Archive for the ‘The Notes’ Category

“I don’t even really work here!”
June 27, 2015

(a Seinfeld-in-culture note in advance of more Seinfeld-isms to come, very soon…)Ritz Crackers box_stansberrymasonry dot com

Returning here after more than two years–after I went bye-bye in 2013, after saying Helloooo!–I was tempted toward a good George-ism to capture the moment. Maybe the simple, ebullient “I’m back, baby!”

Or the subversive, Eeyore-ish voicemail he once left Jerry, “Hey, it’s George… Pfft. I’ve got nothing to say.” (BEEP)

But even Costanza comes up short here. (Sorry, George. I’m really sorry. It’s not you, it’s me.) To capture such an unexpected turnabout…I turn to the one-and-only Kramer.

In one of Kramer’s doofus falls into a legit job (Brand/Leland was the poor, unsuspecting company’s name), his boss called him on the carpet about his output. “I’ve been reviewing your work,” Leland said. “Quite frankly it stinks.”

He went on to tell the Ritz-cracker-smacking Kosmo that he must move on. I don’t even really work here! was Kramer’s crack-me-up reply.

As to why exactly that cracked me up…consider my absence, yes (I don’t even really blog here!)…but do read on.

The What-Happened

My absence was not intentional. Not even in my mind was I gone (although there is that, sometimes.) I still love this blog. I still love this show–even though some of it is not as funny to me as I near 20 years of great marriage and my mid-40s, and seriously/sillily raise 52 children.

(Actually we only have 5 but jokingly refer to “our 52 children” because, despite the joy, the laughter, all that Schmoopie…sometimes the comments, the questions, all that snap, make it seem like we have way more children than we do.) 

Still, much of Seinfeld is as funny to me now as it was when I first discovered it. Some of it is even funnier. Which is why I never meant to, in early 2013, stop adding to this Seinfeld survival guide to Life.

Around that time, in an Seinfeldishly ironic twist, Life dispatched a plane across the landscape of the Bounds family, unfurling a banner that read “Survive this”–and started dropping circumstantial bombs. We wanted to yada yada yada over the whole thing…in the George-negative, not the Elaine-positive way.

Then came a Newman-ic depressive phase. You know, where you’re denouncing vegetables and calling for honey-mustard shots and doing other foolish things that have people wiser than you saying life-saving things to you like you better think again, mojumbo.

The dance of Life didn’t halt, per se, during that time. It just shifted into a full-body-dry-heave kind of dance. Arms flailing, legs akimbo. Feet moving the family halfway across the country…that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, in another ironic, Seinfeldian twist during that long hiatus…this blog’s readership took off across the two years I stopped writing. See for yourself:Seinfeld-ism stats on WordPress 2010-2015

I can hear George now: Your chances of success in this blog are only hurt by you continuing to write it.

Even with that attractive power of the Opposite apparently boosting my work, I still stayed away. Then, later, an idea: If I get back into it someday, I’ll do some new material then get out. Take a bow. Cue the curtain drop.

Then, much later–nearing the debut of the get-out plan–the plan got a good-surprise “Get out!” push.

The Times

Seinfeld cracking me up over Life itself–for me and for those around me–is what led me to launch this blog-ode to the series on July 5, 2010. Five years to the day, that is, coming up here soon. The final-bow plans came up about a year ago. I crafted a Seinfeld-ism “bucket list.”

While I dabbled with the plan–fast headed to the five-year anniversary–yet another Seinfeldian twist occurred: my blog got linked in the New York Times. This week. (Scroll down to the “George’s love of cheese” line.)

I can hear Jerry now: Costanza*…Benes**…Bounds***?!

*Recall George’s hand-clapping joy over a “NEW YORK YANKEES!” job.
**Recall Elaine’s hip-swinging joy over a “NEW YORKER!” gig.
***Pardon my laptop-tapping joy over a NEW YORK TIMES! nibble.

