Losing or Gaining Perspective?

My Dear Friends and Family,

The Confession: I love music. However, I am not now or have I ever considered myself expert in the field of music… modern, classical, R&B, pop. I simply know what I like and what I don’t like. I think I would qualify as your average, every day, listener, EXCEPT for my opinionated Big Mouth. 

The Disclaimer:  Yes I was a singer.  Yes I was a dancer.  Yes I played a very bad piano.  All to say I knew about music… definitively not as an expert but as a participating viewer, listener and performer.

This information is leading you to an adventure I had in the world of music and, oh, so much more, on Hulu Streaming last Friday evening:  Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) Over the course of six weeks during the summer of 1969, thousands of people attended the Harlem Cultural Festival to celebrate Black history, culture, music and fashion held in Morris Park in the Bronx (an almost as infamous borough as Brooklyn, but not quite).

I am and always will be the Brooklyn girl who had friends and went to school with all races and religions.  In 1969, I was thirty-six.  OMG was I ever 36? I guess I had to have been to get to 37 and on up and up and up. My life was circumscribed by my children and my career. In combination, there was not a spare breath for any other activity. I was living  and  working in Washington, D.C., a recently desegregated Southern city that had been rocked by the recent assassinations of Malcom X, Martin Luther King, JFK, Bobby Kennedy. Of course I was aware of the Happening in Woodstock… the crazies invading a bucolic setting in New York State where wild men and women made music, love, drank wine, did drugs and more… a veritable hippie Sodom and Gomorrah.

In 1969, the whole world knew about Woodstock. 
In 1969, no one knew about the Summer of Soul concerts in Morris Park.

The only people that knew about the Summer of Soul concerts in Morris Park were the 40,000 to 50,000 people who attended them. Definitely a Black majority coming out of Harlem… which is where the subtitle (When The Revolution Could Not be Televised) comes from.  Woodstock had television and movie studios vying for the rights to film the concert. Summer of Soul sponsors had to beg for money to film and record their concerts.  And we are thankful for those sponsors that had the foresight to make a record of an historical and cultural moment in Black History 52 years before BLACK LIVES MATTER.

I could do chapter and verse about the difference between Woodstock and Morris Park… it wouldn’t work… it’d be comparing apples and oranges. They are just two different fruits or vegetables. There is a striking difference, however, other than color in the demeanor of the attendees of Woodstock and Morris Park.  A psychologist would have a grand time looking at the behavioral differences.  Considering the line up of this concert, it will be no hardship for you to watch this concert and make your own evaluation.  A picture is worth a thousand words. 

These artists are enough to pump even this ‘ole soul. Stevie Wonder (looking like he’s 12), Gladys Knight and the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, The 5th Dimension, The Chamber Brothers, David Ruffin (I didn’t know him, but I did know My Girl), Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach, Jesse Jackson (not singing but speaking eloquently), and an unbelievably incredible and stirring performance by Nina Simone.  There are so many more and I am showing my ignorance by not knowing them before this documentary.  

The point is I know them now. To watch these beautiful artists, is to be reminded of how long it takes this nation , indivisible (we hope), under God, to change a light bulb and the way it thinks.

Yup, as the privileged white woman watching this concert, I went through it all.  From despair to hope.  I am happy to report I came out on the side of HOPE.  That is what good music always does for me.

Right???  Of course, right!!!!

Love, Sally-Jane ❤️

Words, Words, Words

My Dear Friends and Family,

This past week one of my daughters sent me this video of Jon Batiste performing “FREEDOM” on the Colbert Show. (I have included it below.)

As I watched, I felt I was transported to a Gospel Church moment. Batiste, who has long been Steven Colbert’s band leader is Black and Beautiful and moves like a dream. The song was a totally infectious experience and I think I played and danced to it several times. My daughter was right when she said it was a joyous happening to be shared.  And so I thought of all of you, my dear friends and family.

As I got ready to send it out, I started thinking about the name of the song and Batiste’s definition of the word, Freedom.  Being Black and Beautiful, he wrote the song from his perspective of the word. I get that. I understand that.  I applaud that.  

However,  I might sing and dance to his song Freedom from an entirely different perspective.  Along with oh, so many of my fellow beings, I could shout and dance out my freedom from a year of Covid Pandemic isolation.  

