Category Archives: Women

Katie deserves Oscar nom for five-year run as Mrs Tom Cruise


English: Cropped image of Tom Cruise and Katie...

I feel a little bad for Tom Cruise getting served with divorce papers only a few days before turning 50.  Especially, since, according to tabloid headlines, he was completely blindsided by it.  Only days earlier he and Katie were holding hands walking around the streets of Iceland.

Apparently the reality of being married to Tom did not live up to Katie’s teen-age fantasy of marrying one of the most famous movie stars of our generation.    But the breakup may have less to do with Tom as husband and father than of his adherence to the practice of Scientology.   We don’t know that, but let’s look at the facts, such as they are.  Which is to say we have no idea what we are talking about.  The facts as we know them are pure speculation based on what we read in the tabloids.

We do know for a fact that Katie managed to stay in for 5 years.  I have to wonder how long she had been thinking about calling it quits?  Her father had time to hatch and carry out a plan that involved firing all the help who might have made her exit “problematic” (the Scientology police?) and replace them with people loyal to Katie.  That had to take a few months to put together!  And whose idea was it?   Did it start with her, or did her parents pull a sort of intervention to get her to admit she wanted out?

One tabloid headline suggested Katie was not the happy-go-lucky young woman her parents knew she had been 5 years earlier and they apparently blamed marriage to Tom for her emotional decline.  That her exit from the marriage required the staff to be replaced seems like a move out of the textbook on how to de-program people caught up in religious cults.   Not that I am suggesting Scientology is a cult.  I am not suggesting this, but certain entire countries in Europe have, more or less officially, suggested it.  Such as France.  Not that we are naming names.

The Cruises rented a home in Pittsburgh this past year while Tom was filming Ghost Protocol, and were photographed in various locations enjoying some good times as a family.  Tom took Suri ice skating.  The whole family went shopping for fresh produce at a local farm market.  The three of them are some of the most genetically lucky people I know in the good looks department.  The perfect family.   So full of hope.

But the question lingering in my mind is, when did Katie know she had to get out?  Five years isn’t that long.  She needed at least a year to pull off the legal stuff with her dad, get a place to live, change her cell number, and schedule the moving van.  So that’s year four.  She would have to admit to herself it was over way before that — but even once she got that gut feeling she probably didn’t say the words out loud until around year 3.

My guess is she knew it was over before she got pregnant with Suri (mid-way through year one) and once she had her daughter it just got complicated.

A Google search of the number of years women stay in a marriage after they have decided to divorce was no help at all — even Google Scholar didn’t have an answer to that question.  If anyone knows the SEO terms for this concept, I’d be obliged if you’d send me the keywords or the links to the articles!

What I did learn from my search was that 90 percent of women who think about divorce never go through with getting one.  And if you have been married at least 10 years, you are nearly 70 percent more likely to stay married to that person.   If you want the link to those stats, you can Google it.

Huffington Post has an entire department devoted to the topic of divorce.  Check out the comments there to this question posed to readers.  Complete this sentence: “The moment I knew (my marriage was over) … ”  If you needed any more evidence of man’s inhumanity to man — and I am speaking, of course, in the inclusive voice here — you will find it in those responses!   As one might expect, infidelity was a frequent cause but in other stories there were actually weapons involved!  The saddest cases were those involving people who were seriously ill and their spouses reacted with callous indifference.

My point is, even the fairy-tale marriage isn’t guaranteed to succeed.  Remember these famous marriages that everyone said would last forever?  John and Elizabeth Edwards.  Al and Tipper Gore.   Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley…

Lest you think I have forgotten that most tragic and fractured fairy-tale couple of our time  — Prince Charles and Lady Diana — I say, well duh.  But should we not look beyond our love and devotion to Diana and consider that the fairy-tale-come-true was really Camilla’s eventual marriage to Charles?  No. We should not.  Even if it probably is.

At long last, we come to the moral of the story, which is that neither wealth, good looks, great teeth, being able to fit into a size 3 dress, diamond tiaras, fame, or a particular faith — whether orthodox or un — guarantees a successful run at marriage.

My parents recently celebrated seventy years of marriage.  Seven-O.  They are 90 and 93 years old.  I never heard them say an angry word to one another.  My dad always gave my mom a peck on the lips and a hug when he came home from work.  Then he sat down in his arm-chair until supper with the newspaper, after which he returned to his chair and read the paper and watched TV until bedtime.  He changed the oil in his cars, kept them polished, mowed the lawn, and paid the bills.  Mom fixed the meals and kept the house, only working outside the home a few years when things were tight.   They would be lost without each other.   When asked how they lasted this long they just shrug.  Something about mutual respect and never considering the alternative.

So if you have been in a successful relationship for longer than 10 years, hang in there.  It’s nothing to sneeze at.  Don’t screw it up.  You are our role models.

And we need more role models.  Like Bill and Hillary Clinton.  Seriously.  If a relationship so publicly violated as that between Hillary and Bill Clinton can survive, there is hope for us all.

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Filed under celebrity, Family, parenting, Pittsburgh, Relationships, Religion, satire, Society, Women

Tipper and Al Gore separation strikes a blow to soul mate concept


From all accounts from folks who knew them well, Tipper and Al Gore were as close to soul mates as it gets. High school sweet hearts. He was still lifting her off her feet and showing it to the world with his lingering kiss at the democratic convention. The traumas they endured over their son’s near death, the political life, the near miss at the presidency – a lot of stuff to weather. But his passion for saving the planet seems to have overtaken his passion for his wife. We don’t know what happened, but thats the speculation. They grew apart. Sad. Forty years. Not wasted, really. But still. Sad.

Why? I’m thinking, ok, if it’s just that – drifting apart, it’s a common thing. Not like a Tiger Woods thing. Just growing into different people. But how long does it take during a forty year marriage before you start to think, “Is this all there is?” and then start the emotional distancing that leads to a separation? How long do you let that ferment in your psyche until you have to finally say it outloud? Especially if you’re in the public eye and you are considered the model of a perfect couple.

Is there such a thing as a soul mate? Many used to point to Paul and Joanne Newman as the perfect pair because Hollywood marriages are not prone to that kind of longevity. If you’re really a geezer you know that George Burns, who was married to his comedic partner Gracie Allen for thirty years, mourned her passing at the young age of 58 so much that he visited her grave daily. He was down to once a month after a while and kept that routine up most of the rest of his life. He just had to tell her about what was going on in his life. He lived another 32 years without her – to the age of 100 – still visiting her.

I think that some people do find soul mates. Not most of us.   But despite a whole bunch of proof that the overwhelming majority of couples do not find anything close to a soul mate, we still try to believe if we just search long enough, or sign up for E-Harmony, there is some person out there who will make all of our dreams come true forever and ever.  We want the fairy tale and darned if we aren’t going to try and make one come true.

Mark Gungor, YouTube phenom for his hilariously animated and spot on “Men’s Brain’s vs. Women’s Brains” videos, says there is no such thing as a soul mate. Here is the cold shower of logic that Mark Gungor has to offer on the subject. See what you think:

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Filed under celebrity, Family, getting old, Politics, Relationships, Society, Women

Government Boobs Pooh-Pooh Mammograms Before Age 50


I am no conspiracy theorist, but I smell a rat here.  We’re in the throes of health care reform decisions and we have to find ways to cut costs, right?   Women should not worry their pretty little forty-something heads over whether they MIGHT have cancer when they PROBABLY don’t have cancer even though the test was inconclusive and they have to do it again.  Because this is FAR more dangerous than the actual radiation being shot into their breast tissue.  And besides (I’m surprised this wasn’t in the report) it hurts like hell to have your breast squeezed between cold metal plates, and we just don’t want to put women through that any more.  Now, don’t we feel better hon?  Thanks.  We knew you would.

