Monthly Archives: January 2020

Thoughts on Today's Impeachment Bombshells

The reason that many of us pay attention to any impeachment trial is that it is not an event (not that it should be) that happens very often.

There were two major bombshells during today’s impeachment trial.

The first bombshell came this morning. Senator Lamar Alexander (D-TN) spoke out as to why he did not believe that witnesses were necessary during the trial. His reason for believing that witnesses are not necessary is the following:

 “There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.”

The second bombshell came a short time ago. After hours or debating, the Senate voted. In what was a close race, the majority of Senators voted against witnesses.

Is it me, or are the Republicans trying to rush this trial through? It’s as if they are more concerned with sucking up to you know who and saving their own skins instead of doing what is right for the country.

There has been, as it is natural, comparisons to past impeachment. As most of us above a certain age can easily recall the Clinton Impeachment, the comparisons are easily made. But as I see it, there is a difference. Clinton’s failings were moral. Not that he didn’t deserve what was coming to him, but he did and what you know who did are on completely different levels. Clinton did not sell out this country or threaten to withhold badly needed funds if his political rival was not investigated for some imagined crime.

We will have to wait until next week to find out the results of this trial. I can only end this post with the concern that if you know who is acquitted, all h*ll will break loose.

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Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: DJ Conner

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 of 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 Roseanne and The Conners to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Sometimes it’s hard to be the youngest child. On Roseanne and The Conners, D.J. Conner (Michael Fishman) is the youngest of Roseanne and Dan Conner’s (Roseanne Barr and John Goodman) three children. As a child, he was precocious, curious and not as worldly as his elder sisters. His encounters with Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Becky (Alicia Goranson and Sarah Chalke) usually end with names that only come from an older sister to a younger brother.

As he matured, D.J. began to deal with the same issues that every young man deals with. Unsure on how to deal with his burgeoning sexuality and feeling initially squeamish about the opposite sex, the adult D.J. is not the simpleton he was perceived to be as a child. As an adult, both he and his wife joined the military. While his wife is serving her country, D.J. is home with their daughter.

To sum it up: Being the youngest child is tough. But D.J. gets through it and as an adult becomes a responsible and mature member of society. Though he is remembered as a chubby-faced child teased by his sister and the young man going through puberty, he is known today as also the responsible father and husband.

Which is why D.J. Conner is a memorable character.

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Flashback Friday- The Hills (2006-2010)

We all know that so-called “reality shows” are not real. The question is, is the show “real” enough to bring in viewers?

The Hills aired on MTV from 2006-2010. A spin-off of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, the show followed the lives and careers of four young women living in Los Angeles.

The only good thing about this show was that the song sung over the opening credits is sung by Natasha Bedingfield. I watched enough of this show to know that it was as fake as fake could be. Some critics accused the show of being a nighttime drama labelled as a reality show. Frankly, I could not agree more.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday-Fashion Police (2010-2017)

Some might argue that Hollywood fashion is nothing but a waste of time. There are more important things to deal with than critiquing the clothing of Hollywood celebrities. But for others, it was appointment television.

Fashion Police aired on E! from 2010 to 2017. This weekly television program was hosted by a number of on air commentators (among them the late Joan Rivers) who discussed and critiqued the clothing worn by celebrities.

What made this show fun was not just the fashion being discussed, but how irreverent and funny the show was. Not taking themselves too seriously, the hosts had fun, as did the audience.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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Thoughts On the Impeachment Trial

Impeaching a political leader is not meant to be done lightly or easily. It is meant for a time when the political leader in question has acted so egregiously, that there is no other choice but to impeach them.

Like many Americans, I have been glued to my TV and my radio, listening to the impeachment trial of you know who.

Ideally, we should be paying attention without being partisan. We should be listening to the facts and making a judgement for ourselves, instead of letting politics get in the way. But this is far from ideal and unfortunately, impeachment by nature is not bi-partisan.

As I see it, nothing that the President’s defense has said has swayed my opinion. Instead of presenting hardcore information, they spew the same half truths and lies. Now granted, the President of the United States is given certain powers because of their position. But they are not a one person band in the corridors of power.

Our founders purposefully created three branches of government. They knew that at some point in the future, there would be a President who believed that they alone knew how to run the country.

Some people have asked why impeachment is being forced on the nation instead of letting the ballot boxes speak in November. In another Presidential election season with another Republican incumbent, no one would ever consider impeachment. But given that we have used car salesman wanna be demagogue for a President, this trial is absolutely necessary.

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A Warning Book Review

What is right and what is easy is often two very different things.

A Warning, by Anonymous was published last fall. Written by an unknown employee of the current Presidential administration, the writer paints in great detail the turmoil of working under you know who as President. He or she tells the story of working under a man who either listens selectively or none at all, cozies up to autocrats and and thinks that he knows it all.

How the reader perceives this book depends on their perspective. If one sides with the administration, it might be perceived as a well written piece of fiction that is siding with the mainstream media. However, if one sides with the writer, it does not provide information that is new. What it does do is calcify the belief that you know who is complete unfit for office.

If there was one section of the book that set my nerves on edge was the section in which the author talked about the President’s sycophants and yes people. Instead of doing what is best for the country, these sycophants and yes people will see this President as an opportunity to achieve their personal goals.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Today is the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Today is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

As I write this post, I am an ocean apart and multiple generations separated from the Holocaust. When my family, like millions of Jewish immigrants, came to this country in the years before World War II, they could have never imagined the fate of the loved ones they left behind.

Though it is nearly a century since the prisoners of the death camp were set free, it feels as potent and relevant as it did 75 years ago. Hate still flourishes. Antisemitism has once again has reared its ugly head. Humanity still has the capacity to be inhumane to our fellow mortals.

The number of survivors who are able to tell their own stories are dying out. There will come a day in which the stories of the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust will only be available via second hand or via fiction. We must hear their voices while they are still around to tell their stories. If we don’t, then we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Z”l.

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RIP Kobe Bryant (1978-2020)

One of the hard truths of life is that we never know when our number will be up. If we are lucky, we will live to see old age. But not all of us are so lucky.

NBA legend Kobe Bryant was killed this morning in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna and seven other people.

I’m not a huge sports fan. The extend of my sports watching is going a Brooklyn Cyclones game every summer. But I respect hard work, talent, drive and the knowledge that one has to work for what you want from life.

Kobe Bryant was only 41. His daughter was only 13. Their loss, simply on the human level, is palpable and heartbreaking. My heart goes out to his wife, his surviving children, those who knew him best and the millions of basketball fans around the world.

On Yom Kippur, we say the Unetanah Tokef prayer. Part of the prayer is as follows:

And on Yom Kippur it is sealed./How many shall pass away and how many shall be born,/Who shall live and who shall die,

We never know when the final chapter in the book of life will be written. We can only live to the fullest and give thanks for our blessings.

May the memories of Bryant, his daughter, and everyone who perished this morning forever be a blessing. Z”l.

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All the Ways We Said Goodbye: A Novel of the Ritz Paris Book Review

A building is more than the materials used to build it. It is a place of action and memories.

The center of the new novel, All the Ways We Said Goodbye: A Novel of the Ritz Paris is the Ritz Paris Hotel. Co-written by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White, the book is set in three different times and places in France: an aristocratic country house during World War I, Paris during World War II and Paris in the 1960’s.

During World War I, heiress Aurelie is trapped in her family’s ancestral home with her father. The Germans have taken over and are slowly sapping the land and the people of their resources. During World War II, Daisy was raised by her American grandmother. Married to a Frenchman who has joined the Nazi cause, she secretly joins the resistance. In the 1960’s, Barbara is a recent widow. She has come to France to seek out the lover her late husband never got over.

When three authors work together on one story, there is either the potential to create an amazing story or a mess of a novel with three separate voices that never quite merge together. This book is somewhere in the middle. It is far from the worst book I have ever read. However, it does not quite reach the potential that it promises.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Thoughts on Eric Adams' Telling Non-Native New Yorkers to Go Back to Ohio and Iowa

If you know nothing about New York City, you know that it is an expensive place to live. For the same price of renting or buying a home in New York City, one can buy a home with a large piece of land in another part of the country.

Last Monday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams stated the following during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech.

“Go back to Iowa, you go back to Ohio,” he said during a speech in Harlem.

“New York City belongs to the people that was here and made New York City what it is.”

To be fair, the point he is making is not exactly a lie. Living in New York City is not cheap. In many neighborhoods that were once considered to be untouchable, gentrification is causing rent and home prices to rise. An unfortunate side effect of this is that long time residents of these neighborhoods (many of whom who are people of color), cannot afford to stay in their homes.

However, the blame does not lie on the feet of those who come from states like Iowa and Ohio. I have many friends who are not native New Yorkers. Their contribution to this city is just as important as those of us who were born here. The blame lies on the building owners and the developers who charge prices for homes that is unreasonable for most of America. The blame also lies with the city and the state who do not step in to make sure that the homeless population is not increasing because of rising rent and home buying prices.

New York City has always welcome newcomers. It is what makes this city so vibrant and so beautiful. If this city is to thrive in the future, we must continue to welcome newcomers. We must also ensure that those who live here can continue to live here. But that does not mean we blame those newcomers for being able to afford to live here.

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