Sunday, December 20, 2009

Skirting the Issue (or...In the Jeans?)

Here it is folks, another middle of the night post from your (hopefully) favorite insomniac law student. My sleep schedule is so messed up right now, I hope that my circadian rhythms don't get thrown out of whack. Note: I don't actually know what circadian rhythms are, but they sound important, so I'd like them to stay regulated.

Anyhow, as many of you know, after a five year hiatus, I've recently begun wearing jeans again. The decision to do so was sort of spur of the moment, semi-prompted by my costume for Law Revue, as I'd long ago come to realize that what we wear doesn't define our relationship with religion. And, while I still believe that fervently, I find myself laying awake tonight contemplating jumping (modestly, of course) back on the skirts bandwagon.

Don't get me wrong, I love jeans. They are infinitely more comfortable than most skirts. (The years that I spent telling people that I found jeans uncomfortable, I was clearly deluding myself.) Wearing jeans makes getting dressed in the morning much, much easier. Jean skirts just don't have the same level of versatility. Plus, jeans look awesome. They are the deserving MVP of fashion and, if I do go back to skirts full-time, I will miss them dearly. And yet, I still find myself missing my skirt-wearing self.

I know that we should not wear our true selves on our sleeves, or in this case, our hemlines, but in the past weeks, I have felt myself changing in multiple ways that I am not particularly fond of, and I am wondering if my wardrobe change is a partial culprit. At this point, I must STRESS that none of what I write here is a judgment of the choices of others. I wish, wish, wish that I were a strong enough person that I did not require an outward reminder of the kind of person that I want to be, but alas, it seems that I am too weak for that. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of outlines, exams, and study groups. I have barely made time to eat, much less go to shul, daven, do any kind of substantive chesed, or learn. And, for the first time in my life, my day-to-day social circle is not made up of individuals for whom these things are concerns. I absolutely love my law school friends. They are a group of unique, kind-hearted, smart, witty, and passionate individuals from whom I am constantly learning. But, for the most part, they are completely unfamiliar with the insular world in which I have been coddled for the past 23 years. It has been all too easy for me to slink into this law school world -- a world that is new, exciting, and fun -- and relegate my yiddishkeit to the back burner. I do not feel as though I am being duplicitous. I speak openly with my friends about kashrut, shabbat, and other aspects of my life -- when appropriate. But when the conversation doesn't take a decisively ethnic turn, I am finding myself all too happy to pretend that my religious life is just one of the many aspects of my self -- rather than the central aspect of my being that it truly is. The worrisome thing is that all this pretending is leading me to realize that I have cast aside some things that are important to me for the sake of fitting in.

Just to be clear, wearing skirts is not particularly important to me. I do not think that skirts are inherently more "tznius" than pants. And I certainly do not think that they are ANY kind of indicator of religiosity or commitment to halacha. But, I am wondering if I, in my compromised state, perhaps need the outward symbolism of the skirt to nudge me back to where I want to be religiously. Perhaps, if I recommit myself to putting a skirt on in the morning, I will be more conscious of other decisions that I make throughout the day. At the very least, I will be doing one thing, albeit a superficial one, to put Judaism in my mind as I set out into the world. I am disappointed that I find myself needing this particular prodding, but I am trying to be proactive in preventing an even more severe deviation from the lifestyle that I love and that I am committed to.

To end, I have to say that all of this makes me feel awfully hypocritical. I do not want to be a part of something that perpetuates the message that "you are what you wear." Nothing could be further from what I believe. Do you think there are other, more substantive, choices that I could be making? I really do want to hear from you. Most of you reading this are my nearest and dearest and I value your thoughts. So, spill.

Thanks for listening/reading and, as always, thanks for your friendship.
Much love, Y

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Insomnia Speaks

So...I can't sleep. I know, I know...Those of you who have lived with me are probably shocked by this turn of events. Just bear in mind that it is 3 AM and not 3 PM. I'm sure that if it were 3 PM, I'd be out cold.
Anyway, after watching several "fanvids" that I should never admit to watching on YouTube, I decided to scour my own Facebook page in search of something that requires editing. In my scouring, I came upon the only "Note" that I ever posted. Remember that "25 Things About Me" craze that swept the web last year? Well, never one to let a trend pass me by, I, too, created one of those lists. And, shocker, I've re-posted it below.
My apologies that this is going to be a re-read for some of you -- but creativity is in short supply at the moment.
One last thing: While I am well aware that I beg for comments far too often (cough, Avishai called me a comment slut, cough), I could really use the morale boost during this particular stretch of finals. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are really starting to wear me down. So, pretty please?
Melatonin Wishes and Ambien Dreams, Y

25 Things...
(Originally posted to Facebook in February 2009)

By now you know the rules...

1. I am obsessed with my family. I love and admire both my parents and siblings more than words can adequately express.

2. My friends make fun of the overtly gushy way I often express my appreciation of them. What they don’t realize is that I haven’t even begun to get at just how much they mean to me.

3. I sleep way too much. I slept for fifteen straight hours twice – this week.

4. The first real concert I ever went to was a Faith Hill-Tim McGraw joint show. Yes, I am embarrassed.

5. I still harbor dreams of co-anchoring Sportscenter and being the first female sportscaster to be universally adored by men.

6. My favorite food is cereal. It is not uncommon for me to go through a box a day.

7. Josh and Donna from The West Wing are my all-time favorite TV couple. Cory and Topanga run a close second.

8. I firmly believe that an NFL quarterback’s talent is inextricably linked to his physical appearance. For examples, see Favre, Brett and Brady, Tom.

