Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wanting Less in 2017

These look yummy, right?
Another new year is almost here, one full of clean calendar pages totally unstained by cross-outs of cancelled plans, and Mitch and I are bracing ourselves by staying home, which is fine since we attended a pre-New Year's Eve party last night and that's enough for me, not being much of a party animal. I don't even know if I had a good time or not, since I just don't get what is supposed to go on at those things and how you're supposed to behave.

Anyway, I found something exciting amid all the typical party food-- the regulation veggies and dips and chips and hummus and shrimp, etc. It was a platter of those pigs-in-a-poke (a.k.a. pigs in a blanket), little franks wrapped in pastry. I love those and never have them, probably because we never had them when I was a kid since they were deemed "goyish" by my snooty, kosher family. (Many kosher people are snooty, believing that they really do answer to a higher authority just like in those old Hebrew National hot dog commercials.) The ones they served last night were tasty although cold by the time I got to them, still they gave rise to my one and only new year's resolution: To make a batch of those babies, but make them better. And eat them when they're hot. With mustard, which almost goes without saying, but in case you're going to quote me I'll add that.

That's it. After all my reading on Buddhism and meditating and mindfulness I've concluded that the secret to happiness is lowering one's expectations, and so I'm starting right away.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Those Damn Russians

I finally figured out why I'm not losing weight. It's obviously the work of the Russians! I mean if they could throw an election in a foreign country, causing an experienced politician who has devoted her entire life to becoming the first woman in the White House, who stayed married to a cheating husband for years after it was clear their relationship was devoid of anything but political benefit leading to her eventual coronation, and who had every last Democratic older lady in her corner, losing to a man with no political experience whatsoever and who is sort of a doofus, let's face it, then how hard would it be for them to sabotage my earnest attempts to slim down?

Not hard at all, and actually there is no other possible explanation, just like with our election! I mean it's certainly not because I eat badly, having ice cream every so often and one night last week an entire bag, albeit a small one, of potato chips. No, it's the Russians for sure. I might as well get rid of all my size 8 jeans right now; I don't stand a chance against them. Damn that Putin!

Now I know how Hillary feels.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Final Days

This year is almost over, not that it really matters since it's all one day, but something that does matter and is calendar-related is if you want to be able to take a deduction on your taxes for your charitable donations, you have to write those checks or click "Donate" online by the end of the day on December 31. (And by the way, for those of you stricken with SCS, or Severe Cliche Syndrome, that last sentence is an example of the only acceptable use of the term "the end of the day.")

Hey, at least I'm not asking you to send me money to Kickstart something.
Another thing you might want to do is make a list of your resolutions for 2017, keeping in mind that most of them will be forgotten by mid-January due to binge-watching TV shows, an activity that wipes out fully half of your functioning brain cells. I know it makes you feel like part of something bigger, and you can talk about it with your friends instead of some other things that might be going on in your life, but it's really just a giant waste of time.

I don't do that (except that one time after my hip surgery with Grey's Anatomy when I was couch-ridden), having found other ways to waste my time, and in fact these days the only thing I binge on is weeping, mostly over the sad state of the world. My condition is called hyper-empathy and has no permanent cure but a little tab of Lorazepam keeps it at bay for four or five hours at a stretch. I love my Lorazepam almost as much as my morning coffee, although if push came to shove and I were forced to choose, I'd take the coffee, strong and black, and no that is not a racist comment.

But enough about me. We were talking about you and how little of your income you share with total strangers less fortunate than you. Come on, you know it's true. But you can fix that right now by sending a big chunk of money to any number of worthwhile causes. Trust me, you'll feel a lot better about yourself, and things in general, afterward. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Santa Trounces Jesus

Santa's got it all over the baby.
As an independent observer with no horse in this race, I must say that the buildup to this Christmas was even less Christmas-y than ever. I can't remember hearing any Christmas music playing anywhere out in public, and we got far fewer cards in the mail, and I never even lucked into a candy cane anywhere, whereas usually I come across a few here and there.

Personally, Jew or not, I baked some Christmas cookies for the local post office and we threw a holiday party for the neighbors, yet I never heard anyone say "Merry Christmas" and I never got one present from anyone, unless you count the handmade red and green potholders my neighbor brought to our party which I guess I should since they were the only gift I received. (Apparently my sister-in-law brought me a bottle of Chianti when she came for dinner a few nights ago but she never actually gave it to me, I only heard about it later on from my husband.)

This is all just leading up to the fact that I was stunned, shocked and somewhat appalled when I went to L. L. Bean's today and saw the veritable throngs of people clustered in long, long lines (reminiscent of those outside the box office for a Stones concert) at the Returns department. Really, the line just snaked on and on, folding in on itself several times the closer you got to the finish. I asked a few people if they were returning Christmas gifts they had received yesterday and every one of them, and some I hadn't even asked but who had overheard my question, shouted out, "Yes!"

So what gives? Are people really bad at buying gifts for their loved ones or do people just return things for the heck of it? Why not keep the thing and say, "Oh this dumb thing, my cousin (or aunt or granny or mom or brother or father or sister or friend) bought it for me one Christmas," and stick it away somewhere, and then after the cousin (or anyone on that list) dies, you'll be glad you did.

And what about The Baby Jesus? Not a peep about him anywhere; Santa gets way more press. In fact, on the highway driving into town today we passed about six of those digital signs posted to warn drivers about accidents and ice and snow, and they were all flashing: SANTA SEES YOU WHEN YOU'RE SPEEDING. Which is funny because it's far more likely that God sees you when you're speeding, but there was no mention of Him anywhere.

Best Left Unsaid

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Same Old Christmas Story

I outed Santa Claus!

We Jews are a lonely lot on Christmas: While our Christian friends are snuggled in front of a cozy fire, opening gifts and scarfing down plum pudding (I once dated an Episcopalian so I know), we sit huddled together on wooden benches, eating gefilte fish and reading aloud from the Torah.

Okay, not really, but that’s how it feels to me. Despite the growing commercialization of Hanukah, Christmas will always be Numero Uno. And despite my own participation in the festivities, baking  sugar cookies and mailing cards to distant friends, December 25th finds me bereft from dawn till dusk. There’s little to do but wait it out. Everything is closed except for the 7-11, and believe me, after the coffee and donuts and an hour or two scanning magazines, that’s pretty much played. As for TV, how many times can you watch Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed discover that “It’s a Wonderful Life” after all?

Growing up in the New York City suburbs in the late fifties, in the shadow of St. Agnes Cathedral, ours was one of only two Jewish families living on a street full of hardened Catholics. Holidays of any sort ignited full-blown block parties involving anyone who owned a Tupperware container. Naturally in such an environment, Christmas was a big deal, spawning blinking colored lights, glowing rooftop reindeer,\ and giant candy canes worthy of a Fellini dream sequence. Among all the holiday glitz, two houses remained dark: ours and the Shreibmans across the street.

It may sound ordinary, but what set Willow Street apart was that Santa Claus, in the flesh, visited every house on Christmas Eve. (Apparently our street was the rest stop on his round-the-world tour.) He did the whole milk-and-cookies bit, leaving behind a gift for every child. He even came to our house, he being an all-inclusive, non-denominational Santa.

One snowy Christmas when I was six, as I was hurrying home after a spirited snowball fight, I noticed something odd at Joanne Rooney’s house. There was a light on in the garage, and there was a man dressed only in his long underwear! Boy, he must be cold, I thought. Then I noticed, hey, he looks like Mr. Rooney, but when did he get so fat? He was stuffing a pillow into his suit, and wait a minute, that suit looks familiar. The sack of toys, the white beard, the black boots-- Jew or no Jew, I knew Santa when I saw him. Joanne Rooney’s father was Santa Claus!

Still reeling from the recent shock of learning that my mother was the “Tooth Fairy,” I plopped down into a snowdrift to catch my breath, all the while watching Mr. Rooney complete his transformation into Old Saint Nick.

Bursting with the news, I raced home and confronted my parents, demanding some fast answers about a certain Irishman and a red velvet suit. After some preliminary stalling, they caved, explaining that Mr. Rooney was “helping” Santa. “Promise you won’t tell any of the other kids,” my mother begged, a haunted look of terror in her eyes. “Do you promise?”

“Yeah, sure, I promise,” I said, but that promise didn’t apply to my very best friend who lived right next door! Suzanne was French, and certainly could be trusted: since returning from a Thanksgiving visit to her grandparents in France, she had all but forgotten English anyway. Unfortunately her bilingual older sister overheard me, and before you could say “Anderson Cooper” the story hit the street.

Of course there were the usual skeptics who assumed I was just bitter about the Holocaust, but most of the kids conducted their own research, pulling at Santa’s beard and asking if Joanne could come out and play. The jig was definitely up.

Things were tense on Willow Street for many months. The Goldbergs fled to friendlier waters in Boca Raton, and I took to playing with the kids from my Hebrew school class. Eventually I was forgiven, mostly because there were no applicants for my position as “permanent ender” in jump rope, and Santa Rooney kept his appointed rounds the next year. But he never stopped at our house again, leaving a void I experience anew every Christmas Eve. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t say a word.

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Here's a tip you can take to the bank: If you want to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, do not, I repeat, do not see this movie until well past the holidays, like February. In fact, if you ever want to feel merry or happy again anytime, don't see Manchester by the Sea ever. Alas, I did not have the benefit of such advice, having read professional reviews written by paid critics for respectable publications describing it as "the best movie of 2016" and "a must-see" and other stuff like that, so now I'm miserable.

Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck are sad, sad, so sad.

The plot is relentlessly depressing and I can't go through it again, so instead I'll do my shortcut version and briefly touch on some of the highlights:

1. Casey Affleck is amazing in the lead role as a severely depressed individual who is cut off from all hope. In flashbacks we see that he was happy once, and he's good then too. But wow, he is very convincing as a sick, sad lost puppy with no redeeming qualities, even though my husband said it was due to his way of stooping his shoulders and not because of any great acting ability.

2. Everyone else in the movie also turns in a great performance, so if you're into the acting, you might want to go just for that. (A two-minute cameo by Matthew Broderick is the only exception; he was truly bad.)

3. The locale of the movie is very picturesque, with lots of lovely water scenes and beautiful New England harbors and pretty houses in the background. One particular shot of a line of blackbirds flying across a light blue sky was nice, but it just lasted a few seconds.