And as I continued my thought line, the lyrics of another song crept into my consciousness…

Words, words, words

I’m so sick of words

First from him now from you

Is that all you blighters can do

If you think Freedom is one thing, and I think it’s another, how do we communicate? In truth, it’s like we are all speaking a foreign language in an attempt to find a path to understanding. I thought about confusion in communications around three very important words…

What I wanted most in my life was to be KNOWN. If you know me, you’ll love me. Now, don’t yell on me. I was young and I was desperate. One important slice of this equation was missing. If I didn’t know me, how was anyone else supposed to know me?  When I was a student and fiancée, I defined Freedom as escape. The only way for me to be free was to escape home and family. Unfortunately, early in my life, my courage was limited to making a fool of myself on stage. In the 1950’s the approved way to leave home was to get married. Marriage equaled Freedom.  Twenty-seven years later Freedom equaled Divorce. Go figure!!!

At different stages of my life, Freedom meant something else.Today, I’m not sure if my mortality has increased my vision, but I am open to most everyone’s interpretation of Freedom. Except, of course, if their freedom takes away my freedom. This is a no-no.

I think it is inherent, dare I say it, on a cellular level most of us want to be known. It takes a great deal of courage to be known. I have a sneaking suspicion that fear wipes out that courage. This makes me believe you cannot be known without being FREE.  

TRUTH

First I shall tell you, growing up in my family my ability to survive was based on how well I could lie. From the womb, I was an actress, so pretending (that’s the polite word for lie), was very easy for me.

I shall admit, I had a lot of help from the adult community. How many times were you told, don’t tell mama, don’t tell poppa, if that’s your sister on the phone, tell her I’m not here… and on and on the requests go.  I’m not accusing anyone. Goodness knows it’s an accepted social practice… the little white lie.  But as a child, it’s difficult to discriminate the social lie from, “I did not lose  Mother’s engagement ring that she was saving to pawn because she needed money to pay into her Christmas Savings Account for your presents so you don’t get any this year.”  

I think about storm troopers throwing open the door and shouting out, ”Are you Jewish?”  What would you do?  I for one do not know. Of course, I’d like to think I would proudly stand up and do the honorable thing, but isn’t that the question? What is honorable? To survive or not to survive. Furthermore, in the scheme of life, he or she who casts the first stone could break a window and then what???  I do not feel the need to lie anymore. This is a good thing. And frankly, I don’t have a lot of patience with those that continue to lie. Nothing really is that important.  As long as I follow the Golden Rule… Do Unto Others as you would have Others Do Unto you… I don’t think I have to.  In someone’s wisdom (I wish I knew who)… THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.  BUT FIRST IT REALLY PISSES YOU OFF.

LOVE

OK  now we have come to the sticky part.  Oi Vey!  For this I am going to be moided (Brooklynese for murder). For me, there is no universal definition for the word love.

How could there be? Our life experiences forbid it.  However, when has that ever stopped me from having all the answers? I’m still making it up.The difference today is I know I’m making it up.

 All right, we need to separate Romantic Love from Universal Love. 

I have been in romantic love at least a billion different times, with all God’s critters.  Mostly male of every stripe and color. Only about 10 of the billion knew I was in love.  And of the ten, I married only one. Once was more than enough. Now, everyone has their own romantic love stories to tell and if I felt like it, I would tell you mine.  But I don’t. So I won’t. You can always do what I do and make it up. A kind of coupling of your truth with romantic love.   All to say that romantic love is brilliant and necessary for population growth and hormones. (It’s dropping by the way… population growth, that is… not hormones!!! Any theories???)  

Universal Love. For me it will always  belong to the world of Spirit. It is in that world I find myself more and more comfortable and more and more the need to inhabit. Yeah, sure, of course, to some extent  this feeling is age related. However, I have to acknowledge this world of Spirit has always been with me. I was among the many who had experienced early childhood trauma. Too young to know about God or religions, but always knowing somehow during this time, I was cared for.  In many of my darkest times, it is and was always there. It comes in the form of humor, wonder, and yes, mostly LOVE.  I have found my place in the Universe and I am loved not just by my friends and family. I can look at a sunrise and even knowing I had nothing to do with bringing it up (such a relief to have that off my plate!), be in love with the wonder of it all. I and those who can experience sunrise, sunset, and all the wonders of the Universe, know we are loved. How come it took me so long to get it? I don’t know.

