Monday, April 30, 2012

Sister Sledge

Everybody back!  The SJG has a sledgehammer!
"Welcome to our fabulous tear down!" -- Linda, the b'day gal

So we arrived, hubby and I, sledgehammers at the ready, only to discover that I'd misunderstood the invitation.  This wouldn't be the first time there's been a major disconnect.  There was that briss I showed up to, years ago, thinking it was a pool party.  Still not sure how that happened.  On Sunday, "dress for destruction" turned out to be more playful metaphor than actual dress code.  Unlike the other gals who showed up in casual-yet-chic party attire, I wore my schleppy black cargo pants and old sneakers. "You mean we're not really going to tear down the entire house?" I asked Linda, the b'day gal.  "We're just smashing in a wall," she said.  "Can I get in a few whacks?" I asked.  "Take as many as you want," she said.  "Where's my hard hat?"  She laughed and patted my shoulder.  "Oh, Carol," she said, and walked off to greet other members of the symbolic wrecking crew.  "Sometimes I take things too literally," I whispered to Anne, who'd promised to make me taller with Pilates, but that didn't happen.  "I've noticed," Anne said.  "You said you'd make me taller!"  "I was speaking metaphorically!"  Just then, I spotted a stripper pole leaning against the wall.  Of course, it could've been a fireman's pole, or a tether ball pole.   "What's that?" I asked Eric, husband of the b'day girl.  "It's a stripper pole."  I immediately hugged him.  "Oh, thank God.  Interesting housewarming gift.  Use it in good health."  "It came with the house," he said.  "WHAT?" I asked, eyeballs popping.  "You may have seen it on a certain reality show." "One of yours?" (He produces reality shows, doncha know.)  "No."  "Which one?  Can I put it in my world-famous blog?"  "You can say we're tearing down the house of a certain well-known family."  "A family people can't get enough of, for reasons that escape me?"  "Knock yourself out." I picked up a sledgehammer.  "Put me to work." 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dress For Destruction

A girl and her sledgehammer
It's not often I get an invitation like this one:  "Bringing Down the House.  Bagels, Schmear and Sledgehammers.  Dress for Destruction. Hard hats provided upon request."  But if this is how the lovely Linda wants to celebrate her birthday, who am I to question her sanity?  Sure, there are people who do this for a living.  Like that dude with the spiky hair on "Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition."  But it's more festive to turn your dearest friends into a wrecking crew.  Of course, when it comes to sledgehammers, the SJG draws a blank.  I'm a little worried. This morning, I asked hubby, my all-purpose handyman, "How do you use a sledgehammer?" "Carefully," he said.  I know how to do careful.  I'm ready.  So today, I'm going Kathy Bates. I'm wielding a sledge-hammer.  I'm taking down walls.  Or maybe I'll just stand back and watch others go apesh*t.  Either way, I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sandwich Thief

(Sherman Oaks) Friday morning, an unidentified 24-year-old was spotted stealing sandwich fixings from the kitchen of the Short Jewish Gal.  Sources close to the handsome looter say he goes under various aliases, including Gambo Schmanti, Bibbitz Gibbitz Tony and Bvlgari Joe.  "These pitas suck.  Why do they make them so poorly?" he said, before slipping out the back door.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Automated Menu

"If you woke up tired, press 1.  If you woke up old, press 2.  If you woke up cranky, press 3.  If you woke up achy, press 4. If you need someone to kvetch to, press 5.  To select your personalized complaint expert, press 6.  For Jewish Mother, say, 'Oy.' For Tells-It-Like-It-Is Father, say, 'Vey.' If you'd like to hear the menu selections again in Yiddish, press 7."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just In Time For Mother's Day

