Nothing to do with Lizzie

Iran, Irun, Iwalk, Istone

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Just when you thought things couldn’t get any whackier:

HUFFPOST SUPER USER

lyingdognews 2 hours ago (12:28 PM)

This is something we don’t want to have happen …

“Iran to Run Workshop At UN About How to Stone Women”

NEW YORK, NY — Now that Iran has been elected to the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women, the fundamentalist Islamic republic is eager to share with the world the unique ways in which it embraces the role of women in the modern world.

To this end, Iran will run a workshop at the UN entitled, “Misunderstandings and Merits: A Practical Guide to Stoning Women.”

[...]

Full story: http://lyingdognews.net/?p=2140

Even Teachers Get Depressed in this Economy

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Every now and then I write something that has nothing to do with Lizzie Borden and this is one of those times.

I’m just back from a trip to the Bay Area where I had a chance to spend some time with an old college chum who has been laid off and looking for work for almost two years now.  And while we had a great time doing the tourist thing in San Francisco, including a beautiful drive out to Salinas, most of our talking was about the economy and her situation.

Pam taught advanced courses in music history and composition for nearly 20 years at the same community college.  Before that she taught music in high school for over 15 years.  It’s all she’s ever done, and she was good at it.  But now, like millions of others she’s finding it very hard to crack that wall of age bias let alone find a position that even remotely relates to her past experience and qualifications.  She has organization and managerial skills but as soon as they see her resume, the school teaching aspect minimizes those attributes to potential employers.  She’s gone on countless interviews, fielded hundreds of applications, and the setbacks and depression are wearing on her once bright and super-charged disposition.

Like millions of others, she has lost the advantage of contributions to her social security the past two years and at age 64 – or for anyone over age 40 even – that is a significant drawback.  It can’t be made up and directly affects the averaging of future income.  Her IRA and other investments have been diminished and had no cash flow for two years.  She can’t sell her house because she would make no money once the loan balance was paid, assuming she got a buyer.  And every time she gets her hopes up about a potential job she applies for and feels she has a good chance because she’s called back for interviews, her positive expectations plummet when she is rejected once again.  And then that depression sinks in.  It’s devastating and the constancy has worn on her self esteem.

Pam typifies so many of the single women out there – particularly single women over 50.  The last thing she wants to do is have to move in with her daughter and son-in-law though they keep telling her she should.  Pam’s always been financially independent and does not want to rely upon a roof over her head from her family or anyone else.  Nonetheless, she’s limited in her employment prospects because of her background – Education.

All across America deep cuts have been made at levels of public education.  The auto industry, banking industry, transportation, etc. will “come back” before Education.  States, counties and municipalities don’t put Education at the top of their list.  Its public safety and infrastructure, i.e., highway systems, before money goes to Education.  And then there’s tenure to contend with.

Yes, there are signs and signals that the economy is improving -  that we’ve hit the low water mark.  But for those in the teaching profession their recession – and depression – will continue for quite a while.

Which brings me to Arizona’s new Immigration Reform law.  (Nice segway, eh?)  Without going into the whys and wherefors, legality, illegality, etc. I’ll just make a point that relates to the above.  Aside from the escalation of violence in Arizona’s border towns due to drug trafficking, aside from the inbred bias against Mexicans, there is a much more simplistic primary cause that effected this recent legislation:  Arizona’s economy is suffering badly and for many of the same reasons as California.  The unemployment in Arizona is having trickle down effects all across the state.  Suddenly those minimum wage jobs that require bussing tables or serving hamburgers out a drive-thru window doesn’t look so bad to the former systems analyst, production supervisor, secretary, store manager, bus driver or school teacher.  The mindset here, and it comes up in almost any conversation about the new Immigration Reform law, is that “those illegal Mexicans have taken the jobs us citizens could have.”  Seriously.  They forget those were the jobs they didn’t want or weren’t willing to take when the economy was booming.  Right now, making beds in some Motel 6 or Comfort Inn sounds pretty good to those people.  And when you are depressed, angry and scared it’s real easy to point fingers to a target group that can be blamed for your circumstances.  But the media likes to focus on the “discrimination” and “profiling” aspect.  It’s a sexier lead.

