The Borscht Belt

The Borsch Belt: A New Series. Old Jokes.

The Joke: “The Parrots”

A woman goes to her rabbi with a serious problem. Her two female parrots have picked up a bad habit. Any time she has visitors, the two parrots embarrass her by saying, in unison, “Hi! We’re hookers. Want to have some fun?”

To her surprise, the rabbi breaks into a smile, explaining that he has two male parrots which he has trained to pray and who have become very observant, spending much of the day davening in their cage.

He’s confident that if the woman brings her two parrots over to his house, his two parrots will exert such a positive influence that her birds will turn into model parrots.

The next day the woman drives over to the rabbi’s house and brings her two parrots into his home. As she looks around, she notices a large cage with two parrots, each wearing a little kippah and tiny tallis, and each holding a miniature prayer book while they rock back and forth in prayer.

Sure enough, as soon as she places her parrots in the cage, they shout out to their male counterparts: “Hi! We’re hookers. Want to have some fun?” One of the rabbi’s parrots immediately turns to the other, squawking: “Moishe, put the fucking book down. Our prayers have been answered!”

[Contributed by Capettawitz]


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Tucks Medicated Pads are crap!

I don’t even know where to begin on this one. 

Tucks Medicated Pads are so many kinds of wrong I become enraged just thinking about it!
So, I’ll make a list. Here goes:

  1. It’s 50% Witch Hazel –Which I can buy in any store for next to nothing.

  3. Most of the rest of the product is glycerin (for that slick feeling that never seems to go away) and alcohol (again, another product I can buy cheaply).

  5. Tucks contains diazolidinyl urea (yuck!) — a preservative that releases formaldehyde! of all things!

  7. The makers of Tucks, Pfizer, can’t decide if they their product provides hemorrhoidal or vaginal care (both are on the box) and I’m more than a little uncomfortable with that the confusion on this matter.

  9. The box uses the term moist in reference to the pads and I hate the word ‘moist.’

  11.  The pads themselves are, well, too moist (I really hate that word!). Each little pad drips like a leaky faucet.

  13.  Pads come out of the container in clumps, not one at a time, which makes these babies prone to waste. Way to go green Pfizer!

  15. Tucks pads are small and round and don’t make sense for tough jobs — if you know what I mean.

  17. The smallness of the pads make them prone to finger slippage, which is, of course, never pretty.

  19. The container itself is completely and utterly a design blunder by requiring two hands to open — one to unscrew the top and the other to hold the container. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already got a hand in use when I’m getting through sitting on the crapper.


Enough said.


Snow schmo

We got eight inches here last night (I know what you’re thinking and it’s wishful thinking! Oh, and you’re a pig!) Terms like “Winter Wonderland” are being thrown around as if a storm of this magnitude is actually a good thing. Here are some pictures I took of this mess:

(Click the thumbnails to see full size)

The Not-So-Perfect Storm

Beautiful you say? Here’s what I see:

  1. Unpaved roads which means I have hardly a hope of release from my suburban prison today.
  2. Massive delays on the Long Island Rail Road.
  3. The horrifying possibility of having to shovel my parents driveway.
  4. A black slushy mess awaiting me once I do get into the City.

My ex always said, “Most people like to see the glass as half full.  Pessimists see the glass as half empty.  Your family sees the glass as dirty.”


Cohen of Uncertainty

 Are we, the Jewish People, truly competitive, even envious of other people’s suffering?

Oy! You should only know from pain!

Or, is it just shtick?

We’re told we are the chosen people but I think we’re taking that too literally — and only when it comes to suffering. Neither being the schoolyard bully, nor being the nebbishy kid should be worn like a badge of honor.  Yet we, as a people, fight and claw our way up the ladder of suffering, with no end in sight.

For many of us, good fortune and even prosperity are suspect and we wait indefinitely for the other shoe to drop.  Whenever I’m doing well, for instance, and I’m able to take that long-needed vacation, I become convinced that the plane, about to embark to my holiday destination, will plummet to the ground like a tin can.  It’s only when my life sucks that I’m sure it won’t crash.

