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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just wondering...

...why, with all the hunger and sickness and crises in this world, governments see fit to spend gadrillions of dollars on space missions that will not definitely result in practical benefits to humanity.

Do you know something about this? It's a muse I've had before... maybe I'm just missing something here... enlighten me in the comments, please.

(btw, note that I've added a new post tag Just Wondering. I'm hoping this will turn into a series and result in more of my thoughts being posted without waiting to be written up well.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Best Shadchanim Still Have Baby Teeth

Some claim that they (and you) are bound by the rules of the game.
Some pay attention to all the wrong things.
Some are discouraged and jaded by... well, see
ProfK's post.
Some simply lack the persistence to see you through all the hang-ups.

Tired of the classic shadchan scene?
Ever notice that kids pose none of those problems?

That's right, ladies and gents, the enterprising youths in your life could be the answer to your prayers.
Fortunately, I am blessed with quite a handful of children in my life. Intelligent, creative, persistent, adorable ones... with plenty of chutzpah. And they have the perfect boy for me... so they say.

The first few shidduchim they suggested had to get turned down for minor technical reasons -- namely, the suitors were either engaged already or waiting to graduate elementary school. But this one! This one is perfect. He knows how to play Sorry and Trouble; surely one can't ask for more.

As they sing his praises, there's a knock at the door. Dad opens it as we listen curiously from the den.
"Oh, hello Mr. Right!"
Not realizing that sound carries both ways, or maybe not caring, my pint-sized shadchan stage-whispers, "THAT'S HIM!!!"
Mr. Right goes on to explain how his hosts for Shabbos seem to have absconded, leaving him stranded for lunch, and Dad welcomes him in. He has unsuspectingly walked into a regular "bashow" (whatever that is.)

The menfolk sit down to talk Torah (ding! 1 point) while the women prepare lunch and the kids wait and watch with bated breath. Dad calls for kiddush and I find myself seated strategically opposite Mr. Right. Well, he doesn't look bad. Of course, as it was Shabbos, the only things we hear from each other for the next fifteen minutes or so are two amens apiece.
After hamotzie, I exit stage right to cut the fish while my dear little friend and aspiring shadchan helps mix a salad as he delicately makes conversation.

(The kid should be a head counselor -- he'll never have to worry when the megaphones malfunction.)

Seeing my hesitation (why do the witty comebacks only emerge when it's just too late to work?), his senior partner forges on.

Thoroughly pink by this time, I make a mental note to catch that kid and give him a little lesson in shidduch etiquette before re-entering the dining room. Meanwhile, I consider asking Mr. Right out for an evening, if only to make the kids shut up.

How's that for effective matchmaking?
Bonus: You don't even have to worry about tipping the shadchan. They'll be happy with a trip out for pizza or something.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Meet the Blo-- er, Author

The BasMelech Blog prides itself on providing you with the most up-to-date news (occasionally). However, this one had to wait -- I was too busy reading to blog. Or study. Or get ready for Shabbos. In fact, it was just as bad as the night I first found JACP's blog: Beneath all the requisite Artscroll mushiness, our beloved JACP laughs loud and clear, though tempered somewhat with age (now a ripe old 21, her status as a "little stinker" is in jeopardy).

But I'm getting ahead of myself. This news report is officially about the meet-the-author event to mark the debut of JACP's first (of several, I hope) published book, Miracle Ride. It could have been the best blogger meet of the year outside of SerandEz's home, except that some were early, some were late, all were rushing, and one was mobbed by fans.

For some, this would be the first meeting. Fortunately, at the last minute we figured out how we'd pick each other out in the crowd: JACP, the newcomer to IRL, would be the one sitting at a table signing books at a feverish pace. She, on the other hand, had no difficulty whatsoever in locating the rest of us. The conversation went something like this:

JACP: Hey! You must be the bloggers!
B4S: SHHHHHH! (Joined by Scraps and
Bas: Scary person -- how did you know?!
JACP: Dunno... well, the
way you were laughing...
Bas: Oh right, we must be the only ones with a
sense of humor here.

At that point I realized that we were probably supposed to put on a morbidly respectful air for the occasion of purchasing a book about cancer. Oh well, too late.

The overwhelming success of the book-signing event precluded my conducting an exclusive interview, which was really OK because the famous author had probably answered enough questions already for Gavriel Sanders, Nachum Segal, and her blog readers. Fortunately, the crowds parted just long enough for me ask the question that burned mightily in my mind:

The use of a pseudonym suggests that you do not want to be easily identified.
However, a book-signing is generally conducted by individuals seeking publicity.
How do you reconcile this paradox?

The reply, in short, involves money. While "Tzipi" originally intended to remain as anonymous as possible, having changed many of the details of her story for that purpose, others ultimately persuaded her to go the route that would likely result in the most books sold, getting the message out to a wide audience.

Don't worry too much about your lost anonymity, JACP. I happen to know that much of Brooklyn was talking about your book under your own name already a couple of nights before. In fact, they didn't even know the book's title, and might have had a hard time finding it by searching for your name (had not so many others known the truth as well). Fortunately, they were discussing it loud enough for me to intervene. You owe me one. :-P

What, you're still reading this? You nut! Go pick up Miracle Ride, you need a head start on it already because you won't be able to put it down anytime soon!