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.

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 9, 2008

I’m smitten

With Twitter, and with Wil Wheaton.

I got a Twitter account a few weeks ago, and started following some friends and strangers and sending my own updates when I remember (not often enough). After I met Wil at a reading & signing at Mysterious Galaxy last weekend, I started following him, and he’s just as funny in under 140 characters as he is in his longer blog posts and books (I’m listening to Just A Geek in the car, and laughing out loud so much I’m beginning to worry about road safety).

Example: He’s off to Seattle for a con this weekend. Here are two Twitters from this morning:
wilw: Kenny Loggins was at the ticket counter near me. The girl checking me in was early 20s and had no idea why her cow orkers were so excited.
wilw: I was unable to see if his destination was the danger zone, but it was clear that he was alright, so there was no need to worry about him.

That made me laugh again, just copying and pasting it.

I’m such a geek.

edited to add: Wil posted the entire Kenny Loggins Twitter adventure on his blog.

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.

January 15, 2008

Geeky Comedic Genius

Filed under: funny,humor,movies,sci-fi,video — howdoyoujew @ 15:56

I first became aware of British standup comedian Eddie Izzard some years ago when a friend of mine online kept using the phrase “jeezy creezy” in place of Jesus Christ. Since then, I’ve enjoyed his material on TV and in a few movies, and now, thanks to a Youtube user with too much time on his hands, here is a fabulous routine with accompanying Lego animation:

December 19, 2007

Coincidence? Perhaps…

Filed under: entertainment,fun,humor,Life Online,sci-fi,technology,television,video — howdoyoujew @ 22:59

1. At a party over the weekend, I met Mark Christopher Lawrence, a prolific actor who’s currently appearing in NBC’s prime-time hit Chuck. I don’t usually drop names, but then, I don’t usually run into successful actors, either.

I’d never watched Chuck, mostly because I haven’t been watching much TV at all, but I’d heard of it and liked the concept, and…

2. The next day, I got in on the private beta of Hulu.com, the video on demand site backed by NBC and Fox. Conveniently enough, Chuck is one of the shows available pretty much in its entirety on Hulu, so I checked out the pilot, and liked it enough that I’m now totally into the show. I’ve watched the first 4 episodes, and I’ll catch up on the rest before the writers’ strike ends.

I love it when a plan comes together.

By the way, did I mention that some of the other shows available on Hulu are The A-Team, Airwolf, Emergency!, and Battlestar Galactica (both incarnations, thank you!)? It’s like a little TV playground created just for me and all my raised-on-cheesy-80s-television brethren and sistern. Yay!

December 18, 2007

I find your lack of attribution disturbing

Filed under: Art,Commentary,entertainment,history,movies,sci-fi,technology — howdoyoujew @ 10:42

I was happy to catch this interview with Ridley Scott on NPR yesterday afternoon on the way home from work. Today is the release day for Blade Runner: The Final Cut, Scott’s latest (and allegedly last) reworking of his 1982 classic, so he talked to Michelle Norris about the movie and his inspirations for it. I was extremely disappointed that he never mentioned the source material, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, or its author, sci-fi master Philip K. Dick. I actually haven’t read that novel (I have a few PKD volumes at home, I have to check if it’s in any of them), so I don’t know how much of the visualization of 2019 LA is in it, but I would have expected Scott to at least give credit where it was due. Anyway, I’m still looking forward to revisiting the movie and seeing how it holds up.

One good anecdote from the interview: Norris asked about the point that Deckard (Harrison Ford’s character) was originally supposed to wear a hat, probably a fedora, in Blade Runner, and why he ended up without it. Scott said that when he first met Ford for the Blade Runner project, Ford came directly from a late shooting day on Raiders of the Lost Ark, still wearing the full Indiana Jones regalia. Knowing Ford would be sporting the wide-brimmed hat in that movie, Scott dispensed with it in his film. Good choice. The gumshoe effect in Blade Runner is still pronounced, without being overdone.

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