Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How To Be Taller

Hell, yes!
"Limb Lengtheners of L.A.  How may we make you taller?"
"Hi, this is the Short Jewish Gal.  I was wondering the same thing."
"How much taller would you like to be, ma'am?"
"Well, I always wanted to be 5'2."
"How tall are you now?"
"On a good day, maybe 5'1 and a half."
"We can get you to 5'3," no problem."
"Tell me more!"
"First, we'll set up an appointment with one of our highly-trained height specialists."
"Cool.  Is it covered by insurance?"
"I'm guessing no."
"Oy.  Is it expensive?"
"We charge by the inch."
"So, what's involved?  I hope we're not talking medieval torture racks."
"God forbid.  Mostly, it comes down to top secret supplements, top secret stretching techniques, and, above all, positive thinking."
"Get outta here!  What does positive thinking have to do with height?"
"Everything.  You see, SJG, height is a state of mind.  If you think tall and feel tall, you're tall.  How do you feel right now?"
"Pretty short."
"Then you need to come in, immediately."

Monday, April 29, 2013

More Short Jewish Jokes?

A man is lying on the operating table, about to be operated on by his son,  the surgeon.
The father says, "Son, think of it this way ... If anything happens to me, your mother is coming to live with you."
Two bees buzz around what's left of a rose bush. "How was your summer?" asks bee number one.
"Not too good," sez bee two. "Lotta rain, lotta cold. Not enough flowers,  not enough pollen."
The first bee has an idea. "Hey, why don't you go down the corner and hang a left?  There's a bar mitzvah going on. Plenty of flowers and fruit."
Bee two buzzes, "Thanks!" and takes off.
An hour later, the bees bump into each other again.
"How was the bar mitzvah?" asks the info-bee.
"Great!" sez buddy-bee.
The first bee peers at his pal and wonders, "What's that on your head?"
"A yarmulke," is the answer. "I didn't want them to think I was a wasp."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Marital Advice

Every day, I follow the same mental health regimen.  I read two advice columns, Dear Amy, and my personal favorite, Dear Kibitzer, and instantly feel better just knowing that the problems of this little SJG don't amount to a hill of beans, compared to all the other troubled souls in this crazy world.  Sometimes the advice-givers are so wise, I take their suggestions out for a test drive.  The other day, a frustrated spouse asked Amy how to reconnect with his wife, a standoffish gal who's pretty chintzy with the affection.  Amy told him to "devote 10 minutes each day to looking her in the eye, stroking her hand and asking questions and listening."  Naturally, I challenged hubby to do the same. I bet him he couldn't do it without cracking up, losing his mind, or falling asleep.  "Oh, you think so?" he said, whereupon he looked me in the eye and patted my hand while I shared some important concerns.
"We're almost out of dog food," I said.  He stroked my hand.  "Uh-huh."  "I noticed the sink is cracked in the guest room."  He touched my knuckles.  "Aw." "Sometimes, I feel like you'd rather wash the car, than my hair, like, the way Robert Redford does in that movie... with Meryl Streep, the one where she says, 'I had a faarrrrmmm in AFF-ri-Ka...' How come you never wash my hair while I bask in the sun outside, like Meryl?" He petted my left pinky.  "I could hose you, and the dog off at the same time.  Would that work for you?"  "That would be wonderful.  I feel so connected now."  He caressed my right thumb.  "Good talk." "Hey, come back here.  It hasn't been 10 minutes."

Friday, April 26, 2013

You're Fired!

How dare you!
The youngest went all Donald Trump on me yesterday.  "You're fired, Ma!"  "Fired?  From being your Ma?" "No, Ma, you're not fired for being my Ma." "Whew!  Color me relieved!"  "You're fired from appearing in any more of my student films."  "Oh, eff them!  I wasn't that bad!"  "You got some big laughs."  "So, you're firing me just as my acting career takes off?  Oh, the cruelty!"  "I'm not the one firing you, Ma.  Blame the head of the film department."  "The head of the film department is canning my ass?  Ouch."  "He wants us to use actors we don't know.  But he liked Uncle John."  "Oh, I see. The clown stays in the picture, but the mother, the one who schlepped you around in utero, who gave birth to you -- "  "Ma, it's not personal."  "Have I taught you nothing, son?  Write this down:  Everything is personal."  "Hang on, let me get a pen."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Art of Whining

The SJG has passed along my gift for kvetching, whining and complaining to my sons.  They're like sponges, my boys, soaking up all my quirks and putting their own personal stamp on each and every neurotic tendency I've exposed them to, and well, I couldn't be prouder.  But now, a disturbing canine trend has come to my attention, and I wouldn't be me unless I unloaded it onto you and roped you into my latest cause for concern.  Too bad all the good causes are taken, and I'm left with this:  my dog, my Labrador, my daily companion, is the biggest whiner in the family.  I'm not sure how exactly I transferred my love of whining to Dusty, and yet, the evidence is all around me, so, once again, I must accept blame.  All day long, he whines about something.  If I talk on the phone, he whines.  If I talk to someone in my house, he whines.  Basically, if I don't meet his demands, he whines.

Each whine conveys the same two-pronged sentiment: 
1) "What about me?"
2) "Give me a treat and maybe I'll stop whining."

I've come to the conclusion that Dusty is the neediest dog, not to mention, the most manipulative.  They say children learn by example.  I'd like to add my dog to that equation, and well, I couldn't be prouder.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hospital For Overacting

This is the Richard the Third Ward
After viewing my very silly performance in "The Nicolas Cage Speed-Dating Mixer," I'm checking myself into the Hospital for Overacting. Of course, it couldn't all be my fault.  I do believe the director, my youngest son, deserves some blame.  He's the one who kept urging me to go bigger.  My delivery is plenty big, I assure you.  Turns out, there are many ways to say, "Welcome to the Nicolas Cage Speed-Dating Mixer," and I tried every one.  Just the word "welcome" gets bigger with each take, till finally it becomes its own soliloquy. I make that one simple greeting last for days and days: "Weeeeeellllllllcooooommmmme." I promise you'll get to see the reason I never pursued acting, once it's on YouTube and open for public ridicule.  But you have to wait till after his fellow film students rip his three-minute short to shreds in class tomorrow.  On a positive note, my brother, aka Johnny the Clown, is a revelation. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

You're Projecting!

 Boxes of Intrigue
Sometimes a box is just a box.  This we know. And yet, when is a box not a box?  I'm so glad you asked.  The dance studio where I flash the jazz hands on a regular basis had four inexplicable boxes stacked to the ceiling on Sunday.  The SJG just couldn't stop wondering about the boxes.  Why all the boxes? The boxes weren't there the other day.  Why now?  Well, no one knew, not our dance teacher Doug, not anyone.  In fact, the boxes didn't bother my fellow dancers.  They took a very Zen-like approach.  As in:  "Boxes are boxes.  Enough about the boxes. We're going to shove you in a box if you don't stop talking about the boxes." Humph!  That's a little harsh, ladies, not to mention, dismissive. But you know me, I wouldn't let it go.  I needed answers, mister.  I wanted to... forgive me... you knew it was coming... think outside the box. I wanted to make a game of it.
"Please, shut up about the boxes."  "Make me!"
"Hey, gang.  Let's go around the room and everyone say what they think the boxes are for."  "Let's not," I heard someone say. "I'll go first.  I think the boxes are for some kind of modern dance. Like, maybe the boxes represent something symbolic of something else. Like, maybe the dancers dance around the boxes and leap over them.   And the message is screw conformity!  Don't get boxed in! Be free! Free! Freeeeee!" After I demonstrated my Modern Box Step, and waited for some much-needed applause, applause that remained elusive, one of the dancer gals, a therapist, no less, got all Freudian on me.  "Carol, I think you're projecting your feelings onto the boxes."  "Spoken like a true therapist," I said, projecting, "How dare you!" in her general direction.
And yet, it's always nice to have a shrink on call, don't you think? She was onto something.  So was another dancer gal who took pity on me. This gal, with the type of flowing, lustrous hair the SJG will never have, not in this lifetime, pointed to the floor.  "Look, Carol, look at the stickers on the floor."  What say you about stickers? Sure 'nuff, there were bright stickers on the floor in various places, and all of them said Freelusion.  First clue.  Nice work, girlfriend. The rest was up to me, mainly because no one else gave a baby possum's patootie about the stupid boxes.  Thanks to a little compulsive Googling in the privacy of my home, I discovered that the boxes really are all about projection, just not the psychological kind.  A dance troupe called, what else, Freelusion, projects images onto the boxes during performances.  Said troupe must have been rehearsing in the studio earlier, marking their territory with green stickers here... and pink ones there... and red ones over there... and left the boxes behind, probably just to eff with the shaky mental status of the SJG.  Ha!  Nice try, Freelusion. What else you got?
A dance to non-conformity!
Projecting happy thoughts
Pretty pretty boxes

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Bird Lady of Sherman Oaks

Apparently, I'll do anything for a laugh.  Yo ho ho!
"Any volunteers?" Long John Pirate-for-Hire asks.
"Carol will do it," Kelly says.  Kelly and Jen are hosting daughter Kate's birthday party.  Kate is three years old, but then, who isn't?

