How Do You Jew An educational, informational, conversational blog and (someday) podcast about Judaism, Jewish practices, customs, and rituals, Israel, and whatever else we decide to talk about.

February 19, 2010

I did it!

Filed under: entertainment,fun,humor,movies,random,sci-fi,technology,television,video — howdoyoujew @ 12:56

OK, in the grand scheme of things, and even in my own life, this doesn’t count as a HUGE deal, but it was an amusing distraction for a couple of days that kept my mind off much less fun things for at least a few minutes:

In the middle of last week, I brought up hulu.com on my laptop at home (probably to watch House with my lovely wife). On the front page was this promo for Ghostbusters, which had just been added to the Hulu catalog:
Ghostbusters screencap
The first thing I noticed, after thinking, “Huh, it’d probably be fun to see that again” was that the name of one of the stars was misspelled. I’ll give you a minute.

After verifying my suspicion (I knew I was right, but I needed independent confirmation, of course) with IMDB, I shot off this mildly snarky feedback email to Hulu:

He is one of the biggest names in American film/TV comedy history.

You are THE biggest name in online film/TV content delivery. You really shouldn’t make mistakes this egregious.

It’s spelled Aykroyd, not ACKroyd. Yes, it’s not spelled the way it sounds, but he’s been around long enough that I’d think you guys, at least, would know this.

Otherwise: keep up the great work!

A little over a week later, I got a response asking where I’d seen the error. After telling them (it was now on the Movies homepage, not the site’s front page), it took only 24 more hours to correct. Voila:
It's AYKroyd dammit!

April 14, 2009

Book Review: Anansi Boys

Filed under: Art,books,entertainment,fun,movies,sci-fi — Tags: — howdoyoujew @ 17:27

This paragraph from Neil Gaiman’s wonderful book of mythology, love, intrigue, and travel made me want to hug the author:

It was sort of like Macbeth, thought Fat Charlie, an hour later; in fact, if the witches in Macbeth had been four little old ladies and if, instead of stirring cauldrons and intoning dread incantations, they had just welcomed Macbeth in and fed him turkey and rice and peas spread out on white china plates on a red-and-white patterned plastic tablecloth – not to mention sweet potato pudding and spicy cabbage – and encouraged him to take second helpings, and thirds, and then, when Macbeth had declaimed that nay, he was stuffed nigh unto bursting and on his oath could truly eat no more, the witches had pressed upon him their own special island rice pudding and a large slice of Mrs. Bustamonte’s famous pineapple upside-down cake, it would have been exactly like Macbeth.

Read this book, and then marvel at Gaiman’s marvelously diverse output – try The Graveyard Book (this year’s Newbery medal winner). You know the movie Coraline that came out earlier this year? That’s his. Stardust from a couple of years ago? Also his. Comics? He does those too.

June 26, 2008

Movie review: You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

Hilarious. Chock full of Adam Sandler’s typical bathroom jokes and 80s-centric humor, this movie (Flash heavy site) won’t disappoint his enormous day-to-day fan base. But the movie is also packed with tons of audience-specific gags that are only truly funny if you a) speak decent colloquial Hebrew, b) spent time in Israel in the 80s and early 90s, c) are otherwise familiar with Israeli culture, d) are familiar with the NY Israeli scene, or e) all of the above. Jenn and I laughed nonstop, but there were definitely lots of moments that we looked at each other and thought, “Is anyone else getting this?”

To give you a taste, check out this old SNL sketch, which undoubtedly helped germinate Zohan:

There are several motifs at play in that bit that appear, in more or less polished form, in Zohan.

Wait, did I just refer to “motifs” while talking about an Adam Sandler comedy? BWAHAHAHAHA!

Go see it. There are a lot of fun cameos, there’s even a nice underlying message, and you’ll laugh a bunch. It’ll be good for you.

June 4, 2008

Something…something…COMPLETE!

I’ve been wearing a kippah full time now for three years, I think (somebody can check me on this; I’m pretty sure I have previously blogged about this), and that one little mitzvah definitely has me thinking more consciously about all the other mitzvot I observe and those I don’t.

There are some mitzvot that I can observe daily, others that present themselves less frequently but with some regularity (various Shabbat observances, for instance), and then there are those that only occur irregularly and that I have no control over – namely, those related to life cycle events that are not my own. I’ve had the honor of being a kvatter at a bris (the person who carries the baby boy to the sandak, the person who will hold him during the circumcision), I’ve held the chuppah and signed the ketubah in a wedding, I’ve participated in taharat ha-met, and this week, I witnessed the delivery of a get.

I was recruited for this last task in typically impromptu fashion by my friend and teacher Rabbi Scott Meltzer, with no question posed as to my willingness to participate nor warning given as to the purpose for which he was pulling me (and a fellow congregant) out of the congregational meeting for which we had gathered at our shul. Since I’m not entirely daft, I guessed what we were doing when the Rabbi walked us up to his office accompanied by a couple who didn’t display the kind of joy you reserve for, well, joyous occasions. We all stood in the Rabbi’s office and listened to him read the document in Aramaic, translate/explain it in English, then instruct the man on the proper procedure of delivering it to his soon-to-be-ex-wife, and finally guide her in the final steps (literally – the woman takes 4 steps away after taking possession of the get to signify that she accepts it), making the deed official.

I was uncomfortable for a bit, feeling like I was standing in this couple’s personal space, witnessing something so intensely private and painful. But I recognized, too, that, just as the wedding is a communal event, so this too must be. After all, these two individuals deserve their own happiness, and they could not find it with each other. Just as witnesses were required when they declared their commitment to each other, they had to go through this ritual, witnessed by two unrelated members of the community, to free them to seek that happiness with someone else, both times according to the laws of Moses and Israel.

And, like with my previous opportunities to fulfill life cycle mitzvot, I got a chance to reflect on and marvel at the wisdom of the sages who framed these rules, and thank God that I am part of this tradition.

Oh, and Paul: Yes, I purposely waited until the end of this post to acknowledge our in-joke just to force you to read all the way through it so that maybe you’d learn something. Yeah, I know it’s not really our in-joke if Family Guy has lampooned it.

May 20, 2008

Punchline looking for a joke

Yeah, yeah, so I’m a parent now, so that’s supposed to make me all “mature” and “grown up” and blahblahblah?!

HA!

We took our daughter to the doctor yesterday, as she’s had a rash on her torso for several days that turned out NOT to be heat rash; she also displayed a decreased appetite over the last couple of days and was sneezing a lot, so we thought it was time. The nice people at Kaiser agreed it was time, but exactly WHAT time was still a matter of some argument (they gave me a 7:15 PM appointment, neglecting to mention that it was actually a 7:30 appointment and that they ask you to check in 15 min. ahead of time. Really? My daughter is 19 months old and we’ve made every appointment the same way for the last year and a half; I KNOW about the 15 min. rule, jackass. Thus we were at the clinic 30 minutes early instead of just 15, and the doctor still didn’t come in until after 8 PM, but who’s counting?).

Anyway, our angelic daughter again behaved perfectly and amazingly well for a toddler well past her bedtime and in a foreign environment, and when the doc (a very nice man with three names AND a roman numeral after his name!) finally checked her out, he quickly (after a peek at her rash and down her throat) diagnosed “hand, foot and mouth disease.”

I’ll let that sink in.

This is the same girl who’s had not one, but TWO perforated eardrums in the last month or so, as well as a bout of roseola. She can’t just get a common cold. No, she has to pick up the virus that sounds a lot like the one that causes Mad Cow Disease (it’s not the same; I’m just sayin’…).

The doc gave us this news with the sort of demeanor that kept me somewhat calm despite myself. He said it’s a viral infection and will go away by itself. Then he identified the virus by its official name, and I… well, I immediately knew I’d be blogging about it, for one thing.

Coxsackie.

Come on! Really?! Cock-sacky?

Now I don’t want to make fun of historically significant place names (OK, maybe I do, but let that go for a minute), and I understand that it’s derived from a Native American term, but there are limits to my restraint, people! I’m only human.

It strikes me that my generation of geeks is going to run into this more and more – life situations that make us giggle inwardly (or out loud) because of some pop culture association we make with an otherwise innocuous word, phrase, or visual. For me, it’ll usually be a Monty Python scene or line that’ll come up, or something from HHGTTG, Star Wars, or one of the other big- or little-screen or hardbound companions from my childhood/adolescence. But other times, like last night at the doctor’s office, it’ll just be a silly-sounding word that’ll make me turn into one of the boys from South Park, forever laughing at bathroom humor.

Coxsackie.
Coxsackie.
CoxsackieCoxsackieCoxsackie.

Heh.

May 13, 2008

Brain dump, Tuesday night

I have to blog a thousand things, but I’ll just keep this to the top that I’m able to think of, in no particular order, before my fingers get tired:

  1. The evil bastards who control the food packaging disaster that is hot dogs and buns are even more devious than I previously suspected: We recently got Hadarya a play kitchen (and PLEASE don’t start with the sexism/promoting gender stereotypes/etc. arguments – she is a very well-rounded child who spends time doing lots of other things, but she sees us both working in the kitchen and loves to pretend to do so on her own), and Grandma Bonnie came through with a ginormous vat of play food to fill the kitchen. The play food container has, I kid you not, six hot dogs and TWO buns. What the???
  2. I’m completely engrossed in the audio recording of Wil Wheaton‘s Just A Geek. His writing is excellent – the stories of his time on TNG, including the hindsight on what a bonehead he was to not appreciate it at the time (he WAS a teenager, after all; it would have been more surprising if he HAD appreciated it); working the con circuit with fellow cast members; his brutal honesty and openness about his emotional fragility over the lack of work, with the concomitant ups and downs of auditions and wasted hours waiting for phone calls; his beautiful stories about his family and his struggles to support them; all of this is good source material, and it’s well put together on paper. But his performance of his own material is evocative, moving, funny, and true, with occasional asides and deviations from the written source that make this feel at once like the special edition of the book with extra features and like he’s performing it exclusively for me (it helps that I’m listening to it in the car when I’m either alone or with a sleeping toddler in the back).
    I’m able to relate to virtually everything he talks about because I grew up with a father who worked in “the industry” (what people who work in the movie/television business call their line of work), so the terms are familiar, and so are many of the settings (walking around studio backlots and sets, the peculiar hurry-up-and-wait schedule of a typical shoot, etc.). In some of the stories, the empathy is even stronger because our paths were even closer – growing up geeky, playing role-playing and video games, seeing all the same movies and listening to much of the same music.
    Then there’s his audition for the co-host spot on Win Ben Stein’s Money. Listening to that chapter was amazing, since I was a contestant on the show. Wil was up for the co-host spot after Jimmy Kimmel’s first replacement, but that wasn’t clear from his description, and since I stopped watching the show after I played on it (that story will get its own post), I didn’t even know there WAS another co-host, nor that he was Jimmy Kimmel’s cousin. That was all cleared up by Wikipedia, thankyouverymuch.
  3. It’s been a very long time since I was as wrapped up in a television show as I was in this week’s House, the penultimate episode of the season. I started watching the series when the strike took my other vegout shows off the air, and haven’t been disappointed, but they really nailed it this week. I’m going to catch up on last week’s episode via Hulu before enjoying the season finale next week. Then Veronique and I can discuss amongst ourselves, dahling.
  4. Is it just me, or is it weird that Hillary Clinton is ignoring the fact that her base, according to all the data I’m hearing, is essentially uneducated white people, while Barack Obama’s core supporters tend to be college-educated? I guess that explains some stuff, like her pandering to people with the proposed gas tax holiday, and how she can get away with calling him “elitist,” and other things. Meh. I so don’t want this blog to be about politics.
  5. I’ve got basic show notes written up for like a dozen How Do You Jew podcast episodes. I just need to put some music together, do a little research on each of my core topics, and start recording. Actually, here are some of the things I want to cover. Any suggestions for straightforward sources of good, solid information about them would be appreciated. The idea is that I’ll introduce and briefly discuss/explain a specific Jewish tradition or halachic practice each episode:
    • Torah scroll, sofer, filling in letters to fulfill mitzvah
    • Kippot/yarmulkes – where is rule to wear, who’s obligated/allowed, different styles and their connotations in different communities
    • Yahrzeit/shloshim/shiva
    • Hamantaschen – Haman’s ears vs. Haman’s hat & possibly other traditional Jewish holiday foods
    • Pikuach nefesh
    • Alright, Jenn should be home soon from the synagogue board meeting, and I need to fill out Hebrew High report cards, so that’s it for tonight… Also, Hadarya is restless and needs some comforting, so off I go.

May 4, 2008

A million kinds of awesome

Wil Wheaton is living the grown-up geek life. Since growing up geeky in LA, kickin’ butt as a writer in Stand By Me, then being the butt of countless jokes in Star Trek: TNG, Wil got to writing. Specifically, blogging. He’s got the gift, as a writer and a performer, not only to transport his audience to the setting of his stories (familiar snapshots of coming of age in LA in the 80s, playing video games & D&D, getting in on the ground floor of the PC revolution, and more, except for me without the acting bits), but to inspire people to tell their own stories.

He was in San Diego this weekend, and I got to enjoy his reading at Mysterious Galaxy and get his autograph on my brand new copy of his latest, The Happiest Days of Our Lives (a collection of posts from his blog). The setting allowed me to chat with him for a few minutes, letting him know about my absent friends (Stephen [who told me about Wil’s visit in the first place; thanks!], McHank, Paul, Cousin Alli… am I missing anyone?) who were bummed not to be there, and the theory Paul & I have about the Emperor’s limited vocabulary in the Star Wars movies, and my discovery of where the limitation came from (I think we’re all in agreement that “limited” is a good word for George Lucas’s writing aptitude, regardless of his other talents). Wil laughed easily and genuinely, like me. He talks like me, is excited about the same things I am, and I’m super excited to dive into his brain and explore the parts I know so well and those I don’t…

Awesome.

February 6, 2008

Elective inspiration

Filed under: Commentary,movies,music,Politics,tikkun olam,video — howdoyoujew @ 15:39

Yeah, it’s specific to one candidate, but the message is so universal, and so beautifully produced, that it’s well worth sharing: a song, based on Barack Obama’s speech after the New Hampshire primary, produced by the Black Eyes Peas’ will.i.am. I especially like the inclusion of the chorus phrase in Hebrew, spoken by actress Maya Rubin, and his use of the term “repairing the world”:

January 28, 2008

Fun on Monday

Filed under: entertainment,fun,funny,movies,video — howdoyoujew @ 17:27

end of the day, just saw this link on Fark.com (in a completely unrelated thread):

Raiders of the Lost Ark as an animated GIF in 2:20 min.:

January 25, 2008

Friday hilarity

Filed under: entertainment,fun,funny,Life Online,movies,Parenting,video,webcomics — howdoyoujew @ 17:13

First, thanks to my silly brother-in-law Dave for this collection of important advice about taking care of babies. Some highlights:
Feeding your baby - Do & Don't
Playing with your Baby - Do & Don't

Next, thanks to my always-reliable father for sacrificing the copious amounts of free time on his hands precious moments in between looking for work to pass along these fantastic finds from Youtube:
First, from the also always-reliable Firesign Theater, a name forever carved into my mind from my days of performing humorous interp pieces in high school speech & debate competitions: Revenge of the Non-Smokers

Then, this inspired piece of work uploaded, somewhat inexplicably, by some San Jose Sharks fan: The Downfall of the Cowboys

And finally, thanks to one of my favorite webcomic artists, David Malki (!), is this hilarious look inside the evil world domination industry: Expendable

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress