Monday, July 24

Summer Swan Song

Tho’ it’s time to say goodbye for the summer,
Bloggers- I promise you this
I’ll send out a dove
Although pigeon might be better
Each time I eat a knish…

Yes, boys and girls, it’s that time of the year.
The time of the year when the sun is shining and the people in the British Isles are no longer allowed to use their hosepipes to water their parched gardens or cool down their overheated children, and so we find ourselves at casa Kasamba getting ready to do our annual pilgrimage to Momma and Papa in the good ole US of A.

Unfortunately, my parent’s internet access is dodgy and unreliable; therefore I am going to shut down my blog for the summer. I might visit every now and again, but I won’t be able to post until I come back. I will miss reading all your blogs too, but alas and alack, one must do what one must do.

In the meantime, I leave you with my swan song, my goodbye hymn to all my friends out there in Blogsville. After Tisha B’av (and I wish all of you an easy fast!) I want you to go to your keyboard and play a little bass nova and maybe a ka-samba and get the rhythm in your souls and then you may sing the Bad Date song.

Disclaimer: As with all things written by myself, it is a trifle wicked.

The Bad Date Song

And that’s why Borselino hats are the best. Don’t you agree?
Oh, of course- (I’m lying)
Yes it is quite fascinating
Absolutely- (I’m really lying)

How did it start? Oh, yeah I remember, the phone call…

I have a faaaaabulous shidduch for your daughter…
Mom, who is that-
Shhhh… what’s his name, is he tall?
Never mind tall, he gorgeous, he’s smart, he wears a hat
Ohhh, so it must be basherte…

Shh… be quiet! Uh, what were you saying? Give me his name and I’ll make my enquiries and I’ll call you back.
Shh… ah, huh, ah, huh, ah, huh, thank you so much Shprintze, you just have a knack.
Mom.. I don’t know….
Ahhhh, Shaifele, remember this, always…..

Every time you go out, I bake a cake
Yes, every time you leave the house, with a boy who could be the one
A cake…. I make.
After all, if he’s the one, then a few more dates… and cakes and the vort is done!
But if he’s not the one, by any means
And you come home looking like you want to scream
Keep in mind my dear sweet child,

Each bad date is just another cake for the freezer
Each one means the vort is closer at hand
You see, each bad date means the freezers getting fuller
And we’re one step closer to choosing the band!

But when your basherte comes, make no mistake…
He’ll thaw out your heart, and I’ll thaw out the cakes!

(Oh, where was I? Uh, oh, he asked me a question…)
Well, what do you think?
Hmm, oh, I totally agree…

(He looks confused, what did I say?
I must have answered wrong or he wouldn’t look that way
Like a dead cow in a field, surrounded with flies
Who doesn’t know he’s dead or why, there are so many flies…)

But what about ironing socks? My mother always irons my socks. Even when I was in Yeshiva, I would send my mother my socks and she’d iron them for me. I like ironed socks. I think they just feel better on my feet.
(His feet! Do I really want to think about his feet?)

I knew from the moment I saw him that this –would- not- go –well
From the second I stepped into my living room and saw him
I could tell
That it would not go well

There he was, this black hatted guy, just standing there,
Not knowing just how many hours I spent on my hair
Or how I how I’d fussed over what to wear
Not that he’d care, it just wasn’t fair

But it’s not that I’m only attracted to tall
It’s just that he was really very small
Which, unfortunately doesn’t do me at all
I kept looking behind him to see
If his other half would join him eventually…
But it never did

I believe that chulent is the key to Sholom Bayis…
Mmmm…. I never thought of that
(He’s smiling and he has something in his teeth
Ewww. It’s green. We’re not even eating out. This is a hotel lobby. The last time he must have had something to munch….
Must’ve been lunch. Ewww.)
How much longer will this last?
When can I put this in my past?
But just then my mothers words come to haunt me.
She said;

Each bad date is just another cake for the freezer
Each one means the vort is closer at hand
You see, each bad date means the freezers getting fuller
And we’re one step closer to choosing the band!

