Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Cautionary Tale

External Use Only!
You know how the SJG likes weird news.  I like it.  I like it a lot.  Anything that will distract me from real news convinces me that today I can venture out in the world without spontaneously combusting.  It's pretty dicey out there, bleeps.  Be careful.  Landmines aplenty.  Sometimes, it's great to know that people do the dumbest, lamest, head-scratchingest things for absolutely no reason.  My favorite Internet story arrived yesterday, via Australia:

"In what appears to be a party trick gone awry, an Australian man suffered severe burns after he put fireworks between his buttocks and set them off. The New Zealand Herald reports that paramedics near Darwin, Australia were called to the scene on Saturday night, but the unidentified man had already taken himself to the hospital to be treated for injuries to his posterior and genital area."

Ouchy!  Are you cringing yet?  Read on: "What must of (sic) seemed to be a great idea at the time has backfired, resulting in the male receiving quite severe and very painful burns to his cheeks, back and private bits," Senior Sergeant Garry Smith said. "Police believe alcohol could have been a factor in the firecracker-fueled accident. The 23-year-old man was later taken to a specialist burns unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Smith added that there's a lesson to be gleaned from  the man's injuries. 'Apparently [the firecrackers] are not designed for that particular placement,' Smith said, according to The Daily Mail. The man could also face fines because fireworks are illegal in the area, except on July 1, which is Territory Day. The story comes just a few weeks after a Michigan man blew off part of his genitals with fireworks."

The SJG can only conclude, safely, it seems, that Men Are Just Silly.  You may now return to your regularly scheduled day.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I Thought You Were Dale!

For absolutely no reason at all, I woke up this morning, took one look at myself in the mirror, and said, "I'm sorry, I thought you were Dale." Maybe I expected to see a much younger version of myself. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic. I haven't eaten a bowl of Grape-Nuts since the early '70s, when a few bites of that tasty gravel lodged in my braces, setting off a world of orthodontic tsouris. I think I finally understand how Mrs. Burke stayed so thin. She must've damaged her jaw eating Grape-Nuts, and could only manage a sip of soup before the pain set in.  Please, enjoy this trip down memory lane, courtesy of the SJG.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oh, It's ON!

What gives the SJG the advantage over other international blogging sensations?  That she's the SJG, of course. In an interview with Sherman Oaks After Dark, the SJG bragged that she doesn't have to put on a false demeanor when making her way through everyday life.  "I'm one of the few bloggers who gets to be herself every day.  It doesn't take me six hours to get ready to blog.  I don't have to wake up in the morning and slap makeup on or remember to blog like this or blog like this. I just have to be me.  I make up silly sh*t on the spot.  Either you like it or you don't like it, but I like it, and God willing, what I do doesn't bring too much shame to my family.  Let's just say not all bloggers are created equal."  Although she wouldn't come right out and say it, the SJG is most likely referring to her longtime blogging rival, the Tall Shiksa Goddess.  The SJG and the TSG started feuding after the SJG discussed their rivalry on KJEW FM.  "What's the TSG got that I don't got?  Height.  That's all she blogs about.  How she can reach the top shelf at the market.  How she likes to be nice to 'the little people.'  She acts like she's freakin' Glinda, the Good Witch of the North.  So what if she's tall and pretty?  Not everyone's blessed with legs that go on for days, and perfect hair.  But you can't hang an entire blog on height and gorgeousness, can you?"  Shortly after the SJG granted the radio interview, things turned ugly with the TSG.  Their respective posses got into a huge fight at Oh, No, She Didn't, a now-defunct Sherman Oaks nightclub known for attracting lady bloggers and their groupies.  Plenty verbal sparring went down, not to mention a nasty exchange of bitchy retorts.  "Oh!  It's on!  Take this, Glamazon!" the SJG allegedly shouted, hurling a loaf of white bread, a jar of mayo and a package of ham at the TSG.  The TSG threw a can of Diet Dr. Brown's at the SJG.  It barely missed her keppy!   A rabbi and a minister made an emergency intervention.  The SJG and the TSG have since called a tentative truce.  But after the TSG reads the SJG's latest interview, it's safe to assume all bets are off.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Things We Said

