Monday, October 31, 2005

Yogurt-Flavored Cheese



Is there anyone on G-d's green earth who thinks that a product called "Yogurt Burst Cheerios" sounds appetizing? Just imagine... biting into a mouthful of what you think are inocuous litte crunchy-O's, but instead, you get a sickeningly warm, moist-and-sploochy mouthful of soft Cheerio-esque material that has been suffused with... YOGURT?!?!!!

Eyyyyyyyuchh-tza!!!!!!!

No freaking wonder General Mills needed to create this clever internet karaoke machine (which requires the Flash plug-in and a touch-tone phone) to hawk such a barfalicious product!

I sang this song for my wife Sarah, who is currently in L.A. for two weeks with her parents, leaving me here in NYC to eat frozen pizza and watch movies by myself... *sob*... I really wish that General Mills had offered a broader selection of songs, but somehow, in the bitterness of my solitude, their selection (Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?") expresses my soul's deepest sorrows far better than anything else I could have chosen myself...

Friday, October 28, 2005

So, So Assur...



... but oh, so right...

Yup, the following three things are forbidden, if not m'Deorita, then definitely m'Drabbanan:

1) Celebrating Halloween,
2) Getting shikker and fraternizing with non-Jews,
3) Dressing up like a Franciscan monk with a huge-ass crucifix around my neck.

Butchya know what?

I had a hard Tishrei. I've been doin' mitzvahs straight-up for a whole freakin' month -- I freakin' deserve to cut loose a little.

Plus, it made everyone from my office laugh like hell.

Happy Hallow--- I mean, Gut Shabbos.

(Also pictured: Ofer, posing as Baron Samedi, and Ingrid Mody, who is patently not offended by my costume)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Rent Is Too Damn High



The 2005 NYC General Election is coming up in a couple of weeks, and I just got my Voter Guide in the mail. Among the candidates for Mayor of New York City: Mike Bloomberg (R), Fernando Ferrer (D), and Jimmy McMillan (RTD).

(RTD) = Rent is Too Damn High Party.

Bloomberg says, "We must preserve the quality of life, keep unemployment down, bring up test scores in the schools." Ferrer says, "We must provide an affordable lifestyle for all New Yorkers, and improve Education."

McMillan says, "Rent Is Too Damn High. There is Nothing More To Talk About."

I'd been waiting for someone to cut through all the crap and tell me what I wanted to hear!!! Finally, after all those hours (okay, minutes) of searching, I'd found my candidate!!!

Or so I thought, until I looked at his party's official website, which invokes the International Jewish Conspiracy as the indubitable source of Rent Being Too Damn High.

Sheesh... talk about a letdown!!!

I may still vote for him, though, if his DVD gets here before November 8. His website says that it's "Available Soon," so I'm hoping Papa Smurf gets it together before then...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Second Chances...



That's right, pals and gals, it's time for The Pig of Death's first-ever words of Torah!!!

What's the occasion, you ask? After all, I know you've been waiting in nail-biting anticipation for my official review of Serenity (the first 9 minutes of which you can stream FULLSCREEN via a kick-ass new web-video codec developed by a company called Vividas), and I know you've been dying for a link to a really kickin' new song by Ethiopian artist Ejigayehu Shibabawat that a friend at work helped to remix...

So why, all of a sudden, would I force my loyal readership to consider serious and/or deep thoughts on the nature of the universe when I should be seductively plying them with the literary/pop-cultural wiles to which they have become so solipsistically accustomed?

The short answer: The Day of Atonement looms forebodingly ahead and I'd like to make whatever teensy-tinsy step towards repentance that I still can, allright?!? Honestly, people, can't you just shut up and read the damn davar Torah before I change my mind?!?!? Sheezis...



SECOND CHANCES

(Paraphrased Extensively from R. Avi Weiss' Rosh Hashana Discourse at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, October 5, 2005)


The dinosaurs didn't get a second chance, but the X-Men did.

All day on Rosh Hashana, we say over and over, "Hayom Har'at Ha'olam," or "Today the world was created." But which world was it that was created -- the antediluvian world of the dinosaurs, or the postdiluvian world of the X-Men?

