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Administrative Law Judge
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Associate Legal Counsel to Police Commissioner William Bratton

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

We all know that President Obama’s best attribute is his speech skills. He could sell a rock to a mountainside if he had to with his nice smile and calm demeanor and he did it again at last week’s State of the Union speech to America. He found a way to say so many nice things about his administration, you would think he was running for reelection again. For most of our history it used to be a written document known as the Annual Message. The first televised State of the Union Address was in 1947 with our then President   Harry Truman.

Somehow President Obama’s approval rating has jumped nine points since his party got defeated in the mid-term elections. In the house there are only 188 democrats to 246 elected republicans.  For the first time in years the republicans also took control of the Senate too. There are only 44 democratic senators to 54 republican seats. Obama managed to ignore these striking numbers and made no mention of such a democratic failure in his speech.  He was defiant and declaring victory over the recession. He looked confident and showed his feelings of accomplishment although he pushed more ideas that he knows with a republican majority at his back would not support his future plans.

He wants to help the middle class with affordable childcare, free community college and a higher minimum wage. He said, “If you truly believe that you can work full time and support a family on less than $15,000 dollars per year, than try it!” The democrats in the building stood and applauded, the republicans didn’t move. When it was all over the bets at the bar went accordingly. He received 33 applause interruptions, 6 laughter interruptions and 36 standing ovations.   Not bad for a room full of opposes types. I like watching these things even though only 40% of people tuned in. I like to see the expressions of our elected leaders and body language. Most of the ideas in these speeches ever become law, I like to see the visions of our presidents. I will never forget Regan’s star wars defense systems proposed for America meanwhile a lower scaled version was just given to the ever grateful Israelis and is used often to kill the missiles in the air like fireworks now for those people.

If I had a room full of republicans and I were the democrat President I would have included how I achieved the agendas of many of the Republican candidates that I defeated.  Unemployment is down to 5.6% , it is about the 60th month in a row of private sector job growth, the most ever.  It is the most jobs created since 1999.  The stock market has tripled since Obama took office, health care is here for everyone. Mitt Romney said he wanted to be 5% by the time he took office and Obama has achieved his goal. Ryan said he wanted unemployment under 6% and Obama has achieved his goal.  Newt Gingrich said he would get gas prices down below $2.50 a gallon and Obama has achieved that too with two years to spare under his rule.  In my opinion he did not boast enough to the many stone faced ungrateful republicans who rudely just stared at him during his speech.

The State of The Union Speech should still be watched by Americans because it gives us insight as to where our elected leaders want to go next in their goals for our country.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Enough with the soup. I need to be more creative than just open a can of some slop. It was nice to see the tri-state area shut down completely. A joint decision of three Governors of three states to stop all transportation and all major events like basketball games and Broadway was cancelled. No one really complained even though we never got the three feet of snow promised. I’m sure it cost people lots of money not to do any business for an afternoon and evening. We should do it more often even if it is just to hear the silence and be able to walk down the middle of a street.

So they forced you to go home and you forgot to buy the milk, bread and eggs we all seem to need all the time. There is always that jar of peanut butter that never seems to spoil. Suddenly peanut butter is hot and I mean that could be literally. There is a shop in Manhattan called Peanut Butter & Co. that sells just that. There is a variety that could set your mouth on fire called The Heat is On that is a jar of the stuff but blended with fiery  spices. Foods from India and Thailand use peanut butter a lot.  Ok forget the hot stuff and forget that mushy mess at the bottom of your backpack that once resembled a sandwich.

This place sells a distinctive sandwich that includes peanut butter with spices, pineapple jam and grilled chicken. It is an American Classic but with a twist of Thailand in it. This place has thought of 50 different kinds of peanut butter sandwiches you can make. Peanuts and peanut butter has been used in African, Indian and Asian cooking for hundreds of years and as those cultural influences start to develop more in the United States we start matching them up with American foods. He sells stuff called White Chocolate Wonderful which is   simply peanut butter blended with sweet white chocolate. To try to see what it tastes like, well just put some peanut butter and white chocolate in your mouth at the same time and done.

The store has about three thousand customers each week looking for a sandwich. There is one called The Elvis for non- dieters. Try peanut butter, bananas ,bacon, and honey on bread and then grill it . Interesting. The National Peanut Board( yes America has one) says that the average American child will eat 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before graduating high school. It is an $800 Million dollar industry. The only thing that could slow you down from eating the creamy stuff is Arachibutyrophobia which is the fear of getting the stuff stuck to the roof of your mouth.  It is a fear worth trying to get over so that you can try new versions like, The Bees Knees which is peanut butter with blended honey, Mighty Maple blended with maple syrup, Dark Chocolate Dreams blended with well you know by now.  By then your teeth are a dentist’s delight.

Two United States Presidents were peanut farmers. Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Monday, January 26, 2015

In the north east we are well into the deep winter and with winter comes snow storms and power outages and short supplies and all sorts of panic even though we go through the discomforts every year. Some look forward to it and others dread it nevertheless it is here. And so is the need and desire for soup. No other time of year do I really want hot liquid food sliding down my  throat.  Only when my neck is cold. These days you can find all kinds of soups everywhere with ingredience  you never thought would be good in a soup. A real guy soup is a can of Chunky Beer-n-Cheeze  with Beef & Bacon that you can buy right off the supermarket shelves.  I’m not sure how good it is for you but it sure was filling Burp!

Hey! With beer in soup written right there on the label in supermarkets? Can a kid just buy a lot of soup and get a buzz on? Silly me. The alcohol is cooked out of the beer in the boiling process. The guys at Cambell’s  Soup, guys like Mark Alexander the president of Cambell’s Soup of North America says that they are working on making hundreds of kinds of soup. Soups like Tomato Chipotle  & Olive Oil, Moroccan Style Chicken with Chickpeas, Tuscany-Style Chicken & Pasta, Mexican-Style Chicken Noodle Creamy Thai Style Chicken with Rice and more. Now I know our country is becoming more diverse by the minute, but must my soup be that different too?

