Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Goldish Touch in Brooklyn (Headbands, Tichels)

Serach will be selling her tichels (Serach's Scarves) and headbands (A Goldish Touch) at the Kings Bay Y Israel celebration on Sunday, June 13 from 11-3. There will be rides (for the kids), face painting, a petting zoo and food. The address is 3495 Nostrand Avenue (between Avenue U and V). We went last year, too, and had a lot of fun - bring your kids and have a blast!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

EZ Reads 6/10/10

Happy 37th Anniversary to Mom & Dad!!

In their honor, here's some great pieces my Mom forwarded to me the last couple of days:

This video may be the best 10 minutes you spend today (via Freakonomics):

It's psychologist Philip Zimbardo lecturing on the six different ways people perceive time, takes about 10 minutes to watch. Depending on your time orientation, it might seem to take far longer, or seem to rush by. Understanding which “time zone” we inhabit, Zimbardo says, has profound effects on every aspect of life.

If you haven't yet read this fantastic Wired piece by Nicholas Carr on "Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains", you must. It will profoundly change the way you think, even if you already knew much of what it says. A number of friends - all of whom are bright, technology-focused people, were nodding all the way through the piece.

The NYTimes has a related piece on being hooked to technology, plus another one on how it affects parenting. What's especially interesting about the parenting piece is that the examples are not typically "extreme", which are easy to dismiss, and that children are perfectly aware of the issue:
Laura Scott Wade, the director of ethics for a national medical organization in Chicago, said that six months ago her son, Lincoln, then 3 1/2, got so tired of her promises to get off the computer in “just one more minute” that he resorted to the kind of tactic parents typically use.
“He makes me set the timer on the microwave,” Ms. Wade said. “And when it dings he’ll say, ‘Come on,’ and he’ll say, ‘Don’t bring your phone.’ ”
(What's scary is that even as I wrote this section, I had to force myself to stop to play catch with Kayla and avoid being hypocritical. Oy. She has a great arm, though!) All in all, this is obviously the Times' new obsessive topic, as they've followed up with Technology's Toll: Impatience & Forgetfulness and an interesting study where the younger generation actually views technology as a larger problem than the older generation in terms of how it affects people. [I assume this is because the younger generation is caught up deeply in technology, while the older generation is only knowledgeable to a smaller extent and use it in more limited fashions.]

A really interesting pair of tests is up on the NYTimes' website, here. The timing on the second one is very interesting. (For what it's worth, Mom, I placed better than even low multi-taskers, so :-P to you!)

  • NYTimes: Studies show Jews' genetic similarities (Ashkenaz and Sephardim). 

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Orthodox Childhood Study

A good friend and former roommate of mine is conducting an interesting research study for his Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program. If you have a few minutes please take the time to participate here:

About the study:
You are being asked to participate in a research study conducted by Sruly Bomzer, M.S., doctoral candidate, C.W. Post Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, under the supervision of Jill Rathus, Ph.D. The purpose of this study is to examine common childhood experiences of Jews raised in the Orthodox tradition. If you were raised in an Orthodox Jewish family, regardless of your current affiliation, you are eligible and encouraged to participate in this study.

Please note that for the purposes of this study, "childhood" is defined as any time prior to the completion of high school (around age 17).

If you have any questions about the research, you may contact the investigator, Sruly Bomzer, at, or the faculty supervisor, Dr. Jill Rathus, at If you have questions concerning your rights as a subject, you may contact the Executive Secretary of the Institutional Review Board, Ms. Kathryn Rockett at (516) 299-2523.

Monday, June 07, 2010

JES makes BusinessWeek!

In a Business Week article that discussed a number of online financial websites, one of the sites discussed is my personal favorite, I was called up a few weeks ago by David Bogoslaw, who wrote the Business Week piece, and we spoke for about 10 minutes about Mint and what's great about it (and what its drawbacks can be). I think he took the most important point well, in addition to a small shout-out for the Jewish Economics Survey!: 
Ezzie Goldish, a young New York accountant, began using Mint just before the birth of his first child in June 2008. A month later, he lost his job while his wife was still working part-time so she could care for their baby. With Mint's help over the next year, the couple organized their finances and managed to pay off 40 percent of credit-card debt despite a 40 percent cut in income.
"As much as we thought we knew what we were doing, until you see [how you're spending] in front of you, it's a lot harder," he says. Goldish, who had already been getting calls for financial advice because of his profession, posted an economics survey on his blog for people in his Orthodox Jewish community. He has received hundreds of comments expressing interest in Mint from around the world.
 Awareness is absolutely the key to managing finances, and this is possibly more true for those who think they have a good handle on their finances. There's simply a huge difference between keeping track normally and actually seeing it all in front of you in a big chart that shows where all your money has been going.

