Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

How to Improve American Idol

May 24, 2009

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As Simon Cowell reiterated throughout Season 8, this is a talent competition. Yet the American public has all sorts of reasons for voting for their candidate, often having nothing to do with talent. The judges are professionals who recognize it when they see it, yet their professional opinions are not factored into the voting  results. This is not fair to the contestants.

For the first time in Season 8 we saw the show give the judges a little more clout in the results by giving them a “save” to use one time to help a losing contestant, Matt Giraud,  who they deemed to have promise.  Whey not give them more influence on the results, to balance politics vs a true talent search? 

These professional judges should be part of the voting process. They would have to unanimously agree on their candidate, just like they did with the pass. Then a formula should be created where their vote factors in with the public vote…Say 50%? 

This would at least help to prevent travesties such as we witnessed in the Lambert/Allen fiasco.

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Adam Lambert Didn’t Win????

May 21, 2009

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I have never understood the emotional investment people have about their favorite sports teams. I don’t know which team is in which league and I don’t care who wins.  People behave as if their team is their family. Better not say anything bad about the team, and don’t go near the fans the day after the team loses.  You might lose your head, or at least your hearing, about the unfairness of it all.

Now, tonight, I get it. As an ardent American Idol viewer, I’ve been wowed by Lambert since his first performance. He’s been the team I’ve been cheering for. I mean really cheering. He took the stage by storm with a range of notes I’ve never even heard and he did it consistently, week after week. He had charisma that I think has not been seen since Elvis Presley. He had confidence, presence, amazing good looks, polish, professionalism,  and sex appeal. He does not have talent. He has a gift. He made all the other contestants, including the winner, look like amateurs.

And he didn’t win. I feel as sad as my son would feel if the NY Yankees lost. I felt so sick about it I had to turn off the TV while the winner sang his song.

And so I wonder…why didn’t he win? I did not know until I fell upon it by chance today that he may be gay. That apparently there was a photo circulating the web showing him kissing another guy. When asked he said, “I am what I am.”   I so respect him for that. Yet also circulating the web were speculations that his questionable sexual orientation would bring him down in the end. Bad boy vs right wing boy next door.   If that’s why he lost, I’m not sad. I’m angry. So angry. As Cowell reiterated throughout the season, its supposed to be a talent show. 

Was this a witch hunt?

A True Confession About Friends

May 20, 2009

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Artist: Diego Rivera

 

As I get older, I’m becoming more and more of a loner.  That is to say, I prefer my own company to the company of others. Given the choice of a visit with a friend, or reading or writing or creating, I will always choose the latter.  I’m going to say what is true for me, even though it sounds awful. After about a half hour visit, I get bored. Yes. I get bored. Because my mind drifts away to my interior landscape from which my creativity springs, and I want to get back to it. To whatever medium I’m working in. I don’t want to listen very long to  somebody’s daily travails or about their their kids or daily lives.  I feel trapped,  a captive audience.  Phone calls are the same for me. Maybe even worse. Because they have to be returned if I want to have any friends at all.

So why do I want them, you may be asking yourself.  Well…because I love them! And I care about them. And when the chips are down, they’re there for me and I’m there for them.  I think maybe  its just that in this fifth decade of my life, my identity is morphing into an artist and I have no patience for daily minutiae.

Also, the more I think about it, a man would never even write this post or have these thoughts. Men don’t chat about their daily lives. Most of the ones I know are very much bottom line kinds of people. Phone calls serve a function, as in : where are we going and what time are we meeting? Men do things together. Women seem to talk about things more. …A cultural thing, I guess.

 How could Psychscribe admit to such mean thoughts? Because it is my truth. Does this sound really awful?

Psychscribe Quote # 56

March 10, 2009

For my friend VanessaLeigh, who organized a vigil acknowledging the eve of the beginning of testimony regarding Prop 8 in California:

“Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”  Margaret Chase Smith

Psychscribe Quote # 55

February 22, 2009

GLORIA STEINEM:

If women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn’t it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?

