We Need to Watch Blazing Saddles Daily

puffychicken

We Need to Watch Blazing Saddles Daily

“Look at Jewish history. Unrelieved lamenting would be intolerable. So for every ten Jews beating their breasts, God designated one to be crazy and amuse the breast beaters. By the time I was five I knew I was that one…” Mel Brooks

I was about ten or so and I knew I was the crazy one when my fellow campers nicknamed me Giggles. I was often reminded of this designation by my father’s constant inquiries about my remarks and behavior when he asked, “What are you, some kind of comedian?”

Yep, Dad I guess I was. I learned at a young age that the only escape from the unpleasantness of life was Milton Berle, Sid Caesar and Jackie Gleason.

My escape always included someone saying or doing something stupidly funny. Milton Berle in a dress, Sid Caesar spouting some outrageous accent, or Jackie Gleason and Art Carney exhibiting their brand of the sublimely ridiculous week after week. Stupid equals funny always worked for me.

“Does anyone of our generation not laugh when they remember Art Carney’s attempt at addressing a golf ball, “Hello, Ball.” Or Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks as the 2000-year-old man or Jack Benny’s alleged stinginess? Perhaps you had your own favorite comedian on The Ed Sullivan Show; Myron Cohen, Richard Pryor, Jackie Mason, Flip Wilson, Jack Carter, Totie Fields, Henny Youngman, Senor Wences, Jack Benny, Godfrey Cambridge, George Burns, Bob Newhart, George Carlin and so many many more.

One could count on little in life except that there would be one of the world’s great comics performing on Ed Sullivan each week.

I’ve been asked countless times why so many Jewish people are comedians and the answer is not all comics are Jewish, perhaps they are just more obvious. Maybe their pain is more palpable than others. While many comics of that era observed the times, Jewish comics observed their own circumstances.

Laughing at their own existence is what made life bearable in a strange new world where so many struggled to feed their families.

For example Melvin Kominsky, AKA Mel Brooks was two years old when his father died leaving his mother with four young boys to feed. She worked tirelessly and suffered for her children and it would be impossible for Mel not to have been affected by his mother’s plight.

So many young Jewish comedians of that era found their release in laughter.

I can’t honestly remember any Rockefellers or Carnegie’s stepping on stage to tell jokes to the masses, can you? Not too many comedy clubs in Newport or Palm Beach back then.

Humor comes from pain and the greater the suffering the higher form the humor.

There is a legacy of suffering in Europe and throughout time that has forced Jewish people to look toward laughter to lighten their load. Humor is one of life’s greatest gifts that can be had for free.

The ability to destroy one’s enemies with a joke is an art that has been cultivated for centuries by Jewish and all people and must continue to be embraced in these harrowing times.

I won’t even get into the fact that anti-Semitism has had a great resurgence, suffice it to say we need our senses of humor now more than ever.

Yet, that is the conundrum we now face as a people.

The Jewish people have throughout time been credited for two healing discoveries aside from their other numerous accomplishments, chicken soup AKA Jewish penicillin and their sense of humor. I’m willing to bet the king’s jesters were the Cohens and Goldbergs in the kingdoms.

If nothing else the Jewish people discovered that laughter is the best coping and defense mechanism and have honed comedy as a method of survival. Sadly, today many lack understanding of the power of humor to heal and restore.

Great comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and others have lamented the fact they can no longer work on college campuses because young people are too politically correct and according to Jerry, “Don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”

This lack of a sense of humor and understanding the true essence of how to do funny has been seriously corrupted.

Today too many comics bring the mean in lieu of the mirth. There is an art to humor and just insults and mean spirited attacks do not “bring the funny” but only add to the anger filling up space. There is a way to punch a hole in what one feels compelled to destroy and letting the air out of a negative balloon.

Being critical and destructive is no substitute for humor. There is a path to hilarity in every unhappy situation in the human condition and true comedians can find and exploit it with wit and skill.

Despots possess no sense of humor but have honed the art of ridicule. Humor should never emulate criticism laced with cruelty and far too many comic posers can no longer discern the difference.

Aside from Mel Brooks, one of the comedians capable of taking someone to the distant outposts of discomfort is Larry David.

Yes, some of Larry’s humor can make you squirm, but if you get his joke it can also make you laugh harder than anything. Great humor must occasionally broach thorny subjects to achieve its goals, but without that bravery humor is only a superficial laugh and no more.

Great jokes dig deep down into your soul where pain lives and exorcise that ache to rid it from your life.

At times winning a war is not always enough to destroy residual pain.

Case in point, “Springtime for Hitler.” Come on, is there anything funnier than a bunch of Nazis singing and dancing about their attempts to take over the world with chorus girls dressed as beer and pretzels? Mel Brooks is the master at doing Hitler but he is not alone.

Charlie Chaplin created the little tramp character to imitate the most evil man on the planet and reduce him to an object of ridicule, and he succeeded beautifully.

Laughing at or mimicking someone plunges a knife into their bubble of evil and contempt  puncturing the harmful effects and deflating the injury.

No one can be taken seriously when we are doubled up with laughter at his antics. Not too hard to figure out why becoming the class clown was preferable to becoming the class punching bag.

That’s why kids today miss the point. They mistakenly believe that by not mentioning it they can destroy the bugaboo. They are patently wrong. Hate cannot be eradicated by ignoring or legislating it out of existence.

If there is one thing I’ve noticed over the years it’s that comedy clubs are the great equalizer. People who are laughing together are not shooting one another.

No one screaming in pain at a joke is spouting hateful remarks toward others. Humor creates camaraderie among all people and bonds them in their suffering.

No society can exist without laughter and more than anything else I’m witnessing today that must give one pause is that the lack of humor is palpable. Laughing at our fears diminishes them while anger elevates. Everyone is allowing rage to fill his or her spaces in lieu of hearty laughs.

We need to chuckle together to solve many of the world’s problems, to seek out the tenth crazy among us to entertain with hilarity and we must chill out and let it all go. More than ever it’s imperative comedians bring the mirth not the malicious.

Every laugh lowers the level of hatred and pain, so laugh your asses off daily and encourage everyone else you know to do the same.

Watch Blazing Saddles, The Producers or your favorite comedy or comic and roar hysterically until you’re writhing in pain. If you do this I guarantee you’ll consume less calories and live a far happier and more positive life.

Puffy Chicken Apple Cheddar Bake

6 boneless breasts pounded until thin

Grated cheddar cheese

6 thin apple slices

3 strips of cooked bacon

1 box of puff pastry

Salt and Pepper to taste

½ tsp. Paprika

1 cup of heavy cream

Season chicken and place 1 slice apple, cheese and ½ slice of bacon on top and place inside square of puff pastry. Place egg wash around the square edges and cover with another square. Crimp the edges together with a fork. Brush with melted butter or if you prefer an egg wash and place on cookie sheet and bake according to the package instructions. Before serving pour cheese sauce over the top and sprinkle with grated apples.

Apple Cheese sauce

2 cups of cream

Grated cheddar

Salt and pepper

1 Teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

½ tsp. paprika

Grated apple

Mix together and pour over pastry or serve on the side.

 

 

Just Get Off Howdy Doody’s Back

applesveal

Just Get Off Howdy Doody’s Back

I never dreamed I’d have to defend Howdy, but I find it beyond endurance to tolerate the smears and snarky comments leveled in the direction of my beloved friend Howdy Doody. Sure it’s easy to just cast aside these slights as ignorance, but that’s how these things get out of hand. So just “say kids, what time is it? It’s Howdy Doody time” and stand up to take a side.

It’s not just Howdy who has been so maligned but all puppets everywhere, and it must end right here and now for us citizens of Doodyville who’d have gladly given up our collections of Archie annuals for a chance to sit in the Peanut Gallery.

I’m not certain when the slight on puppets actually began, but gradually without noticing the word has taken on a negative connotation. It’s an insult to call anyone a puppet and infers someone without a mind or will of their own, dependent on a puppet master to pull the strings and do their thinking and talking for them.

Well, I never! Can you imagine that we are seeing this shift against our beloved puppet friends?

What did Farfel the Dog ever do to anyone besides tell us that Nestle’s makes the very best chocolate? And he wasn’t wrong. I can’t think of anyone I know who’d throw a Nestle’s Crunch Bar out of bed.

Puppet, yes, mindless, I think not.

Shall we even begin to think less of Lamb Chop because she enjoyed such a dependent relationship with Shari Lewis and was such a girly lamb? Don’t even get me started on Rootie Kazootie.

Puppets were a big part of our childhood and brought us enormous enjoyment. Okay, so I could see Howdy’s strings sometimes, but his show brought us hours of great fun characters to enjoy like Buffalo Bob, Princess Summerfall Winterspring, Clarabell or Mr. Bluster, also a puppet.

Would anyone like to say anything negative about Topo Gigio, Eddie Eddie Sullivan’s favorite Italian mouse? I dare you.

Shall we malign Kukla, Fran and Ollie or The Swedish Chef? In case you didn’t know, there was no script for the Kuklapolitans and they ad-libbed on every show. I’d like to see any of today’s human stars open their mouths and sound smart without a writer to tell them what to say. Charlie McCarthy dressed better and was smarter than a great many people tweeting today.

Lest we forget a certain puppet named Senor Wences and his puppet Johnny (actually his hand) that taught us that everything was “all right” and was one of our favorite parts of The Ed Sullivan Show.

Mr. Rogers used puppets, which he created and worked because of a low budget, to teach children about kindness and how to be good people.

Puppets have been entertainers and teachers for centuries, even Punch and Judy, which I guess wouldn’t be considered politically correct today.

No discussion of puppets would ever be complete without the Muppets. Of course Jim Henson’s crew were more my children’s generation, but we watched them as a family and adults got the “inside” jokes. The characters were brilliantly drawn and fleshed out so well they took on a truly human quality.

Miss Piggy taught girls not to underestimate their own strength and abilities, and never take a backseat to anyone.

Kermit was the ringmaster of the circus and as lovable a frog as there ever could be, although let’s face it, it isn’t easy being green.

Now people bandy about the phrase “he’s or she’s a puppet” as some type of universal insult implying a lack of intelligence, will or character.

So by now you’re probably thinking, “What’s your point, Norma?”

I think something needs to be done to protect the good names of our string-attached or hand-dependent friends.

A union would be a perfect solution. The Puppet Union of America or as it would say on our jackets, the PU of A. Being from Detroit, a big union town, my mind just went there immediately. I’m nominating Triumph the Insult Comic Dog as the president and Statler and Waldorf as the Board of Directors. The PU of A would file grievances against those who took the name of Howdy or Cookie Monster in vain and negotiate contracts, collective bargain, plus stage walkouts. Well, I guess walkouts would be a bit tricky but you get the point.

They need to be protected against the slanderous insults of those who have forgotten their glorious past, present and future.

How much less fun the world would be without the Kermies, Mr. Blusters or Kuklas. Without the Topo Gigios how would we ever know how adorable an Italian mouse could be or how strong and tough a woman could be without Piggy?

If the world wants to infer a lack of intelligence, will and character on anyone I suggest they use the word politician. Now that makes much more sense to me. Has a politician ever opened their mouth and said anything smart? Think about it.

And if you don’t believe a puppet can influence the entire world—ever hear of a Jedi Master named Yoda?

Apple Veal Chops in Cream Sauce

6 veal chop tenderloins or chops with bone in can also be used, but cooking time will increase.

2 apples (your choice) peeled, cored and sliced

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

1 ½ cups panko crumbs

1 ½ cups dried apple chips ground up well

1 tbsp butter

1 tablespoon of oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Season veal with salt and pepper and set aside

Put apple chips in the food processor and ground up well, but not too fine. Combine with panko crumbs.

Melt butter and oil in frying pan and dip veal into flour and pat off excess. Dip chops into beaten egg then into panko/apple mixture.

Add to frying pan and sear until golden brown. Remove from pan and place in oven at 350 degrees until internal temperature of 145 degrees is reached.

Add apples and cider to frying pan and sauté apples until fork tender and then add cream. Heat over low heat until cream reduces by one third. Taste sauce and add salt and pepper if necessary.

Add veal back into frying pan and cover with cream sauce and heat through two more minutes until all is combined and warm. Let dish rest for three minutes before serving.

Serve over any pasta, rice or with a mashed potato. Pork may be substituted for veal in this recipe as well.