Apr 30, 2011

American Subjects of Royality TV: Is That a Sausage Suit You're Wearing, or Are You Just Happy to Marry Me?

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US pizza giant Papa John's gives the royal wedding a truly American flavor--gluttony. Image via NY Daily News.

I was going to write a really whiny post about how I don’t give a shit about the royal wedding, about how I’m old enough to remember Charles and Diana’s wedding and how I didn’t give a shit back then either. I was going to talk about how I don’t get our culture’s fascination with marriage almost as much as I don’t get our culture’s fascination with English royalty. And, obviously, I was going reference Robin Williams' keen insight in regard to how the queen always looks as if someone were holding a very small, very fresh turd under her nose—which, coincidentally, is how I feel when someone brings up the British royal family.
But who am I to judge the fascinations of others? Some people like watching this crap, and others, like myself, concern themselves with true royalty, and by "true royalty" I mean The Real Housewives of New Jersey (OMG new season premiering in May!).

In any event, what it really comes down to is not an obsession with royalty, but rather an obsession with celebrity--a status which, at least in our society, seems to be becoming less and less earned and more and more accidental (see: royalty, reality television, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump *cough*).

Regardless, I’m glad the whole thing is over, and now we can get back to doing what Americans do best: consuming mass quantities of shitty fast food and calling each other socialists.

Apr 21, 2011

We'll Always Have Matzo...

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About a month ago, during a trip to Walgreen's to pick up items including but not limited to painkillers and ice packs and heating pads and tampons and Cap’n Crunch, I noticed that the two center aisles of the store were completely bare.


I gasped. Was my favorite East Oakland Walgreen's going out of business? Where would I go when I needed overpriced medical supplies, an s-curl kit, and parking lot bootleg DVDs?

Of course, my fears were allayed when I noticed an employee at the end of one of the aisles unloading a crate of Marshmallow Peeps. Indeed, the store was not closing. Rather, they were preparing the "Seasonal" aisle for that springtime bounty of goyishe gossamer: Easter candy.

We Jews really bitch and moan about a lot of things, and near the top of that list is the way in which Hanukkah is overshadowed by the great festivities and traditions surrounding Christmas in our society. Santa-envy aside,I think Easter is actually a tougher gentile holiday for my people to endure—at least confectionarily (yes, I made that word up) speaking, as the awesomeness that is Easter candy truly surpasses any pedestrian candy cane or gingerbread house. And while there’s really no law against Jews partaking in most sugary Christmas treats like fruitcakes and pfeffernusse , the fact that Easter frequently coincides with Passover means that many of the delightful candies, cookies, and cakes the holiday rabbit bestows upon good Christian children are completely verboten given the strict dietary restrictions imposed upon Jews during that time.

Of course, being the shanda that I am, I personally have never fasted during Passover. I do remember, however, my best friend Shana bitching about it, as she gnawed on a piece of dry matzo in the school cafeteria. For a brief spell once a year, the school put out boxes of matzo in the cafeteria during lunchtime, no doubt at the demand of the one or two Jewish parents on the PTA who were sick of their kids being served chipped beef on toast during Pesach.

“Ugh. I fucking HATE Passover. I want pasta.”

“Pasta isn’t leavened, is it?”

“No, but it’s still chometz.”

“What?”

Not allowed.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. It’s just not.”

“I thought it was just bread that we’re not supposed to eat?” I asked, spreading a little more mayonnaise on my ham sandwich.

“Don’t get me started on bread. My mother makes these fucking ‘Passover rolls’ that double as hockey pucks. Ugh.”

“Your mom’s a good cook.  I've had her turkey.  It's delicious.”

Shana slammed the matzo down on her plate, and it shattered. She raised her voice.

“You know what REALLY pisses me off, though? Goyim eating matzo. Relishing that shit like it’s fucking levain toast from a French patisserie or something.”

“Hey, gentiles gotta eat too!”

