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Get me out of New York City, Son. New York is Killing Me.

– Ray LaMontagne “New York City’s Killing Me”

I’ve been hearing about people fleeing New York City for greener (read: less expensive) pastures for a while now. Recently, this exodus has affected me, as many of my friends have decided they actually, and rightfully so, wanted more financial security rather than suffer through living paycheck to paycheck in a city they love. I honestly, don’t blame them.  Over-developing, or ‘progress,’ as some would call it, has killed this city’s culture, while making it virtually impossible for anyone who doesn’t make a six figure salary to live here. (Anyone who ever loved to spend time on the Lower East Side, knows exactly what I’m talking about)

It’s depressing because I love New York. I am, to the core, a New Yorker, born and bred. Raised in Brooklyn, then Staten Island. My family lives here. I know the streets. I know the history. I lived through some of the best, and horribly worst, times this city has ever seen along with so many other New Yorkers. It’s a part of me.

But I’m not sure how much longer I can live here.

I’m past the age where living in a cramped apartment, arguing with a roommate over who drank the last of the milk is remotely feasible. I am not married. I live alone in an amazingly huge (and thankfully rent-stabilized, despite my landlord’s efforts to make it otherwise) apartment on Staten Island, with a view of the city. A view that is about to be blocked by some ‘progress’ that hardly anyone I know actually wants.

Staten Island was the last bastion of affordable New York City living after Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bed-Stuy were taken over by developers, who, in the name of ‘progress’ killed the culture of these neighborhoods and turned them into luxury apartment, hipster enclaves that no one who isn’t wealthy, or willing to share a closet-sized dwelling with four people, can afford.

And now that there are no more neighborhoods to kill in the other four boroughs, developers have set their sights on Staten Island’s North Shore.

This sucks. I am tired of hearing how wonderful it will be for the neighborhood. I like my neighborhood just the way it is. It has always been deceptively on the seedy side – which was the beauty of it all as it kept all the assholes (hipster, yuppies, developers, etc) away.   I remember, my mother, upon her drive up to see what would become my current dwelling, seven years ago, nearly had a fit thinking I was insane for wanting to live in what she thought was a ‘bad’ neighborhood. That was until she turned the corner to the cul-de-sac on which my building resides, and saw the beautiful tree-lined block, with the huge, old houses across the street. Once she saw the size of the apartment, the view, the pool, and was told that heat and hot water were included in the rent, she helped me turn that place into the home I still live in today.

I’ve had some pretty rough times over the past few years. Financially, my life has been a roller coaster of crazy. But because I’m paying for my place for about half of what a shoe-box sized studio in Manhattan would cost, I have managed to somehow survive.

We hear politicians talk about ‘affordable’ housing – and yes, there are some very nice apartments, even in my neighborhood, slated for those who earn less than a certain amount per family member (I’m really not sure how they figure out the formula for these apartments but, okay). I don’t fit into that category, I earn too much, apparently.

I’m happy that those who have been struggling with inadequate housing, food, and salary for so long are finally being helped.  But what about the rest of us?  What about those of us who used to be able to afford decent housing and a decent life in The City, but no longer can do so because we earn too much money to live in affordable housing, but too little to live anywhere else within the five boroughs.

To be clear, I’m not saying that I in any way should be accepted into the affordable housing program. There are people in way worse circumstances than I am, and I believe they need, and should have, the assistance they are receiving.  What I am saying is, while I commend the efforts of the Governor and the Mayor to improve the lives of those who have fallen on hard times, (while simultaneously basking in all the extra money brought in by the developers and the consumers of their luxury housing options), I think they have forgotten that segment of the population that has been teetering on the edge for quite some time now. It is those of us in the middle that are running away from the city to pursue a livable life. You know, one where not nearly half our salary is going into the pockets of some greedy landlord or developer as housing costs rise, and salaries remain stagnant.

I’m not against progress, per-se. I realize that the neighborhood needs to be revamped. But does it have to go all “Williamsburg” on us? I couldn’t afford to live anywhere in Brooklyn now if I earned double my current salary and I am afraid that in a few years, I won’t be able to afford to live on Staten Island either.  I don’t want to leave the city. I really don’t. But I’m starting to fear that I may have no choice.

Earlier today, after seeing so many Republicans (and Democrats, if we’re being honest here), in response to Donald Trump’s disgusting and down-right disrespectful comments regarding John McCain’s military service, come to John McCain’s defense (as we all should), a friend of mine brought up the interesting insight that up until now, the Republicans haven’t protested much, if any, of the Donald’s rants against the rest of humanity.

Where the hell have they been?

Where were they, for example, when he questioned a sitting President’s Birth Certificate?  (My friend forgot to mention that Trump ALSO questioned Obama’s Harvard transcript…. Or rather, his ability to have been accepted to both Columbia and Harvard when he’d “heard” that Obama was a horrible student and HIS friend’s kids who got better grades never got accepted..) But yeah, Trump isn’t racist. He’s got “plenty of Black friends – he gets along with the blacks.” (Trump’s words – not mine).

Where, also, my friend asked, was the outrage when Trump dishonored John Kerry’s military service, and Al Gore’s, and Democratic Senator Max Cleland’s (double amputee) military heroism?

Where were they when he dishonored every Mexican Immigrant in the United States?  (Okay, to be fair, aside from that ‘Mensa candidate’ Ted Cruz, the rest of them DID come out to say that Trump was wrong… Of course, they only did so because the Republican Party is desperate to get the Latino Vote…  Since clearly, they will NEVER overwhelmingly get the female vote.. Let’s not even get into how Trump went after Jeb for taking sides with the immigrants because his wife is Mexican – Bad enough I’m defending John McCain, I’ll be damned if that loud-mouthed buffoon has me defending a member of the Bush Family!)

Where were they when Trump was doing as Trump does, before?

They were helping to create this Trump-monster.

They LOVED when he was throwing shade at the President.  They were completely comfortable allowing a blow-hard TV show loud mouth with a bad comb-over speak out-loud what every last one of them was actually thinking.

Trump was absolutely speaking what they were all thinking when he went off on a “kid like Obama” not deserving admission to Ivy League schools when so many of his friend’s (read ‘white’, ‘affluent’, did I mention, ‘white’?) kids couldn’t get in.