Which reminds me… I want to share a new “AHA!!” with you. Just yesterday my 3 favorite words were, “I Love You”.  Today, with MY PHD in Judgement intact,  my 3 Most Favorite Words are,

 I DON’T KNOW.

And that’s my definition of Freedom, Truth, and Love.

Right?  Of course, right!!!

Love, Sally-Jane❤️

A BOX OF MEMORIES ARRIVES…

What occurred that precipitated the arrival?

I am so glad you asked.

The weekend before, the family celebrated the Bat Mitzvah of my daughter.

Please, do not panic. I am not Abraham’s wife, Sarah from the Bible.  

I am the 87 year old mother of a 57 year old daughter who made a decision to join her husband and three children in her quest for her official place in the Jewish Community.  She has studied and worked for the last two years towards this ceremony and the family gathered. The first post-pandemic gathering at an outdoor Synagogue service with Zoom accessibility for friends and family across the time zones of the world.  

It was a heart and soul event that was an antidote of good will, good cheer, intellectual and spiritual edification, and a beautiful outpouring of love, displacing, at least for a moment, the Covid/Pandemic scenario. Proving that with vaccinations and careful preparations life as some of us have known it continues.

The weekend brought my family together. My immediate family consists of 3 daughters, Dianne, Lori, Pamela. After the event Dianne and her family, who have been in Barcelona for the past 2 years, drove me back to my home in Great Barrington to visit. From the age of 13 she has always had a keen culinary interest (Lori, as well. Pammy inherited my reticence in the kitchen).  One evening gifted me with a great and very complicated dinner.  She shopped for all her ingredients.  I think she used every pot and utensil my kitchen possessed.  There was no room for me in the kitchen.  It was overloaded with all the food she bought and the equipment and my daughter. I was excited and I might add, a little curious.  Since Humpty Dumpty was nowhere to be found, who was going to put the kitchen back together again?  We’ll get to that later.  Best not to disturb the creative genius at work.

A triumph. The dinner was brilliant. So delicious. Each dish in itself was tasty and unique. It didn’t matter that all together they didn’t quite go together.  She has a very natural culinary talent.

In an instant, my memory was jostled back to a Christmas years ago when she was 13 and her sisters 11 and 9.  They had asked what I wanted for Christmas.  I asked them if they would each prepare their own dinner for the family.  Her sisters prepared age appropriate menus… hot dogs and beans, hamburgers and chips.  However, at 13, Dianne decided to challenge Julia Child to a food duel in my kitchen. The same result. Even if nothing went with anything, each dish, in itself was excellent.  

Back to the present… As she put the kitchen back in order, I reminded her of that long ago Christmas gift. She remembered. We laughed.  She left the next day to travel to visit friends and family and her storage unit in Baltimore.  She was in a cleaning out mode before heading back to Barcelona.  

A day or so later, she called and said she found the Christmas gift menu of when she was 13.  I couldn’t believe it.  Serendipity, synchronicity …

Here is her menu. 

Like I said.  Everything had great taste…then and now.

There are so many questions that have occurred to me from this memory box.

Why did I ask my children to learn to use the kitchen at 13, 11 and 9?

At the time we were living in Washington, D.C. Somewhere deep in my subconscious… I wanted to return to New York City, pound the pavements of Broadway to become a STARRRRR.   I had to wait until the children were at an age where they would be able to care for themselves and to understand why I needed to go.  To assuage the guilt for even thinking about  such a “bad mommy” idea, I thought of it as just a practical application of life… kind of an at-home home economics course .  Oh, my dears, I don’t know about you, but my ability to block my subconscious tends toward genius.

The other part of this memory that brings an appropriate question to mind is why is a Jewish family celebrating Christmas.  It actually comes from my family tradition.  I am one of 7 brothers and sisters.  We all went to Sunday School.  The 4 boys all had a Bar Mitzvah.  The 4 girls Confirmed.  We were Reform Jews and back then, girls did not have a Bat Mitzvah (that’s how old I am!).  Most importantly we did celebrate all the Jewish Holidays which included Hanukah, but my mother loved Christmas.  She loved the spirit of joy and peace.  She loved the music. And most of all she loved SHOPPING.  Even through the depression, she opened a Christmas Savings Account to put money away every week to buy all of us presents.  And my father who had always wanted to be an actor played his starring role of the year, Santa Claus. 

