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Friday, October 26, 2007


Does this make you nervous? I haven't decided what I think yet...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Here It Is

OK, so you've all been thinking...or not... "How much longer can she go without posting about shidduchim? We've all done our share already!" Well, here it is.

Now, I know some people will be getting mighty defensive after reading this, so before I begin, please realize that this was not written about you or your brother. As far as I know, I've never met you or your brother. This is just an observation about random people I have met, which you can't possibly disagree with because it's an individual experience. If you've had different observations, you're welcome to comment about them... nicely.

Next disclaimer: This is written in the boys' favor. I am not trying to put anyone down; rather, to offer a suggestion that will be of benefit to everyone.

Here goes:

You may or may not have heard that there's a "Shidduch Crisis" going on. I'm not here to debate about phraseology, but to provide a small slice of solution.

I've been to places where singles gather, and noticed a certain trend. Though there were approximately equal numbers of eligible women and men within the same age range (i.e. let's not get into demographics, statistics, and math here), I couldn't see any reason why the two would be attracted to one another.

The women, for the most part, appeared well-dressed, intelligent, and sociable. Those with whom I conversed were educated, motivated professionals with active lives. The conversations were fun, stimulating, and easy.

Quite a number of the men, to put it quite bluntly, were nerdy and unappealing. (I have nothing against nerds, by the way. I consider myself to be just shy of the highest order of nerdom.) They sat or slouched around, exchanging such profound words as, "Hey, nice to see you again -- what brings you here?" and "Um." Many appeared somewhat unkempt and their clothes were out of date, or worse, uncoordinated. When they're not attending singles events, they barely move from their cubicles. Think Dilbert, personified, times 30.

Those of you who know me can attest that I'm not terribly big on fashion and small talk. But everything in this world has a place. How on earth are these two groups supposed to relate to one another?

My proposal is that every person who finds themselves unmarried at a stage of life when most of their peers are married (do we really need to debate the age cutoff?) should see a life coach. There should be committees set up in major Jewish communities to do the dirty work. Best case scenario, the coach will see that they are a normal dating candidate and put them in his/her "little black book." If not, the coach should advise the person in practical matters such as how to dress and act in social situations and how to get a life outside your office.

Many of these people would make wonderful husbands and fathers, if they could only find a wife. Honestly, which of these sophisticated, motivated, active women can these shlumps be expecting to marry?

*Basmelech steps down from soapbox. You can throw the tomatoes now*

Destiny and Me in the Amazon

Okay, okay, that's, not the Amazon. Actually, it's Half, not Amazon at all. But this way just sounded so much cooler :-P If my site won't get clicks for "A Day in the Life..." than maybe it will get them for "Drama and Danger in the Brazilian Jungle." But I digress.

Last week, I ordered two books for college. At least, I thought I did. I was quite pleased because one turned out to be very inexpensive and for the other, I found a real bargain -- a "like new" for the price of an "acceptable." Yes, I'm easy to thrill.

A few days later, I suddenly realized I still hadn't gotten any confirmation by email. I'd forgotten to check for the initial confirmation from the website, so I was waiting patiently for the individual sellers to let me know they'd shipped my books... Anyway, there was no record of my purchase anywhere online. Apparently, I hadn't bought any books at all.

Hang in there, this isn't a rant.

So I went back to the book's page, and of course the "metziah" wasn't there anymore. I was disappointed, but of course I knew that it was "min hashamayim"...

It wasn't until about three days later that I realized what happened.

In the time between my first would-be order and the second, I found out that I really didn't need one of the books (the one that was always cheap). However, the amount I was supposed to spend had already been determined a little over a month ago, on Rosh Hashana. So, HaShem saved me the trouble of trying to store, resell, package, and mail an extra book later on by arranging for me to spend more on the other book instead! Yes, the cost difference balanced out just about exactly.

How cool is that?

Thursday, October 11, 2007


One of my favorite scenes in children's literature is the opening of Peter Pan (J. M. Barrie), which describes how all mothers spend the night sifting through their children's brains, sorting things out, taking out what doesn't belong, and repackaging it with love. He words it very sweetly; I don't do it justice.

Anyway, I need that. There is just way too much on my mind to handle. It doesn't have time to rest, refresh, and sort things out.

Which is why I'm taking a week-long vacation from the computer, beginning now.
Don't leave, I'll be back iy"H -- I still have plenty to say and I really enjoy your company. It's just that the only way I can free up some space right now is to completely leave the computer besides for the barest work necessities.

Meanwhile, if you haven't already, you can scroll down and see what you've missed because I've been posting up a storm lately.

Take care and have a wonderful Shabbos and next week!


