Posted by Julia Bendis
Watching Chelsea Handler the other night made me think of all the idiotic names parents give their children these days. You might have guessed by that intro that she had none other than Gwyneth Paltrow as a guest on her show. As Chelsea asked about her daughter Apple, I couldn’t help but notice a smile creep up on her face as she tried not to crack up.
Whatever happened to normal kid names? I don’t know children with normal names like Ryan, Steven, or Jennifer anymore. I can’t remember the last time I was at my kids school, and heard one of the Mothers yell out a normal name! Seriously, its all Stone, Rock, Pebble, Fuse, Laser and my favorite: Athur, no I didn’t say Arthur, I said Athur!
What kind of an idiot names their child Laser? Or in Ms. Paltrow’s case, Moses. She’s got a fruit for a daughter already, but now her son has to live with up to the name like Moses… Isn’t it bad enough that the kid is half-Jewish, why would you punish the kid more by naming him Moses? Does he always have to remind everyone that he is a Jew? Why not just name the kid Jesus while you are at it…
I can only imagine how badly he will get teased at school? The kids don’t care that your Daddy is the lead singer of Coldplay, and your Mommy is a bad actress. His school day will go something like this: Hey Moses, why don’t you come over here and spread the sea for us! Hey Moses, come help your people get to the lunch tables safely! Hey Moses, when are you gonna stop walking around in the Desert? Hey Moses, show us your special powers!
Without a doubt there will be those that say these names are great because they are different, they make the child stand out in a sea of ordinary names, blah, blah and more blah… So what? How very special will your kid feel when he is getting his ass kicked every day because he is named after a vegetable, or a naturally occurring solid aggregate? Keep telling your kids how super “special” their name is, just don’t cry in eighteen years when they change it to Bob.
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April 22, 2011 | 9:28 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
All the Christians out there, help me figure this out! When a neighbor asks me if I have big plans for Easter weekend, and I say “Not really, we are Jewish”, should this be the next sentence out of their mouth: “Oh, I know you are Jewish, but aren’t you doing something for Easter with the kids?” This goes on for the next few minutes.
Am I missing something?
I wrote about this during Christmas last year. It seems that all the Gentiles assume that we, the Jews stop being Jewish for one day, and that day being Christmas of course. Is it the same with Easter now? Do you, the non-Jews stop being Gentiles just in time for our High Holy Days: Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashana, etc? Maybe I should have asked this particular neighbor where they had their Seder at…
Can you just imagine if a Jewish person went up to a random person and said: “Happy Passover! Got big plans for Seder?” I don’t see that happening, but if it did I can only assume how appalled the non-Jew would be, right? So, how come this particular neighbor got offended and walked away as I was in mid-conversation?
Are we supposed to just abide and oblige people that are not like us, just so they don’t get offended? Or are we suppose to stay true to ourselves, and speak freely? Help me out here people. Is this ignorance, lack of education or pure stupidity? A bit of everything maybe…
April 18, 2011 | 3:07 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
How do you prepare for Passover when the rest of the world doesn’t stop to observe it? When the rest of the world takes a break for Christian holidays, and people have time to cook and prepare for a religious celebration, do they realize how much it sucks to be a Jew, a Muslim or anything other than a Christian? We don’t get a day off for Passover or any other religious holiday for that matter! Today is just like any other Monday to the rest of the world, and it doesn’t pause just for the Jews to celebrate Pesach. We don’t get the luxury of having the day off school or work to enjoy the day preparing for out sacred event. Instead, the Jews have to run around like chickens with their heads cut off for weeks prior to our holidays, making meals days in advance just so we can sit down for a couple hours after work, and squeeze in some Judaism into our children’s lives!
How is that fair? Unless you are an Atheist or are of Christian faith, you pray that each year your religious holiday happens to fall on the same day as the Christian one, just so you don’t have to take the kids out of school and miss work.
For those of us that happen to be former Soviet Jews, this whole religious observance is even harder. Not only do I not know what to do for Jewish holidays, but when I try to educate my children I am usually faced with questions that I have no answers to. My husband doesn’t help either, since he slept through most of Hebrew school only to shrug his shoulders when I ask what in the world is a ‘Charoset’ and what I am supposed to do with it… When you are raised in an environment like the former U.S.S.R., you don’t have many choices as a Jew. You don’t tell anyone you are a Jew, you don’t go to the Synagogue, you have no Jewish education at all. I remember wearing a tiny star of David pendant to school one day, under my uniform. It must have come out of my shirt, because one of the kids noticed it and ran to tell the teacher. Next thing I know, my Mother is called to come to the school, and given a long lecture on how “pendants like those” are not allowed on school grounds. Later she told me that I was very lucky they didn’t take it away, and contact the Police.
The only thing I remember from those days is my Father carrying home a huge box of Matzah wrapped in newspaper, which he got from the only Synagogue in Riga. You couldn’t even call it a Synagogue, it was a tiny hut hidden behind the old buildings. Now that I think about it, hiding Matzah in newspaper wasn’t the smartest way to transport it since all the other Jews were doing the same, exact thing…
I don’t know a single Russian Jew that knows everything about the observance of religious holidays. Sure we know some things, but they are bits and pieces here and there. American Jews don’t know how lucky they are to be able to pray freely, and observe holidays without the Police following them home after the service. But yet they still complain about everything. No wonder that the Israelis don’t find Russian Jews to be so-called ‘real’ Jews. They have such animosity towards the Russians, whether its here in the U.S. or in Israel.
Does lack of knowledge about your religion and customs make you less of a Jew? That’s a question that has been asked for generations! In my opinion, just because I don’t know the proper way of celebrating Pesach or other religious holidays does not mean I am not Jewish. I am still a good person, who insists on teaching my kids the values of being Jewish, the right way to behave, and right from wrong. I keep wanting to join a religious congregation, but we don’t fit in with any of them. We don’t belong with the Conservatives, definitely out of our league, not to mention I would never be able to get my husband in there. We don’t quite fit in with the Reformed ones either. To quote my son during one of our visits to the Temple, “Mom, why aren’t there any kids like me in here?” I tried asking him what he meant by that, but he couldn’t seem to explain. Only that he felt out of place…
Its true that Soviet Jewry are very different from all the others, and there is nothing we can do about it, but to give our kids a better opportunity to learn about their culture than the one we had. However, our lack of knowledge doesn’t make us any different from the Israeli Jews or any less Jewish. Maybe my Passover won’t have all the ingredients, I’m sure we will leave something out, and it will have more Vodka than Manischewitz, but it will still be an experience my kids won’t forget. In the end that’s all that really matters.
April 13, 2011 | 6:02 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
I had to write about this phenomenon called ‘Date Night’. Every couple I know has date nights where they spend an evening away from home, kids, pets, etc, while throwing money away doing it… Only in America do people label every activity including a simple night out with their partner. Everywhere else in the world its just known as ‘going out’! Why do people need to schedule quality time with their significant other? What’s wrong with just spending time when you feel like spending time with that person? What if I don’t feel like spending quality, alone time with my partner on that particular Wednesday penciled-in on the calendar? What if I feel like doing that on a Monday, but oh wait its not on the calendar for Monday… therefore I have to wait til Wednesday. Absolutely moronic…
More importantly, when you’ve been together for many years, have children, pets and other responsibilities together, who the hell cares about date night? All ‘date night’ really means is that at the end of it, the man is hoping his wife is drunk and relaxed enough to actually have sex with him! And the woman just wants a night off. So the way I see it is this: Men, go wash your kids dirty butts, put them to bed, clean the dishes, put away the laundry, while your woman relaxes on the couch with a beer. I guarantee you won’t need to spend money on a sitter and fancy dinner for her to put out! She might even surprise you with something she hasn’t done since you were dating, trust me on this. Now go do it, and get back to me with the results.
April 11, 2011 | 2:07 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
What started out as a surprise of a lifetime, quickly turned into a XXX porn show for many children and one particular fifth-grader.
I like to think that I am a pretty fun parent, but when my husband and I surprised our eleven-year-old with tickets to Thirty Seconds to Mars concert, my ‘cool factor’ went through the roof! Yes, I measure my coolness by the lack of booing in my home when I occasionally do something that is viewed as fun by my dear, spoiled children. Considering this was the first “real” concert that my son would be going to, it was a big deal. Sure he’s gone to other concerts before, he is a veteran concert goer! We took him to a Blue’s Clues concert when he was just three years old, and the Wiggles concert when he was five, and who could forget the Doodlebops concert! Now that’s what you call ‘Quality Entertainment’.
I don’t remember much of the Blue’s Clues concert, probably because my girlfriend and I were indulging in our brand new flasks that were purchased specifically for this event, at our local Target of course, right before the show. I believe most parents in the audience were seen sipping through some sort of portable drinking devices…
Unfortunately, the Wiggles concert I did not attend. If I remember correctly, the night before I suddenly came down with an unknown-to-man stomach bug and was unable to join the family for this joyous activity. As my husband later described the torturous two hours of his life, all I could do is remind him that if I had to sit through two hours of Blue’s Clues, the least he could do was pretend to enjoy the Wiggles! After all, the Wiggles sang songs and danced around, all Blue ever did was make incoherent noises and make Steve look like an idiot for guessing what the hell that dog was trying to say. Did you ever notice Blue roll her eyes at him every time he guessed wrong? You didn’t? Well, I did. I clearly remember suggesting the flask to him, but being a non-drinker at children’s events, my husband decided to do it sober. Bad idea.
What about the Doodlebops, you ask? Well… I really didn’t want to go there, particularly because we had amazing seats that were FREE! If this was a Rock concert I could reach out and touch the performers, but seeing that this was a Doodlebops concert I had to refrain myself from reaching up and tearing the ugly, pink wig off the girl and throwing it at her. Towards the end of the show, they asked some of the more “outgoing” kids to come up on stage, which I took as a direct invite for me to run up there, however as I tried to get out of my seat I realized that something was holding me down. I kept getting pulled back into the chair, over and over and over again. Having drank a liter of rum and Coke during the show, it took me a few minutes to figure out that my husband had his hand wrapped around my shirt therefore preventing me from getting up. I still don’t understand how he can predict my every move, minutes before I actually decide to make the move!
Let’s go back to Thirty Seconds to Mars. I realize that I should have researched this band a bit more thoroughly, and more importantly Jared Leto before purchasing tickets. Neither myself or my husband knew that the guy just released a new video called “Hurricane”, which they decided to show at the beginning of their performance. This is the part where you stop reading, pull up a new window and look up Hurricane on www.Youporn.com. Yes, I said youporn, not youtube because that’s where you will find it. Did you see it? Good.
As the giant screen went from black to Dominatrix, all I could do was shove my son’s face into my chest as fast as my instincts allowed. After which I heard an “Ew” and a “Ouch”, but I made him stay in that position for the next fifteen minutes as graphic S & M scenes displayed on the screen. The only thing missing was the moaning and groaning, which was replaced by Leto’s character in the video trying to sing while performing. And when I say ‘performing’, I am talking about him trying to have sex with what i can only describe as a Mythical creature who transforms into a woman, man, animal, you name it… I was about to write that I think my son learned a few things that night, but truthfully I think I learned a few things myself. For instance, when you rescue a girl from her pimp while she is dressed as a cat in an S & M costume, make sure you let her know how grateful she should be by having sex with her right after. That’ll teach her to go around whoring herself out! I don’t know if you can tell, but that’s the only thing I got out of that video, even though I am sure there is some kind of a deeper and darker explanation. If you figure it out, do me a huge favor and post a comment telling me what it is!
When the band finally came on at around 10 o’clock, they were great! They could have been even greater if Leto would stop talking and do some actual singing. Who does he think he is, a Comedian? When I come to a music concert, I want to hear music. Not some 39-year-old, ex-Levi’s jeans model talking the whole time. In the amount of time he spent wasting by getting the crowd jumping and screaming for no other reason than him ripping his shirt off, he could have performed at least three more songs. And then the genius decided to start ‘walking’ on people in the crowd, yes I said walking. And what do you know? The half drunk, half stoned teenagers dropped his skinny ass! I swear that was the best part of the concert, I was laughing so hard that the overweight 40-year-old Mother of three sitting next to me looked like she was about to beat my ass. Not to mention my son who leaned over and asked if Jared was going to get trampled by all the people. My response: “I hope so!” That didn’t go over too well with him.
And where was my husband this whole time, you ask? He was sitting down while everyone else was standing, checking his email, along with plotting the best escape route out of Gibson theater on his Blackberry navigation system. I am not even making a joke here, dead honest truth. I am pretty sure the only time he was fully awake was during the porn video, and the only reason I know that for a fact is because he made several comments about it on the way home. Ask him about the actual concert. I bet every single one of you that’s reading this $20 he has no clue if they were a rock, pop or rap group! Alright maybe he knows, but the rest maybe a bit blurry.
I am not saying that the concert was bad, not at all. It was a great concert. And think of all new experiences that my son learned about: the mask wearing Dominatrix that looked like half bug/half woman, all new smells in the air and why he should selectively hold his breath at various moments, the list goes on and on… Its priceless!
So, I would like to thank Jared Leto and his band for giving me the most uncomfortable fifteen minutes of my life! Never in my whole adult life did I think I’d be watching porn with my fifth-grader, but overall a great show from someone who has tried it all, acting, modeling, directing and now singing! All of a sudden a Wiggles concert sounds so appealing… Stay tuned.