4. There is no visible point to this film, although one result of seeing it is understanding that life really, really sucks for some people and maybe yours isn't so bad. So Merry Christmas after all!

Annual Christmas Letter

Donald Trump did not attend.
Dear Friends and Loyal Readers:

Believe it or not, another year is almost gone and I still have not lost those five pounds I vowed to lose last January. It's crazy, really, when you think of what some other people have accomplished, seemingly against all odds. Take Donald Trump, for example.

In August I got a new hip, which is at least something. It works quite well, despite the fact that it's constructed of completely man-made materials which freaks me out when I think about it too much. Or even just a little, so I try not to think about it at all. The same is true of some other things. Take Donald Trump, for example.

Sadly, for the first time in my life I'm down to one cat, which is annoying since the one I'm down to is bored a lot of the time and wants me to play with him. "I am not a cat, I am a person, with all the wants and needs and desires of a person, and I don't want to spend my time playing Catch the Birdie or chasing you around the house," I tell him repeatedly, trying to strike a balance between kindness and authority, but since Lurch doesn't speak English it all just goes in one ear and out the other.

The good news is that I've made some real headway in the friendship department. Apparently it takes the average Mainer roughly eight or so years to trust a stranger. Since Mitch and I got here nine years ago in March, a few of the neighbors are now actually smiling at us and even waving, and many of them attended our holiday party last weekend. (The folks next-door were a no-show, so I still have never met them after three years which sounds crazy but I'm kind of getting into it. Who knows, I may get into the Guinness World Records for this.)

The bad news is the country is in turmoil because of you-know-who, and things will likely only get worse after he officially becomes the you-know-what. So until then let's all party like it's 1969, but make sure to steer clear of that bad acid.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Political Coverup

Like far too many of us, I am currently involved in a snippy online war of words over politics. My husband's nephew, someone I have never met in person yet have come to love over the years we have been Facebook friends, is militantly Democratic, while I am lackadaisically nothing besides anti-Clinton. Naturally our war is a silly one since neither of us has the power to bring about change, any more than our running outside and shaking a fist at the sky will stop an oncoming tornado.

I hope my friendship with Keith survives, but who knows -- it may go down the toilet joining some others already in the sewer. For example Kathy, an old friend who disowned me for defending Ivanka Trump, a woman I have never met and never will and don't even particularly like. I have known Kathy for more than 30 years, but that ended when she said in a Facebook post that I was "someone she no longer wanted to know" because I had defended Ivanka's manufacturing of her designer label clothing in China. And way back in 2000, an equally old friend dating back to my college years also chose to disown me, ostensibly because I voted for George W. Bush over Al Gore. That was it. No discussion; it was over. And another one, the husband of my best friend, declared I "had no soul" when he learned I had voted for Bush and stopped speaking to me and my husband right then and there, in a Chicago hotel room where we had all come together for a shared vacation.

After long reflection I am convinced that all of these people had other reasons to escape our friendships and were using the election as an easy out. In the case of my Bush vote, one friend was weary of hiding an old skeleton in his closet and I was the only person who still heard it clanking away in there. The other was drunk at the time and still is, so I chalked it up to muddled thinking. The more recent one is less clear, but it seems obvious that nobody in their right mind ends a lifelong friendship over political differences so I can only conclude that poor Kathy is in the early stages of dementia. Or else maybe she just never liked me all that much to begin with.

Today one of my closest, oldest and dearest friends is a hard-core, card-carrying, bleeding-heart  liberal who also has enjoyed a positive, personal business relationship with Hillary Clinton. Over thirty years we have argued, bantered and even yelled about our political differences, yet our friendship has not suffered one iota. If you find someone is ending a relationship based on who you voted for, look deeper. It's probably about something else entirely.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


I must have been napping because the last time I looked it was just LGBTQ. I don't know when they added the I and the A, but they did. And even worse, I don't even know who "they" are. But if I could get in touch with "them" I would suggest they add SOS, which would cover so many people I know (including me) and stands for Sick Of Sex.

Come on now, just think about it: With deranged strangers shoving commuters off subway platforms and speeding trucks mowing down crowds at outdoor Christmas markets and lone gunmen locking down college campuses and suicide bombers destroying cities everywhere, is who you want fondling your genitals and whose genitals you wish to fondle so very important? Yeah, yeah -- I know what you're thinking: But Andrea, the LGBTQIA is the only group not federally protected! Well guess what, these days none of us are.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Noxious Know-It-Alls

The unbelievably overblown egos of the members of the media continue to amaze me. These pathological extroverts who contribute nothing of their own making to society, doing little more than running around on their employer's dime stalking actual movers and shakers and then blabbing about what they saw or overheard or were told by someone who actually did the seeing and hearing literally make me ill. How do they sleep at night? (Maybe that's who's buying all that Lunesta.) Their combined egos are boundless. A half-page ad in last Sunday's New York Times says it all:

We, the poor schmucks with no functioning brain cells or ability to tell right from wrong, are supposed to believe that the planned actions of incoming president Donald Trump are already known by the brilliant minds pictured at the bottom of the ad. They know, and so we watch in order to learn.

This is why we watch Brian Williams, for example, an early purveyor of fake-news who was fired from his job as the evening anchor at NBC when it was discovered that he was making up stories out of whole cloth. After a slap on the wrist, a big payout and a seven-month leave of absence, this serial liar was then hired by the big brains at MSNBC, who proudly say, "This is who we are." Liars? Is that who they are?

Then there is Chris Matthews, who is at least palatable when he is on his meds but has admitted in the past that he has cried over an Obama speech and also once compared him to Jesus. On another occasion he described exactly what happens to him when Obama speaks: "I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often." (Good thing.)

My personal least favorite is Rachel Maddow, who is a militant lesbian and that's pretty much enough for her fans. She must be right about everything, since all those bravely-outed-on-TV homosexuals immediately command our respect, not to mention our wedding cakes. And Rachel certainly acts like she knows it all, with her snarky grin and her wringing hands and her total outrage at anyone who dares to continue to be white or Republican.

As for the couple at the far left (in the picture, not in politics), I know very little about them besides the fact that they host a daily TV show called Morning Joe that is quite popular. Joe Scarborough was once a state representative from Florida and Mika Brzezinski's father was a National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter. They banter and play to both sides of the aisle, which likely gets them twice the viewers, a nice perk.

Apparently these five people know what Trump will and will not do as president, so I'm guessing they are all endowed with supernatural abilities. What else could explain such hyperbole?

Monday, December 19, 2016

All the Suckers

Like many of my fellow Americans today, I am very confused. Why did Hillary Clinton lose the election anyway? There are so many possible reasons, it's hard to know which is really to blame. Among the likely reasons:

1. FBI Director James Comey said some stuff about her being dishonest just two weeks before Election Day. He sucks!
2. Wikileaks released some emails from Hillary's personal and illegal email account that made her and her campaign manager John Podesta look bad. Wikileaks sucks!
3. The Russians hacked some emails and released them to the public, the contents of which made Hillary look bad. If they hadn't done that, the public would never know. Putin sucks!
4. Angry white men hate Hillary, according to her husband Bill Clinton. (Is he one of them?) That's the reason she lost, he says, because they all voted for Trump. White men suck!

Just about the only thing that is clear is that poor Hillary's loss has nothing at all to do with her, or how disliked she is by people of all stripes, or how inept she was as a campaigner. No, not at all. She lost because Donald Trump got more electoral votes than she did. Trump sucks! Naturally everyone now agrees that our electoral process is outdated and wrong. It must be. The Electoral College sucks!

Good Party, Bad Neighbors

Several years ago our wonderful next door neighbors, friends who we enjoyed spending time with so much, sold their home and returned to Park City, Utah because they found the people here in our little enclave, as well as Maine in general, so unfriendly. I sympathized at the time, but we are staying put despite that. And so over time we have tried harder to get to know our neighbors and have gradually discovered they are a great bunch!

Except for those NEW PEOPLE who bought the house next door. I have never spoken one word to them, although we have tried. The wife won't even return a wave! Now that is sick. The last straw snapped the proverbial camel's back recently when we invited them to our neighborhood holiday Open House yesterday afternoon. Almost everyone came with a few exceptions that were completely understandable, and the no-shows were polite enough to RSVP in advance that they couldn't make it.

Note to self: Buy bells.

But not the BAD NEIGHBORS. Despite  their being home at the time of the party, which was great fun by the way, they never even gave us the respect of an RSVP. Really, how hard is it to send a friggin' text or email if you are pathologically fearful of physical contact? People should try to remember that we are all in this together. I'll tell you one thing: From now on, as Tony Soprano famously said of his mother, "They are dead to me." If there is ever a nuclear holocaust I am not giving them, or their two little children, any of our stockpiled food and water. (Note to self: Stock up on food and water.)

PS: The party was great without them!

Saturday, December 17, 2016


As the title of this fawning documentary suggests, Tony Robbins is not your guru. Mine either, and all I can say is "good thing." After watching (almost all of) I Am Not Your Guru, a two-hour glorified infomercial filmed at Robbins' 2012 "Date With Destiny" in Boca Raton, I'm pretty sure I don't want a guru, not even if it were Gandhi himself.

Don't blame me, he's not my guru.

The film covers the annual 6-day love-fest and supposedly life-altering event hosted by the self-help giant for 2,500 attendees at $5,000 a head, just one of the ongoing, worldwide mega-events that have made Robbins incredibly rich. (Think preacher Joel Osteen but without God.) I found it on Netflix after a friend, just back from this year's event at the very same venue, told me about it. He had only good things to say about his experience last week in Florida, but I have only bad things to say about mine last night in my living room in Maine. I guess, as the saying goes, you had to be there.

Besides a string of touchy-feely moments between Robbins and several attractive women he chooses from the audience, there are lots of close-ups of his teeth and I'm pretty sure he has a few extra. I Am Not Your Guru also offers an intimate look at the inner workings of a successful huckster and what makes him tick. Apparently submerging yourself in ice water and jumping up and down on a tiny trampoline are great ways to jump-start your mojo. (Note to self: Buy mini-trampoline.) We also see the inside of the Robbins Palm Beach home, one of those ultra-swanky temples of wealth nestled alongside the Atlantic that are hidden from view by creative landscaping. It's even more luxurious than imagined, with an infinity pool and a home gym to die for. And to think: Robbins makes all his money from telling the lonely and dejected masses things like "Buck up, motherfucker" and "You can change your life in an instant."

Two-thirds of the way through I decided to take his advice and change my life in an instant. I turned off the TV and guess what, Robbins was right! I felt better immediately.

Friday, December 16, 2016

There Oughta Be A Law

So much news is about the election and the incoming president and what's he going to do about Putin and cyber security and the borders and health care, yet many of the things that impact the daily lives of everyday Americans never get a nod from our lawmakers. This is a travesty! For example, there oughta be a law against old people trying to look young. It's depressing, disturbing and downright dotty that someone eligible for Medicare can still get fake boobs, fake lips, cheek implants and tummy tucks, not to mention hair implants, bleach jobs and the like. Need convincing? Look at this:

Loretta, then and now.

The photos above are of actress Loretta Switt, who once played a sexy character named "Hot Lips" on a popular TV show. But that was eons ago. Today she is 79 and is still sporting long blond hair, but now it's all dry and brittle and pathetic, yes you heard me, pathetic, and those scary new puffy lips she got from a plastic surgeon. This is just plain wrong for so many reasons, not the least of which is it makes a mockery of aging. Here are some other things that need to be outlawed:

1. Talking in the movies. At all. Once you enter the theater it should be against the law to speak, even during the commercials and the previews and when they tell you where to find the exits and to turn off your cell phones. 

2. Leaving your dog in a parked car. Ever.

 3. Bringing a baby to a restaurant. Get a sitter or stay home and cook.

4. Wearing perfume in public. Try bathing.

 5. Saying "At the end of the day." Enough already, you sound moronic, not "with it."

6. Writing the exact same comment on a Facebook stream as the one before yours. Come on, think up something else. Anything. Write "blah, blah, blah" if you have to.

7. Naming your child a word or a concept. Like "Adore" or "Cedar" or "Apple" or "Calm." These are dumb and won't make the kid any better than Sally, Susie or Tom, Dick and Harry.

8. Nauseating (to others) facial piercings, especially nose rings that look like dripping snot. You know who you are.

9. Vanity license plates. My husband is already distracted enough when he's driving, but his speeding up and then slowing down to figure these out will surely get us killed one day.

10. Doctors wearing street clothes. Really, at least put on a damn white coat for these prices.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Double Standard

Former President Bill Clinton famously had nine sexual encounters with a 21-year-old White House intern, including but not limited to fellatio inside the Oval Office. Prior to that, during his tenure as Governor of Arkansas and while married to Hillary and the daddy of little Chelsea, he carried on a 12-year extra-marital affair with Gennifer Flowers, a former actress and model who had posed nude for a magazine at least once. Other Clinton accusers of disputed merit included Paula Jones, who claimed the governor had exposed himself to her in a motel room. (He denied this claim but still paid her $850,000 to go away.) He was also accused of rape while he was the Attorney General of Arkansas by a campaign volunteer in her hotel room (Juanita Broaddrick), while another woman claimed unwanted sexual touching and groping (Katherine Wiley) while he was president.

Dastardly doings indeed, yet pretty much every last Democrat on the planet, or at least the approximately 300 or more I have personally interviewed over the years, up to and including yesterday afternoon, absolutely adores Bill Clinton and found all that "misbehavior" quite acceptable, citing it as "his personal life" and certainly "none of our business."

Now let's look at President-elect Donald Trump. Married twice before, he has been with his present wife since 2005. His marital history is considered proof that "he has no respect for women." He has also admitted to enjoying seeing beautiful women partially undressed while he was the owner of the Miss Universe pageant. That translates into his being a "pig" who "marginalizes women." He was secretly recorded, 11 years ago, boasting to another man that celebrities can get away with all sorts of tomfoolery, like grabbing women by their private parts. (There is no way of knowing if he ever did that, he just said he could.) Finally, he called one-time comedian Rosie O'Donnell several bad things, but hey, who hasn't?

In response to Trump's alleged mistreatment of the fairer sex, the Women's March on Washington is scheduled for the day after his Inauguration, to send a "bold message" to the incoming president: "We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all." Parity-wise, so far Trump has named four women for Cabinet positions, causing an outraged outcry from the left about his "all-male cabinet." Meanwhile, Bill Clinton had, in his two terms as president, just four female cabinet members.

Apparently women can be treated badly, as long as it's a Democrat doing the treating.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nothing About Trump

I'm thinking that everyone needs a break from politics. I know I do. This morning as I turned on the TV I wondered how long it would take for me to hear the word "Trump." The set came on and it was the first word out of the mouth of the announcer. The crawl underneath his face said "Trump blah, blah, blah, whatever......"

Is it just me or has the world gone Trump-crazy? I mean okay, he won the election and sure, he's a bit offbeat, a lot off-kilter, totally off-message and probably completely off his meds, but really, there are other things to discuss. Like Daylight Savings Time, which I hate. It is now 4:37 in the afternoon here in Maine, and it is pitch black outside. I find that annoying. Or the fact that when you eat out they put a ton of salt in your food, which is why it tastes good and you think what a great chef, until later when you feel like crap. Or how all the TV commercials about the Christmas holidays are about shopping and spending and buying and gifting but never a word about the baby Jesus.

Another subject that pops into my mind this time of year, especially since my mailbox in December overflows with a ridiculous amount of begging on paper, is charitable giving. Now there's a subject that rarely comes up in conversation. Like at a party, nobody ever says, "So, what's your favorite charity?" At least they haven't said that to me. To fill that gap, I'll ask it here: What's your favorite charity? Following is my list of my favorites; send them money! Besides helping you get into Heaven, it's tax deductible.

     Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
     St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
     The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
     The Ronald McDonald House
     The Make-A-Wish Foundation

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gossip About Kim Kardashian

Kim and her butt out for a walk.
Our lives are empty and meaningless so let's all talk about Kim Kardashian, right? After all, thousand and thousands of people are doing that right now, according to the "trending" numbers on Facebook, 160 thousand to be exact, and another 120 thousand are talking about her sister what's her name, and really, isn't that what counts? To have people talking about you? These days, that's the goal: fame is the name of the game. And to prove it, I'll let you know if this blog post gets a lot of clicks which I'm guessing it will just because the name Kim Kardashian, a person who has never done one thing and has no apparent talent beyond spending money -- first her father's and now her husband's -- is in the title.

So, let's get started. That butt: implants? Maybe, maybe not, that's what a lot of the talk is about. Like what do you think they injected into her butt to make it stick out so much? And is that comfortable? It seems like it would be sort of a drag lugging it around, and sitting on the toilet, but then that's just me. And anyway, what if it's real? Although she has admitted to getting injections into it for psoriasis, which is just plain disgusting to have psoriasis on your behind. Yuk. And to have everyone in the world know about it. Oh God. I am embarrassed when anyone knows anything about me, not really but psoriasis on my butt would be a definite secret I would keep "in the vault" as they used to say on Seinfeld. And I wonder if she ever talks to Caitlyn Jenner, her former stepfather when he was Bruce, and does she thinks it's all ridiculous?

Did you hear she spent $5,000 on toe liposuction to fit into a pair of designer shoes on her wedding day? I wonder if that was done under a general or just a local. And can you imagine being married to that egomaniac Kanye West? Do they measure their egos every morning to see whose is bigger? And if you ask me neither one is all that good-looking, certainly not as attractive as some other people being gossiped about. It is sort of funny that they named their baby North, ha ha, North West, get it? So at least one of them has a sense of humor, I bet it's Kanye because she seems like a bitch on wheels and sort of humorless.

That's all I got.

On Trump & Cosmetic Surgery

I try to accept people with their foibles. Naturally I eschew any friendship with serial murderers, pederasts, Klan members or Justin Bieber fans; after all, I have my limits. But despite thinking it's dangerous, distasteful and downright dumb, I have maintained friendships with several women who have had face lifts in a desperate attempt to fool Mother Nature and pretend they are not whatever age they are, despite the fact that everyone can tell because of that plastic, stretchy Twilight Zone look about them. (Think Cher and John Kerry.) Who doesn't want to look younger, better, and less wrinkly and saggy? But that's what happens, and then, as my husband likes to say, you die.

Oh, the hypocrisy!
Anyway, a face lift is not a deal-killer for me. Neither is political choice. I have been friends all my life with people on both sides of the aisle, and even a couple of closeted and not so closeted anti-Semites, despite my being Jewish. But as I said at the start, I try to accept people with their foibles, since there are no perfect people. So it was with shock and amazement that I was told recently by a face-lifted, Twilight Zone-y friend of thirty years that I was "no longer someone she wanted to know" because I have, in the past few weeks, "defended Trump and he is indefensible." The trigger for her firing me was my pointing out, in response to her charge of hypocrisy, that Ivanka Trump manufactures her designer label clothes in China because currently it is far cheaper to do so, and that Trump wants to change that reality.

Let's be clear: I have never "defended" the media's negative spin put on any of Trump's ideas. For example, I am certainly not in favor of racism, misogyny, anti-gay legislation and all the rest, and until I see a hint of those things becoming the rule of law I will remain calm. I have simply tried to keep an open mind since it appears that Trump will be the next president. And while I personally did not vote for him, apparently 65,431,654 Americans did. Admit it: that's a heck of a lot of Americans, and I'm betting quite a few of them have also had face lifts. (Talk about your Twilight Zone.)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Shut Up and Bake

It's snowing here in Maine. I got up at six, made coffee and went outside and started shoveling. Then I came inside and had a steaming bowl of oatmeal with walnuts and blueberries and more coffee. Then I went out again and shoveled more and started to dig out my car, sitting in the driveway because of late predictions that there would not be snow after all but just freezing rain. Vince the plow guy arrived, along with his new assistant who seemed like a very nice guy, despite the fact that when I stuck out my hand and said, "Hi, I'm Andrea," he replied with, "Nice to meet ya, I'm almost fifty!" I found that odd, but he said he's proud of it since he looks so much younger. I then advised him to start introducing himself as "just past forty." He liked that. Anyway, the two of them helped me get my car cleaned off and into the garage.

This afternoon, after my workout at the gym if I can get there and back safely without sliding off into a ditch after hitting some black ice or dying in a head-on collision with a tow truck, I will bake and decorate Christmas sugar cookies to bring to the post office tomorrow morning by 9:30, my assigned time slot.

I will try really hard to forget all about Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump and Breitbart and Michael Moore and the Electoral College and whoever will be the next Secretary of State and the head of HUD and EPA and the CIA and the FBI or whatever, and especially my husband's deranged, foul-mouthed twin cousins who cannot seem to write the word "Republican" without preceding it with "fucking" or "frigging" or "retarded." I will have a nice day, and I suggest you do the same, since all that bellyachin' about things beyond our control will change exactly nothing.

And yes, I think those silly protests will change nothing. Want change? Go to law school, get into politics, run for office. Otherwise, shut up already, you're giving me a headache.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Smile On Your Brother, Even If He's a Democrat (or a Republican)

I promised myself no more political stuff in these posts, but this one begs to be written. Yesterday I got a note online from a woman I have known for more than thirty years, who I once shared a house with, whose hand I held when her longtime boyfriend dumped her, blah, blah, blah, that I was "no longer anyone she wants to know" because I have defended Trump and his daughter and his wife. And Trump is "indefensible" as far as this person who holds no political office and employs no people and never has is concerned, and thus I am surely scum. So she was forced to "unfollow" me on Facebook. Oh boo-hoo, she unfollowed me. Well guess what: I saw her unfollow and raised her an unfriending. Done.

Now on to the subject at hand: How does all this Trump-bashing help the country? How does that supercilious, self-aggrandizing piggish, priggish filmmaker Michael Moore, who made one good movie in Roger and Me and has been skating on that ever since, think his plan to "disrupt the Inauguration" will benefit anyone? Hasn't he ever listened to the words of Get Together, the 1967 song by The Youngbloods? Following is the refrain:

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Now everybody just do it, dammit.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Me.

Liz and Dick being outrageous on film, with George Segal as an innocent bystander.
I have always wanted to be one of those special people who read Virginia Woolf, although I'm a little frightened of her because she was quite insane and ended up drowning herself in a river, fully clothed and with a big rock in her coat pocket to weigh her down, a method of suicide that seems really unpleasant and pretty boring; at least in the ocean there are waves and currents to keep you interested until the end. But that's another subject altogether. Anyway, my friend Greg in Pittsburgh is one of those special people, for other reasons as well, and his favorite book is Woolf's To the Lighthouse. Solely on Greg's recommendation I have tried and tried to read it but have never gotten anywhere near the lighthouse, in fact I've barely arrived at page three.

I have danced around Virginia Woolf for most of my life. Naturally I saw the 1966 film adaptation starring Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, and several stage productions of the play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee. And I've done quite well reading books about books by Virginia Woolf. Right now I immersed again in an old favorite, The Hours by Michael Cunningham. It won the Pulitzer Prize back in 1998 and became an Oscar-winning movie in 2002. It's all about Mrs. Dalloway, a novel by Virginia Woolf, and it makes me want to try to read the real thing. (Again.)

So this morning I went to my bookshelves and found a copy of Mrs. Dalloway, my third I think since I loaned the others over the years and never asked for them back. I am determined to read it all the way through this time, and then read To The Lighthouse, and then read all her other books; I already own two more I have tried and failed at, and I read in college that I hardly remember. This is my early New Year's resolution, and it's a relief to have that decided, at least: In 2017 I will be one of those special people who reads Virginia Woolf. Plus I might lose a few pounds and meditate daily and eliminate all red meat and a couple of other things. But Virginia Woolf is for sure.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Russian Hats

I hate those stupid caps!

Admit it, he could be a hat model.

I'm not sure who to tell and why it matters, but this blog is being closely followed by the Russians. Seriously. Like the other day I had 193 readers in the United States and 608 in Russia! And that's not uncommon, at least in the past few weeks, ever since Trump won the election. No, I am not making this up. What do the Russians want with me?

First of all, to be clear: I did not vote for Donald Trump. Not that it's any of your business but if you must know, I wrote in John Kasich. But I would have voted for him if write-ins were forbidden since I would never in a million years help put Hillary Clinton in the White House.

Secondly, I know very little about American history, believing that what's done is done and move on, and of course even less about Russian history. I loved the movie Reds, which took place in Moscow, (maybe, or at least some part of it) and those big eraser hats they all wore in Doctor Zhivago, made back when Julie Christie (or was it Faye Dunaway, I always confused those two) was a huge star. Russian hats are much more attractive than baseball caps which I hate (sorry Donald) and which are ubiquitous, especially in warm weather. I think Vladimir Putin is attractive on a purely physical level, certainly more manly than say Barack Obama who is downright girly, although my favorite world leader, hands-down, is Benjamin Netanyahu, who I find extremely sexy. (Let's remember, I am 70.)

So I wonder: Why are Russians reading The Daily Droid? If you have any ideas, let me know.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Singing the Palm Beach Blues

It's not called Worth Avenue for nothing!
If you ask me you can take your fancy trips around the world and your cruises to foreign lands and your winter holidays to warmer climes and flush them all down the toilet. None of them work because wherever you go, there you are: You aren't any thinner or healthier or younger, you haven't gotten better siblings or had your book published or sold any paintings. The dead people you once loved are still dead. All you've done is changed the scenery. Now if there were some magic land where when you arrive you are somebody else entirely, with a different set of memories and maybe even a new phone number, I'd be down for that. Otherwise, all the arranging and packing and schlepping and flying and car rentals and checking in and checking out and room service is just busy work.

I'm guessing the reason they say "travel is broadening" is because one tends to overeat on trips, seeing as how little else there is to do unless you zip line, which I don't, preferring not to lose a leg or in fact any limb at all to gangrene, or hot air balloon, which I won't, not wanting to burn to death after getting tangled up in electric wires. As for snorkeling or deep sea diving, I have not immersed myself in the ocean since I saw Jaws and no, I'm not kidding. So here I am at the beach with the luscious Atlantic just steps away and it does me little good, although it is fun to watch and hike alongside.

Anyway, there's a decent-sized pool at this hotel and I can swim, so I guess I'll do that today since tomorrow I will be stuck inside a little tube hurtling across the sky (not wholly unlike Sandra Bullock in Gravity) which could come crashing down and end it all -- not to be a bummer but it could -- and if it doesn't, well then I'll land in Boston where it's cold and still have a two-hour drive back to Maine where it snowed yesterday.

But at least my cat will be there (if he survived five days without me) and I can paint, which somehow seems a better use of time than driving through downtown Palm Beach and gawking at the outrageous displays of wealth that make you, or at least me, flash on those malnourished children running barefoot around Haiti and India with distended tummies and skinny legs while these rich women with their toned arms and strappy, high-heeled wedge sandals they can hardly walk in, forget running, rid themselves of their excess cash up and down Worth Avenue (see photo), their Mercedes and Jaguars and Rolls Royces lining the street as they add yet another thousand-dollar pair of Jimmy Choo shoes to their already hideously bloated collection, making you wonder where's Bernie Sanders when you need him.

Friday, December 2, 2016

All My New Friends Are Doctors

It's not like I hadn't been told I'd be "a different person" after my hip replacement surgery, I just didn't realize how different. Now, four months later, I see that I am almost a stranger to my old self. For example, before my surgery I was starting to walk with a limp, and my hip hurt every night when I went to bed, and I had never seen one episode of Grey's Anatomy and in fact scoffed at the mere thought. That's all in the past. Today I walk without a limp, my hip never hurts, and I'm addicted to Grey's Anatomy. All these things are a result of my surgery. The first two are good, of course, but the third -- well, let's just say I'm not proud.

This is Dr. George O'Malley. I love him. He dies in Season 6 but I'm not there yet so he's still alive for me.

Stuck at home for almost six weeks, without the ability to drive or do more than a walk around the neighborhood for maybe ten minutes, otherwise lying around with an ice pack on my newly-installed hip, I tired of reading and couldn't comfortably get in the right position to paint and so took to channel surfing every afternoon. There was little on other than commercials aimed at old people, certainly not me, and some dumb talk shows, and that one station that shows reruns of Grey's Anatomy seemingly from morning til night. I settled on that and watched with a sneer, finding it sophomoric and stupid. Until I didn't.

Suddenly I cared very much about Dr. Bailey and Dr. Burke and Chief Webber and Cristina and Alex and George and even Meredith Grey, whose anatomy we are all caught up with although personally I think she is way too thin to be sexy which is what she is supposed to be. The trouble was I hardly knew who was sleeping with who and why. Then one day I realized: Hey, I can watch this all on Netflix, starting with Season 1, and find out!

Since then my life has been completely different. I'm free! I don't need to waste my time chit-chatting with real people; I can just stay home and catch up with all my TV friends at Seattle Grace Hospital. I am now halfway into Season 3 and there are 13 seasons with new ones still airing, so I'm set at least until the middle of next year. It's a good feeling.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thinking Outside the Box

The most interesting conversation I have had in at least a week was with the electrician who came to my house yesterday morning to fix some broken switches. A young man in his early 30s who lives way out in the hinterlands of Maine, Derrick was poised and articulate and brimming with ideas of how to live better in a world gone mad. He and his wife are home-schooling their three kids, and one thing they have taught them, besides all about history and math and geography and politics, is how to write in cursive, something that is no longer taught in public schools and will soon be obsolete.

Besides his proficiency in all things electric, having completed as many years of education to become certified as a journeyman electrician as a brain surgeon does, Derrick had a lot to say about the present state of the world and why he has chosen to live out in the woods, raising pigs and chickens and milk cows and farming much of the food his family consumes. I was envious of his children, thinking back to how little I learned during my normal suburban childhood, both from my parents and my teachers, that has been useful in any way. We talked long past his repair of my switches and finally broke off when his beeper alerted him to his next appointment. I paid him $100 for the work but secretly thought the conversation was worth much more.

That evening I attended a small dinner in my neighborhood attended by six women including me. All of us were college graduates. The food prepared by our gracious hostess was delicious but the conversation was almost non-existent. There was chit-chat about people known in common, various recipes for cake, the merits of taking Vitamin D versus calcium, and news of an upcoming holiday bazaar. Nobody mentioned politics or anything happening outside of our little town. A newcomer to the group, I was never asked one question by anyone there. When I could politely excuse myself, I went home and played with my cat, then went to bed.