Looks Like We Could Use an Open Thread

I took my mom for Thai food for dinner as her favorite Chinese restaurant was closed. As you all know that is a violation of Judaic Law. So I’m going to have to get a rabbi to write the restaurant’s owners a ticket!

For those playing the at home game of “what did the Jews we know eat on Christmas?” I had crispy duck panang, and I had it hot! I also had fresh spring rolls. I think that qualifies for a triple entree score.

I figured we could use a bit of music, so here’s a couple of Christmas, or Christmas adjacent, songs.

Merry Christmas and Open Thread!








Joyful Noises!

I love this meme — it’s been around for a while, but was only recently shared with me by my music-professor sister:

OK…so it’s a little harsh.

Anyway, on this Christmas afternoon, I thought I’d share a lovely scene from a movie I’ve never actually watched the whole of, just because boy sopranos, when they’re good, are surreal:

And just because we can’t have it all be sickly sweet, how about a little rougher edge…

Well, not that rough.

Gonna leave this one with what remains one of my favorite bittersweet-to-bitter Christmas songs:

This came on the radio the other day while I was driving somewhere with my son, and he couldn’t believe that Shane MacGowan was anyone’s idea of a singer. More fool he.

Top of the day to  y’all. My sprout and I have finished our ritual (and delicious) Chinese lunch, and will be heading down (w. the spouse) to more family south of the Athens of America.  Roast beast and red wine, and a day w. four generations.  I wish your preferred company (self and others) to all my fellow jackals.

Over to y’all.








Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Merry Xmas, Earthlings

From the Washington Post:

The astronauts had spun around the moon a few times already, their gaze pointed down on the gray, pockmarked lunar surface. But now as they completed another orbit of the moon on Christmas Eve 1968, Frank Borman, the commander of the Apollo 8 mission, rolled the spacecraft, and, soon, there it was.

Earth, this bright, beautiful sphere, alone in the inky vastness of space, a soloist at the edge of the stage suspended in the spotlight.

“Oh, my God,” exclaimed Bill Anders, the lunar module pilot. “Look at that picture over there! There’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty!”

Anders knew black and white film wouldn’t do it justice. But he also knew he didn’t have a lot of time if he was going to get the shot.

“Hand me a roll of color quick, will you,” he said.

“Oh, man, that’s great,” said Jim Lovell, the command module pilot and navigator.

“Hurry,” Anders pleaded. “Quick!”

Anders loaded the color film into his Hasselblad camera and started firing away while his anxious crewmates remained transfixed by the blue and white vision outside their windows…

Two days later, the film was processed, and NASA released photo number 68-H-1401 to the public with a news release that said: “This view of the rising earth greeted the Apollo 8 astronauts as they came from behind the moon after the lunar orbit insertion burn.”…

“As I looked down at the Earth, which is about the size of your fist at arm’s length, I’m thinking this is not a very big place. Why can’t we get along?” Anders said during a video played during a ceremony at Washington National Cathedral recently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the mission. “To me it was strange that we had worked and had come all the way to the moon to study the moon, and what we really discovered was the Earth.”



Open Thread: Polar Opposites



Sunday Morning Open Thread: Fruits of the Season

When I was growing up in NYC, the “Man o Manischewitz” jingle was so much a part of the holiday season that I never realized other people might not have the same memories. The Spousal Unit (raised in rural upper lower Michigan) just wandered in to ask why I was playing old radio ads. But he remembered his elderly *very* respectable Midwestern Ohio grandmother back in the same time period, after being ordered by her doctor to drink a glass of wine every evening for her heart, using Manischewitz for that purpose. So the advertising must’ve had some outside-the-Northeast impact.

In hindsight, I suspect Manischewitz might’ve been the secret ingredient in quite a few of the alcoholic-enough-to-make-the-kids-tipsy fruitcakes baked by the local Italian nonnas. (My Irish neighbors weren’t much for baking; we had Italian bakeries and Jewish delis to supply our culinary shortfalls, which given the state of Irish-American cooking in those days was probably for the best.)

Manischewitz wine has long enjoyed crossover appeal. Last year, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about its popularity in Asian-American communities and in the 1950s and 60s it was also a popular wine in the African-American community

He says when Jews first arrived to New York they needed wine for most religious ceremonies and holidays.

“The only grapes that were available was something called the Concord variety of grapes. They’re not sweet,” he says. “So in order to make them palatable, they would make this very sour grape into wine and then they would add sugar.”

It turns out, the very, very sweet wine is just the right flavor profile for Bethel’s go-to Christmas drink, sorrel. In Trinidad, she says, it’s not Christmas without the fragrant drink made from hibiscus blooms…

I’m sure some of you sophisticated readers will have OPINIONS about black cake: