Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm Not Sure Wether to Laugh or Cry...

This from the White House today:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House reiterated on Tuesday that it considered energy prices too high but said the economy would weather the impact.

"We've had high gas prices for a while. They've been too high for as many months as I can remember, but our economy has been remarkably resilient to it," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.

Asked whether the Bush administration was considering tapping U.S. oil stockpiles to deal with the higher energy prices, Perino responded, "The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is there for emergencies and we have not played politics with the SPR."

She also said the best way to address the high energy costs was to deal with the root cause, which is "a supply and demand issue."
Let's see. Energy prices are too high, admits the White House, but "the economy would weather the impact." Sure, if it's ok with the White House that too many people won't be able to afford heating their cold houses this winter. It's ok as long as the White House doesn't acknowledge the vast majority of the population is making pretty much the same salary it did when gas was half the price. It's ok as long the White House doesn't acknowledge that people have no choice BUT to pay for gas and energy, thereby giving up other necessities of life just to keep their jobs that aren't paying enough to pay the cost of living and heat their homes in order not to freeze to death during the winter.

SUUUURRRREEEEEE. The economy can CERTAINLY "weather" the impact. As long as you're rich and don't really have to worry about the aforementioned problems...

Did you get this line from good ol' Dana? "e've had high gas prices for a while. They've been too high for as many months as I can remember, but our economy has been remarkably resilient to it." Huh? Well, of course it has!!! What choice have we?

Dana is just another in a long line of idiots working for greedy idiots and just toeing the party line, without thought, without question...

No wonder Chareidi Judaism and RW politics go hand in hand. They are essentially the same!!

Prostate Cancer

So, Israeli Doofus, I mean, Israel's George W. Bush, an idiot all around, also known as Prime Minister (of naivete) Ehud Olmert has Prostate Cancer. It's probably because he has been, and plans on continuing to, screw the country...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rav Schachter on the Rav and the Rebbe...

This is a very interesting video interview with Rav Herschel Shachter about an encounter he had, while accompanying the Rav, with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Kind of shows that while the Chassidim (purported) of the Rebbe poo-pooed anything not Lubavitch, the Rebbe himself NEVER had an issue with other forms of Kosher Judaism. Note also, it was always the very Chareidi Rabbanim and their followers who had their issues, not normal, middle of the road Yiddishkeit.

Hattip: DovBear.

Made In China - SCARY!!! :)

AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!! That actually is pretty scary, and not just because it's a clown! :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nature Walk

My family and I and a friend went on a nature walk at a (relatively) local arboretum. We really enjoyed the absolutely incredible Fall colors and took lots of pictures. And, being originally from LA, where Fall colors are a COMPLETE unknown, we really appreciated the nature's beauty, even though this is already are third Fall in the Midwest.

This Arboretum had many trails to take, and each trail had its own subtrails that branched off in different directions. All were equally beautiful and breathtaking, and as many as we took, there were many more we just didn't have the time to enjoy, though we knew those were just as beautiful as the ones we did have the chance to enjoy. And each trail, finally, led back to the main trail, which led to the main building that was the Arboretum Visitor Center.

The same applies to the trails of Torah Judaism. I'm not talking about fanatics on either side of the spectrum. I'm talking about middle of the road Torah, the "Lo Sasur Yamin O Smol" - no Right or Left deviation - type of Torah paths. Each is beautiful. Each has its own subtrails that take each person to his or her own place on the road to a Torah lifestyle. None of us can explore EVERY single one of these, but we can all explore many of them, taking those subtrails that might even intersect with other subtrails and carry a person to places one cannot predict, and no one path is more correct than another. And yet, there's comfort in knowing ALL these trails have their own special beauty, and even when we disagree with one derech or another, we know they are STILL LEGITIMATE forms of Torah Lifestyles that ALL lead to Avodas Hashem, and, regardless of the path one takes, one will always enjoy that beauty and grow and achieve an even greater appreciation of God, His World, and His Torah.

My wife, author of Life and Debt in Ohio, will post more on this topic, Bli Neder (according to her...), tomorrow, so please visit her blog as well... :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

This'd Be Awesome...

But I don't think my wife would let me do it! :)

This Actually Happened When I was at MBNA/Bank of America...

The, uh, scheduling part, not the disgusting, sick dude. We had twenty personal days during the year (instead of ten vacation and ten sick), and they pretty much wanted us to schedule 75% of them in January. We were REALLY supposed to know when we were going to be sick, and if you got called in sick without scheduling it in advance, it was called an "incident" and if you did it to often, you were put on report. YAY BIG BUSINESS!!! :(

Oil hits new record above $92

This is mostly, it seems, based on a very weak, and still weakening, dollar. So, you think we'll all get raises based on this? You know, as the dollar grows weaker, things get more expensive and salaries should RISE commensurate to the rising cost of living. Think it'll happen? Naw. Probably not. Probably, if this continues, more companies will find ways to outsource... Here's the article.