Regardless of the "real" answer to that question, we know that Rosh Hashana commemorates the creation of human beings, who live in the postdiluvian world of the X-Men (which is not to say that we are all mutants with superhuman powers (though some of us undoubtedly are)). We live in this world because G-d, after his famous decision to destroy the world with an enormous flood (one which He seems to be revisiting in miniature lately all over the world), decided that humankind really was a worthwhile project, and that we could continue developing. Thus, through Noah, version 2.0 of planet Earth commenced.

Fast-forward to Mount Sinai. Moses goes onto the mountain to get the 10 Commandments. He comes down, and the children of Israel are feasting, frolicking and fornicating (the three F's) next to an enormous golden Cow. Moses is uber-pissed and breaks the tablets into tiny pieces. G-d is uber-UBER-pissed and says, "No WAY are they getting a second chance!!!" Moses basically convinces Him to go back on that one (and 10 points goes to whoever can tell me on which day it was that G-d changed his mind).

Then the Jewish people merit to go into the land of Israel 40 years later. Then they asses get kicked clear to Babylonia. 70 years hence, they once again merit entry into the Land. Many Sages® say that their second entry into the Land was the "eternal" one, and that all subsequent returns (i.e. after 1948, etc.) are really just continuations of that second entry, in approximately 568 BCE.

It's all about second chances, baby. G-d keeps giving the world, humankind, and the Jewish people second chances to get it right.

This of course begs the obvious question: what's a "perfect" G-d need to do things twice fer? Why make the dinosaurs only to destroy 'em and leave their bodies to decompose and become... fossil fuel... okay maybe I answered that one... but seriously, WHY'S G-D ALWAYS DOING THINGS TWICE?

I think it's a universal truth that when we invest ourselves in revisiting something (or someone), it's usually because we are interested in a deeper level of relationship with them. It's usually because we want to surmount the problem that drove us away the first time around in order to explore further into that thing's (or person's) potential compatability with us. Also, it's because the deepest and strongest love that exists in this world is the love which has been stretched out like a rubber band and snapped back into your face.

Which love is deeper -- the love of newlyweds, who are as itchin' to get into each others' pants as they are ignorant of the other's faults, or the love of great-granparents whose relationship has spanned half-a-century of letdowns, disappointments, failures, lovers' spats, bad moods, and horrendous B.O.?

According to Rabbi Weiss, G-d gives us all these second chances because our flaws and mistakes are what He loves most about us. Our flaws and mistakes are what us enable us to serve Him in the truest way, in a way that even the Angels cannot serve Him -- from a place of need, from a place of lacking, from a place of imperfection that strives towards perfection. Rebbe Nachman calls this place the reshimas haBitul, the "impression of nullification," referring to the cosmic "pocket" within each of our souls that contains the most profound yearning and longing for G-d, that special place which is "nullified" or "incomplete," the place from which our flaws and mistakes originate. How could G-d not love that special place within us, from which the deepest longing and yearning for Him emanate?

Anyway, Rabbi Weiss took this in different directions, but his overall message was that G-d gives us second chances in order to have a relationship with us that is based on our true selves, and not on first impressions. I want to bless all of my readers (and myself) with a Yom Kippur in which we are able to look fondly and lovingly upon ourselves and our fellows, in which we can dismiss our judgements of their mistakes and flaws as much as possible and look upon them as G-d does -- with love for the potential of their true selves.

G'mar Chasima Tova.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Who IS... Sarah Silverman?????



Yup. My wife and a famous comedienne (whose cleavage currently graces the October issue of Heeb Magazine) share the same name, but only one of them is Shomer Shabbos. Guess which one!!!

Check out the trailer for Silverman's crass-looking, vulgarity-and-epithet-strewn new movie (if you're easily offended, don't say I didn't warn ya). Be sure to note the poetic device through which Gary Busey's name assumes insane, hilarious new levels of nasty.

Also, check out my pal Stu's article that he submitted to Salon a few years back, which reawakened me to the depths of his sheer literary nuttiness, by following this link right over here. It refers to one "Sarah Silverman," who was at that time just a sassy young upstart with some writing credits and a one-man Broadway show.

Thanks to Big Daddy Z for starting me on this. And to my wife, whom I love.