Archive for house

Overnight: Our House is a Very Very Fine House



From 'Deja Vu' - Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young - Our house is a very very fine house.

Whenever I hear Republicans and other right-wingers talking about 'taking the country back' I know they mean something very different than I do. They want to take us back to the most repressive age possible.

I, on the other hand, want to take us back to the 70's, where we first saw a glimmering of all the good things our country could become - and still can.

To excerpt from Imagine by John Lennon.....'Imagine no possessions....and no religions too.'


Eric Cantor Celebrates While His Constituents Starve



Ah, the beauty of Davos, Switzerland. Snow-capped mountains, chalets, a playground for the uber riche. I can only describe it as I've seen in the pictures, like the one above. I'll never be able to afford it, so that's as close as I'll ever get.

But if you're a multi-millionaire House Majority leader, you can just have someone on your high-priced (taxpayer funded) staff make all the arrangements. The finest foods, plushest of accommodations -- even the lift tickets and ski rentals. No need to worry about what it cost because -- that's right, the taxpayers are paying for it.

You'd think that with a constituency like his 7th Virginia District having an unacceptable 6.5% unemployment rate, the congressman would pass on a World Economic Forum and put his efforts into finding the votes on long term unemployment benefits and bring the bill to the floor. He has that power. He's chosen not to use it. Instead, this is what he's doing -- in Davos

From Peter Goodman at Huffpo:

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Fresh from Washington, where he played a leading role in preventing the extension of emergency unemployment benefits for Americans mired in joblessness, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor appeared to be enjoying one of the perks of his own employment: a sumptuous breakfast in this ski resort in the Swiss Alps, where he was attending the World Economic Forum.

So I approached Cantor's table and asked him who was paying for his trip. He took in a breath, grinned sheepishly and said, "I paid for this," gesturing at a table bearing the remnants of a buffet breakfast whose offerings included smoked salmon, croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice, assorted Swiss cheeses and mineral water.

Maybe you're buying into he paid for this, but I bet by saying "I paid for this," he really meant his office which means you and me. I hope he liked his lox (smoked salmon) a lot.

Eric Cantor breakfast receipt

Cantor's table had ordered a bottle of San Pellegrino water, plus a Coca Cola and a cappuccino, all of this running 94.70 Swiss francs, around $105 -- a bit more than a third of the maximum $378 a week a jobless person can draw in benefits in Cantor's home state of Virginia.

Think about it -- one third of a weekly unemployment benefit in his state -- spent just on breakfast for one day.

Justifying his attendance at this "forum" as benefiting his constituency or even the greater good of the US, is nothing more than a taking us for idiots.

And who paid for the rest of his visit to Davos, a veritable Disneyland of ostentatious cocktail parties underwritten by global banks, technology companies and other well-heeled concerns?

Cantor took a glance sideways. "It's an official trip," he said, leaving it at that, and presumably confirming that taxpayers paid.

This cretin has the audacity to stay in Washington long enough to make sure a long term unemployed bill would never see the light of day, then took off for a playground of the rich and famous.

This is the norm, not the exception for conservatives like Cantor. They have a feeling of entitlement, even if their money was inherited. And who knows how many more thousands he spent on this forum with no binding resolution outcomes? While needy Americans cry out in starvation, this is the Republicans' response.

Though it's only a rumor, Cantor stayed in the "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" Suite. And if your French isn't too strong, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" translates to "let them eat cake."


The Times And Words Have Changed



Etymology -- the study of word origins.  It's interesting how word usages have changed over the years and new phrases, words or expressions have come into colloquial usage out of the old. Cool. Chill. Psyched'. These are words which meant something totally different than when they were initially used.

As quickly as some come in, others go out, Sputnik, bee's knees, cat's meow. Try using those on a Millennial and see how much head scratching goes on.

Technology has added to our vocabularies as well: snail mail, USB, Tweet.We communicate in shorthand too. Who hasn't used TTYL,  NSFW, ROFL? NE1?

I'm working on a screenplay that is a period piece, from the '60s. So, I needed to immerse myself in a bit a research about words and slang of the time. And there were a lot of words used there that if I used them today, Laffy would surely get on my case and caution me to be careful. That word or phrase might offend. And she would be right. But sometimes knowing how something came into being allows you to understand why today they're PI (Politically Incorrect - Thank you Bill Maher) and maybe 50 years ago that term wasn't considered offensive.

