Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Aliyah Dates

So anyway, there I was sitting at home, doing the things I do when I sit at home, and Nefesh B'Nefesh called to talk about something. And then I asked them, just as a shot in the dark, if they had their aliyah dates yet, and amazingly, she said yes.

July 5, July 19, August 9 and August 15. There is also a flight in September, I believe it was the fifth, but I am not positive.

I told them we would like to go on the July Fifth flight, which is now noted in my file, but apparently nothing is official until they send us a letter or email about it.

Still, it was nice to finally have the dates, and get some idea when we are actually going to move.

Nobody Paid Me

nobody paid me to drink my coffee
I had to do it on my own
And nobody paid me to blog today
Or to sit, and chat on the phone.

Nobody paid me to watch ESPN highlights
or email, or search the net
And nobody paid me to eat an orange
while sitting at my desk

Nobody paid me to wear any clothes
or shave this morning at all
And nobody paid me to chew on my pens
or sit in a cube, staring at a wall.

but of all the things I did on my own
where no one paid me a dime
nobody paid me to shit today
I had to do that on my own time

Monday, March 27, 2006

March Madness

I March of 2000, I left Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, where I had been working part time for the previous six months, and quit working at the bookstore where I had been writing catalogs, and started working at Meridian Advertising. I stayed at Meridian, where I was a senior copywriter, through March of 2003, when I started working as a marketing director for Eye Travel. That lasted until March of 2005, when I began writing manuals for Blue Care Network.

And so, as March comes to a close in 2006, it is time for me to once again move on.

For the first time, though, leaving is not my idea.

I began working at Blue Care Network on a three month contract. After a few months, they extended me through the end of year, and then, they started extending me on a month by month basis.

I had hoped that this job would last until the move, but unfortunately, March happened before the move, and so this job came to an end.

I made a strategic error last summer, when they started to talk about filling my position with a full timer. I wanted the job to last until I left, and in the back of my mind, I wanted them to otusource the job to me after I left, so I told my manager our plan to move. I had hoped that she would be willing to outsource the job, but she was not comfortable with that arrangement, and I had also hoped that with a definite end date in sight, she would keep me on until I left.

That, too, did not happen.

And of course, when she got around to interviewing candidates, I was not interviewed.

So tomorrow is my last day. This job was nice. I performed well, and my coworkers will miss me. But now it's time to move on.

Friday, March 24, 2006


When I started writing this blog, I approached each post that i would write as if no one I knew would ever read it. And although I knew it was not realistic to think that no one I knew actually read the blog, having that attitude allowed me to write things that I otherwise could not have written.

My blog is not anonymous. Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows who I am.

Which means that I am accountable for everything I write on this blog.

It also means that there are potential repurcussions for everything I write, especially when I write about community issues. It is for this reason that I never wrote about clients, a rule I followed until I posted the emails that were sent out regarding the fight between the stores.

In the aftermath of those emails, I wanted to get the whole story. Which meant finding out things from other people's perspectives. And I wanted to post both sides of the story. For one, I thought it would be fair to all involved if both sides of the story were aired, and two, reading both sides makes for much better reading, discussion and blogging.

In this situation, there is only one person doing any talking, that being the GOOD STORE. The BAD STORE and the Vaad have not said anything of significance to add to the story.

After I posted an article based on my conversation with a Vaad member, it occured to me that if the Vaad isn't talking publicly, then the only thing close to a public statement is what I wrote here. And that would very likely find its way zooming through the Internet, almost as fast as the original email did.

I don't think it would take very long for the Good Store to find out who wrote that piece, and I don't think it would take much time after that before I was out a client. And at this point, I can't afford to lose anyone.

The truth is, I think this is a fascinating story, but it is one that I can't afford to tell.

I'm sorry. I would love to continue watching and reporting this story, but for now, I will have to step aside.

It was SwiftThinker the whole time

Jameel at the Muqata finally revealed who wrote which parody. I wrote the one parodying Orthomom and Step Ima.

I was trying to figure out who wrote mine, with the added touch of the Deuce and throwing my sister in law into the story. And it was SwiftThinker, who I have known forever, but did not know that she could imitate me that well.

Well done.

Do you reuse them?

I am looking at a box of 500 forks. The box is on my desk, and it has 498 forks left. I took two out to chew on.

On the box, it says that these forks are reusable and dishwasher safe. Which seems odd for a plastic fork. isn't the point of using them not to wash dishes?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Nothing like Corned Beef to start the day

I went to a bris this morning. Going to a bris is pretty rare for me; few people in my social circle are still having kids, and half of those kids are girls, so it has been a long time.

I learn at Kollel on Tuesday night's with one of the Kollel guys there, and it was his child who had the bris.

The bris was pretty standard. They made some brochos, did the bris, and the baby cried. Then they served fleishiks. They had a ton of deli, and kugels, and it was a good way to start off the morning.

Their were three speeches, which I thought was a bit much, but when you are serving deli for a bris, you're entitiled to have as many speeches as you like. My chavrusa spoke in a a Yeshivish Yiddlish, where most of the important words were in hebrew and yiddish, with English pronouns and the occasional verb thrown in to connect thoughts. Not very understandable to me, but the kollel crowd followed what he said.

But I was glad I went. I like the kollel, and I think they do a great job reaching out to the broader religious community.

May the baby (Pinchas ben Yitzchak Dov) merit torah, chuppah and maasim tovim.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The moving guy

The guy from one of the moving companies came today to give us an estimate on what it would take to move. He went through our whole house, eyeballing and typing in his PDA. Meanwhile, we walked with him, pointing at closets and telling him which furniture is coming and which is staying.

Veev and I were on the same page. There isn't anything that I want to bring that she is insisting stays, and nothing she wants to bring that I insist stays, so no fighting there.

But it is tough, when you look at the things you've accumulated over the years, and you have to decide if its worth it to bring, or time to cut it loose.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Someone I know published a book

Neil Kleid, who grew up in Detroit, is having his graphic novel, Brownsville, published. It is available on Amazon for preordering, and will be in stores, according to his older brother, later this month.

Neil has been talking about this book for at least the last year or so, whenever he comes home to visit his family, and it is cool to hear about something which he told me about so long ago finally coming to fruition.

It is a 200-page, hardcover graphic novel. And even though I have never read a graphic novel before, I think I am going to read this one. Or wait until it becomes a movie.

From what I remember him telling me, it is the story of a Jewish Gangster in early 20th century New York. The cover art, which you can see here, looks really well done.

Oh, and Neil's brother is an original member of the Monday Night Football BBQ club, and has gone on the last two drive a thons.

SHAMELESS DRIVE A THON PLUG - Drive A Thon IV, my last Drive A Thon before moving to Israel, will be taking place on the second Wednesday in June. Money raised will probably go to Hazon Yeshayah, like last year. Last year we raised about $3000 with the Drive A Thon, and are hoping to do just as well this year.

Of course, more info to come on the Drive A Thon as we get closer to leaving.


I coach my kids Roller Hockey team. Yesterday, we had such an incredible game. It was hard fought the entire time, and we only had five kids show up, which meant we did not have any bench to rotate players in and out of.

The other coach was a real mentch, and when one of my players needed a rest, he played only three guys at the time, even though he did not have to do that. And it was the second game of a double header for his team.

Both teams fought hard, and played a good, clean game. We were trailing by one, and I was waiting for the clock to stop so I could call time out and pull my goalie (You don't normally need a time out to pull a goalie, but we needed one so I could take off his goalie equipment and get him on the floor to try and score.)

With a minute and a half left, we got the clock to stop, when we scored to tie the game at 4-4. Our team got control of the puck, and put a lot of pressure on their defense, when Cobi, who had two goals already, got his hat trick when he scored with 2.1 seconds left on the clock.

I love seeing the look of excitement on a kids face when his team wins, and it was doubly glowing with the way we won.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Signing the lease

We did it. We just signed our first rental agreement with our Israeli landlord. Beginning this summer, we will be the new residents of Naftali 19/2.

Back and forth

This morning I received an email from a local grocery, informing the community of the unethical and illegal business practices their main competitor is engaged in.

I keep starting to post it, and then I stop, and then i decide to post it again, and then I decide not to.

Part of the problem is this store is a client of mine, and I have a personal rule about not blogging about a client. On the other hand, this is a message that they sent out, and want to message reaching as far as it can. So they wouldn't mind me posting it.

