Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Emerson Mantle

Teaching this semester at Emerson College in  Boston has been a great treat. The students, as expected, remain the Emerson students — smart, inquisitive, outspoken and not to be deterred. But my return is not without some sadness. The three professors who had the greatest impact on my life passed away over the last few months.  Walt Littlefield who was my advisor and friend died in August.  He encouraged me to make decisions and stick to them — only modifying whatever my path was if it would hurt someone, or was taking me in the wrong principles direction. He helped me to create a major that didn’t exist so that in the future I would be able to live my life as a productive person who understood that things change, and in order to thrive we needed to change with them.  He was my undergraduate and Graduate School mentor. Most of my Graduate classes were held in what is known today as the “Cheers” bar— sans Ted Danson. We were hippies when we needed to be, and with my best pal “Mush” we became classic graduate school lunatics.  So many laughs.

Coleman Bender was the Chair of the Communications Department.  He was a cheerful, magnanimous leader, who was my professor and additionally saved my life when it was spinning out of control, (perhaps I exaggerate a bit), but after I graduated and got married (something that we did but no one ever understood why— maybe because we were afraid to be alone.) Wow, I sure learned not to be afraid — unfortunately, it turned out to be a painful lesson. 

But that’s not what I wanted to blob about.  After graduation I had to work, but the jobs available were not, you might say, challenging.  I worked at a Jewish bakery, where my elderly colleagues tried to hit me with a challah. A Chinese restaurant, where the owners insisted I pretend to be Asian. A drug store unloading cartons. And an employment agency where I got fired for being a social worker, instead of making personnel placements.  In desperation, I called Dr Bender and begged him to save this drowning soul. He gave me a free tuition and a teaching Assistantship, which paid $3200.00, which was exactly what my “questionable genius” husband (my mother would have called him smart, smart, stupid!) was being paid as a Post Doctoral Scholar.  We ate so many tuna sandwiches, but eventually I got my Masters and a job teaching at Boston University.  

And then there was my good pal and tormentor, Ken Crannell. From the time I walked into his classroom he began to evaluate my speech, the way I dressed, my lack of any performance talent and my lack of desire to achieve greatness.  He thought I needed to learn not to be afraid of pretty much anything.  He kicked my butt up Beacon Street and down Newbury.  Never once accepting excuses for anything I did that was half assed — there were lots of those antics.  Ken was a survivor of polio, so he used two crutches to walk.  But when he performed a musical show, (the whole thing — all the characters) he put down the crutches, sat on the stage on a stool,  and throughout the performance, you never realized that there was only one person (not an entire cast) up on that stage.  Mastering that talent was not one of the things I learned to do. But I did learn that you could overcome any disability if you were determined to be comfortable with who you were and could be.  And never to be afraid to find your voice and help others find theirs, in any difficult situation.  Some would say I have found too much voice  But most of all, he taught me to have a sense of humor no matter the situation. Whether working in the White House or advocating for an justice, you could not survive without being able to laugh. 

And speaking of laughter, the debate last night was somewhat hilarious.  Our Donald (not mine) made up his own words when he couldn’t find one that already existed.  “Bigly” instead of bigger or enormous.  And “bad hombres”.  Who is this person that pretends to want to be the President of the United States but thinks it’s alright to dictate rather than discuss issues.  Egomaniac, Narcissistic, a fop (look it up).  We need to move on.

Today is my mother and her twin’s  birthday.  They have been gone for a few years (and are not coming back except in our heads and dreams).  Funny, delightful, street smart, vulnerable, and always on the ball. Missing them does not go away.  And the mug I bought a few days ago which said, “everything my mother said was right”, certainly is a “bigly” thing.   We’re just sayin’…. Iris

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Fuckin' Lucky Club, LLC

Wait! Stop! Hold the presses! Breaking News (In case you hadn't noticed, everything is Breaking News —     (there is no “just news” anymore) In fact, there is no news at all. But getting back to “hold the presses”, Donald Trump is a slime.  Who didn’t know that. He wanted to grope an actress and do other things to her. She was apparently not a slob or a fat pig.  Here’s a Presidential candidate who has no respect for women, (despite claims that no one has more respect for women than he and maybe Billy Bush do). He has secret plans for almost every issue. He hates Mexicans and Muslims. And he won’t release his taxes, which will prove to all of the world that he is a scum bag — and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

But enough about Dump Donald — it’s not me — that’s what the Republicans want.  Let’s talk about the junior slime bag ass-kissing Billy Bush.  He’s an entertainment guy I am told. He might be related to George W. Bush (cousin?) but the Bushes aren’t admitting to a blood connection.  Billy is sorry that he enjoyed his interview and woman bashing lecherous interview with Trump. He made an apology similar to Trump but nobody cared. Maybe Billy is your typical LA TV personality. Most of them don’t have any real talent themselves so they depend on their ability to have access to people who might have talent, or at the least, they are considered celebrities for as long as that lasts.  Billy is, as we say in some circles, “talent free.”  That description needs no explanation I am sure.  My friend Fisher would say he is a member of the “fuckin lucky club.”  People who belong to that club happen to have been in the right place at the right time and some genius said, “ooh let’s make them a star.”  Members of this club do not have to be in show biz.  Some are lawyers,   they could be writers, they may even be in the government or politics.  The only thing they have in common is that they are talent free, and rich, usually because they got fuckin lucky. You know these people.  We all do. Sometimes we resent their success because we are actually talented but without notoriety, but no need to be.  Members of the FL club actually start to believe they deserve to be recognized as special, but sooner or later they do something incredibly stupid, like Billy Bush, and then everyone knows they are at the least a dope, and at the most despicable — like BB an his close friend DT.

Whew! I needed that.  So what’s going to happen in the debate tomorrow?  If Hillary is smart she just shows up and lets Donald hang himself.  It is impossible to turn on the TV today without hearing that Donald finally apologized for something — too late.  Republican leadership wants to dump him — too late.  His wife must want to kill him — too late, she likes the money.  So how does he recover — too late.  If he gets to be President it’s also too late for the United States. Did we get what deserve? Maybe not, no country deserves to be led by that level of lack of incompetence.  When will ordinary people in this great country understand that life is not a reality show.  People on television are not leaders, they are merely lucky. Yes, they do have a club, but believe me, it is not one to which you want belong.  We’re just sayin’…. Iris

That Time of Year....

Once a year I try to peruse our photo albums.  As you can imagine we have so many pictures that it is almost impossible to remember what pictures exist, the years they were taken, the events that we attended, the celebrities we met and whose company we enjoyed.  This year I decided that as I went through the albums, I would select my favorite pictures and put them in, yet another special album.  Don’t get me wrong, all the pictures are special for one reason or another, but these would be Special special.

It took me hours just to get through the albums.  But admittedly, it was the most fun I’ve had in I don’t know how long.  You must be wondering which pictures were my favorites.  If you are not wondering that, why in the world would you continue to read this blog?  Let me start with the few that absolutely stopped me from turning the pages. And they weren’t even pictures.  But they were certainly memories and not necessarily mine.

First of all I have in my possession, Fidel Castro Ruz’s carte de visite.   (Yes, that’s his whole name. I never knew about the Ruz either - must have been his Mom).  But there it is on his business card.  Although it’s not his business card because there’s no telephone number or e-mail. He probably doesn’t like getting calls all hours of the night.  But then why would he have an embossed card —expensive!.  And what exactly IS his business?  Dictator? Tyrant? Egomaniac?  Are those businesses or personality problems?   Who am I to judge? It’s pretty amazing to have old Fidel’s card.

The other card, (and yes the other is also a card), is an invitation for my parents to go to a State Dinner at the Palace of Versailles.  With this card, the problem was that neither Milton or Rosie, were in France during the time of the dinner.  That didn’t matter to my folks, because the point was to show it to everyone they knew.  Mom went so far as to tell people what she was going to wear, if only she had been able to get there.  “But you know” she said, “with Milt unable to get around, it would have been much too difficult.  Besides, I have been to White House for lunch, and the food was delicious.”

What other goodies were held captive between those plastic folds? There were pictures of Whoopee Goldberg holding Jordan at age 2 at the Women’s Conference in DC.  (Sometimes you could back-figure the year based on the perceived age of someone in the picture.) Pictures of one two, or all of us with Joan Baez, Stephen Stills, Mary Travers, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill,  (two of the world’s great song writers), Shari Lewis, Hillary Clinton, Gerry Ferraro, Madeline Albright, Donna Shalala, Tipper and Al Gore, Betty Friedan, David Crosby, Gregory Hines, Jeff MacNelly, and Pat Oliphant (Two of the worlds greatest cartoonists.)  These people were friends as well as celebrities — how fortunate we were.  Very complete, and the list continues thanks to our work and pleasant personalities. Then, of course , the most important shots are family (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, kids, pets) and family by choice — people who have been friends for long enough that we all just felt like we were related.  Yes, of course kids’ birthday parties. Passover with silly hats (and hardly any Jewish people). New Years parties, Hannukah (celebrated when all the kids could get together as opposed to the actual date), travel, and of course Thanksgiving — we had so much to give thanks for. So many happy memories. The thing is, people usually don’t take pictures of sad occasions.  But even without pictures we don’t forget the times when we lost people we loved. Sadly, that list continues to grow. But we still laugh when we look at pictures of the silly things we did with people who are gone. Like when we were in Wisconsin and we went to a nursing graduation dressed as an accident.   Too many sillies and “beloveds” to mention.  Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the holidays at which we reflect, and remember. So it seems appropriate to peruse the photo albums. The pictures and cards make it easier to pray for those who are with us, those who have gone before, and those yet to come.  Happy new Year.  But why the heck do I have Fidel Castro’s calling card.?   We’re just sayin’… Iris

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Oh, But For The Core of It

The question is not whether Donald Trump lost a billion dollars and didn’t have to pay taxes for 18 years.  Sure what he did was legal. And sure many would consider that good business, but that is not the point. The question is yet again, a question of a moral core. The fact is that Mr. Trump could afford to lose a billion dollars. It did not change his life style.  But what about the people who worked for him and lost their jobs.  They went from employed to unemployed.  Their lifestyles certainly changed. Many lost their homes. Couldn’t pay health insurance or medication.  And couldn’t put food on the table.

Trump couldn’t imagine what that would be like.  He thinks he is a good businessman. Some people think he is totally out of touch with people who do pay taxes. There is no question that he has had many businesses. Some successful some, not so much.

There are lots of angry and dissatisfied folks in this country, but why would they elect someone who does not care about how paying taxes impacts on them, Who, by the way doesn’t care about Vets, doesn’t care about children, (except his and other rich kids) and certainly doesn’t respect or care for women.  Why doesn’t he think Hillary looks like a President..... we all know the answer.  He is someone who has 50’s values and expectations.

But nothing bothers me as much as the angry tweeting at 3am. He is not a person who thinks black lives matter. He does not think that Hispanic people belong in this country--any of them. And he certainly doesn’t trust anyone else to do or say anything about the campaign.  He went to the spin room after the debate because he has no one.  And he has surrogates who also have a questionable moral core. Christie, who closed the GW Bridge but did not admit to it. And Rudy Giuliani who says that cheating on your spouse is the new acceptable cultural norm.

How did we get so lucky... Buffoon for President.
I tried to make this funny but... take a look at this and send it to everyone you know

We're just sayin' .....Iris