Askew

Joel Schatz

Joel Schatz offers a slightly off-center look at the news.

Askew

Les Miz, les bagels, and where’s my pants?

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Remember the part where …

Oscar Night is just weeks away, but alas, Les Miserables won't be in contention.

At least, not the 1995 version from France. The one with Jean-Paul Belmondo. Playing a truck driver in 1930s Paris. Helping a Jewish family elude the Nazis.

As Jewniverse.com reports, that may not be exactly true to Victor Hugo's novel, which was set a century or so earlier. But it did manage to add a Jewish twist to the tale.

In addition to some key storyline, the French film also didn't have Anne Hathaway. But, like Hathaway, it did win a Golden Globe Award (for best foreign language film.)

Not a single mention of lox

When Time Out Chicago checked out the latest in the world of round bread with a hole in the middle, they aptly titled the article "Not your bubbe's bagels."

That's putting it mildly.

TOC's Julia Kramer highlighted Reno's wood-fired bagels, made with saffron-infused water and topped with treats such as pumpkin seeds and olives. And then there's the "Grumpy Goat," offered by world-class chef Stephanie Izard's Little Goat Bread bakery. It's a New York-style bagel with fennel seed and golden raisins, sprinkled with Wisconsin goat cheese.

Of course, any respectable bagel must be topped. So, per Kramer's report, Izard offers a selection that includes green-bean-cashew-shallot-fish-sauce cream cheese, and Reno's Katie Wyer "creates seasonal 'schmears' (e.g., sweet potato) and jams (such as sweet pickled apricot)."

Don't look down

It's largely an underground phenomena, but the No Pants Subway Ride has been around for a dozen years and has spread around the globe.

The annual event is exactly what its name implies. Groups of passengers wearing no pants board subways or trams (or the L, in Chicago) in cities around the world, joining more attired riders for a stop or two. They never acknowledge their fellow participants (or is it "partici-pantlesses"?) and act as if everything were completely routine. All must wear underwear. Nudity is strictly prohibited.

Well, a few weeks ago, the event made its debut in Jerusalem, a city that Tablet magazine notes "prizes modesty." Not sure of what to expect, Tablet contributor Daniel Estrin rode along and recorded a podcast of the experience. (Note: This link to the Tablet story and podcast does include photos.)

Bottom line (Spoiler alert!): The prank went pretty much as it does elsewhere. Most riders avoided eye contact. A few stole glances. Once in a while there was stifled laughter. There was, however, one only-in-Jerusalem dimension to this ride - the sight of pantless men with tzitzit hanging down.

Animal Airlines

Visiting Israel is a joy, but there's no question that getting there is a lot of work. Picking out flights. Checking fares. Arranging transfers. Getting all the required shots. Filling out agricultural forms. Implanting a microchip.

Granted, human visitors don't have to go through all of that. But pets do. And wherever the marketplace spots a need, you can be sure some sharp entrepreneur will arise to meet it. Thus, let me introduce you to Terminal4Pets, which bills itself as the Israeli Pet Travel Agency.

Whether you are just going for a vacation or making aliyah, the company promises to help you navigate the paperwork maze, arrange necessary veterinary services, select proper shipping arrangements, and coordinate flights for both human and animal travelers "with the best, most pet friendly airlines." They'll even have a car waiting for all of you at the airport.

Now, I'm not endorsing this firm, because neither I nor my family's guinea pigs have ever used its services. And there could be other companies doing the same thing. But it's nice to know that, absent a Birthright trip for dogs, there's someone in Israel ready to lend a paw when your furry pal is ready for its trip of a lifetime.

No cop-out

When Israeli patrolman David Cohen was sent to investigate why someone had unlawfully locked an apartment building's storage room for cooking gas canisters - a public hazard forbidden by law - the cop found the culprit was the head of a destitute family of four that lived in the building.

The gas company had threatened to cut off their gas supply due to $125 in unpaid gas bills. When a company rep explained to the cop that his hands were tied, as the family had already received several extensions, patrolman Cohen whipped out his wallet and, going beyond the call of duty, paid the bill on the spot.

Escorting the culprit back to the storage room to remove the lock, the good-hearted police officer turned down the resident's request that the money be a temporary loan.

Case closed.

Courtesy www.chelm-on-the-med.com