International Women’s Day


“This

is

an

alpha male

job,”

he

spewed

with

confidence.

“This

business

is

dominated

by

us,”

he boasted.

“What can you

bring

to

the

table?”

He

smirked.

Answer

him

wisely.

Naïve

is

this

man.

A man’s

table?

A man’s

world?

The

Alpha

men.

Brought

here

by

women.

Amidst

hurdles

and

obstacles.

The egg

lies

in wait.

Until

out of

millions

one

finds

its way

in.

The

weakling

girl

transforms.

She

is

now

the

protector.

The fierce

one.

She

discovers

the

beginning

is the

hardest.

The

most

challenging.

The

riskiest.

She’s

petrified

but

confident.

She

observes

and

manages.

The

first

sign.

An

awakening.

A

flutter

then

a

thriving

kick.

Internal

strength.

And

power

from

deep

within.

Patiently

waiting

for

months

and

months.

While

nourishing

and

supporting.

Knowing

life

is

resilient

and

sacrifice

is

quiet.

Taking

courage.

Laboring.

Pushing.

Delivering.

Belief

that

survival

is

crucial.

Reassurance

that

all

is

possible.

Cracking.

Shattering.

First

the

table.

Then

the

world.

 

$95 a Month for Health Insurance and You Voted for Trump?

I promised myself and my readers that I would not talk about anything political again.

Sorry, I can’t help myself. I tried, and well, it didn’t work.

So here goes:

There was an article today in the New York Times about what people in Utah pay to be part of the Affordable Care Act (A.C.A.).

First things first. And I repeat: The AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.

Please call it what it is, and stop calling it Obamacare. He’s history. And if the Republicans have anything to do with it, so is the A.C.A.

But I divert.

According to the New York Times article, one woman in Utah receives an A.C.A. subsidy, and then pays $95 per month (a whopping 51% increase from $47 in 2016), with a $2,500 deductible. This woman pays under $4,000 a year for insurance. And that’s horrible because?

Just to be clear, I never had a real issue with the A.C.A. People need insurance. I get that. And I’m not putting this woman down for being on it at all.

And this 30-year-old woman, who doesn’t make a lot of money, voted for Clinton. And the poor thing has breast cancer. So I feel for her. I really do.

But Trump won the state of Utah with 45% of the vote compared to 27% for Clinton. (21% went to an Independent.)

Here’s a second statistical doozy from the same article:

Another mother in Utah pays $75 per month for a plan that covers her family of three. That’s after her subsidy of $558. She didn’t mention what her deductible is. She is 39-years-old and also has breast cancer. She voted for Trump. She was quoted as saying that her voting for Trump was “one of the biggest regrets of my life.” She now feels like plenty of other Americans who are part of the A.C.A. and who voted for Trump.

Too little too late.

And according to the Times article, plenty of the people who voted for Trump in Utah participate in the A.C.A. health plan. And now they are concerned and afraid. Big league.

This is not fake news. This is the “sad” truth. And easy to understand. Buyer’s remorse. We’ve all experienced it.

But what I don’t understand is  why people whose lives and families depended upon getting critical health care via the A.C.A. voted for Trump, knowing full well he was going to “repeal and replace.”

They trusted Trump? The liar he already showed himself to be time and time again?

So when Trump gets out there and tells the American people that the increases in the A.C.A. are HUUUGE, take a gander at the statistic above. In the first example I mentioned, the 30-year-old woman, who has cancer, is paying 51% more for insurance than last year.  From $47 to $95.

And then there is the regular Joe Schmo, like me, who has too high an income to qualify for the A.C.A.  He too is from Utah and has a wife and three children. He pays a premium of $1,200 per month. That’s over $14,000 per year. The Times didn’t say what his deductible is. I’m sure it’s very high.

He was quoted in the New York Times as saying “Doesn’t feel like insurance. Feels like punishment.”

Amen.

So, here’s my question. IF YOU PARTICIPATE IN THE A.C.A. PROGRAM, WHY DID YOU VOTE FOR TRUMP?

Whatever the reason, Trump supporters clearly didn’t do their health care homework.

Lesson to be learned right?

Except for this: An A.C.A. repeal will likely affect access to badly needed programs for Americans with mental illness and drug addiction. And even though many of the states with the largest population of opioid drug abusers overwhelmingly voted for Trump, that would be devastating.

Many Trump voters are now making it clear that they will not support any plan that deprives them of the health care they desperately need, and now have.

And how about those people who might never have, like the catastrophic effect a repeal will have on Americans 50-64 who have not yet become eligible for Medicare.

What will happen to those folks?

Democrat Senator of West Virginia, Joe Manchin recently said it best: “Voters may not know how they got their health care, but they sure will know who took it away.”

Oh, and a shout-out to the Republicans in office: GOOD LUCK WITH THAT REPEALING AND REPLACING TASK.

 

Brick by Brick

One brick

two bricks

three bricks.

Coming

at me.

One

right

after

the other.

Brick

after brick

after brick.

All in ABC’s.

Abandoned * abused * accused * afflicted * afraid * aggressive * alarmed * alienated * an-accident * anguished * angry * anxious * apprehensive * argumentative * awful * awkward * bad * banished * banned * belligerent * below-average * berated * betrayed * bitch * bitter * black-sheep * blamed * blocked * boney * bossy * bothersome *brainwashed * break-up * breakdown * bridgeport * broke * broken * broken-hearted * browbeat * bruised * bugs * bullied * burden * burns * burned * can’t  * careless * catastrophe * chaos * cheated-on * cheater * chicken * clingy * clueless * clumsy * cockroaches * cold * combative *competitive * compulsive* conceited * condemned * condescending * conflicted * confused * conned * consumed * contentious * court * coward * crazy * critical * criticized * cruelty * crushed * crybaby * cutoff * cut-out * cynical * damaged * damned * dark * dark-skinned * defective * defensive * defiant * deficient * delicate * delusional * demons * depressed * deprived * deserted * detached * destroyed * destructive * detested * devalued * devastated * devil * different * difficult * disappointed * disappointment * disapproved-of * disbelieved * discarded * disconnected * disgruntled * disgust * disliked * disloyalty * dismal * disobedient * displaced * disposable * disrespected * dissed * distant * distraught * distressed * disturbed * disrespectful * dizzy * dominated * don’t * doomed * doubtful * drained * dreamer *  dreary * drop-out * dropped-off * drunk * dumb * duped * eliminated * elusive * embarrassed * emotional * enabler * engulfed * enraged * entrapped * estranged * evil * exaggerator * exasperated * excluded * excommunicated * failure * fake * fatherless * fat * fear * fearful * feeble * fire * fired * flawed * flee * forgotten * forsaken * fragile * frightened * frigid * foolish * forgettable * from-a-broken-home * frustrated * furious * gawky * ghetto * get lost * goodbye * graceless * greaser * guarded * guilt * guilty * gutter * half-sister * harassed * hard-hearted * harmed * hassled * hated * havoc * heartbreak * heartache *hell * hidden * hindered * hindrance * homely * hopeless * horrible *hungry * huron-street * hurt * hurtful * hyper * hysterical * illegal * illegitimate * immune * imperfect * impossible * imperfect * incapable * incompetent * inconvenient * indifferent * ineffective * inept * inexperienced * inferior *infested * infected *  injured * insecure * insensitive * insignificant * insolent * instigator * insubordinate * intense * in-the-way * intimidating * invader * invisible *isolated * jaded * jealous * jeered * jew-lover * jittery * jumpy * judged * joyless * kept-apart * kept-away * Kept-in * kept-out * kept-quiet * lanky * left-out * let-down * liar *lied-about * lied-to * lonely * loner * lonesome * loser * lost * loud * mad * made-fun-of * malicious * mangled * man-handled * manipulated * marginalized * messed-with * messed-up * misbehaved * miserable * mistake * misunderstood * mixed-up * mocked * mod-martian * molested * money-hungry * mouse-traps * muzzled * naïve * needy * negative * neglected * nervous * never * no * nobody * numb * nuts * objectified * obsessed * only-child * opportunistic * out-of-place * out-of-touch * over-controlled * ambitious * overlooked * overwhelmed * overly-sensitive * overwhelmed * pain * panicky * paranoid * pathetic * persecuted * persistent * pessimistic * pests * petrified * picked-on * plain * played-with * pock-marked * poor * powerless * pressured * problematic * pulled-apart * pulled-back * punished * puppet * pushed * pushed-away * put-down * quiet * questioned * quirky * rage * rambunctious * rats * rattled * reckless * reject * rejected * rejection * restless * reticent * reluctant * repulsed * repulsive * resented * resentful * retaliatory * retard * revengeful * ridiculed * ridiculous * rodents * rogue * rollercoaster * rude * ruined * sacrificed * sad * scape-goat * scared * scaredy-cat * * scarred * scary * scolded * screwed * screwed-over * screwed-up * second-class * self-destructive * sensitive * set-up * shame * shamed * shameful * shipwreck * shouldn’t * shouted-at * shunned * shy * sickly * silly * singled-out * sinner * skeptical * skinny * smothered * snapped-at * step-daughter * stereotyped * stop * stressed * stressed-out * stuck * stuck-up * stupid * sub-par * substandard * suffocated * suicidal * suppressed * suspicious * swarthy * tattle-tale * tense * terrified * terry * theresa-the-greaser * threatened * timid * tormented * troublemaker * ugly * unable * unapologetic * unappreciative * unattractive * uncaring * underestimated * underdog * undermined * underpaid * uneducated * unequal * unforgiving * unfriendly * unhappy * unhealthy * unjust * unlovable * unlucky * unneeded * unlovable *unqualified * unwanted * unwanted-advances * unrealistic * unrelentless *unruly * untalented * untrusting unwelcome * unworthy * upset * used * useless * vermin * victimized * violated * violence * volatile * vulnerable * wary * weak * weary * wedge * weeds * weepy * weird * wicked * wild * won’t * worthless * written-off * written-out * wrong *  zero

