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Musing #23: Dame Agatha, Part III (The Rule, Broken)

Musing #23: Dame Agatha, Part III (The Rule, Broken)

Nov 22, 2013

Welcome to the conclusion of my Dame Agatha triumvirate. This thing has gotten away from me. It’s become more a peak at the inner-workings of my mind than a biographical sketch of my Dad. And, honestly, I haven’t a clue how any of it pertains to NYC artist struggle. (Probably because none of it does.) That bothers me. So I’m hereby abandoning my plan for a series of “Fadda’s Shtick” posts. Next week, I return to tales of Gotham. But tonight, I must finish what I’ve already begun. I assure you, there will be no talk of bigotry…only murder. (Aren’t I just a ray of sunshine?) Here’s a recap of the non-bigot-related points from the preceding posts of this series, beginning with the prologue in its entirety: Musing #20: Guam Belongs to Scott (or, My Peculiar Upbringing) It is early on a Saturday morning in 1995. Fifteen-year-old me is desperately trying to sleep in, despite the chronic roar of youthful mischief. (With six children, there is no peace. Or privacy.) The phone rings. A sibling answers it and shouts for me to get up. (Everyone is always shouting.) Dad is calling me via pre-cell-surgeon-walkie-talkie from the road to Miami for a CME conference. I grumble at the disturbance, fumble for the glasses on my headboard, roll out of bed with eyes still closed and pick up the phone. Stacy: What, Dad? Dad: Where’s your book? Stacy: Huh? What do you mean? Dad: You know exactly what I mean. Where is your book?!? My weary eyes pop to full capacity and dart to my headboard. Murder on the Orient Express is GONE. My jaw drops in disbelief. Stacy: Did you reach over my head and steal it while I was SLEEPING?!? Dad: Yes I did! I am now enraged. Dad: It’s in the car on its way to Miami. AND YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BACK UNTIL YOU FINISH THE SHORT STORIES!!! Stacy: Oh my god! You’re INSANE!!! Dad bursts into trademark high-pitched, gut-busting, maniacal mirth. And hangs up.   Welcome to my peculiar upbringing. *         *         * This brings us to why my father would do such a (mildly creepy) thing: Musing #21: Dame Agatha,...

The November Memories of a Little Girl

The November Memories of a Little Girl

Nov 21, 2013

By Mo Breden Fifty years ago, I was sitting in Mrs. Hill’s fourth grade class at Emma L. Arleth Elementary School in Sayreville, New Jersey. I was a child, but I was aware of the world beyond my young life. My memories of that day in November, are fractured. I remember someone coming into the classroom and saying that Mr. Kennedy had been shot. I remember thinking, that’s weird, why would someone shoot President Kennedy’s dad? I could not fathom that someone would shoot our President. I remember confusion in the classroom and then an announcement that President Kennedy was dead. I remember Mrs. Hill being totally out of control and upset that these announcements had been made to her classroom. I remember the look on the face of Linda Cristosi, who sat across from me, when the announcement came, and the tears as she put her head down and began to cry. I remember crying. Then there is a fracture, I don’t remember anything else until I walked into my house and my mother hugged me, and the television was on and the news was constantly giving information about the assassination of President Kennedy. I remember crying a lot, I remember for years after his death, crying at the mention of his name, or news about his family. My own family watched the coverage over the days following his death, through his burial. It was shocking for me, that someone would take the life of this healthy, vital young man in such a violent way. Mrs. Kennedy was the focus of our attention, she was stoic, she was dignified, and she showed us how to honor our President in death. I was devastated to see Caroline kneel with her mother at her father’s coffin, and to watch her reach up and touch the coffin and of course so sad and so proud of a little boy, John Jr., as he saluted his father’s coffin as it passed by during the funeral procession. So much has been written by so many about those days, what else do I possibly have to offer? The perspective of a little girl and her first experience with the...

