Saturday, April 26, 2014

Down, Down, Down, Down, Down

I am feeling down.  I can't shake it.  The world has been cruel and painful for weeks now.  Little pockets here and there of news that is too unbearable to think about but too difficult to shut out.  I am a news junky but have really tried to disconnect, but it still gets through. The worst stories always find their way to me.  I need a break. I know that.  It's the macro and the micro world that is weighing heavy on my heart.  I know that I have much to be thankful for but am finding it difficult to feel that.  Do I sound depressed?  Maybe.  I'm not sure.  I just think cyclically this is just a tough time all around.  Every time a child dies, the weight gets heavier on my soul and there's been so much.  It has to shift.  It has to change.  

So now what?  The government is supposed to be here to help and protect its citizens, right?  Government is supposed to be the net so we don't fall too far, right?  Am I wrong?  I am feeling wrong.  I feel Government is not here for all its citizens.  This week the ATF approved a substance called Palcohol.  Palcohol is powder alcohol that can be carried in your pocket, backpack, purse; sprinkled on your breakfast, lunch, or dinner; consumed easily and undetected.  Seriously?  Is this what the country needs?  Do we need more convenient ways for people to become drunk?  Who do you imagine would be the most at risk demographic of this Palcohol?  Of course, it's the kids.  Who else, really?  The Government is not protecting the kids.  The Liquor lobby is strong. They have money and power.  So we will now have to find a new way as parents and families to protect our loved ones on our own.  The Government isn't.  I am sad and outraged by this new drug option.  

What about the millions of youths that are being over prescribed medication?  What about them?  We are teaching our children that there is a pill for everything that ails you.  All you have to do is watch television.  The latest one is for PBA.  Out of control laughter and weeping.  Seriously?  I thought I'd heard of everything after we hit Restless Leg Syndrome.  Look it, people, I'm not saying that all of these ailments aren't real or troublesome, but why commercials?  Why did we, as tax payers, let the FCC allow pharmaceutical companies to take over the airwaves?  It's ridiculous.  Any medication advertised you need to get from a doctor.  I can't believe that all these commercials let doctors prescribed more readily.  Maybe I am naive.  But maybe, if there were no commercials on television, medical doctors would control medicine rather than the pharmaceutical companies.  Over prescribing the citizens of America. 

Now let's get drunk on the sly.  Perfect with prescribed medicines.  And, let's carry our guns into churches and schools and bars and work and sporting events and restaurants and anywhere else we want.  Guns, drugs, and alcohol. A perfect combination.  What is going on?  What has happened to the sanity of this country?  Is it really having a black President that made people go apeshit?  Really??  The disappointment in our Government is palpable. The disappointment in our Supreme Court is great. For those of us that are reasonable and moderate people, it's draining.  Little pockets of light are getting obscured but I am trying to hold on to the Michael Bloomberg's battle against the NRA and Tom Steyer's battle for the environment, but they aren't enough.  I want to hear louder voices that will drown out the crazies and take back our Country.  The insane are now running the asylum.  

I am not trying to bum everyone out.  It is how I am feeling right now. I fear for my children and all the children.  What are we doing?  What are we leaving them?  What are we teaching them?  I am sure that this feeling shall pass again, but the overwhelming feeling is choking me right now.  I need a break.  Can you tell?

Sidebars:  I am getting a break for a few days.  Going to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary in the City of Light. That should shake the blues away, but oh my goodness, I can't believe 30 years with my husband.  How's that possible?  I remember how old I thought my parents were when they were celebrating their 20th....Oy vey!
So a few days of croissants and chocolat sounds like just what the doctor ordered.  Enjoy the last few days of April and happy May Day! 

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Diana Down

I keep having difficulty writing.  Everything around me in the news is bringing me down.  The news about the children on the Korean ferry is too painful.  The news of the over 100 teenager girls whisked away by crazy militants in Nigeria is getting little press, it's stunning.  And for all of us with high school students doing the college tours, the news of the tragic fiery bus crash in California this past week was almost too much to bear. So where does that leave me? I'm not certain.  

The news out of the Ukraine this week illuminated again how Jews are the scapegoats.  Someone passed out leaflets declaring all Jewish people must register and pay a fee to stay in the Ukraine.  It's unclear who printed and distributed the leaflets but no matter which way it falls, it's ugly and disturbing.  The Ukraine has a very long history of anti-semitism.  Anyone see Fiddler on the Roof?  Perfectly dramatized through song and dance. I heard the Prime Minister of the Ukraine denounce it on television. Haven't heard a sound out of Putin.  He so clearly longs for the USSR.  Times made sense to him then.  He liked the cloak and secrecy of government. He like complete control.  What is Putin's involvement in all the pro-Russia uprisings in the Ukraine?  We can assume he is backing it.  Follow the money.  Follow the paper trail.  Maybe he is behind the anti-Jewish leaflets. I'm not sure we will ever know whose idea it was or who produced the declarations, but for Jews everywhere, it is a very terrifying and unnerving turn of events.  

The New York Times investigated and printed an expose on the police of Tallahassee, Florida and Florida State University claiming how they botched the investigation of Jameis Winston and the alleged rape charges.  The evidence is damning and shows again that winning is what's most important, not the truth, not justice.  The victim got zero justice. The accused may always have a cloud over him.  Did he?  Didn't he?  Why didn't he speak out fervently if he was innocent?  I can't answer that.  Maybe he had been advised not speak, but the lack of interrogation and evidence gathering puts the Tallahassee Police Department on the defense.  If I were the victim, I would seek damages from the police department, the university, and attach to Jameis Winston's future millions.  This is not a singular story of cover up or protecting a person at all costs (that is perceived to be a star in their area), but it's the latest.  

Sidebars:  Big kudos to former Mayor Mike Bloomberg for sticking his neck out and money to take back our country from the crazy NRA.  I found it very heartening and brave.  I hope that others with the money will follow suit.  It's money that will take down the fearful candidates in our government. How sad that is.  Why can't rational thought be the winner.  Ha, ha.  We are way past that. Can anyone tell me how or why Chrissley Knows Best is on television?  I can't bear to watch it but find it so peculiar. Who made that decision and where did he come from?  Do tell.  If the Knicks hire Steve Kerr as coach, it's perfect.  Hire a guy that's never coached to bring the Knicks back to championship seasons.  Well worth the money for Phil Jackson.  I can't go without a moment to the Nepalese Sherpas that died in the avalanche on Mt. Everest.  Maybe this is a sign that people shouldn't be climbing this mountain for fun and sport. Saw the magnificent Tony Shalhoub in Act One at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.  Never disappoints.  Spring has really sprung in the East.  I think it's here to stay.  We have earned it.  

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I have been a devotee of MSNBC over the past few years, but little by little they have whittled away at the talent.  Once Dylan Ratigan chose to leave broadcast television, there has been a slew of departures that have yet to be filled with quality discussion.  Dylan Ratigan left because he got so frustrated at just talking and wanted to be an active member of the world to create change.  His voice has been sorely missed by this one.  They dropped Chris Matthews from 5pm and 7pm to only 7pm.  Never hear his show.  Martin Bashir tweeted something or said something that pissed off the Right that he had to leave.  The Cycle benefitted from a younger generation of voices with three Liberals and one Conservative debating and discussing the topics of the day.  They have had so much turnover and promotions that it is hard to glom on anymore.  

