Friday, August 29, 2008

It's Sarah Palin

I stand in awe.

The McCain campaign has incredible backbone. Not to mention guts.

McCain's VP: Who can it be now?

The only one on the shortlist who is not listed by name to speak at the RNC on Wednesday night is Tim Pawlenty. Can it be that easy?

The Nightmare

Ok, here's the scene. It's President Obama's 13th month in office. His advisors are sitting around him in the Oval Office.

"I want to create new jobs for the lower and middle class. Why are the large companies firing people and not hiring them?"

"Because, Mr. President, you took away all the big companies' tax breaks and their net profits are way down. They can't afford to hire people into new positions. They actually have to lay people off."

"What! Well tell them they can't do that! They are going to have to settle for lower profits this year and start hiring people again."

"But Mr. President, these large companies have boards to answer to. They can't make those decisions in an economic vacuum. If their profits go down or disappear, their stocks will plummet even further."

"Oh. Uh. Okay. Why is that bad? They are big companies. They can take it."

"Because that would affect the stock market and overall American economy. Not to mention all their longtime shareholders."

"Forget those wealthy shareholders!"

"Well, a lot of shareholders are holding these companies' stocks in their pension and retirement funds. I wouldn't exactly call them wealthy, Mr. President. "

"Let's move on. I need to figure out how to keep my promise to the American People about universal health care. Why hasn't that happened yet?"

"Well, because so many people are unemployed, fewer people are paying taxes and revenues are way down. The government simply doesn't have the money to fund Universal Healthcare."

"Well, let's raise income taxes on the wealthy then! Let the Warren Buffets of the world pay for the poor's healthcare!"

"See, the obscenely wealthy people in the country like Warren Buffet aren't really all that affected by tax cuts and increases. The bulk of their wealth doesn't really come from working income. And the upper-middle-class people who were trying to get rich by working harder before you took office aren't nearly as motivated, since 2 out of every 5 weekdays' earnings now goes to the government instead of their bank accounts. And since nearly 60% of all income tax comes from these people, well, tax revenues are way down. We simply don't have enough money to run all those lovely programs you promised the American people."
Etc. Ok, I'll admit, it's highly oversimplified and a lot of other factors come into play, but the principles still hold true. My fellow Americans, if Obama is elected, we are not looking at four more years of George Bush. We are looking at four more years of Jimmy Carter, God help us. I think Obama is sincere, but he doesn't get it and he doesn't have the experience. And with only about 25 years to go to my retirement, I don't want my future to be his guinea pig.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another Walgreens coupon

$10 off of $40 purchase at Walgreens, Friday and Saturday only.

I'll have whatever he's smoking.

Putin accuses U.S. of provoking Georgia crisis.

Right, and Israel is responsible for perpetuating violence in the Middle East, and cutting taxes makes people poorer and raising taxes makes people wealthier, and Bush is responsible for 9/11 and Republicans are responsible for that greatest of all evils, global warming, and by extension, the impending demise of Planet Earth. And I'm responsible for the fact that it rained last week, because I had a passing thought of taking my car in for a wash. And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a Toyota.

Pass me that doobie.

See, if we had one of these, it would totally eliminate the need for anti-depressants.

News from Reuters: The annual tomato throwing festival kicks off in Bunol, Spain.

Thousands of revellers threw tomatoes at each other and bathed in tomato juice in celebration of Tomatina.

12, 000 kilograms of tomatoes were squashed and hurled to honour the town's patron saint, St. Luis Bertran.

Shopkeepers covered their premises with plastic to protect their windows and walls from red stains.

The Passion of Obama

Click here for a little photo gallery of some of the saved and healed at the big tent religious revival delegates at the Democratic National Convention.

The Temple of Obama

From ABC News: Obama Speech Stage Resembles Ancient Greek Temple.

I love it. I wish I could be there, just for the freak-show-ness aspect of the event. Gee, Barack, not too arrogant, are we? A Greek temple? What are his campaign people thinking? And who is paying for this? Holy crap. If I were writing a fictional account of an unqualified, egocentric, narcissistic, rock star candidate for President, I couldn't have thought of a better setting. No mere podium for The Obama. No sirree Bob.

Betcha he comes in riding in a carriage being drawn by six white horses with braided manes. Betcha. Or maybe on a white donkey.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Hands down, the stupidest title on can give oneself on LinkedIn is "Visionary." Yeah.

I've recently thought about starting a possible business with a partner, since my current job will be over come January, and I've been considering my options. So I've been looking through my LinkedIn list of contacts and their contacts to see if anyone there would fit the possible partner bill.

Mind you, not everyone on my LinkedIn contact list is someone I know very well. Some are people I worked for twelve years ago, some are people I've gone to shul with, some are real friends, some are second cousins who live in Israel.

Here are some more stupid titles that people give themselves:

Independent Organization Professional
Environmental Realist
Civicly Engaged Thinker
Online Consultant
Assertiveness Trainer
Community Leader

Me, I just put down what I do for a living.

I understand that there are many new industries out there and titles are not as solid and specific as they used to be. Very few people are just plain old firemen or teachers. For example, I have an acquaintance who teaches businesses how to use social networking to market themselves and he makes a living at it. He calls himself a Social Network Prodigy. I find that fascinating.

I remember seeing this book in Barnes & Noble in the early nineties: CD-Roms for Dummies. I kid you not. Someone found enough to say about cds to fill an entire book. I couldn't believe it. Granted, the technology was still somewhat fresh and new, but really, how much could they say about it? And who was gullible enough to buy this book? Me, I could summarize it in a few words: insert, press play, listen. And we're done. That's pretty much all the average person needs to know about cds. Maybe a chapter on track numbers. But someone was able to puff enough air into the topic so that some computer virgin who bought one of those newfangled cd drives on their Gateway 486 probably saw the book and said, oh yeah, I better learn about this.

That's how I feel about all of these new industries and titles popping up. There seems to be a lot of fluffiness inherent in these jobs. Social networking definitely has a learning curve, but it's a short one. No need for anyone to teach me how to market myself through blogging and Facebooking and Plaxo and LinkedIn. Really. And for all the self-described Journeywomen, Visionaries, and Community Leaders, well, hope this doesn't sound too harsh, but you might want to get a job. Or maybe just embrace who you actually might be and call yourself a stay-at-home Mom (which is, frankly, a career that I am aspiring to), or retired, or a volunteer. Stop making stuff up. Stop spinning who you are and have a little pride in what you actually do. It's silly. It belittles actual professions. And worst of all, it belittles you.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Big Party

I do love politics. Always have. Maybe because I love arguing and debating so much. Maybe because it teaches me so much about the value of being a skilled communicator. Maybe because it's good to be passionate about the right thing.

I also love pageantry. I actually know the city of Denver pretty well, as I used to have a big client out there, so I've flown out there several times, and also vacationed out in the National Parks near there. It's a cowtown of the West, really, though they like to think they are very metropolitan and would probably be insulted to hear themselves described that way. It doesn't mean that I don't like it out there. I still have some friends and associates out there, and those that are Dems are freaking out from the excitement of it all. Some have taken off from work to attend the DNC, and others are just excited and proud by the messianic descent of The Obama on their town. I'm sure it won't be matched by next week's party. McCain is a lot more boring than The Obama. That's okay. "Exciting" isn't really a presidential job requirement.

I'm glued to the tv this week. There is no doubt in my mind that Obama is absolutely the wrong man for the job, but this week, who cares? I just want to watch the party, hear the speeches, comb through the rhetoric, feel the fight. I do love this kinda stuff.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I like a guy. I like a guy.

At least I think I do.

It's one of these email/phone things where we haven't met each other yet, so of course, everything will go to hell immediately when/if we ever do meet, if I don't blow it before then. I'm sure I'll manage to though, because I suck so badly at relationships. This was also one of those deals where I had no intention of liking him because my heart has definitely been in the off position of late, but damn it all, I like him.

Who knows.