Huh?
... During the Opening Ceremonies:
"It's a little slow."
"A little?"
"They could've used an editor."
"When's Sir Paul coming out?"
"Talk about a Hodgepodge for 20."
"What were they thinking?"
"That was lame."
"That was cool."
"It's so British."
"Oh, God."
"Hush.  It's J.K. Rowling."
"WTF was that?!"
"Can you say cheesy?"
"The National Health Service?"
"Mary Poppins!"
"Are they kidding?"
"What is this?"
"The Royal Family looks bored."
"When's Sir Paul coming out?"
"Are you falling asleep?"
"How long does this parade thingy last?"
"They're only up to the B's?!"
"Make it stop.  Please!"
"Is Sir Paul ever coming out?"
"Sir Paul!"
"The end was pretty good."
"Wha --?"
"Go back to sleep."

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Olympic Flame

Oh, the universe is abuzz.  Abuzz, I tell ya.  Not sure I've ever had occasion to say "abuzz."  But doesn't this seem like the right moment for me to toss it your way?  Of course, it is.  Tonight someone will light the Olympic flame, in honor of Shabbat.  It is Friday night, after all.  Dear God, the speculation is killing me.  I must know.  Who who who?  Will it be a global icon?  No.  That would be a total bore fest.  No way to get that one right.  Short of Moses, or maybe Gandhi, a global figure is a big snooze.  Will it be an Olympic Great?  Only one Jew comes to mind here.  Mark Spitz.  Trust me, they're not schlepping out Mark Spitz and all his gold medals.  Would they schlep out a British Olympic Great?  They might.  But I'll need your help on this one.  Throw some names at me, bleeps.  I'm drawing a blank.  Will it be a local youngster?  No eff'n way.  The rest of the planet will go, huh?  Who dat?  So no.  Not a local anyone.  Will it be a royal?  Hmm.  Predictable.  And seriously, haven't we seen enough of those types already, at the Jubilee?  Will it be a surprise?  Hell, yes.  The torch-lighter will indeed be a surprise.  How do I know this?  Why do I speak with such authority?  Because Matt Lauer just said it on "The Today Show."  So it must be true.  It will be a surprise, a shockaroo, a "blimey, aren't those Brits clever?"  So basically, the surprise, sadly, will not be the SJG.  Although, wouldn't that have been a kick?  To see the Short Jewish Gal lighting the Olympic Torch?  I'm still waiting by the phone.  But chances are slim, given the time diff, that Danny Boyle is going to ring me up and say, "SJG?  Get your arse over to London.  We need you."  No, that won't happen.  Painful, I know.  Hurtful?  Very.  It's not my time to shine.  I'm thinking Rock Royalty.  A very preggers Adele, perhaps.  She's the most talked about Brit in recent years.  Adele gets my vote.  I so want to see her waddle up there and sing, "I Heard..." I want to see a massive weep-a-thon, followed by a big splashy Bollywood musical number.  Hello?  Danny Boyle. "Slumdog Millionaire"?  So.  There you have it.  Adele will light the big Shabbat light tonight, or I demand a refund.  If not Adele,then who?  Not me.  Maybe you?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

An American Olympian Prepares

Top Olympic competitor Dusty Schneider of Sherman Oaks pauses between practice naps.  The American is a favorite to win in the Canine Individual Snoozing Medley this Saturday in London.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Must-Wear Olympic Sandals

No question.  The SJG does like to dress up for special occasions.   I'm very excited to slip into these fetching commemorative platforms while watching the Opening Ceremonies.  I ordered two pairs, one with rhinestones, the other with colored rings.  I plan to trade off throughout the evening. In my new Olympic Sandals, I will feel very tall.  What will you be wearing?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Splat!