I will say that his costume was a bit bizarre.  He had a great Santa mask with beard and a gorgeous Mandarin Silk Robe as his suit.  Please don’t ask me.  I have no idea where this combination came from.  It occurs to me that perhaps as a Jew this was his “not going all the way” in the Christian mode.  It was, to say the least, memorable.  I continued this tradition.  Unfortunately, my former husband had no theatrical ambitions so we did it without a Santa.  I wonder… was our Christmas celebrations of the past an unlit spark in my daughter who was just Bat Mitzvahed?

So many questions and any answer I might have just brings up another question.

That’s life, right guys?? I don’t know about you, but I, for one, am happy to live with another question.

Right????  Of course, right!!!

Love, Sally-Jane

P.S. I don’t remember looking this good.

I THINK I CAUGHT A SYNDROME

My Dear Friends,

I have been a Covid hostage from March of 2020 until February of 2021, which is when I got my first vaccination shot.  That is enough time for what’s called the Stockholm Syndrome to take root and build within my psyche the necessary combination of fear and helplessness.  If that isn’t a diagnosis of the Stockholm Syndrome then I’m a monkey’s uncle.  Although, as we struggle with new gender definitions, I believe I would be a monkey’s aunt or monkey’s They????  Sorry, can’t go there because I am too ill informed.  

Ok so I acknowledge I am a victim of Covid Stockholm Syndrome.  And thankfully, I do not feel alone.  Please let me know if this resonates with you.

Since I have returned north (Brrrrrrr!!!), I have been talking to friends and family about their winter in a cold Covid climate and the advent of the vaccinations and the promise of a different Spring and Summer from last year.  I feel like I am a human who has been in hibernation. And as the vaccinations proceed very slowly, one foot in front of the other, sniffing and searching as I go, testing the waters as I move from my cave into the light.  

In a sense, the exit from my cave and my acceptance of the vaccine is a very personal leap of faith. Every time I have ever made one of those leaps of faith, I have found the juice of life is more profound and though the leaps can be challenging and frightening, ultimately for me they make my life more satisfying.

Yeah???  So what’s my point??? 

Well, I have discovered quite a few friends that are satisfied with the Covid status quo of the past. Translation: No vaccine. I have spent much of my life opting for FREE CHOICE… religion, race, sex, education… your life, you choose.  Well, of course there is a caveat… what’s the matter with you?  You think life is fair or free?  Not!  Only for babies! And then, as sadly we know, in many cases not even for babies.  

All right already, I’m getting to it. Here is my point. There is a cost to life. We are periodically asked to make a leap of faith.  And for me, getting the vaccine is a leap of faith.  There is so much we don’t know.  We don’t know way more than we do know… forever.  However, if I want to come out of my cave, not wear a mask, travel to see friends, relatives, or the Aurora Borealis, give or get a hug from someone outside my POD (OMG it sounds like a remake of The Body Snatchers), then I need to get my shot.

So what has this got to do with the Stockholm Syndrome? 

All of us have been kidnapped by Covid, that’s what!!! 

I think it’s time we recognize that fear and helplessness narrows the world and limits life’s opportunities and the wonderful joyful noise that goes with it.

Right???  Of course Right!!!

Love ~ Sally-Jane ❤️

P.S.

I am not throwin’ away my shot

I am not throwin’ away my shot

Hey yo, I’m just like my country

I’m young, scrappy and hungry

And I’m not throwin’ away my shot

My Shot, from Hamilton

The Big Laugh

My Dear Friends ~

I’m packing to travel North. This is not a fun thing to do. I need a laugh. I always need a laugh. And rewatching old episodes of The Nanny was not doing the trick because I can’t stand the laugh tracks 

Over the covid-pandemic-isolating year finding a laugh meant I could hold out for another day. I’m down to counting microseconds so I can take my shot-up body North to hug other shot-up bodies. 

Between packing breaks I hydrate and read. 

Today I received the April 12th issue of The New Yorker. Anthony Lane, their movie critic, provided me with THE BIG LAUGH.