They were jizzing their pants every single time Trump belittled even the heroic military service of any Democrat.

They were screaming like school girls at a Bieber concert when he said that vile thing about Mexican Immigrants.

Why? Because they couldn’t legitimately say it themselves and they knew that the viewers of FOX News would eat that shit up as if it were caramel coated Haggen Daas. Don’t believe me? Go ask your Republican grandparents if they believe Obama was actually born in the United States.. Go.  I’ll wait.

Done? Good.

So now that we have established that the Republican Party has created this monster. Do they have any right to say anything in response to his vile verbal diarrhea? No. They don’t. They WILL, because most of them realize he’s gone too far, but they really should just shut up and eat it because he is THEIR Frankenstein Monster (albeit, Frankenstein had a lot more class – and a much better hair style).

They made it okay to talk shit about a sitting President with all this ‘Birther’ and ‘Grader’ crap.

Hey remember when George W got us into two wars in which we had no business taking part in, got thousands of our Military men and women killed, or permanently wounded for life, and killed our economy because we couldn’t pay for it all? – yeah, anytime one of us tried to point that out, we were ‘disrespecting the President.’ A president who was barely a “C” student at a school he himself admits his daddy helped him in to, and who basically avoided military service by joining the National Guard, and thanks to Daddy, once again, never left Texas while so many (including John McCain and John Kerry) went to battle in Vietnam.

The current President has managed to get us out of the Recession, despite the Republicans. He actually was a good student (despite what Trump “heard”) and was born in Hawaii – Which, if I’m not mistaken was a part of the US back in 1961? Right? But yeah, talking shit about him is okay.

What happened to respecting the office regardless of what we think of the man occupying it? Or is that kind of respect only reserved for old white men?

It was the Republicans and their media outlets (all owned by Rupert Murdoch), who made it okay to disparage immigrants. You know, those people who try to come here for a better life;  who are willing to pick our produce, clean houses and offices, and watch over privileged brats grow up into mirror images of their asshole parents?  Do we have an issue with Immigration? Yes, of course we do. But it was the Republicans who made it okay to discuss immigrants as if they weren’t even human. Just watch one episode of Fox and Friends.. Or Morning Joe.. or that old guy who looks like a short skeleton with shoe-leather dyed hair and wrinkles a Sharpe would be jealous of… They discuss immigrants and the poor and women with such disdain I can’t understand how they have such a huge following. Are there really that many old white guys in this country?

So don’t ask where the Republicans were before Trump went after McCain. They were right there, giving his pencil-dick a nice tongue bath (oh, please, anyone who has to have his name on every building and constantly talk about how rich he is most assuredly is making up for a needle-thin gherkin between his legs. Maybe that’s why he’ doesn’t like Latinos…  ¿Celoso mucho pendejo?).

What kills me is that despite all this crap, he’s leading in the Republican Polls. As someone who wouldn’t vote for a Republican candidate anyway, I should be happy to see the other side imploding. Put Trump up against an one of our guys (or gal), and should sanity prevail, the Democrats get another four years in office. But sadly, this situation, at first funny, has played out it’s comedic value.  The truth is, in order for this country to work, we really need to learn how to have an actual discourse between intellectuals who seriously want to make this country work (as opposed to a bloated asshole who really is doing this because he clearly needs his ego stroked – Doesn’t he have a wife? Or, has she grown as sick of him as the other two did?)

Donald Trump is the result of all that extremism on the Right that has been funded by the likes of the Koch brothers and propagandized by Rupert Murdoch. That is the ONLY thing that can explain the existence of that fully-loaded, used diaper with a rat’s nest on his head, making it as far as he has through the political process. Realistically, he should have never gotten this far. Realistically, he should be doing what he always does: clearing out the life savings of gamblers while simultaneously filing for bankruptcy every few years.

I know there are normal, middle-of-the-road, non Tea-Partying Republicans out there who are willing to go old school and work with the left. This country cannot run with one side parenting the clown posse on the other side. It’s time to grow up, put on your big boy pants, and realize the world is changing and instead of fighting every change, work with it. Work with us. Until you do, there will be more assholes like Trump, along with the other (as of recent count) 14, potential candidates, making a mockery out of a Party that used to actually have some semblance of self-respect.

It’s shameful, and it’s a shame. I never thought I’d say this, but, COME ON REPUBLICANS.. YOU’RE BETTER than this!! (Maybe.)

With love,  a full-blooded Lefty-Liberal

Bernie 2016!!


One day last September, I walked into a beautifully furnished reception area of a mid-town office. I was sent there by a recruiter for an interview. I walked up to the impossibly young receptionist and let her know who I was there to meet with. She directed me to the waiting area, which was directly in front of a conference room filled with even more impossibly young employees.  Ten minutes later, I was greeted by another young lady who informed me that the person with whom I was to meet would have to reschedule.  Apparently he was called into a last minute meeting and would not be able to meet with me that day – apologies all around – they would be in touch. Of course, I never heard from them again. So what could possibly have been the reason for their lack of follow through? Clearly my resume spoke to my qualifications. I was dressed in a suit. My hair was done. I was wearing make-up – something I apply lightly yet effectively. I have been told I pass for younger than my actual age. But,  that age is over 40, and the kids at that awesome new start up couldn’t have been over the age of 30. This may be sheer speculation, but I’m guessing they took one look at me, at the time 42, and decided to pass.

Their loss.

A couple of weeks later, while in the middle of an early autumn heat wave, I was sweating along in my car, running a few errands, when I received a call from a recruiter.  She had seen my resume and was floored by my experience. She quickly interviewed me over the phone and exclaimed that she MUST do a video chat with me THAT DAY because I sounded like an amazing candidate for the role she had available. I explained to her that I was in my car, running errands, and would be home within the hour (thus giving me time to get home from Brooklyn, and make myself presentable). She told me she wanted a more immediate conversation, as their office (which was in Connecticut, hence the need for a video chat and not an in-person interview, as would be the norm), was about to close,  and never mind the make-up and hair, she just wanted to face-time me along with her co-manager on the account.