9. Whenever I don’t want to teach people how to pronounce my name, I tell them that my name is Ellie. This is particularly helpful in Starbucks, Anthropologie, and on the continent of Australia.

10. On the subject of names, my karaoke alias is Gail. Gail’s favorite night at karaoke was when a mysterious fellow, whom her friends have since nicknamed “Alfredo”, rushed the stage and kissed her.

11. My first singing solo was at my kindergarten class’s Chanukah dinner. I was given the task of singing “Light One Candle for the Maccabee Children” because I was the only one in the class who could read the verses.

12. As a proud Feit family member, I am forever indebted to The Office for making the paper business cool.

13. My 2nd grade Little League team was the Colorado Rockies. I was one of two girls on the team. I had purple Converse sneakers to match my uniform.

14. When I worked at Camp HASC, I was twice the subject of the staff "mussar shmooze." Once for having a water fight with boys and once for watching movies with boys. Oops.

15. I was cast as a prostitute-like character in each of my three high school musicals. I’m not sure what it was about me that Ms. Goldberg thought spelled promiscuity.

16. I do not know how to ride a bike. Whenever I go down to Kiawah, I need to rent an adult tricycle.

17. I love making lists. I wrote an essay about making lists for my Creative Writing class at Melbourne Uni. My professor was a dead-ringer for Harvey Keitel. I couldn’t get through class without craving a Royale with Cheese.

18. I collect “I Love Lucy” paraphernalia. I can’t remember when I started or why. I can recite the entire Vitameatavegimin speech by rote.

19. The first thing I ever read out loud was a Cascade dishwashing detergent ad in Good Housekeeping magazine.

20. When I was in 11th grade, my choir sang at President Bush’s Chanukah party. We were later mocked on SNL’s Weekend Update. I’m still not sure which part of that story is cooler.

21. Despite facing vehement opposition in both Kiawah and Belarus, I still think that “Dave” is an awesome movie.

22. In seventh grade, my friends and I used to ditch our basketball clinic to watch Dawson’s Creek in the JCC Lounge. Once, during a 2-hour episode, we forgot to go outside for our carpool. When my friend’s dad went to the gym to look for us, the basketball coach told him we had stopped coming to clinic months ago. Needless to say, we were busted. I still blame my pitiful free-throw percentage on James Van der Beek.

23. On my thirteenth birthday, Ilana Feuer and I bought tickets to Starship Troopers and snuck into the R-rated Cruel Intentions instead. We were soon kicked out of the theater by a man in a green sweatshirt. Bastard.

24. I am inconsistent in my use of proper punctuation marks. Note the errant use of quotation marks in this list as an example. Also, I favor the dash and the semi-colon over traditional sentence structure.

25. I made up a story about what happens to Gordon Bombay and Charlie Conway’s mom after the end of The Mighty Ducks. D2, despite being a far superior movie, ruined my plans.

Monday, December 7, 2009

An Exercise in Procrastination

Blogging on I've procrastinated enough today to warrant a year's supply of Strattera.

1. Bruce Springsteen wants to meet me. For those of you who don't believe it, see Yosef's comment on my November 25th post.

2. The Nice Jewish Girls? article from Details was by far my most popular GChat status ever. Special thanks go out to JB for discovering it. And yes, there will be a much longer blog post about it in the future. Talk to me after December 21st.

3. Jenny is doing awesome work over at The Atlantic. And yes, I loved my Cabbage Patch Kids doll.

4. I still don't know how to ride a bike...and Target loves me anyway.

5. The FrumSuit. What sexy Jewish girls will be wearing at the beach this summer.

6. None of you have given me any ideas about where to go in Rome yet. Get on that.

7. Teddy Roosevelt was a Columbia Law School dropout. If I fail my finals, at least I'll be in good company.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Pop-Ed Page

After a particularly illuminating conversation about the virtues, or lack thereof, of the NYT's Op-Ed page (Thanks for lunch, Beens!), I've decided that if I can't use the Sulzberger Soapbox as a forum for expressing my views, this is the next best thing. However, being in the midst of finals, blogworthy thoughts are hitting my brain at the speed of Adrian Peterson ( and I am lacking the time with which to record them. As such, I resort to NK for inspiration yet again and am here to grace you with 7 thoughts about pop culture this week. Okay, some of them aren't about pop culture, but I'm counting on you to play along.

1. Ding, dong the witch is dead. Teri's fateful secret is finally revealed on this week's episode of Glee -- which sucked by the way. Even I am finding it difficult to suspend enough disbelief to keep on watching. Mr. Schu can't be in the yearbook picture because he slept on a mattress that can't be returned? Weak. Emma is suddenly on Team Teri? And Team Ken, for that matter? Weaker. The producers can make it up to me with some Will-Emma action before the show goes on hiatus. And that's how Sue "c"s it.

2. The Elin-ator. It seems that Tiger's wife has pulled a Lorena Bobbitt of sorts. An athlete hasn't fallen this far from grace since...well, ever. And, while at first, I was impressed with her ballsy-ness, I've since realized that violence is never the answer. She should take a note from Ivana Trump and employ the "Don't get mad, get everything" philosophy. It seems that she has already roped Tiger into some thrice-daily marriage counseling routine. If that's not tantamount to castration, I don't know what is.

3. In other news, Chabad in now aiding in the effort to train bomb-sniffing dogs in Montana.
My only question is this: Does anyone know if Max Baucus put on tefillin today?

4. I just ordered my first ever item from it was inspired by Sarah Palin. Is it a gift for my dad? Obviously.
On the topic of SP, Jonathan "Scary Spice" Berliner had the opportunity to meet her this past week in his adopted hometown of Richland, WA. When she didn't sign his book, he returned it. In a comment on a previous post, Jon let us know that this blog is one of his graveyard shift must-reads. I'm shocked to find out that "Going Rogue" didn't make the cut.

