Monthly Archives: January 2021

What a Difference Four Years Make

There are some events in our lives that we never forget, regardless of how much time has passed.

The end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 were politically difficult. Like many Americans, I was shocked, angry, and questioning how a man like you know who could have been elected to the highest office in the land. At the time, I was told by someone to give him a chance. After all, he was a political virgin. There was a tiny glimmer of hope that with time and help from those who were experienced that he would grow into the job.

How wrong we were. The late and respected poet Maya Angelou once said the following:

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. People know themselves much better than you do. That’s why it’s important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are.”

The last four years having been a wake up call, to say the least. Real democracy is not given, it must be earned and protected. Watching the inauguration on Wednesday, I felt as if there was a weight taken off our collective shoulders.

The words “history making” have been used countless times since November. Watching Vice President Harris take the Oath of Office, I couldn’t help but cry. The generations who have fought for equality for both women and people of color have not fought in vain. Comparatively speaking, writing or changing laws is a thousand times easier than changing hearts and minds. She stood on that podium not because of any laws, but because of the old ideas of what is or is not “appropriate” for certain members of our society have begun to fade away.

I have to admire President Biden. This was his third Presidential election. Given his age and his long career in politics, it would have been easy to retire and let someone else take the reins. But he saw the opportunity and the need and he stepped forward.

I do not envy of the job that the Biden administration has in front of them. To say that is a Herculean task is understatement. But I have hope and faith that with time, they will guide us out of this darkness and back into the light.

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Filed under National News, Politics

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Book Review

It has been said that all that glitters is not gold. The same could be said about Hollywood.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Reid Jenkins, was published back in 2017. Back in the day, Evelyn Hugo was an A list movie star. But her time in the spotlight has long since passed. After years of living quietly in the background, Evelyn is ready to tell her story. She chooses Monique Grant, a young writer to be her scribe.

Monique has a lot on her plate at the moment. Her marriage is all but over and her career is stuck in the mud. Though she is not entirely sure why she has been chosen, Monique seizes upon the opportunity that has been handed to her. Evelyn’s life story is full of ambition, forbidden love, and friendships that were unexpected. Along the way, Monique discovers that she and Evelyn are connected in ways that surprise them both.

Sometimes, stories about old Hollywood, whether they be fiction or non fiction, can veer off into two different voices. They can either be a tabloid-y tell all, or sound like comes straight out of the studio PR department. I really loved this book. I loved the characters, I loved the narrative, and I loved the twist that was absolutely perfect.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Movies, Writing

Flashback Friday: The Secret Life of the Zoo (2016-Present)

When we go to the zoo, we only see the animals for a short time. Therefore the narrative we learn is different than the keepers, whose job it is to take care of the zoo’s inhabitants.

The Secret Life of the Zoo has aired on Animal Planet since 2016. Filmed at the Chester Zoo in England, the series was initially narrated by Olivia Coleman, who was then replaced by Tamsin Greig. The viewer is given a glimpse into the lives and actions of the animals when they are not in front of the public. On top of that, the employees give their perspective of what their working lives are like when they are tending to their charges.

I don’t watch this show often, but when I do, I find it to be interesting. I like going beyond the five or ten minutes that you usually spend with each animal or species. For me at least, I can appreciate and understand the work it takes for something that zoo visitor doesn’t normally consider.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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World on Fire Character Review: Jan Tomaszeski

*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 World on Fire. Read 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. When one’s country goes to war, no one is immune from it’s cold touch. On World on Fire, Jan Tomaszeski (Eryk Biedunkiewicz) is the youngest of three children.

His life is relatively normal, until the Nazis invade Poland. With his father, older brother Grzegorz (Mateusz Wieclawek), and older sister Kasia (Zofia Wichlacz) fighting for their country, Jan is sent to England with his brother-in-law, Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King). Left with Robina (Lesley Manville), Harry’s domineering mother, he is a stranger in a strange land. Clinging to the memories of his family and the hope that they are still alive, Jan is faced with a challenge that only occurs during war time.

Children, we are told, are resilient. They have the ability to bounce back emotionally and psychologically faster than adults. But that does not mean that the scars of the experience completely disappear. Though Jan is still quite young, there is something in him that keeps him going. Which I happen to think is an inspiration to us all, regardless of age.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, History, Television

Throwback Thursday: Hometown (2016-Present)

In my world, giving back to your community is a mitzvah (good deed)

The HGTV show, Hometown, has been on the air since 2016. The series follows Ben and Erin Napier as they renovate older homes in their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi. The narrative of the show is similar to that of every couple/duo home renovation program on the network. Erin and Ben show three possible new houses to neighbors. One is chosen and it is rebuilt to fit the needs of the new homeowners.

What I think makes this show standout is the charm and the chemistry of the stars. They are down to earth, genuine, and truly believe in the work they are doing.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

New Randy Rainbow Video: SEASONS OF TRUMP – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody

Tomorrow is a momentous day in American history. It is the day that we finally say good riddance to you know who.

Randy Rainbow released what maybe his last you know who related video today. Entitled SEASONS OF TRUMP – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody, the song is based on Seasons of Love from the musical Rent.

If there was ever a perfect song to say goodbye to you know who and the chaos he has created, this is it. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am more than ready to see Joe Biden take the Oath of Office and lead us back to some version of normal.

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Filed under Music, National News, Politics, Randy Rainbow

Thoughts on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2021

Change is never easy. Especially when the change is overcoming and dealing with cultural, racial, and religious stereotypes.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Dr. King was one of many who fought for equality. Though his ultimate goal was equality for African-Americans, it spread to the rest of the country. Women, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and other Americans of color who have been disenfranchised heard his message and understood exactly what he was saying.

Though we can proudly say that we have made progress in the multiple decades since he was taken from us, it is more than clear that true equality is still too far off for many. I remember a cartoon in a book when I was in school. The image was of a tree had been cut at its base, but the roots were untouched. The analogy about racism and prejudice was obvious.

The fact is that we have a long way to do. Between the riot in DC almost two weeks ago and the murders of multiple African Americans last year, the dark side of the United States revealed itself in a way that was opening.

What Dr. King started almost a century ago, we have to finish. It is the only way to make his dream a reality.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Politics, Thoughts On....

Miss Scarlet and the Duke Pilot Review

During the Victorian Era, women lived by a long list of rules.

The new Masterpiece/PBS series, Miss Scarlet and the Duke, premiered last night. Eliza Scarlet (Kate Phillips) was raised by her widower father, Henry (Kevin Doyle) in what was a unconventional manner for 1882 England. She believes that one day, she will take over the family business. But when he dies suddenly, and in debt, Eliza feels like she has no choice but to pick up where he left off.

But not everyone accepts the idea that Eliza can follow in her father’s footsteps. William Duke (Stuart Martin), her father’s protégé who is now a police detective is not sold on the idea. Following up on a promise he made to Henry years ago to protect Eliza, he tries to convince her to give up her detective work. But Eliza will not be swayed.

If I had to make a list today of the best new television shows of 2021, Miss Scarlet and the Duke would be near the top. Martin and Phillips have an undeniable Hepburn and Tracy like chemistry. I love how strong and single minded Eliza is, and how frustrating it is for William.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Miss Scarlet and the Duke airs on PBS Sunday nights at 8PM.

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Happy 99th Birthday, Betty White!

When a woman reaches a certain age, she is expected to quietly retire and enjoy whatever years she has left.

Betty White, whose 99th birthday is today, has more than proven that a woman of certain years is just as capable and vibrant as she was when she was younger.

White is an icon of the television age. She has been on our screens for more than seventy years, entertaining audiences of multiple generations.

My favorite roles of hers are Sue Ann Nivens from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. I love the contrast between the characters. Sue Ann may appear to be sugary sweet, but she has a bite that is completely unexpected. Rose Nyland is one of the nicest people you would ever meet. That being said, she isn’t the brightest bulb in the box.

One of my favorite blessing of my faith is the following:

“May you live until 120.”

Though White is not quite there yet, the fact that she is 99 and still ticking is an inspiration to us. Happy Birthday.

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If Israel Can Vaccinate Their Population in a Quick and Orderly Manner, Why Can’t the US?

The evidence in regards to controlling Covid-19 is obvious. Approximately half to a third of the population needs to be vaccinated (otherwise known as herd immunity) for the virus to lose it’s potency. The question is, what measure are governments around the world taking to stop it in its tracks?

While the United States is floundering in its attempt to get the shots into the arms of Americans, 20% of the Israeli population has received the vaccine as of last Wednesday.

Granted, Israel is a much smaller country in both population and size. That being said, it comes down to planning, coordination with the government at every level, and assistance of the medical industry. The problem in the United States is two fold. Thanks to you know who, the system that is supposed to transfer the vaccine from the federal government to state and local governments can only be described as a hot mess. The issue compounded by the American healthcare system, which has been problematic for many years.

Back in 1947, a smallpox outbreak hit New York City. Via a coordinated effort between the city and the Public Health Service, millions were vaccinated in less than a month. Only twelve people were infected and of that number, only two people lost their lives.

The fact is that it is possible to end this plague and return to some semblance of normalcy. But we can only do that if those in the halls of power work together.

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Filed under International News, National News, New York City, Politics, World News