Friday, November 27, 2020

From the annals of "I wish I'd been a better photographer.." in the spring of 1970 I was living in Miami, not a lot of work coming my way, but still stringing with some regularity for TIME. I was living in tropical splendor in beautiful Miami Springs near the airport (I could bike over and see some very cool 1940s planes, most of which were being flown by outfits from Salvador/Guatemala/Panama, and serviced in Miami.) One day I got a call to join the local TIME stringer, Bob Delaney (who also was a big star in local news radio, and he always signed of with "....total information radio!...." which I thought was a pretty good attitude for a news guy.) Our assignment was to drive north a ways (one of those trips where you realize how big Florida is...) to Bartow where we would meet a guy who ran a little soda shop, and who claimed to be the oldest living American. I'd heard of Charlie Smith, but didn't really know that much about him. (Yes, this was in the days before Cable News, and 24 hour cycles. In fact it was only five years after the first Mustang!) Bob was determined to get to the bottom of this story, and share it with his "total information radio" audience, as well as the twenty or so million TIME readers. We'd heard there was this guy in Florida who claimed to have come from Liberia in the 1840s, and was the last surviving American slave. That he was 128 years old. That was something. So we drove and drove, eventually arriving in Bartow, a little backwater town, and it didn't take a lot of asking around (yes, this was before Google Maps) to find the little shop where Charlie Smith sold Pepsi. What I'll never forget is the opening of the interview. Bob said " Charlie, they tell me you're a hundred and twenty eight years old, is that right?" After a short pause Charlie answered with great determination. "No, no..." he started, and at which point I thought, 'this story is SO not happening....it sounds like a wild goose chase.." But then Charlie continued, "No, I'm a hundred twenty seven."

Charlie Smith, Bartow FL aged 127

Charlie Smith, Aged 127 1969

It was one of the coolest conversations I've ever been a party to, if only as witness. They talked for a while, Bob got a couple of "total information radio" worthy quotes, including Charlie talking about seeing Abe Lincoln as a young guy. And it was then my turn. Charlie's son came by, and if I remember right, he was in his 80s. But I kind of blew it. I didn't really think, I just reacted to what was, rather than try and make something a bit more incisive. Years later Carl Fischer made a portrait (I believe it was him) for Esquire, and when I saw that, I realized I was just a little too much "along for the ride." In the end, I got a few pictures, and while it could be said I was under equipped (I tried shooting something inside the shop, lit by one little dangling light bulb - not very successful) it was more a lack of inspiration than equipment. That tends to be the real issue when things don't work out. You just don't give it the 110% that it deserves. Since then, I realize that when you re doing portraits like this, one thing to remember is - keep moving. Change angles, distances, lighting. Keep it all in flux, and when you see something good, work the hell out of it.
I wish I'd done better with Charlie Smith, but if I live to 128, at least that gives me a good chunk of time to practice what I learned that hot day in Bartow.
photograph shot 1969 ©2020 David Burnett/Contact

We're just sayin'... David

Thursday, November 26, 2020

The "Thanks" in Thanksgiving

 Yesterday my brother Jeff and I were talking about my Aunt Irene’s estate. As the executrix or administratrix, we have had to deal with lots of things about the graves. You never think about the plants on the grave or having the headstone (Aunt Peppy always called it a tombstone) carved.  When Mom died we found an engraver who was fast, and made it uncomplicated. One, two, three and it was done.  Not so with Aunties' grave.  She died a year ago and the grave remains uncarved. When Lovey and Suzie went to say Kaddish (the prayer said when someone dies over every relatives grave) they found that the dirt in front of it was still piled up. Disgraceful.  The yearly travel to all the distant graves has been a thing that all the aunts did,  but now it's only the two cousins.  And we are all grateful that someone still does it. 

One of the things I always loved about my family is that they were able to find humor in everything, especially death. When mom died and she was on Bainbridge Island, off Seattle. The funeral parlor had to take a ferry to pick her up.  This made it necessary to sit with her body until they arrived.  What do you do when you’re sitting with the body that is no longer your mother?  You talk about all the hilarious things she and her sisters did as we were growing up.  Like the time Stevie and I took a $50 bill out of Aunt Sophie’s purse to buy camping equipment. We thought she wouldn’t notice.  This was $50 in 1952. We were six and always in trouble. It was as if we were sharing the stories with mom, and we knew she was enjoying them with us.


Anyway, at some point in the history of the family, my dad had to have his leg amputated.  The doctor who did the surgery was an idiot, and told us that it didn’t matter because he didn’t ambulate anywhere. We explained to the insensitive fool that he might not walk but he balanced on both of his legs.  We knew he needed the surgery but we hated the doctors indifference.


We never thought too much about it until we had a discussion about burials.  We had asked mom to think of a site that was not in the middle of nowhere Long Island. She agreed and immediately did exactly what we asked her not to do.  In the Jewish religion, the whole body needs to be buried together, and she had buried my dad’s leg in the cemetery about which we objected.  This meant that they would both spend eternity on Long Island.  When we asked her why she decided to do that, she said that we would never visit them anyway.  This was not true. We do schlepp all the way out there whenever we can. Usually on the way to the airport. 


You may ask why am I writing this on a festive holiday.  Well, if you worried about the pandemic, and are inordinately careful,  it’s not that festive. People are forming pods, which means that you get to see the people in your pod, but no one else unless you are going food shopping.  Some people are calling this period of time the “new normal,” but I’m not, because there is nothing normal about it.  The question is, will things ever be the same again?  Will we be able to walk down the street without a mask?   Will we be able to hug the people we love?  Will offices, restaurants and small businesses even survive?  No one has any idea.  We know that things will certainly not ever be the same, but I’m not ready to call anything, until theaters open, normal.  We're just sayin'.... Iris

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Peter, and Olivier, and lil' ole me

It was my intention to write Christmas memories, but that will have to wait. Today David told me that one of our dear friends died.  Peter Howe was a photojournalist who I met separate from David, and was he cute, yes!  There were two photographers who I met and bonded with even before i knew David.  They are both gone now. What a loss for everyone who knew them..  Olivier was a French photographer who died in the early 80’s. He was in El Salvador and he stood up instead of staying under cover.  He told me that he wanted to do what he thought David would do, but of course David would never have done that.  He was shot and brought back to Hialeah Hospital where he was supposed to be alright. Until he wasn’t.  I visited him every day and was sure he would heal. He didn’t.  A few days after I arrived in Florida and was staying with my mom, she came into the living room and said, “I’m so sorry about your friend. The one who was in the hospital.   He passed away.”  That didn’t make any sense because everyone expected him to get better. 

 

Peter Howe was born in England. He was a former New York Times Magazine and Life magazine Picture Editor, and the author of two books on photography, "Shooting Under Fire" and "Paparazzi." He was also the author of the Waggit’s Tale series, about an abandoned dog and his pack who live in Central Park. 


These two characters were nonstop  fun. Two quick stories to give you an idea:


The three of us went to the Republican Convention in 1980, in Detroit. They were shooting, and I was invited because I was the Director of Security for that year's Democratic Convention in New York.  We hung out the whole time, and entertained each other because the Republican Convention was, you guessed it,  pretty dull.  At one point we went to a reception for Delegates.  The two of them were quite adorable, and the older female delegates couldn’t resist knowing who they were, where they were from. It is unclear how it started, but at one point one delegate asked Olivier a question. Peter jumped in and told her that Olivier's  English wasn’t very good, so we started to do "simultaneous translation."  First the woman asked Olivier a question in English, and Peter (who IS English but also a man of the world) turned to Olivier and repeated the question in English English. Olivier then turned to me and answered the question in English but with a heavy French accent.  I then turned to the woman and answered the question in English. This went on for at least a half hour with other female delegates participating.  Needless to say, we spent the next three days laughing until our stomachs hurt. 


Second story.   Peter called me one evening because he was shooting in Denville, NJ and I was staying with my mom at our old homestead in Boonton, NJ, only twenty minutes away.  The event was a heavy metal rock concert.  Peter explained to me that we needed to wear ear plugs because the venue was small and the concert was going to be really loud.  We put in our plugs and I waited in the rear for him to finish.  As he walked up on the stage I saw he was bending down.  His earplugs fell out and he stepped on them, making it impossible for him do do anything but shoot while his ears bled.  After the concert we went out for a drink, but we were yelling, instead of talking, and the bartender finally asked us to leave. 


1980 Rep. Convention / Detroit

Olivier Rebbot helps Peter Howe up to a photo position, and further merriment

photograph ©2020 David Turnley




These stories do not in anyway due justice to the essence of the these two amazing talented, sensitive, men. For whatever reason photojournalists seem to be exceedingly attractive.  They don’t have to be handsome because they are mysterious.  But these two guys were sexy and cuddly, if thats possible.  The three of us were playful friends.  Always ready to do anything for a laugh, it did not matter the event. Sometimes they were shooting and I was on the other side of the ropes making sure that they would have the picture they wanted to take.  We were pals.  Even though I may not have seen them for months at a time, we always picked up where we left off. 


It has never been easy for me to say goodbye, so I won’t. I will just love them forever wherever they may be.  We're just sayin'... Iris




Sunday, November 22, 2020

A Wedding in the Time of Ickiness

 It is said, by someone somewhere and we will never find out by whom it was said, that everything happens in threes.  It is hard to remember whether it was bad things, or good things that  happen in threes, but I’m going with good things for the purpose of this blob.  Yesterday the last of my three nieces was wed.  They are actually my cousins, but they feel like my nieces so thats how I think  about them.  

Each of the weddings was unique because it is an unusual time with the pandemic still raging. The first of the three was in July.  It was a zoom wedding with only a few people inside the temple and a larger group waiting outside the temple to throw things at the happy couple. We weren’t there but it looked like rice.  How did the tradition to throw like rice begin? We watched it on zoom. Considering most of the guests  were hundreds of miles away, it was quite intimate.  Everyone on zoom felt like they were a part of the happiness.  The bride looked spectacular.



The second wedding was outdoors in a lovely setting overlooking the Hudson River.  There were only a few people at the ceremony, all social distancing. After the ceremony the friends and family, mostly family threw flower petals.  I was not fast enough, but I was determined, so I chased the happy couple around the corner and well into an area where they  were taking pictures.  Did I feel stupid? Never, when it is a joyous event.The food was amazing.  We all sat at small tables  and the wait staff came table to table with the food courses.  The tent, under which we all sat, looked like we were in a house with large windows. It was neat.  The timing was perfect because by the time we were getting cold, the celebration was over.


The third wedding was last night.  The guests were spread out in the Synagogue. The chuppa (a symbolic tent) was gorgeous.  It was covered with flowers and the backdrop was white with pearls.  After the ceremony we didn’t throw anything.  We went to a local chic restaurant, where there was a private room and again small tables to social distance.  Everyone wore masks but since that is a new reality, it was fine.  The meal was endless. First a series of appetizers, next sherbet to clean the palate and finally a delicious entree, steak or halibut.  The bride looked stunning.


These young women are  special. They are cousins and very close.  The wonderful thing is that they all married remarkable men.  At each wedding you could feel the love was enormous and the happiness contagious.  Each wedding in its own way was perfect, and filled me with joy. 


