gratitude-a-thon day 485: on the cover of the rolling stone

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What does it mean that The Rolling Stone article on the gang rape at University of Virginia, which shut down Greek life, sent chills through the campus, and country (not to mention this mom of a son who is a member of the same frat, but at USC) is now in question?

It’s still not clear what happened to “Jackie,” or why her story was not more scrutinized by the reporter putting the story together. My guess would be that it was not to victimize the victim further. But now, with question marks floating around this whole debacle, the basics I learned in journalism school should have been in play. Who, what, when, where, why. GET MORE THAN ONE SOURCE.

If you’ve been watching the HBO series Newsroom, you might notice a loose parallel to the very moral news station being purchased by a social media maven, who wants to transform the ethical, hard news organization, into a money making citizen journalism, anyone-with-a-twitter-account-can-report-the-news station. I don’t mean to suggest that Rolling Stone is not a quality magazine, because it actually has a long history of award winning reporting, integrity and intelligent writing, but what I mean is that because of the nature of this story, the story was not fact-checked in the way that a story written for R.S. is normally fact-checked. Reporter Mike Taibbi tweeted, “It usually takes longer to fact-check a Rolling Stone feature than it does to write it.” This is where we could find ourselves if twitter takes over for educated, experienced journalists.

Back to the story and the impact. From the UVA campus, where the Phi Psi frat in question has been vandalized, to its entire Greek system being suspended, to the feeling of fear that’s wafting through that beautiful campus like the smell of pizza, to my high school daughter’s shock and anger over the original article, this thing is a disaster for rape survivors, for journalism, and for the frat in question.

When Jake was home for Thanksgiving, he and a friend went out to eat in nearby Allston. He wore his Phi Psi baseball hat. He told me that a young guy came up to him and called him a rapist. I was stunned, but there was a little part of me that understood how this could occur. Phi Psi was being judged without a jury.

Important to note that before I understood frat life, before I met the “brothers,” I was skeptical of my son wanting to belong to an organization that was so exclusive. But after Parent’s Weekend, after meeting so many Phi Psi guys, all of whom were polite, welcoming, and warm, I was sorry to have doubted his wanting to belong.

Truth in journalism is vital. Not being vigilant about the facts, not putting every news story through a meat grinder of fact checking can have disastrous effects. I’m grateful that Rolling Stone is doing in-depth research into the story, and will publish the results. Getting it right is always better than making money.

gratitude-a-thon day 484: yeah, um NOT DYING MY UNDERARM HAIR

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I’m just saying, in case, you know, you were wondering, I will not be dying my underarm hair.

I have my hands quite full trying to prevent myself from looking like Barbara Bush as it is, dying my head hair every three weeks. I am not going to dye my UNDERARM HAIR.

And plus, even if I had the time, I would not have the inclination. I have always hated the coarse fuzzy hair that grows under one’s arms. I have consistently found even the slightest bit unattractive. Being Italian and Jewish, you can only imagine that I have spent half of my life with a razor in my hand going at it. I wasn’t a fan of all those 60’s chicks who flaunted the “natural” hair under their arms as a sign of freedom. I always just thought it looked like a sign that you needed a shower. I’m happy to report that as you get older, it lessens. In fact, if I wanted to dye my underarm hair, I would have to have an underarm hair transplant before I got out the dye. (This is one sign of aging, AND MAYBE THE ONLY SIGN OF AGING, that gets high marks.)

Anyway, in case you’re living in a cave, news outlets like Time have declared that dying your underarm hair is now officially a thing. And it’s gratefully, a thing I will not be doing. Carry on.

gratitude-a-thon day 483: S.A.D.dly winter is here, will someone turn on the lights

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Seasonal Affective Disorder shouldn’t be called S.A.D. so much as HIDE THE CARBS SYNDROME.

I’m telling you, once that sun starts switching off at 4:00 (the other rainy day, I swear it was getting dark at 3:15), I am a carb seeking missile. You’d think I was training for a marathon. I have come to accept that as long as I live in New England, to get through winter,  I need a giant coat, I need light, and I need a big hunk of bread.

If you too go to the grocery store and come back with only seven kinds of pasta, here is an article of tips on how to cope. I, for one, am grateful for it. If I can just stop stuffing my pie hole with english muffins long enough to read it.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 482: small bites friday

I am nauseous about the Eric Garner decision. Here’s what Boston was doing last night. The rest of the country was protesting too. Taking it to the streets. And here we go again.