These cookies are virtually delish!
Forget flowers.  This Mother's Day, I'm dropping big hints about what I really want.  The Meta Cookie: virtual eye wear that turns bland-tasting food into something more delish. The fetching headgear, courtesy of the Japanese, sends a "shot of smell" through a tube and aims it at your nose, so the boring cookie you're noshing smells and looks like a fresh batch of Toll House.  Would the SJG brain fall for such trickery?  Let me think about that.  Abso-freaking-lutely.  Put a pretty bow on it, slap a Hallmark on top, and call it mine.  What's that you say?  It's back-ordered till 2020?  Well, dang.  Then how about some "slimming goggles," instead?  Deep blue aviators that "suppress the appetite" by making food look blue and icky.  Blue supposedly "calms the brain’s hunger sensors."  That sounds like a plan.  The SJG says gimme.
I can't eat another bite of this blue rice. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just Dance

The one and only Doug Rivera and the SJG

"Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance."  ~Dave Barry  

Doug Rivera, my longtime dance teacher, pretty much has the same philosophy.  Showing up is all that matters.  Dancing well is secondary, having fun, mandatory.  Whether I mess up a step or my timing's off or I giggle my way through the class -- mainly because he's goading me with silly faces -- he's just happy I'm there.  He loves his students, even when we have two left feet.  He's an equal opportunity instructor who gives extra points for smiling.  Sometimes he says, "Let's form a company and take it on the road."  Sometimes he scats, "Um-bwow!" while demonstrating a routine.  He's been teaching a while now.  Over 50 years.  It's his calling in life, and we're his devoted followers.  He may be in his 70s, but he's still a kid at heart. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Change Your Shoes

Change your life! And so I did.  I changed my cross-trainers and instantly became the source of raging envy at the all-gal gym.  "Bitch! Where'd you get those shoes?" was the cry heard 'round the room.  All because I went a whole new way.  I left boring white behind and went a little crazy with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle color scheme.  And suddenly, I had more energy than ever before.  I had more pep, more pizazz.  Exercising in technicolor put an extra zing in my step and made for a happy SJG.  Join me, won't you?  Don't let me be the only one out there having fun.  Expand your fluorescents for spring.  Go bold or go home.  Tie up those laces that pop.  Let loose with shoes so bright, you gotta wear shades.  Come on now.  I double dare ya.  You can thank me later.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yes Or No?

He was a widower and she a widow.  They had known each other for a  number of years, being high school classmates and having attended class  reunions over the last 25 years. This 60th anniversary of their class,  the widower and the widow made a foursome with two other singles.  They  had a wonderful evening, their spirits high.  The widower throwing  admiring glances across the table.  The widow smiling coyly back at  him.Finally, he picked up courage to ask her, “Will you marry  me?”  After about six seconds of careful consideration, she answered,  “Yes, yes I will!”  The evening ended on a happy note for the widower.  And they exchanged cell phone numbers.

But the next morning he was  troubled.  Did she say “Yes” or did she say “No?”  He couldn’t  remember.  Try as he would, he just could not recall.  He went  over the conversation of the previous evening, but his mind was blank. He remembered asking the question but for the life of him  could not recall her response.  With fear and trepidation he called  her.  First, he explained that he couldn’t remember as well as he used  to.  Then he reviewed the past evening.  As he gained a little  more courage, he then inquired of her:  “When I asked if you would  marry me, did you say ‘Yes’ or did you say ‘No’?”  “Why you silly man I  said, ‘Yes.  Yes I will.’  And I meant it with all my  heart.” The widower was delighted.  He felt his heart skip a beat. Then she continued,  “And I am so glad you called because I couldn’t remember who asked me!"

(courtesy of my brother, Mr. Peter Starr)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Check Out The Booty