Illustration by Hisashi Okawa

Hollywood has not lost their sense of humor with their latest blockbuster, GODZILLA vs KONG. Anthony Lane knocked it out of the park with his review, A Journey to the Center of the Earth in “Godzilla vs. Kong”

It almost makes me want to see it. 

Enjoy this one on me. 

Love ~ Sally-Jane 

What Has La Brea Tar Pits To Do With Herd Immunity?

My Dear Friends –                  

I have had some interesting discussions with friends and acquaintances who have refused vaccinations. Now we all know how ridiculously judgmental I can be… not all the time, but enough of the time to make these discussions, in polite terms, volatile. The reasons against Covid-19 vaccination run the gambit from “not enough time” to “prove the efficacy of the drug” to “political chicanery” from all parties, including current and former Presidents as well as everyone in the House and the Senate, ad infinitum.  

Now, I shall acknowledge the use and abuse of both parties to politicize the vaccinations.  Science has always had difficulties with the powers that be. Religion and science have made nice over the centuries. They are still suspicious of each other but my take, at least in the United States, is that slowly, very slowly, religion has begun to take its proper place in the pantheon of life as a support system for individuals… part of the four freedoms… freedom of worship.  My belief is that this freedom will allow Science and Religion to co-inhabit the world. Imagine that!!

Over the past pandemic year in isolation I have been keeping good company with myself. Herein lies a recent conversation I’ve had with me:

What is behind the rejection of vaccination?  FEAR!!

Duh!!!  So tell us something we don’t know????

OK, I’ll try.

I’m stumped.

Go to Google.

Again?

Yes, again!

Oh, this is good… it’s almost as though Google knew what I was thinking.

That’s what they are paid for.   

Listen to this quote from Bertrand Russell.

Who?

British Philosopher (1872-1970)

Right!

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct and tends to produce ferocity towards those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”

Yeah, soooooo….

So this Covid Pandemic has frightened all of us… some to death, some to illness, some to lockdown, some to boredom, some to anger, most to confusion and paralysis.

Wow!  Puts me in mind of the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.

Excuse me?

The Tar Pits outside of Hancock Park. Over many centuries, the tar pits preserved the bones of trapped animals.  

Excuse me?

Here’s the story!  Back thousands of years ago there was an approaching climate change.  Over the centuries there were many climate changes. You know like another Ice Age or heat wave or drought… there weren’t too many deniers of climate change back then because there weren’t that many humans and there were no political parties. However, most of the animals and the few humans had very sharpened animal instincts. The largest of which was survival. Survival and fear go hand in hand. So picture the dinosaurs chomping away on trees and grass (yes most of them were vegetarians) and as the weather changed, their survival/fear instinct was aroused.  Now they loved L.A. but those who followed their instincts left Hancock Park and moved north to where they found safety for many millenniums along with evolutionary changes.  

Today you can see the remnants of those who ignored their survival/fear instincts and became trapped in the ooze of the La Brea Tar Pits.  

What has that got to do with anything?

Sometimes talking to myself is so difficult. Do I have to spell everything out for you?

Please…

It’s called species adaptation. Species that adapt to changes survive. Species that don’t… don’t!

Yeah?  So what?

Don’t you see. We have two herds. We have the Vaccine Herd Immunizers or the VHI.  We have the No Vaccine Herd Immunizers or the NVHI.  Both herds fear Covid.  However, once the scientists and the FDA approved the vaccines, the VHI team lined up, pushed ahead and did whatever to get their shot. They moved. They adapted.  Yes, into the unknown but for them the known was death and illness and no hugs.

The NVHI are waiting and thinking. Not adapting. Still chomping on leaves and grass.

La Brea Tar Pits… now do you get it?

Not to worry. I am donating my brain to Science.

All, to say my dear ones, I’m not telling you what to do, God Forbid, when have I ever done that?  

If you want to survive to fear again…

Pick the right Herd!

Love, Sally-Jane

P.S. A lesson in LIFE for Pro and Anti vaxxers… please stream the very brilliant and moving PBS American Masters biography of Oliver Sacks.  

As Auntie Mame so eloquently said: “ Life is a banquet. And most poor suckers are starving to death.”

