Saturday, March 31, 2012

Elvis Goes To Israel

Elvis statue in Israel
(NASHVILLE) Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. and Israel Theme Tours proudly announce The Elvis Presley® Holy Land Tour, taking Elvis fans to Israel May 12-21, 2013. Elvis fans from around the world will have the chance to explore the Jewish side of Elvis with an Elvis-themed Holy Land tour experience unlike any other. Travelers will follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the original Jew, cruise the Sea of Galilee, experience the Western Wall and the ancient city of Jerusalem, float in the Dead Sea, and roam the beaches of Tel Aviv. The tour group will even make a stop at the infamous Elvis Inn Restaurant in Abu Ghosh, an Elvis-themed diner and souvenir shop popular with tourists from around the world. “It’s no secret that Elvis loved Israel," said Kevin Kern, Director of Public Relations for Elvis Presley, Enterprises, Inc.,  "and now, you can go to his favorite homeland away from Graceland, too." (shout out to my neighbor Denise for sending me this surreal press release, which I may have tampered with just a bit, to suit my needs.  Elvis Meets Israel!  If that's not a big oy vey, what is?!)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dustygate For Dummies

"How do you expect me to get upstairs with this thing in my way?"
On March 29, 2012, a spunky yellow lab named Dusty Schneider attempted to break into the upstairs headquarters of the SJG, located in a swanky suburban district known as Sherman Oaks, or, to hipsters everywhere, the S.O. Dusty is thought to be connected with a radical group called Doggies in Denials (DID), intent on taking down the Committee to Re-Train the Puppy (CREEP), a group of concerned dog owners making lame efforts to keep their aging canines out of harm's way.  Steven Woof, an attorney for DID, tried to dismiss yesterday's break-in as nothing more than a "failed, third-rate burglary."  In defense of his client, Woof added, "All Dusty wanted to do was go upstairs, and if going upstairs meant circumventing a hideous, unsightly gate that clashes with the decor, so be it." As of now, Dusty Schneider is out on bail and still trying to get upstairs.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Doggy Steps

It's been a very long time since we've needed a baby gate at the bottom or top of the stairs, to prevent a toddler from tumbling. But now, the college boy is lobbying hard for one.  "Ma!  We need a gate!" he yelled again yesterday.  "He's going to get hurt!" And by "he," he means the puppy.  Dusty acts like a puppy, jumps around like a puppy, steals food like a puppy.  Therefore, he's a puppy.  A nearly 10-year-old puppy with some eye issues.  His vision is cloudy, his depth perception is off.  He has no problem going up the stairs.  It's coming down that freaks him out.  He hovers at the top, scared to take a step. Sometimes the hall light helps.  Sometimes it doesn't.  "Come on, puppy," I said yesterday.  "It's okay.  I'll help you."  He didn't want help.  He wanted to stay there a few days, building his courage.  So I grabbed hold of his collar and helped/forced him down.  He didn't like that at all.  Neither did the rapper known as Scott D.  "Ma!  He needs glasses."  "First you want a baby gate, now glasses.  Anything else?"  "An elevator."  "You want us to put in an elevator for a dog?"  "Yes."  "That's not going to happen."  "Then get one of those old people stair lifts, but for dogs.  Do they make those?" "I'll look into it."  "This is serious, Ma!  He's going to fall."  "Okay, okay!" I promised to look into doggy gates and doggy stair lifts, but just between us, I'm not ready to take that doggy step.  I'm in doggy denial. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You've Reached The Candy Store

In a noble attempt to cheer up his grandson, the rapper with the wandering GPA, my dad noted that kids today have too many distractions, and illustrated his point with the most charming story, one I'd never even heard before, and I thought by now I'd heard them all.  Setting:  A candy store in Brooklyn.  Period: The Depression.  "No one had a phone," he told us.  "If someone wanted to reach you, they called the candy store, and the owner would ask one of the kids who was hanging around to go find the person the call was for, and he'd get a free soda for his efforts."  This scenario, straight out of a Jimmy Stewart movie, brought a smile to the college boy's punim.  There's no candy store app on his iPhone.  Hard to imagine such a primitive form of communicating.  My dad moved the story forward, to post-war California, when he lived with his parents on Highland Avenue, and they finally had a phone.  A very big deal back then.  "You had a party line," he explained.  "You'd pick up the phone to make a call and there'd be other people talking to each other. So you'd say, 'Excuse me, I need to make an important call,' and they'd say, 'This call is important too.' Then you'd start calling the phone company to complain, and maybe, months later, if you were lucky, you'd finally get a private line."  The rapper smiled again.  There was a call he'd like to make, a pointed one, tinged with hostility, to a certain teacher's assistant up in Santa Cruz.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

This Placenta Is Delish!

"I could use some of that placenta right about now"
It was bad enough that January Jones didn't appear on "Mad Men" Sunday night.  Now this!  She's going around telling folks she's been busy eating her own placenta! If that's not the definition of TMI, what is? Back away from the microphone, Betty.  Stop saying sh*t like this:  "Your placenta gets dehydrated and made into vitamins.  It's something I was very hesitant about, but we're the only mammals who don't ingest our own placentas."  But don't you worry your pretty little heads.  It's not FDA-approved, so you won't be seeing Betty's Placenta Plus on your Costco shelves any time soon.  "It's not witch-crafty or anything," Jones insists.  "I suggest it to all moms."  Had someone suggested "placenta encapsulation" to the SJG, back in the days when I still had my uterus, I'm thinking I would've responded thusly:  "Are you out of your eff'n mind?!" So what if placenta-noshing is a "time-honored cultural practice," not to mention, "nutrient-rich and a source of hormones"?  I could've lived my entire life without this info.  And now I won't be able to look at Betty No-Longer-Draper without thinking, "Hmmm, I wonder if she's had her placenta today."  This sort of over-sharing needs to end, wouldn't you agree?  Of course you do!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Zou Bisou Bisou!

Oh, Megan.  You're making Don's soul leave his body!
"Zou Bisou Bisou": The French song now playing in the brain of every "Mad Men"-lover, not to mention, the new SJG go-to phrase for everything.  It works for any situation.  "Why are you looking at me like that?" "Zou Bisou Bisou."  "What's for dinner?" "Zou Bisou Bisou."  "When does March Madness end?"  "Zou Bisou Bisou."  The two-hour premiere was tres magnifique, and well worth the wait. I may just have to watch it again.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Countdown To Ecstasy

I went to Disneyland and all I got was a dead woman's ring!
It's back!  It only took 17 months, but tonight, "Mad Men" returns.  I've spent the past few days brushing up, studying the various cheat sheets.  The SJG keppy is a foggy mess at the moment, so I'll take whatever help I can get.  Here are the finer points to ease you back to the swingin', smokin', Martini-drinkin', hat-wearin' '60s.  Don kept a journal, took on the tobacco industry (good luck with that!), proposed to his secretary Megan 'cuz she's good with the kids and then dumped Faye, the lady consultant/shrink he was boinking, the one who knows his real identity.  (Will that come back to bite him in his handsome tush?!  We can only hope!)  Joan got promoted but didn't get a raise.  (Thanks for nothing, boys!)  Joan and Roger did it standing up on a side street after they'd been mugged! (Normal response?  You betcha!)  Now she's preggers with Roger's baby, but is pretending it's hubby Greg's.  (Doesn't she watch TV?  That scheme never works, honey.) Roger wrote a book, he's unhappily married and he's a daddy-to-be! (Mazel tov, you scoundrel!) Betty's second marriage is a bust.  She forced-fed her daughter sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. (Bad Betty!) She's just as miserable and unlikable as ever, but very pretty, which is all that matters!  Peggy's a smart career woman, a '60s gal, finding her way.  She saved the agency after the Lucky Strike fiasco by scoring a pantyhose account.  Who knew pantyhose had such power! (If only I'd come up with Spanx! Dang!)  Oh, and Pete and Trudy had a baby girl.  What more do you need to know?  Watch the show.  We'll discuss tomorrow.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

We Meet Again

There's a happy reunion going on over in Sherman Oaks.  The college boy has joined forces once again with his beloved drum set.  Best way to deal with frustration, he tells me.  Maybe I'll take it up.  In the meantime, I'll just listen to him bang away and sing at the top of his lungs.  And when he's not drum-side, he's making beats on the desk upstairs, directly above my office.  "What's that?" Kelly asks.  We're busy writing, or busy not writing but thinking about writing, which is hard work, just the same.  "What's what?" I say, as though I don't know.  "It sounds like the ceiling's about to come down," she says. "Oh, that's Scotty playing the desk."  Yep.  The college boy's home.  Looking scruffy, banging on stuff, rehearsing his latest rap song before he heads to the studio on Tuesday.  Watching basketball, and more basketball.  College teams, Lakers, he doesn't care.  The volume in the house is turned up high.  Socks on the floor.  Abandoned shoes.  Half-empty cans of Diet Coke.  A lone beer bottle on the counter.  The Sports Section in disarray.  Welcome to my world for the next ten days.  I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Who's That Knocking At My Door?

Double Ding Dong.  Double knock.  It's noon and someone's at my door.  Dusty barks over the noise.  I go investigate.  There's a young man, eyes popping out, nose pressed against the glass.  Instant transformation into uber-distrustful SJG.  "What?" I yell, over the barking.  "I'm not a crazy person," he yells back.  This is not the way to score points with me, or gain my trust.  Only a crazy person would announce he's not a crazy person.  On my end, no response.  The not-crazy crazy person continues, but I can barely hear him over the barkity-bark-bark.  "Something... something.  I don't have Triple A!"  If this is meant to get me to open the door, it's not working.  "Sorry!"  I yell.  Why am I apologizing?  Bad habit. The not-crazy crazy person goes back down the driveway.  I keep an eye on him.  Dusty keeps a bark on him.  I see his car and the hood open and someone more trusting, a dude, gives him a jump, and two seconds later, he's gone.  Byeeeee!  I'm so happy now!  And yet, so deeply disturbed.  Has there ever been a time when I trusted anyone who showed up randomly at the door?  Young people seeking signatures for good causes?  Jehovah's Witnesses?  No.  Other than Girl Scouts, who don't go door to door, anymore, I've always been 100 percent distrustful. And not nice.  Not nice, at all.  I'm rude, I'm bitchy, I'm mean.  Sorry!  Ring my door.  Welcome to the Dark Side, SJG edition.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  Now, go away.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Break!

The SJG on Spring Break
Spring Break.  Woo-hoo!  Party-party!  Four years of college, and for three of those four years, the SJG has no memory of Spring Break, no memory of anything fun.  All I remember is relief.  Thank God, Winter Quarter was over and I got ten days to recover.  What did I do during my Spring Break?  I'm sure I slept in, and if I had a part-time job, I worked, and that was that. The only Spring Break I did anything great, however, was in 1978, when I lived in England.  I was an exchange student at the University of Sussex.  They kicked us out of housing and said, "Cheerio."  So the Americans went off on adventures, and the resentful Brits went home to their mums and hated us a little more when we returned.  That Spring Break, I took off traveling by myself, a bold move for the SJG.  I stayed with a family in Cambridge.  I took a train to Edinburgh, where my American friends were supposed to meet me at a scary youth hostel.  They didn't show up, so I spent one spooky night there, then called up the nice lady I'd met on the train, who'd invited me to stay with her family "in case you don't like the Hostel, dear."  I met English friends in the Lake District.  They camped.  I stayed in a historic B&B.  (The SJG stopped camping after the Yosemite Bear Incident of 1975.) I stayed with my flatmate in Oxford.  My brother John met me in London and we stayed with a British Aunty Mame.  It snowed in April.  We threw snowballs at each other.  He sat me down and said, "Guess who's gay?" Today, the college boy comes home for his Spring Break.  Chances are, he'll spend most of it recovering from another difficult quarter.  He'll veg out on the sofa, watch a lot of basketball, see a few friends, then go back and do it all again.  Spring Break 2012. Woo-hoo! Spring Break, 1978.  Best Spring Break Ever.  Something worth remembering.  So what if all the others are a big blur?  It was the only one that really counted.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Doctor, It Hurts When I Go Like This

Don't go like that.
"Hi, Carol.  How are you feeling?"
"I'm still coughing."
"How many milligrams of prednisone are you taking?"
"Whatever you told me to take."
"Let's see.  We did three and three, and three and three, for three days, and then we did two and two, for two days, and then three yesterday, and then two today, right?"
"I did two today and I'm still coughing."
"Okay, so let's do this.  Let's take three today."
"So take one more?"
"Right.  So, three today, not two, and then tomorrow, do three, as well.  And then on Friday, do two, but call me.  Any side effects?"
"I'm not hallucinating."
"Well, that's good."
"I'm not hungry."
"You're lucky.  Most people on prednisone have an increase in appetite."
"I'm kinda depressed, though."
"Well, think happy thoughts."
"Thanks, Doctor.
"Three tomorrow."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Goyim Pond

Jon Stewart addresses the delicate topic of Jew Pond.  Maybe there's an innocent explanation?  A neurotic mythical creature that inhabits it?  Or, maybe it's just a good place to fish for lox?  Who knows.  But now's as good a time as any to find out the real story behind the legend.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Leave A Message In The Past

Cling to the past?  Moi?
The last time I changed by outgoing message was... honestly, I have no idea, but I think it's at least ten years, maybe longer.  This inaction says so much about me, I don't know where to begin, but I think I'm having a few issues letting go of the past.  Call me up, and you'll hear the following:  "Hi, you've reached Carol, Howard, Billy and Scotty."  The truth is, you've haven't reached Billy.  He doesn't live here anymore, although that doesn't stop him from eating meals and doing his laundry here.  Still, I should probably take his name off the outgoing message. I will, at some point. Don't rush me.  Oh, and chances of you reaching Scotty here aren't too great, either.  He's up in Santa Cruz.  And when he comes home, no one ever calls him at this number.  Yeah, I should probably take his name off the outgoing message, too. I will, at some point. Don't rush me.  Let me linger a while.  Let me cling. Leave a message in the past, and one of us, probably me, will get back to you.  Beep.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lunch Part Two

Wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles, the Cough behaved herself at the screening of "Lunch." The SJG was more than a little worried that the Cough would wreak havoc in public, as she's been known to do, just to show me who's boss.  But in the car on the way over Laurel Canyon, we had a chat.  "Listen, Cough, now's your chance to let loose.  Give it all you got, honey, 'cuz once we're in the theater, you're done, baby.  I'm armed and ready with powerful, stinky cough drops.  It's shecket bevakasha, dig?  Shut up, please." Right before Donna Kanter, the director of this excellent documentary, not that I'm biased, but I swear, it's great, got up to talk, the Cough did a slight attention grab.  "Bark bark," she said.  My brother John turned to me.  "Uh-oh."  My father turned to me.  "Oh?"  His girlfriend Paula touched my arm.  "That sounds terrible, dear."  "I'm fine," I said.  "Bark, bark."  John leaned in.  "So what if you bother 200 people for the next hour and a half.  You have just as much right to be here as they do."  "Not helping," I said, and slipped in a stinky lozenge.  He leaned away.  The Cough subsided. Donna got up to talk.  She told us what a joy it was to film these comedy legends, or as the men refer to themselves in the documentary, more than a minyan.  And then it was showtime, and for the next 118 minutes, it was a nonstop kvell-o-rama, as the kids says.  Funny men at Factor's.  Carl Reiner, Arthur Marx, son of Groucho.  Gary Owens of "Laugh-in" Fame.  Hal Kanter, Matty Simmons, of "National Lampoon," producer of "Animal House."  Sid Caesar.  Monty Hall.  Arthur Hiller, Rocky Kalish.  Throughout, my dad eats the same bowl of chicken soup, over and over.  They trade off telling jokes, swapping health stories, discussing life.  They're interviewed in their homes, talking about their long careers.  Writers get better with age, my dad says.  But try telling that to a 14 year old TV network executive.  Some of the men in the film have since passed on --  Donna's dad Hal and  Arthur Marx -- which just adds to the poignancy.  And now it's on to finding distribution.  God willing, you'll be seeing "Lunch" soon, and when you do, look for the man eating the bottomless bowl of chicken soup.  That's my dad. 

Friday, March 16, 2012


Top Row: Monty Hall, Ben Starr, Rocky Kalish,Sid Caesar

Today I finally get to see "Lunch," the documentary that Donna Kanter, daughter of the late great Hal Kanter, has been working on for a while now, compiling footage of 12 comedy writers, directors and performers, including my dad, Ben Starr, who meet every other week at Factor's Deli, to nosh and kibbitz. "Lunch," to be screened for friends and family at the DGA, explores the friendships, the lives and successes of these comedy mensches.  To say I'm already kvelling is an understatement.
"Lunch" Teaser from Donna Kanter on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The "She" in the "She Who"

The "She" in the "She Who" is my cough, and She is driving me crazy.  Or maybe it's the crazy pills driving me crazy.  At 3 a.m., the woman staring back at me in the mirror did look a little deranged.  The "She" in the "She Who" had decided I'd slept enough and woke me up to say hello.  She was feeling lonely and needy, much like that man-eating plant in "Little Shop of Horrors" that says, "Feed me, I'm hungry."  The "She" in the "She Who" was hungry for attention, so I gave her some.  A sip of water, a nice throat lozenge.  It wasn't enough. "I'm going back to sleep now," I told her. "Oh, I think not," she said, coughing for emphasis.  "Okay, what do you want?"  "A story."  I turned on the light and read her a few chapters of a Meg Wolitzer novel called "Surrender, Dorothy."  She liked it so much, she made me keep reading.  A few more chapters and  my eye lids started to dip.  "We'll pick up where we left off in the morning."  The "She" in the "She Who" yawned and said, "Turn out the light.  Who can sleep with this thing on?" Good thing hubby was fast asleep in the other room, so he shouldn't get sick, or worse, hassled by the "She" in the "She Who."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


If there's one thing the SJG is famous for, it's my attention-grabbing bark-o-roma cough.  The rumbling begins somewhere in the belly button, ripples up through the solar plexus, thunders past the pharynx, and roars out the exit, frightening anyone nearby.  This cough has cleared out classrooms, ruined recitals, agitated theater-goers, robbed the Zen out of me, the meditative state to which I'm accustomed, and eff'd up social plans 1.4 zillion times.  "Sorry, Carol can't go to Disneyland, she's got the Cough That Must Be Obeyed," my mother used to say, although, not quite so British and not in those exact words.  I'm sharing this now because the Cough That Must Be Obeyed came back to put me in my place the other day.  Historically, the only drug that tames this beast is prednisone, the crazy-making pill that comes with a long list of side-effects, including a new one I never would've known about had I not been watching "Smash," the other night.  Yeah, I watch it.  It's got dancing and singing and authentic shots of Broadway.  Over on "Smash," they're putting on "Marilyn: The Musical!" But the leading lady/head bitch Ivy has lost her voice.  Faster than you can say, "All About Eve," she's taking prednisone and, oy gevalt, hallucinating!  Her arch-rival Karen, the "nice" mid-Westerner who can step in and replace her any time, appears in the mirror, a dead-ringer for Miss Monroe.  And Ivy goes completely meshuggah!  Day Two of the little white crazy pills, and I haven't seen anyone in the mirror but the SJG, in need of a health makeover, and a little blush wouldn't hurt. Stand by for updates.  The day is young.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Puttin' On The Ritz

The Ritz Brothers
On David Steinberg's new show, "Inside Comedy," he asks Mel Brooks about his early inspirations.  The Ritz Brothers tops his list. They brought a wonderful brand of insanity to the stage and screen, gaining fame in the '20 and '30s.  My dad remembers paying a quarter to see the Ritz Brothers perform at a club downtown.  Here they are singing my grandparents' favorite song, "Otchi Chernye."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Boys' World

My sons don't look like this
For 24 years, I've been surrounded by boys, boys, boys.  It's been "Beavis and Butthead," "World Wrestling," "Family Guy."  It's been bathroom humor, not Barbie dolls.  No jewelry-making, no tea parties, no, "Can I borrow your mascara?"  The things that gross me out make them roar and stomp the floor. My pleas of "please don't fart in the kitchen" continue to fall on deaf ears.  My sons are equal opportunity offenders.  Certain behaviors persist into young adulthood.  Basically, I've given up.  Rather than bang my head against the wall, I've adapted by lowering my standards.  I'm not proud of this, but to survive in a world of boys, you do what you gotta do.  Whenever I stoop to their level, hubby shakes his head, wondering what has happened to his dainty little spouse.  This is when he says, "My wife, Blechniven."  Our favorite line of all time, co-opted from a long-lost comedy bit.  I've Googled, "My wife, Blechniven," and keep coming up blank.  I think it's an old Billy Crystal routine.  "My wife, Blechniven" means many things.  Charm School Dropout is one.  "Oy gevalt, remind me why I married her?!" is another. Before my sons, I had class.  Since motherhood, I've gone downhill.  I've gone Blechniven.  The things I'll do to get a laugh.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Let's Face It

"Let's face it."  In re-reading my posts for errant typos--what else do I have to do with my spare time?--I discovered that "Let's face it" appears with alarming frequency. "Let's face it" is my go-to expression, apparently.  Your honor, methinks I should change it up, make it more, oh, what's the word I'm looking for,  Shakespearean.  "To thine own face be true!"  If that doesn't bring in some new SJG devotees, what will?  How about "Yonder comes the SJG!"  As blog openers go, that ain't half-bad.  No?  What about this:  "Pay attention, bitches!  I've got something to say."  A little aggressive.  Wait, I've got it. "Punim to punim."  Come on, that has a nice ring to it, as long as you understand what punim means, unlike one of my closest, non-Yiddish speaking friends, the shiksa I adore, who thought punim was something else, entirely.  "Is punim what I think it is?" she asked me one day.  "What do you think it is?"  "The place where babies come from."  I laughed and nearly tinkled my pants.  "Dear God in heaven!  Do you really think I'd toss that word around lightly?" "Just tell me what it means." "Face."  "Not -- ?"  "Uh, no."  "Oh."  Just between us, there's no better way to say "Let's face it" than to say "Let's face it."  I'll just try to do it less often.  But if I forget, feel free to give me a verbal spanky-spank.  On second thought, make it a verbal tap on the wrist.  The SJG's epidermis is ever so thin these days. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Are You My Mother?

What's that I hear at the window?  Hang on.  I think I remember it.  No tap, tap, smash.  Could it be?  Silence. The lil' birdy that drove me ape-sh*t for two days has gone bye bye.  Except I think he'll be back any second now.  I'm just getting a temporary reprieve.  Hubby already warned me that the lil' birdy made a guest appearance at the window, 'round 6 a.m., then left.  So, naturally, he'll be back.  He wants me to re-read "Are You My Mother?"  I did my best to convince him I wasn't his mother, that I'd already given birth to two humans and one feisty canine, and if I'd delivered a bird, I told him, I was pretty sure I'd remember it.  God knows, I'm happy to feed my loved ones, a slice of kugel, a nice chicken, a cup of kibble, but I draw the line at worms.

She's your mother! 
"Listen, Birdy," I said yesterday, during story time, "I'm not your mother.  In fact, I have it on good authority that your mother is looking for you, and she's getting more frantic by the minute."  The birdy gave me a look that said, "So far, the cow's not my mother.  Fine.  The dog's not my mother.  The cat's not my mother.  I get it.  I'm not a complete idiot.  But what about you, are you my mother?"  "For the 10th time, no, I'm not your mother.  What more do I have to do to convince you?"  "Keep reading."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bye Bye, Birdy

Bye bye, Birdy.  I said, bye bye!
Little birdy.  Go 'way.  You makin' me cray-cray.  I keep telling you, bye bye, Birdy, bye bye!  But back you come again, smashing upside the window.  Tap, tap, smash.  Tap, tap, smash.  All day, yesterday.  This morning, you back again.  Enough, Birdy.  Enough.  What up, Birdy?  What you doing, anyway?  Other than makin' me cray-cray?  You on the little ledge, hopping around.  Then you up on the bougainvillea.  Bye bye!  For two seconds, some relief.  Then you back again.  Azoy gich, birdy?  So soon?  Not too smart, eh, Birdy? What part of ba-bye aren't you getting?  You know what I went through to get this photo?  Up on a chair, on tippy-toes.  That's how cray-cray you makin' me.  Tap, tap, smash.  Tap, tap, smash.  Please, Birdy.  Go 'way.  Gay ga zinta hate, Birdy.  Go in good health.  Go now.  Right now.  Ah.  So quiet.  No more Birdy.  Bye bye.  Oh, sh*t, Birdy.  You back!  You makin' me cray-cray!  Go 'way.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Super Rabbi!

Coming to a Purim Carnival near you
Hey, hey, it's Purim, which celebrates the defeat of the horrible Haman.  On Purim, we dress up in silly costumes and eat hamantashen and walk around with poppy seeds in our teeth.  On Purim, I get a little sentimental for the days when the youngest boychick went to temple pre-school and the SJG was always there to lend a hand.  Once, when I was a board member -- remind me why I said yes to that? -- I wound up in charge of the Purim Carnival.  Why I agreed to that huge responsibility, I'll never know, but I learned plenty about insurance and liability and what it cost to rent ridiculous rides like the Screaming Buckets of Hell.  That may not have been the actual name, but it sounds right, considering the requirements:  Come sit in a red bucket that spins around and makes you dizzy, and if you just ate any hamantashen before boarding, chances are good you're going to toss your cookies, mid-ride.  When I ran the Purim Carnival, I learned how to beg for volunteers.  I stalked temple members till they said, alright already, we'll man the bean toss, just leave us alone.  The best part of the job, maybe the only part I really liked, was watching my favorite rabbi, Jim Kaufman, dressed up as Super Jew, with tights and a cape and a big red Jewish star on his chest, getting dunked, over and over, in the dunking booth.  "Oopsie!  There he goes again!"  Splash.  Other than that, I was more than thrilled to say "Uh, no thanks, I'd rather not be in charge," the following year.  This was a smart move on my part.  That year, if I recall correctly, the Bouncy Castle deflated while the kiddies were jumping up and down like maniacs, setting off panic and hysteria.  Don't worry, they all made it out just fine, but personally, I was eternally grateful that I wasn't the one who was going to have to eat hamantashen over that near-fiasco.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Decorating Tips

Now and then, my mother-in-law Char, the decorator, comes up with something so poignant and universal, the kind of advice that can apply to any and all situations, that it would be horribly selfish not to share it with you.  During Sunday's drop-by for coffee and danish, we studied the Bloomie's home catalog, admiring the crazy-expensive comforters.  In the other room, hubby and his father admired the crazy-expensive antiques for sale on some auction site.  Back in the kitchen, Char declared many catalog items "stunning."  Stunning is one of her favorite words.  If something is stunning, chances are, it's also crazy-expensive.  At some point, I took her coffee cup hostage and said she couldn't have it back till she found a way to update our bedroom, which needs refreshing.  So we went upstairs, with Dusty at our heels, and moments later, she stood in the middle of the room, ready to pass judgment.  Of course, the fact that she'd picked out the fabric for the drapes, the nice pillows and the love seat, and helped select the color on the walls, oh-so-many years ago, seemed beside the point.  She lives to reinvent a room and here was her big chance.  For a minute, she said nothing.  She was taking her time, gathering her thoughts.  And then, finally, out came this gem, worthy of a bumper sticker, a billboard on Sunset, a neon sign:  "Start with something wonderful," she said, whereupon I gave her a big hug.  If that isn't the best advice ever, I don't know what is, do you?  Start with something wonderful and go from there.  Start with something less-than-wonderful and prepare for disappointment and heartache.  "You're a genius," I said, even though she has yet to figure out the wonderful component that will change the look of the room.  But she will.  I just have to give her time and she'll get there.  She always does.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Join The Family

Join us, won't you?
"Looking for adoptable family member to join nice Jewish family. We eat bagels and lox, love kugel and have enough tsouris to share generously! So if you know of any 'wandering' Judeas, send them our way! Need some new family to kvetch to. We have one requirement: They must get the kosher kit and get screened for 39 umpteenth Jewish genetic diseases. Just want to have the information for our records. Thanks in advance for what I know will be a fast and easy search! Or is it a good and easy fast?" --  (Shout out to the wonderful Anne Rainer for sending me this hilarious personal ad she wrote, which, God willing, is fake, because who'd be nuts enough to recruit new family members.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

SJG Launches New Channel

 Overthinker at work
(Sherman Oaks)  Beloved blogger/fashion trailblazer/winner of the recent West Coast Kvetching Decathlon, the one, the only Short Jewish Gal, will launch a new cable TV venture, dedicated to meshuganas around the globe.  The SJG Overthink! Channel will feature exciting videos of extreme yentas, kibbitzers, schmegeggies and fardeigeters, engaged in high level acts of completely useless mental exertion, what-iffing, worrying, and general tsouris-making.  Activities will involve speed (how fast can you turn nothing into something) and high levels of over-analyzing (how quickly can you transition from logical to fermisht).  Competitors will wear fashion-forward, highly specialized gear to deflect blame onto others, and perform spectacular stunts of suffering, contemplation and alienation. Overthink!  Coming soon to MustYouBeSoDirect TV.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Daydream Believer

I will always love you
It was the sigh heard 'round the world, the universal oy gevalt, the geschrei of gals who'd loved him most.  The Davy Jones RIP's hit Facebook like the intestinal flu, one after another.  There were phone calls of condolence, text messages, emails.  A whole lotta "oh noooooos!"  Of course, the group grieving got a little nasty at times. "He was my first crush."  "Excuse me?  He was mine."  "I was going to marry him."  "Not if I married him first." A loss like this is going to take a while to accept.  Personally, I'm still in the denial stage.  The Monkees hit in 1966, when I was eight.  Even though I loved the Beatles, they didn't have their own weekly TV show, and for that reason alone, Davy Jones seemed more attainable. Plus, he was the perfect height for me.  He was funny and, above all, cute.  He could sing and dance and his accent was to die for.  In summation, Davy Jones was the definition of groovy.