Monday, January 16, 2006

Hooking the Ravenous Atkins Monster!!!!

Reeses Peanut butter cup (like 90% carbs) gets'em every time!!!

This Akins diet thing has to be one of the dumbest things that I've ever heard of. I understand people who do it to lose weight fast (obviously not healthy--rapid weight loss and unhealthy diet), but to live on this kind of diet is even more stupid. I don't care what Mr. Atkins says, but living off of Meat, Cheese, and Mayo is not healthy unless u think living off of cholesterol and fat + basically no fruits/vegetables is good......Duuhhhhhee ..."I'll just have a vitamin supplement"... Yaahhhh, consume more strange chemicals. I wonder if your body even recognizes those concoctions as food.

If u want to lose weight or stay healthy there is no substitute for discipline--exercise and a healthy diet (5 small meals, lots'o fibre, wawa, and veggies/fruits).

New age fads---blahhhhhhhhh!!!!!

Thank G-d that I am currently blessed with a very fast metabolism (I love eating)...Although I still should of course eat more healthy and do more exercise

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mayim achronim, hot sauce, and a food pantry

Well, this week is chesed week for us at yeshiva. I went to the Ecumenical food pantry in Washington Heights along with 2 other bachurs. One walked from 101st!!! I arrived 30 minutes late due to a catastrophe.

I decided to have a hardy meal before going to the food pantry because I was expecting a day of manual labor...but also Romanian (Chicago) hot dogs are good....I ate them at 10:15AM!! I thought that I was running pretty on time and that I would have no problem making it.......Wrong!!!

After I finished my last hot dog and just before I was about to bentch I scratched my left eye which was itching me. Then, a couple seconds later it's burning like nothing I've ever felt vision went blurry in my left eye and even started tearing in both eyes because of the pain and my eyes automatic reaction to squint....Next, i see out of my right eye what appears to be something red on my index finger....Ahhhhh..that's what's going on. I had hot sauce on that finger and rubbed my eye with that finger....And this was not any hot sauce...It was habenero sauce (one of the hottest pepppers out there)!!!

So I run to the sink and splash some water into my eye and it does nothing...Ahhhh, it's burning. I'm thinking that I am going to have to go to the emergency thoughts: "it's really going to damage my eye and burn me etc". Therefore I jump into the shower and use warm water and try to keep my eyes open as much as possible...finally 10 minutes later i'm ok. Now one thing I have to say to Rabbeinu Tam is "There ain't no bitul ta'am bitul gezeira bezman hazeh....there is hot sauce" (washing the hands after doing bircat hamazon is considered by some poskim to be not required because there is no longer melech sodom which was the reason why "after waters" was originally least on a simple level. Bitul ta'am bitul gezeira is a philosophy of law held by the Tosefists which contends that decrees of the rabbis only apply as long as the explicit reasons stated for the decree still exists. Of course this issue is much more complicated) .

Lesson learned: Think twice about eating hot dogs at 10;15 especially if u are going to use habenora sauce. Second thing, I must really look into this mayim achronim almost cost me my eye...It wasn't "melech sdom" (salt of sodom), but it sure felt like it. I guess my roommate Yehuda have a lot in common. He burns bread and smokes up our whole apartment and I burn my eyes out.

I arrived at the Ecumenical food pantry at 11:30 feeling pretty stupid and explain myself to my fellow students. I had a great time and worked hard. The workers/volunteers at the Church were so nice, friendly , and appreciative. They tried as much as possible to make us feel welcome. Jim did a great job of trying to speak Spanish. Shame on us for insulting them by not joining them in their special festive holiday meal for the workers. They were insulted. Can't blame them...They don't quite understand kashrut laws...They said, "the food was blessed etc." We bought ourselves a soda in order to not be quite as insulting. Then, somehow a guys finds the biggest bottle of Manischevits that u've ver seen and we join them for a lechaim!!! I've never actually drunk that cough syrup besides with kiddush.

All in all, it was a great experience with great people. It also gave me a good perspective on things. I learned things that we all "know", but seeing it once in a while really changes things. U should have seen how this 5 year old girl reacted when one of the workers gave this little girl a palstic bag with 3 little homemade cookies as a bonus along with the normal food package. Her eyes lit up, and she hugged them, and swung with them against her chest. My realtionship with cookies are: "how much more hydrogenated fat am I going to eat? Or I feel nauseated after eating that whole box of Entemans". Obviously I enjoyed my dinner after work and will enjoy and truly apperciate the little things until this experience wears off.

Bottom line: Go out there and do something good for the needy and thou shalt do mayim achronim or your eyes shall get burned out!!!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

U better respect Devo and I think i like music again

Well, suddenly 2 days ago I had a "need" for music...and I did not take any of my CDs from home with me to NYC. I needed music and the problem is that the music I know of and like is not played on the radio. Therefore, I immediately IM'd Derisa for where to go and she directed me to Capitol Records. I was not able to find what I really wanted, but I found stuff to hold me over.

