One Vaccine Down, One to Go!

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Miracles can happen! I managed to get a vaccine appointment and already had my first vaccine!

I want to thank the creator of www.turbovax.info for creating the phenomenal bot that consolidated several New York vaccine websites to let people know where appointments are available on a minute-by-minute basis. It’s because of that site that I got one. BRAVO!

Yet I still would like to reiterate that the New York sites themselves are a mess. They’re also highly stressful to use. I am not a normally stressed-out person. I have even been described by a former employer as “very Zen.” But I was screaming in frustration at losing out on vaccine appointments due to how long it takes to put all of your information into the surveys on the New York sites.

Governor Cuomo really ought to take note, but hey, he’s busy this week defending himself from calls to resign after allegations surfaced that he acted inappropriately with three women. Not one. Not two. Three. What’s kind of funny about it (well, not really, but you know what I mean) is that there are people who are trying to blame Cuomo’s recent troubles on a plot engineered by Donald Trump. I’ve been saying if Donald Trump had as much power as those types are attributing to him, he would have won the election. This isn’t about Trump. Trump doesn’t control the idiotic statements that have apparently been coming out of Cuomo’s stupid mouth for quite some time. It’s especially disturbing that Cuomo made such comments after the dawning of the MeToo Movement. Ha, apologies to the it’s-a-Trump-plot crowd, but I don’t think anybody could control what pours forth from the stupid mouths of desperate men like the Governor of the State of New York. You’d think they’d wake up and know better, but here we are.

I am also happy to report that the vaccine didn’t give me any problems or side effects. My arm was slightly sore after the shot but I stress the “slightly.” It was hardly noticeable.

Don’t be afraid to get your vaccine, folks! Hopefully our world will be back to pre-pandemic normal soon.

And again: if you live in New York state and are having problems getting a vaccine, I recommend http://www.turbovax.info.

The New York Covid Vaccine Appointment Follies

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Legend had it that a New York City talent agent used to say, with regard to getting audition appointments for his clients, “Gotta lie, gotta cheat, gotta steal, gotta kill, gotta sell your own mother just to get an appointment!” I’m beginning to know what he felt like.

The uphill battle to obtain a Covid-19 vaccination appointment in the State of New York is easily one of the most bizarre experiences I have ever had. We can “thank” whoever designed the official vaccination websites for it. The websites are, in a word, terrible. They are the most user-unfriendly and ridiculous websites imaginable. Every time you want to try and grab an available appointment you have to fill out a survey. On one site, it’s not too bad; on another, it’s a 9-question survey followed by filling out a Captcha.

Today I lost out on seven different appointments because the survey and Captcha took so long that they were available when I began to fill them out but, with the whole state competing for them, gone by the time I finished the Captchas. Try as I might, I fail to see what clicking on the photos with the traffic lights, or the mountains, or the bridges, or the tractors – yes, that’s the latest, tractors – have to do with being given access to a vaccination appointment.

Have the designers of the websites in question ever thought of allowing each resident to set up an account where everybody could enter their relevant information – once? That’s once, without endlessly having to fill out the same surveys, over and over and over again, ad nauseam, let alone have mess with the mountains and the tractors on the Captchas? I’m talking about accounts that could save and store each person’s information, where where you could just sign in and go ahead and look for an available vaccine, period, case closed, easy-peasy.

Apparently, as technologically advanced as New York always claims to be, this kind of simplicity in websites is just not possible to achieve yet in 2021.

Or is it?

Might some revisions be in order?

Are you listening, Governor Cuomo?

Or do you want us to go down in history as having websites so primitive during the pandemic that they’re giving people cases of the vapors?

In the meantime, where the vaccines are concerned, welcome to bedlam!

ALLEN V. FARROW and the Tyranny of Creeps who Advocate that Others Need “Therapy”

I wish I could say I haven’t seen it all before, but I have.

The first episode of HBO’s ALLEN V. FARROW premiered last night. It’s thorough, it’s well done, and it’s absolutely riveting.

