Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmassakkah, Part 2: Friends from the Neighborhood


***To hear Parts 1 and 2 of this essay read aloud, visit WordPlaySound and listen to the December issue.



My Christmas memories are an amalgam of simultaneous dread, distortion and melodramatic nostalgia that could have all occurred on the same Christmas that I was seven, nine or twelve.  With the Tree-Returning Incident, for example, I said I was nine but I may have been seven.  Or twelve.  That event may, in fact, have been the same year my father and his brother chose affirmative action as the topic of discussion to best celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus. 

I do not recommend this...ever.

Grandma -a lady who believed that you could outgrow being Chinese and thus had very little perspective to add to a discussion on affirmative action- was there and I had to give my bed up to her  -I always had to give my bed up to her and I felt this was a great injustice since no one else had to give up their beds.  She and my mother only ever greeted each other through clenched teeth.  Like all good Jewesses, my mother decorated the house in all its Christmassy fashion, right down to the red bow on our Westy terrier, who, quite matter-of-factly, chose my other uncle's foot as his fire hydrant.  Andy Williams was singing carols on the record player -yes, indeed, I said "record player," people.  My father even bought a 3D puzzle of Yuletide London, which tormented us into believing that at least three pieces were missing.  Everything was perfect, especially the twelve-foot tree my father erected after three relentless hours of fir needles and curses.  The arena was optimized for the self-destructive forces of sibling rivalry and familial angst.  In other words, the scene was primed for the Bumpuses's dogs to destroy our turkey.

Yes, sir, affirmative action.  Not the least probability that such an intellectual venture could spew forth such vitriolic tidings of Christmas joy.

Two hours after the table was cleared, my father and uncle were still asserting liberal and liberal-liberal standpoints with their overly assertive Italian eyebrows.  I had long ago immersed myself in the foam-and-picture world of 3D London to avoid any verbal spillover.  The debate was no longer about affirmative action. It was simply about anger.  Although the Tree-Returning Incident and the Great Affirmative Action Debate may or may not have been the same year, something nasty had undoubtedly gone viral in our home at the holidays because this may also have been the same Christmas on which we thought family friends had lost their son to a fatal car crash.

The Houstins* moved with us from Long Island to the same neighborhood in Connecticut.  Brian and my brother played soccer together.  I remember not liking them because when my parents vacationed in Hawai'i for their fifteenth anniversary, leaving my brother and me at the Houstins's home, I held my s*** in for all five days. It was my way of saying, "Mrs. Houstin, I find your peculiar brand of cuisine most displeasing, your disposition most unkind, and your oddly masculine voice somewhat petrifying. I shall, therefore, not defecate this morn."

My father warned my brother that Brian was the kind of a**hole that would one day be driving a car in which the passenger would be killed, that Brian wouldn't die.  My brother paled when the prediction came true.  We actually received a phone call reporting that Brian died in the hospital, to which my mother buried her face in her hands.  I didn't understand why.  The other boy was dead on impact.  I knew his father and had heard that he was a nice boy.  We didn't like Brian.  And, he killed somebody else on Christmas Day.  I remember thinking the wrong boy died when I heard that Brian was still calling the hospital nurses "bitches" after the accident.

Sometimes I don't understand Christmas.  We struggle so much to be with the ones who we love but who we can't bear to be near for longer than it takes to say, "Hello."  We try to please the ones who don't want to be pleased. We try to talk casually with people we can't chat with.  We try to love the people we wish were dead and try to be sad when we think they actually are dead.  You needed to be vigilant to avoid catastrophe.  You could never let down your guard lest you allow a poor discussion topic to enter the room.  And, then we spend the rest of our lives wishing we had back the Christmasses that went bad.  Is this the meaning of Christmas?  Love the friends and family you have now because they might be gone tomorrow?  Love them because you might not have the chance to love them ever again? Is the message of Christmas Spirit so obvious?  Is it this contrived?  This trite?   

Yes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur: What's the point? (repost)


In Game 1 of the 1965 World Series, Sandy Koufax didn't pitch because it was Yom Kippur. Although I'd like to think he was being a good Jewish boy, he might also have been observing to avoid hearing his mother say, "Sanford, you should be ashamed of yourself."

