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Top 5 with The Very Hot Jews

by Susan Henderson on October 24, 2007

Give me 5 reasons to be hopeful in these dark times.

*

This question is for everyone, but The Very Hot Jews will answer it first today. Who are The Very Hot Jews? I cannot possibly define their comedy, or advice-giving, or where they cross that line of political correctness, or where they take a surprise turn and melt your heart. So after you play Top 5 with them, go have a look at their blog and see for yourself. They’re on MySpace, too. But first, here are Simon and Sera:

litpark simon sera the very hot jews

5 reasons to be hopeful in these dark times

1. Love! Don’t crinkle up your face like that – we’re not going to lay some Age of Aquarius doo-dah on your ass. We’re talking about the transformative power of everyday love. What’s really incredible is that when you look for it, as the theme to The Mary Tyler Moore Show helpfully points out, love is all around. See the way that guy brushed his girlfriend’s arm so tenderly, or the way that lady tousled her child’s hair without seeming to think about it? Witnessing tiny gestures of affection and kindness (as opposed to the idealistic but poorly conceived “random acts” of a thousand mid-90s bumper stickers) is a sterling reminder that we’re defined by goodness, no matter what celebretard-worshipping gossip sites and humiliation-based reality shows would have you believe.

2. The Internet! Not because of aforementioned 24/7 Britneywatch dot coms, or even because you can find a Major Matt Mason action figure mint in box. But because self-publishing is creating a new wave of influential voices who can find their own audiences without begging Knopf, Sony or Bravo for a break. Because citizen activists are increasingly making the shithead pundits of DC completely irrelevant. Because a few keystrokes can put you in touch with communities of people who are just as freaky as you are, and in more or less the same way. Because our moms can read our blog and tell us exactly what they don’t like about it. ¡Viva la revolución!

3. Bacon! So crispy. So chewy. So salty. So divine in color, so succulent in texture, so rapturous in flavor. We are enjoined by religious tradition to eschew the flesh of the pig, but – how to put this delicately? Fuck that. Is it wrong to love a meat so much that you write poems about it? If it is, we don’t want to be right.

4. The Out of Doors! Have you checked it out? Seriously, if you step away from your desk and walk through a door or two, you’ll find yourself in this crazy place where there’s, like, flowers and birds and trees and stuff. Unbelievable! Pretty! Of course, if you have a laptop, you can take it outside and stay safely connected while the sun shines on your face and the wind plays in your hair. Come to think of it, easing yourself in like that could be less overwhelming.

5. Comedy! Look, we know you love to laugh – there’s no need to put that in your Bebo profile, any more than “I love to come” or “I love to be handed large stacks of non-sequential banknotes.” But we’re duty bound to commend the best comics for taking the piss out of pomposity and helping us weather the abounding absurdity, ignominious indignity and dictatorial despair of modern times. Because given the landscape we’re facing right now, you can either curl up and die or laugh and carry on. It’s not exactly a new choice for us Jews, so we already know which way we’re gonna go.

litpark the very hot jews simon and sera

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Simon Glickman is half of the award-seeking blogger team known as Very Hot Jews. The San Fernando Valley native grew up besotted with Groucho Marx, Woody Allen, monster movies, Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles. Tossing his financial future to the winds by majoring in English, he earned a Doctorate from Oxford University (with a dissertation on Herman Melville and fancy-schmancy French theory). He later served as Senior Editor at the music-industry trade magazine/cesspool known as HITS, briefly managed a major-label recording act and worked as a consultant. In 2005 he and his lovely wife, Julia Rubiner, co-founded the copywriting and branding consultancy Editorial Emergency, LLC. Simon is also co-ringleader of The Classic Rock Singalong. He lives in Los Angeles.

Sera Gamble leads the charmed life of a writer in Los Angeles. She is a Writer/Producer for the television show Supernatural and one-half of the internationally known blogging duo the Very Hot Jews. Her fiction was, for two years running, included in The Best American Erotica anthology series; it has also appeared on nerve.com and in literary journals such as Washington Square. Sera especially enjoys hanging out by the beach with her blindingly handsome French bulldog, Mojo.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

lance reynald October 24, 2007 at 12:09 am

I’m so ashamed…

but, you had me at bacon.

love and the outdoors a close second…

let’s not even start on love outdoors…

but, bacon…mmmmm!