Once we have a vaccine and the pandemic is under control, it will be easier for young people to express their love without having to cut their guest lists to very few people, and covering their faces with pirate-like face coverings, but these kids were determined to get married and celebrate.  We can all learn a lesson from them about persistence and bliss.  We're just sayin'...Iris

Friday, November 20, 2020

Hooking Up With An Old Friend

Among the terrible things about the pandemic is that you have to work very hard to make new memories. Over the course of the last several days, since my birthday, I have reconnected with old friends, colleagues, and former students. It has been amazing. Mostly, it has been amazing to talk about memories that have been forgotten or at least buried somewhere until there is a trigger that causes them to materialize once again.  You may have noticed through my writing that I have been a little blue. It’s over, I have put on my leather looking stretch tights and moved on to a better place.  In a really better place I might have seen my parents, friends and aunts and uncles, but I am not ready for that place.  In addition, it is not like me to mope or feel sorry for myself, not when you have had the kind of life I have had. And it’s not over.


Last night I talked to a brilliant young man with whom i worked USA Networks.  I think it is a better description to say “with whom I worked” instead of "who worked for me."  The young people who worked in PR and Public Affairs with me were so much smarter than me.  Anyway, I sent Matthew to CA because we needed a talented person, and he wanted to go. Its funny how things happen.  The other day someone mentioned the Soup Nazi in NYC.  The people who worked at USA often went to this little soup place a few blocks away, that later became famous in the Seinfeld series.  Along with soup you got bread and often fruit — unless you didn’t move the line along at a lighting swift pace.  The first time Matthew went, he didn’t know about moving swiftly along part.  There was a reason they called him a Nazi.  First he yelled at Matt.  Yes, it was probably embarrassing, but the retribution was more painful. Matthew never ever got bread or fruit after that.  It didn’t matter how fast he moved or how much he ordered.  There was never bread or fruit.


At the sometime I was talking about Matthew, he was reaching out to find me.  And was it fun to remember the silly things we did.  You are probably not going to believe this, but there was a time I was a little outrageous.When I worked at USA, and had to visit our LA offices for the programming we were producing there, I didn’t exactly go to the physical office.  It was much more convenient to stay at the Four Seasons (not the landscaper!)  and have my meetings there.  The staff liked it better as well. My day often started with two scheduled breakfasts, at least two or three lunches, cocktails and dinner.  When i wasn’t eating or drinking, you could find me on location with David Hasselhoff or any of the stars in our shows.  People who work in LA have a totally different mind set than people on the east coast.  


At some point Jack Germond, a political reporter and dear friend was in LA and I asked Matthew to drive him around.  Why he was there was a mystery. Since Jack had my car, I decided to take a bus.  No one in LA takes a bus. I thought it might be colorful. How far could it be from Santa Monica to Venice. It was far, an required a bus change. Needless to say, I got lost,  and had to have one of the LA staff pick me up in the middle of nowhere. (This was before Lyft/Uber!)  We all had a good laugh — I think. 


That job was terrific, and if it hadn’t been for Barry Diller buying USA and firing so many of us, Televison rather the all the other things I did might have been my career.  The memories just keep on coming and I am having a great time. Oh, I wanted to mention that Matthew is involved with a new technology and working with the WWF ThunderDome.  It has so many uses and potential that if someone called me back I would share it.  It’s about putting thousands of people around the globe in seats at a venue.  The Link https://twitter.com/sportel_awards/status/1321170717963100161?s=10

There is also Business Insider piece that explains  the technology

https://www.businessinsider.in/sports/news/the-inside-story-of-the-wwe-thunderdome-a-futuristic-arena-built-for-the-pandemic-which-already-has-130000-fans-waiting-to-get-in/articleshow/78410132.cms


The cool stuff is still coming.  We're just sayin'.. Iris

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sit Down, and SHUT UP

 For all my friends who said such lovely things about me, thank you. Believe me I was not looking for compliments, but it was really nice to read them with the birthday wishes. Again, thank you.  


Today The Monster admitted that Joe Biden won the election but, wait for it, he was not conceding because the election was rigged.  For Christ sake, even the fat guy at Justice said that there was no fraud.  So you know what, it’s time for him to "sit down and shut up."

 


The first time I ever thought about "sit down and shut up" was on a flight to Seattle to see my mom. People were hovering in the aisles, not satisfied about I don’t know what. But they were standing, so the plane could not take off. It was incredibly frustrating, and before I started to meditate and I swear to you I was ready to yell, just 'sit down and shut up.'


Just when you think you are rid of the Monster, he says he didn’t win, but he’s not conceding. In the meantime there are citizens who are armed and ready to defend the nation - from who?  From me for sure, and you, and any reasonable people who believe that the election is over. And if the Monster is not going to go away, he really should just sit down and shut up.


What is there to do. My team is prepared to clean house at all the agencies and departments, but the Transition Team has not answered either phone or text messages.   We are all frustrated by the lack of movement in what we perceive to be the transition but since we don’t know what they are doing, who’s to say. The most interesting thing for me is that I do not know one person on the transition team. Hopefully that means it’s a whole new cast of leaders. It is my hope that they understand how dangerous the Republicans who are now in positions of power - and who I hope will be discovered and made to go away.  One can only do what one can do. But honestly, I thought the Monster had come to terms with his loss.  All we can do is hope he will  - sit down and shut up.  We're just sayin'... Iris

Saturday, November 14, 2020

A Birthday Girls Reflection

 When my mother was in her early eighties I caught her staring  into  the mirror. “What’s up mom”, I asked.  She kept looking at her reflection and finally said, “When I look into the mirror I don’t recognize who I see”.


“What do you mean mom, you look great.”  


“But what I’m seeing is not what I was expecting. I guess I expect to see someone younger and with some pizzazz.”


“For your age, you look terrific.”


“For my age, is the issue.”


To be honest I didn’t really understand, until lately.  When I look in the mirror I don’t recognize who I see either.  Luckily I’m friends with people who I have known forever. Long time friends see you like you were when you were in high school or college. At least they say so.