But so far, he's nice, funny, charming and smart. He makes me laugh without trying too hard. He's down to earth. He's passionate about some things. He's off-base for me frumkeit-wise and though I swore to myself up and down and sideways that I'd never go down that road again, here I am, liking a guy like that. I like a guy. And he's almost certainly not for me.

Again, who knows.

But I do like him. It's weird to have that nervous fast-heartbeat thing going on. I sort of forgot what that felt like. But we have what to talk about. Our conversations are easy. Mostly. And I actually want him to call me. I look forward to talking to him. And I'm not fake when I talk to him. Oh lordy lord lord. I'm such a chick. A stupid chick.

Oh, and I am scared out of my mind. By the way. It probably won't happen and I'm sure that I will mess everything up because, well, I always do, but I am so scared that I even like a guy after everything that's happened, that I could almost cry. Seriously. Yes, I am that much of a train wreck. But my number one emotion besides the liking thing is terror. Before I have even met him, I've married him and divorced him in my silly little brain. Mostly divorced him. I'm not sure if he likes me back, but I know for sure that if we ever go out and I continue to like him, he will hurt me and I will hurt him. And if he ever tells me that he likes me back, I'm sure he will be lying.

Here is one thing that I think is good about him; I don't think he will put up with much of my crap or suffer all my insecurities. He's not going to rescue me. He's not the White Knight on a Steed type. No sirree bob. Which is good because I think I've been waiting for a White Knight on a Steed, and it's time to retire that idea. Long overdue.

I keep telling myself not to think about this because it has like a 1% chance of working out.

But I like him. In that fluttery nauseous way. The last guy that I liked was the psychopath that I met on Frumster right after my divorce. That turned out very well, I must say. And before that, it was The Ex. So my record is excellent. Flawlessly awful.

My head is telling me: this is good! Like a guy! My heart is telling me: liking a guy only leads to bad things. Don't like a guy.

Or maybe I have that head-heart thing backwards.

Anyway, I like a guy. I think.

$10 sign up bonus for Ebates

If you haven't signed up for Ebates yet, they are now doubling their signup get $10 just for signing up, until September 12th. Membership is free, and it's an incredible just buy things online that you would normally buy but you click through their page first, and they give you a percentage back on all that you buy. And that's it. No tricks.

Every three months they send you a check. I just got my August check. What's nice about this is that you don't have to do anything you wouldn't normally do, like buy stuff you don't need. You don't have to accumulate points and you don't get gift cards...just cold hard cash. And it's a reputable company.

Plus they have excellent deals. 25% off McAfee VirusScan, and then you get 12% back. So a $40 subscription ends up costing you $26.40. 4% back on, and (This includes buying gift cards.) 10% back on VistaPrint and Snapfish.

If you sign up through this link, we will each get $10 back, whereas if you sign up on the site, you'll only get $5 back. (Thanks.)

I got all my friends hooked on Ebates. Once they got their first check for basically doing nothing, they were pretty happy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

$5 off $20 at Walgreen's

Coupon for $5 off of $20 purchase at Walgreen's, Friday and Saturday only. Time to buy contact lens solution.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh give me a freakin break, please

This is too much.

Jewish Bloggers Conference in Jerusalem

The live feed is here:

Why do frum Jews over-intellectualize everything?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Amex perks

Last year, I responded to American Express' sign-up bonus offer of 25,000 points (which translates into a $250 gift card), and got their Gold Rewards Business Card. Generally, when you sign up for an Amex card, they waive their hefty annual fee for a year. Well, a year just came due on my Gold Rewards card and they charged me $125. I called them to cancel the card and refund the annual fee. I never pay annual fees on any credit cards, in principle.

Amex customer service reps are apparently trained to try to retain you as a member, no matter what. Their CSRs are very cooperative and soliticious. So Amex gives you an additional 10,000 points ($100 gift card) just for renewing their card after the initial year, and the CSR offered me another 5,000 points ($50 gift card) if I didn't cancel the card. So basically, I'd be getting a $150 in gift cards for my $125 membership fee. So I decided to stay. I use these bonus gift cards all the time. The last $250 that I received from Amex was put towards a new Dell Hybrid that just arrived on Friday.

