Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bones, Gas, and Unattractive

For years, I refilled my Boniva prescription every month, because I knew that if I didn’t, my bones would fall apart. Like some TV skeleton, I would simply disintegrate before your eyes. Well not yours necessarily, but you get the picture. Last time I went to pick up the prescription , they said I had to pay my deductible so it would cost me $135 to fill a $35 prescription—which, if I didn’t have insurance would have cost about $175 without the deduction.

Anyway when I went today, the pharmacist said it would be $75. “Really,” I said. “For the last three years I paid $35. Why did it go up?” He said it was because the drug was now available in generic, so the price went up. “Wait a minute,” I said. “If there’s a generic wouldn’t they lower their prices?” Apparently not. But now the cost of the generic was – you guessed it.. $35. What the…? Otherwise known as “OH PLEEEEEZE!”

Gas is up to over $4 a gallon in most states. So here’s what I think—why didn’t the White House think of this as well. First of all the President hasn’t driven a car or had to pay for gas, since it was $1.89 a gallon. He and most of his policy wonks (who have lots of money, mostly in trust) cannot possibly understand what it means when a person needs to choose between, gas, food, and medication. All serious needs. However, if the President were to suggest that we are going to open areas for oil development or approve the pipeline through Canada—I can almost guarantee the prices of gas would drop. And not just drop—but drop significantly. We have to remember the gas and oil companies have had record profits, while the general public has had to swallow hard every time they make a trip to the pump. It’s amazing, but when the supermarket I shop at gives me (as a reward for loyal buying) 10c, 20c and maybe even 90 cents off a gallon, I think I’m the luckiest person in the universe. And when gas is at $3.50, as opposed to $4.07, I am thrilled by how “inexpensive” the fuel is…. Well what more do you need to know?

Was that enough whining for tonight?

The other night I was out to dinner with my very cool adorable young cousin. I was facing in and my cousins were facing the door. At some point, one of them said, “this is the ugliest crowd I have ever seen in one place.” I didn’t need to be facing the door to know it was true. There was ugly everywhere. It didn’t matter if you faced out or in or upside down. And the thing that was amazing was that the “ugly” was intentional. The people actually dressed themselves to be unattractive.

My son by choice, Alex, and I have spent hours and hours doing fashion commentary about people we see on the street. He is so much better at it than I am, but he’s younger and seemingly not intimidated by everyday niceties. So the other day when were were walking on 3rd Avenue, there was a woman who’s outfit screamed critical evaluation – otherwise known as critical Assessment - or ‘welcome to the real world.’

There she was, big as life, walking right in front of me, in her metallic blue stretch pants. Don’t misunderstand, I adore anything glittery or metallic. But, I also know what I (and other people) should be wearing to compliment their bodies. The blue metal did not work on this young woman. And, if she would have looked in the mirror, (I hope) she would have realized how (I’m going to be kind), unlikely she looked in them. Yes, I meant unlikely because it’s unlikely that she looked in the mirror.

Anyway, my everyday clothing is sweats, a t-shirt and often a schmata (tied in a little bow) in my hair. So I am probably not entitled to evaluate what other people wear. But at least I know when I look good and when I’m not trying. And truthfully, I do clean up very nicely. We’re just sayin’....Iris

Monday, March 19, 2012

Oh, No You Can't Do That!

Try as I might I just can’t help writing about stupid political tricks, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Newt Gingrich, requested Secret Service protection last week and guess what? He got Secret Service protection this week. “ OH PLEEEEEZE”

You may ask yourself, why? You are not alone. I’m still scratching my head. Here’s the law:
“Major presidential and vice presidential candidates and their spouses within 120 days of a general presidential election. As defined in statute, the term "major presidential and vice presidential candidates" means those individuals identified as such by the Secretary of Homeland Security after consultation with an advisory committee. The Secret Service (SS), has no role in determining who is to be considered a major candidate. The Secretary of the Homeland Security determines who qualifies as a major candidate….”
on the Romney trail, last month
Let me get this straight. Janet Neapolitan decided that Newt Gingrich is a major Presidential Candidate? Well, maybe a month ago, but now? He hasn’t participated in a campaign event in weeks. Not that I blame him for the request. It’s much more fun and convenient to travel with SS than without, especially if you are tired of making your own travel arrangements, driving your own car, and having to be bothered with people you don’t like. It falls in that realm of “it’s nice to be king”.

When I started in politics (yes I rode my dinosaur to work), The Secret Service protected the Candidate, and the candidate’s family when they were together. They never made decisions about the security at any campaign event. It worked like this; the campaign staff would design the event. It usually meant throwing the Candidate into the middle of (we all hoped) a screaming crowd which was driven to tears by the mere thought of getting to see this splendid political force (who they hoped would lead the nation). The Secret Service would consult with the campaign, usually insisting that the Candidate be put in a bullet proof glass box, and never allowed to shake a hand. The final arbiter in the discussion of how the candidate was introduced, was usually the campaign manager or, if the discussion got heated, the Candidate. In other words, the Secret Service would spell out the kind and seriousness of the threat, and offer suggestions about how to avoid a life threatening situation. The staff would insist that the politics of the event be considered, and ultimately, the Secret Service would protect the Candidate whatever was decided about the event. These, brave people, were willing to take a bullet for their protectee—which could not be said by any staff I ever knew – but the politics and the opinions of the professional political operatives , would be taken into consideration.