Any celebrity sighting is a high point in the life of the SJG.  Over the years, I've developed a technique for spotting the famous, the semi-famous and the infamous.  I've learned to exercise discretion and express surprise at the same time.  Trust me, this isn't that easy to pull off.  It takes practice and skill.  Good thing I minored in The Art of Celebrity Sightings at UCLA, so I've got it down.  My go-to spot for star-gazing is the Glen Center at the top of Beverly Glen. Warren Beatty.  Joni Mitchell.  Brian Wilson. O.J. Simpson, to name a few.  And yesterday, Lisa Rinna, of "Dancing with the Stars," and soap operas and other shows I can't remember.  Spotting Lisa, of the big lips and tight, tiny tushy, at this moment in time, truly resonates, thanks to her current commercial for adult diapers.  Rinna, 48, says it's for charity -- a $225,000 donation to Dress for Success made by Depends on her behalf -- which makes it a noble cringe fest, but a cringe fest, nonetheless.  "I am a champion for positive self image for women," she says on-camera. "The new silhouette makes a woman feel confident and it's fashionable. It feels great - and they're so soft." Then hubby Hamlin reaches out and pats her badonkadonk. "I am wearing an evening gown for God's sake!" she says, "and you can't tell I have it on. Check out the booty!" So, when Lisa walked by on Saturday, in the thinnest of black leggings, I admit, I checked out her booty, to see if she had on her Depends.  "I don't think she's wearing her big girl diapies," I whispered to my lunch mate,  the lovely and talented and far-classier Carla. "Her lips don't look that huge in person," she whispered back.  And that was the end of our exciting celeb sighting.  The perks of living in L.A.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Swear It's True

Every few years, a report resurfaces that swearing is good for you.  It helps relieve pain and suffering, helps you bond with co-workers.  Last night, Brian Williams presented the story again, referring to a new study, but actually, it's an old study. The Brits, known for such colorful expressions as, "Oh, Blimey!" and "Bloody hell!" and "Bugger off!" are responsible for the pain study,  mentioned in Time in 2009: "Psychologists at Britain's Keele University recruited 64 college students and asked them to stick their hands in a bucket of ice water and endure the pain for several minutes. One group was allowed to repeat a curse word of their choice continuously while their hands were in the water; another group was asked to repeat a non-expletive control word, such as that which might be used to describe a table. The result was that swearing not only allowed students to withstand the discomfort longer, but also reduced their perception of pain intensity. Curse words, the study found, help you cope."

Well, the SJG doesn't need to stick my hand in ice water to figure that one out.  But anyway, back to the experts.  Richard Stephens, a psychologist and lead author of the 2009 study, says, "Swearing increases your pain tolerance."  Duh!  How do you think I got through labor?  "Swearing reduces the perception of pain more strongly in women than in men. That may be because in daily life men swear more than women." Oh, eff that!  In this house, I'd say we're about even.  Either way, I'm happy to embrace any study that says swearing is good for you.  This is important sh*t, people!  It helps justify my existence in so many ways.

Friday, April 20, 2012


"I want a baby."  "Uh-huh."  "I want a baby like the one in the commercial."  "Uh-huh." "How do I get a baby like that?"  "You can't."  "Why not?"  "That baby isn't real."  "Of course it's real."  "It's a TV baby."  "So?" "So, nothing." "I want to rent a baby then." "For how long?"  "An afternoon."  "Go for it.  I'll be at work."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Emphasis Matters

How do I put this?  I don't want to go to her stupid concert.
I should buy two tickets for her concert?
Subtext:  After what she did to me?
I should buy two tickets for her concert?
Subtext:  What, you're giving me a lesson in ethics?
I should buy two tickets for her concert?
Subtext:  I wouldn't go even if she were giving out free passes!
I should buy two tickets for her concert?
Subtext:  I'm having enough trouble deciding whether it's worth one.
I should buy two tickets for her concert?
Subtext:  She should be giving out free passes, or the hall will be empty.
I should buy two tickets for her concert?
Subtext:  Did she buy tickets to our daughter's recital?
I should buy two tickets for her concert?
Subtext:  You mean, they call what she does a "concert"?
(courtesy of  Mr. Norman Beil)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Dream of Katniss

