Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


We fade to grey

Filed under : Meta/Blognews
On April 30, 2006
At 3:15 am
Comments : 6

Oh, it’s here, it’s here! The new look Magic Jewball! Clearly I have spent way too many hours on this and no one will care as much as I do, but looks do count, don’t they? That’s what people try to tell me, anyway, when I tell them I get my hair done at Supercuts. Then they laugh and laugh.

But I hope this both represents my monochromatic style and is somewhat easier to read. Which reminds me of a story (doesn’t everything) about how my mother once picked out a souvenir for me in London. She walked into a record store, found the person wearing the most black, and asked him what he was listening to. Clever, right?

But, in case you couldn’t totally get a read on my enthusiasm, I’ve decided to include this little illustrative film. Here’s an event that makes me comparably delighted. It’s a simple story, really, about that special time in a young girl’s day when the #1 train arrives to take her home. Sadly, the making of this film caused me to be the last one to enter said train and I didn’t get a seat. See what I go through for you?

By the way, there is no sound. Please feel free to hum.

Some suggestions are:
1. Love & Rockets/Kundalini Express
2. The Cure/Jumping Someone Else’s Train
3. Quad City DJ’s/C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)
(I wouldn’t suggest this one unless you are mentally impaired in some way)
4. REM/Driver 8
5. The Clash/Train In Vain (has nothing to do with trains, really, though)
6. New Order/Blue Monday (just sounds good with everything)

All right, start humming, film’s about to start.


Caressing the marble and stone (summary at the end)

Filed under : Life in general
On April 27, 2006
At 1:32 am
Comments : 4

Let’s bring together a couple of our past themes, shall we? Let’s say, walking to synagogue and homeless people. These two are intertwined like the NY Rangers and bitter, bitter heartache. But anyway, I go to synagogue each day to say a prayer for my Mom who passed last year (don’t worry, the story gets lighter). Today I was actually thinking of my sunny plans for later that evening: a shiva call. For those who don’t know, this is a visit to the family of a recently deceased person. For those who do know, this is also a visit to the family of a recently deceased person.

So as I proceeded along with my cheery thought balloon, a homeless man sitting on the ground by the store that sells the Festivus poles (really!) called out, “Why so sad face? Someone didn’t die or anything.” Really? I thought. Did anyone not die? I’d like to know. I nearly called back to defend myself but before I could even form the thought of what I might say, he yelled out, “Shut the fuck up!” How prescient of him. Saved me a whole “talk to the homeless” event as well. High five!

Speaking of death, you may have noticed that this blog is all black. Some people are having problems reading that. This doesn’t worry me so much as I’m not convinced that their worlds will end without this blog. Plus, I’ll always have Bob. No, what really concerns me is that 45,371 other people have the same template. When I do the “blog to blog” thing and I happen upon one of them, I get that embarrassed feeling you get when you see someone wearing the same dress as you at a wedding or Bar Mitzvah. If I see this template in its white or blue versions, I get that smug feeling that you get at the wedding or Bar Mitzvah when your dress-twin chose the other version of your outfit. Girl, you have validated the pink over blue decision. Thank you, now let us never be seen together again.

So I spent several hours learning HTML to try to change things. You may have noticed the blog looks exactly the same. Enough said. Then I just started running desperately around the Internet trying to steal someone else’s. Preferably something unique to just Miikii in Finland and me. But then I’d have to go look at the HTML code. That’s where the project ended.

Somehow, when I need to be distracted while working on the computer, I always end up in the arms of my good friend, Becca’s Recommendation Page at Amazon. After a few recent worrisome visits, Amazon seems to have remembered who I am and has begun recommending things I would actually want. Today, there was a book about a Joy Division record. I can’t really think of anything more useless than a book about an album, but I decided to just have a look-see, if only to keep from gazing at even one more blog about RV’s or “No One Understands Me – I Am a Complicated 16 Year Old.” It turns out there is a whole series of these books, yikes.

But it was worth it for this mind-blowing review (admittedly from a kid): “this is a book about there worst album. my favorit Joy Divison albums are script of the bridge and turn on the bright lights. i want to have ian curtis’s baby.”

How can I even begin? OK, Script of the Bridge is a Chameleons UK record and Turn on the Bright Lights is by Interpol. Yes, yes, they both sound decidedly like JD, but when I was a youngster, I could read the name of the artist on the package. Best of all in there, Ian Curtis is dead. I hope for her sake they froze his sperm.

