Monday, July 30, 2007

Commemorative Elvis Plates

Remember those commercials for the commemorative Elvis plates? "This commemorative Elvis plate is a very special rare, limited edition, collectors item." As a child, I didn't understand why anyone would want to buy dishware for display, as opposed to conventional, use. Twenty years later, I can dig a Fiesta collection, but the appeal of a commemorative plate remains to me a mystery.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I think I'm developing a taste for Lynyrd Skynyrd. I was watching My Name Is Earl the other day, and there's a scene where Jason Lee sings "Free Bird" to Norm Macdonald (brilliantly cast as the son of Burt Reynolds). I had barely noticed that for all the flak it gets, "Free Bird" is pretty nice tune, when it dawned on me that I was hearing the tune for the first time. I've been aware of the song's "Stairway to Heaven"-like reputation since I was 13, when my friend Jeff and I found "FREE BIRD" carved into a desk in our English classroom.

It's implausible enough that I'm 24 and I had never heard "Free Bird" until a week ago, but it's compounded by the irony of all those scholarly musical pretensions I've been passing off as expertise. This is even sillier than that time I found out Buster Poindexter is really David Johansen.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Terry Gross

"She has an extraordinarily sexy radio persona," adds Timothy Ferris, author of "The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report," who has been a "Fresh Air" guest several times. "I've never met her, though I feel like she's a friend. But when you are in that booth and her voice is being digitally beamed into the studio -- well, it is an incredibly sensuous experience." (source)

If you know me, you probably know I like NPR. You also probably know I'm a big fan of Terry Gross, host of the radio program "Fresh Air." I like "Fresh Air," but mostly I listen to it because of Terry; in fact, I probably pay more attention to her than I do to the guests.

I think part of the reason I'm frum today is because I bonded with Rabbi Simcha Levenberg, then a shliach at the Chabad of Amherst, over our shared passion for NPR and Terry Gross. Simcha's wife, Cyril, recalled that I would show up for Shabbos dinner once or twice a month, and Simcha and I would have the same exact conversation we had last time. We'd be laughing hysterically while everyone else was like, "Didn't you guys already have this conversation?"