The Power of the Lobby

This is the latest in a series Candorville is currently running, and this strip is the best of the bunch... This is essentially the harm of the powerful lobbyists in Washington and why NOTHING gets done for the good of the people, while SO MUCH gets done for the good of Big Business...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Disgusting, but not Surprising

Apparently, in my old hometown of Emmanuel (Samaria, Israel), a purportedly "frum" town, Apartheid is happening. The Bais Yaakov there has separated the Sefardi girls from the Ashkenazi ones. Not just separate classes, mind you. separate hallways and playgrounds. They put up walls in the hallways of the school and a fence in the playground in order to keep the apparently spiritually deficient Sefardi girls separate from the apparently spiritually superior Ashkenazi ones. Here's DovBear's take:

A Bais Yakov school in Emanuel, a religious settlement in the West Bank, is emulating the racial segregation methods used by Apartheid.

If you're a religious racist bigot who has free reign in your privatized education system, you start by segregating the Ashkenazi girls from the Sephardic ones, separating them by last names. The eugenic philosophy goes like this: if your grandfather was an illiterate cobbler in Lodz who also was known as the town rapist, and his last name was Finkelstein, you get to be in the Pale Skinned Supremacy class. If your great-grandfather was an illustrious Talmid Chacham, maybe even an Av Beth Din in Toledo, and his last name was Abulafia, too bad for you. You'll be relegated to the Dark Skinned Spiritually Deficient class. When questioned about your Apartheid methods, you protest and say, "No, no, the ethnic background of the girls was not a consideration. It was the differing "spiritual levels" that determined who goes where". And to make sure your racial policies stick, you not only create psychological boundaries, you erect physical barriers within the school so that the two groups don't accidentally bump into each other in the hall or in the play yard.

This week started with a story about hasidic thugs on an Egged bus beating up on a woman who refuses to move to the designated Ezrat Nashim section, and now this. And it's only Thursday.

People, have we become desensitized to moral outrages perpetrated by our Israeli chareidi brethren?
If you are interested in the story in Hebrew, click here for video and here for a written article.

As I said, disgusting, yes. Surprising? Not so much... When I lived in Israel, Ashkenazi Chareidim always found ALL Sefardim to be Jewishly deficient, even really Chareidi Sefardim. Once again, proof positive that this type of Chareidi Judaism is no more kosher, perhaps even less so, than Reform Judaism. It's just they like to hide behind the Torah's skirts and make everything they do seem like it's "Torah True."

Sick. Very sick. I have a feeling Sarah Schneer is rolling and puking in her grave.

Distancing from Sin

In analyzing the very first Mishna, the one discussing until what time a person may recite Krias Shema in the evening and still fulfill the Mitzvah of reciting the evening Shema, my wife and I discovered a very common misinterpretation of this Mishna. The Mishna relates a three way machlokes regarding the proper time. Rabbi Meir says until the end of the first third of the night. Chachamim say Midnight (true midnight, not 12AM). And Rabban Gamliel maintains one may recite Krias Shema until dawn.

The Mishna then goes on to relate a curious story about the children of Rabban Gamliel coming home rather late from, the commentaries tell us, a wedding. In other words, they were out partying all night. Personally, I've got nothing against this. Party on, dudes!! :) However, it was well after Midnight. They informed their father they had not yet recited the evening Shema. Rabban Gamliel responded that as the morning had not yet dawned, they were still obligated to recite the evening Shema. He then says an oft-repeated statement, a curious one. He tells them that not only are they obligated to recite the evening Shema, but any time the Chachamim use the phrase "Ad Chatzos" - until Midnight, the actual Mitzvah is until dawn, citing as an example the mitzvah of Hektair Chalavim V'Eivarim - putting certain parts of a sacrifice upon the altar to be burned - these needed to be done really by dawn, but Chachamim put the limit of Midnight on the Mitzvah. Why? asks Rabban Gamliel. And here's that famous phrase: "Kedei L'Harchik Es Ha'Adam Min Ha'Aveira" - to distance a person from sin.

Very curious. We all know it IS a Mitzvas Aseh Min HaTorah, a positive commandment, to recite Shema twice daily: in the evening and in the morning - "B'shochbecha U'vekumecha." And there are time limits to this Mitzvah (a discussion for some future post). However, if one misses Zman Krias Shema, one has not committed an Aveira. One has simply missed the opportunity to DO a Mitzvah.

Unfortunately, the common, simplistic misreading of the phrase"Kedei L'Harchik Es Ha'Adam Min Ha'Aveira" is that Chachamim placed the Midnight time limit on saying Krias Shema and missing that time constitutes an Aveira or is at least akin to one.

To quote from the Mabartenura and Kehati: "Kedei L'Harchik Es Ha'Adam Min Ha'Aveira" - So that a person will hurry to do the Mitzvah and not delay until last minute, in case he forgets and does not perform [the Mitzvah], or he might do it after the alloted time, for example eating Kodoshim [if the hektair Chalavim V'Eivarim has not taken place], in which case the person eating the Kodoshim becomes chayav Kares - extinction. The Braisa teaches us Chachamim gave reason for reciting the Shema BY Midnight: They did not want a person coming home, thinking he would FIRST eat, drink, take a nap, and THEN recite the evening Shema because he might sleep ALL NIGHT. Rather, first a person goes to shul, davens, learns a bit, THEN goes home to do the rest (eat, drink, and be merry). (Kehati). The Mabartenura says it a bit more simply: "Kedei L'Harchik Es Ha'Adam Min Ha'Aveira" - So that he should not come to eat them after dawn (Kodoshim) and end up being chayav Kares, so too with Krias Shema a person should not say "I have enough time" and then that time will pass [without a person reciting the Shema].

It seems both the Mabartenura and Pinchas Kehati think it is an Aveira to miss Zman Krias Shema. But it's not. It's a Mitzvas Aseh to say it, but one has not transgressed a lav, a negative commandment, by not saying it.

In this case, WHAT does the statement "Kedei L'Harchik Es Ha'Adam Min Ha'Aveira" mean in this context? It means keeping a person safe from an Aveira. Rabban Gamliel was giving his kids a bit of Mussar here. They were out partying WAY late at night, something we all know has the potential to lead to "other" things. Certainly, the commentaries tell us they were at a wedding, and certainly, they may have been at one. We have, however, no proof one way or another, and Rabban Gamliel's little Mussar Shmooze to them seems to indicate they were places they had no place being. But let's say they were at a wedding. Great! He was also giving the rest of us a bit of a Mussar Shmooze. Chachamim put certain time limits in place because those time limits, by abiding by them, are what distance a person from an Aveira. Not saying Krias Shema b'zmana is not an Aveira. Doing other, questionable acts while missing Zman Krias Shema may be an Aveira. Chachamim here gave a living guideline - a guideline, essentially, for clean living. And that guideline is the Harchakas Adam Min Ha'Aveira, making sure, by NOT missing Zman Krias Shema, by actually fulfilling one's obligations IN THE TIME ALLOTED, that a person is indeed distancing himself from sin.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Great News for Fans of Stargate Atlantis!

It's been renewed for a fifth season, which will bring the total episodes through season 5's end to 100!

While I'm not quite as big a fan of Atlantis as I was of SG-1, I still really enjoy the show! I'm so glad Sci Fi is making a comeback! It's about time!!

Great Post...

...By Mrs. Miriam Shear onRabbiHorowitz.com. For those who don't know, Mrs. Shear was beat up on a Non-Mehadrin bus on the way to the Kotel about a year ago. It was all over the blogs at the time.

Hattip: DovBear et al

This Is What Having A Dog Is ALL ABOUT!!

As long as you have a real dog and not one of those pocketbook, lap dogs that are all around useless... :)

Republican Logic... And Humor... :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Keep Forgetting to Mention...

I know it's a bit late, but I keep forgetting to post my favorite proof from the Torah itself that Chumrahs are not only stupid, they can lead to sinning rather than distance a person from sinning. The proof? Chava, of course. Adam relayed the mitzvah to her to not EAT from the Eitz Hada'as. Chava decided to take on the Chumra of not TOUCHING the tree. The result? Well, basically, eternal human damnation. All because someone took on a Chumra...

Remember, the Torah tells us not to deviate RIGHT or left. It mentions RIGHT first for a reason. Usually, when one drifts to the right, it means they're taking on more than they need, and when one drifts to the left, it means they're not doing enough. God warned us not to deviate in either direction, but He said RIGHT first because it's so much easier to become a Right Wing Nut Job (RWNJ) and keep taking on every chumra that comes along and try to pass off as "frummer" than thou. Chumras do not make one frummer. If anything, they will ultimately cause people to sin even worse than if they simply follow the Mitzvos without all the extraneous stuff.

Message to Chareidi: A Few Weeks Ago...

