Archives For Shit Is Cray

I’m from Rhode Island. This means many different things. I like Dell’s Lemonade, coffee milk, and I enjoy the mediocrity of Narragansett Beer (especially their coffee stout).

This also means that I, if for some fucked up, perverse reason wanted to, could marry my niece. It’s not just because of religious cults and Tay Sachs and making sure the bloodlines stay pure. It’s because Rhode Island made an exception for Jewish men to marry their nieces. And it’s still on the books today.

Only three states in the U.S. allow some form of niece/uncle marriage, and all of them have conditions. Minnesota and Colorado both allow it if it’s permitted by ‘aboriginal’ culture. I’m unsure if that means native, or ancient, or if it literally means the Aboriginal from Australia. Either way, that’s weird and oddly specific. I didn’t realize Minnesota and Colorado were flush in Aboriginals and Aboriginal uncle/niece troupes looking to tie the knot. Rhode island, on the other hand, allows Jews and only Jews to marry their creepy old uncles.

Marriages of kindred allowed by Jewish religion. – The provisions of §§ 15-1-2 and 15-1-3 shall not extend to, or in any way affect, any marriage which shall be solemnized among the Jewish people, within the degrees of affinity or consanguinity allowed by their religion.

All it would take is one crazy Jewish religious sect to interpret Scriptures to how they see fit and…bam! Old weirdos with smichas (Rabbinic ordination) can be even weirder.

Rhode Island’s Jewish incest laws were codified in 1798. It’s believed that the law was established to show how inviting RI was to Jews living outside of RI. This was in line with Roger William and Rhode Island’s overall views on religious diversity and freedom. The presence of Touro Synagogue in 1763, and the prestige of Jews involved in the early American slave trade certainly had some influence in colonial Rhode Island. So instead of guaranteeing regular religious freedoms, why not tack on some incestuous freedoms, maybe even one from Leviticus? Atleast in the 1700s and 1800s it was a bit less creepy to marry Uncle Shmuley.

You’d think this little-known law wouldn’t be used in modern times, just a record to look at and laugh at and giggle about how weird life used to be. Maybe an occasional Rhode Islander would use it, but it’s not like it could apply to out-of-state Jews, right? Rhode Island has the incest thing down pat. It’s ours and ours only, like a snowflake that likes to have sex with his snowflake relative, right?

Unless you’re a New York Jew, then it’s entirely legal to jump on the incest marriage wagon. A wagon that should have stayed horse-drawn and residing in 1796. Realistically, yeah, I doubt many people are looking for this kind of marriage. Unless you’re in some extreme Jewish cult, it’s not really a concern. (Are you in a Jewish cult? I’d love to interview you…)

Why doesn’t the RI state legislature close this loophole?

You’re really fucking weird sometimes, Rhode Island. (But I love you anyway.)

Read a very interesting scholarly article about this legal loophole, here.

Editor’s note:  If you follow any of this advice, you deserve both the audit you’ll get and the jail time you may serve.

Happy the Tax Unicorn

Happy the Tax Unicorn

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Taxes are confusing to fill out.  To help you better prepare your tax forms, we here at Hipster Jew have put together a little step-by-step guide to aid you with this process.

Step 1:  Fill out your basic information.

Fill out your name and address.  If you are an urban pioneer living in a burned-out hulk that has not received mail since 1977, just use your parent’s address, after all, they are supporting you anyway.

Remember, you have at least 5 dependents no matter what.  Logically, this is because dependents starts with depend and Depend is a brand of diaper and that since as a child, you probably wore at least five diapers entitling you to claim at least five dependents.

Step 2:  Fill in the numbers from your W-2 form and tax withheld on the appropriate lines.

Or you could click here for a helpful random number generator.  Don’t worry; no one checks these things anyway.   A guy at a bar told me that once.

Step 3:  Add and subtract per the instructions on the form.

If you get bored, you could just draw a picture of a unicorn like the one above.

Step 4:  Determine the amount of tax or refund owed.

If you owe taxes, check to see if they IRS will accept payment in kind.  All that artisanal cheese you make in your drain pipes ought to be good for something, right?

If you are owed a refund, bike down to the local IRS office and refuse to leave until they cut you a refund check.

Step 5:  Relax secure in the knowledge that you filed your taxes.

Mmmm…low quality beer never tasted so good.

Too many of ye out there are worried about your “freedom of speech” and your “right to bear arms” (like to eat? I just don’t get the obsession with bear arms, like WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THEM?) What you should really be concerned about is your right to whip your hair back and forth.

The Interwebbers have been all up on their high horses because there’s this monster rumor going around that Kim Jong-un is making the lads of North Korea rock the same Macklemore ‘do he currently flaunts… on his evenings out with Dennis Rodman.

Dear G-d. What is the world coming to?

Kim Jong-un Apparently a world where this hairstyle is accepted as attractive

Luckily, this whole thing is just a rumor loosely based in facts. And Kim Jong-un isn’t besties with Obama (yet) so it’s not likely we will all have to shave our heads and dye them salt and pepper in solidarity with our Commander-in-Chief.  Unless we really want too. Because that’s our right as Americans, DAMNIT!.

It turns out, long hair for men is frowned upon by the North Korean government because it “stifles intellectual development” and “consumes a great deal of nutrition” . In the past there have a regulated 28 hairstyles (14 for men, 14 for women) that residents are obligated to have.

I almost wish our society was as great as that of Admirable and Powerful North Korea. Since they have time to coordinate everybody’s hair they must have sorted out issues like hunger and homelessness. Great job,  Brave and Benevolent Leader, Kim Jong-un!

 

 

Hello my dedicated ones of readers, it is I, the A-Train! I am sure at least someone may have wondered where I was over the past several years. The truth is not quite believable but I will do my best to tell it in unembellished form.

Approximately two years ago I worked as an “English” teacher. In between sips of Turkish coffee, I met a nice young man named [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] was a student studying nuclear physics. He and I got to talking, you know, about this and that, and I idly wondered how one might acquire several metric tons of fissile material. My companion was quite interested in this topic as well, but was particularly keen on acquiring plutonium-239, an isotope that is often used in nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your vantage point, our discussion attracted the attention of several security officers who immediately rejected our explanation of the conversation being merely a harmless thought exercise. They were particularly fixated upon our detailed maps and plans of key security installations around that country. The security officers demanded that we come with them for questioning. Normally, I would have thought of a witty retort to avoid having to leave my seat, however their stun guns and clubs were extremely effective at preventing any devastating comeback.

Next thing I know I’m conscious with a pillow case over my head and [REDACTED].

[REDACTED].

[REDACTED] lying in a pool of blood. [REDACTED]

[REDACTED].

There was so much bat guano I thought I was going to be a millionaire if only the fertilizer barons didn’t get there first.

[REDACTED].

It was a truly amazing fishing trip, [REDACTED] caught the biggest largemouth bass I’ve ever seen.

[REDACTED].

[REDACTED].

And here I am today! It feels great to be back. I’ll tell more of this tale as I think of more euphemisms to describe the [REDACTED].

texas


I finally found some time to start editing my photos. I started uploading them all to Flickr. So if you’re looking for more photos of my journey, you can always get a sneak peak stalking me on Flickr. Today we will complete the first quarter of my trip. Ironically I was just in New Orleans and have a ton of new photos. So as a reminder, this is from my road trip this past summer (2k13). Check out my previous posts Days 1-5 Days 6-10.

Day 11: New Orleans

IMG_1876

I had to wait for my car to be fixed. I can’t go anywhere until the windshield wipers work again. So I spent the entire day lounging, working, and binging on candy from a CVS 6 blocks away. The longest 6 blocks I have ever walked.

Day 12: New Orleans

12_DSC_0010

It’s tough not having a car and wanting to explore New Orleans. At the same time, I’ve been enjoying the amount of free time I have. After a long stressful 7 days straight driving, it feels pretty good to do nothing all day for a few days. All I do is just sit on a couch in front of a fan and eat pralines (aka get diabetes). In between nothingness, Mikvah and Will are nice enough to take me around on a few of their errands.

Day 13: New Orleans // Houston

Continue Reading…

Double Sunday (DS): What is Jewishness to you?

Matty Goldberg (MG): Jewishness to me is being yourself. People have always said I am a stereotypical Jew. I guess, by the way I look, my stature and glasses. I do not aim for this. I aim just to be Matty. I see cultural Judaism as being an individual and always raising questions. I love that there are so many great Jewish writers, comedians and artists.

DS: What was it like to grow up Jewish?

MG: I didn’t have a typical Jewish childhood. My parents were very anti-religious, so I was never bar mitzvahed. All my friends had to go to Hebrew school. I actually felt lucky I didn’t have to go. I was never one for school. I was ashamed of my last name because it was so jewish and I felt [the] anti-semitism. It wasn’t until later in life how proud I am of my last name. Goldberg is beautiful. I’m proud to be a Goldberg.

DS: Is Jewishness a part of your life now? If so, how?

MG: Culturally, yes. I’m just proud to be part of a great community and now super proud of who I am. I don’t know how religious I’ll ever get. I’ve never been through the rituals and I know if I tried, it could feel forced. I do enjoy going to Shabbats where a bunch of Jews shoot the shit about life and try to answer big questions. I plan on being myself, but I’ll never run from my identity.

DS: So Matty, you have written a memoir that recounts your childhood briefly and, in greater depth, your recovery from a brain tumor. You also shared intimate accounts of a friend’s death. What inspired you to share your story?

MG: I am a stand up comic, and as much as a run away from it. I can’t. Three to four years ago, I had time off and I started writing about my experience with having a brain tumor. After my diagnosis in college, I became reclusive. I had the surgery and had to recover for 6 months with no communication to the outside world. I’ve had to relearn my social skills. I was so scared. My best friend was helping because we did comedy together. But, after he died, the loss, everything was hard to do what we were doing before. The comedy. Nothing mattered without him.

So, I wanted to stay creative and I started writing. I wanted to tell my story with his because I learned what I was doing because of him.

Matty Goldberg and Double Sunday screen shot of Skype interview.

Matty Goldberg and Double Sunday screen shot of Skype interview.

DS: Your book seemed less about you, and more about your friends.

MG: That’s true. Life is a weird bizarre game. People define who you are. I started writing in 2006, and I wrote 3 to 4 chapters, but when my friend died.

DS: You talked a lot about your friend and his death. How was it to write on someone’s behalf?

MG: I talked to his mother, and I asked her if it was ok. I sent her the chapters, and she gave me her blessing. And then we talked about him, his comedy, how he loved porno—and all of his interesting pictures..like when he was 27 playing the guitar naked. Weird shit like that about him, and we loved him. She gave me carte blanche. Nothing was censored.

DS: The book is written in a conversational tone. What that intentional?

MG: Yes, I don’t have the best vocabulary, so my editor helped me dig deeper. That helped keep it in my own voice. That’s what its like to do stand-up. And what’s it’s like going on in my head. Like, suddenly, you’re 20 years old and you might actually die. So, I wanted [my voice] to be vivid, like how I felt.

DS: Why is being funny important?

MG: IIt goes back to my awkward time in college when I didn’t know how to talk to people. And when I did stand up, I felt like, ‘WOW! I’m important.’. I gained self-confidence. I don’t even know what funny is. Funny is funny. It gave me self-confidence. The stage gave me poetic license to be myself. Confidence is beautiful.

DS: Have you always been a reader?

MG: In high school, I was not. In college, I was reading 3 to 4 books a month. And now I love the Kindle. My favorite writer is Philip Roth. Wonderful Jewish man. He’s brilliant. I’m low brow—but he understands the human psyche. And, he also understands the Jewish man.

DS: Do you think understanding the human psyche important for comedy?

MG: Absolutely. You go up there, and they read you in 5 sec. The audience thinks, ‘this guy is this or this that’. And you can either stand there to agree or not. So you go from there. You have to be in touch.

DS: Do you have any written work prior to “Brain Humor”?

MG: I wrote a few essays about cats during my surgery (here).


Matty has also appeared in Jessie Kahnweiler’s short film Meet My Rapist.

Matty Goldberg will be attending a book signing on March 26th 2014 at New York Comedy Club at 9pm. You can also purchase a copy of his new book Brain Humor from Amazon.com.

