Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Scooped

A crime against bagels
It happened once, many years ago, but once was enough.  I'm still traumatized. Of course, I traumatize easily. This particular trauma was bagel-related.  I come from a family of bagel-worshippers.  I attended Temple Beth Bagel.   An onion bagel from Nat n' Al's is my personal symbol of hope.  Give me a great bagel, or even a so-so bagel, and I can get through anything.  And so, on the day in question, the hubby and the SJG picked up a dozen and arrived at Trudy and Leo's apartment for brunch.  This was in the early '80s, when we all still lived in apartments, as opposed to houses we couldn't afford.  Trudy and Leo's apartment was bigger than ours.  Not that I'm hung up on comparisons or bitter. Well, maybe a little.  Trudy and Leo.  Leo and Trudy.  Not their real names.  I'm using fake names to protect them from getting pelted with bagel dough, should any SJG-followers take my blog to heart.

As we sat down to eat, in their much-nicer kitchen nook, Trudy and Leo proceeded to scoop out their bagels with their fingers.  They piled the unwanted dough on their plates, unaware that they had just committed the crime of the century.  At least, in my opinion.  Tears came to my eyes.  I started to shake uncontrollably.  I hurled my fists in the air.  I started to shout and curse.  Typical SJG behavior, but still, I was heated. "Oh, dear God in heaven, what the @#$% are you people doing?"  One of them -- I can't remember which one, for I was booted out shortly thereafter -- said, in a calm, cult-like voice, "We're scooping our bagels."  "But why?  Why?  Why would you do such a thing?"  "It's less fattening," one of them answered, robotically.  "Then eat half an eff'n bagel, or half of a half.  Or just one delicious bite of heaven.  Don't scoop it out.  Scooping a bagel goes against the Laws of Delicatessens everywhere.  It's unnatural.  Not to mention, wrong on every level."  At that point, Trudy and Leo's bigger, nicer kitchen nook started to spin. Everything went black.  The rest is a big blur, although I remember getting beaned on the keppy with nine or ten unscooped bagels on the way out.  We were never invited back to Trudy and Leo's. I still can't figure out why.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Factory Recall

(Sherman Oaks) The factory that designed the SJG from scratch announced today a recall of the internationally-known blogger, due to a major glitch in her electric power system.   "We forgot to install an off-switch in the SJG," said factory spokeswoman Lavinia Pepper Morganblatt.  "She's one of our earlier models, built in the late 50s and recently discontinued.  Our highly-trained mechanics gave her a portable off-switch, but she kept losing it.  So now, we're thinking of letting the SJG idle indefinitely in our vintage museum, unless, by some miracle, she learns to shut down on her own."

Monday, July 29, 2013

When Opposites Attract

Some matches are made in heaven.  Some are made in suburban parking lots.   It was love at first zetz.   My car saw the wall and the wall saw my car.  The wall gave a wink.  "Hey, baby, how you doin'?  Come here and gimme a hug."  My car tried avoidance.  My car is no dummy. My car has been there before with other walls in other parking lots.  My car knows walls only want one thing.  Contact.   Once again, my car couldn't fight the urge.  My car has needs.  It's been a while since my car rubbed up against concrete.  The pull was too strong, the attraction too intense.  Sparks flew every which way.  In the end, the rear end, to be exact, my car brushed up against destiny.   Backed right into trouble. Scrunch!   Slight damage.  Significant heartache.  Stupid car. Stupid wall. When will they learn they're not right for each other?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I See The Moon

When I was a needy little SJG... as opposed to now, a prolonged phase best described as "more than a little needy," my mom used to sing me a lullaby that remains embedded in my keppy, a place in need of serious crowd control.  I can't look at the moon, full or crescent, makes no diff,  without singing this sweet song, and thinking of her.

