Posts Tagged ‘humor’


In my correspondence with my mother, I often hear complaints about how greedy people are nowadays, how rude, how ruthless in politicking, how violent or irresponsible.

I have to chuckle.  I remember a class of seniors I once had for English saying that people nowadays aren’t as polite or well-mannered as they were hundreds of years ago.  It’s such a beguiling thing, but is it true?  Let’s examine some of the facts.


Yes, Henry VIII had his reasons for departing from the Church of Rome in the 16th century.  But those reasons did NOT exclude the benefit to be derived from dissolving the Catholic monasteries and confiscating their property and assets for the Crown.  Why were the Jews shuffled off from one location in Europe after another in the Middle Ages, slowly pushing them eastward?  For their wealth, of course.  This precedent was in place long before the Nazis confiscated their houses and looted their art collections in the Second World War, or the Arabs did the same with their homes and possessions in the 1950s (which led to the house of Suzy Eban’s family becoming the Saudi Arabian embassy in the 1970s).  Hawkeye Pierce (of the TV show “M*A*S*H”) claimed that the three basic human emotions are “greed, fear, and greed.”  Nothing new in that.


In the eighteenth century, the authors Alexander Pope and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu were fast friends and admirers of one another’s writing.  Until one day they weren’t.  Then began the public sniping, rude caricatures drawn about each other, and generally public animosity they harbored for the other.  Pope was particularly bad to cross, since booksellers, publishers, and critics ended up portrayed in his long poem, The Dunciad, as competing in a race where they met the most appalling misfortunes, not least that of slipping on human waste and falling into it afterwards.  And remember that Pope wasn’t the first to go after his enemies in his writing, sentencing them to the most appalling tortures; the greatest literary executioner of all time was Dante.

Ruthless politicians

Thomas Jefferson hired James Callender, a Scottish-born pamphleteer and one of America’s first yellow journalists, to defame President John Adams.  According to David McCullough (in his 2001 biography of John Adams), during the presidential campaign of 1800, when Adams and Jefferson were running against one another (the first and last time a President ran against a Vice President), “Callender … was now working as a Republican propagandist in Richmond, Virginia, with the encouragement and financial support of Jefferson, who, at the same time, was actively distributing a variety of campaign propaganda throughout the country, always careful to conceal his involvement. …That Adams was never known to be involved in such activity struck some as a sign of how naïve and behind the times he was.”  Active campaigning was considered beneath a gentleman’s dignity in those days, but it seems that behind-the-scenes campaigning, mud-slinging, and character assassination were not, as long as the gentleman’s name was never “connected with the business” (Jefferson’s words).

Then, to put our current crop of Western politicians into some kind of global perspective, there are the antics of Ukrainian politicians who poison their enemies, Palestinian politicians who murder their fellow parliamentarians, and Iranian politicians who simply ignore election results, hire gangs of thugs to bludgeon and shoot those who demonstrate against them, and thumb their noses at the rest of the world as a daily ritual.  Kind of makes American politicians look tame, don’t it?


There is too much violence in society today, we often hear.  (To which I’ve also heard the response, “Well, how much is just enough?)  In raw numbers, it can be shocking to see the number of murders that occur in a given year.  But let’s look for a moment at the recorded homicide rates for the last several centuries in Europe (considered by many to be the cradle of über-civilization):


(per 100,000 People)

.                        England      Neth/Belgium      Scandinavia       Ger/Switz       Italy

13th and 14th c.   23.0               47.0                    n.a.                 37.0            56.0

15th c.                   n.a.              45.0                  46.0                  16.0            73.0

16th c.                   7.0               25.0                  21.0                  11.0            47.0

17th c.                   5.0                 7.5                  18.0                    7.0            32.0

18th c.                   1.5                 5.5                    1.9                    7.5            10.5

19th c.                   1.7                 1.6                    1.1                    2.8            12.6

1900-1949             0.8                 1.5                    0.7                    1.7            3.2

1950-1994             0.9                 0.9                    0.9                    1.0            1.5

*not including wars

(source: Freakonomics)

