Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I don't think that lap band surgery has worked on Chris Christie.  I think he's eating right through it.  Hope I'm wrong, but....Anyone else hate the series of commercials with James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell? Why, why did they do it?  Why did the ad agency think it was a good campaign.  Who wants to hear James Earl Jones talk like a 12 year old girl?  Ugh.  Already not liking DiBlasio's first, immediate plan.  He wants to stop all horse and carriage rides in NYC.  Okay, I know that animal rights groups are thrilled, but you are taking away a tradition on your first day?  Taking away jobs from the drivers?  If they have to go away, and that's a big if, they should phase it out.  Don't give out new licenses and permits and let the people who already are driving the carriages to keep their jobs.  That would be more humane!!  I already am feeling that soon to be Mayor DiBlasio is going to make me seem like a Republican.  I think he may be too liberal even for me.  Ugh. Happy for Brian Boitano and Robin Roberts "coming out," but didn't everyone already know?  Can't wait for the day it doesn't matter at all, but thought both "announcements"  were odd. Television is concentrating on the big ball drop in Times Square.  I know that I am old, but I can't think of anything worse.  Thirty years ago, maybe, but today?? Forget about it.  Packed in like sardines, no bathrooms, food, or any creature comforts.  Don't even know how anyone at any age can stand for 10 plus hours.  Ugh.  I was there on the periphery New Year's Eve 1980. It was festive, wild and too many drunk people out on the streets, but it was fun because it was new.  You weren't trapped inside perimeters.  Anyway, these are just some straggling thoughts from the past that I wanted to get in before the close of 2013.  I am sure there are more, but I will hold them for next year.

So again, my friends and readers, wishing you and yours a fantastic, hopeful 2014.  Be safe and have fun.  

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Odds 'n' Ends

As I have ruminated about 2013, I have felt very let down by our government.  I have felt very hopeful about the arts.  I am apprehensive about the changing of the guard in the Mayoral position in New York.  I have found a sense of hope, surprisingly because I am not Catholic nor Christian, with Pope Francis.  This year that's coming to a close, it's been a tough one.  And that's both in the big picture and the individual picture.  I know many who have had a difficult year.

The anger and hate and venom that has been spewed all around the Country about different topics,  all lead back to Washington, D.C. has taken its toll.  The entire Affordable Care Act rollout debacle has been calamitous.  Can it recover?  I don't know.  We are a people that want everything right now.  We have become accustomed to immediate gratification.  We don't like to wait in lines, or hold on the phone, or wait for return calls.  We text and we want immediate response.  So, can the good be gotten from A.C.A.?  Is it even a good plan?  I have no idea.  All along I've said, something had to happen.  If the legislative bodies had the good of all people in mind, it would work, but with the rancor...?  Also, could the news anchors/talking heads call it the Affordable Care Act? Could they stop being lazy?  They all say Obamacare which is definitely a pejorative phrase created by some fantastically brilliant Republican think tank.  Why do the news producers help promote it?  Okay, enough on that.  2014 will clarify its success or failure.  

Mayor Bloomberg is finishing up his last two days of his third term mayoral position.  He has done good things and some questionable things.  Not sure that I can say he's done bad things.  The most controversial policy was stop and frisk.  Very complicated. No easy answers.  Our new Mayor-elect, DiBlasio ran his whole campaign against stop and frisk. We shall see what happens to NYC without it.  I have no idea. I am not fearful about it, just pondering.  Mayor Bloomberg also instilled many pro-environment regulations.  No smoking anywhere except on the street or in your own home.  Bike lanes, which I loathe.  Bike rentals aka CitiBikes all over.  He put together a huge forward thinking deal on Randall's Island to create a very high tech graduate school for Cornell and Technion Universities to promote future Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.  Have I loved him?  Well, honestly, I probably would've voted for him for a 4th term.  I really like he has no family that we have to hear about.  I am already dreading DiBlasio's family.  There's talk of his wife holding a position in his administration.  Ugh!  She may be brilliant, she may be incredible, but I didn't vote for her.  I am always aware that spouses hold sway over their mates, but that's privately.  So, we shall see what happens in 2014 in NYC.  

2013 was a great year for movies and theatre.  I can't speak about art and music, though Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and Beyonce seemed to take the world by storm.  Maybe Justin Bieber will really retire and the world will be a bit better.  Miley Cyrus is a wait and see for me. There were movies for everyone this year that were high calibre.  Gravity, Philomena, Blue Jasmine, Saving Mr. Banks, and Catching Fire were standouts.  There were great family films this year that took the box office and the critics by storm: Despicable Me 2 and Frozen.  Theatre has long been a passion of mine but feel like I've been in a drought.  Not saying that there aren't wonderful things to see, but at the ticket prices not always worth it.  Thrilled for my friend, Robert L. Freedman, on the success of his new Broadway musical, A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder.  Rave reviews, no stars in the cast, and wowing audiences.  I hope that it proves to be a big box office winner so that producers will take more chances again and not always the "sure fire hit."  Twelfth Night was a thrill with the all male cast led by Mark Rylance. There are so many other shows, but these are on my front burner.  Seeing After Midnight in the very first days of 2014.  Looking forward to that experience.  

I am a touch sad that Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs marriage is over.  Always seemed like an odd couple that was making it.  Guess not.  I don't want to hear one thing more about Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.  That's not possible, but why can't they just go away and live their lives privately.  Why do we have to hear about their excess and their tacky taste.  Did you see that Birkin bag??  Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.  Keep that in mind while planning your over the top wedding.  I wish that Carrie Underwood would've stayed out of the conversation about her performance in the Sound of Music.  She tweeted that the haters needed to love Jesus more or some such thing.  Stay out of it. It's for others to say. Can I say again, Justin Bieber please retire.  Let's concentrate on stories in 2014 that actually matter, that are positive.  If you re looking for a celebrity to follow, follow Jennifer Lawrence.  I don't think she will be a disappointment.  She's not only a wonderful young actress, she seems to have a very centered core and sticks to her beliefs.  

Things to look forward to in 2014?  Well, first off Downton Abbey,  starts Sunday, January 5th on PBS. If you haven't hopped on that train yet, you have time to watch all three seasons before Sunday.  I have to say I am looking forward to the Super Bowl in New Jersey.  Did I say outside in February?  It makes me smile with amusement that the NFL thought it was a good location choice. This may be the worst weather since Super Bowl XVI in Pontiac, Michigan.  The highlight...Bruno Mars at halftime. The Golden Globes the best awards show of them all. That's just he first month of the year.  There is so much more, stay tuned.

It's a new year. New beginnings.  New beginnings are always something to look forward to in my book. Clean slate if you want it.  Close the book and open a new one.  We are ready and poised for a positive 2014.  Make resolutions or don't, but stay true to yourself and be kind.  Pick up your head from your tech gadget and look around.  There are so many possibilities.  Don't miss them.  Thank you to all my very wonderful and loyal readers. Thank you to my infrequent readers and finally, thank you to my once in a blue moon readers.  You all matter.  Wishing you and yours a thoughtful, warm, loving, healthy, and successful 2014!!!!!

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Athlete Idolatry

I have thought a lot about Jameis Winston.  He is the quarterback of the Florida State University Seminoles.  I never heard of him until there were charges hurled against him for sexual assault.  To be honest, that did perk up my interest.  I am fascinated at the billed up and idolization of athletes.  I wondered what happened in this case and learned about it almost a year later that the charges were filed by the young woman.  Really?  It wasn't headline news when it happened?  What happened to the system?  To the reporting?  The local police dropped the ball on it.  Didn't find or look for enough evidence.  Is that the case?  The officials didn't want to take down their star quarterback.  Places like Tallahassee, live and die for their football.  Like so many towns in America.  What happened here?  Well, a year after the alleged rape, they brought in an independent attorney to see if they could charge Jameis Martin with a crime.  Don't forget the tom-toms were getting louder because the Heisman Trophy vote was upon them.  Surprise, surprise.  After one year of muddled evidence gathering and interviewing, the new States attorney found that there wasn't enough evidence to file charges.  What would have happened if it had happened a year earlier, right after the alleged incident?  How proud the Heisman voters can be of their choice this year.  No one ever bothered to investigate and prove one way or another of his innocence or guilt.  He was their guy and they awarded him with the highest honor in college football.  Good job sports writers, good job.

As a society, we have a serious problem with our love of sports and our athletes.  This is a perfect recent example.  The local authorities didn't treat Jameis Winston how they would've treated any other alleged rapist.  He was their man. Their star. Their idol.  The woman was just a coed.  She wasn't bringing joy and thrills into their lives.  She got into a bad situation.  We will never know what really happened here, but I feel strongly that something did happen.  Common sense is leading me to this conclusion.  The victim's family has stood by her this whole time.  They've been pushing for justice for a year.  They have pursued every avenue to find justice for their daughter.  I am a parent.  There's no way that I would fight this hard for my child if I thought she was lying.  She had injuries.  They believed their daughter.  They have found no victory here.  She has been pilloried. 

Much like the young girl in Steubenville, Ohio, whose life and family were destroyed by her charging rape against players on the local high school football team.  They had to move because she was getting bullied and threatened. They burned down her house.  Really?  She wasn't getting any justice for two years!!! Finally, charges were filed against many of the adults that looked the other way.  Finally, she can get her life back and find some semblance of victory and justice.  

But why should it be this way?  Why do we hold our athletes up so high that everyone else pales in comparison. Does the name Kobe Bryant mean anything to you?  I firmly believed he got away with rape.  They were going to attack the victim mercilessly on the stand for her sexual history, that she dropped the charges.  When OJ Simpson was first becoming a suspect, the Los Angeles police fawned over him.  OJ was one of the greats and was raised to the highest of the highs.  No one could believe it.  Present company included, but after about 6 hours it became fairly apparent that he was involved.  Unfortunately for the justice system, the disparity between rich and regular defendants was apparent.  No one had a better team of defenders. At all cost, the best experts and lawyers took team OJ's side.  The Los Angeles prosecutor made some big errors and didn't have the money to make it a fair battle.  OJ got off.  Thankfully, he committed another crime and is currently in jail.  Not fully satisfying because he did get away with a double homicide.  No doubt.  

So, how do we change our society? How do we stop putting athletes next to God and Jesus?  I don't know.  I have already ruminated about the passion and love of sports.  I can be as guilty as anyone being swept up in the mob mentality of cheering and booing, so I don't know the answer.  Something has to change.  And for those that want to blame the women, I can't support it.  I do think people that have a lot to lose, shouldn't put themselves in compromising positions.  Then there'd be no threat of any charges.  Women, too, should think twice, maybe five times, before going anywhere with athletes.  The playing field isn't even.

Sidebars:  I finished watching my first season of Survivor.  It was fairly fun.  Still hate the disgusting eating challenges, but entertaining nonetheless. Homeland finished its third season.  Wow!  Can't see the path forward for season four, but we shall see.  Went to see the all male cast of Twelfth Night with an incredible cast of English actors.  I was kicking and screaming about going.  It was cold. It was three hours.  Really resented the whole thing, though it was originally my idea.  It was exactly what theatre is supposed to do.  It transformed me from crabby to the happiest of places. Laughing aloud many times.  It is the true definition of theatre.  Loved every bit of it.  The actors squeezed every last laugh out of every last line without chewing the scenery in any way.  Flawless. Brilliant.  If you have the opportunity to see it here in NYC, don't miss it.  Freezing here in New York City.  More snow on the way.  

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Friday, December 6, 2013

The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Cattiness

Last night, NBC did something that hadn't been done since 1957.  They dared to do a live performance of the Sound of Music.  What an undertaking. Huge.  The confines of a warehouse space and multiple sets.  Rehearsing for months and one shot, that's it.  NBC promoted the hell out of it.  Why wouldn't they?  They have spent millions to mount the production.  In order to get it produced, they had to hire a name.  They hired Carrie Underwood to star as Maria Von Trapp.  Really?  Carrie Underwood.  She walked away as the first country singer to win American Idol and has sold millions and won multiple awards since for her albums.  She sells out arenas globally and she is stunningly beautiful.  They needed a star.  She's a star.  They hired, for her love interest, Steven Moyer from the series, True Blood.  Audra McDonald, former client of mine and a 5 time Tony winner, was cast as the Mother Superior.  The cast was flooded with many New York theatre actors playing many of the smaller roles.  Christian Borle and Laura Benanti as Herr Detweiler and Elsa.  The excitement was mounting for weeks whether you cared or not.  NBC showed clips from rehearsals, interviews, and background shots.  Last night was the night.

At 8pm the incredible music from Rodgers and Hammerstein began.  It is a beautiful soaring score. The excitement was palpable.  (They produced the stage version, not the movie version).  No sooner did the production begin and Carrie Underwood began singing the theatre nastiness came out.  It was like reading Talkin' Broadway live but on Facebook.  (Talkin' Broadway is a website where people tear down shows and performers from the first second they step on stage).  It's nasty and bitchy.  So was this.  There were so many comments on Facebook tearing down every aspect of the production.  I know that everyone has the right to their opinion but it seemed so incredibly mean-spirited and God forbid you have FB friends not on the East coast, you took them all out and popped their bubbles before it even began in two thirds of the country.

I really was stunned by the vitriol.  Do you realize that you are all the reason we are where we are in theatre?  If you wouldn't support theatre with stars in the leading roles, producers wouldn't make money hand over fist.  The more money producers make with stars leading the casts of shows, makes them believe that shows can't happen without a "name."  Have you bought your tickets to A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway yet?  No stars in it.  Great, great talent.  Rave reviews, some of the best of 2013.  TIME magazine picked it in their top 10 of 2013, but because there aren't huge names, it ridiculously struggles at the box office.  

So, NBC hired a big name in country music.  They promo'd Carrie Underwood's performance for weeks.  Nary a mention of Audra McDonald or any other actor.  The show rested solely on her shoulders.  She has never set foot on a stage before and was cast and accepted one of the iconic roles in musical theatre. Carrie Underwood took a chance.  She had more to lose than anyone.  She didn't need to do this.  She makes tons of money in country music. I think it was really brave of her.  I don't care if she rehearsed everyday for 6 months.  She has never acted, ever.  

So the sharp pencils came out from the first note.  Facebook people and, I presume Tweeters, tore Carrie Underwood down.  Few mentioned Steven Moyer whom I think was far more miscast.  So, where do I go from here?  I think it's fantastic that Craig Zadan, Neil Maron, and NBC produced The Sound of Music live. I think it's an incredible feat.  It went as smoothly as my eye could see.  I would hope that spoiled theatre lovers would support this kind of venture.  Not everyone in America has the opportunity to come to New York City or see National Tours.  They are expensive.  

