Oscary Jews, Jewishy Oscars

oscarI love movies, but I do not get up at the crack o’ crack to listen to Academy Award nominations and try and figure out who’s relevant to the tribe. No, I rely on real reporters to set their clocks, pierce their consciousness with their chosen stimulants, take in the information accurately and distill it down to a nice, Jewish package:

Judging from Tom Tugend’s jta report, is this could be a fairly Jewishy year for the Oscars:

“Munich,” Steven Spielberg’s controversial version of the Israeli hunt for the Palestinian murderers of Israel’s 1972 Olympic athletes, has been nominated five times — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, Best Editing and Best Original Score.

Joaquin Phoenix, whose mother was born Orthodox (but converted to Hippie and named her children River, Leaf and Rain), garnered a Best Actor nomination for crooning just like Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line.”

Surely, no one’s surprised that Jake Gyllenhaal, also of Jewish matrilineal descent, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the cowboy-on-cowboy drama “Brokeback Mountain.”

Yenta favorite Rachel Weisz is in contention for Best Supporting Actress “The Constant Gardener,” for which she’s already won a Golden Globe.

The Best Original Screenplay category represents the full age spectrum of neurotic Jewish males with Woody Allen (“Match Point”) and Noah Baumbach for (“The Squid and the Whale.”) Dan Futterman (“Capote”) scored an Adapted Screenplay nomination.

Relevant in a “not so good for the Jews” kind of way is “Paradise Now,” the breakout success by director-writer Hany Abu-Assad about two Palestinian men planning to blow up themselves and a bus, nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

Left out of Tugend’s report (but again, he did all the work, so I’m not faulting him at all) is Philip Seymour Hoffman, he of the Jewish name and WASPy skin and hair, nominated for Best Actor for his role in “Capote.”

jon stewartWhether Jews sweep the Oscars or not, it’ll be a Jewish night no matter what with Jon Stewart hosting. Heck, it might even be worth watching — Sunday night, March 5.

And Yet Another Reason To Keep Kosher

green pigA few weeks back this neon green piece of trayf, the product of Taiwanese genetic engineering, inspired many “green ham n’ eggs” jokes.

Professor Wu Shinn-Chih of National Taiwan University boasted that while there might be other flourescent green pigs out there, his are the only ones that “are green from inside out. Even their hearts and internal organs are green.”

If bacon the color of an ’80s Firenza sweatshirt ain’t enough to keep you off the pork, Fark.com found this story about a London man who found “dog sh*t” listed on the additives on a package of ham.

An employee was fired for the “labeling prank,” but if we are to believe Jules’ infamous speech on the matter in Pulp Fiction, you are what you eat…

Dad’s On His Way Home From Pakistan

thebrokenflowerpot…so he couldn’t possibly be this guy:

Museum visitor destroys priceless vases

A museum director’s nightmare came true when a visitor tripped on his shoelace, stumbled down a stairway and destroyed a set of priceless 300-year-old Chinese vases.

The three vases, dating from the late 17th or early 18th century, had stood on a windowsill at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge for at least 40 years. Their prominent position made them among its best-known artifacts.

The museum refused to name the visitor, who was unhurt.

Say, Dad did have a day’s layover in London … and sure, he’s a surgeon, but he can be a little klutzy (I’m thinking about that time he tried to repair a phone line in the attic and I walked into the bathroom to see his bottom half dangling from the ceiling) …

No. Surely, after three weeks volunteering at a Pakistani hospital, he’d spend his first few hours back in the Western world ordering room service and watching cable, not in some stuffy museum tripping over his shoelaces … right?

He emailed a few days ago that he was planning to wear a kaffiyeh (Arab headscarf) to deflect attention in the car ride on the way to Islamabad, which I’m hoping he took off before he hit customs in the UK.

And look, Dad, even if you did visit any museums yesterday, we won’t ask any questions. We just want you back, safe and sound.

*”The Broken Flower Pot” by 19th-century artist Jan C. Verhas seemed like an appropriate image to accompany this post. That poor anonymous guy must’ve felt just like these kids.

JIB Final Round

jibSo I know we Jews have a lot more to worry about than the final rounds of the JIB awards with Hamas’ “shock victory” at the Palestinian polls (I’m no pundit or anything, but I wasn’t shocked at all.)

But if you slipped on over and voted for the Yenta in the finals category of Best Jewish Culture Blog, it might take your mind off the tsuris. Not that I have any illusions of beating all the big dogs, but it’d be lovely not to finish dead last.

Shabbat Shalom, all — peace here, there and everywhere.

California In Da House

I finally got around to watching “Lazy Sunday,” the Andy Samberg/Chris Parnell skit that has apparently exhumed Saturday Night Live from the pits of lameness. Very, very funny, boys.

mark feuersteinBut I’m not the only one feeling a little ostracized by that whole New York-centric thing: Here comes Hebrew hottie Mark Feuerstein (who stole my heart back in the 90’s as Sandra Bullock’s ill-fated husband in Practical Magic, and in spite of a couple failed TV pilots, is still arguably one of the hottest Jewish men onscreen, big, small or ‘puter) and his bro Adam Stein with a West Coast answer to the deli and cab references:

Watch the “Lazy Monday: Color Me Mine” rap and find out how a couple Jews with too much time on their hands are fueling the vicious cupcake/macchiato feud. Let’s hope the only casualties of this vanilla version of Death Row vs. Bad Boy results in a few love handles.

Hat tip to Defamer.

Oh, The Irreverance!

I think we all know how I feel about Jewish parodies. If they’re good, I’ll chuckle along. If they suck, I’m not going to mince words.

wilajI warned Rob Tannenbaum of WhatILikeAboutJew that I can be nasty bee-otch as such, and he still sent me WILAJ’s new CD “Orthodox.” He cautioned me that this was not Jewish parody, but I figured anyone who named their band from an 80’s anthem could not be trusted.

Romantics wordplay or no, Rob was right — it’s not parody. And after a brief listen on the family sound system, I found out it’s not for kids, either. Before the end of the first song, “Hot Jewish Chicks,” my kid asked “What does ‘put the whore in hora’ mean?”

But once I procured some headphones, the question became “Mommy, why are you laughing?” Oh no, definitely not for children. Or your grandmother. Or those wearing pacemakers, of weak nervous systems or your rabbi.

Rob and the other half of WILAJ, Sean Altman, lob some seriously messed up Jewish jokes to the unobservant set. Falling into the “Oh No They Di’int!” category is “Jews for Jesus,” which tells the people formerly known as Jews to “go get your foreskin reattached” and that “I’d gladly baptize you in my toilet/’Cuz you, just like the bowl, are full of sh*t” as well as “You’re born again, that’s nice/If Jesus resurrects you I get to kill you twice.”

Mwah-ha-ha-ha! goes the evil bee-otch in me — in a wholly approving, guffawing sort of way.

There’s gleefully adolescent preoccupation with sexual organs here, present in their ode to little penises, “Just A Little Off The Top,” and the homage to Al Goldstein, “The Porno Made Me Do It.” But even while the feminist in me was ready to call in the thesaurus for all the possible ways to say “offensive,” I was still snickering.

I wish I’d been able to include “Hannukah with Monica” and “Reuben the Hook-Nosed Reindeer” (Santa is his shabbos goy) in the Chanukah music round-up, but this is a year-round opportunity to entertain your Jewish friends who don’t mind a little self-referential loathing (see the Jewish dating track and “Taller Than Jesus.”)

No, nowhere near parody, even if musically it kind of smells like Bare Naked Ladies. These acclaimed “giants of Jewish joke-pop” have been selling out shows in NYC, but there’s a whole world full of Jews who were done with anything religious the minute they stepped down from the bima after their b’nai mitzvah.

I’m not saying I’m one of them, and I’ll have to pass this CD on and out of the house immediately lest my children confuse it with the new Debbie Friedman compilation, but it deserves much play in Jewish frat houses and afterhours BBG parties. A West coast tour is in the works for spring; maybe El Yenta Man and I will find a babysitter, got schnockered on chocolate martinis and check it out.

Buy “Unorthodox” by WhatILikeAboutJew on their Web site or at cdbaby.com, but don’t you dare tell ’em the Yenta sent you.

25 Questions for a Jewish Mother

judy goldNo, it’s not one of those meme thingies that no one ever sends me.

It’s a one-woman show starring Emmy award-winning comedian Judi (or “Jewdy” as she signs herself on her site) Gold, described as a “comic’s personal journey to find love, laughter and acceptance as a Jewish mother with two kids and a nagging Jewish mother of her own.” Um, if I was paranoid, I’d think she’s been spying on me. But I’m not. So stop following me.

Anyway, Ms. Gold’s got quite a resume, from writer at The Rosie O’Donnell Show to sharing the smut with the greats in The Aristocrats, so I’m sure she’ll give the Jewish Mother Experience appropriately snarky treatment. She and playwright Kate Moira Ryan interviewed 50 Jewish mothers around the country over five years to figure out what makes a modern Jewish mother, just in case we’re not all exactly alike. (Guess that 51st set of questions meant for the Yenta got lost in the mail or blue hair was just too far off the curve?)

The show, which opens in Manhattan Jan. 18, hasn’t been reviewed yet and due to geographical limitations, I won’t be previewing it, but I’m dying to know what the 25 Questions are!

If anyone finds out and wants to tag me with a meme, I’d be delighted…

If You Were A Jewish Giant…

big mezuzahYou’d need one of these for the big a** doorpost of your house.

Torah scribe and artist Avraham Borshevsky has created the world’s largest mezuzah for those extra large in stature and/or faith, and while Borshevsky’s motivation may not be fame, the Guiness Book of World Records has handed down its blessing.

Even a fool Jew like me knows of HaShem’s strong admonition that we place the holy words contained therein all over our doors and gates, so I’m wondering why we’ve all got these dinky three-inch jobbies hanging around. Shouldn’t all mezuzim be at least the size of, say, a baguette challah?

A chaste winky wink to the Bangitout blog for the tip.