I honestly don't know why we Jews have a special High Holy Day set aside for atonement. What's the point? Even after we break the fast, the guilt is still going to be there. It never goes away. I feel guilt for things as ridiculous as forgetting to pay equal homage to both the Feast of San Gennaro and Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah got its own blog post; the Feast got nothing. Every year Yom Kippur comes around and every year I'm still atoning for the same transgressions. Am I supposed to clear all of this up by doubling up on guilt when I fast? Do I fast so that the my empty stomach exacerbates the usual guilt that typically results in loose bowel movements?

I say, "Oy."

My mother used to have -perhaps, still has- a plug-in wall candle...a nightlight with Hebrew inscribed around the candle in the center. I didn't know what it said but knew it was somber. Every Yom Kippur, my mother would turn off the kitchen light and plug this candle into the wall in honor of her father who had passed away shortly after I was born and who my middle name is after. Grandpa Stanley. I didn't really know him. That candle made me think of him, though. I'd look at pictures of him singing -he was supposedly a phenomenal singer and musician. I'd look at his old pipes sitting on our bookshelf. And then, I'd fast in order to induce guilt for never having known him. How dare I?

Jewry of the world, hear me: Yom Kippur is overkill! Cool it down, people. Can we simply come to an agreement that Yom Kippur should be the one guilt-free day of the year since the other 364 are spent feeling guilty? I'm not sure if Yom Kippur is designed to bear the burden of the generations past, but if so, it's working and it's annoying.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The F-Bomb (Revisited)



Great news! The Good Men Project just published The F-Bomb, an article from Matzoh and Meatballs's June 2011 post! Check it out and share it with anyone who can no longer drop the f-bomb at will. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Party Like It's 5999!


Happy New Year...the Jewish New Year, that is.

Like I've said, I'm a sorry excuse for a Jew and very much unaware of most things Jewish.  I had to look up the Jewish calendar on Wikipedia to learn that it's the year 5773.  Apparently even Google knows when it's Rosh Hashanah as evinced by the shofar replacing "o" in it's icon.  To be honest, even when my family actually observed the Jewish High Holidays, I didn't know what year we were celebrating.

My only true devotion to Rosh Hashanah was due to the fact that, in New York, it meant no school -not in Maine, though, as I increase the Jewish population by one hundred percent.  It also meant another day off in ten days time for Yom Kippur.  Yom Kippur, however, is a bit of a downer, a day of atonement.  No fun.  Rosh Hashanah is a party!  Pump it up, Matisyahu.

Admittedly, I know very little of the holiday, so I decided to do a little research.

Did you know that this holiday is closely associated with sounding the shofar?   It's supposedly quite loud.  I wouldn't know, however, as I've never prayed in synagogue on such an occasion.  Here's something I didn't know:  Rosh Hashanah is supposed to represent the creation of the Universe (Wikipedia says to capitalize "Universe" in this case -must be a Jewish thing).   Ah, ah!  I knew this one:  Jews are supposed to call their relatives on the eve of Rosh Hashanah before sundown.  I've used that as an excuse before.  Faculty meeting after school today?  Sorry, gotta get home to call Grandy.  The new year and all...

I suck.

Let's face it:   Gentile holidays are way more fun.  Sorry, my Jewish peeps, I'm throwing you under the bus.  Chanukkah is okay, especially with its silent "c" and whimsical spellings, but even multitudes of American Jews celebrate Christmas.  It might as well be a Jewish Holiday.   Rosh Hashanah, come on!  There's no five tons of confetti tossed capriciously and drunkenly around. There's no giant ball of light dropping down in Jerusalem.  Nobody's popping corks of Manischewitz. No Klezmer band playing Auld Lang Syne.  Just some apples and honey and, if you're lucky, a little gelt...wait, that's Chanukkah.  See, you don't even get chocolate money?  No fun, Rosh Hashanah.

So, here's my moral epiphany:   in the Tri-State area, Rosh Hashanah is better known as Rosh-a-Home-ah because every Jew clogs the Long Island Expressway and the Saw Mill and the Garden State Parkway on the commute home from the city to be in by sundown.  Somehow, they all make it in time and, in days past, this included my father whose commute brought him in at exactly 7:42 p.m. every single night of my younger years.  We made sure we sat down to dinner, maybe with a fresh challah bread from the city, and we'd eat.

Happy Rosh Hashanah.