It was true, though. The non-Jewish kids really went crazy for matzo. Everywhere you looked at lunchtime, you could see an Aryan child snarfing down matzo with peanut butter, jelly, butter, even the elusive and very goyishe marshmallow Fluff. I liken this phenomenon to the Jewish guy who, after his first semester at Boston University, brings home a blond shiksa to his mother on Long Island. Sure, it’s new and exciting and slightly forbidden, but it can also be pretty dry and bland, and something he’ll likely tire of when he has to eat it every day for the rest of his life.

“It’s not that, Tsada," Shana continued, playing with her matzo bits. "It’s just that, ugh." She glared across the room at Tracey O’Connor, who had deconstructed a cafeteria BLT and was rebuilding it between two pieces matzo. “If you don’t HAVE to eat this shit, then WHY would you eat this shit?” She bit into one of the shattered matzo pieces, then coughed, gently enveloping me in a cloud of matzo dust. “It’s like electing to have a medical procedure you don't *really* need."

"Matzo is not liposuction, Shana," I said, looking down at my plump-ish thighs.

"You're right.  Matzo sucks more.  No pun intended."

Having never kept kosher for Pesach, I really can’t complain about the evils of matzo, but I can speak about how much it sucked to have the Passover Rabbit leave the following shit on my doorstep:


Joyva Jell Rings

Imagine Robitussin came in gel form. Then cover it in kosher “chocolate”. Mmmnot.





Egg Kichel
Approximate shape and texture of a contraceptive sponge, but not nearly as moist and delightful.

Joyva Marshmallow Twists


I kind of think of marshmallow as the confectionery equivalent of mayonnaise: gross yet admittedly tasty, and probably best left to the gentiles (see Marshmallow Peeps, above). Maybe that's because most commercial marshmallow is made with pig gelatin, whereas the kosher marshmallow in these candies is made with the freshly harvested semen of young Israeli clowns.*

*not actually made with clown semen





Streit’s Gummy Gefilte Fish



I actually have never had these. I just had to list them because…OMG…They. Exist.













Manischewitz Coconut Macaroons



They’re kosher cookies. In a can.









Barton’s Fruit Slices
Okay, I actually really like these. They’re kind of weird texturally, and they’re cloyingly sweet, but they’re just so damn pretty to look at. Mainly, though, I like them because I have an uncle—we’ll call him "Asshole"— who was particularly mean to me as a child. In his youth, Asshole ate so many of these fruit slices in one sitting that he reportedly vomited rainbows for days. Consequently, Asshole no longer can be in the same room as this candy without becoming physically ill. In honor of this unfortunate awesome event, we give Asshole a box of these every year on Passover, because it is fun for the family to watch him gag and suffer, reflecting upon days of yore.

And, in the end, isn’t that really what holidays are all about?







Apr 17, 2011

Not Green: It's the New Green!

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figure 1 a.

This will be a short post because I just got hella acupuncture and, needleless to say, too much Internet fucks with my chi.

Anyway, my acupuncturist has informed me that I consume too much sugar and dairy, and that consequently (and much to the dismay of my chi) my urine is frothier than it should be. Just think of me as a walking Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks, only with big tits, peasant legs, and a jewfro.

So after a quick trip to Berkeley Bowl for some Chinese greens, almond milk, and toasted seaweed treats, I headed home to take stock of my pantry for things that needed to go. Velveeta? See ya. Half-and-half and its friend my morning coffee? Adios, amigos. Sugary Kellogg's Raisin Bran? Gone with the wind (did I mention the acupuncturist also stimulated my colon)?

It was during this raid of my pantry that I happened upon what might be the most ridiculous product I've ever owned (keeping in mind that I own Lenny and the Squigtones on LP): Whole Foods 365 Plastic Wrap.

I tried to remember when and how I had acquired the most ironic household grocery item ever, but I could not. However, despite an initial pang of embarrassment, I'm kinda glad I found the stuff in my kitchen. Why? Well, because when I conducted a quick Google Images search of 365 Plastic Wrap, I came up with not one picture of the product.  Do you realize what this means?

1) It indicates that Whole Foods is possibly (read: likely) embarrassed to admit to itself and the world that it actually sells this shit.

