over the next few weeks, though, I am going to focus on the stories, people and events that happened throughout my education. There will be some bias in these stories, after all, they were seen through my window to the world, and are being told through that very same window.

I don't have a list of stories planned, or selected, for this series. Perhaps one post will lead to another. I can tell you that all stories, unless otherwise indicated are true. First names or nicknames will be used, with the exception of stories that may involve the use of illegal substances, and extreme violation of halacha.

In those cases, names will probably be changed to protect the guilty.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Skokie Days

(I think) Anonymous wanted to hear a skokie story. I'm not sure if he wants to rehash the old times, see if we remember the same things, or what, but sit back, imagine you were closing your eyes and picturing what happened as you read this...

Skokie Yeshiva had their dorm set up so that two rooms, each containing three guys, were connected by a bathroom with shower. In our room, we had myself, marc and avi, while the room straight through the bathroom had Chimney, God and Howie.

Chimney, as you might expect, got his reputation from his excessive smoking habit. God earned his reputation by being loaded, older than most of us, and usually being around to tell us what to do and how to handle the rabbis.

Howie was an ass.

We had a couch in our room, an old green piece of shit, and many afternoons would find Chimney and myself going through pack after pack of Marlboro lights. Unless we were sick. Chimney claimed that nothing could heala sore throat better than a menthol cigarette. Avi, my roommate, did not like the smoking but as long as the window was open, he didn't mind too much. And Marc would enjoy a pipe with different flavored tobaccos every now and again.

Avi was a great artist, he could draw anything. Every day, God would beg him, pleade with him, to draw breasts. Not just one pair, but an entire page of breasts that he could hang on the wall.

When we weren't smoking on the couch, Chimney and I would walk to the library down the street. Being the reader that I am, I would get piles of Sweet Valley High books, perfect for going to the can.

Chimney liked big detective books.

Every morning, frequently instead of davening, God would grind coffee beans, and make us all coffee. We had the Chicago Tribune delivered each morning, and we would drink coffee, read the paper and do the crossword puzzle.

Many years later, well, not many, but a few, we all thought it was quite appropriate that a dog walked down the aisle at Howie's wedding.

And with that, I wish you all a Shabbat Shalom.

Its always something

Word on the street is our starting goalie may not be able to play this coming season, unless we switch to the Sunday night league.

Hmm, change leagues, and keep our goalie, or stay in the current league, and have to find a new one. What a sucky choice. At least the goalie has a good reason.

Do you believe Magic

Every time I see Magic Johnson on TV, I wonder if he ever really tested positive for HIV. He is looking awfully fit for someone who was diagnosed with it in 1992. I wouldn't be surprised if everyone else who was diagnosed HIV+ on that day is dead by now.

Rethinking Anonymous' win

On Wednesday I wrote about my bet with anonymous, as to how many people would show up to shul on Thursday morning, in homor of Yom Haatzmaut. Yesterday, I conceded that I was wrong, and there were not nearly as many extra people in shul on Thursday.

It occured to me, as I looked around shul this morning, and there were only about 25 people there, that the Wednesday morning crowd was not a regular crowd, it was already larger because of Yom HaZikaron. Of course Yom Haatzmaut won't significantly outdraw Yom Hazikaron. The same people who celebrate one celebrate the other. The only fair comparison would have been to this morning's minyan, or to Tuesday's minyan (or to last thursday's minyan, but there are no attendance figures going back that far). And based on this morning's attendance, Yom Haatzmaut had the 50% attendance increase that I predicted.

On Schools and things

My children attend Akiva Hebrew Day School, a coed zionist-oriented school. We had two other options when choosing a school, the Yeshiva Beth Yehuda and Darchai Torah, neither of which appealed to us for a number of reasons. In the spirit of disclosure, I should add my wife teaches at Akiva.

As you might imagine, it is much more socially acceptable in our community to send children to one of the other two schools. Still, we based our decision on what we felt was best for our kids.

There are a few kids who switch schools every year. But it is rare that someone comes from Beth Yehudah to Akiva. (Beth Yehudah is the school that has been around for about 75 years. While it is not considered the really frum school, it has made significant moves to the right over the past few years, including separating boys and girls in nursery.)

Last night, at the Yom Haatzmaut party my wife and I were talking to the mother of two kids who made the switch from Beth Yehudah to Akiva. She was so excited about attending a Yom Haatzmaut event, something that would have been completely socially unacceptable with her children in Beth Yehudah.

I have talked to other parents, friends of mine, who switched their kids from Akiva's nursery program to Beth Yehudah/Bais Yaakov. They know they are sacrificing their children's education by sending their kids to Beth Yehudah. Still, they don't want to deal with any stigma from sending their kids to a mixed school, even one with a superior education.

Because what will the neighbors say.

The Big Show

There’s no help from Mexico, Pepsi trickery, and busted by my eight year old, plus, falling off the diet wagon, Maalot possibilities, and a Moshav Band concert review, all that and more, you’re reading Air Time.

We had a great cleaning lady. Her name was Nadia. She followed Tinera, who was OK when she remembered to show up and especially OK before we started getting calls trying to locate her so she can be served a subpoena. When Nadia got an office job, she recommended a friend who came once, then had her arm broken by an uncle, and next thing we knew she had moved to North Carolina. There have been dozens of others, none of whom had lasted more than a few months, but no one to help clean the house on over three months.

Bring on Rosa, our first Spanish-speaking help. Born in a small Mexican village, she somehow made it to my cousin’s house, who did not need her full time and has been trying to pimp her out so she isn’t stuck paying the check for the whole week.

Rosa came yesterday morning. She was supposed to come for four hours, a time frame we have found to be pretty adequate for our three bedroom colonial. Rose spent three hours upstairs, trying to clean the three bedrooms and two bathrooms. And it’s not like she did a great job. She never even got to the bathroom floors, which are desperate seeking attention.

I have no idea what she did upstairs for three hours. All she needed to do was pick my kids books up off the floor, dust some dressers, and vacuum the floor. Plus clean the bathrooms. If I was doing it, it would have taken an hour and a half, tops.

Then she came downstairs, and she had an hour left before she was going to be picked up. She ignored the downstairs bathroom, did not wash or sweep a single floor, and left cleaning supplies open and on counters and tables wherever she went.

We called my cousin to tell her that we were not in need of a cleaning woman who didn’t know how to clean. My cousin told my wife that this woman is from Mexico, and she just doesn’t know how to clean, and we could have her free of charge for an hour this morning. Which is just what we want while Mrs. Air Time is cooking. A clueless Mexican walking around our house talking Spanish and trying to clean.

Rosa, you’re fired.

Rosa wasn’t the only failure of the week. After dropping 15 pounds over the past month and a half, I dropped off the diet wagon, enjoying pizza, hot dogs, potato chips and beer. Because of some forces of nature that I cannot understand, I am also driving carpool in the morning, which means no morning bike ride to work, and the treadmill has not been kind this week either. I think I will be in for a not so surprising disappointing weigh in on Sunday morning.

We have started looking at alternatives to Modiin for our move next summer. We are now looking at Maalot, a beautiful town in the Northern Galilee, about twenty minutes from Nahariya. It is absolutely beautiful up there, and my brother’s family lives there. It is about a three hour drive from Jerusalem, but maybe family for location is a good tradeoff.

I got angry at Pepsi this week. I don’t always buy pop, but when I do, I have been buying itunes Pepsi bottles, so I can get the free songs. You can read the cap if you tilt the bottle to the side, so I have had no problem picking winners out.

The problem was this week, when I picked up a bottle. The bottle was a winner, and I did not look hat closely at the bottle. It was only after I read the cap, and it had a code and said “one point” that I realized I had picked up a Go Pro Pepsi bottle instead of an itunes bottle.

Shame on you, Pepsi, for running contests that overlap and using the same identifying yellow cap.

Pepsi was the only winner this week. Our hockey team lost a close one, 5-4. And while there were a good many four-letter adjectives on the tip of my tongue, begging to be released into the wild, I held back because I brought my 8-year old to the game. I also brought my digital camera, so I could make hockey cards of the guys on our team.

About halfway home, my son asked if he could see the camera. Oh shit, was the only thing I could say, as I did not have the camera. (I remembered a few minutes later that it was in a teammate’s gym bag).

When we got home, did my boy talk about my assist, or my strong defensive play? No!. The first thing he said was “Daddy said the “S” word.

Little brat.

