Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Very Excellent News!

Report: McKellen to reprise Gandalf role
Wednesday April 30 3:16 PM ET

Ian McKellen will again take up the robes of Gandalf the Wizard in the cinematic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic "The Hobbit" a British film magazine reported Wednesday.

But McKellen's publicist warned that final arrangements were yet to be made.

"Of course he wants to do it, but nothing's been agreed or signed," Clair Dobbs said. 

Empire magazine's Web site quoted McKellen as saying that director Guillermo del Toro told him he would again be playing the white-haired wizard.

"He confirmed that I would be reprising the role," the magazine quoted McKellen as saying. "Obviously, it's not a part that you turn down, I loved playing Gandalf."

McKellen's sonorous interpretation of Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy delighted fans and critics, earning him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor.

The 68-year-old British actor previously told The Associated Press that he would hate to see anyone else play the role.

The "Lord of the Rings" movies, based on the Tolkien book series of the same name, were extremely lucrative, grossing some $2.8 billion at theaters worldwide.

"The Hobbit" is being produced by Peter Jackson, the director of the "Rings" movies, and is likely to be filmed in his home country of New Zealand next year.

Something else I read about the Hobbit movies. Yes, plural. MovieS. The first will actually be based on the book The Hobbit. The second will fill in the gap BETWEEN The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring. Cool!

Oh, and that "white-haired wizard" comment? Pretty dumb. As The Hobbit and its sequel take place BEFORE The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he'd OBVIOUSLY be Gandalf the GRAY! :)

This Is What Happens When Americans Vote Republican Or Allow Republicans to Steal Elections...

They get bit and mangled, but they ALWAYS go back for more, because God forbid we should have Democrats in office...


Made in CHINA?!

I actually had the same experience...

It's 3 AM. Who Do YOU Want Answering the Phone?


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Great Post on DovBear!

Ultimate DovBear: A note from the Old Timer about something to horrible too be believed.

Obama Denounces Former Pastor

Obama OUTRAGED at former pastor's comments at the NAACP annual dinner and other appearances since...

See Obama denounces Rev. Wright's latest comments as well.

Both are really good articles, and the LA Times provides a video as well.

Most relevant and poignant statement:

"I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992, and have known Reverand Wright for 20 years," Obama said. "The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago."
I just had a conversation with an old friend today, and he's against Obama in part because of Obama's connections with Wright. I mentioned Obama's speech. He didn't accept that. I understood. But the above statement explains it even better than I could.

Why? Because I had a rabbi and the same thing happened. He started out as a loving, wonderful person (at least to me), and then became this monster of a man who was just so hateful and spiteful and believed no emes was REAL emes unless it was his emes.

Obama just said the same thing here. The Wright of today is not the same Wright he met twenty years ago.

"I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia explaining that he's done enormous good. ... But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS. ... There are no excuses. They offended me. They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced."
I'm still voting for Obama. Happily and proudly.

Full Approval!

Just found out today: We have received full approval for our loan! Our monthly mortgage payment will be $554 per month!

Cool, huh?

Meanwhile, on the House Buying Front

We had the inspector out two weeks ago. Everything but the roof was pretty much OK. And to show how desperate the owner is to sell the house, he agreed to pay half the cost of the roof repair.

So, here's the rundown:

We're buying the house for $116,950. The owner is giving us $3,500 toward city Point of Sale (POS) violation repairs. He's paying our closing costs and points, another $4,000. And his giving us $2,000 toward roof repair, as well as another $200 to pay whatever water/sewage bills are left after closing. In all, he's giving us back $9,700, bringing the real price of the house to $107,250. Further, he still has to pay about $7,500 to the realtors, bringing his grand total to just under $100,000 for the house.

I think we got a pretty good deal. We will have a budget of $5,500 ($3,500 for POS and $2,000 for roof) to fix the things that need fixin', and some of the things are going to cost far less than estimated because the damage wasn't as bad as originally thought. Anything left over goes to us, not him.

We also managed to lock in a rate of 5.875%, which is pretty good considering our debt. Our monthly mortgage payment should be about $550 per month. Add the $360 for property taxes and paying for water and sewage, and we're saving over $200 by no longer paying rent!

More as it happens...

This Is What Happens When Predatory Lending Becomes Rampant

Homes facing foreclosure more than doubled in 1Q from 2007. All those fools who "bought" their nearly million dollar homes in CA and everywhere else? Now they're homeless and their credit is shot to hell.

This is what happens when the government gives in to special interests and rampantly allows big business to do what it wants.

I just can't imagine how this is now good for the businesses! They have to auction off houses, they lose money, or they're stuck with empty properties!

Some disturbing points:

One in every 194 households has received a foreclosure filing, which have increased forty-six states (that's out of fifty, folks - that's 92%). That means you probably know someone who is in foreclosure.

The surge in foreclosure filings also suggests that much-touted campaigns by lawmakers and the mortgage lending industry aimed at helping at-risk homeowners aren't paying off.

Nearly 157,000 properties were repossessed by lenders nationwide during the quarter, according to RealtyTrac.

California had the most properties facing foreclosure at 169,831, an increase of 213 percent from a year earlier. It also posted the second-highest foreclosure rate in the country, with one in every 78 households receiving a foreclosure-related notice
(well, duh! that's what happens when property values shoot up as quickly as they did there - a big part of the reason we got the hell out!).

California metro areas accounted for six of the 10 U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates in the first quarter.

Many of the areas - including Stockton, Riverside-San Bernardino, Fresno, Sacramento and Bakersfield - are located in inland areas of the state where many first-time buyers overextend themselves financially to buy properties that have plunged in value since the market peak.

"California still hasn't hit bottom," Sharga said. "We have a lot of California homes that are in early stages of default that may not be salvageable because either there's no market or financing available, or both."

The other states among the top 10 with the highest foreclosure rates were Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Religion Explained

I Often Don't Agree With His Republican Sentiments...

But every so often, he comes up with a decidedly UN-Republican/Conservative view.

When There's Nothing Else to Watch...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Got Kleenex?

True Story:

My friend's sister put a grocery order online for delivery to her home. One of the items she ordered was Matza. The store was out of Matza, so they sent her a box of Kleenex instead...

Same taste, I guess, huh? And the Kleenex has better consistency and probably digests easier... :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pelosi Believes an Obama/Hillary Ticket Would Be a Bad Idea

Quoth the Speaker of the House to Larry King:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton shouldn't share the Democratic presidential ticket unless they really want to.
No shit, Sherlock. All Obama needs is that lying sack of garbage as his running mate. Earlier on, I thought it might be a good idea, but after her lying bouts and really dirty politics of the last several weeks, I think differently. The only thing having that lying sack of crap on his ticket would do is guarantee his losing to McCain...

I'd Like to Understand

Why is it, when the Israelis kill a bunch of murdering terrorists, the headlines on AP and Reuters and AFP read something like "Israel Shoots Dead Three Palestinian Militants."

But, when the murdering terrorists murder Israelis, the headlines on AP and Reuters and AFP read something more like "Israeli military says Palestinian militant kills 2 Israelis." Apparently, the Israelis are simply not be taken at their word, while the Arabs are.

Oh, and instead of the press admitting a "truce" with Hamas would just be a quiet time to allow Hamas to re-arm with no interference (as has happened before), the press blames Israel for not being open to a truce: "Israel downplays Hamas offer as UN says shortages hurt peace."

In other words, not only is Israel rejecting a truce and possible peace, but Israel is to blame for shortages in the Gaza Strip, because apparently, no matter how badly Jews are bombed, hurt, or killed, they have no right to defend themselves and close the borders between them and enemy territory...

Hey, world and world press. Please check out this Open Letter to the World (or, if you're too stupid or lazy to read it, you can ilsten to it here), and after you've checked it out, please F**K OFF.

At Least the Israelis Are Smart Enough to Understand (for now, anyway) That Hamas Is Absolutely NOT to Be Trusted...

Israel Rejects Hamas ‘Ceasefire’ Offer
Israel turned down another “ceasefire” offer by Hamas conveyed to Jerusalem by Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman Thursday night. The deal called for Hamas to halt rocket attacks on Israel for six months if the IDF would cease targeting the group’s gunmen.
“Hamas’s truce offer is intended to buy time to rearming,” said David Baker, Israel’s Senior Coordinator for Foreign Media. He added that the terrorist group’s offer was not sincere.
“There will be no need for Israeli defense operations if Hamas stops carrying out terror attacks against Israelis,” said Baker, adding, “Israel will continue to defend its citizens.”
Earlier in the week, Hamas suggested a 30-day ceasefire and a 10-year truce, but reserved the right to continue to smuggle weapons into Gaza and manufacture rockets.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman commented: “We do not intend to give them that time and we do not believe that any truce offer that comes from Hamas is indeed trustworthy.”

From Arutz 7.

The Latest Anti-Obama Smear: Is Barack Obama the Anti-Christ?

Check it out on Snopes. I especially like the part about the Book of Revelation (it's not RevelationS as the email states - I'm not Christian and even I know that!) describing the anti-Christ as a MUSLIM descended man in his 40s.

Are people so stupid they don't even know basic religious history? Islam came along about SIX HUNDRED YEARS AFTER Christianity! And Revelation was written at the end of the FIRST century AD!

Also, as the Snopes article mentions, there is not mention of the term "anti-Christ." And there is CERTAINLY no mention of Islam, which wouldn't exist until the SEVENTH CENTURY AD!

But, unfortunately, people are going to see this email in the inbox and they'll think not only Obama is a Muslim, he's also the anti-Christ.

On the other hand, if he IS the anti-Christ, shouldn't us Jews by default vote for him? :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

World Peace...

Yeah, right. What are the chances of that?

Department of Perpetual War

Another (Hopefully) Successful Pesach Recipe!

So, today I tried my hands at crepes for blintzes. They came out (after about three crepe mis-tries) astonishingly well! Now, I just have to roll the cheese in them. I use harder cheeses (Muenster and American) rather than soft white cheeses (cream, Ricotta) and they are always a hit. I honestly can't tell the difference between these crepes and the chametz ones! And they folded well when I rolled the cheese into them. Hope they fry up just as good... :)

Over the last few years, I've experimented with Matza Cake Meal in my baking recipes. Basically, I just replace the flour with the cake meal (which is really just very finely ground matza meal) and convert the measurements (5/8 cup cake meal = one cup flour). My first attempts were VERY successful. I made chocolate chip cookies and chocolate brownies using my regular chametz recipes and just replacing the flour with the cake meal. Everything comes out really awesome. The only thing I haven't been able to do (yet) is make anything bready (like scones and rolls). I guess I'll just have to keep trying...

I do love cooking and baking! :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


No. Not the Playboy kind. My next-door neighbor has (quite unintentionally), a little baby bunny nest the gardener showed my kids on Monday. Yesterday, the kids decided to play with the bunnies, holding and petting them. My daughter thought they were just like her stuffed animals and was holding one like that. Thankfully, she didn't hurt the little guy.

Primitive Alien Life May Exist, Says Famed Physicist Stephen Hawking

Fascinating article...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Alas, Jews Outsource Too...

We received a beautiful gift today. Someone came over and presented us with an absolutely gorgeous hand made Havdalah candle made by a company called "Ner Mitzvah" based in New Square. The hand carved candle was made in China... :)

To Bosnia and Back Again

And let's not forget this little gem:

Hattip: The Jed Report

Recession Depression...

I just wanted to point out that, while John McCain, once again departing from his party's official lines, and admitting we're in the midst of a recession, the Federal Reserve has unofficially, yet quite officially, according to my friend who works there, pronounced we are actually in a DEPRESSION, not a REcession.

The question is, when the government actually admit it? Or is it that when the Fed publicly admits it's a depression, that's when the government MIGHT admit it's a minor recession.

In the meantime, The Idiot in the White House, instead of trying to find a solution to the economic woes facing the US, has decided the US needs to "Reinvigorate and Strengthen" NAFTA instead of either reNEGOTIATING it or just walking away from a deal that REALLY destroyed the economy and put big business in charge of pretty much EVERYTHING...


And yes, I am VERY aware it was CLINTON'S deal, but the Republicans made it a whole lot worse. It's also a reason I really can't stand Hillary...

McCain Says Rust Belt Towns Can Be Economically Resurrected

This would be a great thing, except for one statement at the end:

"Dramatic change can happen, in this great city and others like it," [McCain] said. "With pro-growth policies to create new jobs, and with honest and efficient government in Washington, we can turn things around in this city."
If the Republicans are going to be running the government in Washington, there won't BE an "honest and efficient" government.

Star Wars Muppets!

This is actually pretty funny! Anyone remember the Star Wars Muppet Show episode?

I love Beaker as C3PO and Rizzo the Rat as Yoda! :)


Phew! That was LONG! Three day Yom Tovs are just TOO much!

Yet another argument for abolishing second day of Yom Tov...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Random Factoid

Here's one I didn't know: Rav Dovid Liebowitz (the father of Rav Henoch Liebowitz, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim who passed away on Tuesday, April 16) passed away ON Pearl Harbor Day. Not the commemoration of the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He ACTUALLY passed away ON the day of the attack, December 7, 1941.

Superstitious types might say his being alive kept the Japanese from attacking Pearl harbor, thus keeping the US out of WWII, but that's silly. Had the US NOT gotten involved, there probably would have been next to NO Holocaust survivors...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Was This REALLY Necessary?

Praying Passenger Removed from San Francisco-Bound Flight. Did this guy REALLY have to make a scene at EXACTLY the wrong time? Even if it was Zman Tefilla, halacha says he could have just sat and davened.

What an idiot.


Hey folks. I just wanted to comment that it is very telling about matza (egg or regular) when you open a box two years after purchasing it and it's still crispy and tastes as fresh as if it just came out of the factory...

Hmm. And we're INGESTING THIS STUFF?! :)

Kitniyos on Pesach

Click here for original article. Below is the full text:

Kitniyos On Pesach
by Rabbi Michael Taubes

The Mishnah in Pesachim (Daf 35) lists five types of grain with which one can manufacture the product needed to fulfill one's obligation on Pesach, meaning, as Rashi (Sham biDibor haMatchil "Eilu") explains, the obligation to eat Matzoh on the first night, when it is mandatory, as stipulated in the Torah (Shemos: 12:18) The five grains are wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats; the Gemara (Ibid.) notes that spelt is actually a type of wheat, while oats and rye are types of barley. The Gemara then states (Ibid.) that other species, such as rice and millet, cannot be used to produce Matzoh, and this is based on a Posuk later in the Torah (Dvarim 16:3) which establishes a connection between the prohibition to eat Chometz on Pesach and the obligation to eat Matzoh, indicating that one can use for the Mitzvah of Matzoh only the types of grain which could possibly become Chometz, which are the five types mentioned above, and no others. The Mishnah in Challah (1:2) states clearly that one who eats a Kezayis of Matzoh made from any of these five types of grain fulfills his obligation on Pesach night, while one who eats a Kezayis of Chometz made from one of these items is punished with Kareis, premature death, as the Torah states is the punishment for eating Chometz (Shemos: 12:15).

