Thursday, February 27, 2014

Stand Up and Cheer for Governor Jan Brewer

Okay, seriously, people?  Why are we giving Jan Brewer kudos.  She isn't standing up to the crazy far right and religious homophobes.  She isn't standing up for humanity.  She isn't standing up for equal rights under the law. She isn't standing up for what is right.  No, Governor Jan Brewer knew that if she voted the bi-legislative Arizona bill into law, you would hear the drain of money all the way from New York City.  Seriously, there is no part of it that she should get any applause for because she did it for economic reasons only.  Theoretically, the Super Bowl would pull out of Arizona ( I say theoretically, because the NFL is no stand up organization), conventions, tourism, companies, and everything else that brings the financial flush to the State of Arizona.  So, today I see a flurry of gratefulness to Governor Brewer.  I am not.  Now, some people may say that the path to doing the right thing doesn't matter as long as you get there.  I don't feel that way.  I can appreciate the argument, but in this case, it was commerce over righteousness.  It would have destroyed the State.  Of course, they could have been flooded with all the crazy religious haters moving in and been financially sound that way.  

This vetoed law was a slippery slope.  If Jan Brewer had signed it into law, it could have had ramifications for all sorts of groups.  First, stop serving gay people over one's religious views, then it could have been biracial couples, Jews, Muslims, the sky's the limit.  This vetoed law is now dead, but the people who tried to pass it into law are still there in the Arizona legislature.  The haters are still running the State.  There are other States trying to pass similar legislation.  Missouri?  Missouri????  I don't understand the fear and the hate that has risen to the surface.  I don't understand why there aren't more people standing up against this idiocy.  My love/hate relationship with John McCain is intact.  He did stand up against this law and told the Governor to not sign it.  Of course, he'll do something next week that contradicts his righteous indignation.  

I am not impressed with Jan Brewer.  She wasn't having a Martin Luther King, Jr. moment.  She was listening to the financial side of the State.  The businesses rule.  They rule in Arizona, California, Missouri, and every other State in the Nation.  This decision just happened to be on the side of what is right.  This time we were lucky.  Jan Brewer didn't do anything great or noble.  Let's keep that in mind.  We dodged another bullet in a State where guns are everywhere.  

Sidebars: Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, signed a 10 day contract with the Brooklyn Nets.  I hope that in his 10 days he proves a valuable asset to the team and we can stop the parenthetical phrase after his name.  He chose the number 98 to wear to honor Matthew Shepard who was brutally beaten and killed in 1998 because he was gay.  Jason, I hope that you are incredibly successful on and off the court.  Now, around the dial over the past few days.  The Bachelor was fantastic television.  With the departure of one of the last 3 girls, we are down to two, but before she left...She did such a public service to tell Juan Pablo that he is self-centered, doesn't care about her, never asked her one question, only talked about himself, etc.  He didn't get it.  Here's one for the ladies, though I hear she will be the next Bachelorette.  May dilute her great departure.  The Voice still is entertaining.  American Idol is taking a bath and lots of criticism.  I'm not really sure why.  It's jumped the shark, but it is still the only "talent" show that has helped create true stars: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, Daughtery, and more.  As much as I love The Voice, the same can't be said.  If you aren't on the Episodes bandwagon yet, it's the perfect binge television show.  Matt LeBlanc and the entire cast is hilarious. Survivor began another season, I didn't join in again.  Not sure I have it in me.  In three days, it's the Oscars!!!  Watch, enjoy, and please don't run too late.  We, east coasters, can't take the late nights.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

The NFL Is What??

I feel so ignorant and embarrassed, but at the ripe age of 54, I just learned that one of the most profitable sports leagues is not-for-profit!!!  What?  How can that be? What kind of crazy world are we living in that the most watched, most money-making, most talked about league is tax-exempt?  How did this happen?  No, really, how did this happen?  The list of ridiculousness in Washington, D.C. just continues to get longer.  The commissioner of the NFL reportedly received over $44million dollars for the 2012 year.  What???  How can that be?  It's so disgraceful and obscene.  The IRS has made the tax exempt system a mockery.  The elected officials have been paid off and glad-handed for decades by the NFL.  It needs to be re-defined.  It needs to be taken back.  The NFL is clearly a profit business.  There's no doubt.  

