Wednesday, October 20, 2010

GET YOUR PURPLE ON


Support 'Spirit Day' by wearing purple in support of no more gay bullying!

I'm sickened in my heart and soul at the hatred and the high rate of suicides from gay bashing.

How many more have to die before one realizes that what others prefer -- in and out of the bedroom -- doesn't affect you? It has no bearing on your life -- you can only control YOUR thoughts and YOUR actions.

If it's consensual -- let it be.

I also take aim at the 'straight' reference: so, if someone isn't a heterosexual, what does that mean? They're crooked? I don't get it and I sure as hell don't like it.

I've never once referred to myself as 'straight' because it gives, to me anyway, such a negative connotation to those who are same sex oriented.

If I've said it once, I've said it 100 times -- love is love.

Let's aim for some peace now.

I'm wearing my purple -- are you?










"Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well."
~Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

THE CORRECTIONS


Nine years ago Oprah Winfrey picked author Jonathan Franzen's book 'The Corrections' as her book club choice -- and nine years ago in a fit of ambivalence and pretension, he turned her down.

Upon having recently acquired this book courtesy of Amazon.com, all I can say is thank God I didn't pay full price for this overblown piece of work. That's not to say I don't like it. I've poked around and took a gander: kicked the tires and looked under the hood. I'm not done but so far my thoughts are that the pretension of it's contents rivals this mans ego. It's intricate and interesting -- but that doesn't necessarily make for a good, easy read.

To be so self important and full of New York angst (a bit of a cliché, don't you think?) that he turns down an appearance on the biggest television show in history -- Oprah's book club can make or break sales -- is bewitching.

Like it or not this is the age in which we live: where it's no longer simply reviews of a newspaper that gets a readers attention, but the good word of a woman who wields unstoppable power and does so with fairness and generosity.

You want to turn that down? Then you're going to have to wait for readers like myself to wait nine years to purchase said work used instead of paying full price brand new.

Must be nice to live with that kind of arrogance, self assurance and bemused entitlement.

What brings all this on is this woman's willingness to forgive and forget and once again pick Mr. Franzen's latest novel, 'Freedom', as her latest book club choice.

She's a better woman than I am.

In reading 'The Corrections' (and granted, I'm still early on), it is so full of it's own virtues (or I should say Mr. Franzen is) that it is yet unclear whether I will go on to read 'Freedom'.

Ask me in nine years.

The story revolves around the aging Lambert's; Enid and Alfred, who is suffering the affects of Parkinson's.

They have three grown children (two sons and a daughter) who have long flown the coop, each with their own failings and copious of issues which they keep from their parents.

My thing is this: I simply love to read. It's a good pastime. It's a way to self educate, motivate and get lost in a world unlike you're own.

I don't pretend to read Hemingway but I've been known to read Jane Austen, Dan Brown as well as Nora Roberts.

I'm not hard to please nor am I a book snob.

I can handle Jonathan Franzen's book, but I don't want to. I don't want to handle anything -- I want a book to be an easy, smooth ride.

This is a hard read and while I'm intelligent enough to get it (shhh--don't tell anyone: I call it 'my dirty little secret') -- 'The Corrections' makes itself clear in the first chapter alone that it doesn't want to be got.

I like words which is part of the reason why I don't subscribe to the 'LOL' (Laugh Out Loud) movement -- no offense if you do.

So, for me to think that this book is too much, well then, it must be.

One word comes to mind to describe all it's pretension and that of the author in question: 'Sesquipedalian'.

If any of you saw the movie 'Love Happens' (not usually a fan of Jennifer Aniston nor her movies, but this is one worth watching) then you probably know what this word means: It means someone who uses long and/or not frequently used/known words.

THIS is Jonathan Franzen.

In the first chapter we have: 'Zoysia', 'Metasound', 'Metallurgy', 'Protoplasm', 'Rhodium', 'Cadmium', 'bismuth', 'Aqua Regia', 'Gubernatorial' 'Crepuscular', 'Corpuscles' and 'Corpuscularity'.

I don't know what, if anything, the author is trying to prove -- but for me, a reasonably intelligent and open-minded book lover, the only thing he's proving is that after this, I doubt I'll be buying anymore of his books. Nine years old, used, UN-used or not.

For now, my copy of 'The Corrections' shall go on to remain palimpsest -- and that will have to do me.

Take that word, Mr. Franzen, and smoke it in your pipe. Don't forget the ascot.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

AUTUMN COMFORT FOOD AND GOOD FRIENDS


Have you met Marianne and Susie yet? No????

