Monday, December 16, 2013

A bit of this and a bit of that

1.  It seems to me that every utterance that comes out of a Republican mouth is simply mean or astoundingly stupid or vindictive or condescending or misinformed or racist, or misogynist.

2.  I haven't heard one kind word about anything from the Right.

3.  It appears that it is a requirement, when applying for a job at Fox news, that one must leave their brains outside.

4.  Christmas is not my holiday, consequently I save a LOT of money not going crazy buying STUFF.  It's really become a huge mercantile event.

5.  How much money do rich people need before they get a conscience?  Is someone whispering INFINITE?

6.  I can't stand being waited on in a restaurant by someone with a tongue piercing.  It makes me want to vomit.  I almost have the same feeling when I see those huge black things making big holes in earlobes.

7.  I dislike people who declare their religion publicly every chance they get.  It's usually Christians because I don't see, read about or hear Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Baha'is, Sikhs, Wiccans, atheists, etc., yelling about the war on WHATEVER, or yelling that this is a WHATEVER nation and trying to legislate their point of view for the rest of us.  I prefer religion to be a private affair.

8.  So, I'm not a six year old kid anymore.  I grunt when I have to bend down to pick something up off the floor!


     Yes, I was.  It is good to be a New England sports fan!  And that includes UCONN Women's basketball, too!

10.  I wish someone would tell the crazy gun nuts that the correct way to hold a gun is with the barrel pointed at their stomachs. I was going to write hearts but they don't have any!

11.  Why does my passion for chocolate never subside????

12.  We are such a war-mongering nation.  And it all comes down to GREED.  War is a money-maker.  They fact that it snuffs out so many young lives is of no consequence to those who supply the war machine.

13.  Women are still second class citizens in the United States.  Just ask any fr***** white, male Republican member of Congress or any white, male, Republican a**h*** elected to state office.

14.   The ads asking for everyone to give money, food, gifts for kids at this time of year are legion.  So what happens during the rest of the year?  Do people think the poor disappear until the next holiday season?  And my point is why do we have so many really poor people needing life-sustaining help in what is supposed to be a very prosperous country?  It's crazy, it's a shame and it's unconscionable.  We have to do better by RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE to a decent living wage.  

15.  I have never seen The Nutcracker ballet and frankly, don't have any great desire to see it.

16.  Years ago I decried the lack of intelligence in public life.  Alas, it has gotten so much worse.  And I don't want to be represented by people with such low IQs!  Have you read the crazy, meshaguss coming out of the mouths of members of Congress?  Did they all snort themselves throughout their formative years?  Most of them are Republicans.  Do they have a diseased gene in their pool?  Sigh............  They are meshugeh ahf toit (crazy as loons).  It sounds better in Yiddish. 

17.  Best job I ever had: radio talk show host in Connecticut.  Had different guests on every day: authors, politicians-state and Congressional, entertainers, people involved in every social service agency in the area, an inventor, musicians, a Native American sculptress.  I had so much fun interviewing the myriad guests who came on the show.   It was lively, funny, entertaining and informative and a joy to do.  Interviewing, asking the right questions and getting interesting information is something I do really well.  Wish I could do it again.

18.  I wish I could just twitch my nose and make everything right with the world.

19.  It remains to be seen.  Will the bad guys ever really get their comeuppance?

20.  Does anyone want the ice scrapers I still have?  I don't need them here in Arizona's Valley of the Sun!!!!

Hey, if you're reading this, please leave a comment at the bottom where it says: post a comment. I'd really appreciate that.  Thanks.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Life is good if you have a dog living with you.

I confess I am an absolute lover of all things DOG. When I was a child I desperately wanted a dog but was told that my brother was "allergic" so we didn't have dogs in our house.  My friend, Nancy, who lived up the street got a dog she named Tippy and Tippy became my substitute dog. Tippy and a friend roamed the neighborhood streets and the two were always around for pats, hugs and play whenever I was outside and called them.  Oh sure, we had parakeets for pets and I loved them a lot but they weren't dogs.  It was only many, many years later that I found out that my mom had been attacked by a German Shepard when she was little and was extremely afraid of dogs.  The "allergic" story was not true.

When my husband and I moved to California, after settling in at Edwards Air Force Base for several months, I came home one day with a bird, a bronze-winged Beebee, kind of a cross between a parrot and a parakeet.  It was adorable and VERY loud.  We taught her to eat grapes and cherries.  She'd peel the skins off and throw them against the wall.  She walked around the house rather than fly.  She was the queen of the house. She was a lot of fun, sounding like a machine gun when she opened her mouth.  But, she wasn't a dog.  We had Bubee the Beebee for a long time.

