Monday, April 25, 2005

Why is this night different?

Sunday night we hosted our largest dinner together. Twenty eight people came to our Second Night Passover Seder. It was a fun and lively group of friends. There were two sets of parents, mine and one of the other guests, and another straight couple that were long time friends of E. Fourteen gays and lesbians with eight of their children! The kids were from ages 5 years to sixteen. Counting E and I, there were four gay/lesbian households with kids. Yeah gay and lesbian families!
The dinner:
--Charoset of dates, cranberries, apples, oranges and toasted nuts
--Salmon croquettes in tomato sauce
--Chicken soup with meat and matzah balls, accented with carrot strips and green beans
--Stuffed turkey roll with spinach and mushrooms on a mustard sauce
--Fresh Asparagus with an orange-shallot dressing
--Potato kugelettes
--Carrot and apple tzimmes
--All the matzah you want
--Selection of Kosher white wines from California and Israel
--An array of homemade Passover desserts (provided by the guests)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

From Hilter Youth to first Fascist Pope

Catholic cardinals elect former Nazi Hitler Youth to Pope.
Reuters: “Ratzinger's stern leadership of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the modern successor to the Inquisition, delighted conservative Catholics but upset moderates and other Christians whose churches he described as deficient.
Born in Bavaria on April 16, 1927, Ratzinger was a leading theology professor and then archbishop of Munich before taking over the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981.
In that office, Ratzinger disciplined Latin American "liberation theology" theologians, denounced homosexuality and gay marriage and pressured Asian priests who saw non-Christian religions as part of God's plan for humanity.
In a document in 2000, he branded other Christian churches as deficient -- shocking Anglicans, Lutherans and other Protestants in ecumenical dialogue with Rome for years.”
The press is calling him a “transitional Pope”…to what, a new Inquisition? This new Pope “has distinguished himself as a man who can be counted on to side with the most anti-humane and repressive forces, in opposition to those who seek to give primacy to a world of peace and justice.”(Rabbi Michael Lerner)

Suicidal appliances

Our kitchen appliances are killing themselves. The dishwasher is demanding that we remove its hoses. Its systems are degrading. It fills up but doesn’t always remember to drain. The soap dispenser has lost its ability to spring open on demand. Instead it leaves gooey clumps of soap that ooze out of the dispenser cup. On Saturday, the microwave shorted itself out. I looked on line to research its problem: “When the microwave won't heat, and you hear a loud buzz, you usually have a defective power diode, high-voltage capacitor, or magnetron. We recommend that you consult with a qualified appliance repair technician for help in determining the problem and deciding what to do about it.” I already know what to do about it…buy a new one.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Wedding update #2

One hundred forty-four invitations are in the mail. Monday we got them back from the calligrapher and spent the evening assembling, checking stamping and sealing them. E took them to the post office Tuesday. The invitation is the “Two Tuxes” design is from Mailing the invitations for our wedding has been a very nerve wracking experience. Up until now it has been just a planning exercise. Now it is a commitment that 250 people know about.
Other items checked off our list include deciding and buying the wedding rings and the wedding cake selection. Last Saturday, E and I and my two young kids tasted seven cakes. We chose a rich sour cream chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting that is flavored with a touch of rum and vanilla and finished with chopped chocolate on the edge. Wednesday, I ordered two grooms to put on top of the cake from an internet site called
We also found a florist. In addition to flowers, the florist will create unique table decorations for each table at the reception dinner. The theme for each table will be a musical or play.
Still to do…
Two more pre-martial counseling meetings with the Rabbi. Tasting and selecting the wine and champagne. Finalizing the dinner menu. Picking out our tuxes for the wedding.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Not Normal

High school kids that like to smoke pot are not an easy group to parent. Both E and I are dealing with this problem with our current and recent high school age kids. The kids seem to think it is their recreational right to smoke. It is just another activity like playing violent video games and downloading music to their iPods.

It doesn’t help that we have a screwy set of laws around marijuana. In 1996 California passed another one of their wacky, “activists” propositions, Prop. 215 – California Compassionate Use Act. This law removes criminal penalties for personal use possession and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes by patients who have a physician's recommendation or approval. To service the needs of patients a plethora of medical marijuana dispensaries or cannabis clubs have popped up in the Bay Area.

I believe I voted for this proposition. It seemed to make sense at the time. Sick people should not be denied a simple and easy drug that could relieve their symptoms of pain and nausea. I still believe that the truly sick should have access to medical marijuana. I mistakenly thought this would serve cancer, MS, glaucoma, anorexia, and AIDS patients. In fact, physicians can recommend marijuana for such common complaints as insomnia, post-traumatic stress, PMS, depression, and substance abuse(!?!).

The main problem is that the dispensaries and clubs are not regulated and monitored like pharmacies or even liquor stores. It was not spelled out in the law how to distribute or make available medical marijuana. These "stores" will sell to anyone, even a kid, who can show a physician’s letter of recommendation or approval. It is not even a prescription. Physicians are not allowed to prescribe marijuana. Federal law restricts prescriptions to drugs licensed for sale in pharmacies. You can buy at least 8 ounces of pot every time you go to a club. Apparently you can go as often as you want. The law even allows counties and cities to establish higher (but not lower) limits if they wish. Need a list of where to get some?

High school kids have learned to exploit this weak system. All you need is to get a physician’s letter of recommendation. It can’t be as hard as getting a fake driver’s license or ID. Buy $50 worth of pot or marijuana brownies from your neighborhood cannabis club and resell it to your friends and make a several hundred dollars. It couldn’t be easier.

They system is a mess and it is screwing with the lives of kids. I say make marijuana legal but regulate and tax the shit out of it like cigarettes and alcohol.

Monday, April 04, 2005


E and his high school age son arrived back from Spring Training with the Giants early last week. Number three son promptly got himself grounded for the rest of his spring break. He is spending several weeks living with us while his mother is traveling. There is a very good chance he will spend the rest of his high school time living with us. Even though it makes our place a lot more cramped, I think is would be for the best for him.
Wednesday evening we saw an above average touring production of “Evita” in San Francisco. The role of Che was played by a strong voiced, sexy actor. The actress playing Evita had a nice voice but played the role too weepy for my taste.
Saturday night, at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto, we saw an Alfred Hitchcock double feature: “To Catch a Thief” and “The 39 Steps”. The first movie with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly was a lot of fun. “39 Steps” was harder to follow and had a lot choppier story line. It made a lot more sense to us after reading several reviews on line.
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