I bought Devo: Feeedom of Choice and with the recommendation of my friend's friend--- fellow former punk rocker (now turned super frumie-payos and penguin suit) I bought a Me First and the Gimme Gimme CDs. It was funny...He revealed himself when I mentioned to Ben some of the bands that I was looking for...He "came out of the closet" by singing The Brews by NOFX (A funny "hey I'm a Jew song"). We sang together...maybe a little too loud and excited in the Hillel hallways.....very funny moment..."OY, OY We're the Brews, Friday Night we'll be drinking Manischevitz....... [censor] (not too kosher)....orthodox chassidic oy gee oiys..."

I played the Devo CD for my roommate Yehuda. I asked him what he thought and the cretin insulted it....said "it should go the way of the dinasours"...These guys were kings.....admittedly the electronic sounds are lame compared to what u hear these days....but the songs are still funny and cute ---"whip it.....".

I have not really had the time to listen to too much music for the last couple of years and did not have the time. ....I did not really have the time to desire music. AHHHhhh, still trying to return to planet Earth

It's pretty hard for me to find my music.
Anyone know where I can get the "Skankin Pickle Live CD locally?".

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thoughts about Mechitza?

2 weeks ago our rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Linzer, spoke to us about a particular incident that he had to deal with in regards to the mechitza in our minyan (prob. the particular incident is not suppose to be public knowledge). After these sort of talks we break up into small groups to discuss these real life issues. I learned something that caught me very off guard. I have just always assumed that the less "obtrusive" the mechitza the more comfortable most women will feel at a minyan or shul . I learned that I was way off.

About a month ago there were 3 days when the Columbia/Barnard Hillel minyan was not running, so many of them joined our minyan. A student in my group mentioned that he had overheard a number of the women who had joined us temporarily in the YCT minyan saying "If i can avoid it, I'm never davening in this minyan again. I dont like the fact that men can look at us during davening etc." They did not like the fact that our mechitza is "low" (about shoulder high) and that it is pretty see through. I don't think guys were staring at them or anything, but they said that they didn't like the fact that men could look at them in davening.

So there goes my conception that the ideal mechitza should always aim to be as unobtrusive as possible (both in terms of size and design) in order to make women feel comfortable. I guess if a woman grows up davening in a shul with a big mechitza then that is what one is use too and comfortable's not necessarily an intellectual matter (comfort etc.). Perhaps some women don't want to feel like a part of the minyan?

I'm assuming this emotional/non-intellectual relationship with mechitza because of my reationship with mechitza. I grew up davening in my parent's shul which had mixed seating and an "orthodox" rabbi. I never really gave much thought to the issue....I don't recall the presence of women distracting me.

Towards the end of my 2nd year of high school I started davening in a little local orthodox shul (the one where the retired rabbi of my parent's shul davens) with a standard mechitza down the middle. After davening in minyans with a mechitza for 4 years I was required to daven and speak in my parents shul for one of the chagim. They had given me a large scholarship to go to israel and the scholarship obligated me to speak at the shul. I felt very uncomfortale davening and was distracted. This was for several reasons and not only b/c of the "distraction" of women. One factor was that the seperation of the sexes had become something that I asscocated with davening. It was "the Jewish way" and my gut feeling (not intellectual) was that family pews was not the jewish way and it felt inauthentic.

[Sidenote: Family pews in shuls are understood by most historians to be an imitation of American protestant churches where the family pews phenomenon began. The first reform temples to have mixed seating were in America and then this phenomenon spread to some Temples in Germany and was even less common outside of Germany. ]

Also, there was the issue of the distraction of seeing women. This was never something that I had even thought of growing up, so I think my increase in "frumkeit" and the mechitza had and has sensitized me to being more easily distracted by women during davening. I certainly cannot daven in a minyan without a mechitza. This was not a conscious choice, but a result of davening in minyanim with mechitzas. I think that the mechitza served as a reminder 3 times a day that it is an issue and it eventually became an issue subconsciously. I have spoken to several guys who grew up davening in shuls with mixed seating who have experienced the same transformation.

I was also thinking that perhaps those students were offended by our minyan because once u try as hard as possile to make an in-offensive mechitza u are saying and reminding people that it's offensive. These mechitzas can be seen as condescending. Also, maybe a significant mechitza (especially the kind that are in the back of the shul) allow some woman to feel more comfortable because it allows them to feel like thay have their own service and not almost part of the congregation which is the message that a little mechitza can send. This was at least the feeling of a friend of mine who davened at the Yakar minyan who liked the mechtiza set up (mechitza in the back).