I'm a little late to the party, I admit, but suddenly, I'm hooked on "The Hunger Games."  Not the movie.  I haven't seen it yet.  I'm hooked on the books.  I blame my father. It's all his fault.  A few months ago, he told me how he'd just started reading the first book,and then had to read the second and the third.  I said, "Dad, it's a young adult series."  He said, "I know, but once you start, you can't stop. They trick you.  You have to keep reading."  "What's it about?"  He proceeded to tell me the entire story.  I figured, fine, I don't have to read it now.  Then I had lunch with some friends and they were all reading it, too. "You have to read it," Kyle said. So I gave it a shot, and dear God, it's like a sickness. I'm in way over my keppy.  I'm on the second book now, "Catching Fire," and even though I know I shouldn't read it before bed, I do, anyway.  It's so bad for me!  All night, I dream of mutant monkeys and poisonous fog.  All night, I'm Katniss.  Running and climbing, dodging flaming arrows and spiky weapons that kill on impact.  Smashing through force fields and barbecuing squirrels.  Who knew I had such skills? 
The calories I must be burning!  I wake up exhausted.  Seriously, I can't wait till I'm done with these books.  But then, what'll I read next? "Fifty Shades of Grey,"  the tie-me-up, tie-me-down erotic trilogy that's liberating the inner goddesses of women throughout the world?  Soft porn.  Hmm.  It'd be so beneath me.  And yet, I might need to see what all the fuss is about.  I do like to stay up on current events, you know.  It's so important for a blogger of my status.  But I can only imagine what my dreams would be like once I turn out the lights.  Can you blush when you're asleep?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Best Line Ever

Last night, I was watching "Smash," a very silly show.  Fifteen minutes in, a cuckoo futz barged into the rehearsal room, demanding to see Uma Thurman.  Naturally, a very silly scuffle ensued!  And no one loves a very silly scuffle more than the SJG!  In the midst of the manufactured commotion, Angelica Huston, still channeling Morticia, grabbed her pepper spray, and yelled this: "Leave or I will temporarily blind you!" Well, for some reason, I found this hilarious.  I grabbed my beloved iPhone, and sent off an email to my brother John and cousin Andy, assuming they were watching the show at the same exact moment.  This is what technology does to you -- gives you a false sense of omnipotence.  Who cares!  I'll take it.  In my email, I said:  "Best line ever -- leave or I will temporarily blind you."  I didn't identify the show or the speaker, that's how bold and powerful I was feeling.  Apparently, I unleashed some confusion.  My cuzzy sent this, in reply:  "My favorite best line currently is from the trailer of The Avengers. Bad guy says, 'We have an army.'  Robert Downey says, "We have a Hulk.' Feel free to quote it."  Sure, that's a great line, I wrote back, "But it's not from the 'Smash!'"  Then my brother replied with something completely out of context:  "Sorry folks, but the best line ever would be Uncle Nathan's at Peter's Bar Mitzvah... 'Life is life.'"  I replied, "Sheesh!  I'm quoting 'Smash"! I didn't challenge him, as I often do, on his faulty memory.  But just between us, I'm 100 percent certain that Uncle Nathan's immortal line wasn't delivered at my brother Peter's Bar Mitzvah, when I was only eight.  I think Uncle Nathan said "Life is life" at my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary.  In any event, next time Angelica Huston says something very silly on "Smash," which will most likely happen in the next episode, I'm keeping it to myself.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Early Morning Sniff Patrol

Do I detect the scent of another dog?
There are early morning people and early morning dogs.  Hubby is early morning.  Dusty is early morning.  The SJG is more 7 a.m. than 6 a.m.  By 7, I'm blog-ready.  Today, I had to be more or less functional much sooner.  Hubby is in Vegas, for a meeting that started this morning at 6:15.  In my humble opinion, that's unconstitutionally early.  There ought to be a law outlawing such a business-related rendezvous.  It's not right.  But I guarantee he was more awake than everyone else in the room, even the East Coasters.  He was just made that way, which is why he takes the early morning shift with Dusty, and I take the mid-afternoon.  But this morning, I rallied.  I woke up before the alarm.  I got my ass out of bed.  I unchained the front door and Dusty took me for a walk.
Did I smell over there yet?
Turns out, he's much peppier at 6:30 than he is at 2:30.  He's actively on sniff patrol, hunting and gathering new scents, checking out where other dogs have gone before, on lamp posts and tree stumps and patches of grass.  It's his job to smell stuff.  It's my job to let him. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shout About Movies!

