Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Brochure of Miracles

... of miracles!
Every now and then, a miracle.  A minor one, I'll give you that.  A teeny-tiny one.  But still, I offer you a moment of OMG, an excerpt from my Brochure of Miracles. It's not about the Miracle Cream the new dermatologist prescribed, the anti-aging face-brightening youth-defying agent of change.  No miracles in that department.  Not yet.   Same punim.  Same age spots.  But there was a petite miracle this morning, a feeling of how-cool-is-that!  Last night, the SJG was so sleepy-ass, that around 10:36,  I apologized to Joan Rivers and said, "Bitch, I'm going to sleep."  I turned off "Fashion Police," something I never do, right before the panel guessed whose bikini booty was up on the screen.  You know how I hate suspense, but I just couldn't keep my eyes open.  Dreamland was extending an invite.  I had to accept.  This morning, I turned on the telly at 6:36, and, brace yourselves, there was "Fashion Police," at the exact same place where I left it last night, as if frozen in time, waiting for me to catch up.  Woo-hoo!  It was booty call time!  "Yay!" I said to myself, for hubby was already out walking the dog.  "Who said miracles don't happen!"  And speaking of who, who was "picking at her butt," as Kelly Osbourne put it so eloquently?  Was it J-Wow or Snooki or, as Joan guessed, Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey?  No, it was some TV Jersey gal whose name I can't remember.  Oh, I was so happy to see the rest of the show, to find out the best and the worst looks of the week; so grateful that I'm not famous enough to have my personal style of what-fits-me-this-week critiqued on national TV, that I can now go on with my day.  I'm ready for the next miracle to add to my brochure.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Have Snark, Will Travel

When Ann Curry cried on the Today Show, the SJG cried.  I'm such an easy mark at the moment.  I'm a weeper, it's true.  If you cry in front of me, I guarantee, I will cry, too.  It doesn't matter what you're upset about, I will go there with you.  What I'm saying is, nothing gets the SJG waterworks going more than watching someone else sob-a-roonie.  Am I sad to see Ann Curry go?  No, not really.  But she cried, so I cried.  Even though it's not a big loss for me, personally.  She's a nice gal, no question, but sooooo earnest.  She has no edge, no snark.  During her short stint as co-host, she never once gave Matt Lauer the requisite, "You're so full of sh*t" look made famous by Katie Couric and perfected by Meredith Viera.  I wonder why Meredith didn't help Ann out with this, before she departed, why she didn't coach her or take her aside and say, "Listen, babe, you need to bitch up to survive this gig.  You've got to call Lauer on his sh*t." So, that's that, Ann.  Off you go.  They've booted you upstairs to travel the world and report earnestly on the global mess.  As for your replacement, word has it that Savannah Guthrie's got it in the bag.  But she has no spark with Matt Lauer, either.  She's all business.  So  before NBC makes it official, I'd like to put it out there that the SJG is available.  I'd kill as co-host.  Spread the word, bleeps.  SJG for co-host! Tip a canoe with this little Jew!  Okay, fine, the slogan needs work, but you know I'm right.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


How dare you?!
Early morning walkies with the Dusty man.  My keppie shuffles random thoughts about Nora Ephron and why I'm still sobbing every time I see a report on her death, and Ann Curry, and why can't someone pay me millions to leave Sherman Oaks, and why is my dog moving so slowly, and why am I moving so slowly, and what should I blog about today?  And then, I hear the dreaded tick-tick-ticking sound, the tttttttttttttttttte tte tte tte ttttttttttttttttttte that tells me a water bomb is about to go off in my face and there's nothing I can do about it.  "Oh, no!" is all I can manage, before up come the evil sprinkler heads, on both sides of the sidewalk, followed by major blasts of H20ski.  "Oh my God!"  Drench city.  I haven't run through the sprinklers since I was a kid.  Back then, it was plain ol' middle-class fun for those of us cruelly denied a swimming pool.  You talk about a tough childhood.  Every time it's hot, your mother says, "Hey, gang, let's run through the sprinklers," and you must find a way to muster excitement.  "Yes, Mummy, let's!"  Of course, she's not running through any sprinklers.  She's just had her hair done.  So this morning, Dusty and the SJG run like maniacs through the sprinkler spray, and we get all wet.  Hahahaha.  The joke's on us.  I laugh my tushy off.  And then I come home and dry off and tell you all about it.  Today I've been sprinklered in a big way.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nora, Nora, Nora

Like everyone I know, I'm completely devastated by the death of my idol, Nora Ephron.  It was a sob-fest in Sherman Oaks late yesterday afternoon when I found out she died at 71.  Here's a funny clip of her on "The View," promoting her last book.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Boy's Desk

