Thoughts On Andrew Cuomo’s “America Was Never That Great” Comment

America was created based on the ideal that every citizen is equal and is entitled the same rights. While the ideal is wonderful, the reality is that we live in a country that is more complicated.

Yesterday, at a bill signing, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that America was never that great. Naturally, his comment drew ire from you know who and some members of the Republican Party.

I agree and disagree with his statement. I agree because America has a long way to to go before all citizens are completely enfranchised. Women, citizens of color and other minorities are still routinely discriminated against. There are some people in this country who would like nothing more than anyone who is not Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual (and male by extension) to become second class citizens.

I disagree with him because America is a great country. A century ago, members of my family emigrated from Eastern Europe. This country not only welcomed them with open arms, but supported them so they could give future generations a better life than the life they had in the old country. If America’s borders had not been open, they would have likely died in the gas chambers and the concentration camps. Future generation of my family (myself included) would have never been born or given the opportunity to live and thrive. While we have not completely corrected the mistakes of our collective American past, we have come far in starting to correct them. The Civil Rights Movement, The Feminist Movement and the LGBTQ Movement have opened many of our eyes about the disenfranchisement of our fellow citizens.

The issue with the comment is not just the context, but the timing. Mr. Cuomo is running for re-election for Governor. His statement gives those who want to replace him as Governor another reason to prove why they are better suited for the position.

Only time will tell if this comment is just a momentary blip or if it is the reason why he loses the Governor’s race. Either way, it shows how complicated it is to be an American in 2018.


Star Wars Character Review: DJ

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For some, supporting a specific cause is everything to them. For others, the only cause is themselves. These people are willing to play both sides, if it will enrich them somehow. In The Last Jedi DJ (played by Benicio Del Toro) is short for Don’t Join. Loyal to neither the rebellion or The First Order, DJ is a thief and slicer who helps Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn (John Boyega) escape from Canto Bright. After taking Rose’s pendant as a fee for his services, DJ helps them sneak onto a First Order ship so they can stop the tracking system that is being used to track the rebellion ships.

Not surprisingly, when they are caught, DJ gives information to General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) in return for his freedom and a financial reward. 

While DJ is playing both sides, he speaks with a slight stutter, giving shades of grey  to a character who appears to be merely black and white.

To sum it up: Loyalty is often defined as being there for someone else. But, while one is loyal to those around them, they can also be loyal to themselves. As writers, we have to decide where a character’s loyalty lies and if their loyalties change over the course of the story. While some characters are dynamic in their loyalties, others are static in who or what they are loyal to. Regardless of a character’s choices, it has to feel natural. If it is not natural, the reader or the viewer will know that the choice is forced on the character, which may lead to the reader or viewer walking away. That is the last thing any writer wants.

This will be my last character review post for the new Star Wars Characters. The list of characters that I will be reviewing is….you will have to find out next week. 

RIP Aretha Franklin

Today, we lost of one of the giants of modern music, Aretha Franklin.

Known as The Queen Of Soul, her powerful voice and unforgettable songs have touched multiple generations of fans and performers. Her music broke barriers and easily jumped across genres, pulling in fans of every race, color and creed.

Her activism in the Civil Rights movement paved the way for people of color to succeed in ways that had only been dreamed of before.

Her music is iconic. Respect and Chain Of Fools are still feminist anthems decades after they were released.

One cannot help but sing along to her songs and feel the joy that comes from her music.

She was 76. RIP.



The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna Book Review

From the outside looking in, the life of a princess appears to be that of a charmed life. But if one was to look from the inside out, the perspective would be completely different.

Maria Feodorovna was not just born into a royal house, she married into one. Her story is chronicled in the new novel, The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna. Written by C. W. Gortner, the author takes the reader on a journey from her character’s teen years to the last years of her life. Maria Feodorovna started her life as Princess Dagmar of Denmark. As a teenager, she married the future Tsar Alexander III of Russia. She would go on to have six children, five of whom would live to adulthood. Her eldest son, Nicholas II of Russia, is remembered as the last Tsar of Russia before the Communist Revolution.

Known to her loved ones as Minnie, Maria was not a shrinking violet by any stretch of the imagination. Intelligent, capable and strong-willed, Maria was the woman behind the throne. She may not have yielded power directly, but her influence was not unnoticed by those around her.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s not a short book in terms of length, but that’s ok. This is the type of book that should be read slowly so that every moment can be savored and remembered. The author has brilliantly found a way to balance the history and the endless myriad details of the period with the everyday humanity of her characters. The novel has an almost cinematic feel to it. It was as if I could not just see this world, but feel lit, touch it and live in int.

I absolutely recommend it.


Throwback Thursday-Animaniacs (1993-1998)

The best children’s cartoons are not always made strictly for their young audience. Some of these cartoons may appear only to appeal to kids, but there is a wink and a nudge to the adults watching.

From 1993 and 1998, Animaniacs was on the air. The premise of the show is as follows: in the 1930’s, three cartoon siblings, Yakko, Wakko and Dot Warner were locked in the tower at Warner Brothers studios. Released from the tower fifty years later, they wreak havoc on studio employees. In addition to Yakko, Wakko and Dot, the audience was treated to a host of other characters, including Pinky and The Brain.

Animaniacs is funny, charming and most of all, appeals to audiences of all ages.

I recommend it.

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