Askew

Joel Schatz

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

Askew

Green stuff, donkey-fi, a shocking turn and long-distance pits

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It's green, it's mean, and we think it might be edible

The first hint was the smell.

The pungent odor emanating from an area in Haifa's central post office immediately aroused suspicion, Israel Hayom reported. An elite drug and money laundering unit was called in and focused full attention on seven containers shipped from Thailand. And in those containers, members of the unit discovered …

Frogs. Dried frogs, to be precise. And toads. And giant cockroaches. And dung beetles.

All of them, the investigators concluded, apparently intended for human consumption, as prized delicacies. Illegal to import. But otherwise, not particularly nefarious.

Unless, of course, your tastes don't lean that way.

Wi-fi hits the trail

Israel is one of the world's great technological meccas, if I may mix some metaphors. A veritable oasis of innovation. But its latest technological triumphan apparently first-of-its-kind mobile wi-fi hotspotcomes not from the local HQs of Intel or Microsoft, nor from the folks who invented instant messaging, but rather from the manager of a tourist attraction in Galilee.

As the Algemeiner reports, Kfar Kedem offers a journey back in time, re-creating life in ancient Galilee as visitors travel the historic landscape on donkeys. Manager Menachem Goldberg, however, realized that to keep visitors engagedand perhaps get a few of their friends to join the experiencethey needed a way to share their experiences and photos via email and Facebook.

Not an easy task when you're riding a donkey through ancient history.

Unless you attach wireless routers to the donkeys.

So far, Goldberg says, five of the 30 donkeys have gone wi-fi. If they get enough "likes," there could be more.

A life-changing discovery … perhaps

Csanad Szegedi was a rising star in Hungary's right-wing Jobbik Party, the Associated Press reports, known for his frequent rantings against things Jewish, or even smacking of "Jewishness."

Then, one day, he acknowledged what had been rumored for weeks: He is, indeed, a Jew.

He doesn't practice the religion. He was raised Presbyterian. But apparently unbeknownst to him until recently, his grandparents on his mother's sideone survived Auschwitz, the other forced labor campswere Orthodox Jews. Which makes him Jewish.

Now, AP reports, his political career is in shambles. His party, which ousted him from leadership, wants him to give up his seat in the European Parliament, allegedly for offering an informant a bribe to keep the information quiet. And his business partner, Jobbik's executive director, has pulled out of their internet firm.

Szegedi is fighting to keep the Parliament seat. But he also has met with a Chabad rabbi, "apologized for any statements which may have offended the Jewish community, and vowed to visit Auschwitz to pay his respects."

Spitting image

Is the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement losing momentum? There's room for optimism: Israel has just been accepted with open arms as a member of the IFOPSthe International Federation of Pit Spitting.

Other member states include Bulgaria, Italy and China. Actually, pit spitting competitions are ancient and can be traced all the way back to the cavemen, a pastime found illustrated in prehistoric cave drawings in Spain.

The best score by one of the chief contenders for the Israeli championship was 13.9 metersbut Israel still has a long way to go: Spain holds the world record for olive pits - 21.32 meters, while the world record for cherry pits is 56 (yes, fifty-six) meters.

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

Invitation to a wedding

D. and M. wanted to get married, but didn't have a penny to their name. Turns out that all they needed was a little help from their friends… who opened a Facebook group called "Organizing a Wedding Together," which asked surfers to help put together a wedding for the pair, ad hoc.

Within minutes someone offered to drive them to the wedding; a makeup artist offered to prepare the bride; a band volunteered to provide music; a photographer said he'd take the wedding pictures gratis; and a graphic artist offered to prepare a hand-written marriage contract. Another business offered to provide waiters at the reception and donations flowed in to pay for a hall and a caterer.

The couplewho knew nothing of their friends' campaignnot only got a memorable wedding held in a Bat Yam hall, but their friendsencouraged by the responsehad asked Israelis who didn't even know the couple to donate furniture and appliances to give the newlyweds a good start.

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

And from the sports desk …

Olympic Gold Medal gymnast Gabby Douglas, who we don't think is Jewish (as opposed to teammate Aly Raisman, who we know for sure is) told Us Weekly that her favorite meal is matzo ball soup. Interestingly, it just happened to be Number 13 on her list of "25 Things You Don't Know About Me."