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Nathalie October 24, 2007 at 3:07 am

Bacon?
bacon toffee!

Actually bacon would not actually make it into my top five, even if it IS completely sinful (rather more than chocolate on a lot of different levels).

Top fives:
– Love obviously (it’s probably “Hors Normes” and not belonging to that type of scale.).

– Books (but I am addicted).

– Food (they tell me it is essential for living – and it includes bacon too.).

– Water (as a trek in the desert promptly demonstrated that – indeed – water IS life.).

Good heavens, was that four already?
Ah, Mmm. Let’s see…

– Nature (seing it includes the outdoor, clouds and such neat stuff as flowers and bees. Human beings too.).
Of course, Nature is that great and wicked thing that will more often than not be the death of us all in the end, but it is also nevertheless well worth the whole life ride thingy.

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Susan Henderson October 24, 2007 at 9:23 am

Hey, Sera and Simon, I know things are pretty hellish out there in L.A. right now. I hope you guys are all right. I’ll answer the Top 5 later today, before I hop my train to Chinatown. In the meantime, I wanted to link Susie Bright’s brilliant interview with Sera. If you have time to read it, I highly recommend it. (Susie runs an NC-17 kind of site, so you should know that before you click, I guess.)

Okay, much writing to do today to stay on schedule with my deadline.

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Paula October 24, 2007 at 9:43 am

Fantastic!

I have to agree with the Very Hot Jews top 5.

Except bacon’s not taboo for me since I’m not Jewish so I might sub something for the bacon — like surprises. I love being pleasantly surprised.

It gives me lots of hope to (suprisingly) find bloggers who are terrific writers. It’s such a pleasant surprise to find new people you adore reading.

It makes me hopeful that I keep meeting like-minded and sometimes not-so-like-minded but equally interesting people all over the geographic place on MySpace. I have a girl friend who lives in Indianapolis and a boy friend who lives near Orlando and I believe they started chatting with each other from commenting on my blogs. This weekend, he’s driving a motorcycle all the way to Indianapolis and leaving it there for her to practice riding. They’re in gross-everybody-else-out love. I have friends in Canada now. I know people who could really, seriously be talked into meeting up in NYC for the next ParkerFest. It makes me hopeful.

Last night I went to Barnes & Noble with a friend who had a gift card. First, he spent about half the gift card on me (surprise presents might be a number 6 reason for hope). Second, I easily talked him into buying us both a horoscope-a-day calendar and that surprised me. Then, our total came out to the exact, freakishly odd ($61.60 or something close to that) amount left on the gift card, which really blew the clerk away and also entertained us.

Random little surprises like these always makes me happy to be alive, and hopeful.

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lance reynald October 24, 2007 at 10:13 am

you see, I was so distracted by thoughts of bacon that I forgot the question.

1) ditto on the internets. a vehicle to further explore the arts and culture on a global level.

2) the subtle nature of love is pretty damn amazing.

3) Reeses peanut butter cups. They can always turn a day around.

4)In spite of the dark times, I always find myself surrounded by some beautiful and creative people, much like here at the park. That creativity, the desire to make art and share it… a great source of hope. As long as we don’t give up on that process there is always hope.

5) and…this week Suzanne Vega’s “Beauty & Crime” is just about perfect with me… but hey, sometimes a tune or two can get ya through.

xo.

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Susan Henderson October 24, 2007 at 10:40 am

[EDIT: JUST GOT A REMINDER OF SOME OF THE FOLKS WHO READ MY BLOG, SO I’VE DELETED MY TOP 3. ;)]

4. football (can be simultaneous with 1-3)
5. love, in all of it’s crazy forms. And in particular, reading to my kids with one on each side.