I acquiesced to the interview and was immediately at ease. Sure the ladies on the other end were wearing make-up – their hair perfectly coifed in matronly fashion – but they were older. Judging by the sheer amount of eye-make up and poorly hidden wrinkles, I’d say A LOT older, than myself. Being that they were of a certain age, the wouldn’t judge me for being in my 40’s when they were so clearly pushing the 60, right? Wrong.

We had a lovely conversation which ended with them promising to forward my resume to their client.  Afterwards, I hung up, but they didn’t. While we were no longer seeing each other on the screen, I could hear every word they said. I wish I had thought to press “record.” I may have easily been able to sue if a court could have heard what they said.

There are some things in life I know I will forget. But what I heard from the other end was so heartbreaking to me, I actually remember every word.

Recruiter #1:      OMG She looks way older than her resume would make you believe

Recruiter #2:      Yeah, she definitely started her career earlier than the year 2000 (right, because 2000 was when I became an Executive Assistant – neither my time as a pension processor nor  as a make-up counter person at the Body Shop are relevant to my current job search).

Recruiter #1:      Yeah, but she’s not THAT old. She could’ve at least TRIED to put on some make up though. I mean seriously, who at that age doesn’t wear make-up when they leave the house? (Someone who doesn’t want to get your wrinkles, granny).

Recruiter #2:      It’s really too bad because she was perfect on paper, and the way she interviews, she’s very well-spoken, but she’s just too old.

Recruiter #1:      So sad, really.  She would’ve probably gotten the job if she were ten years younger. So, we agree, we’re not sending her resume to them (I’m assuming, them = the client).

Recruiter #2:     No, she can’t represent us to them. She’s too old. 

Me:        Excuse me ladies, I thought you should know, I can hear everything you’ve said. Despite my advanced age, I do know how to use an iPhone. Kindly hang up on your end. Thanks.

After a bit of scrambling, they finally figured out how to hang up. In case you are wondering, the name of the recruiting company is Merrit Staffing. I have avoided all of their postings, many for which I am not only qualified, but more than likely over-qualified, ever since. Sad, really, I could have been a great placement of theirs.

Recently, while on a temp assignment, at a company I won’t name, I watched as they criticized candidate after candidate vying for the role, admittedly I’d hoped they would have given me (although I realized early on, that wasn’t going to happen – even though everyone genuinely praised me, my work and my work ethic during my time there, I knew what my boss was looking for, and I certainly wasn’t it). All the candidates were pre-screened by the in-house recruiter. All qualified for the position. I knew who they were going to hire before even they did. I knew by her age, her perkiness, and her dress. No matter that her resume had her jumping from job to job every two years. No matter that she herself admitted she grew bored easily. She would be the perfect candidate. She’d fit right in with the group (of course, important – Honestly, I’m a social butterfly, but I can’t fake enthusiasm when certain things are just not that interesting to me – a fatal flaw, I’m afraid).  And she IS qualified for the position, of that I have no doubt. So, I have zero bitterness towards the hiring of this person. She got the job because she was their ideal candidate.

It is the treatment of those they rejected that killed me. There was a harsh rejection of one person in particular, that struck me as vile and made me lose a whole lot of respect for my former employer. She was an older lady. Extremely experienced and by all accounts very qualified for the position. She was wearing a wig. She was also wearing a lot of make- up. But she was well dressed, polite, friendly and well spoken. After she left, some of the comments coming out of the mouths of those who thought I couldn’t hear them, or that no one else in the office who had a conscience could hear them, were disgusting. Seriously, I had wanted so badly to work for them at one point. After that, I actually started looking for a job elsewhere.

Apparently ageism is everywhere. Even among those older than you (the above mentioned employer is my age – his co-interviewer is 11 years older than I am). People wonder why it has been so difficult for me to find a job.. well, my mom would say it’s my weight. But then again, my mother still thinks I’m in my 20s.. soo… But it’s not. I find a lot of very unhappy people in their mid 40’s to upper 50s who stay in jobs they hate because they know they won’t get hired anywhere else. It’s sad. Companies want the experience, and in the steadily improving economy, are even willing to pay for the experience. But they don’t want the age that comes along with the experience. This is not something I can understand. I’m nowhere near retirement age. I have a good 20-30 employable years left in me. And yet, all I can seem to find are temporary assignments, where despite all my hard work, all the accolades said work receives, I am still not given a permanent job. There is no way to sugar coat it. I can lose weight. But I can’t turn back time and become a 30 year old again. I’ve been heavy all my life. Heavier than I am right now, even, and have still managed to get a job. So yeah, it’s not my weight mom. I love you, but that is not the source of all that is currently wrong in life.

I’m just, apparently, old?

There really is no point to this post. I have no brilliant insights or advice or even anger to throw at you. It’s just me venting out frustrations that I can’t even add any humor to because it’s sad. And it’s scary. I’m a single, (widowed, something I don’t admit to readily to interviewers because that word makes me seem even older, I think).  I live alone. I live in New York City (yes, Staten Island IS a part of NYC!). I’m way too young for even ‘early’ retirement. Not to mention, any retirement savings I had, I went through after my husband passed away. Anything I managed to save after that, I went through the last time I was unemployed back in 2010. I have no clue what to do. I want to work. I am REALLY good at my job. Even the frat boy who didn’t hire me after I busted my ass working for him as a temp for 7 months told me that he would happily be a reference for me – I may not have been right for him, but he’d happily shove my old ass onto someone else, I guess.

So, anyone out there looking to hire a 43 year-old, chubby but super friendly and highly qualified Executive Assistant?   Just asking. Hey, I’ll even throw on some make-up!

Back in November of 2013, tired of trying to meet men the ‘old fashioned’ way, and even more exhausted of hearing my friends urging me to try any number of on-line dating sites on which their ‘sister’s friends roommate from college’ met the man of her dreams, I made the decision to try, once again, to dip my toes in the perilous pool of on-line dating.

Largely influencing this decision was having seen first hand, a good friend of mine, marry a man she herself had met on one of the many sites out there. She and I had shared our dating woes on many occasions and seeing her so happily say “I do,” to a genuinely wonderful man made me hopeful.

