Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I love women with soul.
Women with appetite.
Women who are ambitious, who love to strive.
Women who are fierce.
Women who are just.
Women who are physically slight, small, delicate or feminine but who nonetheless manage to be surprisingly strong and surprisingly resilient.
Women who are vulnerable.
Women who, like Wesley, declare "To the pain!" and then smile.
Women who consistently prove that their broken hearts are worth more than whole ones, because they break their own hearts in order to give the pieces away.
Women who are survivors and who survive tragedies.
Women who have the courage to try- again.
To love-again.
To give- wholeheartedly.
To hold nothing back.
Women who are ferocious.
Women who embody contradictions.
Women who make their lives about a driving force or idea.
Lisbeth Salander.
Renee Walker.
Olivia Benson.
Daenerys Targaryen.
Women of valor.

Life Is The Road

Snatches of this song were playing through my head all day- I realized I was thinking about me and Heshy. Yay Heshy.

(As an aside, Anastasia is one of my favorite cartoon movies. It bears lots of similarities to 'Beauty and the Beast' including the yellow gown and the weeping beauty with hero-revival scene. Also, I love Dmitri.)

"Life is the Road" in Anastasia

We were strangers, startin out on a journey
Never dreamin' what we'd have to go through
Now here we are, and I'm suddenly standin'
At the beginning with you
No one told me, I was going to find you
Unexpected what you did to my heart
(both)When I lost hope, you were there to remind me
This is the start

And life is the road
And I wanna keep going
Love is a river and
I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road now and forever a
Wonderful journey.
I'll be there when the world stops turning
I'll be there when the storys through
In the end I wanna be standin'
At the beginning with you.
We were strangers on a crazy adventure
Never dreamin' how our dreams would come true
(both)Now here we stand unafraid of the futeure
At the beginning with you

And life is the road
And I wanna keep going
Love is a river and
I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road now and forever a
Wonderful journey.
I'll be there when the world stops turning
I'll be there when the storys through
In the end I wanna be standin'
At the beginning with you.
New there was somebody somewhere
Help me alone in the dark
Now I know my dreams will live on
Ive been waiting too long
Nothings gonna tear us apart.

And life is the road
And I wanna keep going
Love is a river and
I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road now and forever a
Wonderful journey.
I'll be there when the world stops turning
I'll be there when the story's through
In the end I wanna be standin'
At the beginning with you.

Life is the road and
I wanna keep going
Love is a river
I wanna keep going on
Starting out on a journey

And life is the road
And I wanna keep going
Love is a river
I wanna keep flowing
In the end I wanna be standin'
At the beginning with you.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back in Time

ט מַה-שֶּׁהָיָה, הוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה, וּמַה-שֶּׁנַּעֲשָׂה, הוּא שֶׁיֵּעָשֶׂה; וְאֵין כָּל-חָדָשׁ, תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ. 9 That which hath been is that which shall be, and that which hath been done is that which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)


1. Gay marriage is now legal in New York-

רבי הונא בשם רבי אמר דור המבול לא נימוחו מן העולם עד שכתבו גמומסיות לזכר ולבהמה
Rabbi Huna said in the name of Rebbe that the Generation of the Flood was not wiped out of the world until they wrote marriage contracts between a man and a man and between a man and an animal. (Midrash Rabbah 26:5 in Genesis)

2. Shechita is under attack in Holland (Link)

3. San Francisco plans to vote on banning Brit Milah


I find it amusing that despite having progressed in so many areas (especially that of technology), our society is still banning or promoting the same old things. One could make the argument that modernization itself will create the same effects as the anti-semitism of old.


Lisbeth, who incidentally Cymbaline says would be a lot closer to my guardian angel, is one of the stars of the 'Dark Dramas with a Female Lead' that Netflix tells me I like.

"Salander's greatest fear, which was so huge and so black that it was of phobic proportions, was that people would laugh at her feelings." - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Shmoop explains this as follows: "She's confident in her role as an avenger, but not in her role as a plain old human being, and not as someone beloved."

Salander is a visible depiction of nearly anyone. People may be confident in their roles at work, as avengers, as justice-dispensers and so on but it's their inner world that is the most precious and the most fragile. I love to watch characters deal with their insecurities and the issues that lurk beneath the surface, because those are at once what makes them who they are but also where their darkest struggles take place. These private worlds are where all the action transpires; what the public world sees is only the overflow.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Always the darkness before the storm.
Today's already one of the best days of my life.

Friday, June 24, 2011


They say every blade of grass has an Angel who whispers to it to "Grow, grow!" And if every blade of grass has an angel, surely every human has one too.

I wonder what my angel looks like. I picture her as very beautiful, with a delicacy of features similar to Emilia Clarke, especially when she plays Daenerys. I love silver-haired people. My angel would be a cross between Lady Amalthea from The Last Unicorn and Daenerys from Game of Thrones. She'd wear very whispy, gauzy fabrics that would shiver around her and she would have a very sweet, light voice. And she would watch me very sorrowfully because she'd be sad when I'm sad.

I wonder what she would say if I could hear her. Probably something very soft and pretty and kind. She's a kind angel.

I like the song "Angel" by Broken Door.

Cause you are my angel;
You saved me from danger.
With you I'm no stranger;
I won't suffer any more

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I got my official notice that I passed my Masters examination. So hurrah- welcome to Chana, Masters for real.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I am Daenerys Stormborn. Hear me roar. (Warning: Nudity in clip.)

I've loved 'Game of Thrones' for a long time now. I really enjoy the portrayal of Daenerys, lady of fire, blood and dragons.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Sense of Mystery

The very best fantasy is the one that is in touch with the sense of mystery. It is that sense of melancholic mystery tinged with an old knowledge that is the hardest to create and the most satisfying to read. The reader recognizes it in the pang of sadness he feels as he closes the last pages of the book. It's a sadness that stems from a recognition of the old magic.

The old Russian fairy tales capture this sense of mystery very well. "Vasilisa the Beautiful" is an excellent representation of this type of writing, as is Finist the Falcon. It's the eeriness of the beautiful maiden carrying a lamp lit in the head of a skull while being set these apparently insurmountable tasks that haunts and excites the mind.

Jean Cocteau's "La Belle Et La Bete" is another perfect example. Who will ever forget the anguished Beast's smoking hands, the music of extraordinary timbre, the sadness of an elegant Belle?

Oscar Wilde's "The Nightingale and the Rose" provides yet another example of this sort of prose.

Green Rider (but none of its sequels) has a touch of it, too.

Several of Peter S. Beagle's stories in 'We Never Talk About My Brother' have this quality and his book 'The Last Unicorn' epitomizes it.

But I have yet to see anyone capture it as well as Barbara Leonie Picard does in her 'Selected Fairy Tales.' Such an unassuming title and yet every story bears such deep knowledge, commiseration with and sympathy for the human condition.

The mystery lies in that which is inexplicable but true; the story could not have been told in any way other than what the author described it to be. It operates on older principles, the values of an age where magic was free and roamed the earth, where sacrifices had meaning and each creature went to meet his destiny with an open heart.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I had a roommate who would hum, sing, warble and perform a certain song all the time. She had no way of knowing this song brought back painful memories and it made me unhappy to hear it. When she'd sing it, I would go to my own room or would leave the apartment completely.

I decided against politely asking her not to sing the song anymore. I felt that that would require explanation and I didn't wish to share my private memories with her. Of course, I could have lied, but I don't like giving people power over me. I felt that by admitting to her that the song troubled me, she would then know something about me which I couldn't take back.

So I didn't tell her. I just tried to avoid the song. But, insidious, it would slither up in places I didn't expect. I would walk into department stores and hear it playing. It would find me in half-sleep.

And this morning, it appeared in an instrumental version on my Pandora radio.

People say that nothing has power over you unless you give it that power. According to this philosophy, I should be able to control my emotional reaction to this song. It shouldn't sadden me. It shouldn't make me catch the scent of a bittersweet bouquet of faded flowers. It shouldn't cause me to reflect on a bygone past and wonder pointlessly. I, the all-powerful human, should be able to master my mood.

Mastery of one's moods is not a particularly honest pasttime, however. If the song is a kick in the gut, there's a reason that's the case.

Stormy tempest, maelstrom of moods, wash over and confound me; I am Poseidon's daughter and I'll greet you with a smile.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Death's Mistress

The hound is yapping at my door,
a cry to enter nevermore,
where nothing is and nothing was,
and Death's dark deeds exist because.

Death beckons me and bids me come;
His gesture's followed by a hum.
His scepter's topped with a large crystal;
it has the severity of a pistol.

Shut up, you infernal dog.
I'm not frightened by Death's fog.
You can yelp and you can cry;
You shan't make me spare a single sigh.

Death's my master but I'm his mistress.
It causes him untold conniptions.
Still, it's me he must please come night,
or else I'll banish him from my sight.

Tonight he's killed. I can't bear the reek.
A bloodbath was it? Or drowned-at-a-creek?
Blood drips from his designer clothes;
A gory death it seems he chose.

No, no, dear lad. You can't come in.
I'm perfumed, pressed and ripe as sin.
Go wash yourself and once cleaned up,
I'll see if there's something for you to sup.

What's that you say? You'll go away?
Leave me for a sweeter maid?
Go travel past the seven seas-
I know you will come home to me.

I'm your one vice. Your one delight.
I cause your passion to ignite.
Possess whatever you may wish;
In the end you'll trade it for my kiss.

Behold! You see, I am Death's Mistress
and cannot be frightened by his grimness.
I know every sunken inch of skull
by which he frightens the lost gull.

And in the end, he's mine, my love;
my sweet Death. My gentle dove.


I take my coffee black;
I take my darkness chilled;
I take my illusions sweetened,
and hope not to get killed.

I take my whiskey straight;
I take my sadness quiet;
I take my friendship savory,
and hope to survive the riot.

In the end it won't matter if she loved him-
or whether he loved her.
It will only matter if he acted
like a man or like a cur.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Yesterday I came home and saw a long white limo outside of our apartment.

Given that I live in Washington Heights amidst bodegas, clothing stores and fruit stores, that was an odd sight.

My neighbor Marguerita and my other neighbor who always hangs out outside our building were sitting on the stoop and standing on the sidewalk respectively.

"What's that about?" I gestured.

"It's Diego's son," they informed me.

"Oh!" I exclaimed. "It must be the prom!"

Sure enough, Diego and his wife came outside looking extremely happy. They snapped a bunch of pictures of their son and then sent him off in the white limo, likely going off to pick up his date, enjoy a delicious dinner at a restaurant and then party the night away.

Their son was all spiffed up in a white suit with a snazzy tie and was carrying a shopping bag from a designer company (containing a corsage, perhaps?)

I was just thinking that to me, this emblemized the American Dream at its best. You can come from the Dominican Republic and work as a super, but your son can succeed in high school, college and beyond and one day have an easy life and a white collar profession (if that's his aspiration). And you can see all those things when you look at him, standing there, glowing with life, about to get into his limo in the middle of stifling hot, dirty, teeming Washington Heights- you can see your dream.

I found it moving.