Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wicked Nervous

Usher turned out to be one menschy R & B mentor last night on "Idol."  He gave great advice to the Top Ten.  Told them all to own it, feel it, personalize it, project it. Connect! "Don't be so critical of yourself," he told Lee. And Lee heard him.  He told Big Mike that "chicks dig a guy with a guitar who can sing."  How very true.  I'm going to teach hubby how to play "G" tonight.  He's already got mad vocals.  But I digresss.  The Ab Man (and his bodyguard) seemed geniunely psyched to be there.  Dude may just be the best mentor "Idol"'s had, after Quentin Tarantino.  Not a super sucky groan-worthy performance in the bunch, and that, my friends, is saying something.  He made most of them, especially Siobhan, "wicked nervous."  But he was cool with that.  Way to bring it, Ush-man.  Nicely done. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Passover, the Evelyn Wood Edition

How We Read The Haggadah

Who made the following statement:  "I'm never coming to this house for Passover again!" 

a. Glenn Beck
b. The woman married briefly to my brother-in-law
c. Golda Meir
d.  All of the above

The correct answer is B.  Anyone who believes Jewish holidays call for serious observation would be wise never to marry into our family, for disappointment awaits them at every turn.  Case in point:  The gal who wed hubby's brother. Boy, did she mean business.  She never did come back for another Passover.  Do we miss her?  Let me think about that.  No. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mood Music

Here's How I Feel Right Now

One of the great things about seeing movies is that most of the heavy mental lifting is done for us. We never have to wonder what a character is feeling or thinking at any given time, because the soundtrack immediately tells us. Personally, it’s a huge relief. I only have so many brain cells to spare. This is particularly true for romantic comedies or pseudo-serious dramas. Upbeat love songs inform us when two characters are falling in love. Sad love songs tell us when two characters may not make it, or must overcome great odds – like time travel or prison – to be together. Without these catchy, instructional melodies, we might not follow the plot as well. Confusion might send us running out of the theater, demanding a refund.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How To Catch Gefilte Fish

Many people think that gefilte fish is some kind of mixture you make in the kitchen rather than one of God’s creatures. Are they wrong!  Each year as soon as the frost on the great Gefilte lakes is thin enough to break the surface, observant fisherman set out to catch gefilte fish. Now unlike your normal fish, gefilte fish cannot be caught with a rod and a reel or your standard bait. The art of catching gefilte fish was handed down for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. For all I know Moses used to go gefilte fish catching.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

21 Things To Do With Matzoh

Magnificent Chocolate Caramel Crunch
4-6 unsalted matzohs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
or unsalted Passover margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips
or semi-sweet chocolate

Friday, March 26, 2010

No Starch Or I'll Shoot

I spotted him right quick, the infamous ex-movie star, ambling across the parking lot of my local strip mall. “Could that be who I think it is?” I asked myself. “Naahhhh. Can’t be!" I took another look. I couldn’t help myself. But don’t you worry your pretty little heads. I was plenty discreet. A lifetime in Hollywood. I’ve perfected the sideways glance. My peripheral vision hasn’t failed me yet when I’m out hunting celebs. Especially the notorious ones. Not to be harsh, but the sunlight was incriminating. He looked old and so did his tattered black cowboy hat. I reckon it was made out of the fakest straw in town. Why else would rays be ricocheting off that cheesy chapeau every which way?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The "Idol" Doctor Is In



                    I Have A Few Thoughts

My prediction that Paige would get booted from "Idol"?  A done deal.  I'm happy to collect my prize now.  What?  I get nothing for this victory, except a sick thrill?  Fine, I'll take it.  Even if a ticket arrived to see the so-called Top Ten on Tour, I'm not sure I'd grab it.  Last night's high point:  Tim landing in the bottom two.  Low point:  Miley's Melodramic Head Drop During Weepy Please Go See My New Movie Ballad.  A close second:  "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" group dance/synch-along.  Two words:  Awk!  Ward! 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Miley!

The Wisdom of Miley

"I don't think you're boring at all!" sayeth Ms. Miley, last night's American Idol resident sage, to Mr. Tim Urban.  High praise, indeed.  Just 17, Miley took on the mentor role and did better than I expected.  I'll give her that.  She grinned like crazy as Tim sang  "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." He pretty much sucked, sliding on the stage like a pro.  Not to worry,  he won't be going home this week. Trust me on this. He's got the cuteness on his side, and plenty chutzpah to boot. Kara compared his performance to Zac Efron in "Hairspray." That wasn't fair.. to Zac. He's super-talented! Simon called Tim's warbling pointless and silly. I'll second that with: very silly. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Would Dusty Do?

