...because sometimes when you are at a crossroads, you have to just get up and dance. Preferably at a train station with some cool music and really talented people nearby. I've got some other things going on for a few days, so shake loose with this number from one of my favorite Bollywood movies.
 
 
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There were moments early on in the Wills and Kate emesis drama when I thought it foolish, wrong, and just plain stupid for a nurse to have given out information over the telephone. 

I mean, really, who thinks that Elizabeth Regina herself dials a main number and asks to be put through? Who really thinks that the monarch needs an anonymous hourly wager to divulge info that's probably already been written up in a top secret report overnight?

My money was on the nurse being fired, given the patient and all. Except that I know from experience that reporters do get put through to nursing supervisors all the time, and that person can and does give out a statement to reporters. Those are usually along the lines of "critical but stable." No details, no soft cuddly tones. Still....

But now, the game has changed. The nurse in this case is dead, which reminds me to reignite the ire I originally felt, but sort of left behind, for the buffoons Down Under who instigated this hoax from the get-go.

I think I can guess what season it is down there. And I can only imagine what time it was when this news became public. But I do hope that someone woke up those two fools and said, "You're finished."

Seriously, if they were surprised at being put through - and yes, it was an egregious error - then what did they plan on happening? An on-air hang-up? A moment to giggle and pretend to be embarrassed? Instead, they got a rundown of Kate's In's and Out's.

Is nothing sacred anymore? Is it not possible to just leave people alone? Must we humiliate and degrade everyone? This is why I don't watch commercial television. I have zero desire to see people who can't sing (or dance) humiliate themselves any more than I want to watch lions eat gladiators alive.

So here's my message for the universe:  I don't want to see your tongue, your underwear, your armpits, or your hoo-hah. I don't want to hear about your marriage, your therapist, your binges, or your surgery. Nor do I want to look at your wealth, your sulking children, or your stupid spouse.

I'm done (and I don't even watch this crap, so you can imagine how I'd feel if I actually did.) I vote for returning to the days when everyone did it, and no one talked about it. I enjoy the hint of something, rather than the full monty.

And that circles me back to this poor nurse. Unknowingly, she was made the butt of a world joke. She was no doubt wounded and humiliated. And for what purpose? So that we could all know that Kate was retching more or less than the day before? What have we come to?

Talk me down people. 

 
 
As the mother of a sax player, I can tell you that this piece, in all its forms, always gives me goosebumps: to watch my son play it as a young boy. To hear the master play it here. Brubeck's life sounded lovely. The gifts he gave us surely were. From California-born East Bay boy to Manhattan hepcat. Gentleman to the end. Enjoy
 
 
I've been on a real roll. As you all know, I lurrrvvved Skyfall, which I saw en famille to celebrate turning, um, 42. I then played hooky with a loved one and saw the last matinee of A Royal Affair, which we loved. Followed only a few days later by Anna Karenina, which I saw with my movie gal pal, Mary. 
I am a woman of simple pleasures. Give me a bucket 'o popcorn, a Coke, and a roomy seat, and I'm good to go. Throw in corsets, big diamonds, British accents or foreign languages, and I'm in heaven. For those of you who haven't seen AK, don't be dismayed by the miserable reviews. Mary and I thoroughly enjoyed this odd take on Tolstoy's tale. And the added treat is that the actress who plays Kitty also stars as the Danish Queen in RA. Her lover is also played by the actor who was Le Chifre in a previous Bond film. But I'll need a diagram if I keep going.

V-A, thank you again for your wonderful and meaningful review in our last post. Now, let me know if you've seen any of these. And if you fancy a good bodice ripper as much as I do (Kate and William aside!)
 
 
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Since the election we’ve heard a lot about The End of White Men. I have to admit, it would be something of a solution. I’m pretty tired of their shenanigans.

Which is why I had to be made to see the new James Bond movie by my White Man husband. I really wasn’t in the mood for all that sex, booze, and winning-at-all-costs stuff.

But those Brits are a crafty lot. SKYFALL is a subtle, thoughtful film. Yes, there are chase scenes and breasty women, but the writers and director have done what great British writers (including Ian Fleming, Bond’s creator) have always done. They’ve given us entertainment infused with brilliant social satire.

This savage age of ours has taken a toll on 007. Underneath the impeccable Tom Ford suit, the great White Man is tattered. His torso is covered with old scars. He’s no mental or physical match for younger colleagues. His official departmental obituary makes his life seem insignificant. The women willing to sleep with him seem fewer and a bit desperate.

Things that used to work, don’t. But like a true hero, Bond digs deep into the dusty recesses of his character. There he finds the simple, basic tools he needs. He also recovers some traditional masculine virtues like loyalty, honor, integrity, and the will to defend and protect those who are weaker, less fortunate, or just plain dependent on him to do the right thing. When asked if he has a hobby, Bond pauses then answers “Resurrection.” To the film’s credit, this one word has a million different meanings and not just for Bond, but for us, too.

Maybe it is The End of White Men. Or maybe they’re just long overdue for an evolutionary niptuck. Maybe it’s time to reach deep. Wise up. Grow up. Get real. Like the veganized Bill Clinton or the new bi-partisan Chris Christie.

I say, buck up, White Men. And let our dear James show you the way. 