And so, the SJG surrenders what's left of my dignity (not much).  I tell Long John, go ahead, bucko.  I'll be a human sacrifice.  I'm not afraid. Well, maybe just a little.  Long John deposits not one, not two, but three deadly, extra large parrots on my arms and head.  The macaws cackle. The SJG cackles.  There's a lot of cackling.  I expect the big birdies to use their beaks for evil, to bite off a portion of my cerebellum, or nibble the tips of my elbows.  I anticipate a quick trip to the Emergency Room. I wonder how I'll look with an eye patch.  Relax, mateys.  I survive in tact.  I'm not the snack food of choice.  Molly, Mango and Raggedy Ann are well-trained tricksters, and not all that deadly.  Lucky me.
Aargh!  Don't poop on me head, Mango.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Up On The Roof

Oh, no!  He's on the roof again!  Cleaning the solar panels!
As sung by hubby this morning...

When this old world starts getting me down
And the filth is just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the roof
And make that solar schmutz drift into space

On the roof it's dirty as can be
And there the solar panels bother me

Let me tell you now...
When I come home feelin' mad at the roof
I go up there and make the grime go poof
I get away from the ground below
And make my panels shine, you need more proof?

On the roof's the only place I know
Where you just have to clean to make it so
Oh, let's go
Up on the roof

(apologies to Carole King)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Playing Possum

Sorry you missed the SJG Backyard Bark-A-Thon?  Don't be.  I'm here to fill you in on the commotion that took place yesterday morning.  It went something like this:  Dusty entered the dog run and barked, incessantly.  The SJD (Short Jewish Detective) went out to investigate.  "What are you barking at?" I asked.  He barked in response.  I got closer to the crime scene.  He was barking insanely at a cute little baby something, just lying there on the ground.  At first viewing, the cute little baby something looked like an ex-something.  And there was another cute little ex-baby something by the gate.  The SJD had an immediate flashback to a Horrible Childhood Trauma -- the time I found my beloved Stuart, a guy guinea pig that turned out to be a gal, knocked up by King Sol, named during a brief biblical phase, well, there's no nice way to say it... Stuart was dead.  She'd had just given birth to many cute little baby guinea piggies, and the labor proved too much.  At that moment, I screamed and went running back into the house.  Yesterday's discovery of two ex-baby somethings triggered the same flight response.  "@#$%!" I screamed, and took off.  Dusty stayed put, his ancestral retriever-type instincts so deeply suppressed, all he could do was keep barking at the ex-baby somethings. The message he was trying to impart:  "Hey, you!  Get up!  Move!  Beat it!  Scram!  Go, and never darken my towels again.  This is my dog run, not yours.  Get the eff out!  And take your brother with you!"
"Go, and never darken my towels again."
Meanwhile, I was already upstairs, sharing my trauma with hubby.  "Honey!  Dusty found two dead somethings in the dog run.  I don't know what they are, but they are definitely dead!"  "I'll handle it," he said, in his manliest voice.  "I've got a shovel."  Better hubby should shovel up the ex-somethings, than the SJG.  I'm not cut out for that sort of work.  So hubby went off to the dog run to investigate and came back with an exciting update.  Guess what?  The somethings weren't dead, they were just two prankster baby possums, playing... what else, dead.  Ha ha! The joke was on the SJG and Dusty.  Good one, possums.  Hardy-har-har.  So hubby transported them, via shovel, to a new location, where their mother later retrieved them.  See what I did there?  I gave you a happy ending.  You're welcome!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Hysterical Society

The Hysterical Society.  What is it?  The Hysterical Society is a committee of two:  Scout's mother (Cheryl) and Dusty's mother (the SJG).  Yes, yes, we know our maternal instincts toward our puppies are non-biological in nature, but thank you for reminding us that we didn't really birth our Labradors.  Helpful.  How can you become a member?  Sorry, you can't.  This is an exclusive arrangement, something you can't be part of, and it's eating you up inside.  For that, we apologize.  But maybe once I explain, you won't want to belong, and honestly, we can't blame you. The Hysterical Society wanders the immediate neighborhood -- most days we stay within a two-block radius, determined by Scout's "leg situation," Cheryl's various ailments and the SJG's low-tolerance for pollen, wind and unleashed wild beasts that occasionally charge at us out of nowhere and scare us to death. What is our purpose?  I'm so glad you asked.  We harshly critique our neighbors.  We judge them for their strange landscaping choices.  We compose imaginary notes we're too chicken to leave in their mail boxes, and recite our missives in bad English accents, a la Maggie Smith:
 "We at  the Hysterical Society have noticed that the so-called 'pretties' you told us you were going to plant in your front garden, have yet to appear, thereby tarnishing the entire block.  We are ashamed to be your neighbors.  Get on with it." Now and then, we actually find a house worthy of praise:  "We at the Hysterical Society approve of your roses.  Carry on." Just recently, we've expanded our commentary, automotively:  "We at the Hysterical Society recommend a good washing of your crappy-ass vehicle.  You bring shame to the neighborhood.  Grab a hose and get on with it." Yesterday, we found one car worthy of our admiration:  "We at the Hysterical Society approve of your eco-friendly, electric auto.  Go green.  Carry on." 
When it comes to snark and snap judgments, the Hysterical Society knows no bounds.  We plan to expand to other areas, including fashion (anyone over the age of five in Crocs will receive an immediate style demerit), behavioral quirks (our own mannerisms are exempt), parenting skills (ditto), opinions (what it comes down to is this: we're right and you're wrong)... oh, the list goes on and on.  There's really no stopping us now.  The Hysterical Society is watching you.  Carry on.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Don't Harp On It

Go away, I'm practicing the harp.
.... Or go ahead and harp on it all you want.  Harping, which is just a nice goyisha substitute for kvetching, happens to be one of the SJG's favorite hobbies, but then you already knew that.  I think my fondness for harping dates back to my first encounter with an actual harp. It was the fiercest harp.  It just sat there in my friend's living room, like a big spooky tchochke.  The harp looked something like this:
That's a bitchin' harp you got there, mate.
Of course, my friend's living room wasn't this fancy-schmancy. Why must you harp on the details?  Imagine a harp in a living room, circa 1966ish, in a humble town called Westwood.  Imagine the SJG looking at this harp in horror  -- not because I was musically-challenged.  Math and geography -- big challenge.  Music -- my first true love.  So yes, I took piano lessons, just because... because... oh, who remembers.  My brothers did it, so I did it, too.  For five years I tinkled the ivories.  Ask me how much piano I remember now.  "Heart and Soul." That's it.  But back to the harp, which is supposedly the point of today's discussion.  Unless I veer off into something else, like my fondness for sipping coffee on the veranda.  If only I had a veranda.  Now then, pay attention, this blog will be over soon.  I think.

My friend Ellen, a smarty from the get-go, took harp lessons.  The harp was grand and imposing and for reasons only a therapist might understand, scared the crap out the SJG. To me, Ellen's harp sat there like a towering threat.  It looked heavy and delicate at the same time. The harp represented all things foreign and mysterious.  The harp seemed to say, Oh, Pluck Off, You.  I'm just going to put it out there.  I didn't like Ellen's harp.  Pithy thought:  We often don't like what we don't understand.  So, fine.  I didn't understand what an eight year old was doing playing the harp.  This couldn't have been her idea.  This idea had to come from her very strict, harping mother.  As in, "Ellen, you will play the harp, not the piano, like your silly friend Carol.  You will be a harpist.  You will travel the world, thanks to that harp.  You will thank me, profusely, every time you step foot on stage.  Thank you, Mumsy, for forcing me to playing the harp.  I'm so grateful to you.  I'm a harpist because of your belief in me."

Ellen and her stupid harp.  One time, Ellen was at my house, and we were having a fun time, doing what eight year olds did back in the '60s.  We weren't texting or watching Video On Demand.  We were playing with Barbie Dolls or playing Crazy 8's or checkers.  Good clean, non-harp-related fun.  And then my mom, who never forced me to play the harp, but did force me to wear some questionable outfits from time to time, came in and said, "Ellen, your mother just called.  She said you have to come home and practice the harp."

Worst play date ever.