The fight about the name of the Washington Redskins in D.C. didn't make sense to me until now.  Of course, it's one of the few "gimmes" the NFL should give to D.C.  Look at what the government has given to them!  Oh, my goodness.  I am sure there must be some logical reason 50 or 60 or 70 years ago to encourage the creation of the NFL, but they need to be weaned from the tax-exempt bosom of the USA.  I am so shocked and don't understand it, but it's got to stop.  We should be making money hand over fist from all their profits and maybe Roger Goodell would only make 5 million, which in my humble estimation is still too much.  

I am consistent.  I think not-for-profit needs to be completely re-evaluated.  The "religious" tax-exemptions get away with murder.  They are supposed to not get political, but they do.  So there should be consequences, but I digress.

Let's see how the NFL deals with Michael Sam during the draft.  I am guessing that the owners will prove to be homophobic and the best defensive player in the toughest NCAA conference, won't go as high in the draft as his talent would deserve.  Roger Goodell didn't sound the bells and lead by example.  Too much discussion has been made about Michael Sam's sexual orientation.  Nobody cared on his college team.  Did you hear me??  College boys/men didn't care.  They only cared about his results on the field.  So, a huge, gargantuan, profit making, corporation is not only laughably tax-exempt, they have the chance to lead by example, but they miss it every time.  The NFL is making money hand over fist at the expense of others, on the field and off the field.

My outrage may be late, but come on, IRS, it's time for big changes.  We, the people, need the money!!

Sidebars:  Sunday sadness.  Downton Abbey is over for the 4th season. So good and will be sorely missed. The Olympics are finally over and am grateful to get the programming back on schedule. Episodes on Showtime is one of the funniest shows on air and if you are not on board, get there.  Great cast.  Amazing Race All-Stars began. Yay, but began very sad and moving from the get go.  Don't want to spoil if you haven't watched, but then it got off to racing.  The Bachelor is so incredibly skanky and dramatic that it's on two nights this week.  The Voice returns tonight. Here's to Jason Collins joining the Brooklyn Nets.  Glad he found a place and just sorry that he is introduced as the first openly gay NBA player. Wish we were passed that.  NYC had some mild weather over the weekend which gave us all a taste of what Spring may bring, but until then, the Polar Vortex is returning.  

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Baton Has Been Passed

I was a late arrival to my love and admiration on the Jimmy Fallon bandwagon, but as friends can attest, when I fall, I fall.  He was great on SNL for al those years, but when he moved to Late Night it was far too late for me, so I missed all the hubbub until people started posting youtube videos of great bits and song.  When Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake began their collaboration and friendship, I was hooked.  Their relationship spawned some fantastic songs and bits that highlighted both their talents and mutual admiration. 

When they announced that Jimmy Fallon would be replacing Jay Leno, I was both sad and happy.  I have always been a Jay Leno fan and never understood any of the public animosity.  When NBC pushed Leno out the first time, it will go down in history as one of the worst network decisions in the television annals.  Their handling of the situation was devoid of reason or humanity and it backfired hugely.  This go around, the announcement was handled superbly but not because of the network, but because Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon took the bull by the horns and made it work together.  Who can forget their incredible rendition of "Tonight" from West Side Story?  Though Jay Leno was being pushed out again, it was palatable this time.  Even Jay said that he was aging out.  He wasn't conversive in social media nor did he want to be.  So this time, though there may have been some sadness and adjustment, but the decision was made with love and respect.  

Jay's last show was right before the Olympics began and Jimmy Fallon's debut as the new host of The Tonight Show was last night. Can I say home run?  Jimmy Fallon made the pivotal decision to bring The Tonight Show back to New York City where it began.  That was sheer brilliance.  First of all, it makes it harder to compare. Now it's apples to oranges.  And really after staying up and watching the first show, there is no comparison.  The beauty of the opening credits showcasing NYC in all its glory with Jimmy finally walking into 30 Rockefeller Plaza and entering through the curtains, was setting a whole new tone. And yet, it wasn't wholly new because it's where the show began in the 1950's.  It's back where it belongs.  Jimmy's monologue paid homage to all The Tonight Show hosts of the past.  He pointed out his parents and thanked them.  He introduced his band, The Roots, with huge accolades.  He introduced us to his side-kick/announcer, Steve Higgins with much love.  

