Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 373 - Ask Jax - Part 28

October 31st, 2010

This is the 28th installment of my "Ask Jax" series. I'm open to answering ANY of your pressing inquiries with little to no thought, accuracy and sensitivity. Remember there are no stupid questions. Just stupid people who ask questions.

If the professor on Gilligan’s Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat? - Claudia Mizrahi, Brooklyn, New York

Jax’s Answer: Clearly the professor did possess the technical skills to remedy the holy boat…but ultimately decided against utilizing his expertise. Why? Life on a remote island can get lonely. And kinky. Growing tired of Gilligan’s dimwitted shenanigans, the 3 attractive shipwrecked passengers, the professor, Ginger and Mary Ann partook in provocatively deviant threesomes that involved bamboo, a stethoscope and enthusiasm. Skipper filmed. The professor had no inclination to return home to his wife, a professor who taught” The Benefits of Being Frigid.”

A few days ago I spent $18 on a whole red snapper. It seemed like a lot of fish, but when we got down to it, it wasn't really that much bang for the buck. How do you shop for seafood and make sure you get quality for the money? - Jon Reitzes, Brooklyn, New York

Jax’s Answer: Mistake # 1 one. You were seduced by the glamour and mystique of the "faux meaty" red snapper, the so-called “prized culinary white-fish". You need to think outside of the fish tank and be willing to explore lesser known edible impressively fleshy fish that still satisfy your craving for fishy goodness. Budget friendly options include mermaids, mermen and sushi that’s been marinating in 90 degree weather for 3 days.

Kermit vs. Yoda? - Jarod Kearney, Staunton, Virginia

Jax’s Answer - Let me ask you this Jarod. If injustice came your way, who would you seek solace with?

1 –An incredibly powerful Jedi Master who can teach you the way of the force.


2 –A felt amphibian who dates a pig and can only communicate when there’s a hand up his ass.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 372 - Hot. Or Not

October 27th, 2010

It’s been brought to my attention (by me) that there are two types of attractive people in the world:

1) Those who won the genetic lottery from day one and have sauntered through life exhibiting undeniable good looks.

2) Then there are those that started off with a low rating on the attractive scale and then became united with the gift of good looks later in life.

When I speak of “attractive” in this entry, I am not including stellar personalities and someone with an essence that exudes a golden light. I’m reaching for the lowest common denominator and only defining beauty in the superficial physical sense. You know that beautiful person. The one who undoubtedly provokes an extended glance from anyone with a heartbeat (and genitals) regardless of gender, religion, race, social status, political leanings, sexual preferences, etc.

My limited to no research on this topic was piqued when I lived in Greenwich Village and had a neighbor whose olive complexioned good looks would warrant 2 thumbs up. From people with opposable thumbs. My instincts told me that he landed in the cute all his life category. To my delight, we started talking in the hall, the elevator and outside the building. Then “rational Jax” bitch slapped “heart is flutter” Jax and pointed out that my building crush was the only one doing the talking. About his perceived awesomeness. He was trying to launch some upscale men’s magazine whose target audience seemed to be men who were also attractive for their whole lives. Rational Jax was right. All I was doing was smiling and nodding. And my neck hurt.

Could it be that those who spend a lifetime relying on good looks have been cursed with underdeveloped personalities? The reason I ask is because I have vacillated from good stages to bad stages in the looks arena for a lifetime. Here’s the time line:

Age 0-2 – Really challenging time for Jax. I was “eh” looking and the exaggeration of fat. This perplexed my viewers as my parents were called Ken & Barbie and my older brother was oh so Gerber baby.

Ages 3-9 – This was a happy time for me. I slimmed out, grew long blond hair and finally looked like I was a Kabat. I was the quintessential waspy looking Jew. Bonus that I was featured in the local newspaper. Decorating a Christmas tree.

Ages 10-12 – These were gut wrenching years of an insecure preteen horror show and the beginning of frequent trips to the dermatologist. He looked like Phil Donahue.

Age 13 – I had a brief puberty year of hotness. Older men looked at my body. Flattering. And creepy.

Age 14- Today – Continued good days and bad days. On July 17th, 1995 I looked great in the morning and lost my game by the afternoon.

I assume flowing through life with multiple levels of attractiveness was the catalyst for developing somewhat of a personality. On the contrary, my old neighbor seemed to be sliding by because of never living the agony of sub par looks. Interesting note, rational Jax just informed me that his body has taken a downward spiral and has become shaped like a pear.

Sometimes this developed personality of mine is that of an asshole.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 371 - Harriet Simon Kabat

October 19th, 2010

Eulogy for Harriet Simon Kabat – by Jacqueline Kabat
March18th, 1920 – October 15th, 2010

Harriet Kabat, the selfless force of nature truly grateful for the world around her. My Cousin Elaine’s husband Brad summed her up with precision. “She keeps the light on for everyone.” Why? Because that’s what family does .That’s my Grandmother.

She devoted her life to maintaining a joie de vivre and making every member of her family feel special. The most special.

She taught the world (by example) that we have the choice to experience a joyful life when we devote every moment to authentic compassion, strength in character and laughter.

“Honey,” She’d tell me. “We’re a laughing family.”
During this last month, she didn’t want tears. Only laughter. And that we shared with her.

Even as her physical health rapidly declined, she remained strong in emotion. Strong in spirit. And very much at peace. As her final gift, the matriarch who had been our constant cheerleader and nurturer gave us the opportunity to discover a strength in ourselves by allowing us to care for her. Without words, we knew that she was sighing in contentment and thinking, “My family…I am so lucky…”

Jewish tradition and philanthropy were ingrained in her ethical core values. Last week, we discovered a Beth David Synagogue newsletter from 1961 where Grandma and Grandpa were welcomed as newcomers: It read, "We are very happy to announce that MR. AND MRS. JULIAN KABAT have joined our congregation. We hope that they will participate actively in our many programs.” That they did. Grandma maintained strong ties with Beth David throughout her life, served as the President of the Sisterhood and was a life member of Hadassah.

I was truly blessed to grow up around the corner from my grandparents. Their house was home. To her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, their friends, our friends and even travelling rabbis who they would welcome into their kosher home. My heart feels the fullest when I recall our shared holiday meals of eating grandmas brisket, lamb chops and matzo bri. Another Grandma signature dish were her apple and cherry pies (that later we discovered were premade Mrs. Smith’s from Winn Dixie.)

Grandma loved games. Scott, Elaine and I would sit around her kitchen table for hours playing cards, dreidel and, of course, the Grandma signature… heated and competitive rounds of rummy cue.

We’d lay in bed with Grandma and Grandpa for cuddly sleepovers and Scott and I would be in awe of the impressive hot water heater at their house at 610 Woodvale Drive.

Grandma believed in us. Grandma laughed with us. Grandma hugged us. Grandma listened to us. Her reply to many of my profound and inane little girl statements were “How about that?!”

Grandma and Grandpa cheered on their grandchildren at t-ball games, piano recitals, swim meets, gymnastic tournaments, soccer games and exhibited the most heighted form of love with their willingness to sit through my 2 minutes of stage time during 6 hour dance recitals.

My grandparents were part of a beautiful love story. In the morning, Grandma would sit at the kitchen table in her robe (braless), drinking a black cup of coffee, eating toast and laughing out loud while reading the comics. Even then, Grandpa would praise the woman he adored by describing her as “a vision.”

In 1944, Grandpa proposed to Grandma at the Copacabana while they were dancing to the song, String of Pearls. During her last days, we played this song over and over for her. Even without words, it was clear that she heard it as she held my Aunt Roberta’s hand, pulled it up to her cheek and peacefully smiled.

In her last week, we also read to Grandma the 50 years of profoundly tender, passionate and humorous love letters that Grandpa sent to her.

37 years ago, on Mother’s Day, he wrote the following:

On The Thirteenth of May in Seventy Three
The Kabats were gathered around the tree
No, that would be a Christmas song
And for this time of year, t'would be wrong
The family is gathered in celebration
For the greatest mom in all the nation
She may have grown gray from all her trials
But she's OK for a lot more miles
A set of girls and a set of boys
Has given her boundless and endless joys
In the race of "moms", she's an easy winner
So tonight we'll take her out to dinner
And to show our love, by golly, by heck
We'll tell the waiter to give her the check.

This past March, 35 relatives gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina for Grandma’s 90th birthday celebration. For three days, four generations of Kabats just “hung out” eating the 60 Omaha steaks Grandma bought, drinking from Elaine and Brad’s “rockin’” bar in their basement, taking family portraits and watching little girls dance in princess dresses. As Grandma sat in her thrown like chair, people kept circulating to visit. She looked so happy and said, “Grandpa is looking down and watching every move.”

At this birthday celebration, I sat with Elaine’s two angelic children (Lila is 5 and Joanna is 8) and asked them a few questions about their Bubby.

Jax - What do you want to tell Bubby?

Joanna – I’ve lost seven teeth now

Lila - I love her

Jax - Do you like cuddling with Bubby in her bed?

Lila & Joanna - Yes. Because she’s cuddly.

Jax – What’s your favorite gift from Bubby?

Joanna – The money. For my first tooth

Lila –A baby the doll

Jax - What’s the doll’s name?

Lila - Baby Harriet

Jax – What do you like best about Bubby?

Lila – She is funny

Joanna – She is very funny and makes me laugh a lot. When I think of Bubby I think of her kindness.

On the last night of Grandma’s birthday celebration, the family participated in a formal tribute and all shared funny stories, sentimental memories and even video footage from her cousin Barbara’s wedding at her house in 1954. It was happiness. It was real. It was an overwhelming reminder that we have had so many good days.

Everyone was s laughing. And crying. The kind of tears Grandma would approve of. There was a collective understanding that this was a pivotal weekend dedicated to the woman who flowed through life humbly and gracefully.

As I conclude, I’d like to share an interview I had with Grandma at her 90th birthday that I feel captures the essence of Harriet Kabat.

Jax - You had an accident a few years ago that resulted with a “dead pinkie”…tell us about that day?

Grandma Harriet – That’s true. I was having a mahjong game and my ladies were coming for lunch. I was making a very lovely lunch of stuffed tomatoes with tuna salad. And then I was making iced tea… the pitcher dropped, broke and cut my finger. I wrapped it in a sanitary napkin and continued to fix my lunch for my ladies. They suggested that I call the doctor. But first I played Mahjong because there was money involved. I left for the hospital in the middle of the game. My pinkie needed surgery and it’s never been the same since.

Jax - Have you ever repeated any stories?

Grandma Harriet – Oh noooooo…

Jax- -When did you know that you were in love with Grandpa?

Grandma Harriet: The moment I met him. He worked at a firm in Paterson, NJ which is where I grew up. He knew the same people that I knew. And we were married seven months later.

Jax - You tell long stories. Do you feel it’s important to treat it like an endurance sport and hydrate in between?

Grandma Harriet – (laughing) I just like to talk.

Jax– If anything happens in life that is hard…how do you deal with it?

Grandma Harriet–Deal with it

Jax – Any regrets in your life?

Grandma Harriet – None. No regrets.

Jax- You ran bingo for years at your independent living. What was the biggest scandal?

Grandma Harriet – People were talking too loud at the wrong times so I yelled, “Be quiet!”

Jax– Any word of advice for your family?

Grandma Harriet– Just be happy with each other. Nothing makes me happier than the fact that you are all very close. I want it to stay that way. Or else you’ll hear from me. I’m the luckiest lady at this point in anyone’s life. I have more than anyone. I have all my children, grandchildren and great children. Everyone around me is very special. Each and every one has their little way. And they make me feel special.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 370 - Be My Literary Agent and I Will Buy You a Pony

October 4th, 2010

In order to seek an agent who will pitch my book proposal to publishers, I am throwing my book overview out to the virtual community....where stars are born...and legends are made. If you help me, I will return the favor in ways that are ethical and legal.

- Jax


Jacqueline’s concept for the book is to share a series of compelling essays that takes readers on a hilariously fun ride by dissecting universal topics through the skewed prism of her comedic and insightful sensibility. People will identify with the vivid pictures that she paints while using her original, unflinchingly candid and one of a kind trademark wit to cross the bridge that connects her heart to her head.

Jacqueline trusts her comedic instincts and her “we’re all in this together” approach to humorously guide her in sharing her over the top witty, honest and fearless points of views for readers to consider. Her essays are a catalyst that allows readers to express (through laughter) the anxiety they feel around life serving up ironic, maddening and sheer ridiculous circumstances.

The information in the book comes from Jacqueline’s lifetime of finding the absurd in the ordinary and 14 years of expertise, material and lessons learned from being a professional Manhattan based comedian involved in all aspects of stand-up comedy, improvisation, teaching comedy, sketch writing and blogging. From August 2009-August 2010, Jacqueline committed to writing daily essays in her 365 Day Blog Entry Challenge of Cosmic Angst Through the Eyes of Comedic Insight. Much of the book will be derived from the topics from the year’s project. Please visit her blog:

The engaging tone of Jacqueline’s work feels as if she is really “talking to” her readers and keenly aware that they’re strangers looking at her view of life for the first time. As a result, she has the ability to use her insightful comedic instincts to connect and tap into the pulse of her readers with humor, introspection and lack of pretense. Jacqueline’s uniqueness has served her in all aspects of her comedic career as she is an “urban cool” sexy tall blond Jew from the south who allows her readers to feel less isolated in a world filled with ironic circumstances. When most people are afraid to speak their mind, Jacqueline’s voice reaches male and female readers in metropolitan areas as much as those in middle-America who all “hear” her spot on delivery and conversational tone without being indulgent.

The promise of this book is that Jacqueline will succeed in entertaining a broad audience by sharing her intrinsically funny speaking voice, vulnerability and clarity that lets the audience know that they are reading for pleasure, comfort and the notion that they’re not alone in being perplexed by life’s oddities. Readers are guaranteed a therapeutic laugh without hallmark-cardesque nausea. Whether it's read in one sitting or one essay at a time, Jacqueline will accomplish in taking her readers on a comic trip that embraces the lives they’re living while giving them permission to let go of feeling guilty about who they are, laugh at things that they relate to on an emotional level and gain a sense of belonging in a world where people are desperately craving authenticity and connections.