Let's get ready to rumble!
Before the old desk goes bye-bye, to make room for the particle board crap desk from the random catalog, a desk that probably won't fit in the room and will wind up deconstructed, the SJG spent time sorting through drawers that haven't been opened in at least eight years, on account of the drum set blocking it.  (That may be the longest sentence I've ever written, and the caffeine hasn't even kicked in yet.)  Here's what I found in a place that was once marked Top Secret:  plastic wrestler dudes, comic books, walkie talkies, colored pens, dried up markers, rubber balls, a mini-Torah, rocks, rocks and more rocks, baseball cards, pennies, dimes, arcade tokens, Goosebumps book called "Vampire Breath," Pokemon watch, and a sign written in purple and green letters with the following message for Scotty's older brother:  SHUT THE @#$% UP BILLY.  Scotty has no memory of writing this sign, but I'm sure he was heated when he wrote it.  This sign has inspired me, immensely.  I propped it up on the table so that Billy could see it as soon as he came over.  He asked to take it to work and put it on his desk.  I told him no.  The sign has taken up residence on my desk.  And now I'm thinking of asking Scotty to design a whole series of signs.  I want a sign for the market.  "Move Your @#$%'n Cart Out of My Way!" I want a sign for traffic.  "I Hope You Wrap Your Car Around a Pole, Mutha-@#$%a!" I want a sign for cell-phone yakkers.  "Get the @#$% off the phone!"  Coming soon:  Hostility Signs for those special occasions when you're just too pissed off to speak.
Aw! So that's where the mini-torah's been hiding!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Do Over

When life gets a little iffy, I like to say, "Do Over!"  So the rapper named Scott D has changed his status from "lives in Santa Cruz" to "lives at home with parents."  So an apartment full of crap furniture needs another place to settle.  I like to say, "Welcome."  How to fit a bed and a desk and a coffee table in questionable condition into a house already crammed with stuff?  I like to say, "Oh, eff it, out with the old, in with the cheap!"  So we're throwing out, we're donating.  Out with the wobbly computer table that never did anyone any favors, in with the discount desk from some random catalog.  We're changing things up around here.  New carpet.  New paint.  A new attitude.  Who cares what it costs?  When life gets iffy, redecorate.  Feel free to quote me.  This advice comes from the heart. And the wallet.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Flip-Flop Thief

SJG: I'd like to report a crime. 
Operator:  Go ahead, ma'am.
SJG: This crazed animal stole my son's flip-flop.  It's hanging out of his mouth.  I'm really scared!
Operator:  Your son's mouth?
SJG:  No, the animal's mouth.  He's drooling everywhere.  I have to get that flip-flop back or my son'll freak out!
Operator:  Calm down, ma'am.  Where is this all taking place?
SJG:  My house.
Operator:  Whereabouts?
SJG:  Sherman Oaks.  Oh, no, he's chewing on the leather. 
Operator:  What kind of animal is it? 
SJG:  I'm not sure.  But it's really hairy. 
Operator:  Is it big and black, like a bear?
SJG: No.
Operator:  Does it have antlers?
SJG:  Let me check.  No, I don't see any antlers.
Operator:  So it's not a deer.
SJG:  No. 
Operator:  Is it a lion?
SJG:  We don't have lions in Sherman Oaks.
Operator:  What about a coyote, ma'm? 
SJG:  Hmm.  Could be.  I'm afraid to get too close.
Operator:  What's it doing now?
SJG:  He's literally eating the flip-flop. 
Operator:  He must be very hungry.
SJG:  I know!  I'm really in a panic here.  Help!
Operator:  Alright, ma'am, I'll send a car right over.
SJG:  Hurry!  He's going for the other flip-flop now.  Oh dear God...
Operator:  Hang in there.  Don't do anything rash.  We're sending a car now.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Big Deal

Breaking News:  Aveeno  is shelling out the big bucks to acquire some minor celebrity talent. If things go as planned, a short Jewish blogger from Sherman Oaks will become the next face of Aveeno. “The SJG would be great for the brand because she appears to be a little bit younger than she actually is," says an unnamed source.  "Aveeno thinks she can pass for 50, even though she's 54, and we'd like to tap into the lucrative market of middle-aged gals trying to save face before it's too late. The deal, still being negotiated, would be worth a lot of money, certainly eight figures.” The SJG is no stranger to beauty products.  The blogger has used every gel, goop, mousse and industrial-strength spray out there, to deal with her baby fine thin ka-ka hair.  She's been slapping on eye cream since she was a pre-teen.  She's a huge fan of concealer.  "With me, it's always been about self- preservation," says the SJG.  "I'll do whatever it takes to keep my punim from slouching."  Most recently, the SJG has been garnering attention for matching outfits with her hubby.  She's traded in some of her sweet Cali girl looks for rocker-chic style similar to the man she married long ago.  "What can I say?  I'm hitched to a tough biker dude.  When he wears black leather, I wear black leather.  That's how we roll.  It's in our marriage vows."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

At Last We Meet

"I can't believe I finally get to meet the SJG." -- John Irving
Well, this is embarrassing.  In all his interviews promoting his new book, "In One Person," Mr. John Irving keeps revealing that the one person he really wants to meet is, who else, the SJG of Sherman Oaks.  "I hear she's rather delightful," he tells Entertainment Weekly.  "Very few people know this, but I've always had an infinity for short Jewish gals.  Actually, one gal in particular.  I've felt this for a while now, ever since I googled 'How To Make A Great Kugel,' and there she was, sharing her recipe with the world.  What a generous soul.  What a giver.  And now that I'm 70, it's about time I finally get to meet this enchantress."  You can relax, John.  The big moment is almost here.  Tonight you'll get your chance to meet and greet the wonder that is the SJG.  I'm willing to schelp all the way to the Aero Theater in Santa Monica to make it happen. But please, John, I beg you.  Keep the gushing to a minimum.  I don't want to make hubby too jealous.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Loony Bin Escapee On The Loose

During our recent excursion to lovely, goyisha La Jolla, hubby and the SJG sat in the hotel bar, getting completely schnockered.  Not really.  We were just sipping a cocktail, admiring the view, when a woman started talking at top volume to no one else.  She was pacing and yakking so loud you could leave the premises and still hear her.  Of course, she was on her cell phone, wearing one of those ear piece thingies.  To the untrained eye, she seemed like a loony bin escapee.  Even when I noticed the ear piece thingy, she still seemed unfit for public activity.  Not that I judge.  The SJG took immediate action.  "Shush!" My shushing did diddly.  I complained to the bartender.  "What can we do about that woman?"  "Oh, I know what I'd like to do."  He then launched into a tale of rude customers who snap their fingers at him while talking on the cellphone, to get his attention.  "Last week, I nearly lost my job asking a lady to take her call outside."  Always fun to invite a new member to join my Mutual Hostility Society, but clearly, this dude was going to do jack about the insanely loud cell phone yakker.  So I shushed her again.  Hubby said his standard line, "She's oblivious."  I gave her the hard eyes.  I sighed heavily.  I said, more than once, "People who talk on cell phones in public are psychotic."  I think my last statement finally did the trick.  Either that, or the call ended.  But she shut the eff up, thank God, which kept the SJG from registering at the nearest loony bin, at least for the time being. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Welcome To The Island

Kitchen Table as Multipurpose Landing Pad
Pardon me, the SJG's gonna get a wee bit nostalgic.  As a family, we used to eat dinner at the kitchen table.  Gosh, that was nice.  Just four people sitting down at the same time for a nosh.  I miss those days, I really do.  Now we eat every meal at the island.  When a counter became a body of water, I can't tell you, exactly. Some time in the 80s, perhaps.  I admit, I haven't done my research, but I can tell you this.  Growing up in a humble town called Westwood, not once did I hear my mom say, "Hey, gang, let's eat at the island."  For me, islands conjure images of drinks with umbrellas, brought by cute waiters, and ocean breezes.  Paradise.  Not four people jammed around a common area, jostling for space, attempting to eat together.  But this, my friends, this is my reality.  Don't cry for me, blogosphere.   Now that the college bear has returned from his hard year in Santa Cruz, watching a lot of sports on TV  -- I kid, I'm sure he studied!  He did study, didn't he?  Hang on, I'll ask him.  Hey, Scotty, did you study in Santa Cruz?  Why am I asking?  I'm your mother.  It's my job to annoy you --  oops, I'm lost again on my private island of confusion.  Where was I?  Wait, it's coming to me.  Now that the college boy has returned, there are nights, like last night, when the four of us share a meal, before the eldest journeys back to his apartment down the street.  (We like to keep our people close by, as much as possible.)   And those meals are eaten, not at the table designated for eating, but here, at the tropical island where only two people get to sit, while two people -- Mom and Dad -- must fend for themselves.
The Island of Two Bar Stools
Hubby doesn't have a problem standing.  He always says, "I sit all day."  That leaves me.  I hover over the island enough as it is.  Breakfast and lunch, I float around the island, guarding my food, making sure Dusty doesn't jump up and steal it.  At dinner, call me a princess -- you'd be the first -- I want to sit.  I've just spent the last half hour cooking.  I deserve a break.  But seating on the island is rather limited, not to mention, highly competitive.  My loving sons always get there first.  Thanks for nothing, boys.  So I wind up bringing over a kitchen chair, and when I sit my tush down, I greet the counter at chin level.  This arrangement is beneath me, and yet, I endure.  Occasionally, hubby commands one of those people I personally birthed, after many long and agonizing hours, to, "Give Mom a @#%^'n bar stool!"  But that only happens when I start to seriously whine.  Like last night, and the night before.  I am the SJG.  I like to get my way, even if a son of mine gets booted off the island.  Sorry, dude.  The tribe has spoken.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Two Guys From Brooklyn

Me, Tim, John and Grandpa Ben
At the Father's Day brunch, Westsiders and a few stray Valley folk sat on well-bolted folding chairs in my bro's backyard.  Brunchers ate kugel transported without incident from Sherman Oaks, bagels and other yummies.   Hot topics included "Rock of Ages" (one enthusiastic thumbs up, two thumbs down), WWII, season finales and a hellish car ride home from Santa Cruz.  Both grandpas received out-of-print books about Brooklyn, a magical place they roamed, unsupervised, as kids.  There was the annual croquet game on the front lawn, free of rules, and massive quantities of dessert.  And one more thing.  Laughter.
Hubby and his dad, Grandpa Skippy

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blintz vs. Kugel

 "Don't forget the eggs," I tell hubby, as he heads out to buy a new vacuum.  "I forgot to buy eggs," I tell Carla over the phone.  "What are you making?"  "Kugel.  I find that kugel travels better than blintz souffle, and you can quote me on that."  "I'll embroider it on a pillow.  Kugel travels well, Blintz souffle, not so much," Carla says. "Blintz souffle is so pretty when you take it out of the oven," I go on.  "It's all poofy and pretty and everyone goes 'ahh!"  "And then it deflates, along with the faces of the guests," Carla says.  As usual, she speaks the truth.  "I can't bring a deflated blintz souffle to Father's Day," I say.  "I hear kugel travels better," Carla says.  I couldn't agree more.  Whatever you nosh on, Happy Daddy's Day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Twelve Chairs

The monument to Mel Brooks' "The Twelve Chairs" in Odessa.  
On Friday, John calls me up.  One of the 12 chairs I've loaned him for Father's Day is missing a bolt.  A few weeks back, before the three of us went to see "Follies," I schlepped the chairs, the cushions, the tablecloths in my car.  Just call me Sister of the Year.  I remember the Incident, as we say in my family.  Something goes slightly askew, it deserves dramatic recognition.  "I know," I say.  "I found the bolt in my trunk and gave it to Timmy." "Oh, no," John says.  "What's wrong?"  "He probably put it somewhere and we'll never find it again."  John calls Tim.  We have a conference call.  "Tim, talk to Carol."  "Hi, Timmy."  "Hi, Carol."  "Hi honey.  How you doin'?"  "I"m okay, how are you?" We go back and forth like this till John cuts us off.  "Get to the bolt."  We discuss the bolt situation, as though we're trying to find hidden jewels sewn into the lining.  Except these piece of crap wooden chairs don't have lining.  But you get the idea.  Tim remembers me handing him the priceless bolt.  The rest is a blur.  John tells him to check the pants he was wearing when we went to "Follies."  A long discussion follows.  Which pants? I check my iPhone photos.  "You were wearing black pants.  Or dark gray."  "They were navy," Tim says.  This leads to more discussion.  Are the pants at John's place or Tim's?  "I have them," Tim says, and checks the pocket.  A long pause.  "Tim?"  "It's not here."  "Did you put it in the coat pocket?" I ask.  "He was wearing my coat.  And he didn't have it on when we were putting the chairs away," John says.  "Sorry," Tim says.  "Oh, Timmy," I say,"it's my fault."  (Isn't everything?)  "Maybe the bolt's in the guest house, where we put the chairs," Tim says.  "Don't worry," John says, "I'll spend the next three hours searching for the bolt.  You guys go on with your day.  Don't worry about me.  I'll just sit here in the dark."  "I'd rip up the floorboards," I suggest.  "Helpful," John says, and tells me he's going to send a picture of a bolt from one of the other chairs.  "Why do I need a picture of a bolt?" "In case Howard has one like it, and you can bring it on Sunday."  "Or I could just bring one of my metal folding chairs.  Or I could  go out and buy 12 new chairs and bring those."  "Or I could just cancel Father's Day.  You think Dad will mind?" John asks.  "No, I'm sure he'll understand."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Two Gals and a Frog

