Sunday, February 26, 2006

Some Like it Hot

I used to spend three hours a day at the gym sloshing through puddles of nasty sweat left by big, hairy guys who thought carrying a towel around was for sissies. My trainer kept me on a diet so Spartan, that if I even thought about olive oil I’d get zapped with a Taser. On top of all that, I ran four miles a day.

And then I found nirvana.

We Heebs spent 40 years wandering the desert so it made perfect sense to me to start practicing Bikram yoga. Each class is 90 minutes long and conducted in a room heated to 115 degrees. The first half-hour is a series of heart-pounding standing poses during which you’re not allowed to drink anything. What’s not to like?

And four days a week you’ll find me at the 6:30 a.m. class shvitzing my kishkas out and reliving the exodus from Egypt. I think they should call it Stretch and Kvetch.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

From Bad to Worser

I was listening to “These Days” on KPBS this morning and heard Tom Fudge use the word “worser.” My immediate and visceral reaction was, “Dude, that’s so not a word.”

But I was wrong.

Hearing “worser” makes my ears roll up but - get this - it’s listed in three dictionaries! How can that be, and why didn’t someone tell me? And what the heck is happening to "good English"?

The whole experience makes me feel, well, worser than I thought.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Back in the Stirrups Again

Just had my annual pap schmear (for Jews, it’s always a schmear). Of all the services I willingly pay for, this has got to be the most humiliating.

I strip down to everything except socks and then put on a pink (oy, it’s always pink) two-piece tissue paper outfit that shreds the moment I touch it.

So, there I am, sitting on the table covered in shredded pink tissue paper feeling like a badly wrapped gift, with one foot in New York and the other in LA.

My doctor breezes in, inserts the Jaws of Life into my woo-woo, giving all my internal organs an opportunity to squint from the light. Then, from that vantage point, tells me it looks like I may have a sore throat.

And my insurance company has the nerve to ask for a co-pay.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Kvetch Not Often

We all kvetch about silly things. For example, nothing in my kitchen appeals to me for lunch. Woe is me.

But at least I don’t have to choose between love and faith like the three women in the documentary “Keep Not Silent.” After seeing this film, I don’t feel justified to complain about anything going on in my life. And I come from a long line of uber-kvetchers.

“Keep Not Silent” features three Orthodox Jewish women living in Jerusalem who identify as lesbians. All are deeply devoted to their faith and are trying to make sense of the complex relationship between Orthodox Judaism and homosexuality. Every rabbi consulted seems to have a different opinion, but all agree that sex not resulting in procreation is against Jewish law.

One woman lives openly with her partner but is shunned by her family, except for two siblings. Another lives with her husband but has a clandestine relationship with her girlfriend whom she sees a few times a week, and the third, married 20 years with 10 kids, has been longing to be with a woman for years, but tries to pray away the urges.

I live openly with my partner and we belong to a Reform synagogue that accepts and respects our relationship. Suddenly, everything in the refrigerator looks delicious.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ever Have That Not-So-Fresh Feeling?

Yesterday a friend and I visited the San Diego Zoo. It's a great place to take a walk and get very, very lost. Of course, we had to stop by the panda enclosure to see the adorable panda cub, Su Lin.

Sure, she was cute but pandas do not have the best personal hygiene.

You wanna cuddle that bear? Wear a gas mask, or even better, a hazmat suit. Not that we had the opportunity to get that close, but we did go through the interactive educational area adjacent to the bear lair and learned a whole lotta panda trivia. Like they can make a screeching sound reminiscent of a pissed off crow, and they poop up to 40 times a day.

And they don’t smell so good.

Yep, you can even have your own pungent panda olfactory experience. The interactive area offers a sort of scratch-n-sniff place where you can stick your nose into a hole and imagine what it would be like to nuzzle one of those cuddly creatures. And you won’t be reminded of freshly cut bamboo on a rainy morning. I didn’t actually savor the aroma myself, but my pal did and made a face that told the whole story.

Memo to zoo personnel: TMI.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Oh, You Can't Get a Man With a Gun

That may have been true for Annie Oakley, but in the new Broadway musical "Cheney Get Your Gun" the outcome is a little different. With the price of a ticket, theatergoers are given souvenir orange safety vests to wear during the performance.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Toto, I'm Afraid We're Still in Kansas

I love the thesaurus as much as the next word nerd. Finding a big, juicy synonym for an overused word can make my day. So I was very confused when I read that Kansas Attorney General, Phil Kline, was trying to make a case for "rape" and "mutual consent" as synonyms.

What started as an effort to toughen sexual abuse laws has turned into Kline's wacko legal interpretation requiring "all health-care workers, doctors, counselors, social workers, and others to report every single instance of intimate contact between consenting teens under 16, on the theory that each such incident constitutes a rape, regardless of the parties' mutual consent."

Clearly this guy's a product of intelligent design.

I don't know about you, but the last time I checked the word "rape" in my thesaurus, I didn't find "mutual consent" among the synonyms listed. Rape is an act of violence. Even in Kansas. And when a couple of high school kids choose to grope each other in the backseat of a Buick, it ain't rape.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

You're vs. Your. Learn it. Live it. Spell it Frickin' Right

Call me crazy, but I hate it when people confuse "you're" and "your." And I see it everywhere. Are people just lazy? Is putting in the apostrophe and the "e" just too many keystrokes? I'm sorry, I just don't have the patience for this kind of sloppiness anymore.

Your: A pronoun meaning belonging to you.
You're: A contraction for You Are.


Vice President Cheney, next time you're out hunting , if you're unsure of your target, you may want to make sure you're aiming at something other than one of your buddies. On the other hand, Bambi, Thumper, Donald and Daffy truly appreciate your myopia.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I've Got Shpilkes...

...who could ask for anything more?

Shpilkes: Yiddish for nervous energy.

What is it with all these "cultural" Jews who can't be bothered to attend shul once in a while but want to reap the benefits of 5700 years of angst? What, you don't believe in G-d but when someone asks why you complain so much you answer, "Because I'm Jewish"?

Fine. But when you marry that shiksa and your offspring crave Wonder bread and Miracle Whip instead of a bagel with a schmear, don't come kvetching to me.