Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


The eternal question

Filed under : Travel
On July 31, 2007
At 1:15 pm
Comments : 21

Yes, there are more difficult problems to have. I just want you to know that I get that before I start with this thing that is currently making me want to chop my own head off. It’s vacation planning, that hellish thing you do on the way to something which will hopefully take you away to someplace heavenly. But you see, I have restrictions. My vacation has to be:

1. Last week of September/first week of October
2. On Delta (I have a credit)
3. Somewhere I’ve never been.
4. Someplace from where I can easily (and cheaply) get to Israel for the weekend so that I can end my trip by spending the holiday there.

It was going to be Budapest but then I remembered that printing out the itinerary wasn’t the same thing as actually buying a ticket and by the time that occurred to me the price had gone up by about a thousand dollars.

This is harder than it looks, and it looks pretty hard. The head-chopping thing is looking comparatively easy, isn’t it? Now if only I could fill in that top right blank on Delta’s route map.

delta map

I’ll keep you posted, since this will effect where in the world you’ll be getting shaky pictures from. Hopefully it won’t be from inside a mental hospital. Not that that wouldn’t be better than my last vacation, but still.

Lisa Stansfield – All Around The World


It’s the little things that count

Filed under : Meta/Blognews
On July 30, 2007
At 12:30 am
Comments : 12

It’s late Sunday night and you know what that means! Blog changes! Why? Because Sunday night is the night I do my blog back-up, in case Houston, TX where my server is gets hit by an atomic bomb or, you know, I hit a wrong button or something. They’re equally likely, people! Anyway, once I’m doing that I start to think about all the little plugin ideas I’ve been hoarding in my Google notebook from the 85 geek feeds I subscribe to. Inevitably, I will put a few into action. No one’s really reading on Sunday late night, they all have less bloggy things on their minds, so if I fuck up, only three people on the West Coast notice. Most of the tweaks you don’t see but this week’s are all visible and so, I’d like to show them to you. Let’s go clockwise, shall we? On the right, in the sidebar, you can see two fun new things to play with. The lesser fun thing is the print button, and it has a check-off list so that you can just print the posts you want on a plain white background without all the round boxes that so prettify my blog. It goes to pdf first and then prints. This is dedicated to Monkey Girl who once printed out pages upon pages so she could catch up. No more “what you see is what you get,” sister! I gave it its own box but I may move it to the footer. Although that’s getting crowded. More on that in a moment.

The next one is for all the people who hit refresh hour after hour and curse me for not providing new content. Now you can have a random blast from the past! In the Blogroll/Links area, there’s a new Meta section (I moved “Who’s Linking to Magic Jewball,” which takes you to Technorati’s list of just that, in there too since it’s also meta) and in it is a new link called “Random Post.” Go ahead! Try it! See where it takes you, it should be different each time. Commenting is turned off on old posts, however, so you’ll just have to keep those burning thoughts to yourself, alas.

In the footer is a new link to subscribe to my blog via e-mail. See, I tried to turn you all onto RSS and lots of people did go for it (thanks!) but many of my readers are not technologically proficient (love you guys!) and so you just check forlornly. Which is OK, but I worry about you and all the things you could be accomplishing, like curing cancer or looking at porn. So for you I’ve added this special button which you just click, a form comes up, you hand over your e-mail address, and each day that I have a new post you get an e-mail to let you know. I think I have it set up for 7-9am Eastern US time, but who the hell knows. Point is, you’ll know.

But I didn’t forget my RSS readers. You’ll notice a footer with some new options in each feed item. Some of you will remember my old blog on Blogger (perhaps the only time I’ve ever switched away from Google, but face it, Google, Blogger sucked back then). Anyway, back when I had an empty footer it had my old slogan in it. I’ve added that into my RSS feed for fun, plus an option to e-mail my post, should that float your boat. I already had a way to see how many comments there are on a post but now you can subscribe and be alerted when one gets added. They also had options available to add my posts to Digg or Reddit or but I don’t think I’m really that sort of blog, so if you want to do that, you’re on your own.

Lastly, some of my favorite folks, my commenters, have a new option to check-off a box that will e-mail them if anyone comments after them. I tried to sell you on Commentful but I’m going to go ahead and guess that no one is using it but me. So since you’re already giving an e-mail address to comment, why not be notified when someone else says, “ew, I hate what you said?” It could even be me! Although I’d say it more tastefully. Want to be notified? You have to leave a comment. Psych!

One of these days I will set up a page to thank all the designers of the brilliant items on my bloated plugin list as well as the guy who does the famfam icons which are all over my site. Famtastic!

So in summary, I continue to make my blog prettier and more fun, all the while establishing new ways to ensure you never actually come here.

Tears for Fears – Change


iPod song of the week – Beck video

Filed under : iPod Song of the Week
On July 29, 2007
At 9:10 pm
Comments : 5

I wasn’t especially inspired by any song this week, so I thought instead I’d link to this video. I’ve never really been a Beck fan although I was as amused by “Loser” as the next person. Once he got serious I kind of lost interest. But recently this bizarre and tragic story unfolded here in New York where a famous video artist, Jeremy Blake, is thought to have killed himself by just walking into the ocean after his companion, another famous person in the art world (can you tell I know nothing about the art world?) killed herself. They’re not sure; they found a body but it hasn’t been confirmed that it’s him.

Evidently, they’d both been exhibiting odd behavior, believing the Scientologists were after them, which dated back to Blake doing this video for Beck (who is a Scientologist). Strange. But people tend to become even more famous after their deaths and maybe I never would have seen this video if all this hadn’t transpired. I’m utterly mesmerized by both the video and the song, the last which almost seems an elegy for the artist, which of course it isn’t. I’m thinking about putting this song (Round the Bend) on my iPod but I’m afraid it won’t hypnotize me the same way without the abstract washes of bright color all melting slowly into each other. So beautiful, so sad.

YouTube Preview Image

Simpsons movie opens today!

Filed under : Judaism,Movies,TV
On July 27, 2007
At 11:50 am
Comments : 4

But I’m not seeing it! Oh the humanity! I just have a full weekend already. But maybe that’s good. The theaters will probably be chock-full of crazy Simpsons fans. Like me. Ew, I hate those people. Maybe next week. Anyway, only five people will get the joke in this cartoon but I gotta put it up there so that those five people will laugh and laugh like me. Explanation that will kill the whole joke for the rest of you below.

See, cholent is this Jewish stew that is often served on the sabbath because you can’t cook and cholent starts cooking before the sabbath (it can go for like 18 hours without being ruined, don’t ask me how I know). My mother had a big orange Le Creuset dutch oven that was always used but nowadays people mostly use crockpots. And kiddush is the little refreshment part after the service on Saturdays where you hang out for a bit to pick up chicks chat with your friends and neighbors. I know this will shock everyone but with a multitude of synagogues to choose from, some people will actually pick their place of worship based on who has the tastiest kiddush. So, synagogues try to outdo each other making their spreads as superior as possible. The crème de la crème (well, no crème is involved) is the hot cholent kiddush. Because let’s face it, if you’ve got two places in walking distance and one is serving stale Entenmann’s slices and the other one’s got a hot beef stew, I mean, come on. Potato and noodle kugels are usually involved too. Mmmm, kugellll……

Actually, a few weeks ago, I went to my cousin’s synagogue (her husband reads Torah there so she pretty much has to go to that one) and something went wrong and the cholent was cold. She begged me to come back saying, “this is the first time! it’s always hot! pleeeease?????” They really need a sign out front, that’s all I’m saying.

I told you my explanation would kill the joke. This cartoon actually came from bangitout, a site that annoys me to no end, so much so that I’m not going to even link to them here. Instead I’m going to give the hat tip to Brother2 who sent it to me and has a cholent recipe so good that it’s been published in a cookbook.

Danny Elfman, Sally & Susan Stevens – The Simpsons Theme


It’s always about Posh & Becks, innit?

Filed under : International,The Internets
On July 26, 2007
At 11:50 pm
Comments :Comments Off

From the department of fun technical glitches via my Google reader:
(click to enlarge)