Archive for the ‘Biographical’ Category

An ant story (from early 2002)

April 6, 2012

Here is a story I wrote one night when I was studying in Israel.
One night I couldn’t sleep, so I went from the dorm room to the courtyard. I found swarm of large ants carrying a gigantic Israeli roach to its final resting place. As I watched, this story ended up on my paper.

I copied it how it’s written (aside for some minor spelling corrections) even though some of the puns are cringe-worthy. I’m also maintaining the original paragraph structure.

There was an ant named Richard.
But his friends would call him Adam
Because he was lazy as man.
Every morning his parents would wake him up.
“But the sun isn’t even up”, he’d complain.
“By the time you finish breakfast it will be light out.
“Besides, the early bird gets the worm and the early ant gets the bird.”
The problem with ants is they don’t have seats.
From the time they awake till the time they go to sleep
They are forced to stand on all 6 of their feet.
Richard enjoyed sleep. Sleeping on his back, with his head on a soft pillow. He couldn’t want till evening, so he could eat a quick supper and go to sleep.
One day Adam was going collecting, he was trying to find food
When he came across a TV that a mouse had thrown out.
It had a remote control, so he could watch without getting up.
Thrown out with the set was a perfectly good bag of stale caramel popcorn, so Adam didn’t starve. On the contrary, he grew quite fat.
(The other problem with ants is when they get fat, they aren’t horizontally challenged, but vertically challenged; and that made it sound like Adam was short, which isn’t true.)
When he shoved off for his hole (shlepping his popcorn behind him), he discovered he was too girthy to fit down the ant hole.
“Help me! Make the hole bigger, please!” Adam requested.
“If you want something done, do it yourself”, said Smithers, the ant guard.
Instead, Adam dragged his bag of popcorn a few feet away and cried.
Suddenly, an anteater came along and ate the whole ant colony.
He couldn’t smell Richard, because he smelled like caramel popcorn.
Richard cried for a few minutes. (That’s another problem with ants. They don’t have tear ducts, so when they cry, all they do is blink a lot. Although most ants are too busy to realize they are sad, and by the time they go to sleep at night they have forgotten why they were sad (Ants don’t have the greatest memories, which explains why they keep trying to go on my picnic blanket even though I chased them off about 3,713 times.) which is why ants seldom cry.)
When he finished crying he dragged his bag back by the TV and began watching again.
Adam watched TV for 2 straight months! (When his popcorn was finished, he discovered an old hot dog nearby, so he was never want of food.)
One afternoon when he was asleep (during the afternoon news), a pesky rabbit jumped by, pulling the plug and bringing the TV down with a crash. Adam woke up with a start. Realizing his loss, he began to cry again. The rabbit said, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see the plug. Maybe if you play with the chip it’ll work.”
“Are you crazy?” Adam lashed out “It’s broken. But chips, now that sounds good.”
Now the TV had broken and the pieces lay all over the floor. Adam sniffed around, found a chip, and ate it. “Eww. This is horrible. It tastes like a chip off an old block. Oh well, at least it’s worth two in the bush.”
Suddenly, Adam felt queasy, he felt statically, but then he was picking up the channels normally. And, whenever he couldn’t get a good reception, he’d just adjust his antenni until he got a clear picture.
He died 3 years later, when he refused to pay his electric bill and they cut off his service, leaving him a shell of his former self.

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Soda Can

May 9, 2011

This a poem I wrote in November 2001. I was sitting in a Beis Medrash (study hall), learning with my chavrusa (study partner) and he left to take a break for a few minutes.
I noticed a soda can sitting on the table in front of me. Later that evening I was scheduled to go on my first date. I had heard that women liked poetry, so I wrote the following poem with the intention of impressing her. She was not so impressed, so this is the only “dating” poetry I’ve written.

Soda Can
The can sits on the table
And holds it down
And if the can would wobble
Fall to the ground
The table might start rising
And bump the lights
There is no way of knowing
Which one is right
Because even if you remove
The can from above
It still would not be proof
The can gave a shove
If you see a can on top
Resting, at ease
Don’t blow it or make it drop
Just let it be

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A Snapshot of my journey

March 3, 2011

This is one sliver from last night. Even though it’s rather short and innocuous, it does highlight improvements as a result of hard work and mentoring.