5. Getting to seven is harder than I thought. Appreciation for Navah's consistent work is growing. Check her out at

6. The professional football season is slowly creeping to a close and it is causing me more distraction than ever. Why couldn't things have been this interesting last season -- when I didn't care about finals at all? When they say that the MVP race is heating up, they mean because Brett is hot, right?

7. I'm looking for suggestions of things to do during a stopover in Rome...on Christmas Eve. I've got 10 hours to kill in the Eternal City. Ready, Set, Go.

Later, Gators.
(Oops. Sorry Nav. I didn't mean to insult you...or Tim Tebow.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

After an exceedingly long hiatus...

A long, long time ago on a planet far, far away before I had to start worrying about outlines and exams, I had a blog. I used the blog as a forum through which to enlighten the world with my thoughts on important matters like mediocre television shows and celebrity gossip. While I have not abandoned this mission, I must spend the coming weeks devoted to other endeavors. There will be Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to break and contracts to breach -- and little time for blogging.
In the interest of time, I may adopt the list form of which I have become so fond. In fact, as a precursor to what might become a blog full of lists, I've attached an essay I wrote about list-making during my semester abroad in Australia. The essay was a part of a portfolio I submitted in my Creative Non-Fiction class. The class was AMAZING. My professor was a very cool writer named Tony Birch who looked exactly like Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction.

I've had the good fortune of having excellent writing teachers in my life, Birch among them. Another, Polly Devlin, afforded me the good fortune to learn different types of writing -- travel writing, celebrity profiles, blurbs, just to name a few. Bonus: She brought Rachel Weisz, a recent Oscar winner at the time, to class for each of us to interview. For reasons still unknown, Polly selected me to retrieve Ms. Weisz from the lobby of Barnard Hall and escort up to our classroom on the fourth floor. Best elevator ride of my life. Well, actually, there was this one time when [the rest of this sentence has been censored].

Anyhow, I'm thinking of writing a new musical. It's going to be called "Defying Gravity: The Falcon Heene Story". What? Lame? Nobody cares about Balloon Boy anymore? Man, pop culture phenomena these days have the shelf lives of ripe avocado. As such, I find it amazing that, after all these years, Brett Favre has been selected as one of Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009. He's right up there with Sarah Palin. The people in Mississippi must be pumped.

Note: That last sentence was not in any way meant to demean the good people of Mississippi. Anyone who is anyone knows that I love Brett Favre the way he once loved Oxycontin -- and he may have even bought his stash from Levi Johnston's mom. Small world.

In Glee news, Teri is getting more and more grating. Producers, get a clue. No one likes her. Jessalyn Gilsig may have been a "celebrity" hook, but it's time to show her the door. And, let's face it, when your "celebrity" is Jessalyn Gilsig, it's less of a hook, more of a tap on the shoulder.

22 minutes until Thanksgiving now...I'm gonna run and get them on over to 1010 WINS so they can show me the world.

I'm thankful for you. Happy Turkey Day!


A Life in Lists, June 9th 2008

I love making lists. Of everything. Of people to call, of books I’ve read, books I’d like to read, of places I’ve been. I find it therapeutic. There is something inherent in the act, or art, of making lists that soothes me. It orders the otherwise disordered. And keeps me distracted from the incongruities of life.
I make lists of celebrities that have been in movies together and celebrities who have not been in movies together. And then, I wonder why they haven’t worked together. Is one too prejudiced? Another too proud?
And then, I jot Jane Austen’s name on my favorite author’s list

[Chabon, Michael
Didion, Joan
Halberstam, David*
Hornby, Nick
Krauss, Nicole
Safran-Foer, Jonathan]


while adding US Weekly to the list of trashy magazines that might hold the answer to my above query.

[Life and Style

As you can probably tell, most of my lists don’t serve any overt purpose. A lot of people make lists to keep organized. They make shopping lists and fix-it lists, to-do lists and expense lists. My lists are not particularly practical. In my life, lists are constantly multiplying and floating out into the universe, evenly dispersing themselves like perfume from an atomizer.
I rarely accomplish the things on my practical lists, and I let the impractical lists crowd the margins of the pages of my being.
A swift survey of the pages of the notebook of my life has lists scribbled in corners and on dog-ears.
A list of things that make me happy in a subject notebook.
Best Television Theme Songs obfuscating a grocery receipt.

I Love Lucy
National Football League on Fox
The Office, US Version*]

*Also on the “Things that make me happy” list. Check it out. It’s that good.

I like to think that I have an active mind; the kind of mind that generates ideas. And those ideas have to go on a list.
As a child, my lists would take pictorial form. There would sketches of dresses it would be fun to wear and rudimentary likenesses of pets I wasn’t allowed to have.
There were also lists of things to make lists of.

[Foods to eat
Foods to avoid
Movies to see
People to avoid]

My friends make light of me and my precious lists. They know that my subject binders are full, not of class notes, but of vertical blocks of randomly classified information.
I can’t help it. I think in list form and have the pathological need to record them. One could argue that it’s an OCD thing. But for someone with an obsession-compulsion, I’m awfully messy. I’m way too busy making lists to put away clean laundry – still in the hamper, or unpack from a recent trip – suitcase still full.
I’d much rather sit down with a cup of tea and an empty notebook and make a list of my grandest ambitions or my weirdest dreams.

[#5. Me on a trivia game-show hosted by a human-sized chicken. I win the grand prize.
#2. My first love marrying an equestrian from Singapore on the roof of my college dormitory.]