So, if you want to let your dollars lead the way, support the shows without big stars.  It's the only way things will change, but put your claws back in.  No matter what, it is still the Sound of Music.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Silencing Voices

It bothers me that Martin Bashir resigned from MSNBC.  It's not that I don't understand the objectionable comments that put him in hot water, but one disgusting mess up and he's out?  Rush Limbaugh made several disgraceful and offensive statements about Sondra Fluke and he still keeps the airwaves humming.  Why is it that the Left leaning people always take a hit and the Right get away with it. Rush even stands more firmly on his stance and is seldom apologetic.  Martin Bashir made a public apology to the viewers and Sarah Palin but what about the idiotic thing Sarah Palin said that propelled Bashir to say such a disgusting thing?  That gets overlooked.  It's his reaction that takes him down not the "action."  

True for Alec Baldwin too.  He was again a blowhard and made insensitive comments to a paparazzo and lost his job.  I just hate that. Why can't the viewers be the deciding factor?  If everybody hates Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir and can't forgive them for their idiocy, then the ratings will tank and that is democracy.  The way both these men lost their jobs makes me feel very uncomfortable. 

I also admire the brilliance of the right wing machine.  They are effective and stay on message no matter what.  They back up their own blindly, right or wrong, no matter what.  The left wing has no machine.  The left wing has differing opinions and points of view which makes it very difficult to get anything done.  The talking heads on the right can do or say anything with little consequence.  The left crumbles like a house of cards.  Can't take the heat or the never ending barrage of criticisms.  Just gone, out.  

So, sadly, I think, whether you like Martin Bashir or Alec Baldwin at all, they are gone off MSNBC just like that!  Off the airwaves.  Banished.  Exiled. Over.  The viewers are left without any say.  These aren't the only two that have been shut down, just the most recent examples.  

Ah, sports and the icons we make.  Have you heard of Jameis Winston?  No?  Well, he is the current beloved, winning quarterback for the #1 Florida State Gators.  He is up for a Heisman Trophy for his athletic prowess. Sounds great, right?  Well, he also has been accused of raping a coed a year ago.  The young woman's family has said that no one locally wanted to look into the allegations because no one wants to take down their local football hero.  Her family kept pushing and today the Florida State Attorney will make an announcement at 2pm on ESPN.  I personally want to thank Will Farrell/Ron Burgundy because without his cancelled co-anchor stint being cancelled today, the only people that would know about this story are the people that don't want to hear anything about their Heisman candidate.  Ah, sports.  Winning is all that matters.  Look, do I know what happened the night of the alleged rape.  Absolutely not, but this young woman and her family have not given up.  Common sense says who would do that, if it weren't true?  Does the name Kobe Bryant mean anything to you?  We love our sports stars and to hell with their off the field antics or crimes.  

Sidebars:  Tonight is the live Sound of Music on NBC starring Carrie Underwood.  Did you know?  They have over promo'd this and I hope it's as great as they are thinking it will be at NBC.  Out of the mouths of babes so to speak, we were watching the SNL Christmas special last night.  There was a skit starring Garrett Morris.  My child said, this isn't funny.  I had to laugh because generation after generation know that if Garrett Morris is in the skit, it's not funny.  I don't know why that is.  Maybe the writers in 1985 had no idea how to write comedy for a black man.  We always used his skits for a kitchen or bathroom break.  And so it goes. Go see Philomena starring Dame Judy Dench and Steve Coogan.  He wrote the screenplay. Great movie. Well worth your time and effort.  If Texas and parts of the South get slammed by an ice storm, are they going to ask for Federal assistance?  

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pick 'em

As we come off the high of one of the most thrilling and heart-stopping College football Saturdays in recent memory, it propels me to speak of things I shouldn't even know about.  Sports betting.  No, really.  Do you know that betting on sports is illegal?  The only legal sports betting is inside Las Vegas casinos and at the horse racing tracks.  Did you know that?  How could you?  Sports lines are spoken about on every single news show and sports segments.  In newspapers across the country, a full page is devoted to the gambling line.  How is that possible?  How is it completely socially acceptable and blatantly flaunted and yet still illegal?

Another one of the great American hypocrisies.  I don't know what the moral and ethical hang up is and who is holding the keys, but it is without doubt the most astonishingly short-sighted view.  Can you imagine if sports betting was legal?  In London, there are beautiful, elegant betting parlors.  If we had that here, even without the real estate, we could be a completely flush country.  We could collect on all winning bets.  Just like the stock market which is legalized and acceptable gambling.  We would be out of debt.  We could stop hearing from all the Pols about how we have to cut this and that.  

Seriously, people, do you realize how ridiculous it is?  Do you look through your sports pages?  Do you see how much space is devoted to the betting lines?  Do you watch the sports shows?  It may have begun by the one and only Jimmy the Greek on CBS.  When he started openly picking winners for the bettors and sports pool players at home, it became second nature to all sports lovers.  The health and wealth of sports television grew because of all the gambling, albeit illegal.  If you could bet on it, it became a huge moneymaker.  So why is it still illegal?  Seriously.  What's wrong with this hypocrisy?  I don't get it.  It's everywhere.  Why shouldn't the government be collecting taxes?  They do at the race track.  If you win big, the first thing the government does is take their cut.  Why not for all the football bets?  Basketball bets?  Baseball bets?  (Betting on baseball is a huge losing proposition and if your loved one is, get a separate bank account). 

I think that you are getting my drift, but who is listening to me?  I just don't get it.  Who is standing on the mountain and keeps voting it down?  It's bull and shortsighted.  People gamble on sports.  Television stations, executives, teams, owners, are all getting more rich.  Why shouldn't the government?  Why shouldn't it come out of the shadows legally? Come on, people.  This is an easy one.  Stop being so holier than thou.  It's happening all the time, legal or not.

Sidebars:  The Good Wife is inconsistent in its writing for moment to moment. The Mentalist has jumped the shark.  Homeland is difficult to watch because of its intensity. The Blacklist is finished until January and so bloody and violent.  James Spader is that show.  The Voice is winding down. Tonight we will see who gets knocked off.  I predict Cole and Matthew.  Okay, here's a piece by a writer for The Daily Beast that I think everyone should read, especially anyone that is a coach or runs an athletic program.  Take the time to copy and paste on the link and read it: 
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/02/alabama-coach-nick-saban-s-folly-great-coaches-protect-their-players.html  .  
Off to see Philomena.  Happy Tuesday! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Day the Innocence Died

What more can I add to the conversation?  Probably nothing, really.  BUT it is the defining moment in my life and everyone's life of a certain age.  I think that I am the cutoff.  I was four years old. I was watching Pete and Gladys with my Mom, sitting on the coach in our den.  It was a series in syndication, but to me it was first run.  A short lived series starring the great Harry Morgan.  I couldn't tell you what station we were watching. I couldn't tell you who broke in with the news, but the day President Kennedy was assassinated is a defining moment in all of our lives.  Things changed immediately.  Innocence was lost.  Now, clearly in all these decades we have romanticized what could have been.  The conspiracy theorists are still around.  No matter, the tragedy looms large for 50 years.  

