Ooh! The Carp in the Bathtub is back!

by marjorieingall on June 20, 2018

Did you know that The Carp in the Bathtub is back in print? Published in 1972, though set in the 1930s, it is a visual delight and an excellent, quirky, funny story. I wrote about it at Tablet, but ahem my editor elected to illustrate the story with a farshtunkiner STOCK PHOTO OF GEFILTE FISH, so here are some examples of its fab illustrations.





Also in recent days I’ve written about a new documentary that explores the history of Blue Note Records and the evolution of jazz, and I went apeshit for delicate necklaces with tiny farfalle on them

I am in need of escapism like nobody’s business (I am, like many people, having a hard time sleeping of late) so I have been binge-watching Farscape, which is a turn-of-the-millennium sci-fi comedy-adventure space show filmed in Australia with human actors and Labyrinth-type Jim Henson puppets. As you might surmise, it is RELENTLESSLY weird. I like it. 


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God Bless America…

by marjorieingall on June 7, 2018

Hey, there are THREE (3) new children’s picture books about Irving Berlin!

And this children’s book about Harvey Milk is better than the musical about Harvey Milk but probably not as good as Lillian Faderman’s adult book about Harvey Milk. I wish the kidbook had explored his Jewish identity (WHICH HE VERY MUCH HAD) as well as his gay one. Still, I really liked it. 

Didn’t review for Tablet, but Julián is a Mermaid is spectacular and you should buy it. 

Here’s an obit for a Holocaust refugee who opened a beloved lesbian bar in Greenwich Village. 

All reflections of the America I want to live in.


Recent writing

by marjorieingall on May 15, 2018


I wrote about journaling in Real Simple. In my personal life I do not use the word “journaling.”

I loved Gilda Radner. The new documentary about her is thrilling and hilarious and sad. 

Here’s an interview with Joy Press about her new book Stealing the Show: How Women are Revolutionizing Television, along with a question: How come seven of the 12 women profiled are Jews? Statistically, this is meshuggeh.

Here is a review of a new musical about Harvey Milk that should have been so, so much better than it is.

A children’s book about women activists manages to utterly ignore both Jewish and LGBT activism, which gives me a sad. 

Here’s an obit for Judith Leiber, whose glittery handbags used to horrify me, as they did Carrie Bradshaw, and now I see I was an idiot, like Carrie Bradshaw. And fyi, here is my favorite recent Leiber minaudière:

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Leonard Bernstein and more

by marjorieingall on April 24, 2018

In Tablet Magazine this month, I criticized Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional Apology Festival; wrote a treatment for a romantic comedy about summer camp, female friendship, and presidential attorney Michael Cohen; checked out a modern American opera set against the backdrop of the Triangle Factory Fire and visited the site of the fire itself; and reviewed a new museum exhibit in Philadelphia about Leonard Bernstein’s life, music and activism.

(That’s Lenny and his sister Shirley in the Carnegie Hall green room in 1951.)

I wound up going into a research hole on that story — happens to me a lot — so here are two things I did not include in Tablet.  [click to continue…]


Recent bylines

by marjorieingall on March 23, 2018

If you do not love Bread and Jam for Frances, I do not want to know you. Here, I wrote about Frances’s creators.

I greatly enjoyed a foulmouthed new musical, Old Stock, based on the Canadian immigrant story of Hannah Moscovitch’s great-grandparents. And Admissions, a new play at Lincoln Center Theater, looks at white privilege, entitlement, and liberal piety and hypocrisy. (I think it’s a comedy?)

Here’s the story of an encounter between Israeli Jewish poet Yehudah Amichai and Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye.

Finally, Passover in a box! You know, for kids! 




A poem, inspired by Sean Penn, by Sean Penn

by marjorieingall on March 20, 2018

Sean Penn has written a novel! According to BookRiot, “A poem in the novel refers to the “#MeToo” movement, criticizing its reduction to ‘a platform for accusation impunity’ and asking whether due process has ‘lost its sheen.'” 

Is this true? I don’t know! But it inspired my muse! And when the muse strikes you just have to let her hit you, which is a phenomenon the press does not cover enough when it keeps focusing on men hitting women!

A Poem in Sean Penn Quotes

by Sean Penn

(with Marjorie Ingall

providing sheen)

We sit within the quietude of fortified walls

There’s a lot of mediocrity being celebrated. 
I think we all have light and dark inside us 
I am a Justin Timberlake fan

We’ve let the blade of our innocence dull over time,    

it’s only in innocence 
that you find any kind of magic.

I’m a huge Woody Allen fan. 

When I do journalism, I take no payment
I once had a house burn down…and it was so liberating

On a romantic level
if you feel it about somebody and it’s pure, 
it means that they do too.

There is a strength of character 
in the people who have, 
by and large, 
never experienced comfort. 

I don’t consider myself specifically political, you know. 

What is it
removes all doubt from a man’s eyes? 
Is it power? 
Admirable clarity? 
Or soullessness? 

I’m not a breakfast eater


Happy Purim, bubbelehs!

by marjorieingall on March 1, 2018

It’s Purim! Here is an essay about BIBLICAL EXEGESIS. Less fancy-pansedly,  it is about whether Queen Vashti possessed early feminist consciousness or a tail. (Hint: Depends on who you ask. And how they want to view a woman who says “no.”) 

It’s Purim! Please do not eat a pretzel bagel-dog hamentash. However, I do endorse the notion of speculoos hamentashen with sea salt. And of following Cookie Butter on Twitter. (Amusing.) 

Maira Kalman’s Max the Dog books are back in print! (Though alas, not Sayonara Mrs. Kackleman.) I have interviewed Maira Kalman twice now and she is terrifyingly smart and funny. Also kind.

For the 40th anniversary of the first computer bulletin board service, I wrote a reminiscence about my 25th anniversary of going on a computer bulletin board service. The piece is called On Geekery and Misogyny but it’s also about love and fun and beauty. 

Here is something I wrote about hamentashen in 1993? Maybe? I am still good friends with Lori but I no longer use her recipe. That dough can sometimes — but not always; WHYYYY? — be hard to work with. So I’ve been a ‘taschen slut for the last few years, perpetually seeking a really easy recipe with dough that’s reliable and not-too-dry and not in need of pre-roll-out refrigeration. (Next year.) Hit me up if you have one. 


i’m fine, how are you

by marjorieingall on February 9, 2018

Happy 80th birthday, Judy Blume! Let us not allow our collective obsession with Forever distract us from what makes her truly magnificent! (Spoiler alert: It’s her incredible empathy for her characters, her gift for dialogue, and the fact that she’s really fucking funny.) (Also, how psyched was I to see my secular Jewish self reflected in a novel?)

An obituary for Julius Lester, marvelous writer and troublemaker.

A smart, kind, not-too-scary introduction to the Holocaust for very young viewers. 

A batshit faux-academic essay (in a journal funded by a libertarian software zillionaire) about how the sneaky Jews are trying to undermine good American values through children’s literature. 

Again I must rave about this middle-grade comic novel set in the 1980s and full of Members Only jackets and nuclear anxiety.

And I forget what’s been going on at SorryWatch because everything is terrible.


Patrick Stewart, my dad, and the New Haven pizza conundrum

by marjorieingall on January 29, 2018

Not long ago, you may have heard, Sir Patrick Stewart crowned the pies at Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven the best. 

Pizza is polarizing, perhaps even politicizing. And quite frankly I need NO MORE of that shit. I’ll hunker down with my tribe, put my blinders on, and JUDGE. Make proclamations, with a generous serving of side eye. From a safe distance. So when Sir Pstew and I decided today on a whim to have lunch at @frankpepepizza in New Haven I was ready for anything. I’ve heard the hype, the wax poetic. Y’all can keep your opinions and just let Auntie Sunny EAT for fucks sake. And eat that famous clam pie I DID, for it was mighty and compelling, and Peroni (which is so damn *refreshing* on draft it might the fuck as well be club soda) to wash it down with was BINGO. Pstew’s was also so tasty he proclaimed it the best pizza he’d ever eaten (and, knowing him like I do, I know WHY he made that claim: the crust. Thin and crispy all the way through. He’s unnerved by “doughiness”, and fails to see the merit in the pliant and supplicant yield of a proper Napoletana pie. I digress.) Let’s forgive him his silverware approach…he’s a fella from Yorkshire. Eee lad, don’t know no beta up north then, do they? A half hour later back on the interstate we both remarked on the lingering garlic and salt in our mouths, and we were happy for it. Yay Frank Pepe’s and yay #newhavenpizza

A post shared by Sunny Ozell (@madameozell) on

I read this and felt melancholy. My dad, the late farklempt.com, was known for his New Haven pizza obsession. Every time he and my mom drove from Rhode Island to NYC to visit Josie (the rest of us were incidental; his granddaughter was the raison de conduire), he’d insist on stopping for a pie. Every trip, his ranking of “The Best Pizza in New Haven” changed. Thankfully, his proto-blog records some of his musings for posterity. There was no blogging software back in 1997, when he started his site, having taught himself rudimentary html, but he loved to write, loved to talk about food, and loved his family. Farklempt.com let him do all those things. 

In February 2002, when Josie was four months old, his fave was Pepe’s — “a thin chewy crust, divine sauce, lots of olive oil, and all fresh ingredients,” he wrote. “It was perhaps the best pizza we ever ate.”

He also raved about Josie’s conversational abilities, which consisted of pulling off his glasses, sticking out her tongue at him, and echoing noises back and forth. “Actually, she can speak now–she just hasn’t learned words,” he wrote.

In April, 2002, he slammed Tony & Lucille’s (after being unable to get into Pepe’s — his usual fave, rated “a Roberto Parkerelli 98”– or Sally’s), calling it “disappointing” as well as overpriced. He lamented, “The crust was thin and chewy, like Pepe’s, rather good, but the sauce was sour, the mushrooms were canned, and the spinach was sparse.” Ya burnt, Tony & Lucille.

Farklempt and mom were back again in May. The entry coos over Josie (now seven months old), rhapsodizes about Russ & Daughters (how Dad would plotz if he knew that there’s now a Russ & Daughters restaurant on Orchard and an outpost at the Jewish Museum!) and details another pizza jaunt: 

Driving home, we continued our quest for the best pizza in New Haven. Modern Apizza’s line was continually busy — this bodes well for future explorations — so we settled on Abate’s Pizza, which is next door to Pepe’s on Wooster Street. Our order was ready when we got there, and they let us eat it on their verandah, along with a bottle of old-fashioned Foxon lemon & lime soda. It was a small mushroom-spinach pizza. The mushrooms were fresh and sautéed first, the best we’ve had in New Haven, and the spinach was passable, even though it might have been canned. The sauce was first-rate…nay, delicious. The crust was not quite up to Pepe’s, a tad thicker and not as chewy. So far, the ranking is: 


1. Pepe’s
2. Abate’s
3. Sally’s

Like Sir Patrick, Dad put a LOT of value on crust quality. Also on reading

Farklempt’s next pizza check-in was in September 2002. I fear I can trace his decline on the site: There’s a spelling error, which was unlike him, and no pictures, an indication that he was tired. He did have the energy to change fonts to trumpet the all-important pizza rankings: 


Farklempt & family discover that they can phone ahead to abate’s, who accept the order graciously, start to cook the pizza, and serve it to you with utter friendliness at a table inside. And the pizza itself (onion, mushroom, spinach, sauce, and mootz, of course, is superb, tasty, hot, with all fresh ingredients! They welcome children of all ages and a full line of beverages. Folks, if you’re traveling through New Haven on 95, this is the place to stop. The New Rankings are now:

Few of the site’s links work anymore. Modern Apizza may have ranked fourth in my dad’s heart, but it was the first to have its own domain name and the only one with a still-working link, so it wins on at least one front? I am making myself sad again.

Mom and Dad were back again in October (“I think I need a 12-step program for Josie, for I have all the features of an addict,” Dad wrote) and Abate’s retained the top slot. “It was sizzling hot when I arrived — the usual mushrooms, spinach, and onion,” he wrote. “It was the best pizza ever in New Haven.”

As he got sicker, he drove less and took the train more. The New Haven entries disappeared. The Farklemptian truth about the best pizza in New Haven may now be lost to history, but I seem to recall that by the time he died, in August 2004, at age 64, he’d returned Pepe’s to the top position. No insult intended to PStew, but you really can trust my dad on this subject…unlike some people who’ve acknowledged never even tasting pizza until 2013, when they were 72. There’s only so much ground one can make up, you know? 

Dad’s last farklempt.com entry was a picture of my ultrasound from June 2004. He labeled it “Quasimoda.” He never got to meet Quasimoda, who became known as Maxine. She was born two months after his death and named for him.

She really likes pizza. 


in byline news

by marjorieingall on January 17, 2018

The enduring relevance of Broadcast News (from a “journalism is doooooomed” perspective and a #metoo perspective). I will be so cranky if Holly Hunter doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for The Big Sick. Presumably she won’t win, because comedy, but even given the Academy’s tendency to give awards to lugubrious and Important movies that do not age well, SHE SHOULD GET A NOM. 

Also! You can buy the dress! In all its ’80s realness!

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