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hitler and Fashion


This is good.

As the global economy attempts to rebound, the fashion industry has been forced to experiment with somewhat unconventional brands. A new boutique birthed itself in India under the auspicious title, "Hitler." Charmingly, in much the same manner that a teeny-bopper adorned with friendship bracelets and "juicy" embroidered across her bottom dots her letter "i" with a heart, this Euro-stylized harbinger of what's "in" topped it's own with a swastika.

Shop owner Rajesh Shah's retort to the global media's criticism and Israeli political finger-wagging: "It wasn't until the store opened I learnt that Hitler had killed six million people."

I find myself curiously wondering what Hitleric fashion looks like in India, particularly given Adolf's affinity for the blond-haired, blue-eyed. It seems an unlikely marriage, though some argue India's independence and Gandhi's rise indirectly have Hitler to thank for drawing UK forces primarily into Europe and out of its territories.

Still, I ask, "Why this union?" and conclude it must be Indo-hipster fashion. Perhaps, Mr. Shah is offering a full line of Jewish star t-shirts for his patrons to wear ironically. Perhaps, for those unable to grow facial hair, he sells adhesive Adolf mustaches.

Actually, I think Mr. Shah might be onto something. Much like Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy, Mr. Shah might establish Hitler, Himmler, and G├Âring. In fact, Goebbels could be the Piperlime of Nazi footwear.

Mr. Shah has stated he will more than gladly change the name of the shop if compensated, as he spent 150,000 rupees for branding. Sure, sure. After all, I didn't realize naming my new bistro "Auschwitz" was so taboo.

My recommendation, Mr. Shah? Do a little more research next time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Announcement

Before reading my latest post, don't forget to check out my online publications at:

Also, purchase The Alarmist's inaugural issue to read my story, The Lobster's Name Is Nick.

Now, read on...thanks.

Well, isn't this awkward?


Ladies and gentlemen, this is self-loathing at its finest: Csanad Szegedi, a former leader of Hungary's anti-Jewish Jobbik Party, recently decided to share that he, himself, is, in fact, Jewish.

Oops...

I imagine Szegedi's internal monologue as he thought of an excuse went a little something like this:
Well, you see, um, I guess I might have forgotten to mention that my mother was Jewish.
And, that Jewish tradition holds that I'd, too, be Jewish. And, maybe I failed to disclose that my grandparents had an Orthodox Jewish wedding.
And, that they survived the Holocaust.
But, hey, my Jobbik brethren...yeah, Adolf.
Now, one might be inclined as I was, at least initially, to laugh in Mr. Szegedi's face, to deem this the ultimate in denial, to use this to assert that the rumors Hitler was Jewish just might be true, to proclaim, "Take that, all you anti-Semitic a**holes!" However, this is actually bad news.

Szegedi's confession, a story that is both charmingly dark and chillingly hilarious, simply reinforces that we Jews are, indeed, self-loathing. It gives merit to stereotype. We're always the self-haters, the Eeyore's of the world, the we'll-lose-before-the-ref-blows-the-whistle-because-we're-just-not-that-good-at-the-game pessimists. This just supports the accuracy of every single Jews-are-self-haters joke.

Mr. Szegedi, you're a jerk! I don't want a confession that helps the other side! You couldn't have admitted to being Italian or Irish or Australian...Or Martian? No, this is what you leave me?

Thanks for nothing, d**k.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Announcement

My good people, I'm on Tumblr.

Follow me at http://adamrabasca.tumblr.com/

Now...keep reading to find out why my grandmother thought you could outgrow Chineseness....

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Grandma said you can outgrow being Chinese.

I don't want to say my father's parents were ignorant but, upon meeting my aunt's adopted niece, Grandma Marie Rabasca said not to worry, that she would outgrow being Chinese.

I believe the girl is still Chinese and still waiting to outgrow it.

In the relatively recent past, my father, his brother, and the same aunt waiting for her adopted niece to outgrow Chineseness took a heritage trip to Calitri, Italy, to find our distant family. The trip was a success. They met first cousins, learned we are related to the man who hid the questionably mystical Shroud of Turin from the Nazis, and discovered that we are probably a billionth Albanian. Sometime during the height of the Ottoman Empire, a man named Rabasca emigrated from Albania, set up shop in the mountains outside Naples, and established a family that would eventually have a road named after the man who would eventually immigrate to America and eventually establish the family that would eventually lead to me.

