Thursday, October 14, 2010

Words of Wisdom from South Texas

There will always be tragedy and it will always be our job to try and make things better. Sometimes it’s difficult to know just what to do or say.

In recent weeks the tragic deaths of young teens have been on the news and the issue of tolerance is back on the table for discussion. It seems we have lowered the bar. Both sides of the aisle are following the anger of the media and our politicians. We are too quick to judge.

Today my friend Arthur Wooten posted the most extraordinary video on Facebook. The words of wisdom from a young City Councilman from Fort Worth, Texas overwhelmed me and left me in a flood of tears.

I have no words, no review, simply a request that you watch and hear every word of wisdom this gentleman from South Texas has to say.



Councilman Joel Burns
@joelburns
joel.burns@fortworthgov.org

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cutting His Losses

I was excited to see The Irishman and his daughter this weekend. To my surprise, he came over alone on Friday evening and called it quits. Despite my own fears and doubts, I confess I didn’t see it coming.

“I just can’t,” he said.

As it turns out, The Irishman’s steamer trunk is filled with rocks and is sinking fast. He is too overwhelmed to be in a relationship at the moment, so he wants to be my friend.

What is our ‘relationship’? I was waiting to talk about it, to give it a name we both felt comfortable with; he had already named it, become overwhelmed and needed to rename it.

I didn’t know it, but I had been dubbed ‘girlfriend’. His friends knew. He told his sister. He had even told his mother! No wonder his mother was eager to meet me during her short visit from Ireland last week. The Irishman brought his sister and mother over for tea. I made sure the house was sparkling and baked a picture-perfect apple pie. I loved meeting them and had a fabulous time. Before they left, cameras came out and many photos were snapped with the promise of sharing them in the future. There were questions about whether or not I would be visiting Ireland.

There was no way for me to know, but apparently The Irishman had already decided.

“I just can’t,” he said.

I asked why he had gone to the trouble of introducing me to his family if he felt we should ‘end’ things, and he said that his mother wanted to meet me, his girlfriend, and that he wanted her to meet me. The introduction to his family only made my fantasies run wilder than they had the week before. He should have never allowed that meeting to happen and I am angry about it.

I cried this morning when I put away his daughter’s toothbrush for safekeeping. I supposed I should have thrown it away, but that seemed to final an act. I’m in love with that little girl and her big blue eyes that look so much like her Daddy’s.

My fantasies of being whisked away by a pair of strong arms have been dashed.

I am sad and so is The Irishman. We both cried as he left.

He hopes that we can still be friends.

He hopes we can still be in each other’s lives.

He wants to know if we can meet for drinks after work.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cutting My Losses

I had a great first date with The Irishman and things seem to be going pretty well. He’s fun, kind, helpful, hardworking, sexy, and he’s a single dad with more baggage than I could dream of having. In spite of his very heavy steamer trunk, I decided to climb aboard his ship and test the waters.

Before I knew what was happening, I fell madly in love with his little girl. The first time her big blue eyes looked up at me as she hugged me and said, “I love you,” I was a goner. Of course, she is too young to understand that Daddy is dating. Frankly, I don’t think she should know. She still dreams of her parents’ reconciliation and The Parent Trap is her favorite movie. Of course that doesn’t stop me from fantasizing about him grabbing me in his strong arms, telling me he can’t live without me and whisking me away to his precious Emerald Isle.

I have asked myself over and over again whether I would have continued to see The Irishman if I hadn’t fallen head over heels with his daughter. There is no way to know. They are a package deal and he has the same eyes.

I am caught between a rock and a hard place.

The passage of time has made my doubts grow deep and my fantasies grow strong. My own life is upside down these days and I am looking for the key, buried ages ago, to my own steamer trunk. The Irishman and I have only been seeing each other for a short while, yet the involvement of family and child and the shared details that have been locked up tight in his steamer trunk of baggage seem to have accelerated the opening of my heart, my need to know where I stand, the need to declare “us.”

