Saturday, January 31, 2015

Costume Party

Identify the brother and sister in this photo, and win a baggy of 
Swarovski crystals to bedazzle your favorite ensemble.

At the Hollywood Costume Exhibit, located in the old May Co.
building, we never did find Toto, but we did find Dorothy's gingham.

And Gwyneth's "Shakespeare in Love" gown.

And Marilyn Monroe's "Seven Year Itch" dress.

And this purple number from "Funny Girl," when Fanny Brice says to
Nick Arnstein, "You planning to make advances?"

So L.A. peeps, go see this amazing exhibit. It runs through March 2.
If you miss it, you have only yourself to blame. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Nicely Said

"As they say in the old country, it's nice when nice happens to nice." - Jon Stewart

"Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me." - Audrey Hepburn

"Make nice, you two, or you'll never eat kugel in this house again!" -  SJG 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Cool Customer

Nothing throws Mendel.

Mendel was on a ship emigrating from Russia to America. The second day, a huge storm erupted. People screamed and chairs went flying. Yet Mendel calmly read his book. "Mendel!" yelled a fellow passenger. "How can you sit there when the ship may be sinking?!" "What's to get excited?" answered Mendel. "The ship belongs to me?"

Levi, the tailor. 

During a service in a fancy synagogue, the rabbi got carried away. Falling on hands and knees, forehead to floor, he said, "Oh God, before thee I am nothing.” The Cantor, not to be outdone, also got down, forehead to wood and said, "Oh God, before thee I am nothing." Seeing this, Levy, a tailor in the fourth row, left his seat, fell to his knees, forehead to floor and he too, said, "Oh God, before thee I am nothing.” With this, the Cantor elbowed the rabbi and sniffed, "Look who thinks he's nothing!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Letter From The Queen

"I am not amused."
Dear Short Jewish Gal,
It has come to my royal attention that you recently wrote an erroneous blog full of falsehoods, nonsense and utter poppycock. You made the preposterous assumption that Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of Bupkis, is remarrying Prince Andrew, the Duke of Ongoing Aggravation -- an event that shall happen over my dead body. I therefore command you to retract your fakakta claim, or I shall pursue a lengthy public flogging of your short and silly personage, and perhaps a beheading, as well, depending on my mood, which wavers daily from dark and gloomy to downright testy.
Royally yours,
Elizabeth R

She Who Must Be Obeyed
Your Majesty,
In hopes of keeping my beloved keppy firmly planted on my dainty shoulders, I would like to apologize, profusely, for upsetting you. I meant no harm. I am but a humble blogger. I am not worthy. That said, excellent usage of bupkis and fakata, your highness. I'm so glad to see the Yiddish lessons are paying off. I plan to be in your neighborhood this summer. What say I pop round for tea? There are some wonderful insults I could teach you. You never know when they might come in handy.
Begging forgiveness,
I remain, the SJG
P.S. Hugs to you and the whole royal mishpocha,

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Once or twice a year, this happens: I open the front door and there, plopped on the welcome mat, or somewhere in the vicinity thereof, is a brand new phone book. And every time, yes, every single time, I say, "The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!" Why this line from "The Jerk" sticks in my brain, I can't really say, other than Steve Martin's complete jewbalation is contagious, much like the stomach flu I'm currently dealing with and wouldn't want to expose you to, so stay away, you. The fact that Jackie Mason appears in this scene, something I'd forgotten till I watched it again, is an added bonus. Double click for full silliness.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How To Calm Your Ass Down

Tortured by anxiety? Worried sick 24-7? Fretting your life away? Welcome to my world. But here's the good news, people. I've just developed a new de-stresser that will ease your issues like you wouldn't believe. It's called "The SJG Calm-Your-Ass-Down Technique."