When I grew up soup was basically Chicken noodle and I would only endure that when my nose was really stuffed up. Now I can feel like I am on vacation eating some exotic soup. Cambell’s Chunky has a variety called Jazzy Jambalaya with Chicken Sausage & Ham. There is Kickin’ Buffalo-Style Chicken even the packaging is not even in a can anymore. There are squeeze pouches filled with soup now. No can opener necessary. There are now 2 Billion containers   of Cambell’s Soup sold each year. There are still the old standby recopies the company would not dare to discontinue. Varieties like Cream of Mushroom Soup that makes every casserole special, or good old Chicken Noodle and Tomato Soup even though they have a slew of Organic varieties. So where did the old  fashioned stuff come from?

The company big shots say that their chicken noodle soups have 32 feet of noodles in every can. Really? Now you know what I will be measuring while stuck in the house during a snow storm. Another trade secret lies in every can of Chuncky’s Sirloin Burger with country vegetables. They say that there are about 8 to 10 mini burgers in every can and each on has little grill marks on them. Do they have little grills in the factories too? Yes, If we get 24 inches of snow as predicted, I will be tearing open the burger soup and counting those little treats. Maybe they have little chefs with little flippers too?

So, a snowy day with soup doesn’t have to be boring but if you try to make it too interesting I m sure your wife will eventually throw you out of the kitchen.  Maybe I can sell pictures of the can for money? Yeah we all know Andy Warhol already that and made millions of dollars doing it. I also heard that he ate the same lunch for 20 years. Yup. It was soup. Slurp!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Male chauvinistic pigs! Wow! I haven’t heard that in years but apparently the bums are out there and are out there in full force backed up by their video games and what they are able to do to women while playing the game. Not to mention that they can abuse women in these games over and over again as often as they like with no opposition. Sigh! It is sad.

It is quite apparent in the popular game called Grand Theft Auto. There are violent depictions of women being beaten and raped and run over by cars and you just gave a 12 year boy this game for Christmas. He is already by now an experienced abuser of women. It is a billion dollar virtual industry. Why can’t we go back to the old cartoons where the couches sang and the brooms danced? It was a safer entertainment world when I grew up.  Female media critic’s   lives are in danger for criticizing the games.

What started as an on line debate about the ethics of games quickly escalated into real threats against female critics of specific games. Anita Sarkeesian is the creator and host of “Feminist Frequency” who openly criticized the games. It is dangerous to our society in general because we are now spending more money on games than movies and music combined.  It is a $21 Billion dollar industry. In the game Grand Theft Auto V as a player you can solicit a prostitute, kill her and then you also have the option to run her over in your car. Is that what cartoons are for? When brooms danced it brought us all into a fantasy land that we could never experience in real life. Should our kids be training for rape, violent acts and murder?

In the game called Watchdogs, women are murdered to give the hero a reason to chase the bad guy. It all reinforces the idea of women as sexual objects and just playthings.  Brianna Wu, the Head of Development at Giant SpaceKat also received personal threats for speaking out about the crude treatment of women in gaming. She is an independent game developer who was stalked by strangers for simply tweeting her opinion.  The FBI is now taking these threats seriously and monitoring the whereabouts of women and their homes.  Terrorism is everywhere nowadays and now on real women in this industry.
It is obvious that gaming is a male dominated space and these guys are charged up and they do not want their last independent place on earth violated. Maybe the wife just told them to take the trash out or fix something around the house that they didn’t want to do but they were an obedient mate and made her happy. They are not happy till they take it out on a woman in the game and run her over back and forth for a while in the game till they are happy. Hey! I’m just saying!  Girl players are abused even during the game vocally by other males in the room even when she says back off I’m just here to play the game just like you.

Developers are finding the need for more female programmers and for more girl friendly games. They put more clothes on Tomb Raider, Laura Croft,   so a dad can play a game with his daughter and not feel like he was fighting a sexual object.  Assassins Creed and Call To  Duty get the same criticism. Can we say lighten up, it’s just a game? Or is it reinforcing violence in front of the TV and away from the TV?   The Amish people don’t watch TV and they don’t go around killing people . Hmnnnnn.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

There was a time when in order to talk to someone you went home and talked on a land line and everyone could talk for as long as they wanted and it was all clear and great sounding no matter which ear you used or what position you were in. Now no one talks or if they do, it is quick inaudible and the battery is dying so good bye or text me. Now I have to spell out every thought or remember the new code for certain words and by then I really don’t want to talk anymore.

There was a time when the reality show was called the Soap Opera because it was on network TV and shown during the day when there was a lot of soap commercials during the tearful and passionate relationships were going at it like in an old opera. Now we have reality shows on cable TV or even more popular on You Tube where your neighbor can film themselves talking and filming it all on a wobbly cell phone camera but telling the audience up to the minute every thought and sigh someone takes. They are selling products and advertising from their You Tube channels and becoming quite famous. In fact I saw one popular   YouTube kid on the View recently. That is real exposure suddenly. I still miss the good clothes, clear picture and good looking actors on the old soap operas. Is it wrong to still like a audible phone in my house and a clear TV show on a big TV?

They are turning their not so secret love stories into profit. People are staring in their own home made reality shows. Take Colleen Ballinger and Josh Evans from Bronson, Missouri. It is his birthday and they have been dating for 5 years. He proposes to her on video and posts it to YouTube. 2,612,235 yes over two and a half million views and counting tune in to see it all. These two make a living from their home made videos of their lives. They call them Vioggers and her show is Miranda sings.

