Friday, December 30, 2011

Throwing Up, Out 2011

As I sit here pondering the end of 2011, it all seems peaceful.  If I look back at the year, it seems like a fairly good year, personally.  If I pull out and view it in its entirety, not so good.  A lot of trials and tribulations throughout the world in 2011.  A friend posted a JibJab video recapping the year on her Facebook page and by the end, I could barely breathe.  Even my child said to me, "what a sad year."  (

Politics and politicians are completely draining and disheartening. The Arab Spring is both exciting and unnerving. Where will it all end?  The financial world seems to be exactly the same for the haves, the 1%.  Doesn't seem that with all the scandals and collapses they skipped a beat.  The 99% are still struggling. Some loudly, some quietly.  The constant debate during elections about pro-choice/life, evolution, family values, religion, kills me.  Stop it!  
Stop the obstructionism.

The movies this year have been very disappointing.  The NY Times business section last week wrote about how the numbers are down.  Think about that.  Numbers are down, as tickets cost more.  Maybe the studios need to re-set just like Congress.  Stop 3D movies.    Interesting that Mission Impossible is doing so well during the holidays.  I think it's been #1 for 3 weeks. A seemingly summer movie release, released at the holidays.  It's working, go figure.  

We lost some incredibly great celebrities.  Though most that died lived long lives, it never seems time.  I am always saddened by the losses.  I am also thoroughly surprised when all the programs do the "In Memoriams."  Some deaths I remember as clear as day, others are a surprise, and others seem long ago.  I don't want to name names because undoubtedly I will forget important people. 

So as 2011 comes to an end, take a moment to look back and if it was a good year for you, close your eyes and take a moment.  If 2011 was a crappy year for you, take a deep breath and look forward.  2012 is coming so soon.  Be safe, happy and healthy in the coming year! 

Sidebars:  Big mistake for Kelly Clarkson to tweet her endorsement for Ron Paul.  No win in that for her and then she had to back pedal.  Just vote in the booth.  Guiliana Rancic.  I am not a fan, but I have gained a lot of respect for her since she announced her bout with breast cancer.  I am sure she is looking forward to 2012.  To everyone:  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nike, ugh!

For almost as long as I have been an adult, I have had a negative feeling towards Nike.  Actually, I hate Nike.  I think that they are a greedy company that is the epitome of capitalism gone awry.  In the early 80's, Nike started to take over the sneaker market.  They became the must have purchase, particularly for urban youths.  In NYC, kids were killing kids for their Air Jordans.  I always felt that Nike should have donated loudly to urban cities to encourage and help kids.  Build community centers or throw money at existing after school programs to counteract the violence and greed.  They didn't do that.  

Nike year in and year out has used underpaid labor in Asia to create their stylish overpriced shoes.  When the Tsunami hit and destroyed much of Phuket and the surrounding areas, what did Nike do?  Reportedly, they donated $1million dollars.  Sounds like a lot?  Sandra Bullock donated $1million dollars.  A single individual not a gigantic multi-billion dollar corporation.  

I have boycotted Nike as much as I am able.  Sometimes, there are no choices.  Now with my children doing team sports, sometimes it has to be Nike.  Begrudgingly, I have begun to soften my stance until last week.  I received a tweet from Harvey Levin at TMZ about the brand new, hot Air Jordan being released on Friday, December 23rd.  TMZ was giving a pair away.  I thought how odd and let it go, until later when I turned on the news.  Right there on  the screen are thousands of largely minority consumers stampeding to be one of the first owners of the brand new Air Jordan.  I couldn't believe it.  First of all, I can't believe that anyone still cares about Michael Jordan.  Second, how disgustingly manipulative.  It made me feel sick to my stomach just like I felt watching the throngs of people acting like animals on Black Friday (which began Thursday night).  

So, again.  I don't like Nike.  I wish that someone would do an investigative report on them.  I wish that someone would dig around, contrast and compare Nike with Adidas, Reebok, and any other sneaker company.  I don't have the resources, but I do have the ability not to spend my dollars whenever there is a choice in a company that seems unbearably greedy.

Sidebars:  After taking a little more than a week off, I did want to come back with some fuzzy warm story, but this is want stuck in my craw.  Happy last Wednesday of 2011!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mulling it over....

It's Friday and school is out for the winter break.  The final push to get to this day is always a lot of deadlines and projects due.  For me, it's mulling over what to do. It's a funny time of year.  In NYC, what any other time of year you may do without thought, the multitudes of people make every outing more challenging.  Spending a few hours in midtown on Wednesday, was fraught with maneuvering the streets and sidewalks without incident. There are people pushing, shoving, texting, yelling, singing, begging, and shopping. You can hear the clang of the Salvation Army workers' bells all over town.  

From the outside, you'd think that the stores were packed and unbearable, but from my shopping experience this year, the stores aren't that crowded.  The people are out in hordes, but the stores aren't packed.  Going into the stores is a respite.  I went into a brand new Daffy's and there was no one in the store.  Maybe people don't realize it's there.  Bloomingdale's over the past weekend was busy but not overwhelming as in other years. The mega Toys R' Us in Times Square was busy but not crazy over the top.  For those who may not know this, there is a huge ferris wheel inside the store.  Usually, packed, but on this matinee day, there were empty cabs going around and around.  

Believe me, I love NYC at this time of year.  Shopping has never had anything to do with it.  It's beautiful and wintery. This year, we have had an unseasonably warm November and December. Maybe that's why there are more people outside than inside.  The decorations throughout the city make it more beautiful than it is during every other time of year. We do do the holiday lights here better than any other place I've seen.  

Enjoy this time with your friends and family.  I may be quiet for a bit, but I will still be ranting and ruminating somewhere.

Sidebars:  The X Factor finally got rid of Marcus Canty. Down to three and the finals are next week.  At least there is one new show on television next week.  If you didn't get a chance to read a fellow bloggers column the other day, here is the link.  I have said before and I will say it again, I wish that I had written it:

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not "Glee"-ful

Glee's Christmas episode really left me speechless.  I was mocked by some that "me speechless" is dubious, but I am still shaking my head. I am not totally sure why it hit me so off kilter.  I have been a faithful viewer through good episodes and less than good episodes since Glee began airing.  This particular episode seemed like a throwback to times when stereotypes were accepted wholeheartedly.  

Filming the episode largely in black and white, having the actors speak very carefully and distinctly, all gave it the 1950's feel.  I cringed at the stereotypes that Kurt, the young gay man, loved Liz Taylor so much that he wanted to bid on Elizabeth Taylor's jewels.  I cringed when Rachel, the diva and Jewish, gave her financially struggling boyfriend, Finn, a long list of what she wanted for Christmas.  Really?  Christmas?  Why bother bringing up religion at all in the series, if you are going to toss it out at will.  Inexplicably, two lead characters were left out of the B&W portion of the show.  It was curious.  It seemed like it was either a financial decision by producers or the actors were busy the day of the shoot.  

I don't think I can do it justice in words why I felt creeped out by the episode.  It didn't feel right. Ridiculously, it felt exclusive like the old Christmas shows used to make me feel.  Such an odd feeling.  The whole episode was so bizarre.  I don't think that I was alone in that feeling either.  Okay, so if you saw it and have feelings or opinions, I'd love to hear.  

Sidebars:  American Airlines is ridiculous for considering tossing 30 Rock off their in-flight entertainment.  Boys in the sandbox. The Biggest Loser season finale was fascinating, as always.  The dramatic changes in the contestants from the inside and the outside are astonishing.  Great inspirations.  Shockingly, it all begins again in 3 weeks.  
If you have time to read more, read the article that I have linked here.  It is well worth the read:

As always, feel free to re-post or forward to friends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nothing Is Common

When I began writing this blog, I started by saying that I am from the party of common sense.  Since that day, I feel that I am alone on the island of common sense.  What the hell is happening in Washington?  Why is there any politician not protecting those that need them most?  Is that one of the functions of government? Am I wrong?  Isn't government supposed to protect us?  I am not saying that we aren't also supposed to be responsible for ourselves, but sometimes s**t happens.  If I lose my job, can't put food on the table, pay my rent, care for my kids, isn't government there to help?  Hasn't it been that way since the Great Depression?  We have unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other programs to give a helping hand.  If government guts all the programs that have helped the masses with cuts, after cuts, after cuts, what's going to happen?  I do think that politicians in DC are out of touch, self motivated, and share no risks.  If they vote not to extend the payroll tax cuts, does it affect any politician?  What is the take away?  I know that many want to revoke Obamacare. What's it to them?  They all have great healthcare provided by the taxpayers for their "service."  Maybe we have made the job of Senator or Congressman too cushy.  Maybe they need to live on salary alone like most Americans?  No perks, no free healthcare.  Maybe they should spend more time with their constituents instead of in DC.  

The other night watching the Republican debate, the take away for me is that Ron Paul makes the most common sense.  He's plain spoken and direct.  I presume he is the Barry Goldwater of our time. I was a tad young to know Barry Goldwater in his heyday. Ron has been around forever.  He probably has no chance, but like Bernie Sanders, he is a very important voice to have.  He marches to his own drum.  He is probably more Libertarian than the Republican party of today, but he speaks out and not just to hear his own voice.  

Why is Washington bending over backwards to help the richest people in this country?  I don't understand how that is a winning strategy.  I know that many voters tend to vote against their own best interest, which is a whole other set of issues.  Why would you vote for representatives that don't want to raise taxes for the richest Americans?  Why would you vote for people that keep cutting important programs for Vets?  Why would you vote for anyone that only cares about the micro-world and not the whole?  Believe me, I know that these are all rhetorical questions. There are no answers.

Sidebars:  The New York Post reported that Derek Jeter is playing the field now that he is a bachelor.  The parting gift is a signed baseball and a limo ride home.  If he'd have an old lady, I'm in.  The X Factor backlash on Nicole Scherzinger continues. It will be interesting to see what happens to her and the show. The Biggest Loser finally is tonight!  Enjoy your Tuesday, wherever you are.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

National Criminal Allegations Association

Ah, the NCAA.  The all mighty powerful boys club that runs college sports.  The overlord that charges universities for recruiting violations year in and year out.  Did you see The Blind Side or read the book?  Ah, what a great example of a moral dictatorship.  The NCAA that were all over the players at Ohio State University for selling their bowl rings for money so they could get tattoos.  What a terrible thing; sell your own items for something you'd rather have.  Dang!  Slap them down fast for such an infraction.  Done.  USC (the school I loathe more than any other) was taken down for football because their then star, Reggie Bush, received some fabulous perks from boosters so he could live a better quality of life while making zillions of dollars for the university and the NCAA. POW!  You're out and we are painting over any memory of you at USC.  

So, where is the NCAA on rape?  Do you hear anything?  Wait, what?  Crickets.  That's all I've heard since the allegations against Jerry Sandusky and Penn State have come to light. Crickets.  Did you hear about the assistant coach at Syracuse? ESPN had the story years ago and chose not to investigate.  Now, ESPN is all over the whole pedophilia angle in sports. Way to go.  The money that the overlords are making means more than upsetting the apple cart, it seems. After we take our collective showers to scrub off the stank from these horrifying crimes against our children, where do we go from here?  

As a parent, I have often been accused of being too careful and cautious about adults with my children.  As long as I can remember, we taught our children to never be alone with an adult, even if it is their own teacher.  How horrible!  What an incredibly pathetic mantra to pass on to our children. And yet, everyday since the Sandusky alleged rapes have surfaced, there are more disgusting details, new adult criminals charged in other schools or organizations, and we are all hearing the unseemly details.  Just this weekend, a head of the AAU Boys Basketball organization is charged with sexual molestation when he was a coach.  Do you know how many kids go through that system?  Thousands upon thousands.  So what do we do as parents?  How do we balance a child's hunger and desire for sports and keeping them safe from criminals and sick minds?  I don't have an answer.  I really am at a loss.  

Sidebars:  The Amazing Race finale was totally anti-climatic. Letdown.  Watching the episode of Homeland last night, we all needed xanax to get through it. Tim Tebow.  Happy for him that he is such a believer, but do people really think God has time to help the Broncos win games?  Enjoy your Monday, winding down to winter break. 

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Friday, December 9, 2011

X Doesn't Mark the Spot

Nicole Scherzinger should lose her job immediately on the X Factor.  Up until last night, she was just annoying.  A thorn in Simon Cowell's and my side.  Last night, she took it to a whole other level.  If you have never seen the show, elimination night is a tad annoying from the outset.  The home audience votes someone off and then, the two other low vote getters, must sing for their life to stay. Then each judge, makes the decision whom they'd send home.  If it is one of your "team" members, clearly the vote goes to your singer. So last night it was between the stellar, thirteen year old singer, Rachel Crow, and the sometimes really good, Marcus Canty.  They each sang their survival songs.  Having watched this show for most of the season, I can tell you that Marcus often doesn't sound good while I am sitting in my family room watching and listening.  Sometimes, the two women (Nicole and Paula Abdul) go on and on and on and on how special and gifted he is. I seldom feel that way about him.  When he sings for his survival, he definitely is at his best.  Now, Rachel Crow on the other hand...she is special. She is deeply talented for her thirteen years.  I would dare to say that she is wise beyond her years.  Maybe she has had past lives.  Her voice is amazing.  If the judges sit there and say she has a future, I don't think it's B.S.

So, let's go back to Nicole and last night.  They both sang. Marcus was better than usual. Rachel was incredible. Brought down the house.  The judges voting begins.  L.A. Reid chose to send home Rachel because he mentors Marcus.  Simon chose to send home Marcus because he mentors Rachel. Paula hems and haws and then chooses to send Marcus Canty home.  So, the vote is two for Marcus to go and one for Rachel.  Nicole is sitting in her chair, teary, on the verge of sobbing.  "I can't decide,"  "I can't make this choice (sob, sniffle, sob)."  During her teariness, Rachel asked if she could say something to Nicole.  Rachel told Nicole it's okay either way.  So, Nicole, a judge mind you, decides to take the cowards way out.  If she makes it a tie, then the singer with the fewest votes, goes home.  She votes (sob, sob) to send home Rachel. It's two and two.  Steve Jones, the dullest host trying too hard on TV, gets the envelope.  He opens it and reads the name of the person going's Rachel Crow. She crumbles to the ground in deep sobs.  Nicole is sobbing at the judges table.  Both are inconsolable, except for one difference. Nicole did this because she was such a bloody coward.  Disgraceful.  I have watched a lot of these competition shows and never seen anything like this.  The pain was palpable.  Her mother came out on stage to try to help her.  It really was awful.  I can't imagine that Simon will ever speak to Nicole after that and for the sake of the viewing audience, she should be sent home herself.  She isn't a good judge and she absolutely proved it last night. Steve Jones tried to get a comment from Nicole and the live audience booed her and she refrained. The wrong person was sent home.  Can't wait for The Voice.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Just Wild About Harry!

Harry Morgan.  I can't say that I am devastated that he died.  He lived 96 years and brought hours of joy and talent to the big and small screen.  You might think, "how odd that I care about Harry Morgan."  Harry Morgan is one of my earliest childhood memories.  When I was 4 years old, I was sitting with my Mommy watching Pete and Gladys.  Does anyone else remember that old show?  There was a breaking news report.  It was the first time of many to come that interrupted my show.  I was 4, I didn't understand.  President Kennedy was assassinated.  All I understood was that my show was interrupted.  Pete was no longer on the screen entertaining me.  I honestly don't have any memory about what my Mom was doing?  I just remember that I was mad.  I didn't want the news. I wanted Pete and Gladys. (Interesting that my kids were 4 when 9/11 happened.  Big world events at such a young age).  

I always loved Harry Morgan.  He was comfort food for me.  I loved Dragnet. I loved M*A*S*H. I always get a kick out of watching a movie and there he is.  He was one of the most affable of actors.  I keep going back and forth between is and was because the one incredible thing about being an actor in film and television is that he/she never totally dies.  The body may be gone, but we can still enjoy hours and hours of entertainment.  Harry Morgan's voice, unmistakable.  Distinctive and warm. Even though he may have played a curmudgeon sometimes, he was the sweetest most adorable curmudgeon ever.  Harry Morgan, you may be gone, but you will live on forever in all the roles you graced us with. 

Sidebars: The New York Post is reporting that they are in talks with Ryan Seacrest to take over for Matt Lauer. Please say it ain't so.  It can't happen.  Besides, he would have to take a huge pay cut so it probably won't happen.  The X Factor is down to five this week.  Can I say that Nicole Scherzinger is the superlative queen?  Every body is amazing, God's gift, a huge star, so deep, so honest, the best since ___________, the next _________________.  Really?  Come on, Nicole, you may be an incredibly nice person, but you have got to learn how to critique. There can't be two Paulas.  Casting thought: if they do the life story of Newt Gingrich, who better than Alec Baldwin?  

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011


This week is a definite ruminating week.  Brain going too fast and much mulling over of the past and future.  This week I am not spending at all in the present.  Spent an incredible 3 hour lunch with a former colleague.  The anticipation after not seeing him for ten years brought up so many different memories and feelings.  During the time together, it felt completely comfortable.  It didn't feel like it had been ten years.  It didn't feel like we only had the past in common.  There was much catching up to do and hard to finish one tale at a time.  I think that both of our brains were spinning fast and every story reminded us of something else.  There were things that I didn't know that happened at work or did I block things out?  We spoke about our current lives: relationships, travels, work, children, pets, homes, families, etc.  Things for both of us have only improved in the decade since we were together.  Quality of life issues and all.  When lunch began, it was bright out.  When we got up from the table to say our goodbyes, it was that early darkness of winter. Time flew by.  We spoke of future plans. Here's to the next time.  

In the back of my mind though, I knew I had so much to do.  I offered and wanted to proofread my husband's book. I am a stickler for typos and misspellings.  Low tolerance and it's all around.  I have had ample time, but somehow the time has been slipping by.  Instead of just doing it, I have been thinking about it. Procrastinating.  I am sure that I won't find anything and that is probably why I have put it off.  The pressure is on, the deadline is here, and what am I doing?  I am writing about it, have to pick up new glasses, and I am going to a JV basketball game.  I will get it done, but now I feel the weight and the guilt.  The deadline is Friday and the release date is early March. I will be shouting it from the Twitter tops, the Facebook pages, the email blasts, and the street corners.  It is very thrilling and exciting.  I am very proud and in many ways, can't imagine what the feeling must be.  When he holds the finished product in his hands for the first time, the new book smell, and it's his....

Sidebars:  The Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Fall fundraising period ended.  Though Billy Elliot took the prize for the most money made with it's cast of thousands, Hugh Jackman got a special award for his fundraising because he raised more than double of every other Broadway show.  Hugh is the man!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hugh, Hugh, Hugh

Thanks to a dear friend, I had the opportunity to see one of my all time favorites in his one man show.  Hugh Jackman.  He has to be one of the most talented and versatile actors in show business.  He seamlessly goes from Peter Allen to Wolverine to Leopold to Robert Angier to....You get the picture.  He goes from Wolverine to Curly to Billy Bigelow to Jean Valjean.  I don't know if there is another actor with the range and depth of talent.  His voice soars above all, cuts straight to the core of your soul. No really. His encore of Once Before I Go by Peter Allen left few dry eyes in the house.  His humor and charm make you feel like he is ad libbing the entire show, as if it is the first time, the first audience, the first run through.  That is a gift. Being in the moment.  I am sure that every member of the Broadway audience felt that special connection.  It isn't like a Justin Bieber kind of love that the teenage girls have, it is a palpable love and respect.  

Hugh Jackman honors his entire life throughout the show.  He tells wonderful stories about his Dad, his wife, his kids.  The love he has for his homeland is quite admirable.  Clearly, he understands the deep and painful history that is Australia.  He honors the Aborigines by bringing their story to the stage and having four of them perform. The drop down screen shows different photos of life in the outback.  Gorgeous. He understands the throughline from where he comes from, not just his own personal history, but performance history, too.  He knows that he didn't just show up, spit out from a black hole.  He honors the great movie stars of yesteryear that he watched on television in Australia.  He gives the spotlight to each of the people in his cast and orchestra. He and his team put together a wonderful show. 

If that's not enough, Hugh Jackman does an exemplary job raising money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.  He auctions off his sweaty undershirt to the highest bidder.  At our performance, he raised $7000.00 for two.  He then offered to take photos with anyone who would spend $2000.00 to BC/EFA.  The line was very long.  He must have spent a half an hour after the matinee taking photos with another show in three hours .  He must have raised upwards of $40,000.00.  That's amazing!  Within the Broadway community, they have a friendly rivalry to see who raises the most during the fundraising campaign.  With a largely one man show, I can't imagine anyone raising more.  

My friend who arranged the afternoon, surprised us and arranged for us to go backstage and meet him briefly.  We didn't have to pay the $2000.00.  He hugged and kissed us all.  Gracious. Not rushing.  We were keenly aware of his time and took our leave.  We walked out the stage door and as soon as we got through the barricades, the door opened again, there was a roar from the crowd, flashbulbs went off, people from all over 44th street swarmed the streets to see what they could see.  It was an incredible feeling.  I wonder how long he stayed.  He had to rest before the evening show and doing it all over again, the whole thing.  What a phenomenal man.

Sidebars:  Went to Leopard at Cafe Des Artistes for our anniversary dinner.  The whole experience didn't disappoint.  The new owners respected the history of the restaurant, cleaned up the murals, spiffed it up a bit, and turned it into a must.  The food and service were wonderful, but above all, it was the perfect capper to a very special day commemorating a life changing day.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

X Marks the Spot

Did anyone else watch the X Factor last night?  It was classic.  It was the elimination show for the week, based on the votes of the people at home.  Shockingly, the young rapper, Astro, from Brooklyn was sent home first with the lowest number of votes.  I was truly surprised because Americans voting seemed to base their votes on the single performance of the night before and not other extemporaneous reasons. Astro was under the tutelage of L.A. Reid. Astro is a really great rapper and writer.  Every week, I waited for Astro to break out into some really great voice, but it was made crystal clear, that he can't sing.  His gift is writing and rapping.  There was a second elimination in the second half hour and the two contestants that had to have a "sing for their life" were Marcus (L.A. Reid, mentor) and Drew (one of Simon's team).  Before I heard their final plea in song, I thought for sure that Drew was going to be sent home.  After they sang, I thought Marcus hit some really bad notes, which was what I was accustomed to until the night before's competition.  I was wrong about him. I wasn't.  He really does have pitch issues.  The host, Steve Jones, asked the judges whom are the sending home?  Began with L.A. and of course, he voted for Drew after a long winded, B.S. explanation about how much he loves them both, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Simon's up next.  He implored the women to please keep Drew, she deserved to stay, and he took total responsibility for the choice of song she sang and the direction.  Nicole Scherzinger, up next, gave her complete, teary, full of it explanation, and picked Drew.  Paula Abdul. It all ends or begins with her.  The score is 2 for Drew, 1 for Marcus. If Paula didn't want to choose, the person with the lowest votes by the viewership would be considered.  Paula hemmed and hawed.  She voted Drew off.  If Simon Cowell was a cartoon character, the steam would've come out of his ears.  He got up from the judges table and went to hug Drew as she was inconsolable. She is just a fourteen year old girl. When he got up to the stage, Simon gave such an incredibly classic villainous look.  Maybe a bit like Sissy Spacek at the end of Carrie.  He was so pissed.  He didn't want to say one word to Steve Jones.  Drew pulled it together and thanked all the people that supported her.  Simon was asked if he had anything to say to the other judges.  He didn't.  Steve Jones asked him if he had anything to say to Drew.  He was clear anything he had to say, he'd say it off mic and off stage.  Steve Jones went back to Drew to push one more statement.  Drew pulled it together, took a deep breath and said, "Jesus loves all of you guys and I didn’t have the chance to say it before but that is why I am in this competition." Fade to black. 

Sidebars:  Thank God It's Friday.  Hope that everyone has whatever kind of weekend you need.  I am going to see Hugh Jackman tomorrow matinee!!!!!  I am celebrating 30 years since the blind date that changed my life.  Yes, it's true.  It was 30 years ago tomorrow, December 3rd, that I met my husband to be.  The staggering part is that I don't feel that old.  

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bah Humbug #1

Today is the official Christmas season kickoff in NYC.  Tonight is the over produced, over pre-taped, over the top lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree.  It is the time of year when traffic in midtown virtually crawls and then stops and then crawls some more.  It is the time of year that I scratch my head wondering why everyone is so fascinated by the tree. Everyone has seen a Christmas tree in their own towns, own homes, the movies, on television, and yet, Rockefeller Center year in and year out is the mecca for Christmas tree viewing.  Now, granted, it is a beautiful tree, but is it worth fighting the masses of people, the traffic, and the cold to see it?  Clearly, it is for most; I am in the minority.  I steer clear of midtown as much as possible from now until January 2nd.  

I came to New York City for the first time during the Christmas season.  I fell in love with this city during that vacation.  The Big Apple rises to the occasion with all the lighted trees down all the Avenues, bows, spectacular department store windows, and the general "goodwill to all men."  I moved here nine months later.  I don't think any other city does this time of the year better.  Everything glistens and sparkles. It's just turning cold and crisp.  Perfect weather for this time of year.  But, in the thirty one years since, everything has gotten more, more more. More crowded, more done up, more shopping hours, more pushing, more lines, more money, more everything. 

When they used to light the tree, it was a sweet event.  Live event.  Short and sweet. If you blinked, you missed the moment when the switch was flipped and the tree was aglow for the first time. Now, it is a two hour extravaganza with largely pre-taped songs and skating.  If you blink, you can see the replay over and over again.  So clearly, I have mixed feelings about this time of year.  It is a love/hate relationship.  I do adore the beauty that pops up all over the city. I hate the traffic and crowds.

Oh, and speaking of traffic.  Can anyone tell me why the DNC didn't know today was the date for the tree lighting?  President Obama is coming to town for 3 fundraisers today.  Really?  Couldn't they have done this yesterday?  The city will come to a literal stand still, even before the Presidential motorcade. If fundraisers don't annoy me enough, this tops it all.  Did I mention that 2 billion dollars will be spent on the Presidential election?  How can anyone not think that we need campaign finance reform when you hear that? 

I digress. If you are lucky enough to be in New York City, use your feet to get around or take the subway.  It is the only chance you have to enjoy your time here.  Bah Humbug.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Words, Words, Words

I have been shocked that the word "uppity" has been designated to black people.  I love the word.  Never thought that it was a pejorative word to black people.  I thought it was possibly a negative word, yet descriptive to the British.  Really, there have been so many great characters in fiction and in real life that have been uppity.  How many incredible characters played by the superlative Maggie Smith could be called uppity?  Does this all go back to Clarence Thomas and the Senate hearings?  And now, Rush Limbaugh about Michelle Obama? Other than those two examples, can you tell me others?  I don't want the word to become defined so narrowly to one specific segment of the population.  As far as I am concerned, the word has been used far more in novels, plays, and movies toward white women than black people.  Maybe I should be insulted for all white women when the term is used towards them, but I think it's a great word. I like the way it sounds. I like the way it feels to say it.  I am here to take back the word!

Have you seen the commercial for D'Noir Prunes?  Noir is and has always been a French word pronounced n-wahr.  Film noir?  On the commercial for Sunsweet they sat in their marketing meeting and decided to pronounce it Duh-Nor.  Really?  Are they kidding me?  Duh-Nor?  Noir means black in French.  Why are the advertisers bastardizing another language? L'Oreal has a new mousse called Sublime.  Sublime has always been pronounced sub-lieyme.  Not the L'Oreal mousse.  They are calling it Subleem.  Really?  How is it even possible to get through all the levels that have to sign off on product names and scripts?  It is truly unbearable to hear words mispronounced on the subway, but now in products and commercials?  Do you know anyone that pronounces negotiate as ne-go-see-ate?  It's making a comeback.  It is the English pronunciation not the American English pronunciation.  I knew someone who one day heard an English person say negosiate and from that point on said it that way.  Really?  I have heard people on the news saying it and it's not Piers Morgan.  Why doesn't anyone say anything?  Art directors? Teachers? Spouses? Producers?  Someone?  Anyone?  

Sidebars: I am deeply disheartened by the announcement that Congressman Barney Frank will not be running for re-election.  He is without question the most uncensored voice in the Democratic party.  You may not always agree with what Barney Frank has to say, but he doesn't mince words.  He stands on his own and stands up for both his constituents and all Americans.  Congress will be just a bit more homogeneous without him.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

My head is swirling again.  The sights and sounds of Black Friday disturbed me beyond recognition.  All I could think of is imperious leaders tossing coins to the peasants.  It is disgusting, gross, and turns otherwise "normal" people into criminals and bullies.  That people were killed, attacked, pepper sprayed for "fabulous" deals, is so distasteful.  The image of rich puppeteers pulling the strings of the marionettes, the Marie Antoinette feel of Black Friday "let them eat cake," the mayhem from the cinematic images of raining down dollar bills, it just keeps playing over and over again in my mind.  Which part of this is good for the people?  Which part is good that workers had to leave their families' Thanksgiving gatherings to go to work on Thursday night to begin the outrageous craziness of shoppers?  Which part is in keeping with the Christmas spirit?  Christmas has gotten so far afield from it's original intent.  Religion is so far removed from the day and it's all about consumption.  I find it more and more depressing every year.  The Emperors of Capitalism couldn't be happier with the fight to the death attitude of Black Friday.  Who are really the winners?

Speaking of Evil Empires. Nike has always been a thorn in my side.  I don't like their far reaching hold on consumers, high schools, colleges, and professional teams.  Their control was never more apparent than watching the Stanford-Notre Dame game last night. Growing up a Stanford fan, red and white were the glorious, clean, crisp colors of the Cardinal uniforms.  In last night's game, the Stanford team were all in scarlet/maroon uniforms from shoulder to shin, wearing black helmets.  It was so unsettling and for a life long fan, very confusing to watch.  I had to re-adjust my vision and expectation every time I was watching the teams march down the field.  Notre Dame were wearing their crisp white and gold uniforms, looking sharp and clean against the thug wear that Nike sold to Stanford.  I don't know who is getting what out of changing a long held tradition, but I do know that Nike is making money.  I just can't understand why Stanford, deep into tradition and long in school spirit would make such a radical and ridiculous change. Isn't it enough that we had to change the mascot from Indians to Cardinal?  Isn't that enough change for any Stanford lifer?  

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Working It Out

Honestly, I hate to work out. I have never felt that endorphin rush that others thrive on and brag about and keeps them going back for more and more and more.  Not ever.  I don't get it.  I get the piece of it that it is imperative for good health to not just sit down on the couch all day.  I do get that, but it is so much more enjoyable.  Going to the gym for me is so boring.  Don't like to have to look cute in a public gym. Don't like to have to be fashionable in my garb. Don't like to see people working out.  Much happier taking my walks all over NYC.  Love watching people, seeing the buildings, the dogs, the trees.  Love it!  

Unfortunately, in the past couple of years, it has become much more difficult for me to walk either because it has been so incredibly hot or incredibly cold and inclement.  When my kids were younger, I dropped them off at school and almost everyday went to breakfast with Moms.  I'd have an all white omelette with cheese, whole wheat toast, and coffee.  That was almost daily.  I'd walk home from there about a mile.  I was at my best fighting weight. Since my kids go to school on their own, there is not Mom's breakfast, and I am not walking home.  So I am eating less (theoretically), maybe walking less during the height of the summer's heat and the winter's wind chill, and have gained weight.  

I hate thinking about weight.  Hate it.  I don't own a scale so I only weigh myself at the doctor's.  I started taking Tamoxifen two years ago, which has wreaked havoc on my weight.  I am going to try to move my body daily, no matter what.  I have to if I want to feel better again.  Maybe when I stop taking the Tamoxifen, things will move back to where they belong. So, it isn't a New Year's resolution, it isn't even a day after Thanksgiving resolution.  I have been thinking about it for awhile. Sometimes I feel if I think about it a lot, it's almost as good as doing it.  It is a "I went to the doctor and got on the scale" resolution.  This resolution is one day at a time, otherwise, I will absolutely fail.  I will pat myself on the back for each day I do something. That's all I can do.  

Sidebars:  Surprised that a renowned producer, L.A. Reid, trashed a song for being too grown up for a teenager to sing on the X Factor when it was originally a Demi Lovato song.  I thought he'd know that or ask first before he made such a national faux pas.  Hope everyone survived Black Friday!  

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thankfulness.  This year my thankfulness is closer to home than in past years.  I am very thankful for my husband, my children, my Mom, my sister, and all of my dear friends.  I am thankful for being relatively healthy. I am thankful for my sweet dog that loves me more unconditionally than any one person in the world.  When I walk through the door, she dances on her hind legs until I give her some loving.  She is understanding that I have bags in my hands and keeps dancing until I have my hands free.  

I am not thankful for our politicians that can't see past themselves. I am not thankful that we are still in two countries, fighting. I am not thankful for 3D movies.  I am not thankful for the bastardization of the English language. I am not thankful for the thinly cloaked racism. I am not thankful for ignorant people. I am not thankful for all the unrest and sadness in the world. 

So this year, I am going to focus on all the good in my immediate vicinity.  Pull the goodness a little bit closer, a little bit tighter.  Cherish the moments with loved ones. Live in the moment. Take a private moment and count your blessings instead of sheep. Hug the people you love a little bit longer. Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sidebars:  JR Martinez won Dancing With the Stars.  It was the perfect ending to the season and especially for the week of Thanksgiving.  How could you not root for a talented, likable, Iraqi war veteran?  He absolutely deserved to win over Rob Kardashian.  Though, Rob Kardashian really did great and hopefully evolved out of being his sisters' punching bag.  
Justin Bieber live on The Today Show. Biggest crowd ever.  Why, oh why, does Justin Bieber have to wear his pants below his butt?  It isn't a good look and today he kept pulling his sweater down, so what's the point?  He has to replace his stylist, whomever that may be.  His outfit escorting Selena Gomez to the AMA's looked like it came out of Carson Kressley's closet.  For all the money he earns....
On a more personal note, the woman that I learned more about singing and voice than any other, Muriel Brown Older, died.  I started taking lessons with her when I was 16, as soon as I could drive myself.  I have carried her words of wisdom and kindness in my heart for all these years.  Wherever Muriel is, she is singing up a storm to her beloved Vern.  
Again, H-A-P-P-Y T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N G!!!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011


It has been a very long time since I longed to be twelve years old, but last night at Madison Square Garden, I did.  My husband and I went to see Taylor Swift at the "new and improved" Madison Square Garden.  Hard for me to tell in the concert setting if it's better.  They made the common areas large so everybody can spend ridiculous amounts of money on food and merchandise.  The entry ways into the seats are narrow so pouring out of the Garden all at the same time is a bit dicey.  Back to being twelve.  We got to the Garden for an 8pm concert and, lo and behold, it began at 7pm.  We missed most of the opening act which was as loud and ear busting as ever.  We got to our seats and saw a sea of mostly young girls.  They were dressed up in fancy clothes, Taylor Swift t-shirts, Xmas lights blinking, signs lit up, and the excitement was palpable.  

At about 8:20, the huge red curtain began to move.  The shrieks and screams began.  The curtain pulled back and there she was...Taylor Swift.  Taking in each and every second.  Inhaling New York City.  Inhaling the screams. Inhaling the sea of people adoring her.  There are people that aren't sure if she is for real. There are people that think that she does the same looks of appreciation at every concert. I think she is one of those rare birds and she takes nothing for granted.  She loves her fans and shows her love.  She holds meet and greets before every concert.  (Such a Country music thing to do).  Astonishingly, she walks from the main stage through the crowds, touching as many people physically and spiritually as she can. She climbs upon a small little platform and takes in the new view and sings 3 songs.  In the middle of the third song, she makes her way back on the other side of the floor, reaching out, hugging, smiling until she retains her rightful place back on center stage.  

It is remarkable.  I have been to many concerts in my life.  I have never seen any performer soak in the experience so much and co-mingle with her fans. I am unabashedly an admirer.  I only wish I could have been like one of the many young girls who sang every lyric to every song.  It might be something to strive for for the next tour....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Super What?

 I consider myself a very pragmatic person.  I spent my career compromising and negotiating. I negotiated contracts for actors for over 20 years.  I understand all the ins and outs of making a deal.  Sometimes you are deliriously happy and proud, other times feeling screwed. The best deal is always the deal that both sides think they could've done better.  That's negotiating.  

The people in Congress have no clue.  They are obstructionists.  Everyone is supposed to compromise.  Everyone.  You give a little, I give a little.  We inch closer and closer until the deal is done.  The members of Congress, that signed Grover Norquist's no new taxes Pledge, must take full responsibility for destroying this country. In their twisted sense of what is right, they are unyielding, unbending, and unbearable. Their argument is if you raise taxes it will stymie economic growth.  How is that possible?  Could it be more stymied than it is already? Who is creating jobs?  Real jobs?  No one.  Congress will not pass a jobs bill because they won't increase revenue.  They have dug their heels in so deep, they have no wiggle room. 

I really don't understand the position.  If the point of not yielding is because they signed the Pledge, they all need to re-assess.  Look around.  What is better for most?  If members of Congress are worried about the Norquist backlash, then it's time to take back Congress.  It really always comes back to dollars.  Take the money out of politics, once and for all.  No lobbyists to run our government.  It is decimating our system.  If all politicians only worry about getting re-elected, the system is toast.   

The Super Committee is anything but super.  Dumb name from the start. Frozen, unyielding, unbearable. They were chosen to come to terms with the budget.  They have come up with nothing. Hours and hours of wasted time and posturing.  If you don't do the job that Americans sent you to DC to do, can we get our money back?  Let me in there and I will make big cuts in Congressional perks, pensions, health insurance, etc.  So the Super Committee began in September, they will stop in two days, no closer than two months ago.  

Sidebars:  I am seeing Taylor Swift tonight at MSG, finally. Everyone in my family has seen her live in concert.  I, unfortunately, got scammed buy a ticket seller a year ago.  Showed up with great tickets at MSG and they were counterfeit.  It was shattering.  Hopefully, tonight will replace that memory. 
If you're home, watch the Dancing With the Stars finale. 

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marginally Enjoyable

The other day I thought, I'd treat myself to a movie during the day.  I had really wanted to see the movie, Margin Call.  My husband and Regis both liked it a lot.  Regis had said it really help to clarify the whole financial debacle.  Besides, it has a great cast.  So I got to the movie and there were ten people scattered throughout the theatre.  The previews began and the opening credits started.  Five minutes into the movie, two people arrived late with gigantic tubs of popcorn each.  I thought, "great, now I will have to hear them chomping during the whole movie."  If only.  These people talked, made weird noises, were disruptive. Another patron told them sternly to be quiet.  They didn't care. There were shhhhh's from others.  The male spoke back to the screen or tried to finish the sentence of an actor on the screen. Really???  

The movie experience has deteriorated so much, at least in New York City.  The theatres are not movie palaces anymore. The cost is ridiculous for seeing the movie and buying treats.  And now, every week when movies open on Friday, there is always a movie in 3D.  Really?  3D?  That means that the price of seeing a movie goes up at least 25%.  I don't want 3D movies.  Never did, but now it is becoming common place.  

Remember, for those older readers, when you went to the movies there were ushers?  The ushers walked up and down the aisles periodically to make sure that the patrons were acting correctly or not making out.  It made the movie experience more comfortable.  Now, if there is a problem while in the movie, you have to miss a chunk of the story to track down someone to do something.  We are paying more and getting far less for our dollars.  There is no security, no ushers, and no manners.  

If you arrive late, don't sit in the seat in front of me!  If you arrive late and don't get to see the little vignettes about how to act in the theatre, err on the side of quiet.  If you arrive late, don't come in with a lot of noisy shopping bags.  The people that are there, paid their money, planned their time, didn't miss the beginning of the movie, and deserve courteous behavior.  Do not speak aloud ever unless a crime is occurring.  

As far as the movie even with all the distractions, I really liked Margin Call. Found it fascinating and it has stayed with me.  When I got home and talked to my sister, she hated it.  Had to laugh. The complete opposite spectrum.  I do recommend it. 

Sidebars: The X Factor had rock and roll night.  The singers were supposed to pick songs from the incredibly large annals of rock music.  Only 3 out of 9 hit it.  I would have thought that it would have been a piece of cake to pick a song, but clearly, the contestants and judges had a myriad of opinions of what denotes a rock song.  Big demonstrations for Occupy Wall Street today.  The producers of the thought provoking movie, Race to Nowhere, are taking the next step. They want parents, students, and teachers to sign a pledge for no homework on weekends and vacations.  I am all for that.  If you haven't seen this movie go to and see where it is screening near you.  

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A is for Alabama

Okay, people, I have been alive for 52 years.  I grew up in the great State of California.  I grew up hearing about political unrest, be-ins, love-ins, migrant farmworkers, Cesar Chavez, women's lib, Gloria Steinman, and human rights.  What I learned from those many years, clearly, the Governor of Alabama didn't. 

Governor Bentley signed into law the most severe immigration law in the country.  The Federal government is suing Alabama just like the other States that are making it a State issue over Federal, but I digress.  All the farmworkers from Mexico fled in fear of being picked up by the police.  Can anyone guess what is happening to the farmers in Bama?  Any guesses, people? You got it.  The fruits and vegetables are rotting.  

Why can't lawmakers understand that the problem isn't simple? There are many layers, but the fallacy that has been used all these years...illegal immigrants are taking the jobs away from the citizens of the USA. That is the biggest bunch of bull that has been handed down for decades.  Illegal immigrants are not executives at Apple or Alabama University.  They are working in the fields for fourteen hour days, they are taking care of your children, your lawns.  Seriously, if Governor Bentley's supposition was correct, the farmers would have lines and lines of out of work Americans lined up to work in the fields.  Ha! Americans don't want to do that kind of back breaking grueling work for peanuts! It's been proven time and time again.

Now, I know that there are serious issues regarding the stress illegal immigrants put on school systems, hospitals, etc., but a sweeping ban on illegals will not work. The Mexican immigrants that cross into this country are willing to do the seriously hard labor that the fine citizens of this country will not do.  There has to be a better way.  Just wait until the produce prices go up at the market.  Do you want to hear that outcry?