Here's what you do, and it doesn't matter where. In the elevator or the checkout line at Gelson's, just follow these simple steps and you'll feel instantly tranquilized:

1. Place the tip of your tongue on the tip of your nose and keep it there for 88 counts.
2. Exhale completely through your pipik, making an otherworldly whooshing sound.
3. Cover your pipik with your yarmulke and inhale through your left earlobe to the slightly mental count of 43.
4. Hold your breath, drop to your tush and spin on the floor for a count of 72.
5. Exhale completely through your third eye, making the afore-mentioned creepy whooshing sound to a count of 32 and a half.
6. Repeat this exercise 291 more times, until a blanket of calm descends upon you, or the nice men in white coats come to take you away to the Funny Farm, where life is beautiful all day long.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Let's Do This

It was decided over dinner. The five of us made a pact. The visiting San Franciscan and his lovely GF, the three Sherman Oaksians. Let's do this. Let's stop putting it off. Enough with the procrastinating. Others have done it. We should do it, too. Even if it's hard. Even if it tests our spirit. Our endurance. We'll make it through the storm. Together. There will be no falling asleep. No snoozing of any kind. We must be awake for this. Or it won't count. And so, we made our way to the various seating opportunities in the place we call the family room. Even though it's not really a room. For our floor plan is what the experts call open. But there's an area we turn to at these times when we need to view something big and important. For the next 137 minutes, we did what we said we'd do. No matter how unpleasant... how grueling and relentless. No matter how many expletives were uttered, mainly by the visiting San Franciscan and the SJG. No matter how many times our resolve weakened. We did it. We watched "Unbroken."

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sad Dog Diary

A hilarious and naughty look at the inner workings of a dog's mind, courtesy of Ze Frank. I can't stop watching it, which says something about the inner workings of my mind. Double click to double your pleasure, double your fun. Enjoy my friends. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The World's Most Embarrassing Moments

Barking Seal:  We have more in common than you'd think
Host:  Hello and welcome to "The World's Most Embarrassing Moments."  I'm your host, Jacob Schwartzbaum the 3rd.  Don't get me started on the 2nd and 1st Jacob Schwartzbaums.  They're still doing time for the Big Bagel Burglary of 1999.  Today's Embarrassing Moment features the Short Jewish Gal of Sherman Oaks, who has a slight tendency -- oh, come on, who are we kidding, it's a full-blown obsession -- to dwell on the past.  Welcome, SJG.  Please tell our viewers at home about your embarrassing moment.
SJG:  Okay, well, it's really embarrassing.
Host:  Great.  The more humiliating, the better.
SJG:  My whole life, I've been known as a cougher.
Host:  As in?
SJG:   I have a world-famous cough.  My cough has cleared out auditoriums.  My cough once ruined a friend's oboe recital.
Host:  You actually know someone who plays the oboe?
SJG:  I did.  Not any more.  After my cough ruined her important recital, we hit a rough patch that's lasted 30 years.
Host:  Is that your embarrassing moment?
SJG:  No.  This is me, working up to it, Jacob.  I'm just trying to put it all in context.
Host.  And we appreciate that, don't we, audience?   But the show's only 30 minutes. and this segment is almost over.  Hint hint.
SJG:  Fine.  So I was in 7th grade math class.  I've never been good at math.  But I've always been good at spotting cute boys.  I had the pleasure of sitting behind one that year.  He was so cute, I had to take a Valium before class.  Kidding.  Not really.  I was a shy girl.  But I had a huge crush on the cute boy.
Host:  Tick, tick, tick.
SJG.  I'd just come back from my annual bout of bronchitis, and as I sat there, behind the cute boy, I felt a cough coming on.  I turned very religious at that moment.  I started to pray.  "Dear God, please don't let me cough.  Please, please." But God was taking some "Me" time.  He didn't pick up my prayer.  I let out a single deep bark that came from the most remote region of Hell.  I sounded possessed.  The teacher looked at me.  The class looked at me.  The cute boy looked at me.  The teacher started to laugh.  "Was that you, Carol?"  "Uh-huh."  Out came another bark.  This one sounded like an escaped seal.  The entire class erupted in hysteria.
Host:  Cut to the chase.
SJG:  The cute boy looked at me, a look that said, "Our mutual crush has just been terminated.  Good luck, getting another cute boy to notice you. Ever."  The teacher said, "Carol, why don't you get a drink of water?"  I barked in response.  This one sounded like a pissed-off German Shepherd that hasn't been fed since Tu B'shevat.  As I got up to get that fateful drink, my math book fell off the desk and onto the floor.  Thud! More comic relief.   I went to the back of the class, every eye on me, and took a quick sip, not nearly enough to quell my otherworldly coughing fit.   I came back and sat down and prayed that God would strike me dead right then and there.  But God was still out there on the golf course, ignoring me.  I tried not to cough again.  But I kept coughing and they kept laughing for the remainder of class.
Host:  Your embarrassing moment was really a series of moments, wasn't it?
SJG:   I guess so, Jacob.  It still makes me cringe.
Host:  Thanks for sharing, SJG. Here's a cough drop.  We'll be back after this important commercial from the nice people at Formerly Flatulent.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Early Morning Noise Report

This morning's SJG noise report, courtesy of hubby: "You were making little noises and your teeth were chattering." He follows up with a demonstration. Snorts and squirrel-like clicking sounds from some SJG-adjacent dimension.

In response, I channel Sir John Gielgud, as I often do. "This is not how I wish to be remembered," I say.

With that, I go back to bed, where I plan to stay for the rest of the day.

Monday, January 19, 2015

You Don't Mess Around With Ben

One thing's for sure. He didn't suffer fools. He didn't take sh*t from anyone. And he did his best to pass this kick-ass attitude along to his children. He wanted us to stand up for ourselves and not follow the crowd. "Don't be a sheep," he said. For a shy girl, it took a while for this all-important lesson to sink in. But somewhere along the line, it stuck.

One year ago today, he left for the Big Deli in the sky. Here's hoping he's breaking matzoh with Sid Caesar and the boys and enjoying a nice eternal bowl of chicken soup. It couldn't hurt.

"You Don't Mess Around With Jim" was one of his favorite songs. Great storytelling and it sums up his philosophy. Wherever you are, Daddy, this one's for you...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Just Because...

... it's no longer my birthday, doesn't mean I can't act like a total goofball. You heard me. I'm gonna milk this thing for another week, at least. (Thanks to Eric Schotz for making me sit on this duck and get my picture took.)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Exciting Birthday Highlights

A bounty of earrings from the hubby.

A zillion birthday greetings from my wonderful cyber 
friends (not including Zuckerberg - what gives?)
who never have to spend actual time with me.

A right on Robertson, instead of a left on Robertson,
led to directional trouble on the way to a lovely 
lunch with the lovely Carla and Cami. 

A series of password mishaps until finally, the gods of Vudu
brought forth this dark Swedish comedy: "Force Majeure."
You'll be canceling your next ski va-kay after seeing the explosive
and snowy descent into marital hell. Fun for the whole family.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Multiple Choice Birthday

1. Today the SJG is how old?
a. 17
b. 37
c. Younger than springtime.

2. What famous quote is attributed to the SJG?
a. "Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"
b. "It takes a long time to become young."
c. "How many times I gotta tell you? It's my birthday, bitches! Can I just have one day that's all about me? And who do I gots to sleep with to get some cake?"

3.  What important event happened on January 16, 1958?
a.  A baby popped out of an Oldsmobile.
b. A future kugel-maker arrived.
c. A tiny bundle of nerves issued her first of many loud geschreis.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Sign here, darling, under snubbed.

Well, I don't know what I'm more disappointed about this morning: the tragic and criminal snubbing of Ralph Fiennes for Best Actor in "The Grand Budapest Hotel," or the epic snubbification of the SJG as Best Fofa* Filler. (*Fofa is the adorable term my short, blue-haired Russian grandmother used for sofa.) I really campaigned for this nomination, too. I spent a lot of time on the fofa, watching all the movie screeners that started arriving almost daily right after Thanksgiving. Like so many minimally-influential Hollywood types, I'm a snob of the highest order. A snob that's been snubbed. I'd rather watch "Wild" and "Into The Woods," "American Sniper" and "Whiplash" in the comfort of my home, than venture out into the germ ward that is the local multi-plex, especially when I keep hearing this year's flu shot is for absolute sh*t. Why expose myself in the theater? Wait, that didn't come out right. I swear I've stopped doing that (under court order from the Arclight.) I believe I deserve some sort of recognition for my contribution to cinema watching, but I'll just have to live with the disappointment, as will Ralph Fiennes. Let's face it, we've both been robbed here. But I'm sure Ralph will act again, and gloriously so, and I'm sure I'll sit on the fofa again. So ultimately, it's all good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Random Acts of Silliness

"I've asked you never to call me that."

Yesterday I was standing on the corner, talking to my neighbor Joe, while Dusty, the elderly pup, rested on the sidewalk, worn out from our one-block walk. As Joe and I discussed movies, as we often do, and the Golden Globes, and other highly intellectual, important cultural stuff like that there, an old guy drove up and stopped. Long white hair. Long beard. Looked kinda like a mall Santa out of uniform. The old guy rolled down the window, and yelled, "What do you call a smart blond?" In unison, we said, "What?" The old guy yelled, "A Golden Retriever!"

Dusty looked up at me, as if to say, "Hey! I'm a Yellow Lab, not a Golden Retriever." I could've pointed that out. I could've said, "What a lame sexist joke!" But all I did was laugh like it was the funniest joke ever. I needed a good laugh, even if the joke was dumb. Joe and I both laughed at the random silliness of it all. It's not often someone yells a joke out the car window. They might yell other things that tell you where to stick it. They might flip you off in traffic. But a joke? That's pretty rare. On top of which, the old guy's timing wasn't half-bad. He gets extra points for that. Now he just needs to work on the material.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jack, Say Hello To The Kids

"Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. 
If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

This week, I'm getting older. Well, every day, I'm getting older. This week, the calendar makes it official. This week, the memories are popping up, the reminders that you keep getting older until one day you land at, God willing, a ripe old age and that's all, folks. This week, I'm thinking non-stop about my dad. A very considerate man, pretty much a full-time mensch, he never would have made my birthday a sad day. At least, not intentionally. So he waited three more days. Still, this Friday will feel sad, anyway. No way around that one. To cheer myself up -- he wouldn't want me to indulge in the sadness -- I'm thinking of happy things, including Jack Benny. Jack Benny gave my dad his first break in radio. And one day, years and years later, my parents took us to Trader Vic's. We only went there on special occasions. We always sat in the Captain's Room. On this occasion, John's high school graduation, we noticed that Jack Benny, a very old man by then, was sitting in the corner with his wife Mary, and Gregory Peck and his wife Veronique. Jack Benny was the last one to leave the table. As he passed our table (at a snail's pace), my dad said, "Jack, say hello to the kids." Jack Benny looked at us, and in a classic deadpan, said, "Hello, kids." My dad introduced himself: "I'm Ben Starr. You gave me my start in radio." Jack Benny nodded, whether he remembered or not. The Jack Benny story always makes me smile. The Jack Benny story reminds me that my dad was fearless. Once you've flown missions over Nazi-occupied France, what could be scarier than that?

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Calgon Escape

George and Amal and her white gloves... Julianne and Kate...
JLo and her Golden Globes...and Jennifer, too.

I can't help it. I love it. I love "The Golden Globes." So much love. As if I even had to remind the eldest when he called from up north to ridicule my Calgon escape.

Or in my case, in front of the TV

"Ma! Are you watching this sh*t?"
"Shush! I just started it."
"Wait till you see what -- "
"No spoilers! I recorded it."
"But Ma!"
"I mean it!"
"Can I just tell you this one stupid -- "
"Oh, come on! Please!"
"Zip it, you."
"It's just a dumb --"
"Don't you call it dumb, mister."
"I'm hanging up."
Amal may look bored, but I live for this crap.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Bagel & Lox Diet

The SJG proudly announces the all-new Bagel & Lox Diet Plan (trademark pending). In an exclusive interview with The Sherman Oaks Tattler, she explained why her diet is better than all other diets in the universe. "Listen," she said, dabbing a drop of cream cheese off her upper lip, "I've tried many diets. I've lost and regained the same five, six, seven, okay, fine, eight or nine pounds since I was a radical feminist freshwoman in college. I've counted calories and points. I've weighed myself. I've not weighed myself. There's only so much punishment I can take. Finally, I came up with the meal plan that works for me. For breakfast, I eat a bagel with cream cheese and lox. It's so delish I feel grateful just to have teeth with which to bite into this masterpiece. What kind of bagel depends on whatever greets me at eye-level in the fridge, although I'm partial to sesame. I don't like to over-reach in the morning. I might pull something. And make sure the lox is good lox.

"Cheap lox ruins the whole deal. Go imported. Local lox is disappointing, in my personal opinion. Toast the bagel first. That goes without saying. For lunch, I have another bagel. Maybe an onion, maybe a plain. By now I can bend and stretch and find a decent bagel just about anywhere. Sometimes I find them hidden all over the house. Whoever is doing this, stop eff'n with the SJG. For dinner? You guessed it. Another bagel, cream cheese and lox. This diet, while a touch pricey, keeps me satisfied till the moment I put my keppy down on my fancy Tempurpedic pillow. With this diet, I want for nothing, expect maybe a piece of chocolate rugelach or a nice slice of Halavah.  Sure, it's carb-centric. Sure, there's plenty gluten and a distinct lack of quinoa, kale and antioxidant-rich what-have-you. I don't necessarily lose weight on the SJG Bagel & Lox Diet, but at this point, I'm just trying to be happy and fit into some of the items in my closet."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Zoomer Girl

How do they expect me to read this? 

The rumors are true. The SJG must indeed fess up. I'm a zoomer. A Zoomer Girl. You heard me. I like to zoom. "Who's zooming who?" the great Aretha once asked. The answer, plain and simple: I am. I'm zooming as much as possible. To zoom is one of the greatest benefits of the modern page. To zoom allows me to do what I can no longer do well: See. To zoom in on the fine print is my ultimate joy. To enlarge the letters on a screen... this is my nirvana. I just zoomed while I was writing this. Bumped it up to 200 percent. I bet you didn't even know I was zooming.

Zooming is a private matter. Or a public one, if you're an over-sharer like me. I'm not sure when I first discovered the zoom feature, it may have been a revelation courtesy of one of my tech-savvy sons, but once I did, I couldn't stop with the zooming. I was hooked. Anything that lets me see better is a good thing. Why should I squint and strain and add wrinkles to this rapidly-aging punim? Why should I suffer the slights of the visually-impaired? I zoom because I can. Whether I'm writing, whether I'm reading, I'm Zoomer Girl, capable of reading the smallest print with the greatest of ease. Who cares if one sentence fills up the entire screen? I have no pride when it comes to zooming. I will continue zooming. You can't stop me.

My new glasses: chic and clunky 

But like all of your finer addictions, zooming has a downside. I want to zoom in on everything. I want a zoom feature in my life. I need a portable zoom lens embedded in my keppy. I want to zoom in on what's waiting up ahead. I want to zoom in and overanalyze the situation. I want to zoom in and over-magnify my life and then reduce it to what's really important, and what isn't. For I am Zoomer Girl. I am my own super hero.

(with a nod to my daily inspiration, my co-conspirator: Cathy Hamilton, the original Boomer Girl.)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Then & Now

The eldest son, 13, on the eve of his Bar Mitzvah.

The eldest son, 27 today. A mensch then. A mensch now.  I'm one lucky SJG. Happy birthday to the San Franciscan. I'm so proud of him, I could scream. But instead, I'll just sit here, rest my voice, and kvell over everything he's accomplished.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Every Cartoon...

... tells a story.

Satirical. Political. Religious. Ethnic. 

In Paris yesterday, the story changed...

... to terrorism and tragedy, horror and disbelief.

Condolences to those who raised their pencils... 

Demonstration in Paris last night

... in the name of free expression. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Embarrassment Principle

Can a dog embarrass you? Absolutely. Overheard at the vet:
"Bad boy."
"Binky, quit barking."
"Binky, I said no."
"Binky, you're embarrassing Mommy."

Poor Binky. I feel for ya, little guy. The SJG has been there. I was raised by the Embarrassment Principle, too. "Kids, don't embarrass us tonight." "Kids, don't embarrass us today." "Kids..." Well, you get the picture, Binky. By the way, I never quite figured out what "don't embarrass us" meant. When it comes to my own sons, I'm happy to report, "Don't embarrass me" never escaped my lips. There was no point. Embarrassment was a foregone conclusion, especially with the eldest. Let's just say he's fond of flatulence, and leave it at that. Come to think of it, I've never told Dusty, "Don't embarrass Mommy," either. Gee, I'm pretty evolved for a human.

Look, Binky... Binky, pay attention, I'm talking to you. I'm sure with some long-term therapy, 10 years, maybe more, you'll learn to deal with your issues. Not everything is about you, Binky. In time, you'll accept the good and the bad sides of your doggy self. In time, you'll embrace your truth. Which comes down to this: Be the dog you want to be. Keep barking, Binky. Just, you know, modify the bark a bit. A little behavioral modification never hurt anybody. When you're in the waiting room, for instance, could you maybe drop the volume and lessen the frequency? You're not the only barker in here, dude. Sheesh, all the fuss you're making. Shush, you cute little narcissist. Seriously, Binky. You're giving me a migraine.