In case you don’t know the backstory, many moons ago New York film maker Woody Allen, known for making what I’ve always considered very annoying films featuring himself cast as some version or another of a “neurotic” little nebbish, had a long-term affair with actress Mia Farrow. Farrow had children of her own and adopted a few more from other countries. She wanted to have a child with Allen who says he’s got no interest in raising a child – but then again he’d only like a little blonde girl. Farrow adopts one and the mess begins.

Allen becomes obsessed with the little girl, Dylan, to the point that quite a few eyewitnesses interviewed in the documentary recount sexual abuse incidents that will make your hair stand up on end when you hear them. When Farrow, whose denial of the bizarre situation is absolutely astonishing, finally dares to suggest there’s something wrong with Allen’s interactions with the little girl, what’s his response? He goes ballistic and suggests that there’s something amiss within Mia Farrow and that she “needs therapy.”

Later, Mia Farrow finds naked pictures at Allen’s apartment of another of her daughters, Soon-Yi Previn. Mia’s statements about Allen’s weirdness with Dylan weren’t off at all. They were right on target, for which she got verbally attacked and “gaslighted.” I also recall from reading Mia Farrow’s beautifully written autobiography many years ago that Allen, who hunted Dylan down like a predator whenever he came to see the child, to the point she tried to hide from him, said the little girl needed “therapy” to deal with her “anxiety” about him. Anxiety that he himself was creating!

But what I want to address here is the tyranny of the creeps, like Allen, who – when caught in outrageous acts – automatically turn around and point fingers at whoever sees what they’re doing is wrong and decrees that person “needs therapy.” I have seen this happen so many times. Usually it takes place among certain creative types, and Lord knows Allen is one. I saw this when I worked for a movie company many, many years ago. The office slut and thief who got fired there was constantly claiming various co-workers – the ones with their eyes wide open to her bizarre and rather manic behavior – “needed therapy.” I saw it just about daily when I worked for a certain talent agency that shall remain nameless. The owner there was the biggest “psychobabbler” I’ve ever met. He was forever trying to convince certain clients and associates that they were sick, twisted, messed up, were out to “manipulate and control” other people, of all lines, and needed help, blah blah blah. He also liked to label people he didn’t care for, usually from his own list of actor clients, as “Nazis,” “Fascists” or “Gangsters.” Basically, anyone who looked too closely at him or challenged him on any subject got labeled “sick” or somehow “lacking” and in need of “help.” He couldn’t stand it that I didn’t buy into it and said outright that psychology wasn’t a real science (it isn’t). I found out after he died that he was running a “casting couch” for decades – targeting young men. There were also two perverted teachers at two different schools I attended who loved to point fingers at a lot of the students and even some faculty members. They were two pervs. That sort of thing was swept under the table when I was a child, but thankfully isn’t any longer. About forty years after the fact, former students of each school, separately, told me that those teachers were sexual predators and gave me examples of what they had done. (And by the way, you can be sure, folks, I am paying attention to these allegations and trying to get those who told me about them to go on the record.)

What did they all have in common? ALL of them were constantly trying to deflect attention from their own sick actions by telling other people they were “sick” or “abnormal” or “in need of help.” Basically anyone who could see that those particular bad people were not who they appeared to be were easy targets for being told – inaccurately – that they needed “therapy.”

I would like to suggest that anyone who is being told they “need help” by a person whose own behavior is atrocious or suspicious on any level should immediately wake up and be aware, be aware. They’re lying! They’re just trying to target your worst insecurities. They hope to make you doubt yourself, but don’t you dare! Take an example from Mia Farrow’s inability to see what was going on in front of her face. If you see something that looks creepy, guess what? It really is!

The JonBenet Ramsey Case: FOLLOW THE BONUS!

I was watching the 20/20 episode on the still-unsolved JonBenet Ramsey case on Friday night. The episode is called “The List” and details the findings of Lou Smit, a detective who worked the case relentlessly, until the day he died, to try and get justice for the little girl whose skull was crushed and was then strangled to death with a garrote. Smit asked his family members to carry on with his search and they’ve been equal to the task.

Contrary to the popular belief that JonBenet’s parents and/or brother were involved in her death, Smit concentrated on the idea of an intruder. There are 100 windows in the Ramsey house that could have allowed access. Stupidly on the parents’ behalf, there was a burglar alarm that was not turned on – I know that from a book I’d read about the case. But most importantly of all: foreign DNA was found under JonBenet’s fingernails, and on other places on her body. It’s DNA that does not match her parents, brother, or many of the “usual suspects” in this baffling case, including the guy who played Santa Claus at the family’s holiday parties and a few nuts who “confessed” to the murder.

DNA under her fingernails. Good God, it means the poor little girl valiantly tried to fight off her killer.

Another vital piece of evidence in the case was the ransom note that was found in the kitchen on the morning the child’s body was found in the basement of her house. The note goes on for two and a half wacky pages but demands $118,000 in ransom or threatens that JonBenet will be “beheaded.” Sick! But significant.

Did a stranger come in, hope to hold the child for ransom, snatch her from her bed, get into a tussle with the little one fighting back, knock her senseless – and then decide to hastily dispose of the body?

Whatever happened, here’s the main thing as far as I am concerned. JonBenet’s father, John, had just received a Christmas bonus of $118,000. JonBenet’s body was found the day after Christmas. Whoever killed the child had to know about it.

I was disappointed that 20/20 did not bring out the idea that Lou Smit’s list of remaining possible suspects needs to be vetted against a list of who knew about John Ramsey’s bonus. Check the officers of his company. Check the bank employees where the check was issued. Those are the most obvious people who would know the amount of that bonus. And DNA or no DNA, check John’s relatives and friends who knew about the amount. Maybe one of them did not do it personally but heard from John or his wife Patsy about what the amount of the bonus was – and mentioned it to the wrong kind of person, giving them ideas…

In any event, if you want to find out who killed JonBenet, following that bonus would be the most logical place to start!

Book Recommendation: MY GIRLS: A LIFETIME WITH CARRIE AND DEBBIE by Todd Fisher

This is a Hollywood family memoir with a great big and welcome positive difference. It’s about Debbie Reynolds, a megastar who is decent and loving to her children, Todd and Carrie Fisher. There’s no wire hangers in this one, folks! Debbie Reynolds was a wonderful person who put her children first. She didn’t even dump them in a boarding school to make them somebody else’s problem, as so many Hollywood parents did. She raised them herself, encouraged them, even financed their interests when appropriate. This was a mother who was so great that she let her budding film maker son move the western set that was being dismantled at MGM studios into her backyard!

She was as phenomenal off the screen, in other words, as she was on.

Yet this is also a story that goes in quite a few unexpected directions. Debbie’s good nature was taken advantage of by her second and third husbands who, by all rights, should have been put in jail for robbing her blind. I read those parts with my mouth hitting the floor. It makes for some of the most shocking true white-collar crime reading I’ve ever encountered. As for the first husband, well, that was Eddie Fisher, who threw Debbie over for Elizabeth Taylor in the biggest Hollywood scandal of the 1950s. Debbie later says that Eddie was the best of the husbands, and once you read about the other two, you’ll see why.

And then there’s the mercurial Carrie Fisher, “Princess Leia” of STAR WARS fame and later author of POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE and other books and screenplays. Carrie is more complicated than her mother – in fact, I’d say she’s more complicated than most people – but still managed to be a big talent in her own right.

Around the world people’s hearts broke back in 2016 when they learned that Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher passed had away within a day of each other, leaving Todd Fisher, the third family member in this memorable close-knit threesome, alone. It was so nice to read this beautiful memoir that he wrote in honor of them. I highly recommend it.

Hey Facebook, You Screwed Up AGAIN!

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Don’t you just wonder what the heck is going on with Facebook – for real?

It’s bad enough there were thousands upon thousands of fake profiles on there that were not caught before they were utilized to spread propaganda about the election.

It’s atrocious that so many people on there use viciousness and profanity to beat one another up over little differences of opinion.

And it’s ridiculous that people are put into “Facebook Jail” if somebody doesn’t like what they have to say on some post, too.

But guess what’s “banned” today?

Give up?

THIS BLOG!

