Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When is it time to distance ourselves from old relationships? ...by Sybil Sage

Influenced, no doubt, by the extremely public questioning about relationships we've been privy to this week -- Obama's rift with Rev. Wright, Hillary's handlers trying to figure out what to do about Bill and Mc Cain establishing that his positions differ from those of George Bush -- a friend just asked why I took on a G-mail account after years of being with AOL.

I see G-mail as more intimate, the address used by most friends, while AOL is the address I freely give to doctor's offices, art galleries and when ordering online. "Why keep AOL?" she persisted. I explained it's so the Nigerian inheritances, British lotteries, classmates looking for me and knock-off watches will still get through, all of which are screened by G-mail, which serves as a gatekeeper. Then I admitted, albeit sheepishly, that when I'm avoiding going to the gym, I read AOL's "weird news" and take their tests.

"How did you do on today's armpit sniffer test?" she asked, also a freelance writer so as deft as I am at wasting time. I immediately went onto AOL to see how adept I'd be at picking out which in each category is the bogus job. Out of armpit sniffer, dog sniffer and garbage sniffer, I was right: garbage. And I knew the next one was candle waxer, not candy butcher or citrus fruit colorer. The third question was where I messed up, choosing brain picker, not nose tickler or tonsorial artist.

I stopped. Was this really a way for a grown-up to spend time? Look out, AOL, you may be heading into the dumper with Rev. Wright.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How can elephants be more caring parents than humans? ...by Sybil Sage

Those of us who take parenting seriously, agonizing over whether or not to feed on demand, hold those with late birthdays back for a year, monitor their TV and computer time and eliminate trans-fats from their diets find it incomprehensible that of the 53 teenage girls taken from a polygamist compound in west Texas, 31 either are pregnant or have already had children.

No less incredulous and horrifying is the account of the 73-year-old Austrian father who just confessed to imprisonment, sexual abuse and incest after it was discovered that he'd kept one of his daughters imprisoned in the basement for 24 years, where she gave birth to seven of his children, some of whom had never been out of the dungeon. This took place with him and his wife living upstairs. Did they never hear a crying baby below? Living in a New York apartment building, I'm curious where they got such effective sound insulation. And how was their trash carted out?

The debates over whether or not spankings are ever justified or if teenagers should be permitted a glass of wine at the family dinner table seem laughable in the face of parents who enable or are involved in sexual encounters with their children. I have questions about the moms, both the Austrian one and the polygamist ladies. Even if they never read Dr. Spock or Penelope Leach and didn't have the benefit of Mommy & Me classes, where was the maternal instinct? Elephants and other wild animals display more caring and nurturing. Our first responsibility is to protect our children. How can this be happening?

Monday, April 28, 2008

With God's help and friends like Rev. Wright...by Sybil Sage

The Democrats no longer need the opposing party to get Swift boated. They have spouses, staffers, former supporters and Obama's longtime pastor to do that. Rev. Jeremiah Wright's most recent ratings on an AOL poll shows 11,336 have a negative opinion of him with only 2,527 giving him a thumbs up. Yet he's gleefully accepting speaking invitations, evidently unconcerned that he may be damaging Obama.

This morning, addressing the Washington media, he characterized Obama's distancing himself from Wright as politically strategic. The charismatic pastor, who clearly relishes attention, applause and laughter, pointed out that regardless of who wins, he will continue to serve God and will, no doubt, remain visible and vocal even if it doesn't serve Obama.

Why, I found myself wondering with Wright's prayer breakfast in the background, has religion become so intertwined with politics? I just saw "Constantine's Sword", a documentary with former priest James Carroll that puts a light on the disturbing dominance of evangelical Christianity on our military. Mikey Weinstein, who started the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and his sons, Casey and Curtis, (yes, there's another set of Weinstein brothers) are in the film addressing the widespread anti-semitism at the Air Force Academy.

Yesterday Jeremy Hall, an atheist serving as an army specialist in Iraq, was interviewed on TV about the threats he'd received after refusing to participate in a Christian prayer ceremony, adding that being an atheist destroyed his chances of being promoted.

The military, having dealt with alternative sexual preferences of our soldiers, has turned to dictating religious beliefs, promoting conversion to Christianity. Where can this be heading? Will the widely quoted line be rewritten to, "There are no atheists or gays in a trench hole?"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

www.bluezones.com: looking ahead by Sybil Sage

"How to LIve Longer Without Really Trying," a piece in today's "New York Times," caught my attention as living longer interests most of us. It's an appealing goal until you consider how many more times you'll be shaving your legs, all those trips to buy groceries, the hours you'll be holding for Tech Support, having orthotics fitted and being called to do eulogies for dear friends who've had more cigarettes or stress in their histories.

Even so, I'm a curious person (not one of the questions in the questionnaire) so visited the website, www.bluezones.com, to see how much longer I should expect to hold on. Comparing myself to women my age, many of whom I've seen munching on churros at Disney World, I was more than mildly distressed to discover my biological age is only five years below my true age. My lifestyle seems remarkably healthier than theirs. Could it be there's such a thing as secondhand churro effect?

Moving on to life expectancy, I'm told I have 26 years left, meaning I can safely buy a large tin of olive oil, should probably replace my mattress but it leaves me agonizing over whether or not I should get an extended service contract for a new appliance. Clearly I can still keep accruing mileage, but shouldn't wait forever to use it.