Oh, and 6: guacamole

Lance – Ooh, I am dittoing the beautiful, creative people of LitPark.

Nathalie – Oops, I forgot books. My head was in the gutter, sorry.

Paula – I love knowing that about you.

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*Joe* October 24, 2007 at 11:11 am

1. Comedy – agreed. Comedy makes life on earth tolerable. The world may be going to hell in a hand basket but at least I can set up my lawn chair, wear my stadium pal sippy-straw hat and heckle from the sidelines. My people invented the bag pipe so I think I understand both humor and suffering on a genetic level.

2. Gravity – Closely related to humor is gravity. Gravity makes the world go round, a clowns pants fall down and keeps us from flying off into space. Without gravity, most humor would be impossible so definitely gravity.

3. Duct tape – For when gravity fail me.

4. Love – Possibly the best use for money there is.

5. Coffee – Don’t get me wrong, bacon is great but I kind of take bacon for granted like gravity. Except when I see turkey bacon in the grocery store. Turkey bacon is another one of those unfortunate word groupings like “military intelligence” or “Republican Party” or the one I saw this morning “vacation bible school.” If Starbucks came up with a bacon coffee drink they could probably take over the world. More than they already have I mean.

Hmm.

Bacon coffee swizzle sticks?

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Kimberly October 24, 2007 at 11:32 am

So that my tippity tip top five don’t duplicate others’ (sex, love, creative-types and bacon are natural choices) here it goes:

1. Friends. Not to be too James Taylor-ey about it, but no matter what, no matter where – if things look bleak, I need only to call any one of my adorable and perfect friends and I know everything will be alright – and they know they can do the exact same for me. I’m a lucky girl.

2. Coffee. Strong, hot & all day long (just like my men…)

3. Baths. Bubble, oil or bain-marie; when I’m feeling out-of-sorts, a tub full of hot water, a couple of candles and and an ice cold beer does the trick every time.

4. Dancing. If everyone put a little boogie in their butt each day – wouldn’t the world be a better place???

5. Music. In every form that it exists: instrumental, vocal, subway chatter, wind blowing through the leaves, thunderstorms on a tin roof, a crackling fireplace.

See you in Chinatown!

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Jason Boog October 24, 2007 at 11:33 am

I’ll be short and sweet. But what a great question…

1. Love and sex. Do I have to separate them?
2. Private detective novels
3. Evening-long discussions over drinks about books and writing.
4. Peace Corps.
5. All the amazing music I have on my iPod.

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Robin Slick October 24, 2007 at 12:02 pm

Ha ha – I love this mini-interview, though I must admit, when I first saw the term “Hot Jews” I though Aha! A subject to which I can relate 100%! (Because naturally I thought it was about Hot Flashing Pre-Menopausal Jewish Women which saddens me because five years ago I would have thought it meant Hot Flashy Horny Jewish Women)

Five reasons? Right now I can’t think of one because I’m busy peeling yet another hot flashy damp t-shirt off my body.

Oh, alright.

(1) My kids and my dog. But you all knew that;
(2) Music, though I’m worried about a CD free world having just gone through twenty years of vinyl album and vinyl album cover and poster art withdrawal;
(3) Writing/reading;
(4) Hand cut french fries in a virtual tie with gooey extra-cheese boardwalk pizza;
(5) Sex – writing about it, reading about it, and doing it — preferrably with music during and hand-cut french fries and pizza afterwards and preferrably without the dog watching but when I kick him out, he stands outside the bedroom door and howls which, when I think about it, makes me smile so I guess it’s also part of my “what gives me hope” answer…the fact that I can still smile while the rest of the world is seemingly crashing and burning all around me (i.e., the madman in the White House, Iraq, Iran, Britney Spears, MRSA (which I now think I have because I noticed a pimple on my shoulder and am currently drafting my Last Will and Testament), etc. etc. etc.

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Kimberly October 24, 2007 at 12:02 pm

p.s. love love loved the interview with Sera! Thanks for sharing it!

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Kimberly October 24, 2007 at 12:03 pm

p.p.s. Robin – You slay me! Are you coming into the city tonight?

