Saturday, March 20, 2010

Come on in! The Coffee’s Cold and the Bagels Mummified....

Oh, you made it!  Nice to see you, thanks for coming!

Yeah, not the best turn-out. Regular run of early morning light sleepers, guys who’ll use any excuse to get out of the house, and gentiles who married Jewish women who naively think they might learn something.

Okay, it's a couple of minutes past 9, I've got to say a few words...

May I have your attention please?
I just want to take few moments to welcome one and few. This is the regular Sunday morning meeting of the Men’s Club of Temple Boray Perry and for those of you new to the club, I'm President Al Rothman. Looking around the room, though, I can see there hasn't been anyone new to the club since the last time Bob Dylan was a Jew.
Today we’re meeting in a different venue than normal, the Gershen  Auditorium, where thankfully we won’t have to compete for being heard with the Children’s Choir practicing over and over the one song they seem to know well, “Tone Deaf Shalom.”

I'm happy to say our speaker today is our friend Mr. Mel Sharpstein, owner of The Jacket Racket, where most of you probably bought the loud, ill-fitting, and several-years-old style suits your sons wore to their Bar Mitzvahs. Mel will speak on his personal view that what’s enabled the Jewish People to survive adversity for thousands of years is fine tailoring.
Mel will also chronicle his efforts to have the word "stunning" added to the newer Hebrew prayers.

Unfortunately Mel hasn’t arrived yet. I’d call over to his house but I don’t want to get stuck talking to Ethel, our peoples’ answer to Anna Kendrick on speed.
Now everybody feel free to grab yourself coffee and a bagel. Unfortunately the coffee is about as hot as a date with Martha Stewart and the bagels feel as if they were formerly property of the National Hockey League. 

That’s the last time I pick up our Sunday morning nosh from a place called Mary Pat's Deli.

Next week I’m going to try another place, Little Touch of Kansas.

A word about the swift and unexpected change in the name of our synagogue. Until last Thursday, we were known as Temple Boray Perry Hagolfen. That was before our co-founder Art Hagolfen suddenly bolted off, taking with him the highly confidential “List of Congregants believed to be related to Jon Stewart.” 

Supposedly he’s going through some kind of mid-life crisis that involves a quest for personal meaning, self-expression, and incredibly hot sex with his former Pilates instructor, Dominique - who, by the way, is now the new Mrs. Art Hagolfen.

Just a couple of quick announcements and then all of us can return to milling about aimlessly. With the holiday coming, this Tuesday we’re holding Temple Boray Perry’s annual “A Rockin’ Pesach!” Every year our own Nicole Halaylos does a super job putting Passover lyrics to familiar songs to lead us in a tune-filled romp through a holiday featuring scores of human beings being eaten by maggots.

Please get in touch with Nicole as to any songs you’d like included because we’re up against it now and all we've got so far is “Seder, You with the Stars in your Eyes.”

Also Cantor Trotter and the children's choir will be presenting their annual show "Shabbat, Just Sayin'," a musical tribute to Judaism in the age of Twitter.  I haven't seen the program myself, but I understand you won't need anywhere near 140 characters to give your review once you have.

Next week our guest speaker will be Sol Berkowitz, who'll be speaking to us about "101 Uses for Your 1950’s Chopped Liver Grinder."  

Still no Mel.  Anyone want to call the house, take a tranquilizer, and chance talking to Ethel?


Then how about we run out to Wawa and get us some real coffee?  

Okay, one and few, till next Sunday morning …

Meeting Adjourned! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kathryn, I Hardly Knew Ye....

Directress of my Dreams! 

In fact, Kathryn, I didn't know ye at all. 

But if I had know ye enough to have called ye "ye," believe me, a battalion of anti-semites couldn't have wiped the smile off my face! 

Yes, it is time to say goodbye!  And Parting is such sweet sorrow, dear Kathryn Bigelow, 58 year old Directress of my Dreams! Especially when there wasn't any Meeting and Striking up a Charming Friendship with Intimations of Romance in the first place. Parting without first Meeting and Striking up a Charming Friendship with Intimations of Romance makes Parting all the more sorrowful, Kathryn, because there isn't any really cool stuff between the two of them to tell all your male friends about.

But, oh, Kathryn, the lack of our actually ever co-existing in the same time zone never stopped us!  We spoke a language known only to us --- I think it was pig latin with a touch of Yiddish.

