Saturday, May 26, 2007


When I was growing up, one of my Dad's favorite hoary old jokes was, "Everyone was feeling rosy . . . so Rosie went home."

Rosie O'Donnell is a wild, passionate, emotional person, full of humor and smart observations. She is committed Mom to four kids, committed to her wife, committed to her love of theater, and enormously outspoken. A larger-than-life personality. I often find that my political views are exactly in line with hers.

But Rosie suffers from depression (as do I), and often looks to get her feelings hurt. It is one thing to feel free to put your thoughts out there. But you can't expect people to flip their opinions, even if they LIKE you, and defend your thoughts and actions against their own.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck is pretty, charming, smart, straight-as-they-come, and also outspoken--and as conservative as Rosie is liberal. They claim (or claimed) to love each other on THE VIEW and to respect each other's right to disagree. At times, neither of them listen very carefully to what the other is saying, so eager are they to get their points of view out there. For those who love to argue and debate, the hammer home approach is popular because, frankly, it's fun and aggressive. But you will note that my all-time favorite conservative--and one of the world's classiest intellectuals--was William F. Buckley, who never had to shout or hammer to make his point. He'd simply put it out there for you to agree or disagree.

Rosie got upset when Fox News, which Elisabeth loves, misappropriated Rosie's words, saying that Rosie call our troops "terrorists," which Rosie denies. She feels our government's actions create terror in other countries, which I agree with, but knows that the troops are following the orders of their leaders and risking their lives to defend our rights even under dubious circumstances. Again, I agree--and find spurious those who take opposing views to the war as disloyalty to the troops, which is a cheap and disingenuous argument used to enrage emotions and deflate opposition.

But Rosie tried to trap Elisabeth into saying that Fox News was inappropriate and conservative and further tried to box her into a position where she would have to deny her own comments in support of Fox News in order to support Rosie--it had to be one way or the other. Elisabeth said to her that she (Rosie) was a grown woman who could defend her own viewpoints. Rose called her a coward. And then Rosie asked to be released from the remaining three weeks of her contract from THE VIEW and ABC obliged.

I'm not playing with you anymore. You hurt me.

C'mon, Rosie. If you and Elisabeth can't find ways to play nicely together--and you supposedly like each other--then what hope is there for us to solve wars and major world conflicts. What kind of message are you sending your kids if you walk away pouting when you don't get your point of view validated the way you want it to be? I know what you wanted from Elisabeth and I don't disagree with your desire or your opinion, and I would have liked Elizabeth to have admitted Fox's manipulation (Elisabeth does tend to buy whole packages without looking or questioning the ingredients) but your BEHAVIOR sandbagged her, and your subsequent BEHAVIOR damages your credibility and your cause. A leader takes the licking and keeps on ticking, and the ways you move beyond the petty is even more of an inspiration and example than the actual argument itself. Taking your toys and going away is not the appropriate action--as Sanford Meisner used to say, "An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words." And if the war can't be discussed or even argued about between friends, then nothing is ever going to be resolved. Is this really the message you want to send, the legacy you want to leave on THE VIEW?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


A pleasant surprise--a new review from T.F. Rice, Hidden Valley Farm, Publisher of THE OTHER HERALD in Perry, NY.

Helping Allergic Kids (& Others) Feel Better About Their Peculiarities!
19 Apr 2007
by T. F. Rice
Author Judd Lear Silverman offers up encouraging words disguised as fun in the story EDDIE HAS ALLERGIES. Full of rhyming and other wordplay, this is a story the kids will want to finish. Laughter is one of the best medicines! And reading a story about someone else having similar difficulties can make a big difference in a worrisome child's life.

Allergies are an extremely relevant topic these days. If it is difficult for an adult to "deal with" their allergies, it must be awful for a kid to do so. Help is on the way... Silverman can't wave a wand and make the allergies go away... with mere words... but he's proved he can make a kid feel better in other ways! Hip- hip- hooray! -T.F.Rice

Now if I can just spread the word . . . !

Saturday, May 19, 2007


In tandem with severe spring allergy season comes "TV Finale Season," and some of the symptoms are the same for both--watery eyes, a queasy feeling in the pit of the stomach, congestion and general malaise. TV Finale Season is characterized by end-of-season, end-of-series finales for dramas and comedies, while competition shows present their finals and/or semi-finals.

Many dramas suffer from cliffhangeritis, the need to overload their final show with so much bad news that those who are involved with their favorite characters simply won't rest until next fall--when they find out that the big deal their hero was going through was merely a blip they'll forget about by the first commercial.

In the hour-long department, GREY'S ANATOMY takes the prize for stuffing more melodramatic claptrap into an hour than just about any other show. The show, once one of the more intelligent offerings, has gotten enormously mushy, throwing in every kind of classic, melodramatic twist. On this season's finale, there was desertion at the altar on a wedding day, careers destroyed, memories restored and loves betrayed, near-death and break-ups by those who were "meant to be together." The smart and subtle shadings that made the show so watchable have been flattened out into heavy, even leaden layers of black and white. It's not fun to watch an hour of endless hand wringing. I simply don't care who Izzie's in love with anymore. George and Callie should grow up. Meredith can go ahead and jump back in the river. At least Addison's smart enough to go off and get her own show, (to be called PRIVATE PRACTICE) with much wittier characters and more believable conflicts and dialogue (at least in the pilot).

