Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You've Heard These Songs Before

I have taken a back seat to ranting because everything that I feel passionately about is so damn depressing and I don't want to be Debbie Downer, but this is the cycle we are in as a country, a world, and as a person.  I have been disconnected from MSNBC completely for a long time now and feel more down than I did a year ago.  I think that this country is in such dysfunction that I can't see the forest through the trees.  I don't know how we get out of the crap we are in when ignorance and denial are par for the course.  

What more can I say about guns?  I am ashamed and outraged that our elected officials are so cowardly that they can't stand on the shoulders of all the dead, innocent victims of gun violence. They are suckling the tit of the NRA.  It's unseemly and unconscionable.  How can gun owners not be ashamed of the gun violence?  Why can't law-abiding gun owners take over the NRA and be sensible?  WHY??  How many more deaths need to occur before the American people and the politicians are brave and stand strong for sensible gun laws?  Do you know that in Illinois they passed concealed weapons laws?  There is a sign outside the Art Institute of Chicago that no guns are allowed.  Can you f**king believe that?  The city of Chicago has become the wild, wild west and the people of Illinois voted for concealed weapons!!  Georgia passed laws that you can carry guns anywhere and everywhere.  Really?  Seriously?  Schools?  Church?  Bars?  Work??  Where is the sense?  How can any of it be good?  The young man this past weekend in Santa Barbara was able to secure multiple automatic weapons and tons of ammunition.  Don't tell me he is one of the mentally ill.  He was, but he can still get the guns.  I know a father whose son lives in Santa Barbara whose family had to live through the anxiety of not knowing if their son was one of the victims.  Why should any parent have to live through that?  (He finally found his son, but after much upset). It's a disgrace and disgusting.  To the lawful, reasonable gun owners:  do not be quiet, stand up and shout, be counted, and take back control from the crazies.  The NRA has distorted and twisted the 2nd Amendment to its advantage. It's time to set the record straight and reinstate the intent of our Fore Fathers.

I haven't said a peep about the Veterans Administration, but it's another American shame.  We sent our children off to war to protect us and listen to all the BS rhetoric how much we love them, but when they return, that same Congress doesn't take care of the Vets.  This isn't new, I hope you know that.  Many Vets over decades haven't been able to get the services and healthcare that they should've received.  Remember Agent Orange?  That was almost 50 years ago. One of my closest friend's brother is a Vet (served in the late 70's- 80's) and I have heard many terrible stories of below par service from the VA, so this isn't new.  This time they got caught.  If you are surprised how poorly we treat returning soldiers, start reading.  It's terrible and hypocritical.  If we send men and women to war, we have to be able to follow it through all the way or let's not send them!

I am also heated up again about all the concerts that are happening that are for over 18 year olds!  What the hell is that about?  So what are parents and children to do?  First of all, if you are under 18, you can buy tickets to the concerts that you can't attend unless you have a fake ID.  How's that right?  There should be a mechanism at purchase that you have to put in your birth date or something.  Promoters are turning these concerts into battles for all the parents of kids that want to go to the concerts (Electric Zoo, Avicii, Above and Beyond, etc.) .  There has to be a better way.  Make the kids come with an adult, wear a bracelet, seating area not on the floor, something.  It is a new and unfair world of concert going and I don't get it!!  There is something wrong with the system and it should be rethought!!!!

Sidebars:  Saw Jim Dale's one man show at the Roundabout Theatre and if you are in NYC, don't walk to buy tickets, RUN!  He is remarkable.  Loved the man for over 40 years and he just gets better with age.  Sad to lose one of the very best daytime villains over the weekend.  Matthew Cowles died at the young age of 69.  His portrayal of Billy Clyde Tuggle set the villain bar very high.  Condolences to his wife, Christine Baranski. The Bachelorette had its second episode last night and was lucky enough to watch it with all the girls in my family.  When will contestants learn not to over drink?  It hasn't and will never turn out well.  Though it's probably better for the Bachelor/Bachelorette to find out sooner than later that there are drinking issues. America's Got Talent begins tonight.  It is a great show to watch with your family if you are looking for something, but if your family won't watch it, don't shy away.  It's a ball!!  Have a glorious week!!!

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@ DianaPodolsky

Friday, May 16, 2014

Simmering to a Boil

Really, people, I feel like I am walking around with a little black cloud.  Nothing bad is happening but the stress and tension of being a parent of, not just one 11th grader, but two, is taking it's toll.  I am sure that I have ranted about homework.  I have never been a big supporter of hours of homework ever.  Not sure I see the value in it.  The horse has left the gate all over America.  (If you having seen the movie Race to Nowhere, find it, watch it). Kids are saddled with too much homework to what end?  But 11th grade?  OMG.  The stress and tension of thinking about college and one's entire future is daunting.  The stress of studying not only for school but for the College Board exams is time consuming and debilitating.  What a racket!  Though the company that oversees all the college entrance exams is non-profit, you know that doesn't mean they aren't making money hand over fist for their executives.  Non-profit is a tax exempt status not a non-profit making company.  Now, there are books generated by The Princeton Review, Barron's, and Kaplan's for studying for each subject possible.  More money spent on helping prepare your children to do their best on a test.  And of course, if you have the means, hours upon hours of tutoring to teach the tricks of the tests.  Value?  Not high, I'm sure. Learning?  No, just working to get a great score.  

How things have changed from the olden days of yore.  No one I knew tutored 35 years ago.  We just showed up, took the test, and did our best. It was not, I repeat, not make or break like it feels like today.  I'm not saying that those kids that wanted to go to the premium schools, such as Stanford, didn't work a little harder to prepare, but it's not the craziness of today.  Today, the kids are sweating, studying, tutoring, taking mock test after mock test.  The pressure is over the top and for what?  It's the game with no meaning.  It separates even more the haves and the have nots.  It makes Affirmative Action even more imperative in colleges but it is getting whittled away state by state.  Can you imagine if you are from a middle class to poor family trying to get your child into a university?  Just the preparation to take the test is out of reach for most.  Who can afford weekly or bi-weekly tutors if you are trying to pay bills and put food on the table?  It's outrageous. And again, I ask, to what end?  

Are these college entrance exams any indication of success in school or life?  None.  The College Board has a stranglehold on the system and we can't do anything about it. Not yet.  Maybe colleges and universities will get tired of the homogeneous student body and take the power away from the entrance exams.  Maybe the colleges and universities will go by GPA, community service, personal recommendations, etc. and clip the monopoly the College Board has on the system.  These young people deserve so much more.  These young people deserve a childhood.  These families deserve a chance and an even playing field.  Chancellors of Universities everywhere, take back the process! 

Sidebars:  The Knicks aren't looking strong right now.  Can't see the light at the end of the MSG tunnel.  Oy vey!  The NBA playoffs are still going on and so are the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  It's ridiculous.  May sweeps seems rather tame.  The only sure sign of sweeps is the hysteria on local news.  They always have very dramatic promos for their next broadcast, even more than usual.  The 9/11 Museum opened with a big ceremony yesterday. Opens to the public next week.  I've heard from many the same question, "why would you want to go?"  The NY Post said there are no advance ticket sales except for opening day, Wednesday.  It's an expensive and sorrowful place to go.  Time will only tell if the masses want to relive that day.  As far as the college board, I just scratched the surface on those feelings.  There may be more.  On a personal note, it's my husband's birthday today. Go out and celebrate and we will too!  To the firefighters and people of San Diego, I hope you get a break and more than anything, I hope it rains there for you. This is my 300th post!!!!!!  Wow! Enjoy your weekend!

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Mind is Still Churning

I have been away and tried to gain perspective on the macro and micro world.  While away I think I had a grip and was definitely less concerned with the world​ at large, but arriving back into the "real" world quickly put everything front and center again.  As I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the shocking kidnapping of 250 girls in Nigeria, it took mainstream news three weeks to get on board with the story.  Even being overseas, I didn't hear a peep about it on BBC or any international station.  People, if this isn't a clear example of the news being manipulated and honed towards whatever agenda the news outlets have, I don't know what is.  It's disgusting.  This is a true newsworthy story.  It's happening now. There's a chance to save these girls and rescue them back to their families.  They seem to all be alive, they just have to be located.  Isn't this more newsworthy than the search for the Malaysia airlines flight?  That plane and its passengers and crew are gone, but they are all putting this story first and foremost on many newscasts. I actually think there really is a Lost aspect for the media.  They think that some miracle will happen and they will be found alive on an island surviving and flourishing.  A Hollywood ending!  It's not happening.  It's been three months!  BUT these young girls kidnapped in the middle of the night by terrorists led by Boko Haram, have a chance. They could be rescued. They could be found.  Why did it take 3 weeks before the world took this seriously?  It took the ground swell of outrage on the internet to put this in the top stories in all media.  It took the online petitions, crowd gatherings, protests, etc. for the world's media to take notice. I don't understand the laissez faire attitude about these teenagers.  Is it that they are girls? Black? Both?  I can make a case for both, easily.  Worldwide girls are not treated well or cherished.  The world has to shift. So whether you pray or don't, light candles, send some positive energy to find these young girls and bring them home to their families. Don't let this story die until they are found! #bringbackourgirls.  

The Ukraine situation is just getting worse and worse. I don't understand all the ins and outs of the situation, but for some reason, Putin really wants the Ukraine back.  Will he want Georgia, Chechnya, Kazbekistan, etc. to come back and be the USSR again? I think that the USA and the President made a miscalculation.  We should never have gone to the Olympics.  We should have skipped Sochi.  We had both precedence and human rights reasons to support us.  It would have taken the shine and the glory off of Putin.  Our going emboldened him.  Putin is becoming stronger, more powerful. He is sly, wily, but make no mistake, he is the puppet master.  There is nothing happening that Putin isn't aware of, I'm sure.  Think Don Corleone, but real life. Hold onto your hats.  This is going to be a long rode and America can't get involved with the military.  Been there, done that. Burned out!

Speaking of the military, can we get over Benghazi yet??  Congress can't.  Can't let it go and I can't understand it. There have been investigations from all sorts of branches of the government.  It is a tragedy but  repeatedly trying to lay the four deaths at the feet of Hilary Clinton and the President is absurd.  The President is responsible by "the buck stops here" theory, but that's it.  It's over. Done, but noooooo John Boehner and Congress are like dogs to a bone. They won't let it go.  It's not even in the top ten of concerns of Americans, but let's spend time and money until they get the answer they want!  Why are the Republicans so good at these tactics?  Democrats suck at it or we would've had hearing after hearing after hearing over the war in Iraq.  Now, that was an American government shame that we are still paying for, literally.  The money used to pay for the war was supposed to be covered/reimbursed by all the Iraqi oil.  That didn't happen.  Where is the outrage and the hearings on that?  Democrats don't do that, not really.  Again, they suck at that.  Democrats need to have a "dog to a bone" mentality.  They don't. It's a bummer.  It's pitiful.

Sidebars:  The Golden State Warriors management may dethrone the New York Knicks as the dumbest team.  They "relieved" Mark Jackson of his head coaching duties after giving them their 3 best seasons in a row in over 20 years.  They said they wanted to go in another direction.  Really?  You don't want to keep winning?  There's only one other direction in sports....Poor choice of words.  Mark Jackson come home and coach the Knicks!!!!!!!!!  NBA uniforms have been decimated by uniform designers and owners.  You used to be able to turn on a game and know exactly who is playing, but now the uniforms are almost down to a combination of three colors: red, white, and black.  Ruining the identities of the teams.  The Voice was a killer last night.  The eliminations were harsh and plentiful.  They let 3 out of 8 go.  Wasn't my 3.  Law and Order: SVU is on the "bubble," which means it may or may not be picked up next year. They are at a crossroads.  They need to hire more actors.  They need to spend some money and then plan to end its incredible run in the next year or two. Team Podolsky gathered again for the MS Walk in NYC this past Sunday. Thank you to all the fabulous people that supported us! It's sunny and beautiful here in NYC before the rain arrives again.  Enjoy the day wherever you are.

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