Friday, December 31, 2004

William Ellery Channing

Jade recently shared William Ellery Channing's quote. Here's some food for thought.

I will seek elegance rather than luxury, refinement rather than fashion.
I will seek to be worthy more than respectable, wealthy and not rich.
I will study (work) harder, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly.
I will listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with an open heart.
I will bear all things cheerfully, do all things bravely await occasions and hurry never. In a word I will let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common.

- William Ellery Channing

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Winter Wonderland

I felt a rush of chilly air pass through the room. My feet became cold. I got up to go close the window. To my delight, I saw snowflakes floating through the air. I smiled as I bended down and looked out of the window. It looked like a beautiful winter wonderland and as if I was inside a building inside a snow globe.

Monday, December 27, 2004


Audivism. Do you know what that is? Are you an audivist? Here's some food for thought from John Lee Clark's article in The Tactile Mind.

John Lee Clark

On Mirroring Audism

I have conversations going like the following all the time:

Deafie: "I sure wish you could see this picture."

I: "Yeah? Well, I wish you could hear Beethoven."

Deafie: "I don't need to hear Beethoven. I have full enjoyment of visual experience."

I: "Then I don't need to see that picture. I have full enjoyment of tactile, olfactory, kinesthetic--"

Deafie: "You don't know what I mean! Visual is important! I don't need to hear because I can see. Your situation is different."

I: "You don't know what I mean. I don't need to hear or see--"

Deafie: "Oh, you do! For sure! If there was a pill that would make you see, you would take it."

I: "Actually, no. I don't want or need that pill. Would you take a pill to become hearing?"

Deafie: "Of course not!"

I: "Right. I'm the same way."

Deafie: "But still!"

I: "But still what?"

Deafie: "But still!"

I: "But still... what? What's so different about my being DeafBlind and your being Deaf?"

Deafie: "But still!"

You get the idea. Such conversations are reflective of the oppression I often experience within the signing community. Some of it may be
natural: the oppressed themselves are oppressors. But I am often amused by those who rage against audism. They have their arguments in defense of the cultural perspective of deafness all lined up. And they are good
arguments, fully valid and persuasive. But when I present the cultural perspective of deaf-blindness, contending that it is like deafness in that it is merely a different--but still normal--part of the human condition, they balk at the very idea. When I mirror their arguments
against audism, they mirror the audists.

I am tempted to coin the word "butstillism" for this belief in the inferiority of DeafBlind people. But I am going to take my cue from Tom
L. Humphries, who coined the word "audism" thirty years ago by joining the Latin word for "to hear" with "ism." And so: audivism. It's easy to remember, only two letters added between "to hear" and "ism," the "vi"
referring to sight and the eye.

You can rage all you want against audism, but whatever you accomplish is worthless if you're still an audivist.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Mischievous Hannah

Last month, Hannah got into a backpack and nosed her way to an Italian chocolate bar.

Last night, Hannah found a bag of marshmallows and had fun. She made a huge mess and was a happy dog. My brother gave her a bath at midnight. Haha.

Gotta love Hannah. She's full of spunk, regardless of how old she is or how much she has slowed down. Once she finds something or sees something, her cute little tail starts wiggling, and she opens her mouth to pant as if grinning mischievously. Then, she swings into full action! :)

Friday, December 24, 2004

Painted the Town Red!

Wow! My brother and I sure painted the town red over the past few days.

My brother took his first cab ride from the JFK airport to my apartment. He arrived late due to his plane's delayed take-off. There was some kind of dangerous air current pattern, so his plane had to wait before it could take off. He landed safely after a somewhat turbulent ride. We stayed up late chatting before hitting the sack.

Yesterday, we had egg sandwiches from the deli and fed the meter until we were ready to hit the road. We ran errands then checked out Washington Square, East Village, parts of West Village, the United Nations, Midtown, and the Upper West Side. We went to two bar gatherings. My brother enjoyed meeting friends and acquaintances. It really helped that he signed and chatted with them on his own. It was so nice to just kick back and chat. He got to experience socializing in Deafville instead of interpreting for me while in Hearieville. We stayed out late until 4 AM.

By the way, we witnessed a couple pretending to "make out" while they were actually having sexual intercourse out in the public on the street while leaning against the metal wall of a closed store. That in itself is another story for another blog entry. Anyways, when we got home, we talked a bit before bed.

In the morning, I was sleeping on the couch when I felt someone tapping my hand. It was an unfamiliar tap, yet the tap seemed to be coming from a male hand. I was puzzled. I opened one eye to see a Korean guy looking at me with a manual in his hand. He put a paper in my hand to sign. I half got up and just signed what was there while half-staring at the manual he put next to my pillow. He pointed to the wall then he left. He left the signed paper with me. I yelled for him to come back. He didn't come, so I got up and ran after him in the hallway. He was checking his pocket for that paper when he heard me open the door and talk to him. I gave him the paper, then he took off. I looked at the manual and realized he had just installed the Carbon Monoxide Detector. Later, my brother asked how my roommates and I would be able to hear it if it went off. I told him we would see the cats suddenly run then know to get up and look for the source. "What if you are sleeping or the cats get used to the noise and become oblivious to it?" He had valid points.

Anyways, we ended up getting up early. Later, we headed out in the rain and drove up 10th Ave with hungry empty stomaches. We pulled over to a Greek place for a delicious tasty lunch. Just as soon as we stepped into the restaurant, the rain began to come down heavier. Before we knew it, it was raining cats and dogs. After eating, we drove on to Harlem. I gave my brother a little history lesson about 125th Street and stopped by few stores. Later, we headed toward the Museum Mile past Central Park toward Rockefeller Center. I have to admit that I liked it this year while it was raining. There were fewer people. It was something to see the Christmas tree in the rain and people in holiday spirits without worrying about staying with your group or brother. Chris really enjoyed seeing the Swarzovsky Star Light & Music show on the side of the Saks Fifth Avenue building across the street from Rockefeller Center. Chris was delighted to eat a hot pretzel as well. He's like a little boy when buying and eating one. :)

We headed downtown and explored Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side, ABC Village, and Chelsea before heading home.

I really enjoyed spending time with my brother. He's like my best friend. I'm really lucky to have him for a brother and as a true friend.

He's now on the road driving to CT to rejoin Hearieville and spend time with hearing relatives. I will see him on Christmas Day. In the meantime, I'm staying in Deafieville for Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Dear Santa

Got this from a dear friend who has a wry sense of humor. I sure hope this never happens in real life, because no kid should ever hear these. Hope folks have the holiday spirits.

