Appeals to the middle class as well as the aristocracy helped Champagne become a mainstay of toasting at almost any occasion, from launching ships to celebrating a marriage. And with the June wedding season upon us, there is little time to waste in selecting the perfect bottle of bubbly to toast your nuptials.
Passover is finally here and while the family is wrangling over who will play host and who's invited, I'm wrangling with which wines to serve.
Do you know the blessing over wine?
Kosher wine has got a bad reputation, some of which is justly deserved. Along with rabbinical supervision of the winemaking process, strict rules about cleaning barrels, the prohibition of animal products and other laws regarding viniculture, wine was actually boiled (mevushal) as part of the traditional koshering process.
Well, I'm still married. Somebody won a bet that I'd actually make it to the altar. The bookies took a bath on me. Hard to believe, but it's been almost two years already, and I would like to tackle this whole single thing from the other side of the fence.
I'm almost fully pregnant. There's not much for me to do. We're about two weeks away from having a baby girl and I haven't gained a pound. I feel fine. Never better. Thanks for asking.
I've really done it now. A year ago I got engaged. I made good on that promise in late July, and we have been on a honeymoon ever since.
It has been said that a man is not complete until he is married. Then, he is finished.
Well, I got married.
When last we visited these pages, I was on my way to the altar. My long-suffering girlfriend -- lets call her Alison, although I can't see why we should, when her name is and always was Amy -- agreed to the terms. She has since told me there was nothing in the ceremony about "obey," and you can only imagine how much I wish I had paid more attention before the rings were exchanged.
I've had a good time being engaged. People are really nice to you. Strangers wish you "Congratulations!" and "Mazel tov!" Thank you, everyone. As the date has gotten closer, I noticed that people go a little bit insane when I tell them, "I'm getting married -- on Thursday." They all seem to think that I should be doing something. What, exactly, I don't know. Baking a cake, maybe.
Ultimately, it seems that the man's point of view on the subject of marriage is somewhat irrelevant.
When you last left me, I had just proposed to my long-suffering girlfriend, Alison, while on the beach with a pimple. She said "yes," and we agreed to start fighting about the wedding plans as soon as possible.
Hello again. I've been away for a while. For those of you who actually follow this space (Hi Mom!), thanks for your kind words -- I've missed you, too.
Nothing personal, but I've been busy, OK? For one thing, I started a new business and it takes a lot of my time. (Let me tell you, going straight ain't all it's cracked up to be. This "work" stuff is way overrated.)
Secondly, I've been busy seeing my girlfriend, Alison, for one year. The other day, as part of my new job, I had to fill out a form at the bank, and, as I have done all my life, for "marital status," I checked "single"; the other choices were "married," "divorced" and "widowed." I think they ought to have another box marked "other," or "off the market," for people like me.
Alison and I are not married, but, in some ways, we might as well be.
I picked up a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine in Dr. Rudnick's office the other day. Leafing through, I started to form a picture that somewhere in there -- between the Bedside Astrologer and a story titled "The Seven Dreams You Must Not Ignore" -- was the answer to the question: What do women want? The question vexed Freud into the grave. It is the subject of perhaps more analysis than any other except, "Why are we here?" I'm here to find out what women want.
A few years ago, the rabbi offered the following challenge to the congregation: Spend one full day without gossiping whatsoever. His definition includes saying bad things about people, things which may happen to be true. It wasn't easy. My sister and I almost made it out of the temple parking lot before we lost the bet. Being good just don't come natural to some people.
My 29-year-old cousin, "Barry," is having his first "midlife" crisis. By simple math, this would put his entire life span at a scant 58 years, well shy of the actuarial tables' prediction. His midlife crisis should be about 10 years hence. It's been a slow week over here at my place, so let's take a look at his misery, shall we?
Barry falls short of the $1 million he'd counted on having in the bank by, oh, about $1 million and change. He could live with that, but now his car lease is up and it looks like he'll be downsizing out of the go-go '90s-era "starter" Lexus into something more in line with his new budget -- something with really great mileage. His sense of entitlement is badly bruised by something called "reality." He checks his cholesterol. He wears sunscreen. He takes Viagra. He's a little old man.
When you meet someone new, you start with a clean slate. Tabula rasa. There's such a wonderful sense of mystery and discovery in the air.