I want to pack my own bags of baggage and brace for the ride, but he has not offered a ticket and I think that, for this leg of his journey, he must sail alone. Should I be patient, enjoy the ride and wait for him to be ready, or is it time to cut my losses and run?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fair and Balanced? Not on Your Life!

I am a news junkie. Despite my 'lefty' leanings, I try to hear all sides, whether I like them or not. I find myself watching hours of coverage trying to distill the real news of the day. CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS... The list goes on and on.

Not so long ago, network anchors were a trusted and respected source for news. That no longer seems to be the case, and with today’s news the line between the truth and the almighty dollar seems to have completely vanished. This summer Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation donated a million dollars to the Republican Governors Association.

Randi Rittenberg, a well-respected analyst and reporter, published the following report today on the impact of corporate donations to political parties. Now this is an example of fair and balanced reporting.

You can bet your life on it.

Rupert Murdoch, who has never been shy about making his political views known, has voted with his sizable checkbook.

Murdoch's News Corp. has made a $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association, triggering swift criticism from Democrats that a contribution of that magnitude casts a shadow on his media properties, particularly Fox News.

"For a media company -- particularly one whose slogan is 'fair and balanced' -- to be injecting themselves into the outcome of races is stunning," Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, said Tuesday. "The people owning Fox News have made a decision that they want to see Democratic governors go down to defeat. It's a jaw-dropping violation of the boundary between the media and corporate realm."

Jack Horner, a spokesman for News Corp., said in an interview: "It's patently false that a corporate donation would have any bearing on our news-gathering activities at Fox News or any other of our properties." News Corp., which also owns the New York Post, Wall Street Journal and Times of London, said in a statement that the company "believes in the power of free markets, and the RGA's pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy." Two RGA spokesmen did not return messages.

It is hardly unusual for media companies to support candidates and political parties. General Electric, which owns NBC, has given $245,000 to the Democratic governors and $205,000 to the Republican governors since last year. Time Warner, which includes CNN, Time and Fortune, has given $70,000 to the Democratic governors and $50,000 to the GOP governors, sums matched by Time Warner Cable.

Disney, which owns ABC, donated $20,000 to committees associated with Republicans and $11,000 to Democratic committees. CBS gave $13,000 to Democratic PACs and $1,000 to Republican ones.

Asked whether such donations raise questions about other networks' coverage, Daschle said: "The Fox contribution is in a completely different league. Other media firms' donations are generally small and about equal to the many committees that receive money." His group spent Tuesday trying to drum up interest in the issue, unsuccessfully pitching a dozen Fox producers and hosts to get Daschle booked on the channel. "Our executive director would be happy to come on the show tonight to discuss this contribution," one e-mail said.

General Electric spokesman Gary Sheffer, asked if the donations affect news coverage, said: "GE does not get involved in the editorial decisions of NBC News." A Time Warner spokesman did not provide a response to the same question.

The $1 million donation by News Corp., made in June and first reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, is among the largest contributions to the GOP governors in this campaign cycle. The Republican group, headed by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a possible presidential candidate in 2012, has raised $58 million in the past year and a half, compared with $40 million for the Democratic group. Thirty-seven governorships are up for election this fall.

A seven-figure donation is not a first for Murdoch; he gave $1 million to the California Republican Party in 1996.

"The way the rules are written, he is playing by the rules," says Tobe Berkovitz, an associate professor of communication at Boston University. "This just reinforces for liberals how evil and manipulative Fox and Rupert Murdoch are. For the civilians out there, I don't think they're going to see this as particularly relevant or particularly important."

Fox News, the home of such hosts as Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, has long been at odds with the Democratic Party. During the 2008 campaign, Murdoch and Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes held a secret meeting with candidate Barack Obama in an effort to clear the air. "I wanted him to understand that we're a real journalism organization and we're going to cover what's there. We're not out to get him," Ailes said in a subsequent interview.

But the relationship blew up last year. The White House refused for months to make top officials available for interviews and assailed Fox as an arm of the Republican Party -- an attack that was revived Tuesday.