My friend said, "Looks like some people are going to get scrooged this festive holiday
season." I think that whoever wrote this has a sense of humor yet is scrooged this festive holiday season. Lighten up and have a heart.

Here are the Dear Santa letters.

deer santa:

I wud like a kool toy space ranjur fer Xmas. Iv ben a gud boy all yeer.

Yer Frend, BiLLy

Dear Billy,

Nice spelling. You're on your way to a career in lawn care. How about I send you a frigging book so you can learn to read and write? I'm giving your older brother the space ranger. At least HE can spell!


Dear Santa,

I have been a good girl all year, and the only thing I ask for is peace and joy in the world for everybody!

Love, Sarah

Dear Sarah,
Your parents smoked pot when they had you, didn't they?


Dear Sant! a,

I don't know if you can do this, but for Christmas, I'd like for my mommy and daddy to get back together. Please see what you can do.


Dear Teddy,

Look, your dad's banging the babysitter like a screen door in a hurricane. Do you think he's gonna give that up to come back to your
frigid mom, who rides his ass constantly? It's time to give up that dream. Let me get you some nice Legos instead. Maybe you can build
yourself a family with those?


Dear Santa,

I left milk and cookies for you under the tree, and I left carrots for your reindeer outside the back door.

Love, Susan

Dear Susan,

Milk gives me the shits and carrots make the deer fart in my face when riding in the sleigh. You want to do me a favor? Two words, Jim Beam.


Dear Santa,

What do you do the other 364 days of the year? Are you busy making toys?

Your friend, Thomas

Dear Thomas,
All the toys are made by little kids like you in China Every year I give them a slice of bread as a Christmas bonus. I have a condo in Vegas, where I spend most of my time making low-budget porno films. I unwind by drinking myself silly ! and squeezing the asses of cocktail waitresses while losing money at the craps table.


P.S.Tell your mom she got the part."Long Dong" Claus

Dear Santa,

Do you see us when we're sleeping, do you really know when we're awake, like in the song?

Love, Jessica

Dear Jessica,
Are you really that gullible? Good luck in whatever you do. I'm skipping your house.


Dear Santa,

I really really want a puppy this year. Please please please PLEASE PLEASE could I have one?



That whiney begging shit may work with your folks, bu t that crap doesn't work with me. You're getting an ugly sweater again.


Dearest Santa,

We don't have a chimney in our house, how do you get into our home?

Love, Marky

First, stop calling yourself "Marky", that's why you're getting your ass kicked at school. Second, you don't live in a house, you live in a low-rent, ghetto apartment complex. Third, I get inside your pad just like all the burglars do, through your bedroom window.

Sweet Dreams,

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Patricia Ordonez

Patricia Ordonez had her fashion show and cocktail party premiere on Sunday. It was a successful event. I enjoyed seeing people react to her creations. Patty also showed her new website: I'm very proud of her! I wish her the best in launching her company and expanding business. She's talented and has a good eye.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Coffee Beans in My Life

Got this from a friend. It's a new twist on how one views and handles things that happen in life, living, and life itself.

To some of the Coffee Beans in my life....thanks.

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee ... You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.

She did and noted that they were soft.

The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee.

The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity ... boiling water .. each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

How do you handle adversity?

Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Count your blessings, not your problems...... Putting others first makes relationships last

Moments in Life

There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real!

When the door of happiness closes, another opens; but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one, which has been opened for us.

Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.

Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

You might want to share this message with those people who mean something to you (I JUST DID); to those who have touched your life in one way or another; to those who make you smile when you really need it; to those who make you see the brighter side of things when you are really down; to those whose friendship you appreciate; to those who are so meaningful in your life.

Share this, and you will not miss out on the opportunity to brighten someone's day with this message!!!

Don't count the years-count the memories...........

Saturday, December 18, 2004


Just finished baking cookies for the Cookie Swap "X" party that will take place Saturday afternoon. I baked "Holiday Surprise Sugar Cookies." I decided that it was late enough and that I'd decorate the cookies in between errands later today. It's almost 5:30 AM. Ummm.... even the cats are sleeping on the couch next to me. I'm looking at my friend who's snoring on the other couch across from me.

It was hilarious to find out he was snoring in the first place. He hit the couch at 1 AM while I was preparing the cookie dough. I had my hearing aid on. I kept on hearing something funny and noticed the cats being scared yet curious about something they were hearing. So, I looked at them to see where the noise might be coming from. They were peering around the corner from the hallway into the living room, taking quick glances at my snoring friend. I laughed. I vee-veed him and his sleeping/snoring habits during the different stages of sleep as he went into deeper stages of sleep. During the entire time, I was working on the cookie dough and later had a challenging time getting the food dye color into dough sections (and wishing I remembered to add the food dye earlier). Nonetheless, it was fun to prepare. If not for this oversight, I wouldn't have observed my friend's sleeping and snoring.

Hey, talking about sleeping is making me sleepy. I'm going to catch some Zzzz's then wake up in few hours to head out to meet a friend for a hour then come back to take care of errands before heading out to the Cookie X party.

Awww. Emma, my cat, is saying... go to bed... go to bed... she just woke up, stretched, and came over to me... nudged me and is now staring at me with her eyes half-open/closed.

Buon notte!

Interesting Obituary Error & Quotation

While reading one of the endless emails from deaf-related email subscriptions,(i.e., Deaf Digest, USA-L), I came across a typo error and a line that was quoted. These caught my eye. They were written within an obituary for a deaf person who passed away.

Out of due respect for the deceased, I will not name who this person was. What I will show here is the typo error which I found.... somewhat amusing yet condensing...

"She was employed at the Broward County Courthouse. She worked for many banks over the years. Also was the first Hearing Impeared
girl to pass the Examination
to become a Meter Reader in New Jersey."

This woman was nowhere near the age of a girl. This is what I found insulting at her time of departure.

What I found amusing was the typo - "Hearing Impeared." Impeared is a word that does not exist in the English language. (I checked few dictionaries to verify this.) I like the erroneous word "impeared" better than the word "impaired."

Here is another line that caught my eye within this obituary. Nowhere in this obituary was anything else quoted. Yet, this specific line was quoted: She was a graduate of "The Katzenbach School for the Deaf and class of 1976" in Trenton, NJ. I'm just curious why there was a need to "quote" her school and graduation date.

