Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto, family

A (much) longer look at Passover…

Passover, or Pesach, is a Jewish and Samaritan holy day and festival commemorating the biblical event of Hebrews’ escape from enslavement in Egypt.

Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan (equivalent to March and April in Gregorian calendar), the first month of the Hebrew calendar’s festival year according to the Hebrew Bible, the Torah.

In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Hebrew slaves, with the tenth plague being the killing of all of the firstborn, from the Pharaoh’s son to the firstborn of the dungeon captive, to the firstborn of cattle. The Hebrews were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term “passover”.

When Pharaoh freed the Hebrews, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover, no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called “The Festival of the Unleavened Bread”. Matza (flat unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday.

Together with Shavuot (“Pentecost”) and Sukkot (“Tabernacles”), Passover is one of the three pilgrimage festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace historically made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Passover is a spring festival, so the 14th day of Nisan begins on the night of a full moon after the vernal equinox. To ensure that Passover did not start before spring, the tradition in ancient Israel held that the first day of Nisan would not start until the barley is ripe, being the test for the onset of spring. If the barley was not ripe an intercalary month (Adar II) would be added. However, since at least the 12th century, the date has been determined mathematically.

In Israel, Passover is the seven-day holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, with the first and last days observed as legal holidays and as holy days involving abstention from work, special prayer services, and holiday meals; the intervening days are known as Chol HaMoed (“festival days”). Diaspora Jews historically observed the festival for eight days, and most still do. Reform and Reconstructionist Jews and Israeli Jews, wherever they are, usually observe the holiday over seven days. The reason for this extra day is due to enactment of the Sages. It is thought by many scholars that Jews outside of Israel could not be certain if their local calendars fully conformed to practice of the Temple at Jerusalem, so they added an extra day. But as this practice only attaches to certain (major) holy days, others posit the extra day may have been added to accommodate people who had to travel long distances to participate in communal worship and ritual practices; or the practice may have evolved as a compromise between conflicting interpretations of Jewish Law regarding the calendar; or it may have evolved as a safety measure in areas where Jews were commonly in danger, so that their enemies would not be certain on which day to attack.

Passover is a biblically mandated holiday, indicating that it was already old and traditional by the time of the redaction of the Pentateuch:

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month between the two evenings is the LORD’S Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. And ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days; in the seventh day is a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. (Leviticus 23:5)

The biblical regulations pertaining to the original Passover also include how the meal is to be eaten: “with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s passover” (Exodus 12:11).

The Biblical commandments concerning the Passover (and the Feast of Unleavened Bread) stress the importance of remembering:

And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt; and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.” (Deuteronomy 16:12)

Modern observance and preparation
Removing all chametz
Chametz (“leavening”) refers either to a grain product that is already fermented (e.g. yeast breads, certain types of cake, and most alcoholic beverages), or to a substance that can cause fermentation (e.g. yeast, sourdough or high fructose corn syrup). The consumption of chametz is forbidden during Passover in most Jewish traditions. According to Halakha, the ownership of chametz is also proscribed.

The specific definition of chametz varies among religious and ethno-cultural traditions. In Ashkenazic and certain Sephardic applications of Jewish Law, chametz does not include baking soda, baking powder or like products. Although these are leavening agents, they leaven by chemical reaction whereas the prohibition against chametz is understood to apply only to fermentation. Thus, bagels, waffles and pancakes made with baking soda and matzo meal are considered permissible, while bagels made with yeast, sourdough pancakes and waffles, and the like, are prohibited. Karaite Jews and many non-Ashkenazic Jewish traditions do not observe a distinction between chemical leavening and leavening by fermentation.

