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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Rant #1,642: Genitalia Failure

The other day, we spoke about the rights of people in being able to use the bathroom of their choice, and today, we are going to talk about a nurse who thought that photographing a part of a man's body that he uses in a bathroom was something she had to have.

Like the segueway? There was no other way to do this.

Anyway, a nurse in an upstate New York State hospital has had to surrender her credentials after she was found to have taken a photograph with her cell phone of an unconscious patient's private part (you know which one I am talking about).

As part of a plea deal that took nine months to formulate, this nurse pled guilty, and agreed to give up her nursing license and spend three years on probation.

What supposedly happened is that nurse Kristen Johnson took the photo of a patient at Upstate University Hospital, and then spread the fun by sending the photo, and at least one other one, to coworkers at the hospital, who reported her.

Why this took nine months to get her to admit that she did this is anyone's guess.

Would you want a nurse like this to be taking care of a loved one, or yourself?

Why she found it necessary to take the photo(s) is anyone's guess, too. I guess I would have to ask her why she did this, but I don't think I am going to waste my time.

In fact, earlier stories said that this was not the first time that she has been caught doing things she shouldn't be doing as a nurse, but I see that in the most recent stories about this, that part has been dropped.

When I need to go to the hospital, I want a loving and caring nurse, one that I feel is attending to my needs and wants when I am laid up.

I don't want one who feels that my body parts should be part of her photo collection ... and she sends this stuff around yet.

What reason could she have had to do this?

And I assume that the guy had something on when he was incapacitated like this, and for whatever reason, she must have exposed him, so she is darn lucky that she has not been charged with rape.

The woman obviously has a problem, one that I won't be analyzing here too deeply, other than to say that I would rather have Nurse Ratched watching me than this sorry excuse for a health provider.

We all too frequently hear about doctors who take advantage of patients in one way or another, but we do not hear much about nurses doing the same thing.

I am sure that other nurses have done horrid things, but you hear more about the doctors doing heinous things than nurses.

This woman should be barred from ever having anything to do with the health profession, even after her three years of probation are up and I assume that she can get her license back, or at least apply to get her license back.

She is sick, and she needs another member of the health field--a psychologist, perhaps?--to explore what she was thinking while she was doing this.

If you can't be safe in a hospital--when you need your safety more so than elsewhere, because you are there for a medical reason--where can you feel safe?

I think that some of the officials at that hospital should also be called on the carpet, because this happened under their watch, and other things might have happened involving the nurse in the past.

I don't even know how to end this Rant, other than to say that there is always tomorrow, and I will be here on Friday to tantalize you with another incredibly interesting Rant ...

If I don't have to nurse you back to health after reading this one, that is.

(I could not resist.)

Classic Rant #290 (July 2, 2010): King James Holds Court

Professional basketball making the front pages of your local newspaper in July?

Well, before you get worried and say "WNBA," I am actually talking about the NBA.

Right in the middle of baseball season, when the pennant races are heating up as much as the weather, we find ourselves in something of a basketball frenzy.

Why, you might ask.

Well, in an unprecedented move in any professional sport that I can remember, a number of top-flight players are free agents, and the maneuvering to grab their talents for a hefty fee is feeding this frenzy.

And nobody holds court like Lebron James, unquestionably the best player of the lot.

He has played his entire career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his hometown team, and now, he is a free agent, open to any and all offers by other teams, including the New York Knicks, the New Jersey Nets, and the Chicago Bulls.

All of these teams have held court with him, and have created almost a comical situation between the teams, James, the media, and the fans.

While fans line up outside the offices where these wooing sessions are going on, team representatives drive up, passing each other on the road to see James.

The media covers this as if some international dignitary is holding court, and in some respects, James is one, since he is so well known around the globe.

It almost resembles one of those meetings you remember in those old movies, where the king sits on his throne, surrounded by his queen and other members of his court, while a visitor from another land tries to entice the king by bringing him some valuable goods from far away.

It is so comical, but when you think about the money that is being talked about in these meetings, it almost makes you want to choke.

Heck, sign me. I can live with a measly fraction of what they are throwing at him.

A million or two would satisfy me. I don't need any more. I will make due.

Unfortunately, my best days of basketball were over in 1975 or so, or more than 10 years before James was born.

Who will James and the other free agents, including Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, end up with?

