Grey Dawn

Well, it’s official. We’re screwed. We’re screwed so bad, in fact, that it’s pretty funny. I think the only parties not upset about the results are Labor, Shas, and the Old People’s Party (the OPP). And frankly, if there’s ever a situation where Labor, Shas, and old people are happy, you’d better worry.

This election marks the lowest voter turnout ever. Elections have always been in the 90% – 80% range, dipping to 78%-ish in the 90’s. The last election had a 67% turnout, and this one was about 63%. It’s not true that the low turnout hurts the left. A low turnout hurts everybody.

When I was in the fifth grade, we had a mock election in the classroom. That year was Bush (Sr.) vs. Clinton, and our teacher made us all write our votes on a piece of paper, and she had one of us volunteer to pick the slips of paper out of a hat and mark the votes on the blackboard. It was all very meaningless, of course, because none of us knew anything about either candidate, or politics. We were just picking names. I took my pencil, and – I remember this very clearly – wrote “Who cares, they’re all the same jerks,” on my slip of paper. I don’t know where I picked that up from; I wasn’t a very politically astute fifth grader, I was probably just repeating something I had heard at home. I passed my vote up to the kid in the seat ahead of me, and he looked at my vote (so much for a secret election), and turned around with a look of horror on his face.

“You’re going to get in trouble! You can’t turn this in!”

“How will she know it’s me?” I said. And so he passed it forward.

During the short time before she had one of us read the votes, I began getting very scared. What if she recognized the handwriting? What if she figured out it was me? What if I got sent to the principal? What if she called my parents? What if they suspended me? I had an active imagination.

When they started pulling out the votes, everything progressed more or less normally. One for Bush, one for Clinton. I think Clinton had the lead. Suddenly, in the middle, the kid pulled out a vote, frowns, and showed it to the teacher. I slunk down in my seat as far as I could go. The kid in front of me turned around and looked at me with a sort of “Wow, you’re going to hell, you’re really dumb,” look. The teacher looked around at the class, and told the vote-counter to continue, and that she would deal with it. I knew I was screwed.

Finally, after the final tally, the teacher help out my voting slip and said: “Who wrote this?”

No answer.

The she read it out loud. There was a collective gasp from the class. Who would dare write something like that? Then she gave a whole speech about how voter apathy like this is a terrible thing and how if nobody voted, the communists would take over. I never really understood the mechanics of how that would work (some sort of deal with the Soviet Union? “Voting population ever drops below 40%, you boys take over…”), but in 1992, communists were still a very scary thing. Say communist, and you would think Stalin, the KGB, and Siberia (unlike now, where it’s bearded crazy men, with funny green hats speaking Spanish). All I really cared about at the time, however, was that she not find out it was me (she didn’t).

She was wrong, though. Communists would not take over. Socialists would. Here we have the lowest ever turnout, and 40 seats handed over to the socialists (I’m counting the OPP, Labor, and Shas. I’m not even counting the actual communist Arab party. UTJ is also borderline.)

B’kitzur (and I can say that without being yeshivish, cause I’m Israeli) this country is going straight down the toilet.

The Gimlayim

What the hell just happened? In a sudden coup, my government’s been taken over by old people.

Interesting to note here, that the parties that did really well in these elections are the ones that ran on social platforms. I think Likud should have focused more on their economic plans, which were anyways much more substantial than their security plans.

Lets play 29 Questions

I hate you David. These things are worse than chain emails. But I guess I have to answer all the questions, or I’ll get run over by a cement mixer, or something. Here goes:

1) Who is the fourth person on your received-call list?

Interestingly enough, it’s David.

2) What’s your ringtone?

Popcorn. Yes, the crazy-frog niggun.

3) What were you doing midnight last night?

Not writing my paper. Not doing something else, not writing my paper, but actively “not writing my paper.”

4) What did the last text message on your cell phone say?

“You want to see Thomas Capote Tuesday night?” from Amitai Blikstein.

I wonder if Thomas is related to Truman…

5) Whose bed did you sleep in last night?

Oooh, a loaded question. This has potential for making things interesting. In someone else’s life, though, not mine. I slept in my own bed.

6) What color shirt are you wearing?

It’s a white T-shirt. But I’m getting ready for bed, so I guess it doesn’t count. I wore a brown button down shirt today. It was Gap. It says “relaxed” on the inside of the collar. Does that mean the shirt is relaxed, or that I’m relaxed? Either way, the shirt has been to Bangladesh and I haven’t.

7) What’s the most recent movie that you’ve watched?

Shawn of the Dead. So awesome.

8) Name three things you have on you at all times:

Wallet, Cell phone, Key ring. On the key ring are five keys. Building key to the Nachlaot apt I left nearly two years ago, apartment key to said apartment, door to the roof key to said building, a key to my current apartment, and a fifth “mystery” key that I have no idea what it opens.

9) What color are your bed sheets? Light blue, with dark blue stripes. Or, just as easily; dark blue, with light blue stripes. Really, it’s a sheet with dark and light blue stripes.

10) How much cash do you have on you right now?

Well, let me check. 85 US dollars, and 970 shekels. Ok, that’s a bit much. The dollars are from last week, when I got back from America. I deposited about 2000 shek to cover the check I had given my landlord the previous day (woops) and I tried to get this converted to shekel and put in the account as well. When I tried to do it, though, the teller leaned forward and whispered “You’re really better off doing that at one of the black market places.” Thanks for the tip. The 970 shek I have on me now is because I just got paid back in cash today for covering my roommate’s rent.

11) What is your favorite part of the chicken?

Definitely the schnitzel.

12) What is your favorite town/city?

Town slash city? Wow, I know so many town slash cities, it’s hard to choose. Probably Joe, Montana. Never been there.

13) I can’t wait to:

Oh, this is easy. After 7 years, I can’t wait to finish college.

14) When was the last time you saw your mom?

Last Sunday.

15) When was the last time you saw your dad?

Last Sunday

16) When was the last time you spoke to them?

Not sure… I spoke to them on Friday, and I think one of them called me while I was sleeping this morning. I’m pretty sure I answered.

17) What did you have for dinner last night?

Pizza, followed by a late night mana chama.

18) How long have you been at your current job?

Intentionally left blank.

19) Look to your left. What’s there?

A polar bear. Ha! Just kidding. It’s a big blue wall. I’m next to the plug. There’s a white extension cord plugged in, Exciting, no?

20) Who is the last person you spent over 50 bucks on?

My landlord.

21) What’s the last piece of clothing you borrowed from someone?

I borrowed a coat from David on a shabbat a few months ago.

22) What website do you visit most?

23) Do you have an air freshener in your car?

This quiz is making a lot of assumptions.

24) Do you have plants in your room?

Well, there’s something growing.

25) Does anything in your body hurt right now?

My back kinda hurts.

26) Do you own a camera phone?

Yes. It’s useless.

27) What’s your favorite Starbucks drink.

I don’t know, but the ones in Manhattan have the delicious pastries with a hechsher on them!

28) When was the most recent time you were really upset?

I sat next to a guy on the plane that was so fat that he took up half of my seat. I spent half the flight in the bathroom, reading a book and listening to my new iPod (which I love!).

29) Have you ever been in love?

Does pizza count?

Sara Q, you’ve just been tagged. Watch out for cement mixers.

Anti-Social Behavior

So I “forgot” to pay my phone bill when I was back in America, and now my phone doesn’t make outgoing calls or send text messages anymore. It still receives calls, which seems weird to me, but I guess it makes sense, because incoming calls are free anyways, right?

You may ask me, “But Menachem, wait a minute! (or Mendy, depends on when you know me from… or whether or not you want me to kick your ass) Haven’t you been home already for three days?” Excellent question, my friend. Here are some possible answers.

First and most likely: I am a procrastinator, and haven’t yet gotten around to feeling like thinking about possibly paying my bill.

Second: I am cheap. Why should I spend money calling you when you can call me just fine?

Third: It feels great. Honestly, I love it. I haven’t been this disconnected from the world since basic training. People who want to call me, that’s fine and I answer the phone, but I’m not calling anyone, and I haven’t picked up the phone to call anyone since I got back (Except to call America, but that was on the girls’ American line, and I didn’t pay for it, so it doesn’t count.) I can’t even pick up messages. For that matter, I can’t even change my answering machine back from “I’m in America, I’ll be back at the end of the month.” I wonder if I’m losing friends, though. I’ll probably cave by next week, or possibly even before Shabbat. It does feel great, though. What a shame.