Thursday, April 30, 2015

The NFL: a Mixed-Up Bag

When I heard, read, learned that the NFL snuck into the non-profit status and made billions, I was horrified.  How could that happen?  The NFL had non-profit status??????  Made zero sense. They make billions year in and year out.  It's origin was trying to help the AFL and the NFL merge together, but that status shouldn't have taken more than 40 years to change.  BUT, the good news, Roger Goodell has admitted and taken the hit.  The NFL has lost its non-profit status.  Will the American people see or feel the difference?  Probably not, but regardless, there is some comfort that taxes will be paid. 

Will this effect the new billion dollar plus stadium that they are planning to build in Los Angeles for the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders?  Funny that the Raiders are wanting to go back to Los Angeles. It didn't work the first time.  What's changed?  I get why the Raiders have to leave the Oakland Coliseum.  It must be one of the oldest stadiums in America.  No perks.  Basic, basic, basic.  I feel bad for the die hard Raiders fans.  They've stuck by them through the first move to L.A., will they still?  

Okay, so the NFL draft is starting.  I have a huge problem with the teams salivating over Jameis Winston.  He is not a good guy.  He has given new explanations for his walking out of the market with crab legs that is totally preposterous, but the GM's are choosing to accept the new story.  They are not even addressing that he allegedly (though I completely believe from my core, he did) raped a young co-ed at FSU.  I know in this country  you are innocent until proven guilty, but....The NFL can't be surprised that players that have checkered/questionable pasts continue their evil ways while they are a part of a team.  Does the name Aaron Hernandez mean anything to you?  The New England Patriot was just found guilty of murder in Boston and going to jail for life.  There were so many stories of criminality and delinquency from his youth, rumors of gang related crimes, and all around bad things, that only came out in the public after Hernandez's murder charge.  Don't you think Robert Kraft and the Patriots GM heard about his past?  You get what you pay for, as they say.  

I know that the teams can't collude against a player, but teams and the NFL do have morals clauses.  If you see that a college player has some controversial behavior in their youth, you can't be surprised if the behavior continues.  It can only escalate once you reward bad acts with millions.  You know that these men aren't spending it on therapy.  These men are in a super violent sport.  Maybe it's why they are attracted to the game, but the grown ups in the room become part of the problem.  

When Jameis Winston is picked in the first round tonight and picked first or second, please don't be surprised if he is involved in some "questionable" situations down the road.  That's what happens when you get away with rape and theft and then get rewarded with a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract.  I'm sick of it.

Sidebars:  The Voice is down to the final 6.  It may be said every year, but seriously, you could argue for any of these singers to win.  It's unbelievable how many great singers there are in America.  If that was my chosen profession or dream, it would probably depress me. If you are a singer, you can learn a lot from the comments. What I know, as much as I fancied myself a singer, I'm not the musician that these singers are.  The great ones have an innate sense of styling, vision.  Without that, you go home for sure.  Survivor, which I've come to late in its life, has the most unlikeable group of players, this season.  Last night's episode was very satisfying, so keeps me coming back for more.  The Tony nominations came out Tuesday and the nominating committee shut out Harvey Weinstein and his show, Finding Neverland.  Let's see how he markets that.  Went to see the Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.  I highly recommend.  True story and well worth the time.  It's Thursday. The sun is shining the grass is green.  Enjoy!

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Saturday, April 25, 2015


Like many Americans, I was looking forward to the Diane Sawyer interview with Bruce Jenner.  I was positively gleeful and was titillated with the impending television special.  If I were still in college, it would have been a cause to gather around the television with friends to giggle and laugh.  What I experienced watching the entire two hours in real time...was something far deeper and unexpected than I ever imagined.

