I’m sure, my precious little geeks and nerdlings, that you have better things to do on a sunny, warm, summer Sunday afternoon than hanging out on Facebook.
Sadly, as I hate warm weather, and the sun… and frankly summer Sundays… there I was, minding my own business, when what to my wondering eyes should appear…
Yes, boys and girls, the Sheep Chair.
It took me a second or two to gasp what I was looking at. Nope, it was a Sheep Chair, all right!
Naturally, I shared it.
And this is where the adventure started.
A dear friend of mine, KB, ‘Facelifted’ it from me and posted it on her page and tagged me on the photo.
KB has many more FB friends than I do… and as they are a chatty, cheery bunch, they felt moved to comment on the photo.
Being tagged, I got notices of all of said comments.
What ensued was an orgy of puns, double-entendre and plays on words.
Here are a few examples…
- Wow. You scored tickets for the Sheep Seats.
- Oh, that was baaaaaaaaad.
- Well, at least you didn’t try to pull the wool over our eyes.
- I HERD that!
- I only have eyes for ewe!
- Wool you all stop?… lol
- A good chair to get drunk in… If there is a better place to get three sheeps to the wind, I’d like to see it!
- Try to get a good price on it, I know of three individuals who have gotten fleeced by this guy…
- ”…she said, sheepishly.”
- The perfect chair in which to eat Shepherds Pie!
I’m sorry but this little girl is simply Evil Incarnate!
That adorably cute little face says it all (i.e. ‘I am the Spawn of Satan! Can I have a cookie?’)
And yet… there is humour here, as well.
A dark, evil, perverse humour, perhaps… but humour all the same.
A milder, funnier version was put together in this commercial for the 2010 Young Director Award.
My kinda kid!
OK… you need a bit of background here…
I’m kind of an ‘early to bed, early to rise’ type of person.
As a general rule, I’m pretty much conking out by 11:00 pm unless there is a really good reason for me to be up (i.e. downloading and watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones)!
Sadly, I also tend to get up fairly early… and by fairly early, I mean before 6:00 a.m. The alarm on my clock radio is set for 6:00 am and it is pretty rare that it wakes me up.
It would be nice for me to sleep in now and again. I just don’t get a chance to do so. Either I have to be up because I’ve got to be somewhere, or I just naturally get up because, well… that’s when I wake up.
So you can imagine that on those mornings when I can sleep in, it is a ‘few and far between’ treat for me.
This morning was one such occasion. It is Victoria Day (aka Firecracker Day) in my particular corner of The Great White North. No work. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. Up fairly late last night enjoying the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
In my nice huge (king size) bed, sawing wood, blowing some big league Zs, all is right with the world.
And the world, being what it is… there are seasonal changes in sunrise times. At this particular time of year, the sun rises at about 5:50 am or thereabouts and will continue to do so, progressively earlier each morning, until mid-June. No problem. Shades are drawn, door is closed. Hoping to wake up maybe around 8:00 or even 8:30 if I am really lucky.
Nature had other plans for me this morning.
I’m sure it hit my subconscious before I opened my eyes, so it was probably the second blast that woke me up.
I just lay there for a moment, puzzled. ‘That sounded just like a rooster,’ I thought to myself.
Well, they say that three’s a charm. I needed no further confirmation after that one.
There’s a rooster in my neighbourhood somewhere.
Judge my chagrin.
While I may not have a lot of hard empirical evidence at my fingertips to support me, I am fairly certain that just about everyone who’s ever moved to a city has done so in order to avoid being woken up by a rooster.
I looked at my clock radio. 5:25 a.m.
The pre-dawn concerto was in full swing about half an hour later. That was when I got out of bed.
Curse you, Rooster. Curse your cold black cock-a-doodle-doo heart!
Attention all my little geeks and nerdlings!
Please be aware of the Grey Ribbon Campaign in support of Zombie Awareness Month.
Be aware! What you don’t know… can eat you!
Zombie Awareness Crest from Zombie Research Society.
Please Think of the Children photo from Zombie Preparedness Organization of Canada.
 As a ‘noted zombie expert,’ I am a lifetime member of the Zombie Research Society.
And no. It’s not polar bear farts!
It seems that methane gas is trapped under the ice and the melting of the polar ice caps may release all that greenhouse gas into the atmosphere which would contribute to global warming.
