Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I am such a smart-ass on Twitter! plus, what is a knish? bonus: the movie where Salman Khan speaks Yiddish

@northofconey if you want to see for yourself. I go smart-ass on some famous people sometimes and don't even care if they respond. I did get a retweet from Merrill Markoe, which made me happy for a whole day. I'm connected to almost a totally different set of people than on Facebook. Of course I mostly follow well-known people I don't know, I was found there by Tricia Vita, who writes the excellent Amusing the Zillion blog about Coney Island. Now I'm also linked to one or two other Coney Island groups. We post links to things about how fucked-up business interests are trying to ruin Coney Island and how much we hate Mayor Bloomberg. (a lot.) I'm loving Twitter, though I read a lot more than I write. I retweet and sometimes reply.  Fun.

I am glad Amitabh is going home soon. I am glad Shiva is feeling cheerier (and that he likes seeing his name here). I am glad that Barry had a job interview today. I am glad I am going to Jannah's this weekend. I am glad Bob Steiner is being a bit flirty on Facebook; I was fairly crazy about him when we were teenagers at summer camp. I am glad I went to that Indian store on Second Avenue last week and bought silk pants and glass bangles; there were photos of Indian movie stars taped up inside the dressing room. I am glad to be learning how to get the glass bangles on and off without busting them, and I am glad for the pretty sound they make clinking together on my wrist. I am glad that my jewelry is in a store, for the first time in many years. I am glad it was a warm day. I am glad I had a big discussion about knishes on Facebook today with someone I never got to know well at college but always admired.

I am anxious for a friend who won't read this because she's too busy doing the thing I'm anxious about.

Knish (pronounce all the letters) is a savory pastry usually stuffed with seasoned mashed potatoes but sometimes with kasha (buckwheat). It's about the size of your fist. There are other kinds, but potato and kasha are the only ones that matter. A knish is old-school Jewish food, meaning that it's extremely heavy, about the density of lead, and one of the most delicious things you've ever eaten.

I've explained Yiddish words on this blog on and off for some years now. I don't know nearly as much as I'd like to; American Jews of my generation have parents who felt it was not "modern" to speak Yiddish, that it made them like their old-fashioned parents, so my parents didn't pass it on the way their parents did. Barry's parents were about ten years older than mine, so they spoke more Yiddish, Barry knows more than I do, and I've learned a bunch from him. It's way cool. It's extra-cool when you hear it from people you wouldn't expect. There's an old James Cagney movie, The Fighting 69th, where he suddenly says a line in Yiddish and it's a shock. Cagney was very Irish, but he also grew up playing in the New York City streets with other children of immigrants.

One day I want to see Salman Khan turn to the camera and say, "Meshugganeh ayeh, meshugganah lockshen." The literal translation, "Crazy eggs, [so] crazy noodles," basically, "the kids turn out like the parents." I would write a whole screenplay around having him say that. Salman Khan is in love with Kareena Kapoor, but she's a little odd. He goes to her house, and meets her father, who is totally wacky (Johnny Lever?). Then he says the line, then they sing and dance next to a tree, alternately dressed in tacky disco clothes and rich traditional garments. Subplot: Salman's widowed mother (maybe Kirron Kher) meets Kareena's wacky widowed father, and it turns out that she's also kind of wacky, but has always felt she had to act in a very serious manner. Kirron: I've finally met a man I can be myself with! Then they sing and dance in a colorful marketplace, during which they grab different things from the various vendors (a scarf, a piece of fruit, a pot) and do funny things with them. I could so write this movie.

Next up: I write a movie around Amitabh singing "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Last but not least:
Raghu Dixit is a crossover artist in the best sense of the word. His western sensibilities are from acoustic singer-songwriters, not glossy pop stars. And he sings without some elements of the Indian vocal style that are peculiar to a western ear not acquainted with Indian music. I said to Barry, "It's Indian David Hidalgo!"

Actually, if you put Cesar Rojas' beard on David Hidalgo, he would kind of look like Raghu Dixit.

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