The show started off with a string of celebrity appearances that supposedly lost a $100 bet to Jimmy that he'd never be the host. Robert DeNiro, Mariah Carey, Mike Tyson, Kim Kardashian, Lindsey Lohan, Lady Gaga, Steven Colbert, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tracy Morgan, Tina Fey, Rudy Guiliani, and more that slip my mind, but the most important and meaningful moment was Joan Rivers.  Joan had been banned from The Tonight Show for over 30 years because Johnny Carson got mad at her.  For whatever reason, Jay continued it.  Thank you, Jimmy Fallon for welcoming her as she welcomed you.  It meant a lot.  

Up next, the history of hip hop through dance with Will Smith.  It was funny and funnier that Jimmy danced better than Will Smith.  Cut to the Top of the Rock and there was U2 on the rooftop at with the Rutgers drumline  performing.  An exquisite view with all of New York City at sunset as its backdrop.  Glorious!  Back inside for an affable conversation with Will Smith as the shows first guest.  U2 came and sat on the couch and Jimmy Fallon got them to sing acoustically their academy award nominated song, An Ordinary Love from Mandela: A Long Walk Home. What a great moment and I'm not a big U2 fan.  Great television.  

You, Jimmy Fallon, have done a wonderful thing for New York City and for late night television.  Welcome and may this be the beginning of a long Broadway run!

Sidebars:  Oy, The Bachelor.  More yucky this season than ever, it's like a car wreck.  I can't give it up and with the previews for next week, I just wish I could watch in person with my sister.  :-(  Downton Abbey is the best and most enjoyable television.  I can't believe it's over for the season on Sunday.  The best line of the night, which were plentiful by the divine Dame Maggie Smith, was:  "All life is a series of problems which we must try and solve. First one, then the next, then the next, until at last we die."  I rewound four times to hear that.  I may be using that quote again and again.  Coming very late to the knowledge that you can watch the Olympics live on NBCSports.  What an incredible difference to watch the ice dancing without all the BS commentary.  I actually got to enjoy the skating and the moment.  Sorry I found this NBC "secret" out late. That's how the Olympics should be viewed, live and unedited. Thanks to my Mother for that big tidbit. American Idol tonight.  Tickets to Justin Timberlake at the Garden Thursday!!!  Woohoo!  

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day #2

I can't stand it.  I know it's a lose/lose situation.  Hard to make the call as head of a school.  The call came in quite early last night that today would be a snow day.  As happy as the kids are, I am always curious about making it before the first flake drops.  Even parents were thrilled to hear the news.  Here in New York City, the private schools all closed and the public schools remained open.  It's a complicated situation from both school systems.  Private schools do not make up snow days.  They go to school for far fewer days than public schools.  Public schools have built in days or will make up lost days.  Public schools have to by law go to school for a minimum number of days.  In New York, it's 180 days.  They get paid by attendance numbers, too. In private schools...well, you know, the saying..."the more you pay, the less you go."  I find it so frustrating.  In my heart, I am a public school parent.  At my core, I think there should be more school days than less.  I fight the half days and the four day weekends all the time.  I have always felt that private schools cater to the people who have second homes or go skiing to help make their transportation a bit easier.  That's the "rich" clientele being served.  I may be off the mark, but I never think there is a need for a half a school day before a two week vacation.  Anyway, I am getting off topic, really or maybe it's all rolled into one.  

Snow days are happening more and more.  This year we've had two.  The first one wasn't necessary.  The second one that wasn't a snow day, should've been, and then we have today.  Maybe it's the right call.  I love having my kids home and getting caught up on sleep and work.  I just wish that the private school system, which works together but not in lock step, could build in make up days.  If we don't need them, then great, but the fact that there isn't any mechanism, is frustrating. Why can't the private schools agree to contingency plans, if needed? The campus schools have more snow days than we do because travel to them can be far more perilous than the Manhattan schools. The campus schools are on hills in Riverdale, not far but much more challenging in snow and ice to get in and out of safely.  Do they have make up days?  I don't think so.  

Anyway, after listening to Mayor DiBlasio, again, not feeling the love and respect.  I don't know what it is, but there's just something about him.  Trying too hard to be an everyman?  Something inauthentic.  Today his school chancellor declared that it stopped snowing and it's beautiful outside now.  Seriously? No one on the podium even tried to refute that ridiculous, erroneous comment. One reporter called her out to get her to explain; unsatisfactory answer.  Just a dumb response.  It's grey and freezing rain.  Nowhere near beautiful.  The storm isn't over yet.  More snow is coming later.  What will everyone do tomorrow?  It's Valentine's Day.  

