Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hey! Ho! Welcome To My Crib, Yo!!!



Mazal tov mazal tov mazal tov! Here's our gangsta baby, yo! It's a girl!

Born: 23 Tamuz 5765 (July 30, 2005) at 12:57AM EST in New York City
Weight: 6 lbs. 8 oz.
Length: 20 in.
Name: TBA

Below is the proud Mom-Mom, kvelling like crazy:



Send us props, G! We got us some mad cuteness in da heyyyouse!!!

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Wish Power Are Together With You



Oh my Lord is this ever funny.

The above is the first in a series of screenshots from a bootleg DVD of Revenge of the Sith that someone named Jeremy, who happens to be in Bangkok, scored on the street shortly after the film came out in theaters. In his words (reposted on a blog called Matthew in Beirut):

i saw revenge of the sith last weekend at a local theater with my friend joe who was in town on business. it was much better than the first two movies and a fitting end (err.. middle) to the star wars saga. the next day i was walking past my friendly dvd salesperson and decided to check out revenge of the sith. i was assured the quality was good and for 7rmb why not give it a shot. aside from the counters on the top of the screen and a distorted perspective it was ok- not high quality but watchable. the captions were a hilarious surprise- a direct english translation of the chinese interpretation of what the script was saying. it varied from being somewhat close to the script to being 'far far away'....

My beautiful wife (who is quite nerve-rackingly close to childbirth now, he said, digging around frantically for his catcher's mitt) recently bought me the Star WarsTrilogy DVD Set that I had requested on my birthday wish list, and we've been watching it. That's why this post is shayach to my life right now, besides the fact that it's funny as all heckfire.

(Thanks to Sef Gray, my badass IT man, for this link, yo!)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Comment on Comments



This girl's name is Elle. She has a relatively new blog called Bitch Pulled Out My Weave! I found it by hitting the "Next Blog" button on the Blogger® Toolbar displayed at the top right corner of my blog, like 50 or 60 times. Yes, I was bored. No, I do not recommend this as a way of web-surfing, as many of the "blogs" out there are actually perplexingly-configured advertisements for Viagra, usually in languages other than English.

Anyway, Elle. The reason I bring her up is threefold:

1) Even though she doesn't really write about things of any major importance, and her postings are usually NC-17, I must admit to occasionally enjoying them.

2) Look at how many comments each one of her posts generates!!!!!! They're in the hundreds, and they pour in every single day!!!!

3) I can't tell whether or not she is Jewish, but while rooting through her archives, I came up with a comment that could be construed as vaguely anti-Jewish (p.s. see Chazarmaveth's comment on aformentioned post, for your nice, daily dosage of whupass).

Anyway, I am mainly writing this in honor of Stu, who has been bitching and whining that no one posts comments on his blog, and has "threatened" to quit blogging altogether. Guess what Stu! Blogging ain't about the comments, son. It's about putting it out there, doing your own thing and not giving a damn if anyone else reads it. At least, that's what it's about for me.

Why don't you start blogging chapters of the story you were gonna start writing for me? Remember? The one about "sinkholes, videogaming consoles, multiple homicides, public-school pedophiles and rollerskating rinks?" C'mon man -- get back in the game!

(Update 9:52AM on the same day) -- allright, maybe she is Jewish (rooting a little further within the same post, I found a telling scrap of evidence). In which case, she gets to make aforementioned comments, I guess. Dang. There goes another shot at being self-righteous Defender of Our Nation...)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Young and The Sexless



(The above photo taken from a photo album that chronicles an I'm Worth Waiting For! event -- note that the girl on the left has a red sticker that proudly announces, "I'm Worth Waiting For!")

Been mulling over the following quotation I read in this article from the July issue of Rolling Stone concerning a "new trend" among hip Christian youth -- pre-marital abstinence!

From the article:

Anna Broadway (one of aforementioned abstinent youths) poured her frustration into her blog, Sexless in the City, and revisions of a dense essay on John Cusack movies she'd written in graduate school, The Cult of the Orgasm as Romantic Mysticism. "In a world that functionally operates on atheistic terms throughout most of its supposedly separate and autonomous spheres," she writes. "What kind of ecstasy is left us, even, but that which occurs in sexual release?" In the movies, she writes, secular romance leads only to orgasm, but the real answer to her question is, of course, Jesus.

I thought this was a cool idea (substituting the "Jesus" part for the Hebrew G-d, otherwise know as HaKadosh Baruch Hu), because it feels like a somewhat accurate assessment of the pop-culture sexuality that pervades every crack and crevice of our society. "Relationships" are the new religion, because the New Secularist cannot (at least, publicly) acknowledge that anything outside of the Human Experience could possibly exist or be relevant. Thus, Human Relationships are the most important foundation/format/structure of the New Secularism, with Orgasm as the highest possible culmination of success.

I'm not even going to pretend to try and scratch the surface of this extremely loaded topic here -- I just have a few thoughts, and a question:

• If you read this article, you can see all these Christian kids saying stuff like, "Remaining abstinent is counter-cultural; it's revolutionary; it resists and critiques the mainstream." You also see these kids being held up as paragons of the new ultracoolness, exactly because virginity is so against-the-grain these days.

• From the article: Sexual regulation is a means, not an end. To believers, the movement offers a vision grander even than the loveliness of a virgin: a fairy tale in which every man will be a spiritual warrior, a knight in the service of the King of Kings, promised the hand and the heart and, yes, the sexual services of a "lady." That is the erotic dream of Christian conservatism: a restoration of chivalry, a cleansing of impurity, a nation without sin, an empire of the personal as political.

• The above sounds quite Tolkien-esque to me, as well as Rebbe-Nachman-esque -- the whole "fairy tale" bit, the "spiritual warrior" bit, the "chivalry, cleansing of impurity, nation without sin." Pre-marital abstinence really is made to seem quite freaking cool, with an abundance of enormous, macrocosmic payoffs.

Are Jewish youth leaders/educators pursuing this tack with Jewish youth on an institutional level? Should they be? Does such a hashkafa actually work, or does it just set young people up to fall and then hate themselves for not having been "cool" enough to wait for marriage? I know that this topic has been beaten-to-death repeatedly over at Jewlicious, but after reading this article, I was like, "Why can't there be a Rolling Stone article about how ultracool and countercultural Jewish kids who don't have premarital sex are?" Is it because there are no such Jewish kids?????? Or is it because abstinence really just isn't cool if it's not associated with Jesus?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Name Our Baby and Win a Free Rant!!!



(We're hoping for a bright mustard-colored baby like the middle one there)

Categories for this contest include:

1) Best Male First Name
2) Best Female First Name
3) Best Hebrew First Name
4) Best English First Name
5) Best Middle Name (Unisex names only)
5) Name With the Highest Potential of Actually Being Used
6) Name We Would Never In A Million Years Give To Our Worst Enemies (yemach sh'mam v'zichram)
7) Most Laughable Attempt at Trying To Amuse Us (any category)
8) Honorable Mention for Name with Best Usage of Hebrew Gutturals (any category)


Winners will receive, free of charge, one (1) post on The Pig of Death to rant or rave about whatever the hell they want! Talk about a shot at eternal fame here!!! Submit your entry today and beat the rush!!!

(Please Note: Contestants need not enter names for any particular category -- The Contest Master will sort all entries according to whichever category seems most appropriate. Please Also Note: Entries must be posted in the comments section of this blog in order to be considered for the contest. Personal e-mails in my Inbox will be automatically disqualified! Yet Another Final Note: Any parenthetical asides enumerating the merits/pitfalls of given names may in some cases exponentially increase contestants' chances of victory. Void where prohibited by law. Limited time offer. Good while supplies last. And please, for the love of G-d, don't try this at home.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Bar's Random Rantless Emes (Vol. 11)



Yidstock is happening this summer.

Slide Show from the Gush Katif Rally in Times Square.

A Rebbe With a Web Site.

• Thesis interrupted; The Dangers of Jewish Music.

Lots of Jewish Music Audio including Shlomo Carlebach.

• Rock on; Mimaamakim's got a blog now.

Where To Settle?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?



Above are what appear to be my friends Simcha and Beth Shapiro and their kids, being greeted by a host of flag-waving Israeli soldiers, upon their making of Aliyah in July of 2003 with a whole bunch of other North American Jews.

I got the photo from the Nefesh B'Nefesh site. I was, in fact, looking for a picture of them -- and there it was! I'm so lucky!

Anyhoo, I was reading my friend MCA's article about his "Aliyah Dilemma," which got me thinking a whole lot about "what in G-d's name am I doing here in America???", when I noticed a link in his "Links" section to a blog called House of Joy. I was like, "Mmmmmm... sounds.... new-wavey. Hmmmrrrrrrr."

Turns out, it's Beth's blog! Freakin' A! And it's a famous blog, at that!

Wow. This has been a pretty Israel-focused week on The Pig of Death. I guess I just keep thinking, as fatherhood intevitably approaches, "Where can my kid get a good Jewish education that won't put his esteemed father and mother directly into the poorhouse? Where should we be thinking about buying a house? Where, after all these years of career-jumping, procrastinating and paying exorbitant rents without garnering a single dot of significant financial equity, do we want to settle?"

I can't go into all the pros/cons of Aliyah right now. I just know two more things:

1) Our friends Nava and Yehoshua are making Aliyah this summer (on the heels of the largest North American Aliyah in the history of the world), and I cannot envision our Jewish community in Riverdale rocking nearly as hard as it currently does without them. And that's saying a lot, as Riverdale, in all modesty, can definitely be counted among the top 5 most vibrant, vital and Israel-focused Jewish communities anywhere in the Diaspora. We just can't afford to settle here.

2) Ofer, the badass-Israeli-mofo-cum-design-legend, just got back from a two-week jaunt in Israel, tan as a leather strap and saying things like, "If you're going to make Aliyah, now is the time -- things are really good over there."

FraaaaaAAAAAAAAA!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The *Real* Pig of Death...



... is painted on the "security wall" between "Israel Proper" and "Palestinian Whatever" near Bethlehem.

See it? Up there on the right? Squealing its oppressiveness over the rooftops of the Judean desert?

Joining the Death Pig is Eddie, sporting his "Statue of Liberty" pose... who knew Palestinian Arabs listened to Iron Maiden?!?

Check out more "Bread House" pics at WanderingStu, who, incidentally, rules.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My *Only* Post About the Disengagement



I know what *she's* thinking...

"Boy, what I could really use right now is a nice, cool dip in the pool..."

I'm sorry, but someone who is forcibly removed by her own government's militia from the home that she's spent the last 30 years building, in whose backyard lies the remains of children and loved ones slain by the very same motherfuckers who will be inhabiting her vacated home is not going to give a single, pickled piece of donkey dung about the "luxurious style" of her post-relocation accomodations... she will be focused on one thing, and on one thing only, for the remainder of her days on this earth:

Revenge.

(Thanks to wanderingstu for the above article, to mentalblog for the picture, and to this article in The New Standard for giving me yet another way to think about this truly f-ed up situation, about which I am finding it more and more impossible to realistically choose a side).

"Rooftop Roots" RULES!!!



I know it's already been out for a few weeks now (I'm so behind the times, it's kinda embarrassing -- as Goethe once said, "Once a man is thirty, he's as good as dead; it's best to kill him right away"), the above compilation represents, hands down, some of the best music being made by Jews out there today (David Lee Roth's cover of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" notwithstanding). I'm not going to start an argument about what the definition of "Jewish" music is or is supposed to be -- this stuff is being made by Jews, it's got some Jewish themes, and it's on the bleeding edge. Kinda like me.

As far as I'm concerned, the existence of this music justifies the entire 2 years of the Joshua Venture -- I guess one nationally-relevant, culturally successful venture out of 16 total ain't bad! Uhhh... right? Guys? Hey, where'd everyone go?

Maybe I'm overstating the significance of this compilation. After all, I do have a weakness for mix tapes.

(Hat-tip to MCA for the Goethe quotation (and the 4th Hallmark birthday greeting) -- thanks Holmes!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"I WAAAAANT MY CAAAAKE....!!!!!"



Happy 30th Birthday to me. I want my cake.

I only say this, because I just learned that today, my birthday, July 19, is National Raspberry Cake Day. That, and I just bought myself the old Creepshow #1 Graphic Novel as a 30th birthday present. HaMevin Yavin regarding the connection between Creepshow and cake.

