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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Another list for Midsummer's Eve

45 can be a lot of things. 

It can be the caliber of a bullet, a malt liquor popular among uptown stoop-dwellers or it can be a 'single' record (or lacking a single, it is the speed at which 33 RPM long-playing records can be made to sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks). 

But 45 can’t possibly be my age... can it?

I guess it's that time again (at least it will be at midnight tonight, anyway)... time for yet another list of random stuff that may or may not help you understand your host:

  1. I was born during the Kennedy administration.
  2. Need a parallel frame of reference? David Ben Gurion was Prime Minster of Israel at the time of my birth.
  3. I am a consummate 'baby boomer' (for all the good and bad things associated with the term)
  4. I prefer to keep my life compartmentalized (think George Costanza), and I get very anxious when my various 'worlds collide'.
  5. My wife is the opposite, and seems genuinely delighted when such collisions occur (especially if she has precipitated one of these collisions).
  6. I would rather eat 'famunda' cheese (you know, the cheese famunda yer toes) than Brussel sprouts.
  7. My sympathies are easily manipulated by those nature programs where they show a vicious lioness mercilessly killing a wildebeest only to leave a poor baby wildebeest orphaned... followed by a shot of her cute little lion cubs suckling their mother's milk thanks to the nutrition provided by the wildebeest kill.
  8. I think most people who don't have a 'dog in any particular fight' are just as easily emotionally manipulated by the news media.  It's really all about camera angles and what they showed you last.
  9. I am proud of the fact that Jews of nearly every stripe (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Re-constructionist, Crypto-, Convert, Kara'ites, Unaffiliated...) feel comfortable pulling up a chair and participating in the discussions here.
  10. I am equally proud to note that non-Jews of every stripe seem to feel equally at home tossing in their $ .02.
  11. I love watching ideas being exchanged by liberal and conservative commenters here... especially when they are offered and accepted politely and with minimal judgment.
  12. It makes me a little sad that we all seem to find it so hard to conduct ourselves this way in real life... especially among friends who could use a little gentle enlightenment.
  13. I will never again take for granted the ability to fall asleep instantly and sleep soundly through the night.
  14. Although hard on my aging body, my soul has been enriched beyond measure by my recent opportunities to wander our darkened house in the wee hours of the morning and watch my family sleep.
  15. Our dog seems to take equal pleasure in joining me on these nocturnal rounds.  Who knows... maybe she's been doing this all along and is happy to finally have some company.
  16. My neighbor's front yard looks and smells like the garden of Eden.  Mine looks and smells like the aftermath of Sodom (although this is the year I'm going to finally do something about that!).
  17. I frequently rail against the knee-jerk hatred I hear in the ridiculously one-dimensional, xenophobic statements secular Israelis make about their religious compatriots. 
  18. I am embarrassed at how often I am silent in the face of equally ridiculous and venomous pronouncements made by religious friends and acquaintances against their secular countrymen/women.
  19. Every person I know thinks they are far too multi-faceted and complex to be defined by a single term.
  20. So why do we all feel so comfortable tossing around over-simplistic terminology to describe others... especially those with whom we disagree?
  21. I've had a beard for all but a few days of the last 26 years and have no earthly idea why.
  22. I think ponytails on young men are just silly... and on old men; sad.
  23. There are few things that compare with watching Bugs Bunny cartoons with my kids and hearing them belly laugh at the same stuff that cracked me up as a kid.
  24. My big kids are starting to notice my flaws and failings.  This is both scary and a relief!
  25. I'm just now coming to the realization that my wife has always know about these flaws and failings of mine... and chose me anyway.
  26. My parents have seen and experienced the very worst of my flaws and failings, yet miraculously continue to love me unconditionally.
  27. I am much more conservative today than I was a year ago.
  28. I am much more liberal today than I was a year ago.
  29. I have learned enough about the world (and myself) this year to realize that only a very simplistic, narrow-minded person would feel that the previous statements are at odds with one another.
  30. There is a very Zen-like quality to the typical Israeli's blind faith that everything will eventually turn out OK (Y'hiyeh B'seder) which is at once infuriating and enticing.
  31. A bunch of my regular trempistim (hitchhikers/passengers) got together and gave me a thank-you gift (a nifty little camping coffee service including a little stove, canisters for coffee, sugar and tea, and a small Ibrik).
  32. They have no idea that the opportunity I've had to surreptitiously observe them as they talk about the army, school and life, and to learn about Israel through the simple osmosis of their physical proximity, is a far more precious gift than anything they could have bought me.
  33. I sense that both of our big kids are approaching the top of the roller coaster and are about to go roaring down the other side.  I'm holding on tight.
  34. I act annoyed when our 2-and-a-half year old gets up and demands to snuggle in bed with me before he can go back into his own room.  Even he knows it's all an act.
  35. With the exception of decent Bourbon, I'm completely over all the longings/cravings for American products.
  36. OK, maybe I also still miss the Sunday NY Times... but that's really it.
  37. It's strange that when I turned 40 I used the term 'mid-life crisis' sarcastically about myself knowing that it was probably an exaggeration.  But at 45 I feel like the term 'mid-life' might actually now be cautiously optimistic.
  38. I am constantly amazed when I can magically speak effortlessly with Argentinians, Russians, Romanians, Ethiopians and other 'foreigners'.  This common denominator called Hebrew makes it possible to miraculously communicate with people with whom most Americans would be reduced to awkward hand-signs and shouting over-enunciated pidgin.
  39. I want to explore Italy and Greece, not as an American tourist, oohing and aahing over the ancient pedigree of their respective history and culture... but as a member of an even more venerable culture that knew them when... and outlived them both.
  40. In the almost three years I've been keeping this journal I have permanently banned only three people from commenting.  I gave each one of them ample opportunity for a 'do-over'... and in perfect Wyle E. Coyote fashion, each of them opted to run full speed over the same exact cliff. 
  41. I didn't realize it as a kid, but the Road Runner cartoons were all about Darwinian natural selection, and that no matter how many chances they are given, some people are just going to select themselves out of the equation.
  42. Anyone who watched Road Runner as a kid and laughed at the impossibility of the Coyote's ability to order absolutely anything he wanted, hasn't really stopped to consider what is currently available on-line these days.  Internet = Acme.
  43. I know my journal entries are long-winded and time-consuming to read... and that this has caused many readers to eventually drift away.  But one of the things I've discovered from keeping treppenwitz is that while my mind is capable of brevity... my heart is not.
  44. Given a choice between revising/editing a post and living my life I will always chose the latter.  This is my blanket excuse for the long-winded posts, spelling and grammar mistakes and the shameless mis/over-use of ellipses [...], you'll find here at treppenwitz,
  45. While waiting for my coffee order in a shop on Jerusalem's Emek Refa'im Street last month I overheard the word 'treppenwitz' and noticed two young women with a laptop open to my site discussing something I'd written that morning.  It made me feel like a bit of a celebrity.  And no, I didn't let on who I was (we celebrities are tricky that way).

