Thursday, April 30, 2015

That's Entertainment?

I have been watching “Everybody Love Raymond,” for almost 20 years. The show ended in 2005, but I still watch an average of an episode or two a day. I was saddened to learn that one of the twin boys, Sawyer Sweeten, who played Geoffrey Barone, committed suicide. He started on the show when he was a year and a half old. He spent half his life on the set and the other half living a private life. It’s upsetting and shocking to hear of someone so young, with so much living ahead of them, ending their life. I can only hope his family will be allowed to grieve in peace and heal from this devastating loss. His death, like that of so many other actors, raised questions in my mind about the lifestyle for which there are probably no answers.

The entertainment industry is exciting. Everyone aspiring to be an actor would love to get their big break. They want their share of fame and fortune. They want to do what they love to do, act. There is a lot of money to be made if you make a name for yourself, which isn’t easy. You get lots of attention and adoring fans. A lot of times the focus is on the “up” side of the business. But, if everything is so great about it, why do we hear so many negative things associated with it? Is it all worth it? I don’t know, for many it seems to be.

When I think about a career in entertainment, I think about the high divorce rate among actors. There are very few happy marriages that stand the test of time. I haven’t researched it, but it seems as though the divorce rate for actors is even higher than the norm (which is over 50%). Maybe it’s due to the separation from all the traveling necessary to make movies? Maybe all those hot sexy scenes between co-workers end up going a step too far? I recall reading about Meryl Streep, a favorite of mine, who has been married 35 years to sculptor Don Gummer. I remember thinking the key to her long marriage was that she married someone outside of the “industry,” and she lived in the Midwest where she could give her children a normal childhood away from Hollywood. Meryl also said she would not take jobs that took her away from home for long and would take others, that weren’t the best roles, so she could be close to her family. Meryl seemed to have figured out the secret that other stars had not. I thought Meryl’s marriage had been unscathed by the Hollywood lifestyle. But recently I read that years ago, only nine years into her marriage, Meryl allegedly had an affair with Jack Nicholson. This is said to have happened back in 1987 while they were making the movie, “Ironweed.” A new biography has been written about Jack that spilled the details of the affair. And, although Meryl and her husband had gotten through her alleged indiscretion back in 1987, the book has reopened a sore subject and old wounds, and now even her marriage is reportedly in serious trouble. There goes my theory. Now I have to wonder, if sooner or later, almost every star will have at least one divorce under his or her belt.

Another sacrifice anyone famous has to make is giving up their privacy. There is no such thing as privacy when your name is a household word. Everything about your personal life is fair game for the media. Every move you make is documented. Every mistake exploited. You cannot even grieve the loss of a loved one without your phone ringing off the hook or microphones being shoved in your face wanting to know “how you feel.” The relentless press hounds you wherever you go. This is what I believe cost Princess Diana her life in the end, and two young boys their mother. Privacy is the one thing money can’t seem to buy and the price one pays for fame. Is it worth it?

What about life in the fast lane? The overuse of drugs and alcohol and all the partying? How many times have we heard of a celebrity going to rehab? How many have totaled cars? How many have died from overdoses? Are the drugs just more accessible to celebrities or do they just have the financial means to buy them for recreational purposes? Aren’t their lives exciting enough without needing another kind of “high.” They should be living to enjoy the fruits of their labor, but instead they are dying because of it.

And this leads me to wonder about depression and why so many celebrities are afflicted with it? Is the incidence of depression higher among celebrities than the general population? I don’t know. Research seems to indicate that there is a higher risk of suicide among people who are “creative,” in fact, as much as 50% higher. They also say that people with depression tend to self medicate with drugs and alcohol. But no one really has the answers at this point, at least not the answers needed to help these individuals before they can no longer cope with life. It’s very sad that some of the very people who have everything to live for end up dying so young. Sawyer was just one of many. His family says depression runs in the family, so maybe Sawyer’s death wasn’t related to being an actor at all. Maybe being an entertainer has nothing to do with why actors commit suicide. Maybe the industry just attracts creative people who suffer from depression. Maybe people who hate the way they feel as themselves and try to escape those feelings by acting as someone else?

No one knows how different celebrities’ lives would have been if they hadn’t chosen to be actors and lived another lifestyle, a more normal lifestyle. I have been watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I discovered that two of the wives are sisters and were on Little House on the Prairie, as children. The older of the two sisters, Kim Richards, is currently in rehab after a recent session with Dr. Phil. Kim Richards has been an alcoholic for many years and has probably abused pain medication. I recently read that as a child actress she may have been raped and sexually molested by men on the set. Her mother reportedly told her the abuse was okay. It was part of the price she had to pay for getting jobs as an actress. A high and damaging price that she has been paying decades later. What would her life have been like hadn’t she been pushed into show business and pressured to do whatever it takes to get ahead? We don’t like to think about this very ugly side of the industry, but it unfortunately it’s no secret that things like this often happened years ago.

That's entertainment.

May you rest in peace, Sawyer Sweeten.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why Am I Watching Season 7 of RHONY?

Countess LuAnn Wearing her "tribal" necklace!
I add this picture for my daughter because she gets a kick out of LuAnn's crazy necklaces
and because I heard LuAnn  (of "Money Doesn't Buy You Class fame) mentioned one season she was part Native American (probably .000058 per cent, but still).

Well the obvious answer as to why I am “watching” is because my daughters like to put it on and make fun of these middle aged women who are trying to make a show about nothing. They have watched for years and are probably a little addicted to the “drama.” I watch Mob Wives, so there could never been enough drama on any of the REAL Housewives shows to shock me. But I do enjoy spending time with my girls and hearing them laugh and exchange snaky remarks at the latest antics of these season’s cast.

I should warn you that if you don’t watch the show then you probably won’t enjoy the blog and it’s references. That being said, the season is off to a slow start. What else is new? And they have been throwing in way too many clips from past seasons which is enough to confuse anyone who didn’t watch those seasons or has a lousy memory.

This season is about Cougars and divorcees mostly. The she-wolves pack is single and on the hunt for mates. The age of the potential “hook-up” is of no consequence, in fact, the younger the better. These 50+ year old desperate housewives are seeking out men in their 20’s and having flings. Well, the stallions have to sow their wild oats some place, might as well be in an old hag. In this group we have Sonja, who drinks and sleeps around and is applauded for her conquests. Then we have the Countess Lu Ann, who recently broke up with a French David Schwimmer look-a-like named Jacques, and is currently on the prowl for a replacement. Ramona Singer, who has flaunted her “happy” marriage to Mario for years, only to find her husband guilty of cheating and possibly fathering a baby out of wedlock, dumped his sorry ass and is now practicing the art of flirting with any man who locks eyes with her. It should be noted that after a night of drinking a man will lock eyes with a pig wearing pink lipstick if it gets them into bed, but Ramona finds this flattering. Of course, best selling author, Carole Radziwell, in on the hunt, but she is a little more discreet about it.

In the other group we have two married and boring women, Heather and Kristin. We have Ramona’s sister, who hasn’t said a word yet; and Ramona’s friend Dorinda who is dating a chubby, older man who must have money. Dorinda has a big mouth and she isn’t afraid to use it. She is an equal opportunity “insulter,” and never misses a chance to let anyone know what she is thinking. The most interesting thing she has said so far, during a spat between two of the other wives, is that she can’t stand all the “back and forth.” Apparently, Dorinda has never seen the RHONY and either way, she is definitely on the wrong show if that is a pet peeve of hers.

I don’t know where to put Bethenny, who has returned after being gone a few years making money and having her own talk show. She is a loose cannon who doesn’t seem to like anyone or want to hear what they have to say. However, there are no shortage of words when it comes to her giving others her opinion. I am on the fence about her. She will either make the season interesting or provoke me to throw Aviva’s leg at my television. That remains to be seen at the moment.

I’m glad I got this off my chest. I feel a lot better now.

