Monday, November 23, 2015

Can You Hear That Beat?!

Since the tragic terrorist attacks, the Republican candidates have gone over the top crazy.  Where are the educated journalists, Republicans,  and Americans to cry foul?  It's f**king insane what's going on.  The rhetoric is dangerous that's coming out of the mouths of Ben Carson and Donald T***p.  Did you see that T***p riled up a crowd to beat on a black man that was protesting his speech?  Seriously, he encouraged these disciples to attack this man and had no apologies.  If you don't believe me, Google it.  It's appalling.  The anti-refugee speak is idiotic and ill-informed.  They know nothing, but spew venom so easily.  No care about the carnage that they leave in their path.  None, whatsoever.  

Every Republican candidate wants to be Rambo, except Rand Paul.  They want to, talk tough, send soldiers into Syria to "take Isis out," and be the great victor.  Let me make this completely clear to all of you, the only Presidential candidate that served in the military, but didn't see combat...Lindsey Graham.  That's it.  None served. None saw war, carnage, and death.  Only one candidate has children that serve/served...George Pataki (two sons).  Both these men are in the undercard.  They barely get air time.  All the others that are crowing to go into Syria and send troops on the ground, have never seen one second of the military.  Would they send their children?  Grandchildren?  Hell, no.  That's for others to sacrifice, not them.  

Remember President Teddy Roosevelt?  He was a hawk.  He wanted war.  He was ready to send young men into battle.  When his own son was tragically killed in war, he changed his tune.  That loss almost broke him and he wasn't so eager to send more troops into battle.  BUT why did it take his personal loss to change?  Why can't you just see how painful it is for parents to send children into war and receive their dead bodies at home?  I watch tons of movies, I can make believe things without having to actually experience them to know how I feel about different life issues.  President Roosevelt couldn't without suffering an unbearable loss.

So, all these GOP candidates shouting tough talk and wanting to send other people's children into harms way, shame on you!  I don't even understand why there are so many disciples buying all this bullsh*t.  Haven't there been enough injuries and death?  
Let's be specific on the kids but not going to be sacrificed:
Jeb Bush has 3 adult children, 2 sons and 1 daughter (George, Noelle and John, Jr.).  
Ben Carson 3 adult sons (Rhoeyce, Ben Jr., and Murray).
Chris Christie has 4 children that range in age 12-19 (Patrick, Andrew, Bridget, and Sarah).
Ted Cruz has two young daughters (Caroline, 7 and Catherine 4).
Carly Fiorina has two adult step children.
Lindsey Graham has zero.
Mike Huckabee 3 adult children (David, John, and Sarah).
John Kasich has twin 15 year old girls (Emma and Reese).
George Pataki has 4 adult children ( his two sons are serving).
Marco Rubio 4 children (Amanda, Daniella, Anthony, and Dominic).
Rick Santorum has 7 children...SEVEN.
Donald T***p has 5 children (Ivanka, Donald, Eric, Tiffany, and Barron), plus 6 grandchildren.

Between the candidates they have 39 children.  Some may be too young to serve and some may be too old, but do you think any of them would send their own children (other than Pataki) into a bloody and brutal war?  They are sending other people's children to fight their battles.  Do any of them even know what the hell they are talking about?  There are so many lies being sold and told and no one is calling them out.  Carson seems completely uneducated and uninformed.  T***p must be embarrassing Wharton because he keeps fabricating numbers and tales.  Come on, people, why are we so easily led to believe lies and bad information?  We bought it going into the Iraq War and haven't recovered since.  Before you write me and tell me you weren't for the Iraq War and you don't believe the BS, I applaud you, but too many do.  I don't know what has happened to so many that they believe anything.  No one Googles to confirm information.  If you say it with authority and confidence, it's "true."  We all know people like that, but do we want a President to represent us that will say anything?

Where are the news/media people?  I want there to be a fact checker at every debate.  FACTS, people, not opinions.  I want there to be a buzzer, or maybe even a taser, every time a candidate stands up in front of the American people and fabricates information.  I'd like that for those in the audience too.  The debates have become more Gladiator vs. lions in the Coliseum than actual policy and fact.  I can't imagine (not even in the movies) that there could be a President T***p.  I'm not making any declaration that I will move to Canada if that were to happen, but I'd cry.  I'd want to take my Country back.

When you hear the candidates, beating he drums for more war.  Remember whose children are being sent.  They're not theirs or mine.  Are they yours?  

Sidebars:  Plenty of cartoons, satires, verbiage going around Facebook about Thanksgiving and the refugee situation.  Much commentary on who were the first refugees to come to Plymouth Rock.  It certainly wasn't the Native Indians that had thrived here.  It was all the newcomers on the Mayflower.  Some seeking refuge and religious freedom and others searching for adventure.  When your families get together on Thursday to share another turkey day, this year pause and think about how this Country was created, what sacrifices were made, all the bloodshed and victories, to make the United States of America.  We all came from somewhere else.  That's the country that was built.  Let's try to remember that. 
Wishing all a very peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving!  

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Does the SS St. Louis Mean Anything to You?

I have been hesitant to weigh in on the tragic mass murders in Paris.  It strikes straight to the heart.  I saw many postings on Facebook why the world wasn't as upset by the murders in Beirut and Nigeria.  I've thought a lot about that.  I don't think that it is a simple answer.  Partly, I think that so many Americans have been to Paris or seen so many films showing life in Paris that there is a deep connection.  The romanticism of life in gay Paree has been well documented in cinema that we have a true relationship with Paris.  There may also be deep cultural reasons for the complete disregard for Beirut and Nigeria.  The "other."  The Russian plane alleged bombing we can clearly understand.  That story has flowed in and out of our consciousness, but we can relate to the tragedy.

Okay, so now we are five days since the mass terrors in Paris.  The news is still focussed on the lives lost, the hero stories, the investigation and the questions linger on....Now, there's much talk about the Syrian refugees flowing en masse into Europe.  Could a terrorist sneak through?  Well, you don't have to say much more than that to get the USA Republican Governors to declare they're not accepting any Syrian refugees, if they are Muslim.  Wow, how helpful.  How perfectly christian.  Most of these Governors that have declared blockage of taking in any refugees are self-proclaimed Christians.  Well, I have news for you:  A) that isn't a Christian act
B) it's not Constitutional.  Many have stated that we never turn away refugees, but now is the time.  We have to protect ourselves from all the Muslims that want to  come here and kill us.  

I get the fear, but the lack of knowledge and history slaps me in the face.  The Governors refusal feeds the hate, it doesn't help.  AND it isn't true that we never turn away refugees.  May I remind the Governors and all the people that the United States of America wouldn't accept, turned away, and sent a ship load of Jewish refugees back to certain death in 1939.  The SS St. Louis left Germany with about 1000 German Jews trying to escape the Nazis.  They paid all the money they had to board this ship and to find a new life in Cuba.  Cuba wouldn't accept them, so the ship's Captain tried to get the US to let them dock and disembark.  No go. "We have hit our quota of Jews."  So with few supplies left from their cross Atlantic travels and subsequent limbo, this boatload of desperate and terrified German Jews were refused.  What another great moment in American history.  So, Governors, we've refused mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers before.  We've done that.  We know how that ended, don't we?  

Look, I understand that there are concerns, but you can't possibly speak out of both sides of your mouth.  You can't say you are christian and proclaim that you aren't willing to help families and people in desperate need.  It isn't the "American" way or is that all just BS.  Recently, it seems that way.  Leave it to a Presidential election season to bring out all the hate and fear mongering.  Democrat or Republican alike, if you speak out of your ass before knowledge, you are playing right into the hands of all terrorists.  Too bad that you don't flip out when white American males shoot up schools in this country.  Oh, how you segregate and compartmentalize all the hatred.  Where are all the leaders?  We need people all over America to stand up. I know it may be scary, but somehow so many American citizens and leaders have forgotten that we are a Nation of immigrants and refugees.  

My head is swirling with so many thoughts about too many connected topics, but this is a blog and not a tome.  I will end with this.  I love Paris.  I will go again, but I will wait.  I think that we are adjusting to a "new normal." We may always have to be more cautious and more aware forevermore.  This is how the people of Israel have lived since 1948, and they have thrived.  We can too, if we don't let all the fear take us down. 

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Sweet Cruise of Youth

About six months ago, my husband told me he wanted to take this cruise called a Malt Shop Cruise.  It's a week in the Caribbean and every day there are different artists performing: Neil Sedaka, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker, and Darlene Love, to name a few.  I am always over the moon to see Neil Sedaka. He never gets old.  Okay, so I said yes.  We were lucky to even get on this cruise and get a cabin.  The day finally arrived. I had no idea what to expect, but from the get go, I could tell we were part of something special.  All the passengers were here to have fun, relive their youth, dance, sing, and party.

Seriously, people, I don't think I can do this justice.  This was one of the most fantastic experiences I've ever had.  There were people from all over, many that had taken all 6 of these chartered cruises.  Many couples were high school sweethearts and still together.  Many women travelled together so they could have fun, fun, fun 'til their Daddy took the T-Bird away.  There were theme nights:  prom night, pajama night, sock hop night, costume night, and more.  Everything went.  All that mattered was the fun.  And boy howdy, everyone was having fun.  It was as if time had stopped and everyone was back in high school again for just that one week. They may have wrinkles, grey hair, and more weight, but you really couldn't tell by all the festivities. 

Unlike most cruises, this cruise had activities all around and about music.  Trivia games were music oriented.  And the concerts...oh my goodness, the concerts.  First night up, Chubby Checker.  He put on a very entertaining show.  Full of energy and twists.  Wouldn't say he was ever a great singer, but his performance level was high.  The audience ate it up.  Screaming, singing along, and twisting.  Night 2:  one of my all time favorites, Neil Sedaka.  I have been seeing him in concert for some 40 years.  He still sounds amazing and you can't go wrong with his songs.  He played for 90 minutes and had the whole room singing and clapping.  Night 3:  Darlene Love.  She looks and sounds fantastic.  She sang many of her hits, though you may not realize that they are her hits.  In the early years, Darlene Love sang the tracks and others got the credit.  Ah, that Phil Spector, what a guy.  Anyway, thanks to the documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom, she finally gets the credit she so richly deserves.  Night 4:  The Brooklyn Reunion which is a combination of three Doo-Wop groups, The Mystics, The Passions, and The Classics.  The audience ate it all up.  Took them back.  Night 5:  Does the name Frankie Avalon mean anything to you?  He looks gorgeous.  It is his own hair and a full head of hair it is.  He sang great, told stories, honored Annette Funicello, Elvis Presley, and more.  Night 6:  Bobby Rydell and Sonny Turner the lead singer from The Platters. First of all, though I knew many of Bobby Rydell's songs, I had zero idea how well he sang.  Gorgeous voice.  He honored Bobby Darrin for a segment, told stories and jokes, sang, and took the audience to its heights.  Lucky for Sonny Turner that he was up first.  As great as he was, I wouldn't want to follow Bobby Rydell.  (Dawned on me, if that's why the high school in Grease is Rydell High. Anyone know?).  Night 7 and the last night:  Little Anthony and the Imperials.  Sigh.  Well, they were good, not great.  They are entertaining, but Anthony has lost a step.  We saw him at Feinstein's in NYC a few years ago and it was basically the same everything.  Okay, so that touches on all the shows at night.

Every day there were Q&A's with the talent.  The room overflowed with people trying to be there in person.  Fortunately they were taped and were shown on closed circuit television all week.  They had special concerts with The Toys, Lou Christie, and Jay and the Americans during the day.  I completely missed Jay and the Americans appeal, but the rest of the passengers flipped and were over the top about  them.  The Toys and Lou Christie much more my speed.  Frankie Avalon and the great DJ/Host/Emcee, Jerry Blavat, did a cooking segment to sell Frankie's new Italian cookbook.  

There was so much more than all of this, but to capture the feeling that filled the air is impossible to convey.  These people were there for the music.  Relive their high school days.  Make new friends.  One woman brought her sister on the cruise because this was her last hurrah, literally.  They had a great time.  And did I mention that all the singers, now just think about this for one second, all of the singers are in their 70's!!!!!!!!!!!  It is astonishing to me how incredible they sounded and how well they looked and moved.  There was some very fancy footwork going on during the concerts.  Jimmy Maddox was the king of the Piano Bar.  People were fighting to find seats in the small bar to hear him play rock and roll, drink, and sing along.  A hugely talented piano player.  Another great way to meet people.

To say that this is just a Malt Shop Cruise, is not doing it justice.  This is a very special fairy dusted cruise on the seas to celebrate life and music.  I don't care what age you are, if you like this period of music, 50's-60's pre British-invasion, this is a cruise not to be missed. How many more times can you see these singers?  Already signed up for next year:  Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons, Dionne Warwick, Ronnie Spector, The Letterman, and many, many more next time.  Come on, people, let's do the twist.

Sidebars:  Well, just think about any other time in music that could bring so many people together.  I think that our children could never have an opportunity like this.  Music today will never live on in the annals of history.  Don't think in 30-40 years, Time-Life could ever put together a Kanye West, Drake, Demi Lovato cruise.  Don't think anything like that could ever happen.  Music today is so processed and synthesized that I don't think in the long view it will last or have the same place in music history.  Now, before you start yelling at me, this name or that name, there will be exceptions, but very few.  Couldn't put together a disco era cruise. First of all, too many are dead, but it wouldn't be the same.  Currently there are Country, Soul, Broadway, and Malt Shop cruises.  There may be others, but that's what I gleaned from others on the ship.  Broadway cruises were the only ones I'd ever heard of before this, and that seemed dull to me.  Rather see the music in context on a Broadway stage.  --  Happy to see that the Gloria Estefan musical, On Your Feet, opened to good/great reviews. Brava.  Loved seeing my former client, Alma Cuervo, getting her due in the reviews as Gloria's Abuela!  This week, catching up on everything I missed last week.  Seeing King Charles III Wednesday matinee.  Many movies to see still, too.  Dying to see Spotlight.  Hope everyone is doing well.  NYC is really having Fall for the first time in years.  Enjoy!

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