50 Years?  It doesn't feel that long ago.  The memories so real and vivid.  Of course, this week there have been so many conversations, news clips, analysis that it does come sweeping back into the frontal lobe. I have been teary all week.  It gets me every time seeing John John salute the coffin.  Every time.  The eyewitness stories of Jackie Kennedy's heroics and grace has been repeated all week.  How at such a young age she was able to think forward, think legacy, think future is astonishing.  I know all the tales of JFK's infidelities, but like many women before her and women after, there still seemed to be an undeniable love. She protected him fiercely in life and in death.  The stories are all over the channels this week.  

How different would our lives have been if the President had lived?  It's anyone's guess.  There's no way of even knowing. Stephen King took a stab at it.  He wrote a fantastic yarn called, 11/22/63.  It is a great read and though it's fiction does give some pause for thought.  President Kennedy and the Camelot years have been so idealized that maybe he would have been no better than all the many other Presidents that have led this country, but due to the one second in Dallas on November 22, 1963 we will never know.  The great tragedy of my generation.  The defining moment, only to be followed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.  The heartbreak began for generations of Americans that day and broke our rose colored glasses.  Take a moment to remember and share where you were or what you were doing when you heard the news of the President's been shot.  

​Sidebars: Hard to be lighthearted today but a few things to note.  Survivor proves week in and week out the more you speak, the faster you're gone.  Every time.  It's ridiculous and probably a good life lesson.  Covert Affairs finished its season last night and finally came to a conclusion, thankfully. Maybe next season can go back to its origins. Grey's Anatomy is going to take on OCD, but don't understand how it develops in a person over 40.  Hope they address that.  Re-watched The Hunger Games yesterday and going to see Catching Fire today.  All ready for that.  Today is the home opener for our Varsity Basketball season.  Go Dragons!  Please share your memory of November 22, 1963. 

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Thanksgivikkah

A once in a lifetime event is occurring on Thanksgiving.  Chanukah and Thanksgiving are overlapping.  The next time that they will overlap again on November 28th will be in the year 79811!! Chanukah begins a week from tonight for 8 nights.  It is a modest but beautiful celebration of miracles in the Jewish religion.  It is not a big holiday but has gotten bigger and more materialistic over the years to compete or keep up with all that goes with Christmas.  

Sarah Palin and Bill O'Reilly have made lots of noise about the assault on Christmas.  Sarah Palin has a new book about it so the talk has gotten louder again.  Well, it is that time of year for the discussion.  Is it offensive to wish a non-Christian Merry Christmas?  It's not an easy answer.  Maybe offensive is too strong a word, but if you are wishing someone something for them or for yourself makes a difference.  I distinctly remember getting Christmas cards that were quite religious and feeling nothing; odd.  Particularly, when I was an adult business owner.  It was a battle every year about what kind of "holiday" card to send out.  Thirty years ago, most of the prettiest cards were also among the most religious, so we would have to put them back on the shelf.  Things have changed an awful lot with the more politically correct "Happy Holiday" cards.  There are far more choices.  

So let me go back to why you are sending out cards?  Why you are wishing someone a happy ______________?  If you are doing it for yourself, then have at it.  Don't care about the other and send religious cards or wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  BUT if you are trying to reach out to others to truly wish them a happy ________ then wishing someone a Happy Holiday is the way to go.  It's not about you, is it?  Look, if I sent out Happy Chanukah cards to everyone it would be weird.  Many receivers would feel nothing, feel offended, think, huh?  

So war on Christmas?  I don't think so.  Look around you.  Everywhere you look it's Christmas decorations.  Christmas sales.  Christmas trees.  There is a shelf or two for Chanukah because I live in New York City.  There are no shelves in the Manhattan store for any other religions.  No Kwanzaa.  No Diwali.  No place for Atheists. In America, if you aren't Christian, you are reminded of it everyday, but particularly from November to January.  Hopefully wishing everyone a generic Happy Holiday becomes a more inclusive salutation.  So, again, war on Christmas? I think and hope that we are becoming more sensitive to all our differences and honoring them.

Sidebars:  The Good Wife was a better episode, though the random blonde woman that keeps showing up for sex with Will at the office and while he's on the phone at home is so aggravating.  Unprofessional  to the core and unnecessary to the storyline. Dancing With the Stars is getting down to the finals.  What is curious is that Bill Engvall keeps getting saved by the Southern voters.  All these other better dancers have been going home week after week.  He's still there.  The show will definitely have a problem if he wins.  He's a nice man, trying really hard, but pales in comparison to Amber Riley, Jack Osborne, and Corbin Bleu.  (side-side bar:  They said that Corbin Bleu was accepted to Stanford pre-med at the same time he was cast in High School musical.  Wow!). The Voice is down to the top 8.  It's getting harder and harder and I can actually say that anyone can win.  I have my favorite, but it's been a very talented season.  Amazing how many great singers there are in America.  How many is too many?  Tonight, Law and Order: SVU and Nashville.  Enjoy!

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Affordable Care or Not

So, the Republicans are dancing in the streets of D.C. and all over their districts.  Mitch McConnell's war from the outset of President Barack Obama's presidency is finally showing blood.  They can taste it.  At all cost, no matter whether truths or falsehoods.  

I am going to get myself into complex waters by taking this on but the truth is if Congress would work how it is supposed to work, none of this hell storm would be happening on the ACA website.  Congress is supposed to pass laws, then, and this is the very important piece, then tweak it and perfect it.  Our Representatives go into committees to make sure that the law that was passed, no matter the law, will be refined and improved.  That is the job of our lawmakers.  All of our lawmakers.  Sometimes we may not like the laws that get passed, but that's how democracy works.  

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as the Republicans coined, could have worked far more smoothly than it has so far if all the elected lawmakers read, studied, and proposed improvements.  That wasn't what was good for the re-elections.  Their interests were always self-interests.  That the constituents don't get that and keep re-electing the good-for-nothing politicians that don't suffer one tiny bit.  They didn't suffer when they shut down the government. They have a fantastic health plan for life, which is in itself ludicrous.  We, the People, have made being a Senator or Congressman the cushiest job in America.  The lawmakers should not be living the good life, while Americans suffer.  Their hypocrisy is nauseating.  Their outrage over the problems with the roll out and the perceived out and out lie from the President is incredibly ingenuous.  They wanted it to be a failure from the get go.  Why not be honest about it?  You can see the drool trickling out of Darryl Issa's mouth.  They are all gnawing on the bones.  

The only honest statement made was from Mitch McConnell on President Obama's election night.  Since then, lies and more lies, hypocrisy running rampant.  Wake up!  No citizen is winning, not a one.

Sidebars:  It was great to see JFK's grandson at Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg's swearing in ceremony.  He's handsome and hope that he takes the mantle and contributes to the future. The Voice still is charging on through the ratings and entertainment.  Dancing With the Stars is down.  I wish they weren't opposite each other.  The Biggest Loser only being an hour is the best improvement of the television season.  Watching Survivor for the first time from the beginning. They got me with the premise of teaming with a loved one.  It hasn't been as juicy as I thought, but hanging in until the end.  I think a lot of shows have jumped the shark; pushing the lines of believability: The Good Wife, The Mentalist, Revenge, Homeland, Covert Affairs, White Collar, to name a few.
The X Factor has turned all their judges into the nicest bunch of critics ever.  Even Simon Cowell has Paula Abdul disease.  

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013


My mind has been in a swirl and a little numb.  I know, how can it be both? But things are happening around me and all over the world which are making it more difficult to make complete sentences.  Reading the newspapers is bleak both locally and internationally.  Entertainment hasn't been thrilling recently to help take my mind off the darkness that exists.  

I recommended to my daughter to go ice skating at Bryant Park with her friend.  A beautiful area during the holiday/winter season.  The ice skating is free but the rental costs are great.  The snack costs are high, so "free" is relative.  Still cheaper than Wollman Rink in Central Park and probably cheaper than Rockefeller Plaza rink, but it ends up being a very pricey outing. They went, spent too much, had moderate fun.  That was Friday night.  Saturday night, the lead story was a shooting at the rink.  Seriously?  Why do I have to keep hearing about shootings?  Why can't we see that it's not just mentally ill people with guns? It's too many people with guns.  Another rude reality in an otherwise blissful location.  Ugh!

Watched Matt Lauer interview Sarah Palin the other morning.  It was a disgrace.  Did NBC get so shaken by Reince Prebus' threats of boycotting NBC over the Hilary Clinton movie, which has since been cancelled, that they just ask softball questions?  Matt Lauer let her say anything whether or not it was fact or fiction.  It was cozy and flirty.  Very uncomfortable to watch if you expect the Today Show to be a "news" program. I have hung in with them in the morning, but if they want to know what's wrong with the show, just put the Lauer/Palin interview on a loop.  I can't imagine George Stephanopoulis letting an interviewee get away with the crap that was spewing from Sarah Palin's mouth.  I'm not even sure why she even gets air time outside of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck.  If she weren't a beauty, she'd be nowhere.  She is not getting by on her brains.  Ugh!

Sunday night, November 10th, was the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht.  Another day in history which is getting lost in footnotes, but it is one of the most defining days of the Nazi rise against the Jews.  There were many witnesses reporting what they saw.  Attention might have gone up, but not for long.  30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps, homes and businesses owned by Jews were ransacked and destroyed, Synagogues were burned and destroyed, and approximately 100 Jews were killed. Kristallnacht named for all the shattered window glass all over the streets.  The crime?  Being Jewish.  The young people don't know about so much of this event, much less the continuing brutalization to follow.  As the last few Jews to have witnessed the Nazi atrocities are dying, it becomes even more important for parents, clergy, and teachers to tell the history.  It shouldn't be up to the Jewish community alone.

And I can't end without acknowledging the people of the Philippines. The catastrophic event by the cyclone seems so far away and unimaginable.  Interesting that there hasn't been a huge outcry to donate….

Our first snow in NYC. That's all I got right now.  Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guns, Guns, Everywhere

It's a song that keeps getting sung.  It's the song that should be banned.  It's the song that should never have been written, but guns have taken over this country in the worst way.  The NRA controls D.C., clearly.  If you speak for common sense gun reform, they spend millions of dollar to take you out in the next election.  Their silence is disgraceful and abnormal.  Okay, well, normal for today's Republicans, but not for regular folk.  Regular people that are thoughtful and open minded can disagree, criticize, and compromise.  Not these guys.  Did you hear the deafening silence from anyone in the Republican party after the shoot out at LAX Friday?  I know, I should expect nothing more, but these are elected officials and all they worry about are their own jobs. It's unfathomable that John Boehner can't give an inch.  He can't stand up and say something has to give.  We can't keep having these gun toting males go into our public venues and kill people.  The NRA and the right wing      extremists have to see that their philosophy is not working.  There were armed guards at LAX, didn't stop anything.  Now, they probably will want the TSA officers to be locked and loaded.  That's their answer for everything. 

Monday night in the East coast, our sense of commerce, capitalism, and safety was challenged again when breaking news reported there was a male carrying a long gun, maybe an AK47 through the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, NJ!!!!!!!!  In the largest mall in the East, maybe only second to the Mall of America, a mad man terrorized the citizens/shoppers.  People heard gun shots, ran for stores and their cars.  The police presence was vast and fast.  The reports came in sporadically.  It was shocking and painful.  We are on the cusp of the most important season for retailers and a young man in camos and helmet shows up to shake everyone up.  Thankfully, he shot himself and terrorized many, but no one else lost their life or was shot.  BUT how can you feel comfortable going to packed malls with this hanging over your head?  Why can't the leadership in Washington, D.C. denounce this violence and behavior?  Oh, yes, that's right, they'll be voted out of office.  That's the most important point.  Your job. Your safety.  Not the millions of Americans that enjoy shopping and spending.  Buying presents, going to movies, lunch, dinner.  That's not as important as your job in D.C.

You, people, you do-nothing politicians, are the lowest of the low.  Narcissistic.  Not interested in all.  Interested in a few.  You, sirs, are poor excuses for humans and men.  It's not on the women of the Senate and the Congress. They don't have the numbers yet. (Though without the  women in the Senate and the women in Congress, the government might still be shut down). I really can't believe that I have to keep addressing this.  There must be something else to talk about, but with every gun event, the outrage and impotence grows.

Sidebars:  Homeland continues to gain momentum.  We haven't had to go back to Caracas, so the storyline has been good.  The Good Wife, oy, don't get me started.  I may have to go off another day, but they may have to change the name soon.  The Blacklist was good but interrupted by the shooting in Jersey last night, so didn't get to see Robert Sean Leonard's climax.  The Voice went to live shows and always enjoy the singing.  Tonight, more Voice.  Also, it's voting day in NYC.  We have two people running for Mayor of the greatest city and neither choice is good.  It won't be up to my vote.  The Democratic candidate is supposed to win in a landslide.  I did vote.  I always exercise my constitutional right to vote.  It's very important to me even when I feel less than enthusiastic.
Enjoy your Tuesday!

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Money Shouldn't Matter

I wonder how many smart, thoughtful, compassionate people would run for elected office if money wasn't the issue, but it is.  Even before the Citizens United issue was supported by the Supreme Court, money has been plaguing politics for decades.  Do you remember when Michael Huffington spent tens of millions running for Governor of California, only to be defeated?  What about EBay's Meg Whitman?  Another multi-millionaire funding her own campaign.  She lost.  BUT what about the people that are valuable people in our communities?  They don't have a chance anymore.  With the flood of PAC money, it isn't possible.  Isn't that against what the United States of America should stand for?  

Again, I always say I am a very pragmatic, practical, common sense person.  Off the top of my head one of the few "regular" folk in recent-ish memory is Representative Carolyn McCarthy from Long Island.  She was swept into office after she lost her husband and her son was paralyzed by a mad man shooting indiscriminately on the Long Island Rail Road.  She didn't have tons of money.  She had a vision for the country and her constituents carried her to D.C.  She has been re-elected now multiple times.  McCarthy never had a political desire before she lived through a tragedy. She was a regular person.  Isn't that who we should have in Congress?  Isn't that the original intent of our Founding Fathers?  Wasn't that the difference between Congress and the Senate?  Maybe I have it wrong.  The way it's going…without money you can't get in.  If the DNC and the RNC doesn't back you, sorry the gates are locked shut.  

