All posts for the month February, 2013


Published February 24, 2013 by jean cohen

I read an article online about buying a fake internet girlfriend.

Okay. Cue the jokes about Manti Te’o.

(One of my favourites: At least she wasn’t killed by an assault weapon.)

This blog isn’t about a beautiful dead Mormon girlfriend who never existed.

This is about a very good marketing idea.

The one I read about charged $250 a month. For a three-month commitment, the site will create a Facebook profile of an invented woman, then use it to leave personalized notes on the customer’s Facebook page, while also leaving messages at his work, sending texts and recording voicemails.

The site cites some excellent reasons for going the fake girlfriend route including making an ex-girlfriend jealous, keeping inquiring friends and family members at bay, and making it easier to get a job because "some employers are biased towards single folks." The site makes the bold claim that "it would cost you way more than $250 a month if you had a real girlfriend," anyway, so paying for a fake girlfriend is cost effective.

Wow, I thought. I could do this. After all, it’s not rocket surgery. I could start a cottage industry from my little pink house and boost the status of tens or twenties of loser guys. Maybe more if I can send the same message to a slew of guys at a time. I bet they could find a real girlfriend after they fake dated me. At least until their money ran out.

I can be nice… for a price. After all, I was married for a long time so I have experience.

And I know what girls want, especially the Jewish American Princess-y kind. I could happily babble on about the Broadway Shows or Concerts we’d pretend been to. Or the fantastic not real presents I got for Valentine’s Day or my birthday. Or which ‘oh so in’ restaurant we’d really not eaten brunch at.

I would actually post messages on Facebook or send texts using actual words instead of jumbled letters so if their Moms hacked into their accounts, they’d know exactly what we’d not actually in reality been up to.

That last one kinda even confused me.

The site even promises to add "drama” "if that’s what makes you happy." Okay. Drama. I get it. A snarky post…‘You’re damned right I’m pissed off. You know me so well.’

But I would take mine a step farther. Even perfect relationships (like Manti’s) hit an occasional bump in the road. Mine would be absolutely reality fake. Or fake reality. I’m confused again. I mean I’d say some bitchy stuff too.

‘Sorry about saying ‘no fucking way last night, De-wayne’, but I was watching Law & Order and it was a brand new episode.

Your purple helmeted warrior of passion was under the weather last night, huh, Frankie? Yeah. You should worry.’

‘You stupid jerk! You bought season tickets to the Seventy-Sixers? We could have bought an engagement ring with that money.’

Oddly, there are absolutely no sites out there offering fake boyfriends. I guess women are too well adjusted to pretend. Or maybe fake boyfriends are just as disappointing as real ones.


Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner?

Published February 17, 2013 by jean cohen

Another busy week dashing around Weybridge.

I went shopping with Pam and Margaret, the mavens organizing the Fashion Show, to select my outfit. I’m sure I’ve said this once or twice, or fifty times before, it sure is fun to shop when you don’t care how much stuff costs. Not that I get to keep it; I don’t, unfortunately. The idea is to sell the clothes on the day. Hopefully, I will get first dibs on my outfit.

Ray came over for our weekly Scrabble competition. We each won a game. But I got chocolates. From Ray. Either because it was Valentine’s Day or because I’m a superlative Scrabble player.

I did all the usual stuff I always do, and I survived another Valentine’s Day without a date (big sigh), as the Blighty-wide shortage of desirable men continues. Geez. Immigration lets in perfectly dreadful terrorists and whatever every day. Can’t they institute a quota of tall, widowed Jewish doctors to be passed through, say, on alternating Wednesdays? This would work for me as I’m not busy on Wednesdays and I could hang at the Costa Coffee at Arrivals to scope out the possibles.

On the subject of Valentine’s Day, my bestest friend, who doesn’t want to be named (think blond hair, ginormous boobs, Northern accent) came over for lunch and she brought one of her Valentine’s pressies from CheeseBoy.

It sort of made me rethink the whole not having a guy thing.

He bought her a cookbook.

Obviously, that wouldn’t have worked for me, and I would have probably baked the damned thing in a 180° oven for twenty minutes and fed it to him for dinner.

But that’s not the worst part. The cookbook was called ‘Natural Harvest’ and it espouses adding semen as the ‘special’ ingredient in your recipes.

Yes, you read that right.. semen.