Some will probably stay with their teams, others will leave for greener pastures.

But this current frenzy is truly something we have never seen before, not even in the early days of baseball's free agent signings.

And King James holds court. His suitors come from near and far. What will happen?

Who knows, and that makes it all the more fun for us peons, who work 9-to-5 jobs and will never make in a lifetime what James will make in a year.

But that's the way it is. Even in a recession, there is money to be spent.

And teams like the Knicks, Bulls, Nets, Cavaliers and several others will spend until the cows come home.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rant #1,641: We Lost a Real Good One ...

We lost a real good one when Patty Duke died yesterday.

She was just 69 years of age, but I think to most Baby Boomers, she was the perpetual teenager.

That underscores the fact that she lived a troubled life for a good portion of her early years, it kind of derailed her career, but she lived through it, had a family, and ended up having a really nice career.

She was born in Elmhurst to abusive parents, parents who really couldn't care for her or her siblings.

Her childhood was basically signed over to her managers, who, according to Duke, abused her in every form imaginable--even stealing her identity by changing her name--yet somehow, made her into a star of the magnitude in her childhood, of that of other former young child stars, including the likes of Shirley Temple and Judy Garland.

She starred as Helen Keller both on Broadway and in the movies in "The Miracle Worker." To say the least, if you want to see acting at its finest, see this film, which also starred Ann Bancroft as teacher Annie Sullivan. It is a monument to filmmaking.

Duke's portrayal of Keller is something to behold, and she earned an Oscar, at the time the youngest performer ever to win the award. She supposedly learned the role for Broadway by practicing with a blindfold on her eyes for months, and her performance is, unquestionably, one of the great portrayals in modern cinema.

I remember seeing this film and really and truly believing that I was seeing Helen Keller on screen, even though it was only Duke portraying her. Yes, it was that good.

Anyway, it was during this period that the magnitude of the irresponsibility her managers had for their charge was beginning to wear on Duke.

Like her mother, she had shown that she had some mental problems, yet they pushed her on her career trajectory without missing a beat.

As a teen, she starred in the whimsical TV show with the most unlikely of premises.

"The Patty Duke Show" was about two cousins who inexplicably looked exactly like each other, and who came to live together in the same home in the mythical Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. Patty and Cathy laughed alike, they talked alike ... here is the full theme, which completely explained the show to viewers:

"Meet Cathy, who's lived most everywhere, 
From Zanzibar to Barclay Square. 
But Patty's only seen the sights 
A girl can see from Brooklyn Heights -
What a crazy pair! 

But they're cousins, 
Identical cousins all the way. 
One pair of matching bookends, 
Different as night and day. 

Where Cathy adores a minuet, 
The Ballet Russes, and crepe suzette, 
Our Patty loves to rock and roll, 
A hot dog makes her lose control - 
What a wild duet! 

Still, they're cousins, 
Identical cousins and you'll find, 
They laugh alike, they walk alike, 
At times they even talk alike - 

You can lose your mind, 
When cousins are two of a kind." 

It made no sense at all, but Duke carried the show, and it ran for three seasons, and would have run for a fourth if ABC would have agreed to keep the show based in New York. They wanted to move it to California, but Duke hedged on the move, and the show ended.

Duke portrayed the supposed "typical" female teenager of that period, one that thought about one thing and one thing only: boys. She was perfect as Patty, and even more perfect as Cathy, where she really had to act, use a phony accent, and truly act slightly differently and more refined to carry this character.

Dual roles all at once. It was a workload, but Duke got through it on screen.

She also started a nice, although a bit underwhelming, singing career, which produced one major hit record, sort of in the style of Lesley Gore.

However, during her teen years, which should have been her happiest, her mental illness was starting to get to her. Although few knew what was going on with her, she displayed very strange behavior at times, being very high and very low literally from day to day.

Her handlers treated her pretty much as Judy Garland was treated when she showed similar signs early in her career, with pills and alcohol, and Duke became addicted.

After the show ended, she continued to act, but she was listed as being difficult.

She was cast in "Valley of the Dolls," and this was pretty much the last straw. Finally emancipated from her handlers, she pretty much went off the deep end, exhibiting even more bizarre behavior, and where her career might normally be reaching its peak, for all intents and purposes, her mental illness derailed her career to a certain extent, although she continued to act, married, had children, and made an enormous decision:

Once she was diagnosed, she would announce to the world what she had.

