Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another One for the "Duh" Files...

In tomorrow Times of London, this article will run, which states that doing gymnastics is bad for your joints and the rate of injury for gymnasts is nearly as high as those seen in contact sports such as football and rugby. According to experts, more research is needed.

Really? I mean, really? It's pretty common sensical that repeated pounding on hard surfaces and pushing your ligaments and muscles beyond normal range is bad for your body. Not even a serious gymnast can suffer from the kind of problems mentioned in the piece. I had surgery on a meniscus that was torn gradually from a decade of overuse.

I guess stories of "unheard" of gymnastics injuries are the type of articles that run when there is no real health news to report. Well, this and other similarly obvious "news" about obesity. Someone, cue the B-roll that shows fat people walking from the neck down.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Do Not Flip the Bird

I spent Thanksgiving at my sister's house in New Jersey where my brother-in-law- and not my mother- prepared the turkey.

Thank God.

My mother used to get a free kosher turkey from Waldbaums 'round Thanksgiving time and put it into the freezer for the spring holiday of Purim. (On TG Day, we went out for Chinese food, which is also how we celebrated the birth of Christ). Our family's turkey basting was well-timed (as you will read), right before spring cleaning.

You see, my mother thought you needed to flip the turkey over midway through cooking lest the center not be as dry as the rest of the meat. Such an operation could not be undertaken alone so my mother called me and my sister in to the kitchen to help. My sister held the pan up as my mother tried to rotate the turkey, which kept slipping from her grasp and splashing back into the grease, which lapped over the sides. I kind of hovered and giggled (I like to think I provide some levity and perspective on our silly undertaking). After about ten minutes of struggle, the turkey was on its back and the oven door was shut. That's when my mother pulled out the mop.

After several hours, once our turkey had been cooked every which way, my mother carved. Hers were not the graceful strokes of Hannibal Lector. It was a hack job, more reminiscent of Agriprocessors' recent work.

As she said, "The poor turkey got it twice- once when the shochet slaughtered it and then a second time, when I got to it."

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm Torn

Nextbook reports that A Light for Greytowers, a film starring young, frum actresses might not be screened at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival because organizers refuse to ban men from watching the movie.

Now I'm torn about whether or not the festival should accede to the director's and actresses' demands to segregate the audience on gender. On the one hand, I was like that once so I understand. I wouldn't get up in front of a mixed audience and sing or dance or act- or just dance since that's the only thing of the three I'm actually any good at. I even decided against going to the Yeshiva of Flatbush because I didn't want to be in a school that endorsed the violation of kol isha, which prohibits women from singing in front of men. My school's productions were the reverse of kabuki or Elizabethan era theater- all of the roles, both male and female, were played by women. More than once I was cast as a man since I had short hair.

But I also never expected that the outside world, be it gentile or secular Jewish, should go out of its way to make things easier for me. I knew that the Orthodox world wouldn't compromise on its principles and lower the barrier of entry for Jews to join the rightward leaning movement. When you join the Orthodox community, you do so on it's terms. You can't call yourself Orthodox if you're not willing to observe a pretty stringent form of kashrut and the Sabbath. Exceptions are not granted. I no longer make a claim of being Orthodox nor demand to be accepted into that community. I don't abide by its principles.

The film festival, like the world of Orthodoxy, has its own lines. It doesn't gender segregate.

I suppose that Orthodoxy has met its inflexible match.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm Tastic

Most people don’t have to wait 25 years to be named. If not immediate, most get a name within a week of birth (8 days if you’re a bouncing Jewish baby boy). But this week, for the second time in my life, I was christened, er, I mean I was the Jewish version of christened.

I was walking to the subway with my breaking mentor, Break Easy (for more on Break Easy check this out )when I told him that my Facebook status (what doesn’t relate to FB these days?) was something of a shout out to him. “It says, ‘Dvora is tassel-tastic,’” I said, referring to a conversation that took place six months ago (and also a past blog post- “Am I a tassel?”).