They tell us we can still choose to have the test, it just shouldn’t be routine at that age.  Soooo, IF we tell women they really don’t need to be screened that early, then when the new legislation comes through, there will be NO PROVISION FOR PAYMENT of screenings before age 50.    Am I right people?  That’s really what this is all about.

They made a deal with the devil on this.  The health care industry said this is a place you can cut costs.  Don’t make us pay for early screenings.  Don’t get us wrong, they caution, “We are firm supporters of the mammary gland feature on women.  However, we are much more interested in erectile dysfunction.”  So they will continue to pay for prescription medications to make sure men maintain their full functionality until they drop dead from attempting to father one more child with their twenty-something trophy wife at age 89.  Because that’s how much they care about the people they insure. 

Women don’t need any more dis-incentives to get these screenings.  It’s hard enough as it is to get us in there when we have to work full-time to maintain our health benefits.  My doctor has written a prescription each year for the last five years for me, and I have not yet followed through with an appointment.

I just got another prescription.  I’m going to make my appointment tomorrow.  Then I won’t have to worry that it might not be covered next year.  I have enough to worry about while I am looking for work and collecting unemployment compensation.

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Filed under Politics, Society, Women

Bristol Palin’s pregnancy took Sarah by surprise


Sarah Palin reveals to Barbara Walters in an upcoming TV interview that she didn’t know her daughter Bristol was having sex with her boyfriend until she learned about the pregnancy. The headline on the Comcast re-post of the AP article calls this a “bombshell” in promoting Walters’ upcoming interview for ABC.   For most parents with teenagers – boys or girls – this news would generally be a bombshell.  But not knowing your daughter is sexually active is not surprising, it happens all the time.

Teens are especially adept at the art of deception. Teens are also especially hormone-enriched beings with very little capacity to hold them at bay. And yet many of them do. So there is hope.

Some of these teens are fortunate to have parents who are able to speak to them openly and honestly about puberty and sexuality and birth control. Other parents believe that to bring it up at all risks sanctioning the behavior.

Families who have a strong religious faith may have trouble believing that a child is making choices that go against what they have been taught. Your child could be the leader of the youth Bible study, with perfect attendance from the day they were born, but when the hormones kick in, all bets are off.   (Moral hipocrisy is no respecter of persons: I know people who were introduced to drugs by the pastor’s kids in the church parking lot!)

There are warning signs if you are paying attention.  My guess is that Sarah was too distracted to notice — she was getting noticed by the big boys in the Republican party and she had to keep Alaska safe from the Russians who were visible just over the horizon.   And where was daddy Todd in his daughter’s life?   Both parents share the blame for being out of touch.

Here are a few of the warning signs that your daughter is sexually active:  Has she started to wear a “friendship ring?” Is she staying out later than her curfew? Does she ever go out with just the girls anymore, or is her social life confined to her boyfriend? Is she dressing a little sexier than she has before?  Is her boyfriend spending the night at your house on a regular basis?

One major warning sign would be if your daughter and her boyfriend are a little too comfortable being physically affectionate around you. If you catch them in a passionate embrace in your home, do not walk away embarrassed and give them their “privacy.” If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is to make your presence known, (just a little “a-hem” will do) tell them that you are not comfortable with this much intimacy, and politely send the boy (or girl) home.

Once the dust settles from the fallout of you taking control of the situation for them, you can tell your teen that you will not be talking with them any further about it right now. You need time to consider what you are going to do and say. You also need to consult with your spouse so everyone is on the same page.

When you have your emotions in check and a plan that is realistic, both parents should sit down with their teen and open up about the relationship. Don’t be shy. Pry away. Because this is not about the morality of  “premarital sex.” It’s about the possibility of creating another life, and the potential of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Make it clear to them that you have no intention of being the babysitter for their child while they go to school or work.

What are your parental choices here? You could have the talk and put no further restrictions on their relationship (not advised). You could restrict their dating to family outings and hanging out at your house. You could suggest that if they tell you a lie about where they will be on a date, that the truth squad will be doing random checks about their location.

