Friday, April 14, 2006

Family Fun with the Ten Catholic Plagues

Ever notice how Jewish holidays seem to fall right before Christian ones? Like they were trying to outdo us or something. On his website, Dave Barry posted a link to a 'helpful' article about making Passover fun for kids. I had no idea being Jewish could be so entertaining! Here's the beginning of the article to give you the idea:

Since the idea of the Seder is to get children interested and involved, the Ten Plagues is a good opportunity to add an experiential, dramatic element to the evening. Plan ahead with some props and you'll see how much fun the Seder can be -- for children and adults alike.
Here are some suggestions for the Ten Plagues:
1) BLOOD -- Prepare a large, clear pitcher -- empty except for some red food coloring inconspicuously at the bottom. At the appropriate moment, pour in some water -- and watch the water magically turn to "blood!" (One technical point: Don't do the opposite and pour the food coloring into the water, as that would be a problem of "coloring" which is forbidden on Jewish holidays.) And if you're really brave, drink a little of the water, to re-enact the Midrash which says that even during the plague of blood, the Jews could still drink and have it taste like "water!"

Here's the link for the rest of it if you're interested:

Not to be outdone by Passover, and in response to the above article which gave me severe pentecostal envy, I've compiled my own list entitled:

1) BEER -- Prepare a large, clear pitcher -- empty except for, ok, just empty. Now get a six-pack from the fridge. Happy Easter. Think of all the money you're saving on therapy because you didn't make your kids drink fake blood like the Rabinowitzs down the street. Burp. Rinse bladder. Repeat.

2) BUNNIES -- And you thought it was a pagan ritual? Catholics traditionally reproduce as fast as bunnies. At least the chocolate ones don't ovulate!

3) PLASTIC EGGS-- After drinking six-pack, fill eggs with coins, candy, guilt trips, etc. and toss around the yard. These will be keep the kids busy outside in the morning while you apply the hair of the dog to your hangover.

4) BABY ANIMALS -- Does little Timmy realize that the baby chicks he sees at the Easter display in the mall will be in his Happy Meal next month?

5) PLASTIC GRASS -- You pop a jelly bean into your mouth. Oh, nooo - a piece of plastic grass is now stuck between your teeth! Meanwhile more pieces of grass are forming an armored division under your couch, to reappear at your 4th of July party.

6) COLORING EGGS (AKA THE PLAGUE OF THE WHITE CARPET) -- What dummy woke up one day and said, "Hey, let's boil some eggs and let the kids put bright colors on them. And let's do this right before we have everyone over for Easter dinner."???

7) BLACK JELLY BEANS-- and hey, they're kosher! Who knew?!

8) CONFUSION-- 'Good' Friday - Jesus is freakin' dead. What's so 'good' about that? When is a fast not a fast? When you're Catholic! When is 40 days not 40 days? When it's Lent! Badda-bing!

9) GUILT -- "Finish your meal - don't you know there are children starving in Ireland!" (If their mums cooked like mine, no wonder they were starving.)

10) FIRST BORN -- "Do you have any idea what we paid for your education?" When we Catholics pass down the torch to the next generation, we usually whack them over the head with it.

11) CHOCOLATE -- Yes, we have one more plague than the Jews. Neener, neener. You could look it up - it's in the NEW testament. Nyuk,nyuk!

Might I also add - Manischewitz has nuthin' on Gallo. Both are hideous. Oy!

Monday, April 10, 2006


Poor guy never saw it coming. Never saw it leaving, either. Unstudied, unlucky, pitifully guessing, trying to pick the lock on a woman's life logic, he was left blinking in the dust by the side of a wayward road. She’s a blur, he’s blurry.

In life's travels, men take the expressway - not the prettiest drive but it gets you there, quick and dirty. Women, on the other hand, prefer the scenic route - lots of curves, time-consuming, plenty to see. It’s also very easy to get lost, and as we know, men don't ask for directions. So when they’re in an almighty hurry to get to their destination, the scenic route can drive them batty.