The operative word here is "Albania." I'm pretty sure we cannot outgrow this. I'm also pretty sure that my grandparents are still turning in their graves over this one.

For the record, I don't personally have an issue with Albanians nor with anyone trying to outgrow their Albanianness.

My grandparents, however, would likely disapprove of our being anything other than fully Italian. It was a big step for them to accept that their youngest son would marry a Jewish girl. You can't outgrow that one, either...believe me when I say I've tried.

We do seem to be less and less "pure blooded"-sorry, Adolf. I recently read an article about Italian soccer star, Mario Balotelli, an adopted man of a Sicilian Jewish family.

Oh, by the way, he has been unsuccessful at outgrowing being black, specifically Ghananian.

Mr. Balotelli has endured a fervor of such ethnically hostile epithets that I'm surprised he didn't score against his own team in the Euro 2012 Cup. In Turin, the fans welcomed him by throwing bananas onto the field. I imagine the ones throwing bananas are also appalled at the idea that the Moors once invaded southern Italy, slept with Italian women, and shared genes that darkened their offsprings' complexion.

Come on, my fellow paisanos. Do we really have that much time on our hands that we need to hurl fruit at a man kicking a ball into a net because his skin's a reminder that "other" people are, in fact, out there?

At the center of this disproportionately reactive behavior lies the question we ask in America: who are we? Balotelli, an athletic hero, is redefining the meaning of "Italian," as we ask here, "What is an American?" We do seem to be less and less of who we think we are and it is threatening to a great many people. My own daughters are more Italian than anything else -that is to say that they are exactly one-quarter Italian. But, then again, they're one-quarter Jewish, which is to say that they would have been spared in the Holocaust, according to the Nuremberg citizenship laws. Their dad would have been out of luck. I haven't even yet mentioned that when you throw a dart at a map of Europe, chances are it'll land on a country from which they have blood. For some reason, in America, we place all of that ahead of being American.

Maybe Grandma's right...we're just outgrowing being Chinese.




Thursday, July 26, 2012

Announcement

A short story of mine, entitled "The Lobster's Name Is Nick," will be available in print format in The Alarmist's inaugural issue on July 30, 2012.

Enjoy and thanks.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Henry Hill was a pusher.



 "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster."
                                           -Henry Hill, Goodfellas


Recently, Henry Hill, the infamous mobster who "ratted" out his crew to avoid incarceration and whose biography inspired Scorsese's Goodfellas, died, to which Twitter fans, including well-known comedians and actors, tweeted micro-eulogy after micro-eulogy after micro-eulogy. Many quoted the movie in homage. Some simply wrote, "RIP Henry Hill." Ray Liotta, the actor who portrayed Hill in Goodfellas, even wished his family well. I wouldn't say it was an outpouring of emotion and I wouldn't say I didn't briefly experience nostalgia -I spent many a day after school memorizing lines from Goodfellas and imitating Joe Pesce's f-word pronunciation- but let's have a little perspective, my good people.

Henry Hill was not what one might consider an upright citizen:  a) he was abusive to his wife, b) he was a drug dealer, c) he was an accomplice to murder, d) he was abusive to his wife, e) he was a drug dealer, f) he was thief, g) he was a philanderer, h) he was abusive to his wife, i) he was a drug dealer, and j) he probably didn't claim his earnings from the NCAA basketball scandal or the Lufthansa heist as profit.

I'm not saying we should rejoice. It's not like an Osama bin Laden type of death -I rejoiced at bin Laden's demise after living in the chaos and sorrow of New York City after the Towers collapsed- but we might not want to celebrate Mr. Hill. After all, how often does the Witness Protection Program actually de-protect their informants? Their character standards are pretty low. Hill was such an offender that, after reaching his law-breaking quota while under protection, the Department of Justice had decidedly had enough of the Hills and released them back into the wilds of everyday citizenry.

I know, I know...it's bad juju to speak ill of the dead. Perhaps, though, we might use slightly more discretion when paying our respects. Not that we should be happy, just somewhat more selective.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

"May you be safe in storm."

I "broke into" a local college graduation ceremony to see Robert Krulwich's commencement speech. Not really appropriate daddy behavior but they weren't exactly taking tickets.