In short, the economy of the past 2-3 years has adversely affected the lives of millions of Americans – those with families as well as singles – be they young or senior citizens.  Those who have jobs, good paying jobs, and have kept them are the lucky ones.

A Political Pause

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I don’t usually use this blog for political commentary….but good grief….it’s getting ridiculous.  Can’t you all feel it?  Our Congress, made up of career congressmen, continue to sink us deeper and deeper in the Quagmire of Us versus Them.    America is slipping backwards.

Enough with the electronic gadgetry.  Discover a cure for Stupidity.  That disease is running rampant and will be America’s ruination.

If you still don’t get what I’m talking about – please read what I consider to be the best statement of the past year regarding our President:

“This is why it’s becoming impossible for elected Republicans to work with Democrats to improve our country,” said Markos Moulitsas, founder and publisher of Daily Kos. “They are a party beholden to conspiracy theorists who don’t even believe Obama was born in the United States, and already want to impeach him despite a glaring lack of scandal or wrongdoing. They think Obama is racist against white people and the second coming of Lenin. And if any of them stray and decide to do the right thing and try to work in a bipartisan fashion, they suffer primaries and attacks. Given what their base demands — and this poll illustrates them perfectly — it’s no wonder the GOP is the party of no.”

Excellent article here about the STUPID PEOPLE.

And here they are STATISTICALLY.

It’s really what I’ve been saying since a year ago: They hate him (or fear him) because he’s black.

Time – Ain’t it a Bitch?

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So do you have too much time on your hands but still can’t get done what needs to get done?  Feel like you are pressured for producing?  Feel like you are falling back on deadline promises?

Have you been unemployed for a long while and feel like there’s not enough time to make up for what you’ve lost?  Are you stressed that you are at the half century mark of your life and know that the  second half provides you less time than the first?

Is Time  slipping away or stretched out before you?  Do you yearn for “down time” or “me time” or are you already wallowing in it wishing you had more structured and lucrative activities to fill your Time?

Are you stuck at home most of the Time without discretionary funds for travel, eating out, donating to charities, I-phone upgrades, or gifts for friends?

Ever wonder what happens in the world “all the time”?

Well, click on this world clock.

Now, next time you put off getting that pedicure, meeting Mr. “Could be” Wonderful,  or publishing a long delayed magazine already paid for by customers, or just anything else, consider what has occurred in the world by that passage of Time.

Sometimes when we fail to meet deadlines, it’s not about Time at all.  It’s about money.  So much Time and so little money.   And when the clock keeps clicking and the money doesn’t come in….we move backwards.  We move further away from our goals, our youth,  and our Center of Contentedness.


November Northeast Trip

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Arrived Boston yesterday afternoon.  Friends Tom and Rita picked me up at Logan and we went directly to Chinatown for dim sum before heading to their lovely home  outside of Boston.

I brought Tom and Rita a copy of Rebello’s Lizzie Borden – Past & Present which they did not have.

Today we did the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum which I hadn’t been to in about 5 years; walked around the Harvard campus, then had an early and GREAT seafood dinner at Ye Old Oyster House, sitting in the JFK booth.

Tomorrow morning we  fly into Albany, get a rental and drive over to Hyde Park.  Tom has made reservations for lunch at Escofier at the Culinary Institute of America.  I understand it’s a huge campus with several restaurants in the main “Hall”.  Their other son lives just outside Hyde Park so they’ll get to visit him before going back to Boston Monday morning.  I plan to stay and do some research at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library for a couple days digging into some letters between Grace Hartley Howe and Louis McHenry Howe.  (Thank you Julie for the box numbers!) Then, I’ll drive east to Newport and Fall River.