What about all the words I didn’t say. Why don’t you tell mommy about that.

Last night we saw the Moshav Band perform at Akiva. The concert was really good. At one point during the concert there must have been sixty kids up there on stage dancing, walking between the band members, jumping up and down. It was a wild scene, and the band had a really good time.

They put on a decent show, although I am not really familiar with their music. This was the first time I had heard them. If you have a chance to see them, and you have nothing better to do, I recommend seeing them.

After the concert I was talking to angry anonymous’ wife, who turns out to be a big fan of Air Time. She is very smart. Which means that if you are reading this, and enjoying it, there is a good chance you are very smart as well.
That’s the big show. This is Air Time. Thanks for reading.

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Very Powerful

Tonight we were at our children's school for a Yom Haatzmaut concert featuring the moshav band. The band was great, but the best part of the concert happened before they came on stage.

We have a Kollel Torah Mitzion, which is essentially a group of three or four Israeli families who come here for a few years. They teach in the schools, run youth programming, and are very involved in the community. We also have some Sheirut Leumi girls who are in the community and work with kids in the school.

Anyway, the principal of the school called up the kollel familes on stage, to show everyone at the concert that these people would be in Israel next year. Then he called up the Sheirut Leumi girls. Then he started calling up families that are planning on making Aliyah this summer.

Then he called up the seniors from Akiva, calling the kids out by name and which school ther were going to. We also had a large group of kids from Clevelend in for the concert, and he called those seniors up as well.

All told, there were about 40-50 people at the front of the stage who will be in Israel next year. It was very powerful feeling to see them all standing there, some who are returning home, some who are going home, and some who are about to experience home for the first time.

No such thing as a good loss

Last night was game nine in our season. Going into the game we were 5-3. Of our five wins, three have been by shutout, and two were by five goal margins. Of the three losses, one we were mercy ruled, one we were killed, and the other loss was our first game of the season, a game that if we played today we would probably win.

In a nutshell, we have crushed the teams we were supposed to beat, and lost badly to the teams that were better than us.

Bring up last night. We started slow, and fell behind 3-0 after 6 minutes were gone in the first period. We fought back, though, and by the time the period ended it was 3-2. We tied it in the second, fell behind 4-3, and tied it again going into the final period.

The guys on the floor had a miscommunication as to who was playing up and who was on defense, which led to a breakaway, and a goal and a 5-4 loss.

This was a team that if we played ten times, I think we would win at least four of those games. Even though we lost, I can feel our team improving, from our defensive coverage to our puck movement, we are playing much stronger now than we did at the beginning of the season.

Losing sucks, but this was a hard-played game where we competed with an evenly matched team. We'll get em next time.

Yom Haatzmaut

Whether you said Tachnun or Hallel this morning, I just wanted to wish you all a happy Yom Haatzmaut.

Anonymous Wins

Anonymous was right yesterday, when he predicted that we would not get a large increase in shul attendance for Yom Haatmaut. We had about three more people than yesterday, and even though I am not a statistician, I can accept that 3 additional people is within the standard expected deviation for a thursday morning.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

What the hell is going on today

The two printers near my desk are both out. So are the two huge copier/printers all the way down. Two printers are in heavy use by other depts. So is the copier in the copy room upstairs.

Normally, none of this is a problem for me. But tomorrow is my meeting, and the people like to see printouts, and since I do nothing in between meetings, I would really like to have something for the meeting.

Aw hell, they can just print their own copies from the server.

The edge of your seat

Since I know you are on the edge of your seat wondering if I ate early dinner to prepare for the game, or just skipped dinner and pushed it off for a late post game meal...I went with the early 2 PM dinner, and if need be, I will go with a lite post-game meal.

When the stakes are this high, you can't mess with tradition.

How Did this Happen

Yesterday, when Just Passing Through was complaining about not being on jrant, I clicked over there to see what that blog was about.

Turns out, it is a free service that collects jewish-oriented blogs. The then list every new post that comes up, seemingly shortly after the post is posted.

I thought about signing upp, but they require a link, and since I am fairly clueless on adding links, I didn't bother signing up. Today, I have discovered, my blog is on jrant, and each time I post it comes up on their listing.

Add it to the list of the unexplainable events.

Game Day

Tonight we have our earliest game of the season. WIth a 7:30 faceoff, and school being a waste of time tomorrow due to Yom Haatzmaut celebrations, I am brining my oldest back. We are playing a team we should compete with, and I would rather he watches us play a competitive game instead of only having the 12-3 beating we took against the top team in the league in his memory.

The early start means a new eating plan for today. Most games start at 8:30 or 9:30, so I eat an early dinner at either 3 or 4. Tonight's game starts so early that I would have to have dinner at 2, which is way too early.

On the other hand, when I eat dinner 5 1/2 hours before game time, the team does well. Maybe I need to sacrifice for the tram and have an early dinner.

Strange Work Habits of Religious Jews

I usually try to keep a bottle of water on my desk. And while it is for drinking, there is another purpose as well. I found a few years ago that it was almost impossible to wash for bread in the break area, and walk to my food without being intercepted by someone who said "Hey Air, what's up." And since I did not want to be rude, I mumble something and walk on. SO then i started to wash, and not make a Bracha until I got to my seat, which is probably acceptable, except not always practical, as I would wash my hands, and run into someone who wanted to chat.

So I came up with solution 3, washing at my desk. I keep the water bottle on hand, and wash into the garbage can. Then i can eat right away, and I have never had someone walk up to my in the middle and ask what I was doing.


This morning there were about 30 people at minyan. I predict that tomorrow there will be at least 45 people in shul because of Yom Haatzmaut. Anonymous (the never-smoker) believes there will be less than a 10% rise in attendance.

We'll see tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Tuesday is Yom HaZikaron. Wednesday is Yom Hatzmaut. Sorrow and Celebration. For a short period of time, bein Hashmashos, it will be both, when the days blend together creating a powerful mix of feelings that combine loss and pride and power and understanding.

Sorrow. Celebration. It is part of our shared history. Part of our spiritual DNA.

I designed a poster for our school/shul event, using color and black & white imagery to try and paint the contrasts. The organizers were uncomfortable with the solemn imagery on the left, the wild Moshav Band pictures on the right.

But they understood. It is a complicated day.

Sorrow. Celebration.

Yom HaZikaron

Tomorrow is Yom HaZikaron. Despite my yeshiva education, I have come to discover that this is essentially Memorial Day in Israel. Unlike memorial day here, which is defined by sales and BBQ, memorial day there is a day where they remember those who died serving Israel, as well as those who died in terror attacks.

There is quite a program at our shul, put on by the Kollel Torah Mitzion, that I will be unable to attend. I went last year and it was quite elaborate. This year they are going to be telling the story of Nachshon Wachsman. I don't remember the whole story, but I do recall he was kidnapped, and ended getting killed by Israeli fire during the rescue.

I hope one day the pain from the losses that we remember on Yom HaZikaron will fade, and the day will turn into one of BBQ, sales and parades.


Someone brought some work over for me to do. Finally. I have only been sitting here for two days desperate for something. And when she brought it over, my boss asked me if I have enough time to do this project, because she keeps me so busy.

Very Surprised

I was quite surprised when I found out this week that one of our authentic born-in-brooklyn former yeshiva guys who currently lives in Detroit has never smoked a cigarette. He claims he never had a single puff, which confirmed his innocence in smoking with his term puff.

Next he's going to tell me he never stole a car in his life...

New Restaurant

We tried the new restaurant last night. Cafe 173 was OK. I walked away full but not stuffed, and there was nothing left on my plate, so I guess the portion sizes were reasonable. The thing is, when i go out to eat, I expect them to overload my plate, and that didn't happen.

Anyway, the steak was ok, the fires were ok, but not enough of them, the chicken finger appetizer was not very good, and neither were the mashed potatoes (why don't they have someone taste the potatoes to see if it is overloaded on herbs.

The beer was cold, and we could keep an eye on the Piston game that was on at the bar, which was nice, but I don't see us going there very often.

Too expensive for too little a payoff.

Who is to blame

I go to shul in the morning in spurts. I will go almost every morning for a few months, and then something changes in our family schedule, and I end up davening at home for a few months, before going back again.

I have been going for the past two or three months, and it always strikes me that if we had to rely on people under 45 for a minyan, we would be hard pressed to do so.

I realize that some people work too early to attend our 6:55 minyan, and other people need to help get their kids off to school. Some people don't bother davening every day, while others go to other shuls.

Still, even with all that, it seems pathetic that the largest orthodox shul in Michigan has the most pathetic daily minyan attendance.

While everyone is to blame, who is to blame the most?

A) The Rabbi who has never, in his four or five years here, has never made a push to get people to come to minyan

B) The Yeshiva Education System, which emphasizes dressing for davening but doesn't care at all about davening so long as you come on time and are dressed "correctly."

C) The Members, who have turned T'filla into a low priority in our shul. We will show up for kiddush club and social events, but when it comes to Minyan, the primary reason for a shul's existance, we don't make it a priority

Finish the Story

Just to finish the story of the previous post, in my best medical opinion, the body needed powder. So I took out some powder, and poured it all over him.

To which he responded that it looked like we were putting powdered sugar on a cake...

Not ready for this

I am pretty good at handling the things my kids throw at me. I changed diapers, and can put a band aid on them, and give them medicine. I can read to them or make up a story or throw a ball or do any of the things Dads are supposed to do.

But last night, maybe it was because it was so late, but my oldest couldn't sleep. I told him he could turn on the Piston game, and then we flipped over to watch the Tigers hold on to a 2-0 win.

He still coudln't sleep, so he learned how to fold laundry, and finally it was time for us to go to sleep, so we told him to go to sleep.

Oh, how to say this delicately. He then told us he was itching, in quite a sensitive area. At that point, my wife, who is usually in charge of medical things, said that was a boy part, and I was in charge.

So I looked to see what was going on...and I just broke out into hysterical laughter. The whole thing seemed so absurd.

How did I get to this point.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Why did my eight year old snicker when he closed the door to our bedroom and we were still in bed yesterday morning?

And then why did he walk in without knocking one minute later?

The General Rule

The general rule is never tell your boss that you have nothing to do. For some reason, instead of it making you look extrememly competent in your ability to fly through things quickly and get through the workload, it makes your position look extra. Pretty soon, your department is a person short, and instead of having to get through your own workload, now you are carrying on your former cubemate's workload, unless you were guy given the heave ho.

That said, since I have a contract and our department is really too small to get rid of anyone, I thought I would ask my boss what she needed me to do. Which is how I found myself standing in a conference room going through a stack of papers, being told that there was a complete manual somewhere within all those printed pages, and I should find it and recycle all the extra pages.

Which is fine. I did that. It was only an 90 page manual, and the pages were in some kind of order. My next lucky project as I wait for my real work to come in is to go through the returned mail, figure out which area it is from, and send a list to different parts of the state letting them know that the address on system is not up to date.

I can think of a a few descriptors to describe this little project, and despite it starting with an FU, it is not fun.

An Anonymous Canadian

So someone who I went to High School with posted. But he posted anonymously, so now I have to guess who it is. Since I went to a small high school, there were less than 20 in my graduating class. Of that 20, only about 4 of them are still in touch with me in any sense at all. There were a handful of people from other grades who I was friends with and may have stumbled on this site.

My guess, though, is anonymous is a six foot tall redhead who enjoys answering the door in spandex shorts.

If not for blogging...

I don't know what I would do if not for blogging. Minesweeper and Solitaire were removed from my computer, and the firewall here keeps me off the game sites.

This job ranks way up there with absurd positions I have held. There are usually three or four days that are busy, then a lull, then a meeting and a day of work, followed by two weeks of trying to find something to do.

Thank god their is a meeting on Thursday, so I will have something to do at the end of the week.

Today's agenda. Got to work. Read and commented on about ten blogs, while waiting for others to post something.

There are five more hours here that I need to get through, and the crossword puzzle is only going to get me through half an hour. A Diet Pepsi might help me get through another fifteen minuutes, and the rest of my afternoon is wide open.

People, start blogging.

Mother's Day other perspective

On the other hand, maybe mother's day didn't go that well at all.

Our kids woke us up at eight to wish my wife a happy mother's day. Then my daughter had two accidents (she's newly trained). My oldest would have refused to come with us to the art fair, but he had a birthday party to attend. The BBQ went late, and we didn't get home until after everyone's bedtime. Then the kids had to shower and bathe. Then my daughter freaked out at bed time. Meanwhile, the laundry didn't get done until after 2 AM, and everyone had to wake up early this morning to get to school and work.