So you see, England’s murder rate, which at its worst was less than half that of the Dutch for the same time period, has dropped to almost nothing.  Even Italians, with their fiery tempers, have dropped to only one-and-a-half murders for every 100,000 people.  Considering the rise in the population of these countries, it’s worth noting that crowded conditions, economic downturns, and industrialization haven’t significantly slowed the tapering homicide rate.  More recent statistics (found online here) show slightly higher figures for the new millennium, with the US showing a higher rate than most of the above countries.  While Germany shows a homicide rate 0.9 per 100,000 souls, the Netherlands 1.0, Norway 1.2, and the United Kingdom 1.4, the US has 5.4 homicides per 100,000 people.  (There have been plenty of explanations for this which I don’t want to get into right now, though I did find the explanation in Levitt and Dubner’s 2005 book Freakonomics compelling.)  The US makes a sorry showing here, but hey—at least they’re still ahead of Russia (20.15), Jamaica (32.41), Colombia (33.9), and Venezuela (49.2).

Poor manners

Confused by the number of forks fanned out at the side of your plate when you sit down to a fancy dinner?  Don’t know which glass to use for what kind of beverage?  Think all this is the result of hundreds of years of high-class frippery?  Not on your life.  What did Henry VIII eat with?  A knife.  That’s it.  Oh, and his fingers.  Three hundred years later, they’d got as far as a two-pronged fork (or, if they were fancier, a three-pronged one).  How did they eat their peas?  From a knife, of course.  In the 17th century, while forks were common in Italy, they were considered by the English to be an “unmanly Italian affectation.”  The Catholic Church opposed fork usage as “excessive delicacy”:  “God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks — his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating.”  Fork use only became common in Britain in the 18th century.  The curved fork design used today was developed in Germany in the 18th century, and the four-tine fork in the 19th century.  (source)

So rather than claim that the greater delicacy in eating belonged to the ages, one should rather argue that modern cutlery is gone off the deep end of gentility.  The greatest advance in cutlery to my children’s minds?  The spork.  It allows them to stab their chicken in their favorite kebab restaurant AND eat their beans and rice without it falling off the fork.  Now THAT’s progress.

The takeaway message?  The good ol’ days may not have been so good.  Or they may have seemed that way when the nostalgic were too young to know what they were really like.  Or the bar for what is considered “good” is set too high.  All I know is, things are rarely as bad as they seem.


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Ta’am Gan Eden

I made apple-cranberry crisp for Shabbat last week.  When I was removing the sticker from a Granny Smith apple, I noticed it said, “Ta’am Gan Eden” (Taste of the Garden of Eden).  I’m not sure what I think of that.  Does it mean that this apple is delicious, like one would imagine the fruit in Eden might have been?  (It tasted like an ordinary Granny to me.)  Does it mean Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise-On-Earth because of a tart green cooking apple?  (I think not.)  Does it mean that if I put this apple in my crisp, I, my family, and our guests will be spat out of our comfortable homes and forced to scratch a living out of the rocky soil and thorns of the hills of Judea?  (I certainly hope not.) 

In the end, all was well.  The crisp came out good, and we’re still in our own home.  Perhaps I should sue for false product labeling.

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A bit of gallows humor

The following is from an email that has made the rounds on the Internet.  I don’t necessarily agree with its socially conservative message (or its fast-and-loose play with the Biblical time line), but I love the gallows humor, especially in the punchline.

Why I’m so depressed

Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the Children of Israel, “Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land.”

Nearly 75 years ago (when welfare was introduced) Roosevelt said, “Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel.  This is the Promised Land.”

Now Obama has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of Camels and mortgaged the Promised Land!

I was so depressed last night thinking about health care plans, the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, social security, retirement funds, etc….  I called Lifeline and got a call center in Pakistan.  When I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

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A recipe to die for

Following my post the other day about a cool blog I discovered that explores the art, history, and social commentary of New England gravestones, my friend Mandy sent me the following photograph of an Israeli gravestone.

Where Western burial practice involves burying and setting a flat stone either upright or flat over the head of the grave, Israeli stones cover the entire grave in stone, perhaps to keep scavenging animals from… well, never mind.  This affords the opportunity either for brevity (Theodor Herzl’s grave says simply, “Herzl”) or more fluency of expression.

