It’s funny ’cause it’s true

Kids can be cruel. One of the things you can count on when the prepubescent chips are down is the love of one’s mother. Now, don’t get me wrong, I had her love. Too much love. The kind of smothering love that forces you to sleep in a fetal position. Love with the intensity of four heavy-set adults standing on your chest. Obsessive love with a squeeze so tight and overbearing a python would be jealous. That, my friends, is the love of a Jewish mother.

After a particularly horrible day at school, having been chided by the other kids (probably for exhibiting some obsessive-compulsive affectation), I came home looking for the support a son needs from a mother.

Instead, I was treated to a barrage of attacks:


“What did you do to make them so angry? “You should have just ignored them.” “Couldn’t you have asked Michael (my best friend) for help?”

She had turned the entire incident around to somehow make it my fault. And, to add insult to injury, she would have handled it much better, of course. Embarrassment turned to frustration and then, inevitably to anger.  I screamed back at her:


“Mom, you’re ruining my life!”

With a cool, earnest yet indifferent tone she responded,

“Well someone has to.”

I went to my bedroom, got into bed and lay in the fetal position.


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There is no doubt that I’ve been working on this blog obsessively. Go figure.  And not eating for three days has helped me drop a few pounds.

But this kind of wisecracking from the fine people at WordPress gives me a little tsuris:


And what is Sarsparilla? Sounds vaguely anti-Semitic to me.


Funny, you don’t look fluish.

Science ChannelIt’s Sunday night and I’m back in my sister’s Arctic basement watching the We’re-All-Going-To-Die Channel, also known as the Science Channel, and I must say that I feel a whole lot better about, well, everything.

“Pandemic: Bird Flu” is the kind of disaster programming that allows you to enjoy your mortality, from a distance. The show’s disclaimer warns that it’s based on “actual events” that have been dramatized — and, correct me if I’m wrong, but that haven’t actually happened yet. The program’s disclaimer confused yet fascinated me. It seemed to indicate that the program’s producers are working within a TV industry-only space/time continuum. 

They are using the fabric of space itself to increase ratings and audience share of a soon-to-be-dead demographic and they  avoid dealing with the writers strike because it has already been resolved in their dimension!  Genius!

Space/Time ContinuumVery clever indeed.

Also, scaring me with a horrible pandemic for the sake of ratings makes me feel warm and safe, like nothing at all has changed.  Or has it?


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Missing Jews (Eat your heart out John Waite)

Sitting here freezing my ass off in my sister’s basement, my mind wandered to the thought of my grandparents and great grandparents. How lucky I was as a kid to have both sets of great grandparent and both sets of grandparents around. I got so much from each of them. Particularly an eating disorder.

“Sit. Eat.” They always said.

“But Grandma, we just left Beefsteak Charlie’s,” I protested. (Of course I didn’t have the heart to mention ‘pigging out’ at the endless shrimp bar.) I was no match for her and she made a point of ignoring me.

So we ate. Again.

Now I fill that empty pit I feel in my soul with food. It’s a wonder I’m not fat.

But I’ve veered dangerously off track. The point is I miss my grandparents who gave me so much more than an eating disorder: The unconditional love I felt from each of them is something for which I still yearn.

“Missing You” by John Waite


You can take the man out of New York, but…

Old New York Deli



I know you can’t take New York out of the man and I’m very thankful for that. But would it be so bad to live in a city that takes the phrase “quality of life” seriously?


Just a thought…


New Series: Cut the Pop-cultural Schmaltz

Schmaltz of the Day: Snarkiness — the New Irony

I’m sick of snarky. Why must all criticism in mass media be snarky to be considered effective?

My mother and a long line of critical Jewish mothers before her criticized not to be funny, but because they were right. They didn’t care if you laughed, cried or suffered years of therapy as a result. They were right and they would stop at nothing to let you know you were wrong. Simple. Comedy, something I believe was a Jewish invention, now takes the place of having an opinion. Snarky falls squarely in the middle of all points of view.

Myron Cohen

Let the viewer make up his or her mind, they say. The TV personalities and producers that say that, don’t believe it any more than you or me. The viewer has no brain. That’s precisely why he or she is watching television in the first place.

Jon Stewart

And, that is why they choose to laugh at Bush’s malapropisms instead of doing anything about them. So watch the Daily Show (yes, I love Jon Stewart) and watch Colbert but don’t for a second think that by watching you are doing. Like my mother used to say about anything I happened to be doing at that particular moment:

“Alan, don’t you think you should be doing [fill in the blank]?”


Desperate for Attention Jewish Housewives

This Episode: “Mary Beth and the Nanny Fucker”

I was having a suburban lunch with my sister and the girls when the subject of the Nanny Fucker came up. I was immediately drawn into the conversation. Who wouldn’t be? (Yeah, I’m talking about the guy across the restaurant listening in!)

The tale of the Nanny Fucker is the latest drama to sweep at least two whole towns in Northern Westchester a New York City suburb somewhere above The Bronx.

The Nanny Fucker is notorious for hiring nannies, screwing them, marrying them, and then divorcing them for brand new nannies. Wow! Quite a racket!

The current count is: 3 nannies and 2 wives. He’s currently divorced but his kids are always well cared for, I guess…

Apparently Nanny Number 3 already has some suspicions about her employer-cum-lover-cum-husband-cum-ex-husband. Imagine that.

But the thing is, she expresses her rather understandable insecurity by planting seeds of suspicion with the wives of otherwise faithful husbands. Nanny Number 3 was heard saying this to a gregarious member of the Jewish Housewives:

“I saw your husband at the pizza place all the way in [town name here]. Why was he having lunch so far from where you two live?”

Another interesting fact about the Nanny Fucker is that he prefers Midwestern nannies. Almost every couple with kids in Northern Westchester has a nanny — it’s a particularly affluent area. All of these nannies are from South and Central America. I’ve never seen an American-born nanny in that neighborhood.

So the Nanny Fucker has bagged, and continues to bag, the only American-born nannies to ever invade the otherwise suburban quiet. To Midwestern nannies, Northern Westchester somewhere north of The Bronx must clearly be the nation’s hottest breeding ground for heights of eroticism and babysitting.

As the nanny’s kids say, “Sweet!.”


Noah, I won’t get in the Ark!

Why must Jewish women make ‘no’ into a two syllable word? I’m just asking…


Kimchi for thought: Koreans are just like Jews…

Sure, everyone knows about the affinity between the Jews and Chinese. Jews are practically raised on Chinese food, practicing a decades-long tradition of flocking to Chinese restaurants each and every Sunday night and, of course, on Christmas eve. In fact, I believe there is a Hebrew prayer said over the egg roll.

Like to the Jews, food is very important to the Chinese. Other cultural similarities exist too: an emphasis on education, parental pressure to succeed and having a mind for business. Some would even say the Chinese are cheap. Cheaper than the Jews.



However, what’s not common knowledge among the Jewish people is our similarity to the Koreans. They too share our food = love dysfunction and value education to the point that they too inflict excruciating pressure on their young to succeed. Korean Americans are upwardly mobile and will generally stop at nothing to prove it.  


As my old friend Wahn, a Korean American, told me (he grew up in the mixed Korean and Jewish community of Short Hills, New Jersey):

“Koreans are just like Jews, but without the sense of humor.”

That statement just made me shudder. According to Wahn, Koreans are, apparently, even more Jewish than Jews.

Jewish humor at its ‘best.'” A Jewish humor site.