Yesterday I wrote about the great new movie from Disney/Pixar, SOUL, and what happened when I attempted to share it to Facebook? I received this message:

Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.

In the past few months I’ve posted a lot about the Disney Company. For one thing, it’s one of the companies I respect the most. They’re a class act. They’ve also had to lay off lots of employees due to the pandemic, which is very unfortunate, and I hope it turns around soon.

So I’ve given a few plugs to Disney on here. I’ve also mouthed off a bit against the Nxivm cult, urging people not to put their blind faith in gurus of any kind. I’ve praised the people of Mississippi for removing Confederate symbols from their state flag and creating a new one. Several times on this blog I’ve posted about various criminals, usually ones who hurt children. The rest of the time I’m usually giving reviews of movies and books that I consider wonderful.

So there isn’t one word on this blog that could qualify as “abuse,” unless of course it was reported by a cult leader, a pedophile or a member of the KKK. Who would listen to such people – except, perhaps, Facebook?

So I’m going on the record and saying this. Facebook, you seem to do everything completely “bass-ackwards,” and one day you may find you’ve put yourself right out of business with all of your misguided silliness.

Have a happy New Year!

SOUL from Disney/Pixar

Kudos to the Disney Company for releasing their new animated feature, SOUL, today on Disney Plus. The movie is just adorable and thought-provoking, and its release today adds to the festivity of this most unusual Christmas of 2020. This is the year we’ll all remember, folks, and I’m happy to say that for me, SOUL is a part of it.

Check out the trailer here and MERRY EVERYTHING!

Merry Christmas from HMS Ocean

Okay, this is an oldie but it sure is a goodie!

The service people on the HMS OCEAN had been away from their loved ones for seven months, but were on the way home for Christmas, when they made this video in 2011.

This year most of us have done them a few months better than just seven. It’s the year of lockdown, social distancing, staying at home, disinfectant – and even, of all things, toilet paper shortages. We’ll never forget it.

I think it’s also the year when a lot of people realized just what we’re really made of, and that we’re tougher and a lot more self-reliant than we ever thought we were before. I’m a big fan of self-reliance and always have been, but before 2020 I never cut my own hair before, or cooked meals when it was so much easier, living in New York, to eat out. Now I’ve got a mountain of non-perishable food in my relatively new apartment because the cabinets haven’t been installed here yet and certainly don’t mind the new ‘do I cut myself, thanks to a YouTube video tutorial. I also make my own soda, bread, and ice cream. When this is over everybody who always knew I never wanted to be a “Suzy Homemaker” won’t be able to recognize me.

But hey, folks – we’ve survived! And it’s Christmas. Better days are surely coming.

Meanwhile, enjoy the above video of ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU!

Home haircut and dye job, flyin’ around a bit since I had the fan on. Not perfect, but this ‘do will do during voluntary lockdown!
A Hallmark commemorative ornament of 2020. Whoever would have guessed this would be for sale a year ago? 🙂

BRAVO to the People of Mississippi!

The BEAUTIFUL new Mississippi Flag.

Hats off to the people of the state of Mississippi! In yesterday’s election they voted to replace their old state flag, which featured the “Stars and Bars” of the Confederacy, with a beautiful new design.

The new flag prominently features the state flower, and what a great flower it is: a lovely magnolia. It is surrounded by the words IN GOD WE TRUST, along with twenty white stars because Mississippi was the 20th state to enter the union, and a pretty gold star in honor of the state’s Native Americans who were the original Mississippians. It’s called “The New Magnolia,” and it was designed by Rocky Vaughn, and if you ask me, this new banner just couldn’t be prettier – or nicer.

No Confederate imagery – offensive to people of goodwill everywhere and especially to Black Americans – remains. There had been a vote to change the flag in 2001 and back then, sadly, it didn’t go through. However, after the events of the past summer and the calls for justice after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other atrocities enacted against Blacks, there was a renewed outcry to change the old flag. Tolerance for Confederate imagery is over. It may have taken a long time for Mississippi to change the design, but change it they finally did. May the new flag mark the beginning of a kinder, more inclusive, and infinitely more considerate era for the state of Mississippi. After all, as the old saying says, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

Three thousand people submitted designs for the new flag. The state’s flag commission had the Herculean task of narrowing all of them down to five, and later to just two, which the people voted on yesterday. The New Magnolia won.