Having forayed once before, albeit briefly and half-heartedly, I decided this time I was going all in. I joined every site I could think of. I chose an opportune time, a month before holiday season, when even the paid sites were giving out nearly free (and in some cases, completely free), deals. I set up my profile, chose my photos and off I went.

The following observations are made from a feminine point of view, with the purist of intentions, directed at the men out there seeking to meet women on these sites. Admittedly, when I first started looking, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, so was contacted by men looking for a variety of different types of ‘relationships.’ That being said, regardless of what I, or they, were looking for, I started being somewhat critical (and yes, skeptical), of what these guys were putting out there via their online profiles.

After a few conversations with some of my female friends who were going through the same process, I’ve come to the conclusion that some guys just need help.

Now, before I go any further, please understand, the ‘advice’ I’m about to give is solely from my own observations. I can’t speak for other women. Although, like I said, many friends with whom I’ve had this discussion seem to agree with me. Additionally, I’m sure the male perspective on what they’ve witnessed coming from the female side might be similar (I’m sure there are any number of women out there whose photo’s and info have left you guys in stitches). But this advice is for the guys…

Please understand, this is coming from a good place.  I am well aware that the female profiles you’re looking at can be just as bad if not worse. However, if you’re not getting the kind of attention you want, or, if you’re not getting any attention at all, here are some potential reasons, and, maybe some solutions. I’m not guaranteeing success, but, it might help.


Online dating is akin to online shopping. Women love to shop. But we’re not buying anything that looks sketchy or doesn’t match the product description. I’m not saying we’re all shallow and want an Adonis. But, most of us do want something real.. and sane.. and at least recent..

Let me clarify:

Your picture

Female reaction
Eyes bulging – like Charles Manson Psycho
Mug shot ala Nick Nolte Alcoholic Psycho
Grainy picture from ten years ago What the hell’s he trying to hide ? And who the hell does he think he’s fooling?
Current picture does not match up with the age you’ve given Does he think we’re all morons? If that’s him now, he’s lived a ROUGH life.. I mean that shot makes him look AT LEAST 10 years older…
Shot of your six-pack abs, but you’re listed as looking for a “serious” relationship Same reaction YOU have to the half naked picture of some chick in her bikini, doing the kissy-duck face thing… If that’s the reaction you want, just say you’re looking for a hook-up and be done with it. No woman’s going to object to looking at your abs…. but really, again, don’t bullshit us.
Pictures of you hanging with your super hot girl ‘friends.’ Awww… poor baby is in the friend zone… pity party table for one – Next
Pictures of you with your mom Mama’s boy.. no thanks.. Next
Pictures of you at the gym Oh for fucks sake, what’s he trying to prove?
Pictures of you with your dog, your cat, your infant niece or nephew… Trying too hard to up the cute factor..

Here’s the deal. All of the above is crap. Just be you.  It should be enough for anyone who would be interested in you.  Pick pictures of who you are now.  Granted, if you are a psycho, alcoholic, mama’s boy with an inferiority complex, may the force be with you, my friend.

My advice would be to ask that really hot girl who has permanently put you in the “friend” zone to help you choose pictures that would make you attractive to other women. Chances are she knows all your best qualities and wants you to find someone who will want to be with you – if only so she could stop feeling so guilty for not wanting to be with you herself.

Your Profile – Honesty is the best policy

Look, I know guys like to think they have a general clue as to what a woman may or may not be looking for. But honestly, unless you’re going to consistently follow through, please don’t over indulge on the platitudes.

The point of your profile is to tell us who you are, not who you think we want to hear you are. You may be the best guy ever to walk the face of the planet. You may shit rainbows and fart roses. Hell, you may be a unicorn in man’s clothing. Awesome. But writing all that down in flowery prose hoping to get our panties all up in a bunch lining up to meet you is a bit disingenuous.  Also, most women – I’m not talking girls still living in a fantasy land where prince charming will rescue them and they all live happily ever after – realize, that there is no fantasy land, and that even after the prince rescues the princess, they still have to deal with one another’s crap.

When I first decided to re-enter the world of online dating, I was inundated with a few messages from guys spewing the hearts and flowers, one even told me I wouldn’t need to get pedicures any more because he’d kiss all my callouses away (umm yuk).

What I’m saying is – keep it simple, stupid.

Try to avoid condescending phrases like “I’ll treat you like a princess.” And for crying out loud, PLEASE stop reiterating what a “great guy” you are.  Most women believe in actions and not words. You really want to get our attention? Admit you’re flawed. No woman can realistically expect perfection, knowing full well how imperfect she herself is. Don’t make yourself out to be the guy you think all women dream of, because judging by what I’ve been reading, most guys have no clue. Having to dig through all the bullshit to figure out what part of your fantasy world really is you is hard. And, if you are really that perfect? That’s just intimidating. Tell us about who you really are, what you really want and what you really like. That kind of honesty might get us to respond. Figuring out what a great guy you are will shortly follow.

The first guy that really got a response from me, had, in his profile (and I’m paraphrasing here), “I’m not a creeper. Just a guy. Not sure how all this works, but thought I’d give it a shot.”

After all the lengthy, almost Shakespeare-meets-Keats type of prose I was reading, I found HIS profile refreshing (it also helped that his pictures were actually him, recent, and clearly not posing for effect…). The outright honesty blew me away.

So guys, please understand, most real women stopped believing in Prince Charming a long, long time ago. What we’re looking for is a real man. We don’t want platitudes. We don’t need promises. We just want you.

First Contact:

Okay,  your profile is complete… You’ve answered a bunch of benign questions regarding your preferences in romance, music, sports, food, etc and the website directs you to a few profiles of women they believe you’d match up well with. Here’s what you should, and shouldn’t do:


READ THE PROFILES! Seriously, you can find out a lot by reading one paragraph. For instance, what she’s looking for.. you know.. if she’s looking for a serious relationship, and you aren’t – move on. If she’s looking for a hook-up and you want to meet the future mother of your children – move the hell on.

Additionally, reading her profile will clue you in to some of her interests. This knowledge would be of infinite assistance in getting her to actually converse with you should you decide to make contact.  That guy I mentioned before, yeah, his first message read: “So, a music snob, how so?” This prompted a response from me way more enthusiastically than the typical “Hey there,” or my FAVORITE first text, “Hey princess, what’s up?” Seriously? Do I FUCKING LOOK LIKE A GIRL WHO WANTS TO BE ADDRESSED AS “PRINCESS”?!!

Anyway, so yeah, read the profiles.


Glance at the pictures and write any versions of the following:

“Yo baby what’s up”

“Hey princess, what’s up”

“Hey sexy, wanna (insert sexual act of your choice)”

In all honesty, I’ve often wondered if any version of the above ever works and what kind of women respond to that kind of ish.

I met my current boyfriend on one of the sites. He started with a very, almost shy, “hello,” and not much else. It was direct, not condescending, or insulting, or vulgar. The fact that his profile had normal pictures along with a brief but interesting bio, sparked my interest enough to get a responding “hello.” Once we started chatting, we never stopped. He had obviously read my profile and asked me questions; I did the same; and once we met in person.. well.. that’s a different story, but suffice it to say, one year later and we’re still together, so clearly, I’m coming from a place of SOME knowledge here.

What I’m trying to say is, again, no need to be an exceptional wordsmith here, a simple “hello,” will often do the trick. Of course, if you are trying to separate yourself from the hundreds of other guys in the herd, you can always reference the lady’s profile in your first message. Believe me, that IS refreshing (PS: “Hello, you’re very pretty.” – Doesn’t count as referencing the profile.. ).

Listen, I get it. It’s a crowded field out there. It’s tempting to try the most outrageous tactics in an effort to get noticed. But it probably won’t – at least not in the way you’d like. Truly, most women (and I’m sure men) are expecting there to be some deceptive tactics involved in most on-line dating profiles. In my estimation, most folks do this to get a foot in the door. I can understand that. The problem is that when the truth comes out, as it inevitably does, you wind up shooting yourself in that proverbial foot.

So just be you. Truly. That alone would be shocking enough to get the attention you’re looking for. Try it. What have you got to lose?

Love is Love

On Friday, June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples wishing to marry the same rights as heterosexual couples in all 50 states. Thus, giving basic civil rights to live and die with the person one loves, and all the legal benefits that come along with such a union to a group of people who should have had those rights all along. While the majority of the country rejoiced in this step forward to making all Americans truly equal, there were some who saw this as the end of the world… because.. Honestly, I can’t tell you why, but some of the things that I read in my news feed had me simultaneously laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the things people will convince themselves to believe (“What about straight pride” – Really? OMG), while shaking my head in disbelief at the “God’s going to punish us for this,” crew.

Okay, so, let’s start with an easy one – God. Yep – easy as reading the bible – you know, that book ya’ll seem to think is all we need to live by? Remember Noah? Remember the promise God made to Noah after that huge storm? For all of you who believe that the Bible is the sole truth and that science and climate change and all that other stuff is just plain old malarkey perpetrated by us disbelievers (PS: I’m actually a believer, just not in the bible as historical text), here’s what God promised:

Genesis 8:21 “The LORD said, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.”

So, hurricanes, storms, tornados, etc , have nothing to do with us sinning against God’s will, rather, us sinning against the planet, but I digress… My point is, God’s not sending a hurricane to drown out all us sinners who believe in the sanctity of love.

Then there are those who believe that this will destroy the institution of marriage. It won’t. Marriage was around long before religion took it on as an institution. It was around long before religion. Actually, if you really want to go by the bible for the history of marriage, marriage was pretty much no more than a financial (read: legal), institution from all the way back to Adam and Eve. Oh, also, for those who are running around screaming that the SCOTUS decision will lead to polygamy – well, just an FYI: most marriages in the bible were polygamous… So, you might want to rethink that argument.

To this day, regardless of where you are married, or who officiates, or if there even is someone officiating, in order for your marriage to be recognized legally, you must first obtain a marriage certificate from the courts. Put it this way, you can be married by the Pope, if you don’t have a legal certificate; you and your spouse have no legal marital rights. The SCOTUS decision, simply put, stated that all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, or gender, have equal rights under the law.

Please explain to me how that, in any way, diminishes YOUR heterosexual marriage?

And then there’s my favorite piece of idiocy – “Straight Pride.”

As a straight woman, I have to say, I have NEVER felt any prejudice for being straight. No one has ever beaten me up, made me feel like less than a human or teased me because, as a female of the species, I liked the males of the species. I never had to hide who I was because society always accepted me for who I am. When my husband and I got married, no one tried to prevent us from getting a certificate of marriage. When he fell ill, no one questioned the validity of my right, as his spouse, to make decisions on his behalf, or my rights, as his spouse to what benefits he may have left behind when he passed. Life as a straight person is easy in this country, when it comes to legality of your existence, and your rights. Straight people, straight white people in particular, haven’t had to fight for anything. It’s just accepted that you will get a marriage certificate if you want to get married. And if you get divorced, well, that’s over 50% of the population, so, no biggie, you can just get married again.

So, how can anyone claim that same sex marriage will ruin the institution of marriage? Haven’t straight folks done that already? How many people do you know who have been married and divorced multiple times? Please, explain to me how two people who love one another, obtaining the legal rights of marriage, has any bearing on the validity of your second or third go at ‘true love?’ And to those folks married for 20+ years, congrats – you, might actually deserve a parade of your own. One, in which, I hope all couples who have managed to stay together for that long can take part.

I understand that people have their own very much ingrained beliefs, and I can respect that. What I cannot respect is anyone trying to force those beliefs on anyone else. This country is made up of so many different people, why would anyone want to withhold basic human rights from two consenting adults who want to spend their lives together – for better or for worse? It makes no sense. They’re not doing anything wrong, not in the eyes of anyone who isn’t a homophobic bigot, anyway. So what’s the problem? How is anyone else’s relationship affecting yours?

Here’s a little advice. Forget other couples and their relationship statuses, and worry about your own. If you think that someone else’s marriage is affecting yours? You clearly have marital issues. If you REALLY believe that you deserve a pat on the back for being in a heterosexual marriage, then clearly you need some more attention from your significant other – again, check your own marriage.

If your issue is based on religion, again, I respect that, but the decision made on June 26th has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with the law.

All that SCOTUS did was reiterate a legal fact that is written on the facades of many a courthouse, including the Supreme Court; “everyone is equal under the law.” And there is nothing wrong with that.

