Why I Hate Almost Everyone (Part I): They’re Dumbasses

I hate almost everyone. Seriously. I really do.

Almost everyone I know is, to one degree or another, annoying, irritating, mind-numbingly boring or… the subject of today’s rant… dumb as a bag of hammers.

(You say ‘cute’. I say ‘dumbass’)

Take this one man I know at my local synagogue. He is distractingly stupid. And I don’t mean just stunned and clued-out in your average old guy kinda way. I mean virtually everything he says is either wrong or complete and utter nonsense. How he makes it from wherever the heck he lives to shul and back day to day is a total mystery to me. How he can survive without wandering out into traffic or driving off a cliff or accidentally eating toxic sludge thinking it was Jell-O has me flummoxed. I can think of no better argument against natural selection than this guy. And he’s not OLD old, like some poor nonagenarian who thinks he’s still in WW2. He’s just pain-in-the-ass old. The kind of ‘I know everything because somehow I haven’t died yet’ old that drives you nuts.

And it’s not just stupid old people I hate. Stupid young people I hate even more!

(Our jails are not filled with geniuses)

I work with stupid young people (i.e. teenagers) on a daily basis. I spend a good chunk of my day going from “WTF?” to “You just cain’t make this shit up!” to “Seriously… This person cannot be this stupid!” to “I can’t see our world surviving this new generation” to “The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse cannot happen too soon!” Young stupidity is the kind that causes that vein in my forehead to throb, the kind that makes me throw up my hands (and my lunch) and just want to walk away in despair and disgust. Their brainlessness is a tangible entity… a life-sapping energy-draining force you can almost feel. You look into their vacant faces and their eyes show no evidence of intelligence. You know those emails you get about stupid criminals and the Darwin Awards?. THOSE are the guys I’m talking about. These are the kinds of guys who bungee jump off a 50 foot railway overpass… with 50 feet of bungee cord. The kind who steals a huge tray of shrimp and runs out of the store only to be caught 20 yards away. How fast do you think you can run carrying an enormous platter of shrimp, Einstein? Or the kind who go to a bank to open an account, then while the teller is processing their info, rob the bank and run out… leaving the drivers licence with the teller. That takes a special kind of stupid.

(A real public service announcement)

I’ve often wondered what would happen if I placed “stupid young offender guy” in the same room with “stupid old shul guy” and just watched. Would they cancel each other out? Would they, like two negative forces, repel one another? Or, heaven forbid, would the two imbeciles meld together into one big super-dense black hole of stupidity, consuming everything around them?

(You say bagel. I say ‘baggle’)

Then there are hick trailer girls who are both stupid and stubborn. Now there’s a dangerous pair of qualities to mix in the same person… arrogance and ignorance. This is the kind of cretin who refuses to admit she is wrong and insists that what she is doing or thinking or believing is somehow equally valid or true because ‘that’s just the way she does it.’ The ones who pronounce bagel ‘baggle’ despite the fact that everyone… and I mean EVERYONE… tells them they are saying it wrong. “That’s how we say it where I come from!” is the stock reply. Well, honey, then you come from the village of Wrongburgh which is a suburb of the City of Incorrectady, in the Regional Municipality of Dumbass. You can’t pronounce lasagna ‘La-ZAG-na’ or gnocchi ‘Guh-NOTCH-ee’ and then try to pull the ‘that’s how we pronounce it out in Possum Butt Falls’ schtick! ‘Stickin’ by yer guns’ is not an admirable quality in this situation. Learn to speak the damn language, you hillbilly!

I’m not an unpleasant person, I’m really not. I’m not ill-tempered. I try to be nice and friendly and patient and understanding and polite and all the things that help me make it through the day without sticking a letter opener in someone’s neck.

(I think I’m turning into Red Foreman)

It’s just that stupid people make it difficult for me to hang on to the tattered shreds of my composure. I can’t seem to shrug it off. Irritation and annoyance turn to effen hatred.

Like the guy who is in his car getting angier and angier that the vehicle ahead of him isn’t moving… and he leans on the horn, screaming. You know… the guy you pull up beside and say, “Excuse me, but… that car’s parked!” Thank goodness Canada has strict handgun laws. Road rage alone would produce more carnage than anything else.

I can deal with plain old ignorance. An ignorant person just doesn’t know. Information and education cures ignorance. That can be taken care of, no problem. That can be fixed.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I hate almost everyone.

You can’t fix stupid.

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Priest: Movie Review

I was really looking forward to seeing Priest the day it came out on DVD. I watched the trailer on YouTube and I was hooked.

I ran out to The Zombie Serengeti (aka The Walmarts) as soon as I could and snagged me a copy.

After a few false starts (the old coal-burning computer with the water-cooled monitor and the hamster-driven DVD was acting up), I sat down in the old wingback armchair and prepared to be amazed.

Let me start off by saying that Priest is an very unusual blend of post-apocalyptic dystopia, gunslinger western, vampyre-slayer action flick, futuristic motorcycle movie and supernatural monster horror thriller. Now that’s a lot to pack into one movie! Based on the critically acclaimed Korean manhwa graphic novel of the same name [1], Priest is the story of an outcast Priest warrior who goes into exile in order to rescue his niece from vampires. So far, so good.

(This one doesn’t sparkle like Edward Cullen)

OK… here’s the deal. Humans and vampyres (not human vampyres but blind eyeless monster vampyres) have been battling each other for a dozen centuries, destroying the earth in the process. Outposts of humanity exist. There is a walled city ruled by The Church, who organized an elite corp of Warrior Priests specially trained for killing vampyres. Most vampyres were killed and the rest put in ‘reservations’… basically prisons. The rest of the world outside the walled city is a wasteland that reminds one very much of the wild west, only set in the crumbling ruins of what was once a modern city.

According to the synopsis: A legendary Warrior Priest from the last Vampire War now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants of the walled city. When his niece is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece’s boyfriend, a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff… and a former Warrior Priestess who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.

I’ll say it again… that is an awful lot of crap to put into one movie! And sadly, I think the movie suffers for it. Blade Runner meets Mad Max meets Underworld meets Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns meets Van Helsing meets the Star Wars Jedi knights meets Judge Dredd… meets… meets… meets… !!  The movie is OK. But I didn’t want it to be OK. I wanted it to be great! Priest looks fantastic. The effects are amazing. The CGI work is superb. Technically, it is spot on… whether we are in the dark overcast walled city or in the depths of the vampyre hive or in the western desert town or on the train speeding across the flats… the movie looks fantastic. And the acting is good too. Maybe not Oscar-winning good… but good.

(Vampyre Slayer Jedi Knight Priestess)

And yet, it falls flat. It disappoints. And the disappointment is more keenly felt because Priest held out such promise. I wanted it to be an amazing movie… and it just didn’t deliver. It let me down. It stood me up.

At the end of Priest, it is abundantly clear that they kept the door wide open for sequels. And yes, I’ll probably go back for more, like the one who believes all the reassurances of “this time it will be better, I promise!” I just hope I don’t end up like Charlie Brown, forever running to kick the football only to have Priestess Lucy pull it away at the last minute. I can be a real sucker that way.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been a long time since my last movie heartbreak. This is my sin. 😦

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[1] Published in English by Tokyopop.

The Last Exorcism

I guess this is my month for hand-held shaky-camera movies!

The other night, I watched The Last Exorcism. Like The Blair Witch Project,  [●REC] and Paranormal Activity, this is a movie of the pseudo-documentary ‘found-footage’ genre.

I must admit, I was really looking forward to seeing this movie. The Devil went down to Louisiana, he was looking for a soul to steal… and he possesses him a sixteen year old girl. Yeehaw! It’sThe Exorcist with hot sauce. Ah cain’t wait! I whipped up some (kosher) Louisiana style sausage, red beans and rice, sat my jaded, cynical butt down in my wingback armchair and prepared to have myself a bit of fun at the mock-doc’s expense.

Well, let me tell you… what a delightfully pleasant surprise! A low-budget, low-key, well-acted horror movie with a great story and some genuine scares. You actually care about the main characters in this film. At least I did.

OK, here’s the deal… it starts off with this smarmy, slick former minister/exorcist/conman who has given up on the bible thumping and casting out of demons and is now a non-believer hell-bent (pun maybe intended) on exposing exorcists as charlatans of the kind that he used to be. The premise of the movie is that he is going to do one last exorcism and take with him a video team so he can show everyone how he ‘exorcises’ the demons, revealing all his secrets and magic tricks along the way. He says that he did not believe he was defrauding people when he performed his fake exorcisms since he gave them what they wanted in the manner they wanted it and, in the end, they felt better and he had several hundred dollars in his pocket. The documentary is meant to ‘set the record straight.’ His final exorcism takes him to some remote place in the Louisiana countryside where he meets a concerned father (who wrote a letter to the Reverend asking for the exorcist’s help), the father’s cynical son and… the sweet, charming daughter Nell, whom the father suspects of being possessed and killing some of his livestock.

The Reverend sets up his usual props and gadgets in Nell’s room, performs the usual exorcism, banishing the usual demon, leaving the customers relieved and happy, as usual, and departing with a pocketful of money, as usual, with the whole thing recorded on video tape. He and the crew turn in at a local motel for the night before going home.

That’s when things start going ‘off script’ in a very NOT usual way. Nell appears in the Reverend’s motel room, disoriented and confused. He and the crew take her to the hospital. Dad shows up and doesn’t want any psychological tests done on his daughter. Eventually, everyone ends up back at the house and things get totally out of control. Mayhem ensues and the Reverend begins to realize that for the first time in his life, he may be dealing with the Real McCoy. Things get more and more intense and insane as things spin wildly out of control. There are disturbing pieces of artwork by Nell and an even more disturbing phone message concerning Nell. And then there’s Nell herself and she’s at best one very disturbed girl! The gumbo really hits the fan when the father convinces the Reverend to do one more exorcism to try and save his daughter. The last exorcism in the barn is as real and terrifying as the one in Nell’s bedroom was fake and hokey. And just when you think things have come to an end, the movie grabs you and squeezes you one last time. The ending left my heart pounding and my fingers gripping the arms of my wingback chair.

Patrick Fabian plays the smiling, smooth showman Rev. Cotton Marcus to a tee. Ashley Bell’s wonderful performance makes the daughter Nell adorable, trusting, innocent and completely believable… and when needed absolutely terrifying! [1]

The Last Exorcism is co-produced by nice Jewish boy Eli Roth. If a movie has Eli Roth’s name on it in just about any capacity, whether it’s as director, writer, producer, actor, key grip, whatever, I am SO there!

I had a great time watching this movie, doubly-so because it caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting such a wonderfully scary, high-quality, intense film.

See it with friends, serve them jambalaya… and then get ready to get the pants scared off of you!

Two broken, demon-possessed thumbs way up!

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[1] Did they really have to name the two main characters Cotton-Nell?

Why I Hate Movie Theatres

I love movies. I used to love seeing movies in movie theatres.

(The old Capitol Theatre in my home town)

Not anymore.

I’m not sure when, exactly, my love of movie theatres turned to extreme dislike. I think it was about the time that I started getting ticked off by the general public.

(The old Park Theatre in my home town)

As a rule, I don’t like people. An individual person, I don’t mind. Even two or three, I can handle… but people in a group, or worse, a crowd? Not so much. I really don’t do the throng thing outside of religious events, and even then I don’t really care all that much for the jostling.

People, or rather my antipathy towards the great unwashed, ruined the movie theatre experience for me.

People whispering, people talking loudly as if the movie theatre was their own living room, people walking around and blocking the screen… I couldn’t take it anymore.

And the line-ups! Standing in line to buy a ticket. Standing in line for a popcorn and Coke. Standing in line at the bathroom. It felt like I was going to break out in a cold sweat.

There were a few nice things about movie theatres. Air conditioning. That was nice. Also, the wide-screen was really big and if the scene was shot just right, you were able to get that queasy feeling in your stomach like on a roller coaster. For example, watching Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back at the University Theatre in Toronto, when the rebel base scout ships flew out in the morning to see if Luke and Han Solo were ok, the way they swooped up and down over the snow-covered hills… and you saw the landscape from the pilot’s point of view… I could feel my stomach do flip-flops. That was cool.

Other than that, there’s not a heck of a lot I miss about the big screen experience, except the big screen. The garbage you have to go through in order to experience it is, for me, not worth the effort. The sticky floors alone are enough of a turn-off.

Two things sank the last nail into the cinema coffin for me. The VHS tape and cell phones. Watching videos at home, albeit on a small screen, was a vastly more comfortable and less irritating experience all around. And if anyone has ever heard a cell phone go off in a movie theatre only to have the recipient take the call and carry on a conversation, often giving the caller a play-by-play description of the film… no other case need be made for watching movies on DVD in the comfort of your own home.

So, I will buy a big bottle of Diet Coke, fire up some Orville Redenbacher Original Gourmet Popping Corn  (I don’t own a microwave), curl up in my comfy wingback armchair… and sigh happily as the movie begins.

[●REC] and [●REC]²

The other day, as I was making my way through The Zombie Serengeti (aka The Walmarts), I noticed the release of the Blu-ray double DVD set of the Spanish horror movies  [●REC] and [●REC]².

Not owning a Blu-ray player (or television or an ordinary DVD player, for that matter), I decided to pick up the regular DVD copies of each movie and give them a spin on my old coal-burning computer with the water-cooled monitor and hamster driven DVD.

The original film [●REC] received an impressive 96% freshness (i.e. approval) rating from RottenTomatoes.com. The sequel [●REC]² received a fairly respectable 68% rating.

Sitting in my comfy old wingback armchair with some fresh Ontario peaches, I watched them back to back.

[●REC]

OK, here’s the deal… A reporter and her camera man cover a local Barcelona fire station for their television show While You’re Asleep. The aim is to show their viewers the real-life goings on of people doing their jobs through the night (hence the program title). The station gets a call about an old woman trapped in her apartment. When the police and fire crew break in, there is an old woman in a slip or night-gown, covered in blood, agitated and disturbed. As they move closer, the old woman attacks one of the policemen, biting him savagely in the neck. Something horrible is slowly spreading through the building. Trapped inside, the firemen, police, reporter and cameraman confront the unknown horror. They hide, they try to escape, try to survive… and the whole time, no matter what, the camera records it all, right to the very end.

So… We’re not even fifteen minutes into the movie and the mayhem ensues right effen immediately! We’re given about ten minutes or so of set-up, boring footage around the station where nothing much happens. They get the call, drive to the apartment building, break into the old lady’s house, find the old lady… and then Aaaiiieeee!! Zero to sixty in 30 seconds! You know that G-Force feeling of being pushed into your seat when a car peels rubber or a jet takes off? That’s what it was like! Holy smokes! One by one, people get picked off as the danger spreads and the survivors try to figure out WTF is going on.

The movie is fairly short, clocking in at only 78 minutes. Not a lot of time is wasted. It is chopped and stripped down. And it moves. FAST! And it scares the hell out of you! The plot is brilliant, simple and classic… people in a confined space with something really bad. It grabbed me on a gut level and never let me go. Also, because everyone is trapped in the building… it is sealed off and quarantined by the police as a kind of bio-hazard area (few things give me the sinking ‘oh crap!’ heebee-jeebies like a guy in a full hazmat suit) [1]… the sense of claustrophobia and the inability to escape only adds to the mix. Think Alien and The Thing (there’s no escape) meet 28 Days Later (zombie rage virus) in a Spanish apartment building. And the whole first-person ‘through the camera lens’ point of view thing, as used in The Blair Witch ProjectThe Last Exorcism and Quarantine (the 2008 American remake of [●REC]), really works well here and is even more powerful because unlike Blair Witch which has two cameras and [●REC]² (reviewed below) which utilizes multiple cameras to great effect, [●REC], like The Last Exorcism, uses only the one camera to capture everything. Of all the shaky handheld camera ‘found footage’ movies… this one really stands out.

There are virtually no extraordinary visual or special effects in [●REC]. No computer graphics. No music soundtrack. There’s just the script, the actors, the building and that one camera. The performances are wonderfully intense and realistic without going overboard into “acting.” You can almost smell the panic and fear.

I loved [●REC]. If you enjoy fast-paced heart-pounding ‘bump in the dark’ scares, so will you!

Two bloody quarantined infected fingers WAY up!

[●REC]²

I have to say, I was a bit leery going into this movie. I enjoyed [●REC] so much that I was not looking forward to being let down by the sequel. With a few rare exceptions (Dawn of the DeadStar Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes BackTerminator 2: Judgment Day,  The Dark Knight), sequels are disappointing… even more so when the original was really great.

So, I added coal to the computer, poured fresh water into the monitor’s radiator and gave the DVD hamster some more food pellets. I sat in the old wingback armchair with some Breyer’s Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups ice cream and braced myself.

OK, here’s the deal… [●REC]² takes places immediately after the events of [●REC]. A four-man special ops team, Grupo Especial de Operaciones (GEO), equipped with helmet-mounted video cameras and one hand-held video camera arrives at the quarantined building where they meet a Dr. Owen from the Ministry of Health. Dr. Owen briefs them on the infection which he describes as a kind of rabies, the key symptom of which is extreme violence. Like in the first movie, most of the sequel is shot from the main hand-held video camera carried by one of the GEO. This reproduces the original shaky-camera feel of the first movie but in an enhanced way in that the movie switches back and forth between the main video camera and the individual helmet-mounted GEO team cameras giving us multiple points of view.

I have to admit that seeing the inside of that building again, especially the fifth floor apartment, gave me goosebumps. Significant creepage, definitely.

Anyway… They run into a nasty zombie-infected ghoul who immediately bites and turns one of the GEO team. The infected GEO member attacks the rest of the team but Dr. Owen manages to fight him off with some prayers and a rosary. Turns out Dr. Owen is actually Father Owen sent by the Vatican to get blood samples from the little Portuguese girl, Medeiros… the ‘patient zero’ we learn about at the end of the first movie… and to help the other priest who was in charge of her.

Father Owen and the GEO try to locate the original blood sample in the hopes of finding a cure for the infection which, it turns out, is actually a kind of bio-chemical demonic possession. They discover that the infected zombies sometimes use the apartment building duct work to get around. One of the GEOs finds a refrigerator hidden away in duct work. It has a test tube containing a sample of Medeiros’s blood. Naturally, they accidentally destroy the sample while testing it to see if it is genuine.

Mayhem ensues as Father Owen and the GEOs now have to obtain a fresh blood sample from Medeiros herself, this time in a building full of infected ticked-off zombies who now know they are there! It’s not easy. And it’s not pretty. These zombies can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. Not a lot seems to work on them. Other non-infected people are now discovered in the building. Three teenagers who snuck in via the sewer system and the father of the infected girl from the first movie (not the Medeiros girl… the little blonde girl with the fever and the annoying mother). In [●REC], Dad went out to the drugstore to get medicine for his daughter, thinking she had tonsillitis. Well, he came back with the medicine only to be shot by the GEOs thinking he was some kind of zombie pharmacy delivery man, I guess. Oh and the reporter from the first movie shows up, too!

Trying to find the possessed Medeiros girl, trying to get the blood, trying to hide from the infected zombie menace and ultimately trying to get out of that effen building… it all makes for a chilling and harrowing time for the survivors.

But wait a minute… didn’t the reporter lady get attacked by an infected zombie and dragged away in the dark at the end of [●REC]? How did she escape unscathed? Or did she?

One never knows… do one?

I was not disappointed with [●REC]² after all, thank goodness, and while I did not think it was nearly as amazing as the original, it definitely did not ruin the [●REC] experience for me. Lots of surprises, interesting plot twists and turns, good performances, great zombie attacks and a creepy ending that ties everything together in a nice bloody disease-ridden knot.

One and a half chocolate peanut butter ice cream smeared infected zombie thumbs up!

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[1] No matter what, when someone approaches you and he’s in a hazmat suit and you’re not… that is rarely a good thing.

Hobo With a Shotgun: Delivering Justice One Shell at a Time!

I’m still trying to put my eyeballs back into their sockets after watching the movie Hobo with a Shotgun.

This Canadian film [1], directed by Jason Eisener and written by John Davies, is in colour. And when I say ‘colour’, I’m here to tell you… it’s in COLOUR!!

I can’t remember a movie shot in such alarming neon hues. ‘Eye-popping’ pretty well sums it up.

Rutger Hauer plays the Hobo who comes to a little sea-side place out east called Hope Town (aka Scum Town). It is a lawless hell hole run by a greasy little sadist known as The Drake. His ‘muscle’ are his two sons, Slick and Ivan. Shortly after watching Drake and his boys behead Drake’s brother, the Hobo attempts to make a ‘citizen’s arrest’, dragging Slick to the police station. For his trouble, he is beaten up by the crooked police chief, Ivan and a suddenly freed Slick, who carves the word “SCUM” into the Hobo’s chest.  He is taken in and cared for by a local prostitute, Abby. The Hobo saved $49.99 up to buy a lawnmower (he was going to cut lawns to earn money), and he goes into a pawnshop only to witness the place being robbed. Taking a shotgun off the pawnshop wall (cost: $49.99), the Hobo kills the robbers and buys the gun. The Hobo decides that what Scum Town needs is Justice… swift brutal final Justice… and the Hobo is intent on ‘delivering Justice one shell at a time.’ Mayhem ensues as the Hobo goes on a rampage, killing criminals left, right and centre with a certain grim yet enthusiastic alacrity, culminating in a final battle between Hobo, The Drake and his boys, two nasty villains in tin cans known as “The Plague”, Abby and the local police.

Like Dead Snow, that delightful homage to nazi zombie guts and splatter, Hobo With a Shotgun also lays on the über gore as a tribute to the ‘grindhouse movies’ of the 70s and 80s – exploitation films featuring extreme violence, sex and blood. It is not for the squeamish but, like Dead Snow, it is SO over-the-top that it is enjoyable and even fun! Rutger Hauer is perfect as the Hobo. Also, as with Dead Snow, it doesn’t disturb you the way the Saw or Hostel movies do. It is a Halloween type of fake gruesomeness… a weird gone-too-far scary funhouse. At no time do you ever forget you are watching a movie… a movie about a certain kind of movie.

I liked Hobo With a Shotgun to a disturbing degree. I had a blast, despite my eyeballs popping out of their sockets. Small price to pay for a good time, I say!

Two bloody day-glow red thumbs up!

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[1] Hobo With a Shotgun is based on the winning trailer of the same name from Robert Rodriguez‘s South by Southwest Grindhouse trailers contest. It was shot out in Nova Scotia (Halifax and Dartmouth)… and looks it.

Sigoths on the HiHos: An Unholy Ordeal

Soon it will start to cool down. The humidity will drift down to less insane levels. The temperature will drop like the soon-to-be falling leaves. Before long summer will be over. Just a couple of weeks and it will be September. Autumn is just around the corner! I can almost feel it.

This is the time of year that I love. This is the time of year that I dread.