Scribes tell us, Kathryn, that you entered this world on November 27, 1951.  A bare 14 months earlier, I too had made my first imprint upon the planet.  How did I ever endure those barren first months of lonely existence?  I was a listless child, never once seeking to set forth outside my crib.  That's not totally surprising, because I didn't make it out of the crib for good until January 21, 1963, and that was only because somebody turned off The Match Game.

But once I sensed deep within my soul, Kathryn, that you had joined me in this earthly realm, everything became new!  I sucked my pacifier with renewed verve and intensity and continue to do so to this day!  The earthly journey of two kindred spirits had begun , slowed only because I initially forgot to pack underwear.

From then on, our lives paralleled each other's in every respect.  I boldly pioneered new vistas in inertia, punctuated by occasional death-defying forays into the kitchen for snacks. You became a world-famous director whose life was replete with success, glory, fame, and marriage to an annoying looking guy with hair like former rock star Johnny Winter, only shorter.  

Despite the hectic schedules that kept us apart, when we were together, the universe could not help but smile. In fact, the universe would kind of smirk, which made you want to just smack it whenever it briefly looked away.

Those moments that we were alone together!  You remember those moments!  No, I guess you don't remember those moments because those moments didn't exist in objective reality!  But in whoever's mind they did exist (gee, wonder who it coudda been), there you were emitting sounds of such savage animalistic abandon as to make the sun, moon, and stars bewail the fact that they were not themselves sexually active.

But now it's time to say goodbye.  To all our company, M-I-C-K-E-Y ** M-O .... wait!  I ought to be saying goodbye to you, fair Kathryn, not Mickey Mouse!  I ought to be spelling K-A-T-H-R-Y-N!  Actually I ought to be not doing this joke at all because only Boomers like you and I will understand it, and millenials will tune out to scan Twitter for the latest mentions of Justin Bieber.

But let me shout it to the rooftops!  Actually maybe I'll just shout it to the garage, I'm kinda exhausted from all this fare-thee-well rigamarolle.

Kathryn, I love thee with all my heart!  And also with a half dozen of my lesser organs!

Did that get me anywhere with you?  No?  Okay, I'll get the hell out of here.

But before I take my final leave, know this, fair Kathryn:  I would do anything for thee!

Except maybe sit through The Hurt Locker.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mantra of the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute

Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute
“When the road ahead seems suddenly all in the rear view mirror.”

We are the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute!
Incipient Baby Boomer Geezers.

Inside we are 35!  No, not 60 or more!
Our enemies: the mirror, the camera, your 'who gives a fuck's' galore!
We like to think we still boogie, we’d like to think we rock,
But demographically we’re poison, just pigeon-feeder stock!

We are the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute!
Incipient Baby Boomer Geezers.

Today we sprout hair in all the wrong places,
But where we so want it, only wide open spaces!
Once we trusted no one over 30, it’s true,
Today we know no one under, no gentile, no Jew!

We are the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute!
Incipient Baby Boomer Geezers.

A bit of the bubbly means Alka-Seltzer,
Hard drugs --- Viagra, whadday expect, sir?
Once cuddly and cute, hip, happening, and cool,
Now avuncular, respected, well-furrowed, mature.


We are the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute!
Incipient Baby Boomer Geezers.

We are Generation Ex-Lax, not X.
We are Generation Why???, not Y.
Hug one of us today!
Preferably me.



I Unveil The Mantra (or if you prefer, The Womantra) of the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute

My purpose with this new blog is to rally and inspire the legions of the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute as we reach the stage in life "when the road ahead seems suddenly all in the rear view mirror."

It’s tough out there for us. Employers don’t want us, the media ignores us, and younger women (or men) find us so unattractive as to actually be “tractive,” and we all know how disgusting that is. Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute is my personal effort to grasp hold of the spirit of our generation at a time when our “grasping hold” capabilities weaken daily to the point where "grasping hold" is practically a blood sport.

