Monday, January 31, 2005

Keeping in touch with former friends

This weekend I ran into the family of a friend of mine.  I say former friend, because we were somewhat close 15 or so years ago.  However, we just lost touch.  No hard feelings, no drama, just lost touch.  This weekend, I was excited to hear about her and see that she is doing well.  But then when it came to asking for her email address (or phone number, etc.) I was suddenly ambivalent.  With limited time and so many “current” friends I have trouble keeping in touch with, I wasn’t so excited to make an effort.  Not that I had anything against her, I was just apathetic about contacting her.  I figured that if I got her contact info, I would make contact, otherwise I wouldn’t really make an effort.  I had made up my mind – that was my plan.


A few hours later I kept thinking about this, not really comfortable with my decision.  Hmmmm…

Friday, January 28, 2005

New Email Address

Thanks to Rachack and Renegade Rebbetzin I have a new email account:

texasmensch aht g mail dat com. Email me there sometime!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Added Site Meter

It works. Woo hoo!

Monday, January 17, 2005

I Have a Dream

American Rhetoric: Martin Luther King, Jr. - "I Have a Dream"

Text of the actual speech. The speech is short, incredibly well crafted, and worth your time. Take time today, now, and give it a read. It makes me proud to be an American.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Aruba's First Kosher Restaurant - How Cool!

The Kosher Blog: "Aruba's First Glatt Kosher Restaurant"

Water Rises to its Optimal Level

A radio personality near me recently admitted to being addicted to prescription pain medication. The question someone asked was this, "If it feels normal to you, what's the harm in continuing to take the meds." The answer is obvious health problems. But then it brought up an interesting topic. If you adjust to being high a lot of the time, then being high is YOUR NORM. At some point, you adjust mostly and this is what your new life is like. I'm not advocating this, nor am I recommending anyone drive in this condition, but the topic is still fascinating.

Then I thought - what about something more mundane, like sleep. Having a baby, my wife and I have adjusted to sleeping less - this now feels normal. I once read that prisoners sometimes sleep 10, 12, even 16 hours a day out of boredom. To them, this is the norm. Water is rising to its optimal level for them even though, we may only sleep half this much (or less sometimes!).

My question to you is, what else do we adjust to? People in New York wouldn't wait for you and hold the door. If you don't do that in Texas, you are just plain rude. In either place, its seems normal. What other examples can you think of?

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Do you ever wonder what you would do if you had to start again? Would you marry the same person, live the same life, make the same choices? I've been wondering if we had the chance to start over and "choose" how religious/observant we would be, what choice we would make. I'm honestly not sure. On a related note, if something happened to my AC (G-d forbid), would I marry a girl who was more religious or less or about the same? The same for her. Would she want someone who studied more or less? What rituals would she care to incorporate into her new life, what would she add, what would she do without. I don't know why I've been wondering this, but I have. I'm very happy with life and the way things are going - I guess I am just curious by nature.

The other day I saw a commercial on TV. I don't remember what it was for, but the husband and wife get home from work. Then they rush around doing their things, making dinner, etc. and then sit down, like drones, in front of the TV eating and then go to bed. I sometimes wonder if that is us. Its not the TV that bothers me (although sometimes it does), its the whole idea that on that particular night a commercial pretty accurately captured our day and I think that kind of sucks.

I think these two ideas above are related, but I'm not sure how.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Halachic Quandary

This is something I'm struggling with now. I'm going to be vague on purpose, because it would be inappropriate not too. Here is the story...

There is someone who I know is hurting (not physically) and could probably use help. However, I cannot ask this person's close friends, because the nature of her hurt would cause me to speak loshen hora. If I talk to this person directly, it might cause embarrassment, which is not my intent. My only other option is to go to this person's Rav and ask how I could help. However, this may or not be loshen hora and even if it wasn't I cannot be certain if I'm acting to help me feel better or if I'm truly doing this in this person's best interest.

What to do...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Saudi's Increase Aid

Okay, now I feel that someone in the Arab world is answering the call. The Saudi's increased their pledge and are promising to do more. See story below:

Link to source on Yahoo!
Saudi triples aid for victims of Asian tsunamis
RIYADH (AFP) - Saudi Arabia announced that it was increasing its aid to victims of the Asian tsunami disaster to 30 million dollars and would organize a telethon to raise more funds.

