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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Mormons and Lumberyards

A few years ago, on a beautiful Friday afternoon, I was sitting on the front porch of my apartment with a friend. We were each lost in our own thoughts when he mused to me that I condescend to people.

"I what?!"
"You condescend to people. Well, to people who you think are stupider than you."
"I do not!"
"Yes you do."
"I do not!"
"Yes you do."
"I do not!"
"Yes you do."
"I do not!"
"Yes you do."
"I do not!"
"Yes you do."
"I do not!"
"Yes you do."
"I do not!"
"Yes, L&F, you do."
"Dang, I do?"
"Yes, you do."
"Dang."

After much thought, I realized that he was right. I most definitely didn't do it on purpose, and everyone who knows me knows that I'd never purposely talk down to people. 

Since then, I've worked on myself a lot to try and rid myself of that horrible trait.

I thought I had been successful.

Until this semester. 

I have a classmate who... well, read the story and draw your own conclusion.

The professor was giving us a Calculus question. He arbitrarily chose wooden fencing as the material he would use in the example. Then this happened:

Guy: "Where does the wood come from?"
Professor: "Huh? What does it matter? Say it came from the lumberyard."
Guy: "Mormons!"
Me: "What the...."
Rest of class: "Huh?"
Professor: "What do you mean?"
Guy: "Well, I saw something once where a Mormon said that he and his father both worked in lumberyards."
Class and Professor: "So?"
Guy: "Well, obviously, all Mormons who work work in lumberyards. Don't get me wrong, not only Mormons work in lumberyards, but all Mormons that work work in lumberyards."
Me: Bursts out crying in pain.
Rest of Class: "What the...."
Professor: Burst out laughing and grabs onto desk to support himself. 
Guy: "What?! It makes perfect sense."

Once the professor calmed down, the class stopped looking around in bewilderment and I stopped trying to throw myself out the nearby window, the professor tried (and failed miserably) to explain with a straight face where the guy had gone wrong. To this day, no one is quite sure if he understood.

This is but one anecdote of too many to count, and it would be far too traumatizing for me to try and recall.

It's this guy who I have to deal with multiple times a week, for hours at a time. 

This guy who has caused me to revert back to my old ways and condescend when forced to talk to him.

I tried, I tried so hard. I just can't deal with him. 

How bad is this, reading it from an unbiased perspective?

Friday, December 20, 2013

"Just 10"

So, I got an email from a friend about this new "Shidduch Initiative" that I think is very interesting. It isn't a new idea per se, but I think it's a good idea and going to sign up for it, just for the heckuvit.

"Meet 10 new singles of the opposite gender in real life every week." I'm always game for something like that. If nothing else, it's a good opportunity to do some much needed socializing.

I've been to one single's event. The idea was to meet other singles who all knew our hosts and think of someone we knew for them (while keeping an eye out for ourselves as well, of course, but that wasn't the main idea). I never saw the need for me to go to one, but never saw a reason not to go to one. So why not?

"Its really simple.You tell us a little about yourself and a basic sketch of what your looking for. When we get a group of ten guys and ten girls that are all in the same basic category we will throw an event hosted at someones house (in Brooklyn, for now). As the list of interested people grows we will notify you when there is a new group of  befitting 10 singles that are ready to meet and we will host another party. So long as there is a group of 10 new singles for you to meet we will notify you and host a intimate gathering if there is interest from everybody involved." 

For $10, why not? For 2 hours of fun you won't get a better deal than that.

"We believe that a major factor that makes the jewish orthodox dating scene so ineffective is that it takes too long to even meet someone for an initiail first meeting." Not a fan of this line, but eh, don't really care about the thought process behind the idea, just what the idea is. 

The only real criticism that I have is the options for the box I have to place myself in. I'm not Modern Orthodox, Semi Ultra Orthodox, Ultra Orthodox, Yeshivish or Chassidish. Of those options, I'm "Yeshivish" but I wouldn't consider myself yeshivish. I'll make a note of it to them.

You can sign up at justten.org. (I've really got do something about this link issue, huh?)

So, what are your thoughts on the idea? Would you go to such an event?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Not the Boss

There's a very good reason that I'm not the owner of the company I work for. I am one of the higher ups in the company, but not the boss and not the owner.

Thank heavens for that. Some of my clients are insane. They also can't acknowledge that they're insane (who would?). Being insane is a challenge that many people have to deal with- I'm just not very good at dealing with them.

Which is why when I got accused of something that was so utterly and completely not in the realm of sanity, I wrote an email.

I write a lot of emails. But this one happened to be, well, eviscerating. Among other insults, I compared this person's ability to write an email to the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial. (See here for the article in case you missed it.)

It was fun to write, but I had the presence of mind to share it with my boss and ask him if I could send it over.

He said no :-(

When he said no, he shared with me why he was saying no. Yes, this person deserves to read this email. Yes, this person made a huge mistake and then blamed it on me. And yes, this person is insane.

But, in his words, there's x amount of frustration and anger in this world. Let us end this small piece of it, that's in our lives, here and now.

Learning to say nothing is really really really really really really really difficult. I'm not there yet.

That's why it's nice to have a boss who has already learned how to say nothing.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Left Out

I took some time today to comment on a bunch of blogs that I read, or attempt to read. (How do you all have time to write, read and comment?!)

But I felt so left out.

All of you have word verification on and I don't.

That's a blessing right? I'm lucky enough that I don't have underpaid slaves in third-world countries attempting to use my blog as their platform for SEO purposes. It's great.

I feel so left out that all of you (sadiiiissttssss!!) get away with doling out headaches to one another trying to interpret those ridiculously distorted characters. Yet here I am being all nice and gentle on your heads.

It's only fair that I repay the favor, no?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

New York, Israel and Teenagers

For those of you who haven't figured it out (and if you have, what gave it away?!), I live in New York.

It's a great place for a single person working and in school to live; their is always Kosher food available somewhere. It is so incredibly convenient, I can't imagine living in a place while single that isn't New York.

At the same time, I can't see myself living in New York with kids. Specifically Brooklyn I suppose.

The same is true for Israel. While I would love to make Aliyah, the impossible challenge of raising kids becomes unimaginable to the point where I consider it completely preposterous. For me anyway. I know people who have done it, and I see them as miracle-workers.

True, at some point, anyone who has successfully raised their children to be healthy, religious, etc. is a miracle-worker, but I feel it's especially true when living in Israel or Brooklyn.

I'm not sure what it is about these places, but I feel, based on what I've seen and heard, that there is a disproportionate amount of teenagers who get messed up. I mean, unhealthy, irreligious, etc.

I was shmoozing with one of these kids who at one point attended a regular yeshiva in New York, and he was telling me that guys who were once friends of his are now in gangs on the streets killing each other- literally.

It's insanity. Is it the yeshivos and girls high schools? The black and white of it? The intransigence of the yeshiva system to adapt to how the metzius of living in America has changed?

I don't know, but the idea of raising kids in Brooklyn scares the bejeezus out of me. (Then again, the idea of raising kids at all scares the bejeezus out of me too :-) I was told that that's a good thing though!)

Why I'm thinking about this as a single guy at 3:25 am is beyond me, but it's what was on mind.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Disaster!!!!!!!!!!

I messed up, royally. I've been working for this company for close to a year and I have never made a mistake as enormous as this one.

I lost files from a meeting. A 3-hour meeting in which an absolute ton of information was communicated to me. What's worse is that I'm working on a ridiculously tight deadline and I really really really needed all of that information.

I have 6 days to finish this project, and it's nowhere near done. Which is normally not a problem. Thank God, I work quickly and manage fairly well when placed under an enormous amount of pressure. But that's assuming I have the information I need!!! And now I don't!!!!!

I suppose it says something about my competence that the worst thing that's ever happened is losing information from a meeting, but at the moment, I'm in so much trouble.

As I'm fond of doing when words don't do my feelings justice, I make up or use an onomatopoeia... Gack!!! (seems I'm "using" one this time 'round: Source)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

How Cliché

(This was written yesterday, but I didn't have a chance to post it, so it's a day late.)

Oh, dictionary.com, really?

Has anyone seen today's word of the day from dictionary.com? I used to think that the word was automatically generated, hence many of the words weren't particularly difficult.

But today's word put that to rest, and one of the employees of dictionary.com had him or herself a laugh.

Today's word is "gelt."

Eye roll anyone? 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Having a Rebbi/Mentor

I'm very curious to hear people's thoughts on this.

Do you think that a person needs a rebbi/mentor, always? Regardless of age, knowledge, wisdom, etc., is it possible that a person can reach a stage where he/she doesn't need someone to go to with questions or a piece of advice? 

I'll write a follow-up post, I hope, with my opinion, but I'd like to hear your thoughts first?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spilled Coke

Yup, it's true. I almost cried over spilled Coke. Uh, the drink, of course.

It's one thing to spill Coke on the kitchen table. That's annoying, and ends with the spiller calling him or herself a klutz or something of the sort.

It's another thing when you spill Coke with more than $3,000 of electronics (and a book, even worse, I know) on the table. Oops. For some reason, the word "annoying" just doesn't seem appropriate.

Thank goodness they all survived intact and I can get away with merely calling myself a klutz.

A rather important piece of paper for work is now Coke-logged, but if it's irreparably damaged, I can always call the client and spend 3 hours recreating it :-)

Disaster averted. On with the day!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thought of the Day

My sister shared this with me and I thought it was really beautiful. So, I thought I'd share. “If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” ~ W. Clement Stone


Now I need to learn to live my life this way.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Oh Brain, Where Art Thou?

Do you ever wonder if you have ADD? I mean no offense to those who do, nor do I mean to mitigate the seriousness of the disorder. But does anyone have those moments?

This morning I left my house and started my day, only to realize that the familiar weight of my wallet in my back pocket wasn't there. After a minute of wondering how that had happened, and checking my pockets, I went back home to begin the search of my nightstand. My wallet is always in the same place, so that it wasn't there was disconcerting to say the least. So I expanded my search to the surrounding area.

After 3 minutes of searching, I realized that there was an unfamiliar weight in one of my side pockets, the only one I hadn't checked in my initial cursory search.... of course.

There it was. Sitting prettily and innocently.

Sigh... Sometimes I wonder...

On with the day!

Monday, November 11, 2013

God is Watching

So, long story short, my sister asked me to help her with an article that she had to write for her seminary newspaper. She needed a story to accompany her thought and after wracking my brain for a few minutes, I recalled the following song and its story.

A beautiful song, and hard-to-believe true story.

God is watching, always.



I'm not sniffling, I have a cold!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Textastrophe

I realized something a few months ago, while going out with a girl. I felt that because I had texted a girl so frequently, our relationship was weakening.

It turns out, according to a recently published study, that there's something to that. Of course, for every 10,000 studies published, only 3 of them have a semblance of truth (those are my numbers), but hey, if a study backs me up, I'll take it!

"When it came to the number of messages, however, men who texted more often in general reported lower relationship quality than those who didn't ping their significant others as frequently."1

The next sentence mitigates my theory with "[t]he researchers can only speculate about why..."

I decided as the relationship was waning, and on its way to the point where I would end things, that in the future, I would limit to the extreme how frequently I texted.

It's very tempting to be in constant communication with someone you're interested in and want to build a relationship with, but I believe that texting isn't the way to do it. Topics of conversation that should be had in person make their way into text conversations. Feelings that should only be expressed (until marriage anyway) in person, should not be said digitally.

For once, it appears, I might know what I'm talking about.

1 Study


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Don't Watch Movies

If you're one of those people who, like myself, find it difficult to follow the title of the post, have I got a movie for you.

It's not fair, that only in recent years have my writing skills become apparent, because had it happened earlier, I would have seen this movie earlier.

All of us here are writers, and good ones at that. We probably had some inspiration to write at some point or other, and just like that, our journeys began. This movie has given me pause on how I write, why I write, who I'm writing for and if I'm writing "properly."

This movie was reminiscent of Good Will Hunting, and after the movie, I discovered that not only was it the same director, but he was criticized by reviewers because of its similarity to the movie. Replace a math genius with a writing prodigy, change the scenery and voilà, Finding Forrester.

It was phenomenal. The trailer had me more excited about seeing the movie more so than any trailer I've ever seen.

I won't get into the details of the acting or any of that, but the storyline and specific lines by Forrester (Sean Connery), blew me away. Here are a few:

"No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think."

"Writers write things to give readers something to read."

"Why is it the words we write for ourselves...are always so much better than the words we write for others?"

This one I'm not sure about, but it's food for thought: "The object of a question is to obtain information that matters only to us."

As a writer, I'm constantly looking for inspiration for what to write about. But of course, there comes the question of how to write it. The content of the post usually speaks to me and asks to be written with a certain style of writing. Some sing poetry, some beg to be written informally, and others demand formality.

Do words "speak" to you? Do they insist on being written? Do they keep you awake at night, percolating in your head?

The answers to the questions are all yes for me. I don't think I could stop writing if I tried. I have drafts upon drafts and ideas upon ideas, waiting to be polished, finished, or written. But until I jot down at least a few words, they reside in my head, banging on my brain, demanding to be written.

Even when I didn't have the time write full-blown posts, I was scribbling (literally- my handwriting is atrocious) down thoughts. I can't not.

Anyway, I loved this movie, and if you ever get around to watching it or already have watched it, let me know what you thought.

PS. Don't watch movies.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Vitriolic Diatribe

You knew and so did he
Hidden, but for the world to see
Did you laugh? Tell others about me?

