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Episode: 152

To everything there is a season, and a dry, crumbly cookie to match


Oh my god, I just remembered, it’s Purim. Seriously, already? I feel like it was just Simchas Torah! Boy did that winter go by fast. But the question is, are YOU ready for Purim? Did you choose your costume, buy presents for all the kids on the block, bake your dry, crumbly, never-very-delicious hamantaschen? No? Well COME ON, it starts tomorrow night!! It’s Purim eve, eve! Crap, I totally forgot and now I’ll never find a perfect queen Esther costume this late. And I don’t have time to bake hamantaschen before kickboxing class tonight, maybe I’ll do it while I watch “Better Call Saul”.

Because just when we thought the winter holiday season was over, kids, just when you finally put away the Christmas lights because the first daffodils are blooming… Really, that’s the sign to put them away, when you see the first daffodil, you put away the xmas stuff. Yes, it’s true, it’s in the bible in Ecclesiastes, remember? “To everything there is a season, turn, turn, etc., and a time to every purpose under heaven, and when the first daffodil shall bloometh, thou shalt fill thy Rubbermaid tubs with thy tinsel and animated reindeer?” That first yellow bloom is the heavenly command.

And now, for spring, the holiday season is BACK. I know, Valentine’s Day is now just a fading, disappointed memory. All the unsold clearance valentine’s candy, like the red and pink wrapped Hershey’s kisses, and red valentine’s day marshmallow Peeps have been dumped or fed to beef cattle to fatten ‘em up for grilling season. And the onslaught of pink and yellow and lavender is on in full-force, the Peeps are out in numbers, chocolate bunnies are multiplying like, well, bunnies! And jars of gefilte fish and boxes of matzo are filling the supermarket end-cap shelves, it’s time, spring Holiday Season!

But it all starts with Purim. The Jewish festival celebrating something about a queen named Esther and a bad guy named Haman and some destroyed temple, and some king, and something else…and oh crap, I don’t remember. I tried to look it up but it was more than a paragraph and then I got all distracted by something on BuzzFeed. And during the Purim festivities they tell the story of those guys, Esther and Haman and the rest, and every time they mention the evil Haman, you’re supposed to make a shit-ton of noise and stomp your feet and crank these little noisemakers that they give the kids, to drown out his name. Sort of like protesters at a Trump rally. And then the thugs come along and kill them. History really does repeat itself, doesn’t it?

Episode: 151

“Go West Young Man” (but don’t forget to bring your insulin…)


Oh, California…that golden crescent by the sea. It seemed a wonderland to us East Coast kids; the land of Hollywood, Disney, tanned perfect bodies, orange groves and avocados, Jack, Chrissy and Janet roller skating along the Santa Monica pier.

Everybody was fit and healthy and glowing. California cuisine was all about fruit and arugula and grilling and being outside on a patio in the Hollywood hills, lifted right off the cover of Sunset magazine. The shining beacon of health at the other end of a country left scarred and beaten by industrialization and recession. Beckoning to us pale, unfit, polluted east coasters and rust belters to come west! Come west!

We’re all healthy and shiny and strong here! We drink fresh-squeezed OJ and sit in the hot tub and have a lot of casual sex and do yoga!  That’s what it looked like, anyway, to me. Watching it all on TV in the late 70’s. My friend Heather, who’d moved to our town in 1980 when we met in jr high, was from CA. She knew how to make guacamole and loved Tom Petty and Taco Bell, which we didn’t have yet in the east, and she missed life in California so much that she hightailed it back for college the day we graduated HS. Who can blame her? Suburban LI or Suburban San Francisco? As we’d say back in jr high school, duh? She taught me about west coast life. Or the fantasy of it..

So why am I rhapsodizing about the golden state? Well, the glimmering, shimmering dream bubble seems to have burst since its late-mid-century heyday. Because new stats are out about California, and its population, and, as they’d say on Mad Men, it’s “Not good Bob. Not good.” (That’s a quote from a scene between Pete Campbell and Bob Benson, where Pete’s upset about something, I can’t remember what.) Pete Campbell buys into the California dream in a big way, too. But it lets him down, and he realizes he’s human and misses his family so then he comes home to Trudy and moves to Kansas City to work for Lear Jets. No more hot tubs and avocados for Pete Campbell.

Oh, the new stats about California, right. Sorry. So according to an article about a study from UCLA in the LA times, more than HALF the adult population in the state are now either diabetic, or pre-diabetic. 55%!! Fifty Five percent!! More than half the population? Where are Jack and Chrissy and the hot tubs now?  What happened California? Where’d it all fall apart?

Episode: 150

You don’t look a day over 100!


So this past Sunday, as I’m swimming a few warm-up laps before my synchronized swim class, what do I spot in the bottom of the deep end? Plastic fish toys. And plastic rings and other random plastic toys. Makes sense, we use the pool at a private school that’s only K-8th grade, a lotta little kids use that pool, and they use the toys when learning to swim. It also explains the teeny-tiny lockers and the extra high chlorine levels.

And as I’m swimming and looking at the fish toys on the pool floor I’m reminiscing about my watery revelation of years back, the one about how all is cooking is simply about removing water from food, remember that one? And as I’m figuratively patting myself on the back while actually doing the crawl, I remember an article I read recently about real, living, plastic fish. Not little pink and blue and yellow plastic toy fish, but fish who’ve ingested millions of micro-particles of plastic that they mistook for food, and who are now made up of so much plastic, they’ve basically become that; plastic fish.

Toxic, inedible, chemical-filled plastic fish. Our oceans are so filled with discarded plastics, which get bashed, beaten and ground up by the energy of the sea into micro-particles, that our sea-life is now filled with plastic sand. They ingest it when they feed, and can’t digest it, so it gets stuck inside of them where it leaches all sorts of nastiness into their systems, and then they die because they become so bloated with indigestible particles that they starve to death, if they’re not first poisoned by the decaying trash inside them.

See why I hate lap swimming? It brings up all kinds of trauma for me. I strongly suggest you don’t do it. Switch to synchro, as it’s way more fun, and you get to wear lipstick and swim upside-down.

Plastic inside fish stomachs is bad enough. Never mind overfishing, mercury, rising water temperatures, algal blooms…Our poor sea-life, they really don’t have a chance, do they? We really are so intent on destroying everything around us, aren’t we? Didn’t anybody listen to Leo’s Oscar speech on Sunday? The plastic micro-particles come, of course, from plastic trash; water bottles, packaging, old toys, synthetic textile fibers, food wrappers, you name it.

And micro-beads. Those freaking micro-beads added to face scrubs for exfoliation purposes. Those nasty bits have been found in great lakes fish, too. Making this not just an oceanic fish problem, but a lake problem too. Ahh…petrochemicals, is there anything you can’t touch without turning it into toxic shit? And all because of some dinosaurs who decided to die and decay. Thanks a lot, dinosaurs, for dying and decaying and turning into oil. Look what a mess you’ve caused us now.

Oh, it’s Let’s Get Real’s 150th episode anniversary show, in case you’re wondering. And I’m swimming and ranting and making lists and everything. Tune in!

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