Posted by Chava Tombosky
I get it- 3D is back. Highly evolved technology has morphed itself into bright vivid colors with spectacular images that take you through “Tangled” worlds, fly you through Potter magical spells, and steep your psyche into Narnia adventures. I just got one question….could they not have spent a little more time on technologically enhancing those glasses we gotta wear for two hours??
I mean, if they are going to spend thousands of dollars on images that look life like, could they at least spend half that on our spectacles? It is getting really difficult to enjoy a movie while being forced to wear outdated, uncomfortable paraphernalia without some sort of kickback, like a free popcorn maker we can fit into our purse.
They’ve thought of everything else. The fancy sofa chairs that tilt back with built in soda cup holders, the extra foot space and tiered seating so the guy with the big head sitting in front of us won’t block our view. But what about a decent pair of 3D glasses that don’t cause you to black out because they pinch your face too tight? What about a decent pair of glasses that at least make you look more attractive during the movie then when you first walked in? What if the glasses weren’t glasses after all- what about contact lenses? I’d love contact lenses! Has no Disney genius thought of that yet? So what if they fall out of our children’s face and our kids mistaken their lense for a rock candy or a popcorn kernel? What someone can’t come up with an edible contact lens? Have we not evolved at all?
Yes, it’s gotten better, they are no longer paper, they no longer have red and blue plastic tones distorting the movie so everything looks purple and I guess it’s improved as some of them look like Jim Belushi Blues Brother’s shades. But yesterday, I wore a pair that felt like goggles, which should only be worn while performing experiments.
No one has figured out a way to patent a special 3D glass screen that comes down over the large screen so we don’t need to wear anything at all on our faces?
I think it’s fair to say that Steven Speilberg or James Cameron should spend a little more time on our movie going experience and a little less time designing their next skinny Martian. (Don’t think I haven’t noticed that their Martians have eating disorders and never gain weight. A diet handbook on how their extra terrestrials stay slim wouldn’t hurt either.)
Obama you may wanna get on that.
I’m just sayin.
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December 23, 2010 | 6:44 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
1- A No-traffic day (Don’t think we don’t appreciate this gesture ON christmas- but what about the day before christmas-?)
2- One lousy coffee shop opened on Christmas morning.
3- Someone to mistaken our bearded husbands for Santa, which translates into a box of home made cookies.
4- A free aisle in any store that has a Jew register where we can get in and out for one thing while the rest of last minute Christmas keepers buy their loot.
5- A stocking with actual socks ( for centuries we have argued over the actual contents of stocking stuffers- if we had the stuffers, we’d like sox- maybe cash inside the sox, but definitely sox.)
6- A kosher honey baked ham.
7- A coined phrase that everyone uses which is non denominational like “Merry Winter” or Happy December”.
8- A Chanukah sale where all of pastrami everywhere is eighty percent off.
9- The ablity to drink eggnog without feeling stared at.
10- And finally- a Mariah Carey “Happy December” non-denominational (Christmas) album.
December 7, 2010 | 10:32 am
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Her name is Rebecca Rubin. Standing eighteen inches tall with fair skin, blue eyes and dirty blonde hair. She is the first “Jewish” American Girl Doll. They say she lives with her European parents and Russian Bubbie. I’m thinkin Rebecca may have a little gentile blood in her because of the blue eyes. Not that all blue eyed girls have non-Jewish genes, but really, isn’t it odd that no one mentions what happened to Grandpa Rubin? Just like Barbie, Rebecca too is from New York City and strives to be a working girl, an actress actually. Which then had me thinking, what if Mattel came out with Jewish Barbie? Could we call her Yentle Barbie? Would she be shorter? Would she have a nagging mom who said “Sure it’s Tuesday nice of you to call,” every time you pulled her string? Do you think Holly Hobby was Jewish? I mean, she had an easy bake oven and wore blue. Doesn’t her name remind you of Hava Nagila?
