Tag Archives: life

Just Be.

24 Jan

One of the most fascinating people in Judaism has to be Rabbi Nachman of Breslav. R’ Nachman was a manic depressive genius chassidic Rebbe who lived about 200 years ago, at the beginning of the haskalah period, and was the closest thing to a frum existentialist I can imagine. Of course, I don’t exactly know what an existentialist is, being that Wikipedia is boring, but I assume it means to simply exist. To just be. No fate, or divine plan, or purpose to concern yourself with. Just being.  You might be catching the contradiction with the frum part here.  

His stories use all the classic Jewish archetypes, like Kings, princes, children, animals, forests, but they don’t match up to any Jewish morals. The king, who normally would play God, makes mistakes in these stories, or even dies. The prince isn’t having any sudden einfal to figure things out. The characters mix together and wander around, lost, with decidedly un-cosmic, human problems, and the answers given are fragmented and cryptic. Some parts of the story obviously have a point. Other parts seem to be put in randomly. Sometimes the most fascinating, fantastically described characters tell you a trivial detail about themselves and then just leave the story. It feels like the taste of an awesome fairy tale, with no main course to lose yourself in. 

R’ Nachman said, “The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the main thing to do is not to fear at all.” No explanation of where the bridge is going, or why we’re on the bridge. The bridge is here, and we’re on it. That’s it. Just walk. Do you want to stay in the middle of the bridge forever? No? Then what’s holding you back? A question about the purpose of walking? That’s insane. The only thing in your power is to walk across the bridge. Worrying about why or where is pointless. And it’s just harmful if it stops you from walking. Just let it go and walk. 

Where God comes in in all of this, I have no idea. But I’m starting to try it.


Random Thoughts: Words To Live By

18 Jan

Life really is like a box of chocolates. Most people are trying to get at the caramels or the truffles. But if you want to do it smarter, you’ll try to develop a taste for the raspberry ones. That way, you’ll always get what you want, and you won’t have to kill yourself or anyone else to get it. And at the end of the day, what does it matter who got the more popular chocolate? You both had chocolate, and you’re both going to be dead forever. Of course, I’ve never met any person who actually lived like this, I’m just saying it’s smarter.

Racism and Apikursus

6 Dec

It may not seem so at first glance, but these two issues are so closely related, I can’t decide which one is the mashal and which is the nimshal.

The problem I’m talking about is the “line in the sand”. These two issues are the line in the sand for our two societies, frum and secular. In either one, your behavior is overlooked as long as you don’t cross the line. Once you do that, you switch from “good” to “bad”. It’s a defensive, siege mentality that exists to bind the group members and keep the group’s perceived enemies out. And it becomes a problem when it exists in a normal society.

The frum problem is clearly larger than the secular one, so I’m going to start small and work my way up. Secular (Western) society, after experiencing a Holocaust and two world wars, decided it might finally be prudent to abandon the idea of superior races that had been swirling around since, what, feudal times? Roman times? Who knows. It was a dangerous idea that was no longer safe to play around with and feel superior than other people about, so it was banished. Any mention of the old ideas would brand you an enemy to society, and anything sounding suspicious would mark you suspect. The old ideas weren’t disarmed rationally, they were simply buried as is, under strict guard. But united against hate- what could be bad about that?

Well, for one thing, the problems that need to be addressed, aren’t, because there’s no safe way to bring up a discussion without sounding like the enemy and triggering the racist alarm. Ugly-sounding facts are not allowed to be spoken about, simply because they are verboten. Lower black-American test scores, higher percentage of black teen pregnancies, higher percentage of black incarceration, all these problems are staying the same or getting worse (here’s a sobering study), because introducing a change in policy is racist.

Another problem is that I think the old ideas aren’t really gone from people’s minds. They are simmering under the surface in the place where forbidden double-think thought goes, ready to explode should some large-scale, unexplainable catastrophe happen, for example the economy going under, just like it did in Nazi Germany. Don’t think so? Look at the blame being thrown around on illegal aliens (that’s Mexians in single-think) and Jews in Wall Street (a 90% Jew club, of course) for the current state of the economy. Or look a little deeper at the ratio of mixed-race marriages. Here’s one: White/Asian is at 1%, while White/Black is at 0.4% This fits well with established racist hierarchies, but not that well with minority group percentage figures which put Black Americans at 13% of the population and Asians at 4.5%.

Is there a better way to deal with this and still keep the racist ideas contained? Yes, I think so. I think that, as a nation, we are at the point where it’s safe to discuss race openly. As a society, I think we’re enlightened enough to know that there are many causes to problems with society, and that the all-time obvious one -“that boy’s a different color”- doesn’t really answer anything. There are, and probably will always be, some people who say the word, “black” or “Jew” like it’s a bad thing, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to stop saying it, or dance around with P.C. nonsense like “African-American”. When you stop saying something because you’re afraid of the power it might have, you are the one giving it power, and keeping it in the underlying consciousness of everyone in society. Letting these issues see the light of day, exposing them to reality, is the only way to dry up whatever lingering, festering substance still remains in them.

Oh, and same thing with apikursus ideas, except different in some ways. Didn’t realize how long the race issue would take.

Random Thought: Coffee

19 Oct

I think it’s very good to have a freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning. Because coffee resembles your day much more than you realize.

When you just wake up and make the coffee, the smell is amazing. It’s fresh, delicious- gonna be the best coffee you’ve ever had. After you drink it for a little and try to capture that sense you first had though, it never really measures up. You realize it’s the same boring, slightly bitter tasting coffee you have every day.

Sometimes you’re determined to make your coffee taste good, so you mix all sorts of syrupy crap into it, but it all tastes fake and you finally accept that no matter what you do to it or how far you travel to get it, coffee is shit.


National Geographic: Inspiring people to care abou- Zzzzzzz

12 Sep

The excitement builds.

I don’t understand National Geographic channel at all. Can someone smarter please explain this to me? You pour tons of money into traveling to the most remote, amazing places on Earth with a team full of expensive scientists and equipment, and yet you somehow manage to make your programming boring enough to slow the average heart to standstill. One by one, you’re killing every cool thing on Earth. Please. Stop!

Seriously, if someone would offer to take me somewhere incredible after I’d seen it on National Geographic, I’d most probably say no.

“Hey you want to see the Alps?”

“Hmm, nah.”

You want to swim with gorgeous tropical fish in warm crystal clear blue water near the most beautiful island you’ve ever seen?

“You know, I’m a little tired. Maybe some other time.”

“The only living things on the island are naked women and monkeys in tuxedos tending tiki bars.”

“Can’t you take a fuckin hint? I said NO.”

Anyhow. They just killed off the biggest cave on the planet. Like a moron, I started watching this thing because all they show you in the commercial is a highlight reel of scenes that makes you feel like your heart is about to explode from the absolute awesomeness of it all. You simply cannot not watch.

Of course, once you get there, a 75 year old monotoned man starts describing everything in the most technical detail imaginable. The equipment, the “flora and fauna”, everything. It’s not a few comments to enhance what you’re seeing. This fucker is trying his hardest to suck the life out of everything. I’m not exaggerating at all now, here’s how the nonstop monotone man described the group huddled around a cooking fire in a huge, magnificent, dim cavern: “It’s important to rehydrate and replenish calories.” Cut scene. Wait- did you just make eating at a campfire a boring chore? Wow, bravo. The whole thing is like 5 seconds though, and then back to a guy who is the absolute antithesis of Indiana Jones describing how he’s going to measure the PH balance in the water. This scene of course takes 5 minutes of excruciatingly detailed shots of the chemicals in his box, Antithesis pouring the chemicals, the results of his various tests, Zzzzzzz.   

Then we go back to the action with the team crossing a tiny stream. The music is eclipsing the action entirely. It’s something out of Braveheart playing over crossing a foot high piss stream. Indiana’s up again: “You need to be really careful out there. You can twist your ankle very easily, and then we need to wait for a rescue team to pull the person out…. One time I got a cut on my foot. Another time, my father killed himself on a hiking trip and it took a really long time until they cleaned all his brains off the trees. I think they were deciduous trees. I forgot to collect samples, but I think so. You know, an interesting thing about deciduous….”

Ask An Old Jewish Man

28 Aug

Harry Krupnik, aka “Old Jewish Man”, answers your questions:

Dear Old Jewish Man,

Why do you never see baby seagulls?

Bensonhurst Birdwatcher

Dear Bensonhurst,

Excellent question. Baby seagulls live on seagull island, a secret place full of wonder and poop that no human being has ever returned from. We only know about it’s existence through a sea turtle that was taught to use sign language.

Dear OJM,

Why is Kedem wine so delicious?

Anonymous Alcy

Dear Alcy,

Kedem wine company has a long and storied history going back to over 100 years ago when it was owned by Baron Herzog in Hungary and produced wine for the king. To answer your question more precisely, massive amounts of sugar plus alcohol.

Dear OJM,

What’s your secret to a long and happy life?

Depressed in Denver

Dear Depressed,

It’s no secret- it’s the little things in life that’ll kill you. They just gather and gather until one day they explode. So find out what’s eating you and deal with it.

On a personal note, my brother always used to put things down and forget them. One day he couldn’t find his coffee until it had gotten ice cold and he drank it. He made an aweful face and dropped like a stone. My mother, may she rest in peace, could never find the cordless until it stopped ringing. She got so fed up that she threw out all the cordless phones and replaced them with corded ones. Unfortunately, she could never get used to them and one time, when she was busy cooking and cleaning, she answered the phone and hung herself.

I’ve since trained myself to drink ice coffee and given up talking altogether. I couldn’t be happier. I also inject heroin intravenously.

Old Age Homes In The Future

21 Aug

I was doing some wiring in a nursing home the other day and there was this very sick old man lying there. As I passed him, he asked me what channel he could get the baseball game on. I ignored him, of course, but it got me thinking. (Joke people, joke!) What are nursing homes going to look like when we’re old?

I picture myself in the room, hooked up to dialysis playing Call Of Duty XXVII online, cursing out 5th graders. My family comes to visit me and my grandson says, “Zaide, you missed that guy in the corner.” That’s when I lose it.

“Who the hell do you think you are? All you kids today with your brains hooked up to the Dream pods playing your ass-hat immersive role-playing games! Sharon, what the hell you giving this boy? Probably plays Blow Job Killers 3, don’t he?”

“No, Daddy, of course he doesn’t”.

“Yeah…My ass…That’s what he tells you. Well, boy, lemme tell you- in my day, you needed skill! You had to move the controls perfectly with your fingers! Now you just sit there like a boob. Your thumbs getting no exercise at all. Ah, get me my flask, Sharon, and put on some Eminem. I need to sleep.”

“But you’re on dialysis, Daddy.”

“Pour it into the IV bag. There’s a good girl.”

Wow, I think I’m going to like being crotchety very much. Assuming there’s still social security. Or America.