Some bricks

broke my

bones.

Others

broke my

spirit.

Then I heard

him

speak

on TV.

About building

with bricks.

Don’t

be afraid.

Pick them up.

Each and

every

one.

Pick them up.

And then

build.

You can

do it.

Construct

a firm foundation.

Brick by brick.

But how?

That was my

question.

So many bricks.

Too many

bricks

to handle.

And even

If I could.

Pick them all up.

Brick by brick.

What to use.

To build and

protect.

Maybe mortar.

Lots and

lots

of

binding

mortar.

Let me try.

Able * abide * ability *accept * accomplished * accountable * achieve * adapt * adjust * admired * adore * adored * advocate * affectionate * agile * agreeable * alert * alive * always * amazed * ambition * amen * analytical * angel * appreciated * appreciative * approachable * ariel * aspire * assemble * assent * assert * atone * attract * audacious * aunt * authentic * available * awakened * awed * babies * backbone * balance * barb * beginnings * believing * belonging * beloved * benchmark * blessed * bliss * blossom * bold * boy * brain * bravery * breakthrough * brilliance * builder * buoyant * busy * caleb * calm * can * candor * capability * carefree * careful * caring * celebrate * centered * certainty * chances * change * charity * charm * charmed * cheer * cheered * chief-operating-officer *  child * child-like * choice * chosen * clarity * climb * coequal * cogent * cohesion * comfort * comforting * comfortable * commitment * communicate * community * companion * compassion *  competence * complete * complimentary * composed * conciliatory * concise *   concrete * confidence * connect * consensual * considerate * consideration * consistent * consoling * constructive * content * continuity * contributive * conviction * cooperation * cornerstone * courage * courtesy * creativity * credible * cuddling *  curiosity * cutting-edge * daring * darling *  dauntless * dawn * decency * decisiveness * dedicated * deep * defend * defiant * definitive * deft * deliberate * demonstrative *   dependable * deserving * desired * destined * determined * devoted * dignity * diligence * diverse * doting * dreamer * dreams * durable * dutiful * dynamic * eagerness * earnestness * eloquent * empathy * empowerment * emulate * encouraged * enduring * engaging * enthusiasm * epic * equal * everlasting * example * exceed * excel * excellence *  factual * fair * faithful * family * fearless * feisty * flexibility * focus * forever * forgiveness * freedom * friends * fritzi * funny * future * garden * generosity * gentlemanly * genuine * gianna * giddy * give * glad * god * goodness * grace * graceful * gracious * grandma* grateful * grounded * guided * happy * harmless * harmonious * hazel * healing * healthful * healthy * heartfelt * heaven * hello * hero * honesty * honor * hope * hopeful * hospitality * humanitarian * humility * humor * husband * imagination * impartial * important * impression * impressive * improvement * improvise *  inclusive * indefatigable * independent * indestructible * indispensable * infant * insight * inspiration * interconnected * ipod * jovial * joy * jubilance * just * kindness * kindred * lasting * laugh * lead * leader * lean * learn * legal * legitimate * lenient * life * light * lila * * little man * live * lou * love * loved * loyalty *   lucky * mammy * magic * mate * maternal * melodious * mercy * merit * mindful * miracle * modesty * moral * motivated * moved * mulberry * music * mutuality * newborn * noble * normal * nurturing * objective * open *  open-handed * open-hearted * open-minded * optimist *  organized * original * pam * paradigm * paradise * parent * partner * passion * patience * peace * peacekeeper * permanent * perseverance * persistence * peter * playful * poetic * poise * positivity * possibility * potential * presence * pride * principled * productive * proficient * promising * protected * protector * proud * provider * purpose * quick * quiet * rainbow * real * realistic * reasoned * reasonable * reassured * reborn * reconciled * reliability * relief * resolute * resolve * respect * responsible * responsive * restorative * safe * safety * satisfied * selfless * sensible * sentimental * serene * serenity * settled * simplicity * sincerity * sister * smile * snuggle * soothing * sorry * soulmate * special * stable * strength * substantive * subtle * successful * sunshine * support * survivor * sympathy, symphony *  talent * teamwork * tenderness * teri * thankful * thoughtfulness * tireless * together * tolerance * tome * touching * tough * tranquility * triumph, trusting, trustworthy * truth * truthful * unafraid * unbeaten * unbroken * uncle * unconditional * undefeated * understanding * understood * unflappable * unicorns * unified * unique * unfazed * unlimited * unshakable * unstoppable *  validated * valued * victorious * vivacious * vivid * vocal * vulnerable * warm * welcome * wes * whimsical * whole * wife * wishful * witty * writer * worthy * yes * youthful * zany * zealous * zestful

Lots of mortar.

In ABC’s.

A

beautiful

castle.

A mighty

fortress.

To protect

and defend.

Now I’m

safe

and sound.

Fortified against

attacks.

All

bricked up

within

and

without.

My

safehold.

Gaslighting

Hands down, the most popular post I have ever written is: Bullies Are Cowards and Why I Refuse To Turn the Other Cheek.

I have received over twenty thousand page views for that one post alone and hundreds of emails from people who have shared heartbreaking bullying experiences with me.

But a recent incredibly hurtful and personal experience, immediately followed by a comment I received yesterday from a man named Jack after he read my “Bullies Are Cowards” post prompted me to write about gaslighting.

“I never said that.”

“It’s all in your head.”

“You’re too sensitive.”

“I was just joking around.”

“Oh, stop it.”

“Why are you taking things so seriously?”

“You misunderstood what I said.”

“That never happened.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”

“You don’t need to get angry over a little thing like that!”

Misinformation, disinformation, alternate theories, alternative facts, distorted view of events, outright lies.

Did you ever wonder why someone you trust would rewrite history?

And after listening to them tell their version over and over and over again, did you ever question that maybe it didn’t happen the way you thought it did?

Or second guessed yourself, and even doubted your own sanity?

If you’re nodding your head yes, don’t worry. You’re not going crazy. It’s not you. And it’s happened to the best of us.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt bullied, discredited, victimized, minimized, and alienated.

As a result, I was often left with questions about myself, wondering if I was being overly sensitive, silly, neurotic, or downright unhinged.

Gaslighting is a manipulative attempt to plant seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make those targets question their own memory, perception, sanity, and order of things.

Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, gaslighters attempt to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s beliefs.

The term comes from a 1938 London play, about a sadistic husband who is trying to drive his wife insane, titled “Gas Light.

The drama popularized the term “gaslighting” where the narcissistic abuser manipulates the mind of a victim by presenting fiction as fact, causing the victim to question reality.

Gaslighters come in all forms: Family members, friends, spouses, teachers, health professionals, bosses, authoritarian regimes, government officials, and yes, even the President of the United States.

There is some good that can come from all of this altering of reality and facts though.

The liars and deceivers who gaslight will eventually be exposed for who and what they are and/or slip up.

But don’t wait around for that to happen.

Here is what I’ve learned over the years, and sadly, more recently, when a friend of a friend attempted to gaslight me.

The only reality you can control is your own. Distance yourself as much as possible. Walk away if necessary. Don’t engage. Don’t let anyone wear and tear you down. Don’t give into lies. Stay informed. Trust your instincts. Never give up on the truth. Resist and persist.

And above all love and believe in yourself.

 

Happy 90th Birthday Sidney Poitier


On February 20, 1927, Sidney Poitier was born in Miami, Florida. His parents were poor immigrant farmers from the Bahamas, where he and his family eventually returned.

When he was 15, he moved back to Florida, eventually making his way to New York’s Harlem where he became a dishwasher.

He served in the army, and then joined the American Negro Theater working there as a janitor in exchange for drama training.

In 1961, while the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was organizing the “Freedom Ride” Poitier appeared in his first major movie appearance when he played Walter Lee Younger in A Raisin in the Sun. While Poitier’s fictional character was mired in neighborhood tensions over interracial population in Chicago, the original Freedom Riders were being beaten by mobs in several places, including Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama.

The movie was terrific, but Poitier and the film didn’t get much attention. If you haven’t seen the movie, I strongly urge you to do so.

Two years later, a quarter of a million people participated in the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, and heard Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech.

That same year, Poitier starred as Homer Smith in the 1963 movie Lilies of the Field, and he was finally recognized as the star he was. The story of an African American itinerant worker who encounters a group of East German nuns in Arizona, who believe Smith has been sent to them by God to build them a new chapel, hit moviegoers hard.

I will never forget the last scene of the film, with Smith slipping quietly away into the night.

I recall my mom weeping next to me in the theater, and my grandmother later telling me “things were changing.”

Changing, indeed. The movie debuted just one month before Kennedy’s assassination.

Poitier’s role as Smith earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor, making him the first African-American man to win the honor.

I saw both movies as a child, but to be honest, I was too young to fully understand the importance of the films, or how talented Poitier was.

It wasn’t until 1967 when I was fourteen that I fell in love with Poitier in his role as a high school teacher in To Sir With Love, a British drama film that dealt with social and racial issues in an inner city school.

It was also in 1967 that the changing times had divided most Americans into “them” and “us.”  Following a police raid on a black power hangout, Detroit erupted into the worst race riots our country had ever experienced, with 43 people dead—33 African Americans and 10 whites. Hundreds of racial disturbances were reported across the country that year, including major riots in Tampa, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Newark, Plainfield and Brunswick, New Jersey, which killed at least 83 people. It was also the year that Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title for resisting military draft as a Muslim minister in the Nation of Islam.

I am embarrassed to say that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend any of it.

But To Sir With Love left an indelible mark on me and forever changed my view of black vs. white.

Poitier played teacher Mark Thackeray, and it was the first crush I ever had on an actor.

I can still vividly recall when at their end of the school year class dance there was a “ladies choice,” and tough girl Pamela chose Thackeray as her dance partner. That scene hands down just blew me away.

The film’s title song “To Sir With Love,” sung by Lulu (who played the unforgettable Barbara Pegg in the movie), reached number one on the U.S. pop charts.  I can’t tell you how many thousands of times I played that 45 record. (See the YouTube video of it below.)

In the same year, Poitier followed up with In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, where he starred opposite Katharine Hepburn, as a black man in love with a white woman.

Art indeed imitated life—the film debuted the same year that the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in the landmark case Loving v. Virginia.

The lyrics of To Sir With Love ended with “A friend who taught me right from wrong
and weak from strong, that’s a lot to learn.”

But if I’ve learned anything, it’s something my French-American grandmother used to tell me over and over again: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.   The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Happy 90th Birthday Sidney.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8-M_wg8AI4

Super Bowl Sunday Food Fest


 Lady Gaga in my BFF’s platter of chicken wings.

I promised in my last blog post to move on, and stop talking politics.

But to be honest, I am still obsessed with all things political.

But a promise is a promise, even though my heart and mind isn’t into much of anything else these days.

And try as I could, the only thing I could think of to blog about, is last Sunday’s Super Bowl and what I ate.

I know, it’s old news, but I’m trying here!

So here goes…

I love Super Bowl parties.

The number one reason? It’s all about the food.

…With a few commercials and a half-time show thrown in.

Oh, and of course, there’s the football game.

And yet another excuse to party hardy.

And regardless of whether I am asked to bring something or not, I always show up with my favorite go to’s:

My do-it-yourself platter decorations, and my kick-yo-ass spicy boneless buffalo chicken.

Since I need to fill up some blog space here, I thought I’d throw in a few Super Bowl stats to stretch this thang out.

Did you know that Americans spent more than $50 million on food for this last Super Bowl? (That’s a lot of moolah.)

According to the National Chicken Council (yes there is such a thing), more than 1.3 BILLION chicken wings were consumed over Super Bowl Sunday weekend. That’s enough wings to circle the Earth almost three times. They also estimated that of the wings eaten during Super Bowl weekend, 75 percent came from restaurants or food service outlets, and 25 percent were homemade, which means abut 325 million wings were picked up at grocery stores and supermarkets.

When I showed up at my local grocery store Super Bowl Saturday to pick up chicken, the wings were gonzo.