"Alvy, I told you Bob Hope hosted the Oscars the year
we won.  You never believe me."
I shouted so much last night, playing "Shout About Movies," that I barely have a voice this morning.  The lovely and talented Carla had us over, along with other movie nuts, to play the fun DVD game.  Proud to say, the SJG was on the winning team both times.  
"I shouted 'Silence of the Lambs' first!"
We shouted about movie lines and movie titles.  We shouted about Oscar winners and Oscar hosts.  Movie-wise, there was plenty shouting.  And when we weren't shouting, we were deliberating, procrastinating, gloating and groaning.  Between rounds, we were eating cupcakes to keep up our strength.  In the final game, it was gals vs. guys.  Guess who won?  The gals.   When it comes to shouting, we really know our sh*t.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Civil Disobedience

Most days, the SJG is a law-abiding citizen, a rule-follower.  I never make a rolling stop, never run a red light, never go over the speed limit.  I'm such a good girl.  But every now and then, I stray.  I step outside the line.  I disobey.  Yesterday, it happened in Trader Joe's, a place where I must fight to hang on to my sanity.  Any time I go to Trader Joe's, I lose all sense of control.  I start throwing random items in the cart, items I never planned to buy, but they look too delish to resist.  Hubby has told me to never get those plastic containers of cute little cookies.  They're like crack.  "Don't buy these again," is his mantra.  Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin.  These are  his downfall, and mine, too.  Yesterday, I conveniently forgot.  The cute little cookies spoke to me, and I went for it.  One of each.  The cookies sent me on a downward spiral of "ooooo, yum," and soon, my cart was full.  But did that stop me from getting into the "12 items or less" line?  No, I'm ashamed to tell you, it did not.  I parked right behind a woman buying one sad little bag of cough drops and waited my turn.  Of course, I had no idea I was being so reckless, because, as usual, I wasn't paying attention.  I didn't see the sign, didn't key on the grammatical boo-boo of "less" instead of "fewer."  "12 items or fewer" just sounds wrong, even though, grammatically, it's right.  I didn't know I was breaking the Trader Joe's law of common decency.  Not until the cashier shot me the evil eye, something I've never received in this market.  The cashiers are always so friendly, so, "how's it goin', dude?" But this gal looked heated.  "Do you have more than 12 items?" she asked.  "Uh-huh," I said, suddenly awash in guilt.  I'd been bad.  She pointed to the sign.  "You're in the wrong line."  "Oh, dear God, I'm so sorry, should I move?"  "I've already started ringing you up."  "So you're not going to throw me in Trader Joe Jail?" I asked.  "Not this time," she said. "I'll let you off with a warning."  "It won't happen again, officer," I promised.  But knowing me, it will happen again.  Every now and then, I stray.  I step into the wrong line.  I eff with authority.  It makes me feel so alive.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Caine's Arcade

Most days, the news makes me feel crummy, frustrated and/or annoyed.  It's stop the world, I want to get off.  And then, like a gift from above, comes this:  "Caine's Arcade," a heartwarming short film about a 9-year-old boy who built cardboard arcade in his dad's used auto parts store in East L.A.  Sit back and enjoy.  Have a tissue near by.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Girl And Her Bulldozer

Kate and her new toy
"What can I get the royal Kateness for her birthday?" I ask Kelly, my writing partner.  "Oh, you don't have to get her anything," she says.  "Of course I do.  I want her to love me even more than she does now."  "You could get her a bulldozer."  "Any particular reason?"  "She loves bulldozers."  "So I gather."  "It's part of Old McDonald."  "I didn't know that."  "And on his farm he had a -- bulldozer!  Ee-i-ee-i-o."  Now it makes sense.  If old McDonald had a farm, naturally, he'd need a bulldozer.  "How big a bulldozer are we talking?" I ask.  "A toy one."  "I don't have to get her a real one?"  "Not unless you want to."  I really don't, but I keep that to myself, and off I go to the toy store.  "I need a bulldozer," I tell the gal behind the counter.  She stares at me blankly. "Okay," she says, and walks me over to the section with bright yellow trucks.  We both stare at the selection, confused.  "Which one's the bulldozer?" I ask.  "I have no idea."  "Hang on, let me Google it."  I call up photos of toy bulldozers.  She leans in.  "I don't think we have those."  "Do you have anything that a two year old will think is a bulldozer?"  "Maybe."  Finally, we zero on a something called a skid steer loader, which vaguely resembles a bulldozer, and I fork over the money.  "I hope she doesn't know the difference," I tell the gal.  "I'll put a gift receipt in, just in case."  I'm happy to report that Kelly and Jen's daughter has totally bought this deception, although one day, she may realize the fakery, and I may lose my celebrity status as Silly Carol.  Until then, she's loving the faux farm equipment and I'm still in excellent standing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Before Coffee