I see the moon and the moon sees me
The moon sees somebody I want to see
God bless the moon
And God bless me
And God bless the somebody I want to see

Here's looking at you, Mom.  Wherever you are. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Truly Atrocious Poetry


No carb
Low carb
High carb


No fun
Relative fun
Big fun


No sh*t?
Holy sh*t!
Bat sh*t!


No way
Wrong way
Thatta way


At ease
At last
At rest


No blog
Silly blog
Enough blog

Thursday, July 25, 2013

If There's A Will...

Lew Weitzman
He got a full house at the DGA.  He would've liked that.  He would've asked if there were any seat fillers hired for the event.

Every sweet story, shared by his sons, his brother, his lifelong friends, involved his legendary quips and puns.

It was non-stop fun just to be around him. On the phone.  In person. He made you laugh.  He couldn't help it.

A few of his famous Lew-isms:

"If there's a will, I want to be in it."
"I'm alright for a man of my height."
"It's so quiet you can hear an option drop."
"I don't have to do this for a living.  I have two chinchillas in heat."
"My heart will be pounding until we speak again."

Mine, too.  If only.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Ingratitude List

It's important in life to take a moment and reflect on all the things I'm not grateful for, otherwise, I might get too happy, and that would be too foreign for the SJG.  I wouldn't know what to do with all that happiness.  I might spontaneously combust.  And so, here's just a partial list of what I'm not grateful for, not grateful in any way, not even a little bit:
1.  The sinus headache I woke up with this morning.
2.  The complete a-hole who cut me off on Ventura the other day.
3.  The parking ticket I haven't gotten yet, but will get at some point.
4.  The woman in Zumba who invaded my personal Zumba space.
5.  The trash truck on Beverly Glen that made me late for my lunch date.
6.  The nurse who measured me yesterday and told me I was shrinking.
7.  The dry chicken I served my family for dinner.
8.  The unknown callers who act like they know me.
9.  The people who talk and/or text during movies.
10. The people who will annoy me today.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Royal Boychick

The SJG, aka William and Kate's spiritual and cultural guide to all things Jewish,  can now reveal that I received one of the first phone calls announcing the birth of the royal baby.  The conversation went something like this:  "Hello, SJG, it's Prince Wills.  How's ba you?" "Good, good.  And you?"  "Fantastic!  Kate just popped out an eight pound boychick."  "Mazel tov, I'm kvelling on your behalf."  "I am, as well.  In between sips of tea!" "So, when's the briss?"  "Soon."  "Am I invited?" "Most likely." "I'm sensing a problem."  "You're very perceptive."  "Tell me something I don't know.  Spill it, Wills.  What's wrong?  I'll keep it hush hush."  "We still haven't announced that we converted."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Advanced Displacement

The first time the SJG heard the expression "gifted," the eldest was in kindergarten.  The "gifted" buzz was suddenly a thing.  Is your child gifted?  Has your child been tested?  Is your child highly gifted, moderately gifted, semi-gifted, or, God forbid, NOT gifted?  Oy vey. Such a shanda to be un-gifted.  Everything was about gifted this, gifted that. Seemingly overnight, "gifted" meant something big.  You wanted your kid to be academically gifted.  Your kid, on the other, didn't give a sh*t about being gifted.  Unless it meant toys and Game Boys and other fun stuff coming his way.  That was the only gifted he cared about.  The gifted ones only got more homework.  Congratulations, brainy ones! Guess who never gets to go outside and play ever again?  You!
A gathering of the Highly Un-Gifted
Where did this gifted business come from, anyway?  I can't tell you.  I'd probably have to go back to school to find out.  I don't want to go back to school.  In school, I was never pegged gifted.  In school, I was put in remedial math just for getting a "C."  So, don't talk to me about gifted. Occasionally, I landed by accident in an advanced class.  Someone in the front office messed up, and there I was in Advanced Sitting, surrounded by smarties.  I felt out of place, but I did my best to sit in an advanced way.  Advanced was a big thing, back then.  In college, the SJG took Advanced Kvetching.  I excelled.  I took Advanced Worrying.  I aced it.  I took Advanced Denial.  I failed that one.  These days, I'm into a different type of advanced.  Advanced Bone-Creaking.  Advanced Nasal Difficulties.   Advanced Where-Did-I-Put-My-Phone.  When it comes to advanced, at this stage of the game, I'm plenty gifted.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Back Story


When the SJG was a little gal, my dad convinced me he was a very strong man, stronger than Tarzan.


Stronger than Jack LaLanne.


When the SJG was a little gal, my dad convinced me he could move the house all on his own.  He'd say, "Watch this, Daddy's going to make the house move."  He'd push against the wall and grunt.


And I'd totally buy it.  I was four.


Then one day, before remote controls made magical things happen, let's call it the early '60s, my dad got out of the car and went to open the heavy wooden garage door.   The little SJG figured he wasn't just going to move the house, he was going to lift it right off its foundation.  How many daddies could do that?  Mid-lift, his back went out.   He was frozen in pain.  "Go get your mother," he said.  "Hurry." So I ran and got my mother.  "Daddy got stuck moving the house," I told her.

It took me a while to question the whole house-moving scenario.

The other day, I finally broached the subject.  "Dad, when did I stop believing you could move the house?"  "On your 45 birthday."  "How did I take it?"  "Not well.  You're still not over it."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Eating For Two

I'm so nervous for the Duchess, I've been noshing on her behalf.  An extra bite of bagel. A slice of nice coffee cake.  A double scoop of Abe & Moshe's Toffee Tonnage.  No wonder the scale's creeping up.  I'm eating for two.  That's the kind of gal I am. When I worry, I go all out. I'm not just worried about my own people.  I'm worried about Kate's mishpocha, too.  What they must be going through!  I can just hear the phone messages Kate's ignoring:  "Hello, dear, it's Mummy.  Any contractions?  Can we move this thing along?  All the attention.  It's a bit tiresome, don't you think?  Kiss kiss!"  "Hi!  It's Queen Liz.  What up with my royal great grandbaby?  How much longer must I wait?  It's terribly unbecoming.  I command you to speed it up.  Ta!"  All the silly, unsolicited advice Kate must be getting. "Schlep, Duchess, schlep! Schlep around the palace.  Schlepping always gets labor started." "Have some chicken soup, Duchess.  It couldn't hurt."  "Have some royal sex. Sex always brings on labor."  Kate and the SJG, we have so much in common.  Before the royal eldest was born, I, too, had millions dying to know when I was ready to pop.  I'd step outside the royal townhouse and find myself surrounded by paparazzi as I waddled toward the garage.  I was not amused.  "Please, no more photos.  I look like a beached whale."  Kate, on the other hand, looks remarkably glamorous and fetching.  She's camera-ready at all times.  Me?  Not so much.  Still, I feel for her.  I do.  Which is why I'm eating for two.  So, please, Kate, be a love and hurry it up.  I can barely zip my jeans.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Where's Your Messiah Now?

It starts out innocently enough.  A well-meaning attempt to impersonate a famous dead movie star.  The other day, the youngest started the ball rolling, with his version of Conan O'Brien's version of Jimmy Cagney.   I picked it up from there, with my version of Billy Crystal's version of Edward G. Robinson saying, "Where's your messiah now?"  I said it about 180 times for the next three hours.  Then hubby got home and took it from there.  All last night, it was, "Where's your messiah now?" "Where's your Moses now, see?" By this morning, I had to find it on YouTube, hopefully putting an end to the madness.  Here's the link, too, for the smart phonies: http://youtu.be/D0Qcv3YV4aA
(Again with the technical difficulties...)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Teenage Mutant Ninja Mother

