Friday, July 31, 2009

Love in the Time of Pets

Khunrum emails: I could write an interesting short story on dating women with pets. The beasts always eye you like you're there to toss them in the stew pot. Women insist on sleeping with them. The litter box smells to high heaven. Fleas. A friend was doing the boom boom with a lady and her cat peed on his suit. Another chum was going at it on the couch when her dog trotted over and took a smelly dump right next to them. I was sleeping uncomfortably one evening when something crawled over my face. I thought it was a rat and woke up in mild terror. It was her cat. I got dressed and went home. You'd think a single gal would increase her chances of landing a guy by going petless until the poor bastard said "I DO". But no....they must have that dog or cat to sleep with. Thank G-d I married a lady from a country where dogs and cats could eventually end up on the barbeque spit. No pets in this house.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Day I Knew The Relationship Was Doomed

Talking to her on the phone that Sunday, I realized the only way I would see her that day would be if she could fit me in around her dog-sitting.
She finally invited me to dinner that night at the home of friends.
I took a shower after yoga but was not sure how to dress as she would be accompanied by her friend's big black dog.
We went to Trader Joe's so she could pick up wine.
Though plenty of kosher wines were available, she deliberately chose non-kosher wine.
Over dinner, she had a couple of glasses. That bothered me because she was driving us home.
Drink and drive on your own time, woman!
Her conversation that evening was 50% about dogs. A minute of conversation about dogs is about all I can handle before my eyes glaze over.
I wouldn't talk about football for an hour over dinner if I knew that at least half of my audience had zero interest in the topic.
When she dropped me off, we hugged for a minute in the car (with the big black dog drooling over us) but anything further was not possible because of the dog.
A bunch of little things that day made me realize I didn't rate very highly in her priorities.
That was the night I gave up on us.
I kept seeing her for a few weeks out of inertia but then we ended with a bang.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Scenes From A Shabbos Table

The father walks around and gives brachas (blessings) to his children. Then his wife says her husband will give blessings to anyone who wants one. That the neighbor, a lady in her eighties, got her first blessing of her life at this Shabbos table and she broke down in tears.

"I can see how deeply moved your boy was by his bracha," I said. "Look at how he is sawing at his wrist with his knife."

The bloody kid was sliding the knife back and forth.

Friday, July 24, 2009


A friend of mine was cheated on. He felt devastated. He questioned his worth. A rabbi-friend advises him: she cheated on you.....That sucks.

and - free unwanted and unsolicited advice from you friend.

your depth and goodness is independent of her.

so while there is hurt - the wounds of love.

there is not the searing pain when your very existence and value has been called into question.

that stems from you decency - integrity - compassion - and divine image realized in her life.

nothing she can do can touch that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My favorite sentence of 2009

"Get away from me with that thing!"
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My therapist was right

I've been walking around for days thinking of all the things I'd like to say to somebody who hurt me, yet I was too proud to say them. Last night I emailed off my feelings and immediately felt better, lighter, cleansed.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Starbucks meeting

I'm sitting beside a meeting of Starbucks managers. They tell each other not to say to customers, "Price increase", but rather "Price adjustment." Don't mention that these increases are "tests."

They report to each other that McDonalds big coffee experiment is a giant failure.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

'For that I will give you my daughter'

I have so many accomplishments and yet no father has said that to me.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Rabbi Jason Weiner Leaves YICC

From: Young Israel of Century City
Dear Member,

We have important news that we prefer you learn from the shul rather than from another source. We would normally send this by snail mail, but given the time sensitive nature of the announcement, we had to use e-mail.