The Bigger They Are the More They Get Stuck…

My Dear Friends,

I’m not into sea stories… unless it’s something like Katherine Ann Porter’s Ship Of Fools.

And then came the Ever Given. This is the name of the container ship which is part of the Taiwan based shipping company Evergreen. En route from China to Rotterdam sliding through the Suez Canal, it drifted. The hull of the ship drifted sideways into the sand wall of the Canal. HOME!  It liked where it landed.  Unfortunately, nobody else did. Most particularly the hundreds of other container ships in passage  in both directions which were now as STUCK in the Canal as the Ever Given.

A Suez Canal Dialogue ensues:

Captain of Ever Given (to Ali Schwartz, the unfortunate Canal Administrator on duty at the time) : All right already guys, we’re stuck.

Ali Schwartz:  How did that happen?

Captain:   One of my guys said we did a Tokyo Drift.

Ali Schwartz:  What the hell is a Tokyo Drift?

Captain: Damned if I know… some movie, I think.

Ali Schwartz:  O.K. we’re in contact with our Suez AAA Service Representative.  They will be there shortly.

Captain:  Hurry! The guys behind me and the guys in front of me haven’t let their hands off their horns since it happened.  

Ali Schwartz:  Before they leave to pull you off… is your membership paid up?

That conversation occurred 10 days ago.  The Ever Given is still there.  Stuck in the side of the canal. Commercial traffic, no less the family on their yacht for their once in a lifetime passage through the Suez Canal, are all stuck and if you are one of the unlucky people who ordered something online from China (like through Amazon, Walmart, etc) you can either relax or go out and buy it retail like at a store like the old fashioned way.

I feel a lot like the author of this article in the Atlantic… stuck on the container ship being stuck. In all my self help and therapeutic analysis of my voracious need to control, the story fascinates me.  I have spent half of my life intellectually aware of the need to surrender and in the surrender to understand how little in life I do control. I try. God knows I try, but habit and really, I think, fear, impedes my progress.  

And so the Ever Given is as good an example, a lesson in understanding surrender.  What the hell are we supposed to do when the mechanics of life do not cooperate in moving the chess pieces of life?? 

So, now as I watch the world converge on the Suez Canal with all their equipment and expertise and they still cannot move the behemoth, here’s my advice to one and all… 

  1. Surrender is a good thing.
  2. Find an alternate route if your travel plans involve the Suez Canal.

Right? Of course, right!

Love, Sally-Jane ❤️

Gratified and Satisfied…

My Dear Friends,

We have all heard it a million times… writing is such a lonely craft. No matter how writers try to distract themselves from themselves, eventually they must succumb and begin the lonely climb from sub to conscious thought, from pen to paper or fingers to computer. Yes, I am describing my own journey. And then the thoughts are dispersed to the person or in this case, the “list” of those brave souls that signed on to accept and read my blog. All to say, I thankfully, always get some response to what I write.

So that even if I write in the wilderness, eventually after sending the blog out, someone or someones rescue me from my solitude and brings me into their thoughts and responses and I am profoundly gratified and satisfied.

Hey, let us not forget my friends… I began my game of life as a performer. My passion was in putting myself before an audience and hoping I gave them pleasure or challenge or both. That give and take audience response was my initial lifeline from dysfunctional family life to dysfunctional married life. My ever growing, developing, nurturing, constantly challenging, and most loving relationship with my daughters was and always will be my raison d’être, but performing was definitely my second choice.

So writing in the wilderness is very difficult for me. And without response… OI VEY! … you’ve got to be kidding… a killer… an absolutely killer. I’ve been told to not be bothered by the lack of response… blog readers don’t usually respond. Well, in this last Blog about the Netflix movie, I Care A Lot…. I specifically asked for a response… and I got it.

I’m going to try and figure out how to rework my blog so I can keep this “audience” response going. In the meantime, I want to share some of the responses I received.

From Jim:
In my reading lately I’ve come across the concept referred to as the attention economy. Mostly in reference to social media like Facebook, Twitter,  etc. it is the idea that our attention is finite and of value and we should pay attention to how we ‘spend’ it.

These dark, ironic ‘humor’ movies and shows make me feel like I’ve not only wasted my time but been ripped off in terms of my attention. And since everything is tracked these days I am starting to be much more circumspect in how I allocate my attention. 