Given that the scale of the disaster and damage "has surpassed all expectations, royal orders have been issued to increase Saudi Arabia's aid to the victims from 10 million dollars to 30 million dollars," the official SPA news agency reported.

SPA reported earlier that King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, whose oil-rich country initially pledged 10 million dollars in emergency funds for the victims, had ordered a telethon to be staged by state television on Thursday.

The death toll from the massive December 26 earthquake and resulting tidal waves around the Indian Ocean neared 146,000 Tuesday, more than 94,000 of them in Muslim-majority Indonesia.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Israeli Aid, Unreported

This article from Honest Reporting is very interesting. Ignoring, for now, the "whole world hates us" argument, we as Jews, can be proud of what we do in times like this.

Honest article on Israeli aid to the Tsunami victims.

Israeli Aid, Unreported All major media outlets ignore Israel's massive humanitarian aid to South Asia - an indication of a national ethos of caring.

When disaster strikes anywhere in the world, Israelis can be counted on to help. So it's no surprise that within hours of the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the following humanitarian missions all departed from the tiny Jewish state:

IDF rescue team on its way to Sri Lanka

The Israeli organization Latet ('To Give') filled a jumbo jet with 18 tons of supplies.

A medical team headed by four doctors from Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday night (Dec. 27), carrying medicine and baby food. The doctors specialize in rescue operations, trauma and pediatrics.

An IDF rescue team is now on its way to Sri Lanka with 80 tons of aid material, including 10,000 blankets, tents, nylon sheeting and water containers, all contributed by the IDF.

A ZAKA rescue-and-recovery team arrived in the disaster areas Monday night, armed with its specialized equipment for identifying bodies.

A Health Ministry contingent left for Thailand on Monday night to aid in rescue efforts. The group includes doctors, nurses and four members of the IDF.

Israel has also offered its assistance to India ― a search-and-rescue team from the Home Front Command, as well as consignments of food and medicine.

Yet, with the exception of UPI (as of this writing - Tues. 4pm EST), none of the major news outlets have dedicated an article to this remarkable Israeli humanitarian effort. This, despite the fact that the IDF sent all Israel-based journalists a press release Monday evening (Dec. 27), inviting them to the airport to cover the departure of one IDF group.

This is all the more surprising given the fact that the major news agencies have entire teams of reporters in Israel, who submit at least one 'Israel-article' each day.

So what did the Associated Press send out today to its 15,000 subscribing news agencies? A dreary story about the construction of a new IDF base near Jenin. AP sarcastically remarked in this 'news' story that the base's 'elaborate color scheme and landscaping shows that the army is not planning to pull its forces out of the area anytime soon.'

The lack of media interest in this Israeli humanitarian effort means that Israeli benevolence toward other peoples is not fairly conveyed to the western world. Perhaps if it were conveyed, observers would come to understand something else ― that Israel's response to Palestinian violence is also motivated by the highest ethical concern for all human life, and is not (as the media so often portray it) driven by an oppressive, mean-spirited national ethos.

HonestReporting encourages subscribers to write a letter to your local paper, praising the massive Israeli humanitarian mission to South Asia ― which the major media have apparently deemed 'not newsworthy.'

UPDATE 1/1/05: Two days after this communique was published, Associated Press released an article on the Israeli aid to tsunami victims, and followed up with another article the next day.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.


Tsunami and the Jews

Two questions that have been bugging me…


1)       Where is the world thanking Israel for her rapid reaction to the Tsunami crisis?

2)       Since the Tsunami effects Indonesia (not only a Muslim country, but one with a strong anti-Semitic history) and other countries with a strong Muslim presence, where are the wealthy Muslim countries and individuals helping out?  Surely it is possible that some are making efforts, but Saudi Arabia came up with a total of $10million.  Please, they can, and should, do much more.


Just my thoughts…



Blog Update

Just wanted to let you all (ha! I probably have no readers at this point) that I am working on improving the blog. I have about 10 posts in my head and I'm going to work on adding links to other great blogs.