Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Day At The Beach

Hats off to Bernie
This morning, I called my dad, the one, the only, Mr. Ben Starr, and asked if he had any good Tony Curtis stories.  "Bernie Schwartz was Tony Curtis' real name.  They brought him out to Hollywood and wanted to make him into a big star.  He was very handsome.  I used to go to the beach every week with a group of guys who worked in Hollywood, mostly comedy writers.  We went to Will Rogers State Beach.  I used to see Marlon Brando there all the time, tossing a football around. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You're Soaking In It

Milk:  Good for the fingies!  Who knew?
Sometimes my brain takes a mini-vacation without asking permission. Up, up, and away it goes.  Ba-bye, brain.  Come back soon!  Take last night, please.  The microwave went beep beep.  I took out the corn... yes, I microwave fresh corn.  I lock it in all nice and snug with Saran Wrap.  It's the fastest way to delish.  Experience has taught me that it's going to be hot, very very hot, when done.  I must gently remove the Saran, or suffer the nasty consequences.  I know this.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Take One Firefighter, Call Me In The Morning

Better than Xanax
At my all-gal gym, a place where hormones run wild, social commentary flies, and abs crunch day and night, the gals over-shared their feelings, yet again, before and after Monday's kick-ass Boot Camp.  Might've been the freakin' heatwave, the broken air conditioning, or the promise of free chocolate come Halloween.  A few highlights:

Pam:  I passed the cutest firefighters on the way here.
SJG:  Where?
Pam:  Laurel Canyon and Moorpark.  Firefighters are so cute.  I once had a panic attack and I called the fire department.  The firefighters came over, and they were so cute, my panic went away.
SJG:  Who needs Xanax?

Monday, September 27, 2010

There's Joe's Head

Lee Garner Jr., that putz
All season long, I've been waiting for a glimpse of my neighbor Joe, moonlighting as a waiter on "Mad Men."  Pre-season, I was dying for info.  Dying, I tell ya! I nagged.  I pleaded.  I whined.  I got nowhere with Joe.  "Oh, please tell me, Joe.  Please!  Give me something to live for."  But Joe is a man of principle.  He threw me a few crumbs, nothing more. "Oh, alright.  Calm down.  It's a restaurant scene.  It's only two cast members and they're having a very serious discussion."  Now we were getting somewhere.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Turn Right At The Japanese Restaurant

We know we're in trouble when it takes ten minutes to get their seatbelts on, and another five to make sure they haven't left their house keys behind, and then, off we go to Anaheim Hills to pay a condolence call.  In the backseat, armed with helpful commentary:  hubby's parents and his younger bro'.  Two seconds in, the backseat driving begins.  "Get on the freeway at Wilshire," says the younger bro.'  "I know where the freeway is," says hubby.  The SJG takes the first of many power naps. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mazel Tov, Mamasox

Mama gets married
When I first heard Mamasox was getting married, the SJG brain went into overdrive, as it tends to do.  I immediately thought, oy vey, she's giving up on her career!  The Idol tour was a bomb.  She's getting zero airplay at the moment.  So why not marry that big lug Tony, the dude who didn't dig the lifestyle, the guy she split with on the day of the Idol finale. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

The First Time

The first time, you can't quite believe it's finally happening.  All that anticipation.  Will I enjoy it?  Will I get an A for effort?  Will I crash and burn?  The first time, you hope it's better than those forgettable part-times.  The ones you know won't last, the ones you regret, deny, dismiss.  But you show up, anyway.  You fake it.  Pretend like you're interested, when really, you're just staring at the ceiling, trying not to yawn.  Counting the minutes till you can get the hell out of there and go home.  The part-times are the dress rehearsal.  The part-times don't count. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thinking of You

Grandma Sara, Mom, the baby SJG, Grandpa Bill
Gloria Starr:  Well-dressed.  Well-coiffed.  Well-read.  Well-liked.  Beloved, in fact.  Adored.  Elegant.  Stylish.  Political since Adlai Stevenson.  Big on JFK.  The original SJG.  Come to think of it, she had an inch on me.  Couldn't leave the house without makeup on.  "I'm putting my face on," she'd say, when I called in the morning.  Couldn't look schlumpy if she tried.  Great laugh.  Great smile.  Great friend.  Great mom.  The best.  Eleven years today.  Still miss her.  Always will.  Some things never change. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Door-Slamming: A Guide To Parenting

Slam for emphasis
One son goes to college.  One son starts his first real job today.  My work here is done.  Now I can kick back and gloat.  The task of parenting, the long unpaid hours of hard labor, the yelling, the door-slamming, the soul-searching, the post-its all over the house, reminding me why I became a mother, the costly therapy sessions reminding me I'm not that bad a mother, the stack of books convincing me I'm a good enough mother.  I'm so over that phase.  Now I can sip wine.  Count the stars in the sky.  Bird watch.  Learn to play the saxophone.  Learn to play hooky.  It'll be a non-stop spa vacation, an endless pedicure.  A facial.  A great hair day.  A rockin' party, a disco, a celebration of me, me, me. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Harvey and Sheila