The first page says, and I quote: “Semen is not only nutritious, but it also has a wonderful texture and amazing cooking properties. Like fine wine and cheeses, the taste of semen is complex and dynamic. Once you overcome any initial hesitation, you will be surprised to learn how wonderful semen is in the kitchen! If you are a passionate cook and are not afraid to experiment with new ingredients – you will love this cookbook!”

Who knew?

Of course, cynical Jeano thinks perhaps this was a transparently devious ploy by the Boy to get his throbbing thrill hammer more action.

And really, how long does it take to accrue a cup of semen? Can one run across the road to the Neighbors from Hell and borrow some? I’ve seen gangster movies. When you can’t pay back your debt, they whack you.

So I glanced through the recipes. Wow! Chicken noodle semen soup. That would give a Jewish mother agida. Chocolate truffles. Grilled Pink Salmon. Veal Scallopini.

There was a recipe for Hollandaise Sauce – I love Hollandaise sauce on my Eggs Benedict. Hm. Yeah, okay: 3 egg yolks, ¼ cup of water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ cup cold butter, dash of salt and pepper, fresh semen.

Fresh semen? You can’t keep a stock of it in the freezer?

Apparently not. And dump that goo in. Adding it drop by drop poses a risk of improper blending and a lumpy Hollandaise which would be a tragedy.

There was also a great recipe for a BBQ Sauce, but I absolutely promise that the one I use for the chicken at my Festa di Independenza barbecue will be sans semen.


The First Time Ever

Published February 13, 2013 by jean cohen

I’m glad that the last blog was ‘meaty’. That’s kind of the problem with blogging. Sometimes shit just doesn’t happen and there’s nothing to say. I actually pondered penning a few entries to hold in reserve for just such occasions. I did miss quite a few blog-worthy events when I was on hiatus. ‘My Medieval Cataract Surgery courtesy of those jihadists at the NHS’ is a good example. (I’ll start working on that one.)

But the Italians came through with blogoney. (I just coined a new word! Baloney for the Blog = Blogoney!) Viva Italia!

It’s that time again. Actually, in Italia, it seems to always be that time. Yes, we’re having another election.

I got a letter from Italia in the post. Of course, I couldn’t read it. A teensy part of me always worries that the paisons will take back my citizenship because I’m not quite Italian enough. No. Google translate and me figured out that they weren’t demanding the Magical Passaporto Rosso back by return post. Its just election time again. My friend, Ray, was over and graciously offered to translate the letter. I know. Why does my English Jewish friend Ray speak Italian and I don’t? Because. That’s all I’m saying on that subject. Oh, yeah. He speaks Hebrew, too. Give him a gold magen david.

In one whole page of gobbledygook, it explained that we Italians are electing deputies to the Senate and the Republic at some future date, when they get around to it. Just kidding. The election is on February 24 and 25, 2013. It takes two days because the ballot is 1700 pages long.

This part is really good. The elections are being handled by the Il Popolo della Liberta, or the People of Liberty Party, whose catchy slogan is ‘Always at hand for Italians throughout the world’. I did not make that up. And I’m not real sure that I am a member of the Il Popolo della Liberta. I might be a Partito Democratico, or a Rivoluzione Civile, or a Partito Communista, although I’m pretty sure I’m not that last one. We all know I don’t like sharing. Anything.

However, voting is not a problem for me now in the slightest. In the past, I’ve just checked which candidates were the hottest looking and voted accordingly. This time, I just pushed ‘hold’ and rang mia cugina Maria in Colli a Volturno and inquired ‘Yo! Who are we voting for?’ Facile!

Which brings me to the point of this blog.

Did I mention that I visited my homeland (the other one) and my commune?

Well. While I wasn’t blogging, I went on a cruise – two weeks in the Med on Holland America with a friend. I know Dead Jerry was really jealous; we had a snarky conversation about it at 3:00 AM. one morning. (Tallit and yarmulke = grumpy dead guy)

I haven’t lost my Travel Agent touch. Our flights were perfect, our suite was gorgeous, and HAL is still superb. I was born to be waited on hand and foot. I see these commercials on TV here for Royal Caribbean. The tag line is: ‘Nine out of ten people would choose Royal Caribbean for their next cruise’. I’m the tenth person. It’s so mass market and not nearly Jappy enough.

Our ports included Sicily, Greece, and in Italia, Venezia, Roma and Napoli. I know I’ve been to all of those places before, but the cruise included sunshine, more sunshine and temperatures of 90°, none of which are available in England.

