Billy’s back at Oscars, but not Crystal-clear choice


NEW YORK ( — Comedian Billy Crystal will return to host the Oscars for the ninth time after Eddie Murphy backed out following producer Brett Ratner’s resignation over an off-color comment. Phew. Crystal got the nod to the dismay of an Internet campaign that attempted to draft Jason Segel, who recently joined the twitterati with a splash, and a Mr. Kermit the Frog as hosts. Manamana.

Drake in the Nittany Lions’ den

Jewish rapper Drake went through with a planned performance at Penn State amid the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky,  the sacking of iconic football coach Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier in its aftermath, and ensuing riots by PSU students. It continued a week in which Drake addressed some pretty heavy topics, including his greatest fear, and his black-Jewish heritage.

Silverman and Silverman

Comedian Sarah Silverman and her sister, Rabbi Susan Silverman appeared together at Boston University to chat about, what else, BU’s Judaic studies program. Michael Zank, the director of The Other Within Program, which sponsored the talk, explained that in order to attract students, “he was faced with three options: having a lecture on Israeli-Palestine [sic], bringing in a Jewish comedian or offering free food. The department opted for comedy.” 

The sisters talked about the obstacles of growing up Jewish in a small New Hampshire town. “I felt like a goat in a sea of dogs,” Sarah joked of her life before leaving New Hampshire. “But I moved to New York and there were other goats.”

Germany, the final frontier

German fans of the original “Star Trek” will boldly go where no German has gone before when a classic Nazi-themed episode that’s been banned in Germany for 44 years plays on television for the first time. The episode, titled “Patterns of Force,” features Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock (played by Jewish actors William Shatner, now a self-parody, and Leonard Nimoy, a respected photographer and artist) descending to the planet Ekos to investigate why a Nazi government has arisen on an alien planet. This involves both actors dressing in Nazi uniforms in an effort to prevent impending genocide, and Vulcan Spock being “outed” as an inferior race.

This is your brain on abject terror

Darren Aronofsky, the director of “Requiem for a Dream” and “The Fountain,” has turned his talents to creating several visceral commercials showing the dangers of meth abuse, including suicide, and prostitution.

Time on their hands

Now that it looks like NBA Commissioner (and MOT ) David Stern won’t be able to come to an agreement with the players’ union and the season will be canceled, players will have lots of free time on their hands. That’s bad for NBA fans and a mixed bag for everyone else. On the one hand, Lebron James shooting hoops at a JCC is cool. On the other hand, the JCC was in his hometown of Cleveland, where he is almost universally reviled for leaving the Cavaliers.

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