If I Told You You Had a Great Mezuza, Would You Hold It Against Me?

In case you’re wondering about that, I’ll explain later.

I just watched four Friends episodes in a row. No, I’m not in my apartment watching downloaded crap off the network, TBS has every Thursday night like a million Friends in a row. Fun times. Now I’m watching ABC Family, where they have like a million Who’s Line Is It Anyways in a row. Not the good British version, but the crappy American one with Drew Carey. Although honestly, while everyone always says the British one is better than the American one, I really can’t tell the difference. I just jump on the bandwagon and agree with everyone, but really, come on. Haven’t you noticed that it’s all the same comedians? It’s always four guys, picked out of a pool of the same ten or so, British and American. So really, the only thing people have to harp on here is Drew Carey (yes, a thing), who, I agree, sucks, but he at least affords them funny jokes at his expense.

I bought some new magnetic poetry strips for my front door. These are pick-up-line themed. So be ready for some new match ups with the Yiddish ones we have (Is that a cholent pot in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?). That justifies my title, in case you were wondering (And don’t pretend you haven’t.).

I’m really getting used to wireless. I can sit anywhere in the house and veg out with internet (Oh, I’m sorry, I meant I can sit anywhere in the house with all of mankind’s collective knowledge at my fingertips.) I can even sit out by the pool and tan while chatting. Next I need a waterproof laptop, so I can actually go in the water.

And yes, I decided to link to David at least once per blog, at least until he starts blogging again.

Menachem in Miami

I hate morning people. They’re on my list, somewhere in the low twenties (along with #23, salespeople who ask “Can I help you?”). They’re so cheery and peppy always, it drives me crazy. They’re always so damn productive! (How dare they!)

This week, I have become a morning person. This is a rare occurrence, it only happens when im terribly jetlagged, and it usually stays with me for nearly a week before I can drive it from my system and start sleeping until noon again. But in the meantime, I’m trying to make the best of it.

It’s weird being the first one up. I didn’t realize how much I became used to being the last one up; having the days events already in motion before I even get out of bed. I would always just roll out of bed whenever I felt like it, and call whoever I wanted, to do whatever I wanted (right now!). Now I sit on the couch and watch my family yawn and drink coffee, and wait for the day to start.

My blog ratings on statcounter are down. In the first month I was getting fifteen to twenty unique visitors a day, now I’m getting ten to fifteen. (A person who checks out my site at 4pm, 4:05pm and 8pm is considered a first time visitor (for the first visit in a 24 hour period), two unique visitors (once for the 4pm, once for the 8pm. Not the 4:05 because it took place within one hour of the previous visit) and three page views. Unique visitors is the number you can see if you scroll down to the bottom of this page.)

The coolest thing about statcounter is the keyword analysis, I think. I can see what people search for, and how they reach my site. There are a few normal ones that you might expect, mostly people who know I have a blog, but can’t remember the exact address, so they search for “menachem pritzker,” “menachem in Israel,” or “menachem pritzker blog,” or something like that. I’ve gotten hits coming from “Shauli Zacks” searches, “david zacks“, “sarra zacks” and “dani ungar.” I also get some really weird ones, like “gwen stephani” “Chinese food in Israel,” “chabadnikim,” (incidentally, #14 on my list) and, a little scary, “ner yisroel.” (#8, I wonder if he liked what he found…). Also, somebody somehow got to my site by searching for smashing pumpkins, even though I’ve never written about them, and never even wrote the word “pumpkins.” That’s a little weird.

Sorry I’m not posting as often as I used to, I don’t know how often I’ll get the chance while in in miami, but at least I’m posting more often than david is.

Google

I decided I’m going to get organized. For real this time. I went to the on-campus store and bought a box of push pins, so I can tack up my assignments on the corkboard in my room. Buying the pins made me late for class though, and I had to go quickly without first going home to get my notebook. So I just sat in class with no notebook and no pen, fifteen minutes late (No, it did not take me fifteen minutes to buy pins. I was late anyways. In retrospect, the pins were procrastinating.)

Ever do a google search, and it takes like ten minutes for the page to load up, and you’re waiting, and you’re annoyed, and it’s slow, and then when the page finally does come up, they write in the upper left corner of the screen something like 0.06 seconds? That’s supposed to be how long the search took. They’re frikkin lying! Straight out! About something that just happened! (0.06 seconds ago, depending on who you ask.)

