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Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Ah, Bialystock and Bloom, I presume! Heh heh, forgive the pun!"

Got this list of puns by email.


A pessimist's blood type is always b-negative.

Practice safe eating -- always use condiments.

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.

Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.

I used to work in a blanket factory, but it folded.

Marriage is the mourning after the knot before.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

Corduroy pillows are making headlines.

Is a book on voyeurism a peeping tome?

Sea captains don't like crew cuts.

A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.

Without geometry, life is pointless.

When you dream in color, it's a pigment of your imagination.

Reading while sunbathing makes you well-red.

A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.

Dijon vu -- the same mustard as before.

When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.

What's the definition of a will? (Come on, it's a dead giveaway!)

In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism, your count votes.

If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft, and I'll show you a flat minor.

When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.

He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

Every calendar's days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted. It t'aint yours and it t'aint mine.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory that was never developed.

The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

Once you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.

Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.

When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.

Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture is a jab well done.

Marathon runners with bad footwear suffer the agony of defeat.

Quote from The Producers (1968)

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security"

– Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"He helped Joshua fight the battle of Jericho, he helped Daniel get out the lion's den, he helped Gilligan get off the island"

Saw this at CNN.com

NEW YORK (AP) -- Don't remember much about high school biology or physics. Couldn't tell ya how to compute a calculus problem. But, for the love of Will Smith, the theme song to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" remains fresh in the mind.

Smith's catchy rap opened each episode of his hit '90s sitcom, in which he starred as a street-smart teen from Philly who moves in with wealthy relatives. A whole generation knows it by heart -- that, and the "Saved by the Bell" song.

TV themes, from "The Beverly Hillbillies" to "The Brady Bunch" to "Cheers" to "Friends," conjure up memories of cozy nights, childhood bliss and a universal nostalgia for bygone days. But, today, show themes are doing a fast fade as the networks crunch their programming budgets.

Are they about to join the variety hour in the TV graveyard?

"It's a rarity today," TV historian Tim Brooks said of the catchy, tuneful opening. "It's kind of like the Broadway musical producing hit songs -- it just doesn't do that anymore."

Back in the day, even into the '90s, shows usually had a "main title," a 40-to-60 second opening montage that introduced the cast and was often set to music written by a composer, said Jon Burlingame, author of "TV's Biggest Hits," a history of themes. Songs summed up what a show was all about, whether spinning the tale of how a group of wacky castaways ended up on "Gilligan's Island," telling how a spunky single career woman was "going to make it after all," or describing why six touchy-feely Manhattan singles were there for each other.

But now many sitcoms and one-hour dramas are dropping that device. They dive straight into the action, sometimes flashing the show's title or logo at various points throughout an episode.

ABC's "Lost" does it. The twisty drama begins after a teaser, which touches on what happened in previous installments, and cuts to a black screen at a crucial plot point. A white "Lost" logo swirls into view. Eerie music plays. The whole thing lasts about five seconds.

"That's not a theme" nor an artistic statement, lamented Burlingame, longing for the urgency of the "Mission: Impossible" score.

Other title-flashers include ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," which threw out its 26-second theme last year, and "Desperate Housewives" and NBC's "My Name Is Earl," which both switch off between showing the full credits and the logo. New shows -- ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" and "Ugly Betty" and NBC's "Heroes" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" -- display only the logo.

"Almost all shows have music, but it's generic, it's scene-setting, it's short," said Brooks, who estimated that fewer than 10 percent have "traditional" themes that set up the show.
Getting to the point

Clearly, brevity is key. No drawn-out intro or hokey theme. Networks don't have time for that -- and neither, prevailing TV thinking goes, do the country's couch potatoes.

"Producers feel, rightly or wrongly, that that interruption, if you will, is going to lose viewers," Brooks said.

"I think one of the things that has squeezed themes out is this relentless kind of move toward tightening everything, making it go right from joke to joke, from action to action, from shootout to shootout, so that you won't press the dreaded remote control."

Thanks to the elimination of commercials between the end of one show and the beginning of another, shows overlap before fickle viewers have a chance to channel-surf to Another Network. More commercials air within a show, making episodes shorter. Main titles and well-rounded theme songs and scores? Sorry, no time, no money.

Tara Ariano, co-founder of the blog Television Without Pity, isn't sweating it. She thinks a "full-on opening credit (and) theme song is kind of a waste, from a business perspective."

"The networks sort of assume we watch the show, so we don't need to have the premise explained to us each week ... In the era of the DVR, half the people watching the show are just fast-forwarding that anyway," she said.

Another trend, which harks back to the late '80s-early '90s fave "The Wonder Years" and the more recent "Dawson's Creek" and "Laguna Beach," is the use of music by established and new artists as both a theme in the main title and a device within the show.

"Increasingly, it's not music scored for the show, it's pop songs pasted into the show," Brooks said.

CBS' "CSI" opens with the Who's "Who Are You?" Gavin DeGraw's star rose after his radio-friendly single "I Don't Want to Be," debuted as the theme to the CW's "One Tree Hill." And the Fray was, well, just a band on the fringe until "Grey's Anatomy" and others played their songs to underscore dramatic scenes and montages.

All of this makes Jesse Frederick-Conaway, who composed the music to G-rated sitcoms such as ABC's "Full House" and "Family Matters," a little sad. There is, he thinks, "this desire to be super hip."

"Now, the music director is sort of the composer," he said. "It's a different kind of deal."

Burlingame, citing the great intros of award winners such as NBC's "The West Wing" and HBO's "Six Feet Under," is confident the theme -- lyrical, instrumental, whatever -- will make a comeback. He'd rather see more original music, but he'll take licensed material if it's good.

"Some producers, I think, want to make a statement, in terms of imagery and music," he said. "It depends on who you get."

Will Smith, back in the '90s, made a hip-hop statement of his own while advising fans to "just sit right there/I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air."

But, in this fast-forward TV world, would they still listen?

Quote from Coming to America (1988)

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security"

– Benjamin Franklin

Friday, October 06, 2006

"For God's sake, don't shake that booty!"

Chag Sameach

May you all enjoy living in your booth....


Quote from In & Out (1997)

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security"

– Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"You have no repentance! You're bad! Through and through, bad!"

My sister sent this to me. It is hilarious.


Quote from East of Eden (1955)

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security"

– Benjamin Franklin

"Fink. That's a Jewish name, isn't it?"

Was sent this interesting article by my friend sobersumrnr.


Krauthammer's Law: Everyone is Jewish until proven otherwise

By Charles Krauthammer

Strange doings in Virginia. George Allen, former governor, one-term senator, son of a famous football coach and in the midst of a heated battle for reelection, has just been outed as a Jew. An odd turn of events, given that his having Jewish origins has nothing to do with anything in the campaign and that Allen himself was oblivious to the fact until his 83-year-old mother revealed to him last month the secret she had kept concealed for 60 years.

Apart from its political irrelevance, it seems improbable in the extreme that the cowboy-boots-wearing football scion of Southern manner and speech should turn out to be, at least by origins, a son of Israel. For Allen, as he quipped to me, it's the explanation for a lifelong affinity for Hebrew National hot dogs. For me, it is the ultimate confirmation of something I have been regaling friends with for 20 years and now, for the advancement of social science, feel compelled to publish.

Krauthammer's Law: Everyone is Jewish until proven otherwise. I've had a fairly good run with this one. First, it turns out that John Kerry — windsurfing, French-speaking, Beacon Hill aristocrat — had two Jewish grandparents. Then Hillary Clinton — methodical Methodist — unearths a Jewish stepgrandfather in time for her run as New York senator.

A less jaunty case was that of Madeleine Albright, three of whose Czech grandparents had perished in the Holocaust and who most improbably contended that she had no idea they were Jewish. To which we can add the leading French presidential contender (Nicolas Sarkozy), a former supreme allied commander of NATO (Wesley Clark) and Russia's leading anti-Semite (Vladimir Zhirinovsky). One must have a sense of humor about these things. Even Fidel Castro claims he is from a family of Marranos.

For all its tongue-in-cheek irony, Krauthammer's Law works because when I say "everyone," I don't mean everyone you know personally. Depending on the history and ethnicity of your neighborhood and social circles, there may be no one you know who is Jewish. But if "everyone" means anyone that you've heard of in public life, the law works for two reasons. Ever since the Jews were allowed out of the ghetto and into European society at the dawning of the Enlightenment, they have peopled the arts and sciences, politics, and history in astonishing disproportion to their numbers.

There are 13 million Jews in the world, one-fifth of 1 percent of the world's population. Yet 20 percent of Nobel Prize winners are Jewish, a staggering hundredfold surplus of renown and genius. This is similarly true for a myriad of other "everyones" — the household names in music, literature, mathematics, physics, finance, industry, design, comedy, film and, as the doors opened, even politics.

But it is not just Jewish excellence at work here. There is a dark side to these past centuries of Jewish emancipation and achievement — an unrelenting history of persecution. The result is the other more somber and poignant reason for the Jewishness of public figures being discovered late and with surprise: concealment.

Look at the Albright case. Her distinguished father was Jewish, if tenuously so, until the Nazi invasion. He fled Czechoslovakia and, shortly thereafter, converted. Over the centuries, suffering — most especially, the Holocaust — has proved too much for many Jews. Many survivors simply resigned their commission.

For some, the break was defiant and theological: A G-d who could permit the Holocaust — ineffable be His reasons — had so breached the Covenant that it was now forfeit. They were bound no longer to Him or His faith.

For others, the considerations were far more secular.

Why subject one's children to the fear and suffering, the stigmatization and marginalization, the prospect of being hunted until death that being Jewish had brought to an entire civilization in Europe?

In fact, that was precisely the reason Etty Lumbroso, Allen's mother, concealed her identity. Brought up as a Jew in French Tunisia during World War II, she saw her father, Felix, imprisoned in a concentration camp. Coming to America was her one great chance to leave that forever behind, for her and for her future children. She married George Allen Sr., apparently never telling her husband's family, her own children or anyone else of her Jewishness.

Such was Etty's choice. Multiply the story in its thousand variations and you have Kerry and Clinton, Albright and Allen, a world of people with a whispered past.

Allen's mother tried desperately to bury it forever. In response to published rumors, she finally confessed the truth to him, adding heartbreakingly, "Now you don't love me anymore" — and then swore him to secrecy.

Quote from Barton Fink (1991)

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security"

– Benjamin Franklin

Monday, September 25, 2006

"I know. I've seen this sickness before. It's an old familiar road."

More reasons to feel sick today:

Man Arrested for Blowing Shofar at Western Wall
Monday, September 25, 2006 / 3 Tishrei 5767

Shades of the 1920's: A Jewish man was hauled off to the Old City police station in the middle of prayer for sounding the shofar during Rosh HaShanah services at the area known as the Kotel HaKatan.

The incident occurred around 7:30 in the morning, at the northern-most section of the accessible Western Wall - a little-known area called the Kotel HaKatan, the Small Wall. It is considered to have extra sanctity, as it stands opposite the presumed spot of the Holy of Holies of the Beit HaMikdash.

Yesterday morning (Sunday), a group of some 10 men and two women gathered at the site, as they have done for several years on Rosh HaShanah, for early-morning prayers. The holiday prayers feature the blowing of the shofar (ram's horn) at several different times. Towards the end of the first shofar sounding, a Border Guard policeman came in, made an unclear motion with his hand as if to ask what was going on, and then left. He said nothing.

Shortly afterwards, Eliyahu K., the 20-year-old prayer leader, blew the shofar a second time, in the midst of his silent prayer (in accordance with Sephardic custom). Policemen came in once again and began trying to pull him away. However, Eliyahu was in the midst of reciting the Amidah - a long passage during which one must stand in one place without moving - and he therefore did not move.

The policemen informed their supervisors by radio that he was praying and refused to move, and reinforcements were soon sent - no fewer than 20 policemen, according to several witnesses.

They then started dragging him out, and when they stopped for a moment, he got up and resumed his prayers. They then began to drag him away again, and shortly afterwards again stopped for a moment - and again he resumed his prayers. At this point, the policemen allowed him to complete his prayers.

In the meanwhile, the other members of the prayer group came out and tried to prevent the policemen from taking Eliyahu away. At this point, the policemen started swinging their clubs violently; no one was hospitalized, but "it was a big brawl," in the words of one witness, with many people being dragged around and beaten while wearing their prayer-shawls and Sabbath suits.

Meanwhile, Eliyahu was taken to the small police station at the Western Wall plaza, and several of his friends followed him there. They wanted to go up the steps into the police station, and demanded that at least the shofar be returned, but the police again came down with their clubs.

They finally took Eliyahu by foot, accompanied by his fiancée, all the way around the Old City, past Mt. Zion and through Jaffa Gate, to the Kishle police station inside Jaffa Gate. At this point, there was no longer any violence, and Eliyahu was released around 11:30 - after being charged with attacking a policeman, disturbing a policeman in the line of duty, and disturbing the public order.

One witness related, "It's not only that they stopped him from blowing the shofar, but rather the fact that the police beat us up very harshly. I was on my way to the Wall for prayers when I saw 5-7 policemen going with Eliyahu and protecting him very closely. I walked after them, and then a few of his friends came, and then the violence started. We asked the policemen to return the shofar, and they started kicking us and punching us."

The worshipers said that the police had apparently been called by an Arab woman who said the sound of the ram's horn disturbed her children.

A Jewish resident of the Old City told Arutz-7, "How ironic. The loud Arab weddings and nightly prayers by the muazzin [over a powerful loudspeaker] at 4:30 AM disturb our sleep every night." Similar complaints are heard from Jews living near Arab villages in Judea and Samaria.

A member of the Jerusalem Police spokesman's office, contacted by Arutz-7 for a statement on the matter and asked whether this signified a new policy towards shofar-blowing at the Wall, said, "When we have an answer for you, I will get back to you."

The head of the local council of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, Shmuel Yitzchaki, could not be reached for comment by the time of this report.

The rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, told Arutz-7, "This is a very grave incident, and I have asked the local police commander, Yossi Priente, to check into it - both the violence and the prevention of the shofar blowing. It reminds us of the days of the British Mandate when Jews [had to make] super-human efforts to blow the shofar at the Western Wall."

He was referring to the 1ate 1920's, when the British, in an attempt to appease the Arabs, and following violence at the Wall, forbade shofar-blowing at the Wall. In one famous incident in 1929, a man named Moshe Segal blew the shofar at the conclusion of Yom Kippur - and was immediately arrested by the British. Though he had fasted for the previous 25 hours, the British detained him without food until midnight, when he was released. It was later reported that the release came about when then-Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook informed the commander that he himself would not eat until Segal was released.

Nearly 40 years later, following the first Yom Kippur service at the Wall under Israeli sovereignty, shortly after the Six Day War, the shofar was again sounded - by Moshe Segal.

I now see that both Jameel and JoeSettler also wrote about this, check out what they have to say.


Quote from Bounty Killer (1965)

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security"

– Benjamin Franklin

"Neighbors bring food with death, and flowers with sickness, and little things in between"

This just makes me sick


You'd think the Neturai Karta would have better things to be doing with their time on Erev Rosh Hashana.


Quote from To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security"

– Benjamin Franklin

Friday, September 22, 2006

"What is Jerusalem worth?"

I wanted to take this time to wish you all a healthy, happy new year.

May we all be inscribed for a great year and may the redemption come soon.

Shana Tova

J. and Jcop Jr.

Quote from Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security"

– Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"And do you want to know something else? I've never liked your spinach puffs."

Here are some editorial cartoons and a short video about the tainted spinach.



Quote from The Emperor's New Groove (2000)

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security"

– Benjamin Franklin

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