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

Friday, April 28, 2006

How To Stay Thin While Eating at Expensive Restaurants Three Times A Week

1. Avoid the Bread. It's just extra calories. You don't need it.

2. Avoid the Soda and Iced Tea. Unless you are prepared to drink diet soda or use sweeteners (I'm not).

3. Soup or Salad Appetizer. Nothing more than soup or a basic salad for the appetizer. Careful about the salad dressing; lot's of hidden calories.

4. Limit the Red Meat. No more than once a week.

5. Heavy on the Fish. Do the sushy thing where possible. Chilean sea bass or tuna (rare) also work.

6. Avoid Desert. Unless you are at My Most Favorite Desert Place, in which case, ditch the appetizer. There is no point in having lunch there unless you get the blueberry pie, apple cake, etc.

7. Work Out Like Crazy. There are a lot of calories to burn, no matter how disciplined you are.

If you follow these rules, you should be able to maintain your weight. Maybe I should write a book. I could make millions!!!


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lunch Trifecta

My job requires me to 'do lunch' alot. I mean A LOT. For various reasons, law firms want to take me out to lunch and, for my part, I need to shmooze with the machers in my industry. In fact, in the past 11 months I have probably attended more business lunches than I attended in the previous 9 years at my last job.

This week, however, took the cake.

Monday at Le Marais, Wednesday at Prime Grill and, later today, at Solo.

Life is tough.

Next: Rules for avoiding gaining weight when lunching 3 times a week.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

At the Knicks Game with Fosterboy

A couple of weeks ago, I took Fosterboy to the Knicks - Cavaliers game. I personally have no use for the dreadful Knicks or, for that matter, the NBA in general, but Fosterboy very much wanted to go. For the past couple of years he has been living in a residence among kids for whom basketball is huge. He kept asking me if I could get tickets and when I finally was able to get a couple, he was excited for two whole weeks.

Not only did I get tickets, but, through the generousity of a very good man, I got courtside seats, five rows from the court (these seats cost $330 each!). After a hamburger and hot dog at KD, we got to the Garden early. Fosterboy flipped when he saw where we were sitting.

The Knicks were about 100 games below .500 and had been out of the playoff race since the third week of the season, so the main attraction of this game was, of course, Lebron (he has, apparently, reached Michael-like status and the use of his last name is not necessary). We were directly in front of the Cavaliers' basket and, during pre-game warm ups, Fosterboy was desperately trying to get Lebron attention, to no avail. This bothered FB no end. The rest of the night, FB kept asking me why Lebron couldn't just waive at him and the other kids who were calling his name. Good question.

Thankfully, FB's faith in the goodness of man was rewarded at haltime. Ahmad Rashad was sitting on the court right in front of us. I made the mistake of telling FB that Rashad had been a famous NFL wide receiver and is now a TV guy. FB was intent on talking to him no matter what. I was trying to explain to FB that sometimes famous people like to be left alone and that perhaps it would be better not to bother him.

Ignoring that advice, FB walked down to Rashad at halftime and started chatting him up. For all his issues, FB is one of the most charming 11-year olds you will ever meet and, thankfully, Rashad was receptive and extremely gracious and engaging.

I suffered through a brutal game that the Knicks were actually leading by 20 points at one stage. It also seemed to me that Lebron was sleepwalking through this one until, with about five minutes left in the game, he suddenly turned on the jets and showed his incredible basketball gadlus (he's still only around 20; it's hard to believe). The Knicks managed to hang on and win by one point which made Fosterboy very happy.

Living, as we do, in an environment where too many kids have very high expectations and little appreciation of their great good fortune, hanging out with Fosterboy is a refreshing change. He has been dealt a very bad hand in life and has virtually nothing other than a few relationships with people who love him and try to occasionally do nice things for him. But he so appreciates every little thing that does come his way.

Postscript: I have, in the past, expressed criticism of the approach taken by the institution that is responsible for FB now (not OHEL). I still have my issues but I have to admit that he seems to be doing pretty well (helped tremendously by a few unsung heroes who live in his community and watch after him with love and mesiras nefesh). I certainly hope it continues.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What Do You Make of Jose Reyes?

During the first couple of weeks of the Mets' season, dopey reporters and broadcasters were all talking about David Wright and Jose Reyes, the foundation of the Mets for the next ten years.

I laughed. Wright is, indeed, the real thing. He will probably hit over .300, smack 30 homers and 100 RBI and have an OBP of .400 for the foreseeable future. But Reyes?

Did you know that Jose Reyes made more outs last year by almost 100 than the next biggest out-maker? His OBP was .300, pathetic for a leadoff hitter. After his torrid start this year, he has gone into a deep funk. His OBP is now about .270 (the league average is about .330).

