Author Archive
Humor

Blonde, Brunette and Redhead on the Run

There’s a blonde, brunette and a redhead. And they’re trying to.. um… break out of jail. So they all jump over, like, the big wall. But then once they’re over they this fence, they see a security guard coming towards them. And then so this see this line of trash cans, and they’re like alright, we can each fit in one of them. And they’re all hiding in the trashcans and the security guard comes over and hits each trash can with his baton. And the first one he hits has the blonde in it, and she goes meow meow meow. And the security goes “looks like just a cat”. And he hits the one with the brunette in it and she barks and he got son “looks like a cat”. And then he hits the one with the redhead in it, and she says “I’m a weasel.”

 

This is funny because redheads are dumb!

 

The person who told me this is gay, lower income, and went to an art school. Therefore, I believe that this is an attempt to flip the traditional blonde joke to represent something a bit more marginalized, as he feels.

Folk Beliefs
Protection

Kennahera

When ever a Jewish person said something good, they always said “Kennahera”.

 

It prevented a kind of jinx. It wards off the evil eye.

 

This is basic preventative magic. It’s like a Jewish version of ‘knocking on wood’. It’s just a way of trying to control the uncontrollable– also, I notice that unlike knock on wood, you say it when something GOOD is brought up. I think this is because, at least form my family, the Jewish culture seems to always expect negative things to happen.

Folk Beliefs
Magic

Jewish Naming

In the Jewish religion, you always name your kid after someone who has died, it was Jewish tradition. So, I’m named after my Mother’s father, who’s name is Jack. So I never quite figured out how Jane ended up being Jack, but whatever. He passed away within 24 hours of my birth. And I’m named after him.

My mom always told me that Papa Jack would watch over me from heaven because I was named after him. All of the kids are named after relatives she thought would keep watch on them from Heaven.

The most common Jewish reason associated with this has to do with fooling the angel of death—that if you name a baby after a living person, the angel might get confused and take the baby by accident. I can see how this oikotype would appear in my family because now and in America infant mortality rates are much lower than they were, so what becomes more important is having the children ‘looked after’. Whereas concern used to be on infant death, now it’s on the growing up process.

Myths
Narrative

St. Patrick in Kerry

When St. Patrick was coming through Kerry, he had a pet goat, and they killed the goat and ate it. And St. Patrick put a curse on them, that from that day forward, everyone from Kerry would speak in a way that no one would understand and all the other Irish people would laugh at them.

If we ever met an Irish person that we couldn’t understand, we’d always say they were from Kerry.

I think that this is a simple way of building cultural identity. There is a certain anxiety with not being able to understand people that are supposedly ‘from your own homeland’, so they need a reason to justify this, and being that so many Irish people are Catholic, a faux-reigious reason gives it verisimilitude.

 

Folk Beliefs
Protection

A window open at death

When someone was dying at home, you always had to have a window open so that their soul could leave, even in the dead of winter.

 

If the window was closed, the soul would be tormented. And then somebody in the house could get sick from what they had. When their soul left, it took the sickness with them.

 

I’m going to go with a naturalistic explanation on this one. I think that at death, especially in Ireland, the whole family would have gathered around them. With this many people in places that typically wouldn’t have ventilation, perhaps opening a window actually did blow away bacteria in the air and keep family members breathing relatively fresh air.

 

Contagious
Folk Beliefs
Magic

New Years Day, first person to walk through the door

New Years Day. The first person to cross your threshold (walk through your door) had to have dark hair. So my father had black hair, and New Tears Eve after midnight he had to walk through twenty fucking apartments because not many Irish people had black hair. And it had to be a man not a woman.

 

That was a sign of good luck. Anybody else that came in, you weren’t gonna have a good year.

 

Since more English people have black hair, or the Irish people that do have black hair are the black Irish, I think that it might be a sign of welcoming guests/foreigners. Or perhaps a preventative magic because the English would have had black hair. Or, simply the fact that black hair is rare, and so it entails rare things (good things) for the rest of the year.

Humor

The Mezuzah Joke

“A man who has finally made it in business treats himself to a new Lamborghini. After buying it, he feels guilty so he goes to the Orthodox Rabbi and asks for a mezuzah for the Lamborghini.
“You want a mezuzah for what?” the Rabbi asks.
“It’s a Lamborghini,”
“What’s a Lamborghini?” asks the Rabbi.
“A sports car.”
“What? That’s blasphemy!” the Rabbi shouts. “You want a mezuzah for a sports car? Go to the Conservatives!”
Well, the man is disappointed, but goes to the Conservative Rabbi and asks for a mezuzah.
“You want a mezuzah for what?” the Rabbi asks.
“For my Lamborghini”, the man replies.
“What’s a Lamborghini?” asks the Rabbi.
“A car, a sports car.”
“What kind of sports car?” asks the Rabbi.
“Italian.”
“What? That is blasphemy!” the Rabbi shouts. “You want a mezuzah for a Goyishe car? Go to the Reform!”
Again, the man feels guilty and disappointed, but goes to the Reform Rabbi.
“Rabbi,” he asks, “I’d like a mezuzah for my Lamborghini.”
“You have a Lamborghini?” asks the Rabbi.
“You know what it is?” says the man.
“Of course! It’s a fantastic Italian sports car. What’s a mezuzah?”

This is funny because reformed Jews don’t do anything!

 

THe person that told me this was basically an agnostic Jew, so I think it is a way of coping with a part form past traditions. It is a humorous acknowledgement of the fact that many reformed Jews are very uninformed about actual Jewish religions and traditions- almost metafolklore, this is. Also, it is dealing with the acknowledgement of the ‘rich Jew’ stereotype with the man having the Lamborghini to begin with.

Humor

Jewish Girlfriend

I had a wonderful girlfriend from New York city, Zelda, but she’s always complaining about something. She’s a wonderful girl, but one morning she wakes up and goes, ‘Oy vey! Oy vey!’ And I go, ‘Zelda, what’s wrong?’ And she says, ‘How am I supposed to know yet, I’m just waking up!

This is said in a Jewish accent–it’s because Jews always complain.

Actually, Jews do complain (at least form my experience). It’s a cultural thing– even Passover is basically long nights complaining about the Egyptians. It’s a way of separating oneself from this part of Jewish culture– diverging from the ‘complainers’, so to speak, and showing the rest of the world that you’re in on the joke.

Folk speech

Bubba Mainza

Bubba Mainza

This means, “a grandma story”.

A cute phrase– but Jewish families are very code to their elders, and often tell stories about them. It makes sense then, that there would be an actual Yiddish phrase for these types of stories.

Folk Beliefs
Magic

Erin the Kabouter

This little statue showed up on my moms door, and it was this little gnome that was made out of stone. His mom told him that it was Erin the Kabouter. And apparently, as I found out later, this stone figure of a gnome was actually like passed down the family. Erin the Kabouter (a dutch idea, like gnomes) could move around, and she would move the stone around the property of the house. The sign of a Kabouter is like, an “okay” hand sign tucked behind their back. The move around and are kind of creepy.

 

They were supposed to be good, and they were keepers of your land. JUST his family’s Kabouter was named Erin. Other Dutch families also have Kabouters. To have him in the house he takes care of things, and overall brings good fortune.

 

I think that the Kabouter doesn’t so much bring good luck as prevent bad luck. In drug culture, the Kabouter is associated with protecting one during a ‘magic mushroom’ experience. I believe that by moving around (causing mischief) he actually prevents mischief from occurring. Kabouters are a main part of this movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0283721/

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