Friday, September 30, 2005

Feel better

One of my younger brother's (Just Shu if you've been paying attention) is having his wisdom teeth removed today. Now he will be just as dumb as the rest of us.

Feel better.


At least, it is for those in the Kiddush club set.

You see, that's what happens when you start kiddush club after torah reading. This week we have the shortest Parsha of the year followed by the longest Haftorah.


I can almost taste it

Veev's sister, Leez, is visiting us for Shabbos. She is from NJ, but works for YU, and travels around the country, interviewing prospects and answering questions parents have.

Yesterday she was in Chicago, and stopped off at Ken's Diner to pick me up a Burger Buddy. In less than two hours, that Burger Buddy will make its way from the wrapping paper that Ken lovingly covered it with, pass through my teeth, linger on my tongue, and move its way to my belly.

And that is a very good thing.

For those of you who think its gros to eat a burger that was bought yesterday, spent the night in a fridge, hopped on a plane and then got put into another fridge, well, I can tell that you have never had a burger buddy in your life, and I feel sorry for you.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ripped from the Headlines

I called Veev too late in the morning to get her to play Hookey and go to the Tigers game today, and I don't really want to take my oldest and spend the whole afternoon with him at the ballpark, so I am going to ride out the boredom wave at the office.

Anyway, here are the headlines from Yahoo today.

Senate confirms Roberts as chief justice - Julia used her experience in Erin Brockovich to prepare for her new position

Merchants, residents return to New Orleans - Returnees must have passed their Red Cross Advanced Beginner Swimming Test to return

House plots strategy after loss of DeLay - They don't know how they will ever be punctual now that sessions will start on time

General: Troop withdrawal hinges on Iraq vote - Specific: Troops hoping Florida did not design voting ballot

Dutch set to expand euthanasia guidelines - From now on, Youth traveling to Asia must reutrn with a Geisha

Colleges offer students oral HIV tests - Too many students were failing the written HIV tests

Slow Days

Slow days at work are the worst. Ifgiven the choice between being insanely busy or maddeningly bored, I would choose busy every day. But that's not my choice.

So instead, for the third day in a row, I have nothing to do. That's a bit of an understatement. Yesterday I had to fix a table in word that my boss messed up, and write a paragraph. The day before I had a fewe things to print out.

Today, though, I have nothing to do.

For eight hours.

What a waste of my time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Center of it All VIII...

...Is now playing on the Duece.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Dinner

We went to Machon L'Torah's dinner last night. The speeches were a bit long, but Rabbi J had a really good speech, and the video presentation was good, although to long.

I was not sure if this was going to be a mixed or separate seated affair, and when I saw we had separate place cards, I feared the worst. But there was no reason to be concerned. While our place cards were separate, they had the same table number on them.

We were two of the first people in the banquet hall, after eating the hors d'ouvres. Each table had a different cake on it. There were Pecan Pies, Seven Layer Cakes, Chocolate Cream Pies, and other assorted desserts. Our table had some unidentifiable pink cake. And being we were among the only people in the room, I switched it for a Pecan Pie.

The Pecan Pie was fabulous.

We had a funny conversation with some people at the table who we were introduced to, because we have the same names as another couple who was sitting at the table. But even though it was definitely blog-worthy, it is too hard to capture, so you missed it.

Monday, September 26, 2005

I don't know how this happened

I sit in the back left section of my shul. It is where many of my friends sit, and since we have been there it has always been where the young crowd sits...

But recently I have been looking across the shul, to where my younger brother sits, and suddenyl it occurs to me, my section is no longer the young section of shul. We are all (except Judah) thirty-something, most of us with a few kids, but acroos the shul, they are all twenty-soemthing. With one or two really little kids. And newlyweds.

And it seems all of the sudden, but I guess it has been that way for a while, since my brother has been sitting there for about two years.

Nice to see

Over the past few weeks, I have been getting in touch with old classmates. Some have sent pictures. And I have to say it is nice seeing some of my old classmates with less hair than I have.

Me Too

My middlest loves sleeping away from home. I don't know why, but he does.

Usually, when he sleeps away, it is at my parents house. But this week, on Friday afternoon, my oldest asked my mother if he could sleep there, and he got the OK.

So Saturday night, my middlest asked if he coudl sleep over after Shabbos, and my mother gave the OK again.