Of course you are going to be called mean, unfair, horrible, and that you are making their lives a living hell because they will be a laughing-stock among their friends whose parents trust them and let them do whatever they want to do. Suck it up!  It’s just the circle of life — remember when you were their age.

Many a parent who wanted to believe their teen was mature enough to handle their hormones has been on the receiving end of the “I’m pregnant.” bombshell.  Have the talk early and often, expanding upon the details as your child is ready for more information.   An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when the lack of prevention could result in 8 pounds of bouncing baby grandchild.

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Filed under Family, parenting, Relationships, Society, teens, Women

My teen idol is now my facebook friend!


I was, like, a total, you know, teeny bopper when Paul Revere and the Raiders were a hot band. 

I idolized Mark Lindsay, the lead singer with the radical-for-the-time pony tail under his feather-trimmed tri-corner costume hat.   I secretly did not care for the pony tail, but I put up with it because the man was so darn cute.  

It is a revelation to me when I look back at the pictures of the band that I didn’t remember they wore white tights like ballet dancers.  If I had known anything about “alternative lifestyles” back then, I would have seen the boys in a whole different light.  Something akin to The Village People (see pic of Greatest Hits album art! In case you don’t know, Mark is the second from the left.)   But all personal preferences aside, I was in L-U-V with Mark.album-paul-revere-the-raiders-greatest-hits

I liked to draw portraits and I was reasonably good at it.  So my walls were adorned with hand drawn copies of pictures from teen magazines of all my FAVE RAVES.  Mark had a prominent place on my wall of honor along with Davey Jones, Bobby Sherman, and Paul McCartney.

The Raiders were regulars on Saturday TV in a show called “Where the Action Is.”  Acts like Neil Diamond, who was just becoming famous, were on that show.  It featured musicians lip syncing while cavorting on the beach with California girls (and guys)  in tasteful two piece bathing suits (the girls) doing the twist on the sand and pretending to be surfers at Malibu Beach in California.   MTV Spring Break it was NOT!

American Bandstand was also on Saturdays and both shows were produced by Dick Clark.   Dick Clark was the king of adolescent TV at the time, with a monopoly on Saturday mornings.   He had MY number, that’s for sure.  But I guess my “number” was pretty common.  And get this kiddies!  NO video recorders in MY day!  So if I missed a show, it was gone for-ev-ar!

Mark and I share the same birthday.  The one time I saw them in concert in Portland, Oregon it was “our” birthday and I slipped the usher a note to Mark to let him know someone out there was celebrating with him.  I think I was turning 13.  He probably still has it in his collection of stuff fan girls sent him over the years and cherishes it even today.   Or maybe its still crumpled up in an usher’s coat pocket hanging in the back of the music hall collecting dust.

Recently in a serious bout of boredom after reading one of those “where are they now” articles, I did a Google search on Mark.  Lucky me!  He just recently got his own web site!  AND he’s on both Twitter and Facebook.  Well, there you go!  I am ALSO on Facebook and Twitter.  Coincidence?  Karma?  Fate?

Mark isn’t one of those celebs who just has a fan club on Facebook.  No.  He interacts personally with his friends.  Posts pictures of his vacations even.  Of course he screens his friends, so I told him why I should be allowed into his inner circle.  I gave him “our” history and threw in the TV show reference to prove I was a loyal and legitimate fan, worthy of his Facebook friendship.

I cannot imagine what my response would have been if I had had Facebook at age 13 and I got an email saying “You and Mark Lindsay are now friends.”  As it is, he and I are now both over age 50, and it was still way cool to get that message.   Better late than never, as they say.  A little less thrilling when you know that you are one of 1,856 other “friends.”  But, still.  Its something.

It used to be that famous people did not associate with the lowly “public.”  They were above us, and they only associated with other similarly famous people.  But now, with the so-called Social Media at our calloused fingertips, the ability to connect with someone famous is only a tweet away.  

