Friday, June 30, 2017

The Baseball Lesson

David from England is visiting his friend Stan in America. One of the first things Stan does is invite David to a baseball game. Soon after the game starts, the first player hits a single and runs to first base. The next batter is a dangerous batter, so they decide to walk him.
David is very confused to see this and says, "I don't understand what’s happening, Stan. Why did the first player run to first base, whereas this last one just walked to first base?"
"It’s really simple, David," says Stan. "That’s because he got a walk - he had four balls."
"Oh now I understand," says David. "That's enough to slow any man down!"

Thursday, June 29, 2017

What I Love About The 4th of July

God willing that hot dog is kosher.

What do I love most about the Fourth of July? I'm so glad you asked. Let me give it a think. Hang on, you. It takes a few beats for the brain to reboot. Almost there.

Stilts would make me taller.

Is it the disturbing pop pop pops I hear at night leading up to the big event, as though random revelers were practicing their techniques just to make sure their incendiary devices are good to go?

No one I know would ever wear this.

Is it the reminder that not once have I ever hoisted an American flag over the SJG estate, and is that so terrible? Are my neighbors judging me more harshly than usual? Does the absence of the Red, White and Blue o'er head make me any less patriotic than the schmegegge on the corner who never takes his flag down? And I mean never?

Is it the self-serving opportunity to mention a fireworks-themed movie I wrote, starring a future member of the Royal Family?

I refuse to answer that on the grounds it may deny me residuals.

Smokin' bow ties, gents.

What I love about the 4th of July is the history behind it, the coming together, the unity, the hope that one day... just maybe... we can get ourselves back to the garden.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SJG Summer Etiquette Camp

Dear SJG,
My five-year-old granddaughter Gertie, aka Little Miss Chews With Her Mouth Open, attended your so-called etiquette summer camp last week, and there's just no way to sugarcoat this. You taught her bupkis. What makes you an etiquette expert, I'll never know, but I'm seriously considering taking you to Small Claims Court to get back the $250 I spent in lieu of the new iPhone Gertie wanted for Hanukkah. She's thrown the last two iPhones I gave her in the toilet, so I figured your crummy camp was a safer bet. Oy, was I wrong. In three days of attending every session, all Gertie learned from you was that burping after a meal is considered good manners in Japan. Having a nosh with that child was already a nightmare, but now with the nonstop burping, you managed to make it worse. I still have a migraine from sitting next to her at brunch. At the very least, I was hoping she'd acquire a few social skills, such as how to sit like a lady, not an untrained puppy that needs to tinkle. If I don't hear from you by 5 p.m. today, I'm posting this on Yelp and contacting the Better Business Bureau, Sherman Oaks Division.
Irritably Yours,
Zelda Plotnik
Dear Zelda,
Take a chill pill, Bubbie. I promise you Gertie learned plenty at Etiquette Camp and one day, you'll see the results. Right now, she's trying out Lesson One: "Don't Do This Ever." She's doing everything she's not supposed to do, getting the burps and farts and fidgeting out of her system. At some point, don't ask me when, she'll move on to Lesson Two: "Do This, Instead." You'll just have to trust me, my Zelda. I raised two sons who ignored everything I ever said and they've turned out great. Not once have they been kicked out of a restaurant, as far as I know. The eldest only burps at the table, occasionally, which I consider a personal victory. If you still want your gelt back, stop by. I've got a nice slice of kugel waiting for you.
You're Welcome,

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Let Go And Let Dog

"I shed therefore I am."

Here a pile, there a pile, everywhere a pile of black doggy hair. It's shedding season at the home of the SJG. Cute little clumps of Sir Blakey collect by the front door and the stairs, under the kitchen table and bar stools, beneath the sofas he has marked as "MINE." I sweep and sweep and before I've even put the broom away, more clumps have congregated, forming their own shrine to the Royal Rescue Pup of Questionable Lineage. Once again, I must Let Go and Let Dog. I must admit I can't control my dog's seasonal shedding ritual. I must learn from his shedding and let go of my own opposition to dander. I must admit I'm powerless in Sir Blakey's presence. Whatever he wants, he gets. Walkies at 5 a.m.? Done. Aerobic Squirrel Chasing from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.? Fine. The outcome isn't in my paws, it's in my dog's. My job is not to judge, but to allow Sir Blakey, lordy of the manor, to be whatever he chooses to be, which, at this time, is a Supreme Shedder. Namaste, bitches. Namaste.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Parental Jubilation

At the tender age of 10, I discovered the real reason my parents couldn't wait to put me and my brother John on the bus to Camp Akela in Big Bear. Not for the fresh air. Not for the bonding, the bunk beds, the bug repellent. The real reason? They couldn't wait to get rid of us.
One summer, they were so elated by our absence, they threw a party to celebrate! Here's what it said on the invitation. Two words: "THEY'RE GONE!" Oh, the inhumanity! Not to mention, the years of therapy that followed. Did my parents throw a party when we returned from our month away in Big Bear? Did they hang signs that said, "Welcome Back, Kids! We Missed You!"? No, they didn't. No parties, no signs, no hoopla. They were too busy thinking about next summer. "Hey, guys, you had such a great time at camp, maybe next year, you'll stay two months."
And guess what? We did.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

When I Had A Uterus

When I had a uterus
The two of us
Went everywhere
Despite the cramps
To school and back
To sleepover camp

When I had a uterus
The two of us
Roamed the world
London, Venice,
Parts of France
On a Greek isle
We disco-danced

When I had a uterus
The two of us
Made little boys
Who cried and pooped
On the driveway
They shot some hoops

When I had a uterus
The two of us
Sighed a sigh
And faced the truth
That one of us had
Outlived our youth

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Let Me Say This About That

"When you're short, the whole world looks tall."

"If there's a will, there's an argument."

"Don't talk so loud, I can't hear myself kvetch."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Spot Quiz

"Pay attention, kitties. This is 50 percent of your grade."

Who stood right behind James Corden & family before boarding a flight to London last night?
a. Not me
b. Not you
c. The tallest Jew in the immediate family

"Pardon, but aren't you that Jewish rapper I've heard tell of?" 

Why is said someone going to London instead of keeping me company on the sofa?
a. Said someone misses his royal family
b. Said someone misses his old Eaton schoolmates
c. Said someone misses his special someone

"Hullo, chaps! Tally ho! Pip pip!"

How long will the afore-mentioned youngest be in Ye Olde England?
a. Till he's elected to Parliament
b. Till he reunites the Spice Girls
c. Till he boards his flight home

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Never Let Go

Here's the SJG, clinging to my life raft, my sweet brother John, never wanting to let him go. Sure, I may be just an adorable toddler with a very questionable hairstyle -- as I've said 8,000 times before, hair issues start early -- but I know a good thing when I see it. John has always, always been a good thing, always there for me, always making me laugh, always a sympathetic ear in difficult times. We love so many of the same ridiculous and wonderful things, but most importantly, above all forms of entertainment, we love each other, as only the best of siblings can, unconditionally. Today we'll celebrate his birthday at a swanky establishment, and we'll try to behave, but given our track record for public outbursts of supreme silliness, we can't make any promises.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

That Doesn't Add Up

"Did you see that piece they just did on TV?"
"You'll love this. Some study says left-handed people are better at math than right-handed people."
"Oh, so I'm supposed to be a math genius?"
"No one said anything about genius."
"Don't you get it, handsome? If that study had come out 50 years sooner, who knows what I might've become. A little more encouragement, a little more, "Hey, short leftie-gal, mathematically speaking, you're a winner!" and I coulda been somebody, instead of a math bum, which is what I am, and it's all because those bastards shoved me in Algebra Slow after I got one stinkin' C. Now I have to rethink my whole life."
"Forget I mentioned it."
"Is it too late to re-take my SAT's?"
"I'm going to work now."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

As A Wise Man Once Said...

As a wise man named Nathan Lansman once said,

a man who was somehow a cousin of my Grandma Shorty,

or maybe he was a second cousin,

I can't remember...

