Elster's World

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Question of the Day - Newfangled Social Websites

Question: If they would have had sites like Facebook and/or MySpace when I was in high school, would I have used them?

Answer: Probably not. After all, we didn't have a computer yet (yes, there was actually a time when not every family in America had a computer) but even assuming we did, I strongly doubt I would have partaken. Unless, of course, it would have been a good way to pick up girls. Then maybe. Still, probably not.

Relevancy of this post to anything: None.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Updates

- In another gritty performance by Team Elster, the Elsters held on in a nailbiter over Team TO 125.5 to 119, no thanks to Eli Manning and Company who, along with Warrick Dunn, are clearly attempting to destroy my fantasy season at this point. I'm still looking up at Joe and Phan and my players need to play better for me to make a run at the top. Eli's play had been inexcusable of late. Thank the lord that at least i don't have the dreadful Plaxico Burress.

In other news, I am reading (really just started) a book called The Unchosen - The Secret Lives of Chassidish Rebels - written by someone named Hella Winston. Basically, it sort of goes through the reasons why certain members of prominent Chassidic groups leave the fold. I am not far into it yet. The thing that strikes me (so far) is that I have seen these stories playing out right here in J-Blogville. In fact, early in the book, Ms. Winston discusses a certain blogger who I am pretty sure I have read.

And the more I click on comments to these blogs, the more I see that there is a large contingency of Chassidish (or formerly Chassidish) bloggers, commentors and lurkers who tell their stories or simply use their spaces for some sort of creative expression. And these bloggers really run the gamut. I have seen a couple who are almost brilliant in their writing styles. I have seen (many) others who can barely type a coherent sentence, or who simply spew idiotic sentiment into cyberspace.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I want o post about this as a seperate essay when I finish the book. So you all get an incomplete thought right now.

I rarely ask for feedback, but if anyone fits into the above mentioned category or has something to add for the post (or even a reaction to the book), my email is posted somewhere on this blog (and also in the profile section).

Monday, November 27, 2006

OUTED! Well, Sort Of

- So I was at a wedding today and a very good friend of mine came over to me. While we were catching up, he mentioned that he had somehow found out about Elster’s World. He had come across it and had started reading, then stopped. He wanted to know if it bothered me that he knew or if I didn’t want him to read it. I told him it was totally fine. That I never really wrote anything here I didn’t want people to see. I also told him I wasn’t one hundred percent sure why I was anonymous anyway (though he agreed it’s probably for the best – was that a veiled shot at my writing???).

So in summation, I was outed. And I don’t really care. My friend was concerned that since I knew he knew, it might change how I wrote things here. But it won’t. Again, I’m careful to never say anything here I wouldn’t say in “the real world”. So enjoy unnamed friend. And feel free to comment - I’m usually a little low in that department.

Oh and D – I recently made a decision to write less here and to concentrate more on my second book project. Please don’t think it has anything to do with you.

- Some quick hits on today’s game:

I actually accidentally heard the score on the way home from the wedding. While a little miffed at first, it was kinda nice to watch a game and not have to worry about the outcome being in doubt. Though in actuality, the outcome never was in doubt. The Texans stink. David Carr’s extremely high percentage rate is merely a by-product of the fact that he never throws the ball more than 4 or 5 yards downfield.

The defense looked like world beaters against a horrid Texans running game. Carr never really challenged the jets over the top. The net result was that Houston never was in a position to make a run until the game was already lost. Once again, though, Kerry Rhodes looked fantastic. I think he is morphing into one of the best safeties in the league.

Offensively, the Jets couldn’t run the ball against a bad defense, but Chad Pennington had a nice bounce back game, throwing for about 280. Coles and Cotchery each had over 100 yards receiving. They each made some big plays downfield.

Mike Nugent had his best game as a Jet. He went 4-4 on field goals, including a 54 yarder that looked like it would have been good from 60. He also made a nice tackle on a return that saved a big return. He still struggled to kick deep on kickoffs though he reached the end zone twice.

- Checking on my fantasy team…Well, I’m beating team TO 125 to 101.5. All of my players are in and he has three defensive players remaining. It will be another nail biter for Elster. If I lose this week, I’m probably out of contention. My decision to draft three Giants, which seemed so brilliant the first few weeks of the season, is coming part. Eli Manning is regressing faster than the aliens from War of the Worlds and Tiki Barber simply isn’t the same back since he announced his impending retirement. Alas.

So there you have it, outed in real life and a strong day for the Jets.

I’ll take it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Ramblings Are (Mostly) All About Me

Yessir, the ramblings are back, in an all about Elster’s weekend addition.

- After suffering though just a terrible week, I finally was feeling better Friday. I took the day off because I had a 10:00 doctor appointment and it’s a short day anyway. Turns out I had a Strep infection in my sinuses (yes, you can get Strep in your sinuses!). Turns out that the crazy high doses of antibiotics I was taking (4,000 milligrams a day of Augmentin) were doing their magic. So I was out the medical office door at 10:15, feeling better and with a beautiful day staring me in the face.

I strolled Central Avenue (the happening block in my neighborhood), purchased a large coffee, bought myself a sweater (insert your own joke here), enjoyed the sunshine and just had a frak-tastic morning.

I got home around noon, changed into shorts and a t-shirt, and went running for half an hour (I promised the dr. I wouldn’t go to the gym until Sunday, but no one said anything about running outside). It was great. By the time I got back, my kids were getting home from school and I spent some quality time with them.

Overall, Friday was one of the better, more relaxing days I’ve had in some time.

- Saturday was Mrs. Elster’s birthday (age not to be revealed) and we had big plans. So after suffering through a Jets loss (summed up nicely by Joe – I really have nothing to add) we got all dolled up and headed to the city. We ate at our personal favorite, Le Marais (duck and veal pate to start, followed Tournedos, pomme frites and salad then chocolate mousse), and I dropped not one but two presents on her. A very good time was had by all.

- MOC is currently dropping a bomb on me this fantasy week. He’s up about 60 points with one game to go. I’m already chalking this one up as a loss. Oh and Joe, the Chad Johnson trade is off the table. You should have moved more aggressively.

- I know it sounds possibly heretical, but this really is a great time to be in the City. The Thanksgiving through New Year’s time really is, well, special. People are friendlier, the City is all dressed up, it’s just nicer. Work slows up – it’s easier to escape at earlier times (unless you are stuck on a big end of the year deal – which really sucks, I’ve been there). There are few times when New York actually softens, but this six week stretch is one of them. I’m looking forward to a short work week followed double turkey on Thanksgiving - followed by shuttling off my 2 older kids to my parents for Shabbos – leaving Mr’s Elster and I with a semi-relaxing Shabbos. We were even thinking of, dare I say it?, renting a movie Thursday night! Let the good times roll.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sometime's It's Great To Be Wrong

First off let me apologize - my cold/cough has blown up into a full blown sinus infection. I feel worse than I have at any time the last 4 weeks. So no Spell Checker and all mistakes as is:

Last week, I wrote here that the Jets would obviously lose their next two gamess - at New England and home against the Bears - that it would take all of Eric Mangini's coaching skills just to keep the team from imploding.

So what happens? The Jets marched into New England and outplayed the Patriots on the road in really cruddy weather. They used a couple of touchdows (including a great grab by Jerricho Cotchery), ball control offense, timely turnovers and great defense to win. In all serioussness, take away one 50 plus run by Dillon and one poor defensive drive and the Jets were otherworldly today.

Chad Pennington played in the rain well enough to win and got the best job of the season by his line. The protected well and opened holes for the runners. An outstanding game.

Real kudos though to the defense. After the bye week, Mangini took off the handcuffs and let the defense blitz Brady into poor throws and mistakes. Victor Hobson and Joe castoff Kerry Rhodes and phenominal games - as did kick returner Justin Miller.

One note here - Towards the end of the first half the Jets got completely JOBBED by the Brady-loving officiating crew who called the most bogus roughing the paeer call in the history of the NFL (poetic license, but it's up there). Hobson hit Brady as he threw, yet somehow he got flagged, turning am interception into a first down and, eventually, three Patriot points.

So instead of licking their wounds and heading home to take on NFC beast Chicago with a4-5 record and going in the wrong direction, the Jets are 5-4, one game behind the Pats for first place, and facing a suddenly very shaky Rez Grossman.

How big was that loss the the Browns 2 weeks ago now?

A decision I don;t like as much - not starting Chad Johnson and his 40 plus point fantasy points this week. The good news is, I still have a good shot at beating Jetsphan this week.

And now I'm publishing - please forgive all errors.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thoughts on the Gay Pride Parade

UPDATE: The Gay Pride Rally (formerly known as Parade) was held in relative peace and quiet today. A few protestors were caught and stopped and a few people trying to march towards Jerusalem were arrested by police. Thankfully this ended up with relative calm. Israel doesn't really need more negative press right now.

