Congressional Record

The Republican reps were on one side of the room while we Dems clung to the other, a central gutter of empty tables running between us, as we eyed each other warily, like the Jets and the Sharks. I broke out a couple of modern dance moves — punctuated by a “pow” or two — in the center de-delicatessenized zone, but people glared, sans passion or understanding, so I headed toward the bathroom.

Speaker Boehner was in an alley-facing doorway, smoking.

“That’s why I like you, Lederer, you go right to West Side Story.”

“I didn’t think anybody knew what I was doing.”

“You’re right, nobody knows what you’re doing. But I certainly knew what you were referencing. I played Bernardo in summer camp when I was 12.”

“Is that when you discovered the self-lacquering device I imagine I’m not supposed to talk about?”

“Don’t tell Leno,” he laughed.

A…

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“Free speech is more important than gun rights, so since rampant weaponry makes people fear to speak or act, loose gun laws have a chilling effect on speech and are constitutionally unsound.”

“Why don’t you say this in the chamber, Andrew?”

“It’s banal, self-evident. It goes without saying.

“Because YOU don’t say it.”

“What is this, a pickled vegetable or something?”

“I think so. Maybe a radish.”

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The food was good and there was plenty of it, a real Yiddishe spread, as my mother might have it. A nouveau spread, really, since we were in one of those places that have recently sprung to bring a modern touch to trad Jew deli. There’s a similar joint in Brooklyn called Mile End and the people behind it have a relationship with these guys, been, for instance, on deli retreats with them and the others in their tribe. They love to cure their own meats, make their own dogs and pickle vegetables with their fists in the pickling liquid. It’s laudable and the results are sound.

This particular place was called DGS Delicatssen, the name an update, in the manner of the food itself, of “District Grocery Stores,” an old time Jewish outfit that once inhabited the building, or maybe the one next door. I have no idea if…

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Waxman’s one of those Jews who looks like a Mexican, making him perfect for success in Los Angeles politics. It might be an evolutionary adaptation, as when flowers have petals that look like beavers. After all, many New York Jews look like Puerto Ricans. Could be Jews are genetically programmed to mimic the predominant Latin population wherever they reside. Probably this started during the Roman occupation of the Holy Land, when it was useful not to look too conspicuous to the original Latins. This was likely also the beginning of the overlapping characteristics which undergirded the close Jewish/Italian relationship in 20th-century New York.

Then again, I may have been programmed by cartoons and old television comedy to see Mexicans as looking (and sounding) like Mel Blanc. Perhaps Mexicans don’t look like Jews at all. If that’s true, though, why are there Jews who look like Puerto Ricans?

Wait. Maybe it…

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At breakfast with a bunch of the New York gang after the last afterparty (including an increasingly regretful Grimm Reaper and Eliot Engel with no combover at all), I told Engel I had figured out his “gotta be in front of everybody/aisle seat” thing. It’s not, I announced (not just to him, but to Jerry Nadler, Nydia Velázquez and anyone else not face down in a Double Croissanwich), that he wants to be seen on TV or be close to political power. It’s that he likens The President of the United States to The Torah, the word of God that has guided the Jewish people for lo these thousands of years.

A Bronx kid like Engel would undoubtedly have clamored past the Yiddishe dowagers and delicatessen owners to kiss the Torah each time it came down the synagogue aisle on Sabbath or holy days of his youth. Eventually, the smart-as-a-whip…

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That wasn’t at the party, though. She said it to me earlier, after the president had finished speaking, as the members and guests were filing out of the chamber. She also told me I should have someone lance my boil. Do they even do that anymore?

Anyway, it’s not a boil, it’s an infected bruise. I think. I mean, what’s a boil?

The Speaker probably wouldn’t have been so disappointed by my professional ineffectuality if she’d known how much traffic my SOTO presponse had been generating. People weren’t finding it funny or anything, they were mostly commenting on my “boil.” Still, I was being noticed.

Just as SHE had noticed I’d been hangin’ out with Mike Grimm, kidding him about how, since Staten Island was almost New Jersey, his indictment for corruption was close to certain. Pelosi was probably as unhappy about my spending time with “The Grimm Reaper” (as…

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Just getting in now from the last of the State of the Union parties. The Vanity Fair one was as great as press reports always make it out to be. BIG stars there. I met Christian Bale and Joey Fatone and Macklemore!

Best one, though, was the Governors Ball (a name quite witty in this iteration).

You know how they sometimes have areas at Bat Mitzvahs where guests can take pictures with other guests as if they were in the South Seas or something? Well, at the Governors Ball, they had an area (inspired by me?) where guests could record their own State of the Union responses with different, official-looking backgrounds that could be keyed in behind them. Later, they showed the responses on big screens all around the ballroom.

Best was the president’s own, where he rebuked everything he’d said earlier and mimicked Mike Leigh’s strange, up-looking eyes and…

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