Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Give the people what they want

Filed under : Tennis
On January 23, 2007
At 11:40 am
Comments : 8

You know, when I asked for Jew&A questions it never occurred to me that there’d be just one pressing issue on everyone’s mind.

Yes, I’m the #1 listing on Google for this conundrum of our time and seventy people lately have wanted to know badly enough to come on over. How frustrating it must be to visit my site and find that there’s no answer to be had here and that I have just answered you with another question, that is, just exactly why do you care? I know how irritating this must be because I had the same sort of conversation with my niece yesterday.

She: Do you want to buy Girl Scout Cookies?
Me: Hm, what kinds are there?
She: Samoas, Trefoils, Tagalongs-
Me: Which ones were the Tagalongs again?
She: Peanut butter
Me: Mmmm, peanut butter. I should ask people at work. When can I let you know?
She: By tomorrow.
Me: And when will I get them?
She: Sunday
Me: Should I call you back tomorrow night or do you like e-mail better?

So you see, my poor niece had just one basic question for me and I answered her with, by my count, five more questions. And I still forgot to ask how much they are. I’m sure she’s gone and chosen a more accommodating aunt by this time.

Realizing this, I’ve decided to actually give the answer to this sweet mystery of life. It’s not that I don’t get it. Last night, the whole Jewish world watched with pride as Israeli Shahar Peer held her own against Venus Williams on the big court at the Australian Open. It was a photo finish, 8-6 Venus in the third. The very next match was Mardy Fish against Andy Roddick. I feel pretty confident that all around the globe Jews were wondering whether they should stay up or not. They Googled and MSN’d and Yahoo Searched and, did I mention, I’m the #1 answer. (Andy steamrolled Mardy, by the way.)

So, without further ado, I present this picture from Mardy’s very own web site.

Do these folks look Jewish to you? You’re welcome!

The Kinks – Give The People What They Want


Today in geek news

Filed under : Etc.
On January 22, 2007
At 1:20 am
Comments : 10


So when I said I’d have a non-tennis post later this weekend, I meant really later, as in technically Monday. I also didn’t foresee that I’d be too tired to say anything much. Actually, the only reason I’m even doing a post is that my heat seems to be off and the laptop is keeping me warm.

But onward. I’ve done a little market research, that is, read my comments, and I’ve become aware that several other people share my love and nostalgia for the game of Tetris. If you are also deeply fascinated by the history of computers, the fall of the Iron Curtain, and legal wrangling (what, am I the only one?), then you should absolutely check out a BBC documentary on the topic, available here. Did you ever wonder why there are 4 million free versions* of Tetris out there? Answered! Oh, you’ll also need an hour to kill. If you’re reading this from work, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’ve got that in spades.

I also just installed more memory in my MacBook Pro after making sure I was absolutely static-free, which is never easy when you have hair past your shoulders. It worked! Sadly, I type just as slowly.


* I use Quinn for Mac, which makes a satisfying whooshing sound as the rows disappear. If the heat stays off I may actually play most of the night.


Alan Parsons Project – Games People Play


iPod song of the week – Portishead

Filed under : iPod Song of the Week
On January 21, 2007
At 6:30 pm
Comments :Comments Off on iPod song of the week – Portishead

Today’s song is dark, yet cool and breezy. Yes, remember trip-hop? Actually, Tricky was my favorite but maybe we’ll get to him some other time. Instead, we have this song, full of pathos yet so chilly it drips icicle water on you as you listen. Stylish and elegant, atmospheric and moody, that was Portishead. And this song sounded like the soundtrack to a spy film, partially because it’s based on a Lalo Schifrin sample from Mission: Impossible. But it’s the beats and the bleak vocal that add the magic.

Portishead – Sour Times



Filed under : Sports,Tennis
On January 18, 2007
At 4:35 pm
Comments : 24

That is, the tennis version of Jew&A. What did you think I meant? Actually, I didn’t come up with that at all. It was dreamed up by Alex who, in the absence of any Jew&A questions, decided to ask me a bunch of questions about the Australian Open. Normally I would have just answered them in another e-mail but at the moment I have a lot of one-time visits by people searching for tennis or tennis players because of the big Grand Slam going on. So let’s give them something to look at, shall we? And it’s not like you sent me anything better!

So, Alex asks:
Three forfeits in the first round of the Australian Open men’s singles. Is that a lot, or have I just never really paid attention to the early rounds of tournaments? Is this kind of thing any more likely to happen in the Australian Open than in the other grand slam tournaments because everybody has been lying around for six weeks drinking beer and eating Cheetos?

Do they have Cheetos in Australia? Or any of the other countries these people come from? But I digress. I don’t keep statistics on these things (or any things) but it does seem perhaps slightly greater than average. But consider the following:

  • a. It’s 111 degrees in Melbourne. Thus all the beer. But no, seriously, the conditions are quite tough. Speaking of which…
  • b. The Australian Open is played on Rebound Ace which is notorious for being soft and causing injuries. Especially when it’s hot.
  • c. As you say, it’s the first big tournament of the year and some people are perhaps not in the condition they should be. And I don’t just mean me.

Further, Alex asks:
Also, what’s up with Janko Tipsarevic, anyway? It looks as if he forfeited to Hewitt during the first week of January in the Next Generation Adelaide International Men’s Singles (1-6, 2-4), and the following week he dropped a match by a score of 6-7, 0-6. Does this guy just run out of wind?

I’m too stunned that you had that level of knowledge to answer (kidding, kidding). But I’m going to go ahead and say yes. No, really, they did manage to show eight minutes of that match on ESPN2 and he showed great form through the first three sets. That’s what separates the men from the boys and the guys who are used to playing five sets on a regular basis from those who regularly play three (at the most). This happens pretty often and if you’d seen James Blake throw up on the court in his first five-set match ever, you’d agree. You’d also be as grossed out as I was at the time.

Brother2 asks (he didn’t approve this for publication but what the hey):
I see that Nalbandian actually won a match in straight sets. What’s the matter with him? Is he feeling OK? Did he abandon his usual strategy of letting his opponent win the first two sets?

Thanks for your concern! I too was surprised. But first off, he nearly lost in the first round (thank goodness that Janko Tipsarevic ran out of wind or whatever), faced several match points, and had to go to five sets, showing that his M.O. of giving me heart attacks from all around the world is intact. (“Not the fittest guy on the tour” snarks P-Mac). But honestly, I’m inclined to believe, based on the fact that Mardy Fish has actually played up to his potential, Dudi Sela almost beat Marat Safin, and Maria Sharapova didn’t act like a petulant teenager at her press conference, that, scientifically speaking, there’s some weird juju going on over there. Or down under there. You get me.

And now, for my International readership, please allow me to highlight the match of the day in your respective countries.

USA: Roddick v. Safin

Russia: Kuznetsova v. Kirilenko

France: Gasquet v. Monfils

Czech Republic/Slovakia: Srebotnik v. Vaidisova

Israel/Fans of sexy people: Peer v. Golovin

Oh my God, I got through a whole tennis post with no Mauresmo jokes. It’s the strange juju, I just know it.


The Rolling Stones – Little T & A


Snappy answers to stupid questions

Filed under : Meta/Blognews
On January 16, 2007
At 4:45 pm
Comments : 15

Yes, it’s that time again. The time when I have nothing special to post about, my stats drop off, and I cry and cry. So let’s take yet another look at what people are searching for when they find me, at least through December 2006 (remember 2006? no, me either).

After various incarnations of magic jewball (who the hell searches for that? try typing in next time), the #1 most searched for term was “is David Nalbandian Jewish?” Technically it broke down into:

nalbandian jewish (23 hits)
david nalbandian jewish (20 hits)
david nalbandian jew (5 hits)
david nalbandian is jewish (3 hits)
is david nalbandian jewish? (3 hits)
is david nalbandian jewish (3 hits)
david nalbandian jewish tennis player (3 hits)

Second was the same question regarding Roger Federer. We had:

roger federer jewish (15 hits)
federer jewish (12 hits)
federer jew (7 hits)
roger federer jew (6 hits)

People also wondered if Dave Gahan, Paul Banks, Mardy Fish, and Boy George were Jewish. As you are all aware, I don’t know the answers to these questions, nor do I care. I’m more interested in why these other people care, although as far as I can tell, they never come back and so I am doomed to a life of ignorance on this matter.

I also appreciate people searching for their own corporate interests like the people from CNN who search for Jeannie Moos and Pat Kiernan and the people from JetBlue who search for JetBlue.

But sometimes there are questions I can answer and so I’ll do my best despite the fact that I know these folks are long gone and probably have moved on to the next desperate query in their lives. This time I’ll actually choose from just the last couple of months’ keyword searches.

what happened on december 20th
To me? Not much. Oh did you mean some other year? Probably not much then either.

ignorant famous people
Was this a question? All of them!

do americans like posh and becks
It remains to be seen. They hope so. I hope not.


orthodox judaism wear deodorant
Some don’t wear the dry or roll-on kinds on the sabbath. They do spray. I could explain further but you probably already asked the Jewish guy down the street.

dr sanjay gupta jewish
You’re kidding, right?

norcross prostitution
Not you again!

how am i supposed to do a line lyrics
There you go.

i need photographs of a sukkah booth!
Well, I supplied you with some! See how it pays to be vehement!

maynard james keenan anti-semitism
Say it ain’t so!

why don’t jews write the name of god?
Oh my God I actually answered this! Oh wait, see I do.

jofo published
Why, Jofo, is this true?

crowded house ain’t cooking in my kitchen
Mine either and it’s a real pity. One of them’s dead so not him but the others. Unless you meant they’d be the actual ones cooked in which case that’s just cruel.

my friend works with katie couric
How proud you must be.

believe me natalie interpretation
See, there’s this girl Natalie and it’s her last chance to find a go-go and dance to disco now. It’s a bit like Nietzsche.

does the magic jewball love sooner nerd
Oh, RN, of course I do.

top ipod songs this week
You might try, I dunno, iTunes?

which famous people were jews?
David Nalbandian? Roger Federer? Moses?

orthodox conversion ceremonial prick

generic yom kippur forgiveness email
Oh come on, don’t you think whoever it is deserves more than a generic e-mail after what you did?

jewball makes me crazy
Me too, really.

how to pronounce ghyslain
Strangely, I learned how since that post. That doesn’t really help you, does it?

kosher chocolate candy in the shape of maccabees
I love those!

babylonians famous people
Nebuchadnezzer is pretty much the only one I can think of.

do you have to be fit to go into the ambulance
And if you’re not, what happens? “Tone up, we’ll be back in six weeks.”

can the magic jewball pull my lever
OK, really, who was that?

There were a lot more but this is getting long. It just goes to show you, if you stick around I’ll answer your question. And as a reminder, should you have Jew&A questions, do e-mail them and maybe I’ll have something fun to write about. Not sure what I’m talking about? New to JBall? You can either look at the Judaism category, search for Jew&A, or just be bold and send me your pressing need-to-know question about Judaism. Everyone wins!


Depeche Mode – A Question Of Time