I’m not sure this is good.  I mean, where’s the romance?  The intrigue?   I look back fondly on those wonderful and terrible angst-filled teenage-girl nights spent starring at Mark’s and Davey’s and Paul’s faces as the moonlight shone through my window!  “Take me away Mark!” “Take me away to Malibu and give me a life of sunshine and romping on the beach and traveling the world!”

Mark was beyond my reach but not beyond my dreams!   He was perfect!  I could tell from just watching him on TV but I also knew this because Access Hollywood hadn’t been invented yet. 

But now, sheesh, can’t you just let a girl dream?  Do we HAVE to know our idols have drug habits and secretly like to wear women’s clothes and cheated on their wives and sometimes make out with prostitutes in the backs of cars in dark alleys?  How can we idolize them if we know they have faults just like the rest of us schmucks? 

I suppose there is something positive in knowing so much about famous people’s lives.  As a parent, I can now point to a celebrity and say to my kids  “let that be a lesson to you – Paul McCartney smoked pot all his adult life and just look where THAT got him!”  Oh- right. Paul is still rich and famous and sings great and has only been divorced once.    “Don’t be like that Robert Downey Jr. who couldn’t shake his cocaine habit and went on to be  — Iron Man.”  Dang.  Another success from ruins story.   

America likes nothing better than a great comeback story.  So now we have Michael Jackson’s come-back rehearsal tapes being turned into a movie.    I am confident he was hoping to perform live and in person but he is presently deceased and unavailable for comment.  The cautionary tale there is not so much vice but victimization of a sensitive and talented child who decided to become Peter Pan instead of grow up and become one of the adults who made his early childhood a living hell. 

As for my teen idols, one of which is NOT Michael Jackson, they’re on the road with the Teen Idol Tour!  Mark, Mickey Dolenz (The Monkees) and Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits) on stage so the baby boomers can return to adolescence for a couple of hours and ask themselves the question “How did we all get this old?” 

For the record, I have no evidence – nor  have I sought any –  that Mark Lindsay is anything but a decent and upright guy with no skeletons in his closet, even if the closet did at one time include a feathered hat and tights.

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Filed under celebrity, Humor, Nostalgia, Seventies, Society, Women

Steelers Nation-Building


I was not born in Pittsburgh, but I became a Pittsburgher by marriage in 1983 even though we were living in Los Angeles at the time.  My husband is from Pittsburgh and his parents and brother are die-hard Steelers fans.

 

We got officially engaged during football season while visiting his family in da ‘Burgh.  One fine Sunday afternoon we all gathered back at my brother-in-law’s house to watch The Game. 

 

When I say “we” I am not including myself as a game-viewer, because I do not “watch” football.  I do not come from a family where rooting for any team is mandatory.  The biggest sporting event in my life was on the day I graduated from college, which was when the Portland Trailblazers won the national championship DURING our commencement ceremony.  I truly could have cared less, but it is a fun part of the memory of that day because a cheer went up from the crowd.  Everyone had been listening on the highest tech device available in that day – a transistor radio!

 

Sheesh that dates me!  Does it make it better that I now own a BlackBerry?

 

My father is the only male in our family and he is so laid back that if he had a game on the TV we could still carry on a conversation in the living room and he didn’t complain.  He just sat in his chair and “watched.”

 

So back in Pixburgh as the new kid in the family I stretch out on the floor (the guys have already claimed all of the chairs) and my future father-in-law asks “You a football fan?” 

 

“No, not really.”

 

“I feel sorry for you!”

 

NOT a good omen!  I had NO idea what I was getting into with the whole Black and Gold Pride thing.  I didn’t have to deal with it much living in LA for the next decade.  It helped that the team never made it to the Super Bowl during those years. But when we moved back here, that was a different story.  Now my husband and family could get together EVERY Sunday.

 

But they do not “watch” games.  Not like my dad, anyway.  They infuse themselves into the game by virtual mind-meld.  They anticipate the commentator’s next words and say them before he has a chance.  They scream out instructions to the QB.  Right now the most commonly heard chorus from the men when the offense is on the field is “THROW IT BEN!!!!!!!”  Then “Aaarrrrgggghhhh!”  because Ben’s been sacked so many times this year.

 

 

I honestly do sit down and enjoy the game for a few minutes at a time.  But I cannot just sit and watch, for I AM WOMAN and there is work to be done around the house.  So I dance around the edges of the game as a kind of spectral image.  Every now and then I interject something to let them know I’m around. 

 

And every now and then they come out of their trance and realize they are hungry again.  I have stopped trying to fuss over them about the food long ago.  They don’t eat during games.  It might be better described as “graze and guzzle.”  So I put out the grub and tell them to come and get it.  Then I leave them alone.  Kind of like a zoo keeper slipping food to the lions under the door.

 

Please don’t misunderstand me here.  I AM A STEELERS FAN.  But I have a moral dilemma in that I like to participate in the celebrations but I don’t fully understand the game.  I like the community of it all, I like the Steelers Dress Down Days at work, and I like the way the mood of the whole city is elevated when we simply win a game on a given week.  Does that qualify?

 

When we’re in the playoffs the mood here is not just elevated, it’s off the euphoria meter.  This is a town where the mayor changed his name for a few days because it contained the name of the opposing team in the championship game that week! 

 

After living here for more than a dozen years I have become a part of Steelers Nation.  It grows on you.  The players are great, they do a lot of charitable work in the community, they love the fans.  It doesn’t hurt that they win a lot.  And now we’re in the Super Bowl for the second time in my personal experience as a new-native of Pittsburgh.  

 

This time seemed kind of anti-climactic.  Like, yes, this is the way it is supposed to be.  Of COURSE we won the division.  That’s what the Steelers do.  And I will be there sitting on the sofa and watching the big game like everyone else here.

 

But if you’re not into the game, go shopping – the clerks get lonely on game days.

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The Fashionable Presidential Family


Our new President cuts a pretty fine figure in a tuxedo!   When he entered the stage at the first televised ball and we knew, finally, what tux he’d be wearing, our country released a collective sigh of relief after weeks of apprehension and anticipation:  Would he deliver a fashion hit or a miss?   Did the tux make the man or the man make the tux?

Well, of course, the latter!  That tux on the “other guy” (who would have been wearing his trademark smirk as well) would have been just another tux.  But on Mr. Obama, who exudes grace and, thankfully, has never to my knowledge been photographed with a smirk on his face, the tux was perfect.  No one else could have worn it with such style and grace.  It was absolutely the perfect choice for the leader of the free world. 

But let’s not forget about Michelle’s gown!

Ok, lets.

Oh alright.  I suppose she loved the dress and couldn’t wait to reveal it, or she would not have chosen it.   I can’t imagine the pressure of having to consider every time you get dressed how this ensemble is going to play out in the blogs and EVEN for-crying-out-loud the “news.”   But I don’t think she really looked all that comfortable in the dress and it wouldn’t allow her to dance because there was too much skirt to deal with. 

I’m sorry.  She looked like she was going to the prom in 1980, not like the First Lady in 2009.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So now we read that the girls’ propensity for J Crew is sending that stock up, up, and up!  I guess there are people who pay attention to these things.  

As for me, I’m willing to set aside the petty ball gown gaff and move on.  Let’s get down to business and see how much Mr. Obama can get done on his promised agenda, how long the afterglow of bi-partisanship can last, and how much that call to sacrifice is going to hit home.   

I think I’m already doing my sacrificial part, by the way.   We employ all of the traditional budget cutting measures available: limiting fast food expense by ordering the kids meal without the toy –except if the toy is really cool, watching movies six months after they were in the theaters on cable TV,  never going anywhere just for fun, letting the driveway cracks expand year after year, and making the kids use the old version of whatever game system is most popular.  

But I digress.  We were talking about fashion.

I don’t own a ball gown, but if I ever do have an occasion that I can’t get out of where a gown is required, it will most certainly be designer label and come straight off the racks of the local Veteran’s thrift store.   I’m pretty sure I could have found a real nice gown there for Michelle.

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