Sometimes I worry that making lists is causing me to miss out on a lot of things I should be doing – like schoolwork, or travel, or learning to swing-dance while de-boning a raw chicken. So, I start a list of all the things I’m missing out on while making my lists.
And apparently, I’m not the only data-organizing freak out there. Even Google, God bless its soul, has begun to indulge my habit.
I’ve recently discovered that list-making is cool in the blogosphere. Google Blogger has recently added a list-making feature – and I’m loving it.
Now, my loyal readers – or parents, as they’ve been known to be called – can stay up to date on my “Melbourne Bibliography” and “Sites to See”.

[Great Barrier Reef
Fraser Island
Sydney Opera House
Franz Joseph Glacier
Blue Mountains
Great Ocean Road
Wilson’s Prom]

Recently, while walking through a bookstore (#3 on the “Things that make me happy” list), I stumbled upon “Listography” – a book dedicated to keeping lists. The book features thirty pages of list topics and encourages readers to fill in the lists based on their own preferences.

[Favorite bands
Favorite foods
Favorite travel spots
Favorite nightspots]

The categories are bit generic, but it’s a great jumping off-point for people who are as neurotic as I am. Of course, since the book is only thirty-pages long, I’d get through it in less than a week.

Since my lists are about more than their contents, but the organization of those contents as well, often times a list will need to be amended, updated, or destroyed altogether. When Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre retired from the NFL, I had to overhaul my “Hottest Active Quarterbacks” list. Brett’s deactivation pushed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to the top of the list, and the ever-present New Yorker in my brain just couldn’t have that.
These lists mean something to me and so do the entities that comprise them. Brett’s retirement was a blow to the whole system.*

*If you saw his green eyes, you’d understand.

Some might say that there is something a bit kooky about turning your life into a ship’s manifest.

On board:
44 kilos, emotional baggage.
18 kilos, neuroses.
13 kilos, indulgence in soppy 80s teen flicks.
14 boxes, breakfast cereal.
Assorted closet skeletons, pink elephants, front stories.

But I like to hope it’s endearing. Yes, it means that I categorize -- but life is about categorizing. Isn’t it?

Friends, family, those are all lists. Aren’t they?

Order in which you’d eat acquaintances if stranded on a desert island?

These things are important to consider. Matters of life and death – you might say.

Speaking of life and death, there are plenty of people who make Bucket Lists nowadays. Even Jack Nicholson is doing it, and he’s done everything. A Bucket List is a list of things you want to do before you die. In the world of list-making, it just may be the Holy Grail.

I’m thinking that might be something I should get cracking on.

[Swim with dolphins
Become fully trilingual
Learn about wine
Meet Bruce Springsteen
Sing the National Anthem at a professional sports game]

If I don’t, I know I’ll regret it.
And don’t get me started on regrets. That’s a whole phone book full of lists.

I love making lists the way Nick Hornby loves mix tapes. I think that they are the only way the world makes sense.
I’m pretty sure it was Isaac Newton who discovered inertia. You know, that thing where the world tends toward greater and greater disorder. So I guess you could say that making lists is my futile attempt at subjugating science.
God knows that science has always tried to subjugate me.*

* How else do you explain puberty?

For whatever reason, inertia or not, I need to make my lists. My “things that make me happy” list, because just reading it makes me happy.
Have you ever experienced anything as smile-inducing as reading your “happy” list? Or anything as fulfilling as crossing something off your “I really don’t want to, but I have to” list?
And it’s a vicious cycle, because once you start, list-making earns itself a spot on your “happy” list. It’s on mine -- sandwiched somewhere between fresh flowers and the New York Times crossword puzzle.

My lists are a record of my consciousness. And in my pathetic attempt at being James Joyce, I’ve found interesting ways to keep recording.
For several summers I managed to get myself a job making lists. I worked for a Genealogy Institute helping people research their family trees. We compiled lists of where each client comes from. Lists of people, birthdates, countries, and towns. We are all the product of lists, of ancestries. And we are the living continuation of those lists. So why not create expressions of our heritage?

You might think I’m crazy with my list-maker’s complex. Some freak with a constant need to order, re-order, and simplify. But isn’t everyone a little bit crazy?

[Your mum?
Your boss?
Your Auntie?
Your boyfriend?]

Just add me to the list.


Imagine my simultaneous melancholy and glee when I discovered New York Times columnist Virginia Heffernan’s interest in my particular field. In this past week’s New York Times Magazine (June 8, 2008), Heffernan published a piece entitled “Rank and File” in the Magazine’s “The Medium” feature. The article’s tagline, “Online lists, and the (many) people who love them,” immediately caught my attention. Could it be? Has the world’s biggest newspaper finally caught on to the fabulousness of listmaking?
Indeed, thanks to, it seems that it has.
Heffernan, who I can only assume did not steal her idea for this article from me, begins her piece with a benediction: “Blessed are the list makers, with their sharp pencils, their certainties, their mix of words and numbers.” She goes on to discuss how Whitman, Nabokov, and Byatt have made lists. Even Tom Wolfe, my favorite father of the “New Journalism” is mentioned as a list maker. To be in his company is ...well, unreal.
The focus of Heffernan’s article is “Listmania,” a new feature on, allowing users to rate their favorite books, or their least favorite, should they so choose.
How I was unaware of this list maker’s tool, I’ll never know.
Not shockingly, Heffernan notices that list-makers have a thing for Nick Hornby. Hmmm...Hornby, a familiar name.
While I am sad to learn that I am no longer unique in my love of list-making, I am pleased to learn that my life-long passion is finally getting some street-cred.
“Blessed are the list makers” indeed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Political Pun-dit

By now, you have all suffered the unfortunate consequences of my obsession with puns. What you might not know is that, after several consecutive nights of watching cable news at the gym, I have recently been thinking about becoming a pundit. As a pundit, you pretty much get paid for telling people what you think. Since I rarely stop telling people what I think, exhibit A being this blog, I figure that I might as well cash in. Between Rush Limbaugh's failed bid to buy the St. Louis Rams and Lou Dobbs' "surprising" announcement that he's leaving CNN, the word pundit has been thrown around a bunch lately. Yet, it seems that it's a label constantly being slapped on Conservatives only. Confounded by this phenomenon, I decided to examine the word's etymology. Turns out, the word has two common definitions and is derived from Hindi. The first definition of pundit is "a learned person, expert, or authority." The second is "a person who makes comments or judgments, esp. in an authoritative manner; critic or commentator." A "pandit," yes, with an "a", is "a man in India esteemed for his wisdom or learning; often used as a title of respect." Hmm. That's odd. How did we get from a title of respect to an epithet that is hurled at the right-wing media more times than you can say Glenn Beck? Are Liberals not deemed to be learned people, experts, or authorities? Wait, don't answer that.

I'm not really looking for an answer to my above questions, I just think that it's interesting how much of our news coverage focuses on news personalities rather than the news itself. It makes me long for the days of Edward R. Murrow. Or Edward R. Murrow as conceived onscreen by David Strathairn and George Clooney. That was a good movie. Good Night, and Good Luck. Watch it.

Now that I've bored you with an incoherent rant on the virtues of punditry, I should dig in to the usual topic of my own personal commentary- Glee.
Yes, you're sick of it. So am I. But this week's episode was actually rife with ideas worth talking about. Or typing about, as the case may be.

First off, this Sue Sylvester sub-plot has got to be a joke. She has a sister with Down's Syndrome? Fine. But why did that cause her to grow a conscience this week? Presumably, this sister has not just entered or re-entered Sue's life. As such, it doesn't really make much sense for Sue to randomly develop an affinity for the disabled right now, particularly after being mean to Artie in an earlier episode. That being said, this is also a Glee-typical hackneyed way of getting at the reasons Sue is the way she is. She has a family secret. Look how shocked I'm not.

Secondly, what's the deal with Emma being MIA? Did Anthropologie not have any bow-laden citrus colored outfits to clothe her in? Did she stay at home out of fear of contracting the H1N1 virus? While I am certainly glad that Terrible Teri was nowhere to be seen, Emma's inane insecurity would have been a welcome addition to what was a pretty psycho-traumatic episode for the Glee kids. She could have at least counseled Puck on his failing quest to win back his deceitful Baby Mama.

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure Quinn should be showing by now. After all, Teri's belly padding in previous weeks indicates that she's several months along. Are the producers not thinking about this? Were they too distracted by Mike O'Malley's chiseled auto-mechanic bod to notice such a glaring fact faux-pas? Mr. O'Malley is certainly moving up in the world. First Guts, then Yes, Dear, now Glee. What could possibly be next? You heard it here first, kids. I smell an Emmy.

So, do you think I have a future in punditry? No. How about Access Hollywood host? I promise I wouldn't make fun of the celebrities to their faces. That's what the internet is for.

Over and out.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Instant Karma

Admittedly, I have been remiss in posting over the past few days. But, who has time to blog when they are consistently being harassed by the unemployed people who hand out Bill Thompson leaflets at the entrance to the 96th Street station?

Yes, I am glad that this election season is behind us. Attack ads are downers. I'd much rather be watching a deliciously tasteless Billy Mays impersonator hawk Bud Light. While I do give Bloomberg props for clarifying that "you don't get a medal for rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," I've had quite enough. These campaigns are becoming more and more cloying and less and less entertaining. Despite my disillusionment, I did indeed take up my civic duty and vote. Lest you speculate about my political proclivities, be warned. I'm mightily unpredictable. My choice of candidates might surprise you. Though probably not.

In the great non-partisan wash of time that has passed since I last posted, our dear friend Jay-seph has started a blog of his very own: I encourage you to give it a look -- if only to contemplate the ingenuity of the concept. One man, thirty days, sixty lottery tickets, endless possibilities. Time and money (well?) spent.

Speaking of the lottery, there is a dangerous gang of outlaws on the loose desperately trying to shut down state lotteries. These people argue that state lotteries systematically prey on the poor by selling them on the unlikely prospect of a better life. Sounds about right. But, if they didn't squander their earnings on lottery tickets, they'd probably just buy drugs, right?

Ouch. That was way harsh.

In the "Clueless" vein, could anyone have predicted that the men from that movie would go on to relatively fruitful careers while the women would have fizzled and, in the case of Stacey Dash (Dionne), possibly died? (Seriously, has she been in a project since?) (No, the "Clueless" TV show doesn't count.) Jeremy Sisto (Elton) is maintaining "Law and Order," Donald Faison (Turk) and "Scrubs" practically invented Bro-mance, and Paul Rudd is Paul Rudd. If you name any successful project that either Alicia or Brittany Murphy has had in the past five years, I'll give you a prize. It will probably be a small prize, but a prize nonetheless.

And with that, I bid you adieu. I have mounds of work to do...which means I'll probably just end up watching Hulu. Oh, well. More grist for the mill.

"I'm Audi" - Y

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Consent Is Sexy: A Haiku

When I was younger, an overpriced local photo studio used to sponsor a "Readers of the Week" corner in the New Jersey Jewish Standard. The photographer would choose a family she had recently worked with and publish their photo and a brief blurb about their life. Without purporting to draw comparisons between this blog and North Jersey's preeminent Jewish weekly, I hereby bestow upperwestlaw's "Readers of the Week" honor to the Ripps-Kogen family.

The reasons for this honor are manifold. Firstly, it is in gratitude for Linda's readership and comment -- quite arguably the highlight of my week. Secondly, it recognizes Navah's multifaceted inspiration -- in format, in content, and in the theme of today's post. At this point, I'd like to direct your attention to Navah's particularly saucy comment in reference to my most recent post. In said comment, she invites me to "violate [her] honor code anytime." While I appreciate the latitude, she better hope that her former colleagues at the Rape Crisis Center are not reading this. They may find her flaunting of the seriousness of their cause more offensive than my labeling it as a certain poly-syllabic poetic device. Well played. I am no longer the only offender.

Speaking of offenders, one of my pet peeves has resurfaced this week with a vengeance. Honestly people, if you do not know your friend's fiancee's name, one of two things must be true. (1) The couple has not been dating long enough to get engaged. (2) You are not close enough friends with this person to be posting them on OnlySimchas. There are few things as irksome as the "Shaindy Rosenbaum and Chosson" posting. If you don't know the names of both parties, just wait it out. Someone who does will get there.

As many of you know, this is not the only issue coloring my love/hate relationship with OnlySimchas. As such, I am posting the quasi-notorious OnlySimchas article below. This is the short piece. If anyone wants to read my longer research paper on the subject, I'd be happy to forward it along.

Re-reading the opinions that my twenty year old self felt so passionately about, I find that little has changed. While I no longer care enough about OnlySimchas to damn it as fervently as I did then, I still carry reservations about the ideals that it espouses. (Haha, "espouses" - I love a good pun.)

Let me know what you think and, as always, comment away. I live for validation.
Let's go Yankees,

L’Chaim! To “Pseudo”-Life - March 8, 2007

Have you ever walked into a restaurant convinced you know a fellow diner but unsure of where you recognize him from? It happens to my friends and I more and more these days and I’m pretty sure I can pinpoint the culprit – a little website called OnlySimchas is an online version of the society pages catering to the American Orthodox Jewish community. It is a site announcing engagements, weddings, births, bar-mitzvahs, et al, but in the five plus years since its founding it has become so much more. With its online guest books and photo galleries, OnlySimchas, like Facebook and MySpace, has become a venue for voyeurism of the highest degree. While the site features sections highlighting all sorts of celebrations, the Engagements and Weddings pages are by far the most frequently visited. OnlySimchas has found a way to objectify and commodify relationships in a way that places marriage on a pedestal and forces the site’s users to forget what relationships are really about.
Upon its inception, OnlySimchas was meant as a way of publicizing good news throughout the small but geographically and ideologically diverse Orthodox Jewish community. It was envisioned as a venue where one could find out that their one-time bunkmate from summer camp had found true love and provide a forum through which to wish them well. Truthfully, the public that is being catered to does not require this kind of service. In a community where everyone knows everyone else’s business, it is infrequent that one does not receive this kind of news through the grapevine, many times even before an engagement becomes official. The news that OnlySimchas provides is redundant. So what purpose does the site truly serve?
In a rapidly growing image obsessed world where seeing is believing, OnlySimchas serves as a venue to help its users grasp the lofty notion of a successful relationship. In recent years, even Modern Orthodox Jews have backpedaled into a situation in which young women are only as valuable as the husbands they procure. It is a sad but true reality that many educated young women care more, or equally, about getting married young than about completing an advanced degree.
Engaged couples are revered by the OnlySimchas set as individuals who have attained the Holy Grail of human relationships and have thus procured a higher level of being. OnlySimchas turns these couples into celebrities. Rather than leafing through People magazine, young Orthodox girls scroll the pages of OnlySimchas critiquing wedding dresses and bridesmaids’ gowns the way that Mr. Blackwell analyzes Hollywood stars. This cannot be the effect that the creators of OnlySimchas intended.
The site and its unfortunate influence are prime examples of Walter Lippman’s notion of the “pseudo-environment” that consumers of modern mass media find themselves living in. According to Lippman, human beings are incapable of accurately processing certain events that are beyond their intellectual grasp. In his damning critique of American democracy, “Public Opinion”, Lippman writes, “The only feeling that anyone can have about an event he does not experience is the feeling aroused by his mental image of that event.” OnlySimchas provides a forum in which the not-yet engageds can get a fix of what it feels like to actually attain that state of higher being. They use the mental images of happy couples and white silk gowns to try to understand what it takes to create a successful relationship. It is an unquestionable high. Like a drug, the site is addictive and tough to quit. And like drug users, many OnlySimchas surfers get high in secret. Many do not admit to their addiction to the site, scrolling through it furtively, only in the comfort of their own homes.
The repercussions of this addiction are clear. It provides an unhealthy and inaccurate view of what it means to share a life with another. Lavish receptions and exotic flowers do not a happy marriage make. As Lippman explained, OnlySimchas users, unable to understand the admittedly complicated world of interpersonal relationships, oversimplify the world and trust the mental images in their minds in order to create a functional life as an unmarried individual. By visiting OnlySimchas, they are biding their time as single, waiting for Prince Charming to sweep them away to the Glatt Kosher wedding hall of their dreams.
In the years since OnlySimchas hit the web, the average marriage age of Modern Orthodox Jewish women in the Diaspora has dropped significantly. The moment that they graduate high school, many young women enter a race to the chuppah. Not surprisingly, the numbers of young couples divorcing has skyrocketed as many come to realize that marriage is not all about the photo gallery icon on their OnlySimchas page. Many lives are irrevocably ruined and self-esteems crushed. The environment that has been created is not only “pseudo”, but undoubtedly destructive.
Like most things in Judaism, OnlySimchas is a terrible misnomer – there is no denying the trouble it has wrought.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Violating the Honor Code

As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I have decided to take a page from the Navah Kogen playbook and list seven awesome things about this weekend. Here goes:

1) Guacamole.
Whenever my parents collaborate on guacamole, there is inevitably an argument about whether to mush the avocado with a fork or a spoon and just how much lime juice is too much. And yet, it always tastes just right. So yummy.
And, to those to whom this means something, I didn't pass out from a "guac" overdose this time. Thank God.