On the other hand, he is a smooth fielder, a very effective base stealer (about .80% success) and gets a ridiculous amount of triples.

Last night illustrated the issues. He didn't hit a lick all night but with a man on third and two outs, he took a weak swing at a ball out of the strike zone and bounced it over the head of the pitcher. Because of his amazing speed, there was no chance of getting him out. Single and RBI on a desperation, two-strike grounder.

Unless he learns the strike zone, he will never be a real star (although the New York media will continue to treat him as one if he continues to steal bases and hit a few triples).

While I'm on a roll, same thing for Robinson Cano. Although he is batting in the mid .300s now, he has walked like three times this year and his OBP is hovering at about the same level. They are both sure to come down. And, he is no fielder.

Finally, a word on Anderson Hernandez. Again the media keep talking about him as the Mets' solution at second base for the next ten years. Before he got hurt, he had six hits in 40 at bats and had yet to walk once. His avergae and OBP (the same) are below .150. I don't care how well he fields. He ain't the ten year solution. He's a journeyman.
New Direction

I have decided to go in a new direction. As soon as I figure it out, I will let you know.


Monday, April 17, 2006


For a variety of reasons, I am once again taking some time off from blogging. See you on the flip flop.



Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ode To A Pot

Every year in the days leading up to Pesach, I bring up from the basement a massive, 16 gallon pot. MHW uses that pot, and another, smaller, one, to make chicken soup for the entire Pesach. (Those of you who have followed this blog know my feelings about chicken soup, i.e., the main reason G-d created Shabbos is so that Jews can have chicken soup on Friday night).

MHW makes the soup and I strain it and put it into plastic containers.

Then I wash the big pot and bring it back down to the basement. This pot's work is done BEFORE PESACH EVEN BEGINS. One soup and back into storage until the same time next year. Now THAT is mesiras nefesh.

Let's hear it for the big pot.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pesach Blasts From the Past

On Preparing

On Macaroons

More Macaroons

On Hagadahs

More on Food

On Enjoying the Chag

A freilichin Pesach to all.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Alex Bashing

I'm so tired of the dopey people who call in to sports radio talk shows complaining that Alex Rodriguez is a stiff. The guy hit 49 home runs last year, hit for average and had a killer OBP. Oh. And he was MVP.

Some of these dopes are saying that he isn't clutch and that his home runs always come in games that the Yankees win by ten runs.

So, yesterday, he did hit a home run in a game that the Yankees won 10 -1.

But he hit it when the score was 0 - 0. Morons.

Friday, April 07, 2006


One overlooked aspect of fostering that is hard to deal with is weekly parental visits. At best, everything about them is profoundly sad. Often, parental visits can be much worse.

Biological parents are typically permitted a one-hour, supervised visit with their children. In Ohel's case, it usually takes place at their offices and the foster kid is taken (either by a foster parent or a volunteer) to the visit. In the case of the kids that we care for, this means a three hour trip, two of which are spent in a car.

Visits can be suspended in certain circumstances but it often takes a court order to do that.

Visits are almost always sad. It is hard to even imagine the sadness of a parent at the conclusion of a visit, knowing that he or she will not see the child again for a week, and only then for an hour. The children, at best, are very confused by these visits and have a hard time processing them. The visits can also be extremely chaotic and disruptive. (I attended one visit with Fosterboy and could not believe the absolute chaos (and this was supervised!!)).

It is interesting to see what is happening now with the Baby. She turned 11 months this week. In the beginning, obviously, she had no clue what was going on. A volunteer would pick her up, she'd spend two hours in a car seat and one hour being held by a strange woman. Now, however, she is starting to grasp the concept of separation. When the volunteer tries to take her from MHW, she understands what's going on and is not happy about separating. When she gets to the visit, she is often unhappy to be held by a stranger. It breaks our heart to think of how that must make her mother feel.

We wonder what the Baby will think as she gets a bit older. How will we explain what's going on (Not just with respect to the visits but in general).

It probably seems quite obvious to everyone that parental visits are a good thing and, often, they are. However, we have experienced situations where parental visits made the kids nuts and undid a week's worth of work. We have seen the effects of visits linger for days. Even when all goes well, they can be very disruptive of a child's routine and structure.

There are no good answers.
I Don't Get It

I can understand and explain complex credit derivatives and other financial structures but I don't understand the food business.

This morning on my way to work, I passed by My Most Favorite Dessert Company, a restaurant in midtown Manhattan. I often stop there to pick up a bagel for breakfast. This morning, I passed by only to see a "Closed, Kashering for Pesach" sign taped to their door.

