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JewishJournal.com

March 1, 2007

Purim books: A time to laugh, a time to grog

http://www.jewishjournal.com/articles/item/purim_books_a_time_to_laugh_a_time_to_grog_20070302

The central theme of Purim sometimes gets lost in the mix of loud singing, intense dancing and heavy drinking. You might even forget that the point of the holiday is not necessarily to get hammered, but to rejoice in the celebration of life.

Keeping in mind that singing, dancing and drinking may be the typical methods of rejoicing, its important to remember there are other ways to truly celebrate the value of existence -- like picking up and reading a great comedy.

So once you've finished reading the Book of Esther, pick up a copy of the Book of Prelutsky, the Book of Davis or the Book of Abrams -- three humorous Hollywood reads that could spark a higher appreciation for life.

"Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco: 101 Reasons Why I'm Happy I Left the Left," by Burt Prelutsky (WND Books, $18.95).
One-time liberal Burt Prelutsky is not afraid to express his right-wing views in Tinseltown. In "Conservatives Are From Mars," the former television writer and Los Angeles Times humor columnist tackles such issues as liberal phonies, the 2008 presidential election and American Jews -- all with a certain comic poise.

Prelutsky, a Jewish Journal contributor, humorously draws a clear line between reasonable politics and the ultrabold idiocy of the left. Accusing Hillary Clinton of pretending to be a centrist, he writes: "I suppose she is one, if centrist is someone whose politics place her right in between John Kerry and Ted Kennedy."

He readily admits to formerly being a na?ve Hollywood liberal. And now, like other neocons, Prelutsky considers himself in a prime position to offer some educated criticism to Hollywood.

In a chapter devoted to bashing Hollywood liberals, the "M*A*S*H*" and "Family Ties" scribe spotlights the extreme difference between Los Angeles and the rest of the world. Citing Michael Moore as an example of liberals preaching to the choir, Prelutsky writes that the only groups Moore is likely to address are "either American college students or French film snobs."

"The Diary of Jinky: Dog of a Hollywood Wife," by Carole Raphaelle Davis (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $12.95).
All dogs go to heaven, but quick-witted terrier Jinky wasn't ready to wag his tail one last time. The former San Pedro dog pound "death row" inmate was fortunate enough to be rescued by a beautiful woman during an adoption event in Burbank. The hardened canine was able to trade his former life on the streets for the lap of luxury in the form of a Hollywood Hills mansion. Amazed by his sudden reversal of fortune, Jinky documents his story in "The Diary of Jinky."

Jinky's brutal honesty makes for a nice contrast to the friendly, polite shell of his Hollywood pet parents. "Dad had a birthday and he is seven and a half in dog years. In people years, that's nearly dead. In Hollywood, that's a rotting corpse," he writes.

When Jinky shares his unique perspective and gratitude for things that people typically take for granted, his off-the-collar insights help us gain a better appreciation for our world and enable us to truly respect our lives.

As told to actress and animal rights activist Carole Raphaelle Davis, this doggy diary illustrates the two-way relationship that can be created through saving an animal.

"Now that my dog has surpassed my wildest dreams by writing a book, I hope that people will read it and then go out and do a mitzvah. I hope they do something nice for someone, even if that someone has four legs," said Davis, who added that it's important to adopt animals from a shelter, rather than buy them from a pet store.

Carole Raphaelle Davis will sign "Jinky" at the March 18 Super Pet Adoption Festival, Johnny Carson Park, Burbank.

"The Myth, The Muse, The Meshuga," by Jill Abrams (Lolarose Press, $14.95).
That expensive college education isn't worth much when you're entering the Hollywood workforce, Jill Abrams says in "The Myth, The Muse, The Meshuga," a look at making it in Hollywood as a Jewish lesbian.

From working as an assistant to Barbra Streisand -- where she perfected her coffee-making and phone answering skills -- to helping 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry revive her career, former CNN entertainment reporter Abrams dishes on her brief encounters with celebrities. Employing the same sharp wit and cunning attitude that helped get her foot in the door, Abrams brings a uniquely lesbian perspective to the industry at a time when Ellen DeGeneres hosts the Academy Awards and Melissa Etheridge takes home an Oscar for best song.

Decrying the way many heterosexual women in Hollywood hug, with their "back and asses stiffly angled 90 degrees like a Formica breakfast nook," Abrams writes that Mariel Hemingway is different, "refreshingly living up to the lesbian legacy she so graciously embraces and deserves. "

And to complete the equation for the perfect Hollywood tell-all: sex! Abrams shares many bittersweet love stories, but one in particular speaks to the hush-hush nature of Hollywood's A-list lesbian closet.

After arriving at the Malibu mansion of her Emmy-winning lover, she's presented with a strict confidentiality agreement. Of her ride home after signing the contract, she writes: "I thought about whom I should call first with the big breaking news. Who would I tell that I was just come on to by this hot hetero leading lady? Smack, the memory of the agreement signing hit me in the forehead like a judge's gavel."

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Carole Raphaelle Davis will sign "Jinky" March 18 at the Super Pet Adoption Festival, Johnny Carson Park, Burbank. For more information, visit network.bestfriends.org/losangeles/ or www.hollywoodjinky.com.

For more information about Jill Abrams, visit www.myspace.com/jillabrams.

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