Tidbits, Pez dispenser edition


*Curtis Alina, the Prague born Sephardic Holocaust survivor who made the case for the little heads on the Pez dispensers, has died at 87, the New York Times reports:

Precisely whose idea it was to put heads on Pez dispensers — previously headless, unadorned and tastefully Viennese — is the subject of continuing debate among Pez historians. In a telephone interview, David Welch, the author of “Collecting PEZ” (Bubba Scrubba Publications, 1994), said that in researching his book he encountered half a dozen possible candidates, Mr. Allina among them. This much, Mr. Welch said, is certain:

“The idea came from the United States. And for the idea to have come out of the United States and made it to Austria where it could be approved, Allina was the only guy who could have made that happen.”

I’m still trying to accommodate the notion of a Pez historian.

*Martin Fletcher has been covering Israel for NBC for 32 years, traversing my longing for the country because I knew so little about it to my longing for the country because I know so much about it. His reports have helped me and countless others develop that relationship. (How many reporters can claim that? Mark Lavie, currently at AP, is one of the few that come to mind.) Apparently, Fletcher also can’t let go: He’s leaving his NBC perch, MediaBistro reports, but writing a book called "Walking Israel: A Personal Search for the Soul of the Nation." He’ll also maintain a relationship with NBC.

*Laura Rozen at Politico rounds up Iran’s blacklist of "subversive" think centers. There are some likelys — the Washington Institute for Near East Policy was never going to set up a Sons of Qom Fellowship — but the New America Foundation makes it twice. Interesting. Maybe it goes to show that, for hardliners, counseling outreach is twice as subversive as counseling isolation.

*YNet snags some impressive documentation revealing an amazing compendium of Israeli intelligence screwups ahead of the capture of suspected Jewish terrorist Jack Teitel  — 12 years after his first alleged murder. Janet Napolitano should read it and take comfort.

*And Jennifer Rubin at Commentary contemplates why Jews, even conservative Jews, hate Sarah Palin. (She says. I don’t encounter a lot of hate for her. I also don’t encounter a lot of Jews who will ever, ever vote for her, whatever party they belong to. But that’s not necessarily hate.)

*When Charles Laughton prepped Shelley Winters for her role as a born again Christian besotted by Robert Mitchum’s sociopath preacher in the 1955 classic "Night of the Hunter," he asked her to pray, pray whatever came to her. Naturally, what came to her was Hebrew. (Okay, this is really from the archives, but how could I resist?)

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