Those of us who are of a certain age and older will forever remember that day and the following days after the towers fell. I will never forget coming home for fall break from college in October of 2001 and craning my neck to see the remains of the towers as the bus drove into New York City.
I sometimes wonder what the kids who were very young or not yet born (Gen Z) think and know about September 11th. Especially that tomorrow is 18 years since the attack. An entire generation has grown up with 9/11 as just another aspect of their lives.
I wonder if they see it as living history or just as history in the same way that my generation sees Vietnam or the assassination of JFK (for context, I am in my late 30’s). I would hope that they understand how significant and life changing that day was for this country. I hope that they mourn and remember those who 18 years ago tonight, had no idea that their time on Earth was growing short.
May the memories of those who perished that day and of those who sacrificed their time, the health and ultimately their lives in the days after 9/11 to be a blessing to us all. Z”l.
A President, or any political leader for that matter, has, well, a lot on their plate. The last thing I hope any of them would need or want is unnecessary feuds.
You know is not surprisingly the exception to this rule.
His latest feud is with musician John Legend and his model/television personality/author wife, Chrissy Teigen. This latest feud is due Legend’s appearance on MSNBC during a referendum on criminal justice reform.
Is it me, or am I the only one who is getting tired of these feuds? When he was just another private businessman, he could have these ridiculous public feuds and no one gave a sh*t. But this man is no longer just another private businessman, he is President of the United States. He is responsible to this country and the voters, who like it or not, need him to lead this country.
P.S. I think he has much bigger fish to fry, especially one called Hurricane Dorian.
When one thinks of the bedroom of the average teenager, they think of a room covered with posters of a favorite performer. In the late 1980’s, Sarfraz Manzoor (the author of the memoir Greetings from Bury Park) was like any other teenager with one exception: his love of Bruce Springsteen‘s music was more of an obsession than the typical teenage fan.
His story is told in the new movie,Blinded by the Light. The late 1980’s was not an easy time to live in the UK. Economic and social unrest was the news of the day. The late Margaret Thatcher was running for another term as Prime Minister. In Luton, 16 year old Javed (Viveik Kalra) is your average teenage boy. He wants to write, but his strict Pakistani immigrant father, Malik (Kulvinder Ghir) has other ideas about his son’s future.
Then Javed is introduced to the music of Bruce Springsteen and his world changed forever. But he is caught between the expectations of his family and his own idea of what his future will look like. It takes his teacher, Ms. Clay (Hayley Atwell) to convince Javed to go for his dream, but at what cost?
I really love this film. I love that it speaks to all of us, regardless of age. The expectation of what everyone else expects of you vs following your own heart is a story that has been told time and again. But in the context of this film, this basic narrative with added layers of race, relationships and music, it becomes a story that is both personal and universal.
Success starts and ends with hard work. Talent is great, but talent is like a rowboat without oars. Hard work is the oars that will propel the rowboat to it’s final destination.
On the outside, Kodi Lee does not look like he will be successful as a performer. Blind and autistic, he relies on his mother for more than most people his age do. But he has a gift for music and the drive to become a performer, which was obvious to anyone who has been watching this season of America’s Got Talent.
His rendition of A Bridge Over Troubled Water was nothing short of stunning. I will be shocked if he does not win this season.
If Kodie Lee, blind and autistic, can see his dream become a reality, then so can I, so you can you, so can anybody. We have just have to believe in ourselves and be willing to do the hard work. Neither is a guarantee that our dreams will become a reality, but a dream is just that without the the willingness to sweat a little.
He sounded Presidential, but in reality, he was the same hypocrite on a different day.
He talked about ending racism, white supremacy and unifying the country. But his words are sound and fury signifying nothing.
He talked about the mental health of the accused gunmen, which personally offended me. To say that the accused in both shootings are mentally ill, without knowing all of the facts is derogatory to all of us who have the unwanted friend that is mental illness.
He also talked about how violent video games contributed to real life violence. This has been proven wrong time and again. And yet, politicians will use that an excuse for the lack of real reform of gun laws.
Just after the Columbine massacre, some were saying that the music of Marilyn Manson was to blame for the shooting. I wish those in the leadership positions, whether in a religious role or a political role, would put on their big boy/big pants and take a real look at what caused the accused to kill innocent people.
Those of us who are of a certain age and older remember the dark days after 9/11. Then President George W. Bush stood on top of the rubble with his arm around a first responder and addressed the nation. Putting aside partisan politics, he also spoke of unity and coming together. That speech felt authentic. Yesterday’s speech was not.
May the memory of those murdered be a blessing and may we finally enact sensible gun legislation so we never have another weekend like we just had.
*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. 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 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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
There has always been the debate on whether it is better to see the world in black and white or color. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Odafin “Fin” Tutuola (played by actor and musician Ice-T), sees his world and his job as black and white. That view came from his early upbringing on the streets of New York City. As a young boy, he watched as the city rioted after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and saw his mother killed by one of his father’s business rivals.
As a cop first in narcotics and then in special victims, Fin sees the world as black and white. If the accused is guilty, then he or she deserves whatever punishment they receive. This point of view often led him to clash with his colleagues, who saw the shades of grey in the cases they were assigned. Outside of work, Fin sought to keep his private life and his job separate. But he eventually opened up to his partners, who became as close as family.
To sum it up: Sometimes a character is defined by his or her point of view. Fin sees his world and his job as black and white. Which is fine, because that works for the character. But there is also more to him than just a cut and dry perspective on the law. He has a big heart for those who he cares about and is willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
There are certain movies that no matter how old you get, they instantly take you back to childhood.
One of those films is The Muppet Movie. This year is the film’s 40th anniversary.
Kermit the Frog (voiced by the late Jim Henson) is happily living in his swamp, dreaming of the day when he is a star in Hollywood. While playing on his banjo and singing his signature song “Rainbow Connection“, an agent approaches Kermit about pursuing a career in show business. Intrigued by the idea, he leaves his swamp and heads to Los Angeles.
On route to California, Kermit meets his soon to be best friends: Miss Piggy (voiced by Frank Oz), Fozzie Bear (also voiced by Frank Oz) and The Great Gonzo (Dave Goelz). He also meets Doc Hopper (the late Charles Durning), who will do anything to convince Kermit to be the spokes-frog for his Frog Legs chain restaurant.
This movie has humor, heart, nostalgia and of course, one of greatest final numbers of any movie musical.
I think it says something that decades after a film is released, it is remembered as fondly as The Muppet Movie is. It has entertained four decades of young audiences; I hope that it entertains young audiences for decades to come.
Politics can be perceived as a game of favorites. The question that I often ask, is even though we agree with a particular politician, are we bold enough to stand up when we disagree with them?
We all know that you know is if nothing else, a slick salesman who knows what to say and how to say it to seal the deal. There is a certain similarity between sales and politics. The difference, however, is that politics has real world and possibly long term consequences while a bad sale is normally just that.
Randy Rainbow’s latest video is entitled SUCKERS – Randy Rainbow Song Parody. Spoofing the Jonas Brothers song, Sucker, this video perfectly illustrates how blinded you know who’s followers are.
In watching this video, it makes me question if this experiment that is the American democracy will exist in the future. A country in which one person rules without question is not a democracy. My fear that there are too many people who for whatever reason are blinded by pretty sales pitch instead of seeing him for the huckster salesman that he is.
Many movies start off with the premise of “what if” and go on from there. It is up to the screenwriter(s) to make the “what if” narrative feel new and alive instead of boring and predictable.
In the new film,Yesterday, Jack (Himesh Patel) is a singer-songwriter who just can’t get a break. One of his only fans is his long time bestie and manager Ellie (Lily James). Though he yearns to be a professional musician, he earns his bread by working at a local big box store. Then there is blackout all over the world and Jack is hit by a bus.
When he wakes up, he discovers that The Beatles have been erased from music history. Taking advantage of his knowledge, Jack starts to see his music career become a reality. But at what cost to his conscious and his relationship with Ellie?
Yesterday is charming, engaging and insightful. The music is obviously catchy. Jack’s arc over the course of the film is both cinematic and down to earth. I also appreciated the color blind casting of Patel in the lead role. As both actor and singer, Patel brings a level of reality to this performance in this otherwise out there world that his character inhabits.