So I thought I'd share some basic etymology with you, from my research for the upcoming film. I have to thank Huffpo for bringing some of these to me.


Whether referring to a person or to a lifestyle, using "ghetto" as an adjective is meant to indicate "low class," and along with it, obvious racist origins. Aware or not, the user is essentially implying that minorities are low class.

Peanut Gallery:

A home for hecklers," usually used in a joking manner -- what comedian hasn't asked an unruly audience to keep it down in the peanut gallery?) Formerly though it referred to the upper balconies where African-American people sat in in segregated theaters.

Hip hip hooray:

Boy, I hadn't seen this one coming. It's derived from the German "hep hep," which was originally a shepherds' herding cry, so the origin itself was not racially charged. However, during the Holocaust, German citizens began using it as a rallying cry while hunting for Jewish people in the ghettoes. (see,that word ghetto again, but this time as a noun.)

Call a spade a spade:

It just depends on the era in which you used this. The phrase, essentially meaning "to explicitly call something by its rightful name," entered the English language way back in 1542, (no, I can't remember what day or month) and initially had absolutely no racial connotation whatsoever (that I do remember).

It wasn't until the late 1920s that "spade" changed from referring to the gardening tool to being a slur towards African-Americans (its first public appearance as such was in Claude McKay's 1928 book "Home to Harlem").

He Gypped Me:

The word "gyp" now means "to cheat or swindle." It is essentially a condensing of the word "gypsies," who throughout history have been stereotyped as a group that cheats and swindles people.

And finally one I'm sure I used as a kid and surely would not use the same way now:


A common utterance to indicate someone was light, breezy, fun and exciting. Though it may still mean that to some from older generations, it, like Virginia Slims, has come a long way, baby.


The Feel Good Christmas Story Of September


Christmas in September

Remember back when you were a kid and it got close to the December holidays? You made a list of what you wanted Santa or the Hanukkah Fairy to bring you. Then you trusted your parents to make sure that list got to the right place. If all went well, and your Mom and/or Dad was able to make your wish come true, they did. If not, maybe you got socks and underwear -- and one really cool gift.


This year Karen Suffern, single mother of fraternal 8 year old twins Ryan and Amber asked her children to write early letters to Santa. She simply wanted to get a head-start budgeting for holiday gifts. But her son's plea to jolly ol' St. Nick this year drew his mom's attention to the dire woes Ryan's sister was facing at North Carolina's Rocky Mount Preparatory. She was being bullied. Because of this, she was eating to hide her pain. And the result of that was even more ridicule.

How warm and loving is this request by Ryan? In lieu of toys or clothes, he wanted something even more personal:

Ryan's letter was first published in a CNN iReport written by blogger Tony Posnanski.

Dear Santa,

My mom said to send you a Christmas list. I wanted a remote control car and helicopter but I do not want that anymore. Kids at school are still picking on Amber and it is not fair because she does not do anything to them and it makes me mad. I prayed they would stop, but God is busy and I need your help. Is it against the rules to give up gifts early? Can you ask Big Time Rush to come to Amber’s birthday party? It will make her so happy. If you do not get them to come that is fine, just get her everything she asked for.

Thanks Santa,

Love Ryan

PS- My mom throws the best birthday parties. You can come if you want.

A letter like this shows us how much hurt and how much love there really is around us. The tears of happiness follow in this short video

Bullying has reached epidemic proportions. I wrote recently about Rebecca Ann Sedwick (Cyber-bullying Claims Another Victim). Well, here's some updated and startling stats from HUFFPO:

In North Carolina, 42 percent of middle school students and 20 percent of high school students experience bullying, according to data cited in the state's Center for Safer Schools 2013 Report. The impacts of school bullying are profound: A recently published study of 1,400 students in North Carolina found that bullying victims are at "increased risk for adverse health, financial, and social outcomes in adulthood."

So if you have kids, be aware. If you don't, at least demonstrate by your actions that you know the harm bullying can do. We are being watch by more than just the NSA.

Ryan Suffern would tell you we're being watched by God as well.