The theory goes justice is blind. I myself have always suspected she merely looked the other way if she found someone attractive. However my opinions aside, justice seems to have left the building in this new reality we are all living. Yes, blind she was, but now she seems to be conspicuously absent from life on a regular basis. So what’s a girl to do who is hanging onto the last shred of idealism like a cheating dieter holds on to the last Krispy Krème donut? I am grasping at straws to believe that there is some justice left on the planet and fighting desperately to fend off cynicism like a tiger protecting its cub. Enter Christmas movies. Hallmark especially. My heart takes flight as I watch knowing and waiting for the evil landlord that is evicting the whole town at Christmas to get his just desserts in the end. I revel in the knowledge he or she’s gonna get theirs, the town will be saved and the two lovers that broke up fifteen minutes before the end of the movie will reconcile, TV kiss and make up. And although these movies always stretch credulity to the limits of what any intelligent person could endure, knowing justice will prevail no matter how far over the top they take the plot points, keeps me happy. Although lately there doesn’t seem to be any retribution doled out to the perpetrators in these movies of evil deeds so I’m only half content in the end. The thought these scrooges never received visits from the three spirits is hard to resolve. But I am pragmatic and at this point I’ll take what I can get. Besides I am certain that the spirit of Christmas will endure. Kind of sad you’re thinking that one must wait for Christmas to believe there is still justice left on earth, but I say what better time. After all isn’t Christmas the time when there is peace on earth and goodwill toward men? When for one day the lion lies down with the lamb and all is well? According to Snopes and of course we all know if Snopes says it’s true we can believe them, the following event occurred in 1914. “During World War I, in the winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in all of human history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy, man-made trenches six to eight feet deep that seemed to stretch forever. All of a sudden, German troops began to put small Christmas trees, lit with candles, outside of their trenches. Then, they began to sing songs. Across the way, in the “no man’s land” between them, came songs from the British and French troops. Incredibly, many of the Germans, who had worked in England before the war, were able to speak good enough English to propose a “Christmas” truce. The British and French troops, all along the miles of trenches, accepted. In a few places, allied troops fired at the Germans as they climbed out of their trenches. But the Germans were persistent and Christmas would be celebrated even under the threat of impending death. According to Stanley Weintraub, who wrote about this event in his book, Silent Night, “signboards arose up and down the trenches in a variety of shapes. They were usually in English, or – from the Germans – in fractured English. Rightly, the Germans assumed that the other side could not read traditional gothic lettering, and that few English understood spoken German. ‘YOU NO FIGHT, WE NO FIGHT’ was the most frequently employed German message. Some British units improvised ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ banners and waited for a response. More placards on both sides popped up.” A spontaneous truce resulted. Soldiers left their trenches, meeting in the middle to shake hands. The first order of business was to bury the dead who had been previously unreachable because of the conflict. Then, they exchanged gifts, chocolate cake, cognac, postcards, newspapers, tobacco. In a few places, along the trenches, soldiers exchanged rifles for soccer balls and began to play games. It didn’t last forever. In fact, some of the generals didn’t like it at all and commanded their troops to resume shooting at each other. After all, they were in a war. Soldiers eventually did resume shooting at each other. But only after, in a number of cases, a few days of wasting rounds of ammunition shooting at stars in the sky instead of soldiers in the opposing army across the field. For a few precious moments there was peace on earth good will toward men. All because the focus was on Christmas. Happens every time. There’s something about Christmas that changes people. It happened over 2000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem. It’s been happening over and over again down through the years of time.” I’m tearing up here. So I am a believer in the whole Christmas miracle theory and being Jewish does not dissuade me a bit. I am well aware that watching or reading the news it becomes more and more difficult to believe in miracles or even good anymore. It seems every year we must fight harder to find those small miracles we think of as great human-interest stories we sometimes hear at Christmas or on a news channel not afraid to report actual good news. Thus I am a firm believer we must make our own miracles and take our joy where we can get it every day. Christmas movies are one way I can stave off the negativity that surrounds our everyday lives. For those who say be grateful, think positive, look at the glass half full or as Eric Idle sang as he hung from a cross in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, “always look on the bright side of life.” I take that very seriously, well sort of, and I do seek out special things to