Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jewish Reasoning

A Jewish woman goes to see her Rabbi and asks, “Yankele and Yosele are both in love with me, who will be the lucky one?”  The wise old Rabbi answers, “Yankele will marry you. Yosele will be the lucky one."

If a married Jewish man is walking alone in a park and expresses an opinion without anybody hearing him, is he still wrong?   
(shout out to my bro' Peter')

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Beautiful Poem About Growing Older

I hope this poem has the same effect on you as it did on me.  (shout out to Mila who sent it to Carla who sent it to me.)

Walk with me by the water..

 Sh*t... I forgot the words....

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Torn Between Two Owners

... feeling like a fool
What happens when the owners of a fancy-ass eyewear mini-empire get a nasty divorce?  The ex-wife gets a few stores.  The ex-husband gets a few stores.  And loyal customers like the SJG get a bad case of guilt.  I wanted to stay faithful to the very pushy ex-husband.  I didn't want to cheat on him, especially after that time he caught me wearing a pair from Lenscrafters and had a sh*t fit right there on the street.  So it was with trepidation that I walked into the ex-wife's store in the mall. "Oh my God," I said, "you-know-who will kill me if he finds out I was here." "So don't tell him," she said.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fast Food In Hell

Easier said than done
If they serve fast food in hell, something tells me Subway has a counter.  Ordering a sandwich at Subway is way too complicated for the delicate brain of the SJG.  Next time I attempt it, I will watch the "how-to-order-a-sandwich-at-Subway" video on YouTube.  I will practice at home.  I will hire professional actors to play the roles of the angry sandwich makers who hate my guts.  I will over-prepare. I will be ready.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Short Quiz

Get out your pencils.  There will be a Short Jewish Gal quiz today.
1.  Who declared:  "Enough of this!"
a.  Jennifer Lopez
b.  Cleopatra
c.  the SJG
2.  Who responded: "Enough of what?"
a.  Marc Anthony
b.  Mark Antony
c.  Someone the SJG birthed, while hollering, "Get this thing out of me NOW!"
3.  Who answered: "This!"
a.  Golda Meir 
b. Joan Rivers
c.  the SJG

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Round Two

Thank you, sir, may I have another?
The victory dance went over a little too well with the folks at "Wipeout."  Damn it.  The eldest nailed the four-minute, let's-get-you-on-video phase, during which he confessed his somewhat exaggerated addiction to cheddar cheese.  "What's the weirdest thing you've ever put cheese on?" the interviewer asked.  "Ice cream," he said, "and it was delicious."  "Why do you want to be on 'Wipeout'?"  "So that all of my friends and family can watch me make a complete ass of myself and laugh hysterically till they fall off the couch."  "Alright.  Now do your victory dance."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wardrobe Choices

Would you want your son doing this?
Uncle John's space suit? Uncle John's clown costume?  Authentic cowboy ensemble?  Jeans and a T-shirt?  In the end, the eldest goes with his daily schlub-wear, for fear of looking like a complete and utter idiot for his "Wipeout" audition.  There are those who can pull off the clown costume (my brother) or the astronaut look (my brother) or the authentic cowboy ensemble (Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid).  And there are those who can't pull it off (the eldest).  "Are you excited about the audition?"  I ask him. "Yeah.  I figure what the eff, I've got nothing to lose.  It's not like I'm an actor or anything."  "That's the spirit.  Just go out there and be yourself."  "Wanna see my victory dance?" "Don't you think that's a little premature?  You haven't been cast yet."  "They want to see the victory dance at the audition."  I tell him, "Hit it!"  He proceeds to spin around in a circle, arms spread out, airplane-style, and whoop a few times.  "That's it, huh?"  "You don't like it?"  "I think you need to up the enthusiasm, and crank the volume on the whooping."  I reinterpret his victory dance, give it my own pizazz.  "Like that."  "Okay.  I see where you're going with this.  More energy."  "Or you could change it up and go another way, entirely.  Allow me to demonstrate," I say, forgetting my lower back, Zumba-related issues.  I shake the booty, I roll my neck, I twirl like a dreidel, emitting obnoxious toot-toot sounds that send Dusty cowering behind the sofa.  "You do my dance, and you're in, baby."  "Yeah, I don't think so," he says.  "Fine," I say, trying not to take the rejection too personally.  He heads out the door.  "Good luck, honey," I say, conveniently omitting the kina hora, because, honestly, I won't be disappointed if he doesn't score the chance to go on national TV and risk breaking every limb in his anatomy.  But that's just between us, right?

Groundbreaking New Findings

A quick, highly-informative read
What the Jewish Journal has to say:  "A landmark book completely revised and updated to reveal what men really know about the most complex of creatures -- women."  What the NY Times has to say:  "In a little more than 100 pages, famed psychologist Dr. Alan Francis distills years of research and thousands of interviews to reveal the most comprehensive understanding of men's knowledge and understanding of the opposite sex in Everything Men Know About Women."  What Arnold Schwarznegger has to say:  "Dr. Francis is a genius.  Fiercely frank, insightful, funny.  He literally spells out what schmucks like me know on topics ranging from making friends with women to understanding their wacky hormonal mood swings." What the SJG has to say:  "Makes a fantastic notepad.  125 blank pages.  Fits nicely in my handbag for those quiet moments when I need to jot down a snarky observation."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stay Tuned

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to wish hubby a happy 31st anniversary.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Hush.  Do you hear that?  Can you identify the species?  Could be human.  Could be an owl.  Hard to tell. Sounds like moaning.  Ohhhh.  Ooooouchhhh.  Ooooowwwww.  What is it?  Oh, wait.  I think I've got it.  'Tis the early morning warbling of the SJG, attempting to rise from bed.  Be patient.  This may take a while. I may have over-Zumba'd.  Once again, I over-shook the booty.  Yes, this lower back pain is Zumba-related.  Hubby always cautions, "Don't overdo it."  He knows me so well.  Knows I have a tendency to go ape-sh*t once the music cranks.  "I won't," I always promise, but sometimes I forget.  I lose control.  I don't act my age.  So I'm icing and stretching, groaning and kvetching.  The price I must pay for being a little too enthusiastic.  In time, I will heal.  As God is my witness, I will shake the booty again.  Count on it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Let's Go Back Way Back When

The Help:  Sassy Southern Gals
My copy of "The Help" sat on my nightstand forever.   I kept meaning to read it.  I kept hearing all the raves.  And then I thought it would never live up to all the hype.  So I read other books.  Stubborn SJG.  Many other books.  "The Help" kept staring me down, as if to say, "Get over yourself and read me."  "I'll read you before the movie comes out, promise."  Last week, the movie came out and I still hadn't read it.  So I read it in a week.  At first, I resisted its charms.  I called up Carla and kvetched a bit.  "It's taking too long to get into," I said.  "I'm not sure I buy the whole set-up."  Carla was patient with me.  She told me to keep reading.  I kept going and I was hooked.  On Friday, I finished it.  On Saturday, we went to see the movie.  Every plot point was freshly-embedded in my keppie.  I loved the movie maybe even more than the book.   It's moving and funny.  I laughed, I cried, I emoted.  A typical Saturday for the SJG.

Friday, August 19, 2011

HB, Hubbell

Your girl is lovely, Hubbell
Robert Redford is 75?  Well, that just makes the SJG feel... what's the word?  Old.  I first saw him in "Downhill Racer" as a young SJG and instantly thought, Woof.  That is one handsome shaygetz.  Our relationship grew from there, although it was pretty one-sided.  Just me swooning and him looking gorgeous up there on the silver screen.  "Barefoot in the Park."  "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid."  "The Way We Were."  "The Candidate."  "All the President's Men."  "The Sting."  "The Natural."  The one where he washes Meryl Streep's hair.  So happy b'day, Hubbell.  Happy b'day to you, sir.  And many more. Feel free to stop by next time you're in Sherman Oaks.  I'll make you a nice kugel.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Latest Oy Vey