L'maveth!

(Update 5:41PM on the same day)

I've gotten so many nice e-cards from Hallmark.com today -- 3 in a row! This is what they look like:



The far-left one's from my Mom, the middle from my co-worker Jamie, the far-right from my old pal Shawn -- so nice to be remembered on my special day!



One more thing... try to win this Flash game, sent to me courtesy of my Grandma Rita -- freaking awesome.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Kosher Bed and Breakfast...?



Above is my wife Sarah, 8.75 mos. pregnant, sitting out back of The Breakers, one of the most splendid oceanside mansions available for touring within the Newport, Rhode Island Historic Mansions Tour. "Holy Moley" is what I officially have to say about some of those "summer cottages" of the 19th century New England upper crust. Holy-freakin'-Moley.



Ummmmm..... yeah. You get the picture. The above ballroom, housed within William K. Vanderbilt's Marble House (built around 1890 for the lean, mean cost of $11 million, which is just a paltry $226 million in today's dollars (thanks to The Inflation Calculator for that calculation), is not just painted with gold-colored paint from your local Sherwin-Williams distributor. It is painted with 22-karat gold. Every fixture, wall panel, and flourish is coated, oh yes, coated in the stuff. It's like what the Golden Calf would have looked like if the Jews had decided to build an ornate Victorian Era ballroom instead of a calf. Or something like that.



Anyway, we stayed at New England's only Kosher Bed and Breakfast, The Admiral Weaver Inn (pictured in triptych below), which presumably owes its existence to the fact that the oldest place of Jewish worship in all of these great 50 states, The Touro Synagogue (pictured in monotych above), is right up the street. Yup, that's the synagogue to whose congregation President George Washington penned his famous (and aptly named) Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island. Too bad the place was under renovation and covered completely in a construction tarp while we were there, rendering it untourable and rather eyesore-ish. But hey, whatever. The weather was perfect, and there was an eruv -- why should we complain?



Mmmmm.... yeah. "Vacation" at a Kosher Bed and Breakfast. 30% more expensive than other B&Bs. Personal mini-fridge in the corner of a quaint, neo-Italianate bedroom with wicker, brass and Shaker styled furnishings, and a distinct lack of complimentary shampoo in the tiny bathroom. Bring all your own food, except for breakfast, which is pancakes, eggs, fresh fruit, coffee (not that bad, really). Ersatz Shabbos meals in a cramped communal dining room with other Jewish people who, like you, came to get away from other Jewish people. It was nice, it was relaxing, we had a wonderful time, for real. But can you imagine, for a moment, being able to go out to a restaurant on Friday night? Or walking to shul without worrying what's in your pockets? Now, that's my idea of "vacation!!!" I know, I know... it's all just an elaborate pipe dream... but what else am I supposed to fetishize and yearn for, if not treif? Closeness to G-d or something?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Grandma and Gramps, A"H



Above is the wedding picture of my father's parents, David and Bette Silverman, circa the early 1940's in Chicago. Together, they had 2 children, 4 grandchildren, and 5 (soon to be 6) great-grandchildren. They were married for 56 years before David passed away in 1997. Bette passed away last week, at the age of 86.

Grandma Bette's mother, Fannie Jaffe, came to America from Zhytomyr in the mid-1910's. Here she met and married Julius Stein, who fathered Bette and then took off, which seemed to be a popular thing to do among Jewish men at that time (my Gramps' father, Frederick Silverman, did the same damn thing to Gramps' mother). Among the jobs that Fannie took to support Bette, the one for which she was most well-known and beloved among her family members was at the Bunte Bros. Candy Company in Chicago. She was beloved for this because, well, she seemingly gave candy to everyone.

Grandma Bette grew up, started working retail in high-end ladies' apparel and met Grandpa Dave at some party, whereupon she decided that he was cute and accepted his invitation out for a date. Grandpa Dave subsequently became violently ill, and had his mother call Grandma Bette to reschedule the date. "Ummmmmmm.... okay," thought Grandma Bette, "his... mother.... is calling me to reschedule." She decided that, if nothing else, it definitely had "strange" appeal, so she went through with it. The rest, as they say, is history.

May their memory be for a blessing. I will always love and miss them.