Thursday, July 31, 2014

What The Shark?

"Sharks are very important to the ecosystem."  
-- Well-informed hubby

" 'Sharknado 2' is a lot like 'Hamlet,' only bloodier." -- SJG, former English major

"I prefer her earlier work in 'American Pie.' " 
-- Film student son

"So horsesh*t stupid and good."  
-- San Franciscan son 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Left-Handed Compliment

"Your handwriting isn't that bad for a leftie."
"Uh, thanks?"

"You hold the pen funny."
"Anything for a laugh."

"Were you born left-handed?"
"No.  I went to school for this."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Give It All You've Got

One morning, the SJG was walking into the kitchen, when her hubby of many years told her he had some news.  "I have some news," he said. The SJG brightened up. "Oh please, can you sing it to me?"  Hubby sighed. "I don't think you want me to do that." But the SJG insisted. "Sing out, hubby!  Give it all you've got!" And hubby started singing. "Da da da da da da....Your coffee maker's dead!"

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Great Basmati Debacle of 2014

It all went south after the soaking. 
On Sundays, hubby is in charge of dinner.  Here's how it works:
"See you at 6:30," I say, as I exit gracefully into the garage.
"Have fun.  Don't overdo it," he says, lovingly.
For some reason, hubby thinks I'm going to over-dance myself into a frenzy of pulled muscles.  Why does he think that?  Just because I sometimes return with a noticeable limp?  In any event, off I go to dance my cares away, while he ruminates over dinner.  Last night, I return to the smoky scent of grilled salmon and the curious case of the Basmati Debacle.
"I eff'd up with the Basmati," hubby tells me.
I peer into the pot and find a big mush pile of rice.
"What happened here, my love?"
"I don't know.  I followed the instructions."
"Yes.  I soaked the rice, I did everything right."
"I'm sure you did."
Enter the almost-done-with-college son, enjoying his last few weeks of freedom. "I'm not eating that."
"I followed the instructions," hubby says.
"Maybe the rice is defective," I say.  "But let's never speak of this again."
"Unless you blog about it."
"Well, there's always that possibility."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Turn The Beat Around

"Hey, let's go see Gloria Estefan at the Hollywood Bowl."  This from Joan, the fearless octogenarian founder of the Sherman Oaks Jazz Hand Flashers.  That's all it takes to get me out of the house on a summer night.  And that's how I wound up at the Bowl last night, with Carrie and Nadine and Nadine's husband Barry filling in for Joan, who selfishly opted out, choosing her son's 60th over us.  The nerve of some people. It hurts just to think about it. When the pain hits, I'll just think about guest performer Andy Garcia, who turned up on bongos not once, but twice, yet.
A.G. probably knew the SJG would be in the audience.  Oh, yeah.  Andy and me, we go way back.  One of his gorgeous daughters went to preschool with the eldest son, and lucky me, I got to see Mr. Handsome almost daily.  Occasionally, I even found the courage to say hi.  He said hi back.  We had a moment, okay?
In keeping with the Latin feel of the evening, I returned home to the blaring, ear-busting, sanity-squashing sounds of Mariachi music blasting from a neighborhood party.  In my entire life, I've never heard Mariachi music played at this ungodly volume.  Loud doesn't begin to cover it.  Fortunately, it only went on till 2 a.m.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Questionable Career Advice

Yesterday morning, before the eldest's phone interview, one of many he's been enduring on his quest for employment in the Bay Area, I offered up some sage career advice, unsolicited, of course:  "Tell them you demand respect, more money than anyone your age deserves to make, two-hour lunch breaks, three-day weekends, unsupervised afternoon naps, a shapely masseuse at your beck and call, and a limo to and from work." "Absolutely," the San Franciscan texted back, "and my own designated toilet."* "Well, that goes without saying."
* I'm far too classy to subject you to what he actually said.

Friday, July 25, 2014

SJG Cancels Friday

The Short Jewish Gal, the last one on the block to see the sun go down every day, has decided to change her personal dateline and will now be the first to see the sun rise, on account of her highly competitive nature.  The SJG is getting ready to skip a day and shift her internal time zone forward by 24 hours for completely selfish reasons. "I never know what day it is, anyway, so this made perfect sense to me," she said in an exclusive interview. The SJG dateline, which runs through the middle of her backyard, and currently passes to the west of the nice granite island in her kitchen, means that the SJG is 11 hours behind everyone else's Mean Time. "I'm tired of being so nice.  It's time to get mean and stay mean.  Where has nice ever gotten me?"  As the clock strikes midnight on Thursday, the SJG goes straight into Saturday. "Getting rid of Friday means one less day of people annoying me, cutting me off in traffic, and worrying me sick by coming home late.  Losing a day is good for my mental health." After the change, the SJG will be one hour ahead of her immediate family, and three hours ahead of her casual acquaintances.  "I'm feeling very proactive.  I'm taking charge in ways I never thought possible.  I've also decided to switch driving on the right side of the road to the left side, so I can feel more British." (12-29-11)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Up On The Roof

"Grandma, get down from there!"
"That reminds me of a joke.  You want to hear it?" -- Dr. Pollen, my long-time allergist
"Of course."
"John's parents are away on vacation. His father calls up to ask how things are going. John says, 'The cat is dead.' His father gets very upset, and says, 'Son, you could have put that a bit more subtly. For example, you could have said that the cat climbed onto the roof. He slipped and fell. And oh, no, he hit the ground and died.' Anyway, how's grandma?' John says, 'Grandma's on the roof...'"
"I love that joke."
"Oh.  You've heard it before?"
"It's a classic."
"You could've stopped me."
"Are you kidding?  This is the first time you've told me a joke in 23 years."
"I don't usually tell jokes."
"I know.  Are you trying to tell me something, Dr. Pollen?"
"Like what?"
"Bad news, God forbid."
"No, I was just trying to tell you the joke."
"You did a great job."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Coming of Age

A wonderful way to spend nearly three hours of a summer day: "Boyhood." The SJG and the youngest son sat in style in our pricey multiplex seats and took an amazing 12-year journey. We laughed and emoted like crazy.  One of us, the more maternally inclined, shed a tear or two, especially at the end, when the boy becomes a man without benefit of a Bar Mitzvah.  "Why?" I asked the rapper known as Scott D. "Not one Hebrew lesson.  Not one trip to the bima." "Ma, I think you missed the whole point of the movie," he said. "How dare you, my son. How. Dare. You."  "Didn't you see the scene where the grandmother gives Mason a bible?" "What's your point?" "And then the grandfather gives him a rifle." "You're right, these are not Jewish people.  Still, it was a great movie." "I think it's the best movie I've ever seen." "And aren't you glad you saw it with me, your mother, who shlepped you, lovingly, from boyhood to manhood and forced you to get Bar Mitzvahed?" "You're the mama." "That's right,  I am. Now remind me where I parked the car."
Ellar Coltrane, star of "Boyhood"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Celebrity Collisions

The very, very tall Krysten Ritter of "Breaking Bad" 
& "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23"

Forget Hollywood.  Sherman Oaks is the place to bump into a celebrity. Literally.  Just hang out at Whole Paycheck with the SJG and watch what happens.  The other day, I backed my big booty right into Krysten Ritter.  "Oh, oopsie doodle!" I said, shifting my tush so she could squeeze by me.  Yeah, I know.  My butt just gets in the way sometimes. This is the blessing and the curse of the SJG Anatomy. But I prefer to blame the narrow aisles at Whole Paycheck.  From up above, came sweet forgiveness.  "That's okay," she said. As the lanky actress strutted away, all leggy and model-like, I got a good look at her.  "Oh!  It's Krysten Ritter," I whispered to hubby.  "I just saw her on 'Hollywood Game Night.'" "I'd like six chicken feta sausages," he said to the guy behind the counter.  Hubby doesn't get too excited by celebrity sightings. Thirty years of working in TV tends to do that to a fella.  But I enjoy these starry collisions, thoroughly, and look forward to the next one -- as long as it's not vehicular in nature.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Magical Benefits of Kosher Pickles

Kosher pickles.  So many wonderful benefits.  What say we take a peek at a few?  Okay, if you insist:
1.  Appetite suppressant.  Eat a jar, I dare you.  A whole jar.  You'll be so bloated, you won't eat for at least a week.  You'll drop pounds like nobody's business.
2.  People Repellent.  A pickle a day keeps the unwanted house guests away.  Who wants to be near all that burping?  Those freeloaders will pack their bags and be at a hotel before you know it.
3.  Instant Grief Relief.   Stick a nice fat slice of a good kosher "p" on each eyelid and wait.  All that salt. All that stinging.  All that pent-up emotion.  Within minutes, you'll be weeping.  Later, you'll feel better.
4.  Dimply Skin Deterrent.  Rub a pickle on the problem area.  Soon you'll develop a rash.  You'll never wear a bathing suit or shorts again. Keep the lights low wherever you go.  No one has to know about your unsightly human flaws.
5.  Shoe Shiner.  Cut up some pickles and rub them over your best shoes.  The chemicals will give them a lovely protective shine.  Only downside, those pretty pumps are now permanently stained with green pickle juice.  What were you thinking?  Don't believe everything the SJG tells you.  Most of it is made up, silly.

Friday, July 18, 2014

If Only

"Woof, woof.  Woof, woof, woof."  Wouldn't that be wonderful?
Dear SJG,
What's with all the bad news?  Every time I turn on the TV, I find out the world is falling apart. Is this any way to start my day?
Frowny Face :(

Dear Frowny,
Listen, at least you're waking up in your own high-end Tempurpedic with a roof over your head.  Imagine waking up to find your fancy bed double-parked on Sunset Boulevard in rush hour traffic.  Sucky enough for you? Try to keep your perspective on things.  And, if it's any consolation, remember this:  The world has been falling apart since the beginning of time.
You're Welcome,

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Skip It

I bet Isadora D. never skipped it. 
"We're stuck in the small studio tonight."
"I hate the small studio."
"I like the big studio."
"The big studio is better."
"The lighting is better in the big studio."
'The big studio is cooler."
"What happens if we don't dance tonight?"
"Nothing bad."
"But you shlepped from Culver City to teach us."
"I don't mind the drive."
"And you shlepped from Granada Hills."
"It didn't take that long."
"Where did you shlep from?"
"I didn't shlep.  I live five minutes away."
"Oh.  So you want to dance tonight?"
"Not really.  I have a terrible headache."
"So, we'll skip it."
"Skip class?"
"Yeah.  Let's skip it."
"Play hooky?"
"I'd feel so reckless."
"So, you don't want to skip it?"
"Are you kidding?  I'd be jazzed to skip it."
"So, we're skipping it, then?"
"Everyone in agreement, say oy."
"It's decided.  We're skipping it."
"Oh, no.  Here's come Lynn.  She shlepped from Topanga Canyon."
"Hey, Lynne.  Guess what?  We're not having class tonight unless you make us."
"Why do I have that power?"
"We don't feel like dancing, but we'll dance if you make us feel bad about skipping it."
"To be honest, I don't mind skipping it.  I'm tired."
"Okay, then.  We're skipping it, for real."
"Thank God.  I'm so exhausted I can barely stand up.  See you Sunday."
"Unless we decide to skip it.  I hear it's going to 99, at least."
"We're not skipping Sunday."
"If we skip Sunday, we're really a pathetic bunch of lazy-ass losers."
"That's harsh."
"Hey, if the Capezio fits..."
"I'm going now.  Bye."
"Love you."
"Love you."
"Drive safely."
"You, too."
"Adios, slackers!"
"Ba-bye now."
"I've never been more ashamed of myself."
"I bet you have."
"Yeah, you're right.  See you Sunday, bitches!"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

If My Lawn Could Talk

"I want to look pretty again." 
I feel bad about my lawn. Truly, I do. If you saw my lawn, you’d feel bad about it, too. You might not say anything, because you’re too nice, but you’d be thinking bad things about my lawn, I just know it. Before water restrictions, my lawn used to be pretty and green, but now it has ugly brown age spots and dead patches. My lawn looks thirsty and depressed all the time. If my lawn could talk, it would say that twice a week just isn’t enough. My lawn has needs, too, you know. It wants what it can’t have – more water. But if I give it more water, I’ll be fined by the DWP. So I must suffer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The SJG Hotline

"Hellody!  SJG Hotline.  How can I console you?"
"Hellody, yourself.  I'm very upset.  This is serious."
"Tell me about it."
"What's with Ryan Gosling?"
"He's impossibly hunky.  Although, I heard those abs were painted on."
"You take that back, SJG."
"Fine.  I take it back.  What's your issue with The Gorgeous One?"
"He got someone pregnant."
"So I've heard."
"Eva Something."
"Eva Mendes.  She's lovely."
"Of course, she's lovely.  Would Ryan date a dog?"
"God forbid.  So, what's the problem?"
"It should've been the girl from 'The Notebook.'  Not the girl from... 'Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror..'"
"She was very good in 'Hitch' and 'Training Day.'"
"But she's not the girl from 'The Notebook.'"
"Rachel McAdams.  I heard they didn't get along during the making of that movie.  They yelled and screamed.  He wanted her kicked off the set.  She drove him meshuggie.  They broke up a million times.  Add a babykins into that mix?  Maybe not such a good idea."
"I see your point."
"Feel better now?"
"Maybe a little."
"You're welcome."

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Monday Morning Wish

Tim and Lyle, walking down Main Street with Moshe, their boss, spied an oil lamp. With a rub, out popped a genie.
“You get one wish a piece,” said the genie.
Lyle shouted, “I want to be on a yacht in Bermuda!” Poof. He disappeared.
Tim exclaimed, “Make mine Hawaii -- with beauty queens!” Poof, he disappeared.
Moshe, the boss, looked around and calmly said, “For my wish ... I want those two schnooks back in my office right after lunch!"

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The House of Babs

A funny show that imagines what it would be like to work in the real tchotchke-filled basement of Malibu Babs.  The SJG orders you to go see it right now.  It's in L.A. It's still in NYC.  It's traveling around.  Go see it, already.  Or don't see it.  I can't force you to do anything.   I can guilt, but I can't force.

Michael Urie of "Ugly Betty," stars as Alex More, the lone employee of the imaginary mall that caters to one customer.  Babs!  He plays her, too, of course, along with her hubby James Brolin, Sharon, the snippy "house manager," and Barry, the judgy, jealous writer-boyfriend of Alex.

The book that inspired "Buyer & Cellar," the ultimate design bible that guides Babs through her privileged life.  But underneath all the silk and lace and chenille, she's just a gal from Brooklyn whose only doll was a hot water bottle, and how sad is that?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dreaming In Yiddish

Ish Kabibble:  Musician Merwyn Bogue,
who joined Kay Kyser's band in 1931.
Every now and then, not often enough, if you ask me, my dad makes a guest appearance in one of my dreams.  Last night, he was a co-conspirator in silliness.  I woke up smiling, which is always nice.  I'll take smiling over grumbling any day.  The dream went something like this:  I'm at a table full of people.  The faces are fuzzy, except the best punim of all, the one belonging to Ben Starr.  I'm regaling everyone with a story, and then I get to the punchline: "Well, you know what they say in Yiddish?  Ishkabibble, ishkabibble, oy vey, oy vey!" Translation:  "I should worry, I should worry, oh, God, oh, God." Whereupon, I start laughing, and my dad starts laughing.  It's the kind of delicious, hysterical laughter we shared regularly, a sweet reminder of all the fun we had in real time. It makes me proud to know I can still make him laugh, even if now it's only in a dream.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Temporary Lodgings

"Honey, I'm so glad you've decided to move home for good.  We're going to have the best time ever.  I'll make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch and you can eat it at your little red table.  Won't that be fun?  And then I'll read you 'The Giving Tree' before you take a nap.  Later, we'll go to the park.  Deal?"

"I'm only here till Tuesday, Mom.  This is temporary."

"Temporary-shmemporary.  As far as I'm concerned, this is permanent.  Forget San Francisco.  Too hilly.  You can never find parking.  Let's make some space in the closet for all your big boy shoes." 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Where'd You Go...


A little excitement in the SJG 'hood yesterday, courtesy of Cecilia, a gal in an electric wheelchair who got just a bit lost.  It took a team of concerned suburban sleuths to figure out that Cecilia had somehow made her way via bus from a group home in Panorama City to our humble street.  The exact details of her long journey remained iffy, but we managed to put a story together, plot holes and all.  Her name took a while to decipher, too, till a nice truck driver retrieved her license, discarded on the road en route to nowheresville. Phone calls were made, and promises to retrieve her. The issue of when seemed fuzzy. "Soon" was the best answer we could get.  Throughout the ordeal, Cecilia tried to stay calm. "I'm in trouble now," she said, more than once. "You got a little lost," I said. "It happens to all of us.  Have some water."  More calls were made and then, an hour later, maybe longer, her ride finally arrived.  "Cee-Cee, what happened?" the driver asked.  "We thought you went to Walmart." "Is she allowed to leave the group home?" I asked, still in amateur detective mode. "She can sign herself out and go on errands."  "Maybe someone needs to take another look at that." 