Preparing Elementary Kids for College at The Great American Teach-In

Preparing Elementary Kids for College at The Great American Teach-In

Nov 20, 2013

The Great American Teach-in is just a few days away.  I happily volunteer every year to present to a class.  The Great American Teach-In combines many of my core beliefs into one event: promotion of education, career exposure, and parents participating in their children’s lives. As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve done presentations on everything from the importance of volunteering (when I ran a non-profit) and the Titanic (when I was playing “Molly” Brown for the exhibit). Introducing children to the variety of job-opportunities in the world is extremely important.  How many of us were exposed only to traditional careers: doctor, lawyer, teacher, police officer?  It has only been in the last fifteen years that I realized how incredibly vast and diverse careers can be.  In fact, if you can’f find one that seems to fit–YOU CAN CREATE YOUR OWN!! Our children will be in careers we haven’t even heard of yet, using technology that hasn’t been invented.  We do a disservice to children when we don’t focus on giving them the tools they need to be successful in ALL jobs (like taking responsibility, English and math skills, and the ability to solve problems), and don’t encourage the imagination it will take to live in a world that has yet to be created. This year, the theme at my daughter’s school is “College.”  On Friday’s, students can wear college shirts instead of their uniforms.  Teachers were encouraged to decorate their class with their college colors and mascots, in the beginning of the year.  I want to continue the trend, and go a tad bit deeper into what college is all about, in a way early-elementary students could understand. Most students, regardless of age, are influenced by their parents. “The likelihood of enrolling in postsecondary education is strongly related to parents’ education even when other factors are taken into account: among 1992 high school graduates whose parents had not gone to college, 59 percent had enrolled in some form of higher education by 1994. This rate increased to 75 percent among those whose parents had some college experience, and 93 percent among those who had at least one parent with a bachelor’s degree…. In 1999, 82 percent...

The Road to Stepford. Meet Joanna Eberhart

The Road to Stepford. Meet Joanna Eberhart

Nov 19, 2013

“The Stepford Wives” was a chilling novel written by Ira Levin and was first made into a film in 1975 starring Katherine Ross as Joanna Eberhart. It was a dark and brooding horror film. In 2004 a new version of the movie was made starring Nicole Kidman as Joanna in a different style that was brightly colored, campy and over the top. This is the version I am using for this column because the two films have different endings and the ending on this one has one detail I feel is very important. If you are not familiar with the story here it is in a nutshell. Families move to the idyllic town of Stepford. It seems like a dream. Something is wrong in Stepford, very wrong. You see the husbands in this quaint town all are members of the Men’s Association and they have an agenda. One by one they are turning their wives into robotic women who are perfect in every way. The women’s only desire is to grant their husband’s every wish, no questions asked. Now one woman, Joanna Eberhart begins putting two and two together and the race is on because she knows her turn is coming. This is Movie Bad Girl of the Week…The Stepford Edition Part One. When we meet Joanna at the beginning of the movie she is a a woman in a high power position. She is President of Program Development for a major network. She gives her job 110% and her family comes in second. She works with her husband Walter, who is vice-president and thus, he must work under his wife. Their marriage is troubled and her drive and achievements make him feel emasculated at times. There is a lot of tension in their home life. Lucky for Walter that is about to change. One of the programs (a reality show called “I Can Do Better”) Joanna has green-lighted for the upcoming season caused real-life violence by one of the contestants. He has attempted to murder his now ex-wife and more than one of her new lovers she met on the show. He also makes an attempt to shoot Joanna at the network affiliate preview because...

When Your Spouse Is A Saboteur

When Your Spouse Is A Saboteur

Nov 18, 2013

You may be sitting next to a saboteur right now…your friend, your lover, your parent, your spouse.  These people encourage you to stay stuck in bad habits and enmeshed in misery.  Sometimes, they want to see you fail so badly that you end up worse than you are now.  It happens.  Whether these people are sabotaging your desire to lose weight, gain control over your spending, stop drinking or using drugs, they have many elements in common. Diet Saboteurs I’m surrounded by these people in my personal life–mainly because addicts hang out with other addicts.  There have been so many times I’ve seen success on a diet or healthy-eating plan and had friends and lovers talk me out of good decisions.  Once, at a restaurant with a diet saboteur, a friend told me I was being “ridiculous” at passing up the Chinese-fried-noodles on the table.  She told me that not indulging now and then was unrealistic—and a bunch of other things.  That was all it took, I’ll never forget it.  I was too fragile and vulnerable in that stage of my new routine to stay on track.  My old habits wanted to believe her.  Indulge I did, right back up to the top of the scale.  I often think back to that moment and wonder where I would be now if I had had the strength to stay on track. Success Saboteurs Sometimes, people just want to bring you way, way down.  They will tell you all kinds of things meant to destroy your hard work, your achievements, your happiness.  Misery loves company!  People who are “stuck in the mire” cannot understand where you are coming from—they do not understand the excitement behind a fresh-start or the will-power it takes to be patient. What’s Really Happening They are jealous. Really jealous.  You are doing something they have not been able to do in their own lives—make a change. Also, they are afraid. They are afraid you will be different, see them differently, stop hanging out with them.  Really, it has nothing to do with you at all.  It is about your change making them face changes they might need or want to make in...

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