Break Easy got excited. “That’s it! There’s your bgirl name.”

“Tassel?” I asked.

“No. Tastic.” He paused, letting it roll over his tongue. “Tastic. Now that’s a hot name.”

And so it is. Tastic. Makes you think of “spastic,” which a certain friend of mine seems to think describes me. It is also the last syllable in gymnastics, which if you’re reading this blog (or even just the blog name), you know is something of an obsession of mine. Also, “Tastic,” makes you mentally insert “fan” to the beginning and this is exactly the kind of impression I like to leave with people.

“Tastic” is endlessly morphable. Nearly anything can be place in front of it- “man,” “fun,” or “coffee” to name just a few of the options. It is this malleability that makes me think that it will stick. Just as I’m likely to evolve further, this name is similarly flexible. I think I’ll keep “Tastic” for a long time.

But what is the most exciting about the name is that it arose organically. Over the past two years, I’ve tried name myself- DeFuzed (because my spine is fused) and RayZ (which is my middle name, only spelled differently) were among those I came up with but neither felt right. I never ended up using them. Break Easy insisted that just like my given name, this too had to come from others.

That’s how he got his back in 1979. “They called me Break Easy,” he explained, “cause I made it look easy.”

And now I’m Tastic…cause I make it look Tastic?

Yes, cause I make it look Tastic.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's not just the Mormons who hate gay marriage...

Now this post has nothing to do with gymnastics, Judaism or breaking. Nor is it an amalgam of the three. But when a friend in California informed me of this news item, I knew I had to post it even if it is outside my physical and thematic jurisdiction.

A director of a Sacramento musical theater contributed $1,000 to the campaign to amend California's state constitution to ban gay marriage (otherwise known as Prop 8). Once knowledge of Scott Eckern's donation was made public, a campaign to boycott theater was started (but has since been halted).

My question- what was this guy thinking? Why bite the hand that writes your songbooks?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Covering your hair, b-girl style

A few months ago, I uploaded a picture of myself snapped at my first battle where mid-six step, I had flicked my wrist gymnastics style. In that post, I had remarked that I couldn't extricate my inner gymnast, who, much to my chagrin, kept finding novel ways of slipping out.

It now seems that another not so well buried personality has surfaced- the young, married woman who covers her hair. Unlike the gymnast, this woman has never been part of my reality- I've never been married and I have no plans to cover my hair when this blessed event takes place. (I just drank a soy latte and thus am feeling optimistic.) But this young, covered woman had once been an imaginative reality for me because I had envisioned myself observing this law.

That was a long time ago -five years at least- and I no longer look at hats and scarves and imagine a day when I might have a higher use for them. In that time, I've come to regard wigs as the headdress equivalent of a dog peeing in the grass to demarcate his territory. Instead of a dog, we've got a man/husband/rabbi who wants to ensure that everyone knows this woman is taken so don't even try to get turned on by her hair.

But since abandoning my dream of covering my frizzy locks, I started breaking, which is a type of dance that encourages hats though for more practical than Judaism. In breaking, one wears hats to protect one's head from the floor where it is often found.

At last night's breaking session, after I tied my bandanna over my hair, I looked into the mirror and saw something surprising- I looked like a frum married woman, albeit one in sweatpants. It seems that no matter how hard I try, no matter how many variation of folding and tying, I end up looking like I'm rolling out of bed in Flatbush.

It seems that breaking has accomplished what years of Jewish day school indoctrination has failed to do- it has made a modest woman of me.

Would you battle her?

Now this is dope!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Night Drinks

Last night I went to dance-a-raoke at the 92nd Street Y/Tribeca (which was fabulous fun and I reccomend it to everyone- it's the first Sunday night of every month). In addition to being impressed with audience influenced show, I loved the Election Night Drink specials, which included:
Long Biden Iced Tea
Scotch on the Ba-Rocks
Straight Shot Express

And my personal favorite...White Russian From My House