Although one authority in the Gemara in Pesachim (Ibid.) holds that rice is a type of grain as well, so that one who eats Chometz made of rice is punished with Kareis, and one who eats Matzoh made of rice fulfills his obligation, the Rambam (Hilchot Chametz uMatzoh, 6:4) rules that one does not fulfill the obligation to eat Matzoh unless it is made of one of the aforementioned five types of grain, because Matzoh must be made of something that can in fact become Chometz, while rice, millet, and "Kitniyos," meaning legumes, can not become Chometz and thus can not be an ingredient in the Matzoh used for the Mitzvah on Pesach night. The Rambam earlier (Ibid. 5:1) states similarly that the prohibition against eating Chometz on Pesach applies only to something made of the above five types of grain, but Kitniyos, such as rice, millet, beans, lentils and the like, are not Chometz, and, consequently, even if one kneads flour made of rice, for example, with hot water, and bakes it and processes it so that it rises and looks very much like regular dough, one may still eat this product because it is nevertheless not called Chometz. The Rosh in Pesachim (Perek 2, Siman 12) also writes that rice and millet and any other product which is not made from any one of the five aforementioned grains can not become Chometz, and it is thus permissible to cook such products for Pesach. The Korban Nesanel (Ibid., Os 70) notes that there is no need to outlaw these cooked products just because they may appear similar to other cooked products which are actually Chometz; he proves this point by referring to a comment of the Rosh later in Pesachim (Ibid. Siman 28), where he explains the implication of a Gemara there (Ibid. 40b and see Ibid.Tosfos s.v. Raba) that one may use a certain type of flour, made from lentils, because it can not become Chometz, and states that there is no need to worry that people will confuse it with other flour which is really Chometz. The Korban Nesanel (Ibid.) concludes, however, that Ashkenazic Jews have accepted a great stringency regarding these products; he is clearly referring to the practice of Ashkenazim to avoid eating any such Kitniyos products on Pesach, despite the fact that they are not Chometz, and despite the permissibility of these items documented by the above sources.

The earliest authority who records the practice not to eat Kitniyos on Pesach seems to be the Semak (Sefer Amudei Golah, Siman 222, He'arah in Os 12), who states, writing in the 1200's, that people have refrained from eating such food on Pesach since the days of the early Chachomim and Rabbonim. He then adds that the prohibition is not based on the fact that these products can become Chometz, because it is known that they can not, as explained above, since only something made of the five species of grain can become Chometz; rather, the reason for the prohibition is based on a Gezeirah, a preventative decree from the Rabbanan, instituted because people can too easily confuse a product cooked with Kitniyos, such as cereal, with a similar product cooked with one of the five grains, and if the Kitniyos product is allowed, one may come to allow a grain product, which is really Chometz, as well. Moreover, he adds, Kitniyos are similar to the five grains in other ways too, including the fact that some people make bread out of Kitniyos as they do from the five grains, and people who are not knowledgeable may end up making a mistake and eat real Chometz; he points out that Kitniyos are thus not like other vegetables which are allowed on Pesach because they will never get confused with the forbidden grains. He thus concludes that it is a proper custom to avoid eating Kitniyos, including, as he adds, mustard, and he notes that although the Gemara cited above (Ibid. 35) clearly allows eating rice on Pesach, that was only in those days when people knew all the Halachos properly, but today, one must not eat Kitniyos on Pesach. This position is cited in the Mordechai in Pesachim (in the Rif, Daf 31 to--32, Siman 588) as well. Rabbeinu Manoach, in his commentary on the aforementioned Rambam (brought down in Mahadorat haMishnah, Perek 5 Ibid., Torah sheNidpas Al Yidei R' Shabtai Frankel), quotes that some say that the custom is not to eat certain products with seeds on Pesach because they can become Chometz, but he rejects this because Kitniyos simply can not become Chometz; he suggests instead that the Torah's requirement to rejoice on Yom Tov (See Devarim Ibid., Pasuk 14) precludes eating food cooked out of Kitniyos (apparently because such food is of inferior quality) and it is from this idea that the custom developed. He then adds that there really can be no true prohibition at all on Pesach for one to eat Kitniyos if one wants to, but he concludes that he found an authority who explains that there are certain wheat crops which, when they don't grow properly due to certain agricultural factors, come out looking like Kitniyos crops, even though they are indeed from the wheat species, and the Rabbanan thus prohibited all Kitniyos crops in order to avoid confusion, and he believes that this is a solid basis for the custom to avoid eating Kitniyos on Pesach.

The Tur (Orach Chayim Siman 453) writes that rice and all types of Kitniyos can be cooked on Pesach because they can not become Chometz, but he adds that some forbid these products because sometimes certain types of wheat get mixed in with these items and it is presumably difficult to differentiate between the wheat and the Kitniyos; he concludes, though, that this is an excessive stringency and it is not customarily followed. The Beis Yosef (Ibid. s.v. viYesh) quotes others who question this custom as well, but then cites some of the above sources that prohibit eating Kitniyos on Pesach, presenting the aforementioned reasons for the prohibition; he concludes that only the Ashkenazim are concerned with this prohibition, and the Ramo, in his Darkei Moshe (Ibid. Os 2), asserts that the Ashkenazim are indeed stringent about this. The Bach (Ibid. s.v. uMah sheKatav) suggests that the true reason for this custom is that since it is possible to make dough out of Kitniyos products, there is concern that confusion will arise among uneducated people concerning dough made of grain which is truly Chometz. The Shulchan Aruch (Ibid. Si'if 1) rules that rice and other types of Kitniyos can not become Chometz, and one may thus cook these items on Pesach, but the Ramo (Ibid.) states that some forbid these items, and the Ashkenazic custom is to be stringent and should not be changed. The Mishnah Berurah (Ibid. Si'if Katan 6), basing himself on the above cited sources, explains that this stringency is designed to prevent confusion between flour and bread made from Kitniyos products and flour and bread made from the five grains which are real Chometz; he also writes that the Chometz grains are sometimes mixed together with different types of Kitniyos, and if such a mixture is baked or cooked, it can indeed become real Chometz. He concludes (Ibid.), citing the Chayei Adam (127:1), that to cook even whole pieces of rice or Kitniyos (as opposed to pieces that have been made into flour or dough) is also prohibited in order to maintain consistency within this custom; in the Biur Halacha (Ibid. s.v. ViYesh), he quotes and explains the above cited opinion of Rabbeinu Manoach (Ibid.) to further justify this custom. The Aruch HaShulchan (Ibid Si'if 5) also presents a source which he believes is a basis for this custom.

Rav Yaakov Emden, an Ashkenazic authority, objects strongly to this custom, though (Sefer Mor uKitzi'ah al Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, Ibid.), complaining that because people don't eat Kitniyos, they have to bake that much more Matzoh, and people simply are not sufficiently careful when baking so much Matzoh; he notes that the Tur cited above (Ibid.) does not accept this practice although he is an Ashkenazic authority. He then adds that his own father, the Chacham Tzvi, also objected strongly to this custom, saying that he would abolish it if he would be able to, because it is a bad custom and a stringency which leads to unacceptable leniencies with real prohibitions involving Chometz; he thus expresses the desire to join someone who would be able to do away with this custom to refrain from eating Kitniyos on Pesach. The Kaf HaChaim (Ibid. Os 10) quotes others who agree that this is an improper custom, but he notes that even among Sephardim, who generally do not observe this custom, there are those in Yerushalayim who do not eat rice because it once happened that some wheat was found in a cooked rice product. This story is also found in the Pri Chodosh (Ibid. Si'if Katan 1), who finds a hint to the general custom of avoiding Kitniyos on Pesach in the aforementioned Gemara in Pesachim (Daf 40) which records that one of the Amoraim was concerned about using flour made from lentils, which are Kitniyos, in a place where the people are not careful or knowledgeable about Mitzvos, because of the possible confusion with flour made from real Chometz. He concludes that since people today are indeed less diligent about these matters, it is proper to avoid any products that are similar to grain, although he notes that the Sephardim generally do not follow this custom. The Kaf HaChaim (Ibid.) does quote some Sephardic Poskim who forbid Kitniyos as well, but he concludes that many Sephardim do not observe this practice at all.

