Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Consult of the Expert

There’s a real pride and anxiety in being and amateur expert.

Pride is simple. It feels awesome that people come to YOU for advice in whatever your expertise is. A sense of superiority and brilliance emanates from your being. People look to puny you (even if your expertise is on a certain company’s shoe sizing, or who make better sour cherry balls [gedilla’s are the worst], or how long you have to wait for settlement on a disputed claim) You are the definition of the Ultimate.

The anxiety is simple too. You’re an amateur. You know more than most people on the subject, but you’re not really an expert –yet. So every time someone calls and says,

“I knew you’re the right person to ask..”

“You would know the answer to this…”

You freeze, and your mind is tempted to go blank. Will you know the answer? Will you be able to help them (not even for the sake of helping them, but for our own validation and pride)? Will you measure up and give a satisfactory answer. You listen carefully to what they ask (don’t listen to closely, because then I find I hear more complicated questions than the one being asked), and you constantly remind yourself to breathe, and you’re waiting anxiously for the light-bulb to go off in your head that shines “I know the answer!”

It’s a fine line of pleasure and torture.

I helped someone tonight, I was awesome, and henceforth feel awesome…until I don’t know the answer.

P.S. Curiosity – what are you considered to be a quasi-expert in?)

P.P.S. I’ll answer for myself – teaching English and Writing, politics, useless knowledge, ipods, psychology- theory and practice, and what matches with what and when


Posted by on April 21, 2010 in Uncategorized


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How To: Survive Sefira

Concerning me, my family and friends aren’t so big on sefira, or the three weeks, or any time listening to music is prohibited..

You see, I go little crazy.

Not crazy as in irritable, moody, grouchy, sensitive, suffering from excruciating withdrawal symptoms. (although I do miss my music a lot). I go useless knowledge crazy. These time periods are when I stock up on my statistics, random facts, history, quirky grammar rules, and irrelevant science.

I’m not reading more, that I can do any time. I’m listening—to podcasts.

They are, as an invention, to put it mildly, somewhere between, the toaster oven and electric samovar. Which is pretty high, I think, at least for me (well, maybe not considering that since I’ve gotten married, I don’t own a samovar, but I want to, I just have no use for it right now, or counter space).

Podcasts are for everyone, even normal people like you (although, don’t know how normal you are considered relatively if you’re reading my blog, but never mind).

There are podcasts of old radio programs, like Abbot and Costello, GunSmoke and the like.

There are historical podcasts of all eras in History told in authoritive voices with British accents.

If you want to feel like you know more science than your friends, listen to The Naked Scientist (name’s a tease, it’s squeaky clean).

If you want random and useless knowledge to the extreme, listen to’s podcast (my favorite!!, I now know how Redheads, Twinkies, smart mobs, exorcism, Thanksgiving, and Entomophagy work.)

For a grammar pick me up, check out Grammar Girls podcast, and while you’re at it, try all the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast (name a tease again) like the Mr. Manners, Legal Lad and the like. (I now know the proper etiquette concerning recycling gifts, how to find a lawyer, and whether funnest is a word [word spell checker doesn’t think so, what do you think, and why…you need to know grammar to make a cohesive argument either way])

The History Channel also has some great video podcasts.

Happy Tree Friends is for those who have the darkest, blackest, most morbid sense of humor (HYSTERICAL!!!!)

And there are many more if you’re into sports, news, celebrity gossip, literature, and what not.

These podcasts keep me sane, although most will disagree as to my definition of sanity in this case. Just check out the podcast library on iTunes(or google podcast and your choice of topics), and let me know which ones are your favorites!


Posted by on April 18, 2010 in Jewish


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