2011 New Year’s Eve

Every year, I eagerly look forward to New Year’s Eve. Not for the typical reasons; but for food, mochi, and quality time spent with my one and only family (isn’t that corny enough to be  on a greeting card!?!)

Now – after  minutes, hours, days, years of scientific research conducted via the world’s most accurate encyclopedia (Facebook), I have concluded that the  typical New Year’s celebration consists of the 9 following stages…

Stage 1: Casually snacking.
Stage 2: Eating dinner with family or friends
Stage 3: Casually snacking
Stage 4: Making a New Year’s resolution of  snacking less
Stage 5: Resolving to make a change
Stage 6: Watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve
Stage 7: Feeling miserable about what has happened to Dick Clark
Stage 8:  Feeling so miserable about Dick Clark, that you snack even more
Stage 9:  Snacking so much that you forget what your resolution even was…

My family mixes this up by fusing together the following New Year’s traditions from around the world, and making them our own while doing so.

Southern United States : A dish of black eyed peas. An old saying goes, “Eat peas on New Year’s to have plenty of everything else the rest of the year.”

China/Italy: Red underwear. Proceeding our family  dinner, we read aloud a list of different New Year traditions. As soon as I heard that color red symbolizes success, loyalty, and happiness, I got so excited that I had to run out of the room and change my boxers.

Spain: Eating 12 grapes during the 12 seconds before midnight. Sweetness of the grapes determines how “sweet” the respective months will be. It ends up being a grape eating marathon, with little time to chew or swallow. But after the 6th one, someone usually starts laughing… and it all goes downhill from there.

And (most importantly) Japan:  Mochi. This one (or two, depending on how one pronounces it) syllable word sends every family member in the Segal household in a rat race, scrambling to be first to the kitchen. Mochi is a Japanese version of a pounded rice cake served in various sweet and savory dishes, including some types of ice cream. But we only eat it one way- sauteed it to a golden crisp, and then dipped in tamari (soy sauce) and sesame seeds.


Happy New Year!

The Art of Punning

Puns are a lost form of art.

  • When people watch a theatre production, they laugh and/or cry with appreciation.
  • When people see beautiful paintings; they gape, taking in every minute detail.
  • When people hear a symphony of music, they close their eyes and let the music flood their soul.

Puns, on the other hand, inspire a “different” type of response. As a longtime punner (yes, that’s a real word), I know that when I say a pun, I look for two signals that it was effective.

  1. The Groan. It should be from the back of the throat, hearty, and very prolonged. Ideally, the listener should sound as if they are in as much physical pain and discomfort as possible.
  2. The Facepalm. Face and palm unite in this epic form of pun appreciation. One palm signals enjoyment, but two palms signals twice as much pleasure! Combined with a deep groan of pain and misery, this is the pinnacle display of gratitude for a pun.
The ultimate reaction to a pun

NOTE: A slight modification to the facepalm involves slapping the person who delivers the puns. Not surprisingly, I get this often; and thoroughly savor the feeling of success.

You may be surprised that laughing wasn’t listed as a signal of an effective pun, but it’s rarely to be expected. “Punning is the lowest form of humor but the highest form of wit” holds true in this manner.

All puns posted on this website are 100{3a5a0fd47fd42b6497167aecc6170a94848f1ba936db07c4954344fcfff1d528} original. Each pun is painstakingly thought of, and I hope you have as much fun reading them as I do when writing them.


Hello world!

“Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!”

… What a beautiful moment. I now have the ability to instantly edit words, publish them on a website, and show them to the world… or at least the 2 family members which actually will read this (HI MOM!)

The greatest intellectual minds one century ago would marvel at this communication technology. I bet that when Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity, he would have loved to Tweet about it, update his status, post it on his blog, and tell the world. That is… if internet had been discovered.

But what is the point of  this blog, and what will be on it? Will I used it to reflect upon my travels? Am I just looking to improve my writing skills? Do I simply crave attention?

A great English teacher once started the school year by writing the following questions which humans have been trying to solve for centuries on the board:

  • Why am I here?
  • Is mankind good or evil?
  • Is there a God/s?
  • Is there life after death?

He told us that by the end of the year, we would know the answers to those questions along with much more because of his class. I was amazed at such a proposition because I didn’t think those questions even had any definite answers, but I believed him nonetheless.

Throughout the year we learned much, but the answers to the questions still evaded us. On the last day of school, we realized we had been duped. A classmate raised his hand and told the teacher that he hadn’t explained the question’s answers.

“Of course I have,” our teacher replied with shifty eyes. As the bell rang the teacher winked, and quickly whisked us out of the room.

I thought about the questions over the summer, because he never explicitly told us the answers to the questions. But what he did was show us that the answers are different for everyone, and that what matters isn’t the answer, but how you arrive at your own individual answer.

So what’s the point of this blog, and what will be on it? To tell you the truth, I don’t know; and don’t ever plan on knowing. But I’m not worried; for what matters isn’t the final result, but the journey taken to get there.