Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All That Really Matters

(Sherman Oaks) News crews descended on the home of the Short Jewish Gal to record the historic moment immediately apres her first hot shower in days. "Dear God in heaven. You people have no idea how I've suffered," she said, wrapped in a towel. "I've taken nothing but insultingly cold baths. It's been absolute hell. I don't know how I survived. To have one working bathroom, it's a miracle. Of course, there are 18 holes in the wall. It was a little drafty in there. I hope I don't get the sniffles. I need a sinus situation like a kick in the keppy. Now if they can get the rest of the bathrooms working, it'll be a real mitzvah." "Mazel tov," yelled a reporter. "With all the serious problems in the world, it's nice to know that you're squeaky clean." "Which is really all that matters," she said, and went back inside to dry off.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Contain Your Jealousy

Listen, I'm not trying to make you jealous on purpose. I'd never do that. I'm but a humble blogger, an occasionally-employed TV writer, a petite kugel-maker born in an Oldsmobile on the ramp of the hospital. What right do I have to brag? Still, I think you need to know what's happening at the SJG palace at this very moment.
Hunky tattooed men have invaded my property. How many? At least eight. I've lost count. All I know is, they're drilling holes in the walls.
They're taking over the laundry area.
And the bathrooms. They're making a lot of noise. Creating a lot of dust. I can't flush the toilet. I can't do anything but kvetch. Why is this happening? I have no memory of inviting these studs to come on over and re-pipe my entire house. I like to spend money on visible stuff. Like giant wallhangings of half-naked hora dancers. Classy stuff. Let's face it. No one can see your plumbing. So whose crazy idea was this, anyway? Hmmm... oh wait, it's coming to me. Hubby. This is his doing. "Let's re-pipe," he said. "That way, we'll never have another pinhole leak that destroys our bamboo again." "Oh hubby, you think of everything." Meanwhile...
This explains why I haven't had a warm shower in days. 
How dare you? 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jewish Angst

Dear SJG,
Jewish Angst. What is it and how do I get some? Two of my friends have enough to power a small planet. I feel left out.
Freakishly Calm
Dear Freaky,
I'm so glad you asked. And a two-parter yet. Even better. Already I'm excited. Jewish Angst is an existential state of mind. A life sentence of constant agitation. A festering clump of mounting complaints. A never-ending search for the right temperature, the right deli, the right doctor, the right --- oh, you get the picture. Jewish Angst is an overdose of the Human Condition. How do you get some? You don't. Jewish Angst is not something you can order online. Jewish Angst doesn't come in a bottle. Jewish Angst is something you're born with, meaning you're genetically predisposed to a lifetime of annoyance, impatience and worry. Go ahead and convert. You still won't get it. Jewish Angst is not something you can catch, like the intestinal flu. There is no shot, no antibiotic, no cure. Consider yourself lucky and move on.
You're welcome,

Saturday, July 25, 2015


In the jungle, the bamboo jungle of Sherman Oaks 

It's true. We are a bamboo-loving family. And why not? It's so friendly, environmentally speaking. We started our bamboo journey some 12 years ago, thwacking away in the jungles of Sherman Oaks until we had enough bamboo to cover our entire downstairs. Such hard work, you have no idea. Our backs have never been the same. Then, about a year and a half ago, the bamboo turned on us. It went from friendly to unfriendly. I hate when that happens. It warped and got weird, thanks to an ungrateful leaky pipe. We fixed the pipe, and by we, I mean other people "fixed" it, and I use the term loosely. We went back into the jungles of Sherman Oaks and thwack, thwack, got just enough bamboo to cover up the trouble spot.

And then, we forgot all about the bamboo and the now-"fixed" pipe and selfishly went on with our lives. But now for some karmic reason we're back where we started, with the pinhole leak and the buckled up bamboo. Hubby was just about to go back in the jungles of Sherman Oaks and thwack us some more bamboo, when I said, "Hang on, you, how about we report this to insurance?" "They'll never cover it." "Maybe they will." "They won't." This went on for a while till the SJG won. I love when that happens. Insurance said, "We cover slab leaks." And then insurance said, "We'll cover the bamboo, too since you'll never match the floor you have now." Turns out, all that thwacking doesn't produce identical bamboo. And we need to be matchy-matchy at all times, otherwise, our personal planet slips off its axis, which is never good, I promise you. "How much should we thwack?" we asked insurance. "Thwack nothing, you dummy, you. You can order boxes of the stuff and we'll pay for it. Or most of it. A box or two. We'll see." "Whaaa?!" "There are places that deliver." "No sh*t?"

Well, there's nothing the SJG loves more than getting a delivery of something wonderful. Food, flowers or flooring, who cares, as long as I don't have to go out and get it. Yesterday, 54 boxes of affordable, luxurious bamboo arrived, so friendly, it said howdy on the way in. As for that pinhole leak I keep bothering you with? Still not fixed. About to be fixed. Not fixed yet. Scheduling issues. Really hate that. But soon. Monday soon? Please, God. I'm begging you for Monday, and I ask for so little.