In case "Rotten Tomatoes" needs a new critic, my father, Mr. Ben Starr, offers this harsh review of "The Dark Knight Rises":   "The longest, most confusing, most boring movie I've ever seen.  It's two hours and forty-five minutes of nothing.  Everybody mumbles.  The guy who plays Batman is so dull, you can't believe it.  He's got no personality.  He talks in a monotone the whole time.  The only good actor is the British guy, Michael Caine.  At one point, he gets so fed up with Batman, he says, 'It's been nice knowing you.  Be healthy.  Goodbye.'  Morgan Freeman's in the movie, I have no idea why.  He comes in and says something wise, because he's Morgan Freeman, and then he leaves.  There's a French woman in it.  She's very handsome.  You don't know if she's good or evil, and you don't really care.  Bat Lady's pretty good.  It takes Batman the whole movie to realize, I'm Batman, I should probably do something heroic.  Maybe I'll save Gotham.  The whole thing's a giant tzimmes. Anyone who says they liked 'The Dark Knight's' a kiss-ass."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Simple Math

Salmon barbecuing in the backyard 
 +



"Salmon Fishing In The Yemen"
                       =                         

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Camp Girl

Camp Girl:  The SJG, age eight
Maybe you know this.  Maybe you don't.  Either way, you're going to know it now.  The SJG was a camp girl.  I went to sleep away camp.  I hiked.  I made lanyards.  I jumped on trampolines.   I rode horses.  I knew from archery.  I sang Kumbaya.  Every summer, starting at the age of eight.  Five years in a row.  I went to Camp Akela in Big Bear, a place run by Jews pretending to be Indians.  The "chief" of the camp was named Iron Bow.  The counselors had names like Feather and Arrow.  They made us yell "Ho!" a lot. To this day, hubby begs me not to sing camp songs, but I do, anyway.  In this way, I'm annoying.  But I can't help it.  The camp songs of my youth reside on a cellular level, and come out, involuntarily.  The other day, we went down the block to Gelson's, a two-minute car ride, if that, and I was back in the camp bus, singing, "We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here, we're here because we're here because we're here because we're here."  I know.  It's a dumb song, maybe the dumbest song ever, but I love it.  Once a camp girl, always a camp girl.  Now and then, I get nostalgic about my camp days.  I think about the time a wild horse ran off with me -- Ba-bye, SJG!  Nice knowing ya! -- and I was hanging by the stirrups -- not the gynecological kind, silly -- and a very handsome camp counselor jumped off his horse, jumped right over the horse's head, I swear, and rescued me.  Who says I haven't lived on the edge!  Of course, there were ups and downs.  Camp wasn't all fun and games.  At the tender age of 10, I discovered the real reason my parents couldn't wait to put me and my brother John on that bus to Big Bear.  Not for the fresh air.  Not for the bonding, the bunk beds, the bug repellent.  The real reason?  They couldn't wait to get rid of us.  One summer, they were so elated by our absence, they threw a party to celebrate!  Here's what it said on the invitation.  Two words: "THEY'RE GONE!"  Oh, the inhumanity!  Not to mention, the years of therapy that followed.  Did my parents throw a party when we returned from our month away in Big Bear?  Did they hang signs that said, "Welcome Back, Kids!  We Missed You!"?  No, they didn't.  No parties, no signs, no hoopla.  They were too busy thinking about next summer.  "Hey, guys, you had such a great time at camp, maybe next year, you'll stay two months."  And guess what?  We did.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Very Old Bra

If you've ever wondered what a 600-year-old bra looks like -- personally, I'm still trying to forget my first training bra -- here it is, discovered in some funky Austrian castle, along with other ancient undie garments. This weird discovery, which will no doubt lead to a weird exhibit somewhere, sponsored by Victoria Secret -- "You've come a long way, boobie!" -- makes me think of the late great Nora Ephron, who wrote the hilarious Esquire piece, "A Few Words About Breast," in 1972:

"I started with a 28 AA bra. I don’t think they made them any smaller in those days, although I gather that now you can buy bras for five-year-old  that don’t have any cups whatsoever in them; trainer bras they are called. My first brassiere came from Robinson’s Department Store in Beverly Hills. I went there alone, shaking, positive they would look me over and smile and tell me to come back next year. An actual fitter took me into the dressing room and stood over me while I took off my blouse and tried the first one on. The little puffs stood out on my chest. “Lean over,” said the fitter. (To this day I am not sure what fitters in bra departments do except to tell you to lean over.) I leaned over, with the fleeting hope that my breasts would miraculously fall out of my body and into the puffs. Nothing."