Na-uh!  I'm delightful.
An early morning conversation with the dog walker, post-downpour, pre-caffeine.
Me:  Did you get wet?
Hubby:  A little bit.
Me:  Did Dusty get wet?
Hubby:  A little bit.
Me:  So you both got wet?
Hubby:  A little bit.
Me:  Is it still raining?
Hubby:  No.
Me:  Not even a little bit?
Hubby:  I'm going upstairs to exercise.
Me:  Come back.
Hubby:   Have some coffee.
Me:  A little bit?
Hubby:  A lot.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fuzzy Face

Yesterday, I finally exercised my right as a citizen of Sherman Oaks.  I decided to go out there, armed with coupons, laden with matzoh still stuck somewhere in my digestive track, and boost the economy just a little bit.  It made me feel so warm and fuzzy.  At least, my left eye was fuzzy.  Shopping with one dilated eye?  Very '60s.  Colors smushed together.  Things looked funky and out of focus.  Take me, for instance.  The three-way mirror experience isn't so bad when half of you looks blurry.  "Damn, girl," I shouted in the dressing room.  "All them aerobics is paying off.  The left side's lookin' fly!"  I was giddy and tripping right there in Macy's and Bloomies and Banana Republic.  Till I got home and examined my purchases more carefully, once my vision cleared.  "Damn, girl, look at the little hole in the seam!  How'd you miss that, missy?  And this dress?  This is all wrong for you!  What'd you do, bitch?  Shop with blinders on?"  Apparently.  Today, a few things are going back. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Great Debate

Every Passover, the family reads snippets of the Haggadah, jumping back and forth with no rhyme or reason or designated leader.  The seder is part comic relief, part tradition.   One year, our serio-comic, loose interpretation of this important holiday brought an observant guest to tears.  "I'm never doing this again!" she said to her future ex-husband.  And she meant it.  Every Passover, we work in the Four Questions, and then, out comes the gefilte fish, followed by the unofficial Fifth Question: Which is hotter?  Red horseradish?  Or white?  And then the two, Brooklyn-raised grandpas say, in unison, "White!"  And the table divides into a lively debate of which is better, and my dad tells us of his lifelong quest to find the perfect white horseradish.  Factor's Deli comes pretty close.  But trying to match the horseradish of his youth remains elusive.  Every Passover, I remind my dad of his father at Passover, and how he always hid the afikomen directly under the tablecloth where I sat -- next to him, of course -- and slipped me a dollar.  Every Passover, I think of those dear people no longer at the table, and hope they're gathered together, somewhere -- Where?  The Sixth Question -- debating the merits of red vs. white horseradish, sipping chicken soup and breaking matzoh, and leaving just enough room for a tasty macaroon.  Plain or chocolate?  That's a whole other debate. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Days of Wine and 'Roses

Before:  Charoses fixings.  Also spelled:  Charoset.  Also spelled:  Haroset.  Apples, honey, walnuts, sweet wine, cinnamon. 
During:  Hubby serves as my Charoses Helper, wielding his fancy Japanese knife.  Chop, chop, chop!  Careful of the fingies!
After:  A big helping of symbolic mortar and mud, to remind us what Hebrew slaves used in their labor in ancient Egypt.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gefilte Fishing In Sherman Oaks

Gefilte Fisherman at work
Back by popular demand, or laziness on my part, here it is again, "How To Catch A Gefilte Fish," by Lawrence Sherry:  "Many people think that gefilte fish is some kind of mixture you make in the kitchen rather than one of God’s creatures. Are they wrong!  Each year as soon as the frost on the great Gefilte lakes is thin enough to break the surface, observant fisherman set out to catch gefilte fish. Now unlike your normal fish, gefilte fish cannot be caught with a rod and a reel or your standard bait. The art of catching gefilte fish was handed down for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. For all I know Moses used to go gefilte fish catching. Enough already, you say, so how is it done? Well, you go up to the edge of the lake with some matzo.  You stand at the edge of the lake and whistle and say, 'here, boy! here boy!' The fish (who are very smart and understand English) can’t resist the smell of matzo! They come together to the edge of the lake where they jump into the jars and are bottled on the spot. When you figure out which end of the fish is the head and which is the tail, not to mention where the eyes are, let me know!"  Happy Passover!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Matzo, Matzo Man

Unleavened Humor:  "A Jew took his Passover lunch to eat outside in the park.  He sat down on a bench and began eating.  Shortly thereafter a blind man came by and sat down next to him.  Feeling neighborly, the Jew offered a sheet of matzo to the blind man.  The blind man ran his fingers over the matzoh for a minute, and exclaimed, 'Who wrote this?'"  Here's a classic by The Chosen People.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Fling! Jailhouse Edition

A TV career is such a delicate thing, whether you're in front of the camera, or behind it, or off to the side, praying the actors and the director turn your script, that thing you've rewritten 182 times, based on notes, notes and more notes, into something good, or at least something in the neighborhood of not-that-bad.  Fade in: 1995.  Title: "Spring Fling!"  Network:  ABC.  Stars: no one you remember, other than maybe Joyce Dewitt of "Three's Company," and Pat Harrington, Snyder on "One Day At A Time."  The majority of the cast was young.  It was a family movie, featuring a busload of crazy prep school boys, a hot, bikini-clad teenage gal and her annoying little brother.  Their mission: screw up Dad's plans to sell the family-owned beachfront motel.  (Cue the hilarious hijinks!  Or something in that general vicinity!)  Sometimes, I wonder about the nice young actors I got to meet on my bumpy journey through TV land.  Whatever happened to them?  Did they go on to greatness?  Or infamy?  Turns out, some gave up the biz (smart), some disappeared (ba-bye), some went on to big things (mazel tov!), and some went to jail (oopsie).  Take Lisa Robin Kelly, former "That '70s Show" actress who played  the older sister for a while.  This past weekend, she was arrested for beating up a dude.  That's a double oy vey, right there.  I remember her well.  In "Spring Fling!" she played Jenny, the hot, bikini-clad best friend.  When we were in San Diego filming, she actually gave me notes on the script, along the lines of "Make it funnier."  Sheesh!  Every-body's a critic!  "Go directly to jail," I said, and stormed off, leaving a trail of sand behind me.  (It was a beach movie, after all.)  No, I didn't.  You know me better than that!  I said, "Oh, uh huh, good to know," then stormed off.  Or maybe I skipped off, tra-la-la-di-da, or broke into a light jog, and stood there and wept, openly.  Either way, I may never see her on TV again, unless it's on some awful reality show like "Celebrity Has-Been: Jailhouse Edition."  Well, Lisa Robin, I've got a few notes for you:  Get your sh*t together, girlfriend.  Show the world that the role you're currently starring in, down at the county jail, was horribly miscast.  Come on, now. The SJG is rooting for you.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Don't Forget The Plate

(thankie to the lovely Yael Levi Blasberg for this cartoon)
Last night, I got my orders from my mother-in-law, who'd phoned from Passover Headquarters on the Westside, where matzoh costs more but tastes the same.  "So, you'll bring the folding chairs."  "How many?"  "Five."  "Five?  I thought you wanted nine."  "We have four that should work, but they're too low.  Are yours low?"  "No, they're good."  "So bring nine. It'll be tight around the table, with 12 of us."  "You want me to bring 12?" "No.  We'll use three of ours."  "It'll be cozy.  Let's hope everyone showers first."  "Don't forget the cushions."  "I would never forget the cushions."  "Last year, you forgot the seder plate." "That was the year before.  You forgot to remind me."  "I'm reminding you."  "I don't have it.  You do."  "Hang on, I'll check.  Where the hell did I put it?" "What else should I bring?"  "The charoset." "I look forward to chopping." "Don't forget the little cupcake tins."  "I still have some from last year."  "I can't find the plate."  "Try that little closet in the hall."  "There it is!  You're a genius."  "Thank you.  Now then, to review, nine chairs and charoset and little tins."  "That should do it."  "Don't you want me to bring macaroons?"  "'Did you see '60 Minutes' on Sunday?"  "I was too busy watching nine million other shows."  "They did a story about sugar.  It causes cancer."  "It does?"  "That's what they said.  I use Splenda whenever I can, but even that's bad for you."  "So, do you still want the macaroons?"  "Of course."