Everything else within the obituary that was not related to her deafness or deaf identity was not quoted, written in a similar manner/tone, and didn't appear condensing. I don't know if it's just me, but these irked me and caught my eye.

Here is the full obituary with the name and funeral home info deleted out of respect for her and her family.

Obituary of X

X, of Coral Springs, FL went home to be with The Lord on Saturday December 11, 2004. X fought a long and courageous battle with breast cancer.

She was employed at the Broward County Courthouse. She worked for many banks over the years. Also was the first Hearing Impeared
girl to pass the Examination to become a Meter Reader in New Jersey.

Born in Annapolis, Maryland to X and X. She was a graduate of "The Katzenbach School for the Deaf and class of 1976" in Trenton, NJ. She attended Broward Community College. X was a gifted artist, world traveler and a gourmet cook.

She is survived by her loving parents, X and X; brother X and sister X. Predeceased by her beloved cat X. She will be missed by her family forever.

Friends may visit Monday December 13, 2004 between 6/8 PM at X Funeral Home. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday December 14, 2004 at 11:00 AM at St. X in X. Entombment will follow at X Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Cancer Research Network, Inc., X. Arrangement by: X

Friday, December 17, 2004

Phenomenal Woman

Here's another favorite poem by Maya.

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes
The flash of my teeth,
The swing of my waist
The joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Busy Week!

Wow, what a busy week! It's nearly midnight, and I need to get up at 6 AM to head out for an early morning appointment.

It's been a week full of appointments, helping friends out with their businesses, helping a friend move out of his old place and into his new home on the other side of the island (Manhattan), and more. Wow. I'm really tired!

This weekend will be just as busy.

By the way, I met a friend for lunch earlier this week at Sarabeth's on the Upper East Side. I really liked the restaurant for its environment, service, and menu. I'd recommend it for brunch and lunch.

Tomorrow is going to be another full day. I think I'm going to crash tomorrow night after the Met Museum and dinner since Saturday will also be a long day.

And, I need to figure out a time to bake for a Cookie Swap party between now and Saturday. Mmmmm... maybe I'll pull an all nighter tomorrow to bake my cookies for the Swap. My roommate baked her cookies tonight and filled the apartment with her fragrant cookies.

Saturday morning, I'm going to head to a friend's place to help with an upcoming event. Then I'll be off to the Cookie Swap party. Then, it's off to a party in Brooklyn later that night.

Sunday is going to be busy as well with my friend's business event/party. It'll be fun, and I sure am looking forward to it and seeing the fruits of her work!

Next week should be less stressful and more easygoing with a lighter schedule. I'm really looking forward to seeing my brother. He's landing early next week and will spend some time together before heading up to CT for Christmas.

Now I'm off to bed. I dozed off while typing and thinking.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Came across this amusingly entertaining yet ridiculous article in Marie Claire - in the "your sex life" section - few months ago. I ripped it out with the intentions of posting it in the blog. I came across it today, so here it finally is. Enjoy!

"STOP! This story isn't about vegetables." It's about phallomaney, the ancient art of "penis reading," which, according to expert Serena Powers, says that each shape has its own sexual advantages. Turn the page to find out what pleasures your guy can produce.

By Karen Robinovitz
Photographed by Francois Robert

Shows 4 vegetable pictures with these quotes-
1) "THE EGGPLANT is generous and inventive."
2) "THE STRING BEAN needs a strong emotional connection to give it up."
3) THE CARROT can get you in bed faster than you can say, 'I'm on the Pill."
4) THE POTATO can summon up his inner sex god."

(turn page)

The Eggplant
* long (more than 4 inches flaccid)
* thick (circumference more than 3 inches flaccid)
* veiny surface
* wide tip

A generous and inventive lover, the eggplant is always dreaming up crazy new ways to please both of you. His incredible sex drive is the stuff of romance novels. You'll never go to bed horny. You will, however, have to break the eggplant of his kissing-and-telling habit. Let him know that loose lips sink relationships.

Woman on top. Why? You can control the pacing and depths of his thrusts - essential when your partner is well-endowed, not to mention self-centered.

Keep the moans and groans (positive feedback) comin'. If he feels, um, cocksure, an eggplant can go all night. But if he thinks you're not orgasmic, his confidence - among other things, shrivels.

Anything involving risk or danger. Being tied up and hot wax come to mind.

Gavin, 37, electrician - "I enjoy finding ways to keep sex interesting. I even watch sex videos for new tricks. I like to joke around about sex with the guys at work, but I'd never reveal the details."

Anne, 36, tattoo - "Gavin's sex drive is out of this world. He's pretty creative in bed, but he has always drawn the line at being tied up. Lately, however, he seems more open to it. As soon as he's ready, I'll grab the tape!"

The String Bean
* short (less than 4 inches flaccid)
* thin (less than 3 inches flaccid)
* smooth surface
* pointed tip

The string bean will give it up only when he feels a strong emotional connection with you. Expressing his feelings isn't easy for him, so when he declares his love - or lust - it's for real. And this shows in his lovemaking. He's always open to suggestions if you're dying to try something wild, but if it were up to him, you could do the same things over and over (and over) again.

Missionary style. This gives him the emotional connection he craves (eye contact) and puts his weight on top of you, giving his penis more push.

Try making sex playful. Naked Twister, anyone?

To be dominated.

Loki, 31, actor - "I'm cautious about letting women into my life, because I've been taken advantage of before. But when I let my guard down, I'm really open. Mica helps me to further explore my deviant side. She makes sex fun."

Mica, 28, student - "When we first started dating, Loki was so reserved. He had a certain way of doing things in bed, and it took him several months to tell me he loved me! Now that he's finally come out of his shell, he's willing to get a little wild under the sheets. But I still make him blush!"

The Potato
* short (or medium - about 4 inches flaccid)
* thick (more than 3 inches flaccid)
* veiny surface
* wide tip

He can be quite competitive - this tuber just has to know how his bedside manner measures up with your past flings. But before you can answer, he summons up his inner sex god and puts them all to shame. If he starts barking orders, call him on it gently; harsh criticism will stop him dead in his tracks.

From behind. He is very tactile and will love being able to wrap his entire body around yours. This is also a great position for direct G-spot stimulation.

Bring food or rich fabrics (silk, leather) to bed. That'll enhance his forte: foreplay.

To star in his own porno flick. His ideal costar? someone who's serene on the outside and smoldering on the inside.

Bob, 43, personal trainer - "Starring in a porno film is one of my fantasies; I'd actually do it if my wife let me. But I never let criticism stop me. When Lucy tells me I'm doing something wrong, I try harder."

Lucy, 35, medical manager - "Bob is always turned on. He'll try to be romantic and give me a 'massage,' but then before I know it, we're having sex. And he is very competitive, even though he knows he's better than my ex- and Bob and I have been together for 13 years!"

The Carrot
* long (more than 4 inches flaccid)
* thin (less than 3 inches flaccid)
* smooth surface
* pointed tip

This smooth-talking intellectual can get you into bed faster than you can say, "I'm on the Pill." He's also all about romance - the flowers, the full-body kisses. Just don't let him get so caught up in the details that he forgets you're in the room. Keep his attention on you by starting a philosophical debate. To the carrot, there's nothing sexier than a brillian woman.

Spooning. It takes a long penis to have successful sex from this angle.

This guy will talk nonstop during sex if allowed. Mention that hearing his heart beat is the real turn-on, and he'll quiet down.

The only time he's at a loss for words? When sharing his darkest fantasies. No wonder, since they involve sadomasochism and bisexuality.

Tyler, 28, performer - "I do talk Jen's ear off during sex, and, yes, I can be selfish in bed. I'll even admit to the S&M fantasies. But I'm not a romantic - flowers and poetry do nothing for me."

Jen, 26, theater manager - "I was shocked to learn about Tyler's romantic side - I didn't know he had one! The descriptions of his fantasies were wild, but I'm not shocked. We both make an effort to change things up regularly."

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I Gain . . .

I gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which I must stop and look fear in the face.... I say to myself, I've lived through this and can take the next thing that comes along.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Sweet Miss Bea

Miss Bea, the church organist, was in her eighties and had never been married. She was much admired for her sweetness and kindness to all.

The pastor came to call on her one afternoon early in the spring, and she welcomed him into her Victorian parlor. She invited him to have a seat while she prepared a little tea.

As he sat facing her old pump organ, the young minister noticed a cut glass bowl sitting on top of it, filled with water. In the water floated, of all things, a condom.

Imagine his shock and surprise. Imagine his curiosity! Surely Miss Bea had flipped or something...!

When she returned with tea and cookies, they began to chat. The pastor tried to stifle his curiosity about the bowl of water and its strange floater, but soon it got the better of him, and he could resist no longer.

"Miss Bea," he said, "I wonder if you would tell me about this?" (pointing to the bowl).

"Oh, yes," she replied, "isn't it wonderful? I was walking downtown last fall and I found this little package on the ground. The directions said to put it on the organ, keep it wet, and it would prevent disease.

And you know... I haven't had a cold all winter." For those of you who haven't had a flu shot .............

Monday, December 13, 2004

Five Minutes of Fame

I was pleased when my dear friend Abby paged me to let me know about her "five minutes of fame." An article ran about her today in the Advocate Messenger in Danville, KY after she gave a presentation at Kentucky School for the Deaf (last week).

Here is the article.

Monday December 13, 2004

Deaf and nearly blind, Strauss is an 'inspiration'

Staff Writer

Abigail Strauss has excelled at almost every stage of her young life.

The former Danvillian performed well in elementary, middle and high schools. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in college with a record of good grades. She has held two highly responsible positions in social work and counseling, the current post being at a prestigious school in New York City, where she lives by herself and gets around as well as a veteran cabbie. She has traveled alone around the country and the world.

All of this and Strauss is only 29, deaf and nearly blind.

"I (recently) taught a class for a group of hearing parents from around the world who had just found out that their children were deaf. I was teaching them how to work with their children," she said Strauss through interpretation provided by her mother, Carolyn Strauss.

"Some of the parents told me after the class that I was an inspiration. They were impressed that I am deaf-blind (but) am able to live a normal life," she said.

"Normal"? A proud mother begged to expand on her daughter's word, if not differ with it.

"Abby has led as normal and ordinary a life as any of our other (three) children, but she truly is an extraordinary young woman," said Carolyn Strauss.

"We always knew Abby was very smart. She picked up sign language and comprehension very quickly," she said. "My husband (Dr. Howard Strauss) and I were committed to providing her as normal a childhood as possible and assign to her and provide her the same expectations, challenges and opportunities as we did our other children.

"She has worked hard to be as well educated as possible, to pursue a good career, to lead an active live and do it on her own."

Speaks at KSD

Abigail Strauss was in Danville last week to give a speech at the Kentucky School for the Deaf before a group of Gallaudet University alumni, as well as KSD staff and students. The speech was, in part, a lesson in history about famous deaf educators, Laurent Clerc and Thomas Gallaudet, and how Clerc not only established teaching methods for deaf students but also developed ways to educate deaf children who also are blind. The speech also was Abigail Strauss' personal story - the story of a deaf-blind youngster with courage who now is an adult on a crusade.

The crusader was born deaf. Carolyn Strauss said she and her husband, a Louisville dentist, wanted the best possible education and home life for their second child, so they decided to enroll her at KSD and to move from Louisville to Danville so she could be a day student and grow up in her own home. She later was diagnosed with Usher's Syndrome, a progressive disease of the eyes that affects about 5 percent of deaf people.

"We had no deafness, or blindness, for that matter, on either side of our families, and none of our other children is deaf or blind," said Carolyn Strauss, whose other children are Ted, who is a resident oral surgeon; Peter, who is in law school; and Joanna, a fourth-grade teacher.

"But other than learning sign language - Abby was my teacher, by the way - we did not do anything differently or treat her any differently from the other children," she said.

Abigail Strauss was a student at KSD from ages 2 to 14. She then transferred from KSD to the Model Secondary School for the Deaf in Washington, D.C., and, after graduating from MSSD, went to Gallaudet University in D.C., where she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in guidance counseling. She landed a job as a case manager for the New York Society for the Deaf, where she accessed various services for developmentally-delayed deaf people. She then was hired for her current position as guidance counselor at the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York City.

Her avocation as an advocate

As much as Strauss loves her vocation as a guidance counselor, it's her avocation as an advocate that is driving her. "I have hopes for both deaf children and deaf-blind children," she said. "A lot of deaf and deaf-blind children do not have strong academic backgrounds or skills. My hope is that they are given access to the best possible education and support systems so they can succeed in life."

