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All posts for the month January, 2009

BONNY JEAN

Published January 27, 2009 by jean cohen

As my week can only get worse, I thought I’d better blog again while I’m still somewhat coherent.  I don’t want a single email complaining ‘Jeano, you haven’t blogged for ages’ for at least a few days.

 

As if Sky and British Telecom weren’t enough fun, I had to change my address with Her Majesty’s Royal Mail.  I am now quite nostalgic for the good old days with those wonderful folks at the U.S. Postal Service.

 

First…the change of address form; it was four pages long.  “I’m not applying to colonize Mars; I’m moving around the bloody corner” I told the bored clerk at Pakistani Pete’s Post Office & Olde Englishe Corner Wawa Shoppe. 

 

Apparently, Italian Me can have her mail forwarded; American me is shit out of luck.  American Me doesn’t officially live here.  The clerk was intractable.  A passport, driver’s license and warm & fuzzy letter from the American Embassy were not acceptable proof that two of me are living here.  I gave up.  The queue behind me was now three blocks long and people were mumbling about ‘tarring and feathering’ and ‘bonfires’.

 

And get this; you have to pay to get your mail forwarded. I guess Her Majesty doesn’t believe in just doing stuff as a favor, or, God forbid, a service.  I might have stayed put if I’d known exactly what moving entailed.

 

I paid, ungraciously I have to admit, for Italian Me’s important advertisements from Pizza Hut to be redirected, and Indira Chadawhari or whatever, handed me a till receipt.

 

“Excuse me” I said.  (The queue started burning miniature Stars & Stripes en masse.)  “It says on your official Her Majesty’s Royal Mail ‘Request to Explore Far, Distant Planets Whilst Getting One’s Council Tax Bill Redirected Expeditiously’, Page 3, Section IV, Category 8, Subsection 2.ii.#.MCXII that you will complete and stamp Section 52.p.PMS upon payment of a shamelessly exorbitant extortion.”

 

“I gave you a till receipt” she answered, rather sulkily I thought.

 

“Well, it’s not like I don’t trust you or anything, but I don’t trust you.  Fill out the bloody form and notarize it” I ordered, trying to be pleasantly Italian and not irritated, not as charming as usual, American.  I fear I may not be welcome at the Post Office any more.

 

No wonder they lost the Empire.  Nobody could decipher the forms for ‘Renewal of World Domination’ and come up with the fee.

 

And while I’m complaining about other countries, I got a letter from the Italians…something about my AIRE, which is my official registration with Colli A Volturno, my hometown.  They need to always know where in the world Regina is.  It’s the law in Republica Italia.  Poor grammar, I know, but aptly worded. 

 

I would share the details, but the official letter I got is in Italian, for some obscure reason, and I don’t know what the hell it said.  I would mail a copy of the letter to Nicola at Italiamerica for translation, but I think the folks at the Royal Mail are now simply trashing all of my post.  I hope Italy hasn’t changed it’s mind and  I am still Italian.

 

When I filled out my AIRE here in Britain, I was foolish enough to give the Italian Consulate my email address.  It’s not like they ever email just to say ‘Caio, Paisano!’ Come sta?’.  Nope, the Consulate passed it on to every Italian company in the world, and now they’re all emailing me.  I assume they’re trying to sell me stuff.  The damned emails are all written in Italian.  At least the American Embassy writes to me in good old American– or English—whatever the language is that I usually speak, even if certain people criticize my pronunciation.

 

It’s really no wonder I’m often confused, is it?

 

Sunday night I went to my first ever Burns Supper.  It’s surprising to me that I am still, after a full year here, able to have ‘firsts’. 

 

I had heard about the custom, of course, of celebrating the life and poetry of Robert Burns.  It was quite a spectacle, much more than I expected.  It’s always held on or near Burns’ birthday, which is January 25.

 

I did a little research in advance so I’d be prepared.  I didn’t wear tartan (I almost bought a divine skirt at Sam) as I was warned that only people with Scots blood should parade their colors.  But it was a large party, and there were several men in kilts (big sigh). 

 

The hostess was my friend, Netta.  And since I’m keeping score, I actually knew six people at the party.  I adore living in a little town.  One of the first things anyone said to me was “Did you finish that piece for Haderech?”  There were two couples there whom I knew from shul.  (Thankfully, I was able to say “Yes; signed, sealed and emailed.”)  And I knew two people from my Hospice volunteering.  Make that seven; a guy was there whom Netta and I met on Christmas Day at the Salvation Army; they’re now dating.

 

A Burns Supper follows a set pattern, with minor variations.

 

First, the Selkirk Grace is recited.  Netta had engaged an professional entertainer to do the ‘customs’.  I’m noting it here:

 

‘Some hae meat and cannot eat,

And some wad eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

Sae let the Lord be thank it.’   