Kelly, Jen and the Kateness at the Gay Pride Parade
There's nothing sweeter, or stranger, than "finishing" a project you've been working on for years.  It's never really finished.  But for a moment in time, it's okay to tell yourself:  Ta-da!  Done!  At least for now.  Until other humans take a look and make a few suggestions, and then a few more, and before you know you it, you're back in the trenches, tweaking.  I met Kelly during the Writers Strike of 2007-2008.  We marched and carried our signs and bonded.  At some point, she floated the idea of writing a script together.  In the past, I've avoided collaboration, especially when the kids were younger.  It seemed impossible to find someone whose schedule matched mine, someone I could be in synch with, on and off the page.  But with Kelly, I knew instantly we were a good match.  She's semi-youngish, I'm semi-oldish, and yet, despite the 15-year age gap, we find the same things hilarious.  We are partners in silliness.  Since we met, Kelly married Jen, and they had a gorgeous baby girl, the Kateness, and they moved to another house.  They've been busy.  But somewhere in there, we managed to get together once or twice a week, and write a children's movie about a boy and his frog.  We've learned about video game technology and solar power and invented a crazy animated world we'd be wary of living in ourselves.  We've delved into the psychology of frogs and evil game lords.  We've stepped into the future and out of our comfort zone.  We've laughed our tushies off along the way.  And now we're done.  At least for now.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's Not To Like?

The late Hal Kanter and daughter Donna, director of "Lunch"
There's a show off Broadway called "Old Jews Telling Jokes," based on a popular website.  Last night, I only had to go to over the hill to the Writers Guild to hear some old Jews telling jokes.  You know how the SJG doesn't like to schelp, but when it comes to my dad, I'm more than happy to go anywhere, even if it's geographically undesirable, even if it means getting stuck in front of the Beverly Center for longer than it took me to deliver my first born.  There was free parking and deli, so that helped. And, for the second time, I got to see the wonderful documentary Donna Kanter made about old Jewish comedy writers eating lunch.  After "Lunch," came the so-called panel discussion, which was more of a non-stop interruption.  My dad was in the middle of a story when Rocky Kalish, a former boxer, cut him off mid-joke.  Then Monty Hall said a few things, and so did Arthur Hiller.  Matty Simmons, who produced "Animal House," and John Rappaport ("Mash") refereed. Back and forth it went.  My dad told his favorite "Mr. Ed" story, about going up to the famous horse, between takes, and saying, "Hi Ed, it's me, Ben.  Say something.  I know you can talk." A lovely evening among legends.  Then I went back to Sherman Oaks, where a couple middle-aged Jews reside.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stupid Is The New Smart

At dinner last night, the eldest told us about an article he'd read in the New Yorker, Why Smart People Are Stupid. "And what did you learn, my son?" "I learned that smart people are really stupid."  Of course, he didn't need to read an article to find that out.  The evidence is everywhere.  Close by, in fact.  To prove it, he asked us the following: "A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?" Oh, dear God.  A word problem.  I was never any good at word problems.  "The baseball cost 10 cents," I said.  The eldest looked to his father, more math inclined than the SJG.  "10 cents," hubby said, without hesitation.  "You're both wrong!"  "What?!  Why?"  "Don't worry, I got it wrong, too," he said.  According to the New Yorker, we're not the only dummies out there.  "The vast majority of people respond quickly and confidently, insisting the ball costs ten cents. This answer is both obvious and wrong. The correct answer is five cents for the ball and a dollar and five cents for the bat." "Simple arithmetic," I said, ashamed. "What's wrong with me?"  The eldest, wise beyond his years, patiently explained.  "You rushed.  You didn't think it through.  That's what people do. They take shortcuts.  They don't take their time and use logic."  "Eat your spinach," I said.  "What spinach?"  "There isn't any, Mr. Reads-The-New-Yorker. I was testing you."  "And?"  "You passed with flying colors."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Deli Delivered

"I'll have a quarter pound of your most reliable cheese."
When it comes to sports, the SJG is more of a sporadic supporter.  I feign interest and shout "woo-hoo!" from upstairs, while the menfolk go apesh*t downstairs.  Now and then, I make an exception.  I get caught up in the hope and potential glory, the rage and disappointment.  It depends on the team, really.  If my Bruins are playing, I can get as meshuggah as the next dude.  Years ago, when UCLA made the play-offs, I happened to serve deli during a big game.  They won.  After that, the youngest son, armed with an arsenal of sports-related suspicions and rituals, insisted I serve deli every time UCLA played.  We ate it twice a week, right through to the Final Four.  How well did I handle this continuous loop of cold cuts and cole slaw?  Just fine.  I was raised on the stuff.  I didn't mind.  Until the deli debacle.  The market was out of certain key ingredients.  I got a different cheese, a different rye, and the Bruins went down to defeat.  My fault.  Sorry.  It was a dark day in the home of the SJG.  I haven't served deli during an important sporting event since.  Too risky.  Until last night.  The Stanley Cup was at stake.  The youngest was up in Santa Cruz.  He wouldn't even know the meal plan in Sherman Oaks.  In the morning, I got a feeling.  I texted hubby.  "Deli?"  His answer:  "Hell, yes."  So I threw caution to the wind.  I went for it.  The turkey, the cheese, the corn rye, the slaw.  Score!  Is it a coinky that the Kings won the Stanley Cup for the first time ever?  Let me think about that.  No.  No coinky here.  Deli delivered.  You're welcome, Los Angeles.  I'm happy to serve. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Poop Happens