But success depends not only on continuing to break down barriers between the deaf and deaf-blind cultures and the hearing world, but also on eliminating barriers that separate the deaf and the deaf-blind cultures.

"Many deaf people are put off by deaf-blind people," Strauss said. "The deaf feel uncomfortable around the deaf-blind. They put down the deaf-blind."

The discomfort and even contempt has to do with communication, she said.

"Deaf people rely on their sight, they're dependent on the visual to communicate. They don't like the tactile form of communication that the deaf-blind use. They don't like that much touching," she said. "The deaf-blind sign by holding each other's hands. That method takes longer than normal deaf signing and it involves more details, like having to explain where everyone is sitting and other details."

Another part of the negative feelings the deaf may have toward the deaf-blind has to do with fear, Strauss said.

"Losing your sight is scary," she said. "Deaf people rely so much on their sight to communicate, to exist, that the idea of losing theirs - an idea that becomes very real when they are around the deaf-blind - scares them."

Building a "bridge between the deaf and deaf-blind cultures"

Strauss's goal is to help build a "bridge between the deaf and deaf-blind cultures," to improve communication and understanding between them and to have them join together in mutually-beneficial efforts to improve education and job opportunities.

"The deaf and deaf-blind have too much in common to be so far apart," she said.

To reach her goal, Strauss said she is offering herself as a "role model," because she has experienced life as both a deaf person and a blind person and made it. She traces her success to her parents.

"My parents believed in me, always believed that I could accomplish any task regardless of the difficulty and believed I could achieve so much," she said.

Now a confident and independent young woman, Strauss is looking to the future. She wants to be involved in projects to establish more after-school programs at deaf schools. She also would like to spend more time as a motivational speaker for deaf and deaf-blind students. She also is considering writing a book about her life.

The idea for writing a book came from Strauss's younger brother, Peter, whose first word as an infant was the sign for "more" - and second, according to his sister, was the sign for "No, Abby!"

Her mother would be a good candidate to write a forward.

"Abby is living proof that anyone can excel at school and work and in life if they work really hard and don't ever give up," said Carolyn Strauss. "She has so much courage, so much strength.

Copyright The Advocate-Messenger 2004

Chimpanzee Bush

A friend tipped me about this NY Times article. I overlooked it today until he tipped me off. Enjoy! It reminds me of the time that an artist used elephant dung. What will artists come up with next?

Bush Portrait Draws Fire Over Details, Not Subject

December 13, 2004

Artwork in an exhibition that drew thousands to the Chelsea Market for its opening last week was abruptly taken down over the weekend after the market's managers complained about a portrait of President Bush fashioned from tiny images of chimpanzees, according to the show's curator.

Bucky Turco, who organized the show, said that a market director had expressed reservations about the Bush portrait, a small colorful painting by Christopher Savido that from afar appears to be a likeness of the president but viewed up close reveals chimps swimming in a marshy landscape.

"I approached them with the idea of bringing an edgy show by emerging artists here. I showed them an issue of our magazine, and they were psyched," said Mr. Turco, publisher of Animal, a quarterly publication with offices in the market that features photographs and graphics inspired by urban culture.

Mr. Turco said that while he had cleared the work to be hung with Irwin Cohen, a director of Chelsea Market, the management took issue with the image of Bush.

"When we hung the show on Wednesday, we were asked to take down the Bush piece," he said. "I agreed but said I thought it makes a strong addition and I would re-hang it for the opening."

Mr. Turco did that, and last Thursday, the meandering hallway of the market on Manhattan's West Side filled with a gallery crowd of artists, models and rap singers. But the presence of a disc jockey and open bar created a nightclub milieu. That provoked another person who helps manage the market, Mr. Turco said.

"The party's over right now," Mr. Turco said the market worker told him before calling security to clear the crowd.

"I said, 'Let's walk and talk this over,' and when we passed Chris's painting, he flipped," Mr. Turco said. "If I didn't take the show down he was going to have me arrested, seize the art, and evict me from of my office," he said.

Mr. Turco delivered a contrite letter to the market management the following day but was forced to remove the 60 art works, photos and paintings on Saturday, about a month before the show was supposed to end. The offices of Around the Clock Management were closed over the weekend and there was no response yesterday to repeated messages to a market representative.

The 23-year-old artist at the center of the controversy had been excited about the show. Mr. Savido said, "It's a portrait-slash-landscape and the monkeys just seemed to make sense. I saw one woman gave it the finger but I think it wasn't directed at the painting.""I came to New York to express myself," said Mr. Savido, 23, of Pittsburgh. "I would never have expected this censorship to happen here. I really feel powerless."

The offending painting is on display temporarily at the magazine's small gallery on East Ninth Street.

"I'm hoping to find a sympathetic gallery to put on this show," Mr. Turco said. "I don't like being censored."

Most people at the market yesterday seemed indifferent to the empty Plexiglas display panels, but Rebecca Benhayon, 23, an actress, who was reading at a cafe table yesterday, expressed disappointment. "It's the architecture and the art that make this place so interesting," she said. "Taking the show down because someone didn't like an image seems oppressive. It's un-American."

Thursday, December 09, 2004

X-Rated Happy Holidays

A friend with quite a "clean" mind sent me this. I couldn't help but laugh. How would they do the female version?


A friend sent me this link. It's humorous for some while it's offensive to others. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Breathing Fresh Air

Reading Maya Angelou's work and quotes is like breathing fresh air for the first time, feeling my heart beat, and opening my eyes to a new sunny morning every time I read her.

Here are 12 quotes - 12 Words of Love and 12 Words of Encouragements I want to share with you.

Words of Love & Encouragement (12 quotes each)..... by Maya Angelou

If you find it in your heart to care for someone else, you will have succeeded.

First best is falling in love.
Second best is being in love.
Least best is falling out of love.
But any of it is better
than never
having been in love.

is that condition
in the human spirit
allows one to survive
and to thrive
with passion,
compassion, humor
and style.

I do not trust people
who don't love themsleves
and yet tell me,
"I love you."
There is an African saying which is:
Be careful
when a naked person
offers you a shirt.

Have enough
to trust love
one more time.
And always
one more time.

Seek patience
and passion
in equal amounts.
Patience alone
will not build the temple.
Passion alone
will destroy its walls.

The honor
and duty
of a human being
is to love.