Which brought us to Sunday night. And you guessed it. My littlest wanted some of the action, and asked my mom if she could sleep over.

I never knew she really noticed what was going on around her.

Things they would never say in Yeshiva

I have a shuir I like to go to on Sunday night. It is at the Kollel, and the Rabbi brings up a topic for discussion, and we talk about it and related issues for the next fort-five minutes.

Over the past year we have been learning the Rambam's list of Mitzvot. Of the 613 Mitzvot, there are only 60 that apply in Chutz L'Aretz to all men (Women have even fewer, as they are not obligated in Mitzvot that are time-bound.)

These mitzvos include things like T'fillin, Lulav, Matza on Pesach. The Rambam does not include negative commandments on his list, these are justt he things you need to do.

Anyway, last night we were talking about 6 mitzvot that one is obligated to do 24/7, which include Believing in HaSham and Fearing Hashem.

During the discussion we talked abuot how it is possible to think these things 24/7. After all, even if you are working on just doing these six mitzvot, it is very difficult to both fear god and love god in the same moment. It would seem that one could only do one of these Mitzvot at a time. And most of the time, we are not sitting around just focusing on these mitzvot, which the Shulchan Aruch says one is obligated to do 24/7.

For example, the rabbi said, what if you are doing something that is halachikly permitted, like playing sports, watching a game, doing math or following politics. How can you focus on what you are doing and still do these Mitzvot.

I found his example to be extraordinary. I spent quite a few years in Yeshiva, and never heard a rabbi say that any of these pursuits were acceptable or encouraged by the Torah. The party line at Yeshiva was that there was one acceptable use of one's time, that of learning Torah. Sure, there were times when you might not be able to learn, but that was not fulfilling Hashem's plan. Yet, Rabbi Klein came straight out and said there was nothing wrong at all with doing any of these outside activities.

In case you were wondering how to fulfill these mitzvot while you are busy doing other things, the answer is we internalize these feelings toward God, and are constantly doing these mitzvot udner the surface. To make his point, the rabbi said if you ask someone while they are focused on a different activity if they love their wife, they would answer yes, even though their focus is not at all on their wife, She may be the farthest thing from his mind right now, but that doesn't mean that his love for her is buried inside.

Friday, September 23, 2005

I Don't Need them Anymore

My nine year old loves hockey. And why shouldn't he. He has seen the Wings win three stanley cups, loves playing the game, and enjoys collecting cards.

But he also likes baseball. Or so I thought.

Last night he wanted to see if the Tigers were on. Usually, they start their games about half an hour before he needs to go to bed for reading time, and more often than not he gets to watch an inning or two.

I hadn't checked if the Tigers were playing, but we turned on Fox Sports Detroit, and wouldn't you know it, the Wings were about to start playing the Blue Jackets in an exhibition game.

Check ESPN, I said, or channel 12, thinking maybe the Tigers would be on one of those channels.

He looked at me like I was crazy. Who needs the Tigers, he said. The wings are on.

Center of it All VII...

...Is now playing on the the deuce

Predictions Coming True

On August 11, as the Tigers got read to play to Toronto, I predicted that they would finish the season by going 17-32 over their last 49 games, and end up with a 70-92 record.

They need to go 4-6 over their last ten games in order to beat my prediction, and when you consider they have won 4 games out of 22 in September, it doesn't look very likely.

Dishonest or lying

I called in sick yesterday, when I really wanted to call in busy. But it is hard to call your boss in the morning and tell her you can't come in today because you have too much other work to do and can't do your job. And life as a contractor means no personal days.

So I called in, told my boss I wasn't feeling great, and did some work for my clients.

Today,when everyone expressed concern for my health, I told them it must have been a 24-hour bug. I was pretty vague, trying to find the line between being misleading and lying.

I don't know. Maybe I am splitting hairs here, but there is a difference with using language to give someone the impression of something false without actually saying it, and straight out lying. One I am comfortable with; the other I try to avoid as best I can.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

i dont care which one do you want i dont care you took the one i wanted

To be fair, I will admit I wanted the Sweet and Sour Chicken from the start. But so did Veev. But there were two boxes left over from last night's chinese dinner. Three, if you count the rice. Sweet and Sour chicken, and Sesame Chicken.

Both chickens are good, but the sweet and sour is a better good.