When I look in the mirror I see a stranger with Clarabelle like blonde hair, many wrinkles and my nose looks big. Was my nose always big. It’s hard to remember. Today for my birthday I did six loads of laundry, raked the leaves, made my bed and cleaned the basement. There is so much paper on my desk it’s hard to remember where it all came from. So tomorrow my plan is to sort all that paper. 


Remember when you were little, and had kids’ birthday parties. We were luckier than most kids ((me and Stevie) even though we were only two weeks apart and we lived together we each had our own party because that was the law. We had the same relatives and the same friends but we always had our own parties.  We probably shared presents, and there was always entertainment (us) usually dancing on the couches.  And we were absolutely adorable. This is no longer the case.  


When I realized I would never be a great beauty that was ok because I had a case of terminal cuteness. When did that go away?  Over the years these things happen. It’s usually subtle, but then one day you look in the mirror and there’s a stranger staring back. Oh, there are remnants of the person that used to be, but not so many.  My wish over the years was to be able to grow old gracefully. I have numerous friends who have been able to do that and I admire their casual attitude about it. Maybe the work I chose over the years required a young person to succeed. Someone with unrelenting energy.  At some point the energy diminishes and things that you used to do simply can’t be done. I can still read papers on another persons desk upside down. It was a learned skill that no one can take away, regardless of age, but my eyesight is not so good anymore.  And I am still quick witted, some would even say funny. Oh yes, I can still come up with wacky ideas, and am willing to participate no matter how wacky.  That is innate and comes with a sense of humor, and a friend who always insisted we think, not only out of the box, but out of the universe. 


So what does this all mean?  Nothing really. Understand that I am not whining. My life has been terrific, many firsts and more seconds. It’s just that without serious face work, I’m never again going to be the cutest kid on the block. Good news is, I don’t need to be, because I am happy, active, meditating and just the person I want to be.  A Democrat with a conscience and a moral core will lead the nation when fatty, fatty 2x4 finally goes out the White House door. My cousin with whom I shared those birthdays said, all that needs to happen is the secret service says “we are out of here.”

How lucky am I, how lucky are we all.  It’s my birthday:  Time to eat a Diary Queen. We’re just sayin’....Iris

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Does This Ever Get to End?

I changed my mind.

He stood out in the rain without an umbrella. He paused to gently touch the wreath he had just put on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  If you didn’t know that it was all for the cameras, kind of like holding a bible, after they cleared and gassed the peaceful protestors, you almost would have thought it was a special moment.  It's the first time he has been out of the White House since he lost the election.  Yes, despite what you may have heard from Republicans and political appointees, he lost the election.  


Have you been waiting for the Monster to come to his senses?  Let us not forget, he has no sense, yet alone senses. We all need to remember that he has been saying that if he lost the election it was because there had to be fraud.  He couldn’t just lose the election because people understood that given the choice between a hollow shell, who knew that the entire nation was in danger from the pandemic, and a human being, who cares about the health of the people and the health of the nation, they would chose the latter. 


The thing that still puzzles me is why would any woman or any minority or any immigrant would vote for someone who didn’t care about their human rights. Maybe its me, but when I worked for the Carters and saw that even when people had something to lose, they would choose human rights over expediency.  The Carters were serious about human rights and human dignity.  Its why he’s the best ex-president ever.  And when Hillary said, "womens' rights are human rights," she meant it, and changed a great many lives.  In the 60’s we marched for every injustice. Whether it was the war, women’s rights, or civil rights, we went out on the street and yelled about it.  How could any woman vote for aperson (that’s the nicest i can be), who talked about women the way he did on that infamous Access Hollywood bus interview. If he’s not a rapist, he certainly took liberties with any number of women over the years.  He has no respect for what he calls ugly women, dirty immigrants, or minorities who are poor. Guess he hates white people who are poor, or anyone who is not in that  2% of people who are really really rich. Remember when is was pro-choice and a Democrat?  Even then he was a fop but not dangerous.  Oh, how things change when a brat realizes he has some power, and all he has to do is lose his moral core.  Not that he ever had one — which does make it easier —but based on the last four years, it appears he never did.


This inability to admit he lost.  That he and his many “monsterettes” are not going to be able to use their power and position for anything other than entertaining one another.  What must it be like to suck the blood of an entire country, and then when you still have blood on your face, deny that you did anything evil.   Guess Ivanka will have to sell her own clothes and jewels without being the daughter of the President.  A few weeks ago I saw one of her Ugly dresses in TJMaxx.

And the lovely husband who always looks like he’s smelling farts will have to go back to knowing nothing without his father-in-law giving him assignments which are clearly beyond his minimal ability.  It will be good not to have to listen to their foolish ranting anymore. 


Now i will have to go to sleep knowing that tomorrow he will fire good people and replace them with dolts and political imcompetents.  We can only hope that he will not sell top secret information to his pal Putin in exchange for a hotel in downtown Moscow.  We're just sayin'...Iris

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Kick Ass - No Prisoners: It's Transition Time

 Let’s pretend that President-elect Biden asked me how should he answer the Monster who is not leaving the White House any time soon.  The Secretary of State said today that there was no need for a transition, because Trump would be staying for another four years. We all know this is crazy town but those of us who were well-versed in crisis communication would tell you that there is something dangerous for all of us by allowing the Monster to craft the narrative.  Which goes something like this:    He won, and they are filing lawsuits, because if he hadn’t won, there wouldn’t be so many people supporting his effort to prove fraudulent voting.  These people are Republican elected officials, political appointees, and people who voted for him.  Should Biden allow the Monster to get away with more lies and false narratives?  


Tonight Biden laughed at Pompeo, the Secretary of State for another 70 days.  The Justice department, I don’t have to tell you.  But the Monster is making very dangerous people  in positions at the Defense Department.  And further, Biden isn’t receiving the kind of international briefings that is usually given to the President-Elect.  That in itself leaves the US exposed to some Despots and Thugs, friends of the administration who have depended on Trump not to make waves or change.  Putin comes to mind, but there are others.  


A few years ago, stop me if I have already told this story, Pamela Harriman called me to find out how she should comment on a supposedly scandalous book that was going to be released about her life.  What I told her was not to comment at all because no matter what she said would be a problem. She took my advice and when asked what she thought about the book, she said,  "no comment," and the book went away,  Would I suggest to Biden that he was playing it exactly the right way by ignoring all the accusations of fraud?  This is a tough one, because it is not in his DNA to be confrontational.  But I don’t think you can allow the Monster to craft the narrative. In addition, People don’t want to think of the President-Elect as a wus.  So he needs to do something.  Maybe not himself, but he has some very strong message people, and surrogates.  The Lincoln Project comes to mind as a  possibility for crafting a Biden narrative, along with some very strong surrogates, like Obama and the Leaders of the Black churches and organizations.  


This is not a matter of ignoring - this is a matter of laughing at the Monster.  He hates to be ridiculed almost more than anything else.  He is a fool, and that needs to be made clear to the American public. The rest of the world already knows it.  Why is he not conceding?   We know he hates to lose but there has to be something else.  It’s all about the money.  He is raising money for PACs, for his new Party, for his new movement.  Since he never released his taxes, we have no idea if he has any private funds. My guess is he does not, and this intentional delay in conceding is because he needs the money, and really, there is no better platform than the White House to make a financial pitch.  Let us not forget the man has no moral core, so this is a perfect scam, much like Trump University. (A deep dive on their new "Fund Raising to Fight Fraud" money operation makes it clear that almost none of that money goes to the Fraud Fight, it's going to Trump bill paying.) 


Biden should keep doing what he’s doing, but the people who are communication experts should not let this pass.  We need to take back the narrative, and craft a message that makes all these Republican yahoos look like the idiots they are.  In one of my last blobs I disagreed with Vice President Biden, and said that the opposition is the enemy and it’s time for us to, as I said before, kick ass and take no prisoners.  We won:  we don’t need to be nice, its a waste of time.  We're just sayin'....Iris

Monday, November 09, 2020

Post Op Post Op

 Update:   the Monster is still saying he won, and he won bigly. There apparently is no length to which he will go not to lose. Most  people would be embarrassed about this idiocy but not the Monster or all his little monsters and monsterettes.  Moving on, please.


Joe Biden said he will sign executive orders that put an end to a ban on Muslim countries, he will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, and the World Health organization and so the dreamers do not have to leave this country.  I’m sure there will be more because the maniac doesn’t understand the the majority of people in this country don’t like what he’s done for the last four years.  Is that all it was?  It seems like a decade.  Joe Biden will try to heal the country.  He will make wearing a mask patriotic. Wow.


Here's what is extraordinary about the campaign, and it may or may not be true.  Biden and the woman who was his campaign manager were never together. There was no war room, like there was in the past.  For political hacks like myself, this is unbelievable. Who ever heard of this kind of campaign leadership? I am truly in awe.  Maybe they will realize they need me to clean house and after I do I will take my mop and bucket and retire to Florida.  Trump has no interest in healing, his tweets go on and on ad nauseum.  Saying he has lost perspective is like saying  the moon will never come out again, and the sun won’t shine.  His actions are unbelievable.   He has regressed to being four years old and his parents won’t let him burn the house down.  Let's all go outside, once the tropical storm ends, and scream “the monster is a lunatic” maybe  we can get some electronic megaphones and do it right in front of his house in Florida.  Really, How could anyone have voted for this monster?  And I mean that in the most affable way. It has never been my role to be nice.


On more interesting:   We are having a tropical storm here.  Its a little scary.  The winds are high but not 70 miles an hour so its not a Hurricane, but it is not fun. And we will probably lose electricity. Its flickering.  I finally found candles.  It was harder to find matches.  But I was lucky to find Yartzeit candles and they burn for 24 hours.  There was a slight earthquake in New England and that probably wasn't fun either. On a sadder note, Alex Trebek died today.   In the last few years he lightened up and seemed to develop a better sense of humor, but he was always entertaining.  Can anyone take his place? No, but some say George Stephanopolis, is a possibility.  That would probably work since no one can replace him.


And speaking of tragedy this certainly has been a tragic year, what with the pandemic, the Monster and his election behavior, and Sean Connery has died.  And most tragic of all, we’re in the midst of a tropical storm which means Tyrone cant go out. We did go out this morning but he was quite disconcerted and couldn’t figure out why he was standing in the rain.


Anyway, if the storm ends I’m on my way north on Thursday. There is a wedding I’m so looking forward to,  and a colonoscopy, not so much.  The travel is a little tedious but if you want to go from one place to another thats what you have to do.   We're just sayin'...Iris

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Saturday, November 07, 2020

And The Winnnnnah.....

When I heard that Joe Biden won the election, I took a deep breath and thought about the dreamers, the children in cages, my gay friends, all the women who have suffered humiliation at the hands of the monster, health care,  the millenials who voted, and my children and grandchildren.  It is possible that their lives won’t be impacted by all the monsters.  


It’s funny to be in a place where I have no people to celebrate with and even if there were there is a pandemic out there waiting to put a knee on my throat.  On my way home from tap  I passed a large group of Biden people holding signs  and celebrating to victory.  Today there were no Trump thugs there to push them around. Unfortunately, there  is also a storm which will put a damper on the celebration in the next few hours. At least its putting a damper on Tyrones afternoon walk.

Maybe I’ll go back to that corner and  stand with them again, It depends on how hard the rain is falling and the wind is blowing.   When we won an election in past years, nothing stopped me, but in those days my work was from a desk and reasonable stress. This time my work was in the field confronted by thugs, and the level of stress has made me tired. Celebration is possible whether Im in the street or watching it all over the country.  The main Monster says the election is not over and he won big.  What more do you need to know about the moron.

The storm outside is getting worse, Tyrone didn’t even want to go out but he did and now he gets to be in.  The best thing about the celebrations is that people are gathering as if every corner is their community. And in fact it could be. The pride the young people are feeling is much like the Obama victory.  They voted and they have taken the victory as a personal victory, a referendum on justice and civil liberty.  They should be proud. On a personal note,  Jordan and David are driving across the country. Jordan said if Joe wins  she will take off her top and dance in the street. Thank god she found out while they were in a gas station. 

This is the anniversary of women getting the right to vote. How proud are we all that Mamala will be the Vice President?  Very?  I wish my mother and my aunts were alive to see this.  It is a very fine thing.  We're just sayin'....Iris

Friday, November 06, 2020

Election + 3: A Kibitka in Waiting

 Yesterday  I got out of bed and had a kibitka. You remember that word from previous blobs. If you don’t, it means a small horse-drwn Russian wagon but it is much more effective when you use it to mean a miraculous recovery. Depending on they way you use it, I either had a small red wagon or a miraculous recovery.  People have been asking me how my mental and physical health is.  So I wanted you to know it is close to fine.

Anyway,  yesterday this enormous corner popped up in front of me and I went around it.  Around the corner on my tricycle. It’s an adult trike, but would be funnier if it were kids size.  The weather is beautiful and nothing clears my head like a bike ride or my meditation meeting.  The television remains off. It is my intention to watch it after the weekend. I simply cannot listen to the monster claiming victory over and over and over.  The other thing that caused my kibitka was that I realized my favorite Sirius XM station, Yacht rock, plays only four songs. It doesn’t matter to me because I love all four of them.  The Love channel was my favorite until it became the Billy Joel station.  Much as I like  Billy, it isn’t the same. Love is Love and Billy, who knows?  The 60s and 70’s channels are also good but they never play my favorite tune which is “Need You” by Donnie Owens.  He only had that one hit and then he died. 


Durning the election cycle I wrote this letter to the editor for my candidate, who I really liked and respected. She is smart, with endless energy. They had terrible commercials, no money and ran without the support of the DCCC—because they are idiots.  It’s an OK piece but since it wasn’t published anywhere I still wanted to share it, so here it is:


“What happened to civility in American politics. There have always been negative campaign ads but there was always a sense of decency and when the campaigns ended you worked with your opponent to “make America great again”—which it already is. You rightly endorsed Pam Keith, which makes sense given our opponent. . Oh on paper he looks OK.  But the truth is he’s just another Trumper without a moral core.  He says Pam is a radical, and portrays her in that light.  Remember, you can now edit any tape the way you want to.  Brian (the opponent)  thinks its fine to separate children from their parents, to vote against a woman’s right to choose, and no more same sex marriages. He thinks global warming doesn’t exist. He never votes for money that supports veterans. He  lies about Pam raising taxes, and supporting education and a healthy environment.  If all this and Pam’s  concern for human rights are radical than most right thinking people I know are also radical.  Brian should be ashamed of the mean spirited lying ads.  It’s time to Make America Kind and Truthful Again.

Iris Burnett

Author, “So You Think You Can Be President”


OK I lied.  The television has been on since 6pm. We lost power at about 3 so it would have been impossible to watch or listen to anything. When the modem is out we are without the ability to communicate. In fact, I wanted to call Florida Power and Light to find out what the problem was and when would the electricity be on, but it was impossible to find a number without Google.  I called  David who is driving across the country with Jordan and they had to find the number for me.  Maybe that’s why people have land lines.  Where are we going from here? It is likely Joey B will be President. And will have a kinder nation.  The Trump antics will only get worse.  Maybe they should build their own White House somewhere they like him. Russia or Saudi Arabia come to mind.  We're just sayin'... Iris

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Enough With the Monster's Thugs, Awready!

 The election may not be over and Joe Biden may actually be the President — at some point.  Of course we will have to suffer the Monster having a tantrum, and suing everyone involved in politics for fraudulent counting tactics.   He so wants the Supreme Court to decide this election.  Maybe he’ll figure out a way to do that.  It matters, but right now, not to me.  I remain deeply disturbed by the number of people who marked their ballots for that Monster.  I know some of those people, turns out they are my friends and family. They are not the thugs who harassed me in Jupiter… the people whose behavior mirrors the Monster’s. When I ask people who I know why they would vote for Trump, almost without exception they say they 'like the things he did.'  The support for Israel is attractive to Jews - and Evangelicals.  I get that, It is an international city with religious history for  Muslims, Christians and Jews, The Embassy thing was just an in-your-face which will  always be a detractor for peace in the Middle East  (Hello, Jared? Peace plan?).  

So, what did he do other than eliminate regulations for clean air and water.  If you read my other blobs you will find the list of things the Monster did to undermine our civil liberties, health and the economy. He hates the people we love. He signed a great many executive orders, but that means he couldn’t get anything he wanted to do through the Congress.  I would like someone to explain the positive things he did to make this a better country.  Oh yes, he gave his big fat monster children (in this case fat has nothing to do with weight) all kinds of goodies, which were paid for by the American taxpayer.  Jordan says that Jared always looks like he’s smelling farts.  Now try to look at him without laughing.  


Joe Biden gave a good speech yesterday.  He will be the President for everyone, even the people who did not vote for him.  He said the people who didn’t vote for him are not the enemy.  He is wrong.  Many of them are the enemy.  The thugs, who are certainly part of the Republican Monster constituency, are the enemy.  They are the people who surrounded the Biden staff bus and terrorized the riders.  If I had been on the bus I would have stopped the bus in the middle of the highway, and called the police.  During the Carter campaign we had a bus lodged in the cement overhang of a Holiday Inn. What do you do when there is a bus issue — let the air out of the tires. And that’s what pulling the bus over and calling the police would have done— let the air out of their tires.  Hopefully that makes some sense, but too bad if it doesn’t.  Back to the enemies. The problem with Democrats has always been that they want everyone to like them.  GET OVER IT!  We do not have to be lovable.  We have to kick some ass and as they say, take no prisoners.  If only it were just the people on the street. That would be horrible of course. But they are also thugs for whom we voted.


Obama was a neighborhood organizer, he had to have people like him. But as President he tried to be nice.  He never filled judges seats with our people. Trump and the Republicans did that.  He didn’t clean house in the government, and fire the political appointed positions available to him, so his government for years had Republican appointees making policy decisions.  If Biden wins, I want to be the “cleaner upper” who goes in and  fires all the Republican appointees before they have a chance to burrow, and change their status from political to civil servant.  As you might have guessed these people are not civil by any definition.  Remember when the Monster said he was going to drain the swamp? That didn’t happen. He just appointed more and more monsters into the swamp.  


Now what?  Yesterday I couldn’t get out of bed for so many reasons. Making America Kind Again is not an option right now. Kind got lost between the thugs screaming outside the polls, and the lawyers who are suing to deny you your vote, and accusing the government counters of fraud.  The Monster needs a new script.  The big fat children need to start packing, and Melania made her deal with the Monster, not the American people. If she’s going to have her face repaired again she should do it before they have to pay for a medical procedure out of pocket, not with government insurance.  I’m just sick of all these people, all these thugs.   We're just sayin'...Iris

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Election Day 2020 - Florida Edition

The polls were eerily quiet yesterday.  After visiting five sites, where there were no people, the decision to go to Dairy Queen for an overly sweet caloric treat (and a pup cup), was easy.  It didn’t stop there. It seems consuming one ice cream was not enough. During the day I ate three bags of M&M’s, one bag of yogurt covered almonds (that was the healthiest thing put in my mouth), too much cucumber vodka with soda, celery with peanut butter and burrata, oh and another ice cream bar covered in chocolate.  There is nothing more to be said about the election except it is clear we live in an alternate reality. One where we are surrounded by people who think it is wrong to take health care away from people during a health crisis.  Where people with a moral compass are out of style, where women, children, and minorities, belong on the periphery of what is fair,  where  the rest of the world doesn’t count. Where civil rights and dignity were a phase in the 60’s, clean air and water, and climate change, were a dream we might have had a long time ago.  Thuggish behavior is preferable to kindness. People clearly want a President who is a reality TV phenomenon. Who are these people? Is there more?  Probably but thinking about it is too painful.  


It wasn’t a blow out.  The pollsters were wrong again.  The amount of money spent on campaigns doesn’t matter. What is 'right' and what is 'wrong' need new definition.  i still do not understand, given all the lies, how this guy could win. All I can say is If you are an immigrant, you better watch out!  I still wonder, what does "make America great again" really mean?  We're just sayin' ... Iris


Sunday, November 01, 2020

Election Day Minus Two

Let’s play catch-up, since I have been missing for a day.  It’s hard to keep track of the time because all the last few days seem the same.  Three days ago when I accidentally met Sasha, the field director for Pam Keith, it just felt right to be working for the Congressional campaign instead of the big picture.  The Presidential campaign  is like most big picture operations, everyone is vying for position.  This is no longer what I dream about when deciding what is the best use of my time. Besides, Pam is the real deal.  If I had wanted to be a candidate, which I did not, I would have been like Pam:  sincere, committed with endless energy, and centered.  She knows exactly who she is.  Enough about the candidate, this is about me—as is usually the case.


Anyway, when I met Sasha, it felt absolutely right.  They are a small understaffed campaign where the determination far outweighs the experience.  Two days ago we were supposed to meet with the owner of a Haitian restaurant, and then walk through the neighborhood with literature.  Kind of "meet the candidate and get excited" stuff.  When the owner did not show up we decided to walk around the neighborhood.  There were a few Biden signs but mostly people were not at home.  Suddenly, (wow where did that come from),  Mary Hanley was standing beside me in our Philadelphia office and it was 1976— no phones and no computers. The Udall campaign was always out of money.  But, we were in Philly with lots of press people looking for us to produce an event. After lengthy discussion and Tully screaming we were idiots (there was a lot of that), we decided to give all the media a subway ticket and we would visit a neighborhood where the tenants were forewarned to be excited about the candidate. It would all culminate at a rally.  Our rallies usually looked like the pandemic with about 25 people,  It was the middle of summer and would have been fine except we took the wrong subway,  arrived in the wrong neighborhood, where no one had ever heard of Morris K. Udall. In addition, because it was the wrong  neighborhood, the advance guy was not there, and there was no rally.   We had no idea where we were.


Not to be defeated, Mary and I “sprung” into action.  One of us stayed with Mo, and Shirley Chisholm, while the other ran in front knocking on doors to announce Mo’s imminent arrival.  It was hot and everyone was tired.  We knew o one would be  willing to get back on the subway. Then like a Christmas Miracle (too much Hallmark Channel), we happened on an outdoor church service.  Mo was instructed by one of us to get up on the stage, thank everyone for coming and do his charming campaign pitch.  As we were bemoaning the disaster we spotted a church bus close to the rally site.  I gingerly approached the bus driver and told him that the Reverend suggested he take all of us back to the hotel, and then return for the Congregation. They are probably still laughing about it today— we are.