Well, go to my profile page to get to my 'STRANGER THAN DICTION' blog and meet this Mother and Daughter duo who have warmed my heart and have become part of my extended family in my story titled; "MORE THAN A FEELING".

I'm only on chapter two so it's not too late to catch up and read the prologue and chapter one to acquaint yourselves and go back in time to 1978 and visit them in the fictional southern California seaside community of 'Aigean Bay'.

I also just posted a vegan pumpkin pancake recipe on my 'Rabbit Food' blog (you can get to 'Rabbit Food' by clicking on the 'Rabbit Food' blog button on my side bar -- I have yet to have one made for 'STRANGER THAN DICTION').

Comfort food and good friends in Autumn go hand-in-hand.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A 10-10-10 BIRTHDAY


Yesterday was my Mom's 77th birthday, which just so happened to land on 10-10-10. A day noted for clearly being once in a lifetime -- so much so that many chose to get married on this rare occasion.

However, for us -- it was simply fulfilling a small wish for my Mom: she had never been to Malibu.











Being a fish-n-chips aficionado, she had asked to go to Malibu (home of Peppardine University) on her special day and partake in her favorite fare -- of course, this left me with only French fries and a salad but it wasn't about me. Damn.

She had heard of a famous fish place there called 'Neptune's Net' however, Ed got on-line and did some digging around to discover there's another place there that was rated much higher for their superb fish-n-chips -- and it did not disappoint:

Malibu Fish Market










Right off Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), stands a little hole in the wall shack with faded paint and boasting only outdoor seating....with a line going around the building.

We knew then we had made the right choice.

My Mom thought it was the best she ever had -- the spectacular ocean view didn't hurt, either -- and that right there made it worth the nearly two hour drive cramped in the backseat with my Mom and B's girlfriend (with Ed and B in the front).

Okay, I had to get that in. I'm done.

Mmmm....maybe not.

Mom declared me from the time I was little to be a "bad traveler" -- never have truer words been spoken. I HATE it. I don't know if it's my anxiety, the length, my being prone to motion sickness (although I didn't do too badly in that respect yesterday), claustrophobic, or if I'm just antsy but once we were in Malibu, my body had enough and I needed desperately to get out of that back seat (quite the contrary to high school but that's another story).

Of course, this made good fodder for B ("Your 77 year old Mom hasn't complained once") who exchanged places with me for the ride home so he didn't have "listen to me". For the record, 75% of the trip up there, I was fine and didn't complain until about an hour and a half into the drive.

I'm not real big on leaving my house anyway so for me to venture that far away from home (trust me, we live NO WHERE near Malibu and it's swank) was indeed a big deal for me that apparently went unnoticed.

Humorous anecdote of the days travels came courtesy of B: "Even their bums are nicer here".







Friday, October 8, 2010

T.V. YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING


I am a 'T.V.-aholic' to be sure. It's our form of entertainment -- it's what we do. We don't do theater, movies or restaurants. Nor do we frequent museums.

But what we do do is use what we pay for. How many times have we thought there are so many channels and nothing on? How many of us pay our cable bill and wonder what the hell for?

If you're one of those who says there's nothing on, you're not paying attention.

Other than a select few ('Modern Family', 'Community', 'The Amazing Race', 'Survivor'), I'm not real big on network T.V.

However, last year 'Parenthood' came to us courtesy of Tuesday nights on NBC.

If any of you saw the movie of the same name in 1989, this is T.V.'s take with Craig T. Nelson (fantastic as always!) as the patriarch of the Braverman Clan, produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer who also did the film.

It's well written, witty and holds a superb cast including Lauren Graham (of 'The Gilmore Girls'), Peter Krause (of 'Six Feet Under'), Erika Christensen ('The Upside OF Anger', 'The Banger Sisters' and 'Traffic' just to name a few) and Dax Shepard ('When In Rome', 'Baby Mama') as the Braverman siblings still struggling with their parents, each other and the world and their role in it as parents themselves.

It's audience is slipping this season and for selfish reasons, I'd like to see it fight it's way out of the ratings war and remain in my living room -- once you see it, you'll wish for the same.











But what about all those shows on Cable?

