BEING THE RICARDOS

BEING THE RICARDOS.

I’ve been looking forward to seeing BEING THE RICARDOS for quite some time. It became available on Amazon Prime this week and I’m not disappointed. I’m fascinated by it!

I have long been a fan of Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, I LOVE LUCY, and the rest of their collective body of work. I became ultra-interested in their story when I first saw Lucy star in MAME and was enchanted by that wonderful story of a lady who embraces life and accepts people’s differences. That movie came out in 1974, and since I always love to find out more about people and subjects who interest me, I promptly bought a non-fiction book about Lucy.

It was in that very book that I first learned of the problems that existed in Lucy and Desi’s marriage – not the one we all applauded on the screen but the real story. It didn’t shock me to see some of that dramatized in BEING THE RICARDOS, though it seems to have thrown quite a few other people for a loop, based on comments and reviews I’ve been seeing online. I’m shocked that they’re shocked. Everyone knows they divorced when the show ended, so even if people hadn’t previously known the rest of the details it’s obvious there had to be issues or else the talented duo would have stayed together.

Yet what I found most riveting about this well-done movie was not their marriage problems but Lucy’s creative process. Lucy calls herself someone who does “physical comedy.” There are several scenes where she perfects the action on the stage or envisions how best to make a scene happen. This isn’t “Lucy Ricardo,” the lovable clown. This is Lucille Ball, the comic genius at work! And this is well worth watching.

Nicole Kidman surprised me by turning in a fabulous performance as Lucy. Javier Bardem plays Desi. Nina Arianda and J.K. Simmons play the Mertzes. Did you know that “Fred” and “Ethel” couldn’t stand each other in real life? Well, truth is stranger than fiction!

PROCESSION on Netflix

PROCESSION is a powerful and unusual documentary about a hideous subject: the abuse of children by Catholic Church clergy.

To start with the viewer finds out that 230 priests in the Kansas City area have been accused of sexually abusing children. Two hundred and thirty? In the Kansas City area alone? It’s mind boggling.

And the news gets worse. When the victims tried to get justice by going before a Catholic review board, they were put down, discredited and not believed.

In an attempt to heal and get past what happened to them, several men in their sixties, all of whom were abused, agree to try a therapeutic approach that involves writing scenarios about what happened and then acting in them. It’s apparently a form of “psychodrama.” A delightful child actor called Terrick plays the men as children. Kudos to that little child actor who pitches in to help on set any way he can and also has the compassion to give his support to these traumatized men.

Incredibly, some of the men agree to play the roles of abusing priests.

That had me thrown for a loop. This sounded far too dangerous to me. These guys never fully recovered from what happened to them so the idea of them playing the priests made my blood run cold. I was not sexually abused by anyone but have been haunted for years by memories of a vicious, monstrous, disgusting, lying freak of a “teacher,” and believe me when I say I would NEVER agree to play that bitch, not even if somebody offered me a hundred million dollars to do so. I started shaking just thinking about it as I watched this movie.

However, this psychodrama approach turns out to be a good idea for these guys in that it empowers them as they tell their stories. I think it’s great that this movie, and these dramatizations, get out there for people to see. Every last bit of what happened to the victims of the 230 pervert priests is unconscionable, period.

And I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again: if a child is raped by the adults at their church or school or sports team – or wherever – do not go to the church, the school, or the leaders of sports team. GO TO THE POLICE! It’s a criminal matter, not some bullshit church matter! The places that harbor abusers are out for protecting themselves and not interested in helping the child victims. The gentlemen in this movie were mistreated all over again by not being believed by the self-serving sociopaths who ran that awful review board. Every last one of those review board monsters should be the ones feeling shame here, not the boys.

And in the long run, with the release of this movie on such a popular streaming worldwide platform as Netflix, how do the review board members think they have made themselves look now?

Terrick has more compassion than they do, and hey, he’s about 12.

Man Up, Bill, and Apologize to Monica Already

Worth watching: IMPEACHMENT. But oh my God…!