According to a recent article by our favourite envirogeeks over at ScienceDaily.com, “The fragile and rapidly changing Arctic region is home to large reservoirs of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. As Earth’s climate warms, the methane, frozen in reservoirs stored in Arctic tundra soils or marine sediments, is vulnerable to being released into the atmosphere, where it can add to global warming. Now a multi-institutional study by Eric Kort of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has uncovered a surprising and potentially important new source of Arctic methane: the ocean itself.”
Researchers flying low over the Arctic (five times between 2009 and 2010) observed increased methane levels… about one-half percent larger than normal background levels.
But where was the methane coming from?
The scientists ruled out man-made carbon monoxide in the atmosphere (they were flying north of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas) and also methane coming from high-latitude wetlands or geologic reservoirs.
Eventually, they pinpointed a source: the ocean surface, through cracks in Arctic sea ice and areas of partial sea ice cover. The cracks expose open Arctic seawater, allowing the ocean to interact with the air, and methane in the surface waters to escape into the atmosphere. The team detected no enhanced methane levels when flying over areas of solid ice.
So how is the methane being produced?
The scientists aren’t yet sure, but Kort hinted biological production from living things in Arctic surface waters may be a likely culprit.
”It’s possible that as large areas of sea ice melt and expose more ocean water, methane production may increase, leading to larger methane emissions,” Kort said.
Future studies will be needed to understand the enhanced methane levels and associated emission processes and to measure their total contribution to overall Arctic methane levels.
Way to go, polar bears. And you’re not totally off the hook yet!
The study, published April 22 in Nature Geoscience, included participation from JPL and Caltech; NSF, Arlington, Va.; NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colo.; the University of Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder; Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey; Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia; and Science and Technology Corporation, Boulder, Colo. JPL is a division of Caltech.
The ScienceDaily.com article was reprinted from materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
I recently received a wonderful gift from some very dear friends!
This little gizmo is one of the coolest things I’ve ever owned. And it sounds perfect for my life. I am always running around and sometimes I have a few minutes to check my email or Facebook or whatever but I don’t have enough time to run to a nearby computer terminal. Now with my new best gadget, I am always able to check up on the little things. The big things can wait until I am in front of a real computer.
My dear friend, SB, gave me a quick tour of his own Playbook a couple of weeks ago and I was instantly a huge fan. When I got the little cutie (Thursday night last week), I decided to bring it to Toronto with me so I could spend a bit of time with SB and learn the ropes.
I didn’t have much of a chance to check the little squirt out on Friday during the day. Before I knew it, it was the Sabbath. OK, I figured, I’d give it a spin Saturday night. Saturday night, I was way too busy. I was totally swamped Sunday from 6:00 am until about 5:00 pm. The only thing SB and I could do Sunday afternoon was charge it up and do some initial steps.
Today, Wednesday afternoon, with my BBP all charged up and ready to rip, I started using it. I was finally going to take my little honey-bunny out for a spin.
As the fabulous Janice Litman would say…
“Ohh… myy… GAWD!!”
I am SO loving it, you’ve no idea!
It’s going to take me a bit of serious experimenting to really get the hang of things but I must say, she’s pretty straight forward.
Anyone who has grown up with computers will know almost instinctively what to do. You bond very quickly. It almost becomes a part of you as you become a part of it. In a way, it is a means of ‘achieving perfection.’ You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
Oh, no! Maybe this is how The Upcoming Robot Uprising begins.
My innocuous, innocent little doohickey… the Harbinger of Doom!
Is this how the world will end? Not with a bang but with an “Ohh… myy… GAWD!!”?
I think I’ll name her Janice.
I’m not sure how common this phenomenon is throughout the rest of society but I seem to have more than my fair share of a particular kind of irritating person and I want it to stop. Now.
I am talking about the Cross-Examiner.
Allow me to explain…
You’re telling something to someone or trying to explain something… and the person you’re talking to interrupts time and again with questions, usually irrelevant, to the point where you want to say, “What are you, a cop?”
At first, you will probably mistake the Cross-Examiner’s questioning for curiosity or maybe the fact that the person to whom you are speaking is more than a bit dim and needs constant clarification on minute points in your story or explanation.
Then you begin to realize that the person asking the question does not let you get even half-way through your reply when he or she poses another question… then another… then another, each one more ‘pointed.’