The Maharatz Chayes, however, in an essay entitled "Minchas Kenaos" (Nidapes biSefer Kol Sifrei Maharatz Chayes, Chelek 2, biHe'arah bi'Amudim 1027-1030), quotes verbatim the words of Rav Yaakov Emden referred to above (Ibid.) in opposition to this custom, but he then defends the custom strongly against Rav Yaakov Emden's objections, stating that it is wide-spread in Ashkenazic communities, and that it can not and should not be undone, because a custom that has become accepted becomes like a law from the Torah. He thus concludes that there is no possibility of changing the practice and allowing Kitniyos to be eaten on Pesach. The Shaarei Teshuvah (Ibid. Si'if Katan 1) reports that there were those who attempted to do away with this practice, but were unsuccessful because the Gedolim among the Ashkenazic leaders maintained it strongly; he states that there is no room for leniency, and that anyone who is lenient is "breaking down the fence," meaning that he is violating the accepted norm. The Shaarei Teshuvah (Ibid.) also quotes from the Maharil (Sefer Maharil, Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot baPesach, Daf 18) that one who eats Kitniyos on Pesach is violating the prohibition of Lo Tasur (See Devarim 16:11), which forbids one from disobeying the decisions of the Chachomim, as implied by the Gemara in Berachos (19), and he adds that anyone who goes against the rulings of the Rabbanan is deserving of death. The Chasam Sofer (Shaiy'lot uTeshuvot Chasam Sofer, Chelek Orach Chayim Siman 122), among others, also discusses this entire issue at some length, and decides that one can not change the practice of the greater community; he also suggests another source for this practice.

There is, however, some question as to exactly which products fit into the broad category called "Kitniyos;" Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffmann (Shaiy'lot uTeshuvot Melamed LiHo'il, Chelek Orach Chayim Siman 87) states that the term "Kitniyos" is not really precisely defined by the Poskim. The Rambam cited above (Ibid.) mentions rice, millet, beans, and lentils as examples of Kitniyos, but there are other products which fall into this category as well, and the Rambam himself elsewhere (Perek 1 miHilchot Kila'yim, Halacha 8) adds another type of bean, along with sesame seeds and other types of seeds and beans to the list of products which are in the general category of Kitniyos, saying that any seed which people eat is in the category of Kitniyos. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah, Siman 297, Si'if 3) gives the same examples to define the term Kitniyos. It appears from the aforementioned Semak (Ibid.) that produce which grows in a manner similar to the way the five types of grain grow is also included in the prohibition against eating Kitniyos; the Taz (Orach Chayim Ibid., Si'if Katan 1) seems to agree, explaining that this is why mustard is considered Kitniyos, while the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Ibid. Si'if 4), who agrees regarding mustard, adds that certain caraway seeds are also considered Kitniyos for the same reason. The Pri Megadim (biMishbitzot Zahav Sham Si'if Katan 1) discusses the status of coffee, as does the aforementioned Shaarei Teshuvah (Ibid.), and both conclude that it is permissible and is not in the category of Kitniyos; in general, the Chok Yaakov (Ibid. Si'if Katan 9) implies that one should not add to the list of Kitniyos products prohibited by the Chachomim and by the force of custom, because the whole prohibition against eating Kitniyos is a stringency to begin with. Nevertheless, there are other products which are indeed considered Kitniyos as well; the Mishnah Berurah (Ibid. Si'if Katan 3) mentions buckwheat and corn, for example, prohibiting their consumption on Pesach, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Shaiy'lot uTeshuvot Igros Moshe Orach Chayim Chelek 3, Siman 63) discusses the status of peanuts, which some people avoid on Pesach, and the Sefer She'arim HaMetzuyanim BeHalacha, commenting on the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Siman 117, Si'if Katan 7 s.v. uPolin), mentions that green beans and, apparently, peas, may be considered Kitniyos as well. It is clear that the precise definition of Kitniyos relating to Pesach depends on customs which may vary from place to place.

The Sefer She'arim HaMetzuyanim BeHalacha (Ibid. s.v. viHatotzeret) also discusses the major question of whether liquid derivatives of Kitniyos products (from Kitniyot), such as oils or syrups, are included in the prohibition against consuming Kitniyos; the Chayei Adam, in his Nishmas Adam on Hilchos Pesach (She'eylah 33), seems to forbid these items as well, citing, among others, the Terumas HaDeshen (Shaiy'lot uTeshuvot Trumas HaDeshen Siman 113) who writes that one may use oil from Kitniyos for lighting candles, implying that one may not, however, consume it. The Avnei Neizer (Shaiy'lot uTeshuvot Avnei Nezer Chelek Orach Chayim Siman 373), among others, also assumes that the liquid products of Kitniyos are included in the prohibition. The Chok Yaakov (Ibid. Si'if Katan 6), however, appears to take the lenient view about this, as do Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffmann (Shaiy'lot uTeshuvot Melamed LiHo'il Ibid. Siman 88), who quotes Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, and the Seridei Eish (Shaiy'lot uTeshuvot Seridei Eish, Chelek 2 Siman 37), and others; Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank, in his Sefer Mikraei Kodesh on Pesach (Chelek 2, Siman 60, Os 2, and see Ibid. in Harirei Kodesh Ha'arot 5-7) discusses this question and notes that Rav Chaim Soloveitchik allowed the oil from a certain product to be eaten, but he implies that it may depend upon how similar the original Kitniyos product is to the five species of grain that can become Chometz. Rav Moshe Feinstein, in his aforementioned Teshuvah (Ibid.), writes, though, that in a place where there is no custom prohibiting a particular product, one should not be stringent and avoid it.

It must be pointed out that the entire restriction on Kitniyos on Pesach pertains to consuming such products, but one may have them in one's possession and even use them in other ways on Pesach, as the Ramo (Ibid.) states clearly, and one may also derive benefit from them, as the Magen Avraham (Ibid. Si'if Katan 3) writes. It should also be noted that although the Sdei Chemed (Asifat Dinim, Ma'arechet Chametz uMatzoh, Siman 6, Os 1) quotes some authorities who prohibit eating Kitniyos under all conditions, he also quotes some who are lenient in pressing situations; the Chayei Adam, in his Nishmas Adam (Ibid. She'eylah 20) leaves the question of such leniency in doubt, but in the Chayei Adam itself (Ibid. Si'if 6), he states clearly that in a case of even a mild illness, or for the sake of a baby, where there is a significant need, Kitniyos may be consumed. The Mishnah Berurah (Ibid. Si'if Katan 7) also rules that in a case of great need, one may consume Kitniyos products, although he notes that even in such a situation, there are some types of Kitniyos which should be preferred over others; it would appear to be advisable, moreover, to use separate utensils for these products.
In truth, according to Rav Yaakov Emden, should one desire to cease keeping the chumrah of Kitniyos, to which he strongly objected, "Yesh Al Me Lismoch," and the top person to rely on here is the Tur.

I found this to be a FASCINATING article. Thank you Rabbi Taubes.

For All You Republican Die-Hards Who Think Democrats Are ONLY About Raising EVERYONE'S TAXES...

Click for article about last night's debate, which I missed because I had to get the rest of our house ready for Pesach AND sign loan documents for our house purchase...

Pertinent quote:

The two candidates also agreed they would not raise taxes on Americans making less than $200,000 a year.
Note: NOT raise taxes on middle class and working class Americans. NOT.

Obama also took a VERY staunch stand on Israel's defense, stating very clearly he would have the US defend Israel in case of attack by Iran. Hillary was a bit more wishy-washy about it...

Even Presumptive Republican Nominee John McCain Admits We're in a Recession

McCain Blames Greedy for Recession. And McCain: Recession Under Way. So, why can't The Idiot President and his cronies admit we're in a recession? Well, because that would offend the greedy, and we wouldn't want to do that, now, would we?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Um. Why Is THIS News?!

Martha Stewart's Dog Paw Paw Dies of Renal Failure I'm just curious. What possible impact could this event have in any way on my life, except for my blogging about it to ask what possible impact could this event have in any way on my life?

By the way, the dog's full name was Kublai Khan Paw Paw Chow Chow Chow. Because one Chow and one Paw are NEVER enough...

