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October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks, February 4, 1913 - October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

"When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up and I said, 'No, I'm not.' And he said, 'Well, if you don't stand up, I'm going to have to call the police and have you arrested.' I said, 'You may do that.'"

October 22, 2005

Will work for glory

Bling / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSo rarely do I respond to taunts on other blogs - or even use the word 'blog', but Mr V is a unique guy :P

Does basing your music and image on ultra left-wing politics while selling your song about urban poverty to hock Honda Civics make you a player or a sell out? Mr V "loves" M.I.A.'s new gas-guzzling ads (with the profanity removed, of course). I don't care for the ads, still like her albums, agree that she should be able to do exactly as she likes with her creations; but think that an artist who evokes the memory of her Tamil Tiger dad to sell cars to yuppies and guppies who like her stuff solely because it has a good beat is an opportunist.

I used to shiver and fear a little for my life when she chanted "Just like PLO, I don't surrend-o"; now it sounds as harmless as a bowl of lo-fat strawberry jello and makes me chuckle. Next she'll be having lunch at the White House like another former favourite of mine.

Very Pretty

Brian Mandelbaum / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Brian Mandelbaum from my guilty pleasure, "The Apprentice".

October 16, 2005

I'm sorry

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- from PostSecret

October 14, 2005

Breakfast

I can eat again! The sun set in Winnipeg at approximately 6:45PM yesterday evening, bringing to a close 24 hours of no food, no water, no sex (big deal; I'm staying with my parents), and, bringing me the most difficulty, no coffee. Yom Kippur is the most holy of all the holidays on the Jewish calendar. Because we're Jews, the most holy is, of course, the most difficult.

"May your Yom Kippur be filled with guilt and misery," was my e-mail greeting to close friend and nemesis AlefAlef back in Toronto. "May yours be even worse!" was his response. The greetings were tongue in cheek. No one really wishes anyone pain on Yom Kippur, the day when we atone for our sins from the previous year. But it is a festival with neither rejoicing nor celebration. The most anyone can wish for someone else is an easy fast.

Wednesday evening and all day yesterday were indeed filled with misery due to an incompetent khazan, kind of the equivalent of a choir director but without the choir ... usually. Usually, because choirs are not normally part of a traditional service. This khazan decided to introduce us to an assemblage of dedicated, enthusiastic, and utterly talentless people who screeched and yowled fervently like a crowd of cats trapped together into a cage. Albatrossing above them was the khazan himself, straining every nerve - his and ours - to extend his limited vocal register above and beyond what adolescence had given him. Peace with God was heard to reach through the cacophony.

My parents' congregation is one that believes in a lot of audience participation. Various prayers and readings are assigned to captive congregants to be read to the rest of the crowd. I was assigned an uplifting passage that began "We are feeble" and continued on from that inspirational tidbit, reminding us that all dreams and desires come to naught, that we will all die and be as if we had never been, and that life was one long path of suffering and pain. Party!

A few minutes after the reading, I had an illogical fit of the giggles and had to hunch over and look really really really observant to hide them. It's a good thing I was in the process of making peace with God at the time.

One blast of tekia gdola on the shofar and it finally ended. I could eat again! I abandoned my parents to a break fast at the president of the congregations with the Rabbi and a bunch of other high-up muckety-mucks from the synagogue. I went to my sister’s and we stuffed ourselves silly. Got tummy aches, and watched "The Apprentice". That lazy, snotty Toral deserved to be kicked off. Man, does she ever need to make a lot of peace.

October 10, 2005

Still alive

I've just been at my parents' cottage on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. I'd forgotten how pleasant it is not to need my iPod drowning out dirty city noises. It's wonderful to walk and hear the birds, the waves, and the wind through through the trees.

My phone cam takes half decent pictures, although it doesn't do justice to the gorgeous fall foliage. Still, I got some pretty nice shots. Here's one.

Victoria Beach / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

October 02, 2005

Pause

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMy parents lead a primitive existence. They only have a dial-up internet connection. They have cable, but not digital cable. They only got Windows last year and my mother swears that it was invented by demons. They bought a cappuccino maker but refuse to use the milk steamer. They don’t believe in fabric softener.

Off I go to Canada’s wild, wild West. I will plunge into an existence of regular attendance at the bet knesset (synagogue), suppers with the rabbi and congregation president. Little old babushkot who were already white-haired at my bar mitsva will pinch my face and order me to invite them to my wedding before they’re dead ten times already.

My mother will offer me grilled cheese sandwich after grilled cheese sandwich (she makes the best in the west) and my father will be unable to answer even a simple yes/no question without a thorough evaluation of the circumstance, revisiting of precedents, and examination tangential yet essential details.

My sister, who is almost 30, and I, who just turned 35, will have at least one meal at my parents’, glaring over the shabat candles at each other over some tiny grievance, and spend the next 2 days giving one another the silent treatment. It will end when she tries to set me up with one in a long line of her gay friends. She doesn’t know my taste very well, but she certainly makes an enormous effort.

Winnipeg / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWinnipeg is about one month further into autumn than Toronto is. Today I am wearing shorts in Toronto. By tomorrow evening, when I walk to synagogue for Rosh Hashana with my family (minus the sister and her also-Jewish girlfriend), I will be wishing that I’d brought winter dress socks. By the time I come back to Toronto it will be approaching that temperature in this city as well.

Winnipeg at this time of year is beautiful. The trees have all burst into fluttery oranges and brilliant reds. They will grace the cities one hundred-foot oaks and elms a few more weeks before cascading to the ground. The wind will blow crisply, a pleasant taste of the winter to come, later. And the big prairie sky will never lose its sparkling blue, even on days when it climbs all the way up to 15C. In this city of seven hundred thousand, you can still see the stars at night and the Northern Lights. Once I saw a comet in the Northern Lights; without using a telescope.

Winnipeg / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI have moved around a lot in my short 35 years. Winnipeg is the place I have stayed still – or was made to stay still – the longest. I can never return to the life there, although I enjoy being reminded what it’s like to be anchored and completely surrounded by unconditional love. And grilled cheese sandwiches.