 

Then the Haggis is brought in on a silver tray, piped in by a Bagpiper.  It was so cool.  If you don’t know what Haggis is, look it up.  I’m not explaining. 

 

Duncan, the entertainer, recited the ‘Address to a Haggis’.  At the line ‘his knife see rustic labor dicht’ he draws out a knife and wipes it.  At the line ‘an’ cut you up wi’ ready slicht’, he plunges the blade into the haggis, slicing it from end to end.

 

Then, everyone toasts the Haggis with a rather large ‘uisge beatha’ (water of life), Scotch whiskey, which flowed quite freely during the entire evening.

 

Dinner was then served.  Traditional veg are ‘neeps and tatties’, which are mashed potatoes and mashed turnips.

 

When I’d mentioned that I was going to the Burns Supper to people, almost everybody asked if I was going to sample Haggis.  I’d already eaten it, when I was in Scotland.  Haggis doesn’t faze a Philly Girl; it tastes almost exactly like, though it looks a little different than, scrapple.  Duncan, who in his non-Burns life is a dairy industry consultant, goes to the States frequently.  He is intrigued now to try scrapple when he gets to Philly next.  Maybe he’ll bring some back for me.  He did keep calling me ‘Bonny Jean’.  (That’s what Burns called his wife.)  Yeah, I thought that was really cool, too.

 

Oh…and he knew that ‘Philadelphia Cream Cheese’ is not, and never was, made in Philadelphia.  That was a refreshing change.

Please don’t make me explain that yet again.

 

Dessert, also traditional, was clutie dumpling (a fruitcake boiled for four hours in a cloth), tipsy laird (a sherry trifle) and oat cakes and cheese.

 

After dinner, Duncan and some of the other Scottish guests sang and recited Burns poetry.  I almost started to think fondly of those nice people at Sky.

 

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GEOGRAPHICALLY AND POLITICALLY SPEAKING

Published January 25, 2009 by jean cohen

As if I don’t have enough shit on my head with moving, I got a call from someone on the Synagogue’s newletter staff reminding me that ‘my article on Surrey local government’ was overdue. 

 

Um.  Excuse me?  My what…on what?

 

Avril is a tiny bit officious.  “Bernie Cohen said you agreed to do a write-up of the last Bagels & Lox, the one with the member of Surrey County Council.” 

 

The really boring guy?  I did?  I am sure I was not smoking weed and I wasn’t pissed.  Boy, that’s the last time I get distracted flirting with Cousin Bernie when Jane’s home sick.

 

Okay, I decided.  I will not panic; I don’t have any ‘panic’ to spare, anyway.  I used it all up planning the move.  What did he say?  Oh my God, I don’t have a clue.  Push hold, and call Pinkie.  (I dragged her to the meeting, mainly to check out Jen’s house.)

 

“Yo, Pink, I have to write an article for the Haderech on that Miles Macleod dude at the last Bagels & Lox.  What’d he say?”

 

Pinkie:  “Who?  What?  Wow, Jeano, you are so right; Bernie Cohen really is hot.”   My friends know what’s really important.

 

I panicked.  I borrowed from February’s allotment.  I could make up some stuff, but somebody there might have actually been listening.  So I rang him.

 

“Hello, Miles.  This is Jean Cohen.  Remember me?  I’m the American who was at your little talk at Bagels & Lox at Jen’s house.  What?  Yeah.  I was the one with the accent in the stunning blue sweater flirting with Bernie Cohen.  Miles, what did you, like, talk about?  Do you remember?”

 

Miles saved my bacon.  Or Kosher Beef, if you prefer.  He was really nice.  He jotted down some of the exciting stuff he talked about and emailed it to me.  I wrote the article, sent it back to him for revision, and after a few exchanges, I ended up with a concise, coherent piece of journalism.  Don’t ask me how.  I even got him to say something.

 

“I need a quote, Sweetie.  On anything.  You didn’t happen to watch the Eagles game, by chance?  No?  That’s okay; you didn’t miss anything.  Well, how about on the Walton Bridge diversion and Cowey Sale then?”

 

Yeah, I don’t know how I get myself into these predicaments either.

 

Someone emailed that I haven’t talked about the Pub Quiz lately.  Everybody’s a critic.

 

Thursday night was the quiz.  It was only Cheese Boy, Pinkie and me, so we were at a disadvantage from the get-go.

 

The Boy had already submitted our name before Univac Guy dropped us off; Bitches Who Don’t Talk About the War.  Isn’t Lou funny?

 

I knew it was going to be a long night when I looked at the pictures for the Picture Round.  I almost never know anybody; they seem to always be British.