Now that I know, BH, I'm meant for another
My children, having you as their mother?
You're capable of such deceit... Shudder

The emotions you make me feel
That caused me to write this spiel
Letting it all out should help me heal

Cathartic this is, beyond that, G-d knows
I wish I'd confront you, but why expose
The betrayals that'd only cause more rows

English and poetry, I must say thank you
For this vitriol you let me aim at that shrew
Space for Rent, the happy kind, is long due



There are few healthy ways to express anger and disgust at the actions of others. When confronting them is not viable, and a one-on-one release is not going to happen, the anger simmers and boils. This poem has helped release some, if not all, of that disappointment, feeling of betrayal and anger from two people that I once called friends.

I know that this post may have revealed another flaw, but I'd prefer that you all know about my character flaws than keep my anger pent up inside of me.

"Space for Rent" is a reference to the following quote: Don't let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out- Robert Tew

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Retrieved!!!!

For those who haven't read the previous post, here it is. Stolen!!! It's not completely necessary for the story below, but it's quite helpful. (forgive the awkward link, but the color scheme I have makes it difficult to see.)

There is someone who cannot be named who I owe more than I could possibly pay back. 

The pizza shop guy. He had innocently given my Nexus 7 Tablet to someone who claimed to own it. There is no possible way he could have known that it wasn't his. 

When I stopped by this morning to ask him if he had it, not only did he immediately fess up, he immediately promised to do his utmost to do all he could to have it returned to me.

A quick Google search told me that (as of a study done in 2004) 6.7% of stolen electronic items are recovered. That's nothing, no?

I had given up. I mean, what. are. the. chances. It was gone.

Not only was it stolen, it was then sold! So we were no longer chasing down the guy who stole it, but the guy he had sold it to. 

Once I heard it was sold, I sighed, and tried to stop moping (I failed miserably in case you were wondering).

The pizza shop guy, however, never gave up. After after hour, as he pursued the case, he gave me updates and encouragement. I thought he was being naive and had all but dismissed his texts. My replies were injected with enthusiasm, hoping beyond hope that he actually could recover it.

He called me at 9:58pm. "Hi," I started, readying myself to hear the disappointing news. 

The perky "Hi!" in response was no indication as to the result of his hard work as he is a perpetually happy person.

"Soooooooo.....?" 

"I have something for you."

*Unintelligible screaming, shouting and thank you's for 3 minutes.*

He got it back. He got it back. He got it back.

He beat the odds. Somehow. Someway. 

He took off virtually an entire day of work for my mistake.

Wow.

Mi k'amcha Yisrael?

Stolen!

By a drug addict. Of all people. Sigh.

A Nexus 7 Tablet recently came into my possession.

A Nexus 7 Tablet recently left my possession.

I left it in a pizza shop. The owner asked who it belongs to, and a guy said it was his.

I have a picture of the guy on my phone. The owner sent it to me.

The owner told me he's a drug addict.

The guy looks like he's Jewish. Perhaps was once orthodox.

What would you do? Call the police? Or let it go?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hypocrite

You are wont to complain 
About friendships that are not real 
"Why aren't they?" and "They should be" 
Is a common theme by you

I know the answer, so listen close 
Information given in confidence 
Is called a secret, NOT gossip 
Is a sign of friendship, TO BE treasured

You hand out my secrets 
You reveal those of others
My hand of friendship I withdraw
I tried to trust, I see you've failed

I was reluctant with telling you 
But I took the leap anyway 
Not for my sake, but for yours 
To be the friend you longed for

Fool me once, shame on you 
Fool me twice, shame on me 
With you though, I had a feeling 
So fool me once, shame on me

Suspicion confirmed, trust broken 
Are you happy now? 
Your momentary glory by now is gone 
With it, I bid you goodbye

You wonder why you're alone
Perhaps keep your mouth shut 
Do not share what isn't yours 
Keep to yourself, secrets of others

With my secret wittingly released 
Not knowing I would find out 
Broke my trust, broke my heart 
My offer you've insulted and stabbed

For revealing to you my secret 
For shame! is all I can say to myself 
Of you telling others of it 
I shake my head in sorrow

See what you have gained 
Examine what you've lost 
I hope you find it was worth it
It's too late to go back now

Friday, October 11, 2013

Class Complaints

Sitting in class with a professor who has a "thing" against me is one of the worst sorts of situations I can find myself in. As I type this, I'm thankfully being ignored by my professor.

It's a welcome reprieve after the way the class started. Without going into details, because I doubt I'll be able to finish this post before the hassling begins anew, but this professor has made it his mission that by the end of this semester, I'll be scarred for life from college.

This is rather unfortunate, as, if I had my way, I'd be in school for the rest of my life. For now though, uuuuughhh....

This professor is mind-boggling. He wants you to pay attention even when he's babbling about his grandchildren!!!! Now he's talking about his cell phone. Oh, now he's talking about seltzer.

Now we get to hear about his in-laws.

"Ok, I don't want to talk about this anymore," says the professor. Ten seconds later, back to that exact topic.

Now back to the seltzer!!!!!

Help me, G-d!

Update: For the first time in my life (who counts high school?), I've been thrown out of class. I asked, and I received. After an hour of abuse and listening to nothingness, I got up to leave half an hour before class ended. The professor made another stupid remark, and we got into a shouting match. Naturally, as the professor, he "won" hands down- having the power to throw a student from his class will do that. But I got my points in, and got major street cred while I was at it.


:-)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Be Relevant!

Ready for a rant?

There are posts that I've written that have received no comments. There are posts I've written that have received many comments. I'm fine with both. As a blogger, it's obvious which one I prefer, but I'm not going to drive myself crazy trying to write a post that will garner comments- that is hardly the point of this blog.

What does annoy me is when I get a comment that's completely irrelevant to the post. When people harp on a typo, a fact that hardly has anything to do with the post or anything of the sort, all it does is take away from the message I'm driving at or the idea I'm trying to impart.

A number of posts I've written have received comments such as that. If all you take away from a post about 9/11 is that I said 9/11 happened 22 years ago instead of 11, thank you, but please stop reading my blog. I'd like to believe that the message was significant enough that a mistake such as that would be overlooked, or at least emailed me to me rather than posted as a comment with no accompanying message on the content itself.

I write almost all of my posts completely on my phone, quickly. I try and review my posts for mistakes like that, but they get in. Please, do not comment on my posts if all you're going to comment about is a completely irrelevant point that has nothing to do with the main message of my post. Typos, tiny factual errors, grammar mistakes, etc. I'm really big into these things, so if you find one, please email me. But don't insult me or the message of my post by commenting on something like that when there are a lot more useful ways for you to contribute to my blog.

Thanks.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Awesome Feeling

There are many things that make me feel happy. Little things, many of them. Tonight, there was something big that made me feel awesome. Like, totally awesome. Really really really happy.

