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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Mommy Doesn't Let"

I took The Vance to Manhattan today to see Cirque de Sollel. We went for pizza before the performance. I bought a Dr. Pepper along with my slice (I don't usually drink soda but I am still trying to gain a couple of pounds so I drink the stuff from time to time). The Vance didn't want anything to drink but I took an extra cup expecting her to change her mind.

When I offered her some of my soda she said, "Mommy doesn't let".

This is true; except for Shabbos (and then only when we have guests) soda is never made available. I was impressed with the Vance's self control but more so with MHW's mastery of motherhood. Without being preachy or loud, MHW has somehow constructed a paradigm where rules are rules and her word is the law. Kids crave structure and MHW gives it to them in a firm but gentle way (how is that possible?).

(And, as an aside, if regular kids crave structure, how much more so foster kids. Which is what makes MHW a spectacular foster mom).

I am not worthy.

Really. I'm not.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Random Thoughts

1. MHW must be looking forward to travelling to Israel tonight what with the new TSA procedures in place. I wonder how long it will take her to get through the checkpoint and what other silly things the security people are going to require. They may not even let her through with yogurt (we know the Yoplait
is no good).

2. I get to play Mr. Mom for the next few days. I will try my hardest not to undo all of MHW's hard work with The Vance since last Thanksgiving (when she last went to Israel without me). Burger's Bar, here we come!

3. Try this very funky new Shabbos CD by Yerachmiel and Aaron Razel. Cute article in Arutz Shevah.


Sunday, December 27, 2009


This afternoon, The Vance had a play date at our house. I had been out for the first part of the visit but when I came home I said hello to The Vance's friend and asked her her name. She told me her name and then asked me, "are you The Vance's grandpa?"

Ouch. She sure knows how to hurt a guy.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Stupid Rules Coming Our Way

In the wake of the attempted on board airline bombing the other day, the TSA has apparently instituted more stupid rules that will make flying for everyone even more unpleasant than it already is.

Instead of biting the profiling bullet and closely scrutinizing those who fit a certain bill, the TSA will now more thoroughly pat down children, prohibit the use of electronic equipment in the last hour of flights (huh?) and not let people get up from their seats towards the end of flights. All this will do is drive travelers even more crazy because everyone knows (including the TSA) that this is not an effective way to prevent terrorism. Mainly, it's just reactive nonsense (like preventing people from bringing in liquids; what a joke!).

Ich kenesht.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Jews Love To Eat

Jackie Mason always makes fun of the Jews' propensity to eat.

Based on my anecdotal experience in general and specifically this afternoon, I tend to agree, at least insofar as frum Jews are concerned.

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

I took my mom to the Pizza store for lunch this afternoon. Not only was the pizza store packed, but it seemed that many of the eateries in town were similarly crowded. They were crowded when I came and they were crowded when I left.

Shabbos was less than 3 hours away when I left and the places were still packed.

Mi K'amcha Yisrael?


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


On Monday I traipsed back to Philadelphia for another court hearing. I went for two reasons. First, the issue under consideration in court was another one that my firm and industry are focusing on. The second, and main reason, was because I was told that the general counsel of a very chashuva hedge fund (and a new member of my firm) would be testifying. The reason this interested me is that it would give me the opportunity to meet the GC and, perhaps, persuade him to testify at a hearing in February that is of great importance to the industry.

The hearing went well and the GC was a fabulous witness. I got to introduce myself and spend a few minutes with the chashuva GC ("CGC"). Everything went according to plan.

After the hearing, I took a cab to the 30th Street Station to catch the 4:35 Acela Express back to New York. If everything worked out, I would be able to rush over to the LIRR and catch the 6:02 home.


The departures board at the station noted that the train would be 25 minutes late. No big deal. In fact, since I had scheduled a conference call for 4 p.m., I was happy to spend another 25 minutes in the station since it would make handling that call much easier.

Of course, 25 minutes turned into an hour and forty minutes. This looked bad. But actually, it turned out to be good. Very good.

As luck would have it, I ran into CGC who was also waiting for the train. We started talking, first about business, and then about other things. Turns out CGC is a Mormon. So when I told him I had five kids, he didn't flinch (unlike most people in business who look at me like I have two heads when I tell them that).

We ended up talking for almost three hours. He agreed to testify in February, making my trip a total success. But more than that, he turned out to be an extremely nice man who, despite his great success in business, was very humble and very family oriented and "baalabatish". I couldn't help thinking that this guy was a frum, "Modern Orthodox" Christian. Very serious about his religion, but very much a part of the modern world.