Bruce Jenner was an American icon from my childhood.  A beautiful, strong Olympian that was the first face on a Wheaties box, guest starred on various shows, and became the face of the "perfect" man.  What we didn't know was his private torment and confusion of gender identity.  Who could have possibly imagined that this fine specimen inside felt like a woman?  He had multiple marriages and many children.  Until Keeping Up With the Kardashians, he hadn't been in the public eye in recent years.  He was a peripheral narrative on this weekly reality show, but showed his very strong bond with all of his children.  The best part of him seemed to be his fatherhood.  It was only in the past year or so that the whispers began about him.  

The relentless mocking and hunting of Bruce Jenner was featured in every magazine, TMZ type show, and internet blog.  I can't deny my sheer delight in all the speculation.  Couldn't turn away, like a car crash that you can't turn away from.  When the rumors that the E channel was going to do the Bruce Jenner reality show, the titillation revved up again.  The denials began or the lack of confirmation.  The E channel did confirm that one episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians was going to deal with Bruce's transgender reveal.  More promotion and anticipation.  So, when Diane Sawyer and ABC announced that she had caught the only Bruce Jenner interview, I marked it on my calendar.  I didn't want to watch it after all the talking heads and the Twittersphere analyzed and re-analyzed the conversation.

Friday, April 24, 2015 at 9:00pm, sitting on the couch with my Mom...ready.  Not sure how I was going to feel.  Would it be amusing?  Uncomfortable?  Sad?  Emotional?  It was all that.  I found myself feeling a bit uncomfortable with his obviously more comfortable feminine side.  He was dressed as a man wearing a ponytail and, then, symbolically pulled the tie out to let his long locks flow freely.  He shed tears talking about the pain he didn't want to cause his 10 children.  He was nakedly honest and his bravery was deeply moving.  He has suffered in silence for most of his life.  Knowing since he was a little boy something wasn't right.  How comfortable he felt dressing up in women's clothes when ever he got the chance and publicly being a "he-man."  The ultimate specimen of male-dom.  How completely ironic to feel female in your soul and outwardly the statue of David.  Can you imagine that?  The pain he showed he suffered was palpable.  He wasn't asking for pity.  He really is asking for tolerance and understanding.  

All of his children know and most are showing what unconditional love means.  It can't be easy for any of them, but they love him.  For some, things clicked into place.  Things that they noticed when they were young, now it's like a-ha.  It surely showed that he is loved by his children and it couldn't have been easy.  Ten children, three marriages.  Six biological and four step children.  There in and of itself is cause for bumps in the road.  His first two wives made very loving and beautiful statements.  He had told them during each of their marriages that he had confusion and he liked to put on women's clothes.  He revealed his struggles to all of them, including Kris Jenner.  Kris Jenner is the only one that didn't have a comment.  She had no comment.  Probably waiting for Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  You can say a lot about her, but Kris Jenner is an unparalleled marketer and manager.  So, hopefully, she will share her true feelings on her show, not PC feelings.  It's not about her.  

It is all about him.  Bruce Jenner is gone now.  The interview was the last time we will ever see Bruce Jenner other than in photos and re-runs.  He is gone.  When he returns, he will be She.  She will have a new name.  She will finally be living his truth.  You may ask, "why do all this at 65?"  To that I say, how incredible that after 65 years, she will be able to be the woman she always felt inside before she dies.  Haven't you met people that didn't come out of the closet until their parents passed?  If her courage showed me anything, live your life, be your true self, and surround yourself with those people that love you know matter what.  

Harvey Levin and TMZ, please lead the future and leave Bruce Jenner alone.  Call off your dogs.  Take the high road and maybe others will follow.  That's the part that worries me the most.  The Paparazzi chases him relentlessly.  Leave him be!  I can't imagine handling all of that on top of transitioning.  Now that he has bared his soul to the world, it is time for the late night comics to realize that this is not fodder for jokes anymore. Let him/her be. It's time. 

There were so many layers and reveals to this interview.  If you missed it, I think it is thoroughly worth the time.  You may never see anything more raw and courageous again. It may not be easy for us to accept, but stay strong, stay true, and we look forward to meeting you.

