Tradescantia Zebrina .:. The Wandering Jew


tales and opinions of the wandering Jew

Political Discourse in NH

One thing I wasn’t expecting during my week at the NHC Summer Institute was to hear bigoted, ignorant, political lies. Granted, this was at the Mountainview Community Hospital in Peterborough, NH, but still. Wow. (I drove a friend to the ER this morning to get stitches; she’s fine.)

All of the following are direct quotes from the three men, and two women, in the ER waiting room. As a scrambled to jot them down on my iPhone, I didn’t have time to attribute quote to each person properly.

It says on page 59 [of the proposed health care bill] that they will debit everyone’s bank account without having to ask first – look it up!

The news is all liberal, the only one you can believe is Fox.IMG_1142

Obama’s popularity rates are the lowest of any president! He apologizes to everybody and bows to the Saudi king! Can you believe that?!

I heard that Canadians flock over the border to get health care in the US and we’re trying to copy their system?! My friend’s cousin’s dad lives in Canada and needed open heart surgery, it was an emergency, he’d had a heart attack, and the wait was six months so he came down and did it in the US – can you imagine waiting six months?

And Obama’s plan is, ‘hey, you need a hip replacement? We won’t do it, but we will council you on assisted suicide instead, because you’re just going to have to die.'”

Barak Obama grew up despising America, he and his wife, are racist, bigots, they signed the Black Doctrine saying that they wouldn’t worship any G-d that whites worshiped. He and his wife.

I can’t even call him President of the United States, it makes me sick. He’s just Osama.

You know who’s gonna take him out before the year’s through? The KKK. He’ll be the first and the last black president. Deval Patrick is just as bad.

He’s got a gift for speaking – but only with a teleprompter.

He’s cut the budgets for all the fire departments, police, and ambulances in the country. Every dept has been cut. And you know what? Believe me, L.A. or New York or one of those major cities will be hit in the next 3 years by biological or nuclear warfare. Cheney said Homeland Security has fallen to shit since Obama and now we’re gonna get killed ’cause he allows Al Qaeda to trade nukes on the black market.

Left liberals say 9/11 was a Cheney conspiracy.

Another stimulus plan? He’s destroying the country. Watch the Democrats go flying out the door at the midterm elections next year.

Of the uninsured, only 8 million Americans can’t afford it, the rest are illegal aliens. Well gee, what does he think is going to happen when hospitals can’t refuse care? Of course they’re going to be swamped because of those damn illegal aliens wanting our health care. They should go back to their own countries. Then we won’t need a health care bill. Good Americans already have insurance!

We don’t need some fat guy behind a desk in Washington telling us which doctor or medicine we’ll have access to. [I pipe up, ask how they feel about some “fat guy behind a desk” at their insurance company making those same decisions now.] The system works. I can see a doctor whenever I need to, 24/7, excellent care always. Don’t mess with it.

Those college types are brainwashed by their professors. They didn’t know better, were brainwashed, and voted for Obama.

Whenever you get government regulated anything, Reagan said government ruins everything. Less government is more efficient.

Obama’s health care is illegal. He’s a liar. Believe me, it’s all lies. Page 59, look it up.

That’s right… Obama’s racist, the KKK is going to kill him before the year’s through, and Americans have great health care for all already.

Did I mention I was sitting there as an, uh, adopted east coast elite/liberal Jew (tzitzis and kippah in full view)? Yeah, I was not comfortable at all. I wanted to argue – but was afraid to. Aside from the question I asked on insurance versus government health care (noted above), I only interjected once: I suggested that the story about needing to go to the US for emergency heart surgery wasn’t accurate – that in Canada there are wait lists for elective surgeries and procedures that aren’t deemed urgent, but all emergency surgery is dealt with, well, in Canada. They didn’t believe me, and cited a Fox news report.

With my friend in the triage area, I couldn’t sit there alone any more (it had been almost an hour). I wandered the hospital and returned just as my friend was released (without the stitches she had gone there to get).


Filed under: america, nhc 'tute, politics, travels, wtf?

Organic Farming

Did anyone catch tonight’s Daily Show? In honour of Michelle Obama breaking ground on the White House organic garden, Samantha Bee gave an inspiring investigation into the pros/cons of organic farming.