"Any pretense that may have existed about the ties between Fox News and the Republican Party has been ripped violently away," said Hari Sevugan, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. "Any Republican that appears on Fox should now have a disclaimer that they are financially supported by the network and any coverage of the elections this fall on Fox should be reported with disclaimer for what it is -- partisan propaganda."

The Rittenberg Report


Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Irishman

My first date with The Irishman was a quick after work drink with a time limit. I’ve had a lot of practice dating and realize that there is absolutely no such thing as cyber chemistry. We had exchanged a couple of e-mails and chatted on the phone but it was time to see if there was really anything there.

We agreed to meet for a drink and both had someplace else to go when our hour was up. I of course arrived first and ordered my favorite smart cocktail, a scotch and water. He arrived with a big smile on his face, sat down next to me and then ordered a beer. I was surprised how easily we chatted. We covered everything from politics and religion to children and love. As he teased me about my liberal leanings a big grin appeared, letting me know he was pulling my leg, and he leaned over to kiss me. Just a lovely little kiss that made me keenly aware that I’d like to have a few more of them. Suddenly it was time to go. The Irishman paid for our drinks and then we walked for a couple of blocks before we parted with another quick kiss.

The following Friday morning he called to say that he had the day off and wondered if I could meet for breakfast. Work was too busy, but I let him know I would be free for a late lunch and a walk in the park. Friday finally came and I was excited to see The Irishman again. As I watched The Irishman walk toward me on the street he seemed more attractive than I had remembered. Perhaps it was his height and strong gait or perhaps those quick, sweet kisses had been working their magic behind my brain. Whatever the reason was, when we were finally walking up the street together and gabbing away, I realized how lovely it was to be in the company of The Irishman.

We stopped at a local restaurant for a snack then made our way to the park. As we walked, chattering away about this and that, I directed him to a spot where the view was particularly lovely and he leaned down to kiss me. It was soft and lovely and I kissed him back. We walked a bit further and he kissed me again as we wound our way out of the park and back on to the street. I took his hand for a while, enjoying the feeling of his large rough hand in mine.

As he walked me home I knew we had a few more minutes before he had to go, so I suggested getting some water and sitting in the back garden until it was time for him to go. The Irishman accompanied me upstairs and then as I was taking bottled water from the fridge he kissed me. This time it was a long and wet kiss and I fell into it. I tried to restrain myself and stiffened my body beneath his touch. It was ridiculous really. I found him remarkably sexy. He was funny and handsome and easy to talk to. I wanted nothing more than for him to have his way with me, but I didn’t want to screw it up by screwing him too soon.

“Leave him wanting more,” was the only thought in my mind....

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Last Lecture

It is a beautiful evening. It’s twilight, and looking out my window I can see how the remaining low light is dancing on the surface of the Hudson River making it the most remarkable color of blue, a blue that matches the top of the sky. In between the river and the top of the sky, the black outline of trees is covered by a thin layer of orangey-gold, moving to yellow to green to deepening shades of blue until you get to the top of the sky that matches the river below.

I am lucky enough to see how the sky is different each time the sun sets. Even though it only takes a moment to take in the awesome changing sky Mother Nature paints for me each night, most of the time I don’t take the time to really look. Perhaps it was the tears in my eyes this evening that changed the light and made the colors more vivid. Perhaps it was the fact that I had just finished reading an extraordinary affirmation of love and life that my eyes were merely open.

I watched Randy Pausch’s ‘last lecture’ ages ago. I saw him interviewed on Oprah and cried, and then cried again as the news of his passing was broadcast. Last year I was walking through Barnes & Noble, and thought perhaps the purchase of his book, THE LAST LECTURE would help support his family or give money to a charity benefiting those suffering with pancreatic cancer, the same cancer that took my dad from me.

Since then his book has been on my bedside table. I assumed it was merely the transcript of his final speech, so I thought it was old news. Last night, feeling like I needed a little inspiration, I cracked it open before bed. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was not a speech transcript, but an incredibly moving compilation of lessons on how to live. THE LAST LECTURE is a book to be read over and over again. I picked it up after spending days feeling sorry for myself, struck down by a cold! It’s joyful tone made let me know that it’s okay to indulge on occasion; and more importantly that one should always find their bliss. I plan to talk to all of my friends about it and to encourage them to read it. I want everyone to read it. I want to read it again when I’m happy and feeling good. I want to talk about it.