 

“Wait!  Wait!” I said, “The black guy!  I know him.  He’s that guy…you know.  He’s an actor.  He was in that movie…you know…with what’s his name.”  Sadly, that was the high point of my knowledge for the evening.  And it was that black guy who was in that movie with what’s his name.

 

We did okay in the Top Fives, they were totally ‘British’, however, so I just went out to smoke and flirt with Chris.  Pinkie tried to explain what a ‘cat’s eye’ is, but I just got confused.  And Lou got the Connections Round.

 

However, the impasse of the evening came, unfairly I thought, on an ‘American’ question.

 

The Quiz Nazi:  “Name the US State nicknamed ‘The Land of Opportunity.’”

 

Boy and Pinkie:  “Well?”

 

Me:  “I don’t have a fucking clue.  I really wish Obama wouldn’t go around giving all the cities and states and stuff nicknames without telling me.”

 

(Yes, I watched the whole bloody inauguration.  I knew people would ask me questions afterwards.  I wanted to be up to speed.)

 

Boy:  “I think it’s California.”

Me:  “No, you stupid twit!  California’s the Gold Rush State or The 49er State or Land of Plastic People.  And Israel had every right to bomb Gaza.  It’s probably Oklahoma, like the Grapes of Wrath, or Alaska.” 

 

Let me be the first blogger to announce that The Land of Opportunity is Arkansas.  No shit.  I am not making this up.  I did not know that there was any Opportunity there.  And hardly anybody in Arkansas can even spell opportunity; it’s the worst state in the entire 50 for literacy.

 

I didn’t bother arguing with the Quiz Nazi.  I just came home and looked it up on Wikipedia.  The Arkansas entry is three lines long; unlike really cool states like Pennsylvania which is about 18 pages.   Bill Clinton and the guy who founded Wal-Mart are the only two people who admit to being from there.  The opportunity part is that there’s an airport in Little Rock, from which you can fly to cities like The Valley of the Sun, Big D, or That Place Where Mickey Mouse Lives.

 

Other than fun stuff like that, I have been packing and sorting.  And stressing and panicking.

 

I did give myself a break on Saturday night.  I went to see a pub band with B Peter.  As an illustration of how deranged I am, I didn’t decide what to wear until fifteen minutes before Peter was due to arrive.  And that only left me enough time to change twice.

 

We saw Scratch (and Mrs. Scratch, but without her mum).  I’d missed their last local gig because it was the night of the Thanksgiving Dinner.  They didn’t recognize me.  Since I’ve been here almost a year now, not enough people make a big fuss over me anymore.  I certainly enjoyed it. 

 

And I enjoyed Scratch and Jane.  Peter, who’s a very talented musician, was not impressed, but it’s only cover songs in a pub full of drunks, not the symphony in The City of Brotherly Love.   

 

 

 

MEN!

Published January 20, 2009 by jean cohen

It’s sad really.  Men will always, always, always surprise you and then disappoint you in the end.  I think that’s a scientific fact.  If it’s not, it should be.

 

Not that I had a bad week overall.  It had its moments, especially when I was looking positively stunning.  But throw a bloke, or blokes, into the mixture and you end up baking radioactive cookies.  Not that I would know about the baking part.

 

At the Quiz on Thursday night, I held up my end; I knew (or at least guessed right) all the American questions.  Did you know Michael Phelps is now called the Baltimore Bomber or Baltimore Something anyway?  Me either, but I knew he was from the Right Coast so by process of elimination…  No, it was the people with penises who made us wipe out, and generally knew absolutely nothing about practically everything.

 

And I had a fight with Cheese Boy.  Over the U.N.  It was nasty.  As I’ve admitted before, I have a degree in the Silent Treatment from JAP University when I get truly pissed off.  The Boy ascribes to that male alpha dog style of arguing where you have a sissy fit, say a lot of ridiculous unkind things and storm off in a snit.  Funny really; Jerry employed the same style of fighting.

 

I can only remember one really knock down, drag out, screaming fight that we had.  It was the day before our wedding.  I threw the best man’s gift, which I had just beautifully wrapped, at Jerry’s head, and when I missed (I’m not very athletically inclined) I jumped up and down 175 times on said gift until it was tiny shards of glass.  This faux pas on my part, witnessed by hordes of scandalized soon to be relatives, has become part of Cohen Family lore.  To this day, I cannot remember what the fight was even about.

 

Of course, Lou and I made up; we love each other.  (So did Jerry and me, by the way.)  But I was completely over-the- top upset for a couple days.  I even pondered going home…really.  But I knew in my heart that BooBoo would hunt me down to the ends of the earth for leaving her to pack up all my stuff for the second time if I sneaked back to Philadelphia.