After watching an appalling documentary on the Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton situation, which left me staggered by the activities of the Judas Linda Tripp, I decided to also watch the FX miniseries, IMPEACHMENT: AMERICAN CRIME STORY. Monica Lewinsky produced it, and BRAVA, Monica! It’s well worth watching…if you can withstand seeing the perfidy of Linda Tripp acted out in living color yet refrain from getting so mad you want to throw something at the screen. It isn’t easy. This story is SICK on a whole host of levels.

As you may remember, Monica, a very young twenty-something intern at the Clinton White House, made it known to the President that she was attracted to him. (So were a lot of women.). Bill partook of what she had to offer.

Bill also tried to partake of the charms of a married woman named Paula Jones. She turned around and sued him for sexual harassment. Brava, Paula! This started in Arkansas, far away from Monica and the White House, but it was going to have quite an impact on her just the same.

Monica’s attentions to Bill get noticed and she finds herself exiled to a new job at the Pentagon right before Clinton’s re-election. Once there, she meets Tripp, a co-worker who was also exiled to the Pentagon – by the Clinton regime – after her boss died. Monica does not realize the depth of Linda’s hatred for the President and doesn’t realize how much Linda wants to bring him down…

Linda is a snake and records her phone conversations with poor lovesick Monica, who has no idea of any of this. It’s appalling. It’s horrific to listen to the actual unbearable tapes which can be heard on the documentary TRUTH AND LIES: MONICA & BILL on Hulu. Those tapes will make your blood boil. Monica’s so young, cares so heartily about Bill, agonizes when he doesn’t call her like any young girl in love would, et cetera, and Linda is a monster, a bundle of convincing but utterly fake sympathy, who is using the girl just for her own sick purposes.

That is one thing I absolutely cannot bear, ever: knowing a kid or a young person is being used in a game of someone else’s creepy devising. This particular game is one for the record books.

Ultimately Linda Tripp aligns herself with Paula Jones’ legal people to try and help Paula bring down the President who she hates for transferring her to the Pentagon. It’s Monica, though, who winds up in trouble, in the headlines, branded as a home-wrecker and a bimbo, even though Clinton was married, should have known better than to carry on with an intern, and it takes two to tango. Monica is the one who gets vilified mercilessly. Through all of this the girl attempts to remain loyal to Clinton for as long as possible and is perhaps the only genuine person in Washington, D.C., even when Clinton lies and denies that he “ever had sex with THAT WOMAN.” What a way to phrase it! What a guy!

Oh, if only there’d been a MeToo movement back then! Monica, today, would have been portrayed in the press in a whole other direction…

A Google search on the case revealed to me that as of September 2021, Bill Clinton still, incredibly, has not offered Monica Lewinsky an apology for the way her life was turned inside out and upside down by the entire mess. This makes my blood boil even more, and if mine’s percolating, I can imagine how many other people out there are outraged by it, too. For God’s sake, Mr. Clinton, man up! Have some dignity! Apologize to Monica Lewinsky already! Publicly. If she had to suffer public scrutiny and humiliation, the least you can do is get on the air and say you’re sorry. The longer you don’t say it, the worse you look.

And Monica, if you’re out there and if you ever come across this, let me say that I applaud the way you have managed to rise above all of the madness that transpired over this situation and saw the light at the end of what must have been an unbearably long tunnel. Again, BRAVA, MONICA! You did an amazing job with this miniseries. BRAVA!

How Does a Suit Make a “Better” Employee?

Nice suit – but is this right for every woman?
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Yesterday I saw a post on LinkedIn by someone I don’t know called Ellie Middleton who made quite a few amazing points about what should and should no longer be classified as “professional” behavior for work. The one on her list that caught my eye was that Ellie “would rather wear ripped jeans than a suit.”

Brava, Ellie, wherever you are! It’s high time somebody said something about suits!

I myself am not a fan of ripped jeans. I don’t even own any jeans at the moment. I personally would not want to wear ripped anything. But by God, I don’t want to wear a suit either!

Why are women supposed to prance around in suits in order to look “professional” in the first place? Who made that one up? Business suits are traditionally men’s clothing. Why is it that women are allowed into the workplace, given responsibilities, permitted to move up corporate ladders, are supposed to never get discriminated against for their gender on jobs – yet are looked down upon if they don’t wear an outfit that basically has them masquerading as a man circa 1921?