As always, mental health professionals may now begin their analysis.  Please show your work.

[previous birthday lists can be found here: 43 & 44)


Posted by David Bogner on June 22, 2006 | Permalink


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Many many more ... to 120!

Posted by: Drew | Jun 22, 2006 12:55:52 PM

Hmmm..... number 39 looks like it is suspiciously feuled by the same mechanism which drives you to do the cock-roach dance on the rare occassions when you beat me at Scrabble®.....

Am I sensing a theme here? ;-)

Posted by: zahava | Jun 22, 2006 1:10:08 PM

Mazel Tov and all good things to you and your family!

Thanks for "the opportunity I've had to surreptitiously observe [you] as [you] talk about the army, school and life, and to learn about Israel through the simple osmosis of [blogging] proximity..."

Posted by: I'm Haaretz, Ph.D. | Jun 22, 2006 1:13:56 PM

Do you think there's any significance to the fact that 45 is מה - what? - in Hebrew?

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Jun 22, 2006 1:15:14 PM

Ahh, number 16 looked familiar... Wanna come over some time? It'll make you feel much better, really! :-)
Happy Happy! Gratulerer så mye med dagen! So, would you say you're a liberal conservative, or a conservative liberal? ;-)... Enjoy your day! It's called St.Hans Aften in Norway.

Posted by: nrg | Jun 22, 2006 1:32:31 PM

Drew... I like your math. By that standard I'm still a kid! :-)

Zahava... No, there is no gloating involved. :-)

I'm Ha'aretz PHD... Thank you. although in the spirit of full disclosure, my passengers don't always realize they are being observed while I am careful about what I reveal.

Dave... Only in the sense that at this age one's hearing starts to go. :-)

nrg... I prefer 'militarily/fiscally responsible liberal' and 'socially/religiously compassionate conservative'

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 22, 2006 1:48:56 PM

What a beautiful summary.

Have a very happy birthday. And many many more.

Posted by: Sandra (AR) | Jun 22, 2006 2:12:05 PM

yom huledet sameach! Another milestone may we celebrate many more together. Bring out the trombone play a couple of tunes now....

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Jun 22, 2006 2:12:48 PM

Happy birthday mate.

Here's half a minute of a relevant song by my favorite musician in your honor.

Posted by: Aussie Dave | Jun 22, 2006 2:16:59 PM

Happy birthday David !

I wish all the best, happiness and ( most important ) health to you and also to your family.

Thanks for all those brilliant posts, which sometimes make me laugh, sometimes make me cry, sometimes touch me deeply, sometimes make me "pensive" (umm, i don't have the correct word in english..).

Enjoy this day and i hoped you'll get spoiled with presents !


Posted by: Jany | Jun 22, 2006 2:30:28 PM

Yom Huledet Sameach, welcome to the edge of Alter Cockerhood, may you merit much Alter cockerhood and all the good that comes with it.

Posted by: Shmiel | Jun 22, 2006 2:58:37 PM

Have a very happy birthday and all the best for the future.


Posted by: Sarah | Jun 22, 2006 3:08:09 PM

happy birthday Mr B! ad mei'ah ve'esrim shanim!

re: 36.

what about american cheese?

Posted by: Tonny | Jun 22, 2006 3:09:30 PM

Mazel tov!! 1961 was a very interesting year.

Posted by: seawitch | Jun 22, 2006 3:16:55 PM

For what my 2 cents is worth... Mazal Tov!... "God already left Africa" but atleast we've now got the Internet. :)

Posted by: pk | Jun 22, 2006 3:26:40 PM

I find it comforting that we are the same age (since most of the people I know are younger)although I have another two months to go. Happy birthday, and I like your long posts, no need to edit.

Posted by: westbankmama | Jun 22, 2006 3:31:18 PM

Happy Birthday, bro'.
Eloquent, as always.

Posted by: val | Jun 22, 2006 4:02:16 PM

Am I the only one who wants to see video footage when you do the cock-roach dance .

Happy birthday from a much, much, much younger man. ;)

Thanks for letting me bask in the wisdom of the stairs.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 22, 2006 4:34:00 PM

Happy Birthday David.

Posted by: beth | Jun 22, 2006 4:40:25 PM

I will save it till tomorrow, for now I'll just say I cannot wait to read the 100th birthday list, I love these lists!

13 - QUITE
25 made me smile.
27, 28 - you're a tall blunt Portie, as it turns out, we're twins, we're twins!
29 made me feel wise
38 made me aware of how bleak mine still is. No "effortlessly" anywhere.
43 - readers who run away bcs it's too long are worthy of you then.
45 - What were they, blind?? And how could you? Argh!

As I said, I'll say it tomorrow only, we're superstitous that way tfu tfu tfu.

Posted by: Lioness | Jun 22, 2006 4:57:28 PM

יום הולדת שמח
עד 120 בשמחה בארץ.

Posted by: amechad | Jun 22, 2006 5:08:32 PM

27-29 are great. 30 is where mr. t. and I drive each other crazy, because, somehow, even though I didn't grow up in Israel, that's my personality and it's so not his.

Happy Birthday!

Posted by: timna | Jun 22, 2006 5:11:53 PM

Ummm... Tonny?! AMERICAN CHEESE?! The stuff that's called "processed cheese food?" Yichzeh FEH! So many better tasting and healtier options available here, TG!

Posted by: zahava | Jun 22, 2006 5:15:14 PM

"while my mind is capable of brevity... my heart is not". How beautiful...and how fitting a description of your writing, Trepp.

Posted by: cruisin-mom | Jun 22, 2006 6:08:28 PM

Happy Birthday David!
Were you always this smart?

Posted by: Mata Hari | Jun 22, 2006 6:29:42 PM

Wow. Happy Birthday! You are half way there....
Love, Carol

Posted by: Carol | Jun 22, 2006 6:37:56 PM

Happy Birthday. If you take pirkei avoth eval of age or Shakespeare's seven ages of man you still doing well. all the best

Posted by: dave | Jun 22, 2006 6:53:47 PM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope you do something today that fills you with joy. Have we seen a picture of the neighbor’s Garden of Eden? I offer my apologies in advance if I missed it.

Posted by: Jason | Jun 22, 2006 7:47:26 PM

I want to explore Italy and Greece, not as an American tourist, oohing and aahing over the ancient pedigree of their respective history and culture... but as a member of an even more venerable culture that knew them when... and outlived them both.

AWESOME! Happy Birthday!!

Man, that observance just changed my entire way of thinking about European (or any) travel.


Posted by: Shanah | Jun 22, 2006 8:06:08 PM

A very happy birthday, Treposaurus! Your hitchhikers (trempistim) made me wonder if your readers should call ourselves something. Perhaps Trepistim?

Posted by: Albert | Jun 22, 2006 8:25:20 PM

Happy happy birthday!

Love the length of the entries - gives me something to sink my teeth into! : )

Posted by: Irina | Jun 22, 2006 9:07:33 PM

Uneditted posts are like corn on the cob -- the way God intended. (Toothpicking is half the pleasure.)

Posted by: Bob | Jun 22, 2006 9:44:30 PM

Happy Birthday, David. Wow...I love #45. I can imagine the excitement and flattery of that experience. How very cool.

Posted by: jaime | Jun 22, 2006 9:51:28 PM

!עד 120 (P.S. As the 52.5 [but going on 28] year-old mother of 24, nearly 21 and 16.5 year-olds, enjoy #34 while you still can. As you already know, it's over in the blink of an eye.)

Posted by: jennifer | Jun 22, 2006 10:53:03 PM

Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Sarah | Jun 22, 2006 11:16:18 PM

Beautiful post. Happy Birthday! Hope you had fun and wishing you many more healthy years until 120! And keep up this blog :-)

Posted by: Essie | Jun 22, 2006 11:32:13 PM

27 & 28:

UNNHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ! (think Lurch from the Adams Family)

You make nice with the Kossacks while they rape and pillage western society. I can't stand em.

Posted by: Scott | Jun 23, 2006 12:31:21 AM

Ad Meah V'Esrim. Your post was lovely. Zehava, yichtzeh and feh? Those are some strong words!

Posted by: Faye | Jun 23, 2006 12:47:51 AM

Natal Day Greetings! Many happy returns...

Posted by: matlabfreak | Jun 23, 2006 12:55:33 AM

Happy Birthday. I hope your day was wonderful.

Posted by: siobhan | Jun 23, 2006 1:02:59 AM

It's 1 am in Israel so:

YOM OLEDET SAMEACH! Parabéns, parabéns, parabéns!

Posted by: Lioness | Jun 23, 2006 1:05:07 AM

Happy Birthday!!!

Posted by: zemirah | Jun 23, 2006 1:54:12 AM

Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Shevy | Jun 23, 2006 2:43:26 AM

A very happy birthday to you, David, from your Northern California readers! We're sweltering today in 102 degree F weather. Hope your day is as special as you are.


Posted by: Helene | Jun 23, 2006 3:41:54 AM

Hey Trepp, unless someone got here first, I am comment #45...does that have some deep hidden meaning?
No matter what anyone tells you, take pride in being a baby boomer...we are the best generation (yes, it's really true)

Posted by: cruisin-mom | Jun 23, 2006 3:57:38 AM

David, happy birthday. I remember commenting on your birthday post last year, and asking you to tell me how 44 felt, 'cause you've got 3 months on me. Now I'm asking you to tell me how 45 "fits"!
Mazel Tov. "Ad meah v'esrim".

Posted by: Pearl | Jun 23, 2006 4:45:22 AM

Happy Birthday! Hope it was a good one, and that the year ahead brings all kinds of blessings.

Posted by: Steve Bogner | Jun 23, 2006 5:12:41 AM

Happy birthday, mazal tov. I'm sure you have a lovely celebration with your family.

Your blog is one of the most enlightening and heartwarming around. I love it.

Posted by: Lila | Jun 23, 2006 12:35:05 PM

mazal tov. hag sameakh.
your blog is actually a piece of art. you have a great talent to draw pictures with words. shabat shalom and have a beautiful birthday.

Posted by: Heike | Jun 23, 2006 2:11:37 PM

Happy Birthday! While 22 years younger than you, I find your posts relevant, insightfu and enjoyable! And remember it's all relevant - I just found out that the little boy I helped potty train as a teenager was just bar mitzva-ed last week. It made me feel old. Ad Meah V'Esrim!

Posted by: aliza | Jun 23, 2006 5:06:01 PM

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