She makes money by going on tours and on You Tube there is ad revenue and you will not see anything sexual on YouTube not that these two would want to do that anyway. Their channels are hugely successful.

Colleen and Josh have half a billion views between them. She has two personalities on YouTube sometimes as her alter ego of Miranda sings who is crazy and spontaneous and the other personality is ordinary Colleen. Josh is a rising star who likes to sing and in every one of his videos he says to be nice to people and his 13 to 21 aged audience would be apt to buy a T-Shirt saying so.  The young viewers get a front row seat into their lives and they both make a pretty good living just living.

So, text your few words and go watch some wobbly home made film on your phone. I still like it the now unpopular way of a good show on my TV and a clear conversation on my large good phone.

Friday, January 23, 2015

No one has ever learned anything on The Learning Channel. If so, we would all speak French fluently and be able to frame our own homes. The channel airs dysfunctional family after dysfunction till we can’t shut it off. The newest idea was to show men who are attracted to men who choose to marry women anyway. What is even more interesting is that their wives say that it is working out great. Who are these weird people? So, therefore that is why I was forced to watch another show aired on TLC.

My question is that if these guys are indeed attracted to other men then why don’t they just live out their lives as gay men? People are out of the closet more than ever these days. As I sit looking like  a  jerk with my mouth wide open in amazement they tell me that the man and wife couple are devout Mormons from Salt Lake City Utah. That opens up just another can of worms in this crazy soup of relationships   Mormons have strict set of rules when it comes to worshiping their form of God. The Mormons only relationship or marriage can only be between a man and a woman in their church. No other type of love is acceptable.

With his wife sitting right next to him he tells the reporter that 90% of the time he will notice a man over a woman anywhere. Now I need popcorn. To see the blank expression on the face of the woman sitting next to him is disturbing as she has to hear that 9 times out of 10 he is attracted to a man. It reminds me of all the poor women who stand next to their cheating politician husbands when they resign from a really good job due to infidelity.  Then after an awkward pause, the wife says in a jokingly way, “I’m attracted to men too.” UGH! Does anyone but me think that somewhere in this marriage sanctioned by the  Mormon religion that these two idiots should be attracted to each other?

Somehow in all this he admits that his sexuality is not a choice as his religion is not his choice. So now anyone could be born a Mormon? Enough. Time to shut this crap off, but I can’t. Like having the need to see just one more picture of Kim Kordashian’s latest picture of her giant curvy ass, I have to see where this show ends. The couple admit to having a good sex life with each other but he resists the temptation to have sex with a man like going on an extreme diet. All of this crap you can see for yourself on a show on TLC called My Husband’s Not Gay.  Some of the guys on the show say that they are attracted to their wives too. Well then aren’t they bisexual? No where do they say that as I still watch in frustration for these people to come clean.

It gets worse. The guy admits that he didn’t tell her that he is also very much attracted to men until they were going steady for about a year and a half. This sounds like torture to me for these straight women. After weeks of gay questions, she decides to stay in the relationship anyway. Ok she is crazy. The fact is that studies indicate that 50 to 85% of mixed orientation marriages end up in divorce.   The show goes on to show gay men who have fathered multiple children in their marriages. Then a group of gay husbands hang out together to play basketball and stare into each other’s eyes trying to stop themselves from temptation, yes from playing with each other’s balls. Yes I said it and I ate all the popcorn already and the show isn’t over yet.

In the year 2000, the American Psychiatric Association published a report that conversion therapy programs are scientifically questionable. At one point a husband went through a program to try to change or suppress his gay feelings permanently. The APA report also said that “the cures for gayness are not substantiated.” He admitted to feeling depressed.   The study went on to say that suppression of one’s true feelings can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide. Is this show going to end with this guy hanging himself in his “perfect” Mormon home surrounded by his perfect wife and kids? What a shame. Now I kick off my shoes. I am in till the credits show up on the screen.  Sigh!

The show, My Husband’s Not Gay has gone under fire by LGBT foundations. The people from GLAD has called the show irresponsible. Sarah Kate Ellis the President and CEO of GLAD said “No one can change who they love, and, more importantly, no one should have to. By investing in this dangerous programing, TLC is putting countless young LGBT people in harm’s way.”  TLC in response says that the show actually is about inclusion. “TLC airs many different shows about real people and different ways of life, without judgment.” The show airs on Sunday nights. At least be glad you are not in Dubai or in Russia where people get killed for gay thoughts. Well, I still don’t know French or how to frame my house but I do know more about the great freedom America is to allow people to be whomever they want to be and worship who ever they want.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I like patient people. Those who never give up.  They are hard to find. Most people spend their time thinking about all the reasons they cannot do something instead of spending their time just trying to do it. That is why I admire the life of the  for a long time not so well known actor Mark Ruffalo. He has been appearing in a lot of movies lately. Some big budget movies like the 2012 film called The Avengers with Robert Downey Jr.  He also has a very active role playing a wrestler in a more recent film. It helps that he was a championship wrestler in high school. For his role in the film called Foxcatcher, he goes back to the moves.  It was the most physical acting role he has ever done.

He gave up wrestling in senior year for acting. All his closest relatives were hairdressers. In the movies he has been known for his very different roles. In 2014 he played a disgraced music executive in the movie called Begin Again. The same year he played a gay activist in the movie called In The normal Heart. He played the Hulk super hero in The Avengers and that is all in films released this past year. He is an American success story because he is everywhere now. But it all started slowly for him. Mark studied acting at the Stellar Adler Acting School in Los Angeles. It was a three year program that took him six years to complete.

For a long time it was bar tending that actually paid the bills. He was a popular bartender where he had a drink people ordered called a Markorita named after him. After more than 600 auditions Mark finally broke through the movie industry in the year 2000 landing a part in the film You Can Count on Me playing Laura Linney’s troubled brother. After 10 years of trying to be discovered in the movies, the doctors find a mass in his brain. His beautiful wife was pregnant and his son was born 2 weeks after he gets notice of his brain problems. He thought he was going to die and didn’t know how he could tell his wife that.  The tumor was benign but the surgery to remove it left one side of his face paralyzed

Doctors said he probably wouldn’t get his face back. But after a year went by he got his facial movement back.  Slowly Mark Ruffalo the actor came back and in 2004 he stared in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Thirteen Going on Thirty and Collateral all released in the same year. His success made him accepted at home where all the hairdressers had successful businesses. His brother Scott was a popular hairstylist in Beverly Hills and for the longest time Mark was referred to as just being Scot’s brother. In 2008 Scott was found shot in the back of his head and no suspect has ever been found. The case was closed just as a homicide.  He lives alongside his brother’s mystery death every day.

He then left California greiving over the loss of his brother and thought he gave up acting to be a writer. He bought a farm in upstate New York to begin his new life with his wife and now three kids. Then Hollywood called him to be the lead in the 2010 film called The Kids Are Alright playing a sperm donor to a lesbian couple played by Anette Benning and Julie Ann Moore. He got an Oscar nomination.  Today at 46 years old acting is now seeking him. Stick with it folks, you never know.  This is it Tanner, go for your dreams.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I am tired of hearing the names and cities of the black men with criminal record who resisted police and ended up dead like they are some kind of hero. We need America to be educated about the silent hero that go through life being unassuming and just doing the right things for people. There is one black man nobody knows about because he somehow didn’t get killed by the police. Those idiots did not get killed by the police, they died as a result of their own resisting antics.

At one point number 60 Jason Brown was one of the best centers in the National Football League. At one point he had a five year seven million dollar contract with the Saint Lewis Rams. He could have made his money rain   as many rich athlete do. Spend his cash on hot women and fast cars, carry weapons, do   drugs   till they eventually self   destruct financially and reputation wise. This guy was and is different because he decided that it was all meaningless and just walked away from football.

His agent told him that he was making the biggest mistake of his life. Why? Maybe because if he walks the agent doesn’t make any money off of him anymore. Jason was sure that his decision to walk was no mistake. So what could possibly be better in life than making multi millions of dollars playing a game?

Jason Brown quit football to be a plain old farmer even though he never farmed a day in his life. He learned how to farm from You Tube videos and from some good advice from other farmers in Lewisburg, North Carolina. This season he harvested his first five acre plot of sweet potatoes. Driving his tractor he was amazed to see them popping out of the ground. He never felt more productive or successful in his life.  He is not trying to take down another man and possibly injure them or himself for life. Football is dangerous. Not really a fun game. Creating food from dirt is fun and safe and fulfilling to him.

His plan for his farm which he calls First Fruits Farm is to donate the first fruits of every harvest to food pantries. He donated all five acres worth of sweet potatoes. It was one hundred thousand pounds of sweet potatoes. Other locals find it unusual that a farmer would grow a crop just to give away. Jason plans to do more next year. He owns 1,000 acres which could go a long way into eliminating hunger in this area of North Carolina. Jason says that love is the best currency you can give anyone.  So the next time I see a parade or a Presidential speech I want to hear black people mention black guys like Jason Brown from North Carolina and have the kids learn about him . A good man . Not an unruly convicted thug. Celebrate good lives. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I always liked her but I still don’t know why. She is Peg Bundy from the old TV show Married With  Children. Her real name is Katey  Sagal. She is still a TV Mom but even then she was hardly the best Mom ever. On the biker series Sons of Anarchy she is still a Mom but her motherly instincts are usually shown by her literally punching someone out. This show is no comedy but a drama filled with serious complications. She still wears tight clothes and big boots and is sexy still after all these years only this Mom is a bad ass not flakey at all.

She plays the head of a drug smuggling motorcycle gang. The story is almost Shakespearean. It is like Hamlet  but only on Harley Davidson motor bikes. Despite here crudeness she is quick to profess that nothing gets in the way of taking care of her family. Katey has a whole new audience now that she is on the cover of Biker Magazine. As an actress she has proved to push the boundaries of motherhood to the limit weather in a comedy or a drama successfully. With all of her TV success Katey always wanted to be famous for something else. Her music.

Katey has recorded three albums including her most recent called, Covered. She is shocked when she finds out that most people do not associate her with music. Katey was born into a musical family. Her mother was a singer and her famous father Boris directed many successful television series while growing up in Los Angeles. Boris Sagal directed The Twilight Zone, The Man From  U.N.C.L.E. and  Colombo.  Seeing all those production sets, she still did not want to be an actress. In high school she would be joining bands and playing guitar. Then she was singing backup vocals for Bette Midler in her shows. Katey was one of Midler’s famous Harlettes. She also sang with Etta James, Tanya Tucker and Bob Dylan.

Her acting break happened when she decided to play a bit part as a reporter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She got called back for more appearances but still considered music her thing and performed in bars along Sunset Boulevard. Before she realized it, drugs and booze became constant companions and her vices took over her performances. She has been sober now for 28 years. It was in recovery where her life really turned around because it was there where she met her husband who was also in recovery. Kurk Sutter is also the creator of Sons of Anarchy and he wrote the role of Jemma specifically for his wife. Katey has earned a Golden Globe for her acting performance. She is still the happiest singing.  I still don’t know why I like my generation’s crazy TV mom but I do.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Today is Martin Luther King Day
He said, “If you can’t fly, then run
                 If you can’t run, then walk
                 If you can’t walk, then crawl
But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward”
Do you want to get out of bed in the morning? Have something you want to do? Want to go somewhere? If you answered NO, you probably need a motivational speaker. We used to get our weekly pep talks from the Priest in Church but that was when we all used to go to a place of worship every week. So, now we book a time to listen to the professional Rah Rah People! They are called motivational speakers and they make a lot of money.
They are can do people. They can certainly make a lot of money for themselves but their job is to make you feel that you can do whatever.