The tougher statistic is my healthy life expectancy: 86.7 years. I'm looking ahead to roughly six years that promise to be challenging. I have a long-term health care policy but only one son. What to do with this information? Well, maybe my son is the one who should be doing the math.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

liar, liar, pants on fire...by judi sadowsky

this morning i was trying on a dress i was planning to wear to a wedding in a few weeks.
"i hate that" the husband piped up.
"really. i was planning to wear it to tasha's wedding".
"don't" he answered, "it makes you look fat".
wow. i told him i was glad i could always count on him to tell me the truth.
"well, not always" he replied.
"what do you mean"? i asked.
"sometimes you can't take the truth".

i had to give that some thought and i realized he was right. sometimes, like when we are on the way out the door, late for his cousin's bar mitzvah in calabasas, i don't need to hear that the outfit i am wearing makes my butt look big. i can't see my butt, so just let me go off to the valley thinking i look great. or the time i got that really awful haircut that only six months of growing out time could remedy. i didn't want to hear from him that i looked like a poodle in its summer cut. so, as much as i hate to admit it, the husband is right about lying. sometimes you just have to.

that is why i am so upset about a new children's book that is out. written by a plastic surgeon it is called "my pretty mommy". the book is this doctor's attempt to explain plastic surgery to young children. it covers nose jobs, tummy tucks and face lifts. thankfully, i think he draws the line at breast implants. at one point in the book, when the little girl asks her mommy why she had a nose job the mother replies "because i wanted to have a prettier nose". now, the odds are about 50/50 that in ten years or so, little amanda, tiffany, quinn or apple is going to be sprouting a very similar nose to the one her mommy had just lopped off. here is where lying comes in. if vain mommy just told her little darling that she ran into a door or dropped a frying pan on her face, the wee tot could grow up being able to make up her own mind about how she feels about her looks. but, with mommy telling her, practically from birth, that if she has mommy's old nose, it won't pretty enough, what chance does this kid have?

so let's it hear it for liars and leave my butt and little tiffany's nose alone!

The Vlog Naked Campaign. Blogging naked? Not this blogger! ...by Sybil Sage

It's now common for people to put themselves on YouTube and Facebook, eagerly displaying and/or confessing things that would be grounds for a law suit if posted by a third party as the activities include having sex (with others or with themselves), blogging naked, providing sordid and what many would consider private, embarrassing details about their lives. Not only is my desk chair too scratchy for nudity, but I'm surprised that anyone post 9/11 would blog naked. I'm always ready for an evacuation, wearing comfortable shoes, my credit cards handy.

While some feel it's inevitable that, "soon everyone will have naked footage of themselves on the Internet for all to see," I am not even slightly tempted to join the Vlog Naked campaign, started recently by a user going by the handle Chris3ff, which has attracted over 80,000 visitors and 100 vloggers willing to expose themselves on YouTube as they talk about trips to the dentist or the election. My fear is a proficient multi-tasker will take the camera into the room during a colonoscopy. Call me old-fashioned, I still value boundaries.

If I were going to expose anything on YouTube, it would surely not be me. My choice would be to point the camera at others, showing a doctor's waiting room - in real time - all of us routinely kept waiting for hours. I'd take the camera to the airport to record being scrutinized by security people only to find myself bumped ot waiting on the tarmac with no meal, no blanket, no leg room. I would also point a camera at the person who sneaks in line ahead of me at Fairway or comes up from behind and steals the parking space I'd been waiting for. But naked blogging? Not a chance!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Should we expect infomercials for The Polygamist Wives Diet & Skin Creams? ...by Sybil Sage

Will the polygamist wives impact on fall fashions? Can we expect to see puff-sleeved, pastel dresses in Barney's windows, or are the long dresses, designed for modesty and conformity, impractical for those of us darting in and out of traffic and shoving clothes into 22" carry-on suitcases?

These gals are covered so that not an inch of skin is exposed to tempt the guy or guys they share. A polygamist expert (is that a major available at many colleges?) explains they cover themselves "so that they're unattractive to the outside world or other men." The expert doesn't mention that they're probably less prone to skin cancer, which could be a huge plus as we're not clear how many wives are covered under any one man's health plan.

The hairdos, too, recalling old Breck girls, have not gone unnoticed. The women don't cut their hair, expecting to use it to wash Christ's feet during the Second Coming. The bangs are grown out and rolled to accompany sausage curls on the sides and often braids down the back. The braids, adding stiffness, should be effective on Christ's feet, not unlike a Squeegee on a car window.

The women are wrinkle-free. Not one is overweight. It may be that with such large families, portion control happens quite naturally. I suspect we'll soon be seeing infomercials promoting the Polygamist Wives Diet and skin creams.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Arrivederci, Pope Benedict

We woke today and it was back to business as usual with Hillary and Obama doing all they can to garner votes and delegates. "Why is this morning different from all others?" I found myself adding a fifth question to the four we asked at seder.

Ah, yes, it's because we've had a respite, watching the Pope, who'd been visiting our city, awash in regal, white fabrics, addressing the U.N., blessing the victims and their families at Ground Zero and, finally, proving he's a huge a crowd magnet as the Yankees.

Isn't it just like a guy to come into your life, fill the space and then blow you off without a goodbye? I'm having Pope withdrawal.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Posing nude for a calendar and other ways to embarrass your kid...by Sybil Sage

If ever someone should have called me for advice, it was the seven, middle-aged, Spanish moms who posed for a tongue-in-cheek, erotic calendar to raise money for their children's tiny, rural school and are now stuck with 5,000 unwanted copies and owing the printer $16,000. I would have urged them to think of a fund raising dinner or silent auction, less risky and not so likely to embarrass their kids.

The moms may have been inspired by the group of women in Yorkshire, England, who'd raised $2.55 million for cancer research by selling a calendar of discreet nude photographs of themselves that inspired the 2003 movie Calendar Girls.

Being photographed wearing nothing but tinsel or posing nude behind a red umbrella isn't what kids would have their moms do. That marks you as being "uncool." But there's no shortage of ways to humiliate your child, such as:

- Talk to your kid in the presence of their friends. Talk to their friends. Talk to a waiter, a stranger, well, talk to anyone.

- Wear an orthopedic shoe, even briefly.

- Ask questions of their teachers and while on school tours, doing your usual bragging or complaining about the kid.

- Yell out loudly during a sporting event and follow by complaining to the coach your kid wasn't given enough playing time.

- Have strange things in your refrigerator, which could be anything from prescription medications to blue cheese.

- Sing loudly during a religious service. Sing anything ...anytime, anywhere.

- Try too hard or not enough, i.e., dressing to show your midriff or going around with a missing tooth.

- Take tango or any lessons with your husband and demonstrate what you've learned.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Feel free to ask me about my banking services...by Sybil Sage

Why is it that a notary public is trusted to look at my license and then provide assurance that I am who I claim to be, yet they won't accept the word of my doorman, who's been giving me my mail and pizza deliveries for years? The photo the notary studies was taken 30 years ago and could just as easily be the woman at the next desk ordering new checks.

Is the notary supposed to protect me from an imposter? Why would anyone choose to appropriate my pension plan when they could pass themselves off as Tina Fey or Laurie Anderson and get their hands on real money and be welcomed at Nobu?

I never questioned why the bank offers this service, just as I don't ask the independent contractor opening the door at my ATM why he does it, though the paper cup he shakes conveys the message that a tip is expected. This week, the notary surprised me by saying, "We provide this service free of charge." Was this a hint that he'd like to be invited to seder? He continued, "Are you happy with the bank?"

"Sure," I answered, though I'd given it no thought and had no basis for comparison. It's possible other notaries serve cappuccino or pass around tapas, but I wouldn't know.

"When friends ask if you're pleased with your banking services," he said, "I hope you'll recommend us."

No one has ever asked me that. Questions I commonly get are, "Does your housekeeper have a free day?...What are the good restaurants in your neighborhood?...Would you teach me how to use PayPal?"

I promised him I'd do it, so feel free to ask me about my banking services.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Pope, The President, "Body of War": when is any action better than no action? by Sybil Sage

Am I the only one concerned that the prez may have nicknamed the Pope, "Benny"? Each time Bush is within earshot of anyone not in his employ, to me it looks like a game of, "good cop, bad cop." Through my eyes, there are few opportunities for W to be the good cop. Maybe with O.J. Simpson. Jeffrey Skilling? Leona Helmsley? Warren Jeffs?

I didn't need the documentary by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, "Body of War," to remind me why I'm so angry at this president, but I did need it to feel the grief. Many of us cried at the wrenching challenges facing Tomas Young, a soldier who'd volunteered for the Army after seeing Bush atop the rubble of Ground Zero. This bright 25-year-old had hoped to avenge the terrorist attack by going to Afghanistan but found himself in Iraq, where on day five a gunshot wound left him paralyzed from the chest down. The tragedy that affected Young and his family have to be multiplied by the thousands who've suffered because of this war.

Despite Bush's "support the troops" mantra, Young, from his wheelchair, tells us, "There were 25 of us crammed into the back of a two-and-a-half-ton truck with no covering on top or armor on the sides. For the Iraqis on the top of the roof, it just looked like, you know, ducks in a barrel. They didn’t even have to aim.” Young was shortchanged by our government again in not receiving the medical care he required. Against his struggle, it's even more reviling to watch a smiling, guilt-free, playful Bush in a skit at the White House Press Dinner searching the Oval Office for weapons of mass destruction.

The film also shows how readily American politicians accepted and repeated White House misinformation, including justifying the rush to war with, "Any action is better than no action." That reasoning seems to apply to the private meetings Pope Benedict has held with some who, as children, had been molested by clergymen. The victims are reporting feeling heard and have, for the first time, reason to hope this may lead to changes.

But have Bush's actions been better than no actions? I'd argue no. If he'd taken none of the actions he did during his terms of office, I suspect we'd be better off. And that's why the visual of the Prez and the Pope qualifies as "Good cop, bad cop."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

sister wives - the wave of the future? by judi sadowsky

i too, like the rest of the country, have been glued to the television watching the story of hundreds of wives and children who have been forcibly removed from their homes, on a church of the latter day saints compound, in texas. while the cause for the wholesale removal of women and children is frightening, the glimpse into these people's life style is fascinating.
their hairstyles and dress, harking back to pioneer days, is interesting, but i am most intrigued by how flawless their skins are. even the oldest women among them, do not have a line or a wrinkle.

i have given this phenomenon a lot of thought and here is what i have come up with. for the past two days i have been stuck in my kitchen, peeling onions, chopping apples, boiling eggs, preparing chicken soup and matzoh balls and grinding fish for gefilte. i have been making brisket and chicken and potato kugel and my famous chocolate, caramel covered matzoh candy. (all right - if truth be told, the husband has done most of it, with the exception of the brisket, the hard boiled eggs and the candy) but i have had to do all the cleaning up. scrubbing gefilte fish encrusted pots is not an easy task. if only i had married a polygamist, i would have had six or eight sister wives to help out in the kitchen, not to mention the bedroom. no wonder these women look so good. they don't have a line on their faces because they have nothing to do and nothing to worry about. six women catering to one man is a snap. o.k., i know they each have about fourteen children, but let's face it, if you marry your daughters off at twelve, you never have to go through that pesky adolescence period with them. let their husbands worry about that.

so next year, before passover, i am thinking about encouraging the husband to take on another wife or two. we can keep them around until after the first seder. if it doesn't work out we can just place an anonymous phone call charging abuse and someone will come and take them away. another perfect solution and think of all the money i will save on botox!