Can't forget about the women who grew up davening in shuls w/o mechitzas and can't stand it, but do it anyways b/c they're "orthodox" and those who avoid davening in a shul with a mechitza at all costs.

I would like to hear peoples' thoughts about this issue from an emotional (personal) and sociological perspective and not a halachic perspective. My speculation into how women feel about various mechitzas is just that ---specualtion. It maybe very off. The halachic argument is not what interests me here and I think that it is fitting for a different kind of forum ( I personally believe the issue is not primarily a halachic one).

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hey you, you're a big Fat Cow!!

My chevruta and I were studying Perek Meruba in Tractate Bava Kamma (Babylonian Talmud). The issue was how to determine the "kefel" (The obligatory double payment of the value of the stolen object) where a thief stole a cow that he "fattened". Fattening the cow makes the cow worth more (better). Therefore, the question was whether we obligate the thief for kefel according to the original value of the cow or its value once the thief is taken to beis din. For some reason I said in english, "the big fat cow", instead of the hebrew and my chevruta (study partner) began to laugh. Then he pondered aloud why and if it would be bad to call a woman a big fat cow. After all, we have proof from the Gemara that a big fat cow is worth more than a skinny.

He thought that the logical conclusion is that a woman should take it as a compliment to be called a big fat cow. I then told my chevruta to try it out with his girlfriend and he refused. So women or men too I guess, how would you feel about being called a big fat cow. Why wouldn't u want to be one? It is strange that the current ideal is to be a rediculous shape consisting of mountains and canyons. U've all seen those classical paintings and statues where one can see that the ideal for beauty was a big plump woman. If u are a woman reading this and take the time to read these silly blogs instead of exercising then I'm guessing that u are not sleek and trim. I say, "Hey u, my readers, u are big fat cows!!!!!!". How did that feel?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Urban Angler

First Testimony from an Urban Angler. Sunday night I fished Battery Park for the first time in a long time. It was a nice night--AAhhh release. You can find solitude in this urban jungle, just be creative, and find your niche.

I fished the area where the locals fish away from all of the tourists for the first time. Was suppose to meet my roommate there, but he didn't show up. Initially I thought that I would have to cut the night short b/c at least by the Jewish Museum late at night (where I normally fish) it probably isn't safe. But then I made friends with all of the locals.... Even the bums and it was all good.

Finally met the famous BPDave (Battery Park Dave). He's famous among NYC urban anglers. He knows everything about fishing BP and everyone who fishes it. Dave fishes Battery Park literally 24 hours a day 365 days a week....always has a rod in the water. ...Even when sleeping in his lawn chair. He somehow manages to keep himself up better than the other BP residents. It is probably not good that he literally lives off of downtown NYC fish. I'm not sure how but he owns a 249 dollar reel--fancier than anything I've got. The one thing that annoyed me about him was the hissing sounds that he often made at women passing by. Sometimes he would continue having a conversation with a woman for over 10 minutes after a woman who he had made strange noises towards had passed by-- "We really should meet at the party tonight etc......"

Part of the adventure of fishing in NYC is the ride there and back on the subway. A crazy looking guy with rods, a big ole hiking pack, and cooler isn't exactly a normal site to see so I always attract attention and it is usually good attention. Suddenly Washington heights become the friendliest neighborhood in the world.....People say hi and wish me good luck. Same thing on the subway. I get into conversations with every type of person and about very different subjects. And I am not the kind of guy who usually gets into conversations with strangers on the subway etc. People feel the right or comfortable talking to me about everything. Everything from a cute old lady talking about fishing with the old man in Montauk to a 40 year old man explaining to me the key to world peace.

Also, I always manage to meet interesting characters while fishing. 4 trips ago I met an Israeli Chabadnic fisherman hahaha. His name is Meir. I identified myself by talking to him in hebrew and then I got the "oh you're Jewish"...Then I proceeded to pull out my cereal bar (don't tell him that it's OU D) and said a bracha. Then his eyes really beamed and said "Oy, tzaddik Atah" (Oh you're righteous)!!

I managed to catch 3 striped bass; unfortunately I did not take many pictures. You'll have to excuse the quality. Getting use to the new camera. The picture on the left is Meir. I caught the striper that he is holding and gave it to him. He said that it was excellent.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

In the beginning.....

In the beginning when G-d created the heavens and the Earth, the Earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while the spirit of G-d swept over the face of the Earth. And then there was Gatoshombre's blog......No more confusion. Read or ask and thou shalt learn.

No more gutless equivocations and paradoxes blah, blah, blah!! Say what you mean, it's OK. No matter what you do there will be those who disagree with you or don't like you for your opinions, but that's OK.

Oh yeah, u will have to excuse my dyslexic typing.