People

High Valley – Make You Mine…

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These guys are fantastic! High Valley is my new favorite group. Take a break from politics and funny videos to give them a listen… Wonder if I can get them to Commute with me?  They would certainly be adorable companions…

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Immigration Reform: The Big Left Conspiracy!

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GOP members beware!  The left is conspiring to eliminate you, according to both Ann Coulter and Human Events, a poorly named Conservative website.  According to Ann’s new full of crap book (pretty much just like her last one), immigration reform is the Democrats’ weapon to slaughter the unsuspecting Republicans.  Apparently, this “is an open conspiracy by the Left”, you know, because conspiracies work best if everybody knows about them.

And, it gets worse – like that’s possible with a drip like Ann Coulter – Did you know that – 1964 election aside – “Democrats have not been able to get a majority of white people to vote for them in a presidential election since 1948.”?  Apparently, Ann has a very short memory because in 1996, Clinton captured the white vote.  In Ann’s “specific, gruesome and verifiable detail”, she lays out the plan that by allowing illegal immigrants to become US citizens, they will all vote Democrat and that will eliminate the GOP.

See how that works?

Did you see my eye roll?

Since Ronald Reagan, the Republicans have been swinging right – far right.  They’ve turned into government hating, affirmative action banning, anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-education, anti-religious freedom (unless you’re straight, white and Christian), anti-healthcare, pro-business party.  There policy seems to be if it moves, ban it.  Who else besides white men are going to vote for that?

If Coulter really wanted to look into something substantial, she should look into why the Republican Party has been losing women voters in every Presidential election since 1992.  According to Gallup, the last time a Republican won the women’s vote was in 1988, when Bush I scored a whopping 52% of women voters.  Considering women make up 51% of the population, I would think the GOP would be worried more about why they’re losing women and less into making up lies about a Leftist conspiracy.

Perhaps, they could find something that would rally votes from all races and sexes?  Maybe, then they wouldn’t have to gerrymander the states to secure their jobs.

R.I.P. Joan Rivers

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I was out of town on vacation when I saw that Joan Rivers was in a coma.  I said a prayer for her and hoped that all would be okay.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t.  I received a text letting me know – since I was essentially off the grid for a week – that the Wisconsin ban on gay marriage was ruled unconstitutional and Joan Rivers had passed away.  Joy and sorrow mixed.

I can hear her voice in my head.  I watched her on Johnny Carson – stayed up past my bedtime to watch her own show, saw her stand up routines, cried when her husband, Edgar, killed himself.

Her daughter, Melissa, isn’t much younger than I am.  I’m sorry for her loss.  I know what she’s feeling, having lost Mom just last year.  It sucks.

But, I smile, too.  I smile at the thought of what Joan Rivers meant to me.  How she would practically scream, “Can we talk?”  Her “Oh, oh, oh!”  Amazing!

In high school, I was given an assignment where I had to pick a living woman whom I admired and write a paper about them.  A mini biography, if you will.  I had wanted to write about Kate Hepburn, but someone had chosen her first, so I picked Joan Rivers.  I was told by my writing teacher that Joan Rivers was too vulgar and she wouldn’t accept a paper written about her.  I ended up writing about Lillian Gish.  But, I wished I had brought out my inner Joan and written about Mrs. Rivers.  What a paper that would have been.

Joan Rivers offered what Minnie Pearl and Phyillis Diller didn’t – she was relateable.  I understood her. I got her and she got me.  To me, she was amazing.  Growing up different and weird was just made easier by women like Joan Rivers, Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin.

But, Joan, more than any of them, stood out to me.  She spoke to me.

So, while I am saddened at her passing and wishing I had seen her live, I’m smiling as I remember the laughs she gave so freely and the confidence she showed me.

Thanks, Joan!  May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Touring Graceland

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Since Priscilla Presley opened up the gates of Graceland in 1982, I have been dreaming of a trip to visit Elvis’ home. Finally, after 32 years of dreaming, I was driven through those iconic gates to start the VIP tour.

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The walk to the front door.

(Side note: If you’re heading for Graceland, pay for the VIP Tour. No standing in line makes it worth the price of admission, plus the other exhibits are free. Also, sign up for Elvis Insiders the discount alone is worth the price of joining.)

We were dropped off on the side of the house and made our way to the front.

For me, this was emotional. I was walking where Elvis had trod. I kept stopping and looking around. Don’t worry about taking too long, the Graceland staff are exceptional with customer service. They go out of their way to make you feel welcomed and at ease. Cry at your first glance of Graceland? One of them will smile at you and tell you it’s going to be all right. Everybody cries at Graceland, I was told.

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The staircase leading to the still and will always be private upstairs.

Once reaching the famous door, we were again reminded to take our time.

The entrance is the only part of the house you really don’t get a chance to stand and take in. This is out of necessity, as other people need to be able to make their way into the house. You’re politely asked to begin your tour to the right.

And, there you find yourself staring at Elvis’ living room.  Once I settled myself, my first thought was “This doesn’t look gaudy.” We’ve all been told that Graceland isn’t classy, but I could live in this living room.  My second thought was, “You could tell Elvis didn’t have boys.”  I mean, a nearly all white living room?  I thought it was tasteful, even if it was a little dated.  You could picture Elvis just chilling with friends or walking back into the music room to sing gospels.

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His classy living room

You, whenever you’re ready, shuffle on down the hall to his parents’ bedroom, which you can only see through an open doorway and it’s a little cramp down there, as the only way back is to circle around. Speaking of crampness, the size of Graceland is most surprising. To those of us who had seen the pictures, the movies of Elvis’ home; the place seemed huge and iconic. When Elvis purchased Graceland in 1957, it was twenty years old and 10,000 sq feet. Over the years, he added on and Graceland is now over 17,000 sq feet. Even with the additions, it just feels smaller than other homes. I think it is because now a home such as this would have vaulted ceilings, also, many of the rooms are smaller than what they would be in newer homes. For instance, the dining room in where I grew up wasn’t too much smaller than Elvis’.

The dining room

The table is set and ready for Elvis to call everyone to dinner.

 

The kitchen

The really surprising room is next, his kitchen.  According to Lisa Marie, who talks you through a part of the kitchen tour, it was the busiest room in the house.  Food was being prepared at all hours and you could request anything at any time of the day.  I can’t imagine trying to cook for all of those people in such a small room.

That’s an electric stove.  Now, considering the time, I would’ve expected a gas stove.  Personally (and, I own an electric stove) I would prefer a gas stove.  I discussed this with Miss Sharon, who was working in the Heartbreak Hotel’s gift shop (and, it was just the two of us), and she said that Elvis always wanted the best and an electric stove back then was considered the best.  Plus, he would have the money to put one in.

After the kitchen, you have a very brief look at the Jungle Room before heading downstairs to the TV room.  Back in the sixties, Elvis learned that President Lyndon Johnson had three TVs that he watch simultaneously.

Elvis' TV room
Elvis’ TV room

Elvis copied this idea and put in three TVs.  My favorite parts of this room are the mirrored ceiling, the design on the wall and the monkey.  I wouldn’t mind owning a wrap around couch like that either.  Of course, I need a bigger house.

You double back across the hall and into (sorry, Elvis), the ugliest room know to mankind.  It is horrible – absolutely horrible.

The absolutely ugliest room in the world.
The absolutely ugliest room in the world.

Apparently, someone got a little rough with the pool table and tore the felt. I’m not exactly sure why it was never repaired, but it wasn’t and you can still see the rip.

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The pool table.

Transgender and Barney’s of New York

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I’m reading my Vanity Fair on my Kindle and there is an ad from Barney’s of New York that celebrates transgender people and those who support them.  I applaud Barney’s for supporting such a marginalized group of people.

Not many people understand transgender people, nor do they want to hang around them.  I have to say I’m in the former group and I don’t know anyone who is transgender with whom I could hang.  I know, strange to say that I don’t understand transgender people when I am a very out lesbian, but it’s the truth.  Am I supposed to lie?

Quite a few years ago – back when I had a semi-nice figure – I performed in a Drag Show.  I was put in a room with a man whom I assumed was gay.  He was in drag, so I probably shouldn’t have made the assumption, but I did.  Anyway, he helped me change during the show and I helped him and everything was fine until he mentioned that he was pre-op transgender and he was changing his sex to be a lesbian.  Well, he or I guess it’s been long enough, she probably never realized how freaked out by this that I was.  I was much younger then and not as secure in my skin as I am now.  Luckily, good manners won out over freaking out and we made it through the whole show.