The Torah commandments regarding chametz are:

To remove all chametz from one’s home, including things made with chametz, before the first day of Passover. (Exodus 12:15). It may be simply used up, thrown out (historically, destroyed by burning, since there was no weekly garbage pickup in ancient times), or given or sold to non-Jews (or non-Samaritans, as the case may be).
To refrain from eating chametz or mixtures containing chametz during Passover. (Exodus 13:3, Exodus 12:20, Deuteronomy 16:3).
Not to possess chametz in one’s domain (i.e. home, office, car, etc.) during Passover (Exodus 12:19, Deuteronomy 16:4).
Observant Jews typically spend the weeks before Passover in a flurry of thorough house cleaning, to remove every morsel of chametz from every part of the home. Jewish law requires the elimination of olive-sized or larger quantities of leavening from one’s possession, but most housekeeping goes beyond this. Even the cracks of kitchen counters are thoroughly scrubbed, for example, to remove any traces of flour and yeast, however small. Any item or implement that has handled chametz is generally put away and not used during Passover.

Some hotels, resorts, and even cruise ships across America, Europe and Israel also undergo a thorough housecleaning to make their premises “kosher for Pesach” to cater to observant Jews.

Passover dishes
Due to the Torah injunction not to eat chametz during Passover, observant families typically own complete sets of serving dishes, glassware and silverware which have never come into contact with chametz, for use only during Passover. Under certain circumstances, some chametz utensils can be immersed in boiling water (hagalat keilim) to purge them of any traces of chametz that may have accumulated during the year. Many Sephardic families thoroughly wash their year-round glassware and then use it for Passover, as the Sephardic position is that glass does not absorb enough traces of food to present a problem. Similarly, ovens may be used for Passover either by setting the self-cleaning function to the highest degree for a certain period of time, or by applying a blow torch to the interior until the oven glows red hot (a process called libun gamur).

Search for chametz
Traditionally, Jews do a formal search for remaining chametz (bedikat chametz) after nightfall on the evening before Passover. A blessing is read (על ביעור חמץ – al biyur chametz, “on the removal of chametz”), and one or more members of the household proceed from room to room to check that no crumbs remain in any corner. In very traditional families, the search may be conducted by the head of the household; in more modern families, the children may be the ones who do the search, under the careful supervision of their parents.

It is customary, although we have never done it, to turn off the lights and conduct the search by candlelight, using a feather and a wooden spoon: candlelight effectively illuminates corners without casting shadows; the feather can dust crumbs out of their hiding places; and the wooden spoon which collects the crumbs can be burned the next day with the chametz.
If we had to do this I could see modernizing and using a flashlight, table brush and dustpan.

Burning the chametz
On the morning of the 14th of Nisan, any leavened products that remain in the householder’s possession, along with the 10 morsels of bread from the previous night’s search, are burned (s’rayfat chametz). The head of the household repeats the declaration of biyur chametz, declaring any chametz that may not have been found to be null and void “as the dust of the earth”. Should more chametz actually be found in the house during the Passover holiday, it must be burnt as soon as possible.

Unlike chametz, which can be eaten any day of the year except during Passover, kosher for Passover foods can be eaten year-round. They need not be burnt or otherwise discarded after the holiday ends. The sole exception is the historic sacrificial lamb, which is almost never part of the modern Ashkenazi Jewish holiday but is still a principal feature of Samaritan observance and non-Ashkenazi Jewish observance. The meat of this lamb, which is slaughtered and cooked on the evening of Passover, must be completely consumed before the morning.(Exodus 12:15)

Sale of chametz
Chametz may be sold rather than discarded, especially in the case of relatively valuable forms such as liquor distilled from wheat, with the products being repurchased afterward. In some cases, they may never leave the house, instead being formally sold while remaining in the original owner’s possession in a locked cabinet until they can be repurchased after the holiday. Although this practice dates back many years, some contemporary rabbinical authorities have come to regard it with disdain – since the supposed “new owner” never takes actual possession of the goods (so he can’t drink all the booze during the 8 days of Passover).