Sidebars:  Too sad losing Shirley Temple Black and Sid Caesar.  They both led great lives and gave so much of themselves.  Shirley Temple particularly will live on forever.  Those films she made bring smiles to any face. Sid had an impact on comedy through every generation since Your Show of Shows, but may not be remembered the same way. His influence is pervasive but quiet.  The Olympics are such a snooze.  If you are watching, I'd love to know and what's been good.  I can't stand listening to all the tape delayed faux suspense and excitement and we know the outcome.  It's impossible not to hear results.  You get it on the news, the radio, the computer, tweets, all social media, etc.  If it's worth telling, it's been told by the time NBC airs its delayed programming.  Yawn.  Television programmers have basically handed over the ratings to NBC, at least in primetime.  Nothing on at all.  It's Valentine's Day tomorrow.  If you have a Valentine, great. If not, remember that it is a made up day.  People should love you everyday.  Even when you have a Valentine, it's a tough day.  Stupid expectations that can't be met.  Tomorrow is my 32nd Valentine's Day with my sweetie.  The first one will never be beat.  Enjoy everyone and your long weekend.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Shame on You!

To all of us living in what can only be called the worst winter in the northeast in decades, I feel your pain and gloom right along with you.  WNBC, in particular, can't be happier.  They preempt regular programming constantly to terrify you to stay inside.  Stay off the roads.  It's dangerous out there.  So, what does our new Mayor do?  He keeps the schools open today. Really?  The 1.1 million public school kids have to cautiously commute to school.  Now, for those of you who don't live here, it's not the same as many locations across the country.  Children do not go to the school closest to their home most often.  They hop busses, subways, and walk on icy sidewalks and roads.  What the hell is the Mayor thinking?  As of this date, February 5, 2014, Mayor DiBlasio gets a big F since taking over the reigns from Bloomberg on January 1st.  The choices he's made have not instilled any level of comfort or confidence in his leadership.  He was on Jon Stewart the other night.  I watched to see if he could turn my opinion around, but no.

Now we are faced with our second snow/ice storm in a week.  DiBlasio chose to keep the schools open.  Interestingly enough, the last big storm, private schools didn't follow the public school closings.  Public schools remained open and private schools closed. That time we didn't need to close.  By the time the commute would have begun, the snow had stopped falling. This time, we got the call that our school will follow the public schools.  Big mistake.  The schools should be closed or at the very least, delay the opening.  It's very stressful to get around.  If you are a parent of a young child, it would be completely nerve-wracking to let your child go to school.  What if they couldn't get back because the roads are too bad or the subways have third rail problems.  There should be a checklist and not so iffy.  Al Roker from the Today Show called DiBlasio out on national television this morning.  He said NYC public schools should be closed.  He must have gotten an earful by his producer because he came back and said full disclosure, he has a public school kid.  

Just got a call from a friend. Stuck with her son at Times Square subway station and she wondered if I knew more than the announcements.  Trains aren't running. Frozen tracks.  While on the phone with her, they were asked to leave the station. Now what?  No snow day????  Really???  Two more storms are on the horizon.  Salt is in short supply around the heavily hit winter States.  This has been a catastrophic winter for much of the country. It's only February 5th.

I heard a man from Staten Island on the news yesterday.  They have had serious plowing problems.  He said something so simple.  Why do we have to learn what to do with every snow and every administration?  It should be determined and followed by all.  There's history on snowstorm protocol.  Why is it still a learning curve? 

Sidebars:  I give a standing ovation to CVS who made the decision to stop selling cigarettes at all their stores beginning October 1, 2014.  A fantastic and courageous decision.  It didn't even occur to me the hypocrisy of a pharmacy to be promoting both health and death until Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO, made this declaration. Maybe it's a welcome trend! Bravo!!! Watched The Bachelor the other night.  I thought it was a bit ew-y.  Juan Pablo seems a bit hypocritical too. Why not?  Seems we live in a world of hypocrisy.  The Biggest Loser finale last night is always too long and awe-inspiring.  These people work so hard to take their health back and get into the most incredible shape.  This year is the first year that I thought the winner maybe went too far.  Hoping she will balance out and put on a few pounds.  BUT some of these contestants were unrecognizable from the beginning of the season to the finale.  Very impressive. Reminding you that if you haven't given American Idol a chance, try it, just once.  If for no other reason...Harry Connick, Jr.  Bruno Mars was the highest rated halftime show in history!  To this devotee, no surprise.  Congratulations, Bruno Mars!!!!