But when your bashert comes, make no mistake…
He’ll thaw out your heart, and I’ll thaw out the cakes!

Never mind that we have five freezers and counting
And that the electricity bills are mounting
And although for Mr Right I absolutely, positively yearn
By the time he arrives
All the cakes will have severe freezer burn

So, I’m sitting here in my nicest dress
With the lovely pin on my lapel
Talking about socks and chulent,
Though I could care less
Feeling quite… distressed

And so the time arrives- he takes me home
I’m home! I’m home! I’m home at last!
I thank him for what I don’t really know
One thing for sure- I won’t miss the little gnome
With his slightly crossed eyes and green bits in his teeth
But never mind he’s in the past
After all;

Each bad date is just another cake for the freezer
Each one means the vort is closer at hand
You see, each bad date means the freezers getting fuller
And we’re one step closer to choosing the band!

But when my bashert comes, make no mistake…
He’ll thaw out my heart, and Mom’ll thaw out the cakes!

Nebech, mom is waiting at the kitchen table
She looks at me with questioning eyes
Her hopes and dreams and all they imply
And I hold back as much as I’m able
As I stare at a beautifully high hazelnut torte
And tell her that just yet- there'll be no vort
La, la, la, la dee da, la, la la dee da, laaaaaaaa!
Have a GREAT summer!!!!

Thursday, July 20


Baruch Hashem, each one my kids is a character in their own right.
And what character that is.
Only the other day, Mr Kasamba and I were discussing our children’s idea of utopia; the perfect world.

Let’s start with Cucumber, the youngest. Already at four years of age, Cucumber has recently decided that she doesn’t like the names that Mr Kasamba and I have chosen for her siblings. Surprising, huh? So, she renamed them. Even our great Rabbis don’t escape Cucumber’s renaming; as the Chofetz Chaim is now the Chofetz ‘Lion’. So her idea of a perfect world is where people could be named according to her whim and mood. That’s easy enough because she does it anyway.

Then there’s Tomato, our precocious seven year old who would like nothing more than to spend every day in pyjamas, playing game boy and playstation ; going to sleep if he wants, and then being allowed to sleep in as long as he wants.

Asparagus, our darling fifteen year old, would be quite happy if Harry Potter was required reading for … well, everyone. And JK Rowling would be appointed Supreme Ruler of England.

Artichoke at seventeen years old has simple requirements; all he wants is to own the White House Restaurant….. and keep it in his bedroom.

Well, that’s normal isn’t it? Now here’s where it starts getting interesting. Radish our thirteen year old, has always had a different perspective of the world. When he was five, he insisted that we buy a horse to keep in the garden shed, and when we nixed that idea, he asked for a cow that could live in the shed so we could have fresh milk every day.
But his selling point was this; after we tire of the cow, we could always shecht it and have a lovely meal.

As he grows older, he comes up with schemes and ideas on a daily basis, which would make any entrepreneur, turn green with envy. Although one would need access to the Mir space station and other accoutrements from NASA and the pentagon to accommodate his proposals.

So, Radish’s idea of a perfect world would be one where there would be no constraints on the imagination. That merely thinking about something would be enough to bring into a tangible reality. Where if you wanted to, you could walk on the ceiling and you could learn how to drive just from playing Nintendo. Anything and everything is possible.

Well, in a way that is the truth. As Jews we are a tiny nation. We were enslaved by the most powerful empire on earth, were freed, literally walked through a sea, survived in a barren desert and were finally chosen to receive the treasure that is the Torah. We are still around thousands of years later after having survived the most torturous persecutions imaginable.

Nissim and Nifloas are possible.
Anything and everything is possible!

But we are not schooled to think that way. It is easier to teach students not to expect too much so they won’t be disappointed. I hope those constraints don’t harness my sons desire to soar and reach for the impossible. I hope that Radish will use the gifts that Hakodush Baruchu gave to him. With Torah as his guide he should use the imagination and creativity that he has and then his eyes can stay open to see that everything and anything is possible!

In these troubled times, I wish we all could do that; then we might be able to realise and recognize Melech Hamoshiach and then all of us will finally see our perfect world.

Tuesday, July 18

Lingo With Kasamba’s Ma (Part 2)

I speak English. Plain English, as I learned it.
My mother on the other hand, does not.
No, she is far more creative, because she has taken the English language and she has made it …. Exclusively hers.

My mother is the original Mrs Malaprop and commits no end of malapropisms. That combined with a Hungarian accent is a lethal combination, I assure you!

I remember once I asked her where my boots were, she answered me, saying, "I don’t know where your bootses are.” I said, “Ma, you don’t say bootses, you say boots!” “Oh”, answered my mother, “I vas just trying to say it plurial.”

I used to cringe when I went shopping with her. She asked for animal paint when she wanted enamel paint. She’d shout, “Look there’s Clarence!” and when I’d say, “Who’s Clarence?” I would see she was pointing to the clearance section.

There was this one time she asked a salesman for terminal underwear. The clerk said, “wha?” so she repeated, “do you have terminal undervear”. So the guy says, “You mean the kind that blows up after a certain time? No. We don’t have it.” Finally, I clarified it for the poor slob who thought he was a comedian. “Excuse me” I said, “My mother meant thermal underwear.” Whereupon my mother said, “That’s vat I said, terminal undervear!”

She is also creative with names. I once had a dentist called Dr Capinegro, my mother called him Dr Cappuccino. When he corrected her he said, “Actually, my name is Dr Capinegro,” my mother said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m always sinking of food!”

When I left to go to seminary, she made me a welfare party.
She also told me to precipitate in class. I told her, it’d be difficult, but I’d try.

And the classic line when she brought in a bowl of grapes, “Vant grep?”

Instead of splenda in her coffee, she asks for placenta.

When I went to college, I majored in marketing; she told everyone I majored in shopping. She always said, “Marketing – shopping, same sing.”

A DVD is PVD, MPT, TVT, basically, any three letters except for DVD.

Marks and Spencer is Max Factor.
The exclusive London Restaurant Kaifeng is... K-mart.

Many years ago, my mother found herself in Lord and Taylor after having shopped at Saks Fifth Avenue, when she lost her Saks Fifth Avenue bag. She searched for it high and low asking people for help along the way. She couldn’t understand why people were looking at her like she was insane until her friend heard her asking people if they saw her ‘seks bag’.

She doesn't just create new words, she also sees words she wants to see:
My parents have quite a bit of stock in Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company. Every time one of their products is in the news, the stock goes up. Well, every time my parents see the word ‘viagra’ in the news, they celebrate, visualising their sky rocketing stocks. A few months ago, I was on the phone to my mother who was leafing through the Jewish Press. Suddenly she shouted excitedly into the phone, “I don’t believe it! Even the Jewish Press is writing about Viagra and in huge letters!” Then she stopped and said, “Oh, I made a mistake…it said Vayikra!”

There are so many more stories about my mother that there’s no way I could ever repeat half of them.
One thing I can tell you, her English is music to my ears!

Friday, July 14

KASAMBA’S MA (part one)

Contrary to popular belief, I- being Kasamba, was not created in a Petri dish in a mad scientist’s lab.

No, I have PARENTS.

Real people who raised me and helped me become who I am.
Scary, huh?

This post, as you can gather, is about my mother.
My Mom.
My, “Maaaaa, where are my socks??”

My mother is one of the funniest women alive. Born in Hungary and raised in Israel, she combines old Europe with good cooking and lots of attitude!

She was a stunning girl, who was always mistaken for Natalie Wood, until she had children. Once she had her kiddies, my Dad sort of doubled his investment.
Yup, she gained weight.
Until then, according to my Mom, all she needed to get by was to smile and the world bent over backwards to accommodate her. Suddenly, with her movie star looks covered by a bit of padding, she needed…. a personality. And so, she developed the funniest, most charming personas known to mankind.
Which, of course, she passed over to me.

Every so often, she does lose weight, which makes her look and feel great, but somehow it keeps creeping up again. She says the only disease she would ever wish on herself is anorexia, but even then she says, it would take years to diagnose. About bulimia, she says that she got the first part down; it’s just the second she can’t quite manage.
Oh well, now there’s just more of her to love.

My Mom says what she thinks should be said. She is always the one pointing out the elephant in the room, while everyone else is pretending it is just a potted plant. But she does this in the most endearing way. She has legions of fans spread out throughout the world, and anyone she meets becomes a member of her fan club immediately. You could say she is constantly recruiting.

She gives Heterim. When I stopped putting makeup on, on Shabbos, the woman practically made Kriya. She said to me, “Hashem wants you to be beautiful on Shabbos, go and put some lipstick on; it’s okay, it’s on me!” Everything is ‘on her’.

She can fall asleep anywhere. Standing, sitting- you name it. She is afraid to sit tin the front row of a shiur because she will fall asleep right under the speakers nose.
Which she did to Rabbi Berel Wein.

She lives for her kids, especially me. She helps me with my children, forever watching them if I go away with Hubby. I once asked her, “Ma, how can I repay you?” She said, “It’s simple, you do what I do for your kids!” Which of course, G-d willing, I will.

She can diffuse any situation with humour. She comes out with the best lines and can take a potentially traumatic event and turn into a joyous occasion with just a few well placed words.

She is the best cook who creates amazing concoctions but never uses measurements. If you ask her for a recipe, it’s always, “a handful of this and half a handful of that, until it looks ready.” Suuuuuuure. She thinks it’s her duty to feed the world, which is great for me because when she is around I don’t have to feed my family and she does it according to each members specification. Whichever kitchen she’s in becomes a world class restaurant where requests are taken and served promptly.

She is very honest, brutally honest with me and that has always made me strive towards perfection.
I know she’s proud of me and all my achievements,
but not half as proud as I am of her.

Tuesday, July 11


Another evil poem by Kasamba.

Self-righteous comments to evil poems will always be welcomed-
and promptly discarded.

And so I begin. (clear throat)

They say the grass is always greener on the other side
In this case I’d have to agree with all that implied
You see, my neighbor had an offspring -the perfect child
Strangely calm, preternaturally serene and never wild.
I watched my neighbor’s child with undisguised awe
And witnessed the most impeccable manners I ever saw
This was a creature I had never encountered before
More disturbing in real life than in legend and folklore.

His mother took all the credit she was insufferably haughty
She was so condescending because my boys were so naughty.

Something was wrong here, yes indeed very wrong
His behavior way too good, his credentials way too long
And so two of my boys paid this child a visit one afternoon,
After all, someone needed to burst his perfect round balloon
They said, “We know the way you act is the way you think is right,
But we’re afraid there may have been just one small oversight
Now we’d just like to say this nicely without making a fuss,
Your perfect behavior is making it harder on the rest of us!”

As his flawlessly clean stunned little jaw hit the floor
My boys jumped in for the kill and went and said more.
“But it’s not just us, think of what your poor parents must miss,
I don’t think they’ve ever been inside the headmaster’s office!
Think of their humiliation, their suffering, their ultimate shame,
When they can’t share war stories when other parents complain!

Hence, we took it upon ourselves to create a new life for you,
So, we’ve compiled a list of things that you should really do!

Now pay attention closely, there’s absolutely no time to waste,
There’s so much for you to learn so we’ll try to make haste.
We know you love karate and practice will make you the best
So practice on your sisters, you mustn’t keep talent suppressed!
And then, why go on time to school; try your best to be late,
But on the off chance that you’re early you must make sure to wait!
Life is not worth living unless you make your parents shout,
So if they tell you to tuck in your shirt, by all means leave it out!