Despite my best efforts, my sons are fully grown.  I've done everything in my power to turn back time and keep them little boys.  I've offered to read them bedtime stories, sing them lullabies, and rock them to sleep. I've offered to quiz them on their spelling words, teach them how to tie their shoes and zip their jeans.   I've offered to comb their hair, brush their teeth and wipe their tushies.  I've offered them juice boxes, Teddy Grahams and Ritz Bitz.  I've coddled, smothered and enabled.  I've scolded, whined and threatened.  Nothing seems to be working.  Not a single thing.  They just keep getting older, smarter, wiser and funnier.   It's time to face reality.  Time to return the Where's Waldo sheets, the Winnie the Pooh backpacks, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Velcro sneakers, the Pokemon trading cards, the Power Rangers swords, the WWF wrestling action figures.   My sons are fully grown.  My work here is done.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Early Morning Amnesia

Doctors are looking into the mystery of a Sherman Oaks woman who awoke this morning speaking only Yiddish, with no memory of what caused all the aches and tsouris and basic deterioration of assorted body parts, including, but not limited to, her right knee, her left quad, her gluteus maximus, her upper torso, her lower back, and her perennially clogged proboscis.  As the notorious over-exerciser attempted to get out of bed, she was heard moaning, "Oy... oy veysmere... oy gevalt."  The U.N. interpreter called in to translate shared his thoughts with concerned medical personnel.  "What she's saying comes down to this:  Oh, pain, oh, agony, oh, woe is me, oh, poor poor pitiful me."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On The Market

It's true, I get a little too attached to places that treat me like a human being.  Give me a place where the people smile and act happy to see me and I will keep coming back.  I like to feel special.  I like to feel loved and adored and worshipped on every level, especially when I go to the market.  I spend a huge portion of my life looking at produce, evaluating the merits of a decent banana or a nice melon.  I study the strawberries and wonder when they're going to turn on me.  I take my time with the tomatoes.  I hover over the poultry like a mother hen.  I research my options.  Bone or boneless?  Tender is the chicken?  These are the questions that define my existence.  I need a pretty environment to do my work in, people.  I'm not talking about my office.  Please.  It's the Bermuda Triangle in there.  Enter with caution.  I'm talking about my market.  My Gelson's, the fancy-schmancy market I frequent for very personal reasons.  Fine, maybe they're not so personal.

I can't deal with other markets.  I require spiritual guidance and life coaching before I step into Crappy-Ass Pavilions.  This is a market you don't want to know from.  I get agitated in Crappy-Ass Pavilions.  I need a pep talk before I go to Trader Joe's.  I need a tranquilizer to negotiate the parking lot and the lines and the fact that nothing is ever where I expect it to be.  I need to channel my hippy place before I go to Whole Foods.  I have to act healthy and centered and Zen-like in there. I'm none of those things.  I have to pretend I care about organic food.  I don't.  But if I want the grilled salmon that's to die for, I have to go to the place hubby calls Whole Paycheck.

Aw, but Gelson's.  My Gelson's.  I don't get nervous in Gelson's.  I get hap-hap-happy.  I feel peace and tranquility.  So what if things cost a little more?  I'm worth it.  I'd rather go to Gelson's than back into therapy.  Gelson's is a mental health requirement.  What part of this rant aren't you getting?  There's only so much aggravation the SJG can take in one lifetime.  In Gelson's, I'm a celebrity.  In those other markets, I'm nobody.  So.  Why am I telling you this?  The world is falling apart, as we speak, and I'm worried about a market.  Did I say worried?  More like panic-stricken.  This morning's news informs me that my beloved, overpriced Gelson's may be on the market.   As in up for sale.  As in adios, nice market.  Hello, sub-par replacement.  This can't happen.  To me.  I get a little too attached to places that treat me like a human being.  But then, you already know that.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The SJG Greeting

Some people say hello.
Some say hello dere!
Some say hi.
Some say hi-yo!
Some say what up?
Some say whassup?
Some just say 'sup?
Some people say what's new?
Some just say nu?
Some say hey.
The SJG says something else.
The SJG says hellody!
Why do I say hellody?
I have no idea.
I think I made it up.
Or maybe I didn't.
Maybe I heard it and made it my own.
Either way, I always say hellody.
And so does my family.
Hellody is our family greeting.
You walk in the door, you do not say hello.
You say hellody.
You call on the phone, you do not say hey.
You say hellody.
It's the way it is.
It's the way it's always been.
I don't know why.
Why do I say hellody?
I can't say.
I just do.
You're welcome to try it, too.
Open up a window.
Call up a friend.
Send a text.
Send an email.
Send a gorilla gram.
Say hellody.
You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Son, The Decorator

In the end, the eldest totally ignored the advice of the Short Jewish Mother.  This wouldn't be the first time, and won't be the last.  I counseled mocha.  He went with a smooth Belize green for his accent wall.  He turned his quest for a pop of color into an important bonding moment.  Smart boy.  Who better to handle the majority of the painting than his own father?  Nice work, men.  What's next?  I know some carpet that needs replacing.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Note To Self

Dear Self,
What are all these strange notes you leave yourself?  Upstairs, downstairs.  Bedside.  Deskside.  Kitchenside.  Illegible, incomprehensible scribbles.  Random phone numbers attached to names of people you don't remember.  Did you know them at some point?  You must have.  Case in point:  "Call Janet."  Who's Janet?  And why were you supposed to call her?  She must have been important.  You wrote her name at the bottom of the calendar on the fridge.  A coveted spot.  In ink yet!    Did you even call Janet?  Knowing you, you did.  You called and said, "Hi, Janet."  And Janet said, "Hi.  Who is this?"  And you said, "It's me."  "Why are you calling?"  "I have no idea.  I left myself a note to call you."  "I never told you to call me."  "Then why did I write your name and number down?" "I don't know."  "I don't know, either."  "Don't call me again."  "I won't."  "Bye."  "Bye, Janet."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

An Accent Wall

A phone call from the eldest:
"So I'm thinking of doing an accent wall."
"That's an expression I've never heard you use in your entire life."
"Paul and Monty did it in their apartment."
"An accent wall?"
"It's changed the whole look."
"Is this my son?"
"I'm tired of all the walls being the same."
"You've only been there a few months."
"I need a pop of color, Mama.  Beige is boring."
"Are you allowed to paint in the apartment?"
"I don't give an eff if I'm allowed to paint.  It's my apartment.  I'll paint if I want to."
"You feel strongly about it."
"They're just going to paint over it when I leave."
"They may charge you for the paint."
"I don't give an eff."
"Okay, then.  What wall are we talking about?"
"Where the table is.  I want it to be its only little area."
"A designated spot for eating."
"That's the idea, Mama."
"What color?"
"Ice coffee."
"With cream, though."
"Yea.  Mocha."
"That could work."
"Or green."
"Green?  I don't know, hon."
"Not a dark green.  A light green."
"Green says hospital waiting room."
"Oh.  I don't want that."
"Get a few samples from the paint store, and see how they look."
"I'm painting on Friday.  I have the day off."
"What's the rush?"
"I want to do it."
"I'd stay in the mocha category."
"I can't wait for you to see it."
"How would that happen?"
"I'll have you over."
"You said that when you moved in."
"You're welcome any time."
"I'm free on Saturday."
"I want to wait till the paint's dry."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Art of Taking Things Personally

Harvard University is pleased to announce a new course has just been added to its fall schedule:  "The Art of Taking Things Personally," to be taught by the Short Jewish Gal of Sherman Oaks, international blogging sensation/academic maven/kugel designer. The curriculum will cover such weighty topics as, "How To Jump To Conclusions,"  "It's Always About Me,"  "An Overview of Oversensitivity,"  "The Pitfalls of Positive Thinking," "Why Everyone's Approval Matters" and "The Truth in False Assumptions."
"Stick and stones may break my bones,
But words will stay with me forever,
as they sit inside me, getting turned over
and over, being blown completely out of proportion."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Don'ts & Do's

Don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter!
Don't tell me not to fly, I simply got to!
Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade!
Do tell me I sing like Babs.
Do tell me I roller skate like Babs.
Do tell me I'm the greatest star.