The New York Times exposure leaves me grinning a la Jerry’s “And you want to be my latex salesman” grin AND looking unfazed a la Newman’s “Hi-lar-ious” deadpan face. Not at the New York Times. At literary agents. Because back in 2010, when I started this blog, I had been trying to publish this material as a book.

The rejection-letter emails that followed (coming mostly from literary agents based in NEW YORK CITY) are best summarized by this one line from one such agent:

“I don’t think anyone outside of New York is really that interested still in Seinfeld.”

Cue the look on my face akin to Jerry’s when that Donna Chang gal he was dating used the word ridicurous.

The High Note

Scores of Seinfeld lines come to mind in witty retort to that agent’s comment. But I’ll just end where I began here and reach back into the Kramer-working-for-Brand/Leland episode. The morn of Kramer’s first day on the job, Jerry saw Kramer in a suit and tie and–dazed and Uncle-Leo-level-confused at his notoriously jobless friend now gloriously dressed for a job–Jerry said, “How long have I been asleep? What year is this?”

Have you been asleep? I wanted to say to that agent. Do you know what year it is?

Seinfeld has conquered the world!

That was 8 years ago.

Now look at Hulu.

“That people will only watch television like this in the future is so obvious,” Jerry himself cracked-wise at the April announcement to the world of the Seinfeld/Hulu duo.

Yes it is, Jerry. Yes it is.

So now I turn to George, to do as he once did and–as he learned from Jerry (“Showmanship, George!”)–get out on a high note.

Time to publish that book myself.


Stay tuned.

“I never met a man who knew so much about nothing.”
April 1, 2012

cropped-jerry-seinfeld-stand-up-comedy-seinfeld1(another Seinfeld-in-culture note before you read on to the latest Seinfeld-isms below)

Jerry was flying first class and living it up (while Elaine suffered in coach) when this line came his way. His seatmate was marveling at a comment he’d just made about the fudge sundae they were eating (“They got the fudge on the bottom. You see? That enables you to control your fudge distribution as you’re eating your ice cream!”).

Who knows what Jerry will discuss in his “comedic distribution” this Wed, April 4, when he brings his stand-up again to Norfolk, Virginia. But I’ll be there, marveling at his comments. Marveling as I laugh, that is, at the insights of a guy whose brand of comedy is still relevant enough after all these years to play to packed houses. Even those who don’t laugh at Seinfeld–either his act or his show–have to hand it to a guy who gets a standing “o” as he takes the stage.

Let us all marvel then at more recent evidence of how Seinfeld continues to “live it up” in practically every section of our lives, from cars to politics to…

Tune in soon for a new Seinfeld-ism: a timely observation on spring (among other things) from a certifiable/smitten George.

“Oh…let him kill me. I won’t have to do any more sit-ups.”
September 3, 2011

(a note to readers before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms below)

It was cut from the episode, the above Costanza line, before “The Busboy” aired. (Turn on the “Notes About Nothing” function while watching any Seinfeld episode on DVD to get such priceless trivia.) George inadvertently played a hand in the kneejerk firing of a waiter at a restaurant where he and Jerry were dining. When Kramer later announced in Jerry’s apartment that the waiter had found the building and was headed up, George reacted like a man who knows a recently released convict is headed for him. This is part of what came out of his mouth.

This sort of thing didn’t come out of my mouth but it did run through my mind in recent days–let it kill me–as we feared a little for our lives in the path of Hurricane Irene. We got out of the way completely, fleeing town for higher ground, so all was well…even though, initially, it didn’t end quite as well. Returning home to find the power out for days to come, we had to seek more “other ground” (i.e., stay with family elsewhere) again.

To cut to the chase, as George might say: I’m back, baby! (as George’s father did in fact once say).

One more Seinfeld-in-culture moment, then, that I’d planned for last month: it was three years ago in August that Microsoft told the world they’d tapped the man himself, Jerry Seinfeld, to be the face of a $300 million campaign to reboot the Windows brand. The result, you may recall, was some commercials featuring Jerry and the Microsoft Man himself, Bill Gates.

The reaction of the public (or rather, the lack thereof), you may also recall, led to the canning of those commercials not long after they began airing.

We don’t need to view the “notes about nothing” on this little episode to know that Jerry didn’t get fired. One only needs to catch a show of Jerry’s tour (where he continues to play to packed houses)…

or check your local TV listings for how often Seinfeld reruns are on…

or look at how many people have friended the Seinfeld page on Facebook…

(or keep up with this guide-to-life blog…)

to understand why Microsoft hired him in the first place.

Seinfeld is a brand that needs no reboot.

“I don’t know what your parents did to you.”
August 20, 2011

(another Seinfeld-in-culture note to readers before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms below)

Elaine delivered the above line into George’s neurotic implosion over a date gone wrong (“She wants me to like her, if she likes me. But she doesn’t like me!”).

Parents magazine delivered a Seinfeld line in a sidebar story in their August issue (p. 116) for 2010. (This isn’t the first time Parents has done this. More on that later.) The line–“Serenity now!”–is arguably one of the most memorable…and most translatable-into-real-life…to ever come out of the show. And you don’t have to be a parent to appreciate it.

What parents in particular can appreciate is the way the line came to fuller human life with two words that George’s nemesis, Lloyd Braun, tacked onto it later in the same episode:

“Serenity now. Insanity later.”

Easy to see why that one probably won’t appear in Parents magazine–never mind that it’s even more revelatory about life. You do the hard day punctuated by Serenity now!‘s to fight off the insanity, then collapse onto the couch after the kids are in bed. You’re still trying to erase the blasted look on your face that says Insanity now–like some war-like movie about the horribleness of human nature directed by Francis Ford Coppola is about to go down in your house. What do you do?

You try not to think about what your parents did to you, for one thing–that’s what you do. And if that doesn’t work, you pop in any Seinfeld involving the Costanzas (e.g., “The Serenity Now”) and think, “Well at least I don’t have it that bad.”

“I had to take a sick day, I’m so sick of these people.”
August 6, 2011

(another Seinfeld-in-culture note to readers before you read on to the latest Seinfeld-ism, below)

Like most people, Elaine loved her work and hated her work, the latter evidenced by the above comment she made to Jerry (in the episode “The Frogger”) after a particularly hard day. The difficulty? Co-workers pushing cake on her as they celebrated…yet again…somebody’s something or other.

ABC’s 20/20 thought enough of that episode to include it in a story they aired this month in 2008, about people working out while they work—using such equipment as a treadmill with a desk attached to it. “Remember the ‘cake-pushers’ from Seinfeld?” the commentator began the segment, showing the clip from the episode.

Watching Seinfeld and living it–now that’s what you call “having your cake and eating it too.”

Let’s have another piece!

“I’m gonna read a book. From beginning to end. In that order.”
July 31, 2011

(another Seinfeld-in-culture note to readers before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms below)

It was one of George’s aims, the above comment, in the “summer of George.” We’re not exactly sure where George stood when it came to books. In one episode, he was collecting them like an avid reader. In another, he was foregoing a book to watch the flick based on it, like an avid moviegoer. If George was anything like his father–an avid TV Guide collector–he was an avid TV-watcher.

TV and books (and movies based on books) had to do with one more thing Entertainment Weekly had to say in July 2008 about Seinfeld’s place among the “new classics” of the past 25 years. (We recently touched on their ranking of the show and of the man himself.) That landmark 1,000th issue ended with another reader’s poll: favorite cultural moments of the last quarter of a century.

Seinfeld‘s finale episode in 1998 was the “moment” that landed the greatest sitcom ever in this poll–and it didn’t make it past the first cut in the NCAA tourney-like, single-elimination poll. The rival that won? The finale book of the Harry Potter series in 2007.

So Jerry lost to Harry. Whoop-dee-do, we say. This is, after all, a poll that ended up crowning as the #1 “moment” the release of the iPod. Techies versus “bookies” versus the TV savvy (and more)?

Hi-lar-ious, as Newman might have said, as polls go. But fun nonetheless.