Last night I got on a subway to go to Manhattan. I sat down across from two women. I looked and smiled at them. Immediately they started giggling to themselves, covering their faces, and talking excitedly (I think) in a foreign language. I wasn’t sure if they were laughing at something I did or something that had happened before I boarded, so I decided to ignore it. I started doing my Sudoku puzzle.
When I finished my first puzzle, I looked up again and smiled at them. Immediately they started giggling and covering their faces. I’ve never seen that with adult women before. I didn’t know why they were reacting to a smile. I went back to my puzzles.
When they got to their stop and exited the train, one of them waved to me from the window as they walked away.

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Paying Down the Debt

February 23, 2011

After almost 3 years of struggles, I’ve finally paid off my martial credit card debt.

Of course, I wouldn’t have made it this far without an immense amount of luck and good fortune. I am grateful to have reached this milestone. I hope that, with time, I’ll improve my financial discipline.

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Orange pants

January 11, 2011

My sister is getting married in a few weeks. She is a huge Mets fan. Every year, that the Mets play at home on her birthday, she gets her name on the scoreboard. Her wedding colors are, obviously, blue and orange.
My siblings are dressing appropriately.
I toyed with getting a blue suit and an orange shirt, but I don’t think I’d wear a blue suit ordinarily. Therefore, it seems like a waste. The alternative is to get orange pants. I already have a blue shirt.

What do orange pants “say” about their wearer? Could I wear orange pants day-to-day or at bars?

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Vacation: Cancelled

December 13, 2010

I spoke to my engaged sister over the weekend. She explained her reasons for setting the wedding for so soon after her engagement. The reasons I speculated about at the end of my last post were incorrect.
She made it clear that she would really like me to attend her wedding.
Today I canceled my ticket.

I don’t know when I’ll reschedule the trip. I don’t know dates I’ll be able to take off from work in order to book a flight.

It’s been a rough day. Bring on karaoke.

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Wedding and Israel

December 7, 2010

I spent a lot of time researching the best time to take my vacation this Winter. I negotiated with my managers over the course of three weeks before we settled on dates.
Finally, on November 1, 2010 I purchased my tickets to fly to Israel on January 23, 2011 and to New York on February 6, 2011.

I informed my parents and siblings of my plans and I let my ex-wife know that I would be unavailable during those two weeks.

One of my younger sisters decided to accept a marriage proposal just prior to Thanksgiving.
A couple of weekends ago she warned me that they were considering a January 30th wedding. I informed her that I already purchased my ticket and if they held it that date, I probably wouldn’t be there.

On Friday December 3, 2010 she informed that they did, in fact, book the wedding for January 30th.*

I didn’t want to change my plans, but I felt like I was “required” to research my options. I called the airline. They told me I’d be charged a minimum of $250.00 to change my flight plans.
I spoke to my management. They didn’t want to be blamed (how they phrased it) for keeping me from attending my sister’s wedding, so they agreed to re-open negotiations to plan my vacation dates. However, they made it clear that they wanted me to go on vacation sooner rather than later.

(Basically, they expect a lot of projects to begin in February 2011, so they want all hands on deck.)

I called my brother in Israel to find out what he was doing and to hear what he thought. He’ll be coming in for her wedding. He offered to let me use his apartment while he’s away (especially if his whole family travels with him). He agreed that I am not obligated to change my plans because they knew the situation before they chose January 30.

* When I ask people advice, they usually ask why is she getting married so soon after meeting the guy and why does she need to get married on that particular weekend?
I haven’t spoken to her about it. However, I think my dad is imposing his belief that engagements should be short. This belief might work for ultra-Orthodox Jews and its practice might be appropriate for people who buy into that way of life, but I think it’s a mistake for my sister.
My sister is a sincere, god-believing, ethical, Orthodox-practicing, commandment keeping person. But she is not ultra-Orthodox.
She should have a “normal” Orthodox engagement period of 3 to 6 month. I hope I’m wrong, but I believe that this shortened time line will have negative repercussions.

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November 24, 2010

Things are a bit quiet, so I’ll reminisce.

From the age of 5 until I married I had school until at least noon on Thanksgiving Day.
When I’d come home from school, my mother’s parents would come over for a formal meal.
My mom would cook a turkey or a few chickens. Inevitably it would burn.
(For some reason my mom could make good food anytime, but when her parents came, the food would burn. I remember one weekend they were over, in which she burned every course.)

After the meal the parental units would talk and I’d go off to listen to the radio. Usually there wasn’t much to listen to, but sometimes they would re-play an old Jack Benny or Fred Allen radio show related to the holiday. I’d sit and write my poetry and stories and dread the morning and the return to school.

Now that my mom’s parents are dead, Thanksgiving is just another day. Although, now it’s a day off from work. Also, so many people call out on the Friday after Thanksgiving, that it’s like an additional day off. I guess, overall, now is better than it was.

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Jewish Social Media Shmooze

November 16, 2010

Last night I attended the Jewish Social Media Shmooze, a tweetup/symposium organized by MetroImma.

Most past events were scheduled for weekends that I had the children. Sometimes they had weeknight events, but I didn’t have (enough/any) time to prepare. So, when I saw a notice from JewishTweets for this tweetup, I decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they were not charging people to attend.

Most of the people were friendly and social and I got to tweetup ( meet up) with a bunch of nice people.

The panelists, hsabomilner, jodisview, kenkrim, and kvetchingeditor were all highly knowledgeable about their craft. The moderator, critiques4geeks, started off by citing the 80/20 rule.

At first I thought she was highlighting that the room was mostly made up of women. However, as it turned out, she meant that 80% of social media content is made up by 20% of the population. (I don’t know if I agree with this rule.)

The panel discussion went well. There were a few things said that I disagreed with, but nothing critical.
To the moderator’s credit the discussion wasn’t too structured or unstructured. When an audience member asked about creating a seasonal twitter advertising campaign, other members of the audience felt comfortable in being recognized by the moderator and offering their own advice to the gentleman. However, the moderator didn’t allow the discussion to fall into chaos.

After the panelist discussion, the organizers raffled off a lot of prizes, including three raffles for a signed copy of “Kvetch as Kvetch Can“, a book of humorous cartoons by Ken Krimstein. After the raffle I spoke with Ken Krimstein. I told him that I was really hoping to win a copy of his book. He told me it’s better this way, because now I can buy a copy. I told him that I wish I could, but I’m Jewish.

I won the raffle for two tickets to the Poppy Seed Players: Latkes & Applesauce play. I’m not really sure how I get the tickets from the organizers or what I should do with them.

The Jewish Social Media Shmooze was sponsored by Bagels & Co., Diaper Buds, Exhale, JDeal,, Kosher Advantage, Kosher by Design, Kosher Inspired, Kvetch as Kvetch Can, Manischewitz, metroimma, Shmira Wear, and Shutterfly.

Overall I had a good time. I rate the shmooze in the 8 out of 10 range. I highly recommend they have future events (and that they invite me with enough time for me to clear my schedule).

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Pop Tarts (No, I don’t mean Britney Spears)

November 9, 2010

When I watched commercials for Pop Tarts I got the impression that they are incredible pockets of joy.
Yesterday, while doing my grocery shopping I stumbled on a sale for Pop Tarts. I figured I’d give them a try. I selected the chocolate fudge filling, since that seemed the least “healthy” option.
I learned from television commercials that Pop Tarts is a breakfast food, so I waited until this morning to open the box. When I opened the box this morning I was initially confused because the box said there were 8 items inside, but I only saw 4 wrappers. I felt one bar to judge if it was perforated and contained two bars. I felt one solid bar.
Shrugging, I open the wrapper and discovered the two bars were stacked on top of each other. I was surprised at how thin they were. On television they looked quite fat, but in real life they looked anorexic.
I popped it in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes and sat down to eat it. Until I started eating it I didn’t realize that it contained whole grains. I try not to eat whole grain foods because I don’t consider them healthy for me. But, I justified that since it was on sale and it had massive amounts of chocolate, I was probably protected from the whole grains.
One bar was enough to satisfy my morning hunger, so I guess it was a successful purchase. Now, what do I do with the other 7 whole grain bars?

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