Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Bands, Old Pals

I used to have a band. We were called Wükiee. We had two songs. We ruled.

I have a lot of friends who play musical instruments in bands. Some are really, really old friends, some are moderately old friends (i.e. Gainesville-era), and some aren't really friends at all -- they're assholes that I've always hated, but their bands happened to have reached a level of success far beyond that of Wükiee. But I guarantee that I've spoken to every single person on this list in a peer-to-peer way, not in a would-you-autograph-my-genitalia type way. And at least 2/3 of them rule, so let's scare up some net traffic for 'em now, shall we?

The Feral Kid
ACQUAINTANCE: Brett Hamil (tenor sax)
DESCRIPTION OF MUSIC: Thinking Fellers meets Polvo meets Morphine meets Henry Mancini's bastard stepnephew
ANECDOTE: Brett and I started Crud Magazine together in the fifth grade. Then we wrote a collaborative opus entitled Milton Abernathy:Tales of an American Loser, as well as many other sadistic stories, throughout middle and high school. Good times. Check out more of his art here.

Fifth Year Crush
ACQUAINTANCE: Jason Walls (vocal/guitars)
DESCRIPTION OF MUSIC: Gin Blossoms meets Candlebox meets Screaming Trees
ANECDOTE: Jason was a genuinely nice guy, but he was Liz's boyfriend, so I called him "Ratboy." Sorry, Jay.

ACQUAINTANCE: Jared Flamm (vocal/guitars)
DESCRIPTION OF MUSIC: Elliot Smith meets Yo La Tengo meets Velvet Underground...?
ANECDOTE: Flamm (pictured on far left) was probably one of the most obnoxious fellow Heebs I met during my time at the University of Florida. The fucker defrosted his dorm-room mini-fridge on my carpet, quite unapologetically.

ACQUAINTANCE: Jeff Hays (Guitars, Pedal Steel, Keyboards, Vocals)
DESCRIPTION OF MUSIC: Folk/Country/Organic-Electro/Breezy/Tumbleweedy/Echoey
ANECDOTE: Always made great music, and was always a sweetie. Their albums are really spooky and beautiful.

Snowglobe Records
DESCRIPTION OF MUSIC: All kinds of tucked-away, indie-pop gorgeousness
ANECDOTE: Mark has always favored the obscure and hidden in independent music, and has always been a pioneering cratedigger. He recently sent me a CD compilation of some of his old bands' compositions -- totally for free!

Eden MiQedem
ACQUAINTANCE: Sh’muel Nahum (vocals, guitars)
DESCRIPTION OF MUSIC: Classical Bedouin/Arabic/Middle-Eastern meets the book of Psalms meets 60's/70's psychedelia meets synth-driven electronica
ANECDOTE: Sh'muel's William Shatner sends me over the edge, and his pronunciation of Yemenite Hebrew is utterly flawless.

I leave anyone out? Speak up, now!


Finding it harder and harder to focus on stuff these days.

So I typed "Unfocused" into Google Image Search, and it gave me a picture of the Giant from Twin Peaks (played by Carel Struycken).

I clicked on the picture, and it brought me to this guy's blog, where I found a link to the Which Twin Peaks Character Are You? quiz, which yielded the following results for me:

You're Agent Albert Rosenfield (played by Miguel Ferrer, pictured above), the snide and superior forensics expert. Your tongue is sharper than your scalpel, and it doesn't take long for people to start hating you for your supercilious quips, but you are the very best at what you do. You don't suffer fools gladly, but you give respect when it's due. In fact, you're a good guy at heart, but so wedded to your sarcasm that you can rarely stand to treat people kindly.

Sounds like me, I guess. Maybe.

Friday, August 26, 2005

My Hometown...

Amazing. Note the ad for a free X-Box below the announcement of the most grisly bears murders Volusia county had ever seen (which, as you will recall, revolved around a stolen X-Box console).

It's been a year since this story hit.

My pal Clifford (and no, he's not a fucking big red dog, allright) has invited me to write for a project that some of his pals are working on called Scream If You Want It. Perhaps I shall write something about the above X-Box murders which, after all, occurred in my hometown of Deltona.

Perhaps I will start doing research here.

Props to Stu for sending the above JPG to me, but if this doesn't constitute a flagrant refusal of his duly designated homework assignment to this blog, then I'll eat my yarmulke.

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Hope My Wife Never Feels Like This

Don't let this happen to you. Quicktime required.

Hat-tip to Jens for this one.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Crying Real Tears

My friend Todd has cousins who live in Netzer Hazani, the Gush Katif settlement shown above that is slated for "dismantlement" in a few days, along with all of the other Jewish yishuvim in Gaza. Todd's cousins' names are Stuart and Anita Toker. They are members of the original nine families that first moved in to Gush Katif back in the mid-70's, at the encouragement of the Israeli government.

I visited them several times during my 4.5 year jaunt in Israel. Their land, their home, their community, their farms, and their families were inspirational on too many levels to describe here. Suffice it to say, I saw vines of cherry tomatoes growing straight out of a hill made of nothing but fine white sand. Who the hell has ever even tried to accomplish something like that in the entire scope of agricultural history?

Anyway, here is an article in Haaretz about some of the people down there that I read out loud to my wife this evening, after we came back from 9th-of-Av services. It made me cry, and not for the first time, about what is happening with our people.

Above is Anita, who is quoted in the article (which is long, but well worth the read) giving the most unbelievable statement of emunah (faith):

"I have lived here for 29 years. And in every one of those 29 years, they came and told me that next year I would not be here. Every year they asked me, Anita, where will you go. And for all those 29 years I have replied to whoever has asked that with God's help, he will come here next year and ask me the same question. I am not blind. I know that this time it is different. It is closer. But look around. Everything is growing here. The settlement is alive. And I am a believing person. Every farmer is a believer. So last week I planted 10,000 celery seedlings. This week I will plant another 10,000. I still believe."

Some people will say, "That's not faith -- that's idiocy!" I can't rightly say I know what it is, but having met Anita, and having experienced Netzer Hazani personally, I hope that she is right.

The pain that I feel for the citizens of Gush Katif is heart-rending, but it is nothing compared to what they themselves are feeling right now. I am not one to get broken-up over political matters -- but, for some reason, this hits too close to home for me to keep silent and objective.

I have no solutions, no proposals for what the "correct" course of action should be for Israel to eliminate terrorism and live in safety and peace. I just know that this particular course of action feels devastatingly wrong to me. It's just a feeling. It's not a political viewpoint gleaned from reading all the papers or having an exhaustive knowledge of Middle-Eastern politics, or even from having served in the Israeli armed forces. It's just a feeling, and it could be wrong. But I don't think it is.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bar's Random Rantless Emes (Vol. 12)

Rebbie Wear

Jewish Hasidic Rapper from Montreal.

Brain-Machine - Mind Control is here!

Torah Ties

Sharon's Head Bandage from Yom Kippur War - was for sale on Ebay, but I don't see it on now....

Batman and The Thing are Jewish??

• A spiritual journey with Rabbi Lazer Brody.

• Finally -- Fight Your Yetzer Hara with Pills!!!

Happy #2 Atara! Bar's son Yechezkel is the little one next to her.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Naomi Batsheva's Baby Naming

1) Grandma Rita (aka Great-Grandma) meets Naomi for the first time. Sarah (proud mother) watches. I've been waiting a long time to have a picture like this.

2) Great-Grandma and Naomi share the love.

3) Zadie Reuven (Chazarmaveth's esteemed father) meets Naomi. Instantaneous love.

4) Mom-Mom Renee (Chazarmaveth's lovely mother) reads Naomi's brainwaves using her ESPN.

5) Proud Mama Sarah getting Naomi ready to receive her name, finally.

6) The Gansa Mishpacha doing a "Blessing of the Children," using the good ol' "Priestly Blessing" formula that we all know and love. Especially us Levites.

7) The Pig of Death himself, telling everyone why in G-d's Holy Name we chose the name that we chose for our daughter (more on that below).

8) Georgia Rose, our midwife, who freaking rules. We love you Georgia!!! Thank you so much!!! On Georgia's lap: Bar's 2-year old cutie, Atara. In Atara's lap: plastic baby from my contest photo. Also pictured: Emma, a nursing student, aspiring midwife, and our ersatz doula for the birthing -- thanks also so much!!!

9) Naches, naches and more naches....

And now for a word about the name (for those who didn't remember, it's Naomi Batsheva, which looks like this in Hebrew: נעמי בת-שבע):

We named her Naomi (which is pronounced "Nah-oh-mee," even though we thought it was pronounced "Nah-ah-mee" at first, but which will probably be pronounced "Nay-oh-mee" by most everyone in the U.S.) because the Hebrew root of her name, spelled with Hebrew letters Nun(נ)/Ayin(ע)/Mem(מ), means "pleasant," "beautiful," or "nice." When you meet someone for the first time in Israel, you would say "Nice to meet you" or "Enchanted" by saying Na'im me'od, or, literally, "Very pleasant (to meet you)," which uses the same root as "Naomi." Also, the Biblical Naomi was instrumental in initializing the Messianic bloodline through which the Jewish people and the world will eventually be redeemed, according to the prophecies of yore. See more details in the Book of Ruth. Anyway, we chose this name, quite simply, because our daughter is so pleasant and beautiful to us, thank G-d.

We gave her a second name of Batsheva, spelled with the Hebrew letters Bet(ב)/Taf(ת)/Shin(ש)/Vet(ב)/Ayin(ע), which translates literally as "Daughter of Seven" or "Daughter of Oath," because:

1) She was born on the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. Thus she is a "daughter of the seventh day," or a Bat(בת - daughter) Sheva(שבע - seven).