Leave it to Israel to figure out a way to guilt folks who forget to pick up the poop. "The Jerusalem municipality is planning to compile a DNA database for dogs in the Holy City in a bid to combat the problem of dog poo by tracing droppings back to the offending pooch. In a statement, the municipality said it would first be collecting saliva samples from dogs in the city before inputting them into a citywide database. The municipality pilot project calls for establishment of a database of dog DNA to allow us to reduce the soiling of pavements, parks and public spaces," the statement said. Once the DNA database has been compiled, the city will conduct testing to see whether the samples can be effectively matched to dog droppings found around the city. Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz said the municipality hoped to get saliva samples from around 70 to 80 percent of the 11,000 dogs registered in Jerusalem. Once the database is that complete, the program will begin trying to match droppings to the offending canine, charging each pooch's owner a fine of 750 shekels (193 dollars). City veterinarian Zohar Dvorkin told Haaretz that the system would create a much more efficient way for the municipality to combat the problem. 'This way, there will be nowhere to run,' he said." (shout out to my daily dog walkin', poop scoopin' gal pal Cheryl for sending me this story.)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Insert Golf Joke

Early morning conversation in La Jolla at the fancy lodge. "What's that sound?" "That's a squeaky bed." "Oh." "Someone's getting friendly upstairs." "Golfers?" Insert obvious golf joke, followed by hysterical laughter. Put two non-golfing Jews at a golf resort. You're going to get a lot of golf jokes. Some better than others. They can't all be a hole in one.

Hands On A Bagel

"Hands on a Hardbody"
In La Jolla, it's very goyisha. Hard to find a bagel or a slice of kugel. But it's pretty, oh so pretty. You've got the sea and the trees, the nature galleries. Wolfgang Puck has a place called Jai, a few doors away from the La Jolla Playhouse, where thespians bound for the Great White Way strut their stuff.  Last night we saw "Hands on a Hardbody," a musical about a truck and the people desperate to win it. The chance to see the elegant redhead called Connie Ray sing and dance far exceeded my expectations.  Devoted gal that she is, she's promised to take me with her when the show hits Broadway.  She has every intention of making me her understudy, despite any objections she may encounter from the producers, cast members and the theatrical community at large. To the casual observer, the SJG understudying Connie Ray might appear to be a stretch. A big one.  Connie Ray is a tall drink of water, whereas I'm a short sip of seltzer.  Nonetheless, I'm ready to step in at a moment's notice.  That's the kind of gal I am, always happy to help a friend.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Laundry Bitch At Your Service

Everyone should have a pet name for themselves, don't you think?  Of course, you do.  It's important you agree with me on everything.  Around here, I'm known as the Laundry Bitch, mainly because that's what I call myself as I'm schlepping the laundry basket downstairs.  I'm sure there are nicer names I could give myself:  Rock of Middle Ages.  Supreme Goddess of Sherman Oaks.  But Laundry Bitch is the one I prefer.  It sums up so many things about the job at hand:  "Yeah, you heard me, I'm doing the @#$%'n laundry again.  Your laundry.   And maybe a little bit of mine.  But mainly, your @#$%'n laundry.  I sure hope there aren't any surprises in there."  Most likely, this laundry bitchery stems from the fact that sometimes, there are weird things in those pockets that no one seems to check, pre-wash.  Apparently, that's my responsibility.  Which explains why certain unwashables have gone through the rinse cycle more times than I care to disclose.  Watches, wallets.  Bus passes.  Loose change.  Cash.  I've laundered money more than once.  "Oh, look what I found!  A clean 20.  Finders-keepers."  With one son in college, ruining his own laundry, and one living in his own apartment, you'd think the SJG would get to slack off, laundry-wise.  Au contraire!  Let's not forget my main purpose on earth, my raison d'etre, the role I was born to play:  Overly Solicitous Jewish Mother/Glutton for Punishment.  Why should my eldest do his laundry when I can do it for him?  He works all day.  I'm happy to wash his clothes.  Except when he forgets to take things out of the pockets.  Then I'm not so happy.  Not happy at all.  The other day, a piece of gum played peek-a-boo in his jeans.  Naturally, I only discovered this game when I opened the dryer and spotted the minty fresh green goo shellacking the interior.  First, I swore a bit.  I cursed the gods and my own existence.  Then, I sent the eldest some pointed text messages:  "How old are you again?"  "Spanky-spanky!"  "No dessert for you."  Sometimes, it just feels good to vent.  Next, I got busy with the Googling.  "How the @#$% do I get gum out of the dryer?!"  I found many interesting suggestions, and tried all of them.  The one that worked best,  I'll share with you now, in case, God forbid, you find yourself in the same sticky situation.  Dampen a fabric softener sheet, your Bounce, your Snuggle, and wipe like there's no tomorrow.  Eventually, the gum will peel off, along with the tips of your fingies and your will to live.  But hey, that's okay.  What's a mother for?  The Laundry Bitch is here for you, ready to spread the love and the resentment, whenever possible.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Here Comes Trouble

Last night, my dance teacher Doug Rivera threatened to send me to the Naughty Corner for moving my hips too much.  I told him I couldn't help it.  Turn on the music and my hips move, involuntarily.  He let me off with a warning.  But it did get me thinking about the dark consequences of bad behavior.  There was that time in 7th grade at Emerson.  So traumatic.  I really don't like to talk about it.  Okay, I will.  It happened in... oh, this is harder than I thought... Girls Glee.  A very cranky man whose name I've conveniently forgotten taught this silly class.  One day, he was at his snarkiest, and said, "Now, see if you can do this."  Implication:  we couldn't do it.  I turned to the girl next to me, and mimicked him.  He didn't hear me, but noticed the extreme smirkatude etched on my punim.  I may be the first person in history sent to the Girls V.P. for making a face.  The conversation went something like this:  "Carol, did you make a face in Girls Glee?" "I guess so."  "Why did you make a face?"  "I dunno."  "Do you understand that making a face isn't okay?"  "Uh-huh."  "It's very disrespectful."  "Sorry."  This high-ranking disciplinarian handed me a note and told me to bring it back with a parent's signature.   Oy vey, now I was really in deep doo-doo.  How could I tell my mom about my horrible fall from grace?  Oh, the shame!  The indignity of it all!  I was barely in the door when I spilled it.  "Mommy, I'm so sorry, I was sent to the Girls V.P. for making a face, I'll never do it again."  I waited for her to get mad, send me to my room, ground me for life.  Instead, she started laughing.  "Oh, honey, you really are your mother's daughter." Then she regaled me with the story of how she got busted in school for making a noise.  She and her fellow delinquents would make random high-pitched noises when the teacher was at the blackboard.  One day, she turned around and caught my mother in the act.  As punishment, she had to stand in front of the class and read a letter of apology, while the boys threw spitballs at her.  I think I got off easy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Classic Jewish Dog Joke

Morty visits Dr. Saul, the veterinarian, and says, "My dog, has a problem."
Dr. Saul says, "So tell me about the dog and the problem."
"It's a Jewish dog. His name is Irving and he can talk," says Morty.
"He can talk?" the doubting doctor asks.
"Watch this!" Morty points to the dog and commands: "Irving, Fetch!"
Irving, the dog, begins to walk toward the door, then turns around and says, "So why are you talking to me like that? You always order me around like I'm nothing. And you only call me when you want something. And then you make me sleep on the floor, with my arthritis. You give me this fahkahkta food with all the salt and fat, and you tell me it's a special diet. It tastes like dreck! YOU should eat it yourself! And do you ever take me for a decent walk? NO, it's out of the house, a short pish, and right back home. Maybe if I could stretch out a little, the sciatica wouldn't kill me so much! I should roll over and play dead for real for all you care!"
Dr. Saul is amazed, "This is remarkable! What could be the problem?"
Morty says, "He has a hearing problem! I said 'Fetch', not 'Kvetch'."
(courtesy of

Monday, June 4, 2012

One Ringy Dingy

This morning I woke up singing my favorite Manhattan Transfer song.  It goes something like this:  "Operator? Information.  Give me Jesus on the line."  Don't worry, I haven't become an SJG for JC.  I'm singing this song in honor of my late mom, who would've turned 85 today.  How I wish I could place a collect call and get her on the line.  I'm sure such a call could get pricey, but she never did mind when I reversed the charges.  In fact, she encouraged it. When I was 15, I went on a teen tour around the USA.  For six weeks, I traveled the country on a Greyhound Bus with a bunch of horny boys and a few nice girls.  As I recall, the ratio was 32 boys to 12 girls.  Let's just say I had fun and leave it at that.  Naturally, my mom missed me, horribly and wanted me to check in now and then.  So we had a little phone game we'd play.  I'd call and invoke the name of my childhood imaginary friend, Mrs. Salarni.  Why the very young SJG used to channel a grownup with a name that sounded like Salami, I couldn't tell you.  Nor could any of my therapists.  I picked Salarni out of thin air.  I have no idea why.  Anyway, here's how these collect calls would go.  One ringy dingy. Two ringy dingies.  My mother: "Hello?"  Operator:  "You have a collect call from Mrs. Salarni."  My mother: "I do?" Operator:  "Will you accept the charges?"  My mother: "Hmm.  Who's calling again? I'm not sure I know a Mrs. Salarni.  Maybe if she could just say something it would help."  By now, I'd be cracking up on the other end.  Operator:  "Mrs. Salarni?"  Me:  "Yes?"  Operator: "Your mother wants to hear your voice, but doesn't want to accept the charges."  "Oh, no.  My own mother won't accept the charges?"  At this point, the operator would disconnect the call.  So, Mom, wherever you are, happy birthday.  Mrs. Salarni sends her love.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Live, Laugh, Love