Let me weed them out for you (no pun intended):

Showtime:

~'Weeds' (currently in progress)

~'Californication' (next season starts this winter)

~'Nurse Jackie' (on hiatus 'til winter or spring)

~'U.S. Of Tara' (on hiatus 'til winter or spring)

**You can catch up on all these shows on 'Showtime On Demand'. Well worth the watch.


In the meantime, Showtime has produced a new show this season called 'The Big C' that is nothing short of brilliant starring film actress Laura Linney as Cathy, a suburban housewife and mom to a typical teenage son who discovers that she has a fatal form of Melanoma and is deciding to keep her diagnosis (and grim prognosis) to herself.

Always having been the 'good girl', she is changing all that now and taking control of what little life she has left by kicking her fun-loving but childish husband to the curb (played by the always wonderful and underrated, Oliver Platt) and living a no-holds-barred existence. Surrounded by her humorous but homeless brother and feisty older neighbor, Cathy is finding support in the unlikeliest of places.

Each season of the show deals with Cathy's last season: For example, this season's show takes place in summer (next shows season will be autumn, etc.).

Not sure how the producers tend to deal with her impending death and/or if Cathy will ever decide to tell her family about her cancer -- but whatever happens, dare I say, she makes this show fun to watch.













Over on HBO we have 'Bored To Death' (now in season 2) starring Jason Schwartzman as 'Jonathan Ames'; a one hit wonder novelist turned private investigator (via 'Craigslist' ads!) as a way to make ends meet -- and fight boredom. He finds himself in precarious situations in a film noir-esque manner that is a scream to watch!

Co-starring (are you ready for this?) Zach Galifianakis as Jonathan's best friend, Ray, and Ted Danson as George, his friend and sometimes boss.

In spite of my -- and America's -- on-going love affair with the hilarious Zach Galifiankis ('The Hangover'), it's Ted Danson who steals the spotlight here as Jonathan's stoner friend and the consummate 'wait for me guy' who never wants to miss out on anything -- er, regardless of what it is:

George: "Hi, Jonathan -- what are you doing?"

Jonathan: "Oh, hi George. I'm taking Ray to get a colonic."

George: "I want one! I want a colonic."

This series will steal your heart -- and if anyone can find it, it's 'Jonathan Ames'!

*Look for 'Bored To Death' on HBO Sunday nights and on 'HBO On Demand'.












Lastly, we have HBO's newest series 'Boardwalk Empire' -- produced by none other than Martin Scorcese -- starring the underrated, and one of my all time (and long time) favorite actors, Steve Buscemi ('Fargo') as Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson: a man who lives two lives as Atlantic City's upstanding Treasurer....and powerful gangster.

In addition to striking rich by the presence of Steve Buscemi, the set and costume designs alone are worth the watch: the creators actually reproduced Atlantic City's 1920's boardwalk which took months to build and recreate in order to further authenticate 'Boardwalk Empire'.

This series begins the tale of the uprising of the American gangster in 1920's Atlantic City at the beginning of prohibition.

You also see the rising of such gangsters as Al Capone as well as the yin/yang of Buscemi's character struggling with public image and civic duty...and greed.

As one character tells 'Nucky'; "You can't be half a gangster anymore".

I'm not so sure. If anyone can pull it off, it's Steve Buscemi and Martin Scorcese

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

WE THE PEOPLE


Hi, all. It's been a few weeks since I've posted and all I can really say for myself is -- I have no idea why.

Well, I have a few guesses: I've been battling my I.B.S. (Irritable Bowel Syndrome -- aren't you happy you tuned in???) or rather I should say, it's been battling me while I sit there (literally) like an unarmed soldier waiting hopelessly to be slaughtered by the enemy -- or have mercy shown on my person.

Stress does incredible things to ones body and spirit.

Also, been taking care of Juneau -- our now 10 week old Pomeranian.

The other reason I suppose is that I simply haven't been feeling particularly inspired.

I don't delude myself that every day there needs to be that moment of sought after enlightenment -- however, instead it's been all I can do just to brush my teeth.

I've been with stomach cramps and low energy and feel my depression kicking in worse than ever.

How could this possibly be with us planning a long awaited trip to Maine to see my best friend????

Because the logistics and planning of it are going to be a little tougher than we already thought it would be with the announcement that Ed's work is cutting overtime in half, thus making his income about a $1000 less a month -- money we were counting on to save for this trip, sock away in the bank and help pay for B's education.

It's truly a case of one step forward and two backwards and is going to take a tricky high wire act to pull off.

In other news, I am sad to see a very good blog friend (who's name out of respect and privacy I shall not give away) be chased off his blog by nothing short of vindictiveness and maliciousness.

