Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Book Review of With All My Heart... Part Two

I forgot to mention another part of the book that irked me.
It uses the words "Alas" and "Hark".
Big No-No.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Dark Past: The Eiruv

When I was growing up (shut up. It wasn't funny when you asked, "was?"), I would always play with my backdoor neighbor, Brian. He is not Jewish. He had this awesomely big back yard, where we would play soccer, baseball, miniature golfing or hide-shoe-find (only the best game ever invented).
So as I became more frum (I don't think frummer is grammatically correct in the Yinglish language), I stopped playing with him on Shabbos.
Until we came up with this great idea.
Not knowing that you are not allowed to make an eiruv on Shabbos, or any of the halachos at all, for that matter, we built an eiruv around his field for us to be able to play.
We found some yarn to use and wrapped it around different trees. It was red (this will play a role later in the story).
So you might think that the best height to put the yarn up would be at eye-level, to make sure people see it.
Wrong. Very Wrong.
I ran right into it, forgetting it was there, and I got a painfully stinging mark going across my face, over my eyes, that didn't go away for a while. My eyes stung from the yarn going into them. Wow, did it burn.
So I hoped you learned your lesson from my story. I'm not exactly sure myself of what it is, but I'm sure there is one. You're smart, you'll think of one.

In Gan Eden Ha'Elyoin

I davened this morning in Gan Eden Ha'Elyoin. (Pshhhhh.)
I went for three reasons:
  1. It was my camper's bar mitzvah, he came in from Edmonton (Somewhere far away in Canada)
  2. I was pretty sure a bochur whose bar mitzvah I went to last shabbos was getting his first aliyoh (he was)
  3. I had a really hard gemorah test today, and I needed my prayers answered
I'm kidding about that third one, well, I'm kidding about going to pray for my test, but I was serious that it was a hard test.

So here's what's bugging me:
There were at least two bochurim there that I saw, who didn't have their shirts tucked in. Now, you'll say: "Yossi, so what? Like you tuck your shirt in always?" Well, you're right, I rarely tuck in my shirt (sorry Dad), but when you are somewhere like GAN EDEN HA'ELYOIN, come on, you've gotta tuck in!! Do they have no hergesh (looks weird in English)?
So that got me ticked off a little.
But it was still amazing, like always, to be able to daven in the Rebbe's room.

What's going on here??!!!

Something crazy happened today in Yeshiva! One of the bochurim just fell out of his seat, unconscious. He was only passed out for a few seconds, but even after he woke up, his face was Extremely pale, almost green. Hatzoloh came (those guys are awesome!!) and they called a medic. Baruch Hashem, he'll be okay. They took him to a hospital.
But that's the second time something like that happened this year. A while ago, someone else fainted, right at the end of a chassidus shiur (real K'Los Ha'Nefesh). He was okay afterwards, baruch hashem, and didn't need to go to the hospital. Guess which big man called hatzalah for him then? Yeah, it was me. I was so scared.
So is it something they feed us?
Is it in the water? (R' Yisroel would have taken care of that if it was in the water, lol)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