All I know is he was a tiny relative I could look in the eye

when I was eight,

and he said it at my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary.

The idle chitchat had ground to a halt,

and Nathan Lansman looked at my father,

sighed a little,

and said the words that would become Starr Family Lore.

Say it with me now:

"Life is life."

You can't argue with that, now, can you?

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Key To Happiness

Some nice people I've known a very long time.

According to a lifelong study conducted by the SJG Institute of This, That & The Other, the key to true happiness and well-being isn't how much gelt you make, what fancy position you hold, where you stand or squat politically, or the number of Netflix series you binge watch in one weekend. Although mazel tov to those of you who got through all 17 seasons of "The Worst Housewives of Sherman Oaks" in one afternoon. We're talking serious commitment.  

Some other nice people I may or may not be related to, 
and one I was smart enough to marry. 

Turns out, the key to true happiness and well-being is... drumroll please... the right kind of relationships (as opposed to the toxic kind) with family, friends and spouses. Father's Day, lovingly hosted by my brother Juan, was proof of a terrific collection of happiness-providers. I am, as they say, One Lucky Lil Jew. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Favorite Super Hero

When the SJG was a little gal, my father convinced me he was a very strong man. Stronger than Tarzan.
Stronger than Jack LaLanne. 
When the SJG was a little gal, my father 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.
I totally bought it.  
Then one day, before remote controls, he 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!"
It took me a while to question the whole house-moving scenario. About four years ago, I finally broached the subject. "Daddy, when did I stop believing you could move the house?" "On your 45 birthday." "How did I take it?" "Not well." Come to think of it, I'm still not over it.
Happy Father's Day, Daddy. You'll always be my favorite super hero. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Nice Earrings

"I love those earrings you're wearing."
"Thank you."
"They're so pretty."
"I know, right?"
"Where did you get them?"
"I'll never tell."
"It's a secret."
"Did you get them in New York?"
"Just tell me."
"Would you like a hint?"
"You gave them to me."
"I did?"
"You gave me this bracelet, too."
"It's lovely."
"You have great taste in jewelry."
"I really do."
"And friends, too."
"That goes without saying."

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Next One

For Father's Day, I was thinking of renting a Luxury Winnebago and visiting all of my daddy's favorite hang-outs. The restaurants and movie theaters he loved so much. But then I realized I didn't need a Luxury Winnego to do that. Plus, chances are my feet wouldn't touch the pedals, a lifelong issue. I might as well stick to my own car, full of dog hair and a few items I still can't identify. Crumpled Kleenex? Protein bar wrapper? Hard to say. So today, on my way over to the Westside, I'll drive past his number one favorite hang-out, maybe even park in front. Cuz I'm pretty sure they won't let me in, unless I pretend to be a UPS driver with an important delivery. At this point, all I can deliver are sweet memories of my dad in his condo, where he felt most at home. He'd sit at his computer for hours or watch TV and doze off. Or linger in the kitchen, drinking his hot black coffee and reading the newspaper. No question, he was happiest at home, where no one bothered him. He was never bored. Never boring. Although he might disagree. There was the one time at the very end, when he said, "Sorry I'm so boring." Daddy, you were never boring. You were interested in everything. You never stopped wanting to learn. It didn't matter the topic, cooking corned beef or fixing a leak, you wanted to tackle it and wouldn't give up until you did. Wherever you are, I'm sure of one thing. You're reading a great book and can't wait to start the next one.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fashionable Bubble Wear

(Sherman Oaks) SJG Fashions is pleased to announce the latest addition to the Short Jewish Gal Summer Line: Daily Bubble Wear. In an interview at her palatial estate, the SJG explained the motivation behind her exciting new creation. "Listen, I don't know about you, but I know about me, and lately, I feel... oh... a bissele vulnerable out there in the world. From what I gather, it's a scary-ass place. Most days, I'd rather stay in my own cozy protective bubble and tune out all the negativity. But every now and then, a gal has to venture outside to pick up some bagels and lox. So that's when it hit me like a year-old frozen babka. Why can't I take my protective bubble with me everywhere I go? So that home or away, bupkis can get to me. Of course, being the trendsetter that I am, I wanted to whip up something special. Cuz let's face it, dressing yourself in ordinary bubble wrap could make a short gal look chunky. So I called on my favorite designer Frieda Me Firstenberg and she came up with the most fetching and figure flattering Daily Bubble Wear design on the market today. It pops with color and even has a jaunty hat to go with. I feel pretty darn confident that this bubbly frock is going to sell like hot kugel. I haven't even finished this interview and I already have 14 orders to fill. So hurry up, ladies. Don't let the bubble parade pass you by, bitches! You'll be the envy of the Sisterhood. You're welcome! Oh, and P.S., so there shouldn't be any confusion, hat sand shoes old separately."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Starr

Tinkle, tinkle, little Starr, 
How I wonder where you are.

Up upon the throne I wait,
I can't seem to urinate. 

When the tinkle will not come,

I sit here and feel so dumb.
I attempt to fill the cup. 
Tinkle, tinkle, what is up? 

Then the nurse says don't despair, 
Shut your eyes, say a prayer.
You'll know when you have to go,
Think good thoughts and make it so.

In the bathroom I try hard,
But there's nothing to discard.
Normally I pee a lot,
Now I can't advance the plot.

I'm so sorry, I can't pee. 
No more of this wait and see.
I'll come back another day,
Or I'll send my protege.

Tinkle, tinkle, little Starr, 
How I wonder where you are. 
Up upon the throne I wait,

I can't seem to urinte.

Tinkle, tinkle, little Starr, 
How I wonder where you are. 
How I wonder where you are.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

That's Just Mean

"How's 8 o'clock?"
"Too early."
"How's 11 o'clock?"
"Too late."
"What time would you like to come in?"
"8:30 it is."
"Can we make it 8:45? You never know with traffic."
"8:45. See you then."
"No eating, right?"
"No food after midnight. And only water."
"What about coffee?"
"No coffee."
"Excuse me?"
"No coffee."
"Oh, dear God. Why not?"
"Coffee dehydrates you."
"Says who?"
"The doctor."
"Put him on the phone."
"He's with a patient."
"I'll drink it black."
"No coffee."
"Just a sip? A sip won't hurt anyone."
"No coffee."
"Sheesh! See you at 8:30."
"What happened to 8:45?"
"The sooner I get this over with, the sooner I get coffee."

Monday, June 12, 2017

To Each Her Own

Kevin Spacey as Evan Hansen 

"Are you excited about the Tonys?"

Kevin Spacey as Hoofer 

"I'm not excited about Kevin Spacey."

Kevin Spacey as Josh Groban 

"Why not?"

Kevin Spacey as Johnny Carson 

"He's not a host."

Kevin Spacey as Bill Clinton

"Give him a chance." 

Kevin Spacey as Nora Desmond


Kevin Spacey as Groundhog

So I did. And all I can say is, I wish they'd 
asked Stephen Colbert. 
(Then again, maybe they did and like 
so many others, said no.)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

I'd just turned 8 when "Batman" debuted on ABC. I worshipped everything about it -- the cheeky humor, the campy music, the tongue-in-cheek villains, the cartoon "Pows!" and "Bams!" and "Zaps!" that flashed on the TV screen. Batman and his trusty sidekick Robin made me laugh and "riddle me this" and set the tone for my love of all things ridiculous. Give me over-the-top and silly slapstick and I'm in heaven. Little has changed in terms of my viewing habits.
The fact that "Batman" aired twice a week -- 7:30 on Wednesday and Thursday -- made it all the more wonderful, not just because I adored the nonstop action and corny dialogue, but also because it was the only show I can remember watching with my brothers, just the three of us, actually getting along for a solid half hour. A miracle. Most nights, my parents wouldn't dare leave us alone, but there was something about "Batman" that put a spell on us. There was a ceasefire right there in the den. All the arguing, the teasing, the provocation stopped.
So thank you Adam West for bringing peace to the house for half an hour, twice a week. It was lovely while it lasted. 

R.I.P. Adam West