“What’s to see? A woman from Norway, a guy from Kenya, and 20,000 losers.”
July 27, 2011

(another Seinfeld-in-culture note to readers before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms below)

Jerry was referring to the New York Marathon in the above comment to George and others at a party overlooking the race, in the episode “The Apartment.” The snarky attitude toward competitive races was essentially his and Seinfeld co-creator Larry David’s attitude toward the competition in television when their show first aired: What’s to see…? They were running their own race, at their own pace.

Little did they know they’d outrun every other sitcom in its time–maybe for all time–a fact showcased in Entertainment Weekly “new classics” issue released this month in 2008. Indeed, EW showcased Seinfeld‘s timeless greatness more than once in that issue, one of which we noted here last weekEW also did a reader’s poll on the favorite TV star of the past quarter of a century.

Guess who came in first.

And guess whom he beat, in winning that distinction? A woman from daytime TV (Oprah, who came in at #3). A guy from late-night TV (Johnny Carson, at #2). And maybe 20,000 other shows–all losers by comparison–in the past 20-something years.

Any show that can do that–now that’s something to see.

“Oh, it’s got caché, baby! It’s got caché up the yin-yang!”
July 22, 2011

(another Seinfeld-in-culture note to readers before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms, below)

David and Victoria Beckham welcomed their fourth child recently. The child’s full name? Harper Seven.

Now, we don’t need to read any further into the Beckhams’ life to guess that some Seinfeld-ian mischief might have been at work here, courtesy of George, whose dream name for a child was “Seven.” (A name that George’s fiancee, Susan Ross, didn’t like at all–didn’t think it had any caché; witness George’s reply above.) For all we know, the Beckhams are rabid anti-Seinfeld-ites, who instead were inspired by, say, Prince–or that dark movie that a fellow David directed, costarring that other British chick and a certain Mr. Pitt. (No, not the one that Elaine worked for.)

Watching the blogosphere become atwitter over this–“George had his name stolen from him again!” (as though he is still out there, in prime-time TV land, and he’s losing it)–was gratifying enough.

“You call yourself a lifesaver. I call you Pimple Popper M.D.!”
July 18, 2011

(another Seinfeld-in-our-culture note to readers before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms, below)

The line might as well be a classic–Jerry taking the opportunity to go to dinner with his dermatologist girlfriend and, as George put it, “put that aloe pusher in her place.”

Speaking of classics: three years ago this month, Entertainment Weekly dropped their grand 1,000th issue (June 27/July 4, 2008), the theme of which was “The New Classics.” In the new-classics-in-TV article, ranked only behind The Simpsons and The Sopranos–there, of course, was Seinfeld, at #3.

Now that’s a classic we can all read, Dr. Van Nostrand.

“Hire this man!”
July 13, 2011

(a note to readers before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms, below)

“…we have watched you take our beloved Yankees and reduce them to a laughingstock, all for the glorification of your massive ego!” Those were George’s final words in his doing-the-opposite-of-his-instincts harangue of his new boss, George Steinbrenner, in the episode “The Opposite” (which we drew from last week for a famous Seinfeld-ism). And this–Hire this man!–was Steinbrenner’s reply.

The final words of the notorious, cantankerous Yankees owner himself were spoken in this very month last year, which brings us to this next note on Seinfeld‘s continuing influence on our culture. Days after Steinbrenner passed away, the Wall Street Journal dedicated a sidebar story to Steinbrenner’s ongoing influence on Seinfeld. Even though the man himself never appeared as himself in a Seinfeld episode (actually he did, but it was cut from the final edit–a story you’ll find in the back stories of the Seinfeld DVDs), his character appeared 23 times.

Only such a character-in-real life as Steinbrenner could appear in TV life more times than other, more memorable fictional characters (Bania, the Soup Nazi, Babu, etc.) on the same show.

Here’s to being a character in real life, thanks to lines from such characters in TV life as Seinfeld gave us…

“You’re pushing your luck little man.”
July 8, 2011

(a note to readers before you read on to the latest Seinfeld-isms below)

It’s been 16 years since the “Soup Nazi” joined the ranks of the Seinfeld immortals–and permanently entered our pop cultural lexicon–with lines like this one to George. The mulligatawny master’s most famous line…do we even need to say it?…still resonates. So too, obviously, does the show that introduced it. (now called Xfinity) wrote about that–“Why Seinfeld Still Resonates“–a year ago this month.

The impetus for looking at that resonance? The real Soup Nazi, Al Yeganeh, whose famed NYC soup stand Seinfeld immortalized, had just reopened for business in July 2010 after a six-year absence. The lines, the article noted, stretched around the block.

Kind of like the lines from the show that keep appearing in our lives…

“I love a good nap. Sometimes it’s the only thing getting me out of bed in the morning.”
July 5, 2011

(a monumental note to readers before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms, below)

And so began the episode–aptly named “The Nap”–where George found a way to catch some much-needed Z’s: under his desk at work. There’s a reason we join George in this precarious, languorous spot…

Today marks one year that Seinfeld-ism began in blog form. This hilariously keen perspective on life began a lot earlier than that, of course. By that I don’t mean the end of Seinfeld‘s prime time TV run in 1998. I mean the way in which TV’s greatest sitcom–in all of its wisdom, philosophy, yada yada yada–has been permeating not just our culture but our daily lives since…in an ongoing and widespread way.

For that reason then–for the continuing influence of Seinfeld, which “Seinfeld-ism” here embodies–I’m as happy as George eating a car battery-sized block of cheese to tell you about three things happening with this blog, to mark this anniversary.

First, it’s back to a recurring format, like when the blog began. Three days a week–say, every Mon, Wed, and Fri, without fail–you’ll see new material appearing. That starts tomorrow with a line from Jerry that is the fulcrum of one of the most famous episodes in the series.

Second, I’ll mix up this weekly material by adding some of the evidence of that Seinfeld-ian influence–something I’ve been collecting for years. We’ll start with an article just last week on that nods to George’s innovative way of nodding off on the clock.

Finally, you’ll see what seem to be arbitrary numbers appearing on each Seinfeld-ism, starting with the inaugural entry on July 5 last year: “How long have you been waiting to squeeze that into a conversation?” As I mentioned just before the end of 2010, we’re going somewhere with this. Those numbers are an integral part of where we’re going. It is, as Kramer would put it (in the episode “The Dealership”)…

“Just a little place I like to call ‘You’ll see.'”

Here’s to squeezing lines like that into lives like ours–in every possible conversation…

“This was supposed to be the ‘Summer of George’!”
June 16, 2011

(a note to readers before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms below)

This George-ian line inspired the name of the episode at the end of which we find George on a hospital stretcher when he says this line. Hospital and stretcher explain much of the quiet around here since my last post. It’s a testament to the nature of the family emergency (the loved one is okay now) that I didn’t think of this classic line once while I was at the hospital (no, it wasn’t me, but I was there…a lot).

I should have, now that I think about–since the family emergency consumed leave time I’d scheduled for the family vacation. How does that Buffet line go? “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane”?

A few more George-inspired laughs, then, by showcasing all of his lines so far in this compendium of the best that Seinfeld has to offer us in navigating life:

Please, a little respect…for I am Costanza, Lord of the Idiots.

George is gettin’ upset!

Do you ever just get down on your knees and thank God that you know me and have access to dementia?

You know we’re LIVING in a SOCIETY…

We mustn’t disturb the delicate genius!

…there’s not enough voltage in this world to electroshock me back into coherence!


Worlds are colliding!

Is there a pinkish hue?

He’s bebopping and scatting…!

Happy, Pappy?

There’s your “summer,” George! Now I’m going to go regain mine in some fashion and, among other things, soon unpack the next couple of Seinfeld-isms I’ve had in the works–one of which is from George, in a rare moment of kicking sand in Jerry’s face…

“Well, we can’t all be reading the classics, Professor Highbrow.”
March 9, 2011

(A note to readers before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms below…)

Kramer was reading Jerry’s VCR manual while lying like a bump on the log of Jerry’s couch in this episode (see “The Strike” in Season 9). Jerry questioned why he was doing this. This was Kramer’s reply.