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Had Me at Hello!

Honestly, people, when I heard that Bruno Mars was going to be the Super Bowl halftime performer, I was in.  I love him, love him, love him. I knew that he'd be a great show and pondered why there were pre-game naysayers?  Had they never seen his awesomeness in person or on television?  Who could deliver a better show? He's a super talent, super cute, the best of all things in America, he's it.  Can you tell I love him?  When they announced that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were joining him, I didn't really care. I have no opinion of them at all. As a matter of fact, it wasn't until they announced them that I found out they liked to perform nude or wear a sock on their penises. So okay, they were part of the lineup. 

It's game night.  It's Super Bowl XLVIII.  Queen Latifah sang America, the Beautiful.  Missed that completely. Next up, Renee Fleming.  I was absolutely disappointed with the pick when they announced she'd be singing the National Anthem.  I thought it would be too "hooty."  Not a huge fan of operatic sopranos, but when she stepped onto MetLife field and the music began....Renee Fleming was gorgeous.  Her singing was thrilling and simple.  She sang the notes and didn't do all those ridiculous runs we have become accustomed to since Whitney Houston sang it years ago.  It really was a beautiful and proud moment.  I was wrong, clearly.  

The game.  Well, anyone who watched the first snap turn into a safety knew things were not going to be normal. The weather was perfection.  The NFL got so lucky on weather.  50 degrees!!  (Today, we are under a winter weather advisory and a snowstorm...again climate change isn't proven). It was downhill for the Denver Broncos from that point on.  Lopsided game from beginning to end.  All I had to look forward to was Bruno Mars at halftime.  That's it.  Even the commercials didn't wow me.

Halftime starring Bruno Mars was without doubt one of the best produced, directed, and performed performances the NFL has ever done.  He was perfection.  I didn't need the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  They didn't detract but I don't think they added much either.  There were fireworks and LED lights everywhere.  Bruno and his guys were live, singing, dancing, and playing their instruments.  A bar has been set.  Who will be able to surpass this performance?  Can't see anyone on the horizon.  He's it!

I can't finish this out without talking about the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I was walking with my daughter through Central Park when I received a tweet from CNN.  I stopped in my tracks.  It took my breath away.  If I'd been home, I probably would've melted in a puddle of tears.  The tragedy is voluminous.  The fact that this incredible actor was sober for 23 years and fell off the wagon a year ago shakes the very ground we walk on.  How shattering this must be for all people that struggle with addiction every day.  23 years??!!  I remember when PSH announced he was going into rehab last year how shocked I was.  It seemed so out of left field.  I'm sure that his friends and family knew how hard he worked to stay sober, but I knew nothing about his addiction.  And an addiction to heroin?  Will we ever know what set him off?  Probably not.  Another life cut short. Devastating.  My heart goes out to his family and friends.  

Sidebars:  Did anyone out there miss Terry Bradshaw on the Fox Super Bowl pre-game, mid-game, post-game shows?  Dear Terry lost his Dad.  His father died at 86 years old.  I wondered why Michael Strahan was doing the Lombardi and MVP presentation.  So sorry Terry Bradshaw.  I will say it again, if you aren't watching Shark Tank and are interested in business, you are missing out.  It is both entertaining and educational.  Friday nights at 9pm on ABC.  So with our snowstorm today, all after school events are cancelled.  It's really coming down.  Can't believe what a difference a day makes.  Governor Christie continues to be in hot water over Bridgegate and other investigations.  Don't know if he can survive all these allegations.  Mayor DiBlasio, let's see how you handle your 3rd snowstorm in a month.  Will you plow Manhattan or won't you?  It's The Bachelor tonight and The Blacklist.  Seriously, if you're not watching James Spader on The Blacklist you are missing out.  (I stand corrected by Dawn Lee Wakefield of, The Blacklist is pre-empted tonight but you can watch episodes on demand until next week).

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