Mr. Krulwich is, of course, known for accomplishments in journalism, television, radio, and, by his own accord, offering Arthur Miller financial advise while urinating into the neighboring urinal. But, what I love Mr. Krulwich for most is his co-hosting role on Radiolab, a National Public Radio program and podcast. I've drawn on this program for inspiration on several short stories and felt that I couldn't pass this opportunity to see the man behind the voice.

His speech was nothing short of compelling. He spoke of designing and redesigning who we are or who we think we are or who will think we'll be so that who we'll be becomes who we hope we'll be. He said that this endeavor of determining who we are as individuals, though we think it's a "singular" struggle, is really a pluralized effort. He spoke of the people who say, "Why not?" instead of, "Yes, but..." He told witty anecdotes and pithy universalities.

But, the comment that most stood out in this speech was rather tangental to his theme. He made mention of the families of the graduates, the parents who would say only of the graduates hopes and dreams, "May you be safe in storm."

In the interest of full disclosure, that I did too many things I shouldn't have done when I was fourteen may have caused me to confuse pronouns...the actual quote may have been "May they always be safe in storm." He was, after all, speaking in third person of multiple people.

Regardless, I prefer "you" for a specific reason: I am a father.

I love being a father. I love being a husband, too. I worry about them often, though my daughters are only one and three. I worry about the future my wife and I will lead them to. I worry that I will lead them to worry too much, themselves.

It is very Jewish of me, to always worry of the next calamity, suffering from what Sarah Silverman diagnoses (tweeted) as "nervous diarrhea." I suppose that is part of the condition of my heritage. I am definitely a "Yes, but..." person. I think plans. I think logistics. I think too much.

I think, "Yes, but they might get hurt." I think, "Yes, but they might get sick." I think, "Yes, but it might be cancer."

However, Mr. Krulwich, you are right. We must confront our individual design repeatedly, as we redesign our individual. We must face worry and threat. At times, when we say, "Yes, but..." we should remember that it's okay to say, "Why not?"

And, if change is the only storm they face, I wish for my girls, "May you be safe in storm."

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Eulogy

This is unedited...forgive me.

I know every blogger is going to be writing about the death of Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch. I'm no different.

I, perhaps, have less of a reason than others to write about him. I wasn't much of a fan until later in life and, the it was cool to like the lesser known tracks, I was a fan of their singles, my favorite, "Sabotage." I liked the bandwagon, I suppose.

So, of course, I loved "Fight for Your Right (to Party)," an undeniable classic of the Eighties that solidified their tenure the music world. I have a memory of this song at an eighth grade dance, the winter dance, I think. All the boys we sitting on a fold-out lunch table when the song came on and, immediately, we rocked the cafeteria. We were gods. I clutched the edge of the table, my body banging my head back and forth as if I we exorcising the Devil. Suddenly aware of myself, I looked up to see several friends laughing at me. And, because it was absurd, laughed, too, and went right back to head-banging with impunity.

Here's why: Adam Yauch and I were a little bit alike...both bass players, both named "Adam," and both from mixed Jewish-Catholic families passively ignoring religion. Adam later became a Buddhist. Being Jewish was never cool, at least not where I grew up. We were geeks, though I willfully assimilated. But, Adam and his bandmates, also Jewish to varying percentages, made it alright to be Jewish. The Beastie Boys were cool. They broke into a realm of music where, to many, they were strangers. What business did a bunch of Jewish kids from Brooklyn have rapping?

For that moment back at the dance, I didn't care about being an outsider; I liked it. What's more, as a self-hating, thirteen-year-old boy, I liked myself, even if only for a short while.

Thank you, MCA.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pithy Moment

I had already eaten the last of a specific kind of candy that my daughter asked for today. Her Jewish grandmother gave them to her on Easter. She still has copious amounts of chocolate. I'm a monster.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Announcement

Two more forthcoming publications:  One in April, entitled Pedigree and also the first chapter of Matzoh and Meatballs, in AUDIO format at WordPlaySound and a short story entitled The Lobster's Name Is Nick in print form from a new journal,  The Alarmist

Keep reading....another post is...well...um...right below.