A few weeks ago a client requested something from my company in a project. Employees of the company told them again and again that it's not possible. Phone calls were made, meetings were held, Google was searched, etc. etc. etc., nothing doing.

My coworkers are trying to get me involved in this project that's being going on for a while, and I'm doing everything I can to not be involved. Not because I have anything against the clients,  but because I have so much work to do, adding more work is not going to be good... for any of my clients.

So my coworker called me up tonight and asked me to meet with the clients to discuss with them all sorts of things and explain to them, why what they wanted... Can't. Be. Done

I agreed to the meeting, and then offered an off-the-cuff solution to what they wanted. 30 seconds on Google confirmed it would be exactly what they want. . My coworker has some major backpedaling to do, but a solution has been found!

I'm happy, and more importantly, our clients are happy.

Awesome Feeling :-)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Maksim is מקסים

While y'all are going on trips and doing fun things this Chol Hamoed Sukkos, poor old Lost and Found is stuck at home working all day. My breaks have consisted of being on the receiving end of disappointed motherly looks and blogging. Oh, and putting together a belated anniversary gift for my parents :-)

Many of you may know this song from the movie Somewhere in Time, and if you do, then I hope you enjoy this rendition of it even more than someone who hasn't seen the movie.

Maksim Mrvica is a Croatian pianist who does a cover of the theme music from the movie.

What I love in particular about this song is that it's a perfect example of a song that isn't over-played. Maksim is a pianist, so it wouldn't come as a surprise if there was a lot of piano and the rest of the orchestra is laid by the wayside. Here, Maksim not only shows his talent as a pianist, but his ability to arrange a song that plays to its strengths as well as his own. The song is beautiful by itself. He takes a beautiful song and makes it unearthly.

Enjoy.



Enjoy?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Learning from Grandma

Many months ago, I was on the phone with my grandmother talking about whatever, and somehow or other we started talking about Judaism and our own challenges when it comes to growing spiritually. 

My grandmother is not one to talk about herself. She'd rather hear what's going on with me. That's probably normal, right? 

It was quite a surprise to me to not only hear her talk about herself, but to talk about challenges she has faced. The absolutely shocking thing to me was that she wasn't only talking about the past, but the present as well! 

I know, I know, we're always supposed to be growing. But doesn't it sometimes feel like, "I've done so much" and "I'm so old" and "I'm so tired" and "I have so much other stuff to do" and all that rot. I definitely feel that way. I know that I can/should/must change, and I try. 

To hear my grandmother talking about her struggles and how she's trying to grow and become a better person, was.... amazing... inspiring... 

For me, for some things, it's not enough to read stories in a book, learn in a sefer, hear it from a rebbi. I need to know that it's being done by "normal" people living normal lives. 

My grandmother, who is a very special lady in her own way, was the "normal" person who showed me that no matter how old you are, no matter what you're busy with, no matter what you've done, growing is something we're capable of, always. 

It's obvious, but I know that I needed a reminder of it.... A constant reminder. Speaking to my grandmother on a regular basis helps with that, but writing about Learning from Grandma, and seeing it in words, is another reminder :-)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just a Moment

In Jewish thought, there are various ways to pay respects to a tragedy that occurs. Whether it be a family tragedy, communal tragedy, or national tragedy, we have our ways. Attending a levaya, going to a shiva, making a hachlata are three of them.

In America, when a national tragedy occurs, there are other ways to mourn. Politicians promise better security, memorials are built, and moments of silence are held.

Personally, I think a moment of silence is a beautiful way to acknowledge a tragedy. None of us are so careful with our time that we can't afford a minute to think about what happened 12 years ago tomorrow, when the nation stops its business to think back to the horror of 9/11.

The attack of 9/11 hurt Jews as much as it hurt America. We lost brothers and sisters.

This year, 9/11 occurs between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. 9/11 showed a how fleeting life can be, and Yom Kippur, is the penultimate time to reflect on precisely that.

If I dare, during the moment of silence tomorrow, not only should we pay our respects to those who lost their lives on 9/11, we should combine that moment with reflections on the upcoming Day of Judgement. Think about ways we can improve and change ourselves for the better.

It's just a minute, a pittance of time.

(This song was written by a Canadian for Remembrance Day, but it's a beautiful song, and quite fitting I think.)





Monday, September 9, 2013

I Need a Kitchen!

So my roommate is moving out. I don't mind this terribly, but it means 2 things have to happen. The first one, which is the bigger concern I suppose, is finding a new roommate. I'm not terribly worried about that. It's that time of year where people are looking, so I'm hoping the phone will be ringing off the hook.

The other thing that has to happen is that I have to buy an entire kitchen set, times two of course for anything that can be used for either fleishigs or milchigs. My roommate had brought with him when we moved in together everything, so there was no need for me to buy anything until now. He's gone, I need to buy it all. Woohoo.

The question is, what to get?!

So, I put together a Wish List on Amazon. If y'all could look it over and let me know if I'm missing anything, that would be awesome. I haven't decided which specific product I'm going to get hence the doubles, but the product list is there for your examination.

When I told some women that I was planning on buying an entire new kitchen, the envy shone on their faces. I'm dreading the prospect of making a mistake and buying a poor-quality item, and they're begging me to let them come with them! Yikes! But, I think I'm going to buy everything online, so no one will be accompanying me anywhere.

Below is my list. Any advice, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Companies you love, companies you hate, products and all that stuff would be exceedingly helpful.

Thanks :-)

Link: Lost & Found's Amazon Wish List

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Forgiveness

It's the time of year where forgiveness is the rule. After all, as Chazal puts it, if you don't forgive, don't expect to be forgiven (paraphrase).

It's not always so easy. I'm generally a pretty forgiving person, to a fault many would say. Major wrongs were forgiven with the same ease as peccadillos were.

I finally figured out that isn't how the world turns. Sins committed peer-to-peer have a process of absolution the same way that they do person-to-God. The steps shouldn't be as difficult peer-to-peer but nevertheless, it has to be done. Recognition that a wrong was committed, regret, commit to a change of ways. 

I was talking to a close friend the other day and he told something frightening: he had come to terms with not forgiving his parents for various matters and problems. Ouch. 

For myself, there have been times where I've told myself to "hold strong" and not back down. Not forgive someone for an offense done to me. Every year, without fail, I've "cracked" and forgiven each and every person. 

To me, the calculation is as follows: I've royally messed up in more ways than I can count. I really want to be forgiven. The more forgiving I am, the more forgiving Hashem will be to me. 

On the other hand, being forgiving is not always easy. Sometimes I'll say the words (aloud) in the hopes that what's in my heart is overlooked. I don't know if that works, but I hope so. I think I once heard that as the explanation for the "token" asking of everyone to forgive you. If the words are stated, it counts. I don't know if it erases it completely, but hey, it's a start.