Here is the original article which introduced the phrase attention economy into my brain… I Talked to the Cassandra from the Internet Age (NY Times)

From Donna:
I saw the trailer for “I Care A Lot”. Half way through the trailer, it ’sceeved’ me out and I moved on. What a horrible plot!!!… The world is frightening enough these days without adding to it.

From Pamela:
I was afraid of that. I saw the blurb and could feel the ickiness. Glad you STOPPED WATCHING!!! Your senses are too precious to fill with such a vile version of humanity!

From Paula:
In CA almost impossible to have someone declared incapacitated in the courts.  Court also sends out its own independent investigator.  Anyway wanted you to know this so that you can sleep again…

FYI, I never watch movies like this anymore (even in the past I rarely watched) – no matter what the reviews.  Too much ugliness in the world already. I need an escape.

From Vel:
Just read your blog and SO glad I decided to pass on that film! But here’s a bit of news that gives that swindling racket a ‘Hooray for you, Girl’ upbeat twist: At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan—and Her Own Grandsons

From Dianne:
I read your blog.  That movie sounds horrible.  Glad you switched over to reliable Agatha. 

From Lana:
Ugh. I watched that movie last night. I wanted to quit part way through it — I actually found it very uncomfortable and a little bit horrifying. I also wanted to see if it had a satisfying end (yes, sort of). But I went to bed with a flutter in my throat, kind of wishing I hadn’t watched it. But it made me wonder if, during the Trump era, producers made more movies like that — characters derelict of conscience or humanity

In reading up on the backstory of the movie, I see an article in The New Yorker was part inspiration: 
The Takeover
The whole thing scared the be-jesus out of me. 

From Ron: 
This came from reading your blog …

Now if you have any responses to these responses… write on MacDuff!  

While there have been shows where some audience members left before I did, (I’ve been in a few “turkeys” in my time), but as Laurence Olivier said, “If you haven’t had any bad reviews, you can’t call yourself an actor”.  

You see this is the kind of digression that counts as a distraction when I am trying to write. All I meant to say is… if you want to respond to any of the responses my machines are always open.   

Love, Sally-Jane ❤️

Game of Life: Humanity: 1 / Immorals: 0

My Dear Friends & Family,

Last night I looked forward to watching a new Netflix thriller/mystery I Care A Lot. It had some of my favorite actors Dianne Wiest, Peter Dinklage, and starring Rosamund Pike.

Basically it’s a story of a woman Marla Grayson (Pike) who is in the very profitable business of defrauding seniors. Her racket is guardianship:  identifying powerless retirees, having them falsely declared mentally incompetent and herself appointed their legal conservator and then defrauding them of all their assets which by some not so mysterious ways ends up in her bank account. This happens through the collusion of doctors, nursing homes, and oblivious judges. It’s a really juicy plot.

I began watching and somewhere as I was approaching the halfway mark of the film I began to get a queasy feeling in my stomach. At the beginning, her success record of 100 per cent was challenged by only one son concerning his mother. He wanted to see his mother.  He questioned her need for Guardianship.  Marla chewed him up and spit him out.  She was unstoppable.

She makes a mistake by targeting the mother of a crime boss but rather than show fear, she ups her game and no matter what the threat (and there are many  consequential threats) pursues her dream of being so rich she is untouchable. (Put forth in the movie as “The American Dream”)

I didn’t stick around to see if she succeeded. I was sick to my stomach watching  the amorality that filled the script and  screen.  Not one character in this film had any and I mean any redeeming features… a dark world that only got darker. Why do I want to watch people whom I don’t give a fig for succeed as they decimate whatever and whoever is in their way without any consequences.

As for me, I immediately reached for an antidote to the poison that had been spewing from my television for over an hour… I definitely stayed too long at the fair.  I turned to Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.  Plenty of really villainous types but somehow always caught in the web of their own making.  

To put salt my own wound, today I caught an interview with Rosamund Pike from an article in USA Today. Her statement made me wince. 

I think it maybe reflects the fact that people need a dose of what this film serves up at this time. I think it’s that kind of dark, irreverent humor that we’re all a bit in need of.

~ Rosamund Pike

For the life of me… Where was the humor?? Definitely not the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup. Of course, as an actor I totally understand the thrill of being chosen but I find her statement unbelievable and irresponsible. 