Legos are fun again! Did you see the Lego movie? Of course you did. It was so much fun! Don’t you wish that Jewish rituals were also fun?

YodaLegoMezuzah

The Jewish Museum is selling a Yoda Lego Mezuzah. It’s for the adult who needs to give their ‘Jewish’ a little fun. It’s for the child who is good, who asks all the right questions and is a mensch. For the millennial who will only celebrate their Judaism with a touch of irony.

DarthVaderLegoMezuzah-87x300Are you naughtier? Need a religious Lego Star Wars item to show off your chutzpah?JewDad is selling a Darth Vader Mezuzah. It’s for the kid who gave up being Jewish and gets high on high holidays, but who fucking loves Legos. Because who are we kidding, Darth Vader is by far the coolest character in the whole Star Wars universe.

I really miss the simpler times. You know those days when you got to watch Bill Nye the Science Guy during class because your teacher forgot her morning whiskey in the coffee? Bill Nye was a god. A science god. A Bill Nye the Science God.

Now the only time I get to see Bill on the telly is when he argues with Creationists about whether or not humans used dinosaurs as taxis or other such endeavors.  While this is still simple (though in a different way), it is not the kind of simple I can or want to compute.

Recently in this vein, Bill had the pleasure of debating climate change on Meet the Press with Republican Congresswoman and vice-chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Marsha Blackburn.  I had the not so pleasure of watching it.

Bill Nye VS. Marsha Blackburn

I’ll just give you the basics in a cute little true or false situation. Blackburn made the arguments:

  1. There is no scientific consensus on climate change- False
  2. You can’t make laws when you’re basing them on unproven sciences- Ehhhhhhhh (see above actual consensus)
  3. All potential solutions to the climate problem must undergo short-term cost-benefit analysis - False (Bitch, have you SEEN The Day After Tomorrow? THERE IS NO TIME!)
  4. Continuing to use carbon is the way to go. – False (Do you think it’s comfy living in the pockets of energy companies? It seems like it would be).
  5. Bill Nye is not a climate scientist. True (but he does know how to read)
  6. The amount of carbon in the atmosphere is very slight. - False (Nothing says slight like a 25% increase)

Instead of listing Bill’s arguments, because I sort of just did… lemme give you some badazzzzz quotes from the Science Guy,

“As a guy who grew up in the US, I want the US to lead the world in this….The more we mess around with this denial, the less we’re going to get done.”

“So the fewer very dirty coal-fired power plants we have, the better. The less energy we waste, the better. The less inefficient our transportation systems are, the better. The more reliable our electricity transmission systems are, the better.”

( and my personal favorite directed right at Ms.Blackburn) “You are our leader, We need you to change things, not deny what’s happening.”

In the event of the end of the world due to this climate change situation, I’m building an ark. Let me know if you want in.

 


I know this video isn’t new, but I stumbled on it again and it’s too good to not post. I can’t give anything away, but I promise this video is wonderful and will help you realize that sometimes being unsafe is actually the safest thing you could do.

Hipster Psycho

IronyOnRye —  01/23/2014 —  Comments

There are two types of parodies: the first is lazy, trite, tired, overdone, quickly rushed off the assembly line in a frenzied slapdash fashion in order to claim “FIRST!” Most of these have one or two genuinely funny gags that you can tell were the genesis of the whole parody: everything else is cheap window dressing to fill out the other three to five minutes. These are invariably not worth your time.

The second is something that takes a bit more effort and time to present to the world, but the result is fully formed and becomes the gold standard for whatever other parodies might be unfortunate enough to come after. This American Psycho parody is to all future hipster parodies what Spaceballs is to someone wanting to make a Star Wars takeoff (looking directly at you, Seth McFarlane).

 

Anyone wanting to do a take on American Psycho or hipsters is going to have their work cut out for them. And it’s not like a lot of hipster parodies weren’t criticized as lazy or unfunny before this, so really, anyone else out there thinking about making a Williamsburg send-up should probably get cracking on some other project; between this and Portlandia, it’s starting to feel like the market for making fun of hipsters is getting kind of saturated. I’ll offer a few suggestions: how about a song making fun of Justin Bieber, or another fucking awful “Shit _____s Say” video? We don’t have nearly enough of those.