I don't know what the Torah's opinion is on the idea of not forgiving, but the Shulchan Aruch Harav discusses the importance of forgiving an individual who is sincerely remorseful. Ah, what about someone who isn't? Far be it from me to have the answer. I suspect it can't hurt though to forgive anyone and everyone who has ever hurt you. It's probably helpful to have on your score card when it comes to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. "Hashem, I forgave anyone who has ever hurt me, betrayed me, lied to me, insulted me, etc. etc. etc., please forgive me for doing the same and worse." I like the sound of that. No, it's not a catchall, but it's a start. 

With that thought, I have a revised quote for you. While forgiving, perhaps, is a must, forgetting is not. The original quote is by Thomas S. Szasz, a psychiatrist and academic who died almost a year ago. Seems like a smart person. 

"The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget." --Szasz. I'm of the opinion that the quote needs to be modified quite a bit, as only the stupid would forgive everything without justification for doing so. "The stupid neither forgive the action nor forget who did it; the naive forgive the action and forget who did it; the wise forgive the action but do not forget the action, nor who did it." --L&F

Words hurt more than sticks. That truth has been beaten into us for many years now. Online, it's difficult to hurt someone in ways beyond words. With words though, it's easy, perhaps too easy. Not having to ever meet the person being offended or attacked, harsh, derogatory and condescending words flow easier. 

I initially wrote that I had never purposefully intended to hurt someone with words. I realized that's not true, to my regret. During a debate, I insulted a fellow by the name of Yishmael. I do not agree with his opinions or thoughts on several matters, but that does not excuse the words I used or the thoughts conveyed. I insulted him in a public place, and therefore he owes a public apology. Yishmael, I apologize for my hurtful words (regardless of whether you took them to heart) and hope to never do so again. 

To the rest of you, I apologize if I have insulted you, offended you, or done anything that has left you hurt. As my ability to write progresses, I hope that I learn to be more careful with words written and the way they are understood. 

If you feel I have offended you in a way that you would like to address with me directly, my email is learningtosaynothing@gmail.com.

Kesivah v'chasima tova. 

May you all have a year full of simcha, bracha, growth in ruchnius and gashmius, hatzlacha, and parnasa. For those that it's applicable to, may this be the year you find your zivug. 

L&F

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fits Perfectly

(I scheduled this to post yesterday, but it didn't, oddly.. So, a date late, but here you have it!)

Today's Weird Word Wednesday is in honor of my poetry.

I replied to someone's email this past week using poetry. I did this because he had replied with poetry to an email that I had sent him. As I reviewed my poem, I noticed that, being brutally honest, it wasn't the greatest. I had written 4-line stanzas with alternating rhymes. But, it wasn't a smooth read as the cadence was, to be gentle to myself, off. In my defense, I wrote 15 4-line stanzas in an hour. A line a minute is frankly insulting to poetry... for me, anyway. I'm nowhere near capable enough of writing a good 60-line poem in 60 minutes.

The poem was written in doggerel verse. Today's word: doggerel. It means comic or burlesque, and usually loose or irregular in measure.

This is one of many of thousands of wonderful examples that I can use to illustrate my love for English. There is a word for everything!

I won't say that most of my poetry is written in such verse, but my latest work (which, apologetically, I won't be sharing due to its personal nature) fits the bill quite nicely.

The etymology is probably from "dog" and the pejorative suffix "rel" referring to verse being written with "puppyish clumsiness."1

I learned something new about English looking up the etymology of this word, and that is that there are suffixes that are inherently pejorative. Meaning, the suffix has a negative slant to it; "tard," "ista," "ster" and "nik" are all examples of pejorative suffixes.2

Fascinating.

References

1 Etymology of Doggerel
2 Examples of Pejorative Suffix


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Digital Orchestra

This is one of the more creative videos I've ever seen on YouTube and it was so well done, I thought I'd share.

In case it isn't obvious, they aren't actually playing the instruments. I'm fairly certain that the conductor is just messing around and not actually conducting, but I'm not sure about that.

Have fun watching, and enjoy!



Thoughts?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Doors

I met you once
In a funny place
A place for laughter
But we mourned

I met you again
In a sad place
A place to mourn
But we laughed

I met you once more
In a plain place
Where anything went
We laughed and we mourned

Relationships come
Relationships go
We laugh together
We mourn together

Memories made
Never forgotten
Laughter and tears
Mixed emotions

When one door closes
Another door opens
Or so they say
For you it did

I'm still waiting
For that final door
It'll come, I know
I believe

Until then, I'll open doors
I'll probably close some
Perhaps a lot
But that's ok

Every door I open
Is one door closer
To the final one
My One

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Um, What?

There's something about me that attracts the interesting people in the world. Far be it from me to guess what it is, but there you have it. No matter where I go, what I'm wearing or what I'm doing, people feel that they can approach me about a myriad of topics. Everything from the time, to my laptop, to the following:

I was on the train to a meeting one morning when a guy with horrible ponytails decided that, of the laundry list of empty seats to choose from, the one next to me was the best one. Lucky me. He had chains, tattoos, a phone with a screen so shattered I couldn't believe it worked and a look of "You don't want to bump into me in a dark, deserted alley."

But I'm not one to judge based on appearances alone. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that his look wasn't just a matter of bark, but very much of bite as well.

"Yo, sorry ta bother you. Is this the train to x stop?"

"Yup, 4 stops away."

"Ok, thanks. Sorry ta bother you."

"No problem."

"Yo, do ya know where the criminal courts are at that stop?"

"No, sorry."

"Ok, thanks. Sorry ta bother you."

"No problem."

Naturally, my heart went from 0 to 120 in a heartbeat (beat that Ferrari!). I can only imagine how wide my eyes went at that question.

I'm still alive, so I guess he realized that it would be a bad idea to do anything while on a train on the way to criminal court.

Only me. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

More Posts Coming...?

Over the past few weeks, I've received a number of emails and a comment asking where I've been, if everything's okay, and if when/if I'm going to start blogging again. I started writing this post around the time I received the first inquiry, which was about a month ago. I'd like to thank you all, you know who you are, for asking after me. I appreciate it more than I am capable of expressing through words.

I've been, thankfully, incredibly busy. I have a job, for the first time, that I truly love. It's exciting, challenging, well-paying, etc. etc. Part of being challenging means it's also exhausting. It's also very time-consuming. Time that I would normally use to wile away writing about whatever is now a rare commodity. Time that I still do have for myself is usually used for dealing with personal matters and sleep.

A few years ago I would wish for a 28-hour day. Now I wish for a 38-hour day. I can imagine that when I get married I'll be wishing for a 48-hour day. 

There are so many things I want to do. There just isn't enough time in my day to do them all. One thing I recently realized though is that I need to write. I'm sure many of you can understand that feeling, and I am like you all in that sense.

