All posts for the month October, 2008


Published October 31, 2008 by jean cohen

This was rather an odd week; no dates, although I did meet an eligible candidate for the ‘Jew of My Dreams’… A Rabbi…at a Bar Mitzvah.


I’ve been following the US Election carefully –on line, because I don’t like the unabashedly slanted reporting on BBC, and the CNN we get here is not quite ‘American’.  I do endorse the BBC’s reporting slogan, however, “What happens there, affects us here (and we should all be crapping in our pants)’. 


And when I’m at mine to watch it, I get the real dish from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, an unbiased and hysterically funny account of what’s really going on.  Thank goodness for Jon.  Otherwise, I’d be really confused.


The not-so-subtle ‘America’s not-so-special anymore’ subliminal messaging even extends to the Web.  I have an on-going battle with my laptop.  Little Bro (my computer’s name) stubbornly insists that I’m in England, not Philadelphia, and spitefully keeps changing the clock to local time (that’s how come people sometimes get calls from me at 4:00 AM) and telling me the weather forecast in Surrey (rain… right through till the next Olympics) in Celcius (it was -4 degrees the other night; it made me nostalgic for Minnesota). 


Anyhow,, which insists on opening itself up despite repeated pleas for the American one that doesn’t natter endlessly about Rooster and Beckett and the bloody Primeship had a featured article yesterday, ’20 Unforgettable Bush-isms’, complete with pictures of the Prez looking totally clueless.  (I can relate.  Really.) 


Like at a road accident or a Live Sex Show, I couldn’t help looking. 


They were pretty funny.  So in the interest of balanced blogging, I’m repeating a few here. 


"We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.”


“It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it."


“I understand small business growth. I was one."


“When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.”


"I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right.”


"For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It’s just unacceptable. And we’re going to do something about it.”


“I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn’t here.”


“We actually misnamed the war on terror. It ought to be the Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe in Free Societies Who Happen to Use Terror as a Weapon to Try to Shake the Conscience of the Free World.”


“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”


“I’m honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein.”


“Will the highways on the Internet become more few?"


Note to George W:  Mr. President, I understand.   I know exactly what you meant.


Work on the Thanksgiving Feast continues and I seem to be dashing from meeting to meeting or making tons of phone calls.  It looks as though we’ll get a pretty decent turnout.


Gee…what else happened this week?  Oh!  I know.  I dumped Repo Man.


We had ceased to be amused.


He lasted about a month, which was an eternity in ‘Keeping Jeano Happy’.


Note to Scary Fairy:  Sorry about the Scrabble…


I could be a horrible cow and gossip about his resemblance to a Snowstorm (you never know if they’re going to come, how many inches you’ll get or how long it will last) but I won’t.  Suffice to say Dickweed, Formerly Known as Bagpipe Guy, lasted about three months longer than he should have simply because he was utterly divine in the sack.  With Repo Man I just got tired of …limp…excuses.


Note to Dickweed Formerly Etc. Etc.:  I wouldn’t mind a proper shag.


Steve cancelled a date last minute last week (one of my especial no-nos) and when discussing it—no, I was discussing it; he was repeating the same excuse over and over—I thought “Why am I even bothering?” 


He came over on Thursday night to go to the Quiz and ‘talk’.  He was in a shirty mood and I was in a JAPPY one.  Not a good start to the evening.  We both forgot Walton Bridge is closed for repaving and his stupid sat-nav took us to the Ashtree by way of God knows where.  I recognized Hampton Court when we passed it.  He had a sissy-fit.


After the Quiz, he didn’t want to wait ten minutes for the others to be ready to leave so we could follow them back to Weybridge.  Cheeese Boy gave him directions.  Karen gave him directions.  Terry gave him directions.  Pinkie drew a bloody map and gave him step-by-step directions.


We got totally lost.


He had an even bigger sissy-fit and started to argue with his sat-nav, who insisted we wanted to take Walton Bridge.  The sat-nav refused to be swayed.  He kept yelling at it.  We stopped on a road somewhere and I pushed hold and called Pinkie…urgently.


Pinkie, Terry and Rob came to pick me up on the side of the road in Sunbury.


Whilst waiting for the rescue party to arrive, Steve began telling me that everything (including his lousy performance) is my fault.  I wasn’t buying that shit and said some unkind things.  I hope he’ll be pondering them for quite a while.  Hey…it’s never a good idea to piss me off.


I also had to wonder that even confused me can get around a very large city like Philadelphia and it’s various suburbs in a motor vehicle (and I’m not even supposed to drive) without freaking out over a detour.  Surrey isn’t exactly deepest darkest Africa; the road signs were in bloody English and he lives there.


Darling Irish Lad walked over to Steve’s van and told him “Jeano is safe now.  Fuck off.”


I got out without saying goodbye and drew a line under his name in My List.  “Stick a fork in him, Millie.  He’s done.”


So I have a date Tuesday night with a bloke called Peter.  And a coffee date Wednesday with one called Gavin.


I would call that Rabbi whom I met, but on reflection, I’m not ready to forsake cheesesteaks and BLTs and do ‘seriously observant’.




Published October 25, 2008 by jean cohen

Now that the High Holidays are over, I seriously need to curtail the social engagements and knuckle down on the Thanksgiving Dinner organization.


