The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Apocalypse Coming

A sure sign that the apocalypse is coming soon: At 8:30 this morning, I passed by the Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue and 45th Street. There were at least 30 people standing in the rain hoping to be the first ones in for a book signing by Hulk Hogan that, I assume, doesn't take place for a few hours.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Fantasy Fluke

Despite my best efforts to lose this past week (playing Eli Manning (4 points) and benching Tony Romo (34 points), etc.), it looks like I'm going to win, thereby raising my record to 4-3.

The truth is my team is mediocre at best and I've stunk, over-dealing and making the wrong moves at almost every turn. The truth is, I'm very lucky to be 4-3. This week, for the second time this season, I would have lost to EVERY OTHER TEAM but the one I played.

Maybe I could go work for the Oakland Raiders.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Against Moneyball

Interesting article in the New Republic arguing that "Moneyball" doesn't work and that Michael Lewis' praise of Billy Beane was unwarranted. (Hat Tip: Big Brother)

A few thoughts: Billy Beane was, in certain respects, the victim of his own success. Teams with much more money than the Oakland A's (most notably Theo Epstein and the Red Sox and the Yankees) started to implement some of the ideas that Beane promoted. Consequently, the market inefficiencies that Beane tried to exploit were narrowed and teams with more money could pay up for the players that were truly valuable.

(An aside: The Baltimore Orioles of Earl Weaver vintage played "Moneyball" long before the Oakland A's hired Beane. Weaver believed in walking and hitting homers. He rarely bunted and eschewed the idea of "small ball". He was the true revolutionary even though he didn't use computers).

I am not suggesting that Beane was infallible or that all his theories were good. But one would be silly to suggest that there hasn't been a significant change in the way the game is played and players are valued since he came on the scene.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's More Annoying? II

A. The guy who blurts out "Mashiv Haruach" in the midle of the silent amidah and thereby distracts you and causes you to lose your place?

B. The guy who blurts out "Shemah Koleinu" in the middle of the silent amidah and thereby distracts you and causes you to lose your place?

I think it's A. At least A thinks he's doing you a favor. B is just being randomly annoying.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Wretched Mets

It is hard to do justice to how wretched the Mets were this past year but an article in Vanity Fair (Hat Trick: Big Brother) comes pretty close.

(As I noted in an earlier comment on the Great Joe Schick's blog, things got so bad at Citi Field that, towards the end of the season, I literally could not give away my Mets tickets. And, as an aside, I have to disagree with Mr. Schick. I do not think that "pathetic" adequately describes the Mets. Wretched is much more appropriate).

So, naturally, the Wilpons are bringing management back. Makes a lot of sense.


Rav Yehoshua Hartman at Aish Kodesh

Rav Yehoshua Hartman, one of the great experts on the teachings of the Maharal, will be giving two shiurim at Aish Kodesh, this Thursday evening, leil Hoshanah Rabah.

The first shiur, at 8 pm will be a retrospective on the thought and teachings of the Maharal on his 400th Yahrtzeit.

The second shiur, at 9 pm, will focus on the Maharal's Torahs on Succos and Hoshanah Rabah.

Men and women are invited.

Please spread the word. Rav Hartman is awesome and it's really worth coming.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Case of The Missing S'chach (Or, Another Senior Moment for MoC)

This year, for the first time ever, I did not put up my own Succah. (Indeed, for many years, I put up two succahs; ours and my dad's). Instead, through the efforts of some good friends and a bunch of young men from DRS, our Succah was put up while I convalesced in the hospital. The best I could do was give instructions over the phone.

One of the things I told the guys was not to put up the schach. I first wanted to set up the lights, which I felt I needed to do in person (and, since the succah was put up a few weeks early, there was still plenty of time).

So, yesterday, I called one of my neighbors to help me put up the beams, the lights and the s'chach. He readily came over with two of his sons and in no time we had the beams and the lights up.

I went back to the garage to help bring out the s'chach (bamboo mats to be specific).

They were nowhere to be found.

We looked all over. In the garage. Outside. Gurnisht.

I'm thinking, no one is going to steal s'chach. If they were going to steal anything out of my garage it would be my bike (chas v'shalom).

Then I started thinking.

Did I throw out the s'chach when I took the succah down last year?

I absolutely could not remember doing so.

On the other hand, I know that I've been thinking about replacing the 17-year-old mats for at least three years. They were really ratty and frayed.

After thinking hard about what I happened, the vague memories returned. I remember throwing the mats out last year (I can now picture putting the mats on the sidewalk for bulk pick up) with the idea that it would force me to buy new mats this year when I put up the succah. (Otherwise, I thought, I will just do the easy thing and put them back up for yet another year).

How was I to know that it wouldn't be me putting up the succah and that I wouldn't even be around to "discover" the missing mats?

Thankfully, I didn't wait until Friday to attempt to put the "roof" on. Now THAT would have been interesting.