Every so often when passing these signs, I regress to my teen years and have this compulsion to place my palm firmly on the wall.

Though the appeal has faded considerably, today was one of those times.

I spent a number of years doing this and learned something very valuable and significant: The MTA uses such fast-drying paint that it's not worth wasting paper on those signs. I reckon they do the painting in the wee hours and post the signs just in case someone actually does come by the minute after they leave. But still... I find it very amusing that out of innumerable handslaps, I never once encountered wet paint in the subway system. The closest I got was a little sticky, but not fresh enough for the paint to transfer. I remember getting so confident at one point that I would just lean right on the wall without hand-testing it first. (I'm not sure if it was a miracle or just the logical result that I never had an undesireable result)

So why am I telling you all this?
What's my point?

(Were you expecting an answer? How should I know?)
Maybe it's so that the next time you absentmindedly lean against a post in the train station only to realize as you're leaving that it says "WET PAINT," you won't waste much time checking your back.
Now this is something else that struck me as funny:

Notice how they painted this little strip of what, when everything around it needs the job more.

And finally, just to put this all into perspective:

(PS: Why, with every time I insert a picture in blogger, does my line spacing throughout the post increase by one line?)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Parshas Noach - Rebuilding

At this time of year, I sometimes think of the psychological suspense novel I will never write:

Humanity has been all but destroyed. You don't know how because the book begins after the fact. The world looks exactly the same as it does today. A lone person emerges from his bunker to find himself utterly alone. He immediately commits himself to hunt down and communicate with all living people. After a few months, he and six other people who have found each other reach the conclusion that they are the only live human beings on Earth.

Thus begins a new phase of history: Adapting to the new existence. Whether or not humanity will continue is up to them. They will need to cooperate in order to survive... if they decide it's worth surviving. At least one person believes all is lost. The others are driven to rebuild, enamored with the opportunity of starting fresh. Will they manage to repopulate the world? What will their kids be like? (Imagine growing up knowing that the future of humankind literally depends on you.)

Seven people with different personalities and no way to escape the group other than death. They will just have to get along. Will they be able to reach effective decisions about vital matters with their judgement impaired by emotions? Will they ever learn to truly love one another or will there always be unpleasant feelings simmering under the surface?

Meanwhile, supplies are running low. How will they harness an entire history worth of technology to serve them? Remember, while modern innovations speed processes and make production easier, they are designed for mass production and these seven pioneers have to make it work -- or starve. Not your classic desert island situation at all.

What if someone has a preexisting addiction? Will they have to go crazy satisfying it or will s/he be able to snap out of it in this time of need?

At some point, of course, they will also meet up with another individual or group who has been living in isolation all these years... who may have had an entirely different approach... so we see an alternate outcome. But now that they have met, how will this change things? Will they choose to remain together?

On a somewhat unrelated note, also on the parsha though:
We learn that the world was dispersed for the sake of its own survival.
Notice how the world is shrinking by leaps and bounds these days?
Seems almost everyone is connected again.
In other areas, too, it feels like people are reverting to the pre-dispersion state of affairs. Hamaven yavin.
Just some food for thought...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome

Maybe this is why I prefer blogging... I have this habit of saying things wrong. Not necessarily saying the wrong thing; it just comes out wrong. Or maybe just gets heard wrong.

Then I say, "Ouch. I don't think I'll ever open my mouth again... for the next two minutes."

Oh, and my face turns this lovely shade of pink, it's actually quite cute. When you're not the one behind it, that is.

And now for a classic episode of "What did I do this time?!" with your accident-prone host, BasMelech:
It's Simchas Torah and I'm in shul, right in the middle of the social event of the year. The problem is, there's this conflict in schedule with davening and the Torah reading. I came for the latter events and find the talking quite disturbing. I notice that many of the socializers aren't even holding a siddur or chumash or anything, maybe they don't realize that the services resumed already after hakafos...
So, the generous-hearted BasMelech decides to share the light. I offer an Artscroll to the lady sitting next to me, with some comment about how enlightening it is to be able to follow the readings in English...
And she is very insulted. Very. "And what makes you think I don't know Hebrew?" with such a face...
I smile sweetly and say something along the lines of, "Oh, I just love using this edition because...blah blah something" and quickly retreat to my own readings just in time for the umpteenth aliyah. [hot light on pink face, fade to black]

(I suddenly discovered that I had to go home to put up lunch around that time... a little earlier than planned, but my father's shul always ends earlier and of course I didn't want anyone to have to wait... Yeah, that's me: BasMelech, escape artist)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Just when

you thought



(rats--I wanted a specific picture and I can't find it online...)
(It's Perfection, in case you can't see -- remember that game?)