The Polygamist Wives - the road tour...by Sybil Sage

The Polygamist wives, a motionless group seated on wooden chairs, their eyes strangely averted and distant, their voices thin and expressionless, hair meticulously and identically upswept, dressed in crisp, long, pastel prairie dresses, were on "The Larry King Show" last night, responding (or not responding) to his questions as if hypnotized or programmed. Each would say little beyond, "I want the children...I stand with the others...I am not aware of any marriages between an older man and younger girl." It was an eerie hour as they outstepped the Stepford wives.

Never smiling, speaking briefly when a question was put to them, they were objecting that state troopers, after being alerted that young girls were being forced to have sex with older men, had removed hundreds of children from the compound and were keeping them apart from their mothers. Each of the women who spoke denied having witnessed the sexual activity and Larry King didn't ask the obvious question: is there cloning at the ranch?

Much remains unclear, but what's certain is they're not reading "O" at the compound. I'm hoping the women will go on other TV shows as I'd like to see Oprah try to get through to them with her gentle, but probing, questions, which could be followed by their cooking with Martha Stewart, answering what we'd all like to know: with multiple wives, does one specialize in main courses, leaving desserts to another? Martha would surely update those sherbet-colored dresses, by which time they may be ready to face Stephen Colbert.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Today's Candidates' To Do Lists...by Sybil Sage

Given each candidate's agenda, today's To Do Lists likely include:

Hillary Clinton: Decry elitism while being photographed buying pantsuits at K-Mart. PM: down shots at the Bada Bing with teamsters after having Secret Service determine no politicians are there getting lap dances.

Barack Obama: Repeat the distinction between misspeaking and lying, and pray the Pope will be a distraction for the press while Michelle, doing her best to emulate George Bush's speech patterns, publicly declares both Obamas had not been privileged.

John McCain: Following an alpha-hydroxy, wrinkle-erasing, line-minimizing facial scrub, meet with Todd Oldham about refitting White House bathroom with step-in, no-slip bathtub.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

dem bones...by judi sadowsky

yesterday i went for my yearly check up with the gynecologist. after all these years i know the drill, so on entering the exam room i stripped down to nothing and attempted to cover myself with two paper towels that the nurse, with a straight face, actually referred to as "drapes". after she to told me to "hop on up" she left the room. i am afraid that my "hopping on up" days are over, but i did manage to climb onto the exam table and then begin the worst part of the visit - the waiting. there i sat, half naked, no, let's be honest, totally naked, freezing and trying to stem the mind numbing boredom with a two year old issue of family circle. did you know that kathy lee gifford actually cooks dinner for her family every night?

finally, the doctor arrived. she did her thing and was pleased to announce that everything was exactly where it was supposed to be and nothing new had been added since my last visit. she told me to get dressed and go into the other room for a bone scan. i did as i was told and soon i was lying on a table, laying my bones bare to the magic machine.

twenty minutes later the doctor came out with the results. "it seems" she said "that you have the hip bones of a teenager". i assumed that that was a good thing and, let me just add, that any time someone mentions my hips in the same sentence as teenager, i am a happy girl. "unfortunately", she went on "you have the spine of an eighty year old". that didn't sound so good, but always one to look on the bright side i told the doctor not to worry. before she knew it i would be eighty and then my spine and i will once again be in sync. she was not amused.

so now i am on boniva. sally field and i, besides both of us wanting to be universally loved, finally have something in common. my doctor assures me that with boniva, calcium and continued exercise, my spine will eventually catch up with my hips. i hope so, because now that i know how young they are, my hips are ready to rock and roll.

Is there anyone in Haplogroup HV who can get me house seats? ...by Sybil Sage

When I sent in a saliva swab to have my DNA tested, I expected more than just a certificate identifying my maternal ancestry as belonging to haplogroup HV. I hoped to learn I'm linked to someone who'd get me tickets to Paul Simon concerts or a discount at Zabar's.

Turns out there are no perks, no haplogroup HV parties, picnics where we drink beer and sing under a large sign, reading, "Haplogroup HV," not even a newsletter. How silly I was to anticipate I'd become connected with others in my haplogroup, that we'd plan a gathering or, if that wasn't possible, convene in a chat room and compare notes on whether we all burn easily, have mitral valve prolapse, love dark chocolate and hate marzipan.

Unhappy that the test was such a non-event, I e-mailed the DNA people to complain. It may be that we're the complaining haplogroup. Do I have any famous relatives?" I asked, hoping this would lead to invitations to the inauguration or season tickets to Yankee games. "As far as digging up famous relatives," was the response, "I do not see any current publications to famous samples for haplogroup HV or those that match the CRS in the first region".

If there was anything surprising, it was being told, "We know that your deep ancestral roots trace back to Europe, which rules out Native American, Semitic, Asian, or more recent African ancestry on this direct maternal line."

When my son finds out, he'll squawk about all those years in Hebrew school.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The candidates should take the road less traveled: the high road...by Sybil Sage

It's the Clintons' turn and they're delighting in Obamafraude, unable to resist this opportunity to characterize him as "an elitist, out of touch and, frankly, patronizing." We voters are not so naive as to be looking to either senator to help us understand the opponent; we get enough psychobabble from the press, also struggling to fill 24/7 air and print time in this endless, dragged-out campaign.

These many months aren't allowing us to get a clearer sense of the candidates' ability to take over a country in distress. What we're seeing is how well they can hold up to the campaign fatigue. Can they be all things to all people all of the time? Polls and dinner conversations show there's more traffic heading from Camp Clinton to Obama but the jury, make that the superdelegates, are still out.

The presidential hopefuls would do better to take the high road, which is far less crowded, and confine themselves to addressing the serious issues that concern us. Today's new bad news is that co-payments for prescription drugs, until now manageable, will be unaffordable for most. Reading the front page of today's New York Times, I found myself thinking we could always sell our condo if medication costs require it, but that idea was put to rest by the story next to it about the collapse of the housing bubble in the United States, which has become a global phenomenon. As to who's "elitist," the article below these two tells of Wall Street traders, unaffected by the realities of the economy, flying around in private jets and buying Manhattan apartments costing upwards of $10 million.

Does this make you want to take an anti-depressant? Not so fast! Check your co-payment!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

An open letter to Katie Couric...from Sybil Sage

Dear Katie,

I'm sure you're feeling crummy because of all the coverage this week about your having failed to deliver as "the fresh face who was supposed to restore CBS to its greatness". Trust me, you're not responsible for the network having lost hundreds of thousands of viewers since you took over as anchor two years ago.

We all knew what to expect, and we got it. You'd be perky and flash your smile when appropriate, sober and intense when that was called for. The problem wasn't you; it was the news. It's been non-stop depressing since 2006. The war. The economy. Health problems in Africa. Global warming. Genocide in Darfur. Pretty much everything Bush & Co. has done. Continuing tensions in the mid-east. Sarkozy's wives. Spitzer's hookers.

People have turned to Netflix, reality shows, You tube and Sudoku to get away from the unrelenting bad news. Maybe it was harder to hear about problems with Homeland Security from Katie Couric, the person we'd always counted on to be upbeat.

"What could I have done differently?" you may be asking. I can think of only one thing, which would be to keep your salary under wrap. I was a little resentful when I read you were getting $5 million a year. You're no Barry Bonds or Tiger Woods. "Most of my friends can do what she does," I remember thinking. "She talks. We talk. I could do that job."

And that brings me to my request: once you decide on your exit strategy, I'd like you to propose that CBS consider me for the anchor slot. They may argue that I have no news experience. Please point out that's not everything.

Thanks so much,

Sybil

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What's Bill Clinton's foot doing in Hillary's mouth? ...by Sybil Sage

How is it that Bill Clinton, known to have an extraordinary memory, can't remember that he's supposed to be helping his wife? The same man who recounts details of meetings and conversations dating back to his presidency and delights people by recognizing them years after one brief meeting, is tripping over what Hillary has said and done.

Not only did he resurrect the Bosnia misstatement after it had finally gone to a back burner, but he erroneously attributed her "confusion" to it having been late and her being tired. In fact, Hillary had recounted the story several times, including during prepared remarks delivered the morning of March 17.

Bill also incorrectly asserted she'd "immediately apologized for it" when the reality is she never apologized and only acknowledged that she "misspoke" a week later in response to a video showing her peaceful tarmac reception in Bosnia.

There were other gaffes this week, hard to explain from such an adept orator accustomed to addressing the press. What will Hillary's campaign do about this? I suspect they're taking a careful look at his itinerary and booking his flights on American Airlines.

Friday, April 11, 2008

beauty is in the eye of the beholder...by judi sadowsky

between the economy, the environment and the war in iraq, i was so pleased that someone emailed me something that actually made me smile. it was a short video of an elephant painting a self portrait. when the elephant's trainer placed a brush in his trunk this pachyderm went at it like a four legged picasso. not only was it a very good rendering of an elephant, he also painted a bright, red flower clutched in his trunk.

now, as far as i know, there are no mirrors in the jungle (unless of course you count those fancy tent hotels that american tourists like to stay in while "camping" on safari) so how does this elephant know what he looks like? the husband, always quick with an answer to troubling questions, patiently explained to me that all he had to do was look at other elephants and he would know what he looked like. hmmm? so, if i had never seen a mirror and i wanted to paint a self portrait, all i would have to do is take a glance, at say, angelina jolie and think "i'm a female human, and she's a female human, so i must look like that". i like the way this elephant thinks.

i would also like to add that in addition to being a very good artist, dumbo also seemed to have a serious case of high elephant self esteem. in his self portrait, this very zaftig animal rendered himself tall and thin, with very long legs. i would say he would be about a size six in elephant jeans. definitely an elephant with attitude. i wonder how happy we all would be if we had never seen a mirror. regardless of what we looked like, we could all go around, if we chose, to think we looked like miss jolie. i am going to take a page from this elephant's book. it's all a mind thing. from now on, i am banishing all mirrors and giving brad pitt a call. you should try it and also, while you are at it, please pass the peanuts.

"Country Available: USA, spacious, friendly neighbors, porous borders, a fixer upper, as is"...by Sybil Sage

In anticipation of letting go of a home or apartment, tenants are advised by brokers to straighten up, set out fresh flowers and bake chocolate chip cookies to make it more appealing at an open house, but that's not what George Bush is doing. He's leaving the country "as is", a "fixer upper" with a disastrous economy, held in low esteem everywhere and with no resolution for the war he started.

No, this president is not frantically attempting to clean up the mess. He's unresponsive to criticism, unmoved by Nancy Pelosi's demand that he, not his military leaders, address Congress. To date, the war has cost some 4,000 American lives with tens of thousands seriously wounded. Harry Reid put the cost of the war at around $3 trillion, which he said breaks down to $5,000 per second, well beyond what even my most indulgent, Barney-shopping friends are capable of spending. Yet our cowboy president will ride off into the Texas sunset and never look back, leaving the trash to be picked up by #44.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

fear of flying and of family....by judi sadowsky

as most mothers of adult children know, siblings don't always get along. after the reading this week's issue of the new yorker magazine i must say i felt a lot better about my children's relationship.

it seems that the other day columbia university decided to hold a conference to celebrate erica jong's "fear of flying" as a feminist classic. the auditorium was filled to capacity to hear a discussion of jong's "seminal" work. when questions from the audience were invited, who should stand up but suzanna daou, erica jong's sister. it seems that suzanna had been harboring a thirty-five year resentment against her sister who had used the character of her and her husband in her book. she was willing, she said, as she stood at the microphone, to forgive her sister of using her but could not forgive her for writing that her husband crawled into erica's (isadora's) bed and asked her to perform fellatio. suzanna said that while she and erica were extremely close, she guessed that her speaking out would probably cause jong to stop speaking to her for some time. "i gave myself permission to be a bitch," she said with a smile.

i don't know if their mother is still alive but i am hoping she is dead. if she is not, i am sure she would rather be dead than to hear one of her daughter's go after another like that, and in public no less. suddenly my two look like angels.

Is the blogosphere a shelter for politically abused women? ...by Sybil Sage

Examining the public's news interests over the past year, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press is reporting that men and women have different priorities. Women are more attracted to stories about weather (will our hair frizz?), health and safety, natural disasters, crime and celebrity news while men favor international affairs, Washington news and sports. Men and women do converge, however, when it comes to the top news stories of the day, including election coverage.

How does this relate to the blogs? 56% of Americans say they never read blogs that discuss politics, according to a recent Harris Poll, while 24% of men and 19% of women say they regularly read political blogs. Females are a growing force in the political blogging world, yet not represented proportionately in politics. Women are far more reluctant to run for office, underestimating their credentials and reluctant to recognize or respond when recruited.

Blogging is a safe haven for women, providing an arena for expressing opinions and interests, but my concern is the blogosphere is the equivalent of a shelter for politically abused women, harboring many who are equipped, but intimidated by, participating in politics.

Is there something we can do? Yes, support The White House Project (thewhitehouseproject.org). Led by Marie Wilson, this group started in 1998 with the vision to change the face of leadership in America. Buy one less purse this year and help get women away from their home office and into public office.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Will Harvard lure Mario Batali? Can a freshman get a good table in the dining hall? by Sybil Sage

Colleges, according to an article in today's New York Times, are hoping to attract students by serving haute cuisine in the dining halls. Bowdein's students have a choice of white spinach lasagne, Dijon-crusted chicken and green curry mussels.

This adds one more variable to the absurdities of the college admission process, another recent development being fancy dorms. Along with course catalogs, college-bound students will now be studying menus to decide if they should apply early to Virginia Tech for the grilled rib-eye. These new perks may make it difficult for parents to get their kids to come home for vacations.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

come fly with me - not so fast.....by judi sadowsky

it used to be that i was afraid to fly on principal. no matter how any one explained it to me, no matter how many books, articles and animated cartoons i read and watched on the miracle of flight, i still didn't understand what kept those damn things in the air.

years later, after i had been flying, terrified for decades, airline hijackings became popular. during that period of heightened fear i always packed a few bananas and a couple of boxes of raisins in my carry on. i think then, i was less terrified of ending up in cuba with a gun to my head, than of going hungry for days on end. people, mostly the husband, tried to explain again and again that the odds of me being on a hijacked plane were one in a million. again, i couldn't wrap my brain around that the statistic.

when 9/11 occurred i began to notice that other people around me were beginning to exhibit signs of fear of flying. suddenly i was not alone. suddenly, being afraid was not so crazy. but then something strange began to happen. about three years after 9/11 i noticed that i didn't need three vodkas and an atavan to fly across the country. i found i could get from l.a. to new york with only one vodka and maybe a half a valium and then no vodka and soon no valium. i was free. i was no longer afraid to fly. i still didn't like turbulence and i still found the need to introduce myself to the pilot on boarding, but i was able to eat and read and even close my eyes for minutes at a time. i no longer felt i needed to be on red alert for five hours in order to keep the plane airborne.

so, now that i am a flier, i find myself planning trips all over the globe. just when i am about to turn into a middle aged, jewish, amelia earhart, the airline industry has turned against me. all of a sudden all the airlines are grounding their planes. one airline has a problem with the wire bundling (i don't know what wire bundling is, but i don't like the sound of it, and i certainly don't like the sound of the word "problem") and another has wing issues and a third a problem with their electrical system. now, i know how hard it is to get a good repairman, so i can not even begin to imagine how you go about fixing an electrical problem in five hundred planes.

so, one again, it looks like my frequent flier miles are just going to keep piling up, gathering dust. i know i have tickets for flights all over the world, but this fly girl ain't going nowhere until the airlines get their acts together!

Do you put off cleaning your jacket because you have to reattach all the medals? and other questions I'd ask Petraeus...by Sybil Sage

It's not that Carl Levin and others aren't asking the tough questions, but they're not the ones I'd put to General Petraeus, which are:

1) Do you put off having your jacket cleaned because it involves reattaching all those medals?

2) Are you aware that during the hearings, as we're trying to weigh the number of American and Iraqi casualties against the charts behind you supporting that the surge is working, the crawl with "breaking news" is alerting us that super-model Naomi Campbell has been banned from flying British Airlines because she assaulted an officer at Heathrow?

3) Do you worry that TV makes you look ten pounds heavier?

4) Given that countries with Four Seasons Hotels don't appear to have political unrest, has it occurred to you to invite them to put up a resort?

5) I might have asked, "Why is it we're paying Iraqis with American dollars to clean up their towns, instead of them paying for it?" but I know from the memo Carl Levin sent out today that he'd be asking that as well as the answer given by an Iraqi, which was, "As long as you are willing to pay for the clean-up, why should we do it?" Or maybe it's not an issue since the American dollar is now worthless.

6) Don't you wish there were synonyms for the word, "challenge", so you wouldn't have to use it so often when talking about the obstacles facing us in Iraq?

7) Is it okay with you that two rows behind you a man isn't listening and looks to be text messaging?

8) On this, the 5th anniversary of the removal of the statue of Saddam, has anyone - and you can be honest with me - had the thought, "How about we put the statue back where it had been, find the look-alike who doubled for the dictator, say we hung the wrong guy, give the country back to him and get the hell out?"

9) Do you ever feel like a married guy trying to persuade his girlfriend to hang in, year after year, by saying, "We're making progress. Just give it a little more time?"

Monday, April 7, 2008

G-mail has me pegged as a sexy slut

Gmail extracts a word or phrase from an e-mail and targets you as someone who might be interested in a particular website. Today, a friend sent an e-mail thanking us for dinner and saying, "Your parties are the best," which led G-mail to direct me to:

Welcome to my Slumber Party Website! Our ladies-only parties put the passion back into your love life! You can conveniently shop online for romancing enhancing products.

SHOP ONLINE
Shopping is fast and easy and items will be shipped to you directly and discreetly. Your goodies arrive in a plain brown box. Slumber Parties has the hottest lingerie, edible lubricants, adult games, books, sexy massage oils, novelties, gag gifts, and bedroom accessories!

My top sellers are SUPER STRETCH for him with PINA COLADA WET. For the two of you, I recommend the DOUBLE TROUBLE with CHERRY WET. And for her I recommend highly a G-WIZ and the DECADENT INDULGENCE 2 along with the JUST LIKE ME LUBRICANT. Of course you don't want to forget our excellent BEFORE AND AFTER TOY CLEANER to quickly and safely clean your adult toys!

Throw in a NYMPHO NIAGRA, XSCREAM, LIKE A VIRGIN and TIME IN A BOTTLE for a really exciting night! If you haven't tried our COOCHY world famous rash free shave cream and our BODY DEW spray moisturizing oil, you are in for a real treat.


All this because we made a tasty leg of lamb?!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

it's the economy, stupid.... by judi sadowsky

once again, sybil, by dint of arising three hours earlier, grabbed the dropping dead bloggers story from the front page of the new york times, but this time i had the advantage. sybil doesn't get the los angeles times, so i have that field all to my self. and guess what was on the front page of the l.a. times, in the exact same position, below the fold. The headline read "cosmetic surgery sags as purse strings tighten".

yes sir. while all over america people are losing their homes and their jobs to the sub-prime loan crisis, the housing slump and the general decline in the economy, beverly hills, california. is feeling the pain as well. women are having to forgo their monthly visits to the plastic surgeon. it seems that when faced with a bit of botox or paying the mortgage, the mortgage has won out, reluctantly. one woman was quoted as saying that she would "rather have botox than go out to dinner". it seems that many women surveyed would rather have a syringe full of juverderm that eat at all. of course, not eating, in beverly hills, is not headline news.

judy wade told the saddest story. divorced, after thirty-five years of married life, she had to put off a face-lift that she hoped would jump start her social life. she apparently couldn't imagine any new man being interested in her with her old face. i guess there are many ways of being bankrupt.

Blogging is risky but you can do it in a G-string...by Sybil Sage

I wasn't aware that blogging is high risk until I read that bloggers complain of weight loss (good for a link to Jenny Craig) or gain, sleep disorders (link to Ambien?) and exhaustion from the strain of keeping up with the all-consuming appetite of the Internet. Though there is no official diagnosis of "death by blogging," bloggers, mostly those writing about technology and news, have been dying prematurely.

For me blogging is a marked contrast to the demands of writing for television, but that' clearly because I get no compensation from it, regardless of whether 80 or 800 people read my postings. Rubin Carson, an LA writer, once remarked, "When money changes hands, all fun goes out the window." This obviously applies to blogging, giving me reason to appreciate that I'm a pro bono blogger.

If once I aspired to attract advertisers to the blog and be introduced as "the next Arianna Hufftington, the one without the accent," invited to appear on talk shows when she was unavailable, that's over. Better to be introduced as "the world's oldest surviving blogger." Though I've been blogging for almost a year, I've learned little from the process other than readers comment directly by e-mail rather than on the site, and a hot word in the title spikes readership. "thong" or "g-string" is sure to attract additional hits, though not enough to have Dateline ask to monitor my postings so they can ferret out perverts.

Supercharged bloggers say they sleep only a few hours a night and don't eat properly, which I did when writing on sitcom staffs in Los Angeles. Bloggers aren't paid enough to warrant this sacrifice. Even Hollywood writers get more respect and they're widely recognized as the bottom feeders in the creative community, thus the joke, "The starlet was so dumb, she fucked the writer." Even so, they belong to a union that provides a health plan and retirement benefits, none of which is available to bloggers.

Underscoring the low status of this form of writing is there are no bloggers' bars, islands (not even Staten Island) bragging about being frequented by bloggers, golf clubs whose members are well known bloggers or a hotel with a round table reserved for bloggers. Unless maybe if you're a Matt Drudge (and there's only one Matt Drudge) or an Andy Borowitz (see Matt Drudge), bloggging won't get you into Rao's or Elaine's. The best we bloggers can hope for is a pajama company or maybe Lipitor will ask us to appear in a commercial.

The article refers to a "blogger community," which must be a desirable demographic as the members, given the dismal life expectancy, have to be young, the age bracket targeted by TV advertisers. Don't bloggers deserve recognition? So far we've been overlooked by the Kennedy Center Honors people. No blogger has yet been named as "Time person of the year." Where are the roasts and award shows for this deserving group, taking greater chances than astronauts? Hey there, Google, how about honoring the bloggers?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The pregnant man: new meaning to the concept of "having it all"...by Sybil Sage

At the age of forty-one with several fertility problems, we considered my pregnancy miraculous, but that paled this week when I saw a pregnant man on Oprah and in this week's "People", his five-month pregnant belly protruding above his jeans. And, yes, he's glowing.

Thomas Beatie is legally male, his marriage to Nancy conferred with the same privileges of any traditional marriage. He's quoted as saying most of his wife's family don't even know he's a transgender though that certainly can no longer be true.

Anticipating wanting a child of his own, he'd opted to retain his female reproductive organs though he had his breasts removed and took testosterone to changes sexes. Since his wife is unable to conceive because of having had a hysterectomy, they decided to use donor sperm and hope he'd conceive.

Over and above the oddity of being a pregnant male, can he get maternity benefits?

Friday, April 4, 2008

81% think the nation is headed in the wrong track. The other 19% couldn't be reached because their phones have been disconnected...by Sybil Sage

The newspaper should come with an anti-depressant. Here are the stories we New Yorkers were greeted with this morning:

81% of people polled say the nation is headed in the wrong direction. (The other 19%could not be reached because their phone service was cut off for non-payment).

Investors stalk the wounded of Wall Street.

The New York City Council has been appropriating money to fictitious groups.

Inspectors told a Congressional hearing that agency supervisors did not enforce rules on airplane inspections (yet another wrinkle on top of the difficulty of trying to use miles and flying without being fed).

150 students (more than a quarter of the school) at Cheektowaga (imagine being a cheerleader and having that mouthful) Central Middle School were barred from extra-curricular activities because of poor grades or bad attitudes.

Oh, yes, Baghdad: Over 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen refused to fight or abandoned their posts during an assault against Shiite militias in Basra, raising doubts on the effectiveness of the security forces who'd been "trained" by Americans.

A photo shows the discouraged faces (almost entirely male) fielding questions about Bear Stearns.

Abu Yahya al-Lib, who escaped from an American prison in Afghanistan, has risen to the top of the class among the Al Qaeda leadership and is thought to be the next Osama bin Laden.

And that's just the front page of The New York Times. Continuing on, we read that a study shows one of every 43 American infants is abused, 33% of eighth graders scored at or above proficiency level, immigration agents have been accused of improperly entering New Jersey homes and making arrests to round up immigrant fugitives, weekend subway service is abysmal, not a problem if you're trying to get to the Barnes & Noble in Chelsea because it had to close down.

Oh, and it's the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's death.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

and the beat goes on...by judi sadowsky

a couple of weeks ago, as i was going through my mail, i grimaced on receiving yet another invitation to yet another baby shower. before i go any further, i must admit that i am the only person i know, among all my friends, who is not yet a grandmother, or as one of billy crystal's characters put it, so succinctly, "i am the only barren grandmother on the cul de sac". this state of affairs has made me a bit cranky when it comes to baby showers, but this particular shower was being given in honor of a young woman i truly loved and so i rsvped in the affirmative.

upon arriving at the designated restaurant, i realized immediately, that i knew no one except the mother and grandmother to be. the only other older woman in the room was the other future grandmother. we were three crones among a group of beautiful, young, women. many of the women were mothers already and i heard names like riley and quinn and brooklyn being bandied about as they spoke of their children. there were a few other glowing pregnant women and then there were two who had just recently given birth. they were the ones with the milk swollen breasts and the new baby fat still clinging stubbornly to their bellies and hips.

i sat through the lunch smiling, yet not really feeling a part of the day. when the present opening began and the obligatory oohing and aahing started i wanted to scream. but then one of the new mothers started to describe how helpful a particular gift (some sort of bunting) had been to her during the first few weeks of her baby's life, and i suddenly got it.

they can call this a baby shower but what it really was was a ritual - a rite of passage. since the beginning of time, women have gathered together to help each other through the most important and thrilling moment in their lives - childbirth. while we no longer sit crouched around fires, dressed in animal pelts and gnawing on bones, we are accomplishing the same thing. i suddenly felt valuable for the experience i could share and valued as well for just being a part of this ancient ritual.

it didn't matter if i wasn't a grandmother or even if i never am. what mattered was that i belonged to something far greater than just my own particular family. i belong to a sorority of women who, as much as we are different, are really all so very much the same. we all have so much to offer each other and that is a concept that often gets overlooked.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

If the candidates want votes in Pennsylvania, let them eat scrapple...by Sybil Sage

The quest for a victory in Pennsylvania, while involving the usual baby-kissing, junk food and even bowling, has not been tested by that state's most potent weapon: scrapple. If Obama turned down chocolates at the Wilbur chocolate shop in Lititz, how would he respond to a slice of pork-mush that only the Pennsylvania Dutch and perhaps a $5,000 a night hooker could be asked to swallow?

The name originated from "scrap" or "scrappy", meaning odds and ends. It's a gray slab made from what remains after the tasty parts of a butchered pig have gone off to become bacon, chops and hot dogs. Scrapple is, by far, the worst thing I've ever had in my mouth. No other state has this to offer up. Eating scrapple would be the best litmus test to reveal which candidate is the most determined.

Pennsylvanians, waste no more time. Bring it on!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Let us do the Bush hating and animation: a response to the Hamas TV puppet show...by Sybil Sage

There was something, I'll admit, satisfying about watching President Bush get booed by what felt like a sizable number in the stadium at the opening game of the Nationals that was missing when seeing a Palestinian boy stab him to death in a puppet show aimed at children shown on Gazan TV.

The puppet, representing a child, says, "You are a criminal, Bush, a despicable man. You made me an orphan. You deprived me of everything," going on to accuse the president of killing his family in Iraq and, in collusion with Israel, in Gaza.

A previous program on this station starred a Mickey Mouse clone, Farfur, who urged children to fight Israel in the name of Islam.

It's regretful that hate messages are being imposed on the next generation of kids, who would be better served by learning to find peaceful ways of co-existing, an agenda that's being, happily, introduced by some teachers of both Israeli and Palestinian youngsters.

These animated shows are seriously damaging and, incidentally, humorless. The kids would be so much happier watching "South Park".