And I Wrote This Book.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is Thy Sweet Heart Now Grown So Cold, That Loving Breast of Thine? aka The Osmonds Are Back!




I’m frozen in starting this “Dear John” letter. Wait, I’ve got it! “Dear John.” Nah, taken. What I really want to say is, “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” But that’s plagiarism too. Hm, something marvelous just popped into my head: “Is thy sweet heart now grown so cold, that loving breast of thine?” [1]It’s spicy. It’s random. Perverse and original. A quick google search, though, and that one’s been used for 300 years. You didn’t know that’s part of Auld Lang Syne,[2] did ya? Me neither. Well, perhaps I should depart with a loving, poetic gesture of sorts. Here goes.

Dear 2009,
You shocked and you challenged,
Brought good and bad luck.
You inspired and transpired,
But you did mostly suck.

What a way to begin with Barak’s swearing in!
He’s Black and he’s fine.
He’s got depth and can think.
Good riddance, George Dub-yuh,
And P.S. You stink!

The economy tanked along with faith, hope, and fight.
We lost jobs, homes, and health care.
What to do but hang tight?

Petty distractions have kept us afloat.
To follow are likely the most petty of note:

Octomom inherits great wealth and fame
For her busy uterus and lack of a brain.

Kayne West took Taylor Swift’s trophy away.
But he said “Sorry,” and his mom died, so it’s truly okay.

Jon and Kate plus 8 became Jon minus 9.
A bit late to for this break, party pops. You are slime.

In true Tiger style, Woods scores lower than low.
The boy had us scammed as a wholesome hero.
The best of all golfers, two tots, and model wife –
The Woods had no less than a fantasy life.
But his fantasies surpassed 1 and even 14.
Stay in the woods, Tiger. You’re best left unseen.

Miss California shunned gay marriage, lost the Miss USA.
Brittany Spears claims all should marry. (She knows of what she does say.)
Oprah declares her show will soon close.
Jason dumped Molly for Missy, then Missy for Molly.
Follow that final rose!

The Osmonds came back to dance for the prize.
So skilled and so cute. What a delightful surprise.
(‘Scuse me while I puke.)

A handful of the greats who died in 09:
Michael Jackson, whose talent pervades space and time.
Patrick Swayze, whose grace and spirit live on.
Natasha Richardson, a beautiful actress and mom.
Dazzling Brittany Murphy, career interrupted too fast.
For these and all other good souls who have passed,
With special reverence for those who were taken by war,
May their memories be blessings that inspire ever more.

Alas 09, you dashed this gal with fright.
Facing job loss and divorce, I could not see the light.
But I got a new gig, even better than last.
I also dropped the “F” word; my maiden name’s back.
One thing that’s a constant are the damn lawyer fees.
They keep coming back,
Not unlike Donny and Marie. (‘Scuse me while I puke. Again.)

Looking back on the year, I’m quite blessed to say
I ravaged great chocolate. The Lord doth have Her ways.

On a final note, let us ask once again. Shall we?
Is thy sweet heart now grown so cold, that loving breast of thine?

Happy 2010 to my beloved readers!
Robyn Alana Engel

[1] James Watson’s version, Old Long Syne, 1711
[2] Literally “old long since.” This Scottish poem, often sung on New Year’s and during other ceremonies (e.g., funerals), is attributed to Robert Burns, 1788.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO ON CHRISTMAS?

Over 2000 years since Jesus Christ’s birth, this Jewish girl declares that it's time to this big shindig of a birthday celebration right. Let's face it, Jesus was Jewish! Now, you know I’m not one to mix words. And I know this may be hard to absorb, but the bottom line is that Jesus would not eat ham on Christmas. So, why do you go all out in serving it - honey backed, mixed in with turkey, etc. etc.? You have it all wrong, people. Ham ain't kosher!


With all due respect, let me gently suggest that Christ might instead prefer Mary’s home cooked brisket.[1] There would be no dairy products with dinner either, since good Jews do not have milk and meat in the same meal. That also means bypassing eggnog. Jesus might rather enjoy a Manischevitz[2] spritzer (concord grape Manischevitz wine mixed with 7-up – Oy, such a treat!).

Furthermore, with deep concern for the environment, Christ would surely be appalled at the killing of countless pine trees, and the grotesque waste of electricity, both of which typify this season. He would instead relish in a birthday party more akin to, say, a bris
[3]: a quick and painful ceremony followed by lots of food, 20-30 minutes of the hora[4], and the tireless receiving of sloppy kisses from the relatives.