remind me that although the news is grim, I am responsible for my own happy mood. So what can I do besides Hallmark movies? I turn to the classics and prefer the real hard-core tearjerkers. Who couldn’t feel great after an hour of sobbing your heart out after watching It’s a Wonderful Life or cheering at the television when Santa Claus wins his court case in Miracle on 34(Hey if Macy and Gimble can get along so can China and the US. th Street? For big laughs I tune into Ralphie and his father’s stocking covered leg lamp in The Christmas Story and to round out the sob fest the original Christmas Carol. Then I fall on the floor in convulsive sobs before Tiny Tim even finishes his sentence, “God Bless us one and all.” Just a minute I need a Kleenex. When some complain that Christmas has no place in our American society and Christmas decorations shouldn’t be allowed, I cringe. I am Jewish, but I cannot condone removing something that so brightens the world for shoppers and those enjoying the season. So what is the season? Religion aside it’s a special energy that only happens once a year. Malls and cities are filled with those who are focused on the happiness of others. Toys are collected for children in need, soup kitchens prepare holiday dinners for those who don’t have the means to enjoy the luxury of a good meal, or perhaps any meal, children are filled with joy and excitement dreaming of what they are receiving from Santa and every religion is celebrating the season as well. Usually Christmas and Chanukah fall around the same time each year so if you add the smell of latkes frying, briskets cooking and dreydels spinning while chocolate coins are won and lost, it adds to the happy spirit of the season. The holidays are a time of year when people forget their problems, focus on happy times with family and friends and celebrate. If decorations add to that by reminding the world of the festivities at hand, I say Right on Santa! There is too much sadness nowadays, but there can never be too much happiness, justice or caring about others. If watching a Christmas movie or seeing a twinkling Christmas tree in a mall or taking the kids to see Santa can bring more joy it is a good thing. And good things are well just that…good. Could These Be Any Easier Lazy Latkes? 1 pkg of Simply Potatoes hash browns (Usually found in the section with the eggs or cheeses.) 3 eggs 1 small or half of a large onion chopped and sauté until limp but not browned in a tablespoon of butter 1/4 cup of flour 1½ teaspoons salt you may add more if you like saltier flavor 1 teaspoon of pepper Oil for frying I prefer canola because it adds no taste Sauté onions Lightly beat eggs and add salt and pepper to eggs Add eggs and onions to potatoes Use an immersion blender to mix until the desired consistency I prefer them smooth but with a light sprinkling of potato pieces here and there. Add to hot oil that is at least 350 degrees. Fry until edges crisp up and then turn They should be lightly golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel I serve them on a platter with sour cream on one side and applesauce on the other. I also add chopped eggs and caviar if they are for company or bite size.
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Award-winning journalist and star Judge of Baking It on NBC with Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Andy Sandburg Norma Zager combines her years of stand-up comedy with her writing skills, to create an offbeat, hilarious take on Baby Boomer life and growing older in today's world that touches the chocolate-coated soul of everyone.
One of the stars of the Food Network’s Clash of the Grandmas, Zager had returned to journalism after a 14-year stint as a stand up comic, playing Vegas regularly and opening for the biggest names in laughter. She created Norma’s 14 Karat Cookies after moving to Los Angeles and was the first comedian to have her own comedy/cooking show in Las Vegas. Her numerous television and radio appearances including Home and Family and appearances on the Food Network made her a favorite with audiences.
Her cooking show on Beverly Hills Cable Network can also be seen on Youtube.
In 1999, Zager returned to her journalistic roots when she accepted a reporter position at the Beverly Hills Courier newspaper and became editor after nationally scooping all other media and breaking the story about Laura Schlessinger’s mother’s death.
When Erin Brockovich sued the city of Beverly Hills alleging an oil well on
on high school grounds was the cause of numerous cancers in former students, Zager’s coverage garnered national attention. In 2003 she was named Los
Angeles Journalist of the Year and Best Investigative Reporter by the Los Angeles Press Club. The Wall Street Journal and The Columbia Journalism Review both featured articles about her work on the Brockovich story.
Zager’s book about the Brockovich/Beverly Hills lawsuit entitled Erin Brockovich and the Beverly Hills Greenscam, is currently available on Amazon and bookstores everywhere.
Lila Luminosity and the Lipstick Murders and Lila Luminosity and the Planet Christmas Murders combine her love of comedy, cooking and reporting to create a crazy, zany, fun-filled ride through the universe armed with chocolate, shoes and every woman’s perfect boyfriend. They are also available on Amazon.
Zager and her family reside in Los Angeles, where she is a journalist, radio show host, author, speaker and part-time journalism professor at California State University.
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June 11, 2019 June 11, 2019