Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Holy Chutzpah, Batman!

The new season of "Who Wants to be a Superhero?" includes a new entrant, who styles himself (wait for it):

Mr. Mitzvah!

"Mr. Mitzvah's Super Powers include "Flight, night vision, super-strength, enhanced senses. Uses his Star of David paddle to deflect any attack. As a direct descendant of King David, Mr. Mitzvah received the paddle (along with his superpowers) from his father on the day of his Bar Mitzvah; it was first given by God to David after he slew Goliath. Now Mr. Mitzvah uses it in his sacred mission to save the lives of children everywhere."

Catch Phrases:
"Oy, vey!" and "Mazel tov!"

Ivan Wilzig (his real-life name) is a bit of a freak (not that you would have guessed this from his desire to be on a TV "reality" contest as a superhero). Born a multi-millionaire son of a Shoah survivor, he quit his banker's lifestyle to create techno versions of 60's-era peace songs, and likes to host lavish parties where he parades around in tights and capes (yes, that's capes, plural) as "Peaceman."

He switched his superhero identity to "Mr. Mitzvah" when he learned that winning the contest meant giving up rights to the identity.

Fun facts:
His mother has a 4,000 piece erotic art collection.

But really, is this the guy we want representing Judaism to the kinds of folks who watch the Sci-Fi channel? Well, maybe to those who wear tin-foil hats...

Friday, July 20, 2007

HP Spoiler Avoidance

As usual, Bad Cohen has ordered our copy of the latest HP book (the final one, now) from Amazon.co.uk, so we don't get the adulterated Scholastic-crap US version, where they think you won't understand that "colour" is the same as "color", etc.

Which means, as usual, we will be getting our copy a week or two late.


(deep breaths, deep breaths)

Only this time, I'm kind of relieved, because it means the end has not yet arrived. As long as I don't read the final book, the series isn't over, right? (Of course, once I start reading, I won't be able to stop, so I'm already freezing milk and laying out outfits for the baby so someone else can take care of him... heh heh, such an optimist.)

However, this means that until I can read it, I must avoid all potential spoilers.

So, starting Sunday, if your blog post references HP in any way at all, I will NOT read it. In fact, I may un-blog completely until I can get to it, just to make sure. (yeah, right)

That said, here are my predictions for Deathly Hallows:

1. Harry (or the scar) IS a horcrux. At some point in Book 7, the scar will be removed, and HP's destiny will be separated from Voldy's. Of course, he might still die.

2. Ron will snuff it. Remember the chess game in book one (for those of you who actually remember and tolerated book one)? The knight will sacrifice himself to the queen (Bellatrix, obviously) so that Harry can capture the king (Voldy).

3. Neville must have some resolution around his parents' plight, so he may be the one to avenge Ron. Wouldn't it be awesome if he inherited Ron's wand (or just picked it up) and it turns out to work for him (unlike dear daft papa's)?

4. Harry will learn his final lesson - he cannot do everything himself, he needs others, and must trust them to take some responsibility. (In short - delegating and teamwork.)

5. Petunia will have a moment of heroism.

6. Kreacher and/or Dobby will play some critical role at some point.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


This morning

I found


sitting on the kitchen floor

tasting a slug.

(I will pause here, while you imagine the shrieking, jumping up and down, frantic fetching of paper towels to dispose of said slug, wipe off baby's hands and face, wipe out mouth, passing of now-very-cranky-baby to sleepy-eyed Bad Cohen while I desperately wiped down the kitchen floor...)

Not only treif, but pretty disgusting.

Oh goody. Only how many more years raising a boy?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

8 Things About Tzippy

AKO tagged me again. Another blogger "game" to help us pretend anyone is actually interested in us and/or our weird personal habits. Sigh. (Says she who is going to post it anyway because, well, why not?)

[Actually, Rabbi Without a Cause did this one a week or two ago and I quite enjoyed it then.]

The Rules:

Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged.

1. I don't know 8 other bloggers well enough to tag them with this silly thing.

2. On my desk I have a Far Side cartoon, framed in a sparkly mirrored frame. A female cow (I know, that's redundant) with pointy glasses is standing in front of a bunch of other cows who are sitting in chairs facing her. Behind her is a bookcase and a window, through which we see, appropriately, rolling hills. One cow is holding a steaming mug of something (coffee is implied) despite his lack of opposable thumbs. She reads from a piece of paper:

Distant Hills

The distant hills call to me.
Their rolling waves seduce my heart
Oh, how I long to graze in their lush valleys
Oh, how I want to run down their green slopes.
Alas, I cannot.

Damn the electric fence!
Damn the electric fence!

Thank you.

3. I am an only child.

4. I have been using rice milk on my cereal instead of cow milk for the last 9 months, and darned if I don't now find the taste of real milk to be slightly weird.

5. I am definitely a cat person, not a dog person. You will know much about me from this simple fact.

6. When I am emotionally distraught, my instinct is to (wait for it) COOK.
(Lordy, I AM a Jewish mother!)

7. I secretly wish I were much more spiritual, aware, observant, and believing than I actually am.
Oh wait, I guess that's not a secret now.

8. I have a horrible, horrible time trying to adjust to sudden changes in my schedule or plans, and cannot stand planning things with people who like to "wing it," with the exception of one particular friend in whom it is one of his charms. (And when dealing with him, we simply leave large blocks of unplanned time open for whatever "adventure" he finds us.)

So, I think I will tag Bad Cohen and Back of the Hill, although I invite CG the homeless KDB to add his 8 things here, in the comments, if he wishes.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Tagged on Books...

AmKsheOref has tagged me - days ago, now - with a book list. (sorry, Barak, I've been busy)

"Look at the list of books below: Bold the ones you’ve read. Mark in blue the ones you want to read. Cross out the ones that you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole (or use red coloring). Finally, italicize the ones you've never heard of."

I'll add - comments in purple. A good number of these were things I read in school, so I don't know as they count, as it wasn't by choice. Also, surprisingly, a number have been made into movies. And this is, may I say, clearly a WOMAN'S book list. So don't feel bad if you men are scratching your heads and wondering why you are so unlettered. I suppose now I should look up some of the ones I've never heard of to see if they're worth reading.

[My goodness, I read too much.]

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown) A pedant's "Foucault's Pendulum"

2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) Still an excellent book. My memories of it are mixed up with the old black and white movie version.

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) "As G-d is mah witness, Ah shall nevah go hungry again!"
Fun fact - I snickered through most of 2002 everytime the Shrub talked about "the War on Tara." (snicker, snort)

5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) Not sure why these are in this order in the list, but it's telling - Two Towers was, by far, the dullest of the three. I'm one of those sad souls who (despite my admiration for Tolkein) thinks there ought to be an abridged version. Oh wait, that's why we have the movies.

6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)

7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) A WONDERFUL book, which I'm sure my son will have no interest in reading someday, despite carefully preserving all my childhood books for future offspring. Sigh. Remember when they got shickered on elderberry wine?

9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) WOW! I had no idea these were books, I thought they were only a series of cult films. Ok, yes, I should read these.

10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)

11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) (middling)

12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) (silly, silly silly - someone gave this to me as a gift years ago)

13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) (wonderful)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) Read it, only vaguely remember it, but something about a skinny little kid... I think I've read almost everything Irving ever wrote.

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling)

17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)

18. The Stand (Stephen King) A marvelous epic - I first read this when indulging my penchant for the macabre as a sullen teenager. The vision of an apocalypse (from the view of the survivors, of course) somehow seems very plausible to a teen.

19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling) Still one of my favorites.

20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) What a bunch of pathetic sad sacks. Honestly, if your wife goes mad, don't hide her in the attic - take her out to parades, or set up a webcam in her room and let her bring in some money. Sheesh.

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)

22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) meh - barely got through it. Teenage MALE angst was just not that appealing as a teenage girl.

23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) These are still my models of womanhood. I'm afraid I'm much more like Joe than Meg, try as I might.

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) Good but, again, macabre. Now a mother, I cannot BEAR the thought of books/stories etc., like this.

25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) "So long, and thanks for all the fish."

27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) Honestly, what is it about surly, handsome fellows that gets us? Moody brutes always end up being so much bother.

28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) A wonderful series, in all. I remember being absolutely downhearted at age 12 or 13 that I was now too old to go to Narnia.

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck) blech. More moody male angst.

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom) Quite good.

31. Dune (Frank Herbert) Good, but never made it to my list of books to reread every few years.

32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)

33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

34. 1984 (Orwell) The classic. Required reading.

35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) Naughty but temptingly plausible...

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)

37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay) My first introduction to the world of South Africa. Looking back, this seems to have a hero much like those in Mark Helprin's books, though younger.

38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)

39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant) VERY naughty, and absolutely tempting... sigh. Too bad we have lost the women's oral tradition...

40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) I know I read this at one point, but boy, I don't remember it at all.

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) Hmm, oh yeah, I read this for the decriptions of prehistoric FAUNA. Really. (Reminiscent of the whaling chapters of Moby Dick - very skimmable)

42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)

43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)

44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)

45. The Bible Umm, interesting that there's no author listed here... ;-}

46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) ok, kind of cheating here, because I only read parts of it. Boy, Tolstoy could have written Harry Potter twice as long and unreadable - a gift for turning gold into lead. Maybe if I knew Russian... I think they're all just masochists, who like to read painful long awful things because it justifies their worldview (that life is long and painful and slow and there is no hope of reprieve, so just drink your vodka and keep going).

47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)

49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)

50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)

51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) Read a few pages, got sucked into another project and never finished it. The Bean Trees, now, that was a great novel.

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)

53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card) EXCELLENT. Ender was my favorite little space prodigy until I met Miles Vorkosigan.

54. Great Expectations (Dickens)

55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) The green light. Nuff said.

56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)

57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling) sssssssssss

58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)

59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) Creepy. Frighteningly more and more plausible, as I watch looming environmental catastrophe and freaky religious right-wing nut jobs approach.

60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) Why is it that teachers always ask the LEAST provocative, least interesting questions about the best books? I would love to see someone deal intelligently with this book in a way that actually addresses the disconnect from reality among American teenagers that can produce things like school shootings. No, dunderhead, you are *not* special in any way. And that's OK.

62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)

63. War and Peace (Tolstoy) Again, only parts. Pass the vodka, PLEASE.

64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)

65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)

66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) A most remarkable book, to which I return every few years.

67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)

68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) heh heh. An IOU does not a lifesaving device make. Valuable life lesson.

69. Les Miserables (Hugo)

70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)

72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)

73. Shogun (James Clavell)

74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)

75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) oh, I loved this book as a child, and was absolutely stunned when picking it up in my mid-twenties, and recognizing the political polemics about colonialism and its effect on the British soul contained therein.

76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay) (Guilty pleasure - GGK has a great trashy series, and, yes, I've read them all. In the space of about a month, last summer)

77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

78. The World According to Garp (John Irving) Again, John Irving. What more needs to be said?

79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)

80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White) "Some pig"

81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)

82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)

83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)

85. Emma (Jane Austen)

86. Watership Down (Richard Adams) A very good book for children of a certain age (and adults) who need to be reminded that not everything is a fairy tale; some monsters (and corruption) are real.

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) I should read this at some point, I suppose.

88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)

89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)

90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)

91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)

92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) This book has been the source of the most persistent and irritating conceptions in the minds of my students (and the American popular imagination) about the "nature" of human beings, culture and the civilized/primitive divide. I do not think any teacher should be allowed to assign it without also assigning Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and Geertz.

93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)

95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)

96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)

97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)

99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

100. Ulysses (James Joyce) I think that I have delved bits of this at times, but I cannot remember a single portion. I should try again once I have a nice jigger or two of whisky under my belt.

Bonus: The Princess Bride (William Goldman)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Things I don't want to forget

I am terrible about making notes or photo albums of my son and his developmental and other milestones. Although I'm terribly excited about them, and love him very much, I just cannot seem to drag out the little notebook I bought and actually write things down.

Luckily, I have a blog. ;)

First words:
Kitty (initially "kih" but now says the full word) at about 9 months
Nana (for banana, his favorite food) at 10 months, when Gma S brought out a banana for a snack

First steps:
June 29th, 2007 (10 months)
At Gmpa R and C's house, walking from Heidi to Zoe.
5 steps

Favorite things:
Food: bananas (of course)
Animal: our kitty (also of course)
Things we see on walks:
  • Trees, (especially ones that move in the wind; I need to get a "Tree-hugging Dirt Worshipper" bumper sticker for his stroller)
  • Flowers (especially those he can grab and stuff in his mouth)
  • Dogs (especially if we stop to pet them)
  • The ducks in the canal under the bridge