Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015



May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.



 (FYI- I always choose bagpipes and the Scottish Highlands to showcase Auld Lang Syne, since it was written by the eminent Scottish poet Robert Burns. It also doesn't hurt that this year I have become obsessed with the Outlander TV series and these pictures of the Scottish Highlands are so perfect.)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Your elusive creative genius

From TED

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, discusses creativity.

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk. 

The entire TED lesson HERE.



Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas explained by Jews

From BuzzFeed





FYI...below is a mezuzah. It holds a piece of parchment that has written upon it a special part of Deuteronomy declaring the Oneness of God. It is nailed to the front door post, as commanded in Deuteronomy. The container can be anything you want it to be. For that there are no set rules.




Thursday, December 11, 2014

GETT, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

The Golden Globes have announced their list of foreign film nominees. One film they chose is by Israeli filmmakers Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz. It tells the tale of Vivianne Amsalem a woman seeking to divorce her husband in Israel. Marriage and divorce for Jewish citizens in Israel are governed by Orthodox Jewish law. Under Jewish law only a man can divorce his wife. A woman has no say. When a man refuses to grant his wife a divorce (a GETT) she becomes an "agunah," or a chained woman. She can not remarry, she cannot have children with another man for fear that they will be considered mamzarim, or bastards, and be forced to live their lives on the fringes of Jewish society. Meanwhile, a man without a GETT can take a common law wife and their children will have no stigma attached.

It is important to remember that when these laws were written governing divorce and marriage in the Biblical Jewish world, they were leaps and bounds above anything that was practiced by their neighbors. In fact it continued that way until our modern era. The problem is that now in our 21st century world we have come to see that women and men are equals and entitled to run their lives as they see fit. Women are no longer chattel, the property of their husbands. So the entire idea of sublimating your right to freedom, we find anathema to who we are as modern civilized people. But for some they have no choice in the matter and it is part and parcel of their existence.

This movie details what happens to one such agunah and how the courts allow her to be abused by her husband. It is an indictment of the Israeli divorce courts. Activists hope that it will lead to a revamping of the divorce courts and may lead the way for civil marriage and divorce in Israel.

It is important to note that Orthodox, Conservative and even some Reform Jews around the world follow the rules associated with the GETT. In fact the situation with agunahs had become so problematic here in the US that New York State passed a law requiring a Jewish husband who has been divorced in a civil court from his wife to give her a GETT, or risk fines and imprisonment.

One of the more prominent agunah issues here in the USA is the Friedman case where a rabbinical court has even held the husband in contempt for not granting his wife a GETT. It came to prominence because of the public admonishment against the husband, an aide to whose a Michigan congressman. Something that had not been done before and was considered controversial at the time. Personally, I had a girlfriend whose exhusband would not give her a GETT unless the family paid him a ransom (which they did). This too is a very popular ploy. Recently four New Jersey rabbis have been sent to prison for kidnapping and beating recalcitrant husbands who refused to grant their wives a GETT.

It does seem foolish that here in the US any woman wouldn't just move on and live her life, as there is nothing here stopping her. But for those who wish to remain religious and continue living within their communities it is an essential part of existence.  Personally I don't understand it. But that is just my perspective. Perhaps the rest of their Orthodox life has alot of meaning for them and its only this piece that they find problematic.

Perhaps in today's world the rabbis who interpret Jewish law may want to take a look at what has come before and revamp it so that it is respectful to and understanding of the humanity of women. It is better than public shaming, kidnapping and blackmail, for certain.

Meanwhile, for those who are religious who would like some support go to Organization for the Resolution of Agunot.



Monday, December 8, 2014

Marsala, 2015 Color of the Year

The design mavens over at Pantone have decided that the coming year's color is Masala. This deep wine color is thought to be the perfect compliment to any rich and sophisticated design. You be the judge.


They discuss their decision and provide color pairings  HERE.





Personally, I do like the color. It brings to mind the rich hues for autumn and winter. However, I am not certain that I would wear it when spring and summer came around. I also would not use it to decorate if I wanted a light and breezy feel to a room. Of course if I did, that would just mean a new reason to redecorate or to cull your wardrobe and go shopping. So there is that bit of fun.....







Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Red Tent comes to Lifetime

There are some books that have a profound effect upon your soul. The Red Tent was one such book for me. Now finally it comes to television. Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, was given one line in the Bible. Here is her life story as imagined by author Anita Diamant. On Lifetime December 7 and 8 at 9pm.






I also highly recommend that you get the book and read it. There is something very magical in the words themselves.

HERE

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Teaser trailer.....



Now we have to wait a year. Wonder how many people will camp out and how far in advance of the first movie. We should take bets. Of course I shouldn't cast aspersion. When Star Wars Episode 6 came out, the hubby and I went and lined up hours before the first showing, right after my last first year law school final. It was on property law by the way.

Now of course, the fanboys (by the way don't you just find that word just a tad sexist, as if fangirls don't exist. Being one of course.) today are so much more obsessive then we ever were. But then again these young'uns today seem alot more obsessive about alot of things that we simply either let slide or took as minimal reality as we marched on in pursuit of whatever we were pursing at the time.

Yes, I have become Socrates:

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

Friday, November 21, 2014

Foo Fighters Perform "Clear" on the Ellen Show

Something a little different music-ways for me. But I really liked this song. Guess I have that New Jersey rock and roll upbringing hanging around somewhere in my subconscious.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dangerous by David Guetta

It's a few days early for some weekend dance tracks, but I needed a little bit of an early pick me up this week so here comes some David Guetta.






and here's a taste of his new album coming out the end of November


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Amazon Prime Pantry...Learning to avoid brick and mortar all together

I remember when Amazon was an interesting start up. We got this very excited call from my father-in-law about this new company on line that you could order a book and it would show up at your door in a few days. The entire idea of shopping on line was new. In fact that was the year the company e-toys was a big hit. Not only could you avoid the mad rush during Christmas, but these people would wrap your presents for you as well. (This was way before any established company got the idea that the internet could be used for shopping.) It was a revelation. A new form of shopping was born. So much so that the  business cycle has become reliant on cyber Monday as much, if not more, than black Friday.

In the years that followed Amazon branched out and has become one of the biggest retailers in the country. One of the nicest aspects of Amazon is that if you become a PRIME MEMBER, you get free-two-day shipping on anything you buy that is a Prime object, from books, to video games, clothes, televisions, and even veggie wash. Heck you can stream thousands of shows and movies for free too. For us it really pays. If I need something I order it. I do not generally step into a brick and mortar store. Yet, of course, there still remains some kind of need for tactile purchasing, as Amazon is going to open its first "real store" in Manhattan later this year.

Well I discovered something new on Amazon. It is Prime Pantry you can order any number of household, nonperishable food and laundry items and they will send it to you for a set low fee. Of course you have to be a Prime Member to begin with, but as I wrote its worth it for us.



So I ordered my first box yesterday: paper towels, toilet tissue, softener, dishwasher tabs, clorox wipes, shampoo, razor blades and vitamins. It was so easy.

Note: its easy to get carried away. So before you shop on Prime Pantry do what you always do if you went to the supermarket...make a list or you will spend more than what you need.

*****

By the way, I have also found a way to shop for perishables without leaving home too. But that's another post.




Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekend Music- Bailando

You just have to move to this song....





and now in espanol (the way it was really meant to be sung)...



Sunday, November 2, 2014

"Rude"....Marry Her Anyway...

When I was in college, I had a girlfriend who thought it would be very romantic to have the man she wanted to marry ask her father's permission.  Now I loved my father with all my heart, but there was no way he was ever going to have a say in whom I married.....thank heaven we live in a modern world.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Winter is Coming....so how about some embroidered UGG boots

Here's a hat tip to some very cute winter boots courtesy of UGG. The style is named Juliette.

I actually like the black better only because the embroidery is so much more vibrant. I am not certain that I would actually wear these in the snow. Wouldn't want to ruin them. They are more for simply staying warm, while still retaining that little bit of feminine flair that tends to disappear when you are shoveling out the driveway. So wear these boots when you want to dress up some of those warm leggings, tuck in your skinny jeans or even just around the house while lounging in your PJs.





And yes there is a matching handbag. But you knew there would be didn't you...





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Celebrate

Pitbull and the Penguins of Madagascar sing "Celebrate" from their original motion picture







Here's the trailer starring Benedict Cumberbatch






It is nice to know that our intelligence services are hard at work recruiting top-notch personnel.....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Finally My Fan Review of the Outlander TV Series, Season 1 Part Une, on Starz

This review is quite belated. In fact one could actually say it is beyond overdue. Honestly I wasn't quite certain what to write. I actually thought the production spoke for itself. It is visually terrific. It pulls you into the story immediately, having the audience invest in every character in the story (Except for the times when Dougal goes into creepy mode and Black Jack is well...Black Jack).



I began reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon as soon as it was published. It was a unique idea for a book. Time travel through the druid stones. One thing that readers need to keep in mind is that interest in Stonehenge had made a resurgence two decades ago, so using similar configured stone circles for a time travel adventure sounded like fun. Now, I don't generally read romance novels and don't like long drawn out multigenerational epics either (give me a good spy novel or a space opera anyday), but join some ancient Celtic philosophy with a Scottish revolt against the British (I suppose that is the American in me) and I was all in. One of the things I have always enjoyed in a book, is to learn something new. And the author being a professor of history just added that little bit of authenticity to her books to make it real enough for your minds eye. So yes, I fell in love with the story.

I, just like everyone else who loves the series, became highly invested in Claire and Jamie. We,
romantics, always like to say that true love transcends time. We search for it ourselves throughout our lives. Poets, psychologists and scholars discuss the human need for true love ad infinitum. It is simply part of our humanity, the need to love and be loved. To matter to just that one other special person. So it is not surprising that the love shared by our protagonists spoke to so many for so long.

