Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Short Wrap

It is almost 2013 and before we go, I just have a few things to say.  Politicians get it together.  I can't stand the ridiculous stance of everyone.  I said it before and I will say it again, successful negotiating means everyone loses and everyone wins.  Both sides can't get everything they want, that's called bullying.  So politicians, start thinking about all the American citizens and not just your constituents.  This political system will have to change if we are going to always be campaigning from election to election.  That is not leading. That is not governing.  That is not doing your job.  Maybe this BS will push campaign finance reform and the length of our campaign cycles.  

The NRA is still embarrassing and ridiculous.  Wayne LaPierre made a fool out of himself on Meet the Press.  AND the DC Metro police is wasting tax dollars by going after David Gregory showing a 30 bullet clip on the air.  They say he broke the local law.  I am sorry about that, but for those of us who only see movies and never have seen what they are talking about, it was educational and clearly made the point.  

Sidebars: Bethany Frankel is getting divorced.  Ashton and Demi finally filed for divorce. Dear sweet Charles Durning and Jack Klugman died over Christmas. Rihanna and Chris Brown make a big public statement at the Lakers/Knicks game. Are Kris and Bruce Jenner really getting divorced?  Wouldn't really be surprised but wonder if it's just tabloid fodder. Tons of sports on TV, football and basketball.  For some it's bowl game heaven for others....Had our first storm in NYC, but thankfully, didn't get hit hard with snow.  Wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year's Eve and most important a healthy, prosperous, and loving 2013!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Heard This Song Before

Our communal attention, thankfully, is still on the violent acts by a mentally deranged young man in a quiet "New England" town. Everyday there are photos and videos of funerals, wakes, and memorials.  Publicly, the NRA has been incredibly slow to respond.  On the NRA video channel (who knew?), a female talking head wants teachers to be armed in the classroom.  She isn't alone in that sentiment.  The few "brave" souls that are still pro-guns have supported the increase in guns in gun-free zones.  

Oh, my God.  Is that the dumbest thing you've ever heard?  Think about it will you?  I am packing a pistol in my shoulder or hip holster, a mad man comes in with his semi-automatic weapons with the capacity to shoot 60 rounds a minute, I reach for my gun...I'm dead anyway. The dumbest people.  

Bill O'Reilly was one of the loudest voices about violent entertainment and its impact on the young in the Newtown aftermath.  Haven't we heard that song before?  It's not the fault of movies, video games, or television.  Do I wish that there was more thoughtful content in all media? Yes, I do, but this is not only a Free Speech issue, it is a parental issue.  How many times have I gone to R rated movies and there were 10 year olds or younger?  Parents need to both know their own child (which may or may not be possible in a dysfunctional family) and be mindful that their kids may be affected by the violent images that they are barraged with.  There has to be responsibility among the adults.  If you are a parent and are desperate to see the Quentin Tarantino movie, get a babysitter for your kids. Do not take them to see one of his movies.  As brilliant as they may be, they are full of shock and awe. I am not beating up Quentin Tarantino, Bill O'Reilly is.  There are many examples of movies that parents allow or take their kids to see that I am amazed by.  Know your child.  There's plenty of time to be subjected to horrifying visual images.  And believe me, if people stopped going to violent movies or buying violent video games, they wouldn't make them anymore.  It's whatever sells. Period.

With the future of guns of mass destruction now in doubt, Walmart, Kmart, and any other mart that sells these guns are flying off the shelves.  The panic of not being able to kill multiples is driving people straight to the stores.  Is that f**king ridiculous?  Can't the stores and corporations show some responsibility here, too?  They could put a moratorium on sales until things are settled in this Nation.  I continually find it horrifying that people's desire to be armed for war is supported by the NRA, the government, sellers, and citizens alike.  How does anybody sleep at night? 

Sidebars:  Busy week of finales on television. The Voice is over with the crowning of Cassadee Pope. Survivor finished with Denise winning the grand prize. The X Factor crowns its champ tonight.  Homeland ending a heart pounding and wrenching season 2.  I hope it doesn't take them too long to put Season 3 on the air.  Claire Danes and Hugh D'Ancy had their baby yesterday, Cyrus Michael D'Ancy.  Congratulations to them.  The Knicks are still kicking butt.  Amazing and shocking, but keeping all of us engrossed from game to game.  College Bowl season is upon us.  Too many, don't care, and looking forward to that being over.  The NCAA have just ruined all the college football traditions. Stripped it all away. Cha-ching at all cost. All the kids are getting out for the winter break, so wishing everyone a fun-filled, magical, couple of weeks.  I still may be writing but enjoy whatever you are doing.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Stick a Fork in It!