At "Follies" with my brother John.   We first saw it in 1971.
Some folks stay home and scream at the TV while the Kings win game two of the Stanley Cup Finals.   Some folks go see "Follies" with John and Tim.
Tim calmly accepts the news of John's pending nuptials.
I wish I could post the photo of the three of us, but the gal my brother foisted his phone at and said, "Take a photo of us," did issue a warning: "I can barely see out of one eye."  It came out a little fuzzy, and a fuzzy SJG is unacceptable. So there's that.  But even without photographic proof that the three of us where there on a cultural outing together, you'll just have to believe me.  On the way to see "Follies," John shared an exciting update, in time for the Queen's Jubilee.  He fully intends to marry Prince Harry.  "At the Royal Court, they'll identify me as the Old Bald Jew." "I'm so happy for you," I said.  "I'll start practicing my wave."  Tim, who's been with John for over 10 years, took the news rather well, offering to help pick out the perfect venue for the occasion.  As of now, the Royal Hawaiian Arms in Koreatown is a strong contender.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Spell Check for the Middle Aged

It's official.  I can no longer spell.  I used to be able to spell.  I was a good speller.  One of the best.  When it came to spelling, I had it going on.  What's happened to me?  I blame my sons.  I haven't quizzed them for a spelling test in, oh, at least 10 years.  Quizzing them for spelling tests kept my brain working on all cylinders.  So yes,  it's their fault.  On second thought, my sons are only partially to blame. The main culprit is the ever-present Spell Check.  It makes me a lazy spelling bitch.  So what if I can't spell excurciating?  Who cares?  Spell check will underline it with a teacher-like red line, and quickly give me the correct spelling.  Excruciating.  Where I was once an accomplished speller, I am now a complete slacker.  Maybe there needs to be another spell check, just for the middle aged, the lapsed spellers who used to be good spellers in school, or they got nothing but sh*t from Miss Wilson or Mr. Buttwinick. And what kind of good boy or girl wanted that kind of abuse?   Pre-spell check, you'd get publicly flogged for misspelled words.  But today, spell check has made that sort of justifiable punishment obsolete.  To help us reclaim our status as good spellers, what we boomers need is a combo Guilter/Spell Checker.  For lack of a better name, GSC would guilt you, mercilessly, until you got the word right, with nasty, mean-spirited prompts.  "Seriously?  What's wrong with you?  You used to have a few brain cells.  You used to know how to spell this word.  Think, bubbeleh, think.  Why must you give up so easily?  Don't you see a lifelong pattern of surrender here?  Try it again.  You've got two more chances to get this word right, and then, GSC will automatically post your sad failings for the world to see.  That's right, slacker.  It'll hit Facebook and Google Plus, Twitter and TMZ:  "Guess who spelled 'traveled' with two L's?  The SJG of Sherman Oaks.  LOL.  Her brain is fried.  Ha ha. Loser!  Please 'like' this moment of ridicule, brought to you by Guilter/Spell Checker. Or, as the SJG would spell it, Pleez 'like' this moment of ridicule."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Applause, Applause

Every now and then, it's important to add a new skill set to my extensive repertoire.  It reminds me that I'm not quite done yet.  I'm still evolving.  And so, it is with pride that I tell you what I can now do.  Not only can I recite the alphabet and count to ten, I can now apply calamine lotion to my eff'n mosquito bites, in the dark! Ta-da!  Can you do that?  I didn't think so.  You may ask yourself, why didn't the SJG turn on the bathroom light?  Is she that dense?  No.  I'm just far too considerate to wake mine sleeping hubby.  He puts in a long day at the promo factory.  He needs his beauty rest.  So last night, when the eighteen mosquito bites I acquired that afternoon, sitting outside, luxuriating in nature, woke me up from a deep sleep,  I dragged my tush out of bed and reapplied more of the useless, drippy pink stuff that, historically, has never worked.  I dabbed here and there and made a complete mess of things.  Then I stood there like a dummy, waiting for the useless drippy pink stuff to dry.  Then I crawled back into bed.  Another proud moment in the life of the SJG.  Woo-hoo.  I wonder what I can do for an encore.