Buffa’s Buffet: Jackie Mason remembrance, Cardinals’ starting pitching, and mask mandates


Dan Buffa, Special to the Jewish Light

Are you wearing a mask as you’re reading this? It doesn’t matter. The buffet is open, look for the topics in bold.

As I type this morning, Mayor Tishaura Jones and County Executive Sam Page are giving a press conference about a new mask mandate. A few months after dropping it, it is being reinstated, the result of the COVID-19 variant making its way through Missouri. How you feel about it is probably relatable to another soul’s take on the matter, but this is what I find interesting. Maybe you will too.

Why is this suddenly happening today? It would be wild to know the exact soul (or souls) who makes those final decisions, and how it gets to a point of telling even vaccinated folks (like myself) to wear one indoors and be strongly advised to do so outdoors. Is there a room in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where wizards produce graphs of probability and the could, would and should of this new threat?  Just curious because while the return of mask requirements isn’t exactly surprising, when does someone stand up and say, “Let’s do this now.”

Here’s an idea on how to stop the spread of this virus and all its buddies? Get vaccinated. At least you’ll be armed. No one can force you, but it will keep being said. Think of it as your doctor telling you it’s necessary to get the flu vaccine and other such immunizations. Would you oppose those?

Cardinal Nation shouldn’t oppose a sweep-defying win on Sunday in Cincinnati, even if the mess is still visible from Clark and 8th Street. Chief among the culprits of the weekend series loss is the inability of Cardinals starters to go deep into games. Between Wade LeBlanc, Jake Woodford and Johan Oviedo, the team received just 13.1 innings of work from their starters over the three-game set. How is that going to work for any kind of playoff activity this year? Is it too much to demand MLB starters giving more for the salary they receive to do it?

The truth is Oviedo should be in Triple-A Memphis fine-tuning his pitching, but circumstances changed his trajectory. LeBlanc made one start for Baltimore this year before arriving in the Midwest. Woodford started the year in the bullpen. The only reliable arms right now are Adam Wainwright and Kwang hyun Kim. Miles Mikolas is close, but Jack Flaherty is still a couple of weeks away. With a cracked bullpen and an inconsistent offense, a lack of innings from your starters is a death sentence for the 2021 season. One hundred games in, the Cardinals are 50-50, eight games out of first place. Two out of five reliable arms won’t cut it.

Warner Brothers Pictures

Jackie Mason passed away at 93 years of age last week. Movie fans will remember him from his leading role in “Caddyshack 2,” the less-celebrated golf comedy with a lesser script that Mason did everything possible to make better. His sharp wit aided his revered standup comedy work, where he once noted about marriage: “Eighty percent of men cheat in America; the rest cheat in Europe.”

The rabbi-turned-comedian (his birth name was Jacob Maza) made his mark with one-man shows that took place in nightclubs, talk shows and Broadway stages. He built his jokes from observing people, and then trying out the jokes on his friends before a live audience. Mason’s humor wasn’t dirty; more like intelligent jabs at society and how people operate. Like a shorter yet just as direct Rodney Dangerfield, nothing was out of bounds to Mason. He took chances and worked like crazy. Proof that just because your life’s work starts in one spot, it doesn’t mean the show ends there.

Imagine being in New York or a big city and seeing Liev Schreiber ride on a bed while talking about “junk sleep.” The Jewish actor, well-known for a number of film roles and his lead role on Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” is in a new Mattress Firm commercial. It aired during the Olympic games over the weekend, featuring Schreiber, dressed just like his Bostonian tough guy alter-ego Ray, talking about people being more productive if they got better sleep. If not, he warns, you are only getting “junk sleep.” It was odd at first and I bet the paycheck was mighty, but just more proof that Schreiber can make anything seem provocative. Look for a piece on him next week. He’s Jewish, after all.

Installing big pools is complicated. If you happened to be driving through St. Louis Hills last week and saw a bald, bearded male shouting at the sky while waving away seemingly invisible bugs, you got a look at my nightmare. Out in the sun and sweating through more shirts than Dave Matthews at a summer show, my family and I were installing a new pool, the biggest you can get without going underground. It went about as well as the Bay of Pigs, and two days later my wife realized it was uneven and needed to be taken down.

Please think of me this Thursday as we attempt construction No. 2 on a 16 x 32-foot pool. The takeaway here is to think twice before you try to install a large pool by yourself. I call it the pool project that started thanks to COVID-19.

Speaking of the pesky virus that has taken over 500,000 lives and the protocols that have followed its wrath… it’s not going anywhere unless we step up and eliminate it. Wearing a mask protects you from getting it, to a certain degree. Getting vaccinated gives you a better chance. Just saying.