People are eager to be motivated. I guess they cannot find any motivation by themselves so they seek help. Maybe you cannot buy success and happiness but there are plenty of people willing to help you find both.  They say stuff like, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” stuff you have to think about. There are self- help seminars all over the country. One group is called the I Can Do It. They have stars in the industry like Wayne Dyer who has one basic mantra, “Think good thoughts and good things will follow.” Things your Mom always used to say when she fixed your tie or something.

He says to take the last 5 minutes of your day and reflect on or put your attention on everything that you would like to attract. I am well, I am healed I am abundant. I am happy. Just say these things to yourself and you will feel better in the morning. He rose from being raised in an orphanage to becoming one of the best- selling authors ever. He also has plenty of company as speakers. According to the National Speakers Association, there are more than 40,000 paid speakers in the United States and roughly a third , about 13,000 work as motivational-speakers.  Do we really have a market of insecure people in this country to merit the need for so much motivation? I would hate to think that America is such a sad country.

Americans are always disgruntled. We want a better job, better husband, better home and better kids. Americans do like a good speech. Like Martin’s I have a dream rant. We love the General Patton speech in the 1979 movie where he is standing in front of a giant flag saying, “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a looser.” We may give up on our dreams at times but no one wants to be a looser. In grade school when the teacher asks the young children , What do you want to be when you grow up? No one says a Convicted felon, or Drug Addict or Thief. Hell there was a guy who just ran for Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island who recently spent 4 years in prison. Marion Barry won reelection after a cocaine bust caught on tape. When motivated, anything is possible.

Guys like Tony Robbins are very wealthy motivating others. Right now the business of motivation is booming. Like a successful comic who needs a good laugh from their audience every minute in order to be considered a good comic, a good speaker must keep his audience engaged somehow. There is no motivation in a boring speaker. A good speaker earns about $20,000 per speech and sells books and products. A message of hope over adversity is still in demand as it was in Martin Luther King’s day. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

American women are fat. The numbers are in and the fashion industry is finally caving to put more fabric on their designs. And I will not cave in by using politically correct words like portly or well  rounded or full figured. The women are fat and they know it. The difference is now that they are not ashamed to be eating what they want and are willing to carry the poundage with them wherever they go. All they want is a way to   be fashionable too. Gay guys must feel stifled when it comes to fashion. Men are stuck into the shirt, pants and suit but women can look like anything and wear anything now.

When it comes to fashion there seems to be two Americas. One that is the one per centers that are a size zero and get to wear the best designed clothing and then you have everyone else that are all different sizes. Finally the fat ok full figured woman is fighting back and is working to have more clothes made specifically for them. Skinny girls, step aside we don’t have your size. Wow!

Even on the dating show The Bachelor this season had a fat chick, I mean a plus size model as a contestant for the guy’s love. Yes, she is a beautiful girl but all those other skinny bitches, I mean slimmer women were in shock to see her. Contestants on that show are always thin and Bo Stanley didn’t make it to the second round but the fact that she was there at all is a significant change in what is beauty now. The average American woman wears a size 14.  That is 67% percent of the population. It is a majority that is not silent anymore. There is a new generation out there of curvy outspoken curvy women that want to wear cut off jeans just like the skinny girls do.

The singer of that popular song All About That Bass, Meghan Trainor  is  fat , ok chubby not ok? Full figured but she don’t care. She can shake it up like all the skinny girls do. Amber Riley shakes it all up on Glee. Fat ok, obese actress Melissa McCarthy covered it all up under a big coat on the cover of Elle Magazine and she remembered when she said to her blonde and skinny cousin actress Jennifer McCarthy that she wanted to be an actress too,  Jenny just laughed at her. Now Melissa makes more money than Jenny. Lena Dunham OF THE SHOW Girls fame was on the cover of Vogue Magazine but they only put her face and shoulders on the cover. The fact that these women made it to the cover of any fashion magazine is remarkable.

A plus sized model even created #plussizsplease which took hold across social media. Eloquii is a plus sized fashion line company that recently partnered with Nordstrom. The problem for designers is that fat, ok plus size comes in different shape of curves that a zero sized skeleton person doesn’t have to worry about. Manufacturing well -tailored clothes in larger sizes adds on production costs. Courtney Smith the founder of Rum & Coke a plus sized clothes company  on line, says shopping for clothes is a crushing experience for women because their size just is not in the stores.

Pulling in $17billion dollars annually already is new plus size only stores like Fashion to Figure specializing in size 12 to 24 with new stores in every mall. The dresses are typically priced under $30 dollars and compete with the styles found in H&M and Forever 21.  The founder is the grandson of the woman who founded Lane Bryant also a pioneer in fashion for larger women. So, embrace the junk in the trunk of your favorite woman because she is here to stay and looking better everyday.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Did you forget that last week was Elvis Presley’s birthday? It was a big one. He would have been 80 years old on January 8 if he survived his addictions. Would he still be somewhat handsome? Like Marilyn, when our icons die young and beautiful, we never have to be exposed to the aging process with our fantasy women and men. We might as well notice how old he would have been since even in death for many years, he still makes a ton of money.