2) She was also born on Parshas Matos, a section of the Torah that deals with the laws concerning various forms of oaths. A שבע is a type of oath.

3) Bathsheba is also a Biblical character whose bloodline directly contributes to our eventual Messianic redemption. That's two for one, babay!

4) Most importantly, the name comes from my beloved grandmother, Basha bas Feigl (may her memory be always for a blessing), who passed away less than two months ago at the age of 86. Her name, Basha, is the Yiddish diminutive of Batsheva. I am so thrilled that we could give our new daughter a link to her family and to my wonderful grandmother through this name.

That's it. It's 12AM and I hope I still have a job when I get to Creative Bubble tomorrow...

Mazal tov, mazal tov, mazal tov. Thanks so much to everyone who came to the baby naming, and to everyone else who has called, sent gifts, food, support and so much of their love over the past week -- we love you all very, very much!!!

And the Winner Is.....

(drum roll please............)

Naomi Batsheva bat Sarah Elana v'Yermiyahu sh"lita!!!

Sadly, none of you quite called the name. However, that doesn't mean your dear ol' DeathPig won't make good on his promises of fame, fortune and wealth to all three of his adoring fans -- quite the contrary, in fact! Here, in a particular order, are the LUCKY WINNERS of a free rant on The Pig of Death!!!

1) Best Male First Name
WINNER: HouseOfJoy
ENTRY: "Nebuchadnezzer"
REASON: You can call him Nebuch for short. 'Nuff said.

2) Best Female First Name
WINNER: great gramma
ENTRY: "Esmerelda Gukenfitch, Jr."
REASON: I gotta give my Gramma a prize just for entering, don't I?!?

3) Best Hebrew First Name
WINNER: mara
ENTRY: "Achimot"
REASON: Translation: "My Brother is Death." That's almost as good as "Courtyard of Death!" Thanks Mara, however you found us!
CLOSE SECOND: "Achipelet," or "My Brother is a Fugitive." So good!

4) Best English First Name
ENTRY: "Shlumpa Snarfblatt"
REASON: Ummm.... that is English, isn't it?

5) Best Middle Name
WINNER: Yehoshua
ENTRY: "Sh'fufam"
REASON: Just say it in your head a couple of times.... that's it.... now out loud.... go ahead.... fun, ain't it?

6) Name With the Highest Potential of Actually Being Used
WINNER: HouseOfJoy again!
ENTRY: "Tifereth"
REASON: It's a very beautiful name, no pun intended. Maybe for the next girl, Beth!

7) Name We Would Never In A Million Years Give To Our Worst Enemies (yemach sh'mam v'zichram)
ENTRY: "Stuart Siegel Silverman"
REASON: Nothing personal, Stu. It's just that we wouldn't in a million years give that name to our worst enemies (yemach sh'mam v'zichram)

8) Most Laughable Attempt At Trying To Amuse Us
WINNER: anonymous
ENTRY: "Menachem Mendel"
REASON: Let's not get me started, shall we? Anonymous, come on dowwwwn!

9) Honorable Mention (best usage of Hebrew Gutturals)
WINNER: Moish Geller, via Yehoshua
ENTRY: "Whatever 'Ayin-Chet-Ayin' spells when pronounced by a Yemenite Jew"
REASON: Go ahead -- you try pronouncing it!

RULES FOR CLAIMING PRIZES: Send us an e-mail here within the next 264 hours (i.e. before Shabbos Nachamu, August 20, 2005) confirming your intention to participate. Failure to confirm participation will result in disqualification (supplies are limited, after all). Limit one entry per winner (multiple winners excluded -- meaning yes, Beth, you can submit two entries if you like). Participants may write about whatever the hell they want. Short stories are great. So are shameless self-promotional gimmicks, rants/raves about something Jewish, and links to obscure websites that rock. I'm giving you my soapbox here, people. Do me proud.

All entries should be sent to the preceding e-mail address by Rosh Chodesh Elul, September 5, 2005 (after that, you should be concentrating on teshuva, nu?) Your e-mail entry should contain the following items:

• Byline or Title (No longer than 50 characters (spaces included))
• Image (as JPG, PCT, TIFF or GIF -- be creative! Animated GIFs rule!)
-- Disclaimer: All images will be automatically resized to 400x300 px
• Main body text (please format for HTML if possible)
-- Note: entry must not exceed 1500 words
• Hat-tip, if you found your subject on someone else's blog (not required, but definitely mentchy).

CONGRATULATIONS WINNERS!!! And thanks to all of our contestants!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Isn't She Lovely???

And no, we are not naming her "Aisha," so don't even ask.

The official Baby-Naming will be Monday, August 8th, at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.

There are some more pics in a PDF slideshow that you can download here.

If your browser can't view it, then download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat here.

Dang I'm busy! And tired!