I went to a big Hollywood party last week. My girlfriend, Alison, was out of town. The occasion had something to do with a photo shoot for a fashion magazine.
"Life," a sage old woman once told me, "is about loss." Sad but true, folks. We lose our hair, our eyesight, our hearing, our quickness, our strength, our friends, our families.
Every 10 years or so, we lose our innocence all over again. We lose a little something every day. We soldier on. I lost my freedom recently, and I couldn't be happier about it.
I want to take this opportunity to say hello ... and goodbye to my friends. If you've been wondering where I've been lately, as my pal Mickey did in a phone call last week, I've got a new girlfriend (let's call her Alison), and I won't be seeing you around much anymore.
Let's be clear: I love my friends. They've stuck with me through thick and thin, and now I've dropped them like hot potatoes and consigned them to the ash heap of history without so much as a fare-thee-well, all because of a broad. They've done nothing to deserve such shoddy treatment, but I've always been one of those guys who meets a woman and then disappears for a while. I take a powder. I never claimed any different. No one stuck a gun to my head.
It never occurred to me that there was some kind of tacit competition going on, pitting the home Jewesses against the visiting teams from the other major religions.
I could paint a caricature of her as a Jewish mother stepping out of a Woody Allen movie or a Philip Roth novel, complaining and controlling in equal doses, but that's too easy.
Several years ago I became a Jewish Big Brother. The decision to do so followed fast on the heels of a breakup with my girlfriend, in one of those "search for meaning" moments of introspection that only getting tossed out of the house can provide.
I have heard people refer to the process of meeting someone as "the dating minefield."
I'm seeing someone. Let's call her Alison. We're dating. We're in that very gray area between being total strangers and celebrating our silver wedding anniversary. Three months into it and people are already asking when we're getting married. At this point, we're cautiously optimistic, still prefacing all our plans with the phrase: "If you're still speaking with me," as in: "If you're still speaking with me in two weeks, would you like to go to the theater on Thursday night?"
If we're still speaking on Sunday at 9 p.m., you will generally find us parked in front of the television set watching "Sex and the City."
Here's my "Parking Spot Theory": Let's say you're driving around, looking for a parking spot and you can't find one. You drive around the block again and, still, nothing. You look up ahead at the other cars circling the block and no one is getting a parking spot. Frustration builds. Then, suddenly, a spot opens up and the guy ahead of you pulls into it. The first thing you think is, "Damn, that could've been my parking spot." Disappointment. Anger.
My editor recently suggested that as long as I was writing something called "Singles," it might be helpful if I actually went out on a date every once in a while. Research. Give the column the ring of verisimilitude.
The stork has been awfully busy lately. It seems as though everyone I know is having a baby. A couple I haven't heard from in months sent a postcard with a picture of what I thought was a Sharpei puppy -- it turns out the little boy's name is Jesse. I didn't even know they were expecting.
Some of the letters we get here at the Jewish Journal are quite flattering. Some people relate that they find my biweekly musings to be pithy and funny (thanks, mom!). If these people can be trusted, they are laughing out loud, weeping with laughter, dying of laughter. I've killed six by the latest count.
Jingle Bell Rock
I thought I had exhausted every possible way to meet members of the opposite sex: blind dates and JDates, fishing for invitations to big Hollywood parties and intimate dinner gatherings. I joined art groups in the hopes of finding like-minded women while shrouding myself in a veneer of respectability.
My sister Julie was not bat mitzvahed. She does not read Hebrew. She attends synagogue exactly four times a year, observes the first night of Passover and celebrates Purim. She lives in Montecito, a lovely suburb just south of Santa Barbara, where she is known by the title: "Queen of the Jews." She earned it.
Evan and Jaron Lowenstein aren't your average rock stars. The identical-twin heartthrobs are Orthodox Jews whose contract includes a Sabbath clause.
If the Nixon administration taught us nothing else, I think the lesson learned was this: Destroy the evidence.
My father has disowned me. We did not get into a fight about the family business -- there is no family business. I did not marry out of the faith, and I have no children about whose upbringing we can disagree. The source of our irreconcilable differences is that we went skiing together last year, and he is convinced that I cannot be his natural child.