Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


I’m an adult now

Filed under : Judaism
On May 30, 2007
At 4:55 pm
Comments : 24

And now, a post to distract myself from all the new interns walking around here in their “I didn’t realize they dressed down at record labels” suits and ties. Since this past weekend was my niece’s Bat Mitzvah, I thought I’d clarify the B-Mitz concept for those who got their knowledge of Judaism from the Krusty the Clown episodes of the Simpsons (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

So let’s explore some of the myths that surround this event.

1. You’re not Jewish unless/until you have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Oh sweet fancy Moses, no. First off, the B-Mitz (abbreviation not found in the Talmud) is like a birthday. Whether or not you have a slick party, it happens and you reach that milestone (as someone who hates parties but likes birthdays, I’m grateful). And second, being Jewish happens at birth or conversion and no party or milestone is going to change that. The Reform do now consider a Jewish upbringing to help your Jewishness if you have only a Jewish father but the other denominations don’t accept that and even for the Reform it’s new.

2. A Bar/Bat Mitzvah happens when you’re 13.

Actually for girls it’s 12 (and a day) but people whose kids go to Hebrew School don’t realize that the school has tricked them into continuing their daughters’ Jewish education for an extra year. Bonus! Not that your Jewish education is supposed to end when you reach the age of responsibility anyway, but since many people do treat it as merely training for the B-Mitz, Hebrew Schools were forced to use desperate measures.

3. When you hit B-Mitz age you’re a man! Or a woman! (depending on your chromosomal structure)

Kind of. It’s actually the age when you’re responsible for fulfilling mitzvot (commandments, not good deeds – another frequent misunderstanding). And it’s the age when if you don’t do the right thing, it’s on your head and not your parents’. So think of that before you leave nasty messages on your friends’ MySpace pages, Jewish tweens.

4. Unless you have a giant event with a “theme” you don’t really love Judaism.

Actually, the theme is supposed to be Judaism. The rest shows you love parties. Yes, I could rant on and on about this but I’m sure everyone knows what I mean. If you had a giant theme event, I’m not mad atcha or anything, especially if I ate a lot of sushi there. But I was probably snickering behind my maki rolls.

5. $36 is a good gift because it’s cheaper than $40.

Technically, that is an excellent thing for the gift-giver, but it’s more because multiples of 18 are considered positive as the letters/numbers that make up the number 18 spell “chai” (life, not tea).

So now you know, mazal tov! Should you have any other Bar/Bat Mitzvah questions, please feel free to comment.

Title comes from the excellent song by The Pursuit of Happiness, sadly not available on Napster.


Look, I’m watching the Nalbandian match!

Filed under : Tennis,The Internets
At 10:50 am
Comments : 5

What, you didn’t think they were showing it on TV, did you? Hell, maybe they are but I don’t get the Tennis Channel at work. But let’s face it, they’re probably not. This method is just so fulfilling, though, isn’t it? And as you can see, Nalby just won a point on his own serve! Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles.

Live blogging updates:

Rain delay! Merde.

Ack! They started again and I didn’t notice! Just in time to catch Nalby winning a game, however. Here’s the exact second, captured for posterity.

Match Point.

2:04 pm
Wow, great match. What thrills! Those numbers changing back and forth really held my interest. Thanks!


Yes, in the face!

Filed under : Sports
On May 28, 2007
At 6:30 pm
Comments : 2

As an update to my earlier mention of Johns Hopkins making it to the lacrosse final, I just wanted to make sure everyone was definitively informed that they are now the champions! And it made it to the front of! Yes, I know that it’s only because it ruined the comeback of the non-rapists at Duke, but, y’know, I’ll take what I can get. Especially after two days of French Open rainouts. (aside to the new president, please look into the whole weather situation, TIA!)

If you haven’t seen Coming to America lately, the title of this post is indeed stolen from one of its many genius scenes, and it does seem to suit the picture exceptionally well.

(click to enlarge)

Edited to add: In other update news, congratulations to the person at the University of Paris who was the first person to reach my 404/Error page in the natural way. Special mention goes to which sent you there. I dedicate “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” to both of you.


Things to occupy your time

Filed under : The Internets
At 1:15 am
Comments : 6

Didn’t get away for the holiday weekend? No one around to drink spiked lemonade with? While I am away at the Niece’s Bat Mitzvah, please enjoy these exciting things I found on the Internets.

1. Trailer to the Ian Curtis movie, Control, (I think it’s from Cannes, if you’re wondering about the French subtitles… quite frankly they’re helpful for translating from Mancunian English). If there’s been one constant about this blog it’s been my desire, nay, compulsion to see this movie.

YouTube Preview Image

2. Speaking of subtitles, enjoy the French Open like me, with this handy vocabulary list.

3. New Digg-like website for bloggers. It doesn’t quite seem to have taken off yet, but I feel sure there will someday be more than eight readers.

4. What was that Nirvana song while Jack was driving? Who was the obituary for in the newspaper clipping? Find out at Lostpedia.

5. AOL finds the cuddly side of Memorial Day. “We don’t have a Dad anymore, but I’m sure this puppy will replace him just fine!”

The other stories are full of appropriate gravitas, as well.

6. Speaking of Memorial Day, Top 10 list of worst National Anthem performances ever. With video!

7. My new 404/Error page! Previously, you had been taken to the front page of the blog. Well, not you, you never make a mistake. Other people.

Well now we’re all ready to go back to work, I’m sure.

It’s been a long time, but I did actually recognize the Nirvana song.

Nirvana – Scentless Apprentice


iPod song of the week – Paul Hardcastle

Filed under : iPod Song of the Week
On May 27, 2007
At 2:50 pm
Comments : 11

Despite my joking about Memorial Day, I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices made by others for the freedoms we enjoy today. I’m also grateful for great music about said wartime sacrifices. I once did a paper in college about songs dealing with the Vietnam War that came out after the actual war. As you can imagine, it was among the more fun projects I did in college (speaking of, please note that Hopkins made it to the Division I Lacrosse Finals this weekend – go Lax Scholarship Guys!). There were several great songs from my project which I could have chosen for the iPod Song of the Week: REM’s Orange Crush, The Clash’s Straight to Hell, The Minutemen’s Viet Nam, but strangely, this one is my favorite.

First off, this guy isn’t even American, he’s British. Second of all, the song is predominantly made up of sound bites from a TV documentary about the war, used to great effect. I have no idea why a disco beat, background screams, and lady soul singers bring home the horrors of this war, but somehow they do. Obviously, the central point of the song is how young the soldiers were (thus the title), the horrific nature of their experiences, their inability to adjust once they came back, and the lack of appreciation for their efforts. But Paul Hardcastle appreciated you, guys! And he put out this unique single in 1985 before disappearing off the face of the earth.

And the title lives on in the name of the company which brings us American Idol, 19 Management. Yes, Simon Fuller was Paul Hardcastle’s manager. Remember that the next time you’re playing Trivial Pursuit.

Paul Hardcastle – 19
Not available on Napster, but is on about 500 different 80′s collections. You can stream it on the iSotW page.