He was the original rock star. For his Birthday, there was a party with a giant  8 layer cake at his home where his memory was joined by his still living,  ex- wife  Priscilla, , and his Daughter Lisa and his 4 grandchildren.  It almost sounds like an ordinary family but I am sure you remember a lot of the drama associated with each of these people. If he would have lived he would be about the same age as Pope Francis or John McCain. After all those years of gyrations he probably would have had a hip replacement by now. Whatever God you believe in is amazing. Why can’t we see one moment into our future but he or she or it allows us to remember so much of the past?
Elvis died young. 8 years younger than Michael Jackson. Would they have liked each other if they met?  Elvis was 2 years older than John Lennon when he died. Those Beatles took a lot of thunder away from Elvis. I’m not sure that he liked them so much. He is still at lease as iconic as both of them. His home at Graceland is only second to the White House in the amount of visitors each year. I think Michael would have liked that to be happening to his animal and amusement park of a home. No one could have predicted how Michael’s museum of a life would have crumbled. Elvis is American royalty I guess.

This past year Barbara Streisand recorded the song Love Me Tender as a duet with Elvis. There are thousands of impersonators of Elvis.  He still has that enduring appeal from toddlers to Queens. Happy Birthday Elvis we still love your cool attitude and timeless moves. How many people do you know that are still cool after 80 years. It is still sad that many have not learned from the sorrow that drug addiction brings to all. We lost way too many talented artists to the death sentence that addicted drugs are to your body. Try to find another way to heal and keep off the stuff that is still too plentiful and easy to get. Will you reach your 80th Birthday? We won’t know. Our creator doesn’t let us see the future.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Imagine being a brilliant man that invents something that is an essential machine that can crack secret codes during World War II. The invention proves to work so well that it is said that without the aid of the secret code breaking machine, the war could have went on for another two years. It is no imagined story. It is true and the world should know the man better and he never should have been poisoned and lived only to be about 40 simply because he was an openly gay man. All I know is that none of this discrimination simply because he was gay would be going on now. Or would it? Currently Russia and the Middle Eastern countries would arrest openly gay men on their streets.

At least persecution because of sexual orientation is not an issue in the United States anymore. What bothers me most about this story is that the gay inventor saved so many soldiers’ lives but yet was treated so badly in his life. The German’s top secret code during World War II was called,   ”Enigma”. In 1939 Hitler was invading Poland and was on his way to go further into all of Europe. The British were trying to crack the coding of the secret messaging language that the Germans used in order to communicate. His name is Alan Turing and everyone should be familiar with him and we are not. He is the young mathematician who was gay who was poisoned who invented the code cracking machine.

The art of cracking codes is known as cryptography. There is a new film out called “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the young mathematician. He single handedly changed the course of World War II yet few remember his name. How sad. He was only 27 years old when he was recruited by the British to figure out the code. At age 24 he had already become a Fellow at Cambridge. At age 23 he was writing articles of a technical nature in publications. He did not consider himself a prodigy as he compared himself to Newton who by age 22 was inventing things, Einstein was writing papers that changed the world by age 26.  The German code machine is still on display at London’s War Museum\

Mathematicians like to solve problems and Alan knew that he would have to invent a machine to be able to take on the German coding machine. At the time the Americans, French and Germans thought the machine was unbreakable. It was a top secret operation and was kept a secret 30 years even after the war was over. The code breaking was being researched in an estate in London. There was a new code set every day so Alan had only 24 hours to try to decipher it so he created a machine. It took 9 months for Alan and his team to create a machine. Cracking the codes allowed British Intelligence to contact war ships and troops as to locations of the German Army. The Allies suddenly had a heads up in the war effort. Alan Turning’s work shortened the War by two years saving millions of lives.

It was stunning work considering it was done in the 1940’s. According to current Professors of Math, Turing revolutionized cryptography, the theories of computer science and artificial intelligence. For part of the War, his family didn’t even know where he was and his story was not revealed until the 1970’s. In 1952 he was arrested and charged with “Gross Indecency” for having sexual relations with another man. He never denied it as so many men hid their true sexuality in those days and was sentenced to probation and was required   to go through   estrogen treatments which was then to be believed to suppress homosexual desires. In 1954 Turing died after eating an apple dipped in cyanide.  He was 41 years old. It took 60 more years for his story to be accepted. Only last year he was pardoned by Queen Elizabeth. Today he is celebrated like a war hero that he deserves straight or gay.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The symbol of American food worldwide sadly is the amazing chain of McDonald’s hamburger joints that are in every city and along every highway rest stop getting to a city. I guess we should be proud of the automation of food processing and serving that the giant company has achieved. Most importantly how it was a quick affordable hunger satisfier and still is to Billions of people. The problem like Walmart, the American retailor of everything else, McDonald’s is also known for being the minimum wage king as well. When people protest about too low wages, they probably work at McDonald’s.

The company’s boss says he is loving his job.  McDonald’s   CEO is Don Thompson the man in charge of the biggest restaurant chain in the world. He is a tall black man that is very friendly and when he visits his stores, no one is intimidated by the biggest shot in the company. He is proud to say that he could still make fries and cook a burger but is also happy at headquarters too. Despite his happy demeanor he realizes that his restaurants are a target. They have 35,000 restaurants worldwide. Many times if someone is degrading other fast food chains,   McDonald’s gets caught up in the controversy. I find it very interesting that the big shot of this corporation is a humble black man because many of his employees are minorities and complain how he doesn’t pay them enough money for their work.

He took the job 2 years ago facing wage protests and declining sales. He is the first African-American CEO of the company. A recent Consumer Reports Survey ranked McDonald’s as the worst tasting burger in the industry. Sales have been in a downward trend with competition   like Chipolte  Mexican Grill, Wendy’s and Taco Bell eating at the profit share at lunch time. Don Thompson grew up in a tough side of Chicago and lived in a public housing project. He was raised by his grandmother and remembers only one McDonald’s restaurant in the neighborhood in his youth. He also remembers asking his grandmother for a meal and she would tell him to go home and she will make him a McDonald’s.

His wife of 26 years also grew up nearby. They both made it out of the neighborhood by studding engineering at Purdue University. Her home is destroyed and abandoned now but they say money doesn’t solve all your problems. Really? Only people who now have money say things like that.  He started at McDonald’s 24 years ago as an engineer. He dealt with the robotics keeping the kitchen automated. He never went to business school. So how did he become CEO? He now earns upwards of 9Million dollars per year. Someone tell that to his poor minimum wage workers fighting to survive in this economy.  Recently thousands of hourly employees staged protests demanding wage rises to $15 per hour  from about $8 per hour.

Thompson went to the White House and said he would support a minimum wage hike as long as it is phased in slowly.  He wants his employees to reinvest back into the company. He is proud to disclose that 60% of franchise owners used to work for the company at some time in their past working history. I say put this guy up front and let all people know that he exists and has a plan for workers and minority people in general. We could all use a bit of inspiration these days.

Monday, January 12, 2015

We all need to relax and take a deep breath. Literally. Now the free world is uncertain and reporters really are afraid to protest the executions of reporters worldwide. The protests of the killings in France did not get enough TV coverage. I hope the free press is not that afraid. The world needs to know the true events of what is going on. No religious or political bias should be involved. We all need to relax.

Or lives are filled with distractions e-mail, Twitter, texting. We are constantly connected to technology. We are rarely alone with just our thoughts. We need a way to get around the daily stresses of life. There is a movement or a practice called Mindfulness going around now that basically means to be aware of your thoughts, physical sensations and surroundings. There is one man Jon Kabat- Zinn who is responsible for this practice becoming more popular. He believes that Mindfulness is the answer for people who are so overwhelmed by life that they feel like they aren’t living at all.

Mindfulness really means awareness. We are only alive right now. Stop mourning about the past and worrying about the future. Look at you right now and find a way to feel  good , be thankful maybe even smile about something in the present. Jon is a trained MIT scientist who has been practicing Mindfulness for 47 years. In 1979 he began teaching Mindfulness through meditation to people suffering from chronic pain and illnesses. That program is now being used in more than 700 hospitals world -wide.  Start with the trauma you feel when your alarm clock goes off in the morning. How do you feel? Panicked that you have to get out of the house? or relaxed taking a moment to smile that you have woken up to another wonderful day. Taken a moment to breathe.

Get out of bed with awareness and happiness and do your morning rituals at peace with yourself. Don’t take 50 people with you into your morning shower. Leave them out. It should be just you and your hands feeling your body relaxed and clean in your thoughts and physicality.  Maybe you need to learn how to meditate. That means no cell phone, no Internet no alarm clock till you are ready to join civilization again.  Sit silently and convince yourself that there is no place to go, there is nothing to do just sit and know that you are sitting.

It sounds simple but it is not when your mind constantly wanders. Your mind has a life of its own going here or there. To not get lost in thought he suggest focusing on breathing and getting into the rhythm of your breaths. Jon Kabat-Zinn has written 10 books on Mindfulness and led nearly 100 retreats and describes meditation as a mental workout. Drop under the agitation and bring yourself back to your life in calmness. Tell that to the murderous Muslims.  Try eating in quiet and taste more and eat less food. Tell that to loud drunken party goers. All I know is that we have to try something different and survive life.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Growing up none of us really know what we are going to do the rest of our lives for a living. Maybe that is why young men become religious fanatics or criminals or just plain bored. This is a story about an ordinary guy who wore many hats during his lifetime. Somehow he managed to always find peace and ambition with whatever he chose to do.  I am talking about Danny Aiello   and you say, “Who the hell is he?”
You know him. He’s the guy who played the pizza place owner in Spike Lee’s movie called Do The Right Thing. If you don’t remember that movie he played the guy who proposed to Cher in the movie Moonstruck.  Ok, you still don’t know him well. It turns out that he only knows who he is when he is somebody else. That is also the title of his new Memoir. He says life is a lot easier when he is acting and playing someone else. He played a mobster in the 1974 movie The Godfather II. He has had a 4 decade career in the movies and had played more than 90 different roles.  This guy has no time to be himself he is always acting.

At 9 years old he was a shoe shine boy at Grand Central Terminal to make money since his father took flight before he was even born. In 1942 he was shining shoes for lots of soldiers.  18 years later he joined the Army too and managed to get a great job during the Korean War playing baseball to entertain the soldiers. After his service he met his wife and has been married for over 60 years.  In 1955 they got married and went on to have 3 sons and a daughter. When their relationship began, Danny was a hustler who took other people’s money playing pool. As his family grew he knew he had to have a steady paycheck. He got a job being a baggier man for Greyhound Bus Lines. Yeah,   he   picked up people’s luggage and put the bags on a bus for a living to feed his family.

He spent 10 years there first as a baggage handler then promoted to the microphone as the bus station’s announcer telling people where to go and when for a bus. The stops are still burned in his memory. Give him a microphone now and he can rattle them off. The point to this biography guys is that, you can lead a long and happy life not having to be anyone or anything in particular. Get off the booze   and drugs and just do something no matter how mundane it is however, it does help if you have a good wife and beautiful children as a motivator to do just about any job for money.  Motivation is the key.

He was also a Union Leader but was fired after organizing an unauthorized strike. He then went to a life of crime and safe cracking by picking up safes and throwing it out of windows and taking whatever was in the broken safe. Somehow he never got caught. No, this is not the script for one of his movies, he said he really did this stuff. Danny does have that tough guy persona. He hated himself for doing that and eventually he got a job as a bouncer in a comedy club called The Improve. He filled in as an introducer and MC and found that he had a knack for performing. At the age of 36 Danny started acting.