With regard to this whole billowing issue (and if you don't know what I'm talking about - well get your head out of the sand pal) – I know exactly how I come out. On one hand, I believe having the parade in the holiest city in the world could not be more wrong. I will sign petitions to stop it. I would make phone calls to stop it. I would cast my vote to stop it. As far as I’m concerned a gay-pride rally anywhere in Israel is flat out wrong. But if one must be held there, then at least have it in Tel Aviv (a bastion of New York-likeness). Or Eilat (a bastion of flesh). Or Nahariya (exactly). Why, of all places, must this “abomination” (Torah’s word for homosexuality, not mine – see below) take place in Yerushalayim?

On the other hand, I am opposed to the extremist reaction to use violence to stop the parade. I am not condemning all Chareidim here. I am condemning the use of violence to stop the demonstration and those who speak out and say voilence is an acceptible method for stopping the parade. There are many reasons for this but these are a big two:

- Violence begets violence. A letter was sent to many Chareidi leaders today stating that for every person hurt at the rally, ten religious girls would be raped. On so many levels, this is horrific, none of which need to be explained. But this is the cycle of violence. This is what violence does. And shame on those particular leaders calling for violence outright or just looking the other way and saying “well, we told them not to do it, but what do you want us to do?”.

- The world/press reaction – Needless to say, Jew on Jew violence is like bloody chum in the water for the shark-like media. Yesterday CNN had a headline "Orthodox Jews Protest Gay Pride". I mean, they love it. They absolutely love it. And indeed, why in the world would we, as a people, do things which we know will make us look so much worse in the public eye? Why draw the never ending spotlight right back down on Israel?

So to sum up – I’m against the parade in general, very against it in Jerusalem, but opposed to violence to stop it.

But the whole situation has made me re-visit a different point altogether. Homosexuality.

To be completely honest, homosexuality was always clear cut in my mind. Torah calls it “toeiva” (translated, basically, as “abomination”) – thus it’s an abomination. Therefore, homosexuality is bad. Simple right?

But here’s the once piece that makes it a little less simple. I always believed that homosexuality was a choice. People are not born gay, they chose to be gay. And my argument was – well, if you know it’s wrong, then don’t chose to be gay. Very simple. And it was easy to believe the theory of choice because it made my argument (just choose no) so much stronger.

Now I don’t know one way or the other, but what if it isn’t a choice. What if people are born gay? What then? Do we simply say “tough break pal, Torah doesn’t say you can’t be gay but it does say you cannot act on it. So your sh&t out of luck”? Is that the answer? And if it is, then is it an acceptable one from any standpoint other than - well ,we all have to make sacrifices for our beliefs? And I’ll be honest - I don’t know the answer.

But it certainly makes for a more interesting question.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Yes. I'm Writing About Sports Again

-- Caught the first half of the Knicks last night. I’ve also watched small parts of some of the other games this season. Here are some early observations:

- The Knicks still can’t play defense. Apparently even if you soft speak your message and infuse it with positives instead of negatives, it still won’t get through to this group of overpaid malcontents. They don’t front, they don’t rotate and they don’t help. The don’t hustle back after made baskets and they don’t make hard fouls to keep other teams honest. All in all, just a lousy defensive team.

- Stevie Francis looks like he swallowed a small child. He has no quickness at all. I’m pretty sure he couldn’t beat me off the dribble. Stephon Marbury plays with absolutely so fire at all. Jamal Crawford can’t make his shots despite having a ridiculously good first step and crossover dribble. Little Nate Robinson is as out of control as ever. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2006 backcourt!

- Eddie Curry and Q. Richardson look very good in the early going. David Lee is a high energy guy who couldn’t score in an empty gym and poor Channing Frye has taken about thirteen steps backwards. He lost all confidence in his jumper and can’t get near the rim because of Curry. I actually like rookie Ronaldo Balkman, though he was a terrible pick for this team with two quality point guards on the board behind him.

- There’s no way this team wins more than 30-33 games this year. The good news is, that won’t be “significant progress” enough to save Isaiah Thomas’ job. So someone else will get to come in next year, blow up the roster, and try again. Hopefully from scratch.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2006 New York Knicks – Catch the excitement!

-- Not to be a Negative Nellie, but the Jets come back from their bye week to play two very tough teams – the Patriots and the Bears. I can sort of see the wheels coming off after two probably losses to those teams – something to the effect of a loss to Houston.

I’m struggling to see the Jets finishing better than 7-9 this year. I actually think 6-10 is more likely. If the Jets do better than that, it will be a real testament to Eric Mangini and his ability to keep the unit together.

I think the current management is laying a very nice foundation for the future. Keep in mind that Cedric Houston is coming back soon and the possibility of a Houston/Washington double punch backfield works nicely for me. The offensive line has some nice pieces and Pennington, if he can stay healthy, can have a few more good seasons. Jerricho Cotchery is developing into a good receiver too.

