Sunday, August 31, 2008

Excuse me sir, that's my bagel you're trying to eat

I went to a bris today. Small shul in a basement. I get my seat, get my plate and cup. Make myself a bagel and pour some orange juice into my cup. Then I go to wash. I come back, some middle aged guy is just slipping into my seat.

Dude, do you see the bagel and the full cup? And the meal just started so it's not like someone left a half-eaten bagel and left. When I indicated to the guy that it's my food he's sitting in front of, he had the audacity to be upset about having to vacate my seat.

On the other hand, I again ended sitting at the rabbi's table for shacharit and not the first time too. For some reason, when I go to a different shul I end up sitting by the rabbi's table. The previous time it was by rabbi Gornish. Is it my fault that I come on time and take a sit at some table. And both times no one bothered to mention that it's the rabbi's table.

When the rabbi comes, I can either get up and move and acknowledge my faux pas or continue sitting because I was there first and it's the fault of the guy sitting next to me for not telling me it's the rabbi's table. Yep, I continued sitting there. Me, admit doing something wrong?! I'm not the one that's wrong, it's the rules that changed. ;-)

D'avino cement mixer music video

Shlomik absolutely loves this video

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


While not as entertaining as CowTipping, BlogRolling is quiet the worthwhile endeavor. It helps with acquiring new readers and also letting your current readers know of other blogs that you find fascinating or, at least, mildly enjoyable. There is, however, one drawback. Once linked, you become, in a sense, friends and your previously favorite activity of posting rude and disparaging comments is now very much frowned upon.

There's one aspect of blogrolling which I find extremely confusing. I have noticed, on several occasions, bloggers either asking if it was acceptable that they blogrolled someone or if they may do so. Would a blogger really reply that no, it's not acceptable and that he/she doesn't want any of the other blogger's readers happening upon his blog. Total absurdity.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Drunken Animals

Alcohol, bringing peace on earth.

Monday, August 25, 2008

ColdFusion - Stripping tags with rereplacenocase

When you want to output a part of an RSS feed or content that contains tags, you'll want to at least strip out the image tags. If you know that all tags are lowercase, you can use rereplace, otherwise, use rereplacenocase.

To get rid of all tags:
This regular expression searches for all patterns that begin with a <, have something in the middle that's not a < and end with a >.

To get rid of image tags only:
This expression is same as previous, except it searches for patterns beginning with <img.

To get rid of two or more specific tags:
This expression searches for patterns beginning with <img, <div, </div or <br. The reason I'm using * instead of a + is because closing tags don't have characters between the beginning pattern and the ending pattern.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pomegranate - 4 days later

I went to Pomegranate today because Paperific was already closed and Glatt Mart didn't have matjas herring. The management seems to have gained a little intelligence, not much, but it's a start.

Looks like they realized that produce goes bad fast and if no one buys it, they loose money. A lot of prices went down by as much as 30 cents. Stem tomatoes, $.69/lb. Both milks are now $2.99, still retarded but better than $3.29. The main point though is that after months of searching, I finally found Season's capelin black caviar. It disappeared from Paperific and Shop Rite after Pesach and was nowhere to be found. They have two sizes, 3.5oz and, I think, 2oz. The 3.5oz jar is for a an awesome price of $3.69.

The meat and fish still suck. They had a very pretty and well made shabbat sushi platter, that contained enough sushi for maybe two people, for the nice price of $60. Not gonna buy it even if it was half price.

The big truck that couldn't

It sometimes makes me wonder if New York truckers really love the The Little Engine That Could story. They've seen the sign about the height clearance, they know the height of their truck and yet they're sitting there behind the wheel and saying "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" until half the roof of the trailer has been torn off. There's one crucial point that they seem to always forget, it was the Little Engine, not the Big Truck.

When I used to live on J and E 12th, almost every week you'd have a trucker that either was smart enough to stop a foot in front of the train and was now needing help backing up, or one who was stupid and who managed to rip off the top of the cabin and a good part of the trailer. When DOT finally put the clearance warning sign all the way on Coney Island, it helped, a little.

If the clearance is one or two inches, maybe you shouldn't try it, especially when your truck isn't fully loaded and you just inflated your tires. If the height of your truck is half a foot more than the clearance, dude, go back to school and learn some basic math.