Along with being my favourite season, fall brings with it that most awkward of times… the Jewish High Holidays, or as I call them, the HiHos.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the High Holidays, I honestly do! Rosh HaShana, apples and honey, seeing friends and relatives, going to shul. Yes, you heard me correctly… going to synagogue on the high holidays is my idea of a good time! Watching a sea of beards, long prayer shawls, black hats and fur shtriemls [1], hearing the shofar [2]… I love it!

Having lunch and dinner in those little booths during Sukkos, the whole dancing around with the Torah scroll thing! I can’t get enough. While Passover is my hands-down all-time favourite holiday bar none… the HiHos come a close second. Sitting at a table with family and loved ones, checking out the young children growing taller and taller, who’s engaged, who’s having a baby, chowing down on all those wonderful things my loved ones make. Who wouldn’t like that?

So what’s with the whole ‘dread’ schtick, you ask?

Well, because… the HiHos is when the old friends and fam find out about… or worse, MEET… the Sigoth (aka S.O., aka Significant Other).

I can’t bear it. Especially when you consider the kind of Sigoths to whom I tend to gravitate.

Let me give you a snippet from about six years ago between me and my grandmother…

Bubbie: Sweetie? Your friend doesn’t talk much.

Me: No, Bubbie. Zombies don’t talk at all. They just moan and stuff.

Bubbie: Oh… And I thought those were ‘yummy sounds’ all during dinner!

A real Kodak moment, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Or this one from three years ago between me and Aunt Raizel…

A.R.: That friend you brought. Kind of pale, don’t you think?

Me: Vampyres are all pale, Auntie Rozzie.

A.R.: A vampyre? Oy! Well, at least they don’t have to worry about crucifixes in this house!

Me: Thank goodness.

A.R.: Sheila? SHEILA! I hope you went easy on the garlic this year!!

Oy, indeed.

It’s bad enough when I get it from the older generation. They’re set in their ways and aren’t so open to new ideas. It’s expected. It’s understandable.

But getting flack from people my age or a bit younger? That can really irk me.

Last year. First night of Sukkos. Me and my younger cousin, Rivka-Leah during dinner…

R-L: Interesting date.

Me: It’s not a date.

R-L: Do you find them on the internet?

Me: No.

R-L: The Kennel Club?

Me: I don’t want to talk about it.

R-L: Listen, do you need to take your friend ‘for a walk’ later?

Me: Rivky… please…

R-L: I’m curious… do you like bring a pooper-scooper or something?

Me: (motioning to a cousin) Excuse me, Fievi? Can we have some more Joyvin down here, please?

R-L: Seriously, though. I am sure they are very nice and all. But have you given any thought to how many Jewish holidays fall on or around a full moon?

Me: You mean like tonight?

R-L: Oy!!! There are kids around! Are they safe? Should I go to the Italian family next door and borrow some holy water?

Me: (getting up, motioning to another cousin) Rachel? Rachel, sweetie… we’re changing seats, ok?

R-L: What? What did I say??

It’s enough to make me break out in hives.

Luckily, I don’t inflict the Sigoths onto the shul or vice versa. I learned that lesson the hard way one Simchas Torah

Me: Just sit still over there and maybe no one will notice you.

SO: Grzt Prk*s ncb#]s!

Me: Well… you’re just as weird-looking to them, trust me.

SO: z”xc@skj lkkkk!!

Me: They’re not wearing Krllzyfnt Cave Rats on their heads. Now shut up! (throwing prayer shawl over its head)

SO: qPmm???

Me: Yeah, you blend! Try not to have any yeshiva boys knock you over and stomp on you, ok?

I like drama and intrigue as much – OK, maybe a little more – than the next person but I swear… my next Sigoth’s gonna be normal!!

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[1] A shtreimel  (Yiddish: שטרײַמל, pl. שטרײַמלעך shtreimlech) is a fur hat worn by many married haredi Jewish men, particularly (although not exclusively) members of Hasidic groups, on Shabbat and Jewish holidays and other festive occasions.

[2]shofar (Hebrew: שופר‎) is a horn, traditionally that of a ram, used for Jewish religious purposes. Shofar-blowing is incorporated in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.