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Sunday, December 30, 2007


Remember when the Sunday Circulars used to be filled with products that were actually on sale? And by sale I mean "less money than full price." What exactly is the point of printing up a 40 page ad full of items that have been available for months and are still at their most expensive price? You're not fooling anyone!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Kingdom for a Fish Stick!

Robert Avrech’s post about his wife Karen’s Free Lunch at Yeshiva of Flatbush, coupled with my recent obsession with finding old elementary school mates on Facebook, just kicked up an old memory.

Halfway through first grade, my mother finally took me to an allergy specialist in Manhattan who determined, after several long hours of poking, prodding and scratching which would probably have been a violation of the Geneva Convention, that my incessant coughing, sniffling and eye rubbing was due to me being allergic to…EVERYTHING.

EVERYTHING! Cats! Dogs! Mice! Trees! Grass! Dirt! Flowers! The entire month of May! And just about every food imaginable. And so, armed with this invaluable bit of diagnostic determination, she sent me back to school one day with a note laying out to the teacher exactly what, and more importantly, what NOT, I was allowed to eat at the school lunches.

Now, for the last 13 years, my wife and my kids (and rarely, me) have packed up sandwiches, juice boxes, cut-up apples, yogurts, and snacks, and zipped them into little lunch boxes and launched our little ones off to school where they would suffer through “cold lunches,” not knowing any better. Not so where I went to school. In Yeshiva Dov Revel, EVERY day was a hot lunch day. We lined up to have our trays loaded with noodles, potatoes, veggies, fish sticks, and the occasional vegetable cutlets (I called them, in my usual charming little way, “cocklets,” for such they resembled). I’m sure there were many kids who didn’t like these lunches (and for them there was always peanut butter), but I relished them.

Until, of course, the day my mother sent that note with me. Now, the truth is, I did pretty well with most of it. I didn’t miss the peanut butter sandwiches. I lived well without the “cocklets”. I even deftly avoided chocolate in all of its forms, and my mother and my friends’ mothers were quick to accommodate me with vanilla treats instead (until the day I found out that Twinkies weren’t kosher, but that’s a tale for another time).

But once a week, my resolve was sorely challenged, and crumbled. Fried Flounder Day.

I don’t know what it was about that meal. You could smell it all the way up to the classrooms. The aroma would waft through your nostrils during the march down the stairs, and it would permeate you during the long line up at the doors to the cafeteria. And of course, when my turn at the counter came up, I would take a serving on my plate.

And then the teacher…she was a Sabra, that one…militant in her determination to carry out my mother’s orders, would remove them from my plate and send me to sit in my place down towards the middle of the table. Where I would sit and stew and stare down at what remained of the meal, usually mashed potatoes and some macaroni…and plot my next move.

Which, at the age of six, wasn’t all that sophisticated. It amounted to me shoving all of my potatoes on to my buddy Jonathan’s plate, and then him sliding his fish, which he hated, onto mine. And then, timing my move down to the nanosecond, waiting for the teacher to turn and greet a colleague, I’d duck down under the table and consume my contraband lunch on the floor.

And sniffle and cough my way through the rest of the day. But man, it was worth it.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I see the spaces stretching out between posts and I wonder if I should be blogging more often. I wonder if Psychotoddler has Jumped the Shark (answer: yes, probably around the time Cro Magnon Man appeared--the appearance of a pre-historic character is always a harbinger of Shark Jumping).

The truth is that there are a lot of things I'd love to blog about, but that Psycho Toddler has become a victim of its own success, and now I have to bite my tongue a bit more because the events or people I'd really like an outlet to blog about will probably end up reading what I write (and getting pissed off).

Then I think, maybe I should just write something just to keep up with it, but I get into the dilemma of trying to figure out just what is blogworthy. Sure, early on I could write about a drug chotchke or what I had for lunch and get away with it.

But now, if a week goes by between postings, is it really worth anyone's effort to read about the fact that I badly need a haircut (which would, to be fair, be the sum and total of the post)? Or that we ran out of Cheerios last week and I almost exploded? Or that my Griffin Tuneflex broke and I went through iPod withdrawal, but their tech support was awesome and they sent me a new one? Or that when the box for a new Webcam asserts that it can get "up to 30 frames per second", what it really means is "1 or 2." Or the fact that one of my patients gave me an itunes card and I used it for...The Best of Men at Work?

In Medicine we have this acronym "TKO" which refers to a token trickle of IV fluid used "To Keep Open" a vein so that the IV doesn't get clogged off even though you really don't have anything to put through it.

I'd hate to think this blog needs TKO posting.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The 2007 Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert

Neil Kramer (Citizen of the Month) has done it again, uniting all of mankind and creating Peace on Earth and blah blah blah.

Go visit and stop by our booth and say hi!
Happy Channuka to all my Jewish friends!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Upcoming Gigs

Here are a few chances to catch me playing live in the weeks to come:

December 8: Channukah Party at Beth Jehuda in Milwaukee with Milwaukee Simcha Band!

Notice how we took the poll results to heart and chose a name that wasn't even one of the choices! Actually we are still in a state of existential angst and can't decide on a name that we all don't hate. In fact, the word "Band" got tacked on to the end of the name by the person who made the flyer, over the very strong objections of our mandolin player.

Anywhoo, if you're in Milwaukee, drop by after Shabbos. I think it's like $5 a person. I really don't know who is playing or what we will be playing. How's that for publicity?

December 9: Shock Rock with Etan G and featuring the guitar and bass of Mendel and Me, heart of the lion Moshe Skier Band.

At the AYSH Synagogue in Northbrook IL, 4PM. Check out the website for tickets and information.

December 29: Young Israel of West Rogers Park Melaveh Malkah featuring The Midwest's Loudest Jewish Rock Band, The Moshe Skier Band. Probably. 9pm. A great venue for a great pretty good band.