...A fellow who uses the handle "Chareidi" when he comments on blogs (I've primarily seen him on Rabbi Maryles' blog, Emes Ve-Emunah) accused me of being a hate-monger because I was once a Chareidi, was apparently really lousy at it, became bitter and jealous, and now hate Chareidim because I couldn't be like them. Funny thing is, aside from reading my blog (I'm not sure why he does as he keeps insisting it's a TERRIBLE blog!) and reading some of my (admittedly angry) rants, this person knows absolutely NOTHING about me!! What's even funnier is how wrong he was! Ironically, I made a great Yeshivish/Chareidi person. I toed the party line, I bought into all the crap they espoused, and followed unquestioningly. The truth is, I was GREAT at it.

Thankfully, I awoke from the deep, dark sleep into which I had been lulled. I started using my mind, realized things were not all hunky-dory. I started to question. I started to think. Critically. I had lots of help, thank God. And I finally came to the realization I discussed recently: Yeshivishness and Chareidism are NOT kosher Judaism any more than Reform Judaism is kosher Judaism, and perhaps even less so.

So, to Chareidi I say. No. I didn't make a lousy Chareidi. I made a great one. Ask anyone who knew back then. Oh, wait. You can't. You don't actually know anything about me. You did, however, transgress a saying of Chazal: "Al Tadin Es Chavercha Ad She'Tagia L'Mekomo" - don't judge someone until you're in the same spot he's in. Of course, Chareidi, since you've deemed me not a frum Jew, I guess I don't qualify as "Chavercha," which makes it alright for you to judge me, right?

Well, anyway, everytime some idiocy takes place in the Chareidi world, I just laught, post a quick comment about it, and just show, again and again, that Chareidism as practiced by so many of these people, is simply NOT kosher Judaism.

Me jealous?! Heh. No. More like relieved I'm no longer part of that world.

So, Chareidi, my message to you is this: You keep judging me, but you know NOTHING about me. Not my background, my history, or even who I am now. At all. If you're going to judge someone, judge yourself and stop defending all the garbage your universe espouses...:)

Hug, hug. Kiss, kiss...

Party of "Mean?!" The Republican Party?! Naw! Couldn't Be...

Actually, YES IT COULD!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

5 Haredi men beat woman who refused to move to back of bus

5 Haredi men beat woman who refused to move to back of bus... Gee, what a surprise!

Hattip: DovBear

How Stupid Are Palestinian Terrorists?

Well, apparently, when Israel's incredibly naive and rather criminal Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, travelled to the West Bank in August, Terrorists planned to assassinate Olmert. Are they really that stupid?! Not that I'm advocating anything Olmert is doing or planning with the Palestinians (land for peace will NEVER work because for the Palestinians, nothing less than all of Israel will be acceptable - hence the "right of return" issue - if it happens, it'll destroy Israel internally), but at this point, Olmert seems to be their best chance at getting what they want. Of course, we all know how incredibly stupid they are based on their actions in 2000 when they started the second Intifada after Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians pretty much everything they wanted and Arafat essentially told him to go F**K himself and started a new war that still hasn't ended.

Stupid Palestinians... They really know how to inflict self-harm, don't they?

Or maybe it has something to do with the name Ehud. Maybe Israel should ban anyone with the name Ehud from government since they seem to cause more harm than good... :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

According to J.K. Rowling...

E! Dumbledore was GAY!!!! AHHHH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! That is just FREAKIN' HILARIOUS!!!! Wonder what the RW Christians and Chareidim will say about THAT... :) Here's a bit of the article:

Albus Dumbledore took quite a few secrets with him to the grave. And it's possible that even he didn't know about this one.
After helping Dumbledore's favorite pupil uncover a treasure trove of information about the Hogwarts headmaster in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final installment of her billion-dollar fantasy series, J.K. Rowling has pulled something new out of the pensieve:
Dumbledore was gay.
(What you just heard was the sound of conservative religious groups scribbling down one more reason to loathe the Harry Potter franchise.)
"Falling in love can blind us to an extent," Rowling explained Friday in front of a packed house at New York's Carnegie Hall, where she capped off her first U.S. book tour since 2000.
Which explains why the brilliant wizard was briefly blinded as a young man by the charm and skill of Gellert Grindelwald, his companion turned arch-nemesis who turned out to be more interested in the Dark Arts than a three-bedroom craftsman in Hogsmeade.
After Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down," Rowling explained, he went on to destroy Grindelwald in what is considered in the wizarding world to have been the ultimate wand-toting battle between good and evil.
That love, she said to raucous applause, was Dumbledore's "great tragedy."
"If I had know this would have made you so happy, I would have told you years ago," Rowling said.
Click to read the rest...

Friday, October 19, 2007

I've had THIS Conversation with MY Five-Year-Old More Than Once... How 'Bout You?

