Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Ritual

I have a ritual.

It's a sad one, and it's one I don't like doing. But being a part of a caring community means that I must oblige.

Every Wednesday, the Rabbi's secretary sends out an updated list of life-cycle events for the month. There are categories for "Honorable Menschen," Engagements (and I was thrilled to see my name in there last month), Weddings, Anniversaries, Births, those in need of healing, and those who have died recently.

My ritual is that I read this list and pay special attention to those who have died. More specifically, which participants have lost a grand-parent or, God forbid, a parent. Who needs comfort?

My job, but more importantly my passion, is to care for those around me. I just hate opening these documents, knowing that a loved one has been lost.

In a meeting about my possible future Rabbinate, a friend asked me, "what's your greatest fear about becoming a Rabbi?" I answered "funerals and circumcisions." The friend laughed and said "you know you don't actually cut the kid, right?" Yes, I did. And, truth be told, I will probably get over that fear. Funerals, though. That will take some work.

Death is something Jewish professionals deal with a lot. There are various ways of coping. How do you cope with loss? How can you be a support to those who are dealing with loss?

I ask because I am genuinely interested in your thoughts. I hope we can all learn something.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I hope this doesn't offend anyone

But I really like Boudin's tomato soup in a bread bowl.


And the gf and the sis get along really well. That's really nice :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Well, THAT'S not something you see everyday...

Maybe I'm from the old-skool where women, especially pretty women, are given special privileges just for being, well, pretty women. I could go into some rant about how that's sexist towards guys, but I'm sure someone will point out five more examples of how sexism towards women is more pervasive in this country and society. And honestly, I just don't want to get into that conversation.

Then again, I'm from the old-skool, with a "k."

I got my usual lunch today (Subway, 5...5 dollar...5 dollar footlong...and now it's stuck in your head) and I was taken aback by the following situation:

Very attractive blond gets a 6-inch tuna sandwich, asks for a large cup with ice, and a bottle of water. Price rung up? $8.27. She pays without a second thought and moves along.

Wait, what?

Now maybe I just noticed this because I almost always watch my finances, but that wasn't right. In a matter of seconds, the cashier rung her up for a footlong sandwich (she had a 6"), a large drink (even though it only had ice), and a bottle of water (the only fully legitimate item she paid for). He overcharged her by about $3. And me? I just stood there and let it happen, awestruck by the lack of the customer's wherewithal.

Yes, I should have intervened and said something. But she should also have recognized a mistake. Where can you get a bottle of water and a 6" tuna sandwich? A nice restaurant. Not Subway.

I don't tell this story to bring up how the cashier took advantage of the blond stereotype. Rather, I mention it as a warning to all consumers:

Check your receipts. If you're paying for something that you shouldn't be paying for, or are overcharged, tell someone. Make them make it right, or leave with every single cent in YOUR pocket. Don't let companies take advantage of you.

If you do, the terrorists win.

And the old-skool.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Boring, then Super Awesome Bowl

The Game:
With the exception of the last play of the first quarter, the first 55 minute of this year's Super Bowl was probably the most boring piece of football I've ever seen.  And I went to almost every single UC Davis home football game.  Owch.  However, the last five minutes were spectacular!  
Although I give the Steelers credit for their win, I do believe that the Cardinals should have received one more play with 0:05 left on the clock.  It was very obvious the Warner's arm was moving forward, meaning the play should have been called an incomplete pass, rather than a fumble.  Regardless, I do not think the Cardinals would have won the game, but at least it would have been the right call.

The Commercials:
How do you spell "lackluster"?  The 2009 Super Bowl ads.  The the USA Today voters found the Doritos "Crystal ball sees free Doritos" the best, with Budweiser's "Clydesdale's romance with circus horse" and "A Clydesdale can fetch" in close second and third, respectively.  Yes, those were good and mildly funny.  But on a 10 point scale, no ad received an 8.5 or higher.  
Then again, I really disagree with some of the USA Today votes.  For example, the "Cash 4" ad came in with a score of 5.58.  I thought that was one of the smarter ads of the entire Bowl.  It was self depricating, and perfect for the company.  
I did agree, however, with the score for the Vizio ad, 3.77, and title of this year's worst ad.  The worst thing you can do is tell your possible consumers they have failed (at least, you can't tell them this outright), especially when they made a completely irrevocalble decision, such as buying a new HDTV.  Yes, you can return the TV and exchange it for the Vizio, but that's a pain in the butt.  Vizio's message was "you're an idiot for choosing quality over value."  During an event with such lively comedy, high emotions, and a 3 hour getaway from the worries of the world, Vizio failed to bring joy to the viewers in their ad.  (as an aside, Apple did not bring joy to its viewers with their "1984" Super Bowl ad, but it was thought provoking and a watershed moment in Super Bowl ads.  The Vizio ad did not accomplish this goal.)

The only ad that made me say "whoa, I'm excited for that" - Angels & Demons.  I can't wait to start reading that book and then go see the movie.  What does that say?  A very poor Super Bowl of ads.  Oh well.  At least the last 5 minutes of the game made up for it.

By the way, props to Jennifer Hudson.  Her rendition was outstanding.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today will be a great day...

*iLife 09 will arrive today
*GF's bday gift will arrive today
*Last day of my "Jewish Experience Through Music" class, which means that we're just going to sing and listen to the best music from the class
*GF's advancements are today...she'll be great!
*I pick up two more final drafts from my producer (picked up Adon Olam & By A River last night, and while they need a few minor changes, they sound AMAZING)


Food related post to come later today...or tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Highlights from "The Speech"

These are lines that may, or may not, be remembered as the highlight catch phrases of President Obama's (I can't believe I can actually say that now!) inaugural speech. Enjoy!

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.

What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

What if...

...John McCain had won the election? Would there be the same number of people marching on the capital? Or would the vast majority be there, but protesting the results?

...John McCain had won the election, and then died because of some health issue? Sarah Palin would have been inaugurated today. I just don't want to think of that.

...Dick Cheney had not pulled a muscle in his back and was confined to a wheelchair today?

There are plenty of "what if's" and even more "what now's." One thing is certain, though:

Barack Obama is our next President. And I couldn't be more proud.