So far it’s been exhausting and I’m just getting started with 12 more days to go.  I’m still on Central Arizona time because I haven’t caught up on my sleep.

Sneak Attack

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From StumbleUpon.com – I just love this.

My Beautiful New Daughter-in-Law

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Presenting – Amy Musselman

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AMYANDJOSHSWEDDING872

a-jSign

Wedding2157Mother of the Groom & Father of the Groom

It’s been ten years…

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knobangel2

September 26, 1999

Betty Z.

Rest in Peace

Thank you for your Navy service.

Two Funny Guys in Fall River

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A friend of mine in Fall River kept telling me to check out her cousin’s videos and so today I finally did.  I laughed out loud at his “MTV Cribs – Fall River” style parody.  If you’ve ever seen MTV Cribs you’ll find this as hilarious as I did.

The Michael Jackson Saga Continues with the “Jackson 3″

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Update: It was slightly over a month ago that I said this Michael Jackson thing was not going away. Of all the blogs I’ve written in 2 years, these have received the most hits – 1,867 on one of them alone in the past 24 hours – from places like Sri Lanka to Melbourne. The global interest appears insatiable for anything “Michael”.

Unfolding as I predicted below, the next “Big MJ Thing” will be the release of the “This is It!” movie made from the more than 100 hours of rehearsals of his last planned tour.

What I had not counted on was all the claims to being the biological parent of Michael’s children. Ridiculous assertions all. I have it on good authority that Lizzie Borden is the biological mother of ….no wait. Different time, different media frenzy.

MJkids

The “Jackson 3″:  Paris Kathryn age 11, Prince Michael I age 12, and Prince Michael II age 7 (aka Blanket)

If any of you think this Michael Jackson thing is over – think again. This has a 60 to 90 day news cycle, and then way beyond. Next up: Where the body’s buried, quickly followed by the autopsy reports (coming out now – “white as a T-shirt, bald, collapsed veins);  followed by the doctor investigations, followed by problems with the Trust. Then just when you think things have died down – the DVD or theatrical release of the This is It London Tour rehearsals. Followed by decades of periodic releases of MJ written songs never recorded.

Wait.  There’s more.  There’s the two Princes and Paris. Prince William and Prince Harry move over -  America has its own. The tabloids will be filled in the next decade with what these two young men are doing, who they are dating, and who their sister is dating let alone what she’s wearing. And they will be richer than MJ ever was….gonna get some of gramma’s money,  too, when she croaks.   Already his record sales are up over 2,300%  (no, that’s not a typo).  So forget about it. The Jackson saga has only played out a dress rehearsal today of what’s to come.

It is said a civilization gets the kind of culture it deserves.  And as I have said, our seemingly incurable curiosity and  adulation of celebrities smothers passion or mere concern for more important matters.  If movies were the refuge of those in the First Great Depression, in more contemporary times we soothe our depression through vicarious adulation of superstars.

It wasn’t cunnilingus and psychiatry that brought us to this (apologies to Tony Soprano).  No.  It was celebrity idolatry and satellite t.v.   So you can run but you can’t hide.  The Michael Jackson Saga will be with us for decades.  It will be epic.  And it will be focused on not the Michael we mourned today, but those superstar-destined, obscenely rich legendary celebrities – “The Jackson 3″.

When Julie Andrews turned 64

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To commemorate her birthday , actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan ‘s Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP.   One of musical numbers she performed was ‘My Favorite Things’  from the legendary movie ‘Sound Of Music’.   Here are the lyrics she used:

(Sing It!)  - If you sing it, it’s especially hysterical!!!

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and  handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel ! so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin’,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,
And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Ms Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd
that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores. Please
share Ms. Andrews’ clever wit and humor with others who
would appreciate it.

(The above is from an email that is circulating widely.)

