Friday, September 29, 2006


William Rivers Pitt delivers some truth about the new torture legislation on truthout, closing it up with this:

By writing this essay, I could be deemed an "enemy combatant." It's that simple, and very soon, it will be the law. I always laughed when people told me to be careful. I'm not laughing anymore.

In case I disappear, remember this. America is an idea, a dream, and that is all. We have borders and armies and citizens and commerce and industry, but all this merely makes us like every other nation on this Earth. What separates us is the idea, the simple idea, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our organizing principles. We can think as we please, speak as we please, write as we please, worship as we please, go where we please. We are protected from the kinds of tyranny that inspired our creation as a nation in the first place.

That was the idea. That was the dream. It may all be over now, but once upon a time, it existed. No good idea ever truly dies. The dream was here, and so was I, and so were you.

The whole piece is worth a read. Almost quoted the whole thing here. Go read it. Then, if your senator voted Noe, thank them.

WordSoundPower: An Easy Fast?

BZ already has up my favorite silly YK joke. So instead, I'll turn to a change in language I've come to over the last few years.

I don't know that I want an easy fast. A fast where we rip off the yoke of injustice is not going to be an easy one. Nor is trying to atone for all the sins, great and small, of the year going to be an easy thing. And the urgency we have at Neilah, as the gates are slowly closing (though we all know they're never really closed) should not be easy.

So may you be strong enough and focused enough in your fast and prayer that you're able to succeed. May our hunger be a hunger for the taste of a sweet and just world.

So please, dear readers, if you're fasting sunday night through monday night, have a good fast.

Lshanah Tovah.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Yo, this is T.O.

My own battle with depression has occasionally made for me to support unlikely public figures. Alex Rodriguez is one. He was traded to the Yankees for one of my favorite young prospects, Alfonso Soriano, who has continued to grow into an explosive force. Pay-Rod? The guy that took that contract? The guy who (according to The Boat and other Mets fans) wanted some kind of special arrangement in the Mets clubhouse? But when he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to that Harlem childrens hospital for mental illness and said that he, himself, went to therapy, I found myself pulling for him more and more. Wanting him to succeed. Wanted all the booing and hatred to stop, knowing that if I was depressed, the people who are supposed to support me booing would be the last thing I would need. Wanting him to succeed, and knowing (depression as I do) that even batting .500 in the World Series with 5 home runs might solve his critics, but would not solve his own demons.

A few years back, Schedule1 told me why he pulled for Terrell Owens, as he had heard about his life growing up, and could understand why he did some of the strange stuff he did on the field. Mind you, this was before all the weird stuff with Jeff Garcia, and with the public falling out with McNabb. I can't speak for Schedule1 now. But I do know with the story of Terrell Owens, too many pain killers and a Dallas Hospital that I was wondering.

Michael Silver of wrote a great piece on the TO story from the perspective of mental illness. He seems to get a bunch of things that the rest of the media are missing in this story, like:

"Irrational, negative and hopeless thoughts are the core symptoms of clinical depression. The factors that lead someone to attempt suicide have less to do with logic than with biochemistry. There is no story that can be broken that tells us why Owens might have taken those pills, no all-encompassing revelation that tidily accounts for his actions. "

and also, this piece:

When I heard Etheredge complain that the Dallas cops were "taking advantage of T.O." and insist that Owens "has 25 million reasons why he should be alive" (which shows a complete lack of understanding about the nature of depression, for starters), I have to confess I wanted someone to empty the contents of my stomach.

Great piece. And as someone who pulls for folks with mental illness, the outcasts, the kids who had a rough time, the forgotten of society, to make good, maybe I have to add TO to that list.

Operation Hydration...

so rumor has it that the fast is somewhat easier if you drink so much you feel like you're floating away. So feel free to drink up, yidn, the fast is coming.

As for me, I'm slowly making my way through tshuvah, and have even done one or two things I'm not too proud of this week. yeesh. Little things, mind you, but we write with our own hand the deeds we do.

Friday, September 22, 2006

This Is Next Year

Wow, each year really does go by faster than summer vacation. To my friends, my loved ones, my enemies, and friends/enemies i haven't met yet who happen to be reading this blog.

This year was a good one in some ways, not so great in others. As with what's become an increasingly common pattern in my life, I've been distracted, sometimes hard to reach, not always the most considerate. I've definitely not always been the presence in some of your lives that I want and hope to be. Forgetful, occasionally deceitful and frustrating. When G-d closes the books on this year, I've definitely got some stuff I'm not proud of going on there, but also a few things I did okay with. This year has been filled with moments I'd love to relive and others that I'm relieved are done.

As my Nanny, G-d bless her, and all Brooklyn Dodgers fan said in 1955,

This is next year.
and may you all be written for a good and sweet one.

Lshana Tovah.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

they say it's your...

Three of my favorite people in the world get a little older today:

Melissa Ferrick, GodofPoool, and of course, my Knucklehead. This is her fourth birthday since we started seeing each other, although I sadly missed '04 while driving to Florida with EA. So blessed to have her in my life.

gotta help herrrrrrrrrrrrrr get rrrrrrrready


Monday, September 18, 2006

I can't get no relief...