 Ever since "Wipeout" started airing on ABC, the eldest has said, "I could do that." My response:  "God forbid."  In case you've never watched it, the show consists of insanely difficult obstacle courses, deep plunges into water, and punching bags.  A few weeks ago, Billy casually mentioned that he'd gone on the website and applied to be a contestant. "You're kidding, right?"  "Nope." He gave wacky answers, said he was addicted to cheddar cheese (not In-N-Out?) and wanted to prove to his idiot roommate that he could last more than 20 seconds without wiping out.  Of course, the major draw is the chance to win $50,000.  The requirements are few.  You don't need to be an athlete to participate. You need to be dynamic.  Able to swim. Fun, strong-willed, outgoing, and have a great sense of humor.  The weirder you are, the better.  Oh, sh*t.  He meets these requirements, plus he's an athlete.  Yesterday, the "Wipeout" folks called him to audition.  I've got one week to talk him out of it. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Goldilocks Gals

... and futzing with the temperature
How many dancers does it take to control the temperature in the dance studio?  If it were up to the teacher, zero.  Every dance or exercise class I take, the instructors are supposed to call the shots. This doesn't always sit well with the Goldilocks Gals, who feel compelled to render a verdict:  Too hot. Too cold.  Last night, the jazz hands came out.  The ballerinas before us had turned the studio into a fridge.  The consensus when we walked in:  Brrrrrrrr.  From there, it turned ugly.  Someone opened the back door, letting in the muggy.  Someone futzed with the a/c.  Someone pissed off the laid back Dougie, who, unlike other Dance Nazis I've taken from, rarely gets mad.  The basic message:  Jazz hands off the a/c.  Oh, there was huffiness and whispered commentary.  There was weirdness and drama.  There was the passive-aggressive cha cha.  The SJG stayed out of it.  I broke no chairs.  I ate no porridge.  I pretended it was "just right."  I decided I shouldn't mix in. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


High school graduation photo of Mr. Ben Starr (first column, second from bottom) 

For 15 years, my dad has been having lunch every other Wednesday with his friends, first at the Friar's Club, and after that closed, at Factor's.  Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Monte Hall, Arthur Hiller, Gary Owens, Hal Kanter, Rocky Kalish and Groucho's son, (the late) Arthur Marx.  Recently, the attendance numbers have dwindled, but many of the guys still show up to swap stories, speak Yiddish and discuss the current insanity in the world.  Hal Kanter's daughter Donna is making a documentary about these wonderful men and their longtime deli ritual, and she's always on the hunt for hard-to-find photos.  Yesterday, my dad called me up with the following request:  "Honey, Donna needs a photo of me as a teenager.  Do you have one?"  "I don't think I've ever seen a photo of you as a teenager."  "She wants to show me at 15, when I graduated high school."  "I've only seen the photo of you as a little boy, on the front steps in Brooklyn, and the Air Force photos."  "What should I do?"  "Where did you go to high school?"  "Samuel J. Tilden in Flatbush."  "What year?"  "God.  I don't know.  1936?  1937?"  "Give me a minute, I'll call you back."  SJG:  Miracle worker.  "Hi Daddy, I found the website with the yearbooks."  "You're kidding."  "Let's do this together."  "Okay, hang on."  "Did you go by Ben Starr or Benjamin?"  "I have no idea."  "What street did you live on?"  "55th."  "What was your ambition?"  "Accountant, maybe.  Or writer."  It took us several tries, and then, up it came. June 1937. "There you are, Daddy."  "There I am." "Starr, Ben.  He became a swimmer to become a Starr-fish."  "I was on the swim team."  "You wanted to be a bank rep?"  "I don't remember putting that."  "Bank rep, Ben Starr."  "I can't believe you found it."  "I love this picture of you."  "I was a cute guy."  "You still are."

