Solely In Black and White: July 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Did I Read that Correctly the First Time?

Book Chaos
Gobbling Yummy Books?

I was always fascinated by diehard fans. I don’t know why. I suspect I am in awe of their devotion to whatever they’re a fan of. I’ll admit that some diehard fans are essentially crazy, but perhaps we can chalk that up to their passion for whatever it is they do or follow. There is one genre or perhaps demographic of fans that have recently been pondering about: the voracious reader.  

For what it’s worth I know a few of these creatures. They devour books by the stack and radiate happiness in well stocked libraries and/or bookstores. While it may be true that I have an appreciation for the written word and attain some pleasure from well written prose, in my mind, I do not fit into that category. I suspect that the term voracious reader in general can be subjective and far from definitive. On the flipside, I was intrigued to find that there is a classification called “reading addicts,” although I am unsure if that is just a joke, a term of endearment created by bibliophiles, or a serious medical malady.Regardless, there is something I found strange about diehard fans (particularly those who are readers); they tend to reread their favorite books. If said book becomes a movie, they become very motivated to see it as well. In some cases I can understand that. I was curious to see the first Harry Potter movie since I wanted to see if they producers and directors envisioned J.K. Rowling’s world in the same way I did. Also, I can understand why someone would want to see a movie; the change in medium substitutes a character’s thoughts for visual cues, subtext, and acting. But that would only suffice for one movie. Would I go so far as to reread an entire series and watch all the subsequent movies? I think not.

Reel Neon
For Real... :-)
Perhaps you can make the argument that rereading a dramatic or romantic book or watching its film adaptation enables the reader/viewer to glean a deeper connection and understanding of the characters. But what then of the other genres? I think this argument is even more vexing for stories with twists. I personally enjoy a good twist, but if I know it’s coming and where it goes, then what’s the point? That’s not a twist, that’s a laid track that’s already been crossed. In conclusion, you don’t need to reread my blog, although I completely understand if you do. However, if I do make a movie, I expect you to watch it! ;-) :-P So on that note, do you reread books or movies that were made from books? If so, perhaps you can explain to me why... :-/ 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cost of Living: Food Edition

Did you ever consider how much it costs to “live?” One of the jarring realizations of getting married is that life is expensive, or more aptly, life is freaking expensive?! Without even getting into the argument about materialism and vanity, living a “normal life” isn’t cheap. Sometime I really wonder how some people who are sitting in “Kollel” are able to pay their rent and afford to eat real food…  There are some other expenses that I truly wonder about as well, but I suspect that people choose their budgeting tactics based on their collective needs. For the record, I don’t have proof, but I suspect women consume more toilet paper than men. Between me and you, I think they’re eating it. Perhaps they do it to increase their daily fiber intake? Must be one of those female eating quirks. :-P (I suspect I’m going to get it over the head with toilet paper for this… :-/)

Vegan Food Guide
Old School Health Map
The purpose of the post, aside from writing a pointless rant, is to lament something that I believe is a significant issue nowadays: the monetary burden of eating healthy . This idea first donned upon me when I was single. A while back I swore off eating yeshiva food. You know that greasy, nasty, stuff they served us while we were doing hard time… I mean learning hard… :-)  (I suspect I really ought to blog about yeshiva food at some point, seconds anyone?)

Regardless, at some point I decided that I had had enough and replaced my daily food intake with more nutritious fare. Not everyone agreed with my approach. Some of my esteemed colleagues took a different route, the cereal diet. Basically, instead of a balanced diet of food, one eats cereal for all three meals and probably snacks too. The diet isn’t all that appealing to most people’s gastrointestinal framework or even sane within the context of couture gourmet, but it works, it’s healthier than eating yeshiva food, and it is extremely economical. Personally, I went with the more healthy approach of fruits and vegetables coupled with high fiber low calorie bread as my staples. I wasn’t surprised to find that not only was I healthier and had more energy, I also (think I) felt fuller longer. However, there was one downside to this plan, the cost.

Dollar for dollar it’s just more economical to eat unhealthy foods. That is before you even get into the whole dopamine effect of sugary food intake. Let’s take snacks as an example. A 16 oz package of Oreos will set you back about $3. The monetary equivalent of that would arguably be something like two apples, a banana, and an orange at best.  The fruit might provide enough snack time nourishment for a day or two, while the cookies should last a week or two! Personally, this is why I laugh at legislature that attempts to tax unhealthy food, because let’s face it, at best you can fix the socio-cultural aspect of food, but you won’t change the actual economics… I wonder if one day we’ll see that fast food chains like McDonads are actually killing the lower socio-economic classes of our society… I also wonder what sociologist will say about Kosher Delight, but that is more  out  of morbid curiosity. So what is the solution? How does one eat and maintain a healthy diet on the cheap?  In the meantime I think I’ll try some of that toilet paper… 

Toilet Paper Folding at the Riviera, Las Vegas, NV

Update/Quantification: Recent study shows that eating healthy adds $380 a year to yearly grocery bill. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quote of the Day: Go Blog

Despair leads to boredom, electronic games,computer hacking, poetry, and other bad habits.
- Edward Abbey

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The College Paradox

Typical Frum Female Attire- Photo via Flickr

Here is an interesting paradox to ponder, why is it that our society pressures girls to acquire college degrees yet at the same time pressures our boys not to?