The sale of chametz may also be conducted communally via a rabbi, who becomes the “agent” for all the community’s Jews through a halakhic procedure called a kinyan (acquisition). Each householder must put aside all the chametz he is selling into a box or cupboard, and the rabbi enters into a contract to sell all the chametz to a non-Jewish person (who is not obligated to observe the commandments) in exchange for a small down payment (e.g. $1.00), with the remainder due after Passover. This sale is considered completely binding according to Halakha, and at any time during the holiday, the buyer may come to take or partake of his property. The rabbi then re-purchases the goods for less than they were sold at the end of the holiday. This I have done! We grew up with this tradition.

Machine-made matzo
The main symbol of the Passover holiday is matzo, or unleavened bread. This is a type of flatbread made solely from flour and water which is continually worked from mixing through baking, so that it is not allowed to rise. Matzo may be made by machine or by hand; the latter type of matzo, called shmura matzo (“watched” or “guarded” matzo), is the bread of preference for the Passover Seder in Orthodox Jewish communities.

The Torah contains a Divine commandment to eat matzo on the first night of Passover and to eat only unleavened bread (i.e., matzo) during the entire week of Passover.[29] Accordingly, the eating of matzo figures prominently in the Passover Seder. There are several explanations for this.

The Torah says that it is because the Hebrews left Egypt with such haste that there was no time to allow baked bread to rise; thus, flat bread, matzo, is a reminder of the rapid departure of the Exodus.

Matzo has also been called Lechem Oni (Hebrew: “poor man’s bread”). There is an attendant explanation that matzo serves as a symbol to remind Jews what it is like to be a poor slave and to promote humility, appreciate freedom, and avoid the inflated ego symbolized by leavened bread.

Matzo baking

In the weeks before Passover, matzos are prepared for holiday consumption. In Orthodox Jewish communities, men traditionally gather in groups (“chaburas”) to bake a special version of handmade matzo called “shmura matzo”, or “guarded matzo”, for use at the Seder. These are made from wheat that is guarded from contamination by chametz from the time of summer harvest to its baking into matzos five to ten months later. Shmura matzo dough is rolled by hand, resulting in a large and round matzo (like a medium sized pizza crust). Chaburas also work together in machine-made matzo factories, which produce the typically square-shaped matzo sold in stores.

The baking of shmura matzo is labor-intensive, as only 18–22 minutes is permitted between the mixing of flour and water to the conclusion of baking and removal from the oven; however, most are completed by 5 minutes after first being kneaded. Consequently, only a small amount of matzos can be baked at one time, and the chabura members are enjoined to work the dough constantly so that it is not allowed to ferment and rise. A special cutting tool is run over the dough just before baking to keep the matzos flat while baking; this creates the familiar dotted holes in the matzo.

The Passover seder

It is traditional for Jewish families to gather on the first night of Passover (first two nights in communities outside the land of Israel) for a special dinner called a seder (סדר—derived from the Hebrew word for “order”, referring to the very specific order of the ritual). The table is set with the finest china and silverware to reflect the importance of the meal. During this meal, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold using a special text called the Haggadah. Four cups of wine are consumed at various stages in the narrative. The Haggadah divides the night’s procedure into 15 parts:

Kadeish קדש – recital of Kiddush blessing and drinking of the first cup of wine
Urchatz ורחץ – the washing of the hands – without blessing
Karpas כרפס – dipping of the karpas in salt water
Yachatz יחץ – breaking the middle matzo; the larger piece becomes the afikoman which is eaten later during the ritual of Tzafun
Maggid מגיד – retelling the Passover story, including the recital of “the four questions” and drinking of the second cup of wine
Rachtzah רחצה – second washing of the hands – with blessing
Motzi מוציא – traditional blessing before eating bread products
Matzo מצה – blessing before eating matzo
Maror מרור – eating of the maror
Koreich כורך – eating of a sandwich made of matzo and maror
Shulchan oreich שולחן עורך – lit. “set table”—the serving of the holiday meal
Tzafun צפון – eating of the afikoman
Bareich ברך – blessing after the meal and drinking of the third cup of wine
Hallel הלל – recital of the Hallel, traditionally recited on festivals; drinking of the fourth cup of wine
Nirtzah נירצה – conclusion
These 15 parts parallel the 15 steps in the Temple in Jerusalem on which the Levites stood during Temple services, and which were memorialized in the 15 Psalms (#120-134) known as Shir HaMa’alot (Hebrew: שיר המעלות‎, “Songs of Ascent”).