Monday, July 8, 2013

At Long Last Nicolas Cage

At long last, after numerous technical difficulties:  the short  made by the youngest son of the Short Jewish Gal, featuring my brother John and a short Jewish non-actress who shall remain nameless, for obvious reasons.  But let's just say, she shouldn't give up her day job.  Double click for full humiliation, admiration and ridicule.  A little out of synch.  But then, who isn't?  You were expecting perfection?  And speaking of technical difficulties... may not work on your smart phone.  Maybe your phone isn't that smart after all.  So click on the link instead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o4rVed74uU

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Sock Thief of Sherman Oaks

Sometimes, the SJG re-blogs.  Today, I'm re-blogging a little something from 2009.  Why am I re-blogging?  That's really none of your business.  Oh, fine.  I'll tell you.  A sock has gone missing yet again, a nice soft one.  Color:  White.  Fits like a dream.  I'd like it back.  So I'm returning to my original suspect for questioning:

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have pondered the age-old question:  "Where do all the missing socks go?"  Theories abound, drawing from a smorgasbord of quantum physics, behaviorial science, numerology, the I-Ching, and the Maytag Owner's Manual, circa 1969.  Despite all the brainpower, no one has yet to explain why it is that socks, much like their human counterparts, uncouple at alarming rates, only to be sucked into black holes, never to be seen, much less, worn again. But now, thanks to a generous endowment from Ross Dress for Less, a short Jewish gal from Sherman Oaks believes she has found the instigator of this worldwide shortage.

Over coffee in her palatial Mediterrean estate, the woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, admitted that the guilty party resided at close range. "It's all his fault," she said, pointing to a yellow Labrador.  The dog huddled in the corner, gnawing on an argyle knee-high.  "He steals every sock he comes in contact with, then chews it up and buries it god-knows-where.  He's ruthless. When it comes to cotton-wool blends, he'll stop at nothing.  He'll butt his head through any door.  He'll raid any closet.  He'll dive into any laundry basket he encounters.  He'll do whatever it takes to claim his daily allotment.  It's the look on his face that I find the most troubling.  He knows he's been naughty.  He's told to 'drop it, this instant,' but does he?  No, he doesn't.  He refuses on principle.  Once his teeth get hold of the sock, it's all over."

When a visitor suggested that the woman's dog couldn't possibly be responsible for all the socks that go missing in the universe, she grew reflective.  "Well, duh, of course not.  He's not Santa Claus.  He can't be in a million places all at once.  I'm just saying that if my dog steals socks, your dog steals socks.  He's representative of sock thieves everywhere.  So stop taking apart the dryer, stop thinking you've lost your mind, because you haven't.  The truth is, socks go missing, along with our hormones, for a reason, people.  And that reason is 99 percent pet-related.  Whether you own a dog or a cat, a parrot or a guinea pig, I guarantee that if you get close enough, if you peer right into their souls, you will smell cotton." 

It was announced today that researchers from UCLA plan to follow up on the woman's missing sock hypothesis.  "This could be right up there with String Theory," said Dr. Schmelvin Fondue, professor of physics. "Or not," he added, quickly.  The professor then gazed down at his naked ankle, and asked if anyone had seen a black Calvin Klein that had been on his foot a minute ago.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Could It Be?