Ellen and her stupid harp.  Did she grow up to be a harpist?  No, she didn't.  How long did she play that stupid harp?  A while.  Not that long.  One day, the harp was gone.  I can't tell you when, exactly.  Much like the harp, the string holding our friendship together eventually frayed.  But every time I see a harp, I think of Ellen.  Ellen and her stupid harp.  A cautionary tale. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oy Vey Is All I Can Say

Oy vey, is all I can say. 
Why?  Why?  I'll give it a try.
No words, words sound too absurd.
Oy vey, is all I can say.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The SJG Mental Disposal Service

Ever have one of those days when you just can't get rid of your negative, soul-depleting, why-don't-you-choose-someone-else-for-a-change kind of crappy-ass thinking?  Ever have one of those days when you'd like to unload all that psychological baggage you've been schlepping around on somebody else?  Well, look no further, my friends.  Here at the SJG Mental Disposal Service of Sherman Oaks, we're all about quality service.  Need to rent a dumpster for all your pent-up rage?  Get in line.  Or call us, instead. We believe you deserve nothing less than the best service possible. We'll give you what you need, what you didn't realize you need and what you don't need but might need at a later date.  All at a good price, promise.  We'll praise you for finally letting go of that heavy load of mishegas that keeps you up at night.  Give yourself a break.  We'll show you how to turn your grief green and keep your mind relatively clean. Why store all those dumb neuroses in your crowded keppy?  Why pass your issues down when you can recycle them into something better for the planet? Like what, you ask?  That's for us to know and not burden you with, because you've got enough on your plate.  Our goal is to empty out the clutter in your personal head space. Enough already. It's weighing you down. Kiss it goodbye.  Sure, the SJG Mental Disposal Service might not be a big company, but we'll console you and serve you a nice warm slice of kugel, made just for you, and what big company is going to do that?  We take great pride in what we do.  We're here for you.  So give us a call and let go of that bulky childhood trauma, that hazardous camp experience when the horse ran off with you, drop-off all your worries and let us deal with the repercussions.  Go, have a lovely life. Isn't it about time?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

You Gotta See "Kinky Boots"

"Matilda:  The Musical"
"Telecharge.  This is Cindy.  How can I help you?"
"Hi, Cindy.  I want to buy two tickets to 'Matilda: The Musical.'  But I didn't have any luck online.  So I'm calling you, Cindy, my new best friend.  I hope you have two tickets for me."
"They're selling out fast."
"Oh, poo."
"What day are we talkin' about?"
"We're talkin' about May 15, 8 o'clock."
"Nope.  All gone."
"Oh, no.  Cindy.  Nooooo.  Now I'm sad."
"Don't be sad.  I was just kiddin' around."
"You fooled me."
"I've got two tickets for you right here."
"It's a fabulous show.  You want 'em?"
"Of course, I want 'em."
"You from New York?"
"I'm from Sherman Oaks."
"Get outta here!  You sound like you're from New York."
"I'm just kiddin' around."
"You fooled me."
"What other shows you wanna see?  How 'bout 'Kinky Boots'?"
"Kinky Boots"
"I'm seeing 'Lucky Guy.'"
"You gotta see 'Kinky Boots.'  I got tickets for you.  What night?"
"I don't think I'll have time."
"Come on, you gotta see 'Kinky Boots.'  How 'bout a matinee?"
"I don't have time to see 'Kinky Boots,' Cindy."
"Well, listen, if you decide you have time, call me, and I'll find you tickets for 'Kinky Boots.'"
"I will."
"You better.  Have a nice day.  It's been a blast talkin' to you."
"You, too, Cindy."
"Last chance for 'Kinky Boots.'"
"Bye, Cindy."
"Okay, bye."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Just Pass

Define: Genius 
A "C" student with a Jewish mother. 