Monday, April 2, 2012

Has Anyone Seen My Brain?

The SJG Brain (patent pending) is a hectic place with limited parking.  The hours are long, the workers underpaid.  Frequent breaks for napping and noshing are mandatory, just to keep the conveyor belt moving with inventory.  Sometimes the machinery breaks down altogether and the SJG Brain grinds to a halt.  This happened several times on Sunday, and today technicians are standing by, in case the wires get crossed again.  But Sunday.  SUN-day.  What happened there?  In simplest terms, too much to process in a short time.  It was more than I could handle.  First I had to say goodbye, I love you so much it hurts, here's to a better quarter, God willing, to the college son, as he departed for the airport.  That put the keppy into overload right then and there.  It started replaying the good, the bad and the WTF of his nearly two years in Santa Cruz, once a heavenly shrine of we-don't-believe-in-grades, now a crowded zone of let-the-teaching-assistants-grade-you.  By the time I got to my dance class, the jazz hands couldn't tell left from right, and don't get me started on the feet.  During the routine, the SJG Brain left the building, only to return when the wonderful Doug Rivera announced, "See you Tuesday."  Back home, there was the Cavalcade of TV to contend with, something the Tivo handled gracefully.  But the brain threw a hissy fit. "It's too much wonderful!  Make it stop."  "The Killing."  "Mad Men."  "Game of Thrones."  "Californication."  "House of Lies."  We had to narrow it down.  So we watched "The Killing," two hours of excellence, despite the weird smattering of Canadian accents, and the universal grumbling that lead up to the premiere.  Then came "Mad Men," where all I could focus on was Fat Betty.  Comments ranged from, "Oh my God, she's fat!" to "Did they stick extra fat layers on her face?" to "Oh my God, January Jones was preggers when they filmed Season 2 and they're covering it up by turning Betty into a porker!" and then, finally, to, "Does everyone on Mad Men sound Canadian?"  This signaled that the SJG Brain needed a serious re-boot.  Airport Departures.  Complicated dance routines.  TV marathons.  Nighty-night.  Here's hoping today presents less to digest. The SJG Brain is a mixed metaphor, a strange hotel where reservations aren't always honored.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Short Jewish Gal Grows Five Inches Overnight!

Much  like the movie "Big," I went down to the carnival last night and asked Zoltar, not to be big, because that could've backfired and expanded the SJG width-wise, and we wouldn't want that.  My wish was to be taller.  "Just once," I told Zoltar, "I'd like to wake up with long, luxurious legs.  Just once, I'd like someone to say, 'Holy sh*t!  There goes a tall drink of water.'  Just once, I'd like to buy a pair of jeans that doesn't need shortening.  Just once, I'd like to tower over someone other than a five year old.  Make me taller, Zoltar!  Please, oh, please!"  Well, my bleeps, my blog-loving peeps, Zoltar spit out a card that said, "Your wish has been granted," and sure enough, this morning, presto-change-o, this little bitch woke up looking like a Glamazonian Goddess!  You heard me. The Short Jewish Gal needs a name change.  I'm now the Not-That-Short Jewish Gal.  I'm 5'6" and-a-half!  Correction.  Make that 5'7."  I'm growing as I write this!  If my wish keeps working, tomorrow, I may wake up looking like this gal:
Wouldn't that be something!  Let me think about it.  Why yes, it would be something freakatosis, not to mention, 100 percent miraculous!