It soon dawns on you that the Cross-Examiner isn’t interested in your answers… he or she simply enjoys the act of asking questions.
This is the adult version of the maddening habit most young children have of asking “Why?” after every reply you give. They don’t really care why. They just want to know how many times they can ask “Why?” before you give up, scream or swat them. Which is not unlike the reaction one has to the Cross-Examiner.
Me: Once upon a time…
Me: A long time ago…
C-E: When exactly? How long ago?
Me: It doesn’t matter.
C-E: Months? Years?
Me: It’s not relevant to the story.
C-E: Was it more than 10 years ago or less than 10 years ago?
Me: Stop it!
C-E: I can’t get some context to the story?
Me: You don’t need any. Anyway. Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
C-E: What galaxy? How far?
Me: Oh for heaven sake…
C-E: Are you counting dwarf galaxies and Magellanic clouds? Or are we talking actual real galaxies here?
Me: I’m going to smack you in a minute!
(What the Cross-Examiner thinks he is)
Maybe it makes them feel smart.
Maybe they believe they are being perceptive and analytical.
Maybe they think they are ‘getting to the root’ of something.
Who cares? I want it to stop!
Deep in the mists of time, before I restricted my law practice to criminal defence work, I used to be an entertainment lawyer. As such, I was at one point up on the law of intellectual property, specifically copyright and personality rights.
Given my background, it gave me an extra tickle when I read about upcoming (i.e. threatened) lawsuits between teen heart-throb Justin Bieber  and app developer RC3, creators of an app called “Joustin’ Beaver.”
The app depicts a well-coiffed beaver with a purple jacket and a handsome face jousting with paparazzi. It’s clearly designed to mock the pop idol, a fact that RC3 readily admits.
Lawyers for Bieber have threatened to sue the company and the company is reportedly planning a pre-emptive lawsuit of its own against the Biebs, claiming that its app is protected under the U.S. First Amendment because it is a parody. 
Naturally, as a result of all this litigation hullabaloo, the app is gaining more attention than it probably ever would have if Bieber’s attorneys didn’t make such a big deal of it in the first place.
As we say down in The South, ‘Yew jus’ cain’t make this $#!t up!”
 I am happy to say that I don’t know anything about Justin Bieber, except for the fact that I see his face plastered everywhere. I imagine he’s some obscenely popular kind of singer.
 Although a parody can be considered a derivative work under United States Copyright Law, it can be protected from claims by the copyright owner of the original work under the fair use doctrine, which is codified in 17 U.S.C. § 107. The Supreme Court of the United States stated that parody “is the use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s works”. That commentary function provides some justification for use of the older work. See Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. (Source: Wikipedia)
In one of my blog articles last month, I set out my theory of the Stealth Hasidim.
Since then, I have been developing and expanding this theory with the help of my dear friend and fellow stealth hasid, SB.
Well, it was time to put theory into an even more extended practice and see just how stealthy and hasidish I could be!
The perfect opportunity provided itself the other day when my friends, D&RB, were in short supply of kosher baby food. Apparently, in Toronto, there is now a dearth of baby food with an acceptable hechsher (kosher certification mark). Baby food brands such as Gerber and Heinz don’t make the grade. They have either cut or lost their COR kosher certification in Canada. 
(A small sample of various kosher certification symbols)
Bottom line… the only brand of baby food that my friends would accept were those produced under the name Beech-Nut, manufactured under strict rabbinical supervision and bearing the ‘Circle-U’ hechsher of the Orthodox Union.
Now while many kosher food retailers do carry the Beach-Nut brand, the selection of flavours in Toronto is somewhat limited. My dear friends were, in a word, distraught. Running low on supplies, their options limited, D&RB were in a tight spot, and no mistake.
This looked like a job for… The Stealth Hasid!
Living, as I do, a mere hop and a skip from the Canada-U.S. border, I hatched a plan whereby I, with the assistance of my not-so-stealthy hasidic cohort (i.e. the local Chabad rabbi), would slip across the border, infiltrate a certain supermarket in a largish western New York State city (which store carries a wide variety of kosher foods including Beech-Nut baby food), obtain about 50 jars in a variety of flavours, make our way back across the river to The Great White North whereupon I would personally transport the goods to my dear friends in Toronto in time for Shabbes.