Friday, July 24, 2015

It Could Always Be Worse

This week, with the ripping up of the floor....
... and the cutting of holes in the wall, I'm thinking a lot about "It Could Always Be Worse," a classic Yiddish folk tale that has formed the basis of the SJG Philosophy.
Yesterday, when they took down the plastic zippered barriers, I felt reborn, as though my house had returned to normal, even though it's still in total disarray, and next week, it only gets worse. Here's the story, my people. Study it, please. There will be a short quiz afterwords.
Once upon a time in a small village a poor unfortunate man lived with his mother, his wife, and his six children in a little one-room hut. Because they were so crowded, the man and his wife often argued. The children were noisy, and they fought. In winter, when the nights were long and the days were cold, life was especially hard. The hut was full of crying and quarreling. One day, when the poor unfortunate man couldn’t stand it any more, he ran to the Rabbi for advice.
“Holy Rabbi,” he cried, “things are in a bad way with me, and getting worse. We are so poor that my mother, my wife, my six children, and I all live together in one small hut. We are too crowded, and there’s so much noise. Help me, Rabbi. I’ll do whatever you say.”
The Rabbi thought and pulled on his beard. At last he said, “Tell me, my poor man, do you have any animals, perhaps a chicken or two?"
“Yes,” said the man. “I do have a few chickens, also a rooster and a goose."
“Ah, fine,” said the Rabbi. “Now go home and take the chickens, the rooster, and the goose into your hut to live with you.”
“Yes indeed, Rabbi,” said the man, though he was a bit surprised.
The poor unfortunate man hurried home and took the chickens, the rooster, and the goose out of the shed and into his little hut. When some days or a week had gone by, life in the hut was worse than before. Now with the quarreling and crying there was honking, crowing, and clucking. There were feathers in the soup. The hut stayed just as small and the children grew bigger. 
When the poor unfortunate man couldn’t stand it any longer, he again ran to the Rabbi for help.
“Holy Rabbi,” he cried, “see what a misfortune has befallen me. Now with the crying and quarreling, with the honking, clucking, and crowing, there are feathers in the soup. Rabbi, it couldn’t be worse. Help me, please.”
The Rabbi listened and thought. At last he said, “Tell me, do you happen to have a goat?” 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Dream of Latkes

I know, I know. The Festival of Lights isn't till December. Doesn't mean I can't have the following dream in anticipation. Facebook Ho that I am, and I say that with Kardashian-style self-love, last night, I dreamt that I was trying to post the following status update: "Happy Hanukkah! Have a latke on me. And I don't mean that, literally." Exactly what is the significance of my dream status update? To find out, I rang up a few of my many former shrinks, excluding the one who had the chutzpah to plotz while I was en route to an appointment. Only Dr. Zelda Borscht, a nice lady full of Freudian theories, called me back. And here's how our brief phone session went:
"Hello dere?"
"Hi there, doc."
"Speak up. Who is dis?"
"It's me. The SJG."
"Just a sec, bubbeleh, let me turn the oxygen machine down."
"While you do that, I'll turn down the dehumidifier, the two giant fans and the air scrubber. My house is currently under destruction."
"My poor babushka. So you've got tsuris, my darlink, my aging shayna maideleh, my precious lil meschuggeneh. Vat else is nu?"
"Hang on. Did you say aging shayna maideleh? Look who's talking. Last time I checked, Dr. Zelda, you were 108."
"Please. Not till Friday. Vat's up?"
"I dreamed about latkes last night. Hanukkah isn't for five months. What do you think it means?"
"Vell, I'll tell you. As Siggy Freud used to say, and I paraphrase, 'Sometimes a latke is just a latke.' "
"What the hell, Dr. Zelda."
"To clarify, my tiny kugel-maker, the latkes in your dream indicate that you're craving a nice potato pancake with a dollop of sour cream. You can wait till Hanukkah, but why deny yourself? Go ahead and buy the frozen ones at Gelson's. They're delish."
"So, that's it? You think it's nothing more than me craving latkes? You don't think it means more? As in, my house is in disarray, everything's topsy turvy, it's a freakin' dust factory in here, and Hanukkah and latkes represent the comfort and joy (pardon the Christmas reference) and tradition I desperately need at the moment? Oh, and the bit about 'have one on me and I don't mean that, literally'? That says a lot, too, don't you think? As in, be my guest, enjoy a piping hot latke, but please, don't use me as your plate, because, let's face it, a) a scalding latke will burn my belly and b) haven't I been burned enough?"
"Vell, of course. That, too."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I Just Had This Schmatta Washen

Badminton anyone?

Or would you prefer chess?
In honor of George Coe, who passed away the other day, I present his Academy Award-nominated short film, "De Düva: The Dove" (1968):  My favorite of all time, it parodies Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries"  and "The Seventh Seal." The Swedish-ka sounding dialogue combines English, German, Latin and Yiddish.  The principal character, Professor Viktor Sundqvist, 76, is on his way to a lecture at the university, when de duva strikes, splattering the windshield and unleashing a few twisted memories. Could Death be far behind?  It's 13 minutes, but worth it. Has the SJG ever steered you wrong?  Look for a young Madeline Kahn smoking her cigar at a picnic, as she makes an unusual offer to Inga, Viktor's sister: "Phallican symbol?"  Inga prefers Viktor. Double click for full screen.  You're in for a treat.