So, this morning I asked Veev which one she wanted. She said she didn't care. So I said I didn't care either. And then I took the one that was on top, which I also pretty much knew was the sweet and sour, but I didn't read the top to be certain. I just kind of picked it up and put it in my lunch bag.

So then veev asked which one I took, so I said I didn't really know, I just grabbed the one on top, so we looked at the box, and it was the sweet and sour, which now she wanted, even though it is not as healthy due to its been fried already and the sesame is not fried. But I was thinking I should probably go with the unfried chicken anyway, even though it is the lesser chicken.

So I said, being the bigger person, if you want the sweet and sour you can have it. So she took it. And now I have the sesame.

It's OK though. This morning was her turn.

Monday, September 19, 2005

They may as well go to sleep

Last night, Veev went to sleep early, after coming home from Israel. At 8:40, all three kids were still awake. But I needed to run out and get some dinner, and then go to my shuir.

I listened to all their complaints for one last time, told them I was leaving, and if there was an emergency they could wake up their mother, but I would not be home for quite some time.

I picked up my food, and had time to stop by the house before my shuir. When I walked in, about fifteen minutes after telling the kids I would be gone for a while, they were all sleeping.

Which should just remind me that when they think there is no hope of extending bed time and talking and complaining, they fall asleep.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Yearbook Project

Fifteen years ago we wanted to make a high school yearbook. But in the Yeshiva environment we were learning in, yearbooks were forbidden. Were they concerned about us going into the community to sell advertising, or afraid that someone would have a girl sign their yearbook? I don't know what made a yearbook traif, but like the classes both before and after us, there was no yearbook.

Over the last fifteen years I have lost touch with most of the people from my class. Which is not really that big a deal. People move on, change interests, move to new cities, and make new friends.

But I am curious about what happened to them. What direction did their lives take? Where did they end up living? How did the 1991 Ner Israel of Toronto class fare over the past decade and a half.

So I am putting together a yearbook. I'm not going to have it printed, but it will be a high-quality printable PDF. My goal is to get in touch with all the people from my graduating class, have them answer a questionnaire, write something about their lives, throw in some contact information, and then send a copy to everyone in the class.

I have wracked my brain, emailed friends I am still in touch with, and came up with a lsit of about 21 people in the class, plus another 6 who didn't quite graduate. I also started emailing people from the class, and getting two or three addresses from each one, so that now IU have about half the classes email addresses, and a elad on a few others.

The reaction I got from people I contacted was positive. Some couldn't believe so much time had passed, others thought it would be nice to have the contact information.

I think it will be a fun project, and I am looking forward to working on it over the coming months.

Dudi thought that since adults can't do anything on their own, I shouldn't shoulder the load alone, so he and I are now on the Yearbook Committee. We even have a meeting scheduled for some time next week.

I will let you know how it goes.

Center of it All update

OK, for those of you waiting for the Center of It All to continue, I am really sorry it has taken so long to add an update.

Here is the problem. I think this is fairly common among writers. We are extremely self critical. We hate our work. We have no self confidence. We always know it can be better, and when you say something is great, that makes it worse, because A) We know it can be better and B) If that part was great, the next part is never going to reach that level, so the next part will definitely fail.

It sounds ridiculous, but thats the truth. So when someone commented that the last part I posted was great, every time I try to continue, I measure up to that standard.

That combined with a ton of work coming in over the past three weeks has kept me off the story.

But fear not.

Next week is looking more open. And I will put the mental crap behind me and just continue the story.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Humper Humper

On the way home from school yesterday my son told a dirty joke that he heard at school. He did say that there was S-E-X in the joke, and I wondered if I should tell him it wasn't appropriate, or listen to find out what he was learning at school.

A boy named Humper, he began, and I had a feeling I knew where this one was going. And a girl, he continued, were talking, and Humper asked the girl if she would kiss him. No, she said. Will you do it for a cookie, Humper asked, my son, using a crazy voice to ask the question, clearly imitating the original joke teller. Yes, she say.

Later, they are at the pool, and Humper asks the girl if she wants to take of all her clothes and go swimming with him. No she says. Will you do it for a cookie, Humper asks, again my son laughing as he says this line in the same crazy voice. Yes, she says.

Humper takes it to the next level. Do you want to go into the van and sex, he asks, my son clearly not having a strong level of sexual diction. No, she answers. In the same silly voice, he says, Will you do it for a cookie. Yes she answers. He is laughing now. He loves the cookie line, told in the special voice.