The SJG can relate.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bitch vs. Kvetch

In the midst of my detailed scholarly blog research -- what was that?  you think I make this stuff up off the top of my keppy? -- it suddenly occurred to me that Bitch has been stepping on the toes of the SJG's favorite word of all time, say it with me now, Kvetch.  Well.  Hang on there a minute, sister.  Since when are bitching and kvetching the same thing?  "They're exactly the same," the eldest tells me.  Hmph!  Let's turn to the Urban Dictionary for clarification, shall we?
"Bitch:  Word used to describe the act of whining excessively."  And here's how they define Kvetch:  "Piss and moan; whine; from the Yiddish; a person who habitually kvetches (usually used for females)." Hey now, I take offense at that definition.  I'm surrounded by expert kvetchers, and they're all male.  So, once again, I ask you:  Is Kvetch just the Yiddish way to say "complaining bitch"?  I'm thinking, nah-uh.  I'm thinking screw that, there's a big diff.  Bitch carries more than a tinge of nastiness.  Call someone a bitch, it's an insult, and, by the way, not just gender-specific.  My sons call their closest male friends "little bitches" daily.  

Kvetch, on the other hand, isn't about the mean, the nasty, the "rot in hell" of humanity, it's about the oy gevalt, the shared misery of Life.  It's about the aches and pains, the universal turmoil, the relative driving you crazy.  A kvetch-worthy situation is one that's so out of your control, your head spins like a dreidel.  Whatever it is, it's going to take time to figure out, could be costly, and most likely requires medical attention.  A bitch-worthy situation is easily dismissed.  "So what?  Who cares?  Next."  Bitching solves nothing.  But it's fun, I'll give you that.  Kvetching, on the other hand, is good for the soul and communal.  Bitching helps no one.  It's singular and edged with intolerance.   See what I mean?  Yes?  No?  What part of this aren't you getting?  It's obvious.  You know I'm right.  "Is it me, or did her ass just get bigger?"  Bitchy!  "Is it me, or is it hot in here?"  Kvetchy.  To repeat:  Bitch versus Kvetch.  Who wins?  Kvetch, every time.  What, you don't agree? Let's hear your side. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hava Nagila: The Movie!

Why shouldn't there be a movie called "Hava Nagila"?  No reason.  It's long overdue.  Here's a longish clip from the documentary, a toe-tapping, entertaining celebration of the Ukranian song, which means, "Let's Rejoice!"  Oh!  No wonder they play it at Bar Mitzvahs and weddings.  Have you ever heard it at Ralphs?  The world premiere of the film opens the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival on Thursday.  Shout out to Carla Malden for sending this to me.  What a mitzvah she did!

Hava Nagila (The Movie) - Sample Reel from Katahdin Productions on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Truckin'

"How did you park that thing backwards at 2 a.m.?" I asked hubby, home from a long Santa Cruz shlep.  "You forget, I'm a professional.  I used to valet park.  I was a Pick Parketeer."  "How can I forget.  We were dating at the time."  Hubby refers to an extended period in his teens, when he used to park parties of the rich and famous.  Parking random luxury autos gave him the confidence he carries with him today, the strong belief that he can drive and parallel park and back up anything on four wheels, from Jags and Beemers to U-Hauls and Penskes.  Frankly, it makes the SJG nervous.  "Why don't you wait till the morning?" I asked him last night, when he decided to leave Santa Cruz.  "There'll be no traffic, and I'm bored.  I've packed everything."  And by packed everything, he means the college boy's apartment crap.  The youngest had planned to go back to the University of Tree Hugging, but he changed his mind.  After two years up there, he wants to go elsewhere.  This is his Transitional Soul-Searching Phase.  But my sources tell me he's just enrolled in the SJG University of Fun and Enlightenment.  (Just between us, he's been accepted, but shhhush.  I want it to be a surprise.)  Anyway, we all offered to go up to Santa Cruz with hubby, but he insisted on doing it alone, mainly so he could tell the guys at work about truckin' down the highway with all the other truckers in the middle of the night, all by himself... while his wife waited up for him, worried sick.  Welcome home, hubby.  Where we gonna put this stuff? 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I'm Tired