With all my heart and with all my soul, A Book Review

I read this book a while ago, called, "With All My Heart And With All My Soul" by B.D. Da'ehu.
(Bechol derachecha da'ehu, get it?)
Anyway, it wasn't published by Feldheim, so that was the first sign it might actually be good. You might not believe it, but there was no Middle East involved, and no threatening messages on answering machines by people with thick Arabic accents.
It was about this frum guy in a Lakewood type yeshiva who went a few times a week to Princeton for graduate school. He falls in love with a 19-year-old shiksah (I hope that term is not derogatory. If it is and it offends you or another gentile woman you know, comment and I'll change it. Ok?).
If you can't see the plot yet, they can't marry since she's not Jewish, and she cannot convert since she cannot force herself to believe in principles of the Jewish faith.
They are both super-intelligent geniuses. Which makes the book so darn annoying.
I mean, I don't even know what the heck existentialism is!!!! Do you? Does anyone?
The author is the father of a teacher in Ner Yisroel, so I've heard.
Since the characters are so philosophical, I had to skip or skim huge paragraphs that I either didn't understand or didn't care about. I hate when authors do that. Let me give you an example about what I mean. Here's a typical scene from the book:
She saw him in his usual spot, leaning back in his chair, legs out, his yarmulke covering part of his eyes, and he was staring up at the ceiling, deep in thought. She came over and sat down opposite him. "Earth to Josh," she said. He blinked and looked at her. She propped her elbow on the table, leaned her head on her hand, and asked, "So tell me about existentialism." He smiled, and started to speak: "Existentialism is....."
Do you see what I mean? I wasn't quoting from the book, but that scene appears like twenty times. And then Josh would just drone on about some philosophical topic. It seems to me that the author had some great essay ideas, but instead of writing them up individually, he just stuck them into a story. Why do that? It made the book so annoying to read!!
Another book that did that was "1984", by George Orwell. The main character got his hands on a secret book about how to take down the Big Brother government. So a scene would be:
and the main character opened the book and began reading:..........................
And it would go on for pages and pages, all boring analytical essays about governments, which the main character was reading from a book, in the book "1984". I hope that didn't confuse you.
Another thing I didn't like was how the author kept having the girl(Chris, if I remember correctly) say over and over again, "I love you, Josh, with all my heart and with all my soul!" This was said twenty five times! We get it, B. D. Da'ehu, we get it. It's the title of your book. Yeah, we're not stupid.
Overall, the book was not bad, and you might enjoy it. I won't ruin it by telling you if any characters die or whatever. The ending is obviously one of two options: they get together or they don't.
He was supposed to make a sequel, though, 15 years ago, so if that is any indication that some main characters might live, then you can take it as so. But there is no sequel yet.
For my personal opinion on the book: It was pretty good. I felt that most of their feelings were true and brought out well. I do think that it is a stretch though when the characters both are like: "I know that nobody else is out there for me, that you are the only I can marry, and if I can't marry you, I'll end up marrying nobody." That doesn't seem possible for anyone to think, especially about somebody not Jewish. We each have our Bashert, and she is most definately Jewish.

We Are All Winners, But Especially Me

Our teachers, coaches, parents, v'chulu, all say how we're all winners.
Over this weekend, I rose one step above that. I won the Lottery!!!!!!!!!!
Here's what went down:
Basically, I bought two scratch off lottery tickets, 1 for 1 dollar, and 1 for 2 dollars.
And the $1 ticket won me $1, and I won $2 from the $2 dollar ticket!!!
I won three dollars!!!!!!
Imagine what kind of thoughts were dancing in my head about wild plans for my newfound fortune!
If we were in the times of yore, in times of our forefathers, I surely would have built a mizbeach and sacrifice a big bull as a thanksgiving offering. Since I couldn't, I just got back into the car, and grinned.
On Sunday I made sure to stop in that same state where I bought the tickets. I would tell you which state, but then everyone would buy from there, and soon the state would see that there is a fault with their lottery and they would change the tickets and nobody would win such huge amounts so easily anymore. You understand.
So I walked into the gas station store, and went up to the girl at the cashier. I didn't see any signs for the lottery, so I asked her if I could redeem my winnings there. She said I could (she had this hilarious southern accent, I almost laughed in her face. But I didn't. That would have been rude.).
I took out my first ticket and said with a straight face: "So on this one I won 1 million dollars".
She totally flipped. She was like, "Oh my gosh!!! Why, we can't give you that here!!!" She was almost hysterical with amazement at my winnings. It was so funny that she actually believed me.
I started to laugh, and told her I was joking.
Anyway, so with my three dollar winnings, I kept one dollar (all those years in elementary school paid off; I knew how to invest and save) and with the other two I bought another two dollar ticket.
And guess what?
I won SIX BIG BUCKS!!!!
That's right. So when I brought it back to the cashier, her manager was also there, and he asked me what I wanted with my six dollars.
"Oh, I want six dollars," I told him, "because I want to stop while I'm ahead."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I've Finally Done It!

After almost two years of being elgible, I've finally achieved it. I have received something most only dream and fantasize about. I received my first jury summons!!!
Isn't that so cool?
I mean, I think every single person has at least once envisioned what it would be like to be in a sequesterned jury (that's the term, right?) for a three week highly publicized murder trial, and everyone is saying one thing, and you're there fighting for what you believe is truly the right decision of his guilt...
Or maybe you haven't thought about it.
But I can tell that you're still jealous of me. I'll be doing it when I'm home for Pesach, G-d willing, since I'm too busy in yeshiva learning and updating my blog.

Oh, and don't expect me to tell you during the trial about what's happening. I take these things very seriously. The pamphlet they sent said something like: to serve and to... well I can't remember now, but it made it sound very cool and very patriotic.

