Writing is My Lady

ILoveWritingSo I’m having a Rat Pack moment the other day, sipping a martini and listening to Frank Sinatra singing “L.A. Is My Lady,” a song in which he uses the City of Angels metaphorically for his romantic relationships. Yeah, it’s just a typical Thursday for me, when it strikes me that my own version of the Chairman of the Board’s hit would be “Writing Is My Lady.” And I know what you’re thinking: “Mark’s probably just saying that because he’s currently single and tends to see everything in the universe as a metaphor for a woman.” Okay, that’s true. You know me so well. But all that’s beside the point. The fact is that the arc of the script-writing experience absolutely parallels that of a romantic relationship. No, really. So quit giving me the stink-eye. Continue reading

No One Tells Us We Can’t Have the Dessert From Hell!

7416667698_b156e7595d_cIn our society’s current emphasis on health and nutrition, it’s pretty much become expected that recipes offered in books, magazines, newspapers, online, on TV and radio, and in cooking classes be both tasty and healthy. Healthfulness in particular has taken center stage due to frequent media reports of the nation’s obesity, diabetes, and heart attack rates.

Even the queen of high cholesterol cooking, Paula Deen, due to her personal health concerns, has decided to cook and eat with more restraint. Would that she might exercise that same restraint in other aspects of her life as well, as she now unfortunately has much bigger fish to fry, er, sautee. But it just seems that with regards to cooking, everyone lately is so single-mindedly focused on health, often at the expense of taste. But enough about the cardboard-tasting cookies at my local health food store.

It was therefore ever so refreshing to find, in the Los Angeles Times’ Saturday section of July 6, the recipe for Banana Cream Cheese Buñuelos, requested by reader Lilliana Aleman from the Harborside Restaurant in Newport Beach. Both the Times and the Harborside were happy to oblige. And lucky for us readers! Writer Noelle Carter describes the dessert as “sinfully good” and “so good you almost felt wrong eating it in public.” She then vividly describes the treat as, “Thin flour tortillas stuffed with rich cream cheese and bananas, then deep-fried, coated with cinnamon sugar and served with whipped cream and ice cream under a drizzle of warm caramel. ” Yum! Munch on that image, all you deprived dieters out there! Continue reading

An Open Letter to Art Garfunkel From His Ex-Girlfriend, Cecilia

Did Simon turn Garfunkel against Cecilia?

Did Simon turn Garfunkel against Cecilia?

Note: My friend Cecilia asked me to post this on her behalf.

Dear Arthur,

I always called you Arthur. Remember? We dated for 11 wonderful months (at least I thought they were wonderful) starting in June of 1968. I had red hair and you called me “Tater” because I was about half your size and loved Tater Tots even though you referred to them as “frozen poison.”
I thought we were in love, until May 17th, 1969, when you sat down with me on that brown corduroy sofa you inherited from your cousin Pete and mumbled something about maybe it’d be healthy for us to take a break from each other for a while. I was blindsided, stunned. Then I’d see photos of you in the tabloids with model types. Years later, I saw photos of you dating Penny Marshall. That hurt even worse. Continue reading

Least-Popular Jewish Performance Art Pieces

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Scene from “Talk to a Podiatrist”

Imagine a museum performance art exhibit consisting of a Jewish man or woman, seated inside a glass box, answering visitors’ questions about Jewish life and culture. An outrageous fantasy? Part of a new reality TV show? A scene from the new Woody Allen movie? Au contraire. It’s an actual exhibit, called The Whole Truth, going on now at Berlin’s Jewish Museum. Inspired by the many questions left in the museum visitors book, the questions and answers vary from those about common Jewish stereotypes to simply wanting to know how to become a Jew. The reaction has been mixed, with some perceiving it as intriguing and educational, while others describing the exhibition as “degrading” and not helpful to German-Jewish relations. Continue reading

A Sexy New Novel About Women of a Certain Age

The_Last_Place_She'd_Cover_for_KindleA notorious study conducted in the mid 1980′s determined that a woman over the age of 40 has a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married. Though that study was later found to be flawed, the thought lingers on in some even to this day. And even more so for women approaching 50, such as Sara, the protagonist of Arlene Schindler’s sexy, heartfelt comedic novel, The Last Place She’d Look. (http://amzn.to/10JiLXp) Continue reading

Funny, You Don’t Look Jewish

Funny, You Don’t Look Jewish

Five celebrities you may not have known were Jewish.

If you’re anything like me, and God help you if you are, I know what you’re going through. Day after day, night after night, you agonize over whether your favorite actor, musician, scientist, athlete, businessperson, or historical figure – is Jewish. Isn’t it bad enough all the precious time that Facebook and Twitter suck out of our day without having to spend even more of it worrying about who is or is not a M.O.T. (Member of the Tribe)? Continue reading

Mistakes Men Make in Romance

124046026Okay, I’ll admit it – we men excel at messing up our romantic lives. This is why romantic songs and movies and Hallmark cards are so popular – among women. They bring women a world of Enrique and Antonio and Romeo, instead of the world of women’s unshaven, unemployed date asleep on the couch, in his underwear, snoring, drool dangling from his lips, a half-eaten bag of Cheetos spilled out onto the floor he’s never vacuumed. Of course, that’s generally the photo men fail to post on their JDate profile. Continue reading

The 15 Embarrassments of the Ancient World


World’s first fraternity party.

What do the Colossus of Rhodes, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus have in common? Okay, granted, they are three of the only places in the world never considered for Taco Bell franchises. But they are also three of the fabled “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.” And my mother says I’m wasting my time watching Jeopardy. Hah! Continue reading

Pentagon Encouraging School Bake Sales to Help Pay for Wars


“Enjoy your cupcake grenade!”

In an attempt to raise funds for the military budget, the Pentagon is encouraging schools to hold bake sales and donate the profits to the armed forces. “Every little bit helps,” explains Pentagon spokesperson Tom Hagen. “Any school interested should contact the Pentagon for our Sweets For Soldiers Kit, which contains everything a school needs to put on a successful bake sale.” Continue reading

Lawry’s The Prime Rib: In L.A., Even the Restaurants are Theatrical


Lawry’s: The ultimate shrine to carnivores.

If you’ve ever dined at an organic, vegetarian restaurant, think of the Los Angeles institution called Lawry’s The Prime Rib, as the exact opposite. Thousands of the faithful who couldn’t care less about organic, vegetarian, carrot juice, cholesterol levels, portion size, or PETA, pay regular homage at this ultimate shrine to carnivores. I was determined to approach the place with an open mind, in much the same slightly guilt-ridden way that a monk who has decided to give up his vow of chastity might accept an invitation to Paris Hilton’s Valentine’s Day bash. Continue reading