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Spy Birds, Winter Of Bloomberg’s Discontent, And Guess Who’s Coming To The Shabbaton?

Spy Birds, Winter Of Bloomberg’s Discontent, And Guess Who’s Coming To The Shabbaton?

Hopefully there is a grassroots movement afoot, on the scale of the effort to free Jonathan Pollard, on behalf of the unnamed vulture caged by the Saudis on charges — trumped up, Israel says — of spying for the Mossad. People who hate Jews always seem to vest us with awesome powers to do the impossible, like controlling the economy or the weather or managing Lindsay Lohan’s career.

So it’s no surprise that Saudi officials, who have likely read Start Up Nation and other celebratory tomes about Israel’s high-tech success can believe that a bird could be trained by the Zionists first to seek out sensitive targets and then to transmit data back home using only a chip cleverly disguised as a Tel Aviv orinthological study tag. Migration patterns, my keffiyah.

Stranger things have happened. Just last month the brain trust in Egypt got wise to the Zionist plot to scare off tourists using clandestine sharks. To ensure that this hapless vulture has an adequate defense and due process in what passes for the Saudi legal system I’m calling on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to step in, as they did in protesting the Palestinians’ use of unwitting donkeys for suicide bombs, and join with the Zionist Organization of America, who can be counted on to stand up for a fellow hawk. A legal defense fund is the least we can do.

Maybe the Saudi probe will turn up a link between the spy vulture and the hundreds of birds who plunged out of the sky in Arkansas and Louisiana, no doubt discarded operatives who have outlived their usefulness while gathering sensitive intelligence about the U.S. deep south.


Speaking of plunges, how about Mike Bloomberg’s approval rating? Snow kidding. The third term is definitely not the charm for the mayor, who appears to the public to be phoning it in these days. A NY1/Marist College poll this week found him plummeting from a marginal 50 percent in October to 37 percent, with 60 percent disapproving. It might have been different if the poll weren’t taken after the most mismanaged blizzard in the city’s history. Now even Borough Park, where the mayor’s name in Hebrew was festooned all over every building during the 2009 election, is mad at him.

If he had it to do over again, Bloomberg would surely shell out something close to what he spent per vote to get elected to hire an army of high school kids and guys who love to use their snowblowers to pick up the slack for the dozing sanitation workers.

"They f—-ed it up," Ed Koch told me in an interview on Thursday. "But so what? Of course there are going to be times when city employees don’t do what they should do." The former mayor blames a deliberate slowdown by city workers to embarrass the mayor, and said people should go to jail if that’s proven. He says his successor shouldn’t be blamed, but probably will be. "If a sparrow has a heart attack in Central Park, people will say you are responsible because you could have stopped it," he said. (Sense a bird theme in this post?)

Koch dismisses the idea that Bloomberg is focused on his national profile to the detriment of his responsibilities at home. "The people I know are able to chew gum and think of two ideas at the same time," he said. "He’s done a brilliant job and its normal to have a situation that didn’t turn out to be the best in terms of how the city responds in dealing with the problems of eight million people."

Bloomberg himself makes no excuses, saying the city response was unacceptable. He’s probably had enough of the criticism and next time there’s a storm, won’t be fooled again.


Which brings us to the unlikely spectacle that will unfold on the Upper West Side next weekend when legendary rocker Roger Daltrey, frontman of the guitar-smashing, perennial "farewell" touring band The Who, will get spiritual at an Orthodox shabbaton, along with Ellen "will you love me forever?" Foley and Elan Atias from Bob Marley and the Wailers. If I lived near the West Side Institutional Synagogue I’d shell out 100 large to hear Daltrey talk about being Roger Daltrey. Supposedly, no one knows what it’s like.

The shul president, Andrew Fox, tells your blogger that Daltrey and the others may burst into song if the mood takes them but the event is mostly lecture. That might be well advised since, pushing 66, the rocker may appear past his prime when singing a capella (no guitars on Shabbat) and with no possibility of lip synching.

Just in case, my friend Ari Plaut contributed some possible adaptations of Who classics Roger might consider for his Jewish audience: "Bubbie O’Reilly," "Pinball Maven" and the "Kinderlach are All Right." I’d suggest "Talking About My Congregation," "Jew, Are You?" and "5:15 Mincha."


Don’t worry, I’m almost done. The Walt Disney Company has announced it will open a theme park in Israel in a few years, ironic given Walt’s reputation for anti-Semitism. So it’s tempting to come up with a list of appropriate attractions for Eretz Disney in Haifa (Mr. Cohen’s Wild Ride, the Kotel Koaster, the Hall of Disgraced Presidents.)

Instead, I direct your attention to the study by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot that found the scent of women’s tears send a chemical signal to amorous men to back off (in case the sight of them isn’t enough of a cue). Given the reputation of Israeli men, one wonders about the impetus for this study. According to one report, the researchers wanted to study if the reciprocal effect is true about men’s tears, but they couldn’t find enough men who cry. Unfortunately, John Boehner is kind of busy these days.

Enjoy the weekend.

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