Author Archives: Writergurlny

About Writergurlny

I am Brooklyn, NY born and raised writer who needs writing to find sanity in an insane world. To quote Charlotte Bronte: “I'm just going to write because I cannot help it.”

Hot and Bothered Podcast Review

The thing about a book like Pride and Prejudice is that with every reading, there is something new to discover.

The new season of the podcast Hot and Bothered is about Pride and Prejudice. Specifically, the romantic aspect of the narrative. Subtitled Live from Pemberley, hosts Vanessa Zoltan and Lauren Sandler dive into Jane Austen‘s most famous novel in bites of two chapters per episode. Reading from the text and interviewing experts whose work is related to the novel, they explore how the wider world of the time contributed to the book as a whole.

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A friend recommended this podcast and I am so glad she did. Both Zoltan and Sandler nerd out in a way that I would expect them to, but not so much that it alienates those who have not memorized every tiny detail of the story. I laughed, I learned, and best of all, I smiled.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

New episodes of Hot and Bothered are released every other Friday on various platforms.

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Filed under Books, Jane Austen, Podcast, Podcast Review, Pride and Prejudice

Sandy Hook Part II: At Least Eighteen Children and Two Adults Killed in an Elementary School in Texas

We all remember the horror of Sandy Hook in December of 2012. The young lives lost, the adults who tried to save their students, and the heartache that will never fade.

This morning was the sequel to that day. An eighteen-year-old gunman charged into an elementary school in Texas. Among the dead are at least eighteen children and two adults.

This is the third mass shooting to make national news in the last seven days. The third occurred in a church in Orange County in California. Five people were injured and one man was killed. Closer to home, a man was killed by a stranger carrying a gun on the Q train on Sunday in New York City. The accused was caught today. When did we become so desensitized that this unnecessary loss of life that it is nothing more than another headline?

I keep thinking that it is going to get to the point in which we have to wear bulletproof vests as part of our regular wardrobe and go through airport-style security to complete simple errands.

I blame the NRA. I blame the Republicans who are more concerned with their careers and lining their own pockets than doing what is right for the country. I blame all of our politicians who are too chicken shit to speak up and save lives. I blame Fox News and other right-wing media organizations who knowingly peddle lies. I blame those who are more concerned with the unborn than the current members of the young generation. I blame those who use mental health as an excuse instead of looking for real-world solutions and once more create a sense of shame around needing help.

We need rock-solid gun control laws now. We needed them in 2012 and we needed them after Columbine 23 years ago. I don’t know what it is going to take to get this legislation on the books. How many of our children will die before we do something about it?

If you have children, hug them and tell them that you love them. It may be the last time you say it to them.

The only thing I can think of right is to vote in November. Regardless of party or affiliation, if a candidate or incumbent does not support gun control, do not vote for them. Send the message that lives are more important than power.

May the memory of those murdered today be a blessing and finally be the impetus needed to get off our asses and fix this problem for good. Z”L.

P.S. I have no doubt that certain members of the press will use the fact that the allegation that the accused crossed the border illegally to once more further their own agenda.

P.P.S The fact that the shooting in the church in California is news to me tells me everything I need to know about where this nation is going.

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Filed under Mental Health, National News, New York City, Politics, Television

New Handbook for a Post-Roe America: The Complete Guide to Abortion Legality, Access, and Practical Support Book Review

Though Roe V. Wade has been the law of the land for nearly half a century, it has not had the same solid legal standing as other pieces of legislation. At both the national and state level, there have been many who have tried to either weaken it or destroy it completely.

In 2019, New Handbook for a Post-Roe America: The Complete Guide to Abortion Legality, Access, and Practical Support, by Robin Marty with a foreword by Amanda Palmer hit bookshelves. In short, this book is a complete resource for anyone who needs to seek an abortion should the procedure become illegal in the future. It contains lists of medical facilities and organizations, advice on how to start organizing, who to trust should abortion become a necessity, etc.

What I find to be scary is the necessity of this book. In our day and age, a woman’s right and ability to determine her future by choosing when and if to reproduce is chosen by someone else, i.e. a man. I hate that it is a necessity, but given the current climate in this country, this may be the only option available.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

New Handbook for a Post-Roe America: The Complete Guide to Abortion Legality, Access, and Practical Support is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Feminism, Books, National News

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted Book Review

If there is one thing we can hopefully agree on, it is that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is not as black and white as it appears to be on the surface. The truth is that there are grey areas that are not often explored or given time in the spotlight.

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted, by Daniel Sokatch, with illustrations by Christopher Noxon, was published last fall. This premise of the book is to answer as many questions as possible in a concise, readable, and understandable manner in regard to one of the world’s longest modern disputes. Starting in the distant past and ending in today’s world, Sokatch explores the history of the region, the people who have called it home, and the arguments that have lasted generations.

I have mixed feelings about this book. While he highlights the antisemitism that has, unfortunately, been part and parcel of Jewish history, I think he gives the haters too much latitude. While I am again hoping that the consensus is that there has been too much destruction and loss on both sides, I am disheartened that the author ignores the many times that real attempts for peace have been shot down by the Palestinians.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, International News, Judaism, World News

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers Movie Review

There seems to be a rule that in every generation, Hollywood looks to the past and uses nostalgia as a reason to reinvigorate old IPs.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is one of the newest releases from DisneyPlus.Thirty years after the original series has ended, they are living far from the limelight. Chip (John Mulaney) has a desk job. Dale (Andy Samberg) is still trying to cling to his past. When their old teammate Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) is kidnapped, they have to put their animosity aside to work together. Assisting them is Ellie (KiKi Layne), a cop who is determined to solve the case.

First of all, shoutout to the homage to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It is a subtle touch, but if you know, you know. I loved that Chip, who is the straight man is still in traditional 2D animation while out there Dale is in the form of modern animation.

The best thing about the film is that it appeals to both adults and kids. For those of us who remember the cartoon back in the day, there is humor that the grownups will get but might go over the heads of younger audiences. There are also easter eggs and cameos that may require repeat viewing to catch. It has the flavor of its predecessor while also standing on its own as a sequel.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

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P.S. The show’s theme song is a total earworm. Just an FYI in case it gets into your head as it is now in mine.

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Filed under DisneyPlus, Movie Review, Movies

So You Want to End Abortion…

There are many people in this country and around the world who believe that abortion is both illegal and immoral. If this is what you believe, this is what has to be done to stop it entirely.

  • Teach our boys and men to respect women.
  • Break down all of the boundaries that still prevent females from achieving everything they want to achieve. An educated woman with a solid career is more likely to have a child when she is financially and emotionally ready to be a mother.
  • Upon reaching puberty, all boys are required by law to have a vasectomy. When they have proven that they can properly take care of their offspring, the vasectomy is reversed.
  • If an unplanned pregnancy occurs (whether via wanted or unwanted sex) and the man refuses to take responsibility, use law enforcement to ensure that both the mother and child are taken care of until the child turns eighteen. If he still refuses, cut his junk off.
  • Ensure that every child is given age-appropriate sex education.
  • Make birth control easily accessible without charging an arm and a leg.
  • Ensure that every pregnant woman has easy access to affordable and reliable medical care until she gives birth. After the baby is born, make sure that the parents can do the same for pediatric care.
  • If the mother and/or parents are in a financial/employment bind, the government is responsible for providing additional support. This includes housing, food, etc.
  • Reduce the cost of daycare to be proportional to the salaries of the adults in the home.
  • From the moment they are born, each child is guaranteed a well-balanced education from pre-school all the way up to college. If they choose to go for an advanced degree, that is on them.
  • If the youngster is unable to be raised within the bosom of their family and has to be put into social services, remove the identity labels that prevent some from fostering and/or adopting the minor.
  • Add mental health screenings as part of the regular medical checkup. If there is supplemental help is needed, it is marked as preventative by the health insurance companies and charged as such.
  • If abortion is determined as necessary by a medical health professional, give the family room to consider their options and do not judge them if the decision is made to end the pregnancy.

P.S. Did you hear that a good amount of Republicans in the Senate voted no on a bill that would help with the baby formula shortage? So much for pro-life.

