Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Found!

October 22, 2018

Do you guys remember Found Magazine?  Turns out it still exists, I just haven’t thought about it in a while.  I used to send shit to them all the time!  And I still enjoy the odd found piece of ephemera.  The other day, while walking down a particularly stretch of road in Red Hook, Brooklyn, I found a crumpled piece of paper that had fallen out of what was clearly someone’s printed novel manuscript.  Herewith, the excerpt––what do we think?  Is it good?

“Adam didn’t even want to let her in,” the old woman continues, as though Ava hadn’t spoken.  “But I thought: Why not, after all these years.  What harm could it really do.”  She gives a rueful laugh.  “She used to make fun of me for that.  How gullible I was.  People don’t really change, in the end.  Do they.  My mother––she was a psychoanalyst––used to tell me that.  They may defy expectations.  But they don’t change.”

She is leaning against the door now, her eyes distant behind her glasses.  “But of course.  I thought there still was a chance.  I brought her upstairs, all smiles and welcome.  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

Ava blinks.  “Boy?”

“Nothing.”  The thin lips twist bitterly.  “Just my own gullibility.  I gave her iced tea and a bit of lemon shortbread.”  She is staring not at Ava, but at the table between them.  “When she first apologized, I thought it was simply over never having said goodbye to us.  You see, she’d come to see me before I left.  She brought me a book.  And she’d promised to come back, but she never did.”  She shakes her head.  “When she told me she’d really been spying on us, at first I didn’t understand.  I thought she was making some sort of horrid joke.  But then she was crying, and saying how ashamed she was of her behavior, and how she wanted to apologize to Franz in person as well.  And I finally put it together: the Gestapo took my brother away because she’d given him away to them.  It was her fault.”

She takes a sharp, shaking breath in.  “I told her Franz was dead.  That they’d come for him because of her.”  She locks eyes with Ava, unblinking.  “I told her she was a murderer.”

This is from page 439, by the way.  For whatever that’s worth.  I guess it’s a climax, of sorts.  I mean, if calling someone a murderer isn’t at least an extremely dramatic moment, I don’t know what is.

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Goals

May 17, 2018

EP: I want to watch more home invasion movies

Speak Truth to Power

January 16, 2018

AC: Honestly, I feel like you know your youth is over the first time you buy from Everlane.

Contact Boxes

December 3, 2017

If you have a contact form on your website, which I do, sometimes you get some really interesting and hilarious shit.  For example, a rabbi friend of mine received this inquiry recently:

Dear Rabbi: I’m an amateur wrestler, 59 years old, 6′-0″ tall, 155 pounds. I’m seeking Cantors & Rabbis as private opponents for pro style wrestling matches [sic] at [REDACTED], Utah. 25-69 years old, 5′-7″ to 6′-6″ tall, 160-330 pounds. My homne address is – [REDACTED]. Hope to hear from you soon.

Okay so I have many, many questions about this, first and foremost being: why would the potential opponents need his home address?  Is he just expecting said rabbis to show up at his house?  (I looked the emailer up, and confirmed that he is a real person and that he has recently put out similar opponent calls for “husky men,” referees and ring announcers, coaches, and truck drivers.)

Kind of want to make a documentary about him.  I like to think of this fellow as just a lovable super fan, and not some Tickled-type creep-o.  Just a man with a dream!

A Gem

March 12, 2017

I don’t usually read letters to the editor, but in a recent New Yorker, I happened upon this one, which I thought was quite astute:

“As a child psychologist, I find Barry Blitt’s cover depicting Donald Trump in a child’s limo terribly sad.  It suggests that the problem with Trump is that he is a child.  this is an affront to children everywhere: children are not inherently narcissistic, ignorant, cruel or vindictive.  They tend to accept other human beings with an open mind and heart, without prejudice.  Would that a five-year-old were our President.”

Timing?

January 3, 2017

Dear Telegraph Newspaper,

I appreciate you giving Hanukah a little ink during Christmas’s relentless reign of glory, but don’t you think it would have been easy enough to publish an explanatory article BEFORE the holiday started?

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-9-50-11-am

Yours Truly,

ID

Home Alone Drinking Game

November 29, 2016

My husband’s law school classmate MB, who is OBVIOUSLY a genius, shared his incredible Home Alone  drinking game, which I am now sharing with you.  As much as I hate to mark anything a rival to Intervention Drinking Game (or WKCDS Drinking Game, for that matter!), I’m forced to admit that this one, adapted for both Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, is a real standout in the field.  True props to you, MB.  Everyone who can (sigh) enjoy some eggnog and a little group fun this holiday season, but play responsibly!  (I am a liquor company rep in my spare time, after all, so I’m required to say that.)

For the sake of convenience, I have adapted for both “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (with substitute rules for the latter in brackets).
In order to play, please write each number of the list below on a separate notecard. Before the game, have each player select a predetermined number of cards. The suggested number of cards is 4-6 per player, but really, who can say what is appropriate? Anything over 10 cards per person and you’re getting into “Drunk Uncle on Mulled Wine” territory though. When playing in large groups, it may be advisable to create multiples of the list below, as that will encourage a more social holiday drinking experience, with more than one person drinking per specified event.
As a refresher, until the start of the “Home Invasion Round” (at which point all players drink together), if the event described on a card occurs, the player who has drawn that card is required to drink. The world famous “Home Invasion Round” begins when the Trans-Siberian Orchestra kicks in, and we get a montage of Kevin McCallister preparing to horribly maim, murder, and dismember Harry and Marv. From that point onward, ALL players drink every time that they believe that the Wet Bandits should have conceivably succumbed to their injuries. For instance, when Kevin hits Marv with a brick directly in the temple from a six story building, all players would drink, as Marv would likely suffer from severe traumatic brain damage and would likely die from internal bleeding.
The game ends when the final credits roll. All players are winners.
Here is the 2016 list:
1. Drink every time Uncle Frank is an asshole
2. Drink every time an on screen character speaks French
3. Scary Shovel Man Sighting! [Creepy Bird Lady sighting!]
4. Drink every time Kevin uses a TalkBoy
5. Drink every time Kevin commits credit card fraud
6. Tarantula sighting! [Future President of the United States sighting!]
7. Drink for every transparent 1990s product placement (Pepsi, American Airlines, the Plaza Hotel, TalkBoy, etc.)
8. Drink every time Kevin eats or orders pizza
9. Drink every time “Angels with Filthy Souls” [or “Angels with Filthy Souls 2”] is played. ***BONUS: Communal Drink when Kevin uses the audio to fool another character***
10. Drink every time the Home Alone theme song plays (masterfully crafted by John Williams)!
11. Drink for bad parenting from Kevin’s mom
12. Drink for all other instances of bad parenting – also includes references to previous debacles (i.e John Candy recalling leaving his child at a funeral parlor)
13. Drink for bad police work
14. Drink for every scene Kevin is in his terrifying basement. [Drink for every scene Kevin is in terrifying 1990s Central Park.]
15. MAKE A RULE! Whoever draws this card gets to make a rule that applies to every other player during the game.
16. Drink every time John Candy’s character plays or references polka. [Drink every time Rob Schneider’s character asks for or references a tip.]
17. Drink every time someone knocks over the McCallister’s porch statue. [Drink for Duncan’s Toy Chest sighting!]
18. Drink when Kevin evades apprehension for theft.
19. “Buzz, your girlfriend – woof!” [“Grown men come into the park and don’t make it out alive.”]
20. Drink every time someone screams “KEVIN!”

 

PS: Don’t be a dick and pretend you made this up!  All credit to the drunk wizard that is MB!

Evil Amish Chic

September 2, 2016

Hat tip: a band called Crystal Castles.  They might be famous, but I’m woefully under-informed…

amnesty-i-crystal-castles

Missing caps but still good…

Soapbox

August 30, 2016

Guys, I don’t want to be a curmudgeon, always hating on things that purport to be put forward for our comfort.  I really don’t.  But you force me into this position sometimes.  Case in point: a recent Refinery29 article on miscarrying in your twenties.  It’s a special problem, they say, despite recognizing that it’s much rarer to miscarry in your twenties than your thirties (1 in 10 for the former, 1 in 4 for the latter.)  Why is it special?  Because it’s isolating, because you don’t have the “life experience” to know how to handle it, because, as one interviewee says, you want to “choose when [you] become a mum.”  But what about a miscarriage at forty?  Also isolating, also you’d like to choose to be a mum (I mean, if the world were perfect, we’d all choose everything) and to balance out that whole life experience thing, the horror of knowing you might not have much time left, which just isn’t the case when you’re twenty-three.  People say stupid things to try to comfort you when you’re twenty-three, but they do when you’re forty-three, too, I’m guessing; people say stupid things all the time, and they will continue to say them for as long as the great world spins.

