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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Introducing, for the very first time...

The J-Blogosphere Arts Exhibition!

Show off your own talents while viewing masterpieces created by your blogfriends!

Not an artist? There's no better time to start! Try your hand at expressive doodling and display the results for our admiration.

There is no competition involved, just a fun game in which bloggers try to identify who created each piece. You will receive no criticism unless you request it.

Please help spread the word by putting the banner on your blog and linking to this post. My readership is pretty limited, and I'd really like this to be an opportunity for all of us to widen our circles and make connections throughout the J-blogosphere.

Rules for entry:
1. Scan or photograph one or two of your favorite pieces. May include any art forms, including photos of 3-D works.
2. Remove your real name from signed pieces.
3. Upload your image to a hosting service such as, resizing the image if necessary.
4. Email a link to think613 at yahoo dot com. Specify whether you would like your piece to be critiqued or just admired, and sign the email with your blog ID.
5. Deadline for submissions is Shabbos Chanukah.

Monday, November 12, 2007

On a lighter note: Your daily dose of unapologetic cynicism

First up: Why grammar is so important
(at least if you're a journalist)

I read this headline the other day:
"Dolphins Help Shark Attack Victim"

Who's being helped here? I thought it was a warning that dolphins aren't as friendly as we'd like to think... After skimming the artice, I gather that the dolphins helped the victim of a shark attack, otherwise known as the shark-attack victim. As a popular poem once stated, it's all in the dash.

Next: Things you should never name your kid

I once read a study in an extremely monotonous psychology textbook. The researcher quoted was Edwin G. Boring. I kid you not. Now, in my humble opinion, if you have to have a surname like "Boring," don't name your kid Edwin G! I have nothing against the Edwins of the world... but the whole thing together sounds rather offbeat. And one more thing -- If you're stuck with a name like that, you probably shouldn't be writing long studies that college kids will be forced to read. Try stand-up comedy. (I wonder what the G. is for?)

Another psychology study was reported by Gonas and Yonas. Again, two perfectly normal names. But what is the likelihood of their both becoming professionals in the same specialized field, and then getting together to do their research? Sounds more like a performing troupe: Come see Gonas and Yonas, the amazing human tamers!

While we're on the topic, my friend the public school teacher [at least] once had a foreign student whose last name was difficult to pronounce...without sounding profane. That was the year she began calling her students by their first names ;-)

And finally: Engrish as a second language

I tried to photograph the toy package that sported this line, but didn't have a real camera on me so the text didn't come out clear. Just trust me. I've seen worse, but this one really hit my funny bone:

"The intelligence development of the beneficial child"

And some of the things you can build with it: "Tick-ock" (the picture didn't help for that one) and "Cosmos snake."

The picture below is not mine, but it came from a website that swears it's real:

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I'd always said it would never happen to me.
I watched my friends, classmates, and even my mom succumb to the craze, but I wouldn't give in. It wasn't even a struggle; I simply had no interest.
So what happened since then that turned me, sensible ol' BasMelech, into a compulsive OnlySimchas clicker?
I have my suspicions.

It started one day when I heard that my [former?] best friend got engaged.
Heard, as in, through the grapevine.
Hey, I used to be the grapevine!
To add insult to injury, I'd just spoken to her a couple of days earlier, and she didn't say anything.
Now, we weren't in touch much lately, but still...

Then the same thing happened with another two friends. Though neither was as dear to me as the first, it had this snowball effect on my brain...

Then I got this email with pictures of a baby (about a month old) that I didn't recognize. The name was familiar though... Turns out she belongs to my former roommate. Again, we weren't so close, but come on -- roommates! She'd lived with me almost as long as she'd been living with her husband when that baby was born! I didn't even know she was expecting. And you can't even use the privacy excuse here as with shidduchim.

Then another email: "Bas-Melech, why didn't you tell me that [other, closer friend] had a baby two weeks ago?!" Um... she did? Boy or girl? Again, I didn't even know this was coming... Get this straight: This is the friend who personally emailed me photos from her wedding the night of because I couldn't make it halfway across the world to attend. Even if she was too busy becoming a mom to spread the joy, you'd think a mutual friend would have told me. Especially since, until I was stuffed into this cave (when did that happen?) I was the national yenta, town crier, and official news-spreader.

You get the picture. After months of silence, this went on for about a week straight. I never thought I'd be desensitized enough to say this, but I'd had enough. Even the richest, most delicious chocolate can make you nauseous if you gorge yourself with it. (Correction: you can never have too much chocolate. But just to make the point...)

Now, of course I only want to be happy for all of them. But it's time for the enchanted princesses to take a reality check: If you want me to share your simcha, start by sharing your simcha with me. And if you don't, then don't be surprised that I'm finding it hard to jump for joy at last week's seconhand recycled news.

It came to the point where I was afraid to pick up the phone. One of my last remaining single friends left me a voice mail that she wanted to reach me ASAP...after not returning my calls for about a month... I grabbed two squares of chocolate before returning the call, and I was still panicking.
"Hi, BasMelech!" she said, with a distinctive lilt to her voice.
"Don't say it." I snapped. "I know already."
"Oh." Pause. "How?"
"Ohmygosh, are you serious? I knew you sounded too happy!" I accused her outright.
"What what?"
"Nothing, just wanted to let you know I'm in town for Shabbos, I was hoping we could get together..."
What a waste of calories.
Thank heaven for single friends.
But wait a minute... what's she doing in town for Shabbos?!
No, really, I'm OK. Just give me a couple of weeks for the paranoia to fade out. Meanwhile, if you don't find me here often enough, I'll be busy checking OnlySimchas.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A worthy read

As overtired as I am, I could hardly put this book down. It's intended to be a children's book but I think it should be required reading for adults who have anything to do with kids, for they will certainly encounter several Joeys in their lives.

The book is written in a humorous, juvenile style, yet I got choked up a few times while reading it and once almost cried. It's just so real. Though I enjoyed the style, I actually didn't find it funny at all.

Joey is a regular, bright kid with serious ADHD. His father also had it and it was never addressed, which led to a sad family situation. The book takes you into Joey's mind for a most dizzying rollercoaster ride, all the way to a proud finish. (can't say more because I didn't finish it yet myself, but took a peek at the last page...)

Give it a look, and it will give you a look into a whole new world.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I was so afraid
the day before...
the moment you entered my classroom
you changed
from a puzzle to solve
a dare to win
a pot to fill
a case to crack
a mountain to climb
and became
a spirit to nourish
a soul to treasure
a child to love.

Saturday, November 3, 2007



Bas~Melech is slowly losing her grip on reality.

It’s the only way to explain how I could possibly spend an hour hours days significant chunks of time browsing through art supplies when I have lots piles mountains of work waiting at home.

See, I have these delusional fantasies that hanging around in discount art stores in questionable neighborhoods, discriminatively comparing erasers or something, makes one a better artist. So every so often, when I’m feeling frustrated and down, I go and carefully scrutinize pencils, testing them on the scratchpads with an artsy flourish. Hey, $0.50 may be a bit pricey for a nice sheet of paper for a project that in all likelihood will never be completed, but it makes for a very affordable shopping spree therapy. I don’t treat myself too often...

The remaining question is why I’m sharing this with you. The answer, of course, is because I’m not near an art store now. In other words, this is pure procrastination. I actually mentally posted about 3 times in the last week, but of course I don’t remember them anymore... Just had to stick in a word to let you know I’m still alive out here, though I was feeling a bit under the weather this past week and opted to sleep instead of blog. Yeah, I know, my priorities are so messed up sometimes..