Saturday, August 7, 2010


The Islamic Center was approved yesterday by the New York City's Landmarks Commission.

Whew! I am glad, very glad!

The people who objected (among them were Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Rick Lazio, whom jumped on that bandwagon to help their own bandwagons), are already announcing lawyers, lawsuits -- suing the Landmark's Commission, NYC, and Mayor Bloomberg.

Oh boy, here we go--rallies, protest marches, fundraisers, postponements, delays.

The only objections that made sense to me were put forth by the Anti Defamation League. The ADL said, "The Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam." They explained it was ultimately -- "Not a question of rights, but a question of what is right ... building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain unnecessarily -- and that is not right."

I can't accept "that is not right!"

I think the Islamic Center is wonderful idea. The huge plans -- a mosque, 500 seat auditorium, sport facilities, pool, restaurants, school, book stores, art exhibits -- benefitting the neighborhood, tourists, the city of New York -- locating it across the street from where the World Trade Center, is a powerful way of showing the world that Islam is not the enemy, that Muslims are people to respect, trust, enjoy as friends, as brothers and sisters.

The pain that 9/11 victims feel, cannot be assuaged. The dead are dead. What must be assuaged is anger, and blaming Islam, blaming Muslims,

I can't help remembering what President Roosevelt did to the Japanese with Presidential order 9066 -- interning, putting into fenced-in camps, Americans of Japanese ancestry -- some 120,000, and those who were not interned, became blighted people. They and their children continued to suffer, as American citizens who'd been labeled as enemies.

I wrote about banning the burqa, and our relationship with Islam yesterday. I'm feeling it more-so, stronger, louder, today. The Islamic Center could be the beginning of our connecting with Islam -- and hope -- a world where we can all live and survive together.

We need to embrace them, They need to embrace us.

Friday, August 6, 2010


France just passed a law banning the full-face "burqa."

There are 5 million Muslims in France, and though only about 2,000 wear the full-face Islamic veil, some of the French law-makers said the burqa is oppressive to women. Others said, "The burqa is antithetical to French culture." The assembly's majority leader said, "How can you establish a relationship with a person who hides a smile or a glance, refuses to exist in the eyes of others?"

The reasons why they passed the law seem picayune to me. But France now bans the burqa along with Turkey, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and four states in Germany; in Massachusetts when the burqa was banned in three colleges, students protested and the ban was lifted.

Many states have laws about wearing swimsuits when you're not on the beach. There are no laws restricting Victoria's Secret ads for thongs, cleavage, and eye-popping, sexy sleep-wear, and lots of girls wear micro-mini skirts, and other risque fashions.

And some of the countries banning the veils permit topless beaches, string bikinis, and their streets are crowded with women and girls wearing flashy, revealing, latest-style American clothes.

So, why are laws being passed about the burqa -- is it oppressing the women who wear them? Muslim women say they wear them to honor their husbands. And people who are bothered by not being able to see a veiled person's eyes -- is it because the veil and voluminous garments hide everything about the woman -- make her appear to be someone from the days when women were chattel?

I think women in burqas are frightening people because terrorists have disguised themselves, gained entry to crowded places, and committed suicide, killing hundreds of others.

Perhaps the countries that are banning the burqa are scared, the same as we are. And focusing on laws that can be passed on the basis of -- "Hey, people don't dress like that around here" makes the law-makers feel better about not being able to pass laws on the life and death issues -- nuclear weapons, and Jihad -- terrorists who are fighting a holy war, a life and death battle between Islam and Christianity.

It's getting more so, and making many of us wonder how can we live with these people.

I think banning the burqa is wrong -- it's creating antagonism, and hatred between them and us.

It would make more sense to have an international summit for the heads of various countries to talk about religious beliefs.

We need to speak with one another about what our different religious beliefs are, talk about why we worship and pray and do what we do, and why they worship and pray and do what they do.

I get frightened -- feel the hair standing up at the back of my neck -- when I read that Jihad is one of the 10 rules of Islam. What are the rules, and why is Jihad a rule -- we need to talk with Muslims about that.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


A few days ago, I was shocked to discover that my left foot sickles. Look closely at the picture. The left foot turns in slightly.

Every day. I warm up my muscles and dance to stirring, exciting symphonic music. It's not hugely strenuous choreography but the movements fit the music. It's fun! It's what keeps me vital, and gives me joy, pep -- energy to tackle everything else in my life.

My choreography requires the left foot and right foot to be un-sickled.

Turn off your pity. Toss away your questions. A sickled foot's a foolish, unimportant minor thing.

Over my left shoulder, my list of blog ideas is clipped to my clipboard -- I need to work on ten new rules for Wall Street, or the horrendous oil spills in Nigeria. But under my chair -- oh dear, my left foot is turned over, toes bent, instep bulging as it's being stretched. It's a lousy stretch. It hurts and reminds me that the sickled, turned-in-ness of the foot was solvable twenty years ago -- there's nothing I can do to fix the foot, unless I do what I did when I was first learning to dance, stretching-stretching all day long.

Why didn't I notice the sickle? Okay, I did, sort of vaguely notice it. Why did I let so much time pass without stretching it?

Other work, other projects that took physical effort were more important. There's no way to maintain a professional dancer's technique without rehearsing at least four hours a day. I maintained overall body flexibility, and didn't want to bother about the foot.

So -- forget the sickle! Do what you can do! This big deal of a turned-in foot is the same as a woman dieting to fit the clothes she wore at age 16 -- it's stupid, time-wasting vanity.

Okay, my dancing "hobby" requires the left and the right foot to be turned out, NOT sickled. The reason I noticed the poor left foot was my turns -- they were wobbly -- I've simplified the choreography, but I can't do a smooth double turn any anymore.

Who cares? I care! If I'm wobbling I am not going to do my dance any more. I'll just do some exercises like an average "older woman."

Yuck -- I hate exercise -- hate calisthenics -- I love dancing.

What would Lance Armstrong do? He'd exercise and keep working on the foot. He'd ignore the fact that it's not possible for me spend time in the studio exercising for more than 40 to 50 minutes a day.

I'm not a Lance Armstrong -- a super athlete -- who defied his doctors, beat cancer, who has a huge motivation to win and win again. I'm a writer -- retired dancer who refuses to give up dancing -- who's been writing about be yourself, admiring Hillary, telling people in India be what you are.

So? Well ...?

Damn hell son-of-a-bitch dammit -- I'm going to stretch that dumb, sickled, turned-in, stupid, stiff old foot and keep dancing!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


A friend who knows me well, knows I'm interested in "art" -- I paint pictures as a hobby -- sent me this link.
You may be surprised, amused, and inspired by what you learn about YOURSELF.

Give this a try. Just click the word


Tuesday, August 3, 2010


In India there's a new Facebook Application that's helping people in India change the shade of their skin.

This app says download your profile photo, drag a line across the screen to see yourself with lighter skin.

Sh Shahrukh Khan, a Bollywood superstar, in a commercial, says the lotion, Vaseline Men, can be used for lightening your entire body.

Whiter skin is IN in India.

This Facebook App and the new product is encouraging men and women in India to believe they can have a better life, more success, better jobs, earn more money, have a better love life and better marriage, if their skin is whiter. In India, whiter/lighter skin implies you're upper class. Class, i.e. caste is still a big deal over there -- scholars, priests teachers, educated people with fine manners, accustomed to the finer things in life are Higher Caste. (Lower caste are darker-skinned people who work in the sun -- laborers, servants, etc.)

Skin lightening products are already an established trend in Asia, a booming business in China, Japan, and the Philippines.

I find myself thinking of Michael Jackson -- his white face. Did he have the disease (Vitiligo)? That's what he told Oprah in an interview. But weren't you aghast as you saw his features change -- nose, eyes, chin, cheek bones? Everything about him changed-- even if he had Vitiligo, why did he choose a white person's features -- did he want to be white?

What about Blacks? Don't they favor lighter skin for reasons that sound just like the guys in India ? Lighter means you get jobs more easily, better jobs, higher pay, better social life -- aren't they more successful in every department?

Is lighter better if you're Latino, Puerto Rican, Mexican, or from Argentina, Venezuela or another South American country? I suspect the answer is yes.

I have to bring up the words. I'm white -- hair, features, build, everything about me says "white Caucasian." White is associated with benign, bright, fortunate, propitious, pure, milk, fresh snow, rays of light, and spirituality.

Black is associated with dirty, foul, impure, nasty, squalid; also unclean; gloomy, depressing, dismal, dispiriting, funereal -- black magic, black-anger, blackout, blackmail -- all those bad things, while white is heavenly things such as clouds and angels.

I can't help thinking that the words help to send many people into pursuing whiter/lighter skin.

I think trying to look whiter is seriously dumb, just like people (practically everyone I know), trying to look young. Can "older" ever be more beautiful than "younger" -- lines, wrinkles, thinning hair, puffy eyes. jowls, wattling neck? No -- not in our society, when we're bombarded with sexy young heroines and heros in movies, TV, and ads selling us magical ways to fix up any and all our flaws.

Translate that into skin color -- can blacker, darker, be more beautiful, and sought after by men and women in India with "castes," Bollywood movies, TV, and all the words that say white is pure and black is evil?

I am thinking how gorgeous Michael Jackson was as a child in the Jackson Five, then the slender, tall, black young man, fascinating, excitingly handsome -- if he'd left his nose, his mouth, his facial structure alone -- even after the trial, the smears, dirty talk about his love for kids, his sexuality -- Michael Jackson would be living on throughout the world as a symbol of a uniquely talented man, who was what he was.

A few days ago I said "we like Secretary of State Hillary now more than ever, because she is what she is." I'm saying it all over the place these days -- saying it to the people in India, Latinos, Puerto Ricans. Mexicans, Jews. Muslims. Japanese, Blacks and to myself -- BE WHAT YOU ARE.

Monday, August 2, 2010


We've had a big crop of famous unfaithful guys -- Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Sandra Bullock's Jesse, Mel Gibson, maybe Al Gore, and others ...

I don't think Erin Woods should have divorced Tiger; I wish Elizabeth hadn't needed to write her book. I think John Edwards still has good things to contribute to society. Though they're divorced I wouldn't be surprised if Sandra B. got back together with Jesse. Al Gore's troubles seem media invented. Mel Gibson's a talented man who is deliberately destroying himself. (And I have much more to say about each of them, but right now I am talking to you about YOU.)

Our hunger to know more and more ... Well, gossip is fun, an absorbing distraction, and also it's a way of sorting out your own fears, unpleasant thoughts, and insecurities.

While being fascinated with the story behind the gossip headlines, remember that you're being entertained, diverted from important things that may have more to do with you -- it's got nothing to do with you.

Beware of what's said about infidelity -- the words are potholes in the road. There's lots of advice on the subject -- psychiatrists, family therapists, ministers, friends, books, and a rash of articles right now -- commentators, doctors, people with statistics, and probabilities about marriage, divorce, and playing around that are based on your age, gender, career, education, where you live, what you earn, your family history... and your actual sex life.

If infidelity becomes a suspicion, a shock in YOUR life, my advice is: DON'T DO ANYTHING. If you have to do something because you're crying, because you can't get through the day, sure -- talk about it, spill it to whomever is there. But avoid opinions and conclusions about what to do.

Mull it over -- over and over and over -- asking any of the questions, all of the questions that are flooding your mind. It's a shock, intolerable, impossible to live with. But live with it.

If you're suicidal, write a note. Put the note away and look at it in a week, a month, six months or so. Or never.

Marriage, love, even passionate love can be reignited. The pain takes time to diminish and can become something you can deal with. If you've been together for a year, it can take a year to diminish -- five years, it can take five years to fade. The pain equation is, I think, however long you've been together, that much time it will take until the infidelity is part of you, but not painful.

Do talk, or don't talk with your unfaithful mate. Talk about sex very specifically if you can. And ask the nagging killer questions about the lover, the love affair -- get answers or perhaps you won't get answers, and you'll ask again.

I am saying don't break up because of infidelity. You owe it to yourself, the self who fell in love. Instead of destroying what the two of you made, live with it, weave it into your understanding of who you are and who your mate is. It's possible to make it part of the love that you share, the love you and your mate created.

Hey, if you don't agree with me, just take what I say with a grain of salt. But salt is a seasoning that improves the flavor. I'm putting the thought out for you to taste -- infidelity is not a life and death disaster. It doesn't end love.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


The Cullums laugh, recalling new things they've bought recently -- all the things that don't work the way they're supposed to.

Emily admits she gets seriously annoyed. What bothers John is being put on hold, and then, after he's finally connected with customer service, the problem, the issue -- whatever is wrong can't be resolved.

Emily counts on John to fix appliances; John counts on Emily to deal with buying things on line.