One day someone told us about a litter of puppies in the neighborhood and we "casually" strolled over to see them. By the time we got there, one was left. It was a black long-haired cross between a short-haired brown dachshund (the mom) and a high fence jumper!  He was just adorable and he came home with us. We gave him a name beginning with the letter S (which I won't divulge because it's so unusual) and S just entwined himself around my heart and never let go.  I loved that dog with such intensity from the moment I laid eyes on him to the moment he took his last breath and beyond.  He moved with us from California to Texas to Massachusetts to Virginia and finally to Connecticut.  He lived with us for 11 years and it just wasn't long enough. But he started my long love affair with these four-footed furry friends who have inhabited our homes ever since.

After S, came 5 other dogs, most were mutts (one was a Tibetan Terrier and a show dog during the first 2 years of her life) and all had names beginning with the letter S. It just worked out that way.  Every single one was different from all the others and each one captured our hearts so completely.  We had S#2 and S#3 together, one a schnauzer-pug and the other a poodle-schnauzer. Poodle died suddenly at the age of 9 and pug was never the same after that.  We lavished love on pug and he lived to be 18!

A year later our #4, a Tibetan Terrier named Sallie, (we changed that name) came into our lives.  We were her third household and she was 7 at the time.  She had the longest eyelashes I've ever seen and she was just gorgeous.  She followed me around everywhere.  We started to bring her to the office every day and soon our (law) office had dogs everywhere since we allowed everyone who worked there to bring their dogs in, too.  We could have answered our phones with "Law Office and Doggie Day Care!"

At the age of 12, "Sallie" became very sick and we spent the next several weeks running to an animal hospital in Providence and spending thousands of dollars trying to save her life. It was not to be.  She had contracted a very rare kind of cancer not usually found in animals.  We took her home on a Saturday and all her doggie friends were brought over to be with her during her last day.  We said goodbye that night near midnight with a very compassionate vet who came to our house.  We were devastated.

It was almost 2 years before we even started to think about getting another dog.  I did my search on  And that proved to be a good thing.  I had chosen a few but they were taken by the time my inquiry came in. And then one of the people who told me my choice was already taken included a photo of another that had just come in and hadn't been included on the site yet.  She was just so cute.  I was asked if I might be interested and I said "yes".  A few weeks later we were waiting in a Home Depot parking lot in Springfield, MA waiting.  A car drove up and parked along side ours.  I got out and a little head popped up from the back seat.  I just gasped at the little ball of cuteness. And Snuggles, our#5, a maltese/shi-tzu, came into our lives.  Wow, she is such a sweetheart and she captured the hearts of everyone in the office.  Four months later, we closed the office and the three of us were on our way to Arizona.  

Five months after moving to Arizona I was at it again.  I felt Snuggles should have a companion so I took to Petfinder again.  And moving in with us on my birthday was Sterling, an adorable and feisty bichon frise-poodle.  

Both Snuggles and Sterling are rescues.  And we couldn't be happier with these two.  We have dog toys and dog beds all over the house.  Our sofa is covered with a blanket for their sleeping comfort.  Their welfare comes first before we make any plans to do anything. They are lavished with love and it's returned ten-fold.

Our son finally gave in to his longing for a dog and he rescued a lab/shar-pei!  And we get to dog-sit for him a few times a week.

The love all our doggies have given us has been immeasurable. They make a house a home.  If we could, we'd fill the house with more rescues.  

Isn't your heart just melting now?

         Sterling and Snuggles with their favorite toys.

Monday, October 28, 2013

When I Taught, Part 2 (see Part 1, 6.10.2013)

After my initial teaching experience in my hometown, the place where I spent a good portion of my own money providing food, school supplies, haircuts and such to those of my students who needed these things, I found myself in a completely different educational environment.  I landed a teaching position with the Muroc Unified School District at Edwards Air Force Base in California where my husband was assigned to the Judge Advocate General's office, his first assignment as a JAG officer.

The school building I was assigned to, on the base, was brand new and housed only sixth and seventh grade classes.  I was part of a team teaching effort and taught the sixth grade social studies/sixth and seventh grade girls physical education component.  Everything I needed or wanted was either housed in the building or could be brought in within a day.  My students were world travelers  by virtue of their parents being stationed at Air Force bases all over the world.  They came to my class armed with knowledge gained from living in other countries and around the United States.

All were well dressed, articulate, eager to share their experiences.  It was exciting to teach kids who didn't have hunger issues or all those issues that come with broken homes, low income or other family problems. I didn't have a plethora of paperwork to do.  I was able to be extremely creative with projects designed to give my students a reason to be enthusiastic about what I was teaching them.  It's the experience I expected to have when I became an elementary school teacher.

That teaching experience at Edwards had the kind of educational atmosphere every public school in the United States should provide.  But that was an exception.  My first teaching job in my home town and this one at Edwards were worlds apart in every sense.  

After Edwards, I took time off to have our sons and I stayed out of teaching until they got into school.  My next teaching experiences were different, weird, and unusual to say the least but that's for another time.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

C'mon people. Share your thoughts with me!

I know people are reading my blogs.  What I can't understand is why they don't leave comments.  They sometimes indicate on Facebook that they've read it but that's not the same.  They've even mentioned it to my husband.  How come they never mention it on the blog itself or to me directly?  

I really like to write about all kinds of things.  It's what I do best, I think.....well, besides doing research on topics that interest me and interviewing people.  When I started my talk show on the radio in Connecticut I really did my homework on every guest I interviewed.  Researching each guest and coming up with the most interesting and germane questions for discussion really got my juices going. And I loved writing up the  stories I broadcast when I worked as a radio news reporter.      

Getting feedback on what I write is important to me as it would be for anyone who writes.  I just wish I didn't get comments second-hand.

So, I'm asking those of you who do read what I write, let me know what you think by posting your comments at the bottom of the blog entry.  I'm not asking for a long dissertation, just your thoughts on my efforts.  Thanks.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Screwing America, the GOP way.

"I support the troops."  These have become empty words with no real meaning anymore.   We have the Republicans to thank for that.

This phrase has no meaning at all to most Congressional Republicans and the Tea Party. It's just a slogan, a propaganda piece.  What support?  Our troops are not paid a living wage yet they are away from their families for months at a time, living in the worst of conditions, worrying about their families, worrying about their comrades in arms, worried about getting seriously injured or killed.

Now, with the GOP shut down of the government, supporting the troops has given way to "screwing the troops".  And not just the troops.  Screwing the country is what the GOP is after.  And make no mistake, this IS the fault of Congressional Republicans.

From the moment President Obama was elected, to this very minute, their goal was to take down the United States Government (and the Black guy in the White House), trash the Constitution they profess to believe in (but have no idea what it actually says and means) and place a "jackboot" on the necks of all those who are not white, Christian and European-descended.

Republicans' actions amount to sedition, a stirring up of rebellion against the government and that's a crime.  It is subversion of the Constitution. In my view, what the GOP is doing is plain and simple:  domestic terrorism.

Anyone with a working brain understands that the GOP hates the fact that they lost the last two elections to President Obama, that the ACA was part of that victory, and that Americans want that affordable health care.  They just can't stand that the deficit is going down, the economy is improving after the trashing G. W. Bush gave it.

The GOP-Tea Party:  whiny, kvetching bullies, filled with intense hatred for our elected President, inhumane, racist, bigoted, liars, utterly ignorant, anti-science, anti-education, anti-elderly, the sick and the poor, anti-women, anti anything that isn't just like them, narrow-minded religious fanatics intent on making this a Christian nation, easily duped, devoid of critical thinking skills.  They are all mamzers (Yiddish for untrustworthy bastards).

Ah, there are so many more descriptive words I could use but if you're not a right-wing Republican, you already know what they are.  What we need to do is get these Tea Party crazies out of Congress, out of any elected office and out of our hair.  They are killing the American dream and killing the reputation of the United States.  They are the worst of humanity because they don't care for humanity. As my sainted mother would say to these mamzers: Ich hob dich in bod! (Use your imagination)!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Paying it forward

On our local CBS station here in Phoenix, they have a weekly segment called "Paying It Forward" on their 10 o'clock news.  The stories are always heartwarming and I enjoy hearing about these wonderful people who "pay it forward".

It works like this:  Someone contacts KPHO (CBS affiliate) to tell them why they'd like to help someone.  The stories are so varied: an elderly person who doesn't have air conditioning, a disabled person who needs a ramp, a kid whose bike was stolen, a sick little girl who wishes for a doll, a person who volunteers at a food kitchen even though that person is homeless, kids who don't have money for school needs, or someone who is doing good in the community even though that person has very little, etc.

So, a letter is written to KPHO explaining why the letter writer would like to help out, the station provides $500 to the letter writer and together, they seek out the recipient to present the money.  It's always in cash.

You have no idea how much this gesture means to those who receive the money.  The expressions on their faces is something to behold.

What this segment does is highlight the good done by not only the person making the request, but by the people who are on the receiving end.  Many of these quietly live their lives, doing good things in their neighborhood or community, helping others even though they, themselves, have little or no resources.  A $500 "windfall" is truly a gift.  What many do after receiving the money is ply it right back into helping others.

"Paying It Forward" doesn't have to include money.  A helping hand, an offer of a ride for errands or a doctor's appointment, an offer to pick up groceries for a homebound person are all ways to "pay it forward'.  It's an easy thing to do and it does your heart good.  Try it.  You'll feel so good.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friendship vs. Acquaintanceship

Distance takes its toll.  I really miss my Connecticut friends and the wonderful times we spent together.  We forged a special bond with each which we treasure beyond measure.

But it's not the same here.  We've met such wonderful people but they are not exactly the same kind of friends.  They are lovely acquaintances.  We met through a common organization and do things together because of the organization.  'Socializing' or just getting together as friends do is not something that occurs.