This is 2021!

I don’t like suits for several reasons. First and foremost, I feel constricted in a blazer. Second, they remind me of private school uniforms, and I had enough of those when I was a child, thank you very much. Third, and to make matters worse, on job interviews everyone’s not only supposed to appear in a suit but in a somber-colored suit, navy blue being the so-called “best” choice. Navy blue? Why would I want to wear navy blue when there are outfits out there in mint green, sunny yellow, and rosy pink?

Obviously, I like, feel most comfortable in, and can work a whole lot happier in pretty pastels. In particular, I love pastel blouses in a multi-colored floral pattern. That’s me, pastels and flowers. That’s the kind of outfit that makes me feel lighter than air as opposed to being bogged down. Don’t like it? So sue me because it doesn’t suit me!

Why then do some companies still believe that a hot, ugly, bulky navy blue suit would be the best garb for me? Why do they have a problem if Ellie wears her happily ripped jeans? Wouldn’t having a contented and comfortable worker on your staff be better than one who feels like they’re wearing an inappropriate costume, making every day at work a Halloween?

Only Murders in the Building

If you’re looking for a terrific streaming series to watch, I recommend ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING. It’s a sparklingly good show available on Hulu.

It’s not just a good mystery. It’s hilarious, too. And, if you’re a New Yorker, or have always wanted to be one, it’s jam-packed with one wacky New York character after another. The jerky therapist, the loudmouth condo president, the deli owner, delightfully played by Nathan Lane, the “cat man” – and more – they all live in the building and each one is played by a spot-on actor.

Meanwhile, the story starts when three strangers who live in the building get into the elevator and are joined by a fourth guy – who is murdered a few minutes later.

The three strangers – the brilliant trio of Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez – band together to try and solve the mystery of just what happened. They also start a podcast about it which sometimes does more harm than good…

I don’t want to say anything more or it will spoil all of the fun. But I will say this. I rejoiced when I heard that ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING has been renewed for a second season! I can’t wait already.

Hey World, I’m Not My Linked In Profile

Whoa, boy.

I am looking for a job at the moment and had a rather hilarious experience the other day during a Zoom interview.

The interviewer was very nice but had a problem with the fact that, of all things, I listed myself as an “Author and Administrator” on LinkedIn but didn’t list my most recent company. Instead I say “full resume available upon request.”

I have no real issue with LinkedIn. It’s a perfectly nice social media platform. However, I do not appreciate that so many potential employers demand to see my LinkedIn profile on job applications, let alone want my work location to be emblazoned on there. The interviewer the other day couldn’t wrap her head around it. She seemed a bit shocked at my reluctance. “Most people on LinkedIn can’t wait to broadcast their jobs,” I was told. Really?

Well, I’ve got a good reason for not wanting to put my exact work address out there for the world to see. About twenty years ago I wrote off an old school friend who had morphed into the Friend from Hell. This friend had wealthy parents yet always tried to hit me up for loans and had never been all that honest. She was getting worse, not better, as time went on. I had had it with the whole mess. ‘Nough said, right?

Wrong.

‘Nough said on my end, yes, but on the old friend’s side of this situation, she didn’t like this development. And in her camp there was an equally toxic boyfriend. For whatever the reason, the two of them didn’t want to let me to just let me go my separate way and be done with it. Maybe they had harbored hopes of trying yet again to get a loan out of me but that wasn’t happening.

I had an unlisted number. So did my parents. The toxic boyfriend began to call my number in the middle of the night, usually at three o’clock in the morning. I would get whispered rape threats and death threats from this idiot.

Then it got even worse. He started calling up my elderly parents. Again, my parents and I all had unlisted numbers, so where did this jerk get our information from? From the Old Friend from Hell, where else? She had both numbers and, obviously, had handed them to him.

My father finally fixed him. After a phone call where the boyfriend called my parents – from a blocked number, of course, but we knew who was doing this – my father called the friend’s house back. He did a heavy breathing routine on the phone. I wish I had been there to see that because my father was funnier than a Borscht Belt comedian and I’m sure he put a lot of comedy into his heavy breathing act. That put an end to the phone calls to my parents.

The calls to me continued. I complained to the police, got a new unlisted number, and that finally put an end to the phone calls to me.

I later heard through the grapevine that the toxic boyfriend dropped dead, I think around 2007 or 2008. I remember celebrating that day with an iced chai tea latte, grinning as I ordered it, moments after receiving the news. It was such a relief to know the threatening creep was dead, gone and could threaten us no more, ever. The Old Friend from Hell is apparently still alive and probably still has a hand out to somebody somewhere, still crying poor when she isn’t, but the one on the receiving end of her appeals is not me, woo-hoo!

Now getting back to LinkedIn. I have 37 years’ worth of professional experience in addition to being the Author of three books and counting. I have two more books in the works as I write this. After an experience like the one I’ve described with the stalking phone calls, though, seriously, folks, why would I want to broadcast my work location to the world? I believe people need to be a lot more cautious with their information. I don’t easily give out my home address or phone numbers to anybody after all that, let alone hand out my work address to the entire Internet. It seems to me that maybe more people would be well advised to have some discretion about their personal info. Otherwise, some ne’er do well with bad intentions might just be standing outside their office door.

So no. My work location isn’t on LinkedIn, and it won’t be on LinkedIn. Any potential employers who judge me for this aren’t the best ones to work with anyway, but I hope they can realize the wisdom of what I’m saying here.

Outrageous: Teacher Removes Hijab from Muslim Second-Grader

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Here’s a child abuse situation – yes, child abuse – that’s so far out it’s staggering.

Apparently a shrew of a teacher at Seth Boyden Elementary School in New Jersey’s South Orange-Maplewood School District is so far out of touch with reality that she forcibly removed a hijab from a little second-grader’s head! A hijab that is a symbol of the child’s religion.

This is mind-blowing on a whole list of levels. Doesn’t this teacher know that there’s freedom of religion in this country? If she doesn’t, where has she been her whole life? How did she get to be a teacher in the first place? Isn’t she aware that the psychological abuse of children is wrong? Doesn’t she know that her actions show a profound level of bias which makes her look like an idiot?

And above and beyond everything else, what is a grown woman expecting to gain by humiliating the child in such a manner in the first place?

I can’t see how a seven-year-old in a hijab would constitute the disruption of a second-grade class.

What else would such a teacher object to? Does she have a bug up her butt if a little boy wears a yarmulke, too? Is she offended by a child wearing a saint’s medal or cross or Star of David on a chain? Is it all religions she objects to, as some of the militant atheists do, or is it just the Muslims? If this teacher belongs to a religion, does she target whoever she encounters that belong to a different one?

Whatever else is going on in the head of this “teacher,” and I put the word in quotes deliberately, she must simply be yet another mindless control freak who gets off on playing God.

South Orange-Maplewood School District, have some balls! Don’t hesitate. FIRE THIS HORRIFIC EXCUSE OF A WOMAN!

The Night Before 9/11

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So much is always said about how beautiful the weather was on September 11, 2001. It was an absolute jewel of a day, sparkling and gorgeous. I remember walking to the subway absolutely astonished by the crystalline loveliness of it.

There was a reason for that, though most people who were in New York City then probably have forgotten about it. The night before, September 10th, there was a monumental deluge.

It was horrendous, too. It was the kind of driving rain that was falling practically sideways. Using an umbrella didn’t help. Nothing helped. I was waiting for maybe 20 minutes to half an hour for the express bus from Manhattan to Brooklyn, wearing a denim jacket over my blouse and slacks, and that didn’t help one bit either. I was totally saturated straight down to my underwear by the time I got on the bus.

Normally I made a habit of sitting on the right side of the bus every night since my stop was one of the first and there was always plenty of room. My reason for this was simple: I wanted to see the lights of the World Trade Center when we rode past it. Every night, that’s what I did, I looked up from whatever book I was reading when the bus reached lower Manhattan to check out those wonderful lights.

But that night was perhaps the very first time I didn’t bother to sit in a seat on the right-hand side of the bus aisle. That night I was soaked to the bone and sat, or rather dropped, in the first seat available – on the left. Well, I’ll just look at the lights when we pass the World Trade Center anyway, I thought. Meanwhile, air conditioning was blasting on the bus. It was freezing. Taking off my saturated denim jacket wasn’t going to help. It would only remove an extra layer. I kept it on and was in a rare state of weather-related misery. There are only one or two nights every year in New York when the weather is beyond unbearable and that was one of those nights. I tried to read my book but I was soaking wet and freezing cold and utterly uncomfortable…

And I missed the Trade Center.

I couldn’t believe it even as it happened because I always, always looked up to see it.

That night, though, I didn’t…

Well, I’ll be sure to sit on the right side and see it tomorrow, I thought to myself.

Except tomorrow was September 11, 2001…

The sun never shined so brightly as it did that morning because the city had been given a thorough cleansing the night before with all that torrential rain.

The beautiful morning didn’t stay beautiful for long.

World Trade Center Memorial. Photo by Fabiola Ulate on Pexels.com

The Treachery of Gym Grades

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Recently I came across a copy of my old high school transcript – and wow, was I ever shocked!

I am not an athlete. I never had any desire to be an athlete, either. In particular, I don’t have much use for team sports. They always bored me. You have the ball, you throw the ball to someone else, and then you have to get the ball back? Please! I’d rather sit in history class and actually learn something than put up with nonsense like this. I did like individual or fitness sports like track or slimnastics, but even with those I wasn’t exactly the class star.

And as it turns out, there’s a phyical reason affecting all of this. My feet don’t just have low arches. My arches are almost nonexistent.

This might have been enough to get me out of the Army had I ever been drafted, which of course I wasn’t, but it wasn’t much good in gym class. Jumping around just wasn’t my thing. I’m lucky I didn’t break something.

However, during the time I spent at my wonderful high school, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High in New Jersey, I only missed maybe four days of school in three whole years. I was always getting a nice letter from the principal at the end of the year congratulating me on my excellent attendance record, since there were lots of other kids who played hooky or cut class regularly, and they were a problem.

I did not like gym class, but hey, I went. I never, ever cut a class in the three years I was at the high school. Not even a gym class, though putting up with it was a misery.

Still, I showed up. I wore the required gym class dress code. I didn’t love it, but I was always there.

So when I found my high school transcript, I was in shock to see that I had been given letter grades in gym. That they counted as part of my grade point average. What?!! And that all those awful grades I’d received in gym class had brought my grade point average down to an embarrassingly horrible level!

Ladies and gentlemen, this is wrong! This is dead wrong! This is grading kids, first and foremost, on the genetic hand they’ve been dealt! I would even go so far as to say it’s a form of discrimination.

It brought to mind another gym class I had been in, years before high school, in the seventh grade at St. Bart’s, where I couldn’t do some kind of a jump for a fitness test. Good God, how the teacher yelled and yelled at me! I believe it was some test where you had to jump five feet forward or something, and they measured it. They actually measured the kids’ jumps.

Well, I couldn’t jump the full five feet. I only made it as far as, I don’t remember just what it was, probably something like four feet seven inches or whatever. I tried and tried. I fell short. I just couldn’t get there. It wasn’t for lack of trying.

I can still remember how the teacher railed on about how “horrible” I was just for not being able to do this useless stunt. If I could have pulled it off, I would have, if only to shut her up.

Getting back to the situation that existed later at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, I believe that affecting the grade point averages of smart, decent students who just don’t happen to have been born with the wonderful physical or muscular structure of, say, a Simone Biles is absolutely outrageous. Kids can try, they can persist, they can work at it, but take it from me, if they have something like bad arches, folks, then they have bad arches – period. It’s going to affect their gym performance. That’s not about their attitude or motivation. It just is what it is.

Gym classes should be Pass or Fail. They shouldn’t bring down a student’s average. It’s outrageous such nonsenes was ever allowed, and I hope it’s no longer the case at SPFHS.

As for the sort of adults who need to make careers out of sitting there measuring kids’ jumps, or judging their cartwheels, or rating their ability to kick a ball, and yell, scream or downgrade them if they find them in any way lacking, well, don’t even get me started on what I think of that. But here’s a hint. I’m filing this blog post under the category of “Corruption.” :-). May they take a nice flying leap over that!

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The Day That Went Wrong

Me. Today.

What a morning!

I had to go to the foot doctor a week and a half ago for a laser foot pain treatment. I thought today was the day for the second one. And I was actually looking forward to the appointment because just when my feet had started to feel a little bit better, on Tuesday, I fell.

Actually I think I fell and also flew along an egregiously uneven sidewalk. I landed on both knees and somehow also managed to twist my ankle. So yes, I was definitely looking forward to today’s appointment. I also ordered two pairs of specialized shoes from the doctor so that maybe next time I could prevent the foot pain from happening and could hardly wait to pick them up.

And, as the doctor’s office is not far from my favorite department store, JC Penney, I was hoping that once I had the appointment I might just take a short walk, or better yet a cab ride, over to JC Penney to shop for about ten minutes. I haven’t been to JC Penney since the end of 2019, in the pre-Covid Era. I needed items from three different departments and could not wait to get over there.

I get up. I look up the hours for JC Penney.

I find out that my nearest JC Penney CLOSED DOWN! What?!!!

Okay, so the doctor’s office is also near a Uniqlo. I looked up the hours of that particular Uniqlo.

They have ALSO closed down!

Well, at least I could still go for the pain treatment, since I need it. I leave the house. I manage to schlep to the express bus stop. The bus can’t leave me near the doctor’s office, I’m told. Oh, no, not today. Today, the buses are rerouted because Park Avenue in Manhattan is being shut down so that people can walk in the street over there instead of on the sidewalk.

Why the heck do people have to walk in the street on Park Avenue? That big wide boulevard isn’t enough?

So the bus leaves me, instead of at my stop, a few blocks away on what I call Mendicant Avenue because it’s full of beggars. If it’s lousy enough to walk along there when your feet don’t hurt and you can run, trust me, it’s worse when they do and you can’t.

Two beggars and an addict that was talking to himself later, I get to the place where I had some breakfast the last time, right next to the doctor’s office. Last time, it was great. Today was another matter. Today most of it landed in the garbage can.

I go into the building where the doctor’s office is. His office is dark, but the door is open. I go in.

Nobody is there. I take out my trusty little phone and check my calendar.

I’ve got the wrong day for this appointment!

At least whoever left the door to the doctor’s office open did so because by then I needed the bathroom key. It’s there. I find it. Feeling like a bathroom key thief, I go to the ladies room, expecting some kind of an alarm to go off any minute. It doesn’t. There is still nobody in the doctor’s office when I go back in to replace the key. There’s a package lying on the floor in front of the front desk that looks like it might just contain somebody’s newly ordered pairs of shoes. It is definitely big enough to hold two pairs. Hmmm. I need my new shoes. I bend down to examine it, hoping it will have my name on it somewhere.

It doesn’t.

Even if it did, I’m not a thief, and it’s bad enough I just momentarily had to swipe a bathroom key. The last thing I’m going to do is take off running with that box of shoes. An alarm would go off for sure.

I leave the office and go downstairs to tell the guard that the doctor’s office is deserted, open, unlocked, and that maybe somebody needs to be called about that because it’s just not kosher to have an unlocked anything in New York City. I go to CVS, which is near the bus stop to go back home. There’s a few items I need to get, maybe six.

I find two of them, check my transit app, and see that my bus will arrive in 5 minutes, with the next one due in 56 minutes. Again, I’ve got foot pain, and it’s bad enough I had to walk to the express bus stop, walk from Mendicant Avenue, and all that, so I don’t want to be standing out there for 56 minutes in a once beautiful neighborhood where so many stores have shut down due to having no customers in the pandemic. I hurry to check out the two items and go wait for the bus.

Every time I check the app it says it’s coming in 5 minutes.

20 full minutes later, it arrives.

It’s the day when everything went wrong!