My Chinese Friends

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Just back from a quick run (flight) to LA to hook up with Liu Meifing and Chen Qiaolian whom we met in Hong Kong when we ate at their restaurant.   They told us they would be visiting California and we promised to meet and greet them no matter the logistics.   So, we took a quick flight and met them at The Grove and talked and walked for hours.  Next day, we took them through Beverly Hills and The Kodak Theatre tour (next to Grahman’s Chinese Theater), then a great dinner at Mr. Lee’s in Chinatown.   It’s their first trip to the United States and I wish I could show them all my favorite places.  Yesterday, they flew up to San Francisco and we flew back to Arizona.

Came back to find a  “Comment” email on yet another “Alone” painting original – again by a different artist.  Will do the next blog about that.  Taking the day off work to catch up on my sleep!

Comment on the Michael Jackson Memorial

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UPDATE:   Click HERE.

“There are certain people in our popular culture that just capture people’s imaginations. And in death, they become even larger,” President Barack Obama told CBS while in Moscow. “Now, I have to admit that it’s also fed by a 24/7 media that is insatiable.”

jackson-michael-photo-michael-jackson-6205114

“You know, this is part of American culture.
Michael Jackson, like Elvis, like Sinatra, when
somebody whose captivated the imagination of the
country for that long passes away, people pay
attention. And I assume at some point people will
start focusing again on things like nuclear
weapons.”
– President Obama


Indeed.  And at some point.  But not today.  Elephants.  Swat Team escort for the casket. World wide coverage.  Facebook doing the Iran Twitter thing. It’s hard to take hold of the fact this is really just one man…a man-child weighing less than 140 pounds with an incredible talent and a messed up psyche. But still – it WAS just an extraordinary singing and dancing talent. He did not find a cure for cancer. He did not save lives from a potential plane crash. He did not end the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq. He did not “change the world” (and I don’t care what anyone says about that).  But he made people feel good through his music and dancing. He generated excitement which always appeals to our base instincts. And now, now, he becomes larger in post life legend than he ever was while living. The media,  for the past week, has served to foster his legend in non-stop 24/7 broadcasts in such a way that has his body of work  soaring through the stratosphere.

He was, after all, only an entertainer. An entertainer. The degree of this present idolatry and adulation has exploded into something that is, in and of itself, even bigger than Jackson.  An entertainer. Wow.

If you leave for mankind a legacy of being the King of Pop who sold tens of millions of records and generated billions of dollars, does that make you more godlike than the person whose legacy was that he/she found cures for diseases or any other thing that enhanced mankind?

What does all this say about us as a people? Not just Americans. But as people? One week a comparatively not so small percentage of the world’s population was impassioned by the events of the Iranian election. The next week – this.

Yes, Barry. At some point. At some point back to concern about real issues. One thing’s for certain. We won’t see a repeat of this magnitude in our lifetimes. And maybe never again. Maybe we will have morphed through technology and electronic gadgetry and medical science into a humankind devoid of its impassioned reactions to deaths of superstars or any emotion capable of exploding on a scale such as this.

Maybe.  At some point.  But not today.

Michael Jackson Memorial

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I got tickets to the Michael Jackson Memorial!!! I can’t believe it. I’m so excited! I won 2 tickets on eBay for $10,000. And it was a much better deal than this one.

I had heard on the news that you have to show up at Dodger Stadium today and one of the 2 wristbands will be put on. So I cut off my arm yesterday and shipped it overnight express to the guy who’s picking up themjticket tickets for me.  He will slip my arm up his sleeve and have the wristband put on and then keep it refrigerated until I arrive.  And as a surprise bonus I find out I qualify for handicap parking at Staples Center.

I’m so excited I can hardly sleep.  I called Dr. Murray and asked if he’d drive me in the van (you know the one, the one with the oxygen tanks in it that he drove off in right after MJ died) and give me something to put me down.  We cut a deal that I give him the second ticket, but this will disappoint Billie Jean’s kid whom I was planning to take instead.


