Golem Humor

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To help advertise the new book The Jewish Body by Melvin Konner, the publisher made a funny little video about a modern day Golem in Brooklyn. Of course, hilarity ensues and mission accomplished – I’m showing you the video thus advertising the book.

Rabbi: Golem we have summoned you to protect us from invaders.

Golem: Um, you created me to destroy your enemies? I mean, have you seen this body? What do you want me to do – file their taxes to death?

Enjoy the full video below.

The Golem from Tablet Magazine on Vimeo.

Via Neu, my favorite J.B.A.


The Moonwalk Is Dead. Long Live the Moonwalk.

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To honor Michael Jackson’s passing, I’ve decided to post about The Moonwalk, capitalized on purpose.
The Moonwalk is one dance move I will never be able to do. I remember trying and failing repeated as young lad but I was able to kick my leg up around my waist, say “he-he” in a high pitched voice, grab my crotch and then point diagonally skyward. Who grew up in the 80’s and didn’t do that?
Michael Jackson was a lot of things – artist, performer, dancer, choreographer, side show and freak show – but his smooth, ever-so-cool, gravity-defying move has proven to be one of the most iconic dance moves in history. Hell, the dance move even inspired a movie, called “Moonwalker,” which gave us a giant robot version of MJ slaying bad guys with some seriously killer moves.
Below is, according the MSN Music, the first instance captured on video of Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalk.” It can be seen around 3:41, which is when everyone goes ballistic:

Some assorted random Michael Jackson memories of mine are:

  • Thinking he was saying “fuckee” instead of “funky” in the song “Beat It” and being uncomfortable listening to it around my grandparents.
  • Being totally scared to the point where I had nightmares by the “Thriller” video. There was one part in the haunted house that I used to close my eyes for and my friend Justin, who had cable therefore MTV therefore the video, would always be nice enough to tell me when I could open them again.
  • Wondering how the hell he got that bad motherfucker Slash to wail away on his “Black or White” track

If you are feeling nostalgic for some of Jackson’s great music, moves and mini-movies (aka his videos), check out the Michael Jackson YouTube Channel which has 36 (double chai?) videos.
I actually just watched “Black and White” and was blown away with the first minute of Macaulay Culkin and George Wendt and then the rest of the video – the dancing through the various sets to the face merge at the end. Man I forgot how he was so damn talented. Sick.
This video actually made me sad for the first time. Its really unfortunate that the recent trials, bankruptcies and general weirdness distracted me from his musical brilliance because as I’m hopscotching around his career and catalog, I’m just amazed at how good he really was.
We in America destroy our icons in life and venerate them in death and that is definitely playing out true to form. Jackson from 1975 – 1995 I will miss dearly. Jackson from 1996 – 2009 I won’t miss at all. Unfortunately thus far there is way too much coverage on the 1996 – 2009 years and I’m hoping that changes.
Through the years I’ve posted when a number of different people have passed away. Now Michael Jackson is the latest but definitely not the last. So, here’s to you Michael: your music and artistry has made my life richer and for that I am thankful.


On Names

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Naming a thing gives it power.
Before my daughter was born, my wife and I spent a prodigious amount of time trying to decide on boys and girls names (at the time we didn’t know the sex of our yet to be born child) because we wanted to make sure that whatever we decided upon was right.
Moving backwards, before we got my dog, we also spent a lot of time deciding on the name because again, we wanted to make sure it was right.
Hell, when we got our car after our daughter was born, we batted around a number of names for it before we settled on “Murray.” One because Murray the Matrix has a nice sing-song ring to it and two because we used to live on Murray St. Due to the reasons I mentioned it, just seemed right.
All of that being said, I would like to point out that the Russian energy company Gazprom just made a 2.5 billion dollar investment in Nigera and the joint company is being called Nigaz. You don’t need be to a corporate branding guru to know that someone should have spent more a little more time thinking this one through. Nigaz? Really? For all the times that I mentioned the word right above, this name is just plain wrong.
Via Ben who said, “First rung on the ‘probably not the best name for a company’ ladder”


On Iran

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There is so much going on right now to comment about regarding Iran – the protests, the internal and external reactions, what this means for the future, etc. Believe it or not, Jimmy Fallon said it best:

“Well, the results from Iran’s presidential elections are in. And Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared victory. But his opponent, Mir Hussein Moussavi, is claiming ballot fraud and wants an investigation. If that doesn’t work, he’s planning on making a documentary about global warming.”


Museum Madness

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On a semi-recent flight to Las Vegas, I read an article in Delta’s Sky Mag that talked about the world’s must-visit museums (note this is not “the best” but “must-see” – a subtle difference but an important one none the less). To quote the article:
“The Ancient Greeks brought us the word museum; a place dedicated to the muses. Today, museums exist in countless interpretations in all corners of the world. They celebrate a single artist or pay tribute to a single topic. Museums as showcases for modern architecture has rewritten the global skyline and grabbed the world’s attention. But perhaps it is the looming world-class repositories of stunning collections we most associate with the classic idea of a museum: The Prados, Louvres and Mets of the world.
You could spend many lifetimes seeing just a fraction of the museums, great and humble, the world offers.”
Because their mag exists online only in some dumb ass virtual magazine form, where you need a special reader to “turn” the pages, I’ve taken the time to type out Delta’s list. The ones that have been italicized are ones to which I’ve been.

  1. Musee du quai Branly, Paris
  2. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
  3. de Young Museum, San Francisco
  4. La Fondation Maeght, Sanit-Paul-de Vence, France
  5. National Archaeological Museum, Naples
  6. The City Museum, St. Louis
  7. The Field Museum, Chicago
  8. The International Spy Museum, Washington, D.C.
  9. Kariye Museum, Istanbul
  10. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
  11. Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao
  12. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
  13. The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia
  14. The Frederick Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  15. National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
  16. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois
  17. National Palace Museum, Taipei
  18. The Getty Center, Los Angeles
  19. The Uffizi Gallery, Florance
  20. Museum of Modern Art, New York City
  21. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
  22. High Museum of Art, Atlanta
  23. American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore
  24. British Museum, London
  25. Edo-Tokyo Museum, Tokyo
  26. Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, Cairo
  27. Vatican Museums, Rome
  28. Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon
  29. Museum of Latin American Art, Buenos Aires
  30. Botero Museum, Bogota

51st State = Long Island?

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Every so often you’ll hear a report about someone trying to become the 51st State, like Puerto Rico, or someone thinking about seceding from the Union and becoming its own sovereign nation, like Texas.
Long Island a few months back started to explore the idea of seceding from NYS because as Suffolk Comptroller Joseph Sawicki had said, “The state of Long Island has always been a romantic idea, its been fun to talk about and exciting to discuss. Now, it’s become a matter of economic survival,” and he pointed out that Albany gets $3 billion more from Long Island than it gives back (NYC does that to the tune of $10 billion but who’s counting?).
Cue Jon Stewart and his crack commandos. “The Daily Show” last night had a segment focusing on this plan and of course hilarity ensued. My favorite line of the segment was when some LI Guidos were talking about beating up the residents of NJ: “Isn’t like beating up up your conjoined twin? You’re so genetically similar…” Enjoy.

Via Neu


Line of the Week

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I am a big fan of humor quips. When I lived at home, one of the best parts of my week was the day “Newsweek” arrived in the mail and I got to read the quote and cartoons in its Perspectives column. Sports Illustrated has also had some good quotes – found either in its “Line of the Week” or “This Week’s Sign the Apocalypse is Upon Us” features.
Charles Barkley’s recent comment on being criticized for swearing during a TNT broadcast is especially post worthy:

“If me saying b.s. on television after midnight is going to push your little damn brat over the deep end, you’re just a crappy parent.”


Back on the Train

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A few months ago, after singing about the movie insessently over the years (there is a lyric about it in the Beastie Boys song “Sureshot”) without having even seen it, I finally got to watch “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” and I really, really enjoyed the movie.
I just love NYC movies and gritty 70’s ones are especially fun. There haven’t been very many good remakes of 70’s movies though so I was on the fence about the new remake. But, after hearing some positive reviews, I decided to check out the NYT Pelham review and could not stop laughing about its closing thought:

“It has intense violence and frequent repetition of every true New Yorker’s favorite word.”

Hmmm, I wonder what that could ever be…
Even more fun was that I could easily watch the original on my PC using NetFlix’s online VOD service. Sure, movies on a 17″ LCD screen aren’t as good as 42″ LCD screen but there is something to be said about the word “instant.” I am really looking forward to when everything is instant – we are probably 5 years away from that.
Last, since I am just obsessed with Phish lately, here is Phish playing the title of this post “Back on the Train” from Hampton back in March


Wanna Get High?

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If Towlie ever had a park designed just for him, it would be the newly opened High Line which is located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.
This long-abandoned 1.5-mile elevated railway in Manhattan has finally been turned into a public park and its being unveiled to the public today. I love the fact that this park is 10 years in the making (back in 1999 two friends decided to fight to prevent developers from ripping the High Line down) and that it actually happened – sort of like how I conversely still cannot believe the West Side Stadium idea actually never moved forward.
I for one cannot wait to take a walk on the high side. I hope to do so soon while the wildflowers are abloom…
Via Erick P