He is very vague on the last line of the joke, probably because he doesn't understand it, when his mother is yelling Humper Humper.

As I am writing this, I wonder what kind of jokes we told in fourth grade. I clearly remember the racist jokes that peppered eighth and ninth grade, The space shuttle jokes from seventh grade, and I am speculating more than remembering, that in fourth grade we probably heard and told a lot of polack jokes. Probably equally racist to the jokes we leanred in eighth and ninth grade, but different, too, because even though they poked fun at an entire country's people, they weren't mean-spirited, and we didn't see too many polish people walking the street. You could have substituted any nationality for polack and gotten the same laugh, which wasn't the case with the black jokes from late elementary and early high school.

When he finished the joke I told him I thought it was inappropriate, and I didn't want to hear him repeating it. I might have different concerns if he didn't know what sex was, but Veev gave him the talk two or three years ago, so he isn't learning new things out there.

As a parent, you want to shelter and protect your kids, and my first thought was to forbid him from telling dirty jokes. But even more important than sheltering and protecting them from information, you want your kids to learn how to handle things that they learn and hear. I can't control who his friends are or who he talks to or a good many things in his life. But I can try to teach him how to process the things he hears. There are going to be many things he learns that will make me cringe and feel uncomfortable.

I know the day will come when he does an innocent search on the Internet in a place that doesn't have the same protections we have at our house, and everything we try to hide from him will be right there on the screen in front of him. My challenge, as his parent, is to teach him when that pops up on screen, or in the school yard, or anywhere else that he happens to be, how he needs to behave.

Blog of the Single Dad

I am a single parent this week. Veev went to Israel on Tuesday and is coming home on Sunday. Unlike most of her trips, this time she left all three kids at home instead of taking them with her.

After school is simple for me. My mom picks the kids up from school, and watches them for the hour ande a half that it takes me to get there.

Bed time is not a big deal; I frequently put the kids to bed, and last night I made chicken for them that two of the kids actually ate. But mornings are tough. Really tough. There is too much to do and only one set of hands. Waking them up, getting them dressed, making them lunch and driving them to school amount to a lot of projects in a short 45-minute time span.

Mix in my own getting dressed and davening, and there are just not enough minutes to get it all done. But we keep trying, and there is only one more school morning before Veev gets home.

I am amazed by people who have to do that everyday. Most mornings Veev is in charge of waking the kids, getting them downstairs, and making lunch, while I give them breakfast and drive them to school.

We did talk to Veev this morning, or Mom, as she is better known in the house. She was sitting on the beach in Netanya, with my sister, my neices, and I presume, my sister-in-law, Golda. She was having a great time, and thoroughly maximizing her time in Israel.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Small Town Man Goes Home

My West Virginia grandfather passed away in 1987. A year later, a woman named Becky Gorsettman, a woman who my grandparents had been close to for many years, passed away. The following year, 1989, my grandmother married Isy Gorsettman.

From the start we all liked Grandpa Isy. He was friendly and helpful, and we could see the light was back in my grandmother’s eyes. Isy moved into her home on Kanawha Avenue, across the street from the Kanawha river, a river that cut through Charleston, where we would watch coal barges pass by on their way to the Ohio river whenever we visited.

About four or five years ago, Grandpa Isy started forgetting things. Small things at first, but soon his visits were marked by conversations repeated over and over again. My grandmother was pressured by my uncles to put him in a home, but she refused. That’s not how West Virginia women treat their men.

Patiently, she watched Isy, repeating herself over and over again, watching and wondering what would happen. Both his first wife and my grandmother were named Becky, and when he talked about his wife Becky, we were never really sure which one he was talking about.

They came to my sister’s Bat Mitzvah, in January 2003. While Isy’s mind was soft, he was still physically strong at 85, and my grandmother showed no sign of slowing down, despite being 92 years old.

The next week, she died.

Isy had one son, a guy we would jokingly call Uncle Freddie, and tease my dad that he had a whole step-family that he rarely saw. Fred lived in New York, and planned to take Isy back to New York, and put him in home that specialized in residents with Alzheimer’s disease.

But the people who had been Isy’s friends and neighbors for decades had a different idea.

