Sunday, July 31, 2011

See This

"Crazy, Stupid, Love"

The past three weekends, hubby and I have gone on some kind of drunken rom-com movie bender.  We've seen "Horrible Bosses" (three-a-half bagels), "Friends With Benefits"  (three bagels) and "Crazy, Stupid, Love" (four bagels, with cream cheese and lox).  We relate best to the Steve Carell-Julianne Moore comedy, a tale of high school sweethearts, their children and the supporting characters who, much like real life, sometimes come in and hog the spotlight.  Guess now we'll go back to our own boy-meets-girl-in-eighth-grade rom-com, complete with gooey montages and hip music tracks.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bagel Thief On The Loose

Could it be?
"Police."  "Hi, this is the Short Jewish Gal."  "So?"  "I'd like to report a bagel burglary."  "A what?"  "Someone stole a bagel off the counter.  I was getting ready to toast it for my youngest son."  "How old is your son, ma'am?"  "19."  "19, and he can't toast a bagel for himself?"  "He's not fully domesticated and that's beside the point.  Someone stole a bagel right off the counter and vanished out the back door." "Can you describe the bagel?  Was it onion? Raisin? Sesame?  One of those 'everything' bagels, with garlic and God-knows-what?" "Nothing fancy.  Just a plain egg bagel."  "By any chance, was the thief in question your son?"  "Why would my son steal his own bagel?"  "You just said he wasn't domesticated, ma'am.  Maybe he doesn't know any better."  "He knows what he likes. He likes a nice toasted bagel."  "He's got good taste.  Anyone who eats an untoasted bagel is an animal." "I agree with you, officer."  "So, you want us to send out a unit?"  "That'd be great"  "What's your address?"  "Just look for the house in Sherman Oaks with the huge neon sign that says, 'Home of the Short Jewish Gal.'"  "Fair enough.  Any bagels left over?  I could use a nosh."  "If I had any bagels, would I be calling you?  The thief took the last one."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Don't Try This At Home

The lifelong magician took his little sis on a guided tour of Houdini's Art & Magic at the Skirball, explaining the ins and outs of the Water Torture Cell (pass), the Milk Can (no thankie) and Metamorphosis Trunk (oy gevalt), tight locales that make this lifelong claustrophobe fidgetty to even comprehend.  A companion exhibit covers Jewish Magicians of the Golden Age, with names like the Great Leon.  I'm now contemplating a name upgrade, either to the Great Short Jewish Gal, or Excello,the Short Jewish Gal.  Get your votes in early, before I head over to City Hall to make it official.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Handcuff King

Houdini:  Jewish Escape Artist
Today, the magician (Mr. John Starr) and his lovely assistant (the SJG) will travel to the Skirball Museum to see the Houdini Exhibit.  We'll escape the humdrum of daily life, put reality on hold, and visit the master of illusion. I spent my childhood enabling my brother's magic trick habit.  Perhaps you caught our act in the family living room?  He would conjure amazing things out of nowhere, flowers and scarves and whatnot, make milk disappear, make tiny colored balls move from this cup to that cup, astonish the audience with his sleight of hand.  And I would... what would I do?  Stand there and hand him stuff, mainly.  He still performs on request.  You should see his work with balloons. Prestidigitation, anyone?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lights, Camera, Burgers

In-N-Out:  Serious Burger Addiction
Trying to escape intervention:  Never a good idea
The meaning of sacrifice:  I skipped dance class to film my guest-starring role in the latest short from Teach Me The Lesson Productions, "In-N-Out Intervention." I delivered my one line, "Why couldn't you just go to Burger King?" with buckets of raw emotion and maternal heartache and method acting.  I believe I nailed it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Say What? Say What?

