Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Adopted A Zoo

Okay, you have heard the saying before: Empty Nest Syndrome.  It is an over-worn but very true phrase meant to signify a time in your life when you are adjusting to no kids at home, or less kids at home, or...more pets at home, as is the case with me and Fred, my husband.  And one of us ain't likin' it.

The count at the Reillys: 1 horse - non-negotiable. Lives in Salem, NH.
                                      
 1 rabbit named Nelson - cute, low- maintenance
                                       
 1 guinea pig named Betty (Nelson's  best friend, they co-habit and were adopted as a pair)

3 dogs: Copper, Neeley, and the recently added Bella. a sweetheart of a dog added this week to my wolfpack.

Honestly, I must be working through something, because I like pets, but I've never been like this.  Never.  And honestly, I do still have one child at home, my 13 year old son.  He is my partner in crime, and my very best bud.  "Do you think we could handle another dog?  It would be up to me and you," I say to him, perusing the web, looking at all the dogs who need homes, especially in these hard times. 

("We are part of the hard times!" my husband reminds me emphatically, as he uses the lint roller to remove dog fur and scoots a little dog from the pathway to the door.  He then points at Nelson, who is hopping by.  Nelson is trained to return to his crate to use the bathroom; he free-ranges around the house all day with a frighteningly blank look on his face.) I know, I shrug; I can't help it, and with James helping me, well... it's almost do-able.  And the Titanic almost made it.

I have analyzed myself, as I lay across my bed with a dog on my feet, one under my dangling hand, and another curled up in my bedroom chair.  "Hey, Nelson," I say gloomily, as he hops past me.  (He really is sort of disturbing.  No expression at all - is he happy?  Sad?  Mad? We'll never know.)  Why do I need all this activity, this busy-ness, this chaos?

Well...because I miss it; the full house with the three kids and the friends and the noise.  And, I want it for James.  I want him to stay away from the tv and the video games, and I love expanding our family.  As I often say to Fred; hey, these animals could be foster kids.  Think of that.  I'm not ready to fold up my chair and go home yet.  And, with so much that a son shares with his father (hockey, sports, NESN, hockey, baseball, hockey, ESPN, hockey) this is for me and James, and for now, it (barely) works.

So, this Friday I drive down to Maryland to see my family.  "Who are you taking?" my husband asks, meaning which pets.  Nelson hops by eerily; would he like to go?  Who knows?  I opt to take Neely, the tiny dog who loves the car, is obsessed with me, and who settles in happily down in Maryland, spoiled to his eyeteeth by my mom.  I'm looking forward to a break from work, and housework, and all the obligations that make up my home life.  But I'll miss everyone too, and leave my son in charge of the zoo until I return.  Not to all these pets...but to him.  Ok, and the pets... even that freak Nelson.

            

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Is It Local? - Portlandia on IFC



Oh my gosh, love this new show on IFC...this conversation reminds me of what you might overhear downtown in Cambridge, MA (home of Harvard).   Enjoy!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Don't Forget to Just Hang Out

I went out with fifteen or so girlfriends the other night, to celebrate a good friend's 50th birthday.  (This is the type of friend that you would walk 100 miles through the desert for, if she needed you to.) 

We had so much fun, laughing and chattering (there may have been wine, too) for hours.  It is amazing what some time with good friends will do for you.  We forget to just be with our friends, as grown-ups - remember when you were a kid, then a teenager, then a twenty-something?  You would rather die than miss hanging out with your friends.  Where does that go?  (I guess I kind of know; we're tired!!!  The kids are wearing us out!!)

Anyhow, it's so good to laugh until you can't breathe, to smile across a table at friends who you love, and who love you, to hug it out.  And to gather for a friend who you love, and who does so much for others...just icing on the birthday cake.

So, happy birthday wonderful friend, and kudos to our friend who planned it all.  I felt like the little guy in the picture above.  Tee-hee!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Making Waves

OK, a little post about puttin' it out there:

I have so far garnered 29 glorious signatures for my petition to request a name change for the show "GCB," and so I wanted to ruminate for a moment on "causes."  If you go to www.change.org, you will see many, many petitions that you can sign, and my feeling is that we will all be receiving more of these petitions as times get a little more heated and there is more and more to fight for, and against.  You may want to send a petition out yourself, one day.

Here is my feeling on working for causes: it is very important - if it is important to you.  Some people really float through life, and they don't let these things (like "GCB") bother them - they may not agree with it, but hey, who are they to say?  I wish I were more like this - and I am getting more like this on many things as the years go by.  But I really think that it's not the mountains you move, but your willingness to try.  All the ripples together make a wave - if we all waiting for the time when we can change the world by ourselves, well...we'll be waiting for a long time.  We were created to work together, like the parts of the human body, each created to perform a different function.   Similarly, if we create art or music solely for the masses instead of for our muse, or to follow our creative instincts, we fall short.  It is our unique contribution to life that we leave behind - a wonderful recipe, a great sense of humor, a story, a poem, a cause, a drawing in the sand.