I'm done being reasonable. I'm done having understanding for the 2nd Amendment lovers. I'm done.  Totally and absolutely done.  The silence from "law-abiding" gun owners is deafening.  Where are they in all this?  If you don't speak out, aren't you culpable?  We as a nation have criticized the silent Muslims around the world for the heinous acts in the name of Allah, so isn't it time that we hold gun owners to the same standard?  

There is no reason for guns of mass destruction.  There is no reason for guns able to kill in multiples.  None.  I have supported the rights of gun owners that want to hunt and want to protect their homes and families, but have to meet me half way.  You stand so terrified that we want to take away all guns, you can't see straight. The more silent and stubborn you are, the more guns I want to take away.  Do I care if you can go hunting?  No, I have understood the primitive sport.  Now, don't care.  If you don't care about my rights to be safe and my childrens' rights to be safe, and my neighbors' rights to be safe, then I don't care if you can go kill Bambi and eat her through the winter or mount the head over your mantel.  Why are we worried about gun rights?  Why aren't we worried about the people's rights?

I will keep saying it, our Forefathers couldn't see this coming 250 years down the road.  Their intent was to keep family, property, and the new Nation safe.  Close your eyes and try to picture the vastness of this new Nation and how far apart people lived from each other and from cities. There may have been a need when one Sheriff covered large expansive areas, not anymore. I feel confident in my heart that the signers of the Bill of Rights would feel horrified.  Just like Allah would be horrified.  Just like Jesus would be horrified.  Sure crazy people can twist anything to justify mass murders, but if they don't have access to guns of mass destruction, it's far more difficult to succeed before being taken down by police.  

The silence is deafening.  The NRA won't make a comment until all the facts are in.  WTF?  Are they kidding?  Twenty children are dead from multiple bullets, some as many as eleven, as well as, six teachers!  Seriously?  You can't make a statement before all the facts are in?  Really?  I'm done. My understanding meter burst.  Done. Your silence speaks volumes.  

Sidebars:  As a mother of twins, I am feeling more shattered than I expected.  Dear, sweet Noah Pozner was a twin.  His twin sister, Ariel, survived the nightmare.  I didn't hear that until 5:30am this morning.  Noah called Ariel his best friend.  She was in a different classroom.  I truly can't comprehend the anguish.  Today begins the first of 26 funerals. If you didn't hear the President's words of compassion and strength at the Newtown vigil last night, Google it.  If you agree with any or all of what I said, please re-post, forward to friends, scream from hilltops.  This is a ground swell. Let's not stop stepping on the gas.  Keep the pressure on.  Changes are necessary.  I want to do more than write and sign petitions, but I am not sure what that will be or can be.  Stay safe.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Beyond Shattered

I have tried time and time again to be reasonable with members of the NRA's radical stance on no gun control.  I have tried to put their "hat" on and figure out how they feel, but I am done!  Done!  There is no reason for any guns that are meant for anything other than hunting or home protection.  If the NRA were a more compromising political body, maybe we wouldn't be pushing back so hard, but it's time.  

This is one of the most heart wrenching stories of violence.  Kindergartners!!!  What sense does that make?  We are parents or aunts and uncles or brothers and sisters.  This story in Newtown, CT is among the worst.  When these horrific acts of gun violence happen, we all feel the tragedy, we all want to take the guns away or hold onto the guns tighter. We have to come to terms to the violence.  I am sick of the saying, "guns don't kill people, people kill people."  Bullshit!  If everyone who purchased guns had a complete psychological examination, maybe that would be true, but when you can rip off 60 rounds of guns in seconds...guns kill people!  It's time.

In my heart of hearts, our Forefathers had no idea how the 2nd Amendment would be twisted and misconstrued.  Times were quite different.  Guns were different.  Our Forefathers wanted families and men to protect themselves from the English, the French, the Indians; anyone that would threaten their family and property. If they were alive today, I have no doubt that they would revise the "right to bear arms."  No doubt.  

My heart aches for the 26 dead, 18 of those children.  Hug the people you love just a little bit closer.  

My mind is a sea of anguish. I had to write something. We have to do something.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Day After 12/12/12

Well, I was lucky enough to get a photo of December 12, 2012 at 12:12:12.  I even surprised myself that it clicked exactly at 12 seconds. A memento for my lifetime since it won't happen again while I'm here.  I think it's 1/1/01 at 1:1:1.  Don't think I'll be here for that.