Why clean up your things, if your mother will just get bored
Let her clean up after you, that’s what mothers are for!
It’s important to consistently give all your teachers a fright,
You must answer back, remember that you are always right!
Learn these lessons well and try to cause trouble and strife,
We know that you’ll want to thank us much later in life!

And so that perfect young child reacted as they knew he would
And shook each of their hands and said that he understood.

Everything’s changed since this child took his lesson to heart,
He proved to be the best student ever as he did his part.
As his hidden nature became unleashed like never before,
He whipped his world up into a frenzy; like a crazed matador.
Now his poor mother appears drained, haggard and weary
And she gives me looks that are more than a little leery.

She wants to know what happened to make him change
From one day to the next, isn’t it just a wee bit strange?

Now my boys have calmed down and one is going away
But she’s stuck with a kid that’s making her sheitel turn grey
But at least my neighbor’s child is now true to his inner self
With a mischievous gleam in his eye and dead frogs on his shelf
And one day when his mothers now daily shouting had begun
He whispered, “Aren’t I doing just great?” to my younger son
Who gave him a thumbs up and then thumbs up to me as well
As IF I could, as IF I would, scheme such a thing, but I’ll never tell…

And every now and then when I feel all guilty and very wrong,
I just think, “Hey- but she had it good for so darn long!”
Because ever since I sent my Nachas to speak to boy next door,
The grass ain’t quite so green on the other side any more.

Thursday, July 6

SUPERSU; The Supersonic Midwife

My friend Susie is a midwife. She is an incredible midwife, who has helped me to give birth to Cucumber. She is sort of a superhero in my mind, and this is dedicated to her.

Our story unfolds when we meet Susie, a slightly gawky youngster with dreams that extend way past her mere five years of life. When learning about the women enslaved in Mitzraim who gave birth to six children at a time, Suzie wants details
As she slowly, slowly, slowly, matured, Susie found that her morbid curiosity had noble purpose. She can smell pregnancy, and when she does…stand back:
Susie is transformed into…

Look, up in the sky!

Is it a bird?

Is it a plane?

No, it’s


Faster than a C-section, more powerful than motorised forceps, able to catch babies in a single bound, Supersu is dedicated to the never-ending battle that is prenatal care.
She stands for truth, justice and the NHS way!

With her rousing cry of, “Stand and deliver!” Supersu’s superpowers include being able to monitor foetal heartbeats with her supersonic hearing, and her ability to calm a distressed mother to be with her hypnotic laser eyes. But her most valuable and famous superpower is, of course, Supersu’s voice.

And now we begin our story:
One fateful morning on her regular six minute one hundred and eighty mile drive to Hospital, Supersu’s supersonic nose picks up the scent of a pregnant woman in transitionary dilatory distress… two miles back.
Supersu reverses back and spies a heavily pregnant Albanian woman, screaming

“OW, OW” in Albanian.

Our heroine, (no, not that heroine!) tries to placate the immigrant woman with her hypnotic laser vision, and finds that the woman is impervious to her super vision power. Supersu proceeds to utilise her most valuable of all her superpowers, her voice.

She uses soothing words, telling her, “You’re okay” and
So, you think you’re the first person to ever have a baby?”

With those comforting thoughts, Supersu whisks the Albanian woman into her Susiemobile. Supersu stamps on the accelerator of the Susiemobile, her car door trapping the ignored and unnoticed Albanian Father-to-be by the corner of his shirt. As she reaches a comfortable cruising speed of 130 miles per hour, she is only a streak of light, bypassing all the speed cameras on the way. As the Adrenaline slowly clears her supersonic ears, she hears the Albanian father- to-be shouting,

“Aclama, aclama” which Supersu interprets to mean, ”Faster, Faster”,

but which actually means, “My legs, my legs!”

Upon arrival at the Hospital, Supersu lifts the writhing woman and slams her down onto a waiting gurney. Supersu then instructs the senior Doctor and the other mere mortal midwives to wheel the Albanian pregnant woman into the labour ward and await further instructions, until she hears the cry,

Supersu, Supersu, we need you!” Supersu turns around to see mere mortal midwife Showanda, a three hundred pound woman, shuffling towards Supersu. Supersu rushes into the labour ward where the Albaninan mother to be is hyperventilating into a paper bag.

What do we do, Supersu?”, asks the consultant specialist Doctor above all Doctors. “ Well,” Supersu says, “First things first!” and she proceeds to press a hidden button on her midwife watch, which produces a concealed panel from behind the wall.

On it are an array of Supersu’s own pain-relieving devices

(only available through Supersu herself or on the Home Shopping Network at 08880 232-45556, that’s 08880 232-45556, Don’t delay, keep pain at bay, call today!).

Anyway, Supersu pulls out her favourite pain relieving device, a metal ball on a chain covered with spikes, called, ‘The Tickler’ and the Albanian woman eyes bulge with what Supersu takes as a sign of approval. Suddenly, Supersu’s supersonic hearing picks up the raised heartbeats of the unborn Albanian infant. She pushes away her panel of pain-relieving devices

(available through Supersu herself or the Home Shopping Network at 08880 232-45556, that’s 08880 232-45556 Call now! Calls are charged at Fifty two pounds every two minutes. You must be over childbearing age to call.)

and shouts “It’s time, the baby must come out NOW!!!” All the mortal midwives and the Top, top, top Doctor, stand back and let Supersu do her stuff.

Supersu goes over to the heaving woman and very gently and very calmly takes her hand in hers, looks her in the eyes and says in her smallest most delicate of all voices,


Will Susperu manage to catch the baby?

Will Paul McCartney and Heather Mills ever get back together?

Will Mr Kasamba remove all internet access from Kasamba’s home?

Find out next time on Supersu- The supersonic midwife.

Tuesday, July 4

“If I Can’t Eat the Whole Cake, I Won’t Have a Slice”

Shmiras Halashon is scary.

Scarier than Tammy Faye Bakers eyelashes in a dark alley. I
n addition to being scary, there is such a vast amount of Dinim to commit to, that in itself can paralyse anyone with good intentions.
There is so much to learn and do, that it just seems easier to be like Tony Blair and do nothing at all.
But that’s not the smart thing, actually it’s quite dumb.

I’ll give you an example why:

Donald Trump sees you on the street and recognises you as the wonderful person that you are. He says to you, “You look like such a nice person that I’m going to give you four hours in Bergdorf Goodman to get as many things as you want…for FREE.” So, you amble down to Bergdorf Goodman, and look at the vastness of the store. Then you turn to The Donald and say, “Thanks very much Donald, but the store is too big and there are too may floors and it means so much schlepping up and down, and there is no way that I can take everything in the store, so I think I’ll give it a miss.”
You wouldn’t do that, would you? No way!

What you would do, is organise yourself and figure out your priorities.
Then in a systematic manner, you would set about getting as many goods as you can, especially from Valentino and Oscar De La Renta. Okay, so it means schlepping, and you can’t completely empty the store. But you would try. G-d knows I would!
Let’s look at what you would have accomplished. You would have enough of a wardrobe to last you and your friends and family for the next five years.
(Or maybe two years- things go out of fashion, you know.)

The same thing holds true for the Dinim of Shmiras Halashon, or indeed the Torah itself. The labour is tedious, and there is no way you can accomplish everything, but by setting about it systematically you can accomplish a tremendous amount, and the reward is enormous.

By the way, never let it be said that I am in any way denigrating the benefit of retail therapy, especially at Donald Trump’s expense,
however the ‘high’ of shopping is unsustainable. (Test me, test me!)
At best, it requires feeding. (Feed me, feed me!)

Once you get used to what you bought, you have to go out and purchase something new.

It is always emptying and refilling.
Torah is not like that at all.
The ‘high’ that you get is forever
It builds on itself and makes you that much higher.

Rather than being what you have, it becomes who you are.

My blog is worth $12,419.88.
How much is your blog worth?

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>