Even so, I am really uncomfortable posting the letter. But I think it would make for a great discussion on Jewish business practices.

Maybe I will just take out the names.

Veevs Believes...7

I believe that the lowest form of food items sent in Mishloach Manot is loose candy. People, if the candy is shaking around in the bottom of your container, I know you touched it! There are fingerprints on it! Probably even your snotty, cootie children touched it! And it's going right in the garbage!!

Please, do us all a favor. Send wrapped candy next year...

P.S. Kudos to the soup and roll senders.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Young Israel News

OK. Thanks to Psychotoddler, I learned how to put the video onto google video, and put it on the blog.

Hope you all had a happy purim.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Uh Oh

We filmed the purim newscast for the shul purim program over the past week. Last ngiht I started going through the tape, editing it and putting it into the right sequence.

There was one clip which was just supposed to be an audio clip, with the correspondents picture on screen. The correspondent, who was reporting live from NY, sent me a sound file that is from a later version of garageband, which means I can't open it.

So now I need someone who can record the audio for me. I don't know if I can get back in touch with our NY Correspondent in time to have him send it to me in a different format.

My Middlest

My middlest is six years old. Sometimes he is one of the boys. Sometimes he is one of the little kids. Occasionally, he is one fo the older kids.

He has wanted to play roller hockey for as long as he can remember, ever since he used to watch his big brother playing in the JCC. The league required that he be six years old to play, so for the past few years, he has been wishing to play, but not quite old enough yet.

Finally, this season, he was old enough, and he asked, and really wanted to play, and would say things like can we go the JCC now and sign me up, so I did. Which I didn't really want to do, since we are moving and I didn't want to go buy him hockey equipment so he could play for one season.

Yesterday was his first game. And because the league is a really sucky league, and they actually only have enough kids for for three teams, we had a double header yesterday. His first time playing, and he got two games. He was so excited.

He was excited all morning, and spent most of the morning skating up and down the block in all his equipment. He was excited when we got to the gym, and he got to wear all his equipment. And then, he was lit up when he stepped onto the floor to play.

He didn't always know what he was doing, time will fix that, and soon he'll get a better feel for offsides and where to stand during a face off. His sweat soaked hair stuck to his forhead, peaking out thruogh the helmet, but it was his smile that radiated most of all. Even when he had to sit down for a few minutes for a breather, he was still really excited.

I coach his team. I would rather not have to stand for two hours on a sunday afternoon, yelling directions at kids. I would rather sit with the other dads, and just take in the game. But I always coached my oldest's teams, and now, its my middlest's turn (and yes, my odlest is on the team as well.)

I love to play hockey. I try to teach the kids important skills before games, like the importance of centering a pass, or lifting your opponents stick when they are trying to get a pass. But mostly, I just want them to love playing the game. And with my middlest, I can see that he already does.

Friday, March 10, 2006

G2, G3, G4 and G6

A long time ago, when my oldest was a newborn, I worked as a salesperson for Kirby Vacuums. Kirby vacuums, or Kirbys, were $1500 vacuum cleaners that had a million attachments, and could only be purchased through a salesperson that came to your house. In between sales pitches, we would walk up to people's houses, knock on the door, and tell them that we were a new business in the area, and were giving away some free prizes as a way to promote our business. We would step away from the door, and then step back, telling the homeowner that we forgot to get their phone number.

A few days later, the home owner would get a call, letting them know that they had won a free carpet cleaning for two of their rooms. All they needed to do was watch a short sales presentation, and then they would get the carpets cleaned for free.

When we arrived at the house, we would begin our pitch. Our two hour pitch. The presentation was designed with one thought in mind; make the person who lived in the house feel like they are the dirtiest person you have ever met. Instead of a bag, we would use the vaccine with a white filter, and each surface that we would vaccine, from the floor to the couch to the drapes to the beds, would be filthy.
There were about 100 attachments, and the vaccine, which weighed about 16 pounds, had some kind of transmission built in to make it easier to push.

Like I said, the vacuums were $1500, but if a customer liked them, they could finance them for about $60 a month, or negotiate us down to about $900.

I was not the most successful kirby salesman ever, although I did sell one to a guy who had no carpet, but liked the job it did on his couch so much that he bought one.

After the presentation, we would use the rug cleaner attachment, and shampoo the two rooms as promised. The name of the vacuum was the Kirby G-4, a replacement model for the Kirby G-3.

I told you that story so I could tell you this one.

A few weeks ago I got a discount card from Office Max. Take $10 off a $20 purchase or higher.

I like pens. Actually, I really like pens. Its not love, but its close. I prefer really smooth writing pens that glide effortlessly on paper. And I really super-like gel pens. Because a good gel pen writes the smoothest.

The thing is, I also like to chew pens. And I lose pens. So I am much better off with ten for a dollar bic pens than four for six dollar gel pens.

But I had this coupon, which meant, as I did the math in my head, that the pens I really liked were half price if I bought $20 worth of pens.

And so I went to Office Max for some pen shopping.

One of the gel pens I like is the Pilot G2. It writes smoothly, and usually dries by the time your hand goes over it. I was definitely going to get some of those. And then I saw it. Hanging in the pen section right near the G2, the G-6.

The G6, I reasoned, based on my Kirby experience, must be a vastly superior pen to the G2. The G2 pen was 4.99 for a four pack, but they were running a special. Buy two packs, get one free. The G6 pens were 6.99 for a four pack, but they were throwing in a free red G2 into the deal.

Being the math whiz that I am, I figured I could get 12 G2 pens for 10 bucks, but with my $10 of $20 purchase card, it was really only 5 bucks. And doing the math further, that came out to about 40 cents a pen.

The G6 pens were more expensive, but with the half off card I was only paying about 80 cents a pen.

So I came home, very excitedly, with my G2 and G6 pens, as well as some Sharpies, and I hid them from my kids so that they don't lose my good pens.

And then I tested them. First the G2, then the G6. And they were the same. The G6 had a fatter barrel, but the ink cartridge was the exact same as the G2.

After my Kirby experiences, I had grown to expect that the higher number product would be a superior product, not an identical product with a fat bottom.

I am really disappointed with the G6. And I think it is taking away from my G2 experience, because maybe, on a much deeper level, I am not disappointed with the pens but with the company that made the pens and sold me a bill of goods.

The other day I received a new $10 off a $20 purchase, and my eyes lit up. Time to go get more pens.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Well, Air Time was parodied on the Muqata. Whoever did it went to the trouble to create a purim deuce as well.

Very nice.

I have written a parody there as well. Two actually, but one is being reviewed for objectionable content, so I don't know if it will make it the purim carnival. The other one is there. See if you can guess which one I wrote.

And while I'm on the subject, Jameel and his crack staff is doing a great job on the parody thing.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More Mad Lib Fun

Come on over to Jimbo`s Pizza Parlor where you can enjoy you favorite stretchy-dish pizza`s. You can try our famous tool-lovers pizza, or select from our list of sticky toppings, including sauteed franks, wands, and many more. Our crusts are hand-plugged and basted in gasoline to make them seem more hole-made.

Improving the Blog

In an effort to improve this blog, I am taking a drastic step. No longer will I write my own material. Instead, I will be madlibbing it.

All the verbs, nouns, adjectives and numbers will be mine. The rest are from the mad lib creator. At least for today.

Here goes nothing.

Cupball is a very exciting sport. Whether you are fishing the ball with a lip, or you are the driver and striking out 11 batters in a row, you`ll be having fun. You can also be the catcher, standing at baltimore plate, ready to swing the next person as he tries to make it baltimore. But the best part of it is when someone hits a fast slam when all the breasts are loaded during the last third base to win the game.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How do you remember him

There aren't too many players I remember watching who are dead. Dan Quisenbury was the first. And today, Kirby Puckett is added to the list.

Pucket retired after 12 seasons, all of which he played with Minnesota. Glaucoma forced hinm from the game loved. On the field, he is remembered for his smile, his gold gloves, his all star appearances, and carryin the Twins in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series.

Puckett always seemed to hurt the Tigers when he played. My memory tells me that he homered in his first major league at bat against Detroit, but the internet says my memory is wrong, his first major league at bat came against Seattle.

On the field, no one disputes that this Hall of Famer was one of the best guys in the game. After his career, though, his reputation changed. First, there was a woman who told Sports Illustrated she had a long term affair with the Twins star. A divorce soon followed after his wife claimed he tried to strangle her, which was followed by accusations of sexual harrassment, and was arrested for sexual assualt

How will Kirby Puckett be remembered? As a player who won two World Series titles and was a first ballot hall of famer, or as a flawed man who had trouble setting boundaries and keeping it in his pants?

Speaking in the Metrodome after his retirement, he told fans:

Don't take life for granted, because tomorrow isn't promised to any of us...Live. Love. Laugh. Enjoy life.

Hopefully he lived out that sentiment, because he was taken far too young.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Friday Night Fun

Friday night

My oldest woke me up at 2:30 on Friday night. Until that point, Friday night had not been that great. First, I decided to pass on dipping in the chulent for a Friday night treat. Then, I fell asleep on the couch, trying to finish off David Sedaris' book, Me Talk Pretty One Day.

But it was about to get worse.

My oldest, you see, had woken up a few minutes before, turned his head, and thrown up all over his bed.

I still feel nauseous, he said, and so i told him to go throw up in the bathroom. Maybe I should have been more specific, because a minute later, there he was, throwing up Vomit #2 in the sink.

Next time use the toilet, I told him, which he did for vomits 3, 4 and 5. And then, somewhere between 4 and 5, he went to sleep in my bed. I made my way to my littlest's bed, who was spending shabbos with Bubby.

My littlest's bed is perfect for her, because she doesn't weigh anything, but it was not very comfortable for a full grown man.

And so in the morning, I told my oldest he would not be going to shul with me.

But what about going to my friend's house. You see, he was invited to spend Shabbos at a friends, but we limited him to sleeping and home and spending the next day at his friend’s house. How, he wondered, was he going to get to his friends house.

Guess, I challenged him.

You'll walk me over after shul, he asked.

Try again.

My friend will come pick me up, he queried.

No, I told him. You threw up all night last night. You are not going to your friend's house for lunch.

My oldest didn't argue, and I guess he wasn't feeling too good anyway, because he went back into my bed, where he slept all morning, and then, slept all afternoon.

Which kept him up late into Saturday night, watching the Red Wings win and seeing the Pistons take a seven point halftime lead against the Lakers.

Every time someone in the house vomits, I am reminded of my friend Michelle's wedding. I drank too much, and ate too much, and as we drove back from the wedding to Veev's parent's house in Passaic, with Veev's parents in the car, I opened the door on the west side highway, and threw up all over the street and car door.

Oh, and as Veev always reminded, there was a unusually loud fart that happened simultaneously to the throwing up.

We tried bringing my vomit covered tie to the cleaners, who took one look at it, asked "Is that Vomit?" and when the answer was affirmative, refused to clean the tie. We don't clean Vomit, they said, a feeling I could not agree with more as I try to clean up my oldest's mess.

He was fine on Sunday though. Or he put on a good show. First playing soccer on Sunday morning, and then playing roller hockey in the afternoon.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Can you do Parody

Think you can write a parody of another blog. Jameel is hosting a blog parody fest at the muqata. The more people who participate, the more entertaining it will be.

Twenty Years and Counting

Twenty years ago this month I acquired a best friend. She had everything: She was smart, honest, funny, sensitive, not girly/catty, and parents didn't think she was a good influence on me. Fo the record, she was OK enough to be friends with my older sister, but not innocent little me. And also for the record, I learned a lot about the world from her and am grateful to this day.

Last night she called to tell me she and her husband just came back from their pilot trip, they decided to live in Modiin also, and are planning to go on the same flight as us to make Aliyah!

I was feeling great this week because I might have found us a house through some friends we already know living there, but this just took the cake! My best friend, someone I've known my whole life, someone I trust and totally love and totally loves me? Could it get any better than this?

I just cannot wait to see our mutual great friend meet us at the airport and see his parents, me and my friend walk off the plane together. This one's for you, NO NAME!

Stay Classy Oak Park

Last night we filmed the bulk of our purim program, a newscast taking a lighter look at the shul news headlines.

We filmed it at Cheeseman AKA Zlog's father's office, and while we were there, White Jack made an appearance. Thankfully, Black Jack was left at home.

Noahsdad was our camera man par excellance, and I think viewers will really enjoy his superb camera work.

If anyone can tell me how to post a video on a blog, I would be happy to post it. I haven't edited the video yet, and it was shot out of sequence, so it is not ready for any kind of viewing.

On a personal note, I thought the panned out shots gave me some nice looking blond highlights. The closeups, however, revealed that what looked blond from a distance is just a big balding dome.


Yael K tagged me with this one.

A: Well, I don't have a cell phone

A: Ring Ring Ring, as I do not havea cell phone, all I have is the plain old ringer on my house phone.

A: Watching Sportscenter

A: If you're sensing a theme here, its because I don't have a cell phone. Or a watch. Maybe I should do a post on life without a watch or a cell phone.

A: Mine.

A: Beige t-shirt underneath a gray old navy sweatshirt. I know that's more information than you wanted, but I feel bad because I don't havea cell phone and couldn't answer any of the previous questions.

A: I watched Melinda Melinda the other night. It's a Woody Allen film, and I do not recommend it, even though Will Ferril is in it.

A: Wedding band, glasses, keys

A: Blue with a pattern on it

A: $1.71 in change

Q: What is your favorite part of the chicken?
A: Breast. To be honest, I am partial to breasts on more than just chicken.

Q: What's your favorite town/city?
A: Hell, MI. I've never been there, but I really love that they have a town names Hell.

Q:I can't wait to (til)...?
A: Finally move already.

Q: When was the last time you saw your mom?
A: Monday night

Q: When was the last time you saw your dad?
A: Wednesday Night

Q: When was the last time you talked to them?
A: Mom, last night on phone, Dad, on Wednesday night

Q: What did you have for dinner LAST NIGHT?
A: Today isn't the right day to answer that, because usually Veev makes good dinner, but for the record, i had a pizza bagel, a scoop of peanut butter on a spoon, tagalongs ice cream and two oranges.

Q: How long have you been at your current job?
A: 12 months.

Q: Look to your left. What's there?
A: Boring beige cubicle wall

Q: Who is the last person you spent over $50 on?
A: My Middlest. For hockey equipment.

Q: Whats the last piece of clothing you borrowed from someone?
A: Sweatshirt from Dovi Edell in 1991

Q: What website(s) do you visit the most during the day?
A: Bloglines

Q: Do you have an air freshener in your car?
A: Yeah

Q: Do you have plants in your room?
A: Nope

Q: Does anything hurt on your body right now?
A: Not today.

Q: What city was your last taxi cab ride in?
A: Jerusalem

Q: Do you own a camera phone?
A: no

Q: What's your favorite Starbucks drink?
A: Coffee. Black.

Q: Recent time you were really upset?
A: I don't know. It's been a while.

Q: Have you been in love with anyone?
A: Yup. Still am.

And so I tag Only Passing Through, Still Wonderin and Ask Shifra.

Cleaning Up

As we have been going through our things, in preparation for packing, we keep finding things. There was an old datebook of mine, which had a scrap of paper in it. On the paper was Aviva's home and work number, with Call Me written in large letters. It was from the first night we met.

We also found a stack of handwritten thank you notes, already in envelopes and addressed; written after my daughter was born in 2002. Those will be going out in the mail at the beginning of next week, because it is never too late to say thank you.

And then, there was Kol. Kol was the literary journal YU put out in the Fall 92-Spring 93 semester. It was the first time in three years that the journal had been printed. It was also pulled from almost every student's mailbox shortly after being put in the mailbox. Apparently, if you are going to publish a literary journal at YU, and you include a story of a Stern girl calling a YU boy, telling him the she had sex, well, that publication is not going to be distributed.

But, if you don't go to class the day it is distrubuted, and you check your mail box and pull your copy of the journal, well, you can keep one of the few existing copies out there.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Happy Purim

I think this video is hilarious

Revisiting an old discussion

A few months ago, we talked about sports. Well, we talk about sportas all the time, but a few months ago anonymous wanted to know what sports did for us. Why we liked it so much.

And I, along with people commenting, gave the standard answers about sports and the values it teaches.

But this week, there was an incredible sports story coming out of Greece Athena High School, in Rochester, New York. If you follow sports at all, you've heard the incredible story of Jason McElwain, a high-functioning autistic kid who scored 20 points in 4 minutes on senior day for the varsity basketball program.

The most incredible aspect of the story is the support this kid got from his teammates, classmates and friends. Kids are generally not supportive of the weakest kid, the kid who is different, who doesn't fit into their perception of normal.

We read stories all the time of kids like this being bullied mercilessly by their classmates. But here is a story od a high school that embraced J-Mack, made him into an integral component of their high school basketball athletic program, and rewarded his dedication to the team with an opportunity to put on the uniform and play one game, on Senior day, in front of his home crowd.

The student section was filled with students holding J-Mack's picture, and when he hit his first three pointer, the gym exploded. Five more times he hit the three pointer, and five more time, the gym exploded in excitement, each time a little more enthusiastic then the last.

We watch sports for a million reasons, but one of them is to watch the underdog, the weak kid, a kid who most people would pass without giving a second look, have a chance to do something heroic.

Jim Rome spent two hours talking about J-Mack yesterday, first interviewing the coach, and then, talking to clones for the rest of his show.

My friend, NoahDaddy, has an autistic son. You can read what he wrote about how J-Mack's incredible four minuutes affected him.

You can see the ESPN piece on this story by going to clicking here and then choosing the link Autistic boy scores 20 in varsity basketball game.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Who's making Aliyah with us

Scott Adams is not. Bill Watterson is. All those text books, taken faithfully from house to house, never opened since finals, are not. Robert Frost and Mark Twain are.

We began the process of simplifying our lives tonight, going through bookcases and playing Keep or Toss. People Magazine Seinfeld Edition, Toss. Final program from Tiger Stadiums last game, Keep.

Shmuley Boteach and Dr Judy are not making the trip. Ayn Rand and JD Salinger are approved for Aliyah.

And so it went. Judith Krantz, out. Jeffrey Archer, in. But not all of Archer. Only a few selected titles.

Coffee table books are not making the trip to sit unopened in a basement box somewhere. Innovative Psychotherapy Techniques in Child and Adolescent Therapy, with a chapter onbibliotherapy authored by me, will make the trip and quite possibly never be opened again.

The Long Season, the first book ever written by an athlete, is making the trip. Tim Allen and Paul Reiser are staying stateside.

And when the smoke had cleared, and we had purged more than half of the books we had collected over the years, not a single Chicken Soup for the Soul was left standing, unless you count Chicken Soup for the Kids Soul.

Yes, grammar books and dictionaries and theasauruses are coming with. Pregnancy books and raising toddler books are staying here.

Midseason Form

The Tigers are playing their first spring training game today, and they are already in midseason form. They trail Florida Southern College 2-1 in the eighth inning.

Grandpa Isy Remembered

My grandmother's second husband was a guy we called Grandpa Isy. I wrote about him a few months ago, after he died. Anyway, this morning, I was standing, and waiting for the elevator. Waiting and waiting. It seemed the elevator would never get to our floor. And I should point out that I work on the third floor of a four floor building, and there are two elevators, so the long wait was unusual.

As I was waiting, the light finally lit up, announcing the arrival of the elevator. At which point Grandpa Isy's voice popped in my head, and I heard him say, as he would always say on the walk home from shul when he came to Detroit to visit, "I'm slow but I get there."

Elected Officials

Have you ever voted for a candidate, thinking you knew that candidate, only to find out that said candidate has changed?

I have a friend, we'll call him NoahsDaddy, because that is his blog name. He is the Vice President of my shul. He and I are having a bit of a disagreement over the content of some purim material. In truth, I know he must be right, because he said the same thing Veev said, and she is always right.

In the course of our email correspondence, he has said to me "I strenuously restate my position regarding the Brokeback Gabbai skit. (a) It’s funny. (b) It can’t happen. I’m making those comments as the VP of the Shul, not as a dude who sits next to you Shabbat morning."

To which I responded "I have trouble believing you can separate being the guy who sits next to me in shul and the VP of the shul. Even when you are VPing, you are still the guy who sits next to me in shul. Otherwise, (if I voted and I’m not sure I did) who did I vote for?"

He has responded to me, and I don't want to get into the details of our conversation any more than I already have. But don't you think that the reason why you elect friends into positions of power, such as the VP of the shul, is so that they can help facilitate things when they get a bit sticky?

I will say that even without Brokeback Gabbai, the Purim program is still strong.