This is no longer the case. Every campaign aide thinks they are working with/for the Secret Service to protect the Candidate from the media and the public. Everyone who attends a political event, a parade, or anywhere the Candidate appears, is subject to serious scrutiny, and ultimately security will make the decision about who gets to be wherever – even if the intruder is an important political asset. Yesterday, two people who were kissing were removed by Santorum’s security detail. They weren’t lewd or obstreperous – but even if they were, why is that a threat to the candidate’s personal safety. (One of the reasons a Candidate has SS.)

Let’s be real here. The simple fact is that it’s easier for the SS, or police, to simply shut something down than to have to deal with the inconvenience of securing a site. That is not to say that the SS chooses to make it easy rather than complicated, but that should be taken into consideration when no one is permitted to cross a street six miles from where the Candidate will be. Security, like everything else about politics and campaigning, has simply decided on overkill rather than thoughtful planning and administering any political policy.

If you hurry, you can still get somewhat close to the Candidates. But make it quick, because by the time there is a nominee, you thinking you actually saw the Candidate will be a figment of your imagination. We’re just sayin’… Iris

Sunday, March 18, 2012

To the Wearin' o' the Green

Oh Danny Boy

Irish music, Irish dancing, Irish Coffee, and in fact the whole country, are some of my favorite things. But David says I’m just an old fart, because I don’t get the attraction of celebrating a holiday that mostly celebrates a good excuse for getting drunk. Is it that my age is showing? Or is it because I am just not any fun anymore? “OH PLEEEEZE”. It’s because where we live in NYC there are lots of Irish bars (Eamon’s, Dubliner) and by early evening there are a great many under- and over- aged people likely to be screaming obscenities, not singing celebratory Irish melodies, but throwing beer bottles and vomiting on our front steps, It’s just not my favorite day in the City.

The President went to an Irish bar on the Hill, and had himself a Guinness with the boys. Of course he did. When you are a politician and it is a political season, you either march in a St Paddy’s Day parade, or you go to an Irish bar a drink a beer –preferably green.

We thought we might have a glimpse of the St. Pat’s Day parade in NYC. What a terrible mistake. There we were walking East to West. We though it might be a good day to get half price theater TKTS – since all the tourists were watching the parade – or being in it. I’m not sure anyone but the marchers were watching the parade. The police had Madison Avenue, and 6th Avenue sealed. There was no way to even gain access to the parade. David even had on his press credentials and they did not care. No one was getting from Mad or 6th across 5th, at least not in the 30’s, 40’s or 50’s. Of course we all know what a terrible threat those drunk Irish teenagers can be, so it made absolutely great sense not to allow anyone in the entire city to see the earnest marchers strut their stuff. “OH PLEEEZE”!
the revellers arrving at Grand Central
Does anyone actually know why this holiday is celebrated? Well, I found out.
Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave – nothing to celebrate so far. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, (Pay close attention), to Christianize the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people – hence the color green—(at first the Irish color was blue) Today, it is a celebration of bringing Christianity to Ireland. (And the drinking?) It also celebrates the end of lent and the brewing of great lager.

This blob sounds a little to whiny for my taste, so for the short time we have left, let’s change view. What I love about St Paddy’s Day, is that there is one day a year when everyone wants to be Irish – or at least dress in green. People of all colors, shapes and sizes, find something in common to celebrate. And whether it is the act of getting drunk or going to church, everyone really seems to like everyone else. (Except women with baby carriages who use them as a weapon to negotiate their way thru crowds). Everyone finds something attractive and friendly about being one thing. In this case it’s Irish, but wouldn’t it be lovely to find many days for everyone to like the same thing. And, by the way, Danny Boy was just a set of unsuccessful lyrics until finally sung to the tune of Londonderry Air – that most newcomers from Ireland have never heard. Why does one song make so many people cry?

I miss Steve Daley. We’re just sayin’... Iris

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oh Pleeze v. 2

Admittedly, there are things that happen everyday that deserve to be punctuated with an “OH PLEEEZE,” but here are just a few from today.

The television division of General Electric has made a decision to recognize Donnie Deutsch as a man for all seasons. He can is political strategist, marketing guru, relationship counselor, body builder extraordinaire, and all around all-American boy… OH PLEEEEZE!

Rick Santorum could be the Republican nominee for President of the United States….

In real life, fitness clubs are for people who look great, want to meet a significant other, and are young, fashionable and in excellent health… OH PLEEEEEZE!