Rabbi Weiner has been offered a full time position as the Jewish Chaplain of Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. Rabbi Weiner's affiliation with the hospital began when Rabbi Levi Meier A"H took ill and could not continue full time at the hospital without some relief. A number of members, together with Rabbi Muskin, suggested that Rabbi Weiner could and should assist Rabbi Meier. Over the course of his two years at the hospital, Rabbi Weiner has already had wide reaching influence, such that when the executive search group Isaacson Miller made its recommendation concluding a six month national search process, Rabbi Weiner was the unanimous choice. He was chosen over people twenty years his senior, over people with degrees in chaplaincy and over a number of PhD's. The search committee recognized Rabbi Weiner's sterling personal qualities, his steadfastness and commitment, and his youth and energy.

The hospital understandably desires Rabbi Weiner's full time commitment and as such Rabbi Weiner will conclude his third year with us on August 14th (the hospital is allowing Rabbi Weiner to devote time to wind down his administrative commitments to the shul between July 20th when he starts there and August 14th) and then leave our payroll. A press release is going out on Monday afternoon and an e-mail to Cedar Sinai's 11,000 employees. Rabbi Weiner desires to keep a strong association with the shul and will continue giving a series of adult education courses and organizing a rotation of Rabbanim (including himself) to cover the 9:30 minyan while we determine our future course. At the upcoming board meeting on the 20th, we will suggest that the new administration be given a chance to get their bearings and to appoint a search committee for Rabbi Weiner's ultimate replacement and to determine the nature of that position in the future.

As an aside, while the departure of Rabbi Weiner from our payroll will certainly help in our efforts to cut costs in the short term, on July 20th, the Board will be entertaining significant cuts (to the tune of 10% of the shul's operating budget) suggested by the Cost-Cutting Committee - independent of the savings on Rabbi Weiner's salary and benefits. A more detailed explanation of these cuts will be explained in a letter to the membership -- following the 20th -- to the extent that the Board approves any or all of them.

While Rabbi Weiner, Lauren and their family will continue to live and work in our midst, and while Rabbi Weiner will continue serving us in a voluntary capacity, the Weiner family is closing a chapter in their lives with us. We were blessed to have such a wonderful couple alongside the Muskin's at our helm. I know that you all join us in thanking them for three rich and productive years and in wishing them Hatzlacha Rabba in their next set of endeavors.

Best to all,

Rabbi Muskin Seth Berkowitz Suzanne Schlanger

New from the Center for Immigration Studies

Support the Center for Immigration Studies by donating on line here:

[FYI --

1. Blog: 'On a Roll'
2. Blog: 'One Step Forward, Three Steps Back'
3. Blog: 'At CFR, No Clarity on Family Unification'
4. Blog: 'Saddam's BFFs Coming to a Town Near You'
5. Blog: 'Obama Supports Secure Borders'
6. Blog: 'Another Bad Sign for the Amnesty Crowd'
7. Blog: 'Bad Poetry Makes for Bad Policy'

-- Mark Krikorian]

On a Roll
By Mark Krikorian
CIS Blog, July 10, 2009

Excerpt: Wednesday and Thursday saw Senate approval of four good immigration amendments to the Homeland Security appropriations bill — not silver bullets that will solve everything, but real steps in the right direction nonetheless. A measure sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions would permanently reauthorize E-Verify and require federal contractors to use it (the similar contractor rule hyped by the administration is much narrower and riddled with loopholes). This amendment had failed in March by a vote of 47–50, but passed this week 53–44, with eight Democrats switching from no to yes votes (and two switching the other way). Every single Republican voted for it. A measure to require completion of the border fencing passed 54–44, and two other amnedments passed by voice vote — i.e., unanimously: one requires implementation of the Social Security No-Match Rule (overturning the administration announcement Wednesday to rescind the rule), while the other would permit employers to screen their existing workforce with the E-Verify system, which now may be used only for new hires.

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One Step Forward, Three Steps Back
By Mark Krikorian
CIS Blog, July 9, 2009

Excerpt: The administration has announced that it's abandoning an important immigration initative that would have identified large numbers of illegal immigrants in the workforce. To camouflage this capitulation, the same press release reiterates a promise to finally implement a different, much smaller initative.

