Tag Archives: politics

I like that

2B1BA3C8-94F6-4EDB-BBAF-12E804849B00When I was an undergraduate, studying English and Women’s Studies at the University at Albany, I didn’t often buy prepared food in the basement of the campus center. There was one occasion, though, when I was on campus in the evening for a panel discussion and needed a bite to eat. I walked downstairs and hesitated a moment before entering what was then the grill area of the food services concession. As I stood at the doorway I witnessed the cooks behind the line blatantly eyeing up (and down) each woman. As the women approached the counter to place an order I could clearly hear the men saying “I like that. I like that.” They made no attempt to hide what they were saying, nudging each other and smirking. Did they think they were offering compliments as a side order?

I, being full on a diet of Women’s Studies, stepped up to the counter and addressed the cooks and informed them that what they were doing was unacceptable and they needed to stop. Their response? “What are you? Anita Hill?” This was late fall, 1991 and the news was full of Clarence Thomas’s nomination to the Supreme Court and Anita Hill’s testimony accusing him of sexual harassment. Knowing that I wasn’t going to get anywhere dealing directly with the kitchen guys, I walked away shaking my head.

The next day, I wrote a letter to the then head of Food Services at the university. A couple of days later, I received a phone call from his office and arranged for a meeting with him on campus. He complimented me on my letter writing skills and we discussed the incident. I explained my position and the concern I felt for 17 and 18 year-old women who might not be comfortable confronting men who were engaging in inappropriate verbal harassment and that campus should be a safe place for everyone. He was sympathetic, understanding and assured me that the situation would be addressed. I never went back to the cafeteria again.

Maybe those men were spoken to and developed a new understanding of what is acceptable in terms of addressing women and professional demeanor. Maybe they have daughters of their own now. Maybe they even now know that we don’t like it. At all.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Albany, Education, girlhood, Local, musings, writing

Humor is kind of funny

humor-1We’ve probably all, at one time or another, told a joke or attempted a prank that simply fell flat. The timing was off, perhaps, or maybe our audience just didn’t have an appreciation for whatever it was that we personally found to be amusing. It happens.

In the past week there have been two instances when, I think, people were trying to be funny, yet their actions were perceived as anything but humorous. One of these situations was a stunt performed on social media, the other in a much smaller, yet still public manner. Neither felt particularly funny to me.

The image that Kathy Griffin tweeted out was nothing short of repulsive. It’s no secret that I find Donald Trump to be despicable, but the tasteless depiction of his decapitated and bloody head was just beyond the limits of acceptability. It was gruesome in a way that didn’t tickle my funny bone, but instead turned my stomach. I won’t link to it and prefer to not see it again because it doesn’t make me imagine a world without Trump, but instead reminds me of human beings who have actually suffered that exact fate at the hands of violent regimes. Remember James Foley? Daniel Pearl? Steven Sotloff? It’s not funny.

Last Friday was the final night my restaurant was open for business. It was busy and I was really happy to see so many guests who felt compelled to share this last night with us on Lark Street. It felt like a big hug, to be honest and I really appreciated the presence of each of those positive people. There was, however, a dark cloud hanging over what was such an affirmative night.

For some reason, maybe irony or humor, my staff elected to all wear t-shirts or tank tops that were purchased by the owner of the previous business to have been in the 200 Lark space, The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark. When I noticed the first one, I thought it was kind of funny, but when I realized that each of them was wearing clothing that advertised a business that hadn’t been open for close to two years on my business’ last night, it didn’t feel humorous at all. It felt mean.

I’m all about irony and if I had been included in the joke (hey, I have two of those shirts myself!), I truly believe it would have been a great gag. I would have loved a group photo of all of us wearing those shirts to have been our final image on our social media pages. Instead, though, I was left feeling utterly disappointed, which I suppose is better than disgusted on the spectrum of negative emotions. What I wasn’t doing was laughing.

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Observations, Restaurants, Uncategorized

The A, B and D of politics

b-c-d-alphabet-letters-floral-elements-decorative-vintage-different-designs-square-format-behind-each-uppercase-33779316Did you notice I left out “C?” That’s because “C” would have been for Clinton and I found her to be a deeply flawed candidate that the Democratic National Committee forced upon me as their chosen candidate. It wasn’t that I believed her to be unqualified, only that she was the wrong nominee at a time when citizens were demanding someone not closely connected to the “establishment.” Sorry, Hillary, but Bernie was my guy. He’s not my “B,” though. We’ll get to that. Let’s begin with “A.”

A” is for Andrew Cuomo, our governor and a man I don’t plan to ever vote for again. I can’t say never because, as I was reminded, what would I do if Cuomo ran against Palandino? Right, there’s that to consider, isn’t there? My lack of support for our governor is a result of his inept and heavy-handed implementation of Common Core Curriculum at the expense of teachers. The damage he caused to my profession was undeserved and I’m holding a grudge.

B” is for Barack Obama, a man who held the highest office in our country and conducted himself in a manner that was unfailingly appropriate and worthy of respect. While he may not have accomplished all I had hoped for, he and his family represented me in a way that made me proud to be an American. His intelligence, speaking skills and empathy will be missed and I sincerely hope Barack (and Michelle, too!) continues to play a role in our government and policy making. His rational thoughtful voice is going to be needed now more than ever…and that brings us to “D.”

D” is for disturbed and destructive and dangerous and divisive and disrespectful. “D” is for dismayed and distressed and disgusted. “D” is for Dear Lord, let’s hope this goes by with dizzying speed. “D” is for Donald Trump.

1 Comment

Filed under politics

Upon waking to the news of Donald Trump’s victory

cwzjnxoveaapolxIt seems appropriate that the sky is grey and the ground is wet. It matches my mood perfectly. I can’t stop shaking my head – whether to clear it of the thoughts which are racing about or as an inescapable response to lunacy around me, I’m not certain. This is bad.

When I went to that Trump rally last spring, I left with two conclusions. The first, which has been proven to be undeniably false, was that Donald Trump could never be elected. The second, prompted by my gazing around the arena and wondering who those Americans were, has been confirmed in a manner I never before imagined. I don’t know those people.

There are some things I do know, though. I will never allow the government to rescind the civil rights of LGBT Americans. You see, I do know those people and, unlike Trump and his supporters, they don’t scare me. Last week, when the Indigo Girls played at the Egg, we had a number of lesbian guests and I was struck, as I listened to the good-natured teasing going on between women who had never met before,  by how much progress our society has made in the last twenty years or so. Living a true and genuine life is not something exclusive to heterosexuals and I will stand shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and sisters should they need to battle to retain their equal rights. Going backwards is not an option.

Despite being beyond reproductive age, I will continue to support women and their right to choose when to bear children. I’ve stood up before to those wishing to deny legal and safe access to abortion to women in our country and I am fully prepared to do it again. If you don’t approve of abortion, don’t have one. That’s what’s called a choice.

As a first generation American I’ve always felt that it is my obligation to demonstrate traits which have been ascribed to immigrants in this country for centuries – hard work, honesty, self-reliance and personal responsibility. The only change now is a sense that I must commit to helping other new Americans to have the same opportunities as I have had.

During the presidential campaign I observed that Trump supporters loudly celebrated and gloated each Clinton flaw which was revealed, while Clinton backers reacted with distaste and appall as the laundry list of Trump’s outrageous behaviors was exposed. As an educated and reasonably intelligent woman, my response to both sides was to wish that we, as Americans, had been offered better options for whom to cast our precious votes. We have to do better in a world threatened by terrorists, impending environmental disasters, lack of access to healthcare and the vulnerability of persons of color and those who identify as LGBT.

I hope that a man who is supremely unqualified to hold the highest office in our country proves to be a champion of all people. There’s nothing I’d like more than for Donald Trump to prove me wrong again. Other than 4 more years of Barack Obama, that is.

3 Comments

Filed under News, Observations, politics, Uncategorized

Was it your child this time?

image.jpegOr maybe it was your brother or father or lover? Was someone you love murdered for their desire to dance and enjoy a Saturday night out? Not this time? Lucky you. But how about all of those families who will never again see or touch someone who just may have meant the world to them? In whose mind is the theft of a loved one a fair price to pay for the inalienable right to purchase and possess a weapon or two or three? Not mine.

We’re living in a world where the right to own a gun supersedes the expectation that a night in a dance club will end with last call and the lights being turned up. An individual killed 50 people early this morning. 50 people. How is that even possible? My head hurts when I attempt to do the math and consider the number of families who will forever miss the person they lost on a random Saturday night in June. Jesus Christ, when will it end?

I don’t want to hear my president trying to once again make sense of a situation which possesses no logic. I’m sorry but I just can’t look. I know what’s going to happen next – we’ll see the pictures of the murdered people, we’ll be introduced to them all in death never to know them in life, we’ll hear the stories of the survivors and witness their horror and know that something inside of each of them was killed even if they escaped with their lives. We’ve all seen it before, right? And, you know what? We’ll all see it again.

Screw you, NRA, and your steadfast bullshit conviction that you and all your brethren are entitled to purchase and possess a tool of mass murder. Your right will never trump (Trump) the right we as members of a civilized society have to sing and dance and learn and pray. Never.

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Rant, Uncategorized