Allan Sherman
Every Sunday of my entire childhood, give or take a Sunday here or there, but not too many (skipping wasn't an option), we gathered in the family room, my dad, my mom, my brothers John and Peter, my Russian grandparents Bill and Sara, and, of course, the SJG.  We ate pretzels, drank soda, played checkers and cards, talked and behaved ourselves, and most importantly, listened to the greatest comedy albums of all time.  "You Don't Have To Be Jewish."  "An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May."  And Allan Sherman. "My Son, the Folk Singer" (1962), "My Son, the Celebrity" (1963), "My Son, the Nut" (1963).  This one goes out to my sweet mom: "Harvey and Sheila," to the tune of, what else, "Hava Nagila."  Enjoy.  Double click. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oh, Ida

RIP Miss Blankenship

One of my favorite TV characters kicked the ol' bucket last night.  Ida Blankenship, Don Draper's hilariously blunt secretary, his punishment for all the pretty young things he messed up before her, in the words of Roger, "...died like she lived: Surrounded by the people she answered phones for.”  Bert Cooper put it more eloquently:  "She was born in a barn and she died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper.  She’s an astronaut.”  At least she went out with some of the best Blankenship lines to date.  To Don: “Are you going to the toi-let?” Re Dr. Faye Miller: “She’s pushy, that one. I guess that’s what it takes."  To Don, after seeing little Sally in person: “She looked so chubby in the pictures.”  Ida was over the top, queen of the not-very-subtle digs, a supporting character who wandered in from a 60's sitcom and stayed a while.  She stood out like the pain in the ass she was, and I, for one, am pissed off to see her plotz.  At least I can "friend" her on Facebook. She's got her own page. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010


DeJon & Scotty:  Roomies ready to party

On the ride up to Santa Cruz, we let the freshman play deejay.  His selections were eclectic.  Springsteen and Arcade Fire.  John Mayer and Cee lo.   He pumped up the volume and we sang along, working hard to keep his spirits up, and ours, as well.   The day before, there was drama he could've done without; us, too.  A lousy parting gift.  A broken heart.  So we bubble-wrapped it, nice and tight, made sure it stayed in tact for the long schlep north.  I'm happy to report, his heart hit campus on the mend.  No transplant necessary.  We hadn't even parked yet and the texting heated up:  "Seen any hotties?"  The eldest needed an update.  "Gotta live vicariously through you now, bro.'"  "Nobody yet.  I'll let you know when I do."  Brotherly love.  Later on, the college grad played wingman for his freshman bro'.  Set up the evening's festivities.  There's quite a tradition to uphold.  Spare me the details, boys.  I'm too old.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Going Somewhere?

There's a mini-fridge in the hallway, parked by the front door.  I came downstairs this morning, and asked, "Going somewhere?"  There are hangers hanging on the sofa. There's a soccer ball on the table where we tend to dine.  Nice centerpiece.  So festive.  There's a basketball, a frisbee.  Bongos, too.  Well, why not.  Drum circles, people.  Howling at the moon.  Come as you are.  Do your thing.  Destination:  Not San Clemente. There's a non-deli spread over yonder.  A smorgasboard of "What To Bring" and "What You Probably Don't Need, But Bring It, Anyway."  Bedding, Extra-Long. Towels and toiletries.  Heavy jacket.  Warm jacket.  Shoes, shoes, shoes.  For sports and hiking and that other thing people do.  It's got a name.  Wait, it's coming to me.  Walking.  You can never have enough shoes.  Am I right?  Of course, I am.  Just humor me, folks.  I'm fragile. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Year of the Blintz

I'm a cheese blintz.  This makes sense.
Here's another gem I wish I could take credit for, but can't (it's anonymous) sent to me by my dad.  The Chinese have the year of the rat, the year of the monkey.  Well, here's the official Jewish equivalent.  Now you can find out who you are.  The Year of...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rhoda's Dad

A nice man, a fine actor, a mensch. Harold Gould died over the weekend at the age of 86.  He's best known for playing Martin Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and its spin-off, "Rhoda." I'll always treasure the time I got to work with him, when he played a Holocaust survivor in the CBS Schoolbreak Special I wrote, called "The Writing on the Wall."  Hal Linden stars in the true story of Rabbi Markovitz, whose synagogue and home are defaced by some Swastika-loving boys, on the eve of Halloween.  Rather than send them to jail, he opts to work with them, instead, and ends up changing their lives.  Harold Gould plays one of the neighbors who'd rather see these punks rot in hell.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dusty: A Tale of Two Personalities

Dusty in repose
One dog.  Two personalities, each deserving its own name.  The calm lab, the eight-year-old pup, the snuggler that licks our toes, rolls over in search of belly rubs, and sleeps half the day?  That's Dusty.  Mr. Lovable. 

Durryabis in action
The crazy dude, the food thief, the swiper of sandals, socks, cooking utensils and oven gloves, the non-stop barker, the growler, the disturber of all meals, morning, noon and night, the sneaky consumer of soap and sidewalk leftovers and anything that will make him upchuck, inappropriately, and require costly medical attention?  That's Durryabis, a nickname the eldest came up with this summer, watching his favorite animal charge off with his friend's flip-flops.  Some days he's Dusty. Some days he's Durryabis.  Some days he's a mixture of both.  We love him, no matter what, and yet, we often wonder, in the words of the eldest, "Why can't he just chill?"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just The Facts

Friday.  Move-in day.  The youngest goes off to college.  A mother goes home and weeps.  Friday.  A freshman is born. A mother learns to let go, yet again.  A few questions I won't get to ask for awhile:  Who's driving? What party? Where is it? When will you be back?  Why do you need to stay out that late?  How come you didn't tell me about this sooner? 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mom Gets Banned From Denny's

Road trip to San Francisco.  Two boys, nine and thirteen, in the back seat, punching each other black and blue.  Daddy threatens to turn around and go home, the first in a series of idle threats.  I'm super cranky.  I'm extremely PMS.  The SJG still has a uterus.  Hubby and I have been up all night, thanks to the bad karma house next door (future home of the notorious party boys), back then, an assisted living facility.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Funny Little Hats

Last night, we ate kugel, it was delish
There's plenty left, let me give you a dish
I saved you some chicken, some nice peas, too
With food, I tend to over do.  And you?

In temple, my bro' took a little snooze
He's not the one paying annual dues
I nudged him a few times, I said, "Wake up!"
Twice I'd put coffee in his coffee cup

"I'm so tired," he kvetched. "I've been up since four."
"Catch a few Z's, but you better not snore."
He behaved himself, didn't make a peep
Couldn't wait to get home and go to sleep

Then there were apples and honey to dip
My bro' said, "Yum.  It was well worth the trip."
Go home, drive safe, get yourself into bed.
May the sound of shofar play in your head.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How To Kugel, Responsibly

Kugeling, the SJG way.  So delish, you could scream.
Why the smart rich boys who came up with Google didn’t call their fancy search engine Kugel is one of life’s mysteries. Personally, I think they made a big mistake. Sure, Google is a cute name. It’s become part of our daily lexicon. It has a nice ring to it. But Kugel is better. Kugel deserves to be a search engine and a verb, too.  For when you Kugel, you bring happiness to those around you. To Kugel is to make people smile, clap their hands and do a little hora around the dining room. To Kugel is so easy, just about anybody can do it and not mess up. I’d go so far as to say that Kugeling is practically fool-proof. I say practically because to Kugel well requires a dash of common sense. Not much, but just enough to signal the Kugeler’s brain that a dollop of discretion is necessary.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Daddy Gets Kicked Off the Soccer Field

My fans have spoken, and only four bothered to vote for the "Pick me, choose me, love me" blog contest.  Am I hurt?  Am I bitter?  Oh, hell yes.  The fact that two voters happen to be closely related to the SJG shows the sort of worldwide domination I sorely lack.  This one goes out to my cuzzy, Andy. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Adventures In Car Leasing

Engine not included
Labor Day weekend, I accompanied hubby and the eldest into the hell of car leasing.  It was time to trade in the 12-year-old Volvo for something befitting the young college grad, as he heads off for his first real job, the one we think he got (kina hora), but we're still not sure.  In the meantime, he needs a car that gets him from point A to B (hip Hollywood bar to hip Hollywood nightclub) without leaving an oil spill in its wake.  Our car lease demands were few.  We're reasonable people, and when I say reasonable, I'm referring to the SJG and the first born.  Hubby, on the other hand, is a total maniac when it comes to negotiating.  He works in TV.  Playing hardball is his strength.

Friday, September 3, 2010

So Pick Me! Choose Me! Love Me!

Oh, please?
It's creepy and it's kooky, mysterious and spooky, and altogether ooky, to visit my haunted house of documents.  I never know what files I'm going to find rattling around in there, waiting to be deleted or saved before my computer crashes.  Only moments ago, I tripped over a wacky list of chapter ideas, in case my unsold bestseller, "I Felt Good About My Butt Back Then," went into its eighth printing, and my fans demanded a sequel to read on the potty.  Just 'cause it didn't happen doesn't mean I should stop being a 'ho for attention.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

If Abe Lincoln Had A Jewish Mother

ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S JEWISH MOTHER: "Again with that hat! Why can't you wear a baseball cap like the other kids?"

                                  (Double click for full image)
BILL CLINTON'S JEWISH MOTHER: "Well, at least she was a nice Jewish girl."
GLEN BECK'S JEWISH MOTHER: "Write on the blackboard,'I will never speak out loud again,' a hundred times."
HILLARY CLINTON'S JEWISH MOTHER: "Learn to forgive but never forget. Things will blow over."
(anonymous Jewish humor I can't take credit for)