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At CFR, No Clarity on Family Unification
By Jerry Kammer
CIS Blog, July 8, 2009

Excerpt: As the Council on Foreign Relations rolled out its recommendations for immigration policy reform on Wednesday, a panel discussion covered ground that is familiar to advocates of the comprehensive reform proposals.

The CFR task force wants to combine calls for tough enforcement against illegal immigration with sweeping legalization of those who are already here. The panelists, who sat on the task force, said there was strong agreement that a demonstrated commitment to enforcement was essential to the effort to win support for “earned legalization.”

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Saddam's BFFs Coming to a Town Near You
By Mark Krikorian
CIS Blog, July 8, 2009

Excerpt: Besides the specific problem of welcoming to our shores people who danced in the streets at the destruction of the Twin Towers, there's the more general issue of resettling as refugees people who have somewhere else to go. There are 21 members of the Arab League, other than Iraq, that could take these Palestinians, and if they don't want to (and they don't) then we should apply pressure to our 'friends' in the Arab world to make them do so. Resettlement in America, regardless of the total numbers (and I obviously prefer lower numbers), should be reserved only for those who can't stay where they are and will never have anywhere else to go. Many, perhaps most, of those resettled here as refugees don't fit that description, these Palestinians being simply the latest example.

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Obama Supports Secure Borders
By Jon Feere
CIS Blog, July 7, 2009

Excerpt: As the last sentence indicates, the president’s words were aimed at Russia. But this is powerful language that must be reiterated if and when the president begins pushing illegal alien amnesty. Obama cannot back peddle from this statement without losing credibility on both an international and national scale.

Time will tell if Obama’s a man of his words.

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Another Bad Sign for the Amnesty Crowd
By Mark Krikorian
CIS Blog, July 7, 2009

Excerpt: From Politico: 'Labor declares war on Chamber', as in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This story doesn't touch on immigration, but the two big union federations already gave business the finger in agreeing to oppose any guest-worker plan as part of an amnesty bill. And amnesty just isn't making it through Congress unless business and labor are swapping spit in the shower.

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Bad Poetry Makes for Bad Policy
By Mark Krikorian
CIS Blog, July 6, 2009

Excerpt: Roberto Suro, a former WaPo reporter turned professor at USC, is no restrictionist but he is a contrarian on immigration. His 1998 book Strangers Among Us is anathema to the open-borders crowd, with its assertion that stopping illegal immigration is necessary to improve the lives of low-skilled immigrants already here and its confidence that enforcement is actually feasible.

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Center for Immigration Studies
1522 K St. NW, Suite 820
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076

Tired of the Excuses

From: Vicki Polin

Tired of the Excuses

Over the last ten years that I've been involved in the orthodox world, I have been told something over and over again. The way to determine if someone is orthodox is if they keep kosher and are shomer shabbos (keep the sabbath). If the individual is a man, he is also required to be a part of a minyan (a group of 10 men praying together), praying three times a day if possible.

Whenever there is an individual who follows the above rules, yet does something that brings negative attention to the orthodox world, then I am told that they are not really frum, haredi, orthodox, or practicing Judaism. To be honest I see this as a lame excuse to perpetuate the vision that those who are orthodox are perfect.

I personally believe that when someone parades around in the orthodox traditional clothing, keeps kosher and shabbos, and when the individual davens three times a day in a minyan, usually at an orthodox synagogue -- even if they do something against the cultural norms, they are still considered orthodox, haredi, frum or what ever else you want to call it. The rest of the world will not buy into the excuse that keeps being given.

Those who perpetrate sex crimes against children come from all cultural backgrounds. This includes those of other faiths, neo-nazi's, and the orthodox Jewish community.

I've also recently been given the excuse that the haredi men in Jerusalem that are rioting against the parking lot being open on shabbos are "not really practicing Judaism" or ar not really orthodox.