'Cuz I'm cool like that:  Scott D & D Mac
What happens when a nice Jewish boy starts rapping?  This.  The first video of Golden Age -- "The Cool."  Apologies for some un-PC rapper-style phrasing.  Directed by N Dub (Mr. Ned Weisman), featuring G Money (Garrett) on skateboard. (Double click for full image)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Get Thee To Burger King

All morning, I rehearsed how I'd deliver my one line in the eldest's latest short, currently filming in various Sherman Oaks locales, including freeway underpasses and dumpsters.  My one line could be interpreted so many ways.  A la Brando:  "I coulda been somebody.  I coulda gone to Burger King."  A la Hamlet: "Get thee to Burger King!" A la Hemingway:  "Oh, Jake,we could have had such a damned good time at Burger King. Isn't it pretty to think so?"  After much rehearsal in front of the mirror, I decided to deliver my one line as written (by me) in the voice I know best, that of a whining, agitated worry wart:  "Why couldn't you just go to Burger King?"  Next stop:  wardrobe.  So many options.  Go with my daily schlep-wear, or sex it up for the camera?  I'd just covered the bed with costume choices, sweatpants, tank tops and cocktail dresses, when the call came from Billy.  "We've been filming five hours.  We're not going to do your scene today."  I tried not to weep.  I was so ready to do this, so amped.  I'd found my motivation and everything.  "So you're cutting me from the movie?" "No."  "Just tell me, I can take it."  "We're not cutting you.  We'll film it next week."  "Oh, thank God."  I realized, this might be a good thing.  The delay gives me more time to rehearse, to channel my maternal angst, to do a little rewriting, turn my one line into a poignant soliloquy:  "How many times did I beg you to go to Burger King?  How many times?  I've lost count. God forbid you should listen to me.  Your mother.  The woman who gave birth to you, who spent 46 agonizing hours in labor.  But no, you had to do things your way.  You had to go to In-N-Out.  And now, look what's happened to you.  Look what's become of you, my son.  Take a good, hard look."  Better, right?

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Cart, A Cart, My Kingdom...

... for a shopping cart
Trader Joe's is not for slackers.  You heard me.  If you like to dawdle and wander aimlessly, go to Costco.  Go to Gelsons.  Do not go to Trader Joe's. To shop there, you need sharp mental focus and excellent eye-hand coordination.  You must know what you want.  You must go in and get it and get the hell out.  It's that simple.  The aisles are narrow and crowded with discount hunter-gatherers.  The shelves overflow with 42  kinds of humus, sausage, pesto and cheese.  You could lose your mind in Trader Joe's.  You could also lose your shopping cart, which is what happened to me yesterday.  I turned around and it was gone. I parked it by the basmati rice, I went to get a salad, I came back and my cart had skedaddled.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Don't Make Me Beg

I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master.  I want the full menu of rights.
-- Bishop Dusty Tutu

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's A Fridge

All day, well-wishers dropped by to meet the new fridge.  They brought muffin baskets and briskets, balloons and casseroles, flowers and hand-knitted booties.  "Mazel tov!"  "Use it in the best of health!"  "Oh, it's adorable."  "Was it a long delivery?"  "A fridge only a mother could love."  "It's so shiny." "It's so pretty."  "French doors?  Fancy-schmancy."  "Such a deal."  "Such a mitzvah." "Oy, I'm so jealous." "Can I borrow your fridge?"  "I hope you'll be very happy with your new fridge."  "I've seen nicer."  "I've seen bigger."  "What's the big deal?  It's a fridge."  "Are you done bragging about your goddam fridge?" No.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Frost Bites

I made it out alive!
The SJG has just returned from the frozen tundra of my fridge.  I donned my down parka, my goggles, my thermal underwear, my gloves left over from my last arctic expedition.  I set up camp at the base of the freezer and dug into the icy wasteland.  Within seconds, my face turned numb with shame, as I unearthed the following:  Macaroons from Passover. Which Passover?  2005?  2006?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Lime popsicles from our brief, "we're eating healthy" phase, circa 2002.  Stuffed salmon from Trader Joes?  Date of purchase:  unknown.  I have no memory of buying stuffed salmon from Trader Joes.  Weapon-like bricks of frozen peas. Spanakopita triangles from our "let's entertain the neighbors" phase.  Then the party boys moved in.  Which explains the Vodka on the bottom tray.  Each shelf left me more mortified than the last.  I couldn't take it any more.  I'd lost all sensation in my fingertips. I told Dusty, captain of my Iditarod team, to take over, and handed him my ice pick. He took off in his sled and hasn't been seen since.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Planned Obsolence

In an effort to boost the economy, another appliance in the home of the SJG has decided to head off into the sunset.  Tomorrow, the fridge moves to an elder care facility full of all the other appliances that have said Screw You, SJG in the past six months.  (You know how I take these things personally.)  The water heater, the dishwasher, the washer and the dryer.  All of them gave a shrug and decided it had been a good 10, 10.5 years, that was enough. They'd done their job (more or less).  Time to go off and play golf, start a book club, do a little sunning, enjoy a mid-afternoon cocktail.  They each went out in a special way, picking just the right moment to bid adieu.  From the water heater came scary gurgling and  icky sediment.  From the dishwasher, a Thanksgiving flood.  From the washer and dryer, dramatic thump-thump-thumping, followed by an eerie silence.  From the fridge, a snarky refusal to self-defrost.  My days of stabbing the freezer with a knife ended in college.  You can't make me go back there.  To that action, I say, na-uh.  So today, while others go about their post-Carmatic lives, the SJG will look deep into the soon-to-be former refriggy, and ponder the many unidentifiable items, the crusted up baggies in the freezer than might be a chicken breast, or a Western bagel left over from Mother's Day.  Today I will vow to start fresh tomorrow, to keep my shiny new appliance well-stocked and highly-organized.  It is my dream to become anal retentive, to alphabetize every product in my new fridge and to scold those who eff with my brilliant system.  "What is wrong with you?  The cream cheese goes after the butter!  Who put the mustard in front of the milk?" This is going to be fun.  I can hardly wait to start ranting.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Non-Event of the Century

The prevailing sentiment: Why can't every day be Carmageddon? No traffic. No road rage. No bumper-to-bumper. No pandemonium. L.A. is behaving itself, beautifully, so there. Take that, America. Y'all thought we'd freak out without our precious 405. Think again. We are handling it with customary style, humor and generosity. I'm talking discounts on every corner. Half-off for Carmageddon! Buy one, get one free for Carmageddon! Free parking for Carmageddon! In other words, Carmageddon doesn't suck. Au contraire. Carmageddon is bringing out the nicey-nice. It's all about Happy Carmageddon. Who would've thunk it? Just when you're ready to give up on the city and beam your butt elsewhere, L.A. says hang on a minute there, sistah. Set your tush back down. It's all good. It's just Carmageddon. Come Monday, we'll be back to the mean, the impatient, the get-out-of-my-eff'n-way, you giant turd. Till then, we've got one more day of nicey-nice. One more day of you first, oh please, I insist. One more day of good Carma.  Oh man, I'm already feeling nostalgic.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


What up with that?
Helicopters swarming overhead
Endless boring news reports
No one's on the 405?
It's Carmageddon!
Long lines at the liquor store
Blended Carmaritas
Nine months later, babies born?
It's Carmageddon!
Celebs tweeting night and day
Don't go there, bitches!  Stay away!
J-Lo's marriage gone kaput?
It's Carmageddon!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ruff Weekend

"Excuse me, sir.  I happened to notice you here in the kitchen.  Do you have a moment to answer a few questions?"  "What's in it for me?"  "A treat."  "As luck would have it, I'm available."  "What are your plans for Carmageddon?"  "I'll be taking the $4 JetBlue flight from Burbank to Long Beach."  "You're kidding.  Why?"  "Mainly, the free snacks."  "Any other plans?"  "Oh, I might catch the new Harry Potter.  I hear he dies."  "Great, now you've spoiled it for everyone."  "Then again, maybe he doesn't die."  "That's better.  Anything else?"  "Laze around the pool.  Nap.  Sniff stuff."  "One last question, sir.  Are you at all worried that Carmageddon signals the end of the world as we know it?"  "When you put it that way, no, not really.  I think it's a great way to say 'woof you,' to all the naysayers out there who don't think we can get through this thing.  But we can and we will.  We'll show those a-holes what we're made of."  "Thank you for your time, sir."  "My pleasure.  You said something about a treat?"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Questionable B&B

Book a room for Carmageddon
Here it is, the much-awaited cinematic bon-bon, a work of sheer comic genius, a scary-ass trip into the Tequila-soaked minds of two twenty-somethings in search of fame and fortune, Hollywood-style.  Parental warning:  Non-stop cussing and ridiculous post-collegiate humor.  May offend women, children, pool-owners, anyone who watches it.  Low-brow?  Let me think about it.  Uh-huh.  Now that you mention it.  Yes.  Very much so.  Shakespearean?  Complex?  Sophisticated?  Hang on, I'm mulling it over.  Uh, no.  I'd have to say no to that.  That's a big no.  So sit back and enjoy "Bobby Breunscher's Bed and Breakfast" by Billy Schneider & Nick Laskin, starring Michael Laskin, Helen Mirren, Daniel Radcliffe and Danny Bonaduce. (Double click for full image)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Here's The Story

R.I.P. Sherwood Schwartz
"My Favorite Martian"
 ... of a mensch named Sherwood Schwartz who did a nice thing for another mensch named Ben Starr: "When Sherwood was preparing to write and do the pilot for Gilligan’s Island he was in charge of My Favorite Martian. He recommended me as his replacement to the producer, Jack Chertock. I was hired. I hired writers for the show and developed the stories with them. I also wrote three or four episodes myself. Years later, Sherwood asked me to submit ideas for The Brady Bunch. I wrote two shows which, please forgive me for saying so, became classics for the Brady Bunch. One is known by the Brady Bunch followers as 'Porkchopsh And Apple Saucesh.' The other episode I wrote was the show where the kids write an original song in the episode. Sherwood wrote the song. The two episodes I wrote were eventually presented on stage as part of The Real Live Brady Bunch.  Because I had plays produced on and off Broadway, Sherwood used to have me read his plays. As successful as he was, he was not reluctant to seek other’s advice. Many years ago at a crowded party I found myself near a woman and asked who she was. She was Sherwood’s wife Mildred. I later sent her a telegram (remember those?) that consisted of just her name Mildred throughout the entire telegram. To this day when Mildred and I meet, I say, Mildred, Mildred, Mildred.  Sherwood always called me Ben, Ben, Ben.” Fast forward several decades.  Sherwood Schwartz did a mitzvah for me, too.  When I wrote a CBS Schoolbreak Special called "Two Teens and A Baby," I wanted one of the characters to sing the Gilligan's Island theme song as a lullaby.  But we couldn't do it without permission.  So I called Sherwood and he gave us his blessing.  A nice man.  A good friend.  Smart, funny and wise.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How Am I Supposed To Get To LAX?

Hilarity! Thanks to the one and only Connie Ray for sharing.  Double click for full screen.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Got A Rocket In Your Pocket

Stay cool, boy
On the phone with the brother, Saturday afternoon.  SJG: "I'm going to the Hollywood Bowl tonight to see 'West Side Story.'  I'm taking the shuttle from Sherman Oaks with Carrie and Nadine from dance class.  We're dining under the stars.  The L.A. Phil is performing the entire score. I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and gay!"  John:  "Four words."  SJG:  "You lucky little bitch?"  John:  "Better you than me."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Casting Session