Shoppers were scurrying and snooping around in the meat department, while others were begging the butcher for a miracle. Good thing I was making boneless buffalo chicken breast!  (See my recipe below.)

Super Bowl Sunday is also hands down, the busiest day of the year for pizza places. Domino’s alone sold about 12 million slices of pizza that day.

And don’t forget about the guacamole dip (8 million pounds), tortilla and potato chips (14,500 tons), popcorn (4,000 tons) and lots and lots and lots of beer.

Estimated Super Bowl Sunday calorie consumption was approximately 1,000-2,000 per person, almost as much as the average person eats in an entire day.

Antacid sales increased by about 20 percent on the Monday after the Super Bowl, and approximately six percent of Americans called in sick.

I like to be creative and make food markers using a Super Bowl theme.  They’re super easy, and everyone raves about them.

I simply find some appropriate photos online, print them out, tape them onto cardboard, create a cardboard post, and wrap the post in aluminum foil.

Take a look at this year’s Super Bowl marker menagerie:

And who knew my Matt Ryan food marker would be so prophetic? (Poor Matt.)

Now for my Boneless Buffalo Chicken recipe:

Boneless Buffalo Chicken
1 pound skinless chicken breast (1” thick – cut into 2” x 2” pieces)
3 cups flour
1 ½ cups buttermilk (Fat free works)
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
Peanut Oil (great for frying, but vegetable oil is ok too)

Hot sauce
¾ cup hot sauce
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon butter
¼ heaping teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blue cheese dressing
4 oz. Blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce directions: Place sauce ingredients in small pan and simmer 4-5 minutes until well blended. Remove sauce from heat and set aside.

Boneless Chicken directions: Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Place buttermilk in a separate bowl. Make sure chicken is cut into pieces.  Heat oil for frying.
Dip chicken pieces into the buttermilk and then into the flour.  Gently shake off excess flour and carefully place pieces into hot oil and fry until golden brown.  Remove chicken pieces and drain them on a paper towel.  When you are ready to serve the chicken, place them in a large container and cover with the hot sauce.  Place a lid on the container and gently shake or stir until all nuggets have been coated.  Then place the chicken nuggets on a non stick baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Serve with blue cheese dressing.

 

Who Else Is Sick of Hearing About Politics on Facebook?

Every time I log onto Facebook I cringe.

I am so sick of the political discourse, and yes, I know I have participated in it.

I’m guilty as charged.

But I need to move on.

And I think I have come up with a brilliant solution that will help me to deal with all the noisy political nonsense.

When I feel like talking politics I will shove the words back in.

And instead, I will share a photo of one of my cooking efforts.

And if I’m really feeling politically disgusted, I’ll share the recipe!

I am going to try

really

really

really

hard to stop discussing politics.

And the first place I am going to start is on Facebook.

As of today, I have put a self-imposed all-things-political blog ban on The Teri Tome and will make my best efforts to muzzle my political opinions for the next thirty days.

If anyone caught my blog post Drinking Alcohol. How Much Is Too Much?  not blogging about politics and you-know-who, might be harder than cutting out the vino.

And my new passive aggressive approach starting right now?

Every time I read something on Facebook that irks me, makes me roll my eyes, and yes—sometimes enrages me, I’m going to post a food pic and a recipe or two.

So just to give you a heads up—if you see a food pic or a recipe from me in your Facebook comments section, you’ll know why.

If people  are still whipping up talk of building that wall.  [Nothing comes close to the walnut chicken I recently whipped up.]

HOW TO BUILD THAT WALNUT CHICKEN
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
¼ cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mustard Sauce
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dry sherry
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
In between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place each chicken breast smooth side down and gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/2 inch thick. In small bowl, mix melted butter and garlic powder. In shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, flour, walnuts, sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brush both sides of chicken with garlic butter; coat with bread crumb mixture.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon each of the butter and oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add 3 chicken breasts; cook 8 to 12 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink in center. Remove from skillet to serving platter; cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon each butter and oil and remaining 3 chicken breasts.

Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, stir sauce ingredients with whisk until blended. Heat to simmering; cook 10 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Serve chicken with sauce.

If people are still debating crowd size. [No biggie. Take a look at the size of the steak I grilled on the barbie last night. The bigger the better, right?]  

You want something crowd size?  Try a big ole slab of rib-eye so you can get that crust on the outside but still super juicy in the middle. And don’t do a thing to it before you put it on the grill. Maybe a pinch of salt, but that’s about it.

Rare: Sear it on high for three minutes, then turn it over for two minutes. Medium:  Four minutes on each side. Well done: Five minutes on each side.

Stopping American carnage. [Nothing like a little chili con carnage to get the American party started.]

My Chili Con Carnage
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, chopped
2 lbs ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cumin
¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, undrained
2 (16 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes, undrained
grated cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Saute onions in olive oil. Add minced garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. In dutch oven, brown ground beef. Add onions and garlic. Add spices and tomatoes with juice. DO NOT DRAIN. Heat to boiling and simmer for one hour. Add beans. DO NOT DRAIN. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Top with cheese and serve with hot biscuits or corn bread and a dollop of sour cream. (I like to make a face on the top of my chili. See my photo as a guide)

Trump is killing Obamacare. [My challah roll bread is to die for.]

Make America great again! [Take a gander at my great American dinner!]

Cutting sanctuary city funding? [How about that cut of prime rib my butcher recently prepared for me?]

Five million Americans voted fraudulently. [Anyone interested in my five layer rainbow cake recipe?]

I suggest you all try my approach!  PLEASE.

Blame Lost Jobs on Robots and Automation

Donald Trump won the Presidency in large part, by promising to bring back jobs by mostly clamping down on trade.

But the truth is that trade has very little to do with the loss of jobs. The real job loss culprit isn’t trade—it’s automation and robot employees.  And I would be very surprised if Trump clamps down on either.

The new labor sheriff coming to town—Andrew F. Puzder, Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary, won’t be clamping down on automation or robot employees either.

The current chief executive of CKE Restaurants Puzder had this to say to Business Insider this past March about robot employees: “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case.”

Yes, that’s what he said, folks. So it doesn’t sound like Puzder will be looking to replace robot employees with warm bodies anytime soon.

Trump won a seemingly political victory when he convinced Carrier to keep 800 jobs in Indiana.

And yes, Trump may have convinced Carrier to save jobs. For now.

But here’s what you might not know. Carrier plans on taking advantage of all those Trump tax cuts and incentives, totaling some $16 million, and investing it in automation.

And sure, automation could create some new jobs, but those jobs will require retraining. People with obsolete skills will have to reposition themselves and be retrained for different careers. Job training is essential in addressing skill gaps to prepare the current and future workforce with the tools they need to compete in an increasingly automated America. But Trump’s got no plan on the table for job training at all.

Additionally, the U.S. doesn’t have any kind of national productivity policy or commission in place to identify opportunities and policies for improving productivity.

According to a recent McKinsey Report, existing technology could automate 45 percent of activities people are now paid to do, and the World Economic Forum has estimated that five millions jobs will be lost by 2020.

Boston Consulting Group recently reported that it costs barely $8 an hour to use a robot for spot welding in the auto industry, compared to $25 for a worker—and the gap is only going to widen.

And in 2013 and Oxford study reported that work automation will put 47% of existing jobs in the U.S. at “high risk,” meaning human workers in those jobs will be replaced by robots within 20 years.

So it’s time to stop blaming immigrants, trade, offshoring, China, and Mexico on lost jobs.

Blame it on scientific genius, high-tech innovation, robotic process automation, advanced manufacturing, and hugely successful machinery efficiencies.

What we really need is a President who has the guts to tell the truth about the future of work, not one who thinks he can sell us a Trumped-up myth and pretend that he and he alone will bring back jobs, “real quick,” and make America great again.

Because history has proven, our technological advancements are what will continue to make America great. There’s no possibility of going back in time, and Trump knows it.

American Industry is at its highest level in history. It’s not the industry that’s in decline. The decline is in factory employment, due primarily to automation and increased efficiency.

And for the record, the U.S. unemployment rate in December was among the lowest percentages since 1981, as follows:

U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT RATES:

December 2016: 4.7%

January 2009: 7.8%

January 2001: 4.2%

January 1993: 7.3%

January 1989: 5.4%

January 1981: 7.5%

The truth is America has never been wealthier. The real problem is that the middle class, “the forgotten people,” are not the beneficiary of that wealth.

Why? Because, while the middle class gives up ridiculous amounts of their salaries to the government, the wealthy minority, like Trump and his ilk make sure they use any and all means to avoid paying taxes whatsoever.

And Trump has no plans to do anything about that carnage.

 

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Since the 1700’s, the United States press has held government officials, corporations, and institutions accountable to the American people for secret practices, wrongdoing, and corruption.