I know, analogies, schmalogies. Any road warrior can tell you that an analogy and a credit card will get you a full tank of gas for your guilt trip. But I’m your tour bus driver today, and I’m a woman, so I’m taking the long way home. Enjoy the view.

It’s not completely hopeless. Ok, maybe it is. But we women can be figured out. Here’s the catch –any man who attempts to figure us out is immediately suspect by both sides. Female intuition instinctively keeps the man down by assuming that if you’re trying to figure a woman out, you’re trying to take advantage of her. Which, of course, is absolutely true, you horrid, manipulative beasts! See you in my rear-view mirror, buckos!

When a guy attempts to figure out why a relationship crashed, buddies try to spare him the pain they know is waiting for him. "Let her go, dude," they’ll shrug. "Walk away." But he can’t. Here we have the emotional equivalent of exploring a volcanic crater –nothing good will come of it, you know it can kill you, but you just have to check it out anyway.

While women strategize a game of 3-dimensional chess, men are playing Battleship, blindly calling out catch phrases in the hopes of sinking a dinghy or two.

Where was I going with this? Oh, that’s right, the scenic route past the battleship and the volcano, wherever those are. Isn’t life more about the journey than the destination? So why the big rush? Especially when you don’t know where and/or when it will….

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Note to Self - Help!

If I took all the energy I piled into trying to figure out men and rolled it into a career in writing, two things would probably happen. The first would be that whatever guy-du-jour I would normally be putting through a mental blender at the time would suddenly be oh-so-interested in me, since I was no longer trying to dissect his brain. The second would be that I'd be so fabulously successful as a writer that I would have no time for him. Perhaps I would pity him enough to offer him a position as a cabana boy at my infinity pool.

I used to take apart every relationship I could, like CSI with a crime victim or President Bush with the English language. Apparently spending twenty bucks on a self-help book like Men Are From Mars, Women Are From the Kitchen doesn’t do anything – you actually have to follow the suggestions for them to work. Or just leave the book in a highly visible place and you'll never see him again. That also works, with the addled (yes, addled) bonus of giving you plenty of free time to figure out what went wrong.

So how do relationship book writers stay in relationships? Or do they? I can't imagine any guy wanting to be the lab rat owned by a date scientist-
"So, what do you do for a living?"
"I write self-help books about relationships."
"Check, please!"

Maybe they spin their many failed relationships as "experience." I'd be thinking tramp! or loser! myself. But then, if the author were married for say 40 years, come on - one stinking relationship does NOT an expert make. Besides, you spent 40 years writing books - how much time did that leave for your spouse? No wonder you got along - you never saw each other.

I got this book, Don't Play With Your Feud - How to Be Successful in a Man's World, and I have this lab rat, er, guy, and I want to apply chapter 17, Help Him Help You and He'll be Greatful, to his cerebral cortex. Ever suggest a new way of doing something to a guy? "If you put a little WD-40 on that cohesive tranny beltway, it'll go faster." You get a look like you just asked him to put pickles in his peanut butter. Then one day he discovers, "Hey, I put some WD-40 on that cohesive tranny beltway and it’s much faster!"

So one day, deep in her forties, our heroine was disgusted enough to start taking some advice. This was one princess that was kissin’ no more frogs. She tried chapter 23 - Reverse Psychology:
"Whatever you do, do NOT ask me why I'm this gorgeous and still single!"
"Ok. Pass the salt, please?"
Ugh. Guess that just works on guys under 30. After that they're more interested in flat-screens and a hemi. Back to the drawing board.

If self-help books actually worked, you wouldn't have to buy more than one of them, would you? Yet isn't the publisher's goal to sell more books? Right? Are you following me? If so, I have pepper spray, you perv!

Somewhere there's a book that's so helpful, it's all you'll ever need. Publishers are, of course, on the job making sure you'll never see it in print. Until we do, there's always chocolate.