When it came time for the caroling, Mary would lovingly tell Jesus to bundle up with lots of layers, because “Jesus honey, you’re going to catch pneumonia. It’s a bit nippy outside.” And in the midst of the singing, Jesus would exclaim, “Ma Zeh?
[5] A turtle dove? French hens?”

Finally, exasperated and utterly perplexed, Christ would dart down the street to buddy Shmuel’s house. There, the gang would delight in raucous dreidel
[6] games, delicious homemade potato latkes[7] doused in sour cream and apple sauce, and coin after coin of chocolate gelt.[8] “Aah,” Jesus would then sigh with contentment, “This is all very good.” 


But when Christ had not yet returned home hours later, Mother Mary would shout, "Oh God, I've lost our son!"


HAPPY HANUKAH AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

[1] Brisket=Juicy, hearty, tender side of beef or veal that is best prepared as a pot roast by a loving Jewish mother.[2] Manischevitz=The maker of all products kosher, kosher for Passover, or items that could pass as such.[3] Bris=Circumcision. Details not provided herein.[4] Hora=Kicking, screaming, clapping, running in circles (i.e., the standard Jewish dance you’ve seen in the movies).[5] Ma Zeh=Hebrew for “What’s this?”[6] Dreidel=Spinning top game played on Hanukah.[7] Latkes=Potato pancakes; yummy good Hanukah food, best enjoyed with a sour cream-apple sauce combo.[8] Gelt=Money, coins, that are made of chocolate and thus have higher value than the real thing nowadays.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mixed-Up Holiday Medley

The following mixed-up medley combines bits of traditional holiday classics with a few tacky tunes (e.g., Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song, Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer, and It’s Hard to Be a Jew on Christmas). Please sing and enjoy, drunk or sober. It will sound the same either way.


I’m dreaming of a yon virgin underneath the mistletoe. Dressed in holiday style, she’d been drinking too much eggnog, just like the ones I used to know.Then one foggy Christmas eve, Santa came to say, “I had a little dreidle. I made it out of clay.
Tell your friend Veronica, it’s time to celebrate Hanukah. Smoke your maijuanica.
We’ll all dance the hora up on the housetop. Ho, ho, ho!"

CHORUS: And so I’m offering this simple phrase: Have yourself a merry little dreidle, dreidle, dreidle on Christmas; as for me and Grandpa we believe.

Guess who eats together at the Carnegie Deli - Bowser from Sha-na-na and Arthur Fonzerelli. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games!

Grandma got run over by a reindeer. It had a lovely body, with leg so short and thin, and two eyes made out of coal, drinkin’ beer and playin’ cards with Cousin Belle.

CHORUS: You better not pout, I’m telling you why: You don’t have to go to Grandma’s with your alcoholic family.

I’m dreaming of a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves and a partridge in a pear tree.

If you've made it this far:

Repeat entire song.


Sober up.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sex and Salsa: Top 10 Similarities

1) Clapping makes you look goofy.
2) Grabbing a boob is never an accident.
3) High heels hurt.
4) Sometimes you gotta grin and bear it ‘til it’s over.
5) If he asks what to do next, you’re in trouble.
6) Getting twisted up is half the fun.
7) Your hair gets messed up.
8) Bad breath kills the mood.
9) You've gotta fake compassion for annoying performance issues.
10) Spontaneous animalistic utterances are a turn-off.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let Me Eat Cake!


The Judgment of Dissolution reclines amidst old tax forms to collect dust: the tragic culmination of a 13-month marriage followed by 13 months of divorce proceedings. I sank from ecstasy to despair within a heartbeat.

Naturally, my mind gravitates to chocolate cake. Not just any cake, mind you, the wedding cake. Wiping my saliva, I recall the deep brown cake iced with shimmering sweet raspberry filling lost in precious whipped buttery cream, united by a staunch but delicately flowered white chocolate frosting.

That night, my piece was scrumptious. I wasn’t sated, though. Something wasn’t altogether right. What perhaps detracted from its zest were the accumulated annoyances of others’ neuroses. It’s amazing how fanatical people get when it’s somebody else’s turn in the spotlight. Moments ran through my head, as the chocolate fought to settle into my deep, dark insides.

“Robyn!” Ellie snapped during rehearsals, clenching my left forearm, “due to recurring muscle spasms shooting down my neck and all the way through to my fingertips, with particular acuity in my right pinkie, I can’t applaud for you when the Rabbi presents the new couple. I hope you won’t mind. You might not even notice. It’s just this chronic pain that acts up sometimes. The Doctor said I should go easy on it. My boss, John, you know, the one with the big mustache, suggested disability leave. I know you're busy, but I thought you should know. You understand. Right?”

“Sure, Ellie. Just let go of my arm before I show you what a real muscle spasm feels like.”

“Robyn, I know there’s no food in the sanctuary. I’m just going to slip some Corn Puffs in my jacket pocket. See, it’s in this little Tupper Ware container. Well, it’s Rubbermaid, actually. Those are cheaper. My baby eats hourly, and I thought I shouldn’t breastfeed during the ceremony. Is that okay?” I dashed off with a nod. It mattered not whether I, or even God, consented.

Francine called during my manicure, demanding a ride. There was no “How are you on your wedding day?” Not even a “What’s up?” Just “Coordinate my commute from the airport, to the hotel, and back home before dark. We don’t want to get in too late. I’ve gotta catch an early flight tomorrow morning.”

Sam volunteered to videotape the entire event. He took his role seriously, ordering guests to position themselves just so, get out of the way, and stop blocking the light. Next week, we discovered that his expertise was less than expert. Sam got great shots of the ceiling but missed the vows, kiss, and glass shattering “Mazel Tov” moment.

“Hey, he shouldn't take pictures in the sanctuary! Robyn, what’s going on? I assumed this was a Conservative Temple. The meal will be kosher, right? I had a light lunch.” Claire further demanded that the wedding party members (of which she was one, being Dad’s girlfriend du jour) count one-one-thousand etcetera through 20 before embarking down the aisle. This might have worked, but she was a slow walker. The rest of us were inclined to compensate with inconspicuous jogging.

I can’t forget the DJ’s. They spun a great music, and we all enjoyed the party. They took themselves on a well deserved break for an hour or so mid-way through. It must be difficult to simultaneously eat and work an iPod, especially when I had already loaded said iPod with our music requests. This must be extra complex, though, when one ignores the couple’s music requests. Nice guys, though, and they appeared to really enjoy themselves. I’m happy for them. I really am.

Indulge me momentarily, dear reader. I must share that I looked stunningly gorgeous that evening. My glimmering beaded, elegant, antique style dress fit like silk caressing my feminine figure. I was a picture of grace and beauty. My need to emphasis this fact stems from the reality that no one complimented my appearance. I thought it common knowledge to tell the bride how beautiful she looks, even the most plain of them, if only because of the thousands spent on the hoopla.

Heck, no one even stood when I walked down the aisle. Nobody! That’s the moment every girl dreams about, and they failed me. People!? Why? Why did you fall short of arising to offer your full reverence, or a mere squat?
Dawn, always dazzling, worried. She tailored her dress to minimize the cleavage factor. “Does this look okay? Will the rabbi be offended?” “No, sis. He’s gay. He won’t notice.” That one was easy.

Next, onto Dad.He adorned a white top to accent his all-black suit. “How’s my tie? Do I look okay?” “Sure, dad,” I said with confidence. “The pimp look is in this year.”

In the midst of picture taking, the groom departed to take his car for a car wash. An hour later, he had neither returned nor responded to my panicky calls. When he finally arrived, he explained that he left the phone on the car’s hood. It must have fallen and gotten run over at some point.

No time for condolences. The music was starting.

“Hold on!” The caterer bursts in and blurts out. “My back is killing me. I have a splitting headache, and my assistant bailed. I need help unloading the truck.” I suppose I should be relieved I didn’t have to cook the meal. I’m not sure how she managed that one, and the food was more than decent. I expect it helped to ignore our agreed upon dinner menu. Further, she failed to deliver champagne to the tables. We were toasted with empty glasses and bewilderment. Perhaps someone enjoyed the booze behind the scenes. She capped her performance by handing her bill to the groom mid-party, as he stood in the middle of the dance floor. “Oops, it was three times my original quote. Just don’t tell Robyn until after the honeymoon. You too have a great trip. Oh, and you can keep the cake cutter.”

Alas, the family needed to depart, leaving clean-up duties to the bride and groom. Thankfully, a loyal friend offered assistance. Alas, this friend needed a ride home.

“See ya,” I said as my new husband departed solo in a car decorated by “Just Married” and “Down with Bush.”

One clear thought occupied my frontal lobe as the last crumb settled in: More! More cake. Let me eat more cake.

I ran back into the sanctuary kitchen and haphazardly wrapped the remainder of wedding cake.

Over the coming weeks, or perhaps just hours, I ravaged that delectable chocolate raspberry laced butter creamy cake, flowered delicately in white chocolate frosting. I consumed it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dessert, and a simple pick-me-up. Screw the tradition of freezing the left over cake. Let me eat cake, I said and continue to say at any appropriate or not-so-appropriate opportunity.

That particular cake was purely sweet and deliciously, even if not altogether right.