In today's world, the admittance that Duke had a mental illness--she was bipolar, among other things--would not raise an eyebrow, but in the 1970s and 1980s, this was akin to sticking a knife in your career and killing it.

But Duke felt that this was necessary, for her and to make others more conscious of such an illness, and she became the first celebrity in my memory to be brave enough to associate themselves with a mental illness and make such a malady public.

Beginning in the 1970s, the bulk of her work was on television, in numerous TV movies, sitcoms and she even became a regular on the game show circuit, appearing on everything from "The Match Game"--in the heralded bottom row, flush left seat, reserved for the prettiest actresses--to other shows where she appeared with husband John Astin, of "Addams Family" fame, with whom she had several children, including actor Sean Astin.

When that marriage dissolved, she married someone out of show business, and pretty much lived her remaining life in and out of the spotlight.

She wrote a best selling book about her life and illness, and made numerous public service announcements about a myriad of causes, including mental illness and Social Security.

She also returned to the avenues that helped her become a star. Duke later starred in various later productions of "The Miracle Worker," but this time, as Annie Sullivan. She also later directed the show in various revivals.

Duke also returned in her dual role as Patty and Cathy in a "The Patty Duke Show" reunion movie, which was very well received, and she even poked fun at her dual role on other shows where she played dual roles.

She lived a packed, stacked 69 years for sure, but it seems that even with that, she still had a lot of living to do, but sadly, it all ended yesterday.

R.I.P. Patty, or Anna. You done good.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Classic Rant #289 (July 1, 2010): Slow Week

Well, at least I am not going to talk about any of my blogs today.

Nonetheless, this has been a slow week newswise. As we enter the early days of summer, there isn't much going on.

I could have talked about how Marilyn's Monroe's chest X-rays were auctioned off. Honestly, I would rather that her chest have been auctioned off when she was alive than her innards today. But I guess there is always a market for something.

I could have talked about how the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death sparked a worldwide celebration of the man, his music, and the numerous contributions he made to our culture. I am sure those he had inappropriate relationships with were also rejoicing, but for different reasons.

I could have talked about the fact that New York appears to be nudging closer to no-fault divorces. Every other state has it but New York, and I can tell you from personal experience what a nuisance that was. But I managed to live through it.

I could have talked about Hurricane Alex, which is or isn't a threat to the oil cleanup mess in the Gulf depending on who you are getting your news from. Whatever it is, it can't be too good.

I could have talked about the fact that I am going to be in a new book about my old neighborhood, Rochdale Village, Queens, N.Y., which will be released in the fall. I am quoted in there, at least in a footnote, about my school experiences there. The book's title is real long-- "ROCHDALE VILLAGE: Robert Moses, 6,000 Families, and New York City's Great Experiment in Integrated Housing" by Peter Eisenstadt (like me, a former resident whose brother I used to play ball with). If you are interested in finding out more about this book, look it up in your favorite search engine under "Rochdale Village."

I could have spoken about a myriad of other things, but I decided that this was such a slow week leading into the holiday that I would take a break from my usual banter to highlight my blogs.

But that's all been done. What else can I talk about?

Rant #1,640: Whose Bathroom Is It Anyway?

In the world I grew up in, there was the women's bathroom, and there was the men's bathroom.

That was pretty much it.

If you were a man, you used a men's bathroom; if you were a woman, you used the women's bathroom.

Later, some places added bathrooms for those who are handicapped, or at least added stalls for those with these issues.

Even later, some places added larger bathrooms for families with children, so as to make it easier to take care of the little ones with some privacy.

Fine. I can go for all of that.

But of course in today's world, things are quite different, and not as black and white as the world that I grew up in.

We have transgender people, some of whom believe that they are being discriminated against, because they aren't allowed to use the bathroom of their new persona, but the bathroom of the sex that they were born with.

Or so says a new North Carolina law, which has gotten people all in a tizzy, that says that transgender people must use the public bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate.

People are in an uproar over this, and probably for the wrong reasons.

I am in an uproar over this, not for the same reasons.

Honestly, I don't care that transgender people are offended by this law.

What I do care about is that myself, and people like me, have to ask ourselves the following question: "Why is such a law necessary to begin with?"

It seems nobody cares about the majority anymore; all we care about is upsetting a very small minority's sensibilities.

Look, it is not as if transgender people have only been around the last year.

People under this unfortunate circumstance have been around since the 1950s, when Christine Jorgensen--who lived in my town on Long Island and who my mother knew when she worked the changing rooms at various department stores in our local Sunrise Mall in the 1970s and 1980s--took the plunge, the first person to change their sex entirely with their own consent.

What have these people done for decades? They go into the bathroom that they need to go into, and use the stall, which is not only more private, but affords them the luxury of doing what they need to do without anyone judging them.

If they are part way through their gender change, or all the way through, the stall affords them the luxury of doing what they have to do without anyone looking at them and judging them.

We needs a law for this?

Rabble rousers--those looking to overturn every tenet that this country stands for--certainly think we do, but I ask you--do think this law is discriminatory?

I don't feel it is discriminatory, I feel that it is insulting that we even need to waste our time on a law like this one.

But the state is evidently sick and tired of having to bend over backwards for every special interest group that demands ridiculous PC changes in this day and age, and thus, they feel that such a law is necessary to combat these rabble rousing hooligans, who want equal rights no matter what the cost or how stupid they look.

When one goes into a stall, it is for privacy, or because they have to do No. 2.

Who looks under the adjoining stall to see how the person does what he or she is doing?

I mean, Kaitlyn Jenner, who I assume uses the female bathroom now, isn't even a female, because this person has not gone all the way with the gender change, and has no intention of doing so. so even though this person is now living as a woman, this person continues to have male genitalia.

Since there are no standup urinals in female bathrooms, Jenner has go to the bathroom in a stall, anyway, so who is going to see how Jenner is relieving himself/herself?

This law is so absolutely stupid, because it offends the sensibilities of the majority.

Most people do not change their sexual identity, even though Jenner has said on record that his/her situation is "the new norm."

No it isn't. Period.

These people have every right to use the bathroom, but do they have a right to insult me?

No, I don't think so.

In the men's bathroom, a transgender person will go to the bathroom the same way I will, I would assume, either using the standup toilet or the sitdown toilet.

In a women's bathroom, where the choices are limited to one type of toilet, where is the problem?

We need laws for this? Is anybody checking one's birth certificate at the door of the bathroom to make sure what sex a person is?

Is a transgender man who hasn't committed entirely to his new sex going to take out his female private part to use the standup urinal toilet?

This is the most insipidly stupid legislation I can ever remember. I don't care how other people go to the bathroom, as long as I can take care of my own business without being insulted.

And this legislation is insulting, and completely unnecessary. Period.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Rant #1,639: Congratulations, I Guess

I hope everyone had a good Easter.

Now it is today, Monday March 28, just one month before my 59th birthday, but today, I want to congratulate myself for reaching another milestone, of sorts.

Today, Monday, March 28, is my 20th anniversary at my place of business.

Yes, I have spent 20 years at this place, and honestly, I cannot believe that I can actually say that.

I remember that 20 years ago, at 38 years of age, I found myself out of work for the second extended time in my life.

My previous employer, a burglar and fire alarm association, fired me for no reason way back when, in November 1995. I became a political football, and I was fired to show how much power one of the association's board members had over another board member.

Obviously, none of these people cared about me at all, as, just three months earlier, I had become a father again, when my wife gave birth to our son. I even came back early off my time that I took off, because the fellow I worked with got sick, so I cut my time off with my new child, and I ended up getting stabbed in the back.

There is so much else to say about that particular experience, but I won't say it here now.

Let's move forward into the winter of 1995-1996.

It was an absolutely horrible winter, and in January, we had one of the worst snowstorms we ever had, where a storm dropped 26 inches of snow on us.

I was working, sort of, as a newspaper deliverer, making all of $150 a week.

I was looking for a new job on a daily basis, could not find anything, and once the government found out I was making the ridiculously large sum of $150 a week for delivering newspapers at 12 midnight to about 3 a.m. in the morning, they were going to rescind my unemployment benefits, because I was making too much money.

In February of 1996, I got a new job, paying me exactly $7 an hour, working in a publishing house that put out directories. The boss signed me there, making me promise that I would not leave for a better-paying job. I assured him that I wasn't going anywhere, but, of course, $7 an hour, plus $150 a week from delivering papers, was not going to cut it.

