Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Velocirapture Is Upon Us!

The world ends today. That's what people say. Yet no one's told us how it's going to end. Until now, that is.

Get indoors while you still can, and hold your loved ones close. It's the velocirapture!

But it's not the one you think. You probably assume I'm talking about ravenous dinosaurs tearing the world's population to pieces. Uhhhh, nope. There's no way that could happen in one day. Think about it: If there were enough cretaceous creatures to do that, don't you think some of them would have made the news by now?

No, the velocirapture isn't about raptors. It's about velocity.

You probably haven't noticed any difference yet, but the Earth has already started to rotate a little faster on its axis. Throughout the day, its speed will increase exponentially until life on the planet has been all but eradicated.

You'll soon notice the winds start to pick up, all from the east. Gale-strength winds, followed by hurricane-strength, and building from there. The sun will appear to slide across the sky. It'll set very early, then rise and set again in quicker and quicker succession.

And at first it'll be just that: people and things being blown around and knocked over by strong winds. The oceans will begin to flood islands and east coast towns. But eventually the centrifugal force will overcome the force of gravity, and believers and non-believers alike will be cast into the heavens. Those lucky souls who are inside will be cast into ceilings instead, but their survival will be short-lived. As the Earth's velocity increases, the buildings themselves will be ripped from the ground and hurled into the deep recesses of space. The oceans and much of the ground will soon follow. By the morning of December 22, there will be little left of Earth but a spinning molten core.

What Have I Done to Prepare for My Survival?
Nothing. I'm just as screwed as the rest of you. The only six people to survive will be the ones already in space, unless they are inadvertently hit by hurtling apocalyptic debris. And unless one of them learns to grow ovaries, we as a race are doomed.

But look at the bright side. At least it's Friday.

This post was written for the Choose Your Own Apocalypse Blogfest, hosted by Chuck at Apocalypse Now and Shannon of The Warrior Muse. Go now — and I mean now, because the world is ending, people! — and check out all the other apocalypses.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Judge, Jewry, and Answerquestioner

You've got questions, I've got answers. Of course, Hanukkah ended Sunday, so some of the answers won't do you any good till next year. But if you're ready to learn all about Jews and Judaism, just sit back and click over to Wikipedia. Or, you know, stay here, and I'll see what I can do.

Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones asks a trifecta:
I want to get an electric Menorah for our school's TV studio & school that a super cool idea or super tacky?
Oh, it's a super cool idea. I think an electric menorah is the perfect gift, and I hope your TV studio and library have a long and happy marriage.
Which Barenaked Ladies song do you like best? - Hanukkah Blessings or Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah?
My favorite BnL track is actually "When I Fall," but between those two, I'll pick the second one. I like that they thought the holiday so nice they named it twice.*

* Alright, fine. They didn't name it. But at least they spelled Hanukkah right, unlike Wikipedia.
Have you heard of or like the Maccabeats' Candlelight video? We think it's awesome!
Who is this "we" you're referring to? Is it the royal we? If so, I apologize for not bowing in reverence earlier. Or, are you actually an amalgam of four different people? Sorry, I should answer your question. Yes, Gwyneth, I have heard of the video. And Anne, I do like it. In fact, Bronwynne, I even linked to it at the end of last year's post. Why? Well, Jones, it's because I like to flip my latkes in the air sometimes, that's why.
Mina Lobo asks:
Can you really learn beatboxing at Hebrew school?
Frankly, I didn't know you could learn it outside of Hebrew school. Every week at temple, it was like, "Here's what Moses did. Here's who Abraham was. Now, everyone grab a mike and let's bust this."
Alex J. Cavanaugh asks:
Have you already planned your son's Bar Mitzvah?
Dude, I've had that planned since long before I knew I'd even have a son. You can't leave something like that to chance. The ceremony will be performed by the esteemed Rabbi Shenkel, and there will be laser tag, a piƱata, hoverboards,* and an open (sundae) bar. Also, we'll have a performance by Michael Buble, an area for jousting atop angry llamas, and of course a beatbox karaoke competition.

* What? This will be in 2024, and everyone knows we'll have hoverboards by 2015. So shut your face.
Anthony Stemke asks a slew of questions (wherein "a slew" is six):
What is the proper skullcap etiquette?
It should be worn on the head.*

* Attaching a propeller is optional.
Is there a regulation length for those curled sideburns?
The Torah states that the minimum length of a payot is 1cm for each year of age. But this is only a guideline. The rules regarding the tightness of the spiral, however, are much more stringent: When pulled taut and released, payot must bounce for at least 2 seconds before springing back fully to their original curled position.
How come Einstein Bagels don't sell Bialys? How hard could it be to change the name to Einstein Bagels and Bialys?
They don't sell bialys because bialys remind people of Max Bialystock from The Producers, who raised capital by seducing old ladies. And unfortunately, making people think of lustful old ladies just doesn't sell as many bagels as you might expect.

Besides, it would be very hard to change the name. They'd have to design a new logo, then change every menu, poster, flyer, ad and signage. More than anything, it would be very expensive, and consequently, very un-Jewish.
If I leave my front door open for passover and I am robbed, who is responsible - my local synagogue or local b'nai brith?
No question — your local B'nai Brith.*

* Maybe if you weren't so tight-fisted and donated to the less fortunate once in a while, they wouldn't have to take things into their own hands. Seriously, you make your mother worry.
When Jews marry and wrap a cocktail glass in a knapkin and then crush it, do they re-cycle the knapkin?
What the khell is a knapkin? Anyway, after The Crushening,* the handkerchief (or cloth napkin) is always used by the groom until it needs to be washed. If, whilst blowing his nose, he cuts himself on the tiny shards of glass now embedded in it, it'is seen as a good omen, and represents all he will sacrifice to make the marriage work.

* It's like a christening, only more violent.
Is it illegal to not use farfel in Kasha varnishkes? I have a lot of elbow macaroni in my cupboard. My local grocer don't know from farfel, he only stocks bowties and those black ones are too formal.
You've fallen for one of the classic blunders! Farfel (a pilaf-like pasta) is banned in all varnishkes, and relegated to soups and kugels. Farfalle (a bowtie-like pasta) is the standard addition to all Kasha dishes.* Elbows are not allowed, either, but small shells look like tiny yarmulkes and are thus considered kosher.

* Bowties (a farfalle-like pasta) are also acceptable, but frowned upon. To keep them from blackening, I suggest boiling them instead of roasting them among the charcoal briquettes.
Chuck writes in:
Doesn't the Menorah just increase the fire hazard this time of year?? Just saying...
You're not just saying. You used a question mark — two, in fact — which means you're asking. And thus, I am legally required to answer you... The menorah doesn't just increase the fire hazard. It also increases the hazard of hot dripping wax, the threat of seeing spots from staring too closely at the flames, the envy of every child who only gets to celebrate one or two days of Christmas,* and the excitement of everyone during the traditional game of "spin the menorah."

* Even though there are twelve in the song.
Laura Hughes asks:
I'm not Christian, but I have a Christmas tree in my living room. I'm not Jewish either, but I feel in the sense of fairness I should have something to celebrate Hanukkah, as well. What would you recommend?
A life-size replica of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof. One with a motion sensor, so every time the cat walks by, he bursts to life and sings out, "TRADITION!" Or, if the replicas are out of stock in your neighborhood, just top off your tree with a nice yarmulke.*

* The yarmulke should have a Star of David on it. After all, it's not a true Christmas tree without a star. (Some may use angel tree-toppers, but we all know that's just a cry for help.)
Hart Johnson asks:
Why are Jewish words so hard to spell?
They're in Hebrew.*

.tfel ot thgir daer er'yeht esuaceb oslA *
My sister Naomi asks:
The most popular Jewish holiday is all about lighting fires. Are all Jews pyromaniacs? Are all pyromaniacs Jews?
No, of course not all Jews are pyromaniacs. What a silly question. Correlation does not imply causation. Jacob Schnitzelstein of Bethesda, MD burnt his hand on a flaming latke as a young lad and is deathly afraid of fire.*

And not all pyros are Jews, not technically. Though they are all Jews at heart. They, too, are misunderstood by much of the world, and when in the darkest situations they cling to a flicker of hope.

* He has his wife burn things for him.

And that'll do it for this session of Jew & A. Until next time, keep flipping those latkes, spinning that gefilte fish, and jousting atop llamas.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Judaism's Deepest Secrets Revealed!

Note: All I reveal with this post are the questions. The secrets are revealed here.

Since September, the vast majority of my time has been taken up by work, my young son, and the general vagaries of Life.1 Consequently, I have skipped most of my annual (or annual-ish) blog posts. I won't list them all here,2 but I wanted to apologize for making your last few months that much less interesting by not rambling incoherently on the internet.

I couldn't allow this post to slip by as well, however. Because, you see, this is a service only I can provide. Goys and girls, it's time for my third annual Jew & A. That's right, once again...

I will answer any question you have about Judaism.

First came Uncle Nate's Wholly Unsubstantiated Hanukkah Primer. Then one crazy guy explained eight crazy nights. And last year, I answered your chosen questions about the Chosen People.

So, go ahead. Ask me any question concerning Jews or Judaism — any question at all — and I will answer it with all the truth and sincerity you've come to expect from this blog. Don't worry if someone has asked the same question before; just like the dates of Jewish holidays, my answers are never the same twice.

Have you ever wondered why we Jews are so good with money, but so bad at sports? Why the practices of Orthodox Jews seem so unorthodox? Why we repeatedly insist you have a nagila? Just ask.

You have until the end of Hanukkah (next Sunday, 12/16) to post your question(s) in the comments section below. After that, you'll have to wait until next Hanukkah, which, frankly, could be any day now.

1 The cereal, not the board game.
2 I'll do it here instead: my wedding anniversary, International Talk Like a Pirate Day, 10 Top 10s for 10/10, Guy Fawkes Day, Thanksgiving, and NaNoRhyMo (National Novel Rhyming Month). Yep, six of 'em. When I don't do something, I don't do it 100%.