There are many times when the SJG has prayed for a "C."  "Dear God in heaven, please, we don't ask much, but please, just let him get a 'C' in Bio-Statistics."  The mantra in this house:  Just get a "C," honey.  You can do it.  Come on.  Just Get A "C" has been the theme of many a tricky college course.  Anything math or science-related?  We become very religious.  We dial-up 1-800-RABBI.  All we ever wanted for our boys was a passing grade. For without a passing grade, they faced the ultimate shanda -- repeating the class.  The eldest took Algebra 2 at least 2 two times in high school, maybe 3, but who's counting.  Hubby and I will never forget the time we attended Back To School Night and introduced ourselves to his math teacher.  "Hi, we're Billy's parents." Whereupon she dropped her head, sighed heavily and said, "Oh, Billy... Billy... Billy."  We took this as a bad sign.  Still, a "C" by us has always been acceptable.  An "A" or a "B"?  We'll take that too.  But slapping the "genius" label on a son who got a "C" or, God willing, better?  Sorry. That's where we part ways.  Our policy is simple.  We try never to call any relative, close or distant, alive or departed, a genius.  The repercussions, the swelled egos, the I'm-better-than-you-bitch would be endless. So we don't go there.  Unless your name is Einstein, you aren't a genius. Or, to quote my go-to source of humor, "You Don't Have To Be Jewish,"  "To a captain, you're no captain."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Girl Detective

"Daddy, I think I remember another time Mom wore the Flop Dress.  It came to me last night.  Peter's Bar Mitzvah!  The big party... where was it?" "The Beverly Hills Hotel."  "Can you get out the photo album and check?"  "Where is it?" "In the den... on the big glass thingie."  "I'm walking into the den.  I'm walking.  I'm in the den."  "Okay, look on the bottom shelf."  "I'm looking.  I see books."  "Look on the far left.  There's a big stack of photo albums."  "There is?"  "Only since 1977."  "Nobody likes a smart ass."  "Did you find it?"  "I see the little ones, the black and white shots of the three of you.  Cute kids.  Look at you, with the toy iron." "That's the last time I used an iron."  "I don't see Peter's Bar Mitzvah.  Or John's."  "It's there, Daddy.  Keep looking."  "Oh, wait, here's something.  It says Bar on the side.  It's not a little album."  "I didn't say it was a little album."  "Peter's Bar Mitzvah."  "Yay!  You found it."

"Okay, so now what am I supposed to do?"  "Open it."  "I'm opening it.  Oh, look, there's Grammy."  "Are you looking at the service?"  "Yep."  "We don't care about that.  Keep going... to the party."  "Look at that.  What a handsome fella I was."  "You still are."  "That was some party."  "Daddy, have you found Mom yet?"  "Here she is."  "What's she wearing?"  "A very pretty gown.  She looks great.  She always looked great."  "Tell me about the dress."  "It's white and sleeveless."  "That's the Flop Dress!  I knew it."  "No way."  "What?  Why not?"  "Mom never would've worn that to a play.  It's too fancy."  "Of course she would've worn it.  It was opening night of your big Broadway play.  Don't you remember?"

"All I remember is pacing back and forth in the back of the theater."  "Where you in a tuxedo?"  "No way."  "Was there a big party after the opening?"  "Probably." "So that's why Mom would've been all dressed up, right?"  "I don't remember."  "Daddy!"  "It was a long time ago."  "I know, but, listen, it was the 60's right?"  "Yep." "Was 'The Family Way' on Broadway after you were on 'Mr. Ed.'?"  "That sounds right."  "And when was Peter's Bar Mitzvah?"  "1965."  "Okay, so it was just a few years between the play on Broadway and Peter's Bar Mitzvah, right?"  "If you say so."  "Daddy!"  "If I say yes, do I get to hang up soon?"  "You're missing the point!  Mom wore the Flop Dress one more time to Peter's Bar Mitzvah.  Case closed."  "Nice work, Detective.  Can I hang up now?"  "Not if I hang up first."

Monday, April 8, 2013

Let's Settle This Like Grownups

A director prepares:  The fearless helmer (Scotty), seconds before filming "The Nicholas Cage Dating Service."

The star of the film:  Johnny the Clown (my brother John).

Johnny the Clown shields the Hostess of the Speed-Dating Mixer (that would be me) from the harsh Hollywood rays. 

Wooing the ladies:  Charlene (Dana) and Marzipan (Kaitlyn) fight over who gets the clown.  Marzipan wins.  Lucky girl.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Nicolas Cage Speed-Dating Mixer

