World War Me

World War Me

The other day I watched a movie entitled War World Z  with Brad Pitt. The Zombies ran rampant across the earth biting into their victims with an excitement I’ve not seen since the annual shoe sale at Saks.

So as I became engaged in Pitt’s battle to save humanity, I wondered why there was no hero to come and rescue me and other women from the war we fight daily with our own bodies.

I know there has been much written about what it’s like to be a woman and those sneaky, evil little hormones that rule us like Kim Jong Un over North Korea, but not much is mentioned about the war we fight with our metabolisms.

Yes, I said it and anyone with XX chromosomes understands me.

Nothing is more frustrating to a woman than to be on a diet for weeks and shed a pound or two at most.

Then upset and defeated we visit the doctor who takes the usual tests and announces there are no unusual suspects.

In other words your metabolism is normal.

Normal for what, an elephant?

I have a friend who has the most honest doctor on the planet and I know this because he actually told her that her metabolism is now merely a corpse.

If it’s true God created woman to correct the mistakes he made on men, could he have not improved and sped up our metabolisms?

How many times have we heard that men lose weight faster than women?

Hello, wasn’t it enough God gave us labor pains. Did he have to give them faster weight loss too?

I’m not speaking as a feminist here; I’m speaking as a pissed-off female who is sick of getting on the scale and hearing my midriff laughing inside of me?

No scale has ever been kind to women, it is misogamy personified. It teases, ridicules and upsets you to no end and then we have to be content with that old lie, you didn’t gain weight it’s just water.


I’ve carried around enough water to fill the northern Atlantic and I’m sick of homeless fish looking at me like their ready to pitch a tent in one of my boobs.

Hello! Weight is weight and no matter how anyone spins it water weight makes your clothes just as tight as fat weight.

Have you ever dieted until you’re blue in the face and crossed over a plateau into a lower number? Then the next day you’re back up again and we’re supposed to be happy it’s just water weight? What am I the female version of a Gladiator?

Who invented this cruel game Pontus Pilate?

The sad thing is usually wars end, but not the war on weight.

Once the fat cells invade your body they stay forever. They build condominiums in your thighs and love to swing inside the flab on your upper arms. Oh sure occasionally they go into hiding, waiting in the brush like little gorilla fighters for that water weight to creep up again. Then they fill themselves up and grow to a new glorious size until your jeans are digging into your waist like a monkey into a cupcake.

The diet war cannot be won, only perhaps an occasional battle.

I love those ads you see on your phone, lose forty pounds in two weeks and all you need to do is eat a gummy bear before you go to bed. I’ve eaten lots of gummy bears and I can testify that doesn’t work.

Not even a dead person can lose that much weight in so short a time and if you do better call a damn ambulance.

The easiest mark in the world is a fat person. There have been more diets and diet schemes perpetrated on this planet than cocaine at a Hollywood party.

So what can someone who loves food do, although it’s their worst enemy, like a woman who stays with a man who abusers her?

It’s not chocolate’s fault it’s mine. I’m the one who instigated the binge don’t blame the chocolate eggs. The Cadbury bunny made me do it.

If you’re expecting some great secret or never before unveiled piece of diet wisdom from this soldier it ain’t gonna happen.

I’ve climbed the ranks to become a general in the war against fat in my own body and I haven’t earned a single medal. Lord knows I have the chest to pin one on.

No one goes on one diet, loses weight and stays thin forever. If that person exists I’d like to meet and sic a pack of rabid dogs on them.

Every soldier in the battle of the bulge has been on every diet. 

And as sure as the sun comes up in the morning it will bring with it a new diet craze.

I’ve taken pills, drank drinks, eaten only three small puddings a day, counted calories, carbs, fats until I counted myself going nuts.

There are fasts, fen fen, now some new one that’s actually for diabetes but has a secondary effect of weight loss, which of course ends when you stop the pill.

I’ve saladed, starved and Mediterranean dieted until I couldn’t look at another teaspoon of olive oil. I’ve Atkins, ketoed and stuffed myself with laxatives because I couldn’t handle the idea of bulimia.

If exercise was really the key to weight loss I’d be thin from jumping on and off the scale fifty times a day.

I imagine I’m a bad general and not just because I have to keep letting out my uniform.

Sun Tzu said, “If your enemy is secure at all points be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.” I am convinced Sun Tzu could not win a battle against my fat cells.

I can’t beat them because they are tougher than the line of bull that emanates from a politician’s mouth and I certainly can’t evade them since they are bulging over my belt.

So what’s a female general to do to win this war?

Many have said to make peace with your body. In other words just accept that you’ll never be thin and be grateful fat is “in” right now. As Ben Franklin said, “there is no such thing as a good war or a bad peace.”

So Ben since peace is good, please pass me that piece of chocolate cake. 

How a Sorting Hat Could Manage Painful Memories

How a Sorting Hat Could Manage Painful Memories 

The other day a friend was amazed by my memory. She couldn’t get over how I remembered so many things from so many years ago. I realized long ago my mind was merely a clearinghouse for trivia and useless information, but I’ve found a way to appreciate having a sense of recall, although at a much slower pace now. As I like to say my computer takes longer to reboot.

However more and more of late I’ve questioned whether or not a good memory is a positive or negative feature. Is it good to be able to remember so many facts and figures and replay old memories at a moment’s notice? Especially when lately I can’t remember what I walked in the room to get from one second to another?

I think any Harry Potter fan is aware of that magical wonder called the sorting hat. It was used when one enters Hogwarts to determine in which house the student will reside. So if the sorting hat is so smart maybe it can help me with my memories.

When someone reaches the “golden years,” (that phrase always cracks me up) there are certainly far too many memories to recall. Some we try to call upon and others seem to flash into our minds with no warning, like a bird into an airplane engine. With I’m afraid the same unfortunate result.

I need the sorting hat to ensure the unwanted memories don’t slip through the cracks and attack what was otherwise a pleasant day. 

With the help of the sorting hat the remembrances we would not elect to keep could be sent off to a special part of our brain to remain stored away.

Lately I’ve become acquainted with a new term, grief dreams. They are the strange dreams we have after a loss of someone close. I thought I was losing my mind when I awakened every morning thinking what was that about until I learned a close friend who’s recently also lost her sibling was also experiencing them.

We have no control over what we dream so while sleeping and faced with vivid dreams about our loved ones we cannot stop any painful results. Yet when we’re awake I’d hope we’d be able to restrain our thoughts. But as usual when believing I have some power over my life, I was wrong.

Wasn’t it Hamlet who famously said, “for in that sleep of death what dreams may come must give us pause.”

Well I’d like to pause these recollections from invading my space.

Anyone who has ever known me will tell you I’ve always believed humor was a cure for all ills. Now at this age I see how wrong I was. There are some circumstances where a laugh is not up to the task and loss is one of these times. 

Memories have a mind of their own. They must populate a place in our brain where there are no fences or door with locks. This makes them capable of rushing out to play whenever they wish. 

A sorting hat would put a lid on their freedom. A childhood memory of my brother and I with my grandfather could not simply attack me while I’m driving in the car and singing along with my favorite song. Or when I’m in the shower rinsing the shampoo from my hair and suddenly there’s a memory coming at me full force and I’m sobbing instead of making my grocery list.

I believe it’s difficult when one loses your parents and becomes no one’s child any longer. 
Now I have lost the moniker of sister. Yes, I still have one brother, but it doesn’t seem the same. I was a sister to two and now… Why should these labels matter at all actually, especially when we’re older and yet… Does time heal all wounds or is that a fantasy we embrace to pretend the pain will eventually stop?

I know these memories I seem to be castigating are actually a necessary part of our lives and we need them those who are gone nearby. So as painful as it is, I know in the end remembering is a good thing. To recall happy moments is vital even though when a wound is fresh the happy may actually seem painful. 

Friends who have experienced loss say it gets easier with time and eventually thoughts that are now causing pain will bring a smile. I wouldn’t doubt that is true, but right now a sorting hat seems like a very good idea. Perhaps it could choose to let through the ones that might cause the least hurt and save the other memories for when I’m a bit stronger and able to handle them.

Some recollections will always cause a pang of pain.

Whether a cruel remark from a classmate, a break up or even a disappointment the marks of these experiences seem to leave scars. In time we learn to form some type of defense against them, but loss that’s a tough one.

The finality of losing a loved becomes more real as time goes by. And each memory opens the scar again. 

Memories keep someone alive and that’s what we want. It just seems sorrow is a high price to pay.

But would we rather forget? I think not. For in the end we are all well aware of the fact no sorting hat, no forgetfulness can hide the truth…we need to keep the people we love close to us and reminiscences accomplish that. And no hurt or tears could ever be too high a price to pay.

My Closet Myself Hot Pants No Chance

My Closet Myself, Hot Pants No Chance

Most women I know have a problem throwing away clothes they may just perhaps maybe wear again some time in the future. Women who have reached a certain aged understand that what was old is always at some point new again. Oh sure the names may change, but the style usually returns in some form or another.

So, just in case…

In a failed effort to empty my closet recently I came upon the reality that almost half of my clothes are now “In waiting,” in case the styles come back or I fit into them again or I have an occasion ten year from now to wear them.

It was then I realized that I need a psychic to tell me the future of all those unworn clothes.

Could it be any easier?

The psychic could walk through and predict if I’ll wear that leather skirt from 22 years ago I never even had on my body because I gained weight and it became too tight. So it has hung “in waiting” for me to slide it on once more. However my body has changed considerably over the years. What women forget is that as we get older, unless we are at the gym a whole lot, our bodies become less muscular and more flabbyish. 

Not always in a bad way, I’m not saying we get fat, I’m saying that as we lose muscle mass we loosen up. So we can weigh the same as we did twenty years ago but our bodies look and act far differently.

I’m not trying to depress anyone here, but excuse me I need a Hershey kiss before I can continue.

Okay, that’s better. 

So therefore although a skirt or blouse or anything that might have fit at the same weight twenty years ago is now a challenge to fasten.

So that’s where the psychic comes in. They could tell us if we’ll ever wear that skirt again or if it will ever fit us the same. What are the odds? Vegas would love them. Into the charity bag it goes.

A simple and easy way to organize the clothes we may wear again someday but probably won’t.

Although is that always the case?

I’ve noticed to my chagrin that even when a style is repeated years later it is never done quite the same.

There is always that subtle and sometimes not so subtle change that makes it just a bit askew of the latest trend.

Is that on purpose? Do the fashion mavens know that we save our clothes for the future; I think yes.

Like everything else mass produced there is a component of planned obsolescence. Being from Detroit I am well aware every car had a shelf life to ensure repeat customers. So it is also with the fashion industry. Even worse perhaps because they know no woman wants to be seen in outdated shoes, a dress or heaven forbid a skirt the wrong length and style.

Am I saying women are slaves to fashion?

Yes, when you’re young. At my age, who cares?
Now it’s all about comfort. My friends and I have seen the wisdom in a tunic top, elastic waists and oh my Lord, low heeled shoes. Add a big floppy hat and that’s Baby Boomer couture.

My feet hurt just thinking of trying to fit my sore aching arches into Christian Louboutins. OUCH!

Sure we still know how to look stylish for our age, but it’s the “for our age” thing isn’t it?

Would I like to be in my twenties again wearing hot pants? You bet.

Will hot pants ever happen on my body again? Sure, as soon as Bill Clinton stops chasing woman.

So you see no chance at all here.

Women of a certain age, and the only thing certain about the certain age thing is that it certainly means you’re old, understand that we can still look good without the need to be wrapped up like a sausage or pinching our feet like a vice.

So why save all those clothes?

Well, let me tell you why. It’s because I myself and I can’t speak for everyone else, don’t want to believe those hot pants-mini skirted days are really over.

As long as I look into the closet and see my youthful fashions I can still believe I will wear them again one day. I live with the hope my thighs will once again be firm and my flabby arms won’t lift me off the earth in flight when a wind comes along and my fingers will once again show no signs of arthritis.

That the glow of youth will return permanently to my cheeks without the need for a serious dermabrasion treatment.

I am fully aware we can all stave off the ravages of time these days more than ever before. There are skin treatments, plastic surgeries, Botox, creams and lotions that help a great deal. However unless I am willing to go to the gym, lift weights, and spend a lot of time doing something I detest, which is exercise, the hot pants wearing body is gone with the wind.

We can look good at any age, but is trying to squeeze into our old clothes with a new body really a good look?

I’ve tried it and I’m here to tell you no, no, no.

Stuff leaks out over the edges or that waistline seems to be an inch or two shorter than it was and there is nothing fashionable about looking like an Oscar Meyer wiener bursting out of its casing.

I think it would be better if a neutral party came in and went through my closet because these clothes and I have a real history. Clothes carry memories sewn into the fabric and some we never want to forget. Okay some we do, but it doesn’t matter. What we wore when is a part of our memory storage bin and although at this age it’s overflowing, the happy ones aren’t easy to eliminate. Maybe I should take pictures of the special ones as it does take up less room.

It’s like breaking up with a boyfriend you can’t stand to be around, but you just might need a date for a wedding in a year or two from now so you stay in the relationship.

As Journalist and humorist Helen Rowland wrote, 

“A man never knows how to say goodbye; a woman never knows when to say it.”

So to all the now donated clothes in my closet I’ve loved before, goodbye, goodbye parting is such sweet sorrow and I can’t wait to go shopping tomorrow.

Chocolate Pasta With Hot Fudge Sauce

Chocolate Pasta recipe

1 pound of 00 flour

2 cups cocoa powder I’d use 60%

Water as needed

Whisk together water and cocoa flour. Slowly add water to create pasta consistency. You can really cut any pasta shape for this recipe.

Hot Fudge Topping

½ cup whole milk

1 pound of caramels

½ pound of good chocolate

½ pint vanilla ice cream

1-teaspoon vanilla

Add milk and caramels in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir constantly until caramels and milk are incorporated.

Mix in ice cream and vanilla until all combined. Serve over ice cream over the pasta. 

Is this the Rabbit Hole or CNN

Is this the Rabbit Hole or CNN?

“I am Not Crazy; My Reality is Just Different From Yours…” Alice in Wonderland 

To say the world is getting curiouser and curiouser is an understatement of gargantuan proportions.

As a child I was obsessed with certain stories. Oh sure the usuals come to mind, Cinderella, (yep, I bought into that absurdity too) Snow WhiteTreasure Island, etc. etc. However, none seemed to monopolize my attention like two favorites, The Wizard of Oz and especially Alice in Wonderland.

I dreamed of entering the Emerald City and watching the horses of a different color parade by and skipping through a field of poppies with the magnificent Emerald City in the distance, but there was always something about Alice. 

She caught my attention most and when young I thought it was perhaps because of the Cheshire Cat, the epitome of coolness or the Mad Hatter always hurrying to get somewhere, but always late. We never did find out where he was going of course or why he couldn’t find a way to be on time.

Now that I’m older I realize the reason for my obsession with Alice…the psychic in me knew that someday I would live in her world. And now I do.

Or as Alice says, “When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one.”

So many credit Jules Verne or H.G. Wells for their amazing insights and of course they were amazing futurists, but Lewis Carroll never received such accolades.

Carroll not only satirized the absurdity of life, he actually predicted how incredibly far it would go in the future.

And as an American I can only say that the Cheshire Cat’s words hound me constantly…”We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad. You must be or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Talk about calling it like it is!

As I look around at the total absurdity of this country and what is allowed and condoned in the upside down reality our politicians have created, I wonder why it feels so much more Wonderlandesque here in the United States? 

After all isn’t Europe also mad as well? I won’t even go into the Middle East or China except to point out we have surpassed them by miles.

So why does it feel like I am living deep inside of that proverbial rabbit hole and can’t find a way out?

It seems every time I check in on the outside world I am tempted to quote an Alice character and there is one that always suits the moment. Like when Alice said to the mad hatter, I don’t think” and he interrupted her saying, “then you shouldn’t talk.” I wonder why this wisdom is so seldom acted upon today. And why politicians don’t adhere to this sage advice.

According to Alice, “it would be so nice if something made sense for a change.” No duh, I think that every minute lately. But I digress. I was asking why the insanity seems so much greater here in America.

I believe it’s simply because so much more was expected of us.

We always knew China was, well China and madness seemed to suit them. The Middle East has always been chaos personified, but the U.S. we were supposed to be the beacon. We were the guys in the white hats that rode in to save the town, and yes I know I use too many cowboy references but my late brother loved westerns so I must to keep his memory alive.

Now it seems that we have not only caught up with the insanity of the world, we have far surpassed it. I’m a believer in American Exceptionalism, but this is really going too far.

To be great at being crazy is nothing to hang your hat on. We led the world in innovation, invention and let’s not forget the development of the Oreo Cookie. Belgium may make the best chocolate, but America has a theme park with Hershey Kisses for lampposts.

Talk about something of which to be proud.

America fancied itself a place with no limitations, a place where imagination ruled and was supported and admired. Now newscasters publically malign women and spout their stupid and egregious opinions. 

Are we now supposed to support crazy because it’s mainstream? News people, remember the “I don’t think” quote before you speak, please. 

What turned us into Wonderland? 

It’s just too easy to understand the whole Queen of Hearts comparison with Congress, but is that even enough of an excuse for the unending madness of our you-should-excuse-the-expression leaders?

Is the planet now a gigantic rabbit hole we’ve all fallen through?

Did COVID actually create some sort of mass hypnotic state and we don’t even realize we’re in an upside-down world?

In this red, white and blue wonderland, children carry guns and use them, teenage mobs take over the streets attacking innocent passersby, criminals beat and kill victims and receive slaps on the wrist, our enemies run wild with no deterrents and on and on it goes as we fall further and further down the hole at a dizzying pace.

“For if one drinks much from a bottle marked poison, it’s almost certain to disagree with one sooner or later.” Wise words from Alice, yet no one seems to be listening.

I keep waiting for someone to echo the Queen of Hearts and yell “Someone’s head will role for this.” It’s as though Lewis Carroll were writing about today. And yes of course when you’re living in a world in any given time one wonders if it’s all madness. However in these days one need not wonder. It is all madness.

Or is it merely as the Cheshire Cat says, “ I am not crazy; my reality is just different from yours.” Or is it as he tells Alice, “If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there.”

As I look around at the craziness I must wonder, what road are we truly taking and where is it taking us?

It truly amazes me that Lewis Carroll writing so many years ago has hit the nail on the head here when he writes about the current reality in which we all exist.

I think the only way to sum up my life is with a quote from the Cheshire Cat, “how queer everything is today! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning?”

For as the little furry guy also says, “Never let anyone drive you crazy; it is nearby anyway and the walk is good for you.”

Easy Peasey Seafood Pasta Slaw 

1 package Shredded cabbage (may use the pre-shredded packages in grocery store) 

2 cups Rotini pasta cooked  (colored or plain, but I use the colored)

2 cups cooked cut in half Shrimp

2 cups either real or fake crabmeat

Salt and pepper

Add all together and toss with mayo dressing

My mother-in-law’s Mayonnaise dressing

1 cup of mayo

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 heaping tablespoon of sugar (artificial sweeteners may be used here instead, but will have to be sweetened to your particular tastes)

Mix together all and toss into slaw mixture. If you like it with more dressing just double the recipe. You may use any protein you have available.

Add soup or fruit or both and it’s a great meal.

If there are any questions about the recipe or cooking in general I can answer for you, please contact me at my blog at Happy Eating!

How to Lose Your Mind: Just Watch the News

  Hot Off The Can You Believe This One News Service               

If Baby Boomers think the world has gone crazy I’m guessing there’s a good reason. The news today is so out there I found it difficult to top the actual regular occurrences one sees in and on the news nowadays.

But I tried so if I’m not that far off from reality it’s because my imagination isn’t even as crazy as our planet anymore. And that’s really saying something!

After watching the news today and learning that Budweiser Beer is now being marketed by a transwoman, I just knew it would be impossible to top that one.

Have the heads of Budweiser been drinking beer laced with LSD? Hello, who do the fools there think is drinking that swill?  Guess what, it’s working guys who watch football, construction workers who yell “hey chicky chicky” to passing women and WWE fans, that’s who. Not the Ru Paul’s Drag Race crowd. And yes I do love that show.

I believe the news also reported guys were pouring their Buds down the toilets and shooting guns at cans of beer. You know they must be mad when they waste a brew. This isn’t about transgender or woke folks; it’s about knowing your customer. Somebody hired the wrong marketing person and it’s going to be wild when Budweiser wakes up and sees the money they’ve lost, and sadly their shareholders as well.

If Budweiser ‘s competition is smart they’ll drag Clint Eastwood out of retirement to hawk their brew. Too bad they can’t dig up John Wayne.

Aside from corporate blunders and shall I even mention the new Coke debacle, I began thinking about all the crazy things you hear on the news and how people must react to them and I tried to top what I heard with my own breaking newswire.

It wasn’t easy, but I love a challenge.

Here’s a breaking news story from the Norma Zager news of the insane news service…

Cows Ask: Where is the Real Stench Coming From?

Elsie and Elmer Borden, America’s spokes cows gave an exclusive interview today in Dairyland Magazine and stated their profound shock at the new Green Deal proposal.

“Mitigate my farts and burps,” Elmer cried. “I have been flatulating and burping in these fields for fifty years and no one is going to tell me when I can pass gas. This is a free country and gas mitigation is outlawed in our constitution.

Wife Elsie was less adamant the controversial proposal would be unwelcome.

“It might be nice to smell some fresh air for a change,” she said. “I just wish Elmer could see his way to mitigate on a voluntary basis. I am not in favor of passing laws to govern bodily functions.”

The Cows Against Insanity or CAI released a statement in reaction to the proposal. “We have always believed a cow’s bodily functions are their own business and cannot abide this new initiative. We will take it to the Supreme Court if we must to protect the integrity of a cow’s right to expel their methane.”

Members of CAI organized a stink in on the grounds of the state’s largest dairy farm, but cameramen had trouble getting close enough to photograph or interview anyone because of the noxious odor and methane gases.

A CAI spokesman in a gas mask read a prepared statement vowing to never back down or allow cows to get backed up from such a legislative effort and said they have already raised enough to battle this in court for years.

The ninth circuit court in California heard an urgent flatulence ban request from the Green Movement seeking an immediate injunction against the cows and CAI. The court issued a decision against gas emitting rights stating, “Cow flatulence is not a right noted in the U.S. constitution and the good of the Green Movement trumps a cow’s colon expulsions.”

CAI immediately issued an appeal and threatened a strike against McDonalds, Burger King and White Castle.

Cluck USA, the chicken’s union has offered to march in support of the cows and will begin with a sit-in in front of all the Chick-Fil-A restaurants in Manhattan.

“What’s next?” Chicken Little president of Cluck USA asked. “Telling us when we can lay or not lay? We have to stop this oppression now.” She also called on other farm animal groups to join in the strike.

However, Turkey Lurkey III was hesitant to enlist the turkey union’s support.

“We have tried in vain to get CAI and Cluck USA to march with us before Thanksgiving to stop turkey oppression, now the fart is on the other foot. We cannot in good conscience ask our members to support their cause.”

Chicken Little called Turkey Lurkey a crybaby claiming chickens are on the menu every day of the year.

“Too bad for turkeys who find themselves in hot gravy once a year. This is bigger than our petty differences. This goes to the heart of an animal’s right to pass gas, to burp and to live as they wish and be responsible for their own digestive systems. We are taking this very seriously and no plucking way will we back down.”

Numerous sit-ins and gas-ins are planned over the next few weeks as an appeal is filed with the Supreme Court.

McDonalds and Burger King could not be reached for comment, but a Chick-Fil-A spokesman issued a short statement of support.

“All God’s creatures have rights and a cow’s expulsions are no one else’s business. A cow’s flatulence is between him and his God.”

Elmer the Cow was more heated in his response. “I dare the members of Congress that concocted this craziness to come down here themselves and actually smell how much this proposal stinks. Our gasses can’t compare with the stench coming from Congress, and I say, deodorize your own house first, lawmakers. Americans have endured the stink from your bull crap for far too many years.”

Congress was unavailable for comment while their offices were being fumigated from their own noxious stenches.

Another breaking news story from Norma’s can you believe this one newswire…

President Joe Biden to miss King Charles III Coronation.

Joe Biden will sit out the King of England’s coronation choosing instead to attend the opening of a new 31 Flavors ice cream shop in the nation’s capital. Biden who has been asked to throw out the first scoop explained his decision to a passing child.

“Hey Man, nothing comes between me and my Calvins or is that chocolate chips. Jill where’s Jill? Which way is the ice cream?”

Buckingham Palace could not be reached for comment.

        And finally hot off the presses this week…

Angry Baby Boomers March on Washington

Baby Boomers marched on Washington this week sporting Dick Clark masks chanting, “Give us back our country and our sanity.” Speakers called for an end to social influencers, Cancel Culture and Gluten-free bread while others burned their Spanx in front of the capital building.

The march was in response to a Baby Boomer at the DMV responding to the question of her sex with a resounding, I’m a woman. She was pounced upon by an angry crowd who shouted insults and called her binary phobic.

Recent studies have shown that anger levels of Baby Boomers about the country’s craziness are climbing to dangerous levels and one man was dragged away screaming, “I don’t want to be woke, I’m retired and can sleep in now. I never had to lock my door; who ever knew from it? Clarabelle for President! If Elmer the Cow can’t even fart now they’ll for sure put smelly old Uncle Sol in jail.”

Marchers wore t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan, “Old Farts Lives Matter” and Bob Dylan led the crowd in a heartfelt rendition of The Times they are a-Changin’.

Protesters carried signs reading, “Give us back our Howdy Doody,” and played Elvis Presley and Motown music over a loud speaker.

The group spokesman said a bigger turnout was planned, but many couldn’t remember the location. He said another rally is planned for next week, if they don’t forget.


Two sheets of puff pastry

3 ½ cups mashed potatoes

1 ½ cups peas fresh or frozen

2-cups ground beef

Sauté beef and season with salt and pepper.

Add peas and beef to mashed potatoes

Spread evenly on puff pastry sheets

Roll sheet over fully once seal it and cut slices. Then roll over again and cut and repeat until all cut.

Place in well-buttered muffin tins and brush with egg wash.

Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes until puff pastry is cooked or according to puff pastry box instructions and your oven. It makes a lot of snoozles.

How to Avoid Failure

Should We Ever Be Afraid to Fail?

I’ve often been asked how I’ve managed to leap into so many interesting adventures?

Of course crazy does come to mind and strangely enough there is also that archaic belief floating about that opines, “Jack of all Trades Master of None.” Perhaps when one’s lifespan was thirty years old that may have been the case, but I must disagree human beings are only capable of excelling in one profession, skill or area of their lives.

About to embark on that tenuous journey into the land of pitching a new book to publishers, I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to rejection and its impact on our lives and careers.

Always aware of my desire to become a writer I penned my first short story at around the age of eight. A science fiction tome about space travel, which makes sense since Flash Gordon was a particular passion. Many years later my first book was a science fiction-fantasy-comedy-murder mystery (is that even a thing?) that convinced all my friends I was indeed far crazier than they’d even imagined.

My sanity aside, the point is this, how can one be a writer without living, experiencing and failing?

Oh, of course the old adage write what you know is still very relevant, however this may work for some writers, but for many varied life experience contributes volumes of information to their skills.

I didn’t set out in life to be so ADD in my professional choices, so how did I end up going from journalist to comedy writer to stand-up comic to bakery owner to newspaper editor to cooking show host to radio talk show host to college professor, NBC’s Baking It cooking show judge and back to writer?

I can only sum it up in one word…risk. And how do I count these adventures as successes or failures?

Was I afraid to fail at any of these or other endeavors? Yes and No actually is all I can answer. 

Many expound the theory failure is not an option when speaking about how to achieve success, and mindset is indeed a critical component. Yet is it the only one that propels us forward?

I truly believe that failure is an option and it’s not to be feared, but embraced as a life lesson necessary for many to achieve success.

We learn far more from our failures than our successes. This is universally agreed upon and yet so many fear failure and employ it as a valid excuse for failing to try.

Perhaps it is the path I have chosen that leads me to such conclusions. Any career in the arts is fraught with rejection. 

What constitutes a magnificent painting, a funny joke, great writing, or an incredible opus?

Are there those who would balk at George Gershwin, stand aloof before a Picasso or sit dumbfounded and silent watching Robin Williams perform?

Of course there would be, which explains why so many great artists are maligned and ignored during their own lifetimes.

Taste is relative to life experience and since we all share different histories our penchant for art, music or literature will naturally vary.

However there are certain universal truths. What makes Picasso stand out from other artists who have been passed over despite obvious talents?

What makes a Scott Fitzgerald or Lady GaGa a star?

Man has sought the formula for success since art became a commodity to be bought and sold like pashminas in an Indian street market. 

How many sales constitute gifted? Did our ancestors drawing on cave walls consider themselves the Picassos of the prehistoric world?

Should art be measured by volume of sales or prices and be discounted if it boasts only ten fans? 

Doesn’t the mere appreciation of any creation by even one person signify its success as a vehicle to inspire?

Does an artist ever fail when the very action of realization is in itself success?

For then we must ask ourselves at what point does an artist achieve greatness? Is it when one critic gives thumbs up to a symphony? When a gallery displays a new sculpture or when a publisher buys a book?

Failure encompasses all areas of life so why do we fear it so much we fail to achieve what gifts we possess?

The stigma of failure is debilitating to so many yet the act of creation is joyous. There seems to be a paradox afoot.

I can’t be certain why some fall short while others with lesser talents succeed, no one can.

Is it persistence, luck, karma, talent, no one seems to know for sure although many will claim they have the absolute answer to that question.

I suggest that there is no failure and the act of doing is successful despite the outcome.

If a lesson was learned, or a feeling of achievement seeps inside one’s soul, or the sheer joy or accomplishment of a goal or dream, there can be no failure.

Many believe that the only failure lies in not trying at all and I must concur.

Success is no guarantee of happiness and yet if missing the mark brings us closer to achieving our goals, it remains a positive outcome.

I say try and try and try again until you have achieved what you seek to create and enjoy the moments spent in the effort.

Life speeds by and the only way to get where we want to go is to keep moving so jump on that train and ride it until the end. 

No one is ever a failure that has attempted to succeed and no one has the right to nullify anyone’s efforts, no matter the outcome. Doing something you love is a blessing and a joy. To avoid those moments in a lifetime because of a fear of being judged by others would be truly the greatest failure.

Easy Keto Style Chicken Magenta

Four chicken thighs 

4 Thick slices of Swiss Cheese

2 Cups of Heavy Whipping Cream

2 cups chopped mushrooms

1 egg with ¼ cup of water added

2 cups of Almond Flour

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp chopped parsley for garnish is optional

Season the almond flour with salt and pepper. Pound thighs flatter then dip in almond flour, pat well to get excess off and dip in egg mixture then back in almond flour. Add butter and oil to frying pan and heat. Add chicken pieces and fry until cooked on both sides. Remove chicken and add mushrooms and sauté, then add cream and season with a little salt and pepper and nutmeg. Cook down cream until it thickens. Add chicken back in and cook until done in cream sauce. When the chicken is done add a slice of cheese to the top of each piece and place pan under the broiler until cheese is browning and bubbling.