The issue, one I am certain the producers worried about, was how were the fans going to react to their production. Were the fans going to accept their Jamie and Claire? How true to the books were they going to be? Afterall if you messed too much with the storyline, the fans would not be pleased.

What I take away from the series so far is that what has been leftout and what has been added has actually increased my enjoyment of the series. While there are little allusions to issues from the book, such as when Claire mistakes Dougal for Hamish's father, it is glossed over quickly and no further mention is made of it. If you had read the book you would know that Colum, due to his disease could not father a child, so Claire actually figures out that Hamish's biological father is Dougal. I also liked the addition of the charming young English officer Lt. Jeremy Foster who tries to come to Claire's rescue. (Not every Englishman is Black Jack Randall afterall.)

I am glad that they have given Frank his humanity. I have always felt that Frank got a little shortshrift in the books. The readers were so invested in Claire retuning to Jaime that Frank had to be made out  
to be the bad guy. The person who did not deserve Claire. But the series shows a man deeply in love with his wife. A man who had to choose other men for dangerous missions in which they most likely would not return. That is not something that is easy to live with. It is a terrible burden. Frank is seen very sympathetically. I thought it was about time. There is the allusion to his ancestor Black Jack in an episode, a genetic predisposition toward evil. But it is Frank's abiding love for Claire, as when he was calling out for her at the stones, that helps you see the abject sadness of Frank's undeserved predicament.

Meanwhile, the bringing into the series the day to day life of those in Scotland at the time is quite interesting. Seeing the beauty that is the nation of Scotland, beyond the idea of Loch Ness is grand. Getting a little education on their society, how people lived, what they believed, and even how they may have interacted with one another during this time period is fun to watch. The understanding of what was happening between Scotland and Britain is also informative. In fact that relationship could be summed up in Jamie's flogging scene.

I have to be honest. I have watched, and rewatched, and rewatched all the episodes on Starz Play except the episode where Jamie is flogged. I just can't do it. It's not even a long part of the hour. Just a few minutes infact compared to the rest of the script. But it is brutal, evil and horrible, as it is supposed to be. You get the sense of the psychopathology of Black Jack Randall. What the Scots faced when dealing with the British and the reason they were so inclined to revolt.

And yes I loved Outlander Wedding. If you enjoyed the books and the series how could you not?

In the end the series lives up to expectations. The actors are terrific. They are the characters in the book. The production 's authenticity brings the story to life. I am so looking forward to part deux in April. It's funny, I know what is to come. It is not a happy ending. I also know that I will cry through that last episode. (I'm stocking up on tissues now) But I also know that many of those Scots that survived Culloden Moor ended up in the American colonies on the brink of the American revolution (lucky for us Yanks). (Hint: Read Dragonfly in Amber right away if you haven't already. It will help you feel somewhat better after the Season 1 ending. Interested to see what they will do with that book in Season 2.)

So yes, I have really enjoyed the Outlander series so far.  Every fan should be pleased.  Plus there really is something about men in kilts.






Friday, October 17, 2014

The Simple Power of Handwashing

In light of the fear about the spread of Ebola, it is important to remember this basic, ancient and oft forgotten fight against disease....

From TED ....

Myriam Sidibe is a warrior in the fight against childhood disease. Her weapon of choice? A bar of soap. For cost-effective prevention against sickness, it’s hard to beat soapy handwashing, which cuts down risk of pneumonia, diarrhea, cholera and worse. Sidibe, a public-health expert, makes a smart case for public-private partnerships to promote clean hands — and local, sustainable entrepreneurship.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Welcoming Autumn

Labor Day marks the end of summer for the western hemisphere (And yes, technically it is summer until September 21). We now turn to autumn. Colorful leaves, a chill in the air, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season. Here's a little Tchaikovsky to get you in the mood...


Monday, August 18, 2014

A Conversation with New York Times Best selling Author Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva, the New York Times best selling author of the Gabriel Alon-Israeli-spy-series, is interviewed by journalist Jamie Gangel, who just happens to be his wife.





Mr. Silva's latest book in the series The Heist has just been published.





Note: Daniel and Jamie intermittently refer to a previous panel discussion with Bret Stephens and Ari Shavit. Watch it HERE.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Reinvention of the Fashionista Backpack

Since I basically need two hands to use the walker for the next several months, my doctor recommended that I buy a backpack for all my crap. Now the only belongings I tend to carry are a wallet, little makeup case, keys, phone, pen and earbuds. I have been able to parry everything down to these simply important items. Meanwhile, the doctor didn't think even a crossbody was a good idea. I really needed to have nothing getting in the way of my hands and leg (s). I guess he didn't want me to get tangled up in the long strap or have something swing back and forth causing me to trip all over myself again.

So I got to do one of my favorite activities. I went window shopping on the Internet. This is what I found. The variety, as with everything in our material world, is amazing and varied. Below is simply a smattering. Note, I didn't go looking for the regular school backpack. Apparently, I have injured myself as designers are trying to bring back the fashionista backpack. Lucky me I have a huge choice. And no, I haven't decided on which one yet...

