The Hebrew Hammer

I first blogged about this film back in January, before it premiered at Sundance (see Jewsploitation!), and now The Hebrew Hammer opens this month. It may be the December movie which I am most looking forward to seeing.
heebhammer.jpg Makor will have a screening on Sunday December 7. The film opens in theaters on December 19, but Comedy Central will show it on Monday, December 8 (9pm). Basic cable before the theater? Mishugena!
Hebrew Hammer theme song (mp3).

Your logo here

As of yesterday, Snapple is the official beverage of New York City. For beverage makers that don’t have $106 million in cash and $60 million in marketing and promotional value to buy a five-year vending and marketing agreement with the City of New York, I’m glad to announce the sponsorship program here at AndrewRaff.com. That’s right, for low, low prices, you can become the official beverage of AndrewRaff.com. Depending on the value of the sponsorship, not only will you become the preferred vendor and get a nice sponsorship logo here on the site, but all visitors to AndrewRaff.com World HQ (er, my apartment) will be greeted with an offer of your beverage.
But wait, there’s more! You may be saying, “Andrew, I’d love to become an official sponsor of AndrewRaff.com, but although I might enjoy a nice frosty beverage on occasion, I’m not a beverage company.” Don’t worry! There are plenty of other sponsorship opportunities here at AndrewRaff.com: official chocolate chip cookie, official newspaper, official computer, official cell phone, official socks, you name it, it’s for sale!
For specific details or other information, use this simple form to contact me.
More on the NYC-Snapple announcement:
Watch the press conference
NY Times: New York Picks Its Beverage, for $166 Million
Gothamist: Big Snapple? Good Lord
601am is The Big Snapple
Reuters: Deal Makes New York the Big Snapple

Blackout

I had a very calm blackout experience yesterday. I didn’t get stuck in a subway, I didn’t have to walk home across a bridge, I didn’t get stuck in an elevator or in another borough. For that I feel very fortunate. In fact, it wasn’t a bad experience. After all, I enjoyed some free ice cream.
In fact, I wasn’t aware of the extent of the blackout until nearly two hours after it started. When the power went out, I was at home, making a sandwich. I ate, finished reading the law review article I started and then decided to go outside and try to find some cell phone reception. Cell phone reception is tenuous at best in my apartment even when the cells are working normally and the only landline phone I have in my apartment is cordless, so it won’t work without power.
The blackout brought out a sense of community spirit and neighborliness that isn’t apparent when people can retreat into their air-conditioned apartments and stare into video screens. Instead, the Brooklyn Promenade was filled with people watching the skyline fade into the night sky, except for those buildings downtown with generators. The Verizon building’s sign remained lit past nightfall, and it’s red and white logo glowed eerily in the skyline. The Staten Island ferry was lit up brightly as it ferried back and forth from lower Manhattan. Spotlights continued to illuminate the Statute of Liberty in NY harbor. (Not suprisingly, those photos, which I took handheld with an ice cream cone in my other hand, are essentially useless. The photographers who had their tripods probably had better results.)
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Throngs of people walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
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Attempted profiteers
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These guys were grilling and sharing hot dogs. Thanks! I don’t have a good picture, but right nearby, the wine store staff passed out cups of Chardonnay.
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Free ice cream! Wooo-hoo!
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Us normal geeks are no match for this über-geek, who was out on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, as darkness fell, with his digital camera on a tripod, iBook and head-mounted flashlight.
I heard some cheers outside when the power came on just before 8 this morning. Although the cable modem didn’t return until early afternoon, dial-up worked well enough in the morning to post these photos.
Gothamist: The New York City Blackout Edition
More stories and photos (in no particular order):
Grant Barrett (World New York): The Great North American Blackout 2003
Meccapixel: If you’re going to loot, why McDonald’s?
Jeremy Blachman: “Okay, we had a blackout. I’m a law student. The natural question: who can I sue?
Capn Design: Blackout photos
Satan’s Laundromat: “You know, I’ve always had a peculiar desire to live through natural disasters…”
John Wehr: New York City Blackout as Photographed by John Wehr
Robert Spychala: photos
Camworld:
The Great Blackout of 2003
TextAmerica: The Blackout moblog
WNYC: The Blackout of 2003 Slide Show
Aquick: Blackout 08/14/2003 photos
Too Much Sexy: Electricity, nectar of the gods
Amy Langfield: On the last car of the Q Train between DeKalb and Atlantic
Paul Frankenstein directed traffic on Ninth Ave.
AP: Iraqis Offer Tips Over U.S. Blackout
Jack Balkin: The Top Ten Theories About What Caused the East Coast Power Blackout
While I didn’t use an iPod flashlight, I did use my phone to light my way up the stairs.
Interestingly, I just read this article in Wired magazine a couple of days ago: Power Up: Twenty years from now, the whole world will be sharing electricity through one grid.

Bizarro World

Despite some initial skepticism, I can confirm earlier suspicions that we are now living in bizarro world. I’m not sure of the official date the flip began. My initial thought is sometime in 2000, although the more I think about it, I see a stronger case for the argument that reason and logic began turning on their heads sometime around 1998.
More later.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Thanks, Mr. Rogers.
Jurist notes that Mr. Rogers influenced the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Sony v. University City Studios (the Betamax case).

“Fred Rogers [is] president of the corporation that produces and owns the copyright on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The program is carried by more public television stations than any other program. Its audience numbers over 3,000,000 families a day. He testified [at trial] that he had absolutely no objection to home taping for noncommercial use and expressed the opinion that it is a real service to families to be able to record children’s programs and to show them at appropriate times. If there are millions of owners of VTR’s who make copies of televised sports events, religious broadcasts, and educational programs such as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and if the proprietors of those programs welcome the practice, the business of supplying the equipment that makes such copying feasible should not be stifled simply because the equipment is used by some individuals to make unauthorized reproductions of respondents’ works.”

Still going…and going…and going…

Who turned America’s best TV show into a cartoon?

The Simpsons no longer marks the elevation of the sitcom formula to its highest form. These days it’s closer to It’s Garry Shandling’s Show—a very good, self-conscious parody of a sitcom (and itself). Episodes that once would have ended with Homer and Marge bicycling into the sunset (perhaps while Bart gagged in the background) now end with Homer blowing a tranquilizer dart into Marge’s neck. The show’s still funny, but it hasn’t been touching in years. Writer Mike Reiss admitted as much to the New York Times Magazine, conceding that “much of the humanity has leached out of the show over the years. … It hurts to watch it, even if I helped do it.”

It’s sad how the Simpsons have no soul anymore, and that Fox keeps the show going but buried and cancelled Futurama.