I arranged a rendezvous in scenic Niagara-Falls. My cohort suggested I meet him across the street from the Jewish cemetery at 5:45 yesterday morning, which totally appealed to my Orthodox Goth (OrthoGoth?) side!. Now while I am usually an early riser, the thought of me standing in the snow in the pre-dawn hours waiting for my cohort to arrive did not help me leap to the task with my usual alacrity.
However, a stealth hasid must be made of stern stuff. “Suck it up, princess!” I said to myself, peering into the night as I held my Tim Hortons coffee cup in both hands. “A baby’s health and nutrition is at stake! And you are helping fellow frummies in their hour of need. Stealth Hasid to the rescue!”
OK, so… I drove up to the Canada-U.S. border by 6:00 am. The process was uneventful. While my cohort was an old hand at crossing into the States and back, I was a bit nervous as this was my first foray into the U.S. since the Passover before 9-11. A lot’s happened since then, homeland-security-wise. Notwithstanding the fact that I had my brand-new spiffy enhanced drivers licence which permits me to drive into the U.S. without a passport, I didn’t know what to expect. I need not have worried. Things went smoothly with the border guard asking only a few questions. Before I knew it, we were in The Great Republic to the South.  A quick in-and-out and we’d be back in the land of Mounties and maple syrup, beavers and butter tarts before you could say, “How’s it goin’ eh?”
Did I mention that my cohort goes into the States every day? No? Well, he does. Why? He attends morning services at the holy Young Israel of Greater Buffalo orthodox congregation. I had never been there before and I must say, it was quite enjoyable. As it was Rosh Chodesh, we had a Torah reading and, after services, my cohort did a little one-on-one learning with an extremely UN-stealth hasid. Not exactly the quick in-and-out I originally imagined but you have to learn to roll with the proverbial punches in this line of work.
Eventually, we made it to the supermarket. I stocked up on Beech-Nut sweet carrots, sweet peas, squash and sweet potato, getting about a dozen of each. I found out, to my chagrin, that not all Beech-Nut flavours were kosher. We cleared the shelves of all kosher flavours D&RB needed but we fell a bit short of the 50 jars I was hoping to get and there was no time to drive to the other supermarket around the corner (my cohort was already late for a meeting on the Canadian side). I cashed out and before long, we were heading back home. Crossing into Canada was smooth. All went according to plan.
All Stealth. All Hasidic. No Sweat!
Sadly, a snow storm in Toronto today and tomorrow has prevented me from coming in this weekend. Luckily, D&RB have enough food to last them until next weekend.
This coming Friday, I hope to arrive in Toronto on the eve of the Sabbath and deliver the much-needed supplies to my dear friends. D&RB will, I am sure, be quite relieved and happy. As far as baby food is concerned, they will be flush until my next foray into the wilds of western New York.
Yesterday morning’s jaunt taught me several things. Crossing the border at 6:00 am isn’t all that rough, really. I enjoy the Young Israel of Greater Buffalo congregation and intend to continue going there at least twice a week (tentatively Tuesdays and Thursdays) when I am not either in court or in Toronto. Food prices, even kosher food prices, are much lower in the States. Aside from pain in the tush of getting up so early (4:00 am!!), it is nice to share a couple of hours chatting with my cohort, the local Chabad rabbi.
Tentatively, our next cross-border raid is this coming Tuesday. Time permitting, I am hoping to hit that other supermarket in search of more Beech-Nut baby food and maybe even a few provisions for myself.
UPDATE: (As of 9:40 am Friday Feb. 24/12)
It turns out that the bad weather has been averted! The snowfall anticipated for this weekend is not nearly as bad as originally predicted and that I am indeed heading off to Toronto after all. I will be leaving as soon as possible, dropping off the baby food for D&RB, picking up some provisions for dinner tonight and enjoying the Sabbath with friends and loved ones! Yay! The Stealth Hasid scores again!
A good, restful, peaceful and spirit-filled Sabbath to all.
 COR is the kosher certification trademark used by the Kashruth Council of Canada, the largest kosher certification agency in Canada. COR has been servicing the Canadian food industry for over 65 years and now certifies over 45,000 products at over 1000 facilities across Canada and around the world.
 Technically, where I live, The Great Republic is to the East… but that’s another story.