Serve and enjoy.

Hello, Where Did the Fun Go?

Hello, where did the fun go?

Has anyone seen the fun lately?

Whatever radar allowed me to seek and discover fun is now gone or may I say sorely lacking.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself but I’ve noticed more and more that parties, get-togethers and all around good times seem to have disappeared from the planet.

Oh some might say it’s the fault of that evil COVID monster and I’m certain that played a large part, but people seem so conditioned now to just staying at home and well, just being.

Are we all a bunch of Ghandis now? Meditating over what to watch on Netflix? You can’t have a conversation anymore without a friend asking if you’ve seen this or that movie or series on a streaming channel.

Ohm, British Baking Show…Namaste

I can’t believe how many friends have told me in the last few weeks they are very content never leaving the house.

Eerily, it seems it’s all come to pass.

Many years ago Trend Queen, Faith Popcorn who publishes the Popcorn Report focusing on future trends predicted all this.

How did she know?

She wrote that in the future, and that was over twenty-five years ago, people would adopt cocooning as a lifestyle.

Choosing to stay at home and building home media centers and larger kitchens and be more into eating at home. How did she know?

So if she predicted this so long ago is she psychic? Did she know a pandemic was on the horizon?

Was she in the Chinese lab or something?

I doubt that since she’s still alive, but she called it nevertheless.

It seems that no matter where I look, everyone is in a hurry to rush home and cocoon. I know staying in lockdown has changed the human dynamic a great deal, but have we all forgotten what it felt like to just see and interact with others?

During the pandemic most people had their own POD. Family members or friends they felt safe interacting with they saw regularly to keep from completely losing their minds, but now that everyone can go, the get up seems to have gone.

I can’t speak of course for young people who started the decline into oblivion pre-COVID when they chose social media interactions over human ones.

If you want to interact with a young person today you better know how to text.

Even I’ve noticed the preferred way to communicate now is by texting. So many of my friends now text to ask a question, where once it would have been a reason to initiate pleasant phone conversation.

It seems lock down has led to lock jaw.

I understand that sometimes it’s time efficient to text a question to someone, but you can’t gage the tone of a friend’s voice from a text. And no, emojis don’t work the same.

Most people my age can instantly discern from the first hello of a friend whether or not something is going on, bad or good.

Many times hearing a friend’s voice can lead one to probe a bit further and suddenly there is a conversation that was desperately needed to help out with a problem or issue. How can friends be there for one another if they don’t have a clue about the situation?

Perhaps someone should create emojis that hone in on any issue.

Like hands sticking a knife in a heart to signify, “hey I’m on the verge of a collapse here.”

Or perhaps someone tearing one’s hair out to connote a divorce is imminent.

I definitely think there should be one with a crying refrigerator designating difficulty staying on one’s diet.

And of course the hangman’s noose to say, “help, I want to kill my husband.”

A fat belly with a happy face to connote your having a new grandchild or flowers on a grave that says, “call me, I visited a loved one at the cemetery today and I’m a mess.”

Or a woman swallowing an ocean that screams loud and clear, “I’m too bloated to live.”

These are all things we once said to a friend over the phone and talking about it helped the pain or multiplied the joy or whatever someone needed at that moment. Now suddenly we have all retreated into ourselves and a phone conversation seems like too much work.

Sadly, many times we don’t even realize how desperately we need that conversation until we actually hear a friend’s voice.

Emojis can’t talk. They can’t sympathize, empathize or boost someone, or help a friend sort through what is bringing them down so you can lift them up.

Birds stay in their nests, but they sing to communicate and the song is beautiful.

I fully understand that in some strange way the lockdown showed us we can do well on our own, with help of course from Amazon. Yet I’m not certain that silence is all that golden and may be a bit overrated.

Humans need one another or God wouldn’t have given us voices. Oh sure at times the sound of a voice is the last thing you want to hear, but it’s truly what keeps the lines of communication alive and creates a closeness a text could never achieve.

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say when we leave this party called life we will hear silence for a very long time.

I’m not so sure I care to rush the situation.

Sure it’s fun to watch a good movie and down some popcorn with your feet up in front of your own giant flat screen, but it’s also fun to go out to dinner, lunch, or shop with friends. Parties can be fun and sharing a concert or a play together is great even if it’s not so good. At least you have someone to bitch about it with on the way home.

The lock down is over but are we still prisoners of its consequences? Do we need to remember what life was like when we actually talked and socialized with one another? Netflix is no substitute for the smile or voice of a friend so call someone you haven’t talked to in a while and reestablish the lines of communication in the way they were designed. Otherwise Alexander Graham Bell wasted his life and that would be a shame.

Rustic Onion Galette

6 medium onions sliced

¼ cup of sliced leeks

1½ cups of heavy cream

1 small package (4 oz.) cream cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

½ tea thyme

Pastry large enough for a tart shell puff or regular

½ stick of butter

Olive oil

Add olive oil and butter to frying pan and heat

Add onions, leeks and seasonings and sauté on medium heat until onions are just turning brown and beginning to caramelize. Add cream cheese and cream and continue cooking until cream reduces a little and cream cheese melts through well. Taste and add seasoning if necessary. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in microwave and add 1 tablespoon of flour. Mix together and add to cream mixture until thickened.

When done place on pastry and fold sides up leaving a small opening at the top. There is no wrong way to fold a galette just as long as all the sides are folded around the filling. It’s a perfect recipe to be creative. Place it in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until pastry is cooked.

You may also use this recipe for tiny tarts for hors d’oeuvres or add mushrooms to onion sauté and extra half and half or milk and make a delicious soup. Also great with some goat cheese or Gruyere sprinkled on top when warm.

My Body is Like Driving an Old Ford

 My Body is Like Driving an Old Ford

Ford Motor Company has always bragged, “We build our cars, Ford tough.”

Although I’d like to think that’s the case I must ponder the phrase Ford tough’s true meaning. Sure if you’re a truck or SUV, but what if you need body work of another kind?

I’ve suddenly turned into an old Ford needing increased maintenance and new parts every time I turn around.

Where one might think it economical to drive an older car, especially with car prices today, replacing every part has become quite a hassle and quite expensive.

It seems every time I fix something on my body, something else breaks.

Don’t even start me on the whole look of the paint job. Even Earl Scheib couldn’t replace the showroom new shine on my face.

You replace a flat tire and bang the brakes go. You put in a new transmission and boom the ignition breaks.

No different with this old tired body here.

You replace a knee and bang the hip goes.

You inject the Botox and boom the neck falls four feet.

The maintenance is constant.

I wonder if there’s enough duct tape to hold up all the parts of my body that have just thrown up their hands and said, “screw it, gravity you win.”

Aging is no fun and although most of us admit we still feel young inside, an old Ford can never look as good as a new Mustang leaving the showroom.

There are those that love to restore old cars. In Detroit there is a yearly ritual called the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Every summer those who have restored the amazing old cars from the fifties and sixties and perhaps older, including the muscle cars, like the GTO and Chevelle, Corvettes and others that looked new and shiny parade them down Woodward Avenue. Amazing what some spare parts can do.

Over one million attend the one-day happening on the third Saturday of August and it is the largest automotive event in the country.

So obviously there is a penchant to restore the old?

Well if that’s the case why not make it easier for us oldies to get replacement parts?

Auto parts stores are everywhere and you can even get the hard to find old pieces in junkyards and places that carry just that sort of thing?

But an old broad like me must search high and low to restore this face and body.

I would like to open a special warehouse for replacement parts for baby boomers.

Need a new knee, aisle three. New hips on special, two for one on aisle six and the Botox drive through is open as you exit the parking lot.

Duct tape for butt and boob lifts two for one on four and laser lifts just past the organic groceries and vitamins near the cash registers.

Blue light special on aisle one for wigs and toupees and Spanx 50% off sale in the rear.

Wow what a time saver this would be. One stop shopping for all your body needs. 

A regular Costco with samples and demos to teach you how to walk without pain, pick out the perfect arch supports and don’t forget the all important tooth whitener for your implants. Oh and implants on aisle eight where all the painful screaming is coming from.

Yep, after a trip to the body parts store you’ll come out shiny as new with your hood ornament gleaming.

Now if Detroit could come up with this and build all the parts Ford tough, I’m all in.

Sadly, it takes more than duct tape to lift your butt or your boobs. Baby boomers are definitely in a conundrum because we all feel so young inside but the outside despite creams and lotions and a healthier lifestyle than our parents can only do so much.

Laser treatments and Botox are not terribly invasive options, but costly just the same.

Plastic surgery prices have gone through the roof and despite how much we’d like to remain uncut, it’s hard not to envy that shiny new wrinkle free neck on your sister on law.

Especially when your chin is now resting on your boobs.

In the end when we pass a mirror we want to match the person we are inside, 21 years old. It’s not so much about vanity as it is about wanting all of our parts to be in sync.

I don’t care how great an attitude you possess about aging, it’s hard for one’s spirits not to sag a bit when there are ten-pound Hefty bags under your eyes and you hardly recognize yourself. Wow, I really look a lot about my grandmother now!

I truly don’t believe it’s about wanting to look ridiculously young, but about wanting to see us as your our self; vibrant and youthful, not old and decrepit.

Hard to get happy when the number of wrinkles is almost equal to your blood pressure reading.

So we must trudge forward because if we’re lucky we’ll get older and continue to be part of the world. To enjoy our family, travel, work, indulge our hobbies and interests and socialize with others of like minds.

So I’m signing up for that new spare parts membership warehouse and filling my basket with all new fun stuff at big-box prices.

And remember; if you can’t fix it, duct it!

Lox and Bagel Bites

2 cucumbers

1 tub pareve cream cheese, whipped or regular

1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion

4 ounces approximately of nova lox cut up

Bagel chips

1 hardboiled egg optional

Fresh dill


Cut cucumbers in inch thick circles

Hollow out seeds and pat dry and set aside

Mix together lox onions and cream cheese and lightly salt and pepper. Remember lox can be salty so go slow with the seasoning

With a teaspoon or a pastry bag fill cucumber rounds with cream cheese mixture.

Garnish with pieces of bagel chips and a sprig of fresh dill, and if so desired grate some hardboiled egg on top. Add a ¼ teaspoon of caviar for an extra zing.

Is it me or Has Everyone on Planet Earth Lost Their Mind?

Is it me or Has Everyone on Planet Earth Lost Their Mind?

It’s pretty well accepted we are born into one world and leave another.

Although this has always been the case, I believe Baby Boomers are leaving the strangest world yet.

It’s truly amazing that anyone born shortly after World War II spends a great deal of time talking about how different life was back then and it’s been my experience my generation is quite confused by the insanity which we have suddenly found ourselves a part.

This planet is bats..t crazy.

After the war America was suddenly in a new world position. We were the cowboys in the white hats that had swept in and saved the planet from the bad guys. We were Gary Cooper and John Wayne combined and had cleaned up Dodge City.

The evil axis had been destroyed and now life was moving forward with a whole new attitude except…

Yep, even as a child I remember there were problems to deal with.

Russia and China. Okay, sounds familiar right?

I guess some things never change. We took cover in the school basements to protect from atom bombs. Heard tests of air raid sirens and watched as neighbors dug holes in their back yards to build fallout shelters.

To say I was terrified of Red China would be an understatement. But I’m twice as scared now.

Politics aside and that’s where they should stay, childhood was an amazing time in America.

The fifties were filled with exciting new inventions like television and telephones in every home, and all kinds of new gadgets.

I remember my first HiFi. Wow, and even those little red record center fillers for 45s seemed high tech to us.

We thought the world was a really cool place. Between the Mickey Mouse Club and American Bandstand we felt such a part of everything.

We played outside until the streetlights came on, walked to the corner to purchase penny candy like licorice records and wax lips and the latest comic books; my friends and I just lived for those Archie Annuals. Then we would carry our treasured comics home in a bag with our sunflower seeds and candy to read and share the rest of the day.

Life was so simple and so amazing. Of course we were kids so there was no real awareness of problems that plagued our parents; and that’s the point isn’t it. Our parents tried to keep us unaware of the difficult issues of the times. Unaware that polio was sweeping the nation even as we happened to pass the TV and see a picture of a scary iron lung that might have given us nightmares.

We didn’t pay any attention to politics, which is why we grew up healthy and normal.

When politics finally entered the picture so did protests, drugs, death and confusion.

We played games like jump rope, hopscotch, monopoly and Mr. Potato Head, and of course Operation.

My friends and I cut movie star pictures out of magazines like Photoplay and Modern Screen and then traded them like baseball cards.

We chewed the bubble gum and saved the baseball cards and boy do I wish I still had some of those cards today.

We rode our bikes everywhere and after school the neighborhood kids played baseball or football in the street. We spent the day roller-skating up and down the block with our skate key around our neck on a ribbon. Then happily ran inside to get our money when we heard the Good Humor truck ring its bell.

We knew our neighbors and we acted respectfully toward everyone.

In the winter we put on our snowsuits, boots, scarves and gloves and braved the walk to school, then home again for lunch, then back again, then finally home to sit in front of the TV watching the few channels playing our favorite shows. We were terrified of our teachers and being sent to the principal’s office was tantamount to as bad as it gets.

We walked to the movie theatre on Saturdays to watch a double feature or a matinee of fun flicks like The Blob, I was a Teenage Werewolf or Gidget.

We ate Oreos for an after school snack with a large glass of cold milk and at dinnertime we all sat together at the kitchen table, eating and discussing the day.

Bedtime was bedtime and we couldn’t stay up except on Tuesday night when I got to stay up later to watch Milton Berle, probably the first drag queen before we ever knew what a drag queen was. Most nights I would listen to my cool, new clock radio until I fell asleep.

Our fathers pushed the lawn mower around the grass on Sundays after a brunch filled with favorite foods.

To shop on Saturdays we hopped on a bus and went downtown to big department stores. We felt so grown up when we got to eat lunch in the dining room where stores like Hudson’s featured kids meals.

We could hang out at the record store for hours, then go home and play a new favorite singing and dancing around the living room practicing the newest steps.

We knew the names of everyone on Bandstand, what Soupy Sales was having for lunch the next day and that Hi Yo Silver meant a guy in a black mask and his faithful companion Tonto would soon be riding in to clean up the town. We watched Sky King and Fury on Saturdays and never noticed that the scenery on Star Trek was made up of Christmas lights.

We were incredibly innocent and Lord do I wish I still were.

I feel badly that children today are being subjected to politics and brainwashing and sadly losing their youth to political agendas.

There is a lot to be said for being protected from the hardships of life unless and until one is forced to face them.

It was different times and Baby Boomers shared a bond those programs provided. To this day “Yo Rinty” is a call to which every one our age responds.

Sure, some might say I’m coloring the past with an overly optimistic brush. Perhaps, but from the reaction of my friends when I wax nostalgic and they jump in with their own fond memories, I think not.

I look around this strange, insane world and am reminded someone once said ignorance is bliss; I choose to believe it’s actually a blessing.

Is Mainstreaming Obesity Positive for Young People?

Is Mainstreaming Obesity

Positive for Young People?

Why does everyone want the rose on the cake? For me it was all about eating pretty food. Would we eat cake without a rose? You bet, but there was something special about the rose.

It’s no secret we eat with our eyes as well, but don’t we risk being conned into eating something pretty that tastes awful? Is our standard for beauty changing and perhaps not in a good way? Is beauty subjective or is it foisted upon us by the mores of the times?

We are conditioned since childhood to choose pretty, to select the most appealing to the eyes, whether it is food, cars, clothes or people. Pretty is better and society always defined pretty for us. In the fifties it was clear Marilyn Monroe was the epitome of female beauty. So what’s an average girl to do? Isn’t beauty supposed to be in the eye of the beholder?

I suppose one could fight against convention and display an ardent ego boasting about one’s own attributes. I have always heard this works and that if you love yourself others will love you. That what you think about yourself is how others think of you. However that only works to a point.

Let’s face it and get real here…not every woman is born to be a supermodel. Nor is every man destined to be handsome. Yet, there is charm in being less than.

Supermodel Lauren Hutton has a huge gap between her two front teeth and yet was one of the most highly paid and sought after models of her time.

Yet the standard for beauty dictates one must rush to the dentist to fix every imperfection that would interfere with a perfect smile. Funny isn’t it that the defects of some make them more alluring and interesting than those traditionally considered perfect?

So what’s it all about Alfie?

In this new society we are being taught that looks and body size are no detriment to beauty and that women who are obese can be beautiful and desirable to men.

Oy, and I had to deal with Twiggy when I was young!

As someone who has battled the scale my entire life I would never advocate body shaming or making anyone feel bad about themself. 

Yet I must say and I understand my words will be disputed and even perhaps believed offensive by some of my readers, I cannot advocate obesity nor find it an enhancement to any woman or man.

Mainstreaming an unhealthy body doesn’t seem the way to equalize the standard for beauty.

I understand the Rubenesque quality of women in the 1800s, but how are we to know how these womanly curves affected their health and lifespan?  

Someone over one hundred pounds overweight is risking a lifetime of problems that can shorten and destroy the quality of their existence.

Once fat cells populate your body they never leave. It’s like trying to impose term limits on Congress, they will be there forever. 

Who decided to tell young girls it’s okay to be one hundred pounds overweight and proudly wear spandex to show off every ounce of fat?

What happened to those Presidential fitness programs I used to scoff at that promoted good health?

Obesity is an issue that shouldn’t be advocated as inclusive.

Having a good body image is of course important for young people and old as well, but for those of us who were not born looking like Heidi Klum there is always Revlon and Spanx.

A truly beautiful woman is one that does the best to enhance her good features.

Make up, good hairstyles, flattering wardrobes can do wonders for every woman.

How many times have you seen someone walk into a room and thought, gee they are not really good looking but there’s something about him or her?

There is an enormous difference between being chubby and being obese. Mainstreaming bad health can in no way be a good thing for young people.

I’m glad there are clothes that can allow those overweight to dress attractively and modern. I remember as a child having to wear my mother’s clothes because nothing fit me. I couldn’t shop in the regular stores or find fun clothes so that is a very positive occurrence today.

And yes, we must all love ourselves, but we must also realize part of that love is inherent on doing the best for oneself.

Eating right, exercising or just moving, and focusing on inner beauty is always a positive way to proceed forward in life.

Stuffing one’s face with gigantic amounts of calories, fats and sweets without moderation can only lead to diabetes, heart issues, fatty liver and other diseases no one wants to add to their health charts.

Long ago the medical profession discovered the link between diet and mortality. Yet by mainstreaming obesity all caution has been tossed out the window.

I am absolutely not saying, and I want to make this clear, that it’s easy for some to be their optimum weight. It’s almost impossible actually. I cannot foresee a day when someone will ever say to me, you’re too thin. Although in my dreams I’ve heard that said, but only there. It’s not possible for me unless I stop eating altogether.

My metabolism is now a corpse and just hangs around my body rent-free because it has nowhere else to go. It stopped working in 2001 and I’ve been on my own here ever since.

Some are born with a predisposition to weight issues they must fight their entire life to keep under control. I well understand the fact that many days I am not willing to fight and watch my weight creep up despite the fact I’m just eating normally. So I have a great deal of compassion for those who suffer with this plight.

Yet, at the end of the day, there must come a point where I say, okay no more, it’s time to get the few pounds I gained off now before it gets out of control.

In the end, it is about control.

And that’s hard and no one should discount how difficult, especially as we age.

Yet giving young people a pass to be fat and unhealthy is a tragedy that has become far too acceptable in our society.

We need to make our kids understand that a healthy life is a precursor to living your dreams. Once they have started down the path to illness, it will be very difficult to reverse.

Being a few pounds overweight may be normal for many, obesity is not.

Society saying it is okay to add two hundred extra pounds to a frame only equipped to handle two hundred less is a prescription for a dangerous future.

I know some feel it is good that popular entertainers today brandish obesity as a positive lifestyle choice. I can’t imagine they feel good about all the young people they are influencing who will suffer greatly and may even die at the hands of this mantra.

Finding one’s own beauty and enhancing it is definitely a positive, copying the bad eating habits of an influencer who is courting health dangers is not.

The need for moderation needs to be made clear at some point. I am only hoping someone with influence will eventually show the courage to do just that.

Motown Was the Soundtrack of My Generation

Motown Was the Soundtrack of My Generation

So I am finally going to address a big part of my youth I have too often been remiss in mentioning, a house on Grand Blvd. in Detroit, Michigan with a sign reading Hitsville USA.

In case you think for a minute that the Motown sound is now only part of music history I would suggest you watch a replay of the Grammys and notice at what point the place went crazy, rose to their feet danced and sang along with the music. 

Nope it wasn’t Lizzo, it was when Stevie Wonder started playing, Smokey sang and the audience young and old knew every word and moved every part of their body.

That house on Grand Blvd. was far more than just a place where some of the greatest rock and roll music was created and sung, it was a symbol of the sixties and that something great was happening.

Let it be known this is not a political piece and forgive me if I sound preachy; it is merely a reminder of what Motown gave the world. It is a recap of how far we came and are now slipping back from.

My generation grew up in the fifties and sixties. We were guided through these decades by the advent of television and its huge impact on our lives. 

For the first time we could actually watch history occurring in front of us as when Lee Harvey Oswald was murdered in a Dallas police station after he shot the president; which we also saw first hand. In a way it sensitized us to certain aspects of life. Yet it also gave us a front row seat to our own destiny.

I ate breakfast in front of a tiny black and white television, but despite its size it didn’t preclude me from watching enormous historical events that shaped our lives.

I observed a black girl in Mississippi escorted into school by the National Guard. Of course I was young and didn’t understand why anyone would go to such lengths to attend school when I would have welcomed a day off. To this day I can see the scene in my mind’s eye for that day brought an awareness of a world of which we were all now a part.

The sixties were turbulent times. Viet Nam divided the country but united a generation. Blacks and whites marched together in unison to stop a war.

The Civil Rights marches in the south, especially in Selma with Martin Luther King saw blacks and whites bonding for a cause. And the soundtrack to this upheaval was born in a white house in Detroit, Michigan. 

To my generation especially Detroiters, there was a sense of pride in our contribution. We felt we were a part of something much greater and while we spent our days in school actually learning math and civics, we also rushed home to listen to the music of The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Martha and the Vandellas and so many more.

Motown artists like the Temptations recorded songs like Ball of Confusion, Edwin Starr’s Warand  Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On? Each made a political statement and sent a strong message with their lyrics. 

And the message resonated from that white house in Detroit to the entire country that transformation needed to come.

Our generation took up the mantel of change and wore it proudly; Peace love and Rock‘n’Roll. We were the hippies, the love generation and although many later turned yuppie their values for their fellow man never shifted.

Now I’m not saying there weren’t still problems and issues that needed to be solved. Of course I’m aware that those who hate can’t be legislated out of existence. That is a problem that will exist as long as man is the primitive creature he remains. Yet, so much was accomplished and the future looked so much brighter then.

When I hear how bad race relations are in America, I wonder what generation dropped the ball. I know it wasn’t mine. It wasn’t the Baby Boomers who still listen to Motown with a sense of pride and affirmation and have kept its message alive and well.

I believe for the first time music truly defined a generation, and of course although it always had in many ways, to the Baby Boomers it was the mantra of peace, solidarity and renewal. It was Abraham, Martin and John and carrying their torch into the future. 

Motown signaled acceptance and coexistence between all races and the dancing and marching, and what the hell happened?

Which generation started hating again? Which lost Martin’s message and tossed away all the principals and pacifism we had embedded in society?

Motown brought us together through music and a realization blacks and whites are not separate and can embrace unity. My generation listened, learned and discovered a way to make it all work.

Somewhere along the way others stole the message and corrupted and reinvented it into hatred and marginalization.

I won’t go into how political leaders from both parties were most guilty of this bastardization, but I can tell you it wasn’t the Baby Boomers.

The bond between our generation and Motown was and still is as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. That was quite evident the other night at the Grammys when everyone stood and danced to the music, just as mesmerized by the sounds and lyrics as ever.

I hear too many groups espouse the theory today that blacks and whites are incapable of peaceful coexistence, of accomplishing great things together and ending racial hatred. That the malice and anger was below the surface and festering all these years.

I must wonder where all this is coming from? 

Who dredged it up from its burial plot and resurrected all this resentment? I know it wasn’t Baby Boomers because we are still very much in tune with our message.

Motown was no fluke that simply arrived on the music scene to create eternal music; it was much more. It was proof positive that race is no barrier to understanding and unity, that all people can stand together, dance together and sing together in unison. 

Perhaps the generation that now declares this coexistence is impossible needs a lesson or two in history. While they are learning they need a soundtrack of Motown to validate it is possible and Baby Boomers were the ones to give peace a chance. Maybe they should drive by that Hitsville, USA house and see for themselves how it’s done. And if I sound like I’m baking pie in the sky here, check out the lyrics to Gladys Knight and the Pips’ Friendship Train and hop the hell on.

The Tao of the Baby Boomer

The Tao of the Baby Boomer

Yes it’s true I write a great deal about getting older. Usually I try to include humor in my tirades just to ease the pain a bit, but lately I find myself at a loss about how to stem the tide of gray hair, muscles morphing into fat and turning up the television sound at regular intervals.

Oh sure we all share the same trials and tribulations about the passing years and I’ve often thought that the Baby Boomer generation, who I believe, and more so every day was one of the smartest groups to populate the earth, should have some answers. 

However, as I meditate on the past and the idols we all shared I’m coming up a bit empty on the whole self-help front. What exactly should we have learned from the childhood icons we spent our time watching and adoring?

I’m starting with Clarabell. Don’t mock yet, for in thinking about this silent clown who preferred to communicate though a horn I have discovered so much wisdom my mind truly boggles.

First and foremost to my knowledge no one ever told us why he honked instead of talking like regular people.

So was it to promote silence? Nope, don’t think so since that damn horn was noisy and annoying. I’d rather he spout Shakespeare than keep violating my ears with that racket, so what did we learn here? Or perhaps should have learned?

Perhaps Clarabell was trying to teach us that sometimes we can communicate without the need for words. A smile, a beep, a wink or a hand gesture, and I think we all know that a hand gesture can indeed speak volumes, can suffice when communicating our thoughts.

Did he also want us to learn that we need to look behind the mask and make up human beings may use to cover up their feelings at times and see the real person? That digging deeper is sometimes a true act of charity when someone needs our help. So was the message wasted? How many of us have sought to determine whether or not someone is truly hurting when they portray a mask of unkindness to the world? Have we reached out and learned Clarabell’s lesson or merely walked away when we could have helped?

Of course most importantly is the lesson of silence. How many times have we spoken and regretted our words? How many times have we kept silent and made a greater impact? Many I assume. I know I have.

I could never speak of idols without including the great Bugs Bunny. Oh the lessons here were too numerous to mention, but one of my very favorites was wearing a mask to achieve our ends in life? No, I haven’t lost it altogether, although I admit I’m pretty close after watching the news this morning. If you will reach back into your memory banks and visualize Bugs in red lipstick and a bear trap in his mouth seductively stopping the Tasmanian Devil in his steps, you will agree that sometimes make up can do wonders. No, I don’t mean in the sense we can stop a mugger by applying lipstick, but that when we face the world both friends and adversaries, oftentimes it is necessary to wear a different face in diverse situations. We must morph into that which will achieve our ultimate goal and secure what we are seeking. In other words knowing our opponent is a special power that one might even call a super power if, we are Marvel fans.

Whether it is to close a multi-million dollar deal or simply convince a salesperson to return a sweater that pilled too quickly, our superpower is in knowing how to handle others. Thank you, Bugs. Of course it is also obvious that a little lipstick and great haircut will do wonders for seducing the opposite sex, and we probably have the Bugmeister to thank for that lesson. If he can stop the Tasmanian Devil, we can secure a second date.

American Bandstand’s lesson is an easy one, you can actually dance your troubles away and Dick Clark had found the Fountain of Youth. Although the dancing part gets a bit sketchy when you’re recovering from that knee replacement.

No list of learning would be complete without the Mickey Mouse Club. So what did we learn from the people with the mouse ears? So much. For example did you know Wednesday is anything-can-happen day? Every week I couldn’t wait for Wednesday and although I watched diligently the other four days, it was the excitement of not knowing what might happen that kept me glued to the old black and white TV set. 

This was a truly important lesson that I have carried with me my entire life. For if we’ve learned nothing from our stay on this planet it is that there is no knowing, no magic power that can prepare us for what is to come. This is the yin and yang that truly defines life. For it is the thrill of the unknown paired with the fear of tomorrow that makes life so seductive. Will tomorrow be a better day or bring more problems?Will I laugh or cry when the sun rises and am I the one who ultimately determines which that will be?

Perhaps a bit of both I say.

How many people have visited a psychic and the first thing they say is, “don’t tell me anything bad.” Ah, so there are conditions on us knowing the future after all. 

So anything can happen day is a double-edged sword. Of course on the Mickey Mouse Club it was always something fun, but in real life we’ve learned perhaps not so much all the time.

Of course there are many more examples of the Tao of the Baby Boomer or as the Mandalore put it, “This is the Way.” I shall continue to write about them from time to time and I’d love to hear from readers as well about, so please write.

In the end growing old is nothing to joke about, or is it? Is this what we have learned from all the upbeat icons of the past after all? Is it our responsibility to take the knowledge of the past and find some comfort and often much humor in what has come before?

What lessons can we embrace each day to better our lives?

First, don’t watch the news. Call a friend each day and laugh together. Count five things we are grateful for and damnit, I don’t care what anyone says, eat chocolate! I sometimes go on YouTube and pull up the acts of my favorite comedians and just sit and laugh. It does actually help and if you have some chocolate while you’re laughing, well I believe they call that achieving nirvana.

I truly believe there is no magic bullet for aging despite all those who profess to know the answers, but I do know that sharing the creaking bones, anemic metabolism and every new wrinkle with friends helps. And when you’re having a really bad day just remember what Clarabell always said…

Seriously, Does it Cost This Much to be Me?

Seriously, Does it Cost This Much to be Me?

When Aliens land they better have a lot of money if they’re planning to stay on this planet for any length of time.

I’ve noticed the cost of keeping myself going is rising exponentially to years spent here. There is so much more entailed in just getting up and getting going now I wonder that it’s worth “the getting” at all.

Perhaps that’s why so many of my age group discovered during COVID it really wasn’t so bad staying at home.

Now I find myself among those who with just the slightest provocation are content to stay in sweats or comfy jammies in front of the flat screen in lieu of preparing this tired old body so it is presentable enough to go outside.

What once was a quick dab of this or that has suddenly become a truckload of all things necessary to get ready to face the world.

Let’s face it, youthful skin glows without the extra products necessary, young hair shines, young eyes are unencumbered with bags and young bodies are firm and toned without Spanx.

The Lord in his mercy designed our close up vision to worsen as we age to avoid seeing those wrinkles and lo and behold the Devil creates the ten-times magnifying mirror. Kudos, Satan, that was truly one of your greatest accomplishments and actually, your most evil since politicians.

I spend way too much of my time shopping for face creams, hair products, vitamins, medications, comfortable shoes that won’t leave me unable to walk for days after wearing them, and all the other products and services it takes to support me in my laugh laugh golden years.