Baruch Dayan Ha'Emes

Yesterday Rav Henoch Leibowitz, the dean of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, passed away. He was 92 years old.

Unfortunately, his control over his yeshiva and his talmidim began dissipating many years ago. His talmidim are currently running amuck in the world, destroying lives (mine in there too...), disrespecting any "hashkafa" not their own, and all around hating Jews the world over. And yet, they claim to be "into kiruv."

Unfortunately, now, with his death, they will be even more out of control.

None of this is the fault of the Rosh Yeshiva. He was an incredible man, and the few moments I had with him while attending Chofetz Chaim were amazing.

Most of all, the Rosh Yeshiva came off as HUMAN. Unfortunately, his talmidim turned him into a deity. I don't think he ever much relished his own deification, and he certainly tried to undo it. It just didn't work.

Baruch Dayan Ha'Emes. Now that his physical form and influence are gone, you can surely expect the Chofetz Chaimers to be completely out of control.

What a shame...

Ladies and Gentlemen...

Presenting the Very Worst President in History... Wow. What a surprise.

Who Are the Four Sons Mentioned in the Hagadah?

I was just reading DovBear's post about the four sons and how in different time periods they were depicted in different ways in (then) contemporary Hagadahs. He then went on to propose whom HE would depict as the various sons.

I'd like to go in a bit of a different direction, and perhaps propose a bit of a different take on the Four Sons, maybe one more in keeping with how Jewish reality is today.

Chacham: He asks a very logical question. What is all this? Certainly, he understands there are chukim and mishpatim, some with logical explanations, some not. But they ARE Torah commandments. And there are legitimate mitzvos d'Rabanan. But what's the rest of it for? Why are there so many chumrahs? So many binding minhagim? So many ways to make being Torah observant miserable? Why are there out-of-date minhagim that have nothing to do with the reality in which we live today? Don't you understand that piling on the chumrahs and minhagim are going to drive people away, not bring them closer? Don't you know that the more the grip tightens, the more people will slip through because they'll just be incredibly tired of having every moment and every step of life dogged by useless minhagim and chumrahs that just make life miserable? "Ma Ha'Eidos V'Ha'Chukim V'Ha"Mishpatim asher tziva Hashem Elokeinu ESCHEM?" isn't a question asked in which we have to make ridiculous excuses why he says "Eschem" - YOU (much like the rasha). He's asking the Rasha. "What the hell are you doing?! You're going to drive people away! Your form of Judaism is simply not viable, no matter how you try to wrap it in the 'legitimacy' of your so-called 'Gedolim.'" The Chacham is saying we NEED to get rid of outdated minhagim and chumrahs that have nothing to do with today's reality and would in NO way diminish Torah observance.

Rasha: This is the chumrahs guy. This is the Halachic Pygmy (I heard this term recently in reference to today's self-proclaimed "Gedolim" and I absolutely LOVE it!!) who thinks he's a "gadol b'Yisrael" and thinks everything that comes out of his mouth is Torah m'Sinai. And it really doesn't matter WHAT comes out of his mouth. It can be anything from the latest ban to being a COMPLETE rasha and blaming the murder victims for their own deaths (click here and here). This is the guy who says not only are we going to keep old outdated chumrahs and minhagim. Oh, no. We're also going to add to the existing ones as well as create new ones, ones that, in two or three hundred years, will be completely unbreakable because by THAT time, they'll be part of our made up "Mesorah" and they will be unbreakable laws. Further, by tightening our grip, we get rid of all the riffraff that can't handle it, thus making "Torah" Judaism very exclusive by completely discarding anyone who doesn't do it OUR way. "Ma Ha'Avoda HaZos LACHEM?" - What is this to you? You want to know what it's all about? I'll tell you what it's all about. It's about control. Absolute control. We control you. Completely and absolutely. And do you know who the Rasha addresses? The Tam.

Tam: He's the simple one. The pliable, shapeable one. The one who, if, or rather, when, he falls into the hands of the Rasha, will be shaped and molded and fired in a kiln into what the Rasha wants: A brainwashed minion who will do EVERYTHING the Rasha, the Halachic Pygmy with feelings of inadequacy and delusion of grandeur, tells him to do, no matter how ridiculous or unreasonable. "Ma Zos?" he asks when he takes those first delicate steps. And, using an iron fist coated with a velvet glove, the Rasha turns him into a blithering fool, a true Tam, a complete simpleton who is taught never to think for himself and ALWAYS to allow the Halachic Pygmy to have complete control over him. If he's lucky, the Tam will eventually escape, but nine times out of ten, he won't. And he'll be miserable. And believing what he's practicing is the ONLY true EMES, a warning and a threat ingrained in him from the very beginning of his journey of observance, he'll never have the guts or the ability to break away from the brainwashing and will simply live life believing he's practicing emes when in truth he's just being controlled by a bunch of Halachic Pygmies, also known as the Resha'im, the self proclaimed "gedolim" of his generation, who control every single move and thought.

She'Eino Yode'a Lish'ol: This is the guy who doesn't know any better. The Hagadah is exhorting the Chacham: "At Psach Lo!" Approach him, take him in, teach the meaning of Judaism, before the Rasha gets his meathooks into him and makes him just as unsalvageable as the Tam may be. Bring out the potential of this beautiful soul, make him shine. Don't let him fall into the deep dark Rasha pit. "At Psach Lo!" He's not yet on the Rasha's radar screen because he's just not worth the effort yet. But be careful, because the Rasha is waiting, watching, and ready to take control once interest begins to show, so you, the Chacham, need to teach him right, otherwise, the Tam's fate awaits the She'Eino Yode'a Lish'ol as well.

This is how I've come to see the four sons. Unfortunately, the case happens to be the Chacham is rarely, if ever, listened to, constantly drowned out by the Rasha's screams and rantings. Later, I plan to post an article I found about Kitniyos in which a true Chacham, Rav Yaakov Emden, was indeed drowned out by the Halachic Pygmies of his time...

Home Inspection Today

Professional inspector is coming over today to do a detailed inspection. We'll see how in goes...

In the meantime, the loan application has been submitted and we should hopefully have an answer soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Time!!

It's good to Have the Lobbyists...


Today is the one day of year all of us, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, are all VERY conservative!


Of course, that's pretty much where the agreement ends. We all hate it for different reasons...

Gas Odor Closes Parma Post Office

Headline from today. That's gotta SUCK on 4/15. It's TAX DAY!!

Yehuda Kolko Goes Free

So, a chareidi criminal, probably availing himself of Chareidi influence on the law in New York, is going to go free. Yehuda Kolko, the infamous child abuser who went about his child abusing business for at least a couple of decades, has plead guilty and made a deal with the DA in NY to get three years probation (that means no child sex for three years) and to seek counseling. It also means he probably doesn't have to register as a sex offender.

Isn't that great? Click for article.

Hattip: DovBear

In Case Anyone Thinks Pope John Paul II Was Such a Great Friend to the Jews...

THE PAPAL VISIT; Pope Defends Vatican's Response To Holocaust in Talks With Jews.

Pertinent quote from the article:

In a public encounter with American Jewish leaders, Pope John Paul II defended the conduct of Pope Pius XII today against assertions that he failed to publicly condemn the persecution and extermination of Jews by the Nazis.

The Pope also used what was anticipated as a ceremonial exchange to assert that the Palestinian people have a right to a homeland.

For their part, the Jewish leaders expressed their ''pain and distress'' at the Pope's meeting last June with President Kurt Waldheim of Austria. And Rabbi Mordecai Waxman, honorary president of the Synagogue Council of America, told the Pope that the Holocaust was ''the culmination of centuries of anti-Semitism in European culture for which Christian teachings bear a heavy responsibility.''Impressive Candor Noted The themes sounded at the meeting today in a small, gray Miami auditorium filled with 200 representatives of American Jewish organizations, were not themselves new to the Pope or to Catholic and Jewish conversations: The Vatican's response to the Nazi Holocaust remains, 40 years later, one of the most contentious issues separating Jews and Catholics.

