Sunday, 24 November 2013

Doing a Favour For Ford Nation by Naomi Elana Zener

Amidst the daily bombshells revealing a new scandal, I've scratched my head bewildered, agog and aghast at how Mayor Rob Ford can reach a new low every day, despite rock bottom having been hit several boulders ago. An avid fan of Shonda Rhimes' TV show "Scandal," I began to channel my inner Olivia Pope to come up with a list of tips a two year old could follow, so that Mr. Ford could climb out of the hole he’s dug for himself after having disgraced his political office, the city he represents, his family and himself:
1. Don't do drugs. Nancy Reagan taught us that. So did D.A.R.E., our parents, teachers and the cast of Saved By the Bell. Crack is whack was a central message you grew up with in the 1980s and 1990s. And, by whack we were not encouraged to give it a whack, as in a try, but rather to avoid it at all costs.  Given its street vernacular roots, you should understand what whack means given the fact that you seemingly surround yourself with hoodlums. Just say NO!
2. Your name is not Jones. Your brother’s name is not Jones. Stop yelling it at each other in council. It leads one to believe that you are ‘jonesing’ for a ride on Casey’s train, high on cocaine, and we all know what your speed is. In case you weren’t sure, don’t take any speed. 
3. Drunken stupors are for frat boys, raging alcoholics, and guest of speakeasies during Al Capone’s prohibition era. You know who they're not for: elected public officials. Put down the bottle. Step away slowly. Now, run to rehab. Your notoriety has rendered you infamous internationally. Having become fodder for and featured on American network television, your newfound celebrity status likely qualifies you for entry to Promises in Malibu. Since you're a rich white man you can also afford their monthly fees, so don't stop at "Go," don't collect $200 because you don't need the money, and get your ass straight to rehab.
4. Don't talk about female genitalia in public, unless you're prepared to have people talk about yours. Scratch that. We don't want anyone talking about your penis - EVER!  Unless you meant to say pussy willow, as in the flower, don't use the first part of the plant's name to talk about female genitalia in public. You have a mother, wife, sister and daughter and they, like every other woman, do not wish to have their vaginas referred to as an all-you-can eat buffet. 
5. Surrounding yourself with gang bangers, criminals and drug dealers doesn't substantiate your claim that when hanging out with such ne'er-do-wells you are rolling with your homies. Allow me to remind you that you are in fact a rich white male trustafarian. You likely have more in common with Michael Fassbender's role in 12 Years a Slave than with the Mr. Roper of Etobicoke's equivalent of a housing project in Toronto's Jane-Finch corridor. You are not the man of the people cleaning up the gravy train. Not spending taxpayer money and saving the city a few bucks by paying your office expenses out of your own pocket doesn't make you a good guy. It makes you the guy whose salary is being paid for by taxpayer dollars while using your family coin to buy your mayoral paper clips. If you actually did away with Toronto's land transfer tax grab as you'd claimed you would in your campaign platform, or helped a citizen out by paying it out of your own pocket on their behalf when purchasing a home in the Greater Toronto Area, you may gain some goodwill. Otherwise, stop touting your unused office budget as what is helping to pad the city's coffers. Own who you are, where you come from and accept that you own your Escalade outright versus the hot one your call-a-crack dealer cruises around town in.
6. Until the scandals die down and stop exploding like vaporizing atom bombs on a daily basis, stay off the sauce, out of the ghetto unless on official mayoral business, away from known felons, and don’t’ grab anyone’s ass but your own. And, if you grab your ass, please do it in the privacy of your own home or Escalade. Better yet, hide out in your man cave without acting like a Neanderthal, and contrary to your brother’s advice, for heavens sake do NOT have a few "pops" while hanging out at home.
7. Finally, stop talking about running for re-election. No one wants to elect you to any office in this land, with the exception of one of the ‘provincial senatorial’ seats your brother had mentioned to the press. If you want to be a provincial senator, have at it. I hear it's located two feet to the left of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, which is five feet from where Jimmy Hoffa’s body is buried and coincidentally happens to be underneath the building where a living Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe perform nightly as geriatric dinner theater stars. 

© 2013. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

We're Gonna Have a Come to Jesus by Naomi Elana Zener

At the offices of the public relations firm, Smith & Goldberg, Jesus and God arrived with their respective entourages: Jesus with his twelve disciples, and God with Moses and Eliyahu. Over the past few decades, the trickle down effect of the increasing commercialization of Christian holidays had seeped into Jewish celebrations, with the biggest victim being Chanukah. Resolved to stave off further erosion of the meaning of Chanukah, a most beloved holiday known for its tradition of latke eating and dreidel spinning, God needed a come to Jesus meeting with his greatest competitor: Jesus himself.

