Category Archives: Thoughts On….

Takeaways from the State of the Union

The State of the Union tells us everything we need to know about the President.

Last night was President Biden‘s first State of the Union.

First of all, the fact that there were two women sitting behind him is nothing short of awesome.

If there was one word to describe the speech, it is ambitious. Some might say a little too ambitious, given what Covid-19 has done to us, the only way out maybe to go big or go home. Will it require compromise from both sides of the aisle? Absolutely. Will it be easy? To call the process difficult is an understatement. As corny as it sounds, the path back to some sort of normalcy is working together.

After the President spoke, Senator Tim Scott spoke for the Republicans. If their plan was to use Senator Scott to show how how diverse they are, it fell flat on their face.

The fact that they claimed that Biden and the Democrats are responsible for the political and cultural division in the country is pure bullshit. The cherry on top was the idea that racism is dead in the United States. I have two words for him: Derek Chauvin.

After 4 years of you know who, Biden is a breath of fresh air. Though the work ahead of him and his administration is far from easy, I am confident that America’s future is bright in their hands.

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Thoughts On the West Side Story Trailer

Among the thousands of stories that have been written throughout humanity’s history, there is a reason that some have come down through the generations while others have been forgotten. Romeo and Juliet is one of these tales.

On Sunday, the trailer for the West Side Story reboot was released.

I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but this trailer is just what I need to entice me to see the movie when it comes out in December. The colors are bright and inviting. Director Steven Spielberg was wise enough to honor the original 1961 film via some of the visual aspects and hire Rita Moreno, who played Anita. Moreno singing “Somewhere” in the trailer is the perfect link between both adaptations.

If nothing else, the release of West Side Story is timely. Given what is going on in our country and our world these days, we need a reminder that love is possible, if we are willing to do the work.

West Side Story will be in theaters December 10th, 2021.

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Thoughts On Yom HaShoah 2021 and the Escalating Attacks on the AAPI Community

The Holocaust did not start with ghettos, gas chambers, and concentration camps. That was the end of the process. The beginning started with prejudice, lies and dehumanization. Today is Yom HaShoah.

It’s not exactly a secret that the AAPI community has been the target of numerous hate crimes as of late. The difference between the early days World War II and now is that there is hope that we can learn from the past.

During the war, as countries around the world closed their borders, there was one nation that opened her arms to Jewish refugees: China. Though the Shanghai Ghetto was dirty and overcrowded, it saved the lives of those who made it their new home. The documentary, Harbor from the Holocaust, told the story of the Jews who lived there.

It is during times of trouble that our actions reveal our true characters. The Chinese people and her government, only saw that fellow human beings were in trouble. In spite of their own troubles, they opened their collective doors to strangers.

The truth is that we can live with our neighbors who are different. It just takes a heart, a brain, and the want to see past the stereotypes.

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Thoughts On the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Interview

The fairy tale books we are read to when we are young present images of royal perfection. Though the characters exist within this world have problems, those issues are resolved by the time the story ends. But that is fiction. But, as we all now, real life is not as simple.

Last night, the interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aired on CBS. Sitting down with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex explored issues relating to their marriage, mental health, the overwhelmingly negative and racist press coverage, and the decision to step back from the Queen’s inner circle.

The overwhelming message I got is that the family, known as “the firm” is an institution that is more concerned with the external image than the well-being of individual members. The treatment of Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, contains more than enough evidence of that fact. The thing about intuitions is that while tradition is all well and good, one must roll with the times. Just because something was rolled under the rug two or three generations ago does not mean that rolling it under the rug now is going to make it any easier to deal with.

I appreciated both Meghan and Harry’s honesty. It must have been cathartic to get all of that off of their chest, especially in front of an international audience. I also appreciate that instead of being a tabloid-ish tell-all, there were some boundaries. Harry could have easily revealed who made the awful comment about his son’s potential complexion. Instead, he chose to keep that information private.

I have nothing but admiration for the both of them. The problem with a toxic environment is that it is often too familiar. It takes a lot of courage to step into the unknown and even more courage to emotionally move on from what is keeping us from living a full and happy life.

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Thoughts On the Parkland Shooting, Three Years Later

Our high school years are supposed to be our formative years, both inside and outside of the classroom. These are the years we experience many firsts that will impact the rest of our lives.

Three years ago, the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, were robbed of those experiences.

Though we cannot go back, we can move forward. We can and should enact national gun laws to keep firearms out of the hands of potential criminals. Those with mental health issues should be treated as those with physical health issues.

May the memories of those killed that day forever be a blessing. Z”l.

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Thoughts On Joss Whedon and the Toxic Workplace Accusation

I don’t know about anyone else, but one of the things I have learned in my professional life is that one’s relationship with their boss can make or break how you feel about your job.

Last week, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel star Charisma Carpenter accused the show’s creator and showrunner Joss Whedon of creating a toxic workplace.

Since the news broke, her BVTS and Angel costars have banded together, supporting Carpenter and stepping back from the man who helped to build their careers.

Some people think that just because they are an artistic genius or at the top of their professional field, they can treat their staff like shit. But, the reality is that a television show or any product is rarely created by one person. It takes a team, and if there is negative energy coming from the top, it will quickly engulf everyone invovled.

The sad irony is that both BVTS and Angel brought strong female characters to the forefront of pop culture. Instead of elevating the women who worked for him, he treated them like the monsters of the week treated the characters.

I used to respect Joss. His work as a writer and creator is undeniable. But that is never an excuse for thinking that you can treat another person like they are dirt on the bottom of your shoe.

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Thoughts on International Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

Democracy, as Americans have recently learned the hard way, is not guaranteed or promised. It must be cherished, protected, and stood up for when necessary. The same could be said for human rights.

Today is International Holocaust Memorial Day. Some may say that we no longer need this day of remembrance, it so far in the past that we can move on. The hard and sad truth is that we cannot move on. Eighty years after the end of World War II, anti-Semitism (and prejudice is general) is as alive and well now as it was then.

Back in the summer of 2019, I went to the Auschwitz museum in New York City. If there is one message that is clear, it is that both the perpetrators and victims were normal people, as normal as you and I.

I recently finished watching the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. It takes place in the fictional Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian patriarchy in which women are second class citizens and non-conformists are enslaved or killed. Though it could be called dystopian science fiction novel, the truth is that this world is closer to our reality than we think it is. The riot in Washington D.C. three weeks ago was a cold slap in the face and a harsh reminder of that truth.

The only way to prevent another Holocaust of any group of people is education, respecting diversity, and remembering the past.

May the memory of those who were murdered because of who they were (my own relatives included) forever be a blessing.

Z”L.

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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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Thoughts On the Bridgerton Trailer

There is nothing like a good BPD (British Period Drama). It has the power to sweep the audience into another world and for a short time, take them away from their everyday life.

The full trailer for the new Shondaland Netflix series, Bridgerton, premiered earlier today. Based on the series of books by Julia Quinn, the audience is introduced to the influential Bridgerton family living in Regency England. As the program progresses, they deal with the ups and downs that are unique to that world and that era.

The characters and the narrative are in the vein of Jane Austen, but the stories are not specifically based on any Austen novel.

I am intrigued by the casting of Julie Andrews as Lady Whistledown, the all knowing gossiping narrator who, according to the trailer is only heard, but not seen.

From a writing perspective, the couple pretending to be in love to get others off their back is one of those storylines that is used semi-regularly. The question is if the writer(s) make it their own or just copy what has been done before.

I am really excited for program. I can only hope that the promises made in the trailer are kept.

Bridgerton premieres on Netflix on December 25.

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Thought On the First Night of Chanukah and the First Anniversary of the Jersey City Shooting

History is not always made by the powerful. It is sometimes made by those who have been pushed to the margins of society. It is easy to remain quiet and just go about your business. It is infinitely harder to stand up for your rights and beliefs.

Today is the first night of Chanukah.

Today is also the first anniversary of the shooting in Jersey City. Motivated by antisemitism, the killers walked into a kosher grocery store and started shooting. They killed four innocent people, two of whom were targeted because they were Jewish.

As I write this post, I write it in honor of the victims who are not here to celebrate the holidays with us this year.

May their memories forever be a blessing.

P.S. I thought I would lighten the mood a little, because after all, Chanukah is a celebration of overcoming adversity and the push to assimilate. Thank you, Daveed Diggs for making us laugh and smile in this time of darkness.

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