Wednesday, December 16, 2009

To get you all in the spirit

After that one post where I railed against society for leaving the designing of Hanukkah decor to basement-dwelling monsters, I'd like to say that I made peace with the situation and moved on to more productive endeavors like, say, designing something more aesthetically pleasing to prove that it could be done.

Well, I can't say that. Because that's not my way - to go out into the world making right what is wrong. No, my way is to bitch about it.

Which is why you see a label on this blog called Finny Bitches and not one called Finny Fixes.

It's a character flaw of mine which I've fully embraced. I figure, why fight something that comes so naturally?


What actually happened after I ranted about the aesthetic abuses laid so heavily on Hanukkah decor was that I went on to find more fuel for the fire. Meaning, I went to the internet to hunt down even more ugliness. Just to prove to myself that there was, indeed, some sort of awful theme running through Hanukkah decor outside of the few examples I easily found and linked to from my post.

Well, HO HO, was there ever some ugliness to be found. WOW.

Though I found that the most egregious missteps were to be found in the menorah department.

This is the department where, if you're a Jew or someone who knows a Jew or someone who's marketing a product to a Jew and wants to appeal to every type of Jew on the planet and needs an outlet for kitsch where one can express all of one's alliances through a single holiday vessel - you come to let your hair down and really Be Yourself with the innocent and unknowing menorah.

At least that's what the menorahs out there are telling me.

Particularly the cat ones and the Harry Potter ones and the Mel Gibson ones (though the irony here is intensely satisfying and also no one's really taking this one seriously).

I'm going to go out on a particularly precarious limb here and say that people are treating menorahs like some treat their Christmas trees - all decorating them up to be a unique and authentic representation of themselves and their most honored and random-ass pastimes.

Much like the golf-loving father may have a golfing-type ornament for their tree, a golf-loving Jew may also have a golf-themed menorah.

Like high heels? If you celebrate Christmas, go here. If you're a Jew, go here.

Vespas anyone? That random enough for you? Christmas-havers. Jews.

My point is this - while Christmas and Hanukkah may be different holidays celebrated by different religions and different people doing different things while filling themselves to the brim with different not-so-good-for-you foods, the decor can be equal (and mystifyingly similar) in its ugliness and at the root of it all everyone is overdoing it.

A point I've been trying to prove all week on Facebook as I've been celebrating a new holiday called The Festival of Ugly Menorahs which I'll share with you now. Enjoy.

Festival of Ugly Menorahs : Night One
The Sea Monster Night

Festival of Ugly Menorahs : Night Two
The Special Holiday Visitor Night
(Hint: those are tampons)

Festival of Ugly Menorahs : Night Three
The Inflatable Night
(This thing is 6 feet tall and goes on your lawn)

Festival of Ugly Menorahs : Night Four
The I Had Too Much Manischewitz and Spent Night Three in the Loo Night

Festival of Ugly Menorahs : Night Five
The Musical Night When Our Ears Also Witness The Ugly

(Hint: This menorah plays Klezmer)

(Hint: Klezmer is Jew music)

(Hint: Think clarinets and accordions)

(I think you get the ugliness now)

Festival of Ugly Menorahs : Night Six
The Night of Holographic Ugliness
Nights 7 and 8 are yet to be revealed as they have not yet occurred, so I will spare you the final days. Perhaps, if all goes well and I find some particularly stunning gems, I will share them with you as I ready my latke-making outfit for the final night's festivities.

And, before you comment and ask me what the fuck a latke-making outfit might entail, I will tell you that it is not fanciful, nor does it include flashing lights, inflatable accessories or outwardly visible tampon strings (no, that's for beach whoring. And, ew.)

My latke outfit, as it's commonly known around my family, is a black cotton v-neck sweater, jeans and low-heeled boots (2 inch heel max) with gel insoles. One must always be Gellin' when one is Latke-Makin'. Or something like that. Also important are the breatheability and cotton-ness of all items of clothes because that means that they are washable in HOT water and don't shy away from two tons of detergent.

Because you will smell like a nice crispy french fry when you're done frying enough latkes to feed any Hanukkah crowd and the smell will haunt you unless you go home and immediately burn or thoroughly wash with scorching water and soap all of your clothes from that day. You should also take advantage of the "Repeat if necessary" option on your shampoo, shave off all exposed hair, hose yourself off with Purell and commence a week-long diet of kale and purified water until the latkes have been expunged from your soul.

It's an effort, I won't lie to you.

So, if I get through all of that without accidentally lighting myself on fire (which has some implications I won't go into due to the super pissing-off-of-random-people-ness it provokes) during the lighting of my parents' traditional and not-ugly menorah, I may come back here and share with you nights 7 and 8.

If I don't, well, you can assume I've had all I can take of Hanukkah, menorahs, ugliness and smelling like a french fry's armpit and have moved on to other things. Like figuring out how to get through Christmas without yanking down my neighbors' musical manger display running amok next door.


  1. I should try to drizzle you a cooked sugar menorah. Because I feel sure that would turn out pretty fugly, especially if I don't cook them long enough.

    But you've brought up a good idea... crafts involving tampons. Why have we not done more with this?

  2. You're going to buy the high heels menorah, aren't you?

    Happy Hanukkah, Finny. Watch out for those grease fires.

  3. The tampon one is priceless! But I have to admit to having the holographic one and a couple other pretty heinous kid ones. BUT when you like in Bethlehem, the Christmas city for god's sake, you grab onto any vestige of Jewness.

  4. Considering how crafty you are, I'm surprised you haven't made yourself a menorah sweatshirt.

  5. I love it. I sent my bil to your blog and he had a good laugh, too.

    Dude, the latke smell is beyond atrocious. It was so cold Saturday night and I left the sliding doors open all night to air out the place. The worst.

    Please don't lose your steam. Finish the week with two more uglies for us. Pretty please?

  6. Hey do you think they carry that octupus menorah at where else can I get one?


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.