They had thirty volunteers who would take care of Isy. One per day. For as long as he needed them. Thirty people who would give up one day each month, and spend the day with Isy, watching him, taking care of him, letting him live out his days in the city he loved, with the people who knew and loved him.

It remains the most generous offer I have ever heard, and one that I will be forever grateful to the people of Charleston, West Virginia for making.

But Alzheimer patients need structure and consistency. It was Fred’s decision, and he decided it was time for Isy to come to New York, to Riverdale, where he would live in the Alzheimer’s unit at a nursing home.

Over the past few years we visited Isy a few times. He seemed to remember who we were, and loved holding my little daughter in his arms. He asked about my family, but Veev and I both thought he was faking. Living with Alzheimer’s had taught him a few things about pretending to remember. The right questions to ask to seem knowledgeable.

Grandpa Isy had a stroke last week. Yesterday, he died. And tomorrow, he will return home, to a spot next to his first Becky, across the lawn from his second Becky, to Charleston’s B’nai Israel cemetery.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Betcha didn't know...

The last time the Tigers had a lead at any point in a game was on August 31.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


We have shown our oldest a lot of footage from New Orleans, and talked about it with him a few times. We especially drove home the point that many of these people had lost everythnig they owned.

On Shabbos, at lunch, he announced that he was going to raise money for the people who were victims of the hurricane, by going door to door and collecting cans and bottles over Labor Day vacation. Then he would turn in the cans, and send the money to Katrina victims. (In Michigan we get 10 cents for every bottle)

At times alone, and at times with a friend or his brother, he went knocking on our street, and a few of the surrounding streets, asking people for their bottles and cans. By Monday night, he had collected over 800 cans and $10 in cash, raising over $90.

What is most impressive is that he did it during his own time, when he could have been sitting around, playing ball, reading or doing any one of a number of things. He came up with the idea on his own, after reading a book where some kids collected bottles to save a dog.

I am not sure if he has decided which charity to give the money to, but I think he wants to give it to the Jewish community of New Orleans.

The Slurpee Response

In my frustration at not having the game's highest score after winning, I emailed, expressing my dissatisfaction with their game.

They responded with this e-mail.

Thank you for contacting We appreciate you taking the time to contact us regarding this issue.

Our Technical Support team is aware of the problem and we are working in cooperation with the appropriate management to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We thank you for your patience.

If you have any other questions, feel free to use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the page on the Help page located at the bottom left of the log in page.




Friday, September 02, 2005

Trying to Understand New Orleans

I understand there was a huge hurricane and knocked the hell out of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. It is tragic, and one of the risks you take when you liev on a coastline. People in Florida know it, people in Carolina know it, and plenty of people in New Orleans and Mississippi know it.

Its fine. You make certain low-risk choices when you move somewhere, whether it is hurricanes or earthquakes or volcanoes or pollution or whatever the poison of your area is.

But here is what I was trying to figure out. Did some guy walking along the coast two hundred years ago look around, see a swamp, and say, hey, let's drain this sucker, build a wall to keep the water out, and build a city here?

Thanks to the magic of the internet, I now know the history of New Orleans. New Orleans was originally built on a crescent shaped piece of land that was above sea level. The site was selected because it was the only place int he area that was not very susceptible to flooding due to its being so high above sea level.

And as time went on, growth was limited due to lack of space. By 1910, New Orleans was pretty much as expanded as it could get.

Around 1910, engineer/builder Baldwin Wood came up with a plan that would allow New Orleans to expand into the size city a coastal port city was capable of. he came up with a plan to build canals and pumps to clear out the water, and allow New Orleans to develop this new area below seas level.

His plan worked, and the city experienced tremendous growth over most of the 20th century and into the 21st century. However, due to the removal of groundwater from beneath the city, the city sank (geological term is subsidence) even farther below sea level, to almost 6.5 feet below sea level when Katrina hit.

Horror Story

With all due respect to those living a horror story of their own in Louisiana and Mississippi...

The following story is completely, entirely true. You may not believe parts of it, it is so incredible and mind blowing, that you will sit looking at the screen, shaking your head, and asking yourself how can some people who have been through so much still function as regular human beings.

And yet, before you read this and worry, I will tell you that we all survived, and lived to tell the tale.

This is a story complete with places called Big Bone Lick and Louisville, Ky.