Life doesn't often offer the chance to create a family of friends.  We've lived around the country and in almost all the places we've lived we met people whose friendships we cherish.  Most of those 'family of friends friendships' have lasted for decades.  As we moved from place to place it was unbearably difficult to leave people we had come to love.  I can count on both my hands who these people are.  And we've been fortunate to have that many.  

The problem is they are not here.  Yet the closeness that we once shared has not been broken by the thousands of miles that separate us now. But they are not here, not close by, not close enough to share holidays, activities, trips, life.  Sometimes I wish I could freeze the picture I carry in my mind and heart of those days. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I am a Proud Liberal. How did I get this way?

I am a child of the beat generation.  I am a child of the 60's.  I am a child of the era of free love.  I am also a child of the working poor. And I am a child of a diverse city of ethnic differences.

In recalling all those years, I never saw "color", I never saw "wealth", I never saw "ethnic differences".  All I saw were kids who were friends, acquaintances, popular and not so popular.  We liked doing the things kids do together, whether at school or at camp or at the local "Y".  We had a community center where everyone mingled and, in doing so, we got to know each other pretty well. There was no room for hatred because of skin color, religion, or ethnic background.

I grew up in a city of Jews, Catholics, Protestants, black, white, many from Eastern Europe or Ireland, Holocaust survivors, rich, middle class, poor and struggling, all hard working families with an interest in making the city a great place to live. The diversity was never an issue.  No one disparaged anyone else.

I was surrounded by good people, people who cared for those less fortunate, who demonstrated caring, compassion, and understanding.  I was brought up to be kind to others. Sometimes it was a tough lesson but a lesson learned, nevertheless.

Given my background, is it any wonder that I grew up thinking that most everyone, at least in my city, got along for the most part.  I, personally never encountered bigotry, racism or anti-Semitism.  Is it any wonder why I grew up to believe in the liberal, progressive philosophy, respectful of individual rights and freedoms, open to new opinions, free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant with a liberal attitude toward others.

And now, I look at what this country is becoming and I weep at all the outright hatred and loathing a whole segment of the population shows to others.  I look at the Tea Party section of the Republican Party and cringe at their utter bigotry, racism and complete stupidity, their utter lack of respect and compassion for those who serve: military, firefighters, police officers, teachers, nurses; those who are poor; the elderly; the sick; children; the low wage workforce.  Their thinking is so convoluted, so utterly lacking in compassion or understanding.  They are fed lies which they believe because they have no desire to check facts out for themselves and they have no critical thinking skills.  Life, to them, is summed up in sound bites that they get from nasty, bigoted, homophobic, religious nut jobs.  They don't understand that LIFE IS MORE THAN SOUND BITES.       

Friday, July 26, 2013

Childhood food memories

My husband and I were having lunch and eating some salmon mixed with onions, mayonnaise, and capers. As we were eating I asked him if he remembered his mom making salmon croquettes.  He did and I remember my mother making them, too.  They were made with onions, an egg and fried until crisp.  It was a delicious memory.

Then the memories of food our mothers made started flooding in.  My mom made mashed potatoes with carrots, butter and milk or eggs.  Warren's mom made them without the carrots.

There were two things we utterly disliked that both our mothers made.  One was called "Kasha varnishkes".  Our recollection was that it was made with bow ties (a pasta) and groats and probably something else to keep it together.  Yech, disgusting, we both thought.  But the really gross thing we both remember was something called "Putcha".  I don't even know what it was made from but the smell was obnoxious, disgusting and made me want to vomit.  Whenever my mom made this, my brother and I didn't even want to be in the house.  Warren couldn't stand it, either, when his mother made it.  We both remember our mothers delighting in making this.  But Warren, my brother and I never could stay in the house, much less the same room where this stuff was being served.  Even thinking about it now, I get that "Yech" feeling!

We talked about going to the bakery.  I used to walk to the Revere Bakery in Cary Square to get a challah, some Russian bread which I always watched going through the 'slicer' and occasionally picked up a couple of "half moons".  Yum.

The Revere Bakery was next to Goldstein's Market which was next to Eddie the Butcher.  My mother would go in there where the cases were practically empty.  She would ask Eddie for a chicken and he would go in the back and cut it up for her.  Then, he's grind her some meat for hamburger.  All the good stuff was in the back, never in the cases.

On Saturday mornings, we'd go down to the Revere Smoked Fish Company to buy some lox pieces, the stuff they discarded when slicing the beautiful pieces, (probably 59 cents a pound then) and she'd buy some "lox wings" to make a savory soup with potatoes and onions, and she'd get some whitefish, sable fish, kippers and smoked mackerel.

Warren and I had a good time reminiscing about our childhood food memories.  But my very favorite memory is what my Gramma Gertrude used to make for me every morning.  She lived downstairs from us and I used to sleep there to "keep her company".  Every morning she would make me a "finekochen", a scrambled egg mixed with cottage cheese.  My G-d, I loved that and I loved her..... a lot.  What a sweet and loving memory.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What the hell are we celebrating today?

What, exactly, are we celebrating today?  That women's rights are being decimated?  Women are becoming second-class citizens? That Christian religious beliefs are being shoved down our throats? That the right to privacy has eroded?  That the US is becoming Taliban-like? That Republicans have never found a war they didn't like? That Republican politicians even exist to make lives miserable?  That the cloud of utter stupidity, imbecility, and viciousness has surrounded and engulfed the GOP?  There is nothing to celebrate when homophobia, misogyny, bigotry, racism, religious scapegoating, gerrymandering, and new Jim Crow laws are engulfing this country. 

I've been around awhile and I've been through the fight for women's rights.  I am more than enraged when Republicans, especially MEN, stick their noses where it doesn't belong, practice medicine without a license, denigrating everyone who doesn't agree with them or look like them (read white males), changing the rules to wipe away the voting rights of those they look down on, chuckling as they wipe away help for the downtrodden, enriching their own pockets with blood money from corporations who take obscene profits by sending their operations overseas.

This is, indeed, a horrible country when the Republican/Tea Party is allowed to even exist since their only reason to be is to dominate every aspect of our lives, private or otherwise and to return this country to the 18th century when women were treated like property, blacks were enslaved, and white men had all the rights.  Insanity reigns supreme in this country now because the Republicans/Teabaggers are full of intense hatred of President Obama (read the black man) and everyone (read Democrats) who doesn't agree with them.  Their hatred, though they think it's disguised, is plain to see by those with critical thinking skills. The GOP doesn't believe in great education for everyone, they don't believe in science, technology, women's equality, freedom of/from religion or the Constitution.  They are bound and determined to kick this country into oblivion.  And they're doing a damn good job of it.

But, GOP, be warned.  You will rue the day you think you have won.  The time is coming when your craziness will be stopped and your party will implode.  It can't come too soon for me and every single person in this country who has a good heart and a working brain.

So, what are we celebrating today? Nothing but a good time. And I am celebrating the promise of kicking the hell out of the GOP in 2014.  I have two words for you, GOP, that will make you shudder:  Hillary Clinton!  2016 - She'll beat the crap out of you!

Monday, June 10, 2013

When I taught, Part 1

When I began teaching, my first assignment was a third grade self-contained classroom.  The city I lived and worked in was a working class, blue collar city.  The children in my class came from a variety of backgrounds.  Some came from one parent families, some from extremely poor families, some from more middle class families with more income than others.  All the kids, however, were eager and happy at the beginning of a new school year.

I looked at my motley crew, laughing and happy, and thought how wonderful they looked and how grateful I was to be able to share my new teaching skills with them.  During the course of the school year I learned things about each student that played into how I taught each of them, individually.  I didn't learn this stuff in college.

One young man, George R. (I still remember his name) came to school many times wearing pajama tops kept together with a piece of rawhide and sweatpants. He seemed to always be hungry and couldn't concentrate. He told me he had several siblings, many with different last names.

Another young girl came in, day after day, with her hair all matted and not smelling clean.  She always looked a little sad.  Her brother was also in my class even though he was two years older.  He looked scruffy most of the time.

Another young girl, however, came to school each day wearing exquisite clothes, diamond studs in her ears and smelling of Je Reviens perfume. I had to ask her mother what the scent was.

Teaching was fun.  Most of my pupils were willing to learn and as the year advanced I could see that they were succeeding, for the most part, in their lessons.  But there were times when my heart was breaking.  My little matted-haired girl came in one morning, looking so sad.  The day, for her, didn't improve.  At the end of the day, I asked her to stay behind for a minute after everyone else left.  And we talked, softly and quietly. She told me the family had no hot water in the apartment and she couldn't stand taking a bath in cold water, that the family didn't have a lot of food, that her dad liked to run his fingers through her hair and a bunch of other ugly stuff.  I managed to get her hair washed and cut, found some clean used clothes for her and made sure I had food for her in school.

George was in a similar situation at his house with not having enough food.  And yes, there were others experiencing the same problems.  I started loading up my desk drawers with packages of food, crackers, nutrition bars, etc. and told these kids to come up to my desk at any time and take whatever they needed or wanted.  It cost me a lot during the year but there was not an agency I could find, at that time, where I could get help for these kids.

Over the course of my teaching career, I shelled out a lot of money on school supplies and food.  And I never begrudged that money.  It was necessary and vital to the well being of my pupils.  Schools have NEVER had enough money to provide sufficiently for all the needs of their primary reason for being, the kids who attend.  They are entitled to excellent educations, taught by well-compensated teachers and having the essential materials to foster that eduction.  Every single kid in every single city, town and village in this country deserves the very best education we can give them.  It should never be based on a family's ability to pay.  Public school should be as great as any private school.
"Wouldn't it be nice of the military had to hold bake sales and schools were totally funded?"  That saying has been round for a very long time and is still relevant.

Ah, but there's more.  But that's for a different time. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Advertising Game

My brother was an advertising man many years ago, working for some of the top agencies in New York and Boston.  Of his craft, he told me the one and only reason for advertising to exist was to get everyone to buy the product, regardless of how cheesy, awful, crappy, grotesque, dangerous, or useless the product was.

Now we can apply those adjectives to the ads/commercials themselves, along with some others I bet you can come up with.  There is no dearth of dumb ads.  Pepsico, which owns the Mountain Dew brand, created a commercial that turned out to be not only outrageously offensive to African-Americans, women and, perhaps goats everywhere, but its premise, in my opinion, was unbelievably stupid and ineffective.  And even though the commercial was never meant to air on television, it still made its way to the Internet.  There have been other ads which were recently yanked because of clearly offensive ideas.

What gets into the minds of those creating these kinds of ads to sink into the morass of questionable taste?  Okay, it's not just questionable taste.  It's downright sleazy, racist, pandering, misogynistic and/or vulgar.  What audience does this stuff play to?

This is not a plea for politically correct advertising. But companies want to sell their stuff, not have it associated with trashy ideas that get a lot of the public turning against them.  The ad men/women who think this crap up are in the wrong business.  And those company idiots who okay the ads are clearly derelict in their duties.

Not many ads/commercials get me to buy the products but I do appreciate the creativity when an ad makes me smile or laugh or is very clever.  I get totally turned off ads that denigrate, assume the public is stupid and/or is so esoteric that it makes no sense.  Unfortunately, the majority of ads fall into this category.  I particularly dislike ads for pharmaceuticals.  The disclaimers are so lengthy, listing all the awful possibilities of things that can go wrong.  Why in gawds name would anyone EVER buy any of those things. Very little can cure but they sure can kill.  Consequently, the mute button on my TV remote gets constant use and I'm so happy to record shows so I can fast forward through all those horrendously awful commercials.

My advice to ad houses?  Just the facts without the meanness and stupidity.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I was born and raised in Chelsea, Massachusetts, just outside the city of Boston.  Whenever anyone asks where I grew up, my normal answer is Boston, not Chelsea, because Boston is THE FAMOUS city near where I lived.  And 'Boston' seems to encompass many of the surrounding areas.

I lived the first twenty-three years of my life there.  Then I married, moved away and lived in several other states, returning to live, temporarily, in Massachusetts and then settling in Connecticut for many years before moving to Arizona.  Through all these moves, my heart has always been in Massachusetts.  It's where I grew up, went to school and college, met my husband, and where most of my relatives lived.  I worked in Boston to pay for college.  I spent countless hours at Boston Common, the museums, enjoyed the downtown shopping, the theaters, the Red Sox games, the Celtics, the Freedom Trail, the shopping, the restaurants, the shopping (okay, Filene's Basement was the best shopping hunting ground ever....eveh, if you're from Boston).  It was just the place to be if you wanted to do ANYTHING. Boston's history is the history of this country.

Boston people are wonderful:  brash, wicked friendly, really smart (smaht if you're from Boston), glad to see you and crazy for their sports teams.  Anyone who comes from the Boston area originally or moves there finds that the Boston "aura" wends its way around your heart and you are foreveh changed!

The Boston Marathon tragedy was a horrific blow to Boston, to Massachusetts, to the sports world, to all those who were injured but especially to those whose lives were lost and their families.  The authorities, with the full weight of the Federal, state and local governments, will find the perpetrator(s).  But the first responders were incredible, the firefighters, the police, the EMTs, the doctors and nurses, the National Guard, even many citizens who had been watching the race all rushed to help with little regard for their own safety. They are the heroes of this senseless attack.  Thank goodness Boston is blessed with an abundance of first rate medical facilities who tended to the injured.  And kudos to the local residents who opened their homes to house those who couldn't get back into their hotels and had nowhere to go. It was the ultimate affirmation that people are good.

Boston will recover because its citizens are a resilient people.  But they will never forget about those who were hurt and killed.  Lessons will be learned from this tragedy, especially about security, and the Boston Marathon will continue.  We are a determined people who will find a way to keep our freedom without being shackled by fear.  That is another lesson this tragedy will teach us.

I may live in Arizona now, but I AM BOSTON.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Some parts of "back then" were really good

When I was a child, growing up in Chelsea, Massachusetts, I lived next door to the YM/YWHA, the Young Men's/Young Women's Hebrew Association: in other words the local Jewish community center.  My life revolved around the activities held in this building.

My mom worked there, as an Executive Secretary.  I went to their summer day camp,  Camp Menorah, for many years, right through high school.  And during the school year, the center ran after-school clubs: music, arts and crafts, dance, games.  Those who led the clubs were college students who came in from area colleges, mostly though, from Boston University.  And so, when I became a college student at Salem State College, I, too, became a club leader.  I also was a Camp Menorah counselor during my college years. The other counselors who worked with me came from all over the country and so I made friends with people from New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Los Angeles.

During the school year, the"Y" as it was known, ran evening programs for kids. On Monday and Thursday evenings, from 7-10 p.m. juniors and seniors in high school had the place to themselves where they enjoyed music and dancing, could play pool, ping pong, basketball or just hang around and socialize with each other.  On Tuesday evenings the sophomores in high school invaded the place for the same kind of activities and on Wednesday evenings, the junior high kids from grades 7 through 9 came in.  All these programs were run by two very capable Jewish educators.

On Sunday mornings, the "Y" hosted two Jewish boys and girls organizations:  the AZA boys and the BBG girls.  A Sunday school class of Jewish history was also held for youngsters, ages six to ten.  And at all times when the building was open, adults took advantage of the sauna and steam rooms, the basketball court and attended organizational meetings.

Now don't think that Saturday nights were left out.  This was a Jewish community center serving hundreds of kids every week.  So, we had what could be termed as Shabbatons, a study/social weekend event and invited kids from other Jewish community centers around Massachusetts and Rhode Island to come and spend Saturday afternoon at the "Y" with us singing and learning. Then we enjoyed a dance in the evening and the out-of-towners slept over at kids' houses till Sunday, then back at the "Y" for a last bit of socializing until it was time to go back home.  We had kids come from Springfield in Western Massachusetts, from Marblehead on the North Shore of Massachusetts, from Quincy on the South Shore, from Cape Cod and from Providence, Rhode Island. And, of course, the kids from Chelsea visited these cities for the same purpose.  It was a wonderful way to meet new Jewish friends from out of our area.  The experience was priceless.  When these weekends were not held, dances for the local kids were planned.  Kids came in from the surrounding towns and we rocked and rolled till 10:30.

We even put on variety shows which were performed for our parents.  Tables were set up in the gym making it look like a night club.  Our performances took place in the middle of the floor.  I remember dancing with my partner, Stephen Witten, doing the cha-cha and the mambo.

Then something extraordinary happened.  The powers that be decided to bring in a semi-professional variety show producer and dance instructor from Boston to produce a variety show with the talents of most of the members of the "Y", adults and teenagers.  What a surprise to learn that so many people I knew had gorgeous voices, could really dance and deliver jokes like professionals.  The second year we put on the play, "Pajama Game."  Both shows were hits and were so much fun.  Perhaps that experience was the unwitting impetus when I went with a friend who was going to try out for the college play, "The Tender Trap."  I was asked to read and was selected for a part.

The point of all this 'history' is that my childhood memories bring me so much happiness, a time when things were safer, calmer, more innocent, not so alarming, maybe more fun, filled with interesting and fun activities.  Many things back then were really good.......... really good......... really good.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I can tell you as a former teacher I would do anything to protect the pupils in my care. But if I was a teacher now and was expected to protect them with a gun, you'd have to pay me, at the very least, the salary of a police officer in addition to my teacher's salary. If I had to be someone who works two professions, I better be paid that way!  And of course the multimillion dollar NRA would never put up the money to pay for all the security they're proposing for schools.

Given my background regarding how I feel about guns, (see my previous post of January 22nd) never in a million years would I take up a gun thinking that I would really be able to shoot the damn thing straight enough to take the bad guy out.  So, arming teachers, most of whom don't want to be armed, is the answer?

And then after we arm teachers, what's the next place to be armed and who?  How about arming the ticket takers, ushers and concessionaires at theaters, the cabana people at resorts, waitresses and waiters in all restaurants, all members of sports teams (they'd have to be extra careful not to bump into each other while they carry) T.V. news camera operators while they're filming reporters doing their jobs on scene, cashiers and stock people at grocery stores, all the seniors who walk the halls of the local mall, every medical person in hospitals and clinics, every student in high school and college, everyone in all office buildings from janitors to secretaries to the business people, : in other words, let's make EVERY SINGLE PERSON living in the country carry a gun.  Will the F***** gun manufacturers and their parasitic NRA be happy then?????

In light of all the guns then being carried by literally everyone, how many tourists would want to come here?  How many scientists, exchange students, business people?  When the thought of everyone you pass on the street or in buildings in the United States is carrying and given the huge amount of nut jobs, gang members and generally pissed off assholes who think (and I use that term loosely) the "guvmint" is coming for their guns and stamping on their "rights" roaming the streets who are also carrying (because the NRA is against background checks and closing the gun show loopholes), why would anyone come here?  There are other countries to visit that are just as beautiful.  There are other ways to do business without actually stepping foot on US soil.  There are other universities in other countries just as good as what we have to offer here.  There is nothing here in the United States that is not offered by other countries.

And please don't start yelling that we have a democracy..... and freedom..... and rights..... That's a bunch of bullshit.  With the crap dished out by the Republican/Tea Party, women's freedom and rights are going down the toilet, along with voting rights, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  What we have is a desperate war for the very soul of this country and it's being stolen by the rich who don't give a rat's ass for those who are not in their sphere of society.  Those bastards must be stopped but given the bazillion dollars being poured into Republican coffers it's an uphill battle.  If we have any students left in the coming years who haven't been blown away and haven't been infected by the dumbing down of all things taught in those schools which disdain math, science and critical thinking, maybe, just maybe the future can be saved for the good, the intelligent, the caring, the  people who have hearts and souls.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Marco Rubio isn't the one

Marco Rubio looks nice, speaks well but still tells the lies the GOP has been spouting for years. He doesn't offer much by way of original thought.  He relies on GOP sound bites and marches to the GOP handbook, despite its not being relevant to the 21st century. The GOP position is to damn everything President Obama, Democrats and non-Christians say and their narrow-minded, backward thinking will sink them.

Repeating lies long enough doesn't make them true. Bashing the middle class constantly doesn't endear you to them.  Trying to pass laws that hurt the middle class, the elderly, the infirm, children, women and generally most of the citizens in this country won't convince them you're looking out for their best interests. Up is not down and right is not left.  Right is not even right, in this instance.  How can one party be so 'against' everything that helps the majority of Americans?

The tragedy of the Republican Party is that it has become the party of rabid Christian, bible-thumping white men who pick and choose the parts of their bible which they think authenticates their perverse, misogynistic view of the world.  Those GOP women who agree with them are from a different era when women still "had their place."

The Republicans are not even a whole party anymore.  They are populated by so many Tea Party members, people who are hell bent on destroying the government, people who believe that most, if not all, of government is useless and has no place in a free society. 

The Republicans/Tea Party are not interested in what's good for the country.  Marco Rubio, no matter how he is packaged, can't salvage the savage attacks on President Obama, immigrants, women, the old, the young, the middle class.  He just can't make it all go away, regardless of how well he speaks Spanish or tries to appear as if he cares.  It's just too obvious the he and the rest of his party care only for their billionaire handlers, big corporations and getting the rest of us to pay their way.

Marco Rubio isn't the great hope for the GOP in 2016.  They are just wrong for America.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Take on Guns

Our lives and how we think and perceive things are formed when we are young.  My parents, grandparents, surroundings, the city I grew up in, the affluence (or not) of my family, the work my parents engaged in, the activities I participated in, the friends I was close to, the interaction between my friends and me, acquaintances, teachers, camp counselors, the grocers, butcher, the bakery people all contributed to how I turned out.

When I was in the sixth grade, my feelings about guns were forever etched in my mind. I lived in a small city right outside of Boston.  Early one morning, I walked to school and saw everyone, and I mean everyone, standing outside the school, some crying, some just shaking, many just silent.  I, too, had heard about what happened.  There had been a terrible "accident" and the older brother of one of our friends was shot and killed.

A neighbor had been discharged from the army and managed to bring home his gun. He was showing it off, or so the story goes, and it went off.  It caught our friend right between the eyes.  Accident?  None of us thought it was an accident.  But, hell, we were young and what did we know.  We were all shielded from the details.  But it was a small city and most of the city mourned.

A few months later, if I remember correctly, the family moved into the house next door, mother and the two remaining children.  I remember "walking on eggs", not ever bringing up the subject.  But it was something I thought about, a lot, for a very long time after that.  I never knew what happened to the shooter, whether it really was an accident, whether he was charged with anything.  I just never knew.  But from that time on, I knew that I hated guns.  And over the years that has never changed.

And so, the current screaming over "gun control" places me firmly in the "We have to do something about these crazy weapons in the hands of crazy people" camp.  I understand those who want to use guns to hunt (I hate hunting), to protect themselves (they are too paranoid).  But no one needs a multiple round firearm, no one needs high capacity magazines, and no one needs to be able to fire continuous rounds without stopping......because that person means to do a lot of killing.... of people.

There have been too many killings, accidental or deliberate, to not DO SOMETHING about these weapons.  And those who scream about their rights via the Second Amendment just don't get it.  They can't get past the horrendous rhetoric of the NRA, an organization which really could do some good but it chooses to galvanize and electrify their minions into believing a total lie: that the government wants to ban all guns. Just how brainwashed are all these people?  They are sheep following the wolf (NRA.)  Will they finally think twice about their intractable position when one of their children, grandchildren or any member of their family gets in the way of a hail of bullets?  When it becomes personal and hits really close to home, will that be enough to soften their hearts and begin to understand how the rest of us feel.

The conversation must take place and a decent compromise reached about the availability of weapons of what must now be known in this country as weapons of mass destruction.  Isn't that what happened in Aurora, at Columbine/Littleton, Virginia Tech, Newtown, Connecticut?  Mass destruction?  For the sake of humanity, let's talk and do some good.  Here is a timeline of mass shootings since 1999:
This just has to stop!