LIKE Me – Please!

I am a humble, undemanding blogger. Week in and week out, for the past sevenish years, I have toiled to present you with quality kvetching on the vagaries of being single. I have lanced relationships and the chance at a cat-free future in order to blog for you on the subject of dating for perpetuity. I place no ads of my own (what you see is from WordPress), nor attempt in any way to monetize you, my dear readers. I ask nothing  except that every few years you send me on a trip.

Last time it was Israel. You voted me in as the popular choice blogger to accompany and liveblog a Nefesh B’Nefesh trip. This time my request is less spiritual and tax-deductible.

Please send me to Switzerland.

I received the following email in my inbox this morning:

Hi Mr. Bad For Shidduchim 🙂

I am a fan of your writing and thus reaching out because one of my clients has started a competition for Jewish writers. It’s a chance to win a week-long vacation at the only 4-star, 4-bedroom chalet-apartment  in the picturesque car-free resort of Saas-Fee in the Swiss Alps, Switzerland . Plus it’s Kosher!
 
It’s simple to apply: – be creative and describe in a comment why you deserve this vacation. 
 
If you are interested, see the link below:
 
Thanks very much!
 
Best,
 
Ben Heligman
Marketing Assistant, J-Town Internet Services Ltd.

I’m a little bit skeptical that a “fan of my writing” doesn’t know that I’m not a Mister. But I’m stifling that because if this is legit, I want to be in on it. This appears to be a publicity stunt for a kosher Swiss chalet, and they want us bloggers to compete in a fierce, pen-slashing competition for the honor of being their publicist for a week.

I’m in!  My gauntlet is down! My pen nub is sharp.

But why do I need this? Why should you follow that link and “Like” my comment?

(1) Well, consider pure charity. Here I am,  a lonely old spinster, with no husband, no children, not even a cat to give me love or joy. Nothing but the daily grind of work, and coming home to a cold, empty apartment at night, where I’ll sit, despondent, next to the phone, waiting for shadchanim who never call.

I’m having trouble keeping a straight face here, but you can’t see that. So pity me.

(1)b …And give me an opportunity to date a European. I’ve been out with so many Americans unsuccessfully. Maybe it’s the breed. Maybe it’s time to sample another continent.

(2) Alternatively, I can promise you compensation. I will write inspirational posts drawing lofty metaphors between cloud-covered peaks and endurance dating. Or maybe less inspirational posts about secret bank accounts and shidduch profiles. It all sounds a little half-baked right now, but I’ll work on it from the chalet. Promise.

(3) Personal development is important, and goodness knows I need some. For example, I don’t know how to ski. Help me work on myself to become a better, more rounded person, the sort that would be able to strike up a conversation with another single on a ski slope.

(4) Save me from becoming a crazy cat lady—send me where I can get buried in an avalanche and rescued by a Saint Bernard with a casket of alcohol. Seriously, what does an older single need more than the love and snuggling of a big furry drooling dog and a keg of whiskey? Bliss. Crazy dog lady sounds so much cooler.

(5) And finally: Swiss ice cream meet, anyone?

Jewish Mud Runs?

Chai Lifeline has probably done more for the health of the Jewish community than any (non-existent?) health awareness drives. Granted, we still eat too much chulent Thursday night. (Any chulent Thursday night is too much, imho.) But many people are choosing to pair their charitable efforts with a push at fitness, raising money and racing at the same time.

Right now would-be contributors have a choice between running a marathon and a Lake Tahoe bicycle century.  This is not, I think, enough options. I mean, it’s all lower body! It’s great for a Jew to be able to leave an area fast, but honestly. Maybe we’re a stiff-necked people because we don’t exercise our shoulders enough?

Which is why mud runs are such a great idea. Yes, you’re running. But only between obstacles. Mud runs require a well-rounded fitness level, so you can crawl through tunnels, climb ropes, nets, and walls, scramble over hills of straw or tires, swing across monkey bars, and swim under buoys.  Sounds like fun, right?

Alas, few of them are on Sunday.

Which got me thinking: wouldn’t this make the most amazing chol Hamoed event?

You know, a thematic mud run: Escape from Egypt!

Participants would start out scrambling over a field of straw. They have to haul an oversized brick up a mountain, slide down into a pit of cement, and scramble out via cargo net over bullrushes. (Yes, I’m mixing things. Don’t quibble.)

From here maybe you’ll have to climb a pyramid, dodge Egyptians trying to hit you with (padded) sticks (the children of runners can take this part), and swing hand-over-hand across a row of staffs. (That one needs work.)

Maybe from here you’ll have to duck into a dark tent and scrabble in the sand for some gold. (Find a token and you’re eligible for four cups of win at the finish! Okay, maybe that’s not such a great idea. You come up with a better one.)

You should probably have to catch a goat at some point, but to keep PETA away, we may have to go with a lasso/ring toss type of thing.  Then: can you get through Egypt’s border defenses without breaking your matzah? Think tunnels, cliffs, barbed wire, moats… If you have issues with gebrokts, maybe you’ll want to wrap your matzah in a garbage bag.

Demonstrate your emunah by wading into the Red Sea — and if it splits for you, consider that an automatic win.  For the rest, consider swimming.

Think you’re done? Uh uh. You have to do a little dance with tambourines first while singing Az Yashir. Then off you go, dashing across the hot desert to a water station… which is salty. (Hey, complain to God, not me. …wait, I sounded like Moshe there, didn’t I?)

Dash up a flaming mountain to retrieve your stone tablets, and please don’t comment that it looks like the brick you hauled up there earlier in the race. This is all metaphor, and we don’t have any other slaves to haul things up and down hills for us.

But whoever is playing God up there isn’t giving you your tablets unless you first recite what’s supposed to be written on it. (Go on: can you? Can you? Okay, just sing the Mah Nishtana and get out of here you shameful Jew.)

Anyway, if you make it back to your encampment, you can get your crowns. All finishers receive complementary sticks of marror.

It needs a little work, but I think there’s something there.

Anyone want to produce it, please, please?

Friday Repost: Am I Jaded Yet?

I was feeling a bit glum when I wrote this post about being jaded.

If I was jaded then, I’m post-jaded now. Dating is just this thing I do when I’d rather be scrapbooking. Sometimes it’s more interesting. Generally, it’s not as lasting. Sometimes, it produces memories that ought to be scrapbooked.

Friday Repost: Some Shorts

A quote from the post Clueless:

“I never dreamed that at this point in the game [with one son married and two more children ‘in the parsha’ for 2 and 3 years respectively] that I would still be so clueless about how the shidduch system works.”

And a quote from our Shabbos table:

Mother: Two new boys this week!

Father: (perks up) Really? Who?

Mother: Cousin Sarah had a boy and neighbor Rivky had a boy.

Father: Oh. Mazal tov. But too young for my daughter.

Me: Aaabbaaa… You have a one-track mind.

Father: It’s a millenia-old track. Haven’t you read your Megillas Rus recently? Ne’ami tells her daughters-in-law that even if she were to get married that night, they’d have to wait too long for her sons to grow up.

Me: But…

And a final observation from Me 101:

One thing about dating – it’s a great way to learn all sorts of things about oneself that one didn’t know before.

Good Morning Baltimore

Or Good Evening. Or Good Ice Cream. (Or, actually, the softest soft-serve ice cream I have ever had. Although, considering that I’ve only had soft-serve once before in my life, that’s not saying much.)

The ice creamery had an unusually high proportion of people looking for someone. In other words, singles.

I was busy debating whether I should walk up to the first arrival and ask, “Are you Bad4?” when the second walked in. They eyed each other from across the room, looking away whenever they saw the other looking, then peeking back again. I decided to see how long it took them to get together. Alas, my attention span is too short. I called the meeting to order.

My conclusion is that Baltimore has some super-cool single female types. It was almost worth the traffic.

(PS: Baltimorons: I found the mailbox, I found the Belt, and I found my way home, which was right where I left it. Thanks!)

Friday Repost: Get Set Up with Me

Sometimes I feel like a lucky charm. You merely have to come in contact with me to get engaged. It makes up for my complete lack of dating success. At least I know that I’m bringing joy to all my dates and friends.

Here’s one about the guys I date getting engaged.

And I feel like posting this one just because it covers the weddings of NMF #6 and NMF #7, and I think they’d appreciate the retrospective from this point in their marriages.

Please Be Understood

Everyone is making New Year’s resolutions to make this year better than last. It occurs to me that there is one thing that may improve communications in the comments threads muchly.

I would like to propose that we begin to use the sarcasm tag.

It looks like this:

/s

Or this </s>

And it means “This past sentence was not completely serious.”

This is important when dealing with religious Jews, because anyone left or right of normal (read: oneself) often has extreme ideas that are, let’s face it, just plain nuts. Since insanity is a common malady among our own,  our internal Nonsense Meters have a very high activation threshold, and frequently do not go off when they should.

In other words: we take each other seriously when we shouldn’t.

Hence the need for the </s> tag.

For those looking at it funny, the tag comes from HTML, the language used to write basic web pages.  Attributes are assigned to text by sandwiching them between tags. For example, <b>this will bold</b> text. The slash means “done with this attribute.” So </s> means “I have finished being sarcastic.”

Sarcasm gets a bad rap. But let’s face it – life without verbal irony would be so much less fun. And so much less Jewish. So step up, folks. Try it out.

The Love Poem of J. Alfred Einstein

You know those soppy sonnets about how her eyes are blue as the sky, her lips as red as a rose, etc? Well, it’s about time someone updated the concept, don’t you think? This poem was inspired by two separate comments regarding my hair both made by geeky types.

Geek: I would love to calculate the Hooke’s Law constant for your hair.

Me: Awwww…. I think. (Well, at least it’s a step up from “Can I pull one? Please?”)

Why stop there? A romantic geek could keep going, putting all his love into scientific and mathematical metaphors. I know this sonnet isn’t quite at the level of John Donne, my poetic hero, but it’s a start. I hope it inspires a new wave of geeky love poetry for the age.

 

The Love Poem of J. Alfred Einstein

I love to gaze at your beautiful eyes

Reflecting wavelength 754

I cannot maintain a realistic guise

That your hair’s cysteine bonds hold no allure.

The Hooke’s Law constant I would calculate

For every curl that you’ll ever grow

But Oh! I simply cannot concentrate

For you define the golden ratio.

Around you time passes at the speed of C,

And matters compress to Boson size

The answer’s always 1 for P(A&B)

Because I have already won the prize.

You be a charm quark and a strange I’ll be

And we’ll match our spins through eternity.

Thank You!

I would like to thank the supermarkets that have been playing a Chanukah medley while I shop instead of the usual jingly songs about creepy old men sneaking down your chimney to leave presents, or riding sleighs in the snow.

The Chanukah Playlist

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the list.  It’s a sum total of just under 1 hour of music:

DJew Hava Nagila – I couldn’t resist this hopped up version, even though I’ve never understood where Hava Nagila comes from or what it has to do with anything.

Mi Shema’amin by Benny Friedman – although not strictly a Chanukah song, the theme is close enough. And he’s got a great voice. Although someone else is singing in the video linked, and I’m not sure who.

Holiday Party by Pella Productions – It starts with Chanukah. Good enough. (Anyone know who these guys are?)

Candlelight by the Maccabeats

Maoz Tsur by PS22 – Another ‘couldn’t resist.’ They sound great. And I admire them for learning all the words right (although they seem to have chilukei deyos over whether it’s “yeshuati” or “yeshuasi”). I snipped off that inexplicable last part, obviously.

Chanukah track from A Gut Yohr by Sholom Jacobs – One of my favorite CDs for sentimental purposes. I don’t know why they do Chanukah with a chassidish havara, but I forgive them for the sake of my playlist.

Light the Way by Moshav Band – Not obviously a Chanukah song, but there’s a light theme thing going and it mentions Jewish continuity.

Candle in the Night – Seems to be an original song. No idea who.

Miracle by Matisyahu

Latke Man by the Yule Logs – on their album You Ruined Christmas. Weird, but I’m not turning down a song. I can’t find this on YouTube, alas. However, it’s a free download. Now why are a bunch of Christians writing us a Chanukah song and then giving it to us for free? What are we, charity cases? (Answer: yes.)

Chanukah Rights! by Six13

One Day by Matisyahu – It’s in the general theme.

Happy Hanukkah by Matisyahu – This man has contributed disproportionately to my playlist, forcing me to put it on shuffle. God bless him.

Eight Nights by StandFour

Rock of Ages – Presented by Aish.com

Haneirot Halalu by Six13 – Can it be? An original, non-parody song? A blessing on their heads!

Yesh Tikvah by Benny Friedman – In the general theme of things, plus I love this song and it’s totally party material. (It also probably wins the prize for most mismatched song and music video.)

Na Nach by Moshe Levi – Totally irrelevant, but a great song nonetheless. (Sorry, video is lousy. I can’t find the studio recording on YouTube.)

Shades of Grey has a whole bunch more music videos listed here that I should probably sift through. Some of them look interesting. But some are just more pop parodies. I tire of those.

Happy Chanukah! 

Thanks Guys!

I know this wasn’t specifically in response to my request for Chanukah songs, but thank you Matisyahu and StandFour for a couple more Chanukah songs. I would appreciate it if the StandFour guys would make their song downloadable somewhere so I can add it to my playlist.

Now, where is 8th Day, Moshav Band, and oh, how about this Alex Clare guy everyone is talking about?

 

HT to NotMiserablyOld and ADrop

Let’s Tap the Network

The Jewish calendar is fraught with moments of anxiety. There’s the “ohmigosh it’s Rosh Hashana again and I don’t think I’m any different than last year” fright. There’s the “Help it’s time to start cleaning for Pesach” panic that follows soon after. The “what do I do for mishloach manos” scariness. And then, every year, when the inflatable Santas go up and the poinsettias begin to appear, I start to wonder, “What am I going to put on my Chanukkah playlist?”

Starting about nowish, we will be subjected to non-stop Christmas music of astonishing (but still insufficient) variety. Some of it is even catchy and fun to listen to (the first 24 times or so). But go search for a Chanukkah song, and you come up with… um… maybe a half-dozen options, and that’s if you’re really generous and include every single Chanukkah song written since the dawn of time. (Peter Paul and Mary, anyone?)

In my quiet desperation, I trawled the internet, finding a metalized Al Hanisim,  a Shlock Rock song, a BNL called Hanukkah Blessings, and (I was very desperate here) a song called the Hanukkah Mambo by a group called the Yule Logs. (How umpromising is that?)

Add that to Matisyahu’s Miracle, Orrin Hatch’s Eight Days, YBC Those Were the Nights, Six13’s Chanukah Rights, and Maccabeats Candlelight, and we have enough music to last about 10 minutes.

Note that one song is written by a Mormon, another is a parody of a Tao Cruz song, another is a reworded La Bamba,  and a fourth is just updated instrumentals for the 21st century.

Hello!  How pathetic is this situation?

So I was thinking, who do we have who could write a good Chanukkah song? Matisyahu already did his duty. But what about the rest of the Jewish music world?

After mulling it over a bit, I decided that both 8th Day and the Moshav Band should be encouraged to write Chanukkah songs. I would love to do the encouraging myself, but I don’t know members of any of the bands.

But I’m a religious Jew. So there shouldn’t be more than three degrees of separation between me and any other religious Jew. Therefore, I ask any Chabadniks or… moshavniks? to please find these musical folks and ask them, on behalf of me and the entire Jewish community, if they can please put out a single before Chanukkah?