April 7, 2011 | 2:24 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
While reading the newspaper, I stumbled upon an article talking about Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol. Apparently, being an unwed teenage Mother in this country really pays off! Bristol was named an Ambassador of Candie’s Foundation to speak and spread awareness about being a teenage Mom. She raked in approximately $262,000 in 2009. God knows how much more she is making now. I am no expert, but doesn’t it seem a bit hypocritical to reward a teenager for having unprotected sex, getting pregnant, and having a baby when she should be earning an education instead of changing diapers?
What has America become? How messed up of a country is this that rewards bad behavior with money? So, instead of punishing their bad behavior, Bristol gets thousands of dollars to be the spokesperson for teenage pregnancy, while her sexual partner Levi Johnston gets a paid spread in “Playgirl” magazine, amongst others.
I am not saying that Bristol shouldn’t be taking advantage of those opportunities when they are presented, but how can companies feel good about what they are paying her for? What a great example she is to the teenage girls in this country! Kids out there should aspire to be like her, which apparently is not that hard to do. All you have to do is have unprotected sex, get pregnant, have the baby and money will just roll right in.
Sarah Palin must be so proud of the daughter she raised. If only she had kept a tighter leash, Bristol would have never been an out of wedlock teenager Mother making a six-figure salary, speaking to kids everywhere about the dangers of unprotected and underage sex. Oh wait, there are no dangers, there are only rewards.
So, all you kids out there feel free to follow in Bristol Palin’s footsteps, she is the Ambassador of Candie’s which makes her very trustworthy, and someone to look up to.
April 4, 2011 | 2:30 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
My son and I were spending last Sunday together, just the two of us. We ran some errands, bought him things for school, and went to lunch. As we were driving past a Petsmart store, we saw a sign for an organization that adopts out dogs. Knowing my son, I tried to avert the car so he wouldn’t see it. It didn’t work. He saw it and begged me to go see the dogs. Damn school, why did they need to teach him to read? As we pulled into the parking lot, I reminded him that we already “rescued” one mutt a year ago, and I wasn’t looking to add more hair onto my floor, or responsibility to my plate. Just as I was telling him that, I started thinking about this whole “rescuing” business.
When we picked up our dog at the Humane Society, our total came to $300! When the attendant gave me that total, I stood there with my wallet open, waiting for her to give me the cash, and she stood there waiting for me to apparently fork out MY cash! How is it a rescue when I have to pay to adopt a dog? Shouldn’t they be paying me to get rid of an unwanted dog? Shouldn’t the so-called rescue shelter be giving pets away? How the hell did I end up paying such an outrageous amount of money to not only house this unwanted dog, but continue to spend money day after day on her food, vaccinations and “outfits”? How did I get sucked into this scam? What I didn’t realize is that this is a well-known procedure, and apparently a well-received one also.
Sure she is a cute mutt, loves following me around the house, lays at my feet while I sit and write this but does she know I had to forgo the kids’ lunches in order to “rescue” her from a shelter? Why do they need rescuing from a shelter, isn’t that what an animal shelter is for? Sheltering animals? If I wanted to PAY for a pet, wouldn’t I just go and buy one at the store? Yes, I know they are puppy mills, they are bad, whatever. I am no expert, I am just saying something feels fishy about this whole pet rescue business…
March 31, 2011 | 6:04 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Last night I was at the Academy of Television’s event honoring the TV sitcom ‘Hot in Cleveland’. They often have these events for up and coming shows, mainly as a panel Q and A and a celebrity host/moderator. This time it was the legendary Larry King moderating, asking questions and what he would call “making the crowd laugh”. Since retiring from his long career at CNN, Mr. King decided to start doing stand-up, which doesn’t mean him actually getting out of his chair and trying to balance without the help of his 25-year-old wife, I mean actually performing comedy. Yes, Larry King is going on tour to make people laugh… As much as I admire his journalistic career and his longevity in entertainment industry, I will not be in attendance.
Back to the ‘Hot in Cleveland’ event. It was to start at 7:30 p.m., therefore in my typical obsessive, compulsive fashion I left Orange County at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and arrived precisely at 5 o’clock at the doors of the Academy. Again, the event started at 7:30… There are no assigned seating, its on a first-come-first-serve basis, and having been late to a similar event for “Friends” many years ago, which led to having to sit in the green room because they ran out of seats, I was determined to never let that happen again!
I am not sure if any of you had noticed, but yesterday was one the hottest days in Southern California in months, I believe it reached the 80’s. Where am I going with this? I am going to the part of me sitting on a beach towel on the sidewalk, waiting for the Academy to open the doors, shwitsing under the sun, as the camera crews mistake me for the hired help, asking me to get my ass off the Red Carpet because I was blocking their way as they set up for cast arrivals.
