Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


I think that I shall never see

Filed under : Judaism
On January 24, 2008
At 12:15 am
Comments : 12

I’m a bit late on this but if you knew me in real life, you’d know I’m late on most things. Oops. Anyway, despite this blog existing for a few cycles of the Jewish calendar, there’s actually a holiday I haven’t discussed. It’s Tu B’Shevat, the new year for trees, and it was Tuesday. No seriously! It’s a lot more fun than Arbor Day. I know, because I have no idea when Arbor Day even is. How fun could it be?

When I was a kid, we celebrated in school by being given a baggie full of Israeli fruit (none of which I ever liked, I wasn’t really a date and fig girl) and by a contest to sell trees in Israel. You never got to see the actual tree which was only represented by a certificate with a picture of a tree on it as well as who it was in honor or in memory of. They used to be $3 but I’m guessing they’re a bit more now – I have to guess because the website wouldn’t work for me. Yes, you can now plant by web! Which would have shocked me as a child, not because we didn’t have the Interweb then, and we didn’t, but because I always imagined Israel as being wall-to-wall trees based on how many were sold then. Why would they still need to sell them now? I mean, I’d been there but I just figured the trees must be slightly beyond my view.

Don’t try clicking this button! It’s fake. The real one’s over on the Jewish National Fund site.

While we’re in the Judaism category, I am both delighted and weirded out by various Consumerist posts lately on Kashrut (that’s the noun for Kosher) or how it has related to some consumery topics. Exhibit A is this story on how the Chinese are seeking Kosher certification for some of their products on the theory that they will be less poison-filled. When I was in college, we had some Asian non-Jewish students who ate in the Kosher dining hall because they felt Kosher food was purer. Joke was on them! Our cook was an Iranian refugee who only had two recipes, both based on beef chunks. But I digress. The truth is, I don’t think a Kosher symbol is going to derail the Chinese poison train. It’s fun to try, though!

Second up, is a story about a complaint letter written by a vegetarian who couldn’t seem to understand the concept of reading ingredient lists and was horrified to find that Rice-A-Roni contains meat in most of its mixes. After she had eaten them! But the real treat, for me at least, was the letter written back from the Rice-A-Roni people suggesting she try the Near East family of mixes. The letter reads as follows:

We wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about another line of pasta and rice dishes called Near East. While not labeled specifically for vegetarians, the products are labeled for Kosher certification. Some vegetarians find the Kosher labeling helpful in keeping to their dietary preferences.

Kosher Law is based on the Jewish book of the Torah, and precludes the use of meat and dairy products in the same meal. While a product may contain meat and also be Kosher, it must be labeled as containing meat products to prevent accidentally being mixed with dairy. Below is guide to some symbols you can watch for on our packages of Near East.

And then proceeds to list all the symbols and their meanings. Imagine that! Jennifer at Quaker Consumer Response schooling some poor shiksa on Torah laws. It kind of boggled my mind. Not enough to not share with you that Near East does indeed have delicious dishes, though. I’m making their tabboule tomorrow!

Lastly but most tangentially, is this post about the recent demise of Hydrox cookies (I know! So sad!). The article itself doesn’t mention it but several of the commenters (who incidentally never seem to read each other’s comments because they all made this point separately) declared that the only reason Hydrox were ever popular were that they had no lard and all the Kosher people could eat them. Then, when Oreo went with vegetable shortening, it was over. Now, it’s true, we only ate Hydrox cookies when I was a kid and it was terrifically thrilling to finally be able to eat Oreos, but do you know what percentage of the population is Jewish? And of that, how many are Kosher? Do you really think all ten of us were keeping Hydrox afloat? And, in light of the last story, maybe it was all those vegetarians, which none of them mention. Or maybe Hydrox just dropped the marketing ball and became the WordPerfect of the cookie world. I dunno, I only ever ate the insides anyway.

Strangely, they don’t have Joyce Kilmer poems on Napster.

Peter Gabriel – Shaking The Tree


12 Comments for this post

  1. sarpon says:

    Hey! I still use WordPerfect!

    I’ll have you know that in my house, we didn’t buy Oreos because my dad couldn’t bear to pay for high priced nationally advertised brands of anything.

    Which makes my comment relevant to the topic of the day because my friends bought a tree in Israel in my father’s memory, which still strikes me as one of the most thoughtful things Southern goyim can do.

  2. z”l Hydrox!

    But I can do sarpon one better on WordPerfect. My best friend and I still use WP5.1 for DOS to write our books. We love that blue screen and white font, and the old Windows 3.1 computer we use is going strong, pooh, pooh.

    I’ve gone through so many computers at home, I can’t load a DOS program any longer, but those computers are/were all connected to the internet. Our writing computer is a stand alone and we pray it lives to 120!

    Karen Tintori
    THE BOOK OF NAMES w/Jill Gregory
    A Jewish Mystical thriller

  3. Alfa says:

    We always had Hydrox for dessert after a bacon cheeseburger.

    No really. Oreos always seemed gritty to me.

  4. Becca says:

    Sarp, actually, I read that the biggest base of remaining WP users is in the legal field and that they are fiercely loyal. Here’s my proof!

    Karen, I still have a DOS running computer somewhere in my Dad’s house. It doesn’t even have a hard drive. And I used the IBM in-house word processor for it – it was called Writing Assistant, and I ran it from 3.5″ diskette. When I got my first out-of-college job, they used Word (my first time using Windows or a mouse! I just pretended I knew what I was doing). So I’ve never actually used WP, except to help my Mom out when she had tech difficulties.

    What was my point? Oh yes, you’ve made me curious about whether it still functions!

    Alfa, really? I would have thought that lard made for a perfectly textured cookie. I’m excited to know it didn’t.

  5. Becca — Oh, WordPerfect 5.1 still works! We back up on a floppy disk every night when we shut down. Then when it’s time to turn in the manuscript to St. Martin’s, we convert the WP5.1 file to WordPerfect for Windows, then save as a Word file and email to our editor.

    I like the latest version of Word — 2007 — it’s the first version of Word that doesn’t make me tear my hair out because of Word’s crazy propensity to do its own formatting, causing all sorts of delays in writing while we try to figure out how the heck to stop the indenting and other weird antics.


  6. sarpon says:

    I loved WP5.1. You played that keyboard like a virtuoso pianist conjuring a symphony from a Steinway. There are still some things I only know how to do with the keyboard (ALT – R – L – F = flush right, I have no idea what drop down menu that’s hidden in).

    Plus, that blue is my favorite color.

  7. Billy G. says:

    Do you think they keep the meat and dairy separate at Virgil’s? Oh well, we’re all going to hell anyway.

    Sadly, I remember a world before WordPerfect even existed. I think it was called “stone tablets and a chisel”.

    Talk to you soon

  8. Billy G — Ah, but on a stone tablet, revisions are so “hard” to do.

    ducking and running

  9. Becca says:

    Karen, oh I meant whether my old computer still functions. I’m sure the software does. Software never dies, only the platters fade away!

    I do adore Word, though. I know, I’m the only one, but it has always worked great for me. But then I never used WP so maybe I don’t know what I’m missing.

    Hey, it’s Billy G! One of the only people directly affected by me faking my way through Windows at my first job. Or maybe you never knew – I was good!

    But see, that’s why I don’t eat 98% of what they serve at Virgil’s. Wait… you don’t think they mix the pork chops into the sweet tea, do you?

  10. kb says:

    I hate Word because it tells ME what I want to do, not the other way around. Which is wrong. That’s my idea of who Bill Gates is, as well.

    I never ate Hydrox because it subconsciously sounded like eating some form of bleach. HydroChlorox Acid or something. 🙂

  11. Becca says:

    Hm, see people say that, but Word always does what I want and never what I don’t want. Am I a simple person or do I have Word whipped? You decide!

  12. KP says:

    What about Val Kilmer poems?

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