“So Yeshua, let’s get down to brass tax,” God said. “I know it’s been thousands of years since you gave up your membership in the tribe, but surely you must remember the miracle of Chanukah?”

“How could I forget how they burned the midnight oil for eight nights?” Jesus replied.

“Yet you and your band of merry men continue to up the ante with jacking up Christmas to new heights every year. Your holiday is so bloated with retailers and advertisers seeing only dollar signs that Jews now feel so inferior that they have started to decorate Chanukah bushes erected in their living rooms just to keep pace with your Goyim,” God advised.

“We’re not telling your Chosen People to celebrate Christmas,” Jesus retorted. “I can’t help it if a Jew wants to light a tree. After all, the burning bush was your invention.”

“Are you kidding me?” Moses asked. “Who can resist the cuddly image of a fat man in a red suit coming down the chimney to put presents under a tree? Your Santa Claus is Christmas crack for Jews, just like regular crack works for a certain Canadian city’s mayor.”

“Don’t forget our yentas walking through the mall every year who can’t resist the appeal of plopping their Jewish children on the cheap polyester-clad laps of a mall Santa for a photo op with a man who will never visit their kid’s home with a present,” Eliyahu reminded God.

“And that is my fault how? I’m no Santa lover. He pulls focus from my birth story. No one wants to hear about a man born in a manger conceived without sex. They want to hear ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ and get the newest Apple® product,” Jesus stated. “Where in the New Testament does Santa make an appearance?

“Many of those mall Santas are also pedophiles!” Moses cried.

“We don’t endorse the mall Santa. What do you expect us to do with jolly old St. Nick?” Peter asked. “Trust us, were keeping a close eye on mall Santas since we have enough problems with perverted priests.”

“Santa is still YOURS, not ours. Do you know what my people did to feel better about spinning tops and oil soaked potato pancakes? They created Chanukah Harry, some old fart in black hat doling out fake gold covered chocolate coins because no one was interested in a Maccabi for a mascot,” God advised. “Then we had to go on a marketing campaign telling the Jews that they don’t need fakakta Christmas, its tree and one night of presents, when we have eight nights of gift-giving to run up your credit card bill.”

“So you’ve got a mascot, big deal,” John retorted. “At least gold is accepted by your people. None of ours wants gold, frankincense and myrrh anymore unless it is diamond encrusted.”

“The mascot is not our only problem.  Those who married outside of the faith had to run and create Chrismakah, some bastardized combination of the two holidays, just to keep Chanukah in the mix for their mixed kids,” God offered. “Then Chrismakah went viral: Hallmark® made cards for it and Hollywood made it mainstream, making it a storyline on the O.C. on Fox. Thank goodness Coca-Cola® didn’t touch it. Who can compete with those cuddly polar bears?” God stated.

“And what did you people do next to screw us?” Moses asked rhetorically. “Four words: ELF ON A SHELF. An eavesdropping spy placed strategically in homes to sell kids on the tale that the elf is listening and telling Santa who is naughty and nice.”

“You take issue with a little elf?” Judas laughed.

“Et tu Judas?” Eliyahu countered. “I’d think some of your friends here today would take issue with your defending a spy given your double agent track record.”

‘Yeah, you’re not helping,” Jesus admonished. “But, he does have a point. The elf is harmless.”

“He’s not harmless. Because of him, Jews now have a Mensch on a Bench. Elves are part of your Christmas mythology. This so-called ‘Mensch’ is dressed up as a rabbi, sitting on a bench and is portrayed as being a good guy. What the hell does a Mensch on a Bench have to do with Chanukah? There weren’t even any benches in the Temple during the Maccabi miracle!”

Jesus nodded noting God’s righteous indignation. He had to agree that the Christmas-Chanukah competition had grown out of control. Jesus and the disciples gathered in a huddle trying to come up with a satisfactory solution trying to help God out. Despite their religious differences, Jesus was his son after all.  For twenty minutes, the disciples whispered and conferred with Jesus under the cloak of confessor privilege. Growing antsy, God, Moses and Eliyahu were starving as it had been an hour since they had lunch. In desperate need of a nosh, God stood up to leave.

“We’re heading out to the deli on the corner for a little corned beef on rye. Want us to bring you back anything?” God offered.

“No thanks, it's Lent, so we're fasting,” Jesus replied.

“While you’re trying to solve our little problem, see if you can find a way to help a ghost out,” Eliyahu instructed on his way out behind God, who was out of earshot.

“What’s the problem?” Jesus asked.

