December 17, 2006

Entertainment wrap-up

Fearing my post-grad social life had one foot in the grave when I realized watching Jeopardy ranked among my most stimulating weeknight activities (before tucking into bed around 9pm, of course), I decided I’d make an effort to take greater advantage of the SF entertainment scene. Here's who I've seen the last couple weeks:

-Hal Sparks at Cobb's Comedy Club November 30th.

I was reluctant to say hello on the way out, but we ended up commiserating with one another (having both survived the south). Cullman Alabama--more churches than Vatican City. Who knew?

Nico Santos & Sabrina Matthews opened. Fabulous.

<--the crazy eye -Yet another "I Love the 80's" alum--Michael Ian Black at The Independent Dec 12th with Michael Showalter.

One highlight--Showalter's air tambourine:

-Margaret Cho at the Good Vibrations Goodie Shoppe Dec 14th. She's now a board member for SF's pioneering sex-positive (formerly co-op owned) retailer. Deviating from her standard delightfully raunchy stand-up routine, she performed an alternative burlesque show. Jaw-dropping, all the same. My friend convinced me to go shake her hand, and the only thing I could think to say was "persimmons!" to which she grimaced.

Photo cred to Jon Leighton--my pics were less than PG.

December 15, 2006

Mucho mazel

For those of us who missed Vodka Latka: The Festival of Rights last night, there's a Salsa Hannukah Party this weekend:

Meshuggenismo! describes itself as "a salsa band that plays Jewish wedding and bar mitzvah music, or a klezmer band that plays the most Afro-Cuban-sounding Jewish weddings you have ever heard." They infuse Jewish party music with son, cha cha cha, danzon, rumba, bolero, mozambique, guaracha and merengue. They play the Peninsula Jewish Community Center's Latkepalooza!, which also features children's entertainer Diana Shmiana, music, arts and crafts, latkes and candle lighting. 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

December 12, 2006

Madrid celebrates the death of a dictator...

Why the "Mierda?"
from SFGate

December 04, 2006

Google mishegas

Apparently this story is a couple years old, but I just stumbled upon it. I was searching on Google for novelty jew-isch themed schmattahs and tchotchkes to give as Chrismukkah gifts, when I spotted a link to this letter at the top of the sponsored links list, under "Offensive Search Results":

An explanation of our search results.

If you recently used Google to search for the word "Jew," you may have seen results that were very disturbing. We assure you that the views expressed by the sites in your results are not in any way endorsed by Google. We'd like to explain why you're seeing these results when you conduct this search.

A site's ranking in Google's search results is automatically determined by computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page's relevance to a given query. Sometimes subtleties of language cause anomalies to appear that cannot be predicted. A search for "Jew" brings up one such unexpected result.

If you use Google to search for "Judaism," "Jewish" or "Jewish people," the results are informative and relevant. So why is a search for "Jew" different? One reason is that the word "Jew" is often used in an anti-Semitic context. Jewish organizations are more likely to use the word "Jewish" when talking about members of their faith. The word has become somewhat charged linguistically, as noted on websites devoted to Jewish topics such as these:

Someone searching for information on Jewish people would be more likely to enter terms like "Judaism," "Jewish people," or "Jews" than the single word "Jew." In fact, prior to this incident, the word "Jew" only appeared about once in every 10 million search queries. Now it's likely that the great majority of searches on Google for "Jew" are by people who have heard about this issue and want to see the results for themselves.

Our search results are generated completely objectively and are independent of the beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google. Some people concerned about this issue have created online petitions to encourage us to remove particular links or otherwise adjust search results. Because of our objective and automated ranking system, Google cannot be influenced by these petitions. The only sites we omit are those we are legally compelled to remove or those maliciously attempting to manipulate our results.

We apologize for the upsetting nature of the experience you had using Google and appreciate your taking the time to inform us about it.

The Google Team

p.s. You may be interested in some additional information the Anti-Defamation League has posted about this issue at In addition, we call your attention to Google's search results on this topic.

Why is there no disclaimer featured for search results that might offend other groups? Is this another example of AIPAC and ADL's disproportionate influence wielded through unfounded accusations of anti-semitism?

December 02, 2006

The height of Rumsfeldian condescension

From his departing memo:

Begin modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces (start "taking our hand off the bicycle seat"), so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country.

...and if they don't have socks?

Rumsfeld urging responsibility--beyond hypocrisy.