Tag Archives: New York City

Words I Thought I Would Never Say: I Agree With Bill de Blasio

It takes an adult to admit when they are wrong. It also takes an adult to be able to criticize your peers in a way that is meant is meant to be helpful and thoughtful without veering into cruelty or making the other person feel small.

On Friday, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was a guest on WNYC‘s The Brian Lehrer Show. The reason for his appearance was an article he wrote in The Atlantic magazine. Both in the article and during the interview, he discussed what he did wrong during his time in office and how the Democrats can learn from his mistakes.

De Blasio is 100% correct. If we are to ensure that the Democratic party wins in 2022, 2024, and beyond, they have to speak plainly. From the President on down, they have to state clearly what they have done for the people of this country and what they would like to do. The time for pussyfooting around and playing nice is over.

While he was in office, I wrote quite a few posts about the man. Like many who live here, I had an intense dislike for his politics and the decisions he made as Mayor. I even went so far as to vote Republican when he ran for the second time. That being said, I can respect someone who publicly recognizes their imperfections and wants to prevent another person from making the errors they made.

I can only hope that his advice will be heeded.

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Filed under National News, New York City, Podcast, Politics, WNYC

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy: A Reluctant Royals Novella Book Review

Love lost and found ( a la Jane Austen‘s Persuasion), is a common narrative within the romance genre.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy: A Reluctant Royals Novella, by Alyssa Cole, is a novella within the world of the Reluctant Royals series. While on a brief and very needed vacation, Likotsi had the good fortune to meet Fabiola, the potential love of her life via a dating app. But it ended before it could really begin.

A few months later, they meet up randomly on a stalled subway train car in New York City. Fabiola asks for just a few minutes of Likotsi’s time, to explain why she walked away. Needing an answer, Likotski agrees. That opens the door to getting to know one another once more and a second chance for love.

I really liked this book. The narrative was well-written and intriguing. I loved that the main characters are LGBTQ. It added new flavors to the story while keeping up the hallmarks of the romance novel that fans expect. I just would have loved it if the author would have expanded into a full novel instead of a shorter novella. There was so much potential that was there, but not used as it could have been.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy: A Reluctant Royals Novella is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Jane Austen, New York City, Persuasion

Playing with Myself Book Review

Overnight success is a misnomer. What is really is years of hard work and a few moments of luck that open the door to seeing a dream becoming reality.

Randy Rainbow‘s new autobiography, Playing with Myself, was released last month. Born in the suburbs of Long Island, he spent his childhood in both New York and Florida. Rainbow was a chubby, introverted child who was exposed to classic Broadway musicals at an early age. After coming out in his late teens, he returned to New York City and dreamt of being on Broadway.

When that didn’t come to pass, Rainbow took the out-of-work actors’ career route: working both at a restaurant and as a receptionist. Using his MacBook and the news as his raw material, he started creating videos. His career took off at the start of the 2016 Presidential election and the announcement that you know who was the Republican nominee. From there, he became the satirist, comic, and musical genius that has kept us laughing and sane for the last six years.

I loved this book. Rainbow is candid, funny, and authentic. He is uniquely himself in a way that is both universal, endearing, and charming. There is something universal in his struggle that I think we can all learn from while getting a few giggles in the process. And if anyone is still asking, that is his real name.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Playing with Myself is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Music, New York City, Politics, Randy Rainbow

A Prince on Paper Book Review

Love sometimes comes when we least expect it. It also comes from the one person who we do not see coming.

A Prince on Paper, by Alyssa Cole, is the third book in the Reluctant Royals series. Published in 2019, it follows the love story of Nya Jerami and Johan von Braustein. After a family scandal, Nya left home for New York City. Returning for a wedding, she discovers that she is not the only passenger on the plane. Johan, whose stepfather is the King of Liechtienbourg does not exactly have the cleanest of reputations. Johan’s best friend is the groom and Nya’s cousin is the bride. Their first meeting does not go well.

In order to protect his country and his younger half-brother’s future as King, Johan fake proposes to Nya. She accepts, knowing that it is nothing more than a ruse. But as they spend time together, the engagement becomes real, as do their feelings. The question is, are they bold enough to reveal what is in their heart or will they walk away?

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On a scale of 1-10, the hotness factor is a six, whereas the previous books in the series were a nine or ten. However, Cole’s writing is so easy to read that it made that number not seem so bad. I appreciated that both Nya and Johan came with emotional baggage, which made their relationship seem real and fraught with enough complications that I needed to read on.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

A Prince on Paper is available wherever books are sold.

P.S. I love that Johan is a redhead. It’s about time that redheaded men got some love.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Fairy Tales

The Fans Strike Back Exhibition Review

Though the Star Wars saga is only forty-plus years old, it feels as if it has been part of our collective culture for eternity.

The Fans Strike Back recently opened in New York City. This nearly 25,000 feet exhibition is by and for the fans. Containing numerous figurines, lightsabers, life-size figures, vehicles, etc, it is a trip through the world of Star Wars and the fandom that has given rise to a universe that we all love. Starting with Episode One: The Phantom Menance, we walk through the narrative, hitting all of the major plot points and feeling this delicious energy that is nothing short of infectious.

One thing I do have to point out is that the pieces with the exhibit strictly come from the fans. Nothing has come from either Lucasfilm or Disney. That being said, it is wonderful. I walked in with a smile on my face and walked out with a smile on my face. Perfect for both children and adults, it is an absolutely wonderful experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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The Fans Strike Back is located at 526 6th Ave in New York City. It is open until July 26th. Check the website for ticket times and prices.

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Filed under Movies, New York City, Star Wars

Just Getting Rid of the Homeless Camps in NYC is Not Enough

I think it is pretty safe to say that the homeless issue is a worldwide problem. Though the solutions seem simple enough to execute, the reality is that it comes down to deeds, not words.

Over the last couple of weeks, New York City Mayor Eric Adams decided that the way for the city to solve the problem in regard to homeless citizens was to purge the streets of encampments that have popped up in various locations.

While I understand that aggressive action is needed, this is nothing more than kicking the can down the road. The issues that contribute to someone living on the streets seem enormous: mental health, drug addiction, structural racism, lack of affordable housing, unsafe shelters, etc.

The truth is that while they are daunting, they are not impossible to solve. Now granted, I’m not an expert, but simple logic seems to be the cure for what ails us. If we (by we I mean both the government and the individual citizen) deal with the respective issues that contribute to the overall problem, then it goes away. But if continue to say we are going to do something and not follow through, then the outcome remains the same.

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Thoughts On the Latest Health/Political News: The Fourth Covid Shot, Insulin Prices, and NYC Celebrities Vaccine Mandate Exception

At the end of the day, our health is our most important asset. Without it, nothing else matters.

Last week, one of the bills that Congress was scheduled to vote on was the possible reduction of the price of insulin. Americans living with diabetes can potentially spend up to $1,000 a month on the drug. If the bill had passed, the cost would have been capped at $35 a month. As expected, some members of the Republican party voted against it.

I hate to use the word “hypocrite” because it is overused when it comes to the GOP. But there is no other way to describe them. We are not talking about a bottle of aspirin that is opened occasionally due to a headache. The choice between taking lifesaving medication and keeping a roof over your head/food on the table should not be necessary. Anyone with even a modicum of human decency would recognize that.

In Covid-19 news, the CDC has announced a new recommendation for a fourth shot. At this point, the priority is people over the age of fifty or anyone of any age who is immunocompromised. But we should all get it eventually. I get it, this virus is still new. But a fourth shot? Does this mean that we will have to get one every six months for the rest of our lives?

In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams announced two weeks ago that performers and athletes are exempt from the vaccine mandate. While I understand the economic benefits, it feels like it is half-finished. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. The basketball player making the winning jump shot at Madison Square Garden and/or the actor taking the final bow at the end of the Broadway show should have the same status as a member of the cleaning crew. It just creates a bad taste in the proverbial mouth and reinforces the class status.

We forget that our health is paramount, until, for many of us, it is too late. Unfortunately, it took a pandemic to remind us of this fact. It is a reminder that we can never forget.

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Filed under National News, New York City, Politics, Thoughts On....

A Duke by Default Book Review

Not everyone is born with the knowledge of what they want to do with their lives. Some travel on a figurative winding path before making this discovery.

The 2018 romance novel A Duke by Default, by Alyssa Cole, is the second book in the Reluctant Royals Series. At the age of thirty, New York City Socialite Portia Hobbs has yet to settle down, in both the professional and romantic sense. Feeling like she is a disappointment to everyone around her, Portia applies and is accepted for an apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland.

Tavish McKenzie does not help running his armory, especially from a woman like Portia. Even if she is willing to get her hands figuratively dirty in running the business. His first response is to give Portia busy work while fighting his attraction to her. Their relationship, both in and out of the office shifts when she discovers that Tavish is the heir to a dukedom.

Turning Tavish into a gentleman is the easy part. Dealing with the media onslaught and their burgeoning romance is another thing entirely.

I enjoyed this book. Cole writes in a way that combines the natural elements of the genre and modern narrative that does not feel predictable. Obviously, the reader knows how the story is going to end. Tavish and Portia are such interesting characters that I was immediately hooked. I also appreciated that Portia is not just looking for love, she just found it along the way of finding herself.

Do I recommend it? Yes

A Duke by Default is avaliable wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Fairy Tales, Feminism, New York City

Sisters in Arms: A Novel of the Daring Black Women Who Served During World War II Book Review

During war, the one upshot (if there ever was one) is that with the men on the battlefield, women take on roles that otherwise would be denied to them.

Sisters in Arms: A Novel of the Daring Black Women Who Served During World War II, by Kaia Alderson, was published last year. As World War II rages on, the powers that be in the American military have opened the door for women to serve. Known as the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), these soldiers may not have been on the front lines, but their contributions cannot be ignored.

In the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, two young women have joined up. Grace Steele and Eliza Jones may come from the same part of the city, but that is the only thing they initially have in common. Grace is a musical prodigy whose career has been sidelined by a family tragedy. Eliza, who works for her father’s newspaper, wants to be a respected reporter. Instead, she is sidelined to beats that are “appropriate” for a female.

They are not only the first women to officially join the army, they are also among the first African-American women to sign up. After basic training, Grace and Eliza form and lead the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. On top of doing their jobs, they also have to deal with prejudice that comes with their gender and skin color.

When they are finally sent to Europe, Grace, Eliza, and the rest of their battalion are thrilled to finally be able to serve their nation, regardless of the danger.

I loved this book. I came into the book knowing that there were women in the military during the war. But my knowledge did not extend beyond that basic fact. After I finished it, I felt a sense of pride. We all know the promises that the country makes and the half-truths that are the day-to-day reality. But when we open the door to change, the ripples can be nothing short of world-changing.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Sisters in Arms: A Novel of the Daring Black Women Who Served During World War II is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, New York City

A Princess in Theory Book Review

We all get those emails that claim to come from an unknown foreign royal promising a fortune. Logic dictates that it is a scam and should be ignored. But what happens when the email is legit?

The 2018 romance novel, A Princess in Theory, is the first of three novels in the Reluctant Royals Series. Written by Alyssa Cole, the narrative starts off with this kind of email. When Naledi Smith starts receiving emails stating that she is betrothed to an African Prince, she writes it off as junk. As soon as she disregards it, it comes back to her, again and again. Raised in foster care, she learned early that the only person she can rely on is herself. Between grad school and her part-time job as a waitress, the last thing she has time for is a boyfriend.

Prince Thabiso will one day inherit the crown of the fictional African country of Thesolo. Now that he is a man, the next thing he must do is marry. The young lady who was chosen as his future Queen disappeared years ago. Using the information that he has, Thabiso finds her in New York City. Knowing that Naledi has no memory of him or their planned future, he pretends to be “Jamal”, wanting to experience life on his own terms and be loved for his person and not his title.

The attraction and chemistry are instant, but Thabiso knows that he will have to come clean eventually. Will Naledi accept the truth and his true self or will she walk away?

The best way to describe the narrative is Coming to America meets the Prince and Me with a pinch of Black Panther. I don’t normally read this genre But this one is totally worth the time. It is romantic, sexy, and oh so hot. As the female lead, Naledi is everything I would want in a protagonist. She is smart, driven, capable, but also willing to open to the idea of love when it comes around.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

A Princess in Theory is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Fairy Tales, Feminism, New York City