Woody Allen

I’m supposed to love Woody Allen.  His films are ground-breaking, witty, exploratory...and, he’s Jew that’s made his success from being Jewish.  Perhaps, we should ignore the illegitimacy and taboo of his split from Mia Farrow and union with Farrow’s -not Allen’s- adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, just like we should ignore Roman Polanski’s questionable sexual behavior with a minor.  Perhaps, I judge.  I liked The Pianist, Mr. Polanski.
Nevertheless, I hate Woody Allen.

I regularly leave his films, saying, “That was pretty good...I think.”  Usually, I find myself wanting more from his plot or something more dynamic.  I want his characters to be less annoying -not much less, just a little less.  I want his productions to meet my expectations...this never happens.

To that, many will say, “Oh, but you just don’t get it.”  For the record, my wife considers me a closeted hipster.  I like small-production quirky films -hell, I call them “films” rather than “movies.”  I have an ironic taste for poorly-sung alternative music.  I like Wes Anderson.  No mustache, though...well, a full-beard.  Does that count?  So, if what they say about hipsters is true, I get a whole lot of what others don't.  

But, I don't get Woody Allen.  

I've tried multiple times, often laughing when others do, so as to participate with the in-crowd.  I tried to get inside the minds of his morally-questionable protagonists.  After seeing What’s New, Pussycat?, I tried to feel what it felt like for women to casually fall in love with me -very unsuccessfully.  I tried to shift out of focus after seeing Deconstructing Harry.  I tried to enjoy the Twenties when I saw Midnight in Paris.  I couldn't get past Sean Penn's mustache in Sweet and Lowdown
 
"But, what about Annie Hall or Crimes and Misdemeanors or Mighty Aphrodite?"
 
My answer is, "I don't know," and I feel left out.  Am I not cultured enough?  Not intellectual enough?  Should I shave my beard into a mustache?  I want to be part of this, Mr. Allen.  Why must you be so exclusive?  I am missing something.  I need to defocus myself again.  Or enhance my neurotic tendencies.  Or have an affair.  Or learn how to dance the Charleston.

Don’t worry, Mr. Allen, I’ll figure out all your references and innuendos.  I’ve got Wikipedia.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pithy Moment

After each new blog post, my mother insists that it's her favorite of all time and that she's increasingly proud of the man I've become...I'm thirty-four.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Announcement

I've got a couple publications approaching online.  Be on the lookout at:

Intellectual Refuge
(some Friday within the next few months)

and

Eunoia Review
(mid-April).

Thanks and keep reading...a new post is below.

Melancholy, Brooding, and Tennis


Tennis is a lonely sport.

It's a game of introversion.  Introverts hate it because all you can do is think.  Extroverts hate it because you ultimately curse at the umpire or the crowd or the air when you lose a point.  John McEnroe...well, need I say more?

What does this have to do with Italians or Jews, you ask?  Not much, except that this was my sport.  I could have been good.  Maybe not "Federer" good, but when I was a teen, I broke the top 50 in New England.  I could have been better but Andre Agassi was my hero.  My doubles partner and I took his "Image Is Everything" campaign very seriously, often dressing in our matching denim shorts with hot pink Agassi-style shirts.  Spandex, too.  But, like Agassi, I thought too much, brooded too much, and became melancholy too quickly on the court.  It got lonely out there.

Perhaps the most riveting moment of tennis came in the Round of 16 at the U.S. Open in 1991 when an aging Jimmy Connors -on his 39th birthday- went head-to-head with young Aaron Krickstein.  I was there in the nose-bleeds, cheering Jimmy on, as he stole the crowd from Krick and ultimately won the match.  It wasn't until years letter, when I saw a re-run of the match, that I realized who the loneliest person in the stadium actually was:  Krick's father, Herb.  Even as Krick wins a point, his father's melancholy keeps him tensely tugging at his own neck (watch at minute 3:30).



Krick had his dad.  His dad had no one.  Unfortunately for Herb, Connors won that day.

We Jews are not known for our athletic prowess.  We're not usually the favorite to win at sporting events.  So, it's really f***ing exciting when we do!  That's why we love Sandy Koufax; he was the Muggsy Bogues of baseball, both alone and lonely in their climb to the top, both anomalies on their own turf.

I love the picture below.  Jews and basketball.  There's a sadness in each of their expressions that seems to say, "If you want to win, you have to be okay with loneliness."