I love politics.  I have a great deal of passion for this country and where I would like it to go.  It's not on the path I would choose, but my only avenue is here.  Even if I wanted to give up my life for D.C., there's no way to get in.  It's money and whom you know.  We wonder why we are where we are?  Money has absolutely corrupted and destroyed democracy.  The hypocrisy of many has disillusioned the masses.  We are in a very bad way.  Do I see an end to all of this in the near future?  No.  I have a friend whose son wants to be in politics.  I hope that by the time he gets rolling, he can change the world again.  I just want campaign finance reform before that day so we can get the young, bright, and strong to lead our country.

Sidebars:  Scandal and Covert Affairs are teetering on the absurd.  They better get it back because there is only so much suspension of disbelief to go around.  Went to see a wonderful Broadway show in previews, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.  It is clever and smart.  There is no over the top production values, just a fun, entertaining show. No stars, just great talent.  The incredible Jefferson Mays does it again.  I actually am going to try to support Broadway shows without star names.  Maybe if they are successful, producers will get the hint.  There is so much incredible talent in NYC and we need to support them!  Halloween has come and gone.  Went out, bought too much candy, and for the very first time in NYC apartment living…no one came to the door.  So sad.  :-( .TGIF.  Enjoy your weekend wherever you go.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Round and Round

So I know I already went off last week about the 18 plus concerts, but I can't get over it.  Okay, fine, I know you are saying, "get over it," but I really can't get passed the hypocritical acceptance of illegal drug, alcohol, and sex abuse that is clearly the norm at these concerts by the artists and producers.  What got my goat again today is that I got an email from Madison Square Garden for all their upcoming sponsored events for ticket sales.  Today, it was for tickets for Armin Van Buuren.  I have no idea who that is but knew that he was one of the many DJ's on the Electric Zoo circuit.  I thought fantastic, Chanukah is coming and maybe this would be a fun thing for my kids.  I clicked on the link and it is an 18 plus concert!!!!!!!  Are you kidding me???  It's MSG!!!! I have seen everyone at the Garden and never has there been an age minimum. I find this an outrageous trend.  MSG has some of the tightest security.  They can't handle it?  I am really appalled and think that the promoters, producers, and artists have to step up and take control back.  The benign "head in the sand" is ridiculous.  As you can see, the evolution of Madison Square Garden supporting an age minimum really has gotten my dander up.  I think it stinks.  I can't believe that this is now going to be the norm for teenagers and concerts.  It sucks!  

Hypocrisy is all over the place.  Congressman Darryl Issa, head of the Oversight Committee, is leading another charge to take down Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services.  She may be responsible for the debacle that is the website for the Affordable Care Act.  He loves to yell and swing is d**k around.  How can you be pissed that the internet site is problematic and vote against ACA each and every time the vote came around?  Class?  Hypocrisy!!  Totally full of it.  He loves to hear himself talk and throw his weight around.  He doesn't care about the truth.  The fact that he keeps getting re-elected in his district in Orange County blows my mind.  He is a blow hard.  He has no apparent interest in the good of all Americans.  Should Secretary Sebelius fall on her sword and resign?  Maybe.  I am not sure who was responsible for the hiring of the website builders.  I don't think that is she.  The first company hired was Canadian and that company was previously fired by the Canadian government.  Who made that hiring decision?  That worries me.  That's the person who's head should be on the line.  

For the local NYC community, is anyone else annoyed by the Mayoral commercials?  I hate the Chiara DiBlasio ad.  HATE it!  (http://thegrio.com/2013/10/28/bill-de-blasios-daughter-chiara-appears-in-new-ad-slamming-lhota-attacks) I think the Lhota black and white commercial looks incredibly desperate.  (http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/politics&id=9289302)  If you watch and have an opinion, let me know.  The last debate will be Wednesday night at 7pm.  I hope all voting NYers watch and listen carefully.  This isn't a Democrat/Republican battle but the future of NYC.  Let's put partisanship aside and vote for the best person. Of course, right now, I'd re-elect Bloomberg.  Sorry gang.  I don't like either of these choices.  

Sidebars:  Loved and hated The Good Wife last night.  The part that focussed on the law firm was great.  Any scene with Chris Noth sucked and annoyed me.  Getting hard to hang in but for 50% of the episode is keeping me returning.  The Cardinals and Red Sox are tied 2-2.  I am rooting against the Sox.  Not only am I a Yankee fan, they beat up Jim Leland and the Tigers, I can't support the beards.  Don't like the look.  There's something to be said for the Steinbrenner grooming code.  The Voice is tonight.  The Blacklist is still doing well in the ratings.  Hostages is not.  Should have been a planned 12 show arc and then done.  Probably doesn't pay on network, but would be so much better.  Revenge could have used that too.  Now in its 3rd or 4th season and it's tired.  Behind on Homeland.  Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.  The damage is still being felt all over the area. A personal note:  Neil Sedaka was on the Kathie Lee and Hoda hour of the Today Show promoting my husband's book, Neil Sedaka: Rock 'n' Roll Survivor.  It's in its second printing.  Great read and a great Chanukah, Ramadan, Christmas, anything present.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

No More Bill Graham

When I was a teenager, we went to concerts as much as we could.  If we had the money, the ticket, the transportation, nothing stopped us.  Days on the Green, which were all day affairs at Candlestick Park with headliner after headliner were fantastic ways to spend Saturdays in the summer.  General admission tickets to the Cow Palace crushing person against person, all with the same focus, the talent on the stage.  Dancing, singing, feeling, screaming, laughing, loving, all for the common experience.  I have incredible memories of those teenage years.  

Today, the game has changed.  I'm not sure why, but it's definitely changed. More and more concerts are only for 18 years and older, which puts parents and kids at odds.  It actually pisses me off.  Why should it be that the venue operators, the promoters, and the talent can't make it "safer" for all.  It's not strip shows.  There's no gambling.  They are all worried about liability.  Why did this mutate into drug infested, drunken OD evenings and events?  Why can't the powers that be take back control?  Why is it just expected and accepted that tons of illegal drugs are going to make the rounds at concerts?  

Let me go back to my being pissed off.  The artists aren't denying the sale of their music to people under 18.  No, they are all collecting tons from high schoolers.  So, if their money is good enough for iTunes sales, why can't it be good enough for live concerts?  High schoolers are taking all sorts of risks to get to see their favorite artists live.  Fake ID's are the rage and it isn't necessarily for alcohol like in yesteryear, they just want to get into the venues that they are barred from.  

The focus could be changed.  There could be a zero tolerance for drug and alcohol use.  The performers could encourage it, the venues, and promoters could be vigilant and make it uncool.  Bracelets could be worn.  Parents could have to sign a release from liability, but ultimately it just sucks for all that are clamoring to see their favorite artists.  AND I know many of you probably think it's ridiculous and this is just how it is today, but I don't accept it.  If you have to be high and drunk to appreciate the music, maybe the "talent" isn't as good as all that.  

As I began, I went to many different venues, saw all kinds of artists, and never was age an issue.  Why should it be for our kids?  

Sidebars:  My baseball season ended over the weekend.  Really sad. The Dodgers and the Cardinals ended their seasons and so did I.  Jim Leyland pushed out of the manager's position with the Cards.  One of the great and last of the true baseball men.  Don Mattingly is having his doubts about staying with the Dodgers.  He should find a team that values him.  So, the World Series begins tomorrow night, I'm out.  Until April.  Basketball season starts soon and for the NY Knicks...it will be a very long season. The Voice still intrigues.  The Good Wife  still annoys. Yay to New Jersey for legalizing same sex marriages and Governor Christie for dropping his legal opposition to same sex marriages.  

