I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

December 27, 2015 - 11:18 a.m.

Jewmongous Dies Hard

Hey I’m starting to write this before 10 AM; that counts as a little victory. I stayed up too late last night, after 2 AM but maybe this will help me get back on the schedule I like, going to sleep between midnight and 1:00 and waking up between 8:00 and 8:30.

Yesterday was Boxing Day and I broke one tradition and kept up another. There was a time conflict and couldn’t do both. Every year I see Dar William on Boxing Day and every year I see Sean Altman do his satiric Jewish Holiday show now known as Jewmongous. I have seen Dar twice this month which pushed the dial a bit towards Sean but I couldn’t find another Jew with me to see Sean and part of fun at the Dar Bell House show is seeing it with Chris and usually some other people. Then Sean offered half-priced tickets online an I’m poor so that almost decided me. And then Aaron, told me he’d be in town and wanted to get together and he’s a nice Jewish boy and I asked him about Jewmongous and he said yes. So that’s where I went. I wish I could have been in two places at once.

Jewmongous was at the Cutting Room and honest to god night club on the east side. It has the advantage of being just half a block from the subway and the subway line easiest for me to get to, I just take the to the . The transfer is on the same platform. The show started at 7:30 and I thought getting there at 7:00 would be fine. Thanks to my phone apps I can time trips well and I arrived there at exactly 7:00. Unfortunately almost everyone else got there earlier. I got us decent seats, near the middle towards the back but my seat faced away from the stage and the tables are so close together you can’t turn your chair around. Every other time I’ve been there I was one of the first ones inside and I sat up front. Aaron couldn’t leave earlier; he is in town visiting his in-laws. When he does that he usually gets away for a weekend and we get together.

Sean was joined as usual by the scintillating Cynthia Kaplan. The Wise Madness style manual is unclear on this point. Sean always calls Cynthia Cindy so I always call her Cindy but she goes professionally as Cynthia so which should be used. I discussed this with the board and we’ve come up with calling her Cynthia on first reference especially when given in context of the link but allowing Cindy thereafter with an explanation. This is the explanation. Of course it seems like this is far too much verbiage to use to explain the use of “Cindy.” I wish I could trust all My Gentle Readers to remember this convention the next time I write about her. If you found this paragraph awkward it’s your own fault. If you had read all the previous editions of Wise Madness I would not have had to make this explanation.

The room was packed, It looked like a sellout, that’s a lot of Jews. There were of course the token goys including Stephanie in the front row who became Sean’s focus for all side comments to the goyim. Stephanie was there with her husband David so she’s Jewish by injection as Carey would say. My old officemate would say that she’s stealing David’s Jewish sperm. A highlight of the show was Sean doing his song about his shiksa first wife and singing it essentially to Stephanie. What was great was that I could see her face during it and her reactions that said, “Yes that’s just what it’s like being married to a Jew!”

I have been seeing Sean’s Jew shows since 2000 and I figure I’ve been to more than half of them. This is really being Tevye, It’s a tradition and without it my life would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof! Sean always comes up with some new material and the old still makes me laugh. The same goes with Cindy (notice the seamless switch to the informal “Cindy”). As I always have to recount, the first time I saw her I didn’t like it. I thought she was just vulgar. I must of course been out of my mind because, yes she’s vulgar, it’s the “just” that’s misplaced. She’s so funny. I love her deadpan delivery. I also love how perfectly crafted the songs are. She’s saying ridiculous things like “Merry Fucking Christmas. Fuck You,” but every line scans perfectly. There are no almost not quite rhymes and no forcing things into the meter.

I had a great new analysis of what Sean does. I do not remember it at all. Sorry, I am still an idiot. But believe me it would totally enlighten you on what makes Sean funny. If you knew it next time you’d see him you’d be getting intellectual satisfaction along with your laughs. So what I’m going to do is leave it as an assignment for the readers. Come up with it yourself

I got to see Sean an Inna daughter Ruby for the first time in person. Till now it’s only been on Facebook. The Style Manual board also had a meeting over the use of children’s names. It is allowed when there are no pictures. When she came up to the stage to hand Sean a shofar I struggled to remember what other singer do I know that has a daughter named Ruby. I knew I knew another one. Then when I got home and went of Facebook there was a picture of Terry, Ellis’s wife, with their daughter Ruby. So what’s with my musician friends naming their daughters after gems? Mike and Ruthy’s daughter is Opal.

After the show Aaron and took a walk together to give us more time to talk. We went up to Grand Central Station then over to sixth avenue so he could catch the back to his in-laws in Queens. It’s always fun to talk to Aaron and I don’t do it often enough.

I figured I’d get the from the same station. I sat on the platform. I let an go by. Then remembered there was no this weekend. So I took the one stop to 34th where I caught the . It’s actually fortunate that this happened as it reminded me that I had to stop at Stop & Shop on the way home for eggs.

When I got home I finished watching a movie that I saw most of before I left and that is something that’s going to require some telling. After watching A Christmas Story the other day I dashed off on Facebook a list of the greatest Christmas films of all time.

  1. It’s A Wonderful Life
  2. A Christmas Story
  3. Meet John Doe
  4. White Christmas
  5. A Christmas Carol: Mr. Magoo/Alastair Sim
  6. A Midnight Clear
That brought this response in comments:
Phil: Wait: where is Die Hard?
Me: Not on my list no matter how far extended.
Phil: Inexcusable.
Me: Not really a Christmas movie. It takes place on Christmas as a marketing thing.
Phil: It's about a separated couple who are reunited through the spirit of Christmas.
Then the next day when watching It’s A Wonderful Life with Seth I brought this up and he was totally on Phil’s side. I still adamantly disagreed.

Then yesterday I decided to watch Die Hard and see if they were right. Yes I had never seen it. I read about it when it came out and figured it was another big stupid action movie where lots of people get killed. Now I like some big stupid action films where lots of people get killed, but it’s not going to be a must see. Well maybe with Clint Eastwood but not with Bruce Willis who plays almost every role the same. I had seen the second Die Hard film and that was exactly what it was. But here were two friends whose opinions I respect both not just praising the film but saying it was a real Christmas movie. So I decided to activate my free one week trial of Showtime Movies on Demand on Amazon Prime and watch it.

What did I find? I have never had a film as exactly meet my expectations as Die Hard; it’s a big stupid action move where lots of people get killed. It is not at all a Christmas film. There’s no search for charity, love, and generosity. It’s about John McClane killing the terrorist/thieves despite the police and FBI being total smegheads.

When I posted on Facebook that I was watching the film and tagged Seth and Phil, Phil replied “You’re Welcome” So yes, thank you Phil for letting me know that I have been totally right about the film since 1988, the ads for the film and the reviews accurately conveyed what the film was. The The New York Times Review was right on target.

''Die Hard,'' the movie that gambles a $5 million salary on Bruce Willis, has to be the most excessive film around. It piles every known element of the action genre onto the flimsy story of a New York cop who rescues hostages from a Los Angeles office tower on Christmas Eve. Partly an interracial buddy movie, partly the sentimental tale of a ruptured marriage, the film is largely a special-effects carnival full of machine-gun fire, roaring helicopters and an exploding tank. It also has a villain fresh from the Royal Shakespeare Company, a thug from the Bolshoi Ballet and a hero who carries with him the smirks and wisecracks that helped make ''Moonlighting'' a television hit. The strange thing is, it works: ''Die Hard'' is exceedingly stupid, but escapist fun.
Notice no mention of Christmas. Oh but I was wrong about one thing. It was not released around Christmas but as a summer blockbuster in July.

OK now to make breakfast, poached eggs and sausage. Then I have to find two new friends as Phil and Seth will never speak to me again.





Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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Horvendile December 27, 2015
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