To the rest of the world they are seen as Jews. It doesn't matter if one group does not feel they are practicing Judaism correctly or not. They are all seen as Jews. As a people we need to do something about this, besides saying they are not really practicing or doing it correctly. We are one people, no matter what our skin color is, how we daven (pray) or don't pray. We are all responsible for each other. We must stop being in denial and face the fact that there are those who are orthodox who also molest children, sexual assault adults, and act in ways in which one does not feel an orthodox person should behave. The first step in healing is recognizing the problem. Denial will get us no where, except to allow more children and adults to become the next victim of sex crimes and or more journalists to be spit at, or worse.

Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, LCPC, ATR-BC
Founder and CEO

The Awareness Center, Inc.
(the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault)
P.O. Box 65273, Baltimore, MD 21209

Was there anything I could've done?

Was there something missing in our relationship? Was I an inadequate boyfriend? Lover?

What would you have needed so you would not have opened that door Friday night?

What would you need from me to let go of the safety valve of contact with your exes?
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And then came relief

At first he just felt sick. He felt like his balls had been cut off. And then he felt relief that it was over. Terminar. Finito. Completo. Done. And he felt glad that he would never look back and wonder what he could've done differently.
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C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community

This book will change my life. It stresses the importance of writers finding community with their fellow writers. Encouragement is often the difference between successful and unsuccessful writers. I must join a writers group and get an MFA in creative writing.
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Petition to Protect Precious American Jobs from Being Taken by Illegal Aliens when We Have 16 MILLION UNEMPLOYED

From: Stephen Steinlight
Subject: Petition to Protect Precious American Jobs from Being Taken by Illegal Aliens when We Have 16 MILLION UNEMPLOYED

Jobs for American Workers, NOT Illegal Aliens

Stop Pelosi, Obama and Reid from stripping workplace enforcement like they did last winter.

Send this petition to keep E-Verify, Fence and No-Match amendments in the Homeland Security Bill and open up jobs to unemployed Americans.

To: President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid,

Defend unemployed Americans. Keep the four E-Verify, Fence and No-Match amendments in the Homeland Security spending bill. The Senate overwhelmingly passed these amendments to ensure that returning veterans and other unemployed Americans get jobs and that illegal foreign workers not be able to take the jobs from them.

The nation's eyes are upon you; we will not tolerate the stripping of these measures in a secret conference as you did with the House E-Verify provisions this past February.

Millions of unemployed Americans are counting on you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is NumbersUSA and why are we behind this petition?

NumbersUSA Action is a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy organization that opposes efforts to use federal immigration policies to force mass U.S. population growth and to depress wages of vulnerable workers. NumbersUSA Action is pro-environment, pro-worker, pro-liberty and pro-immigrant. Activists in the NumbersUSA Action network are Americans of all races and include many immigrants and the spouses, children and parents of immigrants. Our goal is to carry out the immigration-reduction recommendations from two national commissions of the 1990s:

1) The bi-partisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform urged reduction in immigration numbers that are now so high as to harm the most vulnerable American workers and their families
2) To achieve an environmentally sustainable society, the President's Council on Sustainable Development urged reducing immigration numbers to a level that will allow the U.S. population to stabilize.

Who is handling this petition?

Petitions are handled by NumbersUSA, a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Arlington, Virginia, with more than 860,000 activists committed to reducing immigration.

Can I send this to other people?

Yes, after filling out the fields to the right and hitting the "sign petition" button. You will then be redirected to a referral page where you can email the petition along to others.

How will the petition be delivered?

The petition will be delivered electronically to the person(s) or organization stated above.

What is your privacy policy?

Your information will NOT be shared, rented or sold to any entity or group.

Petitions are handled by NumbersUSA, a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Arlington, Virginia, with more than 900,000 activists committed to reducing immigration. By signing this petition, you have agreed to receive periodic updates from NumbersUSA via email; you may opt out at any time.

Leave E-Verify Amendments in Homeland Security Bill

4838 citizens have signed since July 12!

Your petition will immediately be delivered electronically to the White House.

PRIVACY POLICY: Your information will NOT be shared, rented or sold to any entity or group.

Petitions are handled by NumbersUSA, a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Arlington, Virginia, with more than 900,000 activists committed to reducing immigration. By signing this petition, you have agreed to receive periodic updates from NumbersUSA via email; you may opt out at any time.

Help get more signatures!

Already signed? You can still help by urging others to sign the petition!

Part 2: All the News that's Fit to Steal

Subject: Part 2: All the News that's Fit to Steal

I left a voice mail message early last week for NYT Washington Bureau Chief Dean Baquet, saying the Times policy is to credit the first publication to report something exclusively so why didn't they give proper credit.

I was pessimistic anything would come of this because I dealt with him two years ago about another one of my stories I wanted the Times to follow up and he repeatedly made promises he didn't keep: first he promised to have a reporter call me. He didn't. When I reminded him weeks later he promised again. Nobody called. Then he promised to call me and didn't.

But you never know.

I was pleasantly surprised when he called back this time. I repeated what I said on the voice mail about proper credit. He said actualy we reported this during the campaign.

Actually, they didn't. The Times and other publications reported about a poli sci thesis that Obama supposedly wrote at Colubmia but it never surfaced. The only thing he wrote at Columbia that anyone found is the Sundial essay.

I subsequently told him this and he agreed he was mistaken.

I said you wrote it's "unclear" how the essay "surfaced" on the internet but how could it be unclear if it was in the Washington Post and Politico?

"You're acting like a jerk," he explained, but "I'll look into it."

A jerk? He's Washington Bureau Chief of the New York Times and he can't come up with a more sophisticated term than jerk?

How about petulant?

A jerk? What is he a girl? "That guy is such a jerk" goes one popular refrain.

I probably was a little petulant on the phone but the plain reality is that if he has integrity he'll issue a correction, if he doesn't he won't. It's not going to turn on my less than stellar phone manners.

It's remarkably deceitful what the Times did. They used the "unclear" line because saying it was in the Washington Post and Politico would have made they look foolish for writing about something six months after it was in two major publications and one highly visible conservative one. (When I attacked Obama last year over his ties to rappers--a few months before the rest of the media reported the connection--I got attacked by people on Huffington Post and elsewhere plus heard from conservatives who read it.)

Anyway, "unclear" makes it sound like the Times in its infinite wisdom found the essay that had been overlooked and now brings it to readers' attention.

I was playing the conversation over in my head and remembered that he said "I get calls like this all the time" but you're the only one who acts like a jerk.

"Calls like this all the time?" Does that mean the Times is ripping people off on a regular basis?

So who's jerking who around?

A Jewish Bloggers Circle

I want a modern Knights of the Roundtable where likeminded Jews would sit around and listen to readings of prospective tweets, Facebook status updates, and blog posts, providing helpful feedback and raising the moral tone of the internet.
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Emunah Problems

A Facebook chat last week:

Meg* is in her late twenties. She's talking to an Orthodox rabbi back East who's a few years older. He's a longtime friend. He's a youth director.

Meg: Rabbi, I'm having emunah problems.
Rabbi: I'd love to help you. You've always been my favorite. I've always wondered what it would be like to kiss you.
Meg: But you're married with kids!
Rabbi: Just to spend one night with you. I always wanted to call you into my office... I'm having problems with my wife... But not sexually. Last night, I made her cum so much. What is it about sliding two fingers into a woman and going down on her that makes them cum?
Meg: I don't think I want to go there.
Rabbi: Hey, I'm coming to San Diego soon. Maybe we could get together?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Beth Jacob has a peaceful easy feeling

BJ's new cantor is widely-loved and their new pastor-rabbi begins August 15.
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'I want to tell you something'

I'm reading a book called "Uncommon Arrangements."
My phone rings.
"On Friday night," she says, "Vicki came over and we fooled around. And I wanted to tell you and see how you felt about that."
Wow. You didn't know what you felt about that but it wasn't good so you walked around the parking lot and got off the phone as fast as you could.