Most stones I’ve seen give the deceased’s name, birth and death dates, and parents’ (or father’s) names.  In Poland, I saw Jewish gravestones with engraved icons of broken candlesticks (denoting a woman whose death was untimely), a hand inserting a coin into a tzedaka box (indicating that the person was renowned for giving charity), or a hand pouring water from a ewer over another pair of hands (showing that the deceased was a Levi).  The stone in this photograph has none of that information.  Instead, it has the recipe for “Grandma Ida’s Nut Cookies.”  I kid you not.  (At first I thought it was a Photoshop job, but since I can’t prove it, I’m willing to believe it’s genuine.)  Here’s the recipe:


200 grams butter     1 egg yolk     1 [container?] sour cream

Add 350 grams self-rising flour gradually

Place dough in refrigerator for an hour


300 grams strawberry preserves

150 grams ground pecans  +  vanilla sugar  +  tablespoon cinnamon

Turkish delight cut into thin rectangles


Divide into four [parts] and flatten into rectangles

Spread a thin layer of jam

Sprinkle the nut mixture in a thin layer

Arrange on the edge of the rectangle a border of Turkish delight and roll

Put into an oven heated to 180 degrees for half an hour

Slice diagonally while cookies are still warm

After cooling sprinkle [with] powdered sugar

Some people are stingy with their recipes.  When I once asked a friend how she made her lasagna, she answered, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”  My mom had to figure out for herself how Lois Callahan made her scrumptious bean dip.  And in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” Gareth’s recipe for duck a la banana dies with him.

I think it’s immoral to withhold good recipes, and I like this family’s style.  Rather than letting Savta Ida take her beloved nut cookie recipe with her to The Beyond, the family had it chiseled in stone for posterity.  Now that’s a legacy.

As for the recipe itself, I’ve never baked with Turkish delight and don’t plan to start now.  But I might get curious enough to make these cookies without it.

The best part, though, will be telling raving fans where I got the recipe.

[Thanks again, Mandy!]

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Help wanted

As part of my job search, I subscribe to a listing of jobs around the country called Israemploy.  It puts out a daily digest of positions to be filled which I usually scan quickly, then delete.  But today, for some reason, many of them caught my eye.

First there was the group of “been there, still doing that” jobs: Cook, Baker, Dishwasher, Kitchen worker, and General worker.  Not interesting.

Then there were the “What on earth is that?” jobs:

Nail builder.  Does this mean a manicurist, a maker of nails, or one who builds structures using nails?

Flash designer.  Tell me this isn’t someone who designs clothing for exhibitionists.

Law student.  Who knew that just going to law school was a career?  Does this mean that graduating involves a career change?

Kindergarten nanny.  I’ve heard of kindergarten teachers, and I’ve heard of nannies, but not kindergarten nannies.  Is that like Mary Poppins with a degree in early childhood education rather than a smartly dressed woman with a sharp tongue and a vain disposition?

Sushi person.  To make sushi?  To sell sushi?  To eat sushi?  To be a naked woman on whom sushi is sometimes served?  If someone who likes people is a “people person,” is someone who loves sushi a “sushi person?”  That would be me.

Salary controller.  This sounds promising, especially if I get to control my own salary.

If I wanted to work outdoors, there are a few options.

Beehive worker.  I assume this is to do with the collectors of honey rather than the stylers of hair.

Worker for a sheep pen (South).  Southern Israel, or South Australia?  Building the pen, or just mucking it out?  Never mind.

Agricultural worker – Seasonal.  This is up in Binyamina where I’m not sure what they’re harvesting.  Apples?  Pomegranates?  Pears?  Would I be working with Arabs?  Other Jews?  Leggy Swedes enjoying a few sunny months on kibbutz?

Perhaps the most boring would be Blow dryer, Hair drying assistant (presumably to assist the Blow dryer), and my favorite Hebrewism, “Hair wash fanist.”  (“Fan” is Hebrew for a hair drying appliance.)  Just think: I could stand around all day, getting varicose veins, watching hair dry.

Think I’ll keep looking.

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Why America isn’t #1

I’ve long been a fan of Bill Maher, political commentator and ranter extraordinaire.  I don’t agree with everything he says, and as a frum Jew I would qualify in his book as a superstitious lunatic.  But I still think he identifies many of the cracks in America’s façade that point to its failure to live up to its enormous potential, and delivers a speech about them that makes this sometime American want to weep and laugh at the same time.  (Israel should have an equivalent to Maher; one could make many of the same observations about Israel’s woefully untapped potential.)

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The Cap’n showed me this fake, but very funny, movie trailer last night.  I sometimes think too little fun is made of Hollywood and the film industry in general.  This dispels that regret.  (Only missing scene: Protagonist doesn’t tearfully confess, “I never learned to read!”)  Thank you, BriTANick.  You made my day.

Hat tip: Nomi

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Latma does it again with another parody about the strategies of the Middle East’s current Big Three: Erdogan, Asad, and Ahmedinejad.  Tip: Don’t try drinking Coke while watching this; it’ll come out your nose.

Hat tip: Jameel

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Much as I’ve enjoyed the last week or so, hashing over the awful events in the news, entertaining trolls and anti-Semites, and doing a lot of people’s thinking for them, it’s been a bit draining.  In fact, it seems miraculous to me that more people (especially Jews) don’t just become misanthropes given the sorry state of the world as reported in the news.  The Cap’n reminded me of the Good News feature in Arutz 7, and Barbara Sofer does a beautiful job in the Jerusalem Post (though even she was clearly nettled in last Friday’s column).

And then a friend told me about Jon Stewart’s treatment of Helen Thomas’s recent confession that made her long career in the White House press corps go down in flames.  His wickedly funny barbs at Thomas, followed by a highly amusing update on South Carolina politics (to which I pay no attention whatsoever normally) were just the tonic I needed to soldier on.  Check it out.

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In a week with a conspicuous absence of humor (at least in Israel), I just saw the following video on Facebook.  One of the singers is Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick, and other videos by Latma are highly recommended.  Have a look and a chuckle.  (Hat tip: Jeff W.)

And keep following the facts on the Muqata blog, including a description of the “humanitarian cargo” on the ships, including bullet-proof vests, rifle scopes, and night-vision equipment, and some of the home videos of the would-be martyrs “humanitarian aid workers.”  It’s quite a story unfolding.

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Food relics

Over time, vanilla yogurt makes a good glue.

I discovered this when wiping out my refrigerator yesterday.  As I tried unsuccessfully to pull out the bottom-most glass shelf, I remembered that a few months back, an unnamed family member had returned a half-eaten pot of yogurt to the refrigerator, which had then been knocked over and spilled, trickling down three shelves and, ultimately, cementing one of them in place.

As I applied warm water (to see if this glue is water soluble), I thought about people who don’t keep Pesach and what happens in THEIR refrigerators and freezers.  While I won’t say where I witnessed these things, I will say that I’ve either seen or heard of 25-year-old lamb chops being recovered from a basement freezer only after a storm knocked out power for days.  I’ve seen a human hip bone (the result of replacement surgery) in a ziplock bag in the freezer, being reserved to make an ornamental head of a walking stick.  I’ve seen a spice cabinet plagued by pantry pests laying their eggs in the threads of jars of dried oregano, neglected and nearly white from age.  And I’ve seen a rare Indonesian chili sauce on a refrigerator door, four years after its expiry date.  (Hoping to throw away this bottle of largely desiccated sauce, I helpfully located a “replacement” bottle of the stuff in a cupboard, only to find that it was two years past expiration.)

So to those who say Jews are nutty to do such a thorough cleaning job every year, I say, “What’s the alternative?”

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A bus joke

As some of you may be aware, one of the great debates in Israel these days is over “mehadrin”–or sex-separated–bus lines.  Some have bitter memories of Black Americans riding in the back of the bus, of the Montgomery (Ala.) bus boycott, and of Rosa Parks.  On these controversial bus lines, women are required to sit in the back of the bus.  Some say the haredi women want it this way, and others see it as absurd to insist that men and women be separated while riding for a short time on a city bus.  While proponents insist that the separate seating is voluntary, more than once a woman has been beaten and/or thrown off the bus by men for not complying with the separate seating “suggestion.”  (So much for shmirat negiah.)

This all makes even more therapeutic and amusing the joke my friend Daniel told me a few weeks ago:

A scantily clad woman gets on a mehadrin bus line and sits down next to a haredi man.  The man is embarrassed and irritated, but just turns in his seat to avoid looking at her.  (This is how you can tell it’s a joke, said Daniel.  They don’t beat the crap out of her.)  The next day the same woman, similarly dressed, gets on and sits down next to the same man.  He sees a pattern forming, and the next day when she sits down next to him, he hands her an apple.

“What’s this for?” she asks.

He answers, “The Torah says that when the serpent handed Eve the apple, she realized she wasn’t wearing any clothes.”

The woman shrugs her bare shoulders and puts the apple in her purse.

The next day the woman gets on the bus, sits down next to the haredi man, and hands HIM an apple.

“What’s this?” he asks.

With a smile, she answers, “The Torah says that when Eve handed the apple to Adam, he realized he had to go out and get a job.”

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Merry Purim

Check out the Purim costumes on this haredi family.  Suppose they know who they’re dressed as?  (Thanks, Shelly Bloom!)

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Post-Rapture pet care

I don’t read Bloomberg Business Week online, and I’m obviously missing out.

Yesterday the Cap’n read me an article about one Bart Centre, an entrepreneur who has decided there is a market niche for a post-Rapture pet care coordinator.  It seems that those who believe they will be Taken Up during the Rapture are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they are gathered to Paradise.  “Pets don’t have souls, so they’ll remain on Earth. I don’t see how they can be taken with you,” [one of the Faithful] says. “A lot of persons are concerned about their pets, but I don’t know if they should necessarily trust atheists to take care of them.”

That’s right.  If all the Righteous are gathered and their pets are left behind, who is left to take care of them?  It seems other God-believers are not entirely reliable because they might–just MIGHT–be given a share in the World To Come.  That leaves the atheists.  According to the article, “Rescuers must sign an affidavit to affirm their disbelief in God—and they must also clear a criminal background check.”

So listen up, atheists!  If you want to be a pet rescuer, this is the chance of a lifetime.  (But probably not.)  And if you’re in the business world and were looking for a new way to part people from their money, it looks like Bart Centre beat you to it.

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Nude beach Barbie

Our neighbor, a heavy smoker, very kindly passed on her grown daughter’s Barbies to the Crunch girls.  For an after-gan activity, Banana and I gave them all (plus their clothes) a bath, combed their hair, and laid them out on towels to dry.  The Cap’n, coming upon this, thought it looked like a soon-to-be-classic Barbie scene: the nude beach.

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A little rhyme popped into my head when I read the headline in last Friday’s Jerusalem Post which quoted Obama as saying, “I misjudged the will for peace.”  (Read with a broad Boston accent.)

Look at Obama sitting in his cawnuh

Eating his humble pie.

“Had they not been intractible

Or I so impractical

Peace mightn’t be pie in the sky.”

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Many of you have probably already received this in your inbox.  But for those who somehow missed it, it’s too good a giggle to miss.  It’s also the only post I can imagine where I can apply the two tags “humor” and “terrorism.”  If anyone knows the source of this witty little piece, please share it.

New threat levels declared worldwide after recent terrorist activity have resulted in the following:

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.”  Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.”  The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out.  Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to a “Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was during the Great Fire of 1666.

The Scots raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s Get the Bastards.”  They don’t have any other levels.  This is the reason they have been used on the front line in the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.”  The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.”  The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.  It’s not only the French who are on a heightened level of alert.  Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.”  Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans also increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.”  They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy.  These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Americans meanwhile, as usual, are carrying out pre-emptive strikes on all of their allies, just in case.

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With three daughters, I’m keenly aware of the heavy marketing aimed at young girls by Disney and whatever products they slap the sluts princesses’ faces on.  (Dolls, nightgowns, notebooks, games, toothbrushes, even toothpaste for heavens sake!)

Those tarts princesses sell more merchandise than I can guess at.  But where, may I ask, are the Disney fathers?  Granted, they’re all probably pear-shaped, gouty, pock-marked, and shamefully weak.  But it’s just plain sexist to have the young nymphets get all the attention, especially when all they do is scrub floors, get yelled at and left out of parties, go to sleep for 100 years, get run off the castle grounds, or given away to the crone next door for a handful of salad greens.  What about all those fairy tale dads?

