Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Adieu Senator McCain

This may come as a surprise to many people but there are smart, savvy, clear thinking cool people who love the Hallmark cable TV channel... the movies, the series, GoldenGirls, Murder She Wrote. The acting is usually mediocre, with a few exceptions... like when a well known celebrity is past their prime but can get a laugh or a cry.  Actors are usually the same regardless of plot but they seem to enjoy being adaptable. And the female actors, while a little stiff are usually attractive in that inoffensive way.  But the male actors are simply geeks. Usually I think, “where did they get that guy? Why would anyone fall for him? And does the heroine really have to kiss him?” Yech! The plots are always similar if not exactly the same. It makes me happy that all these plain people can make a lucrative living.  

If there are all these problems, then why watch it and further, love it?  Before I answer, a confession is in order.  On the list of favorite networks is TLC, home of Say Yes to the Dress, and ‘My 600 Pound Life.”  There is also Turner movie channel (TCM), which has great uninterrupted old films.  MeTV is another 24/7 possibility. Columbo, Perry Mason, Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, the list just goes on and on.  And everything can be taped for perusal in the middle of the night when reality rears it’s too ugly head and prevents a peaceful sleep.

Back to the answer of why watch?  Because it’s mindless pure entertainment. You do not have to think about the chaos in real life. There is no Donald Trump with all his lies and no moral core.  There are no issues like immigration, loss of choice, corruption,  lies from elected officials or destitute veterans not able to feed themselves or living on the streets.  Then there’s Trump’s breathtaking lack of respect — we’ll get back to that as well.

Senator John McCain died on Saturday.  He was an extraordinary politician, war hero, role model and “mensch.”  Whether or not you agreed with him on issues, you had to agree that he was a person of character.  He thought that he had a responsibility to do the best he could for his constituency and for the good of the country.  He knew the meaning of friendship and he knew friendship had nothing to do with politics.  When Morris K Udall, (the Democrat Senator, who was also principled and ran for President in 1976),  was suffering from dementia and spending his last few years in a Veteran’s facility, John McCain visited him every week.  They disagreed on issues but connected by a friendship based on character and respect for one another’s views, no matter how diverse. The flag on the White House flew at half mast for only one day.  A statement was issued after a few days, but somewhere in there Trump, reiterated his obnoxious statement about how McCain was not a hero because he liked heroes who “weren’t captured.”  Like he would even know what a hero was.

Speaking of “Respect”, Aretha Franklin also died this weekend. In case you didn’t know, Donald Trump says he played a critical role in her success. (“I hired her….”)   We also lost Neil Simon,  and Robin Leach, who created “Lives of the Rich and Famous”.  As he drank champagne and ate caviar he remarked that someone had to do it.  Trump credited himself with helping them along the road to stardom.

Wouldn’t it be grand if our politicians returned to an age of civility? Wouldn’t it be sensational that they cared more about the country than themselves and their own private agendas. Wouldn’t it be terrific if they all took a lesson from Senator McCain and were simply nice to one another regardless of party? One can only dream.  We’re just sayin’…. Iris

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Omarosa - Her Name Says It All

Blah blah blah. That is all the news has been for the last two days. “Can you guarantee me that the President has not and will never say the N word??”  WTF? That is what is known in the media as a gotcha question. But it doesn’t move the conversation forward.  Let me take you back a few years when Omarosa described herself on “The Apprentice” as having worked in the Clinton White House, as did so many friends. No one had ever heard her name.  She must have wired in correspondence or as a volunteer, we all thought. When the program became unbearably negative, some of us stopped watching.  Omarosa eventually got fired but even then she didn’t go quietly. When she turned up in the Trump campaign followed by a senior position in the White House, I suggested to  David that she must be writing a book.  Working at the highest level of government was a privilege.  

Let me take to my experience in political campaigns and the White House.  Loyalty was always a premium. You were given access to information because you were a trusted staffer.  The President, or the President’s Chief of staff, hired you and expected that you would not violate a confidence.  When George Stephanopolous wrote his book, (which didn’t say much), I thought it was disgusting. Something you just didn’t do. Working at the highest level of government was a privilege, not a stepping stone.  

Despite being a Baptist minister it seems she does not have much of moral core, so her behavior was not shocking, only predictable. And what I predicted long ago was that there must be an alternate motive. What would that motive have been? A continued affair perhaps? Money? Or she was writing a book. No one should be surprised. When Kelly fired her and she asked him to explain his reasons, he didn’t need to. As a political appointment, you serve at “The Pleasure  of the President”. Which means no one has to tell you anything— you just go.

Omarosa is smart and articulate. She has no sense of loyalty or what is right.  Why should she. She works in a place with people who have no sense of decency, Bad enough right? More outrageous is that our elected officials see no need to be civil to one another.  No wonder the government doesn’t work. It’s simple Communications 101. In order to make progress you have to find common ground and in order to find common round you have to listen and you have to hear what the other person, your opponent/now enemy says.  Capital Hill and government in general, doesn’t want to listen or hear.  They are not operating in the best interest of the people, their constituencies,  nor do they have guts. They operate in an world where fear is more important than truth. Where right is not as important as their reelection and lying if that gets them where they want to be.

Omarosa must have read some Machiavelli. She understands that in the world of politics in which she operates, the end justifies the means.  Isn’t it ironic that a black woman, the only senior political woman on his staff — forbboth of which (woman and black) the President has no use, may be the person who can bring down an amoral, unethical, immoral political administration. Trump says she begged to work in the White House, so he hired her. Talk about the end justifies the means. Or he who laughs last, laughs best.
We’re just sayin....Iris

Sunday, August 12, 2018

With the Sweet there is always the Bitter…..

Last night was Jim Kiick’s 72nd birthday. There was an article about it in the “Miami Herald” which deserved to be shared. Not only because Ms Burnett plays a prominent part but because it is fun and it is delightful and for me, bittersweet. (If any of you have today’s Miami Herald in hard copy — August 1 0— I would love to have it.)  But here it is:

The beginning is always the place to start. 1960 — first year in high school. It was a little ominous, even frightening, but I thought it had tremendous potential for fun. And was that right, you bet.  Boonton High School was terrific especially if you were cute and the Principal was your next door neighbor.  And if you had a study hall before and after lunch, which gave me about 2 hours to leave school, go to my house, have tuna sandwiches and watch soap operas— with my closest friends, Pam and Joyce. It was a whole two blocks so we had to drive Ronnie’s Edsel.   (It was an Edsel, do I need to say more?) Every day something terrible would happen to the car, like the door would fall off and we would carry it into the lunchroom. No shortage of laughs.

There were so many memories to share. Like weekends a few of us would go to West Point and join Cadets for a dance. We stayed at the Thayer Hotel but we were outrageous, and at some point the cadets we knew, who we're equally crazy, put me in a laundry bag and took me in to the dorm. We also broke into the matron’s office just to have a look.  About 12 years ago, I found my date for most of these dances, Marshall Schwartz, who is now a successful businessman and he remembers nothing.  Idiot — but moving on, it was a wonderful time to be dating and happy.  However, the love of my high school life decided to punish me for going out with other guys, mostly older (high school Juniors).

And so sometime sophomore year when I noticed him, he was already angry at me.  It was not a deterrent to my social life. But he was cute and unavoidable. We had  the same classes. Our romance was inevitable but not without some suffering.  We went “out” with all our pals, that’s just the way we did it.  He and the guys ( you know who you are)  would come to my house late at nite, knock on the windows and yell about their love for all the girls inside — we never had a shortage of the girls inside or a shortage of love.

Just thinking about those days  makes me smile and makes me tear up.

Moving on, time passed. We all stayed connected in some way and then the losses began. For whatever reason, you know your parents will die, and other family members, maybe because they already have. But as kids you don’t dwell on the sadness of losing friends.  David Levine died in a car in an ice storm when we were 14.   That was horrible, and we all felt awful in the way children do.   Even now, although admittedly it’s seldom, I will stop by at his grave. It still seems surreal.  But the older you get the imminence of the losses seems to get closer.  Jeff, Steve, Penn, Ronnie and Dallas,  were certainly, ‘there but for God go I.’  When they got unexpectedly sick the  announcement of their illnesses was frightening and then they died. “Friends like that don’t die”, but they did.  The loss of them will be painful forever, but we know that unfortunately  there are more to come. Knowing doesn’t make it easier.

It’s not all tragic because we are still breathing with more good times to come.  In fact, because we know, we are less likely to take those friendships for granted.  Maybe we’re even a little kinder than we might have been had we suffered no losses. Do most people in their “fourth quarter”  still have friends from nursery school, high school or even college?  It is a blessing to have so many people who I love still in my life.  Yet, maybe they are not moving so quickly or maybe they have pains they never had before, but you still have them to share memories, laughs, family nonsense and hopes for what is still to be.  Unless you don’t have the ability to remember.  Such is the case with my pal Jim.  His memories are dimming — and from what I understand, by this time next year, he will not remember his high school friends.  BOOM! Just like that, at his 72 birthday party, it hit me.  He won’t remember his Boonton friends, he won’t remember  he didn’t take me to the prom. He won’t remember there was a prom.  So last night I got lost in the high school memories, with a few of my high school friends. Last night I got lost in my emotions and maybe I, like all the rest of them, drank too much. And last night, while he could still remember,  I said my final goodbye to Jim. I’ll see him again when I’m in Florida, but the long term memories will go the way of the short term memories, and we’ll have to find  different things to talk about.  It simply won’t be because sometimes a goodbye just won't wait.  We're just sayin'...  Iris