"Don't tell me to change the title.  Unless you want to die."
At the tiny college the youngest now attends, an unassuming location surrounded by freeways and movie studios, as opposed to redwood trees and Santa Cruzans in Birkenstocks, his fellow film students harshly critique and rank each other on their newbie attempts at filmmaking. He takes it all in stride, but then, he's more evolved than the SJG.  "Oh, eff them!" I say, weekly.  Or maybe hubby says that.  Or the eldest.  We all agree that peer-rankings at this delicate infant stage are redonkulous, more popularity contest than constructive.  Maybe it's meant to spur the newbies on to do better next time.  Maybe it's meant to introduce them to a nice big public shaming, which is what Hollywood is all about, anyway.  Either way, I certainly admire his fortitude.  He's not taking any of it too seriously.  The other day, he shared the script for the three-minute short he's filming today in our backyard: "The Nicolas Cage Speed-Dating Mixer."  This one stars my brother John, and of course, the SJG makes an appearance as hostess of Mr. Cage's matchmaking efforts. The main note from his peers:  "Change the title."  "Oh, eff that, it's funny," I said.  "They didn't think so." "Did they like the script?" "Yeah, I think so, but I don't give an eff what they think," he said. That's my boy. And that's the right attitude for Hollywood.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Up, Please, Or Is That Too Much To Ask?

I got in the elevator.  I pushed #1.  The doors closed.  I was on my way. Except I wasn't.  Nothing happened.  At first, I didn't realize the elevator wasn't moving.  I'm a bit of a space cadet these days.  But then it occurred to me I was on a ride to nowhere.  My #1 fear in life is to be trapped in an elevator.  No thankie.  No thankie very much. My natural inclination in life is to panic, but I didn't have the energy.  All I could muster was an understated "uh-oh," followed by a low-key, "How do I get the eff out of here?"  I stared at the panel and pressed a pretty green button with arrows, hoping it meant, "Open for the little Jew," as opposed to, "Let's keep her in here a while longer and watch her freak out, that'll be fun."  Like an answered prayer, the elevator doors opened. Score one for the SJG.  I stepped out and pondered my existence.  My meeting was in five minutes.  I still had plenty of time to reach the first floor, even if I had to hire a helicopter to deposit me on the roof so that I could rappel down the building. I was fairly confident I'd get there somehow.  And so, as I stood there and waited for divine intervention, which I like to do every now and then, just to see if it shows up, ta-da! in walked my salvation, my traveling angel, my guide to get me out of this baffling situation.  "The elevator didn't work for me," I said to her. (Private note to self:  See how you personalize things?  A healthy person would say, "The elevator didn't work."  But you, SJG, you cute dollop of neuroses, must add, "for me." Has all that therapy taught us nothing? Don't answer that.)
Hang on, I need a rest
My guide took charge, as I knew she would.  "Let's see what's going on," she said.  I followed her blindly into the elevator.  Just because it didn't work for me, didn't mean it wouldn't work for her.  So in we went, and I let her push #1.  The doors closed.  And nothing happened. "Hmm," she said, like a TV detective.  She pressed "open" and got out.  I followed her.  (Personal note to my father:  Dad, you always told me not to be a sheep, to be a leader.  Baaaaaaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaaaa.  Sorry to let you down.)  Then she pressed the button on the other elevator. Bupkis.  Time remaining before meeting: two minutes. (Turns out, my guide had her own meeting that didn't involve me.  How selfish.) Anyway, the prospect of hiring a helicopter?  Looking dim.  My guide cased the surroundings, like a gal on a cop show, and found a secret path. Clearly, this was an important journey we were meant to take together. "I guess we have to take the stairs," she said.  "Oy gevalt," I said.  And off we schlepped, the SJG dragging my tired tuchas up more flights than one, I'll tell you that much, and I've never been good at math.  The high-heeled feet of my kick-ass guide barely touched the steps.  She just floated up, up, up, while I, on the other hand, huffed and puffed.  (One of these gals is not like the other.)  This was the most exercise I've had in weeks.  I was two seconds from hauling out the inhaler when we reached the door to our destination.  Cue heavenly harp music as we stepped into the lobby on the first freaking floor. There sat my devastatingly handsome friend Jim, calm and collected, all smiles on the sofa. "Did the elevator work for you?" I asked.  "Yes, why wouldn't it?"  Why not, indeed.

Friday, April 5, 2013

It Couldn't Hurt

A Rabbi delivers the eulogy at a man's funeral.  
Old lady in the back row:  "Give him some chicken soup! Give him some chicken soup!"
Rabbi:  "Madame, it wouldn't help."  
Old lady:  "It couldn't hurt." 