Stupid enough to risk it? At least do it slowly and not at full speed. And if you see you're not going to make it, it's probably better to get a ticket for blocking traffic than to get your pay docked and to get fired for damaging, really badly, the really expensive truck you're driving.

Trucks may be impervious to collisions with cars but they're not as immortal as they think. When it come to concrete and steel, you lose. Reminds of the joke about an American nuclear sub demanding that the British lighthouse move out of its way.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Credit Cards and Ribbis

Friends occasionally ask me to buy stuff for them online.  Today, I thought of an interesting question.  Am I charging them interest?

All of my credit cards have cash back rewards.  Depending on where the purchase is made and with which credit card, the cash back is as high as 5%.  Let's say I order something for $100.  I'll charge the person I'm buying the item for, $100.  Here's the problem though, I'll get $3 back from the credit card, so the actual cost is not $100, but $97.  Even worse, Chase Freedom gives you 3% back on top 3 categories for that month and 1% back for the rest.  As far as I remember, there's no way to check which purchases are in the top 3.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pomegranate - leave your wallet at home

The new store Pomegranate is finally open. It's huge, it has everything, there's nice music and right now they're giving away free sushi and baked goods.

Pomegranate is a clean, fully stocked supermarket, with a capital S, what it doesn't have is good prices. Some items, like tea or stem tomatoes, are cheap. Most items are very overpriced. New Square orange juice, which most stores in the area sell for $2.59, is $2.99. Milk is $2.99 and up. Yogurt that all neighborhood stores sell for $.79 is &.89. Chicken thighs are $2.49/lb. While Mountain Fruit sells BBQ chickens for $7, here, they're $11 and up. They're not yet selling sushi but I wouldn't be surprised if it's gonna be more expensive than in glatt mart. They had Nature's Own apple juice on "sale", 2 for $4. This same juice is right now in Glatt Mart for $1.79. There's no lamb in the meat section and the meat itself, some cheaper, some same, some more expensive than the other stores.

Would I shop here? Yes. But you must be very careful about the prices and about the "sales" items which may be much more expensive than the other neighborhood stores.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bypassing sales tax in NY

Recently, the powers that steal your money started forcing online retailers that have any kind of office in NY to charge sales tax. The reason behind the move is that it will help NY retailers. If people have to pay tax online, same as in a store, they would go to the store instead. This was done not to force us to pay even more taxes, but to help the local economy. Apparently people, if both stores charge tax, would rather pay for gas and parking rather than get free shipping. Two of the stores affected are and The only one fighting them is currently has a printer that I want on sale. As was going through the checkout process, I noticed that while I'll get free shipping, I'll have to pay $8 tax. I don't think so. I went to and searched for the printer model. Guess what, uses as a portal for sales. Add to cart, go to checkout. Free shipping, no tax, and 3% back with my amazon visa. Take that you blood sucking parasites.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tisha B'Av - Those who know history are doomed to repeat it

My shul skips some kinot in favor of recounting stories of crusades, pogroms, Polish, Ukrainian and Nazi actions during WWII and other fun stories. Most of the stories are about religious Jews getting killed or committing suicide to sanctify G-d's name. Most stories are the same as the year before.

Every year I get really pissed off. Not just by the stories but by the "moral of the story" at the end of Shacharis. The "moral of the story" is that in these times, all we can do is pray. Most of the stories are about religious Jews. They prayed. Where has that gotten them? All of them were killed because they shared responsiblity for everyone else.

It says "don't rely on miracles." People have no problem applying this concept to work, food, marriage, etc. When it comes to defense, it's not what a good Jew supposed to do, he should pray and all will be well. All will not be well because it never was. Especially in New York, martial arts, guns, knives, etc. is a stigma. In Chaim Berlin, a classmate of mine asked the rabbi if a Jewish cop is allowed to carry a gun on Shabbat. The answer, "a Jew shouldn't carry a gun ever." Just once, I want to hear a Rabbi finish his speach with "in these times, all we can do is pray, and get a gun, and maybe get some combat training." Then again, working is also becoming something a good Jew shouldn't do. And when it comes to marriage, all you gotta do is say tehillim all day and you'll miraculously wake up next day married.

Tisha B'Av is for remembering, but what's the point of remembering if you don't do anything to prevent it from happening again. And even worse, what's the point of remembering, if you're going to move back to Poland, Ukraine, Germany, Austria, etc.