Well let’s see.  There’s Rapunzel’s dad who is so worried about her pregnant mom and her gestational food cravings that he barters away his unborn child to give his wife just one more salad.  While he has no right to make the executive decision to give up their child, he does acknowledge the rights of the living over those of the unborn.  (How very modern of him.)

And then there’s the miller, father to the nameless waif whose purported ability to spin straw into gold gets her into trouble in “Rumplestiltskin.”  Millers were notorious drunkards, and meeting the greedy young king on the road (whose personal philosophy seemed to be, “You can never be too rich or have too much gold”) is too much temptation for him.  Since he’s a souse and a loser, no doubt he believes he can give his daughter a better start in life if he recommends her in some way to the king.  The fact that humans had never managed to turn anything but gold into gold doesn’t matter.  Leave getting out of that mess to the girl.  She’s managed this far, and with a father like me.  Hiccup!

But most dads are just clueless.  Or spineless.  There are the fathers of Snow White and Cinderella.  Both marry gold-digging hags the second time around (“trophy wives,” perhaps?), and are too absorbed in their own affairs to pay much attention to what happens to their first wives’ daughters.  Child-rearing being women’s work and all, they retire to their counting-houses, or wherever neglectful fathers usually retire to in order to let their new wives work their wicked wills on their defenseless daughters.  The fact that Snow White’s father may well have partaken in a meal of liver and lungs believed by the queen to be Snow White’s doesn’t bode well for her being missed around the palace.  But hey—she gets taken in and duly enslaved by a pack of neglectful dwarves, so all’s well that ends well, right?

And Hänsel and Gretel’s father is even worse.  He marries a scheming cow just like the others, but instead of spending all his time in the potting shed, he’s lying in bed next to her as she plans the children’s deaths, and ends up agreeing to her plans!  Thankfully, of course, she dies of a black heart within the month, his children return home to him laden with gold and jewels (and only a few cavities to show for their harrowing experience), and all is forgiven.

No, I think we’re giving dads short shrift in the toy industry.  I think in addition to the $10 whores princesses, these fairy tale fathers should be merchandised too.  If they’re plump, trim ’em down.  If they’re pocked, smooth out their skin.  If they’re too old and gray, give them Botox and Grecian formula.  But put aside your bias toward sexpots females and add these men to the fairy tale toy pantheon.  Girls will love playing with them.  And burying them alive.  And burning them.  And throwing them down ravines.

It’s all good, clean fun.

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A Happy & Healthy Chanukah?

I dreamt last night I’d acquired an appallingly large belly after consuming (with reckless abandon) the dozens of cookies left over from a large kiddush last Shabbat.  I woke up this morning feeling great virtual remorse.

Then I checked my email and found…this.

Thank you, Yehoshua Halevi, for perhaps the most paradoxical holiday greetings this Chanukah.

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Tootsie Rolls are kosher!

I received a mass email from my American rabbi today.  In a press release dated December 2, the Orthodox Union announced that it is now certifying as kosher Tootsie Rolls.

To those who did not grow up with the chewy, gooey confection, I pity you.  They were a favorite Halloween treat, and one which could keep one chewing delightedly for a good ten minutes.  They were put in the centers of Tootsie Pops, so one could enjoy a tangy lollipop, with a chocolatey chew chaser.  For a while they sold kits so kids could soften the Tootsie Rolls and put them into fun molds for an almost candy-making experience.  And when they came out with Giant Tootsie Rolls, it was just gilding the lily.  (One big one instead of a couple of handfuls of little ones, I guess.)

It was big news when Oreos became kosher.  (Though I admit I always preferred Hydrox to Oreos; guess the lard didn’t do as much to the taste as the kosher crowd imagined it did.)  But in my opinion, since there has never (to my knowledge) been anything to serve as a kosher substitute for Tootsie Rolls, this is possibly even bigger news.  What remains to be seen is if they will import them to Israel as an alternative to the horrid goos, gums, chews, and other sugary rubbish they sell here.

*Sigh.*  One small step for the OU, but one giant step for the kosher Yid.

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