 

I had a date with someone new this week.  Honestly I despair of ever finding somebody worthy of me.  This one was so boring I didn’t even give him a name.  Maybe Utterly Boring Guy?  Even More Boring Than Bi-Polar Guy on-the-Garden-State?  Doesn’t matter; I won’t be getting that bored again.  Ever.   

 

And this is certainly strange, if not in the category of ‘disappointing’.  Does anyone else besides me think that sites like Facebook are creepy?  Because of the blog, I get a lot of requests to ‘become friends’ with people I don’t even know with screen names like Pervert Paul from Raleigh-Durham.  I always just delete them.  My real friends are strange enough for me.  I don’t need to check his space to see that “Paul is fondling his (uncircumcised) penis while watching Blue Devils B-ball on ESPN.”

 

Anyway, I got an email from Facebook.  “Stuart Cohen is inviting you to become his friend.”  Excuse me?  Aren’t we, like, related?  Don’t we swap Cohen spit whenever we get together?  Don’t we have history, like that time he talked me into smoking weed on the way to an Eagles game, and we got the munchies, ate about eight cheesesteaks each and left at half-time with matching stomach-aches?  No, it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact the Birds were losing to the Colts 49 – Zip.  Or that time his wife found my $30 Chanel lipstick in his car and threw it away?  I cried.  But so did he, ‘cause she gave him some serious shit.  I had to do the Uber Silent Treatment until he replaced it.  I could go on and on with warm and fuzzy memories.

 

And now I need permission from somebody with a stupid name like ‘Facebook’ to email him?  I don’t think so.  This cyber social networking crap is getting out of hand.

 

The above was, obviously, all just a distraction.  Now I have to talk about the eleven guys who really, really disappointed me.  Well, it’s really more like forty-nine guys.  But I like the Special Teams guys and I love David Akers.  So probably about 38 guys and six corrupt blind zebras broke my heart…again.

 

I admit to firing the first shot in the Taking the Piss War.  I accidentally called someone’s answering machine in New Jersey and left the Eagles Fight Song on it.  I thought it was pretty hysterical.  I got a text in return, instructing me to ‘Check the blog, Bitch.’ 

 

I have to say ‘Good on you!’.  The comments were actually funny and to the point.  You did miss a good one, though.  I’ll put it here for you. 

 

The New York Daily News columnist Filip Bondy, in a rant about the ‘vulgar scent of cheesesteaks’, noted that ‘Philadelphia is the new Boston.  Maybe not as prim and haughty, but much, much sneakier,’ and went on to define Eagles fans as: Trashy people from either Philadelphia or the southern region of New Jersey. You should probably write that down so you don’t forget it.

 

I had actually upgraded my Sky so I could watch the game.  File that under ‘What the fuck was I thinking?’  But at least I can watch the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl.  I guess they won’t have the terrific commercials here.  Then I can cancel the sports package.  Wait a minute…it will be almost March!  March Madness!  And the NBA and NHL Playoffs!  And Baseball! 

 

And as penance for my sins, here’s the last shot fired from Tomato-land. 

 

Q: What do the Philadelphia Eagles and Billy Graham have in common?
A: The both can make 70,000 people stand up and yell "Jesus Christ".

Q: How do you keep a Philadelphia Eagle out of your yard?
A: Put up goal posts.

Q: What do you call a Philadelphia Eagle with a Super Bowl ring?
A: A thief.

Q: What’s the difference between the Philadelphia Eagles and a dollar bill?
A: You can still get four quarters out of a dollar.

Q: How can you tell when the Eagles are losing a game?
A: Their helmets are on.

Here’s a plan.  I’ll stop mentioning Plaxico and illegal weapons, and you stop mentioning overtime.  Until next season.

Bagpipe Guy came over on Sunday night.  We watched the game.  I’m pretty sure that was the farthest thing from his mind when he actually turned up.  Too bad; Guys come and go, Football is forever.

OBFUSCATION

Published January 14, 2009 by jean cohen

Reality has set in for me and I know that I really need to stop socializing and start thinking about moving.  It’s only a couple of weeks.  And I need to pack…stuff.  A shitload of stuff.  Where did it all come from?

 

Somebody must have sneaked it all in here while I was at the pub.

Especially all the boots.  And books.

 

I am not panicking.  I am not panicking.  I am not panicking.

 

I am so fucking panicking.

 

The girls will, of course, help me pack.  And it’s only around the corner.  We can walk things over.

 

And Monkey Joe has promised to turn up with his crew and a truck to move the furniture.  (Where the hell did all of that come from?)  Don’t answer that; I know.  Trust me.

 

Nudged by BooBoo, I took the obligatory walk on the Dark Side.  I called Sky and British Telecom. 

 

I can’t imagine why I thought it would be simple.  This is England; ‘complicated’ is the national sport.

 

First I called Sky.  They take the piss by making you deal with someone for whom English is a foreign language.  They’re all Scottish for some reason.  Probably so you agree to add fifty two new services to your package because you couldn’t understand a fucking thing they said. 

 

It is apparently a very unusual request to ask Sky to take the mysterious, magical Sky thingy off the wall at the old house and drive around the corner and mount it on another wall at the new house.  “Is there adequate parking at the new residence for our installer?”  “Why, is he planning to move in with me?  I’m not much for roommates.”  “What is the material of the wall?”  “Bloody hell, it’s a wall.  I know it’s not genuine leather.”

 

So the thick Scotsman and I agreed on a date to move the thingy, but only if the installer can park and he likes the wall.  Otherwise all bets are off.

 

The Magic Switch at BT’s undisclosed location in Winston Churchill’s War Room, which sends the broadband through a teensy-weensy little wire, will only deliver the internet precisely five days after British Telecom activates the phone.  “And why, exactly, is that” I asked  out of curiosity.  He had no clue.  I think.  What he said sounded like “I dinna wee ken blah blah blah blah.” 

 

“So I guess I should call BT right away” I told the Sky guy.  “God, I hope they don’t out-source to India or whatever.  I already have an Excedrin Headache from the Scottish.”

 

The BT Guy kinda spoke English, which was a pleasant surprise.  His name was ‘Tariq’, but I’m not even going there.  It seems that other people have moved from House A to House B in the past and told BT about it.  He took it pretty well.  I didn’t, unfortunately, when he said if I told him today that I was moving, they would disconnect my phone in ten days.  “But I don’t want it disconnected in ten days.  I want it disconnected on the 30th in the old house and turned on in the new house on the same day.”

 

“Well, then you have to call on the 20th, not the 14th” Tariq snickered.  “If you tell me today, we’ll disconnect on the 24th.”

 

“And why, exactly is that” I asked not really expecting a rational reason.  “Because, Madam, we can.  This is Britain and we don’t give a rat’s ass what out customers want or whether they’re happy.  Why should we?”

 

So.  I think I now have a Sky package that includes more soccer games than any sane person would want, the Triple XXX Adult Movie channel, and I have to have sex with the installer up against the wall if he can get a parking space.

 

And Tariq promised on his mother’s head back in Lebanon that he wouldn’t tell a soul I’m moving until the 20th.  I hope he doesn’t run into Jesus With A Perm in the Volly or on the High Street.  Jesus is the bloke entrusted with the task of flipping the Magical Button for BT. 

 

I so enjoyed this taste of ordinary British life that I decided to take my ongoing feud with Carphone Warehouse to the next level and shamelessly give them some American attitude.  Somebody had to pay for annoying me.

 

A bit of history.  My mobile started dying, and I bought a new one at Carphone Warehouse.  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to use the new one comfortably, given that I am handicapped, (I don’t want to hear one fucking word) but the wanker at the store assured me it was returnable for a full refund.

 

That was, of course, a total lie. 

 

When I tried to return it, I was informed it was not returnable under any circumstances.

 

I got nowhere at the store, so I called Customer Service.  The first agent, Tariq or Mustapha or Abdul or whatever, gave me the same line.  “I want to speak to your supervisor” I told him.  His supervisor told me the same shit.  “And now I want to speak to your supervisor” I told him. 

 

Finally, I was put through to the ‘Escalations’ Department, which I think equals ‘Ready to Go Postal on You.’  I was given a case number and Cleopatra, or whatever this one was called, promised to call me back the next day.

 

Of course she didn’t.  She was probably hoping I got mowed down by a Sainsbury delivery van crossing Monument Road.

 

I gave it a few days (I was busy…so many parties) and then I called her supervisor.

 

I might just be paranoid, but I picture this room.  There’s one person in it.  The entire Customer Service Department is one person.  He’s just really good with accents.

 

I was awesome.  I told Steve (what the hell kind of name is that?) that he had until 4:00 to resolve the problem or I would call my credit card company and dispute the charge and call whatever the equivalent of the Better Business Bureau is here and lodge a complaint.

 

When I talked to BooBoo at dinner time, she asked “How did you get on with Carphone Warehouse?”

 

“BooBoo, this is me.  Who do you think won?”

 

I got a full credit.  Plus the 10 quid for texts.  They paid for postage to send it back to headquarters.  Plus 10 quid for time and phonecalls.  They already issued the credit.

 

Score one for the JAP.

E-A-G-L-E-S

Published January 12, 2009 by jean cohen

Life has settled back to normal in Weybridge, lunches, teas, coffee dates, and lots of changing clothes.

 

BP had cancelled a date at the last minute, as usual, but I was so tired after Marina went home, I didn’t even mind.  I think receiving a return text from me that wasn’t: a) bitchy, b) sarcastic and c) pissed off actually scared him.  He texted a few times just to make sure I was okay and had not been abducted by mind-controlling aliens. 

 

I need to go out of chronological order here and say:

 

E-A-G-L-E-S! E-A-G-L-E-S!  E-A-G-L-E-S!

 

Last night was The Last Night for the Grotto, at least as we knew and loved it.  The booze was really cheap, too.  While I am sentimental and tender hearted – hey, I always cry when I watch ‘Brian’s Song’—I wandered up Monument Hill strictly for the Sky.  The Birds were taking on the G-men at Jimmy Hoffa Stadium. 

 

As usual, bets and insults had been flowing all weekend.  When I popped in at Pinkie’s on Saturday night, we were having a girls’ night at the Runner in Cobham, the Irish Lad greeted me at the door in a Giants shirt, shit-eating pixie grin firmly in place.  As I got out of his car at the Runner, I mumbled “I hope your fucking shirt catches on fire”.  Well I wasn’t gonna say it in the car; he might have put me out on a dark road in no man’s land.  And we were getting a ride home.

 

I met Jimbo at the pub.  He is still collaring total strangers and showing them the pictures of me wearing his damned Giants hat and jacket, from last year’s bet.  He claims to have pictures of a slightly tipsy moi being checked in and poured into bed in a still unidentified hotel in New York from the Super Bowl two years ago.  Consequently, I am never, ever JAPPY to James.

 

Incidentally, if you’re on Facebook, James has pictures from the Super Bowl weekend in KofP at mine posted on his page.  (Probably all the ones of the waitresses at Hooters; I haven’t seen it yet.) 

 

A glass of Zinfy on Sunday night meant you got a whole bottle.  I’m sure at least five guys bought me wine; maybe more.  I toted all the bottles over to the table with the best view of the big screen and announced to the strangers sitting there “I’m joining you!”.  I don’t think they minded, even when I gave them an abbreviated course in ‘West Coast Offense’.   They looked a little panicked when I moved on to ‘The Ten Greatest Moments in Eagles-Giants Games, Whereby the Giants Sucked Giant Eggs.”  I never get tired of the Miracle at the Meadowlands one.  I think they liked it too.

 

Earlier, before Real, Proper Football started, the AIGS and the Samsungs had done the soccer thingy.  Apparently somebody won, but I don’t know who.  Does it even matter?  Really?

 

Of course it doesn’t.  The Birds kicked ass.  That’s what matters.  They advanced from the lowly sixth seed to the NFC Championship next week, for the fifth time in eight seasons.  And effectively silenced the New Yorkers in the crowd – and other places.  You know who you all are.

 

          Eagles 23…………….Giants 11

 

I had attempted, before the game started, to analyze the situation for the football challenged blokes.  On paper, by the numbers, the two teams were almost evenly matched.  “The wind will be a big factor” I advised some bloke whose name I never caught.  “It could all come down to field goals and field position in the fourth quarter.”  Prophetic words, as the G-men were forced by mistakes and bad field position into throwing into the swirling wind futilely in the fourth, and they flubbed two crucial field goals due to the cross winds. 

 

So next up is the Cardinals. 

 

 Lots of other fun, or bizarre, stuff happened on The Last Night.  I flirted shamelessly with Spanish Joe, even copping a feel of his cute little tushie.  I had thought he’d grabbed mine and reciprocated; but it had been Monkey Joe.  Naturally.  Edwina glared daggers, of course, but I blithely ignored her.

And this is true.  Leechy asked me out. 

 

Note to positively everybody: Stop snickering!  I mean it.

 

Leechy was quite nostalgic, or drunk; probably both.  What little of his mumbling I understood, he was reminiscing about various good times we all had at the Grotto.  “Like the time you took a header into the fireplace” I asked. “Or the time you were so pissed you fell off the bar stool and landed on Lulu’s sore toe?”  I don’t think he understands my English when he’s gone either.  He just mumbled some more and dragged me up to dance.  They weren’t even playing any music.

 

He carried on with his version of conversation, but I started to understand a word here or there.  Kind of like when I suddenly understood Scottish after three days of Margaret jabbering in it to me non-stop.  “What did you just say, Leechy?” I asked.  “Say it again slow.”  “You’re gorgeous, Jeano.  Did you know that?” he repeated.

 

“Yes, of course, I am, David, and yes, of course, I know” I told him.  “Only one of us is totally pissed.  I’m just happy.”

 

“We should go out.  We could have a right proper good time.”

 

I maneuvered so Leechy was dancing with Spanish Joe (neither of them noticed) and grabbed Monkey by the shirt.

 

“I’m gonna fucking kill you, Monkey Joe.”  “What’d I do now” he asked all innocent.

 

“Leechy!” I said through gritted teeth.  “First you try to kill me with Camilla the car, then you’re always getting me pissed.  But trying to fix me up with Leechy…honestly, Monkey, it’s not on.”

 

He had the balls to laugh.  He wasn’t the tiniest bit sorry.

 

So I avoided Leechy, and Edwina (just on principle) and Trevor of the Fifty Hands, who is suddenly single again.  His wife threw him out.  I sat with the Irish Lad for a while.  Obviously still smarting from the ‘I hope your fucking shirt….’ comment, apropos of absolutely nothing, Tee leaned in close and whispered, imitating Marina “’Is my mother dating him too?’ Did you miss a single bloke tonight?”

 

Seriously, Univac Brain Guy never gives it a rest.

 

Moving right along, I have some dreadful news to report.  Robbie Lee is no longer hunkalicious. 

 

BooBoo and I were shopping.  Oh stop it!  We were grocery-shopping at Tesco’s.  She nudged me and said “Aisle 12!  Robbie Lee alert!”  I looked over, and sure enough, it was him. 

 

“Wow” I said, “He looks like crap.”  We waved and smiled and I told Boo “He is so off the Jeano Hottie Index.  Another one bites the dust.”  Sic transit gloria.

 

NEVER AGAIN

Published January 8, 2009 by jean cohen

Marina left on Monday.  Her visit was an experience; neither positive nor negative, just an experience.  We didn’t manage to do everything we’d planned, or see everyone, but it certainly was a busy visit.

 

We had one final shopping blitz in Woking with BooBoo and Amy.  Marina wanted a pair of boots.  We hit about five stores, but she couldn’t find any she liked.  I whinged to Boo, I was tired, and she told me most reprovingly, “You’ve been shopping for a pair of brown shoes for four months.  We’ve been to six malls.”  “Yeah, well I need a very specific shade of brown” I defended myself.   I think she was hinting that my daughter is more like me than I care to admit.

 

Pinkie and I delivered her to Heathrow.  In the Jeano’s World custom religiously observed by positively everybody, requiring departees, drop-ees,  and/or  pick up-ees to be in Eagles attire, I wore my brand new Mean Green shirt from Scary Fairy.  Pinkie looked extremely hot in Eamonn’s Dawkins jersey.  Pinkie has been going to the gym.  She lost two stone.  The jersey, with Pinkie in it, no longer says: “D        AW        K I        NS”.     It’s more like ‘DAW     KINs’.  (She’s still got the Weybridge Woofers, damn her.)

 

And although Heathrow is not a small town, but is probably actually bigger than Weybridge, we met up with Bagpipe Guy for a coffee after hastening Marina on her merry way.  BP still spends an inordinate amount of time hanging at airports, and the dog continues to most frustratingly eat his homework on a regular basis.

 

Pinkie had to stop in Staines to pick something up.  We decided, after much soul searching, to hit a few stores too while we were ‘in the neighborhood’.  I’m all for using time efficiently and not wasting petrol. Sadly, no earthy, loamy, poopy, chocolately brown shoes, but lots of tops to go with my new leggings.  All on sale!  Practically free.

 

I got another really sweet email from David, the extremely cute, cooking, albeit spoken for, Jewish Guy I met at the Salvation Army.

 

He said I am blushing with embarrasment – and boasting to anybody who’ll listen! I’m "really cute". Such naches!”  

 

I dashed off an immediate reply, telling him:  Hi, Really Cute Jewish Guy –  I observe only the highest journalistic standards;  the truth must be reported factually.  Well…okay, I exaggerate about myself sometimes, and always lie about my weight, but then I’m a Jewish American Princess.
 
Nu?  Do ya have a brother, cousin, uncle, roommate from college?

 

Sometimes, one has to be direct and ask the tough questions.

 

But this has been a difficult week, Jewishly speaking.  I went to Shul on Saturday, with a not really keen Marina, mostly because I was confused and more than a little conflicted.  I wanted some direction or clarification  about what’s happening in Gaza and how I’m supposed to feel.  I think of myself as an anti-violence person, but I am even more staunchly a Zionist.  The coverage in the press here has been judgmental and, naturally, anti-Israel. 

 

We prayed for Israel’s safety and an end to the conflict, but nobody had any answers at shul either.

 

An interesting sidelight: Marina, who never let the TV remote control out of her hand, discovered in her channel-surfing that Sky offers an English-language Al Jazeera News station.  I watched it, for the first time ever, for about five minutes before ordering her to change the channel.  As a counterpoint to what’s been promulgated out there, following is a link to a news clip.  I strongly urge you to watch it, whatever your views are.

 

 http://multimedia.heritage.org/content/wm/Lehrman-092706a.wvx

 

If you’re American, I insist.