It is my hope in this brief mantra to forge in the smithy of our souls the uncreated conscience of our race. (Hmm, that was a pretty cool sentence, but I think I might have lifted it from some obscure writer.... well, tough shit for him!) In so forging, I have sought to capture the true Ethos of the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute. And once I get finished dealing with Ethos, I’m going to give “what for” to Porthos too. After that, I’m afraid I’ll have to flee from France because Athos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan are sure to be after to me, and I’m not willing to spend the rest of my life as a dish of chopped chicken pate just for some dumb mantra…

As I have busily forged this smithy, I’ve been at somewhat of a disadvantage. Frankly, I have about as much poetry in my soul as Martha Stewart's evil twin. The same, however, cannot be said for my son Brandon, who several years ago won a poetry contest at a gathering at the local library. So thrilled was I with his lyrical achievement that I attempted to relate to and bond with one of the contest judges --- a young female by persuasion --- with an impromptu rendition of one of the lovelier poems I remember from my childhood entitled “The Fellow From Nantucket.”

Again my skills at poetry being what they are, I left the library with a darkened eye and Brandon just barely clinging to third place. Such are my talents at iambic pentameter, onomatopoeia, and shoving together incongruous and discordant words and phrases until they practically scream out in pain!

So, this man’s mantra may need some further manipulation. Frankly I don’t think it’s all that terrific although someone as undiscriminating as you will probably go wild for it and be arrested for attempting to transport it across state lines. However, I do need a little help here, and I invite any member of the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute to supply it. Send me your suggested revisions, your additions, your deletions, your tired, your poor, but I don’t particularly want your huddled masses, I know you understand.

Even if you are Nouveau Old, Still A Bit Cute, I welcome your submissions, provided you’re at least at the stage of life where you’re fully eligible for the Senior Special at IHOP. But frankly I’d stick with the pancakes.

Oh crap, I almost forgot! The Mantra of the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute follows in the next post.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Long Reach of Reaching Out To

 I am today compelled to confess that there is a universal and apparently well-beloved buzz-phrase that I would gladly devote my life to seeking out, destroying, and driving a stake through its insipid, meaningless, miserable little heart.

It is "to reach out to."

Once this was a phrase reserved for touchy-feely types like psychologists, HR professionals, and guys trying to appear sensitive to impress women. And so we had: "Yes, Justin, I've been planning to reach out to you;" "She's been despairing over the state of her Haiku, Armand, I reached out to her yesterday;" and "Why don't you and I reach out to Matthew who will reach out to Constance...."

And then everything exploded!  Everyone began "reaching out to." Lawyers, actuaries, real estate brokers, the guy in the hardware store, NASCAR drivers, and even corporate executives who don’t know that their employees have first names all crossed the threshhold into an unbridled state of "reaching out to."

And so we now have "I'd like to reach out to you about your plumbing aluminum siding .... Tax audit... mufflers...the 25 bucks you owe me," and so on down the line.

Once someone e-mailed me that she'd like to "reach back out to me." I wasn't sure if she meant she wanted to reach out to me for the second time or to reach backwards to reach out to me because she apparently thought I was standing behind her.

Wouldn't it be simpler and less pretentious to most of the time just say "I've been meaning to get in touch with her,” “I’m gonna call ya” or “reach for the skies, this is a stick-up!?" That last phrase, I submit, is the only one where the word “reach” is actually indispensable.

I suppose there's still a place for "reaching out to" when it's said by touchy-feely types like psychologists and HR professionals. And, oh yeah, I probably wouldn't complain if Scarlett Johansson wanted to "reach out to me."

I might even reach back out to her!

Note: This is an expanded version of a comment I posted on "The HR Junkyard,"  a Human Resources blog written by @tlcolson (Tammy), one of my first friends on Twitter and a fellow HR professional. (Well, she's actually a woman --- not a fellow --- but you know what I'm talking about!)  

Typically I don’t recommend particular blogs. You may have noticed there’s no blogroll in my blog. True, that’s partially because with six you get blogroll, and I’m only one Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute Boomer. But the General Tzo’s has filled me up for the most part so I'll pass on the blogroll.

However, the main reason I don’t recommend blogs is because there are just too many good ones to choose from. There are funny ones, literary ones, touching ones, informative ones – blogs to make you laugh, cry, and even upchuck, if that’s what you need at the moment.

One thing I do know --- Why are you wasting your time looking at mine with all the gems out there just a point and click away? What the hell's wrong with you??  No wonder you hardly ever got any dates!  Go!  Scat!!  Before you're as old as I am!!!