By far the worse and most curious hires?  Ronan Farrow.  He is the son of Mia Farrow and and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra. The fact that he isn't interested in being tested to make that determination puts his credibility into question to begin with.  He hates Woody Allen so why wouldn't he want to know and completely sever any Woody relationship.  If they aren't even related by the gene pool, it's over.  Worse than that is that he has a very soft manner and isn't a natural.  I feel he speaks down to the viewer.  They moved the venerable Andrea Mitchell to make room for him.  I don't know why they thought he was a feather in their cap.  I don't get it.  He isn't compelling and has no business headlining his own show.  He doesn't have the war wounds or the resume to make him weighty enough for a whole hour.  Maybe as part of a panel, but even then, he wasn't impressive on The Bill Maher Show or when he filled in on The Cycle.  I don't get it.  If the powers that be were afraid that he'd slip through the cracks, they should have let him.  I know he is a genius, but Ronan Farrow is lacking.  

So, if I was Comcast and the owner of MSNBC, I would take a very long look at the lineup.  It has fallen so far.  No one is quoting MSNBC anymore.  Everyone is quoting CNN which is should be alarming.  CNN is so hard to find on cable and, yet, their ratings are going up.  Maybe it's time for MSNBC to thoughtfully re-examine their talent.  Recently, the producers have hired the talent by default or necessity and not deservedly.  It shows.  MSNBC is bleeding mediocrity.  I can't believe how fast that happened.  

Sidebars:  Lamar Odom to the Knicks??!! It's a natural. The Knicks take any player that is physically or mentally damaged.  The Knicks are The Promises Malibu rehab center of NBA teams. It's pathetic.  Good to see Phil Jackson is changing the trajectory of the Knicks.  Since the Knicks in 1999 wasted their first round draft choice on the French Frederic Weis (who never played one second in the NBA) and didn't pick Ron Artest, a NYC basketball star, The Knicks have been a joke.  The Curse of the Frog. Amazing Race in Rome was great and saw more of Rome central than usual.  Up and down the Spanish Steps.  The Good Wife has made a turn for the better, thankfully.  It's unfortunate that we had to lose Josh Charles to excite the writers.  Revenge has to be the dumbest show that I am still DVRing.  ABC has to kill everyone and put it down.  Shark Tank is still one of the best hours of television.  Entertaining and educational.  The Voice is still chugging along and still enjoyable. Made it through another enjoyable and delicious Passover seder with family and friends.  It's my favorite.  All about the food, no presents. Rainy and dreary here in NYC and the cold is coming back.  Ugh!  When is it good to plant the flowers and tomatoes?  Be well and don't forget to take a moment for yourself.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Nannys in the Tech Age

When my children were young and I had to go back to work, cell phones were in its infancy.  I said I'd never be a person to walk and talk on the streets of New York City, but that all changed.  It changed because between work and home, my only "me" time was walking to and from work.  So, I fell and fell fast.  What also changed?  Caregivers were given cell phones by employers for emergencies and nervous mothers could be in touch or surprise the kids in the park.  What has evolved is horrible.  Now, you see caregivers on their cellphones constantly yacking and yelling in front of their charges.  Many are using language that many parents wouldn't want to have their kids hear.  Many are just loud on the phone and not paying any attention to the kids.  What can a parent do?  I have no idea.  You can't stop a person from talking on their own phone, which now everyone has.  You can maybe ask your caregiver to be on the phone only when the child is napping, but that is a suggestion that I'm sure is largely ignored.

When we had our first nanny, she was a talker.  Not on the phone, but she spoke to the kids constantly. She was pointing out things all over and naming them.  She was 100% attentive and, though at the time may have driven me nuts, in hindsight, she was a gem for the kids.  Her high pitched voice and happy personality was perfect for infants.  In today's world, there seems to be so little attention paid to the kids.  If you go to the park, you see all the caregivers on the phone and not seeming to be that watchful.  While pushing the stroller and talking on the cell phone, it's no wonder there are not more incidents.  

What is it doing to the development of our children?  Of course, I don't know, but I can imagine that those that are being hired to watch over our children, but are often too busy to notice a toy dropping or a fussy sound, may be damaging the children.  By the time we figure it out, it's too late.  I don't even know what the answer is.  Maybe it's more daycare centers and not so much individual care.  In an indoor setting, cellphone use can be curbed.  It certainly is once children go to school.  Teachers are not on cellphones during class.  Just go to your nearest park where caregivers gather, you will see a lot on the phone while the children are running, jumping, climbing all over.  Maybe it's a bigger problem in NYC and not outside this big city mentality.  Babies and children need attention.  It's how they learn to interact with others.  If more and more caregivers are spending more and more time on their cellphones, then what happens to the children?  Do you know?  Is it a problem where you live?  

Sidebars:  OMG, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit was unbelievable and so stupid this week.  Has it jumped the shark?  Just watching the commercial before it aired, I groaned. It feels like they are doing anything to get Mariska Hargitay an Emmy nod.  It was ridiculous and ludicrous.  If you are a fan, did you notice that they are down to three detectives?  They need to bring in new blood and then end on a high.  Please don't peter out. Watched Survivor last night.  I had to laugh because either they are on Catalina Island on a set or they had the best promotional placement for Outback Steakhouse.  I am new to this show, but that really gave me a laugh.  Also, wondering how you can starve yourself and be eating basically nothing and then stuff your face with fully loaded potatoes, steak, vegetables, and margaritas. I don't know how their systems can manage it.  Shark Tank is on twice this week: tonight and tomorrow.  David Letterman is retiring. I hope that Late Night stays in NYC and at the Ed Sullivan Theatre.  Just announced that Steven Colbert is taking over.  It's going to be a very interesting late night skyline.  Poor Craig Ferguson, though he is reportedly $5 million richer.  It is Spring finally here.  Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Stop, Stop, Stop

I have been so stuck about writing because I have so many irritations that aren't necessarily complete thoughts. I have been watching and listening to a lot of NCAA basketball.  I have found most of the play by play guys and analysts so incredibly annoying that it's made it very difficult to listen.  The other night during the Stanford/Connecticut Women's game, the talking heads, 5 minutes into the first half and the score was 22-16 Stanford, said, "do we have an upset in the making?"  What???!!!! Are you kidding?  How can you possibly say that? How can you say that in basketball?  (By the way, Connecticut blew out Stanford). It's so dumb, ignorant, and ridiculous. These announcers must go back to school.  They don't know what to do if they aren't yammering away.  Quiet is unheard of during a game.  If they can't enhance the game or the broadcast, shut up.  The constant chatter happens all the time, but during basketball games it's truly a joke. Most competitive games don't even get decided until the last two minutes, so stop making predictions or writing a team off.  

Baseball has it's share of dumb questions, too.  It's the beginning of the season, and post game reporters ask so many idiotic questions.  Here's one posed to the Manager, Joe Girardi, after a loss today: "Do you hope that Nova finds more consistency?"  Seriously?  I can answer that question.  Wouldn't the answer always be "yes" in anything one does?  If I were a student, wouldn't I want to find consistency in math on tests? homework? on absolutely everything????  

Maybe it's time to go back to test signals. Maybe we should not have 24/7 broadcasting. It's too much air time to fill without anything to say and, boy, so many have so little to say. That doesn't stop anyone, though.  Maybe broadcast schools and journalism schools have to re-train all these people to only speak when you have something to add.  I'm sure it's difficult to be in a room of reporters and not ask a question to the person behind the desk or podium. All their jobs are on the line with their producers and editors, but standing there and asking a question that anyone sitting at home could answer, is not insightful.  It doesn't raise the level of conversation or the intelligence of the listener.  