And since Napoli was one of our ports, this was a perfect opportunity to visit Colli a Volturno, my ancestral home. Through Facebook, I’d managed to locate my cousin, Maria, who’d moved back to Colli from Philly in the ‘70s. We had been inseparable as teens, but lost touch after she went back.

I have to begin with my arrival in Venezia because it was a momentous occasion. That’s where we boarded the Nieuw Amsterdam. Yeah, yeah, Venice is a gorgeous city… the canals, St. Mark’s Square, the shopping, blah, blah, blah. Been there, done all that many times before.

However, Venezia will forevermore be a special place because it was the first time ever I entered Italy as an Italian citizen. Yes, I handed over the Magical Passaporto Rosso and the officer said: “Buon giorno”, which I understood, and then something else long and complicated in fricking Italiano, which I didn’t. Why do they always do that to me?

I smiled Sweet Smile #4 (one of the nice ones, not the snotty ones), and he asked “Do you even speak Italian, dual citizenship really an American person?” in English.

“I’m studying it” I informed him. “And I’m here specifically to visit all 1300 of my Incollingo relatives who live in Colli a Volturno, Isernia.” It was sort of the truth.

When we docked in Napoli, my car and driver, Lido, were waiting for me. It was an hour and 45 minutes from the Port of Naples to Colli. Plus about 20 minutes, back-tracking when Lido got lost. He said he was stopping to go to the bathroom, but I knew he taken a wrong turn on one of those twisty little mountain roads and was frantically trying to figure out where the hell we were.

When we finally arrived in Colli, I was jumping with excitement. I rang cousin Maria, who sent her grand-daughter to meet us and direct us to her house.

We hugged and cried, and hugged some more. Fortunately, her English is still pretty good, because no one in her family speaks it. Her husband, son, daughter, and 2 grand-daughters were all there to meet the American cousin.

Naturally, I wanted to see my town, so Maria and I went for a stroll. I saw great grandpop’s Butcher Shop (it’s not a Butcher Shop anymore; there’s now a Carrefore in Colli). We knocked at the door of the flat there and I met cousin Carmela, who is married to the grandson of grandpop’s youngest brother. Then we visited the Church where great-grandpop and great grandmom got married. I saw their entry in the registry.

Then it was off to the Town Hall, where even I am registered! I asked to see it. The clerk obligingly showed me my name in the Book of 1300.

We stopped for a coffee; more distant relatives own the little bistro. We went to the bakery, and naturally, they are cousins, too. These cousins swear I look exactly like an Incollingo. Naturally, everywhere we stopped, they fed us.

Then it was back to Maria’s house for a huge meal, and I mean huge. She even made bracchiole in my honor. At the dessert and coffee stage, people started turning up. Lots of them. And they’re all my relatives. None of them spoke English, but from what I gathered, they were all descendants of grandpop’s brothers. Lots of hugging and an obscene amount of kissing.

I wanted to go to the cemetery but we did not have time. Lido was worried about traffic back to Naples, so all told, I had about 5 hours in Colli.

I had brought a few family pictures with me, including the one of the four cousins we took on one of my visits home. Maria only remembered Joanne, who was closest in age to us. And for some strange reason, she vividly remembers my Aunt Tootsie. Aunt Tootsie was quite a character.

Cousin Joey Incollingo from Quebec, Canada (another Facebook find) sent me some details on his Colli relatives, and the Incollingos from Huntington Valley whom Licence and Blood Relative know provided theirs, but no luck. Since practically everybody in Colli is an Incollingo (92% of the 1300 residents) and they all have the same first names, it is impossible to figure out who is related to whom.

I even met an Incollingo in Colli who grew up at 6th and Erie. We didn’t remember each other from the old neighbourhood, although I did know his sister.

Me: “My great-grandfather was Domenico Incollingo.” Him: “So was mine.” Me: “He married Amalia Santilli.” Him: “Mine married Angelina Croce.” So, not the same Domenico, unless he was an Italian cloud (a big-a mist).

I am definitely going to go back and stay longer and do some family history research; hopefully, this spring. Five hours was ridiculously short, but I couldn’t not visit if I was in Italy.

Meanwhile, I faithfully call mia cugina every week now. I want to keep that connection going. After all, she is familiare and io sono Italiano.


Published February 9, 2013 by jean cohen

When I uploaded the new post I somehow deleted the last post. I’ll repost it this week.