True love lightens burdens,
eases stress,
and lengthens life.

may speak a language
all its own,
but true love
seldom needs an interpreter.

If you are moved
by the sunrise
and if the rain on the roof
makes you cry
you are
probably in love.
Or you should be.

recognizes no barriers
It jumps hurdles,
leaps fences,
penetrates walls
to arrive at its destination
full of hope.

is that
which holds us
and love is also
that which
liberates us

We must
take fear
and by love
change it
into hope.

Life loves the person who dares to live it.

I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.

Whether you are happy or whether you are sad, it is wise to remember you are really in process.

Your life
is much more important
than you can imagine.
It is your first

We delight in the
of the butterfly,
but rarely admit the
it has gone through to
that beauty.

While everything around you is changing, you are changing, too. Trust your new self to adapt in all things you do.

When the
right word
is offered at the
right time,
the vault
of joy opens
and the angels dance
on the head of a pin.

When life
surrounds me with problems,
I remember
no question can be asked
if the answer is not
already in the universe.

God puts
in the clouds
so that
each of us --
in the dullest
and most
deary moments --
can see
a possibility
of hope.

We spend
precious hours
fearing the inevitable.
It would be wise
to use that time adoring our
cherishing our
and living our

An icy pool
is not tempting to a long-distance swimmer. But after a few laps, the temperature becomes not only manageable, but d e l i c i o u s. This new chang emay not appear welcoming to you, but you may be surprised how easily you adjust.

Lovely Rose at 87

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose.

I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went.

She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet.

I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose."

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives

At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.


We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

"Good friends are like stars.........You don't always see them, but you know they are always there."

An Adventure in the New World Aquarium

On my way to Bide-A-Wee, I stopped by this store: New World Aquarium. It was the best one I had been to in all of NYC.

The workers truly knew how to take care of the fish, and they knew their stuff. I could tell by the kind of fish they placed together in these tanks, how healthy the fish looked, the quality of the tank maintenance, appropriateness of things inside these tanks (e.g., rocky bottom and settings for African Cichlids), and the supplies they carried. Some of these fish are hard to keep alive if you don't know how to truly provide and maintain the environment properly. They also carried mostly medium to large fishes as opposed to many small fish which to me is a sign that they have lower rate of fish death and know how to maintain these adult breeds until they're sold (think Petco stores with all these small fish).

They also had such a large variety of rarer breeds that many other specialized aquarium stores in NYC do not carry.

This is the happy nerd in me. I know about these little things. I spent over a hour in that store feeling like a little kid on an adventure, marveling in these beautiful creatures and finding such a great store in NYC.

New World Aquarium
Fresh water and marine tropical fish
Full line of aquariums and supplies
Servicing and installation available

204 East 38th St NYC 10016
(646) 865-9604

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Happy Hanukkah - Festival of Lights & Feast of Dedication

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. I thought that I'd refresh my memory on the history and meaning of Hanukkah since many people I know are celebrating starting tonight.

I got info out its origins and religious meaning from this website:

Religious Meaning

By: Amy J. Kramer

HaRabim Beyad HaMeatim: The victory of the few over the many. This Hebrew phrase stands for the unfaltering resolve of the Jewish people. It was not only true in the days of the Hashmonaim, it is true today. The tiny land of Israel has always been surrounded by hostile nations. Even before the Maccabean victory over the Greek army, and many times after, the Jewish nation has defied the odds.

According to all the calculations of military experts and against all rules of logic, the Jews should never have had the ability to defeat their enemies, especially when it came to the Greek empire. And even when Jews were expelled from their lands, they have always returned. Our enemies may have won battles, but they have never won the war.

The miracle is not only that we have won major battles throughout countless generations, but that we even dared to fight. The Maccabbees were outnumbered, poorly trained and hardly equipped, but that did not stop them from trying. On Hanukah, we need to pause from all the festivities and present giving, and remember to thank G-d for the miracle of deliverance, and for the spirit that enabled the Maccabbees to fight this kind of "David-against-Goliath" battle and emerge victorious.

As Jews today, we fight the same fight. The names and places may have changed, but as individuals, and as a nation, we need that Maccabean spirit to find the courage from within to best those who wish us harm.

Or La’Goyim: A light to all nations. For 2,000 years, the eight branches of the Menorah have stood as a triumphant symbol of the Jewish will to live and worship in freedom. The Jewish struggle between the forces of darkness and light, Hellenism and Judaism, still has relevance today.

The influence of Hellenism, the primary source of western civilization, is still felt today. It was the Greeks, and later the Romans, that brought institutions like philosophy, history, books, schools, athletics, architecture, and the concept of democracy to Europe, and later on, to America. According to Historians, there is almost nothing that does not have its roots in ancient Greece.

Consequently, it is not difficult to understand why so much of the good in Hellenism was hard to resist. It still proves hard to resist. Throughout the ages our people have always needed to carefully incorporate modern influences while maintaining our unique identity and unfaltering mission. The same forces that caused Jews to assimilate in the times of Judah Maccabee are still alive today.

The difference between then and now is that the Jews who lived through the miracle of Hanukah had something that Jews today have lost ~ a closeness to the Temple and a memory of its services.

Every day the holy Menorah was lit in the Temple. It symbolized the light and warmth of Torah and reminded the Jews of their unique role and awesome responsibility as G-d’s chosen people: To be an Or La’Goyim, a light and a shining example to all nations.

In a very real way, the menorah is like the Jewish soul, a flame that can be put out, but never completely extinguished. The Greeks tried and failed. Many have followed. But as long as Jews seek to light the menorah, like the Maccabees did, the flame of Jewish life can never go out. The Maccabees found enough oil for one night, but G-d saw their devotion and caused the tiny flame to burn for eight nights.

To be an Or La’Goyim is to keep the torch burning, often under impossible odds. We are a tiny nation given the difficult task of keeping the Torah alive in a world that is often hostile to the Jewish way of life. When we don’t know how to keep the fire burning, we need to look to the miracle of Hanukah. Find enough oil to last one night, and have faith that G-d will step in to make it last eight nights

By: Amy J. Kramer

Hanukah, Feast of Dedication / Festival of Lights

Hanukah, the Hebrew word meaning dedication, is celebrated for eight days in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually occurs in mid to late December.

Hanukah recalls the struggle for religious freedom and commemorates the victory of the Jews over the Hellenistic Syrians in the year 165 B.C.E.