.....well of course the ones that could double as a downpayment for a house or a car are definitely not in the running. I just had to post them for fun.
MZ Wallance "Marlena" nylon backpack $295




Diane Von Faustenberg "Sutra" $425


Top Shop Faux leather $69






Prada Vela Medium Nylon $860

Balenciaga Giant Zip Traveler $1685


Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Mariska $498


Vera Bradley Ultimate Backpack  $88


Longchamp Pliage $125


Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backback  $295


Prada Calfskin $1780


3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Backpack  $825


Nancy Gonzalez Crocodile Backpack  $3850


Moschino Jacket backpacks $2285

The Row Backpack 11  $4550

Weekend Summer Funk


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sitting on your ass, getting fat and having the bottom of your butt hit the backs of your knees

So now that I have accepted my fate for the next six weeks of being immobile with my broken ankle,  I have come up with something else to worry about. Butt spread. I have been able to loose about 20 pounds  over the last year. Well I think its 20 pounds. I refuse to step on a scale, but with diet and exercise I can fit into jeans I hadn't been able to wear for years. They were tight. But I got them on and zipped them up. Could even sit down without feeling like I was in a torture device. So I guess the loss was about 20 pounds, give or take the real numbers.

But now, cardio is absolutely out for months, since I can't even step on my foot. I may be able to do some free weights and sit ups but that's not really the same for fat burning exercise. So I am trying to watch what I eat and complain. I decided that that is a new form of exercise. I am going to call it "The Kvetch method." I think I will turn it into a new craze and see if I can sell it.

In truth I do miss the exercise high that I would get on a daily basis. Listen they are not kidding about that endorphin rush. That exercise high does do something for your mood and uplifts any negative feelings. It definitely made me feel alot better about myself. My self-esteem was getting a big hit.

On the other hand, just getting around on one foot with the aide of a walker is a workout in and of itself. So I think I will count that as my cardio for the time being. Believe me, by the time I get from the bed, to the bathroom, and back to the bed, I have sweated up a storm as if I ran a marathon.

Meanwhile, where the freeweights are concerned, I am going to start with the 5 pound weights and the 2 pounders and see how it goes. Simple upper body strength, sit ups and I think I will try to figure out how to do some butt exercises too. Don't want tuchas spread, which at my age actually means that the bottom of my ass falls so low it hits the back of my knees.

I think my body has suffered enough without having to live through that.





Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The true downside and upside of breaking your ankle....

Apart from the pain, the immobility and being totally dependent on other human beings for every
My new sexy look.
aspect of your daily living, there is a really mean downside to breaking your ankle. You see we were going to get a kitten in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, I had to call the owners and let them know there is no way I can take care of a 6 week old kitten right now. Heck, at this moment, I can't even take care of myself.

Meanwhile, there is absolutely  no way the boys or hubby are able to raise a brand new little baby kitten. The boys don't have the patience and hubby doesn't have the time. I figure the owners will find someone else to adopt the baby cat. The owner works at our vet so I am certain she can put out an add right away and get rid of the kitten rather quickly. So as disappointed as I am, since I really wanted that fuzzy wuzzy, I will have to wait. Sometimes things are not meant to be.

Listen, hubby has been trying to work out of the home and is doing all that he can to run the boys where they need to go. Figuring out how the boys will get to work and therapy is the hard part since they don't drive. (The oldest because of his epilepsy, the youngest because of his fear. Listen when you have a child with an autism spectrum disorder who is afraid to drive, you don't push it. It is not an emergency. You take your time and help them work it out.) We decided to have them use the local taxi service to get to work and the train, while hubby will have to take them for the therapies. Figuring out the food shopping has also been interesting. Hubby has to go at night, or during the weekend, but the boys' behaviorist comes on Wednesday so we are going to have them go food shopping and run errands then as well. (Yes they used to do that with her, in fact that was the point of her coming here to help integrate them into the world, so now they can do these things with no issue.) The upside here is that hubby will finally get to see just how crazy food prices have become. In fact last night when he came home from the market, he mentioned he couldn't believe how expensive everything was. I mentioned that food prices were ridiculous and getting worse.So an upside is that when I tell him the food budget gets blown on a weekly basis he will not only understand why, but the look of incredulity will disappear.

Of course, the boys are trying to help me as much as they can when it comes to helping with the dogs, the laundry, the housecleaning, the food shopping and still doing what they like to do. In reality, an upside is that they are getting a little bit of a taste of what adulthood is like. (They did have chores before, but they are now also learning just exactly what I do on a daily basis to make all their worlds function.) Organizing and figuring out how to do the necessities in life and then adding in what you enjoy doing is a new skill and not an easy one to master. They were happy to help for the first few days, but I have noticed a bit of whining creeping in and my new name is "Pain in the Ass. " (Honestly I don't think I am that bad. Things have to get done in the house that have to get done. Moreover, the dogs need what they need, especially our really old wheaten terrier.)

Hubby did send me a picture of what our bedroom looks like now, with all the folded clothing laying in piles on the bed. He mentioned that its best that I can't make my way upstairs right now. I responded that by the time I am mobile again we are going to have to simply knock the house down and start from scratch. He didn't think that was funny. I think he's afraid I'm serious.

In truth, I am going to need months to repair the damage to my ankle. So far we have figured out how to get me into the shower (upside), how to use a walker (hubby said this was a look into my 80s) and trying to figure out how I can do some form of exercise (upside) so I don't turn into a total blob of fat over the next few months. I worked too hard to slim down and I don't want to get fat again....yes I know its about diet as well as exercise, so I am trying to be food aware. So far there have been diet hits and misses (downside).

I was also thinking how lucky I am to have the internet and TV right now (upside). I think there would be a huge amount of ennui if I had to simply sit here. Self-pity would definitely find its way into my mindset. There was plenty of that already and I said enough is enough. Luckily even sitting here on my couch I can go out into the wider world. I remembered that with wifi and internet I really am never confined by a set of walls. Whether that is good (upside)or bad (downside) for others on the internet remains to be seen.....hehehehe.

*****

Meanwhile, the story continues here:

Sitting on your ass, getting fat , and having the bottom of your butt hit the backs of your knees

Monday, July 7, 2014

What matters most in life?

From Prager University....

What is the most important thing in life? Money? Happiness? Love? Those things are certainly important, but what matters most is good values. What are values? They are what we consider more important than our feelings. For instance, just about everyone feels like eating junk food, but if you eat whatever you feel like eating you will end up obese and unhealthy. So then, what stops people from eating all the food they feel like eating? The answer is good values. Indeed a lack of good values is the root of virtually everything wrong with the world. In five minutes, learn why we should act based on values rather than our feelings





Friday, July 4, 2014

Be "Happy" Celebrate Historic Philadelphia

Remember Philadelphia was the seat of the Continental Congress and the City in which the Declaration of Independence was written. Besides this video is very cute!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In Congress....July 4, 1776 and America 2014


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with one another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitles them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


*****
We are at a great crossroads in our nation’s history. It’s not about the amount of taxation and the ineptitude of the government. That can be changed with the power of the vote and honest elections. Our issues lie in the fact that too many in our nation take for granted the guarantees within the Bill of Rights and the Constitution without truly understanding them. These citizens are more than happy to allow government to circumvent our rights simply because a once idolized out of control, power-hungry politico man-child demands our obsequious allegiance. He tempertantrums, and threatens, obnoxiously tells those unhappy with him to "sue me," while with a pen and a phone he acts to derail and destroy the fabric of our nation, The Constitution, simply because he cannot get his way on issues.  Happily there appears  citizens, and elected members of Congress, that demands the end to the usurpation of our rights given by nature and nature’s God.

Luckily we also, do have the stop-gap of the Supreme Court. As we have scene in this last session, the 9 Supremes do honor the bulwark of the Constitution, no matter what side of the aisle appointed them to the bench. It is time that We The People understand once again our responsibilities as citizens of a free country and demand that our government adhere to the Constitutional principles that they have so casually desecrated.

Freedom and the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God (originally posted May 9, 2014)

…Our rights come not from other men, but from an omnipotent all-powerful ruler of the universe who has decreed right from wrong, good from bad, justice from evil. No one human being can deny another these rights. Hence, the usurpation of these rights is a just cause for revolt against your government, ruler or liege lord….

What happens when rights are not given by virtue of existence, but with the largesse of the political class? These rights then are not rights as delineated in the US Constitution (Bill of Rights), which as rights cannot be taken away and can only be denied under a limited scope of governmental authority. In fact, rights that come down to us by virtue of the good will of a ruler are not real rights at all, but a grant of favor by a dictatorial government. As long as you stay in good stead with the power elite then you are entitled to your humanity. But as soon as you cross that threshold of noncompliance with these overseers, then your rights, property and even your life become forfeit.

Moreover, to actually believe that mankind itself defines the ultimate reality in the Universe is the modern hubris of a limited, vacuous mind and an outreach of malignant egos. To say that in the vastness that is the Universe humankind is the epitome of what can and does direct TIME itself calls into play the rationality and sanity of the purveyors of a God-less world. It does not even have to be about an Omnipotent being as much as it is about Nature and the power of the Universe and the acknowledgement of the unknown.

To say that there is no deity above ourselves is to give ourselves the moniker of almighty God. We can now decide what is right, wrong, good, bad, justice and evil. We, the human beings of this world, are now the sole masters of all that is before us without boundary, limit or consequence. To say that God is an anachronism and that humanity is above the immutable forces that have created the galaxy, is to advance upon the human race powers that belie the mortal human being.

When we turn from the concept of something, or someone, greater than ourselves, we have no rights beyond that which we bargain for within the context of our daily lives. Life becomes a merchants market, a bazaar of old. Where for  the right argument, and the proper coin, you can buy yourself freedom for the time being. If you are lucky enough to be allowed manumission at all.

In such a world, our rights are defined by those in control of the world, rather than rights being defined by those that live in the world. Therefore, if you believe that humans are born free and that it is only mankind that created the chains of slavery, real or virtual, the concept of giving your self-worth to those who are devoid of righteousness, or honor, those who convolute democratic action with obsequiousness, demands an act of revolution. However, in the end, you need the foundation by which to challenge your servitude when you live in a world of political class tyranny, oligarchical triumphalism and identity tribalism. Therefore, you need Nature and Nature’s God. You need to understand that your humanity, your freedom, your existence is yours by right and not something you need to bargain for against an evil specter.

That foundation of the right to freedom comes from the acknowledgement that all within humanity have rights inherent in their humanity. Given to them by their uniqueness as unique individuals. It is Nature, and Nature’s God, that defines these rights so necessary for society to flourish, grow and develop. The right to proceed with your own existence and humanness in a way that is both beneficial to the self and society becomes the task of the free person and those free enough to think that it can and must be done.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that humanbeings throughout history have perverted the gift of choice and thought that they were given by the Universe.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that humanbeings revert into barbarism and decadence when given freedom. It is that same human weakness that causes mankind to destroy itself and then ask to be relieved of all responsibility for the choices made.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that humans throughout history prefer an infantile existence of dependency and supplication to the hard work inherent in the existence of free expression and self-governance.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that humans have allowed themselves to be led by the inadequate, the cruel and the profoundly evil.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that when confronted with evil’s challenge, most times throughout history humanity has faltered, in the end thereby losing all that it means to be human.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that humanity perverted Nature’s message in order to enslave, dehumanize and destroy other humanbeings.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that it is easier to invoke the yoke of tyranny than it is to travel the path of Nature’s truth.

Responsibility for ones actions, distancing yourself from a scapegoat and taking the reigns to an uncertain future is frightening. On the other hand,  it is a sign of profound weakness to cower in the dark, allowing others to decide your fate, your reality and your worth. It is sheer cowardice to succumb to the fear of the unknown and allow your children to be enslaved because of your own ineptness.

We learn that democracies are the rarest form of government in the history of human kind. For each democracy born was short-lived, either due to corruption, mendacious leaders or complicity in the destruction of that with which we are endowed by the virtue of the human soul. Humans allowed fear to win over freedom. Humans allowed fear to win over individuality. Humans allowed the political classes to declare themselves above Nature and Nature’s God. Humans allowed the political class to manipulate the true blessings of Nature and Nature’s God in exchange for bread and circuses and life without responsibility.

Those who wish to make a Godless society, those that wish to deny Nature’s blessings upon humankind are the enemy of freedom, of liberty and justice. Those that decide that our rights come from the will of a self-perpetuating narcissistic ruling class rather than the exigencies of humanity’s right to existence are the enemies of a free people.

Those who presuppose that they are more powerful than the Universe run roughshod over humanity’s inherent rights. Those that denigrate the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, denigrate our greatest gift. Be careful of those that put themselves above the wonders of the Universe. For they will laud themselves over you, making of themselves a new deity while decrying the freedoms we hold so dear.

Elise Ronan of Liberty’s Spirit on this Independence Day 2014

Reasons to Love the USA
*****

I wanted to wish everyone a joyous Independence Day. Let us not forget those that sacrificed so much so that we, their posterity, would enjoy the freedoms to which we are entitled under the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. By the way, just one of those obnoxious asides, the vote on the Independence Resolution, aka the Lee Resolution, actually took place on July 2, 1776. The Declaration was not read to the public until July 4, which is why July 4th is the day that we celebrate our Independence.









IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
John Hancock
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Yes, I Chart my TV Shows

It's interesting how television has evolved through the decades. From only one snowy channel to innovative and interesting cable programming. In fact there are so many shows I like to watch that I keep a seasonal chart of what's on and what day they are shown. The best part is that if I miss a show, which invariably I do,  since some of my favorites are on at the same time, I can stream them on my computer the next day, or purchase a commercial free version at Amazon.

And yes, I know we are mad at Amazon, because of it's heavy handedness with one particular publishing house, but I still use Amazon, when its better for me...Oy my younger son says I'm being selfish. I can't wait until he passes the collegeman self-righteous stage of life. But I did buy him a membership to Barnes and Noble so he can buy his books for school from there instead of Amazon. Interestingly, I had to buy the latest Robert Galbraith in paper form from B&N too since Amazon didn't seem able to carry it. It had been years since I read a hardcover book instead of on my Kindle. I had forgotten the sensation. Meanwhile, I downloaded the Nook app to my iPad mini. Just in case I had to join the boycott of Amazon in favor of another author I liked. I also plan to order some  magazines on it too. Might as well...right?

R&I is shorthand for RIzzoli and Isles; Notice the politically incorrect Tyrant...can't stand the yahoos who think its Islamaphobic, don't these dolts actually watch the news?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Night Music

For those young at heart, and old enough to have danced to the Bee Gees and disco....




Saturday Night Fever was the hit movie and John Travolta became a household name.....





Did you see the cameo of Fran Drescher?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Terminal City by Linda Fairstein

Linda Fairstein's newest ADA Alex Cooper novel is a fun, edge-of-your-seat story filled with little bits of politics, law, human frailty and alot of New York City history. Terminal City is simply the latest in a long line of great reads filled with the  mysterious twists and turns of a good book. To anyone who has been reading the exploits of ADA Cooper, the list of characters here are quite familiar. Certainly there is Alex, the brilliant assistant district attorney, head of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, paired up with her erstwhile companions, our two favorite police detectives, Mike Chapman, and Mercer Wallace.

The book begins as a hunt for a serial killer who has decided to announce himself in one of New York City's oldest and most distinguished hotels, which, by the way, is about to receive a visit from POTUS. Throw in a nod to the cannibal cop case, replete with smarmy legal aide attorneys, the misplaced loyalty of that thin-blue-line, a criminal judge just getting his feet wet on the bench, and you have yourself some very exciting and interesting legal juxtaposing. A command performance with the City's new mayor also comes as a bit of a surprise to everyone involved, and only adds fuel to an already creepy fire. Meanwhile, in the middle of wrangling the evil that haunts our streets, Alex has to deal with her own personalized member of Satan's legion in the guise of Raymond Tanner, the escaped  serial rapist/sadist from her last novel, who seems to run quite under the radar and stalks Alex's life.

However, in this novel the central character is not really the latest madman to run afoul of our legal trio, but it is a building of old great stature. A building imbued with the dreams, hopes and fears of all who pass through her on a daily basis. She brings forth excitement, promise and trepidations of the unknown. Your breath catches when you see it from the train window. Grand Central Terminal is the eye in the storm that is New York City.

Whenever a person thinks of New York City, humanity's civilized brilliance comes to mind. Individuals marvel at the amazing creativity that comes from a people that could erect a City filled with such wondrous examples of living concrete and steel. The forethought and prescience needed to shepherd a City to this level of greatness bespeaks minds not beholden to the rules and formalities of any era. It is New York City's ability to exemplify the grandeur of the old and incorporate the best of the New World that typifies it's way of life. Grand Central Terminal is a  testament to the planning of those who built New York into the center of finance, art and culture that it is today. Grand Central Terminal is a symbol of American ingenuity and bravado. Yet New York City is a funny place; there people take pains to honor the greatness that is modern civilization, while simultaneously dealing with, and at times ignoring, all the evils that haunt humanity.

Grand Central is the story. It also just so happens  that our legal trio find a murderer living in its bowels.  Grand Central becomes the scene of murder, insanity and the boogeyman of our nightmares. And as our protagonists delve into murder and mayhem you travel through the history of Grand Central. You learn to understand her secrets, her charm and the pull of her aura. You understand how and why Grand Central means so much to so many. This story is as much about the lengths that humanity goes to in order to preserve all that is good and unique about our world, as it is about those that would destroy that which we hold most dear. Parallel worlds that come to an apex on a clear-see-through walkway at the top of one of America's premier symbols.

This book is a terrific read. Take it with you to the pool, the beach, the country.  It will stay with you. In fact, I bet, the next time you walk through Grand Central Terminal you will definitely spend alot of time looking around and trying to figure out her secrets. I know I will.

"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?" Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to the mayor of New York City in 1975, upon learning of plans to demolish the majestic Grand Central Terminal. (p.377)



My other reviews of Linda Fairstein's novels:
Night Watch 
Death Angel


Elise
Note: I was given a copy of this book to review.

SALE Shopping and the Joy of the Deal

Or what they tell you is a deal. You really never know. I also find it really hard to believe that the stores and the manufacturers are not making any money on your purchases. That just goes to show you, that there has to be an incredible markup on products if the stores can sell items at 50% off and still make money. Or could it be better for the store to take a business loss, offset its gains and abracadabra, these billion dollar businesses end up paying no taxes.

Either way I have been having fun perusing the online sales. Everyone has them right now. Of course, my focus has been on the handbags (yeah I know I could use some psycho therapy for my obsessions, but retail therapy is alot more fun). There are actually some bags being sold for 70% off. Now, there are reasons for that too...they can be ugly. However, if you have had your eye on a swanky designer bag, the one you like just might be on sale. Well, it might not be the exact one you wanted, but it might be close. Even your perennial favorites like  Coach, Rebecca Minkoff and Michael Kors have been on sale. It pays to check it out.

Don't be afraid to shop the big named retail stores too. They are all having sales: Net-a-Porter, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, Lord and Taylor, Landsend..

The boutiques stores too are trying to rid themselves of their spring and summer goods as well. Best part is if the clothes fit, its perfect for today. Anthropologie....

Athletic product lines are also having huge sales. Champion, Modells, Sports Authority

Remember come July 4th the stores turn towards Fall and everything turns to falling leaves and Halloween displays start appearing. Scary thing though is when the Christmas lights come out in August.

But until that time...have fun.