Where does my time go?


Of course, my volunteering takes up time, shopping is as necessary as breathing, and I’ve been helping out Pinkie with some child-minding, but that should still leave a few hours here and there.  Perhaps the blogs could be shorter, or not as amusing.  No.  I can’t short change my adoring public.


To clear up a misperception on my part, I got an email from an old co-worker at home.  It’s strange; I didn’t realize people of the gay persuasion even knew what soccer was.  Unless he watches the matches like I do—rating the players based on their tushies, thighs and abs.


Anyhow, I stand corrected.  Philadelphia does have a soccer team.  At least they will in 2010 when the stadium is built.  The stadium will, of course, not be in Philadelphia proper.  How embarrassing would that be?  There’s real proper football already in the City of Brotherly Love.  It’s being built in Chester, which is a suburb, and one that absolutely no one ever admits going to. 


Note to British readers:  Think Brixton.  As in “I went to Brixton, stole a few cars, bought some dope, stabbed some Pakis and set it on fire before I left.  Nobody noticed.”


The team does not have a name yet, although they’re calling it ‘Zolo’ at the moment.  I thought this was a good name, especially since Chester is chock-a-block with illegal Mexican immigrants.  But it doesn’t mean anything in Latino Language.  The posters and banners had a big ‘2010’ on them.  The aforementioned illiterate illegal aliens all thought it read ‘ZOLO’ and wasn’t that a cool name.


Some other cities have teams too, which is nice for the Zolos.  They’ll have somebody to kick the white ball at.  There’s the Chicago Fire, the Kansas City Wizards, the New England Revolution, the Tampa Mutiny and the Miami Fusion. 


Philadelphia has narrowed their choices down to Athletics, Independence or Crime Statistics.  The Mexican street vendors on Market Street are already selling ‘Zorro…I Mean Zolo 4Evr’ jerseys.



Oh…LA has a team too.  That guy Beckett does play for the Los Angeles Battlestar Gallactica, but I heard he might get traded to Coca Cola.


Repo Man popped in on Tuesday night; he missed me.  Of course he did.  It was ages since I sent him home Monday morning at 1:00.  We ordered some take-away and snuggled up to watch a Primeship soccer game.  Ugh!  It was either Fly Emirates vs. AVEA or AIG vs. Carling.  I forget.  But that bloke Rooster who plays for ENG too scored a touchdown.  And the Scottish team lost (whoever they are).  But they might have been Turks.  I got confused.  Do I sound like I give a rat’s ass anyway?


Congratulations to those awesome Phillies.  They beat the Devil Rays in Game 1 of the World Series….World Series….World Series.


Strictly to check out stuff for Thanksgiving, I went to Costco in Reading with a friend yesterday.  I had no intention of filling a trolley with clothes and books and wine.  Lisa’s was piled to the top.  She’d never been before and she went a bit crazy.  I did pick up a few essentials – real American coffee and real bacon, honest-to-goodness bagels (I cried…with happiness), and a gigantic bag of Hershey kisses.  They’re for show in my candy dishes; nobody gets to eat them.


Published October 22, 2008 by jean cohen

This week was Sukkot and although I missed the decorating party, I did make it a point to get to the Sukkot Oneg Shabbat.  The Theme was ‘Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean’ and costumes were required. 


Not a problem for moi, I thought.  I wore that divine Carolina Herrera metallic lace number from Neiman Marcus (on sale; practically affordable).  It always worked perfectly for the Captain’s Dinner on luxury cruises to the Caribbean.  I guess not here.


The sukkot looked really cute though, even if it wasn’t as ‘over the top’ as I’m accustomed to; no window treatments or wall-to-wall.


As well as the opportunity of dressing up as a ‘Vogue Do Pirate’ on Friday night, I would have missed Saturday morning services anyway

 as I had an appointment with those wonderful folks from the NHS to get a Flu Jab.


I turned up on time, and joined the queue.  There’s always a queue.  It was only seven blocks long, so I cranked up my mp3 player and sang along with the Moody Blues to pass the time.  Providentially, it wasn’t raining for a change.  People kept pushing me ahead in the queue…I don’t know why.  I did hear someone say “She must be in a lot of pain, poor dear.”


I got to the desk and the SS Guard with the teeth baring Alsatian snarled “Name?”  I told him my name and he shuffled through the 7,672 scraps of paper on the table.  “Righto” he said, “Vasectomies; queue on the left.”  “Um…I don’t think so” I disagreed.  “I’m a woman, in case you didn’t notice.  I’m just here for a flu jab.”  I thought, but didn’t say aloud “Sure.  Like I’m gonna let somebody who graduated from the Baghdad Correspondence School of Osteopathy get close to my nether regions.   They’d likely attach a penis by mistake.  And with my luck, it wouldn’t be circumcised.” 


Of course, I’m exaggerating a tiny bit.  I queued to the right – to the dim room where two big orderlies held people down on a cot while a mad scientist type stuck them with a needle the size of a turkey baster.  I could hear the screams of the unfortunate queuers to the left; they were getting stretched—on racks.  I guess it made the vasectomy seems like a piece of cake.


After my jab, they did offer me a cuppa and a biscuit.  One had to wait fifteen minutes before leaving; in case one died from getting the wrong jab.  “Oopsie!  That should have been ‘Asian Flu’ not ‘Digitalis’.  Is she still breathing? Stick her on one of the unoccupied racks.” 


I’m happy to report that my arm is still attached to the rest of me.  And it only swelled to about one and a half times normal size.  It hardly hurts at all  now.


Saturday night was the quiz in aid of Sam Beare.  It was at the Catholic church where my Thanksgiving dinner is going to be held.  I was on the Setting Up Team, which meant dashing over to Christ Prince of Peace in the afternoon to set up the tables and chairs and organize the Raffle Table, even with a sore arm from the flu jab.


Repo Man turned up at 7:00 and we walked back to the Church, toting our team’s cases of beer and the Zinfy and glasses.  Our Dream Team consisted of Cheese Boy, Steve, Pinkie and me, plus three of the Scary Fairies and two of the Forgottens.  There were ten teams competing, and the format was different from our regular pub quiz. 


We didn’t win.  But we came second.  We were quite pleased with ourselves and it was fun.  Being ‘on the same side’ as Doug, Rob, Leyla, Graham and Chris instead of friendly opposition should make the dynamics at the Ashtree quiz very interesting in future.


The Chair of the Sam Beare Committee did talk up the Thanksgiving Feast to the captive audience.  She made me stand up (embarrassing me mightily) and introduced me as ‘Jean Cohen, who comes to us all the way from America and has integrated herself into our community and our hearts with her enthusiasm and participation in fund raising for the Hospice.”


Note to Jeano:  Jot that down…remember it for The Book… next year… at Rosh Hashanah.


Sunday was a quiet day.  The weather wasn’t great (when is it?) and we loafed around in our jammies discussing what we could do.  We couldn’t decide.  So we agreed to loaf around—in our jammies – and watch X Factor.


We did have a row on Sunday…our first.  It was over Michael Jackson.

Seriously, if you’re going to row with your bloke, it should be over something important like where to go for dinner or if you look fat in those new Anne Taylor trousers (Stunning!  From Sam; brand new; practically free; and I don’t).


Note to Repo Man:  No, Sweetie, Michael Jackson is not the greatest  male musical artist of the last fifty years.  That would be somebody – anybody—else, Dylan or even Elvis.  Maybe Cousin Leonard from Canada.


We had decided to eat at home on Sunday night, so Steve cooked. 


You really didn’t expect me to do it, did you?


He’d given me a shopping list of ingredients for his Special Chili and BooBoo picked everything up.  But I made an apple crumble.  Well, Mr. Waitrose made it, and I baked it in a 190 degree oven.


Of course, he’d forgotten some important essentials.  “Do you have a large pot?”  “No.”   “Do you have a big knife?”  “No.”  “Do you have a wooden spoon?”  “No.”  “Do you have a vegetable scraper?”  “A what?”   “Sweetie, does this look like a Williams-Sonoma to you?”  (Steve has family in Practically America (Canada) and has spent lots of time there; fortunately, I don’t have to explain every sarcastic remark I make.  Only about half of them.)


Despite his mumbling about my lack of kitchen gear (hey…you can’t wear them) he managed to whip up some truly heavenly chili.


As I fixed my bowl, adding cheese, olives, crumbled corn chips and oodles of sour cream, he yelled “What in bloody hell are you doing to my chili?” “I’m making it Jewish Italian American” I explained.  He got a bit miffed. 


So I let him win at Scrabble.


That’s not true.  We tied; 357 each and you can bet your tushie I tried my damnest to win. 


Is this all sounding a teensy bit twee?  ‘Steve came over’; ‘Steve stayed over’; ‘Steve cooked’; ‘ we watched a movie’; ‘we played Scrabble’.  I’m not, like, having a relationship, am I? I don’t do relationships.  Next week, I’m going to his for the weekend.  That’s kind of scary.  I mean, what should I wear?


Published October 18, 2008 by jean cohen

In the ‘always keep them panting for more’ style of writing, I mentioned in the last blog that I’d gone to tea at my old landlords house.  Why?  I mean…it’s not like we were friends or anything.  Because they’ve offered me my old house on Rede Court back.


I like my little house on Tudor Walk; I loved Rede Court.  Even though the entire interior was pink and mauve.  It’s bigger than this house, with a proper lounge and and two bedrooms.  Well…one and a half bedrooms.  I’ll make the smaller one my office.  It has a beautiful garden with plants (not artificial ones), a garage and proper closets.


The kitchen was rather old and dated, but Peter has agreed to completely re-do it.  “Is there anything special you’d like?” he inquired.  I practically peed my pants.  My imagination went into overdrive as I pictured a side-by-side refrigerator freezer with ice machine and Pimms dispenser in the door.  Nah.  It wouldn’t fit. 


“Yes” I said hopefully, “A dishwasher.”  “A dishwasher?” Peter repeated a bit gomsmacked.  “I guess I can do that.  There’s room.”  “I know” I said, “Right next to the washer/dryer, which means I never have to peg my washing like the huddled masses again and schlep it all inside when it rains.” (And BooBoo lets it sit on the line for positively days before she comes over and folds it and puts it all away.) 


