Archive | 10:45 pm

Mr. Know-It-All and the Mysteries of the Hebrews

9 Nov

from January 8, 2007

Mr. Know-It-All is back, kids! Listen to me and you’ll go far. Don’t listen to me and I may hit you over the head with a blunt object. Just kidding! Mr. know-It-All is a peaceful man.

This week, as I stumbled my way through yet another work week in a drunken haze, I came across this wonderful “Ask the Rabbi” site. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What is this shit I’m reading and what’s wrong with him?” The question you should be asking is: “Is Mr. Know-It-All qualified to tackle the tough issues of the Talmud? I know he’s handsome and gifted in the pants, but what is his background in the area of Judaic scholarship?” Let me explain.

At an early age, I received Rabbinical training from Mortimer Schultz, a cantor with a sore throat who was looking to make a few bucks on the side. Sadly, I never completed my training as I was called away to aid a mysterious old man and his two droids as they rescued a space-princess from the Death Star. I promised that I would return, but sadly my mentor died and I was turned to the Dark Side.

Now on with the advice, tools.





We have a new baby boy and I heard something about having to “buy him back from a kohen.” What do I have to do – and how much is this going to cost?

I know this from experience. I once had to buy a child back from a coven. It was 1978 and my family and I were driving across the desert. In the middle of nowhere, we were surrounded by a gang of satanic bikers, Hell’s Hellions, and they tied up my wife and forced my infant child into a side-car. I tried to stop them, but- what? You asked me about a coven. “Kohen?” What the fuck is a “kohen”? OK, the best I can do is that, right now, in Cambodia, babies go for about $3 a pound. Hope that helps.


And here’s the next Jew:


From: Clifford Harroo of Port of Spain,Trinidad 2/1/2000

I was born and raised on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. It appears that in the western world, a “man” is expected to be macho, keep up with the latest fashion, smoke, drink alcohol, be a womanizer, etc. But experience has shown me that there is something wrong with this definition.

Could you please give me a correct definition from the Torah of what a “man” should be?

The Torah is very clear on the subject: A man should have a penis. A big, thick, Mr. Know-It-All penis. A man should be a man at all times. Men in history, like Dean Martin, were drinkers. Benjamin Franklin was a drunk. Stephen Hawking was a star high school athlete until he became a drinker. Dick Cheney drinks formaldehyde. A man hits horses, a man swaggers when he walks, a man writes an advice column, dammit. In short, in my rabbinical opinion, Mr. Know-It-All is the only real man left.


Victim, er, letter-writer number three:


From: Jay Wallet – 2/1/2000

Many years ago, my grandfather turned 83 and decided to have a second Bar Mitzvah. This was held in conjunction with our oldest son’s Bar Mitzvah. My grandfather said that when you turn 83, its is like 13, since Torah gives a man’s life span as 70 years.

My question is, was my gramps putting one over on us, or was he correct?

You fell for the oldest Jewish trick in the book. The bible is full of nonsense like that. Stuff like “unleavened bread.” Do you know who created unleavened bread? The matzoh companies, that’s who. “Oh, it’s biblical” they say. Mr. Know-It-All says “bullshit!” Streits, Meullers, they’re all in it together. They can make bread cheaper without yeast and mark it way up for the holidays. They’re not fooling me. And this “second Bar-Mitzvah” nonsense is just more of the same. You grandfather ripped you off. Want to know some other things that are allegedly in the bible but aren’t?  How about Noah’s Ark? Who builds an arc if the world is ending? Now I admit that I have only read a few pages of the bible, but I didn’t see any Noah or his ark. If the world was ending I would grab the most beautiful woman I know or just the closest woman I see and tie her up and do stuff that if I wrote it here you’d all want it too. (The women I mean. No homo.)


Doing good so far:

From: Peter Walters –

I often see a warning on printed material that says: “This contains the Name of God — please dispose of reverently.” I would be grateful if you could give me some advice on how this is done.”
“Reverently” in Mr. Know-It-All language means “with booze.”




From: – 1/27/2000

I recently saw the new Star Wars film “The Phantom Menace” and couldn’t help but think about the spiritual undertones throughout the movie: the Force, the Dark Side, Jedi Knights and Lightsabers. What’s the Jewish perspective on all this?

Ah, the Jewish perspective. Frankly, Jews, Catholics, and almost all religions of the world agree on this topic: That film blows.


Mr. Know-It-All follows one tenet- what Mr. Know-It-All wants, Mr. Know-It-All gets.

From December 3, 2002

9 Nov

from January 5, 2007

When writing my last blog, I remembered the following short piece that I wrote back in 2002. Some of you may have already read it. I originally wrote this while I was supposed to be doing something else entirely in Deb Freeman’s New York City Writing Project. It later resurfaced in Raphael Sugarman’s “journalism class.” Some of you  will remember that as the class where I was sexually harassed by a beret-wearing Canadian.


So who says that we have to write in the “King’s English”? Long after language was invented, yet long before either the King or his English was born, people managed to communicate.

Think about it. Where would the ancient Sumerians be today if they couldn’t carve “Danger: Lion!” on a piece of bark? Or how many marriages would have ended if wives couldn’t etch “bring home a quart of milk” on a note in their husband’s stone-age briefcases? OK, bad example.

Anyway, who would really like to write like a Sumerian or a Babylonian? All their words looked like little flags fluttering in a strong wind, and today semaphore is a lost art. Unless you are landing an F-16 on the deck of a carrier, and then you’d better watch your pitch or you’ll wind up in the drink and end up like those Sumerians.

The Egyptians had it right. They combined art and language in a way no other culture before or since has done. Look at any Egyptian tablet: Soaring eagles, one-eyed dancing girls, and pictures of owls perched in trees. All that just to say “men’s room.” What more could you want? Really, the best writers in Egypt had to be the best artists too. I imagine that whole wars must have started over whether Set drew an eagle or a phoenix, thus insulting the Pharaoh’s daughter when all he wanted was directions to the next oasis. Think of it- we say a picture is worth a thousand words but they have us beat. Sure, Hemmingway wrote The Sun Also Rises, but Amon-Ra and Tet actually showed the sun rising! But who studies them in college?

Fear not- the Pharaoh lives! Maybe not in all of his Sphinx-like splendor, but his influence continues. The trend in popular culture is, again, to show it, not write it. Why else do we have song titles like “4 love of $”? And what about those smiling emoticons that let geeks see each other smiling or laughing without ever having to actually see them smiling or laughing? I may not know what an eagle-headed god followed by a scroll represents, but I sure know that a colon and a close- parenthesis is a smiley face.

All that is missing is the artistry. I’m sure that somebody will work it back in. Add some hair to the smiley face. Create a montage of images. Say goodbye to words and hello to hieroglyphics. So I’ll just sign off now.

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