Chaim Amalek emails: Are you nuts? You get this opportunity for a three-way (with you the only male) and you turn it down? Jesus Herman Christ, man up and tell her you want to meet this woman!

Bob emails: I could never share someone I care about with another. Never. I have never had a three-way and could only imagine it happening if I had absolutely no attachment to either person.

On another note, I have never bought the notion of "bisexuality." I think everyone is either straight or gay. Do you prefer hot dogs or do you prefer tacos? Sorry, Luke, but I couldn't come up with a vegetarian metaphor for you.

How does the council weigh in on the bisexual debate. I am curious.

Chaim Amalek emails: "I think women are more plastic than men, in that they can toggle between teams whereas men really do not and can not. I've known women who were generally gay go penis-crazy when they were in a procreative mood. I don't think gay dudes do that (e.g. Michael Jackson never did have coitus with a woman, did he?)"

Then you went to the library and read a book. A precocious teen sat across from you. You wanted to ask her about what she was reading but you feared she might ask you about what you were reading -- "Lolita."

'The big spender is back!'

That was my announcement as I stepped up to the counter at my Starbucks in Norwalk this morning as I ordered my ritual passion iced-tea with two Splendas.
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Monday, July 06, 2009

Stealing The News

Evan Gahr writes: The New York Times yesterday published a humongous front-page story about an anti-war essay that a Columbia University undergraduate named Barack Obama wrote in March 1983.

The piece, written by veteran reporters David Sanger and William Broad, even included part of the actual essay--yellowed with age--from a now defunct campus publication, Sundial.

Sanger and Broad, who don't seem to notice Obama expressed the same kind of views disseminated by Soviet apologists at the time, declared with typical Timesean omniscience that the article "came to light on the internet just before the inauguration" but precisely "how the article found its way on the internet is unclear."

Uh, unclear to anyone who doesn't read Human Events, the Washington Post or the Politico.

The Obama essay didn't just show up on the internet out of the ether one day.

It was missing from the Columbia archives and not accessible to the public online. But I managed to browbeat Columbia into giving me a scan of the article. On January
9, I was first journalist to write about the essay, exclusively for Human Events, a longstanding conservative publication, not a blog.

The Washington Post gossip column January 13 did its lead item on the essay, which they noted I "excavated."

The same day, Ben Smith wrote about the essay on his widely-read Politico blog. Smith posted the actual essay--with credit to me.

So much for the mystery.

The Times claim about the article's unknown origins is demonstrably false. Moreover, someone at the Times surely knew it was false because the paper posted the essay, which appeared online only at the Politico.

So they took something Politico but don't know where they got it?

Given that the Times is imploding thanks to online competition why would the once mighty paper of record want to pretend that traditional reporting is nothing more than internet gossip?

Sanger and Broad could not be reached for comment.

Craig Whitney, in charge of Times standards, promised to look into the matter upon his return to the office tomorrow.

<--EVAN GAHR has embarassed liberals with their own words for the New York Post, Washington Times, Wall Street Journal and American Spectator.

I love Norwalk!

I've been sitting here at the Starbucks at 11790 Firestone Blvd for two hours and - glory be! - I have been completely free of sexual temptation.
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"You're unbelievably crude," she says, "and rude to so many people. You take no care over your appearance. Your life is a mess. And the worst thing about you is that you are religious."
"I bet we both trash each other to our therapists," I say.
"I don't say anything bad about you," she says, "except that you're mad."
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She won't date him

I try to comfort a friend who just got fired.
"Do you have a woman in your life?" I ask.
"I'm in love," he says, "but she won't date me till I'm sober. That means no pot, no alcohol, no coke."
"When did you last talk to her?"
"Last night."
"We talk every day."
"She'll f--- me. She just won't date me."
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