Chill.  Bark.  Nap.  Eat.  Poop.  Yawn.  Repeat.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Marathon Gal


Five minutes into Sunday's L.A. Marathon, my feet started to hurt.  Turns out, black ankle boots aren't the best choice for long-distance treks.  I looked around at my competitors and noticed I was out of step in more ways than one.  Not only were my shoes a bad call, but so were my jeans, my long sleeve blouse with the cute swirly embroidery, and my oversized handbag.  The other folks wore lightweight shorts and sweat-resistant tanks and proper running shoes.  I did my best to keep pace with them, but gave up in the second block.  After all, I didn't want to trip and do a header into the curb.  On top of which, I could sense their resentment.  "Cheater!" someone hissed as I clip-clopped down Doheny.  "Do you think we didn't see you park your car up the street?" 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What's Your Sign?

All true!

Here I am, waiting to get my teeth cleaned, flipping through a week-old TV Guide magazine, when I discover something that shocks and amuses me, deeply. Apparently, I have tons in common with… drum roll please… Mr. Robert Duvall. That’s right, the star of so many favorites:  “The Godfather,” “The Great Santini,” “Network,” “Mash,” and “Lonesome Dove.” He and I are “like this” and I didn’t even know it.  The source of this cosmic harmony, I’m proud to tell you, is strictly astrological. Mr. Duvall and I are both Capricorns. We are natural goal setters. We willingly handle many tasks when it helps us get what we want. Oh. So that means what? We’re a little self-absorbed? Who isn’t?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tattoodle

The cry heard throughout the land:  Noooooooo!  Seconded by: Ewwwww!  Followed by: Ickkkkkkkkk!  We feel cheated and taken advantage of and wronged on so many levels.  How could he?  How dare he?  How stupid could he be? 

I'm not talking about John Edwards.  Pre-Rielle, I admit it, I swooned when I saw him up close.  I'm talking about Jesse James, the tattooed biker.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Howdy, Neighbors!

We've tried this approach

Ask me how many people have lived next door and my mind comes up vacant. I honestly don’t know. I must search through scrambled mental files dating back nearly ten years. I must count all the sleepless nights I’ve endured, courtesy of the various occupants inclined to talk at the top of their lungs in the middle of the night, some in English, some in foreign languages.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Like A Rolling Stone, Kinda

When it comes to style, I'm not the flashiest chick on the block, although my neighbor Candy does call me Glitter Gal.  Actually, it's the nickname I gave myself, after a mishap at the makeup counter.  I made an unwise purchase of blush, unaware of its sparkle component, that still haunts me to this day.  But I prefer to fly under the radar, for the most part, unless I'm on the dance floor and "All The Single Ladies" starts to spin.  Generally speaking, I'm low-key and glitter-free.  Last season, I bunked in the Kris Allen "A.I." camp.  I felt nice and cozy in that cabin, with Kris' clear, stirring vocals and sweet guitar work.  Sure, I appreciated Adam Lambert's campy, way-over-the-toppery, but I clapped with detachment.  I got it, but it didn't get me.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Radio Days

                                                  Tradition!

Under the chuppah on their wedding day in Chicago, December 1, 1949, my parents:  Gloria and Ben Starr.  Peeking past the rabbi is Charlie Isaacs, in my dad's words, "A great guy and head writer who got me on the Al Jolson show, and Martin and Lewis."  Also in the photo, Jerry Lewis and his wife Patty. The man on my dad's right is Bob Redd, producer.  Next to Charlie Isaac's, Sheldon Leonard. Nine years later, out came the short Jewish gal, born in the back seat of my dad's Oldsmobile, in the parking lot of County General.  It's been an interesting ride ever since.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh, The Agony, Oh, The Ecstasy!

He got in!  Now what?

Quickie from "You Don't Have To Be Jewish," the comedy album that shaped my sense of humor: Women #1: "Oh, the agony!  Oh, the ecstasy!  Oh, the agony!  Oh, the ecstasy!" Women #2:  "What is it?  What's wrong?  Tell me!  What's the agony?" Women #1:  "My daughter's getting married." Women #2:  "And the ecstasy?" Women #1:  "He's a nice young doctor."

Early this morning, we had our own version of this dialogue: "Oh, the agony!  Oh, the ecstasy!" "What is it?  What's wrong?  Tell me!  What's the agony?" "My youngest's going away to college!" "And the ecstasy?"  "He got into Santa Cruz!"  "The hippy school?" "Shut up!  It's a good school!"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Show of Handsome

                                       One Good Looking S.O.B.

If you haven't seen this Jimmy Kimmel video, which aired Monday night after the Academy Awards, you're in for a treat.  Or, if you're a Daylight Savings-hater like the SJG, and are still trying to wake your butt up, after three cups of java, then watch it again.  Convulsive laughter will kick-start your Sunday, whether or not you know the freakin' time.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'd Rather Be Thinking

Friday, March 12, 2010

Opening Night

I'm the gorgeous, leggy redhead

Newsflash: "Lost" didn't create the sideways world, where characters live in an alternate universe of possibilities.  I did.  I've been living sideways since birth.  There's me, the Short Jewish  Gal.  And then there's the other me.  The more gifted me.  The famous me.  In my current sideways planet, I'm a tall, gorgeous, impossibly leggy shiksa with red hair.  I'm living "this close" to Central Park. I'm Connie Ray, star of stage, screen and telly.  I just opened on Broadway in "Next Fall," by Geoffrey Nauffts.  And I just met Elton John. Or should I say, he just met me.  He's producing "Next Fall."  Plus, he's a long-time fan of my work. My angst-ridden rendition of "Your Song" continues to haunt Sir. E years after I first performed it, as a seventh grader stretched out on my twin bed on Lindbrook Drive.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Dude to Beat

Song choice served the Eight "Idol" Dudes nicely last night.  Most of 'em brought it.  But every time I heard the song choice, before the performance, I went "uh-oh."  Tim singing "Hallelujah," the Tim Buckley version?  That had to suck, right?  It didn't suck.  In fact, it was, "Terrific," said Simon. Ellen got up and gave Tim a hug.  It scared the life out of him.  When Ryan told me (and others) that Andrew, who peaked so early with "Straight Up," was about to sing Christina Aguilera, I thought, "Oh, God, it better not be 'Genie in a Bottle.'"  Here my "uh-oh" was justified; his "Genie" rubbed me the wrong way, and the judges, too. "Where was the melody?" asked Kara.  Ellen thought the genie came out too late.  (Hate when that happens!) 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ain't No More To Say


I was getting a little worried about the "Idol" ladies losing their collective mojo, but dang if they didn't surprise me last night with some sassy musical stylings!  Thanks much, Top 8 Divas-to-be.  Truth be told, three were hot, three were not and two were not quite but almost.  Let's run it down, shall we?  In the "not so much" category, Katie, the young lass, continued to suffer a personality disorder of "Sybil"-like proportions.  (First ever Sally Field nod.) 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March Madness

On Sunday, the brackets are chosen, and according to hubby, "Chances of UCLA making it to the big dance this year are slim to none.  Their only hope is to win the Pac-10 Tournament." Why am I hoping they don't?  Why am I relieved, if not all-out giddy?  In the past, when UCLA has made it to the party, my house has reverberated with scary, ritualistic zeal. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Would Like To Thank Kimberly-Clark

My pink Shimera scraped the carpet and went swish-swish.  My white hand bag paid tribute to Dior, Chanel and Kimberly-Clark.  My Bearpaws heralded from China and kept my toosties warm.  My hair was a hot mess; my makeup understated.  I caught a few stares as I modeled my robe, my clutch of tissues, my slippers for the tiny crowd gathered in my living.  I caught more than a thumb's down for my overall look.  I caught me a bad-ass cold.  So much for Cousin Andy's.  So much for the anticipated scream-fest, the bloody brawl for which I spent the last three weeks training. Oscar night fizzled for the Short Jewish Gal, along with the Neil Patrick Harris opening.  My damn predictions came close, but not close enough.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

And The Winner Is: Not You!


I'm not sure why I take such sick pleasure in predicting who gets the boot on "Idol." On Thursday, I called three out of four.  I kept shouting downstairs to hubby, who's already burned out on the show, "I got another one right!"  Hubby had trouble rising to my level of glee. A low-key "good for you" was about all he could muster on my behalf.  In my tiny universe of me-me-me, it's just so much fun to be right.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

One Tough Cookie

Barely out of the hospital, Crystal Bowersox once again won ladies night on "A.I." with "Long As I Can See The Light," by Creedence Clearwater. She promised to bring it to church, and dang, if she didn't deliver. Girlfriend's got such "raw, natural talent," in the words of Ellen, that there's no telling where she could land, chart-wise, long as she manages that testy diabetes situation. Simon tried to retract his subway comment and called her a "serious artist."  All I can add to that is:  Duh! 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Old Spice is running a series of hilarious commercials, starring major hunk/actor Isaiah Mustafa.  They are so cheeky and fun, they make you want to buy soap-on-a-rope.  Check it out.  If you don't scream with laughter, chuckle, or at the very least, grin, call a doctor, immediately.



Isaiah Mustafa, The Old Spice Guy

From Pussy Cat to Lion

"Big Mike" Lynche went from pussy cat to lion, in the words of Simon Cowell, Tuesday night on "AI," singing James Brown's "This Is A Man's World."  Nicely done, my muscle-bound man.  Big Mike's soulful rendition was the only real standout performance, strangely enough.   The guys definitely improved their game, after the sudden switcheroo. It was supposed to be Ladies Night, but my favorite Crystal Bowersox got rushed to the hospital, so they did a flip-flop with the dudes.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Enough, Canada!


Kitschy, over-the-top and fun.  That pretty much sums up the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics.  Giant inflatable mounties.  Giant inflatable beavers.  Giant maple leafs. Giant hockey pucks.  And William Shatner summing up what it means to be a Canadian: “We are a people who know how to make love in a canoe.” Your basic insane Hodge Podge for 20.  I'm so glad the Olympics are over, I could do a ceremonial tribal dance in cross country skiis.  I could sing, "I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay."  Let's move on, shall we, to something far more important, where the only trophy handed out is a golden dude named Oscar.