I have come to the conclusion that although it’s much easier to downsize when older it doesn’t include bathroom drawers and storage closets.

Although my wardrobe may be smaller, my supply of facemasks, creams, body lotions, and hair shiners is large enough to fill the hole left by the world trade towers.

It’s crazy how much time one must spend preparing for the day. Sure hats help to disguise a bad hair day and Lord knows I make good use of them, but even wearing a mask to avoid lipstick cannot hide the giant Hefty bags under one’s eyes and having to buy concealer by the barrel.

Sure, you say, just wear sunglasses but you can’t wear them indoors without looking like a wanna be movie star and although spandex added to jeans is a discovery that should have been awarded the Nobel Prize years ago, one still needs Spanx.

I even find myself actually watching supplement commercials and senior exercise videos on YouTube. I didn’t say I actually performed the exercises, but I have deluded myself into believing just viewing them will somehow help me maintain a hard body. Huh! There hasn’t been anything hard on my body since 1979, except for the metal knee implant.

So why do we even bother to try and recapture youth? What makes us so aggressive about seeing ourselves as we were and not as we are becoming?

Well let’s be honest, aging ain’t no fun.

Oh sure I know the mantra about how grateful we should be to be here at all. Yes, I subscribe to that idea and am grateful, but it’s hard to deny living our lives older takes preparation and lots more money.

Getting out of bed in the morning is accompanied by moans and groans, aches and pains in places I didn’t know I had places, and that first glance in the mirror, well all I can say is OY!

One must ask oneself is it harder now because we notice things we had no time to notice when young, or have our bodies truly changed so much it’s impossible to ignore the obvious?

When we’re chasing our kids around, cleaning the house, dragging our tired bodies to bed at the end of a long day who ever had time to think about how many vitamins we’d taken?

Now suddenly it’s all about us and even if one chooses to ignore what’s changing, our bodies have become the Glenn Close of our existence. Did you know they make anti crepe cream for your arms? Who the hell paid attention to that crap years ago?

I can’t believe the money I spend on all the stuff I apply, drink, swallow and rub on my joints.

And it always seems like no matter how much of everything I buy at Costco to store away, I’m always running out of stuff.

My car automatically drives itself to CVS now and instead of planning fun trips to Las Vegas to gamble I am supporting Proctor and Gamble.

Of course we should make the effort to have great joint health, fewer wrinkles, thick hair, white teeth, regular check ups and try our damnest to ignore the scary warnings on all those new miracle drugs on television. I saw one recently that claimed it could help my arthritis, but it might be at the expense of a liver. Check please I’ll keep my arthritis thank you.

Once I never noticed the TV commercials for nursing homes for Mom, now I shake and cringe each time one comes on.

I am one high maintenance and expensive broad, but not because I’m traveling first class to every exciting European capital or wearing diamonds from Cartier, but because meds cost money.

Staying alive is damn costly and of course necessary but wow, whodda thought?

So is there a solution to this constant outpouring of money to keep us alive, functioning and looking good?

Is staying home and streaming the answer? Nope. For as long as we’re living we must keep living. We really need to get up, get dressed and get out to get on with our lives. Despite how much we’d rather not that day.

What’s the use of being alive if you retreat from life?

So I guess I’ll keep creaming, supplementing and Spanxing to go out and face the world. Even if the world doesn’t appreciate I’m saving them from the scary experience of seeing me au natural, the mirrors I pass by will.

So I’ll shop till I drop even if it’s not for the fun stuff I once bought. Hey I just got a fifty-cent coupon online for Oil of Olay. Great, now I’ll have enough for that trip to Versailles.

To All The Words I’ve Loved Before

To All the Words I’ve Loved Before

“To all the girls I’ve loved before. Who’ve traveled in and out my door…”  Willie Nelson

Years ago Willie Nelson wrote a song dedicated to all the girls he’d loved before. Thinking about the words conjured up memories of all the books I’ve written before. Of course the fact I have been cleaning out my file cabinet and come across many an unfinished tome might have had something to do with those thoughts.

So as I perused the unfinished manuscripts about old movie star houses in Beverly Hills, girls wanting to be eaten by a shark, the Viet Nam war and draft dodgers in Toronto, an escape with friends to distant places and even our cat solving a neighborhood mystery along with a few others I wondered what might have happened had they been published or more to the point had I ever finished them.

Looking back at the novel about draft dodgers living in Toronto I can see some obvious problems there. Like perhaps how do you write a book you know nothing about. Okay, so I know youth makes us stupid but why would I think that visiting Toronto on so many occasions would make me an expert on the Viet Nam war or living in hiding? Or even being drafted?  Not quite up my alley and of course there is no way I could have ever finished that book. Oh sure I could have interviewed people who lived that life, and many authors have done well using that formula, I am not one of them however. I myself have always subscribed to the old adage…”write about what you know” and in my experience I understand why.

I must always feel passionate about what I write. And although at the time I am feeling excited about a book’s possibilities my energy level begins to subside when I realize how little I know about my character’s experiences.

So what does this have to do with anything actually? I’m sure there are many writers that have begun many books only to discard them when their passion waned, so why am I feeling particularly sad about these long forgotten tomes? And why am I certain the way I feel probably has nothing whatsoever to do with Viet Nam, sharks or even Cary Grant’s old home in Beverly Hills.

These unfinished books are merely another reminder of the passage of time and dreams never fulfilled.

Not to become too maudlin about the subject there are many sad things about aging aside from the obvious…aches, pains, loss, the hate you begin to feel for mirrors or any reflective objects.

I truly believe the excitement of new possibilities is one of the best things about being young. Those times when you were over the moon about a new project or adventure looming in the distance ahead. When you jumped out of bed in the morning filled with the joy of entering a new world of discovery and unlimited choices only you could make happen.

And now the only chance I have of leaping out of bed at breakneck speed is if someone nearby yells fire or an earthquake shakes me out.

Perhaps it’s that feeling I miss most. The high of a new day fraught with new chapters to be written, new lives to be led and new places to see. I mean of course besides the orthopedist office or dermatologist to find out what that new thing growing on your body is and what the hell?

About now you might be feeling as depressed as someone who can’t find a drug store open when they are pmsing for a Hershey bar at midnight. And no I’m not trying to be a downer here, but perhaps just nostalgic for the old days when I felt that anticipation of the leap into a new dimension, a new planet of the possible. Is there really a damn Multi-verse and how do I get there?

I am fighting the it’s-too-late blues daily but I’m beginning to get the I’m-moving syndrome. You know that place you find yourself in when you are moving out of your home and you need to replace a rosebush but you won’t buy one because you won’t be around to see it grow so you are in limbo and can’t move forward. You’re stuck in the mire of why do it if I’m going to move land? I hate that place. I hate not being able to embrace the new. 

My parents refused to buy new windows. Oh sure their house was fifty years old and desperately needed them, but they were in their eighties and felt like why bother in a few years we’ll sell the house or be dead anyway. Hmm, maybe that’s where I got it.

Yep we all know someone like that. The why redecorate people or the why do I need a new dress people or the why travel in this scary new world folks.

As bad as it was before it’s worse now after the pandemic. I actually have friends who don’t like to leave the house anymore. So now even more are spending their life getting all their kicks from the new movie on Netflix or reruns on Hulu or heaven help us all the real housewives. Talk about an oxymoron, there’s nothing real about those chicks.

So why have I brought you down this sad Willie Nelson inspired path? Is it to remind us all how limited life becomes as we age or perhaps something very different? Stay with me here it gets better, I promise.

When I pulled out the books I realized something else after the depression lifted; each book is a new possibility; a new chapter to be written and something challenging ahead.

I can buy a new rose bush now or fix the windows or finish that great American novel because there is a huge difference at this age. This age. That’s right, although many unwanted things come with getting older the accumulation of wisdom is not one of them. When I was in my thirties writing about draft dodging I had no life experience to add to the discussion. How did shopping give me insight into the fear of going to war? What did I know about leaving home and starting over in a new place. Well I sure as hell do now.

Every book I began needed to congeal and coalesce and become its best self. Or perhaps I did.

What is the point of obtaining wisdom if we don’t use it to our advantage?

So what I’m actually trying to say here is that the dreams, plans and possibilities of youth are more exciting and closer to you now. Whatever you wished for fifty years ago you can accomplish more easily now, despite age and slowing down a bit.

You can paint that masterpiece, learn to play piano, write that self help book, tap dance, refurbish that cabinet, open that boutique or even take that cruise around the world. An old friend of mine just wrote a book about his experiences in the music business fifty years ago.

The best part is seeing it through the eyes of life experience and not the naïveté of youth.

One of the benefits of aging is the ability to see things clearly. Hindsight is indeed twenty twenty and maybe that’s why we remember forty years ago so well, but not last week. Seeing life though the lens of a lifetime of moments lived, lessons learned and loves given and returned or spurned is a beautiful approach to anything you wish to accomplish. 

So now I’m settling in to reread that Viet Nam book while you all start that long ago abandoned project. I’m sure the next Jane Austin or Rembrandt is among my readers. Of course you are. Good luck and let me know how it’s all coming along. 

Shoes at Least

                                 Shoes at Least

 ‘The time has come, ‘the walrus said, ‘to talk of many things: of shoes and ships-and sealing wax-of cabbages and kings.’ Lewis Carroll

Shoes are ironic. Oh I know no one actually would say that or perhaps even think as I do about the true meaning of shoes, but women understand shoes are not simply pieces of leather sewn together, but a religious experience. Women worship at the Temple of Manolo. And I must agree with Marilyn Monroe when she famously said, “Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she can conquer the world.” From Louboutin to Nine West, women can work a heel.

But I should get back to the ironic part. When I was young I adored shoes and wore Capezios all the time. Every new pair and new color that was produced found its way into my closet. 

My father used to ask, “What do you need more shoes for?” 

Poor guy never got it. Dad, women don’t need shoes, we crave them like chocolate when we’re PMSing. Helps fill in the other 20 days a month and keep us on an even keel.

So the irony here, despite my father’s constant puzzlement about my addiction, is that when you’re older and have the money to finally give in to your habit. When your children are all out of the house, when you have enough money too keep your grandchildren in Lego sets, when it’s all about you and your shoeboxes, and you don’t need those running shoes anymore, the unthinkable happens.

Your damn feet start aching.  

“Why do they hurt,” you ask. 

Usually from wearing all those fabulous heels when you were younger and now you have hammertoes and planters fasciitis or heel spurs, flatfeet, corns, bunyans and all kinds of evil gremlins that keep you from sliding your foot into the gorgeous Manolo with the four-inch heel.


Of course you panic. Why wouldn’t you? Your closet is filled to the brim with fabulous footwear. Magnificent specimens of foot coverings that make your friends drool and your feet ache undamnbelieveably.

So it’s off to the podiatrist we go. 

“Doc my arch is killing me and I can’t seem to stand in these heels anymore.”

He examines the shoe you hold up for him to see and a smirk crosses his face. 

Aha he thinks, the moment of bliss for him is the moment of sorrow for you. You are at odds. For now your feet belong to him and not to those fabulous Jimmy Choos you are trying to avoid wetting with your tears.

Okay, so aren’t there worse things in life than simply not being able to wear high heels anymore?

Well of course there are, but that’s the point. Shoes are a metaphor for life. In a nutshell they are the perfect example for where it all leads, the meaning of life, the ultimate screw you from the universe.

Just when you think you have it all, the universe steps in and laughs. “Kidding” it says and takes it all away.

Oh I’m not talking about the Monolos I’m talking about life.

I use shoes because it is easy for my female readers to relate to the joy of slipping into a pair of four-inch heels and admiring the turn of a calf. Or the way you feel glamorous and fabulous and ready to face the world armed and dangerous in those open-toed spikes.

For men I must use a different metaphor. It’s when you retire and can play golf all day and you tear your rotator cuff.

But life can be a cruel master as we’ve all seen far too many times.

The ability to rationalize is the most important and underappreciated human talent.

I myself am a gold medal winner in the sport and I know many of my friends compete with me on a daily basis.

Why is rationalization the key to a happy life?

So often we hear the phrase we must live our lives in gratitude. We must count our blessings and accept happily what we have been given.

And I’m not saying that’s bad advice. 

Heavens no. It’s important to exist in a state of gratitude. But can we truly achieve that end without the use of copious amounts of rationalization?

Oh well you wore stunning shoes all those years and all good things must end. At least they make so many adorable flats now. It doesn’t matter be grateful you had so many years with Jimmy Choo. What about girls who started with flat feet and could you show some gratitude here?

And we must. Because that is how we cover the disappointments we face, the losses we must accept and the pain of mistreatment by others.

My favorite is; it’s not your fault, people like that don’t know better, they’re pitiful, at least you’re not like them so pray they eventually realize what awful people they are. (But of course they never do.) 

Okay, sure, you’re right, they are awful and I should feel sorry for them, but when you’re someone’s victim isn’t it okay to feel bad for yourself?

I understand we need to rationalize. It’s the best way to get through it all.

My brother died recently. He had just sold his business, bought a home on a golf course and was finally at last able to succumb to his addiction for hitting that little ball across a fairway and have lots of time to play with his grandchildren.

But life had other plans. Life said screw you, I don’t think so.

And so we were forced to rationalize once more. At least he had so many years; he lived so well, yata yata yata.

It’s what we do to survive, to try and make sense of it all. The irony that life uses as its own little private parlor game.

Oh so you think you’ll retire and enjoy life, guess again.

Oh so you think you’ll be dancing in those shoes after you hike up Machu Pichu, au contraire, but check out these new old lady shoes, hot huh?

So you think that after struggling for years to achieve your goals and make it in business you got this covered.

Guess again, your new factory just burned to the ground before the insurance kicked in. Too bad but at least you weren’t inside the building right?

The sore toes are a foreshadowing of what life truly is. It’s an ironic series of disappointments, missteps and tragic moments we are forced to justify by rationalizing using the words at least

Someone once said the most powerful word in the English dictionary is “if”.

I would like to propose the two most powerful and important words are at least. For all rationalizations begin with those two little words.

At least we have humor to help get us through bad times, at least we have wonderful memories, at least he didn’t suffer, at least we can stay away from people who hurt us and at least we’re not them and the list is endless.

But so far no one has been able to use the words at least to stop the pain of losing those we love.

I guess we’ll have to do our best to keep going and rationalizing our way through life.

I’d love to continue this conversation but these new shoes are killing me and I have to go put on my slippers. At least they are comfortable.

May life be good for you and may you have few occasions to use the words at least.

And the Winner for Worst Grandson of all Time Goes to Prince Harry, of Course

And the Winner for Worst Grandson of all Time

Goes to Prince Harry, of Course.

It’s difficult for any thinking person to avoid wanting to retch when hearing Prince Harry’s stories of his so-called tragic life as a prince of England. I imagine and Lord knows I’m not speaking from experience here, it must be awful to just be a prince instead of being the prince who will someday be king. My sympathies.

Poor Harry, his plight is unequalled in the sad stories that man shall repeat throughout time and history. Just think what comfort it is to those poor children around the world who are hungry and sick to know Harry shares their pain because he is merely a Prince who lived a royal life and not the heir apparent? Just a moment while I wipe the tears from my eyes and fight to control my sobs so I can continue typing.

Okay, that’s better now I’m back.

We can only be grateful that a third-rate American actress showed up looking for attention on her way to bit parts in Hallmark Channel movies to point out how horrible his life has been as a member of British royalty.

Speaking as one of the common folk and a grandmother to two amazing human beings I am indeed surprised, despite the focus on the tripe Harry wrote in his, excuse the expression book, that no one has pointed out the obvious…Harry assumed his grandmother the Queen would still be alive when his book was published and was well aware of the untold harm and pain it would bring to her.

And the winner is…worst grandson of all time Prince Harry.

I’ve watched the Crown like everyone else so I’m aware that the Queen is often portrayed as somewhat of a cold fish toward her children, choosing duty and country before hugs and snuggles. No one ever accused her of being warm and fuzzy except her grandchildren.

Anyone who has grandchildren understands well the concept that there is a very special bond. The lack of responsibility toward their upbringing frees one to simply reap the benefits of all the love and attention one can foist on these marvelous little miracles.

Your grandchildren are easy to love, accept and unconditionally forgive anything. They are the ultimate reward for surviving your own teenagers, for the fact your boobs have dropped like two rocks in a stream, that getting out of bed takes a whole lot longer than it once did and that now with so many more TV channels to watch working the remote control is damn difficult due to carpel tunnel.

You don’t have to clean their fingerprints off walls, but instead you leave them there as artwork, you needn’t care if they stay up later than usual because you love spending more time with them and they are willing to listen to the stories of your childhood and look at you like you are imparting the wisdom of the sages.

You don’t have to worry your ignorance about parenting will screw them up for life for they have their own parents to do that. You are Grandma, giver of hugs and lover of all things they do and say.

They are your best buds, great supporters and simply the loves of your life.

As a grandmother I have no doubt whatsoever Queen Elizabeth felt no different about her offspring. I’m certain she was the president of all their fan clubs and judging from what I’ve heard from her grandchildren she was devoted to them. I’m sure she went out of her way to be especially mindful of the fact Harry and William had suffered a great loss early in their lives and she in her way paid even closer attention to their needs.

Whether or not one agrees or disagrees with Harry’s pathetic whining and diatribe about his sad life as a prince is not really my concern. I’ve been around enough narcissists in my life to understand the harm they do to those around them and their constant craving for attention and disregard for other’s feelings. This is not the point I wish to make.

I am simply taking issue with the fact Harry had so little love for his grandmother he would write such a mean and spiteful book and trash the people and institution she so loved. What kind of grandson has so little regard for his grandmother’s feelings?

I’m certain he was well aware of the damage it would do to her when the book was published and he and his wife taped the television special complaining and trashing everyone. Yet he didn’t care. He was oblivious to his grandmother’s potential pain and suffering from these remarks and turned a blind eye and deaf ear to what would have been devastating for Queen Elizabeth to hear and read. Would be to any grandmother in that situation and in her last years of life no less.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in this crazy life it’s that there are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth.

Harry and Meghan’s constantly whining about their “truth” when they are fully aware no one on the other side can respond is shameful and over the top self- absorbed behavior, even for these two.

I feel sad as a grandmother that the last years of the Queen’s life were so colored with negativity and anger leveled by two such shallow people. That after a lifetime of service to her country, her people and her family she had to suffer the slings and arrows leveled at her by an ungrateful grandson. This I find truly sad.

No grandparent should have to be treated in such a fashion, especially one who obviously loved and cared for her grandchildren.

In case you are wondering I am not writing this rant because I am some kind of over-the-top royal lover or super fan of the Queen. As a matter of fact I’m still working on being okay with the fact she never visited Israel during her entire reign, so please do not think this is colored by my opinion of Her Majesty. I am also sympathetic to the fact Harry has serious issues that need addressing, but lashing out at his grandmother and those she loves won’t cure his ills.

It is simply colored by the revulsion I feel as one grandmother watching a grandson displaying total and complete callousness toward his own grandmother.

As a Grammy and proud to be I feel I must speak up for us all. Grandparents are a very unique person in someone’s life. I know my grandfather was very special to my brother Marty and I and we always felt blessed to have had him in our lives. I would never have ever knowingly hurt him or tried to destroy the things he held dear.

I’d like to think all grandchildren feel as we did.

Despite watching what I can only call the most ungrateful grandson of all time I still believe the relationship between grandparent and grandchild is sacrosanct and extraordinary.

There is an expression, “how sharper than a serpent’s tooth the sting of an ungrateful child.”

Well sting away, Harry, you can’t do her harm anymore.

Finding Something to Laugh at

Finding Something to Laugh At
“A day without laughter is a day wasted…” Charlie Chaplain
As a graduate of the Lenny Bruce School of humor I have never found any lack of people or situations to laugh at during my stay on this planet. I have always reasoned that if Mel Brooks can make the Spanish Inquisition and the Nazis funny what isn’t fair game? So now when I find myself laughing less I must ask, “where the hell has humor gone?”
Of course I’m not advocating using humor to hurt people, and no one should be the butt of anyone’s jokes. There is no place for cruelty or meanness in humor and we all should respect the line and not cross over. Yet all people, all sexes and everyone that breathes on planet earth has some craziness in common and if we begin to exclude anyone from the party it would be akin to locking them out of the shared joke.
We all need to be let in and have an opportunity to laugh together. Laughter is a great bonding agent that unites and creates shared joy. Meanness destroys the very purpose of humor, which is to bring joy to everyone.
Yet according to some it seems I must now censor myself depending on who and what friends or family in whose company I find myself depending on their degree of something called “wokeness.” I fully understand and empathize with the pain of those who may be struggling in their life with a new and unforeseen circumstance. However, the greater the challenge, the more important it is to laugh and knock it down to size.
For example: A giant bully runs the playground with a tone of severity and evil that makes everyone that crosses his path quake with fear. One day a new student finds himself on the playground still a bit hesitant to step in and watches from the sidelines. While observing the dynamics of playground politics he notices the bully is constantly checking his cap to ensure its fit over his ears. The student becomes convinced he is hiding something. Seeing the

bully terrorize the other students for half the play period, he decides to be bold. Just as the bully leans over a small boy to grab his bat, the new kid jumps up and pulls the cap from the bully’s head.
The bully is stunned and unable to move as he realizes his hat is missing and his gigantic ears are exposed. Every student moves in closer for a better look as a loud roar of laughter engulfs the schoolyard as the bully’s huge, protruding ears are on display. He runs away horrified and diminished as finally the students are freed from their captor. Nothing and no one could have stopped him from asserting his wrongful power over them except one simple thing, laughter. Now begs the question, should the other students continue to taunt the bully over his ears? That would be a misuse of humor but hopefully the bully would learn his lesson and stop his evil ways. Okay, so maybe in a perfect world.
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, the key to Jewish humor. Laughter is the best way to cut a bully down to size. It’s worked for centuries and always will. Yet now when we are all fighting to survive a world full of bullies we have cast our greatest weapon.
I can’t imagine anyone hasn’t heard a story from a comedian who says he recognized the power of funny when picked on as a kid he resorted to humor to avoid ridicule. They can’t beat you if they’re doubled up laughing at your jokes. If it ain’t broke etc…
So am I wrong in assuming that at a time in my life and so many of my friends’ lives when we desperately need laughter we are being shut down by those who have set themselves up as judges of what should be our funny?
According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter simulates many organs and enhances the intake of air, releases endorphins, activates and relieves your stress response and soothes tension. This leads to lowered blood pressure and better circulation and beats the hell out of downing a handful of meds every day.
All Baby Boomers have suddenly found themselves in a battle with Father Time. And because we know in the end he will win, we fight valiantly each day to make life as easy and rewarding as possible. Many days we are accompanied by pain, fatigue, trying

to remember where we put our keys or what the hell we were calling a friend to tell them as we are plagued by senior moments. Where once we were excited to see a friend’s number pop up on our phone, now a small part of us wonders if they are calling with more bad news about someone who became sick or died.
We all know how it has become necessary to cheer ourselves up when life comes crashing around us and reminding us of our own mortality.
Yet the very coping mechanism that once served to relieve us in times of difficulty is being stripped away and has become a political tool for those that would tell us how to think, feel, act and what is or is not funny.
Dude Perfect is a group of guys on YouTube that my grandsons turned me onto. They exploit people’s stereotypes and their video about the pandemic quarantine points out so clearly how alike we all truly are. I can’t imagine anyone could watch that video, see them hoarding toilet paper and not be doubled up in laughter. The very fact that an old broad like myself and my young grandsons can both laugh at the same craziness proves the universality of Dude Perfect’s humor.
One thing I have never had any problem with is grasping what is humorous. The Lord may not have provided me with Heidi Klum’s looks or body, but he did give me an innate sense of funny. Yet despite the fact I believe certain jokes or comics are funny I understand fully that not everyone has the same sense of humor or point of reference. I think what bothers me most is the fact there are others that deign to tell me my sense of humor is inappropriate and judge what I should find funny.
Milton Berle dressed as a woman; funny, Nazis in black boots dancing and singing Springtime for Hitler; funny! Monty Python Life of Brian; funny!
Despite the fact we all may not share the same cultures or life experiences certain things affect humans in the same ways. Finding and sharing love, fear, death, getting old and mothers-in-laws all seem to be universal. The things we strive for and care about are

shared. Our families, our children and finding a place for ourselves on this crowded planet bonds us all.
Once it seemed no one was off limits. When Chevy Chase fell down every Saturday night to point out President Gerald Ford’s clumsiness I laughed, not because I disliked Ford, but because it was damn funny! In fact it made Gerald Ford more endearing. And unfortunately gave Chevy a bad back. Yes, it’s true sometimes we suffer for our art.
Now we have politicians that are ridiculous and hilarious and we dare not even point out how gigantic the caps are covering their ears. And the fact they actually take themselves seriously, well that’s enough comedy material for a lifetime. Congress…Blazing Saddles, it’s a toss up which is funnier.
I have written before about why so many have tried to understand the roots of Jewish humor and why we are a people that have so embraced the funny. It’s quite simple really, instead of accepting ourselves as victims we choose humor as the coping mechanism to lighten our circumstances. A close second is chocolate and that explains the Jewish food thing.
Laughter cuts the enemy down to size, allows us to laugh at that which scares us and unites us in the best of ways. It helps release the pain inside and exorcises our demons.
If you will notice, Fascist governments have no sense of humor and allow none in their victims. They know the benefits of a society that can share a laugh and the power it ignites. That is why it is so important to stop people from laughing together because it keeps them separate and easier to control.
If everyone can laugh at their leaders it unites them in a way that scares a totalitarian more than any weapon.
Of course too many today fail to understand the intense importance of accepting ourselves as human beings with flaws and failures and laughter’s immense power of healing. In a non-simplistic way to “laugh it off” and how humor helps do that. And if one chooses not to laugh, please don’t tell others they have no right to their chuckles. No one should castigate those who need a good Yuk to

get through the day and where to find one. In a free society we can all change the channel, so to speak.
I recently came cross Abbott and Costello on the old people’s network where they replay “retro” shows. They were doing their “Who’s on First?” routine. I sat in amazement as I laughed as hard as I had so many hundreds of times before. Funny is funny and we all need funny to get through life.
The French have a wise expression, (Yes, I know hard to believe right?) “Vive la Difference!” In other words embrace the differences in others and celebrate them.
We all don’t have to be the same, think the same and act the same. Robots and people under totalitarian regimes must do that. Case in point; Iran.
Being lucky enough to grow up in a free society I long ago discovered the best way to keep it free was to share a laugh. I’m white, but I’ll bet I laugh louder than anyone when Tyler Perry puts on that costume and turns into Madea. Not because of the character’s blackness, but because he’s satirizing all strong, not- taking-any-crap women in a brilliant and hilarious way. Madea is every woman.
When my husband and I were first married Cheech and Chong’s Firesign Theatre album had us rolling on the floor crying and laughing. Humor crosses all color and religious lines. Our struggles no matter how individual affect us all in the same ways. Laughter is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other as a species. Laughing feels good, it releases endorphins that raise us up and spark happiness while uniting us in powerful ways.
No audience laughing together can deny how it bonds us and paves the way for friendship and camaraderie. It amplifies our sameness and minimizes our differences. It is the great equalizer.
If we didn’t need a sense of humor, God wouldn’t have given us one.
Making someone laugh is giving a present, a gift that makes a moment happier and is a beautiful experience to share. It creates the positive energy we need to survive.

Growing old is not for sissies nor is growing up and we all benefit from laughter no matter the age, race, religion or sexual orientation. Inside we are all just people struggling to get through the craziness that is life on Planet Earth. And in case you haven’t noticed it’s getting pretty crazy out there. So call a friend and share a laugh. Then have a piece of chocolate cake, look in the mirror naked and laugh your ass off. Oh, if it were only that easy? Gee maybe it really is!

Veggie Chicken with Grapes and Wine

Four chicken thighs cut up

½ package of frozen veggie mix of corn carrots and peas

½ cup White wine

1 ½ cups of Red or green seedless grapes cut in half or whole if small.

2 cups of Yukon Gold potatoes cut up 

Butter and oil for sautéing

2 cups whipping cream

Salt to taste

Saute cut up chicken thighs in mixture of butter and oil.

When almost done add potatoes, veggies and cream and continue cooking until veggies are done. 

Add ½ cup of white wine (I use Sherry) and grapes then salt to taste.

Let cook until cream thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. 

May serve over rice or noodles or with a sheet of baked puff pastry over top 

Why Didn’t Samantha Divorce Darrin? What Was She Thinking?

Darrin Stephens was the worst husband ever! Sadder even was Samantha’s complete acquiescence to his demanding and irrational behavior toward who and what she was.

Sadly, when I was a child I failed to grasp the subtle messages inherent in the Bewitched series, one of the more popular television shows of its era. Television was our social media and our influencers were the characters on our favorite shows each week. No wonder we bought the hype of the times and in the end paid a price.

Oh sure Darrin came off as a long suffering mortal with a witch of a mother-in-law, but who was really the villain in this scenario? And didn’t Endora have good reason to despise her misogynistic son-in-law?

Samantha’s desire to live within the rules set by her tyrant of a husband still leave me speechless.

In one episode she is cleaning the oven when Endora enters the kitchen and is quite perturbed to see her daughter doing housework.

Endora’s disgust is totally understandable, but Samantha’s contentment with her housewifely duties is also quite shocking.

If one sees her behavior as a lark and enjoying living the life of a mortal woman, well okay, I imagine we can all understand that mindset. We can also understand that any woman in her right mind would be thrilled to twitch her nose and a second later witness a sparkling house with no effort. Now I don’t know about you but if I could zap my stove clean, scrub the floors or have the dirty laundry show up clean and folded in the drawers, I’d opt for that solution in a New York minute.

However, the fact the real theme of Bewitched is not that Darrin Stephens married a witch, but that he was constantly and angrily forcing her to abandon her nature and behave as a mortal is what frosts my cookies. His constant reminders that he is the “King” of his castle are enough to make a modern woman puke and cast him as one of the most reprehensible characters in television history.

Unless of course her magic suits his purposes and then it is welcomed. Can you say hypocrite?

The message here goes much deeper than simply Samantha choosing to live a mortal life.

It is a man dominating a woman and forbidding her to be who she is. Simply perpetrating the myth that women are subservient to men.

Sounds like the fifties to me.

Darrin’s constant rants about being the head of the household and demanding she stop using witchcraft, becomes more egregious when his daughter is born a witch and he then outlaws her nature as well. Sadly, it is hard to watch for it takes me back to a time when women were expected to do the bidding of their husbands and act as society deemed a proper wife should, cleaning, cooking and childcare. 

I am absolutely not saying those are not wonderfully virtuous aspects of a woman’s life, but it should be her choice. No one should diminish any choice a woman makes that will fulfill her and make her happy.

Samantha was a witch and as such she was privy to powers and abilities far greater than ordinary women could imagine.

Yet Darrin insisted over and over in a rather screeching tone by the way, she not use her powers or simply put, just be who she is.

At this point I must stress that I am well aware it was a comedy and make believe, and no I don’t believe in witches, but of course Tinkerbell is another issue.