What's great about Mint is how it just shows it all in front of you so clearly. A few friends have said since starting on Mint that it just makes tracking everything so much easier (and as someone noted, it also stops fights over spending like "you spend $XX on A" vs. "no I don't, it's not even close!", for those interested in the shalom bayis aspect - hard to argue with the numbers right in front of you), and that makes it a lot easier to cut back.

I commented to him that the biggest 'drawback' was that Mint only helped you for the past and present, but wasn't great for the future - though to be fair, neither were most any other sites. It's hard to adjust your spending to save for the future well. What was especially cool at the Intuit meeting I went to was that they're actually unveiling a tool to do exactly this soon: It will not only let you set goals and suggest goals, but will factor in as many details as it can to help you save, including acknowledging that you will need to save different amounts at different times to meet your goals, and that helps make goals feel reachable. Saying "you need to put away $85,000" is a lot harder to do than "put away $40 this month toward your son's college fund". It will even factor in things like presumed inflation and various changes in your spending habits, including changes that happen over time. It's a brilliant tool that will really round it out well.

Now, if only they had a Blackberry app...! :)

Mazel Tovs!

SerandEz would like to wish huge mazel tovs to our good friends (and SerandEz contributors) Moshe & his wife on the birth of a baby girl, and Eliezer StrongBad and his fiancee (iPay's cousin and roommate) on their engagement!

The best part may be that as loathe as ESB may be to admit it, my way > his [former] way. :) v'hamaven yavin

More Idiotic Rules in the Name of "Fairness"

From here

In yet another nod to the protection of fledgling self-esteem, an Ottawa children’s soccer league has introduced a rule that says any team that wins a game by more than five points will lose by default.

The Gloucester Dragons Recreational Soccer league’s newly implemented edict is intended to dissuade a runaway game in favour of sportsmanship. The rule replaces its five-point mercy regulation, whereby any points scored beyond a five-point differential would not be registered.

Kevin Cappon said he first heard about the rule on May 20 — right after he had scored his team’s last allowable goal. His team then tossed the ball around for fear of losing the game.

He said if anything, the league’s new rule will coddle sore losers.

“They should be saying anything is possible. If we can get five goals really fast, well, so can the other team,” said Kevin, 17, who has played in the league for five years. “People grow in adversity, they don’t really get worse…. I think you’ll see more leadership skills being used if a losing team tries to recuperate than if they never got into that situation at all.”

Kevin’s father, Bruce Cappon, called the rule ludicrous.

“I couldn’t find anywhere in the world, even in a communist country, where that rule is enforced,” he said.

Mr. Cappon said the organization is trying to “reinvent the wheel” by fostering a non-competitive environment. The league has 3,000 children enrolled ranging in age from four to 18 years old.

“Everybody wants a close game, nobody wants blowouts, but we don’t want to go by those farcical rules that they come up with,” he said. “Heaven forbid when these kids get into the real world. They won’t be prepared to deal with the competition out there.”

Paul Cholmsky, whose four- and six-year-old boys play in the league, said the intended goal of a default-lose rule might backfire in teaching life skills.

“If there’s one team that’s consistenly dominant and one team that’s not, well, that’s life,” he said.

Mr. Cholmsky said he would be in favour of temporarily handicapping a team, for example reducing the number of players on the field, over ensuring a team loss for a high score differential.

According to the league’s new rules, coaches of stronger teams are encouraged to deter runaway games by rotating players out of their usual positions, ensuring players pass the ball around, asking players to kick with the weaker foot, taking players off the field and encouraging players to score from farther away.

Club director Sean Cale said he is disappointed a few parents are making the new soccer rule overshadow the community involvement and organizing the Gloucester club does.

“The registration fee, rergardless of the sport, does not give a parent the right to insult or belittle the organization,” he said. “It gives you a uniform, it gives you a team.”

Mr. Cale said the league’s 12-person board of directors is not trying to take the fun out of the game, they are simply trying to make it fair. The new rule, suggested by “involved parents,” is a temporary measure that will be replaced by a pre-season skill assessment to make fair teams.

“The board is completely volunteer-run and we do the best that we can to provide a good, clean, fun soccer experience for everyone,” he said.

Although parents are fuming, he said the commotion is coming from “about 1% of the parents.”

Friday, June 04, 2010

Four! (minus two)

An early happy birthday to Kayla, aka "Kay-Kay" as she calls herself, on her second birthday! Ask her how old she is, and she says "Four!" - just like her sister.