Air travel tidbits

Posted by: on Oct 24, 2010 | 2 Comments

Today I traveled back from a few days in Longboat Key, Florida. No major airline moment worth an entire post but lots of little things. Boarded the plane (after they ran out of overhead compartment space as usual) and got to my seat, 10C on the aisle. My friend Steve was in 10D, also on the aisle.  A young Indian (or so I think) woman was next to me and her husband (or so I think) was next to Steve. They asked me if I would switch seats with him so they could sit next to each other. My reaction was “you want me to trade my aisle seat for a middle seat? Sorry but no.” I felt like saying “are you out of your friggin’ mind? but I decided to be gentle.  Don’t know what came over me.  I must also mention that the woman in the window seat was a double wide and we all know how I feel about overweight people on airplanes. If you don’t know, please review your IraSez history and go to

Moving on…our flight was delayed nearly an hour because one of the toilets was clogged. Why was it clogged? Because some moron shoved a used diaper down there.  Really? A diaper? You should have heard the tone the flight attendant used when she asked “Please do not put diapers in the airplane toilets.” Sounded like what she really wanted to say was “To the person who put the diaper in the airplane toilet, you are the biggest asshole on this plane and a complete idiot” but she decided to be gentle.

Next, a brief comment about the new guy running the combo Continental United Airlines. I noticed in the little video they show you  before the flight that his teeth don’t look so hot. In the Continental Magazine is his picture and his teeth look fine. Ah, the wonders of Photoshop. Memo to the president of the airline: Your the damn president of a big ass company and you are probably making some serious money. For god’s sake, get some work done on your teeth. Use one of the 20 cosmetic dentists who advertise in your magazine. Looks like they do nice work.

Plane lands and, as usual, everyone jumps up as if they going to be able to sprint off the plane. The person behind me opens up the overhead compartment and proceeds to drop a piece of luggage on my head. His excuse: “That was heavier than I remember.” If you can’t handle putting up and taking down your own luggage into the overhead compartment than you should be allowed to carry it on in the first place!!  To review all Ira’s rules about carry on luggage, please refer to:

Once the door opens his wife attempts to navigate her way past the passengers in the aisle. “Where do you think you’re going” I ask. “We have a connection to Italy” he says. “There’s no where to go and you could say excuse me” is my reply (not so gently). Once we get on the jetway, she stops to pull up the handle and I quickly move in front of her and walk as slowly as I possible can up the jetway. So let this serve as a lesson to everyone. If you drop a piece of luggage on me and act like a bitch, I’m sorry but eventually the wrath of Ira will come down upon you.

Yiddish words that start with ‘sch’

Posted by: on Oct 1, 2010 | 7 Comments

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching Jeopardy. Come to think of it, it was celebrity Jeopardy. One of the categories that night was “Yiddish Words That Start With ‘Sch'”. Words like schnoze, schlemiel and schmear.  Although I only know the very basics of the Yiddish language, it makes me sad to know that so few people actually speak it and that someday soon, it will probably be a forgotten language.

The thing I love about Yiddish words are they are so expressive. Is there a better word to describe some guy who is a major jerk than putz or schmuck. Actually, they both mean they same thing. A person who complains is a kvetch, which even sounds like like a person who complains.

Many people learned a few words of Yiddish through those cultural icons…Laverne and Shirley. “Shlemiel! Shlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated.” Millions of Americans singing their favorite TV show theme song without having a clue as to what it all meant. It was all Greek to them (well, not really).

Last summer, my daughter dated a very nice young man who happened not to be a member of the tribe.  I don’t think they really bothered her until she asked for a bagel with schmear for breakfast and he wanted to know what a schmear was. What a schmear is?  Are you kidding? The whole world knows what a schmear is. It’s a schmear. To me, a schmear is not a Yiddish word or a Jewish word, it’s a word you putz. What kind of schmuck doesn’t know a schmear is. Well, that was the end of that goy…I mean guy.

Another favorite is shtik, which I’m known for. Always makes me laugh when it’s mispronounced as stik. Listen, if you are going to use an expression at least know how to pronounce it. When you say it wrong, you sound like a schmendrick. I’m also known as a schmoozer because…well because I like to schmooze.

Of course there’s schmaltz, which literally translated means chicken fat or grease but is often used to describe something that is overly sentimental or corny. If you didn’t know that well then you probably don’t know babkes.

The good news about Yiddish is all the words I have used above have become part of the mainstream modern American English and will probably live on for generations. Many people will never know where these words come from but it makes me happy to know that part of my heritage and culture will live on.

Let me finish by saying that you shouldn’t be so meshugenner. Just be a mensch and tell some friends about my blog so that maybe I can figure out a way to make a couple of bucks off this kakameyme thing.