American Express has great cards and great sign up bonuses. They have excellent customer service and if you get a business card, the service perks are phenomenal.

For example, if you sign up for their Car Rental Insurance Plan, they will charge you $20 when you rent a car and you get $75,000 worth of damage coverage on the car. That's $20 per time you rent, not per day, and it's primary insurance, which means that if I do get into an accident, I don't need to report it to my regular insurance company. There is no fee to enroll in this plan, and the coverage is automatic whenever you get a rental, so that you can waive the expensive rental agency insurance.

They also offer you a Hertz Gold Membership with the first year's fee waived, which is another phenomenal benefit. This means I get preferential treatment (zero waiting time at airports, free GPS) when I rent a car from Hertz, not to mention a ton of discounts and upgrades on my rental. And Amex automatically gives you a 5% cashback on all Hertz rentals, after all the perks and other discounts have been applied.

They offer you an additional 5,000 points ($50 gift card) if you sign up to be able to extend payments over time. I am against carrying credit card balances in general, as you can get into a lot of trouble that way, but I signed up for the program just to get the gift card.

Whenever I get a new client referral, I usually reward the referrer with an Amex gift card (which is more or less like cash). If I buy the gift card with my Amex credit card, I get 5% off of those too. Nice little perk as well.

BTW, this is not an issue for me, but you don't have to actually have an incorporated business to get a business credit long as you operate some sort legitimate freelance commerce, you can get one. You can even get one with your name shown as the business name.

I just got a new Simply Cash Business Card from American Express. This is my second business card with them. Again, they are waiving the fee and instead of points, they give you 3% back on gas purchases and 5% back on office supplies and cell phone bills. I plan on using it exclusively to pay my cell phone bill.

And remember, all of these credit card perks are tax free. For some bizarre reason, if you earn $3.21 of interest on a savings account at a bank, the government taxes you on it, but if you get $500 in gift cards or cash back from a credit card company, it's scott free. Weird.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

McCain is being a hypocrite

Yes, you read that right. McCain is being a hypocrite. You know I'm voting for him and you know I think that Obama is basically an empty suit, but I gotta call it as I see it.

Remember back in April, McCain blasted his own party for running an ad that he deemed too extreme? Let me refresh your memory.

I don’t know why they do it, and obviously I don’t control them. But I’m making it very clear, as I have a couple of times in the past, that there’s no place for that kind of campaigning – and the American people don’t want it, period,” McCain said.

McCain said he had not seen the North Carolina ad, which states that Obama is too extreme and shows footage of the Illinois senator’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., shouting: “Not God bless America, God damn America.” In a March speech on race, Obama condemned Wright’s controversial remarks, but said the pastor was part of his life and he could not disown him.

I hope that I don’t see [it],” McCain said of the ad. “I had enough of a description of it to know that that’s the kind of campaigning that I have told the American people we’re not going to do.”

The reaction in the Republican camp to McCain's criticism was mostly "huh?" The ad was true and relatively mild. Here's the WSJ article that shows the actual ad. It basically links Obama and Reverend Wright, which is fair. Most Republican commentators came down on McCain for being overly critical of his own party and for knocking down those who were trying to help him. Some (including me) wondered if McCain had the guts to win a Presidential campaign if he was going to be that much of a wimp.

Now this. And this. Frankly, I really enjoyed these commercials and was a little relieved that the McCain campaign finally got a little testosterone going and decided to sharpen their knives and go after Obama in a clever, sharp, and perfectly valid way. But you know what? These commercials are mean as hell. They are not dirty, but they sure are a well-placed kick in the stomach (not groin). And if McCain saw fit to publicly dig at his own party for running an ad that he claimed was beneath him four months ago, he is certainly setting aside his judgmentalism for his own campaign. Truth is, McCain owes North Carolina Republicans an apology. And maybe next time he should be so quick to snap out those who know how to do political marketing a little better than he does.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Save Money on Gas

Get 5% off all gas purchases when you use a AAA Visa. I read through the terms & conditions, and there don't seem to be any restrictions on the 5% as long as you pay your bills on time. For those of you too lazy to do the math, that 20 cents a gallon off on $4/gallon gas. For me, it's about $3 per tank. I'll take that.

