Category Archives: Perspective

Welcome to the Freedom Cafe!

Dear Friends & Family ,

If by chance last week’s video demonstration of the purpose for wearing a mask wasn’t convincing enough, I offer this alternative perspective that supports our well-defended “freedom to choose”.

Written by Libby Jones on Twitter. Submitted by Kathony Jerauld to The Ledger News in California.

Welcome to the Freedom Cafe!

We trust you to make your own choices if you want to wear a face mask. And, in the same spirit of individual liberty, we allow our staff to make their own choices about the safety procedures they prefer to follow as they prepare and serve your food.

We encourage employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom, but understand that some people may be allergic to certain soaps or may simply prefer not to wash their hands. It is not our place to tell them what to do.

We understand that you may be used to chicken that has been cooked to 165 degrees. We do have to respect that some of our cooks may have seen a meme or a YouTube video saying that 100 degrees is sufficient, and we do not want to encroach on their beliefs.

Some of our cooks may prefer to use the same utensils for multiple ingredients, including ingredients some customers are allergic to. That is a cook’s right to do so.

Some servers may wish to touch your food as they serve it. There is no reason that a healthy person with clean hands can’t touch your food. We will take their word for it that they are healthy and clean.

Water temperature and detergent are highly personal choices, and we allow our dishwashing team to decide how they’d prefer to wash the silverware you will put in your mouth.

Some of you may get sick, but almost everyone survives food poisoning. We think you’ll agree that it’s a small price to pay for the sweet freedom of no one ever being told what to do – and especially not for the silly reason of keeping strangers healthy.

Libby Jones

Love, Sally-Jane

P.S. My experience of this pandemic is that it is wreaking havoc with our emotions and psyche and ultimately physically.  People are saying and doing things that in ordinary times they would never say or do.

A friend sent me this Mark Twain quote and it went straight to my Heart, Mind and Soul and I feel better. If it’s relevant for you, I hope it helps. If isn’t relevant give yourself a reality check, pronto.

M&M’s: Pandemic Essentials

Dear Friends and Family, 

I really don’t get the hullabaloo concerning masks.  If I understood that if I didn’t wear a mask I would be affecting and infecting not only myself but friends, relatives and neighbors and I couldn’t go shopping or walking about, why would I even give it a second thought?  I would say to myself  right out, “Put the mask on, jerkball!!”

Of course, if I didn’t believe that people had been and were continuing to be deathly ill and dying and dead from Covid 19 and that it was nothing but a  political manipulation by “The Enemy”, (and will someone please tell me what the enemy looks like so I can be prepared?), I might think differently.  But please tell me, what human in the universe has not heard of or know someone who has contracted the virus.  If you are someone who is that someone (talk about isolation!) please tell me where is your desert island and aren’t you just a little bit lonely?

Below is a very simple demonstration of why the mask is essential to your and everyone else’s health.

If anyone is still skeptical after that video, which is as apolitical as it gets,  then all I want to say to you is, “Don’t be a jerkball.  I don’t care who you vote for but I do care that you LIVE.  Got it!  Get it!  Good!”

And now let me give you a slice of hope and happiness as an antidote  to those the little germs from the previous video. I think it is interesting how  even in social distancing (and such distances in this video… around the world and back), these wonderful people obviously use their creative juices to give themselves and others joy and beauty. 

I firmly believe, as others tear at the fabric of civility in whatever is left of this civilization, this is the kind of enterprise that is destined to keep us together.

Right?  Of course, right!

Love, Sally-Jane

P.S. And whatever you think or do or say, never lose your sense of humor. Survival isn’t possible without one. Thus spake the Oracle (and my cousin Bernie).

There are all kinds of masks…

And there is all kinds of music…

A Stew Full of Thoughts

My Dear Friends,

THOUGHT 1: Yet another fallout of the Pandemic…

Every time I think I have a handle on how to handle the world I and fellow beings presently inhabit, I lose the handle.  Why can’t I keep a steady hand on the wheel of my life?  I know the rules of safety.  I try my best to follow them… Social distancing, masking, hand washing, sanitizing, travel limits.

I am kidding you and myself because, of course I know why I can’t keep it steady.  I am not in control.

I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place. I know the feeling well because I have been there many times before.

I think I am being vigilant. But then, I watch others out of my control, threaten themselves and others with their choices.  It then becomes my responsibility to set limits and put out the no vacancy sign.  It is so alien to the nature of this here beast. 

My door has always been open.  In the world today that is not an option. I can make some adjustments. And for this I am so very grateful that I am able to set up for a meal in the garden or the porch with safe spacing, masks and whatever else is necessary for the safety of all. 

THOUGHT 2A review of The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

I did not know the depth and the extent of the migration of Black Americans from the South to the North and to the West from 1915 – 1970.   For me, Ms. Wilkerson’s narrative is the foretelling of the ongoing struggle for Black equality we are experiencing at this time. She has chosen three protagonists from three different locations in three different decades of the migration.   Their detailed journey from the white racism of the South that followed them to the white racism of the North and West is shocking and a necessary and important tool in understanding how racism, subtle and not so subtle works. 

At the end of the book Ms. Wilkerson writes some notes about her methodology in putting this brilliant study together. She quotes from a 672 page report by a white-led Commission on the Chicago Riots of 1919 wherein the commission admonishes all.

THIS MUST CHANGE!

It is important for our white citizens always to remember that the Negroes alone of all our immigrants came to America against their will by the special compelling invitation of the whites; that the institution of slavery wast introduced, expanded and maintained by the United States by the white people and for their own benefit; and they likewise created the conditions that followed emancipation.

Our Negro problem, therefore, is not of the Negro’s making. No group in our population is less responsible for its existence. But every group is responsible for its continuance… Both races need to understand that their rights and duties are mutual and equal and their interests in the common good are identical… There is no help or healing in appraising past responsibilities or in present apportioning of praise or blame. The past is of value only as it aids in understanding the present; an understanding of the facts of the problem — a magnanimous understanding by both races — is the first step toward a solution.

Excerpt, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, page 543

The report came out in 1922. Last time I checked my calendar it was 2020.

THOUGHT 3:   IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE OBIT, EAT BREAKFAST

There is no way that I am going to leave you without a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart.  Even though my go-to cheerleader, Carl Reiner, left for quieter climes. 

I am sure Carl and Snoopy were in complete agreement.

Here is a documentary he narrated when he was only 94:

Love, Sally-Jane ❤️

P.S. Happy July 4th. It’s way past time to put our money (and our votes) where our mouths are…

Video

Music, A Book & Thou

My Dear Friends,

This won’t take long. In this blog I share two videos. One is a professional production. The other is what happens during pandemisolockatine.

First is a song, Build a House by Rhiannon Giddens featuring Yo-Yo Ma. Here is the introduction from Yo-Yo Ma’s Facebook Page:

There are so many stories made invisible: too-often-violent histories hidden beneath the surfaces of our cities, our institutions, our music. It’s our job to keep looking, to make them visible, to take action. Today is always a good day to learn. I’m honored to mark this 155th Juneteenth with a new song by the incomparable Rhiannon Giddens.  #blacklivesmatter #juneteenth #songsofchange

Lyrics to “Build a House” – Rhiannon Giddens featuring Yo-Yo Ma

You brought me here to build your house, build your house, build your house
You brought me here to build your house and grow your garden fine

I laid the brick and built your house, built your house, built your house
I laid the brick and built your house, raised the plants so high

And when you had the house and land, the house and land, the house and land
And when you had the house and land, then you told me “go.”

I found a place to build my house, build my house, build my house
I found a place to build my house since I couldn’t go back home

You said I couldn’t build a house, build a house, build a house
You said I couldn’t build a house, so you burned it down

So then I traveled far and wide, far and wide, far and wide
And then I traveled far and wide until I found a home

I learned your words and wrote a song, wrote a song, wrote a song
I learned your words and wrote a song to put my story down

But then you came and took my song, took my song, took my song
But then you came and took my song, playing it for your own

I took my bucket, lowered it down, lowered it down, lowered it down
I took my bucket, lowered it down, the well will never run dry.

You brought me here to build a house, build a house, build a house
You brought me here to build a house. I will not be moved.

No, I will not be moved. No, I will not be, I will not be, I will not be moved.


I am also reading a book that I think is important and that you might want to check out. It is titled, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.

Love, Sally-Jane

P.S. And don’t forget…

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “The other America” 1967

My Dear Friends,

By accident or fate, take your pick, I YouTubed upon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at Stanford – “The other America” 1967 – a year before he was murdered.

This is part of the history we need to know.  

For me, it was as if he was alive and writing about the race relations of today, hopefully, not tomorrow.

Listen, my friends, just LISTEN.

Love, Sally-Jane

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee where he was shot on April 4, 1968.

Phooey! You are NOT Powerless!