Chance Meeting

I used to work for a major credit card company, MBNA. It was supposed to have been a great a job with a great career track and wonderful benefits. Then, a another, even more major bank, the ever evil giant business Bank of America, another one of those companies notorious for outsourcing jobs out of the US, bought the MBNA and screwed everyone who worked for the there. I quit about two months after the takeover because of managerial lying and increasing difficulty, to the point of impossibility, of reaching one's incentive, which was monthly bonus pay based on how much product we sold, how many late fees we preserved, etc. etc. etc.

I bring this up because as I was leaving the supermarket today, I bumped into an ex-coworker or mine. He's a great guy, and we were pretty friendly when we were there. I hadn't seen him since I left early in 2006. He told me he had quit as well, over a year ago, for the same reasons I did (he lasted about six months longer than I did). He said reaching incentive got even harder after I left, people, including himself, were being forced out of their jobs, and the environment all around just became pretty toxic. Our location had four building. Everyone's been stuffed into two. Originally, there were about three thousand people working there. Now there are about 1500. Apparently, BofA is not planning to renew the lease on its two remaining buildings, which means the rest will soon be out of work as well, which will be a huge, negative economic hit to an already economically depressed city and region. Even the head of my (former) department, who, when the takeover happened, received a promotion and was to run not only our local department, but the same department in another region, has finally been forced out.

I based my decision to leave on many things. First, I really couldn't afford to work there and support a family. It just wasn't paying enough. Second, it was really starting to depress me. Third, as I mentioned, managerial lying really pisses me off! When my six month review came around and I did really well on it, I asked about a promotion. My manager, a consumate liar as it was, lied to me and told me there was a freeze on promotions. Funny thing was, about two weeks later, at a department-wide floor meeting, one of my teammates, who started the same day I did and didn't perform anywhere near as well as I did, especially when it came to selling products, got a promotion! Which brings me to fourth: selling product. Most of the crap a credit card company tries to sell you is just that: CRAP! Don't ever buy credit protection, or privacy protection, or anything else a credit card company tries to sell you when you call them. And be adamant about getting rid of a late fee if you feel your reasons are valid (btw, sending in your payment on the due date is NOT a valid reason...). Fifth, which is related to the previous reason, I was starting to have moral and Halachic issues working there and screwing customers, be it with late fees or finance charges or anything else. Sixth, as I mentioned, the environment was beginning to be toxic. Finally, I was working for Bank of America, which is anything but! They are an evil, awful company, and I can state this with a high degree of certainty both as a former customer and later as a former employee. They really stink.

Core issue? IT'S BIG BUSINESS, whose only concern is the bottom line and how much they can make in the short run. This is what they do. Big business has no loyalty to its country, and will even move its base out of the country if the country starts to sanction it. It's only loyalty is is to the Almighty Dollar, the GOD of Big Business.

Don't get me wrong. I understand businesses are in business to make money. That's why I'm in business. But I'm also in business to make sure my customers are satisfied and happy with their product (by the way, I sell medical imaging, from the smallest ultrasound to large MRI systems and everything in between!). But a business should take care of its employees and show loyalty to its base country.

I highly recommend reading Senator Byron Dorgan's book, Take This Job and Ship It! It's well worth your time to see what Big Business does to people and how people are being screwed every day by Big Business. And it's not just its employees... There are a few other books worth looking at as well... Don't believe what the Republican, Big Goverment, pro Big Business party and its patsies tell you. Need proof? Look outside your window. Check out the economic scene of the country, not based on what the Fed or government is telling you (remember, Bush would have you believe the war in Iraq is going just GREAT!!). Do some actual research and find out for yourself.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chemistry Explains Hell...

This was sent to me by my friend, Jeff:

The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid term.
The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well:
Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.
One student, however, wrote the following:
First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today.  Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell.
Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.
With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.
This gives two possibilities:
1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.
So which is it?
If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, "It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you," and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct......leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Voters unhappy with Bush and Congress


Ok, not really a surprise. Funny, we, as the people, do have the right to get rid of a government with which we are unhappy and replace it with something better! Of course, try and do that, and you are accused of treason... Funny, that!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Headline: First boomer applies for Social Security

And they're gonna steal all our benefits!! Baby boomers SUCK!!!

Parshas Bereishis With a New Perspective - Part II

(See Part I here.)

From this point on, past Epoch Day One, we turn our perspective, the Torah's perspective, to a view from Earth.