I’m not saying it isn’t emotionally devastating to miscarry, or to deal with any loss or tragedy.  I’m just saying that this is an example of the media pretending that these are new, sexy problems that need special attention, when in reality they are just dragged out into the light again so that the publication can attract new eyeballs (=clicks) by pretending they’ve unearthed some heretofore uncharted landscape of human suffering (see also: the Telegraph’s article on “anorexia athletica,” which highlights an unrecognized problem that has nevertheless been in the news for decades now, cannot statistically be said to be on the “rise,” and is oftentimes just a facet of anorexia nervosa, which they can’t use in the headline because that diagnosis has lost its luster as a subject as it’s been reported to death.)

But don’t take it from me––take it from my prophet bestie George W.S. Trow, BDE, who saw this shit coming a mile away.

Important Programming

Important programming is programming that recognizes the problem.

Important Programming

It if is just a problem––teenage alcoholics who need to talk to Matron––then it is a little boring after a while, because it is only half of the problem.  The the problem might have to be doubled.  You might have to add Angel Dust or Runaways or Child Abuse.  You might have to, because just the problem is only half of the problem.

Experts

The problem is offered up to authority for healing.  But Pepper shies away from healing, and so does Matron.  They conduct the problem to other experts.  The experts shy away a little, too.  Who would have thought it?  “We move toward a full discussion of the problem,” they murmur.  “During this discussion, you will experience a little sense of home.  Do you feel it now?  No?  Then perhaps our discussion has not been full.  Is that perhaps your fault?”
“In what lies your authority?” a willfull person asks after a time.

“Why, in the problem,” an expert answers honestly.

Important Programming

The most important programming deals with people with a serious problem who make it to the Olympics.  It is the powerful metaphor of our time––babies given up for dead who struggle toward a national life and make it just for a minute.  It’s a long distance to come.  People feel it very deeply and cheer the babies on.

Problems

An important question to ask about an association of individuals is, “How does it spend its best energies?”  One can imagine many answers to this question.  One answer, certainly, would be “Dealing with problems.”  One would expect this answer from, for instance, a poor association of individuals or an association without ambition.  But even from associations as impoverished as these associations might be, one would not expect the answer “Aspiring to love problems.”

 

RIP Esti Weinstein

July 21, 2016

If you follow a certain beat, you have probably already read about the suicide of Esti Weinstein, 50, who left behind a short book detailing her life in the Gur sect of Hasidism and her eventual defection from the ultra-Orthodox world and subsequent estrangement from six of her seven daughters (one article says she had eight children, another cited the aforementioned number, so I’m unclear as to her exact number of offspring.)  The book has recently been acquired by a publishing house in Israel, but prior to the deal, it was downloadable online, so mournful and curious (mostly both) readers could learn about life as a Gur Hasid, which entails following restrictions around sex and modesty even beyond those rules followed by other Hasidic groups.  Obviously I downloaded the book, because what else am I doing with my life, and found the incredibly choppy translation to lend the work a kind of poetic tone that I’m not sure it  would otherwise have.  It reminded me, in some ways, of one of my favorite novels of the past five years, Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing.  If you choose to read either Weinstein’s book or McBride’s, prepare to have your heart broken at least a bit.  (BTW, Weinstein’s manuscript was formatted, true to Hebrew, to the right side of the document, which I’ve tried to reproduce here to middling success.)

***

When you think about it, you could say that even then it was possible to guess the future.

1967 in

 

‘Mischief’ I, Desi-year-old, I did, passed by word of mouth and was the talk of the day. Grandmothers, aunts and children, all played with pleasure in the story of ‘Desi naughty breaking pole

Framework Playpen in Dodhfninh           And left free to the living room when she is holding the rod!

What were they thinking !? I’m stuck in a chicken coop closed room for hours, sit down and staring at the ceiling or on

Floor and wait for Aunt Pearl will finish scrub and wash the house, something that never ends !?

Never, never!

I Dessie.

As such, nothing will break or humbles me. And if that happens, it will be temporary. For

Ultimately, the Hadassah in me pick up again, renounces the gutter and find solutions!

But at the same time no one saw. Did not see me, and see the situations that can bring me to use many forces

Have been given them,

Even then they could identify the evidence “outside the box, that is, the coop!

The power to fight, to change, immediately finding solutions

And above all – the courage !!

The courage to break through barriers and go out to look for new ways.

And who knows how much courage as I need to get out of the coop at Aunt Pearl, clean freak,

Peace and order.

She played, but David Wolf! He did – –

Children and David Wolf are two parallel if they meet someone apparently broke down on the way, and it’s not David Wolf!

In my case, it did not I !!!

That I am brave, and if I have a goal – get to it, and if necessary, pay the price, with love!

And it was a short-term goal one year old baby.

Leave the coop to freedom.

freedom. A goal that began a year old but there is no doubt in me to this day, and probably will stay in my mind

And my heart

Until my last breath.

***

 

“I brought you some tea. Your husband told you prefer Earl Grey, but we have regular tea ..” The nurse told me a pale face and ponytail on her head rocked back, shiny black over white share knowledge days

More bright. She put a green plastic tray on a wooden chest to the left of my bed, it was a small plastic cup with blue handle and went on: “After you drink, and it seems you’re all right, you can get out of bed, Dr. Tamar Goldstein, Department of Psychological meet you call 10.00 Hadera, do not worry! I’m here. you are not alone! I’ll take you to her “.. she finished and left the room as long ponytail swinging

On her bottom up micro-expansion quotation disappeared at the entrance.

‘Oh, no coffee even here, I muttered to myself and arranged the scarf on my head modestly, pushing the

Rogue hairs dared to peek out and sat up on the bed to drink the tea sickening missing

Taste old blue plastic cup.

Woman sleeping at night sides of the room, the bed to the right of the door, entered the room like a whirlwind,

I stopped and surveyed her from head to toe, and how it is different from me,

‘She looks about my age’

This secular ‘

The general body was covered in pink pajamas thick semblance even wider .. hair

Curly apparently knew days of dark brown color, but over time it popped probably more gray hairs

Had never been painted, black eyes flickered restlessly while blinking fast .. suddenly stopped and looked at me cross, “Ohhh, finally woke up” !! Called me out loudly as if from her bed to the right

Door and my bed next to the window opposite the entrance there is a distance of three buildings, “I Flory! “Announced and opened a flood of questions and updates appropriate sales have been good friends

Years: “The first time here? This is my second home, unfortunately, I’m diagnosed manic depression, now I

In a fit of manic crazy, I know myself, know exactly what I have and when and was hospitalized

When I feel it coming .. my childhood, threatening, already know me, they do not come to visit when I

Here, waiting to feel better and then I go back to nostalgia ..

good

The strongly observant woman, right !?

Girls miss the most fun, huh !? Do you have children? You must have full children !!

It is clear that the strongly observant woman, your scarf right up to the eyes .. the strongly observant woman strong, right !? I had seen

Finished

Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness “

Your husband .. Wow, he really righteous hardcore, true ..!?

Well what am I confusing you and rave difficulty arises from danger,

Investigation doubt supplier of speech ‘I answer their questions and answers myself and left the room.

‘The strongly observant woman, it is clear that the strongly observant woman. Your handkerchief to your eyes, my ears rang again Flory’s law, aiming instinct, I reached for my handkerchief and picked it up because my forehead, my other hand, I stroked his hair a bit and discovered that pops up at the bare head

Suddenly, on impulse, I pulled the scarf over my head, I let the black rubber band that held my hair, and I shook my head slowly from side to side, giving the hair soft surf on my shoulders

Lightly oh, a sense of delight and wrapped the body release

‘Day display! No more costumes! Loving voice said and gave me a hug

I am a new Hadassah. No more nurturing to the eyes, I chose another, and so it will remain! Encourages new decision I got up and walked to the bathroom first steps visible hair long and wavy, caressed my neck every step and made me feel all my being the word

At the time, became the long-awaited, and some individual moments of happiness, a reality:

freedom.