This coming off season, the Jets will have to set their sights on the other side of the ball. The defensive line needs to be blown up (except for Bryan Thomas – who is having a very solid year in the hybrid position) and the linebackers can use another playmaker to add to the solid Vilma and Barton. The Jets can also use a shut down corner.

Monday, November 06, 2006

White Shoe

New post, number three in the series, is up. Take a look.

Some Things

- Apologies for the lack of "real" posts here recently. The truth is I've been sick as a dog for the last two weeks and it's hard to think at all, let alone think of interesting things to say. I have a terrible cough, all stuffed up - and it's effecting everything. Also, I've been writing much, much more - I have all these projects in the works and that's been taking up gobs of my time. It's actually a pleasure to have less time for this blog because I'm really writing again.

- On that note, please check out my blog collaboration with McAryeh - The White Shoe Factory. The third installment should be up and running by this afternoon and we plan on having two new installments a week (Mondays and Thursdays) - so don't jump on the bandwagon too late or you will miss out.

- My nemesis Joe completely blew me out in fantasy football this week, even though I accumulated a respectable 133 points. He even played one player short and took me for over 170 points. Did I mention how much I hated fantasy football? And his defense, Joe did email and apologize for utterly wiping the floor with me. So that was nice.

- So this weekend I decided that I wish I knew how to draw and take nice photos. I'm not exactly sure what brought this on. I wish I was more creative I guess. The problem of course is that I can't draw at all. I mean nothing beyond some stick figures. So I don't think that will be happening any time soon. But still, it's nice to dream. It's especially nice to want to be more creative.

- Ok - there are many leases to review at work so that will have to be all for now.

Friday, November 03, 2006

White Shoe, Part Two

The second installment of The White Shoe Factory, written by McAryeh, is up and running. I had an advance preview and its great.

Run over now while you still have time before sundown.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Nice Shiney New Blogger

I was reading A Whispering Soul yesterday and in the comments, section Sarah (Chayei Sarah Sara, not to be confused with Sara with no H, the Austrailian Sarah or any of the other 300 Jblogging Saras) mentioned a new blogger - The Bergenfield Maggid. Well McAryeh mentioned he agree this Maggid was quite good. SO I checked him out. And lo and behold, he is pretty good. So there you go, my (relatively) new blogger plug of the day - The Bergenfield Maggid. Or it might be The Maggid of Bergenfield. Either way.

Warning - he has a crazy comment/trackback thing and leaving some love is way difficult. Forwarned is forarmed.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In Which I Make An Argument - Then Write Myself Out Of It

First off, let me remind you all for the four millionth time that I have a new Storytellers post up and my new blog collaboration with McAryeh has its first post up as well. Details can be found in the two posts directly below this one.

I have been a little (ok, a lot) slow at work this week and I took some time to surf the J-Blogsphere in search of some new (or old, but new to me) talent. My blog roll (not published, just in my head) has gotten very thin over the last year so I’m always on the lookout for things to read.

Sadly, my afternoon of blog reading made me come to the following initial assertion – some people just should not be allowed to blog.

But then I thought - that’s too strong. With the exclusion of those whose rhetoric is hatred or destruction, everyone deserves freedom to express themselves in a blog. The problem is, well, some people just cannot write. They cannot string together two coherent sentences, nor can they think of anything interesting to say. (Many would argue that any blog that over-stresses sports falls into the category of “nothing interesting to say” but I will leave that debate for another time.)

Personally, I don’t like blogs about politics, or that overly stress religion – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some excellent blogs out there about politics or religion. I don’t really read any mega-blogs either (though that might just be bitterness on my part). Those blogs just aren’t my bag and I stay away from them.

No, the blogs to which I refer are the ones that are just so badly written, you wonder how these people manage to function in society on a day to day basis. If you can’t write, shouldn’t you find a different way to express yourself?

But, perhaps, that is the answer. Maybe there is no other way for some people to express themselves. Maybe many of the people who throw their hat into the J-Blog world do so because twenty-five stolen minutes a day on the computer is their only outlet into the world that so many of us take for granted. Maybe this is the only form of self expression - no matter how poorly written and how many rules of grammar are destroyed in the process – that they have.

So shockingly enough, I talked myself out of my original assertion. I guess, in the end, everyone (except for the aforementioned hate mongers) needs the ability to self-express – to get their thoughts into cyberspace if for no one other than themselves. Isn’t that the true nature of Blogger – to write your own web log? Who am I to say what people should write or how they should write it? Everyone should be able to do what they can with what gifts they had.

My choice is easy – if I’m not interested, I shouldn’t come back. So peace blog brothers. Let’s all do our own thing.