Writing is an incredibly cathartic experience. Expressing, sharing, receiving, discussing, venting, asking and learning are only a sampling of the verbs of what goes on here in the blogging world. I miss it desperately and I can see that my mood is adversely affected by the lack of pure, good-Samaritan socializing that occurs here. Working (more) than full-time wreaks havoc with one's social life, so blogging is all I've got for the moment. Even though I don't really have it, I feel like I kind of do. Once a Blogger, always a Blogger?

So, I'm back. My contributions to the blogging world will most likely only be through the median of my blog for now, but I hope that will change soon. I've recently hired my very own Minion (Despicable Me, anyone?), so I think that will free up some of my time as I shed some drone work onto said Minion's hopefully capable shoulders. Of course, having someone doing some of my work means in theory I could take on more clients. So we'll have to see what my boss does with this "extra time" he is providing me.

I miss you all. I miss reading your thoughts, watching the videos you share, critiquing the fashion stuff and discussing the things we discuss.

I'm back, hopefully for good. I'll be sharing, and soon will try to be participating.

Until next time. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Weird Words Wednesday

One thing that I love about the English language is how connotative it is. When you say a word, adverbs, adjectives, verbs or nouns, they almost always have a positive or negative ring to them and/or with varying degrees of strength. Vile and evil both mean, but vile has a stronger negative connotation. And so on with every word.  Guru and expert mean the same thing, but guru implies a greater expertise at the subject than expert does.

So, what comes to your mind when you read the word pulchritudinous? Probably something not so nice or pleasant, right?

Wrong. It has a positive meaning! It means physically beautiful! I never would have guessed that it meant beautiful, and I would not have guessed in a million years that it even had a positive connotation!

Pretty weird if you ask me.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Torah Thought Thursday

Row, row, row your boat...

Oh, hi.

Short thought because I have stuff to do, but never too much stuff not to spend some time on Torah :-)

So, talking to a mentor last night, he told me this intriguing nice thought which, while perhaps isn't "officially" Torah, has helped me reconsider some things and reprioritize my daily activities.

He said that when he was in third grade his rebbi said that life is like a box of choc.... no no... Life is like rowing. You have two oars and they both need to work in tandem in order to get where you're going. One oar is your spiritual needs and the other is your physical needs. Focusing only on one will send your rowboat spinning in circles and not actually be going anywhere.

While it's great to row a single oar really hard, you won't get very far unless the other one is rowing equally hard.

He was telling me that while in one area it could be that I was excelling, if I was sacrificing, or not doing well in the other, then I haven't actually done very much for myself. In the short term, possibly i've accomplished something, if even that, but definitely not in the long term.

Food for thought as we all continue to try and grow in our service to Hashem as well as maintain a healthy, balanced and successful lifestyle.

Good Shabbos.

(This post was intended more for me to put down what he said in words than to publicly advise others on their avodas Hashem. It was, as I said above, intriguing, and I thought I'd share it.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Weird Words Wednesday

Oh, me and my alliteration....

Being that it's the three weeks and music is a no-no, I thought it would be fun to have something take its place. Maybe I'll make it a regular feature- that I haven't decided yet.

Snood. Not a weird word, you're thinking. Of course it is! The context that we, Jews, use it in, it turns out, is exactly the opposite of the way in which it was originally used.

We use the word snood as a word for a head covering for a married woman. It's usually a shapeless sort of bag made of material that fits comfortably on one's head. The closest thing I can think of that non-Jews wear are those things that Jamaica guys wear, uh, a Rasta Head Wrap I believe it's called. Unmarried women wearing a similar sort of covering will use, in my experience, the "proper" term for the word, whatever it may be.

It meant: "ribbon for the hair" in Old English and Dictionary.com's definition is: The distinctive headband formerly worn by young unmarried women in Scotland and northern England. The origins of the word snood is Old English! Who knew?! I didn't even think it was English! (Shows how much I know, huh?)

So, while Orthodox Jews use it exclusively in the context of married women, the origin is actually in the context of unmarried women.

Fascinating.

PS. I'm way behind in commenting on all of your posts and I'm sorry about that. I want to, I really do, I've just been really busy with all other sorts of fun, not-as-fun, and the in-between kind of, stuff. Rest assured, I will get to them all one day!

Monday, June 24, 2013

In Class with Turtles

Open Scene

Teacher (with enthusiasm): Ok, class, who would like to hear a hashgacha pratis story?

Class (except for Shmuel, as one): Meeee!!!

Teacher: Shmuel?

Shmuel: Me!

Teacher: When you’re in a store with your Mommy and there’s a long line, do you like it?

Class (except for Shmuel, as one): Noooo!!!

Teacher: Shmuel?

Shmuel: Guess not.

Teacher: Neither do I. Remember class, we can learn a very beautiful middah to have, patience, by waiting in line, but that’s not what this story is about.

Teacher: Today’s story is about me looking for high and low for a treat for my children, one of my own favorite treats, and not being able to find them.

Teacher: Who likes treats?

Class (as one): Meeeeeeeeee!!!!!

Teacher: I should talk more about treats, right class? Even Shmuel answered! (Winks at Shmuel)

Class (except for Shmuel, as one, laughs): We love Shmuel!

Shmuel (smiles): My mommy says she loves me too!

Teacher (smiling): We all love you Shmuel.

Teacher: Back to the story. As I was saying, I was looking for this candy in every store I went to. They’re called Turtles. They are little chocolate candies, with caramel inside. They’re delicious and my favorite candy.

Teacher: Who likes turtles, the animal?

Teacher: Dovid, do you like turtles?

Dovid: Nah, not so much. I like lions! Roaaaarrrr!!

Teacher (laughs): Thank you for that demonstration Dovid.

Teacher: How about you, Chaya? Do you like turtles?

Chaya: Actually, I have a turtle in my house! It’s so pretty! He doesn’t like being picked though (pouts)

Teacher: That’s so interesting. Thank you for sharing Chaya. Maybe your mother will let you bring him to Show and Tell one day! What’s his name?

Chaya: Squirt! And ok, I’ll ask! It’s my older brother’s though, so I don’t know…

Teacher: Hm, ok. How about you Avi? Do you like turtles?

Avi: I love turtles! They’re my favorite animal ever! I really really really want one, but my mother doesn’t let. She said when I move out of the house, 500 miles away, I can get one. (Hmphs)

Teacher (laughing): I’d say the same thing to my children, Avi. But one day you’ll be able to get one.

Teacher: Anyway, back to the story. So I walked into a big store to buy some errands. After I got everything I needed, I went to stand in line. The line was so big, I was standing at the end of one of the aisles!

Teacher (excited): As I was waiting, I looked around at all the candy that was in the aisles, and I saw it! Turtles!! The candy I had been looking for, in every store but this one, was in front of my eyes! Hashem wanted me to wait all the way at the back of the line so I could find the candy I was looking for.

Teacher: So you see class, sometimes being at the end of the line is a good thing! Everything Hashem does for us is for the good, and while we may not always see it, there’s always something good for us at the end of it. In this case, Turtles.