The Cone of Uncertainty on Jewish suffering has not, as it should by definition, diminished.  

 Cone of Uncertainty

Do we attract suffering? Is it just our self-imposed cultural ethos guiding us toward suffering? Or, again, is it just schtick?



Like most Jews I grew up with, including my entire family, I am no stranger to illness. In fact, without illness there’d be practically nothing to worry about, to talk about during supper (the particularly gruesome illnesses, it seems, were actually saved for dinnertime conversation — Woody Allen parodies this in “Annie Hall“), or, and most importantly, to be used in a psychotic Jewish version of one-upmanship that makes the WASP’s keeping up with the Joneses seem absolutely normal.  

Illness, not health, is our way of “keeping up with the Schwartz’s” I suppose.




So it should have come as no shock to me that all the allergy medicines (and there were many)I took as a kid, along with weekly allergy shots, all given to me at the insistence of my mother, were unnecessary from a health perspective but completely necessary from a Jewish perspective. My mother derived narcissistic satisfaction while I just got drowsy!


Worse, however, was that I couldn’t have a pet. My mother insisted that allergy scratch tests confirmed that I was allergic to dander and therefore could not have a dog or cat.  I had always wanted a dog so this announcement was a crushing blow. I never really was a cat person so not having one was not an issue per se.  What was an issue, and very problematic indeed, was that not only could I not have a cat but I could now not be at any friend’s house that had a cat.

Now here’s the rub: As a kid I would develop symptoms of cat allergies — runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing and, last but not least, wheezing. But I’ve since had my own allergy scratch tests and none have ever indicated that I’m allergic to cats. 

So the question remains, did I get that runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing coughing, wheezing simply due to my mother’s insistence that I am allergic to cats? Did I became a human snot rag to get love and affection from her in the only way I knew how — by filling a Jewish mother’s narcissistic need for her son to be ill? Was my allergy to cats just psychosomatic, or in my case psychosemitic?

On my last trip to Los Angeles, the trip I made after my mother told me how to pee so as not to drip on her marble bathroom floor, I arranged to stay with one of my oldest friends. He has two cats. On the way to the airport I told my mother about the cats. She cut me off saying, “You can’t stay there. You’re allergic to cats!” I told her I wasn’t but she insisted I was.  I let it go and with it my allergy to cats. 

The Katz’s






New series. Old jokes: The Borscht Belt

What’s The Borscht Belt (or Jewish Alps) you ask?  Click here to find out.

The Joke: “The Haircut”

A guy sticks his head into a barber shop and asks, “How long before I can get a haircut?”

The barber looked around the shop full of customers and says, “About 2 hours.”

The guy leaves.

A few days later the same guy sticks his head in the door and asks, “How long before I can get a haircut?”

The barber looked around at the shop and says, “About 3 hours.”

The guy leaves.

A week later the same guy sticks his head in the shop again and asks, “How long before I can get a haircut?”

The barber looked around the shop and says, “About an hour and a half.”

The guy leaves.

The barber turns to a friend and asks, “Hey, Bill, do me a favor. Follow that guy and see where he goes. He keeps asking how long he has to wait for a haircut, but then he never comes back.”

A while later, Bill returns to the shop, laughing hysterically.

The barber, looking annoyed asks, “So where does that guy go when he leaves?”

Bill says, “Your house.”

Check out‘s Borscht Belt pages here.

[Contributed by Capettawitz]


Decalifornication and Funny Gay Sofa

I was planning my escape to nowhere in particular when an old friend from Los Angeles (we’ll call him “Old Friend From Los Angeles”) let me know he had the perfect place for me to live: Cozy bedroom; Private office; Huge gardens; and, All the modern conveniences.  Problem was, he needed a roommate now (now being a few weeks ago).

I really wanted to be in LA for a number of reasons, not the least of which was to put some distance between me and the ex, and to put much needed distance between me and my lovely-yet-overbearing mother.

When reality set in, however, and it occurred to me i needed to be on a flight to LAX almost immediately, I froze. 


After a couple of nerve-wracking days, I finally got an appointment with my therapist (it should be law that every New York City resident MUST see a therapist).  

This, surprisingly made matters worse. All the emotions I was repressing now bubbled up to the surface. My sister, my mother and probably everyone that walked past me that day could see the pain written all over my otherwise happy-go-lucky face (perhaps happy-go-lucky is a slight exaggeration). 

I was what my therapist labelled “being in crisis mode” — which for therapists is like hitting the mother load. I now have to see him twice a week. $$

With much regret, I pulled the plug very last minute on my move to La La Land. I realized it was too quick and was inadequately planned.  I knew I had to finish dealing with the fallout of my breakup and the impact it is having on my business. I hope Old Friend From Los Angeles is not too pissed off at me. I do feel terribly guilty — as it is my cultural imperative to do so. [Edited 2/20/2008: Is Jewish guilt a myth?]





Then there’s Jaffe Cohen, of the Funny Gay Males, the movie “Hit and Runway,” and author of Tush.  Now if you remember from previous blog entries, he has the apartment I was planning to move into.  He and his new roommate Gadi have made that place a third, much-needed home for me. 

Funny Gay Males




So the Mensch Awards go to: Old Friend From Los Angeles and to Jaffe and Gadi.


“…my sister, my daughter.” Err, my sister, my mother.

My last spate of blog entries came in late January and, due to circumstances completely under my control, I decided I was too glum to write.  Don’t get me wrong, my misery, perhaps more than anyone I know, enjoys company. Though, on second thought, enjoys is the wrong word as I haven’t enjoyed anything at all since… Well exact dates aren’t important and clearly are not the point.

If you’ve read all of my entries you know I’ve been staying part of the time at my folks place in the suburbs on Long Island and at my sister and brother-in-law’s place in Northern Westchester. At my sister’s place there are the kids. They are completely distracting in the best possible way. I can’t get work done because I’m literally compelled to watch them and listen to them all the time: Telling each other stories; Playing — quite adeptly — on the computer; Singing, dancing and writing; and, Sometimes fighting. But they are a joy and being there is a joy as well.

It’s not quite the same at my folks house.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother as if she were my own mother (Although she actually is my biological mother I prefer to keep some ‘healthy’ phycological dysphoria on this one to keep me from jumping). I also love my step-dad. He and I have lots in common, including an unhealthy obsession to with computers and gadgets. But I’m isolated on an island of neurosis. There is never a soul on the street, or in the ‘development’ (this one created just after Levittown and in much the same way: A cookie-cutter Long Island nightmare).

Levittown, Long Island, NY

This Our house is also a hotbed of ADD, OCD, perhaps bipolar disorder and your run-of-the-mill neurosis.  My mother is a worrier and it informs everything she says and does. And, if one is not careful, it leaches out and infects everything it touches. Worrying, my friends is a disease — unless of course someone is actually following you with a gun or, G-d forbid, the government starts to mass produce yellow Stars of David.  In cases like that however, active resistance is best and any worrying should be purged tout de suite.

That perpetual progrom that resides just below the surface of most Jewish women’s brains just makes them and, in particular, their first-born sons crazy.  

Save it for when we really need it mom!! There are enough Republican Jews (akin to African-American members of the Ku Klux Klan) out there that are going to need a megadose of reality at some point! Until then…

So I’m back on Long Island searching for the impossible: An inexpensive yet perfect apartment/office in Manhattan.


You’ve Goth to be kidding…

I’ve been chomping at the bit on this one for a while. But out of respect for my sister I haven’t blogged this yet and shouldn’t be doing so now.

My sister and brother-in-law have a great couple friend. Wonderful people. Fun to be around. But there’s something I have to say, that I must let her know. It’s been disturbing me for far too long.

I’m just going to say it. Stop with the gray lipstick and the dyed jet-black hair . You’re in your mid-thirties and it is 2008!  You are not Joan Jett!Joan Jett

I know you’d rather live in the City and not in the burbs but deal with it! You are a beautiful woman that just needs some color!

Wow. I feel a lot better now.