I was just at the toy store and they were selling a Moses doll next to a Jesus doll. To say that I was offended they didn’t have a Matriarch Sara doll, or a Queen Esther doll, or even a Mary doll would not be exaggerating.
While we’re on the subject, what about the Hans Solo action figure- was he Jewish? I’m pretty convinced Yoda was a total Jew Bu, he had the robes and the height and the whole “Buddha slogans” going for him. I think Princess Leah was Jewish. She looks Jewish. Mr. and Mrs. Potatoe head are clearly Jewish and not just because of their rotund figures or their inability to make decisions due to their constant worry, but because they wear hats. The verdict is still out on GI Joe. Who am I kidding, one could only wish. GI Jew would so be a Mosad who said “Betach” every time you wound his back. Transformers aren’t Jewish because they are fast. Jews don’t do anything fast, they think about their decision for a thousand years and then argue about it for centuries. Cabbage Patch dolls could have been Jewish since they were made out of vegetables which is Kosher. I think Cabbage Patch dolls were the first group of converts to enter the market. They were all born in the south on farmlands and shuffled into the adoption system. Technically you could convert any of them to your own religion of choice.
Back to Yentle Barbie. What sort of car would she drive? A minivan? A convertible that had a license plate that read “From Daddy”. A mitzvah tank? Do you think Ken could come with Tzitzis and a removable beard? Would she be reform, conservative, modern orthodox, Chabad? I remember feeling very self conscious about keeping my dolls from ever becoming racist, which is why I was one of those children who had black and white dolls play together. I felt it was important to support toy equality. Which is why I think Yentle Barbie needs a few different Jew dolls to keep her company. We could have Charedi Barbie, she comes with scarves. Chabad Barbie who comes with a plethora of wigs to choose from. Reform Barbie who has her own Torah scroll and pulpit. I’d like them all to play together and never argue over anything except possibly Ken’s beard. Then maybe Rebecca Rubin can finally not feel like the outsider for having a non-Jewish grandfather.
This Chanukah I am grateful for my daughter who has never dragged me into an American Girl Doll store but would rather shop in the BP department of Nordstroms and buy cool clothes that I can wear when I starve myself for a few days. She is beautiful and if I ever made a doll, it would be modeled after her and I’d call it the Yehudis Barbie. And no, she would not have a nagging mother doll that said annoying contrived Jewish phrases when you pulled her string. But she would have an awesome house with mezuzahs, a miniature silver shabbos candlestick set, and a kosher kitchen for her mansion filled with diverse doll guests of every color, race, and creed. Yehudis Barbie would serve briskett, and Holly Hobby cakes and she’d have a smokin car, with a driver doll named Moses.
December 5, 2010 | 8:29 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
1. That my own Chanukah Youtube video gets as many hits as the Maccabeat video got eventhough mine was shot on a flip and not some well choreographed spoof dreidle song.
2. That us Jews can just get one lousy Mall Menorah to reach or extend past the gargantuan X-mas tree placed in front of Sears because let’s face it, it’s humiliating.
3. That my kids don’t clean me out during high stakes dreidle, and I can finally win enough money to buy a latte.
4. That my eight year old finally has aspirations to get a job when he’s older instead of saving a lifetime stash of Chanukah gelt with the hopes he never has to work once he’s grown up.
5. That the many jelly doughnuts and latkes I consume miraculously makes me LOSE weight, like the cookie diet, or one of those high calorie yet healthy for you chocolate covered zone bars- really, those are good for you?
6. That my six little menorahs are found more decorative than my neighbor’s Christmas Santa raindeer light show extravaganza he makes every year on his front lawn.
7. That Chocolate gelt finally come with nuts and caramel.
8. That pre-packed glass olive oil and wick viles and the colorful candles that burn down in six minutes don’t cost more than my Menorah.
My translation of celebrating Chanukah in the Suburbs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur75PTKLc-w
December 3, 2010 | 12:24 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
The miracle of Chanukah is defined by a small cruz of oil that when lit, lasted for eight whole days. There is an important message we can glean from this unusual miracle. On the surface it seems insignificant, but if you look deeper at the story, you will see an everlasting message that has stood by us as a result of this wonder.
At the time the Jews were fighting with the Greeks over religious freedom. So much of their fight was really over a human democratic right. After all they had been through to defend their identity and their right to religious freedom, they wander in to their Holy Temple only to see it completely desecrated. Imagine the insult to injury they must have felt. First the Greeks try to strip them of their dignity, then their individuality, and finally their holy site, a representation of their very core, their rituals, their way of life.
In last week’s Parsha we learn of the story of Joseph who was sold by his brothers to Egyptions as a slave on the opened market. He was completely abandoned and betrayed by the very people who shared his flesh and blood. His slavery led him to be sold to Potiphar, a high official in the Egyptian court and when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph and was rejected, she falsely accused him of sexual assault and Joseph ended up in prison for twelve years. Throughout this entire dramatic tale, we learn of one miracle in particular that occured while Joseph was on his way to Egypt, after being sold as a slave. The miracle? It is known that the Egyptian people traveled with harsh smelling incense such as pitch and tar and probably a strain of pungent and foul smelling pot but G-d made a miracle that while Joseph was traveling with them, the odor turned into a heavenly scent that accompanied him towards his impending life sentence.
Really? This was the big miracle?
A small cruz of oil that lasts a week in a broken Temple and a pleasant smelling ride?
G-d can do better than that- we’ve seen him do better than that! And yet.
Our sages tell us the events that took place in Joseph’s life were unavoidable. After all, as a result of his capture, he met the baker and the butcher. He translated their dreams, and when they got out of prison and the King was up with unexplainable dreams, they referred the King to Joseph…and the rest became history. Joseph’s circumstances landed him in the exact place he was meant to be to save the entire world from famine, for it was his ingenious and know how during the famine that annointed him Viceroy over the entire nation, which essentially saved his family from starvation and extinction.
The Maccabees had a similar fair, for it was their fight over religious identity, that essentially saved the Jewish people from extinction as well. Physically we would not have been lost as were the times with Josheph, but spiritually we would have assimilated and been lost to the world forever.
Obviously these were obstacles that could not be avoided by our ancestors. These were painful experiences that needed to become our narrative. So how did these miracles really change us? What did they do for us? They didn’t take away any pain, they didn’t keep anyone out of prison or keep anyone from going to war. Why did we need them at all? Lives were still broken. Eventhough the outcome was good, their experiences were still painful- and the miracles seemed futile.
Futile? Or genious?
The sages tell us the miracle of Joseph came as G-d’s way of saying, I know this is painful, I know I am taking you on this treacherous journey, but I am still here with you. Never forget I am still with you and I believe in your inner strength. Like the one pair of footprints in the sand, you may not see me follow you, but it is only because I am on your back. I have not left you. This miracle reminded Joseph that he is not alone and it is what gave him hope, and took away his despair of falling into the trap of feeling completely abandoned, depressed and isolated from his Maker and his true mission on earth.
The small cruz of oil, essentially did the same thing for the beaten Maccabees who had lost all hope. After the first day, the second day, the third day, the fourth day! Eight days later, they realized this was an out of ordinary occurance. The oil burning was G-d’s way of connecting to them and of giving them hope that their quest was not without their Higher Power. And how relevant that it was eight days and not seven. For seven represents nature, it represents the confines of the limited bound by time and space and rules. While eight represents the supernatural, the breaking of our limited beings, which far surpasses our own potential. Eight is hope. Eight is what translates us into a place of seeing our abilities beyond our natural capabilities. Eight is what takes us from ordinary to extoardinary.
Hope, that is the reason we add another candle each night. This is the real miracle to our existance, and the reason we are here, to remind the world, it is not alone. G-d has our backs, even in ultimate despair.
**This essay is dedicated to my new beautiful neice, Brachah Leah Tombosky born this week of Chanukah, the resulting miracle and the ultimate hope for a brighter tomorrow.
November 22, 2010 | 10:55 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Channel 9 did a news piece on a website known as Quibids, which is an awesome website known to charge a mere sixty cents for a chance to bid on hugely overpriced everyday items. Internet-ers are spending hours buying Macbook pros for twenty bucks and Sony video cameras worth three hundred dollars for fifteen. Finally a website that makes shopping affordable. Finally a place where us poor folk can buy electronic goodies at huge discounted prices! ‘Cause this Chanukah/Christmas all we really want to do is buy presents for people we love without having to break the bank or walk into a mall- right? The newscaster ended the story with this quote:
“There is debate whether online auction sites could lead to a gambling addiction, but a psychologist tells us, moderation and awareness is key.”
Really? A psychologist told them? Who is this psychologist? I could think of a ton of other more harmful sites “their” psychologist should have warned them about.
What about twitter? People spend hours a day talking about what they’re doing. This may not lead to a gambling addiction, but it can lead to a self-absorption addiction. What if people start spending too much time alone? Have you seen the friends who hang out on Facebook at four a.m? Shouldn’t that be in moderation?
Lindsay Lohan should re-consider building her rehab center for alcoholics and finally make a more useful facility for people who spend too much time talking to the air about themselves. Instead of handing in their shoelaces, self-absorbed addicts should be forced to give up their hand-held mirrors and be denied access to status updates or any sentence that begins with the word “I”.
While we’re at it, what about E-bay? People could get addicted to buying spanks and ski equipment. I’m picturing garages filled with useless cheap items that cause an outrageous amount of needless clutter. Clutter can be another dangerous addiction as well. Do you really need nine sleeping bags and forty-two glass vases? Goodwill might like you, but the rest of us find you hideous.
I won’t even talk about the thousands of porn sites that this newscaster should mention to his psychologist. Forget about moderation, there shouldn’t even be toleration.
Finally someone comes up with a great website that allows people to spend an exorbitant amount of useless time purchasing toys and electronic items they don’t really need for their loved ones, that will end up in their Attic at a great discounted price, and he has to ruin it by mentioning this brilliant website could land us in a detox center?
It is almost Black Friday. This year after you’ve stuffed yourselves senseless eating three thousand calories worth of Turkey and pie, spent your last paycheck and the fifty bucks you have left in your savings on Quibids buying your kids stocking stuffers and wrapped presents for your fireplace, do the world a favor and call Channel 9’s psychologist to brag.
Now, go clean out your garage and make room for that huge four hundred dollar mirror you just purchased on Quibids for three bucks.
Remember, moderation and awareness are key.
November 16, 2010 | 10:57 am
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Since my father’s death four short months ago, I have been to five funerals and I have mourned countless young deaths. I think the number was up to 20 young deaths of people I knew within the last year. Of the funerals I have gone to in the last three months, two deaths were women and three deaths were men. Three out of the four lives lost were young people. Both the women died of cancer. The other three men, who were in their twenties, died in separate water sport accidents.
Last year on my birthday, I went to visit my uncle, and before our visit was over, he died in front of me. What does it mean when you witness death on the day you were born? I had never observed human death before. There’s a reason I chose to become a writer and not a paramedic or a hospice nurse.
A little over a year ago, after visiting dear friends in New York, I learned their three year old daughter, whom had just licked lollipops with my own children just days before had been tragically killed by a bus. Over and over I have faced my mortality the way a stealth blizzard creeps into the sky. Death has swarmed into unsuspecting families who were not expecting chaos and pain to jolt their lives beyond recognition.