This person who has given such inspiration to me and countless others -- who has been a great supporter and good friend -- decided voluntarily to shut down his blog due to someone contacting people in his family to 'tattle' on his blog content.

This friend is a survivor of horrific abuse and reached out to so many through his accounts by purging himself of the demons that plagued him.

A blog is ones own personal outlet to write about what they choose and for someone to seek it out only to use it against him dates back to the McCarthy era: the second coming of the Salem witch trials.

It's an umbrage and affront to our first amendment and something we should all take very personally.

I am so sorry to have seen this happen in a day and age where I thought red and yellow (cowardice) were behind us.

May blue skies be yours once again, my friend. You have my undying support always.

This comes just after this news:


"AOL News (Sept. 29) -- Iran sentenced a Canadian-Iranian blogger known as the Blogfather to 19 and a half years in prison and reportedly told his family they should be happy he was not sentenced to death.

Hossein Derakhshan, 35, was convicted for "cooperation with hostile states, propagating against the regime, propagation in favor of anti-revolutionary groups, insulting sanctities, and implementation and management of obscene websites," according to the conservative news site Mashreqhnews.ir, as translated by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.


Hossein Derakhshan, a Canadian-Iranian blogger known as the Blogfather, has been sentenced in Iran to 19 and a half years in prison. He has been a key figure in Iran's active blogging scene and a vocal advocate for free expression.
Derakhshan's former wife, Marjan Alemi, called the sentence "a tragedy," telling Canadian television CTV that she believed the regime had signaled a death penalty was imminent "so that when they give out 19 years, his family was actually happy."

'Such a long jail term has never before been imposed on a blogger in Iran and is indicative of a desire to make an example out of Derakhshan,' the advocacy organization Reporters without Borders said in a statement.

That judgment came amid reports that Isa Saharkhiz, 56, a prominent opposition journalist, was sentenced earlier this week to three years in prison, according to The New York Times: two years for insulting Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and another one for promulgating propaganda against the Iranian regime. At his trial earlier this summer, Saharkhiz appeared in leg irons and called for Khamenei's prosecution for countenancing what he said was the continued torture of political prisoners.

Saharkhiz's case grew out of Iran's disputed presidential election in June 2009, which led to large street protests and bloody conflicts between protesters and government security forces. According to Amnesty International, some 70 journalists are in Iranian prisons, many of them awaiting trial.

Derakhshan is something of a special case. Born in Iran, he went to college in Canada and later became a Canadian citizen. Under the name "Hoder," he became a key figure in Iran's active blogging scene, which some say he inspired by posting blogging instructions in Farsi 10 years ago, earning himself the Blogfather moniker.

Derakhshan remained a vocal advocate of free expression, but also became a supporter of the policies of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. According to Alemi, he was invited to return to Iran by an organization close to the president in 2008, but was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards once he got there and has been detained in Tehran's Evin Prison ever since. Reporters Without Borders calls him "a collateral victim of infighting between the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian intelligence services."

Jeff Jarvis, a prominent U.S. blogger and new-media advocate, wrote that he was "personally heartbroken" by the sentence. "No matter what his opinions were or what opinions you may have had about him, that doesn't matter now. We should all be outraged," he wrote.

In a statement, Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said Canada "was deeply concerned by reports of this severe sentence against Mr. Derakhshan," which its officials were still seeking to confirm. Cannon said Derakhshan's situation "is complicated by his dual nationality, which is not recognized by the Iranian authorities. Iran must release him and other dual nationals who have been unjustly detained."



::Back to your regularly scheduled program::

Shock and outrage do not begin to cover the spectrum of my emotions over this.

Then -- to wildly switch gears here -- comes last night's Miami Dolphins Vs. New England Patriots Monday night football game. Living with two die hard Miami Dolphins fans, it wasn't the brutal 27 point loss that disheartened me -- nor the disappointed look on Ed's and B's faces -- but rather the blatant disrespect of the halftime show.

With October being 'Breast Cancer Awareness Month', I was thrilled to see the NFL embracing PINK and commemorating this well deserved cause by everyone wearing pink ribbons and the players with pink gloves, mouth guards, cleats, etc.

Then comes the half time show where they exploited survivors by having them walk on the field -- only to then be surrounded by cleavage bearing, bouncing, silicone induced cheerleaders.

What a tasteless, disgusting act of vulgarity. These survivors -- and the audience -- weren't treated to awareness, but instead were treated to insensitivity.

Seems to be a recurring theme.