Hattip: the Dry Bones Blog

Monday, April 14, 2008

House Deal

So, we've finally reached a deal. It's not 100% what I wanted, but it's not too bad, either. The price of the house will be $116,950. The landlord will pay $4,000 in closing costs and points, as well as the estimated $3,500 to repair the point of sale violations. That actually brings him down to $109,450 for his net. HOWEVER, he STILL has to pay the realtors a total of $7,847.50 (half of this amount to his realtor, half to mine), bringing his grand total net to $101,602.50. The funny thing is, near as we can tell, he OWES somewhere around $109,000 on the house, as he took out two mortgages (1999 and 2001) totaling about $130,000. So, he's hopefully STILL left holding the bag with a bit of debt, which is no less than he deserves considering what an asshole he's been over the last twenty-one months...

Now, I have to complete the loan application, get a home inspection, and get to closing. We're putting down 20% ($23,390), thanks to my in-laws, and we'll have a loan of less than $100,000 ($93,560, to be exact). Our mortgage payments should be no more than about $540 a month, plus property taxes of about $360 per month. Come December, I'm going to apply to the county auditor to get my property taxes lowered by about one third based on the sale price. They're usually pretty good about lowering the taxes, which is great, and then our monthly tax payment will only be about $240 per month. Also, they usually make the change retroactive to the date of purchase of the house, which is even better, and credit the surplus to the next period's taxes.

All in all, a pretty good deal. Once we close, I'm going to start stripping the wallpaper off the walls (pretty much ALL of it is in pretty poor taste, but we couldn't do anything about it, and I CERTAINLY wasn't going to make improvements to someone else's property at my own expense), starting with the dining room, since the paper already coming off, and the master bedroom because the color of the wallpaper is puke yellow and really quite nauseating... We're going to paint everything a nice, neutral off-white.

Newest Stupid Jewish Product on the Market!

Tzitzis Glue! Because, apparently, regular Elmer's, or even superglue, simply CAN'T do the job! And people actually PAY for this crap!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sign Sighted on Random Lawn...

Jesus is Risen!
That may or may not be the case (I personally believe NOT!), but I say:
But My Matza Hasn't! :)

Getting Close to a Deal...

So, the landlord came back in agreement to our last offer, but he wants $117,000 (actually, $116,950, but I'm rounding up...). In principle, we agree, but we asked for him to agree to pay for the home warranty, which he originally refused when we started this whole process six days ago. I think he'll say yes just so he can get rid of the house.

Then, we have to have the home inspection and we have to apply for the loan... Eek. Let's see what happens.

We also gotta send out our taxes... :(

Saturday, April 12, 2008

More on Housing...

The landlord's latest offer:

He went back up to the original list price of $119,900 and agreed to paying the $4,000 in closing costs and points and to paying the full $3,500 to repair the Point of Sale (POS) violations issued by the city.

I returned with $114,000, he pays the $4,000 in closing costs and points and the $3,500 figure to repair his violations are simply NOT negotiable, any more than using MY $1,170 security deposit toward those repairs was...

We'll see what this idiot does now...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Housing Update

So, my landlord, who put the house we're currently occupying on the market, must have a VERY low opinion of my intelligence (and that of my wife).

We offered to buy the house from him for $105,000. He listed at $119,900 and house needs quite a bit of work. On top of the cosmetic updating and kitchen work, the city came out last week to inspect and found lot of violations that will cost somewhere around, according to their estimates, $3,500 to repair (some electrical, some structural in the garage, and few other minor things). We stipulated in our offer he would need to make all the repairs or put up the money for us to make the repairs, but that WE would NOT incur those costs. Further, we asked for him to pay closing costs and points (aka prepaids) up to $5,000. Finally, we stipulated he would credit the $1,170 security deposit (OUR money) toward the price of the house. He net (before paying the realtors which is his own problem and screw-up based on how badly he managed this house and which is WHY he listed so low) would have been $96,500.

Well, he counter-offered, which is why I made the comment above about how low his opinion must be of my intelligence (as well as my wife's). His offer was to sell us the house at $115,000 and pay $2,500 closing and points. Further, he decided our $1,170 security deposit should go toward $3,500 in repairs of violations instead of crediting toward price of house. Mind you, he is basically saying he'll credit OUR money toward HIS obligations. Nice, huh? Based on this offer, his net would $112,500 as he is ONLY giving us the $2,500 back in closing costs and points and doesn't want to pay for repairs.

So, we counter-counter-offered: We offered $109,000, he pays up to $4,000 in closing and points. The $1,170 security deposit is NOT negotiable as it is OUR money and the violations are NOT ours nor did we cause them. They have been here from the start and he NEEDS to repair them. HE pays the FULL $3,500 (or puts the money in escrow) for repair of violations. He returns our $1,170 to us as a certified check once we close, thus taking the $1,170 COMPLETELY out of the picture and taking away his fantasy that he won't have to give us back OUR OWN MONEY. His net, based on this offer, is $101,500.

Now, we're waiting to hear back...

This is COMPLETELY a buyer's market, by the way. There are five other houses for sale on MY block, six on the next block, and four or five on the next block after that. And that's just a these three blocks. Our final offer will be, eventually, a maximum of $115,000, but he MUST pay up to $4,000 closing and points and he MUST pay for the repairs of the violations and he MUST give us back our $1,170 security deposit. For him, at best, he will get a net of $107,500. We'll see what he counter-counter-counter offers us, but eventually, he's going to HAVE to agree to these final terms, a best-case scenario for him, worst case for us, and we still come away with a FANTASTIC bargain.

But I just can't believe his complete and utter chutzpah and disregard for our intelligence with that COMPLETELY ridiculous offer.

In truth, he's lucky I didn't show MY low opinion of HIS intelligence by offering about $85,000 for the house, asking he consider the over $25,000 in rent we've paid him over the last two years (nearly) as credit toward the cost of the house...

Although, that WOULD have been cool... Especially if he had ACCEPTED!! But, I KNOW he's not THAT stupid. I just wish he'd show me the same courtesy.

Barack Obama's HEBREW BLOG!!!

הבלוג של ברק אובאמה

"Kosher" for Passover Strikes Again

So, as I've mentioned before, I've been buying my poultry wholesale, and I've been doing so for the last seven months. It's been going pretty well. The wholesaler delivers the goods to me at home, and I get stuff by the case. Last time out, I ordered a case of chicken breasts (with the bones in) and a case of chicken wings. The whole shebang cost me exactly one hundred dollars. I saved a lot of money, and I was happy.

Then came time to put in my order for Pesach. And it blew me away. Some of the stuff I ordered, no pricing problems. But the chicken breasts (again, bone-in) were DOUBLE the price they were last time I ordered. DOUBLE!! That put the price per pound at about one dollar OVER retail at the supermarket!!!

So, I called the guy this morning (he hasn't actually delivered the stuff yet, just gave me the pricing last night). I told him something was wrong with the pricing and that this is about a dollar more than RETAIL. His question? "Retail even kosher for Passoveer?"

I'm sorry. This is poultry we're talking about. Not pre-cooked goods or pre-shaped or pre-manufactured in any way. Just plain old raw, fresh poultry. WTF is the difference when I buy this stuff?! It's poultry. There's NO way for it to be anything BUT "kosher" for Passover. It's like claiming they sell "Glatt" kosher chickens!

So, he's "checking" the pricing. He said he put in a call to one of the supermarkets he supplies and claimed they told him they were selling the stuff for about seven dollars per pound. I suspect they were reporting on the boneless chicken cutlets, which do indeed sell for about seven dollars per pound.

I hate being F****D over. I really hate it.

UPDATE 1: Apparently, cases got mixed up and he gave me pricing on boneless chicken cutlets. Except the prices are higher by about twenty-two cents per pound from the case of boneless I DID order... HMMM.

UPDATE 2: He is ordering anew for us and it SHOULD arrive next Thursday, about a day before Pesach. I'll have to cook fast...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This MUST Be the Answer to Cross-Loving-Currents... :)

Torah Currents

Independent Obama Accomplishment Video

But, no. He has absolutely NO experience or accomplishments. None at all.

I'm sorry, but anyone who says that is an ignorant asshole.

McCain: No, You Can't II

Here's what the Republicans want and believe... :(

McCain: No, You Can't

Isaac Hersh

Don't know the story? Read this.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How Stupid Are the Palestinians?

Stupid enough, apparently, to blow up a fuel depot that provides Gaza with much of its fuel. And they're all proud of the attack they carried out today because they killed two Jews?

So, does the international community just expect Israel to sit back and just give them more?

Of course it does. After all, Jews are the world's punching bag. It's Timex. We take a lickin' and keep on tickin'...

Hillary's Hypocrisy of the Day...

I don't get this:

"That's the choice. One candidate will continue the war and keep troops in Iraq indefinitely, one candidate only says he'll end the war," Clinton said at a high school in a Pittsburgh suburb.
Then, she goes on:
"And one candidate is ready, willing and able to end the war and to rebuild our military while honoring our soldiers and our veterans," Clinton said of herself.
And yet,
Clinton and Obama both say they would begin working to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq shortly after taking office in January 2009.
I just don't get it. When Obama says he'll withdraw troops, that's just talk. But when Hillary says she'll withdraw the troops, she, of course, TRULY means it! How is HER saying she'll do something any different than anyone else SAYING they'll do something?

What she seems to be missing is that at this point, anything ANY of the candidates say IS just talk, and will remain just talk until someone takes office and actually puts what they say into action.

She really needs to just stop. She's not doing herself any favors.

Stupid Quote of the Day - April 9, 2008

Today's Stupid Quote Award goes to former US President William Jefferson Clinton:

Former President Clinton says being a mother always was a top priority for his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, although that changed slightly when daughter Chelsea entered Stanford.

"Even in the White House, being a mom always came first, until Chelsea went off to college," Bill Clinton says. "Then she had to worry about me!"
Um, Bill? Yeah. Am Kshe Oref here. Just wanted to mention that's probably NOT something you want to bring up at this moment, y'know? Or, really, any time. OY.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Two Days

And I've got nothing.

There's plenty going on, though. We put an offer on the house we're currently renting and are waiting to hear back from the landlord.

Business is going nowhere fast.

My weight continues to suck.

I'm still coughing from my cold from last week.

I'm sleeping less and less (I was up at 3:30 this morning and couldn't fall back asleep).

Pesach is coming and the house or shopping aren't anywhere near done.

I'm working on a post about the four sons mentioned in the Hagadah. Should have that done tomorrow...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Fiscal (I)rresponsibility...

And there are some of you out there who WANT to elect yet ANOTHER ONE?!

Charleton Heston

Not that I'm a huge fan (he was, after all, kind of a RWNJ Republican with his NRA affiliations and what-not), but the world did lose a great actor yesterday. Charleton Heston died at the age of 84 after a long battle with Alzheimer's.

And after all, he DID play Moses, and it IS ironic he should die this time of year...

Friday, April 04, 2008

It's The Honker Ducky Dinger Jamboree!!

Some Yip Yips to follow!! :)

Housing Update

So, we've pretty much decided to buy the house we're currently renting. Sure, it does need a bit of work (paint for nearly the whole interior, windows, carpeting, kitchen update, and some electrical and plumbing - we want to make a first floor laundry out of part of the mudroom), but we should be able to buy it pretty cheap (well below market value), have a pretty low mortgage payment, and slowly fix up the house. We're currently just waiting for the loan pre-approval, which should be coming in any minute, and the listing of the house to actually go live so the realtors can get to work.

Our landlord offered us the house before approaching a realtor. He originally wanted "market" value, which was WAY more than the house was worth, so we turned it down. He then got a bit desperate and told us he'd be willing to take a significant loss. We still didn't accept or even ask how much. The problem is we don't trust him. He's kind of a scuzzy person and was going to get HIS lawyer to draw up documents and do the deal. There was NO way we were going to go that route. We just DON'T trust him. So, we let the house get listed.

The Point of Sale person for the city came today and found lots of violations he's going to need to fix, especially the electric boxes (which are fire hazards, apparently). There are numerous other violations he's going to have to deal with or lower the cost of the house even more. Good for us. Bad for him. We'll see what happens.

Economy sheds 80,000 jobs in March

Oh, no. There's no recession.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Somebody's Getting Desperate...

Hillary's REALLY getting desperate. Both she and her husband are losing it. Now she's flat out using fear tactics and pure passion with no logic or intellect behind it, claiming simply, whimpering really: "Obama Can't Win." No real reason. Just her own fear of realizing she's going to lose the race. Check this out:

Interesting Article...

McCain Snared in Bush Trap. McCain has stated more than once in the past that he is NOT well versed in the economy and economics. He has tried to deny saying that or meaning that, but at this point, it's hard to deny something you've said more than once, kind of like Hillary "misspeaking" about her alleged (and quite false) experience in Bosnia.

And while he's tried to deny those statements, he quite clearly shows his lack of understanding by proposing more of the same of Bushonomics and Reaganomics:

When they were read back to him in a Jan. 24 candidate debate, he said he didn't know where those quotes came from. "I'm very well versed in economics," he said. "I was there at the Reagan revolution." That would be Reaganomics - cuts in domestic spending and taxes, and reduced federal regulation of the economy. Those are still the basics of McCain's economic plan, although he strayed in 2001 to vote against the George W. Bush tax cuts because he thought they were tilted too much to upper income Americans. He now supports making those tax cuts permanent.

That doesn't add up to a clearly defined program to deal with an economy slipping toward recession. But as McCain said in his own disavowed candor, economics is not his specialty
We've all seen the results of Republican economics. They just don't work for anyone except the rich and powerful. Reaganomics led to recession, and Bushonomics have us practically in a DEPRESSION (though the Fed and the White House refuse to face reality, acknowledge this, and do something about it). Is this what this country needs for yet ANOTHER four to eight years?

Funny Quote

Nine out of ten guys prefer women with large breasts. The tenth guy prefers the other nine guys! :)

Really Funny Matzah Clip

Thanks to Rafi for this one! And get the part where the adult doesn't want to believe the kid's answer is correct until the kid mentions she's Jewish! Hence, probably, her ability to WRITE IN HEBREW!!

Oh, and apparently "Jewish people live in Israel." As opposed to ANYWHERE else... :)

Intentional VS. Change

I was reading Rafi's blog this morning and he made an interesting statement when discussing the Reform movement moving the Bimah in their temples from the middle of the room to the front and that Rabbonim fought hard to make sure Orthodox shuls did not go against the time-honored custom of having the Bimah in the middle of the shul (or, at least, the men's section):

Case in point is that the Reform movement changed the location of the bima and many other time honored customs fell in its wake as well, and many things that were halachic in nature and not just custom.
No offense, Rafi, and I mentioned this in the comments section of your blog, but this way of thinking about change has a serious and fatal flaw. The Reformers of then INTENTIONALLY wanted chuck EVERYTHING out the window. They started with something small, like moving the Bimah to the front of the shul, and went on to bigger things.

I know you weren't necessarily talking to me with all my desire for change, but my desire doesn't come from a need to chuck everything out the window. And to be honest, this wasn't Mendelssohn's intentions either (remember he lived AND died a frum Jew, regardless of what happened to his grandchildren).

I'm saying I think many minhagim and chumrahs, NOT halachas, should just go away. They were made at the time they were made for reasons pertaining to the times in which THOSE rabbonim lived. Many minhagim that were brand new were simply chumrahs that spread and became popular. It doesn't mean they are correct. In fact, even the RAM"A says in many places throughout Shulchan Aruch that there are places where the people do X and shouldn't be. He OFTEN says they are NOT doing the right thing.

Well, anyway. That's my say. I think there's a huge difference between a group of people who intentionally WANTED to chuck out anything halachic about Judaism, as the Reform Movement did, and people today who enjoy, or used to enjoy, being Orthodox but find the heaping of minhag on top of chumrah on top of more minhagim on top of more chumrahs is just off-putting and makes being a Orthodox a burden rather than a joy.

And when that happens, is the appropriate answer "tough luck, deal with it, and move on and be unhappy and burdened?" Or is the answer "Let's see what we can do to make this religion enjoyable again without breaking actual Halalcha and not only keep people in the fold, but maybe even bring more people into the fold."

Are Politicians REALLY Paying Attention When They Approve Laws?

Until yesterday, even toddlers could get married with parental approval, according to a law mistakenly passed in Arkansas last year. They just repealed the law...

And THAT'S why this is the number one pick-up line in an Arkansas bar (read in Southern accent):

"My, honey. That's a mighty fine tooth y'all got there!"

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hillary's Latest Lie...


Clinton said as first lady she had forcefully battled the agreement, which her husband labored hard to win.

"I did speak out and oppose NAFTA," she said. "I raised a big yellow flag and said, 'I don't think this will work.'"
Except that
The National Archives recently released most of Clinton's daily schedules as first lady. They showed her attending at least five meetings in 1993 aimed at helping win congressional approval of NAFTA.

The Obama campaign says the meetings show Clinton is misrepresenting her record on NAFTA. It got some help Wednesday from Teamsters president James P. Hoffa, who is backing Obama.

"No one who was around in the time of NAFTA remembers her doing that," Hoffa, speaking to The Associated Press by phone, said of Clinton's claim that she argued against NAFTA in 1993. "Let's face it, she's tied to NAFTA no matter what she says."
And this is a new thing. Until yesterday, she never denied supporting NAFTA. Now, she's saying she opposed it completely and "raised a big yellow flag..."

Yellow flag? Shouldn't that have been a red flag, as in a warning?

Understatement of the Day

Bernanke Warns of Possible Recession...

Um. No shit, Sherlock...

Under one rule of thumb, six straight months of a shrinking economy would constitute a recession, but Bernanke wasn't getting into that. "A recession is a technical term," he said. "I'm not yet ready to say whether or not the U.S. economy will face such a situation."

Um. When ARE you going to be ready? When it's a full-blown DEPRESSION, which some of your employees already say it is?

Bariatric Surgery Update

Well, it seems even WITH a letter from my doctor stating the surgery is a medical NECESSITY and NOT an elective, the insurance company will STILL only pay between 1/3 and 1/4 of the cost (depending on the surgery). Apparently, the portion they will pay is a "lifetime maximum," meaning that's ALL they pay and they'll pay no more. The insurance rep told me (probably to deflect responsibility) that that's how the company where my wife works set it up and all the insurance company does is administrate the policy and nothing more.

So, my wife is going to speak to the HR person the next time the HR person visits her office (in about two weeks) and see what, if anything, can be done.

If nothing, I would really just prefer to say "the hell with everything" and roll over and expire now. Nothing has worked permanently with weight loss. Nothing will. And I don't want to end up like my dad, who is 6'4" and weighs about five hundred pounds and can barely breathe and has diabetes and can barely walk or even lift his arm without running out of breath and has heart problems and a whole slew of other shit wrong with him...

Oh, and top it all off, we are probably going to have to find another place to live as my landlord has decided to list the house and if by some miracle he sells it, we'll have to get the hell out of Dodge.

And business has SUCKED lately. I've been unable to close a deal since October, despite working on dozens of them. EVERY single one has fallen through.

And now Pesach, yet another holiday I just CAN'T afford, is coming up. Again.

And I have a F*****G cold.

Life Sucks.

McCain Wouldn't Know Reality If It Came Up To Him, Introduced Itself, and Bit Him on the Nose...

McCain has stated Americans are "too cynical."

And here, folks is what McCain thinks of Americans and their intelligence levels:

U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain believes many Americans are cynical about their country, and their idea of liberty is "the right to choose among competing brands of designer coffee."
Well, that'll certainly get ya lots of votes, John.
"Many Americans are indifferent to or cynical about the virtues that our country claims," the former Vietnam prisoner of war will say.

In part, he says, it is because some have suffered economic dislocations while others profit as never before, and in part, it is a "reaction to government's mistakes and incompetence and to the selfishness of some public figures."

He comes close to calling some Americans spoiled, saying they are cynical because "the ease which wealth and opportunity have given their lives led them to the mistaken conclusion that America, and the liberties its system of government is intended to protect, just aren't important to the quality of their lives."

Skepticism is healthy, he will say, "But when healthy skepticism sours into corrosive cynicism our expectations of our government become reduced to the delivery of services. And to some people the expectations of liberty are reduced to the right to choose among competing brands of designer coffee."
Yeah. In other words, the reality that we are very much in a recession, possibly even a depression according to a friend of mine who works at the Federal Reserve (and he acknowledges the Fed knows it but won't admit it) has nothing to do with how people are feeling.

This Is the Person For Whom Republicans Will Vote?!

Someone who gets interviewed by the acknowledged, unabashed and unashamed racist Don Imus?!
This is who interviewed McCain recently. This is who McCain goes to for interviews?! Don Imus?!

I sincerely hope this is NOT an indication of how McCain feels about race and I CERTAINLY hope McCain isn't THAT far to the right...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Cool New Widget

Hey! Check out my cool new countdown to Bush leaving office widget to your right!

Who's the WORST President Ever?

The Worst President in History?




Gee. What a surprise.

There are SO many more links...

Thank God, just 294 left until Bush is gone from office. Let's just hope the majority of this country is smart enough to elect whoever the Democratic Presidential Nominee (Barack Obama, God Willing) ends up being...

In Case Anyone Is Wondering About Obama's Church's Beliefs About Jews

Click. Essentially, it boils down to this statement:

THEREFORE, the Sixteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ affirms its recognition thatGod's covenant with the Jewish people has not been rescinded or abrogated by God, but remains in fullforce, inasmuch as "the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."
And it's important for people out there to understand, THESE are Obama's beliefs, against those of his ex-pastor, whose comments against Jews and America Obama has denounced time and again.

Oh, BR-UH-THER!!!!

Hillary Clinton Likens Herself To Rocky Balboa...

Can anyone guess where she was when she did THAT?

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says she has something in common with legendary film boxer Rocky Balboa - she's not a quitter.

Recalling a famous scene on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from the 1976 Oscar-winning film "Rocky," Clinton said that ending her presidential campaign now would be as if "Rocky Balboa had gotten halfway up those art museum steps and said, 'Well, I guess that's about far enough.'"

"Let me tell you something, when it comes to finishing a fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common. I never quit. I never give up. And neither do the Am
erican people," Clinton said in excerpts of prepared remarks to be given Tuesday to a meeting of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.
Uh. Ok. Except Rocky wasn't so right in the head by the time Rocky 5 rolled around, y'know?

Also, she just DOESN'T have the pecs for it!

Headline Spotted

"McCain seeks distance from Bush." Mm. Yeah. Probably a good idea, John. But the problem is you still want to pretty much continue with the same policies as Bush.

Hey, I haven't seen anything about McCain proposing to deal with the economy. Does he even have a plan, or is it just going to be the same old crap as we spiral deeper and deeper into a depression?

And the Christians Are At It Again...

Evangelical leaders: Jews need Jesus Christ. Oh. Just great. More proselytizing...

Feh. Why can't they just leave us alone and stop trying to "save our souls" with their hypocritical religion that has been nothing but trouble for us for the past nearly two thousand years?

To our "dear" Christian "brothers:"

Please leave us Jews alone. We're just NOT interested.


Hattip: DovBear

100 Years

Thanks to Rafi G for this one!