 
 
And so begins my birthday "week." As I take days to contemplate my life, and days to eat (I hope someone remembers to buy one) chocolate cake, gratitude will be my primary goal. I will try to focus on gratitude for what I have, rather than what I don't. Gratitude for who I am, rather than dissatisfaction with who I am not. Gratitude for those in my life, rather than yearning for those who aren't. I strive daily to be mindful and in the moment. To focus on my food before inhaling it. To say "love you" before I dash out the door. Alas, I falter a lot in the process. How about you?

Open this video to full screen and contemplate the message. And feel free to commune here. Wishing you all a wonderful and mindful Thanksgiving week.
 
 
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Lord, I love a good scandal. I love the juicy bits of news and misinformation almost as much as I love deep dish pizza. I like it even better when it's people I either don't know or don't like much.

In this case - and no, you may not ask me which case - the hits keep on happening.

The drivers license of the most sought after woman in the country is found in a park in D.C. You mean Paula Broadwell was running right under the media's noses? 

And the woman from Tampa! Does everyone keep a canary yellow shift in their closet for just that moment when they need to be photographed getting into their silver mercedes? Or how about the pink dress and lame shoes for the photo op after she'd hired Monica Lewinsky's media expert?

Can you stand it? Two scrawny, sagging old generals (I don't hear anyone talking about their physical attributes, do you?) sending emails and getting it on under desks. Cuckolded husbands, both of whom are doctors. Bankruptcy. Child custody battles and letters from generals who also find time to write 40 emails a day to married women who favor magenta. 

Has anyone else noticed a striking resemblance between the two women? And how many moms really have time to "embed" themselves half way across the world with two small kids at home? 

And how come my arms don't look like that?

Funny, it all reminds me a bit of a woman I knew back in the day in a network newsroom in New York City. While we were all ordering in pizza or Chinese food nightly, she was waltzing out to dinner at Cafe Des Artistes with her much, much, much older man friend - a man who happened to be married with children. We all wondered how we'd pay the rent while she sported a full length mink. She had no shame. None at all.

Fast forward to the modern age and a national scandal that featured her front and center. It didn't surprise me at all. If I had to name, way back when, the one person in my midst who'd be named most likely to pump their narcissistic tank with really negative national media attention, it would have been her. These women don't suddenly come into their own reflection. They've been staring at it and practicing for their big moment for years. 

Now how exactly did Ms. All In lose her license while running? Paging Dr. Freud. 

 
 
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I hadn't thought about the POW bracelet I wore in the 70s for a long time until last night. There was an image during some bumper footage used between a commercial and the return to the football game of a mass of dog tags hanging from a ceiling. Not sure what then reminded me of the bracelet, but there you have it.

Did any of you wear one during the Viet Nam conflict? Here's what I can recall: I "sent away" for it and then wore it religiously, day and night. I can't recall the name of the man carved into the metal. But I think that his capture date was included. Does anyone remember this? And there was a period of time when the names of returning soldiers were printed in very tiny font in the Boston Globe. Daily, weekly? I can't recall, but my mother would show me when the list came out and I'd scan down for the man's name.

Then one day, there it was. He was home. I wrote a letter in long hand (I couldn't type then and I doubt we even owned a typewriter) and mailed it, and the bracelet, back to the veteran. I never heard from him. And the silence made me wonder what had become of him, for even at my young age, I think we were well aware by then that many of these soldiers came back wounded emotionally as well as physically. I seem to recall that he'd been in a POW camp for a long time.

Was the bracelet an awful reminder? An improper gesture on my part? Whoever he is and whatever happened, I hope he knew that I had the best intentions and that the gesture touched him. 

And a final thought. Every time I see troops watching a football game by satellite, or watching election returns, I cry. Actually, the National Anthem makes me cry. Just so many things about the personal sacrifice, the distance from home, the dedication to a really tough job. Thank you all, I say today, from the computer I am now old enough to type on. 

 
 
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...or rather, he did. Or you all did. At any rate, it's done. And I felt about this election the way I view college applications: Can't wait till it's over!

While I try to steer clear now of political rantings, my leftist/centrist/humanist leanings are obvious. I live in the dark blue Oakland/Berkeley corridor. I know, quite literally, two Republicans. 


I am not sorry for their loss as much as I am sorry for the rancor and vile bile that has been spewed for, most recently, these past two years. 

Hopefully the man with the mandate can move forward as unobstructed as possible by the Party of No. 

Every week I teach people who have been disenfranchised at some point in their lives, if not their entire existence. People who need a little more help than those of us born white and entitled to an education and medical care, all because we can afford to live in the right neighborhoods, or can afford health insurance. Hope can change their lives. A kinder and gentler society can catch them before they fall further. The tone deaf tales of dressage horses was never going to get their vote. I'm sorry.

I've never doubted President Obama. Vilifying him for what he didn't do or how he failed on his promises was never my bag. Personally, I couldn't get through half of one of his days without needing a nap or a cathartic cry. 

Let's just let him get on with it. And a good place to start is with the Obama Diary. Namaste my smart friends. And thank you, Mr. President, for all you do.

 
 
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The best athlete wants his opponent at his best.
The best general enters the mind of his enemy.
The best businessman serves the communal good.
The best leader follows the will of the people.

All of them embody the virtue of non-competition.
Not that they don't love to compete,
but they do it in the spirit of play.
In this they are like children and in harmony with the Tao.