So put it out there in the way that suits you best. Create!  Petition!  One of my 29 signers may say, "Hmm, I'm going to start a petition about so-and-so," and create another ripple that joins with mine, and the wave builds a tiny bit.  That's what it's all about.  Then, after you do your part, move along happily, and be able to leave a cause behind.  It doesn't mean that you abandon every cause (some are grand in design, and cost their flag-bearer everything, and that is meant to be.) I just mean that it's ok to do your little part in many cases, and then happily move on.

Bye for now...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Protest the name "Good Christian Bitches" or "GCB"

I have created an online petition to ask ABC TV to re-name their "GCB" television show (the GCB stands for "Good Christian Bitches.")  I have no opinion about the show itself - it will probably tank on it's own - but I feel strongly that NO religion should be portrayed in this way on a supposedly family-friendly network.  WE view these programs, and hence give these networks their very l existence - we can have a say when they cross the line - and we should. Protect the sanctity of all religions by standing up for one.

http://www.change.org/petitions/petitioning-abc-television-network-change-name-of-abc-s-gcb-to-reflect-deletion-of-christian-in-title

Please sign the new petition I created at Change.org, which will go to ABC...

If you are moved to do this, you have taken a step towards being in control of what you are fed on television.  Congrats! 

Have a great day!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Doonesbury is Done-sbury in My Book

Has our society gone completely,
irretrievably insane?  Issues of name-calling and civility are popping up almost too quickly to react to these days, and then thrown like handfuls of seeds by the internet, radio and tv, which causes even more inflamed reaction, which provokes even more comment...and so on and so on, in a whirlwind that leads straight to hell.

A conservative radio host calls a young woman "slut" (while another liberal television host is calling a woman a c*#* and t***, and getting away with it, because, lets face it, he is "cool.")  And he's on cable, and can say more, and get away with it.  Cable programming like HBO and Showtime, those visionaries so fawned over at every awards show, are at the forefront of turning slimy language, previously unimaginable sexual imagery, and the slip-sliding of many a fine actor and actresses' career into the go-to source of "edgy" and "hip" of the modern world.  Puhleeze.   A television show that I am in the process of actively boycotting called "Good Christian Bitches" hits the air, and now Gary Trudeau, in a stab at a return to relevancy, writes a week of comic strips about abortion.  The only thing more graphic than his work is the actual topic of his work, a "procedure" that is one of the most heavily-debated social issues of our time.  Here is a summary of Doonesbury strip (thank you to blogger Jim Romanesko whom I am linking to); scroll down a bit, then peruse at your own discretion.  The only thing we can be grateful for is that no artwork is supplied with the sneering  text in this week of strips.  I love liberal outrage at a hint of humanity that costs someone something cloaked as artistic (free-pass) commentary, don't you?

What has happened to our civility, our morals, our class, people?  Where, oh where are the days where Charlie Brown and Linus and Snoopy smartly commented on the times of our lives in a piece that you could ponder, laugh at, and then proudly hang on the fridge?  Where did our creative intelligence go? Why are we stabbed in the back by our own television networks, airing GCB with a grin and an outstretched hand, ready to sell us out to help sell soap?  Why the heck are we swearing so much in the public square; name-calling now being the go-to tactic? (You too, Rush.) As Charlie Brown would say, "Auugh!"

Our society has hit the skids.  Sure, there are societies that are worse, but they never showed the promise that ours did and does, they never where what we once were.  Our fall is a hard and painful one, because the drop is so far.  We are a fractured society too obsessed with words, and celebrity, and good intentions as stated on Twitter and Facebook - it doesn't even matter if we follow through - just saying that you care is enough these days.  (If you "like" it on FB, you care.)  We are a reactive, scared, angry, dull society - and we need to wake up, get up, and become who we once were.

You don't have to be actively against abortion, as I am.  But you should admit that it is a relevant, important moral discussion that this country is having, and not go insane, surly, disgusting and cruel when one side gains some ground in favor of life.  That's what I don't see - if there is even a question that a fertilized egg is a life, then isn't this the situation to err on the side of caution; of life?  When the Texas legislature attempts to do so, all hell breaks loose - or at least the pen of a liberal darling artiste.   Repeat after me, ladies: I am an enlightened American woman because I accept the consequences of sex, and am prepared to deal with them, in every way.  I think ahead, or think quickly, in a loving, responsible manner.   I don't make my decisions behind a locked door with a doctor in a mask that doesn't care about me.  That is not feminism.  That is a woman - a person - in bondage.

As for "Good Christian Bitches," stay tuned.  I will be posting contact info for their advertisers, and for ABC (you can also find this info elsewhere with a quick search; I am by no means the only or first one to be upset over this.)  If you want to let your money talk, don't patronize these advertisers, and let them know.  And tell the network that it's Easter here on the planet Earth - and we won't stand for this anymore.

Time to make Lucy, Linus, Charlie and Snoopy proud.  Let's use our minds to get what we want - and let's not want fame, but good.  Let's not want attention, but only to contribute.  Let's not want cleverness, but intelligence. Let's aim for edginess only as it pertains to really solving some of the problems and ills of our time - let's invent things again, let's challenge anyone who wants to change what is pure and strong about us.  That is what is good in a rational, moralistic, caring country. Time to seperate the wheat from the chaff.   Hang on, Snoopy!