Petra’s parents are coming to New York for a family wedding and will be meeting my parents for the first time. We’ll be hosting Friday night dinner for our parents and brothers. I’ve enjoyed watching my parents get genuinely nervous about meeting their machatunim.
There is no one English word to match all the obligations and anxieties due to your machatunim (pronounced maa cha TUH nim- the “ch” is a gutteralsound as in “J.S. BaCH”). While the English “in-law” relates a person to the relatives of his or her spouse, the Yiddish “machatunim” is a Yiddish word relating someone to the relatives of the spouse, potential spouse, or that of his or her offspring. For instance:
A --- B C --- D
If E and F are married, or, more pressingly, are considering getting married, then A and B are the machatunim of C and D, and C and D are the machatunim of A and B. “Machatunim” is a plural noun. The singular male noun is “machatin” and the singular female noun is “machateynes”. It’s aloaded word, and tends to imply people who you’ve got to somehow impress. Usage: “Get out the good china, the machatunim are coming to dinner!”
A lot of you have probably heard me put down going to college or graduate school. Well, this is the exception. In fact, it’s so exceptional that you really have no excuse not for taking MIT’s courses regardless of whether you are in high school right now or already in the workforce.
Also, I explain how to overcome common objections like (a) lack of a peer group and (b) lack of an alumni network.
Finally, degrees are way overrated. You don’t need one now, and in the future they will be even more worthless.
I’ll add one other thought: your real alumni network is formed after college, from friends you meet at bars and parties, and folks you meet at work. In my experience, at least, these are the most valuable people to your career.
First off — a lot of schools offer their courses online for free, including Stanford. I would bet that over the next few years you’ll start to see a lot of Universities posting lectures into the public domain. This is a great trend in academia.
The person who wrote the above excerpt from their longer piece on Business Insider is a fellow named John Carney. I know nothing about Mr. Carney other than what I just read on his bio page. John went to law school at the University of Pennsylvania (a top-rated ivy league school) and then worked at Skadden Arps, one of the premiere corporate law firms in New York City. This guy telling the world that formal education isn’t necessary is like a millionaire saying that you don’t need money.
"Finally, degrees are way overrated. You don’t need one now, and in the future they will be even more worthless."
Degrees, in addition to symbolizing the accumulation of knowledge, also represent ability to commit to something and finish it. Perhaps it doesn’t matter if you have an Associates Degree from Devry or a Bachelors from Harvard, but completing an academic program shows potential employers that you can follow through and that you have some expertise in the academic canon. I can’t really see how this is going to change. Having hired more that I’ve been hired , I can tell you honestly that I would not hire someone without any post-high-school formal education. Those that truly don’t need it — The Bill Gateses and Sam Reichs of the world, for example — aren’t coming to me for a job (also also probably not reading Business Insider for advice). People like that were drawn away from school specifically to do something else. I must leave college/high-school to pursue this amazing thing that is more improtant than school. I think that’s legitimate, but that’s really not what John Carney is saying. He’s saying that you can find any knowledge that you need on the Internet and therefore don’t need formal education.
My wife works for the NYC Department of Education. This means she’s a member of a very powerful and effective union. A union that has enabled us to get pretty much the greatest health care plan in the world. When I got my job at the times, it was a no brainer to realize that I’d just go on her plan.
When we had a baby, with all the complications and somewhat extended hospital stay, it cost us under a $100 total.
Well, because we’ve decided that it’d be better for her to be home with the baby than anything else, the wife is going to be able to keep her job, but be ineligible for her health plan until she returns to work.
No problem, with the greatest health care system in the world, we can all jump over and use the plan offered by my employer.
Except one problem: we can’t.
We can only enroll in the plan at work during a specific window of time, which comes in November. My version of “the greatest healthcare system in the world” works perfectly, as long as you don’t need it before Halloween.
So between now and November, we are officially inside a crack in the system. In order to get health care (which, in case you were unaware, is recommended for newborns), we have to sign up for Cobra.
Yes, we have no choice but to enroll in Cobra. The healthcare option so dumb that they decided to name it after one of the most recognizable deadly animals on the planet.
So, whether or not you’re for the public option, help us out. What is our best option now?
IAC offers the ability to change health care plans after life-cycle events such as marriage or child birth. So I’ll be able to add Petra to my plan next year regardless of the window. I’m surprised the NYTimes doesn’t have a similar rule.
However, two guys I hired last year didn’t properly enroll in a health plan during their first month of work and missed some sort of deadline and were therefore required to wait six months until the annual enrollment window came around. IAC HR said that this window thing was actually a Federal Law. I don’t know the details but I trust this HR person and know she wasn’t lying. So… another reason to reform our wacky health care system!!
“There are islands of excellence but there is also a sea of mediocrity”—
Tom Daschle on Healthcare in the United States on Meet The Press this morning
Here’s the health care debate in a nutshell: 50 million people don’t have healthcare. Obama has a plan to cover some/most/all of them. The only reason not to be for this is preventing Obama’s re-election in 2012. If there was a good reason, Republicans would stop making stuff up about death panels and actually make an argument against it.
Last year I took a blood test during my annual physical and discovered that I had an ailment called Fatty Liver, a common disease which afflicts people that drink too much alcohol or are fat (aka “obese”). I consume less than one drink per week so the cause was obviously my weight.
Though I didn’t share this fact publically until now, my Fatty Liver was the main reason I decided to start training for the Half Marathon.
Fast forward one year, I had my annual physical last week and my Fatty Liver is totally gone, and as a bonus, my cholesterol fell 30 points to 143, which I’m told is quite good. I still have 12 weeks of 25-30 miles of training to go, but my main objective has been reached.
My Jewish vocal band Six13 is singing God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch, as well as performing an 8-minute pre-game set, at the Mets Game on Sunday August 16 as part of their annual Jewish Heritage Day.
I’ll have just ran the half marathon that morning and singing at a baseball stadium seems like an appropriate post-run activity. I hope you can make it.
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Pearl Jam “hid” 9 images that compose the cover of their forthcoming album on the web. The reward for solving the puzzle is a new song from the record and the album cover. This is really cool, even if you don’t love PeeJ.