Sorry, but I have to complain about BooBoo here.  When I repeated this convo to her, she was disapproving.  “Why did you ask for a dishwasher” she asked.  “It’s not like you ever cook and have dishes to wash.  You use paper plates.”  “And your point would be…?” I inquired coldly.  “There are always mugs and spoons and knives to wash.  You use a different knife for everything.  The same goddamned knife can go from the butter to the pickle relish to the red currant jelly.  Just lick it in between.  Honestly.  It will be Heaven to not have to do washing up any more.  Just think of all the extra free time I’ll have to shop for clothes or write.”  BooBoo wisely agreed, to keep the peace.


Peter is going to tell the sixty-two Russians living in my house on Rede Court that he is not renewing their lease in January.  One good reason is that there are sixty-two of them in a house I thought was awfully small just for me.  And fifty-seven of them have cars or vans. 


I’m really thrilled.  So at the end of January I will move back into my first house in England.  With all my stuff.  Why couldn’t Pat have waited a few months to go back to the States?  I could have taken so much more of her stuff and made it my stuff.


The other big news is that Marina is coming for Christmas.  Yeah, that’s what I said.  My daughter is coming to Weybridge for Christmas.  I know I haven’t mentioned her in a while—a really long time – two years – but we have sort of reconciled and we’re trying it on for size.  She’s at uni now, Widener, and maybe one or both of us have grown up a little bit.  I’m a little nervous about how I’ll entertain her for two weeks, but there’s always Paris…and shopping.


Did I mention that we won the Quiz again this week?  This is true.  You can ask Cheese Boy, Repo Man or Pinkie.  We were in the Zone.  And we had the Irish Lad on speed dial. 


We knew a lot of the faces in the Picture Round and Current Events questions and were in first place after the first two rounds.  Leyla gave us the two Top Five questions to ponder and the entire pub (except Lou and the dogs) migrated to the garden to smoke and ponder.  I ignored the one about ‘James Bond Films Where He Got Shagged Less Than Eighty-seven Times Whilst Killing Evil Villains’.   Okay.  It was ‘The Five James Bond Films released in the 1980s.  I didn’t see any.  I was obviously responsible for the other one: ‘The Five Largest US Cities Beginning With ‘S’. 


All of the other teams stood really, really close to me in the garden.  Obviously they’d all seen every James Bond film twice.  But probably none of them had been to Salisbury, Maryland.  “Think!” my teammates instructed me.  “I am thinking” I protested.  “It looks more like you’re flirting with Rob from the Scary Fairies” Repo Man said.  “You were sniffing his neck.”  “I’m multi-tasking” I retorted.  “I was checking out his aftershave and thinking about Scranton, Pennsylvania at the very same time.  Hey!  Do you know that song ‘Thirty Thousand Pounds of Bananas’?”


All the other teams quickly wrote down ‘Scranton???’ on their hands.


I always feel like that Smith Barney commercial when it’s an ‘American’ question.  Where everybody goes quiet and the voice-over intones “When Smith Barney talks…everybody listens.”  Just to take the piss, I drew a map of the USA and starting writing in cities using airport codes ‘cause I still can.


We got four out of five.  Not that I didn’t come up with ten or twelve ‘S’ cities.  I still don’t believe San Jose is one of the biggest.  When I was there – I got Jerry and me lost navigating to Anaheim on the freeway and we ended up in San Jose – it didn’t look that big to me.


We played it safe in the Wipe Out Round, not answering a few questions we thought we knew but weren’t 100% on.  We got the Connection Round and the anagram, and won decisively by four points.  The Thrill of Victory; the Agony of De Feet.  Bragging rights for another week…lolly…a free drink.


There’s a quiz this weekend, in aid of Sam Beare, and we’ve fielded a team, Lou, Pinkie, Steve and me plus two of the Scary Fairies and two Forgottens.  Our team name: Forgotten Scary Bitches.  It should be amazing with all that brain-power harnessed together.


Congratulations to those Phantastic Phillies!  They took the NLCS and are primed for the World Series….World Series…World Series.   If I owned a Phillies shirt, believe me I would be wearing it right now. 


We don’t know whom they’re playing yet; Boston had a miracle comeback in the ALCS Game 6.  Tampa Bay is a pain in the ass to all true Philly Sports Fans.   The Bucs stopped the Eagles Super Bowl drive in 2003, and the Lightening eliminated the Flyers in Game 7 of the EC Finals for the Stanley Cup.  But we hate Boston, too.  We hate everybody who isn’t from Philadelphia. 


The Eagles have a bye week, and Penn State is playing the Michigan Wolverines, another important Big Ten rivalry.  I already have visions of Bowl Games in my head.


And as a reminder of the US Election coming up, a joke:


Are you a Democrat, Republican, or Redneck?


                Here is a little test that will help you decide

You’re walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children.

Suddenly, an Islamic terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you.

You are carrying a Glock automatic pistol, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family.
What do you do?

Democrat’s Answer:

Well, that’s not enough information to answer the question!
Does the man look poor! Or oppressed?

Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack?

Could we run away?

What does my wife think? What about the kids?

Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand?

What does the law say about this situation?

Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it?

Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children?

Is it possible he’d be happy with just killing me?

Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me?

If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me?

Should I call 9-1-1 ?

Why is this street so deserted?

We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this a happier, healthier street that would discourage such

This is all so confusing!

I need to discuss with some friends over a latte and try to come to a consensus.

Republican’s Answer:


Redneck’s Answer:

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Click….(sounds of reloading)

Daughter: ‘Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?’

Son: ‘You got him, Pop! Can I shoot the next one?’

Wife: ‘You are not taking that to the taxidermist !



Published October 14, 2008 by jean cohen

I had a seriously ‘sporting’ weekend. 


Nope; it’s not another code for shagging.  In fact, to clear up any confusion, if I say ‘And then we shagged’, that means we had sex.  If I say anything else, I most likely mean I was really doing the other thing – whatever it is – unless I say ‘cooking’ which probably means I had a lot of Zinfy and don’t remember what I did and I’m just telling another big whopper.  Good.  I’m glad we got that straight.


Back to the weekend, for starters, I watched a soccer match on telly.  I also naturally watched real sports on my computer too: proper American pro football, Penn State, and my favorite team of the moment, those hot, streaking Phillies.


Repo Man was due at mine at 8:00 on Saturday night for our Seminar.  (I have rechristened the terminology for what we do at the weekend.  A ‘Seminar’ last two and a half days; a ‘Date’ does not.)  I had dashed home from Shul, and quickly changed to go to tea at my old landlords’ house .  (Much, much more about this later.)  And I didn’t ‘quickly change’; it took me about an hour to decide what to wear.  But I’m getting better.  I am.  The Twelve Step Program is helping enormously.


Anyway, while I was at Peter and Jean’s, Steve rang me.  The soccer match he was keen to watch was on regular telly rather than a pay channel on Sky Sports at 5:09 PM.  (Everything starts at odd times on telly; they don’t know from ‘on the hour’.)  Why didn’t he come over earlier and watch it at mine and explain the mystery of football to me, he suggested.  “I understand football” I remonstrated very politely.  “In fact ‘Jeano knows football.’  Ask anybody.  But you can come over and watch your soccer game at mine if you want.”


ENG was playing KAZ.  As far as I understood, this was not a PrimeShip game; the future of the free world was not at stake.  But they are practicing for something called ‘The Coffee Cup’ or ‘Tea Cup’ or Whatever Cup’ which occurs every seven years or when there is a total eclipse of the sun.  Steve said mio paisanos won the last ‘Coffee Cup’.  Viva Italia!  “I think they should have renamed it the ‘Wine Bottle’ in that case” I joked, amusing, at least, me.


The players for ENG were all blokes who are sailors for the PrimeShip.  They practice for The Cup when they are not at a pub or in jail.  Steve said one of them plays for an American soccer team.  I said that was ridiculous and silly; we don’t have soccer teams in the States.  Why would we?  It’s not like anybody would go to a game.  The bloke is called after that really cute movie ‘Bend It Like Beckham”.


There are three positions on a soccer team, and they don’t even have a quarterback.  Without a quarterback telling them which play they’re using, the team has no idea where to run or whom to tackle.  (American hint:  A Zebra – accidentally, of course – is always a fine idea.)  This is why they run aimlessly up and down the field kicking the white ball or each other.  They are waiting for the Head Player in Charge to say “Stop Already!”.


The three positions are ‘outfielder’, ‘left tackle’ and ‘wing tip shoe’…I think.  Steve did tell me and I wrote it down, but I lost the scrap of paper.  Some positions score goals, but others don’t.  “Oh!  I get it, Sweetie” I told Repo Man, “That’s exactly like sex.” 


A lot of weird stuff goes on in a soccer match, but I’d never noticed before.  Of course, no one had ever tied me to the sofa before and made me watch an entire game.  Take notes here, please. 


*The ‘Field of Play’ is called the ‘Pitch’.  But when someone throws the white ball, it is not called a ‘pitch’.  


*The ‘Red Zone’ is called ‘The Part With the Cage Thingy Where You Try to Aim the Ball.’ 


*Players cannot touch the ball or other players’ privates with their hands ever…unless the ball goes out of bounds and the Team President gets to toss it back to the nearest 50 yard line.


*The Zebras are called ‘The Blokes in Clashing Colours that Don’t Match’.


*Oddest of all, when a player commits a foul, the Blokes in Clashing Colours that Don’t Match don’t throw a nice yellow flag.  They send him a card.  Considering that Her Majesty’s post office runs as efficiently as everything else here, it could be weeks before the bloke finds out he made a teensy faux pas.

A guy named ‘Rooster’ or something like that who is a BMOC in soccer circles scored several touchdowns or field goals. He kicked the ball into the net thingy.  It was thrilling.  I think.  I was busy mentally re-arranging my knicker drawer (again).  My frilly underpants, laid out in orderly rows based on the color spectrum chart, would make a Marine proud—if he was gay or just really liked French undies.


Repo Man was chuffed that ENG won.  I was chuffed that it was O-V-E-R.


We ordered some Chinese takeaway for dinner and snuggled up on the sofa to watch the X Factor, which is basically just ‘American Idol’ with three even dumber judges plus Simon, who always seems to be suffering from severe PMS.


I kept jumping up every five minutes to check the status of the Penn State game, and the top ranked teams in real football on line.  The Lions demolished Wisconsin 48-7 for another Big Ten win.  It was a Saturday of upsets.  Oklahoma lost to Texas; Missouri lost to Oklahoma State; LSU lost to Florida.  It was all very good.  Texas moved to #1, Alabama moved up to #2 and Penn State is #3.


  Um…What, Mike?  I didn’t hear you.  Notre Dame, unranked Notre Dame, lost again?  Gee.  You must feel like crap.


And almost simultaneously, those wonderful Phillies beat the Dodgers to go up 2 – 0 in the NLCS.


Steve and I played Scrabble after X Factor.  We tied.  I know.  I couldn’t believe it either.  When we played again on Sunday, I showed no mercy.  I beat him by 130 points.


We had a lie-in on Sunday morning; we were up really late on Saturday night.  We had lunch plans with Lulu, a coffee date with Pinkie, and Music at the Volly scheduled with Cheese Boy and BooBoo.  I was honestly relieved when Boo rang to say she was too tired to go out.


Sunday Roast with Louise was very nice.  It’s always fun when she actually turns up when expected.  She got to show off her new car (a Mercedes; yes, I rode in it.  What should I have done?  Walked to Twickenham?)  And I got to show off Repo Man.  I’ll have to take some pictures while he’s still around.


We were both worn out by Sunday night, and we both very happy to just relax watching a film.  We watched a movie called ‘The Black Book’ which is a Dutch film about the Resistance during the Nazi occupation of Holland during WWII.  Steve listened in Dutch, while I got to read the English subtitles.  (Did I mention that my Sweetie grew up in Holland and speaks Dutch?)


Of course, again I had to keep popping up to check the Two Minute Ticker for the late NFL games on Fox.  The Eagles were playing the 49ers (Cheese Boy’s favourite team) in San Francisco.  The Eagles prevailed 40 -26. 


Note to James:  Did the Browns really beat the G-men?  Did I read that right?  Did the Eli we know and love really throw three interceptions? 


I finally sent Steve home about 1:00 in the morning.  He had work on Monday intimidating scofflaws, and I had another frantic week of varied engagements booked.


Finally, I got a lot of emails on that fantastic picture of the Queen at her new job at McDonalds.


I’ve  figured out (I think) how to work the Windows Live Writer to make my blog more exciting…visually at least.  Absolutely nothing is more exciting than my life.  Expect to see plenty of cute pictures pop up when you least expect it.  I’m planning a rogues gallery of Dickweeds I Have Dumped.


And absolutely finally, regarding Bertie the Daimler—it blew up.  In the parking lot at my office.  I was working the Late Closing.  It was British after all.  It took the fence, a tree and Adele’s Toyota with it when it went.



Published October 11, 2008 by jean cohen

I got an email from someone at home complaining that I’ve not mentioned that our homeys in Philly are playing in the NLCS but I’ve mentioned the Eagles and Penn State.  It’s simple.  I’m not really a baseball fan. 


But here goes… Go, Phillies!!! Beat the Dodgers.  And make it to the World Series against those Red Sox or the other guys.  Please.  Not because I care particularly, but because the Brits get really shirty that it’s called the ‘World Series’ and mentioning it every time one of the blokes starts nattering about the bloody PrimeShip would be taking the piss most rewardingly.


My other big news this week is that my Absentee Ballot came in the post; so that I can vote in the American election, too.  Since I did such a bang-up job voting in the Italian one, I understand that I can, if I wish, vote in the British election as well.  But I don’t think I will.  I’m still not sure if I’m a ‘Margherita’ or a ‘Far, Far Lefty’ when I’m being Italian and I think I’m a Republican or a ‘Vogue Do’ when I’m American.  So two elections is about all I can handle given my confusion issues.


I have to say I was a tad disappointed.  I was hoping for some chads to not quite punch.  However, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania merely sends a Xeroxed sheet of cheap paper with the names scrawled on it.  You check the block for the person you want to be Attorney General, Auditor General, State Treasurer and the Representative in the 7th Congressional District.  Oh yeah.  And who you want to be President.  How come the London Times doesn’t have a reporter covering Bob Barr and Wayne Root, the Libertarian candidates?  What exactly are they for?  Truthfully, I didn’t realize Ralph Nader, the Independent candidate, was even still alive.  Maybe he’s not and he’s just still on the ballot from the last election.


I think I’ll have an ‘Absentee Ballot Party’ and invite everyone over to witness my me voting.  It’ll be like watching American Democracy at Its Finest at work.  And any excuse to have a party…


This week was, of course, Yom Kippur.  I am now forgiven for any little misjudgments I may have made (those shiny silver jeans that look like a space suit, the slow cooker, Bagpipe Guy) and I am written in the Book for another year.


I went up to London to usher in the holiday with relatives of my friends Ellie and Jackie.  It was a lovely evening and a scrumptious meal; ‘Jewish’ not ‘English’.   I had met the Shusters once before.  I was gobsmacked to discover, when we worked it out, that it had been 15 years ago.  I’d won some free tickets on Continental and my sister-in-law Sande  and I had done a quick trip to London to see some shows and shop.   She’d never been to Europe so the trip involved a lot of schlepping her to castles and cathedrals too, in my best ‘Tour Escort’ mode.  Anyway, Charles and Marilyn had us over to theirs’ for tea.  And Charles sold me a right-hand drive Daimler.


