50K Ain’t Peanuts

Is Savannah Morning News’ religion blogger and Methodist homegirl Dana Clark Felty trying to get rid of me? What up, girl, you trying to scamper out of our arm-wrestling match by running me out of town?

Not that her suggestion isn’t the best offer I’ve heard in months:

The Jewish community of Dothan, Alabama wants to pay young Jewish families up to $50,000 to move to the little town and help revitalize its Jewish community. They’ve got a happy, small town vibe that values its Jewish heritage (descendants of the town’s founder, Hyman Blumberg, still live there and Temple Emanu-El was founded in 1929) and a forward-thinking female rabbi. There’s hardly any crime and the schools are good. It’s in the heart of peanut country and hosts the National Peanut Festival every year. Giant painted peanuts decorate the downtown, demonstrating the presence of an artistic community, or at least a sense of humor.

I’m thinking this sounds like a pretty freakin’ great deal. I miss small town life. Sure, it’s in the middle of nowhere instead of 40 minutes from San Francisco, but only a six-hour drive to Savannah. Hell, I already live in the South, and $50K would go a long way in the kids’ college fund. And we Yentas love us some peanut butter, yo.

El Yenta Man says the surf sucks, though.

Belated Elul-Tide Greetings

Looking over the last week’s posts, I think I sound a little crazy.

Not in an endearing, meshuggeh-type way, like your doddering old aunt who wears dainty tea gloves to the grocery store and calls everyone “dear,” but more of a “cross-me-and-I-will-cut you, beeotch” aura that actually gives off an odor – a striking combination of estrogen, peanut butter and gasoline that splashed onto me while filling the minivan (you don’t even want to know how I dealt with the poor cashier at the BP on Drayton; let’s just say I must now drive up the block to the gas station where I am acccosted by drunks looking for spare change.)

I think I even made my computer explode with all that anger. No, FOR REAL. My laptop, perhaps overwhelmed by the vitriol spewing forth from its owner, came up with nothing but a gray screen yesterday and is in Mac ICU right now. Posting may get spotty as I prepare to mourn my iTunes library and decide whether to buy a new machine or pay my temple dues.

The last week may or may not have been a result of PMS (though my poem “Cowgirl” is certainly redolent of a similar week I had many years ago) and El Yenta Man and the children have been tiptoeing around for days, doing laundry and sweeping floors in hopes of appeasing the Scary Mommy Monster back into some semblance of loving calmness. It’s working, but shhh, I’m holding out until someone cleans the bathtub.

And since last week began the month of Elul, the time before the Jewish New Year when we Jews prepare ourselves to stand before God on Yom Kippur and ask for repentance, I figure I better start backwards with apologies all around:

To my family, who deserves more patience that I was born with (although really, how many times does a person have to be asked to put their shoes in the closet?) To those pet-lovers who believe in the Rapture (surely, Jesus will let you bring them, as long as you bring a supply plastic poopy baggies.) And especially to the unsuspecting guy at the gym who tried to strike up an innocent conversation and got a lashing that may have him avoiding exercise altogether lest he run into the Psychotic Democrat on the Elliptical ever again (not that he’s right, mind you.)

I plan to be much more mindful this week, thanks to this year’s Jewels of Elul, a series of short nuggets of wisdom posted every day from all kinds of interesting people (Presidential hopefuls Obama and McCain have both contributed to 5768’s collection; you can also find the Yenta’s post from last year by clicking on “Previous Jewels.”)

Even if my computer is dead, I’m consoled that a new year is on the way, and nothing says “5769” like a sleek new MacAir, right?

Update: I just spoke with the doctors and it looks like the Yenta Mac is DOA. Cause of death? A failed logic board. *sigh* Irony is funnier when it’s not so expensive.

I bit the bullet and a new MacBook is on its way to me. The synagogue people may boot me, but at least I’ll be able boot up…

Next Time I’ll Wear Headphones

I’m embarrassed to say I lost my temper last night at the gym. I was sweating away my own business on that horrid torture device called the elliptical, which is supposed to simulate running but is really just another giant gerbil toy that contorts my old-before-their-time hips in unnatural ways, when the guy next to me asks me what I think about VP candidate Sarah Palin.

“You don’t want to know,” I said.

“No, really, you’re a woman – you must be thrilled,” he insisted.

“Not really,” I mumbled, not making eye contact, just hoping to serve my 30-minute fatburner sentence and go do some weenie push-ups and call it a day.

I f*king hate small talk as a rule; if you attempt a stupid conversation with when I am breathing hard and shvitzing, I bite. I pegged this doofus the minute he opened his mouth, but I gave him the courtesy of a second warning: “I prefer not to talk politics with strangers in public place.”

“Well,” he chuckled. “I think she’s pretty hot!”

