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Monday, January 29, 2007


Gone with The Matzos!

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave for the last few months you must’ve seen the manifold colorful and exaggerated (the best Hersher!) adds inviting you to spend Pesach in perfectly strange surroundings sharing the Yom Tov with even stranger (both meanings) people.

Cities in which a Jew dressed in his Shabbes finest are just about as familiar as extra terrestrials, have been designated as ‘ideal’ to spend Pesach in.
Places as unfamiliar to the heimishe Yid as the moon is to general mankind are turned into ad hoc places for ‘inspiring shiurim’ and ‘glatt Kosher feasts’.

If you so choose you caneven spend your Pesach in Marrakech,I bet that the feeling of freedom that is supposed to permeate Pesach is very noticeable there.

I don’t side with the popular argument that these hotels are outrageously expensive and that the money could be destined to better purposes.
Money can ALWAYS be better spent than on any luxury product or service.

That’s not the point.
If someone is fortunate enough to be a person of means then in my opinion it’s their right to spend their wealth as they see fit, even if it for whimsical and ridiculous luxuries.

I feel however that beyond financial concerns, spending Pesach away from home, and away in every sense of the word, is robbing the spirit of the Yom Tov.

The first loss is that by being a guest, it’s hard to have guests around, which to me has always been an essential ingredient to a successful Yom Tov, or regular Shabbes for that matter.

The lack of privacy at the Seder table itself is a reason to stay home, the poor kids who try to repeat something they’ve heard from their Rebbi or Morah are barely audible as the family on the right is singing one song while the kids on the left another.
Minhagim, yawns and irritation meet in Shul, everyone comes form different communities and backgrounds and that’s hard to combine into a single Minyan.

I do realize there are some undeniable benefits, however I think most of them can be attained without boarding a plane as well.

How do you feel about the Pesach Hotel Business?
image from this site

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Great Lines!

I know this has been posted on another blog before, but I thought no one would mind reading this again.

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in thereal world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2:The world won't care about your self
-esteem. The worldwill expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity . Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now.. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Another Reason not to Watch TV!

Boston Legal is currently my favourite show.
Just last week it took the place of Scrubs, which is now number 2 in my own imaginary top ten.
In the last episode I saw (The Nutcrackers) one the main characters, a lawyer is defending a seemingly nice couple who, as it turns out are very much racists, holocaust deniers and by extension highly anti-semtic.
The sister of the defendant wants to take her kids away as she believes those poor souls are poisoned by their parents’ hatred of everyone and everything different.

The lawyers at Crane, Poole & Schmidt, the lawyer firm this show is all about, are portrayed as sublimely intelligent creative people and it can be suggested that they are mind readers.

Naturally they win almost every case that is brought to them.
Part of the fun of the show is listening to the closing arguments when a seemingly impossible case is lost in everyone’s mind but the lawyers from Crane, Poole & Schmidt
In this particular case Alan Shore won again.
He convinced the Judge that there was no cause to separate the children from their parents.

The writers made sure to include a few sentences that made it clear that Alan was strongly opposed to his clients’ views and greatly disliked them, yet he did his job to the best of his ability and won.

I understand that this show is fiction, and yet I was left with a rather sad feeling after this episode.
In a courtroom, in front of a Judge in the US, people can openly claim to hate the Jews and walk out with a big smile.

It shows that there still is tolerance for such views. There are no consequences whatsoever to admitting being a Jew hater.
I wish I had missed this episode...

I encourage you all to read the
Havel Havalim entry of this week, it’s hilarious but please remember that this is fiction too!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Cynophobia:Fear of Dogs

WARNING: Some of my readers own pets and hence to them this might sounds ridiculous.

It’s a funny sight, but only if you’re a safe distance away.
No one runs to help yet another Jew risks being attacked.
It’s the kind of encounter that sends kids and adults alike on a detour only to avoid a potential collision.
It’s menacing and evil.
Don’t Touch! Shrill voiced mothers tell their toddlers.
It’s disgusting and dangerous.

I’m talking about pets, dogs in particular.
Most frum people I know and those that I see but don’t know suffer from a serious case of Cynophobia.
Except small children who have not learned yet, frum children are conditioned at a very young age to avoid dogs and to fear them.
They usually don’t get a chance of being around canines much and encounter them only on public playgrounds and in the street.

In my building there’s a sweet old lady who owns a tiny little dog.
And yet whenever that creepy little thing barks or jumps at me when I get in or out of the elevator I freak out (and I’m a pragmatician!)
The suddenly less sweet grandma remembers to keep repeating that he’s harmless but she never remembers that I still do not want to be touched and barked at by her pet.

Gentile pet owners actually have the nerve to get upset that Jewish children run away from their pets.
Unfortunately some goyim enjoy only too much to scare the frum kids.
Knowing full well that releasing their dog from it’s leash will result in total hysterics among the kids wearing that weird thing on their heads, they let the little creeps run around freely even though it’s technically against the law(enforced about as much as the laws against racism and anti-semtism).

As a kid I was terrified from dogs, but I felt secure that adults would protect me from them.
Now as an adult I neither have skirts nor pants to hide behind anymore.
I manage pretty much to lead a normal life despite my phobia, by crossing the street, walking around and occasionally gathering my courage and pass by.

To prove that not only frum Jews suffer from this phobia I found this aid.

I need it badly, especially since sweet old neighbor never learns.

Ps:No offence to dog lovers

Tuesday, January 09, 2007



From the shallow response to my last post I conclude marketing needs to be made more interesting.

Therefore we’ll tackle one of the most mysterious, aggressive and illegal form of advertising.

Subliminal advertising.
Subliminal indicate that the subject is not completely aware, unless forewarned, of what he is seeing.
Images, clever word plays, and direct orders are thrown at the reader, moviegoer or walker who happens to inspect billboards while passing them.

Subliminal ads target the subconscious.
Even if someone would pay close attention chances are that the subject would not notice the subliminal messages, be it an image, a logo or a word.

During a movie session the phrase "drink Coca Cola" appeared several times for just about 0,04 seconds each time.

None of the people in the hall mesntioned anything about it as they did not realy 'see' the words.
An immediate increase of over 50%!!! of coke sold in the theater’s cafeteria resulted from this.

The marketing results of subliminal messages in the media is strongly debated.
Studies so far have not been able to prove conclusively that it leads to a positive change in attitude for the intended product.
The major question is whether it has a lasting or only immediate and one time effect.
The fact that it’s widely used suggest that many companies believe in it’s power.

Personally I think it’s a very powerful and manipulative marketing tool.
From what I’ve read and seen I believe that the unconscious picking up those signals use them as they are intended to influence.

A study conducted a few years ago again showed that in theory subliminal messages can lead to a real desire for the advertised product by the target.
50 people were given something salty to eat and were shown a movie subsequently.
They were told they participated in a scientific study but they did not know any details beyond that.
Anticipating the thirsty feeling of the subjects, an image of the logo of Ice Tea was flashed during the showing.
After the movie everyone was given a choice between an Ice Tea and other beverages.
Overwhelmingly the subjects chose Ice Tea.

This manner of advertising is not illegal in the US although subject to heavy and detailed regulation.
In many European countries it’s illegal completely or when it surpasses a certain quantity.

In other media such as magazines and billboards the subliminal aspect is usually an image within an image, play on words etc.

Examples :
If you look closely you’ll notice a big C.
Carrefour is one of the biggest and strongest brand names in Europe.
Could this invisible C in their logo have anything to do with that?

I found many more examples.
I can't post them here however as they were mostly of a provocative nature, so if you're interested email me and I'll send them.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Marketing Lessons Part 1:Study your Child

At the request of two readers (OK I offered) I’m going to share a couple of marketing principles, ideas, techniques and trivia with you.
A little more than I year ago, I offered to discuss this and got absolutely no response, now that I did I’m going to use that as an excuse to get all "markety" on The Pragmatician.

Those who are surprised to find out that my occupation and education heavily involve marketing, are right to feel that way.
Marketing is everything that is anti-Pragmatic.
It urges you to think with your emotions, it speaks to the subconscious.
Where a Pragmatician’s job is to think rationally as much as possible, marketing pushes it’s target (which can range from humans to cats!) to efface all thinking critically and reacting with logic.
Opposites attract is the most credible reason I can come up with for my fascination of this inexact science.

Forget the ragged lab rats and leave Pavlov’s dog alone, a major tool to study human consumption attitude is based on behavior originating from children, very young children.

Children under 1 act mostly on instinct but they’re able to react to certain stimuli(incentives) more intelligently and definitely closer to expected adult behavior than non-human test cases.
Clearly only observational studies are conducted with them.

Newt time you play with your toddler, think about what all his smiles, moves and cries can teach you.Corporate marketing executives certainly do.


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