Yesterday, i went to several black churches to pass out literature.  Turns out because there is a second pandemic wave, church services have been cancelled.  Today, I am going to Walmart to pass out literature.  Walmart is never cancelled!  Tomorrow the polls are closed, no idea why, and Tuesday I'll be at the polls in Jupiter.  We remain hopeful and committed.   Later in the day I’m zooming with my Emerson polling friends to get some numbers, which we know are never right.  But at least for the next few days, I will think we are about to make America Kind Again.  We're just sayin'....Iris

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Campaign TwentyTwenty - "Vote Them Out"

This morning I went to the polling site at the Palm Beach Gardens library.  Almost before I got out of the car I was approached by an old poll worker who asked me if I had been soliciting people in line.  He said he had been told that a woman in an orange t-shirt was soliciting the voters.  He must have been talking about me, because my t-shirt was orange and it said “Vote Them Out.”  It is a terrific shirt created by the kids at  Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school after 17 friends and teachers were shot and killed.  The amazing kids who immediately became advocates for gun control and rallied thousands of people across the country to support their efforts. Having been a “go out on the street and scream about injustice” kind of girl, it has enormous significance to me.  

What exactly is the definition of Soliciting?  In Florida , during an election it means distributing information to voters.  How foolish was I to think that the materials were "educational."  A guide to the candidates who are running for offices such as assembly people, sheriffs and judges.  And on the card is a rundown on the amendments, which no one ever understands.  It seems  handing out the guides was a violation of Election Rules.  

“Sir”, I said, “if I was soliciting, it probably wouldn’t be at the polls. It would be in an upscale bar during happy hour.”  He didn’t think that was funny, and I did not think his  question was appropriate.  In Presidential  politics you have to maintain a sense of humor or the stress and frustration will kill you.  This guy was older than dirt and obviously  didn’t have to travel to far to be on his way to a better place.  Does that make any sense? Probably not.

I wondered if it was this way in Jupiter, where the verbal abuse was plentiful yesterday.  I thought I better find out.  I took a box of donuts and drove over to that site.  It was the same thing. A distance of 200 feet from the voters or you would be in violation of the voting regulations.  What to do next.  Well, I think I mentioned the Trump thugs at the flag waving event looking for confrontation.  The best use of my time was to figure out how to avoid that situation again.  Needless to say, it is never easy to identify the person most likely and most able to help to do anything about it.  It was time consuming to call everyone at any agency, who might be able to act with authority.  By the time  I arrived at Military Trail & PGA the police had set up barriers to keep the unmasked thugs away from the Biden/Pam Keith diligent clear-thinking folk.

Pam Keith is a  stellar, smart charismatic person whose political issues are close to my heart.  Of course, the opposition, a guy who, when asked how he thought the President was handling  the pandemic, said that if he were grading Trump he would give him an A. So would I, but the A in my case would be for being a great big Asswipe.  Is that unkind?  Well I said it in the kindest way I could. Which  is certainly not what I mean when I say make America Kind again.  

Did I mention that Pam’s dad is a friend from days of yore at USIA and Meridian House International. Maybe I did, but it is so much fun to think about it that I simply can’t stop saying it.  It is only 5 days away from the 3rd.  There is limited time to do anything but GOTV. (Get out the vote) for those of you who weren’t listening or reading the previous posts.  With the pandemic raging again, most of the work we are able to do is on the phone or computer.  There is no time to mail a ballot so it is a last effort to get people to actually get up, take themselves to the polls, and Vote.  Remember, This year you are voting sanity and truth, and to Make America Kind again.   We're just sayin'.... Iris

Monday, October 26, 2020

Another Day With Your Resident Commie Bastard

 What happened today made me smile, despite the angry Trump people. You might not understand what happened, unless you played "Dictionary" with us in years gone by.  I had a 'kibitka.' In actuality a kibitka is an old horse-drawn Russian wagon, but our definition - my game-winning definition was that a kibitka is a 'miraculous recovery.'  So today I had one.  It can also mean a revelation, and that’s the kind I had.  

 

There I was, working at the polls in Jupiter, Florida, an upscale conservative community where house special Brussel Sprouts are the norm.  Some of the people lined up to vote were fine. But some were incredibly abusive.  They were screaming at me about how I was a baby killer. Others were so angry they screamed that I was a fucking Commie.  That’s what people called Communists in the 50’s, and if you can believe it, it was down hill from there. Oh, they also called me a Socialist. One guy was yelling about how the Biden people were hitting Jews in New York with clubs.  The urge to respond was too great so I said, “They probably deserved it.”  What else was there to say? Maybe, “What kind of bats did they use?”   When I thought about it,  I was saddened by their anger. It was not all about Biden. They are angry and hostile all the time: imagine having to live with yourself being that horrible 24/7, or spend your life with someone else who is.


Moving on, since I have been meditating, when I was ready to leave I got into my car and took three deep breaths, felt calm and came home. One of the best things to happen was that while I was pursuing the candidate's website,  just to learn about her background, I learned that her dad was Kenton Keith. He was an old pal of mine when I worked at USIA and Meridian House International. This is an organization that worked with the international exchange angels, students and organizations.  I think both Pam (the Cong. candidate)  and certainly Kenton, would get a kick out of that.  Like most campaigns, you can not have a conversation with the Candidate, no one wants to help get anyone to do anything.  All these tools. All these phones, routers, keyboards, peel-apart stickers, electric nail guns.  And so little use of them.  So I guess I will have to figure that out.  


Tomorrow will be better because I will be absent from the polls. That means more phone work and writing.   The break will be welcome.  It has been raining here for days. Everyone says we need the rain. Not me, I like the sun. People are asking me if I think we are going to win in Florida. Who knows?   I am in Jupiter, which is very Republican.  There must be areas where there are Democrats because the word is that it is possible for us to win here, which I hope is true because it’s the only way to make America Kind again. 


For more look at www.blogspot.werejustsayin.com

We're just sayin,'   ... Iris