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Friday, April 24, 2015


With all the 2016 Presidential candidates running around talking to voters and supporters, it dawned on me again, how money has absolutely hijacked and ruined our democratic process.  Every candidate is trying to get elected and the only way to get elected is to not speak the truth to their supporters!  How incredibly ridiculous is that?  I know that campaigning often brings out the liar in them all, but with the kowtowing that goes on to get the backing from the donors, lobbyists, and bribers, truth is lost.  Can't the people see that?  Can't the people rise up and demand Citizens United be obliterated?  Look how incredible the people did voicing their dismay and anti Comcast/Time-Warner merger.  The people stood up against that, loud and clear, with the guidance and help of John Oliver.  Can't we, the people, stand up against the Koch Brothers and the Sheldon Adelson's of America and say, no more?!  They are the famous names but there are many more in the shadows.  The lies and hedging answers that the candidates spew are insulting to the process but that has become both common and acceptable.  I am not, I repeat not, putting this on one party or the other, but I will say that the Republicans have excelled at changing their spots to try to get elected.  

Look at Mitt Romney.  He had to completely change his position on so many important topics to twist himself into whom the Party wanted him to be.  No one bought it.  He had a record as Governor of Massachusetts.  He did some good things as Governor, but when he ran for President?  All that went out the window and he had to tap dance around all of his previous achievements.  How stupid is that?  How dumb are people  that accept all that?  It's happening now all over again.  Candidates don't want or can't say how they really feel;  what they really stand for or would fight for.  It's a mockery of democracy.  

We have important issues that need to be debated and discussed openly and honestly.  Climate change; check.  Equal Pay for Women; check.  Gun regulation; check. Foreign policy; check.  Immigration; check.  Are they?  Not so much.  Look, do I think there wasn't all this truthiness always in elections?  Of course, there was, but now with all the ridiculous and outrageous money spent on elections nationwide, it is far more egregious.  If you have to answer to people that are backing your campaign financially, then you are beholden to them.  For anyone to think otherwise, is hiding his head in the sand.  

So where is the outrage from the people?  We have shown that when it matters to us, we can make a difference.  Just tell that to Comcast.  Do we have to have John Oliver or Jon Stewart show us the way? Can we not see what's going on by ourselves and make our voices heard?  Lobbyists will always exist, but they once used the power of persuasion and debate, now it's all about the money.  They have illustrated the corruption of money in politics very well on The Good Wife, but we need to fight for the survival of our Democracy now.  We need to fight for we, the people, of the United States of America.  

Sidebars:  Today in the New York Post there was a big headline that Tom Brady was a no-show with his team, the New England Patriots, at the White House.  I thought it was unconscionable that the big star wasn't there.  The only explanation was he had a family commitment.  I need more than that.  My spouse felt I was too harsh and who cares about going to the White House.  Well, it's symbolic.  It's the perceived disrespect or snub.  If Tom Brady's wife was in labor,  then he should miss the White House, but very few excuses seem good enough.  Okay, enough on that.  Dancing With the Stars has gotten so over-produced.  The Voice is on that same path.  Watch it producers.  Something Rotten opened on Broadway.  I saw it before opening and had the best time.  Many, many belly laughs. Ben Brantley of The New York Times sharpened his pen and was so nasty.  I have to say I was stunned by the vitriol.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea but it is an audience pleaser.  I can't believe that The Heidi Chronicles is closing.  Wendy Wasserstein's play deserved better than that.  I'm guessing the ticket prices are making it harder and harder to swallow.  Is there a limit?  Will you be home watching the Bruce Jenner interview tonight on ABC?  I am fascinated by all of it.  I will be watching.  It's Friday. TGIF.  Enjoy everyone.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Give 'em Hell, Hillary!

Don't know where to begin. Hillary Clinton finally announced her run for the President of the United States.  No surprise to anyone.  She has been the presumptive Democratic frontrunner forever.  What also isn't a surprise is the disgusting rhetoric from the Right, though they may have reached another new low when some artist turned the H in Hillary into the twin towers with a plane hitting it and dark smoke emanating from the H.  Seriously?  As if Hillary Clinton had anything to do with 9/11.  Spread that sort of image and lie, subliminally it will hit ignorant people.  People believe what they want to believe and facts are illusive.  The knives are out and sharpened.  Whether you like her or not, the real question needs to be, "would she be a good leader? a good President?"  You don't have to like her and probably won't if you are already in that camp, but look at her record.  Look at all she has achieved.  

There is no way that I ever thought that she would go on to be one of the most important and influential people in her own right after her eight years as First Lady.  As a matter of fact, when Hillary Clinton came to New York State to run for Senator, I was not happy.  I was bitter and annoyed at the carpetbagging, but, historically speaking, she wasn't the first.  Robert F. Kennedy was accused of being a carpetbagger too, and he ended up representing the State of New York well.  So, she ran and won.  She was a very strong and committed Senator.  Did I agree with every vote, certainly not, but she repped well.  Ran an incredibly terrible Presidential campaign and lost the primary to Barack Obama. I knew she was in trouble when so many intelligent and educated women that I know weren't supporting her election.  She lost handily.  She was chosen by President Obama to be Secretary of State.  She served our Country well with so many naysayers and haters at her heels constantly.  When she retired, who could have blamed her? That job is brutal.  Always on the road trying to put out fires worldwide and the fires are getting far more constant and at the same time.  A terrible way to live but a wonderful way to serve.  

Hillary Clinton let the talking heads and writers bend in the wind for a long time. Would she?  Wouldn't she?  I really could make an argument for either side, but she is.  I think she is a formidable person who happens to be a woman.  The Right can only see a woman and a democrat.  They hate her.  The New York Post is going to reignite all of their misogyny and anti-feminist headlines and columns.  Andrea Peyser has made her career trashing and tearing down women for years now.  She's ready.  The hate will be pervasive from the Right.  They hate her, they hate her husband.  They will spend billions trying to destroy her and bring up every last "scandal" surrounding her.  They will not spend money on truth and qualifications.  On paper, she is without a doubt the most qualified to be President.  The focus will be on all the irrational feelings of hate.  

Former Secretary of State and Senator Clinton may run unopposed.  That is truly unfortunate.  I think it will not serve the democratic process, but the way the system now works, the Parties run the system and money is all that matters. The amount of money projected to be spent on the 2016 Presidential election is nauseating.  The money that the candidates will all raise and the PACS and Super PACS will raise will be in the billions of dollars.  Too bad that money gets wasted and we get so little from it.  That money could be used for the better good, if we had campaign finance reform, if we used public funds only, if the campaign season was two months not two years, if, if, if.   Good people are going untapped and undiscovered.  No more Mr. or Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington.  It can't happen.  

Sidebars:  Spring is finally here.  We can finally say so long to Winter here in the NYC.  Hoping that I'm not jinxing it.  The sun is shining, the grass is green. Broadway is thriving currently. Tons of shows are opening and the streets are packed with tourists and patrons in midtown.  Started watching the PBS production of Wolf Hall.  Figured I'd do better watching in my family room than trying to see the live two-part British production.  The cast is stellar and not too late to give it a try.  For those that have missed seeing Damien Lewis on Homeland, he is now inhabiting Henry the VIII.  The incredible Mark Rylance and Jonathan Price are also starring.  If you saw Love Actually and wondered what happened to the sweet son of Liam Neesom in that movie, he's now a young adult and in this production and still cute.  The Voice is whipping by fast.  Down to the top ten. It's been great fun and far too much talent.  The Good Wife is hanging on by a thread, as far as I am concerned.  Haven't liked most of the season and plot lines and still waiting for Kalinda's exit.  :-( There's much more but it's too beautiful to stay inside.  So enjoy your day and I'll be back soon.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Batter Up

