Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


When 60 Minutes starts 60 minutes late

Filed under : Movies,Sports,TV
On November 25, 2007
At 7:30 pm
Comments : 6

You may not have noticed this but there are some sports that I cannot fathom and am not a fan of and are thus never mentioned here. I know, it’s hard to tell since you get way too much tennis, baseball, and sometimes even hockey. By the way, I have nothing against basketball but have you seen the Knicks lately? Ye gods and little fishes.

So I was just sitting here waiting for some football game to end so I could watch 60 Minutes, when I finally gave up and switched to one of my favorite movies of all time, Coming to America. (Brother2 and I can quote this movie to each other all day – it’s kind of stunning for two white Jews, really). And then came this conversation between Akeem, fresh from Africa, and his boss Mr. McDowell, whom he is trying to impress in American style.

Akeem: Sir, I was wondering, did you happen to catch the professional football contest on television last night?

McDowell: No, I didn’t.

Akeem: Oh, it was most exhilarating. The Giants of New York took on the Packers of Green Bay, and in the end, the Giants triumphed by kicking an oblong ball made of pigskin through a big H. It was a most gripping victory.

McDowell: Son, I’m just gonna tell you this one time.

Akeem (eagerly): Yes, sir?

McDowell: You want to keep working here, stay off the drugs.

That pretty much sums it up for me, yes. Is the game over yet?

Shiny Toy Guns – Waiting


Scenes from the class struggle and my sofa

Filed under : Movies
On October 23, 2007
At 12:55 am
Comments : 9

As every blogger knows, it isn’t easy coming up with something to write about when there’s nothing much going on. For me, the reasons for this have been twofold. First, I’ve been under the weather the past week or so, necessitating my rigorous schedule of home/work/collapse/work. Second, in the midst of this, I’m preparing for yet another houseguest! You may not know my friend Dahnuh from Sacotomatoes but that’s because she hasn’t blessed me with a comment in about a year. But that’s OK, I know from non-blogging activities that she’s still alive and since I dumped myself on her doorstep a couple of years ago in suburban NorCal (she calls it Cowpooville and I couldn’t really disagree), I figured it was only fair. Plus I get to have her bring me chicken soup and entertain me. How timely!

Anyway, pretty much all I’ve done lately is read blogs and watch movies, often at the same time, often while drinking tea and eating butter biscuits. Those aren’t strictly medicinal but they have their own kind of magic. So, rather than pretend to talk about fun things that aren’t happening to me just now, I figured I’d show you some scenes from the movies. I can’t do movie reviews as well as my friends Maureen and TJ, so I won’t really go in that direction. Except to say, this movie was fab and kept me on the edge of my seat and was sociological and dark but also funny and cool. Sadly, I couldn’t read blogs while I was watching it as I had to keep my eyes on the subtitles. It’s called La Haine (Hate) and is about those riots they had in France a couple of years ago. You know, the ones that made us feel all smug because maybe we didn’t have the worst racial problems ever.

I won’t present you with the darker parts, but here are a couple of lighter scenes. I loved this one, particularly because I’ve been so lazy about getting a haircut that my hair’s pretty much down to my ass right now. The set-up is that one guy has given the other a rather fucked up haircut. Look, we’re the style nexus of the universe!

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Wow, the projects in Paris are just as ugly as the ones here. In other similarities, the subway. I think this is my favorite scene.

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I learned lots of new translations, like that Astérix was really Snoopy. Gosh, have I been misinformed. Anyhoo, I also got in some tennis watching and I’d like to inform everyone that at least one sportsman in my life has not let me down. David Nalbandian won his first Masters Series Event, beating Roger Federer in the final, and also beating the #2 and #3 in the world to get there. I’m excited to announce he’ll soon be interviewing for the Yankees coaching job.


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


I like the island Manhattan!

Filed under : Movies,New York City
On May 9, 2007
At 2:00 am
Comments : 11

(I know you do!)

So, what’s the greatest movie about New York? If you recognized the title of this post, you already know where I’m going with this. Why, it’s West Side Story, of course. Thanks for asking, rhetorical question-asker! Recently, I figured out how to download TV shows from my DVR onto my computer and thus I am now equipped to illustrate and prove my answer. With clips! And more clips! What does this mean for you, besides slow-loading pages and feed reader people having to click over? Clips! And more clips!

And now, onto the clips. If the very intro to this movie doesn’t make you suck in your breath and call out landmarks, well, you’ve just never been here. Where are the twin towers? They weren’t built yet. And the neighborhood we pan down to? It’s all gone, razed to construct Lincoln Center. These folks could never afford to live there now.

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Naturally, the entire film is completely dated, and not just because the hoodlums tuck their shirts into their pants. One of the best scenes in the film is at a community dance, where the two gangs go to meet up with each other and plan a rumble. Things look about to get ugly when Gomez Addams gee-whizes them into trying to get together in a friendlier way. Observe the results.

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Mambo! Check out the thematic wear; the Jets wear blues and oranges, the Sharks wear purples and reds. Because Latinos are spicy! By the way, there were no black people in New York in the 1960’s.

Later, on the rooftop, the Sharks and their womenfolk engage in the best snappy answer song ever. Would that J-Ball could be this clever. Not to mention a statement about racism and the immigrant experience framed as a lavish dance number.

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Of course WSS is also about love, death, revenge, family, friendship, loyalty and just to make it all the more fun, the whole thing is a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Only dancier and with corny faux Puerto Rican accents. And most of all, it’s about the Upper West Side before gentrification came along and jazzed it up, so to speak. You know, a place where gangs meet up with their girls on the rooftops after the rumble and the gangleader tells his troops regarding their patch of UWS, “I say this turf is small, but it’s all we got, huh?” And Romeo and Juliet do their balcony scene on a fire escape. ::sigh::

Now go, queue it up on Netflix!


Coming attractions

Filed under : Meta/Blognews,Movies
On February 28, 2007
At 1:50 pm
Comments : 11

Today’s a special day over here at JBall. Yes, it’s the last day where there will only be 12 months in the archive box of my sidebar. Tomorrow we begin Year 2.0! The official anniversary is later in the month so I’ll write more about that then. As a matter of fact, I have an exciting month ahead which will hopefully translate into interesting posts. Otherwise, more boredom and tedium for us all. But here are some of the March highlights:

  • Exciting holiday of Purim in just a few days. Watch Becca go insane as she bakes four kinds of cookies in 24 hours!
  • German houseguests stay in Becca’s teeny NY closet apartment for five days!
  • That bastion of responsible citizenship, Jury Duty!
  • The aforementioned anniversary special post in which Becca explains why she started blogging in the first place! And when she’ll stop! (hint: when she’s dead)

I know, why leave your computer at all with a schedule like this one? In the meantime, let’s look back, shall we, and follow up some of the posts from the past which you’ve no doubt forgotten and/or no longer care about. I did indeed see Music & Lyrics with Pious B. It was craptacular! Badly acted! Predictably plotted! Lacking in chemistry between the stars! Sprinkled with implausible details! And the very worst part: they cut out the scene on my street which was the very reason I went to see this slice of cheese in the first place! Sheezus. The only thing that saved it was Adam (Fountains of Wayne/Ivy) Schlesinger’s music. Can this guy get the music of the past few decades right or what? Oh and this mock 80’s video. Yes, that’s Hugh Grant as the second singer.

I especially liked the use of the phrase “you’re gold and silver” which I now realize was weirdly prevalent in 80’s music.

And I managed to finagle an invitation from Pious B to her family’s Purim meal (it’s called a se’udah, more on that later in the Purim post). Pi’s family are like the Kennedys: young, glamorous, numerous, and successful. And I get to eat at the compound, go me!

Anyway, to get the “new year of JBall” started, I’ve revamped the About page since people seem to actually be looking at it these days and it’s a bit outmoded. There’s now a handy FAQ which is a thing that people on the Internets seem to like. The questions were gleaned from things people actually ask me and things I’ve observed from people’s confused behavior on the site. Be confused no longer!

And now, onward to March.