 

I went to tea at the home of new friends from Synagogue (that’s where I saw the clip) and we discussed the situation. Hazel quoted from the famous ‘Never Again’ speech given by the IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi, and I thought “This is how I feel.”

 

I couldn’t say it more vividly or succinctly, so here’s a part of the speech:

 

I salute to the ashes of our people and vow: Never Again."

 

I stand here with pride and honor and pledge: Never Again! Never again shall we stand helpless, crying for the mercy of others. Never again shall we beg to be defended. Never again shall we allow our sons and daughters, our parents and our grandparents to be erased from the face of the earth. Never again shall the frightened eyes of Jewish children look with ghastly dread through the barbed-wire fences of concentration camps. Never!

 

I salute our six million brothers and sisters, who have been persecuted, deported, tortured and cruelly murdered, and swear that Jewish blood shall never again be spilled in vain!"

 

Bagpipe Guy was over, and wishes me to report that he objected to being labeled “He’s So Vain!”  That would make a great song title. So I am dutifully reporting it.  Of course, in my picture folder labeled “Guys I Have Known and Actually Almost Liked’, there is one picture of each of them.  The Bagpipe Guy folder has about twelve.  And I didn’t take any of them.

 

THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIEND

Published January 7, 2009 by jean cohen

With all the Do’s and impromptu social occasions springing up, I never got around to reporting the Big News.  The Grotto was closing.  Forever.

 

That was, at least, the deal last week.  The Usual Suspects quickly organized a Last Supper of yummy Thai food for Friday night and a final night of partying on Sunday.

 

I was really sad.  Although I hardly ever went there anymore, mainly because I didn’t want to run into Rick, I have some fantastic memories of wild nights that I dimly remember.  Dancing with Leechy and Spanish Joe…sometimes simultaneously.   Julian, Lulu’s Dad, serenading me with ‘John Brown’s Body’ for hours (he was so gone) on the Fourth of July.  The ‘Tattoo Incident’.  Scary Fairy’s brief but passionate engagement to Leechy.  Holding hands with the Irish Lad as we tried to negotiate our way down Monument Hill.   Live Music– with Robbie Lee.   And ‘Sweet Home Alabama”.

 

Even Monkey Joe was nostalgic the other night.  “I was the first person you met in England, Jeano, at the Grotty.  I bought you a drink.”  “No, Sweetie” I corrected him.  “That would be Jarvo.  Remember the story?  I was wearing an Eagles shirt and he started talking to me about Real, Proper American Football. I met you on St. Patrick’s Day and you did buy me a drink; in fact, several and you’ve never stopped getting me well and truly pissed since then.”  Of course he insisted on his version of events. 

 

  I heard from an anonymous source that at the eleventh hour someone bought it, but it was a secret.  I was instructed not to breathe a word, and I didn’t – to anyone.  Of course, like an hour later, I ran into Leechy on the High Street, and he told me the exact same thing, with more details.  I know I’ve said this before.  God, I love little towns!

 

So the Grotto is saved.  Hopefully, the new owner will restore it to it’s former popularity.

 

We carried on with the Last Supper anyway, and it was a brilliant evening; just like old times.  And I watched the Eagles’ Wildcard game there, with the blokes.

 

Texts had flown fast and furious with the latest Las Vegas lines, insults and bets involving the losers wearing the dreaded ‘Deadskins Suck!’ jacket for photographs suitable for posting on a popular blog .  Thankfully, the Eagles prevailed 28 – 14.  Not that I was the tiniest bit worried.  The excessive drinking was due entirely to other stress in my life.

 

Which leads me to the Irish Lad.  Again.  I know I have warned you before, but I wasn’t exaggerating.  Tee’s prodigious, encyclopedic, Univac brain stores everything you’ve ever said and trots it out to take the piss when you’re most unprepared, or very drunk.

 

Marina casually mentioned the football team at her Uni.  I sneered at their lowly Division III status, and quick as a sneeze, the Irish Lad quipped, “Not quite Rose Bowl material, are they, Jeano?” with his best shit-eating pixie smirk.  Okay.  Comments were made about other people’s teams like the Fighting Irish (they do suck eggs; they’re not even ranked) and some harmless boasting occurred. I just forgot to mention in the blog that Penn State got edged in Pasadena on New Year’s Day by what’s-their-names…The Condoms…or Trojans…or Pretentious Left Coast Pac-10 Guys.  Satisfied, Irish Lad?

 

Note to all you G-men fans:  If you had to pick a Bird to play in the second round of the playoffs, you’d want the cute red fellas, not the big bad green Birds of Prey.  Eli’s already hearing footsteps—and we all know what that means.

 

Another, longer blog follows shortly.  I promise.