In fairness to me, Jerry had only specifically forbidden any new Louis Vuittons.  He never said ‘Don’t buy a car.”  And I already had a drawer full of souvenir tee shirts.  Gee I loved Bertie (the car’s name).   And I loved it when people asked, quite seriously, “Did you drive it home from England?”  “Yes” I would always reply, “But that last step at the White Cliffs of Dover was a bitch.”  Americans have no clue where England is.  Honestly.


I digress.  Marilyn passed away a few years ago, but it was lovely to see Charles again and his daughters.  He’s still in the car business and naturally offered to fix me up with one if I ever get brave enough to try driving here again.  People still take the piss about Camilla.  Every time I see Monkey Joe he mentions it.


I just popped on the train to Waterloo and caught the Northern Line underground to Edgeware (the end of the line) without a qualm.  I am almost a native now.  I can venture out on my own and actually get to where I’m meant to be going.  I did have BooBoo primed for an urgent SOS that I was accidentally in Bristol or wherever by mistake, but it wasn’t necessary.  I also discovered that the underground line I was on stops at Golders Green.  I had wondered why the train was chock-a-block with Jews with forelocks and big hats.  So now I know exactly how to get to Golders Green if I’m craving some hummus or gefilte fish.


I spoke to Scary Fairy this week.  Sadly, there’s some bad stuff going on in her life right now.  Johnny, her brother and my financial planner, is in the hospital awaiting a heart transplant.  It’s frightening, really.  “Well at least he’s in America” I consoled her.  “If he was here, the NHS would probably amputate his foot by mistake and miss the heart thingy entirely.”  That cheered her up considerably. 


As a point of information, I didn’t know Jerseylandland is the transplant capital of America.  Apparently there are so many traffic fatalities on the Garden State that they have hearts and lungs and livers and stuff piling up in a warehouse in Passaic waiting for recipients to need them.


Scary, who lives her life vicariously through my blog, asked about Repo Guy (who was at mine during the convo).  She expressed the fervent hope “Can you not dump this one until I get over there and get a chance to play Scrabble with him?”  Honestly, does she think I’m shallow or something?  I assured her that the thought hadn’t yet crossed my mind.


I can’t, of course, speak for Steve.


He came over to pick me up on Thursday night for the quiz, which was another bloody train wreck.  He ended up staying over, even though he had to work the next day.  Steve has a very inquiring sort of mind, and our conversations meander in odd directions, usually requiring one of us to do a Google search to settle a disagreement.  Recent discussions include ‘Did King David really exist?’, ‘Is the Sears Tower taller than the CN Centre?’, ‘When was the Empire State Building built?’ and ‘Did Jonah mean to destroy Nineveh?’.  That last one is my fault.  I mentioned that it was the Torah portion at Shul last week.


Anyway, we started talking about ‘My Favorite Martian’.  I have no fucking idea why.  “Who was the bloke who played him?”  Steve pondered.  Actually, he was obsessing.  “I don’t know…and I don’t care.  It’s 3:30 in the morning and I’m knackered” I snapped.  “And I’m not going downstairs to look it up on the ‘Net.  Goodnight!”


As these things often go, when I woke up to pee at 5:00, I had an epiphany.  I got back into bed and whispered “Sweetie…”  He sleeps like the dead so I poked him.  “Ray Walston” I crowed.  “And Bill Bixby was his nephew.”  Big mistake.  “Right!  Bill Bixby!  The Incredible Hulk!  Did you watch that?  Who played the Hulk after he got angry?”   I just rolled over and went back to sleep.   


Published October 7, 2008 by jean cohen

Despite the arrival of a season here which we don’t have in the States called ‘We Skipped Summer and Fall And Moved Right Along to Monsoon’, everything is great.


I’ve been busy; shifts at Sam, including some extra ones covering for a colleague who’s ill, helping out at a few Sam Beare events, and working on the Thanksgiving dinner plans with my committee.  Karen made a flying visit to Sunderland, but I had too many commitments here to go along.


Then it was Rosh Hashanah and I did a brilliant job opening the ark doors for my aliyah.  (I wore the new stunning jacket and brown leather skirt.)


And Repo Man spends a lot of time here.


He turned up one night with a pressie for me; two pressies, actually.  One was a cookbook, ‘American Cooking in England’, which takes American ingredients, measurements and utensils and translates them into British.  The second was a box of Shake ‘N Bake.  For one horrifying moment I thought he might want me to coat some chicken joints and bake them in a 190 degree oven.  Dating is so fraught with tension.  Thank goodness!  He just wanted to shag.


I’m bypassing a play-by-play recap of the quiz last week; we lost.  Mostly because we wiped out because I got the ‘American’ question wrong.  You don’t have to email to take the piss; the Irish Lad’s been doing a fine job all week.  And don’t ever say the words ‘Lyndon Johnson?’ to me and laugh. Steve knew a lot of stuff, including recognizing some bridge somewhere in the UK that he’d worked on when he was an engineer.  He shouted down the Irish Lad, the Alien and Cheese Boy who thought it was some other bridge in England, and my sweetie was right.


Repo Man turned up on Saturday night for our 36 hour date toting a gigantic bouquet of flowers.  Gee.  I guess whatever it was I was doing with Whatshisname formerly known as Bagpipe Guy wasn’t actually called ‘dating’.  What with being married and cherished and spoiled, I guess I was out of practice.


