Category: Stating the obvious


As far back as I can remember I had one desire that transcended every other: I always wanted to be a human being.

Things worked out fairly well, to a point.

But there was this constant, nagging knowledge that I wasn’t quite making it.

After a while I stopped fighting, gave up the ghost. It became obvious that I was never going to be like my peers; my Dad or my Mom; my sister; my cousins; my uncles; my kids…

They always told me that there was this line, the crossing of which would take me to a whole other place, where nothing I had learned in my life — on the ‘right’ side of the line — would apply.

Of course, the first thing I did was cross it. I tried it once, then twice, then again…

After a while I was crossing that line every day.

I still do.

Because, you know what?

They were right, bless them.

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Fun with Yiddish #1: Kibitzer

A very wise man once told me: ‘You know, boychik, this world is full of kibitzers. All you can do is out-kibitz them.’

You don’t know what the Yiddish kibitzer means? I’ll tell you.

The word itself is derived from the German name for a bird, the kiebitz, a lapwing or peewit. These birds are by reputation noisy and inquisitive and are known, colloquially, as Kibitzer.

However, in German, the verb kiebitzen means to spy over the shoulder of a card player.

So, a kibitzer is someone who kibitzes — that is, gives unsolicited advice or suggestions, in particular as a bystander/observer at a game; a ‘buttinski’; someone who’s always sticking his two cents into the affairs of others; a josher, a teaser, a flatterer; someone who patronisingly humours someone else along; a wise-guy who offers easy advice but doesn’t participate in the action; a second guesser; a… pain in the ass.

Literary criticism is something I used to do at college. Some people do it for a job: they’re all kibitzers; critics are kibitzers. Political commentators are mostly kibitzers; a minority of people who post comments on blogs are kibitzers.

My mother is a great kibitzer. In the car with my father she would always be back-seat driving. You know: ‘Watch out for the cyclist’, ‘There’s a red light coming up’, ‘You’re driving too fast’… She was once the subject of an article in our local paper because she took and failed her driving test fourteen times.

There are many kibitzers who frequent my local bar.

Recently, a Jewish friend of mine comes in. He tells me he’s won the lottery. All six numbers plus the bonus ball. The prize is in millions. This kibitzer overhears our conversation and asks my friend how he chose his numbers.

‘Well,’ he says, ‘5 is my grandson’s age. 64 is from the first two digits of my telephone number. 46 is the year I was born. 3 the number of years I’ve been divorced. 15 is my house number and 21 the age I’ll never be again.’

‘And the bonus ball?’

’63,’ the winner tells him, ‘it came to me in a dream. I dreamed I was in a theatre and on the stage was a chorus of sevens — eight dancers, each with the number 7 printed on the back of her costume. So I chose 63.’

‘But eight times seven is 56, not 63!’ cries the kibitzer.

‘So I’ve never been any good with numbers,’ chortles the millionaire. ‘Hey, bartender, get the mathematician a drink.’

What a kibitzer.

Voting machine

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“WAR IS THE INSANE DEATH DANCE OF A PARANOID SOCIETY. WOULD YOU JOIN THE DANCE?

Don’t Go is a moving and graphic anti-war tale written during the Vietnam war by Wulf Zendik.When it was first released, it was published in newspaper form by both the Los Angeles Free Press and the London International Times. It was also published as a booklet, which was distributed nationally by Doubleday Press. In New York City, radio stations played readings of it over the air on Moratorium Day, with the Doors’ “The End” behind it.

Don’t Go has been translated into 5 languages and has won several international awards. Revel and Kyro have now animated this classic, rendering its message with even more immediacy and power.

“ONCE YOUTH REFUSES TO SLAUGHTER AND BE SLAUGHTERED, HOSTILE POWERS MUST SURRENDER TO REASON AND ABANDON THIS MAD DESTRUCTION”

Click here to watch DON’T GO (Real Player. Runtime 10 mins)

“A very rude remark”

The Bush War Party apparently picked up a few tips from watching Mafia movies: it seems that Pakistan was strong-armed into co-operating with America’s war on Afghanistan, according to today’s Telegraph.

“President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan said that after the September 11 attacks the US threatened to bomb his country if it did not co-operate with America’s war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.”

“Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age”, was the gist of the ultimatum, allegedly delivered to Pakistan’s President Perves Musharraf by deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

It proved to be an offer Musharraf couldn’t refuse; shortly afterwards US fighter jets were using Pakistani airspace in their offensive against the Afghan militia, who were allegedly protecting Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

Perhaps tomorrow the Telegraph will tell us something we didn’t know.

Yeah, right.

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