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Why is Peter Pan always cast as a girl (and why was she cast as that particular girl, Allison Williams, who I so badly wanted to do well, but just kind of fizzled)? Why did Captain Hook resemble Confucious? Why did Wendy look 52? Just some of the burning questions Peter Pan Live raised last night. Spoiler alert: It was a snooze fest. Unknown

This is what I was expecting Hook to look like. Fierce, right?

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This is actually what he did look like. Was the makeup artist at one of the protests last night. I’m telling you, I get a Confucious vibe from this sparse facial hair.

Hey, let’s be clear, nobody will ever do it like Joan Rivers, but I like the choice of Kathy Griffin to commandeer Fashion Police. She is snarky and doesn’t seem to care who she insults, so it should work out just fine.

This year’s Pantone color of the year is Marsala. Count me out.

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I hate tattoos, but some of these made my jaw drop. 

Here’s some more interesting data on how powerful meditation is

Worried about climate change? Reconsider that burger.

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gratitude-a-thon day 481: i’m not black

I’m not black. I’m white, the lucky color. The color that opens doors, and doesn’t get suspicious looks walking down the street. I’m the color of the American dream, no questions asked. I’m white, which implies if I add red and blue, you’ll think I’m good, and treat me like a law abiding American, even if I’m breaking the law. I’m white, and all that goes with being born a shade that always gets the benefit of the doubt.

And while there are a million reasons being black is cool, like being cool, for instance, the rich traditions, the history of struggle, the music, writing, dance, food, family, beauty, athletic power, the booty for God’s sakes, being black is dangerous. It could get you killed, in fact.  It happened again yesterday, when the police officer who killed Eric Garner was not indicted by a Grand Jury. Yes, I said killed, because this was no accident. He was killed. By a police officer who used a chokehold, and ignored the words that Eric Garner said numerous times: “I can’t breathe.”

Last time I checked, the words, “I can’t breathe” mean that you are unable to breathe. Let’s go a step further, and make sure we’re all on the same page, shall we? You need to breathe to be able to live. So, just to wrap up here, if you can’t breathe, you are probably going to die.

Houston (and every other city and town in this country), we gotta problem. A big problem. And it’s called racism. If you weren’t convinced by the Michael Brown case, where only nine days ago another police officer was not indicted by a Grand Jury for killing Michael Brown, then perhaps you are by Mr. Garner’s case.

I love and support police officers. They choose to put their lives in the balance everyday just doing their jobs, keeping me safe, but I take issue with this loss of life, this video of a man being held down by several officers, in a chokehold, while he says those words, “I can’t breathe” and dies on the sidewalk at 42 year old, with six children at home,  for selling loose cigarettes.

As Jeffrey Toobin said last night on CNN, “What DO YOU  have to do to be indicted as a police officer?”

But back to me, I’m not black. So, like, I ‘m not going to have to worry about it. Because I’m white. I’m the lucky color.

 

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 479: cooking it up slowly

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I got a slow cooker about five years ago thinking that it would solve the age old misery, and answer the burning question: “What are we having for dinner?” without me having to knock myself out every night. I imagined throwing the food into that thing and a meal on a platter coming out when I opened it. I fantasized about how easy it would make everything. I thought this thing might even be able to vacuum.

I was misguided.

The slow cooker found its way up onto a high shelf in an upstairs closet, and has been residing there since I realized it was not the “Jesus” of cooking. But, I have been thinking about taking that bad boy out and giving it another try. Perhaps expectations are everything, and older and wiser, maybe I have more appropriate ones now.

This compilation of recipes inspired me some. Because how grateful would I be if I could just let dinner cook all day and have it when it was time to devour? I wonder if it can make salad?

gratitude-a-thon day 478: the smell of holiday simplicity

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Going to try and keep it simple this year. And, you know, actually enjoy the holiday.

 

My house still smells of garlicky stuffing. The stove is off. I keep checking it, but the seductive smell of my mom’s world famous stuffing is still wafting through the house like it’s coming out of the radiators. It’s even taken over my bedroom.

It makes me feel festive, and like there’s a party downstairs. I only eat or make stuffing at holidays, so that makes sense. But still, why is it lingering? I would think it would have cleared out by now.

Maybe it’s to remind me that during the hectic utter insanity of the holiday season, which we are smack in, as of today, December 1, I should pay more attention to the simplicity of a the smells, than the madness of the full on Martha Stewartization, make-your-house-perfect, get-that-santa-sack-of-gifts, CyberMonday, On-sale-now, get-’em-while-they’re-hot, only-10-shopping-days-til-Christmas, One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest CRAZINESS.

Or, anyway, that’s how I’m going to interpret it. I say it every year, but this year, it’s for real. I’m going to simplify, so that I can enjoy the merriment and good cheer of this particular time of year, and not give in to the holiday hysteria. What a gift.