Author Archives: Michael McBride

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:


Every time my extended family gets together (we don’t play it with my nuclear family) we have to play dominoes. The general rules are that you start off, everyone takes eleven pieces from the piles, you put it in the middle, theres this little board we made (a little cardboard octagon that you put the piece in the middle and it points at the people playing the game). Whoever goes first has to start their own train — you have one domino where one half of it matches whatever the starting piece was. Each person does this then you have to add to your train with matching ends. If you can’t add you eat from the pile and people yell “Neccesitas comer”. The point of the game is to get rid of all your pieces. You can open a public train to add to to. If you can’t add to your own, any one can add to yours. Everyone has a literal plastic train that you put on your train when it is open. When you have the last piece, you have to say “Ultimo” or you have to eat.

We’ve only ever played during holidays and when friends come over. My family is not very happy, but when we play that game everyone is happy and there is food. Good memories.

I think that the ‘train’ rhetoric and the very act of playing dominoes MIGHT be related to Mexican culture in the sense of they represent wealth in a way, but more importantly I think it brings multiple people (at least 8) together (which makes sense for big Mexican families). Her family used to be two rival families, so maybe it was a way of bringing them together.


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.

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.

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.
“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.