“Every year at Passover, I’m supposed to visit the homes of the Chosen Ones. Can you get these schmucks to stop pouring shitty kosher wine in my cup? All of that schlepping all night makes a ghost thirsty and when I get there I don’t even get a drop of the good stuff! See if you can spice up your Easter and resurrection story by adding a nice wine, so that the Jews have to run out and buy a nice Chateauneuf de Pape for me to sip on.”

© 2013. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Genocide by Naomi Elana Zener

Every Senator and each Congressman and woman was in attendance to listen to me deliver my speech. CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and every international media outlet, of which I could conceive, had filled the press section, providing both a microphone emblazoned with their logo to line the dais and a reporter to cover the story. Certainly, it is not every day that one stands before the House of Representatives, on a global platform, to plead with the government to end one of humankind’s worst atrocities: genocide. After decades of bearing silent witness to this problem, one I first observed as a young child, I could no longer stand idly by as an innocent bystander doing nothing to put a stop to this horror.

“Madam, the floor is yours,” the Speaker of the House advised.

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am here today to lend my voice to the innocent and most vulnerable victims of the most heinous crime known to man. Genocide is the systematic and organized annihilation of a population who cannot speak for themselves, nor appear before you to plead for their lives. It must be stopped and this population protected by those courageous enough to both advocate for their welfare and put an end to their demise. Like any living creature on this planet, great or small, not one asked to be born. We each only ask for the right to be respected and to co-exist peacefully with everyone else. Life was thrust upon us all without being given a choice, but once here, we who are the strongest must use our voices to defend those too weak to defend themselves. I am here to stand up against an annual mass slaughter of one group in our society, who are murdered only to satisfy the needs of others. Each and every one of us is complicit in this holocaust. We all have blood staining our hands and it is incumbent on legislators in every country where this massacre is perpetrated every year to put an end to it once and for all.

“Excuse me madam, but I have not seen any one group killed annually in the United States, nor in Canada for that matter,” Mr. Speaker interrupted.

“You most certainly do!” I exclaimed. “Do you have any children or grandchildren?”

“Why yes I do,” Mr. Speaker advised. “What does that have to do with genocide?”

“Every year, to satisfy children’s insatiable hunger for candy and need to dress up in a costume, millions of pumpkins are harvested, sold and carved for these children’s sheer amusement and delight, as part of a pagan ritualistic celebration of Halloween, only to be abandoned after the sugar high has abated. Each one of these poor defenceless pumpkins, once simple living beings wanting nothing more than to grow from their seedling roots into plump juicy pumpkins, to provide sustenance to human beings in the form of delectable pies, jams and spiced lattes at Starbucks®. Not a one wanted to be cut down in their prime, to have their skin slashed, meat carved into, insides gutted, all in the name of sport between fathers attempting to dazzle their children with their carving skills.  Values in our society have sunk so low that we glorify the man who can fashion a Disney princess’ face into the side of a pumpkin over the man who can merely create a rudimentary triangle and square smiley face.  As if suffering through this barbaric branding ritual was not enough, the morning following Halloween, these poor pumpkins find themselves lining the streets sitting beside, inside or atop of garbage cans, discarded as if they were offensive soiled toilet paper. Other pumpkins aren’t so lucky and meet with a fate worse than death. After being ravaged and pillaged, they fall victim to the shenanigans of neighbourhood hooligans, misguided tweens and adolescents, who are too cool for trick-or-treating, who flex their muscles smashing pumpkins into smithereens on streets and sidewalks in every city in this great nation.

If my plea to relieve the pumpkin from its plight has fallen on deaf ears, perhaps I can sway you by appealing to your desire to save a buck or two. If you prohibit the farming, harvest and sale of pumpkins for anything to do with Halloween, then not only will everyone save money by not buying a pumpkin to butcher for the holiday, but think of the annual reduction in the number of knife wounds rushed to emergency rooms in the United States resulting from the practice of slicing pumpkins.  If pumpkin carving is prohibited, so much money would be saved by HMOs and PPOs by not having to waste precious dollars on stitches, saline, needles, doctors, and nurses, not to mention administrative staff that has to process these pumpkin patients. As well, there would be money saved by not having street sanitation crews clean up the millions of pumpkin road kill bits that have to be scraped off of the asphalt every November 1st. Those savings will add up, such that it could be used to better fund and serve controversial programs, such as Obamacare. If you won’t pass my bill out of the kindness of your hearts to put an end to pumpkin genocide, then vote yes so that your fellow man and woman whom, without Obamacare would otherwise die because they cannot afford health insurance, are each able to get necessary medical care, whether to cure a pesky case of herpes or to save their life, when they need it.  Thank you.”

© 2013. All Rights Reserved. Naomi Elana Zener