Alyssa as Casey Anthony
Meredith Baxter as Cindy Anthony
At lunch with Connie, we start casting the upcoming Lifetime movie, "Casey Anthony:  Tell Me More Lies."  "I'm seeing Alyssa Milano as Casey."  "She's too old," Connie says.  "Alyssa Milano when she was younger."  "Perfect."  "Who should play Cindy Anthony?" I ask. Connie doesn't skip a beat.  "Meredith Baxter."  "You're a genius."  Connie smiles.  "Thank you.  What about George Anthony?"  "Hmm, that's tricky.  What about Brian Dennehy?" "Oh, God no," Connie says.  "What's wrong with Brian Dennehy?"  "He'll make the set miserable."  "Who cares?  We won't be there to deal with him."  "True."  "So you're okay with Brian Dennehy?"  "I think we can do better."  "How about the Seinfeld guy?  Mr. Peterman?  What's his name?  John O' Hurley."  "Love it."  "So Brian Dennehy's out.  John O'Hurley's in."  "That works."  We go on to cast George Clooney as Casey's brother, Bill Cosby as the judge, George Lopez as Jose Baez, and Randy Quaid as lead prosecutor Jeff Ashton. We look at each other, quite happy with our first casting session.  Except for one thing.  We need to find a part for Connie, star of TV, film and Broadway.  "You have your choice of roles.  Zanny the Nanny or Casey's boss at Universal Studios, Orlando."  "But those people don't even exist."  "Exactly. Think of the creative license."  "I'd rather play someone full of righteous indignation."  "That would be all of America.  You'd be a one-woman Greek chorus."  "I can do that."  "I'm seeing an Emmy in your future." "Kina hora poo poo poo."   (How I love when my favorite shiksa speaks Yiddish. Happy b'day, Connie, and many more.)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Contents of My Fridge

...displease the eldest
"These options are trash, man."  "You're welcome to raid your own fridge."  "I can never find anything in there."  "It would help if you went shopping."  "Well-played, mother." 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Customer Kibitzer

I can't hear myself shop
"How ya doing?  How's the family?  How's hubby?"  "Everyone's fine." The salesman at Macy's is following me. I hide behind mannequins.  I duck under sales racks.  I can't ditch this guy.  "I've got tickets to see the Monkees next weekend at the Greek.  It's Carmageddon.  I don't care,  I'm going anyway.  I'll find a back way,  I'm not missing the Monkees. First album I ever bought.  'Meet the Monkees.'"  "Why are all the men's shorts so long?"  "The kids like 'em that way.  Did I tell you about my neck surgery?"  "No."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bad Carma

Carmageddon: Graphically-vehicular combat video games

"At 7 p.m. on Fri., July 15, work crews will begin closing down ramps along the 405 freeway in the Sepulveda Pass. By midnight, the freeway will be closed entirely in both directions. It will stay that way for a full 53 hours, until 5 a.m. on Monday morning. This event is expected to be so apocalyptically disruptive — half a million cars will have to find alternate routes — that it has been dubbed 'Carmageddon.' - L.A. Weekly

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Once Upon A Jury

(My obsession with a certain trial that just concluded so shockingly, I'm feeling completely meshuga, brings back memories of jury duty several years ago, a scary-ass time of police escorts and whatnot...)

The summons arrived in my mailbox and I stared at it in shock and disbelief.  How dare they send me another summons for jury duty? Those bastards tried to trick me into jury duty just last year. It took me days to come up with a believable excuse that got me out of it.  Just holding the envelope filled me with dread.  It was tempting to rip the thing up or feed it to Dusty. But I'm such a good girl at heart, so easily guilted, that I decided, oh eff that, might as well suck it up.  Hubby, a veteran of jury duty, humored me. “Don’t worry, they won’t pick you.  You’ll be home before lunch.”  Okay!  I can do this!  Bring it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mixed Reviews

The sons started mocking the hot dogs before they even took a bite, viewing them suspiciously, calling them stupid-looking and strange.  This after their father unselfishly switched into b-b-q mode on his day off from grilling.  His sons wanted b-b-q and ridicule, not gratitude, turned up on the menu.  After such cruel mockery, it took hubby a moment to build his defense.  "If I remember correctly, these hot dogs were rated number one by Consumer Reports.  No nitrites, no fillers, all natural."  Not the strongest opening statement.  The jury broke into hysterical laughter.  Natural anything holds zero appeal for two dudes who'd rather take up residence at In-N-Out than step foot in a Whole Foods.  Still, the fact that their father knows the weirdest sh*t ultimately swayed them in the end.  They gobbled their hot dogs without further kvetching.  The verdict:  "actually not that bad." What more could a father ask for on the Fourth of July?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Baking By Light Bulb

This morning I awoke with visions of my Easy-Bake Oven dancing in my head.  How I loved my Easy-Bake Oven. I miss it so, even though I'm pretty sure everything I made by light bulb tasted like absolute ka-ka.  My parents never let on.  They always said, "Delish!" no matter what sort of rubbery tiny treat I put before them.  Pizza and cake and pinky gooey candy.  I want my Easy-Bake Oven back.  It's the 4th of July.  It's too darn  hot for baking, but bake, I must.  One more kugel?  Coming right up.  Forget chicken soup.  Turns out, the SJG Kugel (trademark pending) is the best medicine.  And while the oven's on 350, I'll be slipping in some brownies, too.  Espresso chocolate chip.  We're nearing 100 in Sherman Oaks.  Baking by light bulb doesn't heat up the house.  I want my Easy-Bake Oven back.  I want it now.  Have you seen it?  I'm offering a nice tax-free reward.  You can't put a price tag on hugs, can you?  Don't just sit there, go find my Easy-Bake.  Do me a mitzvah.  Hurry.  It's probably still in the garage of my old house on Lindbrook Drive, behind the box with my ballet slippers and Peanuts books.  Come on now.  Get going.  What are you waiting for?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Diva Act

The pretty purple flowers are a no-show
Everywhere I go, the agapanthus mock me.  I walk the dog, and there they are, in full bloom, the pretty purple Lilies of the Nile.  I drive the vehicle registered to the SJG, and there they are, growing lushly in front yards.  Not in my garden.  Oh, hell no, they will not grow.  God forbid the agapanthus should pop up to say hi.  It's their job to look gorgeous, this is why they get paid the big bucks, but this summer, the gals are pulling a diva act.  They are J-Lo.  They are Beyonce.  They are Christina Aguilera.  They refuse to come out of the dressing room, no matter how much I coax, bribe and threaten.  Yesterday I left a heated message for their agent: "The agapanthus are in violation of their contract.  You heard me.  Violation!  The entire garden might shut down if these bitches don't get their flowers in gear.  I want them in the makeup chair.  I want them in wardrobe.  I want my pretty purple lilies out front and center by Monday, or I'm taking it to the next level.  No one treats the SJG like a bag of fertilizer and gets away with it.  No one!" I'm stilling waiting to hear back. 
Everywhere I go, they mock me

Friday, July 1, 2011

Your Lack of Manners

And another thing...
My dad, lifetime provider of hilarity, sent me this yesterday.  Three emails from an angry stepmother to her future daughter-in-law (I wouldn't hold my breath) after the first visit and then, after her nasty email went public.  Anglophile that I am, it is my new favorite story. Something tells me Heidi and Freddie won't be stopping by for tea any time soon.  For full impact, must be read with hoity-toity British accent. 

From: Carolyn Bourne (evil stepmother)
To: Heidi Withers (future daughter-in-law)
Subject: Your lack of manners

"Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:
When you are a guest in another's house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat, unless you are positively allergic to something.
You do not remark that you do not have enough food.
You do not start before everyone else.
You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.
When a guest in another's house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early; you fall in line with house norms.
You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.
You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why.