Which brings us to the subject of the blob for today…. Is Planet Fitness an earthy endeavor?

Yes, we watch and enjoy The Biggest Loser. We find it inspirational. Not so much because people lose weight but because people change their lives in order to be happier, or at least more satisfied about who they want to be, in this lifetime. Truth is, almost all the people we root for are eliminated before the final four. Almost. There have been seasons when we were happy with the ending – but that is not what usually happens. You see, we are the kind of people who like when the contestants make decisions based on supporting rather than gaming to eliminate their competition. Of course, that means they stop playing the “game” and just figure out as many ways as possible for everyone to be successful, (which usually means the person we like the least – because they are ruthless and self centered) – will emerge as the biggest loser.

So when we saw that Planet Fitness was one of the show sponsors, we figured that it was absolutely not the place we wanted to be. We were wrong. We had belonged to other clubs in NYC (24 Hour Fitness and Equinox) and they were convenient and had the equipment we liked but they were not without issues. Such as, the people who belong spend a great deal of time posing – in front of mirrors, in front of other members, and while they are working out.

At the Planet Fitness in Newburgh NY, (and I assume most of them), there are signs all over that encourage their clients to --- be who they are, do what they can do, not feel pressured by other people, and to be responsible for cleaning the machines they use. This last item seems trivial, but at Equinox there are people whose job it is to keep the club clean. And they make it a point to make you aware of how much cleaning they do. So, they clean right on top of you without any sense that you might want to be exercising. At 24 Hour Fitness, they don’t clean on top of you, but they don’t have wipes readily available if you should want to clean your own machine. Planet Fitness has wipes available about every five feet. And people actually clean their machines before and after use. There is no one who feels entitled to have others clean for them. The Biggest Loser has inspired people young and old, big and small, groups and individuals, to start to move. They may not use the machines as correctly as they should, but there are lots of people available to give direction. And unlike 24 Hour or Equinox, if you aren’t paying for private training, you can still find someone who can answer questions and show you the right way. These people are real people. The conversations (and yes, people do have conversation) are about ordinary things like – work, play, childbirth, marriage, the stresses of life, the cost of gas, new items at Dunkin Donuts, plans for vacations, and how to be happy. There is no pretention about who they are, and no competition about how they are dressed. There are always enough machines and when one is broken (unlke the aforementioned clubs) it never takes more than a day before they are repaired.

OK, we like Planet Fitness and we love the idea that regardless of socio-economic status, everyone cane be fitter, with a little work and some non judgmental encouragment. What is there to say beyond, it’s OK to be comfortable about wanting to be fit without having to feel like you don’t deserve it. We’re just sayin’… Iris

Sunday, March 11, 2012


David decided that if I had a TV show, it would be called, “OH PLEEEEZE!”
The format would be me and one or two guests who would reveal sincere beliefs about contemporary topics. And I would comment on what they say. Here are a few examples:

1. One of the Virginia politicians who decided that a woman must have an internal sonagram before an abortion. And who also decided that a fetus has the same rights as all other citizens. Are the same people who refuse to grant gays and lesbians the right to marriage. So what does this mean?

Oh I know, right after the fetus vehicle (heretofore known as the mother) has an internal sonagram, that fetus can marry another fetus as long as it’s not the same sex. And Here’s when I get to comment. “OH PLEEEEZE!” A few more examples....

2. Lindsay Lohan hosted Saturday Night Live last week. She is doing her best to show that she is rehabilitated and that she is worth someone taking a chance on her. (Lest we remember how many times Robert Downy Jr. Screwed up before he figured it out.) Anyway, she worked in the LA morgue and something must have scared the hell out of her. It doesn’t matter. What she said in every interview I saw was that she realized she couldn’t hang out in bars and with her old friends. So what do the old friends do in retaliation, they, and the Hollywood Press. savage her appearance on SNL. (Which is not an easy show to do). And Instead of being even somewhat admiring of the courage it takes to make a comeback at 26. They smear, what appears to be, her legitimate attempt to be clean and sober. “OH PLEEEEEZE” (You thought I was going to trash her didn’t you.)

3. The Republican candidates were in the south this week. Mitt acquired a southern drawl and said 'youall' any number of times. Then he referred to cheese grits as cheesy grits... which he loves very much. Hope someone tells him that in most places that serve grits, they are simply called cheese grits. They are not a delicacy. They are served instead of potatoes with breakfast, as a starch with shrimp, and as s staple in many many towns and cities across the US. Does he really think the American people don't see this show of food favorites as a political campaign tactic. OH PLEEEEEZE...

4. David took a picture of himself and put it on facebook. Something he does with great frequency. (I have been told by a number of people with good judgment, that his Facebook pic is too severe), Not to change the subject 145 people said they liked it. One Hundred and forty five people got on his page and told him they liked it. OH PLEEEEEZE

5. I will continue to OH PLEEEEEZE when the spirit or situation warrants it. All OH PLEEZES from guest blobbers are welcome. We're just sayin.... Iris