Monday, August 15, 2011

True Or False

1. I invented Post-Its
2. I sew my own clothes
3. I like to kugel
4. I was born in a car
5. I am fluent in Martian
6. I am a master of disguise
7. I collect antique monkey wrenches
8. I discovered Justin Bieber
9. I aspire to sameness
10. I am a thrill seeker

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Guess Who

At last night's casual-yet-elegant soiree, guess who did the following:
1. Spilled tortilla chips on the counter.
2. Made questionable lemon yogurt pie.
3. Laughed inappropriately.
4. Uttered Freudian slip that brought party to a screeching halt.
5. Drank too much Sangria.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My First Sangria

Hubby and I like to try new things.  When you think adventure, you think of us, our backpacks strapped on, ready to explore the unknown, as long as it's within a two-mile radius of our home.  Last night, we tried  something we'd never attempted before.  We'd talked about it many times.  "Should we?"  "What if?"  "How bad could it be?"  "Let's go for it."  And go for it, we did.  We made not one, not two, but three pitchers of Sangria for this evening's casual yet elegant dinner party.  We did it the Jewish way, of course, throwing in a hodgepodge of ingredients and hoping for the best.  Spanish wine, brandy, more brandy.  Triple Sec.  How much is anyone's guess.  A bissel o.j., a bissel sugar.  Orange slices.  Green apple slices.  The SJG got so worked-up, I spilled all over the counter. "Let's taste it," I said.  "It smells yum."  "No," said hubby, "it's not ready."  Apparently, Sangria is a delicate flower that needs 24 hours of fridge-time to blossom into wonderfulness. That brings us to 7 p.m., SJG-time, tonight.  I think I can hold out till then.  Think good thoughts. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Light Bagel Freedom of Choice Act

The Sherman Oaks-based Short Jewish Gal has reintroduced the "Light Bagel Freedom of Choice Act," a bill to repeal a 2007 law mandating that reduced-calorie bagels be phased out on account of "who are they kidding, a real bagel doesn't taste anything like these fat-free posers."  In a news release, the SJG said, "The government has no business telling a person what kind of bagel to buy.  In 2007, Western Bagel came out with a pretty decent low-cal bagel alternative that suits my personal lifestyle.  A little too much fiber?  Hard to slice?  Yes and yes.  But it tastes decent enough and can hold a nice schmear of low-cal cream cheese. Congress overstepped its bounds by mandating that only authentic deli-quality bagels be sold after January 1, 2012. Who the @#$% do they think they are, anyway?  This mandate is totally meshuga and has sweeping effects on American waistlines, not to mention deprives the SJG of her precious 100-calorie bagel and needs serious consideration before taking effect."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Space Issues

At least once a week, Trixie, the queen of Zumba, and the SJG, discuss space issues at the gym.  Trixie goes to a crowded club full of sweaty men and aggressive women who would eat their young, if necessary.  I go to a nice hamish place for Zen-like gals who know how to conduct themselves.  Yesterday, Trixie called me up.  She sounded agitated.  Trixie:  "I was standing there, waiting for class to start, and this woman comes and stands in front of me."  SJG:  "That bitch! I hope you gave her a good smack." Trixie: "I said, 'excuse me, but you're kinda in my way.'"  SJG:  "You should've said, 'Who the eff do you think you are?" Trixie:  "I told her she was being rude." SJG:  "And then you kicked her in the shins?" Trixie:  "Then I moved to the other side of the room." SJG:  "You let her win."  Trixie:  "I asserted myself."  SJG:  "I would've handled it differently." Trixie:  "Which explains why your gym has a sign in the door that says, 'SJG:  Not welcome.'" SJG:  "Didn't I tell you?  They took it down.  I'm back in, baby." Trixie:  "For how long?"  SJG:  "We're taking it day by day." 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How To Annoy Your People

1.  Make dumb suggestions to the eldest.  "You should take a photo of you, your roomie and his girlfriend sitting on the new sectional, with the greeting, "Happy Labor Day from the gang at Living Spaces." "When the eff is Labor Day?" "In September.  It gives you plenty of time to set this up. One of you should be cuddling a plastic baby doll."  By now, I'm laughing hysterically.  I'm the only one.  "You really think this is funny, don't you?" "It may be one of the best ideas I've ever had."  He makes the international sign for "cuckoo," announces, "Mom has lost it."  His brother nods in agreement. I'm deeply wounded, but keep laughing.  No one cracks me up as much as I do.
2.  Make dumb suggestions to the youngest.  "Don't forget your glasses."  "What do I need them for?"  "To see."  "I see fine without them." "You're going to the Dodger game tonight."  "So?"  "Don't you want to see the game?" "I guess."  A minute later, he goes into the garage.  "What about the glasses?"  Major sigh, followed by exaggerated eye-rolling. Goes back in, retrieves glasses.
3. Make dumb suggestions to the dog. "Stop barking."  Bark, bark.  "What are you barking at?"  Bark, bark.  "No one's out there."  Bark, bark.  Translation:  "Prove it."  "Come on, I'll show you."  I open the door.  Dusty looks out.  Nothing bark-worthy.  No humans, no dogs.  "See?" I close the door.  He barks again.  Translation: "Barking defines me.  When you tell me to stop barking, I bark more.  We've been at this for nine years.  What part isn't clear?"  Everything.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Plotnick Diamond

One of my favorite routines from "You Don't Have To Be Jewish," recreated by some clever gals. Enjoy.  If you're smart, you'll double-click for full comic effect.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time Tunnel

On Sunday afternoon, the sons of the SJG retreated from the hard work of slowly-emerging-adulthood and slipped through the Nickelodeon time tunnel.  They zoomed  back to the '90s and I went right there with them, watching "Rugrats" and "All That" and "Kenan and Kel."  Back to the days of vocabulary quizzes and carpool.  Hockey practice and basketball on the driveway.  Before texting and learner's permits and why isn't he home yet, it's 2 a.m.  But flashbacks make the SJG utzy.  I can only take so much nostalgia before I over-emote.  "Oh, remember that time when..."  "Oh, it was so cute when you guys used to..."  Danger, Will Robinson.  Don't go there.  Keep it together.  I prefer to nag them in the present:  "Why can't you ever date a Jewish girl?" "Do you not know how to open a dishwasher?"  "Does it bother you that everyone on the planet can see your boxers riding up over your jeans?" "Try not to talk with beer in your mouth."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pillow Talk

"Shush."  "What?"  "You're making noise."  "I'm breathing."  "You're snoring."  "You were snoring first."  "I don't snore."  "Uh, yes you do."  "Prove it."  "Where's the tape recorder?"  "The what?"  "Tape recorder."  "I haven't seen a tape recorder since Scotty trained for his Bar Mitzvah."  "You make it sound like an athletic event."  "It took a lot of endurance to reach the finish line."  "A lot of money, too."  "What time is it?"  "You don't want to know."  "I can't fall back to sleep."  "Just try."  "Can you try not to breathe so loud?"  "I will if you will."  "I'm not the problem here."  "Don't start that again."  "Shush, I'm trying to sleep."  "I was asleep till you woke me up."  "You woke me up."  "Shush."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Nesting Instinct

I think the neighborhood birds have started their own Facebook page.  How else would they coordinate all the poop attacks on my house?  Apparently, they're bored with the patio chairs.  Now they've upped their game.  They're nesting in the light fixture over the front door and crapping on the welcome mat.  Every day brings a new delivery.  Every day I say to hubby, "Do something."  Every day, he puts a new piece of cardboard directly underneath the light to catch the splats.  "How long is all this front door crapping going to go on?" I ask.  "Only a few more months," he says, as if he's wired into some top secret bird timeline.  But I've just about had it, people.  Those birds either need to start paying rent or I will personally evict them from the light fixture.  I will get up there on a ladder and... oh, wait... look at the birdies.  Tweet, tweet, tweet.  They're so cute in their little nest.  And look at that, they're reading my favorite book, "Are You My Mother?"  Oh, I hope their mommy comes back soon, or I may have to adopt them.  Let's face it.  Poop happens. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Suggestion Box

"You know what would've been funnier?" my dad said, after watching his grandson's latest short, "The Intervention" on funny or die.   By now, I'm used to getting notes from the veteran comedy writer.  "What?" I said.  "If you had said, 'Why the @#$% couldn't you have gone to Burger King?"  "You're right, Dad, that would've been funnier."

Thursday, August 4, 2011


The news that Lauren Ambrose of "Six Feet Under" fame will headline the Broadway Revival of "Funny Girl" has left the SJG in a state of shock and hurt feelings.  No one does Babs like Babs.  No one except the SJG.  Why they didn't ask me to audition is as big a keppy-scratcher as picking a red-headed shiksa to play Fanny Brice.  So Ambrose is a trained opera singer. So she fronts her own band.  This snub is going to take me a while to get over.  Casting Lea Michele of "Glee" would've been the no-brainer.  Maybe she was busy?  Either way, when the show opens at the Ahmanson Theatre Jan. 15, before heading to Broadway, expect to see the SJG in the front row, singing along, bitterly.  This is just all kinds of wrong. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Don't Even Ask

The SJG learns so much in my travels.  Yesterday's lesson, courtesy of Kelly, regards bachelorette parties.  Kelly is co-hosting a big bash tonight and needed supplies.  "Will you come with me?" she asked.  "Sure," I said, not knowing what I was getting into. Thirty-one years ago, my girlfriends lavished me with some questionable gifts, pre-matrimony.  I thought I was prepared for this outing.  I thought I could handle it.  But those silly gifts I received look tame and innocent compared to what's available today.  The minute we walked into the brightly-lit store and heard the loud disco music pumping, I started to giggle and blush and count the minutes till we could leave.  "Oh my God, oh my God," was all I could say.  That, and, "Get me out of here."  Not Kelly.  She was a gal on a mission.  She walked right up to the tattooed lady behind the counter and asked for the such-and-such straws.  "Over there," the lady said.  While I gawked at the wide variety of X-rated products, Kelly calculated how many packages of straws to buy.  "It would be terrible to run out," I said.  My only contribution.  She threw another package in the pile, along with a wedding veil covered in don't-even-ask, some you've-got-to-be-kidding-me balloons, and other items I'm far too classy to mention.  "That was hard for you," she said, as we left the store.  "I thought we were going to Rite-Aid," I said. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reboot and Call Me in the Morning

It's true, sometimes the SJG brain circuitry gets all tangled, and out come the nonsensicals.  One time, while cooking dinner, I announced, "I'm faxing the corn!"  I looked around, expecting some kind of parade in my honor. All I got were weird, "What's wrong with Mommy?" stares.  Yesterday, out came another oddity.  "Is the dentist here?" I asked, in response to hearing the gardener next door, cranking up the leaf-blower.  The college boy shot me his time-honored, WTF expression, cracked up and immediately posted the evidence that his mother has officially lost it, on his Facebook page.  When the eldest got wind of my latest verbal disconnect, he suggested a complete cerebral tune-up, a comprehensive reboot involving flash cards, Scrabble, Sodoku and repeating grades 1 - 12.  Or I could just take a nap.

Monday, August 1, 2011

You Can Go Home Again

My childhood home
Whether or not you're a fan of her blogs or her tv movies ("Spring Fling!" anyone?), her sons, her husband or her dog, it can't have been a shock to learn that the Short Jewish Gal's childhood home has just opened as a museum in West Los Angeles. The grand unveiling came as the blogger/future bestselling novelist/former goddess of After School Specials, turned 53 and a half.  The home is in the village of Westwood, near the city of Kvetch, and contains her childhood bed, a five-speed bike (why her parents wouldn't get her a 10-speed, no one knows), and the wicker chair where she used to sit and write bad poetry in the style of Sylvia Plath. "She is especially proud of her old bed, which she fell out of at the age of three and broke her collarbone," said Carol Starr Schneider, the director of the SJG Museum. Admission is free.  Donations welcome. Viewings:  by appointment only.  Please don't disturb the current homeowners.