Did you realize that yesterday was Opening Day of the 2015 Baseball Season?  Do you care?  I do.  Surprisingly, I really do.  The older I get, the more comforting I find baseball.  Look, for all you freakish, brilliant stat-heads, I'm not at all.  I understand the game at its simplest form, but I love it.  I love all the traditions and the history of the game.  Of course, it's easy when you live in New York City and you have the rich history of the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Giants, and, yes, the Mets.  Of course, I do mock Mets fans.  Not the Mets fans that were born and raised Mets fans, no, I am talking about the Mets fans who choose to be Mets fans.  Why in the world would you if you could choose the Yankees.  I never get that.  

Anyway, yesterday all the teams started their new seasons.  Many new players, new coaches, new uniforms, clean slates.  It's anyone's game once again.  Hope is in the air for awhile.  Yankee fans started off with a terrible loss and could be the theme of the season, but the die hard fans will always stay around, which can't be said for Florida Marlin fans.  That's part of what makes the Yankees so great.  Nothing like NY fans for better and for worse.  Other teams have that same devotion but they are the original teams. You know who they are, don't you?  Cubs, Giants, Dodgers, Cardinals, White Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox.  There are a few more, but you get the drift.  The history.  The long suffering seasons.  The stories of the Chicago White Sox scandal.  The curse of the bambino which lived on for decades and has since been crushed.  There's so much. 

Many older fans have been outraged in recent years with the so-called steroid era.  I've had many a disagreement with others over the position that the players are scum, at fault, their records shouldn't count, they should be hogtied in the public square and flogged.  How dare they tarnish the greatness of those before them!  I never felt that way.  My position has always been and will always be, until someone can definitively prove otherwise, the owners, the commissioner, the managers, and the trainers knew that there were artificial enhancement drugs being taken, but they turned the other cheek, hid their head in the sand.  Baseball suffered a terrible blow with a players strike in the '80s and getting people back in the stands and watching TV was all that mattered.  Didn't matter how.  Offense went crazy.  There were home runs everywhere and it was exciting.  It worked.  The people came back and were following the competitions around the league.  

After the success was greater than anyone could've possibly dreamed, that's when the "outrage" starting to get louder.  The records that were being broken were tainted.  The sportswriters were hopping mad at the players.  Calling foul.  Illegal drugs was what generated all the runs.  The baseball writers were calling foul.  What was baseball to do?  Well, they went after Barry Bonds tooth an nail.  He was an easy target, not a well-liked man, some may say hated.  He didn't play the "game" the way "they" wanted him to so they were going to take him down for steroids or HGH or anything they could.  It was more like Capone, they couldn't get him on the steroid use so the Feds got him on some other cockamamie charge.  I can hear people yelling at me already, but he wasn't the enemy.  I have no great love of Barry Bonds, don't get me wrong.  I just don't think it was he that was the problem, just a good public villain.  There were tons of players that were found guilty by association, by whispers, by that pillar of the community, Jose Conseco's bio.  Their careers couldn't recover.  They were branded with the letter "S" for steroids. 

As baseball started "cleaning up" the drugs, guess what has happened over the years?  Home runs have slowed down.  All this past week, the papers are starting to write about how the game has gotten too strong defensively and they'll have to figure out how to get more offense.  Really?  Again?  Is there anyone out there who thinks that if baseball starts losing money/ratings that they won't do something drastic?  Stinking their heads in the sand made them all rich.  How do you think that future looks?

I love to watch it on TV, listen to it, check the scores on my computer, go to the ballpark.  I love it.  It's peaceful. Don't always like the announcers.  If they, as a group would realize, less is more.  Silence is a beautiful thing.  I don't need to hear about the 2 seam and 4 seam fastball.  Just let the beauty of the game speak for itself.  

This season much to my fellow San Francisco Giants fans dismay...I am also watching/rooting for the Dodgers.  A high school classmate's son is the new phenom for the Dodgers, Joc Pedersen. Totally exciting!  My heart is with the Giants and the Yankees, but I will definitely keep an eye on Joc.  Batter Up!!

Sidebars:  The Apollo Theatre in NY honored Bille Holiday by giving her a plaque in their walk of fame celebrating what would've been her 100th birthday.  Really?  Just now?  Who else has a plaque?  Though glad she finally got the honor seems very delayed and a bit embarrassing.  If you missed John Oliver's Sunday night HBO show, catch it.  It's not to be believed.  It makes "journalists" look like fools.  John Oliver is an entertainment show and is doing more than anyone else uncovering and unfolding important topics.  You should definitely put it on your DVR schedule.  April showers bring May flowers.  That's where we are in NYC this week. Enjoy Spring wherever you are.  

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015


I have been feeling so uneasy for awhile now about religion, but it just keeps getting worse.  The more anti-semitism rears its head worldwide, the more Christianity feels like it's enveloping me from all sides.  It may just be an American thing, but with Mark Burnett producing all of his epic tales of the Bible and going mainstream on NBC this time, I am feeling uncomfortable.  With the anti-LGBT legislation signed into law by the Governor of Indiana, swastikas painted on walls of Synagogues, fraternities, etc., my breathing is getting more and more shallow.  

Look, I have many questions about religion and faith.  I question it all the time, but what I don't do is thrust my opinion, feelings, or beliefs on others.  Why do we have to continually be subjected to so many others' faiths?
This week on The Today Show (I'm sure to promote NBC's The Bible), the team is sharing what faith means to each of them.  Don't want to hear it.  I particularly don't want to hear it as a subtle, covert promotion of a TV show.  But I really don't want to hear it.  Don't care.  Enjoy your faith, privately.  Cherish it, privately. 

I feel that our country has tilted so far towards religiosity, that I feel when I step outside NYC, I don't belong here anymore.  Can you imagine that?  Me?  I was born and raised in America, but in my 55 years, this Country has shifted so much, that I hardly recognize it.  The crazy religious right who espouse Jesus are 100% hypocrites and they and those that believe them don't even see that.  There is no hate in Jesus.  There is only love, acceptance, and tolerance.  That men took those words and twisted them into unacceptable  rhetoric is the problem.  

As I spend my time preparing for our own Passover seder, I have been thinking so much about religion.  Am I being a hypocrite? I don't think so.  If I didn't write it here, you'd never know what the hell I was doing in my home. I am not a religious person. I like tradition.  I like getting together with family and friends and recounting the story of Passover and eating great food.  Am I a spiritual person? Do I think there's something greater than us?  Maybe. I'm open.  I'm open like I am open to mediums.  It's all possible, but will never know truly.  Whatever works to get you through the day.  BUT why do your beliefs trump mine?  I feel that about everything.  I feel that about guns and the NRA.  I feel that way about separation of Church and State.  I feel that way about abortion.  I feel that way about vegans and vegetarians.  I feel that way about the "drug war."  If I'm not bothering you, than why is it anyone's business? 

I have gotten off track a bit here, but more and more I feel like a marginalized person in this country.  With the new anti LGBT law in Indiana and Arkansas right behind them,  what's happening?  How can these laws be interpreted any other way?  I've always felt that those who are racist are also homophobic and anti-semitic.  They follow the same path.  Did you see how fast the President of University of Oklahoma came down on the fraternity that was caught singing racist songs?  Did you see how slowly the Chancellor of UCLA has reacted to the anti-semitic students on the student council?  Have any of the students that asked completely inappropriate questions to a young Jewish student paid any price for their bigotry?  Seems to have been swept up under the rug, even from the national press.  Very little reporting compared to the racist frat boys at Oklahoma.  Anti-semitism has been allowed to simmer for centuries.  The fact that it's on the rise again in the lifetime of World War 2 survivors with little attention is very disturbing.  I am struggling. I am sure you can tell.