My dear friends, 

I don’t know about you but with recent events, I have been witness to friends and relatives clucking of tongues, sighing, and head shaking, saying things like… “This is terrible.”  “Shocking!”  “What can I do?  I feel so powerless.”  Then, like the air going out of a balloon, nada!  We are not only tongue tied. We are idea tied.

Give me a break! You know about David slinging rocks at Goliath, right?  You heard how Joshua outplayed Louis Armstrong at the battle of Jericho, right?  Please my friends, use these metaphors to create a new reality of what you, you alone, can do.

Here is an example of what one citizen of the town of Northampton, MA did upon hearing that the town council in response to the recent protests was voting to increase the budget of the police department. OK, OK, so there is a whiff of nepotism in the air, the writer, Pamela Schwartz is my daughter.  Hey, leave us not forget, it’s my Blog and I gave myself permission.  All right?  All right!

So read on and hopefully we all can understand the many ways that we, as individuals, can make a difference and try to change this racist world we live in.

Click Here to Read Pamela’s Letter to Northampton Town Council

There is no quick fix.  There is, however, a very easy and simple way to slow our country’s downward spiral.  VOTE!        

If you are in doubt about the uselessness of your vote, please go to your PBS Streaming Channel (It’s as easy as it is important to add this app to your TV) and Tune in to the PBS Documentary ‘PBS’ American Experience: “The Vote

Cluck your tongues, sigh, shake your heads, but understand, the VOTE, is in your not really powerless hands.  Right?  Of course, right!

P.S. I leave you with a quote from Margaret Mead who struggled against world opinion and condemnation to provide safety and health for women and children …

P.P.S. And here’s another example of creative citizenry:

Me? A Racist? You’ve got to be kidding!!

I feel compelled to send this to my near and dear.  I am going to do something I rarely do – allow you to determine for yourselves what you think and feel about the two articles I am sending.  The first by Courtney Ariel titled:  For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies

The second is an opinion piece by George Will from The Washington Post.

It so happens that the second article is a major solution to the problems of the first article.. that solution is VOTE!

Regardless of your party affiliation, please remember a vote for anyone other than the democratic candidate, whoever he or  she may be.  … would count as a vote for “you know who”. 🙀😬

Love, Sally- Jane

P.S. I cannot force you to listen to Reimagining Policing in the Wake of COntinuing Police Violence with President Obama at 5 pm ET on June 3… But, just know there will be a quiz after the program. 

P.P.S. For those interested in understanding the difference between the peaceful protests and the violence and looting, Google Boogaloo Bois.

NOTES ON THE 2020 LANDING OF THE ABOMINABLE SNOWWOMAN

May 7th:  Dress in Hazmat suit, gloves, mask.  Carry wipes and survival portion of peanut butter cookies….

Arrive Fort Lauderdale Airport. Wheelchair Server in mask waits while I wipe down the wheelchair.  He explains why the airport looks abandoned… “It went from 180 flights a day to 6.”

Arrive at gate my usual 90 minutes before flight. Most of my fellow passengers sit patiently.  I know I look like a cartoon.  Not a giggle, not a murmur, just head and eyes turned away from each other.  It felt as if by looking they would be exposed to the virus. Not a lot of sound. Oh, so serious… or should I say, terrified.    

Airline glitch:  We were there in plenty of time to be loaded onto the plane 2 or 3 at a time. They waited until 15 minutes before flight time and loaded everyone the usual way with all standing belly to belly in the aisle. The plane was 2/3rd full. The middle seat was empty but if you were in an aisle seat you were inches apart from someone across the aisle and exposed to the line of passengers as they went down the aisle to their seat.  

Albany arrival was smooth and as I was picked up by a masked man in a van who closely resembled a good friend, I diligently threw away my hazmat suit, gloves, wiped the handles on the door and settled myself for the anticipated beautiful ride through the Berkshire mountains to my home.

Quarantined from May 7th –  May 21st.  Grateful for the help and thoughtfulness of friends and family as I made the adjustment from South to North. I was afforded a glimpse of the winter I thought I had missed – snow, sleet, rain, cold temperatures greeted me throughout my quarantine. It was just fine with me.  By the end of my isolation, I had survived the transition and as a reward, the weather changed and a much awaited warm spring had arrived. I have so much to be grateful for… first and foremost, the pulse is pulsing. This is good. Everything else is a plus… food, shelter, family, friends (although at this age there is a growing list of absenteeism from the list). So this sense of disquiet that I find growing inside of me…. where is it coming from??

Let me try to explain it to me and pass it on to you.  

It is not news to anyone today. We are being challenged.

There are those of us who are being physically challenged with the arrival of this virus.  All speed to healing and return to health.  And then there are those of us who are economically challenged. This may be the time to look at what we were doing and rethink and re-tool, remembering as we go… we are not human doings, we are human beings.  Please, I am not being glib. I remember so many times in this very long life of mine I thought it was all over only to discover if I just moved a little to the left or to the right (and I am not speaking politically) I would get out of my own way and be able to see a different picture of my life and how I was living it. For me, it opened up the world of possibilities. 

However, how do I see those possibilities if I am afraid? I think the biggest challenge all of us face is the emotional challenge… and that is the basis of my disquiet. And what is that emotional challenge?  I am glad you asked…    

FEAR! 

Every time I have heard in a documentary or film or theatre or book, FDR’s assertion, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”,  my head shakes like a bobble head in the car window. He was right. I know he was right.  So if he was so right why am I still afraid? I am doing everything I am supposed to do. It doesn’t seem to help. I can’t tell you how many times I know I have caught the virus. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have any symptoms, I know I have it.  On one level, it simply proves I am a member of the human race because I know I am not alone. I have plenty of friends and family that are sure they too either go to sleep with the virus or wake up with the virus.  

What does this mean?  Well, for me, it means I have to take greater pains to guard against a fear that not only consumes me but paralyzes me. As I get older, I recognize more and more the lack of control I have over life as I live it.  There are actually not days, but minutes that I can surrender the illusioned control and live from that one moment to the next. And those are the GOOD days.  Because the actual truth is that actually no one has any control over any of this life as we live it.

It has only taken 86 years (a drop in Methuselah’s bucket) but this is how fear operates in my life.  It is mostly hidden and it has many disguises.  For me, the top three disguises are shame, guilt, and most of all, anger.  Every time I feel shame or guilt or anger, and I take the time to do a little self examination about where these feelings are coming from,  up pops… you got it…fear!  I’m telling you guys.  I’m a regular scaredy cat and most of the time I don’t know it.  The mask that covers my fear is the best on the market.

And herein is the beginning of my disquiet.  As I have come out of quarantine and joined the rest of the world around me, I am confronted not only by my fear, but almost everyone I come into contact with as well.  And I don’t care what you mask it with…. impatience, annoyance, or the most reliable, anger… it is fear.  My belief is if I can’t get a handle on my fear I am going to spread it. It is far more dangerously contagious than the virus. For me, the negativity and the hopelessness of fear are far more isolating than any quarantine. 

I think one of the many ramifications of fear today is this growing pervasive attitude of selfishness. I read about it a lot and I see it when I walk around the lake. 

“I don’t have to wear a mask.”  

“I don’t have to self-distance.” 

“The sign at the beach reads closed until further notice… not for me.”  

In this pandemic, where so much is unknown as well as the lack of consensual leadership, the attempt to convince the human condition that we are all in this together is almost impossible.

I have known for a long time that there is little and mostly no control in life. I remember that maybe every other day, for maybe a minute or so. And when I do, I realize even though I want to desperately, I cannot really judge someone’s selfish behavior.  I cannot sit them down and explain that their selfishness comes from the basic fear we are all experiencing and “we are all in this together”… they would do what the lady with the dog in the Ramble of Central Park in New York City did and call the police to have me arrested for harassment.  

So I must find my way, recognize that the life as I knew it has changed and when the dust settles (testing, vaccines, no curves at all) it is going to be not only different, but better.  

Right???  Of course, right!!!!

Love, Sally-Jane ❤️

OK  Everybody, back to your smiley face…

P.S. Below is a link to a Documentary by Showtime about the live (yes, I said LIVE) television Show of Shows with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris that ran for an hour and a half every Saturday Night from 1950-1954. (Preceded by Sid Caesar’s Admiral Broadway Review from January – June 1949 and followed by Caesar’s Hour from 1954- 1957.)

Yes, I was alive but I was very busy between school and performing and it was unthinkable to spend a Saturday night watching TV with my parents so I never got to watch it.  It was de regeur watching for my family.  Of course  back then I knew about the comedians of the cast but as the years past I knew more about the writers from that show, Mel Brooks, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon, Woody Allen to name just a few.. funny men making funny words for funny people. Well, I found this Documentary on YouTube ( I loooovvvveeeee YouTube) I laughed so hard.

Lucky for me the bathroom was nearby.  For some this is will be a new happening, for others a stirred memory and for a few others it might just be “Sid?  What was his last name again?”

This is my gift to you, my wonderful friends and family, for being a patient and considerate and conscientious pandemic person.  This is far from over but who doesn’t need a reward for Good Behavior.  Have a laugh on me…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V7W5xcXUhA

An Antidote to High Anxiety

My Dear Friends,

The woman in the closet video is definitely a reminder that you are not alone.  And if, during this pandemic crisis, you haven’t experienced some paranoia, then please check your pulse because you probably don’t have one.

I don’t know about you guys, but my anxiety level is an up and down affair, and lately mostly up. The more tuned in I am to the current events of the day with news briefings, emails from political organizations that accurately highlight the criminal ineptitude of the current Senate and administration, the more increased my blood pressure. However, as I prepare to pack and fly north, I recognize even more how the pressure is rising.

Even though… (to the tune of 🎶IRVING BERLIN’S TOP HAT 🎶)

🎶I’m putting on my hazmat suit 🎶

🎶Packing up my wipe wipes🎶

🎶Gloves and masks in place🎶

And I am totally serious. (Photos of flight day to be shared later.) But with every item secured, the pressure went up a notch.

I thought to myself:  “Self! You are making yourself sick.”

What to do???

And in a flash it came to me. Stop thinking of yourself.  If I thought the quarantine was a challenge to my mental health, just try focusing only on yourself.  STIFLING! BORING! CRUEL AND INHUMAN!

The operative word is inhuman. I understand survival is numero uno. However, I have come to realize without caring for friend, neighbor, family, we revert to the animal. And all you animal activists, I recognize the many animals that can make the human seem more selfish than most in the animal kingdom, so please don’t yell at me. I’m just saying that I think we have a more developed brain – not to be more selfish and “what about me?”, but to think of OTHERS.  What a concept… think of others. 

Well, I’m here to tell you that as my pressure was hitting a high point I remembered a friend of mine was going through a very rough time. It hadn’t anything to do with the virus. It was a very private misery. I literally stopped thinking about myself and thought about what she was going through.  I wrote to her of my feelings for what she was going through. I didn’t even know it at the time… but, something lifted. Yes, and the pressure dropped. I got it. 

The next time I begin to take myself too seriously I shall get out from under my own microscope. Unfortunately, these days, I cannot go ‘round with a real care package and hug.  It’s the virtual picnic hamper, the virtual hug, the virtual everything.  But don’t forget the real phone call… human vocal chords can work wonders. 

For me, after thinking of others the next best way to distract me from me is to watch good funny movies.

Of late because I am old, I have focused on, for some, unheard of gems.  And I only realized recently there was a master hand behind many of them. He is my very personal (though he doesn’t know it) 2,000 years older than me friend, Mel Brooks.  These are movies that he didn’t necessarily write or perform in, but it’s his absurd sometimes not so funny and always irreverent humor rooting around in the mix of the movie.

The In Laws movie, circa 1979 with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin.

The In Laws movie, circa 2003 with Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks

My Favorite Year, circa 1982 with Peter O’Toole

Ishtar, circa 1980’s.  A major flop in the 1980’s and now it is a cult movie written and directed by Elaine May (and occasionally, Buck Henry) with Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman and Charles Grodin. Fantastically prescient about the coming trouble in the middle east and oh, so funny.Makes Wag The Dog look like a sitcom.

Bowfinger, circa 1999 starring Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy (when he was funny)

Waiting For Guffman, circa 1997, directed by Christopher Guest and written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy with Catherine O’Hara in the cast (previous to Schitt’s Creek fame)

And last and probably least…

So Fine, circa 1981, starring Ryan O’Neal and if you don’t blink Sally-Jane Heit as a brunette in a scene in Bergdorf Goodman; written by Andrew Bergman of the 1979 In Laws and other comedies.

And just so you don’t think I’m too old to appreciate the new…

After Life streaming on Netflix written by and starring Ricky Gervais. He has definitely got his finger on the pulse of the human condition and he is VERY funny!

Like they always say:  What goes around comes around. Or, is it what comes around goes around? Either way have a laugh on me and always…

stay sane, stay safe, stay distant……

Love, Sally-Jane ❤️

A Special Friday Update

Attention Friends and Family:

As it is written:

CLARITY, LIKE CLEANLINESS, IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER.

Love, Sally-Jane