Out With the Old and All That Jazz

Barry Manilow “Just Another New Year’s Eve”

(Yes, back in the mid 70s, I was a Barry Manilow fan. I’ve since recovered)

As I write this, people in the U.S. are beginning their prep to welcome in 2015. Parties are rising from boxes and bags, special “good luck” dinners are being cooked, candles lit (raise the energy level), etc.

Goodbye 2014.

Some folks will look back on this year remembering events of great joy such as weddings, babies, dream careers going up several notches, and the year will have been a banner for them.

Others, myself included, will not mourn its passing. For us, it has been a year of trial, loss, and in some cases, the masks being ripped away from so-called friends to show the nastiness hidden behind.

This was a year of losing what no longer served, learning who friends are, and figuring out what the lessons were I needed to learn. And figure them out, I did.

1) I got by with a LOT of help from my friends. )apologies to John, Paul, George, and Ringo)

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Thanks to those who helped me quickly and efficiently leave a hostile living situation with an increasingly unstable roommate.

2) George Lucas was right. In an interview after “Return of the Jedi” was released, he referenced Joseph Campbell discussing the Ewoks: “When you’re nice to the little bunny on the side of the road…” I forget the rest of the quote, but it had to do with help from unexpected sources.

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Ewok.

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George Lucas. Spot the difference.

I received help when I needed it from VERY unexpected sources. I've never been sky diving, but it's been like free falling without being sure you have a parachute, let alone one that will open in time. And no, it's not fun.

3) Even in the midst of turbulence and uncertainty, there can be peace and joy.

I got to attend John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl, 3 shows with friends of mine in them (all excellent), I got to the movies I wanted to see, it wasn't "omigodomigodomigod" for 24/7/365.

I also started a Facebook page in August called Medieval Merriment. Some of the posts have gone viral with 40,000 views and 2100 members from around the world. It's nice to be able to lift spirits with that kind of reach.

While my book sales haven't been what I'd envisioned (yet), the positive reviews keep coming. I turned out quality products and they WILL find their footing, even without support from a couple of sources. Remember Lesson 2? You can't be two-faced to the bunny on the side of the road.

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There are other lessons learned that I am not sharing here. Important ones, but they’re for me.

“Hey, 2015? Before you come in, we’ve got to lay down some rules…”

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Yesterday, at an event nominally attended by adults, I found myself back in high school dealing with a self-appointed queen bee. I was not part of the in crowd 30 years ago nor am I part of the clique now.

This person has not treated me with any kind of courtesy, professional, mature, or even human since I’ve known her. Yesterday, she walked by my table, with my name on, gave a little “fuck you” smile and walked on to hang out with her group. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was the SAQB, but when she started snapping selfies with the other women, I knew.

Wow. Not even high school. More like playground.

As I left and she was talking to a couple of people we both know, suddenly, it was friendly. That’s when I made my error:

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Her back was turned. But since there was a Facebook rant within a couple of hours, someone told her.

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One of my favorites. I always liked Nelson Rockefeller. Study that picture; it’s the near-extinct moderate Republican.

The rant stated, in plural, that she would never “handle” any of my works (the ongoing attitude indicated that wasn’t going to happen anyway. No loss), had a libelous element to it “we know she pays for her reviews.” (huh? Well, patent falsehood stated as a fact with the intent to cause harm is actionable. I got one of my few law school As in Torts), that I have awful covers (loose translation: taste and simplicity are not a substitute for Fabio-style in flagrante delicto, and that I have “horrible sales” ( apparently, I’ve been getting tracked. So much for not caring) . Oh, and when her breathless minions wanted my name so they could boycott, she said something about me being post-menopausal. Not libelous, but leads to this being appropriate:

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What I regret about my action is solely this: it gave consequence to a small time drama queen. Part of the manipulation of followers is the periodic need to refresh their sympathies and that allowed her to do it. It’s Sarah Palin’s MO when she gets caught saying or doing something extraordinarily stupid or mean (we see it a lot). My mistake; I fed the beast.

The authors around me noticed the cold shoulder and asked, making note of the name. See, even big fish in small ponds need to behave in a professional manner and acting like a teenager is the antithesis of that.

Who you really are is what you do when you think no one is going to catch you. If they read this, those clucking and calling for my head SHOULD be asking themselves what the SAQB says about them behind their backs. If they’re useful to her especially for name-dropping purposes, it’s probably harmless.

I’m free to say what I want here because this blog doesn’t draw a lot of attention. Even if it does, I haven’t stated falsehoods as facts, or threatened anyone’s livelihood. I operate on WYSIWYG. Maintaining two faces is more effort than it’s worth.

I know you’re thinking “Mean Girls,” and that does apply (although I’d like to see a new reference), but I’m more of a fan of “Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion,” especially the end when Romy tells off the SAQB of that film . More applicable since the stuck on the past mindset exists here.

That’s okay. This SAQB will go her way with her acolytes (Try crossing her and see what happens, girls) and I will go mine.

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From the other side of the aisle. I am non-partisan.

Who Needs Feminism? You Do.

Want to see me in person? Sure you do: this Saturday at the Burbank Public Library Buena Vista branch, I will be there, signing books, selling books. There will be a bunch of other great local authors of different genres. Come on down.

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A few months ago, Facebook and other social media blew up over a Tumblr account of young women holding up signs declaring that they don’t need feminism:

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Yeah. What this smugster doesn’t realize is that her gender has already been politicized whether she likes it or not.

This group reminds me of young, wealthy and privileged, like Paris Hilton or the Kardashians. They are enjoying the benefits that a parent or a grandparent sweated blood, fought, fell back, fought some more, and sacrificed to secure. They don’t see a need for others to fight and struggle because they themselves don’t need it.

They’re not thinking about things like Title IX as they go out for a college soccer or field hockey team. Or these women:

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Because of their sacrifice, these young women are free to go vote for men (or women) who want to restrict access to birth control because it offends their religious sensibilities or outlaw abortion for the same reasons.

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Know this woman? No? Do you young anti-feminists use birth control? She did a lot of fighting and sweating to lay the groundwork for that.

“I’m morally opposed to having my tax dollars pay for birth control and abortion.” Hey, I’m morally opposed to having my tax dollars pay a salary to a Congress that’s been sitting on its ass for 2 years and wasting taxpayer dollars on 50 plus show votes to repeal a law that’s working. I’m morally opposed to churches getting involved in politics and not having to pay taxes. I’m morally opposed to paying for war. I’d prefer the money went to supporting women in controlling their own destinies.

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The young women in the Tumblr feed were not on the planet when the bitch shown on the left almost single-handedly sank the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have made gender equality a part of the Constitution. Know who she is? Someone dug up her nasty old ass and stuck a microphone in front of it. She’s running her trap again on topics as diverse as birth control, women’s rights (again. Jesus. Everything old is new again) and that she thinks the President is responsible for Ebola in the US. Phyllis Schlafly is an older edition of the spoiled rich kid who doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices that were made in order to allow her to publicly be a stupid shit. Seriously, though I generally do not wish I’ll on people, I want her to die soon and in the most embarrassing way possible.

Young Women Who Think They Don’t Need Feminism (especially THIS one):

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Do you want to make your own decisions? Like whether or not to shave? (I’m a feminist and I shave. I have the choice) If you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy, how many choices do you want available as you chart your course? Just one? How about reading? Getting an education? Think it’s not necessary to fight that fight?

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Malala Yousefzai

This girl was shot in the head because she said she thought girls getting an education was a good thing and should be a right.

Got a job? You got to choose that rather than having your father choose a husband for you (sometimes based on what kind of stuff your prospective husband was willing to trade for you. Goats, camels, land, a title (Consuelo Vanderbilt), cash, a corporate merger, building a political/Royal dynasty (Catherine of Aragon). Women stopped putting up with that shit. That’s feminism.

Earn money from that job? Do you enjoy getting to decide how you use it? Want to buy a house or rent an apartment? Get a car loan? Not so long ago, you couldn’t have done those things without a man getting involved, whether you were married or not.

Feminism, my dear, spoiled young ladies, is not about shaving body hair, or allowing a man to open a door for you. Remember telling someone “You’re not the boss of me”? That’s what feminism is about; fighting for and protecting the right of women to be their own bosses.

Respect is an earned thing, not a freebie. Feminism is not only about us making our own decisions, it’s about them being respected. See this guy? And the woman?

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He’s now a US Supreme Court justice whose confirmation hit a major snag when he was accused of sexual harassment by the woman in blue. The hearings lasted days and the details were unflattering to an an educated man who would be making decisions affecting women. I suspect part of the reason that Justice Thomas does as little as possible on the bench is payback for being exposed. Know all the sexual sensitivity training that is now part of orientation? That came about because a woman came forward and said, “This is the shit I was subjected to as part of my employment. No one should have to deal with a hostile work environment.” That was over twenty years ago; two decades and four Presidents. Want to see what’s outside the HR Manager’s office where I work?

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She doesn’t think we need feminism, either. And she’s in charge of enforcing the policies that prevent this kind of inappropriate shit.

And we have to deal with this kind of shit:

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The reason we need feminism is because these battles from twenty, forty, fifty, and ninety years ago have not been won. People with means who don’t think that the American ideal of equal rights for all have been buying legislators on the state and Federal levels to undo this progress. Women are the majority in this country yet we are underrepresented in government at all levels. Do you honestly think the freedoms you enjoy now are going to be protected if women stop fighting for them?

You do need feminism, you spoiled little shits, even if you don’t want to mess up your manicure fighting for your rights.