The story begins in 338 B.C.E. when Philip of Macedon invaded Greece. Athens and the Greek states, along with their pagan customs, became part of the Macedonian empire. Two years later, Philip died, and his son, Alexander, assumed the throne.

Alexander the Great, as he was known, conquered territories from Macedonia and Greece across the Persian empire to the borders of India. Included in this empire were Egypt and Israel, then considered part of Syria.

When Alexander’s army reached Jerusalem, the Jews, already under Syrian occupation, did not resist. It was Alexander and his forces that first brought Hellenism to Jerusalem and the Jewish people. However, the Jews did not rush to adopt the Greek religion and culture. For all its beauty and accomplishments, especially in the fields of athletics, theater and philosophy, Hellenism had a dark side.

In ancient Greece, behavior that is today considered deviant, such as infanticide, pedophilia, adultery and institutionalized prostitution, were routine and even encouraged. To Jews, who valued the Torah and purity of family life, these aspects of Hellenistic culture was incompatible with their own.

When Alexander died, his empire was divided between his generals: Antigonus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy. Antigonus ruled Macedonia and Greece; Seleucus ruled Babylonia, Persia and Syria; and Ptolemy ruled Egypt and Israel.

Like Alexander, Ptolemy was a great champion of Hellenism. The empire he established dominated Israel for almost 100 years. It was under Ptolemaic rulers that many Jews began to adopt aspects of Greek culture. These Jews were referred to as Hellenists. For them, Greek culture represented the way of the future and the fastest way to succeed in Greek society.

In 199 B.C.E., The Seleucid dynasty that ruled Syria took control of Israel from the Greek Ptolemies. It was under the Seleucids that anti-Jewish decrees were first issued against the practice of Judaism. Sabbath observance, the study of Torah, and male circumcisions, for example, were forbidden on pain of death. In addition, Greek Gods and other symbols of Greek culture were put inside the Holy Temple, desecrating the center of Jewish ritual life in Jerusalem.

In the year 167 B.C.E. the Greek king, Antiochus Epiphanes began a campaign to force the Jews under his rule to formally adopt Greek practices. One Jewish family, five sons and their old father, took a stand.

One day Greek forces arrived at Modiin, the home of Mattityahu, an elder and religious leader of the prestigious Hasmonean family. There, the army established a Greek religious altar and ordered Mattityahu to offer a sacrifice to a pagan god. Mattityahu refused, but while he stood firm, another Jew offered to make the sacrifice. Enraged, Mattityahu killed him and attacked the Greek soldiers. His action sparked a Jewish rebellion, which he and his sons led. They became known as the Maccabees, which in Hebrew, means Men Who are as Strong as Hammers.

Led by Judah Maccabee, the most famous of Mattityahu’s five sons, the Maccabees, a force much smaller than the powerful Greek armies, finally triumphed in 165 B.C.E. On the 25th of Kislev, the Maccabees reclaimed the Jewish Temple, which was, at that point, almost unrecognizable as a place of Jewish worship.

The Talmud says that when the Jewish army wanted to rededicate the Temple, they were unable to find enough specially prepared oil to light the Menorah, a holy lamp, or candelabra, used in the Temple service.

Finally, in one Temple chamber, the Maccabees found a single bottle of oil, which normally would have lasted only one night. However, by a miracle, the one bottle of oil lasted eight nights, until new oil, fit for Temple use, could be produced.

This is the miracle Jews commemorate to this day. By lighting the eight Hanukah lights of the menorah, Jews everywhere recount the triumph of our ancestors against immorality, the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the miracle that a one day supply of oil lasted eight days.

For reasons unexplained, the actual story of Hanukah and its great rebellion was never included as an official book of the Torah. Instead, it was written down in two works known as the Books of the Maccabees. One was written in Greek and the other was written in Hebrew. Both survived by being translated by the Christians. They appear today as the Apocrypha, which is Greek for hidden writings, and can be found in English as an appendix to the bible. There is also a midievil work called Megilat Antiochus, the Scroll of Antiochus, which was modeled after the Scroll of Esther. Even in the Mishnah, where all aspects relating to religious life were recorded, there are only a few references to the holiday and its story.

One of the most famous references, took place in the form of an argument between the first-century rabbis, Hillel and Shamai. The two were known for their heated debates. One of the most famous centered on lighting the menorah. Hillel said the candles should be lit progressively from one to eight, while Shamai believed just the opposite.

Other than this debate, there is little reference to Hanukah. There isn't even a rabbinic discussion about the laws pertaining to the lighting of the menorah, except for a breif mention in the tractate Shabbat 21b, where the question, 'What is Hanukah?' is raised..

Some bible scholars say it was a deliberate omission by Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi, who in about 180 A.D., compiled the Mishnah, the codification of the Oral Torah. The rabbi had good relations with the Roman authorities, the rulers of Israel at the time, and may have wanted to minimize mention of an earlier rebellion against a similar overlord. The omission of Hanukah may also have reflected a certain Rabbinic disdain of the latter Hasmonean dynasty of priest-kings who later, ironically, became Hellenists and actually opposed and even persecuted the rabbis.

The fact that the Maccabees became legendary in later years is largely due to Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first century of the Christian era. His retelling of the Hanukah story became immensely popular during the Middle Ages. It was Josephus who first referred to Hanukah as "the feast of lights."

Men Arrested for Dumping Dirt in a Forest

How much more ridiculous could this get? The cops have more important things to take care of instead of wasting their time and resources on these men. Read below.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (Dec. 1) - Two men have been arrested for dumping dirt in a national forest. The Kootenai County Sheriff's Department said the men, who have not been publicly identified, were arrested at a garage in Coeur d'Alene where the dirt had been removed and the base apparently prepared for paving.
Deputy Robert Gomez said the U.S. Forest Service confirmed that it was illegal to dump anything, including dirt, on the federal land.

Gomez said he asked the two men about dumping dirt in the national forest ''and they went off on a tirade about Mother Earth.''

The deputy quoted the pair as saying they had taken ''perfectly good dirt'' from the garage area and dumped it under a big fir tree where they used rakes to spread the soil to make it look nice.

''They both said it was a good job having given back the dirt to Mother Earth,'' Gomez said.

Utah Man Pays $82 Fine in Pennies

SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 2) - A Manti man has a penny for Sanpete County's thoughts. About 8,200 of them, actually.
Grant Petersen withdrew that many copper coins from his bank and delivered them in a bucket to pay an $82 fine he got for driving with a burnt-out headlight.

Court officials are apparently not amused, and have asked Petersen to come back in and offer a more "acceptable" form of payment. They say state policy allows clerks to reject unusual forms of payment, and it's going to waste county resources for someone to count all that change.

Petersen says he doesn't plan on honoring that request. He says money is money, and U.S. law provides that coins are legal tender.

12/02/04 13:05 EST

Fun Birthday Boy

Took a friend out to dinner for his birthday. It was a belated birthday dinner at Chipolte, his favorite place. There were few hotties there. RT had his share of eye candies. I was particular with one lesbian worker. Sometimes I wonder if RT goes there more for the eye candy than the burrito.

As always, I laughed a lot with RT. There is never a dull moment with him. He's real, and there's no bullshitting around. We talked about many things such as dorm/school incidents, sex, ignorant hearing people, and so on. One thing we always have a lot to talk about is the South. We discussed about Southern-style wakes and funerals. They definitely have different customs and culture down there.

One thing I noticed about Chipolte was the bathroom key design for the men's and ladies' room. They had a huge heavy metal hardware thing (maybe plumbing parts) attached to the key. The one for the men's room was very cone-like while the one for the women's room was flat and circular. It was just too much of a coincidence. I walked over to RT to point this out before going to the bathroom.

Later, we stopped by Ben & Jerry's for ice cream. RT noticed that, out of the 3 ceiling fancs, one fan had no blades. He pointed it out to the store workers. I asked them why there were no blades. The workers didn't know and said it worked. What's the point of having that fan there if there are no blades on it?

As usual, we engaged into discussion, and laughters ensued. We talked about animals attacking each other. Once, RT's mother was chased by an angry swan. Ducks are also very vicious creatures. Just FYI.

Overall, I had a good evening out with RT.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Subway Adventure

After lunch at Grilled Cheese and visiting another friend's art studio open house, a friend and I headed into Brooklyn together.

Unsurprisingly, we had a subway mishap since trains were running on a weekend schedule. There were no signs advising that the train line we took was going to stop earlier at the last Manhattan stop instead of going into Brooklyn. We were chatting when we realized that we were the only ones on the train. The train was parked on some tracks. We walked to one end to knock on the conductor door. No answer. We walked to the other side. Fortunately, there was a female conductor there. The train was going to turn around in a while back into that station. We'd have to transfer to the downtown side and take a different train into Brooklyn. Sigh.

We finally caught the right train into Brooklyn. I ended up being over a hour late. Fortunately, my friends were "culturally deaf" enough to know to wait for me. Back in the old days, we'd wait for each other, no matter what, knowing that there was a reason or a story behind being late. That was before pagers came on the scene. So, I got into the car, and we vavoomed to a thai restaurant in Manhattan Beach. Later, we returned to a friend's home for some tea and pie a la mode. It was fun talking and looking at pictures until late into the night. I ended up taking a car service back home since it was late at night. I went to bed with a smile on my face since it was nice spending time with close friends.

Now, I can look back and laugh at the subway adventure.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Home Sweet Home NYC!

Just returned last night from Roanoke, VA. My Grandma died, so I headed down to Blacksburg for 6 days.

My plane last night was delayed due to bad weather. We finally took off few hours later when the plane for Charlotte arrived. I have no idea why they had to wait for that plane to arrive before the NYC and Charlotte-bound flights could depart. One good thing that came out of this was that the folks with connecting flights in NYC ended up transferring to other flights so they could still make their destinations on time, courtesy of US Airways. So, this meant more available seating and space on my flight. So, I enjoyed having a row to myself the entire trip.

As soon as I saw lights below and recognized landmarks, I grinned from then on until landing at LaGuardia airport. I truly missed the city. I missed fresh vegetables and fruits. I missed people whose hair are closer to their face than the clouds and not kept in place by excessive hairspray. I missed trendy outfits and seeing the majority of people being in better shape than the other way around. I missed diversity. I missed feeling in place and walking at my real faster pace.

As much as I love my family in the South, being in Southern culture was a shock and adjustment for me. It made me appreciate my NYC life a lot more. And, I also appreciate my Southern family for who they are. The more different we are, the more we realize how much more we actually have in common beyond cultural and lifestyle differences. One of those commonalities is the love we have for one another and accepting each other as who we are, regardless of where we live, what we do, and our worldviews. I'm proud of my father's roots and where I come from.

I'm also lucky to have a family who believes in each individual being true to herself and doing what is best for herself, even if that means leaving your family's hometown to live elsewhere. Grandma was viewed as a root that held the family together. The truth is, although she's now dead, we're still connected through our roots and will keep on branching out from the same single source that made us a family and related in the first place. We are connected not only through our bloodline but also through our love.

With a boost in love from my relatives, I flew back to NYC with a happy heart and a resolution to keep in touch with my relatives more frequently and to gather together more often, not through funerals and weddings, but to spend time together and love.

I'm going to send my cousins' kids some NYC souveniers such as "I love NY" t-shirts and more.

Jessica (my cousin's younger daughter), age 8, is really into leopard prints, high fashion, etc. Jessica has such a good taste in fashion and a sharp eye for trendy items. We went shopping the other day, and I was impressed. She reminds me of J.Lo and has amazing raw talents. One night, she turned on the CD player and improvised dances on the spot. I thought she had practiced these dance routines before or taken dance classes. She never did. She completely made up these dance moves on the spot, and she was really good. A natural. Jessica has "it." She's going to be big someday. I know it. The fire and passion is in her. Jessica is also very confident and energetic. I'm gonna find something to send to her soon from NYC. She kept on asking me about how shopping in NYC was, and her eyes widened when she heard how great shopping was. She asked her mother, my cousin, when they could fly to NYC to go shopping. And, Jessica is only 8 years old! She also picked up ASL really quickly, so we communicated easily. Someday, I'll post a pic of us as soon as I figure out how to post pics on this blog site.

Although it was a sad event that brought us together, it was also a great family reunion. I loved being with my relatives. Relatives flew in from all over the country, and we were a family the entire time, no matter how long it was when we last saw each other. We laughed, cried, joked, hugged, supported each other, told each other how we loved each other, ate, walked, shopped, sat snugly on the couches, and talked together.

I'll share more about the weekend in upcoming blog entries - such as the Boys vs. Girl friendly battles, the kids' reaction to Grandma at the wake, relatives, and so on.

Until then, good night.