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Helpless in Manhattan

I am feeling utterly helpless.  I can't do anything to affect change in Washington, D.C.  I really hate them all but no more despicable are the wolves in sheep's clothing.  The Tea Party Republicans fancy themselves "patriots."  Are you kidding me?  You are narcissist. egomaniacs, but ladies and gentlemen, you are not Patriots. You don't understand how government works.  You are willing to bring down the country for your own personal ideology.  You are completely misguided and leading your followers and us, educated bystanders, down a rabbit hole.  

When the Tea Party first reared its head, I thought good for you!  You are sick of all the wasted spending and bloated budgets in D.C., you stood up and shouted, but your original platform was hijacked.  You are now being led by people that don't get it, don't care, and are leading the Nation down with you.  The Tea Partiers are small but mighty.  I've never seen anything like it.  A marginal group holding the country hostage.  I mean, I can't understand how they can look themselves in the mirror.  Do they not understand that they don't live in a bubble?  We are all effected by their unyielding beliefs.  They have turned into a scared, religious, racist group of rabble-rousers.  

If you want change in D.C., do it through debate, deal-making, and compromise.  BUT do it after we take care of the business that keeps our credit rating, our markets strong, and keeps Main Street afloat.  It is no different than if you overspent on vacation and have to pay it off.  We have to pay off the money we spent.  If after we pass the Debt Ceiling bill, you want to butcher and hatchet a future budget, have at it!  Do not act as if you are doing this for America.  You don't care about America.  You care about taking down the first black President of the United States.  You keep singing the same tune and yet, everyone has already weighed in on the Affordable Care Act.  It's done. It's law. Move on.  But again, it's not really about that.  It's about taking down the first black President of the United States of America.  You are not a Patriot.  You are living in a past that doesn't exist and we won't go back.  

It's a very strange time.  In the State next door, they are voting today to replace Senator Frank Lautenberg.  Cory Booker, Democrat, Mayor of Newark is running (who happens to be black) and Steve Lonegan, Republican, Tea Partier, extremist, Palin loving opposes him.  On paper, there is no way that the people of Jersey would ever vote a crazy into the mix, but I don't take anything for granted.  I don't assume.  I'm not saying that Cory Booker is the end all be all, but he isn't a crazy.  He isn't.  That's not a choice.  Can't vote for the crazies.  

We had the first Mayoral debate last night in NYC.  We have two choices, but really it's going to be the lesser of two evils.  I don't like either of them.  I think I like DiBlasio less.  He seems slick and inauthentic. Lhota is dicey, sketchy.  It's so hard that those are our choices.  BUT neither are crazies so we are ahead of the game there.  

The crazies have taken over the asylum.  They have been allowed to.  Everybody is so worried about their own job security, they aren't worried about the whole picture.  Take away our elected officials salary and benefits.  Maybe the tune will change then. The South lost. We are one country.  It's time to act like it and stop fretting about your re-election!

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Some Thoughts

I am having a difficult time writing because it's the same old, same old and though history keeps repeating itself, I like to avoid it.  So, I have been spending my time at a lot of children's sporting events.  It's a whole new life than the one I had in high school.  I am experiencing it much for the first time.  

When I was a kid, I was a thespian; a theatre queen, a choir kid, a die hard performer.  I rarely saw a high school sporting event.  The only time I clearly remember being a devoted follower was my senior year of high school and going to all the basketball games I had the time for because I loved the sport and loved the star player.  It was a fantastic time, but a rare one. 

I didn't even realize how myopic my youth was until Facebook.  I thought I knew everyone in my high school or at least, my grade, but as it turns out...not true.  I have friends that seem to know everyone.  It's so curious to me how my perception of a time is so different from the reality.  If I wasn't doing shows and choir at school, I was doing shows outside of school.  I had a fantastic group of friends and people that cared about me, but it wasn't all high school people.  I had a vast age range of friends and colleagues that didn't seem weird to me at all. It is unfathomable now as a parent, but living it was absolutely fantastic.  

I did miss out on some classic high school stuff.  Now, going to volleyball games, cross country meets, and basketball games as a parent is a wonderful community building event.  Even though it's high school and our school isn't focussed on the extreme competitiveness as other schools, it is often breathtaking, thrilling, and heartbreaking.  It's wonderful to watch your children soar and their teams come together.  It's wonderful to sit in the stands and root, root, root for the home team with all of the other parents.  

It's a camaraderie that is far different than the arts camaraderie. I'm not sure that I can find the words for the difference in support.  Clearly, there is a societal difference.  Sports are held far higher up than the arts.  I've pondered it for a long time why that is, but somehow seeing a show vs. a sporting event is not the same kind of crowd sensation.  There isn't a person in the bleachers that doesn't think his rooting and screaming and cheering didn't help the team win.  The reverse isn't true, by the way.  If your team loses, you can feel deep heartbreak and fill yourself with a lot of "what ifs." Going to see a choir concert is a passive, yet soul filling event, if you're lucky. Pride in your child's accomplishments and the choir sound can be unmatched by any other.
So, maybe that's it.  Sporting events can be like watching gladiator fights in the colosseum and sitting inside an auditorium hearing the angelic sounds of singing may be diametrically opposed but feed a part of all of our sense of community and belonging. 

All I know is that I am a proud parent.  Winning or losing I love watching my children and all their friends come together for a common goal.  

Sidebars: Sunday nights are for some reason the toughest night of television.  With the DVR going, it's not enough once the season is underway.  There's football, baseball, Amazing Race, The Good Wife, The Mentalist, Revenge, Empire Boardwalk, Homeland, Masters of Sex, New Jersey Housewives, and I'm sure there's more.  It's ridiculous.  Why the programmers can't spread the wealth throughout the week, I don't know.  I don't watch all of that but that's what is going on between 8pm-midnight. I may be dumping The Good Wife soon.  It is unfortunately the most uneven writing of any "hit" show.   This season annoying is creeping back week in and week out.  I like inventive, unpredictable.  They are foreshadowing infidelity.  Cheap and uninteresting.  Homeland last night was deadly other than my friend, Marcia DeBonis, playing a nurse.  Anyone want to tell me how Brody got from Canada to Caracas?  Anyone?  Absurd and irritating.  That I had to tune into the Tigers/Red Sox in the 9th and it was tied was almost more than I could bear.  Actually, it was.  I couldn't watch and assumed that the Red Sox won.  Ugh!  Not my favorite team.  Rooting for the Tigers and Jim Leland.  

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Now that we are deep into this government shutdown, we can assess the situation.  The ridiculousness of it all.  The disgrace.  John Boehner is no leader.  John Boehner is a coward.  He won't even take a vote in Congress!  Seriously?  You are the "leader" of the House and your aren't leading?  You are being led by a small faction of the Party.  Do you hear me?  You are being led!!!  History will not be kind to you.  History will not be kind to the "do-nothing" Congress.  The truth is it really isn't the "do-nothing" Congress.  It is actually the do harm Congress.  

Today on the news, it was reported by Andrea Mitchell that fallen soldiers bodies can't even be sent home to their families.  The money to send the families to meet the coffins of their loved ones isn't available. Families usually get a $100,000 as a "death" gratuity.  Can't get that.  So we have brave men and women fighting in Afghanistan, risking their lives, and Congress isn't holding up it end!  Shameful.  There are a million stories of citizens of the "greatest" country on earth that aren't getting the services they are expecting or needing.