This blog took 0.21 seconds to write.

Consumerism and the Axe Effect

Atara offered me a piece of gum in class last week. Not exactly groundbreaking news, but it was one of these weird multi flavor “cocktail” gums that are becoming popular in Israel (or at least a passing fad). If you’re not familiar with them, the basic concept is this: take a regular box of, say, 30 pieces of gum. Instead of 30 pieces of strawberry or whatever, you have 10 pieces of pina colada, 10 pieces of rum (rum flavored gum?), and 10 of something else, I don’t remember, mint or something. You pop in one of each (There’s a helpful illustration on the back of the box to help you out, if you need the help.), and et viola you’re chewing a veritable cocktail of gum. Granted, after ten minutes of chewing three pieces of gum your jaw starts hurting and you find yourself drooling occasionally, but that happens to me all the time when I’m sitting in class anyways, so what the hell.

An interesting side effect (besides the drooling, of course) is that you finish your box of gum three times as fast.

Let’s look at another example before I get to my main point. You may have had the unfortunate opportunity to see an “Axe Effect” commercial. A guy stands in front of the mirror spraying deodorant all over his body, and girls flock to him the rest of the day, drawn to his scent like rats to the piper. The deodorant isn’t billed as underarm spray, like every other deodorant on the market. It’s billed as body spray, implying that the intended usage of the spray is for the entire body.

This, like the gum, encourages rapid depletion, followed by (the advertisers hope) rapid replenishment of the same product. It’s an entire new area of marketing. Previously, to sell more units of the same item, advertisers had to convince buyers to want their product over competitors, and might even resort to creating a desire, or even a faux need, to expand the demand part of the supply/demand equation, and sell more units. The latest trend in advertising, or at least Israeli advertising, encourages non-traditional use of the product, necessitating more purchases by the consumers that already use the merchandise!

It’s not even a creative new use, like using rice krispies treats or chex mix recipes to sell more product. It’s a simple “Hey, why don’t you spray some of this crap in places where it don’t do you no good” message. Imagine if Crest stated selling toothpaste that not only fought cavities, but if you schmeared it on your elbows, might help ward off evil spirits (See any evil spirits around? That means it’s working…) Never since “wash, rinse, repeat” doubled shampoo sales (don’t pretend you don’t shampoo twice.) have we seen such flagrant abuse of advertising.

So next time you see a drooling, “fresh breeze” smelling guy, with rum on his breath, take away his TV set.

Sheep

I went to a movie at Cinema City tonight with Meir. It’s a nice theatre complex, (pretty rare for Israel,) with a sort of mall built around it. There was a nice American feel to it, and the movie didn’t have a five minute smoking break in the middle, which was nice.

On the way out something weird was happening that I almost didn’t notice. The exit to the mall had three glass double doorways. The middle one was an entrance, and had a guard checking people. The one on the left was closed. The one on the right had three movie theatres’ worth of people leaving through it, and a few feet past the door was a small turnstile, to keep people from going in through the exit, but it also had the effect of slowing down the line, and backing it up. It was so bad that it took a couple of minutes for the line to move along so we could get out.

We waited in line with everybody else, and went out through the turnstile. Something didn’t seem right to me, and I motioned to Meir to wait a minute as I stood there for a bit, watching the people and looking at the doors. Everybody was lined up, patiently waiting for the line to slowly inch forward. I thought to myself, why would they lock the leftmost double doors? I could think of no good reason, and Meir was getting impatient. Finally I realized what was going on. I went back into the mall, through security (and risked having to wait five minutes again on the way back,) and faced the closed doors. I extended one hand, pushed, a lo and behold, the door was open. It had been unlocked the whole time! Everyone was just following each other, not thinking. Nobody had thought to try the other doors. I was the first! I had achieved a breakthrough in mall dynamics!

My victory was short-lived, however; after I had proudly swung both doors open, and marched back outside to rejoin Meir, I turned around to watch what havoc I had unleashed. Nobody moved. The doors slowly swung shut again, and the people in the other line continued to stare ahead blankly.

People are sheep.