And yes, I was still paying child support then, so I was literally operating on vapors.

Then I got a call, and another publisher called me in for an interview.

It was a publisher which put out a number of titles, all based on various industries, one of which was military resale, or about military commissaries, which are supermarkets, and exchanges, which are department stores.

Military service members and their families need these stores, because military pay is low, so they need to stretch their dollars where they can, and these stores allow them to do just that.

Anyway, I had two interviews, was hired, and the rest was/is history.

Today was my first day there, and since my two bosses were in Washington that day, I was given a transcription to do. To this day, I hate transcriptions, but I did it, and since then, I have written thousands of stories and probably have done dozens and dozens of transcriptions.

Like everyone else, I wish my job paid me better, and had increased compensation, but I have to say that for one of the few times in my life, I lucked out at getting this job.

It is just 12 miles from my home, I can get to work in a flash, and my job, as an associate editor of a publication that is sent out and read around the world, isn't brain surgery, although sometimes, it truly feels like it is.

Whatever the case, it has helped me to put food on the table for the past 20 years, so I shouldn't complain, but I do anyway, simply because I really, truly, want the job to be better than it is or ever will be, and it just isn't going to happen.

I can say that I am satisfied, but I am not, and honestly, how many people are satisfied with their job, with their lot in life?

I am not, but here I have been for the past 20 years.

I complain when I feel the complaints are warranted, and there are plenty of complaints with this job, but looking back, this job saved me from heaven knows what type of financial and professional pulchritude, so I just have to go with the flow, and grin and bare it, for what it is.

That is the extent I am going to talk about the job in the negative. It is a job, I have filled it for 20 years, and I am damn happy to have it, because I have been on the opposite side of the fence, and it isn't a nice place to be.

So thank goodness I have this job, thank goodness I have had it for 20 years, and I don't know if 20 more years here are on the horizon, but for whatever time period it is, I hope to be there.

The alternative is not good, so I will take what I can get.

Twenty years is a long time at one position, and I have to look at it that way.

Twenty years. Not bad, not bad at all.

Classic Rant #288 (June 30, 2010): Monkee See, Monkee Do

Well, here is another day with not much to rant about. The previous situation with my medical records remains unresolved, and the only other thing that I can rant about is my family's washer/dryer, which appears to have died an untimely death yesterday.

No, not much to write about, so I figured I would promote another one of my blogs that you might not be familiar with.

I was an original fan of the Monkees way back in 1966, and my fascination with them exists to this day. I have all of their American-produced records, and numerous foreign releases too. I guess I just can't get enough of the Pre-Fab Four.

But there are a finite number of releases that they put out on the label that was basically custom designed for them.

Colgems Records, a subsidiary of RCA and with a name that was sort of a conjunction between Columbia and Screen Gems, was best known as the Monkees' record label, but lo and behold, there are numerous other artists that recorded for that label, such as Sally Field (as The Flying Nun), Sajid Khan, Rich Little, and Quincy Jones.

So, as I got older, since I had all the Monkees stuff already, I figured I would investigate the other artists on this label. I was able to secure many of the 45s and albums that were produced on Colgems from 1966-1971--including a lot of soundtracks, which next to the Monkees, was the label's bread and butter--and a few years back, I started The Colgems Blog, which you can access at

Sure, the Monkees were the moneymakers on this label, but there were many, many fine recordings that had the Colgems name on it. In addition to the above named performers, other lesser lights, including The Hung Jury and P.K. Limited, called Colgems home.

The label even tried to morph the Monkees, country style, with the Lewis and Clarke Expedition, which included the artist later known as Michael Martin Murphey of "Wildfire" fame.

Yes, this was an interesting label with an interesting array of artists. And that is what the blog is all about.

I have posted everything on the label, less two Monkees albums that I hope to post over the next two months.

Much of the material has never been on CD, and it is hard to figure out who owns the rights to much of the music. But over the past few years, it could be accessed via my blog.

I have also had some of the artists contact me. No one has objected to the blog, they have only applauded it, so I am happy about that.

So, please, visit it on a lazy summer day like today.

And I promise that I won't write about my blogs again any time soon, because frankly, I have run out of blogs to write about.