What does this all mean? I struggle to see the point to this pain that I have been selected to experience. I have tried so hard to make sense of it, but it seems senseless. To see the point in it, but it seems pointless. Is this G-d’s way of telling us he’s here and can strike us any minute? G-d I get it, you’re in the driver’s seat and we are powerless beings sitting shotgun. You don’t appreciate us being your backseat driver. But sometimes it would seem as though you need a little direction.
Do you get lonely and want one of us to keep you company? Are the elderly who have already lived full rich lives not interesting enough? You need young fresh blood to provide you with entertainment? I guess you don’t mind disrupting our lives, because you figure that you’ve given us enough vices to keep us company while we sort out our own disappointments in you on this earth. By the time we figure them out, do we die anyways and eventually get the answers once we’re in Heaven?
Are we to learn fear? G-d I’m afraid. I’m afraid you always get the last laugh. I’m afraid that I have lost my innocent child inside me that always believed life was made up of sparkly cookies and Disney rides. I’m not afraid you don’t exist, I am afraid that you do.
Are we to learn pain? What is the lesson in learning pain? Is this what you feel when one of us forget to have our daily conversations with you? Is this what you feel when you give one of us life and our soul no longer hangs out upstairs? Do you feel lonely and in pain when another one of us are born to live in this world far away from His Majesty?
Is life only here to teach us that the point to all of existence is to learn how to coexist with pain and merriment?
In the last decade, the world has taken witness to terrorist attacks on 9/11 and Mumbai, Genocide in Darfur, Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunami in Indonesia. We have all seen loss and we have all been exposed to pain, but why is it that we cannot make it make sense?
Maybe if we had a trailer that showed us what goes on, on the other side it wouldn’t be so painful. It’s the mystery that’s a killer. Maybe if I knew what the other side looked like, it would be less painful. Can’t I get a cable channel giving me access to the other world? Then I wouldn’t miss my loved ones as much. I could move on, let it go, live without pain while I watched Pepsi commercials featuring Heaven’s latest cola after I get to watch “Non-Survivor” where everyone I love ends up.
And why are we born with the notion that we will last forever and when we lose a loved one we become disillusioned? We all know nothing lasts forever, and yet we are still so rocked with shock and awe. I am not mad at G-d for creating death, I am mad at G-d for creating my belief in immortality.
The fact that my ego rejects “gone forever” unnerves me. Why does it need to hold onto forever? Why can’t it unravel the mystery of impermanence? I would like my ego to take a hiatus from believing in happily ever after. It is really disrupting my groove. This disillusion is what creates grief. It talks us into taking Xanax and sleeping pills. It allows a grieving mother to have a vacant look in her eye as she grapples with her ability to witness creation and destruction simultaneously in her lifetime.
Then again, it also forces us to search for meaning. It drives us to seek purpose. It is G-d’s little sneaky way of getting us up in the morning to find an AA meeting, write a song, lend a hand to someone else who fights his or her own demons. It can be the one formula to create internal change and enlightenment.
But why this model? G-d couldn’t you have substituted death with something else? Couldn’t we learn those things without all the drama? G-d why the drama? From here, it looks like you’ve become the Director of the ultimate reality show called “The Biggest Loser”. In this case, those of us who get chosen to participate actually gain weight. Have you ever seen the amount of food served in a Shiva house? Even Christian mourners follow their funerals with a house full of high calorie snacks.
This month I sat with a woman who had buried her fifth child. The air inside their home was stale with grief as it tried to make sense of mortality yet again. She had to bear witness to death so many times, and it still made no sense to her. She was not inspired by her loss, nor was she grateful to G-d for choosing her to be human’s role model of smiling her pain away. I will spend much time searching for this answer, but I do realize, I will not ever get it, not until my time comes to go onto the other side will I finally learn the answers.
I wonder if heaven has a blog.
I could really use some answers.
Years ago a sister of mine fought for her life in an illness that the doctors was sure would take her life by the time she was two. I remember having these same questions while sitting in the hospital day after day waiting for a miracle. Our faith had been tested each day as we failed to get good news that her health had improved. The very important lesson I learned during these years was that we are G-d’s children, and we are allowed, no we are entitled to kick and scream at G-d if he hurts our children. One afternoon I remember my mother locking herself in her bedroom and screaming on the top of her lungs “Leave my children alone!!” I will never forget that moment, a) because it was sort of funny, and b) because it taught me a lesson that I can have a conversation with G-d that looks like this one.
We are not supposed to just take it. We are not supposed to turn our back on G-d when we are angry. We are supposed to fight back- because fighting promotes dialogue and dialogue promotes connection, and eventually that pain becomes a vehicle for true joy. Just ask anyone who’s ever listened to Eric Clapton’s “Tears of Heaven”. The joy in his voice over the memory of his son sings to the highest gates of Heaven, and yet. I am not at the joy part yet. I’m still yelling. (Maybe not to the degree my mother did), but I am yelling.
Maybe my questions will eventually turn to joy.
I’ll let you know.
**I dedicate this essay to the many families who are mourning their loved ones this year. May you all be comforted amongst the Mourners of Zion, and may your sweet joy that you are able to muster despite your pain be the final sweetness that G-d decides to use for bringing the ultimate redemption.
November 7, 2010 | 9:59 am
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Now that I finally get to stretch my day with a whole added hour, here’s a list of wonderful extras I am in for:
1. I now have another whole hour to be on my diet, and obsess about that cookie I’m depriving myself from, which means I’m more likely to cheat, which means this extra hour will probably cost me 5 lbs. gained.
2. More time means more awake hours, which means more clothing changes, which inevitably means more laundry, which is now actually costing me 2 hours folding in front of a soap opera, which will have me crying over Lexi’s inability to commit to Jake.
3. Extra facebook time, which leads to more battery use on my computer, which leads to more electricity, which will cost me more money and quite possibly make me more friend time who may inevitably get mad at me over a comment I make that is taken out of context, which I now realize I should never have said because after reading it over, it did come across mean if you were not in my own head, eventhough the fact is, I was hoping our inside joke wouldn’t lead to anything awkward, which it now has, and I realize I made a very bad mistake, which leaves me with terrible guilt, and since there is an exra hour in the day, I will have more time to discuss it with my therapist, which will inevitably cost me more friends forcing me to get a second job to help me pay for my electrical bill, peace offerings, and Dr. Pacoe.
4. More time means more time to shave in the shower, which means more chances of getting nicked, which means I’ll need to run to Rite-Aid to buy bandaids but they’ll be out of the kinds I like and I will have to go to CVS instead, which means I will be passing by the car wash, which will remind me that my car looks like a cheap blind grandpa drives it, which will persuade me to stop in to get it washed, which will force the smooth talkin Latino to urge me to get it detailed since time is no longer an issue like I tried explaining last time I came in for a six dollar hand wash, and while his mouth is moving down the list of cherry vanilla scents he will leave my car smelling like as he so valiantly adds a few more dollars to my detail treatment, like an under-carriage wash (who cares what the underneath of your car looks like- and doesn’t it cancel itself out once Jose drives my sparkling under-carriage over that puddle that has accumulated from the Bentley that is clearly flipping off my old dented man van anyway?) I will find myself smelling coffee and have more time to sip my second cup for the day while I treat my leg wound with napkins.
5. Another latte means more energy, which might lead me to rush, which may cause me to trip, which could land me off my feet for a few days and put my whole laundry to do list behind, which might just might force me to spend more time writing, which may lead me to finishing my book earlier than I expected, which might land in a random book store in inner city Cleveland that no one’s ever heard of, which may lead to my chubby cigar smoking editor insisting I take a picture for the sleeve, which is why, since people in inner city Cleveland don’t really read much- l can finally have that freakin cookie!