I was already pissed about being at the gym in the first place, and this chauvinist joker was asking for what came next: “That’s fantastic! The Republican party will be so pleased! Shit, if they threw in some Playboy bunnies into the Cabinet, you could have the ticket of your dreams, right? I’ve got news for you, mister: I’m not fooled by the sexy librarian act and Sarah Palin is the worst thing to happen for women’s rights in this country since Phyllis Schlafly.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a middle-aged woman on the treadmill nod her head.

Bouyed by that and the endorphin rush of reaching my target heart rate, I spewed out Palin’s hypocritical stance on birth control and abortion (how can she claim “abstinence-only sex education is effective when her teenage daughter is pregnant?) and continued with her flip-flop of the bridge to nowhere, her uninformed views about Iraq, her belief that global warning isn’t manmade, her wish to have creationism taught in public schools. Plus her pastor thinks all Jews need Jesus.

So then the guy does what all ignorant NASCAR-loving morons do when confronted with logic: He accuses me of being anti-American. “What other country would you want to live in? Huh? Huh?”

Two women on the stationary bicycles who were probably trying to get through their own workouts in peace looked at me and raised their eyebrows.

“Just because I don’t agree with my government doesn’t mean I don’t love my country, buddy, and I’m really sick of this idea that backasswards conservatism holds the monopoly on patriotism. I am a proud patriot, and I want to live in an America that upholds the Constitution, guarantees freedom for all its citizens and respects human rights. I want a government that provides a decent education for everyone and puts money into its future. In the last eight years a Republican White House has shipped 87 billion dollars into a war that only people still drinking the Kool-Aid think was justified. Bridges are collapsing and our schools are in emergency mode, George Bush has practically third-worlded our dollar and fumbled our foreign policy like a bad high school football game. I’m an American – a really angry one.”

He shut up after that, and we sluiced away silently next to each other uncomfortably for the next ten minutes. His machine beeped and he jumped off, wiped down the armpoles and waved his towel. “You have a good night!”

I shrugged my shoulders. I hate phony courtesy almost as much as I hate small talk.

The ladies on the treadmill and bicycles gave me more approving nods. “You tried to warn him, didn’t ya?”

The good news is that this was the best workout I’d had all week. The extra adrenaline helped me burn enough extra calories to justify some ice cream.

Oh No They Di’int

Y’all already know how I feel about Crocs. And there are plenty more like me, in spite of their hideous ubiquity. In fact, the I Hate Crocs blog is my new favorite home.

But now the Croc lovers have gone and made it personal. This is the “Kroc Kippah,” which someone at PopJudaica.com thinks is amusing enough to sell. Maybe you think it’s amusing enough to buy. But if you’re wearing it and sitting in front of me at synagogue, so help me I WILL snatch it off your head and fling it like a cold latke from hell onto the bima.

Consider yourself warned.

Tip thanks to Meredith at ModernJewishMom with my sincerest apologies, because she likes it.

No Dog Hair On the Sofa in God’s House?

I’ve always been weirdly fascinated with the Rapture (you may remember my first introduction to Jesus’ promise to disappear the really decent people from the planet while the rest of us losers wallow in the treacly soup caused by greed, global warming and sodomy.)

I’ve already scoped out all the stuff my super-Christy neighbors’ will leave behind (I call the gazebo in the backyard, you can have the rest of their Wal-Mart chozzerai, and then we’ll have the most colossal yard sale ever, yo!) but it’s never occurred to me what will happen to their pets when their owners float heavenward. As the New Testament is quite clear that one must accept Jesus as one’s savior in order to catch a ride on the Rapture roller coaster and animals are obviously unable to that, who is going to take these furry creatures in? Will thousands – millions? – of deserted cats and dogs and Chinese water dragons descend upon the alleys eating garbage and each other until finally the rest of us forgotten souls are killed off by flea bites? I’m an animal lover and all, but the neighbor’s dog is a kind of gross yappy terrier named “Puddles” who lunges at our Clarabell and I just think we’re going to have enough of our own post-Apocalyptic problems, okay?

Thank the Lord, someone else is prepared to take in all the little abandoned pets – for a small fee, of course. From the Best of Craig’s List (a fine way to while away one’s time, before and after the Second Coming):

Your Pets Will Not Be Flagged For Removal By Jesus During the Rapture

[…] I am here to offer you pet care service for after the rapture. As an atheist, I will surely still be here on this earth post rapture and would love to look after your pets … You will be able to look down on them from heaven and see them being well cared for by me and living happy, healthy lives. Do not let my atheism scare you! I am a moral and loving pet owner and would never do harm to any animal.

For a small deposit of only $50, you can be assured that your pets will be well cared for from the time that you are raptured until the end of their natural life. They will get adequate amounts of food, water, and shelter as well as plenty of exercise and socialization as I would imagine there will be a lot of pets that will be abandoned by Jesus the pet hater that will need to be cared for … $50 is only a small price to pay to know that while you are enjoying everlasting bliss, your pets will be cared for until their end days. Thanks and have a great day!

Full Craig’s List post here.