Category Archives: Friends

Chodesh HaAviv

FotB (Friend of the Blog) Moishe tweeted this earlier:

And got me thinking (as I tweeted in response to him – you can see them in the sidebar), what if things were a little different.  As we know, the interpretation of the torah calling Pesach “Chag HaAviv” means that the holiday has to occur in spring.  This has wide-ranging implications, and is the primary foundation (together with using lunar months) upon which the entire Jewish calendar is based.  Pesach has to happen in the spring, and that means after the Vernal Equinox.

But I got to wondering, what if Chazal had interpreted to that to mean spring, in a real climatic sense, as opposed to a calenderical one?  What if they had ruled that when Pesach comes, you MUST BE somewhere it’s warm and springy weather.

I joked: “Think about living in New York and having to fly to Israel or Miami for Pesach. That’s crazy!”  Well, because obviously.

But can you imagine the halachic machinations that would have gone on over time?  The questions and t’shuvos?  Does where you are for Pesach depend on how early or late it is?  The average historical temperate in NY for March 21 (about the time of the equinox) is 49 degrees for a high and 35 degrees for a low. Not exactly springy.  But by April 21 the range is 60/44.  Getting there.

Or does the temperature have to be warm enough outside at night, at the time of the Seder, because then NY is out.

What if you go to place that’s normally warm (say, Miami: 80/66 on March 21; 83/70 on April 21), but you encounter a cold snap, and the temperatures drop to the 50s?Do you have to pack up and go somewhere else?

“K’Vod Harav: my family arrived a day before Yom Tov in Miami, where it is normally warm, but the temperatures are brisk, around 50 degrees. We are all wearing coats and sweatshirts, and don’t ‘feel springy.’ Is this a problem?”

“Nir’eh Li, it would be min hamuvchar that you should move; you can rely on a forecast (no longer than 5 day forecasts are acceptable, 10 day forecasts are not reliable) from a known, reliable weather service, that predicts a warming trend, and stay, if the tircheh of moving is great (you have elderly people in your family, for instance). If the forecast calls for more cold temepratures, then you should go to what I presume are your alternate arrangements in warmer weather.”

Yeah, I’m a little loopy today.


Game of Quarterbacks

Or, “A Song of Ice and Quarterbacks.”

For the limited part of my audience that exist in the Venn Diagram overlap of (NFL Fans) (Game of Thrones fans) – which I concede may be me and two other guys who I’ve already discussed this with – I present: NFL quarterbacks as “The Seven” (the seven “new” gods of Westeros; really seven facets of one god – see here for more, or here, spoilers at your own risk).

The Mother: Tony Romo
The Father: Tom Brady
The Warrior: Aaron Rodgers
The Maiden: Eli Manning
The Crone: Peyton Manning
The Smith: Drew Brees
The Stranger: Ben Reothlisberger

We put this together before Eli won a second title, but still, the idea of Eli Manning as a young woman makes me happy.

As we pointed out then, that makes the Old Gods of Canton the ones with their faces carved in metal.  And Tebow as R’Hllor, Lord of Light.  Why?  From @ElieHecht: “False god, with some unexplainable power and lots of crazy followers.  It works.”  Of course that was before Tebow was traded to Elie’s Jets.  Wonder how he feels now?  Considering that Tebow might kill his team, maybe it’s the Red God the Faceless Men serve?


I went to a wedding last night, of a school friend of my wife.

Something about weddings is just so nice, so beautiful, no matter who or what, I can’t help but get into it.  Whether it’s the music (soft and beautiful at the chuppah, loud and blasting at the reception) that I love, the general idea of the whole thing (ya know, two people coming together to be one, yadda) or some of the language and words we use in the ceremony, I just really get into weddings.  I love them.

With that, let’s wish a hearty mazel tov to Dan, who will, iy”H, be getting married this weekend.  Unfortunado, I won’t be able to go to the wedding.  As you can tell by how much I love weddings and that this one is my friend, I’m disappointed.   Mazel tov, Dan.


(A guest post from Chief Political Correspondent, Adam) 

Democrats are worse than Republicans when it comes to negative campaigning, despite all their protestations that the Republicans like to take the low road.  Quotes like this are ridiculous:

“Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me,” Obama said. “You know, he’s not patriotic enough, he’s got a funny name, you know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

The message out of the Obama camp is that the Republicans *will* use racism and other illegitimate tactics to steal the election.  So the Republicans admittedly haven’t done anything wrong, but are nonetheless guilty of doing something that they haven’t done because their opponents say they might do it some time in the future.  The accusation itself is a smear that accuses Republicans of a misdeed they didn’t commit, but worse is that Obama himself is playing the race card by insisting that he will be prejudiced against because he’s black and his middle name is Hussein.  So he is actually engaging in the very practice that he’s accusing the Republicans of (not) resorting to.

Gripping Fear, Relief and Defeat

That was the range of emotion I went through this morning as I reached into my pocket for my wallet to get my metrocard and felt nothing.

Oh, crap.  Quick, back to the train, maybe it fell out.  Nope, not on the train.  Where did it go?  Did I have it this morning?  Was I robbed.  CRAP!  What was in there?  What do I need to cancel?  What a PAIN IN THE ASS.  Wait…maybe I didn’t take it with me.  Call the house.

“Hi, it’s Noam.  Can you check my night table and see if my wallet is there.”  “The brown one.  Yes, it’s here.”  “Thanks.”

Whew, it’s not lost.  Thank god.  But how did you forget tour wallet?  Idioooooot!  Oh, and now I have no money, no metrocard and no credit cards for the day.  What the hell am I gonna do?  This sucks. 

Thankfully, I have a friend who rides with me that could swipe me into the subway (not sure how I’ll get home, but today may be a good day to work late and take a car).  Even better, he suggested that today would be a perfect day for a summer lunch.  Just remember to bring another associate who can use his/her credit card.  I’m so happy that I ride the train with smart people.

Random Thoughts from The Home Run Derby

A Guest Post from Jeremy C – Our Home Run Derby Correspondent

Not lovin’ the new ballpark– Let me get this out into the open – not only am I a Mets fan – but a bitter one who utterly despises everything pinstriped.  So while I may be a bit biased, I have to say that Citi Field is looking a whole lot nicer than new Yankee Stadium. (Another caveat – I’ve only seen both parks from the outside.)  While I like the nod to the 1923 version of the ballpark in terms of the gold lettering on the outside, the rest kind of evokes a shopping mall parking garage gone wrong.  Maybe when they were digging up that Sox jersey, they added a wee bit extra concrete to prevent another such desecration.

Hail to the makers of Baby Ruth – The weather was pretty nice at the ballpark yesterday, but it’s still NYC in July.  When I got off the subway on River Ave, I was happily greeted by a man handing out free mini Baby Ruth bars.  Also, they were cold – came right out of a cooler.  On the flip side, there were credit card sign-up booths giving away free All Star Game blankets.  Like I said, the weather was fine, but NYC…July… blankets? Seems t-shirts or a beach towel might have been the smarter way to go.

Can somebody tie up Michael Kay and gag him?  – Last night would have been significantly better if Michael Kay was not doing the in-stadium announcing.  Chris Berman is sitting 50 feet from home plate, doing the live broadcast for ESPN, I’m not sure why the Yanks didn’t let him do his thing for the fans.  It might have to do with Kay’s ego, seeing how his intro included a plug for his radio show.

Josh Hamilton: Lone Star State Hero– Big guy, 95 RBIs at the break, 28 HRs in one round of the Derby, bouncing 500 footers off the wall in deep right field – is this guy perfect for the state of Texas or what?  I don’t know what he’s on, if anything, but the guy can flat out kill a ball.

NY fans– How many times has a bullsh*t chant been heard at a Home Run Derby?  What other fans can cause a player to curse on camera (see Utley, Chase) at what amounts to a celebrity exhibition event?  Also, there were a couple of guys sitting in front of us who were clearly celebrating the selling of Budweiser by downing a few kegs worth of Beck’s.  They were on their feet for every home run, screaming.  When Hamilton hit his longest of the night, many folks thought he cleared the stadium wall (I really don’t think he did) but the drunk duo were hysterical: “Oh my G-d!!! No one!! has ever!! done that!! before!!!!!!!!)

Missing the Hometown Hero – There really ought to be a Derby rule that the home team gets a slugger in there.  In cities with multiple teams, there should be one player from each.  Maybe they could even up the number of participants – there definitely a lot of room to speed things up to make up the time.

All in all – it was as expected – a night of “baseball light.” Kind of silly, but entertaining and fun.

Free Willie

Adam took my silence on the Willie Randoph firing as some sort of blasé, devil-may-care attitude.  Seriously, to Adam, if I don’t respond within hours, that’s it, I’ve lost the window.  Anyway, Adam took matters into his own hands.  Here are his thoughts:

When Minaya assembled this team, he made the following assumptions:
  1. That Delgado’s decline last season wasn’t due to normal aging, and that he’d come back this year and post strong numbers.  Instead, he’s hitting .242, about 40 points below his career average.
  2. That Luis Castillo brings speed, solid situational hitting, and strong defense to the Mets lineup.  Incorrect on all counts.
  3. That Moises Alou would be the everyday left fielder – he’s had 49 AB’s so far this year
  4. That the Mets could focus on bringing in a defensive-minded right fielder and catcher because there would be ample offense elsewhere
  5. That the starting rotation would include Pedro Martinez and El Duque. El Duque hasn’t pitched all season, and Pedro’s missed significant time; and still isn’t at full strength (whatever that is these days for Pedro)
  6. That the bullpen would be a strong point for this team – it’s been horribly weak.
So look at the team Randolph was given:  No output at first base, second base, catcher, or either corner outfielder.  No starting pitching, no relief pitching. 
I’m not a Willie Randolph fan – I never thought he was a great “baseball guy,” even when they had their strongest roster (2006).  But this season is simply not his fault.  And one has to ask:  Are they getting an upgrade, or just a scapegoat?