Investigative journalism has not only helped to keep government honest, but it has also sparked public outcry on many exposed wrongdoings, often resulting in reforms.

Trump’s declaration of media failure and vows to punish them is an eerie reminder of authoritarian regimes around the word and their brutal silencing of the press.

Trump has relentlessly attacked, undermined and disparaged the Democrats, American citizens who didn’t vote for him, the news media, and most recently the intelligence community. Trump actually compared our United States intelligence officials to Nazis.

Everyone knows that authoritarian regimes start with muzzling and locking down their media and adversaries to ensure absolute rule and repress any insurrection.

If they don’t like the message? They shoot the messenger.

Then they go after their citizens and their foes.

I have always taken for granted our free and independent press. And every morning while reading The New York Times, I discover some article that provides me with a better understanding of the world and in many cases of my own country.

But there are plenty of Americans out there that don’t know much about public affairs. And a lot of them don’t regularly read a newspaper.

But let’s be clear. We need media watchdogs.

The media’s job is to be the public’s eyes and ears. They help to maintain law and order, call out blatant untruths and uncover injustices and lies.

It is NOT the media’s job to provide powerful people, including President-elect Trump a safe haven or a hall pass.

Should the media have turned their backs on the problem of lead in the Flint Michigan water?

Or should the press have turned a blind eye to price gouging by pharmaceutical companies?

Stand-up journalism holds feet to the fire and demands accountability and vigilance. If the media sees something, they need to report something.

Trump’s chew toy of the month is CNN, calling them fake news. He has in the past barred the Washington Post and The New York Times from events, and he has denigrated multiple media outlets and continues to try to silence the press.

It seems painfully obvious that if it’s not pro-Trump news, it’s fake news.

And according to a recent article in The New York Times, the Trump administration is now considering ejecting the press corps from their on-site cubicles in the West Wing.

This action would basically prove that Trump is not willing or won’t allow his presidency to be held accountable. Think of it this way: When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

I find it terribly disconcerting that Trump continues to denigrate and try to constrain and control our media.

In shutting out the press, he is willfully, if not purposefully trying to mislead and deny the American people of the information they deserve to know.

It appears to me that Trump and his team will do anything and everything to avoid accountability. The POTUS shouldn’t be able to fly under the media radar.

We the people need to be alarmed at his media accusations and attempts to muzzle the press. If there is no transparency, there is no truth.

It’s up to the public as a whole to keep the pressure on Trump and his administration to ensure that the Constitution and our nation’s laws are adhered to. And that no one, not even—and especially, the President of the United States, is above the law and/or the scrutiny by the media.

CNN is not fake news, people. This is a major and very real news organization doing their job.

And thank God they’re not going anywhere.

Facts matter. A free press is more essential now than ever before.

From left, right and center, we need to back the media up, not shoot them down.

History is proof that without an independent press, our free democratic society is at risk.

A Girl Can Dream

I delightfully watched three of my grandchildren at their indoor swimming lessons yesterday.

Several young girls had set up a table in the lobby, outside of the pool area to raise money for their basketball team selling water, snacks, and rubber bracelets. I purchased some chips, fruit bites, cookies, and a bracelet. My son-in-law bought a bracelet as well.

On the walk back from swimming, my four-year-old grandson asked me what the bracelet said.

“A girl can dream,” I replied. “Why only a girl?” he countered. I explained the girl basketball thing.

“Why did Daddy buy a girl bracelet? He’s a boy.” His daddy replied that he supports girls even if he’s a boy.

“Tell me what it says again,” my grandson inquired, as his teeny hand held mine tightly. “A girl can dream,” I answered softly.

Another question from my grandson: “What’s a dream?”

I tried to describe a dream as best I could. My explanation wasn’t as easy or fluid as I thought it would be.

Then I asked him if he had a dream.

“I’m too little to have a dream,” he answered decidedly.

“You’re never too little to have a dream. Or too big for that matter,” I responded.

He was quiet for a second, his face was thoughtful, and his mighty brain was churning.

Then he looked up at me and told me that he knew somebody with a dream.

“Who?” I queried.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that the world should be nice,” he responded.

I was blown away by his proclamation and had completely forgotten about the following MLK Day.

“Wow,” I answered genuinely shocked. “Yeah, you’re so right; Martin Luther King had a dream!”

“No,” my grandson replied assertively; his pint-sized pointer finger aiming straight my way. “Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream.”

I looked down at his beautiful innocent face confused.

“He was a Jr.,”  he emphasized.