Monday, July 7, 2014

The SJG Shlepping Company

"My shleppers were extremely punctual, careful, and considerate of all my crap. They came overly prepared, as usual, with bubble wrap, packing tape, extra boxes and delicious snacks in case I needed a nosh. They worried about everything breaking, especially my special shot glasses.  The lady shlepper said, 'God forbid these adorable glasses should shatter on the way up to the Bay Area.  You might have to come back home where you belong.'  The guy shlepper dismantled my TV and X-Box with only a few choice swear words.  He even patched up all the holes in the wall.  Overall, their attitudes were excellent, if not a little weepy.  The lady shlepper only cried three times and laid on the guilt five times -- not bad, considering her previous track record.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

John, Paul, George, Ringo & Mick

Meet the faux Beatles performing at the House of Blues!
Blink and it's really them (sort of)!
Mick and the faux Stones seriously kick the butts of 
the faux Beatles in last night's battle of the bands. 
Beatles and Stones reunite for the first faux time ever!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

'Cuz Bobby Said So, That's Why

Why Bobby Says Thumbprint Your Burgers!
"One, it prevents flying saucer-shaped burgers – you know the ones I am talking about: all puffed up and bulging in the center. What's the thing you want to do when you see one of those? Press it down with a spatula as it cooks. And what happens when you do that? All the juices run out and you end up with a compacted, dry hockey puck. So, two, making the indentation in the patties helps keep your reflexes in check and ensures juicy, moist burgers. As the meat cooks and expands, the depression magically disappears, leaving you with beautifully shaped and cooked burgers."
Yesterday, the SJG tried to convey this vital intel to a certain hubby, who wasn't having it:

"Put a thumbprint in the burgers, honey."
"Because I heard you're supposed to."
"Where'd you hear that?"
"Bobby Flay told me."
"What's the thumbprint supposed to do?"
"I don't remember, but it's good for the burger."
"So, are you going to put a thumbprint in the burgers?"
"Why not?"
"I've never done it before, why start now?"

Thursday, July 3, 2014


“There are two things that are infinite, the universe and man's stupidity..... And I am not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein

"Klieg, Klieg, Klieg-Du bist a Nar.  You are smart, smart, smart - but are not so smart!"

If he were twice as smart, he'd be an idiot!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I Blame My Sons

It's official.  I can no longer spell.  I used to be able to spell.  I was a good speller.  One of the best.  When it came to spelling, I had it going on.  What's happened to me?  I blame my sons.  I haven't quizzed them for a spelling test in over a decade.  Quizzing them for spelling tests kept my brain more or less operational.  So yes,  it's their fault.  On second thought, my sons are only partially to blame.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Healthy Avoidance

One day, maybe not that far off, the world will be run by one giant multi-purpose app.  Do I look forward to that day?  No.  Not so much. But there is one app I'd like to buy from the App Store today:  the People Avoider App. All you'd have to do is enter the names of the various people you'd like to avoid for the rest of your life.  Come on, we've all got a few of those contacts we'd like to permanently delete. Just yesterday, I saw a woman I actually sued.  I'm not a litigious type, believe me.  This is the only person I've ever sued, and at least once or twice a year, I see her somewhere.  "Oh eff," I whispered to my friend, "there she is again." "Who?" "You know who."  "Oh, we hate her."  "Yes, we do." The last time my friend and I met at the same restaurant, we saw someone she didn't want to see.  Someone who had threatened to sue her.  But imagine if we had the People Avoider App at our fingertips. We'd never have to see these people again. The People Avoider App would locate them and forewarn us. I see no drawbacks to such a joyous app, other than a serious weeding out of all the places you like to go on any given day. "Oh, eff!  I can't go to Gelson's.  So-and-so is there."  "Oh, eff!  I can't go to the movie theater on Ventura. So-and-so is there, and he's sitting in the seat I wanted." So you'll see the movie another time. You'll eat at a different restaurant.  Better to avoid than get aggravated. That's the SJG way.