Dear South,

You lost the war. Your flag has no place in the UNITED States. Get rid of it.  We’ll discuss your street names and other symbols glorifying the traitorous soldiers that fought to keep others enslaved at a different date.  For now, just get that monstrosity OFF MY LAWN.


The North


In light of the horrific actions in South Carolina last week, perpetrated by a racist who stated that he wanted to kill people because of nothing more than the color of their skin, who, in a manifesto of his own words stated that segregation should never have ended, that the country was being overrun and who, for lack of any one else willing to do the deed, would set out to kill as many African Americans (although, the word he used was less polite), as he can, a debate as risen over the perpetual glorification of the confederate past of the South by Southern States- Starting with the Confederate Flag and its place on US Government property.

The confederate flag was created to fly over the government buildings of the “Confederate States of America” – that was to be the name of the new country being formed by the states south of the Mason-Dixon line.  The confederacy existed for one reason and one alone – they wanted to keep their slaves. And that flag? That flag represented a group of people who lived by the concept that, to quote Alexander Stephens (Vice President of the Confederacy)  from a speech now called the “Cornerstone Speech” (yes, I watch Larry Wilmore – and yes I watch a SHITTON of History and Discovery Channels), where he stated:

“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”

You really cannot gloss over that language, any more than you can gloss over the words that that terrorist spoke before opening fire in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.  The guy was a racist. The flag is a symbol of racism. Any debate over whether this was a hate crime against African Americans is moot. FOX News, take heed, he stated his purpose pretty clearly.  Racism isn’t dead, and the issue of glorifying the confederacy is part of the problem.

Once the Civil War was over, the returning Southern soldiers, discontented and dejected, full of self-righteous anger and indignation at the thought that their former slaves were now walking around free and claiming to be equal, formed a little group to keep the newly freed slaves in their place. This group was called the Ku Klux Klan, and its rallying banner? The Confederate Flag.

And yes, some folks have taken on that symbol as a symbol of rebellion. They don’t take into account the history behind the symbol, even though they are aware of it. They will wear shirts, buy paraphernalia, all because they like the ‘rebellious’ symbolism, sans the undertone of racism, that the flag symbolizes to the majority of people who know anything about its history. I don’t agree with those folks, and I don’t necessarily condone it, but what they put on their bodies, what they hang outside their homes or on the bumpers of their cars, that’s on them. And that, while may seem ignorant, is their personal right to do so.

But to condone the waving of that flag on government property is to condone the actual history of the flag itself.  It’s not a proud history. It’s not a heroic history. That flag symbolizes traitors who fought a war against their own country so they could continue to enslave other human beings.  To continue to permit the flag’s existence on any governmental ground is to condone that past.  To anyone to whom  that flag still may symbolize the idea that “the south will rise again,” flying that flag on government grounds, naming streets after confederate soldiers, naming schools after confederate leaders, means it’s okay to hope that the south will once again go back to the ‘glory’ of the plantation days and the subjugation of African Americans.

This issue isn’t about freedom of speech (as it is a symbol, at its core, of a traitorous gang of secessionists). This isn’t an issue about freedom of expression (as what it expresses is pride in a history of murder, slavery and again, traitorous actions). It’s about a symbol that people have to walk by each day. It’s about a symbol so powerful that in European countries Neo-Nazis wave it around instead of the illegal Nazi flag.

People are claiming that the current wave of support for the removal of the confederate flag is a knee-jerk reaction to a very bad thing done by a very deranged man  and that the liberals are just trying to dust up some old wrongs to make the South and its leaders look bad. Honestly? If the leaders of the Southern states aren’t behind this idea, they should be made to look bad. Anyone who still thinks this flag has any right anywhere, in all honesty, looks bad to anyone who knows what that thing means.

And no, no one expects the removal of this symbol from government grounds to suddenly eradicate all racism in this country.  Racism is taught. It is handed down from one generation to the next. No one can stop what a parent teaches their child in the privacy of their own home. What the removal of this symbol will achieve is a show of support for the people whose ancestors were enslaved and tortured by the bearers of this flag. It will show that the U.S. Government does not abide by what the individual racists teach their offspring. That the U.S. Government stands with its citizens, not with the people who still glorify a past wherein some wanted to tear apart the country all because they wanted to enslave a group of people.  Getting rid of this symbol of the confederacy isn’t the solution to racism, but it is a step forward towards uniting the country under the only flag that should be flying on our government grounds – the stars and stripes.

In all honesty, there doesn’t need to be a debate. We shouldn’t have to wait until August for that thing to be removed. It needs to go. Now.


I’d like to teach the world to sing

In perfect harmony

I’d like to buy the world a Coke 

And Keep it company

-Old Coke Commercial

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, has decided that soda is bad. All hail the king and his infinite wisdom…

Wait. Common sense would dictate, that yes, drinking a silo full of soda daily IS bad. Most people realize that. Do we REALLY need a law barring restaurants, etc, from serving/selling these large containers of sugar and caffeine? Is that really going to stop anyone from drinking them?

Bloomberg says that if someone wants 32 oz of soda, they can just as easily buy two cups of the stuff. I guess, logically, he’s assuming that folks wouldn’t shell out the cash for the extra cup. I’d commend him for his assumption, if I thought it would make any difference.

Bloomberg claims this is an effort to get people to stop drinking so many sugary drinks (which, lets face it, folks drink WAY too many sugary drinks), thus taking a stab at obesity.

While I can’t fault his reasoning, I can fault his methodology. If he wanted to be a nanny, he should have applied for that job. He is the mayor of a city that is going through financial crisis. He is the mayor of a city who’s kids can now pass a stupid test, but who can’t write a grammatically correct sentence. And yes, he is the mayor of a city, that is part of a country, with a huge obesity problem.

But soda? THAT’s going to solve the issue?

Reality check Mr. Mayor. It’s not going to even make a dent in the problem.

When I first heard about this new law he’s trying to pass, I became inexplicably angry. Mind you, I don’t even DRINK sugary soda, never mind the 32 oz variety!

First, I thought it was the whole ‘personal rights’ thing that was pissing me off. I mean I’m still smarting over the whole portion of the Republican primary wherein suddenly all unmarried, sexually active females were presented as sluts, whores and baby killers who need to be shamed into not getting an abortion via vaginal probe. But I digress.

Yes, what you eat, drink and who you sleep with is all a matter of personal choice. Many people make the wrong choice. It’s a part of life. The end.

But then it was brought to my attention that some people don’t know any better.. Particularly children who are being raised by some, apparently, unwise parents.

Okay. Got it. Bad Parents. Kids suffer.

But is soda REALLY going to make the difference?

And then I started thinking. All this money, time and effort being spent on barring something that people CHOOSE to ingest, can be better spent educating these same people about healthier ways.

Why not, instead of taking away people’s freedom to choose, Mr. Micromanger tries to instead develop programs that encourage people to make better choices?

Since the largest concern is childhood obesity, why not start with the schools. Pull a Jaime Oliver and start a food Revolution. Stop serving pink slime in the cafeteria. Candy bars weren’t making the kids fat. The crap meals are doing that all on their lonesome.

Then, just for shits and giggles, take an hour or two a week away from teaching the kids how to pass tests that don’t teach them ANYTHING, to teach them about healthy eating and encourage them to do something that doesn’t have them sitting in front of a computer or a TV. Make it part of the teaching program that they need to do SOME form of activity each day.

Now how about the adults?

Hmm.. well, adults are a little bit tougher nuts to crack. We’re pretty set in our ways. But making produce and good meat cheaper, than, say, ground chuck and potato chips would be a good start. Back when I was among the unemployed, eating healthy was nearly impossible to do. Just trying to buy wheat pasta (pasta, being a staple of the broke), was costly, in comparison to the less healthy white pasta. Never mind the price of fruits and veggies!

When you can buy two bags of potato chips for less than a bag of carrots, you have definitely got a problem.

With the majority of our population struggling to make ends meet, folks just want to keep their bellies full. Healthier items cost more. Maybe before regulating the size of movie soda (or my morning latte), someone should look into regulating the cost of healthier food.

I can’t help but believe this ban is a frivolous waste of taxpayer money. There are better ways to encourage healthy living, and there are more important items on Bloomberg’s agenda than regulating Soda consumption. First of all, it won’t make a difference. If people want to drink ridiculous amounts of soda, they will. Soda isn’t the problem and he’s not making a dent into the actual issue. Ultimately, what pisses me off is the fact that this whole campaign of his is a waste of money, a waste of time, and more than that, a waste of my patience with a mayor who shouldn’t have gotten a second term, never mind a third.

“Could I have been, anyone
other than me?”

-Dave Matthews Band – Dancing Nancies

It has occurred to me that sometimes, it really isn’t me – It really IS them. I say this because, well, most of my adult life, as a good friend recently pointed out, I’ve blamed myself for every rejection, every failed relationship or friendship and just about every misunderstanding I’ve ever had with another person.

The truth is, it isn’t always me who is to blame. Despite my hyper-awareness of how flawed I am, sometimes, it really IS them.

The truth is, I am exactly who I say I am. If I tell you I care about you, I genuinely do. If I make a promise, I will be damned if I don’t do my best to keep it (I’m not perfect, I know, but I sure as hell try to follow through). I don’t suffer fools lightly and I am ridiculously tired of being taken for granted by idiots who are so jaded they can’t recognize the genuine article when they see it.

I am flawed – very much so. I am an impatient woman with daddy issues and a chunk of self-esteem problems. Ultimately though, I really DO like myself and I refuse to suffer through yet another situation where I have to convince anyone how much of a privilege it really is to know me and to have me actually want to know them.

I once told someone that I hate being called ‘sweet.’  Yeah, I’m a nice person – but in this jaded society we live in, the word ‘sweet’ is often a term used, condescendingly, to mean ‘naïve.’ And my biggest fear is that sometimes, I am.

I say I am naïve, because I foolishly believe that by being myself, not some made up persona, but actually ME, that folks I relate to would show me the same courtesy.

See? Naïve.

My conscious brain knows that can’t be the case, but I am stupidly hopeful. And that may be my biggest flaw of all.

I want to believe the best in people. Sometimes, so much so, that I will convince myself they are worthy of my trust or my company, when I really know better. I’ve tried, in the past, to be more jaded. I mean, I’m a born and bred New Yorker, right? I SHOULD be jaded, mistrusting, and the farthest thing from ‘sweet.’

But the truth is, I don’t want to be some jaded, mistrusting individual always looking suspiciously at people trying to figure out what they want from me or constantly trying gauge exactly what emotional weapon they’re going to use to figuratively stab me with. I LIKE believing the best in people. I feel as though maybe by my believing, I am challenging them to be their best. Sometimes I fail. And while the failure hurts,  I refuse to continue to blame myself for the failures anymore because on those rare occasions when I DO succeed, I end up with some amazing people in my life. Besides, as I’ve realized, the failure isn’t mine. It isn’t a failure to offer friendship. The failure lies with the person too selfish or too full of self-loathing and self-pity to recognize a good thing when it’s right in front of them.

I often say I’m blessed. True, I’m still unemployed. Times are tough. I’m about to turn 40 and have no clue what is going to happen to me if I don’t find something soon (okay, granted, I DID just interview for my dream job, so still keeping my fingers crossed on that), but I AM blessed. I have amazing people in my life, and I think, that maybe, it’s my ‘flaws’ that brought these people to me in the first place. My family is stuck with me – My friends CHOOSE to be. That is a huge distinction. I am honored to have these people in my life.

I genuinely feel, now, that the folks who I reach out to who reject me are the ones missing out. I’m not perfect, but I am pretty damned amazing and worthy of knowing. If they are too busy navel gazing to see what’s being offered them by me, then they’re just not worth my time, tears or effort.

I stole a quote off a friend’s Face Book page earlier today that really sums up what I’ve been feeling and ultimately what led to this little pat on the back I’m giving myself here:

“You either like me or you don’t. It took me twenty-something years to learn how to love myself, I don’t have that kind of time to convince somebody else” – Daniel Franzese

 (Thank you again: Sarah N. Smith for posting this quote – you really don’t know how perfect your timing was.)

Quick to judge, quick to anger

Slow to Understand

Ignorance and prejudice

And Fear walk hand in hand..

-Rush – Witch Hunt

The Casey Anthony trial and subsequent verdict sparked quite a bit of emotional outrage as is evidenced by many of the posts I’ve seen both in my Twitter and Facebook feeds. “How on earth could a woman that even her own family suspected of murdering her innocent child be set free?” “Is our justice system truly that messed up? ” “How blind IS lady justice after all??” ” And the jury?? How dumb are they? They should be shunned, nay, FLAYED. Hell kill them all!”

This may be difficult for some folks to stomach, but the cold hard fact is, the verdict was exactly what it should have been based on the evidence, or lack there of, as was presented by the prosecution.

Speculation, circumstantial evidence and hearsay are not enough to convict anyone in this country, and unfortunately, that is all that prosecutors had to work with.  The fact is, they didn’t have any proof whatsoever that Caylee was murdered, let alone who did it. All they had was a whole lot of speculation, circumstantial evidence, public outrage and a media looking for a bloody headline to deliver to their insatiable audience.

Anyone who sits on a jury cannot be swayed by public demand or even their own personal emotional reactions to the evidence and testimony. Jurors have to be objective. The only thing the prosecution could prove, beyond a reasonable  doubt, was that Caylee Anthony was dead and  that Casey Anthony lied to the police.

Anyone remember elementary school history class – specifically, The Salem Witch trials?? Anyone?? Back in those days you didn’t need proof to have someone burned at the stake. All you need was an accuser. And if you think something like that can’t happen in modern times… try the McCarthy era. Anyone even remotely suspected of being a communist back then was put on trial and more often than not, considered guilty before they could plead their case.

The law specifically states that a person charged with a capital crime, such as murder, must be proven guilty – BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.  It is the burden of the prosecution to provide the proof. In the case of Casey Anthony, they didn’t. The only proof they had was that a child was dead, and the victim’s mother didn’t seem to care.

The fact that Casey Anthony was out partying and getting tattooed may stand to prove her to be a heartless bitch. What it doesn’t prove is that she had any hand in her daughter’s death.  And while everyone who knows Casey Anthony was all but screaming from the rooftops that she was a pathological liar who didn’t give a shit about her child, not a one of them could claim to witness her abusing her child, let alone murdering her.

The fact that Casey Anthony’s brother, mother and father all seemed to think she did it doesn’t matter. The fact that the whole damned country seems to think she did it, doesn’t matter. What matters is that there was no proof a murder was committed, no time of death and not one witness to corroborate any of the prosecution’s theories.  What matters is, that in the eyes of the jury, there were two, if not three, other people with access to that child who could have committed the crime, if indeed it was a crime and not an accident as was presented by the defense.

Now,  you may ask, what kind of a shitty system do we have that would allow an accused child killer go free? Well, actually, we all should be grateful for the system we have. The system was created to protect those falsely accused. And while it isn’t perfect, and does allow for genuine criminals to occasionally walk free, it is certainly preferable to a system where there is no burden placed on the prosecution to prove the accused guilty at all.

Take for example the case of Amanda Knox, a 24 year old American girl, studying in Italy, accused, and despite any evidence, in fact despite proof that she wasn’t involved at all, convicted of murdering her roommate Meredith Kercher.  The facts of the case are dizzying. There was no proof that Ms. Knox was anywhere near the scene of the crime when it took place. As a matter of fact, she had an alibi. She was at her boyfriend’s apartment – (computer activity proved that at least one of them was definitely at his apartement any case, and yet they were both convicted).  Additionally, the actual perpetrator of the murder, a petty thief named Rudy Guede, whose footprints, fingerprints and DNA were all over the crime scene,  was also convicted of the crime.

The only proof of Ms. Knox’s involvement was a coerced confession, and a statement by  Mr. Guede claiming Ms. Knox was present at the scene. A statement, mind you, retrieved during his appeal process where upon, thanks to his implication of Ms. Knox, his original sentence of 30 years was knocked down to 16.  Add to that the fact that the prosecutor in the case is a headline grabbing attention whore who sees ‘Satan’s influence’ as a valid means of  prosecutorial evidence and a system that would permit all kinds of speculation and circumstantial evidence be presented at trial where the jury is permitted to talk among themselves throughout the proceedings and pay no attention to what is going on in front of them (a system, which, at present is being itself investigated) , and you have to thank your lucky stars you don’t live in a country with a justice system that throws out any means of sane reflection and inspection and gives way to public outcry and speculation.

Did Casey Anthony kill her daughter? We may never know for sure. I know, I know, everyone thinks she did it. Hell, folks who’ve never met anyone involved think they know the answer. But the truth is, it’s all speculation fueled by a media that loves to sensationalize everything for ratings.

Regardless, you cannot blame the jury for doing its job just because you don’t agree with the verdict. You can’t even blame the prosecution. They did the best with the evidence they had. The verdict cannot be over turned, and Casey  Anthony can never be tried for this murder again should new evidence be found to prove that Caylee was indeed murdered (Double Jeopardy).

The best we can do is pray for the soul of a little girl who was taken too soon and for justice for her to come from a higher place. Believe me, no matter how big a bitch anyone thinks Casey Anthony is, Karma is way worse. If she did indeed have any part in the death of her daughter, she’ll pay one way or another. (Put it this way, OJ, the poster child for getting away with murder,  is in jail for committing a separate crime, and anyone who was involved in his defense during his murder trial, is now dead).

Ultimately, blaming the judicial system or the jurors will not serve anyone. As a matter of fact, the justice system actually worked in this case and the jurors were not wrong in their final verdict. Our justice system may have some flaws, but it does work more often than not. I personally am grateful to live in a country where, at least in the courtroom, a person is still considered ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ rather than the other way around and where a person cannot be convicted of a crime, whether they are or aren’t guilty, based soley on conjecture and without solid proof.

More about the Amanda Knox case:

Day 30 – Your Favorite Song This Time Last year

Jace Everett – Bad Things

This song is hot. Never mind that invokes images of sexy vampires and smoldering werewolves in a fictitious Louisiana town, the song itself is just… Hot..

This is the final entry in this little exercise. Hope you all enjoyed reading/listening as much as I enjoyed posting!