I hate Word Press.

This was a frenetic week for some reason; probably because I keep accepting social engagements.

The Israel Group at shul (of which I am a member…don’t ask) hosted a fantastic Oneg on Friday night with Israeli music. We had to bring a dish to share. Usually, Mr. Waitrose and I make a delicious quiche. Well, Mr. W makes it and I put it on a plate. This time I decided to cook. Because… I don’t know because why; I just did. Anyway, I made my Britain famous string bean casserole. It’s a big hit at the Thanksgiving Dinner, and it was at the Oneg. Every drop went.

BooBoo came over on Saturday. I skipped services since I’d been on Friday night. Her new job keeps her so busy I hardly see her. But she’s coming with me when I cross the pond in March which will be super fantastic.

Sunday night was the Super Bowl, but since it didn’t start until 11:30 PM here, I didn’t have a party. As everybody knows, the commercials are the best part, but they don’t show them here. I had to wait until Monday to watch them online. I liked the Dorito-munching goat and the Dorito Daddy Princess. And the Anheuser Busch horse one and the M&M’s singing ‘I Won’t Do That’. The best was the Tide commercial about the Joe Montana stain on the football jersey.

Monday I went to the movies and dinner with Adrianna. We saw ‘Hyde Park on the Hudson’. I thought Bill Murray made an amazing FDR, but I wasn’t crazy about the story. Apparently, and I didn’t know this, one of the tasks of the President of the United States is to sleep with as many women as humanly possible, even if you have polio and you have to improvise.

Tuesday was Tea Lady duty. I’ve sort of lost my enthusiasm for the Senior Centre, especially the Social Committee part. There’s an unspoken rule that things go on as they always have and nothing must change. This results in very few new people (the alive kind) coming in to use the centre and a very unwelcoming ambiance. I went in on the previous Friday with Ray to play Scrabble (my cleaning lady kicks me out when she’s cleaning; sometimes I just wander the streets like a homeless person). We were treated so rudely I was ready to resign. Vicki calmed me down (a bit) but watch this space.

While I was tea-ladying on this Tuesday, Ray rang to ask if I was up for a trip to the British Library in London that afternoon to see the Jewish collection. Since the British Library was on my ‘things I haven’t done in England yet’ list, I said ‘I’d love to!’

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from many countries, in many languages and in many formats, both print and digital: books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, videos, play-scripts, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings. The Library’s collections include around 14 million books, along with substantial holdings of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 2000 BC. (I just pasted that in right from their website.)

We trained up to London, and, honestly, London just isn’t a big deal anymore. I don’t, like, go: “Wow! I’m in London! How special is that?” It’s more like: “It’s cold. It’s raining. Ouch. People are encroaching on my personal space.” Seriously, it could be New York except for the accents.

The Library is sort of almost next to St. Pancras Railway Station. Even that’s not a novelty; I’ve traveled to Paris on Eurostar from St. P’s a few times. St. Pancras is pretty cool though. The architecture includes a single-span roof, which, at the time of it’s construction, was the largest such structure. It has since been beaten out for largest by Texas Stadium. God, I hate the Cowboys.

A group of about 14 of us were given visitor passes and our guide escorted us through several locked doors to the sancto santorum where the good stuff is kept. Wow. We saw (with our eyes, not our hands) an illuminated manuscript, a Hebrew Bible, from Portugal circa 1500-ish, some handwritten letters by Maimonides, the Jewish philosopher, written in the late 1100’s, and a sumptuously decorated Haggadah.

The curator spoke about the library’s extensive collection of Ketubot, Jewish marriage contracts, and being American, I suggested to her than she arrange another visit focusing exclusively on Ketubot. I love Ketubot. She promised she would.

After the amazing tour, Ray and I had a great dinner at an Italian restaurant (7 out of 10 on the authentic scale) and then home to the ‘burbs.

Ray was back at mine on Wednesday for Scrabble. Two hard fought games; we each won one. And we’re playing on line now. Ray is also playing both Scary Fairy and Toots in Scrabble and Words With Friends. Scary is talking about another trip across the pond this summer. I hope it happens. Incidentally, when Ray was in New York at Thanksgiving, he spent a day with Scary and Montana Karen in the city.

Thursday was bookshop duty, and on Friday night I worked at a Sam Beare Do at Christ Prince of Peace.

And that was my week.