Of course the best way to save money on gas is to contact Nancy Pelosi and politely let her staff know that you'd like her to at least allow drilling to have the advantage of a vote. I say "her staff" and not her because she, like the rest of Congress, is on a five week vacation. She flew to her vacation spot on a military jet, by the way. Wonder how much fuel that burned? Eh, who cares, after all she's not paying for it; we are.

Here's her explaining her logical reasoning on not allowing a vote on offshore drilling in order to focus on saving the planet, even though this vote is something that both Dems and Repubs would like to see happen. If anyone can follow her, please feel free to explain. The fact that this woman is 2nd in line for the Presidential succession scares the bejeezus out of me. She's sort of like a Stepford wife, but less articulate.

And parenthetically, is George S. not the cutest man on tv? Oh baby.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I actively collect about 6 different types of things. That, and I tend to be a gadget-o-phile. This lends itself to clutter.

I've posted in the past about clutter, and my best friend and yours, The Shredder. I feel like I am constantly battling papers, old stuff too good to throw out and not good enough to keep, and just stuff, stuff, stuff.

There comes a point when your house is just not going to be clean-upable anymore. It can be clean, but it can't be neat because your stuff has finally exceeded the places that you have to put it. I keep reaching that point, purging, and then reaching that point again. Not good.

Last month, desperate, I did something that I last resorted to when I moved across the country. I put three large boxes in the middle of my living room, and spent four hours filling them with stuff to put on Ebay. And one additional box of stuff to give to the NCJW Goodwill store.

I put in stuff like: frames without glass, unopened crafts stuff I will never use, two Walkmen for cassettes, four how-to books on computer programs that I now know how to use, 4 ugly glass bowls that are too small to be useful, an avocado slicer that pulverizes avocados instead of slicing them, a ceramic Lenox thing that a client gave me that is beyond hideous, a printer I never use because the cartridges cost $75 each, 3 "extra" computer mice, 2 reams of unopened recycled paper that is really crappy quality, a gorgeous blue sweater that the cleaners ruined, an unopened Britney Spears cd that a client who obviously doesn't know me very well gave me, a photo album that a friend gave me as a thank you present, and scores and scores of hostess gifts.

A word about hostess gifts: don't get creative with them. I'm gonna say, 9 times out of 10, I can't use the crap people bring me. Bring bottles of wine and flowers. You can never go wrong with a bottle of wine or flowers. Don't bring me cool things that you bought in Amazing Savings. Ugh.

Other stuff:

Crap that I picked up at trade shows (like a hand mirror that says Microsoft on it) imprinted with company logos, an enormous computer monitor (I only do flatscreen right now), Ipod protectors that didn't fit my Ipod, 8 assorted computer cables, and about four different sets of bath and shower gels.

Another word about the bath and shower gel gifts that people get on sale at Bath and Body Works, and other such stores. Don't give them to me. I don't care that you coordinated blueberry body lotion and blueberry talcum powder with a transparent blue toiletries bag and blue ribbon and that it looks so blueberry pretty. I don't use any of that crap. It sits there in my bathroom closet for a year and then I throw it out, untouched. So really, it's one of the worst gifts ever.

I filled the boxes to the top and then spent another two hours taking pictures and putting everything on Ebay. About 3/4 of it sold. I priced most things very, very low, and most of it got bid up. I brought the rest over to the goodwill store. I recovered $506 in cash from the Ebay sales and will probably get about $150 in a charitable tax deduction from the goodwill donation.

And I feel so de-cluttered. It's nice. It's a relief.

I think I am going to do this once a year. Of course the smart thing to do would be to stop being so consumeristic and not accumulate all this crap to begin with, but what can I do, I'm a gatherer.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Name it. Say it.

Ok, I'm wide open. WIIIIIDDDDDEE Open.

1. Name 3 important, incredible accomplishments that Barack Obama has, well, accomplished during his three years as Senator.