Of course she could have meant “I want to have his baby” in the newfangled, I’m-his biggest-fan sense. I first ran into this many years ago at a Dave Matthews concert (PLEASE don’t ask me what I was doing there – it was free, it was a favor to a friend, I wanted to hear “Crush” and they didn’t even play it!). There was this college guy next to us who yelled out in a feverish ecstasy, “Dave, I want to have your baby!” The best part was, his friend then said, “Dude, you’re straight.” Oh, that’s what will keep you from having his baby. I see.

But in the “Anyone can put their crazy/wrong drivel up on the Web” department, I just Googled the title of this post, on the off chance that one of you might do it. Someone has posted that it is from a Bush song on The lyrics are also hysterically wrong. Naturally, lyricsfreak has no way to comment or correct anything. I wonder which was a better Bush album, Unknown Pleasures or Closer? It could be Turn on the Bright Lights, of course.

Hey, this was really long. I’ll summarize for anyone who has an even shorter attention span than me:

1. Death=Bad. Shut the fuck up!
2. My blog looks crap. This will change; when is anyone’s guess.
3. I never went to a Dave Matthews concert, you can’t prove I did
4. Internet: Al Gore needs to clean this thing up.


Reader of the Month, a photo essay

Filed under : Reader of the Month
On April 24, 2006
At 10:37 pm
Comments : 8

Yes, it’s our proud reader of the month. Let’s call her, oh, “Bob.” As you can see, Bob is terribly proud of reading my blog nine times a day. She couldn’t wait to declare her love for this site in front of everyone in the Whole Foods at the plush ‘n attractive Time Warner Center. Yes, I took her out to dinner to celebrate. Of course, she had to pay for her own food.

By the way, if you look carefully, you can see at the table behind us a woman had decorated her small piece of Whole Paycheck with a framed photo, kind of like Kate Winslet sprucing up her shipboard accommodations with Picassos in Titanic. I know, I know, it’s shocking to realize that I’m the sanest person in New York but it can’t be Bob, naturally, because she reads The Jewball nine times a day.

Later, we stopped to ponder that eternal question: which is a quicker mode of transportation, city bus or horse & buggy? As you can see, it’s Mr. Ed by a neck. And that’s not even counting that horse manure is surely a finer scent than the average guy on the bus.

After our magical evening, Bob went home, as I was left alone to contemplate how I am truly the garbage bag in front of the Avery Fisher Hall of life.


Drew & Hugh Part Two

Filed under : Famous People,Movies,New York City
On April 22, 2006
At 10:51 pm
Comments : 5

Where our intrepid reporter gets thrown off her own street….

Well, I got home from work at about 7 on Friday and there were already cranes and lighting fixture trucks and trailers all over. And of course the all important catering table, under a smashing white canopy. Not on my block, but one up. (For the New Yorkers and Familar-With’s, I’m between West End and Broadway, this was between Broadway and Amsterdam.) I grabbed my camera but my pictures would have been of…. cranes and lighting fixture trucks and trailers. Exciting, right? I could have gotten some crew people laying down a dolly track but that would have been about as entertaining as a shot of the un-recycled newspapers on my living room floor.

So I gave up on that and went to the evening service at my synagogue. The production people seemed to have parked their trailers in the exact route I usually take and they were in descending order of importance. By the time I reached the actual singles scene, er, synagogue, we were up to a trailer labeled “maitre d’.” That’s just sad, really.

On the way home, when I told my friend I was going to walk back through the shooting location, and not go around it, he was incredulous. Why would anyone intentionally go through there? Are we not nonchalant New Yorkers who avoid that kind of thing? Right, right, but I have a blog now. Besides, it was the Sabbath and I couldn’t use a camera so I’d look like I just momentarily stopped to wrinkle my forehead and wonder what was going on.

I was sure everything would be finished by then but really, the second I turned onto my street, I saw Hugh Grant in a big hulking olive L.L. Bean type jacket leaning on a car. Hey! Look at that. I joined a crowd of gawkers who, had they not been wearing dark clothing and chic haircuts, could have been on a “Star Maps” tour of Hollywood. “Look,” they told me, “you can just see Drew Barrymore there… there!” I looked, she was there, looking cute and peppy, just like you’re imagining her right this second.

It was kind of a bizarre scene of semi-interested neighbors, the previously mentioned starstruck, and my fellow Orthodox walking through with tinfoil covered dishes on their way to Sabbath meals. One of the crew guys was eating Passover cake, that neon three-level rainbow kind. Lots of the crew people were drinking take-out coffee in cardboard cups but Hugh had an enormous coffee cup. The real, china kind. My, aren’t we important!

OK, so I imagined the shoot would start within minutes. Yeah, that was an incorrect assumption. While I waited, there was this guy on the crew who kept walking back and forth and berating us hall-monitor style. He kind of looked like a skinnier version of Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters but had the intonation of David Spade. His impotence was pretty hysterical. He’d say things like, “I’ve warned you not to use flash photography, now I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” Then he’d immediately walk away. Uh, you’re going to have to stick around if you want to make that happen, big guy. Needless to say, nobody moved.

Finally, a woman with more balls shifted us all down the street, just on the other side of a yellow crane. I guess she wasn’t really informed much about the production because within minutes another guy came along and said, “You’re all right in the shot! What are you doing here?” I couldn’t help myself. I said, “I live here.” That didn’t score me any points. We were moved a few more feet towards the corner and promptly told that the entire intersection was part of the shot. Could we keep moving, maybe to the West Side Highway or Jersey or Kansas?

Listen, slick, do you have any idea how much I pay to live here? It’d blow your socks off and right into the shot. But, hell, that’s it, I’m totally willing to be treated like a recalcitrant child but not on my own freaking street. I went home and ate dinner. On the way to my apartment I saw that they did have some extras all lined up and waiting for the filming to start. Ha! I’ll be having chicken soup while you stand & chill, fools.

To answer your question, yes I will be seeing this movie when it comes out.


Drew and Hugh and You

Filed under : Famous People,Movies
On April 20, 2006
At 10:13 pm
Comments : 2

It’s over! Did you guess the first thing I would eat after the holiday ended? If you guessed pizza or sushi or Krispy Kreme, you were close. I did crave each of those things at some point over the last eight days. But in the final moments, oh boy, I had to have them, a big-ass bowl of Cocoa Puffs. My God, that was good. I’d describe it for you a little more but my language would border on the pornographic and this is a family blog.

But onwards.

Today, on the way to synagogue, all up and down my block I saw this sign:
Click to enlarge, but f you can’t read the bitty print, it says they are shooting a movie on my block tomorrow. I’ve never heard of it but it’s called Music & Lyrics By… and apparently has Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant in it. Judging by previous film shoots on my block, there will be no stars in sight and no chances for “These pretzels are making me thirsty” type extra roles. I once got up at 5am to watch them film a scene from Law & Order. Despite everyone having dutifully moved their cars and the sudden proliferation of those production trailers, there was no shooting to be found. Lesson learned.

Besides which, they don’t actually give off from work when movies or TV shows are filming in your neighborhood; they’re just insensitive like that. Not to mention, you’d rarely have anyone actually in the office were that the case. But what I love about this sign is that they helpfully tell you where exactly they will be dragging off your car to should you actually want to park on your own block. This is one of the 1,001 reasons I am pleased to not own a car.

(As a “You live like this, we live like that” aside, cars are a real liability here what with the lack of parking, strange parking rules, high-priced tickets, traffic, insurance that costs as much as the car, etc. Plus everything you could ever need is on your corner and if not, public transportation will take you anyplace you want to go faster than a car would. So most people don’t have cars.)

Anyway, I’ll see if there’s anything to photograph or film tomorrow, like if Drew & Hugh are snogging in front of my building or something, but don’t hold your breath.

By the way, another homeless man accosted me as I took the above picture. This one said, “Do you need some more light?” Well, what have you got, spotlight in your pocket? Giant lamp in the shopping bag along with a generator? No, I don’t need any light, thanks. But this got me thinking about yet another theory on why homeless people wait till I bring out the camera before approaching me. I’ve stopped! See, most people in this city are moving and moving very fast. It’s easier to shoot deer when they stop at the salt lick, you know? And no one here is standing still unless they’re smoking in front of their office building. But I only had enough money for the Cocoa Puffs. The downtrodden will just have to wait. Maybe Drew’ll be more generous.