This is one of my favorite jokes from "You Don't Have To Be Jewish."  I've loved it ever since I was a shy little knish, growing up in a humble village called Westwood. The idea that a sip of chicken soup might help the dearly departed sums up the eternal optimism (based on God-only-knows-what) that has kept Jews going, despite everything. Of course, I'd like to tell you that chicken soup has cured me of my lingering bronchitis, but sadly, it hasn't.  So at this stage, I need more than Jewish penicillin and Prednisone to get me over the hump.  But what? 
Things rarely said about the SJG:
"She's so holistic."
"She's all about natural remedies."
"She's Little Miss Homeopathic."
"She just had her chakras realigned." 
Oh, don't judge me, people.  I've been there, I've done that.  I've traveled that road.  I've tried it, I swear.  Acupuncture.  Potions.  Droplets under the tongue.  Yes, I even went through a brief-yet-ineffective acai berry phase.  That's right.  You heard me.  I drank the Monavie.  It did bupkis, I tell ya!  And yet, despite my crappy track record with this alternative stuff, yesterday, I slipped on my Toms and schlepped to Whole Foods, where I consulted a dude named Brett.
"Help me, Brett, help me.  Get me well, holistically and homeopathically.  Oh, please,  Brett.  It's up to you now."
"Again with the berries?"
"Elderberry helps boost your immune system."
"Does it, now?"
"It does."
"Oh, look, Elderberry gummy bears!  Me likey."
"I'd go with the syrup."
"Okay, Brett.  Let's do this, man. I mean it's probably a big waste -- "
"Uh, you might dial down the negativity.  This is Whole Foods."
"Oops, sorry.  I forgot where I was."
"It's cool."
"Gimme a bottle of your finest Elderberry."
"There you go.  Hope it helps."
"It couldn't hurt."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bialystock & Bloom

Too many bialys
The fridge of the SJG is always overstocked with bialys. Why is this? Why do I always have at least three packages of bialys in various stages of freshness going at once?  Here a bialy, there a bialy, everywhere a bialy-bialy.  Oh, look, gang!  There's a package of two bialys hidden behind the mayo, and over there, a package of three, keeping company with the Greek yogurt and smushy avocado I should definitely throw out soon.  The question remains:  Why can't I just finish one package of bialys before purchasing another one?  Am I worried I might find myself bialy-free?  Well, I'm a loss to explain it, I truly am, but I can tell you this much.  It's physically, not to mention spiritually, impossible for me not to slice and toast and eat a nice bialy without quoting Ula in "The Producers." I must say, "Bialystock & Bloom, God dag på dig," each and every time, or I fear the universe will spontaneously combust, and we can't have that, can we? 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Labrador

Dusty:  "Nice sandwich.  Looks yum.  Gimme."
John:  "Don't even think about it."
Dusty:  "Just a bite?"
John:  "Not even a crumb."
Dusty:  "Drool.  Sniff.  Gimme."
John:  "Dogs don't get human food."
Dusty: "They do in this house."
John:  "They don't in my house."
Dusty: "That's ruff.  Poor Lucky."
John:  "Lucky doesn't know he's not getting human food."
Dusty:  "Of course, he knows."
John:  "Does not."
Dusty:  "Does too."
John:  "Stop eyeballing my sandwich."
Dusty:  "Make me."
John:  "Woof."
Dusty: "That's my line."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Past Lives Pavilion

"Defending Your Life"
It's true, I ponder a lot of silly things throughout the day.  But one thing I never ponder is who I might've been in a past life.  The idea that I've been recycling the same genetic bounty of angst for centuries doesn't thrill me on any level, so why go there?  What's that?  Why so negative about past lives?  Why not open myself up to past life options that don't involve fighting for my own survival? Why not entertain some loftier karmic past life possibilities?  Why not emulate my good friend Bella? (Disclaimer: I don't actually know any non-fictional gals named Bella, do you?) Bella is one of those gals who was just born confident. She came out of the womb in charge, ready to reorganize and reinvent. Ask Bella who she was in a past life and she doesn't even hesitate. Bella knows exactly who she was:  Emperor of Japan.  If Bella believes she was Emperor of Japan, who am I to doubt her?  She manages a business empire of her own, and has more chutzpah, ambition and dedication than anyone I've ever encountered.  So, if anyone was ever qualified in a past life to be Emperor of Japan, it would definitely be Bella. I have no problem with her powerful legacy.  I'm happy for her. In my own case, however, I don't need to see a chart, hit rewind or visit the Past Lives Pavilion to know I've always been a nervous background player, an observer of the insanity.  Let Bella run Japan in the past.  I'd rather sip my nice warm sake in the present.