It's unbearable, particularly in sports, but it's rampant.  The other trend on television is promo-ing what will be coming up after the commercial.  Why do I want to know what is going to happen when I am watching?  I understand showing what's going to happen in next week's episode.  Try to keep people coming back week after week, I get that. I do, but during the show???!!  Hate it.  On The Voice, Carson Daly kept promo-ing Blake Shelton was the only one with a "steal" left from the first minute of last night's show.  Takes away any suspense or surprise for the viewer. It's on so many shows, but that was fresh in my craw.  Why can't we watch or listen and discover for ourselves.  Why do producers think we need to be spoon-fed?  When did this evolve?  It's terrible and, as a true television lover, making it harder to watch.  It sabotages the enjoyment of watching.  Stop, please stop, telling me what I will be seeing after the commercial break.  That's why more and more people aren't watching real time TV.  Do you hear that broadcasters??  Network Presidents?  Owners?  Stop, stop, stop.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014


I am really having a hard time focussing because the world is completely absurd.  Vladimir Putin is in heaven.  He clearly loved the Cold War and the KGB. Those were his happiest days.  Now, he is taking us back there.  He is flexing his muscles and it's working.  Clearly, you can go back.  Putin is proving it.  He is smart as a whip.  He played the world perfectly.  He made nice before the Olympics so we'd all show, but when they were over....Too bad the world didn't take a stand on their human rights violations against homosexuals before the Sochi games. Maybe that would have clipped his wings.  Now, he is feeling mighty powerful.  

Speaking of power, what about the fabulously biased Supreme Court Justices?  I am not a constitutional lawyer.  I barely studied the great words of our Founding Fathers where all our laws are measured.  However, how in the world can Chief Justice Roberts think, for one second, that allowing corporations and individuals give limitless dollars to a political campaign supports democracy?  It's outrageous and against any common sense.  If you can poison the well with money, any election can be bought and sold to the highest bidder.  Legally, they may have been technically correct, only Alan Dershowitz can tell me that, but the Supreme Court is 5-handedly destroying our election process and insuring that the deepest pockets get their way.  How is that protecting democracy?  How is that holding the Founding Fathers intent near and dear?  Our country is in serious trouble and those that are supposed to protect us are not.  The whole system needs a re-haul.  The Supreme Court is not neutral as they are supposed to be.  It makes my heart sick.  What are we allowing to happen?  

On the opposite side of power is the Eastern Conference in the NBA.  The balance has shifted completely and  the West has all the power.  Have you looked at the standings?  The East is a disgrace. Only nine teams are above 500. As opposed to the West, where only 5 teams are below 500.  That means that undeserving teams that have no right to be in the Eastern Conference playoffs, will be in the Eastern Conference playoffs.  That means that a few teams in the Western Conference playoffs that have good records won't be in the playoffs.  What a goddamn joke.  It's a scam.  It's just a money machine.  Maybe the NBA needs to scrap the system and do a tournament like March Madness.  The top 16 teams play no matter who or where they are.  The NBA has problems, no doubt. The best commissioner in sports, David Stern, built a multi-billion business over the past 30 years.  They have a new commissioner, Adam Silver.  It's time to take a look at making changes.  The fans don't deserve to be paying top dollar for below par games and teams.  The Knick fans have suffered enough.  The Bucks fans must be down to four fans.  There is no parity in the East and the standings prove it.  

I am getting into waters that I know little about, though that doesn't stop me.  All of these topics have to do with money and/or power.  There is a connection, though at first glance there may not be. My mind is swirling around so many different topics and my heart is swirling about so many different feelings.  These are a few that have been bugging me.  I have no power to make changes, but I do have a voice and I'm trying to use it.  

Sidebars:  The word "Selfies" has been co-opted.  Talking about bugging me.  Any photo of oneself is now called a selfie.  That is not a selfie.  A Selfie, in its original, annoying intent, is a photo where one turns the camera on oneself.  But now, you hear people all the time on television talking about photos taken by another, as a selfie. Bugs the crap out of me.  As if the word isn't irritating enough. It's painful to watch American Idol dying on the vine.  It's like a bandaid, just rip it off.  The Good Wife's last episode was deeply painful. If you missed last Sunday's 60 Minutes, try to catch it on demand.  All three stories were compelling.  March Madness is down to the Final Four for both the men and women.  By Monday night, another bracketology season is over.  Happy Birthday Doris Day!  Spring is teasing us in the East.  Enjoy your day wherever you are.

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