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Musing #33: Hollywood Blind Items Have Poisoned My Soul (or, Part of Your World)

Musing #33: Hollywood Blind Items Have Poisoned My Soul (or, Part of Your World)

May 30, 2014

Yup. Paste me boob shells and call me Ariel. If you read this column, you know that I deplore Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID, and that I find the lessons of THE GRADUATE to be far healthier for “bright young women.” (Maven of unpopular opinions, up in here.) But I’m about to discuss the most vapid, soul-sucking, arguably immoral facet of the world to which I aspire, so the image above is apropos. “What are Hollywood blind items?” you might reasonably ask. Wikipedia defines a blind item as “…a news story, usually gossip, in which the details of the matter are reported while the identities of the people involved are not revealed. The invention of the blind item is credited to William d’Alton Mann (1829 – 1920), publisher of Town Topics, who often used it for blackmail.” That’s the entry in its entirety; shocking in its brevity, given the colorful history of the blinds and the Internet’s unslakable thirst for gossip. Following the link to the Wikipedia entry for Town Topics, one finds a similarly surprising dearth of information. But the entry does include both an explanation of Mann’s slick trick and the name of his most famous casualty: “Under Mann, [the magazine] ripened into a scandal sheet, faithfully reporting high-society peccadilloes and often identifying perpetrators by name. … The main method it used was to print an innocuous article with the name of the individual on which it had a piece of hot gossip. On the other side of the page would be a blind piece going into the scandal without the name of the person involved. By running the article giving identification and the scandal separately it was possible for Mann to avoid liability for extortion, libel and slander. The publication was responsible for the divorce of Emily Post from her husband, Edwin, in 1906, when the magazine’s most popular feature, titled “Saunterings,” exposed Mr. Post’s affair with another woman.” That’s right. Ms. Manners herself was once Jennifer Anistoned…courtesy of this fine, upstanding, fluffy citizen: William d’Alton Mann (or, as I like to call him, Whiskers McGillicutty) And now, a look at the February 2, 1922 issue of the esteemed publication in question: Under the title “Saunterings” (which is a fantastic word), the blind item comes first. It’s about a crumbling marriage among the Newport summer set. The adjacent column is about the Vanderbilts and...

The Reality Behind the Latest VA Scandal

The Reality Behind the Latest VA Scandal

May 29, 2014

By Mo Breden As you may or may not know, my blog posts started out politically oriented. Today, I want to talk about reality and politics. And, as you may or may not know, politics has no basis in reality–at least in this current case involving the VA. Reality #1 – The Congress of the United States funds the VA. Congress also sets standards and limitations on the VA. Several years ago the VA was primarily caring for service-connected veterans. That is, veterans who obtained an injury, disease or disability during their military service. In cases where veterans were indigent, for whatever reason, the VA also took care of them. Then Congress decided the VA would see all veterans, not just those with service-connected disabilities. Congress provided funding, but even at that time it was not sufficient for the job the VA was now tasked with. Reality #2 – Wars. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan significantly increased the responsibilities of the VA. Once a veteran has been injured, they receive care from the service to which they were commissioned or enlisted. Once they are discharged, that service no longer provides care. All care, all medical, all administrative, and psychological is provided by VA Healthcare facilities. VA has struggled for years to take excellent care of our nations veterans with the funding that was voted for or mostly against by the Congress of the United States. Many of the same members of Congress who have voted against bills that would benefit veterans are now calling for the resignation of the Secretary of the VA, and railing that the VA is a huge bureaucracy that is inadequate at best. Reality #3 – Keeping separate appointment lists is plain wrong. I cannot defend the keeping of separate appointment lists. During my tenure with the VA, (yes, I was with the VA for the majority of my civil service career, as an IT Specialist and then as an IT Manager), I was known as a bit of a pit bull when it came to keeping separate lists, or books of appointments. With the computerization of the Medical Centers, keeping paper lists became harder and harder for those who were...

Mother of the Macabre

Mother of the Macabre

May 27, 2014

Once upon a time… There was a charming and funny woman who lived in the Deep Barons Wilderness Area of New Jersey. She had two sons, Ike and Addley. She raised the boys teaching them all about manners and the little details like wiping your feet on the doormat before entering the house and playing a board game when someone else wanted to because it is the polite thing to do. Both her boys, although men in age, behave with a mentality more like young boys. It was obvious that all of their schooling had been done at home. One other thing you should know…this delightful lady and her family are a clan of brutal psychopaths with no regard for human life. One weekend 3 women who were college roommates got together for their annual reunion vacation. This year it is a camping trip in the Deep Barons. The murderous boys kidnap the women and bring them home to mother. The family plans to eliminate them one at a time because it brings them great pleasure. This time they messed with the wrong ladies and revenge will be the order of the day. The movie is “Mother’s Day” (1980) This film is a campy, dark comedy/horror film, however the film has moments of incredible brutality towards some of the women in the film. If you are squeamish or easily upset this movie is not for you. The mother in this film is a villain of horrific proportions. She is also quirky and likable. I’ve said some bad girls actually are bad or evil and Ma (we never learn her real name) is at the top of the list. We can however learn a few things from the homicidal and maternal woman. Let’s enter the quirky and violent world of “Mother’s Day” where humor and horror blend to bring you a twisted ride. This is Movie Bad Girl of the Week: The Mommy Edition. Early in the film we see Ma at a weekend seminar that is just ending. She offers a young couple a ride. We learn that she lives deep in the woods but she assures the couple that doesn’t make her out of touch...

Random Memories

Random Memories

May 26, 2014

I was so excited to have a long holiday weekend with my husband. I should never think ahead. On Saturday morning I woke up with a coughing fit and suddenly felt like someone had driven a knife between my ribs and lung on my left side. I spent all day Saturday relaxing and taking pain medication. Saturday evening a sneeze popped out while I was in the little girl’s room and took the pain to an entire new level of pain. I thought I might faceplant the bathroom floor. I let my husband take me to the emergency room like he wanted to in the first place. It turns out that cough caused me to pull muscles in my chest to a severe degree. They sent me home with medication for inflammation and muscle spasms. So far my long weekend has consisted of watching lots of horror films and staying put in the recliner. I am even sitting in the recliner straight up to sleep so the muscles don’t pull. I made the mistake of watching Kathy Griffin’s “Whores on Crutches.” Big mistake. One joke near the end of the show gave me a belly laugh. On a scale of 1 to 10 my pain shot up to a 14. What was I thinking watching a comedian doing stand-up? I claim I am a dumb ass for that one.  So far my long holiday weekend has consisted of, brace yourselves, this is very exciting…a trip to Pizza Hut to eat lunch. Okay I am being facetious. So instead of thinking ahead anymore, I have decided to write a column thinking back. This will be an easy one because sleeping in the chair still hasn’t given me a lot of sleep. A wrong move or a cough and I have been wide awake. This gave me time to think and I love to reminisce. These memories may not have been happy at the time they took place but they are now and these happy memories helped distract me from the pain I am feeling right now. Father Doesn’t Know Best aka How Not to Talk to a Nun. I have stated that I grew up...

Getting Back to W(e)rk

Getting Back to W(e)rk

May 26, 2014

This beautiful Memorial Day holiday has come and gone. Tomorrow, we will go back to work and get back on our “wagons” after a celebratory hiatus.  As usual, I overdid it, though not so much that I can’s see where I did make better choices! Over the winter holidays, I spoke with fitness expert Vanessa Aviles. She offered some great advice about getting back into the saddle: 1. Give yourself a time-out.  “Breathe, pray, listen to music in your car, remember the good things in life, but give yourself a 15 minute time-out.” A clear head and more level emotions will help us make better decisions.  Step back from the hustle and give yourself breathing room to make a different choice.  Have you just gotten back from vacation where you’ve been completely off-schedule?  A mini-time-out can help get you refocused. 2. Allow for indulgence with a set cut-off and proper preparation.  “Prepare healthy go-to’s for your day after.”  Feeling like you missed out can cause your subconscious to retaliate.  Plan for your indulgence, plan a stopping point, and make it easy on yourself to “get back at it” by having pre-prepared meals.  Simple and extremely effective.  Imagine how easy it is to get back to work when you can just grab your lunch and walk out the door?  It’s the drudgery of staring blankly into the refrigerator, with thoughts of your delectable cheat meals, that makes it even harder to get back to normalcy.  It’s hard to pack yourself lunch when you don’t even feel like getting back to work!  Do it way ahead of time–make a plan and prepare what you can for exactly those moments.  Grab and go without the dread. If you didn’t do that for yourself this time, why not use today to prepare ahead?  Grab yourself some ready-made salads from the grocery store.  It’s more expensive, but it can give you enough time to get back into the swing of things. 3. Save the good stuff and toss the temptation.   You might think it wasteful, but why is the only solution always for me to eat it all?   There’s another way.  If you host a party, buy a bunch of...

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