2) "White Collar".
USA's newest series is not quite "Burn Notice" -- yet. But, sexy criminal Neal Caffrey has the potential to reach Michael Westen's level of sleek. Thanks to the miracles of DVR, I was able to watch this Friday night show just moments after Shabbat was over. Best Melave Malka I've had in some time...

3) Jared and Ivanka's Sunday Styles wedding announcement.
I keep imagining The Donald with a little beard and Rabbi Lookstein with The Donald's hair. It's opportunities like this that make me wish I knew how to use Photoshop.

4) Zaidie's Onion Rolls.
If I'm gonna cheat on the diet, it's gonna be with something gooooood...

5) Not so discreetly watching people on shidduch dates in Starbucks.
I can't help it if your "love" life is more interesting than my Civ Pro outline, can I?

6) The mad proliferation of the word "Gleek".
Because dork misery loves company.

7) The overlap of baseball and football.
The months of September and October are generally my most unproductive, but they sure do rock!

Much Love, Y

Thursday, October 22, 2009


As Sue Sylvester could tell you, it's tough being a local celebrity. Aside from getting hounded for autographs at the local Donut Hole, all eyes are on you at all times -- expecting greatness, scrutinizing failure. Fame can be a demanding mistress. Once you are recognized, the pressure is on. You better not screw it up.

The above concerns are among the reasons that I kept this blog secret for awhile. While I am far from a celebrity, I have spoken with a number of you about what this blog could or should be. And now that I know/hope you're reading, I don't want to disappoint. As we've all discovered this week, many of you have your own blogs and I find them inspiring and interesting. I don't know that this blog will be either of those things. But I will certainly try. In Torts, we talk a lot about shifting blame. When we shift blame, we don't have to suffer the consequences of our actions. It sounds like a good deal until you realize that you don't get to take credit for the good stuff either. I'm hoping that this experiment in blogging will be both funny and fun. Funny for you to read and fun for me to write. If that happens, I'll be the first one to seek the credit. If it sucks and I've wasted your time, I'll find a good and lawyer-ly way to shift the blame.

Now that I've gotten my disclaimer out of the way...on to the show. So many funny things happened this week. I've wasted enough of your time talking about not wasting your time that I'm going to jump right in.

Two words: BALLOON BOY.

There is a scene in Ocean's Eleven in which Scott Caan calls Casey Affleck a "balloon boy." Ian and I used to act it out all the time. Yes, we're just that cool. Anyway, I will now forever blame Falcon Heene for ruining that memory for me.
First off, I could have told you that these people wanted to be celebrities the day that they named their child Falcon. When you think about it, it is a really good celebrity baby name. Surpassing Apple, it ranks right up there with Jason Lee's choice to name his son Pilot Inspektor.
Secondly, the Heenes really are terrible parents. They could convince their kid to hide in an attic for a few hours, but they forgot to tell him not to lie on Larry King? Talk about dropping the follow through. Any good pediatrician will tell you that if there's one thing that kids need, it's consistency.

Speaking of consistency, I can always count on the New York Jets to suck. Yes, I spent six hours in the freezing October drizzle watching them fumble around the football field pretending to have a clue and all I got was a lousy Fan Appreciation Day travel mug. (Catchy, I know. I'm thinking of getting it printed on a t-shirt.) Come to think of it, that's not all I got. I got a nasty cold, too. Typical. After looking semi-talented in his first three NFL starts, Mark Sanchez has finally acclimated to life as a Jet. This means that he has learned to become incompetent and infuriating. Quite the accomplishment.

In other football news, Finn convinced Ken to let him both play quarterback and sing lead vocals in the Glee Club. Has anyone else noticed that his character is an exact replica of Oz from American Pie? He even has Chris Klein's dopey smile -- and questionable acting chops. Now that Quinn's been de-Cheerio-ed, does that mean she'll get to wear normal clothes to school? I know Ramaz gave up cheerleading in the early 80s, but even I'm fairly certain that cheerleaders don't wear their uniforms all day, every day. The producers might want to look into that. Also, I have to give major props to my friend Sam for pointing out that there is no way in hell that Rachel would not have made a pass at Mr. Schu yet. He's a teacher who is young, hot, talented, and "still miraculously" straight? What is she waiting for? Probably February Sweeps.

I really never intended for this to become a Glee blog, but I promised Becky I'd update tonight and I've got Glee on the brain. If you're ever lucky enough to catch me on a Tuesday, I'll be happy to rave about the fact that the writers of House have FINALLY given Chase an actual storyline. I love his adorable Aussie accent -- and the ethical implications of his actions in the "Tyrant" episode would get Randy Cohen all hot and bothered.

So, now that you've bothered to spend some of your time with me, what did you think? The Comments section isn't just for (a) show, people. Falcon Heene is.

xoxo Glee-sip Girl

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Water, water everywhere...