I certainly don’t recommend you see it, but if you have seen it I’d love to know what you think.

My philosophy has always been what goes around comes around. Time is not in anyone’s hands… but my belief is… in the game of life, The Decency and Humanity Team: 1 / The Amorals: 0     

Of late, we have been sorely tested… but ain’t that what life is all about? It isn’t easy. It is difficult. And it definitely isn’t fair.  Our work is never done. We have occasional breaks from the onslaughts… a walk in the woods, a picnic by the lake, a good book, a great movie, friends and families… and then we are right back in it again: snow and ice in Texas. 

My beliefs say we always know what the right thing to do is… we are always challenged to do the right thing. Sometimes we can. Sometimes we can’t. But we know. That is what separates us from the beasts…

Right???  Of course, right!!!

 Love, Sally-Jane

How A Judgemental Know-it-all Can Change Her Mind

Dear friends and family,

I wrote this Blah, Blah Blog yesterday.  This morning I read about the  new approach the prosecution is preparing for the impeachment of our former President.  I now think the trial is going to be a constructive and instructive history lesson for all Americans and frankly, for everyone in the world who is interested in “FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR ALL”.  So here’s what I’m going to do.  I am going to share what I wrote yesterday as a look into my own thought processes which normally are hidden and unfathomable even to me.  I’d like to think it shows with continued exploration and investigation,  I can be reached and even to the point of , dare I say it, changing my point of view.  I don’t know about you, but in the climate of today’s polarizations on almost everything, that is a really big deal. 

YESTERDAY’S THINKING AND WRITING:


A dear friend recently asked me if I was going to watch the televised impeachment trial.

I said I would not.

Not because I am not curious and concerned which I most certainly am.

My personal belief, after listening many times to his speech to the gathered mob in front of the White House on January 6th,  is that our former President is guilty of inciting a mob to attack the Capitol.  Also, my personal belief is that in counting the votes, it is most unlikely he will be found guilty.  I ask myself, “Myself, why do I want to put myself through the disappointment of once again watching as the course of justice moves along “party lines”.  And listening again to the rehashing of the lies, the same ‘ole-same ‘ole of no one listening to no one, which is utterly negative and depressing.”  And so I shall await the expected verdict as I finish reading the extraordinary autobiography of Frederick Douglass.

Like I said, it’s an old childhood coping mechanism I developed against disappointment.

Allow me to elucidate.

As a child in a very large family where I always felt like an alien, my first defense was, of course, I was adopted.  These were not my real parents.  And these were not my real siblings.   But my most favorite coping mechanism was my fantasy of being rescued. 

 

Many were the nights where I would go to the living room where the radio/phonograph was (no television at that time) and put on a record of classical music (it mattered not which… although I did tend towards Chopin and Johannes Strauss waltzes) and danced until I dropped or until someone in the family complained (a frequent occurrence).  The dancing was definitely a release but the dream that attended the dance was more important.  As I danced, my fantasy was that Cecil B. De Mille was walking by my house (in Boro Park, Brooklyn), heard the music, looked in through the windows to see me giving it my all, immediately  he went to my front door, My mother would answer. Mr. De Mille would give her his card and tell my mother that he needed me desperately for his next movie. Reluctantly and sometimes not so reluctantly she agreed, packed my ballet bag with my leotard, dancing shoes, and a package of Twinkies and I was off to Hollywood where I had always known I had belonged.  

Eventually, I had to come down from fantasy to reality, my parents still owned me and being number 7 of 8 meant my siblings claimed me for errands and punishments befitting my station which meant I had to affect my own escape when I was able… it took a while, but I did. The best part of these childhood fantasies? They have moved with me. 

At 87 years of age that child is still alive and well in me and I’ve got some doozie headline fantasies to prove it:


TODAY:

That was yesterday’s mashed potatoes and tomorrow I hope the promise of a more vital prosecution is fulfilled. And just remember, if not… there are always reruns of All In the Family.

Love, Sally-Jane ❤️

P.S. Randy Rainbow did this fabulous political parody from the musical, Fiddler on the Roof. For me, this says it all! ENJOY!

P.P.S. Don’t let your blood pressure rise during the trial.  Here’s my remedy: