I Took an Online—Hic!—Test and …

98%ALCOHOLIC

[Explains a lot-ed. Shaddup!]

Ushpizin

[Amazon Link] [4.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

This is a nice little movie based in the culture of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem. The hero is Moshe, who's down on his financial luck, dodging the landlord. Worse, the Succoth holiday is coming up and there's no money to build the traditional succah, a temporary dwelling, in the courtyard outside. Let alone buy the four customary "species": branches of myrtle, willow, and palm, and (most important) a nice citron.

But then everything changes: Moshe and his wife get a windfall of cash; a succah becomes available. Also, unexpected visitors arrive from Moshe's less-virtuous past: two convicts who decide not to return to prison after their furlough expires. Moshe interprets these as the ushpizin, honored guests that appear during Succoth. To put it mildly, they behave in ways that test his faith.

The movie's in Hebrew with English subtitles. It's a fun and interesting look at a different culture, so if you're in the mood for a break from more slick commercial fare, it's worth checking out.

I suspect that I may be the only person on the planet who watched Resident Evil: Extinction and Ushpizin as a double feature.


Last Modified 2012-10-14 10:12 AM EDT

Dingell Saves Us from Jarvik!

Pfizer has decided to stop its advertising campaign featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik endorsing Lipitor. (If you haven't seen the ads, congratulations: you almost certainly watch TV shows that skew to a younger demographic. I, on the other hand, have seen them so often, I've effectively memorized them.)

The ad withdrawal appears mainly due to Congressional pressure, in the form of Congressman John Dingell (D-MI). Among the ad campaign's sins:

One television ad depicted Dr. Jarvik as an accomplished rower gliding across a mountain lake, but the ad used a body double for the doctor, who apparently does not row.
Oh no! And here I was going to (a) pressure my doc into prescribing me Lipitor, and (b) buy a racing shell. My plans are now a shambles!

Another criticism: while Dr. Jarvik has a medical degree, he's not certified to practice. While he invented the artificial heart, he's not considered to be a cardiologist.

On the other hand: um, so what? It's a safe bet he knows more about heart ailments than does Congressman Dingell.

In any case, the Jarvik ads added up to outrageous violations of advertising regulations that don't really exist except in the whims of powerful Congressmen like Dingell.

Lipitor ads will be back someday, without Dr. Jarvik, and they'll almost certainly be as effective. But Dingell has exercised his arbitrary censorious power, gotten his name in the papers, and that's almost certainly where he gets his thrills.