While I know that the Mormons have some strange stuff going on (unlike, say, Jews, whose religious practices are completely understandable and rational), I was impressed with CGC and his family oriented approach to life.

All in all, a very interesting afternoon.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Is it only me or are you also tired of all the holiday E-Cards?

I'm all for saving trees but these things are annoying. It used to be that I'd get the cards, open them quickly, read them and throw them in the trash.

Now, if you don't open them, the senders KNOW that you didn't open them so you HAVE to open them to prevent bad feelings.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

My GMC Validated

Today was one of those days that occurs about every five years that validates my purchase of a GMC Envoy.

This morning, while others where spending hours digging out their cars, I backed the GMC right out of my driveway and cruised to shul while drivers around me were slipping and sliding.

So it gets 12 MPG; on days like today, I forgive it.

(And, while we're on the topic of snow, there is no doubt that the sanitation department drivers who plow the streets target people who have already shoveled the snow awy from their cars. My other car was plowed in three times today. Maybe I should have bought two GMCs).


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Real Life Moot Court UPDATED

I spent yesterday morning in a Philadelphia courtroom listening to oral arguments in this case. My firm had submitted an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of the evil hedge funds that own the debt.

Three things were noteworthy. The lead judge rocked. He took control immediately and had an absolute handle on the issues (He is a former bankruptcy partner at a Delaware firm and has a reputation for being a great judge in financial cases).

Second, one of the three judges on the panel attended virtually, through a video hookup. Pretty cool. As my father, z'l, would have said, "America Ganif".

Third, there were about 20 representatives of the Teamsters Union in attendance, in support of the company. The company has been warning the unions that if the evil hedge funds get control of the company, the union will be busted and other terrible things will happen. (Perhaps the company should have thought of that when they borrowed $275 million that they can't pay back).

All in all, a very interesting morning.

And, for me, whose last "court" argument was 33 years ago in law school moot court (a case I lost 2-1 to a very attractive blond; I received the vote of my female writing instructor and my opponent received the two men's votes. I'm just saying), these cases are a hoot. This is the fourth case that I've been involved in since July and we are about to file a fifth. MoChassid: Litigator. Who woulda thunk it.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Checking In

I apologize to my rapidly dwindling numbers of readers for my lack of attention to this Blog. I have been extremely busy both at work and at home and have had very little time to write. It is not for lack of topics; I have been thinking a lot about a number of topics but that thinking is usually during my spin workouts and I have not been able to execute.

It is unlikely to get any better until, perhaps, the last week of the year. I will do the best I can. In the meantime, best wishes for a lichtig Chanukah.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Gassing Up: Still the Story of My Life, But With a Twist

If you substitute OMD for OOD, much of this post still pertains today.

The arrangement I have with OMD, the same arrangement I had with OOD and OYS, is that so long as she drops me off at the train station in the morning, and picks me up at night, she can use my car during the day. Thus, I barely get to drive it. And, as I've noted in the past, none of my kids seems to have figured out that the "E" on the gas gage means empty. Or that the lit up picture of a gas tank means you need gas.

So, last Friday, as I drove my car to shul, I noticed that the car gage was, indeed, very close to the "E". I made a mental note to gas the car up on Sunday morning despite the fact that I knew OMD would be driving it on Saturday night (albeit only locally).

I woke up ten minutes earlier and, on my way to shul, stopped at the gas station. I took out my credit card, got authorized and began pumping.

To my astonishment, the car took only two gallons. It then hit me that I hadn't re-checked the gas gage and had just assumed that OMD would not fill up the car on Saturday night. Well, obviously, she had.

Mea culpa to OMD. My constant whining is apparently having an effect.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ikvisah D'Mishicha

Tootsie Rolls are now certified by the OU.


Worrying About "Worrying"

I have recently read a number of articles, mostly on the economy, that used the word "worrying" in a way that I'm not sure is correct. Similarly, I've seen and heard the word "concerning" used in the same, possibly incorrect, context.

"She is worrying about the safety of her job." No problem here.

"The current job trend is worrying" (substitute "concerning" and you have the same issue). Are there such words as "worrying" or "concerning" in this context?

If not, should I care or is this just the way language evolves?


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Black Black and Whites

On Sunday morning, I went to Gourmet Glatt to buy some things for a tikun for my father's yahrtzeit. I bought some herring, some rugalach, a mandel bread and some crackers.

As I was picking up the baked goods at the Zomicks counter, I stumbled upon an all-black black and white cookie.

"It's not possible", I thought. I had been looking for an all black black and white for years. Only once, more than 20 years ago, did I see one (in Boro Park, of all places). And now, right here in my neighborhood, less than ten minutes from home, I can presumably now get one any time I want.

Life is good.