Sidebars:  Justin Bieber's pregnant accuser drops her suit.  He is now suing her.  Perfect!  Maksam and Hope Solo tossed from Dancing With the Stars.  And finally, I want to correct myself on the Sandusky interview.  I watched it in its entirety and from a psychological standpoint, it was fascinating. Bob Costas did a great interview.  Albeit, one of the creepiest interviews I have ever seen or heard. Thrilled to see that the Gabby Giffords interview opposite the Sandusky interview crushed them in the ratings.  A ray of hope for this country. I'll take it.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Broadway Nightmare

One of my worst nightmares is about to premiere on Broadway.  Tomorrow, November 16th, Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone are starting their limited engagement concert on Broadway.  I can't think of anything worse.  I may be in the minority here; so be it.

I was a huge fan of Mandy Patinkin years and years ago.  He had a beautiful voice.  On the concept album of South Pacific with Kiri Te Kanawa, he sang the role of Lt. Cable.  When he sang Younger Than Springtime, it was like honey oozing all over me.  Then, horrors of all horrors, The Public Theatre did a musical called The Knife starring Mandy Patinkin.  It was a musical about a sex change operation.  Cutting edge.  Mr Patinkin found his falsetto.  From that show on, he never sang low again. As far as his acting goes, I love him.  I think that he is a compelling actor. Just don't sing.  Okay, no one is making me see my nightmare show, but just knowing it's out there....

Patti LuPone singing is like nails on a chalkboard.  Her vibrato and loosy goosy jaw can send me screaming into the night.  And yet, again, I think she is a wonderful actress.  Every time I have seen her, sans singing, I have enjoyed her work.  Together?  Oy, I can't think of anything more painful.  They are doing 63 performances together.  That is 63 performances too many for me. 

Sidebars:  Jerry Sandusky interviewed by Bob Costas.  Did anyone think that he'd admit anything?  A waste of airtime.  Creepy factor very high. 
If you want money out of politics, don't forget to go to and sign the petition.  

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Party, party, party

Party over country.  I don't get that philosophy.  I have said it before and I will say it again.  I know some very educated and smart Republicans.  What I don't understand is supporting a "less than" candidate.  I know friends that will vote Republican over voting for Barack Obama no matter what.  That is hard for me to swallow.  The candidates on the Republican side are less than stellar.  They may be nice people in their private lives but in their public lives facts and integrity are a slippery slope. 

In my voting life, I have never felt that both candidates for President were worthy.  I understand that the Presidential election of Nixon and Kennedy was the last set of worthy adversaries.  Both smart, experienced, and educated.  Since then, not so much.  I often feel like it is the lesser of two "evils." Now in the 21st Century it is evolving into who is smarter, knows history, isn't deluded by religiosity.  What kind of election is that? 

Why is it acceptable to support candidates that don't have knowledge?  Why is it acceptable to support candidates that are hypocrites. Why is it acceptable to support candidates on private, religious views and not facts?  The Republican party has changed so much to my dismay.  I think many prominent Republicans, like Carl Rove, think things are going too far.  To lead this country, the candidate needs to support the majority of the people's views.  Politicians have cut themselves off so much. They only want to be confronted by like minded people.  I think that began with George W.  The people in his crowds were always "his" people.  They didn't want any opposing speech during his rallies.  I don't recall that ever happening so blatantly.  That makes the candidates and the President sheltered and removed from all Americans. 

Why don't the smart, educated conservatives demand more from their candidates?  If Republicans would take the Jesus out of politics, they would be more palatable.  As long as Republican candidates want to shout loudly about social issues and not National issues, they are less than and not moving forward or for that matter, living in the present.

Sidebars:  The Duggars announced last week that they are having their 20th child.  Hard to explain why that is so yucky. 
An addendum to my thoughts and feelings on Regis Philbin, I didn't realize that they pushed him off his throne.  It all came to light for me this past weekend.  Those executives at ABC are ruining daytime television.  Wonder how big their bonuses are....

Friday, November 11, 2011

The King

Oh, my goodness.  I never imagined that in the years 2011 that I would say goodbye to All My Children, and now...Regis.  I have watched Regis Philbin since I went to UCLA.  He had the local morning talk show on KABC with Cyndy Garvey.  I loved him right away.  Funny, charming, and curmudgeonly.  He was the first person that I saw to interview on the "red carpet" at the Academy Awards.  It was the perfect pre-party in those days.  It was local and not the current over the top extravaganzas.  I moved to NY in 1981 and had to say "goodbye" to Regis.  

How could I have ever imagined that Regis would follow me to NYC.  He started another local talk show here on WABC.  My mornings were revived.  I was so happy and felt like home was complete.  Horrors upon horrors, Cyndy left.  What would happen to the chemistry now?  Ann Abernathy came in.  A Southern woman who became an ample foil for Regis.  When she got married and moved away, more auditions were held for Regis' co-host.  Auditioning was Kathie Lee Johnson (now Gifford) whom I always was irritated by on Good Morning America, but when she sat down next to Regis...magic.  They were a perfect match.  Funny, irreverent, self-deprecating. After fifteen years and probably  one year too long, Kathie Lee left to seek new horizons. Enter Kelly Ripa, darling, funny and personable, star from All My Children.  Eleven years later....

Regis is leaving his morning talk show.  The one he created, originated, and inspired countless copy cats.  Regis is one of a kind.  Born and raised in the Bronx.  Fit seamlessly into life in Hollywood and returned to his roots in New York almost thirty years ago.  He has represented New York well.  He has shared thousands of stories and relayed them in his own inimitable fashion.  Regis Philbin is of the old school but kept evolving into an iconic television star.  There will never be another like him.  I don't think that there will ever be someone else that spent their lives in front of the cameras.  In today's market, it's too difficult.  He is the hope diamond.  He will not be replaced.  I am sorry that in all these years in New York together we never got to have lunch.  I don't know where this chapter of his life will take him.  I am guessing back to Los Angeles to be near his children and grandchildren.  Always a die hard Yankee fan and New Yorker.  Regis, you will be sorely missed.  I never ever thought this day would come.  I really didn't.  Your gain is our loss.  The New York landscape won't be the same. 
Regis, I love you!

Sidebars:  If you have never taken the time to watch Regis, it isn't too late. Next week is his last week.  Friday, 11/18/11 is his last day.  Hope that Kelly Ripa who just signed a 5 year extension can thrive.  Good luck, Kelly!  

Happy weekend!  Happy Veteran's Day!  It's 11/11/11.

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