Far better scores go to GILMORE GIRLS, which ended seven years with far more subtlety: Rory's heading off to cover the campaign trail, her first job as a reporter, and while she's saying good-bye, friends and family make temporary peace, saying the things they wish they'd said in daily conversation. No one rushed to a quick decision--no flash marriages nor deaths--and while the possibilities for happily-ever-after were introduced (yes, Luke & Lorelei finally kissed after Luke threw a going-away extravaganza for Rory against all odds), we got the sense that these people would go on living their normal lives while Rory began her coverage of Barak Obama's campaign. That this show exited with some dignity is gratifying, especially when it began the season without the flippant wit that had previously characterized its charmingly dizzying manner.

And MEDIUM ended a multi-part cycle without losing its head (although many characters lost theirs!). The fact is that after all the bad behavior, Alison just walked into a meeting, pronounced the real killer and said "You want the details? I'll fill you in later!" Classic, fun, AND time-saving. These people knew we'd been watching and trusted we could handle it. We're not going away this summer worried to death about Alison, Joe and the kids--hopefully, after all they've been through, they'll get some rest and be fresh and ready come the fall!

But the real thriller comes this week.

No, not the AMERICAN IDOL finale--it figures that in a country that elected this administration for a second term and wonders why the world is in such deplorable condition, the remarkable grace, skill and talent of Melinda Doolittle would be passed over in favor of the moderately talented but cute Jordin and Blake. Let's face it--skill is not rewarded in this country, and intelligence is looked down on as an elitist activity! Sad, very sad.

No, I refer to the consistently entertaining DANCING WITH THE STARS on ABC, where after an increasingly competitive series of performances and eliminations, there are three couples left standing, only one of whom can take away the mirror ball: Laila & Max, Joey & Kym, Apolo and Juliana. Unlike IDOL, the contestants are "adults" who have trained hard, taken what the judges have told them to heart, and have put on their best game time after time. It's really impossible to predict who will win--all are so very different, and yet equally deserving. The suspense is terrific. But then think about it--how many shows appeal to so many different ages and demographics? This is a show that families actually want to watch together. The musical guests come from numerous age groups and music types, as diverse as the contestants themselves. Judges actually talk about the fine points of ballroom dancing ( toes turned out versus in, breathing through the whole body, posture) and people are enthralled. Everyone learns something and has a good time. The show is thrilling, with an expert hosting turn from Tom Bergeron. I don't even dare to predict the winner--but we'll be watching!

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Paris Hilton is going to jail in June. For 45 days. Just enough time to pick up some fashionable accessories that go with stripes. And a little orange jumpsuit for her chihuahua.

For those living under a rock, you may wonder why the poor little heiress is being tormented. Well, she violated her probation (twice), driving with a suspended license, which came from a DUI arrest this fall.

Eve, the rap "artist" also made news for DUI, as did (it seems) thirteen thousand other celebs and wannabe celebs. In fact, DUI seems to be replacing eating disorders as the attention-getting device of those who would be stars. (Maybe it's just that they lack the secret ingredient--talent--that makes them have to work harder for the attention.) But then again, while eating disorders are distressful to others but mostly dangerous to the individual, driving while intoxicated threatens everyone's health and well-being, making it that much more potent--in terms of garnering attention, that is.

Why, oh, why does the media insist we care?! Is the situation in Darfur so sad that they know we won't watch THAT footage, so they give us Paris entering and leaving a courtroom, fashionably attired? (The world got to see Naomi Campbell's daily outfits for her community service, served for beating the umpteenth assistant with a cell phone or a vibrator or a Nordic track or something--we remember the walk to and from but not even the crime, thanks to the cameras!) Does the Bush administration have such a stranglehold on actual war statistics and battle coverage that instead the media outlets go to such desperate places as releasing tapes of David Hasselhoff falling off the wagon and being berated by his kids for doing so? Are we feeling so impotent at brokering peace in the Middle East that instead we concentrate on brokering some kind of truce between Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger? (Come now, is calling your daughter a "rude little pig" truly that bad a misdemeanor? And for all we know, maybe she IS behaving like a rude little pig--show me a kid who hasn't at some time or other!)

Something has gotten very corrupt in the media and no one is saying a word. It is like the news outlets are turning a blind eye to that which might sadden or even enrage the populace, choosing instead to stuff us with the meaningless exploits of debutantes. Even You Tube, developed as the people's reporting site, appears to be manipulated by those seeking attention. How did Eddie Griffin's destruction of a rare Ferrari make it to the air so quickly? Michael Richards' seemingly racist meltdown? Mike Daisey's contretemps with a Catholic school group walking out on his show en masse? And who leaked the Baldwin phone message to the media anyway? (Do YOUR personal phone messages end up on national television?)

Manipulating the media has become THE game of the century. He who rules the media rules the world (something Rupert Murdoch has had embroidered on his pillows for decades). And so we get further and further from the truth we can't or don't wish to face. Foreclosures on homes are at an all-time high, the private farms of this nation are disappearing as fast as the polar ice caps (which if you haven't noticed are melting even faster than predicted). But why think about these things when we can worry whether or not Paris will be treated like all the other prisoners?!

Again and again, our apathy let's these media mavens get away with their nefarious deeds. If we withheld our viewing AND OUR DOLLARS, perhaps we would get some respect. Our power is in our purchasing power, in viewing numbers. Until we display a healthy show of outrage, they will continue to laugh at us. Can't we tell them no?!

Until then, I can hardly wait to see what Paris is putting on her iPod for her stay--Jailhouse Rock, anybody?