“Interview” with Career Criminal

February 15, 2009

 

I was just watching a news story about a police officer who was killed by a “career criminal”. 

Now there’s something for the perpetrator to be proud of.  A murder to add to his resume.

Come with me to an interview with a career criminal composite. We’re having coffee at a Mac Donald’s in a really scary part of town.

“So what do you do for a living, Bob?”

“i’m a career criminal.”

“Could you tell us a bit about your job?”

“Yeah. I  sell drugs. Steal and kill and stuff like that.”

“What kind of compensation can a good career criminal hope to make?” 

“Well, the drugs are always good for a few hundred, even a grand some nights.  Or you can always get some cash  from someone walkin’ down the street.  It depends on the victim. You have to be good at targeting your mark. If you’re lucky, you can make hundreds in just one night. If you screw up and the mark has no cash, there’s always the payoff of the thrill kill.”

“Thrill kill?”

“Yeah, you know, like, you kill the mark anyway because you’re pissed off and just want to at least get a rush from that. Cops are better though.” 

“How so?”

“Cause they think they’re so above us, and are always sticking their noses into our business. I mean everyone has to make a living, right? I need a roof over my head and food on my table just like anyone else.

“Well…it must be dangerous?”

“Some. ” (He flexes his muscles a bit, clearly proud.) “But not if you’re tough, and you’re good. A lot of so called career criminals are just criminal wannabe’s. They’re amateurs. They don’t stay on the street, or anywhere else, very long.”

“Does your mother know what you do for a living?”

“Well, she knows I’ve done time but she also knows I was wrongfully  convicted.  I mean, otherwise why would they allow us conjugal visits?”

“Conjugal vists?????”

“Yeah, man it ain’t so bad at all. In our state, we have the right to get a trailer one weekend a month for our booty call.”

“Have you ever thought of going straight, getting a…real job?”

“Hey lady, you ever see where I grew up?  Did ya think I was gonna be a banker, or a lawyer? I”m doin’ just what my daddy did..”  

“You could go back to school…”

“And make what? Ten, fifteen bucks an hour when I get out? Who could live on that?” He looks at me like I”m a complete jackass and stomps out, like a bull ready to charge.

I walk fast, trying not to run, and get into my upscale car, locking all the doors. I feel scared, confused, angry, and also strangely sad for him.  For the blankness in his eyes and the danger in his soul. 

I zoom home to my cozy little house in the burbs, and thank God our sons were born into the life we’ve been able to offer them.

Matchmakers Making Big Bucks on Wall Street

February 12, 2009

Today I found this article published by Reuters….

People are writing checks  for $30,000 -$50,000 up front to find a perfect mate. These appear to be primarily men, who in the stress of their jobs during this economic turmoil would rather come home to the comfort and soothing of a good wife than date around as in past glory days.

So while Wall Street is crashing, matchmaking is smashing. One matchmaker said that she’s recently had a 30 year old write her a $30,00. check up front “without batting an eyelid.”  Another matchmaker said she  recently spent a week at a luxury hotel in New York interviewing  20 women for a client who wanted to meet a graduate of the same Ivy League university he attended.  The client paid more than $50,000. for the search.

Two thoughts occur to me.

1. I went into the wrong profession in terms of income.  

2. Can you imagine how many hungry kids that money could feed around the globe? Is it just me, or is this decadent?

If I Had My Life to Live Over

February 7, 2009

 

This is a well known column by Erma Bombeck, a very popular writer who was syndicated back in the days before the internet and died in 1996.. (Yes children, there once was a world without it when people couldn’t live without their paper newspapers!) 

Anyway, I thought I’d post it for anyone in younger generations, or other countries, who missed it. Its quite wonderful, I think. Hope you will too. Its called “If I Had My Life to Live Over”.  She writes:

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love yous”..  more “I’m sorrys”…  but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute…look at it and really see it…live it…and never give it back.

by Erma Bombeck 

About Erma from Wikipedia: “Erma Louise Bombeck (February 211927 – April 221996), born Erma Fiste, was an Americanhumorist who achieved great popularity for hernewspaper column that described suburban home life humorously from the mid-1960s until the late ’90s. Bombeck also published 15 books, most of which became best-sellers.

From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife with broad, and sometimes eloquent, humor. By the 1970s, her witty columns were read, twice weekly, by thirty million readers of 900 newspapers of theU.S. and Canada.”

Black History Month

February 6, 2009

For anyone who lives in a cave and doesn’t know it, this is Black History Month. I thought I would offer a nice link to historical milestones in black history:

http://www.history.com/minisites/blackhistory

There were many heroes in this long journey, but my favorite has always been Rosa Parks, who damned well refused to sit in the back of the bus!

Do You Think She Needs Counseling?

February 3, 2009

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Friends: Phone vs Email Time

January 12, 2009

First, let me start off by saying I am not a phone person. I just don’t like chatting on the phone. I get very impatient. That being said, I love emails and keep in touch with just about everyone that way. I think one of the reasons social email is so popular is that we can converse on our own time and schedule, sequentially rather than simultaneously.  Most of us lead such hectic lives…

So I have to prioritize. My family, I talk  to on the phone. We need to hear each other’s voices. And I think we would all agree that its nice to hear our friend’s voices once in a while! But I have had conflicts with friends who have different communication needs and want more phone time. Yet when I think of my blogger friends, I have never heard their voices yet know and feel their distinct personalities, their dreams and heartaches, and I worry about them when things are going badly for them.

I don’t know… the friends thing can be so difficult sometimes.

Words on Women & Strength

January 9, 2009

Psychscribe (Christmas) Quote # 48

December 23, 2008

ERMA BOMBECK:

“There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.”

The Gift of the Magi- By O’Henry

December 20, 2008

This is another lovely story about the true meaning of Christmas.

 

The Gift of the Magi

By O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad. In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.” The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good. Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag.     

She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art. Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length. Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet. On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.” “Will you buy my hair?” asked Della. “I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it. “Down rippled the brown cascade. “Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand. “Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present. She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically. “If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?” At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops. Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.

“The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves. Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face. Della wriggled off the table and went for him. “Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.””You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor. “Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?” Jim looked about the room curiously. “You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy. “You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table. “Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat. For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!” And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!” Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit. “Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.” Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled. “Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.

“The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

December 20, 2008

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Its always nice to read this famous letter- to remind us of the magic of Christmas and what its all about. I am touched every time I read it. Hope you will be too.

 

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

“Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

 

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. 

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. 

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. 

 

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!! 


Obama: the first “black” president

December 12, 2008

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OBAMA AND HIS MOTHER

 

There has been so much joy in this country to see a black man finally elected to the presidency. And I share that joy…I never thought I would see such progress in our society in my  lifetime… all the talk about unity and one people in this country as represented by Obama. The only thing is, the fact that he’s half white is pretty much ignored, as I see it. Why???? Wouldn’t it be even MORE unifying to acknowledge the mix of BOTH races in our president elect???

I know from my studies that people of mixed race tend to identify with the minority half. I don’t know why. I just know its so. And I don’t get that.  It seems like a disowning of half of who you are. Kind of a reverse racism of your own identity. 

Talk to me somebody…Help me understand this….

OJ Didn’t Mean It

December 10, 2008

Yeah right. The judge in this case is on record as saying that she’s not here for paybacks…But from a non legalese standpoint, paybacks are a bitch. 🙂

Mental Health Day: True Confession

December 4, 2008

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I’m taking one today. I mean, everyone else gets them. Why shouldn’t I? Even shrinks need mental health days once in a while. I need to relax and not HAVE to get in my car and go anywhere, be anywhere. No pressure…Mmmm…..

So lets see….I think I will dust today since I have an allergy to the stuff and its a real pain to walk around choking all the time….and do more Christmas shopping ONLINE (I don’t do malls anymore)..and finalize my choice of photos from the wedding for my “parent album”…oh…and i guess it would be a good idea to search again for my very expensive, lost wedding rings, I know they’re in this house someplace…and i need to get started on the jewelry I’m making for Christmas gifts….and call my mother which is never, ever less than a one hour conversation (that’s another whole post  in itself)…and I have several, repeat SEVERAL baskets of ironing that I’ve been avoiding like the bubonic plague…and for that matter there’s probably at least the same amount of  wash to be done…

Ok, so this is not what I’d advise a client to do on a mental health day. I would suggest to a client that she do something fun, relaxing, no chores allowed! But then again, for some people, getting chores done on a day when they would be going to work  is good for their mental health because all that stuff is no longer waiting for them…hovering.stalking them…

I guess I should call this my housework health day.

Tell us the truth. What do YOU do on your mental health days?

World Aids Day Today- Who did YOU lose?

December 1, 2008

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I am so ashamed to report that  until I read VanessaLeigh‘s post today, I had no idea…

I lost three family members to AIDS.  My Uncle Joe died in his 40’s. He was a handsome, brilliant professional actor and singer who never did make it to the big time.  He never had the time. Also, in those days, he “passed”…but not enough… God what a guy magnet he was! I remember he visited my husband and I when we lived in Italy and we practically had to barricade the doors to protect him! Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea.  He was also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, my mother’s dearest friend, wild, witty, best known for his role as one of the original four cabaret singers in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.  When he died, they had a tribute to him that I will never forget at The Village Gate in Manhattan, where the show ran for years. I was so proud to be his niece. I was always a bit in awe of him and so I loved him from afar.  Uncle Joe, I pray that you’re alive and well and living in Paradise with my father and yours.

Lenny and Joe,  my own age and my cousins on the other side of the family, will be harder to write about, because I loved them more. They were  my age and we grew up together. They started drugs at the age of twelve which ultimately led to them dying of AIDS,  also in their 40’s. Lenny was the proverbial chick magnet. He was a swaggering, gorgeous, macho early Sly Stallone look alike. He was bitingly sarcastic (anyone who reads my blog knows I hate sarcasm) but I could read him…I knew him…I saw his facade…his emptiness and no clear sense of his own identity. The same emptiness drove his identical twin brother.  Joe was the less aggressive one. A goofier sense of humor. A one girl kind of guy. Rough around the edges, both of them. Street smart but no interest in academics, ever.   Their twinship, rather then feed a closeness, seemed to drain both of them of their psychological life’s blood. Almost as if there weren’t enough for both of them. God I miss them. My roots. We were the first three kids in a huge Italian extended family. We all lived together in a 3 family house until I was about 6. There was a built in pool which of course  needed  adult supervision in order for us to jump in. So we would start the garden hose and put drops of water on our foreheads in order to get someone to take pity on our overheated bodies.  On Christmas Eve we listened in awe as reindeer and bells clattered across the roof of our house, courtesy of our ingenious uncles.

I started life with two older “brothers”, and now they’re both gone. There but for the grace of God went I.

Lenny and Joe, I will always, always miss you. I will always be grateful for the love and the roots and the FUN we had as kids, before the drugs and the plague took you. And I will ALWAYS associate the magic of Christmas with you, and remember the sound of those bells on the roof.

Most of all, I pray that, like my Uncle Joe, you’re in Paradise with my father and yours.

And so, my friends….who would you like to memorialize here?

So WHERE was the nearest mall…?

November 30, 2008


rohden_franz_von_gerburt_christi

 

by Franz von Rohden

German artist 
born 1817 – died 1903

Baby Boomers ROCK!

November 16, 2008

You have to be a baby boomer to appreciate this I think. Click on the link and be SURE you have your sound on 🙂

BABY BOOMERS

When A Spouse Comes Out

November 5, 2008

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I found an interesting column by Garry Cooper  in this month’s Psychotherapy Networker.  

He reports that  Amity Pierce Buxton, founder of The Straight Spouse Network, estimates that as many as two million straight spouses will, often suddenly, traumatically,  and by accident, find themselves discovering that they have a gay or bi spouse. The article also reports that Joe Kort, an Imago therapist specializing in gay issues, has seen couples negotiate arrangements other than splitting.  Some agreed upon solutions have been allowing one or both parters to have relationships outside the marriage, allowing the bi/ gay partner to use porn and webcams but not meet sexual partners face to face, or the bi/gay partner agrees not to indulge in outside sexual behaviors or porn.

What a tough and painful situation for everyone involved…particularly where there are children…or the spouses still love each other…  What would you do?

Psychscribe Quote #44

November 2, 2008

 

 

 

HARRIET BEECHER STOWE:

“So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why don’t somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?”

Jennifer Hudson “Domestic Issues”

October 25, 2008

By now we all know that Jennifer Hudson’s mother and brother were recently murdered. The media, noting that there is a male suspect,  reports a history of “domestic issues”. 

That phrase, or its twin “domestic dispute” is a  terribly  insidious euphemism. It suggests an issue or dispute over who left the socks on the floor or disagreements over household operations. When you hear it often enough in the news, the real meaning becomes so diluted that its impact upon society  becomes diluted.

For purposes of my post this morning, let me give you the exact definition I found at good old dictionary.com: 

euphemism – the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.

Of course domestic violence is what’s really being substituted here.  Bland domestic disputes don’t result in a woman calling the police for help. Bland domestic disputes don’t invoke public outrage or action.  I worked for two years in an agency for battered women. Speaking from first hand experience, here are what “domestic disputes” and “domestic issues” look like. And yes, these images are offensive, harsh, and blunt.  Just like the domestic violence that was committed against women such as these. 

 

One out of every four women is assaulted by an intimate partner every day. We need more public awareness, education, advocacy and funds to help a cause much closer to home than we might think. Domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic lines.  It could happen to you, your sister, your mother, your daughter. It’s about time the legal system stopped protecting the public from offensive, harsh reality and started protecting the victims of the offensive, harsh reality.
If you need help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
        

Alpha, Beta & Omega Males

October 2, 2008

First let me preface this by saying that I am not one of those  people who thinks that individuals can be neatly categorized into labeled boxes. But behavioral tendencies are fun and interesting to think about.   

My previous posts on alpha males have received so much interest that I decided to look up more about the other males…the rest of the story.  Here’s what wikipedia has to say (hardly a definitive or professional guide, IMO, but a jumping off place for thought and discussion).

“In social animals, the alpha male is the individual in the community to whom the others follow and defer. Where one male and one female fulfill this role, they are referred to as the alpha pair. In some groups, the alpha males and females are overrepresented in the genetics of a population if they are the only ones who breed successfully.

Chimpanzees show deference to the alpha of the community by ritualised gestures such as bowing, allowing the alpha to walk first in a procession, or standing aside when the alpha challenges. Canines also show deference to the alpha pair in their pack, by allowing them to be the first to eat and, usually, the only pair to mate; wolves are a good example of this. The status of the alpha is generally achieved by means of superior physical prowess; however, in certain highly social species such as the bonobo and humans, a contender can use more indirect methods, such as political alliances, to oust the ruling alpha and take his place.

Beta and omega

In the power hierarchy of the human group, two other roles also are defined and named. First, the beta male, which is the contender, subservient to the alpha male, but only after testing. The betas act as second-in-command and can either be dethroned alpha males or future alphas if they persist in challenging the regnant alpha male. The term omega (ω) is an antonym often used in a deprecating or self-deprecating manner to refer to member at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The omega is subservient to all members.”

So…are you a beta or omega male? Do you typically befriend or fall in love with one? What’s that like for you?