Top Ten Reasons Sarah Palin Resigned

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sarah palin winking

Oh, for heaven’s sake – of course there’s more to come out as to why Sarah Palin, aka Governor Platitude Pants (thank you Montana Jack), announced her decision to resign today.

Just for laffs, and nothing to do with Lizzie, consider these possibilities:

(drum roll)

10.  Was in the room when Michael Jackson died.

9.    Knocked up by Gov. Sanford at a Yankee’s game.

8.    Bitch slapped five staffers who’ve had enough.

7.    Planning to leave Todd and move to Argentina with Ann Coulter.

6.   Writing a book and doing lecture circuit more lucrative than milking Alaskans.

5.   Neighbor built huge house blocking view of Russia.

4.   Anderson Cooper expose’ that Trig is really Michael Jackson’s child.

3.   Surgeon soon to reveal she’s transgendered.

2.   Signed up for new reality series: “I’m a Governor, Get Me Out of Here.”

And the Number 1 reason Sarah Palin resigned:

1.   TMZ soon to publish photo of her giving head to a bull moose.

Susan Boyle Makes Me Cry a River

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Lest you think Susan Boyle is a “one hit wonder” check out this recording she made nearly 10 years ago of  “Cry Me A River.”

With over 40 MILLION hits on just one YouTube upload of her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent over a week ago, we all know what Susan did for everyone who saw and heard it.  Her voice and performance reached out through the t.v. screens launching a global hug that lingered long with its warming embrace, making us cry and smile and feel good inside.  What’s more, we recognized and were momentarily in touch with our common humanity.  She was a touchstone to our hearts.   And so during the week we played it over and over and over and talked it about over and over and over.

Susan has range and can sing in various styles and proves it with this moving rendition of Cry Me a River.   Even better than Johnny Ray, I think.

One Minute Movie Script Contest

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From one of my Twitter followers I found out about this One Page Screenplay Contest

At this link you can view a feedback forum as well as some prior contest winners.  Really good stuff.

But better hurry – deadline is April 26.  Richard Behrens:  RU listening?   :)

Some Things Are Hard to Swallow

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Not a damn thing to do with Lizzie Borden.

The Gentling Box

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Here’s a cool video of the book, The Gentling Box, by my friend, award winning author Lisa Mannetti.  This isn’t usually the genre I read, but I absolutely LOVED this book.  It’s a terrific story that keeps you up to the finish.  She’s up for more awards for this book and I encourage all to read it.  Also, check out her blogsite on my blogroll to the right.

Incredible Mardi Gras Photos

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As Mardi Gras celebrations abound this week for cities like Rio and Venice, there is hardly a match for their opulence, glory and grandeur. Here is just a small sampling of these amazing photos taken in the past few days.

The posting here really doesn’t do them justice so PLEASE, PLEASE view them in full force and effect from the website by clicking “HERE” at the end of this post.   Absolutely breathtaking.   Sort of makes New Orleans look like a pup.

bigpinkAna Maria Tavarez reacts after being crowned the Tenerife Carnival Queen 2009 during a carnival gala in Santa Cruz de Tenerife on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, late February 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Santiago Ferrero)

demonA woman performs atop a Beija Flor samba school float at the Sambodrome in Rio de Janeiro, Monday, Feb. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

torquiseBeija-Flor samba school dancers parade at the Sambodrome on the first night of the Carnival samba school parade in Rio de Janeiro on February 23, 2009. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

handsDancers perform on a float during the parade of the Mocidade Alegre samba school in Sao Paulo, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

horseA horse is seen inside La Fenice theatre during a rehearsal of the Cavalchina Grand Ball, one of the highlights of the Carnival in Venice, Italy February 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Michele Crosera)

arenaUnidos de Vila Isabel samba school dancers perform on the first night of the Carnival samba school parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 23, 2009. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

skeletonRevellers from the Tom Maior samba school parade during the carnival in Sao Paulo February 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)

You can view more images HERE.