The more I think about it, the more I realize just how appropriate it is that the scales of justice have come to represent law. Because, if anything is about the endless search for balance, it's law school.
This is not only true for the law student, seeking a life that is both intellectually fruitful and socially vibrant -- but within the curriculum as well.
I am finding this to be particularly true within the study of Civil Procedure. Many of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure concern themselves with balancing justice and judicial efficiency. How can we make a plaintiff whole without overburdening the court system and the taxpayers who subsidize it? Will joinder of parties increase or decrease the chance that an additional law suit will eventually be filed? These questions are relatively benign, but indicative of a greater trend. Our justice system is less of a "justice" system and more of a "let's try to prevent injustice in the cheapest way possible" system. And, maybe that is the best thing that it could possibly be. Maybe the world would end up more unjust if the justice system failed to take economics into account. The writers of the Federal Rules tried to create guidelines that would foster the proper balance. Were they successful? The verdict is still out.
As for law students, I can only say that this particular law student is finding the balancing act a tough one to manage- despite having mastered Warrior Three at Columbia Law's Yoga Club meeting on Monday. Tonight, I found myself feeling guilty for not reading while eating my dinner. Have I been reduced to someone who doesn't even have time to eat? It seems that I have. This is uncharted territory for me and it is too soon to tell what kind of response I will have to the altitude. I'm loving the classes and I'm (mostly) caught up on my reading. But, I really do not have much time for anything unrelated to the study of law. The scales of justice are leaning pretty heavily one way. Maybe the weekend will help balance things out a bit...
If anyone out there has thoughts or ruminations on how to maintain balance, please join the conversation.
Contractually yours, Y

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gleefully Yours...

Today's question: Does tweeting make you a twit?

This is something I've begun to contemplate lately as I've realized that law school is much more conducive to micro-blogging than logging hours coming up with the witty paragraphs I had intended on posting here. Besides, wouldn't Twitter be the perfect forum for my, now legendary, inappropriate non-sequiturs? Tell me you don't believe that "R--e is an onomatopoeia!" would have rattled the Twitosphere! So, to tweet or not to tweet? That remains the question, thus for now I leave the Shakespearean self-contemplation to Jude Law and seek equitable resolution by maintaining the status quo. (Wow, a pop culture nod and law school joke in one sentence. I am a tremendous dork.)

Speaking of Jude Law, the CUArts discount tickets to Hamlet are already gone. What a bummer. There is nothing I can imagine to be more exhilarating that watching a mediocre movie actor wax poetic in the greatest Danish tragedy of our or any other time. Was that too harsh? Listen, Ben Brantley called Law's performance "semaphore" and I don't even know what that means. So, who's the greater villain here? But to be honest, I would have liked to see Hamlet and I'm sure that tickets will be hard to come by. Why? 1) Sitting through Hamlet is intellectual snobbery in its purest form. 2) Talking about sitting through Hamlet is even better. 3) I'm a sucker for celebrities onstage. (Why else would I be tracking down a ticket for Bye Bye Birdie? John Stamos was Uncle Jesse for crying out loud!) Since I've gotten to law school and realized that I am significantly less accomplished than many of my classmates, opportunities for intellectual snobbery are few and far between. I'll have to get my kicks where I can.

Realization: I don't need Twitter. Writing that last paragraph alone makes me a twit.
But, lucky for you, I am leaving it here so that you, NK- my one and only reader, are able to get a glimpse at the sick and twisted machinations of my self-absorbed mind.

So, to get back to what I had originally intended on writing about -- Glee.
Has anyone else seen this dreadfully bad/sinfully good show? The plot points are awful but the singing (or lip-synching, who are we kidding?) is delightful. Mr. Schuester is adorably sweet and I can't wait for him to betray his good guy morality and get it on with OCD Emma. As for Emma, she refuses to be touched by Ken but would surely eschew her "shmirat negiah" for a rendezvous with the dreamy Will. Sound familiar? (Cough, Yavneh, cough.) Well, it's the only thing about Glee that rings true. Well, that and the drama. Drama, drama, drama. Can't people sing without it? In my own experience, I'm gonna go with no. Unless that whole Piz-cest thing was just a figment of my imagination...

Have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow.
xoxo Y

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We’re not in Melbourne anymore…

After a year-long hiatus from blogging, I’ve decided to give it another shot as I embark on my next great adventure – law school. I’ve been told repeatedly, by reputable sources, that I will not enjoy this coming adventure nearly as much as I enjoyed the last. Law school, particularly Columbia Law School, is not known for its laid-back style and abundance of marsupials. But I am hoping to learn a lot – in tandem with the required reading a lot – along the way.

Since I’m relatively certain that I won’t have oodles of time to update you on my daily doldrums, I’m thinking that I will use this forum to share interesting tidbits I stumble upon in my legal explorations.

Today, por ejemplo, I looked up numerous words and Latin phrases online – it was creatio ex nihilo kind of cool. I went on to find that the writers of case law insist on using overly complicated diction to make relatively simple points. These are the kind of people who say seafaring transportation vessels when they mean boats. If, in my current state of exhaustion, I could remember any of the words I looked up, I’d share them with you.

Brett Favre came out of retirement today. Again. It just goes to show you that along with his rugged good looks and Hall of Fame arm, the man has Louis D. Brandeis-caliber judgment.

But seriously, with my apologies to Justice Brandeis, what the hell is Favre thinking? If I’m criticizing him, you know something’s awry. But, then again, if this means that he’ll keep shooting Wrangler commercials, some good may come from all of this. And, for the first time since 1992, we’ll get the chance to see if the man can pull off spandex in a color other than green.

With that, I’m signing off for the evening. If I were Walter Cronkite, I’d tell you to “Stay Classy, San Diego,” but we’ve all got a little too much class for that.

N.B. Happy Birthday EEB!