Congress is not suffering at all.  Each member is still collecting salary and benefits.  If they really want to stand on their principles, then don't take money.  Stand up for what you believe.  The slashing or freezing of government funding has zero impact on the lives of the elected officials. They can stand on their high horses and afflict pain and suffering on others without ever feeling it themselves.  It's shameful.  Have you seen the chart making the rounds on the internet about how much money our Congressman and Senators make for life?  It's shameful.  If you are only a US Representative for 2 years, you shouldn't make a lifetime stipend/salary.  If you are a Rep for 10 years, you shouldn't make a lifetime salary.  If you are lucky enough to hold office for 30 years, maybe if you are doing your job for the American people, then get a fat pension.  BUT the way things are going....

Being an elected official shouldn't be a stepping stone to a better job.  We have allowed our Senators and Congresspeople to have a way too cushy job.  They spend far too much time fundraising for the next election and not enough time working for the People.  This all makes me so crazy!  The hypocrisy is dereliction of duty. It's plain and simple.  It's shameful!

Sidebars:  Horrors upon horrors, NBC NY messed with the daytime schedule and moved Access Hollywood live from 11am (good for working out) until 2pm (bad for being near a TV). Instead, as I sit and write this, it's the Steve Harvey show!  Is this something permanent?  An experiment?  Yuck!  Don't like it at all.  Haven't seen Homeland or Masters of Sex this week.  Hated The Good Wife this week.  Don't like them throwing around wiretaps and FISA so liberally.  Loving The Voice!  Love The Blacklist! James Spader doesn't disappoint for a second.  Say want you want, but Miley Cyrus was triumphant on SNL and has definitely taken the mantle from Madonna. Tonight more Voice and NCIS.  Go A's, Rays, Dodgers, and Pirates!!!!  

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Friday, October 4, 2013


So, I am sure that you expect me to rant about the ridiculously, ignorant, narcissistic, egotistical, self-motivated, members of Congress, but I am going to give that a rest for now.  I am ranting about reviewers.  Last week, I was lucky enough to see a screening of the film Gravity.  It is a 90 minute thrill ride.  It is a game changer in filmmaking.  It is a masterpiece.  I've been telling everyone to go this weekend before you hear too much.  Hype can ruin so many things.  

I am someone who doesn't read reviews.  I like reviews that give stars, grades, symbols of any kind.  My experience with reviewers is that they tell too much.  Maybe they shouldn't get a 1000 words.  Minimize their reviews so that they can only discuss the acting, directing, script, filmmaking, etc.  Today Gravity opened nationwide.  Since I have seen it, I read the New York Post and the New York Times reviews.  The Post reviewer, Lou Lumenick, raved but was very careful not to spoil any plot points. The New York Times reviewer, A.O. Scott, always gives away plot points.  I read his review today and it made my blood boil.  He is a terrible reviewer because most of his reviews are spoilers on some level.  

If I were the Times Arts editor, I would re-train all of their reviewers. Even the theatre reviewers tell too much plot.  Really?  Is that all they've got?  It reminds me of being in school and before you are a strong analytical writer, you write reports/essays just re-telling the story to fill space.  That's the Times reviewers for sure. So, take away space from them.  When I haven't seen the movie, I read the first and last paragraph only.  Maybe cut them to 300 words.  Sure, that won't fly.  

Early this past summer, the Times theatre critic reviewed a new play called The Explorer's Club.  It was a fun, amusing romp. A fun trifle, entertainment.  Not going to revolutionize theatre, but the audiences were laughing all the way from beginning to end.  The Times reviewer gave away at least 3 of the big laughs in his review.  Really?  Is that the way to go?  I couldn't believe it.  It's as if you go to see Bill Cosby in the height of his career in concert and gave away the punchlines to his story telling.  It was wrong and poor writing.  Where are these reviewers getting their training?  It is far more difficult to write critically than to tell the story.  Ask any high schooler!

Don't read the Times reviews if you don't like spoilers.  They will do it every time.  How are the reviewers in your papers?   

Sidebars:  Okay, feel out of it because I didn't watch Breaking Bad.  I missed the second "phenomenal" season of Scandal so didn't tune into the much talked about 3rd season opener last night.  The Bridge ended its season this week.  I think it petered out.  Though they ordered a second season, I may not be in.  I am crushed that Chris Matthews show on MSNBC moved to a time that I have yet to see.  I enjoy him and his guests.  I know I can hear the people on the Right groaning, but he can be both engaging and annoying.  Tonight Bill Maher and Shark Tank. In NYC, we had a $13million run-off election for the Public Advocate position.  Waste of time and money.  200,000 people voted.  City election laws need to be changed.  Majority should always rule.  Okay, it's another beautiful, unseasonable day in NYC.  It's Friday.  TGIF.  Enjoy wherever you are.  

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

No Respect!

I can't believe that we are here again.  A Government Shutdown! I can't believe that I have to write about this again.  Total Hypocrisy!! I can't believe that hubris takes center stage. I can't believe that misplaced beliefs are ruling Congress.  I truly can't understand how the American people can take this. Another slap in the face.  Congress' rating is only a positive 10%, so where are the 90%?  Where is all the shouting?  I feel completely impotent because I live in an area with a Democratic Congressperson and two Democratic Senators.  What can I do?  What can you do?  The President of the United States was re-elected and it has made no difference to many members of Congress.  We keep living on a loop.  It's the same battle.  It's the same unrelenting stubbornness.  The unreasonableness is unbearable.  I don't understand it.  It doesn't compute in my head.  

Can I say it again?  If 90% of Americans don't support Congress, then how can we be where we are?  John Boehner is the biggest loser ever.  No leadership skills.  Only worried about holding on to his title of Speaker of the House.  He is hardly in charge.  The Tea Partiers are.  If John Boehner had any balls, he would rally the 200 Republican members that aren't self-procalimed Tea Baggers and get something done. At least he'd go down fighting.  Now, he's just a spineless, wooden, puppet.  And again, I say, if they truly stand by their convictions, then don't take salaries or benefits.  Suffer with your constituents.  Maybe, just maybe, I could have respect for your actions, but elected members of Congress don't experience any discomfort.  There M.O. is to inflict on others.  Again and again, no respect for them or from them.  

Sidebars:  I saw Gravity.  Go see it as soon as it opens.  Don't read reviews. It is a masterpiece.  The hype will be huge.  Like no other film that I've ever seen before. It is not for the faint of heart, seriously.  Okay, more season premieres.  Homeland; thumbs up, but really missed Brody.  The Good Wife; promising. The Amazing Race; too soon to pick a team. Revenge?  I don't know.  As much as I like Emily Van Camp, I may be done soon.  Didn't get to Masters of Sex yet.  Sunday nights are ridiculous.  I find it so irritating that the CBS Execs think it's good to have premiere night in the East and a 4pm football game!  Throws the carefully DVR'd schedule off.  Everything is perfectly balanced and then the football game runs over and throws everything late.  I know, big problems.  Ha!  The Voice is so fun.  Shark Tank should be in everybody's scheduled recordings.  It is so good!  That's Fridays at 9pm.  Glorious weather here in the East.  Enjoy wherever you are.

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