BRAVO, MISSISSIPPI! And forever in peace may it wave.

This flag, also nice, was the runner up.
The five finalists, all nice. 3,000 people submitted designs!

Haunted Carthage Missouri by Lisa Livingston-Martin

Okay, maybe I’m a day late in writing about a good Halloween book concerning hauntings – but I can’t resist recommending this one.

Several years ago I visited Carthage, Missouri. I had been very interested in seeing that little town because the photos of it online were so beautiful. I love Victorian houses. Carthage, Missouri has them in abundance and from what I saw on the Internet, most were stunning.

Carthage was also the site of a large Civil War battle and several smaller skirmishes. I had hoped to see the battlefield and museum while there since, at that point in time, I had never been to a location that was prominent in the Civil War before. Do not get me wrong when I say this. I am no fan of the Confederacy and think they were disgraceful in trafficking in stolen people and enslaving them. I simply like to see historical sites if I happen to be in a town that can boast of a few.

What struck me about Carthage was that to me it felt…well…haunted. There’s no other word for it. Ages earlier I’d stayed in Galveston, Texas and got a similar kind of strange, rather odd feeling from the place. Something had happened there, I was sure of it. I soon learned that Galveston had been the site of eight thousand deaths during a 1900 flood and that the houses had been swept from their foundations and somehow brought back, and that explained it.

The feeling I got in Carthage was even wilder and crazier than the one I had had in Galveston. Galveston had felt quietly and rather sadly odd; Carthage was energetically so. The house I stayed in, owned by acquaintances and amazingly beautiful in its furnishings, was old, built after the Civil War. I have never been anywhere as gorgeous at that particular house, before or since. Yet the energy within it seemed to bounce all over the place.

I would have thought it was just my imagination except for the behavior of one of the cats who lived in the house. My hosts turned in early every night; their cats and I didn’t. One of the cats was a sweetheart who liked to hang out with me. That cat would gaze straight ahead into thin air – at nothing I could see – become startled and leap out of the way. It didn’t just happen once, either. Over and over, I witnessed that poor cat as it seemed to get frightened out of its wits. It was as if the cat was picking up on something, yet nothing was there. Was it possible, I wondered, that the house where I stayed was, quite literally, haunted, as bizarre as the idea seemed to be? The animal was reacting to something. That’s all I can say for sure.

The other day I chanced upon a Facebook ad about books by an author named Lisa Livingston-Martin, one of which was HAUNTED CARTHAGE, MISSOURI. I have never forgotten my visit to Carthage, the strange vibe of the town, the feeling in that otherwise lovely house and the antics of that sweet but frightened cat. Just for fun, this being Halloween week, I purchased the book and downloaded it to my Nook reader.

And if you like ghost stories, or even if you don’t but love history as I do, please note that I highly recommend this book. It not only covers the stories of alleged hauntings of buildings in the area but delves deeply into the strange history of the town of Carthage. There were both Union and Confederate factions in the town during the Civil War – and you can imagine how well they got along. There was the battlefield where many soldiers died. There were hangings on the Courthouse grounds and at the Carthage jail lasting right into the 20th Century. There was a cemetery that later was covered to a park and where they think all the bodies were dug up and moved, but can’t be certain. Plenty of alleged “ghostly activity” has been reported in each one of those places, to the point they have been the subject of paranormal investigations.

I have since lost touch with the people I stayed with during my visit to Carthage but a push of a few buttons brought up their address on the Internet. I pulled up a map of the little town and began locating places mentioned in the HAUNTED CARTHAGE MISSOURI book.

Was the house where I stayed in Carthage haunted? I don’t know…but I do know this much. The house was within about half a mile’s walking distance of the Courthouse, and the jail, and the cemetery/park, and the battlefield.

What more can I say except…BOO!

Jasper County Courthouse, Carthage, MO. Haunted to a fare-the-well, allegedly.