Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Its uncanny...

I know. Notice I'm carrying a glass of scotch. I go nowhere without my scotch. And my baseball bat. Obviously.

Monday, July 16, 2007

And then it begins...

Today is Rosh Chodesh Av, the beginning of the nine days counting down to Tisha B'Av, often descibed as the saddest day in Jewish History where we fast (as we do on Yom Kippur) and read Lamentations. On this day, many horrible things happened to the Jewish nation, most notably the destruction of the First and Second Bais Hamikdashes, the Holy Temples in Jerusalem, the first one by the Babylonians and the second by the Romans. This is also the day Moshe broke the tablets when he came down Mount Sinai and saw the Jewish people worshiping the Golden Calf. To view more sad events click here. Since this is a period of sadness it is traditional during these nine days to abstain from certain things, for example, eating meat, laundrying clothes, and listening to music. To ensure that I would adhere to the last one, God decided to kill my iPod yesterday when my water bottle spilled in my softball bag. Even if I wanted to listen to my Dixie Chicks, I cannot.

All these horrible things happened to the Jewish people during this time in history, but you know what, things aren't that great nowadays either. I was reading the New York Times this morning on the train and its page after page of horror and anguish. Page 2, large earthquake hits Japan, 150 injured. Page 7, 24 Iranians escape from Iraqi prison. Page 7, suspects released in London after car bombing attempts. Page 8, suicide bombers in Pakistan kill 49. Page 11, John Edwards tours the most poverty-stricken places in America where he sees people living in squalor. Is there really nowhere in the world where we can feel perfectly safe and sound? This is how I interpret it: God is trying to tell us something. We must take advantage of these nine days. Do something, anything, to make this world a better place. I beseech you all to do a mitzvah no matter how small you think it is. Today I'm going to donate blood. 20 minutes of my time and I can potentially save a life. Ad Mosai? How much longer do we have to wait for the coming of Moshiach (the Messiah)? If we all work hard during these nine days, bettering ourselves and our relationships with those around us, we can potentially bring Moshiach. I sincerely believe that. And as my friend Gavriel's Facebook update states: Gavriel is "hoping Mashiach will come before Tisha b'Av so that we won't have to fast... and so that there will be World Peace. That too." Well said.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gunman subdued by sip of Chateau Malescot St-Exupéry

This is a crazy ridiculous article that my buddy Eli referred me to. You can find it here otherwise the text is below.


By Allison Klein
Updated: 5:47 a.m. ET July 13, 2007

A gate-crasher’s change of heart

Gunman bursts into party, tastes cheese and wine, gets hug, then leaves

WASHINGTON - A grand feast of marinated steaks and jumbo shrimp was winding down, and a group of friends was sitting on the back patio of a Capitol Hill home, sipping red wine. Suddenly, a hooded man slid in through an open gate and put the barrel of a handgun to the head of a 14-year-old guest.

"Give me your money, or I'll start shooting," he demanded, according to D.C. police and witness accounts.

The five other guests, including the girls' parents, froze -- and then one spoke.

"We were just finishing dinner," Cristina "Cha Cha" Rowan, 43, blurted out. "Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?"

The intruder took a sip of their Chateau Malescot St-Exupéry and said, "Damn, that's good wine."

The girl's father, Michael Rabdau, 51, who described the harrowing evening in an interview, told the intruder, described as being in his 20s, to take the whole glass. Rowan offered him the bottle. The would-be robber, his hood now down, took another sip and had a bite of Camembert cheese that was on the table.

'Can I get a hug?'
Then he tucked the gun into the pocket of his nylon sweatpants.

"I think I may have come to the wrong house," he said, looking around the patio of the home in the 1300 block of Constitution Avenue NE.

"I'm sorry," he told the group. "Can I get a hug?"

Rowan, who lives in Falls Church and works part time at her children's school, stood up and wrapped her arms around him. Then it was Rabdau's turn. Then his wife's. The other two guests complied.

"That's really good wine," the man said, taking another sip. He had a final request: "Can we have a group hug?"

The five adults surrounded him, arms out.

With that, the man walked out with a crystal wine glass in hand, filled with Chateau Malescot. No one was hurt, and nothing was stolen.

The homeowner, Xavier Cervera, 45, had gone out to walk his dog at the end of the party and missed the incident, which happened about midnight June 16. Police classified the case as strange but true and said they had not located a suspect.

"We believe it is a true robbery," said Cmdr. Diane Groomes, who is in charge of patrols in the Capitol Hill area. But it's one-of-a-kind, she said, adding, "I've never heard of a robber joining a party and then walking out to the sunset."

The hug, she said, was especially unusual. "They should have squeezed him and held onto him for us," she said.

Rabdau said he hasn't been able to figure out what happened.

"I was definitely expecting there would be some kind of casualty," Rabdau said this week. "He was very aggressive at first; then it turned into a love fest. I don't know what it was."

Was it the wine or the cheese?
Rabdau, a federal government worker who lives in Anne Arundel County with his family and lived on Capitol Hill with his wife in the 1980s, said that the episode lasted about 10 minutes but seemed like an hour. He believes the guests were spared because they kept a positive attitude during the exchange.

"There was this degree of disbelief and terror at the same time," Rabdau said. "Then it miraculously just changed. His whole emotional tone turned -- like, we're one big happy family now. I thought: Was it the wine? Was it the cheese?"

After the intruder left, the guests walked inside the house, locked the door and stared at each other. They didn't say a word. Rabdau dialed 911. Police arrived quickly and took a report. They also dusted for fingerprints -- so far, to no avail.

In the alley behind the home, investigators found the intruder's empty crystal wine glass on the ground, unbroken.