After getting over my disappointment (I keep a box of cereal in my office so I didn't go hungry), I tried to process this.

How can it be worthwhile for a dairy restaurant to close Friday through Tuesday in order to be open for Pesach, especially this year (when there are only two useful days of Chol Hamoed).

I understand that Friday is probably their slowest day. That, I get. But what about Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, especially when, you would think, people want to eat out because their houses have been turned for Pesach.

I might understand if they were a fleishig restaurant and where planning on hosting sedarim. But they are a dairy restaurant.

Are their prices so high, and volume so heavy, on Pesach that they can justify the cost of turning their kitchen Pesachdigand closing for at least three good days to be open for two on Pesach?

(I guess so, otherwise why would they do it?).

Can anyone help me out?


Thursday, April 06, 2006

MoC Makes The Big Time

Shiny Shoe Music defined.

Hat Tip: BloginDm

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hatzolah Rocks

This past Shabbos afternoon, I came down with a bug. Within hours, despite trying my best to keep up with the fluids, I was dehydrated. I tried to wait until after Shabbos to call Hatzolah but started cramping, a sign that I had run out of time.

I called Hatzolah and they arrived withing five minutes. They checked my vitals and hooked me up with an IV. After an hour I was feeling much better.

The HAtzolah guys are great. They treated me with courtesy and humour. Most importantly, they listened to me and followed my treatment advice (which is different from how most people would be treated under these circumstances). I explained that I get dehydrated every once in a while and that I knew what I was talking about. They accepted it. This saved me an unneccesary trip to the hospital and a lot of aggravation.

By Sunday morning, I was back to normal (or as normal as I get).

One of the Hatzolah guys even called my home the next two days to see how I was doing.

Hatzolah Rocks.


Razel and PT

Aron Razel spent Shabbos with us this past week. In addition to loving his music, the MoC family all love Aron and his holy wife Efrat, personally. They are one of the sweetest couples you could ever meet (and their three boys, all four years old and under, are the cutest). (Remind me to tell the story of how Aron met Efrat. It's priceless).

During the Friday night meal (I didn't get sick until Shabbos afternoon), I casually asked Aron how the gig with Moshe Skier went. (I had arranged for Moshe Skier and his band to back up Aron in Chicago last month).

He got up from his chair, came over to mine, and gave me a hug.

He explained that in all his years, he had never seen anything like it. The band new every song note by note, chord by chord (Aron's music is very funky and very much not your typical Jewish music). He said they were amazing. He only wished that he had been able to line up a few more gigs while he was out there.

So props to PT for making me look good.
Champions X 3

I am still too busy to blog seriously but I thought I'd let the oilam know that HALB has done something that I suspect has never been done before: It won the 7th-8th grade, Junior Varsity (last night, 4-0, against previously unbeaten TABC) and varsity hockey championships in the same year.

Strange as it may sound, this is a sign of robust health for that organization. No time to elaborate now; maybe later.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Championship Game UPDATED

For those of you who can't wait to read my description of last night's varsity hockey championship game (and with a lot of time on your hands), you can listen to the radio broadcast here.

Hat Tip: The Mosh

(I'm listening with one ear during work. It's actually quite good!)



On Shabbos morning I received the honor of Hagbah. Because of my diminutive size and rampant discrimination, this is the first time in a very long time that I was selected for theis honor (despite being in better shape and stronger, pound for pound, than most people who do get the honor).

But it doesn't count.

The only reason I got it is because the gabbai recently started reading my blog and read one of my recent posts bemoaning hagbah discrimination.

While I happen to be a big fan of this particular gabbai (among other things, he puts me up to daven for the amud virtually every Shabbos morning because he knows I fly), sorry, this doesn't cut it.

In his heart of hearts he knows that he (himself being a large man) would never have given me hagbah in a million years but for the blog posting. Sorry but I got hagbah because he knew that I would post about it.


Weekend Update

I had a very eventful weekend but I am way too busy to meaningfully blog right now.


* Aron Razel stayed with us for Shabbos and had amazing things to say about Moshe Skier.

* I got Hagbah on Shabbos morning (But it doesn't really count).

* I was visited by my chaverim from Hatzolah on Shabbos afternoon (good thing I didn't come down too hard on them last week).

* I missed the Razel/Katz/ Boianjiu (and, as it turns out Elli Kranzler) concert on motsai Shabbos, spending the evening at home with an IV.

* I celebrated my birthday on Sunday (now, I'm officlally even older than I was).

* I celebrated our younger son's varsity hockey championship on Sunday evening (his fourth championship in his five year's of playing scholastic hockey - amazing).

If I get around to it I will try to elaborate later in the day or tonight. Otherwise it will have to wait until at least Wednesday.

Until then...