Epoch 2/3: We know from Rashi days two and three, or Epochs two and three, are connected. God started a project during Epoch 2 which culminated during Epoch 3. A planet has formed. The atmosphere is changing, in, as Rabbi Scroll says, a "state of flux." Quite likely, at first, the atmosphere was probably thin, unbreathable. Over time, it changed. Meanwhile, water cover the land for a long period. In time, the waters begin to recede and land, which of course God created during that first Epoch and has, until now been under water, begins to show. Continents begin to form. And the waters formed "el makom echad," in one place. Originally, geologically, we know there was but one continent, which pretty much meant there was one ocean - "Makom Echad." During this Epoch, things begin to grow. Vegetation begins to crop up. Then trees, some of which produce fruit. During this time, there is light and dark, but no sun. Likely, there was a cloud cover, but photosynthesis could certainly take place, allowing vegetation to grow and flourish. End of Epoch 2/3.

Epoch 4: The atmosphere begins to clear, the cloud cover to dissipate, revealing a great gift from God: The sun and the moon. Life-giving light, tide causing moon, and a beautiful night sky to look at and explore. Ok, so now attack me about there being two suns and God making one smaller. WHATEVER! It says there were two Me'oros, one large and one small. The Gemara gives a very nice lesson in humility, one I don't think is meant to be taken as God literally shrinking one sun and turning it into the moon. In any case, once the cloud cover has dissipated. Sun and moon are shining down, and it's now possible to start keeping time (not that there's anyone around to keep time...). End of Epoch 4.

Epoch 5: Animals. The next logical step in the formation of life. First food (vegetation) evolves, then come animals. And where do they start? The water, then the skies. And God creates the "Taninim" - the Behemoths. Say what you will about them - they were VERY LARGE animals. Also known as Dinosaurs. and with them came the birds, prehistoric ones. And it seems one of the prevailing theories currently about dinosaurs is they were very closely related to birds and may have even had feathers. Cool, huh? Epoch number 5, we know, lasted a very long time, until the next evolutionary step took place...

Epoch 6: Mammals and Man (and Woman...). For whatever reason, the dinosaurs died out, or evolved, or both. We finally get more familiar mammalian life. Here's where one might think things get dicey. God has created a world and caused it to evolve. Perhaps He even had the thought that Man would evolve as well. But something was missing. There are all sorts of theories of our relationship to all the non-Sapien species. What probably happened is they did exist, but they were unsuccessful. God then decided He needed to create Humans from scratch, Humans who needed a bit the "chelek Eloka Mi'Ma'al." So He created Adam and breathed into him "Nishmas Chayim" - a living soul - a part of Hashem Himself. And so, starts recorded history in all it forms.

So, why COULDN'T it have happened this way? Nothing here is Apikorsus in any way at all and it explains a WHOLE LOT OF THINGS!

Anyway, those are my insights to creation. Yes God did it all. But who said Yom LITERALLY mean a twenty-four day?! Remember, God was in no hurry. He's got eternity and beyond! What's a 13.7 billion years to Him? I think this is a beautiful way to reconcile a whole lot of questions. Don't you?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

This happens to me ALL THE TIME!!!

How 'bout you?

Last one... I just LOVE Dry Bones!

One may ALWAYS depend on Yaakov Kirschen's wonderful comic strip, Dry Bones, to deliver a great message!

Looking for Osama?

Wouldn't be surprised. But I still think Columbia only invited Ahmedinejad to speak just to show the Western, idealistic college students how incredibly stupid he really is... Unfortunately, even with this purpose in mind, it still gives this nutcase some legitimacy.

And Another...

A case of NOT seeing the Nolad... What did all those people think would happen when the five or seven year grace period ended? All of a sudden they'd be able to afford an unaffordable mortgage?! Unfortunately, this is the moment some wolves out there, many of them frum Yidden, have been waiting for. More than one even stated to me they were waiting for people to foreclose so they could swoop in and buy houses cheap... How sad...

And some more...



So perfectly said, I've nothing to add!! This is indeed the state of healthcare in the US!! Pretty sad, huh?

Comics Time!!

Haven't posted any in a while, but I've got a bunch saved up...

Ahh. The Republican, RW Conundrum. Also applies to the Chareidi world...:)

Very Timely Comic Strip - From Shabbos Parshas Noach... Really Funny!! :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Never Forget Rechavam Ze'evi...

Today, 30 Tishrei, is his Yahrzeit... Click!

What!? The PA wants the Kotel too?! How can that be?!

Click! Well, DUH!!! What'd Olmert think?! Did he think he'd give the PA ALMOST everything and they WOULDN'T demand EVERYTHING?! Is his memory so short that he doesn't remember this is why the second Intifada started in 2000?!

Wow! Olmert really is as dumb as he sounds!

HELLO!! ISRAELI GOVERNMENT!!!! TIME FOR EARLY ELECTIONS!!! WHY HASN'T THIS SCHMUCK BEEN RECALLED YET?! It's funny! Other, better Prime Ministers have been recalled for a lot less...


Thursday, October 11, 2007


Ok! Went to my post-op visit with the doctor yesterday, and my eyesight is already 20/20!! And the eyes are healing beautifully as well.

Here's how the procedure went, for anyone thinking about it but may be hesitant because it might be kind of freaky:

They lay you down on a table (at least where I went). They put numbing drops in the eyes, put a patch on one eye and tape open the other. Then they put some sort of clamp to keep the eye open (so you don't blink while they cut the flap in the cornea). Then, a dark circle comes at your eye. You don't see anything for about ten seconds. You hear a short buzzing sound. The circle then goes away, and the doctor lifts away the flap. You then look at a red light for about thirty to forty-five seconds. The doctor then replaces the flap, smoothes it out, and takes the clamp out and untapes the eyelid. He then removes the patch from the other eye, repeats the process, and you're done! No pain, barely any tug or pressure when they create the flap. The whole entire process itself took about six (yes 6!!) minutes. From the time I walked into the laser room to the time I walked out was at most ten minutes.

For the next four or five hours, I was very sensitive to light and seeing was like having your eyes open underwater. I rested my eyes from about 5:30 (five minutes after the operation) until about 9:30. It was very hard to open my eyes during that time, and they actually recommend a long nap during that time (and you have to have someone drive you to and from the surgery). By 9:30, I could open my eyes and see pretty well, though they were still sensitive to light. By 10:30, even the light sensitivity had disappeared completely and my vision was even better. The next morning, I was able to drive my kid to school and that afternoon, I went to see the doctor, who pronounced my vision to be 20/20.

This was truly a COMPLETELY PAINLESS process. There was irritation the first evening, as I mentioned, a little tiny bit of irritation during the morning hours the first day after the operation. After that, NOTHING!!!

Anyway, I just thought I would explain what happens during the LASIK procedure. It took longer to write the description than the actual procedure itself!

Oh, funny story: The nurse took my blood pressure before the procedure. it was 132/90, which is a bit high (not too bad) and she said that was normal due to nervousness. Then, I took 5 mg of Valium, which is optional but recommended in order to relax one's muscles (don't worry, it's not nearly enough to make a person loopy). About half an hour later, I had take the blood pressure again. It was some ridiculously low number like 82/40 or something!! GO VALIUM!!! :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Done!! The whole thing took about six minutes!! I was in and out of the room within ten minutes TOTAL!! And I can see! My eyes are a bit irritated and very sensitive to light at the moment (I'm writing this in a dark room wearing sunglasses!). But the improvement is already amazing after just a few hours and will, IY"H, only get better!

Rafi G., you asked about it. I very highly recommend it!! It's expensive, but will save lots of money in the long run.

Thanks to all for your best wishes!

Parshas Bereishis With a New Perspective - Part I

So, learning Parshas Bereishis this week was a completely new experience for me. Not because I've never learned it. Of course I have. I've lained it too (it's actually one of the easiest parshas to lain). No, it's because when you learn there are other, completely acceptable ways to learn this Parsha, ways we were taught as children were wrong and Apikorsus, you see the Universe, God, and Creation in a completely new light.

A few months ago, I posted about an article I read in Astronomy Magazine (May 2007 issue) that discusses the Big Bang, which wasn't a bang at all:

"It's [the Big Bang's] name implies a standard bang, such as a chemical explosion - think of firewords - and once we have this image in our mind, it's hard to imagine the Big Bang as anything else. But the universe's beginning wasn't an explosion. It was closer to (are you ready for this - from an "evil" scientist!!) an unfolding, OR CREATION, of matter, energy, time - and space itself." The article continues: "'What would actually have been a much better name is the expanding-universe theory, because it's really a theory of how the universe expands,' says David Spergel, a WMAP team member at Princeton University."

WOW! That was beautiful! The Big Bang was a CREATION of everything - a Yeish Me'Ayin - something from nothing! That's fantastic! So, because of an unfortunate choice of words, what is a working theory of the creation of the universe is debunked by religious fanatics who don't really know what they are talking about when the debunk that theory!
Feel free to follow the link above to that post. So here's what I get, now, when I learn Parshas Bereishis: A day, as mentioned even by commentaries, does NOT necessarily mean a day. I couldn't mean any given period of time, including an EPOCH - a very LONG period of time! And why not?! Why can't the universe be billions of years old? Sure, there's the "the universe is only 5768 years old and NO MORE!!" But that's silly. Certainly, I can accept that from the time of Adam coming along, whom I've no issue with God creating him Himself. In fact, I would even go so far as to say evolution ABSOLUTELY happened. It happened and FAILED! So, God decided to create human, not hominid, but HUMAN, Himself with an added ingredient: Nishmas Chayim - a little bit of God in Man.

Let's examine: First, as the Astronomy Magazine article mentions, there was nothing. Then there was something - Yesh Me'Ayin. The land, which we can also translate as the universe was "tohu va'vohu" - and as Artscroll so graciously, though I'm sure unintentionally translate - "astonishingly empty." Well, yes, when you've just a few molecules and atoms floating around, the Universe can be a pretty astonishingly empty place, can't it? I mean, even as it is now, with all the wonders and beautiful night skies, it's still a great big empty, isn't it? Then God created light - stars started to form. "Vayehi Erev, Vayehi Boker, Yom Echad." End of Epoch number one, which lasted however many billions of years it lasted.

To be continued...

See Part II here.


Why, you ask? Because...

Oh, yeah, and also because my LASIK surgery is THIS afternoon!!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Another Great, even Prophetic, Quote from a Dune Book...

So, I'm in the middle of reading the entire Dune series (the newer ones by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson and the original six by Frank Herbret). The original Dune was great, as are the books by Herbert's son, Brian, and his friend Anderson. So far, I've made it halfway through Children of Dune. As anyone who has read any of these books knows, each chapter begins with a quote from someone somewhere during the history of the Dune Universe (which is quite long...). I just came across the following quote, which I found to be quite appropriate to how the US government has acted recently:

Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class - whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy.
I especially like the the second one - oligarchs of financial empires. This is so very true of today's US government. The lobbyists, especially Big Business lobbyists, have essentially taken control of the government and one push their own agendas through, leaving everyone else behind without caring one bit about them.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Gee, Here's Some News...

Apparently, according to a British think tank (yeah, I know - it's an oxymoron...), the 'War on terror' has been a 'disaster.'

No. Really? Who knew?!

YouTube - What a Mom Says in 24 Hours

This is, OH, SO TRUE!!! :)

Lots to Share

Shavua Tov! Well, it's Motzei Shabbos. Just finished the third in a series of four (next one is Pesach, though in reverse - first Shabbos, then two days of Yom Tov) three day Yamim Tovim! This is one of those times I really wish I was living in Eretz Yisrael again. I really hate the fact that while we all observe the same calendar, those of us in Chutz La'Aretz are compelled to keep two days of Yom Tov simply because a bunch of rabbis who didn't have the means of communication we have today decided we HAD to keep two days...browse here.

ANYWAY...I've had some thoughts I would like to share over the next week or so about Mechaye Meisim, Evolution, and the Age of the Universe as gleaned from Parshas Berieshis.

It's nice to be back, and I hope to start posting at least a few times a week.

By the way, I'm having LASIK surgery this Tuesday, Oct. 9! I know it's a very mild surgery, but please have in mind when you daven that all should go well and that my sight will be restored after 25 years of glasses and contacts hell!! :)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

This is SUCH a Non-Issue!!

So, Obama wants to globally ban nuclear weapons. See here for article.

Now, don't get me a wrong! This is a very noble goal. After all, didn't Superman try this in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace? Why, yes! Yes, he did. And certainly, it's a wonderful idea to try and guarantee that nut cases like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad not have access to such weapons.

But I don't believe this is or should be an election issue. Issues should be getting the hell out of Iraq, national Healthcare, education (programs that actually work, unlike the Idiot's "No Child Left Behind" initiative...), and Social Security. But, of course, as always, candidates (what an ironic term) like to focus on issues that really shouldn't be election issues.

Know what would be great if we want Hillary defeated? John Edwards and Barack Obama should become running mates (preferably with Edwards as president - I think he's make a good one). Unfortunately, this won't happen because their are both too stuck-up. What will happen, however, is that Hillary will win the Primaries. But she won't win the presidency. Not because she's a woman. I don't care if a candidate is a woman or a man as long as he or she is qualified. However, Hillary simply is NOT electable. And her winning the primaries will give the White House to the Republicans for at least one more term. Not a good thing, folks. Not a good thing at all.

Oh, well. I guess we'll just have to wait until 2012. Maybe I'll run...:)

What's a Surtax?

For anyone interested in what a surtax is (see post below and linked article), click here!



I haven't been on much because of the holidays, but this one's pretty important. This idiot must be stopped!! He wants another TWO HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS for Iraq and Afghanistan! Can you believe it?! And now, because he wants these funds, Congress is preparing to introduce a surtax to pay for the war, which will be about two to fifteen percent of "an individual's tax burden." If this means raising taxes, well so much for Republican tax breaks! And if it means taxes we already pay aren't going up, but funds from the taxes we already pay are going to fund this illegal war, it means other things, important things will receive funds, like educational programs, healthcare (ok, that doesn't exist anyway!), and any number of worthwhile government programs.

once again, I say: BUSH SUCKS!!