The Obvious

christmas time is here by golly

Posted in christmas by theobvious on December 2, 2010

So, it’s the holiday of Christmas Compensation and Puzzling Spelling again. Don’t get me wrong, out of all the Jewish holidays, this one is most likely to be my favorite: I’m famously anti-clerical, and this has nothing to do with religion. In fact, it is all about hot food and imaginary history. Now, I may not be big on foodstuffs that contain more oil than any other nutrients, but history I do have a respect for. So many people have done so many things over the course of the years that today we don’t really have to do anything at all—everything has already been done. Except maybe those funny YouTube mash-up videos, nobody has done that until these last few years.

Anyway, I saw the big menorah being lit in the square down town today. Please know that I wasn’t there to gloat, I was merely passing by on my way from work. Some people do work in these buildings around the great big ten-foot menorah. So, they were lighting the first candle. There was a construction lift behind the menorah and a stage in front of it. The local Jewish singer (yes, there’s basically just the one for hire) was singing a catchy kibbutznik tune wearing an anorak and a fur hat with earflaps. Members of the religious community, oblivious to the discrepancy, were carrying around trays with tumblers of a suspicious, definitely alcoholic, dark liquid. I gave them a large berth just in case it was the fermented blood of Christian babies*. There was a downright tiny throng of people, dancing a bit for joy (or in order to prevent frostbite).

Tomorrow the construction lift will be back to light the second candle, and so on. After all, the two-and-a-half Jews of this state capital should not be deprived of a celebration that rightfully belongs to them. The huge menorah is dragged out into the square each year. It may be surrounded with Christmas decorations and overshadowed by the creepy sculpture looming behind it, but it stands proud to show that the Holiday of Oil and Gambling is not forgotten. La la la, harvest time in the Galilean, resounds our national culture all over the snowy city. Happy Kwanzaa (because I can’t spell the other one)!

*Note: the views and opinions expressed on this blog do not represent the views and opinions of the author, or anyone else for that matter. For legal inquiries, please call your own lawyer.


tis the season ladidah

Posted in christmas, nablopomo, winter by theobvious on November 27, 2010

All of a sudden, it’s winter. It had been seven degrees and wet for many weeks, and I had gotten used to wearing my coat unbuttoned and my scarf in my bag. Yesterday, however, the temperature fell below zero. It snowed all night and all day. When I woke up, the cat was staring transfixed through the window at the snow falling in sheets.

I was glad though, because I got to wear my fabulous new jacket. And finally, the time had come for the mittens A. bought me a while ago.  Even putting on winter shoes was sort of exciting. As I was slipping and sliding towards work, I couldn’t shake a feeling of black-and-white snowy routine, as if the previous warm weeks had never happened.

After work, I went over to my friend’s workplace, the home improvement store, to help decorate a Christmas tree. I’d sort of suggested we do one in shiny bolts and door hooks and suchlike, she added some screws and lightbulbs, and we spent two hours tying blue and orange raffia twine to various building supplies and talking about Christmas kitsch. Fun.

Now, I am obsessed with this video:

The animation is extremely season-appropriate, and I adore this style, it makes watercolours look like knitware. The song, it goes without saying, is unsettlingly good.

Tagged with:

i’m annoyed

Posted in christmas, i don't know, nablopomo, ugliness by theobvious on November 9, 2010

I’m in a crappy mood today. My dreams were tiresome and sticky, and by the time I’d kicked myself out of bed, my mood was settled, and nothing I did made it any better. Some of the things that made me mad and impatient today were:

– work (not enough, too much, uncreative, overwhelming),

– lunch (all wrong, and then I had too many sweets),

– my looks (to be crowned the Queen of Fat soon, stay tuned),

– the cats (destructive, noisy and spoiled),

– our winter vacation (expensive and potentially dangerous),

– me (whiny, neurotic, useless, self-absorbed).

And then we went for dinner and groceries with my parents, and there were Christmas trees in shop windows and a Santa Claus on my father’s Coke bottle. And I realized it will be Christmas very soon. It’s mid-November already, and in my mind, summer has just ended. That did nothing to improve my state. The end.

Tagged with:

eat this with your latkes, old man freud

Posted in christmas, new year by theobvious on December 26, 2008

Yes, this is going to be about Christmas envy. But then tonight is Christmas after all, so the only chance anyone will read this is if they’re Jewish or Orthodox, in which case they (yes, you) likely have Christmas envy too, and I enjoy it when people share my feelings.

The thing about Christmas envy in my view is that it’s completely justified. Let’s look at our options here. If it isn’t Christmas, then it’s either Hanukkah (how the hell do we spell this?) or New Year’s, and both are obviously inferior to Christmas. Here’s why.

First of, Hanukkah – I am, after all, a rabbi’s unspecified descendant! Now Hanukkah is a very greasy holiday. Its only non-kid-oriented traditions beside the candles have to do with cooking and eating foods that are against any sensible diet. We may take the ‘it’s a holiday, so I’ll make an exception just this once’ path. But there’s the trap: eight days. That’s enough to put some extra pounds on any frame, especially mine: pronounced waist, but spelled f-a-t-h-i-p-s.

As for the candles – call me Grinch Goldberg, but no scent, no bathtub, just lots of shoving into tiny waxed-up slots on the menorah, just to have them fall out again – not really my type of fun. They’re supposed to show everyone we’re celebrating, but all they did for me this year was light my cat on fire. I, on the other hand, felt quite clearly and without any guiding lights that everyone was celebrating Christmas, when I was wandering through the empty streets downtown at 5 pm yesterday, trying to no avail to get a simple cup of coffee.

And then comes New Year’s, and here’s the snag: it’s not really a holiday! Nothing holy about it and no story to boot. Hanukkah has a story, and of course, Christmas is all about the Biblical narrative. But New Year’s is devoid of that. It’s not even a whole day; it’s all about the single minute when the number changes. Life doesn’t change, love doesn’t, nothing does but the number on the calendar. But do open the champagne, I need a drink!

Because Christmas is not for us, there’s also the awkward fumble with presents – endless calculations of who gets theirs when; when to go shopping if before Christmas the stores are crowded and after – swept clean out; and whether it’s tactful to show up with sparkling bags at a party where everyone has exchanged gifts on that gleeful morning a week before. If, of course, there is a party, as many people don’t give a damn about New Year’s hereabouts – why would they when there’s Christmas!

I have to admit that I still get Hanukkah cash from three separate sources every year. Somewhat embarrassing, but very handy given the season. And I do love the fireworks, of which we get an almost gratuitously magnificent show every year’s end. But still – I wish there was a way to enjoy Christmas for Jews, atheists, and those still looking.

merry christmas

Posted in christmas by theobvious on December 24, 2007

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Those of you who celebrate neither – I wish you a great week and two days off well spent.

Please forgive the crappy photo editing skillz0rz, I only have Paint, but my intentions are good and I use all my own images.

going all diy on you

Posted in christmas, diy, random by theobvious on December 10, 2007

‘How do you feel when you marry your ideal?’ – sang Bertie Wooster, also known as ‘Hugh Laurie when he was nowhere as sexy as now, but still had all his own hair’. Well, I can testify that it’s a fine, fine feeling. Today my ideal and I had a great evening which featured some inappropriate jokes, buying stationery, sketching cards with mice (year of the Rat is coming!), lots of goofing around with our friends, decorating their Christmas tree, and ice cream.

We don’t have a Christmas tree at home, which makes sense as we are Jewish and don’t celebrate Christmas. However, today I had some ideas that might make your tree look a little different from every other tree in the apartment block. I haven’t got any pictures, so use your imagination. All of these are delightfully easy to make, the supplies are cheap and the advice is absolutely gratis as I don’t have a way to use it and it’s probably nothing new anyway.


1. Bundles

You will need:
– lightweight round objects (i.e., foam balls)
– fun colourful fabric (i.e., tablecloth you won’t regret cutting up)
– needle and thread
– ribbons
You will:
– cut the fabric into squares
– wrap each ball, making a bundle like Santa’s gift bag
– stitch the top together, adding a loop of ribbon to the back
– hang it up!

2. Grandma Balls

You will need:
– boring ornament balls (too different, too identical, too old, whatever)
– fun yarn
– glue
You will:
– take each ornament ball and dab it with glue here and there
– wrap the yarn snugly around the ball, covering it completely
– hang it up!

3. Modern Art

You will need:
– the cheapest set of plain metal cutlery you find
– red ribbon
You will:
– tie a bit of ribbon to each piece of cutlery (forks should look best)
– hang ’em up!
Note: you could also use your best antique silverware, but then you’ll have to keep an eye on it.

4. Dressed Up

You will need:
– beaded necklaces and bracelets (cheap at thrift stores and supermarkets)
You will:
– connect them all by the ends to form a multi-colored and -textured garland
– wrap the garland around your tree!


Now, isn’t all this just bloody brilliant. Maybe we should get a tree, and then have a decoration craft-party, and then enjoy the tree for three whole minutes, and then get thrown out of the house by all the Jews and militant eco-freaks who surround us? That does sound like a great plan. May we come and sleep over at your place when we’re homeless?