More to the Kristen Lindsey Story?

From Kristen's Facebook Page
after she posted the horrific picture

I guess you could say I am like a dog with a bone when some story really bothers me to this extent. It's like the more I read, the worst the picture is painted. Every fact and detail that emerges adds another nauseating element.

I received a rather long comment on my first blog about this story and it highlighted a few new things that really should be looked into. First of all, the Washington Animal Clinic, where Kristen worked, was quick to fire her and try to do damage control. I almost felt sorry for them, if their only wrong was hiring this woman and not knowing her true nature was inclined to harm animals. As she stated in her blog of 2011, under things she enjoyed was "killing things . . .[specifically] animals." How could they know someone who spent years studying to help and protect animals could be so cruel towards the very creatures she took an oath to care for? They did the right thing. They fired her immediately. But did they do that because they were disgusted or to protect their business?  I have to question their intentions to some degree. Do you see the name Misty Story at the bottom of those facebook posts? "What is meant to be will always be!" Misty is reported to be the office manager/receptionist at the very clinic Kristen worked for. She didn't seem disturbed by Kristen's "kill." On the contrary, it was meant to be. Someone posted on my first blog that Misty was the one taking the outraged phone calls to the clinic for two days, laughing and telling people to calm down about the incident. She still works there. Strange no one is following up on this at all except for some people who are following this case closely.

And another thing was brought to my attention too. Do you see the name Keri Elizabeth Camp, near the top?  "I needed to hear that! The Repro Gods are not being nice this year!" Keri doesn't work for the Washington Animal Clinic, but Keri does work with animals. Keri is a veterinarian at Equine Veterinarian Associates of Olive Branch, MS. Yes, you read right, another veteranarian sworn to care for animals who seems to be rejoicing over an animal's cruel and abusive killing. Is anyone asking her questions?  I can't believe there is another vet non-chalantly co-signing on this vicious, cold blooded act. I just learned this mornng that 20 hours ago a petition was started to revoke her license for condoning this horrific act. Over 2,000 people have signed already. Unfortunately, the petition is erroneously being directed at the Texas licensing board and not Mississippi, where Keri actually works. I'm not sure I feel as strongly about Keri losing her license for making a stupid comment, but she should get reprimanded and face some disciplinary action for her lack of professionalism. People like her are giving vets a bad name. P.S. Someone says they wrote to her veteranarian school and they support her. One thing is for sure, Keri took down her FB page and she won't be posting anything stupid for a long, long time.

Keri's bio at Equine
So where are we now?  The sheriff's office has concluded their investigation and forwarded everything they have to the Austin County District Attorney, who will see if there is enough evidence to press charges. he may take it to a Grand Jury. The crime they should be trying her for can come with a two year prison sentence if she is tried and convicted. The Texas licensing board and the AVMA is watching to see what happens. They want to protect the reputations of all respected vets from being tarnished by this one act. All eyes are now on the DA. Will he sweep this under the rug or vigorously prosecute?  Time will tell.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sherri Shepherd Is The Mother!

Lamar Sally, Jr., Sherri's son.
Too bad it took a judge to tell her so

During her tenure on The View, Sherri Shepherd met and married Lamar Sally. She had him on the show. She seemed quite happy. He got a long well with her autistic son, Jeffrey, from a previous marriage. Everything was going to well that Sherri and Sally decided to have a baby. They needed a surrogate and got one. Sherri consented to and signed a contract to pay the surrogates bills and be the unborn child’s mother. Sherri did not provide any genetic material, but Sally’s sperm was used and he is the biological father. During the surrogate’s pregnancy there was trouble in paradise. Sherri started having issues with Sally not working and staying home all day. She had doubts about the marriage. She had doubts about the baby. She filed for divorce and said she wanted nothing to do with the baby, it was not hers biologically and she wasn’t responsible for it. The baby was due to be born any day. Sally filed a court case to declare Sherri the mother and make her financially responsible for the son in his custody. Sherri’s defense was Sally tricked her into having the baby in order to get her money. The case has been going on over a year.

Yesterday a judge ruled that Sherri Sherherd is in fact the mother of little Lamar Sally, Jr. who is now eight months old and adorable. In addition to the legal documents that Sherri signed going into this agreement, the judge also considered some video clips from The View in which Sherri spoke of how happy she was that she and Sally were having a baby and how excited she was about it. Sherri wasn’t at the hearing when the ruling was delivered, but I wish I could have been there to hear what the judge had to say.

From the facts of the case, you wouldn’t think there was any question about Sherri’s moral and financial responsibility concerning her son. She contracted with a surrogate to have a baby for her and her husband. But, when it was not longer “convenient,” when life took an unexpected turn, she decided she no longer wanted to be this child’s mother nor help to support him grow up. What kind of woman does such a thing? The child was days from being born and she is all over the media declaring it’s not her baby and she wants nothing to do with it. She wanted to be relieved of her parental rights and responsibilities, just like that. She even offered Sally $150,000 to be free of him and the baby. He turned her down.

Too many people aren’t taking their decision to have a baby seriously enough. Regardless of whether you conceive a baby naturally, adopt, use artificial or scientific means, once you make that commitment there is no turning back. What if instead of a surrogate, Sherri was the one who was pregnant? Would she have been fighting for full custody of the baby or given it away? Sherri went into this agreement/commitment with her eyes wide open. There had to have been lawyers advising her of her rights and obligations. She knew what she was signing and was happy to do it. She chose to bring another human being into this world and agreed to be his mother and nurture and raise him. Then, in the months between the time it took for the surrogate to be impregnated and before the baby was born, Sherri had a change of heart. She was divorcing her husband and had no desire to even see the baby she was responsible for bringing into the world. Can she be that cold hearted? Apparently so and maybe, feeling the way she does, she doesn’t deserve to be that baby’s mother. The judge, however, ruled that her name will be going on the birth certificate and she will be responsible, at least financially, for the support of her son. But, the judge can’t make Sherri be a mother. That little baby has already been placed at a serious disadvantage in life, and will grow up knowing that the woman who had the most say in his being here, rejected him before he even set foot into the world.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Kristen Lindsay, DVM, Cat Murderer . . .

One picture worth 1,000 words
(below this post was the picture of Kristen holding up cat)

By now half the world must have seen the picture posted on facebook of Dr. Kristen Lindsey, DVM, grinning as she is holding up the body of a cat, arrow shot through it’s head (some say the poor cat, Tiger, was still alive), jokingly asking for the veterinarian of the year award. I’ve been “obsessed” with the story the past three days, or so my daughter says. I don’t know why I can’t move on. Maybe it’s because it makes no sense and my mind keeps trying to find ways to force it to make sense. I can’t.

There are so many disturbing facts about this that frankly I don’t even know which one upsets me more. The fact that an innocent cat, somebody’s pet, was shot through the head for “sport.” The fact that a veterinarian, someone who took an oath to protect and help animals, was the shooter. The fact that the veterinarian held up the cat’s body and posed for a picture with her “trophy” bragging about her great aim. The fact that the poor cat, some say from the position of its legs, may have been still alive. The fact that her mother and father witnessed it, and her mother proudly boasted she took the picture so it wasn’t photoshopped. The fact that the veterinarian showed absolutely no remorse, but instead a cocky attitude that she would never be fired because she is awesome. The fact that someone happened upon an old blog post Kristen wrote in 2011, while in veterinarian school, saying, “Current interests . . . Killing things or trying to kill things (animals . . .).” The fact that she reactivated her facebook account not to post an apology, but to say, “I’m ignoring all the death threats. Insulting me doesn’t make you any better. Thanks for the support guys - feeling thankful.”

Washington Animal Clinic, where Kristen worked, issued an immediate statement saying they did not condone Kristen’s actions and were firing her. They also put duct tape over her name on the business sign in hopes of calming the angry outburst directed at them causing their website to crash. I have no idea whether or not anyone at the clinic knew of Kristen’s dark side. I would certainly hope not. They’ve done what they can do. I noticed that they did deactivate their facebook page since this incident happened. So they are suffering some fallout out over her actions. The sheriff is doing an investigation. Kristen and her lawyer are supposed to come in and speak with him early this week. For me, this is an open and shut case for animal cruelty, the evidence is all over the internet. But, there has to be due process. Her lawyer will probably have to work on some kind of defense. I read the Texas law on animal cruelty and it’s penalties. I am a little concerned that her lawyer will be able to spin this into an “accidental” shooting, in which case nothing may be done. Or, if they cannot prove the cat belonged to someone and was homeless, the cat may not be protected by the law. The evidence shows that the act was intentional and people have come forward to say the cat was the pet of an elderly couple. The investigation has to determine what is the truth before pressing any charges.

Meanwhile, there are petitions out there calling for the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to suspend her license to practice. I have seen responses from the board saying they are looking into the matter. If this doesn’t get her license revoked, I don’t know what would? I mean, who in the world could or would trust their precious pet with a doctor who loves to kill animals and has killed an innocent animal? Kristen also posted, “The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through its head.” I wonder if there were more posts on her facebook page indicating she has done this sort of thing before? And, her own college was appalled and issued their own statement of disgust with her actions. Everyone wants to distance themselves from Kristen Lindsey. I can’t blame them. She is a disgrace to the profession. She is a disgrace as a human being.

So I sit here and wonder what in the world would make a young woman, who graduated veterinary school in 2012 and swore to protect animals, kill an innocent cat for fun and enjoyment and brag about it? Something must be very wrong with her mentally. Killing innocent animals is the kind of behavior that has been attributed to serial killers and psychopaths. Showing no remorse? Bragging? Whatever happens with this case, I think she needs some psychiatric testing. I hope no one’s pet died while under her care at the clinic because, if I was their owner, I would be forever wondering if she had a hand in it.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Family Reunion or The War of the Rice Pudding . . .

Me and my cousin, Len
Len's rice pudding
My cousin Maria hosted a family reunion of sorts at her house during Easter week. She loves to cook and they love to eat. The day before Easter six of my cousins, Arlene and five of her children, arrived from Florida. I’m sitting on my sofa at 10:30 am Saturday morning when the phone rings. It’s my cousin Lenny saying he is starving and they are waiting for us to get there to order pizza. It's too early for lunch, I’m thinking he is joking, but of course he makes it clear he isn’t. Seems they took an early flight and were up at 3 am getting ready. It’s been a long time since they’ve eaten. In order to get Len to calm down about his current hunger crisis, I promise to make him rice pudding this week. That worked like a charm. But, it seems he had me on speakerphone the whole time, unbeknownst to me. So as he calms down, his sister is calling out something in the background that I can‘t hear. He answers, “I’m on Nina’s side now.” I happen to ask, “What does she want?” and I guess those were fighting words and set the tone for the visit.

I get to Maria’s a couple of hours later with my hands full of desserts and the loaves of Italian Twist bread covered in sesame seeds that everyone loves. As I try to open the door, out pops Len’s sister, Laura, giving me a piece of her mind all because she thinks I am favoring her brother, Len, with the rice pudding. The war begins. My cousin Lenny and his wife, Darlene, had visited us one Easter many years ago. At the time I made this rice pudding and he enjoyed it and never forgot about it. Whenever I post on facebook about making rice pudding for the holidays, he always comments on how good it is. So of course, while he is here, I was going to make it for him. I left it up to him if he wanted to share it or not. It’s Len’s rice pudding. That didn’t sit well with Laura. After that “warm” welcoming, we had a nice lunch of pizza, followed by a an amazing dinner of Maria’s pasta and homemade meat sauce. In between meals we had a few Fireball shots, but even the shots didn’t put out the rice pudding war. The “What does she want?” innocent comment that I made that morning, and was overheard via Laura’s “eaves-dropping,” plagued me the whole day. I guess she really wanted that rice pudding?

The next morning, Easter Sunday, we went back to Maria’s for a feast of ham, two kinds of turkey, sweet potato, broccoli and cheese, Italian bread, stuffing and cranberry sauce. My daughter, Lauren, was DJing the music. Everybody in the house was “jumpin’, jumpin’.” There were 18 of us at the table and guess who winds up sitting next to me? That’s right, my cousin Laura. It had to be God’s plan to put us together and work out the rice pudding issue. I heard she didn’t like raisins in her rice pudding, so I jokingly said I would add some to the batch I was going to make just to egg her on (not that she needed much egging). But, in reality, I wasn’t going to tamper with the recipe and I wasn’t backing down about making it for Len. At least Len was happy the whole time! We ate our Italian pastries of Napoleons and cannolis, had shots of Fireball, but never settled the rice pudding war or the alleged favoritism. Oh well.

Now, with all the hype about the rice pudding, I was getting a little nervous. What if the rice wasn’t cooked long enough and it was hard? No one wants “al dente” rice in their pudding. What if I cooked it a minute too long and instead of being soft and creamy it turned out dry and too thick. I twisted and turned in bed all Monday night over it because I didn’t want Len to be disappointed. So Tuesday, the day before everyone was coming here for lunch, I made my batch of rice pudding. I watched over it, check the directions a few times, and made sure to follow it exactly. When it was done, I poured in the tray and posted a picture of the finished product, nicely sprinkled with cinnamon. Off into the refrigerator it went to chill.

Can't seem to make Laura happy.

Wednesday morning arrives and I get a call at 9 am from Len saying they are five minutes away. What a little joker! I knew they all had to get up, have breakfast, shower and visit the cemetery before popping in, but he wanted to throw a scare in me. It didn’t work. While we waited for everyone to get here, the five foot Italian hero and salads I ordered had been delivered and we set the table. Everyone enjoyed the hero and the salads and olives. We share some stories and Laura mentions her husband, Mike, was a “player” before they got married. That comes as a total surprise to Mike. She said he dated every girl on the block before dating her. I said Mike doesn’t seem like a player. They probably asked him out and he was too polite to say no. Turns out that was the truth. After a short breather to digest lunch, I see Len is back at the table with his little bowl and spoon beckoning me to come over. I know what that means. I take out his container of rice pudding from the refrigerator and place it in directly in front of him, offering him a little more cinnamon and whipped cream. He loves it! I then get a tray of brownies that I made that morning for everyone else. Laura fills her glass with wine to drown the sorrow from the sight of her brother digging in to the rice pudding. Then Len, big hearted guy that he is, decided to share his good fortune with everyone else. After all her complaining, Laura got her rice pudding, with extra cinnamon no less. She told me how delicious it was. Now you would think at this point we both got our satisfaction and could make peace, but no. As everyone was preparing to leave, I packed up the remaining rice pudding and wrote “Lenny’s Rice Pudding” on the container for him to take. I packed a couple of brownies for Len’s wife, Darlene. Now Laura was upset all over again because I hadn’t packed her a personal snack to go. She pours herself another glass of white wine, which is sweet, but not as sweet as rice pudding.

Liana and I chatting in Italian

Friday barbeque at Maria’s! Will the rice pudding come up again? I resolve to myself that I will not to be the first to mention it. And I wasn’t. Greg did. When we arrived at Maria’s the house was quiet. Fortunately, all my cousins were too exhausted from their trip into New York City the day before to continue much of a war. On top of that, they were too full from eating all week to care any more about rice pudding. Maria’s son, Joe, made us some delicious shish kabob on the grill. We polished off a couple of loaves of Italian bread and had cheesecake and coffee for dessert. We did some more reminiscing and story telling and it seemed like half the crowd had either a cold or allergies. My brother, Vin, was wearing his hoodie and curled up in a ball on the couch with the chills. That’s the rotten New York weather we had all week, rainy, chilly, cloudy and just plain miserable. They are used to that Florida sunshine, but the sun over here just blinks. Later on some of the cousins went out to the drug store for some cold “remedies” and when they returned they made “bocci ball” drinks. I don’t know what kind of “medicine” Rite Aid carries these days, but soon everyone had a drink in hand and seemed to be feeling better. My cousin Frank’s girlfriend, Liana, came over and told me she just started studying a little Italian. She picked up about four or five phrases and she had the accent down pretty good for a beginner. I was impressed. Maybe I’ll teach her “C’e La Luna Mezz’o Mare,” like Aunt Serina did on an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” on the next holiday. Speaking of Italy, my cousin Lenny tells the story of when he lived in Italy and his wife, Darlene, went out to buy a dozen eggs. Apparently she mixed up the word for eggs (uova) with the word for men (uomi) and ended up ordering a dozen men (which they were only too happy to give her). My older daughter, Melissa, and her boyfriend, Matt, arrived after work too. It was our final night all together because my cousins were returning to Florida the next day so we had to make the most of it . . . between the sneezing and coughing.

Darlene tells me about her shopping in Italy

I took Italian twist bread orders so they could take a couple of loaves home with them. I sent my husband to the bakery before nine in the morning to get eight loaves, three more then they asked for. The bakery only had seven loaves, so he bought them all. On our way to Maria’s I stopped at the pretzel guy on the corner and got eight big soft NY pretzels for them to take to the airport to snack on while waiting for the plane. Len’s wife, Darlene, used a vacuum to take air out of the clothes bags to make room for the bread in her suitcase. Laura managed to find room in her suitcase for her loaves too. I stayed a couple of hours while everyone was taking turns showering and packing their bags. A lively little debate ensues when my cousin Greg tries to explain to Frank what it means to be a “real” football fan. Greg loves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it seems that even though they are losing every game, he is loyal to the team. Nothing on earth can get him to miss a game. It’s all that gets him going. He is a loyal, diehard fan. Frank, on the other hand, isn’t quite as devoted to any one team as he is to watching the best teams play each other. He is interested in watching the skills and challenges of the sport, not some lame team who can’t win a game if their life depended on it. Greg calls him a “band-wagoner,” because he will switch teams depending on who is winning. In this debate I tend to side with Frank. It’s not much fun watching a team lose time and time again.

Frank and Greg can't agree.

The week went by so fast. Where did the time go? Let's toast to Family Reunions! To Memories! To Laughs! To Food! To Italian Bread! And to Rice Pudding! Until we all meet again.

Here is the recipe in case you want to try it:


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Too Many Peeves To Count . . .

But who’s counting? I have had writer’s block, not because there is nothing to write about, but because there is too much to write about. My brain is over stimulated with the constant ills of the world that I hardly have time to wrap my head around one, when another is right behind it. I decided I would do a blog touching on some of the things irritating me and move on because to tell you the truth it’s not only disturbing, but quite draining to read what is going on day in and day out. Is anyone still keeping track of Bill Cosby’s accusers? Last I heard Chelsea Handler threw her hat in the ring. Nevermind.

One of the things I couldn’t bring myself to blog about was the recent racist SAE chant on the bus by members of the Oklahoma University chapter. Several members were recorded singing a little ditty using the “N-word,” and later a video surfaced of their den mother also singing the “N-word.” The university took swift action condemning and shutting down the chapter, and the guilty students apologized. This same fraternity has had similar issues in other colleges throughout the country. Now they are reporting that at a national leadership conference about four years ago, this same chant was taught to leaders, who then taught it to pledges and it became part of their “culture.” I cannot understand how so many individuals, supposedly educated and from good families, could participate in this kind of hate oriented culture. I’m not going to get any answers to the “why,” but I believe if they could go along with it, then there is a good chance they were raised to think that way. No one is born racist, it has to be taught. Those who aren’t racist would immediately take offense to the use of the N-word and would hopefully speak up or, at the very least, not participate. These guilty students would like to chalk it up to a stupid mistake fixed with an apology. I don’t think an apology s going to cut it. Considering the situation and all they stand to lose, I’m not very impressed with the change of heart.

Then we have 13 year old Mo’ne Davis who amazed the world with her baseball skills so much so she made the cover of Sports Illustrated. She wasn’t bothering anyone, just focusing on her athletic skills. But, a smart mouthed college student, Joey Cassleberry, an infielder for Bloomsburg University, tweeted a comment about Mo’ne which led to his suspension. He tweeted, “Disney is making a movie about Mo’ne Davis. What a joke. That slut got rocked by Nebraska.” Mo’ne is only thirteen and what could she have done to deserve such an offensive comment? Certainly Mo’ne was hurt by the comment that ended up going viral, but her compassion led her to write to the president of Bloomsburg. She asked him to give Cassleberry another chance, saying everyone makes mistakes, everyone deserves a second chance. The university, while appreciating her act of forgiveness, would not change their decision. Cassleberry apologized, even saying he was a big fan of Mo’ne. Was he sincere? I doubt it. But hopefully she gave him something to think about. More mistakes. More apologies.

And then the state of Indiana passes the “Religious Freedom Information Act” which gives businesses, religious institutions, and associations the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion. Now what in the world could be wrong with this law? Here I am thinking we have come so far, only to find that we, as a country, have regressed back to square one. I was reading some place that this law may actually allow an EMT to refuse to treat a victim based on his religious beliefs. Even if the law has been carefully worded so as to disguise the intent of discrimination, the results will most certainly have that effect in many situations. The first business to openly go along with the law is Memories Pizza, in Indiana. The O’Connors, owners of the business, support the law and said it is their right to deny services to anyone in the LGBT community. As soon as their story was out, 500 people went on Yelp to give the business a review, bringing their rating down to one star. On top of that, the family received threats via phone and on social media, forcing them to close their doors. In any case, there has been no apology as yet, and I don’t expect one. But, there is a lesson to be learned. Maybe hate begets hate? And wasn’t it Jesus who said, “Love one another as I have loved you?” I don’t recall reading about any exceptions. It was a pretty clear statement. And I also read somewhere that “Jesus had two dads and he turned out just fine.” Here’s to hoping the O’Connors will find Jesus and follow his example.

Finally, (only because my eye is already twitching) I read an article by Nellie Andreeva from that came out a few days ago. It started a little firestorm of controversy online. She feels there is too much diversity on television all of a sudden. “Too much of a good thing,” she called it. In her opinion, 2015 has gone to the extreme in giving roles to minority actors with newly introduced shows like How To Get Away With Murder starring Viola Davis, Fresh Off The Boat, “Jane, The Virgin,” and “Empire.” I might add these are some of my favorite shows and they are entertaining and refreshing specifically because of their diversity. The writer however feels “The pendulum may have swung too far in the opposite direction.” Seriously? Can the pendulum ever swing too far back on this issue? Let’s say most people had televisions by the 1950’s. I was born in the 1950’s and watched plenty of it. I remember “Julia,” starring Diane Carroll airing in 1968. There were a few more black comedies I watched that I can name, like “Sanford & Son,” “Good Times,” “227,” “The Jeffersons,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Family Matters.” But, by comparison, I can name dozens of television shows that starred white actors and didn’t even have a minority in them. And, as you might expect, the light bulb finally at went off at after all the criticism the article got. The editor issued an apology for the article. Another insensitive “mistake” and more out pouring of apologies. Was his apology sincere or was it an attempt at damage control? I’m going with the latter.

I used to think we were making progress as far as tolerance and understanding. I used to think we were slowly coming around to appreciating different cultures. I thought the pendulum was swinging in the right direction, but it seems it is not. These few examples are disheartening, and there are so many more out there. Even people who should know better and do better aren’t, they are too busy making apologies instead. It makes me sad that the world my children have been born into is getting worse every day. I worry about the future for their generation and their children, who have not even been born yet. It seems the further we have come, the farther behind we fall.