His words need no explanation. Fit them in where you can, fun as they are. Abbreviate it, even, to your liking. What are you doing? you hear–you hear it all the time. “Well,” you reply, perhaps raising an eyebrow. “I’m not reading the classics.” Then watch their brow go up (or down…depending on whether they’re highbrow or lowbrow).

It’s been over two weeks since my last entry, but that’s not for lack of Seinfeld-isms. It’s for lack of time to write, what with Life crowding and clamoring and impeding. It’s an exciting yet exhausting life, many hours of which are spent at a laptop writing other things. One of my children often walks up to me, “What are you doing, Dad?” Well

(And, no, my kids aren’t highbrows. They’re kind of middlebrow. Because if your kids are quoting Seinfeld lines to you…that ain’t lowbrow.)

Not one but two more Seinfeld-isms to come this week. George is about to speak again, and so perhaps is Jerry. And then there’s that guy named Puddy who’s got something new to share too…

Until then, enjoy a glance at the top ten (most-clicked-on) posts so far, since I began this blog last year, in order:

10. “Kudos, Elaine on a job…done.

9. “You’re Schmoopie!

8. “You ask me to get a pair of underwear, I’m back in two seconds.

7. “That’s kooky talk.

6. “You’re quite breathtaking.

5. “And the heat–my God, the heat!

4. “But I don’t want to be a pirate!

3. “We mustn’t disturb the delicate genius!

2. “Jerry, it’s Frank Costanza…George is dead. Call me back.”

And the new number one? Sorry, Elaine (whose “heat!” was the original chart-topper). Jerry, you go boy: “Boutros-Boutros ‘Golly.’

“Who is this? Uncle Leo?”
February 17, 2011

(A note to readers, before you read on to more Seinfeld-isms, below) Even when the name comes up indirectly, as in Jerry’s mocking George over the phone here–it’s funny. Hearing his name is funny because Uncle Leo was just plain funny, the actor himself as well as the words the writers put in his mouth.

In honor of Len Lesser, “Uncle Leo,” to quote the Seinfeld Facebook page.

“Good for the tuna.”
October 27, 2010

(A note to readers, before you read on…)

Smirking, George dropped the above line on Jerry when Jerry pointed out that salmon swim against the current, while tuna swim with it–George’s smirk coming from wanting to get on with the conversation at hand, not detour into trivial things.

You might think that of what’s below, mumbling George’s equivalent of Good for you as you go about your blogging way. Well, let me say before you go: think again, mojumbo!

With the posting of the Frank Costanza voicemail classic on Monday (piece of trivia: that was a favorite line of the comedian himself, Jerry Seinfeld, the Seinfeld DVDs tell us), this blog-driven guide to the Seinfeld-ism life marked its 50th entry. Yes, we’re counting–because we’re actually going somewhere with all of this. More on that in the new year.

For those of you who recently jumped into this stream of advice from Seinfeld‘s Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George (and more)–and you’ve little time to go archive trolling here–here’s a sampling of what you’re missing so far…

Observations to use on smug conversationalists–whether they’re “smugging” you with just a word or an entire monologue.

Questions for the friends who don’t know you as well as they should–and for the friends you do know that well.

Challenges that raise an eyebrow (even if you’re just looking for a reaction).

Shout-outs for all manner of things beyond your control: the odd friend whom you presume is not of this world, the incontinent passer-by, the presumptuous person you’d like to pass by without saying something (but you can’t resist), etc.

Comebacks for when you’re feeling a little jadedWho has the energy to discuss this?–as well as for when you’re pretty jazzed up to discuss it all.

Confessions that those who know you have never heard come out of your mouth (and now they’ll never forget).

And put-downs the likes of which you’d never have come up with on your own…because that’s just Seinfeld.

And, thank God, Seinfeld was about our lives.

Parting piece of trivia: the most searched entry here to date (i.e., the one with more views than any other so far)? Elaine, you go girl.

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