Three years later he got his first movie playing baseball with Robert De Niro in a movie called Bang  The Drum Slowly whose acting talent was far greater than his baseball skills to Danny’s delight. Bobby simply couldn’t throw the ball. Great roles kept coming and in 1990 Danny got an Oscar Nomination for best supporting actor in Do The Right Thing. He did not win and doesn’t think he should win anything since he never studied a day of acting in his life. I think he acted all his life and that is why he never found himself and what is wrong with that? Nothing!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

If you live in Elkhart, IN you could be spending 55 years in prison for murder when it is clear you did not even have a weapon and did not murder anyone. It is a true and present case there. We also know that young males between the ages of 16-23 are the most dangerous creatures on earth and commit the most crimes. They are still immature but are in the bodies of grown men. They are unskilled for any job but want lots of cash now.  It only takes one afternoon of bad decisions that can change their lives forever.  This case involves 5 teen age friends hanging out wanting money and decide they will break into a house and see what money they can find. They picked the house out by thinking that was the one where there is no one home.

One teen kicks the door in and he is shot in the chest and dies, another is shot in the leg; the others run away. The homeowner was asleep upstairs when he heard the door get kicked in. He got his gun and began shooting at the strangers that just broke into his home. He does not get charged for anything. The law in Indiana is called Felony Murder. When felons kill during certain crimes, in this case “burglary” everyone committing that crime can be held responsible even though none of them pulled the trigger or even had a gun. Check out the laws in your state to see if this exists in your town.

The stupid kids were all charged with murder. They were all charged as adults and are facing decades in prison. Maybe we all should own guns. Even though the teens had no intent to kill, even the lookout kid; they were all charged for the murder. Felony Murder is a controversial law and is not in the books in every state. After a short trial each kid is sentenced at least 50 year in jail. The harsh sentences have drawn national attention. Steve Drizin a professor of law at Northwestern University also believes that the amount of years is overkill and needs to be remedied. The teens now live in the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. One already has his arm tattooed with his release date of 2040.
The case may go all the way to the Supreme Court if the appeals don’t work for them. The juvenile blame could help the teens. Peer pressure and poor decision making of an immature mind should be stressed at the appeals court.  It has been proven that the juvenile brain continues to develop throughout adolescences precisely in the areas that govern judgment and reasoning. Is that an acceptable excuse? A lot of people believe the kids should rot in jail. Teens in a group may do things they might not do on their own.  No one wants to be woken up from their sleep to find 5 men in their house looking for money. The Supreme Court has already ruled that no juvenile should face the death penalty nor life without parole because their brains are just not fully developed.
So we should have kids the size of men thinking and possibly committing very adult crimes and let them get away with it because of their age? In this case there were other options that could have been explored. It could have easily been plead down to involuntary manslaughter which is a 15 year sentence. They would have done 7 to 10 years of hard time and still had a life to live. Kids often cannot afford good representation either. This case will be going forward in the Indiana Supreme Court of Appeals.  I just find it interesting that the murderer, the homeowner is able to move on with no charges against him.  It is the Wild West in Indiana all over again. Keep your gun loaded and by your side because you are your own judge and jury in Indiana.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Today I wish to think about the good of people and good things the earth offers us. I don’t like aggressive people, weapons, religions or deceit. I prefer to think of the wonderful things that grow here and how people spend their time using earth’s gifts to benefit others. I am talking about beautiful Italy and a town called Cremona that is a small city with a long heritage of violin makers who created instruments for pleasure for generations instead of weapons for destruction. Even animals kill only for hunger. Humans kill for  stuberness  and pleasure. It is the town where handcrafted Stradivarius violins were made and home to the man who created the incredible musical instrument that entertained people for generations.

String instruments were carved from raw wood from the forests there and have stayed intact for generations. The Italians have set a standard of tradition that still flourishes today. Time seems to stand still in the quiet town.  There are lots of bicycles and pedestrians there but somewhere you can hear a professional playing a violin somewhere in the breeze.  It is believed that the violin was invented in this town. If the professional is lucky enough, they are allowed to play a three hundred year old instrument.  There are references to Stradivarius all over town. His magnificent creations have earned their own state of the art museum there.  Many of the 1100 instruments he made with his hands have disintegrated by now but some still live on and some are on display at the museum. Instruments that were crafted in 1750.

The survivors are in great condition and in great demand by musicians from all over the world. Let us have music all over the world and not threats of war please. The original violins were crafted from solid pieces of wood without seams. These violins have been exported and played by the best hands in the world. Now Cremona has brought many of their instruments back home. Some instruments have an earthier sound than others. To keep them supple they all must be played every month and only the best musicians are allowed to play them who are skilled to find the very highest and lowest notes on the wood. The vibrations from the notes keep the 300m year old instruments alive.

Each instrument sounds slightly different. Unlike militant religious followers, Cremona is a town where the past and the present live harmoniously. There are more violin shops than espresso shops in Cremona. Craftsmen are still making new violins there by hand. They are all drawn there from all over the world by history and tradition and the special wood from the forests there. The only thing that has changed here is that now the craftsmen have electric lights. No nails are used in the fastening of the instruments. Tapping the wood reveals a clear tone.  The woods are maple and red spruce that have the great acoustic qualities.

There are only about 650 instruments still in existence. We need rare and beautiful in our lives. Some instruments have sold for $15 million dollars. It is a delicate process to know when enough playing on the instrument is enough before too much. Some have broken in the artists hands. The land of Cremona and the men of the town have created something beautiful for generations of humans to enjoy. Let us use our intellect and brawn for good things in the world for generations of us to enjoy.