Run to the store. Buy THE LAST LECTURE and read it as soon as you can. Then, let’s get together for a smart cocktail and talk about what we dreamed about as children.

Friday, June 04, 2010

I Love Bobby Rivers

Bobby is a new friend, but I feel as though I’ve known him for years. His face and voice, coming from the television in my early days in New York, provided the background and soundtrack of some of my best memories. He always seemed to be on TV and I was amazed that he was so easy when talking to the likes of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. He was a celebrity in his own right, but there was something about him that made me think we could be friends. Bobby was warm and funny and I knew he would be fun at a party. I loved coming home, putting on my pajamas and watching Bobby banter with my idols.

Life is funny. All these years later and we have actually become friends and I’m beginning to understand why he was so good on TV; why we all wanted him in our living rooms and bedrooms; and why some of the most amazing people in the world have been interviewed by him and feel the same way I do about watching Bobby Rivers.

Bobby is a smart man with an encyclopedic knowledge of film and can talk to a post. I love that about him. Bobby listens because he really wants to know what you have to say. Listening is a special gift. A lot of people ask questions but few actually want to hear the answer. The end result? You'll tell him anything.

Today I was struck by a piece Bobby wrote about growing up. The piece is called Bobby Kennedy: Watts 1968. Read it.

Our childhoods couldn’t have been more different. Even so, I felt closer to him as I read his story about growing up. Bobby Rivers has a way of intertwining our history with culture and making us more the same than we are different.

I am baffled that NBC News has hired Cody Gifford to review movies when there is someone far more entertaining and knowledgeable available.

All I can do is quote Whoopi Goldberg – “ What the hell?!?”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Wiped My Mouth

Once again, I’ve got my eye on the prize. I am focused. My mother would say that I’m ‘on the prowl.’ I say that I am looking for the last great love of my life. I have begun to date again.

About a month ago the Wino, a wine importer, asked me to join him for a drink. I agreed to meet him and gave this date a quick twenty minutes – just long enough to sip a glass of wine and decide whether or not I wanted to meet again for a full-length date. The bar he selected was dark but homey. We had just enough time for him to tell me how wonderful he was and to regale me with his vast knowledge of wine. I was a bit concerned that I didn’t get a chance to really get a good look at him in the low light and then realized that the light was probably more than flattering for me.

There certainly wasn’t a spark, but as I ran out the door I agreed to meet him again for another date. The Wino diligently called and e-mailed for 3 weeks until I agreed to meet him at a museum. I had been on my feet all day, and arriving less than five minutes before the appointed time, plunked myself down on the bench in the entry letting out a deep sigh.

The Wino walked in and spotted me immediately. In this light he was clearly much of a much older vintage than he had claimed. He swaggered over and frowned.

“You were early,” he chided.

“I like to be on time.”

His face was a bit crooked and gnarly so I couldn’t be sure if he scowled, smirked or smiled before he darted into the crowd toward the entrance, expecting me to follow. He directed me through the museum pointing and lecturing as though I had never seen art before.

“You see, this is a painting.”

“Ah,” I cried.

“And this. This is called sculpture.”

"Ah,” I cried.

“Here we have a drawing.”

“Ah,” I cried.

“Would you like a glass of wine?”

“Yes,” I cried.

As he led me out of the museum I thought briefly about cutting and running, but decided that at the very least the Wino could select a lovely glass of wine before I went home.

While he claimed to be just a couple of years older, I was sure that he was much older than I. The Wino ordered a couple of appetizers as he ordered our wine selection. Clearly he thought the date was going well.

By the time the date was over, I was bored out of my brain. He rambled on about God knows what and never once even pretended to listen to a word I had to say.

When we parted he kissed me and as the door to my cab closed, I involuntarily wiped my mouth. I don’t think I’ve done that since the Seventh Grade.

No more dates with the Wino for me.

I wiped my mouth!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Vlog

I love that you guys follow my blog and my dating exploits. I especially love those of you that have bought my book, I Thought I Grew Up.

Something you may not know about me is that, while I'm waiting for Hollywood to call and beg me to turn my book into a movie, I sell real estate. Here's a little bit about me ;-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How to Date on the Internet

I have been working on a series of articles on how to date on the internet. I've been dating on line for ages, and God help me, I'm back.

As I began to re-enter the dating pool I thought I should take a bit of my own advice. I've been taking stock and decided I'd share what I've learned. Here's the first in the series on How to Date on the Internet: Getting to the HEART of the Matter.

I look forward to your thoughts on this mad world I once again find myself a part of.

Michelle xxx

Monday, May 10, 2010

One Woman’s Leap



One woman’s leap. No truer words were ever spoken.

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about this yet.

What am I saying?! I can’t believe I did it!

I have jumped out of a plane.

I have put on a harness, strapped myself to a stranger and hurled my body out of a plane at 13,800 feet toward earth.

There are really no words to express how it felt. The best word I can come up with at the moment is magical.

Those of you who are not yet my fans on Facebook, probably haven't seen this yet.

The video says it all.



I am sooooooo doing this again!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Real Scientist Returns… Again

Last year, after a very long absence, the Real Scientist was back in touch. Spurred on by the release of my book and hearing me on the radio, he called and asked me out to lunch. I hadn’t heard from him in ages, but was delighted.

We met at a bistro in Hell’s Kitchen and had a lovely time. Neither of us was at a loss for words. I confessed that he had a chapter in my book, and happily the conversation continued rather than coming to an abrupt end. Our date was followed by several lengthy phone conversations. We made plans to meet again and he sent me a charming birthday e-card. I was beginning to believe that there was real chemistry with the Real Scientist.

During our date he had alluded to health issues, and in one phone conversation he discussed his surgery although he never disclosed what the issue really was. We continued to make plans and then suddenly he disappeared. There were no more calls. There were no more e-mails. Typically responsive, the Real Scientist seemed to simply fall off the face of the Earth. He had so diligently stayed in touch before, that I became concerned. I reached out and had no response. Months passed.

I concluded that he was dead.

It made perfect sense. The Real Scientist was in his late 50s. It could have been anything. Perhaps he had a bad ticker. I wondered if his surgery had been for something more serious. I could only conclude that this man who had been so attentive must be dead. And so, life goes on.

To my surprise, after a six-month absence, The Real Scientist appeared on Facebook requesting to be my friend. Stunned, I accepted his invitation, sending a note asking where the hell he had been. Days passed and finally he responded. He apologized for being absent and rude, offering to begin to pay his debt by taking me out for dinner. Not one to hold a grudge, and the fact that I had always found this man to be rather attractive, I agreed that it would be a good place to start.

I never heard from him again.

It has been a month since his last missive. So, why did he bother to reach out? Is Facebook just another place where he can NOT communicate with me? Any insight from the male perspective would be greatly appreciated.

In the meantime, for those who continue to seek out new ways of non-communication, I offer this brilliant sentiment….

Monday, March 22, 2010

Community

While it’s true that my blog is typically for matters of the heart, those of you who know me also know just how unusual it is that politics has never made an appearance here.

I am passionate about a lot of things.

Art.

Men.

Education.

The theater.

Dinosaur bones.

Thanksgiving dinner.

And last, but certainly not least… POLITICS.

I am a news junkie. I am a politics geek. Last night I was thrilled to see history unfold in front of my eyes as Congress voted on a new healthcare bill. The rabble-rousing that followed with an attempt to send the bill back to committee was surprising, but I was happy to witness it unfold and to watch the votes as they appeared on the television screen. What troubles me is how Americans are not talking about issues. There is no discourse, no attempt at understanding, merely talking heads shouting that the other side is wrong.

