Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


It’s on, baby!

Filed under : TV
On January 31, 2008
At 3:25 pm
Comments : 13

Hey, Lost re-starts tonight!

That’s really all I have to say about it. Is there more? No, really, I watched the “pop-up video” version of last season’s closer last night because, quite frankly, I have a mind like a sieve to the point where after a month away from the show I’m like, “so it’s the doctor, Kate, and what’s the other guy’s name again?” So this was quite useful for me.

I don’t actually watch a lot of TV shows. It’s pretty much sports and Simpsons reruns in my world. Aside from the requisite HBO blockbuster series, this might be the only one I watch regularly. So this is kind of momentous. But not as significant as it is for this blogger, who has come up with a way to make Dharma fish biscuits! Awesome!

I hope she doesn’t mind I’m using her cookie picture. But these have to be seen. Then one of you can make them and send me some.

The Cure – Lost


The days the music died

Filed under : Music,New York City
On January 29, 2008
At 12:45 am
Comments : 6

Do you remember when your favorite radio station died? Because I’m sure it’s dead by now, even if it’s been reincarnated in a wholly different form. If the station you grew up with is exactly the same now, I’ll give you a nickel. See, mine died about 15 times. First there there was a lawsuit and it was given to another owner who pretended it was the same, but it never really was. Half the DJ’s left but they mostly came back. My true station, WLIR, had the Screamer of the Week. The new station, WDRE (a play on LIR’s slogan “The Station That Dares to be Different”), had the “Shriek of the Week.” Nice, right? I mean, they still played the stuff no one else in the area was playing, stuff from the UK, non-album-tracks, weirdo New Wave acts and such, Depeche Mode all day, etc., but it felt cheap. Eventually, it shifted formats several times, to Modern Rock, to AAA (Adult Album Alternative), yadda yadda. Along the way, it became WLIR again but by then I no longer was in an area that got reception so I pretty much lost track of all that.

I did notice when it was bought by Univision and went Spanish in 2004. That felt like death. Just like the first time they were forced off the air, they played Alphaville’s Forever Young and closed. But they were reborn! On a frequency no one was able to receive, but that was OK, they also had the Interweb and we all get that, don’t we? But you know, all those deaths weren’t enough and even that incarnation became a smooth jazz station (because there’s so much non-smooth jazz out there). But that failed! And WLIR came back! Until this week, when it closed for good and became an affiliate of ESPN radio. So farewell to my station which died a thousand deaths.

And here’s to my favorite DJ’s: Donna Donna, Nancy Abramson, Malibu Sue, Denis McNamara, Larry the Duck, Ben Manilla, Mark the Shark, Bob Waugh, and lots of others who were my daily companions. One of the highlights of my first label gig was when the Alternative Promotion lady let me talk to Bob Waugh on the phone and ask him some questions. He ended the call by saying, “thanks for calling in!” I guess that’s the way DJ’s close their calls in real life too.

Most of the iPod Songs of the Week, I heard them on WLIR first. The kind of music that people consider 80′s music now was only played here on LIR: U2, Culture Club, Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Smiths, Squeeze, Tears For Fears, The Ramones, The Clash. Some bands who didn’t become popular in the general world until the 90′s were already played on LIR in the 80′s: REM, Red Hot Chili Peppers, B-52′s. Z100, the popular Top 40 station here, was playing the Footloose soundtrack and Madonna and Genesis and Wang Chung. Eventually they got around to music LIR had been all over for months. This is why as a child I was a Police and U2 fan when my friends were listening to pop. I remember going to England as a teenager and finding that all the bands I had to go to the tiny underground (literally, it was underground) record store to find were front and center in the regular racks… like Bryan Adams was here. It was like I’d died and gone to New Wave heaven.

So thanks, WLIR, for daring to be different and making me the music fan I am today. Satellite radio rocks my world now but it will never be in my heart the way the stations of my youth were. RIP.

Alphaville – Forever Young


Abbott & Costello win Doubles Championship

Filed under : Tennis
On January 27, 2008
At 3:20 pm
Comments : 9

So the Australian Open is over (boo! hiss!) but I know the highlight for you was the same as it was for me, the triumph of the Israeli Men’s Doubles team, Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich, over some other people. Oh, I’m kidding. The highlight was actually their press conference. A few gems below.

Q. Thoughts on the first Israeli partnership to win a Grand Slam tournament?

ANDY RAM: It’s an unbelievable moment. It’s a great, great moment for us. I won two Grand Slams in mixed. This happiness, I mean, it’s not even close to what I had during Wimbledon 2006 or French 2007. This is way over the expectations.

I mean, winning with one of my best friends, partner for years.

JONATHAN ERLICH: I thought I’m your best friend.

Q. Did you talk to the Prime Minister yet?

ANDY RAM: We got a call. Actually, they left me a message to call him back and I couldn’t reach him.

JONATHAN ERLICH: That’s the Israeli way. The prime minister asked us to call him back.

Q. Shahar [Peer, the Israeli tennis player] is going to Doha. Are you going to do the same thing? Is that a good thing for tennis?
(note from Becca: Israelis aren’t allowed in Dubai)

JONATHAN ERLICH: I’m not afraid.

ANDY RAM: He’s not afraid to go there; he’s afraid not to come back.

Q. Do you think Israelis appreciate the greatness of winning a Grand Slam?

JONATHAN ERLICH: Definitely. The follow‑up that we had during the two weeks and even now, I mean, they even bought the rights for this, especially for this. The Israeli channel didn’t show it all the tournament. The main channel, channel No. ‑‑


JONATHAN ERLICH: Doesn’t matter.

ANDY RAM: He’s a little bit drunk. It’s okay.

Only a little bit? I’m shocked. Anyway, that’s all for the Aussie Open for this year. Hope you got more sleep than I did. They really have to fix that whole 16 hours ahead thing.

Queen – We Are The Champions


I think that I shall never see

Filed under : Judaism
On January 24, 2008
At 12:15 am
Comments : 12

I’m a bit late on this but if you knew me in real life, you’d know I’m late on most things. Oops. Anyway, despite this blog existing for a few cycles of the Jewish calendar, there’s actually a holiday I haven’t discussed. It’s Tu B’Shevat, the new year for trees, and it was Tuesday. No seriously! It’s a lot more fun than Arbor Day. I know, because I have no idea when Arbor Day even is. How fun could it be?

When I was a kid, we celebrated in school by being given a baggie full of Israeli fruit (none of which I ever liked, I wasn’t really a date and fig girl) and by a contest to sell trees in Israel. You never got to see the actual tree which was only represented by a certificate with a picture of a tree on it as well as who it was in honor or in memory of. They used to be $3 but I’m guessing they’re a bit more now – I have to guess because the website wouldn’t work for me. Yes, you can now plant by web! Which would have shocked me as a child, not because we didn’t have the Interweb then, and we didn’t, but because I always imagined Israel as being wall-to-wall trees based on how many were sold then. Why would they still need to sell them now? I mean, I’d been there but I just figured the trees must be slightly beyond my view.

Don’t try clicking this button! It’s fake. The real one’s over on the Jewish National Fund site.

While we’re in the Judaism category, I am both delighted and weirded out by various Consumerist posts lately on Kashrut (that’s the noun for Kosher) or how it has related to some consumery topics. Exhibit A is this story on how the Chinese are seeking Kosher certification for some of their products on the theory that they will be less poison-filled. When I was in college, we had some Asian non-Jewish students who ate in the Kosher dining hall because they felt Kosher food was purer. Joke was on them! Our cook was an Iranian refugee who only had two recipes, both based on beef chunks. But I digress. The truth is, I don’t think a Kosher symbol is going to derail the Chinese poison train. It’s fun to try, though!

Second up, is a story about a complaint letter written by a vegetarian who couldn’t seem to understand the concept of reading ingredient lists and was horrified to find that Rice-A-Roni contains meat in most of its mixes. After she had eaten them! But the real treat, for me at least, was the letter written back from the Rice-A-Roni people suggesting she try the Near East family of mixes. The letter reads as follows:

We wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about another line of pasta and rice dishes called Near East. While not labeled specifically for vegetarians, the products are labeled for Kosher certification. Some vegetarians find the Kosher labeling helpful in keeping to their dietary preferences.

Kosher Law is based on the Jewish book of the Torah, and precludes the use of meat and dairy products in the same meal. While a product may contain meat and also be Kosher, it must be labeled as containing meat products to prevent accidentally being mixed with dairy. Below is guide to some symbols you can watch for on our packages of Near East.

And then proceeds to list all the symbols and their meanings. Imagine that! Jennifer at Quaker Consumer Response schooling some poor shiksa on Torah laws. It kind of boggled my mind. Not enough to not share with you that Near East does indeed have delicious dishes, though. I’m making their tabboule tomorrow!

Lastly but most tangentially, is this post about the recent demise of Hydrox cookies (I know! So sad!). The article itself doesn’t mention it but several of the commenters (who incidentally never seem to read each other’s comments because they all made this point separately) declared that the only reason Hydrox were ever popular were that they had no lard and all the Kosher people could eat them. Then, when Oreo went with vegetable shortening, it was over. Now, it’s true, we only ate Hydrox cookies when I was a kid and it was terrifically thrilling to finally be able to eat Oreos, but do you know what percentage of the population is Jewish? And of that, how many are Kosher? Do you really think all ten of us were keeping Hydrox afloat? And, in light of the last story, maybe it was all those vegetarians, which none of them mention. Or maybe Hydrox just dropped the marketing ball and became the WordPerfect of the cookie world. I dunno, I only ever ate the insides anyway.

Strangely, they don’t have Joyce Kilmer poems on Napster.

Peter Gabriel – Shaking The Tree


Did you happen to catch the professional football contest on television last night?

Filed under : Sports
On January 21, 2008
At 10:00 pm
Comments : 8

I’m not a football fan, as you may remember from this post. While you may or not recall that post (I’m going to wager that you don’t), lots and lots of people found it this weekend after the exact same scenario predicted by that movie happened in Green Bay. Some people probably wanted the quote (mine’s correct- I transcribed it straight from the movie) and some people wanted the video which, alas, I did not have. But, anonymous Giants fans, you are in luck because Becca is at your service. The fine folks at NBC Channel 4 noticed as well and ran the clip. And I had a heads up it was coming via teaser and so I recorded it and threw it up here just for you. You may be asking, “but you must be rooting for the Giants!” Well, a bit of me is but quite frankly, they play in New Jersey. Also, that whole not liking football thing. So, as always, I say, “go commercials!”

By the way, this clip led to another quoting match between Brother2 and I. It didn’t end until he said, “Sorry. Have to go. It’s 11 and the ‘What’s Going Down’ episode of ‘That’s My Mama’ is on.”