What a weekend. Great davening, a handful of great short plays, met some great cool new folks, fun with knucklehead, lots of music, football with schedule1 and mk. And we'll get to all that soon, I promise. But something's on my mind.

I know the group of you that come semi-regularly to this blog are here for political insight, or music reviews, my poems, and whatnot. But the temperature is comfortable, the kids are back in school, the Chaggim are approaching, as is the Feast of San Gennaro, and that means one thing.

Playoff Baseball.
Yankees Playoff Baseball.

(okay, I guess that's three things)

So, October is not hear yet. And I don't care what anyone says, the Yanks Magic Number is FOUR. When it's ZERO, I'll celebrate. But it's not over yet. And dropping three of four to those ass-clowns this weekend was not acceptable. Like the let down in the 2003 World Series, the team seems to have lost its edge this weekend.

Now, I realize that when Joe Torre leaves his tenure as Yankees manager, he'll have accumulated a record that could be put into arguments about the all time Yanks manages (Stengel, Huggins, McCarthy). And who can complain about 4 World Series titles, 6 Al Pennants, 10 Division Titles and a wild card? Not a bad curriculum vitae.

But there have always been little things that have just frustrated me about his managing style. To the life of me, I've never understood how he makes his pitching decisions. Particularly relief. The Yankees bullpen is overworked, and yet, isntead of resting our overworked relievers who no can get no one out, Joe keeps calling on the same horses who's arms are dead, and frankly, we need them for the playoffs.

Old friend of mine Cliff Concoran over at Bronx Banter covered this Torre story last year with the release of Steve Karsay. It's worth a read if you're a Yankees fan reading the blog. I wish someone would send it to Joe.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A great day/A sad day...

I'm psyched that John Hall won. And hopeful we can bring another truly progressive voice to Congress in the Fighting 19th of New York.

But progressives lost a feisty Texan voice yesterday. Ann Richards passed on. The General, a feisty Texan progressive in her own right, does her far more justice than I ever could.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

96.7 percent reporting

John Hall pulls away from the crowd with 48.72% our next closest person is at 26.89%. It's looking good.

Meanwhile, in non-Eday land..

Matsui is FOUR FOR FOUR going into the SIXTH?!?!
Moose has only given up four hits and no runs through six?!


"whatever it is, that's what it is"--- Poppy

It's all over but the counting. I have to say, while there were two or three missteps I can think of, I think i actually did a decent job today. let's see what the numbers say...

actual quote from a constituent in New York's Fighting 19th Congressional District:

Can your candidate lower the insurance rate on my moped?

You can't make this stuff up.

Only 3 more hours to go...

Things are going okay up here. We've been knocking out our phone calls and have two teams in the field, too. The only operation of the last two years that's been smaller was the Healthcare Champions program. After '04's experience, I don't want to hear shit about how well we're doing. I want those doors done, those phone lists knocked out. Talk to me about how well we're doing at 9:01pm.

We're having a field day!

Embracing the "bug" as jnk called it, I'm in New York's Fighting 19th Congressional District today, and may even do some liveblogging. Go John Hall! GO VOTE!

We have not forgotten. You have.

I've been a huge fan of Keith Olbermann over the years; it started with sports; 2 years ago, Countdown and his blog seemed to be the only place I could find news about Ohio.

Thanks Keith. For taking a few moments to say on the air to the rest of the country what so many of us New Yorkers believe in our souls.

8 minutes of eloquence (h/t Crooks and Liars)

Primary Day!

Don't forget to vote today.

Unless you're like me and registered no party affiliation. Then remind people to vote and bust your ass in key Congressional races, like this one:

John Hall for Congress

I apologize for ignoring y'all. I'll be back from planet E-Day on wednesday. But man, did I miss it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Don't waive your rights with your flags.

Five years later, and they still dance on our ashes.

Makeshift Patriot, by Sage Francis

(People talking)
I'm tired of hearing of young fellows, who think you know it all.
You know nothing, you have not seen a shot fired,
and you're waving the damn flag.

Frank, what's that man?

I'm just watching some bullshit.
On the news. It's fucking bullshit.
Reporters trying to win a fucking emmy.

Makeshift patriot,
the flag shop is out of stock,
I hang myself at half mast.

It's the makeshift,
The patriot,
the flag shop is out of stock,
I hang myself for your live telecast.

Coming live from my own funeral
Beautiful weather offered a nice shine,
Which is suitable for a full view of a forever altered skyline.
It's times like these I freestyle biased opinions every other sentence.
My journalist ethic slips when I pass them off as objectives.
Don't give me that ethical shit.
I've got exclusive, explicit images to present to impressionable american kids,
and it's time to show this world how big our edifice is.
That's exactly how they attacked,
when a typically dark-skinned disney villain.
Use civillians against civillians and charge the trojan horse into our buildings.
Using commercial aviation as instruments of destruction.
Pregnant women couldn't protect their children;
wheelchairs were stairway obstructions.
I had to back-pedal from the shower of glass and metal,
wondering if after it settles,
we'll find who provided power to radical rebels.
The melting pot seems to be calling the kettle black when it boils over,
but only on our own soil,
so the little boy holds a toy soldier,
and waits for the suit and tie to come home.
We won't wait till he's older, though,
before we destroy hopes for a colder war to end.
I'll get a close-up of his head.