Madelyn Kahn as Lilly Von Schtupp:  Tired of being admired
Madelyn Kahn sings "I'm Tired," from "Blazing Saddles." "God damn it, I'm exhausted."  Oy, I can relate.  Double click for full image. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Drum Roll Please

The rumors are true!  The drums belonging to the rapper known as Scott D are reuniting some time today in the vicinity of Sherman Oaks.  The beloved set announced its split only last week, citing "renovation issues" in the upstairs bedroom.  In a few hours, maybe more, the unexpected breakup that shocked the music industry comes to an end.  Due to crowd control concerns, the exact location of the much-anticipated reconciliation will not be disclosed.
According to Billboard, Scott D couldn't be happier to get his bass and snare, hi-hat and tom-toms back together.  For the past seven days, the various parts have been spread all over the house, disrupting the decor.  At one point, the cymbals and the fireplace nearly came to blows.  "I'm definitely stoked," Scott D said.  "I mean, dude, let's make this happen."  With that, he returned to his room, and fell back to sleep.

"Your drums aren't getting back together on their own, ya know," his mother said.  On the other side of the door, the sound of gentle snoring.  Hmm.  Maybe the drum set needs more time apart.  Rim shot!

Friday, July 13, 2012

SJG University Now Accepting Applications

Welcome to the SJG University of Fun and Enlightenment, an institution of higher learning where the possibilities are endless. It’s no surprise that SJGU is consistently named a Best Buy school by Forbes and Princeton Review,who recognize our intellectually rigorous academic program, affordable tuition, numerous financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Here's a sample of the exciting curriculum:

*  The Art of Laundry:  The untold story of how clothes get clean.  From river rock to rapid cycle.  Final involves doing your own laundry for a change.
*  The History of Kvetching:  Since the beginning of time, people have had plenty to complain about, starting with their feet.  This course will review the best kvetchers who ever roamed the earth, from Moses ("O Lord!  You have done nothing to help Your people!") to Mama Rose ("Give 'em love and what does it get ya? What does it get ya? One quick look as each of 'em leaves you. All your life and what does it get ya?")  That's hard to top, but you'll learn how to make your complaints count, which, trust us, is worth the price of admission to SJGU.
*  The Mystery of Kugel:  How to work magic with noodles and make your mother weep with joy.
*  Volume Control:  Learn to watch television and listen to music without busting an eardrum and/or driving your mother insane.
*  Driveway Parking Skills:  We understand.  It's hard to park on the driveway and leave enough room for others to exit the garage without bashing a bumper on the way out.  This course will remind you why you managed to get a license in the first place.
*  Bed-Making:  What, no one ever taught you how to make a bed?  Here's your chance to learn. 
*  The Secret World of the Dishwasher:  What is that boxy white thing sticking out of the wall?  Are you brave enough to open it?  This course will give you the courage to face your fears and put those 950 glasses you've been storing under your unmade bed where they belong.

But hey, don’t just take the SJG's word for it. Take a tour of our fancy campus in Sherman Oaks, walking distance to the Galleria.  It's freeway close.  Literally.  The freeway is down the street for a quick escape.  Join our Facebook group for prospective students.  Stay connected.  You need someone to nag you throughout the application process?  The SJG is on call, 24/7.  It's not as if she ever sleeps, anyway.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dumb Questions


Some say there are no dumb questions.  The SJG begs to differ.  There are many dumb questions, so many, it's hard to remember them all.  But here are my top ten, in no particular chronological order:
1. Would you like to join Jews for Jesus?
2.  What do you do all day?
3.  Are you sure you're not having twins?
4.  Would you like to take a survey?
5.  Did you know you were speeding?
6.  How you doin'?
7.  What's wrong with you?
8.  How short are you?
9.  How much did you pay for that?
10. Did you just fart? (* eldest son's contribution)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Six Weeks To WTF!