Teacher: Was that a good story?

Class (except for Shmuel, as one): Ya!!!

Teacher: Shmuel?

Shmuel: Ya. Can we have Turtles?

Teacher and class, as one, laughs.

Teacher: Yes, Shmuel, yes you can. (hands out candy)

Teacher: Now let's sing the hashgacha pratis song!

End Scene

(I took some creative license here by making Turtles Cholov Yisroel- not sure any kindergarten would serve anything that’s not Cholov Yisroel.)

In case you were wondering, the waiting in the back of the line that had me at the end of a aisle and seeing Turtles actually did happen today. The rest was my enjoyable way of saying over the story :-)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Torah Thought Thursday

This is going to be in points because... just because :-)

  • A rabbi (I was told the name, but I forgot- the details of the story are hazy, sorry. I'll try and get them tomorrow and update.) had a dream and was told to give the Vilna Goan "Shalom Mishamayim."- Shalom from Heaven. When he asked why he should tell the Gaon this he was told that it was because the Gaon said "Amitah shel Torah" a Complete Truth of Torah thought. The rabbi asked why he should be the one to give the message. He was told it was because he had said Amitah shel Torah.
  • The Gaon, in one of his seforim, actually has written on the side that he received Shalom from this Rabbi. Because of the reason given above. Wow.
  • The rabbi's son asked him what the Amitah shel Torah. The rabbi said as follows: At the end of this week's parsha, Parshas Balak, the last Passuk in the Parsha says: וַיִּהְיוּ, הַמֵּתִים בַּמַּגֵּפָה--אַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים, אָלֶף. And there were those that died in the plague-- 24,000. The Trop (cantillation) mark under the word בַּמַּגֵּפָה is a pause.
  • Why? By Korach, when the Torah says Korach and his men died, did not have this sort of punctuation? 
  • So, this rabbi's thought was that, the Torah was telling us something. 
  • There are two different ways someone can die- at their time or not at their time. 
  • The ones who died in the time of Korah, were exclusively those who were involved with Korah and that whole story.
  • The 24,000 who died here, were not only those who were punished for their actions, but those who, even if not for this event, would have died, because it was their time. 
  • So Hashem showed mercy this time around. 24,000 had to die, but who those 24,000 people consisted of was different than those involved with Korach. 
  • So now the passuk reads really nicely. There were those that died in the plague. 24,000. Those who died in the plague didn't necessarily die because of the plague, but in it. 
I hope that made sense. I'll try and fix it up, but it's something :-)

Have a great Shabbos!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tasteful Tunes Tuesday

So, last week's edition was a huge hit, and I thank you all for your comments! Wondering Minds would insist I put ~ on each side, so:

~So, last week's edition was a huge hit, and I thank you all for your comments!~ (~ means sarcasm for those who don't follow his blog- you should, by the way) :-D

This week's choice wasn't chosen for any particular quality of the song or video, but it's a good introduction to my new blog. The song is one of my favorite songs ever, but that's more due to the melody than the lyrics of the song. But the name of the song, and the lyrics of the song, are a prayer, and that's what my new blog is all about. 

It's called My Thoughts on Davening (creative, I know). It won't be a blog where I'm writing lengthy posts or anything like that, but very, and I mean very, short snippets of thoughts I learn, think of, hear or come across about davening. Many of them probably won't be new to you, but if I think I can gain by writing it down, it'll make its way on there. 

I won't be concerned about formatting, and most of the posts will probably be done from my phone, so ya. 

As always, enjoy!

The lyrics can be found here.




Yiddish?

I have an Android smart phone, and on my home screen, I have the Dictionary.com widget. Every day there's a "word of the day" and I try to pay attention to what it is to expand my repertoire of words. Often I''m already familiar with the word, but there have been plenty of words that I've never come across, or wasn't sure of the exact definition. Thanks to Dictionary.com, I now know them.

When I saw Sunday's word, I was very amused. It's not only a word that every single one of you know, but it's also a word that (I'd venture to say) 99.5% of Americans do not know.

The full definition is: an entire family network comprising relatives by blood and marriage and sometimes including close friends; clan.

I found it very funny that mishpocha, of all Hebrew words, made its way into the English dictionary. But, eh, whatever.

What I found more amusing is that they made a mistake. See, they give the source as being Yiddish. As we all know, it's not.

So I sent Dictionary.com an email that informed them of their egregious error. Of course, I wanted to source it for them, so I found an online Hebrew text of the Torah, and searched through it trying to find Mishpocha, or, משפחֹה. I did, but it took until Devarim for me to find it in that conjugation! Devarim 27:19 if I recall correctly...? There are plenty of other conjugations, but it took until Devarim for משפחֹה by itself to appear. And it only appears once in that form!

Anyway, that's my random post of the day. Hope you enjoyed :-)


Friday, June 14, 2013

Torah Thought Thursday- Late

This is a few hours late, as it's Thursday no more, so the topic will be in a similar vein.

On Shavuos morning, I was learning with an old friend of mine from my Israel days, and he said something which surprised me and inspired me.

Move on.

Two words, which have really improved, not only how I serve Hashem, but how I live my life.

The context was with regards to moving on from sinning. I sin. It happens. I'm not happy about it, and it bothers me whenever I do, but I sin. (When it rains it pours, it seems, as the floodgates of admitting to embarrassing things seems to have been not just been pin-holed, but shattered.)

Doing an aveirah bothered me sometimes so much, that I wouldn't do something I should have done, or did something I shouldn't have done, because I was so affected by what I had done.

The way he does things, and the way that I now do things, is simple. Look up to the Heavens, say "I'm really sorry Hashem. I'll try my hardest not to do it again," and forget about it. Just like that. Forget about it. Continue to work on whatever area it is that you're weak in, perhaps write in a little notebook of things to clap al cheit for on Yom Kippur, and move on.

The Yetzer Hara is the wiliest of characters. It's not enough for him to get you to do a sin. It's not enough for him to get you to do a sin and then feel so bad about it that you can't even enjoy it. He'll go so far that after you've done the sin, feel so bad about it that you can't enjoy it, he'll make you feel so bad that you'll feel that you shouldn't do another Mitzvah, or that you should do another aveirah. Giving credit where credit is due, the Yetzer Hara is good at what he does.

Because the Yetzer Hara is so good, we mere mortals need to come up with ways of outsmarting him. For example, saying to yourself that you'll do the aveirah...but in 5 minutes, is one way of fighting him. Moving on is another. Forget about things you've done in the past, and don't let them affect the present.

It's a difficult task. "I just did THIS!! How can I just forget about it?!" Just do it. Move on. Push it out of your mind.

It's worked for me. It hasn't been easy, but I've managed to employ this tactic as a way of not letting something I've done in the past affect my service to Hashem in the moment.