Elise

Just a little note: If you can't find what you want on sale at a big store, try the product makers website. Sometimes they have sales when merchants don't and vis-a-versa.

FYI: I receive nothing for linking to any of these stores. I'm just passing on what I found out on my own.







Thursday, June 19, 2014

Suddenly....you have to think about heart disease

All of a sudden you have to start seeing a cardiologist. Then because your cholesterol is up, then down, then up again, they insist on putting you on lipitor or some other cholesterol lowering drug. Now you eat right, exercise and only cheat once in a while on your diet. But apparently it's really not enough. You also  have a family history where the women, once they hit menopause and that estrogen stops inserting itself into your body, the bad cholesterol decides to have a mind of its own.

I suppose I should be thankful for the drug. Hubby's doctor actually put him on  a "preventative" statin since he was in his late 30s. His father died very young from heart disease. Yes family history plays a role in how you are treated too, not just your blood work.

In truth heart disease is the number one killer of women in the USA. Many people think it's breast cancer, but that killer is down the list. Sadly, heart disease in women is generally ignored and since women don't exhibit symptoms like a man (of course) doctors tend to overlook what is really happening with them. So do go to a cardiologist. Get your cholesterol checked and make sure that you stay healthy.

As for me. I am not looking forward to taking a pill. My mother and grandmother had side-effects from the statins, which were so bad that they stopped taking the drug. But my father took statins with no problem. So maybe it might be a good thing. I have no need to be sick from meds, but you don't know if you can tolerate the medicine until you take it.

Honestly, these doctors give you a pill to save you and it's that pill which kills you. So not happy right now. But I'll keep everyone posted.

Heart disease info from the Mayo Clinic. 
National Institutes of Health
American Heart Association- Go Red for Women 


P.S. Doctor just called and because my carotid artery study was very good, and that I am overwhelmingly healthy, the doctor said to just keep everything up, watch my diet just a little better and then we will see what my blood says in a year. So no pill right now. YEAH


Elise

Monday, June 16, 2014

Celebrating a Good Nights Sleep...Menopause Be Damned

Something happened about a decade ago I stopped sleeping. I would fall asleep, but wake up around 3AM and never get back to sleep. I can critique every show that is on TV at that time of day. I guess I should be glad that I live now during the era of cable television. Heaven knows what I would do with myself in the middle of the night if there was nothing to watch. Believe you me, telling me to read a book is not going to work in the wee hours of the morn. Yes, this became a habit.

OK, my nocturnal sleep habits also had to do with menopause, I not only awoke, I awoke soaked from head to toe and invariably had to change my pajamas. Hot flashes, you see don't just happen during the day. It's a really interesting occurrence. I fall asleep freezing, because I try to keep it cool as much as possible ( to try to avert a soaking) but it seems that does no good. Of course, I am not quite certain how I would fare if I kept my bedroom at a normal temperature. Who knows, I might just flood the bed all together.

Seriously, I became so desperate I even tried OTC sleep medication. Heck, I even tried melatonin, which is a useless piece of crap. The only thing that melatonin did was make me terribly depressed. No, I haven't try any prescription meds recently, since I had tried ambien once in my 30s and it turned me into a zombie. Meanwhile, the OTC meds also leave me hungover the next day and I only use them when I haven't slept through the night for at least three days.

So any night that I get a sleep that lasts over 5 hours I celebrate. Last night was such a night. After watching the season finale of Game of Thrones (another post for another day), I turned over and went to sleep. Next thing I knew it was 6:30 AM.

Huzzah.




I suppose eventually you get so tired that nothing will wake you up. And yes I still woke up over-heated, and soaked. But at least I can enjoy that cup of coffee, not to stay awake, but simply because it tastes so good.



Elise



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Don't Mess With those Trekkies

Patton Oswalt....






In truth, that would have annoyed me too.


Elise

Having fun at a big box store

Every weekend I go to the big box store. The one closest to me is BJ's Club. Now many of my friends take the daring route and go over the Tappen Zee into Rockland County to buy at Costco. They think its a better store. I think avoiding that awful bridge traffic  is what is better for me.



In any event these stores are a shoppers paradise. I feel like a kid in a candy store. Whether its clothes, food, gadgets or laundry detergent, the idea that I can buy in bulk, at cut prices, is just so much fun. I also peruse their book stand to see what I might download to my kindle (Shhh don't tell anyone.)

Is the joy I feel during these shopping excursions a sign of me getting older? Absolutely not. It's a sign of me being wiser. Granted if I didn't have three men at home to feed it wouldn't really pay for me to go to these big stores, but I do and it does.

Now does that mean its the only food store I frequent? Absolutely not. BJ's doesn't carry everything I need so invariably I actually end up at three supermarkets over the weekend.

Am I a little obsessive about what I bring in my house? ....Ummmmm....Yep.

Oh and on another note, who thought of the name BJ's anyway? Everytime I ask if anyone wants to come with me, my 20 year-old breaks out in laughter. Youngmen can be soooooo immature.





Elise