A cold bath plus...
A cuppa Joe = WTF
On "Today," where co-hosts come and go and come back -- Bye bye, Meredith!  Here's Meredith at the Queen's Jubilee! Bye, bye, Ann!  Hello, Savannah! -- a man with a British accent and a fake name -- Venice Fulton -- talked about his new weight loss book, "Six Weeks to OMG!"  Apparently, it's all the rage in England.  However, the eldest son and the SJG were not impressed.  We sat and made fun of him and his silly ideas:  Skip breakfast.  Have two cups of strong coffee.  Take a lot of cold baths.  Eat four iPhones.  Wait, that last part doesn't sound right.  What I meant was this:  the daily intake of carbs should be no bigger than four iPhones stacked two by two, approximating the size of a very chintzy sandwich.  According to Mr. Fulton,  if you follow this ridiculous diet, you'll be skinnier than all your friends, and everyone will hate you, so basically, you'll die alone, but look really fetching.  As usual, the eldest had a few thoughts on Mr. Fulton's plan that are far too rude and, how to put this nicely, scatological, to share with you now.  But in the midst of his rant, Billy came up with a diet strategy much smarter than Venice Fulton's.  "I"m going to write a one-page book that says, 'You wanna lose weight, dumb-ass?  Eat less.  Exercise more.  It's as simple as that.  The End."  Excellent advice.  Maybe I'll try it some time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

All The Buzz

The SJG in costume
Sometimes it's freaky how in sync I am with my closest friends.  The wonderful Connie Ray, star of stage and screen, somehow sensed that in the past week, the SJG has been eaten alive by mosquitoes.  Every day, a new bite.  (I can only assume that in the bug world, I am delicious.)  This morning, Connie sent the following email:  "I dreamed last night that you were the star of 'MOSQUITO - THE SWAMP MUSICAL!'  I didn't see you perform, but it was all the buzz."  Broadway bound yet again, and she's taking time out of her busy life to fit me into her dreams.  I'm so touched!  Not to mention:  What a fabulous idea!  The SJG as a mosquito, buzzing around the stage, singing show tunes like "I've Got You Under My Skin."  Can you say box office boffo!  I don't know about you, but I smell a Tony.  I'd like to thank Connie Ray, for putting these jazz hands to work.  Oh, and one more thing.  Happy b'day, gal.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Re-Guilt

Sunday Morning:
SJG:  "I threw out the M&M's."
Scotty: "That was selfish."
SJG:  "I was afraid I'd eat them."
Scotty: "I wanted to eat them."
SJG:  "There are others things to eat."
Sunday Evening:
SJG:  "I told Scotty I threw out the M&M's. He said I was selfish."
Billy:  "You threw out the M&M's?!  How could you do that, Mom?!  I would've taken them.  I have a candy dispenser in the apartment."
SJG:  "Oh, so now you're guilting me, too."
Billy:  "The dispenser is empty, Mom.  There's nothing in there.  Those M&M's would've filled it up."
SJG:  "This cake is delicious.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Just A Pop Over

Peter, the b'day bro', forced to wear silliness by his silly sister
The SJG got a little worried when a big clump of very friendly people arrived at the bro's b'day bash.  There was much hugging, much, "Oh my God, I haven't seen you in ages!  You look smashing!"  Some of them had British accents, some of them didn't.  There was a son of a Brit and his wife.  There was a second husband of another Brit.  Names came and went and recombined in a big blur.  "This is FraDebiAdaTasha-RamaLamaDingDong."  "Hi, everyone," I said, and slipped away.  I'm all about the seating, all about the food.  I started pulling out more chairs and worrying there wasn't enough food.  If the SJG isn't worrying about something, I cease to exist.  "Psst.  Over here." I beckoned the b'day bro' over yonder.  "Who the eff are all those people?" "Oh, that's FraDebiAdaTashaRama --" "Never mind."  Turned out, the big very friendly clump only wanted to snack a bit on cheese and crackers.  They were headed somewhere else for dinner.  "You're going?" I said, disappointed.  I'd reconfigured the seating, I'd counted fried chicken wings and drumsticks.  No worries.  I had plenty of food!  "It was just a pop over," one of the lovely Brits said.  "Well, I'm glad you popped by." The party was a success, or so I'm told.  If it had sucked, I would have heard about it from one of my sons.  Things got a little ass-backwards during the b'day cake portion of the evening.  Peter blew out the candles and then we sang him "Happy Birthday."  Of course, the highlight was a literary discussion led by my father, who reads a new book on his iPad every two days, based mainly on the price.  "It only cost 99 cents," he tells me, every two days.  He's even read "Fifty Shades of Grey," a book I couldn't read more than 20 pages of without screaming about its awfulness.  "Daddy!  How could you read that book!  It's terrible," I said.  "I wanted to see what all the fuss was about."  "And?"  Here he uttered a classic line that will be repeated by generations to come, a line so hysterical, so unexpected, that Scotty immediately posted it on Facebook:  "It's all about f**king."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Party Central

Let's party before you poop out and need a nap
Tonight the home of the SJG transforms into Party Central.  Beer, wine.  Fried chicken made by someone else.  Pasta salad.  Other things.  And, of course, it goes without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway, Birthday Cake.  Someone in my family is turning 60.  Thank God it isn't me.  I'm not ready to be 60, not when on the maturity scale, I still feel 14.  By the time I turn 60, I'll be in my early 20s.  The someone turning 60 is my brother Peter, the North Carolinian, who decided he wanted to celebrate this important milestone here, as opposed to muggy, sticky there.  "Maybe you'll throw me a party," he said, a few months back.  Subtle, yet direct.  "Maybe I will," I said.  Well, there's no maybe about it.  The party is tonight.  Just family and a few close friends.  At the last count, we were up to 17.  "Stop inviting people," I told him, in my warm, sisterly way.  The SJG can only handle so many revelers at once.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Very Funny Nice British Legend

British comedy legend Eric Sykes
"Daddy, did you see in the paper today that Eric Sykes died?" "Oh, no!  I was just thinking about him."  My family has a special place in our hearts for Eric Sykes, one of England's most loved comic actors, "the gentleman of comedy" as they call him there.  Maybe you saw him as Muggle Frank Bryce in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," or in that creepy, cool Nicole Kidman movie, "The Others."  His career spanned stage, screen, and radio.  In the late '60s, he starred in one of my dad's plays, "The Button."  During the run, my dad spent many weeks in England and they became close friends.  "I was just thinking about the time Eric helped me find an oversized coat for one of the actors.  The coat needed to be big, because the character who wears it hides a gun in the sleeve.   Eric took me to Burberry, the finest coat maker in London, and we told them exactly what we needed.  An oversized coat.  They made the coat, and it was perfectly proportioned, and not at all what I asked for.  I was so mad.  I said, 'What happened?' They said, 'We're Burberry.  We'd never sell a coat that didn't fit properly.'  So after all that, Eric took me around London and we finally found a store that sold used clothes and that's how we found the coat that was oversized."  

Fast forward to 1977-78, when I lived in England as an exchange student, and Eric Sykes starred in a long-running sitcom.  Back then I was the SJA:  Short Jewish Anglophile.  My dad said, "You have to call up Eric Sykes."  Such an obedient child, I did as I was told, even though I really didn't know a thing about Eric Sykes.  It's not as if I could Google him.  All I knew was my parents adored him and his wife Edith and he was famous.  "He's like the Johnny Carson of England," my dad said.  So I called him, and thank God I did, because I had the best time ever.  He took me to lunch in London and told me charming stories about other Brits he'd worked with, like Peter Sellers and Spike Millgan.  He invited me to stay at his house in Surrey, too.  When I told my British flatmates that I was taking the train up to London, to spend the weekend at Eric Syke's house, they thought I was "taking the piss out of them."  No one rang up Eric Sykes and just like that, got invited to his house!  No one went to see his show taped in front of a live audience, and got introduced! "We have someone very important in the audience today," Eric Sykes announced.  "She's the daughter of a fine American comedy writer named Ben Starr.  Carol Starr, please stand up."  No one but me, of course. 
 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Introducing Zetz!

