Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meaningful vs. Easy Fast

When did it become both vogue to say "meaningful fast" and assur to say "easy fast." The Hebrew phrase "Tzom Kal" (easy fast) is an idiom, I have no idea what 'meaningful fast' would be in halakhic language.

And that's the signal right there: 'easy' is something one halakhic person says to another; 'meaningful' is new-age spiritual nonsense. You have my permission to say 'easy fast.'

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yet Another Reason to Avoid Gefilte Fish

I put gefilte fish in the same culinary category as organ meat, bone marrow, borscht, and schmaltz: Old World Poverty Desperation Eats (OWPDE, pronounced "barf"). All o' them were on the alta-bubbie's table because the old country - besides having 100% Frumkeit and miracle-making mystics - was dirt poor. Our collective Ashkenazic grandparents lived in third-world countries and were below the poverty line.

Gefilte Fish, case in point, was not invented because (as I think some NCSY clown told me) people couldn't take fish bones out on Shabbat, so a food was invented that ground up the fish, bones and all. This is fish-poo. You absolutely can take bones out of your fish on Shabbat; as a general rule of thumb, something that if you didn't do it would kill you, is always allowed. Put another way, the Old Country Rabbis may have been starving to the point of eating animal skin and bone interiors, but they also made it OK not to die by choking/tearing holes in your esophagus. Naturally, that means that they're not as frum as our food-stamp-grubbing frummies of today. So be it.

Gefilte Fish was created because by grinding up a fish, bones and all, and adding equal proportions of week-old challah, you were able to have one fish feed 5 people. Give a man an intact fish, and he can eat only 40%, give a man a ground up fish, and he eats 95% of it (maybe even the eyeballs? was that part of the recipe? yet another reason to skirt the gefilte).

Anyway, a recent story from UK Jewish Chronicle gives yet another reason to avoid the gefilte: sometimes a normal batch will glow in the dark.

Then again, I can actually see that as a plus.

[h/t VIN, pic from the orig. story]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Razzle Dazzle

Gettin' into Football season...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dummies Update

As mentioned here and here, I find the Dummies Books - and their co-morons, the Idiots Books - to be an unnecessary insult on the reading public. I'm sure it started out as irony ("Boy, I am such an idiot that I will go out and educate myself, as idiots often do") but it adds a demeaning layer of condensation to our discourse. And surely it affects business: like Cliff's Notes, the books are brightly colored, instantly recognizable, and they broadcast the message: "please mock me for trying to learn something!"

My solution - and if I ever own a printing press, this is what I'll do - is to have the same type of books and call them either "Primers" or "Handbooks" and have nice covers. Ah well, they're laughing all the way to the First Dummies Bank while I'm still in grad school.

That ranted, here's the latest entry for my ire: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Verbal Self-Defense" My guess? The first chapter is to apologize for the book title.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

First Day of Kindergarten

My oldest child, codename "Big B," started kindergarten today! A milestone in his life, and my life, simultaneously.

He has many friends there already, and, I'm told that BigB did something his father was unable to do on *first* day of kindergarten. He was brave enough to ask the teacher to go to the bathroom. Many 5 year olds are too anxious to do that (ahem ahem) but BigB did. Yay him.

[Pic from here.]