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Aurelio October 24, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Everyone here has great lists. Here’s what popped into my mind:

1. Jewish Comedy – Let’s face it, the Jews are to comedy what African Americans are to music. Wry, insightful, affectionate, hilarious.

2. Grow-Your-Own Edibles – I love gardening and picking fruit off of my own trees. My pomegranates are ready now – mmm! Watching stuff grow and ripen connects me to it and somehow makes it taste better.

3. Chemistry – Water becoming ice, the bizarre magic of culinary chemistry (like how the temperature you cook sugar changes the result), sticking baking soda in vinegar, Pop Rocks. It is all fun and fascinating. Unrippable plastic packaging is annoying but still a marvel nonetheless.

4. Creativity – The things people discover and say and create and share. It inspires me to do likewise.

5. Real Friendliness – The sincere kind, which can come from anywhere and on many levels of involvement.

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Robin Slick October 24, 2007 at 12:33 pm

…not to mention smoking your own home grown results…

Hi, Kim! Ha ha – thanks. I wish I could make it tonight but there’s that damn 11:00 p.m. last train out of NYC to Philly thing rearing its ugly head again and I have to be somewhere early tomorrow morning so I can’t even take you up on your kind invitation to crash at your place. I would have loved to meet Roy and hear/see him read, damn it. He’s brilliant and I’m a huge fan.

I really need to get myself an apartment in NYC. Like, soon.

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Robin Slick October 24, 2007 at 12:49 pm

p.s. Kim: Did you see the photo I posted of your boy-toy crush in my blog today?

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Kimberly October 24, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Hush now! Isn’t it some sort of motherly misconduct to be pimping one’s son like that??

And yes. I did. :)

Speaking of coffee…

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Jody Reale October 24, 2007 at 1:57 pm

You complete me.

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Michael D. Williams October 24, 2007 at 4:31 pm

I love bacon. Bacon is perfect. Bacon has only one rival… Bacon is a good enough reason to wake every morning. If I could only have one thing it probably wouldn’t be bacon but damn I’d miss it…

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Maria October 24, 2007 at 5:32 pm

Oh, Lance! First the love thing and now the peanut butter cups… we *should* start a club!

Top 5:

1) soft dogs

2) driving on empty highways at night

3) really really strong coffee

4) chocolate + peanut butter (reese’s cups, of course, but also: a scoop of chocolate ice cream with a dollop of microwaved peanut butter on top, or peanut butter cookie dipped in chocolate frosting, or a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, or a chocolate bar dipped in the peanut butter jar…)

5) unabridged dictionaries

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Juliet deWal October 24, 2007 at 6:49 pm

This is exactly what I love to see! Thanks so much for putting a smile on my face, and for promoting self-publishing. While I’m all up for big houses and the like, as the owner of a mixed house, I agree wholeheartedly: there are voices that need and deserve to be not only heard, but whose message/dreams need to be put out there in a way that is professional and honouring to them.

Lance: love in the outdoors, with Susan Vega and bacon while reading an amazing piece of writing?

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Juliet deWal October 24, 2007 at 6:50 pm
Kaytie M. Lee October 24, 2007 at 8:03 pm

I’m not very keen on nature at the moment, considering the smoke and ash seeping into my apartment, but most of the time I’d agree with its status in the top five. Here’s mine:

1. The good in people, as evidenced in San Diego right now. More people are volunteering than necessary, help is pouring in, and recipients are grateful for it.

2. Books.

3. Rain. I love it even when it’s not burning outside.

4. As mentioned above, soft dogs.

5. Oh, okay. Love.

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Susan Henderson October 25, 2007 at 10:00 am

*Joe* – What a fascinating list. I sure hope bacon flavored coffee doesn’t take off, though.

Kimberly – Thanks for the photos! You’ll see them right here at midnight!

Jason – Oops, I had to delete my answer again. I’m trying to be more mature. It’s so hard!

Robin – Oh. My. God. I adore you! We missed you last night!

