Awesome, Judaism, Sports

The Definition of Awesome: Ricky Williams considers converting to Judaism

You can now add NFL running back Ricky Williams to growing list of high-profile, African-American public figures who have recently embraced Judaism.

Here’s the transcripts of a recent Ynetnews.com article which discusses Williams’ newfound appreciation for the Jewish faith:

According to an interview conducted by South Florida radio station, WQAM-560, the 33-year-old running back has recently been learning about the Jewish faith.

Williams began by studying the Jewish alphabet, and is currently interested in the Jewish Shabbat, Judaism’s weekly holy day. Continue reading “The Definition of Awesome: Ricky Williams considers converting to Judaism”

Awesome, Israel, media, YouTube

Jerusalem 2111: Whoa…

I came across a video the other day that really captivated me. It wasn’t because of what message it was trying to deliver, but rather I was taken back by the thrilling drama in a very unlikely and unfamiliar setting. And than… before I could say whoa, the climax/twist had me thinking “What?!”

Turns out the video was one of many entries for Jerusalem 2111, an international animation competition, which took place from July 2010 until the end of the calendar year. This above video took home third place. How I never came across any of these videos is a complete shock to me.

Continue reading “Jerusalem 2111: Whoa…”

Funny, News

SNL Bar Mitzvah Sketch: Only half-funny

Now don’t get me wrong, I love SNL. I watch it religiously… But this sketch kind of fulfilled the stereotypical joke about SNL sketches: They start off great, throw in a few a good laughs, but sour really quickly once the three-minute mark hits, and then it’s gone on too long and it’s all downhill from there.

As to what I mean when I say “half-funny” – the first two parodies with Taylor Swift and Jay-Z were pretty funny. Jay Pharoah nails every single impression they give him (if only the writers gave him a role that’s not an impression!). But after that, it gets ugly.

With the Katy Perry and Cee-Lo Green performances, the sketch begins to reek of trying way too hard to over-milk the sketch’s theme joke (in this case, Jewish jokes) to the very last drop. And while this is typically a trademark technique of SNL comedy, which at times produces some great laughs – e.g. The Secret Word, or anything that includes Stefon, it too often results in lame jokes that make you groan and wanna shake your head because you feel like they could’ve made the sketch so much funnier, but blew it big time.

And as for the whole idea of the sketch itself, I just thought the concept was unnecessary and overdone. To capture my inner Weekend Update anchor: Really, SNL? A sketch where Jews make fun of themselves? How original…

Try doing that at a mosque for an Islamic festival and see what kind of reaction you get… Now that’ll be entertainment! Not to mention it’ll remind people of that classic SNL “cutting edge, pushing the envelope” style of comedy we all grew to enjoy at a young age…

And it’s not like I’m offended by the sketch, because I wasn’t. That they were poking fun at a time-honoured Jewish tradition, which has been tarnished by corny dance parties (aka the old it’s more bar than mitzvah joke), it didn’t really bother me.

But from a comedic perspective, well… let’s put it this way: the moment I saw the Star of David from the backdrop of the synagogue at the beginning of the sketch, I knew this was headed for trouble…

I’m also kind of surprised they didn’t even use Andy Samberg for this sketch, in fact I’m impressed.

Perhaps this sketch would’ve been funnier had they included Kristen Wiig in it. She’s just too funny 🙂

Opinion, Uncategorized

What the heck is an Ophiuchus?

Buzzing in the news this past week was a story about the change in Zodiac signs. The change not only completely readjusts the order of which sign you fall under, but it also introduces a completely new sign called Ophiuchus.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “the ancient Babylonians based the zodiac on which constellation the sun appeared to be in when a person was born. Since then, the moon’s has exerted a gravitation pull on Earth, causing a “wobble” on its axis that has shifted the stars’ alignment by about a month.

“Because of this change in the tilt, the Earth is over here and the sun is in a different constellation than it was 3,000 years ago when this study of the stars began,” astronomer Parke Kunkle told the Twin Cities’ KARE-TV.

Here are the new signs below:

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11
Pisces: March 11-April 18
Aries: April 18-May 13
Taurus: May 13-June 21
Gemini: June 21-July 20
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23-Nov. 29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17 *My Birthday is Dec 16
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20

Now personally, I could care less about this hogwash, but having learned that I was no longer a Sagittarius but now a word/thing I can’t even pronounce properly, I have to admit I was a slightly protruded by this news. I mean think about it, it’s like one of those “Guess what, you thought you were a Gentile? Nope you’re Jewish!” stories that rabbis tell in dvar torahs… except in this case it’s for something completely useless and inconsequential.

And it’s not like I was reading the wrong sign for all years… How could I, when my sign never existed?

Or even worse: I could be one of those crazies who decided to get a tattoo of their sign, when guess what? It wasn’t really my actual sign anyway… (oh shucks…)

That’s what I like about the Torah – Unlike other fads/religions/followings, it doesn’t change. And if you really care enough to understand what the Torah is all about, you too will come to learn that while it doesn’t change, it remains relevant regardless of time and circumstance.

(Oh and for those who do care, Ophicuchus comes from the Greek  word “serpent-bearer”, and it is commonly represented as a man grasping the snake that is represented by the constellation Serpens. Meh… its no different than a centaur shooting arrows into the sky… except when you add an “N” to the start of the word, it sounds like “Nosepickius“…hardy har har har…)
common sense, Current Events, Israel

Way To Overreact: The Bay is NOT boycotting AHAVA products

So I had this marvelous idea for a blog post where in addition to featuring The Hudson’s Bay Company (the oldest company in North America) in the Loser List for boycotting products made by Israeli cosmetics company AHAVA, I was gonna mock the decision by posting a video of myself ruining my HBC Canadian Olympic mittens with none other than some AHAVA Mineral Hand Cream (yeah, that’s odd…)

But not so fast…

At 4:37 this afternoon, HBC CEO Bonnie Brooks and Moshe Ronen, National Chair, Canada-Israel Committee released a press release denying the claim that AHAVA products were to be boycotted. In fact, boycott seems to be the completely wrong word to use in this case:

Whether or not you believe the press release (I do… for now at least), something has to be said about the quick the reaction from both sides in response to this news – The pro-Israel community with the backlash & The Bay in response to backlash. While I’ve always admired the pro-Israel community’s ability to unite in quick response to threats, it is important to actually be accurate on the claims being brought against you.

In fact even the JTA’s initial bulletin about the “boycott” has either been removed or has magically disappeared:

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/01/13/2742547/boycott-campaign-targets-israeli-goods-in-canada

Another blog – Excruciating Minutiae – also reported this story, and delivered some interesting points for us to learn regarding this whole mess. It’s a good read, so check out the link above.

Rule #1 in journalism folks: Be right before being first – or in this case before jumping on the bandwagon.

Unless you’re like me and laziness kind of kicks in before legitimately responding to the events at hand…

 

blog stuff

Changes for 2011 @ TevyTown

When it comes to the quality of this blog, I often find myself asking how I can I improve it without imputing too much effort and or strain on myself. Well… maybe not so much effort, rather how can I improve the blog without having to spend money on things such as changing the domain name or revamping the layout (does spending money really equate into effort?)

Regardless of that, I’ve decided to implement a few changes/initiatives that I believe will ultimately impact the blog and the quality of it in a more
positive manner altogether. Some of them will be quite immediate & evident – i.e. name changes, visual alterations etc, while others will be more subtle, which pretty much means you’ll most likely see their presence on a not-so-often basis due to my inability to properly manage my time and energy properly for normal life things (like eating… yes I know, that’s kind of sad… but just kind of 😉

So here are some of those changes you should expect to see in the future of this blog: Continue reading “Changes for 2011 @ TevyTown”

antisemitism, Israel, Loser List

Loser List #17: Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha & Saudi Arabian officials for believing Israel is using animals as spies/weapons

Ahh!! Jaws!!! I mean Jews!!

If it wasn’t enough that Jews just have to be behind a number of pop-culturally based conspiracies, it looks some more educationally challenged people in the world have reason to believe that Jews are now responsible for using animals as vehicles to harm arabs and muslims AND as a secret service spy techniques.

In the first case we Egyptian officials claiming that the Mossad was responsible for shark attacks in the Red Sea. And in the second case we Saudi Arabian officials as well as the governor of Egypt’s South Sinai province Mohamed Abdel Fadil claiming that Israel was also behind vultures being used by the secret service.

Now I can understand sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads, but this is just ridiculous…