Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

New Blog URL and Title

Please note that my blog is now called The Long and Winding Road and can be found at longandwinding.wordpress.com.

Jews on TV

It’s no surprise that I like Television. In fact, I may like it too much. I watch way too much TV, either from our DVR with my wife or I watch a lot on my computer going to and from work on the train. I noticed a long time ago, as did many others, that the depiction of Jews in Television is not exactly what we are like in the real world. There have been a number of books written on this subject and I do not want to get into a scholarly discussion.

I have actually noticed a decline in the number of Jewish characters on TV these days. This is both a blessing and a curse. It is good because it give us a chance to stop seeing the false depiction of the Jew on Television. It is a bad thing, because it is important for our younger coreligionists to see positive role models on tv who are Jewish.

Of all of the shows I watch regularly (and irregularly) I can come up with six shows that depict Jews, and in each case it is different from the rest. One is a situation comedy (which in the past most Jewish characters were to be found) and the rest dramas.

The comedy is called “The Big Bang Theory“. I happen to think this is one of the funniest shows on television right now and highly recommend it to anyone (especially since there are very few good comedies out there today). The story revolves around two roommates who are both Physicists at a university. One is a child prodigy who has not understanding of the world and the other is a guy who had to come by his accomplishments by really working at it. A pretty girl moves in across the hall and that is where the situation comes from. Surprisingly it is neither of the main characters who are Jewish, but one of their friends. The character of Howard Wolowitz (play beautifully by Simon Helberg who is Jewish) is shown as a 20 something engineer who still lives at home with his mother and cannot get a date. How stereotypical! Truth be told, I have yet to meet anyone like this in real life, and I would imagine that there were more non-Jewish men in their 20s living at home with their mothers than there are Jewish men.

First two drama with Characters who look and sound Jewish but we have not been told if they are or not. In “House” we have Doctor Taub, played by Peter Jacobson (Jewish) who is on Dr. House’s team. As viewers we are pretty sure he is Jewish but there is no proof of this. This is a common thing I have found. We have Jewish Characters and they don’t want to deal with this. I am not sure why they make the character Jewish, but sometimes when a character is around for a while they get to dealing with this. The other one, in the show “Life” (which was created by someone in the grade above me when I was at Solomon Schechter) is the character of Ted Early played by Adam Arkin (Jewish). We think he might be Jewish only because Adam Arkin is Jewish, but you never know.

The next show is a show I fell in love with after just one episode. It is called “Being Erica” and unfortunately you cannot see it on American TV. It is a Canadian show (and by the way they are producing some very good television) and you can download or watch it on the net. The main character, Erica Strange, has spent her life making many mistakes and has many regrets. An odd therapist allows her to go back in time to correct these mistakes and there of course is a lesson at the end of the show. Now I had no clue during the first episode that Erica was Jewish until late in the show, her parents show up at her apartment. Her dad has a tee shirt that says I’m with Moses and he is wearing a small suede kippah on his head. WOW. A Jewish character who perhaps is going to be shown as really Jewish. I am waiting to see. BTW, there was a show called “The Trials of Rosie O’Neill” starring Sharon Gless in 1992. Ron Rifkin played her boss and the character was a Shomer Shabbat Jew and on one episode Rosie goes to his home for Shabbat Dinner.

Which brings me to “Brothers and Sisters” starring Sally Field. The show is about the Walker family, a wealthy family where the mom is Jewish and the father (who dies in the first episode) is not. The entire family here is technically Jewish. The only time is ever came into play was one episode where they did the famous Hanukkah Christmas dilemma. I hate that! The worst offending show that ever did this was the otherwise good “Thirtysomething“.

Finally the one shining light on TV today and it took five seasons to get there. Numb3rs is a show about an FBI agent and his Math genius brother who helps him solve crimes, stars not one, not two, but three Jewish actors in the top three roles. Rob Morrow (who also played a great Jewish character in “Northern Exposure“) stars as the FBI agent Don Epps, David Krumholtz as his brother and Judd Hirsh as their father. They did not cover up from the start that they were Jewish, but it was obvious that they had no connection to their religion. In the last few episodes, Don (Rob Morrow) has decided to learn more about his Jewishness by meeting regularly with a Rabbi and going to Synagogue. We’ll see where that goes.

OK, for a guy who promised not to write a dissertation, I sure did a bad job. Sorry for the length, but it has been on my mind.

Enjoy!

September 11

It’s taken some time to recover from our vacation and get back in the swing of things. Next week my blog starts back up for regular posts. In the meantime, I want to remember this day by remembering my day 7 years ago. It has always been a bit odd for mkm and me in that our wedding anniversary is September 10th. This year marks our 13th anniversary. We were married 6 years in 2001, and Avi was 21 months old.

In 2001 I was working for a direct marketing firm in midtown Manhattan, Madison Avenue and 26th street to be precise. I always got to work early and I was at my desk by 8:00 am or so. I remember just before 9 am someone saying something about a plane hitting the world trade center. The initial assumption was that it was a small private plane. This had happened to the Empire State Building in the past and, although tragic, it meant nothing. But getting to CNN.com was next to impossible. Some co-workers and I went out of our building and walked one block to Broadway. The view down Broadway was something I will never forget my entire life. We saw black smoke coming from the top of one of the towers. At this point, it was still unclear as to what was actually happening. A few moments later, we watched the second plane fly into the second tower.

We went back upstairs will full knowledge of what was happening. We could not make any phone calls as the phone system was overloaded. Our employer was saying that we should just stay inside. Given that we could not get onto any website and everything was overloaded and no work was happening, a bunch of us went outside again. This time we watched in horror at about 10 am as the first of the two towers collapsed.

My mind was made up, and no matter what anyone else said, I was getting out of New York City. A few people who also lived in NJ left with me, but as we got closer to Penn Station, we learned that the station was closed and no trains were going in or out. The same was true of the PATH trains, so although thousands of people were outside the stations, no one was going in.

We continued to walk uptown, turning around to see the collapse of the 2nd building as people screamed. We turned to the west and walked toward the Hudson River, thinking that maybe the ferries were operating. As we got to West Street we saw lines that would make Disneyworld shudder. These were the lines for the ferry boats which apparently were ferrying people across to New Jersey for free.

We waited for a few minutes, when I overheard someone say something about the Circle Line. For those not in NYC, Circle Line is a boat cruise that takes you around the island of Manhattan. So we got out of line and took a chance and walked the 10 blocks or so to where Circle Line docked. Sure enough they were also ferrying people to NJ and there was a VERY short line. In fact we got on the next boat to leave. The boat took us across the river to Weehawken NJ (infamous site of the Alexander Hamilton/Aaron Burr Duel in 1804). All the time across we watched the smoke rise from the site.

As soon as I got across the river I was able to get a cell signal and called the doctor’s office where mkm had taken Avi for a checkup. I don’t know if she had her own cell at the time, so I think that is why I called the doctor’s office. I asked them to just tell her I was ok and in NJ and would see her later.

Not being from north New Jersey, I had no idea what to do. There were busses bringing people to the Meadowlands (home of Giants Stadium) but I would not know what to do from there either. I knew that Hoboken was just to the south of Weehawken, so I started walking. I walked all the way through to the train station in Hoboken. Here you can see where I walked and much of the time I could see the trade center site.

So I got to Hoboken and at that time there was one train a day that went from Hoboken down the Northeast Corridor line (what I need to get home) and luckily it just started boarding, so I got a seat on the train. Today that train does not run. When the train got to Newark NJ, the first PATH trains had started coming into the station. So the train filled to standing room only and no tickets were collected.

I don’t recall the time I got home, but I know that I stayed home from work on Wednesday. I went in on Thursday, despite most business staying closed, but nothing really went back to regular business until Monday.

That day will remain in my memory forever, but I must say that what will remain even more burned into my memory is the site of the walls at Penn Station of photos of missing friends and relatives that people posted there. The station was partially under construction and the temporary walls became a posting spot for these photos.

So now I overlook the site and try to take some time here and there to reflect, but it is hard given the day to day grind of work. Today, however, we all take this time to remember.

Hiatus

I am on a short hiatus as my laptop is in for repair.  As soon as it is back I hope to start blogging again.  Our trip is in a week from Sunday so I will have stuff to talk about!

Song of the day

On Sunday, we took our kids to the Staten Island Zoo. The kids were itching to do something and we just had no clue. We had a great time there and it is such a wonderful thing to see your kids get so excited about seeing the animals.

So in honor of the Staten Island Zoo, today’s song of the day is At The Zoo by Simon and Garfunkel. This song is about a trip to the Central Park Zoo, but it celebrates zoos in general.

Enjoy!

Flickr Game

Wrekehavoc posted this meme that has been going around the blogs.  I thought is was fun.  Here is the game and I have a comment or two after.

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s Flickr Toys: mosaic maker.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food? right now?
3. What high school did you attend?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

I am somewhat of a photographer, so my coices, when possible, are of the best photograph even if it is not as descriptive.  Oh yeah, I am leaving out the actual answers for now, as I think it is more fun without.

Enjoy!

One Hit Wonder Wednesday

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, it’s back!  One Hit Wonder Wednesday!  So to get back into things, I am picking the number 5 One Hit Wonder in the US.

In the early 1980’s MTV was just beginning and it was due to songs like this that made MTV a big hit.  Before I reveal the song, you should listen to the following song on YouTube.  I think after you hear this, you will know the song.

This song was recorded by the British group Racey in 1979.  It never went anywhere.  Later that year, Toni Basil recorded this song in the US (changing the title and the words to fit a femal singer) and it was shelved until 1982, when it was released and a video was filmed.  The song quickly jumped to the number 1 slot in America.

So without further ado, here is Mickey by Toni Basil.