What did we have to learn? Jeff Stier, Associate Director of the American Council on Science and Health, said that organic farming, and Michelle Obama as an extension, is a public health concern. Why? Because most people can’t afford organic vegetables, and if they can’t afford to eat organic vegetables, they’re going to stop buying vegetables, since people like Michelle are telling them that organic is better. Therefore, Americans are going to a) starve and b) become obese because they’ll eat more crap and stop eating vegetables.

Makes sense, right?

But there’s more. Michelle is also irresponsible and inconsiderate towards the children of America, screwing with their ability to grow into contributing citizens. How? Michelle is failing to teach children that using pesticides is an efficient farming model, therefore children aren’t learning how to be efficient with tasks. Um…

Right. Got it. Jeff Stier, whose organisation is a lobby group for many pesticide and “machine of farming” corporations, is just doing his job. Too bad he comes across as a fool. (And no comment on his black kippah.)

Filed under: america, good eats, politics, seasons, wtf?

Israel bound

I want to write a post about how I’m going to Israel tomorrow, for work. But each time I’ve tried to start this post, the verb I’ve used hasn’t set the right tone. So I will not strive for poetics. Instead, I’ll say that I’m going, and will be back in New York on January 19th. See you on the other side.

Filed under: israel, judaism, palestine, politics, random, travels, war, work, wtf?

How To Avoid Dying (and other mishegas)

First, cross-posted from Jewschool is a short piece on the power of prayer:

“A study published by researchers at Yeshiva University and its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, strongly suggests that regular attendance at religious services reduces the risk of death by approximately 20%. The findings, published in Psychology and Health, were based on data drawn from participants who spanned numerous religious denominations.

“To evaluate the impact of religiosity on mortality and morbidity, the investigators looked at variables including self-report of religious affiliation, frequency of religious service attendance, and religious strength as well as comfort, in relation to coronary heart disease (CHD) and death. It is important to note that the study did not attempt to measure spirituality; rather, it examined self-report religiosity measures (irrespective of the participant’s religion).

“Those attending religious services at least once per week showed a 20% mortality risk reduction mark compared with those not attending services at all. These findings corroborate prior studies that have shown up to a 25% reduction in such risk.” [Read more.]

I would like to thank the various independent minyanim that I attend on a regular basis for existing as, it seems, they’re to thank for my recent “got off easy” car accident. (What? I’m not properly understanding the conclusions?)

And for some more random fun, highlights from the RSS reader. (I’ve had a lot of time to catch up on the blogs these past couple days…)

Filed under: america, health, homophobia, judaism, politics, queers, random, recipes, wtf?

Crash: update

Following up:

Thanks for all of the emails. It really means a lot to me.

Monday morningI’m still resting at home. While the swelling has gone down on my head (I no longer have a big bump where a uni-brow would be), and around my eye (it’s now a lovely purple, and the swelling is only barely impeding my vision now), the rest of my body has taken over. My neck, shoulders, right arm, and right leg are amazing sore. It was hurting me to readjust my position on the couch last night, so today I’ve tried to stay still in bed. I’m a little bored; movie watching is good, reading gives me a headache, Scrabble on Facebook rocks (feel free to challenge me to a game). And I’m possibly feverish, as my body has been fluctuating between cold with shivers and hot with sweats. But I still feel quite thankful that this is as bad as it is; for a car accident, I got off easy.Monday evening

On the other end of the story, I can update you too: I went to the precinct yesterday and gave a statement. The driver of the other taxi was arrested, and I should know in a day or two what’s happening with the charges. But from what the police said, he’s “given himself serious problems” by not only causing the accident, but leaving the scene, and leaving the scene with a passenger in his cab.

Next step? Once I’m able to walk around again, I need to get new glasses since mine were ruined in the accident. And try to sleep…

Filed under: health, wtf?