Last night at Madison Square Garden was the 12/12/12 Hurricane Sandy Benefit.  As previously stated, tickets went for ridiculous amounts of money on StubHub and other selling sights.  Typical.  Didn't dawn on legislators until today that they should pass some regulations about profiting on benefit tickets.  My whole perspective about concert tickets will have to wait for another day.

Anyway, the concert began at 8pm aired on a plethora of stations both on TV and radio.  Bruce Springsteen kicked off the night.  It was a line-up of mostly old white rock 'n rollers.  The Stones, The Who, Roger Waters, Eddie Vedder, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, and Bon Jovi. The exceptions were Chris White of Coldplay, Alicia Keys, and Kanye West and Adam Sandler. If the truth be told, I am not a huge admirer of any one of the performers, but I am a huge admirer of most of them. Seeing Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend play for the longest set of the night, was a blast.  Roger unbuttoning his shirt as if it was 1969.  He's mid-60's and looks pretty good.  Sounds a bit worse for wear, but he wasn't leaving the stage.  Did a nice understated tribute to Keith Moon.  I was watching on the MSG Network.  The stations were all airing at different speeds.  It was so odd.  The sound for most of the singers seemed a bit off.  Don't know who was getting the well balanced sound, but it wasn't MSG.  The concert went on way past my bedtime.  I am not even sure if I got it all on DVR. It began at 7:30pmEST and ended past 1am.  I think Paul McCartney closed the show.  An amazing event.  Reports are that 2 billion people watched.  If everyone who watched gave one dollar, can you imagine??  The numbers aren't in yet so we shall see.

These benefits concerts that we have had all to frequently now are incredible.  I will make special note that certain performers always show up: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, and Paul McCartney.  They showed up for the last minute one hour benefit immediately following Sandy, too.  Steve Van Zandt in an interview last night said that it was personal. They all group up on the Jersey shore, but they would've been there anyway.  Never doubted that.  

The one glaring omission...women.  Alicia Keys was the stand alone female performer and I think sang only one song.  She didn't use it as an opportunity for self promotion.  Weren't there other super talented women from Jersey and NYC that could've been on that stage?  Bette Midler?  Christina Aguilera?  Mariah Carey? I am posing the question.  Maybe more women were asked and couldn't make it...maybe not.  

The bottom line it was an incredible concert to watch.  Think I would've died if I'd been there for six hours.  Too tired to stay and too tortured to leave.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Left Holding the Bag

I feel desperately sorry for Mel Greig and Michael Christian.  They are the Australian DJ's who made the last prank phone call they will ever make to the absolutely wrong person.  A perfect storm that couldn't have been seen from down under, thousands of miles away. Did anyone at St. Edwards Hospital have an inkling that Jacintha Saldanha was in desperate need of help and therapy?  When the story broke before the tragedy, I thought it was a bit amusing, silly, and surprising.  I couldn't believe that security was so lax.  I couldn't believe that any information would've been given over the phone to anyone, especially the future Queen of England.  A very private stay in the hospital took a very unimaginable turn.  That the nurse committed suicide and left her husband and two children is nothing short of tragic.  The pain felt by all that knew her can't be measured or minimized.  But, and this is a big but, the DJ's, who made the call, lives are forever changed.  They lost their radio show.  They only spoke out publicly today.  Through their tears and disbelief, their lives as they know them are done.  Should they be fired from the station?  Well, taking away their radio show seems to be just that with salary.  What I didn't know until today...this was a taped prank that was sent for approval to management and legal.  Really?  The big honchos said play it and the DJ's lose their jobs?  Really??  Misplaced anger and terminations.

Bob Costas was so thrown under the bus by his bosses at NBC for his pre-approved statement for gun control on last week's Sunday Night Football.  His bosses knew what he was going to say, let him say it, and when things got hot and critical, they hung him out to dry.  Talent gets the blame.

The NFL is also hanging out their players for profit.  Week in and week out, player after player is injured and taken out of the game.  I am sure someone has the stats, I don't, but this year seems worse than ever.  Sunday is all about who makes it through the game unharmed.  It isn't easy and watching pro football has become so uncomfortable and painful.  The NFL could start by not amplifying all the sounds on the field.  There are so many rules that could be administered to help minimize the elevated brutality of a sport that is watched by so many Americans every weekend.  I am finding it nauseating and it's all for profit.  The players are bigger than ever and physical weapons of destruction.

Sidebars:  If you aren't on board with Homeland, get the series from Netflix or Showtime on Demand.  It really is a great ride.  The Amazing Race finale was so incredibly satisfying on so many levels.  It was illustrative that Karma is a bitch.  It was hilarious to read the messages on The Amazing Race message board when the 4th team was out.  Instantaneous reactions. Jenni Rivera and her whole team were killed in another small plane crash.  Hope we find out the cause, but why doesn't anyone learn not to fly small planes?  We have lost so many over the years in small planes.  Jenni Rivera was just on the cusp of becoming known to all of us with an ABC series deal....60 Minutes with Hugh Jackman was very satisfying.  I am sure you can Google it if you missed it.  The star-studded 12/12/12 Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden is another disgrace to fans.  Tickets were sold out in seconds and are going for up to $27,000. That is a lot of money and would maybe be "okay" if the money was all going to charity, but it's not.  The scalpers are getting an end of the year windfall. 

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Complex December

December has always been a tricky month for me. Being Jewish and growing up in a largely Christian community, I was raised with all the beautiful trappings of Christmas: a tree, lights, music, carols, baking, shopping, Santa, presents, ribbons, ornaments, etc. Singing in choir and a cappella singing groups all the quintessential songs of the season (and some not so quintessential songs).  Running up to San Francisco with the Madrigals and singing all over the city.  Fondly remembering singing on the cable cars.  Driving up to Hillsborough with friends in search of Bing Crosby's home so we could carol outside to him.  Through my high school years, I had no conflict of religious identity. 

My final year of college, I came to New York City for the first time for Winter break.  I was meeting my family for a week and then remaining on with friends. That was the most life altering moment of my life.  Arriving Christmas time in NYC was the most beautiful place I'd ever seen.  I felt "home" for the first time. I belonged. The energy was infectious. I did everything in that trip that would make a person fall in love with this city:  Tavern on the Green (now gone), a horse and buggy ride (before all the controversy). Cafe Des Artistes, going to see the windows at Saks, Lord and Taylor, Blommingdales, the tree at Rockefeller Plaza, saw Jim Dale in Barnum, Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kline in Pirates of Penzance, David Bowie in Elephant Man, and Tim Curry in Amadeus, Joe Allen's on New Year's Eve (the closest I would ever get to the masses of people in Times Square). If you've never been to NYC, come see and experience it once in your life in December.  It is stunning. I moved to New York Labor Day weekend 1981.

On December 2, 1981, I went out on the most stereotypical terrible blind date that my Aunt had arranged.  Ugh!  Never doing that again.  Horrible.  I got home that evening and had a message from a man.  I didn't want to even call him back after my evening's experience, but my Mother said go ahead. I did.  On December 3rd, I met the man that would become my husband on a blind date.  We hit it off right away, but never in a million years did I see what the future would hold.  It's hard for me to believe that it's been 31 years, when I feel like a 16 year old in my heart.  

Decembers have evolved over the years.  There are still conflicting feelings of the Jewish/Christian tug, but I have come to realize that all those incredible lights, window displays, and songs are for us all, though I could do without 24/7 Christmas music in the stores and on the radio for a month. In spite of myself, I am still singing along wherever I go. The crowds in midtown have gotten out of hand at Christmas time, that real New Yorkers avoid the area like the plague.  I still enjoy it, but pick my times very carefully. Traffic is terrible. Gridlock alerts are every day.  Shoulder to shoulder walking at times. 

A few years ago, I was bemoaning the fact that my children have never been to a tree trimming party.  The next week, a friend sent us a beautiful little tree with lights and faux snow.  I have put it up every year since with our Chanukah ornaments and beautiful blue balls.  This year, the first night of Chanukah begins Saturday night, so we will light our menorah, eat our potato latkes, give gifts, and still get two more weeks of the general holiday season.  

I know it's an incredibly complex time of year for people, and I am no exception.  These are my feelings right now.  Ask me tomorrow?  Who knows?

Sidebars:  The Voice is down to the final four.  It has been a remarkable season.  The Amazing Race is down to the final four teams. The finale is Sunday. Homeland continues to keep me breathless, only two more episodes left for the season. Bob Costas made remarks pro- gun control on Sunday Night Football, took tons of heat from people on the Right, and yesterday was stuttering and stammering to back pedal his stance.  Too bad. I am so happy about the Royal baby to come.  I hope that Dutchess Kate gets through this terrible bout of morning sickness.  Question posed to me yesterday:  if she has twins, who is first in line for the thrown?  The first baby shoved out?  

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