2)  It means that THE PICTURE OF A BOX OF MATZO MEAL, VELVEETA, WHOLE FOODS 363 BRAND PLASTIC WRAP AND MY CAT (see figure 1a., above) will now be the only picture of the product available online.  Um, awesome?

I feel that the image serves as a bold and edgy metaphor for the lunacy (read: greed) required for the same company that only offers me a flimsy, leaky, paper box in which to transport my soupy deli cole slaw to also manufacture its own brand of plastic.

Oh, and while I was Googling, I also came across this awesome clip on the subject by David Cross. Apparently this obsession with "environmentally friendly" plastic wrap isn't a me thing, it's a Jew thing.

Jokes.com
David Cross - If You Care
comedians.comedycentral.com
JokesJoke of the DayFunny Jokes


My cat's stripes are the same colors as Velveeta and matzo meal.  Mm...Velveeta and matzo meal.


Apr 13, 2011

Shred of Faith: My Brief Encounter With Mail-Order Jesus

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Paper loves me. And I fucking hate its punk ass.

And because I hate it, I ignore it, which ironically means that its protuberant abundance eventually piles up and takes over my life—it, the wretched thing I wanted nothing to do with in the first place.

But every few months, I find myself in the home of one of my particularly tidy friends, who I’m sure, along with not having stacks of bills and offers and fliers and catalogues cluttering their domiciles, also do not urinate, defecate, or fart.  Or at the very least if they do, it is always 100% odor-free.

ME: I love your kitchen floor.

FRIEND: Oh, thank you! We just remodeled. It’s Marmoleum.

ME: Linoleum?

FRIEND: No, Marmoleum.

ME: ?

FRIEND: Um, it’s a green product.

ME: Oh.

Of course this makes me, with a great sense of shame and inferiority, reflect upon my own decidedly ungreen kitchen—brown kitchen, if you will—with its curling linoleum mopped bi-weekly with refreshingly toxic Fabuloso. I survey my friend’s pristine kitchen, with its adjoining home office consisting of a chair and spotless desk with one Mont Blanc pen, an iPad, and tiny desktop file with outfitted with three creaseless papers. I think of my own kitchen table, piled high with mail, pencils, receipts, and lists, and know in my heart that I suck as a human. When I get home, I am inspired to embark upon a paper-shredding mission to put Enron to shame.

The funny thing about shredding is that, all of a sudden, anything addressed to “RESIDENT” or “OCCUPANT”, as well as any letter with the word “AUTO” at the top of the addressee portion, immediately becomes a friend in this process, as those words really make the job a lot simpler. Such words are indicators of absolute trash, again, once-bemoaned but now appreciated for their facilitation of the painstaking task of distinguishing the shredders from the keepers. Occupant? SHRED! Resident? SHRED THAT MOTHERFUCKER.

Ah, if only real human interactions could be this easy.

Anyway, the other day, I began one of these epic shred sessions, destroying piles of crap--most of which unfortunately comes in duplicate because I live with my significant other, "G".  As I crammed one more envelope addressed to “RESIDENT—TO A FRIEND” into the steel jaws of my Fellowes Powershred DS with my right hand, I surveyed the letter’s twin on deck in my left. In the upper left hand corner, where the return address would normally be, I saw this message:

THIS VERY OLD CHURCH LOANS THIS TO YOU, TO BLESS SOMEONE CONNECTED WITH THIS HOME. THEN, IT MUST GO TO ANOTHER FAMILY THAT DESIRES GOD’S BLESSINGS. SEE LETTER INSIDE…

I watched as the shredder swallowed up the last of the first letter. ENNNNHHHHHHHHZZZZZZPPP.

Burrrrrrp.


I flipped over the identical letter still in my hand. There was another message printed on the back:

DEAR JESUS,

WE PRAY THAT YOU WILL BLESS SOMEONE IN THIS HOME SPIRITUALLY, PHYSICALLY, & FINANCIALLY. AND PLEASE DEAR LORD, BLESS THE ONE WHOSE HANDS OPEN THIS LETTER. MAKE GOOD CHANGES IN THIS ONE'S LIFE AND GIVE THEM THE DESIRES OF THEIR HEART. WE PRAY OVER AND BLESS THIS LETTER IN YOUR HOLY NAME. AMEN.

I opened the envelope. Enclosed I found a letter from one St. Matthew’s Church, informing me that God was ready to help me reach my dreams and goals. All I had to do, according to the letter, was unfold the enclosed prayer rug (another 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper with a picture of Jesus on it), kneel down on that thing, and pray like all hellfire. Oh, and when I was done, I was to send the “rug” back, so it could be used by another needy person in need of Christ’s salvation.

My first thought was, WTF--THIS SHIT IS USED? Um, ew?

I dropped the undoubtedly soiled prayer rug on the floor and continued to read the third enclosed page—testimonials from people who had used the prayer-by-mail system and received blessings including but not limited to a 6 room house, $10,000 in cash, 17 acres of land, and the healing of various infirm body parts. Just by kneeling on a piece of paper. A used piece of paper—one possibly likely contaminated with boogers.

Intrigued, I picked up the booger mat prayer rug and looked into the closed eyes of Jesus Christ. According to the letter, if I looked into his eyes long enough, they would eventually open and look back into my big old Jew eyes. Sure enough, as I stared, two big pupils appeared before me. I screamed for G, who was in the other room, watching The History Channel.

ME: Hey, come here!

G: What?

ME: Yo, check out Jesus right here!



the elusive St. Matthew's "prayer rug", all
gif-ed out courtesy of Dr. Momentum
 G: Yeah, so?

ME: Look at his eyes. Do they open for you?

G: No.

ME: Look some more. Look!  Are you looking?

G:  I'm looking.  I'm also missing my show.

ME:   Do you see that, dude? He opens his eyes and looks at you! It’s fucking out of control!

G: Uh…okay. Sort of.

ME: See!

G: No, not really. Okay, look. See the words printed on the back of this thing? The lower case e in “soaked” and in “power” are aligned with Jesus’ eyes on the other side. Like pupils. It makes you think his eyes are opening—I mean, if you’re completely fucking insane, that is. Or a moron.

ME: …

G: …

ME: Well, the letter here says his eyes open because prayer rug is soaked with the power of the Lord.

G: No, his eyes “open” because the “prayer rug” is printed on cheap-ass paper. So, where’s the part where they ask you for the money?

I turned over the letter and read the back page. In addition to returning the prayer rug so that another could use it, I was also instructed to check the box(es) next to the items in my life that required prayer from my Brothers and Sisters at St. Matthew’s Church, and enclose the list with the prayer rug. Choices were listed as follows:

(  ) MY SOUL


(  ) A CLOSER WALK WITH JESUS


(  ) MY HEALTH


(  ) A FAMILY MEMBER’S HEALTH


(  ) LESS CONFUSION IN MY HOME


(  ) MY CHILDREN


photo credit
(  ) TO STOP A BAD HABIT


(  ) A BETTER JOB


(  ) A HOME TO CALL MY OWN


(  ) A NEW CAR


(  ) A MONEY BLESSING


(  ) I WANT TO BE SAVED


(  ) PRAY FOR GOD TO BLESS ME WITH THIS AMOUNT OF MONEY: $_______

And lo and behold, the very bottom of the list was written:

(  ) ENCLOSED IS MY SEED GIFT TO GOD’S WORK OF $ ___________.

Needless to say, I penciled-in the requisite, 

I already gave a seed gift...to your mom...ALL OVER HER FACE!

and when I had finished LOLing at myself, proceeded to Google, “St. Matthew’s Church”.

After some copious research (in-between shredding the fifty million Geico offers I received in 2010), I learned that the mail-order prayer service was founded by the Reverend James Ewing, a guy who’s been schooling televangelists in the art of preaching-for-dollars for the past fifty years or so. Ewing has taught men the likes of Oral Roberts how to target the poorest communities in the US (largely African American and Latino) by using U.S. Census reports to prey upon those most needy and desperate for “blessings”. Ewing has accrued a small fortune over the years, money earned almost exclusively from "seed faith" tithes paid by the poor, elderly, and infirm.

For years Ewing battled the IRS in a tooth-and-nail fight to achieve tax-exempt status for his *cough* church, which according to The Houston Press, was designed "to separate you from your money":

After a years-long battle for tax-exempt status, the organization finally reached a stipulation agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2000 granting that status. Critics are still scratching their heads over that one, as the Fifth and Ninth circuit courts had denied tax exemption years earlier, citing board members' "excessive" salaries, which ran in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The courts also pointed out that Ewing's private printing and advertising businesses were paying for the mail blasts and ultimately recouping some of the donations. In 1999, the last year the organization made its financial records available, the group brought in $26 million.


Sound like a scam of epic proportions? Only if you're a commie pinko bastard who hates America. Indeed, to doubt the integrity of this clearly legit mail-order prayer service, you must be, at the very least, a drug-dealing atheist cunt. From the St. Matthew’s website:*

Saint Matthew's Churches does not sell anything. In its mail sermons, it preaches that God answers prayer, which cannot be construed as a mail scam or mail fraud.

However, the published sermons and sacred literature sent free of charge by Saint Matthew’s Churches crosses the paths of atheists; communists; drug dealers; criminals; the lunatic fringes of society; those who hate the United States, God and Christianity and those who hate us because we are gospel missionaries. They accuse all churches which mail sermons of mail scams and mail fraud.

However, former St. Matthew's employee named Valerija Kachovos begged to differ with her boss.  According to sources, Ms. Kachovos claimed the thousands of letters and prayer requests sent in by needy respondents were separated from accompanying "seed money", ending up in the trash rather than in the hands of clergy and/or congregation.  Wait, does Jesus own a Fellowes Powershred DS, too?! OMG.

In October 2005, Kachovos filed a lawsuit against Ewing under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).  Houston Press:

According to the suit, Kachavos was a computer programmer for Saint Matthew's who began to question her employer's integrity after allegedly seeing the prayer requests hauled to an incineration company. Kachavos claims she was ultimately fired for asking too many questions.


Kachavos was unsuccessful in her pursuit of the church, and in 2007, in a dramatic turn of events, Ewing turned around and sued Kachavos.  The court ruled in favor of St. Matthew's Church, finding that Kachavos' use of the church's private information constituted a a violation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.  From the court report:


The trade secret in question is the national membership list of SMC containing sensitive and confidential personal information about SMC members, including member tithes, offerings, history of contacts and personal communications with SMC. In addition to finding Kachavos misappropriated a trade secret, the court also issued a permanent injunction requiring Kachavos to return the membership list to SMC. It further ordered Kachavos to pay SMC attorney fees of $7,500.

Kachavos later appealed the ruling, but the court affirmed its original judgment. Proof yet again, in the immortal words of the great Jim Croce, that you don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger, and you don't fuck around with Mail-Order Jesus.

                                 
End Note:  Strangely, about a week after I started writing this piece, the St. Matthew's website underwent some significant changes.  It seems the site has been stripped down to one page, and no longer can one access the other areas on the site, including the page upon which the organization "debunks" its critics' claims of wrongdoing by accusing those claimants of drug-dealing and/or communist tendencies. The page is still linked to in the results of a Google search of "St. Matthew's Churches Scams", but a click on those links leads to an html message, aka: FAIL.** I was sad. Fortunately, I had already cut and pasted this gem (my favorite portion of the "debunking" section), in which the name of Golda Meir is invoked to validate the efforts of the great mail-order prayer service and to chastise its critics:



Golda Meir, the third Prime Minister of Israel, once said, "We will not roll over and die just to make our enemies happy." The same is true of Saint Matthew’s Churches and all other churches which are wrongfully accused of mail scams and mail fraud.


Oy vey. If only Golda had owned a Fellowes Powershred DS.




*see end note
**Ah ha! That portion St. Matthews site has now been restored! Click here to view.


 
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