Steve had never eaten Thai food.  He’s not very adventurous, at least when it comes to food.  So we went to the Grotto.  He was pretty good about all the sloppy kisses from Wilco, Leechy and Trevor, and even when they kissed me.  (That was a joke, in case you missed it.)  He told me on the way back to mine that Trevor had said, “You’re with Jeano?  How did you get Jeano?”  Very flattering.  I would never have guessed that Trevor had such sophisticated taste.  He drives a cab.


Moving right along to Sunday morning, it was pissing down rain when we woke up.  Obviously not a Car Boot Sale sort of day.


We discussed various options – he nixed watching 16 hours of proper American football recorded by darling Cheese Boy.  Okay.  Let me just get it over with now before my in box gets clogged with messages from the Garden State.  The Eagles are having some minor difficulties.  They totally suck.  Fire Andy Reid.  Penn State, however, crushed the Boilermakers, going to a perfect 6 – 0 record and an overall ranking of #6 in the polls.  What’d you say, Muffin Man?  I believe the Fighting Irish are unranked this year, for the first time ever.


Steve suggested that we make aliyah….to Golders Green.  I’ve wanted to see Golders Green since I got back here.  It did not disappoint.


I’m sorry I forgot my camera.  We took a lot of pictures, with our mobiles, but they don’t transfer well to a pc and they’re not clear enough to post.


The first thing we saw was an ordinary Tesco’s Express.  Except it had a huge kosher section, with ‘kosher’ written in Hebrew.  I bought some latke mix and matzoh balls for chicken soup.  And the bakeries…  First we bought some potato knishes to eat while we strolled (Steve was hungry).  Repo Man said they tasted pretty good.  Then I broke down and bought a thousand bagels – assorted – to put in my teeny freezer.  I’ll throw away the Ready Meals.  And some proper cream cheese from a big slab.  It did say ‘Philadelphia’ on it, and, yes, Steve asked the question, but I didn’t even get annoyed.


We wandered into a religious store, and I bought all the blokes yarmulkes for Christmas presents, with the little clip thingies to keep them on.  I have no idea how Bald Rob is going to keep his Solar System one on his keppy.  Maybe Crazy Glue. 


And the cards!  Pinkie had brought me back Bar and Bat Mitzvah cards from the States.  I couldn’t resist buying a selection of birthday, anniversary, etc. cards in Hebrew.  Some of them are really funny.  The shop has an on-line store and I got the details so that I won’t be caught short when the next occasion rolls around.


This is so sweet.  Steve wanted to buy me something.  I pondered and then opted for a beautiful menorah for Chanukah.  Mine are in storage in King of Prussia.  (I never liked the one Rosie the Terrible gave us the first Chanukah we were married.  I bought a nicer one on one of my trips to Eretz Israel.)  I told Repo Man that he will have to come over every one of the eight nights during Chanukah for the candle lighting (with an appropriate gift, of course).


Even the charity shops there are open on Sunday; we poked around all of them.  Then we had lunch.  Decisions…decisions.  Glatt Kosher Chinese?  Falafel? Hummus?  (I just saw ‘You Don’t Mess With the Zohan’.)  We settled for a deli, Kosher of course, so forget the Reuben with Swiss.  Steve wanted something he’d never eaten before, so I ordered him cheese blintzes, which he liked. 


Then it was back to Weybridge with all my goodies for some Scrabble.  Really.  Okay, we played in bed with lots of interruptions, but we did play.  Steve bided his time, saving two blanks and an ‘s’, and played a bingo ‘worriers’ at the next to last turn.  I only won by six points.  He demanded a rematch, but then decided he was hungry again, so I whipped him up a bagel with cream cheese.  God!  A real bagel.  It was almost better than sex.


This week is Yom Kippur and besides services I’m invited up to London to break the fast at relatives of Ellie and Jackie.   Plus, someone at Shul passed away and they’re sitting Shiva before and after the holiday so I’ll need to put in an appearance.  At least I have a proper sympathy card now.


Finally, I get so many jokes and clips from people.  Some are really funny—to me—and some not.  I got one from Steve about applying for a passport British style, and although I got it, I’m not sure American readers would.  I’m including one that I thought was damned good, especially with all the economic woes going on right now in the States.


To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth  II


In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

(You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)


Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.  A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.


To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:


1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’  Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters,  and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’  Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels.  (look up ‘vocabulary’).


2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S.English.. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf.  The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of  ‘-ize.’


3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.


4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists.  The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent.  Guns should only be used for shooting grouse.  If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist,then you’re not ready to shoot grouse..


5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler.  Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.


6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect.  At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.   Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.


7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon.  Get used to it.


8. You will learn to make real chips.  Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps.  Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.


9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all.  Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of  known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager.  Australian beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer.  They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them.  American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.


10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys.  Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters.  Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed  with a cheese grater.


11. You will cease playing American football.  There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer.  Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).. 


12. Further, you will stop playing baseball.  It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America.  Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.  You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians first to take the sting out of their deliveries.


13. You must tell us who killed JFK.  It’s been driving us mad.


14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).


15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream)  when in season.


God Save the Queen!