Alert the media!  Dick Van Dyke's on the roof again!
What's that on the roof?  What's that clop clop cloppity clop?  Could it be Santa and his reindeer, seriously early and misguided?  They always skip the house of the SJG.   Maybe this year, I get special treatment.  I put in a request for some fall wardrobe upgrades.  Could it be?  Fingies crossed.  Hang on, I'll check.  Nope, no visitors from the North Pole. Could it be chimney sweepers dancing up there?  Singing "Chim chim-in-ney, chim chim-in-ney, chim chim cher-oo"?  Is Dick Van Dyke up there with his broom?  Could it be?  Fingies crossed.  Hang on, I'll check.  That would be a no.  No chimney sweepers, no blokes with bristles.  Not a one.  Could it be a Fiddler?  Up there, fiddling?  Could it be?  Fingies crossed.  I'll go check.  Negatory.  No Fiddler.  Could it be hubby, up there again, cleaning the solar panels on his day off?  Uh yeah, it could be.   Careful up there, hubby.   Come down soon.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What Freedom Means To Me


Recently rediscovered essay entered in statewide contest:

"What Freedom Means To Me" 
by Carol Starr, 5th grade
Warner Avenue Elementary School

To me, freedom means that I should get to do whatever I want, whenever I want, without getting grounded ever.  If I want to talk on the phone with my friends for more than five minutes, I should get to do that without my mom or dad picking up the receiver and saying, "Carol, get off the phone," which embarrasses me and makes me an instant social outcast.  All my friends get to talk on the phone for as long as they want.  Why shouldn't I have the freedom to do that, too?  I don't get it.  What's the big deal?  To me, freedom means that I should get more allowance every week.  A lot more.  One dollar isn't enough to buy all those groovy glow-in-the-dark Flower Power stickers I need to make my life complete.  To me, freedom means I should get to go in the cool hippy head shop in Westwood and buy the longed-for groovy glow-in-the-dark Flower Power stickers without getting caught by my mother and officially grounded till I'm 30.  I don't get it.  What's the big deal?  To me, freedom means I should get to pout all day if want to, and not be told to smile.  Maybe I don't feel like smiling.  Maybe I feel like pouting. I should have the freedom to make whatever super-mean facial expression I want.  To me, freedom means I should get to whine and complain and refuse to come out of my room for days and not be told I'm acting like a big selfish doody-head.  If I want to act like a big selfish doody-head, I should have the freedom to do that.  This is America.

Recently rediscovered rejection letter for "Write An Essay About Freedom/Win Cash Prize":

Dear Miss Starr,

The Committee for Freedom has reviewed your essay, "What Freedom Means To Me."  The Committee for Freedom feels you've missed the point by about a zillion miles.  The Committee for Freedom hereby bars you from ever entering another essay contest for as long as you live.  


You should be ashamed of yourself,
The Committee for Freedom 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Everything's Coming Up Ethel

When life hits a difficult note, the SJG turns to my personal guru for guidance.  We share the same birthday and the same love of musicals. One of us can sing like nobody's business.  One of us pretends to sing and sends family members running for the exit.  When the SJG needs cheering up, I channel Ethel Merman.   I ask myself, what would Ethel do?
"I take a breath when I have to."  -- Ethel Merman 

That's some good advice right there.  Just remember to breathe.  The rest will take care of itself.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Man Called Lew

Welcome, Lew.
He was a short man with a glint in his eye and a joke in his heart.  I can't recall a phone call that didn't involve silliness and laughter and the following sentiment:  "We'll try to make some sense of this cockamamie world."  Before we got together for breakfast or lunch, we always discussed what we were going to wear.  "I'll be the short Jew in blue."  "I"ll be the short Jew in chartreuse."  He never met a pun he didn't adore.  Even when circumstances turned dire, as they did last November, he went for the chuckle.  "Don't worry, I'm in good hands with Dr. Sid Seizure." He put everyone at ease.  He supported every client.  He never gave up on his writers.  "I promise you this is going to happen," he said, in our last conversation.  And it did happen, the TV movie he'd been trying to get me for a year.  He kept his promise.  He always did.  On Sunday, he passed away.  He's somewhere else now, forming a barbershop quartet in the sky.  No doubt, he's cracking jokes and making everyone laugh. Still.  Lew Weitzman gone?  It can't be. There's no way to make any sense of that in this cockamamie world or any other.  No way at all.