But, I wish I had asked her why.  Why would you want to switch from male to female?  I was young, single and made very poor relationship choices – come to think of it, so did my straight, female friends – but, being a man and becoming a woman?  Why?  Men have it all.

I remember being a young girl and being told by some man at the Waukegan Park District that no, I couldn’t play baseball with the boys because I was a girl.  And, yes, they did follow the federal law because I could play softball with the other girls.  But, I didn’t want to play softball – softball is not the same as baseball, similar, but not the same.  I remember going round and round with this unnamed, grown up man and ultimately lost, because my mother didn’t support it.

To me, boys and, therefore, men had it easier.

So, why would someone who had it easy in life want to change?

I don’t know.

And, you know what – it isn’t for me to say.  Now, I wished I had asked the questions, to help me understand.  And, if I ran into her again, I would ask.  Still, it isn’t my business and it isn’t my place to judge.

Do you see what I’m getting at?

I don’t get it.  I don’t understand it.  And, I don’t have to do so.  What I do have to do is support, love thy neighbor, mind my own damn business and all will be right with the world.

That’s what any of us have to do.  For anything.

So, you go Barney’s of New York and you go people who agreed to out themselves as transgender and you especially go loving people who support them!  Good for you!  It gives me hope that there’s still some humanity left in the world.

Nora Ephron and Phillip Seymour Hoffman

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Strange headline, right? I mean, what do they even have in common besides being deceased celebrities? What they have in common is my reaction.

Like most American women, I adored Nora Ephron. Her movies spoke to me in ways that no one else’s did. And, even though she was a generation ahead of me, I could relate to her. For example, when reading about her neck, I couldn’t relate right then because there’s nothing wrong with mine, but I could relate because I know the day is coming. 

Much like Julie Powell fantasized about becoming friends with Julia Child, I dreamed of meeting Nora and we would become best buds. Disappointingly, that’s no longer a possibility and that saddens me. No, not just for my loss of a pipe dream, but the world’s loss of her amazing talent.

Nora has been on my mind because I just finished listening to the Audible version of her sister, Delia’s, book – Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog, etc. I have never read anything by Delia Ephron before and technically I still haven’t, because Meg Ryan read it to me. Well, me and whomever else purchased the book from Audible, but listening to it, in my car, driving to work in the dark it felt like it was just Meg Ryan and me.

But, I digress.

Delia’s book has Nora running through it, as you would expect because Delia lost a sibling, a best friend, a big sister. We lost a talented celebrity.

Still, the book brought Nora and loss back to my thoughts which is how I’ve linked her to Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death on February 2nd.

With Nora, I feel sadness. With Phillip, I’m pissed.

Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn’t your typical movie star. He looked like the guy down the street. (Really, there’s a gut in my neighborhood who looks like him.) He was reachable and somehow normal and he did something most of us can only dream about – he won an Oscar. An Oscar! He embodied the very idea that we can all be successful in our chosen careers, because he made it in a land that values beauty over brains and he was the opposite.

I’m pissed for a lot of reasons, not in the least is that he caused his own death. How could he do that to his three children. He left a ten year old son fatherless. A son needs a dad and I know this is crazy, but when those little girls get married, he’s not going to be there to walk them down the aisle. How could he do that to them?

I get it, addiction is hard. I’m a smoker. I’ve quit smoking – even for years at a time and I always go back – I quit this last June. So, even though it isn’t heroin addiction, I get how hard quitting is.

But, he had been, according to news reports, clean for twenty years – Dude, why start again now? What the heck was so bad that you needed 50 bags of the stuff?

And, I’m mad because he should have known better – we’re the same age. Dude, we’re 46 – the days of reckless abandon are over. Life doesn’t have to be boring, but shooting up? That’s too much excitement. He should’ve known better. Seriously,  46 – never do heroin. It should be a rule.

And, I’m tired of drugs in general. Do them, don’t do them – I don’t care. But, if you choose the former and then you quit, I’m not throwing any medals your way. I certainly don’t deserve any for quitting smoking. People who make it through life without a crutch – they deserve medals. My mother grew up in a house with smokers and never once touched a cigarette. Not once. She deserved a medal.

But, the rest of us don’t.

Michele Bachmann Quotes

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I was going to do my own video of Michele Bachmann quotes – all of the outrageous things she says – however; while looking for video of her, I found this one.  I still might do one of my own.  Apparently, she has never read the Constitution where it states that we are all created equal.  Pay attention, you’ll see it.