When did we decide that the right thing to do was to stand in judgment of someone because they have a different opinion? Isn’t it freedom that we Americans claim to live and fight for? Doesn’t freedom include freedom of speech and thought? I may not agree with many of my fellow Americans on a lot of very emotional issues, but I do believe we have the right to disagree. I do not believe it gives anyone the right to incivility.

I love to argue the issues of the day. Arguing has gotten a bad name.

To argue = To state reasons for or against a thing.

We spend so much time texting rather than talking that we have forgotten how to argue; how to listen to each other. We spend too much time shouting out what the ‘talking heads’ have told us. We need to hear what we are trying to tell each other.

Name calling is never an answer.

Assuming that the other side is just plain stupid makes no sense.

This morning my friend Liz posted a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that I believe is right on point. While we have not been hitting each other, we have been partaking in violence of thought.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. – Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967)

I hope we choose community.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Up In The Air

Last night, as part of my pre-Oscar movie-going frenzy I went to see “Up In The Air.” I remain haunted by Ryan Bingham and the look on his face when his lover tells him he is a parenthesis.

In the beginning of the film Ryan and Alex seem to be cut from the same fabric – embracing aloneness; looking for entertainment; going back to their corners.

Then something happens and Ryan’s heart opens up to possibilities beyond his own private universe. He begins to fall in love. Even more, he decides to share the news with the woman he loves only to discover that she was more like him that he was.



Ryan: I thought I was part of your life.

Alex: I thought we signed up for the same thing… I thought our relationship was perfectly clear. You are an escape. You’re a break from our normal lives. You’re a parenthesis.

Ryan: I’m a parenthesis?


I’ve been on both sides of that conversation. In years gone by I have been like Ryan and Alex – cool, falsely compassionate, struggling to mitigate my own shortcomings and failures in the eyes of the world and finding myself lonely and alone. These days I’m more often on the receiving end of heartache.

I’ve decided to not look for a parenthesis. I’ve decided to not be afraid of what might happen if I am more than a parenthetical in someone else’s life.

I’m hoping that Mr. Right is out there and that he is ready for me. In the meantime, like in the movie, I am up in the air hoping for a smooth landing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On The Radio

I often find myself sitting on the subway holding my book, not really reading, but watching what everyone is up to around me. Today I hoped no one was watching me.

I left my office around four-thirty scurrying like a rat to get to my five o’clock appointment. I was busy today, but not so busy I couldn’t have left a few minutes earlier. There was no reason for me to be flying down the street grousing at the people who weren’t walking quite as fast as I was on my way to the subway.

I ran down the stairs and slid my MetroCard through the turnstile just as the uptown 1 Train pulled into the station. The train was crowded, but I managed to get a seat. I should have been embarrassed as I rolled my eyes because the woman next to me took up a little more space than the plastic molded seats allowed.

At the 96th Street station a tired-looking woman entered my subway car. She was probably ten years younger than I and looked five years older. Her expression was flat; the look of a woman who struggled to forgive those who felt it was their privilege to be mean to her throughout the day. Her head bobbed down and I heard a crackle – the crackle of a wire being plugged into an amplifier. I was beyond annoyed.

The sound of a disco beat filled the subway car. I never liked disco, even when it was popular, so the thought of being held hostage under ground as the train rumbled its way uptown was unbearable.

And then she sang.

I’m sure I scowled when she started singing “On the Radio.” The thought of listening to a bad rendition of this Donna Summer ‘classic’ from my first year in New York was beyond annoying.

And then I listened as she sang.

Her voice was sweet and clear and pitch-perfect.

Just a few notes into the song she had won me over. The train was pulling into the next stop and I worried that she wouldn’t finish her song.

She sang the song and offered a bit of patter, as she passed her hat, worthy of any nightclub in New York. She came back and sang a bit more of the song.

Her act was timed perfectly. Just a few stops after she boarded the train she left. As the doors opened at 137th Street I felt a pang of sadness that I may never hear the round tones of her voice again.

I took a moment to look at myself and realized just how foolish I’d been – taking myself too seriously, even on a subway ride. And then I realized just how happy this woman, this stranger, had made me with the sound of her beautiful voice.