I Have Left The Rebbe's Daled Amos, Physically

I'm typing this post in the nation's capital. No, not Miami. Washington, D.C. of course!
I'm on my way to...... somewhere. I should have a really awesome shabbos.
And like my post title says, I have only left the Rebbe's Daled Amos physically; as the Rebbe's Chossid, I can never leave spiritually.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Shabbaton To Buffalo, Part 3




This is a picture of our mushroom-barley soup on Sunday evening of our shabbaton. It was a day late, remember.













This is a random photo I found from stock photos of a loser who couldn't ski. It is most definitely not a picture of myself on my shabbaton to Buffalo; I am actually an excellent skier.

Monday, February 11, 2008

ARRGH, I Can't Stand It When:

There are lots of things I can't stand. Here are a few:

  1. Short people/Being short with an umbrella
  2. Eating somewhere where the bathroom is right next to the dining room! I mean, I've eaten at a few places where it is right off of the dining room, and everyone can hear exactly how your business is coming along! Why do people put bathrooms right there? At this one place, the bathroom was right off of the dining room, and the kitchen as well! So there were a whole group of women chatting in there, and a lot of guests in the dining room, you tell me where my privacy comes in!!?? I mean, thank G-d the light was off, so even though I could have used it anyway (Yeah, I'm just so talented. It wasn't completely dark), instead I used it as an excuse to ask for a bathroom upstairs. It's just so unnerving, though, the whole thing! You have to turn on the sink, or keep flushing, just to make sure nobody can hear you. arrrrgh.
  3. You get a haircut, and have thousands of tiny little hairs all over you, and when you want to shower, you find out that in your dormitory, the water is mysteriously not working, and only very, very cold water comes out of a shower on the second floor. And since this is the only source of running water, you've gotta just psyche yourself up and plunge your head into that darn cold shower, and when you finish, since you didn't shower properly, the whole day you itch all over from tiny hairs that are still on you. (This happened today, by the way. Otherwise I wouldn't have known about its existence at all as something I can't stand.)

I'm sure I'll remember more later.

I'm Gonna Be Famous In Japan

So Mendy Pellin has been getting quite a bit of media attention, appearing on Leno, and being written up in the N.Y. Times.
Therefore, this Japanese tv show called: streets of New York, wanted to do a documentary on him. And since he went to my yeshiva, they came in to film us davening, learning, and speaking to mendy on his own show for Chabad Tube.
They interviewed me and another guy, and Mendy had us do some stupid stuff for his show. He is a funny guy, but the humor is kind of lame, in my opinion. But it's cool about the Japanese show, because they said they get 68 million viewers a week. MILLION. That's a lot. My friend who got interviewed with me also happens to be my advertiser. That means that he goes to other blogs, posts comments in my name and write my blog address, then he tells me after he already does it, hears me flip out about it, and does it again. So I thought for sure he was going to say my blog's name in the interview, but he forgot. Imagine if I suddenly got a huge, 20,000 following in Japan. Wouldn't that be cool?
But then, an ominous thought occurred to me. What if it was all fake? A big prank? That Mendy was just doing it for his own show, and he hired these phony Japanese people? That would be...... awesome!! That would be the funniest thing ever. It would totally make me respect and appreciate Mendy Pellin more.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's Time To Get Happy!

So it's Rosh Chodesh Adar Rishon.
And when it's adar, every day is supposed to be filled with more joy than the previous.
Ergo (hence, therefore...pick which one u like) I must tell you some jokes.

  1. Why does the bride wear white at her wedding? So that the fridge will match with the dishwasher!!
  2. What's worse than a male chauvinist pig? A woman who doesn't do what she's told!
There is a third one that I know which would complete the trio of sexist jokes, but it needs a bad word, which I refuse to write on my blog. But trust me, it's pretty funny.
Now I feel bad that the jokes are mean and have no Toichen, so here are some chassidish jokes to match:
  1. What did Ze'er Anpin say to Arich Anpin? "Why the long face?"!
  2. How many Avinu Malkeinu's are there? Only one!!
Now, there was a third chauvinist joke, which was inappropriate, so maybe I should put an inappropriate chassidish joke on, but I think that's an oxymoron. Oh, but maybe there can be a chassidish inappropriate joke? What would be the difference between a chassidish inappropriate joke and an inappropriate chassidish joke? Wow, my head is starting to hurt.

*OKAY, LET'S GET ONE THING CLEAR: I am not a sexist or a chauvinist. I love women, and I think they are great and are just as equal if not better than us. I merely put those jokes up because I found them funny. Can I think those jokes are funny and not be a male chauvinist? You bet. Just like I can laugh at a racist joke and not be a racist, or be fat and think fat jokes are funny. It does not make me a hypocrite. But I'm sure you all think I'm totally wrong, and I'll here all about in the comments...

And one last joke before I sign off, and this one is truly a classic:
Where does the king keep his armies? In his sleevies!!!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Some Little Funny Bits

So I was speaking with my great aunt yesterday. She is 92, Kenaina Hara, and may G-d bentch her to live 90 more happy and healthy years. Anyway, I told her that I went skiing, and she was very amazed. I asked her if she had ever gone skiing. "No," she told me, "but I did go roller skating once!" I started laughing, but she continued and said, "And I almost broke both my hips!"
I guess it was much more of a dangerous activity than it is now. Maybe there are new regulations... but there clearly is a generation gap.

And yesterday, this guy in my Yeshiva was telling us that when he was a little younger, he bought a poof, like a body sponge to use in the shower. It hurt him a lot, and formed marks on his skin.
He said it turned out to be steel wool!!!! He wondered why they were selling it in the kitchen department!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Not A Laughing Matter

This is not suitable for young readers.

This is not a funny post at all. AT ALL.
On Friday I was coming back from Mivtzoim, on the 4 subway, and I wanted to stop and get off at the Atlantic Center to go to Target. As I walked off the subway car, I noticed right away that something was wrong. People were pointing down and screaming. I looked, and two feet away, on the ground, there was a man lying on his back, motionless. I first thought it was a prank. Then I saw the POOL OF BLOOD!!! around his head, and then I thought he was dead, G-d forbid.
We could see his arm twitching a little, and you could hear his slow, labored breathing. It was awful! The man was dying! His eyes were bloodshot and not focusing on anything. I have never seen something so scary in my life!
Have you ever heard about the deer in the headlights syndrome, when panic and adrenaline kind of overtake you, and you just forget what to do? It was exactly like that. I couldn't think. I was getting slightly dizzy, I couldn't look at the poor man. I got a little nauseous too. I finally whipped out my phone to call 911, then realized others had already done that.
I knew very very basic first aid, but I could see nothing I could do to help him.
Some girls I asked who had seen it happen told me that he was looking out for the train, and it came and smacked him in the face and forced him to fly backwards. His wallet was out, but that was probably because someone took it out to identify him.
I realized later that maybe I could have helped by tilting his mouth and making sure he didn't drown in his own blood, but I was just scared and there were twenty other people around.
A minute later, the subway security came, shooing us away. About four minutes later we heard sirens. A half hour later, after I finished my shopping, the 4 train was still not running.
I hope that man made it through the night. Everyone tells me he had little chance of surviving.
I was worried I might have been traumatized. I asked someone in my yeshiva, and he told me I didn't look it. I answered that maybe I just take it well. He told me that that means I'm not traumatized. Oh.
Anyway, I get dizzy just thinking about it again. It will be a long time until I can forget that image. It was really the scariest thing I've ever seen

* HaArah LeAcher Zman: Someone told me that online it says that the man lived. So baruch hashem.

So I Donated Blood, Right? Part 2

Yeah, I forgot to say in my old post that my blood type is: O+
Feel free to insert your own corny joke here ____________.
(If you need help, I could suggest something like: "so those of you who need G-d forbid a blood transfusion, email me" but that's not something I myself would use. I would probably go more for a joke about vampires. But whatever, you can choose.)

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Month Of February

This month is Black History Month.
I once heard a black comedian complaining about the month they were given.
"Well, it's nice we got a month, but of course it had to be the shortest month of the year. And we can't make no parades, neither, 'cause it's the coldest, too!"
So let's all celebrate the African Americans who helped form our country.
Like Will Smith, Michael Jordan, Denzel Washington, Halle Barry, Snoop Dog and Jackie Robinson.

Happy Anniversary

Well, it's my one month anniversary on this blog.
I know there are metals associated with the years, like gold and platinum for 50 years, etc.
So what is there for one month?
I guess it's my tinfoil anniversary.
Or maybe it's still just my rust anniversary.