Sunday, around noon, I was in a car accident. Sitting in the back of a cab, on my way to work, another cab ran a red light, hit my cab (impact was on the driver’s side back door), spun my cab around. I’m missing a moment from memory – either I’ve blocked it out, or I blacked out – but I opened my eyes to see a pedestrian on her cell phone approaching the cab, asking if I was ok; sitting up and realising that my head was pounding. Barukh HaShem, I am ok. A trip to the emergency room by ambulance and my CAT scan was clear, good. When my head slammed into, I’m guessing, the partition in the cab, my glasses dug into my nose, eye; my face is swollen and bruised, but I’m ok. It could have been a lot worse. The driver of my cab was also ok, though shaken up. The other cab? Didn’t stop – hit and run. While at the hospital still, a detective came by to tell me that the other driver had turned himself in at the precinct after a couple hours. Turns out he had had a passenger in his cab, and still didn’t stop! I can’t imagine how horrible that must have been for the passenger; I would have freaked out if I was them, the driver hadn’t stopped. They could have been hurt too.

Despite pain killers, I’m in pain. I only slept for about three hours. It’s 4am, I’ve been awake for an hour already.

I’m extremely fortunate that the accident wasn’t worse. And that I have an amazing friend who came to the site, came with me in the ambulance, and took me home from the hospital to her home. Thank you.

Filed under: friends, health, wtf?

Glam God (and now for something completely different)

Dear VH1,

My roommate and I were in foul moods tonight, stressed, tired, and cranky. We stumbled upon Glam God by total accident and ended up watching for an unbelievably long hour. We couldn’t help it – it was a train wreck! We’d like to thank you, VH1, for providing us with this show. It cheered us up… And helped us realize that our lives are sooo much better than those of the contestants, judges, and host.

Much thanks,

PS: We would be happy to come on the show to provide some “Mystery Science Theatre 3000“-style commentary. We assure you, your viewers won’t mind us talking over the cast of Glam God. (You might even gain some new viewers.)

Filed under: random, teevee/movies, wtf?

Zigging, zagging, and filling in the blanks

It’s been a hectic week or two.

There was the lead up to ‘tute and the week of Summer Institute itself. It was busy, genderful, discussionful, friendful, cuddleful, teachful, and learnful. A few of us blogged about it over on Jewschool. I was left wrestling with some wonderful conversations, which I will have to continue back in the real world, possibly with margaritas in hand.

Sunday evening, upon my return, I had a lovely, if short, sleep in New York before heading to Montreal yesterday morning. Or at least, that was the plan. The short version is that I was “denied entry” to Canada, forced to return to the US. Which worked out, as I was able to get my work visa Monday evening, but meant I didn’t get to spend the night in Montreal catching up with a fantastic family, couldn’t get to my storage locker, and wasn’t able to have poutine for dinner or bring a dozen St-Viateur bagels back to New York with me. Alas. But, as I said, it worked out: I am now a legal alien in the US. (In the 36 hour period that started with pulling out of the parking lot at FPU in Rindge, NH, and ending with my return to my lovely hosts in the Bronx, NY, with the trip to the border in between, I traveled 1638km, passed through NH, MA, CT, NY, NJ, and for all of three minutes QC, and both chased lightning storms and raced to avoid them.)

Today I dealt with the social security office. Seems I was too efficient; the US Border and Customs folks hadn’t yet entered my work visa in their database, so I couldn’t actually get the SSN. Most likely this means it’ll take 2-3 weeks to get a SSN instead of the 1-2, but worst case is that it could take as much as 4-6 weeks. I plan on following up with them both on the phone and in person.

I also had the joy of filing an FCC complaint today. While driving south through Albany last night, I was scanning the radio dial when I came across some sort of sermon or Bible study. I heard the word phylacteries and continued listening. That is, until I realised that it was anti-semitism masquerading as moral/Christian superiority. Ugh. I hope they’re fined.

And now? Now I try to burn through the rest of my to-do list, possibly have a nap, certainly call a few more leads on apartments, then try to get a good night’s sleep before my first day of work tomorrow.

Filed under: america, canada, friends, home, nhc 'tute, random, travels, work, wtf?

Mixed Signs

This morning I got on the bus, in this very Jewish suburbanish neighbourhood where I’m staying with friends, to get to Manhattan. (The bus mostly because I was too lazy to walk to the subway.) But anyway. The key thing is: very Jewish neighbourhood in New York City. My friends live next door to a shteeble (Yiddish for “small house,” it’s used to describe a small place of prayer). And not just any shteeble – one with two gabbis, both named Tzvi!, and a rabbi who’ll inspect your minivan for chometz before Pesach.

But I digress. I get on the bus, take a seat, and wait for the other passengers to climb aboard so we can start rolling. The last person on, an elderly woman, goes to pay but doesn’t have change. The driver allows her to sit on the bus and dig through her purse as he starts to drive. She waves in my direction to get my attention and, enunciating quite well, whispers “change?” while pointing at her bills. From her accent, I assume she is Deaf, but I don’t reply in sign in case I’m wrong. We work it out eventually; I use my metro card, she hands me cash, the driver shrugs. Done. I go back to my bag and seat, grab my newspaper, and she catches my eye – “thank you.” Without thinking, I start to sign “you’re welcome,” catch myself, and say it instead. She’s overjoyed. “You sign!”

At this point we switch languages, and she stops trying to vocalise everything. She thanks me again, tells me it’s nice to meet someone who signs. Then looks at me for a moment and asks if I’m Jewish. I confirm this. What proceeds is at best confusion, at worst hateful. She starts ranting about how this neighbourhood is so Jewish, so Jewish!, she cannot stand it. She says her family’s from Germany and the “Germans knew how to treat the Jews.” I tried to remain calm, and ask why she lives in this neighbourhood. She replies that her family moved here from Germany; “it’s safer to be surrounded by Jews.” Huh.

For those playing along at home, she (a) doesn’t like the Jews, (b) approved of Germany’s attitudes/actions towards the Jews, yet (c) believes it’s safest to live amongst Jews.

I don’t follow the logic… do you?

Filed under: america, judaism, wtf?

Pickles and Poutine

Motzei Shabbos I was exhausted, and planned to trek home to sleep. Instead, I was convinced to make an appearance at a friend’s going away party. He’s a good enough friend to not mind me saying that I was won over by the promise of deep-fried pickles. Seriously. To say I was intrigued would be a gross understatement. So after we separated Shabbos from chol, welcomed the new week, we walked over to Dive Bar.

We were pleasantly surprised by the numerous vegetarian offerings to be found on the menu. Then, while debating between a veggie burger and beer chaser for the deep-fried pickles, or just a beer, my friend spotted it: poutine.

A well known Quebecois comfort food: A heap of Dive Bar Fries studded with farm fresh cheddar curd cheese that melts under hot, thick gravy! Tremendously satisfying. Goes well with a cold beer! Vegetarian gravy available.

The menu said everything it had to. We ordered a side of poutine for our pickles.

The pickles were good, but not great. I’m not a huge fan of salt (the flavour that is; I certainly am a fan of its chemical reaction in cooking and baking), but even I was giving the salt shaker a work out. They were lightly beer battered then fried. The pickles were still crunchy on the inside, while the batter was golden brown. I’d order them again, but maybe from another establishment (you know, in hopes of finding a better purveyor).

And then the poutine. Oh, the poutine. It was not poutine. It was possibly passible as disco fries. Maybe. The gravy was clearly from a vegetarian gravy mix; I could recognize and taste the dehydrated peppers, onions, and celery in the sauce. And the gravy was under the fries, not spooned over the whole dish to help in the cheese melting process. But no worries – the cheese was melted in an oven (gah!) or under the heat lamps (oy!) so it didn’t need the gravy’s assistance. And the cheese. Certainly not cheese curds. Probably not of the cheddar variety either. (We guessed it was mozzarella.) So entirely disappointing. Lacking the necessary components, it had no hope of tasting good, let alone tasting like real poutine. They should not be allowed to call it poutine on the menu. I feel quite strongly about this. I mean, what if some unsuspecting New Yorker ate this alleged poutine, not understanding the dish to be an imposter, and then never sought out the real goodness in Quebec? Tragedy. (The above picture is what poutine should look like. Saturday night’s poutine was nothing at all like this yummy concoction.)

In honour of the lack of squeaky cheese (cheese curds squeak, when you bite them, oh yes), I revive danse la poutine:

Filed under: america, canada, friends, good eats, wtf?