Yet the theme of the show, husband against wife or witch, his power over her powers and her inability to be herself and have to sneak around just to be her true self, is yet another reason women of the fifties were brainwashed into such behavior. Of course there is always Lucy who wants to be in Ricky’s show and need I say more?

This is not comedy to women who were raised in a time when their opportunities were limited to what society and their father’s felt was appropriate for women. Raised in a home where women were expected to be no more than wives and mothers and a daughter’s duty was to get her MRS degree and provide her parents with grandchildren and a successful husband I can speak firsthand of the damage these attitudes can inflict.

A man demanding we be something other than what we were, denying our visions or dreams for ourselves and having to bow to the male order sentenced too many women to failure to live up to their potential and achieve their dreams. 

Watching reruns of this show I wince at his very vocal demands that Samantha bend to his will.

Perhaps even sadder is the fact Samantha continues to use her powers behind Darrin’s back. That he hates his mother-in-law because she simply wants her daughter to be who she truly is and have the life she was raised to enjoy is selfish and petty.

Samantha’s desire to live mortally feels hollow in that she continues to use her powers and thus has not truly committed to a life without witchcraft. Is a good marriage one that has both partners hiding and sneaking around to do the things they enjoy, but the other forbids? 

Using her abilities proves she is comfortable with her own self and is only bowing to his demands to please him. This is even sadder that a woman would deny herself to appease a man.

During the fifties and early sixties women in sitcoms were powerless and had to resort to sneaky tactics to achieve their will. I believe “Father Knows Best” says it all.

This lesson was never lost on young girls watching and believing the husband rules and women must be clever and hide their true self.

It was the Darrin Stephens of the world that set the women’s movement back by years. Watching a woman as attractive as Elizabeth Montgomery married to a dork like Dick York is tough enough to buy, but the fact she is capable of twitching her nose to improve her life and change the world and is forbidden to do so is just sad.

Darrin Stephens is just representative of how women were held back and chained to a paradigm that forbade them freedom of choice over their own lives.

Young women today would never tolerate such weakness in their role models. Although the women’s movement made a great first effort, it failed to take into account the fact that some women did choose to be housewives and mothers and this was their prerogative as well. Whatever lifestyle a woman wants she should be able to select for herself.

Women have shown time and again they are very capable of multi tasking their lives. Of course one’s priorities should be in the right places and hopefully the things that truly matter will always be in the forefront. Yet it is not fair to tell a woman how to live, what to choose or what she is capable of in this world. No one should be a Darrin Stephens and dictate who one should be.

Unconditional love and acceptance is what we strive to find in this life and I can definitely tell you it didn’t exist on Bewitched


Sound Bites from Memory Hell and NBC

      Sound Bites from Memory Hell and NBC

Wally Cleaver died!

Wally who you ask? Well if you did and you are a Baby Boomer you either grew up without a television or lived on Mars.

Anyone who existed before the advent of color TV knows Wally was the Beaver’s brother, or as some may also know him, Eddie Haskell’s best friend.

Tony Dow was only 77 years old, and no I can’t believe I would ever put the word only in front of 77 years old, and he’s certainly left me feeling mortal. Yet incredibly nostalgic for the great old shows I loved as a kid.

When I remember childhood so much excitement and comfort existed within the confines of that box in the living room playing moving pictures. This new and awesome friend became the babysitter, entertainer and object of amazement as we sat, eyes glued and sucking in the wonder.

The shock of growing older is stifled by the amazing ability we humans have to live in a permanent state of denial about aging. Unless we are faced with an-in-your-face situation like illness or we trip over our own boob when we remove our bra, we can pretty much go along believing we are still in our thirties and all life lies ahead.

Please do not for one moment think I’m surprised a celebrity could die. I do not labor under the delusion that because you’ve been on television or starred on the big screen you are immortal. Although, actually in a crazy sense you are and our favorite shows provide a sense of that earth-standing-still mentality. Characters and plots, always constant offer some feeling of assurance things haven’t really changed despite the reality that exists when we turn away from our television screen.

So many programs have casts now gone to celebrity heaven. Their only problem is there are no agents in heaven and therefore no multi million-dollar deals. Too sad, yet residuals aside I’m certain we’d all be happy to know that Samantha is still tweaking her nose, The Golden Girls are still listening to Rose’s St. Olaf stories and Roy Rogers and Trigger are still catching the bad guys.

Soupy Sales is throwing pies at the angels, Granny Clampett is still swimming in the ceement pond and Barney Fyfe is screwing up and getting haircuts from Floyd the Barber. Ozzie Nelson never leaves the house to go to work, Perry Mason always has the killer on the stand five minutes before the end of the show, Ben Cartwright has four grown, unmarried sons living with him on the Ponderosa, The Twilight Zone is creeping everyone out and Groucho Marks is still smoking a cigar and waiting for the duck to drop down. Oh yes, Father Knows Best, Jack Benny is playing that violin and The Real McCoys still are. Maverick is playing poker and looking damn good, Donna Reed is making oatmeal at eight in the morning in a silk shirtwaist, heels and pearls. (Yeah, like that ever happened in real life. My mother was still in her nightgown when I got home from school). 

Dobie Gillis is chasing women and Maynard G. Krebs is still allergic to work. Dick Clark is at the bandstand looking twenty-five, never aging and introducing Frankie Avalon. Danny Thomas is hoping to Make Room for DaddyDeath Valley still is, Bugs Bunny is dressing up with a mop on his head and lipstick to entice the Tasmanian Devil and the Naked City never got dressed. Wagon Train is heading west and Chester is limping on Gunsmoke while Miss Kitty wears those feather boas around her neck. Jack Webb is getting “just the facts, Mam” on Dragnet, Ralph Cramden is driving a bus and Norton is addressing the ball on The Honeymooners. We always love Lucy although she still has some splainin to do.

The Flying Nun hasn’t landed, and believe it or not the professor can figure out how to make a radio, but not how to fix the boat so they all remain on Gilligan’s Island.

That Girl lives in an expensive New York apartment and dresses in couture while working part time, and Hogan’s Heroes are outwitting the Germans because Shultz “knows nothing.”

Jeannie walks around with her navel uncovered and sleeps in a bottle, Mission Impossible still is and on Green Acres Eva Gabor dresses every day for an inaugural ball and possessed the first Glam Squad. Get Smart is hanging out in the cone of silence and Petticoat Junction is well, yeah, right. Colombo, like every real-life detective figures out the killer in the first two minutes and Beep Beep Rosie is cleaning The Jetsons’ house. And when is she coming to clean mine already?

Sky King is flying around heaven and Uncle Miltie is dressing up as a woman and making us all laugh. Buddy Sorrell is insulting Mel Cooley while Laura Petrie is yelling, “Oh Rob”.

The Brady Bunch is surrounded by avocado green appliances and wood paneled rooms, My Favorite Martian is living with Bill Bixby and moving his head antenna up and down unable to leave earth. Lassie is saving Timmy and Lois Lane hasn’t figured out the guy she’s in love with is really Clark Kent. Sid Caesar does the best fake accents anywhere on Your Show of Shows and Gracie Allen is a lovable airhead while George just smokes his cigar and patiently grins. Red Skelton is still Clem Kadiddlehopper, Our Miss Brooks is unsuccessfully lusting after Mr. Boynton and Abbot and Costello are asking, “Who’s on first?”

My Little Margie is driving her dad Charlie Farrell and his boss Mr. Honeywell crazy which is why Farrell went on to open The Racket Club in Palm Springs when land there was five dollars an acre. December Bride is living with her children while they search to find her a husband and Liberace is still in the closet sporting a candelabra for some additional class.

Ernie Kovacs’ wackiness and brilliance remains greatly missed by all and  I Married Joan introduced Jim Backus who went on be Mr. Magoo and Thurston Howell the III. Mr. Peepers is a shy science professor who’s not as scatterbrained as people think, and Fury is still a magnificent black stallion.

Red Buttons is singing Hidiho and F Troop can’t find their way out of a paper bag. The Life of Riley still is and Ann Southern continues to be a very Private SecretaryTopper remains plagued with ghosts and an alcoholic St. Bernard and The Millionaire’s Michael Anthony refuses to drop off my check. 

Yo Rinty! Need I add more? 

The Bob Cummings Show has Alice B. Davis madly in love with her boss but getting nowhere, which is probably why she left and became Alice on The Brady Bunch.

Sgt. Bilko is the best con man in any man’s army and actually managed to get a monkey, Harry Speak Up inducted. Lest we ever forget Sheena Queen of the Jungle or how no week could ever begin properly without The Ed Sullivan Show

But of course no list of great shows could ever be complete without the Mouse. I had my ears ready every day while Jimmy Dodd and Big Roy led the Mouseketeers through the theme of that day’s show. My favorite was Friday when Spin and Marty at the Double R Bar RanchAnnette and all fun series were featured. Although, Anything-Can-Happen Day on Wednesdays was pretty damn good stuff too.

I know I’ve left some oldies but goodies out so you could fill in your favorites. Please send me any I’ve forgotten and your thoughts on those shows. Hey! Why do I have to do all the work here? Just kidding, I love remembering all the happy moments these shows brought into my life as a kid and even today. I hope I just brought some new smiles to you.

Getting Old Sucks!

Getting Old Sucks!

No, I don’t want to hear anyone say, “Sure, but it’s better than the alternative.”

Excuse me, but no one really knows that for sure do they? For all we know the alternative could be Wonkaland or a hut over the water in Bora Bora. Or maybe a massage every day throughout eternity and then a buffet filled with your favorite foods minus calories. Or surrounded by the people you love all the time and they aren’t allowed to criticize you or get on your nerves.

Wow, Paradise!

So now that we’ve put the whole best alternative myth to rest let’s get real shall we?

I seem to spend most of my time lately between doctor visits and healing from surgeries to replace broken parts, talking about the past.

Friends and I commiserate about the good old days when childhood was simple, and how we actually walked back and forth to school, alone. In winter we’d wrap up in ten layers of jackets, undershirts (which my father insisted I wear over my bra) then march out into the cold snowy day alongside a friend.  

I still have a difficult time reconciling how I walked so much as a kid, even home for lunches, played outside, yet still was fat. What’s up with that? I guess I’m over the exercise-keeps-you-thin theories.

I read a study years ago that because Baby Boomers were so active as kids it is easier for us to get back into shape again, than for our children to get into shape in the first place.

Supposedly our muscle memory is still there waiting in the wings for us to run a marathon or walk miles.

Excuse me? As a friend reminded me when hearing that piece of information, her muscle memory now has dementia. I found it hard to argue with that diagnosis. When I call upon my body to pick its flabby ass up off the couch and walk the miles through Costco, it answers me with some incredibly salty language I choose not to repeat.

“Hello, Norma to muscle memory. Wake up and come on down.”

I never knew a muscle was capable of giving someone the finger.

I totally understand why our memories can instantly remember over fifty years ago yet forget last week. Thinking about the wonderful times with friends and family when we were young in a far easier world is a special kind of comfort. One usually reserved for a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie or that first bite of turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving.

There is definite pleasure in recalling happy moments when we were carefree, and remembering to come in the house when the streetlights came on was our only responsibility.

Of course everyone knows that old age is challenging and some seem to coast through while others have to schlep along. Is the difference good genes, attitude, sheer luck or perhaps something else?

I think it may be a combination of all with a hefty dose of genetics thrown in for good measure.

To me it seems those who truly cope well are those who’ve lightened their load.

No, I don’t mean weight, at least not in the sense you might think.

I’m referring to lightening the heavy burden of regrets, hurts, anger and sadness we all carry with us attached to our hearts in an invisible sack.

Should we, how could we, had we, why didn’t we, are the words that still haunt and drag us down every time we say or think them.

If I had only, how could I have thought, etc. are the banes of our existence when we are older. 

So many times we forget what a negative effect they impart, and so many times those negative feelings can actually manifest into actual physical symptoms and illnesses.

We get loaded down and then suddenly the world seems hopeless. Our immune system is crying out for help under the weight of all the useless baggage and life becomes a bit overwhelming and disappointing.

Not all of us give in to those feelings but many do, and they seem to be the ones that suffer most and have less fun.

I have a friend that finds it almost impossible to let go of anything in her closet. Those forty pairs of black pants are an absolute necessity for her.

Too many are the same way with their emotional pants. Letting go is hard whether it be a favorite jacket, an old piece of furniture or the regrets and pain of the past.

Sometimes it’s easier just accepting the impossibility of getting through life without screwing up something somewhere. Yet I wonder what we’d all change if we had the opportunity?

The Butterfly Effect where one change in the past can set a whole different outcome into motion is a powerful deterrent.

I like to think if we look around we can all find at least ten things every day to be grateful for and happy about. Okay so we don’t always look, including me, but we should.

So in the end I guess it’s about focus. Recalling happy times in the past is fun and comforting as long as we spend just as much time enjoying the present. Planning fun and interesting things to do in this moment. 

Is it easy to get bored? You bet! Yet with very little effort we can all pull out that bucket list and find something fun we haven’t yet done or accomplished and set out to do it immediately.

I’ve heard so many people say that happiness is a choice and to some extent it is. Sure there are going to be tough times when you can’t fool yourself into thinking there is any way to find any good in your situation. 

Perhaps that’s why we must be happy right now, so if the bad times come (hopefully not) at least we know that someday after the bad the good can return once more.

Yep, getting old can suck, but it can also be a pretty great time, even though maybe not all the time.

A Special Thank You to Old Friends

A Special Thank You to Old Friends

It’s been quite a shockeroo getting older. Although I’m grateful to still be at the party, my feet really hurt from dancing. I’ve gained a bit of experience good and bad and that has led to many truths I now embrace.

One of the realizations I’ve come to is that despite time and distance, we need to care about and keep in touch with old friends.

The laugh laugh golden years are as scary a place to enter as the New York subway,. We seek comfort in this new uncharted world and one sure place to which we can turn for help is old friends.

Memories become so fickle when your brain becomes the arbiter of what we are able to remember. 

“Excuse me, brain what did I do last week?”

“Sorry, can’t compute right now. However do you remember when you were in high school and you went to that concert with your friends and drove to Canada and…?”

“No, Brain. I’m trying to recall what I did last Thursday not a hundred years ago.”

“Bossy bossy, don’t push your luck here. Take what you can get. Your request will take a few minutes to pull up, meanwhile here’s a fun gem from your sorority initiation.”

“Great, thanks, brain. Just what I need to cheer me up, a visual of me at twenty.”

As these older memories become more prevalent, old friends rise to the forefront of our minds. It somehow feels good to recall happy, carefree times and the friends with whom we shared them.

As we’re making an appointment for our knee surgery, it’s comforting to call an old friend that has survived that battle. And while you’re chatting good memories surface to dispel the unpleasantness of reality. 

I never thought I would have anything in common with Lindsey Wagner except being female, but now it seems we are both bionic.

The last few years have been brutal for most of us occupying planet earth. Locked down, shut in and unable to travel or see grandchildren has taken a toll on the happiness factor to which we all aspire.

Even the most optimistic of us can’t ignore or rebuff the realities of growing older. Taking ten minutes to straighten up from a chair when once we jumped up and ran. Marching into surgery centers to get replacement parts that are done with such automated precision General Motors is envious. Finding fat where muscle once occupied space in our bodies becomes apparent when a good wind perfectly directed at our underarms can turn us into the Flying Nun. The fun amusement park of growing older has more rides than Hunter Biden has drugs.

A friend admitted recently that she is now perfectly content to be home more. Where once she would seek to be active and out in the world she is content to be safe in her cocoon and needn’t travail the outside world as often. I could relate. 

Yet when we are home, despite all efforts to keep our minds busy with activities like, streaming, reading, cooking, chatting on the phone with friends, and how we failed to save the world for democracy, we have more time to think about “the good old days,” and those with whom we traveled that road. 

Shared memories can lighten the load of a difficult day. Remembering happy times brightens what might be a sad time when you learn a friend is ill or you lose someone. For just a moment while we are talking we become young once more and still filled with those awe-and-wonder feelings of youth.

Of course we all determine to keep busy and active. To make the most of every minute and live in a state of gratitude, thankful for our blessings, but when life throws us a curveball old friends are there to catch it before it hits you in the head.

I’m not in any way suggesting we live in the past, but let’s be real; the past contains a lot of years and a lot of memories. Moments that make us feel warm and cozy and contain laughter and the joys of youth. What a great feeling if even for a few minutes that young and carefree shared happiness returns and brightens our lives.

So many of us now leave the holiday cooking to our daughters or daughters in law to achieve. Standing in the kitchen has become a chore not so easily accomplished and we’re happy to pass the torch to our children.

Still those pre-holiday times remain a time of joyous memories. My friend Marsha and I would talk on the phone while preparing mashed potato dumplings. Chatting and laughing made the time pass quicker, and the task of cooking for thirty people less tedious. Now at holiday time speaking to Marcia brings back the happy feeling of the family all together again, parents, in laws and even husbands that are no longer here. For even a brief conversation everyone is once again alive and sharing a holiday meal.

Old friends can give this gift to us, the remembrance of a time when those who’ve left are once again at the forefront of our happiest memories. Places we haunted as kids, schools we attended and old neighborhood foods and faces return. 

The challenges of getting older seem easier when shared. As any difficult task many hands make quick work and it’s comforting to know those whom you trust have the audacity to face Father Time head on. 

Putting up a sukkah with friends was quite an occasion each year and now the feel of autumn while talking to Yolanda brings those memories close. An over abundance of food, the smell of the branches, watching in my mind’s eye as my children, now young again, place the leaves on the walls as the crisp autumn air encircles them in a blanket of laughter and love.

I was lucky to have so many friends I cared and still care about. Although my childhood friend Nancy is in Florida a Facetime call brings her into the same room to laugh and gossip about our crowd. Okay, and good practice at ignoring the now-evident wrinkles.

I suppose I’m the overly sentimental type but I know when I speak to old friends time slips away like a curtain and pictures of wonderful times reappear.

I imagine we all wonder what it would be like to pick one moment to relive once again, yet all of these times are available by simply sharing them through a phone call or Facetime. Perhaps this is the universe’s gift to us and as far as I can see it seems to be working just fine. 

No Yin to Soften the Yang; Maybe America Needs a Royal Family

No Yin to Soften the Yang

Maybe America Needs a Royal Family

Life is a process and must possess a delicate balance. The Chinese expression yin and yang has always referred to the state of being that creates a fulfilling and stable life.

Sadly in today’s world chaos and insanity are out of proportion and out of control.

So what does this mean for individuals that seek happiness and contentment, that long for equilibrium?

Well one could look to England for inspiration. Just go with me here for a minute.

In 1960 the United States found itself in a new position. That young family in the White House was not simply the first couple, but for the first time the closest thing to royalty in United States history. Now of course our forefathers, who in their infinite wisdom foresaw the dangers of a monarchy were probably correct. Even George Washington was loath to be President because he thought it might too closely resemble a kingship. Okay, so they gave us Uncle Sam as a consolation prize and he’s a favorite, unless he’s been cancelled, I’m not sure.

Yet look at the facts. The Kennedy dynasty’s indiscretions, with a patriarch far less than noble, were pretty much kept under wraps. With no Internet information access was in quite a different state. The Kennedy brothers’ reputations as womanizers weren’t acknowledged and American people only saw a young, elegant and beautiful couple to admire and hold in high esteem.

When Jackie went to France and captivated the French by speaking their language then enthralled De Gaulle and Khrushchev, we watched proudly. This was our first lady and probably the closest thing to a queen America would ever know. Ah, Camelot was alive and well in D.C..

Americans felt a deep sense of pride over the Kennedys. Her sophistication, elegance and style rubbed off and every woman wanted a pillbox hat or a Jackie style suit. Women copied her hairstyle and men were in awe of her beauty; women by her grace and femininity. We were thrilled to be able to say, “That’s our President and First Lady.” They rivaled any stars in Hollywood and of course we weren’t aware he was sleeping with one.

Of course we all know things have changed dramatically. We no longer view politicians as anything but subhuman and we hold no illusions. Our repulsion returns each November when we are forced to cast a vote for either bad or horrible and those of us who remember the age of innocence are saddened. Oh to be dumb once more.

So I imagine that’s why many Americans are so possessed with the British Royal family. Yes, I’ll say it, “they look to the Queen as their rock and their comfort and in bad times she is there.” She’s the Mom of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, strong, tough and never veers off course. No matter what chaos reigns around her she steadfastly faces it down. She’s the Queen and they are her loyal subjects.

She brings some stability even when their politicians behave like, well politicians, and act reprehensively and corruptly. They have the Queen to fall back on. It is Her Majesty’s government after all. 

Who can Americans look to when our politicians make us sicker to our stomachs than a night of binge drinking and downing tacos? No one! We can’t look to our Queen to reassure us all is well in the kingdom when it is far from that.

So we are forced to face this new reality alone without a monarch. 

Horrifying suicide rates, rising crime, inflation and having to sell your house to fill your gas tank. What does this do to a person’s psyche?

When I was younger life seemed easier. Despite difficult times one could look forward to a happy occasion or event to take the edge off. There were weddings, confirmations, sweet sixteens, holiday gatherings and other upbeat events to allow one to forget the sadness of the week. 

The last three years in the world there has been an overabundance of yang with no ying to soften the blow.

We have been cut off from the world and even now attending parties or events comes at a risk. 

The world is always changing and yet humans could cope by depending on the comfort of a happy time to ease the difficulty of a crisis. We need more joy, more parties, perhaps although it will never happen, our own Queen. 

Many have ventured out into the world deciding against allowing the forces of evil to impede their ability to live a full life. This has worked out well for some and not so much for others, but risk assessment is an individual’s prerogative.

So I guess we’re on our own here in the USA. By the way there is a rumor Uncle Sam has COVID so we may be out of luck there, too.

Why We Buy Stuff on TV

“Cinderella is proof a new pair of shoes can change your life”

The other day I was watching one of the home shopping channels and it was Christmas in July, definitely one of the more brilliant marketing ploys in modern times. Who isn’t dreaming of Christmas while you’re sweating by the pool? Well, there I am watching twinkle lights, artificial trees and gold colored bells and lights at twenty times the price as the dollar store. 

So why do people buy all this stuff and these networks make billions?

Infomercials aside, and yes Cindy Crawford is gorgeous and if I thought I would look like her I’d buy her face creams all day long, the home shopping channels have cornered the market on couch potato spending. And let’s not forget the pandemic’s contribution to all this. Point and click and ten pounds of cookies can be yours.

I shall now divulge their secrets, not that it will in any way deter us from falling into their highly effective sales traps. They are good and we are hooked.

In case one hasn’t noticed every celebrity and their mother now has a product on these stations. I saw the Pope last week hawking cinnamon communion wafers and it was the daily special! Such a deal! There are over a billion Catholics in the world so you do the math. You could also buy them on auto ship, another incredible sales ploy.

So why do we buy all this stuff we don’t need? Aside from the fact our favorite celebrities are selling it there is another reason. They pound every product into your head until you’re certain if you don’t buy that new drain cleaner your house will flood, no man will ever look at you again unless you’re wearing that new magic formula make up and yes, this new beauty cream is guaranteed to make you look ten years younger so why spend money on plastic surgery. It’s a damn public service they’re doing.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen them present a new product and I shook my head and said to myself, who in their right mind would buy that? By the end of the show I am convinced I need those scissors with the built in hedge clipper and rush to call in before it’s sold out. And I don’t even have any hedges!

Can anyone live without the most comfortable bras, the most gorgeous Christmas twinkling lights in a set of three colors or a house cleaner that does everything and even doubles as a mixer with vodka after you’re through cleaning.

A very important component to these channels is they fill in the lonely hours for many people who become attached to the hosts.

Regular viewers call in with comments and the hosts recognize the names, whether they actually do or not they react that way. Listeners happily tell the host they just bought four pairs of Diamonique earrings for Christmas gifts as though they’d just won the lottery. 

Shopping becomes personal despite the fact you’re doing it with millions of other people. The late Joan Rivers realized very quickly that her customers translated into more fans at her comedy performances and she mastered the art of forming relationships that added more cha ching to her whole bank thing.

One downside to the experience is the number of times products arrive and are far from what you expect. Luckily returns are a no brainer and customers do have the option of leaving reviews about everything that’s sold. Just a tip here, it’s a damn good idea to check these out before making that call.

They have made it so easy to buy all you need to do is dial the number and you are immediately recognized. Hello sucker (fill in name here) are you calling for item number 123456? What color, how many and do you want a flexible payment method?

That’s the best! You can buy some fifty-dollar piece of crap and take three years without interest to pay it off. Who can resist, it’s like free? Hey wait do I need a fifth air fryer? Well damn it is only five dollars a month so why not?

No wonder the retail stores are in trouble. When you walk through Macy’s there is merchandise on a rack, an occasional mannequin and good luck even finding a salesperson anymore. I wonder what would happen if salespeople started grabbing you and talking up products until you buy. Can you say lawsuit?

On these shows there is a very well-trained host or hostess selling selling selling until you finally give in and purchase that fart filter for your husband even though he’s been dead ten years.

Like a barker at a carnival the hosts go after you convincing you this or that is a necessity you can’t live without and you buy.

Doctors show up with their own pills or make up or creams and that home liposuction kit will eliminate that midriff bulge in twenty minutes.

Even celebrity chefs spend hours on the channel hawking cookware until you’re convinced your eggs could never taste good again unless they’re fried in that chef’s non-stick pan. Even popular hosts sell their own products, have cookbooks of their own recipes and have garnered millions of fans to serve their own retail agenda.

There is nothing you can’t buy on television. Furniture, clothing, food, tools, dishes, toys and I’m waiting for a daily special on a car before trading in my old one.

This is the epitome of American ingenuity and marketing so a big bravo to them. Capitalism is alive and well on television and reigns supreme.

Well I have to go perfect a piece of junk I’m working on to sell to one of the channels, so see you on TV. Oh wait, is that an earwax candle kit? Wow that definitely takes recycling to a whole new level. Happy shopping, everyone! 

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie And Please Teach Me How!

“Innocent sleep. Sleep that soothes away all our worries. Sleep that puts each day to rest. Sleep that relieves the weary laborer and heals hurt minds. Sleep, the main course in life’s feast, and the most nourishing.” Macbeth.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie and Please Teach Me How

Like getting older doesn’t bring enough fun surprises; little things appearing on your body from who knows where, foods you always enjoyed determined to go ten rounds with your digestive ability and always losing your glasses to the top of your head. Now sleep depravation is a new wrinkle with which to contend.

It’s hard to believe now that I was never a great sleeper. As a child I fought sleep with every particle of my being, frightened I would miss something of cosmic importance while my head was ensconced in my fluffy pillow. Of course now I realize at this age such events would be a good thing to miss.

I would do everything to avoid my bedtime using pleas of “one more show, please, I didn’t see Uncle Miltie yet, can’t I watch the fights with Grandpa or I hear the Northern Lights are heading toward Michigan and I want to see if they show up.”

These excuses fell on deaf ears so I contented myself to lie in bed listening to my Zenith clock radio until midnight when my favorite show Lee Allen on the Horn closed with Frank Sinatra’s classic I Can’t Get Started With You. Then I would succumb to dreamland unsure as to whether or not I had missed some earth-shattering event.

This all changed when I hit the teen years and discovered sleeping until noon was a luxury I could definitely get behind and endorse. Many a time I greeted my friends on a Sunday afternoon still in my pajamas while we sat on my bed listening to records and exchanging the latest tidbits of gossip. Sounds rather frivolous now looking back at how we probably should have been discussing how to change the world or learning about how to end political corruption. But I digress.

After I was blessed with children I realized how valuable a few moments of sleep could be. I would have traded everything I had to close my eyes for even fifteen minutes and know blissful sleep once again. A Porsche, no thanks, but can you watch the kids for half and hour so I can get some ZZZs, please?

There was a short time between toddler and teen when I was blessed with trips to dreamland and happily crawled into bed at the end of a long and fun-filled day of cooking cleaning, laundry, shopping and attempting to close my zippers over my ever-expanding waistline.

Then I once again found myself lacking sleep when my children secured a driver’s license and I couldn’t enter dreamland until the garage door opened and I was certain they were safely in the house.

Different stages of life require various amounts of sleep. I am surprised at how I functioned with so little sleep when my kids were babies and teenagers and how much I seemed to need as a teen. And therein lies the rub, because now that I have all the time in the world to snooze, a good night’s sleep seems as out of reach as a face free of wrinkles or thighs that don’t shake like Los Angeles when I walk.

I know I’m not alone in my attempts to sleep through the night as many friends have also shared their stories. Tales abound of how their trips to the bathroom each night find them wide-awake and searching for the remote to continue the Frasier or Golden Girls marathon. I myself find that falling asleep even for two minutes in the middle of a show constitutes a nap to my old confused body and I’m up and good for a few hours more as I flip around and settle on Netflix at three in the morning.

No matter how many times I try to tell my addled mind that two minutes do not a night’s sleep make, I am not getting through and only with the help of a good antihistamine can I accomplish this goal. As one who would rather not depend on drugs to do the trick I have conversations before bed with my subconscious about the benefits of sleep and how we must be nice to us. Yet it all falls on deaf ears and there I am once again at five thirty in the morning staring at the screen and wondering how in the world I am going to awaken for that doctor appointment at eight o’ clock and function on less than three hours sleep.

Well, that’s the point; I can’t. The next day I sleepwalk through my responsibilities until I sit down at three o’clock or so, turn on the television and quickly pass out. 

Of course this lovely afternoon nap is a precursor to another night of eyes wide open staring at a Frasier rerun or The Birdcage viewing. I fight desperately to avoid some anxiety producing reality, but once awake my mind runs through all the stressful situations with which I am currently faced like a scanner on steroids.

So I turn once again to Sophia calling Blanche a slut and wonder how I could have ever taken sleep for granted.

Of course one wonders how much sleep is the optimum amount for someone in the laugh laugh golden years? I’d have to say enough to get through the day, but not too little to add to the ever increasing bags under your eyes.

I’ve always believed seven hours was my minimum but I have learned I can get by on six. In a pinch five, but less than five is iffy. I had three one night last week and my grandson had to wake me in the middle of our binge watching The Good Place.

Not to be maudlin but do you think your subconscious is trying to tell you, “lay off the sleep so much, you’ll get plenty of sleep soon?”

Yipes, that makes me want to stay up all night.

So reading into that Macbeth quote perhaps Shakespeare was hoping for a good night’s sleep also, and those complimentary words are his way of kissing up to the sleep gods.

At this point I’m a firm believer whatever it takes to get some ZZZs I’ll do, even if it means missing out on some world-changing event. As we’ve all learned, despite Shakespeare’s optimistic view of sleep, life will still be waiting for you in the morning. Sleep well, Readers. 

We’re All Human and Other Lies

            We’re All Human and Other Lies 

I can’t count how many times in my life I’ve heard someone say, “We’re all human.”

I am now compelled after a lifetime of experience with these so-called humans to question seriously that assumption. 

The most basic question I ask is in what regard do we refer to Homo sapiens as human. They are classified as the “wise human” and include man.

Is it a biological classification or a psychological one?

This I would stress is the ultimate question of that assessment and I seriously question the whole “wise” definition here.

If one is to classify all Homo sapiens as human simply in body function and structure than I suppose I’d have to agree the phrase is accurate.

However if it implies we all have the same psychological and mental qualities I must argue the point strenuously.

And here’s why…because one walks upright and isn’t swinging from a tree doesn’t mean one is in any way a human being.

If we qualify human behavior as acting rationally, kindly and within the limitations of society’s norms, the argument falls flat.

Many four legged creatures are more evolved than many two legged ones and I defy anyone to argue the point.

We are all led to believe that those who commit evil acts are deep down in some way really human beings that have been led astray by their environment or life’s circumstances. So we are supposed to be forgiving of their horrible behavior and acts of terror.

This is a serious misconception on our parts.

So many are brought into this world under devastating and difficult circumstances and rise above to achieve greatness and contribute to mankind.

Others pick up a gun or an axe and kill with no remorse.

Yet there are those who insist they are misunderstood or to be pitied and to this I must argue vehemently that there are only two choices that really count in the end; has one chosen good or evil in their lives? 

This is the basis for free will, but I have to add that the concept of free will is somewhat flawed. One doesn’t possess free will if freedom is withdrawn.  Too many live in totalitarian regimes or in slavery even in today’s world that inhibits free choice, but when it comes to the soul no one can enslave that which we and we alone possess. Even those who are incarcerated have the choice to seek a higher morality within the confines of prison walls.

I use the word choice because it is truly just that.

It isn’t easy to be a good person all the time. To refrain from feelings of anger, hurt, or to resist grabbing a sale item out of another’s hands at a black Friday sale.

Most people who are honest will tell you they have days when life tests them to the limits of their endurance. Life will do that to us all.

When we see someone walk into a school and kill children and teachers we would all love to get a piece of him, but our better natures prevail because that is our choice. We must allow society to mete out justice lest we fall back into a wild-west mentality despite conjuring up visions of a public stoning. (I must admit I really have a hard time with the stoning thing when politicians blubber on).

Being human is a tough gig. We are all faced with tough and horrific challenges each day. Loss, adversity, sorrow, death, illness, stupidity, incompetence, Congress, the Johnny Depp Amber Herd trial, Harry and Meghan, waiting a year for the next installment of the Mandalorian and how much can anyone take?

Human beings rise to the challenge and do it with compassion and when needed, humor. So what’s a human being to do when life turns on you and tests you to your limits?

However, unfortunately there are some who choose to forego their humanity, become instead animals and choose evil. Should we still call them human or face the reality there are some among us who choose to be otherwise and do not fit the profile?

‘Were all human is merely a designation of a species for it cannot possibly account for those that share only the skeleton with those who are human in a true sense.

Walking upright does not make one a human being, the right choices and a heart that feels love and compassion in lieu of merely beating to deliver blood is what separates us and always will.

Perhaps it is the word human we all have some ambivalence about. There might be a new classification for those who should not be placed in the same species as those who live their lives decently and with honor. Yet the definition of human seems to be up for grabs in many quarters today. Perhaps we must all decide what acting human truly entails.

We may be at odds at times about what classifies one as human, but evil is easily defined. There are no excuses, no reasons, no rhyme for those who commit atrocities, and to assume we are all human may be the first mistake we are making. Species classification is not the measure of a man, deeds and actions are. To be human is an often challenging, yet remarkably satisfying choice too many fail to opt for in today’s world.

We do not have X-ray vision or the ability to look inside another’s soul and see what evil may lurk beneath the surface, but we can see within ourselves.

Our choice to be human is a personal decision we all make each day and we can take pride in knowing it’s the right one.  

What to do When Your Dream Comes True

What To Do When Your Dream Comes True?

  What do you do when a dream comes true? Is there more than one way to deal with the realization that something you’ve strived for and sacrificed to accomplish is now in the rearview mirror of life’s highway? Should we be happy, sad, anxious, at peace or feeling a million other emotions jolting through us like electrical charges? To all of the above I say yes.

We all work toward goals that are clearly laid out on the drafting table of our mind’s eye, yet it seems when they finally materialize they are never exactly like the picture we’ve stared at for years. When there is fulfillment of a dream, it almost always is a bit different than we imagined and usually far better than what we’d conjured. Why is that? Shouldn’t it be exactly as we planned? It happened, but why is it different than we envisioned? We never foresaw that part of the dream or that wonderful addition or twist.

We hear the words and we do hear them often, you must never give up on your dreams. Trite clichés like teamwork makes the dream work and quitters never win and winners never quit keep us moving forward in the blind belief we can control the final outcome. And there’s the rub. Because we do get the outcome, but it’s far better than we planned. Shouldn’t it be perfectly perfect in every way? Who changed it and made it even better than we ourselves could ever imagine? What cosmic force interfered and took our dream and colored outside of our lines. Sure the infrastructure is still there, but the building is far more grand and beautiful than our blueprints.

If it’s true that what man can conceive he can achieve shouldn’t we just simply loosen up a bit? Is the reason some feel a certain letdown after realization of a goal because they simply don’t know where they should be heading next? Or have they driven so long in one direction they can’t imagine a different one. If there is some sort of destiny running alongside us in our quest, why must we embrace the burden fully? Perhaps it is for that very reason that fate rides along with us to simply see how dedicated we are and whether or not our dreams should fall short or be far greater than expected.

Is it merely a case of the smaller the dream the fewer enhancements it should be afforded? Or is every dream worthy of the same grand gesture from our better angels? So I pose a simple question: is the amount of effort we put into a dream what determines how much fate contributes to the outcome? Or is the amount of struggle and disappointment the catalyst for all the help? Is the amount destiny contributes a result of other disappointments and failures coming back to add to our joy over this one success? And if that’s the case why do so many people never realize their dreams but are instead thrust onto a totally different life path?

I’m not quite certain about the answers to these questions because it seems certain knowledge can never be made available and although we believe we have it all worked out, we usually don’t. I suppose there are people who achieve a dream and say, “Okay now that’s done so I can relax and play golf.” But there are also others who feel once a dream has been accomplished it only means another one begins. It is in essence a piggyback effect and leads to new chapters and adventures, perhaps never before imagined. We can never be quite certain of where a moment might lead. Small choices that may seem irrelevant to our journey can in fact be the very thing that propels us into the place we’ve struggled to reach.

One hears stories of how a simple act like making a wrong turn or getting into the wrong elevator can create an opportunity to achieve a goal long abandoned. So maybe dreams once dreamt are really never forgotten and are always possible despite our own choices.
When I was a comedian I dreamed of being on the Tonight Show. To receive a visit from the suits at NBC was the goal of every jokester that stood on a stage. Thirty-six years later I got the call and made it to NBC not because of my comedy, but because of an appearance on the Food Network. So was my comedy inconsequential to my journey or only one wheel on the vehicle that would drive me forward to success? It wasn’t the Tonight Show, it wasn’t a sitcom, it wasn’t anything I ever could have imagined and yet all the things I’d done in my life led up to the moment I entered Universal Studios and saw the Peacock emblem.

Was it what I’d imagined, heavens no. It was an experience far greater than my own limited dreams could take me. And now I must try to imagine the next stop on the journey after the detour I’ve just realized. So am I unique, not at all. If I had a dollar, even with the inflation this bad, for every time I heard someone say, “what happened was far beyond my wildest dreams,” I’d be richer than the Kardashians.

So in truth I must admit, it was, far greater that is. Would I still like to have had a moment with Johnny Carson? Of course. We don’t just stop caring about our goals although they’ve been surpassed and turned out differently than imagined. But I know now that it was the quest to be on the Tonight Show that led me to Baking It and the enhanced dream. There are always pitfalls, letdowns and disappointments on the road to achievement , but when success finally arrives it brings with it a sense of wonder and fulfillment far greater than can be imagined.

In the end I suppose one might say the powers that be usually want more for us than we want for ourselves, and in the end they do have the power after all.

Good luck with your dreams and let 2022 be the year you achieve, and believe it can be even greater than you ever imagined.  

What We Need to Be Real

What We Need to be Real

 I believe in Merlin the Magician. Of course believing in the greatest wizard who ever or never lived might seem foolishness personified to some, and cause great disagreement with the Harry Potter fans, but I choose to believe there once was a Merlin and a King Arthur complete with Knights of the Round Table that served their king with bravery and dedication. I’m not the only one so don’t look at me like that, man has been fascinated with the Arthurian legend forever.

Of course many would look at me and say I’m a few ants short of a picnic for this outrageous statement, however I’ve found life is incredibly easier if we give in to our inner child occasionally and treat ourselves to a great fantasy, like a hot fudge sundae with no calories once a month. Okay. So most people don’t wait a whole month, and okay so maybe it’s more like once a week, but my point remains the same. A great happy ending often does more for the soul than chocolate.

Yet, as the year ends I’m forced as so many to take stock and examine the past 365 days to make some type of value judgment on all events. So you might ask of me, why am I fixated on Merlin? Simply in this second year of COVID insanity for me Merlin represents magic, pots of gold at the end of rainbows and unicorns with magic-studded horns. Of mysterious forests filled with wood nymphs and fairies. I choose to believe there is magic in the world and whether or not I see it is irrelevant for it exists beyond my sight. Outside the realm where we must live and deal with the mundane and ordinary is a place filled with all the mystical wonders that escape slowly when mankind most needs to believe.

There is something within us that craves more purity and greatness than what we see with our eyes and can defy the senses. A question I must ask, why is it so easy to believe in the evil that exists beyond the world of the seen and not the good? Is it because wickedness dominates us now?

If one asked a room of people if the devil exists I am certain the answers would come down to three: no, yes he exists and three, wickedness exists so I guess you could call it the devil, in a way. For reasonably if evil exists in the world, and one look at Congress and there can be no argument on the issue, then who is the force behind that malevolence? And please don’t blame voters who are consistently faced with choosing between the lesser of two evils.

So why are we as human beings so smitten by the dark side of man’s nature and cast aside a belief in the mystical so easily? Especially when our souls crave it so. Fire-breathing dragons and monsters that go bump in the night are far more believable than Tinkerbell. And yes I clap because I believe in fairies. There is a war inside all of us between the innocence of our youthful fantasies that embrace the proverbial happy ending, and the pragmatist that cannot deny the wicked side of man’s nature so apparent in our daily lives. Now more than ever our society is faced with the inescapable truth that man’s nature too easily succumbs to its evil intentions. How shall we believe otherwise when each day we are bombarded with proof of the decline of goodness and righteousness?

Shall we blame the media? I, as a member of that once illustrious group must admit there is some truth to that statement. It is certainly a well-known belief among the press that if it bleeds it leads, and that holds true even more so today. How can mainstreaming bad be good? There doesn’t seem to be any positive news any longer so no wonder people are frustrated. This fascination with immorality has overwhelmed them to such a degree we as a society must stand up and cry “No more, please.” We crave less fire-breathing dragons and more angels in our lives.

We can’t go on swimming in the slime of depravity, but must believe that despite Grimm fairy tales there can be a happy ending. Cinderella can live happily after with the prince and damn the divorce statistics, Red Riding Hood saves her grandmother and Beauty and the Beast do live happily after without the need for plastic surgeons. It’s true that if we simply follow the second star to the right and fly straight on until morning we will reach Neverland, and Leprechauns staunchly protect the pots of gold at the end of every rainbow. 

The world is too real right now and when that happens in man’s history evil explodes and the human race must cleanse itself to make the earth once again receptive to the light. World War II was followed by a time of peace and joy when the dragon was slain and the doors of Camelot swung open and we rushed inside.

The true sadness in the now is that we are no longer just hearing of iniquity on the news, we are living it in our daily lives. Crime is rampant, lawlessness abounds and people are overwhelmed by all the insanity that has become a daily occurrence. I have no idea what it will take to slay that dragon breathing down our necks, but I am certain that soon heroes will arise and we will cast it out once more.

As we need to believe that although evil succeeds in the short run, good will ultimately prevail. On that victorious day surely we “won’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.” 

Wishing a beautiful and mystical new year to us one and all.        

My Grandparents Myself

My Grandparents Myself

Reading the tweets on Twitter about the NBC show Baking It on which I was privileged to be a judge, I was really taken by how many favorable responses us granny judges received. Living in the Hollywood area for so many years I’ve been brainwashed to believe that no one wants to see old people on television, or on the streets for that matter. And I must add that in this town old is considered anyone over fifty.

So you can imagine my surprise when young people were writing so many positive things about we judges, and I assure you fifty is well in the rear view mirror for many of us.

Then it dawned on me that perhaps it isn’t really so surprising after all.

Should I assume that I am the only person that adored her grandparents and had an unbelievable relationship with them, especially her grandfather?

My grandfather loved children so as the first grandchild I commanded all of his attention until my brother was born.

When I was a year old he made me an inner tube out of an old truck tire with a seat attached so he could push me around in the ocean. When we were older he took my brother and I fishing in the everglades and I even remember going to the movies to watch Some Like it Hot with him when he wanted to see his old friend George Raft. He made the best dill pickles and his laugh lit up a room, and in every picture together he looked at me like I was a banana split.

Too many of us are castigated for living in the past and told we must be in the present and looking toward the future. Dwelling on the past is a futile effort and waste of time when we could be living in the now…but is it really?

I say poppycock. That’s right. I said, poppycock.

Some days I drive myself to the Santa Monica Pier and sit admiring the ocean remembering the wonderful times with my grandfather.

Do I feel that these moments are a waste of my time? No indeed. In fact it’s rather the opposite. It’s as if I’m back in Miami Beach laughing and kicking my feet as he pushed me along the waves. I can smell the salt air and feel the sun beating down on me and these memories light me up inside even on the darkest days. How can feeling good possibly be bad?

The grandparent/grandchild relationship is incredibly special and to believe that only old people would want to see older people speaks to an inability to connect with the world and see people for who they really are.

I strive constantly to create memories I hope my grandsons will carry with them their entire lives.

When my grandson was four years old and collecting bugs I was on my hands and knees on the sidewalk helping. Although the sight of a bug made me jump five feet into the air under normal circumstances, when he asked me to secure them for him, my fears floated away on a cloud of pure joy at sharing something together. Although now when I ask if he remembers my fearless bug collecting, the recollection seems to have faded.

Yet I know from experience that many of the memories once lost ultimately reappear in time and although I can’t remember for what reason I called a friend by the time I’m finished dialing the number, my earliest memories of Miami Beach as a young child come back into focus whenever I smell the ocean.

So why are these moments of recollection so important as we get older?

In a study at Cambridge University in 2019 researchers found that “recalling specific positive memories and happy life experiences during adolescence may help teens fortify their resilience and reduce the risk of depression later in life.”

All one has to do to verify this thesis is look on Facebook. Every community has pages of memories from their old elementary or high school and the city where they lived as children. These pages are filled with pictures and images and allow users to share stories and reminiscences from their past.

Perhaps it’s simply the innocence we all crave as we get older, the need to believe the world is still that comfy cocoon we once nestled inside filled with play, fun, holidays and grandparents.

Grandparents signify unconditional love, a safe harbor in an often times turbulent ocean. A place to climb back into arms that may not be as toned or strong as they once were, but feel safe against any invader or frightening force.

We need happy memories to ward off the unpleasant ones that have a tendency to surface unwanted and uninvited. A way to reinforce the belief life is beautiful and things do work out in the end; even when they don’t.

Grandparents are the guardians of our memories. They contain all that is good about our youth, a path toward believing and sustaining hope and forcing us to forge ahead even in most difficult times.

It may be as simple as the smell of grandma’s apple pie in the autumn made with fresh apples you picked for her, the sight of your grandfather’s favorite tree you helped him plant or an old television show you watched together. You didn’t get the jokes, but you loved watching him laugh just the same.  

So I must offer kudos to the producers of Baking It who truly “get it,” and despite the Hollywood hype about the whole 18 to 49 age restrictions on television and movies, they knew better.

When we can look at television or the movies and see something that makes us feel warm and fuzzy it’s a no brainer we need more of it, and that happily includes all of us grannies.

We Have Nothing to Fear But a Lack of Fear

President Franklin Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Those words have persevered throughout the decades and been closely aligned to the difficulties he spoke of facing this great nation when he took office. Yet, is the lack of fear a good thing and is a fear of fear merely another fear we embrace? Then if we fear fearing isn’t that actually experiencing fear of fear? I’m confused, and what else is new? Sure, Yoda said fear leads to the dark side, but can’t a total lack of it sometimes lead to disaster? I bring up this quandary at this moment in time because of the fact we are living in incredibly scary times. There is so much craziness in our existence it would be practically impossible to be a Pollyanna. COVID19, global warming, rising crime rates, racism, Antisemitism, Congress (Ooh, that one really makes my blood run cold!) and all sorts of scary things that go bump in the night and threaten our sleep. So I pose a simple question, when is it okay to be fearful?

Recently I experienced a strange moment while dining at a restaurant with a friend and sitting outdoors waiting for a table. Usually I’m double masked just to ensure some slippery little COVID bug doesn’t slip through that cotton protective gear that has now become part of my face, but I felt a bit bold and obviously too comfortable in my environment on such a beautiful day. The sky was blue, the temperature perfection and the fresh air enticing so I removed the mask and presented naked faced to the world around me.Was this bold or stupid? I’m still pondering that decision because of what happened next. A couple sitting nearby told us they had driven an hour and a half and always enjoyed this particular restaurant when in the area. We began speaking and the husband said he was a chiropractor and bragged he had never caught COVID although his choice was to forego a mask or receive the vaccine. Has this man never heard of the Jewish fear of bragging about something, what Jewish people call a Kenahora or instant bad luck? Such foolish arrogance may lead to disaster if the devil happens to be listening to your conversation at that moment and sees an opportunity for a bit of fun at your expense by deciding to make a liar out of you?

Of course my hand immediately went toward my face to give coverage, but since I didn’t want to appear overly paranoid I didn’t re-don my mask. In retrospect I probably should have sprinted out of there like Jesse Owens being chased by Hitler. When they got up to go to their table she walked up to me, stood above my chair and leaned in closer to wish me a good day. It was so fast I couldn’t react and when they left My friend turned to me and said, “Sure, have a good day if you’re still alive.”

Okay, we laughed but in my mind I was writing my will. Of course I’m vaccinated but due to receive a booster this week. To say I’m feeling more vulnerable would be an understatement.

Let me be clear here that I am not an advocate of telling others how to live their lives.If someone chooses not to receive the vaccine it is entirely their own decision to make and none of my business.  I made a choice to have it, but others are certainly entitled to make their own. Having said that I must also add that although one is free to forego the vaccine or mask, that doesn’t free them from something called human decency and responsibility toward others by acting as a good citizen. Behaving in a reckless manner to endanger other’s health is quite another kettle of fish and a stinky one to boot. Since no one can be certain about that tricky little virus called COVID and now so many who are even vaccinated are coming down with breakthrough cases, to be aloof would to me seem inconsiderate and thoughtless toward others. To be unmindful of personal space and the fact others may actually want to go on living and not have you be the one to choose their time of death is inexcusable.

I totally respect someone’s decision to be unvaccinated and unmasked, but Bitch keep your germs outta my face!

So I now return to my original question, is fear really the boogieman some make it out to be? Or is a little fear a necessary and smart thing to possess as a barrier to chaos? I have a friend who lives with so much fear that on her tombstone it must be added. “She Worried.”

 I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrase, “you can’t live your life in fear.” So I don’t, but who’s the crazy one here?

Shouldn’t I have been more fearful around strangers and continued wearing my mask although outside that restaurant?Was letting my guard down a good idea in this instance? Is fear getting a bad rap? Do we too often equate fear with common sense and self-preservation? So where is the line between fearful and paranoid? And can we be certain in these times that line still exists? I truly believe we can only do so many stupid things in our life before one catches up with us. Still, we all know people who have done more than their share of stupid and are thriving pretty well.

So what’s the answer to how much fear is okay to fear? Or something like that. In a word or three, I don’t know. What I do know is in today’s world perhaps it’s okay to examine how keeping some fear on the menu isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

It’s a matter of semantics really. Some will fudge the issue by saying, “No Norma you shouldn’t be fearful, simply exercise a bit of caution.” To that I answer “Bullpucky?” Caution is just the acceptable form of fear that is politically correct and easily justified. Being a cautious person evokes intelligence and responsibility, traits to be applauded. Being fearful evokes “she’s a paranoid nutcase and needs to get a grip.”

And yet they are the same thing after all. For what is caution but fear put into action? If I had worn my mask would I be acting out of fear or caution? Put that one in your Meerschaum pipe and smoke it.

I guess I’m tired of being seen as a nut because I’m scared. Does this sense of foreboding stop me from living my life, laughing hysterically at Larry David or choosing to eat salmon once in a blue moon instead of an entire Hershey bar with almonds? No way. I feel very confident that I can multitask and be scared while still enjoying my life. Perhaps even a bit more knowing I’m making  “cautious” decisions.

So if I survive that thoughtless woman’s germs, you’ll hear from me again soon. Stay safe, not so much from COVID, but from the crazies out there. Caution is good choice when dealing with the masses nowadays.            

Norma Zager, The Hollywood Grammy, COVID19, Yoda, Fear itself, Franklin Roosevelt, Larry David, Congress, masks, vaccine, bitch

Murder and Mortadella: Re-watching The Sopranos

 Murder and Mortadella 

I gained five pounds re-watching The Sopranos. You may scoff but my body has a way of inhaling calories, whether walking by a bakery, sniffing homemade cookies or merely watching a commercial for Dunkin Donuts. And would it be hospitable to let the Soprano family eat alone? Being part Italian I have a special place in my heart for all things pasta and if you pay close attention not five minutes goes by on The Sopranos where they are not eating. Let’s go take someone out. Okay, but have the mortadella ready when I get back. And it always is. Every scene is laced with food or violence and Edie Falco spends almost every scene in the kitchen serving up something with a tomato base. 

I’m not complaining mind you because re-watching The Sopranos was actually better than the first time. How many things in life can top itself after achieving perfection initially? Very few I’d venture. I was inspired to re-watch after HBO recently released its Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark starring James Gandolfini’s actual son, Michael. Of course the fact he looked so much like his father and brought him to life so beautifully only served as catnip to a cat craving a good fix of my Sopranos addiction. Okay, yes we all know it can never happen again with Gandolfini gone and supposedly murdered at the end, I’m still smarting from that one by the way. To a true fan there is always that small shred of hope maybe we were wrong and it was just his daughter he lifted his head to see at the end. Yes, to a Sopranos fan hope springs eternal. I felt the need to re-watch it although it took a couple of weeks of sitting on the couch eating pizza to accomplish my mission.

Between inhaling the calories off the screen and shoving Italian goodies in my mouth I didn’t stand a chance. It wasn’t exactly like watching Richard Simmons dancing to the oldies.Yet despite the fact I’d seen it before I was mesmerized. I saw new moments, caught lines, read expressions I’d totally missed the first time around. The more I watched the more I took pleasure in every morsel, like eating chocolate after a ten-week diet. I savored each second especially Gandolfini knowing I’d never be able to witness his genius anew. I was completely impressed with Edie Falco’s cooking skills and Paulie Walnuts’ total ability to be a giant asshole and yet survive it all. So surprising because I felt sure someone was going to nail his miserable ass any minute. Every character brought a whole new appreciation as I watched Nancy Marchand play the mother from hell, Uncle Junior evil as Satan and Tony’s sister, his kids and nephew Michael Imperioli really bring the term dysfunctional family to life. Why should I be surprised when most fans can watch The Godfather, one and two, of course, over and over. I’ve stopped counting how many times I’ve see those movies but when I see them playing I’m drawn toward that channel like a shopaholic to a Black Friday sale. Why does it seem like evil is far more interesting than goodness? I don’t know anyone personally who has re-watched Touched by an Angel episodes over fifty times. That is not to say it is lacking as a show and undermine its feel good effect, but let’s face it, there is something so intriguing about evil characters. Tony Soprano was a mass of contradiction, a lovable teddy bear one minute and then beating the life out of someone the next. The Angel and Devil on his shoulder effect was incredibly magnetic.

Why are we so fascinated by that behavior?The complexity of the nature of a Michael Corleone or Tony Soprano, has I’m certain, been studied ad nauseum, but it might just be very simple; perhaps there is a bit of them within us all. It’s pretty basic I guess, we all have free choice to be good or evil, or both. That’s the concept isn’t it? Yet is it true? Does a sociopath really have free choice or are they a prisoner to the evil dominating their nature. Not to make any excuses of course for perpetrators of unconscionable deeds. Still, that is what mystifies me most. If given the choice would Tony Soprano choose only to be good? Obviously not, but a small part of us wishes Lorraine Bracco, his long suffering and optimistic psychiatrist could’ve succeeded and he’d seen the error of his ways allowing nice Tony to overcome. Is that insight into our own characters instead of his? I guess I’m inclined to believe it is.

Watching Marlon Brando die in that tomato garden playing with his grandson showed him to be very human, yet we all know his prevailing nature wasn’t. So why are we drawn to such complex characters? Maybe it’s the need in us to hope and believe good will overcome evil. Or for many women that a man will change and his dark side or bad boy inside will disappear. Or perhaps it’s simply the battle between good and evil in one soul is a potent cocktail to watch.

Ever since Jimmy Cagney yelled “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” as he unloaded his gun and was shot to death in White Heat, we’ve witnessed a genre in movies and literature that has drawn and fascinated us without fail. Whether Tony Soprano, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, Stephen King or Hitchcock these creations and creators knew the secret to keeping a reader or viewer caught up and totally hooked.

With The Sopranos of course it was all that and so very much more, including the eggplant parmigiana.

A Great Day to be a Geek Thank You Sir Richard

What a Great Day to be a Geek and Thank You Sir Richard 

The dictionary defines a Geek as… “A peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual, unfashionable, or socially awkward….”I say what a great day to be a Geek. Say it loud and say it proud, this is Geek Day on planet earth.Sir Richard Branson’s trip to the edge of space today was one of the greatest advancements toward us regular folk strapping in and successfully achieving the dream of joining Kirk, Spock and Flash Gordon above the bounds of earth.

Yes, I happily admit I am one of those people; the ones who dreamed of escaping this planet and seeking adventures among the stars. My first story at the age of eight was about space travel so it started early in this Geek. Although no one has ever referred to me by that particular designation, I believe it’s because there is actually a bit of Geek in most of us. Oh sure we seek coolness in our manner and pretend to be aloof when someone talks about this or that particular episode of Twilight Zone. However is it a coincidence whenever you mention the episode To Serve Man, everyone is familiar and can tell you the end where we find out it’s a cookbook. Deny if you will, but no one was untouched or unexcited when Neil Armstrong hopped down that ladder and touched the moon. When John Glenn orbited the earth or now when Richard Branson unclasped his seat belt and flew weightless for four minutes to the edge of space.

Are we perhaps now a bit jaded by all these accomplishments? I imagine we are, after all we are living in the world of AI and robotics and everything has changed except for the contempt and disgust we feel for politicians, but I doubt that would be any different on any planet. So why am I so pumped about Branson’s flight, when at my age I wouldn’t even be a candidate for a quick ride myself? Simply put this is the culmination of a dream held since childhood. Going from watcher to doer. Actually being able to participate in space travel is as exciting to me as watching Babe Ruth hit that record breaking ball was to New York fans.

This is not the end, but the beginning and now that the barrier has been broken it will continue to move quickly toward ever more exciting new efforts and achievements. Oh yes, there is one small caveat of course. A seat on the Concorde was 12,000 dollars. A seat to fly to the edge of space is now $200,000. A bit out of the reach of most Geeks, unless of course you’re Bill Gates or Elon Musk or were lucky enough to sell your app to one of the big guys for a billion or so. Although I’d love to suit up for an adventure I’ve been dreaming of since my childhood I’m afraid it will probably be my grandchildren that are flying around, planet hopping and if I’m lucky they’ll be able to regale me with their stories of Mars and other such exciting destinations.

Sir Richard Branson was the first billionaire into space and won the race even beating Jeff Bezos who probably should have called Amazon to deliver him and might have gotten there quicker. I suppose for now it’s a rich man’s travel package, one that most of us earthlings can’t avail ourselves of at this time. But like all new discoveries and inventions, the price will come down. In the 1980s we paid upwards of 5000 dollars for a big screen television, now on Black Friday you can get one for a hundred if you’re willing to risk a few broken bones to get into the store.

So will we find space to be Lost in Space or Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey? Will it be filled with odd creatures that populate the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine? What is waiting for us up there in the star-filled blackness of space and will we be glad we ventured forth into this new frontier? I hope I’m able to get some of those answers in my lifetime. Although some may believe this is business as usual in space travel, I have to admit I’m a pretty happy Geek today and relatively certain there are a whole lot more of us today thanks to Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic .        

Amazon is the Devil

Amazon is the Devil      

Any foodaholic can attest to the fact very little can stop a craving until it is satiated.

I for one can verify that on more than one occasion I’ve driven to a 7/11 in the dead of night for a snickers bar and I’m not ashamed to admit neither hell nor high water could stop me when the need for chocolate burned inside my cocoa-addicted anatomy.

Nothing less than a full-blown snow or ice emergency could keep me from the chocolaty goodness I sought, and although I later learned to satisfy my cravings in less caloric ways, the memory lingers.

I spent the last thirty years of my life wrestling with ways to address my food addiction and actually had a handle on curbing those binges that would leave me bloated and guilt ridden.

I earned my thirty year chip and although there were the occasional set backs along my road to recovery, I managed to find a level of moderation between my snickers intake and starvation diets.

My love for food and all things chocolate never changed but I had come to grips with the reality that my metabolism was born to be my greatest adversary and I had to exercise restraint in my daily eating patterns.

I felt quite certain I’d accomplished this achievement and hadn’t even ventured out at night to fulfill any cravings and then it happened. The mother of all horrible events in the life of a foodie, the pandemic hit.

And it had to be Chinese which meant like Chinese food I was hungry an hour later for 24 hours a day.

Locked up in the germ-free COVID-safe bosom of my home I could neither venture out (my children would have literally chained me to the sofa had I disregarded their orders) as I fought to find ways to deal with the lockdown, as we all did.

Let’s see, what will make me feel better about being a prisoner in my own home?

Jigsaw puzzles helped and of course Netflix came to the rescue of most of us with a non-stop array of new features to binge watch and chat about with friends.

Yet there was something lurking in the background, a voice sneaking into my conscience slowly and growing ever louder by the day.

Without the need to dress, wear make up or even dye my roots vanity took a back seat to finding ways to soothe the growing need to escape my bonds.

Yes I succumbed to those demons that had controlled my destiny in the past. That had brought me comfort and solace in times of sorrow and unhappiness or sheer frustration. But for the first time I didn’t have to venture out to seek what I craved, the devil delivered it to my door in the form of an Amazon delivery person.

This was something I never needed to know. This was a way to feed my addiction easily and constantly and I slipped.

Yes, I sold my soul for Hershey’s kisses. Oh the humanity!

I even discovered I could buy my favorite hot fudge online and ordered a giant coffee can full of the heavenly decadent favorite to luxuriate on my kitchen counter with a spoon kept nearby for frequent tastes and mood building moments when necessary.

And oh yes it became necessary more and more.

Having the luxury of Amazon was the best and worst thing that could happen to a foodie.

The true yin and yang of the calorically addicted for there in an instant I could place an order for all those foods I had fought to eliminate from my life forever and welcome them back to nurture and sooth my COVID-hating soul.

And they made it so damn easy. Jeff Bezos is the Devil. Just swipe and wait and someone shows up at your door with candy, cake and carbs enough to fatten a room full of anorexics.

For the first time in years I had candy dishes filled with M&Ms, a freezer full of Hagen Daz and homemade pies and breads with the aroma of heaven daily.

Seriously can anything cheer the spirit like the smell of apple pie or chocolate chip cookies or hot bread in the oven?

I think not which is why in between streaming television, jigsaw puzzles and a book or two my daily exercise consisted of walking back and forth to the kitchen to check what was in the oven.

I was in heaven. No waistlines, buttons or hair blowers to contend with. Like everyone else in  America confined to their home I had only my next meal to look forward to, and watching the news did little to curb my need for food compensation.

Chocolate and I were a team again and I embraced the relationship. Like returning to the man who’d consistently broken your heart and you’d sworn off a million times only to run back when he summoned.

Twelve pounds later I came face to face with my worst enemy, the scale. At the doctor weighed and scolded I had to examine my life choices once more.

My doctor looked at me with that you-know-better grin and all I could say was, “but Amazon was there tempting me all day every day. Blame Bezos not me. They kept coming and bringing food and what could I do? After I ordered all those goodies I couldn’t very well throw them out, it wouldn’t be right. It was Amazon, damnit!

He looked at me as pathetically as I deserved and urged me to exercise and gain control.

I promised I would and I headed home to my kitchen to face the music.

There was the refrigerator filled with remnants of my lapse back into foodaholicism and I knew I had to deal and start over. I needed to mend fences with my now too-tight clothes and the double chin that taunted me in the mirror when I dared look.

It was time to fess up and fress (eat in Yiddish) less and pay my diet dues once more.

I now have a handle on my love handles and have managed to lose most of the weight.

I always reread my Amazon order before swiping and am gratefully out and about more so clothes and waistlines matter again.

I burned the contract for my soul I’d gladly signed with Amazon and now I’ve gained back control of the online relationship that had overtaken my life.

I still must take it a day at a time because after all Oreos always lurk on my iPod calling to me, but I just turn up the television and start a new binge watch.

Wouldn’t it be funny of it turned out the virus came from Amazon?

Hell who knows what virus Bezos might pick up on that upcoming moon flight.


Masking the Pain


Years ago in Venice, Italy with my family, we had the misfortune of arriving in that iconic city during Carnival.

We found the city cold, unfriendly, shopkeepers evil and unwelcoming and the entire experience extraordinarily horrifying.

The hotel was filled with crowds of scary partiers in masks like a scene out of a Nicole Kidman horror movie. The hotel was filled with Freddy Krueger in ball gowns.

We got the hell out of dodge as soon as possible and caught the train for Rome to a safer and more inviting clime.

Now after a year relegated to a life confined to masks I find myself reliving too many unpleasant memories of the past.

Venice aside, I harbor unfortunate recollections of the early days of anesthetics when a small mask was placed over one’s nose and ether poured on slowly until unconsciousness ensued. Recollections of awaking after surgery to a mask-wearing doctor aren’t something I choose to dwell upon.

Neither of these mask memories fill me with a warm fuzzy feeling or a desire to spend the upcoming years in a face covering and yet, we are told we must.

We’re suddenly living in a mask-wearing-virus-filled existence and no one can predict how long this new normal will remain.

Faced with this new addition to my wardrobe I am trying valiantly to conjure up more pleasant mask memories and I must admit a few come with questions I’ve never before considered.

Why did the Lone Ranger wear a mask? Supposedly it was to hide his identity, which in my opinion it did very poorly. If one is doing good deeds why the need to hide? I imagine if you’re afraid of getting caught robbing a bank a mask would be an asset, but the Lone Ranger, I’m not seeing it.

Now Batman, that was a mask. If you’re going to go to the trouble of wearing a mask why not cover your entire face and add bat ears? Bruce Wayne always did things in a big way and that made Batman one of the coolest villains. I’m even willing to overlook the whole George Clooney nippled costume thing.

I don’t mind wearing a mask except for the obvious social setbacks.

How might one smile at anyone when walking down the street? One of my favorite habits has always been nodding and saying hello to everyone I pass as I move through my day. Without the smile it loses some of its cache and is far less friendly.

I see it as a civic duty to spread a bit of good cheer to the strangers I meet in my travels. How can I fulfill my promise to spread happiness like a Jewish Santa Claus minus the red suit and bag of goodies?

Oh sure the mask will come in handy for many things. Postponing a nose job or facelift, or the new double chin from the COVID 19 weight gain. Perhaps you can put off the teeth whitening a while longer and of course no need for lip plumpers anymore.

Still I’d rather see and be seen and the mask is a cover up of giant proportions.

You can be mad, glad, sad or blah and who’s to know. What could be better than a mask for masking our pain?

Your moods are covered up by a piece of cloth and unfathomable to others.

So because man is creative we now have all types of personality masks.

Designer initials and patterns, even some with smiling faces; happy masks or sad, heavy and light ones from all kinds of materials. There are masks with logos and ads or pictures of your favorite characters. Okay, so I admit I have a Baby Yoda mask. Get over it.

For evening there are pearls and sequins and some even dripping with fake diamonds.

From the looks of it masks are here to stay by virtue of the enormous investment we all seem to be making for a way to exhibit at least a modicum of personality in this new faceless world.

As optimistic as I’d like to be I find something reprehensible about masks.

Our world is plagued by a lack of social interaction with the advent of the Internet. A place where human beings hide behind a screen to chat, message and communicate. Unfortunately masks will become just one more way to prevent us from seeing one another and bonding with our fellow earthlings.

We must also consider that this covering will make it easy for space visitors to roam about freely where before one might have noticed their presence. Gee that gray guy with the mask has enormous eyes.

If you were beginning to understand how torn I am about protecting us from one another you’d be correct.

I know we need to wear them and I’m all for trying to do it in an attractive way, yet I’m really quite sad that this is yet one more layer between humans to separate us even further.

Nothing in this world is a better communicative tool than a smile. It shouts volumes to others whether friend or stranger. It says you matter to me enough that I am happy to see you. You’re important and worthy of a happy face.

It wishes the recipient a good day and sends positive vibes out into the universe.

Each smile drops a bit of joy onto the earth to attach itself to those passing by.

Where will these little bits of joy come from now without smiles to create them?

There is no doubt we will have to make more of an effort to reach out to others while our smiles are imprisoned in masks. More calls, more stopping to say hello, yes even more text messages with lots of smiley faces. It may not be the real thing but it’s the next best until the masks come off.

I imagine it’s my challenge to find happiness in my covered days. I can look back happily to that year I finished writing the book I’d been procrastinating for so long. I guess it’s true the best way to get a writer to write is to place them in captivity. Worked for me, but hopefully I’ll be able to discipline myself in the future since no one wants another year in lockdown.

We all need more smiles and a kind word never hurt anyone either.


World Peace for a Piece of Cheesecake

Sabbath dinner isn’t an accident. On Friday nights in the Jewish faith when families sit down to a stuff fest of meats, chicken soup, salads, starches and desserts there is a grand design afoot. When a group of relations is in one place long enough it will not be long before the temperature rises and old wounds like where Aunt Rose was forced to sit at the wedding and why Uncle Sol didn’t come to cousin Lilli’s funeral will surface. God looked down at the first Sabbath dinner and in his infinite wisdom figured out that the more carbs he stuffs into his people the less strength they will have for bloodshed. And so the tradition was born. Not just in Jewish homes, but all religions where food is a necessity at family gatherings. Granted the Jews and Italians have elevated over feeding to an art form, but it has definitely caught on in a big way. It has thus occurred to me at numerous times in my life the way world leaders look when they sit down to negotiate. Hungry and cranky like a small baby whose bottle is a few minutes late in arriving. Sitting in their high chair with cross little looks on their faces, lips quivering and pouting close to tears as they await feeding. Perhaps little Vladimir needs his borscht fix. Would a big boiled potato and some sour cream make it all better for little Vlad? If he is stuffing his face perhaps he will stop attacking other countries. I am never more aware that there is world hunger than when I see world leaders sit down to “talk.” Honestly Boris, I know the British are not big foodies, but maybe a good meal of fish and chips before chatting about terrorism? Of course the Chinese are a challenge. By the time they finish eating and walk to the bargaining table they are hungry again. No wonder Xi made such a deal about the chocolate cake. Angela Angela, maybe lay off so much sauerbraten at lunchtime. A nice green salad and fruit perhaps? If you look at some of these meetings you will see that of everyone, Bibi Netanyahu is usually the most smiley, which is truly ironic since not a day goes by that Israel is not condemned, maligned, attacked or threatened. So why should Bibi smile? Simply, because he is probably the most well fed of the bunch. I am sure the Mossad has a special detail to ensure that he is never without a hot meal, a snack and some of his grandmother’s mandal bread. If you look at Congress today you can tell in one minute who is not eating. Obviously no one from California as eating anything but micro greens is against state law. If Nancy Pelosi would spend as much time stuffing her face with chocolate as she does Botox the country would be a far better place. Chuck Chuck Chuckala. You’re a New York Jew. Stop with the crying and kvetching and EAT!!! Mitch you’re looking thin, how about a nice Filet Mignon with garlic-mashed potatoes and green beans? Elizabeth Warren, oh Lord where do I begin? Perhaps some corn chowder and Maine Lobster. Nope, I think a roll in the hay is required when someone is that damn sour. Marco before you vote try the flan, it’s to die for. Bernie Bernie Bernie. I know you’re not a Jew anymore, but maybe a taste of your mother’s chicken soup with kreplach will put a smile on that miserable puss. It is important to remember that when someone is hungry their blood sugar drops. If you don’t believe that physical circumstances can affect a person’s personality perhaps you’ve never met a woman PMSing and driving to a 7/11 at two in the morning for a Hershey bar. Oh that’s right, that was me. In order for the world to be a safer place we need better catering. I have seen pictures of leaders in discussion and when there is a plate of food on the table it’s usually only cookies or donuts. This is nourishment? I think not. Sugar rush, blood levels peak and fall. Not good for a long time peace process. Bust out a basket of bagels, lox, cream cheese and cut up veggies. A platter of cheeses and some scrambled eggs and then we’ll talk. Tough to say hostile things when you’re chewing an everything bagel wit a schmear. I guarantee the state of the world would alter immediately if the meals improved. There is no doubt in my mind that if President Biden invited Chuck and Mitch to the White House and they sat down to a big Sabbath dinner, unbuttoned their pants and had an extra piece of rugalach, much more would get done. Many believe the Jewish people have survived because of their senses of humor. Perhaps that’s a big part, but I claim it’s the food. The family that eats together grows together in more ways than one. If the world would only take my advice I guarantee the conversation would go like this: Biden and Vlad stuffed to the gills on brisket, borscht, bobka and cheesecake all catered by New York’s famous Katz’s Deli. Biden, unbuttoning his pants. “ Come on Vlad, I’m so over Assad. He is causing such problems in the Middle East. Do me a solid here and let’s find a new guy who’ll work with both of us, and dump the butcher.” Vlad, loosening the tie on his sweat pants “ But I need that port, you know I can’t be without such a strategic waterway. Joe, you know I love the power.” “Vlad Vlad Vlad, I’ve got a guy, a cousin of my baker says he knows a guy in Syria that will let you keep the port and also work with our partners in the Middle East. You give a little, we give a little; we can do this. More strawberries on your cheesecake?” “Just a spoonful. You think this guy knows what he’s talking about?” “You’ve had three pieces of his cheesecake, would he lie?” “No, this guy knows his stuff. Tell you what, I’ll meet with him, but I need this recipe?” “I can make that happen. Now lets talk about little rocket man.” “Please Joe, I’m eating, don’t ruin my meal here. We’ll discuss him tomorrow at brunch. Maybe you’ll serve those delicious cronuts?” Peace for our time so much better than Chamberlain. But of course the British have never gotten the whole food thing.

Feeding Seagulls

Seagulls are interesting creatures. I often believe they are merely the squirrels of the beach, yet they are lacking the adorable bushy tales that would endear one to love and feed them.

In all honesty the sound of a seagull is not relaxing or Zen. Unlike the chirping of a robin emitting an almost hypnotic morning song, seagulls loud cawing squawk is dare I say annoying at best. Their cries don’t exactly lull one to sleep on a sandy, sun-filled beach but announce their presence in a hawkish fashion.

So I must ask why my penchant for constantly feeding and nurturing such a discordant bird? Is it merely the fact they own the skies at the beach and their existence is some sort of proof we are at a place of calm and solitude?

Are they the landlords of the water’s edge and thus entitled to be cared for by us, mere interlopers on their terrain and is this some sort of pay off for allowing us to curl up on the sand and luxuriate in the sun’s healing rays?

Try as I might to understand my need to nurture them I remain simply stumped. My insane desire to feed squirrels is at least understandable by virtue of their adorable faces and precious puffy tales, but seagulls? I can’t even claim they are beautiful birds but a drab gray color that does nothing to inspire the senses as say the brilliant red of a cardinal or winged gymnastics of a hummingbird.

Yet there I am tearing off parts of a sandwich to feed them as they walk closer to me to ensure their place in the cafeteria line and chase off their brethren.

I can’t seem to help myself. Up close when they shoot me a cock of the head or an eyeball in my direction I find myself wishing I’d brought more food and wondering where to secure extra. I balk at the fact I’ll run out and suffer their scorn when I no longer possess any crusts of bread.

What is my problem? I’m certain I’m not the only one that falls under their spell when beachcombing. They seem to have a sense of those who will instantly succumb to their charms and begin throwing edibles. Is it written on my face…come here for food?

Of course they are cute in their way, but pandas they are not, yet I can’t seem to deny them.

After much self-reflection, I’ve come to believe it’s the sound of seagulls that endears them to me. If my eyes are closed and I feel a warm glow over my entire body and hear the sound of seagulls circling overhead, it is a certainty I am at the beach.

A place filled with happy childhood memories of floating in the Atlantic in an inner tube with a seat created by my grandfather. The times spent on the beach with him can never be erased although when I’m busy living life it leaves little time for those coveted childhood moments.

Thus my love for seagulls for they instantly return me to that time and place where I shared happy days by the ocean with my beloved grandfather. Despite a bite by a Man o’ War, a near drowning or any mishap the times at the beach were magical. Now as I reflect back on my life I see my grandfather’s face, feel the sand in my toes and hear the cawing of the seagulls above. It’s no wonder I seek them out and wish to have them near.

Too many scenes of our childhoods seem to get caught between the crevices of our minds and lost with time. A sound, taste or smell can suddenly reawaken those hidden moments and allow us to relive them instantly.

As I’ve entered a new phase of my life I seem to find a great deal of solace in those forgotten memories and fight to revive them as much as possible.

Times and experiences of childhood are now long gone and cannot be recaptured, so it’s more important then ever to retain their happiness and refuse to let them fade.

The sound of a seagull at the beach, the smell of burning leaves in autumn, the taste of your mother’s delicious soup you’ve tried in vain to recreate or the hot chocolate that warmed you through when ice skating with your father on a wintery Sunday afternoon.

One can never quite predict when a memory will resurface or what can spark its return. Whenever one does I force myself to hold onto to it as long as possible before allowing it to retreat back into an obscure corner of my mind.

Perhaps we underestimate the beauty of a memory because we have so many, and the number grows larger as we age.

I’ve decided to embrace every moment that adds happiness to my life; whether it be now or in the past it must be counted.

A new year will bring new memories, but I shall always be happy sitting on the beach, curling my toes in the sand, hearing the waves trickle onto the shore and feeding the seagulls. So they aren’t the most beautiful bird, but the recollections they conjure up are for me some of the best of my life.

Memories die with us and we will live on in those whose lives we’ve touched. They will also live on in those with whom we’ve shared them.

If you see me sitting on the beach surrounded by seagulls don’t think me eccentric, join me and we can relive some wonderful recollections together. I’ll even bring extra bread for you.

The Smell of Burning Leaves

The Smell of Burning Leaves

If one mentions the word Trigger it quickly calls to my mind a picture of a golden horse with a white patch responding to its owner Roy Rogers. Different strokes I guess.

The brain is a strange little computer. We respond to the senses and a smell, taste, sound or a glimpse can evoke the most intense memory and catch us completely off guard.

One smell that induces the most extreme reaction for me is the smell of burning leaves. If there was a candle that smelled like burning leaves I may be tempted to keep it lit all day.

Occasionally I’ll smell something that reminds me of a fresh spring day after a rain and feel that sense of contentment spring brings, but it’s the burning leaves that stoke my flame of happy memories.

Growing up in the Midwest, autumn was such a happy time filled with sights, sounds and moments captured by one scent—burning leaves. It doesn’t induce a single recollection, but a torrent of memories, happy and heartwarming that bring me to a moment in childhood special and revered.

Autumn meant the beginning of school, new clothes and clean saddle shoes. A trip on the first day of school to the corner drugstore to pick out supplies, including a new loose leaf, pencils and a clean eraser. The excitement of a new school bag complete with clear, zippered pencil case and a fresh box of Crayolas, tips sharp and shiny.

Coming home after school and changing into play clothes then going outside to play with friends and watch the neighborhood boys play football in the street.

I can still picture a leaf gently falling and covering the green grass after turning the most exquisite shades of reds, oranges and yellows. The pure joy of crunching the leaves while walking to school and then jumping in them after my father raked them to the curb. Of hearing him grumble because I messed them up and he had to redo them, yet he was never really angry. I always suspected he wanted to do the same himself.

For me it also meant the Jewish holidays were near and I looked forward to meeting friends at synagogue then walking to the bagel factory after services. The fun of Halloween and choosing a costume, begging for candy and rushing home to look through and see what wonderful delights the treat bag held.

The smell of burning leaves promised Thanksgiving and turkey roasting in the oven while we watched the Macy’s parade on television. Then soon came Christmas, Hanukah and the smell of latkes would arrive with vacation time.

No mention of autumn could be complete without invoking the smell of freshly crushed apples at the Cider Mill. The giant wheel mashing apples into submission as they released their delicious juices then paired with hot cinnamon donuts in a grease-laden paper bag. Followed by a ride on a hay wagon into the orchard to soak up the autumn colors or climb ladders to pick the ripe fruit off their trees. No memory would be complete without the crunch of a caramel dipped apple on Halloween.

Yes, that’s a lot to put on a single smell, but that’s why burning leaves are so powerful. I’m certain if you ask any Baby Boomer what smell evokes autumn for them it will be the same.

There’s a certain comfort in memories now. When younger I never thought much about the past because I was too busy living in the present, and of course when one is young there is very little past to recall.

This past year when I’ve been forced to come face to face with my own mortality and had little ability to move my life forward as I’d have wished, the past seems so suddenly important. It’s as if I pulled out an old scrapbook filled with pictures and suddenly recalled how precious each snapshot has become.

Nostalgia has been a big part of how I’ve coped with this captivity because although I wasn’t free to travel outward, I could travel backward at my leisure. I could reflect at will upon those memories that had settled into the nooks and crannies of my brain and become hidden from view. Whenever a scent or sight drew them out of hiding I luxuriated in their warmth.

There has been a great deal of sharing with old friends on the phone and of course Facebook, and recalling time spent in childhood schools, stores and hometown haunts. Remembering my favorite foods makes me long for a local deli, great burgers or pizza, Chinese food on Sunday or a trip to the DQ. The burning leaves seem to be the magic carpet that transports me to the past, flying over childhood and once again absorbing the sights, smells and tastes of my youth. Filling me with the warmth so desperately needed in these cold, scary COVID days.

Even now when I’m walking and come upon a small pile of fallen dried leaves I will crunch them under my feet and feel a sense of satisfaction as the sound hits my ears.

Perhaps it isn’t the COVID that has captured my imagination and yearning for happier times. It may simply be a side effect of baby boomerism. I can’t say for sure what has created this new desire to share memories with those with whom I shared my youth, but it is a heady and incredibly magnetic feeling.

The question “do you remember” could probably be translated as, “oh, how I miss.”

Whatever the reason I shall always love the smell of burning leaves and the wonderful feelings they evoke and in this uncertain world, of that I am certain.





This Too Shall Pass

This Too Shall Pass

This morning I received a Facetime call from a good friend in Florida. We’ve known one another forever so I accepted. There are few people I would Facetime with looking as I do.

Of course before picking it up I wondered if the shock of my glasses, ten-foot gray roots and lack of any make up would scare her into some type of cardiac episode, still I relented and answered.

To my relief Nancy was not exactly dressed for the ball either so both of us laughed, shook our heads and chatted. There’s a certain comfort to talking to old friends right now and makes this all seem a bit more bearable.

Aside from the miraculous ability to speak with each other face to face across the country, there was also a sense of wow, here we are two old friends just chatting away no differently than we have all our lives. But of course we aren’t kids anymore.

We’ve been friends since elementary school and now we’re the frogs in the pot of hot water.

Time has wreaked a certain amount of havoc on us and it’s been a slow and methodical advance. Like the frog in the pot of water that doesn’t realize the burner is getting hotter underneath him until it’s at the boiling point and too late to jump out.

Well, friends it’s too late to jump out now. COVID has locked us in with our memories and regrets for company.

My mantra has always been “this too shall pass,” and it’s worked well because most things will and do. At this moment in time, I’m not feeling so certain.

It isn’t as if the corona virus will go away and we’ll all suddenly leave our homes once again young and vital.

Oh sure we’ll once more drag our exhausted carcasses out of bed, slop on the make up, pick a flattering outfit to disguise the COVID ten pound weight gain and join the human race again, but will we be just a bit worse for wear?

Despite the fact a vaccine seems to be in the offing, how will that affect our generation?

Most people I know are not slipping on their sneakers and running out the door to be the first in line to test this new miracle drug.

I’m pretty much in the “let’s wait and see if anyone drops dead before I rush to get poked” camp.

However there will be many of us who’ll say, “I don’t give a damn about the risk, get me the hell outta here already.”

So we’ll get injected in order to kiss our grandchildren, return to our maj or canasta games, get our mani pedi and hit the mall. Or for some go back to work.

But will the vaccine actually be roadrunner and coyote running toward the cliff and be left hanging in mid air situation?

Since our generation has some institutional memory of vaccines and meds like polio and thalidomide we may take a beat before rushing out to offer up our arm. Yet optimism must rule of the day.

Of course as my friend Nancy said today she is not missing having to slather on that make up. So what are the upsides of hanging indoors?

Oh for sure the food must be number one.

Add to the calorie comas the ability to dress in elastic waists, time to cook and Amazon Whole Foods delivery and bingo, I’d call that a Trifecta.

Where once I’d have to eat standing up before any upcoming event to try and force the calories immediately down to my feet, I can now shamelessly eat sitting down. There is no reason to stress about fitting in those new jeans because I don’t have to squeeze into them yet.

Everyone is exchanging recipes and channeling their inner chef in a happy and carefree gorge fest.

Streaming television is now a staple in our homes when once it was just something new and different to try out when we felt in the mood. Not anymore! It is now the go-to means of entertainment with an unlimited supply of series, movies, documentaries and specials to keep us glued to the set with no end of discussions with friends about the content. “Have you seen?” is the new conversation opener between friends as they discuss, review and analyze the latest binge watch.

To appease my grandsons I will be signing up for Disney Plus this week in an effort to binge watch a series called The Mandalorian. I think it’s somehow related to Yoda, so count this Grammy Geek in.

I’ve already watched every episode of West Wing eleven times and actually keep it on when I’m cleaning or cooking for background noise.

You’d honestly think I was studying for an exam or something. Like when I get out of here Martin Sheen will be waiting to test me on season two, episode one.

Of course having the time and inclination to focus on my writing is a great plus. Some of you may know and others may not that distractions are mother’s milk to a writer. Any excuse to avoid sitting in front of the monitor and typing and we’re out the door in a New York minute.

For those who are lazy they’ve invented a pedal bike you can place on the floor in front of you or under a desk or table. Since I’d have to opt for lazy, I’ve been using this bike while I watch television to ease my guilt at sitting on my bony tuchas. Should I be outside exercising, of course, but since the experts are now saying the virus can attach itself to your shoes, I’m jumping on that one as an excuse to avoid the great outdoors.

Life has certainly become different now and for those who are seeing their families and going for rides or walking the streets it’s one way to avoid going insane completely.

This too shall pass, everything does, but I often wonder what will it pass into?

Will we frequent restaurants as much, go to movies or theater, try on clothes in dressing rooms once again and travel to distant lands?

No one seems qualified to say for certain what this brave new world will look like when COVID enters the dustbin of history. I only know that we’ll all be happy I’m sure to escape into the world once more, but what that world will be, I can’t even begin to imagine.

Will I miss streaming, eating and elastic, you bet. Captivity has a certain safe vibe that provides comfort and assurance, but when the doors open and this passes, I’ll run like the wind to escape my COVID bonds.



Goodbye Year of COVID and Please Let the Door Hit You in the Ass on the Way Out!

It’s a well known fact life moves faster than the speed of light and when wisdom arrives it’s already too old to outrun the past. Saying goodbye to the last year I’m shocked I could be so happy to see a year go by at my age. Seriously. I’m never happy to see time pass anymore.

Yet, this year is of course the exception and we are all optimistic and betting 2021 will be a winner and life will once again return to normal.

Reflecting on the last twelve months I’ve come to the conclusion it would be simpler if time moved backward ala Benjamin Button to acquire wisdom we can use throughout our lives.

So many talk about others as an old soul. I imagine they are alluding to knowledge beyond one’s years, but can one actually move beyond their own knowledge without actually living the lessons confronting each of us?

The most effective teacher is experience and there is a limit on the hours we possess each day.

So because I have so much time on my hands now, and it would be wise to use it for something besides opening the refrigerator, I’ve invented something that will revolutionize living.

Ladies and Germs I give you, wait for it…the wisdom clock.

Easy to use and I’m sure the price could be brought down to an affordable number for everyone. I should probably go on Shark Tank to get funding although I’m certain Mr. Wonderful (how misnamed is that guy?) would call me stupid and say it’ll never sell.

I am however equally as sure Lori Greiner would grab it up to promote on QVC and sell millions with very little effort.

So by now you’re wondering what this amazing invention would do for you.

Well step right up ladies and gents and give me a moment of your time to tell you about the greatest cure all since Uncle Billy’s Rheumatism Eraser and Housecleaning Oil.

Simple to operate as one has merely to set the clock ahead to any future time and it will transport you to a lesson you haven’t yet learned.

This goes so far beyond H.G. Wells and his rinky-dink time travel machine, he should be embarrassed.

You just set it and instantly you’re living in that moment and watching your future.

For example you have a date with someone new. You set the clock ahead for one year and it shows you what’s happening on that day.

Okay, I didn’t say it would always be pleasant, but just think how great it would be if you knew in advance someone was going to break your heart six months into the relationship?

You’d simply cancel the date and avoid the mistake.

Our operators are standing by to take your orders.

Or perhaps you’re torn by a decision of whether to take a new job or stay put.

Turn that dial; check out a year from now and voila. It’s all there and either you’ve moved onto a fabulous position or to a terrible state.

You could even check out that new hair color and save yourself the pain. Need I even mention buying Apple at $22.00 a share?

No wondering or stressing about choices now.

This is better than Dial a Psychic and you don’t have to pay by the minute.

Just imagine how much anguish you’d prevent had you known the future.

The wisdom clock, what a concept, step right up no waiting.

To acquire knowledge without enduring the pain that accompanies life lessons is an amazing feat. I’m surprised no one has thought of this before. Forget Facebook or Google schmoogle, the wisdom clock is the bomb.

To eliminate heartache and suffering by merely having the information we all need in advance is a gift.

However, since it may be a while before I get this thing to market what can we do in the meantime to avoid making mistakes?

Without the wisdom clock we’re on our own.

Yet, if we’re honest we’ve always had the power to make good choices had we only heeded the signs. Perhaps we should’ve listened to that little voice inside giving us a stomachache when we were about to embark on a foolish decision?

Thinking back on my life every bad choice I’ve ever made has been accompanied by a sign waving red flags I chose to ignore.

Watching The Crown the other night and it’s extraordinary, I was quite taken by the fact there were so many red flags and roadblocks thrown in Diana’s path before she married Charles. Not even small ones, but Whoopi Goldberg screaming, “Diana you in trouble girl, get the hell out of here!” Alas, perhaps owing to youth, lack of wisdom, some might say destiny, she forged ahead into a doomed marriage.

Yet we are all Diana many times, moving and choosing with sheer abandon situations we sense will not have a happy ending. Still, we talk ourselves into believing it’s okay because we simply want them to be.

Some more than others we are in some ways Cleopatra: Queen of Denial and ignoring that little voice inside screaming, “run like hell.”

So why do some people possess the ability to choose wisely and some just never get it right?

I’ve noticed those who make good choices have good lives, but many stumble into good fortune through no great insight or intelligence of their own.

So maybe the wisdom clock is no more effective than having good instincts and heeding our own warning voice.

Oftentimes the noise in our heads drowns out those better choices and we fall head first into chaos.

It’s so much easier to evoke the “it-was-meant-to-be excuse” than simply admit you screwed up.

I guess that’s how we all get through the day and perhaps that is a special kind of ingenuity in the end.

Realizing that no matter how certain we are we’ve made the right call, sometimes it just turns out the way it’s supposed to, bad or good.

Wisdom doesn’t simply appear with age for I would argue many people learn nothing as they grow older and remain unwise until the end.

In Vegas terms, life is a gamble and our choices are no more than a bet on the poker table and we all must ante up. The stakes can be grossly high or sometimes infinitesimal, but if you’re in the game remember, the house always wins.

May the house be yours in 2021 and all your bets pay off big! Happy New Year, everyone!

There’s a Disturbance in the Force

There’s a Disturbance in the Force

I imagine it’s inevitable and every writer faces a tragic truth one day. I’d always believed simply sitting in front of a blank sheet of paper or of course now a computer screen would ultimately produce the desired result and emit forth a wealth of plentiful prose. It was simply a matter of time I told myself and the words would flow like money from a drunken gambler at a Las Vegas craps table. Truthfully they always did, until now.

I must face the fact that after the captivity of COVID I’ve run out of things to say.

My mind is clouded by the numbness that grows out of boredom and despite my efforts I can’t find the words, or any words actually.

Yet, of course why would I? Cooped up like a veal my mind has glossed over from too much media and carbohydrates.

What a combo. Although of course this seems to be a teenager’s dream and I’m certain it once was mine, the lack of stimulus has become malignant.

Like everyone I strive to remain relevant and in tune with the universe.

Calls to friends whom like myself feel the need to escape their bonds of virus prison may for a moment lessen the lack of communication with my fellow beings, but this isn’t entirely about conversation.

Perhaps that’s what we’ve forgotten or probably never before knew.

Living is not predicated by simply interacting with others, but with the other.

So what is the other other?

The other is the mere act of living within the world.

COVID has forced us to retreat and that is harmful to what creates the energy we all absorb into our lives.

Of course there are many that still venture out to stores, teach, work over the Internet or meet with friends.

But what of those who choose to remain behind closed doors hopefully safe from COVID’s clutches?

Strangely enough the result is the same for both.

My friends that go out feel equally as stifled and imprisoned as those who hide away.

I couldn’t imagine why and it didn’t seem to make any sense at all.

Yet truly it does.

If we believe there is an energy that permeates the world and enters into each life than the virus has zapped that power whether you’re home or outside.

There is to put it quite simply a disturbance in the force, young Skywalker and everyone feels the interruption.

Of course I’m not the first to speak about life forces and energy and certain I can’t possibly explain it as well as Master Yoda, but I’m actually witnessing the effects with my own eyes. I’m guessing this is something none of us has noticed before.

How many times have you felt something uplifting while just walking down a street looking in windows, or how satisfying it was driving a new car on a gorgeous spring day, listening to music and simply enjoying your freedom? It could be that happy feeling holiday shopping in the mall when everyone is rushing from store to store intent on finding the perfect gift?

Perhaps it is when sitting by the ocean and wiggling your toes in the wet sand on a cool autumn day when the beach is quiet and the waves are your only company that you feel alive and at peace.

These small moments that don’t amount to anything earth shaking like creating world peace, cleansing the oceans or curing cancer seem at times all we need.

There is satisfaction in being part of a world that is in motion, absorbing the essence of life in those around you. The unique connection each human being creates by simply existing in the universe, feeling and contributing to the energy.

This is something else COVID has given us. The frustration and hopelessness humans feel when they are captive and lose their sense of community.

Going for a walk, taking a drive or visiting with friends seems to make things better, and perhaps for a time it works. Still it’s merely a band-aid on a massive wound and why despite how hard we try we can’t stop the bleeding.

We need to see a smile on the person walking toward us, we need to feel the hugs of our family and friends, to travel and absorb the energy of novel places, new sights and active people. There is something palpable about a busy street or airport filled with travelers. Our souls require more than the latest Netflix offering, we crave the other.

Human beings cannot survive behind masks, closed off from the life force that sustains us.

There’s a reason people are suspicious of loners, anti social behavior and shut ins. Most view it as an unnatural and foreign state.

Of course some people are quite content by themselves and most are happy to be alone some of the time. Only it’s in the knowing that life is outside our door for the taking we remain secure and sane.

In our DNA we are social animals and being blocked off from the other has consequences. During this pandemic for the first time we as a human race are seeing these results up close and personal.

So what can one do to create at least a bit of the energy? At this point I suppose it’s the band-aid effect upon which we must rely. Call a friend, social distance, go outside, walk or take a ride. Have a picnic or go to the beach, there is something quite calming about the ocean. It won’t restore all our energy but at least a portion until our tank is once again full.

Without putting a name to it we sense something is missing and the effect on our life force is stifling. So until we are free to experience others and the other as well, I wish you fulfilling days and may the force always be with you.

Life on Planet Looney Tunes

Life on Planet Looney Tunes

I can’t even believe that Father Time has turned out to be such an abusive bastard.

Is it not awful enough that he sucks the minutes from us like a tornado moving through Kansas? Now he has allowed a pandemic to steal a year from our ever-growing shorter lives.

Thanks Father Time, may the bird of paradise fly up your diaper.

As if it’s not enough we have to contend with living in captivity, the world has literally gone so mad I’m seriously convinced I left the planet and am now residing on Planet Looney Tunes in the That’s-all-Folks galaxy.

Recently, I was watching Bye Bye Birdie and suddenly I thought, hey, wait a minute. This was my life. What happened to innocence, civility, decency, respect and embracing the simple pleasures?

I must be living in a parallel universe where crazy is the law of the land and everything is upside down.

It’s as if we’re reliving the dream of our teenage years, spending our time sitting in front of the television, sleeping in and eating whatever and whenever we choose.

Well at least that was the dream then anyway.

It took years to achieve the freedom to live our lives as we wish and now we’re on a time out in our rooms for something we never did.  
The first clue I landed on Planet Looney Tunes was the masses paying thousands for Pelotons that covered the planet as far as the eye could see. People peddling for their life and sweating while some voice yelled at them from the great beyond. Isn’t relaxation supposed to be about quiet time?

I stopped riding bikes when my Schwinn rusted out and my tuchas lost all its fat, flattened out and the bicycle seat became my enemy.

On Looney Tunes, mobs rule, children disrespect their teachers and refuse to put down their cell phones, and anyone who attempts to change lanes while driving gets the universal middle finger signal.

When we were young we weren’t allowed to sit all day and watch television, we were castigated for overeating too many sweets, and were threatened with no television for not finishing our Brussel Sprouts. UGH! I hate those things to this day.

What has happened to our lives?

Every generation has been negatively impacted by the challenges of this craziness foisted upon us. Baby Boomers can’t cruise, tour countries they’ve never seen or play mah jong or canasta.

Children miss attending school with their friends. It’s sad they’re being deprived of their childhoods; attending class, playing outdoors, forming cliques and trying to survive high school.

I’m not saying childhood is perfect by any means, but how will our children cope with life if they’re never allowed to interact with the nice and not so nice?

Every generation faces difficulties, but I’m convinced it’s the way you emerge from challenges that matters. It is a plus that families are spending more time together. Well, for most families anyway.

I can’t even imagine how awful it was for our parents and grandparents during World War II when they endured four years of fears, rationing and the loss of loved ones without Netflix, Amazon or the Internet.

Can you imagine how much worse it would have been for everyone if they could’ve live streamed the Blitz or Pearl Harbor?

Sure this is awful, but four years of wondering if your sons, brothers, husbands, nephews or neighbors would ever return from Europe or the Pacific was bloody awful.

Perhaps our parents were tough because of the war. Perhaps we are powder puffs because aside from 9/11 we’ve had it relatively easy.

No, I’m not forgetting Viet Nam, the Cold War, John Kennedy’s assassination or Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress, but unless you lost someone in Nam, aside from the sadness we felt for those who did, our lives went on.

Aside from all the unnecessary death caused by that war, the saddest memory for me was the way our returning soldiers were treated. They’d been sent to a war for no other reason than to satisfy the egos of powerful men and made to pay a terrible price.

So yes, Viet Nam was a sad, horrible time, but I’m not certain it impacted the world as we are now experiencing.

Now we face another world war and because it’s biological it’s frightening and frustrating. We can’t pick up a rifle and shoot it, we can’t spy on it or run it over with a tank or nuke it with atom bombs. We can’t even force it to watch reruns of Petticoat Junction.

This is a new enemy, more evil than any we’ve seen. It’s as if China bottled the DNA from the most evil Nazi’s, put it in a test tube and loosed it on the world.

We are forced to cower in our caves like our ancestors when a wild boar sought them out. They had no weapons except a club or a rock.

As Albert Einstein was purported to have said, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

I guess somewhere along the way we luckily missed World War III because it seems we’re back to sticks and stones.

At the end of the day when, as all things do this pandemic passes, the better question is; into what kind of world will we return? Will our current struggles propel us forward as better people in a kinder, more civilized society or will we continue to be angry, bitter and volatile toward one another?

Have we learned as in the past after world wars that peace, love and sanity are the very building blocks of happiness or will we continue down a road of divisiveness and conflict?

I for one will be happy to be outside enjoying my life once again, spending my moments out of captivity doing as I wish. I just pray we can all celebrate being together again in a positive way right here on Planet Earth, and create a better world than ever before.

9/11: Is it Just Another Bad Memory?

9/11: Is it Just Another Bad Memory?

Life is about mixed messaging. Today, remembering the terrible attack in New York, The Pentagon and Flight 93, the visuals return with every bit of their gruesome horror. Then as we humans have been instructed, they fade once more and are filed away into the back of our minds. Only the loved ones of the victims hold the pain closely with no reprieve.

If there is one truth it’s that evil has no politics, color or creed. Oh, of course many try to equate them, but it’s impossible because evil is found in every political party and in every corner of the planet. It’s an entity onto itself and exists solely within the heart and mind of man. It’s true however that it can be spread like a black river of oil unto a fertile plain or in an ocean among the innocent sea life fatally exposed.

Yet, if we Americans are so affected by evil events like 9/11, Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, is it productive to sweep them aside until they are marked on a calendar each year?

Can we learn if we’re encouraged to forget? Can evil ever be eradicated if we allow it to fester and thrive as part of history?

We’re taught to live in the present and see those who live in the past encumbering their ability to live a happy life. Yet, the message is startlingly ambiguous when it’s only by remembering the lessons we can forge ahead wiser.

So which is it, recall or move forward?

What is the proper amount of bad memories to dredge up and when does that number cross the line into mental instability?

Pearl Harbor hasn’t been forgotten, yet the enemy that attacked us is now our friend. We no longer cast aspersions on Japan or its people, nor should we, yet the lessons of World War II seem long forgotten. Because the Japanese people are now considered allies does that mean Nazis are as well and we should be electing them to Congress?

Today in the United States Congress Representative James Clayburn of North Carolina, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, demeaned Jewish Holocaust survivors to defend the hateful remarks of one of his America hating, anti-Semitic colleagues, Ilhan Omar.

So are we now to assume that every one who cast a vote for this horrible man or for her abhors Jewish people? I wouldn’t like to think that true, yet why is someone who castigates survivors serving in a country that fought a war to destroy a regime determined to kill all those whom their leaders deemed less worthy to breathe the same air?

Should hate spreaders be allowed to serve in our Congress among those that lost relatives at the hand of evil without censure or a day of reckoning? Their loathing has been exposed on numerous other occasions, yet they are not held accountable for their hate speech. America cannot condone such behavior and elect haters still we continue to do so.

Yes, free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy and without it there is fascism, but should we be electing evil spreaders to make our laws and lead our country? Intolerance is intolerable and yet we foster and nurture it in our own government.

So where do we live? In the past, present or future and which will allow us to improve life by learning from the lessons that cost us so dearly?

If it is healthier to evolve from the past is it also healthy to move on from the memory of foul deeds and events?

I’m mystified by the amount of maliciousness I witness on a daily basis and how perfectly acceptable it has become to overtly express these feelings, no matter how despicable.

The world accepts too easily what it hears and finds it easier to believe what they are told then to fight back. Because evil is proactive and good is reactive the scales are weighted in favor of the aggressor.

The simple truth is that we do indeed forget, because we are trained to do so. Live in the present is the chosen mantra.

Israel and many countries in the Middle East have just entered into a peace deal that will change that area if not the entire world.

Former enemies will now be friends and free to travel, trade and break bread together.

So what lesson must we learn from these shifting world dynamics?

I laugh at the simplicity of my own answer; to err is human to forgive divine.

Yet forgiveness does not mean forgetting. No, we cannot remember everything, but even if relegated to the past they must continue to strengthen our moral code.

If we forget the deaths and lessons of the wars we fought then we’ll be doomed to reelect politicians who espouse divisiveness. If we forget we must be vigilant when dealing with those who’ve proven to exercise evil deeds with no remorse, then we’re doomed to repeat mistakes and be vulnerable to malice.

If a government becomes so indifferent to the vindictive speech and deeds advocated by their leadership then unfortunately we have many examples of the outcome of such folly and its effect on humanity.

One comment should be enough to engage our outrage and battle against darkness. When someone shows you who they are, believe them or suffer the consequences. Can there ever be enough history to accomplish this end?

Yes, life is filled with mixed messages and from where I sit now I’m dubious. However, we must retain hope if we are all to survive and once again remember or even sadly, forget.

Yes, life is filled with mixed messages and from where I sit now I’m dubious. However, we must retain hope if we are all to survive and once again remember or even sadly, forget.

It’s Never Too Late? But For What?

It’s Never Too Late? But For What?

Its never too late is a phrase I’ve learned to hate. It’s a bigger lie than I’ll still respect you in the morning or read my lips no new taxes or no, your ass doesn’t look fat in those pants.

My entire life I bought into the belief that as long as you’re still breathing there is always tomorrow and another opportunity to get it right.


Of late I’ve come to understand there is a point at which when you knock, opportunity says, “sorry, no one’s home.”

The difficult fact to acknowledge is you actually do get to a place when you’re just too damn old to do some of the things you’ve dreamed of doing. Years of garnering wisdom cannot make up for physical prowess, but it can lead you to a different path.

Sure you can point to an Iris Apfel at 96 still hawking her wears on HSN, but she didn’t start that business in her nineties.

Starting over at a certain point is pointless.

The revelation that you’ve reached a time where certain of life’s choices are no longer available is heartbreaking and yet one must come to terms with the fact it’s a stark reality of aging.

There are many who reach the laugh, laugh golden years and are quite happy to hang up their spurs. After a lifetime of hard work and smart investing many seniors are happy to travel and play golf or tennis if health permits.

So you’re asking, what’s so bad about that, Norma? Must you always bitch about this whole getting-old-thing? Why can’t you just shut up and go to a driving range?

Sadly, I’m of the school that believes that there’s so much to do in life I selfishly want to experience more.

When younger I’d read stories about 60-year olds that went to law school or 50-year olds that lost their jobs and started their own businesses and I found it so inspiring.

Now of course I realize these people were not in their seventies. Oops, that smarts.

So what is someone standing at the doorway of old age supposed to do when their spirit and mind says start that business or get that job when opportunity slams the door in their crows-footed face?

Baby Boomers joke with one another constantly about forgetting what they’re saying from one minute to the next. Walking into a room and being unable to even remember why you did and the inability to recall names or familiar words. We all compare what body part needs replacing or aches that particular day and mourn the fact we can’t eat an entire corned beef sandwich without inhaling Tums.

My body is now calling the shots and literally rules my world. I feel like a mummy that walks forward while pieces of wrappings drop off with every step. “Ouch” now describes my athletic prowess.

I do recognize the fact many grow older without as much physical damage, but no one’s body totally seems to escape the ravages of time unless they’re one of the really lucky ones.

In the end of course the truly lucky ones are actually those still alive to complain about the aches and pains.

I had a doctor friend who used to say that if you’re over forty and you wake up in the morning and something doesn’t hurt, you’re dead.

Okay, I’ve kvetched enough, but isn’t there some truth to my bitching? Yep, humor aside, time often robs us of our dreams.

To be realistic most seniors cannot become a country music star at eighty, go back to school and become a doctor at seventy-eight or get an MBA at ninety. Life is what it is and time unfortunately is a cruel dictator. And yes, you can argue that becoming a country star at eighty is doable, but try to come up against the young people running the music and show businesses and see how far you’d get unless you’re a Maggie Smith or Judy Densch.

So what can one do as the years pile up? Plenty, if agenda matches ability. We can take on new goals and let the old pipe dreams fly away on that Spring breeze that carries old desires away to some youth-filled Neverland.

Is it sad to say goodbye to those aspirations so long a part of our soul? Of course, and one of the pains of aging is letting go of the dreams so long inside, much like old friends we’ll never seen again.

When I was sixty I applied for a job at a newspaper that was far below my abilities. The interview went well as the editor knew me by reputation and we’d even met socially on occasion. At the end he asked me, “Would you feel awkward working here among so many young people?”

“Where do you think I’d feel better working, at a nursing home?” I asked.

Needless to say he’d dropped the A Bomb (age bomb) and literally given his prejudices away.

Yes, sadly there seems to be a time when one outlives their usefulness in a youth-oriented culture. When it’s time to leave and despite how much you’d like to stay, the party’s pretty much over.

So as when we were younger and a goal didn’t materialize no matter how hard we tried, we must now bury many of our ambitions and seek new, realistic objectives.

Of course for some it’s easier as they are happy with a retirement filled with easily achievable goals. A hole in one, regular visits to the grandchildren, a riverboat cruise along the Danube, trip to Las Vegas or a Maj Jong tournament, and these are all great ways to spend one’s retirement.

Yet so many of even these aims are dependent on physical or financial health and many times when dream meets reality one falls short.

No, this isn’t intended to depress the hell out of you; it’s just a shout out to perhaps find a new project that inspires your passion.

Especially now when we’re relegated to our homes in hiding from the monster virus it’s easier to feel helpless and hopeless about the future. Now when each minute takes on new meaning and significance a year of our time has been stolen from our lives. For many it will be difficult to tear oneself away from our new berth in front of the big screen and our affair with Netflix and that’s okay, too.

I’m just kind of venting about getting back out into the world and creating a new existence.

Whether it’s resting on one’s laurels or realizing a long held dream, go for it and make it happen knowing what warriors we Baby Boomers truly are.

Accept what you can’t do with grace, create the life you desire and recognize how much you still have within you to achieve.

There’s a reason poet Dylan Thomas wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

So I’m schlepping myself away from this jigsaw puzzle and checking out my bucket list. For every item I can no longer achieve I’ll add another one I can.

Oy! I think the first one I’ll add is get up off the couch in under five minutes. Hmmm, do you think I can still hitchhike through Italy?

I’d be happy to do a cheer for your goals, but I’m not sure I could lift the pom poms over my head.

Scatter My Ashes Over Costco

Scatter My Ass Over Costco

I recently watched a documentary (what else do I have to do?) entitled Scatter My Ashes Over Bergdorf Goodman. It was late at night when I noticed it on Prime so at first I thought it read scatter my ass over Bergdorf Goodman, which really peaked my curiosity, but I digress.

The place has a fascinating history and supposedly a cartoonist from The New Yorker magazine had coined the phrase years ago.

I began to watch, and of course the store is amazing. Wall to wall materialism all wrapped up in the heady air of if-you-have-to-ask-the-price-you-shouldn’t-be-here.

Quality is king because apparently founder Herman Bergdorf was a tailor so he fixated on the workmanship of the garments allowed into the sacred halls of this palace of yummy, couture creations. The store sits atop the site of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion on Fifth Avenue so perhaps wealth is already in the soil’s DNA.

BG buyers spoke of how they discovered and brought along designers until they were Bergdorf worthy and demanded exclusivity from those lucky enough to make the cut.

Personal shoppers spoke of anonymous clients too famous to mention, like we can’t guess, and of course since they work on commission it was revealed that someone working at Bergdorf could make as much as half a million dollars salary a year.

After seriously rethinking my career choices while inhaling two almond snickers bars, I continued my journey through this capital of couture. It wasn’t so much the fact the store was filled with beautiful and expensive merchandise; it was their method of display.

Even the windows had risen to an art form. I must admit I was more taken with many of the objects their artisans created for Bergdorf’s windows than the Marcel Duchamp’s Urinal Fountain sculpture, so there’s that.

Now begs the question, what qualifies something to be expensive? In real estate it’s of course location location location, but even that changes. Bet you could get a hellava deal right now on a New York condo.

Is it merely the way something is presented that catches the eye of the lover of all things expensive and exotic?

Does Bergdorf have the formula for success that proves entering a world so beautifully appointed it stands to reason everything within must be coveted and desired?

If that’s true we must closely examine Costco.

They as Bergdorf have created their own brand in Kirkland, and like BG have searched for only the best to bestow their own label upon and allow within their hallowed, concrete walls. However, if quality is also measured by design than Costco has quite a way to go.

The whole warehouse ambiance doesn’t quite do it for me. Although it does give one a feeling the bargains stretch on forever.

On the opposite side of the equation, walking into Bergdorf’s one is immediately taken by the rich woods, marble and glass surroundings providing a luxurious atmosphere of wealth and privilege. Although one might surmise this was designed to scare off those whom may recognize the aroma of luxury, but can certainly not afford such opulence, the desire to mingle with money is indeed seductive. It’s Newport on steroids and offers familiarity to coveted customers.

However one story amused me about Mr. Goodman told by his grandson.

It seems a bag lady walked into the fur department one day and admired a coat.

Of course Mr. Goodman was polite but evasive when asked the price, thinking she was unable to afford such luxury.

Now we all know the ending to this one, she reached into her paper bags paid cash and bought the coat, teaching him a valuable lesson about not judging a book by its cover.

I was surprised he had not learned this earlier in his life since I was well aware of its truth early on. My grandparents, who dressed like bag people, once drove from Detroit to Miami in their new Cadillac with 100,000 dollars in my grandmother’s pocketbook to buy an apartment building on the beach. They didn’t trust banks.

Could one have easily mistaken them for the janitor and housekeeper? Absolutely, so this lesson came to me young.

Mr. Goodman’s naïveté aside it’s the policy of BG to be polite to all who enter the perfectly appointed surroundings and even if you are there to simply drool over that six-thousand dollar Bottega Veneta handbag, courtesy will be extended.

This respect isn’t a bad thing; in fact it’s actually very good. Since I’ve noticed that of late many Neiman Marcus sales people treat even those who walk about the store sporting Gucci as though they were the dirt under their Louboutins. Not hard to figure out why the bottom line has reached rock bottom in that retail scenario.

So I must ask myself, is it in the fantasy that the reality of value exists? And do we all crave a small slice of that high-class challah?

BG can no longer demand exclusivity as in the past   when Halston was asked to leave when he aligned himself with, wait for it, J.C. Penney. Gasp and clutch the pearls.

If one claims to be the best, are they? Who should challenge a belief system backed up with such confidence? Not me I’ll tell you. Whatever gets you through the day, that’s my mantra.

Yes, if it’s true clothes make the man, it follows that ambiance makes the store.

When one declares, “Scatter my ashes over Bergdorf Goodman,” are they actually saying, “let me luxuriate forever in that air of refinement and sophistication?” I want to spend eternity with Fendi and Dior and can you throw a bit of Alexander McQueen and Prada into the mix? For many there is of course some stability and comfort in knowing that lavish world still exists.

Beats the hell out of a desire to spend one’s eternity fighting off the Christmas rush at Walmart.

Still, I’ve decided that if I’m going to be doing time in some sort of eternal afterlife Costco would be the best choice.

After all, they’ve achieved a great business model, despite their whole cheesy warehouse cache. But on the upside there’s a bakery with a damn good apple pie, samples to munch on while I laze about unnoticed watching those still breathing, and of course if needed they offer a wide variety of underwear, shoes and giant screen televisions from which to choose.

“Hey lady, where did you get those samples of chocolate popcorn?”

No matter where you opt to spend your next foray into some sort of existence one consideration remains apparent if not a bit ironic; your ashes will be swept up a lot faster at Bergdorf Goodman than at Costco where ashes would only enhance the ambiance. So be like Indiana Jones and choose carefully or your whole afterlife could be really, really short.

Gold Dust Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

2 containers chocolate frosting

1 tablespoon of edible gold luster dust

Heat oven to 350° F (325° F for dark or nonstick pans). Line 24 regular-size muffin cups with gold metallic paper baking cups. Make and bake cupcakes as directed on box. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

Transfer frosting to large decorating bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Let cupcakes stand uncovered until frosting is set, about 2 hours. Gently touch-test frosting with fingertip-the outside should be dry to the touch. If frosting is still wet and smears, allow additional drying time.

When frosting is set, load small soft-bristle dry artist’s brush with gold luster dust. Gently brush over frosting portion of a cupcake until a gold sheen is achieved. Repeat with remaining cupcakes. A second coat of luster dust can be applied for intensified golden color.

Store cupcakes loosely covered with plastic wrap or in air-tight plastic cupcake-keeper.

Genius or Madness? You Be The Judge

Genius or Madness? You Be The Judge

How do you know when you’ve reached the pinnacle of your game?

How can anyone know when that next thing will be the one thing that takes you over the top and ends your struggle for success?

For a comic it may be the next gig, for an artist that next painting or sculpture, for a businessman that upcoming deal and for everyone just taking the next offer even after you’ve sworn you’re giving up.

So is it the ones that don’t give up that necessarily cross the finish line?

And of course the next question would have to be, how do you know when it’s over and time to throw in the towel? However, unlike others who strive can it ever be over for an artist?

Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime; Red Vineyard at Arles and the rest sat in a prison of anonymity until his death?

So why did that one painting not secure the future of one of the great masters whose paintings now sell in the millions of dollars?

Why couldn’t he cross over into elusive stardom and needlessly suffered pain and frustration until he died? By anyone’s standards Van Gogh wasn’t a failure and yet in his own lifetime he was.

As a student of human nature and life, I as so many others have often sought to explain the randomness of success. Simply put, there is no rhyme or reason for those who are propelled into the illusive land of stardom and those who are forever condemned to a life of unappreciated struggle.

So who decides someone’s fate? Is it some force of destiny sitting behind a desk in a corner of Macy’s New York store behind the Thanksgiving Day balloons? Or is it within oneself to choose the time and arrival of our achievements and no one else?

Too many are quick to say those that crave success enough will discover it, yet I’ve watched countless talented and gifted people struggle and fail for a lifetime. In retrospect I’ve also seen the mediocre rise to the top, receive accolades and praise truly unwarranted by their limited talent.

So where is the cut off between fate, talent and sheer moxie?

Is it no more than an uncanny ability to hear the word no as yes? Or stop as go? To never give up despite all signs pointing to the exit?

Van Gogh never stopped painting and since I’ve never spoken with him, I can’t speak to his true ambitions. Of course I know of his torment and the obvious pain in his soul that led him to cut off his own ear and ultimately commit suicide. Yet if he was so unfulfilled and angst ridden, why go on? Why continue doing what caused such unrelenting pain?

Was it lunacy that drove him? The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So was he mad? Or was he driven by some unknown force, even to him that shouted loudly paint, paint, paint even as the world shouted back, “we don’t want you?”

Is it insanity or optimism and are they the same?

I’m certain many optimists would take umbrage to that comparison, yet isn’t optimism simply seeing only a good result at the end of the day when reality continually proves otherwise?

Telling one to retain hope in a hopeless situation and keep on truckin on even after getting run over on your chosen path is considered good advice by many.

Why would Van Gogh suffer, but Picasso collect accolades and untold wealth for merely expressing their extraordinary gifts? Was one a higher form of genius or producer of masterpieces? The facts prove otherwise?

So asking the burning yet never before answered question, why, I can still offer no answer.

You might ask what is the point in the asking? After all greater scholars and thinkers than I have sought the answer to this ageless enigma…does hard work and perseverance always equal success?

I’m afraid that’s not an answer but merely a conclusion drawn from observing so many successful people.

Yet do we too quickly dismiss those who have adopted that same equation and attained the opposite result?

What separates the frustrated Van Gogh from a successful Picasso? Is it simply a matter of timing? Can some be lost in the trends or mores of their day and reemerge later after becoming the very trend itself, when others defining genius finally see fit to choose them?

Is it only the decision makers that call the shots for art and those with the most cache and clout decide the fate and definition of genius?

Even a Picasso whose brilliance is never doubted will inspire some to stand back and murmur, “I just don’t get it?”

Can anyone say Toulouse Lautrec, Claude Monet and numerous others never recognized during their life are more talented in death?

Franz Kafka, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allen Poe, John Keats are all now immortal by today’s standards and yet struggled to achieve respect or fortune during their own lifetime.

So artists and even scientists must many times be satisfied with following their destiny alone and as Thoreau wrote, “live lives of quiet desperation.”

Despite the gift one has received from the universe, a talent they may feel compelled to exhibit, there is still that small part within us all that seeks to be part of the herd, to fit into society and find one’s place.

If we create an imbalance between those two needs, fitting in and the desperate drive to express our art and separate ourselves, we’ll fail to achieve the equilibrium that promotes stability and contentment.

So does it merely come down to luck and timing? 

Or having the right power broker smile down on you and your work to achieve success? Without an advocate is Claude Monet any less a genius?

I believe there is a force of destiny at work in the universe, and yet the sheer amount of luck at receiving approval from those with the power to say whom will live and die with their talent cannot be denied.

There must be an originator and an admirer working in tandem to achieve success. Yet there is also much to be said for one’s passion and resolve to express the art within, whether or not anyone ever understands or appreciates its greatness, except its own creator. It’s only this desperation to exorcise one’s gift that compels the artist and in the end that’s as much control as one may expect in a judgmental world.

Lox and Bagel Bites

2 cucumbers

1 tub whipped cream cheese

1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion

½ cup nova lox cut up

Bagel chips

1 hard boiled egg optional

Cut cucumbers in 1-inch circles

Hollow out seeds and pat dry and set aside don’t go all the way through the cucumber so filling stays inside.

Mix together lox onions and cream cheese and lighting salt and pepper. Remember lox can be salty so go slow with the seasoning

With a teaspoon or a pastry bag fill cucumber rounds with cream cheese mixture.

Garnish with pieces of bagel chips and if so desired grate some hardboiled egg on top.

Great appetizers for brunch or a snack

Nothin’ Says Lovin’


Nothin’ Says Lovin’

I can’t claim to know much anymore, but one thing is for sure…after this damn COVID is over I’m done cooking. I feel like my children are young again and I’m spending all day in the kitchen playing chef du jour for my little angels and my husband.

As in the past once again it’s one bite for you one for the garbage disposal, (that was my nickname back in those days). Now I feel like I should have a t-shirt made for myself printed with Insinkerator.

Only problem is there are no kids here to split my food with so it’s all going into the garbage disposal, AKA me.

Last night I dreamed my oven was hiding behind my bedroom door waiting to attack me with a giant spatula. It tied me up and force-fed me zucchini chips while it screamed, “Do you have to make crummy veggies that spend all day in the oven drying out? Don’t I deserve a break? I can’t take anymore I’m a wreck.” Then it broke down and started to cry. It trudged out of the room after handing me a coupon for Dominos and a copy of Shakespeare with a quote about the quality of mercy being strained or something.

Guilt from my oven? What’s next, a letter from the Chinese requesting money for the sick scientists who brought us COVID? Much like the guy who murdered his parents and threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.

I can’t even think of a single food that appeals to me anymore. My taste buds are telling me, “No thanks man, I’m good,” and closing down.

I’ve baked, sautéed, fried, stewed, roasted, chopped, sliced and mooshed and nothing even appeals to me anymore. I’ve air-dried and French-fried and I’m fried, period. I’ve even sold my soul for Creole and I’m just plain done.

I’ve eaten every cuisine from here to Outer Mongolia and I’m wondering if the Astronauts have any suggestions.

If you see a flying saucer would you please flag it down and see what they’re serving on board for lunch.

The other day I’d swear I saw a feather growing out of my tuchas from all the chicken I’ve eaten.

No, Charlie Tuna I’m no threat anymore so rest easy.

No more Jiff in a Jiffy no more Burger Kings or Dairy Queens, and Jack can just close his box because I’m not interested.

No Chick Fil A or Chick Fil B for me cause I’m over this whole COVID food thing.

I know I should be grateful to be here in peace and quiet, eating, cooking, baking and answering to no one’s taste buds or food cravings but my own.

Sorry, not feeling it.

If someone else made me a taco would I bite? Maybe, but I won’t guarantee that would work.

I’m just tired and can’t get my taste buds excited about anything anymore.

Eating as a hobby is getting super old and I want to go back to my old life. Retail cardio, now that’s a hobby. I never realized what a thrill it would be to walk down the crowded aisles of a store and just stare at something until I decide to buy or not to buy.

Oh sure, Amazon may pretend to have aisles but they don’t.

When was the last time you stood weighing a buying decision until someone came by with their cart and barked, “Do you mind?” Oh to hear the sound of a rude customer annoyed because I’m blocking her way again.

Or to play Maj Jong and hear the clackity clack of the tiles on the table as I two bam four crack happily along while shoveling in handfuls of chocolate-coated gummy bears.

Lord, I’d even settle for hearing the words “blue light special aisle six,” over the loud speaker.

Cooking doesn’t cut it. Sure for the first few months it was fun to be in the kitchen, now I feel like I’m on the spinning teacups at Magic Mountain when my overwhelming nausea forced me to insist the guy stop the ride so I could get off. (My son doesn’t like me to repeat that story, apparently the embarrassment he suffered was traumatic).

Please let me out of the kitchen so I can get back to living my life, bitching about LA drivers, sitting and fuming in traffic, looking for a parking spot at the mall out of the sun, hanging up on and cursing at robocalls.

Oops, wait a minute those are stressful things that make me want to eat more.

Is there no way I can escape food? Must I be forever attached to my oven and chained to the stove top?

I totally envy those who can use this moment of quarantine for Peloton riding or speed walking about the neighborhood or even exercising in front of the flat screen with some anorexic zealot.

I’m just not one of them.

As a foodie my instincts are for food to fill time as I try to convince myself I’m not bored as hell. Meanwhile I’m chomping at the bit to get the heck out of this place like Seabiscuit at the starting line.

Some days I just want to scream “Help,” out the window as the fitness conscience walkers speed by. Full of themselves and their whole damn healthy outlook while I dip another double stuff Oreo into the milk and toss it into my mouth.

Now I’m in a real conundrum because the joy of shoveling in calories has waned and I’m feeling down, and when I’m down I habitually look toward food to lift me up.

This cannot be good.

So I’m forced to do the unthinkable…find something besides eating to make me happy and fill the hours.

Yes, I know there are millions of things besides consuming edibles, yet I’ve never considered them an appropriate substitute for good old chocolate.

So I shall wrack my brain compiling a list of productive pastimes. Hopefully after a few weeks of practicing a wholesome lifestyle, my taste buds will return to normal and welcome some fried cluck with biscuits or an oink lettuce and tomato sandwich or a fake whopper with real bacon and Burger King’s less than stellar French fries.

After all, one must keep hope alive and in the age of COVID, perhaps that’s the best we can hope for, besides curbside pick up of course.








How The Hell Did I Get This Old?


How The Hell Did I Get This Old?

If I ever get my hands on Father Time he’ll pay big time for schlepping me kicking and screaming into the so-called Golden Years.

Did you ever notice that life is like a roll of toilet paper? The closer you get to the end the faster it goes. So you’re asking yourself if I’m comparing life to toilet paper, which would be the obvious conclusion and yet you’d be wrong. Life is far more complex than paper and the ability to explain or analyze it as a phenomenon is for wiser minds than mine.

However that said, life isn’t without its moments of perplexing and insufferable crap, but I shall choose the high road and say that as one nears the end of the journey we are left with a conundrum…if we were given the chance for a do over, would we?

So as we face the goldest part of our golden years filled with wisdom, experience and a sheer and flagrant who-gives-a-damn-anymore attitude are we truly prepared to jump back on for another ride on the scariest merry go round of all, youth?

Of course most agree that another shot at life would be counterproductive if we couldn’t do the do over with the information we’ve garnered from this ride, so I’d probably wonder if it were worth making that journey without benefit of what I’ve learned and even a few lifeline calls to a friend along the way.

Not sure I’d want to go through natural childbirth again, but I hope next time around I’d opt for an epidural from their conception until they finish high school.

Ah, but would I, you see that’s the rub, because who’s to say one wouldn’t make even worse decisions than before and find an even more challenging life waiting as we begin again?

And of course what a journey it is and the trite and misguided belief that we’d do things differently given the chance doesn’t hold much water for the simple reason most of us never do when we are given the chance every day.

That’s the catch of course. We wake up each morning more wise and experienced than the day before, at least that’s the theory, and yet most of us cling to the same paradigms and behaviors that have created our lives.

Larry David one of the most gifted and out-there comic minds of my generation took on this topic on Seinfeld in the fifth season. Entitled The Opposite, Jerry proposes the theory to George Costanza, “If every instinct you have is wrong than the opposite would have to be right.”

In simplicity there is genius. Of course when he enacts this new mindset his life changes for the better and all is well for George.

Yet, although this seems like a great solution done in a comic forum, we actually are faced with this choice each day. In the end it can work to a degree, but the problem may be that just doing the opposite is not always an option.

Not every choice in life is black and white, up or down, yes or no. So many of the decisions we make are sideways and complex, requiring so much more than a simplistic way of thinking.

Doing the opposite doesn’t mean choosing one thing over another because it can also pertain to behavior choices.

If you walk down the street with your head down, perhaps you might try lifting it up, saying hello and smiling at passersby. I’m not certain that would change your life, but because someone may have needed your smile that day to make a life changing decision of their own it was a good decision. May even garner you a few positive karma points.

So in the end often what we do doesn’t just affect us alone.

If we have the chance for a do over every day of our lives how many actually embrace the opportunity? Since I can’t find any study done on the issue I’ll surmise not many.

Every experience in our lives is the opportunity for change and growth. A lesson learned either to be embraced or discarded and we make that choice constantly.

The answer to whether or not you’d live your life over isn’t yes or no, it’s have you been doing that already.

I’m a firm believer in instinct. That little feeling or whisper in the pit of your stomach that tells you when something isn’t kosher. Of course so many of us just tell the voice saying, “don’t do it,” to shut up and go blindly ahead only to regret our decision later.

What in the world would ever make us think that simply coming back into the world starting anew would be different, whether or not we had prior knowledge?

I’ve heard people say, “so and so has great instincts.” So begs the question did they actually hone them or were they some sort of cosmic gift to allow them to make better choices. Perhaps it’s a bit of both in the end, but I do believe that it’s never too late to change.

I as many others have made some pretty pretty bad choices in my life and of course we all pay a price. Very few of us escape unscathed from our own bad decisions yet too many continue to act on instincts that have proven unwise in the past.

I needn’t list them because I have neither the time nor enough memory in my computer, but we all have our own little box of bad choices to rummage through.

Since I’m actually so much older than I ever thought possible I’ve decided to use my situation for the best. From now on I’m opposite Norma and I shall indulge myself in a bit of an experiment. When faced with a choice I’ll simply ask what would I usually do and create an option quite out of character. Will it work? Who knows, because in the end I believe some choices are made for us somewhere in some cosmic storehouse that contains the road map for our life. Yes we have free will, or do we? That’s a question neither old Norma nor opposite Norma would even attempt to answer.

So because getting old allows for a what-the-hell attitude toward life, I’m game for most things now. Although there’s tons of new scary stuff out there in this crazy world I have to remind myself it’s no different for any generation.

We are all born into one world and wind up leaving another.

So have fun and try something new or choose not to, your choice.

Getting old has many benefits, not the least of which is not giving a damn what anyone says and doing exactly as you choose. We fear no one and we ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

Just don’t tell your children what you’re up to and have a ball.





I’m Speechless So I Guess Hell Froze Over


I’m Speechless So I Guess Hell Froze Over

For those who know me and would never have fathomed I’d ever run out of things to say, I must announce that the day is finally here. Hell froze over and I’m speechless, dumbfounded and can’t even think of anything to write about.

This of course is no surprise because in order to find new and interesting things to say you need to live your life out in the world. Since that is something I can’t do right now thanks to COVID, what is new and exciting to report?

The world is an interesting place when you’re in it, but since we’re forbidden from venturing forth into the outside climes, well I have to admit it’s a bit boring.

Sure I could watch television and moan about the people going out sans mask, partying and spreading the virus to innocent people. Freedom schmeedom, because we’re free can we explode a bomb in a crowded theater? I think not.

Or perhaps I could bitch about the fact that the geniuses that run the states and cities are letting criminals out of jail so they can go on killing, raping and committing crimes in a safer environment. Should I sleep better at night knowing that someone who raped ten women is not in danger of catching the virus?

Maybe we can talk about the fact my hair looks awful, my nails are non-existent and my roots are growing faster than a politician’s lies.

We could talk about these things I suppose, but why? Life is depressing enough right now.

I’m well aware sitting home, watching television and eating isn’t a hardship, although most men would be far happier if their television schedule included sports. Sorry about that, guys. There are worse things than staying at home, sitting on the patio reading a book, feeding the squirrels and zooming with your grandchildren all day.

Yet, I’m afraid these activities don’t really make for very interesting conversation.

How many times can you ask a friend, “So what did you eat for lunch?” I sound like my father who felt monitoring his children’s caloric intake was akin to brushing your teeth each day.

I imagine one could ask, “So what did you buy online today?” Yet truly having Amazon deliver a box of Softsoap isn’t the most sparkling topic.

Besides who needs to shop when were all in our pajamas and sweats?

Okay, so here’s the deal…I’m making up a pretend life. After all I’m a writer and should have a vivid imagination so now’s my time to prove it. I’m going to tell you about the week I wish I’d had, but couldn’t because I can’t leave the damn house!

So in my imagination I’m in Roma. Italy, not Ohio. I didn’t need a plane to fly there because I took a magic carpet that I borrowed from a friend down the street who just returned from her pretend trip to Istanbul. Maybe I’ll fly there next week, no masks and lots of empty seats beside me on the rug.

Anyway we’re back in Rome and I’m walking toward the Spanish Steps. Boy, those are high and my feet are already complaining. I decide to sit for a moment observing all the thousands of people walking about in the square hurrying toward their next destination or favorite outdoor café for the world’s most delicious pasta.

Ahead of me is the Via del Corso, the premiere shopping area in Rome and women rush about carrying bags labeled Fendi, Gucci and Dior as their heels clackity clack on the cobblestone streets.

In the distance are the hills of Rome; magical and legendary like a painting by an old master.

Two kids walk by eating cones with gelato dripping down the sides, their mother wiping their hands as they struggle to keep licking their precious treat.

Four young men are standing at the base of the steps speaking Italian, smoking, laughing and checking out women as they pass. Italian men, gotta love ‘em. Some women pretend not to notice, but smile as they walk past flattered to be noticed and admired. I think how nice it would be to be young again as I pull out my phone and check Vatican tour times.

I grab a cab and head to St. Peter’s Basilica to see the impressive statue of St. Peter, his feet shiny and worn from all the pilgrims who’ve rubbed them in a desperate attempt to garner his blessings and help.

I stare up at the magnificent dome created by Michelangelo and I’m stunned by the way it catches the light filling the space with color.

To my left is a small alter containing two confessionals of dark, ancient wood. As I get closer I notice the worn steps at their entrances where so many have entered to ask forgiveness and a blessing.

I’m in line to enter the Sistine Chapel and look around at the unbelievable splendor of St. Peter’s Square filled with tourists, priests, nuns and worshippers from all over the world.

Some obese guy I’m guessing from New Jersey by his accent, in Bermudas and Adidas bumps into me and almost pushes me over as a bird poops on my shoulder. Damn, I just had this pashmina cleaned and I search for a Kleenex in my purse.

Ecstasy returns in the chapel as I’m instantly stunned by the sheer magnificence of the space. My eyes hardly know where to focus first. I sit on a bench and look up confused about what side to stare at and my eyes become glued to Adam and God nearly touching. I sit transfixed until I hear a loud clap accompanied by a loud shush. I return to earth and notice the room is still and wonder what’s happening. I continue to stare and in another twenty minutes the clap and shush once again.

I inquire about this strange incident to a nearby observer and I’m told it’s the Sistine Chapel shusher who regularly claps and shushes to reduce the noise level. I decide to apply for that plum job as soon as I leave and remain staring upward until my aching neck insists it’s had enough of all this magnificence.

I head out to an inviting restaurant in Rome’s ancient, Jewish ghetto to experience another Roman culinary masterpiece. My fat self is praying they have good stuffed squash blossoms as taxis and people whiz by me on the busy streets, overflowing with bougainvillea and the sound of clinking glasses and murmurs of “chin chin.”

I’ve left Rome and now I’m back from my adventure sitting on my couch, typing in my jammies and wondering if there are any of those yummy zucchini chips left over.

I’m wishing to see Rome again someday when all this craziness is only a horrible memory and life returns to whatever it will be. As long as Rome is still there, I’m good.

Happy travels on your own magic carpet, everyone.


Spinach Ricotta Balls


1 package 32 ounces of ricotta cheese.

1 package of spinach fresh or 2 boxes of frozen (if frozen squeezed out well)


½ cup of Parmesan Reggiano

A pinch of nutmeg

2 eggs

1 tablespoon flour

Spaghetti sauce (optional)


Drain the ricotta cheese in cheesecloth over a bowl until dry

Pour the ricotta into a bowl and add spinach.

Mix two eggs in a separate bowl. Add salt and at this point you may add a dash of your favorite Italian seasoning like basil or oregano to the eggs. This is your choice.

Add eggs to the ricotta and spinach and mix then add flour and mix until just incorporated.

Form into balls

At this point you may do a few things as you choose.

First add the balls to boiling water and cook until done and floating. Then serve them with sauce of your choice. May be tomato or make a sauce of brown butter and sage by melting butter in a pan with fresh sage leaves until the butter turns a golden color and smells nutty.

Second you may cook the balls in tomato sauce in the oven sprinkled with cheese. Enjoy!










  Sinatra Gave Us “Cool”


Sinatra Gave Us “Cool”

So we’ve all had lots of time to watch Netflix and all the rest of the streaming services that have little by little replaced network television in our hearts.

One of the things I love so much about this new entertainment chapter is the seemingly endless supply of new and interesting programming available any time night or day.

Last night at 9:30 as I crawled into bed, plumped my pillows and pulled the comfy quilt up underneath my chin, I began the flipping process hoping to land on something new and wonderful to capture my attention and escape the unpleasant reality of our COVID-covered world.

And there it was, right up front on Netflix, Sinatra, All or Nothing at all.

If there are two things my generation never seems to tire of it’s waxing nostalgic and Frank Sinatra.

So of course I began the journey of his life from birth to the end and although I had heard most of it thousands of times, I was transfixed once again.

After I’d finished watching the two-part series in tears of course, I wondered what it was about this man that so captivates and sustains our interest.

Oh yes of course we’ve had numerous superstar singers in our lifetimes, Elvis, John Lennon, Barbra, Mathis, Sammy Davis Jr. and they’ve all managed to attain legendary status.

But they just weren’t Sinatra, he was truly an original.

So why was he different? There are many reasons he’s been set apart, but one I think stands out for me…he bridges the gap between our childhoods, our rebellious teen years and our coming-of-age adulthood. His highly publicized ups and downs were out there to see and learn from.

Frank followed us through every stage of Baby Boomer life. It’s as if he arrived first to set the stage and then set the bar for cool.

Sinatra created cool. He was the very embodiment of the word and everything he touched absorbed the “coolness” from him. He and the Rat Pack even made a tacky place like Las Vegas cool. So much so that as a comedian playing Vegas for the first time I cried when I looked up and saw my name under Dean Martin’s on the marquis on the Strip.

Despite the fact he was our parents’ age, we still liked him, watched his movies and bought his records. Of course at the time we didn’t realize that one of the reasons we would not only embrace him as an artist and come to respect him as a person was that he had conquered life on his own terms.

He’d been repelled by racism and done something about it, he’d shown unbelievable loyalty to his friends, many of whom didn’t show up for him during the bad times, he’d been flawed and filled with faults, but compensated by possessing an incredible human side too endearing to ignore. He was simply his own man and no one owned or controlled him.

He didn’t worry about social norms, other’s insecurities or allowing anyone to set his limitations. He was in a word, Sinatra, and that word became a verb for our generation.

Despite mistakes he fought his way back to the top achieving even greater success and sang about high hopes and that little ant that could move a rubber tree plant. We believed him because why wouldn’t we, he was Sinatra? The man was a legend and yet just a regular Joe from Hoboken.

An ordinary guy who now hung with the 400 Newport set. He’d been at the forefront of Jack Kennedy’s election, a president we idolized. He could walk the streets of Harlem and relate to the people struggling to make it out and his humanity always shown through.

He was a strong force and didn’t need Facebook or Twitter to broadcast his message or retain fame. We didn’t have social media to point out all the shortcomings of our heroes and I’m thinking we were much the better for that.

He showed us another side of entertainers we loved like Sammy, Dean or Peter. If you hung with Sinatra and had his blessing, you had ours.

He lived the way so many wished they could. While most of us got up, went to work, raised our families, clipped coupons and wondered how actresses stayed so thin, he was Sinatraing his way through life. Dating beautiful women, hopping on planes to exciting destinations at a moment’s notice, hobnobbing with the most interesting and glamorous people in the world while doing the work he loved. He was living the Hefner dream, and men salivated while women found a strange, dreamy escape just hearing his voice.

Sinatra made no apologies, yet he acknowledged his mistakes and regrets, and like all of us he was incredibly human while creating the impression he wasn’t at all.

In the age of Superman who disguised as Clark Kent could leap tall buildings in a single bound, Sinatra leapt over convention and life’s obstacles to “do it his way.”

We never had any illusions about being Superman and those who attempted flying wound up in hospital emergency rooms with broken limbs. Yet somewhere deep inside we all believed we could be Sinatra. Cool, persistent, and able to leap over life’s insurmountable hurdles, while remaining hip and happening no matter what life threw our way. He wasn’t politically correct and shamelessly adored women and called them “dolls,” but that was a different era and he was a man of his times.

I was never lucky or perhaps unlucky enough to meet him, (that whole taboo about meeting our idols) but when I was the editor of the newspaper in Beverly Hills I attended a party after he was gone that Barbara Sinatra threw at his home in Palm Springs. I stood in the billiard room scanning the photos of the Rat Pack and others who’d held one of the pool cues lined up on the wall, glazed over like someone in a room filled with famous ghosts.

A final point, I was with friends in Miami when I was twenty-one years old. One night we went to Jilly’s hoping to catch a glimpse of Frank and his friends at one of their favorite haunts.

No we didn’t see The Voice or any members of the Rat Pack that night, but I had the best Egg Foo Young I’ve ever eaten. Yes, for those who know me, and how much I love food I reiterate, best anywhere anytime!

All I can say is leave it to Frank Sinatra to know where to get the best Egg Foo Young. But of course when you’re that cool, you would, right?

Crispy Chocolate Egg Foo Young


6 eggs

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 cup almonds

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup chocolate chips (may use semi sweet, milk, dark or white as you prefer)

Beat eggs and add all ingredients. Pour into ¼ inch canola oil mixed with 1 tablespoon butter. Fry until crispy on both sides.

Serve with melted chocolate sauce.

Melted chocolate sauce

1 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels

½ cup milk chocolate morsels or block form

1 cup cream

1 teaspoon of rum flavoring or champagne whatever you choose. This is optional if you want it family friendly.

Heat cream until hot, but not boiling and pour over chocolate then mix until melted. Add liquor of your choice, and mix.

Pour over chocolate Egg Foo Young or any dessert you wish.






Are We There Yet, Mommy? Are We There Yet, Daddy?


Are We There Yet, Mommy?

Are We There Yet, Daddy?

As every parent knows, the most annoying question bar none is, “are we there yet?”

How many of us have had to sit in the car and listen to that question ad nauseum from their children?

Okay my turn…Are we there yet, is COVID gone?

I am sooo over this whole hanging-in-the-house thing. I’ve been patient, stayed put watching Netflix, ate healthy and took walks.

Now I’ve morphed into shoveling in chocolate chip cookies and popcorn and spend more time flipping channels than watching programs.

Although I know the vaccine will be here in October, what will that mean?

The older generation won’t be running out to get stuck until they watch to see if anyone drops dead.

We’re too old to be guinea pigs and we’d rather watch from the sidelines than jump into the game. Besides jumping isn’t an option when you need a walker or cane and are still doing physical therapy for your new knee or hip.

So how will we ever get back to normal?

Aha! That’s the rub because even when we get out of lockdown, captivity or self-imposed quarantine the world we once knew is no longer there.

I feel like Burgess Meredith in the Twilight Zone episode when after a nuclear war he finally had all the time in the world to read his books unencumbered and he broke his glasses.

The pre-COVID world was a different place and especially senior citizens will have to accept that the world they knew is gone.

So what will replace the old world?

Well, COVID is not the lynchpin that created the changes, it only intensified what was already transforming.

Ever since 9/11 we’ve had to face the fact that the freedom of movement we’ve always enjoyed since the advent of air travel has been severely restricted.

Terrorism impeded our ability to run amuck along with our own aging bodies.

Sure we figured out a way to get that new hip, but we haven’t figured out a way to see London Bridge without a lunatic running up and stabbing people. Or walking through a German Christmas market without crazies attacking, attending a concert or sightseeing in Madrid or Nice or any number of insane events we’ve witnessed.

I haven’t mentioned Israel because terrorism is a way of life for them and something one accepts when they head there for a visit.

Yet impediments aside we’ve grabbed our passports, packed our carry on and bitten the bullet. We’ve become the “oh-well-what-will-be-will-be” generation and decided that our priority was to live, travel and see the world despite the obvious risks.

So what’s changed? Plenty.

We once believed that after those trips to London, Rome, Vienna or Prague, visits to Singapore, China or Viet Nam we’d return home to our safe perch in America.

Sure, crime existed, but we felt safe and secure in front of our televisions watching baseball and munching on chips and guacamole while running outside to check the ribs on the grill.

Guess that’s over. America is not the same country now.

After COVID most assume we’ll just go back to business as usual, unscathed and unafraid.

Sorry, we need a reality check here. Cities are burning, law and order is in flux and familiar sights and sounds in our communities are gone.

Neighbors who once disagreed over which football team would prevail now refuse to talk to one another over politics.

Families have separated, friendships been destroyed, cities are in chaos, favorite businesses closed, entire sections of communities burned and boarded up.

It’s like walking out of your house after a nuclear holocaust and into a city in ruins.

Am I exaggerating? Actually I’m not sure, but I hope I am. I’m also from Detroit where it took 53 years to bring back a city torn to shreds and resembling London after the blitz, so there’s that.

So many people I know have said they are through traveling and will be staying closer to home.

Yes, cocooning is the new norm. People will entertain in their houses, man caves and she sheds will become palatial and so well appointed the Four Seasons will pale by comparison.

Media rooms will be enhanced and back yards will feature the same elements as the most fabulous five star resorts.

Lush landscaping, pools and recreational games will fill what once was a grass-filled area.

In case anyone doubts that things have changed just do an attitude check on your own friends.

Everybody is just a little bit crankier than they were four months ago. Oh sure everyone is trying to be so brave and double chins up (that would be as a result of the COVID 15 pound gain) but we all know we’re totally over this and ready to break out.

Actually, that’s the irony. After the initial run outside to our cars, faster than a racer at the Indy 500 I’m sure, and that visit or two to the mall, lunch with friends and dinner out on Saturday night, one news story about a rise in crime and we’ll all be hanging in the man cave watching football and sucking down beers like it’s Superbowl Sunday every weekend.

I’ve promised myself I’ll travel more and have my destinations all picked out, but will my will be diminished by a new terrorist attack or perhaps a few new cases of the virus popping up? Or maybe by China unleashing some new plague from some bat they’ve been harboring in a lab somewhere?

The world has changed dramatically and although we all want to believe that once we can hit the ground running we will, our habits have changed and we may not.

We now order Amazon and watch Netflix on that new 80-inch smart TV, we love that new patio furniture and those plans for an outdoor kitchen like our best friends just installed.

Whether we’ve realized it or not we’re now conditioned to staying close to home where we feel safe and secure against an onslaught of insanity that permeates the outside world.

When the virus is gone, that will be gone, but it won’t take with it the other tragic changes we’ve witnessed in our communities and that is what will ultimately define our new lifestyles.

Are we there yet? Perhaps soon, but where we’ll be when we get there, now that remains to be seen.

   Champagne Grape and Almond Chicken

4 chicken breasts or boneless thighs

flour for dusting

½ cup of champagne

½ cup seedless red grapes

½ cup seedless green grapes

½ cup sliced almonds

½ cup of chopped celery or bok choy

1 ½ cups of heavy cream

½ teaspoon of tarragon

salt and pepper

Season chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour

Sauté chicken in a mix of butter and oil until done

Add celery or bok choy or both and sauté for a few minutes, but keep the crunch in the vegetables

Remove chicken and set aside

Add champagne and deglaze pan then add cream, grapes, tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.

Lower heat and simmer until cream coats back of a spoon. High heat will break the cream and ruin the dish. Always thicken cream sauces on a low heat and never boil.

Add back chicken and reheat then serve immediately with almonds on the top.






We Need to Watch Blazing Saddles Daily


We Need to Watch Blazing Saddles Daily

“Look at Jewish history. Unrelieved lamenting would be intolerable. So for every ten Jews beating their breasts, God designated one to be crazy and amuse the breast beaters. By the time I was five I knew I was that one…” Mel Brooks

I was about ten or so and I knew I was the crazy one when my fellow campers nicknamed me Giggles. I was often reminded of this designation by my father’s constant inquiries about my remarks and behavior when he asked, “What are you, some kind of comedian?”

Yep, Dad I guess I was. I learned at a young age that the only escape from the unpleasantness of life was Milton Berle, Sid Caesar and Jackie Gleason.

My escape always included someone saying or doing something stupidly funny. Milton Berle in a dress, Sid Caesar spouting some outrageous accent, or Jackie Gleason and Art Carney exhibiting their brand of the sublimely ridiculous week after week. Stupid equals funny always worked for me.

“Does anyone of our generation not laugh when they remember Art Carney’s attempt at addressing a golf ball, “Hello, Ball.” Or Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks as the 2000-year-old man or Jack Benny’s alleged stinginess? Perhaps you had your own favorite comedian on The Ed Sullivan Show; Myron Cohen, Richard Pryor, Jackie Mason, Flip Wilson, Jack Carter, Totie Fields, Henny Youngman, Senor Wences, Jack Benny, Godfrey Cambridge, George Burns, Bob Newhart, George Carlin and so many many more.

One could count on little in life except that there would be one of the world’s great comics performing on Ed Sullivan each week.

I’ve been asked countless times why so many Jewish people are comedians and the answer is not all comics are Jewish, perhaps they are just more obvious. Maybe their pain is more palpable than others. While many comics of that era observed the times, Jewish comics observed their own circumstances.

Laughing at their own existence is what made life bearable in a strange new world where so many struggled to feed their families.

For example Melvin Kominsky, AKA Mel Brooks was two years old when his father died leaving his mother with four young boys to feed. She worked tirelessly and suffered for her children and it would be impossible for Mel not to have been affected by his mother’s plight.

So many young Jewish comedians of that era found their release in laughter.

I can’t honestly remember any Rockefellers or Carnegie’s stepping on stage to tell jokes to the masses, can you? Not too many comedy clubs in Newport or Palm Beach back then.

Humor comes from pain and the greater the suffering the higher form the humor.

There is a legacy of suffering in Europe and throughout time that has forced Jewish people to look toward laughter to lighten their load. Humor is one of life’s greatest gifts that can be had for free.

The ability to destroy one’s enemies with a joke is an art that has been cultivated for centuries by Jewish and all people and must continue to be embraced in these harrowing times.

I won’t even get into the fact that anti-Semitism has had a great resurgence, suffice it to say we need our senses of humor now more than ever.

Yet, that is the conundrum we now face as a people.

The Jewish people have throughout time been credited for two healing discoveries aside from their other numerous accomplishments, chicken soup AKA Jewish penicillin and their sense of humor. I’m willing to bet the king’s jesters were the Cohens and Goldbergs in the kingdoms.

If nothing else the Jewish people discovered that laughter is the best coping and defense mechanism and have honed comedy as a method of survival. Sadly, today many lack understanding of the power of humor to heal and restore.

Great comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and others have lamented the fact they can no longer work on college campuses because young people are too politically correct and according to Jerry, “Don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”

This lack of a sense of humor and understanding the true essence of how to do funny has been seriously corrupted.

Today too many comics bring the mean in lieu of the mirth. There is an art to humor and just insults and mean spirited attacks do not “bring the funny” but only add to the anger filling up space. There is a way to punch a hole in what one feels compelled to destroy and letting the air out of a negative balloon.

Being critical and destructive is no substitute for humor. There is a path to hilarity in every unhappy situation in the human condition and true comedians can find and exploit it with wit and skill.

Despots possess no sense of humor but have honed the art of ridicule. Humor should never emulate criticism laced with cruelty and far too many comic posers can no longer discern the difference.

Aside from Mel Brooks, one of the comedians capable of taking someone to the distant outposts of discomfort is Larry David.

Yes, some of Larry’s humor can make you squirm, but if you get his joke it can also make you laugh harder than anything. Great humor must occasionally broach thorny subjects to achieve its goals, but without that bravery humor is only a superficial laugh and no more.

Great jokes dig deep down into your soul where pain lives and exorcise that ache to rid it from your life.

At times winning a war is not always enough to destroy residual pain.

Case in point, “Springtime for Hitler.” Come on, is there anything funnier than a bunch of Nazis singing and dancing about their attempts to take over the world with chorus girls dressed as beer and pretzels? Mel Brooks is the master at doing Hitler but he is not alone.

Charlie Chaplin created the little tramp character to imitate the most evil man on the planet and reduce him to an object of ridicule, and he succeeded beautifully.

Laughing at or mimicking someone plunges a knife into their bubble of evil and contempt  puncturing the harmful effects and deflating the injury.

No one can be taken seriously when we are doubled up with laughter at his antics. Not too hard to figure out why becoming the class clown was preferable to becoming the class punching bag.

That’s why kids today miss the point. They mistakenly believe that by not mentioning it they can destroy the bugaboo. They are patently wrong. Hate cannot be eradicated by ignoring or legislating it out of existence.

If there is one thing I’ve noticed over the years it’s that comedy clubs are the great equalizer. People who are laughing together are not shooting one another.

No one screaming in pain at a joke is spouting hateful remarks toward others. Humor creates camaraderie among all people and bonds them in their suffering.

No society can exist without laughter and more than anything else I’m witnessing today that must give one pause is that the lack of humor is palpable. Laughing at our fears diminishes them while anger elevates. Everyone is allowing rage to fill his or her spaces in lieu of hearty laughs.

We need to chuckle together to solve many of the world’s problems, to seek out the tenth crazy among us to entertain with hilarity and we must chill out and let it all go. More than ever it’s imperative comedians bring the mirth not the malicious.

Every laugh lowers the level of hatred and pain, so laugh your asses off daily and encourage everyone else you know to do the same.

Watch Blazing Saddles, The Producers or your favorite comedy or comic and roar hysterically until you’re writhing in pain. If you do this I guarantee you’ll consume less calories and live a far happier and more positive life.

Puffy Chicken Apple Cheddar Bake

6 boneless breasts pounded until thin

Grated cheddar cheese

6 thin apple slices

3 strips of cooked bacon

1 box of puff pastry

Salt and Pepper to taste

½ tsp. Paprika

1 cup of heavy cream

Season chicken and place 1 slice apple, cheese and ½ slice of bacon on top and place inside square of puff pastry. Place egg wash around the square edges and cover with another square. Crimp the edges together with a fork. Brush with melted butter or if you prefer an egg wash and place on cookie sheet and bake according to the package instructions. Before serving pour cheese sauce over the top and sprinkle with grated apples.

Apple Cheese sauce

2 cups of cream

Grated cheddar

Salt and pepper

1 Teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

½ tsp. paprika

Grated apple

Mix together and pour over pastry or serve on the side.