Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jew for Jesus

Hello patient readers.
I have a story. For the sake of protecting privacy, more complete details are in the mass email - I guess if you miss details you should be on that list. Anyways, I found myself at a (lovely) dinner party at the home of some Messianic Jews (like Jews for Jesus. I am not quite sure). The hostess, who before living in Israel taught English in Chechnya for 14 years, was chatting with me about living far from one's family. She hates talking on the phone, and on skype, and in fact finds herself painfully lacking in things to say to her children when they call, and tells then not to call for a while. They ask her to be more emotionally open, she told me, but she isn't hiding any feelings, she just doesn't have any more! In fact, her daughter calls her crying once a month, during her period, and she tells her to call back a few days later when she isn't so emotional.

Obviously believing Jesus is your Messiah does something to the traditional Jewish mother.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My New Nightmare: To Drown in Pool of Chevre

I have a pretty sad story. When? Saturday morning? Where? At home. Set the scene: Me, my kitchen, really excited that I had bought, and so could eat oatmeal.

If this was a book, a smart reader would have fortold doom when I decided, after carefully preparing my non instant oatmeal, to put a dollop of yogurt on top. Not just any yogurt though, my new goat's milk yogurt.

If you had told me a week ago that there would ever be a meal that couldn't be approved by some melted goats cheese, I would have laughed in your face. Chocolate cake? MMM. Kiwis? Tangy. Tuna? Delish.

I would have been wrong though, because oatmeal with cinnamon and cardamon is NOT improved by the addition of goat yogurt, which, let me tell you, tastes EXACTLY like melted chevre. Oh My Yuck.

I hope I can spare you the pain of making a similar sad decision, when you were so excited to eat your formerly delicious smelling yogurt on a cold (let's be fair, cool) weekend morning.

In other sad news, several of you have recently asked me for photographic updates, and yes the majority of you are people who, while on facebook, are perheps less likely to login 3 times a day like the rest of us. Anyways, my answer is here, and it is: they are on facebook, of course.

Friday, January 14, 2011

cultural tourism?

OH my what an evening.

Walking down the street, my roommate saw a young woman struggling with a large Persian carpet. Offering to help, she was told that it was for an art gallary opening tonight, so we went. The art gallary was a small loft, with a bar selling hot sangrias (or mulled wine with fruit), a little bit of art, and surprising numbers of people wandering both through the art, and what I think was the artist's outdoor living/ dining room.

At about 10:30 at night, and band came on, so we went outside, where there was a band set up in the middle of the street, as well as two samovars, a giant tray of bread, a bowl of mustard, a huge cooler of pickles, which included, I think, both pickled cucumbers and, I think, pickled watermelon, a tray of sausages, and some cool drinks. The band came on... 100% Russian. YES.

The bald lead singer was wearing black leather pants with two zips down the front of each leg, a leather vest and a leather knee length jacked, with handcuffs hanging from his belt. The guitarist was wearing army patns and boots and a white dress shirt and white bomber jacket. The base player and drummer were wearing sort of average looking clothes, and the keyboardist was a woman, who, in fact, I had met in her professional life, and was possibly embarrassed to see us there. The music; sort of Russian metal, and then they announced they were switching to reggae, but the music did not really change. The audience: almost all Russia, half hipsters, half parental, professorial types. After a few minutes, someone poured several bottles of vodka into the samovar which didn't have tea in it. The parental types were more into the music, and the dancing, and yelling out things in Russian which I couldn't understand.

Overall: a total win.


I wanted to give a shout out to a few things I appreciate: 1. Jansport. The backpacks. You know they have a lifetime warrenty? That could be the last backpack you ever have to pay for. Amazing. 2. Chickensoup. You just put stuff in a pot with boiling water and it tastes like MAGIC and prevents the FLU. 3. Bahai people. So friendly! Such nice gardens. 4. Canada. I give them shit, but really they are adorable, kind of like Minnesota. 5. Being fluent in English. Learning languages is hard. Learning English is ridic. 6. This might be controversial but: Google. Do you remember how useless the web was before it? Alta vista anyone? Aol.com? 7. US copyright laws. Did you know that stuff more than 75 years old is... free? Public property? Something amazing like that. 8. The New Yorker, but only because I can't find any way to read it now without paying like $120 a year. Not only because of that, but you know, absence makes the heart go fonder. 9. Creative people. Because I am not, but I do appreciate your work, some of it, as long as you don't talk too much about your creative processes or whatever.

Ok thats all. I seem to have misplaced my snark

Thursday, January 6, 2011


So I should preface this story by saying that I am in no way famous. I did once have  a color photograph on the front page of a a section of the New York Times, but it was the Sunday Styles section, and it was only to make the point that people like me at anti war protests didn't really 'get it' - this was October 2001.

Anyways, I am not famous, and don't have pretensions that I should/could/would be.

But. Tuesday night I went to the 75th anniversary of Habonim Dror North America, the Labor Zionist (!) youth movement I grew up in. Leading the singalong at the end was the one and only Bradley Burstein, left wing columnist and hero! Hero! In some circles he is totally famous; in Berkeley, he could fill up a 250 seat room of people paying $45 to hear him talk with the snap of his fingers. In addition, I have the honor of having gone to school with his daughter for two years when we were 6-7. Anyways. I have read his column, like forever, and in an awkward moment where he was fiddling with wifi equipment, I gathered up my courage to tell him that I love his columns. I march bravely up to him, and say, "so I just wanted to say that I love your columns" and he takes a look at my name tag, and bursts out "finally! It's the famous xxxxxxxx (my name. trying to stay anonymous guys)!" I am sure he thinks I am someone else - I have a very generic name, I haven't seen him for 20 years... I respond "Um, no, I think you are thinking of someone else." "No! From Berkeley!" So he remembered me, remembered where I lived, my parents names, the what I used to do, and was wondering what I am up to... apparently he bumped into a cousin of mine, whose boyfriend lived in the same very very small town in the middle of the dessert as he did. Anyways. I felt gratified! The moral of the story is never be afraid of telling famous or 'famous' people how great they are, because maybe they will call you famous too!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Neurotic Mothers.

There was an article in the New York Times about mothers worrying about their children hurting themselves on coffee tables. Guess what percent of these mothers are Jewish (I guess one is a Chinese mother, but there's a Jewish father)? Ha ha ha ha.