Right about now, my husband will be getting very upset if I don’t mention that he was right there next to me, shwitsing his ass off too. Here you go, honey: My husband was right there next to me shwitsing his ass off too!
Not long after, we were joined by another compulsive soul who was utterly disappointed that we had gotten there first. Relax buddy, the theater holds a thousand people, I am sure you will get your seat. As I started chatting to this man holding an assortment of Betty white memorabilia, he divulged to me that he has been coming to these events for years. Assuming that he is in the entertainment industry, and obviously a member of the Television Academy I asked him what show he works on. “Oh, I am in financing. Not in this business at all”, he replied. A little confused about how one could get in to these events without being a member or knowing a member in the industry, I inquired. Apparently, people that run these events are so used to seeing him there all the time that they just let him in. Hmm, I started pondering about how many people I could have brought in with me…
Once we were inside, and the show started we quickly realized that this guy was not just a “fan”. Something about Jane Leeves’ face told me that this guy was borderline stalk-ish. I had never seen anyone take more pictures of a single person in my life. He never put down his camera, and it became creepy when I could see how close he was zooming in to her face, legs and body! But that was the security’s problem, not mine. As hard as I tried to concentrate on people speaking, I just couldn’t take my eyes off this lunatic and his camera.
The Q and A part of the event lasted about an hour with clips of the sitcom shown before the cast arrived. Mr. King had some good questions for the creators of the show, which most of them Valerie Bertinelli volunteered to answer. I didn’t realize she was as much of a talker as I am! She had something to say about everyone and everything, repeatedly interrupting King and the others. It was cute to a point, after which it got a bit annoying since everyone’s microphones were already set really low, and made it hard to hear the responses with her butting in. It was a disappointment when King announced that he had to leave halfway through the show, and the President of TV Land, Larry Jones took over. Although Jones tried to ask questions, and be funny (and I use the word ‘funny’ in the loosest way possible), it was mostly the cast chiming in about how much they love, love, love this show and how lucky lucky lucky they are, blah blah blah.
Fast forward to the best part of the show when all were asked if they had actually ever been to Cleveland, which in my opinion was the most relevant question of the night. Bertinelli blurted out something about her new husband being from Cuyahoga Falls, which automatically makes her an expert on anything and everything Cleveland.
Suzanne Martin, one of the creators of the show brought up the fact that in the beginning they kept getting hate mail from people in Cleveland, and even the Cleveland Plain Dealer called her to find out if the show will ONLY be focusing on the negatives of Cleveland. Her response was that its the complete opposite, they are making Cleveland to look like Heaven! I am paraphrasing of course. As much as I love the people of Cleveland, I am not sure that there are any positives to living there. Is it the constant below zero temperatures, the snow, the lack of any decent sports team, the utter disrespect to the city by certain athletes that shall remain nameless in order to refrain from starting a riot, again? Of course the people are much nicer than anywhere else in the country, they truly want to know how you are doing when they ask: “How are you doing?”. That’s pretty unheard of in California. Sure people ask all the time how you are, but not one of them actually expects you to tell them how you really are, or bother to stop and hear the answer! Its a form of saying “Hello” here in California; you say it and you move on. I stopped answering that question many years ago, because as soon as they ask you, they have already checked out. They are gone. I’ll be standing there with my mouth open, ready to tell them how crappy my day has been, as they walk right past me.
back to the show. In the past, once the Q and A portion of the show is over, typically the actors will stay and mingle with us regular folk, pose for pictures, sign autographs, etc. Not in this case. Security rushed all of them out of the theater faster than I could get out of my seat! The only person we saw left on stage was Jon Lovitz, who by the way is a lot cuter in person and just as funny as he is on TV. He was one of the only ones making people laugh all night, well him and Carl Reiner too. But God knows who the hell Carl Reiner was talking to anyway, half the time he was answering other people’s questions, and telling stories that no one asked about. Don’t get me wrong, he was absolutely hysterical and charming as ever, but at times I wondered if he and Betty White even knew where they were! She took at least half a dozen naps during the event, only to be elbowed by Wendie Malick when the host asked her a question.
So, my point is I absolutely love the show “Hot in Cleveland”, it is much better this year than it was the first season, however I have to say I was a bit disappointed by the lack of meet and greet afterward. Why was poor Lovitz the only putz out there taking pictures and signing autographs? All of the actors should have to endure that pain!
All I know is that if any of the writers are reading this, you have to bring Lovitz back! This is my petition to bring back Jon Lovitz to “Hot in Cleveland”, or any sitcom for that matter. If you can’t think of anything, call me. I’d be happy to write him into the script! Or myself…