It has been told many times, but never with as much distance as I am afforded today. For over a year, I carried a picture taken from the scene in my T'fillin bag, as a reminder to what happened. But now I'm getting ahead of myself.

It was two yaers ago this weekend. Labor Day, 2003. After dating 163 girls, Micha (Name not changed) finally found the magical girl. Leslie, from Kentucky. In the two years that have passed we have found that she likes dogs the size of horses, and for some strange reason, is not a big fan of many of the people in this story. Or at least, not a big fan of some of the things we do.

The wedding was to be held in her hometown, in Louisville. The home of the Lousiville Slugger was going to play a pivotal role in our lives. Some might say this was the weekend we graduated from boys to men, and forever, Lousiville will hold a place in my heart as one of those defining moments of overcoming the odds, facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge, and rising to meet that challenge.

In the days leading up to the wedding, rumors abounded. There was one that was continually popping up, one that shook us to the core of our essence. Micha, one of the founding members of the MNFBBQ, a group dedicated to the pursuit of meat and enjoyment of football, was going to havea dairy wedding.

I had never heard of a dairy wedding, so naturally, I ignored the rumors. At first. But they persisted, and what started as a whisper turned into a roar. I confronted Micha a week before the wedding, and he admitted that, indeed, the wedding was going to be dairy.

It was Shabbos of Labor Day weekend, and there was a kiddush. Maybe it was the Auf Ruf, but for some reason memory reminds me that the Auf Ruf was the previous week. The boys and I were talking about surviving this most horrific of circumstances, a dairy wedding, on a national holiday, Labor Day, a day created by Unions for the sole purpose of BBQing.

There was no formal meeting, just frantic back room whisperings, and while we ate our CHulent, we decided to have a BBQ at the wedding. The news spread quickly, and everyone was in. Even the Rabbi.

And here is where we had our first lapse of good judgment. We had decided it would be a low-key BBQ, so as not to offend the family or people of Kentucky, and decided that we would have a small Hot Dog BBQ. Aaron was in charge of the Buns. He is a reliable fellow, and even though he does not have an earlobe obsession, he was the character behind the attorney in the Ear Lobe story I wrote a few weeks back. I was in charge of bringing the grill. Again, a solid choice. There were plenty of people who could have brought the hot dogs. Good people. Reliable people. People who know when they commit to bringing hot dogs that they are ersponsible for the hot dogs. But the Rabbi volunteered to bring them. And so we assigned him the hot dog bringer.

Some people drove to Kentucky on Sunday for the Monday wedding, but the Rabbi and I were driving together, along with the rabbi's wife, Jay, Avy, and Randy. I should mention that of the six of us in the minivan, Randy and I were by far the largest, but that is part of the story we won't get into today. That is all about the ride home and the post wedding disaster.

The Rabbi brought a TV with a DVD player in the car, and we brought some movies. We had been driving for quite some time, and passed the sign for Big Bone Lick National Park when the Rabbi innocently asked how I brought the hot dogs, since he did not see a cooler next to the grill.

Excuse me, I said, but you were in charge of the hot dogs.

I couldn't see his face, but I imagine dark clouds of memory started to cover his face. I have always believed that he knew he was supposed to bring the dogs. And I have also believed, without any evidence, just speculation on my part, that as he went to get the hot dogs from the store, his wife asked him if he was crazy. She probably went on to say that we were just kidding around. No one brings a BBQ to a wedding, even if it is dairy, even if it is on labor day, even if the groom is a member of a BBQ club that is dedicated to the pursuit of meat. And so he caved. I have no evidence of this, again, but in my heart, I have always felt that this is what transpired on that day.

We pulled over near Columbus, trying to find the kocher store with meat, as we had been told that there was no kosher meat in Kentucky, but as we drove aimlessly around Columbus, we gave up. The rabbi needed to get to the wedding to officiate. Avy needed to get to the wedding to sing under the Chuppah.

There was dispair and gloom in the car as we drove toward Louisville. We called Gil, our man on the ground in Kentucky, to appraise him of the situation. He was distraught, and I thinka part of him almost died that night as the prospect of a dairy wedding stared him in the face.

There was nothing that could lift us from our despondent mood. Sadly, we prepared ourselves for the dairy wedding that was to come.

We got to the hotel with some time to spare, and watched some baseball, whispering among ourselves how dumb it was to trust the rabbi with such an important job.

The wedding got off to an interesting start. The Rabbi spoke under the Chuppah, and said that when Adam and Eve were created, they were created as one person, connected, but then after the sin of the forbidden fruit, they were ripped apart. He went on. When you have two halves of a bagel and you tear them apart, you can never get them to go back together exactly right. In fact, he asked, how do you get the two halves of a bagel back together. With cream cheese, was his answer (I am not making this up). You spread cream cheese all over the bagels, and that brings them together. And the love between the Chasson and Kallah is like cream cheese.

We went from the ceremony to the Shmorg, tables filled with cheese, and quite mysteriously, Pareve cream cheese.

It was a long way to drive for cheese, especially fake cheese, and witha long drive home planned for that evening, we were not about to get wasted.

We were at the lowest of lows. I don't know if there was a way we collectively could have felt any lower. But when you are at the point of despair, there is always salvation, and in this case, it was the rabbi who provided the salvation. Directions to a grocery store, and the keys to his car, and a guarantee that we would find meat in Louisville.

Jay, Aaron and I ran to the car, drove to the store, and the BBQ was saved. Labor Day was saved. The wedding was saved.

There were many more miracles that took place that day, including dealing with a security guard and an open flame in a parking garage, and the Chasson's brother, father and niece joiing us for hotddogs and hamburgers. But perhaps those stories are for another time.

To comemmorate the miracle of that day, last Labor day we went to Micha's house, while he was not there, and BBQed. When he and his wife got home in the middle, we gave them a bagel with cream cheese to enjoy.

As we made plans for this year's comemmorative BBQ, we were warned that Leslie was not pleased with the previous year's comemmorative BBQ, so keep this one quiet. Which is exactly what we will do.

You can read about the BBQ, written from only a few week's perspective, by clicking here. Most people recommend reading the story first, and then going back through the commentary after.

The Slurpee Game Updated or Sibling Rivalry Never Ends

I have continued my quest to be the highest scoring player on the Slurpee game found at Scores are erased after a week, so as players who were ahead of me reached their seventh day on the list, they disappeared, and combined with my increased scores, i have been in second place for much of the week.

But here's the thing. The game doesn't work right. When you finish level five, the highest level in the game, and masterfully find the 28 slurpees over 49 seconds, and earn a 5000 point bonus for winning the game, the game sort of freezes, never adds your total, and doesn't add your game to the high score list.

Normally, I would not care, but as I wrote to 7-11 in an email last night, the only name above mine is that of my little brother.

It's been a while

It's been a while since my last real post, but that's OK. If I had the choice of being busy at work and not blogging, or having nothing to do and blogging, I would take being busy in a heartbeat.

I have been watching the tragedy in New Orleans. For me there are only two feelings, sadness and shame. Sadness at the loss and destruction; shame at our government's inability to get needed supplies to people in trouble. This is America. Babies and old men are not supposed to drop dead on the street because of a lack of food.

I was very put off by a solicitation I received from i-Tunes, asking for money to help victims. The money is supposed to go to Red Cross, although since the money is being charged to my credit card through i-tunes, and i-tunes respects my privacy, the Red Cross will never know who they got the money from. Which means I have to trust i-tunes to give them the money they are trying to collect. Which sounds really shady to me.

But the thing I found most disappointing about the solicitation email was i-tunes (and Apple's) arrogance. There was no mention of what Apple or i-tunes was doing for victims. There was no matching funds. The only thing Apple included was six buttons of various denominations and the convenience of using my credit card that was already in their system. Shame on them.

And then there is the NFL, with it's $1M donation to victims. Let's do the math. The NFL is scheduled to receive a payment of $8B over the next six years, which by my math makes their $1M donation less than 1/10th of 1% of projected TV revenue. Way to step to the plate, NFL. Although Major League baseball also pledged $1M, the teams seem to be giving a lot in addition. The Yankees pledged $1M, the Dodgers gave $200,000, is giving $1 for every purchase made at, and there is a big matching fund donation day to take place at all fifteen MLB parks next week.

Gas has crossed the three dollar line, which means that stations are gouging customers again. Where are the government agencies that are supposed to protect the marketplace from mass exploitation? Because I don't know much about fuel economics and supply chains, but how did the gas in the pump suddenly cost station owners 30-40 cents a gallon more on the same day as the hurricane?

Its the same gas that cost 2.59 a few hours earlier.