2. Name 3 important accomplishments that he has done during the course of his entire life.

3. Define "community organizer."

I promise to respond honestly and without sarcasm. And to be fair-minded to the best of my ability.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


JetBlue is now nickel-and-diming their passengers. Sigh. Yet another reason why air travel sucks more and more each day.

I fly a lot. Less than I used to when I lived Out-of-Town, but still about six times a year or so. Before 9/11, air travel was actually somewhat pleasant. Now, let's see what I have to look forward to:

  • Having to remove my shoes, belt and blazer or jacket at security. This means I'm thinking about catching some disgusting foot fungus from the 85,312 previous feet that tread on the same cold tiles before me that day. This also means that if I am traveling for business and wearing a suit, I can't wear a sleeveless shell under the blazer. When I was married and traveled, it meant I couldn't wear a hat to the airport. They never made me remove my sheitel. However, flying with a wig on is no joy.
  • I can't take shampoo or any other normal-sized liquid toiletries with me on the plane. I can't take fingernail scissors or a sharp nail file. I can't take a bottle of water or soda (but I can spend 4 times the normal price purchasing one in the terminal) with me, and I can't take any giftwrapped hostess presents on the plane.
  • On most major airlines, I can't take more than one suitcase, unless I want to pay more. A few years ago, JetBlue allowed three suitcases and a carry-on.
  • Flight attendants have become quasi-fascists about the rules. I can't keep a pocketbook in my lap during takeoff, even th0ugh it contains about a thousand dollars worth of jewelry in it. My $3,000 laptop rides in the compartment over my head, available to whoever really wishes to steal it. Actually, if I were an amoral laptop thief, I would steal one from an airplane. It's the easiest thing to do.
  • Thanks to Nancy Pelosi and other idiotic politicians, air travel is now exorbitantly expensive. What used to be a $300 ticket is now $450. And once Israel bombs the living crap out of Iraq (stay tuned, it's coming), oil will go through the roof, and air travel costs will soar.
Flying. Used to like it. Now, like everything else, it's the destination, not the journey.

Saudi Arabia Bans Dog Walking in Capital

Can't make this stuff up. Yup, that Edenic bastion of fairness and democracy, Saudi Arabia, has banned the selling and walking of dogs and cats. How you walk a cat, I'm not sure, but it's banned.

Violators found outside with their pets will have their beloved poodles and other furry companions confiscated by agents of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the official name of the religious police, tasked with enforcing Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic code.
The "Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice" sounds like something out of a Harry Potter book, but no, it's a real entity. Yes my friends, this is Saudi Arabia, where puppy dogs and putty cats are banned, because they might promote men and women, I dunno, talking or something, which, as we all know, leads to mixed dancing.

The religious police prowl streets and malls throughout the kingdom, ensuring unmarried men and women do not mix, confronting women they feel are not properly covered or urging men to go to prayers.

They also often make attempts to plug the few holes in the strict gender segregation that innovations bring. In 2004, for example, they tried to ban cameras on cell phones, fearing that men and women would exchange pictures of each other — though the prohibition was quickly revoked.

Some news items require no commentary. Please, my fellow Jewish friends, let's learn from this. This is where modesty crosses the line over into control and insanity.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Free film developing, one roll, one day, no strings.

Get a roll of film or a disposable camera developed for free at Walgreen's. Wednesday, August 6 only. No strings attached. Click here.

Frozen in Time


There's a gas station I passed recently that has been defunct for quite a while- one look at the prices gives you an idea of just how long.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The One

Finally, finally, finally, the McCain campaign has manned up and sharpened their knives. Oh geez, this is brutal:

Yup, THIS is the moment.


Check out this pagan wedding! Click through on their ceremony and party links. Awesome. I have to say my favorite, favorite part was about them using recovered food. Do you know what recovered food is? The bride defines it "food that was saved from being thrown out because it wasn’t pretty enough to be on display at the supermarkets." Oh yeah. My second favorite part was that the groom wore a skirt. And finally, I loved the idea of the polyamory. Yes. Let's get married but still leave our options wide open. Fabulous idea. So cool.

