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Archive for the ‘Celebrity’ Category

When the top story on my news-feed is about how different Renee Zellweger’s face looks – I know it’s time to shut all my electronics off and try and have myself a zen moment.

Is this really who we’ve become? Is this truly who we are as a people?  We don’t write or talk about curing cancer, we don’t write or talk about the struggles with Alzheimer’s, we don’t write or talk about how we are still at war – and our soldiers are still dying.

We don’t write or talk about how children in the United States of America go to bed hungry, go to school hungry, and live every day, hungry.  I’m not talking about another country here – I’m talking The United States of America…

We don’t write or talk about the inequities of the American people – but we will write and talk about who is to blame for these inequities that only seem to exist in the minds of the dreaded “do-gooders.”

Elections in this country are no longer about who is the best person for the job. They are about who has the most money, and who is willing to do the best job at trashing their opponent.  They are no longer “free” elections when millions of people are prevented from voting because of redistricting or photo ID’s or some other form of “poll taxing.”

But – our free press is not writing or talking about these things. These things don’t sell papers or magazines.

The people who write and publish – well, they only write and publish the things that make them money.   You know – Renee Zellweger’s face, and Kim Kardashian’s buttocks.

When did we stop caring about one another and what we will leave for our children and our children’s children?   When did it become more important that the Giudice’s are going to jail than a child going to school hungry? Seriously – when did entertainment overtake caring about our own humanity?

Personally, I don’t believe my grandchildren’s children will care about the face of Renee Zellweger. It may be more important to their survival that the air is clean and the water is safe to drink and people still have a moral code that doesn’t revolve around how one looks, but rather revolves around how one treats others.

Just sayin…

kindness matters 1

 

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1-IMG_0090-001This morning I stood in line for about 4 hours with approximately 1000 women. There were men there – maybe 100 or so – the rest were women. Women of all sizes and shapes and color and religion and status and age – we all stood, without complaining, waiting our turn to meet Hillary Clinton.

There are some moments in our lives that define us – for me – this was one of them. I’m 61 years old and I finally understood why there are men who don’t particularly want women to be united. I finally understood why men didn’t want women to have the vote and why there are men still don’t want a woman to have any voice when it comes to our own bodies.

It’s because – Women who are united – on anything – are strong and powerful and know in their hearts they can facilitate change.

This is why men want to keep women down. This is why they hit them and alienate them and keep them “barefoot and pregnant.” Not all men – but some men – they just don’t want women to have any power or know that they could even have the chance at any power or self-respect.

I’m not bashing men.  I know there is this belief that lesbians hate men – trust me when I tell you – that’s not the case. I enjoy the company of men – well – most men.  I have men in my life whom I simply adore. I find them sweet and funny and they value the women in their lives.

But – I also have men in my life who absolutely do not value women – any women. Women who have strong opinions – women who are smart – women who have power, they especially don’t like them, and I find these men hard to understand and hard to have any sort of relationship with. Go figure…

The thing I noticed most in my 4 hours of bonding was that we all wanted the same thing – freedom and peace.  We all agreed we were are tired of war and death and yes – guns…

Is that a liberal thing – the not wanting guns? I honestly don’t know – but I know that the women with whom I had the pleasure of spending time with this morning are sick of the guns being worn over shoulders and on belts while we’re being told it’s for our own protection. We all admitted that we thought twice about coming to this book signing for fear that someone with said gun slung over their shoulder would come and take a whack at we crazy liberals wanting to see Hillary; the Benghazi killer!  We also all agreed that if we had stayed home – the gun-slingers would have won, and that wasn’t going to happen – not on our watch. So there we were.

We talked – as women do – about other women. We wondered why any women would vote against their own best interest – and why women just can’t seem to find the strength to stand up for one another.  Some of the questions we asked one another were:

Why would a woman vote for a man who wants to control where you can get birth control? And how do we help her see that this is her right as a human being to be in control of her own body? How do we educate women? How can we help one another? How do we unite and how do we learn how to treat one another with respect? It starts with each one of us – respecting one another enough to leave the men out of the equation. Women need to respect and care for one another – period.

These women made me understand that perhaps television shows such as The Housewives of OC and NYC and NJ and anywhere else – were to blame for how we see each other as women.  My partner Susan, has told me this for years, and now – finally – I get it.  These women certainly do not treat one another with any respect – and I get that I shouldn’t find it entertaining – I should be offended. Scripted or not – these women are not what we should aspire to be and certainly not an example for our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, or any of the women in our lives. The 80-something woman who asked me just what it was I got from those shows was quite pleased with herself when I had nothing to give her as an answer. And when she asked me why I watched – again – I had nothing – and again – she looked at me with raised eyebrows – I knew she was thinking: “Well then – why are you watching?”

What I also got was the thing that united us this morning was Hillary Clinton. We all had our own reasons for being there – but in the end – it was all about Hillary. Maybe we all see ourselves in her in one way or another; Perhaps we’ve been betrayed by a man that we love, or betrayed by a woman we thought was a friend with the man that we love, or maybe we are ridiculed by the men in our lives for trying to be strong and independent thinkers, maybe it’s waiting for the birth of your first grandchild – and maybe – just maybe – we simply aspire to make the world a better place by living our best life.  A life of service – a life of choice, a life of caring for one another.  Perhaps these things are some of what we see in Hillary Clinton.

So – Thank you Hillary – for leading the way – for showing women what we can be – what we should be – what we will be. And thank you to all the strong, loving, caring, powerful women who shared those 4 hours in line with me on Girard Ave in La Jolla, CA this morning.  It was inspirational – to say the least…

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Any of you ever struggled with an addiction?  Tobacco, alcohol, pills, food, sex, drugs, caffeine, sugar?

Any of you know anyone who has struggled with an addiction?

If your answer is yes, then you should understand how addiction affects families, friends, and friends of friends. It’s far-reaching and the damage slides down the hill quickly and lasts a very long time.

You should also know that stopping the addiction is not as simple as saying:  “just stop doing it.” It’s so not that simple. So not that simple.

Any of you ever been abused? Sexually, emotionally, physically, verbally, financially, mentally?

Any of you know anyone who has been abused?

If your answer to either or both of those questions is yes – then you should understand the struggle – the fear – the shame – the damage.

You should also know that there is no time limit on how long one will struggle and to tell someone to: “just get over it” and “move on” is so not the answer.

I don’t understand the level of ignorance and hate that have come along with Dylan Farrow and her letter about Woody Allen and the drug induced death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

I don’t understand the lack of thought process that goes into the people who have written comments and blogs calling these two people any name they can think of.

Dylan Farrow is a human being trying her best to live in a world that has treated her unkindly and a man who abused her on many levels – and continues to abuse her on many levels. If you have been abused – you understand and you would never comment. If you haven’t been abused – then quite honestly you have no right to judge her or speak ill of her.  None of us really have that right for none of us know what happened when she was 7 – or what is happening now.  Woody Allen isn’t beyond reproach – not then – and not now. 

Phillip Seymour Hoffman died of a drug overdose.  The demons in his head won the battle – and Phillip Seymour Hoffman lost his life.  If you’ve ever been addicted to anything – you know of what I’m speaking of when I speak of the demons and you probably would not make any comments. You are probably sitting quietly nodding your head in mournful understanding thanking whoever and whatever you believe in that it wasn’t you dead in that bathroom with the syringe in your arm – or a bottle in your hand – or pills – or whatever…

For those of you who are perfect and have no vices and have lived a life that has not involved a struggle of any sort – I ask you to have compassion and understanding.  Practice the whole “cast the first stone” thing and when you have the desire to write or comment on anything – do so with kindness.  You don’t know how or why a person is where they are in their life. You don’t know their journey – you don’t know what they have been through.

We don’t practice enough kindness. We like to cast those stones and throw those comments and blast the lives of people we don’t even know. 

Look in the mirror and then decide whether or not you really should speak.

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I’m sorry, I don’t understand all the fuss about Jodie Foster and her alleged “coming out” at the Golden Globes last evening. Gay writers and bloggers are angry that she didn’t come out 15 – 20 years ago; she could have done so much for the gay community, blah, blah, blah…

I don’t understand this whole philosophy that exists by some in the gay community that doesn’t tolerate any sort of weakness when it comes to gay celebrity.  This whole thing that says if you’re gay, and you’re any sort of celebrity, or have any sort of power, it’s your responsibility to pave the way for every other gay person in the world.

I don’t believe its Jodie Foster’s responsibility to make my life easier. I don’t believe it should be the job of any celebrity to make my life easier. Their job is to make me laugh or cry – you know – entertain me. What they do when they go home is absolutely none of my business.

Every gay person has a coming out story. It’s private, it’s personal, and it’s not to be judged by anyone. How can any one person judge the journey of another human being without sounding snide and just a wee-bit arrogant?

There was no way I could have ever come out before I did at the age of 50. I don’t believe that makes me a coward – I just believe it was my life, my circumstances, my choices. I knew the moment I made the decision that my life would most surely change, people would judge me, and I would never again look at the world through the same eyes. It’s scary, and it’s probably the loneliest I have ever felt in my life.

It’s not as easy as just saying I’m gay. Once you say it – your life changes. The way people look at you – changes, the way people speak to you – changes, the way people treat you – changes, basically – everything changes. You instantly become one of the “other,” one of the freaks, one of the queers, one of the “those kind of people.” I can understand the years it may take to have the courage and the strength to face all of that.

Even after one makes the life-changing choice to “come out” we all don’t want to stand on a soap box and preach, or shove our gayness into the faces of the non-believers. Some of us just want to live a life of truth – our own truth. Some just want to live a quiet life of dignity and respect filled with the love of friends and family who know who they are and love them unconditionally. Those who choose the road of privacy deserve the same respect as those who choose the road of activism.

For in the end, isn’t everyone who has made the choice to come out made their own statement to the world?  Haven’t they changed the world just a little by speaking their truth?  We should celebrate Jodie Foster and her courage, just as we should celebrate each and every gay person who has the courage to say: Hey world – This is who I am…

Now go and hug on each other…

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I think that one of life’s hardest lessons is realizing that someone is not at all what you believed them to be.  All of us create these idealistic images in our heads and our hearts about people without really knowing who they are. I understand now that I’m looking 60 right in the eyes how unrealistic that is because people, no matter who they are, will never, ever live up to that image we have in our heads and our hearts.

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania where Penn State was the only college football team that was talked about.  I was married to a man who couldn’t watch Penn State football games because he was so invested in the outcome – he also called Joe Paterno, “God.”  I always teased him about that, still, there was this thing in the back of my mind that thought; “God? Really?” I mean, I loved Penn State Football; I just never jumped on the Joe Paterno train. It was the team I loved to follow and the University, not the man.

Joe Paterno was only human, and as much as his fans made him out to be God-like, the man was of this earth and most certainly not a saint.  He allowed the media to perpetuate this image of himself as the tough but loving coach who cared about his team. The Coach who taught his team; “success with honor,” and had no names on the jersey’s because we were all about team – team – team.

It appears now that team really was what mattered most to him – at any cost.

Was he a good man, a good Father, a good Coach? Personally, I don’t know any of these things – I didn’t know him, I wasn’t his child, and I never played football for him.

What I do know is this… There is this great quote by Edmund Burke that goes: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  Evil triumphed here, big time, and Joe Paterno did nothing to stop the raping of young boys by his friend. You can decide for yourself how good of a man he was.

For those who say he’s dead, why does this matter, let him rest in peace – I say; how can it not matter? And should he really be resting in peace? Really?

Joe Paterno was arguably the most powerful man on the campus of Penn State University. He had the power to stop his friend, Jerry Sandusky from raping young boys, and he chose to instead protect his reputation and the reputation of Penn State Football. No matter how one tries to reason this out in their mind, it’s just wrong. On every level possible, it’s just wrong.

Joe Paterno is no longer on the top of the all-time win list; he’s now 12th on the list, which is as it should be. For to believe Joe Paterno is a winner, on any level, is just wrong.  We need to educate everyone on the matters of child rape, we need to make sure Jerry Sandusky never sees the light of day; and we need to let Penn State move on and see what kind of University they can be without the power and influence of Joe Paterno.

I’m not saying that Joe Paterno is the only one to blame here –Everyone one who was fired deserved to be fired, anyone involved needs to pay the price for the rape of these children. However there is proof that JoePa persuaded the President on the University not to report his friend, Jerry Sandusky to state authorities.  Thanks to Joe Paterno’s persuasion, the University simply warned Sandusky not to bring the children on campus. So, to be clear, JoePa knew the children were being raped by his friend, and instead of turning him in, he simply asked him to rape them any place other than the campus of Penn State.  Who does that?

As for Joe Paterno’s family…  Sadly, like millions of us have had to do – they need to grieve the loss of their loved one, and they need to come to terms with the fact that the man they knew had faults and made grave mistakes that impacted lives beyond what they could ever fathom. Don’t try and change what the truth is – it just is what it is.  Find the good, accept the bad, and move on as best you can.

I’ll still be paying extra on my Time Warner Cable account here in San Diego, CA to watch Penn State play every game this season.  I love my Blue and White because no matter what…

WE ARE…  PENN STATE…

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I wasn’t going to jump into the free-speech, don’t heckle the comic telling rape jokes fray, however, I find myself reading articles, shaking my head thinking: Is this what we’ve become; A funny rape joke society?

Honestly, I’ve never even heard of Daniel Tosh.  Never seen him, never heard him, didn’t even know he existed.  Now that I have heard of him, I still have no desire to see him or listen to him.  I don’t believe he should be censored, although I do believe that perhaps attending a group meeting with women who have been raped should be in order for him, just so he might understand his ignorance when it comes to women and rape.

I’m not a fan of rape jokes; I think it’s sick on any number of levels.  I suppose what bothers me the most is that his rape jokes are only about women.  I mean if rape is funny, let’s tell jokes about men being raped, and little boys and little girls.  Let’s leave no one out of the loop here.  Cover the entire rape spectrum.  Men, women, boys, girls, and babies – I’m sure there has to be some sort of joke in raping a baby!

Yes, I agree with the if you don’t like his type of humor, just get up and leave, however… what of the man sitting in the audience who might have had too much to drink and believes that yes, rape is funny and decides to see just how funny it is up close and personal? What then? Do we not place any blame on Daniel Tosh and his laissez fare attitude about women and rape when this man goes and rapes the first woman or child or baby he sees? Is he not accountable for anything he says? Is this really what free speech means?

With any freedom comes responsibility and accountability.  You have the right to express your opinion without any governmental interference as long as you follow the laws and you don’t incite violence.   Raping someone is all about violence. It’s not about sex or a woman asking for it or dressing for it or whatever other lame-ass joke is told.

Tell your rape jokes is you must.  Just remember that we need to hear some side-splitting men raping men jokes.   And how does that one go about the rapist and the baby?

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I spent the day yesterday walking the wonder that is the Las Vegas Strip.  There is this debauchery that just sort of hangs in the air here.  It was 111 degrees, and still people were walking from casino to casino, drink in hand totally oblivious to the heat.  Elvis was on the strip trying to make a few bucks by offering himself up for pictures, and there’s always the opportunity to see ladies and men in various stages of undress, anywhere you look.  It gives me a little glimpse into the world of fashion that I’d never even dream of wearing!

Inside the casinos offers you another glimpse into this debauchery of which I speak.  The craps tables were filled and the dice were being kissed and thrown, the blackjack players were throwing their chips on the pile, the Roulette wheel was spinning while chips were being placed on red and black numbers, and those slot machines were singing everything from The Theme from The Addams Family to Wheel of Fortune. Inside some of these casinos your sensory level is simply on overload from the moment you walk in the door.

Then there is the whole food thing…  If you can’t find it on the Las Vegas Strip, it simply doesn’t exist on the culinary scale of food that matters.  From the very expensive to the very cheap, it’s all here. The French pastries in the little shops at the Paris Hotel and Casino are my personal favorites, but that’s just me. I get a pastry, a nice cup of French coffee, and I sit in the little café and watch the world go by – literally.

Please don’t take what I’m saying as some sort of judgment on Las Vegas.   I am one of those people who happen to love Las Vegas.  I love the debauchery; it fascinates the hell out of me. In some sort of sick way, I fit in here. Absolutely no one cares that I’m gay or overweight or a liberal.  Those things are not even on the scale of things that matter in Las Vegas.  I like that, I feel at home here.

I know the image of Las Vegas is drinking and gambling of which I do very little of either.  I usually have one drink while I’m throwing maybe $40.00 at the slot machines, so I certainly don’t love to come here for either of those things.

I love to come here because there are things to see here that one can’t see anywhere else in the country.  I mean really, where else can you climb the Eiffel Tower, see original Picasso’s, visit a Botanical Gardens that is more beautiful that you could ever imagine, take a ride in a gondola, see a water show, watch a volcano erupt, ride a rollercoaster on the outside of a skyscraper, go to a mid-evil jousting match, and visit the statue of liberty – all in a 4 mile radius?  Come-on, what could be more American?

I don’t think I could live here, it is way too hot in the summer, and my senses need a rest from all the debauchery! I also believe if I saw it all the time, the wonder of it all would rub off. Kind of like seeing the man behind the curtain! (From the Wizard of Oz for those of you who might not know…)

I’ll be back in November though, for my 60th Birthday.  I’m going zip-lining over Fremont Street in old Las Vegas!

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