Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thought for the Day

Imagine there's no countries, / It isn't hard to do, / Nothing to kill or die for, / No religion too, / Imagine all the people / living life in peace. -John Lennon, musician (1940-1980)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Matt Tiaibbi in September Roling Stone on the vicious, cruel looting of state workers' pensions

Kee-rist! This makes me want to die sooner rather than later. How can a Democracy survive such evil? I don't think it can. But I'm also thinking reading stuff like this has a definite masochistic element. Actually, I'm still reeling from the news that google and Facebook have joined ALEC. And then I think how can I be a party to this (which I am--see email address etc.)? And then I look at the members of ALEC and I realize one would need to live off the grid to avoid them. Carrier pigeons, as my son said. Maybe EarthLink is guilt-free. Is it? Maybe I'm just too sensitive to it all. Maybe I should just give it a rest. Anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New York is a Summer Festival

Does anyone else remember that phrase? I can't be here in July w/o thinking of it. And then immediately and w/o fail I think of the swimsuit fashion spread I did with Anna Wintour (yes, before she was famous) for Savvy, when she introduced me to David Hockney's swimming pool pictures. Which always reminds me that, cold and rude as Anna can be (she once cut me dead on 57th Street), she was worth knowing at that point, anyway, when she was making $1,000 for doing that month's fashion (everything but the copy for the pictures) for Savvy magazine. Halcyon days. Note: This was written a few years ago, when I happened to be sweltering in a New York July. Since then (this year), my editor at Savvy has died--Judy Daniels. She was a wonderful editor and she gave Anna Wintour her start in New York.

Ah, New York, ah bagels

The video/story in the Times today about Russ and Daughters and bagels and lox, here's the link: reminded me of what I learned when we moved to New York from Chicago when I was 12. In those days, Chicago was a wasteland as far as Jewish food was concerned, so of course my father was delighted to be in the vicinity of bagels. Not lox, because he thought it was too salty. So that's when I first heard of nova (well, I'd never heard of any of it, really). Every Sunday, my dad would go out early in the morning (we lived on the Upper West Side) and get several papers (there were so many then)--the Times, the Herald Tribune, and I don't know what others--and bring them back, with bagels, cream cheese, nova and sometimes sturgeon or sable. What a treat, and one I've tried to continue even in Mexico, where I live now. The smoked salmon and the cream cheese are easy, but the bagels... well, it varies. If I can get to Costco, sometimes use their what-I-call "everything bread" instead, because my favorite kind of bagel is "everything" and those are hard to find.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Republicans and Other Thugs

What is wrong with these people? I refer not only to Congresspeople who voted against food stamps (28 of them Democrats), but also to the latest attacks on Disability (SSI and SSDI I think is what it's called). So-called "journalists"--Kristoff apparently was the first, then the others joined in--Klein and others, especially NPR--talking as if Disability were just a scam. These people don't have any idea of what they're talking about, they just blather on and ON. First of all, it's very hard to get on Disability; second of all, you can't just get a job instead, since the whole problem is you cannot work, thirdly, it's very little money and hardly a scam. This whole culture, talking about the people who don't pay taxes, don't have "any skin in the game." As Jon Stewart said, all they have left is skin. Work doesn't pay enough to live on in our country. Don't they get it? Like the people on Fox News, deploring women working. One salary doesn't support a family anymore, guys, get a clue. They won't be satisfied until we're all serfs--that's clear. Just watched Park Avenue, Independent Lens, PBS. It's so outrageous, one can only feel that the US citizens are total idiots, which is just what the rich want. Maybe it hasn't quite happened, but they're determined to make it the rule. I don't know who they think their consumers will be when no one has any money but them. I think they'll be sorry, actually. But it will take a long time to turn things around.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What happened in Cuba in 1959

The man at customs was in an army uniform and carrying what I thought was a submachine gun. What? I’d never seen anything like this (it was, after all, 1959) and I found it, oh just a trifle off-putting. I was already a bit on edge, having flown from Miami with a woman friend--Cappy, Crappy, what was her name?--to have a legal abortion in Havana. Roe v. Wade was in the future; Castro was in the immediate present. He and I entered Havana on the same day. There was still gunfire in the streets. Not a lot, but even a little was more than a little unnerving. Had I ever even left the US before? Never. I was kind of just out of college (this was pretty much before Junior Year Abroad started happening) and into being a career girl (as they used to say) in New York, where I had grown up. But I happened to be in Miami on business and that was when they still had what I remember as 40-minute $40 flights to Havana. Oh and did I mention I was inconveniently if only slightly pregnant? And furthermore I didn’t know which of the two men I’d recently been sleeping with was the, uh, father. That was why I was with a girlfriend, who said she spoke Spanish, which turned out to be a slight exaggeration--although hers was of course much better than mine, which was non-existent. Most of my friends had had abortions in one way or another. It was just something smart, well-brought-up girls did when they found themselves in a, uh, jam. One friend of ours who was consistently a tiny bit pathetic, was unable to get her boyfriend to pay for it and waited too long. She had to go to another state and have the baby, which we felt pretty much ruined her life forever after. And I think we were right. But New York abortions were usually back-alley abortions unless you could somehow get the requisite three doctors to swear on a stethoscope… something. I never quite got how to do it, and like most girls I didn’t tell my parents and without their help I just couldn’t bring it off. There was a doctor in Pennsylvania, however, who was well known to us all, but he was, I was told, “on the lam” (in those precise words) at that particular time. I knew, because everyone knew, that in Cuba you could have it done in a clinica (not what we thought of as a clinic, which was for charity patients; but a private small hospital, I was assured), by a real doctor, and spend the night afterwards. And all for $250 as I recall (or could it have been $350?). Until I saw the machine gun, I wasn’t that scared. In fact, even afterwards, none of it was that scary until I finally found myself in this relentlessly clean, all white place where no one seemed to speak a word of English and I was all alone because my friend had gone back to our room at the Havana Hilton, which we had learned earlier was now not only a big, modern tourist hotel but also Castro’s headquarters. So about abortions (in those days at least), I will say this: they’re scarier than revolutions. Everything went well. They gave me sodium pentothal and took me to the operating room (or was it the other way around; I don’t really remember) and did a d&c and told me something afterward that I couldn’t at all understand but always secretly thought meant, “Well you really weren’t pregnant after all.” Or maybe “you weren’t very pregnant…”. I’ll never know. And the doctor in New York was quite sure I had been. But maybe that’s the beauty of having the procedure done in a country where you don’t speak (or understand) the language. With or without anesthetic, it’s all like a dream and you’re never sure what did happen after all. The nurses were very professional and took care of me well but…. Well, there was blood. That was real. So I guess it all did happen. I didn’t sleep a lot that night, as I recall, but the next day my friend came and picked me up and we went back to the hotel and walked along the seafront and saw the beautiful blue water and sky and had a coffee at a coffee bar. The mood was festive in Havana, despite the unsmiling, machine gun-equipped soldiers that seemed to be along on every elevator ride in our hotel. And we had to get back; we had one more night in our funny little room with a view of the sea and plaid bedspreads on dormitory-type studio beds set at right angles. Cappy was very nice and gentle to me and she was a sharp-tongued, no-nonsense girl so I guess I was looking (and acting) a little peaked. The putative dads never found out what had happened, which was a comfort. I kind of think I never slept with either of them again, actually, although such details do grow dim over time.