Maror, one disallowed type and two acceptable kinds (L to R): “chrein” (Yiddish)- grated horseradish with cooked beets and sugar, not acceptable maror due to its sweetness; romaine lettuce; and whole horseradish root, often served grated.A commandment to eat Maror, bitter herbs (typically, horseradish, romaine lettuce, or green onions), together with matzo and the Passover sacrifice Exodus 12:8. In the absence of the Temple, Jews cannot bring the Passover sacrifice. This commandment is fulfilled today by the eating of Maror both by itself and together with matzo in a Koreich-sandwich during the Passover seder.

Recounting the Exodus
On the first night of Passover (first two nights in communities outside Israel), a Jew is required to recount the story of the Exodus from Egypt. This commandment is performed during the Passover seder.

Four cups of wine
There is a Rabbinic requirement that four cups of wine are to be drunk during the seder. This applies to both men and women. The Mishnah says (Pes. 10:1) that even the poorest man in Israel has an obligation to drink. Each cup is connected to a different part of the seder: the first cup is for Kiddush, the second cup is connected with the recounting of the Exodus, the drinking of the third cup concludes Birkat Hamazon and the fourth cup is associated with Hallel.

The four questions

Children have a very important role in the Passover seder. Traditionally the youngest child is prompted to ask questions about the Passover seder, beginning with the words, Mah Nishtana HaLeila HaZeh (Why is this night different from all other nights?). The questions encourage the gathering to discuss the significance of the symbols in the meal. The questions asked by the child are:

Why is this night different from all other nights?
On all other nights, we eat either unleavened or leavened bread, but tonight we eat only unleavened bread?
On all other nights, we eat all kinds of vegetables, but tonight, we eat only bitter herbs?
On all other nights, we do not dip [our food] even once, but tonight we dip twice?
On all other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining, but tonight we only recline?
Often the leader of the seder and the other adults at the meal will use prompted responses from the Haggadah, which states, “The more one talks about the Exodus from Egypt, the more praiseworthy he is.” Many readings, prayers, and stories are used to recount the story of the Exodus. Many households add their own commentary and interpretation and often the story of the Jews is related to the theme of liberation and its implications worldwide.

The afikoman — an integral part of the Seder itself — is used to engage the interest and excitement of the children at the table. During the fourth part of the Seder, called Yachatz, the leader breaks the middle piece of matzah into two. He sets aside the larger portion as the afikoman. Many families use the afikoman as a device for keeping the children awake and alert throughout the Seder proceedings by hiding the afikoman and offering a prize for its return. Alternately, the children are allowed to “steal” the afikoman and demand a reward for its return. In either case, the afikoman must be consumed during the twelfth part of the Seder, Tzafun.

Concluding songs
After the Hallel, the fourth glass of wine is drunk, and participants recite a prayer that ends in “Next year in Jerusalem!”. This is followed by several lyric prayers that expound upon God’s mercy and kindness, and give thanks for the survival of the Jewish people through a history of exile and hardship. Some of these songs, such as “Chad Gadiyah” are allegorical.

[edit] Holiday week and related celebrations

Passover rea;;y is a time for family and strange lunches of matzo, hardboiled eggs, fruits and vegetables, and Passover treats such as macaroons.

The prohibition against eating leavened food products and regular flour during Passover results in the increased consumption of potatoes, eggs and oil in addition to fresh milk and cheeses, fresh meat and chicken, and fresh fruit and vegetables. To make a “Passover cake,” recipes call for potato starch or “Passover cake flour” (made from finely granulated matzo) instead of regular flour, and a large amount of eggs (8 and over) to achieve fluffiness. Cookie recipes use matzo farfel (broken bits of matzo) or ground nuts as the base. For families with Eastern European backgrounds, borsht, a soup made with beets, is a Passover tradition.

Make sure with your increase consumption of matzo that you eat some fibre, like prunes, as matzo in large quantities can be binding.

Common Foods in our house
Because the house is free of chametz for eight days, our household typically eats different foods during the week of Passover. Many meals include leftovers from the initial seders. Other foods are also prepared, these include:

Matzah brei – Softened matzah fried with egg and fat; served covered lightly in jam
Matzah Cereal – We tried eating this growing up; A fine matzah meal, boiled in water and often served with milk – but now we just buy kosher for passover cereal
“Matzah Kugel” – Kugel made with matzah instead of noodles.
“Charoset” – a sweet, dark-colored, lumpy paste made of fruits and nuts
“Chrain” – horseradish and beet relish
“Gefilte fish” – poached fish patties or fish balls made from a mixture of ground deboned fish, mostly carp or pike
“Chicken Soup with Matzah balls” – Dumpling made from matzah meal served in soup
“Rice – nearly all Sephardic Jews and many Mizrachi and Ashkenazi Jews consider rice to be an essential food for the Passover table. There is much controversy, however it is to be noted from the Talmud (Pesahim 114b,) “What are the two cooked foods served at the Seder table? Rab Huna said, ‘spinach and rice.'” Thus, the accepted tradition, as confirmed in the commentary of Rashi is that rice is not Chametz. The concern arises from worries that in storage, rice may have been contaminated with even one kernel of wheat or other chametz. Therefore, rice must be carefully inspected prior to cooking.

Christian celebration of Easter
The holiday of Easter, which is the most important annual feast in the Christian religion, occurs around the same time of year as Passover. Unlike the dates of most Christian holidays, Easter’s date is calculated based on a lunar calendar originally derived from the Jewish calendar. In many European languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are identical. Easter’s rituals and symbolism derive from a fusion of Jewish Passover traditions with pagan celebrations of spring. According to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified and resurrected on Passover, and the Last Supper was a Passover meal. Christians link Jesus’ crucifixion to the priests’ sacrifice of the Paschal lamb in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. Easter marks the end of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer, and penance, and commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.


If you made it this far, you deserve some matzo with butter and jam on it. Now that’s a Passover treat!

Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto

Passover explained to non-Jewish readers

The Jewish holiday of passover begins today, March 29th at 10am (Toronto time) and runs for 8 days, ending sun-down Tuesday April 6th.

Passover commemorates the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, where we (they) were slaves.

If you have ever seen the movie “The Ten Commandments,” you know the story of Passover, more or less.

Passover is celebrated for eight days starting on the night of a full moon in late-March or early April.

Passover usually overlaps with Easter, though occasionally Passover occurs a month after Easter.

Jewish people observe Passover to whatever extent they find comfortable, even if only to go to the ritual dinners (called a seder, pronounced SAY-der) on the first and/or second night of the holiday.

Most (though not all) Jews avoid bread and grain products to one extent or another throughout this holiday, in memory of the fact that our ancestors left Egypt in a hurry and didn’t have time to wait for their bread to rise.

You should avoid scheduling events involving food during this holiday, and should avoid scheduling travel for Jews because it may be hard for them to find suitable food away from home.

Strictly observant Jews do not work, go to school or carry out any business on the first two and last two days of Passover (first one day and last one day for some branches). This is a requirement of Jewish law.

Most Jews will work through Passover, although many may want to take time off the day before Passover, to prepare for the big family dinner. To put this in perspective: imagine if you had to work during the day of Thanksgiving, then prepare for Thanksgiving dinner after getting home from work.

My next post will explain more about the actual holiday and why we celebrate it.

Posted in music, news

An Urbandaddy Exclusive Interview

An Urbandaddy exclusive Interview with the El Train, co-founder and CEO of, the brainchild behind the world’s leading Indie music community.

Elliott took some time from his hectic schedule to allow me to ask him 5 questions about his wildly successful business.

1. What is “Indie” music?

A: Indie music seems to mean a few things today.  The term originated as a short form for “Independent” music, which referred to music recorded, marketed and distributed by non-major label means (the big five labels at the time were Universal, Sony, Warner, EMI, and BMG).  Indie represented a small but growing group of artists and the music type had a certain non-mainstream appeal to it, and generally targeted to the young college radio crowd, embracers of the new and on the edge.  But as the monetization of music became a shrinking model, labels stopped signing new bands to develop, leaving the majority of the process up to the bands and Indie labels, when they could then scoop them up after a certain level of success. Further complicating the issue was the major labels’ strategy of buying up Indie labels but allowing them to retain their branding, image, and type of music they became known for producing. Today, Indie can be considered as one of two things: 1) that same college demo targeted new edgy style (e.g. Feist, The Stills, Arcade Fire) or 2) garage bands just starting out and have nothing more than a home recorded demo and a handful of original songs, unknown to the masses, yearning for that big break.  I’ve personally limited my use of the term, as I primarily deal with #2 but some maybe think I’m referring to #1.  With #1, what once was a movement is really now just another genre.

2. Ok so you don’t like to use the term “Indie”, so what do you do for these #2 type bands?

A: We created, a community for bands, fans, and industry to discover, connect, and expose new music.  We’re the only social network that actually promotes the bands in live gigs across North America.  The gigs we produce (over 250 a year) are part of a growing list of “opportunities” that we provide to bands, which in turn, allows them to activate their fans, and get exposure.

3) Give me an example of “opportunities”?

A: Just getting online exposure to a target market of music savvy afictionados is a good one, our community isn’t a general social network, its specifically for fans of Indie music (yes, I used the term again, sue me).  Many of the opportunities are live concert based, as those are amongst the most valuable and wanted by bands as its hard to get clubs to book them and they are hard to organize on their own.  We do a lot of contests,with “opportunity” prizing such as playing festivals, or opening up for big name bands, radio exposure, music placements in TV shows, etc.

4) Seems like a good service, what’s the revenue model then? Or is this just a passion play?

At first it was a passion play, but eventually, to keep it going, you do need money eventually. Robust websites like ours are expensive to build and maintain, as well as update with new features to stay current and useful. Concert events are low margin and financially risky. We made a decision a long time ago never to “put our hands in the bands’ pockets”, so everything we offer is free to the bands.  We faced a difficult problem, and the solution became corporate America.  First it was sponsorships, then it was marketing campaigns for brands. Today, we’ve gone totally “B2B” and white labeled our own social network to give media companies and brands their own music community to build loyalty, membership, and generate ad impressions.  A white label is the entire infrastructure and back end support of, stripped of Supernova branding, and replaced with the client’s. We just launched it and our clients have included Rogers, Molson, and Corus Entertainment.  That is the future of, growth of the community through corporate partners.

5) So what’s next for Supernova?

Take a look at for an example of where we’re headed.  Local music communities on Supernova sponsored/presented by the major radio or music television station in the community.  This site currently is a contest called the Seeds talent search, which is in it’s 31st year and discovered bands such as Nickelback, Bif Naked, and Default over the years.  At the end of the competition, the site will morph into an ongoing local music community.  This year we will be rolling out four more in Toronto, Winnipeg, London, and Hamilton, all Corus Entertainment radio stations.  The tie in with radio represents a major opportunity for both the bands and the radio stations, as each fulfils a need the other has.  Traditional media companies like radio need to stay relevant, get a foot into new media, and show they support local talent.  Bands need exposure opportunities traditional media can afford them.  Then corporate sponsors and advertisers also benefit from getting exclusive access to a very targeted and engaged demographic.  And we grow our platform.  Its a win-win-win-win situation, and those are rare.  So I think we’re on to something here, and the plan is to roll out across local communities in North America over the next two years.

Elliott, thank you for taking time to answer these questions, but I have just one more question that has bugged me for a while as I zip through your great website looking for new music…

6.  What’s up with that reality show band, Rock Star: Supernova that featured Dave Navarro, I believe.  Who came first?

A: We were first but being first in Canada against reality show giant Burnett Productions equates to being a flea on a walrus.  However, they did have to talk to us when they wanted to promote the TV show in Canada.  So we came to a nice agreement, we let them use the term Supernova in Canada for their TV show and they let us use the term Supernova throughout the rest of the world for any non-TV show (the registered the name throughout the rest of the world, which is an expensive and time consuming process, so I think we made out pretty well on that deal).  Ultimately the last laugh was on them because a little known band out of LA called Supernova (“Chewbacca”) that didn’t go for the settlement money and fought Burnett on principle to retain the name.  Thus, the band had to be marketed and known as “Rockstar Supernova”.

With that, if you would like to access the young adult / youth access demographics, you can reach Elliott at, but for sure follow Elliott on Twitter @ supernovelliott, or @ supernovacom.

Posted in family

Is it still bribery?

Is it still bribery if it works?

For months I have been complaining here and on Facebook about my kids lack of love for skating and karate.

Skating we do Saturday morning and Karate on Sunday morning.

Watching the older boy do karate is very painful. He knows the moves but gets distracted, is tired or generally would rather talk to the girl sensei’s. He has white belt with an orange stripe and a couple notches for about a year and I thought he would never progress towards his yellow belt.

In skating, he fared a little better as he became on of the fits kids his group to jump, but he still sends way too much time sitting on the ice complaining. Considering he had never skated before I am extremely pleased with his progress and willingness to try new things.

Stewie on the other hand is excelling in karate, just behind his brother in rank although himself just starting about 6 months ago. He listens, tries and looks like he really enjoys it. That makes me happy.

But in karate… Look out! He’s a disaster. He spends a lot of time on the ice wailing. Doesn’t want to fall, or get up once he falls, or skate or sit still.

I gave up and decided to bribe them, if that is the correct word.

I offer them a Tim Horton’s cookie after class (a couple times before class if they have already started melting down). The sugar / treat keeps them interested and they follow better and perform better.

Now they are both taking party in the skating contest at the end of the program and Linus is up for testing to get his yellow belt.

Some may cal it “bribery” but I call it incentive.

Am I wrong?

What do you do to get your kids to perform better?

Posted in Baby girl, Happy Wife = Happy Life, Life

I will not be broken!!!

I will not be broken by you, little girl.

You will not break me.

You can try.

It’s NOT going to happen.

You can stay up all night with your little upset tummy, trying hard to poo, crying and waking up the house, letting me sleep for 3 hours for 2 of the last 3 nights, but that will not break me.

You can keep your mummy up all night and all day and wiggle a lot while feeding and hurt her, but she too will not be broken.

Check with your older brother, not the oldest, but the older one. He herniated a disk in my back because he needed to be held – he was up every 2-3 hours for the first 10 months of his life.

He did not break us.

Neither will you!

And I know last night you cried every time you were laying flat because your tummy hurt, but the rest of the time you were really cute and smiley and you said “hi” a few times. Adorable. You and I even fell asleep in the couch in the living room for an hour.

So let me tell you again, Berry, that I enjoy spending time with you at night since I don’t see much of you during the day, and if I have to take you in the car at 1:30am, for an hour, like I did 2 nights ago for the first time ever, I will.

But you will not get the best of me.