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Win a Free Book, Courtesy of Donald Trump

ALL IS NOT LOST: WIN A FREE BOOK, COURTESY OF DONALD TRUMP   I hate playing cards and have never been to a horserace in my life, but now that a one-time casino owner has become the most powerful person on earth, I’m ready to get in on the action by sponsoring the all-new, open-to-everybody […]

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Little Me in the NYT

Nothing too fancy here, but check out my review of Esther Schor’s Bridge of Words in the New York Times Book Review. Am I the first person ever to describe Esperanto as “Yiddish for goyim?” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/13/books/review/bridge-of-words-esperanto-esther-schor.html?_r=0  

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Deli Man screenings in Toronto

If you’re in Toronto, now’s your chance to see Erik Anjou’s film, Deli Man, at the Bloor Cinema. Zane Caplansky will be there Friday, Saturday and Sunday purveying deli and explaining anything that you might not understand. If you look closely, you can see me in the film, too, something not even Zane can explain. […]

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A Tabernacle in Scandinavia

If you’re in Oslo at Sukkos-time– and whoever isn’t, as the Talmud says, wishes that they were –drop by the Jewish Museum on Wednesday, October 8, at 6 p.m, when the Bente Kahan Foundation is sponsoring a lecture that I’ll be giving–in English–about Yiddish. http://jodiskmuseumoslo.no/foredrag-michael-wex-om-jiddishe-uttrykk/

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Something Else I Wish I’d Written

With Passover fast approaching, I thought that now is probably the right time to quote Chamfort, the great French aphorist, who unwittingly pointed out what might well be the greatest social cost of keeping kosher. W.S. Merwin translates him better than I could: M. de Lassay, a very gentle man but with a great knowledge […]

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Something Else I Wish I’d Written

I’ve long been delighted by the fact that, along with Maria Muldaur, Barry White and Syracuse’s Sam Young, I share a birthday with Maurice Chevalier and H.L. Mencken. I’ve long liked to think of myself as a sort of  combination of these latter two greats, a boulevardier who could skewer the booboisie while remaining ambivalent […]

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Something Else I Wish I’d Written

I can’t think of a better guide to adult behaviour than the beginning of Sam Spade’s explanation of why he’s going to turn Brigid O’Shaughnessy over to the cops in Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon.  Hammett’s dialogue is so good that it made it into the movie almost straight from the page: When a man’s […]

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Eddie Lawrence, R.I.P.

There aren’t too many people who can be said to have put a whole new spin on kvetching, but Eddie Lawrence, who passed away last week at the age of ninety-five, was unquestionably one of them. Only briefly as well-known as he should have been, Lawrence deserved a much wider following.  What he could do […]

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Something Else I Wish I’d Written

I spent far too long last night listening to a self-described “cultural catalyst” tell me that, since Yiddish is irrelevant,  I’ve wasted my entire life.  Same thing, apparently, for Lester Young fans, too. Kenneth Rexroth’s deathless put-down grows truer every day: The hipster is the furious square.   Dave Frishberg puts the sentiment to music:

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