Makeshift patriot,
the flag shop is out of stock,
I hang myself at half mast.

It's the makeshift,
The patriot,
the flag shop is out of stock,
I hang myself while the stock markets crash.

The city is covered in inches of muck.
I see some more pictures of victims are up
Grieving mothers are thinking their children are stuck,
leaping lovers are making descisions to jump while holding hands,
to escape the brutal heat;
sometimes in groups of three.
The fallout was far beyond the toxic clouds where people look like debris
but all they say when all was said,
beyond the talking heads,
was the bloody dust with legs,
looking like the walking dead calling for meds.
All the hospitals overwhelmed,
volunteers need to go the hell home.
Moments of silence for firefighters were interrupted by cell phones.
Who's going to make that call, to increase an unknown death toll?
Its the one we rally behind.
He's got a megaphone, promising to make heads roll.
We'd cheer him on, but asbestos is affecting our breath control.
The less we know, the more they fabricate,
the easier it is to sell souls.

(Man talking)
There is a new price on freedom, so buy into it while supplies last.
Changes need to be made;
no more curbside baggage,
seven pm curfew,
racial profiling will continue with less bitching.
We've unified over who to kill, so until I find more relevant scripture to quote,
remember, our kind is bigger, stronger, smarter, and much wealthier.
So wave those flags with pride, especially the white part.

We're selling addictive, twenty-four hour candlelight vigils on TV.
Freedom will be defended at the cost of civil liberties.
The viewers are glued to television screens, stuck,
'cause lots of things seem too sick.
I use opportunities to pluck heartstrings for theme music.
I'll show you which culture to pump your fist at,
which foot is right to kiss.
We don't really know who the culprit is yet,
but he looks like this.
We know who the heroes are,
they're not the xenophobes who act hard.
We taught that dog to squat,
how dare he do that shit in our own back yard.
They happen to scar our financial state,
and char our landscape.
Can you count how many times so far I ran back the same damn tape?
While the cameraman creates news and shoves it down our throats,
on the west bank, with the ten second clip put on constant loop to provoke US angst.
So get your tanks and load your guns and hold your sons in a family huddle,
'cause even if we win this tug of war and even the score,
humanity struggles.
There's a need of blood for what's been uncovered under the rubble;
some of them dug for answers in the mess,
but the rest were looking for trouble.

Makeshift patriot,
the flag shop is out of stock,
I hang myself at half mast.

It's the makeshift,
The patriot,
the flag shop is out of stock,
I hang myself.
Don't waive your rights with your flags.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Everyone I know goes away in the end...

My brother HisHighness got the call. And so, while having a really nice shabbas lunch with Knucklehead, BZ, EAR, Shamirpower, Frumsky, E, DB and a few of DB's friends, I, in turn, got the call.

HH: They called me for this class. I'm leaving tomorrow.
Me: Jeez! Well, good news, but its fucking soon. Man. Okay, uh...
HH: Yeah, I'm outta here noon tomorrow.
Me: whoa! Okay, you got dinner plans?
HH: Yeah, i'm seeing the counselor and her family.
Me: okay, uh, breakfast before you hit the road?
HH: Yeah, sure, get out of the city, be here by 11.

And we went to TGI Fridays (TRADITIOOOOOOOOOOOON!) and talked about our other brothers, friends, the Yankees, politics, like any other day. Except this day, he was leaving for four months of academy, and a hopeful but by no means definite return to New York.

While driving home with Knucklehead cutely snoring next to me, it occured to me that my list of people within the boroughs I'd call when the shit hits the fan has grown dangerously small. With MM back west, HH heading for training, The Boat upstate, HC in the south, and Fearless Reporter in the Middle East, I'm frightened by my inability to assemble a crew on short notice. Thank G-d Schedule1's on my side.

This is the adulthood everyone warns you about, right? Your friends move away, etc. Even if it is the Greatest City in the World, things seem to shift. Now don't get me wrong, I'm got a great bunch of friendships I'm slowly and steadily forging; people I know and love who are blessing my life by stepping in to those breeches. And it's not like these folks that are leaving are telling me to fuck off and won't speak to me again. But the Boat and I used to talk about how we used to take the regular poker game for granted, and now, we can't even always get the crew together for one.

At least some things don't change. It's September, and the Yankees magic number is 18. With any luck, they'll clinch the AL East by the time I'm chowing down at San Gennaro.

Friday, September 01, 2006

what a way to start shabbas...

Don's back in the hospital. Again. 5 days earlier than the hospital expected him. Please G-d, heal his body, mind, and soul.