Aurelio – Aww. What a great list.

Jody – I knew you would love them!

Michael – You all are making me hungry this morning.

Maria – But please don’t ever microwave Nutello because there is a very small metal rim along the top, and that causes all kinds of exciting noises and blue sparks. (I’m with you all the way with soft dogs!)

Juliet – We need those small publishing houses to push the form and to stay pure to the writers. Not confusing art with marketing.

Kaytie – I know what it’s like to breath in smokey, ashy air, and it’s not great. It’s been raining in NY for days. I wish I could send some to you.

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vikkitikkitavi October 25, 2007 at 1:14 pm

Awesome list, guys! Thanks for directing me here.

It’s funny how you can write a post encompassing such tremendous subjects as love, and the outdoors, and the necessity of humor to a life worth living, and people will inevitably comment on the small things, the things that are a little easier to wrap a comment around.

To that end, may I recommend bacon salt? It is like a couple hundred different kinds of yummy.

Baconsalt.com, baby! Get the 3-pack! You will NOT be sorry!

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Carolyn Burns Bass October 25, 2007 at 3:38 pm

For some reason I couldn’t get through the park gate yesterday. So anyway, I am thrilled to share the air with these Very Hot Jews, even when it’s blowing smoke from the desert to the sea and all across California.

I am not so original to come up with anything that hasn’t already been said. Everyone at The Park rocks.

So anyway, yesterday when I was driving back from Palm Springs, westbound on I-10 through the Banning Pass, my daughter says, “It looks like we’re driving into Mordor.” It did. Dark days for sure.

What gives me hope in times like these?

People like my my friend Monte, a San Diego firefighter, and my cousin Shane with the California Dept. of Forestry, and all of the unnamed firefighters and emergency staff who are working 14-hour shifts to put out these fires.

Plus, all of the animal rescue organizations and individuals who are on the lines picking up dogs, cats, wounded and scared animals. These people are heroes of another breed.

And Susan, I’m sad to report, thousands of avocado trees in eastern San Diego County have burned. Many of the resources have gone to saving homes over saving crops. So, I guess, that’s something to be hopeful about.

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Susan Henderson October 25, 2007 at 3:52 pm

Last night, someone asked me about LitPark’s stats, and I’m afraid the stats dealie is too overwhelming for me to understand. Mostly it’s a bunch of random numbers, so I only notice (if I check) if something comes in saying New York Times or Warner Brothers or the big publishing houses and slick magazines. The rest is well over my head. I checked for hits so far this month, and from Oct 1 to today (which is, what, the 25th?), there are 222,924 hits. Does that answer your question, oh anonymous person who talked to me in Chinatown last night? Hope this helps.

Okay, back to comments.

Vikkitikkitavi – Welcome! And we are small-brained and shrivel-hearted, speaking for myself, anyway. So it’s much easier the understand TVHJ’s message of bacon. The rest will sink in over the next few days. I agree that TVHJ are awesome on both the large and the small scale.

Carolyn – Picturing Mordor is sobering. Thanks for the reminder of all the heroes in your area.

P.S. I accidentally bought peanut butter without sugar today. S.U.C.K.S.

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Aimee October 25, 2007 at 4:16 pm

Oh this is hard because so many things give me hope.
1.My kids, dogs, friends and family (love)
2. Good books. Crappy books tick me off.
3. Fall in Michigan. The air, the colors, the harvest, the harvest moon, football, bonfires, apples, big sweaters and no coats…all of it.
4. Water, being on it or in it.
5. Vodka? I mean when all else fails there’s vodka, right?

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Susan Henderson October 31, 2007 at 12:57 pm

Aimee, hi, and sorry to respond so late. Deadlines! That’s a great list. I’ve never been to Michigan, but autumn is always my favorite season. It was especially great in Pittsburgh during Sukkot, when so many of my neighbors would build these little shanties in their back yards and hang lanterns on them, and you’d walk past at night with the smell of the leaves that had fallen, and you’d hear these little boys’ voices singing and praying in Hebrew. It was amazing.

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