I've been ZETZED!
Energize your life with four times the internal power!  Introducing ZETZ 2.0 for on-the-go self-charging. Convenient for travelers and business people and anyone running low on caffeine!  ZETZ 2.0 will give you such a shock, you'll be super zippy in no time.  ZETZ recharges your inner battery and restores that special personal glow.  With ZETZ, you'll never need to catch extra Z's.  You'll be wide awake 24/7!  Perfect for everyone from low-key shleppers to high octane go-getters to Type AAA's.  You'll never kvetch about a lack of pep again!  Dead mental batteries and expensive cerebral spares are a thing of the past with ZETZ. All it takes is some minimally-invasive outpatient surgery to install your very own monagrammed power port.  So, what are you waiting for?  Our well-trained staff of ZETZERS can't wait to assist you.  We accept all major credit cards, but, just between us, prefer cash under the table.  Call 1-800-ZETZ-MEE.  Operators are standing by.  Hurry up, already!  Supplies are limited.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Two Jews on the 4th of July

Why do you think we stay home?
July 4th, Sherman Oaks.  Every year, pretty much the same conversation:  "Honey, let's go see the fireworks."  "Okay, turn on the TV."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Gone Fishin'

It's not often that someone's death makes you want to whistle.  But something tells me that the news of Andy Griffith's death will inspire a whole nation of aging boomers to whistle in his memory.  Who hasn't attempted to whistle the theme song to "The Andy Griffith Show"?  For that matter, who hasn't wanted to live in Mayberry, USA?  Here's a rare version with Andy Griffith singing the opening.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Maybe They Needed A Chuppah

TomKat could've used one of these
A beautiful wedding in Beverly Hills.  A happy couple under the chuppah.  A whole lotta mazel tovs and l'chaims.  And all I can think about is, "What happened to TomKat?"  I'm at a wedding, a black tie affair, with hubby in a really old tux that still fits him -- of course, as the SJG predicted, he is the only man among hundreds wearing a red bow tie -- and I'm still pondering the demise of the Cruise-Holmes marital arrangement.  Before prepping for the wedding, a lengthy transformation of putting on my face and my Spanx and other top secret maneuvers, I go on a truth-seeking mission.  I Google up the wazoo.  During the wedding, I whisper to the nice gal next to me, "Tom and Katie.  Your thoughts?"  The nice gal taps my hand.  "Bad karma to think about people divorcing at a wedding."  "Oops.  But seriously, what went wrong with TomKat?"  "A bad match."  The couple getting married?  God willing, a good match.  After all, an actual matchmaker put them together.  So, does anyone know why the photo op known as TomKat imploded?  It's all rumors and speculation.  But the SJG won't rest easy till I find out some version of the truth.  TomKat sure seemed ushy-gushy in love, didn't they?  Tom jumped on Oprah's couch.  He proposed at the Eiffel Tower.  They married at an Italian castle. They made a daughter who dresses better than other celebrity children.  Maybe Tom was ushy-gushy and Katie was more wrapped up in the fantasy and then she woke up one day and went, "Oh sh*t!  Reality check.  Run!"  Still, it's another Hollywood headscratcher.  For some reason, I wanted TomKat to endure.  But they're done.  Kaput.  Finito.  It's in the hands of the lawyers now.  You just know it's going to get nasty.  If only TomKat had married under a chuppah made of flowers and twinkly lights, if only they'd smashed the glass in honor of life's fragility, it might've helped.  In any event, it couldn't have hurt.