Boing Boing 

Jews vs zombies and aliens vs sexual abuse


Lavie Tidhar writes, "Jews vs Zombies and Jews vs Aliens will be published as e-book originals on March 19th, and are currently available for pre-orders (a limited paperback will follow)."

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Monstrous menorahs!


Portland's Lisa Pierce makes amazing, whimsical menorahs and candlesticks that look like metallic creatures (they're painted plastic toys), including the Menorasaurus Rex, the treyfe-a-riffic Menobster, and these T-Rex candle-holders.

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Kosher pig!


Spotted yesterday on a menu at my grandparents' retirement home in Toronto: "Kosher-style porkchops." I guess if you circumcise the pig and ensure that it has a suitable Bar Mitzvah...?

Circumcision training kit, fake gangrenous feet, fake blood, artificial fat, aged torsos & artificial earwax: the wonderful world of Life/Form trainers


Life/Form's $186 circumcision trainers "include the foreskin, glans penis, frenulum, meatus, and coronal groove" and are "made with our soft, lifelike material, which is pliable, delicate, and realistic to the touch."

More seriously, Life/Form sells a pretty amazing range of anatomical models for training and education, including a 1lb lump of fat (also sold by the ounce and the five-weight); artificial blood by the quart; gangrenous, ulcerated feet; lifelike bedsores; obese, geriatric head/torso mixes; jars of artificial earwax, and much, much more.

Infant Circumcision Trainer, White (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Inquisitor's Apprentice: tenement sorcerers versus the robber barons in an alternate Gilded Age New York

Chris Moriarty's The Inquisitor's Apprentice is the first volume in a fantastic new historical young adult series that takes place in a turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York where magic is the key to power and the infamous robber-barons of the age have cornered the market on enchantment and use their power to deprive hardworking poor immigrants of their self-reliance. Sasha Kessler is the 13-year-old hero of the tale, a tenement-dwelling kid who lives with his hardworking parents, his anarchist-wiccan actor uncle, his sister, and his Kabbalist rabbi grandfather. On the other side of their one-room flat live a married couple who sew shirtwaists with every hour they can wring from their days, saving to bring their family over from the pogroms in the old country.

Sasha's life is upended one day when he finds that he can see magic, and has the misfortune to demonstrate this ability in front of a crowd at a furtive magic Jewish bakery, in full sight of an Inquistor, one of the special police officers charged with regulating magic in New York. In short order, Sasha is inducted into the ranks of the Inquisitors, assigned to apprentice to the enigmatic and notorious Inspector Wolf, along with his co-apprentice, a girl from the famous society family, the Astrals (a pun on the Astors).

So begins Sasha's tale, which takes him on the trail of a dybbuk that tried to assassinate Thomas Edison while the inventor was visiting JP Morgaunt, the robber baron who has taken control of New York's magical world. This trail leads through the fraught racial relations in New York, to kung-fu lessons with the Immortals who run Chinatown, to Coney Island and Harry Houdini, and a slew of characters and settings that are marvellously remade as loci of magic and mystery.

Moriarty's plotting is just fantastic, and the story itself manages to tackle difficult issues of race and class and politics without ever slowing down. Period ink illustrations by Mark Edward Geyer complete the package, giving the whole thing a deceptively lightweight, pulpy feel. It's a great magic trick, a piece of misdirection that makes a book that's full of weighty material zip along like a quick adventure tale. This is one of those incredibly promising first volumes that makes you hope that the writer's got plenty more where it came from.

The Inquisitor's Apprentice

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Go the Fuck to Shul

LOLvis writes in with a link to Tablet Magazine's Go the Fuck to Shul: "Not only a witty response to criticism of Go the F*ck to Sleep ('Imagine if this were written about Jews'), it's funny enough to stand on its own."
It's Yom Kippur, and you're far away,
The last thing I want's to be cruel.
I'm your mother, son, you know I adore you,
But please go the fuck to shul.

You'd only go for a few hours,
Shorter than a full day of school.
You'll probably run into people you know
If you go the fuck to shul.
Go the F**k to Shul (Thanks, LOLvis!)

HOWTO make a kosher worm (insert circumcision joke here)

If you're a strict orthodox Jew, worms aren't kosher, but worms in fish are. Why? Because ancient scholars believed in "spontaneous generation," so the worms were thought to be creatures that didn't "crawl on the ground." Now that we know there's no such thing as spontaneous generation (apart from all the insanely heavy objects I don't remember putting in my suitcase when I packed for this book-tour), can fish-worms still be kosher? Apparently so, if we're to believe Yeshiva World, which proposes resolving this conundrum by simply rejecting the science that disproves spontaneous generation. All hail the "la la la I can't hear you" school of theology.
This article proposes that Halachah rejects migration to the flesh, even when identical intestinal worms are present. Rather, we presume that flesh worms are internally generated, even if we are uncertain of the biological mechanism by which this occurs. This approach simply resolves all difficulties but one - that scientists say that non-invasive worm generation is impossible. In this matter, we reject the evidence of experimentation in favor of the word of Chazal, whose tradition-based biological knowledge exceeded human experimental abilities.
Worms In Fish: Problem Or Not? (Thanks, Steve!)

(Image: Red Wiggler Worms, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from wheatfields's photostream)