My wedding was actually really nice. Of course, my marriage sucked horribly, but the wedding was nearly perfect. I did the fluffy white gown thing, though it was very scaled down, because I was in my thirties, and my personal taste doesn't really include sequins. I'm quite handy at the sewing machine and I made my own was a wreath of white satin flowers, seed pearls, lace, and a waist length double layered tulle veil. Very bridal. The Ex gave me a string of pearls in the Yichud room. He wore a tux.

We tried very hard to do two things: make it a very classy, underdone affair (really tight budget) and personalize it. We had relatively few fights with our families. I felt very strongly about mixed seating and separate dancing. I think separate seating anywhere but in the synagogue is stupid. We splurged in two areas: the band and the photographer. We were both music people and felt very strongly about having a great band. We put a lot of thought into which songs we wanted playing when we walked to our chuppah, and which tunes would be used under the chuppah. We picked music that was meaningful to us. We insisted on no speeches under the chuppah (which our Rabbi ignored, to my utter chagrin).

I spent under a thousand dollars total on our flowers, including all the chuppah flowers, bouquets, boutinierres, and table flowers. Basically we had white roses everywhere. We didn't want anything stupid like ice sculptures at the shmorg (I hate ice sculptures). We didn't have a lot of choice with the food, as the wedding hall sort of mandated the chicken/steak/salmon selection, but everything else was simple and scaled down. We both spoke and spoke nicely. I have some close friends who are in the music business, and they did an amazing little production at the end of the wedding. The wedding favors came from Oriental Trading, and they were modest as well.

Next time around, if I ever do get married, unless my fiance has never been married before or has serious objections, it will be in a white linen suit in a nice restaurant. I have no desire for the grand scale chassanah anymore. Been there.

Done that.

Harry Potter lives on....

This is probably already well-known, but I found out last night that JK Rowling is going to be coming out with a new HP book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

I'm a Harry Potter fan. Not an insanely addicted one, but I did enjoy each book as well as the movies. I've always liked stuff like that, magic, childhood rebellion, fantasy, with a little dark human nature thrown in to keep things interesting. When I was little, my favorite books were The Borrowers, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Phanthom Tollbooth, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Charlotte's Web (yeah I cried), A Wrinkle in Time, and all of the Oz Books. I also read Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, and the Bobbsey Twins. I loved stories about people who were down or poor and still made wonderful lives for themselves through their creativity, like The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, or Little Women, Little House on the Prairie and Heidi.

My nieces and nephews are going to have an entirely different reading experience growing up, as I suppose every new generation does. The Yeshivish ones are being raised on the Savta Simcha and the Adventures of the Cheery Bim Band series. The more modern ones are heavily into Disney, Harry Potter, anime, and they watch too much reality television.

Tziporah Heller once talked about fairy tales' place in Orthodox Judaism. She said that many American traditional fairy tales transmit horrible values, which is true. In so many fairy tales, ugly people are bad and beautiful people are good. Witches and ogres are alway hideous, and princesses and fairy godmothers are always beautiful. This basically teaches kids that what is on the outside is also on the inside, which is a terrible, wrong thing to transmit (and one of the reasons I loved Shrek so much). Also, so many heroes and heroines of fairy tales are princesses, princes, kings and queens, which teaches kids that the good people in this world are the people who are in charge and who rule. And of course, the women in fairy tales are all just waiting around for a man to come and save them, which is just not what we should be teaching our little girls.

And yet, a part of me feels like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Hansel & Gretel are all part of my heritage of being a kid in America. I cannot imagine not reading them to my kids someday. For some reason, I feel very protective and sentimental about the books and stories I loved as a child and want very much to transmit them to kids who are in my life. Inexplicably, they occupy a warm and fuzzy place in my heart, and I get insulted when they are not appreciated or rejected.

I took The Borrowers out of the library for my visiting 9 year old niece, who is into miniatures and dollhouses. She had no interest in reading it. She said a book about tiny people who live inside the wall was stupid. She's reading Bratfest at Tiffany's right now. Yeah, that's a real book.