Many people can attest to fact the one of the motivation for girls to attend college is to better their shidduch prospects. Just ask some of our Touro and Raizel Reit grads. ;-) (or see Bad4’s link from this past Friday)  Logically it makes sense; someone has to earn a living. Ergo, if one intends on acquiring a husband who intends on learning, at least for the interim said husband would require a wife who is capable of bringing home a paycheck. While a college degree isn’t a necessity, it does provide more income when one family is relying on one salary. (Arguably that would make older-singles more attractive as they have better earnings prospects than their younger counterparts as argued here.) Additionally, for the girls intent on marrying the college educated boy, logic would arguably dictate that said boy would want a college educated girl, for two reasons: intellectual compatibility and hashkofic compatibility. However, what seems to be the complication nowadays is: guys who “back in the day” would have chosen to go to college (or started working) are deferring from doing such activities purely because of shidduchim. Case in point, my friends who are in yeshiva get more dates than my friends who aren’t, even if they aren’t nearly as good of a catch…! 

So the question here is just as Double Trip asked:  What do these guys do instead? Could you please reveal the logic involved as well? They sit in yeshiva until they get married! The logic follows as a simple plan to manipulate this convoluted system. Basically, there are a lot of girls who are seeking guys who are in yeshiva. Additionally, there is another segment of girls who are seeking guys who will go to college or work eventually assuming the guy is currently in yeshiva. However, in the current system there is only small contingent of girls who are willing to go out with guys who aren’t in yeshiva anymore and are working or in college. This group pales in size by comparison. Besides, I would venture to say that a good majority of the girls currently on the market claim they want a learning guy, (a.k.a. they are more open-minded about the topic, or less rigid about the terms) even if they don’t really want that just so they can get access to a larger dating pool as well.

“Coincidentally,” when a boy defers going to college or work this boy just happens to become a more attractive candidate to both of the larger dating groups and thus allows himself to be set-up with a larger potential dating pool. Understandably, this logic is based on the erroneous societal principle that a guy who is still in yeshiva is a better catch (and will ostensibly make for a better husband) than one who is not, which is untrue, yet it remains a primary tenet of our shidduchim system.

Aside from this practice being one complete farce (not everyone who is in Yeshiva should still be there and not ever girl who claims she needs a learner is really looking for one) this leads to some other big problems. For one, this makes it harder to redt shidduchim in general as no one really knows what anyone really is looking for. Often people create lists of what they think the shadchan wants to hear without being honest. Additionally, some of the best guys on the market (i.e. the guys who would make for the best husbands) will be overlooked because they aren’t in yeshiva while some of the “best guys on market” really really aren’t…

**This post is written as a generalization and doesn’t fully address the age and demographics aspect of this discussion. 

Monday, July 18, 2011


After a few failed attempts at forming cohesive thoughts about the tragedy of last week, I decided to predominately stick with a “no comment” mantra. However, I do want to share a thought someone wisely reiterated: “this tragedy highlights the fragility and preciousness of life.”

HaMakom Yenachem Es'chem B'soch Shar Avay'lay Tzion Vee'Yerushalayim

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Age Old Debate

Recently we (us and our extended family and friends) have been having this debate. Who is more “mature” a married 20 year-old girl who has had a baby or a single 24 year old girl? Originally, I was tempted to argue that the girl who is a mother was inherently more mature just by the fact that she has to take care of a baby. However, after some consideration and people watching I am now unsure. Can maturity really be defined by one single event or is it mealy a façade or societal opinion?

TAW: Frum society presumes that (very) young mothers have acquired a certain amount of maturity and so we treat them as if they have. Our society values certain traits over other ones. We value caring for children and running a household more than we value obtaining an education and running a business. Some individuals SIBAW and I know argued that even the most “immature” nineteen year old young mother knows more about managing a home than a thirty year old single woman. This, in her mind equates to life experience and world knowledge. These individuals believe that life does not really begin until you’ve had your first child. They point to the fact that older singles never live “beyond themselves” that their lives might be hard, but it’s a personal hardship. They’re never forced to be selfless. 

The Torah encourages us to marry and says it isn’t good for man to be alone, implying that the true path to growth is through marriage and children. Many in our society use this knowledge to support the argument that there is no other way to achieve growth and maturity. For many of them, they aged as these stages came upon them, so what may simply be the maturity of aging they attribute solely to having children.  This belief that only marriage+children=maturity may be the source of people’s patronizing attitude towards singles and those who cannot conceive.  Is marriage and children the only way to achieve true growth and maturity? 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Weight for it…. Dairy? ;-)

Food Photography for Mayi Fine Dining Restaurant

Kids :-P, one of the (few) perks of either eating out shabbos or having guests in, is the ability to discuss randomness in earnest. While most of these conversations are not noteworthy, let alone blog-worthy, occasionally you’ll get one that is just bizarre enough to post. So today’s shabbos related conversation piece pertains to weight. The two questions are: what is the best way to lose weight and interestingly enough, what is the best way to gain weight? 

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Shadchan Song

How I found this video is really a complete fluke. Someone searched Google for the term "The Shadchan Song" and ended-up on my blog. What can I say; I was curious what they were looking for. Well, I don't know if this is the video they were looking for, but I thought it was cool. I guess the lyrics are a little less dramatic than jumping in front of a train, but it's still a good song. ;-)