The Yetzer Hara tried this on me before I sat down to write this Torah Thought. "Um, you know, it's not Thursday anymore, Lost and Found? Have you lost track of days again?" Snicker. "Remember, you thought it was Wednesday twice in a row a few weeks ago? Today's Friday. You can't post Torah Thought Thursday on a Friday!" He almost had me too. But I remembered my "Moving on" tactic and here I am, employing it. You're right, it is Friday, but YOU know what, Yetzer Hara? Torah is Torah is Torah. I may be late, and that may be my fault, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Win! :)

Have a beautiful and restful Shabbos!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tasteful Tunes Tuesday- Sax

One plus of today's poorly arranged music is that  it allows for others to improve on it. This can be done in many different ways and many of them are really awesome.

Here's an example of a beautiful song that's been arranged differently where the original artist could take a clue or two on how he should have arranged his song to begin with.

The drums, for example, are more jazz-like, in tune with sax being a jazz instrument. The original song has a jazz sound to it but the drums... aren't. Odd.

The guitar also, is jazzier, and has a stilted rhythm to it. For this song, it's perfect. There's more going on there, and it's brilliant. In the original, it's more pop-like: simple and very repetitive. In this song it's given some complexity and a subtlety that's lacking in the original.

The piano in the original is more apparent than in this cover version. What the guitar did in the original, the piano does in this song. It's not supposed to be all that obvious here because, well, it's a sax cover. Any cover that's about one instrument always affects the others. I prefer the piano in the original a bit more, but that's what covers do, so no complaints.

So here you have it. A sax cover of Maroon 5's This Love.

Enjoy!




When I wrote this, I hadn't been watching the video and completely forgot that it was a Jewish band playing at a Jewish wedding. If I had realized, the focus of this post may have been about my thoughts about playing secular music at a Jewish wedding. Small favors that you didn't have to read a rant.

By posting this video, I am not condoning the practice of playing secular music at Jewish weddings.

Monday, June 10, 2013

"No Title"

What's wrong?
I beat myself up
Nightly
Daily
Every waking hour
Every sleeping hour
Stuck in my craw
Eating at my insides

I made a mistake
So what?
You make them!
Everyone makes them
Why is this one different?

What's happening?
I suffer
Don't eat
Don't sleep
Don't enjoy
Anything

What kind of mistake?
A small one
Or was it
A big one
No!
It wasn't!

Just stop!
I'm thinking about it
Dwelling on it
Harping on it
Feeding it

Move on!
I want to
Bottle it up
Throw it away
Away from me

So, do it
I can't 
Can't you see that?
I don't know why
I don't know how

Help me! 
I can't 
Do it yourself
You don't need me
I'll only get in your way

This one time
No
It's on you
Your mistake
You fix it

You've done it before
Not anymore 
Not for this
It's your turn
To fight for yourself

I'll do it
That's the spirit
You can do it
You will do it
You will succeed

How do you know?
You've always done it
I've never done anything
You thought it was me
It was you

Why are you telling me this now?
It's time for me to go
You must move on
From me, your crutch
Forever

Goodbye now
No!
Wait
I can't
I need you

Please don't go
I've done all I can do 
Given you the means
To battle your own mind
To win all your battles

You're more than that
I am but a piece of you
I had a time and place
No longer
No more

No
Don't go
Where are you?
Come back!
Please, come back

Please, come back
Come back
Please 
Please!
Come back!

It's gone
I'm alone now
Can I do it?
Will I do it?
How will I do it?

You'll do it
I will
I don't know how
But I will
Somehow


This piece charted its course entirely on its own. The original title was "Failure" but reading it back, it's about precisely the opposite. The other intended theme, not being able to move on, also seemed to have turned on its head and turned into a theme of moving on. 

I'm really not sure what this is about...

Hmm....

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Torah Thought Thursday- Greater than You

I've decided to add another installment to my blog, Torah Thought Thursday (I can't get alliteration out of my head!) to bring some Torah to my blog. I have posts waiting in the wings that are topics in halacha, but there's no straight up Torah, and this blog definitely calls for some of that. So, I hope, hope, to post a thought every Thursday. Some weeks will be on the parsha, some on davening, and some on whatever pops into my head. The only feature of it that will be uniform is that it will be short. (My definition of short is that the gist of it can be said over in less than 2 minutes)

Enjoy. 


איזה הוא חכם? הלומד מכל אדם. Who is wise? One who learns from every human being. This is an incredible thought- one of my favorites in Pirkei Avos- and it's something I try to keep in mind when meeting new people or just seeing people around. I've learned a lot about myself and discovered qualities that I would like to acquire and hone by thinking about this. 

I was talking to an associate (not the right word, but there isn't really a good one out there to describe our relationship) the other night, and she said "[everyone] deserve(s) to be respected."

At the time, I agreed, recalled and mentioned that the Igeres HaRamban says that, and we moved on shortly thereafter.

What she said stuck in my head though, and it's been sitting in my head processing ever since.

From what I understand of the Igeres HaRamban (a letter that was written by the Ramban to his son), he takes the idea of learning something from everyone a step further. 

The words of the Igeres HaRamban: וכל אדם יהיה גדול ממך בעיניך. Consider everyone as greater than yourself. 

I've read those words dozens of time in my life, and they've sunk in, but never did I have an epiphany like the one I had this time. 

Consider. Everyone. As. Greater. Than. Yourself. 

Pardon me for a moment. WHAAAAAATTTTTT???!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, WOW! 

It's amazing for someone to be able to learn something from everyone (what not to do, what to do, negative character traits that can be utilized in a positive way, etc.), but considering everyone greater than yourself? My goodness. 

The Ramban is saying that criminals, lowlifes, people with no midos, etc. etc. etc. should be perceived by us as being greater. The classic example is Esav. There's an entire section of Ishei HaTanach (Encyclopedia of Biblical Personalities) that discusses Esav's wickedness. But, there's also an entire section of how he honored his father, Yitzchak. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said that no man ever honored his father the way he did, but he found that Esav honored his father even more than him. 

In that, we can find a way to regard Esav as being greater than us, even with all of his faults and sins. 

I've written in the past about not judging others because we don't know what they've been through or what they've experienced. But I've learned something. It's not a matter of not judging people. Nor is it about or not respecting them. It's infinitely more than that. We have to think that they're greater than us! 

That's an incredible idea and has forced me over the past few days to really reconsider my friendships, relationships and how I treat others. 

It's hard to be disgusted by someone's actions and still think that they're greater than me, but I remembered something else in the Igeres HaRamban: שׁאם הוא חוטא הוא שוגג ואתה מזיד- If he sins, it is the result of error, while your transgression is deliberate. 

That says it all.

Now, it's not so hard to think someone's greater than me.



PS. There's so much more that can be said on this- that I want to say on this- but I did say I'd keep it short. If you want to hear more on this topic, let me know in the comments or shoot me an email :)