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Filed under Feminism, Mental Health, Politics

A League of Their Own Character Review: Walter Harvey

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last weekend. There is only so much that can be done in a day.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the novel A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you watched the movie. 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 a businessperson starts a new venture, the outcome is unknown. The only objective is to increase the bottom line. In A League of Their Own, Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) is the CEO of a candy company. With the men away fighting in World War II, he sees an opportunity in helping to establish the AAGPBL. Though he sees an economic opportunity, he does not know that he is creating an important crack in the glass ceiling.

When the teams are not doing as well as hoped, Walter and the other owners want to fold. But Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn) sees its potential and takes over running the organization, creating the success that the original owners could not see.

Starts at 3:39

Walter is both a man of his time and a CEO whose job is to keep his company open. He cannot understand or see that what he is doing is opening the door for future generations of women to spread their wings.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

This will be my last character review post for A League of Their Own. Come back next weekend to find out the next set of characters that I will be reviewing,

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, History, Movie Review, Movies

Cyrano de Bergerac Review

Cyrano de Bergerac is the tale of unrequited love and finding the courage to tell the one you love how you feel.

The newest adaptation is playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn. Told in a spoken word/hip-hop/Hamilton style, James McAvoy plays the title character. Evelyn Miller is Roxanne, the woman he loves, but is unable to reveal his feelings due to his unusually long nose. Eben Figueiredo is Christian, the young soldier who Cyrano uses to express his love.

My main reason for wanting to see this show is McAvoy. He is one of those actors who cannot be pegged as a certain character type. That being said, this version is not for the purists. It’s a creative take on the story that we all know. Beyond the unorthodox re-telling is that McAvoy is not wearing a prosthetic nose. This makes sense because even the most conventionally attractive of people are likely to harbor insecurities of some sort.

My problem with the play is that the first half is just a little too long and despite the excellent performances, I was not as impressed as I thought I would be. There is something missing that I cannot put my finger on that would have made the show that much better

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Cyrano de Bergerac is playing at BAM until May 22, 2022. Check the website for tickets and showtimes.

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Filed under Broadway Play Review, Music

Thoughts On the Discontinuation of the iPod

The technology of a certain era can tell us a lot about the world in which it existed.

In the early 2000s, Apple released the iPod. This little device changed the music industry, allowing fans to pick and choose which songs they wanted to buy and/or listen to. Last week, the company announced that the product is being discontinued.

I bought my iPod more than ten years ago. It lasted until earlier this year when the battery died and I had to replace it. I’m not one of those people who, technology-wise, is brand loyal only to Apple. I’m more of a mix and match kind of person. What I love about this device is its simplicity, its ingenuity, and how much it can do than simply play music.

I came into this world in the early 1980s, when records were still king. By the time I was in junior high in the early 1990s, everyone was listening to music via tapes. Flash forward another ten years and CDs were giving way to mp3s and other early forms of digital music. When I was in college, Napster and LimeWire were the rage, even if their legal footing was on shaky ground.

Saying goodbye to the iPod is not going to be easy. It represents not just a generational change in technology, but also how our world has changed overall in the last twenty years or so.

RIP iPod, thanks for the years and the memories.

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Filed under Life, Music, National News, Thoughts On....

Flashback Friday: Hope Floats (1998)

After heartbreak, the obvious thing would be to bury your head in the sand and pretend that nothing is wrong. But at a certain point, we have to make a decision as to whether we want to move on or let that heartbreak control us.

In the 1998 rom-com, Hope Floats, Birdie Pruitt (Sandra Bullock) is a former beauty queen whose husband has just revealed on national TV that he is cheating on her. Once the divorce papers are signed, Birdie moves back to her hometown with her daughter Bernice (Mae Whitman). Facing the gossip mongers and former classmates who are loving her public downfall, she runs into an old friend. Justin Matisse (Harry Connick Jr.) has had a thing for Birdie for years and has yet to verbalize his feelings.

As they spend more time together and Birdie starts to open up, she starts to see the possibility of where this relationship could go. But before they can go from platonic to romantic, she has Bernice to consider. Will Birdie be able to date again while being the mother her daughter needs or will she remain in the cocoon of what was?

I really like this movie. It’s a classic 1990’s Sandra Bullock romantic comedy. Though we know how the story will eventually end, I find this film to be charming, entertaining, and deeper than others within the genre.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies